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Chapter XXXIV: One Story's Start, Another One's End

At the entrance of the Secret Place, Sora and Kairi stared out into the open at the revived sunshine and clear blue sky. The darkness fading as remnants of the old, hazy clouds disappeared into the sunny sky. Immediately, the environment seemed to be coming back to live, the trees, island critters, and all life coming out of their dormant states. Sora noticed the instant changes. He began to hear birdcalls from the distance and he felt the breeze now blowing evenly and comfortably on the back of his neck. This was all very calming for Sora as his island home was finally safe.

Still, Pete’s appearance was not so comforting for the young Keyblade-wielder. Sora believed Pete’s story, as it was pretty much the same as the one Maleficent told him, but what was Pete’s purpose in landing on the islands Sora did not know. Was Pete telling the truth when he stated he randomly found his way to the islands? Even so, how would he get off the island? The thought annoyed Sora, which Kairi noticed.

“Sora, what’s bothering you now? Aren’t you happy the islands are almost back to normal!” Kairi exclaimed.

“Yeah, I am. But… Pete. I dunno why he’s here or why he’s still hanging around.”

“Mm,” Kairi hummed. She leaned her head on Sora’s back. “You worry too much.”

Maybe, Sora thought. “Hey, Kairi. C’mon, let’s go back to the village where everyone’s hiding. Maybe we can help get everyone back home before we have to leave.”

“To find Riku and everyone else?” Kairi asked.

“We gotta find all the other keyholes remember? And, yeah, we have to find Riku too.”

Normally, the beach on a typical summer day would have Sora, Kairi, and Riku sitting around by the shore, the dock or pier simply relaxing and enjoying the view of the sunset and the horizons. Further off, Tidus and Wakka may be having a fun game of Blitzball. No matter what, there would normally be many people out in the sunshine. At the moment though, Sora and Kairi, who soon made their way out, only inhabited the northern shores.

It was now a peaceful stroll, which to Sora was a great relief. He no longer had to look all around him for Heartless ambushes, or worry about tripping over roots and shrubs in the dark, or getting lost in the process. The islands’ keyhole was finally locked.

“Sora, why do you think Riku came back without telling us?” Kairi asked all of a sudden.

Because he doesn’t want us to see him using the powers of darkness again, Sora would have said right away. Instead, he said, “Umm, Riku’s weird like that.”

“Seriously, Sora!” Kairi groaned. “I’m really wondering now.”

Sora sighed. “Remember he had that blindfold when we first saw him after such a long time? It’s the same thing. He’s using the powers of darkness again. He doesn’t want us to see him like that.”

“Oh,” Kairi said. “He’s acting like such a big brother now.”

“He is…” Sora said, his voice drifting off. He saw something in the sky. “What the…?”

Kairi followed Sora’s eyes to whatever he was looking at in the sky. A small dot? Before she knew it, Sora was already sprinting off in the direction of the dot in the sky. Kairi had no choice but to run along. Sora was shouting and madly swinging his Keyblade. Jumping up onto the coconut trees, Sora gained more and more altitude until he leapt nearing the height of the flying object.

It was the Highwind. But someone else was piloting it.

Making another giant leap, Sora clung onto the left wing of the Highwind. Climbing and inching closer to the cockpit window, Sora saw him.

“Pete!” Sora roared. He began to furiously bash the cockpit with the Keyblade. “Get out of there!”

Sora could tell Pete was getting irritated. “No can do, kid. I gotta get out of here first, y’know?”

Somersaulting, the Gummi Ship threw Sora off, sending him flying towards the ground. Sora thought he was a goner before something drew him into a force, stopping his disastrous plummet. He was gently dropped to the ground. Sora turned and his jaw dropped when he saw Kairi, who shrugged coyly.

“K-Kairi? You did that?” Sora sputtered. “How’d you know to use the Magnet?”

“Magnet?” Kairi wondered, more to herself. “So that’s what it was? I was just trying to do something, anything that can help save you from that fall.”

“Well, it sure worked,” Sora exclaimed. He couldn’t believe it. Kairi was turning out to be more of a fighter than he imagined.

Kairi smiled. At least I can help now, she thought happily.

“Bad news though, Kairi,” Sora said, changing his tone. “Pete took our ship.”

“Oh,” Kairi gasped, putting a hand to her mouth.

“Ugh, I knew it. I knew he was gonna cause problems for us,” Sora grumbled.

