Written by: Kanemaki Tomoco
Original Plan: Nomura Tetsuya and Nojima Kazushige
Illustration: Amano Shiro
Copyrighted by Disney, Square Enix and Touchstone Pictures. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations.
Deep inside that castle in the world that never was, Zexion was heading for a small room. From ahead of him, a lone man’s footsteps rang out as he dashed noisily down the stairs.
The man–Vexen, was calling out to Zexion.
“What is the matter? Please don’t be so noisy,” Zexion answered coldly.
Zexion didn’t really like this man, who was at times loud and exaggerated.
Liking and hating are emotions we lost when we became nobodies, but memories from our time as humans remain. Yes, since I was a human I’ve hated this man. But, because of his research, there is also reason for respect.
“Where is Lord Xemnas?”
“Where he usually is,” Zexion answered. Vexen frowned.
“The ‘sleeping room’?” Vexen muttered irritably.
“If it’s urgent business, how about you try going there?”
“Stop kidding around!” Vexen snapped, and turned his back on Zexion. “I can’t go there… can’t be helped. I’ll wait for him to return. Yah no, every second is precious… he only does this when I need him! Call it bad timing or call it…” Vexen, simmering and muttering, walked off.
Zexion started walking again. That moment, the echoes of a voice came from above his head.
“I don’t do well with that place, either. What do you think, kindred spirits, Lord Zexion?”
Looking up on reflex, there was a lone man seated on the beams of the yet unfinished building. A man–Xigbar, had the hood of his black organisation cloak pulled up, and Zexion was unable to see his expression.
“Eavesdropping? Excuse me, but what are you doing? Yours and Xaldin’s duty is to search for new kindred spirits. I wouldn’t have expected you to have time to be lazing around in a place like that,” Zexion stated in a cold tone, and started walking again. Xigbar jumped to the ground behind Zexion, and started talking, turned towards Zexion’s back.
“I’m doing my job plenty good. I found one more yesterday, too. They called that one Ma-something-something, I do believe.”
“Marluxia, is it not?” Zexion answered, looking back.
The names of the new members don’t matter to Xigbar at all.
“You already know. That’s Lord Zexion, all right,” said Xigbar teasingly, and Zexion stopped walking.
From the time when we were that person’s apprentices, it’s always felt like Xigbar was looking down on me. But then, Xigbar looks down on everyone except Xemnas.
“With this, the organisation has eleven people. We’ve reached decent numbers, so. I asked Lexeaus to fill in for me just for today, so I could have a holiday. For the sake of tomorrow’s job, you know.”
“Then do rest up in order to demonstrate your excellent ability to its fullest. As for me, I have today’s work to do, so, if that’s all.” Xigbar, who continued to chatter, had become unbearably annoying, and, without turning back, Zexion kept walking.
“You’re so stiff. Let’s have a fun chat—” Xigbar said, chasing after Zexion, and he turned Zexion’s shoulder around with his arm. Zexion made a displeased face, but he didn’t shake the arm off. Xigbar leaned down to whisper in Zexion’s ear. “For example, about Xemnas’ secret.”
At Xigbar’s words, Zexion’s shoulders stiffened. Xigbar walked ahead of Zexion and started speaking, as if to himself.
“How many years ago was it, now. Key-shaped blade wielders appeared in this land, and went and had an awesome battle. After those guys disappeared, there was a man who had lost his memory, fallen down. And that was exactly the same time Xemnas—no, Xehanort, was picked up by Ansem, wasn’t it?” Xigbar turned around, and looked at Zexion.
“…What is that?” Zexion asked, expressionlessly.
The sun will set if I keep company with Xigbar the Nonsense Talker. Though of course, this world hasn’t got sunlight or the like, but—
“The sleeping room.”
Even on hearing Xigbar say the name of that room, Zexion just looked at Xigbar without showing any reaction.
“Yeah, the underground facilities where we studied the darkness of the heart. A graveyard sealed onAnsem the Wise’s orders. The first thing Xemnas did when he’d banished that meddlesome wise man was make a room deep inside the broken-sealed facilities. And ever since, he often retreats to that room and talks to someone. It’s a mystery, isn’t it? You’d expect Xemnas to be alone in the room,” Xigbar said in one go, and waited for Zexion to respond.
