Kingdom Hearts: Dark Trinity
A/N: Another chapter finished! YAYYYYY! Well, I hope you all enjoyed the previous one, and I really appreciate the views! A shout out to Talltree-san for the comment! Your words made me think that at least one person likes the story so far! I mean, it's not like I'm a comment whore and and check multiple times a day to see if I have knew ones or anything _ This chapter has a lot more action and starts to really get into the plot. It was a lot of fun to write although I wish I could be less distracted and crank these things out faster! Anyway, I won't keep you any longer, so here it is! ENJOY!
Chapter 2: Through the Looking Glass
I felt as though I was stuck in some dark void for what seemed like an eternity. I had no sense of body, and my thoughts appeared to be the only manifestation of myself. Soon, however, that familiar buzzing sound from before returned, and a brilliant flash of light illuminated everything, filling the emptiness of this in-between space.
The light vanished instantly, and I was momentarily disoriented before remembering the task at hand. I glanced around trying to figure out where exactly we had been transported. It seemed we had landed in the middle of a cobblestone street. At first I was confused as to where on Destiny Islands, if this was even the same Destiny Islands as our own, we had landed. The road was dimly lit by the the light of street lamps, but everything was silent. All of the buildings were rundown, closed up with nails and wooden boards. The surrounding area seemed completely vacated and not only that, but the atmosphere in the air felt dark and damp, as if all life on the planet was being consumed by some dark force.
It was in that moment that it finally clicked, having recognized a dilapidated yet still discernible store sign that read "Agatha's Antiquated Antiquities."
"Everyone," I started, turning to inform the gang on my finding, "This is––"
I stopped mid sentence as I realized that I was completely alone. We must have somehow been separated during the transmission from the King's castle to here, which I now recognized to be the business district of Ocean Crest, specifically Sandy Cove Avenue, in the major city of the main island. Something terrible must have happened to have caused such a bustling part of our world to transform into this––a lifeless shell of what I so vividly remembered.
I could only hope that the others had managed to arrive safely here on...Mirror Destiny Islands, I suppose? It felt strange to call it by my home's name when it was so evidently not the same place. There wasn't that warm and comforting feeling that the Islands had given me all of these years. I pushed that aside for now and decided that, in the meantime, I may as well start looking for clues to the whereabouts of Cloud, Leon, this magical orb, and pray that I'd run into the others along the way.
I began walking north down the avenue in hopes that something helpful would present itself. There was no luck as I passed countless boarded up shambles of once previously booming businesses. The worst part was the overwhelming silence, and how I felt my very thoughts could be heard reverberating against every nook and cranny of the abandoned street; it gave me a deep sensation of loneliness and was amplified by the fact that I was currently separated from my friends.
I continued walking onward without any sign of life when I heard a sudden movement from behind. Quickly turning around to see where the noise came from, I noticed a dark figure flee into the shadows of the nearby alleyway. The outline seemed too large to be an animal; it was either a person or something else I wished not to think about.
"Come out!" I commanded hesitantly, imagining what sort of creature would be sneaking around a place like this. "I know you're there!"
There was no sign of movement initially but after a few more seconds, the outline of the mysterious stalker slowly revealed itself in the dim glow of the streetlight. The figure was no creature, but in fact, a woman. She had long dark hair that flowed over her back with a simple white t-shirt pressed tightly against her large chest. She wore a pair of black shorts with suspenders pulled taut over her shoulders and sported leather gloves on either hand.
"Tifa...?" I uttered incredulously to the girl before me.
The well-lit streets were empty; light glowed from the windows of the houses on either side of the road but aside from the hum of the occasional passing car, life was contained indoors.
Kairi walked along the sidewalk, quietly taking in her familiar yet somehow alien environment. It's strange, thought Kairi. What could have happened to drive these people to such fear and recluse?
Suddenly, from a nearby alley on the opposite side of the street, a cat darted out from the shadows. Quickly following in pursuit behind the feline was a little girl frantically calling for her pet, "CiCi! You know you can't be roaming around at these times. It's dangerous!"
