Web
Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter
Jump to content
  • Sign Up
Sign in to follow this  
ciel

The Hero of Darkness

Recommended Posts

Hello guys! So, I wrote this fan fiction in... 2014, after KH3D release. I've decided just now to translate it (I'm italian).

The story is set after CoM - and during Days, the main character is one of my favourites and (in my opinion) one of the most underrated, Riku Replica. Hope you enjoy!

 

Thanks to Afa Bill Aseh and his team for translation.

 

 

The Hero of Darkness

 

 

Chapter 1
Rebirth

 

“What happens when a fake dies- one like me? Where will my heart go? Does it disappear?”

 

Drop by drop, Riku Replica’s consciousness began to reform. A feeling, a memory, a thoughts... It took time for the puppet to realize that, but little by little he resumed being someone, or something.

"Where… am I?" he asked weakly.

There wasn't even a slight glow of light and he couldn't see anything. He was lying down, but beneath him, he did not feel the ground or any kind of floor. He was floating alone in the pitch black.

"Is this the Realm of darkness?" sighed Riku. “Is here where ends those like me?”

He wondered how much longer he would have to wait. He thought that some kind of entity would soon appear and would list what he had done well and what he had done badly, a short list and a very long one respectively. As long as that wasn't a lie too, he said to himself, and seeing no one arrive, he smiled almost incapable of regretting yet another disappointment. The only sensation he had left was that it was cold there, yet he didn't feel any kind of temperature.

He sighed again, then tried to move his limbs. Strangely enough, he felt them distant. He had to make an effort just to bring his right hand in front of his face, trembling with exertion.

Wake up”.

“Who’s there?” Riku snapped into an upright position, while floating.
You should wake up, that's your only opportunity to do it”.
“Who are you?!”

I am your only opportunity”.

Riku stared at the darkness in front of him, waiting for more explanation.

You have to go back, Riku, you have some unfinished businesses to close”.

“I'm afraid I'm not," the boy replied, puffing. "I'm just a fake, I don't have any pending issues”.

Are you sure? Don’t you ever had anything that was real, to you?

The sound of the voice echoed into the everlasting darkness. Riku raised hesitating his face. "What are you talking about?”

A promise" answered the mysterious interlocutor. "A promise you have to keep. It's your only way”.

The boy looked down. A name slipped from his lips: "Naminé...”

Of course, the little girl in your memories”, the voice said.

“It wasn't my memory", replied Riku. “They weren't even real memories...”

But they were all you had, they were real to you. They had to be”.

“Why are you telling me all this?" the puppet asked, raising his tone, as if he had found again all his arrogance. "Tell me who you are!”

I told you: I'm your only opportunity. This is your second chance”.

“Who are you really?”

The voice only answered after a brief pause: “You can call me the King”.

For Riku Replica, those words had no meaning: he had never met King Mickey, nor had any memory of him.

“Just don't want to tell me who you are, huh?” the boy asked. “At least explain me why you should help me”.

I need a favour, Riku, a mission that only you can accomplish”.

“You don’t say! Everyone always expects something from others!”

The soft laugh of the voice echoed again in darkness.
Listen to me to the end at least, after all your interests are at stake or you might never go back. You need me in order to do it”.

“Why? What do you have so interesting to offer me?”

Well, I can offer you an all-new body”.

“A... what?”

The King's response was quick: without saying anything, the darkness surrounding Riku diminished and finally the boy could see himself. He brought his right hand back in front of his face and could glimpse through it. His skin was as transparent as glass, a little more opaque.

With a mixed expression of disbelief and horror, he could not look away and could barely syllable words of accomplished meaning.
Your body has vanquished” continued the voice, “but something holds back your soul here, at the edge of oblivion. Unconsciously, your will has clung to some feelings and is struggling not to disappear completely. Maybe to obtain, one day, your own heart”.

Riku was breathless. He continued to watch his limb with his mouth open, without saying anything.
Accepts my proposal, Riku. Complete the mission I want to assign to you and I will be able to give you a whole new body. It will be the first step to becoming a unique person like everyone else”.

“...you said a heart of my own?"

Correct”.

“Why should I trust you?" the Replica asked in a convinced tone, raising his head.
In fact, you would have no reason to do so. Unfortunately, however, I cannot offer you any alternative. Choose what you prefer; if you want I'll slip away in the dark and never bother you again”.

Once again, Riku Replica looked down at the glassy hand. He knew he could not trust this King, but that could really be his second and only chance, the last of many wasted chances. Would it be a bigger mistake to attempt going for broke, or to waste this last opportunity without getting anything in return?

“What do I have to lose?”
How much do you care about you have got lost so far, Riku? Your existence, your promise, everything fictitious that meant something to you... only you can know what you have got to lose”.

A life of imitation which has come to an end, or perhaps something else. Everything was there.

“Hey, King...” the puppet called out, closing his fist in front of him. He could only have hoped that the benefit of the doubt would be worth the risk. “I accept the mission”.

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A life of imitation which has come to an end, or perhaps something else. Everything was there.

 

All seems well except I would change "is" with "has" since Repliku's life was extinguished.  Also, I would add spaces, which I feel is frustrating.

 

Well done.  I am intrigued on knowing who this "King" is and what it hopes to gain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All seems well except I would change "is" with "has" since Repliku's life was extinguished.  Also, I would add spaces, which I feel is frustrating.

 

Well done.  I am intrigued on knowing who this "King" is and what it hopes to gain.

Thanks for correction. About spaces, you mean between lines? If that's so, I'll do it starting from next chapter. Thanks again.

 

 

Chapter 2

Mission

 

"Hey, King... I accept the mission".

"Well. I was expecting it, but I am grateful that you made up your mind" replied the voice of the mysterious monarch in a satisfied tone.

"Don’t thank me just yet" the Replica urged, "you still have to tell me what to do".

"You're right. However, first accept this from me".

A bubble of darkness materialized before the boy. Inside, Riku could see an object with a hemispherical shape.

"It's your golden ticket to get out of here. Grasp it, and it will return you from whence you came".

The puppet stretched one arm toward the bubble and as soon as his hand touched the object, passing through it, he felt the darkness swell and go up again along his limb with a density similar to that of sludge. In a few seconds it covered the entire body of Riku, without him being able to react in time. Now, wrapped in that black substance, he felt cold. It lasted a few seconds, however: far from him, he could see a small glimmer of light that moved quickly in his direction. A moment later he was released. Around him appeared clean white walls, with columns on the wall as the only decoration. In front of him was a door which led to a staircase leading to the upper floor. He had returned from where he was coming from: Castle Oblivion.

- So... Was everything true? - the Replica wondered. He looked first at his arms and then at the rest of his body, wearing a red and blue suit with the Heartless symbol, the same emblem the real Riku worn. He opened up his hand and called forth his weapon, the Soul Eater, causing it to form through a dark blanket of inky smoke. He tightened his grip firmly on the handle of the sword and only then did he notice it: he was also wearing a helmet. Except for a small gray metal part that covered his neck and extended along his jaw to his chin, the rest of the surface was taken from the black visor that concealed his face and head, creating a hemispherical shape.

"What's the purpose of this?" Riku wondered aloud.

"Use it to hide and protect yourself" the King answered. "Consider it a gift from me".

"Why? Protect me from what?"

"You've seen your body. Do you not think it foolish that you can move into that world as a penitent ghost?".

The boy chuckled. Imitation or ghost, does it really make any difference?

"Now will you tell me what I have to do?"

The voice seemed increasingly complacent. "Certainly Riku, listen well: upstairs you'll find a dangerous individual who's building a weapon. I want you to stop him".

"A weapon? What kind of..." the puppet inquired. "And, why-"

"It's not important. Find it and destroy it, just know this".

"What?" asked the Replica, but he didn't receive an answer. "At least tell me who is this guy!"

However, only silence remained and accompanied Riku on his mission. Now he knew that he would soon meet him: he smelled it. The King was there, and his stench promised nothing good.

 

On the upper floor, the thirteenth, Riku had already almost acclimatized himself to his helmet. He walked through the many rooms until he got to the one at the bottom of them all. He looked out over the door jamb and saw, at the center of the room, a huge ... something difficult to define: it looked like a giant crystal box in the shape of a drop. There was somebody nearby with a long blue cloak on his back.

- A strange individual and a dangerous weapon... you have to be yourself - thought the Replica. He quietly entered the room and stealthily advanced with a stripped sword, ready to pierce the man from behind. He had almost reached him, he was going to sink the blade in his back, when he turned around!

His face was hidden by red bandages and a black leather belt crossed his head obliquely, covering his left eye. Only his orange right eye and mouth were visible, as long his dark complexion.

The two stared at each other for a second in disbelief. Riku tried to launch his attack, but the other managed to avoid the slash with a rather clumsy movement. He moved backwards quickly, hitting something behind him: the long blue cloak had prevented Replica from seeing that blur and blue spherical machine, resting on a yellow tripod with planetary decorations; on the upper part, connected by wide transparent tubes, there were numerous small and various sized displays, even above what looked like a laser barrel.

The man fell backwards stumbling with the contraption and Riku promptly snapped to hit the man, sinking the tip of the Soul Eater into his thigh.

The masked individual screamed from pain. The boy pulled out his weapon from his leg and stared at his target which, in agony, was holding the wound with his hands. Between a frantic breath and a wheeze, the unfortunate man managed to speak with his deep voice: "Why?!"

Riku remained silent.

"Who sent you? Xehanort? And why are you dressed like this?"

“Nothing personal, man" replied the Replica. "But I have no other option. It's my only way...."

With these last words, Riku went towards the huge thing in the middle of the room and prepared to hit it with his sword, but a moment earlier he stopped. Beyond the thick glass wall, the boy recognized a familiar figure.

“Is that... Sora?"

"Riku?!"

A female voice burst into the white room. The puppet turned and saw her at the door, stunned for the surprise, but candid as he remembered.

"Naminé..." the boy slowly pronounced, making the Soul Eater disappear. “What are you doing here?"

"What are you doing here?” the Nobody replied. "How...how?"

