Chapter 7: Breakout

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Written by: Kanemaki Tomoco
Original Plan: Nomura Tetsuya and Nojima Kazushige
Illustration: Amano Shiro
Translations: Goldpanner
Copyrighted by Disney, Square Enix and Touchstone Pictures. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations. 

 xxx

Roxas swung his Keyblade. It can’t go on like this. I really want to talk to Xion.

Heading out to look for her, he’d ended up at Agrabah. He defeated every Heartless he could get his hands on. He fought alone.

Everything sucks. I can’t trust anyone, and I don’t want to. Axel probably knew about Xion since ages ago. He didn’t deny it. He knew, but he didn’t tell me a thing. Why—why didn’t he tell me, I wonder.

Because he would have been in trouble if I’d known?

Roxas travelled deeper into the magic cavern, defeating Heartless as he went. This was a place he’d come to with Xion before.

It was like Xion ‘remembered’ something here.

Now, there was a strange machine that had been left in the middle of the room.

Roxas looked up at the device. “…What is this?”

Just then, Heartless appeared, surrounding the device. They moved to box Roxas in, and Roxas swung his Keyblade, almost just waving it about.

He was out of breath.

The Heartless disappeared as hearts floated up.

The floating hearts gather at Kingdom Hearts. But I don’t give a stuff about that any more. I have no idea what the Organisation is trying to do, and I don’t want to know.

Not only the Organisation. I don’t know what Axel and Xion are thinking either.

But, the biggest thing I don’t understand is me, obeying an Organisation like this. Why am I an Organisation member? I became a member of the Organisation because I am a special Nobody. So do all special Nobodies have to become Organisation members? Isn’t there any other way? What is a Nobody, anyway? Who am I?

Roxas kept on swinging his Keyblade.

xxx

“Are the devices working properly?” Xemnas asked Saïx. The two of them were the only ones sitting in the Round Room.

“Yes. Luxord and Demyx already installed the devices on each world before Roxas went to them.”

Devices that collect the scattered memories—at first, I doubted whether such a thing would really work.  Devices that collect the memories of ‘him’ that lie on worlds all over the place.

But, I don’t really understand why Xemnas is having the devices installed. Xemnas once said that they are to supplement the memories, so that Xion—or Roxas for that matter—will become complete.

I understand the reasoning that if one becomes complete, then they will be able to collect more hearts. But, is that really so? I don’t know Xemnas’ true goal.

“It is necessary for either Xion or Sora to be in our hands. Don’t forget that.”

Saïx nodded, and a smile slowly spread on Xemnas’ face.

Saïx didn’t know the meaning of that smile.

xxx

The time is near.

Riku stood alone in Twilight Town—in the forest in front of the haunted mansion. He had waited in silence for this time, keeping his breathing in check. He took off the blindfold that covered his vision. And just like that his figure became that of another man—the being ‘that went as’ Ansem.

Riku pulled his hood right up over his face, and kicked off the ground.

Jumping through the trees, he swung his blade—the Soul Eater.

It’s fine, it will definitely be fine.

I’ve been searching all this time for a way to get along with the darkness inside myself. If I don’t put all my effort into holding it down, it will swallow me easily.

The darkness nesting inside my heart is Ansem, but it is also my own. But, is there really any human who doesn’t have darkness in their heart?

For Sora to have a Nobody, doesn’t that mean that even he had a dark part inside his heart? The Princesses are special because they don’t have darkness in their hearts. Then, other than the Princesses, every single person is getting along with darkness inside themselves.

The way to get along with the darkness—the way to hold down the darkness.

Even when I pretend I don’t see the darkness inside myself, it can’t be helped. If I face the darkness inside myself—the ugliness—I’ll get power for sure.

It’s okay if I make use of Ansem’s power, nesting inside my body.

The time for the fight is near. If I don’t make that power my own, there’s no way I’ll beat him. I don’t know if I even really have to beat him. But, everything is for Sora’s sake…

Just then, there was a presence in the forest. A special presence. Riku landed, waiting for the owner of the presence.

The person who showed up was his special companion. Their silhouette, even wearing the same Organisation coat as him, was different to any other, and he knew who it was right away. He was the King—Mickey Mouse.