Kairi smiled, feeling a bit more at ease knowing that she wasn't the only person wandering around the city even if only temporarily. CiCi flew out into the cobblestone street and the child obliviously chased after her. In that same instant, a noisy vroom issued close by, and a vehicle came speeding down the road, approaching fast. Everything seemed to slow down in Kairi's mind; she saw the helplessly unaware child in the line of fire.
Instinctively, the redhead bolted into her direction, shouting, "Get out of the road!"
Her muscles flexed and tightened, forcing herself to run faster. She was ten meters away, and the car's headlights were already beaming upon them both now; the little girl was paralyzed in fear, mesmerized as she stared head-on at the incoming vehicle. Kairi lunged into the air, making contact with the girl. She wrapped herself around her in protection and rolled sideways onto the sidewalk just before the car zoomed by a second later, not a single sign of attempting to slow down.
Kairi released the girl and scolded her in a adamant yet caring tone, "What were you thinking? You could have been seriously injured! You need to be more careful next time, ok?"
The tiny child nodded, tears practically welling up in her little blue eyes. "Thank you, miss! I won't do it again, promise!" she replied both graciously and apologetically.
CiCi came sauntering up next to Kairi's side, weaving herself in and out between her legs. She lifted up the furry instigator and handed it to the girl. "Be sure to keep a more watchful eye on this one, and head on home like a good girl," smiled Kairi, gently patting her on the head.
The child grinned and dashed off in the direction she had come from just minutes before the whole incident occurred.
"That was a very noble thing you did there," spoke an unknown man's voice from behind. "It's not something you see very often around here anymore."
Kairi turned to face the man and responded, "It was instinctive. Anyone would have done the same in my situation. I couldn't just let her get hurt."
She gazed upon the figure, face-to-face, whom now stood before her. His height towered easily over her at six-feet and three-inches tall; he had a sturdy and finely muscled body, think Riku but bigger; the man was dressed in a fishnet shirt covered by an unzipped, short-sleeved leather jacket, revealing his heavily chiseled stomach while a plain silver locket dangled against his collarbone; he wore a pair of jeans with holes in the knees along with a pair of laced up black boots; his face was attractive, skin a hue of beige with a strong jaw and high cheekbones; hair a soft, powdered pink that was slicked back in a long ponytail; and eyes the color of honey that seemed seemed to look right through her. He appeared to be around aged twenty, but she couldn't tell for certain.
"It's just...you don't seem to fit in around here exactly. You've got a kind look in your eyes; that's very rare nowadays. Not to mention you're walking around alone at an hour like this." Kairi looked away, trying to avert his gaze on her. She felt her heart skip a beat, and didn't like how vulnerable he made her feel. "Sorry, I don't think I properly introduced myself," excused the pink-haired man, putting out his hand to shake. "I'm Alastor. And who might you be?"
Kairi hesitated a moment before placing hers against his warm, extended hand, "Kai––Kara. I'm Kara," lied Kairi, not wanting to reveal her true identity to this stranger.
"Well it's nice to meet you, Kara," replied Alastor in a polite manner. "What exactly are you doing at an hour like this?"
"I'm going to..." fumbled Kairi, trying to think up another a lie, "I'm going to meet up with some friends." This in fact, was entirely true, she thought afterwards. That made her feel a little better about deceiving him. She didn't like how she was worrying so much about this stranger she had just met.
"And you couldn't have chosen a time earlier on in the day? Nighttime isn't the safest time of day for a lady to be wandering through the streets. How about I accompany––"
"I can take care of myself, thanks!" retorted Kairi, enraged to think that he would consider her some frail maiden in need of a chaperone. Who does he think I am, she seethed in her head. I have fought countless Heartless, Nobodies, and other dark forces. I don't need––
"I didn't mean to insinuate," Alastor quickly defending his previous statement. "Clearly you know how to handle yourself, considering how you just jumped in front of moving car to save that little girl. I just figured you wouldn't mind a little company, a least for a little while anyway..."
