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Chapter Two: The Heartless of the Void
“So what do we do?” Daisy inquired to Queen Minnie. Goofy and Donald had called the two of them to the castle library to tell them of the King’s letter. Queen Minnie sighed and glanced out the window nearby.
“Donald? Goofy? I want you two to go and find Sora. Find him and go with him to search for this new key. And please, if you can, find the King.”
Donald and Goofy saluted the two ladies. “You can count on us, Ma’am!” Donald and Goofy turned and walked towards the Gummi Garage where their ship was. They had brought along their weapons from their previous adventures with Sora, and were actually a bit excited to see him again.
They arrived inside the colorful area where their ship was. Chip and Dale waited up inside the control room to send Goofy and Donald off. Donald walked over to a small tube and yelled, “Hello up there? Donald Duck to launch crew! Anytime you’re ready!” Chip and Dale nodded, and proceeded to operate the cranes that would grab Goofy and Donald and put them in the ship. Donald had already climbed inside, obviously remembering the last time he was lifted into the ship. When he saw Chip and Dale moving towards the launch button, he prepared for a quick bout with zero-g, as last time they left the Gummi Ship plummeted downwards. This time though, the arrow pointed upwards, and both Goofy and Donald screamed as they shot through the launch tunnel. Soon they were outside their world, and set coordinates to blast off to find Sora.
Goofy glanced at Donald and asked, “Hey Donald, ya think Sora’s okay?”
Donald looked outside the cockpit in the direction of Sora’s world. He slowly shook his head. “No Goofy, I don’t.”
Sora leapt out of his boat onto the docks. He flashed his Keyblade out and glanced over. With horror, he saw that Riku’s boat and Kairi’s were here too! He had to find them before they were hurt. He prepared to make a mad dash when dark creatures began appearing out of the ground. It was like they literally had melted into the floor, but now were oozing back out. The were tall, lean, muscular black beings with scraggly antennae on their heads, with gleaming yellow eyes that pierced Sora’s soul. Yup, these were Heartless all right.
He ran forward and swung the Keyblade at one of the creatures, remembering how Heartless fell before his mighty weapon. This time, however, the Heartless reached up and caught the Keyblade in its claw. It hissed back at Sora before he shook it free and slashed at it again, this time the blow connecting. The monster dissolved in a cloud of darkness. Sora began to panic, seeing a large group of Heartless begin to surround him. He ignored them and ran for the secret place. This was where the Keyhole for the Destiny Islands was located, and he hoped that the Heartless hadn’t already found it and attacked.
He found the entrance, which was a hole at the base of a tall tree. He pushed his way through the leaves and felt the clammy walls of the tunnel. He ran through the darkness, daring to glance back at his pursuers. Sure enough, thousands of yellow eyes glinted through the night, all moving and shifting position like a swarm of insects. He turned around and finally made it to the large chamber that was the secret place. He glanced around and saw the wooden door imbedded in the wall that contained the Keyhole.
He ran towards it and readied his Keyblade. He was going to try and seal the Keyhole so that the Heartless couldn’t destroy this world. Strangely enough though, the Keyblade didn’t react. He looked closer at the Keyhole and saw that a strange, purple armor-like shell over the Keyhole. That must be what was preventing him from sealing it! Before he could try to break the armor, a massive earthquake shook the entire island, sending Sora crashing into a wall. The rocky walls around him began to buckle, the boulders separating and drifting upward into the crimson cataclysm above the island. In fact, the entire island had begun to break apart and vanish into the red void above! He weakly stood up, his leg aching from the fall.
He scanned around what was left, desperately searching for Riku or Kairi. He tried to yell for them, but his voice was lost in the stormy winds. He looked up at the red sphere in despair, but upon closer inspection he realized things were much worse than he thought. He could just make out the outline of a massive claw-like appendage behind the cataclysm. If the titanic claw was a human hand, then the orb would be in the center of the palm. His eyes widened and he looked up even further into the sky.
Now he recognized the looming shape of something more massive than anyone or anything had ever imagined. He could see the outline of a jagged, gargantuan mouth, big enough to literally swallow up several worlds in a single bite. Worst of all, however, was the thing’s eyes. They were a gleaming, savage yellow like the Heartless, but these were the size of miniature suns. This being was a Heartless, and it was consuming the Destiny Islands. Sora looked around him as his island began shrinking to the size of a small spit of terra-firma. He shuffled backwards, moving and ignoring the pain rocketing up and down his leg.
Suddenly the land was gone. The whole island was gone. He was falling, falling into the infinite void. Then something caught him. Something massive. He weakly looked and saw that a claw the size of his world had outstretched its talons and caught him. The enormous visage he saw before lowered itself and sent Sora staggering back with the turbulence from its descent. Its eyes stared unblinking at Sora, as if watching, waiting for him to move so it could crush him mind, body, and soul.
