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.
As he did, he realised he remembered the town he was running through was familiar. He’d come here just once with Maleficent.
Traverse Town. A town of meetings—he’d met Sora again here in this town. It was a lively town, always full of people.
Riku stopped, staring at a small window from which light poured out.
Here, that time—I saw Sora smiling. Sora, laughing with his new companions—I don’t really want to remember it.
But, Riku’s heart held nothing but regret.
That time, why did I…
The boy stood in front of a little house made of brick. The area around the house was dim, and light poured from the window.
Inside was Sora.
The boy stared at the scene.
“Behold. Just as I said, no? You were getting desperate searching for him, but he certainly didn’t miss the opportunity to simply find new friends,” came a woman’s—Maleficent’s—voice from behind.
I couldn’t move, just staring at the scene in the little window. I could see Sora smiling with his companions. Sora smiling, even though he hadn’t found Kairi. Sora smiling with people other than us. But, I was angry—I was lonely—I was sad—
“You see, that child’s new friends are more important to him than you are.”
Really? Maybe that was true. Maybe Sora had already forgotten about me. To Sora, I was—I? I was—who was I, again?
“However, there’s nothing to worry about. Forget about that child, and come with me. I’ll find what you desire—Riku.”
That’s right. I’m Riku. I’m Sora and Kairi’s friend, and—no… there was someone else, one other friend. Who was it, again? I can’t remember…
The dimness slowly deepened blacker and blacker—and the boy was wrapped in darkness.
Naminé sat on the beach, drawing a picture. The boy, Sora and Kairi smiled out from her sketchbook.
“You’re not in here, Naminé?” the boy said, peering into the sketchbook.
“I’m—I can’t see my own face, you see.”
The boy thought that was rather lonely. It must have been because she couldn’t actually see herself smiling alongside us, but I guess that couldn’t be helped.
“Well then, how about I draw you?”
The boy took Naminé’s crayon into his hand and started to draw.
Naminé and my own smiling faces. We were always laughing together. We were happy—the two of us.
“There we go, how’s this?”
The boy showed Naminé the sketchbook, where he’d drawn both of their smiling faces. It wasn’t as good as Naminé’s picture, but Naminé smiled gently.
The sound of waves is gentle, thought the boy, and in that brief moment a roar resounded.
The boy turned, and the ground under his feet suddenly changed from a beach to a cliff—and a huge beast was leaping at him.
The boy dodged desperately, and cut out at the beast with the blade in his hand. The beast gave a great cry and collapsed.
Sora’s shout echoed around them.
The boy slowly turned.
“Sora, you’re late. I was waiting for you. We’ve always competed over one thing or another. You over things that belong to me, me over things that belong to you. We’ve always been rivals,” the boy said casually, looking down at Sora.
That’s right—we’ve always fought over things with each other. Fought to take things from each other.
“What are you trying to say, Riku?”
Sora’s words made the boy smile a little, and—he wished.
I’m strong. I protect—Naminé and Kairi. I protect this world.
“The Keyblade will tell us. Who the true hero is!”
The boy thrust out his right hand. In that instant, Sora’s Keyblade vibrated as if being pulled by a great force, and it turned into light and disappeared. And then, the boy was gripping the shining Keyblade in his own right hand.
“You can’t save Kairi. Only the true hero, who can open the secret door and change the world, can wield the Keyblade.”
The boy thrust the Keyblade towards the sky. In that instant, darkness spread from the centre of the Keyblade, and the world span.
The boy ran, out of breath, questioning himself.
The Keyblade that should have been mine went back to Sora again. Does that mean I’m weaker than Sora? Or, was there another reason? We’ve always been rivals. I always won. Apart from that—apart from Kairi. I guess I’m no match for Sora after all—
“Those possessing truly strong hearts can have the Keyblade,” a quiet voice said to the boy’s back.
He span around to find a man in a black hood standing there.
“If you do not strengthen your heart, then the Keyblade will not choose you.”
“Are you saying my heart is weaker than his!”
“In that instant, it was.”
The boy looked down, mortified, and the hooded man moved closer to him.