“Oh well, it can’t be all that bad, can it?” Kairi suggested, trying to cheer Sora up.

“Well, besides the fact that we can’t get anywhere else now,” Sora grumbled again. He shook his head. “Sorry, I’m being really negative right now.”

“That’s okay. We’ll find some other way to travel. Anyway, we can’t all be happy, perfect, and cheery all the time, right?”

“I guess that’s true.”

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Pete chuckled to himself. Alright, I scored big this time! With this ship, I can practically go anywhere now! And I finally lost that kid for once. Now where should I go? Hmm…

As Pete pondered his situation, he thought about going back to the dreaded Maleficent, to gain some control over the Heartless again, or even raiding Disney Castle if he had a decently sized Heartless army. He scratched off the first choice. He couldn’t go back to Maleficent. The sorceress took him for dead anyway. And the idea about raiding Disney Castle? Pete realized he couldn’t possibly do that even with a decently sized Heartless army. He would need followers… other villains with the same hunger for conquest.

Pete’s train of thought was interrupted by an infernal beeping noise. Spastic for a few seconds, Pete pushed random buttons to silence the noise. One button he pushed silenced the beeping, but turned on a transmission screen in the process. On it was the face of Donald. Pete gasped and flew backwards off his chair.

“Sora? Sora is that you?” Donald quacked.

“Err, uh,” Pete mumbled. “Y-yes, this is Sora?”

“Huh…” Donald grunted on the other side. “No, you’re not. You think for traveling over a year with Sora I wouldn’t recognize his voice? You’re not Sora! Show yourself!”

Pete raised his head a couple of inches, which Donald noticed right away.

“Wak! Pete!”

“Hey, you, how do you turn this contraption off,” Pete complained, pushing more random buttons.

“You! What have you done with Sora!” Donald quacked riotously.

“Geez, you’re louder than that beepin’ noise from before,” Pete continued to complain.

“When we find you?”

“We?” Pete asked cautiously.

“Shut up!” Donald screeched. “When we find you, the king’s seriously gonna lock you?”

Pete finally pushed the right button that shut off the transmission screen. He heaved a great sigh and flopped back onto the comfortable pilot chair. Looking out into the void, Pete noticed a bright star in the distance. Well, maybe I’ll go there first, wherever that is. I ain’t gettin’ locked up.

Millions and millions of miles away, Donald violently smashed the transmission button on the Celsius. He roughly slumped back onto his chair, crossed his arms, and made a contorted face of utter fury. Goofy sat nearby, scratching his head.

“Ya know, maybe Sora’s all right, he just doesn’t know Pete hisacked the Gummi Ship…” Goofy started to say.

Hijacked, Goofy! Get it right!” Donald shouted, clearly out of irritation.

“Right, he hijacked the Gummi Ship. Maybe Sora doesn’t know that?”

“Okay, fellas, we double checked everything and the keyhole’s sealed, the people are safe, and we’re good to go!” Mickey cheered, not noticing Donald’s more than usual grumpiness.

“Oh, okay,” Goofy said. He turned to the others. “You sure you all are gonna be all right when we’re gone?”

“Sure,” Tifa said.

“There aren’t anymore Heartless around. And if a single one shows up, we’re all going to trash it before anymore come by! Right, you two?” Yuffie yelled enthusiastically while gripping down Cloud and Vincent who were standing next to her.

“Yeah. We’ll certainly trash it,” Vincent mumbled in a monotone voice.

“We’ll work on that attitude of yours,” Yuffie snickered.

Mickey laughed. “Well, if you guys need anything, we’ll be here to help,” said the king.

Cloud, Cid, Yuffie, Tifa, Aerith, Barrett, and Vincent all waved good-bye to the departing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. Their home world was now safe from Heartless threats.

“Yo,” Barrett grunted after the Celsius disappeared from sight. “What about those two goons in the black trench coats?”

“Whatever, man,” Cid said, sighing and waving his hand in ignorance. “If you see them, I won’t stop you. Do whatever you want. I wanna go home.”

Cloud nodded. He looked back up into the sky. His and the others’ story was over. Whatever happened from this point on would be dictated solely on the actions of the Keyblade-wielders. Before Mickey, Donald, and Goofy’s departure, Cloud wished them the best of luck and to wish Sora and Kairi the same if they meet up with them again. Turning away with the others, he boarded the Sierra, which took off into the horizon.

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