I don't own anything associated with Kingdom Hearts or Silent Hill. They belong to Disney/Square Enix and Konami respectively
By all means, this should have been over by now.
It was a simple mission: search the world and report back to Master Eraqus. Specifically, they were looking for Master Xehanort, who had vanished with his apprentice in the lonely little world that Terra stood upon now. Well, assuming they hadn't just packed up and left. The Master had said that Xehanort was difficult to track, but he'd asked Aqua, Ven and him to take a look around anyways while he checked in with Master Yen Sid.
Terra sighed. By all reason, they should have been home. They'd done what Eraqus had asked and came to the conclusion that wherever Xehanort was, this wasn't it. It was good timing too, as Terra was starting to miss his comfortable bed at home. But no, someone had to get a hunch and run off in the middle of the night, and that same someone had left them with only a note to follow.
"And we're sure he wasn't sleepwalking again?" Terra asked.
"Pretty sure, yes," Aqua said. "Ven doesn't leave us anything when he does."
Terra gritted his teeth. By the love of all that was holy, he was going to murder Ven.
"Maybe he's onto something, Terra," Aqua said when he voiced that thought. "He does notice more than you give him credit for."
"Enough to leave us in the middle of nowhere?"
Aqua smiled. "Well, you know how he is."
He considered that, and decided he was still going to kill Ven.
A small bird crossed the path in front of them, disappearing into the fog as he and Aqua continued down their path. Although it was still morning and the sun appeared to be out, the fog was so thick that one could have easily mistaken it for night. Ahead of him, the ground was dimly lit for a few feet before fading into white, and to his left he could only see the edge of the mountainous path they tread. Occasionally, a footprint could be found as well, the only thing keeping them on Ven's trail. The younger boy had tried to draw them a map, however, Aqua and Terra found that it somehow went in circles after ten minutes or so. Luckily, Ven's footprints differed from the world's inhabitants, especially since he had been wearing armour.
That in itself was odd, Terra reflected, and along with the hurriedly-drawn map, it had been the source of Aqua's earlier distress. But then she'd remembered that Ven had once run off in the Pride Lands to play with the lion cubs, and then again in Atlantica to race the mermen, and once in Agrabah for reasons unknown. Half the time he did something like that, he got into trouble and required Terra and Aqua to bail him out. Really, they should be used to this.
His steps echoed. Apart from Aqua who stood faithfully at his shoulder, he hadn't seen anyone in a while. Not since the last town they'd passed through, where the residents had never heard or seen Xehanort. No one had. Terra suspected that he had never been here in the first place.
"I'll put rocks in Ven's shoes," he suggested savagely. "That'll keep him in one place."
"He can take them out."
He shrugged. "Then I'll just use Magnet to hold him."
Aqua gave him the tiniest look of disbelief, and he scowled. True, he wasn't great with magic, but that didn't mean he couldn't cast a simple spell. He had an urge to prove it with a well-aimed Fire spell at her hair . . . only Aqua would then counter with something worse. And Terra was not in the mood to be on the receiving end of her creativity. He settled for shooting a fireball ahead instead.
They were silent as it became a small black dot in the distance. "It didn't chase away any of the fog," Aqua finally said.
"Was it supposed to?"
"I don't know."
Terra tried to think about it, but found the answer wasn't particularly clear to him. He also had no desire to ask Aqua to explain, so he passed his answer off with what he hoped sounded like a thoughtful grunt. It probably didn't work though because Aqua suddenly smiled.
Terra tried to draw attention away from his blush by elaborately stretching and crossing his arms behind his head. Moments like that always made him feel awkward, particularly when Aqua was involved. Ven hardly ever stopped smiling, so Terra had grown used to that. With Aqua, while she too smiled a lot, there was something different that made Terra both grow embarrassed and yearn to see her smile again. It was probably something he'd picked up from the Master.
Terra was still staring straight ahead and so, could only see the fog. That didn't stop him from knowing that Aqua had stopped. Years of training together had given him an intuitive sense of where she was at all times (he hadn't quite gotten there with Ven yet). The growing distance between them pulled at him like a taut string, and Terra paused to look over his shoulder.
Aqua's eyes were closed as she rubbed her forehead. Her face scrunched up as if in pain, and Terra rushed towards her, heart quickening in momentary panic.
