KH Disconnect

Discussion in 'Writer's Nook' started by Takyon, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Takyon hella sad & hella rad
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    ~ An Edda by ***Guardian Soul**** and ***What? **** ~

    This is a tale about five young chosen individuals that act as guardians of light in a united world.

    A tale of inner strength and courage.


    ***C H A P T E R S****


    PROLOGUE.​
    Awakening.​


    As of late, I’ve been having these dreams. Dreams of a city. This city has no sun and it has never seen a clear sky before, yet it is never entirely dark. A light, although faint and flickering, shines and gives form to this city. The streets and alleyways are empty and desolate yet there are shadows with nothing to cast them and soft whispers with no mouths to utter them. In this city, I am isolated for there is no life but myself but I always feel that something exists alongside me in this world. Something that is similar to me but also my polar opposite.

    But today was different. Today I heard a sound, the sound of glass shattering. It came from the second floor of the house that I had been staying in. What could have caused it? Nothing happened in this ominous city unless I caused it. Something else was here. For once, I wasn’t alone.

    I knew I shouldn’t have looked but my curiosity got the best of me. There was a disturbance, a change in an otherwise static world and I had to investigate it. Being cautious of my surroundings, I walked up the stairs quietly and as I reached the second floor, I could hear the creaking of a door. At the end of the hallway, one of the doors to the room was slightly open, allowing some of the light to shine through.

    I continued to walk across the hallway slowly, paying close attention to my surroundings, and then I approached the door. Taking in a deep breath to calm down, I pushed the door open. I didn’t enter for fear of whatever was inside but from my point of view, there were no signs of life and what was even weirder was that there was no broken glass. I was sure that I had heard the sound of glass breaking but could I have been mistaken?

    Confused, I walked into the room and then the door slammed shut behind me. A chill ran down my spine and I ran to the door and tried to open it up but no matter how much I pulled on the doorknob, it was shut and I was trapped inside this room. With beads of sweat running down my brow, I started to breathe heavily and then I heard it again, the sound of glass shattering. But the window was still intact. What was being broken!? And then I noticed it. The thing that was being broken was not glass but instead the floor. The floor was cracking and small shards of it were already missing.

    And then the sound of shattering came once again. The floor cracked more and an even bigger piece of it fell through but it didn’t fall through to the floor below. Underneath the floor, there was nothing, just an endless abyss. Damn it! What do I do now?

    Fear no more for you shall be safe.

    “Who are you?” I called out as the floor started to fall apart under me. But there was no response. Could this voice be trusted?, I thought as I continued to pull against the door with all of my strength. But something on the other side was holding it tightly. Somebody wanted me to fall.
    I opened my mouth and began to shout and call for help as I banged my fist against the door. And suddenly, to my horror, the floor shattered beneath my feet. My eyes widened in alarm as I slowly started to realize what was happening. I tried to reach out and grab the doorknob but suddenly, the image of the door vanished, broken by a ripple as though it was nothing more than a reflection on the surface of water.

    I leaned back. I knew at this point that there was no hope. There was no use crying for help. Nobody would help me.

    ~////~

    It was cold. It was dark. It felt as though he was sinking into the depths of the great blue. But this was different. He could feel the cool air rush over his skin. It felt as though he was falling from the heavens and down to earth but it also felt like drowning in water at the same time. He continued to sink further and further into the depths, spiraling downwards headfirst until his feet started to grow heavy, as if they were being pulled down to the surface like iron to a magnet and gently his feet touched ground.

    He looked around in confusion but he couldn’t see anything. There was nothing but darkness, and not a single soul in sight. He was utterly alone in this dark abyss. But he knew that he couldn’t be afraid and that this was just a dream, a figment of his subconscious, and nothing more. Sooner or later, he would wake up in his bed, safe and sound. Right?

    He took a brave step forward and the sound of his footstep resonated and as it echoed, the floor beneath his feet began to shine brightly and he had to shield his eyes as the darkness broke away into pieces, unveiling the floor and revealing its true form. Turning his head slightly, he looked around in shock and as he looked at the darkness flying away, he realized that they weren’t dark fragments and that they were actually birds, flying away into the furthest reaches of the abyss.

    He turned his head to the right and looked over his shoulder and then looked straight ahead. He stood on top of a small circular glass platform that rose from the darkness like a pillar. This platform was tinted red and on its glass surface, there was a simple sigil. The sigil was a simple line that spiraled from the center of the platform and continued to twist for most of the area of the circle until it stopped right in front of the boy’s feet. Looking down at the end of the spiral, the boy realized that strange glyphs were written on the floor right below his feet and he stepped back to read them.

    ЖИВАГО

    Furrowing his brow, he ran his hand over his ruffled dark brown hair and scratched his head in confusion. He had never seen these types of scripts before. Maybe it was from a language of a far away country.

    Suddenly he heard a voice and he spun his body in a full circle to see if there was anybody behind him, but there was nobody there. The voice seemed to come from everywhere but also from nowhere at the same time. Or maybe it came from within the boy himself.

    Power sleeps within you

    A pillar of light erupted from the surface of the platform to his right and as the light dissipated, a stone tablet revealed itself and floating above this tablet was a grey staff with a silver lion’s head attached to the top.

    If you give it form…

    Turning his body to the left just in time, the boy was able to see yet another pillar of light erupt before him and as it faded away, another stone tablet revealed. Perched on this tablet was a grey shield with a silver outline on its edges and in the middle, there was a silver lion’s head. The same design as the one on the wand.

    …it will give you strength

    And yet one more beam appeared before the boy, this time in front of him. The tablet that had been revealed by the light held a broadsword with a grey guard and a silver hilt. The boy looked at each in turn, baffled, and then the voice called out to him again.

    Choose wisely

    Turning to the tablet that held the staff, he walked forward and stared at the staff in amazement. Magic. It had always fascinated him. Instead of power that was limited by your body like strength, it was truly limitless. If you could imagine it, you could do it. He stepped in front of the tablet and climbed on top of it to claim his weapon. Holding it in his hands, he looked at it in awe, his eyes widening with wonder. It felt light in his hands like it was made for him to wield. It had a very simple design, which would probably make it not only useful for magic, but for bashing things with as well.

    The power of the mystic. Inner strength. A staff of wonder and ruin... Is this the power you seek?

    He looked up into the black sky, wondering to himself who the voice was and if its bearer would reveal themselves. He looked back to the staff that laid in his hands and quietly said, “Yes,” as he nodded his head. In a flash of light, the staff in his hand broke into small particles of light. As the light disappeared, he could feel its power flow through his body.

    Your path is set. Now... what will you give up in exchange?

    He turned around and glanced at the other two tablets. “Give up?” Power came at a price. He walked to the center of the platform and looked at the shield. No. Who wanted to be strong and weak at the same time? His eyes drifted from the shield to the sword. He swallowed hard and started to walk in the direction of its tablet. He pulled himself onto the tablet and held the sword in his hand.

    The power of the warrior. Invincible courage. A sword of terrible destruction. Do you give up this power?

    Frowning as he looked at the sword, he swallowed and nodded his head for approval. Just like the staff, the sword broke into pieces of light but this time, he didn’t feel anything enter his body this time. It simply disappeared into the air.

    The boy looked up to the darkness again, waiting for the voice to call again, but there was silence. Suddenly there was a jolt below his feet that had almost made him lose his balance and fall off the platform. He looked down at his feet and realized that the platform was sinking into the stained glass image.

    There was another quake this time, causing the boy to tumble off the tablet and onto the platform. He stood up quickly, realizing that the stained glass was shattering and falling to the depths, enveloped by the darkness. Run, he thought, but where to? There was no place to run to in this chasm. He hoped that he wouldn’t fall again, that maybe he would float in the air, but his hopes were broken when the floor beneath his feet broke and he fell through.

    ~////~

    His eyelids were heavy. Was he falling again? No, he could feel that he was laying down on something solid. He snapped his eyes open and with some effort, he got on his feet. It was another platform, just like the one before. It glowed with a brilliant blue and this one held a picture on its surface. The focal of the image was that of a woman and a lion while the rest of the image that covered the platform had been decorated with floral flourishes. The maiden in white, while calm and gentle, was also dominant and was able to subdue and calm the lion. Why did the picture feel so familiar to him? But his memory was foggy. All he could remember was the dream and how he had gotten here. Everything else was a blank.

    He looked up and around but there were no traces of the platform that he fell from, just darkness. It was rather off-putting to think that maybe this platform would break as well whenever he was finished with the next task before him. Suddenly there was a flash of light in his right palm and when it faded, in his hand rested the staff that he had selected at the first platform.

    You’ve gained the power to fight. Take a swing.

    Catching him by surprise, the boy jumped back a little bit. He wanted to yell at the voice but what would it do in the end? He called the shots in this place and there was nothing he could do about it. The faster that he completed what was asked of him, the faster he would wake up. Hopefully. Holding the staff tightly with both hands, he swung at the air like he was hitting a baseball.

    There will be times when you have to fight. There will be times when you will need to protect others. Remember this well.

    Protect others? Could I truly do such a thing?, he thought. It had always been the other way around for him. Whether it was at school or around the neighborhood, he had never been able to stand up for himself. Somebody had always helped him along the way. But what is his name?, he thought, straining himself as he tried to remember.

    Watch your back.

    The voice caught him by surprise, but the boy’s body followed the order and reacted instinctively by gripping the staff tightly in his hands like a baseball bat and turning his body on the heel of his foot while he swung. The staff connected before he was attacked, causing the creature that it hit to explode into a puff of darkness. The boy had only caught a glimpse of the thing that attacked him but he had never seen such a thing before. It had a somewhat humanoid form like that of a child but its body was as black as the abyss, it had sharp claws instead of hands and on its head, it had two antennas and two beady yellow eyes.

    The power within shines brightly but don’t be afraid of the darkness…

    Suddenly three dark spots that looked like ink stains started to appear on the area around the boy, taking the form of the creature that he had just defeated and surrounding him. They rose from their two dimensional shadows and stood before him. His eyes widened in fear and his hands began to shake. The boy looked at each of them and started to step back but he had no place to run to. He looked down at his trembling arms and wondered if he could actually face them. Then suddenly a voice, no, a memory called out to him. “Come on, keep your head up and always push forward.”

    “That’s right,” he whispered as he lifted his head up and turned around to glance at each of the shadows that surrounded him. Taking in deep breath, his right hand tightened around the staff and the trembling began to stop as he held the staff with one hand and bended his knees, getting into a stance.

    In unison, the shadows began to crawl towards the boy as he stood in front of them, standing still. They jumped at the boy with their claws ready to attack, but before any of them could attack, the boy said, “Too slow,” and spun around with the hand holding the staff outward, hitting each of the creatures in the head in succession and making them explode into black mist.

    …but instead, let the darkness flow free.

    Suddenly the sound of static screeched throughout the area. Holding his head in pain, the boy massaged his forehead with his fingers gently to aid the headache. Confused, he looked around to see that dark blotches were staining the glass-like surface of the platform. Like a disease, they continued to spread across the floor. The boy looked down at his feet. The darkness…it was everywhere! It continued to spread, trapping him until it finally enveloped the floor beneath his feet. The black void, like quicksand, started to pull him down while he struggled, trying to pull himself free.

    Darkness is often misunderstood.

    While the darkness was still up to his waist, he tried to lift himself out of it, tried to pull himself toward what was left of the glowing blue platform, tried to grab hold of anything that could help him.

    Without darkness there can be no light... So how can darkness be truly evil?

    He held out his hand, hoping that somebody would grab it and save him from being swallowed. But he continued to sink further and further and his eyes started to widen as all of his body was pulled into the void.

    So don’t be afraid of the dark, embrace it.


    ------------​


    Writer's Note: Wow, I sure do take my time when I write but I'm impressed with myself. I should give myself a pat on the back. This story basically started off as a random spur of the moment idea that me and What were discussing. At the beginning, we weren't really thinking of going through with it but after coming up with so many ideas and coming up with an actual plot, it suddenly became "Why aren't we writing this yet!?" and here we are. I hope you guys enjoy. We have much more in store.

    CnC is very welcome because seriously, who doesn't want to improve?
    FuzzyBlueLights likes this.
  2. wonsheep ◀◀ 대.다.나.다.너.
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    Ooh, this is pretty interesting. The use of Cyrillic is good, I'm curious about Zhivago and who they are.

    Can't wait to see more guys.
  3. Loxare King's Apprentice

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    Interesting plotline, great story. it seems to that the character will be a darkness wielder. i like the switch from first person to third person. it adds variety. of course, i do have some edits:

    the 'To' should be removed from this sentence.

    this should be italicized.

    thats it. as i said, this is a great story. i hope you continue it. ^-^
  4. Te Deum Hollow Bastion Committee

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    Wow....

    And this is just the prologue!


    Can't wait to see more, Kyomu.

    *double thumbs up*
  5. What? 『 second movement 』
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    CHAPTER 1.
    Heaven and Earth.


    Suddenly, he awoke with a start.
    Beads of sweat dotted the face and shaking hands of the boy, clenched tightly around the edge of his blanket, as he stared blankly into the dark ceiling. It was as if all but himself in the room had themselves perished – gone, empty, and resting silently sans life, and yet there he was, wide-eyed, shaking and shivering madly as if he did not have the warmth of the blanket with him. The pangs of startled fear and burgeoned panic had gripped him as they are prone to when one wakes from a nightmare – and indeed, the boy had not had such a horribly, horribly detailed nightmare before in his life.

    The boy rose his shaking hand away from the blanket and towards his face – straining to stare, mouth partly agape, at its jarred image in the darkness of the night. It was a ghostly pale, warm, and yet he felt that it still held the feeling of that strange staff in his hands. He pondered upon the events that had befallen him in the nightmare – the great glass towers that rose from the impenetrable darkness, and how they contained all sorts of strange symbols and artwork upon them. Whatever did they mean? Lowering his hand, the boy looked back upward at the ceiling – but a patch of shadow in the night, and immediately recalled the strange, umbric creatures with the bright yellow eyes that seemed to shift between spatial dimensions at will. He especially thought of that voice, and the event that brought him back to the waking world, and the slight turns of his stomach appeared in their gowns of fear yet again.

    The voice. The strange, taunting voice. It had held a tinge of longing melancholy in itself, and yet, it continued to coax the boy onward, to the end. Why did the boy follow it – listen to it and heed it? What would have happened if the boy decided to ignore it instead? And, most importantly, where did that voice come from? He had no choice. It seemed almost alien to himself – indeed, the entire nightmare seemed completely alien, as if it was not his own. What had led him to dream such a horrible nightmare?

    These thoughts rushed seamlessly through the boy's head as he turned it to glance out the window. The darkness of the room permitted a clearer view of the sky outside, and he saw but a darkened blue canvas with only a few stars weakly and faintly holding on to their nightly lives. The day would begin soon, and here the boy was, wide awake much too early, stricken with horrendous fear and guilt over something that was simply of his imagination.


    ~////~​

    The boy heard a soothing, familiar voice.
    “Chikara, Chikara – wake up. It's morning.”
    He turned his eyes towards the door and found the frail figure of his mother standing in one of her gowns. As always, she seemed to emanate an aura of constant fatigue, only strengthened by her recent waking. It seemed to get ever so slightly worse as time continued onward. Chikara thought – and in fact hoped – it was simply an illness and nothing more.
    “I'm going to go take a shower, alright? You just go brush and get breakfast, I think Shou said he wanted you for something today.” And with that, Chikara's mother ambled slowly out of the room.

