Written by: Kanemaki Tomoco
Original Plan: Nomura Tetsuya and Watanabe Daisuke
Illustration: Amano Shiro
Copyrighted by Disney Enterprises, Inc and Square Enix. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations.
On the other side of the door was a richly coloured world.
“This is… Monstro.”
Riku moved forwards, stepping over the strange squirming floor.
I met Sora here. Sora was just as—no, he was getting stronger than before. For some reason, I was a bit angry at myself about it.
“What are you doing,” came a sudden voice, and Riku took a defensive stance. The owner of the voice popped their face out from behind cover.
Pinocchio came closer to Riku, grinning widely. “How do you know my name?”
A puppet with a heart, Pinocchio. Wanting to know the secret of that heart, I kidnapped him.
“How…? I wonder.”
“Are you alone?”
Pinocchio stood in front of Riku, staring at him. “Oh, just like me then!”
The moment he said this, his nose began to grow.
I definitely remember… his nose is supposed to grow when he lies. Which means Pinocchio isn’t alone. There’s a huge difference between him and me, the loner.
“Pinocchio, you’re not alone, are you.”
“Uh… no. I have a father. Don’t you?”
“I don’t have anyone.”Yeah… I don’t.
“Oh, okay. You’re alone—wahah!” Pinocchio’s nose started growing again. “Don’t make me lie!” said Pinocchio, laughing as he held his nose.
You’re not alone.
Just then I felt as though I could hear the King’s voice coming from somewhere. But, no one’s here by my side. I’m always alone. I believe in the King, but—I’m so lonely.
“You’re not alone, are you,” Pinocchio laughed as he touched his nose, which had finally gone back to its normal length—and then he vanished.
“…Just like I thought, I am alone,” Riku muttered, and kept going forward.
Why am I alone, I wonder? Because my heart was stolen by the darkness? But, I won out against the darkness once. Isn’t that enough? Can’t I be forgiven? Isn’t that enough to let me see Kairi and Sora again?
I wonder how I can see them again. I wonder how the three of us can laugh together again. I don’t know. The one thing I can say for sure is that I have to move forwards. I have to make sure of the truth. If I do that, then I’m sure I’ll know what to do.
“…I’m okay on my own, aren’t I,” Riku murmured, and kicked at a soggy protuberance at his feet. The next moment the protuberance burst, and Heartless appeared.
“So you guys are here with me too, are you.”
Riku gripped the Soul Eater. A number of them came at him. Riku made a giant leap, and swung the Soul Eater down on one Heartless.
A Heartless that had once been under his control now spat out a heart, and disappeared into light.
If only there weren’t Heartless—if only there weren’t people who tried to use the Heartless—we would have left for the outside world on that small raft.
Riku began to remember what happened the night of the storm.
The storm came, and I went out to the little island to make sure the raft wouldn’t be washed away.
I ran through the rain, and when I was about to head to the cove, I noticed a huge door had appeared in front of the secret place. I wondered why there was a door in such a place—and just as I did, someone whispered to me.
“Don’t you want to go to the outside world?”
I turned and found a man standing there in a brown robe.
“Soon the door will open. There’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s no reason to be afraid of even the darkness. Well now, go—Riku.”
I didn’t hesitate. I couldn’t win against my desire to be able to go to the outside world.
Kairi came running over to me. She must have come to the island just like me.
The man’s murmured words were drowned out by the sound of the waves, and I could hardly hear. But, now I know what that man said when he saw Kairi.
He said, Princess.
“Riku! The raft’s gonna wash away!”
“Kairi—there’s a way to get to the outside world without the raft!”
Kairi looked at me with a strange expression.
“What about Sora?”
That’s right—Sora would be the first think Kairi worried about, every time. But, I was the same. As long as I was with Sora, I could go anywhere. That’s what I thought. And moreover, with Kairi there, who I supposed knew about other worlds… we could go anywhere, that’s what I thought.
“Sora and Kairi can come too, right?”
The man nodded silently at my question, and disappeared, as if swallowed by the door.
“Hey, Riku… just now…”
I couldn’t see Kairi’s expression very well in the rain.
“Kairi, wait here in front of the door. I’ll go get Sora!”
I broke into a run, ignoring Kairi’s voice. It was because I had to go get Sora.
Sora! Sora! Sora! We can get outside of this world!
I knew he would have come to the island, worried about the raft. I found him right away.
“Riku! Isn’t Kairi with you?!”
Sora’s very first words were about Kairi.
“…The door has opened.”
Sora stopped walking, a weird expression on his face.
“The door has opened, Sora. We can go to the outside world!”
“What are you talking about! Kairi is more important than—!”
Sora was always on about Kairi. And Kairi was always on about Sora. But from now on, things would definitely be different.
