Kingdom Hearts: Fading Light
Chapter 5: Arrival
Kairi waltzed into the Observation Deck, the doors sliding shut as her body entered. Her blue eyes searched the room. The view port was an amazing sight, the colorful nebula of gasses swirling and twisting about was breathtaking. Despite the view, very little light entered the room making it hard to see. Squinting, she saw the two people she came for: Rose and Aj.
Kairi found her two friends sleeping, huddled together on a couch in the corner. She smiled at the scene before her. She almost did not want to wake them. Almost being the key word.
The Princess of Heart prepared to wake the two teenagers but was instead thrown to the ground. The entire ship shook as she staggered and lost her balance. Aj sprung up at the movement, immediately summoning his keyblade, only to find Kairi pushing herself off the hard floor, sporting a few bruises.
Aj banished his keyblade and walked over to her, a confused and worried look on the brunettes face.
"Don't tell me you wanted to sleep here too!" he exclaimed in a joking manner, a smile hiding his concern. He held his hand out to her, which she accepted.
"Yeah well, cold metal floors are always the comfiest I heard." she replied with a tiny chuckle as he pulled her up off the floor.
Kairi started dusting herself off as Aj asked, "So, why were you on the floor?"
"I was just coming in here to check on you and Rose. Plus, Donald told over the intercom that we just entered the system where Radiant Garden
is at. We should actually be there by now."
Aj nodded and folded his arms as she went on. "Anyways, I came in there to get you both but I lost my balance suddenly and yeah..."
Aj rubbed his chin, processing the information. "We are in a ship. Donald might have taken a sharp turn or-"
The brunette stopped short when a red flash lit up the room for a brief moment.
What the heck?
A second later another flash flew past, followed by a Heartless ship.
Then another and another until there were hundreds seen in the expanse of the dissipating nebula cloud. Not only were there hundreds of small fighters but frigates and large dreadnoughts could be seen penetrating through the clouds. The ship shook once again, both of them tried desperately to stay balanced. Only by holding the others arms were they able to keep themselves from tumbling over. After the moment was over, Kairi's face was pale and wrought with fear as she looked out at the incoming Heartless armada. Aj took one look at it and immediately turned around, speaking all the while.
"Kairi, let's go! Wake up Rose. I'll go on ahead and open up the elevator." Kairi shook her head to clear her thoughts and acted on what she was told. Rose woke up dazed and confused, but seeing the armada she became alert right then and there as Kairi explained the situation. Aj on the other hand, was nearly at the elevator, rounding a corner as he walked at a fast pace.
"I know Yen Sid said Radiant Garden was in trouble, but an entire fleet?! This is utter craziness!" he said to himself out loud. Reaching the elevator, Aj banged on the up button, summoning the elevator. So, in typical fashion, he folded his arms and leaned on the wall next to the elevator doors, humming as he waited. Rose and Kairi arrived a minute later, talking as they walked down the hall. Aj rolled his eyes. "Girls.' he huffed inside his head.
Donald maneuvered the Kings Banner to the hard right, barely dodging a laser as it flew past the ships side. Three more shots followed and the ship went into a dive. Goofy checked the radar, alerting Donald there were four Heartless ships riding up behind them. The enemy ships kept pelting theirs as Donald tried desperately to outsmart them. He checked the shield level, hoping they would hold up to the continuous laser fire.
"Shields are holding!" he huffed as he flew the ship upwards into a loop. "Goofy! Get on the gummi turrets! I'm trying to get behind these guys." Goofy nodded and got up quickly. Another blast knocked the ship around, rendering the Royal Knight to the floor. Donald huffed in annoyance. 'Aw shucks.' he thought as his companion pried himself off the floor.
"Hey 'Mighty Duck!' Need a bit o' help driving?" Aj teased, even though his face was engulfed in a worried yet slightly calm look. The elevator door closed as Kairi and Rose helped Goofy regain his bearings. Donald ignored the tease and went straight to barking orders.
"Goofy, show Aj and Rose how to use the turrets."
The trio moved to the side of the wall where a ladder was. The ladder led upwards into a separate and self-contained room with turret control chairs. The chairs had a helmet attached, which was a live feed from a camera on the laser cannon. The arms had two control sticks jutting out with buttons on them for firing. Goofy explained all this to them as he helped them strap in.
