A/N: Just another weekly update. I have one hour break between classes, so writing this is what I do. Updates are way more frequently… assuming I wake up on time. xD Anyway, hope you all enjoy this chapter.
Sora questioned what the man was saying. It didn't make any sense… sure he had a shadow such as the one Sora just gained, but… "What are you talking about?"
"I would love to stay and chat, but for now, there is more to be done than idly sit and share our pasts." Xehanort took his bow. "But, now that we know just what is possible… we will not stop coming after you." Xehanort decided then to promptly take his leave. He vanished into his shadow, which then took off and scurried through the ground and off to the horizon. Sora's shadow blended back with the ground, and attached back at his feet. He turned to Kairi who was still wearing tear stained cheeks. He smiled at her. "Hey." He replied awkwardly as she got to her feet.
She took one step towards him cautiously.
He frowned at her cautious attitude, but quickly replaced it with a small grin. "I promised you, didn't I?" He turned to face her completely "I'd protect you."
Sora had to say, that just like when he woke up on his bed with Kairi in his room, the bone crushing hug he received was incredibly strong. So strong and forceful, he was knocked onto the ground. He looked up at Kairi who had her head buried into his shoulder. He almost had to pry her off of him as he tried gasping for air. "Kairi, it's okay. I'm still alive."
Sora regretted prying her the moment the slap from her echoed throughout the park. "What the hell?" Sora rubbed his cheek. "What did you do that for?" He asked.
"You IDIOT!" she screamed at him between tears. "You almost- no- did die! You died in front of my very eyes!" She yelled at him, and she got on top of him and began hitting his chest as hard as she could. "You almost left me! You almost left Riku! You can't imagine what we would've gone through had you died!"
Sora inwardly cringed. He was pretty sure he knew.
"A-and," she choked out as her crying once again got heavy. "You didn't even hear me. You didn't feel me as you died." Her hits became softer, and she began to hit him less and less. "You didn't hear me… you left without giving me the chance to let you know how I felt…" She pressed her palm into his shirt, grabbing it right over his chest.
Sora laid there quietly and watched as she lightly trembled. He didn't have the motivation to move, nor did he want to interrupt her. Her hair covered her head, but he could feel her grip tighten as he saw her other hand reach for her own heart. Sora adjusted himself and gently reached for her chin, tilting her head up so their eyes locked. Her violet-blue ones with his ocean blue. He couldn't look away, and he flashed a small, shy smile. She returned it, and slowly they drew their heads closer. He could hear her breathing, and he could feel her breath against his. This was it, he was going to kiss Kairi, confess to her, and they'd start dating. Just like it happened in the movies.
Too bad nothing ever works out like it does in the movies, though.
"Sor- oh, I'll wait."
Sora and Kairi both shot away and looked annoyed at Riku. Kairi gave him a small smile, and he returned it. As they both moved to get back on their feet, Sora looked at Riku. "What is it?"
Sora caught his Kingdom Key, or what was left of it, anyway. A completely smashed blade with nothing but free flowing air where the blade once was, and a hilt with one guard completely missing, and the other chipped. However, there was something different… the chipped guard was a silver color, and was partially changed from its hexagon shape. It looked similar to Oathkeeper's hilt… Suddenly, it clicked.
Not hesitating, Sora summoned Oathkeeper, in his right hand, and saw that the blade was completely repaired, sturdy, and it felt great in his hand. The missing guard was there, but the chipped one still remained broken. Sora looked at the blade, astonished at how much of it was repaired, before he snapped back to reality.
As if the blade had spoken to him, Sora tossed the last part of the Kingdom Key on the ground. And with the incomplete Oathkeeper, smashed the remaining part of the Kingdom Key, in a bright silver light, the Kingdom Key shattered, and the last part of Oathkeeper was attached. "Broken by a promise unkept," Sora whispered as he held the blade in his hand. "Repaired by a promise kept."
"It's been quite some time, pal."