“Thanks to you, I guess. Riku reached out to the girl, took her hands and pulled out the lucky charm in the shape of the Paopu fruit from his pocket, the one he once believed she had given him as a gift. "I have a promise to keep".

“What? No," exclaimed the blonde. "That was just... no, it was..."

"Fake, I know. But I don't care anymore".

"Riku, you... I..." said Naminé, but the surprise was so great that she couldn't finish the sentence.

"So you're the copy?" DiZ got in, but the Replica ignored him.

“What are you doing with that man? And why is Sora inside there?"

"Sora is sleeping so he can restore his memory".

"I understand," Riku said turning to look at the glass tank. "So he had a..."

A second chance, he thought with a hint of bitterness.

“Riku? Why are you here," asked the girl.

“Stay away from him, Naminé" DiZ urged as he stood. “He's dangerous!”

"He’s dangerous?" the Replica repeated, ridiculing. "Wow, what originality! Have you ever thought of writing for the theatre?"

“Now enough", shouted the man trying to get in the middle of the two young people. He took Riku by the shoulder in order to push him away, but he was quicker and turned back; a black whirlwind appeared in his right hand and a second later, the Soul Eater was targeting at DiZ's throat.

“I would be the dangerous one, here? And what about the weapon you were building?”

"W... weapon?"

"Don't act ignorant! The King has told me everything”.

"The King?” Naminé asked.

"What is this all about? I'm not building a weapon at all, Mickey knows it well!"

"Mickey? Who is... Bah, I don’t care", replied the copy with a contemptuous tone. "I only need to carry out my mission, and you are on my way".

"Riku! Stop!" Naminé urged him.

From behind the dark glass of the helmet, the boy's water green eyes flowed swiftly from Naminé to the man in front of him, both defenceless from fear.

"Please..." his friend implored him again. "Tell us what is going on".

The Replica hesitated another second, then lowered her sword. DiZ breathed a sigh of relief.

"Just because you're asking, Naminé" Riku said in a firm tone. "I was contacted by this King. It was he who made me come back, in return he asked me to get rid of the weapon he's building".

"I'm not building a weapon" DiZ said, but the boy turned his back on him as if to tell him to keep quiet.

"He is telling the truth," Naminé said. "It's a device that converts hearts into data".

"A device that... what?"

"We intend to use it to stop the Organization", DiZ explained, picking up the device that had just fallen from the ground. "If it works, I can disintegrate Kingdom Hearts".

It took Riku a few seconds to fully realize what he had said. As he reflected, he turned and silently stared at the pod in which Sora was sleeping.

"What does that mean?" Replica asked out loud.

"Why should the King attack us?", asked Naminé.

"It wasn't Mickey. I assume it was just an impostor".

"You assume well, Ansem the Wise".

A cavernous voice echoed in the room.

"You're the King", Riku shouted as he looked up at the ceiling. "Why did you lie to me?"

"I've never lied to you, boy".

"Stop teasing me! You told me that you were King Mickey and that this bargain was supposed to be a weapon!"

"A harmless device capable of turning hearts into data. Are you really sure that such a technology can't become dangerous if used the wrong way?"

There was a break. Naminé turned and looked at DiZ, who in silent admission, bowed his head.

"As for my identity... I've never said I'm King Mickey".

A few meters from Riku, Naminé and Ansem, a shadow formed on the floor and began to pulse, boil and swell at a glance. Shortly afterwards, a hooded figure with a long brown tunic emerged.

"I am King Shadow", the sovereign announced, once he came out into the open.

Replica began to run and unsheathed his weapon against the enemy. Within a few steps he jumped ready to hit, screaming as though he was charging himself, but an invisible shield rejected the attack and the violent impact shook him away. Riku flew backwards and slammed his back against Sora's pod and then fell to the ground. Naminé rescued him immediately, she was almost about to take off his helmet but he stopped her by holding her hands.

"You'll have to say goodbye to your reward, boy," continued the hooded man. "But you may be useful in the future. I still have a lot in store for you and Sora".

With those last words, King Shadow disappeared. All three stayed looking at the emptiness left by the mysterious individual. Naminé did rested her other hand on Riku's.

"I let myself be fooled again," the boy thought aloud. Without realizing it, he slightly tightened his grip on Naminé’s hands. "But it will never happen again!"

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took the time to do some editing, I hope you don't mind.  I highlighted the changes that I made.  You had some misspellings, some punctuation mistakes, kind of a run-on sentence (nothing too drastic) and I hope you don't mind.  I am still reading.  I am still wondering how the real Riku is going to react and if Repliku is going to die again.  What is Xehanort planning?  Is he and the "king" the same person?


Chapter 2
Mission

"Hey, King, I accept this mission!”

 

"Well, I wasn’t expecting to hear that but I am grateful that you made up your mind," replied the voice of the mysterious monarch in a strangely satisfied tone.

 

"Don’t thank me just yet" the Replica urged, "you still have to tell me what to do!"

 

"You’re right!” the ominous figure glanced away for a brief second, flickering its fingers as if in deep thought then turned back to the puppet and spoke, However, first accept this from me".

 

A bubble of darkness materialized before the boy. Inside, Riku could see an object with a hemispherical shape.
 

"It's your golden ticket out of here! Grasp it, and it’ll return you from whence you came," the bizarre sovereign ordered the silver haired failed replica who called himself Riku.

 

The puppet stretched one arm toward the bubble and as soon as his hand touched the object, passing through it, he felt the darkness swell and go up again along his limb with a density similar to that of sludge. In a few seconds it covered the entire body of Riku, without him being able to react in time. Now, wrapped in that black substance, he felt cold. It lasted a few more seconds, however: far from him, he could see a small glimmer of light that moved quickly in his direction. A moment later he was released. Around him appeared clean white walls, with columns on the wall as the only decoration. In front of him was a door which led to a staircase leading to the upper floor. He had returned from where he was coming from: Castle Oblivion.

 

- So... Was everything true? - the Replica wondered. He looked first at his arms and then at the rest of his body, wearing a red and blue suit with the Heartless symbol, the same emblem the real Riku worn. He opened up his hand and called forth his weapon, Soul Eater, causing it to form through a dark blanket of inky smoke. He tightened his grip firmly on the handle of the sword and only then did he notice it: he was also wearing a helmet. Except for a small gray metal part that covered his neck and extended along his jaw to his chin, the rest of the surface was taken from the black visor that concealed his face and head, creating a hemispherical shape.

 

"What's the purpose of this?" Riku wondered aloud.

 

"Use it to hide and protect yourself," the King answered appearing next to him. "Consider it a gift from me to you".

 

"Why? Protect me from what?"
 

"You've seen your body. Do you not think it foolish that you can move into that world as a penitent ghost?" the sovereign questioned.

The boy chuckled, Imitation or ghost, does it really make any difference?

 

"Now will you tell me what I have to do?" The Riku Replica insisted.

 

The voice of the weird monarch seemed increasingly complacent, "Certainly Riku, listen well: upstairs you'll find a dangerous individual who's building a weapon. I want you to stop him".

 

"A weapon? What kind of…" the puppet inquired. “And, why…?”
 

"It's not important. Find it and destroy it, just know this,” the sovereign commanded, turning away from the boy.

 

"What?" asked the Replica, but he didn't receive an answer. "At least tell me who is this guy!"

 

However, only silence remained and accompanied Riku on his mission. Now he knew that he would soon meet him: he smelled it. The King was there, and his stench promised nothing good.

 

On the upper floor, the thirteenth, Riku had already almost acclimatized himself to his helmet. He walked through the many rooms until he got to the one at the bottom of them all. He looked out over the door jamb and saw, at the center of the room, a huge… something difficult to define: it looked like a giant crystal box in the shape of a drop. There was somebody nearby with a long blue cloak on his back.

Edited by ienzo628

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took the time to do some editing, I hope you don't mind.  I highlighted the changes that I made.  You had some misspellings, some punctuation mistakes, kind of a run-on sentence (nothing too drastic) and I hope you don't mind.  I am still reading.  I am still wondering how the real Riku is going to react and if Repliku is going to die again.  What is Xehanort planning?  Is he and the "king" the same person?

I really appreciate what you did! I saved almost your corrections and tips. Thank you so much!

Hope you'll enjoy the story to come.

 

 

Chapter 3

Transfer

 

Naminé tightened the bandages around DiZ's wounded leg. She pulled them once more to make sure the wound did not reopen. When finished, the man stood up.

“Thank you," he said to the Nobody. He cleared his throat and turned towards Sora's pod. "I think we should move on".

"Move on?" repeated Naminé. "Where?"

“I don’t know yet. I've been thinking about it for a while now, but after what happened today I'm afraid it's a necessity". Ansem answered. “Castle Oblivion is still under Organization’s control and now this King Shadow has sprouted out of nowhere, and he has found us all too easily... and everything has been going on well for us. But I doubt we will be able to defend ourselves much longer”.

"I understand..."

“We absolutely must find the right place to move, even if we have to extend the process of restoring memories by a few days. Sora is too important for the future of the worlds. We must protect him".

“I will lend you a hand", Riku said not far away. He was leaning against the wall with his back and his arms held firmly against himself. He was still wearing the black helmet.

“And why should we trust you?" replied DiZ without even turning around. "You've attacked us”.

"I was deceived".

"This says a lot about your skills..."

Riku moved away from the wall and opened his arms, clutching his fists. "And it doesn't seem to me that you have been able to do much to stop me... old man".

The man flipped back and forth, provoked by the boy's joke. The two stared for a few seconds until Naminé intervened: "Ansem, wait! We need his help. We are unable to defend ourselves on our own, especially now that we are caught between the Organization and King Shadow".

“She is right", said Riku. "You don't know how to fight and I wish to be apologized".

"I don't trust you," replied the man with a sharp tone.

"I do" Naminé said in a decisive tone.

DiZ was shocked by the intervention of the Nobody. He watched at her for a second with his orange eye, after which he moved away to the encoder still on the ground. As he picked it up again, he muttered in a low voice: "Beings with no heart..."

Riku approaches her friend to thank her. He spoke in a low voice. "Thank you".