"Oh," muttered Kairi, a little ashamed of having jumped to conclusions so quickly. This guy appeared to unnerve Kairi somewhat. She didn't exactly know what to think of him. He seemed nice enough, but was there something more to him? She decided then that she'd make it her goal to find out. "Sure," she answered him with a little smirk.
They started off in the direction Kairi had been walking before the event of the car. She had not forgotten the mental note she had made to herself, and inquired, "So what's your story?"
"Well," processed Alastor not even slightly taken aback by her blunt and probing question.
Once again she felt a jab at her conscience. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be so intrusive."
"No," grinned the man, "it's perfectly all right. Really. I don't mind at all. I think people should be honest, and say what they're thinking. Life's too short to worry about tiptoeing around certain matters."
There was that stabbing guilt again.
"Let's see," Alastor thought aloud. "When I was much younger, I lived happily on the outskirts of town with my little sister, my mom, and my dad. My parents were doctors at the local hospital and while they were away at work, I attended elementary school and my sister preschool; life was simple and pleasant. One day while my parents were on their to pick us up from school, however, there was a terrible car accident. There was no time to do anything before flames engulfed the entire car, my mom and dad still inside."
"I'm so sorry," whispered Kairi, placing her hand tenderly against his arm.
"Don't worry about it. That's all in the past now," he added, trying to reassure the redhead. "Anyway, my sister and I had no known family at the time, so we were placed into the care of an orphanage to wait for someone to take us in. I promised myself then that I'd make sure she was happy and protect her no matter what.
Months passed and still nothing. Then, one afternoon, I saw him. A man was talking to the woman in charge and inquired about a possible adoption, wishing to look around at the children living there in the house. He entered into our temporary habitation and gazed upon my sister and I with a smiling hello. She waved back, grinning at the prospect of going home and getting away from this place; I really couldn't blame her, and he seemed nice enough. It wasn't long after that we eventually went home together with that same man. I was eternally grateful for him rescuing us from that lonely prison; I didn't want that to be what my sister remembered of her childhood. Ya see, I had memories of the time with my mom and dad, but she was young and her few recollections of them would soon fade over time. The man cared for us, educated us, and most of all saved us from oblivion. My sister doesn't really remember much of our old life, but I still remember their kindness, generosity, laugher, and love. Anyway, I grew up to be the handsome man you see before you, and that's that," he finished off with a coy smile.
Kairi chuckled at his ending statement and gave him a heavy nudge, "Oh you're handsome, all right. Handsomely smug."
"I got you to laugh, didn't I?" Alastor smirked victoriously.
"Eternal Flame, Erupt!" commanded Axel after flinging his chakrams towards his opponent.
The rings circled above the enemy before a column of fire exploded up into the air, annihilating the foe; or so it seemed. The blaze slowly shrunk and then completely vanished; in an instant, his fiery attack came hurtling back in his direction.
"Look out," shouted Roxas as he knocked Axel to the ground.
"Waterfall Aegis!" spoke Zemyx, calling forth an enormous, aqueous barrier to protect his two comrades.
"It's not going to work," explained Zexion. "As long as it has that mirrored shield, we can't lay a finger on it. It just absorbs our attacks and then sends them back at us at double the strength."
Zexion was referring to the creature in front of them. It didn't appear to be a Heartless or a Nobody; it was something entirely new and distinct, or they I should say. Before them stood a giant, steel-grey colored lion with an ivory, shaggy mane. It was clad in armored plates and razor-sharp teeth and claws. Mounted upon the beast was an eight-foot tall knight, completely protected by his pitch-black armor. In one hand he wielded a silvery, five-foot long saber and in the other, an enormous and circular shield plated with a giant mirror––the source of the problem at hand.
"Well, you're the genius, Zexion," suggested Axel lifting himself and Roxas up off of the ground. "Think of something! In the meantime, we'll buy you some time! Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" he taunted at the lion.
