Authors Note: After the colossal chapter that was Operation Wonderland, I'm going to need to unwind with something a little easier. :L No complex lines with meaning behind every word this chapter. Just some old fashioned stealthy fighting around Disney Castle. I thought it would be fun to go back there. So this is the third Pure Light General. And our good old King Mickey isn't going to take any of his *%*% if he's going to parade around his castle. :P I hope you enjoy. :D
Chapter 37: Operation Disney Castle
The worst thing about the Endless War, the truly worst thing, even beyond the loss of people, of friends and family, is knowing that you can't do the things you used to take for granted. And more so, knowing that you'll never do those things with the people you have lost. Like curling up with a good book knowing the only thing you have to worry about is between the first and last page. Or laying on the beach with the sand in your toes and the night sky lit up by stars above you. Or soaking up the sunlight as you walk into unknown lands. Some things, even though you can do them after the fighting is done and gone, will never be the same. You can never escape your worries, your fears and your nightmares with a book, as you're always reminded of the struggles you faced. You can't lie on the beach under a night sky, in fear the darkness will lash out whilst you relax. And how dare anyone suggest going anywhere unprepared? Time changes people. War time warps people to a point of no return.
Returning where things were once so good, is a fate worse than death. Even more so, when you know it'll still be some time before you can even pretend things are good there again.
But sometimes, protecting your home, protecting your very heart and soul, comes before any crushing feelings you may encounter. That's the painful truth.
King Mickey now arrived at Disney Castle, his old home, and the one place in the universe he couldn't live without. And now some General of Pure Light was parading around like they owned the place.
The King would put an end to that swiftly. Or so he hoped as he stepped off the gummi ship with the rest of his team.
Joining him on this mission was Becca, Verrat and Tifa. A rather, odd group for certain. The King had handpicked them himself. A small group, for a quick and stealthy mission though his home. Where he planned to force out every living being associated with Pure Light. Why had he chosen the people he had? Simply because if he gave an order they would follow it. And that meant, he could show this General who was truly King of Disney Castle.
So the team disembarked the gummi ship from one of the castles many rather large balconies on the upper floors. Area's that very few people had been to. The King wasn't even sure he had seen these few corners of the castle. Whether it was known or not, these floors were easily accessible and unlike many of the other entrances, this one was not in ruin.
Like many of the worlds, Disney Castle was in ruin. The castle had taken a great deal of damage from the fighting. Many towers were barely held up by only a few bricks. Most windows were smashed and the most of the blue roofing had caved in. Mickey had prepared himself, but it hurt more than he could imagine.
He dreaded to see Disney Town too. And for good reason, as that was in no better state.
It made him thankful that they had sealed away the living beings in the key holes. How much death would have been caused if they had not?
But Mickey's team's attack began regardless of what was on everyone's mind.
The King turned to Tifa.
"Take front." He ordered.
Tifa nodded and peered around both corners before she took her first steps into the corridor they were entering the castle through.
Mickey then turned to Becca and Verrat.
Becca nodded as Verrat seemingly walked into her.
"Wow you've got some odd thoughts in here. And some imagery that I didn't need to see…" Verrat commented through thought.
"You can lend my body; but I'd appreciate if you didn't go poking around in my head." Becca replied.
Mickey turned to her like she was crazy. As she was talking to herself after all.
"We share the same brain. Just think it." Verrat pointed out.
"Duly noted." Becca replied through thought. "And besides, what sort of man are you if you're complaining about that?"
"I'm not." Verrat pointed out laughing to himself as he did so.
"You two, we have a mission." Mickey pointed out, rather irritable.
Becca nodded and lifted her non wielding hand. She summoned a cloud of dark energy and held it in her grasp tightly. As she did so, a shield almost drifted over where they stood. Bending the light around them so that they could not be seen. Perfect for stealth.
"Well done." Mickey congratulated no real emotion in his words.
