Written by: Tomoco Kanemaki
Original Plan: Tetsuya Nomura and Masaru Oka
Illustration: Shiro Amano
Copyrighted by 2012 Disney and SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations.
Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]: Side Sora
Chapter 1: Traverse Town
When he regained consciousness, Sora was standing in a familiar town. There were dark-coloured bricks and several neon signs. It was a town that would feel somehow nostalgic to anyone–Traverse Town. Sora remembered that he had started at this world on his very first adventure, too.
I’m pretty sure I woke up in a back alley that time. This time, I’m… umm… on the veranda of a building next to the door to second district…?
If I go up those stairs from this plaza I’ll find Cid’s shop, so this is first district. This is the town where I met Cid and Yuffie, Leon and Aerith, and then Donald and Goofy. Cid and the others are in Radiant Garden now, so they won’t be here, though. Wait, no, this is all actually part of the Mark of Mastery exam, so… umm…?
“…Hey, my clothes are different!”
At some point, Sora’s clothes had changed into an outfit he had never seen before.
When I left Destiny Islands I was in what I wore when I first set out from the islands. Is this part of Yen Sid’s magic too?
A large cross-mark had been added across the chest of Sora’s shirt, and his jacket had turned black. His pants were red, just as they had been when they set off.
Now that I think about it, Riku and I set off together, but he’s not here.
“Rikuuuuu! Heey, Rikuuuuuu!” Sora shouted.
He was definitely with me when we fell off the raft. Then we sank through the ocean… then what happened?
“Shut up… What an awful noise,” came a voice from above.
Sora leaned forward until he could see somebody hanging from the roof, but he leaned too far, and tumbled off the veranda and into the plaza.
Sora got back to his feet to find that somehow a boy had alighted beside him. The boy had headphones on his orange-haired, huffy-looking head. He was staring at Sora’s face.
“Are you Sora?”
“Yeah but… how did you know that?”
The boy took Sora’s hand without answering. He stared at Sora’s palm.
“You’re not a player, then,” he said.
“Player?” Sora repeated, unclear of the meaning of the word being thrown at him.
What’s a player? Does he mean someone doing the Mark of Mastery exam?
“You really should know. This is the Game.”
Sora gave the boy an odd look, and the boy showed Sora his own hand. On his palm were numbers that showed a time.
It’s going down… is it a countdown?
“Players are marked with a time limit. I have to win the Game no matter what, and to do that, I need a partner.”
Despite having zero clue what the Game was, and not really understanding who ‘players’ were, Sora folded his arms behind his head like he always did, and smiled.
“Oh, okay. I don’t really get what this Game is, but how about I help you?”
It was the boy’s turn to be confused.
Well, if someone’s in trouble you help them, that’s how it is.
Sora had done this the whole way so far, and he would probably never change.
“You’d trust a stranger that easily…,” said the boy, eyes dropping slightly. Then he continued. “No, you can’t be my partner. You’re not actually a player. I’ve actually already set a partner.”
However, it was obvious what Sora was going to say to that.
“I don’t have to be your partner. How about I help you as a friend?”
“You can’t be friends with someone that easily,” the boy fired sulkily, quickly looking the other way.
“Maybe, but it’s not hard, either,” Sora added with a smile.
I’ve made heaps of friends, and I intend to make heaps more. Even if this world isn’t real, that absolutely does not mean I can’t make friends.
“You’re a weirdo. Whatever, do what you want.”
The boy ran off, leaving Sora behind.
“Will do,” Sora said to his back.
If someone tells me to do what I want, then I totally will. The guy I see doesn’t look at all like a bad guy, so I’m going to be his friend and help him in this Game thing. That’s what I want to do.
Sora broke into a run, chasing the boy. He could still basically remember the layout of Traverse Town. His strength may have returned to a level from before his journeys, but his memories were intact.
Sora ran up the stairs and behind Cid’s shop, and on the other side of the big door was second district.
“Hey, I didn’t catch your name,” said Sora. The boy paused for a second, but before he could speak, strange animals suddenly appeared and surrounded them. They were not Heartless and didn’t seem to be Nobodies.
“Dream Eaters!” said the boy, readying his stance. As he did, a strange animal appeared by his side. It had a different air—well, mostly it had different eyes—to the animals around them. The ones that had surrounded them seemed somehow more ominous, despite being of a similar shape.
“What a weird name…,” Sora said, unthinkingly.
“No, not me!” the boy burst out. “Those!”
