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Chapter LXVI: The Story So Far

Well, I decided to make a review chapter to go over many things that have happened in the story so far. The recollection is from Sora's point of view, so if you forgot what happened to Riku, you can go back to a couple of chapters that were dedicated to him. And if you're still confused about what happened... well, go back and check for yourselves ;D

This chapter wasn't too hard to write up, so I'm going to upload this one fast and get on with the next chapter. R&R!

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The incessant waves of Heartless were indeed the army of Heartless that Maleficent dispatched to hinder Sora and Kairi’s efforts to seal the keyholes. However, with Aladdin and Genie’s aid, the Heartless were nothing more than a temporary nuisance. Perhaps Maleficent was successful in halting Sora and Kairi for a whole hour, if not less.

“Phew, now that’s what I call a good wrap-up to a hectic day!” Genie exclaimed.

“You got that right…” said Aladdin, hopping smoothly off the Flying Carpet. “How are you doing, Sora? What brings you back he—”

Abu, Aladdin’s lifelong comrade and monkey friend, tapped Aladdin’s shoulder and pointed over to the last dissipating Heartless laid strewn across the streets of Agrabah.

“Right, scratch that last question,” Aladdin corrected himself.

“Well, I said I’d be back, right? Good to see you again, Aladdin,” said Sora. “I’m doing pretty well, but, uh, what’s with the fancy outfit?”

“Oh, this?” Aladdin responded, pulling on his majestic white robe. He leaned over and whispered to Sora. “Jasmine and I were at our wedding ceremony not too long ago.”

“W-w-what?” Sora stammered. “You’re getting married? Already? So soon?”

“Yeah! Why not?” Aladdin laughed at Sora’s astonished expression. “It sort of got ruined when the forty thieves rampaged through the city, but we can deal with that later. Anyway, who’s the lady friend?”

“Oh, this is Kairi,” Sora answered. What does he need to say? Instead of over-thinking, Sora stuck with the standard process of introductions. “Kairi, Aladdin, Aladdin, Kairi. Kairi, Genie, Genie, Kairi.”

“Hey, everyone,” Kairi kindly greeted.

“Hey, to you, too,” Aladdin responded. “Are you in any way a specia—”

Ah!” Genie exclaimed again. “Kairi? Kairi! Can’t remember how many times Sora talked about you! Super pretty, you are. Just like Sora said you are! Fitting… fitting for a princess!”

“What! Since when did I say that?” Sora sputtered, his face steadily reddening.

“You don’t think I’m pretty?” Kairi joked.

“No! W-what?” Sora continued to babble. “Yes! I mean, no, I mean—”

“Aw, look at you! All blushing and denyin’ everything,” Genie crooned, squeezing Sora’s cheeks playfully with his big, blue hands. “A pair of super pretty and super cute young’uns here—Hey! Gotta go back and tell us about the adventuring, Sora! Right, Al?”

“That’s right,” said Aladdin. “Tracking those forty thieves shouldn’t be a problem. We have time if you don’t mind sharing some stories… but, hmm, where’s Donald and Goofy?”

“They’re going through the same thing me and Kairi are,” Sora explained. “Except they’re hunting Heartless somewhere else.”

“I wonder what’s going on? Things sure turned out well last time, but what’s causing the change this time?” Aladdin wondered. “Anyway, let’s head over to my place and you two can maybe clear things up a bit for us.”

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Aladdin’s abode was just as Sora remembered it: tiny, sloppy, dim, dull, but wonderfully cozy. For a man who was on the verge of being married to a princess and living the glamorous life in a royal palace, modesty and humbleness knew no bounds. Aladdin seemed to be always at ease, an image that reminded Kairi of a not-too-long-ago Sora. The notion was somewhat heartrending, so Kairi pushed the thoughts away before she dove deeper.

“Kinda small for someone marrying a princess, don’t you think?” Aladdin said with a laugh, bringing the words right out of Sora’s mouth.

“Say the word, Al!” Genie called out, appearing randomly and unexpectedly out in the open, right outside Aladdin’s window. “Say it and I’ll stretch your little room out!”

“No thanks, Genie, I’m fine with everything here,” answered Aladdin before turning his attention back to his guests. “Hey, sit for bit, Sora and Kairi.”

Sora and Kairi sat on a small couch covered by various rags and torn cloth. It was actually a bit too small, as both Keyblade-wielders had their shoulders visibly glued to each other’s. Sora and Kairi glanced at each other briefly, but did nothing more than give each other a quick, awkward, and toothy grin before facing Aladdin again.

