Chapter 4: Castle Oblivion

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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

Castle Oblivion, basement floor ten.

“So you’re Riku.” Vexen had been lying in wait for Riku, who had just arrived on the floor.

If we did things according to my research, it would theoretically be possible to transfer memories and abilities to a doll without the power of the witch.

Yes—according to my replica project.

“Who are you—a friend of Ansem’s?”

“A friend of Ansem’s—that’s half right, I suppose. But I’ll tell you this, he’s different to the Ansem you know. He’s Ansem, but then he’s not… that is to say, he’s ‘nobody’.” Vexen closed in on Riku.

I can sense a mighty dark power in Riku. Perhaps that power could exceed even that of the Keyblade Hero.

“He’s nobody? Huh—I’m in a really bad mood right now. Be clearer.”

“A being that walks the twilight, belonging to neither darkness nor light? Heh heh heh… have you noticed? That’s right, just like the one in this realm between darkness and light; you. I’m the same. In other words, we are fellow similar beings.”
“—Maybe.” Riku casually levelled the Soul Eater. “So what. You’re going to say ‘join me’, or something? Like you said, there’s dark power left in me. But the darkness is my enemy! And, reeking of darkness, so are you.”

“Hey. You’d really do it, wouldn’t you. But I have hope! Keep me company!”

A battle is a way to obtain Riku’s powers. I am primarily a researcher, and the odds are against me, but—there’s no other way.

If I can only draw out his maximum power while he’s right in front of me, that will suffice.

If I could mass produce replicas, the Organisation would acquire even more power than present.

For they are not a breed of Emblem Heartless.

Riku swung the Soul Eater down, which Vexen deflected with his ice shield.

“Show me your rage—and the power of the darkness within you!”

With every swing of his blade, his power and memories are being accumulated—as data.

“I’m—I’m…!”

“You still cannot stop yourself from using your dark powers—let’s go.”

Facing Riku, Vexen moved in to a suitable proximity, and swung his shield down. Riku handled the attack with ease. “Excellent!” yelled Vexen, unconsciously.

“…So this is part of your plan,” said Riku, looking displeased, still holding out the Soul Eater.

“Thanks to your hot headedness, I was able to take useful data for my research. Many thanks, Riku,” said Vexen, and disappeared, leaving a loud laugh behind him.

Now all I have to do is plant these memories into that doll, for a start…

xxx

“It looks like Sora’s memories have started to take root, right on target,” giggled Larxene, watching Sora in the crystal ball.

Axel also looked up, looking at Larxene with a slight smile. “The plan continues, then. Let’s see how far he goes.”

The fake memories have started to take root inside Sora. In order for Sora to move the way the Organisation wants him to, his memories are being repainted little by little, the real ones being lost.

Fragments of memory are awfully vague things. They waver at the slightest chance.

Being able to make them waver, and weave new ones, is Naminé’s power.

But, that too is something planned under the power of the Organisation.

“Better go cut the next deal.”

“Wait—you had your fun on the first floor, didn’t you? That makes it my turn now,” Larxene asserted, with a bewitching smile.

“…Don’t break him,” were the words that slipped unconsciously out of Axel’s mouth.

“Huuuuh, what a soft thing to say.”

“He’s half one of us,” said Axel, but for a second he wondered—what that actually meant.

Was I talking about Sora, who we’re about to use, or half of him—no, Sora’s Nobody—Roxas?

“You don’t trust me, do you. I’m not so stupid as to play with the toy until it breaks,” Larxene shrugged.

That reminds me—I’m still not sure who the traitors are.

“Just making sure, you know. That kid’s a brat, you know—one we need to take control of the Organisation,” Axel laughed, setting a trap.

We—I wasn’t definitely talking about Larxene and I. But, Larxene might interpret it as ‘us’. Not lying.

And then, Larxene answered—

“Aren’t you saying too much? Keep the real target a secret until the final moment, you know.”