"Good job Bec." Verrat complimented as he stepped out and into a full being again.
"Thanks." She replied. "You had a part in too though."
Verrat just nodded. "I was just the power source."
"This corridor is clear." Tifa cut everyone off as she poked her head around the corner.
"Then let's move." Mickey ordered.
"So what is the plan?" Verrat asked.
"In this castle there is an object known as the Cornerstone of Light. I have no doubt that it is what attracted and has made my home the home of Pure Light. If we corrupt it, we corrupt their food source. They'll die off here." Mickey answered.
"But I guess that still leaves us to deal with the General?" Tifa asked.
Mickey nodded. "We'll find him and deal with him. Just how the others have dealt with their targets."
Mickey turned around worriedly, but once his mind settled he realised who was speaking.
"Ansem." Mickey spoke through the telepathic network.
"Sorry for startling you. I recalibrated the network so we could speak for now."
Mickey nodded. "Okay. And?"
"Do not be reckless. You have a team for a reason. Aiming to fight the General alone will only kill you. Do not allow your anger to cloud how you act. I am one who knows that very well, remember?"
"I won't be reckless. Now if you'll excuse me Ansem, I have a mission to lead."
"That you do. Good luck." Ansem replied as he switched the network back to everyone. "Okay… I'm reading large concentrations in all corridors; they must have sensed the Gummi ship. Your Majesty, is there a way to cut through that wouldn't' be marked on my maps?"
"Well you'll have to decide fast, they're coming even faster." Verrat pointed out as he saw a bright light coming from the corridors to his left.
"Okay…" Mickey said as he paused to think.
"We're running out of time your Majesty." Tifa pointed out.
Then, quicker than a bolt of lightning the King spun around, throwing his key blade behind him knocking a small metal orb that rested on the windowsill beside them.
Then they fell. Like quite literally the floor opened up and they fell to a lower floor.
"You can't tell me that was in the design?" Becca asked. "You really did think of everything."
"That was no work of mine. This castle has secrets even I am unsure of. However, much alike the worlds, it is very much alive and delivers what I need when I need it."
"But it's dying?" Ansem asked through the telepathy.
The King nodded.
"And I'm not sure how to fix something like this…"
Becca walked over and knelt down beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"We'll find a way." She comforted. "Don't we always?" She pointed out with a smile.
Mickey smiled back. As forced as it was, it did make him feel slightly better.
"And you're not on the lower floor are you…" Ansem realised.
"I doubted we would be. If the Castle was in a stable state, it would have delivered us straight to the Cornerstone."
"What happens if we corrupt this cornerstone?" Verrat asked, realising the obvious painful question.
"It'll no doubtedly deal the final blow. The stone walls of this castle will just become that… Stone once again."
"We could find another way?" Ansem asked.
Mickey shook his head.
"This is the safest, and the one in which we can truly deal the most damage."
"Okay…" Everyone agreed, unhappy with the damage they were about to do.
So maybe, the King had a reason to want to take his anger out alone on the General. After all, he literally was killing his home to win this battle. Just a battle. This sacrifice meant a meagre victory, but the sacrifice still had to be made. Even if the victory may be small, the sacrifices made are never.
As the group entered yet another corridor on their descent to the cornerstone they came across a small patrol. Mickey made a signal, expecting Verrat and Becca to follow it. However, Tifa rushed forward alongside, seemingly itching for a fight.
But as she came close she reached up for its neck, and in one swift motion, the Soldier collapsed and the energy faded.
Verrat brought out a dagger and brought the other to a swift end also, but even he was impressed how someone could break energy.
As everyone looked at her as she stood there she just cracked a smirk. "Ray… made me new gloves."
Everyone nodded in understanding.
"How useless on this mission did you think I would be?" She continued.
Mickey realised he had made the mistake there.
"Let's keep moving". Becca said, cutting the King from his thoughts and saving him from any awkward explanations.
