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So this was a idea I've been working on for a while and thought i'd share-it's basically a re-telling of the Kingdom Hearts story from the ground up. Basically i wanted to add extra characters get in depth with the characters, maybe add more of the Disney stuff in more and so on and so forth. This is my first chapter hope you enjoy I'm open to any critique. Kingdom Hearts A New Wielder Chapter 1 Paradise “Sora…..Sora wake up!” Sora’s eyes slowly began to open up. The sun was beaming down at him, making it difficult to look up. His head started to beat painfully, each pound creating a pang of agony. One moment he was falling into a void and now he felt something solid and of course plastered across his back. Slowly, he began to move his hands and legs, regaining his range of motion. He felt his gloved hands pressed up against the sand, and suddenly a shadow came over him, and it was that of a familiar face. “Guys don’t go!” Sora yelled as he jumped forward. Kairi stood behind him with a smirk on her face. Sora turned around and rubbed his head, getting some sand out of his spiky hair. The two of them looked at one another awkwardly. His mind was still thinking of the dream, he didn’t even realize that he was awake and that the Island was back to normal. She for her part just watched confused. “I thought I’d find you here, you lazy bum,” Kairi taunted with her hands on her hips. “Wha….How….I….” Sora tried to find the right words to say. “I had the weirdest dream, you were there, and Riku and…..” Kairi looked confused. Sora looked at all over the place to make sure everything was in its proper place. The trees stood tall, the fountain poured fresh water and the tree houses were placed exactly where they were before. Turning around Sora saw in the distance of the main Island, the small town glowing in the distance around a large inactive volcano. “Are you ok?” Kairi asked Sora took a deep breath as he realized everything was back to normal. “Yeah…..Yeah I’m fine.” Sora said his heart speed slowing down, but he still thought to himself, Wish this wasn’t a regular thing though. Every time when Sora fell asleep, an assortment of dreams would enter his mind. Mostly about food or whatever bizarre thing his imagination could make up on that day. But on this day, his dream was different. It was a dream that he had been suffering for the last few days it seemed. Again and again, this vision would continue to play in his mind, when he napped, when he slept, when he rested, even when he closed his eyes. It was a dream that perhaps meant something more than it appeared. This dream would always start the same way. Sora was just standing in the middle of the beach, shielding his eyes from the overwhelming light above him. Squinting, he could barely make out the features in front of him, but there was a tall muscular boy wearing a yellow gym shirt, and black jeans covered with a pair of baggy leg-guards that he always war for swordplay. He had long silver hair and piercing emerald eyes, and to Sora’s surprise and concern, he was just standing right there, looking out into the ocean. “Riku?” Sora asked, staring at his childhood friend. The silver haired boy turned around. A small smirk developed on his hand as he held out a hand. What on earth was he doing? Why was he just standing there? Sora had so many questions. He lurched forward and tried to run towards him. With each step he took, it felt like thousand of steps were added in his path. Things only got worse as a large massive wave began to form and begin to engulf the two boys. This only made him even more determined to reach his friend now. “Riku!” Sora tried to pick up the pace and called out for his friend, hoping that he’d be able to hear him. However the deeper he got into the water the more he had less maneuver to run and instead of swim. Thankfully, growing up in an island had its advantages, making it almost an improve prerequisite to swim. So he did, trying to flap his arms as fast as he could to get to the silver haired boy, who was still standing there, almost floating now in the water as the wave grew ever closer towards them. “Riku! Riku! Come over here quick!” Sora kept yelling. Fears of all of the worst possibilities flooded rapidly into his mind. He was so close now, before Riku was looking right down at him. Sora outstretched a hand as far as he could - they were too close to need the traditional Destiny Islands greeting, a bow - but Riku’s smile just widened as the two almost touched their hands, but before they could reach each other, it was too late. The wave completely engulfed them both, knocking Sora back against the beach, and Riku just vanished into the water. Sora tried to get back up and look around. He turned back to the Island, waiting for him now was a girl with bright red hair and wore a white tank top and pink skirt. The girl was Kairi, Sora’s other and only female friend since childhood. She stood there waiting on the beach waving back to him. This day was just getting stranger and stranger, first Riku stands on the ocean and now Kairi gets to the beach. As he got up, Sora tried to make his way to the beach, yet something was wrong. Kairi was looking in the sky. Sora looked as well and gasped. He saw himself falling downwards from the sky like a shooting star. But how could that be, he was down here on the beach, he could even feel himself getting wet. Yet he was also up there. “What is going on!” He shouted, more than confused what was going on. Sora had no time for answers when the ground beneath him suddenly broke and he fell. Far, far he went. Kairi was looking down at him trying to reach for him but it was too late. He now was surrounded by a black void of nothingness. Falling, falling into the darkness. “Sora…..” A soft voice called out in his ear, it was soothing and calm. “Sora……..Wake up you lazy bum!” Light! “Gee Sora, you must have had quite a dream.” Kairi said with concern. “Yeah….But hey, it’s just a dream, right? Nothing to worry about.” Sora hopped up and smiled, returning to a better mood, “So come to join me in a nap?” “No…..” Kairi snickered, with a bright crimson flush across her cheeks “Not that I’m surprised you’d ask...Lazy bum.” Something about the very thought of Sora’s statement sparked something in her, and aside from the obvious hormonal explanation, there was also something about Sora’s tendency to be just a very genuine person that Kairi couldn’t help but admire. Skinny with spiky brown hair, Sora was almost constantly wearing the same black and white athletic jack, and the same pumpkin shaped gaming pants, complete with large yellow shoes, shoes he hadn’t grown into yet, and perhaps never entirely would have - they were his father’s - as well as those white fingerless gloves that covered both of his hands. Always with the same crown necklace given to him by his mother when he was eight. Most of the time he spent lying down on the sandy beach shores and falling asleep than wanting to spend it running around with the other children. There was really nothing special about Sora, when it got right down to it. He was not gifted with wealth, with important family, with a movingly tragic backstory other than one major loss, he lacked many skills in technology, and he wasn’t even very well-educated, though his fairly sharp intelligence was often underestimated by his peers solely because they often mistook his enthusiasm for stupidity. He did, however, possess combative and athletic skills, and while these were above average, they were hardly superhuman. Furthermore, Sora was not especially rebellious, or at least, not without good cause to be so. He never envisioned himself as some warrior fighting against “the man” solely because anything he had a problem with was “the man”. He was actually more concerned with