"You’re welcome" she replied, smiling.

“I really would like to make up for that. Sora was kind to me, even after everything I did... I owe it to him ".

Naminé thought back to the moment when the Keyblade hero tried in vain to convince Replica that he was someone and not just a shadow. A feeling which she understood well.

"Riku, can I ask you a question?”

"Of course".

"King Shadow said that you gave up your reward. What was it about?"

The boy turned the other way. He didn't want to confess to her that he had become even less of a puppet. Or perhaps he too should have fully understood what this meant.

“Excuse me, Nami, but it's a personal matter," he merely said.

"Oh, sure. It's okay if you don't want to talk about it."

Not far from them, DiZ, who was checking to ensure that his machine was not damaged, let out a short but thunderous laugh. "Ah! What can a fake have of personal?"

Naminé did turn to the man, but Riku stopped her before she could say anything and said: "He's right this time".

The Nobody sighed and turned again towards Riku. "You shouldn’t mind about him. It is not bad after all, it's just he’s been through a lot. You just have to get along with him”.

The boy began to giggle. "Ok, I trust you".

Naminé reciprocated his laughter and tried to look into the eyes of her friend through the dark glass of his helmet. He, who could see her well, stared in her sky blue eyes and at that moment felt a faint heat going up his back to the chest. Without wanting to, he had the strange impulse of holding the girl in his arms.

He took a step back as if frightened by this emotion, which was new to him since he was just a copy. He said the first thing that came to his mind.

"And...the real Riku? How come he's not here to protect his friend?"

The look on the girl’s face immediately became serious. "I don't know where he is. He and the King... King Mickey I mean, they’re travelling through the worlds to investigate the Organization".

The Replica snorted, trying to hide his relief for changing the discourse. "He had to stay to take care of you..."

"No, that's fine" she replied. "It was his choice to leave. He wanted to tame the darkness in his heart... he decided to take the longest and most tortuous road".

In Naminé's words, Riku perceived a worried tone. He sighed, afflicted by the idea of get back to life as a ghost just to envy his original, which was nothing more than yet another mockery of fate.

"But I feel sure now that you're back there" the girl continued, "after all, Sora asked you to protect me. It was just before he faced Marluxia, do you remember?"

Riku Replica turned to her. She smiled again. The boy felt that warmth again, but this time it was different: it spread more gently throughout his body, without making him stiff or suddenly nervous.

"It's true," he replied, moving closer to Naminé.

"Can I ask you another question?" Naminé asked again. "Why the helmet?"

"This? Oh, it's just ..." he stopped, looking for the right words. In reality he could consider it as progress, but he could not understand if King Shadow, before disappearing, had left him out of pity or if it was simply an oversight.

Or, in the worst-case scenario, he had left it deliberately in view of his future plans. Riku did not know whether he felt frightened or angry.

"It's nothing," he finally answered. "It’s meant to hide and protect me".

The girl was stunned by that statement, but understood immediately that it was not appropriate to investigate further. He then approached and passed his hand behind his friend's arm. "I'm happy to see you again".

 

A large shadow hovered among the walls of Hollow Bastion. He wandered undisturbed, but the sinister appearance of the castle disturbed him in everything.

Pete had been commissioned by Maleficent to sow the seeds of darkness among worlds in order to find new possible allies, but the witch had not been heard for a long time. And now he could not find her.

He had almost arrived at the Great Hall when an icy blast of wind echoed through the tall and imposing corridors.

"WHO’S THERE'?!" he shouted, turning around.

There was no one other than him. He looked around before continuing, when he finally received a response.

"Hello, Pete. I was wondering if you are willing to perform a little courtesy".

"WHO ARE YOU?! SHOW YOURSELF!"

"We have a friend in common, if that reassures you. Let's say she has learned a lot from me".

"Huh? Are you talkin' about Maleficent? ...but who are you?!"

"I am King Shadow. I would like you to deal with an issue which is dear to me".

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Double chapter today (pretty shorts, but still double).

 

Chapter 4

Truth (part I)

 

“How can you? Are you betraying me?!”

“I told you I would make good use of you, didn’t I?”

“No-”

 

"It's down there" DiZ said, pointing the way to Riku Replica. The two were on the ground floor of Castle Oblivion, in front of the staircase that led to the underground floors.

"On each floor, there are dozens and dozens of rooms. Two individuals could visit the entire castle without ever meeting”, explained the man. “To an extent, it’s almost impossible to see all the rooms and that's why I feel that this place still hides many secrets”.

Riku stood still and stared at the stairs as they descended. The dark helmet hid his restless and melancholic expression very well: this is where he came from.

Ansem continued: “Vexen’s laboratory is located on the fourth basement. So why are you so interested?”
The other person remained silent. He continued to stare at the staircase that was darker at each step.
"What was your relationship with Vexen like?" the man asked again. "He created you, he had to be like a father..."

The boy turned to look at DiZ. "I’ve never considered him a father", he answered with a strong voice. "To me he was more like a..."

Creator? Fabricator? Constructor?

These words and others passed through Riku's mind, unable to choose the most suitable. Who knows if, after all, products programmed not to have a heart possessed the faculty of feeling disappointed by the behaviour of those who had given and subsequently infringed on their lives.

“It doesn't matter”, Ansem said firmly." You said you would protect Sora. Not that I am enthusiastic about it, but you should take care of that rather than fantasize about your origins”.

"I said I would help Naminé, not that I would be your watchdog," replied the Replica in a sour tone.

The two were looking at each other in a bad way for a few seconds, then DiZ turned around and went back towards the thirteenth floor. Riku waited until the echo of his steps had also disappeared, while he stood there alone again, along with the stairway in front of him.

However, he realized that Ansem wasn't entirely wrong: he didn't know what he would find in Vexen's lab, but he didn't know what he was looking for as well.

He was about to walk to the basements when the sound of the entrance door that opened, blocked him. He turned around and saw a big individual with pointed ears, two perfidious eyes and a large complacent smile printed on his big chubby face as he walked out from behind the door.

"Huh? Who are you!" asked Pete as soon as he noticed the boy wearing a helmet.

Riku did not say a word; he simply stood still where he was. His opponent gibbered something whispering as he squared him from head to toe.

“Humpf, whatever you want! What's important is that you don't want to get in the way of me, pipsqueak! I have a job to do”.

"What are you going to do?" asked the Replica as the big cat headed upstairs.

"Oh, I thought the cat had got your tongue... AH, THE CAT! That’s a good one!"

The boy made his weapon appear with a fast move of his arm. The next moment, he was in a combat position. "What are you going to do?" he repeated with a resolute voice.

“C’mon, brat! Don't you want to put yourself against the good ol’ Pete?”
Riku did not move. He remained firm, as if awaiting judgment... or judging himself.

Pete puffed and approached in great steps toward the puppet. He was at least twice as tall and three times as wide. "I’m serious, I don't think you should. Your helmet doesn't frighten me..."

A blow cut through the air and with it, a pair of black tufts followed. The huge cat watched his hairs slowly twirl toward the floor, while Riku was back in his combat position again. "You’ll be damned," screamed Pete, throwing a punch at his opponent, but the puppet was again more agile: he took a small leap to rest his feet on the enemy's arm, gave himself the push and performed a somersault in the air, knocking him with a kick on his chin. Pete fell terribly backwards, while the Replica instead landed standing without losing any balance.

"What, do you need some help?" sarcastic Riku asked, making the Soul Eater disappear. While his opponent watched him angrily as he got up, the boy took a few steps with no concern, staying close to the white wall of the Castle.

"Come on..." Riku teased him again. “I thought you were stronger than that”.

Pete snapped towards his opponent, jumping towards him, but he avoided the attack by lowering himself and letting the big cat end up against the wall.

 

SBAAAM

 

Still dazed because of the blow, Pete tried to detach the white plaster from his face, but Riku didn't give him that moment of respite: he called forth his weapon again and pointed it at him.
"Get out" the boy scolded.

The villain let go of a weak affirmative nod with his head, made a dark pathway appear behind him and went in, leaving. Riku once again remained alone by the stairs leading to the basements.

 

 

A few floors below, a black hooded figure was inspecting Castle Oblivion. He closed the umpteenth door behind him, snorting annoyed.

- I will never find that chamber... - thought the individual continuing along the white corridor, but suddenly a large thud from the upper floors distracted him.
"Who the hell was that?" he wondered aloud, taking off his hood. He had red hair folded behind his head in large spiky tufts, green eyes with two upside-down tears drawn under them and a pointed chin. Axel looked up amused.

 

 

Chapter 5

Truth (part II)

 

"That's right, I'm a phony, a fake! The way I look, the way I feel, everything I remember!"

 

Even without understanding the reason, Riku Replica had finally found the courage to descend to the fourth basement, where he found Vexen’s laboratory.

It was a large room, with ample space and furnishings reduced to the bare minimum. A bookcase full of volumes on one side of the room, sheets full of notes and projects on the opposite wall and in the middle of the room, a mirror and a series of desks and work tables submerged by documentation, reports and studies on numerous works carried out by the Chilly Academic. On the opposite side of the entrance, hanging on the wall was a large painting of a younger Vexen, in the company of a child with a thick tuft of purple hair covering his right eye, five or six years old at most, both dressed in a lab coat. The picture gave to Riku the impression that it represented the human versions of the scientist and Zexion.
The boy found it ironic that he was the one who eliminated his creator's pupil, but he couldn't laugh much. He went to the tables and tried to decipher the disordered small calligraphy of Vexen; he found notes on the study of the structure of the Keyblade, on the components that make up the human body, on the link between the soul and the mind, and other stuffs that probably had to do with his creation, but nothing specifically related to the assembly of an empty puppet.
Despondent, Riku took off his helmet and looked in the mirror. Without a solid body, he could still see through himself. He knew he had a purpose, to protect Naminé, but once that was done, what more would he do? What was left for him to complete?
While he was alone in the Realm of Darkness, before King Shadow brought him to the surface, the Replica had a dream: he was someone else. It wasn't Riku's copy, it wasn't Riku either... he didn't know who he was in that dream, nor what face he had. He just was someone.
Instead now his reflection confronted him with the cruel reality,that was nothing more than a cumbersome dream. All he had ever possessed was the spectre of an emotion or a memory...
Or maybe not. Perhaps something that wasn't just an illusion, that was only his, was there. In his mind for a second, an image flashed that had drowned in his forged memory: a vision of that same laboratory, some time before, when his artificial consciousness had just begun to take shape.
It was a blurred memory, but it felt like that room was even larger then. He tried to position himself in the same place where he was at the time, under the portrait of Even and Ienzo, but before the tables in the middle of the lab he also saw another door’s jamb.

