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Chapter Nine: The Land of Dragons, Part I

Author's Note: I had a HUGE writer's block on this chapter, so if the ending stinks, please don't hate me. I also had to separate it into two parts because it was so long.

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Sora and Kairi found themselves in a world with dirt as the terrain and trees surrounding the area. Sora smiled. ‘The Land of Dragons. Kairi'll love to meet Mulan and Shang.' He went forward and found his friends inside a house not that far away. When he came through the door, everyone turned to look at them.

"Sora! Kairi!" Riku exclaimed. "What happened?!"

"It's a long story. I'll tell you later." He noticed that a woman, a man and an elderly lady were standing there. "Are you guys Mulan's family?"

"Yes, we are," the woman said. "Mulan told us that you were her friends." She showed Sora a bed where he laid Kairi down. Riku looked at Sora. "You aren't looking so hot, either."

"He never looks hot," Kisara muttered. Sora made a face at her and she laughed.

"So, Sora, what did happen?" Nioto asked.

Sora looked down. "Well, I had to face Organization XIII. Kairi gave up her power so they wouldn't kill me."

"Oh, I know what to do," Kisara stated. "Sora, put your hand over Kairi's heart."

"What? Why?" he asked, obviously confused.

"Just do it." Sora did as he was told. "Now transfer the power back into her." Sora didn't completely know what she meant. He tried letting his strength go back into her. A light was created right in between Sora's hand and Kairi. Sora felt some of his power escape him and he knew that was how to transfer. Finally, the light went away and Kairi was able to stand up. She hugged Sora for a couple seconds, then backed away. "Sorry." Everyone chuckled. Then they looked at the weakened Sora.

"Sora, how'd you get so beat up?" Riku asked. "I mean, I know trying to beat all of Organization XIII at the same time seems pretty impossible, especially by yourself, but what exactly did they do to you?"

"Well... I might've been okay, but... my Keyblade wouldn't appear. And all the attacks were just sudden."

Everyone gaped. Riku started to say, "Sora, you couldn't use your-"

"Oh my gosh, you have a Keyblade?!" Nioto exclaimed. "You're the Keyblade Master?!"

"There's more than one here. Riku, Kairi and Kisara have Keyblades, too," Goofy explained.

Nioto's jaw dropped. "Whoa! I wish I knew who I was dealing with before!"

Sora shrugged. "It's not that much of a deal."

"Anyway," Kisara cut in, "you won't be able to do much as long as your beat up like that. I can tell where people are hurt, and for you, it looks like you're hurt mostly on the arms, the neck, your left shoulder, the left side of your head, and right..." she pointed to the small, bloody hole in Sora's right arm, "here." Sora was a little surprised Kisara could detect that without even touching him.

"Hey, I specialize in figuring out stuff with my mind. And those are the places that seem the most hurt."

"Oh. Well-"

"And now you have to tell us how you got hurt in those places," Nioto stated.

"No, I don't think I will. I don't really wanna explain-"

"We're trying to help you, Sora," Kairi cut in. "Just tell us what happened." Sora sighed. Then he explained to them about how each member hurt him when he was finished, they were staring at him with shock.

"Wow. And you survived?!" Donald exclaimed.

"Yeah. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here right now."

"Did you ever take the time to heal yourself?" Kisara asked.

"Well... I never really use magic on myself. Normally it's for my friends."

Kisara put her hand out. "Heal!" Sora's body went back to normal.

"Thanks."

"Don't thank me, do it yourself next time."

He then remembered something. "Hey, guys, I want you to meet Mulan and Shang and-"

"We already showed them Mulan and Shang," Goofy stated.

Sora felt relief of not having to do another introduction. "Oh." He heard a scream and they all looked out the window, expecting to see Heartless or Nobodies. Instead, they saw a black-haired, young woman leap onto a man with black hair, also, and kiss him. "What'd Shang do?" he inquired.

"I win!" the older woman exclaimed.

Mulan's father shook his head. "No. You said he'd propose before sunset, I said he would before noon."

Sora was a little shocked. "Another wedding?! Is it, like, love week or something like that?!" Everyone, except he and Kairi, tried not to laugh. "What's so funny?"

"You wouldn't get it," Riku said.

Nioto folded her arms. "Well, I haven't really been around you guys for a while, so I wouldn't get it, either." Kisara leaned over and whispered in her ear. Nioto's jaw dropped. "OH! So you mean-"

"SHH!" they shouted and laughed again.