personal ethics than fighting a great crusade, wondering whether or not what he did was right, and whether or not things were fair. In fact, the decisions he was about to make would tear his heart to the very bone. No, Sora was not unusual in any way. He was nothing more than just a very common fourteen-year-old from Destiny Island, whose heart was so nearly devoid of malice that he didn’t have even have any aspirations of enacting puerile vengeance upon those whom he hated. Any ambitions he had besides his passions for delicious food, all things rare, seeing the world, and to make a new family of his own, were only about ensuring that everything was fair and just for everybody. And that’s why he was chosen. Most people from the Destiny Island chain, also often known as Spira, were slightly more “real” than most of the people in the Realm of Light, a place that exists only if you believe it exists. In spite of the fact that, or perhaps because, it was closer to reality as we understand it, most of the precious few who had been to the outside world and have also been to the Spira island chain pointed out that this chain of islands had a quality comparable to that of a very pleasantly peaceful dream. After all, it was considered a paradise. Much of the Realm of Light’s populace hailed from myths and story-books, things people took meaning to in their hearts, but never saw as real, our dreams giving them shape and life of their own. However, the people of Destiny Islands were unique in that their ancestors were legends and romanticized heroes, people who might have been real, or were real, but turned into stories. However, nobody from Spira were even aware of any of this. They believed that it all began, and will end, in the vast oceans around them, and that this was final. They were aware of little else, save that they were aware of was that they were a tiny people who lived among tiny islands, surrounded by vast spaces of dangerous oceans, and nobody knew where they ended. Many tried to find far more out there, but most came back with nothing but maps of open oceans. If anybody found anything else, they never came back, and it got to the point in which they became less and less concerned with what was outside of their islands. At that point, they assumed it was because of a monster in the oceans they called Sin, punishing them for leaving their homes and using machines. So they maintained a simple life of Blitzball and Chocobo racing, forgetting all about their missing explorers. Sora’s father was one such lost voyager, and Sora thought of him often. “So why did you come?” Sora finally asked, after dusting himself off of sand and dirt that had managed to get all over him. “I was looking for you, because Riku was searching for you back at the docks.” Sora cocked an eyebrow: “Docks? Why is he there?” “Sora….Remember, we are trying to finish the raft today,” Kairi responded with a frown. “The raft? The raft? Wait, the raft!” Sora gasped when a memory came to him. The Raft. Riku’s pet project. For the last few weeks Riku had decided to make a raft. A raft they’re going to use with one purpose, to get them off Destiny Island and take them to the worlds beyond their boards. Sora had been the first to quickly jump onto that project, to see the world beyond and go on great adventures like the hero from the stories. It was a dream come true. Ever since they were kids Riku and Sora had talked about going out on adventures, training every day with wooden swords and sparing with one another, so that in the day they would fight the villains they would encounter, they would be ready. Kairi on the other hand was a little more hesitant about it. There was only one real reason she would agree. Curiosity. Or, at least, that was his best guess. But then again, it was her old home, and she was something about the way she was with him, he really hoped that it was... “Hard to believe we are almost done with it, Kairi.” Sora said, looking out into the ocean as he relaxed by hearing the sound of the waves, getting lost in his own aspirations. “Maybe when we go, we’ll be able to find your own world. I’ll wonder if you remember any of it.” Kairi sighed, “yeah, I mean I only have vague memories of my old home, mostly of my grandmother. Everything else is just...here you know.” Sora seemed confused. Why didn’t she care so much about going back home? It was where she started out! Probably better than this crummy island. But whenever asked by Riku, Kairi often stressed that she viewed the islands as her home, a concept that Riku could hardly accept. “I mean, my life is here with you and Riku, I doubt I’ll find anything special.” Kairi looked at Sora and noticed his concerned expression, “But I’m sure it will be cool to see it.” Sora nodded and smiled, warmed by the prospect. Sora always wondered why Kairi seemed to have the least amount of interesting in seeing the world outside; Sora was intrigued by it, and as for Riku, it was all he cared about. However, something about Kairi preferring the Destiny Islands made Sora feel very reassured, for some reason... He got lost in a stream of pleasant thoughts, “just think, soon we’ll be fighting pirates, and sailing across the seas.” “Yeah, yeah….Just make sure I don’t have to rescue you too much,” Kairi teased him, and she and Sora shared a laugh. Kairi was a unique girl among the Islanders. Unlike the others, she was not native to this land. In fact, she wasn’t native to anyplace or anyone. She was an orphan, and Sora remembered the day, the day that seven years ago, when he and Riku were playing in the beaches of the Island, the two boys sparring one another until Sora tripped and fell on something. As he got up, he found the young girl sitting on the beach. Curious and concerned, he tapped on her with his wooden sword, wondering if she was a doll or something. But when she moved and looked up at Sora, he jumped back in nervousness. Almost every bit as frightened as she was, he could only muster these words: “Who… are you?” He asked again: “Where did you come from… ?” The rest was a blur, but the adults came there and the rest had been history. Sora, Riku, and Kairi has become friends since then and they formed a strong bond that had lasted years. Thinking about it, Sora couldn’t help but look at Kairi with a warm smile. If it weren’t for her, he and Riku would never have proof that outside world existed. As he kept staring, Kairi looked back at him and her face flushed a bright crimson, she glared. “Sora! Sora!” She snapped her fingers getting him out of his trance. “Stop gawking. I don’t know what’s going on up there,” she scolded, poking her finger on his forehead, “but down here, you have to stay focused!” “Sorry….I was uh….thinking about food.” Sora said, hoping his lie would work. He didn’t want her to find out that he was thinking about her. Kairi looked surprisingly disappointed. She rolled her eyes while shaking her head, “of course you are.” “Kairi…” Sora began. She turned towards him, seemingly longing for something out of him. Sora fumbled with his words, wondering if now was the time to say something he couldn’t quite grasp in his mind, but felt in his heart. “Kairi….” He realized he had nothing to say of substance, and found himself changing what he meant to say. “Kairi, what do you suppose we’ll find out there, among these worlds?” She sat down beside him, giving one of her thoughtful huffs before she had an idea: “Well...Light. We will likely find Light.” Sora chuckled, “Kairi, light is everywhere, even among the stars!” The Destiny Islands seldom had cloudy days, and their snowless winters were short. Kairi nodded, seeming to half-ignore his remark; “Long ago, all the worlds were connected and bathed in Light,” she stated, almost like it was a quotation. “Yeah until a giant monster gobbled everything up!” Sora said giving