Chapter 2: Mirror
I'm so glad she stopped crying, something tells me she's not the type to do so very often.
In fact, I have a feeling she's normally a cheerful person.
Oh, she's opening up to me.
"I don't know how much time I may have in this place. But if I could.. I'd like to tell you a story..."
A story? I love stories, they're always fun to listen to, but most of all I know... they're always somehow important. My grandma used to tell me stories when I was younger...
"Absolutely, I'd love to listen."
And so she began
"Once upon a time, in a world very different from yours. There was girl who loved to sell flowers. She would sell them everyday as much as she could.
One day she met someone. This person was filled with sadness and hurt, yet there was an unexplainable kindness that emanated from him. After a while they both began to care for one another.
However, not much like any fairytale you've heard before. The world they resided in was a powerhouse of greed and corruption. People wanted a resource, an energy and would pursue it at any cost.
The Girl enjoyed her time with this guy. She even decided to go on adventures with him, to help him stop what the powers that be would do to the world they lived in.
She grew to care for this man who initially was distant and full of despair. Watched him bloom into a leader of compassion and strength, even though his past haunted him deeply. She became his guiding light.
However, tragedy struck and she perished.
One by one, all of her loved ones gathered around to mourn her passing. Yet she made a promise.
She promised to keep them all safe, especially the one she cared for most. Even if her body perished, her spirit would watch over them all. She would always be with him; they're destinies were forever intertwined.
He hasn't forgotten her either, everyday in a church they pay respects and visit her flower bed in memorial of her.
She watches from above, and continues to smile down at them."
This story feels so familiar yet foreboding. I want to feel happy, but somehow I'm not sure if I should cry or smile.
"That was a sad yet beautiful story Aerith. Thank you for that."
"Kairi, is there anyone you've ever cared for. Someone who you've vowed to protect?"
Of course I have, I think about him everyday. A part of me knows he thinks of me too. Sora's probably out there somewhere, searching for me. But I know I'll make it back to him..someday.
Suddenly, the star that contained Aeriths spirit began to fade away.
I need to ask her something, I need to know this isn't the end of the story. There has to be more.
"Kairi, it seems my time has come to pass on."
I need to ask.
"Aerith... The story you told me, about the guy and the girl. Is it.... Is it your story?" Did you promise to protect someone?"
"Yes, it is my story, and I can tell you've made a promise to someone as well. If I could do things differently I would, but know that you have the strength to change fate, especially if your destinies are intertwined."
"Aerith... who is the one you cared for the most? Who did you promise?"
She chuckled a bit before answering, I can tell she's smiling.
"His name...was Cloud. And you?"
I wish I could tell her all about my journey, about my constant separation and reunion with him. But all I can say is a name.
I watched as the star began to completely fade away into the atmosphere....
Chapter 3: Cross-Over
After Aerith's departure, the environment around me shifted. The clouds that were once still have dissipated, with an urgent darkness consuming the once peaceful landscape.
The ground beneath my feet began to falter to darkness, dragging me down...
I tried to fight it, but ultimately it consumed me, forcing me into a deep slumber.
Somewhere I could hear a voice amidst the noise and darkness.
"Don't be afraid. Only now have you truly awakened. Inside your heart is the purest of light, darkness cannot extinguish it, only renew it."
Who's speaking to me? It can't be Sora...Namine?
I need to know what's happening with me. Why do I feel so... strange?
"Please, who are you? What's going on, what's going to happen to me?"
Immediately I opened my eyes. I could feel a cold surface underneath my body. It's odd, there seems to be darkness, an absence of light, yet somehow a violet light shines. Not from the sky, but emanating from the ground...
Managing to stand up again, I take a good look at the floor. It's not dirt, concrete, or even the sand from my island, but a stained glass...
Something is different. I take closer look.
It's me! I'm on the glass and so are Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku....
It portrays me holding my keyblade, with flowers and paopu fruit decorating the edges of the round portrait.
Somewhere off in the distance, the voice speaks again.
"This is The Station of Awakening."
Station of awakening?
The voice continued
"You initially resided in the place where sleep and death touch, however... you're not meant to pass on. Not yet. There is still someone keeping you here. So instead, you've been swept to a place connected to The Final World: The Station of Awakening. Although you seem awake, you are still very much in a deep slumber."
The Final World? Is that the name of the place I spoke with Aerith in, and the same place where I saved Sora before?
And now I'm here. In deep sleep. How do I get out of here? How do I wake up?
"But how can I wake up? How can I reach the outside world again?"
The voice replied one last and final time.
"Similar to grasping onto consciousness, like waking up, you must struggle and fight."
Suddenly, a path of stained glass steps appeared, leading to a higher platform where a silhouette stands...waiting...
I begin toward the steps.
And with all of my strength, summon my keyblade in hand, walking towards the upcoming silhouette...
Chapter 4: Wake Up!
As I walk toward the silhouette facing away from me I begin to realize that it's no monster but instead a figure donning a black hooded trenchcoat. Is this an organization member? I thought we defeated them along with Xehanort, why are they here?
