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Hello Kh13.com! My name is Aaron! I am entering this topic fpr the chance to win the new localized volume four manga of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. For my story I want to let each and every one of you know this is my first tome doing this, I have never really written a fan-fiction of my own before. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read this, and I respect everyone's opinions on this, whether or not they are negative or positive. This story will be an attempt to portray the story of Larxene (who I interpret as Arlene) and Marluxia (using the interpretation of the name Lumaria) when they were human while also incorporating characters from certain Final Fantasy games such as "Final Fantasy X" and "Final Fantasy XIII". A Salty yet Sweet Truth By Aaron Reynolds Prior to the events of "Birth by Sleep", in the Radiant Garden castle of which Ansem The Wise resides, Even is put in charge of caring for young Ienzo who can barely form a sentence due to loss. It is in those feelings of loss that he attracts certain unwanted attention to the castle grounds. Aeleus and Dilan try to resolve the matter by defeating many unversed but to no avail as they seem to keep coming back. Ansem summons Even to discuss the matter at hand. Master Ansem: Even! May I speak with you? Even: Why yes Master! How may I be of assistance? Master Ansem: It has been two weeks since Ienzo has joined us. I fear we may never discover his origins, nor the locations of his dear parents. In time he may begin to wonder why he is here, I would like to make him a welcome member of our community, however I cannot find a suitable way of making him feel as if he were at home. *Ienzo peeks through the door* Even: It is certainly one thing to care for the boy after all this time, however might I imply that we cannot keep pretending to be his surrogate parents nor can we properly bring him up in our studies! The boy still refuses to learn! Master Ansem: Then perhaps it is time for a different approach, one that excludes homework. *Ienzo tilts his head towards Ansem* Even: What might that be Master Ansem? Master Ansem: I will take the boy to the square, a bit of time out of the castle might do him some good. We may not be capable of teaching him, however we can show him we are at least decent people. Even: As you wish Master, now if you'lI excuse me I will return to my research for now. Master Ansem: The Replica program I presume? Even: Precisely Master! Master Ansem: I shall leave you to it. *Ienzo comes out from the door and joins Ansem* Master Ansem: Why good afternoon young master! shall we be off? *Ienzo nods his head as he holds Ansem's hand". Meanwhile in Twilight Town a struggle tournament is being held, everyone is attending as it is close to the end of summer vacation for many students. Even the NORA gang (a small group of juvenile youngsters) showed up to see their leader Snow stand up to the challenge. Yuj: Hey Snow! Are you gonna be at the the struggle tournament later? Snow: You better believe it! Lebreau: I heard so many people signed up for it, but why? Snow: It's a dream come true that's why! Everyone gets these special orbs, the point of the game is to knock all the orbs out of the other person's pockets and grab them before they hit you back! It's as simple as that! Absolutely no rules! Gadot: Well there ARE some rules. Apparently you gotta have to have more orbs than the person you're fighting. Otherwise you lose no matter what. Lebreau: I really don't see the point in it all, I mean what is so fun about hitting each other with a bat all day? Maqui: Well like Snow said there really aren't that many restrictions on how to win. In any case it'll be fun to watch! Snow: Yeah you said it Maqui! Now where is she.... Lebreau: You talking about Light? Snow: Hey don't go saying her name out loud! *all of the sudden he hears a girl speaking from behind him* Lightning: What's wrong Snow? You afraid I might challenge you to a duel? Snow: W-what? No way! I would never challenge you Light! Lightning: I'll tell you what, if I win in the tournament you'll have to buy us all ice cream! Snow: That's- Lightning: Deal? Snow: Fine! But if I win, that Ice cream is on you! *Meanwhile in the crowd a little girl pops up from behind Yuj and Gadot* Serah: Hey Snow! Snow! Yuj: Oh hey Serah! Sorry but I think the tournaments about to begin. Serah: I missed him? Yuj: Afraid so. *Suddenly the