Chapter 6: Tell a Lie

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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

Xion definitely said ‘Sora’. Why does she know Sora’s name?

Axel returned to his room, deep in thought. If Xion had memories, and if, just as Axel had guessed, she was a being with some connection to Naminé—to Princess Kairi, then it wouldn’t be strange for her to know Sora’s name.

But Xion isn’t meant to have memories. If I were to at least believe Xion’s word, then she doesn’t have memories of her past. And, she shouldn’t have had a reason for her to lie about herself. So, perhaps Xion’s memories are returning. What on earth is hidden in her lost memories?

That reminds me, Saïx said that Xion was born at Castle Oblivion. But there were no traces of such a thing there. I wasn’t able to understand everything about that castle, but at least at this point in time, I haven’t been able to find anything like that. Of the facilities, the only thing left is the research facility Vexen left behind.

And, what I learned at Castle Oblivion is that memories are terrible vague things.

We Nobodies are controlled by our memories of our time as humans. And, what the Organisation was doing in that castle was rearranging the memories belonging to the human Keyblade Hero, Sora. Human memories are terribly weak things, and thanks to that, it feels possible for the fragments of their memories to be scattered. In the first place, Naminé’s power was necessary for that rewriting.

No, there was one exception.

That is the memory-copying doll that Vexen built in the castle’s research facility—the Replica. That Replica was able to absorb Riku’s memories without the need for Naminé’s involvement. It was able to replicate even abilities at the same time as memories. Even more, actually; it was able to absorb Zexion’s power, too.

There, Axel suddenly hit on a particular thought, and looked up. What did Saïx say?

Xion is a failure—a defective failure, who doesn’t qualify as an Organisation member—

A chill ran down Axel’s spine. It can’t be, that can’t be what it means. I need proof, Axel thought vehemently. This right now is still just a guess. Nothing more than my own delusion. I want to know the truth. The truth about Xion…

xxx

I remember. I haven’t forgotten.

Lying in bed, Xion stared at the white ceiling.

It’s still a little hazy. But, I remember. That is, the contents of my dreams. Somewhere where a blue ocean spreads out wide—everyone played there. Everyone… Not Axel and Roxas—my friends on the island.

Since I fainted yesterday, I feel as though I’ve suddenly remembered so many things.

Yeah, wasn’t this what I dreamed of the whole time I was sleeping? And maybe these are memories. The memories that Roxas and I forgot.

But I still don’t understand who I was. Even though I dream, and even though the memories are returning, I can’t see who I was as a human.

I wonder who I was?

xxx

Without sleeping much, Axel headed for the lobby a little earlier than usual.

It would be good if I could negotiate about today’s mission alone with Saïx. Unless completely irregular, my missions lately have been to search for the fake Organisation member—Riku. Today should be the same.

For the Riku search mission, I’ve generally been able to choose where I search. Thanks to that, the range I’m allowed to act within isn’t restricted. That means that I can also suggest how to find out about Riku.

I intend to make use of that.

On his way to the lobby Axel saw Saïx’s figure, and called out. “Hey.”

“…You’re early, aren’t you?” said Saïx, glancing over Axel.

“Am I scheduled for Riku hunting again today?”

“You are, but are you going to ask if you can go on missions together with Roxas again?” Saïx started walking towards the lobby.

Axel followed after him. “No, it’s just that there’s something about Riku I’m interested in. I want to check up on something, but I thought I’d just get your permission first.”

“Hmph… Even without my permission, you’ll go looking as you wish, won’t you?”

“Well, I don’t really want to go into Vexen’s research room without having let someone know.”

Saïx stopped walking. “What do you intend to check out?” he asked, eyes slightly narrowed, as if studying Axel.

“Riku, of course. Isn’t it obvious,” said Axel, shrugging. I’m getting better and better at lying.

“If it’s Vexen’s reports in Castle Oblivion that you’re after, then I expect you have skimmed over all of them already.”

“I just want to know something from before that. Maybe there will be come clues.”

Saïx’s gaze was fixed on Axel. “Fine. You have permission to enter the room. I’ll send an underling with the key later.”

“Thanks, man. This’ll really help things go faster. Well then, that’s what I’ll be doing for my mission today.”

