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.
He was in black darkness.
It’s pitch dark.
Where is this place?
I can’t see a thing.
I can’t hear a thing.
Who am I, again?
The boy looked at his own body.
Blue pants and a yellow shirt. Black gloves, and a black wristband.
My hair is—silver, looks like.
This is… me?
Something feels terribly out of place.
I wouldn’t have thought this was me.
The boy started walking. The entire surroundings were pitch-dark, and he wasn’t really sure whether he was moving forwards at all. He just felt that he had to go forwards, so the boy walked.
Soon, the door will open.
I heard a voice from somewhere just now.
“Who is it?!” the boy yelled. He found himself pressing against his throat.
Was my—voice really like that?
There’s nothing to be afraid of.
There’s no need to be afraid of even the darkness.
Now, go—Hero of Darkness.
I feel like I’ve heard that voice somewhere before. But, I can’t remember who it belongs to. No—I can’t remember a thing.
Suddenly, a huge burst of light spread out up ahead. The boy closed his eyes against the dazzle, and as he did so, a calm sound came flowing into his ears. Is that the sound of waves?
The boy slowly opened his eyelids, and spread before him was a blue ocean. The waves pulled gently in and out from the sandy shore. The waves were stopped by sand that was just as white.
There were two little boys and two little girls over there, talking about something with faces close together. The boy was right beside them, but they didn’t act like they noticed him.
The little brown-haired boy stood up, angrily. “You always have to be a stupid-head, Riku!” he said, and he ran away.
“Wait, Sora!” The little red-haired girl chased after him.
Looks like the brown-haired kid is called Sora.
Left behind were a little blonde girl, and a little silver-haired boy.
The silver-haired boy—looks just like me. Blue pants and yellow shirt. Black gloves, and a black wristband. His hair is silver, just like mine—His eyes are blue.
The little silver-haired boy stood up, brushing the sand off his pants. “Naminé, aren’t you going to chase after Sora?” he asked the girl still sitting, who was called Naminé.
“If I chase after Sora, then you’ll be left all by yourself, won’t you Riku?” she replied in a small voice. She gripped a sketchbook and crayons in her hands.
“I don’t care if I’m all by myself.” The boy called Riku turned his back on Naminé just so.
“Sora has Kairi—and you have me, Riku.”
“Huh?” Riku turned back around. His cheeks were a little red.
Naminé laughed gently. “Hee hee… Riku, can I draw your face?” She placed the crayons beside her, and opened the sketchbook.
Just like that, she drew Riku’s smile on the previously pure-white page of the sketchbook, like magic. Then Riku and Naminé smiled together.
“Hey—you guys…,” the boy called to the two of them, and that instant—the world span round.
The boy had been sleeping in a huge capsule. In front of him stood a man in a robe with a black hood pulled over his face. The boy slowly opened his eyes. The man noticed this, and pulled back his hood. From under it appeared long silver hair. The man’s skin was pallid.
———-Conversion at 13%———-
The three of them ran along the beach.
The three of us—Kairi and Sora, and me.
“Wait, Sora!” the boy yelled.
Kairi was chasing after Sora—and the boy was coming dead last.
Kairi turned to him. “Riku, hurry!” she shouted.
That’s the same name they called the silver-haired boy I saw on the beach.
Is—Riku my name? Then—was I that boy?
“She said hurry up! You’re slow, Riku!” Sora yelled from far ahead.
So I’m definitely—Riku, right?
His vision warped unnaturally, and the boy stopped. There was a horrible buzzing noise in his ears.
I can’t hear the sound of waves anymore. I’m hearing a weird sound—what is this sound?
His vision was painted grey—and the boy passed out again.
The boy was in front of a small cave. The annoying sound in my ears—it sounds like a loud groaning voice. No—I thought the sound I was hearing before was even worse than this…?
“Shh! Quiet,” he said, turning to the boy following along behind him—that’s Sora, I’m sure of it. “Times like these call for a cool head—”
Why were we going into that hole, again? Oh yeah—It was definitely because Sora said there was a monster in there. So, the two of us came here for an adventure.
Back then, even something like that was a big adventure to us.
The blue sky peeped through a gaping hole in the roof of the cave.
“It’s the wind. You thought the sound of the wind was a monster.”
Sora crossed his arms behind his head and sighed exaggeratedly. “Whaaat, so that’s all it was… How lame.”
Just then, the wind gave another howl.
“Huh? What’s that over there?”
Sora broke into a run, as if he’d seen something deeper in the cave.
“A window… No, bigger…?” The boy followed casually after Sora.
Indeed, it was a huge door.
I remember this door. I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere before… Somewhere… Where was it?
The boy searched the door, but he couldn’t find a doorknob, or a keyhole.
“Looks like it won’t open,” the boy said, turning to Sora. Sora was kicking at the pebbles at his feet.
Sora’s one year younger than me, and sometimes I think he acts like a little kid, like now.
“Hey, Sora,” the boy called. “I’m going to get even stronger. And then one day, let’s leave this island together. Let’s have an adventure, not like this tiny one, but a real one.”
