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Chapter XVI: Another Story

By the time the entire group gathered at the border between Midgar and the plains, the sun was setting and the shadows of each person could no longer be seen. All boarding Cid’s airship, the Sierra, the group only sought to discuss the mysterious trouble that looms around them all. It was trouble with a familiar sense to Cloud, Yuffie, Aerith, Tifa, and Cid, but completely unknown to Barrett and Vincent. Tifa started off by sharing the event of her brief encounter with the masses of Neoshadow at the center of Midgar, but this only caused confusion for Barrett and Vincent. Thus another lengthy discussion had to come first.

“Will you do the honors and tell them the story, Yuffie?” Tifa asked. “Since you were there for all of it?”

“Sure. Ahem, all right, you two,” Yuffie said, directing her words at Barrett and Vincent. “The black, shadowy creatures that Tifa fought with not a while ago were called Heartless. They are denizens of darkness, neither living nor dead. They are born from the darkness of people’s hearts. And as we all know?there is darkness in every single heart, no matter how great of a person you are.”

Cloud shifted uncomfortably for a moment. He only recently fought with the darkness in his own heart, in addition fighting with his darkness-borne arch-nemesis, Sephiroth.

“Now, the Heartless have been swarming and consuming worlds for quite a while,” Yuffie continued. “They were stopped eventually by a nice kid named Sora, who wields a special weapon called the Keyblade. They say the Keyblade is the only weapon capable of releasing the hearts that the Heartless have stolen. So when the Keyblade destroys a Heartless, the heart is freed from the darkness and returns to the rightful individual.

“And as we all learned, victory never comes easily. A year later, the Heartless eventually return again to cause a bunch of new problems?”

“What about the two damn wanderin’ fools that Cid and I ran into before?” Barrett cut in.

“Hold up! I’m getting to that,” Yuffie grumbled. “Anyway, it was a year after Sora first defeated the Heartless the first time. On a side note, some odd things happened during that year, including the loss of Sora’s memories. What was even weirder was that everyone who knew Sora had their memories of Sora slowly erased as well. But then Sora came back and slowly everyone’s memories of him were restored. That was pretty cool.

“Now let me get back to the bad stuff. After the one year and the Heartless returned, a new group of enemies showed up. These were called the Nobodies. We learned that the Nobodies were born whenever a Heartless is born. Basically this means that whenever an individual loses his or her heart, a Heartless half is created along with a Nobody half. Nobodies are basically ‘imaginary’ beings that are simply incomplete. Now, these Nobodies were then controlled by a group of crazy people called Organization XIII, made up of, duh, thirteen members. What was also weird was that all thirteen members are also Nobodies. Just to make Barrett happy, guess what these members looked like? Yup. Black trench coats and hoods.

“As for Sora, the poor guy was literally stalked and driven crazy by the organization. I’m not too sure exactly what they wanted from him, but I do know they wanted to manipulate him in some way to serve their own greedy purposes. Battle after battle, though, Sora wiped out the members of the organization one by one. Eventually, Sora and his friends reach the end of their journey, deep in the heart of the organization’s stronghold. There, they defeat the rest of the remaining organization members and face off with the organization’s top guy. If I remember correctly, they finally win and it was over. Or so we thought…”

The rest of the group who were involved with the battles against the Heartless nodded in agreement with Yuffie’s version of the story. Barrett and Vincent seemed like they understood the story as well.

“Sounds like this Sora’s a pretty tough kid!” Barrett said with a vigorous laugh.

“Yeah, he is. You don’t want to mess with him,” Cloud mentioned flatly.

“Did you?” Barrett inquired.

“Once. And I’ve seen him fight. He’s a tough kid,” Cloud answered.

The group stayed silent for a while; gathering and ascertaining their information and knowledge before any ideas spring up. The threat basically for them was the returning presence of the Heartless and Nobodies, nothing more.

“How do you know all that, Yuffie? I don’t remember you personally escorting Sora and his friends everywhere.” Aerith asked.

“Remember King Mickey? Before everyone went home, he stopped by the Radiant Garden and shared the story. Y’know, just to clear everything up in case anyone was confused. I was the only one there at the time,” Yuffie replied. “Plus, you can’t forget a story like that, Heartless and all.”

“One thing for certain though,” Tifa said suddenly. The group looked towards her. “There are definitely more Heartless than ever before. I’ve seen the numbers, it was like a never-ending stream of Heartless.”

“So what do you suggest we do, then?” Vincent asked.

“Simple,” Aerith responded. “We find Sora and offer whatever help we can offer. The Heartless and Nobodies are threats to all worlds, not just ours.”

“How we gonna do that?” Barrett asked. “Travelin’ out of our world to another? Never heard of that style of flyin’ before.”

“Leave that to me,” Cid answered.

Barrett nodded. He looked to Cloud, who nodded back. The rest of the group all looked at one another and nodded in agreement. They knew what they had to do. All that remained was timing and… where will they head to first if they wished to find Sora?

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