Shadows of Reality: Final Mix


The fire crackled warmly in the large, brick fireplace, the soft flames eating the log slowly, turning it into glowing ashes. Bright hues of orange and gold filled the room as the warm air lingered lazily around. There were a few small lamps on, but no larger lights, giving the room a comfy, cozy feel, despite its sheer size. There were stacks of books, but not nearly the overwhelming amount that were stored in the office and library, as well as tasteful decorations and colourful furniture. The floor was made of a dark oak wood, and the walls were a mossy green, giving the room an earthy feel that wasn't seen through the rest of the large castle.

Disney was made of bright, vibrant colours of fire-engine reds, blazing oranges, sunny yellows, minty greens, sky blues, bright purples, blushing pinks and everything in between, all accenting the pure whites that made up most of Disney Castle. Even to the happiest of creatures, so many colours could become harsh on the eyes when seen all the time, so a few places were set aside where everything blended together in less vibrant tones. The room with the crackling fire and the soft, large couches and chairs was one of those rooms.

In one of the large, forest green chairs close to the fire sat an interesting creature. In comparison to the average human, it was smaller, but for the type of creature it was, it was very large in size. This creature in question was a large mouse with short black fur, a long tail and huge round ears. This particular creature wore a purple bow on the top of her head where a sparkling crown usually sat, and she was wearing a plain purple dress instead of the normally very elaborate dresses she usually wore, signifying that this one was, in fact, female. Her name was Minnie Mouse, and she was the Queen of Disney.

Disney was a large world made up of many small places. Disney Castle was the most impressive structure by far, but there were many small towns and slightly larger cities as well. The one bordering the castle was simply called Disney Town, while others held names such as Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Epcot, and many others.

The world was a very peaceful one, bursting to the seams with happiness and innocence. It was protected by a powerful source known as the Cornerstone of Light. No darkness could penetrate the innocent world.

There were many that didn't hold that naïve innocence about the world around them, and the worlds beyond, anymore. Queen Minnie was one of these figures, but the best example of such a creature could be found in the male mouse sitting across from her in a second, large, forest green chair. His name was Mickey Mouse, husband to Minnie, and the King of Disney.

As Minnie hummed to herself, enjoying the peace with the only sounds being the crackling of the fire, her humming, the scribbling of Mickey's pen, and the soft sound of her flipping the pages of her book. She was lost within the fairytale before her of princes and princesses, dragons and sea monsters, miracles and first kisses. She was definitely a romantic in heart and adored these stories. As much as she adored the stories though, she knew that some of the most amazing adventures were those that happened in real life.

She glanced up from her book, looking over at Mickey who was leisurely writing something down in a thick, very used notebook. He had another book on his lap and was looking back and forth between the two of them, no doubt noting something interesting that he had stumbled upon. Mickey had always been curious about everything around him, and loved to learn new and different things. He had a vast knowledge about many things in the universe, but at the same time, he still knew almost nothing to the mysteries that were out there. There were so many possible adventures to be had, but they were adventures that he couldn't pursue.

Minnie, Mickey admitted, was the better ruler out of the two of them. She always stayed to tend to Disney and the problems that arose there while he was running off chasing some problem or another. It wasn't that he didn't care about his kingdom, nor was it that the people hated him for leaving. He could just admit that, in the end, she was the better ruler of the two.

Mickey knew that his focus should have been solely on his world, just like all of the other monarchs who tended to his or her own world and none others. Sure, many of them worried about other places, but none of them went gallivanting around the worlds, practically destroying the balance of everything by letting other worlds know that there were other worlds out there. Instead, he went jumping from world to world to try and find the source of the growing darkness and to stop it. In all fairness, he hadn't actually expected to go to so many different worlds originally. He had wanted to help, he was curious, and he had taken Yen Sid's star piece without telling him. Or maybe Yen Sid left it there for him to find purposely as a test, he wouldn't put it past his former master.

Still, Mickey Mouse was a Keyblade Master, and it was his duty to protect the realm of light from disruption, particularly when the darkness became too much. Master Yen Sid had once been able to wield a Keyblade himself, but Mickey was his final apprentice. Mickey wanted to make his master proud of his choice to pass on his knowledge to him, so he would help fight the darkness or whatever else threatened the light.

Yen Sid had given Mickey, like most Keyblade Bearers, his gift through a rite of passage of sorts. If a Keyblade Master found a soul with a strong heart and the locked-away ability to use a Keyblade, they performed the ritual so that the person with the strong heart could 'unlock' their powers and access their Keyblade. That was how it went majority of the time.

However, in times of great war, darkness, or sadness, Keyblades would go to those without proper training. It had happened long ago on such a large scale that it was known as the Keyblade War. It was also happening again. Keyblades, though it seemed only one per world, were popping up everywhere. Still, compared to a war, it was only a small number of people who had them.

Mickey had a theory about that though. He believed that they actually were marked, but unknowingly, and maybe not physically. There was one person who was born with the natural ability to use the Keyblade without the need of a master. He grew and learned on his own, something that never happened before. He was a natural Keyblade Master. Mickey believed that this boy, maybe just through the connections in his heart, had unknowingly passed on the rite to use a Keyblade to those his heart trusted and who could. That boy's name was Sora Hikari.