Saying only that, Larxene disappeared. She had headed off to where Sora was.

“You’re the one who says too much, Larxene,” murmured Axel, alone in the room. It had been that easy to find evidence on a traitor.

xxx

Alone in a dim research room, Vexen’s unwavering gaze was fixed on a crystal ball.

Basement eighth floor. In the crystal ball, two boys with the same face were facing each other.

Riku, and the Riku=Replica—the fruit of Vexen’s research, a doll.

There were many in-progress dolls. Many methods of inputting data in order to copy shape and movement were also being prepared. It was still in experimental stage, however, it seemed to Vexen, looking at the Riku=Replica in the crystal ball, that it had reached completion.

In the crystal ball, the Replica was thrown back by Riku.

“Hey, fake—didn’t you say ‘you can’t beat me’?”

Riku walked casually up to the Replica, pressing the Soul Eater into its throat.

“Huh—I was only just born. I’ll only get stronger from here. I’ll even top you, soon. The next time we fight will be your last,” bragged the Replica.

That’s right—the replicas grow. Experience is necessary for growth.

It is necessary to make it fight with an even stronger being.

Staring at the crystal ball, Vexen smiled thinly.

xxx

Larxene lost to Sora. She says she’d intended to lose from the beginning, but it was a clear retreat.

However, because of Larxene’s actions, Sora’s memories of Princess Kairi and Naminé the witch were mixed up, and he’s started thinking that Naminé, who he’s never even met, is very important to him.

Watching the hero move, I think of Roxas. Of Roxas’ movements—

Axel thought anew about the connection between the Nobody and the true form.

Also, Vexen and his doll—replica—are here now.

Vexen’s doll looked completely different to the shape he had seen when he’d investigated the basement, now taking the shape of a silver-haired boy—probably Riku.

I’ve definitely heard that replicas gain powers depending on memories. But I’ll bet no one but Vexen would have been able to tell that such an elaborate thing was a replica.

“How shameful, to have been driven back by such a lowly person. A disgrace to the Organisation.”

Larxene ignored him. “What do you want, Vexen. Your post is the basement, isn’t it?”

Originally, Axel would have wondered why Vexen, who should be in charge of the basement, would come upstairs, suspicious that perhaps he wanted to test the replica’s performance. However, Axel himself also felt like seeing the replica perform.

“I came to lend a hand. That hero you think so highly of—I personally can’t imagine he’s of any use. Is he really of value…? Experimentation is necessary.”

“Pfft, that’s so like you. To cut it short, you won’t be satisfied until you’ve done your experiments, am I right?”

“That is the instinct of a scientist.”

To the side of Larxene and Vexen’s exchange, the Replica was watching the crystal ball. It showed Sora and his gang.

“I don’t really mind, but, you know. While you test Sora, you want to test out your own servant, don’t you,” said Axel, glancing at the Replica.

“He’s not a servant. Let’s call him a product of research.”

“You mean a toy, right,” said Larxene, cutting across Vexen.

“Humph, such impudence from one who cannot comprehend.”

“Whatever, it’s fine. You came all this way for us. I’d like you to have a little fun, too. A present to my senior. Use these, and the show gets even more interesting. Use this card.” Axel threw a card to Vexen.

“Witty, aren’t you. Well then—I shall put this to use…. Come.”

Vexen beckoned the Replica to the centre of the room, and went to cross it.

“That’s just a card, isn’t it? What can you do with that,” said the Replica, mingled cynicism in his tone.

“Memories of the place where Sora and Riku were born are hidden in that card,” Axel explained, looking closely at the Replica’s face.

“Using that card and Naminé’s power, you could have the real Riku’s same memories for yourself. You could even get to forget that you were a fake. In other words, we’ll do you a favour and remake your heart, so you’re the same as the real Riku,” Larxene said, happily.

