Chapter 1: Radiant Garden

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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.
Thanks to fellow fan-translator final-ace for providing the copy of this novel.

Twilight Town.

A town in half-light—a town that had half the light.

The usual spot. Hayner, Pence, Olette.

The three were gathered in this storehouse-like space under the railroad tracks.

“There’s no mistaking it,” said Olette, holding a small cloth bag.

Hayner shrugged. “But it can’t be, can it?”

“Well then, how do you explain this crystal?”

Olette took said blue crystal from inside the bag.

“It’s…”

Hayner folded his arms and fell into silence.

“And I made this bag myself. I wouldn’t mistake it for anything else,” Olette said firmly. Hayner looked at Pence, troubled.

“Sora and the others also had this bag and a blue crystal. It’s impossible for there to be two of the same thing, now can there?” Hayner and Olette nodded at Pence’s words.  “But,” Pence continued, “the impossible has happened. I wonder where Sora and the others got their Munny bag and crystal?”

“I guess we’d have to ask them,” said Hayner, frowning.

Pence looked at Hayner and Olette with a grin. “How about this? What if there is another world just like this one, and this bag and crystal came from there? And so then things that aren’t here are there.”

“You mean, Kairi might be wherever Sora and the others got this bag and crystal?” Olette asked anxiously.

That moment, Hayner leapt to the top of the wooden crates piled in the middle of the room and shouted, “Of course! Pence, you’ve done it again!”

“But we have no idea where that place could be…,” Pence said with a huge sigh, looking up at Hayner.

Same time, same town—the haunted mansion, a white room.

Soul Eater and Aerial Blade.

In the room with walls papered with Naminé’s drawings, two men wielding blades glared at each other.

The two men looked very alike. They weren’t simply dressed the same. The shape of their bodies and everything else were closely similar.

“Xehanort’s power is nothing like this, I am sure,” said Xemnas, and Ansem—no, Riku—glowered in displeasure, gripped the Soul Eater tightly. Riku couldn’t attack Xemnas, who looked to be simply standing there. Moreover, he couldn’t even move.

Hands folded as if she had prayed for this situation, Naminé was watching.

“What’s wrong?” Xemnas said, provokingly, and the Aerial Blades disappeared from his hands. Xemnas took one step closer to Riku, who was gripping the Soul Eater and grinding his back teeth.

At that moment, Namine gave a quiet cry.

“…DiZ!”

Behind Xemnas, DiZ was standing. He had appeared without a sound or signal, and was watching Riku and Xemnas in silence.

Xemnas stopped and moved his gaze to DiZ. He narrowed his eyes.

“Oh… I see.”

“Xemnas,” DiZ called, and without even turning around Xemnas gave a defiant smile—and disappeared.

“Maybe you meant to save me, but—don’t get in the way when after all this I get the chance to defeat that guy,” Riku said, readying the Soul Eater against DiZ.

The Gummi Ship touched down at the place with a new objective, Hollow Bastion.

Sora shrugged his shoulders and scratched his head.

“Didn’t we already… settle things here?”

A strange shadow dashed past him.

“Heartless again?” Goofy mumbled in surprise, readying his shield.

“Well first thing’s first, let’s go see Leon,” Sora said, running at the group of Heartless, and in a second he’d routed all of them.

“Done and dusted!”

“Sora, you really have gotten stronger…,” said Goofy relaxedly, putting his shield away.

“I was already strong, you know,” said Sora, resting his Keyblade on his shoulder.

“No you weren’t,” said Donald, and Goofy nodded.

“Even you, Donald!” Sora protested.

“You were nowhere near this strong when we first met you, Sora,” said Goofy, and it was Donald’s turn to give a big nod.

“You don’t depend on us so much,” he added. Goofy flapped his head up and down in agreement.

“What, both of you?”

Sora folded his arms and was about to object, but at that moment, someone came running up to them.

Donald jumped a little.

“Uncle!”

An old gentleman in a top hat—Scrooge—stood in front of Sora and his friends with three ice creams in his hands.

“Wak?”

Donald tilted his head, smelling the scent of the ice creams that Scrooge was holding.

“At last, my nostalgic iced candies are complete! I call it sea-salt ice cream!”

“Ice cream? I’ll have some I’ll have some!” Sora ran up to Scrooge and took one. Donald and Goofy also received one each in turn.

Donald looked at the ice cream nervously.

“Are these weird-flavoured again?”

“Try it and see,” Scrooge advised, and Sora bit his ice cream.

“Salty! But… sweet…”

Sora bit his ice cream again. It was a strange flavour, with a faint sweetness coming through the saltiness.

Sweet, cold, salty ice cream. It’s kind of a… nostalgic taste.

“Wak! This flavour!” squawked Donald, who had bitten his ice cream.

“What’s up?” asked Sora.

“What?” said Donald, staring at his ice cream with a sullen face.