The beast roared in anger. It opened it's mouth wide; a dark sphere began to form as negative energy collected around it.
"He's right," agreed Roxas as he readied his two keyblades, Oathkeeper and Oblivion. "You figure out a plan of attack, and let us know what to do!"
Zexion nodded and retreated back into the distance to give him some space to analyze the situation.
The dark lion howled, and the energy orb blasted toward them.
Roxas glowed brightly with light of every imaginable color. He crossed his weapons in an X-formation and uttered, "Aurora Sphere!" The energy from his body gathered at their intersection, focusing the light into an enormous globe before launching the attack forward, impacting with the enemy's attack.
Light and darkness met with a powerful explosion that sent a wave of rubble and dust flying everywhere. Roxas had managed to stop the beast's attack from hitting them head on.
"Nice one, Roxas," cheered Axel to his boyfriend. "I love it when you get all serious in battle. It's such a turn on."
A small smile escaped Roxas before he replied, "It's not over yet, so stay on your guard. There's no time to play around!"
As the cloud of dirt began to clear, movement could be seen from the dark entities. The knight raised his colossal sword high into the air. It began to surge with power as shadowy sabers could be seen taking form, hovering above its emotionless form.
"Uh oh, I think we just made it angry," declared Demyx raising up his sitar in preparation.
The dark soldier brought his weapon down and with it, the blades flew toward them. They braced themselves for the incoming onslaught. It was steel against steel as the three men parried the swords' blows. The attack didn't end there, however, as the sabers continued to attack one after another, controlled by the knight like puppets of a marionette.
"I'm tired of this," whined Demyx as he whacked away two more blades. "Stand back and let me handle these. Arpeggio's Song!" Dozens of Demyx water clones began to materialize from droplets of water in the air. "I'll match you clone for clone, dude." His own liquid copies went toe-to-toe with the shadowy duplicates of the knight.
"Everyone! I think I've got something," announced Zexion. "Hurry over here, and I'll explain real quickly!"
The gang huddled together very briefly while Zexion described the plan of attack. The clones battled on freely during this little gathering. The group dispersed as Zexion ran toward the creatures shouting, "Come and get me, you dense oaf and overgrown house-cat! Show me your worst!"
The lion and his master seemed infuriated by the boy's provocations. Bored with Demyx's clones, the shadowy swords dissipated. In response, Demyx dismissed his as well. The lion once again readied his energy blast from before, while the knight's mirror glimmered with a dark aura. They released their attacks simultaneously, the orb melding with the warrior's own beam of energy.
Zexion smirked confidently. "Identity Crisis! Assassin's Mimicry!" he pronounced simultaneously.
A maza of mirrors appeared and encircled the enemy. The combination attack was absorbed into one of them, exactly like the knight's own shield; this was Zexion's power: the ability to temporarily steal and mimic his opponent. The attack was released and reflected continuously from one mirror to the next, picking up speed and doubling in strength as it bounced around like it was trapped in a pinball machine. The dark soldier couldn't keep up with the ricocheting blast, so it didn't even see the attack coming as it fired from the final mirror positioned directly behind it in its blind spot. The knight was catapulted from his steed by the blast, several hundred times more powerful than the original source. His beast was left masterless and confused.
"Binding Will-O-Wisp," spoke Axel, brandishing a fiery whip that he gripped in his hand. He latched onto the flying warrior's arm equipped with the shield, slamming him into the ground while dislodging the mirror from his grasp; the troublesome weapon was no longer in the way.
"Now, everyone!" demanded Zexion. "Let's finish this!" The four friends swelled with incredible strength.
Axel brought his hands up to his face, cupping them around either side of his mouth. He took a deep breath.
Oathkeeper and Oblivion disappeared from Roxas' hands. He extended his arms in front of him with hands facing palms out and overlapping. Light enveloped his fingers and he yelled, "Final Judgement!" while Axel released his attack as well, "Dragon's Breath, Incinerate!"