Settled in, Rose spoke into her helmets microphone.
"Just aim and shoot right?"
"Yeah. Let's do this!" Aj said, smirking. "Bet you can't get as many as I can Rosey!"
He swiveled his chair around, the cross-hairs leading an enemy Heartless.
Aj shot at it, scoring a kill as the thing exploded into a cloud of darkness.
"I got him! I got em!"
Rose rolled her eyes as she shot down two of her own. "Nice shot kid! Don't get cocky!"
Aj stuck his tongue out in retaliation.
"Whatever! Let's just get this over with."
Meanwhile, on the world below, Cid watched tiny blip that was the Kings Banner from his monitor, taking note of the various Heartless ships converging on its flank and rear. "With that many on them, that gummi ship ain't gana last long." he thought, his eyes following the blip on the radar. Even though the ship was out numbered, the red dots on the radar, the Heartless ships, disappeared by the seconds.
His ears perked up as he heard the slamming of a door and the huff and puff of an exhausted young man.
Leon wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead with the back of his gloved hand.
"How's the defense going?" Cid asked in a gruff voice, looking over his shoulder.
A sigh escaped Leon's lungs while he rubbed the x shaped scar on the bridge of his nose.
"We can hold out just a bit longer. A few more hours at the most. I only came back here to see if Yen Sid's people arrived yet, I guess not."
"Oh they're here alright, just outside of the wall of the world. Except, things aren't looking so sunshine and bunnies up there for 'em either. There's an entire armada that was just outside the worlds barrier, hundreds of ships, not even my scanners can see how many there are." he said as he looked back at the screen, opening up a new window and began typing away at the keyboard. Leon came behind him, arms folded.
A few moments later, static filled the window and cleared up at a painstakingly slow pace. Cid was able to open up a video feed to an old observatory located at the castle that was once used by Ansem the Wise on the outskirts of the city, a secondary lab to be precise. They had only just discovered it a few months ago while searching through old notes and data files with Tron after the destruction of Organization Thirteen. After a few days of work, they were able to power it up. The group had decided to use it as an early warning system for any kind of invasion from the outer reaches of space. Oddly enough, it worked. The static cleared up, leaving a near perfect live video of the battle going on in space.
Leon had to squint as he was barely able to make out the Kings Banner against the blackness of space, the only clue being the green and blue flashes of light flying away from it, causing bright explosions with each Heartless ship destroyed, only for two more to take its place.
"Can't you zoom in?" he asked.
Cid tapped a few keys and the picture zoomed in, tracking the gummi ship as it zoomed past ship after ship, each on exploding as it passed.
"Whoever's on those turrets is doing a good job." commented Cid. The ship dodged out of the way of a particularly large shot, and flew upwards, trying to shake off the ships that were tailing it. The ships shot, one barely missing the side wing whereas the other landed a direct hit on the other. Immediately, a green burst of light emanated off the entire ship.
Both Leon and Cid knew what that light was, the ships shields went down.
"Cid, try to contact them. They should try to get out of there as soon as they can." said Leon. He straightened up and walked back to the door.
Cid twisted his neck and called back, "Where do ya think your going?"
Leon paused, his hand hovering over the door. He glanced back at Cid in the corner of his eye. "Out."
Leon opened the door and walked out. Cid let out a huff as he turned back to he computer, muttering to himself as he went.
Aj gritted his teeth as another blast hit the ship, knocking his aim completely off.
"Can Donald actually try not to get us killed?!" he complained, moving his aim to the right spot as he sent out another volley of red and blue lasers.
"I'm sure he's trying his best, besides there's no way he can dodge them all." said Rose.
The ship took a left, giving the two a wide view of the Heartless armada. Despite the small numbers they already destroyed, there was no way they could defeat them all. Rose felt the cold, paralyzing emotion of despair enter her mind as another group of Heartless came at the ship, hailing down lasers as they passed over.
"You do know there's no way out of this, right?" Rose asked her voice even and monotone. Aj looked at her, noticing her sudden change of mood. He understood why she was acting this way, all moody and emotional. Barely escaping Destiny Islands, only to dive head first into another dangerous and near hopeless situation days later would cause anybody to feel that way.