    Shou, that was right! Shou, he had asked Chikara for his assistance only yesterday evening. Of course Chikara would forget. He silently cursed the thought-attracting power of the nightmare under his breath, and lifted himself out of bed. Like his room, Chikara was once again filled with vigorous life – but even then, he appeared but a tad less colourful. The brown-haired young boy was built in a very delicate manner – very similar to his mother, but this was only notable when one found his silent personality to match his being. He dangled his legs over the bed, looking at his toes for a moment, before leaping onto the cold wooden floor and setting off his daily morning adventure through the house. He decided to disregard the silly nightmare at the moment, for he had a busy day with Shou today. Shou! Shou would know how to get himself in a brighter mood, most certainly.

    Chikara shuffled to the window and received a better look at the drowsy world around his seaside home. The great meadow, with its field of innumerable yellow flowers that appeared to flow directly into the wisened beach on the far side seemed to stay just a tad less radiant on this overcast day. The clouds held a grumpy demeanour to themselves, and even the waves that Chikara spotted quite a distance away appeared a tad more restless than usual. It was quite strange – his beloved Kismet Isle, usually bright and vibrant at this time of day, was only rarely in such negative spirit.

    His beloved Kismet Isle. He stretched out his hand and touched the glass. It was but cool to the touch, as if made of ice. Chikara had been living on this island since as long as he was able to remember, and it was truly akin to an organism in itself, where the residents provided and worked it for the organism to survive. People would tend to the stores, clean the shores, and ever such more. They would congregate to trade and assist each other from places as large and expansive as the Plaza to the individual shacks that lined the other side of this particular island. It was a relatively peaceful and optimistic existence, away from the business of other major settlements in this part of the world, and it intended to stay that way.

    He retracted his hand and frowned. Chikara certainly hoped that the rest of the day would not be as horribly dismal. Indeed, Chikara believed, what with Shou's shenanigans today, the morning would hopefully be a very exciting one. He moved away from the window and decided to begin his daily waking routine. Chikara stepped forward and continued on his venture through the crepuscular hours within his house, visiting one of the few tiny bathrooms that served as his own personal grooming corner. He glanced at the wide-eyed face he saw in the mirror, grimacing ever so slightly at the bags of shadow beneath them, before continuing with his daily obligation. Grab the toothpaste, off with the cap. Snatch that brush. Squeeze out the minty ambrosia of the teeth, and cascade it across the bristles. Then, ever so gently, bring the entire combination to the pearls of your maw and move quickly and efficiently. Chikara had done this but a million times previously, so he turned his attention once again to the great chestnut eyes and rounded face that glanced back at him.

    Chikara wondered if the voice that commanded him was actually able to view him directly – his face, his clammy hands and large eyes – it sent a slight shiver throughout his entire body, and the well-acquainted weights of dread returned to his stomach. He put down the toothbrush, brought a cup of water to his lips, and spat out the paste, before again turning to his reflection. Chikara re-imagined the horrific ending of his nightmare – the slow descent into that wretched darkness and that static white noise – the noise of television static that he despised, slowly filling his mind more and more before it too, like the darkness, served as a complete block to his thoughts. Chikara's knees felt weak and he held his head in his hands, his mind but a slight blur.

    The boy steadied himself and once again looked at his reflection. He then began to wonder if he would receive such a harrowing nightmare tomorrow night. Chikara simply shut his eyes and frowned at such a prospect – he certainly enjoyed his sleep, and it would be but a true shame if this horrible event turned him to the annals of insomnia. Perhaps, he thought, Shou would be able to assist in dealing with this rather silly problem. Chikara turned over this idea in his head and brightened through this radiant hope – yes, Shou would certainly be able to help. Shou always helps, as Chikara knew with experience. His heart a tad lighter, Chikara turned his attention to the reflection of the clock that sat on the wall behind him, ticking, steady, and observant – a perfect association of time itself. Ten-thirty! He held no such idea when exactly Shou required him, but the boy was not one to wait around too long. Chikara splashed his face with water and it simply felt to him that the worries of the nightmare washed away as quickly as the grime, weariness, and fatigue of a troubled sleep. He quickly turned off the tap and, at least slightly more vibrant with the restored will, began to move at a more determined pace towards the dining room.

    The frail young boy glanced, quiet and frowning, and the lone slice of buttered toast upon his plate. He listened silently to the quiet, delicate noise that the shower echoed around the house, and waited patiently until it stopped. His mother would finally be here soon – and after they begin breakfast, he would be able to quite properly begin his day. He peered around the room, glancing around the sepia-toned, modernist wonder that was his abode and stopped his sights at the line of large windows that comprised much of the wall to the boy's left. The greyed, weary light from these windows provided the only brightness in the relatively shadowed room, which further emphasized the great blanket of sad cloud that was the sky. Poor, poor Chikara let out a soft sigh.

    A few minutes later, his mother appeared, dressed in black and relatively ready for work, heartily crunching on an apple she delicately held in her hand. “Alright, Chikara, you can go when you finish that toast. Shou wouldn't like to be kept waiting.” She smiled gently, in the typical soft, maternal way, but Chikara had, lately, began to notice something lingering behind the smile – almost a slight crook of the mouth at the end, as if bent or smudged to indicate something hidden.
    “Yeah, yeah mom.” He said solemnly, glancing back at his plate.
    Chikara's mother continued to stand observing her son, slowly chewing on the apple. “You look down, what's wrong, dear?”
    “Oh? Uh, well – I had, I had a sort of dream.”
    “What sort of dream? Dreaming about girls?”
    “What! No mom! It wasn't even a good dream!”
    Chikara's mother walked over to the table and placed her apple upon it. “Care to explain, dear?”
    “Well,” Chikara bit his lip. “It's uh, it's a bit hard to explain. I was in this – this place, of sorts. It was, uh, dark, really dark.” He stumbled over the words. “And there were, like, these towers rising out of the darkness. And uh, oh god. A voice. There was a voice.” Chikara, once again, shivered a tad.
    “A voice?”
    “A voice. This is kind of too scary to discuss so I think I'll just go mom-”
    “No, Chikara. I'm here to help.” She walked over to Chikara and wrapped his arms around him. “You're my little boy, you can tell me whatever you want and I'll be able to help you, always.” She smiled once again.
    Chikara felt more relaxed in her motherly embrace, but was still quite on edge. “Thanks, mom, but I really think I should get going. I was thinking Shou could help me too, you know. But – but, uh, thanks.” Removing himself from her grip, he leapt off of the chair and snatched the slice of toast off of the plate. “Going now. Love you mom, I- I don't want you to get late!”
    “Right. Right.” Chikara's mom voiced quietly. Chikara was not able to glance at his mother's face. “Goodbye, dear.”
    But Chikara had already run off in the direction of the front door.

    ~////~​


    “Chi! Finally!”
    Chikara strode up to the younger boy sitting directly in the middle of the path. He looked up at Chikara with the dark and stringent eyes set upon a greying – almost sickly face, close to that of the sky itself, whilst his slightly long hair followed the wind in a flowing unison. What was the most prominent on his whole being, however, was certainly his smile – naturally grafted and soldered, it seemed to be eternally present; never shifting, just one of the large curves of his face that continued perpetually as long as Chikara could remember.
    “Sorry, Shou. Sorry about that. I was uh, caught up with something.”
    The boy got up and shut his eyes rather jovially. “No need, Chi. We've all got those times when we just want to stay in bed forever, you know?” He released a friendly punch to Chikara's arm, and Chikara let out a nervous chuckle. He felt comfortable around Shou, but today it felt as if his soul was still followed by those dreadful memories.
    Chikara's face turned a tad more grim as was reminded of that horrid nightmare. That was the true reason his sleep was patchy and bedraggled – nothing like what Shou had described. “You see,” He began, staring down at his shoes meekly, “It – it wasn't even that. I couldn't sleep last night.”
    “You couldn't sleep and you're a bit late, eh?”
    “N-no, you don't understand! The time went by quickly when I kept thinking. I tried to go back to sleep but- but it was too hard-”
    Shou lifted his hand to silence his friend. “Right, right, why don't you get to it? What was it? Couldn't handle your mom's steamed paopu again?”
    “No,” whispered Chikara, solemnly. “It was a dream. I mean – no, it was a nightmare.”
    Shou's eyes widened. “A nightmare you say?”
    “Y-yeah.” Chikara grasped the side of his lowered head with one of his hands, as the memories grew heavier and darker. “A bad one.”
    Shou glanced at the dirty path, and – shoving his hands in his pockets briskly – kicked a small pebble onto the grass nearby. “Tell me about your nightmare.”

    ~////~​

    Chikara and Shou looked at each other, intent – one holding a fearful worry to himself and the other tauntingly fox-faced, as they sat across from themselves upon the grass, the path acting as a great river between them.
    “So Shou, what do you think?” Chikara inquired.
    Shou lowered his eyes for a moment, stroking his chin, before darting his vision back to his friend. “Yeah, I've heard of this before, sort of. Kind of. It's a bit tricky, actually.”
    Chikara was shocked for but a moment. He was not the only one who had dreamt such a tumultuous dream? He sighed softly, as if a physical burden had been lifted ever so slightly out of his heart. He had gained the reassurance of external minds receiving such nightmares as well. “Where did you hear it before?”
    “I don't know exactly, but the premise sounds pretty similar. Huge towers out of nothing. That distinctive voice. The feeling of being sucked in and – and, the static – that especially. The static, its like, in all of those other nightmares.” Shou rose from his place upon the wet morning grass, and crossed the path towards Chikara's domain. “You see, Chi,” He began, “Don't try and spread this yourself, but there's a sort of rumour going around Kismet.”
    Chikara's eyes widened. “A – a rumour? Sort of like my dream?”
    “Sort of is your dream, Chi. You see, it seems that people have been having bad dreams for a good while now, 'specially containing that voice and the static. It's really strange. They've only recently started too – I mean, not too recent, as they've been here for a few months, but – well, Chi, you remember that one kid from up north who seemed to have disappeared? Nobody knows what happened to him really.”
    Chikara strained to recall that particular young boy. It was rare for Kismet to receive denizens from the north among their shores, but they had quite recently appeared through larger tides with what has been rumoured to be the decimation of their original home. The boy did faintly recall a feeble young man of the sort, though he barely knew him before he disappeared out of Chikara's life.
    “I kind of remember him.” Chikara replied.
    “Yeah well,” Shou began yet again, scratching his head. “This is just an observation on the rumour's part, but those dreams seemed to have started some time after that boy disappeared. I mean, I've never had them myself, but I find it a bit strange. There has to be some sort of connection, I'd think. At least the rumour seems to think that too.”
    “But Shou, e-even if there is a connection, what does it even matter if I'm going to keep having these again?” Chikara supported his head with his hands yet again, fatigued through the entire ordeal.
    Shou, meanwhile, simply laughed and slapped his poor friend on the back. “Yeah, you're right, it doesn't matter! It was just a nightmare after all – nothing else. Nightmares can't hurt you. Remember that, Chi.”
    Chikara sighed. “I guess.”

    Chikara looked upward at Shou's beaming face. It appeared as if Shou himself was the sun to which the dismally painted landscapes beckoned towards. Though his face did appear, at first, as grey as the hues of Kismet on this morning, it appeared to radiate a confidence and optimism that struck its direct surroundings with invigorating energy. Chikara always felt rather safe around Shou – the boy acted as a mentor and older brother to him, and he was always able to cheer poor Chikara up.

    “Now, Chi, on to what I brought you here for.” He strode back to the path, directly in front of Chikara, and, feigning a serious expression on his face, began to pace back and forth, deep in thought over the current matter. “There's this girl.”
    Chikara giggled.
    “Shut up Chi, not like that! This a matter of extreme importance, so stop that laughing!”
    “R-right. Alright.” Chikara clasped a hand over his smile-stricken mouth.
    Shou continued with his stringent pacing. “Alright, so, there's this girl. She's only recently arrived on Kismet, or at least I'd presume, since I've never seen her before. And to make things worse, she seems to love hanging out by my dad's place at the Plaza. She's been acting pretty suspicious, all in all.”

    Chikara remembered the Plaza quite well. It acted as the heart of Kismet society – the headquarters of an innumerable amount of administrative citizenry, and received all sorts of special guests and diplomats. Chikara knew it well – almost as well as Shou.
    “Maybe,” He suggested, “She's someone, uh, important? Really important.”
    “Maybe.” Shou stroked his chin yet again, averting his eyes. “But still. She seems to love hanging around our place. Maybe's its the reflective pool. I don't know. But she seems to be searching for something – her eyes keep looking this way and that. Looking for something. She may or may not be important, but what I want to know is why she's acting like some suave secret agent from Lumen. It's just too strange.”
    Oh dear, Chikara certainly knew what was about to occur. He had spent enough time with that unhinged pacing boy to understand what sort of shenanigans would be led by these scenarios. He opened his mouth to object, but was cut off by Shou.
    “Hold it, Chi.” His falsely hardened face reverted to its natural smile. “So, I'm pretty sure what I'd need you for, right?”
    Chikara considered the idea. He certainly believed that it would be rather fun stalking around the Plaza of all locations, and – more importantly, it would take his mind off of the nightmare, at least temporarily.
    Chikara lowered his head silently, averting his face from Shou's vision, as he let out a soft “Fine, alright.”
    “Hah!” Shou laughed. “Chi, I can see that smile of yours! You're just as excited as I am. Come on, I haven't taken you to the Plaza for a while. It'll be fun. Perhaps we may even find out some extra special and awesome reason why that girl is acting like a dime-novel gumshoe!”
    Chikara rose. Shou, indeed, always appeared to find a way to restore his spirits. He witnessed Shou cast himself onward to the path, and he quickly jogged after him.

    ~////~​

    A great square of concrete, crisscrossed with set flower gardens, artificial rivers and pools, and the enormous, flawless, structures of all sorts that were crafted of the purest white and glass, perfect cubes and prisms at their roots but supported by large, sail-like supports and buttresses. It was a marvel of planning and abstract architecture. It was the Plaza, and here were Chikara and Shou, peering over a large built-in flower container that rose from the same concrete, viewing a strange red-haired young lass by one of the square's many reflective pools and acting – as Chikara personally believed – awkwardly silly.
    “Alright, she will be walking away in a few moments it seems, we've gotta follow her.” Shou informed Chikara.
    “Why do you even care so much about her?”
    Shou turned to Chikara. “I don't want to repeat myself again, Chi. She's been pretty suspicious all this time! What if she's going to, like, plant a bomb or something?” - Shou gripped an invisible bomb in his hands and threw it down with vigorous force to emphasize this point. “As citizens of Kismet, it is our duty to root out all of these potential criminals and ne'er-do-wells!” He pointed directly to the solemn sky.
    Shou's voice appeared to have echoed across the square, as the girl quickly turned towards the direction of the two boys. The two friends immediately ducked back behind their barrier.
    “Dammit, hopefully she didn't see us!” cursed Shou. “Can you do some recon, Chi?”
    “Can I do some what?”
    “Recon! You know, scouting-”
    “I-I know what reconnaissance is, Shou. But, don't you think that'd be a bit silly? I-I'm not the right person -”
    “Aw, come on Chi! I've known you for a while. You're the best scout I know – silent and observant. What other qualities does a recon guy need?”
    “N-no. I refuse!” Chikara blurted out.
    Shou sighed. “Alright Chi, can you at least peak your head up over this flower pot here? Just the eyes, even. Your hair will be hidden by those flowers.”
    Chikara agreed, albeit reluctantly, and once again his soft chestnut eyes peeked over the edge of the rectangular flower pot.

