Terra urged his keyblade glider to go faster. He clenched his teeth and tightened his grip on the handles in a vain attempt to quell the uneasy feeling in his stomach.
He could make out Ven's figure stading upright at the bottom of the plateau holding an odd keyblade. However, Vanitas wasn't there and that fed Terra's uneasiness.
No response. Perhaps he couldn't hear with the distance between them.
Terra jumped off his keyblade glider as soon as he was a few feet away from the ground and immediately set off running towards his friend.
"Ven! Are you alright?"
Terra allowed himself to have a brief moment of hope as Ventus lifted his head, but as soon as he saw those cold yellow eyes in place of Ventus's clear blue eyes, he stopped dead in his tracks. Ventus pointed the X-blade at Terra.
"So sorry, Ventus isn't here anymore. He's where he belongs...together with me!"
Vanitas launched himself at Terra keyblade-first and still managed to push Terra back as Terra summoned his own keyblade to block. In an instant, Vanitas retreated back several steps with speed that the other couldn't hope to match.
"So tell me Terra, can you do it? Can you bear to hurt your friend?" Vanitas asked mockingly. "Oh, but you did kill Eraqus after all."
The darkness seemed so appealing to Terra right now - his anger made it feel especially alluring. He could just grasp it's tendrils and obtain power - power to get back Ven. But...would it really help? Would darkness beat darkness?
What else is darkness but hate and rage? Xehanort is feeding the dark fires within you, making you fight. You'll go astray again. Tell me, how does that honour our Master's memory, Terra?
Aqua was right. He couldn't use the darkness. He would find his own way.
A keyblade to the throat was no easy thing to scoff at, but Xehanort knew Aqua. He knew she was Eraqus's apprentice. He knew that she had never slain a fellow human before. Most importantly, he knew by the slight quiver that ran through her clenched hand that she did not have the resolve to kill. As long as he lived, he would find a way to crawl back to power. She was years too young to stop him.
"It seems that you have me cornered, master Aqua. But do you have the resolve to kill me as I am right now? Defenseless and cornered? Would this please your sense of honor?"
Aqua's eyes narrowed and she pushed her keyblade closer to Xehanort's throat. "You have no honor! You tried to take Terra. You killed Master Eraqus. You're responsible for all of this!"
Faint traces of darkness gathered around Aqua as her anger rose, but they disappated as soon as they appeared when Aqua looked straight at Xehanort. "But I'm not like you. I won't use the darkness and I won't kill you. There is always an alternative."
Her keyblade quickly shifted downwards towards Xehanort's heart and shot out a beam of light before the old man had time to react. A glowing ball of light emerged and slowly shifted into the form of a keyblade. It was similar to Vanitas's keyblade, pitch black with edges of red and an eerie yellow eyeball engraved at the top of its handle. The eyeball seemed to glare at Aqua before the keyblade shrunk and turned into a keychain which Aqua pocked. She wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Xehanort was right in that she really did not have the heart to kill him, but she did know someone who would be able to judge a punishment for the corrupted keyblade master.
"Master Yen Sid will know what to do with you."
"I wouldn't put it past you to kill your best friend. After all, you did leave him all alone for me while he tried so hard to chase after you."
Terra was sick of the fight. Vanitus would constantly taunt him while striking at him from behind and then, much to Terra's frustration, disappearing from Terra's strike range when he attempted a counter attack. The other boy was just much too fast for him. The pain wasn't much of a problem - he had become accustomed to taking blows throughout the course of his journey. It was the taunting that got to him the most.
He did ignore Ven's pleas to come along with him.
He did help strike down his master - even if it was not the killing blow.
And now he had let his friend slip away from him.
'Please...put an end to me.'
Inside the dreamscape of Ventus's mind, another battle was raging on. Ventus stubbornly locked keyblades with Vanitas. Darkness and light clashed, each one trying to engulf the other.
Ventus knew this was not a match that he could lose. He did not want Vanitas to turn his keyblade on his friends. He would not be able to bear knowing that he was the cause of his friends' deaths.
But Vanitas really wasn't making this match any easier.
"Ugh," Ventus groaned as he blocked a particularly harsh blow with his keyblade and rolled away from a second follow-up attack. With the slight distance he had, he took the time to cast a quick curaga spell before Vanitas launched at Ventus once more.
Ventus locked keyblades with his dark counterpart again and drew into a new reservoir of strength. "Bring it on!"
Vanitas had disappeared from Terra's visual field again.
'...Where is he?' Terra looked left and right but he had a sinking feeling that Vanitas was about to give him an unpleasant blow to the back again.