“However, people can get stronger. You, who has travelled deep into the door, unafraid of darkness—you are brave. If you’re brave enough to charge into even deeper darkness—then your heart will get stronger.”
The boy shook his head slowly. “What do I have to do—”
“Open your heart to the darkness. That’s all you have to do.” The man slowly extended his hand towards the boy, and his body was wrapped in darkness. “Your very heart will become darkness, swallowing everything—”
With the man’s words, the boy felt power inside his body. Power that wouldn’t lose to anyone. The power of darkness.
With the power of darkness—I can’t lose to anyone.
The boy—broke into a run.
The boy was inside the darkness again.
There’s nothing—just pitch darkness. I don’t know which way to go. Darkness that seems like it could swallow existences, voices, hearts, everything.
I’ve been here before…?
The boy tilted his head.
He heard a voice shouting.
That’s right… My name is Riku…
The boy listened to the voice in the dark.
Who does that voice belong to, again?
He opened his eyes a crack, and sunlight burst in at him.
Suddenly, Naminé’s face appeared right in front of him.
The boy sat up in surprise.
“Don’t scare me like that, Naminé.”
“You were the one who scared me, Riku,” said Naminé. She looked a little sad. “Because, it looked like you were in pain.”
“I was dreaming—some pitch black thing was giving me strength…”
“You’ll definitely get stronger, Riku,” said Naminé, but she still looked sad.
“Sora will get stronger too,” said the boy, but Naminé shook her head.
“No… You’ll definitely be the strongest, Riku. Besides, Sora is… Hey, Riku?”
“What.” The boy stood up, brushing sand off his pants.
“I… The thing about Sora is… Well, what if I were to say that because of Sora, I’d have to leave these islands…”
“What are you saying, Naminé? There’s no way anything like that would happen,” said the boy, smiling. There’s no way. We’ve always lived happily on these little islands.
Bit by bit, Naminé’s figure started getting hazier.
“…I’m sorry, Riku… No… Re… pli…”
“Naminé?!” the boy shouted.
But, the boy’s consciousness was wrapped in darkness once more.
Naminé stood in front of a huge machine.
There’s not much left to go. Just a few more memories to tinker with—but.
The instant her hand went to touch the panel a voice called out from behind, and Naminé’s shoulders trembled.
“What are you up to? Naminé. You weren’t about to tamper with the fake’s memories as you pleased, were you?” Naminé turned slowly, and the owner of the voice was confirmed. Larxene stood there, a thin smile playing on her lips. “Cat got your tongue?”
Turning her back on Larxene, Naminé looked at the boy’s face, displayed on the monitor.
———-Conversion at 87%———-
“Do your best, both of you!” Kairi yelled.
That moment, a huge impact shook his wooden sword.
The boy stopped Sora’s attack, and grinned.
“Is that all you got,” the boy yelled, and sent Sora flying back. Sora tumbled over the sand, and the boy pointed his wooden sword at Sora’s throat.
Sora heaved a sigh and threw both hands up. “…I lost.”
“You have a long way to go, Sora,” said the boy, laughing as he grabbed Sora’s hand and pulled.
Sora laughed, borrowing the boy’s help to stand up. “I won’t lose next time!”
The boy answered Sora with a grin, and threw his wooden sword onto the sand.
He thought of it as a wooden sword, but really it was just a stick that had washed up on the beach. They had never held real swords.
“Ooh-aah, Riku is so strong~,” said Selphie, running over from where she’d been watching the sword fight.
Tidus picked the stick up off the sand. “Me next!”
Sora readied the wooden sword he still held. “Aw yeah! I’m gonna win this one!”
The boy watched over the situation, feeling incredibly happy and at peace.
The boy stood in darkness that went on and on.
I don’t know how many times I’ve stood here in this darkness.
It was this darkness that always left a deep impression amongst the rest of his hazy memories. In them, Kairi and Sora and Naminé also surfaced and faded.
Soon you will awaken.
Hearing a voice coming from somewhere, the boy looked around.
What is your name?
“My name is… Riku,” the boy answered to the voice in the dark, and he saw a light up ahead.
So now, go and close the door.
“What do you mean?”
Go, and you’ll see.
Obeying the voice, the boy ran towards the light up ahead.