“It seems you like to eavesdrop, doesn’t it,” said Zexion, resignedly.
“I can’t hear what they’re talking about. Thanks to that, it’s got me pretty disturbed. You’re interested too, right?” Xigbar said, invitingly. Zexion shrugged slightly.
“I just want to devote myself to my own work. You too should keep your attention on your original task, and gather even more kindred spirits, please. We must hurry to prepare the new facilities, but—the organisation only has eleven people, there aren’t enough hands,” said Zexion, starting to walk, flinging the words behind him as a parting shot.
“New facilities… ah, Castle Oblivion. What does Xemnas plan to do one he’s made it, I wonder?” questioned Xigbar of Zexion’s turned back.
“The purpose we have heard—”
“There are purposes no one’s heard,” Xigbar interrupted.
“The sleeping room’s pair, the ‘awakening room’. One more graveyard. Searching for that one, right, someone other than Xemnas made this room. In there is definitely—one more ‘friend’.”
Zexion looked back at Xigbar.
That day, the organisation made it to twelve people. Xigbar found and brought back the twelfth member. Within the members, it was the first woman.
In the centre of the circle, the woman, who had been given the name Larxene, spun around and glared at the members sitting around her.
“She looks like a tough minded lady, doesn’t she?” Demyx whispered. Axel shrugged.
“Whether she’s tough minded or weak, it’s got nothing to do with it.”
At the reply, this time Demyx shrugged.
Twelve people, thirteen people, numbers don’t interest me, thought Axel, looking at Xemnas who sat in the highest chair.
The group called the Organisation is a group of nobodies who gathered together.
Nobodies–beings who don’t exist.
Beings who lost their hearts to darkness, heartless. And then, when strong-hearted beings become heartless, the body and soul exist separately from the heart, and receive life in this land. That’s a nobody. And then, nobodies born from the owners of especially strong hearted beings fall into birth still retaining their human shape.
That means, the nobodies gathered as Organisation members once held strong hearts.
Really? Axel wondered to himself.
Did that self in my memories really have a strong heart?
Don’t really know.
And then, nobodies without hearts wish for only one thing. A heart.
If I was asked if I wanted a heart, I guess I’d answer that I did. But, do I really want a heart? Can a heart really fill this hollowness I’ve carried since I fell into existence as a nobody?
“Now we have grown to twelve people,” Xemnas said, and Axel lifted his face.
“Wonder how many more people can we gather—” said Xaldin.
I don’t know how many nobodies can join the Organisation.
I wonder what whoever fills that last chair will be like… Axel thought, idly, arms folded.
The meeting’s oppressive atmosphere always makes me tired.
Axel rolled his neck slowly in the castle lobby.
Sitting like that for so long dulls the muscles.
“Hey, Redhead over there!”
Axel turned at the sound of the voice, scratching his head.
“What, Larxene. I’m Axel. Got it memorised?”
“I can’t just remember over ten names all of a sudden, can I?”
“Yeah, I guess not.”
Axel watched as Larxene ran up to him.
“How is it? Does the coat suit me?”
Larxene did a twirl in front of him. The coat always changed to fit the wearer. It was a perfect tight fit, as expected.
“It’s fine, I guess.”
I don’t get it. Why is she here talking to me?
“You want something?”
“You mean I can’t talk to you unless I want something?”
“I didn’t mean that, but it’s—” a hassle. But if I say that, it looks like she’ll make it even more of a hassle. Axel shut his mouth. “Why are you talking to me? There are heaps of other people to talk to.”
“I don’t want to talk to rough old men,” Larxene clearly intoned.
“If that’s so—there’s Demyx, or Marluxia, who joined just before you did. And then there’s Zexion. There’s also Saïx, in a way—”
“What, are you unhappy talking to me?” Larxene said, domineeringly.
“Whatever—not unhappy, not anything.”
“Hmph. ‘Whatever’ doesn’t mean anything. I only spoke to you because you walked in front of me.”
But just now, she was saying she didn’t want to talk to rough old men—
Axel looked at Larxene in amazement. But, Larxene didn’t seem to care one bit.
“This place is quiet, isn’t it.”
“Well, it’s because nothing lives here except nobodies.”
“Yeah, but it’s not,” said Axel, not telling her that he himself also felt that this place was dull.