    From his position, he witnessed the girl move beyond the view of the two young boys, heading towards the direction of the twin obelisks of the Kismet Legislature off in the distance. Chikara quickly ducked back and turned to Shou.
    “She's off, off uh, north, I think.” He explained.
    “Off!” Shou yelped. “We have to go after her! Quickly, Chi, we'll be off too!”

    Thus did the short chase around the island begin. Chikara knew Shou as quite the tricky one – he had been present on this specific island of the duo for a good enough while to recall all of the fissures, crannies, bends, turns, plants, and uprisings that would provide excellent hiding locations. Though, Chikara understood, it certainly helped that Kismet Isle held a layout that was specifically planned and unbelievably easy to understand. They followed the red-haired girl through quite a bit of the dreary, dreaming landscape – from the edges of the Plaza itself, crossing roads and homes, stores, streets, old citizens on their morning walks, lights, loud noises, and a multitude of relatively large buildings – never as great as the cloudy white, geometric guardians of the Plaza. Then the land of humans and urban sprawl met its end and the grasses, flowers, and fields sprung up to reclaim presumably false land, and though things stayed but a tad harder the two friends continued on their quest. Each then and there, they would cease for a quick moment, observing and viewing the girl's next movement; step; crossing or leap through the island. Though they were quite akin to cats towards the girl's mouse, the two young friends worked together well – The excited and boisterous Shou sent forth ideas, commands, and actions as though smote from the hands of the skies themselves, and the stoic Chikara executed them with haste and efficiency, as silent and loyal as the rumbling ground. They were a magnificent team, or at least they believed – for, indeed, it was eventually that with such teamwork the two friends were able to chase the girl down to a part of the island even Shou had not visited.

    “W-what is this place, Shou? We've uh, we've never been here before, h-have we?” Chikara nervously asked, as the two hid themselves behind a rather large stone. The sand of the beach they sat upon played around with Chikara's toes as they entered his sandals, and looking away from the lazy tides and grey skies of the ocean, he turned again towards the great cliff that seemed to provide a backdrop for this seaside scene. It rose seamlessly, crafted chalk white out of the golden sand, and held an enormous hole, as dark as the pitch black that the enormous columns rose out of in Chikara's nightmare, and – perhaps the strangest fact of all – perfectly circular. The girl stood outside of this hole, silent, waiting – or perhaps attempting to decide – something or the other.
    “I've no idea, Chi.” Shou replied. “In fact, it's pretty strange that this cliff, maybe even this entire section of the island, is even here. They've never really used chalk when constructing this part, if I recall right.” He turned to Chikara with his characteristic smile. “See, Chi? I told you. I told you something was up with that girl! Nobody else knows about this place except her. Maybe there's something in that cave there.”
    Sure enough, Chikara continued to observe silently as the girl, after but a year and three more of pondering her decision, slowly stepped across the sand. The soft grain acted as a cushion to her steps as she tread with little noise into the great maw of the cliff, silent and almost unnoticed. Almost.
    “There, there – Shou. Shou, she's gone in. S-she's gone in.”
    “Right!” Shou leapt up and jumped directly over the rock, landing with a soft thud on the sand in front of it. “Come on, Chi, we're almost there! We're about to find that secret!”

    The two boys strode off in the direction of the strange cavern. But something felt a tad off. Something was wrong – unnatural. Chikara attempted to listen closely.
    “W-wait Shou, wait please. Please.”
    Shou stopped and turned to look behind him. “What? What's wrong, Chi?”
    Chikara strained to hear, lowering his head staying silent. Something was certainly off with the noise of the environment – something unconventional.
    Shou walked over to Chikara. “Chi? Chikara? Come on, you gotta tell me what's wrong!”
    “It's j-just, I don't know, there's something, a sound -” Chikara cut himself off for a moment, as his eyes widened and he brought a trembling hand to his temple. “O-oh, oh my god. This sound. There's something.”
    “What?” Shou asked, a tinge of worry in his voice.
    “It's like, that – that white noise. I-I swear I've heard it before, s-somewhere.”
    Shou stayed silent for a moment, before letting out a hearty laugh.
    “Chi, that white noise is just the tide, stop worrying yourself.”
    Chikara turned towards the ocean and walked towards its edge. As the noise of the waves crashing against the bulwark of the beach grew louder, the strange noise he heard did seem to blend into and fit that of the rushing water. Perhaps Shou was right. Chikara was simply being paranoid.
    “R-right, sorry about that, I-I'm uh, I'm just shaken a bit by this entire ordeal, Shou. Y-you know.” He whimpered.
    “No need!” Shou called out again. “Alright, frown-boy, let's get into that cave so we can make you a happier person and save Kismet all before lunch!”
    And with that, Shou rushed into the cave. Chikara turned again to the ocean, and turned once more to the direction of the cave, before clumsily stumbling after his good, reassuring friend.

    ---

  6. Plums ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ʟᴏsᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴡᴀʏ
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    FINALLY FINISHED.

    Anyway, I'm really impressed by this. I know you two have been working on it for a while now, and it really showed within the first chapter. I initially believed that Kismet was a psuedo-Destiny Islands world (and will probably serve the same purpose), but the amount of details you two had really made you feel like you were there. The description of Kismet made all the senses click for me, and I also thought it was interesting how you pulled ideas from Brazilian architecture (and all of What's encyclopedias). xD

    Furthermore, even though both of your writing styles are different, they flow together really well. I think my only suggestion here would be to split up some of the sentences a bit, as things tended to run-on a few times, such as here:


    Other than that, this is pretty great so far, and I demand more. B|
    FuzzyBlueLights likes this.
  7. Firekeyblade King's Apprentice

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    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU'LL NEVER FIND OUT!
    Sorry in advance.

    With beads of sweat running down my brow, I started to breathe heavily

    The floor was cracking and small shards of it had were already missing. Uhhh....

    And then the sound of shattering came once again and the floor cracked more and an even bigger piece of it fell through but it didn’t fall through to the floor below.-Add some commas?

    I called out as the floor before started to fall apart under me.-Should the "before" really be there?

    as if they were being pulled down to the surface like iron to a magnet and gently his feet touched ground.- Maybe also add a "the" before ground too. Or not if it doesn't suit your style and flow.

    and as he looked at the darkness flying away

    He turned his head to the right

    behind him, but there was nobody there

    he walked forward and glared at the staff in amazement.-Is this the right word?

    Instead of power that was limited by your body like strength,

    waiting for the voice to call again, but there was silence-Try to put more commas before "but"s.

    lose his balance and fall off of the platform-Or just change "of" into "off". Either way works.

    quake this time, causing the boy to tumble off the tablet and onto the platform-Eh. You could try putting a comma there if you want to.

    [realizing that the stained glass was shattering and falling to the depths enveloped by the darkness.-No comma. Deleted comma.] I think I change my mind about this.

    There will be times when you have to fight

    by surprise, but the boy’s body

    Suddenly three dark spots-No "a". Deleted "a".

    looked like ink stains-Plural spots. Plural stains.

    appear on the area around the boy-"In" might work better.

    Taking in a deep breath,

    staff and the trembling began to stop

    attack, but before any of them

    hitting each of the creatures in the head

    started to pull him down while he struggled, trying to pull himself free.-Deleted "and".
    FuzzyBlueLights likes this.
  8. Takyon hella sad & hella rad
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    HOW DARE YOU CORRECT THINGS THAT ARE OBVIOUSLY WRONG!? HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY HELP ME?! GTFO MY THREAD WOMAN!

    Yeah I don't understand why you're apologizing XD. It makes me feel a little stupid that I missed so many things but I type fast and when I look over everything, my mind already fills in the blanks that are there so I miss them. So thank you for the proofread C:

    Did you like the story?
  9. Clawtooth Keelah se'lai!
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    I really enjoyed this. I like the elements of contrast in this, the seemingly sunny and bright (in my mind's picture) of Kismet Isle (lol Destiny Islands pun) being described as drab or dull, as though darkened somehow. There is a big emphasis on the contrast between light and dark in this so far, also a big theme in Kingdom Hearts itself. Even the fact that White Noise was used is a deviant co-location, white normally being pure and good yet with negative connotations here (probably reading too much in to it ...)

    Also, I get the feeling that Chi's mother is going to be significant, though in what way I don't know it's not like the free indirect discourse told me or anything

    You have me enthralled nonetheless you two, I am really loking forward to how this story develops.
  10. Firekeyblade King's Apprentice

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    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU'LL NEVER FIND OUT!
    Well I thought you'd get irritated with all the corrections. But yeah, I understand about typing fast and your mind filling in the gap. I suspected that's what happened a good majority of the time. It's all right man, I'm glad to help. It was even a little fun, reading back. I'm looking forward to what's in the void and what'll happen with Chi. See what kind of hero he'll be. (Lols I made a rhyme.) Anyway, I'm glad to help and looking forward to it. I may even try and read back over What's part, though I doubt there'll be much correcting there. Took me a while to finish Chapter 1 off and on. XD Also, my mind was envisioning the Plaza completely wrong. I thought it would be more....pretty and decorated? I kept thinking of Twilight Town or Traverse Town. All that empty space....XD never crossed my mind. But thanks for the visual references, What. They help a lot, believe me.
  11. Takyon hella sad & hella rad
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    CHAPTER 2



    Scare Shadow



    The cave was dark to say the least. While Shou walked forward with fearless abandon, Chikara stood still, looking into the dark depths of the cave. While he wasn’t particularly scared of the dark, he couldn’t deny that it made him feel on the edge. Children everywhere cower at what’s under the bed or hiding in the closet, but while those small patches of darkness are only slightly unnerving at most; this place sent a strong chill down his spine. Even with the sun shining into the entrance, the darkness of the cave was still that of pitch. Starting to wonder what could possibly be lying in the dark, his mind started to tell him to turn back, to run away. He could be putting himself into danger.

    “Hey Chi,†whispered Shou as he looked back towards his friend. “Are you just going to stand there? We’ve got work to do.†Snapping out of his daze, Chikara shook his head to shake away the nerves and nodded. This was no reason for him to be scared, for he wasn’t alone.

    The girl descended deeper and deeper into the cavern and the boys followed her from behind silently. She would occasionally stop to take a closer look at her surroundings, but she would never look back towards the entrance of the cave. With steadfast resolve coloring her green eyes, she advanced into the cold umbric reaches of the cave.

    Hiding behind the jagged rocks that punctured through the obsidian-like surface of the cave, the boys followed behind her at a steady pace. Making sure not to make any noise to blow their cover, they observed her from a distance. She was an enigma. No girl from their town in her right mind would dare enter such an ominous place. Yet she walks forward like there’s nothing to be afraid of. It was like she had done this before.

    And then she suddenly stopped in her tracks. “So it looks like I’m not alone,†she said. Like pins, anxiety poked at them gently. Had they blown their cover without knowing? Not making a noise, the boys still hid behind the stalagmites but she never looked back to face them. Instead she continued to look forward into the shadows. There was something there and she knew it. “Well I guess I’ll have to deal with you from here.â€

    She let out a sigh and held out her hand in front of her and in a flash of light, there was a weapon in her hand. Chikara almost let out a gasp since it reminded him of how that mysterious staff appeared before him in his dream but Shou was quick to cover his mouth with his hand. They were to remain hidden until they found out what she was truly up to.

    It looked very much like a sword with its smooth black handle and white angular guard but the unusual appearance of the metallic blue shaft gave it the overall appearance of a key. The head of the shaft had the shape of a diamond, though the left corner was missing. Along the outer edge of the diamond-shaped head, there were four blue spikes; two on the top and right corner and two on each side of the right corner.

    Holding the weapon out like a gun toward the darkness, she looked forward and simply said, “May the cold embrace of the frost take you. Deep Freeze!â€

    Like a blanket, a sheet of ice laid on top of the inner walls of the cavern, glistening with a dim luster. “Oops…it looks like I went a little overboard,†she said as she let out a sigh, lowering her weapon to her side. “Well whatever was there couldn’t have possibly taken a blast that strong.â€

    “HOLY SHI-“ said Shou before he was interrupted by Chikara pulling him behind the stalagmite that they had been hiding behind and covering his mouth, muffling his voice. They couldn’t blow their cover and be caught now. While the sight that they just had seen was something that they had never seen before, they didn’t know what else this girl was capable of.

    But it was too late. Shou’s exclamation, while interrupted, was still heard. In an instant, the girl turned around to face the two boys hiding in the darkness, reflexively pointing her weapon at them like a gun. “Reveal yourself with your hands up now! Or maybe I’ll freeze you as well…or maybe worse…I got some fire magic at my disposal,†she threatened as a small smile started to form on her face.

    Slowly and reluctantly, the two sidestepped away from the rock with hands above their heads. Nervous and unable to speak out of fear, Chikara just looked down to the floor but Shou, bold and hardy as always, kept his head up, staring the girl in the eye.

    “Oh it’s just you, the mayor’s kid…and a friend,†said the girl indifferently as her small grin turned into a look of disinterest. She dispelled her weapon back to wherever it came from in a flash of light. “Seriously if you want to ask me out, you don’t have to be so shy about it and watch me from afar.â€

    “WAIT WHAT!?â€

    “What? You don’t like me? You’ve been following me ever since I came here. It’s okay to be shy but stalking is creepy. And you brought a friend along as well?â€

    Chikara couldn’t help but giggle at the scene in front of him.

    “Shut up! It’s nothing like that! There are more important matters now,†yelled Shou as he pointed his finger at the girl. “Who are you? Why are you here? And what was that weird hoodoo that you just did?â€

    “Ah, you must be a riot at parties,†she giggled. “The name is Maya, stalk-â€

    “IT’S NOTHING LIKE THAT!â€

    “Ahh, it’s fun messing around with you,†she said as a sinister smile ran across her face. “As for why I’m here, well it’s because there’s a Heartless here and it can’t be left alone for long.â€

    “Heartless?†asked both of the boys simultaneously.

    “Oh yeah…I guess this island doesn’t see them that much considering you guys have a relatively low population. They’re basically beings of darkness...or a living shadow in a sense.â€

    “What?â€

    “They’re weird and dangerous and let’s just leave it at that, okay?†said Maya as she turned around to walk deeper into the cave.

    “Hey wait,†said Shou as he took a step forward trying to stop her. “You didn’t answer my last question.â€

    “Oh yeah…I was hoping you would forget,†said Maya quietly before she pulled out the strange weapon that she had been wielding out of nowhere and turned around to face the two again. “This is a Keyblade. It’s used to fight the Heartless. I can either hit them with it or channel my magic through it and hit them with that. Just now I sensed that something was down that passage so I took a shot at it. Happy? Now I need to get goingâ€

    “Then we’re going along with you, aren’t we Chi?†said Shou, giving a wink to his friend as he walked in the same direction of the girl.

    “Why, of course we are,†agreed Chikara as he walked behind them.

