Chapter 2: Haven Fields
As Adage ran into town, throngs of screaming people were running out. Mothers, their crying children, and farmers ran for their lives from the threat he had yet to reach. He ignored them as he rushed by at full speed, but noted they all seemed to be coming from the town center. The crowd quickly became thick with people and Adage struggled to wade through the masses without trampling or being trampled on by anyone. He accidently elbowed a small boy in the face and thoughtlessly yelled "Sorry!" over his shoulder.
He soon reached the entrance gates. A guard was posted there, ushering civilians past him with shouts of "Please leave the town immediatly!" and the occasional shove. Adage paid him no mind and made to rush past when a hand stopped him.
"The town is under seige. Please turn around and proceed to a safe area," the guard ordered.
"Let me through. I can help," Adage replied.
The man shook his head and laid a hand on Adage's shoulder. "Sorry, son. It's too dangerous right now." Adage tried to continue forward.
"Sir, I really can help. Just let me-"
The man tightned his grip on Adage's shoulder. "No. That's final. A kid like you'd only get hurt."
Adage glanced sideways at the hand. The man had a point, though it wasn't about the danger. No one would thank me for assissting, so why should I?
Because it's the right thing to do.
He thought a second longer and whispered "No, I won't." Suddenly he pried the guard's hand off his shoulder and wrenched it sideways. A tell-tale snap determined the wrist had been broken. The man cried out in pain and doubled over. Seizing the oppurtunity, Adage sprinted past him.
No sooner did he get ten feet away did he hear shouts of "Get him!" and the sound of running footsteps. With a quick look behind, he saw a few more guards trying to catch him and haul him back out of town.
Adage spotted an alleyway up ahead and turned into it. His heart stopped when he noticed it was a dead end.
The sounds of the guards grew closer and Adage glanced around for options. The walls were low enough to climb, so he quickly scurried up one and onto a roof. No sooner did he do so did the guards appear, looking bewildered.
"Where'd he go?" one asked. The others looked around but could find no trace of Adage, who got down on his belly and watched them. After a minute, the guards turned away and strode out of the alley. "Leave him. If the kid stays here, he's dead anyway," a guard muttered somberly. "We better go before we join him." With that, they disappeared.
Adage sighed with relief and sat up. They were right. Not about him being killed, but his kind of help would only bring trouble. Someone like him wasn't well receieved in worlds like these. But that didn't matter. He couldn't stand by when people were in trouble if he could do something about it.
Adage went over what he knew about Haven Fields. Perhaps it could explain what might be going on here.
According to its files, the world itself was relatively small, consisting of a single settlement surrounded by acres of cropland. Haven Fields was supposed to be a modestly sized town with an equally limited population. It acted as a major agricultural community and supplied many other worlds with food. However, its most famous feature was that it is the only world to have never been attacked by the darkness, hence its name. It was the only safe zone left, a "haven," for citizens to live in peace. That was precisely the reason Adage came here. A world such as this must hold many secrets.
He couldn't explain this feeling, but perhaps that reputation was about to come to an end.
Approaching footsteps made Adage duck back down, thinking it was those guards again. But this time, they sounded metalic in nature. Then several armored figures ran past the alleyway. Different guards? With armor? "Quickly!" he heard the leader bark, "they're storming the Agricultural Silos. This way, men!" Adage raced after the guards, running on the rooftops. They would lead him to whatever was threatening the townsfolk.
A sneaking suspicion nagged at his mind. What could possibly attack a poor town such as this? Could this enemy be…? No, there's no way. I refuse to believe that it could be them. Despite his doubts, his dream found itself worming its way into his thoughts. That foreboding feeling returned alongside the memory of the monster.
Soon the gigantic silos the supposed guards were talking about came into view on his left, letting Adage forget about his worries for a moment.
Now that he saw them, "processing plant" seemed a better name. There were three silos, reaching about 29 meters in height, connected by a mixture of massive walls and a network of conveyor belts transporting food. It resembled a factory more than anything. Adage guessed the silo "plant" was the source of Haven Fields' livelihood as it processed, preserved, and stored all their crops for future use.
This particular section of town had almost been evacuated, so Adage hopped back down to street level. The armored guards rounded a corner with him in hot pursuit. That's when he saw the menance attacking this peacful world and he came to a screeching halt.