He turned around and removed the painting from the wall, finding a button under it. Without thinking about it, Riku pressed it and immediately the wall moved, revealing another room. It was small, cold, and barely illuminated because it served to maintain inanimate bodies.
They were hung from the ceiling by a chain passing under their armpits, but their heads were erected in an unnatural way, as if they were all awake and alert. Bodies were naked but empty, free even of nails and navel, and their skins were smooth and shiny. They had no particular signs except a different number tattooed at the base of the neck and the mark of the Nobodies printed on the face of each of them.
Unused puppets waiting for a purpose, without knowing if it would ever arrive. The Replica didn't realize it immediately, but he had just found his family. A sense of anguish and outrage pervaded Riku. If he been could, he would bursting into tears.
He looked at all those empty shells for several minutes before noticing an archive on the wall to his right. He approached and opened a drawer that contained several files, each with a date. He took the first of them all and the first page showed the nomenclature of the Replica Program.
He quickly read the basis of the project, which talked about recreating the Keyblade Keeper in order to put the legendary weapon to use by the Organization. He continued by consulting, one by one, the various files containing the detailed accounts written by Vexen.

He found about a Replica indicated as No. I, the first one which was tested, a copy formed from Sora' s memories. In a way, Riku could consider this Xion as an older sister.

The boy went on and finally found the chapter that spoke of another vessel, the only one in operation beyond Xion... a puppet with no number.

In the end, that’s all he was: an outdated prototype. So insignificant and inadequate that it doesn't deserve a single cipher. It was not just a fake, it was really a nullity. Nothing.

Now aware of his nature and too afflicted to continue, Riku allowed the binder to fall to the ground and emptied by any thoughts, he headed to the exit, leaving the secret passage open. With mechanical movements, like an automaton, he took his helmet and put it back on. He left the laboratory but stood in the middle of the corridor, no longer knowing what his purpose was, if he had any. As he vainly tried to focus on all this, the Organization's number VIII reached him, intrigued by the noise of the struggle between Riku and Pete.

"I can't believe it", the Nobody exclaimed shocked. “Are you really… ?”

The Replica quickly regained self-awareness when, recognized Axel, remembered the time when he had proposed an agreement to get rid of Zexion and in return to obtain his own identity.

The answer to the question was a scream full of anger. Moved by pure instinct, Riku jumped towards Axel to grab him on his neck, but the Nobody managed to avoid just in time.

Riku turned around and positioned himself immediately for the fight, evoking his sword.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chapter 6

Trust

 

If Riku Replica still had a body, his angry breath would have fogged up his helmet's dark lens. Without saying anything and without even thinking, the boy was waiting for the Nobody to grab his weapon.

"Wait" Axel took a step back, "I don't wanna fight".

The puppet's response was to throw a powerful purple fireball at that redhead, which hurled it against the wall.

"Please Riku, you have to listen to me" Axel said as he got up, but the other one had already jumped towards him ready to hit him again. He was no longer interested in fighting on equal terms. He just needed to take it out on someone.

The Nobody grabbed the Soul Eater blade and blocked the Replica's attack. “Seriously, listen to me! I’m sorry!”

"Sorry for WHAT?" Riku asked snarling. He tried to exert more force on his sword, but Axel managed to hold him up.

"For what I've done to you. I would never have wanted-"

“As if you could really regret something!"

The Replica let go of his weapon and suddenly lowered down, dropping his opponent forward, and jumped on him immediately to hit his face, but Axel managed to dodge on a side and snuff out his fist. "You're losing control, Riku! Come back to your senses!"

"I am NOT Riku!" yelled the other.

Axel was astonished at that last statement. "No. You don't have to..."

“What? I don't have to do what? WHAT DO YOU STILL WANT FROM ME?”

“I beg you, calm down! You don't have to say such a thing”.

"And what should I say? I'm a copy, I'm NOTHING! I'm just an empty shell-".

"So am I" exclaimed the member of the Organization, interrupting his reply. “We're anything more. I'm no better than you!”

Riku hesitated, stared at his opponent with all his limbs trembling with anger and tension. He lowered his back, while trying to reason; he wanted to shout, he really wanted to be able to cry. But it only lasted a few moments: the Soul Eater which had fallen to the ground shortly before, disappeared into a beam of darkness and materialized once again in the boy's right hand.

"You weren't created by anyone" he said in a severe tone.

"Riku..." Axel continued, sighing, “I said I don't wanna fight”.

The Replica threw his sword at the redhead, hitting him on his face. Axel placed his hand on his cheek, amazed for the sucker-punch. His face clouded over and spoke through gritted teeth: "But you can't take advantage of my patience!"

A wall of flames rose around the two, closing in a circle. The Nobody grabbed his chakrams, which appeared from burning whirlwinds, and immediately threw one at his opponent, but Riku managed to deflect it by hitting with his sword. He immediately set off towards Axel, who with a gesture of his hand generated other small flames that came out of the floor. The Replica went through them regardless, reaching out and attacking him with a rapid series of fierce blows. The redhead shielded himself with the chakram and tried to oppose Riku by counterattacking.

The boy jumped back to avoid the onslaught of the Nobody, he was about to restart the charge when DiZ and Naminé came from the stairs running.

"What in the world is going on?" the first one said with his deep voice.

"We heard the noise and..." asked the girl. “Axel?”

"Naminé! Haven't you escaped yet?" asked the Nobody surprised. "What are you doing here?"

“I have to look after Sora!”

"Nami, don’t talk to him" Riku shouted not far away.

"Please..." Axel said almost offended, without even turning back. "What are you doing with these two? Was it you who made him come back?"
"No, it wasn't me. He's back thanks to the false memories".

"Hmm, I'm not sure I understand" he said turning to the Replica.
"So what? You've come to take her back?” Riku shouted.

"I just don't think so! Those in high places only knows that Naminé has escaped who knows where and I have a completely different mission" he answered giggling. He looked back at Naminé and asked: “And who’s the great fashion enthusiast there with you?”

"I'm DiZ", the scientist answered impassively.

"Well, wow! The one-eyed man told me that I’ve could possibly meet a strange guy, but you really are picturesque. Hey, they also gave me some sub-directives in case you are found. Nothing personal, man".

Axel launched a fiery chakram against Ansem. The man would have been struck in full, if Riku hadn't shot and got in the middle. The circular weapon hit him on the head and the impact made his helmet fly away.

The boy’s transparent body scared the other three, who were left wide-mouthed. Naminé was the first one to find the strength to speak, but barely stammered at the name of his friend, who did nothing but look down.

"As I live and breathe…" Ansem said chilled.

With a hand gesture, the redhead extinguished the flames around them, then asked: “What the hell has happened to you, Riku?”

"Nothing" replied the Replica with a bent head. "Nothing has happened to me, I've never been anything. It's all I've always been: a lie".

Naminé tried to get close to the boy, but DiZ blocked her holding by her shoulder.
"Now you understand why you're better than me" Riku continued, looking straight into Axel's eyes. "Why do I consider you all better than me? At least you’re holding the shell that gives you form; I lost that too. I'm just a ghost now! If you remove the body from the dummy, what’s left?"

Number VIII listened in respectful silence. He reflected for a few seconds, horrified to understand how far the Organization had gone, then replied: "If you take off the fake body and the stolen memories, what will remain should be..."

"What remains is real" Ansem corrected him. "What's left to you, Riku?"

The Replica turned to the scientist, who was looking at him with a different light in his eye, with an expression halfway between interest and compassion. Even Axel and Naminé looked at him eager, waiting for a response. It was the first time that someone had asked Riku Replica such a question, and it wasn't he who asked himself. His head was crossed and submerged by so many thoughts that he choked, unable to reason lucidly: he knew he had never had anything, so he couldn't left anything... but what they said made sense! If King Shadow had succeeded in resurrecting him from the Realm of Darkness with the excuse of a false promise, then what could he cling to now to find his identity? He had to understand that! But he was too confused… only Naminé's voice could lighten the boy's clouded mind.

"Why did you come back?" asked the Nobody.

It wasn’t King Shadow’s action. He brought Riku’s soul back to the real world, but it had already found a way to preserve its consciousness. And what was, he finally got it.
"For thee" he answered with conviction. "I continued to fight to be able to redeem my mistakes and the evil I did to Sora, but above everything for you. That's why I came back".

Naminé was surprised by the honest and flattering response. She embraced her friend, without realizing that his golden hair had going through his neck and part of his face.

Axel gave a little applause. “Congratulations, Replica. You just found a purpose of your own. Now you’re one step closer to being someone”.

Riku turned to the redhead, who had put away his chakrams and continued: “I guess I can pull up stakes now”.

"Just like this?" Naminé asked. "What will you do about us?"
"Me? Absolutely nothing! You are safe with me".
"Are you going to cover us?" DiZ asked. "Why?"

As if to provoke the man, Axel replied smiling but with an annoying tone of voice: "Hey, don't think about me nicely! I still have the sub-directive to eliminate you, I'm doing it only for them both. And then there's Sora: the Organization still needs the Keyblade Bearer, so if you look for him, you'll be doing us a favour".

"And you’re saying that this way?" Ansem replied.

"Thanks for your frankness" Riku said. He had a calm tone of voice, it was as if he had recovered his lucidity. "But you can't cover us forever".

"You're right. I don't think I can do it for more than three or four weeks..." assumed the redhead. He crossed his arms and reflected for a few seconds, then made a proposal. "If you trust me, we can make a deal: just make a move to find another hiding place within a month and I'll pretend I've never seen you here. Indeed, I’ll do my best to forget about".