The group slowly made their way through the castle. Mickey refused to use the living passageways too often, in fear of ending up further away than before. But they did have to use them twice more when coming across large groups of the enemy. Whilst they did not end up any closer than they had hoped, or anywhere the King really knew of, they just kept moving. Taking out small groups as they went, they showed their individual power and the power they had as a group. The nature of the mission meant they couldn't take large groups out in one fight, which they were perfectly capable of doing.
Finally the group came to an area of the castle the King recognised well (Even in its destroyed state).
"This way!" He ordered through the telepathy.
Everyone moved slowly trying to spot any possible threats before they became threats.
The King led them down a small corridor that came to an equally small door. So small that it would have almost been hidden to most people, and overlooked by those that did notice it. Behind the door was a staircase, on descending, they came to a wooden wall. As odd as it was, with the surrounding stone, it was still a dead end.
"Now where?" Verrat asked.
"A long time ago, when I was a child, I used to come down this passage and spy on my Father as he went about his business. This leads directly into the Library." Mickey pointed out.
"Leads?" Becca asked.
The King pushed against the wooden wall and it flung open, a door made from the bookshelf.
"'Cause that's never been done before." Verrat pointed out.
The King shook his head.
Everyone walked into the library and looked around. It was empty. The books had been burnt, evident in the ashes that covered the scarred remains of the shelves that used to allow them to shine. Even the few paintings had been ripped from the walls. But thankfully the walls themselves were still intact, as well as the door, which had covered their arrival.
The King paused and took everything in.
"Are you okay?" Becca asked. "You're Majesty?"
The King nodded. "Come on."
The group exited the Library quietly, shutting the rather large doors equally as quiet. Finally they were merely minutes from the cornerstone. It wasn't quite time to go loud yet, but they were nearly there.
"The corridors clear." Tifa pointed out.
"To the Audience Chamber then." The King ordered.
Everyone nodded and did as they were told, entering through the small door.
But the time to forget silence had come earlier than they had wished. The Audience Chamber was full of Soldiers, each one itching for a fight. And sitting upon the throne was the target of all of this, the third General of Pure Light.
"I guess making it to the Cornerstone quietly is out of the question?" Tifa asked.
"Still head for it!" Ansem shouted through the telepathy. "There's too many for you all to handle, and have enough energy to finish the General."
"Fight through them!" The King ordered. "Aim for the chair! I'll move the General! Verrat, Becca, head inside as soon as it opens. Tifa, you and I will hold them off whilst they worry about darkening the Cornerstone."
"I can open the passage from here." Ansem pointed out. "And I can open up even further… Should you need it?"
"We may." Mickey replied.
"On your call." Verrat said, looking around at the hundreds, maybe thousands of Soldiers that filled the Audience Chamber.
The King summoned his key blade. "Let's go."
The King was the first to charge in the fray. With one swift and precise combo he leapt over the heads of the first wave of the Pure Light Soldiers, bringing his blade behind him to clear those he had just passed, before swinging back around in front of him finishing an enemy he found in front.
Verrat and Becca joined the fight with a simple nod of understanding between them both, realising their aim. Verrat shot left of the King and Becca towards the right. Darkness shot all around. Verrat in theory should have taken it far more carefully, as once again, in theory he was only the same strength as those who he was facing here were, and yet here he was surrounded in them. His humanising over the last seven years may have done more than anyone had realised.
Becca cut through more of the Soldiers than she could count in the first few seconds of being in combat. Fighting a great deal like a Heartless, disappearing in pools of Darkness at her feet, slashing violently with her keyblade at great speeds, and unleashing crippling blasts that, should one have gone astray, could have been the last blow to the already crumbling castle.
Tifa entered the fight but a few seconds after everyone else. Joining the King in the centre she stuck to him close. She had noticed his change of personality. His drive for revenge, for what he thought was only right. She had seen it before after all and it was deadly. She was certain she'd see it again, but hoped she could stop the King from showing that any longer.