Sora turned to face the voice, a familiar voice, attached with that familiar short body. Behind the man was the rising sun, had they really been here so long? "It's you!" Sora replied, getting on his feet.
"That it is, Sora." The small man then drew a weapon out, very similar to his own Kingdom Key, except the blade was a solid golden color. "Don't mind the weapon. It's just I'm expecting you to lose yourself to that heartless you just made a pact with."
Sora took offense, and wielded his weapon in an aggressive stance. "I didn't make a pact with that monster." Sora muttered, his left eye turning into a beady yellow.
"You're turning out to be identical to Xehanort, or as I know him: Case Zero. You're Case One. You and Xehanort are identical, except for one thing."
"Oh yeah?" Sora asked, tightening his grip on the blade. "What's the difference?"
The small man removed his Keyblade, and lowered his hood, revealing a head with black hair, and black eyes. "We treated Case Zero with evil intent. We will not make that same mistake again."
Sora in return lowered his weapon, but did not remove it from sight. "What do you mean?"
"There is a time and place for everything. You've come far on your own without anyone to assist you." He kept going, completely ignoring Sora. "Though no one could have predicted your convenient circumstances. We have much to discuss, but not here where it is so open."
Sora had dozens of questions swimming gleefully in his head, but he decided best to not provoke the small man. Instead he opted for just one. "Then where would you suggest we meet again?"
"The abandoned warehouse along the shortcut; the one you took when you first discovered this curse." The man began walking away, "And my name is Mickey. I also expect all of you to be there. Six in the evening." The man disappeared behind a tree and magically, he was gone. Completely out of sight, despite all logic that he should still be there.
Sora dismissed Oathkeeper, and turned to face his friends. Sora looked at Kairi and Riku, "So, what do we do?" Sora asked.
"First and foremost, we need to think about this before we stupidly rush head first into it." Riku raised a second finger to tally off, "Second, today is a Thursday, and while I don't think this is a priority, we do need to go to school."
Sora and Kairi both shrugged. "While normally I would not agree with this plan of action," Sora began, looking back towards his house. "We need something to get our minds cleared somehow." Sora turned back to his friends. "Somehow, I feel like we're in for a life changer."
"And for once, I think you're right." Riku finished.
The entire day Sora could only think about what he might be told in the meeting later that day. He went through physics with the only thing in his mind, lunch was no better (he still had to sit by himself due to the circumstances from earlier that month.) And when the day finally ended, he sat on the steps of the school. Riku had a detention to serve before they could even begin to move, so he sat and waited while Kairi was off doing Kairi things. He watched the sun begin to set on the cooled evening horizon.
The sun setting was always so peaceful around this time of year. The front of the school faced the beach, and the road after four became scarcely travelled by any kind of vehicle. Sora often found it hard to sit in silence, but the setting sun spoke volumes to him. He always had a fascination with the sky. He chuckled to himself as he remembered Kairi's pun that he always had his head in the clouds. She was right in multiple ways.
Kairi… Sora swore he wouldn't get her anymore involved after last night. However, it looked like it was far too late. Mickey had called all three of them to attend. He knew why he was summoned, but not Riku, and definitely not Kairi. Kairi didn't deserve to get mixed up in any of this. This was a mess even he himself didn't want to be involved in. Sora summoned Oathkeeper in his hand, inspecting the weapon. It was far more intricate than the Kingdom Key, and it looked like more went into its creation than the Kingdom. So then why was the Kingdom shattering so important?
He turned around and looked behind him, noticing Kairi standing behind him. Sora smiled at her, "Hey Kairi."
She took this as an invitation to sit next to him, and she stared off at the setting sun herself. "Sora…" she began, "what are you?"
He looked at her questioningly, but her appearance proved that she was dead serious. He opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. He tried answering her, but each time his mind failed. Sora could not find the answer even for himself. "I… I don't even know myself. I thought I was the only one like this. That man Xehanort… he proved I was not unique." Sora leaned back looking towards the fading blue sky, and away from the setting sun. "I hope Mickey has the answer."
