Riku finally got through another floor, finally. I felt like I was waiting for hours for him to emerge from that room on the floor. Unfortunately for him, I wasn't the only one waiting for him, his replica showed up immediately. Riku had never seen him before, so obviously it threw him off.
"Huh?! What are you supposed to be?" Riku asked.
"Surprised? I guess you should be. After all, I look just like you. I'll tell you what I am. I'm an exact replica of you that Vexen made from your data." The replica replied, I stayed in the shadows, blending in like a chameleon.
"So you're a fake me." Well I'm glad he figured that out quickly.
"Not a 'fake'! I don't care if you're 'real'! You're not better! We share the same body and the same talents. But there is one easy way to tell us apart, though!" the replica replied, pointing his finger at the original. "Unlike you, I fear nothing."
"Are you calling me a coward?"
"You're afraid of the dark! The darkness inside you still frightens you, no matter what you say."
"Grr..." what is Riku a dog now?
"But I'M different. I embrace the darkness. I can make it do whatever I want." And with that the replica switched from his usual attire to his dark mode, summoning his version of Soul Eater. "So... I can wipe the floor with you!" I was curious how this would end, so I stayed hidden while they began to fight, knowing Diz would kill me if I interfered, especially when it wasn't needed.
After they were both out of breath, the replica more than Riku since he was kneeling on one knee. "Hey, Fake. I thought I heard you say you were gonna wipe the floor with me." Riku bragged.
"Hmph. Don't forget, I'm still new. I'll get stronger and stronger. The next time we fight, you're finished!"
Since Riku was already ready for more, he taunted the replica, "Then let's fight now!"
Unfortunately Riku forgot that the replica could use the power of darkness, the replica changed tactics, charging dark energy at Riku. Laughing as Riku flew to wall, hitting his head hard, "It's nice having darkness on my side. You are SO missing out. How could you be scared of something that can be so thrilling?"
"Hmph. So now the coward is playing tough. So long, Real Thing. Hope you don't miss me." The replica finally left, running away.
Riku pleaded for it to come back, hoping to fight more and stop him, but gave up. "No way. I'm not a coward..." He went up to the next floor. I took the opportunity to follow the replica, making sure my hoodie was up and teleported to where the replica went off too, tempted to destroy that thing myself. But instead he went further basement where the some of the lower organization members were, I camouflaged myself in order to not get caught and spied more on them, making sure I paid extra attention to inform Diz what I learned later.
"So, how was the real thing?" Vexen, the creepiest one of all, asked the replica.
"He's spineless. In no time at all, I'll be better than him." The replica gloated.
"In the meantime, would you be interested in meeting another who's considered a hero?"
"You mean Sora. I hear he's somewhere in the castle. You want me to take care of him?"
"We'll see... Yes... I intend to make good use of you."
"No worries. The real Riku was nothing. Sora won't be, either. They're no match for me."
I blacked out, without losing conscious thankfully, since my training began it's been easier to keep control of my visions.
I was back in another part of the basement where Riku was still looking for the replica before entering the next room. "Come out! Show yourself, Fake!" Riku yelled.
Then Ansem appeared behind Riku, but I knew it was all part of Diz's plan and I was told to above all else not to interfere with that. "Fake? Oh, no... That's not exactly the right word."
"What are you saying? Isn't he just a copy of me?" Riku asked Ansem.
"More like a model. He is an example of what you should try to be. He accepts the darkness...just like you once couldn't help but accept me. But now you are afraid. Perhaps YOU are the one who is being fake. Fake when you pretend to have no fear."
"When have I been afraid of the dark?"
"Inside of the card-worlds...you grappled desperately with the darkness. Desperation is fear. You fight the darkness because it is what frightens you."
"Be quiet!" Riku said, summoning his Keyblade, beginning to attack Ansem, but before he could lay a finger on Ansem, he was flung backwards again.
"Stubborn boy." Ansem muttered, "Then continue your fight, if you must. Eventually, you will learn. You cannot resist the darkness." Ansem disappeared leaving four more cards for Riku to continue on his journey to leave the castle.
By the time my vision cleared, the basement room I was in was empty, and quickly teleported to Diz to see what else was going on, it was too hard to hide upstairs with the other organization members were meeting. Diz acknowledge my presence by nodding as I stood next to him with my hoodie now down as I looked at the screen with him. I found Axel, Larxene and Vexen in the room with the replica and Naminé.
"How can we help you, Vexen? It's not very often we see you topside." Axel asked.
"I came to lend you a hand. You obviously believe this Sora has much potential, but I remain unconvinced he is truly worth such coddling. I think an experiment would show if he really is of any value to us." Vexen replied.
"Hmph. Well, here we go again. It's just an excuse so you can carry out your little experiments. That's all." Said Larxene. Nothing nice to say about her.
"I'm a scientist. Experiments are what I do, yes."
"Whatever. You can do what you want. But you know, I think testing Sora is just a cover for testing your valet." Axel observed.
"Valet? He's the product of pure research."
"What he actually is is a toy." Replied Larxene.
"Hmph. You should just learn to be quiet." Vexen told Larxene. He told her.
"Anyway...," Axel said, trying to break the awkward silence,"Since you came all this way, you're gonna need this." Axel pulled out another card with a picture of an island. "A humble gift to my elder. I hope you use it to put on a very good show for us." He handed the card to the replica, "That card holds the memories of Sora and Riku's home."
"It's just a card. What good is that?" the replica asked, clearly un-amused.
"With a little help from Naminé, you'll have all the real Riku's memories. Maybe we can get her to make you forget you're nothing but a fake. In other words, we'll remake your heart so you can be-exactly the same as the real Riku, 'kay?" Larxene said, evilly. Now I'm starting to feel sorry for the Riku's copy.
"You want to remake my heart?! The real Riku is a wimp who's afraid of the dark! What do I want with the heart of a loser?!" and the sorry feelings I had are now gone.
"Any objections, Vexen? After all, you do want to test Sora, don't you?" Larxene asked Vexen, who agreed with her with no arguments.
"How can you? Are you betraying me?!"
"I told you I would make good use of you, didn't I?" Vexen said, also with an evil smile on his face.
"No-" the replica begun.
Larxene interrupted, "Relax, kiddo. I don't think it's going to hurt that much!"
"I'll hurt YOU!" The copy replied, summoning his blade, getting ready to defend himself against being re-made. But Larxene immediately fought back and almost knocked him out with her electricity powers.
Laughing Larxene taunted, "Stupid little toy! Think you could defeat me? Where would you ever get a thought like that?" Now even the replica was getting scared, Naminé just sat there, staring in horror, but knowing perfectly well if she said anything it would be nothing but bad news for her. "But-look on the bright side. Along with everything else in your head, Naminé will erase the memory of me knocking you flat. Instead, she will implant the loveliest little memories you could ever hope for! It's no big deal if they're all lies." The replica continued protesting as Larxene inched closer and closer to him, screaming.