Saïx’s mouth twisted into a shape like a smile. “I wonder why you’re checking up on such trivial details, anyway?”

“…You’re right. Are you interested?”

“Do as you like,” said Saïx, as Axel fluttered his hands around, and he left that place.

If another Organisation member had said the same thing, would Saïx have given his permission? Axel wondered, vaguely. Does Saïx still trust in me?

xxx

Roxas’ mission was at a world called Wonderland. It was the third time he’d visited this place. Just like the times before, the mission was to subjugate a specific Heartless with Luxord.

Upon setting down there, a white rabbit holding a watch ran right past Roxas and Luxord’s eyes.

“I’m late, I’m late, I’m very very late! I must hurry back and give my report! She’s sure to be angry. If I don’t rush, she’ll have my head!” The rabbit ran off deep into a corridor in quite a panic.

“I wonder what he was in such a panic for?” muttered Roxas, staring in the direction the white rabbit had disappeared off to.

Luxord smiled slightly. “A curious heart in an important element in carving one’s own fate. But, too curious, however, and one will drive oneself to ruin. Whether that white rabbit will bring you good luck or bad luck—”

“It’s not really that big a deal, right?” Roxas cut in. “Whether we chase that white rabbit or not, our mission to defeat Heartless stays the same, right?

“Well—I wonder. So then, Roxas. How about we try chasing that white rabbit?” Luxord proposed, unexpectedly.

Roxas looked up at Luxord. “Huh? What about the mission?”

“Whether we chase that white rabbit or not, our mission stays the same, right?”

“Yeah, but…” I don’t really get what Luxord really has in mind.

“Let’s follow it, Roxas.” Luxord began to walk, and Roxas followed after him.

xxx

Vexen’s research room was filled with the unique air of a closed off room. Unlike Saïx’s research room, lined with computers, an enormous number of files written on paper and in books were in piles.

“Kinda overwhelming…,” Axel muttered unconsciously, but the files were each properly titled, and Axel knew Vexen’s personality well, peculiarly precise like only a researcher could be.

Looking at a bookshelf, Axel picked up a few files. He spread them on top of a desk, pursuing with his eyes information on whether or not there was anything about Xion written there.

After many files, he reached one with the words ‘About Naminé’ written on it. He chased the letters. What on earth is Naminé? And, what is her connection to Xion? Why was Xion born in Castle Oblivion?

The answers to all his questions were written right there.

xxx

Thanks to chasing the white rabbit, they were able to find the target Heartless and exterminate it quickly.

“Your curious heart had the effect of making our mission easier, I see.”

“A curious heart carves one’s fate, wasn’t it…,” Roxas repeated. Even if it seems completely unrelated at a glance, perhaps it is connected somehow. For example, if something interests you, then it’s not a bad thing to try and pursue it.

But, Luxord kept speaking. “That which will lead to your ruin will also be your curious heart.”

What on earth is he talking about…

“Well then, let’s RTC.” Luxord opened a corridor. Stepping inside, Roxas kept thinking about Luxord’s words.

xxx

Xion sat vaguely on the clock tower, biting an ice cream.

Today’s mission was easy, too.

Saïx always looks at me with cold eyes. Surely I’m not important to Saïx at all. My nose feels stuffed up somehow. Something’s pinching behind my eyes and nose.

The me in my dreams seemed to be having fun, but why am I like this now?

“You’re early today, aren’t you?”

Xion turned at the sound of Roxas’ voice.

“That’s cause I had an easy mission.”

Like always, Roxas passed behind her and sat next to her.

“How are you feeling?”

“…I think, I might be okay now.”

“That’s good.” Roxas smiled, and started to eat his ice cream. The two of them sat side by side, eating ice cream. Cold, sweet and salty ice cream, just like always.

“Axel is?”

“Looks like he hasn’t come yet.”

Just then, the bell on the clock tower rang. The sun would sink soon.

“If he’s this late, I don’t think he’ll be coming today.” We usually see Axel a little earlier than this.

“Should we wait a little longer and see?” said Roxas.

Xion nodded. “…Yeah.”

If the three of us didn’t eat ice cream here like this, then by today I definitely would have been turned into a Dusk, and disappeared from this world, wouldn’t I? It was thanks to Roxas that I became able to use the Keyblade again, and also because Axel talked to Saïx for me. And when I fainted not so long ago, the two of them saved me.