“So,” Aladdin started. “One simple question: What’s been happening since you left Agrabah last time, Sora? Feel free to take as much time as you want.”

“Oh boy,” Sora and Kairi responded simultaneously.

“Let’s see, after the keyhole to this world was sealed, I think Donald, Goofy, and I went around to seal the keyholes of a few other worlds much like this one,” Sora began. He had to be careful not to get too detailed with information about other worlds. In Donald and Goofy’s words, that would be “meddling.” Instead, Sora figured he would try to explain just the more important events to Aladdin.

“Everything was going pretty well, besides a couple of bumps in the road here and there. At the end, we managed to defeat the Heartless and Nobodies by beating Organization XIII. It was a tough fight, but we managed to pull through. Kairi was there, too, along with Riku. Everyone pitched in and it worked out great.

“Afterwards, we all went back to our home in Destiny Islands—I dunno if I mentioned this to you before—but anyway, Destiny Islands is our home. Donald and Goofy left with King Mickey back to where they came from. Afterwards, me and Riku gave up our Keyblades, figuring we didn’t need them anymore, since we beat Darkness. Everything was fine for a while—“

“Not for a while,” Kairi corrected.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” admitted Sora. “It had only been, like, a couple of weeks before I started getting these terrible dreams about the powers of darkness returning. And right after that, Heartless began appearing all over Destiny Islands. Without our Keyblades, we couldn’t fight. I couldn’t do anything. Riku couldn’t do anything. Kairi couldn’t do anything, either.

“Luckily for us, King Mickey came back just in time. I think he had the same dream I did, or something like that. We all escaped from Destiny Islands, even though we didn’t want to, and went to pick up our Keyblades in this weird museum on this island. Over there, we found out that Maleficent, this evil sorceress who was responsible for a lot of trouble before, was the reason why the Heartless came back. We were able to escape without too much problems, though, which was the good thing. During that time, though, the museum guy—a friend of King Mickey’s, I think—got turned into a Heartless, named Grymox, and a Nobody, named Xymgrel, by Maleficent. Other than that, we made our escape and went back to King Mickey’s castle to meet up with Donald and Goofy. From there we separated: the king, Donald, and Goofy went their way and me, Riku, and Kairi went back to save Destiny Islands.

“But not long after we got back to Destiny Islands, Kairi and I lost track of Riku. It was pretty bad, ‘cause then we weren’t even able to clear the darkness from our home. The Heartless weren’t the only ones that came back, but so did the Nobodies! We learned a lot of what was going on from Syx, this Nobody that reminded me of the old Organization XIII members. Still, the two of us were captured by two giant Heartless that Maleficent calls Syx and Grymox and were brought to Maleficent’s base, which turned out to be the museum where the Keyblades were kept before. Maleficent told us her plans there, about taking over Kingdom Hearts, but we knew that already, since she’s been trying to do that for a really long time already. We just have to make sure she doesn’t get to, that’s all.

“So Kairi and I escaped when King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy got a lucky guess and picked us up when they found out we weren’t on Destiny Islands. From there, we went over to Kairi’s birthplace, Hollow Ba—I mean, the Radiant Garden. We met up with a bunch of my old friends, like Leon, Cloud, Yuffie, Cid, Merlin, and the others and we came up with the plan to travel from world to world, sealing up the new keyholes, just like before.

“Before we could actually go and do it, Heartless, and even Nobodies, began to attack the Radiant Garden, right when we were coming up with the plan. We fought and fought and we fought some more, and of course we won at the end… as if some Heartless could stop us. There were good things and bad things that happened then. We realized that Maleficent was way stronger than before and was able to control the Heartless, as well as the Nobodies. At least the two troublemaking Nobodies, Sarlix and Xymgrel, chose to stop working for Maleficent during that time. So, after we beat them, we all separated again to carry out our plan.

“At the same time, Kairi got to learn some magic,” Sora smiled proudly at Kairi, and Kairi beamed back in return. “And then the two of us got back to Destiny Islands. We had a pretty rough time there. I mean, it was nice that we got to see that our friends we safe, but… some things were… just worse than awful. Riku’s dad w-was… was d-de—t-taken by the Heartless. And Kairi’s dad was… h-he—“

“My own dad became a Heartless,” Kairi solemnly finished for Sora. “Bet you can’t imagine how that felt. But poor Riku…”

“Riku doesn’t even know about this yet,” Sora continued. “I can’t imagine what I’d do if anything happened to my mom. But it turned out that Riku probably got back to the islands before we did. The keyhole there was already sealed when we found it. Since we had a job to do, Kairi and I couldn’t stay any longer and had to travel to the next world. But y’know, our luck’s been pretty rotten sometimes, and the loser Pete came back and stole our ship! We pretty much lost our only way of getting around.

