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Chapter VII: First Reunion

The Celsius hovered above Disney Castle, slowly making its descent. At the moment, it seemed as if the chipmunk launch crew was absent at the hangar as Mickey could not establish any contact. Mickey handed the controls over to Riku as he leapt off the Gummi Ship, which was hovering about ten feet off the ground, to manually open the hangar gates for the landing process. Though Sora was the more experienced one when it comes to maintaining and piloting a Gummi Ship, Riku had to take over seeing that Sora and Kairi were dozing off. Nevertheless, Riku landed the Celsius without any trouble.

“You three meet me in the audience chamber. I’m gonna go contact Donald and Goofy,” Mickey said as he locked the hangar gates and dashed out into the courtyard.

Riku nodded and proceeded to wake Sora and Kairi up. He found the two leaning against each other, their heads and shoulders just slightly touching. Smirking, Riku ambled behind Sora’s seat and briskly ruffled Sora’s hair. Stirring, kicking his legs out, and absently waving his arms in the air, Sora woke up with a wholly lost look. Kairi woke up from Sora’s shaking; and realizing that she was sleeping on Sora shoulder, she instantly had her face drowned with a deep red flush. Sora completely forgot where he was and stood up to attempt to have his payback by roughing up Riku’s hair. The two boys chased each other out of the Celsius, laughing and shouting insults at each other.

“C’mon Kairi!” Sora called from by the exit door. “Riku said we have to meet King Mickey in the castle’s audience chamber.” He resumed his chase with Riku.

Apparently Sora didn’t notice that Kairi was still somewhat blushing, for he did not mention anything nor did he put on his classic puzzled look. Kairi sighed and shrugged as she unhurriedly made her way out of the Celsius. She could still see Sora trying to grab Riku’s hair, but Riku was at least half a foot taller than Sora was, therefore he easily pushed Sora away during every attempt.

Kairi slowly strolled through the castle courtyard, exploring little by little while following her two friends’ voices though the greenery. She has never been to Disney Castle, but Sora’s stories of the royal abode were fascinating. Sora told her about the large, beautiful castle, the grandiose courtyard and the garden (where the trio was at the moment), the wonderful characters that live there, and the mystical cornerstone hidden in the depths of the castle. Eagerly, Kairi took in her surroundings: the birds, the trees, the grass, the nearly unnoticeable butterflies by the flowerbeds. Such sights calmed Kairi and she smiled to herself. Sora and Riku called for her again and Kairi stood back up from a crouched position and ran after her friends.

Closing in on the trio were Donald and Goofy, seeming that their patience have worn thin in waiting for Mickey. Donald and Goofy, focused more on their conversation than what are ahead of them, did not notice the three figures less than ten yards away from them. Sora, Riku, and Kairi are much the same, engrossed in their conversations and oblivious to Donald and Goofy. In a moment, their distance closed; Donald and Goofy brushed past Sora, Riku, and Kairi.

“Hey, Donald. Hey, Goofy,” Sora said, barely noticing, still focused on Riku and Kairi.

“Hello, Sora!” Goofy responded, both he and Donald continuing past the trio.

The five characters ceased their movements all of a sudden. Simultaneously they all turned to face one another, eyes widened and mouths hanging limply open.

“Donald! Goofy!” the trio called out enthusiastically with their arms raised above their heads.

“Sora! Riku! Kairi!” Donald and Goofy cried out, rushing towards the three.

They all embraced in a short reunion, exchanging greetings and a few opening words. Sora, Riku, and Kairi shared with Donald and Goofy what they were up to after their return to Destiny Islands: from relaxing to receiving Mickey’s letter, to their welcome-back party. The trio shared their opinions on their past adventures and reminisced. In return, Donald and Goofy informed the trio on what they both were up to when they finally returned to Disney Castle: their own welcome-back party and resuming their duties around the castle. However, recalling past events was cut short when Donald and Goofy resumed hurrying off towards the Gummi hangar.

“Wait, where are you guys going?” Riku called out in question.

Donald and Goofy slowed down a bit and looked over their shoulders. “We gotta find the King! He’s missing again!” Donald replied.