The light was actually shining out from a huge door. And there stood himself, trying desperately to close the door.
“That means…,” the boy said aloud, and in that moment, his vision warped.
When he came to, he found himself pushing desperately at the huge door.
Did I replace him…? No, that’s not it… I am him. He was me.
“Take care of Kairi for me, Sora,” the boy said, facing the other side of the door. On the other side of the door, Sora nodded.
It will be fine, leaving Sora to take care of Kairi… And I will protect Naminé.
The door slowly swung shut, and the instant it closed a thunderous sound echoed out.
It began to crumble, under his feet—and then, a rain of light was pouring all around. Countless shooting stars were hurtling across the sky. The boy looked up at them, vaguely.
These shooting stars are…
“I’m scared… Riku.”
He was on the little pier on the island. Naminé and the boy looked up at the shooting stars together.
There were countless shooting stars in the sky. Like a flood of light, so many stars were falling that the boy couldn’t count them all.
“This here…,” the boy began, about to tell Naminé how unusual it was, but he held his tongue when he saw how frightened she was.
Was I dreaming? “It’s okay—I’ll protect you,” he told her.
“Really? But what will you do, if a star falls on the island?”
“If stars fall down here, I’ll send them all flying back,” the boy said, grinning at Naminé.
“…Promise me,” Naminé said in a small voice.
“I promise,” the boy replied, clear and determined.
Finally, Naminé smiled—and held out a little star-shaped pendant.
“This… charm seals the promise.”
It was a pendant made from paopu fruit.
“They say that a pair of lovers who carry this fruit will never ever be separated.”
The boy took the pendant, and tilted his head. “You mean…”
“It means even if something happens, someday we’ll be reunited,” Naminé said, and she smiled—her smiling face went blurry.
The sound of waves was gentle in the boy’s ears. As he watched the sun set from the little island, he thought to himself.
I wonder where the girl who shares a name with these waves is right now—and what is she doing?
The boy stared at the charm he’d received from the girl.
“Hey, Riku. What have you got there?” Sora popped up, peering into the boy’s hand. “Ah! A paopu fruit!”
The boy put the charm away, hiding it from Sora, and looked back out over the ocean.
“Hey, hey, what is it?”
“…What’s it matter.”
For some reason, Sora doesn’t remember Naminé. I guess—she disappeared right after he ripped her sketchbook, so… he wanted to forget the awful thing he did, thought the boy.
The more I think of Naminé—the more I hate Sora’s brightness.
“Show it to me!”
“Leave it, okay?”
Sora groped at the boy, finding and taking the charm.
“Huh? It’s been made into a pendant?”
“Give it back.”
“Who gave it to you?” Sora teased, holding the charm away from the boy.
“I said leave it!!” the boy shouted, and in that instant, Sora and the charm both tumbled to the ground. The boy snatched the charm up and glared at Sora.
“…Learn the difference between what’s okay and what’s not okay, Sora.”
“What? You’re not allowed to keep secrets, right? Just cause some girl gave it to you?”
I hate how Sora tramples on my heart unaware. It doesn’t mean I hate Sora himself—but to me, who will never be as gentle and honest as he is, I get jealous, I can’t stand it…
Surrounded by sunset, the boy stared at the charm.
———-Conversion at 100%———-
In the palm of his hand was a charm made from yellow paopu fruit.
The boy—the Replica recovered consciousness. He was standing in a room made of marble.
“Where is this place…?”
He had a strange feeling that something was off.
“What’s wrong, Naminé?”
Hearing that name, the Replica looked up.
Naminé… oh yeah, that’s right.
“What are you agonising over, with that awfully gloomy face you’re pulling there. Regretting the tinkering you did to Sora’s memories? Or maybe—”
The boy planted himself in front of Larxene, cutting her off. “Cut it out, Larxene. Naminé doesn’t want to remember Sora anymore.”
Larxene shrugged. “Ohhh really.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make all your pain go away, Naminé—I swear it on this charm you gave me all that time ago.”
Naminé just looked at the Replica with a sad expression.
“Later,” said the Replica, turning his back on Naminé and leaving the room.
A marble hall. Already used to this view.