Xion took a small breath, and said, “You and Axel are always saving me, aren’t you?”

“I haven’t done a thing. Axel’s the one who’s said all those things to Saïx for us,” Roxas said.

Xion went to say, that’s not true, but she held her tongue. If I say it, I know he’s just going to deny it. Instead, Xion said, “…I’m so glad you two are in the Organisation for me.”

Then, they watched the sunset.

“I guess Axel isn’t coming…,” Roxas murmured.

xxx

Lately I’ve felt so refreshed after waking up, thought Roxas as he got ready for the day. I’ve stopped dreaming. And then, every day has been pretty fun. Yesterday was really fun, and I went over what I’ve written so far in my reports, and counted the days since I joined the Organisation.

It was fun, remembering things like what had happened, and what I’d done with Axel and Xion since I joined.

I don’t have any memories of my time as a human, but I think if I had them, it would definitely be this fun.

Roxas left his room and headed for the lobby.

My missions have been kinda fun, too. But, there is one thing troubling me. That is, lately not everyone has been coming to the clock tower after missions. That’s been happening for about ten days—Since I spoke with Xion after going to Wonderland, Xion and Axel haven’t been coming to the clock tower.

Hn, there are so many things I want to tell them.

Entering the lobby, Roxas found Axel there, surprisingly.

“Hey, Roxas.”

“—Morning, Axel.”

For some reason, Roxas didn’t quite know how to reply to this normal greeting.

“Today your mission is together,” Saïx ordered straight away.

“….And Xion?” Roxas asked Axel, in a small voice.

“Already left,” he replied.

“Oh, I see.”

“Come on, let’s go.”

“Uh, where?”

“To Neverland.” Axel entered a corridor, and Roxas hurried after him.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Roxas began, as they walked along the corridor.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, talking with you like this.”

Axel scratched his head, tilting it to one side. “Has it now?”

“Yeah, it has. You haven’t been coming to the usual spot, that’s why.”

“Aaaah, my bad my bad. I’ve been a bit busy, that’s all,” Axel answered, and that moment, the exit came into view. Neverland—the world with the sprawling ocean.

xxx

It hurts.

Xion swing the Keyblade down, and defeated a Heartless. Though they were the kind of Heartless she’d been destroying in one blow up until now, Xion was panting heavily and leaning on the Keyblade.

For so many days now I’ve been dreaming every night, and it feels like I haven’t slept at all. It’s like there’s this world, and that world. That world—the world in my dreams. The me in my dreams seems to be having so much fun. That’s why for me here, it’s the opposite, and every day is deathly tiring.

And then, since I haven’t been sleeping, I’m not moving well. I want to sleep for even just the tiniest wink. That’s why I haven’t been going to the clock tower. While I’m awake, I think it’s bad the entire time. But, if I sleep, I dream.

Whether Saïx knows this or not, my missions have continued to be easy. But sometimes I’m not able to perform even these easy missions well.

Maybe things would change if I talked to Axel and Roxas. That reminds me, there are things I want to ask Axel, too. Yesterday the place I dreamed of was probably Castle Oblivion. And Axel was there, too… or that’s how it felt. I don’t know if I’m allowed to ask about it.

I’m so, so uneasy. But, it’s definitely too late for there to be things I can’t ask. Maybe I’ll go to the usual spot today and see…

xxx

Drawing the scent of the salt water deep into his lungs, Axel turned to Roxas, who had followed behind.

“Oh yeah, wasn’t this the world? The one where you said you ‘flew’?”

“Yeah, I really can fly! Axel, watch!”

Smiling with his whole face, Roxas kicked off the ground. But—he just jumped.

“What the…?”

He kicked off again. But, he got the same result.

Axel, who had been in a depressed mood as he wondered what kind of face to put on for Xion if he saw her, blew out a breath of laughter unconsciously.

“What are you doing, Roxas?”

“That’s weird… I could fly before.”

Roxas kicked at the ground desperately, and Axel suddenly couldn’t stop laughing. I can see now that what I was thinking was stupid. Nothing can happen if you do nothing but think. I should have known this. I wonder why I wasn’t able to move. Just like a human.