Guess those animals are called Dream Eaters, not that guy. I’m getting the feeling I’ve heard that name somewhere before. Where was it?
The Dream Eaters were hovering impatiently at a distance.
Looks like these guys are the enemies here.
“Getting surrounded by them is a pain. Let’s split up!” said the boy.
“Got it!” Sora made the Keyblade appear in his hand.
“And… it’s Neku.”
“Huh?” Sora asked, not understanding what he was being told.
“Neku Sakuraba. That’s my name,” said the boy, not looking at Sora.
“Neku Sakuraba…? That’s a cool name,” said Sora, which is exactly what he felt.
“No, it really isn’t!” Neku burst out again.
“Okay Neku, let’s go!”
At Sora’s signal, Neku broke into a run, driving unyieldingly into the crowd of Dream Eaters alongside Sora and his Keyblade.
Swinging the Keyblade around and firing off magic, Sora defeated some Dream Eaters. They were different to Heartless and Nobodies, but they still seemed pretty tough.
When all the Dream Eaters were finally defeated, Neku came back over. Trailing along behind him was the Dream Eater he had called before the battle.
“That one of yours there is a Dream Eater too, right?”
Neku nodded. “Yeah.”
I guess some Dream Eaters are allies and some are enemies.
“We need to use the power of these guys in order to win the Game. I’m sure you can use them too, Sora,” said Neku, and Sora finally remembered what Yen Sid had said.
After general talk about the Mark of Mastery Exam, Yen Sid had more to say to Sora and Riku.
“To defeat Xehanort, as stated in the King’s message, we must bring ‘those who sleep in sorrow’ back to this realm.”
I wonder who ‘those who sleep in sorrow’ are, anyway.
For some reason, Sora could feel a hopeless pain unfolding in his chest.
Yen Sid continued.
“To do this a new power will be necessary, gained by unlocking seven sleeping keyholes. As you know, one may not travel freely between worlds, as they are separated by invisible walls. Up until now people have been able to travel to those worlds with broken walls, or by using the Keyblade to open gateways to lanes between, but you will be unable to use these methods to travel to the ‘worlds bound in sleep’ in which the sleeping keyholes lie.”
Seven keyholes… Hearing the number seven reminds me of the seven princesses I helped on my first journey. Alice, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, Belle, and Kairi. I wonder if there is some sort of connection between the princesses and the keyholes?
“On your first journey, you restored the worlds that had been swallowed by darkness. However, some worlds among them were not fully restored, and are sleeping to this day. No gate leads to them, and not even the Heartless are able to penetrate them.”
This was all incredibly interesting, even to Sora.
Yen Sid sure does go on a bit. But this isn’t like a lesson from a teacher at school, this is about worlds I’ve never set foot on.
“Therefore, instead of the Heartless which form the majority of darkness in our realm, a different kind of darkness exists within the worlds bound in sleep. They are malevolent monsters that devour dreams, known as Dream Eaters.”
I have no idea what them being able to eat dreams even means, but if they’re evil monsters then they’re just like Heartless and Nobodies.
“It is said that there are two kinds of Dream Eaters. There are Nightmares that devour good dreams and plant unpleasant ones, and good-natured Spirits that only eat bad dreams.
So that means there are good ones and bad ones then.
Sora could understand that pretty easily.
“Just as the Heartless appear alongside the door to the heart of a world, I would guess that investigating the Dream Eaters will guide you to the sleeping keyholes.”
That was the end of Yen Sid’s speech on Dream Eaters.
“So basically, that’s a Spirit, then?”
The Dream Eater with Neku was snuggling up to his feet as though it loved him dearly.
“You can make Dream Eaters using Dream Pieces, which you can collect by defeating Dream Eaters.”
“Oh yeah? I’ll give that a try.”
Sora gathered up the Dream Pieces that had scattered around after the Dream Eaters had fallen, and using a recipe given to him by Neku, Sora tried putting the pieces together.
The light of the pieces built and built… and then inside the blinding light was…
Sora tilted his head.
“…Is that a… dog?” Sora heard himself ask Neku.
Neku was also staring at the Dream Eater, arms crossed. The Dream Eater that had been born was a catlike… doglike… weird fat creature with a horn on its head… a Spirit known as a Meow Wow.
The Meow Wow seemed to adore Sora already. It rolled around in front of him, showing its belly.
“…I guess for now, whatever works. Pleased to meet you.”