"Okay, I'm out," Sora stated and walked outside. He watched Mulan and Shang sit around each other.

Mulan saw him and grinned. "Sora, I want to tell you-"

"I could hear you from inside the house, I already know."

The couple blushed. "Were we really that loud?"

"Yeah. Anyway, how's-" A noise from inside a stone building across from Mulan's house interrupted him. "-Mushu."

"Oh, he's same old, same old." Sora laughed a little. Mushu was a very small, red "dragon" that Sora had met once outside of his original world. He saw him another time in The Land of Dragons. Sora would never forget his personality.

Shang glanced at Mulan with a strange look on his face. "Who's Mushu?"

"Uh... no one," she replied, grinning. "He's not around, anyway. Little... kid." Shang nodded. "There were a bunch of those little girls around a little while ago. Anyway, Sora, you never told us you had more friends."

Sora put his hands on the back of his head. "I never really had time. Besides, I just met Kisara and Nioto. But Riku and Kairi are my best friends. When Donald, Goofy and I came here, we were looking for them and King Mickey."

"Oh! Sora, I just remembered something!" Mulan looked at Shang. "We forgot to thank Sora for all the help he gave us."

"No, I'm fine. I've done this in more worlds."

They gave him a confused look. "Worlds?"

"It's... complicated." He smiled. "I'll explain it to you later, I guess." He walked over to the stone building.

"Dang, now they just had to knock me down like ‘at," Sora heard a voice say, knowing it was Mushu. "I mean, I didn't even do nothin', it's Mulan ‘at's-"

"Hey, Mushu," Sora cut in.

Mushu jumped, seeming surprised anyone was listening to him. Then he smiled. "Sora! How ya been, man?! Bet ya had trouble fightin' baddies without me there, didn't ya?"

Sora looked like he was thinking. Then he shook his head. "Nope, not really." Mushu frowned and Sora started laughing. "So, Mushu, what was all that about, being knocked down or something?"

"OH, that! Well, uh... I was gonna get to that. Ya see, there's this thing that... I really wanted as a job with the guardians, ya know, like a... promotion. Yeah, a promotion! Well, they gave it to someone else, and so... I was just a little upset ‘n' all..."

Sora put his hands on his hips. "Are you telling the truth?"

"Yeah, man! It's not like I'd lie about somethin' like ‘at!"

"And how do you explain the time you made us all think you were a guardian?"

"Well, ya see... that was for business purposes ‘n' all. And, besides, I am a guardian now, thanks to my girl, Mulan! No, wait a sec, I'M the reason I'm a guardian! Go me!"

"Okay, Mushu, I get the picture."

Mushu stopped cheering for himself. "Alright, then. Oh, yeah, an' tell your red-headed girlfriend-"

"She's NOT my girlfriend," Sora interrupted, knowing Mushu was talking about Kairi.

"Yeah, whateva. Just tell her that I am NOT a cute little lizard, okay?! Tell ‘er I'm a fearsome dragon! Capital D.R.A.G.O.N! ‘Cause I ain't happy when people call me a lizard! Just ‘cause I'm small doesn't mean-"

"Okay, Mushu, I'll be sure to send her the message."

"Good." Mushu strode away and Sora rolled his eyes and shook his head. ‘Mushu... what am I gonna do with him?' He heard the noise of a horse running and came back to Mulan and Shang. A man was on the horse, holding a letter rolled up.

"A message from the Emperor," he stated and handed it to Mulan. The horse trotted away.

Mulan started scanning it and frowned. "The Emperor wants us at his palace about Shan-Yu's army."

"Again?!" Sora shouted, surprised that he was still alive. Shan-Yu was a person who had tried to take over the palace and all of China, but Mulan, Sora, Donald and Goofy were able to stop him. And Sora didn't like the thought of him coming back. "But, we already beat him, didn't we?!"

"Not quite," Mulan replied.

"You see, Sora, we defeated him," Shang explained. "Defeating someone isn't the same as killing someone. Remember when Mulan shot the cannon at the mountain? He didn't die there, he was only beaten for the moment."

"Right," Sora said, a little disappointed. "I'll never forget how surprised we were when we saw him come out of the snow. It was like seeing someone come back from the dead." Mulan and Shang nodded.

"So, your friends are coming with us, too, right?" Mulan inquired.

"Of course. And besides, even if I did leave them here, they'd just follow me, anyway." ‘That's how they always get hurt.'