Aj smirked, gripping the two joysticks tighter and said "Yeah. So what? We can still try. Besides, we came here to help these guys, I sure as hell ain't going to give up now just because there's an obstacle in the way." He looked to the side of his vision, tracking two more ships as they flew by and prepared to fire when they were in range. "Well, hundreds, flying obstacles...with intent to kill us...and stuff."
His thumbs pressed down on the buttons atop the sticks, scoring a hit and then he moved on to the next. Rose continued to shoot down more ships as they flew by, trying her best to shoot them down with one shot.
"True. You're right." she said after a moment.
Aj laughed, "As usual." The laugh was short lived. The room slowly darkened as a massive shadow loomed overhead.
Far above the small ship in space was a Heartless dreadnought.
The ship was humongous compared to the Kings Banner, which was already big for the size of a gummi ship. The dreadnought had five engines at the stern, the bridge stood up on two pointed spires, the emblem of the Heartless was positioned between those two spires. The chassis was shaped like a disfigured triangle, the edges pointing out like a serrated knife. To Aj, it seemed like the shaped of an arrowhead, but with spikes jutting out haphazardly on the sides and with turrets all around. It seemed like the ship would never end as it passed overhead, the length of it was nearly a mile long.
Aj and Rose stared at it, unsure of what to do. Donald, on the other hand, the shields down, there was very little he could do against the dreadnought without getting everybody on board killed. Down below, Cid was communicating with him , trying to find a path out of the swarm of ships as quickly as possible.
"Ships are forming around you from all sides." said Cid, his headset snug on his head as he spoke.
"There's no way you can get out of there without some collateral damage. I'm trying to draw out a flight path but with so many ships up there its hard to get a clear view of you guys."
Donald glared as he steered the ship into a corkscrew, dodging the shots coming at him from the front as a squadron of Heartless ships flew at him in a v-shaped formation. He turned to the right in order to circle back around to let Aj and Rose get a chance to shoot them down. Goofy sat in the co-pilot chair, leaning over and pressing buttons and pulling levers in order to keep the ship stabilized. Kairi had her left hand on the back of Donald's chair, her hand keeping her upright as she pointed out incoming ships to Donald with her right hand.
"Look out!" she yelled. Donald piloted the ship out of the way, avoiding a head on collision with a particularly square like Heartless ship. The mage wiped his brow.
"That was a bit too close." Donald chuckled nervously.
Leon continued up the stairs that led to the Bailey, taking note of the many Heartless roaming the upper area. He rushed at the first one he saw, gun-blade in hand. The Shadow Heartless was decapitated before it even saw him. He threw a fireball at a Heartless that tried to get him from behind, while dodging a spinning kick from a Neoshadow. He jumped backward, assessing the situation.
Three Neoshadows,two Darkballs and ten Shadows. Leon narrowed his eyes, staring down the pure-blood Heartless'. The Neoshadows stood in wait, their arms loosely hanging at their sides. The Darkballs moved in the air, working in tandem together. The closest of the two shot forward like a cannon while the other one circled around the self-proclaimed protector of Radiant Garden.
He waited at the last second before they were on him. Leon acted with near inhuman speed. He spun his sword ring around himself, small fire bullets surrounding like a ring of light. His finger pulled the trigger, causing the two Darkballs to explode in a smoke screen of darkness. Leon lept out of the smoke caused by his attack and slammed his sword on the head of a small Shadow Heartless.
Using the momentum, he jumped backward high into the air, his long brown hair blowing in the slight cool breeze. He pulled his sword back and concentrated, the gun-blade radiated with a blue aura after a brief moment.
Holding the weapon with two hands, Leon dived at the Heartless, cutting through four Shadow Heartless in one slice like a hot knife through butter. He planted his feet on the concrete, waving his long bangs out of his vision with a gloved hand.
"Only a few left", he said. He spun the gun-blade in his hand. "Easy."
At once he sliced at a Shadow Heartless, wounding the creatures' abdomen but not destroying it completely.
In retaliation, the three Neoshadows pounced on Leon. Their sharp claws cut deep into his skin. Leon threw them off with little effort. Each one fell on their back, slightly dazed. The Neoshadows were defenseless while they tried to get up.