Just then, they heard a shout. “What’s happening!” The man seemed angry. “We dig and dig, but we find nothing but junk! To make things worse, more Heartless came out, too!”

Beside the cranky man stood a worried looking old person.

“Blast it all! I’ve lost my mind!”

The man began to walk, and the old man followed after in a flurry.

“Captain, where to?”

“We’re returning to the ship!”

And just like that, the two of them left.

“What’s with those guys?” Axel murmured.

“I don’t know much, but when I saw them in my mission before, they were saying something about treasure maps,” Roxas answered.

“Treasure maps, huh… they on a treasure hunt or something?”

“They dug a hole, and a Heartless appeared.”

“So, you mean there was a Heartless in the hole they dug?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“What’s with you? Be a little clearer.”

“In the hole was a wooden chest with junk in it.”

“So, maybe the wooden chests have some kind of connection to the Heartless?”

“Maybe…,” said Roxas, thinking.

It’s just so unclear… or rather, so not straightforward. There are these things that seem like treasure maps, and if you follow them and dig a hole in the ground you’ll find a wooden chest, and then Heartless appear from those wooden chests. Have I got it right?

“Okay, first we’ll go check out the hole those guys dug.”

“Yeah, good idea.”

Axel started walking towards where the man and the old man had been standing.

xxx

Something sparkling flew around the hole.

“You’re…” the fairy I met earlier. Tinker Bell.

“Hey, Roxas, what is this?!” Axel asked, scratching his head. Tinker Bell hid behind Roxas, as if frightened.

“I don’t really know either, but I met her on my last mission. She’s not our enemy.”

Axel peered behind Roxas, and Tinker Bell turned her back on him in discontent.

“And, it was thanks to her that I was able to fly through the air.”

“Fly… through the air?”

“Yeah.” Roxas turned around to face Tinker Bell, speaking to her. “I want to fly again. Please, put some of that shiny dust on us again?”

Tinker Bell seemed to be thinking about it for a moment, but she finally flew round and round Axel and Roxas. From her body, dust made of light came sprinkling down on Axel and Roxas. And then—Roxas’ body went floating up into the air.

“Wahh?!” Axel yelled in surprise.

“See? Just like I said, right?” He flew higher into the air, looking down at Axel.

“Roxas, how are you flying like that?”

“I don’t know the technicalities, but if you have some of that shiny dust on you, and you think “I can fly,” then you can fly.”

“That’s all?”

“Yeah, that’s all,” said Roxas, spinning once.

“You give It a go too, Axel.”

“O… okay…,” said Axel, but he stayed there like that, furrowing his brow in thought.

“What are you doing, Axel.”

“Looks like… it’s no good…,” Axel shrugged.

“No way. Trust me!”

“….I trust you.” Axel closed his eyes. And then—he was bobbing in the air. “I-I’m flying…,” he said.

“See? You can fly!”

It felt uneasily unsteady, but Axel really was flying in the air.

“Awesome!”

“See? It’s awesome, right?”

The two of them flew around for a while, testing things out, but then Tink came over to them. She was pointing in the direction that the guys from before—Hook and Smee—had gone, in the direction of the pirate ship.

“Are you telling us that they went to the ship?” Roxas asked, and Tink nodded.

“So those guys from before got onto the ship, right? Are you, by any chance… a buddy of theirs?” Axel asked. Tink puffed her cheeks out. She seemed pretty angry.

Just then, there was a loud noise and something came flying past.

“Wahh?!”

It was clearly a dangerous object—a cannonball. They cannons were firing from the pirate ship. More and more cannonballs came sailing over.

“Are they attacking us?” asked Roxas, dodging a cannonball.

“Nah, they’re mistaking us for Heartless, aren’t they?” Axel replied, as Tink pointed at the ship. She went flying over in that direction.

“Hey, wait!” Roxas called, and went to chase after her in a panic, but Axel grabbed his shoulder.

“Wait, Roxas. It’s too dangerous to go near that ship right now.”

“But—”

Roxas couldn’t help being worried about Tink, who had flown away. But then, right in front of their eyes, their target, a flying Heartless, appeared.

“Also, our mission takes priority. Anyway, the little missy is so tiny she won’t get hit, right?”

“…Got it,” Roxas nodded reluctantly.