“Wait a minute! Remake my heart? Riku’s a weakling, afraid of his own darkness. I don’t want that guy’s heart!” the Replica yelled.

A portion of Riku’s memories must already be copied to the Replica. If those limits are pushed even higher, he’ll probably get even more powerful.

“So it’s fine, then? Vexen. Didn’t you come to use Riku to test Sora’s true power?”

Vexen folded his arms, and thought for a bit. Then he said, “It must be done.”

“What?! So you’ll betray me, Vexen!” pressed the Replica.

“I thought I said it. That you’d be useful to me,” declared Vexen, coldly.

“It’s okay. It probably won’t hurt that much.”

“Don’t make fun of me!”

The Replica slashed at Larxene, but she sent him flying instead. “Silly~! There’s no way a fake could ever beat me. But don’t worry. Naminé will erase the memory of me crushing you. And what’s more, she’ll plant lovely memories into your heart. Even though they’re lies!”

“Stop—”

The Replica went to stand up, and Larxene charged, landing another blow.

The Replica hit the wall, and fainted.

“Well then, now it’s your turn, Naminé—” Axel called out to the girl sitting quietly in the corner.

“Okay…”

“Though, it’s possible to transfer memories without witches and the like,” said Vexen, taking the Replica up in his arms.

“Uh, no. She doesn’t just transfer memories, she rewrites them. I don’t reckon anyone but a witch could rewrite memories. Isn’t that right? Naminé.”Naminé nodded slightly at Larxene’s words. “Sora and this doll will come to love you, if you rewrite their memories. Aren’t you happy?”

Naminé didn’t answer.

xxx

The Replica’s memories were being rewritten—just like Sora’s.

“That’s a pretty awesome power you got there, Naminé,” Axel murmured to the girl standing next to him, as he watched the Replica sleep in a pod that looked like a flower bud.

“But—all I can do is rearrange fragments of memories. I can’t rearrange things that aren’t already there.”

“You mean, as long as the data’s there, you can make anything you like from it?” asked Axel.

I’m sure the Organisation already has the technology to turn memories into data.

“What’s more, I need a container.”

“A container, huh…”

So in this case, container = Replica.

“And on top of that—just like the things you Nobodies do are controlled by your memories, maybe the same thing will go and happen to the Replica.”

“What do you mean?”

“The heart…”

Just when Naminé seemed about to say something, Vexen entered the room.

“Haven’t you finished rewriting the Replica’s memories yet?” Vexen said, pressingly. Naminé turned to him.

She cast her eyes down. “I’m still not finished. If the spiral of memories collapses halfway through, perhaps the Replica will also collapse…”

“But, unfortunately, Larxene says that Sora has arrived on the floor.” Vexen tapped on the keyboard in front of the pod. The pod door opened slowly, and the Replica awakened.

xxx

Naminé watched the Replica fight Sora, right until the end.

“The heart goes out to him, doesn’t it,” said Axel, from behind her.

Naminé lifted her face, and looked at Axel. A light that made him sense her own will was beginning to form in her eyes.

What is she planning to do…

Axel stared right back at her. “Stop that. We nobodies can never be somebody,” he warned.

Naminé looked down. She was gripping a sketchbook in her hands.

Marluxia, who is planning to manipulate the hero, is doing it right. And the basement crew, who have brought out this Replica in order to compete, aren’t doing it wrong either.

If so, then which one should I, who doesn’t belong to either, make the best use of? In particular the Replica, or the Hero? On top of that, over anyone else, if I don’t make use of Naminé, control of this castle will be impossible.

I’m pretty interested in what Naminé was saying in front of the Replica just before.

“Hey Naminé—there isn’t anything else you can do, is there?”

Naminé turned her face up to Axel, looking frightened.

xxx

“Hey—Fake… no, Riku.”

Axel appeared in front of the Replica, who had lost to Sora once again.

He doesn’t have any memories of being a replica any more. He’s so sure that he’s Riku.