a childish laugh. Kairi responded in kind by giving him a death glare. Taking a moment to appreciate the wordless lesson, Sora thought about this for a minute, and smiled thoughtfully, “huh, I guess you have a point there! Yeah, there are must be tons of worlds with all kinds of weird and different things on ‘em, but they all might at least have Light in common!” Kairi smiled back, “Yes, there are many worlds, but they must all share one sky. One sky, one destiny. Now come on, let’s get going before...” “Before I find you two are being lazy?” Sora flinched as he turned around. Riku was walking up towards them, carrying several large logs of wood under his arm. Even at the age of fifteen, he was particularly skilled in his own strength. Riku looked at both of them smugly as he approached them. Kairi rolled her eyes, only Sora seemed a bit hesitant. “Hey Riku, how are ya?” Sora said chuckling nervously. “Let me guess, caught him napping?” Riku asked to Kairi. “Shouldn’t be surprised....Least you didn’t catch him in his underpants” Kairi nodded and giggled, Sora napping was becoming quite a daily thing. Riku believed that Sora was lazy, his mother Aiko believed that Sora was growing, and Kairi believed that it was Sora’s excuse to get lost in a realm of daydreams, mostly involving girls and their specific anatomical characteristics... “So, you were being lazy then,” Riku chuckled at Sora, shook his head, and scuffed Sora’s hair. “Should have known, not like not used to it at this point. Here, catch!” Tossing the wood all three planks landed straight on top of Sora, knocking him down. He felt the weight up his chest that caused him a small amount of pain. Riku sighed and helped push the wood off him, making sure he wasn’t seriously hurt. Sora just laid on the ground with his eyes rolling in sockets for a few seconds, before shaking them off. “What was that for?” Sora groaned as he glared at Riku. “Easy, if you wanna prove you aren’t lazy, then carry one of them, those things are heavy,” Riku snickered before gave Sora loving noogies. Sora laughed. “Hey...Let go!” “Say uncle!” “Never!” Riku snickered and pushed in harder, “I got a full nights sleep, and I have all the energy I need to do this all day.” “Alright alright! Uncle!” Sora laughed. Kairi rolled her eyes, “do you always have to bully him?” “Oh come on, he doesn’t mind. Besides, he knows I’m awesome anyway.” Riku said flicking his hair back in dramatic fashion. “Show off,” Kairi grumbled. “And what’s all this talk about light...who cares about light….if I want light, I’ll turn on my lamp,” Riku spat. “Come on Kairi use your imagination, think of something original!” He put his hand over his face to shield the blinding light of the sun away, comforting his vision with darkness. “...Light...That’s all you can think about.” After inducing just a bit more pain upon Sora, Riku helped him up, “but seriously, come on….We gotta get to work, I wanna finish the raft today.” He paused, and added, as an afterthought, “you know, I don’t know how your mother puts up with your sloth. Maybe she’d be better off if I was around more to help out!” he added with a chuckle, rubbing Sora on the head. “Think we will get it done today.” Sora said with forced optimism, strangely wounded by Riku’s last remark. “Seems like we’ve been working on it for months.” “Because we have been working on it for months,” Kairi muttered at his remark. Riku was getting impatient: “Well, we won’t finish it if we sit around and argue all day. So if you could actually help me carry this, I appreciate it, those are heavy you know. I wasn’t kidding.” Kairi picked one up, Riku took a second while Sora carried the third. Soon, all three began heading off to the docks now. “Oh man...I’m getting excited.” Sora said beaming. “Look sharp Sora.” Riku said. “It’s not gonna be all fun and games, it’s gonna be a lot of hard work from now till we find a new world.” Sora felt his excitement dwindle. “Oh.” They passed by several children and friends. Some were playing with wooden swords, others were playing soccer, and some just lay down on the beach having a picnic. Part of Sora could not help but feel envious as he watched how much fun they were having. But what they were working is important, the raft was going to take him to something, far greater than this place. -000- “Ok guys, just a little tighter on those ropes. Kairi, make sure the mast in nice and firm, if we’re good, the amount of wind will make great headway.” “Like this?” Sora asked. “No, no, no….Tighter….Really stick it! Here let me do it.” Riku kept bossing them around as the two of them worked on the raft. What made it difficult was that Riku kept micromanaging them, taking their duties personally and doing the work for them. He had becoming bossier as they got closer now to finishing it. When they started, each of them did a chore on their own, even with Riku overseeing them. However, it seemed he had become so obsessed that they weren’t even needed. It was starting to become annoying. Kairi looked at Sora with a disapproving glare, signaling him to say something. Sora just shrugged, knowing just how hard Riku had worked on this and didn’t want to interfere. “Gee Riku, you sure are getting excited about finish this.” Sora said, trying to ease his friend through conversation. “Yep,” Riku muttered. Riku was always good with building things; when he was six, he used his tools to dismantle the lock of his nursery, and when he was twelve, he modified a toy gun he had so that it could fire real bullets. When he wanted something done, it had to be done exactly as it was supposed to be done, and usually Riku’s vision was all but perfect. Riku was largely considered to be a spitting image of his father in terms of personality, and it showed more every day, which worried Riku. The last thing he wanted was to be like the man who tore his family apart, as much as he loved him. Riku would rather run as far away from the islands as possible in order to prevent this from happening. Which ironically, was not unlike how his father left his mother. Which made him feel all the more bitter. Kairi groaned, as she tried the best not to slap her forehead with her hand. He should have convince Riku that there’s no need to rush with this project, even though they are a little excited what sort of new lands they will find, there’s no reason to be in a hurry. “You know Riku, you could take a break and let me and Kairi handle this,” Sora said, noticing Kairi becoming more upset. Riku didn’t even turn around: “No worries. I got this...You two just….Do whatever it is you do when I’m not around.” “What does that imply?” Kairi asked. “I don’t know.” Riku shrugged. “I can’t babysit Sora twenty four seven.” “I don’t need babysitting!” Sora said with a indigent expression. “Uh huh yeah sure.” Again, Kairi moaned. Riku had now completely ignored them as he worked on the raft. He took a hammer and began nailing down the log planks to make sure it was nice and firm. Sora sighed and laid back, if Riku was going to do all the work then why bother sitting up then. “Well at least we can relax and nap.” Sora whispered “Don’t think you’re getting off the hook from work Sora.” Riku said before Sora could sit back down, “But you just said….” “I’m gonna need you and Kairi to collect food, books and supplies, will need to pack lightly.” “What do we need?” Kairi asked. “Cookbooks, maps, explore guides, maybe a knife, a few pieces of tech, again...pack...light. I’ve been reading a few survival guides in my father's study. They all say the same thing, pack light.” “Your dad has survival guides?” Sora asked in surprise. Riku looked up at him with a glare, and spoke with one of the most irritated voices possible: “He has a lot of books he doesn’t read. You should know that by now.” Sora was so taken aback that he decided not to bother him; instead