crowd sees the first two combatants* Announcer: Snow, the leader of the Nora kids, versus Bartz, a boy so talented he can copy any moves his opponents make! Snow: Let's make this quick! Bartz: Let's do it! *As the two are fighting, throwing attack after attack toward one another, Serah shouts from the audience* Serah: Look at Snow! He's just so awesome! Gadot: The other guy sure is fast though. Maqui: I think it's cause he keeps copying Snows moves. *Bartz runs past Snow about to swing his bat at him from behind, then surprisingly Snow back flips and strikes Bartz from behind* Announcer: And the match is over! Bartz: Aw man! Snow: That was fun! Bartz: THAT WAS FUN! (Mimicing Snow) Hey we should do that again sometime! *Bartz leaves the stage* Snow: Heh, funny guy. Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the next opponent is Lightning! Childhood friend of Snow, she is fast and does not give up so easily! Serah: Sis? I didn't know you joined the tournament! *Looking over at Snow then looking toward at Serah Lightning winks* Lightning: Alright Snow time to make good on that promise! Snow: Time to make good on yours too Light! *The two get locked in an intense battle, having fun, channeling eachother's energy, and striking nimbly at each other while trying to take the orbs* Yuj: Go Snow! Gadot: You got this Snow! Serah: I'm not even sure who to cheer for! I hope whoever wins get's to win the tournament! *Snow jumps over and grabs one of Lightning's orbs then accidentally falls over dropping on of his orbs* *As the match is about to end Lightning runs over and takes out his bat in a speedy motion, then just as Snow get's up, she zips past him knocking all his red orbs in the air. Snow looks over at Lightning in a state of shock, and falls to the ground on his back.* Lightning: That wasn't too bad of a fight! Snow: Well, a promise is a promise. Lightning: On the bright side, Snow. Looks like you got a fan out of all this. *Snow looks at Serah jumping ecstatically shouting his name!* Serah: You did great Snow! You really gave it your all! You too sis! *The two friends smiled at each other as Lightning helped Snow back on his feet* Announcer: We have a new challenger today. Everyone give it up for Lumaria! A boy who came her all the way from Radiant Garden! Snow: A boy from another world? Lightning: this should be interesting. *Everyone watches as the mysterious pink haired youth battles his way through the remaining two opponents in order to reach Lightning* Lightning: I have to say I like the you fight. Lumaria: ... Lightning: Not much for talk huh? Well here goes! *The struggle match commences and the two are giving it all their energy. Lumaria is no ordinary boy, but he seems to posses a powerful strategy, he makes it so Lightning can't attack him, blocking all her moves* Lightning: Argh! How can he move like that? Lumaria: Take this! *Lightning flinches and the. Loses and orb* Lightning: Can't be serious! Lumaria: This ones for you Arlene! *He charges at full speed at Lightning* Lightning: Aaargh! *She blocks his move and takes back her orb* Lightning: Where did you learn to move like that? Lumaria: It doesn't matter, I was gonna win that trophy for Arlene. Lightning: Oh. I see. *Lumaria walks off the stage depressed* Announcer: Aaaand last but certainty not least! Everyone please welcome the Struggle Champion! Jecht! Jecht: Well, looks like someone finally got up to the challenge. Lightning: I hope you know sir, I don't intend to lose! Jecht: I can understand, but you should know, I'm the best! *Another intense fight lights up the stage and all are amazed at the quick but shocking outcome* Lightning: Take ths! Jecht: Sorry kid! *Jecht swings his bat around and does a backflip, then throws his bat at Lightning as if it were a ball. Startled Lightning falls on her side dropping all her orbs and the match is over* Lightning: How could I- How did I- Jecht: It's called luck kid, and it looks like you just ran out. See you forgot one thing: I'm the best! Lightning: Ugh..... Jecht: Don't go cryng or anything, it is just a game. Here. *Jecht helps her up* Jecht: The important thing is not to battle with your strength alone but also with your heart. If you got a strong enough heart, you don't need to go and bash everything in your path you see, you just gotta believe in your inner strength. Lightning: Thank you sir. *Lightning rejoins the others and her sister and they all go out to the Station to have Ice Cream. A little