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At first, the story might not seem like much has changed, but as it progresses, I believe you will notice a significant difference. Please enjoy. - R.F. de Bello CHAPTER ONE [Scala ad Caelum - Exterior] [Time of Day - Day] (The camera sweeps around the city.) [Scala ad Caelum - Library] [Time of Day - Day] (A young Eraqus and Xehanort are sitting on a window sill, playing a strategy game.) YOUNG XEHANORT Have you heard of the ancient Keyblade War? Long ago, Keyblade wielders waged a war over the ownership of light. YOUNG ERAQUS Yeah, the Master's favorite story. YOUNG XEHANORT I wonder what happened to the lost masters- after they summoned Kingdom Hearts? YOUNG ERAQUS ...Who? YOUNG XEHANORT They're the ones who started the Keyblade War. YOUNG ERAQUS Never heard of 'em. Where'd you hear about that? YOUNG XEHANORT You can drop the facade. "On that Land shall Darkness prevail and Light expire." The gazing eye sees the fate of the world. The future- it's already been written. YOUNG ERAQUS Really? I'm not too sure about that. (Eraqus looks up at Xehanort.) YOUNG ERAQUS You might be surprised. (Xehanort looks up at Eraqus.) YOUNG XEHANORT Oh, I hope so... (The camera focuses on two opposing game pieces on the board- one featuring a crown, and the other a goat.) "DISNEY" "SQUARE ENIX" "KINGDOM HEARTS III" (Sora speaks the words written on the screen.) "They can take your world. They can take your heart. Cut you loose from all you know. But if it's your fate... then every step forward will always be a step closer to home." (Face My Fears by Utada Hikaru) [Realm of Darkness - Road to Inner Darkness] [Time of Day - N/A] (Aqua is slowly walking through the Realm of Darkness. She's visibly exhausted.) AQUA Seems like I've been walking for ages. How long have I been down here? (A Darkside suddenly appears beside Aqua. She summons her Keyblade, the Master's Defender. Three more Darksides appear and surround her. Aqua looks around, afraid. Aqua then desummons her Keyblade.) AQUA Maybe... I should fade into the darkness here. (The Darksides begin their attack on Aqua, but before they can land a hit, Aqua's wayfinder glows and two Keyblades, Ends of the Earth and Wayward Wind, come soaring through the darkness. They destroy the Darksides. Aqua looks around in awe. The Keyblades fly off. Aqua smiles. She becomes surprised.) AQUA I've here so long- I almost forgot how to smile. (Aqua pulls out her wayfinder, still aglow.) AQUA There's always a way. (She holds the wayfinder to her heart.) AQUA As long as you're with me, I'll always find my way back. Always. (Aqua begins walking again, having found the will to move forward.) "REALM OF DARKNESS" [Gameplay Begins] [Starter Keyblade: Master's Defender] [Gameplay Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Inner Zones] [Time of Day - N/A] (Aqua begins to feel uneasy. She pulls out her still glowing wayfinder and looks at it. Suddenly, after a loud noise, the ground begins to shake. Aqua looks around, and then looks up. She gasps. A portal of light appears in the high in the distance. A torrent of darkness surges through the portal. Aqua looks confused and horrified. Aqua looks down at her wayfinder and sees its glow fade.) AQUA What is going on? (Aqua closes her eyes and holds her wayfinder to her heart. She opens her eyes, determined.) [Gameplay Begins and Ends] (Through the red, veiny eyes of a mysterious creature, we see the creature look around the area. The creature spots Aqua walking past. Back in a third person view, we see the red-eyed creature leap through the dark trees, circling Aqua. She notices and summons her Keyblade. The creature stops. Aqua looks around, still wary. The creature reappears and leaps towards her from behind. It knocks her over. Aqua gets up as the creature runs towards her again. She casts Firaga at the creature, but it leaps over the spell, and over Aqua. She looks at the creature from below in slow motion.) AQUA [THINKING] This monster... This is no Unversed. (The creature lands in the trees, hiding within their shadows.) AQUA Just a dweller of darkness. [Gameplay Begins] (Boss: Dark Hide) [Gameplay Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Road to Dreams] [Time of Day - Perpetual Night] (Aqua contines walking. She notices something and stops.) AQUA Could it be...? (The camera looks up to reveal the Castle of Dreams, looming in the distance. Aqua begins walking again.) AQUA Why is Cinderlla's world... here in the darkness? (Heartless appear and Aqua stops. She summons her Keyblade.) [Gameplay Begins and Ends] (Aqua is battling a group of Shadows and begins to think.) AQUA [THINKING] It's as the Master said- there's no "time" in the Realm of Darkness. In the Realm of Light, do days or years pass with each step? (Aqua finishes the last one off and desummons her Keyblade.) AQUA [THINKNING] I know something has started to go wrong. I must hurry! [Gameplay Begins and Ends] (Aqua is running towards the castle and stops when she sees the ground in front of her begins to give way. In the aftermath, there are four rocky pillars and a long bar of blue crystal stretching to the other end of the cliff.) AQUA I guess I know which way I'm going. [Gameplay Begins and Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Castle Town] [Time of Day - Perpetual Night] (Aqua is walking down the road. She looks around at the ruined, empty town. She stops and looks at the ground.) AQUA I took it for granted. I thought I had nothing in life to lose. (Aqua closes her eyes and remembers the various events of her life. Afterwards, she opens her eyes and looks around at the town.) AQUA Here, too. Everyone in this world thought that they were safe. Not just the people... but the dog waiting for his owner... the cat curled up in her nook... So much life. Trees and flowers... There's no deeper sadness than discovering all that you know is lost. The grief in this place is too much to fathom. (Aqua stands in silence for a moment, then she begins walking again.) AQUA That's enough. I can't keep on wishing for the past. [Gameplay Begins and Ends] (Aqua is walking in the path to the Castle. She stops and looks up at the clock tower. The clock doesn't seem to being moving. She makes an I-thought-so-face and continues walking. After a loud, ground-shaking explosion, the ground in front of her begins to give way. The bell on the tower suddenly rings. The clock's hands spin like mad as glowing, golden gears flying through the face of the clock. Aqua stops to look at it for a moment, when the ground beneath her gives way. She jumps off the falling ground and lands on the ground above. She turns around and sees that the path to the Castle has been completely destroyed. The bell stops ringing, and the hands stop spinning.) AQUA [THINKING] The road collapsed when the clock advanced. If only I'd made it in time... But there is no time in this place, only... the clock. (Aqua turns arounds and looks for something. She spots a floating swirl of gears nearby. She approaches it, summons her Keyblade, and uses it to hurl the gears back into the clock. The clock's hands move counter-clockwise, slightly. Part of the fallen path returns to its original place.) [Gameplay Begins] (Aqua finds and returns four more gear swirls to the clock, completing the path to the Castle.) [Short Scene Starts] (A Demon Tower suddenly appears in front of Aqua. She summons her Keyblade.) [Short Scene Ends] (Boss: Demon Tower) [Short Scene Starts] (The Demon Tower flees into a dark corridor on the ground.) [Short Scene Ends] [Gameplay Ends] (Aqua stands at the steps leading into the Castle. She looks up at the clock.) AQUA What I wouldn't give to really turn back time... (Aqua turns around and looks up at the sky.) AQUA ...to spend one more night beneath the stars with my best friends. (Aqua reaches up at the sky.) PHANTOM TERRA Aqua. (Aqua gasps and turns around. Phantom Terra walks down the steps.) AQUA It can't be! What are you doing here? You should be in the Realm of Light. (Terra stands before her and says nothing.) AQUA Why won't you say anything to me? (Aqua attempts to grab his hand, but he's just an illusion. Aqua backs away. The illusion dissipates.) [Gameplay Starts and Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Woodlands] [Time