he just went back to helping on the raft. He had only just remembered just how sensitive the topic of Riku’s parents was talk about to Riku him, or at least ever since the divorce. The three did not always see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, and it eventually tore Riku’s family in two. Riku gained a new stepmother whom he absolutely loathed, and the feeling seemed to be mutual. Not like Sora and his mom. No, they were always in-sync with one another, and Riku envied this more than anything else Sora had. Riku never told Sora, but he had always felt bitter towards him because Sora’s family life was simple and clean, not torn by adultery and petualance like his own, and thus Riku somehow always felt alone in a reality that Sora would never understand. Riku often wished to himself that he could go away from his parents’ blatant efforts to use him as a pawn, and live with Sora and Aiko forever. Sora always enjoyed a happiness Riku wanted for himself, and felt was really his right to have. Sometimes he felt almost as if he flat-out hated Sora for his seeming dreamland life, and wanted nothing more than to take his place in his home. Or at least, for Sora to open up his eyes, and maybe see the reality that Riku lived in. But...he didn’t want to hate Sora. Sora was often all he had, and Riku was insistent on taking Sora with him on his journey. But Sora and Kairi were having too many doubts, he could tell, they had too much to lose. But if he traveled without them, then he would lose everything. And if he couldn’t be happy here, then damn everybody who would be sad to lose Sora and Kairi with him. Though sometimes, he did wish Sora could be a bit more...malleable, to his way of thinking. Since Sora’s father, a skilled surveyor, had disappeared without any trace when he was younger, Sora only really had his mother in his life. Sora loved his mother, more than anyone. Having memories of how she took care of him when he was a baby made him respect her even more. Such strength and compassion, she was able to make do and even help out others when needed to the point for whenever Riku and Kairi came over she would treat them as her own. Especially because she knew Riku longer and thought he was practically Sora’s older brother. Which made the very thought of leaving her by herself all the more hurtful, making Sora feel absolutely torn; he didn’t want to leave his mother, but he didn’t want to be without Kairi. What he really wanted was for Kairi to stay with him while Riku fulfilled his dream of exploration, but Kairi’s mind was already made up: She was determined to either find her old home, or find a new world. Why did it even occur to Sora to leave anyway? For some reason, all he could think about was his dad. “Speaking of which,” Kairi interjected as she spoke to Riku. “Don’t you guys think it’s a bit wrong to just leave without telling our parents?” Kairi seemed to have many thoughts rushing through her head, but Sora wasn’t entirely sure what they were, and whether Riku knew or not, he didn’t seem to care. Sora understood Kairi’s perspective. She was an adoptive child. Despite her parents loving her deeply since taking her in, she always had a small doubt on how long such kindness would last. A irrational fear perhaps, but a fear nonetheless. “Who said you don’t have to tell them?” Riku said, nonchalantly. “They’ll never agree to this. They'll say no and everything we worked for will all be for nothing.” Kairi was utterly indignant that Riku had virtually no concerns for his parents whatsoever, “I know, but it’s not fair we would leave them just like that!” Kairi complained. “How they’re gonna feel if they find out we just disappeared? Did you ever think about that?” “Look….” Riku got up and look at them both sternly, equally incensed that Kairi was pressuring him to care, “this isn’t about our parents, or the other people we know. This is about us and what we can achieve. We aren’t going to grow as people if we stay here on this Island. This is our chance to prove our greatness to ourselves. Right Sora?” Sora froze when Riku asked him for an opinion; he hated being put on the spot like this. On the one hand, he wanted to do this, see the world explore, maybe even get some fame and be a big shot. But on the other hand, he knew he was leaving his mom; what would she do after he left the island? Would she even accept this? Sure, she had to have had some adventure in her youth, many young have done the same thing. But do they just leave without a word? That didn’t feel right to him. Sora’s own father died at sea, and his mother hated him touching boats of any kind. He wanted to say something but he couldn’t. It felt also that making a decision that might put distance between him and his mother also might, somehow, bring him closer to his father. Sora didn’t know why, but he yearned for experiencing what his dad did, and he felt that somehow, being out in sea might be the way to do it. He wasn’t sure why. But he was sure about this: He knew how important this was to Riku as well. It was his dream, he couldn’t squander it. Friend or family. “Heh uh….What if we pack our favorite story?” Sora asked wanting to change subject and quickly. Sora suddenly wished he hadn’t. He was starting to think about his vague memories of his father’s bedtime stories again, and somehow, that made this even worse. “Story?” Riku let out a grumble. “Sora, we don’t have time for fairytales.” “Why not? We’re gonna be gone a long time, might as well bring something from home.” Sora attempted to convince him, now suddenly thinking more about his father, now suddenly wanting to do this more than ever. Riku let out a sigh of defeat as he shook his head. “Fine…. But ONE story!” “Awesome! I’m gonna bring mine about the Knight that slays the dragon.” The spiked haired boy stood up, pulling out his copy of St. George and the Dragon, his favorite book. But then his enthusiasm for exploration was beginning to wane, as he began to think about his mother. What would she think if he were to leave her? Who would take care of- “I’ll bring mine about the warrior princess who rescues her friends from the evil sorcerer!” Kairi beamed at his idea. Riku audibly groaned; Sora’s official story was one thing, but Kairi’s self-insert fanfiction was another, though Sora liked it, not in the least because Kairi’s “character” was really quite buxom, and it distracted Sora from doubts like the ones that were just plaguing him. Riku, however, had other opinions: “I said one story Kairi, we don’t have room for yours.” Incensed, Kairi put her hands on her hips: “oh yeah? And what’s wrong with mine?” “I can think of many things...” Riku muttered. “You just don’t like it because you can't be the hero in your own head,” Kairi gestured. Riku rolled his eyes, “As if....I have facts for that” “I’d be happy to give up my story for Kairi.” Sora pointed out. Riku scoffed: “Whatever.” “Well...What about you Riku?” Sora asked, trying to prevent yet another heated argument, “what story would you like to bring? Of your choice of course, not mine.” “Me?’ he began, looking away dreamily into the horizon, “I don’t need one, my favorite story is….” “Heads up!” Whack! Sora felt the lunge again his head as he fell back against the ground. A sharp pain began to form near his head. Kairi leaned towards him and helped him up as he grasped his forehead in pain. “Sora! Are you okay?” Kairi asked in concern. “Yeah I’m fine,” Sora grunted. “Hey be careful next time! You almost could have hurt him!” Riku yelled. The two boys who had been playing Blitzball, Tidus and Wakka, started to run away when they saw Riku getting up and sneering. Suddenly Sora found himself being pulled by Riku as he started examining his head carefully, checking for any cuts and bruises. “Riku, stop,” Sora muttered, hating when he got this way. Riku