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Chapter XII: The Capture

“Why haven’t you captured that wretched boy yet?” Maleficent screeched. In the room were Sarlix, Syx, Xymgrel, and Grymox, each standing in different corners of the archival room where Maleficent ordered them to meet her in.

“Which one? The taller one or the shorter one?” Sarlix asked mockingly. Maleficent glared at her and Syx grunted in amusement. “I’m serious. I don’t have Sora, but I managed to find the taller one.”

“You captured Riku?” Maleficent asked.

She caught no one, mistress. She only stupidly warped Riku into another world, separate from his friends,” Syx communed directly with Maleficent.

Maleficent scoffed. “So you didn’t capture Riku. You didn’t capture Sora. What exactly did you do, Sarlix?”

Sarlix did not answer that question, as she looked away from Maleficent.

Shall I go back to the islands?” Syx asked Maleficent.

“Fools,” Maleficent hissed silently. “Syx. Grymox. Go to the islands. Find Sora and bring him to me. If you cannot… hmm…”

Maleficent considered for a moment what will force Sora to come to her regardless of being captured or not. What will make him come to me? she asked herself. Many elements may force one person to act ignoring better judgment: anger, greed, vengeance, love.

She chuckled at a sudden realization. “I think we may have a solution… If you cannot capture Sora?bring his pretty girlfriend to me,” she said cruelly. “That is sure to make him scramble over here. Now go!”

Syx and Grymox melted into the stone floor and disappeared, well on their way back to Destiny Islands. Maleficent turned to the remaining two left with her. Sarlix still refused to look at Maleficent and Xymgrel had not been paying any attention to anything for the past hour.

“You Nobodies sicken me. I hold the power here! You will do my bidding!” Maleficent roared, forming green flames around her robes at the same time.

Sarlix rolled her eyes. “Then what exactly is your ‘bidding,’ your almighty wonderfulness?” she asked with utmost sarcasm.

Maleficent squinted her eyes in bitter aggravation at Sarlix’s snide remarks. But then she smiled diabolically, figuring out a better way to make use of her happy-go-lucky Nobody. She will send Sarlix on a torturous assignment, which she knows Sarlix will not be able to accomplish. Maleficent glanced at the equally carefree Xymgrel and decided to send both of them on the same torture mission.

“Well… Sarlix and Xymgrel, I have a job for you two to do,” she started. Sarlix paid minimal attention and Xymgrel merely looked to Maleficent’s direction, neither listening nor caring.

She continued. “There is a world with many, many potent warriors. In that world there is a city absolutely filled with these warriors.” She stopped, choosing her words carefully not to arouse suspicions. “The city is called Midgar, a grand place. I have only visited Midgar only once, but I immediately noticed many potential fighters. Find these warriors and convert them into Heartless and Nobodies!”

“Huh. Fine. Let’s go, Xymgrel,” Sarlix mumbled. Xymgrel crossed his arms and followed Sarlix absentmindedly. The two of them opened a portal in the room and made their exit.

Maleficent cackled. There is no way they will be able to accomplish anything in that world. The warriors that live there are far too strong for any being to defeat.

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Still around the heart of Destiny Islands, Sora and Kairi stopped to take a short break to ponder whom exactly were they trying to find. They knew it was Syx, the Heartless commander leading the assault on Destiny Islands, the Heartless twin of Sarlix, but what does she look like? Sora eagerly awaited any clues or signs as to what he has to look out for.

Kairi fiddled with her Amulet of Promise keychain. Her lucky charm, which was made into a star-shaped design, kept Sora safe during his past journeys. Kairi only hoped that his safety, as well as hers, would continue to uphold.

Holding onto the charm, Kairi’s mind suddenly traversed into the past…

You brought me back,” Sora said.

I didn't want to just forget about you, Sora. I couldn't,” Kairi replied, feeling particularly emotional.

That's it!” said Sora suddenly at an insight. “Our hearts are connected. And the light from our hearts broke through the darkness. I saw that light. I think that's what saved me. No matter how deep the darkness, a light shines within. I guess it's more than just a fairy tale.”

Well, let's go.”

Uh, Sora was thinking. “You can't go,” he said.

Why not?” Kairi was curious, and a bit confused.

Because it's way too dangerous.”

Typical response. I should have expected him to say that, she thought. “Come on, Sora. We made it this far by sticking together. You can't go alone.”

Kairi, even if we're apart, we're not alone anymore. Right?”

I can't help?”

You'd kind of be in my way,” Sora said carefully as to not upset Kairi, but he was quite serious.

Okay. You win,” Kairi finally said, giving up. Kairi gave Sora an appealing, star-shaped item she created during her free time. “Take this. It's my lucky charm. Be sure to bring it back to me.”

Don't worry. I will.”

Promise?”

Promise.”

Don't ever forget. Wherever you go, I'm always with you…”

Kairi smiled. He hasn’t changed at all. But he still did, in a way. He’s changed, but he’s still the same person I’ve always known.

Sora was very patient. If anything about him has changed, it was only for the better. After two whole journeys, Sora became stronger, more mature, patient, virtuous, and understanding.

Kairi loved it. She continued to fiddle with the charm and then reattached it to her Keyblade, once again forming the Oathkeeper.