of Day - Perpetual Night] (Aqua stops and looks around. She notices the glass coffin that Snow White once rested in. Inside lies a familiar figure.) AQUA Is that...? (Aqua runs towards the coffin and peers in. Phantom Ventus rests inside. Aqua gasps.) AQUA Ven!? (Phantom Ventus vanishes in the same manner as Phantom Terra.) AQUA [THINKING] Ven... I know I promised to wake you up. I'm sorry. But I have to find a way home before I can help you. I just want you to know that's it's been you that keeps my heart strong- keeps the dark away. (Aqua feels a presence behind her and turns around. Before her floats a mirror. She approaches it. Aqua puts a hand on the glass. Her reflection grabs Aqua's hand.) AQUA What!? (Phantom Aqua pulls her in.) [Realm of Darkness - The World Within] [Time of Day - N/A] (Aqua comes out on the other side, Phantom Aqua nowhere to be seen. Aqua turns around to look at the mirror behind her. She has no reflection. Aqua looks around the area and begins walking. Aqua stops, looks down, and sighs. When she looks back up, she finds herself surrounded by three mirrors. They start spinning around her, and then fly off in opposite directions.) AQUA What just happened? (Aqua realizes that she had a reflection in those mirrors. She runs back to the mirror she came from to make sure. She still has no reflection in the mirror.) AQUA Those mirrors... (Aqua turns around to look in their direction.) AQUA maybe they're a clue. [Gameplay Begins] (Throughout this area, Aqua hears Phantom Aqua taunt her. The voice has a strange undertone.) (Aqua completes each of the mirrors' challenges. She then enters the one she came from, which now has a reflection of Aqua, but is showing a strange location.) [Gameplay Ends] (Aqua sees another floating mirror and she approaches it.) AQUA Is this what it means to face your demons? (Phantom Aqua reaches out of the mirror towards Aqua. Aqua jumps back and summons her Keyblade. Phantom Aqua summons a copy of Aqua's Keyblade and walks out of the mirror.) PHANTOM AQUA Only your heart is hollow enough to be a demon's. AQUA That's not true! My heart's strong! I'll prove it! [Gameplay Begins) (Boss: Phantom Aqua) [Gameplay Ends] (Aqua slashes Phantom Aqua and shes vanishes like Phantom Terra and Phantom Ventus. Aqua desummons her Keyblade. She approaches the mirror.) AQUA Terra and Ven didn't have anything to say, but my phantom... she wanted to destroy me. Never would have thought I'd become my own worst enemy. (Aqua sighs.) AQUA I've talked to myself a lot since falling into these shadows, but with the phantom, it's as though all of my doubts have gained a voice of their own. (Silence.) AQUA She's the weakness in my heart. (Aqua turns away from the mirror.) AQUA [THINKING] Have the uncountable hours in the shadows whittled away the courage I never really had? (Aqua pulls out her wayfinder, and looks at it. She then holds it to her heart.) AQUA [THINKING] I'm losing this fight. The darkness has found the cracks in my heart. (She turns back to the mirror.) AQUA [THINKING] How much more can I endure before it takes me over? [Gameplay Starts and Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Forest of Thorns] [Time of Day - Perpetual Night] (Aqua is walking through the forest.) AQUA Another world I know. (Aqua stops when she sees Phantom Terra and Phantom Ventus walking in front of her.) AQUA Terra... Ven... (Her face looks sad and desperate. She runs after them. They vanish as before.) AQUA [THINKING] I don't care if they aren't real. Or if I fall into the darkness. I miss them! (Aqua begins running again. Suddenly, large thorns grow out of the plants. They block the path forward. Aqua summons her Keyblade.) AQUA Get out of my way! [Gameplay Begins] (Throughout this area, Phantom Terra and Phantom Ventus continually appear in front of Aqua. They always vanish.) [Gameplay Ends] (Aqua runs forward, Keyblade in hand. She cuts through the thorns in her way. A Darkside appears in front of her.) AQUA You really think you can keep me away from my friends? [Gameplay Begins] (Boss: Darkside) [Gameplay Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Forbidden