Sora looked at the boy, a smile rising on his face.
The wind gave another great howl.
The boy turned around.
The door began to shimmer with gold—the light reached out and enveloped the boy.
It’s crushing me.
Crushing my breath, my heart.
Why does it hurt so much?
He was in a dark and gloomy room. Despite being decorated luxuriously, the room was somehow lonely. The boy pressed a hand to his chest, suffering from the pain.
The boy looked up. Standing there was a tall woman, wrapped in black clothes. In her hand she gripped a staff, and a cloak streamed behind her as she walked.
There’s some kind of nasty smell coming from this woman.
“Rely too heavily on the power of darkness, and it will eat your heart up.”
Take your own advice, he went to say, but the words caught in his throat. Why would I think something like that? What does this woman have to do with me? I’m Riku, aren’t I? I don’t know… I don’t know anything.
The boy was inside a huge capsule.
“Replica! Do you recognise me?”
The boy’s eyelids slowly rose. Standing in front of him was a man with long silver hair, wearing a black robe. The smile pasted across his lips was cold, and the boy thought it was kind of creepy.
“You’ll get strong… Because you’ll gain the power of that hero of darkness.”
The boy closed his eyes again.
———-Conversion at 35%———-
“When we get to another world, what will you do, Riku?” asked Kairi as she gazed out at the sunset. Sora was standing behind her. And, lying between the three of them was a little raft.
White sand… the sound of waves. This is that island.
The boy had already become aware that that name belonged to him.
Riku—that’s my name. But, something feels a little off.
“Will you be happy just seeing other worlds, like Sora?”
The boy thought about Kairi’s question for a bit. “Actually, I haven’t really thought about it. I just… I want to know why we are here. If there are other worlds, why do we have to be here?”
The boy narrowed his eyes against the glare of the setting sun.
“If there are other worlds, then this place would be like a little fragment of a bigger world. If it is a fragment… another fragment, not this place, shouldn’t have mattered, right?”
This tiny island on this tiny world. I wanted to try and see more places than this. I wanted to know why we were in a place like that.
“If we just sit around we’ll never know. Nothing will change unless we do something about it ourselves.”
The boy walked slowly over to the water.
“We can only see this same scenery. So… I want to do something.”
“Your head’s so full of thoughts, isn’t it, Riku?”
It is just my imagination, or does Kairi sound a little lonely?
“It’s thanks to you, Kairi. If you hadn’t come to this world, I don’t think I would have thought anything of it.”
That’s right… I had a crush on Kairi, I’m sure of it. She was special. But Kairi… had a crush on Sora. I knew.
“Thank you, Kairi.”
That’s why… the truth was, that day, I wanted to tell Kairi how I felt. But, I couldn’t.
I can make her yours.
The boy spun around, hearing a whisper from somewhere.
Before he’d realised, the ocean had been stained pitch black.
What do you want to gain?
The voice felt like it was whispering right in the boy’s ear. The ground began to stain black, as if radiating from him. The darkness spread.
His whole body was swallowed into pure darkness.
I’ll fulfil your wish.
I don’t want you to fulfil it. I want to do it with my own hands. But, back then… I wanted Kairi for my own, no matter what.
I? No… Riku. Riku thought he wanted her for his own, no matter what.
The boy passed out in the darkness.
This is the room I had in that castle. The witch Maleficent’s castle, Hollow Bastion.
I decided that I’d do anything to get Kairi’s heart back. Even if it meant staining my hands with darkness.
The boy got up out of bed, and left the room.
If I climbed those stairs, I could go out onto a little veranda at the top of the tower.
The boy liked looking out at the view from up there.
It felt like the wind was blowing through the gaping hole in my heart. Like I was the only person in the entire world, like…
The cold wind caressed his cheek.
When he came to, the boy was standing on the beach.
In front of him, Sora was looking at Naminé’s sketchbook.
“That looks nothing like me!”
Naminé looked at Sora, anxiously. A portrait of Sora had been drawn in the sketchbook. It seemed that Sora wasn’t satisfied with it.
“I think it does,” said the boy, looking at it. The picture was a close likeness to Sora’s angry expression.
“I said it looks nothing like me! This?!”
Sora tried to grab the sketchbook off Naminé.
“Give it back, Sora!” Naminé yelled, and in that moment, with a great ripping sound, the sketchbook tore.
“…Sora?!” the boy yelled. Right between the two children’s eyes, the sketchbook tore into pieces.
“…You’re awful…,” Naminé said as she crouched down to gather together the pieces of her torn sketchbook. But, Sora pushed Naminé over, and stomped on the torn pieces.
“…Sora… I don’t… I never… want to see you again!” Naminé shouted, in tears.
Sora, I never want to see you again…!
Just then, he lost consciousness.
“Really?” Larxene said in a condescending tone.
“Of course.” Vexen was typing something into a panel.
Beside then, Naminé was looking up at the sleeping boy inside the capsule.