“Don’t go zoning out and getting hit by cannonballs, okay?”

“You too.”

Axel threw a chakram at the Heartless. Roxas also aimed at it, and swung the Keyblade down. But, the Heartless dodged in a slippery manner. Just as he went to chase it, a cannonball zipped in front of Roxas, cutting him off.

“Wahh!” Roxas lost his balance.

Axel, perfectly used to flying by now, grabbed his arm. “I thought I told you to be careful!”

“Let’s go.” Just like that, the two of them chased the Heartless out over the sea.

The Heartless aren’t all that tough. But, the cannonballs are making this another story.

Axel shot flames and set the Heartless on fire, and in that unguarded moment, Roxas swung the Keyblade down on it. It was a disappointingly easy victory.

“Mission completed,” said Roxas, watching the heart float up into the air.

“How many times are they gonna shoot those things before they’re satisfied…,” muttered Axel. They’d managed to defeat the Heartless, but the cannonballs showed no sign of stopping.

“I wonder… if she’s okay.” Roxas stared at the pirate ship.

“Hm? You mean that little lady?”

“It really would have been better to follow her.”

However, with the cannonballs firing, there was no way to get close to the ship.

“It doesn’t look like this is going to let up—and it’s too dangerous to try going close to the ship in the middle of that, and most things to do with the worlds are banned, right? Let’s leave things here for now.”

Well, if Axel says so then there’s nothing to be done. But, it’s thanks to her that we’re able to fly through the air like this. If she’s in some kind of trouble, then I want to do as much as I can to help.

“Don’t be getting down about it. Little miss will be fine.”

“I guess… so.”

“Anyway, let’s RTC,” said Axel, and Roxas nodded. There was nothing to be done.

xxx

Spending time alone with Roxas was so comfortable and easy. I don’t really want to think about Xion right now.

Axel was holding an ice cream in one hand, and laughing together with Roxas at the usual spot.

“I guess that shiny dust wouldn’t work on other worlds.”

“I wonder, now…” The experience of flying was definitely special. I totally understand why Roxas was so worked up.

“You two are early,” said Xion, appearing.

“You’re late, Xion!” Roxas called, in a merry voice. Axel averted his gaze from Xion unconsciously.

I’m uneasy.

Xion sat down beside Roxas. “I’m sorry, it took a little longer than I’d thought.”

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you. Xion, we flew in the air today!” Roxas began talking to Xion, still worked up. “There was this sparkly, shiny dust, see, and if you get it on you then you can fly!”

Xion gave a small sigh. “It’s nice you two seemed to have such a great time.”

“It’d be nice if you could come too next time, Xion. That world—has an ocean.”

“The ocean…,” Xion murmured, looking down. “If you like the ocean, there’s this world I went to before that had a very pretty ocean too. Destiny Islands…”

“The ocean is nice, isn’t it. The sound of waves and the like.”

“Yeah.”

Roxas was still in an excited mood.

“Am I… in the way here?”

“Xion, what are you saying?” Roxas said, and Xion looked down.

The other two noticed that Xion seemed off, and an oppressive atmosphere descended upon them.

“…Hey, Axel,” Xion called, in a small voice.

“What?”

“Axel, you’ve been to Castle Oblivion, haven’t you?”

Axel nodded, even as he mulled the question over. I wasn’t expecting that. Does she know something?

“What on earth is over there?”

“The Organisation’s research facilities, that’s all that’s there,” Axel answered, frankly. Xion’s expression showed that she was clearly at a loss.

“Research facilities…? People get sent there all the time, don’t they. Especially you, Axel,” said Roxas, as if trying to help the silent Xion out.

“But, we haven’t gone there,” said Xion.

“I’d say that’s cause there’s no reason for you to go,” answered Axel, right away.

Silence descended upon them again.

The bell of the clock tower began to rang, and Xion took the opportunity to stand up. “I’m going back now.”

“Huh?” said Roxas, and at that very moment, Xion’s body swayed dizzily.

Then, just like that, her foot slipped off the side of the clock tower.

“Xion!”

Roxas threw his hand out to grab hers.

xxx

Memory. My first memory. Saïx leading me by the hand, out of Castle Oblivion.

“You probably won’t come back here again—Xion.”