“Kairi is coming too! If we go through the door, we might not be able to come back. You might not see your mum and dad again. But, if you’re scared, nothing can happen. There’s no reason to be afraid of the dark!”
I reached my hand out to Sora.
Come on, let’s go—Sora!
Face looking a little uneasy, Sora tried to grab my outstretched hand.
At that moment, I didn’t even notice what was happening around me. I didn’t even look. Sora, at the end of my outstretched hand, was so much more important than everything else.
Just a little more and my hand would reach.
“—Sora,” I called, and that instant, I realised that I was surrounded by darkness. Darkness wrapped around my body—but, there was no reason to be afraid of the dark!
And then—I was wrapped up just like that—and my conscious faded into black—and the next instant, I was standing at Hollow Bastion.
From that moment on, I was alone, thought Riku. Why didn’t I notice the darkness surrounding me?
I couldn’t see anything else.
Riku sent the Heartless in front of him flying with the Soul Eater.
What did I do wrong, I wonder—what made me have to be alone, I wonder.
Riku defeated Heartless as if trying to block his own consciousness.
Castle Oblivion, Floor 1.
Sora stood in the hall.
“I really did have a feeling that the people we’re looking for were here…,” Donald muttered.
“You mean the King?” Goofy added, and Sora turned to look.
“It wasn’t like they were definitely going to be. It was a hunch of mine, a hunch,” said Donald, confidently.
Goofy’s shoulders drooped. “Whaaat… But I sorta had that feeling, too.”
“You too, Goofy? So did I,” said Sora. That weird feeling I had before coming into this castle—it must have been the premonition that we would be able to meet.
“When I saw this castle, I felt it too. That our important friends… are here,” said Sora, turning to look at a door that lay at the top of a stairway.
Maybe… No, definitely. We can definitely meet. I believe it. Riku is somewhere in this castle…
In a gloomy dark room, Vexen was working on something. A doll lay before his eyes. As he looked at the doll, which had no face or clothes, Vexen’s mouth twisted into a smile.
“I know who it is,” came a voice from behind, and Vexen spun around. Zexion was standing there. “It’s Riku,” Zexion informed him.
“What…? Oh, you’re talking about the presence that appeared along with Maleficent’s. I see. But, Riku should have vanished on the other side of the door to darkness along with the King. How did he escape?” Vexen asked. Surely Riku vanished when he went to the darkness then.
“His is a body that was once piled with darkness. Perhaps he is now half a dark existence himself,” Zexion said, dispassionately.
“Maybe that’s why you sensed the same smell as our leader. I see—Riku was given a mighty dark power, and it was that power that allowed him to pass through the realm of darkness. He’s an interesting being, with connections to both the Keyblade and the power of darkness. I need to gather more data…,” said Vexen. He turned back to the doll, and started some kind of work on it.
“We don’t know why he appeared in this castle,” said Zexion. Vexen, who had turned his back on him, turned around again and laughed.
“Heh heh heh… it’s simple. It’s a resonation with the other hero.”
“Do you mean Sora?” said Zexion, voicing aloud the name of the other hero.
“Yes—A little while ago, Sora and his companions stepped into this castle. Now, that Marluxia is using Naminé’s power to manipulate Sora’s heart, all according to plan, I’m sure,” Vexen said, sounding happy for some reason. Zexion listened quietly. “It seems that he doesn’t want to hand Sora to us. But we can leave him to do what he likes. If Marluxia is to have Sora, then we will gain control of Riku. For you see, Riku is closest to our Superior!” he declared, and began to make adjustments to the doll in front of him.
Zexion stared at his back.
I go on and on and there’s nothing but Heartless.
Riku swung the Soul Eater, as if he were bashing the bad feelings inside his own heart.
Nothing but darkness remains in my heart, so the only things I can meet are Heartless, is that right? But Pinocchio was there. There has to be others too.
Here, Sora—I should have met you, too.
Many Heartless turned into light and disappeared.
I wonder where they go, when they disappear. Do they return to the Realm of Darkness? Will I go to the same place as them when I disappear?
Riku cleared all the Heartless away, and got his breathing under control.
Just then, a big round lump came falling down from above his head.
Riku jumped back, and gripped the Soul Eater.
It was a huge Heartless—Parasite Cage. It had a large round body with long arms that waved up and down. Its large mouth meshed jaggedly like a prison.
“Just when I’m in a bad mood—!”
Riku ran at the Parasite Cage. That instant, a black mist began to spout from around Riku’s body.
Riku stopped, and stared at his hand. It was wrapped in black darkness too—and then, his entire body was.
“…What is this?” he muttered, and the Parasite Cage hacked at him with an arm.
But, Riku wasn’t thrown back. He was still standing, as if he’d absorbed the attack. And then, Riku’s body was covered by black clothing.