Sora shrugged and bit his ice cream again. This ice cream… makes me feel sort of like I’ve eaten it somewhere before. Yeah, we ate it together watching the sunset somewhere… where though?

“Yummy,” said Goofy, and Scrooge thumped his chest with pride.

“It’s a weird flavour, isn’t it? Everyone in this town was crazy about these when they were kids.”

“Another one!”

Sora waved his cleaned-off ice cream stick in front of Scrooge.

“That was fast!” Donald squawked.

“Nah, you guys are just slow,” said Sora, licking the precious last traces off the stick.

“Eat as many as you like,” said Scrooge, taking another ice cream out of the portable refrigerator behind him.

“Don’t eat too much or you’ll get a bad stomach,” Goofy said, a little worriedly.

“But I’ve been wanting to eat ice cream for ages!”

Sora took the ice cream from Scrooge and continued to gnaw.

“Sea-salt ice cream is delicious, isn’t it? But this town doesn’t really have time for it right now. Go help Leon for me, will you?” said Scrooge with a slightly worried look on his face.

“Oh yeah! Gotta go!”

Sora ate the whole ice cream in one go and ran off.

At that time, Leon was swinging his gunblade in Ansem’s research room. Heartless after Heartless appeared, circling him.

“There’s no end to them…,” Leon muttered lowly, glaring at the monitor of the main computer. “Is the MCP creating Heartless by itself…?”

Leon tapped on the Keyboard.

“Tron…,” he called, but there was no reply. Instead, a warning sound went off.

Words appeared on the screen—

Obey the MPC, foolish Users

Leon frowned.

Sora and his friends routed the Heartless as they ran to Merlin’s house.

“What on earth happened here? Leon!” Sora yelled as soon as he opened the door. Cid, sitting in front of a monitor concentrating on work, didn’t seem to notice them. Yuffie and Merlin were peering anxiously at what he was doing.

“Hurry, Cid!”

“Shut yer trap!”

“How long’s it gonna take!” Yuffie pressed, stomping her feet. Merlin seemed flustered, too.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Sora asked, patting Cid’s shoulder worriedly.

“Ohh, perfect timing.”

Cid’s hands stopped, and he turned to face Sora and the others.

“The MCP is doing bad things inside the computer.”

Donald’s head sagged sadly.

“Agaaain?”

“What’s wrong with Tron?” Sora asked. Cid and Yuffie looked at each other.

Yuffie turned her back on the monitor.

“We can’t get in contact with him…”

“We’ll go to Tron then.”

“That would be a huge help. We’re writing a program that will erase the MCP. I reckon it’s one more step til completion,” said Cid confidently.

Beside him, Merlin shrugged.

“I’ve heard not to count on your reckonings…,” he said with a huge sigh.

“Um well, once the program’s done we’ll need Tron’s help…,” said Yuffie.

“Got it,” said Sora, with a big nod. “We’ll get the message through!”

“It’s up to you, Sora, Donald, Goofy.”

Sora and the others grinned, then headed off for Ansem’s research room.

The path up to the castle and the entry to the castle were teeming with Heartless. When Sora and the others finally arrived in the research room, Aerith and Leon greeted them.

“Did you see Cid?” Leon asked, gunblade still clutched in his hand. They were still on the ready for the Heartless that kept appearing one after the other.

“Yeah,” Sora replied, and Aerith smiled faintly.

“How’s the program?” asked Leon.

“He said it’s almost complete,” Donald replied.

“That’s wonderful! Hey, Leon, how about you go back to Cid? Leave this place to me,” said Aerith. Leon’s scarred brow creased.

“But… no.” He nodded to Aerith. “I’ll leave it to you then.”

“Hey, how’s Tron?”

“Still can’t contact him. You guys should give it a try, too,” said Leon, turning to a large monitor.

“Nah, we’ll go see him in person.”

Sora stepped up to the huge keyboard and looked up at the monitor. On it in red letters, it said:

Obey the MPC, foolish Users

“Oh yeah—I have a favour to ask, then. When you see Tron, can you ask him to come to the input tower? We’re planning to send the MCP erasure program from there,” Leon said, and Aerith nodded.

“The input tower, right,” repeated Goofy, making sure.

“Yeah, be careful, okay?” said Leon, to Sora’s back. Sora typed their names on the keyboard and broke into the computer.

Inside Space Paranoids, they finally found Tron surrounded by Heartless.

“Tron!”

“Sora! Look out!”  Tron yelled, and in that instant, a red beam fired and sent Tron flying.

“Are you okay?!”

Goofy ran to Tron, while Sora cut down the Heartless that had fired the beam.

“Why you… Fire!”

Donald shot magic. Tron stood with Goofy’s help, and sent an approaching Heartless flying away. The Heartless surrounded them once more.

“Let’s go!”

