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Chapter Three: Halloween Town

Sora glimpsed back at the map. "Only one world opened...."

"Hey, don't worry. When we get there, we'll unlock another world," the optimistic Goofy said.

"What world is it?" Kairi inquired.

Sora smiled. "You'll see. But, when you get there, don't be scared."

"Yeah, like Sora was," Donald muttered.

"Th-that's not true! I was not scared!" Sora protested.

"Sure, and how do you explain the jack-o-lantern? Thought it was a ghost?"

Sora tried not to show he was embarrassed. "N-no, it just kinda... jumped out at me."

"Like this?" Riku tackled Sora. Sora pushed him off, laughing.

He stood up and got back in his seat. "Alright, then, let's go." The Gummi Ship flew toward to the only other open world.

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Sora glanced around and remembered the dark place very well. There was a lot of stuff for Halloween around and it was night.

"Whoa. Everyone looks... different," Kairi said.

Sora glanced at her. "Yeah. This place is called Halloween Town. You guys should meet-"

"Sora, Donald and Goofy! How glad I am to see you!"

Sora turned around and saw a walking skeleton with a black suit on. "Hey, Jack."

"Ooh, I can't wait to show you-" Jack noticed Riku and Kairi. "Who are you guys?"

"Oh. Jack, these are my friends, Riku and Kairi. They're new to this. And... I see you took off that Santa outfit."

"Well, it's not Christmas anymore. It's... HALLOWEEN!" Jack exclaimed with excitement. No one said anything. Jack drooped. "Guess I'm still in the Christmas spirit, huh?" Still, no one said anything. "Well, I have a present for you."

"I thought you said it was Halloween?" Sora inquired.

"It is. It's a Halloween present." Jack started digging through his sack. "Aha!" He pulled out something and handed it to Sora. "Here."

Sora looked at it, trying not to make a face. "Uh... thanks, Jack, I've always wanted a... pair of socks...."

"I thought you would, since you never wear them." Sora looked down at his sockless feet. Out of the blue, a popping noise was made and a red ball came flying out of one of the socks, scaring Sora half to death. The ball exploded in the air and confetti floated down to the ground. Jack laughed. "Sora, did you really expect to get a Halloween gift from me that didn't scare you?"

"Heh, heh... shoulda known...." Sora tossed the socks aside.

Jack turned around. "Alright, bodyguards, let's go see Sally!"

Kairi looked at Sora, almost ready to laugh. "He calls you his bodyguards?"

"Yeah, but I don't mind."

"What if he called you stupid?" Riku asked.

"That, I'd mind."

They all followed Jack, Sora still thinking about what his visions meant. He didn't know the name of the boy with brown hair, but he knew the guy like Riku's name was Kapashnet, the blonde girl was Seladina, and he was pretty sure that the evil Chaser was called Hyrono. ‘But, who's that other guy?' he thought. He felt connected to him, sort of like how he did to Roxas. ‘Probably just ‘cause he passed down his Keyblade down to me. But... why did he choose me?' Questions of the Chasers entered his mind.

"Sally!" Sora snapped out of his thinking and saw Jack running towards the red-head, stitched-up girl.

Sally turned around. "Jack!"

"Sora, Donald and Goofy are back, and they have some new friends!" Jack explained.

Sora shook his head. "Actually-"

"Their names are Kiku and Rairi," Jack said, getting the names mixed up.

"It's Riku and Kairi. And I've known them for a really long time," Sora stated.

Sally looked at the two. "Well, if you're friends of Sora's, you can come here any time you like."

"Thanks," Riku and Kairi said.

Goofy put a hand on Sora and Kairi's shoulders. "And these two are just like you guys." Riku smiled, knowing what he meant. Sora and Kairi just stood there.

"I guess..." Sora finally said. Jack and Sally smiled.

"Then you must have done some really romantic stuff," Jack said.

Sora and Kairi jumped away from each other. "What?!"

"Nuh-uh! We-we're friends, not... you know!"

Riku smiled more. "No, we don't know, Sora. Why don't you tell us?"

"Yeah, Sora, tell us!" Donald chimed in.

"Well... um, when... uh... y-you know, when a...."

"Oh, don't torture the boy," Sally said. Sora was grateful she stopped him.

"Anyway, there's more of those Heartless around. Think you guys can get rid of them?" Jack asked.

"Think?! We know we can get rid of those things!" Sora exclaimed.

Riku looked at him. "You know, this is a good chance to show Kairi how to fight."

"She did fine in the Kingdom Hearts castle," Sora argued.