The arm of the Parasite Cage was pushing with force, trying to move him, and Riku brought the Soul Eater down on it.
This destructive energy is so strong that even I feel it. And these clothes are the same as when I was melded to Ansem. In other words, that darkness is—
I intensified the remaining darkness inside your heart just a little.
Riku remembered Ansem’s words.
“…So that means, the darkness in my heart makes me strong?”
Riku bit his lip and stared at the palm of his hand. The arm of the Parasite Cage attacked again. But—it didn’t even graze Riku’s body. And then, from above its head, Riku swung the Soul Eater down.
“Gyaaaaaaah!” screamed the Parasite Cage, turning into particles of light, and disappearing. Just as it had when the jet black clothing had stuck itself to Riku’s body, the darkness slowly surrounded Riku, and then he went back to normal.
“The power of darkness…”
Power, speed, everything, it’s all better than I am normally. Chills ran down Riku’s spine. Am I going to be swallowed by darkness just like this…? That reminds me, it feels like the smell of the darkness that surrounds me has gotten stronger, too.
Riku clenched his fists, and went through a door that had appeared when the Parasite Cage vanished.
On the other side of the door was another hall made of marble. But, unlike usual, there was a man standing there.
“Are you Riku?”
Riku stared at the man without even readying the Soul Eater. “…Who are you? One of Ansem’s companions?”
The man, pale-faced and long-haired, was wearing something like a black robe. The hood looked familiar somehow. The only thing that Riku understood clearly was that the smell of darkness was coming off this man too.
“Ansem’s companion—well now, you’re half right. But, I’ll just say that he’s not the Ansem you know. He’s Ansem, and he’s not—in other words, Nobody.”
The man walked slowly over to Riku.
“Nobody? Huh… I’m in a bad mood right now. Speak clearer.”
“Perhaps they can be called beings that walk the twilight, belonging to neither darkness nor light?”
Don’t belong to either—cannot belong. Just like me.
“Heh heh heh… Noticed, did you? Yes, exactly like you right now, existing in between darkness and light. I am also the same. In other words, we are alike, two peas in a pod.”
“…Maybe,” answered Riku, slowly readying the Soul Eater. He continued. “So what. You gonna say ‘join me’? Like you said, the power of darkness remains in me. But the darkness is my enemy! And so are you, stinking of darkness like that.”
“Hoh. You want to go, do you? Very well! I’ll face you!” The man was suddenly gripping a large blue shield in his hand.
“That’s what I want.” Riku ran at the man—but, the man disappeared right in front of his eyes.
The blades on the shield grazed Riku from behind, wounding him.
“You’re not even worth mentioning. Heh heh… now freeze!”
A string of hunks of ice attacked Riku from the front.
Riku couldn’t avoid them.
“Are you that weak without the power of darkness?”
“…No!” Riku yelled at the man, on his knees.
“You should use the power of darkness—for you have the right to.”
“I hate the darkness! I won’t use its power!”
“Heh heh… That’s fine, too,” laughed the man, and suddenly he was right in Riku’s space.
Riku used the Soul Eater to block the blow coming down, but barely.
“Feel the rage—and show me the dark power within you!”
“I—I…,” Riku said, in a tight voice, and then his body was wrapped in dark mist.
The man slid away.
“…That’s…” It’s like the darkness is overflowing from my heart, as if I yielded to the feelings of rage—
Riku found that he had changed once more, and he fell into despair.
“Now we’re equal—No, you can still use the power of darkness even more than this. Let’s go!”
The man moved right up to Riku, and swung his shield down. But, Riku swung the Soul Eater up, and sent the shield flying.
“Superb!” The man’s shield disappeared from where it lay on the floor. “The dark powers hidden within you are more powerful than I dreamed of—Deliberately making you angry was the answer.”
Riku glared at the man, unmoving. “…You mean you tricked me?”
“Thanks to your hot head, I was able to take some data that will be very useful to my research. I have to thank you, Riku.” That was all the man said before he disappeared, guffawing.
“—That son of a…”
Riku’s power drained from him, and his knees hit the floor.
Black clothing that could be mistaken for being dressed in darkness itself—and the light-bearing Soul Eater. Am I really left with no choice but to rely on the power of darkness…?
Donald turned around at the sound of Sora’s yell. “What did you remember?”
“There was one more person,” said Sora, almost as if talking to himself.
“Huh? Where, where?” Goofy looked all around.
“No, no. I’m talking about the islands we lived on,” said Sora. He ran over to Donald and Goofy.
He must be talking about the little island where he and Riku and Kairi lived.
“Um… De… Des… something-something?”
“Destiny Islands! On the islands, there was Kairi and Riku and someone else, another little girl we were close to. The four of us played together a lot.”
Sora began to speak about what he had remembered—
Continue to Chapter 3: Riku