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Chapter V: Retrieving the Keyblades

The Heartless commander, Grymox, led Maleficent back into the library to where Ansem’s Reports were stored. Encased in a glass case as the ex-Gylmer had left them, Ansem’s Reports were now at the hands of the wicked Maleficent. She transferred the thirteen sheets of paper into her own box.

A crash sounded right above the library. Maleficent ordered Grymox to investigate, the Heartless commander dissipating into the air, making way to the upper story. In the meantime, Maleficent took the time to stand and read the beginnings of Ansem’s Reports. From her own analyses and searches, Maleficent came to the conclusion that code-named DiZ, the Ansem, “Ansem the Wise,” was exterminated. A pity, she thought. Her own investigations also led her to the result of finding all Organization XIII members defeated or out of existence: Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, Saïx. Axel, Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, Larxene, and Roxas.

Still, to Maleficent’s joy, the Heartless and Nobodies still existed through the worlds, uncontrolled and hiding in the darkness. Unopposed, Maleficent devised her plans to control and multiply the remaining Heartless and Nobodies to once again attempt to create a dominion over all the worlds and unlock Kingdom Hearts for herself. Ansem’s Reports will be her guide to the knowledge and backgrounds of darkness, the heart, and the Nobodies. Grasping a thought, Maleficent remembered her plans to find the Nobody of her new Heartless commander, Grymox. She took back the Reports and began to make her way out through the library gates…

“Maleficent!” an all-too-familiar voice called

The sorceress turned around and scowled. Sora, Riku, Kairi, and King Mickey all stood alongside each other, staring straight at her. When the four charged, Maleficent waved her wand once and disappeared upwards through the ceiling by the means of a seeping green flame. Mickey scrambled for the staircase, motioning for the trio to follow him.

“Quickly, everyone! I know she’s up to no good…”

On the second story, Maleficent caught the sight of Grymox fighting a white-attired figure, another bulky man. Maleficent summoned an impious spell that bound the unknown man and paralyzed him. Grymox, stepping back in silence, allowed Maleficent to carry out her own plans. Well, well, she reflected, this must be his Nobody. I didn’t think the Nobody would be born so close to the original spot.

Maleficent turned to her Heartless commander, “Well done, Grymox. You found his Nobody.”

The immobilized man tried to twist and squirm his way free, but the spell was too powerful for him to liberate from. “Nobody? What are you talking about, Maleficent?!”

Maleficent laughed, amused at the fact that the Nobody still held onto the memories of Gylmer. “What is your name?” she asked.

“Name?” the Nobody thought for a moment. “My name…”

Remembering the trend used to name Nobodies, Maleficent answered, “Your name is Xymgrel. You are the Nobody of the no longer existent Gylmer.” She turned to her Heartless commander, “Xymgrel, meet your Heartless, Grymox.”

“What the heck are you blabbing about? Let me go! My name is not Xymgrel! I am Gylmer!”

Maleficent pointed her wand at the paralyzed man and summoned another spell. At once, the loud man became quiet, the voice in his eyes dying out. An occasional twitch and wriggle from the Nobody came about, but the complaints and curses ceased. Maleficent, smiling at the result, bent down to the floor to talk to her conquered victim.

“Now, what is your name?” she whispered.

“Xymgrel…” the Nobody answered sadly.

“And Xymgrel, who do you serve?”

Xymgrel, annoyed and aggravated, spat, “I serve no one!” He clenched his fists weakly and sputtered, “I remember you… You’re trying to use me… Like you did to my friend, Silra!”

Maleficent laughed again at Xymgrel’s superb memory and said, “Silra is long gone, my dear friend. Like you, all she is now is a Heartless and a Nobody. You have your Heartless,” she pointed at the neighboring Grymox, “and you, the Nobody.”

Xymgrel growled, “Where is she?”

“You’ll see her. In exchange, you will promise your service to me and me only, Xymgrel.”

Seeing no other alternative, the conquered Xymgrel surrendered. “I will do your bidding, Maleficent. However, I will not let your control me. I will do what you order, but I will not give up my freedom!”

Maleficent knows that Xymgrel cannot escape her. Even if he does rebel, she can instantly shoot him into a wall and lock him away for eternity. Maleficent cackled, “You are strong. Good, you will serve me well.” She retrieved her binding spell and allowed Xymgrel to stand up. “You have powers now, do you know? Appreciate the fact that I granted you these powers as they will serve you as much as they will serve me.”