A cylinder of pure, white energy fired from Roxas, directed at the fallen knight. Similarly, Axel spouted a stream of intense, blue flames. The two attacks collided with their helpless target, vaporizing him into nothingness.
Zexion opened and lifted his magical tome above him, readying his attack on the lion.
Demyx rested his sitar against his abdomen and whispered quietly to it, "You ready, Arpeggio, old girl? Let's do it!" He raised his hand high and then brought it down heavily upon the strings, "Sonic Crescendo!"
"Calamitous Origami, Shred!" ordered Zexion.
Slicing pages from his book, imbued with deadly precision, rocketed forward, propelled by Demyx's own powerful, sonorous attack. They slammed into the poor beast, tearing it into pieces.
"And that's how it's done!" hailed Demyx, jumping up and down while he strummed his instrument. "That was some plan, Zexy. I knew I picked a smart one when I fell for you," he winked playfully.
"Yeah, Zexion, you really saved our hides," praised Roxas with a thumbs-up.
"Really, it was nothing," noted Zexion. "I merely analyzed the situat––"
"Do you know how to take a compliment, Zex?" interrupted Axel wrapping his arm around Zexion's shoulder. "Just say thanks, big guy."
At that comment, everyone started to laugh. Even Zexion himself cracked a smile at the whole ordeal, pushing his hair out of his face. "Thanks, everyone."
I never imagined that I'd run into Tifa in a place like this. Before now I'd I only met her a handful of times and always in the company of Cloud. Like Cloud and the others, she had voluntarily decided to work for the King, offering up her services when they were needed. Other than the fact that she had grown up with Cloud, I didn't really know too much about her or her past. Although always friendly and talkative in our few encounters, she lived a very solitary life and rarely sought out any sort of company other than that of Cloud and now, Leon, whom she had recently grown accustomed to; although, this was due in part to the fact that he was now Cloud's boyfriend. However, Tifa didn't seem bothered by this and actually seemed delighted that Cloud had found someone he could truly open up to and trust.
"What are you doing here, Tifa?" I asked, still shocked at her presence here.
She slowly stepped forward with hesitation, as if she wasn't completely assured that I wasn't an enemy.
"Sora?" she whispered softly as she walked towards my direction. "Is that really you?"
As she came closer, I could more clearly see her under the dim lights. Dark stains flecked her tattered shirt; various cuts and bruises covered her beaten body. These had obviously resulted from some serious battle and considering Tifa's level of strength, her opponent must have been incredibly powerful.
Running up to support her injured form, I pleaded, "Tell me what happened to you? Who did this to you?"
"I'm so glad to see you, Sora..." she managed before tears came running down her flushed cheeks. "I knew you'd come."
Tifa was kind but by no means had she ever showed signs of vulnerability. She was strong and fearless, so for someone to have put her in such a severe condition...
Her weight collapsed against me. "Let me heal you," I suggested, placing her gently down next to the wall. "I'm not the best healer, but I can restore most of your magic and fix up your wounds." I summoned the Kingdom Key and called out, "Cure!" Green light glimmered across her body, sealing her abrasions, removing the black and blue contusions, and easing the pain radiating throughout her.
After a few moments, the light abated and Tifa spoke with a smile, "Thanks, Sora. I feel almost a hundred percent. You really saved my hide just now. I owe you one!" She raised herself off of the ground and stretched out her muscles, testing her rejuvenated state with a few air punches and kicks.
"It's no problem," I replied with a big, cheesy grin. "That's what friends are here for. But Tifa, can you tell me what exactly happened?"
Tifa took a deep breath and sighed, "Let's see:
It all started after I had just come back from finishing up a mission for the King. I was heading to his office to report when I overheard him talking to someone. I peeked in through the slightly ajar door to see him addressing Cloud and Leon. He was talking about investigating some mysterious world to do reconnaissance and some magical orb of sorts. In my opinion, from the details he was giving about all of it, the mission seemed pretty dangerous. Visiting some unknown world with no idea of the possible threats it held seemed too much for only those two to handle, and I am more than aware of the strength Leon and Cloud possess. It was then and there that I decided I would secretly follow the two and jump in to help should the moment present itself; Cloud always has a way of biting off more than he can chew, and he'll never admit to needing help. He's something...
