The Road to Dawn

The Path to Tomorrow

Here's the final chapter. This will be the end of it folks.

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"Alirah…" The voice of a young man called out to her. "Alirah!"

"Please, Alirah!" A high squeaky voice begged. "Open your eyes."

"Stand aside." A deep voice instructed.

"Ugh…" Alirah grunted. A healing warmth touched to her forehead, easing the throbbing pain pounding in her head. The warmth slowly began to move down. The heaviness in her chest was lifted. The aching stitches in her ribs and sides were plucked out like thorns. Her legs and arms moved and shifted, feeling the numbness slip away. "Hm…" Alirah clenched, then fluttered her eyes open. For a moment she thought she had perished in her fight. All she could see was white. But as her eyes moved down, Riku and Mickey came into sight.

"She's waking up." Riku announced.

"Ugh…" Alirah groaned again.

"Alirah?" Riku cradled her in his arms. She winced in pain, touching a hand to her hazy head. "Hey." He whispered lovingly, smiling to his awakening love. Alirah's red eyes gazed up to him dazedly. "There you are." He stroked strands of hair from her face. "How are you feeling?"

"Where…am I?" She rasped tiredly.

"On the last floor." Mickey answered softly, approaching her. "We're just a few feet away from the exit." He touched a gloved hand to her forehead. "You gave us quite the scare."

"How did…I get here?"

"We don't know." Riku answered. "We turned around and you just appeared here."

"I see…" Alirah leaned up. Riku and Mickey helped her stay balanced as she sat on her butt. Studying herself, she discovered she wasn't crazy. Her wounds were healed. Alirah did not have to ask how this was possible. When she glanced to the side, she saw Yensid kneeling down to her with a pleased and relieved expression. "Hope I didn't scare you." She joked.

"Not at all." He lied. "Welcome back."

"Good to be back." Alirah brought her legs up. Riku and Mickey helped her rise to her feet. It would take some time before her strength would return fully. "Hiano?"

Hiano's light climbed to her shoulders, forming him. "I am still here."

Alirah nodded. "We did it, Hiano. We beat him."

"Yes, My Lady." He cuddled into her cheek. "We did."

"And you did excellently." Yensid congratulated. "Much better than I ever could have expected." He touched a hand to his granddaughter's head. "You demonstrated control over your powers, skill in your abilities as a keyblade master," He titled her chin up, having her see his smile, "And most importantly you faced the phantom which has haunted you since your childhood years." Yensid exchanged a glance with Mickey, earning a nod of approval. He looked to Riku and earned the same nod. "Which is why Mickey and I have come to a unanimous decision, with Riku's contribution to your case." Alirah looked around, wondering what they were going on about. "For mastering your powers and conquering the fear which loomed in your heart – I am honored and privileged to name you, Alirah, a true Keyblade Master."

Alirah's face beamed in disbelief. Mickey and Riku laughed at her expression. "CONGRATULATIONS!" Hiano beamed, cuddling close to her face. "MY LADY, CONGRATULATIONS!"

"R-really." She stammered with doubt in her voice. "I'm…a keyblade master?"

"Yep!" Mickey cheered.

"But…how?" Alirah's mind was having a hard time grasping the situation. "I mean…when did-"

"Yensid decided to make the castle your test." Mickey answered. "When heard how you put aside your feelings to help Sora, he thought he would watch and see how you would progress."

"I watched you brave the floors of your memories, as well as face those who were once your friends." Yensid continued the explanations. "I watched you grow and learn, as well as put your hatred aside to aid those in your memory of Disney Castle."

"Then when you beat Xehanort by using your desire to make amends, The King and Yensid decided you would be a good candidate." Riku finished.

"UH-HUH!" Alirah laughed. "Wow." She touched her, once again, whirling head. "I'm…a Keyblade Master." That sounded nice. "I'm Keyblade Master." She repeated, her body shaking. "I'M A KEYBLADE MASTER!" She cheered, jumping around. "WOO-HOO!" Riku laughed, picking her up and spinning her around. Mickey and Yensid watched the two in admiration. "Wow!" She breathed.

"Though I do not wish to interrupt this celebration," Yensid apologized first hand, "I am afraid you all must be on your way." He announced with a hint of urgency. "The longer you linger, the ample time you give the organization to hunt for you." He warned forebodingly. "I'll wager they have already noticed the lack of attendants to this castle."

"Can't you transport us out of here?" Mickey asked.

"I'm afraid I cannot." Yensid responded somberly. "The means I used to get here only allows one to traverse."

Alirah put her hands to her hips. "One teleportation." She answered emotionlessly. "He basically hop, skip, and jumped across the worlds."

"You know me well." Yensid chortled.

"No matter." Alirah sighed heavily. "I'd rather walk anyway." She patted her stiffened. "I don't know why, but I want to taste the fresh air now that I'm free."

"I hear you." Riku agreed. "It'll be nice to move around without feeling as if someone's lingering."

"In that's case I'll walk with ya." Mickey beamed. "I'd like to taste that freedom as well."

"Then I wish you all good luck." Yensid started to fade from sight, disappearing with trickles of light. "And I look forward to our next meeting." With that said Yensid disappeared.

Mickey, Alirah, and Riku exchanged quick glances, smiling giddily as they meandered for the large different colored door. "So Ali…" Mickey spoke, "What do you plan to do now?"

"Well…" Alirah hummed, folding her hands pensively behind her back, "I'd like to return to Radiant Garden." She stated. "I need to check in on Aerith and the others."

"And after that?"

"I do need to go back to Disney Castle." Mickey's heart warmed in elation. "I need to apologize left and right to Minnie and the others."