"That doesn't mean she doesn't need training." Sora looked down. He was used to being the one trained, and now he was the one training.

"Okay...." Kairi was listening. "Sure, I'll do training. I've been meaning to see what you boys are made of, anyway."

"Is that a threat?" Riku asked, goofing around.

"Maybe it is, maybe it isn't." Kairi poked him. "You'll have to find out on your own." She smiled and looked at Sora. "Alright, I'm ready when you are." Both boys nodded and all five of the friends went off to fight the Heartless.

Sora, Riku, Donald and Goofy showed Kairi a lot of combination attacks and special moves. But one thing that no matter how hard they tried, Kairi could never seem to do it was use magic. They tried teaching her Firaga, Blizzaga and Thundaga, but she could never seem to do magic. Sora looked at her. "Kairi, I think you've done enough." All the Heartless were gone and the five heroes were all breathing hard.

"Alright," Kairi replied. She made her Keyblade disappear. "I guess someday I'll get magic down."

Sora nodded. "You will, I know it." Kairi grinned. Riku closed his fingers and put his hands together as if to imitate the two kissing. Sora and Kairi turned around and he quickly put his hands behind his back. "Riku, what were you doing?" Sora asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Nothing," Riku lied, stretching out the word to make it sound silly.

Sora looked at Donald. "What was he doing?"

Donald; who watched Riku and had to stop laughing; shrugged. "Don't ask me."

"Goofy, I know you're honest."

Goofy tapped his chin as if to make it look like he was thinking. He also shrugged. "Gawrsh, I don't know." Sora sighed and shook his head.

‘I know what he was doing,' Roxas told Sora.

‘Alright, what'd he do?'

‘I'm not telling.'

‘Roxas!' The voice disappeared again.

Kairi looked at him. "Sora, do you have any idea why any of this is happening to you?"

Sora glanced down. "Not really. I mean, it can't really have anything to do with the Keyblades because then the same stuff would happen to you guys, right?"

"I'd think so.... But, still, you could be in a lot of danger if you're not careful."

Riku nodded in agreement. "She's right, Sora. I've been around darkness for a really long time. And it's no day at the beach, I'll tell you that. Darkness has pure evil hidden inside it. Once you let it take over, normally, there's no going back."

"But you came back from the darkness."

"Only because of Ansem the Wise. If he didn't use that machine and sacrifice his life to save Kingdom Hearts and stop Organization XIII, I'd probably still be in Xehanort's Heartless' form."

Sora remembered what had happened. Ansem the Wise was an older man who had researched Heartless and Nobodies. When Sora, Donald and Goofy went to Kingdom Hearts to find Riku and Kairi, they had also caught up with Ansem the Wise. He was trying to prove that hearts could not be stored by data. Sora recalled the memory:

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Xemnas walked into the area. The Organization leader stared at his ‘other's' (Xehanort's) teacher. "Ansem the Wise... you look pathetic."

"Have your laugh. I deserve as much for failing to see you for the fool you are."

"Students do take after their teachers. Only a fool would be your apprentice. After all, none of this would have happened without you." Sora clenched his teeth.

"YOU are the source of all Heartless," Xemnas continued. "It was your research that inspired me to go further than you ever dared."

Ansem looked down, still holding the machine turning hearts into data. "I admit... my disregard brought chaos to more worlds than one. But what were YOU seeking? You erased me from the world only to take my name and continue research better left forgotten.... Is that the answer you've been looking for?"

"All that and more. I'm carrying on what you yourself began, and I'm creating a brand new world, one heart at a time. I thought you'd praise me, but all you ever do is hold me back." He paused. They were talking about what was going on. Organization XIII was stealing hearts so all the Nobodies could actually have a heart. "I understand, though. Unlike me, you have a heart. And your powerless to control it. Consumed, by the jealousy you feel toward the student who surpassed you."

‘Stop it!' Sora thought.

Ansem shook his head. "Xehanort. Foolish apprentice of a foolish man. You have surpassed nothing-only proved how little we both know. We may profess to know the heart, but its essence is beyond our reach. We're both ignorant, as oblivious as when we began. I'm afraid that any world you try to create...." Ansem turned to look at Xemnas. "Any world of yours would be an empire of ignorance. That is why you and your creation are destined to fall!"

He gripped the machine tighter. "We've said enough!" He looked at Riku; who was still in Xehanort's Heartless' form. "Riku, you know what to do!" He looked down at the King. "King Mickey, my friend, forgive me." Ansem looked ahead with determination. "Farewell!" A light appeared and Sora knew what was coming next. He tried to run to help Ansem, but Riku held him back. They were all knocked unconscious. When Sora awoke, Ansem had disappeared, but Riku had turned back to his normal form.