“What do you want.”

Sweat ran down his forehead.

He even sweats, even though he’s a doll.

“The Hero was strong, wasn’t he?” smirked Axel, putting a hand on the Replica’s shoulder. “Naminé says that strong’s her type, too.”

The Replica looked down, biting his lip.

Just like a human boy, with a heart.

“What do you think, Riku? Do you want to try getting even stronger?”

“What do you mean.” The Replica looked at Axel with suspicious eyes. Axel threw a card to the Replica. It hit him in the chest, and fluttered to the ground.

That doesn’t have anything to do with memories; it’s the key to a room in Castle Oblivion.

If a card is held up to a door, a new world opens up. It’s only connected to the room Sora is in.

From now on, I’ll guide the Replica, in order to make it a piece under my control, rather than have Vexen pulling the strings.

“If you use this card, you can get even stronger.”

“Why are you helping me,” asked the Replica, staring at the card on the floor.

“Cause I wanna see the Hero defeated too, yanno.”

Even a replica could probably see through a lie like that. But, I don’t care. A replica planted with fake Riku memories should want power, no matter what. Because, that’s what gives this replica’s existence meaning.

“Well, let’s go—Riku.”

Seeming to have made up his mind, the Replica picked up the card.

xxx

A room in Castle Oblivion’s upper levels.

The state of affairs was opposite to how it had been after Larxene’s fight with Sora. This time, Larxene was scolding Vexen.

Even as he paid attention to the situation, Axel was watching Naminé, sitting frightened in the corner.

I wonder how much Naminé understands about that Replica.

“Whatcha gonna do, Vexen? You said Riku would listen to you, but where has he gone now? What’s he doing?”

The Replica had gone missing after his fight with Sora. Well, in reality, he had fought Sora, lost, and then disappeared after Axel’s sweet-talking. There was no way Vexen or Larxene knew this, though.

“He’s hidden on purpose in order to lure Sora. Larxene, you should know this!” said Axel.

Larxene clapped her hands together joyfully. “Ohhh~? Of course! I didn’t realise~. Excuuuuse me. I just can never work out whether Vexen’s research is any use or not, you know~,” Larxene jeered.

“Shut it!” Vexen was nearly trembling with rage.

“Huh… you’re just cranky cause it’s true. It’s so simple to everyone else, you know~”

Vexen’s shield appeared in his hand. “If I may say a word—”

Just then—Marluxia, who had disappeared off somewhere for a short while, appeared before them, breaking them up.

“Stop.” Larxene and Vexen stopped moving. “Vexen, the fact is, your strategy failed. It’s over. Do not disappoint us again,” stated Marluxia, looking down at Vexen.

At least, after seeing the resulting Replica, I think Vexen’s strategy—or rather, his project—was completed, but I guess they don’t need a doll that won’t do what the Organisation wants.

“Disappoint you—it’s gone to your head! In this Organisation, you are number XI. I, Number IV, won’t stand for being dictated to by the likes of you!” Vexen clutched his shield.

“However, I am the one who has been entrusted this Castle, and Naminé. To oppose me in this place will be considered treason against the Organisation.” Marluxia glared at Vexen.

“And traitors are destroyed. Those are the rules~” said Larxene happily, standing beside him.

That’s right; the Organisation does not leave those that turn against us alive.

Those are the rules.

“I speak in the name of the Organisation. Your strategy failed. Let us inform the Superior of this blunder.”

“Wha—wait, for only that! Surely you can forgive such a small thing!” Vexen begged, with enough force that he seemed about to fall to his knees. Seeing that, Larxene’s mouth twisted into a smirk. Vexen, head down, wouldn’t have been able to see that smile.

“There is one condition.”

Vexen looked up. “A condition?”

“Destroy Sora by your own hand.”

“What?!” Vexen half-shouted, and stopped moving.

Vexen probably couldn’t have imagined an order like that.