"Do you…uh…plan on stayin…anywhere…in particular?"

"Why so interested?" Alirah giggled. Mickey blushed, feeling caught in his game. "Are trying to ask me to come back to the castle?"

Mickey laughed nervously, scratching th back of his head. "I guess I am." He admitted bashfully. "But I also want you to decide what you want to do." He reassured her. "Disney Castle and Radiant Garden are both your homes. And…well…" He fiddled nervously with his gloved fingers, "You're always welcome back."

"Thanks." Alirah said with a nod of her head. "Give me a little time to think about it." Mickey nodded his head, knowing she would say that. "What about you Riku?" She asked, wanting to include him. "What are you going to do? Are you going back to the islands?"

Riku lowered his head, gazing somberly to the ground. "I can't go home." He muttered sadly. Alirah and Mickey came to a halt. "Not yet."

"Huh?" Mickey chirped confusedly. "How come?"

"It's still here!" He stressed, cursing himself. "It's really faint, but I can sense him." Alirah felt her heart sink. "So…I think his darkness may still have a hold on me."

"But…" Hiano trailed off, worried about his you protégés, "Earlier…"

"I only said that so Yensid wouldn't worry." He said quickly. "Or…maybe I was trying to kid myself. Ansem will always have a grip on my darkness."

"Your darkness belongs to you!" Mickey retorted strongly. "Just the same way your light does!" Riku kept his head lowered, not sure if he should believe the mouse king. "Up till now, I thought darkness was something that should never exist." He admitted with some shame. "Then I spent time with you, Hiano, and Alirah, and I changed my mind." The three smiled in honor, proud to know the king thought highly of them. "The road you chose – I didn't know. Light and dark. Back to back. With you guys, I think they might meet in a way nobody's seen before." Alirah and Riku were intrigued by the summation. "Wonder where that road leads. I'd like to see myself."

"As would I." Hiano concurred. "Perhaps those roads will create a whole new one for people to travel."

"Maybe." Mickey nodded, "But one thing's for sure," Mickey held his hands out, "I'd like to walk that road with the two of you."

Alirah and Riku laughed. To say they were flattered was an understatement. The two took his hands and shook them firmly, accepting his offer. "Thank you, your Majesty." Riku said. "We don't know what to say."

"Gosh, Riku, haven't you learned from Alirah?" He quizzed the silver haired boy. Riku arched his brow in confusion. "We're all friends now. You don't have to call me Your Majesty." Alirah never really noticed it before. But, she guessed, since the day she met him, she's always called Mickey, well, Mickey. Often times Mouse King, or rodent when she's mad. She couldn't help but laugh about it.

"Fair enough, Mickey."

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The doors to castle Oblivion opened wide, bringing view of a night covered valley into sight. A lone dirt road nested in the center of evergreen grass, spanning out miles and miles in every direction. As the three stepped out of the castle, the doors closed behind them, making the castle vanish into thin air. Alirah kept walking, but glanced back for a brief moment, feeling as if she had just left a place she had called home. She wasn't sure why. Castle Oblivion was a nightmare.

Dressed in the black cloaks Diz had given them, Mickey, Riku, and Alirah marched down the dirt road side by side, facing the road ahead with iron clad determination. Hiano kept his place atop Alirah's shoulders. Wanting to face the long road with them. He had been absent for most of their adventure in the castle. No matter what may come, he would face it with his friends and stand by his master.

The three came to a three way cross road. Standing in the middle of that crossroad was Diz. Alirah scoffed and shook her head. "He always did have a funny way of meeting with people." The three came to a stop, facing Diz with anxiety…and slight annoyance.

Riku lurched her body forward challengingly, daring Diz to test them again. "What are you making us choose now?" He demanded.

"Between the road to light," The road to the right, "And the road to Darkness." The road to the left.

Alirah folded her arms, eyeing both roads indifferently. Riku, sensing her lack of care, scoffed at Diz's choices. "Neither suits us." Mickey and Hiano gaped in surprise. Alirah and Riku continued straight ahead.

"We're taking the middle road." Alirah announced. Mickey ran after them, not wanting to be left behind.

"Do you mean the twilight road to nightfall?" Diz asked.

"No." Riku answered sharply. "It's the road to dawn." He corrected the older man.

"It's the road to tomorrow." Alirah added.

"Can you both face the dawn of tomorrow?" Diz questioned them skeptically. "Can you walk into the first light of dawn knowing what awaits you?"

"Yes." The two answered together, taking each other's hand. "Because…" Riku trailed off, "We've hidden from it long enough."

"It's time we face tomorrow, and greet the dawn."

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In wide open room, a man dressed in a black cloak was sitting a white throne resting in the middle of the space. Holographic chain stretched out across the floor, feeding into the upside heart symbols decorating the walls. The man's silver hair hung loosely over his face as he buried his mouth into his closed hands.

"She has escaped from the prison of her memories." His bone chilling voice spoke. "She severed the bindings of her friendship." His auburn eyes opened. "And more importantly…" He looked unto a suit of armor lying against the wall, "Her true powers of a necromancer have been unleashed." A devilish smile spread across the tanned man's face. He chuckled triumphantly to himself while laughing at the armor. "Good." He purred. "Very good." He licked his lips. "I look forward to this." He leaned back in his chair, drumming his fingers together in anticipation. "It will be so nice…to see my little sister again."

THE END!

Thank you so much for reading guys! This was a fun fic to write. The next Kingdom Hearts Installment will be called Path of Darkness. I will post a chapter letting you know when it's up. But don't expect it for a while. I have other fics. Until then, GOODBYE!