"We have no alternative, I guess..." DiZ commented with disappointment. But trust a Nobody, he wondered himself.

"Yeah, we don’t" said Replica, turning to Naminé, then back to the member of the Organization. "We accept".

"We're relying on you, Axel" the girl continued.

"I should be the one who has the last word", Ansem shouted, trying to stop everything, but Nobody was already leaving after having made a dark corridor appear, gesturing with a complacent smile.

The three stayed to observe silently the point where their new ally had vanished, then Riku went to pick up the black helmet; he was about to put it back on, but he stopped to apologize. "I'm sorry I lied to you. I probably got it wrong, but I didn't think I had another choice”. Before continuing he turned to his friend. "The helmet, King Shadow’s reward... now you understand everything, don't you Nami?"

She wished to help him, but it went beyond her abilities related to Sora's memories. She knew that being a Nobody could not feel anything, but she felt the same anguish when she was forced by Larxene to meddle his memories. She simply answered "Yes" with a faint voice.

"Hey" he continued, resting his gloved hand on Naminé's shoulder, "it's not your fault. I'm not mad at you".

She smiled. The two stared at each other for a few seconds, almost with a little bit of mutual embarrassment, until DiZ interrupted them. "Did you find what you were looking for?"

Riku turned to the man, who with his eyes pointed to Vexen's laboratory.

"I think so, but... I’m not sure it still matters that much to me" replied the Replica, putting on his helmet again, but before the dark glass covered his face, both Ansem and Naminé noticed a cheered up expression. "Let's go back to Sora".

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate what you did! I saved almost your corrections and tips. Thank you so much!

Hope you'll enjoy the story to come.

 

 

Chapter 3

Transfer

 

Naminé tightened the bandages around DiZ's wounded leg. She pulled them once more to make sure the wound did not reopen. When finished, the man stood up.

“Thank you," he said to the Nobody. He cleared his throat and turned towards Sora's pod. "I think we should move on".

"Move on?" repeated Naminé. "Where?"

“I don’t know yet. I've been thinking about it for a while now, but after what happened today I'm afraid it's a necessity". Ansem answered. “Castle Oblivion is still under Organization’s control and now this King Shadow has sprouted out of nowhere, and he has found us all too easily... and everything has been going on well for us. But I doubt we will be able to defend ourselves much longer”.

"I understand..."

“We absolutely must find the right place to move, even if we have to extend the process of restoring memories by a few days. Sora is too important for the future of the worlds. We must protect him".

“I will lend you a hand", Riku said not far away. He was leaning against the wall with his back and his arms held firmly against himself. He was still wearing the black helmet.

“And why should we trust you?" replied DiZ without even turning around. "You've attacked us”.

"I was deceived".

"This says a lot about your skills..."

Riku moved away from the wall and opened his arms, clutching his fists. "And it doesn't seem to me that you have been able to do much to stop me... old man".

The man flipped back and forth, provoked by the boy's joke. The two stared for a few seconds until Naminé intervened: "Ansem, wait! We need his help. We are unable to defend ourselves on our own, especially now that we are caught between the Organization and King Shadow".

“She is right", said Riku. "You don't know how to fight and I wish to be apologized".

"I don't trust you," replied the man with a sharp tone.

"I do" Naminé said in a decisive tone.

DiZ was shocked by the intervention of the Nobody. He watched at her for a second with his orange eye, after which he moved away to the encoder still on the ground. As he picked it up again, he muttered in a low voice: "Beings with no heart..."

Riku approaches her friend to thank her. He spoke in a low voice. "Thank you".

"You’re welcome" she replied, smiling.

“I really would like to make up for that. Sora was kind to me, even after everything I did... I owe it to him ".

Naminé thought back to the moment when the Keyblade hero tried in vain to convince Replica that he was someone and not just a shadow. A feeling which she understood well.

"Riku, can I ask you a question?”

"Of course".

"King Shadow said that you gave up your reward. What was it about?"

The boy turned the other way. He didn't want to confess to her that he had become even less of a puppet. Or perhaps he too should have fully understood what this meant.

“Excuse me, Nami, but it's a personal matter," he merely said.

"Oh, sure. It's okay if you don't want to talk about it."

Not far from them, DiZ, who was checking to ensure that his machine was not damaged, let out a short but thunderous laugh. "Ah! What can a fake have of personal?"

Naminé did turn to the man, but Riku stopped her before she could say anything and said: "He's right this time".

The Nobody sighed and turned again towards Riku. "You shouldn’t mind about him. It is not bad after all, it's just he’s been through a lot. You just have to get along with him”.

The boy began to giggle. "Ok, I trust you".

Naminé reciprocated his laughter and tried to look into the eyes of her friend through the dark glass of his helmet. He, who could see her well, stared in her sky blue eyes and at that moment felt a faint heat going up his back to the chest. Without wanting to, he had the strange impulse of holding the girl in his arms.

He took a step back as if frightened by this emotion, which was new to him since he was just a copy. He said the first thing that came to his mind.

"And...the real Riku? How come he's not here to protect his friend?"

The look on the girl’s face immediately became serious. "I don't know where he is. He and the King... King Mickey I mean, they’re travelling through the worlds to investigate the Organization".

The Replica snorted, trying to hide his relief for changing the discourse. "He had to stay to take care of you..."

"No, that's fine" she replied. "It was his choice to leave. He wanted to tame the darkness in his heart... he decided to take the longest and most tortuous road".

In Naminé's words, Riku perceived a worried tone. He sighed, afflicted by the idea of get back to life as a ghost just to envy his original, which was nothing more than yet another mockery of fate.

"But I feel sure now that you're back there" the girl continued, "after all, Sora asked you to protect me. It was just before he faced Marluxia, do you remember?"

Riku Replica turned to her. She smiled again. The boy felt that warmth again, but this time it was different: it spread more gently throughout his body, without making him stiff or suddenly nervous.

"It's true," he replied, moving closer to Naminé.

"Can I ask you another question?" Naminé asked again. "Why the helmet?"

"This? Oh, it's just ..." he stopped, looking for the right words. In reality he could consider it as progress, but he could not understand if King Shadow, before disappearing, had left him out of pity or if it was simply an oversight.

Or, in the worst-case scenario, he had left it deliberately in view of his future plans. Riku did not know whether he felt frightened or angry.

"It's nothing," he finally answered. "It’s meant to hide and protect me".

The girl was stunned by that statement, but understood immediately that it was not appropriate to investigate further. He then approached and passed his hand behind his friend's arm. "I'm happy to see you again".

 

A large shadow hovered among the walls of Hollow Bastion. He wandered undisturbed, but the sinister appearance of the castle disturbed him in everything.

Pete had been commissioned by Maleficent to sow the seeds of darkness among worlds in order to find new possible allies, but the witch had not been heard for a long time. And now he could not find her.

He had almost arrived at the lock room when an icy blast of wind echoed through the tall and imposing corridors.

"WHO’S THERE'?!" he shouted, turning around.

There was no one other than him. He looked around before continuing, when he finally received a response.

"Hello, Pete. I was wondering if you are willing to perform a little courtesy".

"WHO ARE YOU?! SHOW YOURSELF!"

"We have a friend in common, if that reassures you. Let's say she has learned a lot from me".

"Huh? Are you talkin' about Maleficent? ...but who are you?!"

"I am King Shadow. I would like you to deal with an issue which is dear to me".

You certainly improved, kept my attention.  I'll review the latter chapters later.  Does King Shadow get Maleficent's crow to somehow resurrect her?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You certainly improved, kept my attention.  I'll review the latter chapters later.  Does King Shadow get Maleficent's crow to somehow resurrect her?

Thanks for keep reading! I've been very busy at work in the last weeks, but now I can focus on the last chapters. Thanks again!

 

Chapter 7

Defaulting

 

“A faithful replica until the very end”.

 

It was almost sunset at Hollow Bastion, two figures dressed in black were crossing the crevasse undisturbed. Mickey had already passed there a couple of times, but Riku - the original one - saw that area for the first time. During the short period he had lived in that world, he never left Maleficent’s castle.

They continued to walk almost until the end of the road, when suddenly the King noticed that the boy had stopped and knelt, with one hand on his chest.

"Riku!" called the monarch running toward his friend to aid him.

"It's nothing..." the boy answered, almost whispering, making to the other person sign to stop with his hand. He stood up, barely staggering, but managed to get back on his feet. "I'm fine".

Riku started walking straight ahead again. King Mickey lowered his discouraged gaze, thinking about how much the shadow of Ansem could really weigh on the teenager's heart. As if the latter had read his thoughts, he said: "I have to do it myself, but I'm almost there. I'll be back soon".

Mickey reached out to his companion running, remembering that he still had a lot of things to do. "Whatever you need, I'll always be with ya" he said, returning his usual friendly smile back to his face.

 

"It took longer than expected, but we're still on time," announced DiZ with his redundant voice.

"We're running out of time", began Riku Replica by correcting the scientist. "We have to move".

Three weeks had passed since they met Axel. In that time, Ansem had opted for a large number of worlds to be able to transfer Sora and hide from King Shadow and the Organization. Fortunately, there were no further attacks by anyone, but Riku had always been on the alert.

"I know" DiZ answered as he looked down on the portable monitor he held in his hand. "But there is only one thing left to do: I want you to accompany Naminé to the place I have chosen so that she can study it well and decide on the best spot to place Sora. Then we can proceed with the transfer of the equipment and finally we can leave. It will only take a handful of days”.

"You're sure you want to stay alone?" the Nobody asked to the man with his delicate voice.

"You shouldn't take long. I'll be able to get away with it".

"All right", said Riku not far away. He was right in front of Sora's pod, watching the Keyblade Keeper with his helmet under his arm. He almost seemed to admire his former opponent, absorbed in the thoughts that made him eager to repay him.