Yeah, it was definitely Saïx who said that. And, that place was—definitely Castle Oblivion.

xxx

Roxas clung for dear life to Xion’s hand. And, Axel held onto Roxas’ body, supporting him.

“Are you okay?!”

“…I’m okay…,” answered Xion in a small voice, as Roxas held her there with one arm.

Roxas dragged her body up. “You’re feeling unwell again, aren’t you?” he said worriedly, his panting breaths subsiding.

Xion stayed sitting on the ground. “No… it’s nothing like that,” she answered, hanging her head.

Roxas didn’t know what to say, and he just stared at Xion.

“Oh yeah!” Axel suddenly shouted.

“What’s with you, all of a sudden.”

“Next time we get a holiday, how about the three of us go to the beach?” Axel said, smiling.

“…The beach? Where’s this coming from, out of the blue?” Xion asked, still looking down.

“It’d be nice to go have some fun together, wouldn’t it?”

It’s pretty rare for Axel to make a proposal like this. But, I know for sure that Axel is thinking that things with Xion look pretty serious.

Thinking such thoughts, Roxas gave his own bright reply. “You mean, friends spending the holiday together?”

“Yeah, yeah!” Axel said, invitingly.

This tone is just like the conversation that the two of us shared just before Xion got here. It’s fine to include her, I think.

But.

“…I wonder if I could actually go,” Xion said in a small voice.

“What are you talking about, Xion?” Roxas said.

“Let’s have a blast, Xion,” Axel added.

Xion looked up from her lap, and smiled slightly. “Yeah… I guess so… Let’s do it,” she finally agreed.

Axel and Roxas looked at each other.

“If we’re going to the beach…,” Axel began.

“Then fried noodles is a given, right?” said Roxas.

“And then watermelon?” said Xion, replying in turn.

They looked at each other and laughed. The setting sun shone down on the three of them, just as always.

xxx

Naminé and DiZ gazed up at the pod. The room, kept at a certain fixed temperature, should rightfully have had a comfortable atmosphere, but, it was filled with a heavy air.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going well,” DiZ said, and Naminé looked down.

“I think it’s the influence of a Nobody…”

“A Nobody…?” DiZ said, disgustedly.

Naminé continued without looking up. “No matter how many fragments of memory I connect, if memories flow outside, not all of the memories will go back. And if the memories that flowed out connect to other memories, wherever they are, they won’t be able to come back at all…”

Sora’s memories are flowing outside. If they were only flowing into his Nobody, it would be fine. But they’re flowing even further than his Nobody, into a place we didn’t imagine. Maybe that’s our punishment for toying with memories in the first place.

“I doubt it will be a problem if he’s missing a few memories.”

“If they are a vital key to his awakening, then it will.”

“Key—Witch, you manipulate the memories of Sora and those connected to Sora… Naminé, can you see something?”

Naminé looked up, and gazed at Sora, sleeping inside the pod.

“If they connect with other memories, then she definitely won’t be able to bear it…”

“She?” DiZ asked.

Naminé shook her head slowly. She definitely… won’t be able to bear it.

xxx

I don’t even know where Castle Oblivion is. But, the only thing I know is that I came from that place. If that’s true, then there’s nothing but for me to find out for myself.

Xion was inside Saïx’s research room. She just knew how to use a computer. Typing on the keyboard, many pieces of information showed up on the screen.

It’s not like what I want to know is all that important. I wouldn’t expect it to be protected. What I want to know is how to get to Castle Oblivion.

“Not that…” She tapped on the keyboard.

“Not this either… Ah!”

The Nobody symbol appeared on the monitor, and the location of the castle. It showed that the castle was in the realm of in-between. Xion memorised the information on the screen, and left Saïx’s room.

xxx

“Wake up.”

“…Let me sleep a little longer…,” Axel replied, without opening his eyes.

“I’m telling you to wake up.”
The displeased-sounding voice made Axel open his eyes. “What are you doing in here?”

Standing beside his bed was Saïx, a disagreeable look on his face.

I haven’t been woken up like this since I’ve become a Nobody.

“Xion has left the castle.”

“…She did…?” Axel sat up. For Saïx to go and phrase it like that, ‘left the castle,’ it can only mean that Xion has run away from the Organisation. Xion…

Axel got out of bed, and started getting ready.