"Me too." She simply stated. "There's so much I want to know… when I was captured, I thought it was just to get at you and Riku… but it seems like there was much, much more to it." She drummed her hands against the concrete stairs. "Sora, they said my heart was key."
However, before Sora could ask what she meant by that, Riku showed up, and instead of discussing it further, they left it at that. Perhaps Mickey could explain it. The trip was a silent and foreboding one. None of them wished to speak of what they might learn, or what they would hear. Riku had a very solemn expression, Kairi was unreadable, and Sora was simply mystified at the turn of events. Not just two months ago he was attending school normally, living normally, pursuing a normal everything. Now… that wasn't possible. At least, for the moment it was impossible.
When they arrived, Mickey, along with Yin Sid were already waiting, as well were a few other people he had never seen in his life. "I was worried you all wouldn't show." Mickey said, turning to the trio. "I believe you already met Yin Sid. The girl with the short black hair is Yuffie, the black jacket, brown hair is Squall-"
"Leon" Said man corrected.
"-And the blonde haired man is Cid." Mickey finished naming them off. "We were originally a part of the research team that was performing experiments on Case Zero."
"What kind of experiments?" Riku asked.
"He was the first live specimen we found that was infected with Viral Strand Two. You all know it as the Heartless Curse, and at first, we thought it was something we could control. Use as a weapon against the Nobodies. We were wrong. Horribly wrong." Mickey paused for a split second, "We were created a monster. Unlike with you, we antagonized the Heartless, we gave it a reason to hate. It began talking to him, giving him ideas, and finally during one experiment, the curse took fruition faster than predicted. He slaughtered the entire team, minus us select few."
"How did you all make out alive, then?" Sora asked, barely believing any of this as truth.
"I was a part of the security detail. I was off duty at the time." Leon replied.
"I too, was security." Yuffie added, "I was in the cafeteria when he broke loose.
"And I was convincing our leader, Ansem, that these experiments were too much. He whole heartedly agreed, but his assistants did not, and the experiment that pushed Xehanort over the edge was one of their unauthorized ones." Mickey concluded that question, and moved on. "This was no Virus Strand, but actual magic. We couldn't believe it at first, but no matter what we did, the scientific method did not work, and we failed to reproduce it." Mickey stopped to catch his breath, and summoned his Keyblade. "So, us few here decided to consult Yin Sid, a man who knows his lore."
On cue, Yin Sid spoke up. "The Heartless Curse is the only known curse that survived into modern day myth and lore, and is the only one not proven false. That's because it is true. Though no one wishes it to be; it is a fact we all must accept. The Keyblade, including Oathkeeper, Oblivion, Kingdom, Way to Dawn… all of them are weapons with the design to kill Heartless, though throughout the years, they lost that ability. The weapons themselves are tainted. The only way to hunt the darkness and destroy it, is to become one with evil. However, one must not become tainted by the evils alluring grasp for power."
"Wait, wait." Riku stopped them. "Why can I wield a Keyblade if I'm not one with this evil?"
"Riku, do you remember your father?" Yin Sid asked.
"No…" He solemnly replied, "I don't remember him. He was gone long before-"
"You were born. Disappeared." Yin Sid finished. "He didn't abandon you, Riku. Nor did he your mother. We met once, but only after he had been turned into a Heartless. You carry his blood that had been tainted. Thus, you can wield the Keyblade."
Riku was silent for a second before he summoned his own Keyblade. "So… I may have killed my father…" Riku told himself.
"You have not." Yin Sid corrected, "You've only met him three times. Each time you all did not fight." Before Riku could say anything else, Yin Sid got back on track, "The Keyblade can only be summoned by those tainted by evil, but after researching, there has been one person pure of heart who can wield the Keyblade. The Princess of Heart. The one who was spoken of in the legend, the one Taiki fell in love with. The Princess of Heart is among us." Yin Sid walked towards Kairi, and put his hand on her shoulder. "Your Majesty."
Sora looked between them, and as everything began clicking, he shook his head and asked:
"She's the what?"