Chapter 25: Battle of Bald Mountain
Lucy nearly fainted when she opened her eyes again. She, Sora, Donald, and Goofy appeared to be floating in the middle of a dark void of swirling clouds. There was nothing under her, nothing above her, and nothing around her. They were just floating. Floating in an endless abyss. It was easy for Lucy to start thinking calmly for it was completely silent in the void. The only thing she could hear was her own series of raspy breaths. She thought back to everything that had previously happened: arrival at the End of the World, the reflective sea, the fleshy snow, Winnie the Pooh, Jadis, and the pillar of fire. Now she was lost in darkness. For a moment, she thought that the fire had killed her and now she was where Sora had ended up when he had become a Heartless. But she quickly figured that it couldn't be that simple or tragic. She was alive. That, at least, was something that she was confident that she knew. She looked at her fellow companions and wished dearly that they would awaken from their cold slumbers. It wasn't nice being alone in the dark. Then she heard it: a loud roar piercing through the nothing. It sounded far away yet Lucy could tell that it was growing closer. She was definitely not keen on finding out what was rushing towards her. She unsheathed her sword and placed her free hand over the pocket that held her cordial.
"Aslan, help us," she said under her breath. That was when she felt something solid appear under her feet. She looked down to find herself standing on a pale, rocky surface. Sora, Donald, and Goofy began regaining consciousness upon the appearance of the ground. Lucy couldn't help but sigh happily, but the time to relax was not now.
"Where are we?" asked Donald as he stood up.
"In the dark," Goofy replied.
"I was able to figure out that much on my own!"
"What happened to you three?" Lucy asked.
"I'm still confused about that. I found myself back in Traverse Town and Leon and the others were there. They were acting strange," Sora replied. "Then everything just went black."
"I was in a place called the 100 Acre Wood where I met a bear named Winnie the Pooh as well as ran into the White Witch."
"You saw Pooh?!"
"Yes, but it wasn't him. The 100 Acre Wood I visited was just an illusion created by the darkness of this world and the Heartless inhabiting it. The White Witch, however, I believe was no façade."
"Gawrsh, I'm glad you were able to escape her," said Goofy.
"Me too, but I can't keep running from her forever. I'm going to have to face her sooner or later. Whether it be before, during, or after we face Ansem is...unknown."
"So where are we anyway?" Donald asked. Lucy looked around and examined the area around her. There wasn't much to examine. Her vision could only extend so far in the darkness and, basically, that's all there was: rock and darkness. Just then, a bright light appeared out of nowhere. Sora was raising the Keyblade into the air, a ball of light was emanating from the tip.
"That's better," said Sora. Lucy smiled and nodded.
"Yes, but we still can't see much," she replied.
"At least we're not lost in the dark anymore," said Goofy.
"We still kinda are," Donald added. Then the roar that Lucy had heard earlier rang out again. This time, it sounded like it was coming from a much closer location. "What was that?!"
"I heard it earlier. I have a feeling that whatever's making that sound is not going to be friendly with us," Lucy said with a gulp.
"Once again, we're on the same page, Lucy," said Sora.
"What are we supposed to do now?" Donald asked.
"Just start walking, I guess." Sora pointed the Keyblade forward and began walking in a random direction. Lucy shrugged her shoulders. There weren't that many other options to take anyway. Donald and Goofy kept close behind Lucy and Sora as they began their trek into the darkness.
Lucy missed the light. She missed it terribly. She would have even be happy to see the twilight light of the reflective sea. But, now, she was completely lost in darkness. There was definitely no turning back now. Occasionally, the roar of the mysterious creature would pierce the silence only to go away for several minutes. Lucy laughed at the thought of the passage of time. Time didn't exist in this world. She was unsure about how long she had spent walking through the dark. Had it been a few minutes? A few days? A few hours? A few years? It was impossible to tell here in the heart of the End of the World. Lucy soon began to notice that the ground beneath her feet was beginning to turn into an upwards slant. They were climbing up to something. Lucy had a feeling that the roaring creature was what awaited them at the end of the trail.