Sora sent all the Heartless flying in one hit, and Tron, Donald and Goofy dealt the finishing blows.

Sora looked around. There were no more Heartless as far as he could see, at least

“Hah… I think we’re good now?”

“Thanks for the help,” said Tron, sitting down in relief.

“What’s the situation here?” Donald asked him.

“It seems like the MCP plans to start an all-out war against the Users soon. How is it influencing things outside?”

“It’s interfering with the town’s control. But Cid and the others are writing a program to erase the MCP,” Sora replied, sitting down next to him for a rest.

“The strategy is for you to take that from the input tower and try to erase the MCP,” said Goofy, looking Tron in the face.

“Wonderful!” Tron said, standing up happily, but presently he tilted his head. “But, who is Cid?”

“Our friend. There’s Leon, and Merlin, Aerith and Yuffie. They’re all on the outside worrying about you, Tron,” said Sora, standing up after Tron.

A smile worked its way onto Tron’s face.

“I have lots of User friends, don’t I?”

Tron seemed really happy.

“First thing’s first, let’s hurry to the input tower,” said Donald, raising his staff.

In front of the monitor, Cid glared and tapped away on the keyboard.

“How is it?”

Leon peered nervously at what he was doing.

“The old fart’s magical disposal is a pain in the butt,” muttered Cid, tut-tutting.

“What! Old fart!” Merlin shrilled, waving his magic staff. “How dare you call me an old fart!”

Just as Merlin lowered his staff, Cid took a small disk from the computer.

“Done!”

Right at that moment he was hit by Merlin’s magic, and Cid was knocked off his feet along with the disk.

“Done, Leon. Old fart’s magic mix special-made program,” Cid said, grinning, still on his butt.

“I’ll be back,” said Leon, taking the disk from Cid and speeding towards the door.

“Take care now,” said Merlin behind him.

The warning sound echoed throughout the input tower, where Sora and the others had arrived.

“Aw phooey!” Donald stamped his feet in frustration.

“Leon, hurry~!” Sora yelled, staring up at the ceiling, when right at that moment, light began to pour down on the four of them.

“It’s here!”

Tron took the saucer-shaped disk from his back and raised it. The disk floated up and absorbed the light, and then floated back down to Tron with the light in it.

“How does it feel?” Donald asked, worriedly.

“It’s a strange program…”

The light-bearing disk shone on Tron’s face.

“It’s specially made by Merlin the great!” said Donald, knowledgeably.

Tron returned the disk to his back and turned to Sora.

“Huh? They included a program to power me up!”

Sora smiled.

“In other words, it looks like it will work?”

“To use your way of speaking, I guess we have to give it a try and see.”

“Okay then, let’s give it a try!”

Tron nodded to Sora.

“Let’s go to the MCP!”

Tron began to walk, and Sora and the others followed after.

“The MCP is just beyond here.”

Just ahead of where Tron had gone was a large, round room. In the front was a large cylindrical machine suspended from the ceiling.

“I’ve been waiting.”

Standing there was a grave-faced man who looked like Tron, only a different colour—a man emitting orange light.

“Who’s that again?” Sora whispered to Tron.

“Lieutenant Sark. He’s number two around here.” Tron quietly readied his weapon disk.

“You mean he’s next highest after the MCP?” Sora said, and Tron gave a small nod and glared at Sark.

“What a tenacious one you are. But this time I’ll finish you off!”

Heartless appeared all around Sark, then attacked Sora and the others.

“Wak!” Donald swing his staff down.

“You guys defeat those. I’ll take Sark down!”

“Got it!”

Tron ran at Sark, and Sora and the others defeated Heartless to protect him.

“Traitor!” Sark had a weapon disk like Tron’s, which he threw.

“…Sark!”

Tron sent it flying back with his own weapon. The deflected disk hit Sark in the chest.

“Urk…”

Sark dropped to his knees.

Sora ran at him and swung the Keyblade down. Sark fell forward and dropped to the floor.

“…Tron.”

From above their heads, the voice of the owner of the warning sound echoed around. The four looked about, and before them was a bright red face floating strangely in a huge tube.

“Is this the MCP?!” said Donald.

“It doesn’t look like something to worry about,” Sora replied, readying his Keyblade and looking up at the MCP.

The MCP’s voice echoed strangely.

“Don’t you understand yet? I am all programs. I do not rely on Users. Become part of me, and the world will be in the palm of your hand!”

Tron glared at the MCP, his expression twisting. “MCP, you are the one who doesn’t understand.”

“Sark… Sark…!” At that, the fallen Sark slowly stood once more. “I will give you all my functions,” the MCP called, and at that same moment, Sark’s body grew bigger.  Then, the MPC became enclosed in a wall of light.

“Wah!” Sora jumped back a step.

“Come on, Sora!”