“Well, fine. Later.” Larxene drew her hood up and started walking briskly away. She was a capricious, domineering woman.
Axel stared after Larxene’s back in amazement, then shrugged.
In his own room, Demyx was fixing his hair in front of the mirror.
It didn’t mean he was especially interested in his own hairstyle. But, memories from when he was a human made him do it, thought Demyx.
His sitar stood against the wall. It was a special sitar that could be a weapon, shaped from his human memories.
Finishing setting his hair, Demyx picked up the sitar and strummed it.
I play and play, but I can’t make a satisfying sound.
In truth, I know I won’t be satisfied in all eternity.
If you don’t have a heart, there’s no such thing as satisfaction.
You don’t even think you want to be satisfied.
“Keep it down.”
Suddenly, along with displeased words, Demyx sensed a presence behind him, and he turned.
Xaldin was standing there.
“Is it too hard to at least knock before barging into people’s rooms?” Demyx stated, displeased, and strummed the sitar again.
“What will you do with those human memories you cling to?”
“Hah? What are you saying, old man?” Demyx’s hand stopped, and he turned just his face towards Xaldin. “What about you?”
“Nothing at all. But I’m interested in how you guys let your human memories influence you.”
“Hmm,” Demyx responded, disinterestedly, and plucked the sitar three times.
“Won’t you keep it in moderation? It’s loud, I can’t sleep.”
“Not being able to sleep cause of the noise is kinda, well, human-like, isn’t it?” Demyx said, smiling. His hand kept moving over the strings.
“Fool. Nobodies need rest too. A terrible force is moving this world. We gotta rest to store up power.”
“The world? I dunno nothing about that. I dunno anything you members from the old days are thinking,” Demyx spat in a loud voice, continuing to play the sitar. Xaldin frowned in displeasure, and disappeared.
Demyx’s sitar continued to play.
On top of a table, cards were placed side by side. Axel and Luxord faced each other, playing some sort of game it seemed.
“Ack, wait!” Axel said, stopping Luxord’s hand from turning up a card.
“I’m not waiting.”
“No, wait!” Axel folded his arms, glaring at the cards on the table.
“Whichever one, you’ve lost.” Luxord shrugged, and turned a card.
“Gah!” Axel buried his face in his arms, then looked up at Luxord. “One more time.”
At Axel’s words, Luxord started shuffling the cards, laughing.
“Looks like fun, you guys.” Xigbar appeared. Luxord stopped shuffling.
“How about a game, sir?”
“I’m not interested in this kinda game,” Xigbar told Luxord, teasingly, and sat on the edge of the table.
“You taking a break today?” Axel placed a hand on Xigbar’s shoulder, speaking with him familiarly.
Xigbar is friendly to everyone. So, I am too, in return.
“Well, it’s a break, in a sense… Xemnas also went out, you see.”
“Hmm… it’s rare for him to go out,” Luxord said, quietly, tidying the cards.
“No, he goes here and there fairly often. Because now is a very important time for the organisation.”
“What’s very important?” Axel asked, peering into Xigbar’s face.
“The world is moving. We’ve gotta be worried about own fragment’s movement, right?”
“Fragment?” Luxord leaned his head to one side.
“The rest is a secret,” said Xigbar, teasingly, getting off the table and starting to walk. “Be really careful not to let them use you.”
At Xigbar’s words, Axel and Luxord looked at each other.
“The first six members have been companions since the outset… or so I’ve heard. But their actions, there are all sorts of things where I don’t understand what on earth they want to do.”
“Just say they have no real objectives or something,” joked Axel, grinning. “Let’s have one more game, Luxord.”
At Axel’s words, Luxord started cutting the deck.
Alone, Marluxia walked in the world that never was.
The inside of this castle is so boring.
I thought I could escape this boredom if I came to the organisation. But, the truth is, it’s the same everywhere.
Maybe my memories of the time I was human are making me think so, but I still haven’t been a nobody, without a heart, for long, and I don’t really understand what it means.
At the call from behind, Marluxia stopped walking. A woman’s voice—in this castle, there was only one woman. Marluxia turned around.
“What do you want, Larxene,” he directed at the golden-haired, tough-minded looking woman.
Larxene. At this point in time, she’s the only nobody to have joined the organisation later than me.
“I wanna ask you something. How did you come here?”