Anyway, when the day came to carry out King's wishes, I made sure to be watching their every move. Mickey, Leon, and Cloud gathered in one of the castle's halls. He handed them what seemed to be a crystal the size of golfball and told them to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, for it held incredible power. After bidding their farewells, the King raised his hands into the air, at which a strange energy resonated throughout the room. There was a humming noise, a flash of light, and then they had vanished. Luckily, during the whole process, I used my Mime Materia to capture the very the spell that he had just used to transport Cloud and Leon to this mysterious world. I quickly hurried off to the outskirts of the castle courtyard where I could escape the watchful eyes of the King's Guard before preparing for my own departure. I inhaled deeply and called forth the power of my magic. The same sensations resounded around me and the next thing I knew, there was a flash and then nothing.
I awoke to find myself on an unknown street with no sight of Leon or Cloud. Having no idea where I was, I carefully set out in search of them, hoping that I wouldn't run into something else. After hours of walking and no luck, I heard an explosion and smoke billowing up from a couple of blocks down the road. I dashed off in the direction of the commotion, praying that it was them I'd find. What I discovered were buildings reduced to ashes and the stone-clad street spotted with craters. Among the blaze of fire, I saw the outline of a person lying on the ground. Racing nearer, I noticed the familiar blond locks of none other than Cloud himself.
"Cloud!" I cried at seeing his badly beaten form lying defenselessly on the ground.
He turned his gaze in my direction, "Tifa?" he questioned with both a confused and terrified expression on his face.
"What's going on? Who did this to you?" I begged fervently, kneeling to his side. "Don't worry, I'll heal you, and everything will be all right! Don't worry, Cloud. I won't let––"
"There's no time, Tifa," he uttered as he fumbled around in his jacket for something.
"What do you mean there's no time?" I spouted frantically. "I have to help you. Where's Leo––"
"Tifa!" shouted Cloud, placing his his strong hand firmly on my shoulder. "You have to take this," handing me the orb given to him by the King only hours ago––when everyone was still safe. "Don't let them get ahold of it! Get back to the castle and warn the King. Tell him to bring reinforcements. It's worse than we had imagined."
"But I can't just leave you two here to die!" I cried, trying to hold back the tears forming in my eyes.
In that moment three shadows took form among the dazzling flames.
Cloud sensed the urgency and placed himself as a barrier between me and the unknown figures.
Leon also came stumbling out from the debris of a nearby alley. "You heard the man. Get going," he ordered. "We'll handle these guys, no problem," he added with a smirk, trying to put on a façade while he clearly struggled to maintain his upright position.
"Go!" demanded Cloud one last time.
I turned tail and bolted in the opposite direction of the battlefield. I quickly glanced back to see a magical blast charging straight for me.
"Lion's Barrage!" erupted Leon, fireballs shooting from his gunblade, intercepting and impacting explosively against the magic.
I ran, and ran, and ran, hoping that they would be safe. It was all I could do to keep going.
It appeared her story had concluded. "Sora," hesitated Tifa, "about the three figures that I saw...they were––"
"Aw, aw, aw," issued a familiar voice from the rooftop of one of the buildings above. "We wouldn't want to ruin the surprise, now would we?"
The person, obscured in darkness, jumped into the air from three stories up. She landed gracefully about twenty meters in front us, now completely illuminated by the light.
"I don't...I don't...understand," I stammered as I stared at the redhead. "Kairi...?"
A/N: What did you guys think? I'm a sucker for the action scenes. They're so much fun to write. And TIFA?! I finally got to put her in a story! Also, the subtlety of title amuses me; both an homage to Disney's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and a play on the whole mirror world situation (yes, I know I am a dork). Ok, done. PLEASE COMMENT! I love, love, love your feedback, my lovely fans!