Mountain] (Aqua runs out of the forest. An army of Darksides await her.) AQUA Fine, then. [Gameplay Starts] (Boss: Darkside Army) [Gameplay Ends] (Aqua defeats the last one and falls over from exhaustion. She sees Phantom Terra and Phantom Ventus at the bottom of the entrance into Maleficent's castle. Aqua, half-conscious, forces herself to get up and approaches Phantom Terra and Phantom Ventus. Before she can reach them, a vortex of darkness appears right below Aqua and begins to pull her in. She collapses again. In a first person perspective, she sees the phantoms vanish.) AQUA Terra... Ven... (Aqua's eyes shut.) [Realm of Darkness - Depths of Darkness] [Time of Day - N/A] (Aqua is sinking into the abyss. Her wayfinder falls out of her hand.) PHANTOM AQUA Now you can be one with the darkness. (A white-gloved hand grabs Aqua's wayfinder.) MICKEY Aqua. (She opens her eyes. Mickey hands Aqua her wayfinder. He pulls her to the ground.) MICKEY Are you okay? AQUA Mickey... how... did... (Aqua gasps.) AQUA Terra! Ven! (Aqua looks around. Mickey looks confused. He looks behind her and sees something.) MICKEY No time to talk. (Mickey summons his Keyblade, the Star Seeker. Aqua turns around and sees the same Demon Tower from before. She summons her Keyblade.) AQUA Dwellers of darkness... MICKEY They're called Heartless! [Gameplay Begins] (Boss: Demon Tower) [Gameplay Ends] (The Demon Tower flies away.) MICKEY We better not push our luck. (He desummons his Keyblade. Aqua does the same.) MICKEY Gosh. I never thought I'd find ya in the Realm of Darkness, that's for sure. (Silence.) MICKEY So, um, what happened? AQUA Have you seen Terra or Ven? MICKEY No, just you. (Aqua sighs. Silence.) AQUA I'm sorry. The darkness in this place... it's getting to me. MICKEY Oh. But... you'll be okay. (Silence.) MICKEY Say, we've been looking for ya a long time. AQUA How long's it been in the Realm of Light? MICKEY About... ten years. (Silence.) MICKEY How come you're in this place? (Brief silence.) AQUA When I went after Terra, he was about to fall to darkness, so I stayed here in hopes of giving him a chance. MICKEY I... didn't know. AQUA What about you? What could have brought you here? Has something happened in the Realm of Light? MICKEY It's the Heartless. They've been attacking worlds and taking their hearts. And with no hearts, worlds vanish into darkness. But, if we can lock the Door between the two Realms from both sides, we can protect the other worlds. So ya see, I came here to find the Key on this side. AQUA So the worlds really are in danger. (Mickey looks around.) MICKEY We need to hurry! Let's find that Key and go home together! AQUA Does that mean you know an exit? MICKEY Well, uh, I was so busy finding a way in, that I didn't give a lot of thought to where there'd be a way out. But, we're sure to find one together! (Aqua laughs.) AQUA You haven't changed at all. (They both laugh. Mickey looks to the distance.) MICKEY "May your heart be your guiding key." AQUA There's a phrase no one's used in ages. MICKEY Keyblade wielders used to say those words to each other. And now... it's something I like to try and remember. (Mickey holds out his hand.) MICKEY So, ready? (Aqua grabs his hand.) AQUA Ready! [Gameplay Begins and Ends] [Realm of Darkness - Crumbling Island] [Time of Day - Perpetual Day] (Aqua and Mickey look around.) AQUA [THINKING] This is... where I met those children. MICKEY Aqua! (Mickey points in a certain direction.) MICKEY It's this way. C'mon! [Gameplay Starts and Ends] (Aqua and Mickey arrive at the entrance to the secret place. They head inside and stand in front of the featureless door.) MICKEY I bet it's in there. (Aqua and Mickey push on the door, and it opens. Inside floats the Kingdom Key D. Aqua and Mickey approach it.) AQUA Is that what you're after? MICKEY Yep, it's just the Key I was looking for. A Keyblade from the Dark Realm! AQUA A Keyblade of darkness... MICKEY "The Door to Darkness, tied by two Keys." "The Door to Darkness, to seal the light." Welp, we've got the Key. Now we need to close the Door. AQUA Well then, since you'll be the one doing the locking on this side, let