Mickey frowned a bit. Sora didn't know, but they had met before, a very long time ago when he was only little. Mickey, in his first travels around the worlds, had made two friends whom he would never forget. Their names were Aqua and Ventus.

Ventus, or Ven to his friends, was Sora's older brother who had died years before. From what Aqua had told him, Ven had made a deal of some sort with someone dark (he never found out who) and had died in order to save Sora's life. Aqua, seeing the agony little Sora had gone through when he knew his brother wasn't coming home, had performed one of Ven's last requests: she figuratively put an end to him. No one remembered him anymore; it was like he had never existed. Except for Mickey. Aqua didn't have the heart to get rid of the memories completely, so she had left Mickey the sole guardian of the memories of Ventus. She vanished soon after, and Mickey had never seen her again. The two had been friends with a man named Terra that Mickey hadn't really met, but he had seen several times. He too had vanished. Mickey always wondered what happened to Aqua, and to an extent, Terra.

Ventus had been able to use a Keyblade, but he had gone through the ritual when he was very young (Aqua had said that Ven mentioned he didn't remember it, but his mother told him about it). Sora was a much different case than his older brother though. He had never gone through any sort of ritual, and Sora's abilities had come purely naturally to him. In theory, if Sora had needed his Keyblade as an infant, it would have came to him. That wasn't saying that he didn't need practice and training. Few of his abilities came to him right off the bat, and he often stumbled upon new abilities by accident or thanks to the help of others. Still, he needed no formal instruction like most Keyblade Masters in the past.

The power that the young man had within him, even if he didn't realize it, was astounding. It wasn't enough to recall his lost memories of his elder brother though.

Mickey's thoughts strayed over to the young man whom everyone had always assumed was only Sora's Nobody, Roxas. As it turned out, Roxas had been Sora's identical twin when they were born. When their original home of Twilight's Destiny had fallen and split into several worlds (including Twilight Town and Destiny Islands), little Roxas, who had only been six months old, had perished with Sora's father. It seemed that something had deemed Roxas still important enough so that, while his body was gone, his soul had lived on within his brother, later on acting as his Nobody.

What struck Mickey as odd was that Roxas had been originally born identical to Sora, and as a Nobody, he should have looked exactly like his Somebody (with maybe a few small differences, but not much), but instead he reappeared looking and sounding exactly like Ventus. This led Mickey to believe that maybe a piece of Ventus' heart had been left inside of his younger brother after he died, maybe the entire thing. Mickey had once thought of asking Sora if he had seen any hints to a person named Ventus, or if it sounding familiar at all, but he refrained. He had promised not to reveal anything until the time was right, and it wasn't right yet.

There was a sudden knock at the wooden door, startling Mickey out of his thoughts. Minnie gave him only a quick glance as he jumped slightly before calling out to the person to come in.

A second later, the door slid open and a tall, dog-like creature peered in cautiously. From far away, many people assumed that this creature went by the name of Goofy Goof, Captain of the Royal Guard, but that wasn't exactly accurate. This dog-like creature was younger than Goofy, only in his teenage years. He was actually Goofy's son, Maximilian Goof, also simply known as Max.

Max tried as hard as he could to separate himself from his rather random and accident-prone father, and as such he decided not to join the royal guard. Instead, he worked with the communications systems with the castle, making sure that they could stayed connected to other places in the castle, the gummi ships and other words. He, Chip and Dale were always looking to improve what they had, so there were usually odds and ends all over the communications room, but Mickey didn't mind. Max was ambitious, and Mickey was just glad that he was using his ambition for something good.

"Your majesty," the teenager said to the mouse-king. "There's a transmission for you from Radiant Garden."

"Radiant Garden?" Mickey asked with slight surprise. Over the past few years, the officials that set themselves up in Radiant Garden wanted less and less to do with outside words. In fact, from what Mickey could see, there was a growing resentment towards other worlds there. He supposed it stemmed from Maleficent's takeover of the world, but they were beginning to shun even those who wanted to help them.

"Yeah," Max answered, knowing the situation with Radiant Garden as much as Mickey did. "Leon actually. He seems anxious about something."

Mickey nodded and quickly set his books on the finely polished coffee table that was in the room before following Max down towards the large communications room.

It was another room that didn't really fit with what one would expect in association with Disney. It was a huge room that had a very modern look and feel to it with computers, screens and all kinds of gadgets everywhere. Professor Von Drake often spent his time in there, and in the labs down the hall, but what he did, Mickey never knew. He was a nice duck, but a little bit eccentric.

Max set up the system for Mickey to use so that he could use the video-call features, and quickly backed out of the room, giving the king some privacy.

A second later, an image of a familiar man appeared in front of Mickey. The mouse knew him as Squall Leonhart, preferably known as Leon to his friends and associates. He had been the unofficial head of the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee, but now that other officials had come in, he wasn't deemed anything important but a good fighter. Still, the one thing these officials recognized was that he had good connections with others outside their world, so it wasn't surprising that it was him contacting Mickey.