    “Wait, wait, wait. I can’t have two bystanders coming along with me,†said Maya as she pointed in the opposite direction, towards the entrance of the cave. “I can’t risk you two getting hurt.â€

    “Well we’re already here and if these Heartless things can hide in the dark, what makes you think that they can’t be behind us as well?†asked Shou. “It’d be best if we just stick together for now.â€

    “Ugh, you’re right,†said Maya as if it had caused her pain to utter those very words. “Stick close and don’t get in the way.â€

    “Of course.â€

    “Yeah yeah. Time for adventure!â€

    “Dear god, what am I going to do with you?â€

    ~///~​

    The darkness of the cavern enveloped them. A darkness so thick that it was suffocating. Not even the soothing rays of sunshine could reach this deep and neither could the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Rubbing his eyes as they adjusted to the darkness, Chikara walked behind the two. He had been tasked with keeping an eye on their backs, to make sure nothing would surprise them. But with almost no light, everything appeared gray and indistinct. Maya could have used her magic to make a light, but she didn’t want to give away their positions.

    Maya, firmed and determined, advanced deeper without fear; Shou, despite the prospect that something dangerous dwelled in the cave, kept a bold front and walked behind Maya; And Chikara, while scared, gritted his teeth and continued alongside the two. His mind kept telling him to go back. There was no shame in running away from danger after all, but he forced those thoughts away. Deep inside, he believed in both Shou and Maya so he tried to follow their example as he followed behind them.

    “So Maya…what does this thing look like?†asked Shou.

    “…â€

    “Hey are you listeni-…†He was cut off by her hand covering his mouth. Wondering what was the big deal, he looked forward and he could see a flickering light in the distance just around the corner and with each flicker, the sound of white noise accompanied. Was there water running down this deep?

    “It’s close,†she said quietly as she summoned her Keyblade. Letting out a sigh to calm herself down, she walked ahead of the two boys to check their surroundings. Upon closer inspection of the walls, she noticed that the light wasn’t originating from some point deeper in the cave but instead came from the walls themselves. Like a TV, they eerily flickered on and off with that unnerving static complementing each glint of light.

    Squish.

    At the sudden noise, she froze and stared down at the floor. It was a wet sound like something was dragging itself through a swamp. But she hadn’t stepped on anything wet. Something else was there. She knew it. Signaling to the two to stay put, she moved silently, holding the handle of her Keyblade firmly as she creeped forward.

    As she proceeded, the strange sound coming from the void of darkness became clearer and clearer. For one moment, it appeared to be coming from her left but then a few seconds later, she heard it from the right. With the flickering light of the walls helping her see clearly, she realized that she was in a bigger room now, instead of the narrow passages that she had been traversing. Something was definitely here.

    Suddenly the wet sound had stopped. And then…

    “…dEsCeNd DeEpEr InTo ThE dArKnEsS…â€

    A whisper hissed from the darkness. Though not a human voice by any means, it spoke some profane semblance of human speech. It slithered around the room, hiding behind the rocks and where there was no light.

    “Burn into ashes.†An orange line of fire started to form around her into a circle, letting out sparks and ashes. “Flare Tornado!†With the words spoken, the incandescent circle of fire began to spin, creating a vortex of flame. Spinning faster and faster, the fiery vortex engulfed everything around her, eating away at all of her surroundings with its bright flames.

    “God, I hate using this spell,†coughed the girl as she used her free arm to wave away the smoke that surrounded her. The scene before her looked like it had just been bombed. The view of her surroundings obscured by the smoke and ash. If there was something here, then the flames should have burned it to a silhouette on the wall or at least weakened it enough for her to take out with her Keyblade.

    Squish.

    A chill ran down her spine. Crap! How could it have survived that? She looked to the left, then to the right and finally up, but there was nothing.

    “…hEhEhEhEhEhEhEhEhEhE…â€

    There was only one more direction to look at. She froze and stared down. Darkness started to spread like an ink blot and out of it, dark tendrils started to grow, grabbing onto her feet. “Aero!†yelled Maya and in an instant, blades of wind cut at the tendrils. Freeing herself from their grip, she leapt away from the pitch black blot.

    Damn! I can’t do a spell that big again. Looks like I’ll have to take it head on.

    As if it was swimming in water, the shadow swam across the surface of the floor, searching for its prey. Hiding behind one of the many jagged rocks that were in the room, Maya waited for the right time to attack. Since her enemy was literally two dimensional, she was unable to attack it. The instant she revealed herself was the turning point of the battle so she had to make it count. Keeping an eye on the shadow that slithered across the floor, she stealthily dashed from one rock to another, picking up a rock as she continued to hide.

    Let’s hope this works.

    With the rock in her left hand, she threw it across the room. Hearing the sound of the rock hitting the floor, the Heartless jumped from its shadow, revealing its pitch black serpentine form. Opening its mouth, revealing its sharp white teeth, to attack, it charged forward to its prey, only to find that nothing was there. Nothing but a rock.

    “Too late.†As it looked around for its target, Maya descended from above with her Keyblade held tightly in both hands and impaled the large black snake in its head. The beast howled and squirmed in pain, struggling to shake the girl and the weapon embedded inside of its skull off. But despite its effort, Maya held on tight. Eventually it died down, collapsing onto the floor into a limp carcass.

    “Phew,†she sighed as she leaped off of the giant snake’s back, but then she suddenly felt something tug on her ankle. Looking down, she saw that a tail had wrapped around it and the realization came to her instantly, but also too late. Like a whip, the tail wrapped around her leg tightly and swung her around in a circle. Having gained enough momentum, the tail released its grip, sending her flying and crashing into the walls of the passage from where she came.

    She tried to force herself back up, but her body didn’t move. In her hand laid her Keyblade but without the power to wield it, it shattered into small fragments of light, fading away. Her muscles were limp, her vision was blurring, and slowly her consciousness faded as her eyes closed.


    ~///~

    “Maya!†yelled Shou as he ran towards her unconscious body. Cradling her body, he saw that her skin had become paler and that she was showing no response. I have to take her out of here, he thought instantly. Picking her up, he turned around, to see the abomination that had attacked her. Turning back into a shadow, it slithered across the floor closer and closer to them.

    He started to tremble. He tried to run away but his legs just weren’t responding. Fear. What a strange feeling it was to him. With the brave front he always kept on, this was something he almost never showed outwardly. But here he was, trembling in his shoes, unable to do anything.

    “Shou! Run!†Chikara sprinted down the passage. And suddenly the flickering walls darkened and everything went black.

    Squish

    That dreaded sound echoed throughout the passageways. But where was it coming from?, Chikara wondered to himself as he walked forward warily. Suddenly the walls turned back on, much brighter than usual, causing him to cover his eyes from the light.

    Squish

    He felt something pull at his feet. Freezing in his tracks, he looked down to see that there was a blotch of darkness underneath his feet. It’s just like my dream. From it, one dark tendril grabbed onto his left foot and suddenly more and more came out of the stain, grabbing his feet and constricting him. His eyes started to widen as all of his body was slowly being constricted by the tendrils of darkness. And just like his dream, the black void started to pull him down as he struggled, trying to pull himself free. But he continued to sink further and further until the darkness swallowed him whole.

    From the same darkness that swallowed Chikara, a pitch black snaked emerged. For Shou, there was no escape. The passage leading out was blocked by the Heartless and the room ahead was only a dead end. There was no flight so all that was left was fight. Laying Maya down onto the floor, he let out a sigh. Looking back to the Heartless, he pointed his finger at it and only had one thing to say, “Oh, it’s on now!â€


  12. Firekeyblade King's Apprentice

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    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU'LL NEVER FIND OUT!
    Lols you guys are so silleh. XD And it's no problem at all. This story must be perfect.
  13. Makaze Banned

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    Red text means something needs changed or deleted.

    Green text means something needs to be added.

    This entire passage shows her alone. What is happening with the other two, and where are they? A Heartless and a girl fighting does not entail two people just disappearing until she is passing out.

    Was 'Fear.' a thought? It looks like it should be italicized.

    My main complaint is that in GS' sections, the character being followed changes randomly and the others are forgotten while focusing on them. This is a problem with third person. If you cannot see a situation without focusing on someone, then sticking with a certain person's perspective is a preferred tactic for perspective-based writing. It does not make sense to forget your main character simply because he is not doing anything. If he is not doing anything, then you should say that he is not, because what he is doing is more important than other happenings.
  14. What? 『 second movement 』
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    CHAPTER 3 Part 1.
    Proto-star​


    Shou stood, silent, pointing at the form of the great inky beast before him.

    What bravado! Here he was, challenging this unearthly abomination to a fight in his own domain. His face was obscured in the darkness of the cavern, but even in this deathly loneliness Shou fought to keep his facade. That was what Shou considered himself as, yes – an impulsive fighter. Yet in this alien territory he continued his incessant psychological struggle. His struggle with both the environment and the inhuman serpentine figure that was slowly moving towards him.

    The poor boy was still frozen in his place – frozen from fear; frozen from the disappearance of the only company he had; frozen from his isolation. He saw only a ghastly darkness around him, interrupted only by the slight static flickering of the patches on the walls. His eyes were sore and just a tad blurry, darting in every direction but unable to visually grasp one particular object, as if this realm did not even belong within the mundane dimensions of humanity. He felt that he was drowning and helpless, with only a limited handful of his senses to guide him, despite his small feet anchoring him to the ground.

    And all in this mental encapsulation the snakelike creature began to slither ever closer to Shou.

    It moved in a peculiar manner – at first glance, Shou attempted to note, the being did indeed move with a slithering motion. But after staring at the creature for a good few moments, one would conclude that the slithering was an optical trick of sorts. The entire creature was “off†in its movements – what appeared at first to be slithering was in fact a bending of the space around it, or at least that was the best Shou could mentally describe it. It was unconventional and abnormal. When Shou became aware of it – a sudden click in his mind – the strangeness of what he perceived through his eyes to be a bending of reality itself as movement, conducted by a creature heading after himself, liquified in rising fear and dread. The hair on the back of Shou's neck stood on end. Shou was in a daze. Was this a dream? Was this actually happening? It couldn't be happening – no, oh god, no, why was this happening. Why was this happening? Shou was still frozen. All he was able to do was think in his fear. His facade of determined bravery received a slight crack, and his sprightly grimace contorted into an imperfection just a tad.

    The creature bared its gleaming white fangs. A whole row of jagged teeth, white as pearls, providing a malevolent, ghastly light in the darkness that blinded Shou by its suddenness. He was able to close his eyes, finally edging his body slowly away from the creature, arms cast in front of himself in an attempt to understand what space was around him.

    Shou heard the creature let out an unearthly cry.

    “...ccCCchhChshHCzzzzzCschhhsHHRRRRRCcccCHcckeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeZcshhhCHSK...â€

    Shou instantly placed a protective hand to his skull. Dear god. He felt as if the jagged spikes surrounding him had pierced his mind for a brief moment. Shou felt the noise as a combination of loud static, microphone feedback, and the nerve-twisting sound of nails scraping upon a chalkboard. His head began to throb, and he let out a slow moan in pain. Slowly opening his eyes, now adjusted to the bleak light, he was able to see his surroundings more clearly. Yet even here, his eyes could not concretely settle upon the form of a single object. It was as if this odd cavern was built in this manner.

    This particular section of the cave was rather large and circular. The black walls were covered with a large amount of strange voids and niches that appeared to be holes in reality itself, and were the source of the odd static snow that was now dormant in this penumbra. Enormous crystalline spikes of a hexagonal nature thrust out of the walls, ceiling, and floor, the same jet tincture as the rest of the room, as if everything blended into a blurry and dark Impressionist piece. The centre of the room rose to a slight pedestal, in front of which waited the snakelike monster and its twisted Cheshire grin in the blank nihil. Shou was not able to discern any other details of this hellscape, but that did not bother him. He was already filled partway with a viscous dread and a desire to somehow escape this eldritch horror.

    Of course, Shou could not completely identify the creature in itself – he only had its horrific grimace to pinpoint by. The creature was definitely serpentine in form; snakelike; ghastly; yet, it seemed as much a part of the dismally caliginous scenery. In fact, Shou realized, he had only discerned its serpentine form from its movements. Shou was aghast, but at this time, he gained enough impulsive courage to realize he was to do something, regardless of the consequences.

    The creature lunged with a ferocious velocity. Shou was caught off guard.

    At first, he attempted to run, but was rammed partway into one of the larger hexagonal spikes. For a moment, he felt an agonizing pain as the creature contacted him – it was as if he was hit by a combination of sharp, penetrating needles and a harsh chemical burn. But it lasted only a moment, and Shou quickly rolled sideways to kick his shoe off towards the serpentine creature. He saw it land hard on the creature's head, but it appeared to have only rebounded and distracted him ever so slightly.

    This was Shou's chance. Without thinking, he grabbed a handful of stones and pebbles from the ground and carried them in his arms, interchangeably stumbling and running towards the other side of the large chamber. He backed himself behind the larger spikes and began to edge around the room, throwing the stones one by one with an unconscious mechanical motion. Shou, of course, was still horrendously fearful, but he simply went with his inner instinct. The stones, however, did not have any effect on the enormous creature. It let out another ghastly shriek, baring its grin, and Shou was paralyzed by the noise, falling to the ground, bumping his head on one walls and dropping the small stones all around his being. His vision blurred eve more so, and all he could notice in the increasing darkness was something that he had not viewed before – the odd, white-chalked pictographs and images of odd shapes that adorned this part of the chamber.


    But, god damnit, the creature was moving closer and closer and closer. Shou's breath gained a slightly raspy tinge and his hope turned hollow. His eyes were teary. Immediately, the serpent elongated itself to meet its head and mouth directly with Shou's fearful face. He could not speak. He could not even whisper. His breaths were shaky. He was frowning. His eyes began to dart around again, looking for something – something, to grasp onto, and there – indeed – he was able to pick out the form of Maya by the hallway on the other side of the room, curled up and peaceful.

    No, I am not doing this just for myself, y'know. I'm doing this to save the others -

    Shou felt slithering tentacle forms reach his ankles. The agonizing sting returned, and it put Shou in a slight shock.

    Agh! God damnit. No. Damnit. Doing this for my friends. I am doing this to save Chi and even Maya too -

    He was immediately ripped off the ground, and he was held swaying by the ankles for a moment. The burns began to grab a greater emotional and psychological hold on him, as if they were reaching his mind and heart.

    Agh! “Ahhhhhh!†I- uh, bah! Friends. Have to save them. Screw this god damn pain, I have to- agh, damnit. Save Chi.

    Shou's movements began to become more lethargic as the pain increased, and he was slammed forcibly against the wall. He closed his eyes.

    Ah! No no no no no no no, have to oh god save- oh my god someone help me. Chi, have to-

    His breaths grew more raspy. He tasted blood.

    Save Chi and Maya save Chi Maya save save ah god damnit this hurts save save save save save save save

    He held his hand to his heart, and his singular thoughts melted into a foam of rambling nonsense as he let out a final, incomprehensible scream, heard by nothing.


    But to Shou, the pain had stopped.

    He opened his eyes, and he was startled to see everything petrified in a strange greyscale. He was still pinned against the wall, and he could not turn his head away from it to see the rest of the room. What he was thus able to notice on the wall itself, however, was a rather peculiar drawing. It was a crude drawing of a heart, with an arrow that pointed directly to a key. Shou had absolutely little idea what this image represented. Perhaps the insane doodlings of this cave's former inhabitants? The only other image Shou was able to see was a very crude drawing of onion-domed buildings with dancing, coloured-in stick figures. Beyond this, Shou felt nothing. Shou was barely conscious or aware of himself.