yellow marble rolls over to Lumaria. He examines it and takes it with him* Maqui: I hear there's this new flavor they got at the ice cream shop. Snow: What's it called? Maqui: Well according to the menu it's from Radient Garden; Sea-Salt Ice Cream, I think it's called. Lebreau: Hey guys I think someone's following us. Snow: Sea Salt? Who would buy something like that? Hey wasn't that guy also from Radiant Garden? Lebreau: Guys! He's right behind us! Lumaria: It's a good flavor! You should try it for yourself! *Behind the NORA gang is Lumaria* Lumaria: I would. Me and my friend Arlene always picked that flavor. Lightning: You again? Lumaria: Sorry for how I acted earlier. Lightning: No I get it, you have a lot on your mind. Who is Arlene? Lumaria: Well she was a friend of mine, but father said I couldn't be friends with her anymore. I tried to reason with him but, he said if I showed I really cared about her enough I would need proof. Which is why I entered the tournament, to win the trophy and prove I was good enough. Snow: That's kinda harsh. Hey wait you said you were from Radiant Garden right? Lumaria: Uh-huh Snow: how did you get here? *Meanwhile back at Radiant Garden* Master Ansem: You see Ienzo we live in a mysterious and wonderful world. There is a theory based on an ancient tale told by many of the towns people. Once the worlds were all connected safely guarded by the light, then one day darkness shrouded the mind of those wanting the great light, and so their actions brought upon the destruction of the world and broke it apart. However each piece of the world remained intact thanks to the ever glowing light in the hearts of children. *Ienzo quietly listens to what the Wise sage has to say* Master Ansem: Ah here we are. Moogle: Can I help you good sir? Kupo? Master Ansem: Two Sea Salt Ice Cream sticks please! Moogle: Coming right up Kupo! *Ansem the Wise hands Ienzo a stick and as the two walk back to the castle, Ienzo lets out a small but noticeable smirk, the two would be as teacher and student from here on* Moogle: Oh! Another customer! What can I get for you miss? Arlene: Hee-hee *Arlenes scurries away* Moogle: Kupo? *The moogle turns around to see his shop filled with ignited fireworks. Each going off at the same time. Sparks fly everywhere startling the poor moogle* Moogle: Hey that wasn't nice kupo! Where are your manners kupo!? Kids these days kupo.... *Meanwhile back at Twilight Town* Snow: So you're saying you used a portal to get here? Lumaria: Yes! A glowing dark one! I see them more often lately because a masked boy keeps leaving them open. They say monsters can be heard from inside sometimes. Snow: Really?! So who is this masked boy? Serah: I'm sorry to hear about your father, it would stink if I couldn't spend time with Snow anymore. Lightning: Believe me that would be a dream come true. Serah: Hey! *Everyone starts laughing* Yuj: Well let's go look for this portal! You gotta get home somehow! Lumaria: Right. My dad is probably wondering where I am at the moment. Snow: Let's get you home Lumaria! Alright team NORA, lets move! Lumaria: Thanks Snow! You can call me Luma for short. Snow: Alright then, Luma it is! You can count on us to find the portal! *And so the team restlessly searched everywhere for this portal but to no avail. The portal would not be found so easily, but just then a mysterious masked boy steps out into to open streets* Masked boy: This world looks like it could use some excitement. *Unversed start flowing from a portal left open from the masked boy* Lightning: Snow look! Lumaria: There it is! Snow: Wait a second... Look out there are monsters coming out of that thing! Serah: Eek. Get em Lightning! Lightning: Serah stay back! *The unversed start scanning the area and suddenly notice the stress within Lumaria. As they are about to strike a strong yell can be heard from over the buiding* Jecht: Arrgh! Get going! Lightning: You? Jecht: I'll deal with the pip-squeaks you just get that kid out of here! Rrragh! *Jecht faces all the unversed by himself. Allowing the NORA kids yo get away. At the portal-* Lightning: Are you sure you'll be alright? Lumaria: Yeah I'll be fine. I didn't realize it at the time but. I noticed. You have really nice hair. Lightning: *blushing*. Yeah so? Lumaria: I didn't think I'd have to leave so soon, but I just wanted to say thank you all, your all my new friends! Lightning: Be careful in there. No more crazy stunts. Snow: Although I admire that try not to