Facing Mickey, Riku slowly pushed the hood back. The moment Mickey saw the face peering from the hood, he took a defensive stance. But, without panicking, Riku once more covered his vision with the blindfold he’d removed. His figure turned from Ansem back to normal.

“Riku…! I missed you!”

Mickey ran up to him.

“Your Majesty,” Riku said, feeling his heart fill up with something a little warm. It was his treasured friend, who he had parted with about one year ago, almost escaping.

“I worried about you all this time,” Mickey said, looking up at Riku. “What have you been up to since then?”

“This whole time, I’ve been looking for a way to overcome my darkness, and waiting for Sora to wake up.” I wanted to do something about the darkness inside myself before Sora woke up. I can’t make it disappear, so I wanted to at least control the darkness with my own will.

“The way you looked, just now…,” said Mickey, sounding uneasy.

It’s only natural that he’d worry, seeing the figure of me surrendered heart and body to Ansem.

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me. I’m grabbing at ways to control the darkness, like just now,” he said, looking at Mickey.

“…Has there by any chance been some kind of problem in restoring Sora’s memories?”

Riku gave a small nod. You don’t have to worry about me. He’d understood the true meaning behind Riku’s words right away.

“The reason those guy’s movements have been quiet since the battle at Castle Oblivion isn’t because they lost members and got weaker. Them scattering Sora’s memories at Castle Oblivion was nothing but a level of preparation, right to the end. As we waited for Sora’s memories to be restored, they needed time to absorb those memories.”

“I’ve certainly been checking up on the Organisation’s movements too, but there hasn’t been much noticeable movement. If anything, it’s like they’ve been trying to buy time, isn’t it…?”

“Yes—their goal was Sora’s memories. They’ve used the time up until now for absorbing Sora’s memories.” What does the Organisation want from absorbing Sora’s memories? I still don’t know their true goal. All I know is their means of absorbing those memories. Xion. And Xion is—a girl special to Roxas, so she’s also a girl special to Sora. That’s what reflecting Sora’s memories means. Riku continued speaking. “Thanks to them, the restoration of Sora’s memories is hardly progressing at all. It’s because they’ve stolen Sora’s memories of Kairi, which are very important to him.”

Mickey looked down for a moment, then he looked up at Riku. “I’ll go with you, and help you take back Sora’s memories!”

But, Riku shook his head. “Leave that to me, your Majesty—ah, Mickey. Instead… there’s something I want you to do,” Riku said, quietly.

“Something you want me to do?”

“After this, I’ll have to fight an Organisation member. I might lose, and maybe, I might be swallowed by the darkness.” I’m uneasy. The day I’ll have to fight an Organisation member—probably Roxas—is approaching. But, I really don’t think Sora’s Nobody Roxas will be all that easy for me to defeat. I’ll have to release some power hidden inside me in order to win. But there’s nothing else but to release the darkness inside me.

And, Riku still didn’t have the confidence that he couldn’t be swallowed by that darkness.

Riku gazed steadily at Mickey. “If I am, then… you’ll be the only one who can guide Sora, and… Donald and Goofy.”

“Riku…”

I don’t know whether DiZ is an enemy or an ally. I still can’t guess what he’ll do once Sora wakes up. “Please, Mickey. Once Sora and the others have woken up, I want you to help them.” I want the strength of someone who can help Sora to not be persuaded by DiZ.

Riku gazed steadily at Mickey.

“I understand, Riku.” The King—Mickey—gave a big nod.

xxx

Xion—and, the Replica project.

Roxas tossed and turned in bed. He hadn’t slept well today, either. But, his sleeplessness today was different from up until yesterday. He felt as if he was recovering well from his fatigue, and his strength was returning.

Roxas stared vaguely at the white ceiling.

I couldn’t believe that Xion was a doll created to copy my power, and I didn’t want to believe it. But now, I understand a little. In these three days since Xion left the Organisation, I feel like my power is coming back. If my power is coming back because she’s not by my side, then the explanation sticks. But I don’t want to just swallow it.