“And as bad as our luck can be, we manage to get a bit lucky sometimes, too. The Nobodies, Sarlix and Xymgrel, that caused problems for Kairi and I before came back, but this time they just wanted to do research or something, I dunno. They wanted to find out more about how Heartless and Nobodies and Keyblades work, and stuff like that. The good thing was, they helped us get off Destiny Islands.

“Sarlix and Xymgrel warped the two of us to another world called Port Royal, but after searching and dealing with a ton of problems, we still weren’t able to find the keyhole… if there was an open keyhole. So instead of staying there longer, the two of us managed to meet up with King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in Port Royal and made our way out. We plan on going back to Port Royal sometime, though, since there are some stuff goin’ on there that I think we can help out with. But before that, Kairi and I were dropped off on another world, while King Mickey and the others went their way again.

“The good thing is, this time I got a keychain for my Keyblade that can be used to call King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy whenever Kairi and I needed a ride after we finished cleaning up a world. So anyway, Kairi and I landed on this tropical-looking world. And yeah, there were a ton of Heartless around this world, so we knew there had to be an open keyhole somewhere. We met some interesting people on this world—like a talking llama, but we don’t need to get into those details—and it was actually not too bad. It didn’t take us too long to fight off some Heartless and seal up the keyhole.

“After that, all of us, including King Mickey, Donald, and Goofy decided to go together to the next world, which was where a place called the Olympus Coliseum was built. But instead of just battling with Heartless and Nobodies, we ended up trying to save lives. It was pretty bad, and I shouldn’t explain it all too much.”

“That’s okay, Sora,” said Kairi. “Remember, we all have feelings.”

“Yeah,” Sora replied, nodding in agreement. “Back there, I think we all learned a little something. I think it’s called hope. We realized that in order for us to get through our journey, we gotta have hope and know we can win. This was after we sealed up that world’s keyhole. Everything there turned out fine at the end, which was a big relief.

“And that’s actually the last place we went before coming here,” Sora concluded. “The big picture is just going from world to world, shutting up keyholes and beating up some Heartless, while trying to stop Maleficent once and for all. Sounds easy, but not quite, huh?”

“I wonder how Riku’s doing?” Kairi wondered. “We’re still trying to find him.”

“Yeah, but I bet he’s fine,” said Sora. “I got separated from him so many times now that I know he’s fine.”

“Man,” said Aladdin. “You two have been through a lot already. Sora, has all your adventures been like this so far? Even last time?”

Sora thought back for a bit, as far back as nearly two years ago. “Hmm, almost. I do think this one’s a lot different than the last couple of times, though.”

“I see,” said Aladdin. He got up from his stool and stared out the window to where the royal palace stood. “I’ll be married to the girl of my dreams soon. But in the meantime, I’m gonna do everything I can to help you both out!”

“And you can count me in, too!” Genie exclaimed, appearing in the room in a small puff of blue smoke. “It’s an awful lotta fun traveling and seeing different places, huh, Sora and Kairi?”

“I agree with that,” said Kairi. “Aside from Destiny Islands, I haven’t really been anywhere else. I barely even remember… actually, I don’t really remember my own birthplace.”

“It is fun,” Sora replied. “But the thing is, we got a job to do right now, so it’s kinda tough to sit and take tours or go sightseeing.”

“That’s true,” said Aladdin.

“We’ll be glad to have you help us beat the Heartless out of this world again,” said Sora with a smile. “And I think we can help you find out who those thieves were and what they wanted.”

“Oh, I already figured those things out,” said Aladdin. He went to a corner and dug out what appeared to be a relic of some sort. “They wanted this, this staff that contains the Oracle.”

“Oracle?” Sora and Kairi asked together.

“Right. It can grant an answer to one question for a single person, and only one question,” Aladdin explained. “I chose to ask where my father was.”

“Your father?” Sora repeated.

“What did it say?” Kairi inquired.

There was a brief moment of silence before Aladdin responded, as if he was trying to carefully process his own thoughts.

“Follow the trail of the Forty Thieves,” he finally responded.

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