me be the one to lock it on the other side. MICKEY Sorry, but the job's taken... by someone else. AQUA Huh? By who? (The ground shakes, and the two of them look around. Suddenly, a flood of brilliant light envelopes them.) [Realm of Darkness - Door to Darkness] [Time of Day - N/A] (When the light dissipates, the two find themselves in a new location. They look around, and begin walking. Around the corner, is the Door to Darkness.) AQUA Is that it? MICKEY Yep, the Door to Kingdom Hearts. (Mickey breathes in.) MICKEY It's time. With this Key in the Realm of Darkness, and his Key in the Realm of Light, we're gonna close this Door. (Mickey pauses for a moment.) MICKEY Aqua, before the Door shuts, you leave through it. AQUA What? MICKEY You've been here long enough. This is your chance. AQUA But what about you? MICKEY Don't worry about me. I'll find a way out! We'll see each other again real soon! (They both smile. Mickey spots Riku running to the Door.) MICKEY Hurry, Aqua! AQUA Right! (The Demon Tower from before, now fully transformed into the Demon Tide, bursts out of a corridor on the ground. Aqua summons her Keyblade.) [Gameplay Begins] (Boss: Demon Tide) [Gameplay Ends] (The Demon Tide heads straight for Riku.) MICKEY Oh no! (Aqua summons her Keyblade and leaps towards it, getting in front of it.) AQUA Back off! (Aqua uses her Keyblade to keep it place. Mickey runs towards Aqua.) MICKEY Aqua! (The Demon Tide breaks free and angrily rush Aqua and Mickey. Aqua becomes trapped in the Demon Tide, and Mickey falls to the ground, his clothes tattered. Mickey looks up as the Demon Tide flees through a dark corridor, taking Aqua with it.) MICKEY Aqua... [Mickey stands for a moment, before realizing he must continue on without her. He runs towards the Door.) [Realm of Darkness - Dark Margin] [Time of Day - N/A] (A man in a black coat sits on a rock on the shore. After a long moment of silence, Aqua approaches.) AQUA Who are you? (The man, surprised, looks at her.) ANSEM THE WISE Why, hello. It's not often I get visitors. AQUA Please, call me Aqua. Why are you sitting here, all alone in the Realm of Darkness? How did you end up here? ANSEM THE WISE Well... I can tell you this is my second time on these shores. But unfortunately, much like the first, I do not remember who I am or whence I came. Everything was washed away in whatever currents carried me here. AQUA That's too bad. (Aqua sits on the ground next to him.) AQUA I know I've been here a long time, wandering through the endless hours... unable to escape. ANSEM THE WISE You wish to return to your own world? (Aqua nods.) AQUA It's my friends. I promised I'd be there for them. ANSEM THE WISE Your friends? (Brief silence.) ANSEM THE WISE Somewhere in the scraps of memory I have left, you remind me of a boy I once knew. He is very much like you- true to his friends and kind. This boy travels to many worlds and fights to keep the light safe. At every turn, that boy arrives with Keyblade in hand to save the day. AQUA Huh? Wait a sec... Is his name Terra or Ven? ANSEM THE WISE Neither of those, I'm afraid. AQUA Should've known... (Silence.) ANSEM How long has it been since I met him? At least a year now, perhaps more... Back then, my heart was clouded with vengeance. I did terrible things... both to him and his friends. I brought unhappiness to more lives than one. I felt something must be done. Was that why? A means of clearing my conscience? Or perhaps, out of a sort of scholarly instinct? While the boy slept his long sleep, I hid the results of my research inside him, transplanting the data to where it might best serve a purpose. In fact, I would like to believe... maybe he can set things right. A boy like him who touches so many hearts- he could open the right door, and save all those people whose lives I managed to ruin. So many are still waiting for their new beginning... their birth by sleep. Even me... and even you. AQUA What's this boy's name? (Pause.) ANSEM THE WISE His name is... (The screen fades.) [The Mysterious Tower - The Tower] [Time of Day - Perpetual Evening] (A portal of light appears outside the Tower. Out walks Sora. He stretches and