Xion left the Organisation. And, Axel didn’t stop her. Axel knew the secret of Xion’s abilities since way before, and hit it from me. I feel like both Axel and Xion betrayed me.

He thought of Xion.

Xigbar said that Xion and I are special Nobodies. But, Xion is a Replica doll. Then, what the hell am I? If we’re the same, then I’m a Replica doll too.

You and Xion are connected by ‘Sora’.

That’s what Xemnas said. What is ‘Sora’? Are Xion and I different? Whose Nobody am I? Who am I?

Roxas sat up slowly, and stared at the palm of his hand. Then, maybe Axel would know—like he knew about Xion. I guess I’ll know if I try asking him. But—what if he lies to me again? I…

Roxas got out of bed, and left the room.

xxx

The situation has started to change, but I don’t know what action I should take. I’m stuck.

Feeling impatient, Axel walked down the hallway, heading to the lobby.

“…Axel.”

Axel’s feet stopped. He’d never heard a voice so tormented.

He turned, and shrugged. “Hey, Roxas.” He put on a smile, and Roxas bowed his head. These past few days, we’ve argued every time we’ve met. Every day Roxas’ expression gets darker. Just like he has a heart, Axel thought, for some reason calm.

“…Did you find Xion?” Roxas asked, head still down.

“I wouldn’t find her that easily now, would I?” he answered, stating the obvious.

“I guess you’re right…,” said Roxas, faintly.

This conversation was missing the real matter—Questioning like he’s judging the right distance to come at me. Axel waited for him to continue.  I know Roxas has so many things he wants to ask—to know. I can’t answer everything, but I want to answer as much as I can, Axel thought.

Roxas looked up at him. “Did you know about Xion—from the start?”

I don’t plan to lie any more. All that’s left are the things I can’t say, and the things I don’t know either.

“…Not from the start.”

“From when?” Roxas questioned further.

“Well… I forget when,” he said in his usual tone, scratching his head.

Roxas smiled slightly. “Get at least that sort of thing memorised,” he said.

That’s my favourite saying.

Silence flowed between them again.

“Axel… Who am I?”

That’s the thing Roxas most wanted to ask. But even so, I don’t know how best to answer that. Axel looked at Roxas. His eyes are looking right at me. I don’t plan to lie.

But…

“Xion and I are special Nobodies. But, the Organisation was trying to destroy me—weren’t they?” Roxas continued.

Axel nodded. “Yeah, that’s right.”

“Xion had copied my power—the power of the Keyblade, so they didn’t need me anymore, right?” Roxas spat.

Axel was unable to answer.

“…You wanted that too, right?”

Axel’s chest tightened painfully. Enough that he couldn’t breathe, breath plugged in his throat. I didn’t… want that. I would never want that.

“You’re wrong. We’re—best friends,” were the words that tumbled automatically out of his mouth.

Roxas shook his head violently. “…If we’re best friends, then tell me what you know, Axel!”

He grabbed Axel’s coat.

Roxas is angry, Axel thought, quietly. For him to get angry like this, it looks like Roxas really does have a heart. And, for that to be all I’m thinking at a time like this, I really mustn’t have a heart.

“Who am I?!” Roxas yelled. Axel just looked at him. “Xemnas said that Xion and I are connected by ‘Sora’! What is Sora! Am I the same as Xion too?!”

Sora—yeah, the Keyblade Hero is at the start of everything. The things I did in that Castle Oblivion—the things I’ve done up until now… maybe everything was a mistake.

Axel shook his head. “You and Xion are different.”

“Then—” Roxas went to keep asking, but Axel interrupted.

“For your own sake, it isn’t best for you to know the truth.”

“And why do you get to decide that!” Roxas hand let go of Axel’s coat, and clenched in his own hair instead. “I want to know about myself! Why am I here? What is special about me? Why can I use the Keyblade? How can you say I’m not allowed to know about myself!”

Ah, Roxas looks like he’s going to cry any moment now. “Roxas…,” Axel called, but Roxas shook his head quietly.

“Tell me, Axel… Who am I?”

