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Chapter X: Sweet Dreams

The hunt was on. Sora and Kairi recommenced their hike across the islands, this time knowing who and what they were searching for. Sarlix, by her image, appeared to be of no immediate threat, but her power was immeasurable. Sora was aware of this when his all-out lunge attack was completely negated by a swift wrist flick from Sarlix. Her psychic powers to interfere with mortal minds were also forces to be reckoned with. The only thing the two friends prayed for at the moment was that Syx, the Heartless version of Sarlix, would pose less of a challenge.

They went through a clearing, which, unknown to both Sora and Kairi, was located exactly at the heart of Destiny Islands. Sora led the way, but he slowed his pace as he peeked over his shoulder to find Kairi strolling more leisurely than usual.

Let's talk some more,

About the tomorrow

Which is just

Around the bend.

Turn off the TV,

Look only at me…”

Kairi whispered melodiously.

Sora was listening intently, though Kairi was unaware to the fact. Kairi continued to hum.

No matter how good it seems

I can't truly believe

At those times

We're with each other.

A light called you?”

Kairi ceased walking just a moment before colliding into Sora, who also stopped walking. “?Finds me in the middle of the night,” she finished her song. “Hey, why’d we stop walking?”

“I was just listening to you sing. I never knew you could sing that well, Kairi,” Sora remarked naively.

“Well, duh. What else do you think I do during my free time?” She giggled. “Sing something, Sora!”

Sora groaned. “Uh, I think I’ll pass…”

“Come on! I?”

“Nah,” Sora interjected. “Let’s keep walking.”

Pouting, Kairi picked up her pace and caught up with Sora, who simply continued walking straight through the clearing.

Time was not a known element for Sora and Kairi. The dark clouds lingered in the sky above Destiny Islands. Smog and haze shrouded a major portion of the land. These aspects resulted in day and night both lurking in lasting darkness.

But it was night, and Sora and Kairi knew it was late at night. They ached and their minds grew weary due to exhaustion from the day’s excitement. Sora felt his grip on the Oblivion Keyblade loosen and his attentiveness wane. Kairi felt her eyelids droop and her footsteps gradually change into drags and wobbles. Still, diligence and perseverance pushed the two young warriors onward on their trek.

However, it was not long before Kairi started to feel the weight of fatigue finally taking its toll on her body.

“Sora, do you think there’s any chance we can continue after we get some rest? We’re in no condition to keep fighting…” Kairi said, rubbing her eyes.

Even though Sora would have preferred to persist in accomplishing the duties he set forth for himself and satiating his personal vengeance, he too felt the force of exhaustion.

“You’re right. It’ll be more worth it to rest and save our strength for tomorrow,” Sora finally agreed, with a hint of unwillingness. “Whoa, we have no supplies though…”

“It’s okay. This clearing’s pretty peaceful?and unburned unlike the other parts of the islands,” Kairi said and settled.

The clearing was an unnamed portion of Destiny Islands. It was also the one area on the islands that was not completely covered with either sand or coconut trees. The clearing here was made up of solely grass and shrubs with neither a grain of sand nor a tree was in sight. Sora and Kairi both lied face-up opposite of each other on the grass with the tips of their heads touching. On normal days, the sky would be clear with the stars shimmering and glowing brilliantly. Though not as clouded as other parts of the islands, the sky above the clearing was still murky and infested with gloom. Not a single hint of a star could be seen.

Unmistakably, Kairi was hoping for a good view of the sky in the open clearing, but she sighed at the pathetic, depressing atmosphere that shrouded the entire sky above the islands. It seemed as if her voice deserted her, with every thought of words slipping out of her mind. She heard and felt the bristles of Sora’s hair rustling in the wind, but the Keyblade master was dozing off and near sleep. Kairi, with better judgment, chose ultimately not to spark any conversation and disturb Sora’s slumber and soon felt herself drifting off into sleep.

And with deep sleep came unprecedented dreams. For Kairi, dreams practically always reveal the thoughts of her subconscious mind...

They held each other’s hands as they both casually strode along the edge of the beach. Every few seconds, their bare feet were tickled by the cold seawater stretching and splashing onto the shore. It was low tide at sunset, the perfect time for them to relax, walk, and enjoy the surrounding views. With each passing minute they gazed into each other’s eyes for a brief moment, then to resume on their stroll. Then she couldn’t hold back any longer and leaned in…

“Uh, what the?”

Kairi suddenly lifted her head to the cold, night air to see who was talking. Then she remembered it was only Sora and she traveling together. She sat up and turned around to see Sora still lying down, but his head raised towards a small, black critter settled on his chest.

“Sora? What is that?” Kairi asked, yawning.

The critter was mostly black, and unusually small. It was smaller than a coconut, with a disproportional large head, a relatively small body, scrawny arms and legs, and tiny claws ornamenting its hands and feet. But what were peculiar about the critter were its enormous yellow eyes and thin antennas bulging from its large head.

“A Heartless?” Kairi guessed before Sora could say anything.

“I think so,” said Sora, drawing out his Keyblade.

The critter leapt off Sora’s chest, covered its head, and cowered onto the ground. Seeing that Sora was not about to hold back, the critter scampered a few yards further away from him.

“Hey, hey, where do you think you’re going?” Sora called.

“Aw, but it looks so cute…” Kairi mentioned.

“Cute? It’s a Heartless! Cute and Heartless can’t go together, Kairi,” Sora muttered.

Sora charged at his tiny foe, which simply stared on. Except before the critter could come in contact with Sora’s swinging Keyblade, it did what all Heartless were capable of: warping into oblivion, escaping harm. Sora muttered under his breath and sat back on the ground. Oddly, the sight of that small, seemingly harmless Heartless troubled him.

“A Heartless, for sure… Darn it, he ran away,” Sora grumbled.

“Sounds like someone needs some more sleep,” Kairi joked.

“I think I’m good. If you still wanna rest, go ahead. I’ll stand by and keep watch.”

“Okay then,” Kairi said as she lied down. “It’s cold…”

Sora summoned his Fire magic, concentrated on a spot a few feet away from Kairi. In an instant, a decently sized flame burned brightly. Kairi thanked him, smiled, and floated back into her sweet dreams.

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