"I'm fine, Terra," she said. "I just . . . felt a little strange."
He grinned. "Being angry at Ven isn't something you should consider strange."
She crossed her arms, frowning. "I'm not angry with him."
"You should be."
It looked like she planned to hit him, to which Terra didn't even bother to cringe, but she suddenly went very still. She pushed past him, calling Ven's name. Terra spun around. In the distance, he saw it too. It was a small shadow, face and body obscured with only the outline visible. But that spiky hair could only belong to one person. As he and Aqua got closer, Ven turned and ran. Terra could only shout in frustration.
"He better have found Master Xehanort!"
He had no idea how long they continued to chase after him. Ven had always been faster than the two of them, so it was no real surprise that once he disappeared, they didn't see him again. Thankfully, the path never branched off, so they were certain they were on his trail.
It was very quiet. Terra could hear the sound of Aqua's steady breaths, and he found that strangely unnerving. His own rose up in a cloud of steam, though he didn't think it was that cold out. At least he thought that until the first flakes of snow broke through the fog. Aqua held her hands out, and a look of worry crossed her face as the snow melted on her palms.
"We should find him quickly," Aqua said. Terra nodded.
The snow continued to fall. Terra still didn't think it was any colder than before, but who was he to judge? He glanced at Aqua who must have felt the chill deeper than him with her exposed back. He felt guilty that it hadn't occurred to him to pack some kind of coat.
He was still cursing over that when a chill shot down his spine. Goosebumps rose on his skin and the sense of something being very, very wrong overtook him. His wide eyes searched everywhere; he found nothing, but he couldn't be sure they were safe. Distracted, he stumbled, and when Aqua ran ahead of him, a bolt of pure fear ran up his spine.
If it had been Ven he was chasing, it wouldn't have worked. But this was Aqua and so, he was able to catch up, grab her by the shoulder, and almost literally throw her behind him. Earthshaker came readily to his hand, humming with power as Terra dug his feet in. The keyblade trembled as he held it aloft, waiting for an enemy that never came.
"Terra?" Aqua had summoned her own keyblade though unlike his, it hung loosely at her side. "What's wrong?"
He was quiet for a few moments as he tried to decipher what his gut was telling him. "Nothing," he finally said, dismissing his keyblade.
Aqua stepped forwards, trying to speak, but said nothing when Terra turned away in embarrassment. A shadow loomed ahead. Sparks of unease still danced inside him, but Terra forced himself to move forwards. As he grew closer, he saw that the shadow was a green sign. He read it to himself, mouthing the words before reeling back in shock.
"There's a town here?" he spluttered.
Aqua blinked, equally confused. "We must have missed it earlier."
"Aqua, we wouldn't have missed an entire town. Besides, we've travelled this way before," he pointed out, "there's no way we could have overlooked this."
"Let me see your map." Terra obliged and Aqua quickly scanned it. "Look," she said, "there is a town here."
"What?" Terra took the map to check. "But it wasn't here before!" Of that he was certain. He wasn't sure why now of all times he had developed a photographic memory, but he knew this path was supposed to lead through a canyon and nothing else. Certainly, there were no towns involved. With that fact cemented into his mind, his alarm only grew. Something was horribly wrong, why couldn't Aqua see that?
"Ven didn't just add that town to the map," Aqua said. "Terra, are you okay?"
Ven. Terra resisted the urge to stab something. He couldn't leave Ven behind, yet his instincts were screaming to get out of this place. He tried to explain, but the words died in his throat. He didn't know what to say.
He ached to summon Earthshaker. However, he'd already seriously worried Aqua and if he kept acting like this, she would tell the Master he was crazy. "I'm fine. Let's go."
"Terra, are you sure you're alright?"
He nodded. Now that the decision was made, his fear was dying down. His mind drifted to other things, like what had triggered that reaction in the first place. He wondered if it were a spell – it may explain why Aqua was unaffected – and almost asked her. Almost. He didn't fancy the idea of informing her that he had been under a temporary spell that had driven him insane.
They followed the road onwards. Behind them, the snow covered the ground and erased any trace of their passage. The sign faded back into the fog, the white letters upon it still proudly spelling: Welcome to Silent Hill.