He had thought a lot about the purpose he had found a short while ago and later realized that even the real Riku wanted to protect Sora. Could it be that his design had been so meticulous that he had to replicate, albeit unconsciously, the intentions of the original Riku? "Maybe that's how it is", Naminé told him when he confided in her, "but despite having the same goal, you've chosen two different paths: he's fighting the darkness within himself, while you've stayed here to defend Sora in person. I believe that you are much more than just a copy".

Riku had not yet fully convinced himself of the last part, but had learned not to give so much importance to certain thoughts. He cleared his head of all questions, turned to DiZ and asked: "And are you sure you can trust me?"

The man did not answer, he just gave a quick glance at him in exchanged. Even if neither of them had admitted it, a relationship of mutual esteem had arisen between them.

The Replica laughed and then turned to Naminé: "If it's okay with you, I'd say we should go right away and close this up".

"Sure", replied the girl.

Riku wore the helmet and with a gesture of his hand Ansem opened a dark corridor that led to the designated place. The two boys entered and found themselves in the blue space amidst the worlds, studded everywhere with Nobody's symbol. Both saw that strange place for the first time, but Naminé felt particularly intimidated. "Are we safe here?"

“What do you mean here?"

The Nobody was dumbfounded and confused by the question that she could not answer. It took her a few seconds to realize it was a joke, then she made an effort to get a laugh.

"Sorry Nami, but I don't have a great sense of humour. I'm trying to improve", Riku explained.

This time the girl laughed spontaneously. "You'll get it", she said, taking her partner's hand with hers. Their fingers intertwined and both continued to walk forward. After a few minutes they reached another passage, crossed it and went out into the open: the destination was an abandoned mansion just outside a small forest. A pleasant breeze blew among the trees, gently shaking the leaves and the branches, filtering the reddish sunlight of the sunset, even if it was only the early hours of afternoon.

Riku and Naminé looked around intrigued, for both it was the first time they had seen one of the worlds outside the Castle Oblivion. The memories of the original Riku, however, deceived the Replica: he expected every world to have a clear blue sea, a golden sandy beach and an incandescent sun. However, he did not understand whether he felt nostalgia or disappointment.

The youngsters headed towards the old unhinged gate, opened it, crossed the alley and finally entered the mansion. The Nobody immediately set to work and began to inspect every room, first on the lower floor and then on the upper one. Riku instead made sure that everything was safe, but the place seemed free of any danger, so he decided to visit the house calmly. He entered the library and it had just an old table in the middle of the room with a candlestick and a wall-mounted bookcases, still full of books and novels. On the other side of the corridor there was another room, completely white and without furniture, with only two large white tents swaying together as the wind blew.

He went downstairs and found a living room still furnished, but the dust covered every surface. Naminé joined the boy after a while, saying that she had finished.

"You were really quick", Riku commented. "Better so, let's go back to Sora straight away".

The Replica headed towards the front door, followed by the girl, who grabbed Riku's hand again, but the noise of a broken glass made them turn around. A large black arm emerged from the broken window, groping for the handle, finding it and managing to open the passage. It was Pete, who came onto the scene climbing over the wall.

"You again?" Riku shouted, while calling forth his Soul Eater.

"Ugh, he's really here, so he was right", the cat muttered in a low voice.

"Nami, go away," the boy ordered. The Nobody ran for shelter fleeing into the room next door, but occasionally leant out his head to see what was going on.

"I have to get rid of it quickly," Pete muttered again to himself. Then, pulling out all his arrogance, filled his lungs and said aloud: "All right, brat! You have two possibilities: you can leave without makin’ a fuss and you will not put yourself on my path anymore, or good ol’ Pete will have to beat up your ass!"

"I have already heard the story of the 'good ol’ Pete', and I remember well how it ended. I’m not at all impressed with your strength!"

"You think so, rookie?" Pete replied laughing. "I've equipped myself well, this time!"

The cat pulled a huge blue-grayish ball out of a pocket, with bands that traced its circumference. Pete threw it at his opponent who grabbed it in the air, blocking the shot without any problems.

"What's it, you thought you were playing blitzball?" Riku asked provocatively.

“Of course not... but ya fell right into my trap!”

“What?”

The bands on the ball illuminated suddenly. The Replica, caught unawares, remained petrified: the sphere generated a small but powerful explosion that completely engulfed the boy, throwing his helmet off against a wall.

Naminé remained behind the door, stunned by the fright, while observing the fading smoke. It took a few moments, then finally she saw the silhouette of her friend pouring on the floor, but when the view was completely free she saw that Riku's red and blue outfit was empty.

The lips of Nobody trembled. She took a shy step forward and then snapped through the winning laughter of Pete, which flooded the room, and reached his friend's inanimate clothes. Alongside the suit, there was the lucky charm in the shape of a Paopu fruit. She picked it up instinctively and clenched it between her hand and the copy's glove.

"Riku?!" she called desperately. "RIKU!"

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're getting close to the big finale!

 

 

Chapter 8

Redemption

 

In the end, I will disappear again. Why here, like this? Why in this way?

I haven’t been able to accomplish anything in my life. Life, existence ... sometimes I think of these words to grasp its full meaning and other times for nothing. But it is in my nature: I was born in the shadows, from the darkness of someone else. They filled my heart with lies and false memories, I tried in every way to become something else that wasn’t a simple imitation with a destiny already written, but ... I have disappeared once, and probably this time nothing will remain of me, as was expected.

I would have been satisfied with so little, but instead nothing ever belonged to me, everything was denied from me. Or almost: Sora granted me pity. He knew I was just a fake but he tried to help me as a good friend would. He wanted to give me a chance but I refused. Even then, I didn't compromise: everything or nothing.

Only now I realized at the end that I made a mistake, only now do I see every single mistake I ever made. And I realize that life as a whole is a compromise.

Without anyone asking, come to the light. From that moment on you will meet people who will demand something from you, for some you will be just a means or an advantage to achieve something, you will receive the weight of expectations and you will have to drag yourself behind all your demerits, and there will be very few good people who instead remember what you did right in that small amount of time allowed.

It's a burden when you think about it, but at least it's everything... true. I can't hope for all this because... ‘cause someone has decided that I can't do it. Where is the reasoning behind this?

And even when I thought I could make up for it by finding a purpose that was only mine, it was worth nothing. That feeling, the awareness of no longer being able to fail and bring something to accomplishment... made me feel better. I just fooled myself.

But not him. Riku, the real one, has succeeded and has done much more.

Once my creator called him 'the hero of darkness'. Ironically, on that occasion Riku accepted darkness in his heart, but at the same time prevailed over it. He succeeded in redeeming himself of the errors made in the past. He had a second chance, everyone should have one. Why not me? Why can't I have a real one?

It would have been useless, but knowing that this time I will disappear forever, I… I…

 I heard a voice in the darkness calling me.

"Riku?!"

Who are you? I'm not...

"RIKU!"

This voice... Naminé?

In pitch darkness, I can see a small glimmer of light opening up far away. The light is moving quickly and in a few seconds it will reach and envelope me. I'm feeling the warmth of the light, I can feel it.... it’s real.

 

Riku opened his eyes and saw Naminé bending over him, his gaze full of fear. With one hand she held his hand, holding the Paopu fruit lucky charm.

"You're back" exclaimed the Nobody in a incredulous and relieved tone.

"Am I back?" asked the boy, as surprised as his friend. "Of course... I've heard your voice”.

Naminé hugged him. "I'm so happy!" she said smilingly.

"Thank you for guiding me", replied the copy in exchange for the embrace. He passed his left hand through the straw-colored hair of Nobody and with his right hand tightened his grip on the lucky charm. "I will never abandon you. I promise Nami, this time for real".

The girl caressed Riku's cheek, her eyes became shiny.

"Hey..." Pete wasn't far away, with his mouth left wide open. "HEY HEY HEY! How dare you to snatch my victory comin’ back so suddenly?”

Riku swapped one last look with Naminé, then got up with an annoyed look.
"What happened to your face? Are you sure you're okay?" asked the feline again, seeing his opponent better. The copy took only one step, placing itself before the Nobody. He put the lucky charm in his pocket and tightened his grip on the Soul Eater’s hilt, but remained standing without putting on guard, staring at the enemy with a grim expression and nothing else.

"All right, boy! You want to be tough? I’ll make you settle down right away!"

Pete took a handful of small red and blue bombs from his pockets and threw them all at the two boys. Without blinking an eyelid, Replica unleashed a dark aura around his artificial body, which sent the explosives back to the sender. The big cat managed to defend himself by making a big spherical barrier appear around him just in time.

"I told ya I was well equipped", Pietro exclaimed boldly, but Riku continued to ignore him. He opened his left hand and threw a purplish fireball at his opponent. The barrier blocked again the attack, but taking advantage of the smoke caused by the blow, the boy snapped forward and struck the barrier with his sword, throwing the barrier away together with its guarded against the table in the middle of the room, breaking it in two.

Pete got up, stunned for being treated like a ball. He staggered around for a couple of metres before being able to stop and put his thoughts back in order; he saw that the enemy was observing him with absolute disregard. Realizing he couldn't win, the cat began to tremble with anger. "I should have continued carryin’ out the task that Malefica had entrusted to me", he whispered to himself. Then, regaining control, he looked up at the ceiling and began to shout, waving, "Hey, King Shadow! I know you're listenin’! I quit, and never dare to show you again!"

"What? King Shadow?" Riku asked, surprised. “Do you know him?”

"Humpf, you're lucky that I got tired of playin’ with you and with your unsettling, stupid helmet, kiddo!" answered Pete with his usual haughtiness. With an abrupt gesture of his arm he opened a dark pathway, turned around and entered it with a heavy step. The copy didn't follow him, he stared at him as he left the scene.

Once the portal was closed, Naminé approached her friend, resting her slender hand on one shoulder. A second later, Riku waved, as if he lacked strength. The Nobody grasped him promptly under his arms, helping him to stand up. "Riku! Are you all right?"

"I don't know... I feel strange. Weak".

"You’ve raised back a second time. It's normal that you are feeling tired, your mind is proven. We must return to the Castle and let you rest".

"You're right... let's go".