still breathed deeply, as in to restrain his anger, but his expression changed. “I just wanna make sure the idiots...Didn’t give you a concussion.” Speaking of….Sora looked up and saw three familiar faces walking towards them. Waaka, Tidus and Selphie, the three native children from the Island. They were part of Sora’s larger association of friends, while although Riku and Kairi formed the core of his trio, they were definitely on good terms with one another. “Woah, woah, calm down Riku man! It was just an accident.” Waaka said apologetically in his thick accent. “Just be careful next time. Otherwise, I’m not giving your ball back,” Riku retorted with a spiteful frown. “Riku, it’s ok. Accidents happen,” Sora said, trying to calm him down. The tall muscular boy walked up to pick the ball back up. Waaka was the oddest of the trio. He had a thick accent, one that no one could discern what it was. He was twirling a blitzball on his index finger, his subtle way of bragging about his blitzball skills. The oldest among them, he was wise beyond its years, most of the time dispensing advice to those who asked for it (though some of his ramblings about “target locks” didn’t make sense to most). Much better than the more brash Tidus, the youngest boy, always a bit of arrogant know it all. He looked at the raft with a smug expression. He always did this, as he actually often felt inadequate, for his own father was a Blitzball champion, and Blitzball, which began to become the center of the Destiny lifestyle, was not Tidus’ forte, tried as much as he could to practice. So the most Tidus could do was to hone his less socially acceptable skill, practicing swordplay, and looking down upon any other achievements of others. “Do you guys honestly think this would work?” Tidus asked smugly, causing Riku to glare back at him, “I mean really, how far will it get you, a few miles before it sinks.” “It will work,” Riku muttered through gritted teeth. Tidus remained skeptical. “Really, why are you even doing this, this paradise?” “So what, you wanna just stay here and not learn what's beyond the ocean?” Riku asked back, starting to lose his patience with the kid. “I’m cool with it….I don’t know why you aren’t.” Tidus then put his hands on his hips in an effeminate way, his “lecturing” pose. “ Did you forget what happened to the Boy when he left the island? He vanished, or most likely he drown in the ocean.” The Boy in the legend, that was a tale Riku loved to tell Sora. The legend said that the story goes that once upon a time, a boy who lived on the Destiny Islands only had one life goal: To leave and see the world beyond. So he got stronger, and stronger, doing whatever it took, each day swimming a bit farther into the sea before returning back home to try once again. He kept at it again and again and again, each day getting a little bit further out to sea, until one day, he vanished without a trace, and he was never seen again. Sora could see why Riku would love that story: Because it was him, because he was just like the boy, except that he had not managed to disappear and never been seen from again, at least not yet and hopefully not ever. “The fact he was never seen again should say something,” Riku said angrily, as Tidus just smirked back at him. “It means there is something there. I mean come on, Kairi is the proof that she’s not even from our world.” “Riku…” Sora muttered, seeing Kairi was getting embarrassed. Tidus scoffed, “you sure that Sin didn’t just eat him for breakfast? I’ll bet that Boy tasted like chicken!” Riku began to growl: “My point is, why should we sit around here all the time, if there is something out there? We will look for it, and we will find it!” “Nah man, Tidus has a point (for once),” Wakka began, “to this day, nobody who has left these islands has come back with anything, but tales of more water, or seeing Sin.” Riku began to snarl with mock confidence, “yeah, you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you Wakka?” A muscle under Wakka’s eye began to twitch. He had lost both of his parents to the sea long ago, leaving him and his younger brother Chappu to be brought up by a Destiny Islands bureaucrat. “Riku, that is enough!” hissed Sora, grabbing him by his arm. Riku brushed off Sora’s hand. “You might allow loss to stop you, because you’re weak! But I say, loss is the only reason to keep going! Riku roared. Tidus began to defend Wakka, growling at Riku, he tried to say, “oh yeah? Well, I think you’re a piece of sh-” “I like it here!” Selphie interjected, “it's nice and safe. Plus it’s where I met Kairi, and we became B.F.F’s.” “Thanks Selphie,” Kairi said with a smile, even though she was still a little bit embarrassed. Selphie had a reputation for being emotional, hyperactive, sensitive, and even somewhat dishonest, leaving her popularity tentative at best, and she was considered by some of the older girls as a generally embarrassing person to be around, as for them, to be cool was to be reserved. However, Kairi, in her infinite patience and understanding, saw Selphie in a light that no other did; she saw Selphie as a product of her background as an orphan, and of being the youngest of their circle, she was also one of the first in a new generation with different values than most of her slightly older peers, and thus taking these into mind, Kairi decided to be her most consistent friend when others only chose to be her friend when it suited them. If Kairi left, Selphie’s life would be a lonely one again...Like Sora, Kairi was starting to have many doubts about leaving the islands, but how was she supposed to explain it? Riku and possibly Sora seemed determined to make this journey, as far as she could tell. From this point, Riku, Wakka and Tidus, having no inclination of making Selphie cry, began to calmly share their various speculations on what Sin was, or if Sin even existed. Sora remained quiet throughout most of the remaining conversation. Not wanting to start anything, he knew how Riku could get when people start to question his judgment, especially on his raft project. It wasn’t the first time all the people had made fun of him for trying to get off the Island. Many people knew they’ve never wanted to leave in the first place. Like Tidus said, it was paradise. Why would anyone want to leave paradise? Perfection was such a rare thing so why squander it? Sora thought this too when he talked to Riku about leaving, but the way his imagination would wonder about what lies beyond was definitely something enticing. Finally the three of them got tired of standing around with them. It was already getting awkward enough to argue with Riku. Waaka gave them all one more nod before heading off with Tidus following behind. Only Selphie stayed for a few more moments to bid farewell. “See you later Kairi,” Selphie said cheerfully with a wave. “See you later,” Kairi waved back, once she was gone, she glared back at Riku. “What was that about?” “You already know that, their minds are small, their vision diminutive. They never want to see what lies beyond,” Riku said bitterly. “Not everyone has too,” Kairi reminded him. “Some people are perfectly happy with staying here.” For whatever reason, those words made Sora’s heart leap. “Yeah? Well, not me,” Riku responded as he went back to work on the raft. Kairi was getting upset at his behavior that she wanted to scold him like a parent should discipline a child, but she decided to leave him be for now as she sat back down next to Sora, as the two two of them just watched Riku working nonstop. “You know, if you two wanna do something useful, make a list of things you can find around the Island bring them back here,” Riku grumbled with a hint of annoyance. Sora sighed as he got back up. “Ok….Kairi coming?” “Sure.” Kairi nodded, thinking it would be good for her to clear her mind. The two of them