Two hearts floated up into the afternoon sky, Leons' gun-blade saw to it last Neoshadow went into the ground, appearing like a dirty oil stain on a gray the Neoshadow for the moment, Leon turned his attention to the fidgeting Shadows not far off.
The wounded Heartless attacked first, lunging at him with its' claws ready to rip his heart out.
Leon moved to the side, dispatching it as it passed right by him. He defeated the few remaining with ease, taking time to watch the glowing red-pink hearts go up into the sky before vanishing away. Leon put away his weapon and continued on his way. The slight breeze brushed his skin, causing the cuts on his arm and chest to sting like a paper cut.
Walking to the Bailey, he noticed something different about the town. It was silent. The silence was odd, given the fact that days before the sound of steel and magic rang through the streets. The number of Heartless was staggering and they never seemed to stop coming. Slowly, the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee drove them back.
Over the past months, the group grew from only Leon and his friends to a few hundred people. Managing a group of that magnitude was near impossible, until Tron started to lend a digital hand. The cities local AI had organized the group with the input of the founding members. Throughout the weeks, the Restoration Committee was able to create full time construction crews, public services, healing houses and the all-important city guard.
Months of training had prepared the guard for an event like this. After the Battle of 1000 Heartless, they agreed that they needed to be ready in case of another attack and thus, the Radiant Guardian Corps was established.
Leon knocked on the steel gate that was the entrance to the Bailey. On the other side, dozens of Radiant Guardians were milling around doing various things. Chatting, sleeping, eating, and repairing armor and weapons. The higher ups were all huddled around a wooden table, pouring over maps, giving orders to couriers and trying to figure out their next move.
Merlin was there, arguing with a young chap about potion supplies. Yuffie was handing out food to anybody she could, a piece of bread hung out of her mouth. Aerith sat at the side of a bed, healing a wounded soldiers' arm. The wounded were all in the very back, as far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the group.
Everything came to a standstill as Leon knocked again, this time much louder. The hollow banging echoed throughout the Bailey. Aerith looked up from the half bandaged arm she was in the process of wrapping. She let a knowing smile to appear on her face.
"Leon's back! Somebody open the door please!" she said, her excitement slightly contained.
Every able bodied guardian hurried to the gate, undoing the locks at a frenzied pace. The room quieted down as Leon entered the Bailey, moving through the small crowd that surrounded him. Everyone moved away from him, all grouping together a few feet away from him, waiting patiently for news.
Leon looked at each man and woman, peering into each of their faces, reading the emotions written on their faces. Many were weary, tired and exhausted. Those who lost family or friends to the Heartless wore a blank expression, not ready to accept reality, the shock keeping them walled off from feeling anything. Despite the losses, Leon knew they could hold on. He let out a sigh and crossed his arms. The people around him tensed up. He waited a second before speaking.
"I have good news. Help has arrived." He held his hand up before anybody could get their hopes up or show their excitement. "But they hit a snag, a fleet of Heartless ships were waiting outside our world, waiting for them." Instantly the morale fell. The faces of the hopeful became glum. The tired soldiers let their posture become hunched, looking down at the ground in thought.
Leon continued speaking. "They are still alive. Cid is working on finding a way to get them down here as fast as he can. What I want us to do in the meantime is to gear up and strategize a plan. "He paused for a second, unfolding his arms. "Because when they get here, we are going to take back the ground we lost and we are going to drive the Heartless away from our home!" The last part he spoke with conviction, letting his men go in an uproar of cheers. Everybody went to start getting ready.
I am not going to loose this place a second time.
He looked out at the Great Maw. Please, get here quickly.
Outside of the world, The Kings Banner was under a hail of laser fire. Five ships were tailing behind it, each one either missing or hitting its target. Donald let out a cry of frustration as the ship shook. Kairi nearly fell to the floor but was able to catch her balance quickly enough.
"We need to get out of here." said Donald. Kairi agreed a hundred percent as she gripped the seat tighter. Even she could tell the ship didn't have much time left.
Cid was watching from the live video and checked the radar every few seconds. Something was wrong. The Heartless were never this organized before. They just attacked at random, no kind of situational awareness whatsoever.