But whether the tiny murmur reached the boy or not…
———-Conversion at 43%———-
The boy was in a hall made of marble. It seemed somehow like a room that was part of a huge castle.
The boy looked around himself. “Where am I…?”
I don’t remember this place.
A door opened, and he felt the presence of someone running up to him.
“Riku! If it isn’t Riku!”
The owner of that voice is—Sora. And my name is Riku.
Feeling his heart answer to that name, the boy stared at Sora.
Running at him as if he would grab him for a hug any moment, he stopped right in front of the boy.
My memories feel horribly vague for some reason, thought the boy. Why… am I here?
“So you’re here too!”
“’Too’? You say that like looking for me was something on the side,” were the words that slid from the boy’s mouth, and he snorted at Sora even as he felt uneasy. We were… separated, yes. And we… looked for each other… I think. And now, we’re looking for Naminé. That’s definitely the summary… Summary?
Even as he questioned doubtfully the word ‘summary’ that had floated up inside his head, the boy glared at Sora.
Sora dropped his eyes. “…That’s not what I meant…”
“Huh, don’t make excuses. The truth is, you forgot about me, didn’t you?” Even as he spoke, the boy couldn’t hide the irritation he felt about his own memories.
“No way! I came all this way looking for you!”
“But not anymore. Right now, you just want to meet Naminé. You didn’t care what was happening to me anymore, did you?”
“You’re wrong!” Sora yelled.
Sora never thinks of anything but Naminé. Me neither… But, you have Kairi. So why can’t you let me have Naminé!
“Huh… Sora, have you even thought about Naminé’s feelings?”
Sora stopped moving in surprise. “Naminé’s… feelings?”
“Huh, just as I thought. You didn’t think about it at all. You want to see Naminé. But there’s no guarantee that Naminé feels the same way. Didn’t think about that, did you?”
I really don’t think Naminé wants to see you. Not after what you did.
“Naminé doesn’t even want to see your face.”
The boy know that Sora was losing his memory. But… even so, forgetting this is going too far. Important things… important memories. Sora’s just forgetting everything. Even his memories of being with me.
But, the boy had no idea how he knew that Sora was losing his memories. That connected directly to his worries about himself.
I hate Sora. Naminé doesn’t want to see Sora either.
That was the only true thing the boy had confirmed inside himself.
“Listen to your memories, and you’ll know why. Why did Naminé disappear from the islands? If you remember that, you’ll understand.”
“Did I… do something? Was it because of that? Riku…”
“Go home, Sora. I’ll protect Naminé. Anyone who gets near her… is my enemy!”
The boy readied his blade against Sora. Darkness encircled them—the boy felt power flood through his body.
“W-what are you thinking! But we finally found each other!”
“Well, Sora. You didn’t think about my feelings, either. Naminé’s not the only one who doesn’t want to see your face again. Neither do I,” the boy shot, and leapt.
Why don’t I want to see Sora? Why am I so angry?
The boy swung his blade down, doubt after doubt floating up inside his heart.
“Riku, stop!” Sora was barely able to block the boy’s attack with his Keyblade. He made a sound.
“Got a little stronger, have you?”
In the boy’s memories, Sora had always lost their matches.
“You don’t want to see my face again… Why would you say that!”
“Huh… I didn’t say it all this time, that’s all. I’ve always hated you,” the boy spat, then hesitated.
Have I really always hated Sora? I don’t know. I can’t remember.
“If you’re serious, Riku… I’m not holding back on you…!”
Sora swung the Keyblade down.
I was barely able to block that. His power is strong. It’s the power of the real thing.
“Maybe, Riku… you’re the one who got a little weaker?”
The slight smile showing on Sora’s face… It’s the best smile turned at people you’re close to. The boy jolted. I don’t understand how Sora can have that expression. I don’t understand. I’m sad. I’m angry at myself. It hurts.
Inside the boy, his memories were clouded.
Sora went to follow after, but the boy pushed him aside, and ran away.
I don’t understand… The boy was terrified of the things he didn’t understand. I have to get out of here. I want to go somewhere far away from here. Somewhere—far.
Larxene and Vexen stood around the boy, who had collapsed in the hallway.
“Ah-ah-ah. I told you it was still too early. You’re rushing it, Vexen,” said Larxene, giving the boy’s ribs a light kick.
“Didn’t this happen because you said that Sora was already coming to the floor?”
Vexen scooped the boy up, and turned his back on Larxene.
“Whatcha doing?” Larxene asked uninterestedly, arms folded.
“The rewriting of his memories is still only halfway through… If the spiral of his memories collapses halfway though, the Replica will collapse. Right, Naminé?”
“Yes…,” Naminé replied in a small voice, looking at the boy’s sheet-white face.
“Then you should complete his memories and make him fight the hero,” said Vexen, and Naminé started walking obediently.
Please, stop already…
Naminé thought she heard a small voice, and she turned.
“What is it, Naminé?” said Vexen.
Naminé closed her eyes for a moment, then followed after.
Continue to Chapter 5: Rival