headed off, leaving Riku alone with the raft. Both hoped that perhaps they would have a better time finding food, than convincing Riku to stop being so stubborn about everything all the time. -000- “Sora, what are you doing?” she asked in an annoyed tone. Sora snapped out before realizing that he was lost in thought that he was staring into the sky instead of focusing on the work at hand. Slowly, he turned to see Kairi looking at him sternly, tapping her foot. Sora needed to think up an excuse and quickly, otherwise he surely was going to get it from her. “Oh I uh...Uh….” He babbled, hoping the lie would work, “I was thinking maybe we could take the grass.” As the two of them continued to forge, Sora couldn’t help but realize the true beauty of the Island, from its majestic palm trees to calming rivers. When people said this place was paradise they weren’t kidding. Why would anyone want to leave? But then again Riku was never one for liking things easy and Sora knew it. Even when they were kids, Riku loved a challenge. Always egging on the other kids to fight him or getting into tussles just to show he was the best. Except for Sora, with Sora things were different. Riku tended to be more protective around him, like an older big brother that Sora ever had. Such a connection made it hard to go against him when it came to the raft. “The grass?” Kairi responded skeptically. “Yeah….I really doubt that.” “Well um…..You never know.” “First off...Ew! Second, we can’t eat grass!” Kairi pointed out, “We aren’t animals. Now come on.” Scavenging around the Island did not come naturally for both of them. Although Kairi was having a better time at it than Sora, every time he’d pick something it was either poisonous or uneatable. Kairi for her part managed to pick up a few good mushrooms, random logs, a blanket and a few berries they have collected. Of course most of what they would need would have to come from their own home. Still they searched high and low as best as they could for anything they thought it could be useful. Sora always enjoyed the company with Kairi when they do this sort of thing. Her silence, calm demeanor was much better suited for than Riku’s strong brashness. Plus Sora just really liked being with her. “You know we might have to eat grass if we run outta food,” and it was only after he said it that Sora realized just how silly it sounded. “Only because you’ll eat it all,” Kairi made fun of him. “No I won’t!” Sora tried to deny with his arms cross. “Of course you will….Because you are the grossest person I know.” Kairi snickered back at him before returning back to scavenging. She then sighed She was right; Sora was known for his insatiable appetite despite his skinny countenance. Some said he ate so fast that all of the the food he digested could never become fat. Aiko simply just said that he was a growing boy, and might even grow as big and strong as his father one day. “Careful!” Kairi yelled before Sore stepped forward, she held his foot up causing Sora to stumble backwards but she kept him still. “Now what?!” Sora grumbled that he would get scowled for something. Kairi pointed down to the ground and Sora saw a tiny ladybug crawling on the ground. Kairi lowered her finger gently and allowed the bug to crawl up her finger. Once secured she let go of Sora allowing him to stand again. Carefully, she held her hand up and walked up to a leaf high above the ground allowing the ladybug to crawl onto it, making sure it was safe and steady before she carefully stepped away. “There….Much better.” She looked at Sora and rolled her eyes. “Hey, I’m sorry! I didn’t see it.” Sora defended, getting a little irritate that she looks at him with those eyes. “Just be careful ok? You never know what you might squish here.” Kairi suggested. Getting on his knees Sora took a moment to watch as the ladybug began to scatter to the center of the leaf and lay there. Taking some time to just look at it, he couldn’t help but admire just how beautiful it was. Now he understood why Kairi would want him to be careful. As they kept scavenging, Sora couldn’t help but notice that Kairi had a dower expression her face. She tried to hide it by not looking at Sora directly when they were quiet or give him a forceful smile whenever there eyes did cross paths. Finally Sora had enough and decided to ask her outright. “Are you still mad at Riku?” For a few seconds Kairi went still. She let out a deep sigh and went back to work. Her dour expressions became exhausted as she started picking berries. “I’m always mad at Riku,” Kairi decided to be frank with him. “Remember last week when he gave Tidus a black eye?” . Sora flinched when she reminded with that incident, Riku definitely got in trouble. “To be fair, Tidus kinda deserved it.” Kairi glared at Sora for his opinion. “Eh…...Look! Riku was just passionate with this whole thing and that kid was making fun of him. He shouldn’t have started it in the first place.” Sora interjected to justify Riku’s action. “I’m sure when he gets a level head he will understand what you were saying. I’m sure he’s gonna miss his family just like will miss ours. Trust me...I’ve known him longer than you Kairi!” “But he seems almost obsessed with leaving them without a care. Doesn’t he love them?” Kairi asked, a little indignant at Riku’s words he said moments ago. “Kairi you know how it’s ….complicated with him and his parents,” Sora reminded her with a concerned look. “I’ve been there. They aren’t the most….attentive to him, and during those times that they are-” “I know. But still...what about you, or me….” Kairi asked, trying to find a reason, “Do you still wanna go?” Sora paused to make a quick thought. “I’m definitely gonna have to talk with my mom about it before we go.” “How do you think she will say?” Kairi asked as she turned to him, asking for an honest answer. “It’s gonna be hard….But I think I can convince her. Show her that I am ready for this kind of adventure. Dad did this, and...if he’s not out there, if I don’t find him…” he went on, struggling to give shape to his thoughts, realizing that he had always thought of this, that he always felt this, but never somehow gave shape to these thoughts and these feelings until now. However, fumbling over everything he was thinking, he finished, “...if I find nothing soon, I’m just going to turn around anyway.” “Better than my parents…” Kairi said with a sigh, “They are really being overprotective. I mean you know...being adopted and all. I feel wrong of just leaving them to find my own world. I mean, this is my home, they are my family.” “I get it. My mom gets worried a lot too, since my dad was gone,” Sora replied. What was his mother going to go through if he left her? He could only imagine it, her crying long into the lonely nights.... “But hey, what’s wrong with knowing, just to find out?” Of course, Sora wasn’t being entirely honest. He was mostly going at this point to protect Riku, who was like a brother to him. “Yeah….I guess you’re right.” Kairi sighed. “Still I don’t like the way he’s mean to you sometimes.” Sora looked taken aback. “He’s not mean...He’s just…. “Sora.” Kairi gave him a look. “Ok, so he can be a bit of a jerk at times...But trust me...I’ve known him long enough to know he isn’t always like that.” An hour or so passed,.Sora and Kairi were quite throughout most of the work. Only taking glances at one another to exchange some of their stock when they couldn’t hold it all. Kairi had to make sure that Sora didn’t bring anything poisonous. The more time passed, the more the food they were able to acquire. Everything was going smoothly, that was until Kairi stopped mid walk across the riverbank of the Island. Sora noticed and looked in her direction as the two looked upon a large pine tree standing near the waterfall. At first Sora had no idea what he was looking at, until he saw