Larxene looks a little surprised, too.

“Are you complaining?” Marluxia pressed, an elegant smile rising on his face.

“No—but… why… you really don’t mind?”

“No more arguments from you,” said Marluxia, cutting down Vexen’s uneasy question. Silence stretched out in the tense atmosphere.

“You serious about this?” asked Larxene, breaking the silence. However, Marluxia didn’t answer. Perhaps taking Larxene’s reminder as an opportunity, Vexen disappeared.

“If you threaten him like that, he’s gonna seriously destroy Sora, you know.”

Marluxia probably issued the command in order to get Vexen, not Sora, destroyed, guessed Axel.

Marluxia isn’t that stupid.

“And that is an outcome no one desires,” said Marluxia, walking to a corner of the room.

Naminé looked up in surprise, her shoulders trembling.

“So, what will you do? Your hero will be destroyed, if nothing happens. But I believe he made a certain promise to you. Didn’t he, Naminé.”

“…Yes,” answered Naminé, in a small, thin voice.

xxx

Vexen took a blow from Sora, and fell to his knees.

“We did it!” Sora pumped his fist.

“Not quite—” muttered Vexen, getting slowly to his feet. “I cannot, of course, be disposed of that easily,” Vexen stated, breezily, even though his face was twisted in pain.

“You can actually keep going?” shouted Donald, from behind Sora.

“I wonder? Haven’t you noticed? That I was searching through your memories while we fought. And so… I found it! A card, made from memories from the sealed other side of your heart. If you want to fight me for real, step into the world born from this card!” Vexen threw a card to Sora.

Larxene, watching the events in the crystal ball, looked up at Marluxia. “What’s he mean?”

“That’s… Twilight Town,” Marluxia muttered; the name written on the card thrown to Sora.

Axel raised an eyebrow, deliberately.

“What is that guy trying to do,” wondered Larxene.

“Maybe he thinks fighting in a world he knows well will pay off?” Axel answered, folding his arms.

“Uh oh, has too much blood rushed to Vexen’s head? What you gonna do, Axel. It’d be terrible if Sora knew about his ‘other side’, wouldn’t it?”

I wonder which side is really the ‘other’ one.

Is Sora the ‘other side’ of Roxas, the Nobody? Or is Roxas the ‘other side’ of Sora? Which is the true ‘other side’?

And, I wonder what Vexen intends to do.

Does this have something to do with his experiment?

What is he trying to do by interfering with Sora’s memories?

Why is Twilight Town in Sora’s memories?

“If he only passes through, we can trick him somehow. But—” said Axel, hiding his unrest.

“I shall make a deal with Naminé. Axel, you go, too. You know what to do.”

There’s no longer room for doubt as to what Marluxia is saying.

“I don’t get you. I want to hear it from your lips,” grinned Axel, looking at Marluxia.

“Dispose of the traitors,” stated Marluxia, like it was nothing, and gave a put-on laugh.

“No taking that back, you know,” Axel confirmed one-sidedly, turned his back on Marluxia, and walked out of the room without using a dark corridor.

xxx

He headed down the hallway, towards the floor on which Sora was.

“Dispose of the traitors, hmm.”

The traitors to the Organisation have just been made crystal clear.

Marluxia and Larxene are going to betray the Organisation. Vexen’s position is only respected because of his stupid research, and I don’t think research has any meaning in the power games within the Organisation. There’s still the basement crew, but it’s too soon to judge just yet.

Now’s not the time to think about whether it’s right or wrong to take care of Vexen.

That’s all I can do if I don’t want to get into a disadvantageous position with Marluxia and Larxene. If I think of it as self-defence, it’s just something that can’t be helped. Even so, I wonder why Vexen would go to the trouble of making Twilight Town appear.

Because of him, even the Replica is headed for Twilight Town.

If worst comes to worst, and Sora finds out about Roxas, I wonder what’ll happen.