The Heartless were actually flying in formations, bombing and strafing the Kings Banner in small groups. The ones not attacking circled around, not even trying to get the ship. It almost seemed like they were trying to set up a blockade. Cid moved the video feed away from the Kings Banner and moved it around to give a large view of the Heartless armada. He nearly choked on his toothpick as he yelled into the microphone.
"Get your asses moving! Five dreadnoughts are moving towards ya'll and fast!"
Donald squinted into the dark of space, seeing in fact there were large masses heading towards them.
"Your best bet is to just push through the weakest part of the blockade they're forming."
Donald gave a clipped affirmative and pushed the ship as fast as he could, away from the ships and toward the world of Radiant Garden.
Aj and Rose kept firing away at the Heartless, trying their best to keep them away from the gummi ship as they flew into the thick of the enemy blockade.
The ship moved fast, making it difficult to land a shot at the Heartless ships but it made it hard for the enemy ships to land a blow on them.
A minute later, the ship was flying straight through the blockade, explosions of Heartless ships could be seen left behind like a wave.
Everybody let out a sigh of relief when they saw the ships move away from the world, heading back into space.
"Lets get you guys down here, pronto. Leon and the others have a plan underway. They're going to need as much help as they can get!" said Cid, chewing on his toothpick.
Donald eased the ship into Radiant Gardens atmosphere, ready for whatever may come.
Tron stood in the Central Command Tower, looking at the three large screens in front of him. Many security feeds were on the three monitors. They showed data Heartless roaming the streets of Space Paranoids, derezzing the citizen programs as they went. In the midst of them was a white cloaked figure. The cloak was similar to the ones used by Organization Thirteen Tron noticed.
The Heartless left him alone, following his commands. They were near, only a sector away. All around Tron, armed programs with electric staffs stood at the ready to defend the CCT. Outside, the only thing keeping the cloaked figure and his Heartless horde away was a dozen security programs and pacification turrets. The security programs stood , their guns raised at the Heartless as they came at them.
They never stood a chance as they were sliced and smashed into nothing. The turrets were no problem, only a few Heartless were destroyed by the rapid firing machines. The leader of the Heartless walked up to the door leading into the CCT and did the unexpected: he knocked four times. Within nanoseconds, the behavior analysis programs in Tron were going into a frenzy. Such behavior by an enemy was very odd. Taking down the defenses only to knock on the front door?
The figure cleared his throat as he spoke "May I come in?"
Tron blinked, thinking of what to say. One part of his programming was telling him to fight back, the other was to let him in, see what his reasoning was for attacking his home. He let out a sigh as he came to a decision, one he knew he would probably regret.
The figure stood there for a moment, his emotions unreadable behind the hood.
"Very well. I did ask nicely." he sighed. "Some people just don't have manners these days."
He pulled his arm back, blue fire forming around his open palm. Darkness began to surround the fire, increasing the blue flame into a white bright flame. Pushing forward, the Dark Firaga hit the door, melting through it and hitting an armed program in the face.
The program exploded with the fireball, but the flame expanded outwards. The ensuing burst of flame set a number of programs on fire, their screams causing the other programs to start thinking of how to defend themselves against such an attack.
All of them calculated the same thing: they didn't stand a chance of winning.
The mysterious figure walked in as the Heartless tore through the programs, whose bodies fizzed out into zeroes and ones. After a minute of fighting, all that was left was the cloaked figure and Tron.
"You are a User. So, why have you done this?" questioned Tron.
"You have something I need. Data you keep hidden, pertaining to certain worlds."
Tron glared, understanding fully what he meant.
"I won't let you lay a hand on them. I'd rather be derezzed."
The mysterious figure smirked beneath his hood.
"That can be arranged."
Instantly, Tron held his hand out, protective walls of fire made from data surrounded him.
The figure held his hand up slowly, casually. Flexing his hand, a blast of air shot forward, blowing straight through the firewalls. Trons' face grew into terror.
The figure pushed his feet off the floor, the bottom area of his cloak flowing as he went in the air and rushed Tron, nailing a heavy punch in his gut. Tron slid on the floor, coughing as he got up, holding his abdomen.
The figure ran at him again and punched him in the face and swept his feet out from under him. Tron fell ungracefully onto the floor.
"You willing to give me the data now?" he asked, kneeling to Trons level, unseen face to grey and blue face.