Sora stroked the soft fluffy belly, and the Meow Wow snuffled happily. After Sora and the Meow Wow exchanged such greetings for a while, Neku finally spoke.
“…Come with me,” he said, face turned away.
“Okay,” said Sora, and he and the Meow Wow went after Neku.
They went along defeating Dream Eaters, Neku running in silence the whole way. They went through a back alley and into third district.
Then Neku finally spoke up.
“I brought Sora! Now do what you promised!” he yelled, facing the direction of the door to first district.
“What’s wrong, Neku?”
What does he mean by promise? Did Neku make a deal with somebody?
No sooner than Neku had called, something that appeared to be a person appeared.
The coat that man is wearing looks really familiar. That’s it. That’s the same coat the people I fought on my second journey wore, Organisation XIII.
Sora had his Keyblade out in a second.
“Who are you?!”
The black coated person began to gather magical light in his hand. Then he brought his hand down.
“Hey! That’s not what we promised! You said you wouldn’t hurt him!” Neku yelled, looking alarmed, and he ran in front of the man, throwing out his arms as if to protect Sora.
“Stop! Neku! That guy is dangerous!” Sora shouted, but at that moment—he was overcome by a strange heavy feeling.
It was a sharp drowsiness.
“Uhhn… what… I’m so sleepy… all of a…”
Sora collapsed into sleep.
Waking up, Sora found himself lying down in the last place he had broken off consciousness, third district. The stones that had served as his bed were cold against his cheek. Sora stood up, rubbing his eyes. The black coated man and Neku were both gone.
That wasn’t from some spell or attack, Sora thought. It was just a sudden overwhelming drowsiness. What happened? Did it have something to do with how this world is one of the ‘worlds bound by sleep’ that Yen Sid talked about?
I didn’t dream, though. I don’t think.
And, what was up with Neku? He told that black coated guy to ‘do what he promised’. I wonder what he meant. They’ve definitely met before.
“First thing’s first, I’ll search this place.”
Sora dragged himself out of thought and decided to get moving.
First of all, I’ll have a look around. That door on the other side of the little fountain should lead to first district. I’ve lost Neku and still haven’t even found his partner.
Deciding to look for Neku first, Sora opened the door to first district.
First district is the starting point.
I wonder where I haven’t been before?
As Sora stood lost in thought, the Meow Wow that had been by his side the whole time now began to plod away.
“Hey, where are you going!”
Sora chased after the Meow Wow, and found himself at a door that he had never opened on any of his travels so far.
“I wonder if this door even opens…?”
The Meow Wow went ahead and pushed the door open with its little body.
“Can we go in there?”
Sora peered through the door from behind the Meow Wow. On the other side was a road Sora had never been on before.
It makes me kinda glad that there can still be places to explore in Traverse Town that are new to me.
Sora and the Meow Wow went on ahead. As they did, the winding road came out into a place like an underground waterway with a giant fountain.
Come to think of it, there’s a little fountain in second district in Traverse Town too.
They went on defeating Dream Eaters until they arrived at another door, which they went through.
“Wow! I’ve never been here.”
This district, called fourth district, was a gorgeous place with chains of twinkling lights strung all about. Further in stood a large building that dazzled with neon. There were also several moogles doing their usual business selling items.
Sora headed for the building. He slid down the handrail of a flight of stairs, and came upon a moogle and a boy… no, a girl.
The girl, wearing a hat and slightly unkempt clothes, looked as though she was younger than Sora.
The impression her fashion style gave was quite similar to that of Neku’s.
Wondering whether this was Neku’s partner, Sora approached her.
“Hey there, would you be Neku’s partner by any chance?”
“Ummm… I don’t know… the only thing I do know is that my name is Rhyme,” said the girl… Rhyme.
“You mean… you have no memories?”
Sora had lost his memories before too, so he understood a little of how she must have been feeling.
Losing important memories and feelings is sad.
However, Rhyme smiled cheerily at Sora.
“Don’t go worrying, okay, I’m one hundred percent fine. The memories will come back just as soon as they’re jogged.”
Rhyme’s smile made Sora smile too. “Yeah, you’re right!”
But it sure would be painful to keep going on without the memories. I wonder if there’s a way for her to get them back…
“Jogged, huh… oh! Maybe Neku would know something. Come with me! Let’s go look for Neku!”
Easier said than done, though. I’ve already searched every district I’ve been to so far top to bottom. All that’s left is whatever’s up ahead here in fourth district.