    It was then that he heard a strange noise. Footsteps. Footsteps, in this strange cavern? Shou could barely hear or sense any such thing, but he heard the dim remnants of a low, slightly hollow voice.

    “Please stay placid, Shou. Everything is perfectly grand.â€

    “Keep your hand to your heart.â€

    “When I snap my fingers, you are going to move your hand away from your heart. This is not a prediction nor a favour – it is something that will happen.â€

    The footsteps soon stopped, and there was a characteristic snap of fingers.

    Time ceased its petrification.

    Shou, absolutely startled by the invigorated feeling, attempted to whirl around, bringing his hand away from his heart, but what happened instead directly caught him off guard. As if drawn straight out of the air in front of his chest after pulling away his hand, a large keyblade slowly began to materialize in scintillating shards of light, which in its creation immediately bisected one of the strange black tentacles. Shou fell to the ground with a thud. The creature squealed in pain. Shou witnessed this, and instinctively, lunged after the creature with his new found weapon and his new found courage.

    The serpent attempted to lunge at him in the tar-like darkness again, but this time Shou was ready. He held out the keyblade in front of him, and as the creature approached he swung directly in a sideways strike. The keyblade drove partly through the shadowy creature, and Shou immediately retreated. He still had little idea how to actually fight, sadly.

    “I have some baseball practice,†He whispered to himself. “Should be the same thing, probably, right?â€

    Shou sidestepped unsuccessful grabs and lunges by a barrage of tentacles with a quick, athletic grace, slashing at them and reducing them to withering, evaporating puddles of a blood-like sable substance. The serpentine creature let out a low growl and another squeal, and again lunged at Shou with an open mouth. Shou, lifting his keyblade to his shoulders and behind his head, quickly stepped to the side and let off a powerful strike to the side of the creature's skull the minute it came near. It ripped through the murky skin of the creature, and sent it flying across the room in a high-pitched, discordant shriek.

    “H-home run!†Shou exclaimed with a lack of breath. He could not believe he was actually doing so well. It seemed rather unreal. Almost dreamlike.

    Shou immediately strode across to the other side of the room. The serpentine creature rose up again and snapped at the boy, but Shou was able to deflect the gnashing teeth with slight difficulty. Shou sped forward to the side of the creature and smashed downward on its body, startling it with pain and shock. The creature forgave the loudest shriek thus far. The chamber shook morosely. Shou was paralyzed yet again for a moment, but his resurgent confidence continued to give him his courage. The voids along the walls immediately lit up in their images of static snow, and with another screech from the creature the black tentacles jumped out of the static patches from all directions, moving rapidly towards Shou.

    With confidence, he moved around in a circle, slashing and cutting any that came too close to him with his rough handling of the keyblade. However, the creature then lunged at him again and thrust Shou towards another spike. Shou stumbled and collapsed, and the large, elongated black spike snapped and fell with a bang onto his keyblade, trapping it. The serpent suddenly grew to an immense size, larger than even before, and immediately charged directly towards Shou's head. Shou attempted to wrench his keyblade out, to no avail.

    Instinctively, he closed his eyes and let go of his keyblade, using his hand as a protective bulwark a split second before the creature came into contact, but before Shou could even realize, he heard another ghastly cry emit from the creature. Opening his eyes again, he viewed the keyblade in his outstretched, protective hand, dripping with the shadowy ink, and the huge serpentine creature slowly shrinking as the black substance spewed forth from a great hole in its head. The umbric liquid from the key dripped onto Shou's bare foot, and the agonizing burning shot his senses for a moment. He noticed, however, that the key had somehow teleported from beneath the spike to his hand.

    Shou slowly lifted himself up. The creature, now smaller and minuscule, was writhing on the ground. Shou marched towards the creature, and lifted his keyblade, ready to impale it. Finally, Shou had finished the battle. He paused briefly for a sigh of relief, but was interrupted. The small creature had emitted another disorienting cry, unexpected for its size, and with a rough nudge it pushed Shou back to the ground. It elongated itself into a wormlike form and moved towards a patch of static with a rapid speed, diving into it.

    Shou looked with widened eyes. What in the hell was that thing? He glanced back to his keyblade, now having a chance to look at its details. It was various shades of blue, curved in a number of places, and was dotted with shining silver stars. The end of the key was adorned with a large golden star surrounded by a spiked half-circle, and the grip was framed with two symmetrical comet shapes. Shou traced his vision to the end of the keychain, which bore a bright crimson star. Shou was immensely curious. Where did this keyblade appear from? What, in fact, was the entire ordeal with the footsteps and the finger snap, and that strange voice? Without that voice, he would probably not be alive – but then again, was it his own instinctual decision to move his hand, or was it influenced by that voice's command? Perhaps it was simply a dream, but questions still lingered within the boy's mind. It had generated directly from Shou slowly moving his hand away from his heart. In fact, Shou had noticed that the fear and dread that had gripped him in its carnivorous talons began to slowly disappear when he had continued to pull his hand away from his chest.

    But Shou's line of thinking ceased with an ear-splitting reverberation from the walls themselves. The chamber again began to shake, and a few crystalline ceiling spikes descended to the ground. Shou jumped still in a bit of a daze, immediately realizing that Maya was unprotected. He stumbled over to her by the hallway, keyblade in hand, as another reverberation shook the room. What in the world was that?

    “Maya! Maya!†Shou cried, wishing to simply see another human in this dark and horrendous cavern. He held two fingers to the base of her neck, and felt a pulse. Shou sighed with relief.

    A third and even greater reverberation shook the chamber, and Shou felt it in his bones – it shook him slightly, blurring his vision and landing him a slight headache. He attempted to look around for the possible source, but it was as if the noise emitted from the walls themselves. Spikes continued to drop from the ceiling with cracking, thunderous breaks. Stopping his glance at one of the patches of static – flickering in and out of life – a realization struck him that returned the iron grips of fear and dread.

    “H-holy – no, oh my god. Chi!†What about Chi?!

    But he was cut off as he received a sharp blow to the head, which knocked him unconscious. Shou's vision and mind became dark, and he fell on top of an unconscious Maya as the blunt spike that had hit him rolled off to the floor, his head resting on her stomach.


    ATUHOR'S NOSE:

  15. Takyon hella sad & hella rad
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    CHAPTER 3 Part 2.
    The Dream is Collapsing



    Who am I?

    He did not know how he got there, or why he was even there. In fact, he couldn't recall anything he had experienced during his entire lifetime, like all his memories had been erased from his mind. His past was an enigma and his memories only started from the moment he regained consciousness, finding himself in this endless expanse of darkness. Everything before that, if it ever existed, was a blank.

    He felt this strange sensation of sinking. Further and further, he went down the abyss. But this couldn't be drowning for he could still breathe. But with each breath, he felt a bout of nausea for it was dry and thick, as though warning that he was in a different plane of reality. Falling further and further, the air gently brushed against his skin. As he descended into the infinite darkness, he remained still, his mind adrift for answers that his blank mind couldn't provide.

    How did I get here?

    Suddenly silver light erupted from within the boy, driving away the darkness surrounding him with a blinding radiance. As if it had sensed a true threat to its intentions, the darkness withdrew and the light consumed the surrounding area in a silver torrent. Flinching at the intense light, the boy covered his eyes from its magnificence.

    And suddenly, the sensation of sinking stopped. Snapping his eyes open, the boy was left in amazement as he found himself lying on top of a circular platform. As he got onto his feet, he looked around. Nothing but darkness, and not even a single soul in sight. He and the platform on which he stood were the only things in this vast expanse.

    Taking a closer look at the platform, he noticed that a glyph had been painted onto its surface. It was a simple icon. On the center of the platform, there was a dot and from that dot, a line spiraled outward to the boundaries of the platform. And together with the glyph, some runes had been engraved onto the surface as well.

    Живаго

    Why does all of this feel so familiar?

    Suddenly, a loud burst of static boomed throughout the area, attacking his ears. In response, he covered his ears and grabbed his head, throbbing with an intense sting from the screech of static. Rubbing his temple to relieve the pain, he looked down and noticed the glow of the platform was flickering on and off and with each flicker, the faint sound of white noise echoed throughout the room.

    Hey Chi, are you just going to stand there?
    Maya!
    Shou! Run!


    “Chi…Maya…and Shou?” he asked himself as he tried to remember what these names meant to him. And as the names resonated through his head, memories started to come back slowly, piece by piece. “Shou! Maya!” he yelled as he wondered what was happening. The last place he had been was that cave. Shou was there. Maya was there. And something…else was there as well.

    That…thing.

    Chikara’s eyes widened with panic as he looked down to see that various parts of the floor were slightly flickering with static. Just like a TV. Just like those walls, he thought as his shattered mind slowly started to connect the memories back together like an unsolved puzzle.

    Those tendrils, he remembered. They emerged from the patches of static just like the ones flickering on the platform. He remembered that feeling. The feeling of those dark tendrils wrapping around his ankles tightly and pulling him into that void of suffocating darkness.

    So you remember? Even this deep in the darkness? Your heart still beats even though you’ve fallen this deep. I underestimated you.

    A voice echoed throughout the room. It still held that same tinge of longing melancholy to it. And as it faded, the last piece of the puzzle was set. “What are you?” asked the boy.

    They called me Zhivago.

    As the voice faded away, the area became silent. The only thing that Chikara could hear was the soft beats of his heart. Putting his hand to his chest, he let out a deep breath. But the silence was shattered by a thunderous reverberation of white noise, shaking the platform and knocking Chikara off his balance and onto the floor. The boy tried to get himself back up to this feet but the floor continued to rumble, shaking him to the bone. Another reverberation struck the platform and in response, the glyph that had been painted onto the platform started to flicker strongly with static. And as if nothing had happened, the shaking stopped, only leaving the flickering sigil. Getting back up on the feet, the boy began to step away from the center of the platform, away from the center of the spiral. If there was anything he had learned today, it was that static was bad.

    Then suddenly, the spiral began to pull itself out of the surface from the center like a thread. Stepping away in shock, Chikara stared at the strange phenomenon as it started to form. As if it was sewing itself a body, the dark thread began to form itself. First there were the legs, then the torso along with the arms, and finally the head had been formed.

    While the creature had the figure of a human, it was still otherworldly. As if it was out of sync with reality, the space around it bended and distorted, blurring its figure and making it look like a ghost. But Chikara could see its true self past the optical trick. From its scalp, its hair stretched out like dark vines; some even choosing to wrap around the creature’s face like a mask. And from deep within that mask, two eyes glowed yellow. Its fingers stretched and sharpened into dark claws. And from its chest, a heart-shaped hole emerged. Its figure while gaunt was still tall and imposing. Dark and menacing, the monster looked over to the boy with its glowing yellow eyes and began to walk forward slowly and stolidly.

    Chikara’s eye widened with fear as the creature completed itself and began to approach closer and closer. He stepped backwards, almost stumbling and falling onto the floor. Gasping in terror, he looked around, trying to find somewhere, anywhere, to run but there was no escape. With one hand held forward as if trying to push it away, he hoped that it would see that he didn't want to fight. But somehow, he felt that he was about to anyway.

    The figure lunged forward, claws leading. Frozen in fear, Chikara stood still, not knowing what to do. Are you just going to stand there? Snapping out of his trance, he jumped out of the way, barely dodging the attack. But he was too slow. While it was only a graze and the cut wasn’t deep, its claws were sharp enough to go through his clothes easily and scrape his shoulder, leaving a slight itch and burning sting.

    Holding his shoulder tightly, Chikara gritted his teeth and blocked out the pain. It’s only a scratch, he told himself as he backed away from the figure, trying to keep his distance.

    “You can’t play the dodging game forever, Chi,” said the Heartless mockingly as it turned around and lunged towards him again with claws ready to attack, this time increasing its speed. And in an instant, Chikara stood face to face with the Heartless. Instinctively he used his arms to guard himself but to his surprise, the monster tripped him with its feet instead of attacking. Hitting the ground hard and on his already injured shoulder, Chikara let out a shout of pain. “Time to die, Chi.”

    “We’ll see,” said Chikara as he rolled out of the way of the incoming claw and swept his feet under those of the monster, tripping it. Hitting the floor with a hard thud, the monster let out a screech. Getting back onto his feet quickly, the boy backed away from the creature. “Two can play that game.”

    “Ahahaha,” laughed the Heartless joyfully as it lay on the floor. “Never has food been this troubling. I usually take it slowly and gently when I hunt. But I got to admit, this direct approach is much more thrilling.”

    I can’t fight him like this, thought Chikara as he backed away slowly. He needed a weapon but there was nothing that he could use. He didn't have a Keyblade like Maya. That staff! he thought. But how do I summon it? Trying to back away as the figure got up, Chikara felt a slight tug on his ankle and immediately looked down to see that dark tentacles had grabbed onto his leg from a patch of darkness. And from that patch, a thin dark line had been drawn between him and the monster. “Crap!”

    “Too late! You’re mine now,” said the Heartless as it stood up, holding the dark line that had been an extension of its own body and pulled it up from the surface of the floor. Holding it tightly, it pulled on it like a rope and in response, Chikara fell to the floor.

    Being dragged slowly and closer to his opponent, the boy tried to get out of the tentacle’s grip but no matter what he did, it wouldn’t let go. He tried shaking his foot out of its grip but it was firm and strong. He tried to rip the tentacles off with his hands but to his horror, just touching them attacked his hands with a burning and prickling sensation.

    “Just give up. In the end, the stronger of two hearts wins. It’s just survival of the fittest, y’know? No hard feelings.”

    “No!” yelled Chikara as he gripped the tentacles tightly. A painful sting attacked his body but he just gritted his teeth and pulled harder. He could feel the tentacles’ grip loosen over his ankle.

    “You shouldn’t be able to do that!”

    “Just watch me!” Pouring determination into his burning hands, Chikara gathered all of his strength and pulled harder until finally…

    SHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    “...ccCCchhChshHCzzzzzCschhhsHHRRRRRCcccCHcckeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeZcshhhCHSK...”

    The sound of ripping and a screech of static echoed.

    “You’ll pay for this!” growled the Heartless as it held its injured hand in pain. Piece by piece, the hand was reforming itself.

    Chikara panted, shaking his head to get the sweat out of his eyes. The palms of hands screamed with pain. He was done. He knew it and his opponent probably knew as well. There was no escape. The next attack would be his last stand.

    His opponent lunged forward, claw leading once again. Chikara jumped out of the way, grabbing his opponent's arm as he came forward. Using it as a pivot, Chikara turned around, attempting to drive his elbow into the other's face.

    “That won’t work, Chi.”

    With his other hand, his opponent grabbed his hand, forcing it down so that the two of them were locked in an embrace, staring up at each other as they held each other.

    “You can feel it, can’t you?” laughed the Heartless as he tightened his grip on Chikara’s elbow, digging deep into his skin with its claws. “That sting. That’s the darkness slowly breaking down the light of your heart. This ends now, Chi.”

    Losing the battle in strength, Chikara was pushed away by the Heartless almost as if he were nothing and suddenly the creature’s arm split into three large tentacles and trapped Chikara with their grip and held him up from the ground. He struggled, trying to free himself but the more he struggled, the more the tentacles tightened and the more the sting of darkness assailed his body.