Supporting the boy, Naminé headed for the door. The two stopped to pick up the helmet, then pass through the atrium and went out into the alley, and finally arrived at the dark corridor they had used shortly before to get there, still open. They entered and, as they went on, the blonde girl said, "If it weren't for that Pete..."

"No, it was better that way", Riku said. "Now we know that King Shadow is reorganizing to attack again. We absolutely have to move Sora... and I will give to King Shadow what he deserves!"

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next time, the final chapter!

 

Chapter 9

Accomplishment

 

Riku opened his eyes and saw the white ceiling above him. When he returned to Castle Oblivion he collapsed out of stress. He turned on his side and sat in bed, trying to align his thoughts and get up. He yawned and wondered how much he had slept, then jumped out of bed and out of the room to look for Naminé and DiZ.

He found them outside the room where Sora was sleeping, busy trading with Ansem's research and studies and closing them in boxes to move everything at dusk.

"Good morning", said the Replica in a rosy voice. He cleared his throat and approached the two, asking: "Did I sleep a lot?"

"You slept all afternoon yesterday and all night", answered the Nobody passing a pile of paper to the scientist, who specified: "Almost eighteen hours."

It meant that Sora had been defenceless for almost a whole day. Riku didn't know what to say, he mumbled a little before formulating a sentence with complete meaning. "What can I do?"

"Go over there and bring my coding device. Don't break it", Ansem said while closing a box. Naminé looked at his friend and smiled softly, as if to tell him not to notice the way the man had asked for it.

The boy let go of an amused grimace and went to pick up the machinery. He found it in the same place where he had seen it for the first time. He studied it for a moment, to find the best way to move it without damaging it and then he heard a raucous and cavernous voice behind him.

"You should’ve done as I told you and destroyed that thing, boy".

Riku turned around and saw a dark portal opening in the middle of the room, from which came the low, humped figure of King Shadow, with a brown coat hiding him completely. "But I want to offer you one last chance: take care of it now and maybe I'll give you the body you've always longed for".

"You're too late, king my hide" Riku replied, evoking his weapon. "You no longer have anything to offer that interests me.

"Is that so? Well..." said the mysterious sovereign with a little complacency. "But I remind you that you are indebted to me, you copy of Riku! It's I who brought you back, now you have to obey me!"

The Replica took a bewildered look at him and then positioned himself for a fight: "Yeah, can’t wait!"

"I warned you, you've taken a path from which you can't go back".

"And I told you that I don't care! Now stop cracking and prepare to move out!”

"Poor, little copy..." commented King Shadow shaking his head. "You understand so little".

After hearing the voices, Naminé and DiZ immediately headed toward the room, but an invisible wall prevented them from passing. They both put their open hands on it, as if to throw it down. "Riku! We can't get through!"

"I know, I did", answered the boy. "You two stay safe".

Riku snapped towards the enemy and cut the air with a series of slants, but his opponent parried them all without difficulty. The Replica jumped and settled a kick on the king's chest, causing him to move back one step, and without giving him a break the boy threw against him a Dark Firaga. The impact generated a blanket of black smoke that swallowed King Shadow, but after a few seconds a jet of darkness came out and struck Riku, trapping him and carrying him upward. The smoke was reduced and the boy, pressed against the ceiling and saw that the dark jet was actually the arm of the enemy, stretched for several meters from under the brown tunic.

King Shadow turned and raised his other arm toward Sora's pod, then the darkness surrounding Riku swelled further and wrapped him completely.

"RIKU!" Naminé called out.

The monarch's limb extended and grasped the pod, his hand branched out and many small strands of darkness similar to small fingers agitated on the glass surface, covering it slowly. From above fell a beam of light, coming from inside the bubble that kept the Replica trapped.

"Light?" asked King Shadow with curiosity.
A beam of light overthrew the cocoon, cutting it in two, and Riku jumped out, returning with his feet to the ground.

"Leave Sora alone!", he shouted. A violet aura covered his body and lifted him up from the ground, floating him in the air. He pointed his weapon first upward and then toward the enemy, moving as if to shoot forward but vanished leaving behind a blast of wind. He reappeared immediately after a few inches from the arm of the enemy, hitting him with the Soul Eater, and faded again. It was so fast that it seemed that he was teleporting for every attack. He continued to hit his opponent's limb until he stumbled.

King Shadow cried out, but his voice seemed different. It resembled the moaning of a savage animal. The dark filaments around Sora's pod retracted until they dissolved.

Riku transfered himself one last time, hitting his opponent hard. The impact was so strong that it hurled him toward the invisible wall, broke it and threw him over Naminé and DiZ, through the entire corridor, down to the stairs, where he fell down the ramp rolling disastrously.

The Replica ran behind him and chased him down the stairs to the landing where he had stopped. King Shadow grabbed the boy on the fly and made that animal-like verse again, then threw him down the stairs in turn. Riku rolled to the ground floor, where he was reached by the monarch through a dark pathway.

Naminé and DiZ ran after them and when they reached them, the fight was so intense that they could not intervene. King Shadow parried every shot and immediately counterattacked, but the other  easily dodged every attack.

The copy tried to immobilize him by grabbing one shoulder with one hand and the head with the other, and approached the point where he could see the face under the hood. The expression on Replica's face chilled, his lips flickered and his eyes opened wide, full of dismay.

"What... what are you?!" asked the boy trying to detach himself, but the enemy had grabbed him with his long fingers similar to roots, which stretched over the youngster's body. The mysterious being rode his arm four or five times and then let go of the grip, throwing Riku against the wall. In a second, the Replica stretched out his arm forward and opened his hand, generating a dark portal, he jumped in and reappeared behind the sovereign, hitting him on the fly and throwing him back towards the stairs.

King Shadow rolled down the steps again, crossed the landings until he reached the fourth basement. He stood up staggeringly, breathing anxiously, his voice broken from time to time by those inhumane verses.

"Hey, monster!" he heard a voice. He turned around and Riku had already reached him; with one jump, he struck him with his knee on his face, hurling him in Vexen's laboratory.

The boy entered with all his determination and arrogance of the past. Now, returning to the place where he had come to life was no longer intimidating him. "Do you want to finally get out or do you want to me to wipe the floor with you?"

King Shadow rose slowly, with his head low. He stood up without saying anything for a few seconds, then laughed, strong enough to shake his whole body.

Naminé and DiZ arrived tired of the continuous racing, just as their enemy was about to show his ace in the hole.

"Do you think I am a monster, you failed copy?" proclaimed the villain when taken by breath. "Maybe it's time to remember that if I was able to bring you back, then I also have the power to make you disappear again!"

King Shadow lifted his gaze and from underneath the hood he glimpsed two small red eyes glowing and shining in the shadow that concealed his face. A second later a vermilion halo wrapped Riku and lifting him off the ground. The Replica felt compressed as if someone was squeezing his body and bones. He was just a ghost, yet he felt pain.

At last, with a gesture of the enemy's hand, Riku disappeared. He evaporated into many tiny luminous residues that hovered in the air, dissolving after a while.

Naminé remained to observe the void in front of her in disbelief. She tried to call her friend, but her lips barely blew. DiZ took a step forward, standing between the Nobody and the adversary, who now looked at them with hostility.
"Naminé, run!" Ansem ordered, but the girl was too scared to move. The being did not pronounce a word, his only worn-out breath seemed less and less human, and more and more threatening. He stretched his arm still intact towards the man and the girl and moved forward, eager to conclude the job.
A noise behind him distracted him: the tinkling of some chains. King Shadow turned around, but there was no one else in the lab. He observed more clearly, some of the unused bodies of the other Replicas hanging in a barely visible way, but they were all immobile, inanimate.
The sovereign did not care anymore, he returned to his two targets, who withdrew intimidated, when a tinkling metal broke again the silence that prevailed in the room. He turned again and this time a dummy turned on him, ripping off part of his brown robe.
The faceless involucre stood between King Shadow and his targets. He stretched his left arm forward and bent his right back, assuming a pose which DiZ and Naminé were very familiar with. A beam of darkness made the Soul Eater materialize in the fingerless hand.
"Riku!" screamed Nobody, but his friend said nothing.
The enemy observed the new vessel the boy had found, against all his predictions. "Are you came back... alone?"
The mouthless Replica was still silent. Only the symbol of the Nobodies was drawn on his face, but somehow King Shadow knew he was staring at him. With a roar of disapproval the monarch took off his tattered outfit and finally revealed himself in his true nature: a Heartless. A Shadow too much grown.
Completely black and hunched, his abdomen rounded, his legs bent forward and his arm hanging. The head was more like a Neo Shadow, like a huge sphere with a pointed chin and two long serrated horns falling backwards. The round and yellow eyes showed a slight crimson glow at the edges and were divided by two grey bands that crossed forming an X in the centre of the face.
Throughout the black body, there were purplish streaks that moved slowly to the left and right, similar to pulsating veins. On the face of the monster, there was an irregularly shaped mouth with some filaments of darkness dripping between his lips.
The creature roared, his ghostly verse filled the air freezing the blood in DiZ's veins, Riku didn't blink an eye. He shot towards the enemy, but the latter knocked him off with a mighty blast. The puppet ended up against the tables in the lab, but stood up unharmed a second later.
The monster jumped towards the boy, who avoided the blow by jumping backwards. With a fast move, Riku directed a Dark Firaga against the giant Shadow and launched an attack immediately afterwards. He managed to bring to light numerous lunges, one after the other, until the four knotty fingers of the enemy lengthened around him, blocking him. He was lifted up by Heartless, carrying him in front and furiously roared again, but the dummy remained impassive and took advantage of it to strangle him around his neck with his weapon.
King Shadow tried to throw him away, but Riku clung well to the hilt of the sword and found himself leaning on the chest of the monstrous opponent. He tightened his grip on the Soul Eater with both hands and his artificial body was covered with a golden halo that seemed to embrace and welcome him. The light began to move, to flow through the blade into the enemy, who screamed. It wasn't an angry cry, but one of pain.
The Heartless crashed to the ground groaning, while the boy continued with every ounce of himself to infuse that shiny aura into the monster. After a few seconds, Riku's appearance took shape, transparently, around the shape of the puppet. Naminé fell to the ground because of the tension, while Ansem was paralysed by astonishment: it was as if Riku was using his own light, all over.
King Shadow continued screaming desperately and suffering until the last glow of light penetrated him. First his eyes and mouth, then his fingertips and finally every grain of his body began to shine and shine even brighter, until it exploded into a blinding glow.
It took Naminé and DiZ a few seconds to find out what had happened: all that remained of the huge Heartless was dark grey dust, soft and sticky to the sight. In the middle of it was Riku, standing on his side, whose appearance was still transparent and lying on the fake body, but it seemed to slowly lose its colour.