What would a human do, if they found out about their own Nobody?

If Sora is destroyed, Roxas will probably also be destroyed.

There’s no way around that.

And so, Axel stepped onto the floor—Floor 11 of Castle Oblivion, Twilight Town—where Sora was waiting.

xxx

This was Twilight Town—or rather, the town in Sora’s memories. However, it was absolutely no different from the town Axel knew. From the rows of shops and houses to tiny things such as the shade of the flagstones in the road, everything was the same.

“It’s… incredible, this castle.”

Admiring anew the power of the white rooms to change form according to memory, Axel walked through the forest leading to the haunted mansion.

I can’t see the Replica, but he’s probably somewhere in this town.

I’m sure Sora and the others are there.

Vexen’s voice could be heard coming from the edge of the forest. Axel concealed himself in the shade of a tree, furtively studying the situation between Vexen and Sora. It will probably be easier to dispose of Vexen after he’s fought Sora, whether he wins or loses.

“Sora, I’ll ask but one question. That ‘familiarity’, or your memories of Naminé—which one is real to you?”

“Naminé, of course! This feels familiar, but… it’s just an illusion you set up, of course!”

I wonder what that means. Sora feeling that this world is familiar, I mean.

What the hell is happening to the connection between Roxas and Sora’s memories?

Were the two always connected?

“Heh heh heh… memories are cruel things. They don’t only fade and get forgotten, they warp and bind people’s hearts.” Vexen still had leeway, standing before Sora, who gripped his Keyblade. “I’m sure I said it. That, this world was made of your other memories. Memories of this place exist on the other side of your heart. Your heart knows this place.”

Vexen must know something—about memories, and Sora, and Roxas—and how this relates to the heart.

“Liar! Memories like that don’t exist!” Sora waved his Keyblade.

“Bound by the chains known as memories and not believing your own heart is the same as throwing your heart away. If so, Sora, you’re no longer a Hero; just a doll, manipulated by memories. Yes… just like my Riku. No value in your existence in this world.”

In other words, Riku—that Replica—is just a doll being manipulated by memories.

“Your Riku…? No value…?” A displeased wrinkle formed between his brows. “Don’t mess around! You mean you’re saying you changed Riku!”

“Ho. Changed?” Vexen’s loud laughter echoed.

“What’s so funny!”

“That’s right—perhaps it could also be phrased that way, that I changed him. But—the familiar feeling you get from this world is real. Are you not able to believe your own feelings of familiarity?” intoned Vexen, dispassionately, contrasting with Sora’s angry voice.

He’s saying too many extra little things, thought Axel, holding his breath for the right timing.

“Everything you say is a lie!” Sora lifted the Keyblade up over his head, and attacked with force. But, Vexen sent him flying with his shield.

“You are no longer—a hero. You’re just a doll, who has thrown away your hero heart.”

“I haven’t thrown away my heart! I’ll defeat you, and help Riku and Naminé! That’s… my heart!”

What on earth is a heart—

“You fool—get lost!” Vexen shot lumps of ice.

“Fira!”

However, the ice was melted by Donald’s magic.

“You’ll be in trouble if you forget about us!” Donald shouted.

If you think of it as three against one, Vexen’s at a disadvantage. If he is defeated by Sora, my own troubles will decrease.

At that moment, a shadow jumped out just in front of Axel.

It was the Replica.

Sora and Vexen still hadn’t noticed that the Replica was there. And, it didn’t seem like the Replica noticed Axel, standing in the shade of a tree.

“What, you here too—Riku,” called Axel, and the Replica turned.

“What the hell is happening,” he returned. “Besides, you said I’d get stronger if I came here—”

“Did I say that?” smiled Axel, meaningfully, and he folded his arms.

“Did you trick me?”

“No—let’s watch and see, Riku.” Axel pointed at Sora, who was fighting. While speaking with the Replica, Sora had dealt Vexen sound damage.