“That was a quick reaction.”

“You’re sending me after her, aren’t you?” said Axel, stretching himself thoroughly. Most of my predictions stick.

“Good guess. Xion has probably headed for Castle Oblivion.”

“…What would that mean?”

“You’re the one who knows the most about Xion, aren’t you? You looked into it yourself, didn’t you?” Axel remained silent until Saïx continued. “What Xion chooses to do has nothing to do with us. However, if the facilities in that castle are used, then we have a problem. Dispose of the facilities. That’s the only order from me. After that, do what you like.”

Axel nodded and left the room.

xxx

My head hurts. Xion looked up at the strangely-shaped castle. No… it’s like someone is calling to me. Something is resonating directly inside my head. I’m scared to open the doors of the castle. And whatever lies on the other side of the doors… also scares me.

Despite this, Xion pushed open the huge doors. It opened onto a cold room made of white stone that was very similar to the Castle that Never Was.

But, there’s something different about the air here.

Halfway down a hallway, the pain in Xion’s head got stronger, and she fell to her knees.

The answer is definitely just beyond this point and everything…

Just then, the sound of footsteps echoed around, and Xion turned.

The familiar sight of her red haired friend was standing there. “Axel… Why are you here…”

He looked troubled, scratching his head and looking down at Xion. “I just happened to be ordered here, that’s all. There’s nothing here anymore.”

“Liar! The secret of my birth is here, I know it,” Xion screamed.

Axel shook his head. “You can’t just go doing what you want.” His words were calm.

“If I oppose orders, I’ll be turned into a dusk… that’s what you mean, right?”

“It wouldn’t be so bad if they only turned you into a dusk—they’ll destroy you,” he said, coldly, and Xion’s chest ached.

“Because I’m… useless?” she muttered, looking down.

“No,” said Axel, shaking his head. He grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet.

“We’re going home, Xion.”

This time Xion was the one to shake her head. What do I do? I know Axel would understand if I told him. But, I don’t know what to say. I’m searching for words. But the right ones aren’t coming.

“One by one, my human memories are returning.”

“Whether you remember those things or not, it doesn’t mean anything,” said Axel, immediately dismissing the words she’d tried so desperately to put together.

“Every night I dream! You’re in them too, you know?”

“I can’t be in memories from your past. Those are just normal dreams.”

Why is he being so dismissive?

“No they aren’t!” Xion screamed. “I met you here in this castle, didn’t I, Axel?”

“We never met.” Axel grabbed Xion’s shoulder, and stared into her face. “We’re going home, Xion. Roxas is waiting.”

Xion shook Axel’s arm off. “Please, Axel. I want to know! Who I am—” I want to know so badly.

Xion ran.

“Stop! Don’t go, Xion!” Axel chased her.

Xion opened a door. On the other side of it was—a room made from Xion’s ‘memories’.

And, planted firmly in front of Axel was a black coated man, Riku.

xxx

I… wasn’t… me?

xxx

With his back to the closed door, Riku stared hard at Axel.

Nah, maybe I’m wrong and he’s not staring at me. Both his eyes are covered by that black cloth.

“—Riku,” Axel muttered, gripping his chakrams.

Not even a year has passed since I last saw his figure. But, Riku seems to have grown into what looks like a whole new person.

“Let her do what she likes.”

“What do you know about Xion?” Axel asked back.

“Xion, is it… I have no intention of fighting you here.”

“Well I do!” Axel threw a chakram. But, Riku dodged it swiftly.

“I thought I told you I didn’t intend to fight?”

“What do you intend to do with Xion?”

Riku didn’t respond. He simply melted away into the darkness and vanished.

xxx

In the round room, Saïx continued informing Xemnas and Xigbar of Xion’s escape.

“Last night on short notice, I sent Axel over to Castle Oblivion. He is proceeding with the matter from before. At the same time, I am making him dispose of the facilities. He should RTC soon.”

After Saïx’s information, Xemnas asked something unexpected. “What of Naminé’s whereabouts?”

Why is he asking about not Xion, but Naminé? “We still don’t know,” replied Saïx, as he tried to figure out what Xemnas’ true motivations were.

“Haha! Where could she have gotten to I wonder,” Xigbar butted in, teasing.