    “No…” Chikara began, only to be cut off as his opponent slammed his body onto the floor fiercely and repeatedly.

    “It was fun,” said the Heartless and one last time, he tightened his grip on the boy’s body and slammed it down strongly.

    The boy didn’t scream. Consciousness had loosened its grip on his body and he just lay, bruised and battered, on the floor.

    This was the end.

    ~///~

    “My head!” groaned Shou as his senses groggily started to come back to him. As his vision began to regain its focus, he wondered where he was lying. While he could feel the cold embrace of the cave’s hard ground on the rest of his body, his head rested on top of something soft and warm.

    “Done resting?” asked Maya as she patted his head gently.

    Oh god, she’s never going to let me live this down, he thought as he got up to find that, yes, he had been laying on Maya’s lap the whole time. He knew that he couldn't have decided where his body landed after losing consciousness but he would’ve still preferred to fall face first onto the cold hard ground just to prevent a mouthful of snark.

    “Yeah I’m done,” said Shou as he dusted himself with his hands. Stretching his numb arms and legs, the blood began to flow through his body again. Looking around in the darkness of the cave, he tried to see if Chikara was around, but to his disappointment he was nowhere to be found. Dammit Chi, where are you? Turning back to Maya, he noticed that she was still sitting down, propped against the wall. “Are you okay?”

    “Just a broken rib, or two…maybe three,” she said matter-of-factly, leaving Shou in confusion. He honestly couldn't tell if she was joking or being serious. “No need to worry. I was able to cast a spell while you were snoozing. I can’t feel the pain anymore.”

    “So I can just leave you here, right?” said Shou jokingly as he kneeled down to pick up her. I’ll take her out now and come back for Chi later. Putting one arm behind her back and his other arm under legs, he was about to pick her until…

    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m taking you out of here…”

    “Why?”

    “How else are you going to get out of here?” said Shou as he picked her up from the ground and began to walk out the cave.

    “Well aren’t you my knight in shining armor?”

    “Oh the sarcasm! You’re never going to let me forget this, are you?”

    “Nope,” said Maya as she looked back towards the deepest reaches of the cave. “Where’s Chikara?”

    Suddenly Shou stopped in his tracks and his face became grim. “I…” he began as he started to walk again, trying to avoid eye contact with Maya. “I…don’t know.”

    “How do you not know these things?”

    “Because he just disappeared. One second, he was there and then another second, everything went dark and he was gone.”

    “Wait…what!? Where’s the Heartless?”

    “Oh, I took him down with my Keyblade?”

    “Oh that’s hilarious,” she said, obviously trying to hold in her laughter. Calming herself, she exhaled a deep breath and stared into his eyes and realized that he was serious. “Wow, I guess Keyblades aren’t picky.”

    “Although I think I lost it since it was gone when I woke up.”

    “If you actually have one, then it isn’t gone. The thing is bound to your heart. You can just summon it back with your will. Now more importantly, I don’t think you were able to defeat the Heartless.

    “…what?”

    “I don’t see Chikara running away and just leaving you here to fight the thing alone. So I think it must have taken him. But if it did do that then he should be back if you defeated it so that only leaves -”

    “Crap!” said Shou as he began to sprint towards the exit. In the distance, a dim light shined and as he ran and approached closer, it started to become brighter. A light breeze blew through the tunnels, carrying with it the smell of sea salt and the crashing of waves could be heard echoing.

    “Okay, we’re here,” said Shou as he stood outside the cave, carrying Maya in his arms. Kneeling down, he laid Maya down on the ground, sitting her propped against a rock right next to the entrance. “You’ll be safe out here. I’m going back to take that thing down.”

    “You don’t even know where it’s hiding.”

    “Then I’ll find it.”

    “You barely know how to use your Keyblade.”

    “It’s better than somebody who can barely walk.”

    “You know the chances of him being alive are-“

    “THEN DON’T TELL ME THE CHANCES!”

    Before he knew it, his Keyblade was held in the fist he had clenched in anger. With his free arm, he wiped the sweat off his brow. He was tired but he was determined to bring his friend back. “I’m sorry for yelling. I’ll be back as soon as possible,” he said as he ran back into the darkness of the cave.

    ~///~

    In the end, the stronger of two hearts wins.

    From underneath his bruised and battered body, a dark void began to form. From it, tendrils of dark agony rose up. They twisted around his body, binding him with their tight grip, and pulled him down into the void slowly.

    The stronger of two hearts wins.

    Pain assailed his body. The tentacles of darkness left a stinging sensation as they pulled him down. He gasped for air but with each breath, his lungs burned with pain. If all of this was a dream, then why did everything feel so real?

    The stronger…

    There was no hope left for Chikara but he thought otherwise. He still had that staff. With it, he was able to take down three of that monster’s kind with a simple swing. With it, he could beat that abomination. Come to me, he begged as he reached his arm out as if trying to grab the staff. I don’t want to die.

    “Be swallowed by the darkness.”

    “No.”

    A narrow pillar of light shot up into the darkness above and as it climbed up, it expanded. As it expanded its diameter, it evaporated the darkness that ensnared Chikara.

    “But how?!” said the Heartless as he backed away from the expanding light. As it expanded, the Heartless continued to back up and cower away from the light until it found itself on the edge of the platform. Just as the pillar of light was about to engulf the monster, it stopped in its tracks. Shattering like glass, the pillar dispersed into smaller particles that faded away, revealing Chikara sitting on the platform with a weapon in hand.

    But it was not the staff he had wished for but instead a Keyblade. From its guard, onyx black, a blade that was silver from shaft to tip extended. The blade shined in the light and on the tip of the blade was a lion-head reminiscent of the one on the staff. Adjacent to the lion-head was a single, blunt point with concave sides, giving the blade its signature key appearance.

    Struggling to get on his feet, Chikara used the Keyblade as a support. He pushed himself up to his feet and walked forward, dragging his Keyblade with him. His body was not going to last him forever. He had to finish this quickly.

    “You tenacious little brat!” hissed the Heartless as it threw its arm, extending it towards Chikara and splitting it into three tentacles.

    Bringing up the Keyblade in a swift arc, Chikara severed the three tentacles and continued to drag his body forward and closer to the Heartless.

    Screeching, the Heartless keeled over in pain, gripping its severed arm. “NO! NO! NO!” it roared as it stretched its arm out and shot out a burst of black static flames towards his enemy.

    There was a quick flash of silver. The flames dispersed into smoke. The boy moved forward.
    “How are you still fighting?” said the Heartless as it split its uninjured arm into tentacles, once again going for an attack in a desperate attempt for survival.

    “Don’t you remember?” muttered Chikara as he brought the blade up for the cut, slashing the tentacles. “The stronger of two hearts win.”

    “...ccCCchhChshHCzzzzzCschhhsHHRRRRRCcccCHcckeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeZcshhhCHSK...”



  16. Clawtooth Keelah se'lai!
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    Rannoch
    Amazing o_O.

    I really enjoyed this chapter, the cut to Maya and Shou in the middle really made me want to read on, just to see what would appen to Chi.

    The keyblade was ... Lionheart? it's not exactly fitting witht he description, so it might just be an original one ...

    Also, small gripe, but you say "it's binded to your heart". Unless it's a particular quirk of Maya's character, it should be "bound". Other than that all the spelling an grammar checks out okay with me.

    Why does Ourobos keep coming up everywhere in my life ...
  17. Takyon hella sad & hella rad
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    WARNING: There might be a few formatting errors here and there. Unfortunately I can't just copy and paste from my document file to current editor that KHV uses and have everything be the same. So I had to go through everything and re-format it but I might have missed something.​
    Chapter 4The Lion Awakes

    Everything was monochrome, toned with the indistinct and blurry grays of darkness. Stalagmites and stalactites dotted the surface of the passageways, but Shou could barely make them out as he progressed further into the caverns and one step closer to that shade's domain. Usually, or rather unusually, the walls would flicker with light and static this deep into the cave, helping one make out their surroundings, but they seem to have stopped. If he had trouble with seeing what was right in front of him then how did he expect to fight and defeat that monster? He didn't know. But he did know one thing. That he needed to bring Chikara back no matter the costs. And with his Keyblade clenched in hand, he felt safe, even in the unnerving clutches of darkness, and able to defeat anything.

    Advancing further, he found himself back inside the circular room where he had fought the beast. Ashes and soot covered the floor along with the fragments of broken stalactites. And from inside the darkness of the cave, a faint glimmer of light flickered and in response the Keyblade, perched in his hand, glowed. As he stepped forward in the light's direction, the glow became brighter and with each step closer, it became stronger and stronger, clearing away the monochromatic darkness. Never would've thought that this thing could be a flashlight.

    And there he was, sprawled out and resting on the sooty floor, to Shou's surprise. Was he still alive? he thought as he ran up to Chi. His clothes were tattered and stained with dirt and soot, his brown hair was unkempt, and his face was slightly pale but he seemed to be fine. Putting his hand to Chi's face, Shou could feel the warmth of his body and with his ear to his chest, he could hear the slow beats of his heart and feel the movement of his chest as air entered and escaped his lungs. “Thank god!” he said, overcome with so much joyfulness that he was on the verge of tears.

    But where’s the Heartless? he thought as he rapidly got back to his feet, firming his grip on his Keyblade. Maya had told him that the monster was probably alive if Chi hadn't returned after its defeat. But here he was, safe and sound. Could it have been using his friend as bait? Could something so feral and savage come up with such a plan? But the Heartless could have been right around the corner waiting for the right time to attack for all he knew. And with an unconscious friend to protect, the scales were not tipped in Shou's favor.

    With his Keyblade ready to attack, Shou looked around cautiously. Even Chi's almost inaudible breaths could be heard in the uneasy silence. A thump echoed and instinctively Shou swung his blade in the direction of the sound's origin only to hit...thin air.

    He swung his glowing Keyblade frantically, washing away the darkness that enveloped him. To his relief, there was no sign of the Heartless anywhere. No creeping shadows. No static. No squishing sounds. Maybe he had defeated it the first time around. But he still felt unsafe. While he had his Keyblade in hand to prevent things from becoming too dark, he felt as if there was something around the corner, just waiting for the kill. “Come on. Snap out of it,” he said as he slapped his cheek, ridding himself of the pangs of fear that had assailed him, and dropped his Keyblade to the ground, it disappearing with a flash of light as it hit the ground. “Time to get out of here.”

    He struggled for a moment as he tried to pick up his friend, but with some effort, he was able to get him into his arms. Chikara was lean, but his figure belied how much he actually weighed. While Shou could easily pick up Maya and walk back to the entrance with ease, he didn't have that same option with Chikara. And without his Keyblade as a source of light, navigation would be difficult. But after going through the cave twice, his mental image of the area was much better. "I'm sorry for getting you into this mess, Chi," he said as he began to walk back to the entrance. "But everything will be alright now."

    ~/////~

    "You better be alive," Maya said as she brought herself up to her feet. Her side still hurt, but the pain was only dull and with each passing minute it seemed to be fading away. This meant that the spell she had cast earlier was working. The bones that she had fractured earlier were practically as good as new and the only wounds left on her body were superficial, barely bleeding, and slowly closing.

    Dusting the sand off her clothes, she approached the entrance of the cave. Staring into the impenetrable darkness, she sighed and rubbed her temple. Quite some time had passed since Shou left to retrieve Chikara and she had begun to worry. However would she explain to their parents that they were dead if they didn't come back? Then again did she actually have to? From the little she knew of Shou, she knew that he probably would've charged into a fight with the Heartless with reckless abandon. A surefire way to get you killed.

    "Boys," she said in an irritated tone while folding her arms. Letting out a sigh, she summoned her Keyblade into her hand. While a little exhausted because of the spell she had cast on herself, she still had some fight left in her and enough spells in her arsenal to cast. If push came to shove, she still had her Keyblade to rely on. From what Shou had told her earlier, she deduced that the Heartless was nearing its end. It wouldn't have run away from Shou otherwise. But creatures of its kind were sneaky when they were in distress. It could easily hide in the darkness or crawl on the walls as a shadow and attack when least suspected.

    Taking in a deep breath, she stepped into the cave and began her descent into the darkness until she suddenly heard footsteps coming in her direction. It can't be, she thought as she held out her Keyblade and shone a light into the darkness. And to her surprise, there they were. Shou was drawing closer to the entrance, sweat running down his brow and drenching his clothes, with Chikara hurdled over his back.

    "But how?" she asked with her mouth gaping as he walked past her and out the cave. Barely taking a few steps away from her, he laid Chikara down on the floor and then...fell to his knees. Coughing heavily as he tried to keep himself from falling face first onto the sandy earth, his chest rose with each gasp for air, his face grew paler and he looked as if he was about to vomit from the overexertion. The boy had been put through the wringer today. Fighting a Heartless and carrying two people out of the cave by himself would have done a number on anybody.

    Walking over to him, Maya knelt down, gently patted his back and put her hand over his forehead to help, but as she was about to cast a spell to help the fatigue, he quickly swatted her hand away. "I'm trying to help you," she said as she tried to lay her hand on his forehead again, only for him to swat it away like him.

    Taking in a few more breaths before talking, he sat down on the floor and simply said, "I'm fine," and then pointed his finger over to his friend lying down on the floor. "Help him."

    "You," she paused as she looked at him. Sweat ran from his head to his feet, drenching his shirt. His arms and legs were lined with small cuts and scrapes. And with each breath, he seemed to grow paler. "You can't be serious."

    "Always am," he said with a light laugh. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. It'll take a lot worse to take me down."

    Idiot! She would've hit him to knock some sense into him but she restrained herself and quickly turned away to walk over to Chikara who was lying on the floor, silent and motionless. In comparison to Shou, he looked relatively well. There weren't any serious injuries on his body, just a few bruises and scarps here and there, and his temperature was normal. To the naked eye, he looked healthy. But what about what lied underneath? The Heartless didn't only attack through physical methods. She kneeled down before him and closed her eyes. She put her hand over his head and concentrated. Everything seemed to be fine as she scanned him, but then she paused, concentrated some more and paused once again. "...How did you know something was wrong with him?"

    "Gut feeling," Shou said with a shrug.

    "You put your own health in risk on a gut feeling?" she said, her brow furrowing with annoyance at how hazardous such an act was.

    "I guess I just did," he said as a jovial smile returned to his face as if that was his default setting. Much more quickly than she expected, he got up from where he was sitting with newfound energy and walked to where she was. As he stretched his arms and legs, it appeared as if the condition he was in earlier didn't happen or as if he was used to something so wearisome. "I knew there was something wrong as I was bringing him out of the cave. He was too...unresponsive, y'know? And I could just feel...something was wrong. So what is it?"

    "Darkness," she said as her face grew sullen and somber.

    "What?"

    "It's what the Heartless are made of." she replied, opening her eyes, and looked towards Shou. "The antithesis to our existence. We are Light and they're Darkness. As beings of Light, Darkness is poison to us. It deteriorates the Heart until it's gone, leaving you an empty husk."

    "So I guess that's why it burns whenever they touch us."

    "Yes. You're becoming more sensitive to darkness due to be around a Heartless. That's the gut feeling you were talking about. And the Darkness seems to be the reason why Chi hasn't woken up yet."