“That guy’s strong, isn’t he.” Not reacting to Axel’s words of admiration, the Replica watched Sora silently.

Sora’s Keyblade sliced through the air, beating down on Vexen.

“Ugh—for you to have this much power, even though you are bound by memories… you’re definitely dangerous!” panted Vexen, curling in on himself.

“Whatever! Put Riku back the way he was!” Sora jabbed the Keyblade into Vexen’s throat.

“The way he was? Fool… you don’t understand a thing. There’s nothing for that Riku but to fall into the nothingness of darkness. Same for you, Sora! If you go on being charmed by Naminé, you will be bound by memories, lose your heart, and finally become Marluxia’s tool!”

“Marluxia?! Does that person have something to do with Naminé—”

To let the Replica hear that plan, and to let Sora hear that plan…

“Haha, wasn’t counting on that,” Axel laughed, and put his hand on the Replica’s shoulder.

“What do you mean?” asked the Replica, and Axel grinned, yanking on his shoulder. The Replica, pulled backwards so hard that he almost fell on his ass, was instead propelled into a dark corridor leading to Castle Oblivion.

The Replica was in the way. When inside the castle, I can even make others move through the space, like that.

And so, Axel appeared in front of Sora. He threw a chakram at Vexen right then. It wasn’t that powerful, but it could kill in one hit if it got a vital point.

“Gah?!”

Vexen fell to the ground.

“Hey, Sora. Did I come at a bad time? My bad.” Axel turned his back on Sora, looked down at Vexen, and stabbed him in the back with the chakrams again.

“Guuuh… Axel… what are you…”

“You prattle on for ages, so I’ll wrap it for you. Your existence, that is.”

Vexen grovelled on the ground, looking up at Axel. “Hey… wait, please…”

“We are ‘nobodies’, who barely exist. But right here, your memories and existence end. Aren’t you happy?” Flames lit up in Axel’s hand.

It’s after his fight with Sora. Vexen has barely any strength remaining.

Destroying him is easy.

“S… stop… I don’t want to vanish…”

“Later, senior.”

Vexen’s body was wrapped in the flames Axel had fired.

“Gwaaaaaah!”

Vexen burned for a moment, then disappeared.

So when a Nobody is destroyed, nothing remains…

“What’s with you… what are you?!” Sora yelled.

“Well now. I don’t really know myself,” replied Axel, and disappeared.

xxx

No turning back now…

“Good job, Axel. It’s a great load off my mind, having that annoying guy destroyed.” Axel had returned to the room, and met Larxene. Ignoring her, Axel walked towards Marluxia.

“Marluxia… did you throw Vexen at Sora to test his power?”

Marluxia remained silent.

“Not just Sora, but you too,” said Larxene, cheekily, snuggling against Axel. “We were testing whether you were prepared to dispose of your fellow Organisation comrades. Well, you passed. You can join us. With the three of us together, taking over the Organisation will be a breeze.”

Jeez—they’re underestimating the Organisation, and me.

Axel shrugged. “And for that, Sora…”

“Yep. He wants to meet Naminé, so let’s let him.” At Larxene’s words, Marluxia finally smirked, and walked slowly over to a corner of the room. Naminé, who had been listening to the three speak, gripping her sketchbook, looked up.

“Be happy, Naminé. The time when you will meet the Hero you’ve waited for is near.”

“I’m… happy,” Naminé answered, in a faint voice.

“I’ll say it now: don’t do anything cruel like disappoint Sora’s feelings, you know,” said Larxene, happily, finally separating from Axel.

“…I understand.”

“You may bring up the thought from layered memories,” Marluxia told Naminé, glancing at Larxene.

And then, Marluxia and Larxene—disappeared.

“Naminé…” Axel called, in a quiet voice, but Naminé didn’t move.

xxx

Continue to Chapter 5: Chain of Memories

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