Xymgrel looked at his hands for a few moments before he submitted.

The Nobody and the evil sorceress continued to compromise and discuss their intentions until Sora, Riku, Kairi, and Mickey aggressively charged into the scene and finally making their appearances.

“Gylmer! Oh, Gylmer, how could this have happened to you!” cried Mickey.

Maleficent turned to her guests, “Haha, my ‘king,’ poor Gylmer had a weak heart, it was more than easy to convert him into a Heartless.”

Mickey angrily glared at Maleficent then at Xymgrel, “Gylmer, snap out of it!”

“I am Xymgrel, Your Majesty. Gylmer doesn’t exist anymore, I’m sorry…”

“Xymgrel?” Sora asked. Then he added, “A Nobody, huh. Ugh, it’s starting all over again.”

The trio stood a few feet behind Mickey, who was still disputing with Maleficent and her two new henchmen. Riku tapped Sora on the shoulder and whispered, “We need our Keyblades. Badly.”

“Yeah, they’re in here somewhere. King Mickey said they’re in the museum and well, this is the museum isn’t it?”

“Should we go and find them?”

“We can’t just ditch the King, Riku. What if something happens while we’re gone?”

“It’s not like we can help with the situation either. We don’t have weapons or the ability to cast magic spells as of now.”

“Maybe one of us should go.”

“I’ll go, Sora,” Kairi joined in.

Sora hesitated, but Riku came out with a direct answer, “No Kairi. The Keyblades must be protected by some kind of anti-magic shield. That’s why Sora and I can’t summon them. If you go alone, I don’t know if you’ll be able to accomplish anything. There has to be some other way to get them.”

“We might all have to go,” Sora said. “We’re just gonna have to hope King Mickey stays safe while we’re gone.”

Kairi nodded. “Let’s hurry then.”

The trio silently snuck away from the scene to search for the Keyblades while Maleficent, and the two derivatives of Gylmer stood motionless, each one carefully eyeing Mickey.

Sora, Riku, and Kairi ran as quickly as they could while glancing about the walls of the museum for anything resembling key-shaped weapons. However, their search was suddenly slowed down by the presence of Heartless warriors. Neoshadows: the advanced, larger, stronger, and more aggressive brethren of the small Shadow Heartless that invaded Destiny Islands. Sora, knowing what the Neoshadows are capable of, panicked and shouted out for Riku and Kairi to run as fast as they could to evade the Neoshadow attacks. With success, the trio rushed through the halls with the Neoshadows vanishing into the darkness behind them.

“There, guys,” Kairi whispered. She pointed to a boring looking wall, but on it hung four Keyblades and over twenty keychains. “The Keyblades.”

Sora attempted to reach for the weapons, but an unidentifiable force pushed his hand back. Sora, scratching his head in question, tried again, but received the same result. Riku stepped forward to make an effort, but also to no accomplishment. Kairi also tried, but also accepting no positive result. The trio simply stood staring at the hanging weapons and pondered.

“There has to be something controlling the shield,” Riku suggested. He looked around the walls for a switch or a control of some sort. Sora and Kairi followed his actions and studied the surroundings for any answers.

Nothing. Sora tried his best to keep track of the time, but unfortunately, he felt that the fruitless searching did no good for them. Out of frustration and desperation, Sora grabbed the nearest object, a large metal artifact resting on a wooden pedestal and smashed it against the wall with the Keyblades. The brutal action pushed the object through the shield, shattering the artifact and knocked off all the Keyblades and a few keychains. Sora, utterly confused with what happened, chuckled at his actions. Riku burst out laughing and Kairi simply stared at Sora with wonder.

“Nice, Sora. That was… weird,” Riku said through stifled laughs.

Kairi went by the wall and retrieved the knocked-down Keyblades and keychains. She felt the area where the shield was and felt a force pushing her back.

“It must be an organic shield or something. That’s why another object could go through it and not our hands,” she commented.

“Probably,” Sora said. “Anyway, let’s see here.”