Tron stared at him with defiance in his eyes as he got up yet again.
"Like I said, I will not allow you to reach that information." Tron moved quickly, headbutting the cloaked teen.
While his enemy was staggering, Tron rushed forward, tackling him to the ground.
Tron reared his hand back to punch his face but when the blow landed, the figure dissipated.
"Did you really think I would be so careless? You underestimated me, computer." the mysterious figure whispered into Trons ear.
Tron spun around to attack yet again but the teen was faster. In a second Tron had his back against the wall, white gloved hands at his throat.
"I've played nice so far. But if you don't give me what I want, you will regret it." He began to apply pressure to Trons throat, whose hands were grasping at the figures wrists. Slowly, Tron began to lose consciousness, his vision dulled and his ears were ringing.
The figure asked again, unbridled anger rose into his voice.
"Where. Is. The. Data."
Tron looked at his enemy in the face, his eyes half open but there was a mischievous glint, while he struggled to speak.
"Error. Command input not recognized. Please, ask again."
In a flash of anger, the unknown figure in the white Organization cloak threw the unconscious body of Tron across the room. His body hit one of the monitors, causing it to spark and shatter on impact. His body fell to the floor, gashes and cuts exposing blue near translucent liquid to the air as it seeped out of his wounds.
The figure turned away, furious. At a snap of his fingers, dozens of Heartless crowded the small green walled room.
"My Liege?" said a particularly bulky Neoshadow.
"Restrain him." he commanded "We still have yet to achieve our mission."
The figure walked over to the monitor as the Heartless moved to the body. A holographic keyboard opened up whe he got close. A few clicks later, the screen opened up with a security cameras view of The Kings Banner, its' occupants exiting it.
Donald held his staff at the ready; Goofy had his shield on a harness on his back. Kairi was putting her hair in a ponytail to keep it tame in the growing winds. Aj was zipping up his jacket as he looked around at the blue and purple valley they landed in. Rose hurried off the ship, as she was the last to disembark.
The figures gaze at the screen narrowed on Aj as the brunette turned around and said something to Donald, his words unheard.
"Besides, we can always work something out. Trons' life, for the information. If not, this world will share Destiny Islands fate."
The Heartless all understood and teleported away as the figure walked slowly over to Tron, who was struggling against his bonds.
"I'm quite pleased with you, computer. Everything is proceeding perfectly, even better than expected. Your defiance is admirable, but it has gotten you nowhere."
The figure held out his hand, sludge like darkness formed around it before hardening into a jagged sword.
"If you won't tell me, you put our friends at risk." he pointed his sword to the screens, one showing the Radiant Guardians suiting up as Leon, Yuffie, Merlin, Cid and Aerith all stood around a table with various maps strewn haphazardly.
Tron looked away, avoiding eye contact with the figure. "You are right. However, they readily accept that risk. That is what friendship is, willing to do anything at a moments notice for the people you care about. "
Tron earned a cut right above his eyebrow, the wound leaking blue liquid. It got into his eye as it flowed down his face.
"One way or another, you will tell me. And when you do, I will leave this world alone."
The figure walked away and left the room, leaving a bruised and bleeding Tron alone.
Out in the world of Radiant Garden, an army of Heartless began to move away from the Restoration Site and began to move toward the Bailey and the Great Maw, splitting the forces in two.
The Battle for Radiant Garden was about to begin.
AN: Honestly, I apologize for the long absence from this fic. I got hooked up into writing Dark Souls fics for a while. I had this chapter in my mind for the longest time so I finally wrote it gradually over the course of a week and a half. I apologize greatly for the absence.
BUUUUUUT I am happy to say I will be writing this frequently, I am going to start writing chapter 6: Battle for Radiant Garden right after I post this. Im also happy to announce that this is my longest chapter written, ever! Not even my dark Souls one-shot was this long. The plans I have for this fic are phenomenal, the plot twist or, twists perhaps? near the end will be utter craziness. But, I do have a problem with this story, I feel like there is something missing and that my characters are unoriginal and the game characters do not act like they should. I feel that way and please, please, please, help me. Drop a review or PM telling me what you have thought of not only the chapter but of the story so far. I need you, the readers, help to make this as best as possible. Thanks for dropping by!