get careless. Yuj: Look who's talking? Lumaria: Alright, I'll see you again someday! I hope. *Lumaria steps through, waving good-bye to his new friends, and runs till he sees the portal to Radiant Garden. The darkness starts to chase him, but Lumaria escapes and falls on his back* Lumaria: Oh my head. Arlene: Your back! Your back! Your back! Lumaria: Whoa! Don't do that to me! Arlene: Did you get the trophy? The struggle thingy? Lumaria: No Arlene. I didn't get anything. Arlene: You idiot! How could you! Now I don't have anyone to play with anymore! Lumaria: It's okay Arlene, I did get something. Alrene: What is it? Lumaria I think it's a piece of that trophy they always give away. It must have dropped and I picked it up. Here you can have it. It reminded me of you. Arlene: You're not gonna talk to your father? Lumaria: I am, but instead of giving him something I think he'll understand if I just told him the truth. Arlene: Okay, whatever you say! *Arlene skips over to the moogle shop and sees nobody there anymore. Meanwhile the moogle is hiding behind the counter* Moogle: That girl is trouble Kupo! *Back at Lumaria's house, he talks to his father, and instead of scolding him his father gives him a "wild rose".* Lumaria: what am I gonna do with this? Lumaria's father: Friendship is more than an object. Sometimes you need it to grow over time. Just remember this rose whenever you are facing a hard decision. You have a strong heart son. Strong enough to someday run your own castle like the the great Ansem the Wise. While I don't quite like that friend of yours I can't stop you from wanting to be with her, just be careful you two. Lumaria: Okay *back outside* Arlene: what did he say? Lumaria: We can still hang out Arlene: You really are an idiot for going through all that just to talk to me! Lumaria: Why thank you, at least you got someone to talk to, with an attitude like yours someone has to keep you in check. Arlene: Heheh. Someday we'll have a castle just like that one right? Lumaria: Yeah someday. Arlene: I don't care if no one likes me, I just don't want to be alone! Lumaria: Then you should stop being mean to them. It's not that no one likes you. Arlene: You sound just like them! Shut up! *Arlene runs off* Lumaria: Wait Arlene! *Back in Twilight Town Snow, Lightning, Serah and the others are all seen sitting together enjoying the new Sea-Salt Ice Cream flavor. Lea and Isa also enjoy a sea-salt back in Radiant Garden. In a flash of events ten years pass and Ansem the Wise is betrayed by his six apprentices. Lumaria is recruited into the Orginization as a Nobody who had held on to his body thanks to the strength in his heart, he had forgotten what it was like to be human and in all that time forgot that he had fought so hard for Arlene. Marluxia had recommended that Arlene be recruited as well as a sort of instinct to hold on to his memories. Though the organization had thought of Arlene as erratic and not fit for the task, Marluxia had insisted that the strength in her heart had grown strong as the loneliness she felt darkened her heart and allowed her to become a powerful Nobody. After that number XII Larxene had been recruited. Meanwhile Zexion recalled a time he was close to Ansem and in remembering how Xehanort overthrew him, that lead him to join Marluxia in his scheme to overthrow the organization and gain the power of the keyblade wielder. In Twilight Town Lightning and her friends all went their separate ways and over the years as darkness descended. Lightning found her way into Traverse Town where she searched for her sister, instead she found a girl named Lumina who used to the power of darkness to summon her there. As for the NORA gang they dispersed as Snow went instead to Hollow Bastion to find Serah and still searches for her there. As for Jecht, he had long past left his son Tidus to embark on a journey from which he would never return, and he accepted the darkness within his heart and became a monster. The tradition of eating the Sea-Salt Ice cream would pass on to Hayner, Pence, and Olette, the soon Roxas, Axel and Xion, and Sora, Riku and Kairi. Now we are at the present. *Sometime after defeating Xemnas, in the months before Sora and Riku got the letter from King Mickey. Sora, Riku and Kairi purchase a batch of fresh sea-salt Ice Cream. As the sun is setting on the Destiny Isles, Sora reminisces about the good times he had in twilight town as Roxas, not even curious as to how he has these memories. He doesn't quite remember then fully but he can feel that he has tasted this ice cream and sat in the the setting sun with two of his best friends.