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‘Ansem... he did a lot for us,' Sora thought. Xehanort was Ansem's apprentice, and he wanted to continue on with the work. In the end, a Heartless got to him and a Heartless and Nobody were created: Xehanort's Heartless and Xemnas. The thing was, though, Xehanort's Heartless had told everyone that he was Ansem.

"Ansem the Wise didn't deserve that. He worked hard and he probably knew more about hearts... and Heartless and Nobodies... and-and even Kingdom Hearts itself more than any of us will ever know." Riku and Kairi glanced at each other for a moment, both knowing Sora was having a hard time remembering the bad things.

"D-don't worry, though," Kairi tried to reassure him. "Even if he is... gone, he's still in our hearts. Just like when we were separated, Sora, you told me that you were always with me. So, even though we'll probably never see Ansem again, he'll still be with us."

"Exactly. And I know Ansem the Wise better than anyone here," Riku declared, "and he was a big help. He helped me find you guys." Sora smiled at his friends trying to cheer him up.

"Yeah, Sora, and you'll always have us," Donald stated.

"I know. And, as the King always said, there will always be a door to light," Sora proclaimed.

Kairi looked up at the sky. "It seems only yesterday we were living on Destiny Island and had nothing to do with Heartless, Nobodies, Keyblades, Kingdom Hearts... any of that. And now look at us. We're only teenagers and we've gone through way more than what most people would even live to go through. We may not see it this way, but most people would actually think we know a lot about hearts."

"Pssh," Sora cut in. "We don't know much about hearts at all. We still have a lot to learn."

"Everyone still has something to learn," Riku stated. "Even Ansem himself didn't know everything about hearts."

Sora looked up at the night sky. "Well, he knew more than anybody else."

"Sora! Kaira!" Jack exclaimed as he rushed toward them.

"It's Kairi," she retorted.

Jack smiled, a little embarrassed. "Sorry. Anyway, Sally and I have something for you."

Sally caught up with them. "Actually, it's not really anything much. We just wanted to tell you that no matter what happens, we think you guys will pull through."

"Thanks," Sora said. A loud crashing noise was made.

"Guess I have to go help Dr. Finkelstein," Jack stated with a sigh. "Oh well. Bye, guys!" He and Sally ran off in the other direction.

Sora noticed a jack-o-lantern floating in the air. "That's our ticket out, I guess." He did the same thing he did in Hollow Bastion and the five were off.

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A man with long, black hair stood silently watching from where no one could see. "Those children don't know what's in store for them." He turned to look at two of his subjects: a blonde boy Sora's age and a brunette girl who was only a small child.

The blonde boy bowed. "Sora and the rest of those punks have already fallen into our trap."

The little girl put her hands on her hips and glared at him. "You older people think you know everything! Of course they've fallen into our trap! I mean, what are they? Sora, Riku, Kairi, a goofball and a dumb duck! I could've figured that out, stupidhead!"

"Lesa, shut up and go put your nose somewhere else! If you're not gonna help, then why don't you go back where we came from? This guy's helping us, so if you don't zip it, we'll both be going back to washing old laundry!" Lesa folded her arms and stuck her tongue out at the boy.

"Both of you, quiet down," the dark man said. "Sora and his friends haven't fallen into anything yet. But, remember, the further they go, the more powerful we get." Just then, a dark-haired, black-eyed girl appeared. She was a little taller than the blonde boy. "Zen, you're late."

Zen bowed. "Sorry, Master, I had... matters to take care of. But I have bad news. The other Chasers are secretly helping those goodie-goodies. I'm afraid we might have some difficulties."

The dark man sighed. "I expected this. Jone, Lesa," he said, indicating the boy and the little girl, "go get ready to distract Sora and his friends." Jone and Lesa bowed again and disappeared.

"Zen, you are my most trusted subject. You must do this very carefully. When they have visited most of the worlds, go meet them and make them think you are their friend. Lead them further into our trap. Then, when the moment is right, destroy Donald and Goofy."

"What about Sora, Riku and Kairi?"

The black-haired man turned around to reveal blazing, blood-red eyes. "I will handle them."

Zen bowed again. "Of course, Master." She disappeared the same way she had arrived.

The man looked right at Sora. "You are the one I want. You have the Keyblade of the one who made me lose all I had. You and Londino shall be the last to die so you can suffer from watching all of your friends go. But, I will destroy you, and you cannot escape your new fate. The fate of the new Keyblade Bearer!"

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