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Chapter XXXIII: Pete and the Island's Keyhole
Home, Sora thought. It had been only a few days, yet it felt like months since he had returned to the northern shorelines. He instantly identified the dock where Riku, Kairi, and he spent many hours just relaxing and watching the sunset or the crashing waves. It was quiet, but Sora figured it had to be since the majority of the residents have evacuated to other locations in other parts of the islands.
Instead of standing and reminiscing about what Destiny Islands should look like, Sora quickly made his way towards the Secret Place. At the entrance, the vegetation had grown rampant. But it seemed unnatural. The vines, shrubs, and other greenery seemed to have been moved artificially, more so to cover the entrance on purpose. Slightly bothered by that analysis, Sora whipped out his Keyblade and began hacking at the dense vegetation. Kairi summoned the Oathkeeper and held back Sora’s swinging arm for a moment.
“Here, let me,” she said.
Quickly, the Oathkeeper emitted a radiant glow, shooting a hot beam of light that torched away all the blocking foliage. Sora smirked and put his hands to his hips.
“Sometimes you surprise me, Kairi,” Sora said. “I never even thought about condensing fire into, uh… a big laser beam…”
“You just gotta vision it, dummy,” Kairi said smiling, poking Sora’s head with her finger.
Sora dusted off the burnt, ashen vines. He gestured for Kairi to follow closely behind as he bent over and inched into the cave. The cave itself was small, with its small entrance and narrow pathway in between the main chamber and the entrance. It was not a long way in before Sora and Kairi found themselves with a heart stopping surprise.
A figure loomed in the chamber, robust and excessively bulky. The lack of sunlight reduced the cave into a gloomy, damp cellar. Still, a shine was reflected off of the figure’s armor and chains, revealing…
“What are you doing here?!” Sora yelled.
“Pete?” Kairi asked.
“Argh!” Sora yelled, charging forth.
“No wait!” Pete cried.
“How did you get in here?!” Sora roared, lunging with the Oblivion extended.
Pete ducked and rolled away from Sora’s lethal attack. Sora landed by the brown door, kicking off of it and continued to fly towards Pete. This time Sora landed feet first on top of the giant black cat-like creature. Pinning Pete’s arms down with his feet, Sora glowered and pointed his Keyblade towards his adversary.
“Well, aren’t you going to say anything?” Sora muttered.
“Awright… All right! You win; now please get off of me! Your shoes feel like cleats on my arms…” Pete howled.
Sora stepped to the sides while Pete, who Sora just noticed was completely unarmed and appeared already pretty beat up, sat up and rubbed his head.
“Three questions to start off: Why are you here? How did you get in here? And what happened to you after the Heartless swarmed over you and Maleficent at Organization XIII’s stronghold?”
Pete stood up and patted the dust and grime off of himself. “Hmm,” he started and cleared his throat. “I think I should answer your last question first.
“Shortly after the Heartless attacked me and Maleficent, Maleficent did something weird that allowed her to take control again. And then I guess I said somethin’ I shouldn’t have… I kinda said I had enough. That I don’t wanna be part of all this Heartless and Nobody ordeal. And how typical of Maleficent to call me a useless imbecile and then toss me into the darkness.”
“She just tossed you into the darkness?” Sora asked.
“Ever wonder what would’ve happened if you fell down into the pits of the organization’s stronghold? Well, I didn’t until Maleficent threw me down there. I fell and fell, and every second I was falling I kept thinkin’, ‘I wonder if I’ll crash eventually…’ But anyway, I just closed my eyes and… everything was black and unclear. I felt like I was floatin’ and stuff. I figured I was in the darkness and that was all there was to it.”
“Poor Pete,” Kairi said out of nowhere. Sora rolled his eyes.
“And who’s this girl?” Pete asked. “A friend of yours?”
“Yeah. Don’t get any closer though,” Sora muttered. “You’ve still got my other two questions to answer.”
“Oh, that’s right. Err… what were they again?” Pete sputtered, scratching his head.
Sora shook his head. “Why are you here on Destiny Islands and how did you get here?”
“Oh… I came through that door there. Why am I here? I don’t know, I saw a white door openin’ in the darkness and I took the chance and went through it. All of a sudden, I fell out of the darkness and into this cave?”
The door to the light? Sora wondered. Can’t be, can it?
“?Anyway,” Pete was continuing to say. “You two came in only a few seconds after I fell in here. But I saw someone here before you two came in. There was this guy with silvery blue hair?”
“Riku?!” Sora and Kairi shouted.
“Yeah, whatever his name is. The moment I fell out of the door, I saw him point his… maybe a Keyblade like yours, he pointed at the door and… click, I think he locked it,” Pete said, making locking gestures with his fingers.
Sora and Kairi stared at each other, stunned speechless.
“No wonder we didn’t see any Heartless while coming here,” Kairi said. “And no wonder when I woke up today, there was definitely sunlight coming through the dark clouds!”
“So Riku already sealed the islands’ keyhole?” Sora whispered. “That means… Kairi! Riku’s gotta be somewhere on the island then!”
“Yeah! Maybe he’s?”
“No, I don’t think he’s here anymore,” Pete said.
“And why’s that?” Sora retorted, his mood changing immediately.
“You know how Maleficent opens portals and stuff with dark magic? I think your friend Riku could do the same thing. After he locked the… err, keyhole, he gave me a dumb smirk and then disappeared through a black portal.”
“H-huh…?” Kairi murmured.
“No…” Sora groaned. How could he go back into the realm of darkness?
The sun began to shine again as the Secret Place’s wall drawings gradually became visible. The dampness dried and everything was bright again. Pete looked around confusedly and shrugged.
“Well then,” he said. “Don’t hurt me, kid, I ain’t meanin’ any harm now. I’m gonna go home.”
Sora sat on the ground, clearly in disappointment. But he looked towards Pete. “Home? Where’s that for you?”
“I might visit the ol’ King again,” Pete chuckled in a hoarse tone. Before another word, he departed.
Sora sat on the ground while Kairi stood close behind him. If it weren’t for the displeasing news about Riku, Sora and Kairi would have been dancing with glee for the return of the sunshine, the paradise of Destiny Islands, and the removal of the Heartless. Still Kairi looked towards the entrance of the cave. Undeniably, the sun was shining again and the islands should be back to normal soon. Rays of light also penetrated the cave, highlighting the illustrations on the walls. Kairi looked at the drawing of Sora and her exchanging Paopu fruits. She smiled.
Sora also glanced at the same drawing. He felt himself smile. Their first mission was complete, although by someone else. There was still more to come.
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