Caring after the King didn't stop her fighting capabilities however. With insane combo's she put down anyone that came close.
The fight continued with that very same flow. Verrat, surviving each and every fight despite every logical prediction. Becca unleashing waves upon waves of dark attacks, and the King and Tifa tearing holes through the centre of the horde as they made their way towards the throne.
Finally the real target of this Operation descended on the field of battle. The General had quite literally been standing in the air above the battle the entire time, watching as the King, Verrat, Becca and Tifa made their way for what he just expected to be him. After all he had no idea what their true goal was.
"Verrat!" Becca called as she leapt into the air. Verrat saw her and shot towards her like a Dark Firaga (Quite literally), tearing through anything that got in his way. Becca grabbed a hold of the dark bullet of energy that Verrat had become and they ricocheted around the room, before finally making it as close as possible to the King and Tifa.
The plan had simply been to clear out as many Soldiers as possible to reduce the amount of work the King and Tifa had to do whist defending, whilst Becca and Verrat 'poisoned the food source', and that seemed to have worked so far.
The King and Tifa were now pretty arm's length away from the throne. Becca and Verrat, a little more, and as everyone was now pretty much in the centre of the fight, this battle was just heating up.
"Hurry!" Ansem shouted across the telepathic network, hoping to not give away their plans.
On that note Verrat summoned a ball of darkness above his head that was at least double his size, and in one swift motion Becca knocked it forwards into the ground and the mass amounts of Soldiers in front of them.
"That'll do". The King said under his breath.
Finally now Becca and Verrat were in front of the throne, but the General was descending further, finally touching the ground.
"Go, we'll hold him off". Mickey promised.
Becca just shot off balls of darkness at the General, hoping to do something, but he just waved them off like they were nothing.
"Ansem!" Mickey shouted through the network.
Right on cue, the throne moved quickly sideways. Tifa stood in front, stopping anyone from entering other than Becca and Verrat. She hoped the King would aid her, but he was straight into a one on one with the General.
Verrat and Becca turned to look at the newly formed brawl, but Tifa hurried them down the stairs.
"We can handle this!" She shouted.
"Right." Becca agreed, running into the room below, Verrat close behind.
Once again, right on cue Ansem moved the throne back into position. Tifa only having to clear one or two Soldiers as they tried to follow, no problem at all. But a new problem soon arose. The King was already pretty far away. The Soldiers had surrounded his fight with the General, and now Tifa had to fight her way back through them, alone, until she reached the King.
Walking into the Cornerstone room, Verrat and Becca were temporarily blinded by its light. But its power soon wore off, realising they were friends.
"It feels… It feels horrible to have to do this. We're killing a living thing. Something magical and one in a million…" Becca commented.
"I know." Verrat replied, hoping to ignore that fact. "But, we have to make the hard choices. This war relies on that."
Becca nodded and placed her hand on the cornerstone, warping it with the darkness that she possessed. Verrat walked over and did the same. At that very moment they could feel Pure Light's power over the area weaken, but they still had a long way to go before they could completely cure this world of its Soldier problem.
The King's solo fight with the General already had him exhausted. The General had summoned up a simple one handed sword, and so had begun their high speed duel to the death. The King leapt around, using the other Soldiers as platforms, the General however just seemed to float around, almost as if he was mocking the King.
"You'll pay for what you've done here!" The King cried as he charged in for an attack.
The General just blocked the attack however, but seconds later he felt a drain of his power.
"The cornerstone!" He spat.
The King broke a smile, landing a combo before the General could react. Soon however the General was back on form.
"No matter." He continued. "You, pathetic King, are no match for me."
The King dove forward again, but his attacks were blocked quite easily.
"You try too hard! You predict movement where they will never be! You try to prepare for things that aren't problems! You call yourself a good King when you fail at such easy things… If these worlds weren't to burn in that of Pure Light, I would show you what true control is. I learned about you. I knew you would come so I researched you… "
The King went in for another attack, hoping to catch his enemy off guard, but it was no match for the General's alertness.