“Xigbar… You’ve gotten hold of something, haven’t you?”

Saïx found Xigbar’s true motivations much harder to grasp than Xemnas’, which displeased him.

“…Continue the report,” Xemnas said.

“There were traces of someone suspiciously accessing the main computer.”

“You’re saying you know who accessed it though, anyway.” This time Xigbar was pressing. Saïx stayed silent, and a sharp grin twisted Xigbar’s mouth. “Poppet is getting more and more similar.”

Poppet…? He must mean Xion. But the puppet hasn’t changed. I can think he’s putting deeper meaning in his words on purpose, but I don’t have time to go along with it.

“What are you talking about? That thing is only doing exactly what we would want it to.”

But, Xigbar only laughed at Saïx’s answer. “Haha! I see, so that’s how it is.”

“Is something funny?”

“Guess guys without hearts really are different,” said Xigbar, laughing.

None of us have hearts—Saïx went to say, but Xemnas opened his mouth.

“No matter what has happened, our plans won’t change. Axel, Roxas, and Xion. They are behaving according to the will of Kingdom Hearts.”

“But, Xion is—”

Of all the members in the Organisation, Saïx was the only one who held doubts about the plan of Xion.

“Leave it be. Can’t you see how perfect this is?” Xemnas said, and Saïx looked away.

I can’t understand what he’s talking about.

“It seems that it will still take some time before Xion comes close to the original goal. It’s not necessary for us to do anything. We will just pay close attention and watch over things.”

Saïx hesitated over Xemnas’ words. What on earth—does he mean?

xxx

Watching the sunset and eating ice cream in the usual spot, just like usual, after finishing a mission that went just like usual. Lately, the repetitiveness hasn’t felt so bad, thought Roxas, narrowing his eyes against the glare of the setting sun.

“You’re early.”

Turning at the sound of the voice, a grin surfaced on Roxas’ face. “You’re just late, Axel,” he said.

The setting sun shone on the two of them.

“It’s 255 days today…,” Roxas murmured.

Axel tilted his head. “What is?”

“Today makes 255 days since I joined the Organisation. Time’s flown surprisingly fast.”

“You’ve been memorising the number of days?”

“I didn’t have any memories up until joining the Organisation, and I was zoned out for the first few days, so I wanted to properly remember everything after that.” To tell the truth, I really only know because I recently went and re-read all my reports.

Axel looked deeply into Roxas’ face, then he laughed. “For about the first week, even your words were clumsy. Well, you still zone out all the time even now!”

“You’re terrible!”  Roxas said, and then the two of them laughed. Then, they looked out at the sunset.

It’s tense and suffocating sitting in silence with anyone else, but with Axel and Xion, it doesn’t bother me at all, thought Roxas. I can feel safe with them sitting silently beside me—that’s probably because, no, definitely because they’re my best friends. Together or not together, speaking or not speaking, it’s okay.

“Hey, Roxas—”

“Yeah?”

Axel’s face was dyed by the setting sun. His red hair looked even redder.

“Do you know why the sunset is red?” Axel looked at Roxas. “There are many colours that make up light, and out of all of them, red is the one that travels the furthest.”

Roxas laughed. “Why do you look so smug about it?” He shoved him, and Axel gave another little laugh.

There’s something weird about Axel today. I don’t really know what it is, though. But, that was fun too, and Roxas began to laugh out loud. It would be nice if Xion got here soon, though.

“Anyway, she’s late…,” murmured Roxas, unconsciously.

“I don’t think… Xion will come today,” said Axel.

“Did she faint again?” I’m uneasy. Xion hasn’t been feeling well lately. I wonder why…

“Nahh, I hear she’s been sent on an important mission. Awesome, huh!”

There’s something forced about Axel’s tone. I think he could be saying this so I won’t worry. Roxas let out a small sigh. “When will she be coming back?” he asked.

“Depends how hard she works now, doesn’t it?”

Roxas stared out at the sunset, biting his ice cream.

“Oh… I guess we won’t get a holiday soon, then… If we did, the three of us could go to the beach, though.”

We promised Xion.

The sunset shone on Roxas.

xxx

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days: Vol 2. Go to the Sea Complete! The series is continued in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days: Vol 3. Xion—Seven Days

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