a tiny yellow fruit hanging against one of the leaves. Kairi looked at it as well with awe and wonder. “A paupu fruit...” She said in a soft tone. “Papu fruit?” Sora responded, trying to remember where he heard that word from. “It’s a old legend about the Paupu fruit. They say whoever you share it with, their destinies will be intertwined forever.” Kairi answered with a smile. Sora snapped his fingers. “That’s it! My mom gave my dad one of them when she was younger. It was her way of asking him out. Dad was uh...Kinda shy that way,” he said with a chuckle. “That sounds romantic.” Kairi responded with a giggle, “Guess you owe your life to that fruit huh?” “Yeah I guess. Sora laughed, he then looked at Kairi and blushed. “You uh….You wouldn’t want to share it with anyone, would you?” Kairi went surprised at his question. “Me? N-No, I don’t think so.” Kairi said, looking up at the fruit again. “But they are rare and quite tasty, I’d actually never been able to try one before.” “Really? All these years living on the Island and you’ve never tried one?” Sora asked in disbelief. Kairi shook her head sheepishly, as Sora remained shocked. It was then an idea came into his head. No not just an idea, but something just out of pure instinct. He knew what he had to do. Slowly took a few steps back, keeping the tree in his mind's eye. Taking several breaths he tried to think as best he could on how fast to go in order to achieve his ends. He got onto his knees, pushing his arms against the surface of the ground. “What are you doing?” Kairi asked as she looked at him in confuse. Sora pushed down even harder, now readying his legs and body even more so. He was going to do it. He was going to get that pampu fruit not matter what. Sora lurched forward and ran with all his might going as fast as he could. The bark of the wood was getting closer and closer. Once he felt he was close enough, Sora jumped into the air and landed in the middle of the tree bark, wrapping his arms tightly around it. Sora tried scrunching up, he began to slide onto the ground landing on the water near tree with a thump, wetting his pants and feet. . “Sora!” Kairi shouted. “No, no….I’m gonna get you this fruit.” Paupu fruit was extremely rare, and it was seldom ever picked unless it was intended to be shared. Sora backed up and tried again. This time he tried to make sure that he had a good distance between him and the tree. He needed to make sure that his speed was twofold. Plus he just really wanted to give Kairi a chance to taste the fruit. This time Sora tried to leap even farther into the air before landing on the key branch, holding onto it tightly before once again sliding down this time falling a bit father and landing on his back with another loud thud. He could feel bruises starting to form. This time Kairi had, had enough. Before Sora could step back again she grabbed his arm and stopped him before he could make another jump, looking at him with a firm disapproving glare. “Sora, stop!” She yelled, holding him still. “You’re just gonna get yourself hurt!” “Come on, I can get it, just let me do it! I promise, one more try and that’s all I need! Just one more time!” Sora tried to convince her, but to no avail. “Please Sora, it’s not worth it! I’m not going to let you kill yourself over a piece of fruit!” Kairi argued, and behind her angry tone, she was also worried. “But you’ve never tried a Paupu fruit, and for all we know, they might only grow here!” Sora insisted, refusing to let the fruit being picked up by someone else. “You don’t know that, isn’t that what’s this whole explore new worlds and discovery is all about? Who knows, we might find a world filled with Paupu fruit. But for now, just forget about it.” “But… But…” Sora knew there was no point he could try to change her mind, before he let out a defeated sigh. He was very disappointed; he really wanted to get that Paupu fruit. Though he wasn’t sure just why. For some reason the fact Kairi never had one bothered him. Not in an insulting way, it just felt wrong for some reason. As for Kairi, she must have noticed his distraught look, for she took his supply of food together in her arms. “Look um….Go the secret place, there are a bunch of mushrooms growing. Get them and bring them back to the docks, I’ll be with Riku till then,” Kairi said softly, in an effort to assure him that she held no ill will even now. Sora just nodded, without so much as even looking at her “Ok, ok...I’ll go.” Once Kairi have left, Sora looked back at the Paupu fruit one more time. He glared at it as if it had become his greatest enemy. He was going to get that fruit for Kairi no matter what. The instinct told him that this fruit was unique to the Island, it just had to be. No other fruit was like it. Guess he would have to try again later when he had time. -000- The Secret place. Not really a secret but kids would call it that do to its unique position on the Island. A small cave embedded in the rock of the mountain. A long narrow passage would lead straight into a mid size cavern. I’m there children would come in and out and explore or use it as a secret place to meet with each other. Sora and Riku would always hang out there in their younger years whenever they wanted to get away from the adults. The place had much sentiment and nostalgia for Sora. It made him sad to think he might be leaving it very soon. Sora began to walk up to the entrance to the cave. He stopped however as a small echoing came from the distance. It roared louder and louder until then Sora saw it, Wakka and Tidus running for their lives, running right into Sora, knocking him down as well as himself. “Today just isn’t my day,” Sora thought to himself as he lied flat on his face. Sora got up slowly, letting out a loud moan. All his muscles ached as he tried pushing Wakka and Tidus off him as he stood up on his own. The other two had trouble getting up as well that moaned and groaned, clearly the pain had subsided enough to make them forget s our ghost. “What was that about?” Sora yelled, obviously upset they bumped into him. Tidus fidgeted as he remembered why they were running. “We saw a g-g-ghost!” “A ghost, really?” Sora raised an eyebrow. “Come on guys, we aren’t five anymore. There is no ghost in that cave. I’ve been there with Riku so many times to count, you know that.” “No man! There was a ghost. Scary one like a phantom. Face covered by a hood. Trust me Sora, man, it was real as you or me,” Wakka was panting, his face pale, and his eyes wild and white; Sora never seen Wakka in this state before, and to see him like this was utterly unnerving... Sora just allowed it to slide, maybe it was nothing. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, “look, I’m gonna go in there and I’ll show you that there’s no ghost in there.” “Oh you’ll see Sora….You’ll see!.” Tidus said, he turned back to Waaka chattering his teeth. “Come on let’s go!” “I’m right behind you man!” The two boys ran off leaving Sora standing in the middle of the cave entrance. “Well, you're lost,” Sora snickered, looking forward to tell Riku and Kairi about what happened. Turning around, Sora headed in through the dark caverns. The light around him started to dwindle as he headed deeper into the cave. The air began to chill as a small breeze blew up against him. Sora teeth started to chatter as he kept on moving. “Oh, chilly.” He rubbed his arms to keep himself a little warm, as he kept moving forward. Finally he entered the main cavern. It was a small circular opening in the depths of the cave. A bright light emanated from the heavens from a small hole, which matched perfectly with the open sky above. Along the walls, several drawings aligned the rock, many of them drawn by Sora and the other children over the years, pictures of castles, monsters, swords and stars. Anything they could imagine was draw on the