Sora, Riku, and Kairi looked at each other. “Uh, no, he’s not,” Sora said.

Donald put on a suspicious look on his face. “Err, what exactly are you three doing here anyway?”

Realizing that some more time might be used up again, Sora suggested that everyone head into the castle. The trio discussed the recent happenings?about how Maleficent, the Heartless, and the Nobodies returning to plague the worlds again. Sora, Riku, and Kairi each took out their respective Keyblades to prove their words. Donald and Goofy gaped at the Keyblades, each seeming to glow with phosphorescence, indicating the presence of ever-growing numbers of Heartless forces. The trio then reported that, to Donald and Goofy’s relief, Mickey just went into the castle in search for them. Goofy rubbed his chin in thought again while Donald, more so out of spite, cursed the Heartless and the Nobodies. Riku waved the group forward.

“We’re supposed to meet the King in the audience chamber,” he said. “But he’s out looking for you two,” pointing to Donald and Goofy, “so I think one or both of you should go find him first, then meet us in the audience chamber.”

“Good idea, Riku,” said Goofy.

“I’ll go find him,” Donald suggested. “You keep our guests company.” With that, Donald left the group and speedily rushed down the halls out of sight. Goofy accompanied the trio to the audience chamber.

“Hey, Sora, what are you guys here with King Mickey anyways?” Goofy asked. “Wouldn’t you three be fightin’ Heartless somewhere or huntin’ Maleficent down?”

Sora frowned and remained silent for a few moments as the group continued to walk. Kairi decided to answer. “Our homes were invaded by the Heartless. We didn’t have any weapons at that time so we couldn’t defend ourselves or anyone else…” she said.

“Gawrsh, that’s terrible.”

“Yeah,” Riku said. “We’re supposed to return to the islands after the King finds you and Donald.”

“We were wondering if you and Donald could join us in getting rid of the Heartless on our island?” Sora said, slightly slurring and mumbling.

“Of course we would, Sora!” Goofy said almost immediately. He put one of his arms over Sora’s back. “It’ll be like old times!”

“Heh,” Sora chuckled. Old times. I wonder…

“Hey, Goofy. Are you guys still in touch with Leon and the others?” Sora asked.

Goofy scratched his head, thinking slowly. Sora eyed him curiously for an answer.

“Are they all still at Hollow Bastion?” Sora asked further.

“Oh, that’s right!” Goofy said suddenly, apparently remembering something. “After we beat Xemnas or… Xehanort… or something… someone?Anyway, after we beat him, Leon called the King and said that Hollow Bastion was fixed. And then he said somethin’ about finally going home?”

“Going home…?” Sora repeated in query.

“Wasn’t his world wiped out by the Heartless?” Kairi asked.

“How did you know, Kairi?” Sora questioned surprisingly.

“After you rescued me the first time and left me in Traverse Town, Leon told me.”

Oh, Sora thought. Traverse Town… that feels like a long time ago. He looked towards Goofy again, but Goofy casually shrugged. Sora asked anyway.

“What about Cloud? And Yuffie? And Aerith, and Tifa and Cid?”

“They went home, too,” another voice broke in.

The group spun around and found themselves with Mickey and Donald. Goofy and Mickey exchanged their greetings and rejoined the group heading into the audience chamber.

“They went home, King Mickey?” Sora asked again.

“Yeah,” responded Mickey, smiling. “Somehow a lot of worlds were restored after we all left…”

“But now they’re all under threats again,” Riku murmured.

“Right,” Mickey said. “And it’s up to us to fix everything again.”

“I’m in!” squawked Donald, frantically waving his wand.

“Me too,” said Goofy.

“And us,” Sora said on behalf of Riku and Kairi.

Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey all put their hands together in one spot and nodded in solemn agreement to their duty. The group sat down in the audience chamber and prepared to plan their moves?where they should head first after Destiny Islands, for whom should they seek out for assistance, and how they will manage on their journey. As they planned, Minnie and Daisy slowly made their way into the audience chamber, sadly, but carefully listening to the emotionless planning of the group. Minnie and Daisy glanced sorrowfully at Mickey and Donald respectively, as both their companions were bound to leave yet again on another dangerous quest to save the balance of the universe.