In all suddenness, Sora, who was in thought and pacing back and forth by Kairi, started to groan. He looked to Kairi with solemn eyes and then staggered. Startled, Kairi recalled her Keyblade and quickly came to his aid, setting him down to the dusty ground. Sora was neither debilitated nor injured, but he was in some sort of agonizing influence. He perspired, his body quivered, his hands groped his head and his fingers laced through his hair in spastic motions. More than upset, Kairi cried out.

“Sora, what’s happening to you!”

Sora attempted to hold himself still, but he shook violently. “That thing. That Heartless from before… My head feels so weird…”

Kairi did the only thing she could do in helping her dear friend. She wrapped her arms around Sora’s neck and held him close to her. Both of them leaned against each other for a period of time until Sora’s body started shuddering less and less.

“I’m here,” Kairi whispered when Sora finally stopped shaking and stabilized his breathing. “Just to let you know?I can’t bear to see you in pain like that.”

Sora closed his eyes. “Thanks, Kai?”

A forceful thud sounded behind Sora and Kairi, causing Sora to jolt his eyes back open and sit straight up. Sora heard another sound, lighter and more delicate than the first, but nonetheless the sound of something, or someone, landing.

Still leaning on Sora, Kairi heard the sounds loud and clear. She listened attentively for more noise, but heard none. She momentarily glanced at Sora, who seemed fully alert. But all was silent again. Not even the sound of a breeze or the rumbling of the dark clouds overhead resonated in the air. Sora and Kairi continued maintaining their vigilance, examining trees, boulders, and every other constituent of their environment for suspicious movements.

And vigilance paid off for the two. Behind a giant, cracked boulder, a jet-black figure appeared, one that Sora could recognize and could not forget. The monstrous Heartless, with its four arms, lengthy claws, and two giant wings, stepped out into the open. Its legs had fused into a thick smog, which allowed the creature to float closer and closer to Sora and Kairi. Sora was ready, however, as his mind was not troubling him. He whipped out his Keyblade, which immediately caused the Heartless to flinch and stray backwards for a few seconds. The Heartless, squinting its eyes menacingly at Sora, looked away and diverted its attention onto Kairi. Then again, Kairi was equally ready. She summoned back her Keyblade and aimed the weapon at the Heartless.

“We have two Keyblade-wielders here. Very interesting,” a voice sounded in the minds of both Sora and Kairi’s.

Sora jumped over next to Kairi. “Show yourself!” he yelled.

Grymox dropped down from a tall tree that was directly overhead Sora and Kairi and landed with a light thud on the brown, dusty ground. She pulled down her hood to reveal her face.

“What the,” Sora growled. He remembered this Heartless from when he and the others first investigated the Temple Key Museum. “What are you doing here?”

“Sora?the other Heartless!” Kairi exclaimed.

Sora moved in between Kairi and the winged Heartless, immediately cast the Reflect spell around Kairi and he, blocking the Heartless’ lethal attacks. The Heartless backed away and snorted, amused at Sora’s quick response. It squinted its eyes again and began channeling a dark, purplish energy on one of its giant, clawed hands.

No, Syx. You don’t want to kill them all off, do you?” Grymox hissed.

You fool…” Syx responded back to Grymox.

“That’s Syx?” Sora wondered to Kairi and himself. “This looks like trouble, Kairi.”

“Yeah, got any plans?” Kairi whispered.

“We’ll see how this goes. I was thinking about winging it.”

“Gotcha.”

Sora and Kairi stood ready, guarding themselves with their respective Keyblades. Grymox slowly hovered around them, his lance-like weapon fully extended like knight’s fighting posture. Syx stood with her arms crossed and her eyes closed, not producing a single audible sound.

All of a sudden, Sora felt his mind collapsing again, and this time he knew exactly why it was happening to him. The Mind Keeper.

“Where is she!” he moaned. “Sarlix is the one that’s been doing this to me the whole time! The Mind Keeper!”

Syx opened her eyes. “Not always. I can do it too.

“Leave Sora alone, you monster!” Kairi screamed. She charged at Syx with her Keyblade glowing and fully extended.

Why do you have to make this so complicated, girl?” Syx messaged to Kairi. She grabbed the Oathkeeper with one hand and lifted Kairi off the ground with another hand. The Keyblade vanished into sparks and reappeared in Kairi’s hands. “Grr. I forgot the Keyblades could do that…

Kairi smirked and swung the Keyblade at Syx’s neck. Too slow, though, as Syx sank into a black puddle and dropped Kairi to the ground. The Heartless then resurfaced in another location, growling.

I thought this was supposed to be easy. Impressive,” she mocked, but her eyes carried a different message.

Grymox was circling Sora, who was still massaging his aching head. However, Sora was not watching Grymox, but at Kairi. It was a duel he wanted to prevent. Thus, Sora tried to recollect his mind and began to move towards Syx.

And where do you think you’re going?” Grymox messaged Sora, his face directly in front of Sora’s.

“Get away from me,” Sora said coldly.

Can’t do that, human.

“Sora!” Kairi cried out.

Sora, more intent on going to Kairi’s aid, was grasped from behind by Grymox, who then dragged the struggling Keyblade master into a dark portal in the ground, both of them disappearing, gone from the islands.

Syx smirked. Kairi was completely distracted; it could be determined that her care for Sora was her downfall in that standoff. Before Kairi could react, Syx tore open a similar portal and forcibly shoved Kairi into it. In another moment, there were no sounds in the heart of Destiny Islands except for the sounds of skittering and light footsteps of Shadow Heartless that rose from underneath the dusty surface.

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