He picked up his Keyblade, the Kingdom Key in its original form. Riku picked up his Keyblade, namely The Way to the Dawn. Sora browsed some of the fallen keychain, searching for the most powerful one: the Ultima chain. He glanced up at the wall to see which keychains failed to fall. The keychains that form the Hidden Dragon, Photon Debugger, Circle of Life, Guardian Soul, and Fatal Crest Keyblades are all roughly nailed to the wall. And the Ultima chain, to Sora’s disappointment, was also still fully attached to the wall. However, out of the remaining keychains on the ground, one stuck out to Sora: the Memories Past keychain, which formed the Oblivion Keyblade. Sora grabbed the keychain and attached it to his Keyblade, changing the Keyblade’s form into a sleek, dark-colored weapon of choice. Swinging his Keyblade adeptly as well as artistically, Sora, though still preferring the Ultima Weapon, was just as satisfied with using the Oblivion. He caught the sight of Riku also testing his Way to the Dawn Keyblade. But then he saw Kairi, still unarmed.

“Kairi, where’s your Keyblade?” Sora asked.

“Huh?” Kairi responded, surprised. “You mean, you actually want me to fight alongside you guys?”

Sora rubbed his face in disbelief. “Aw, gimme a break, Kairi! Of course I don’t. I would very much like to know you’re safe all the time instead of kicking Heartless butt. But I know you’ve got a very strong heart, so, yes. Fight alongside Riku and me.” Kairi smiled with a passion and Sora handed her the fourth Keyblade, a mysterious, unnamed weapon with no history.

“Oh, this is the same one that Riku gave me when we were in Organization XIII’s headquarters,” Kairi recalled. She dug into her pocket and withdrew the lucky charm, the Amulet of Promise that Sora returned to her. Sora, stunned that Kairi still carried that charm with her, stood by while Kairi attached it to her Keyblade, instantly forming the Oathkeeper.

Sora, holding both his Oblivion and Mickey’s Keyblade (the one to the realm of darkness), pocketed the remaining keychains and called for Riku and Kairi to hurry back to Mickey. Riku eagerly charged ahead with his Keyblade in hand. Sora was surprised as Kairi held the Oathkeeper like a professional while she dashed to his side and the two of them hurried on with Riku leading the way.

The trio halted in their footsteps as they came face to face with countless Shadow and Neoshadow Heartless in the corridors linking their prior destination and the room where Maleficent and Mickey were. Assuming their fight stances, Sora and Riku rushed first and started to clear a path through the halls. With each strike of the Keyblade, a defeated Heartless dispersed into the air, its remnants vanishing. All that remains of them is a liberated heart. Sora and Riku furiously destroyed the Heartless that stood in their way as Kairi guarded and covered the trio from the back. Efficiently, the three friends cut a track through the corridor with no serious difficulty and ignored the rest of the Shadow Heartless that trailed behind them. To Sora’s gratitude, Kairi’s unknown Keyblade was indeed a true Keyblade, being able to fully destroy an attacking Heartless with ease.

The trio hastily entered the room where the villains and Mickey were located and locked the doors to prevent the inflow of Heartless. They scanned the room. It would be completely silent if it weren’t for the muffled noise coming from…

“Your Majesty!” the trio called at once and rushed to aid the bound Mickey, who was struggling to break free of the rope that tied him to the ground. Using their Keyblades, the trio cut off the ropes and they pulled off the gag that prevented Mickey from speaking.

“Thanks, guys,” Mickey gasped. Sora handed Mickey the realm of darkness Keyblade.

“What happened, King Mickey?” Kairi asked.

Mickey massaged his hands as he stood up. “Well, that darn Maleficent paralyzed me with her sorcery and Gylmer…” he paused. “Xymgrel and Grymox manually tied me down.” He shook his head. “Then the three of them vanished and escaped.”

“Sorry, your Majesty,” Sora apologized, bowing his head.

“Gee, no need for that, Sora! If you three didn’t get away to find the Keyblades, we probably all woulda been tied down. And who knows, all of us would probably still be squirmin’ on the floor still!” Mickey said half-joking.

Sora admired Mickey’s enthusiasm and optimism. He raised his head and nodded. “We’ll stop them, King Mickey. Riku, Kairi, and I will find Maleficent and stop her!” Riku and Kairi agreed.

“Yup, I know you will. But first, I gotta check back to the castle. The more help the better! After that, we’ll make a speedy trip back to Destiny Islands,” Mickey exclaimed.

Sora beamed. “You mean Donald and Goofy? They’re gonna join and help us?!” he asked excitedly.

“They’ll be more than happy to, Sora.”

Sora, Riku, and Kairi exchanged joyous looks and promised to stick together through the rest of their journey.

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