walks towards the Tower. His face is not shown.) "THE MYSTERIOUS TOWER" [Gameplay Begins] [Starter Keyblades - Kingdom Key; Star Seeker] [Gameplay Ends] (Sora is running up the steps. He spots Donald and Goofy walking ahead of him.) SORA Donald! Goofy! DONALD AND GOOFY [UNISON] Sora! (Sora runs up to them and they embrace each other, laughing. His face is still not shown. They start running up the steps.) DONALD Okay, start talking! GOOFY You were gone a long time. What were ya doin'? SORA Heh heh heh. Secret. [The Mysterious Tower - Sorcerer's Loft] [Time of Day - Perpetual Evening] (Sora opens the door at the top. His face is finally shown.) SORA I'm back! GOOFY A-hyuck! (Sora looks around. Yen Sid sits in his usual chair. No one else is here.) SORA Huh? Just us? (Donald shuts the door behind them.) YEN SID The others all had important work to do. So I sent them on their way. SORA That's great. They coulda said good-bye. DONALD It's you're fault you missed them! SORA I'm here now, right? (Sora and Donald glare at each other.) YEN SID We have matters to discuss. (The trio enter an over-the-top soldier stance.) YEN SID In order to defeat Xehanort, there are allies we must gather, acting now to rouse them from their slumber. We have discussed this before, Sora. (Sora nods.) YEN SID Your Mark of Mastery Exam was conducted in the hopes that you would acquire the power to wake them. However, Xehanort nearly made you his vessel and the process stripped you of most of the power you had gained by then. I suspect you have already noticed this, correct? (Sora sighs.) DONALD AND GOOFY [UNISON] Sora... (Sora shakes it off, and stands tall.) SORA Whatever! I'll get my power back in no time! (Yen Sid nods and smiles.) YEN SID Now then, Chip and Dale are currently analyzing data that Ansem the Wise provided to Riku, which could offer us a clue to retrieving our friends' lost hearts. I have very high hopes for this data. (Yen Sid pauses for a moment.) YEN SID However, our greatest chance of stopping Xehanort's plan still lies with you, Sora. If you trust the guidance your heart gives, I know we will find all of the Guardians of Light. But first, you must regain all of the strength you have lost. Perhaps it is foolish to expect a complete recovery, but it is absolutely vital that you perfect one power- the Power of Waking, which you failed to master during your exam. However, there is someone who lost his strength and found it again- a true hero to whom you ought to pay a visit. (Sora smiles and looks excited.) YEN SID Perhaps he can point you in the right direction. (Sora salutes.) SORA Got it. DONALD Master Yen Sid... GOOFY You can count on us to take care of Sora! YEN SID I would have it no other way. I put Sora in your hands. GOOFY Oh, this is gonna be lots of fun! (Donald and Goofy stack their hands. Sora does the same.) SORA Let's go! SORA, DONALD, AND GOOFY [UNISON] Count on us! (Yen Sid nods.) [The Ocean Between - Gummi Ship] [Time of Day - N/A] (The trio is sitting around in the Gummi Ship.) GOOFY Looks like all the old highways are closed. (Sora thinks. Donald looks impatient.) SORA How are we supposed to get there now? DONALD C'mon, Sora! Which way? SORA Ummm... DONALD Hey, would you get serious? SORA I'm trying. These things take time. (Donald groans.) GOOFY "May your heart be your guidin' key." SORA Huh? What's that? GOOFY Master Yen Sid always says that, right before we go off on any of our real important adventures. SORA Really? (Sora turns to Donald.) SORA Ring a bell? (Donald shakes his head, no.) GOOFY Maybe I just imagined it. (Goofy scratches his head.) SORA "May your heart be your guiding key." Ha! (Sora stands.) SORA I've got it! (Sora summons his Keyblade, the Kingdom Key, and points it at the front window. Sora puts his hand over his heart, and the tip of the Keyblade glows. A gate opens in the Ocean Between.) DONALD AND GOOFY [UNISON] It's a gate! (Sora desummons his Keyblade, and sits back down. He grabs the ship's controls. SORA Alright! Olympus Coliseum, here we come! (Sora flies the Gummi Ship through the gate, and it closes.) "KINGDOM HEARTS III" CHAPTER TWO: Coming February 27, 2019