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Chapter LXIII: Odin
So after a very torturous few weeks without access to my own computer/laptop, I finally got my laptop back and can write again. I managed to crank out this chapter as efficiently as I could and decided to upload it early. For the next few weeks, months... hopefully... I can upload more and faster.
Riku thought his last assault was his deadliest yet, yet when his blade struck the armored Odin in the neck, the recoil nearly knocked the Keyblade master off his feet. Looking up at the demigod-like being that towered above him, Riku realized that he might be outmatched in this situation, as there was not a single dent in the armor that protected Odin’s neck. The armor radiated with an eerie power, as well as supreme divinity.
“Cease not,” Odin beckoned with authority.
Regardless of the fact that he may be at a clear disadvantage in this bout, Riku resumed a fighter’s stance and faced his opponent. He remained focused towards his goal: to escape from this mysterious obstacle in his journey.
Again Riku dashed forward and slashed through the air with his Keyblade, unleashing a barrage of lightning-fast attacks against Odin. But again, Odin stood his ground, as if he barely felt Riku’s relentless offense. Fighting a foe that refused to counteract began to irritate Riku after a period of time. Without thinking further, Riku infused his Keyblade with dark energy and struck down on the armored knight’s metallic helm with all his might.
The strike released sparks upon contact with Odin’s mighty armor and the excess dark energy scattered across the battlefield. All the commotion only drew a slight turn from Odin’s head.
“Thou art skilled with the sword…” Odin complimented.
With those few words, Odin made a move towards his giant sheathed blade at his waist. Riku’s eyes followed his foe’s movements, but as much as he mentally pushed himself to act, the warrior could only blankly stare forward.
“…Witness my own,” Odin spoke. “With my Zantetsuken.”
“Za—what?” Riku gasped.
Before the Keyblade-wielder could muster another word, Odin and his great stallion rushed towards him with unrealistic speed. Unable to get out of the way in time, Riku shifted his Keyblade in front of him in an attempt to block Odin’s inevitable onslaught. For a fleeting moment, Riku thought he witnessed a smirk curl in the corner of Odin’s tightly sealed mouth.
Still, Riku’s defense was nothing more than a feeble nuisance to Odin’s Zantetsuken. With a swift horizontal slash, Riku felt his body break as he was sent crashing backwards over a great distance. Unable to stand after the violent collision with the rocky wall, Riku groaned in agony, as well as frustration, as he struggled to just keep his grip on his Keyblade. And as if one ill-fated event meant to chain to another, Riku looked forward with one eye to see Odin dismount his stallion and slowly march towards him.
Once Odin reached Riku, the demigod pointed his colossal sword at his adversary yet again. This time, Riku forced himself to use whatever energy he had left within him to move his smashed muscles and joints, to finally get back on his feet.
“I… w-won’t lose,” Riku said with great effort. “There has to be… a way…”
“Thou art fortunate, for eluding this blade,” commented Odin, raising his Zantetsuken in preparation for one last strike. “I shall miss no more.”
“You've chosen a road I never thought of. Light and Dark, back to back. With you, they mingle in a way no one's ever seen before. I want to see where that road leads—”
Mickey’s words from the past resurfaced in Riku’s mind. Here was the power of the light and darkness, a unique aptitude that Riku had mysteriously gained control of over time. A Keyblade that reflected both light and darkness: the Way to the Dawn.
Riku yelled out as he pushed off from the ground to counter against Odin’s fatal attack. With his Keyblade radiating a great mixture of bright light and sinister darkness, Riku managed to sneak under Odin’s great blade with surprising agility and made an all-or-nothing assault against his powerful foe. He realized that if he failed now, the duel could be over—and not in his favor. Within these few seconds of total perplexity and complete chaos, Riku barely reacted quickly enough to whip his Keyblade across Odin’s armored abdomen, escaping the perilous Zantetsuken.
His own attack was powerful enough to knock himself down, as Riku tumbled to the side as he completed his offense against his titanic opponent. Out of breath and unquestionably out of energy, even Riku admitted to himself that he was far beyond his physical limit. To suddenly move again would fully break him.
After what felt like an eternity, Riku tried his best to steady his head so he could turn his attention to Odin, who remained standing just a few feet away from him. But the demigod merely let out a hesitant grunt as he turned his head around to look at the crippled Riku.
“…Thou art strong, mortal.”
Riku opened his mouth in response, but found no voice. He could not believe that he was far too exhausted to even speak. A thin, yet highly conspicuous line stretched from the center of Odin’s abdomen around to the demigod’s back: the end result of Riku’s ultimate attack. Gradually, Odin began to fade, much to Riku’s disbelief.
“Honor, glory,” Odin bellowed. “…I shall grant thee my powers.”
This time, Riku managed to squeeze out some incoherent gasps.
“Call upon me in times of trouble…” Odin concluded as the armored knight vanished into oblivion. Where he stood, a card similar to the one of the Tonberry King slowly glided down from the air.
Still doubting the fact that he had defeated the mighty Odin in a one-on-one, sword-to-sword duel, Riku progressively built up some strength he obtained in relief to inch closer and closer to the leftover card. Indeed it was exactly the same as the Tonberry King card; the only difference was that the image of Odin was engraved in the center instead.
Exactly how do these cards work, and what purpose do they serve? Riku took some time to rest and ponder these thoughts as he sprawled himself face-flat over the ground. He held the two cards close to his face and examined the thick pieces of paper with one eye.
“No idea,” Riku muttered out loud. He closed his eyes as he began to succumb to his overwhelming fatigue. “…Damn.”
The short, but taxing battle with Odin was one that Riku figured he would have lost if it had not been for his acceptance of his dark powers. It was not like he had become darkness itself, but simply made use of the powers of darkness in unison with the powers of light.
As Riku faded into unconsciousness, the last images that circulated through his blurry mind were pieces of memories from Destiny Islands. He heard a mixture of voices, some from Sora from their childhood years, complaining about him running too fast and too far ahead. He heard Kairi’s younger voice, though just as soft and cheerful as she sounded at the present time. He heard Mickey’s as well, with the same words regarding his special ability to link together both light and dark.
For all Riku knew, he had a job to do.
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