As I approached, the figure began to speak.
It wasn't the words that shocked me, instead it was the voice carrying them into the atmosphere that made my body weak, almost dizzy with confusion. It was a voice I've heard many times before, a voice that makes this moment very bittersweet...
"You're too late. The end of the road is already here."
The figure turned around to face me, and revealed himself.
It was an intimately familiar face, the face of someone I care about most. Someone with brown spikey hair, and a smile on his face.
Yet something was different about him, his usual cheerful blue eyes were no longer blue, but yellow. And this smile... It's not from the heart I can tell. It's a smile of malice, one that enjoys destruction and darkness..
This isn't him, I know it's not. The Sora I know wouldn't give himself to the darkness so easily, he's still out there somewhere, I know it.
He spoke once again.
"You never change do you? Always waiting...never taking action. And now, the one time I needed you most, you weren't there."
His words were poison to my spirit. Even though I know this isn't the real Sora, why do his words hurt me so much?
He continued speaking.
"You promised you would keep me safe. We intertwined our destinies, but how long do you think it will last if only one of us is the initiator? How can you believe I'll make it back to you, when you can't even believe you have enough strength to search for me yourself!"
Why does my heart ache...
It's true I do believe he'll come back, but everytime he's shown me that he does....eventually. What if he's right? What if this time, he may not come home? I may never see his smiling face again, or race with him and Riku on the beach.
I constantly bait him into danger, because I'm unable to believe in my own strength. I thought training with Axel under Merlin was enough to prepare me, but sadly I was wrong.
Somewhere deep inside, I can remember Aerith's departing words to me: "Remember, you have the strength to change your fate."
Believing in Sora to come home isn't enough anymore, I have to apply actions behind that belief. I will bring him home!
His voice became stern as he scolded me.
"Don't you have anything to say for yourself!"
His eyes grew cold and malicious as he glared at me.
This isn't the real Sora, I'm only dreaming and now more than ever it's become clear that I need to wake up and find him. I believe not just in him now, but also myself!
"I may be your weakness, but I will still prove to be your greatest strength."
He seemed surprised as he replied in a condescending tone.
"Oh really? Well just remember this, as we both succumb to darkness. Since our destinies our intertwined, there is only one sky, one destiny."
Sora, I don't want to hurt you...but I need to wake up!
I ready my keyblade.
The platform beneath our feet began to shake and tremble, I watch in horror as the imposter begins to transform. Darkness starts to emanate from the figure then envelopes him completely. He sinks into a puddle of darkness onto the floor then sprouts from it as a colossal heartless!
In it's right hand it holds a pocket watch ticking backwards as though there's a countdown. Within the palm of it's left hand are orbs which loosely resemble other worlds and between those orbs are my memories of the journey I've had so far.
It's face shows a mask with a smile writhed in pain and despair, while it's eyes ominously glow yellow..
It doesn't stand on feet but instead there is a spiral of darkness keeping it suspended in mid-air.
Alright Kairi, remember your training. Merlin taught you two spells: Pearl and Cure.
The Monster winds up for a strike.
Let's use a spell.
I lift my keyblade into the air and begin to cast fervently.
I watch as a bright sphere of light emits from the keyblade, and hones directly toward the creatures face.
It flinches and staggers from the pain.
One more time!
I cast the spell and the sphere of light emits toward the creature.
The Creature swings the pocket watch in a counter-clockwise motion. And it sends the sphere back into my keyblade.
Is this...time magic!?
I've never gone against this before. Maybe I should use physical attacks.
I dash toward the creature, and it attempts to strike me with the pocket watch. I evade quickly, and jump onto the watch. I begin to attack it's mask as it brings the watch closer toward it's face.
It staggers once more and the mask shatters to pieces, falling from its face. Revealing nothing but void darkness as it's true form.
It's weakening, I can tell!
Maybe now I can cast Pearl once more!
The sphere of light emits immediately from the keyblade and hits the exposed face of the creature, causing it to move around and roar in pain.
Suddenly, I hear that strange voice speak to me once again.
"Raise your keyblade and with the strength of your heart, summon a beam of light to come out!"
What? A beam of light, I've never done anything like that in training before. What if I fail...
The creature begins to rush toward me in one last act of desperation.
The voice urges me.
I raise my keyblade to the rapidly approaching monster and close my eyes to focus.
Instantly, a massive beam of light ejects from the keyblade, and penetrates the creature made of darkness.
I watch in terror as it collapses to the ground and darkness consumes the platform, breaking the stained glass I stand on.
Now falling, I begin to lose consciousness. Yet the mysterious voice speaks as I drift.
"You'll be alright, your journey is just beginning."
As I begin to close my eyes, a radiant white light consumes me.....
Much later, I find myself regaining consciousness again. I can feel sand underneath my body. My eyes open slowly to reveal a woman with blue and green eyes staring directly at me.
Her brown hair is cut short, and her voice is calming as she speaks to me.
"Who are you? What are you doing here in Spira?"