“Not particularly different to you.”
“Hmph.” Larxene brooded for a while on whether or not that answer satisfied her. “We aren’t doing much, these days. This place is boring, isn’t it?”
Larxene’s words brought an abrupt sense of affinity, for there was a nobody who was thinking the same thing as him.
“Well, one of these days we’ll be able to go out on missions. Now is the time for reserving power.”
“Missions… speaking of that, don’t you find what we’re actually doing pretty unclear?” Larxene asked, and then stood next to Marluxia.
“In order to take back our hearts,” said Marluxia, repeating Xemnas’ exact words.
Larxene cast her eyes down for a moment. “But I don’t really want or need a heart. It’s painful with a heart. Right now I’m pretty comfortable,” she muttered.
“Maybe that’s true,” answered Marluxia, and started walking shoulder-to-shoulder with Larxene.
The research rooms were two rooms side-by-side. Sometimes, weird cries could be heard from the next room, but apart from frowning, Zexion only silently continued working alone. The day drew close when both these rooms could be moved to another place.
Soon, the research facilities inside Castle Oblivion will be complete.
That place is a special place.
A special place, a special castle. There probably isn’t a more special or suitable place for the purpose of studying memories and that which affects them.
The researcher in the next room, Vexen’s work is similar to mine.
Vexen is making a doll from memories. And I am—
“Is the job coming along?”
Zexion lifted his face at the presence of someone entering the room.
“Well… in a way,” Zexion answered to Lexeaus, who continued speaking without raising an eyebrow.
“It seems that it’s been decided which members will head for Castle Oblivion.”
“Did you come all the way to report for me?”
“There will be three members in each the basement and upstairs. You and me and Vexen will have the basement.
I knew from the outset that Vexen and I would be dispatched there. The remaining one is a muscleman.
Zexion nodded, and asked, “The upstairs?”
“Upstairs are all newcomers. Marluxia and Larxene, and Axel.”
“All are cunning people, aren’t they.”
Lexeaus nodded. “I don’t really get what Lord Xemnas is doing.”
“Perhaps… he may be trying to clear away the newcomers,” Zexion said, softly. Lexeaus frowned
“Are you saying that’s why he made the castle, to wipe out the members he went to all the trouble to find?”
“Well—I don’t really know,” Zexion answered, and turned to the computer.
“That’s the whole report.”
“Thank you very much. See you again,” Zexion said, as the presence disappeared behind his still-
Twilight Town—in front of the haunted mansion.
There, a lone boy lay fallen.
The boy stood up slowly, and stared blankly in front of him.
There, a pitch black hole—a portal of darkness opened.
From there, a black-coated man walked up to the boy.
The boy looked up at the man, silent and vacant.
“Do you want to know?” the man asked the boy.
The boy nodded, staring fixedly at the man.
The man raised a hand, and letters rose up in front of the boy.
“You don’t feel a thing—you can’t have feelings. Do you want meaning?”
The boy gave a clear nod.
The letters in front of the boy spun around, and then, another letter joined them.
That letter was ‘X’.
That which floated there was to be the boy’s name, from then on.
“…Roxas,” the boy read out, in a clear voice.
“You’re new,” said the man, invitingly.
Who the hell made the neon lights in this city?
Axel looked up at the pitch dark sky.
The sky of this world is completely black, with no moon or stars, like it’s pressing down.
“Where do you intend on going?”
The person who calls out like they’ve been watching me all along, in a place like this. It never fails to be him.
“Anywhere’s good, right?” Axel said, without turning around, pulling his hood over his face.
“Don’t leave this world without a mission.”
“This place is suffocating,” Axel said, as he started walking.
“…Can’t you hear the world’s screams?”
Axel finally turned around, and looked up at Saïx standing on a stairway.
“The time when we should move will come soon.”
“I dunno, whatever.” Axel turned his back on Saïx, and opened a dark portal in front of him.
Destination—a place I like.
The town with the beautiful sunset, Twilight Town.
Lately, that place where you can see the setting sun and eat ice cream has been my breathing space.
Alone—in a place no one comes, eating ice cream idly.
Axel stepped into the portal of darkness.
Like old times, huh. You got it memorised?
When we first met, the day you got a new name,
here we watched the setting sun like this—
Continue to Episode 6: Axel—Seven Days