    "Can you help him?" Shou said anxiously.

    "Well I could try," she said, trying not to make any eye contact with him, as she brought both of her hands over his body. Closing her eyes, she steadied her breathing and sat still for a few seconds. Suddenly her hands began to glow brightly with light. "I can try washing the darkness with light. Just as a great amount of darkness is toxic to light, the same can be said for the opposite."

    "Amazing," Shou said as he knelt down and looked at her perform her craft with eyes glimmering full of astonishment. "You're really good at this magic stuff, aren't you?"

    "You could say that," she said as a small smile came to her face. "So...how did you beat the Heartless?"

    "The Heartless?" he said with a confused face as if he didn't know what she was talking about. "Oh yeah! It wasn't there." He scratched the back of his head. "Everything was normal when I got back to the place where we fought. No white noise. No flickering walls. Just Chi lying down on the floor where the Heartless use to be. So I picked him up and then I tried to get out of the cave as quickly as possible. There was no sign of the Heartless when I was coming out. And I didn't 'feel' it being around us. Do you think it died the first time around?"

    "Weird," she said as she continued to hold her hands over Chikara, shining her light over him. "Usually a Heartless of that size goes out with...a bang. This one ran away. And if the Heartless took Chi then he should have appeared again as soon as it died, but he didn't so...something's off."

    "Hmmmm, got any ideas as to what might have happened?" Shou said as he brought his hand to chin. "Maybe it just died while it was running away?"

    "Unlikely. They'll just regenerate with time if they're not being attacked."

    "So you're telling me that something killed that thing?" said Shou as he raised a brow. "And it wasn't us, the two people who can defeat it."

    "Yeah," she said as the glow of her hands began to dim until the shine was gone. "Maybe I'm just overthinking it though. It could have possibly died because of injuries too severe to regenerate from. While it isn't common, I don't believe it's unheard of. Nonetheless I'm done. Chi should be fine now. All we can do now is wait. Besides that though, we've got something more important things to talk about now."

    "What could be more important?"

    "Your own situation."
    ~/////~

    "What do you mean I have to leave?" A voice shouted. "What if more Heartless appear? I'm the only one here who can fight them, right? I can't just leave."

    "That's the thing. More Heartless will appear because of you. The Keyblade, while the best weapon to fight Heartless, also attracts them. They seek out those who wield them. So I need to take you to somewhere safe," responded another voice calmly. “Your town is relatively small and thus the chance of a Heartless attacking is much lower here. Notice how you've seen only one Heartless so far and it only stayed in that cave too. If you stay, you're putting everybody here at risk. That's why I'm going to take you to a safer place.”

    Shou? Maya? thought Chikara. His mind felt disconnected from reality, almost as if he was in a dreamscape, but with time, his senses began to return to him slowly. The voices talking were familiar to him, but he couldn't quite make out exactly what they were saying.

    It was dark. Lazy waves could be heard crashing off in the distance. Carrying with it the fragrance of sea-salt, a gentle wind blew by, sending a light chill through his body, but lightly touching his skin; heat could be felt, giving warmth back to his body.

    Sluggishly the boy opened his eyes to find that everything was blurry. But with time, light washed away the fogginess and he saw that it was dusk and that he lay on the ground close to a campfire while Shou and Maya conversed a small distance away from him.

    “Damnit," said a voice that he instantly recognized as Shou's yet its tone was very uncharacteristic of him. He sounded melancholic. At first Chi couldn't believe it was Shou because the melancholy was at such a great contrast with the usually sanguine Shou. For him to be sad must have meant that something was off. "Just...don't tell Chi."

    “I promise.”

    Tell me what? he thought as he tried to pick himself up and go to where they were, but his body was numb and he felt disconnected from it as if his body was a puppet and his mind its puppeteer. And his mind from the looks of it wasn't the best puppeteer. Groggily he mustered up his strength and pushed himself up with his arms and with time he brought himself to his knees and then finally to his feet. But then everything went wrong as he began to walk. Losing his balance, he wobbled back and forth, struggling to keep himself on his feet. But the more energy he used to keep himself on his feet, the more his sense of balance left him until he finally fell to the ground with a large thud. "Help me!" he yelled, but the sounds that escaped from his mouth seemed to sound more like loud incoherent mumbles instead of words.

    "Chi!" yelled Shou as he scurried over to where Chikara was. "Is he okay?"

    "It's just a side effect of the spell I used on him," replied Maya as she approached Chikara. Running her hand over his head, she checked his temperature and with her other hand, she checked his pulse. "The spell works by making your body go into overdrive and thus make yourself heal faster, but when you're done healing, your body is exhausted because it's used all of its resources. He just needs some food and a little more rest and he'll up and running soon. Mind grabbing us a bite to eat? After such a long day, some food would be very welcome."

    "Sure," said Shou as he began to walk away in the direction of the town, only to turn back around. "You got any preferences?"

    "Surprise me."

    "Okay and I guess you'll want your favorite, Chi."

    Chikara attempted to say "yes" but once again only incoherent mumbles left his mouth. He was pretty sure that didn't sound like a "yes" so he just nodded for his answer.

    Shou laughed and ran off in the direction of the town. "I'll be back as quickly as possible." And then he was gone, over the horizon.

    ~/////~

    An hour passed. Shou still hadn't come back. Both Chikara and Maya tried their best to keep the rumblings of their stomach from being heard. Chikara lay on the ground, looking at the stars, wanting to talk to break the awkward silence that had befallen between the two but he was still incapable of forming proper words. Maya sat by the fire, staring at the embers.

    Another hour passed and Shou still hadn't returned with the food. While Chikara's body still felt numb, it seemed that his voice had come back to him and he could form proper words. "So ummm," he began. "Do you have any hobbies?" Was that a good way to start a conversation? he thought to himself. He had never been good at talking with...girls or...with people for that matter. He usually preferred staying quiet and blending in with the crowd, being ignored by most people.

    "I like to read," she said, finally sparking a conversation between the two. She got up from where she sat and walked over to where Chikara lay. "I'm personally a fan of fantasy and fairy tales." She giggled. "I guess it's why I've always liked magic."

    "Never would I have thought that magic was actually real," Chikara said as he continued to gaze at the stars that dotted the night sky.

    "There are a lot of things that we don't know," she said as she sat down next to him and looked up at the stars as well. "So what do you do?"

    "I guess you could call me a nerd," he said with a tinge of embarrassment. "At least that's what Shou calls me. I just like to know things so I'm constantly out here with Shou. While he's mostly looking for adventure, I'm looking for knowledge. I think we've been almost everywhere there is to be on this island."

    "So that's why a kid as quiet as you hangs out with Shou."

    "Well it's a reason but I wouldn't say it's the reason we're friends. We've just known each other for so long."

    "Speaking of Shou," she said as she got up to her feet and offered her hand to Chikara to help him get up from the ground. "Where is he? It shouldn't take this long to make food."

    "Trust me. It's worth it," Chikara said as he grabbed her hand and pulled himself up. His body was still lazy and lethargic but with some effort, he would be able to walk although not for long. Despite not feeling as good as new, his body sure looked like it. No bruises. No cuts. It didn't even look like he had been attacked by a supernatural monster earlier. "Wait a sec...Whatever happened to the Heartless?"

    "What?" She looked confused. "Oh! The Heartless. Yeah, it's gone. I was able to lead it into a trap and defeat it. No need to worry about it anymore," she said as she looked away from him.

    Weird, he thought. From what he remembered, she had been knocked out during the fight with the Heartless. The chances of her continuing her fight after that were unlikely. "But..."

    "I'm back!" Shou yelled as he approached the campfire with a backpack on his back and a duffle bag over his shoulder. Instead of the clothes he had been wearing previously, he was wearing a black shirt with long sleeves and a pair of jeans. With the clothes covering most of his body, one wouldn't be able to see most of the bruises, scrapes, and cuts. And with his characteristic smile running across his face, he surely didn't look like he was injured.

    "Weren't you only getting food?" Maya asked.

    "Well I was but after I had finished making everybody's meals," he said as he laid both the backpack and duffle bag on the ground. "I realized that bringing home Chi the way he is right now would spark too many questions. Sure he looks just fine but he falls over on himself."

    "Hey!" Chikara said before he began to lose his balance once again, but this time he was able to keep himself on his feet. "Okay, maybe you've got a point."

    "So I thought that we'd stay out for the night. I even got my tent and a couple of sleeping bags," he said as he opened up the duffle bag and began to pull out the parts for the tent one by one. "Don't worry, Chi. I ran by your house and told your mom."

    "And the food?" Maya said anxiously, trying to keep the rumbling of her stomach quiet. Quickly noticing how desperate her words sounded, she added, "Because Chi won't feel better unless he gets something to eat."

    Shou, trying to hold back a fit of laughter, pointed at the backpack he had laid down next to the duffle bag. "They're in there. The bowl with the red top is yours." And quickly she ran over to the bag and opened it to find plastic bowls with food in them, eating utensils, a canteen, plastic cups and...clothes. "Oh and there's a change of clothes in there as well. You and I basically wear the same size, Chi, so I just brought another pair of my own clothes. As for you, Maya, unfortunately I don't crossdress so I just got you a pair of clothes that were getting small for me. I think they'll fit."

    "Why...thank you," she said as she pulled out a small green T-shirt and jean shorts.

    "Now let's chow down!" Shou said, pumping his fist into the air. He then proceeded to give to both Chikara and Maya a plastic bowl, a fork, and a plastic cup.

    "Thank you," Chikara said as he stared at the bowl with the blue top and then opened it to find spring egg rolls. For a while he just stared at the contents of the bowl, eating them with his eyes. Then he grabbed his fork, gingerly picked up the spring roll and put it into his mouth, slowly enjoying the taste with each bite. "You never cease to impress me."

    Maya took off the red lid of her plastic bowl to find noodles. "How did you know?"

    "Know what?" Shou asked as he opened up his bowl to reveal a delicately prepared salad.

    "Nothing," she said, shaking her head. Shou shrugged his shoulders and returned to eating his meal and she began to eat her meal. "Far too many surprises today. Never would've expected you to know how to cook."

    "You're not the first," Shou said with a full mouth and pointed his finger towards the canteen. She threw it in his direction and he caught it as he was picking up his cup. He poured himself some water and drank it almost as quickly as he poured it. "I never understood why people found that surprising."

    "You can't blame them, Shou," said Chikara as he stuffed his face. "People put other people into stereotypes. When those are broken, they can't help but be surprised."

    "More people need to understand that a real man cooks for himself."

    "And is a vegetarian?" Maya asked, slurping her noodles.

    "No, I eat meat," Shou said as he finished his salad and began to pour himself another glass of water. "I just maintain a balanced diet. A person who is as active as me needs to eat healthily."

    "It's basically why you'll never see him shut up," cracked Chikara as he finished his meal. "He's got so much energy that it's literally impossible."

    "Ha ha ha," said Shou as he finished his cup of water while Maya laughed quietly in the background. He stood up and picked up the tent equipment that he brought with him. "Less wisecracking, more tent making." He then threw some of parts towards Chikara for him to catch.

    Feeling much better after having some food in his belly, he was able to catch the parts thrown at him with relative ease. "Sure," Chikara said as he began to put the parts together, constructing the frame of the tent. "You might want to change now while we're busy, Maya, or Shou might pee-" But his words were cut off as a rolled up sleeping bag hit him square in the face.

    "Less wisecracking, more tent making," said Shou calmly as if he hadn't just thrown a sleeping bag at his friend's face while he continued to construct the frame of the tent.

    "Thank you for the warning." She giggled and then finished up her meal. After putting the red top on her plastic bowl, she put it back into the backpack and took out the change of clothes that had been given to her. Looking around the area, she searched for an area where she could change her clothes without being seen. Finding a place far away enough from the campfire, she turned to the boys and said, "I'll be right back." and walked away but not before adding with a beautiful smile, "Remember that I can burn you. So don't peep."

    Even Chikara could feel a chill run down his spine when he heard her say those words. The dissonance between her pretty face and harsh words discouraged him from even thinking about peeping. But now that she was away, he could have a conversation with Shou about the Heartless. He was the last person he saw before he was swallowed by that darkness. He must have seen what happened. "So..."

    "No, I will not peep," Shou replied as he finished constructing his half of the frame.

    "I wasn't even going to ask about that," Chikara said, shaking his head to rid himself of such thoughts, as he also finished his half of the frame. Bringing their two halves of the frame closer, they joined them together to create the full frame. The wind was weak tonight so firming it down to the ground wasn't necessary. All that was left was the covering and Shou went to retrieve it from the duffle bag. "What I wanted to know was about the Heartless. What happened to it?"

    "Uhhhh." He paused and ran his hand through his black hair, scratching his head as if trying to come up with something to say. "Maya took care of it."

    "How?"

    "Well..." Another pause but this time, he was able to response more quickly. "She was able to set up a spell while it wasn't looking and use that to defeat the Heartless."

    "I see." Chikara wasn't convinced. He was sure that Maya was unconscious after that beast had thrown her against the wall. While she could heal, it most likely would take some time and there's also the fact that her spell heals at the cost of stamina. He had experienced that himself. She would've been far too tired to even stand let alone continue fighting if she used that spell. While he wasn't knowledgeable of the inner workings of how her magic worked, it appeared that she needed an incantation to help her focus. If she was unconscious, she wouldn't have been able to recite one. They were hiding something from him. He was certain of this. "But..."

    "Well aren't you two gentleman? Not even a single peep. I'm proud," said Maya as she returned with a new pair of clothes on. The clothes Shou had given to her fit her figure fairly well and were much more flattering than the dirty and tattered shirt and shorts she had been wearing earlier. Chikara couldn't help but stare, noticing how beautiful she was, but before she could notice, he shook his head and looked away. After putting her old clothes in the backpack, she turned to the boys and said, "So how's the tent?"

    "Just got to put this on it now," Shou said as he threw the covering over the tent and began to tie it to the frame of the tent with Chikara following him shortly afterward. "Ta-dah! Now we can crash."

    "Great!" she said as she stretched out her arms and yawned. "Although sleeping in the same tent as two boys would make my dad mad."

    "What he doesn't know can't hurt him...or me," said Shou with a laugh as he began to lay out the sleeping bags. "You might want to get changed, Chi. I don't think dirt is in style nowadays."

    "There's a good place over there," Maya added as she pointed to where she came from. It was dark and surrounded by a great amount of trees. Privacy was guaranteed.

    "Yeah, you're right," said Chikara as he looked at his own clothes. Stained with dirt and soot, they weren't very appealing. He wanted to poke the subject of the Heartless a little further but with both of them together, it would be much more difficult for him to find out what they were hiding. So he grabbed his clothes from the backpack and went off to get changed. He still had tomorrow to find out.

    After going behind a few trees that prevented him from being seen, he took his shoes off so he could begin undressing. Loosening the belt of his shorts, he took off the dirty, ruffled and wrinkled pair of shorts he had been wearing for the whole day and put on a clean pair of jeans and then put his shoes back on. Afterward he began to take off his shirt but paused when he heard the rustling of leaves and branches. At first he dismissed it for a bird but then he noticed how quiet it was. The only sound ringing through his ears were the crashing waves of the sea. Even in the dead of night, noises, no matter how small, would be made by the local wildlife. For them to be silenced could mean only one thing. That something that they deemed as a threat was near.