rock. But out of all the pictures in the entire cavern one or in reality, two pictures, stood out. Slowly Sora walked up to it and put his hand on the rock that laid it. The picture was that him and Kairi when they were younger, they were looking at one another, smiling and happy. Simpler times. He even remembered when he drew it. It was the first week Kairi had arrived on the Island, Sora had spotted her sneaking around the secret place just out of the blue. He remembered jumping back in surprise as she was busy drawing on the ground. “Hey you aren’t allowed in here this is a secret place.” He yelled, quite the child he was back then. Kairi turned around and then Sora saw a large picture of Kairi’s face drawn onto the cave. Sora was young and impressionable at that time. To him this was the greatest thing he had ever seen. “That’s cool! Okay, you can stay.” Sora remembering said as he rushed quickly down next to her. That was the day he and Kairi truly became friends, the day that he made the third in his trio of friends, a day that went back to everyday whenever he was sad or blue. Even at a young age Kairi had such a zen for life, always caring and kind, being around her always wanted to make Sora better, as a person and human being. To she never had the same influence on Riku, in fact in the early years it was Riku who had trouble adjusting to her as a friend. Over time though they had come to like and care about one another deeply. Yet he never seemed to have the same feelings that Sora did. As Sora thought about his feelings for Kairi and more he lay down near the picture and took a rock and began to work on it. Time passed, he didn’t know how much, probably more than it should. Kairi and Riku must have wondered where he was at this point, yet all Sora could do was concentrate on his little project until it was finally done. “Perfect!” Getting up, Sora looked at it and beamed. Sora had added hands now to the two smiling faces, and in one of those hands had a Paupu fruit. It was in Sora’s hand, and it was being given to Kairi. It was a bold statement on his feelings perhaps but right now he didn’t care. If Kairi found it then, then he would just have to deal with the consequences as they came. Sora beamed and looked around the cave; he felt proud, and he felt good. Then suddenly, he felt fear, and a chill of uncertainty. Something was out of place, he couldn’t tell what at first he looked around, hard. Finally he realized it, the door, a single wooden door in the middle of the cave, which had always been there since Sora and Riku found the place in their childhood, barren and made of wood. This was the first time that something had changed. Now in the center of the wood a single gold shaped Keyhole was embedded. Never in his life did Sora see this before. “What is this?” Sora asked, slowly walking up to it. Sora pressed his hand gently on the keyhole. He examined it closely and wondered where did it came from and why he had never seen it before. What was it purpose, what lies beyond this door? It was a question that Riku and Sora always tried to guess when they were younger. Perhaps was the day he was finally going to find out. All of his questions suddenly stopped when he suddenly smelled a powerful, malodorous stench, unlike anything he smelled for years, bringing back a particularly terrible memory. Then he heard a voice: “This world has been connected.” Sora froze. That voice, it was cold, it was soft, it was low, and it was distant, as if it came from some kind of an undead spirit. Slowly Sora turned around and jumped back: He saw the figure standing in front of him. A stranger, wrapped under the brown cloak. His face was covered in a hood, save for two gleaming yellow lights that Sora assumed were his eyes. He stood in shadow stood in front of him, gangly and deathly, as if he was a ghost. Ghost….Oh no... “W-Who are you?” Sora asked, his voice shaking as he tried to lean in as far as he could against the rock. “Where did you come from?” He could barely think past the nauseating smell. “That doesn’t matter,” the Ghost said, holding up a ghastly hand, ebony and skeletonized. “All that you must know is that this world has been connected. Tied to the darkness, soon to be completely eclipsed, and then, utterly consumed by it.” Wait, what was he talking about? Darkness? Yes, of course, but what about the darkness? What did he mean connected? This Island was connected to nothing; it was only a Island, perhaps connected to the water if you wanted to put a metaphor on it. But this Island in reality wasn’t connected by anything. It was the whole reason Riku, Sora and Kairi wanted to leave in the first place. “What are you talking about?” Sora asked, hoping to have answers to the questions burning in his mind. The Mysterious Figure chuckled tauntingly. Sora’s eyes narrowed now, gone was fear, now it was replaced by anger. This gave him a bit of bravery needed to move forward and bit, clenching his fist he made himself ready in case he needed to run. “Well...Whoever you are….Stop freaking me out!” Again the figure laughed, this time softly. “You do not know what lies beyond that door. But you will...Much like those from the other worlds did. The worlds all shared the same fate. As all hearts do. All begins and ends in the same way, and worlds are no different.” “Another world!....You- you are from another world?!” Sora couldn’t believe it, just like Kairi, another figure came from another world. But this one far older it seemed and by the looks his worn cloak, well-traveled. Already questions began to enter Sora’s mind, one after the other. Yet as soon as they came they all stopped when he thought about it for a few seconds, something about this figure did not seem like the answering type. Sora kept his guard up. “Well….What are you doing here!” He asked instead while keeping a strong stance. “And….And why are speaking in riddles?” The figure took on a tone of mocking pity: “Such a sad, sad, young boy….You have so very much to learn.” “Well...yeah, you’ll see! Me and my friends are going to go out there and learn everything we can.” Sora declared. “Once we have our raft up and running will be seeing and exploring all sorts of neat stuff.” “A meaningless effort, boy. I can sense your heart, it is far too tied to the light, and because of that, you will never be able to truly expand your mind and gain the enlightenment needed to know more than merely nothing, and one who knows nothing will understand nothing. It is the way of the heart after all.” “Are you calling me stupid?!” Sora yelled, urging to punch the so-called ghost. The Hooded Figure groaned and held out an arm, with a black, clawed finger pointing straight at Sora. Whoever this person was, he was giving Sora a strange dark vibe. Maybe he was a ghost like Waaka and Tidus said...or perhaps something worse. Again, Sora stepped back against the rock, hoping Riku and Kairi would show up and soon. The figure began to glide, as if he floated, straight up towards him; Sora meant to flee, but the smell was so strong it weakened his resolve. He put his his finger right on the tip of his forehead, and Sora felt the most uncomfortable sensation in his entire life: A touch that was cold and unnaturally icy. “Very well...if you want to understand and learn the key to all this, perhaps you deserve a taste of what is to come. But know this...The Dark is merciless.” Sora felt his entire body freeze over. Cold and ice began to ensnare him. His vision began to fade, the hooded figure continued to stand right next to him as the room around him began to churn. He wanted Kairi and Riku to show up, someone, anyone. He didn’t know what was going on, he didn’t know what was going to happen next, but he knew this much: Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. Now, he was falling. Falling… Falling… Into darkness…