"You used to be so brilliant. But when things became too much, you began to slip up, more and more. Where is the King of Disney Castle? Where is the true King of Disney Castle!?"
The King jumped up to attack again, however this time he landed on the General's shoulder. (That truly shows the reality of the size difference) Caught off by this strange move the General just jumped backwards away. But the King had already left his mark. Quite literally a mark of darkness, Mickey's mark, imbedded on the General's shoulder. With one strong throw of his key blade the King knocked the General down with a square hit to this mark that exploded in enough force to bring down the entire castle, should the King have not surrounded it an Aeroga.
The King rushed forward, and receiving his blade through summoning it, he brought a quick but incredibly powerful combo down on the General as he was just getting to his feet.
"Yah know… You're right. I've been so focussed on everything at once, I forgot how strong and wise everyone around me is. I tried to take control of everything. It failed, and it made sure I didn't forget that… but…"
The King attacked again, knocking the General back towards the throne.
"I used to work incredibly well alone. But more so when people relied on me. People haven't really relied on me until now…"
The General tried to climb to his feet, but the King came in to attack again. He tried to escape by jumping into the air, but the King brought him down again.
"You wanted to see the old King?"
The King attacked again, but he was quickly stopped.
"Enough!" The General shouted. He held his arms out straight pointing in opposite direction and out of now where a wave of pure light shot from his body, crashing into the King, not only knocking him down, but knocking him through the throne and into the Cornerstone room.
The General was about to enter, but Tifa had finally made it, thanks to Becca and Verrat of course as they had cleared out half of the population of the Soldiers with their corruption of the Cornerstone. Tifa ran into the General throwing him out of the way in shock, she landed as many combos as she could before he came too, but he soon threw he off in the opposite direction to the King.
"You're not alone." Tifa said through the connection to the King.
"She's right." Ansem said.
"Don't let your mistakes hold you up, your Majesty. We all make them. It's time to learn from them, and fight those that keep you holding onto them."
The King pushed himself to his feet, from the rubble. He looked back at Verrat and Becca, they just nodded, trying to cheer him on. Mickey tried to put a voice to a name. The last person that had spoken, it was Ray. Two words gave the King hope, something he was sure Ray had never called him before.
The King reached for his blade that had landed to his side and gripped it tightly.
"Ansem?" He began.
"Yes my friend?"
"That further you were talking about?" Mickey asked.
"If you are certain?"
Soon the General was charging towards the King, he didn't even pause to try and stop Becca and Verrat but simply wanted to take revenge. The roles had been reversed.
In one quick motion the King brought his keyblade around in one wave, knocking the General behind him, and into a newly opened door that Ansem had just opened. The King followed him in, ready to fight.
After a few minutes, the Cornerstone was finished. Becca and Verrat let go, and walked towards the door. Tifa had managed to pull herself towards it too. Becca gave her a hand at keeping on her feet, she had certainly taken a beating in those quick few moments.
"Ansem!" Becca shouted. "Let us in."
"I can't…" He said. "It's… It's blocked."
"No…" Verrat replied with such a deep sadness in his voice.
"Is there another way?" Tifa asked.
"There is not."
All of a sudden however the door shot open, and a battered and a looking rather broken King stepped through.
"It's done." He said victoriously.
Everyone relaxed finally.
"Did you fight alone?" Tifa asked worriedly.
The King shook his head.
"I had some help… A rather mischievous Prince."
Authors Note: So even though I doubt this affect many people reading, I'm sorry there was such a delay between this chapter and the last. I've had a very busy schedule. That does not excuse a four month gap however, so I am immensely sorry. It shouldn't happen again. (He hopes). Anyway… thank you for reading. :D I won't hold you for long… but I do hope you enjoyed and I'll see you next time. Far sooner than the last gap. :D