At some random point of their journey, a tiring feeling washed over Lucy's body as well as the bodies of her companions and they all decided to take a short break. Upon sitting on the rock ground, Lucy found that it didn't feel like rock. It felt like smooth leather.
"Fantastic. Flesh snow and now leather rock. Things just keep getting better," Lucy sighed.
"Tell me about it!" groaned Donald. Lucy had realized how loud she had been talking and she blushed slightly. Then the roar broke the silence again. This time, it sounded like it was coming from right above them. Everybody fell silent. Lucy felt her heart jump up into her chest. Everybody then proceeded to draw their weapons.
"It's right above us, isn't it?" Goofy whispered.
"I think it is," Sora replied with a whisper. Everything fell silent again. Lucy estimated that a minute had passed since they had heard the roar. She was about to whisper something to Donald when a large claw came out of nowhere and punched the ground between them. A shockwave spread out and Lucy found herself flying over the edge of a cliff. Thankfully, she managed to embed her sword into the surface of the rock, which proved to be much weaker than expected. A bright light broke through the darkness. Lucy's eyes went wide.
They were on a mountainside. The mountain was tall, black, and just humongous. An abyss of dark clouds surrounded the bottom of the mountain and a smooth, starless, black sky expanded off into the hopeless horizon. The most shocking thing that Lucy saw, however, was the gigantic demon rising out from the top of the mountain. The demon was all black, had piercing yellow eyes, large white teeth, a blood-red tongue, and a wingspan large enough to swallow all of London. Lucy could only imagine that she and the others appeared like the ants of ants to this massive beast. The demon brought down one of its claws and punched the side of the mountain in an attempt to knock Lucy and the others off. Sora ran over and helped pull Lucy back to safety. Donald pointed his staff up at the demon. A large cloud appeared above the monster. Thousands of lightning bolts rained down on the demon. The demon screamed as electricity burned its skin. This feat of magic was clearly draining Donald of his energy so Sora stepped in and used a quick healing spell to give Donald an extra boost.
"How are we going to defeat it?!" asked Goofy.
"Climb!" Sora replied as he began scaling up the side of the mountain. Lucy quickly saw that there wasn't much mountain between where they were standing and the spot where the demon's body merged with the mountaintop. Lucy then began climbing up the mountain after Sora. Goofy followed behind Lucy and Donald, following his letting go of the thundercloud, began his ascent as well. The demon tried to swipe them off the mountain but they were climbing at a certain angle that put them just out of the demon's clear reach. Lucy quickly noted to herself how difficult it was to climb a mountain with a sword in one hand. She forced herself to not look down for she knew that was the worst of choices she could choose at the moment. However, Lucy couldn't help but scream as the mountain shook around her. Large boulders rolled down the sides and nearly crushed them. Lucy could feel her palms growing sweaty.
"This isn't the time!" Lucy snapped to herself. Then, from above, she heard a loud roar and caught sight of a giant flash of light. Sora had made it up to the demon's skin and had plunged the Keyblade deep into its hide. Lucy quickly made her way up to where Sora was and plunged her own sword into the hide. The demon screamed and yelled as it brought one of its claws down. Lucy and Sora pressed themselves against the side of the mountain as the claw came down and swept past them. Lucy then proceeded to make a large gash in the demon's side. Lights of different colors appeared to pour out from the demon's wound. Lucy was amazed that the weapons were causing the creature that much pain for the weapons were probably like toothpicks to the monster. A strange energy seemed to be pouring from both Lucy's sword and the Keyblade. The combined energies were causing the demon to experience a terrible pain. Donald then pointed his staff up at the demon and send a barrage of fireballs at the creature. The creature screamed as its body burned away. Lucy knew that she should feel glad that they were winning the fight, but it was all too easy. There had to be a catch. This catch came quickly for as the creature began to die, the mountain beneath them began to erode away. The entire demon suddenly exploded into a cloud of gas, clouds, rock, and light. For a moment, Lucy found herself staring down into the hollow interior of the mountain. Then the sides of the mountain began to collapse. Lucy, Sora, Donald, and Goofy held onto each other as they once again fell into the abyss.