But, I can’t answer. I don’t know how to answer. Should I tell him outright that he’s Sora’s Nobody? Then maybe Roxas will choose the same path as Xion, and throw away the Organisation. Then that will mean breaking my promise with Xion, and over everything else I’ve done, I’d never be forgiven for that.

 But—I know. I understand. It’s all already too late.

“Just trust me, Roxas,” Axel pleaded.

“I can’t… trust you anymore.” Roxas gazed right at Axel. There was no more anger and no more sadness in his expression.

“Roxas,” Axel called, but Roxas turned his back on Axel, as if rejecting it.

“I want to know about myself. I want to know who I am—why I was born. To know that, I’d…”

Roxas started walking. To his back, rejecting everything, Axel couldn’t find the words to call out.

xxx

We’re best friends. What do those words even mean, I wonder. Roxas walked. There are only two things I want before I leave the Organisation. My memories with Xion.

Roxas returned to his room, opened the drawer of his bedside table, and took out a shell. A thalassa shell—the shell for the keepsake charm.

Rolling around deeper in the drawer was a stick.

Roxas thrust the shell into his pocket, and picked the stick up between his fingers. ‘Winner’ was written on the stick.

It’s the ‘winner’ stick, that I was going to use proudly someday when the three of us wanted to eat ice cream. But now I don’t need it anymore.

“I—I want to know about myself,” Roxas muttered in a small voice, and gripped the ice cream stick.

Then he thrust the stick into his pocket too, and left the room.

xxx

The castle was in an uproar. Correspondence had already reached Saïx that Roxas was attacking the dusks inside the castle. The order given to the dusks, to capture Roxas, had already changed.

Escape and the like—how stupid.

Now that Xion is gone, if we lose Roxas we will be in a fix. I’ve already received orders from Xemnas in regard to this. It is necessary to prevent Roxas’ escape.

“Saïx.”

A voice called out to stop Saïx, on his way to the entrance to the castle.

I’d anticipated that this might happen. “I don’t actually have a moment. Is this urgent business, Axel?”

“I just want a little time,” Axel said, sounding lost.

“What do you mean?”

“I can definitely get her back. So…”

“You want me to make allowances for this traitor,” he shot back, and Axel’s face twisted.

“I’m going. By the way, sheer force will do absolutely nothing, you know that, right? Which means there’s no way you’ll be able to stop him.”

Saïx started walking. It’s my memories that are telling me this sort of thing is unpleasant.

xxx

And so, on the floor near the castle entrance, Saïx waited for Roxas.

It’s been a while since I fought anyone. I can sense the fight coming closer.

Saïx welcomed Roxas with claymore in hand.

“We can’t have you just leaving whenever you like,” Saïx declared, and Roxas readied his Keyblade.

“I have nothing to say to you.”

“Then let’s skip the conversation,” said Saïx, and just like that he threw his claymore. But, Roxas batted it aside easily. The series of movements was like it was done by a completely different person than yesterday’s Roxas.

Saïx hesitated for a second, and Roxas ran at him.

He blocked the Keyblade.

Long ago—I remember, I didn’t hate fighting. Saïx flung his claymore at Roxas.

And so, Saïx remembered things from a long long time ago.

xxx

Saïx fell to his knees.

“Ugh… I still don’t have enough power. Kingdom Hearts, give me power…,” Saïx groaned.

Roxas started walking, back to Saïx. He went down the stairs, and opened the door—and there was the neon city.

He’d chosen to leave through this way instead of a dark corridor because he’d thought it was fit for an escapee. And, standing there was someone who understood very well how he thought.

“So you’ve decided?” Axel said.

“I want to know why the Keyblade chose me,” Roxas replied, without even stopping. I won’t get angry like before, not any more. I’ve steeled myself for this.

“You’re going against the Organisation?! If you become their enemy, they won’t leave you alive!!” Axel yelled.

It’s a complete role reversal from just before, thought Roxas, with a thin smile.

He stopped walking.

“No one would be sad.”

He kept walking.

Above his head was the heart-shaped moon—Kingdom Hearts.

I still don’t know where I should go now. But, all I know is that I can’t be here.

“I’m… sad,” Axel murmured in a small voice, but it didn’t reach Roxas.

xxx

Continue to Chapter 8: 358 Days

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