* Sora: Hey Riku. Riku: Yeah? Sora: You said you met Roxas right? Riku: That's right. Sora: What was he like? Riku: Well for one thing, he liked Sea-Salt Ice Cream. Sora: C'mon! You were the only one of us who actually met him in person! You had to have known something about him! Riku: Well. He always seemed concerned about this girl. Sora: What girl? Namine? Kairi: It wouldn't surprise me, those two looked pretty close. Riku: No it wasn't quite Namine he was concerned about.... Weird it's like no matter how much I try I can't remember or see what they looked like. I just know, besides Axel, there was someone who Roxas really liked. Sora: A girl who Roxas really liked. *Sora looked at his Ice Cream for a moment, and in a flash of memory he saw a girl with black hair who looked like Kairi, but only for a second.* Kairi: Sora? Are you alright? Where did you go? Sora: Huh? No, I was just thinking about something. Riku: And? Sora: Well lately I've been having these weird dreams. I keep seeing Namine in them. It's like she's trying to tell me something. But I can't think of it. Riku: Maybe you just need rest. Kairi: Yeah you've been thinking a lot lately. Sora: I guess I have. *meanwhile in Sora's heart* Roxas: I hope he gets the message soon. I really do. I hate to seem him this way, so confused. Ven's heart: Don't worry I have a feeling a feeling you'll get to show him, soon, in his dreams. Roxas: What if he doesn't understand? Ven's heart: He will, someday he will. *Flash back to Twilight town during the days Roxas was with the organization.* Roxas: Hey you guys! Have you seen any heartless around here? Yuj: .... Gadot: ...... Lebreau: ..... Maqui: ....what's a heartless? Roxas: Oh y'know.... A creature created from the darkness, right Marluxia? *Marluxia enters* Marluxia: Correct Roxas. And with the aid of that keyblade of yours, you are able to defeat those heartless and in doing so release their hearts. A truly remarkable weapon. Roxas: Um yeah, so that's why I ask. Gadot: There haven't been such things here, not that we know of anyway. Marluxia: Roxas, we must continue onward- *Marluxia stopped and stares for a moment at the NORA members, recalling a time he had been helped by them.* Marluxia: You all should be wary of the darkness, it consumes even the strongest of hearts. *With that Roxas and Marluxia left the scene* *Back to Sora* Sora: Why do I remember that now? Riku: Hey Sora! Tidus and Wakka want to spar, you want in? Sora: Umm I'll catch up with you guys. Riku: .... (That's so unlike him, usually he's as upbeat as ever. Ever since he found out Roxas was inside him he's changed). Riku: Hey Sora! Sora! (I guess he left). *Later that night* Sora: Another dream about him.... Riku: Sora! I'm glad I found you. What are you doing out here so late? Sora: I keep seeing Roxas in my dreams. Do you think he had the same dreams about me? Riku: I'm pretty sure he did, but they never did him any good, he kept chasing them wanting to find answers, and all he found was more questions. Sora: I still wish I had more time to talk with him. I still had something I wanted to say to him. Riku: Remember what I told you when we were kids? You might need to look deep inside your heart. You'll get to someday, just wait. Sora: Yeah. Maybe in my dreams.... Riku: Maybe. Sora: Sorry for worrying you guys. Riku: Ah it's fine as long as your still you. Sora: light and darkness. Riku: huh? Sora: it's like the ice cream we had earlier, salty yet sweet. Riku: Yeah. Exactly. The two heroes looked upon the ocean at night, unprepared for what awaited them next. Later on in the realm of sleep. "Riku......" "Riku..........." "So much to do....." "So little time". Riku: What? "Chosen wielder of the keyblade, step fourth and choose your destiny" Riku: I don't understand! "Nor need you...." "Ask yourself Riku...." "Are you worthy of wielding that which had been passed down to you?" Riku: The keyblade? "Walking the path of darkness has changed you....." "You must now awaken the light deep with yourself". "You must become a Keyblade Master". Riku: But how? How will I know if I'm worthy? "Remember...." "You hold the most powerful weapon of all". *And so the next day Sora, Riku and Kairi would receive word from the king himself. It was time for yet another adventure.* I hope you enjoyed this story! Thank you for reading!