"Sora!" Kairi called. She and the others were running toward him.

He faced her. "What is it?"

"Look!" She pointed behind him. Sora flipped around and made his Keyblade appear just in time to defend himself from the blow of a Heartless. He spun around and hit it in the side. It vanished, but more Heartless came after it.

‘Heartless and Nobodies always seem to get in the way of everything!' Sora thought. His friends made their weapons appear and Mulan and Shang gabbed their swords. They all started fighting off the Heartless, defeating them one by one. Sora saw two of them head for Kairi. She tried to fight off one, but the other knocked her Keyblade out of her hand. Sora ran after them and defeated the two just as they were about to attack her.

"Thanks," she stated gratefully.

"No problem. But remember: you can make your Keyblade come back to you if that happens." Kairi turned around and screamed. Sora saw about five Heartless heading for them. ‘Not good!' Kairi dove for her Keyblade and Sora tried to fight off as many as he could.

‘I can't let them hurt Kairi!' Just then, he felt a pain in his head and came to the ground, unconscious.

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The boy and girl faced the darker boy. "Kapashnet, why did you have to try to defeat Hyrono by yourself?" the boy asked. "We're here to help you. We're your friends. Hyrono's too powerful for someone to take on by himself. Why didn't you just let us help you?"

Kapashnet turned his back to him. "I didn't think that you were strong enough."

"You know we're strong enough!" the girl exclaimed. "How else do you think we beat you before?!"

"I know...." He paused and there was a long silence. "But I didn't want you guys to get hurt."

"Isn't that what fighting's about? Getting hurt?" the brown-haired male questioned. "If there's one thing I've learned from fighting these creatures, it's that there's not one of us a guardian and the rest people along for the ride. I've learned that there are three guardians, and if all of them don't work together, Hyrono might as well be allowed to take over this center world."

Kapashnet turned to his friends again. Then he smiled. "Guess you're right." He shook hands with the other boy. "Thanks, Lon-"

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"Sora!" Sora opened his eyes and saw all his friends staring at him. Kairi sighed with relief.

"Sora, don't do that again! You nearly gave me a heart attack!" Nioto exclaimed.

"It's been happening a lot, lately," Riku stated. "We're still not exactly sure why, though."

"Wha... what about the Heartless?!" Sora asked, forgetting about them. "Did they-"

"Don't worry, Sora, we handled them," Kisara reassured.

Goofy nodded. "When you passed out there, Riku stepped in and tried to protect Kairi."

‘Thank God,' Sora thought. He stood up on his own and looked out at the mountains. ‘I still don't know his name....'

"Sora, did you see anything that time?" Donald inquired.

Sora folded his arms. "Yeah. It was those same three people; Kapashnet, Seladina and whoever the other guy is. They were talking about taking on Hyrono, and I think Kapashnet wanted to do that himself at first. But the other two said he could use a little help."

‘Sora, I still don't know why you haven't gotten it!' Roxas exclaimed in Sora's head. ‘Don't those people remind you of anyone?!'

Sora thought for a moment. Then he realized what Roxas had been talking about. ‘Really, they're a lot like us! I mean, Kapashnet's a lot like Riku, Seladina reminds me of Kairi, and that other guy kinda makes me think of...'

‘Yourself?'

‘Yeah. It's kind of like... we were destined from the beginning to have these Keyblades.'

‘You've had the Keyblade for this long and you just figured that out now?' Roxas asked, seeming to have a little sarcastic/surprised tone to his voice.

"Sora?" Sora snapped out of his thinking and glanced at Kairi.

"Sorry. Just... thinkin' about those people." ‘Chaser... I don't know who you are, but I guess we have a lot in common. I know what it feels like to have lost your friends. And... maybe you know why everything's happening to me. Maybe you know something I don't.' He made a fist. ‘Maybe I don't know everything about myself.' It seemed unbearable to Sora that he himself didn't know who he was completely. He wanted to know so much: his partially blank memory, his visions, his new feelings for Kairi, and especially why he was the one chosen for the Keyblade. The main Keyblade of a Chaser. Then that made Sora wonder, ‘If those three passed their Keyblades down to Riku, Kairi and me, then... did the evil one pass his down to someone, too?' Sora decided to drop the subject, finding that it only made him more confused.

"So, are we just gonna stand here or are we gonna go help the Emperor?" Mulan asked. "C'mon, let's go!" The group headed out for the trail, Mushu secretly following.

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