Mickey shook his head in frustration. “If we use up to much time on Destiny Islands we might not be able to make it through all the other worlds in time. That would be the worst case.”

Sora, a little angered by Mickey’s words, tried to ease himself. “Your Majesty, you can’t possibly make me, Riku, and Kairi ditch our home!”

“I’m not sayin’ that, Sora. But I am sayin’ that we gotta keep a sharp lookout for time.”

After another short period of thinking, Riku decided to make a few suggestions.

“If time is so important, maybe Sora, Kairi, and I can take care of the islands on our own. That way, Your Majesty, you, Donald, and Goofy can travel to other worlds first. Maybe you can find some help or investigate…”

“How will we be able to split up?” Kairi asked.

Donald snickered. “Don’t forget, we still have the Highwind.”

“Oh, yeah. That’s right,” Sora said, remembering the older Gummi Ship that he was so used to riding and traveling to other worlds in. “I think Riku’s idea is pretty good. We’ll split up first, then meet up again.”

“Where can we meet?” Goofy inquired.

“The Radiant Garden,” Mickey declared. Sora showed his perplexed look, but then understood. Aerith told him about Hollow Bastion’s original name. The Radiant Garden.

Hollow Bastion,” Mickey added. “The place’s pretty spruced up, or so I heard.” Everyone nodded in agreement.

“And Sora,” continued Mickey, “Aren’t you a Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee Honorary Member?”

Riku was humorously counting how many words were in that title. Sora punched his shoulder lightly.

“Hey, Your Majesty, we’re honorary members, too!” Donald sputtered irritably, pointing to Goofy and himself.

Mickey laughed. “Oh, that’s right, my apologies, Donald. Well, that all makes everythin’ much easier to handle when we get to the Radiant Garden.”

Sora and his friends looked at their own respective hands, giving their innovative plan a few more thoughts. Unlike his previous adventures, Sora felt safer this time around since planning was actually involved. When he landed in Traverse Town more than a year ago, when he first realized the importance of the Keyblade, he had no plans or ideas whatsoever. Everything he did or attempted back then was based upon instinct and adrenaline. When he awoke in Twilight Town on his previous adventure, again he had no plans set up in his mind. Although he had more of an understanding for the events circling around him, he still acted primarily upon instinct and his own judgments. Thus, this new undertaking for him and his friends is a new experience for him.

“Mickey, will you be with Donald and Goofy while you are away?” Minnie asked.

“I will try my best to stick with ‘em,” Mickey said. He saw Minnie frown a bit at the response. “Gee, Minnie, I’ll be okay. I’ll come back soon. I’m sure Donald and Goofy and Sora won’t let me get in trouble, right fellas?”

“You got it!” Donald, Goofy, and Sora called out, standing stiffly upright and saluting Mickey in the process. Daisy grabbed Donald’s shirt and pulled him to her.

“And you too, Donald. Don’t get involved too much! Do what you need to do and get back here safely, hear me?” she said, waving her index finger in Donald’s face.

“Yeah, yeah, Daisy. I’ll take care of myself,” Donald droned.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy were still exchanging a few last minute farewells when Sora approached Goofy. The tall knight stood lopsidedly, examining his defensive shield.

“Hey, Goofy. Do you have a family somewhere?” Sora asked him.

Goofy looked past his shield at Sora. He packed away the shield and faced Sora. “Well, Sora. I got a son. His name is Max,” he scratched the back of head casually. “He’s probably fiddlin’ with his doohickeys and things right now.”

“You think we’ll get to meet him after we come back?” Sora asked, indicating “we” as him, Riku, and Kairi.

“Sure thing, Sora. I bet Max will be excited to see ya. I told him about you guys a little while ago.” Goofy said cheerfully.

Mickey and Donald rejoined the group and signaled everyone to get ready to depart. Sora approached Riku and Kairi and waited for everyone to prepare. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are to board the Celsius and leave for the Radiant Garden while Sora, Riku, and Kairi are to ride the Highwind back to Destiny Islands…

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