"Your Majesty," Leon said to him rather warily, "we have a serious problem on our hands here."

"What kind of trouble? Heartless?" Mickey asked with worry.

"I almost wish," the man said with a sigh. "No, this is a political issue."

"Oh, well, what can I do to help ya?" He was honestly curious about this, because Radiant Garden politicians didn't seem to want any help or opinions from outsiders.

"Well, they decided that while they have their Prime Minister, cabinet and everything," Leon explained, "that they also need a figurehead to represent their monarchy. They would have the power to overturn laws and such, but like I said, they just want a person to be able to say that they're royalty. Something to do with keeping Radiant Garden as a high and mighty place, I don't know. The problem that you can help me with though, is who they want to be their royal figurehead. They want it to be a person born to the original royalty of Radiant Garden. Of course, they only decided this after they found out that the Princess was actually still alive."

Mickey felt his heart start thumping painfully as he asked, "What are they planning on doing to get her?"

"Their first action is what's happening now: trying to find a way to peacefully tell her to come home. If she refuses, it's going to get worse. From what I heard, these idiots that took over the castle are willing to force her back, even if they either have to claim her as kidnapped and demand her return home from the world she's in, or by kidnapping her themselves."

Mickey Mouse was normally a rather kind and peace-loving creature, but at that moment he felt a wave of pure hate run through him. What gave those people the right to demand that a girl who hadn't been raised as a Princess since she was only five return to a world that she didn't consider home? Didn't they know what they were getting themselves into? The Princess in question was a girl that Mickey was very familiar with, a young woman named Kairi Kokoro. On top of being the Princess of Radiant Garden, she was also a Princess of Heart, having no darkness at all within her heart, and a Keyblade Bearer.

Kairi, Mickey knew, considered Destiny Islands to be her true home now, not some world she couldn't even remember. She had told Mickey once that even if she hadn't lost her memories, she had only been five when she was taken from Radiant Garden, so she wouldn't remember all that much about it anyway. She would not agree to return just because they wanted her to.

A small chuckle suddenly escaped Mickey's lips, causing Leon to stare at him curiously. "Sorry, I just—I know she won't come back, and I'm not forcing her, so it's up to your officials. If I'm right, she's going to be old enough in a week or two where she can just say 'no I wasn't kidnapped' or something along those lines and they won't be able to do a thing since she'll be a legal adult. I almost hope that they try to kidnap her."

"What?" Leon asked, and though he didn't show it, Mickey knew this startled him. "Why?"

Mickey chuckled again and said, "Sora."

Sora and Kairi had been in a serious relationship since they were sixteen (well, Sora had been and Kairi turned sixteen later on), and from what Mickey knew, they weren't about to break up any time soon. The last Mickey heard, they were closer than ever. He knew that Sora would never ever let someone take Kairi against her will. He had admitted to Mickey before that he felt like it was his fault that Kairi had been kidnapped by one of their enemies. Mickey knew that Sora would always look back on the incident with guilt, but he also knew that it would motivate Sora beyond anything else to keep Kairi safe. Mickey almost hoped that they tried to go after Kairi because the slightly bitter part in him hoped that they would run into a very angry Sora. Mickey could admit that he was slightly sore with the officials of Radiant Garden, because he had done so much to help their world, as had Sora, and they didn't care about that at all. Without Sora, their world would still be a ghost town filled with darkness.

On top of the fact that Sora was not only Kairi's boyfriend, he was the Keyblade Master as well. If the young man wanted to push it even more, he could rightfully claim to be the Prince of Twilight's Destiny, even if the world didn't actually exist anymore.

"I'm sure the kidnapping scheme won't fall through," Leon said, although he too would have loved to see some of these arrogant people meet the angry end of Sora's Keyblade. "They've actually already begun pulling out all kinds of crazy laws to force her to come back. I'm assuming that they assumed, rightfully, that this idea of asking to relay the message wouldn't work."

"They don't have much faith in other worlds," Mickey said. "I have a feeling that you weren't really relaying this to me for the purpose of the officials, were you Leon?"

"No," he admitted. "I wanted to warn them, but I have no way to get a hold of them."

Mickey didn't actually have a reliable way to get a hold of them either, but he knew that if fate wanted them to know what was happening with Radiant Garden, his message would reach them. He looked at Leon and said, "Don't worry about it, I'll make sure they know."

Mickey wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen, but he was certain that life was about to get a little bit more interesting.


Author's Note

I thought about waiting until after my exams to start this, but I figured I'd give you guys something. Don't expect an update until maybe next weekend though, because I have 3 papers, a take-home exam, and two actual exams to write this week. Don't expect updates quite as quickly as they were at the end of Sleep. It'll probably get to about once a week until I've finalized all of the changes I plan to make in this.

In the next chapter you can expect to get a brief lesson behind Destiny Islands in my world. Also, some people might remember how the adventure parts took a little while to get started. Just warning you up front that it's the same in this one. Mostly because the adventure is important, but there are bigger, more important aspects to this story.

Also expect some characters to be a little OOC at times. An example is the pretty bitter Mickey that's shown in this.

Remember to drop a review!

Krystal Lily Potter