Sora’s whole body shook with fear. He stared directly into the eyes of the massive Heartless, his mind screaming to blink, the monster’s gaze almost hypnotizing. He slowly felt his life slipping away, his sanity being absorbed into the black void of the monster’s maw. His mind shattered, his thought amok and making simple thought equal to meeting a meteor head-on. His focus was gone, a mere figment of what was once his consciousness. He tried something, anything to tear himself away from this beast’s unmerciful gaze. It did not yield though, and his screams went unheard through the endless infinity of darkness he saw yawning before him.
And then he saw the ground (palm of claw) rapidly moving away from him. No, he was moving. At an incredibly fast rate too. Suddenly he realized something was holding him, and that something was holding him aside whatever was making him fly away from the monstrosity. He felt an arm pull him aboard something, and he heard familiar voices.
“Gawrsh, we got here just in time! Sora, are you okay?” His vision hazily focused to reveal Goofy.
Behind him, he heard a voice yell, “Hurry! We’ve got to get out of here!” He knew that voice belonged to Donald.
He slowly looked out the window from what he now realized to be the Gummi Ship. The monstrosity gazed at him from outside the vessel, and Sora knew any moment that it would swallow them up into never ending darkness. It didn’t. It just sat there, watching as the ship rapidly ascended from the remains of Sora’s world and shot off into the distance.
Deep inside a dark chamber, inside a deadly fortress, a small altar displayed the events that had just occurred in a hazy, green flame-like form. Several malevolent figures watched the events unfold, cloaked in darkness.
A voice spoke out from the darkness, one that had a smooth, almost reptile-ish tone that was reminiscent of a snake’s hiss. “Incredible. That boy managed to escape from the Heartless. There’s no way he could have made it out alive.”
Another voice responded to the other, this one sounding mechanical, like an artificial voice grinding together with a coldhearted one. “The King’s fools saved him. No other being could have escaped death by the Heartless of the Void.”
Another figure spoke from the shadows, this one sounding pompous and sneering, almost like that of royalty. “Why not just leave him for the Heartless to eliminate? That should solve that problem easily enough.”
Yet another voice bellowed from the dark. This one was deep and fearsome, a Scottish accent hinting in his words. “The Heartless do not fear the Keyblade like before. The darkness will swallow him up and leave nothing behind. Why worry?”
This voice responded to the first one. This one was slow in its words, and sounded alien compared to most of the previous speakers. “Do not underestimate the strength of the Keybearer. He has proven to defy the darkness before, and can easily do it again should we act arrogant.”
The Scottish-sounding voice snapped at the last one’s. “Don’t ye be trying to make a fool out o’ me ya swab!”
Another voice spoke out in response. This one sounded hoarse and crumbled, like it had been lasting over hundreds of years. “Do not let your anger control you. Showing weakness will lead to your downfall.”
“ENOUGH!” Everyone turned to face the newcomer, as this was obviously the leader. The figure stepped into the glow of the altar, the greenish glow illuminating his faded, gnarled skin, his yellow eyes and his black beard, which stretched down to his knees. He wore a dark brown cloak, and clutched a staff with a glowing green vial at the top, hovering inside an orb. “The Keybearer has escaped the wrath of the Heartless of the Void. This we must accept.” He grinned into the hazy image of Sora inside the Gummi Ship. “But can he defeat the Heartless of the Void once it finds him again? Or will it extinguish his life forever? Whether he lives or not, he could be of use to us…” the man grinned, and a voice spoke in accord.
“Of course, Rasputin…”
The Gummi Ship drifted lazily through the stars. Donald and Goofy were busy trying to console Sora, who hadn’t quite pulled himself together after the meeting with that giant Heartless. He sat in his normal seat, but was still a bit unnerved. He had just recently been rescued from being consumed along with his entire world. Donald and Goofy looked at each other with faces of concern. Goofy walked up from his seat and over to Sora.
“Um, Sora? Ya feelin’ okay?” Sora remained sitting, without even looking up at Goofy. He tried again. “Listen, I know it’s hard seeing your island consumed again, but don’t worry. We’ll find a way to revive your world. We’ve done it before, right?"
Sora’s eyes lit up with new hope. "Yeah. You’re right, Goofy. There’s always a way to get back the worlds we’ve lost. It’s just… Riku and Kairi… I don’t know if they’re alive or not…” He remembered how he hadn’t actually found Riku and Kairi before his world was swallowed up. The thing he couldn’t shake was how familiar that whole experience had felt. He knew his world had been overtaken by darkness once, but it hadn’t been like that. Something about that Heartless was similar to how the island disappeared before. But what?
He shook off that thought and stood up. “Goofy, Donald… I’m sorry for how spaced-out I’ve been acting. You’re right, there’s always a way, and we’ll find it.”
Donald and Goofy smiled then glanced out the cockpit. Donald pointed out the window. “Look! There’s a new world!” Sure enough, a world Sora didn’t recognize floated in the vast depths. “Maybe we’ll find the King there, or Riku and Kairi!”
Sora pressed his hands to the window, “Or that guy with the other Key.” He recalled the mysterious stranger with the black Keyblade from the Destiny Islands moments before it eroded into the darkness. He smiled and punched the landing controls. “Who knows what we’ll find? Come on, let’s go!” The Gummi Ship blasted towards the strange new world, a new adventure awaiting the Keyblade master.
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