    Could it be me? he thought as he began to put on a clean red T-shirt. After putting his head through the shirt, he found round eyes of yellow staring at him. A feeling of danger immediately permeated through his body. The sensation was familiar. Almost as if he had been in this situation before.

    Before he could blink, let alone think, a black claw came for his face and reflexively he dodged before it could slash him. "Ma-" he tried to yell but before he could finish calling for help, the creature was on the attack once again and he was on the defensive.

    The black creature was both small and quick. As it jumped to attack his face once again, Chikara considered just smacking it away before it could hit him. After all, it was barely the size of a dog, but as it approached closer, a chill ran down his spine and it was as if his mind was yelling "Hands off!", warning him of the impending risk. So he just ducked and it flew over him. Turning around quickly to not keep his eyes off of it, he instead found that it was gone. Did it go for Shou and Maya? he thought as he began to run back to the campfire to warn them but he stopped in his tracks and looked down. A shadow. A moving shadow. Backing away immediately, he was able to dodge the monster as it erupted from the ground with claws ready to attack his neck.

    The monster and the boy continued their dance with the Heartless attacking fiercely and Chi dodging swiftly. "Maya! Shou!" he yelled as he dodged yet another attack from it. "Heartless! Attacking me! HELP!" The creature attacked again but as he backed up to dodge, he found himself backed up against a tree. The Heartless was quick to take advantage of this and before he could think of another route to dodge to, it was closing in on him.

    The strongest of two hearts will always win.

    There was a flash of silver. A diagonal cut ran through the Heartless, severing it, and it evaporated into a dark mist. "How?" he asked and then he saw it. A shining silver blade clenched in his hand. While this one bore a different design than Maya's own, he could still tell what it was. A Keyblade.

    "But why?" he asked himself as he stood back up, entranced by the shine of the Keyblade. He felt like this wasn't the first time he had fought a Heartless. He had seen a creature just like that one before. He had felt that same feeling. Like it was déjà vu, those same pangs of startled fear and panic also felt familiar to him. It was almost as if he had woken from a nightmare. A nightmare? Then it clicked. The memories snapped back into place. Of course! How could I forget this? "The Heartless in the cave!” he said to himself as he snapped his finger and ran his hand through his hair, ruffling his brown hair. “I have to tell Maya and Shou about this."

    "Are you okay, Ch-" Shou said as he came around the corner with blue and yellow Keyblade in hand but paused with his mouth agape when he saw the silver blade in Chi's hand. "...no way."

    "Come back here. I'll take care of it" Maya said as she came shortly afterward with her own Keyblade in hand and then she saw Chi. "No way."

    "When did you get a Keyblade?" Chikara asked as he pointed at the Keyblade held in Shou's hand.

    "When..." He paused and looked towards Maya. "I guess we have to tell him now, right?"

    Still in disbelief and with mouth partly agape, she just stared at the silver blade. She blinked a few times just to make sure what she was seeing was real. She then threw her hands up into the air and folded them as she pouted. "Lady Luck must like you two. It just doesn't make sense."

    Shou chuckled at her reaction and looked back to Chi. "I got it when I was fighting the Heartless in the cave."

    "Same here."

    Both Maya and Shou looked at each other, back to Chi and then back to each other with faces that said "Is he crazy?”

    "Don't look at me like that." He frowned. "There's something that you didn't know about the Heartless. I'll explain at the campfire."

    ~/////~

    "So it's sort of like a dream bug?” Maya asked. “It gets into your dreams and spreads the darkness around until you're eventually lost in it."

    "Yeah that's basically it,” Chikara said with a shudder. “It makes me cringe, knowing that thing was in my head.”

    "That's pretty smart for a Heartless,” Maya said, bringing her hand to her chin and nodding her head. “No wonder the mayor was able to find the typical symptoms of being exposed to darkness but no traces of an actual Heartless. I thought it was just very sneaky and learned how to cover its tracks but it didn't even send its real body out in the first place. It just sent a projection of it in a sense."

    "Wait...my dad knew about the Heartless?” asked Shou, who had been sitting beside her for the whole conversation, with a raised eyebrow.

    "Well yeah, who do you think called for me in the first place? He asked Lumen for help and Lumen sent me to take care of it."

    "So that's why you were always around my place?"

    "Well yeah, I needed as much info as possible. Why did you think I was there?” she asked and then a devious cat-like smile ran across her face. “Because I liked you?"

    “W-what?!” His blue eyes widened and he backed away from her. “Of course not!”

    “No need to be shy,” she said. Closing the distance between the two, she leaned forward, laid her hand on his chest and suggestively stared at him with her green eyes twinkling. “Why I'm flattered that you would think of me like that?"

    "Don't look at me like that!” He pouted and looked away, trying to hide his red face. Maya and Chi couldn’t help but laugh. Shou folded his arms and grumbled. "Back to the actual subject.” he said, unfolding his arms and turning back to face the other two. “I guess this also explains the rumor that's been going around.”

    "A rumor?" This time, Maya’s eyebrow was raised.

    "I told Chi about it this morning. You see, there's been this rumor going around lately of a lot of people having nightmares with recurring elements. At first I just dismissed it as just that. A rumor. But it sort of makes sense now that we know this thing is able to get into your dreams."

    "I see. This also explains why Chi didn't come back when you defeated the Heartless the first time around. Its other half still existed and was keeping him trapped until he took care of that by himself."

    "That's pretty badass, Chi." Shou said giving him a thumbs-up.

    "T-thanks?” Chikara said, unsure of what to say. After all, he was so scared when he fought that Heartless. In his mind, he didn’t deserve compliments. Like Maya said, Lady Luck just happened to be in his favor. “Now you two have to tell me. Why did you keep Shou having a Keyblade a secret?"

    "Well...you see...” His face grew glum but as if a form of rebellion, he still held onto that smile of his nonetheless to show that it wouldn’t get him down. “The thing is that I've got to leave."

    "W-what?"

    "And you too," Maya added promptly. “Now that you have a Keyblade.”

    "Wait...what?” Chikara’s mouth was partially agape. “B-but why?"

    "Well Maya says that you and I are like Heartless magnets now that we've got Keyblades. So she thinks it'd be best for both the town and us if we left and went with her back to Lumen."

    "Think about it this way. Towns of your size usually aren't Heartless-prone due to the relatively low population.” She summoned her Keyblade into her hand and drew a small circle in the sand. “Think of your town as this circle. Heartless look at it and think of it as just a small amount of Light. Nothing to worry about. But the Keyblade is different. It's a weapon of Light.” She then drew a much bigger circle around the first one she drew. “Now this second circle is you and Shou. Notice how you’re much bigger than a whole town. Because you two are connected to a Keyblade, you’ve become so powerful that the Heartless are scared of you but it's exactly because of this fear that they’ll seek you out and attempt to eradicate you. Lumen's the best place for Keyblade wielders. It was actually founded by them. And because of that, it's also the place with the most protection against the Heartless. It's an anti-Heartless fortress put simply."

    "B-but my mom...she won't let me leave and I can't just leave without telling her."

    "Shou's dad can explain it to her,” she said, dismissing her Keyblade.

    "You’re not giving me much of a choice, are you?” Chikara sulked, looking down to his feet. “When are you planning to leave?"

    "Tomorrow night."

    "So little time." He sighed.

    "Sorry."

    "No, it's okay. I'll use it to the fullest."

    "We'll be okay,” Shou said, giving his friend a pat on the back, with which Chikara responded with a nervous chuckle. “After all, I'm going as well."

    "I think that makes him even more worried, Shou."

    ~/////~

    Getting out of bed was probably the hardest part of today. In the morning, Chikara had just laid there for a good while, staring at the ceiling and thinking. If he got up from his bed, the beginning of his last day on Kismet would start. Maybe if he just lay down forever, it would never start. A futile effort in the end but it put him at ease. He wanted to start and end things on his own terms, at least for today.

    So he got up and began his day. The first thing he noticed that morning was how energetic his mother was. If he hadn't known her for his whole life, he would've sworn that she was somebody else. Yesterday she was so lethargic and fatigued but today, despite her frail figure, she emanated an aura of vigor and vim. She just moved so quickly and before he knew it, she had given him a kiss on the cheek and was out the door and off to work, having prepared breakfast for both herself and Chikara already. At first, it didn't make much sense how somebody could change so quickly but then he remembered what Maya had told him about darkness and its effect on people. Had the Heartless been assailing his mother just like him? It explained the sudden change. And it brought a smile to his face that he had a hand in helping her and a lot of other people. If he could do that for others throughout the land, getting a Keyblade started to look more like a blessing than a curse in his eyes.

    He decided to stay inside for most of the morning, getting a last look at the things that he had grown so accustomed to seeing day after day. During the afternoon, Shou and Maya came over to discuss their departure such as when we were going to leave and what we were going to bring with us. The rest of the day was much like a blur. Chikara knew that he had experienced the events of today but he felt so disconnected from them when the day drew to a close that he could barely remember what had happened. He felt that if he had been taken out of the events that occurred today then nothing would change. All of the dominoes would tip and fall over without him. I guess that's a good thing since I'm leaving.

    At first he thought of just leaving without any warning whatsoever. It'd be easier that way for him. But then he realized how selfish that was. He couldn't just leave without saying anything. So he left an envelope with a letter written to his mother on his desk. At first, he didn't know what to say so he spent a good while wringing his brain to form some sort of idea for what he could write but eventually he gave up and just began to write from the soul, jotting down whatever came to mind. It probably sounded like random babblings and it looked like it with the constant scribbling and striking out of words but everything he could tell her was in there. There were things that he couldn't tell her such as where he was going and why but he did tell her he would be safe. That he was in good hands. With friends.

    There was just one person who he had to see before he could get some closure and leave. His father. He didn't meet his father that often. He usually stopped by during his birthday or those odd days when he just wanted somebody to talk to without any fear of judgment. "Hi, dad." He knew his dad would never judge but it always felt weird when he came to visit. "I'm leaving." He paused and swallowed the knot in his throat. "I probably won't be back for a while either. But rest assured that I'll be okay. Now I know you want me to stay with mom, make sure she's okay and help her but I think she'll be okay now." A single tear began to run down his face but he wiped it away. "I brought some flowers for you as well." He kneeled down and laid the bouquet of flowers on the marble gravestone. On the gravestone, words were engraved.

    May he always be remembered for his contributions to our lovely town of Kismet.
    Beloved husband, father and friend
    Chikara

    It had been a while since his father died. He was young at the time. He was sure, no, he had hoped that he was just going to sleep that one day but when they took him away the next day, he finally accepted the fate that his father had been given. He wanted to cry so much that day and he still did but he knew that his father wouldn't have wanted that. Just before he went to sleep that night, he told him, "Don't be sad that I'm dying. Be happy that I lived. That I was able to do all of these things. All of these things for Kismet. And most importantly all of these things for you and your mom." Then he smiled, said he was tired and fell asleep.

    It always felt weird seeing his name on that gravestone. After his father left, he didn't really like his name since it reminded him of his father but then he grew proud of it and hoped that one day, he would become a man as great as his father. His dad was a well-known man throughout the city. Before his untimely exit, he was the mayor of Kismet. Known for making great advancements for the city of Kismet and making it into what it was today. When he died, his running mate and best friend, Shou's father, decided to take his position. And since then, Shou's father has always been somewhat of a second father to Chikara. Shou's father would always tell Chikara and Shou that he and Chikara's father were much like Shou and Chikara when they were younger. Although that Shou was much more like Chikara's father and that Chikara was much more like himself. Both fathers were quite happy that the two became such great friends when they were young and they hoped that the two sons would always stick together like they had.

    With each passing second, his watch ticked and tocked closer to midnight. Maya said that they would be leaving around then and to meet her at the port. Next to his feet laid a duffle bag that he had prepared for himself. It was light. There wasn't much in it. Mostly clothes but he had a few extras such as some food and a few books. The rest he could buy with the munny he had been saving up.

    Time to go. A breeze blew by and he zipped up his jacket and put up his hood. He checked his surroundings to see if there was anybody was around. Silence. The only things he could hear were the chirping of the birds and the trees and leaves moving to the flow of the wind. He threw his duffle bag onto his back and began to walk towards the Port.

    ~/////~

    "Ready to go?" Maya asked as she zipped up her green jacket and rubbed her hands together for warmth.

    "I think I am," Chikara said as he scratched the back of his head. "Sorry for taking so long."

    "It's okay," she said, turning to face the sea. "Well I guess it's time to go."

    "Well I guess it's time to ask the question everybody has been wondering," Shou said as he looked towards the port and its apparent lack of ships. "How are we going to leave? Don't tell me we're going by raft."

    "Of course not. What idiots would do that?"

    Shou sighed in relief. "Great. So how are we going? Do you have a boat or something?"

    "We're going by Keyblade." Both Shou and Chikara raised an eyebrow. The Keyblade was a sword. One couldn't ride it. A lot of strange things had happened to them today but riding a sword was just silly. Maya simply responded to their stares by summoning her Keyblade to her hand and throwing it into the air and from the sky dropped a motorcycle-like vehicle that bore the same colors as Maya's Keyblade. While the vehicle resembled a motorcycle, it had no wheels and simply floated in the air. "Do the same thing," she said as she began to get onto the vehicle. "Just throw your Keyblade skyward."

    Things just get stranger and stranger. Chikara wanted to ask questions but simply concluded that that was the way the Keyblade was. So both he and Shou summoned their Keyblades and threw them into the air and they transformed into two vehicles that looked like surfboards. They descended slowly to the ground and floated a little above their feet.

    "The controls are a little abstract," she said as her vehicle began to rise up in the air without her doing anything. "It's controlled by thought. Right now, I'm thinking 'up'. You think 'faster' and it goes faster. You think 'stop' and it does just that. Now get on and think 'go' and try not to fall off."

    Um...okay..., Chikara thought as he placed one foot onto the board and then placed his other more slowly. Firmed to it, he began to think of the word "Up" and he began to rise up to the level Maya was at. He held both arms out, trying not to fall from the board as it rose. "Now...go." And the board jolted forward and toward the horizon at an incredible speed. Slower! Slower! And the board began to slow down until it was brought to a halt. "Okay, I think I'm getting the hang of this." And then Shou and Maya zipped past him, splashing some water on him and making his heart skip a beat.

    "Follow me!" she yelled as they raced towards the horizon.

    "Hey! Wait for me!" he yelled back as he willed the board to go faster, trying to catch up with them.

    "Let the adventure begin!" Shou yelled as he pumped his fist into the air.


  18. Plums ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ʟᴏsᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴡᴀʏ
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    FINALLY CAUGHT UP (again). Anyway, really amazing job guys. I really enjoy the development you've added to the Heartless(es) lolol. We got a rundown of them in KH and all, but you guys added a whole new layer of development upon what we were already used to. If the Disconnect!Heartless are that cunning, Disconnect!Nobodies would be crazy. .-.

    Back on topic though, v. noice development of Maya, Shou and Chi overall. I've always found it pretty difficult to get a group dynamic going, especially making sure I give them all equal attention. But you guys were able to pull it off without a problem, which has major points in my book.

    I think my only qualm so far is that there isn't really a consist font/font size throughout, and it was a bit challenging for me to jump from normal sized to size 1 (granted I was reading at 2am xD).

    Other than that though, really looking forward to the next chapter (and Act).

    also shou/maya 6eva *u*

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