Overrunning the armed guards defending the Silo plant were hordes of Heartless.
Adage was too stunned by the sight that met his eyes to move. Never before had he seen such a large density of Heartless in one place. There had to be a hundred of them, probably more. As in their fashion, the Heartless attacked in a tidal wave formation, trying to bombard their opponents with sheer numbers. A seperate horde of them ravaged the homes and buildings while the rest focused on bringing down the Silos. Thank god there are only Shadows, Adage observed with relief.
His gaze drifted to the struggling guards as they fought to defend the Silos; and with success, no less. They were fending off the Heartless quite well. A little too well. Local security, if that's what they were, shouldn't be this good. The guards worked in perfect synchronization, covering each other's backs as they pounded and slashed Shadows left and right. Even their movements were nothing like the uncoordinated swinging of local militia. Behind an impecably erected barrier, archers rained down arrows on the Heartless with pinpoint accuracy. It was a holding position to keep the Heartless at bay. The sounds of orders being barked filled the air.
"Hold them back! They can't be allowed to get to the Silos!"
"Watch the flank!"
"Close that gap, they're breaking through!"
No, they weren't simple security at all. These were soldiers.
Despite the onslaught, the soldiers were keeping the Heartless away from the Silos no matter what. Adage could tell they were trained for situations just like this.
Well, so was he. Mind made up, he stepped out from his hiding place to assist.
Just as Adage started to dash forward, a child's scream caused him to pause. He whipped around to see that one family still hadn't evacuated yet. A little girl had been separated from her parents by a gang of Shadows. Adage watched as the girl ran and stumbled attempting to flee from the Heartless. She tripped then turned in fear at the approaching monsters.
From a distance, the mother screamed "No! Shika!" while her husband held her back.
Adage grit his teeth as he was asssailed by memories. An image of two crying boys holding each other, surrounded by Heartless, flashed through his mind. No, not again. Never again. He ran like lightning to the girl's aid.
The Heartless jumped for the final strike. The girl named Shika cowered against the ground with her hands covering her head.
In a flash Adage appeared between the two. A Keyblade materialized in his hand and he blocked their attack, turning it into a struggle for an advantage. He was forced onto one knee by the weight of their stalemate. Gathering all his strength, he swung his Keyblade in an arch as hard as he could. His weapon slashed though all of the creatures at once and they vanished into nothing.
Adage turned to check on the girl. The were no signs of any wounds on her person. No injuries; she's scared, but otherwise unharmed. This should be a bit easier then. Good. However, her eyes were glued to his Keyblade in a mixture of fear and disbelief. That's not though.
"Are you alright?" Adage asked her. She made no attempt to respond. "Are you alright?" he demanded again with a bit of a commanding tone. She flinched and stared at him as if noticing the person attached to the Keyblade for the first time. She gave a frightened, sharp nod.
"That's better. Hold on to me," he ordered. He picked her up with one arm and she wrapped hers around his neck in a fierce grip, albeit reluctantly.
Adage turned to face a swarm of Heartless between him and the girl's parents. His training kicked in and he assessed the situation. The numbers of enemies between him and his objective was roughly the size of a platoon. Obviously an advantage on their part, but not a huge problem for him. What was going to be tough was the girl hanging onto him for dear life, hindering his mobility. There was no way around them. I guess it's straight through the middle then.
He held his Keyblade ready and once again raced forward. The Heartless lunged at him all at once, claws outstretched to slice him to ribbons. He dodged and rolled past their wild attacks, lashing out with his Keyblade to strike the occasional Shadow. The Heartless drew back and huddled close together. An alarm went off in his head and he launched into the air on impulse. As the swarm charged straight at him as one, he soared over the wave of writhing creatures and landed greacefully behind them like a cat.
Now past the swarm, Adage ran to the girl's parents as they ran to meet him. The mother reached out to her daughter. "Oh Shika! I was so worried," she sputtered.
"She's okay, ma'am," Adage said calmly as he handed the shaking girl over to her mother. "You people have to go. Please take your daughter and evacuate this area immediatly."
The father nodded, grabbed his wife by the shoulders and hurriedly led her away. Adage didn't miss the look of distrust on the man's face as he left.
He turned around to survey the soldiers' situation. They had defeated a large portion of the Heartless, but plenty still remained. That was the difficulty with Shadows; individually they were about as bothersome as flies, but they almost always appeared en masse. They would overpower you though sheer numbers.