Tron threw his disk at Sark. It hit the now-huge Sark in the chin, and he stopped moving. Sora ran at Sark’s body and hit him in the head with his Keyblade.

“Ugh!”

The wall of light surrounding the MCP began to spin forcefully, and sent Donald and the others flying.

“Wawawa!”

“Sora, over here!”

Tron stood in a crack in the wall of light. Sora ran down from Sark’s body and started dashing towards Tron.

“We can stream the stop program into the MCP from here!”

Tron put his hand on Sora’s shoulder. A strange power flowed into Sora’s body, and he fired light at the MCP from his Keyblade.

“Wow!” Donald squawked, right before an ear-splitting metallic sound rang out. The face of the MCP floating in the tube twisted, and then began to disappear. Finally, where the MCP had been was a whirlpool of white light.

“We did it!”

Tron jumped and hugged Sora.

“Wagh—Tron, this isn’t really like you…” Sora laughed self-consciously.

“You can be this happy, can’t you?” Goofy said placidly. He had come running over.

“It’s your influence. But I am a program, I do have limits,” said Tron, releasing Sora.

“Well then, when we go back outside we can fix up your program for you,” Sora said, laughing.

“You will, Sora? Um… please don’t,” said Tron, looking troubled. That expression wasn’t very Tron-like either. Sora snickered.

“Hey, how should I make you? Singing Tron… dancing Tron… or maybe…”

Donald jumped up in the air at Sora’s proposal.

“Hahaha, well before you guys break me… Sora, Donald, Goofy.” Tron’s voice sounded serious again, and he looked at Sora and the others. “And then, to the Users on the outside.” Tron looked up at the ceiling. “Thank you so much. Thanks for lending me your strength. Thanks for making me stronger. Thanks for teaching me the meaning of friends, and of comrades. I am so grateful. When I met you guys, I knew that someday the MCP would be defeated.”

Tron held out his hand. Sora held his out too, and Tron grabbed it and pulled him into a hug.

“Isn’t this what dear friends do when they part?”

Tron smiled and separated from Sora, who had a troubled look on his face.

“I’ve never done it,” Sora shrugged.

“Tron, you see, this is a promise that we’ll meet again,” said Goofy.

“I see… then…” He hugged Goofy next. And then Donald, too. “It’s a promise.”

Sora and the others nodded. Tron smiled gently, and started walking.

“Where are you going?” Sora called from behind him. At that moment, Tron reached the place where the MCP had been—and flung his body into the whirlpool of white light.

“Tron…”

Tron’s figure disappeared as he was absorbed by the light. And then, the entire room began to rumble.

Aerith stared intently at the monitor in the computer room. Yuffie had come running there.

“It looks like the town has settled down! The Heartless have gone back to normal too, I feel like there’s less of them.”

“That’s wonderful… now we just need Sora to come home safe…,” Aerith shifted her gaze to the monitor. Right then, the computer began to move, and Sora and the others appeared in some light.

“You did it!” Aerith ran over to Sora and the others.

Yuffie was smiling too. “Great work!”

However, Sora and the others weren’t smiling.

“…How is the town?” Sora asked Yuffie quietly.

Yuffie punched the air. “Perfect!”

Aerith grinned. “It looks like the MCP was erased, so I’m sure it will be fine now.”

Yuffie peered into Sora’s face. “Look at your faces~! What happened~?”

Donald hung his head dejectedly. “Tron was erased…”

“Even though we promised we’d meet again,” Sora said in a low voice, and at that moment, a warning noise sounded from the computer.

“What?!” Aerith span to face the monitor.

The voice echoing from it was Tron’s.

“This is Tron. I have now taken control of all systems.”

“Tron!”

Sora and the others all ran to the monitor at once.

“I’ll be happy to work with you from now on,” Tron said to them.

Donald ran to the keyboard and bashed on it fervently.

“I’m so glad~!”

“Please stop! That tickles!”

Goofy tilted his head. “It tickles…?”

“What about this then?” Sora tapped away on the keyboard, teasing.

“S-stop, please!” Tron yelled.

“And this?” Donald messed with the keyboard even more.

“W-wait a second, everyone,” said Tron, and everyone stopped moving. “I want to thank you all. I’ll show you how the town used to look when it was built.”

With those words, a light shone from the monitor. The white light filled the computer room, and then wrapped the entire Hollow Bastion.

“I wonder when this town started being called a hollow bastion…,” Yuffie said, narrowing her eyes against the light.

“You know, the real name of this town is actually…” Aerith murmured, gazing at the scenery.

“Hm?” Sora asked, and Aerith took a little breath, as if she were about to say something very important.

“Radiant Garden.”

The light split into particles, and overflowed like bubbling fountains all through the town. And then the world was wrapped in light…

The light wrapped the town in its once glorious form… and showed all the people the form it should take in the future.

Continue to Chapter 2: Waiting for You

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