The Nobody stood up and ran toward her friend, sat down on him, and placed a hand under his head. She called him several times out loud, until he regained consciousness.

"Hey..." the boy said weakly. In one hand he held the good luck charm, and the girl laid her hand on it. Riku continued: "I've done it”.

"Yes... you stopped him! You've won!"

"What kind of king... he didn't even have a crown", he commented sarcastically. The blonde girl burst into a little laugh, but at the same time her eyes became shiny.

The boy smiled, but his eyelids closed by themselves. "Sorry, Nami... I promised you I would always stay with you... but I..."

Emptied of all his strength, Riku could not even finish the sentence. DiZ remained at a good distance. When he understood what had happened and what would have happened to the copy, a bitter sigh slipped from his lips. "Good dear..."

"It's funny", continued the Replica. "It was a real promise, but I won't be able to keep it. It's funny, yet I'm sad..."

"Riku, what are you saying?", asked Naminé, making her face gloomy. "Riku?!"

"At least I was able to save Sora... but I can’t... do it anymore".

The Nobody remained silent and too shaken to add anything other than wheeze or hiccups. Finally Riku passed his plastic hand over his friend's cheek and opened his eyes to look at her one last time. The smile widened, was serene and satisfying.

"That’s... okay", he said with his last breath. The reflection of his appearance, his soul, fade out completely and vanished. His arm was lifted up from the girl's cheek, unnaturally, like the heads of the other puppets still hanging from the ceiling behind them. They seemed to be praying in dignified silence to their older brother, who had left, leaving behind only the empty puppet with the number XVII written at the base of his neck. That, and the Paopu fruit pendant in Naminé’s hands.

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Final chapter, fellas, and a little surprise!

 

Chapter 10

Aftermath

 

"That's... okay".

 

Sora continued to sleep undisturbed inside the crystal pod, even after being moved in a hurry to the basement of the old mansion, in Twilight Town.

Naminé was looking after him, as she had promised to the real Riku. The Nobody's mind, however, was engaged in the last events: four days had passed since Riku's copy disappearance after the fight with King Shadow. Every now and then she looked around, sometimes slowly and sometimes snapping, as if she felt the presence of her friend close to her. But all the time she was always alone. The girl sighed, downcast, but kept wondering hopefully if she would ever see her friend again.

The entrance door opened and the long and heavy steps of Ansem the Wise echoed in the room completely devoid of furniture. The man reached the Nobody and said: "I have also fixed Donald and Goofy. Now we just have to wait".

Naminé nodded silently. Then, remembering suddenly, she began: "There is something strange in Sora's memories".

"How, something strange?"

"It felt like a sort of... disturbance, a tremor in the process of recovery. Now everything appears to be back in place, even though I couldn't figure out what it was".

"Maybe it was just due to the movement... anyway, keep monitoring everything. If you discover something, tell me immediately".

The girl nodded again without saying anything. She looked back at Sora, but was absorbed in her thoughts.

At first DiZ started to leave, then asked her: "Are you still worried about Riku?"

"Do you think there is any chance that he might return again?", Naminé asked in return.

The scientist took a deep breath. He returned to the side of the Nobody and answered: "He has managed to emerge from the Kingdom of Darkness three times, so I do not see why not. Still..."

The other turned to the man with his blue eyes disbelieving and full of surprise.

"Still" Ansem continued, "it's also true that last time he was satisfied. He had accomplished his goal, so... I don't know".

DiZ remained silent. His nature as a scientist made him hate having to admit that he didn’t know such a thing.

"I understand..." she simply replied to the other, almost whispering.

"In addition, I think it's appropriate not to say anything to the real Riku. I wouldn't want him to decide on going to look for this phantom King Shadow".

"You think King Shadow is still a threat?" Naminé asked. Her face was frozen and the idea that their opponent was still alive, was terrorizing her.

"No. We've seen him disintegrate, I think we'll never hear about him again," Ansem explained. "We just don't know how Riku might take it.... he may even decide to leave to make sure that he’s dead, or to investigate his purpose. I'm sorry to ask you about that, but we need Riku here with us and Sora".

The Nobody remained silent at first, returning to stare at Sora on the other side of the glass. "Okay", she said.

The other person bowed his head and turned to leave, but stopped once again.

"Ah, I have a thing for you," continued DiZ, taking the lucky charm in the shape of a Paopu fruit from a pocket under his blue cloak. "I found it at Castle Oblivion last time I returned there to pick up my equipment. It was on the floor and I thought that maybe you'll like to keep it".

The man didn't even realize he was treating the girl like a human. Naminé took the pendant and observed it in amazement, as if just the sight relieved the torment, but she could not find the strength to thank the scientist.

 

King Shadow had woven his plots there, in a distant place, far away more than physically. The shadows enveloped every corner of that place which was empty and apparently devoid of boundaries. Only two souls stayed there, one in conflict with the other.
"I hope you've finished harassing those people" said one, a young Keyblade wielder. "They didn't deserve what you did to him".

The other one gave him his shoulders; he was a Master and much older, slightly hunched and with his hands joined behind his back. He laughed with his crackling voice, pleased with the work done by his avatar.

"I was just testing the power of that puppet," justified the man unperturbed. "I have to choose my vessels carefully..."

The boy puffed, looking tortuously at his opponent. He turned around, with his yellow amber eyes looking at the boy for the umpteenth time, then his grin unraveled and he asked: "Are you not curious to know the outcome?"

 

DiZ had gone to prepare his stuff. The man had mentioned something about Sora's heart and the results of his research, but Naminé had not listened to him. She was not in the mood.

The Nobody had therefore remained alone, again. She had hung the lucky charm in the shape of a Paopu fruit on the white wall. Every now and then she looked around, eager to see her friend reappear from nowhere, but was losing hope.

She sighed, headed toward the door to go and get some air, thinking that perhaps it would do her well. She had almost left the room when she heard a faint metallic noise, like that of a swinging chain.

She winced and turned around, but there was no one except her. She approached the lucky charm hanging on the wall, but due to the agitation she couldn't understand if she was standing still or if she was moving in a barely perceptible way. She looked around once again, a mixture of emotions intertwined on her face, from joy to worry and from hope to a bit of fear... but there really was no one in the room. Perhaps it was just her imaginaton.

 

 

The End

 

 

 

Bonus Report

 

So, I hope you enjoyed this short adventure of Riku Replica. There are a couple of details that haven’t found place in the story, and I would like to share them with you.

First of all, maybe you’ve noticed, but in my mind Repliku’s return happened by the form of a Lingering Will. Just like Terra in BbS, he didn’t have a body, only a vessel to contain his mind. His ghostly appearance is, of course, a creative freedom I took to tell the story. His helmet, an homage from Master Xehanort, is the same (or a very similar one) of Vanitas.
Next, I made a specific timeline to fit the events of the fic with the ones of the videogames, starting from the one showed in the “Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Ultimania”. In red, the events seen in Chain of Memories and Days, in blue the ones depicted in this story.

DAY 49: Sora defeats Marluxia and go to sleep
DAY 51: Riku defeats Riku Replica
DAY 52: Riku and King Mickey leaves Castle Oblivion
DAY 68: Riku Replica returns with King Shadow’s help, he meet Naminé and DiZ [chapters 1-3]
DAY 70: Riku Replica meets Pete and Axel [chapters 4-6]
DAY 71: Axel returns to the World that Never Was
DAY 72: Roxas and Axel tails Pete in Agrabah
DAY 74: Xion loses her ability to use the Keyblade
DAY 75: Roxas and Xion fights Pete in Agrabah
DAY 91: Riku and Mickey visits Hollow Bastion, Riku Replica and Naminé visits Twilight Town. Riku Replica defeats Pete in the Old Mansion [chapters 7-8]
DAY 92: Riku Replica defeats King Shadow [chapter 9]
DAY 95: DiZ and Naminé moves to Twilight Town
DAY 96: Xion can use the Keyblade again, causing a disturbance in the process of recovery of Sora’s memories [chapter 10]

Also, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed, but the report that Riku Replica finds out in Vexen’s lab, is the same (and the only one) written by Vexen in 358/2 Days.
The Program is largely on target. No. i, my finest Replica, has proven an even greater success than anticipated. I intend to take the other vessel - judged unfit for number status - to Castle Oblivion, where I will subject it to further testing. One thing is clear: could these Replicas not be classified as a special sort of Nobody?

Last but not least, maybe you’ve wondered why I chose the puppet with number 17 to make Riku Replica return during the final battle.
Well, there are a lot of meanings for this number. In the cabala is a positive number: “1” is the number for God and “7” is the number of knowledge. If added we get an “8”, that if overturned becomes the infinite symbol. Also, the “8” in tarot represents the balance between God and men.
Also, there is a negative meaning. In latin is written “XVII”, which anagrammed is “vixi”, latin for “I lived”, so… I’m dead!
Plus, remember what DiZ said about a possible Riku Replica’s return, well… who knows? Maybe in Kingdom Hearts 3? I really hope so.
Also, according to the timeline above, Riku Replica is defeated by Riku during Day 51, and returns on Day 68… exactly 17 days later.

In order to close, the last words Riku Replica said before vanish in Naminé’s hands, are the same he said after being defeated by Riku in Re:Chain of Memories.

Edited by ciel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Please hide any Kingdom Hearts III spoilers inside a spoiler box using the button on the editor. For more information, check out our KH3 spoiler policy (in effect until March 31).
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...