The soldiers were killing Shadows left and right, but by now their own numbers were dwindling from increasing losses.
He briedly wondered about that. Even against an abundance of Shadows, these men were skilled enough to deal with them. How was it that so many had been struck down? One thing was for certain, without help they didn't stand a chance.
Adage groaned in pain as his side ached at the thought. Even though he wanted to help, he couldn't use too advanced magic in his starved state. And a prolonged battle would be just as bad. He was just too tired and hungry.
There's no helping it. Maybe one spell will suffice.
He gripped his Keyblade and focused his mind, daring to close his eyes to concentrate. Magical power surged within him as he gathered energy. Almost instantly he had gathered enough magic power and he opened his eyes.
"Haste!" Adage yelled, brining his Keyblade down to touch the ground. A magic cirlce emerged at his feet in the form of a glowing clock. Its hands spun at a blinding speed and his body became engulfed in golden light.
His eyes snapped open and he surged forward, straight into the heart of the Heartless, spinning like a whirling hurricane as he slashed and hacked wildly at every foe his Keyblade could reach.
These fragile humans were too easy. The creature of darkness would have laughed if it had a heart.
Their meager armor, painted red like the color of their blood, did nothing to protect them from its attacks. It struck one across the stomach, effortlessly cutting through the metal and into the soft flesh of the human. The man gave a strangled yell of pain and fell down dead.
Another saw this and charged the creature to avenge his fallen comrade. He swiped at the monster with practiced accuracy, but was no match for its speed. It manuevered around the blade and plunged its claws into his chest. A gurgling sound came from the helmet he wore. The creature extracted its clawed hand, covered in red blood, and the human stumbled before collapsing next to the other.
So, so easy.
A group of humans, also in armor, rushed to surround the creature of darkness. It knew they couldn't beat it and began to advance. Then suddenly it froze, limbs seizing up, antennae twitching erratically. It could sense it, a strong heart unlike the meak ones on this world. It was pure, lacking any hint of darkness.
The being of shadows glanced around frantically until its eyes settled on the source. A Keyblader. His light outshone the pathetic hearts around him. This was surely the light the creature had been summoned to find. A delicious light which matched the thick darkness that made up its very being.
The humans hesitated to press their advanatage when the creature paused to stare at the Keyblader. Just as they had the sense to attack, it melted into the ground and crawled towards its new prey.
It knew it had no heart and therefore could experiece emotions, but it swore it almost felt...excited.
Adage ducked as razor sharp claws tried to decapitate him but slashed at empty air. He swung his Keyblade and moved on to his next victim before his opponent could flinch. He weaved through the Shadows faster than the eye could follow, not giving a single one the chance to defend itself.
The ease of the battle meant little comfort. For every enemy he struck down, two more seemed to take it's place. Two, five, twelve, twenty; There's no end to these abominations. Adage could feel his limbs aching in protest as he strained to keep going.
He blocked a flying kick aimed at his head, spinning his Keyblade in his palm to throw it off balance before slicing though its abdomen. It exploded in a burst of darkness. As if on cue, another popped up were it disappeared.
Suddenly the new enemy stopped and backed off. Adage was dumbfounded. Are they...giving me a rest? That's ridiculous. Somthing's up. He paused to evaluate his surroundings, and to give his aching limbs a brief respite.
Suddenly he sensed a mass of darkness approaching, and approaching fast. The attack came so quickly, even under the power of Haste he couldn't react in time. Sharp claws swiped at his lower back and he staggered, yelling in agony.
Ignoring the warm wetness running down his back, he lashed out with his Keyblade behind him. A tall silhoutte backflipped several feet away. Even through eyes squinted in pain Adage could see what it was.
A Neoashadow. Stronger, faster, and smarter than its diminuitve cousins. This one had to be the leader of the rest.
The Neoshadow stared at its sullied claws intently. It slowly brought them up to its face, staring at Adage the whole time. Then it dragged its claws across where its "mouth" would be, leaving a trail of blood, his blood, in the form of a grotesque smile.
Adage grimaced. This would not end well.
A/N: I'm sorry it took so long to get this chapter up. Life hasn't been giving me much free time. Well, it's up now, so tell me what you guys, my readers, think. Any crticism is appreciated and will be used for the betterment of this story.