The blow never came though.
Terra turned around to see that Aqua had intercepted the blow for him with a barrier attack. She turned around briefly at Terra and smiled. "Missed me?"
Terra returned the smile. "Thanks."
The two broke apart when Vanitas launched another strike in between the two of them. Aqua had already deduced that something was not quite right with her friend. The sickly golden eyes were an especially good hint.
"Ven, snap out of it!" She called to her former friend. Her only reply was a salvo of shots from Vanitas's new keyblade. However, Terra took this opportunity to strike at Vanitas while he was focused on casting his spell. The blond haired boy stumbled but caught himself shortly after and disappeared, probably backing away to gain some distance.
Vanitas knew he could handle Terra. But he wasn't too sure how he would hold against two keyblade wielders at once despite the fact that both were reluctant to do serious harm to their friend. He didn't want to be captured. He didn't want to be locked away like he once was in Ventus's heart.
Ventus was amazed when he noticed that Vanitas froze up for a short moment. He wouldn't waste this perfect opportunity though. He built up his energy to unleash his ultimate shotlock. In an instant, Vanitas found himself faced against multiple flashing blades and a vortex of sharp wind that he barely managed to escape.
Vanitas's clothes were now slightly torn and he was out of breath for the first time.
'It's getting too hard to fight all three at once,' Vanitas realized. He could not effectively divide his attention between the physical and mental planes at the same time.
Vanitas had his pride: he did not want to run away from an unfinished fight. However, maintaining his control over his body was more important.
Aqua launched large homing fireballs at Vanitas while Terra was charging up his own shotlock. Vanitas looked impassively at the attacks coming at him because at the moment, a large black portal was engulfing his figure.
"I'm afraid I have some unfinished business to take care of. I have no time to play around with a back-up and a failed vessel." The portal caved in on itself right before the attacks hit, but Vanitas's last words managed to make it through to the two keyblade wielders.
"Seeya around...or not."
"Ven!" The two made a useless attempt to chase after the closing portal but, like their attacks, they were just too slow. The portal was gone and the blue light of the heart shaped moon overhead was once again covered by dark clouds.
Terra slammed his fist into the ground where Vanitas had disappeared. "Damn it!" He clenched his teeth and closed in his eyes to try to shut out the frustration he was feeling at the moment. He had turned away the darkness. He had even managed to corner Vanitas with Aqua's help. Yet Vanitas still managed to escape along with Ven's body.
Aqua put a reassuring hand on Terra's shoulder. "We'll get Ven back Terra," She stated with absolute certainty. The blue haired warrior fished her blue goodluck charm out of her belongings and held it in front of Terra. "We have an unbreakable connection, right?"
Incidentally, Terra's charm conveniently fell out of his pocket as he was about to get up. He smiled as he picked up his version of the star shaped charm. "Right. Ven's in there somewhere. We just need to find him."
"Heya guys...sorry to break up the moment, but what happened here?" Mickey had appeared from behind a few rocks weilding his keyblade and a confused look on his face. He motioned to the multiple scorch marks and craters on the ground that were created during the earlier battle.
"Hey Mickey," Aqua greeted warmly. Terra, on the other hand, was not so familiar with the mouse although he did recall seeing a similar mouse - Minnie - in another world.
"It's a long story actually. I think we should go to Master Yen Sid's tower and explain it there so everyone can hear it."
The starpiece in Mickey's pocket began to glow at Aqua's words, almost as if sensing her desire to travel. Mickey pulled it out of his pocket and offered his free hand to Terra and Aqua. "Wanna ride?"
And soon the three were bouncing off towards the Mysterious Tower, leaving a trail of star dust behind.
"Gah!" Ven cried out as Vanitas struck a harsh blow to his side. After Vanitas's slight moment of distraction, the black haired teen seemed to come back at full strength. It almost seemed as if he were holding back before.
This was Ventus's dreamscape which had been home to Vanitas for years. It was where Vanitas was the strongest. Ventus was just a beginner trying to keep up. He could not deal with Vanitas's full attention.
But he had to try.
And so the battle for control of Ventus's mind and body continued.
A/N: Wooow, sorry for taking so long to update guys! I'm not even sure if people are too interested in this fic though lol
Not sure what else to say. Thanks to all my reviewers. Please feel free to point out if there are any plot holes or such because I haven't touched my BBS game in a little while. I should probably get a beta or something haha.
So next up, Terra and Aqua visit Yen Sid and Vanitas/Ventus keep on battling. There will be some world-traveling too because it wouldn't be KH without world traveling.
Thanks for reading!