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Chapter VI: Touched

“Wak! He’s gone again?” Donald screeched.

The two chipmunks nodded and told Donald what Mickey said before he took off in the new Gummi Ship.

“How long has he been gone for?” Donald questioned.

“A few hours,” answered Dale. “Where’s?”

“Ohh… why didn’t you two tell me earlier!” Donald groaned.

“The castle’s very big! It took us forever just to get here and find ya!” Chip reasoned.

A short silence followed. “Where’s Goofy?” Dale resumed.

“That big lug is probably snoozin’ somewhere again,” Donald muttered.

The chipmunks glanced at each other. “Ya want us to find him and wake him up, Donald?” one of them said.

Donald started tapping his feet and thought for a moment, his arms crossed. “Hmm… nah, you two go tell Queen Minnie,” he started strolling off, “I have a good idea where Goofy is.”

“Yes sir!” said the two chipmunks in unison and they scampered off out of sight.

Donald sighed. A week of peace and everything went upside-down again. Why does he always run around lookin’ for stuff? Donald angrily asked himself. Then again, that was Mickey. Whenever Mickey sensed trouble, he was the first to set off in search for answers. It all started when the stars, the distant worlds began to blink out, disappearing, one by one from Heartless attacks. Oh no… Donald thought all of a sudden. He scrambled to the castle library.

And there he was?Goofy, the captain, the head of the castle guard, indolently sleeping on a chair by the bookshelves. Resisting the urge to shoot a bolt of flame or ice at Goofy, Donald withdrew his wand and walked over to the idle warrior. With a speedy kick, Donald knocked Goofy off the chair, sending Goofy sliding a couple of feet and crashing into some tables.

“Oopsy,” Donald mumbled.

Goofy slowly stood up and rubbed his head. “Gawrsh, Donald. You coulda just tapped me on the shoulder or somethin’.” He yawned and stretched. “So what’s goin’ on, Donald?”

“The King’s gone missing again!” Donald quacked loudly. “And I bet I know why!”

“Huh?” Goofy asked curiously. Donald told him exactly the same story as the chipmunks, adding his hunches as to why Mickey left the castle.

“Hmm,” Goofy wondered. “So are you sayin’ that them Heartless and Nobodies are back again?”

“That’s what I’m sayin’, Goofy,” Donald mumbled.

“And you’re sayin’ that King Mickey’s out lookin’ for answers again?”

“That’s what I’m sayin’,” Donald mumbled again.

Goofy hushed for a moment, apparently in some thought. Despite his outer appearance and his… well, goofy behavior, Goofy has his inquisitive and philosophical side. As to Donald, the small duck was not to be taken lightly; as he gets easily aggravated and has the patience limit of almost zero. Goofy continued to tap his fingers, while he rubbed his chin with one hand, a common thinking gesture. Donald tapped his feet in waiting, but only for a minute.

“Well, Goofy?” he finally asked. “Got any ideas?”

“Gawrsh, this is… pecooly?”

Peculiar, Goofy…” Donald droned in discomfiture.

“Oh, right. Peculiar. This is very peculiar, Donald.”

Donald sputtered and quacked irritably, “I know! I know! Now what do we suppose we do now!”

“Well, didn’t the King say that he was gonna be back soon? That he wouldn’t take too long?” Donald eyed him skeptically and Goofy continued. “So why not just wait for him then?”

“Wak! He’s the King, Goofy! You don’t just let a king run around worlds unprotected!”

Goofy chuckled. “I think King Mickey’ll be fine. He’s traveled before, I think he can do it again.”

“Ohh…” Donald moaned. He gave up. “Fine, we’ll wait for him. But only for a little while longer! Then we look for him?”

Goofy’s ears perked up, “And if we go look for him, maybe we can stop by Sora’s and visit him too! Maybe he can even help us find King Mickey again!”

“Good idea, Goofy. We’ll do that.”

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A speedy take-off and another easy flight through the void allowed Sora, Riku, Kairi, and Mickey to save what could have been hours on their trip to Disney Castle. Uncomfortable with the fact that no Heartless or Nobody ships were in the vicinity of the paths linking the worlds, Sora decided to ask Mickey if he had any idea where all the enemy ships were.

“No clue, Sora. Maybe their numbers aren’t great enough right now. We did get rid of most of ‘em before.”

Sora nodded, agreeing with Mickey’s hypothesis. He settled back down between Kairi and Riku, the three of them physically together for their first adventure. At least this time I can be comfortable knowing my pals are safe, Sora remarked to himself. Satisfied, Sora slid down his seat into a more comfortable position. Next to Sora, Kairi was dozing off, her eyes half-closed and her head lopsided towards Sora. Riku, on the other hand, was not relaxing as he was fiddling with his Keyblade. With a little blink of light, Sora summoned his Keyblade. However curiously, Sora tried to comprehend what Riku was trying to figure out with his weapon.

“What’s up with your Keyblade, Riku?”

“Nothing’s up with it. It just feels a little different than from the last time I held it,” Riku replied.

Sora gently waved his Keyblade in front of him. “Mine feels about right,” he said.

Sora continued, “Maybe you never noticed the new feel. You know, after you left the darkness. Maybe your Keyblade’s no longer held by that same darkness and… I dunno, how should I explain it?”

“Well, I’m not complaining or anything. It’s not bad, I’m just saying it feels a little different, that’s all.”

“Here, let me?” Sora was interrupted with a sudden thud on his right shoulder. “Err… Kairi?”

Half of Kairi’s body was leaning on Sora, her head resting on his shoulder. Riku chuckled at Sora’s absurd facial expression. “What, did she scare you, Sora?” he joked. Sora glared at Riku.

“No… it was just?”

“Scary for you?” Riku joked again and smirked.

Sora, instead of trying to think of something witty to counter Riku, ignored him with a wave of his hand. Kairi was sound asleep; battling Heartless was something she wasn’t quite used to and Sora had not the heart to push her away and wake her up. Sora simply sat still and allowed Kairi to rest beside him.

Riku, no longer laughing hysterically, said in his normal voice and tone, “She likes it when you’re next to her, y’know.”

Sora again glared at Riku, but in a different way, unlike his fuming, irritated glare from before. This glare was a bewildered, somewhat stunned glare. Sora stammered, “H-huh? What do you mean by that, Riku?”

“Oh man, you’re really naïve, aren’t you? I mean that Kairi can’t get you off her mind. When we were in the Organization’s headquarters?I don’t know if you were there by that time?anyway, when I rescued Kairi from Saïx?after Saïx got away from me?all Kairi was saying was how badly she wanted to see you and how she would do anything to have you next to her from that point on.

“I wasn’t surprised at how she felt about you, I mean… you two spent so much time together years ago, especially when Kairi just landed on our island. She had nowhere to go, she didn’t know anyone. And you were the first to actually talk to her and welcome her. And then you have your little secret hideaway?” Riku wanted to laugh at Sora’s shocked expression. “Yeah, I know you two have your little ‘secret spot.’ I see you two go in there all the time?”

Kairi stirred a bit. “Anyway, I figured you should know that about Kairi,” Riku concluded.

Sora, completely taken aback, completely in insane, indescribable awe, completely astounded, stupidly sat in his seat with his mouth gaping just a bit. Kairi was still lying on leaning on his shoulder and Sora refused to move. “Ummm…” he tried to say.

“Hey, come on, just shut up,” Riku said humorously. “Let things be for now, you two go settle it on your own later on. I’ve done my part.”

Let things be? Settle…? Sora repeated to himself. Great…

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