The Replica continued to wait for Sora.
I have to defeat Sora—right here, right now. That thought was the only thing occupying the Replica’s heart.
Hearing quiet footsteps, the Replica looked over and said, “Persistent, aren’t you, Sora. How about you hurry up and go back.”
Sora stopped walking, and grinned. “I’m not going home until I’ve saved both you and Naminé.”
“I don’t remember asking you to save me,” said the Replica, readying his blade. Yeah—there’s no way he needs to save me. Because, Naminé and I are together here in Castle Oblivion…
“Kairi’s waiting for you to come home, Riku!” yelled one of the King’s attendants—Goofy—from behind Sora.
“Kairi…,” the Replica murmured. Kairi’s existence was terribly vague inside the Replica’s memories. But that’s because I have Naminé.
“That’s right. Kairi is waiting for you to come home,” said Sora.
The Replica snorted. “Did you forget? I thought I told you when we shut the door to Kingdom Hearts. I said ‘take care of Kairi’. I’m not going back to those islands again. I’ve made up my mind.”
“Kairi’s not the only one!” Sora continued, desperately. “You have so many friends that—”
So many friends—maybe I did, didn’t I. But, just like Kairi, I don’t really remember them very well.
“I’ve already forgotten about that bunch of losers,” he answered.
“What!” Sora yelled.
“What about you, Sora? Do you remember every face of the island gang?”
“What are you saying, of course I…”
Sora faltered. The Replica felt a little relieved to know that Sora was losing memories too.
That’s right… It’s this castle’s fault that my memories are so hazy…
“Don’t worry about it. It happens to everyone who spends time in this castle. You start forgetting the things that don’t matter, so you can remember the things that are truly special. I remembered, Sora. I now know what’s most important to me,” the Replica shot, laughing.
“What do you mean, things that don’t matter—”
“I protect Naminé in this place,” the Replica interrupted. “Nothing else matters.”
Sora stared at him, and then smiled for some reason. “Hey, Riku… Maybe fighting will make you remember?” he said, readying his Keyblade.
“How about we test it out?” The Replica casually readied his own blade.
“Donald! Goofy!” Sora shouted.
“Wak, we know!”
The King’s attendants ran for the wall.
“Getting the obstacles out of the way, are we!”
“This fight is between the two of us!” said Sora, and he leapt.
The Replica made a sharp sound, stopping Sora’s blow. His hand went numb from the strength of the impact.
“Remember, Riku! We fought all the time at the beach—just like this!”
“…Huh. If we’re talking about you always losing then yeah, I remember!” the Replica replied, knocking the Keyblade aside and swinging his own blade down.
“Then—you should be able to remember more than that!” Sora yelled.
Their attacks clashed over and over, until they were both out of breath.
Sora’s attack landed with a huge thud and the Replica’s blade went wheeling through the air.
The Replica fell to his knees. “Dammit…”
“Even fighting with you didn’t make me remember a single thing. Do you want to try fighting a little more?” yelled the Replica, getting up on shaky legs.
But, Sora just quietly held out a hand to the Replica.
“Hey, Riku. If you have time to fight, then let’s save Naminé together!”
“Together… you say?” The Replica waved Sora’s hand off. “How like you. You’re always pushing your way into my heart like this!”
“What do you mean?”
You’ve forgotten Naminé, and I won’t forget what you did that day.
“Huh. Of course you’ve forgotten. It didn’t matter to you, did it!”
And then, the Replica turned his back on Sora, tore up the stairs, and ran through the door.
My memories with Naminé—and the charm. But, why do I hate Sora so much? Why… why?
Naminé watched the two boys through a large crystal ball, her sketchbook clasped tightly to her chest.
Axel walked causally up to her. “The heart goes out to him, doesn’t it?”
Naminé lifted her face, and looked at Axel.
“Stop that. We nobodies can never be somebody.”
Naminé cast her eyes down again, gaze dropping to her knees.
Everything that’s happened is my fault—my doing.
“Hey Naminé—there isn’t anything else you can do, is there?” Axel said, almost in a whisper.
Naminé’s eyes stayed down, and she didn’t move.
Continue to Chapter 6: Relent