Glancing about, Sora saw a large door beside an item-selling moogle. Sora and Rhyme opened the door together. There seemed to be a fifth district. They walked onto a bridge, listening to the sound of water.
After they crossed the bridge together, they came upon another huge building with ‘FLOWER&PLANT’ written on it. Inside seemed to be a botanical garden. However, the door was closed and it could not be entered.
On top of the glass roof was Neku.
“Neku! It’s good to see you’re okay!” said Sora, hurrying over to Neku.
I lost sight of him and the black coated man at the same time when I fell asleep in third district, so I was worried that maybe he was still in danger.
However, something was wrong.
“Sora… you still trust me?” Neku said, not turning to face Sora.
“Of course I do.”
I can’t see Neku being a bad guy.
Sora trusted his own intuition when it came to this sort of thing.
“Even though I tried to trick you?! I was told by that guy in the black coat to bring you to him… and if I did, he’d send me and my partner back to our original world together.”
Neku broke off into a short silence. Sora waited for his next words.
See, not a bad guy at all.
“It’s fine, sheesh. You tried to protect me, didn’t you? Besides, we’re friends. Right?”
Neku turned to Sora, and finally gave a small smile.
“Oh yeah,” said Sora, remembering the girl beside him, Rhyme. “Neku, this kid’s name is Rhyme. She’s not your partner by any chance?”
“’Fraid not. Rhyme’s not my partner,” replied Neku, and the next moment orange light enveloped Rhyme and she disappeared.
In front of their shocked eyes, someone appeared as though in place of Rhyme–the black coated man. The Keyblade flashed into Sora’s hand. Neku took off from beside Sora, heading straight for the man. However, something like a black wind appeared around the man, sending Neku flying back.
“Neku!” shouted Sora, shocked.
In front of him, the black coated man raised his hands above his head. Black light gathered there, and then a figure appeared–a bizarre-looking creature that could only be described as a monkey with its arms and head sticking out of a huge box.
Sora had never seen a Dream Eater this huge before. The gigantic Dream Eater, a Hockomonkey, roared and the air around them shivered.
Sora remembered the black coated man–just in time to see him disappear into a corridor of darkness that had opened behind him.
“Ah, hey! Wait!”
Sora moved to chase after him, but the Dream Eater blocked his path.
“Get out of my way!”
Keyblade in hand, Sora faced the Hockomonkey with his Meow Wow by his side.
The battle began.
The Hockomonkey’s hands, which looked as though they wore boxing gloves, split off from its body to fly around freely, and they began to attack.
They were a pretty big nuisance.
Dodging their pursuit, Sora locked onto the Hockomonkey’s body and swung his Keyblade, but he was thrown off so hard he fell right off the building.
“What. This shouldn’t be so hard.”
The Meow Wow had turned its back to Sora and was wiggling its round bottom at him. It looked like it was saying he should ride on its back.
“You sure that’s okay?”
Sora climbed on, and the Meow Wow began to bounce rapidly, just like a ball.
The Wow Meow made a powerful jump, coming down hard on top of the Hockomonkey. Its roly-poly body crushed the Hockomonkey.
“Raaaaar,” the Hockomokey screamed, going still.
“Whoa, look at you go! Okay let’s do this!”
Sora jumped down from the Meow Wow’s back and struck the unmoving Hockomonkey with a finishing blow.
The Hockomonkey’s body wreathed into blinding light and rose into the sky. Then it rained down as pieces of light.
As it did, in one of the places where the light fell, a projection of Riku and an unknown girl appeared.
The image was somewhat transparent, and Sora knew that it wasn’t real the instant he saw it.
Sora moved to run over to the vision of his treasured friend, but someone called out to stop him.
“Hold up, Sora!”
An unknown boy was standing behind Sora.
The boy, who had ash-grey hair that fell to his shoulders in waves and was wearing a pale lavender shirt that exposed his chest, was giving Sora a quiet smile.
Behind him a small globe showing the image of a town that looked a lot like Traverse Town was hovering idly.
If this is Traverse Town, then what’s that town in the globe? Sora was confused.
The girl seemed to jump out of the projection as she tore past Sora, and Riku then chased after her. It looked like she and Riku couldn’t see Sora.
It looks like we’re all in Traverse Town, only Riku and that girl aren’t here.
“Joshua,” Neku called out to the boy who had stopped Sora.
“Hey, Neku. Feels like it’s been forever, hm?” replied the boy–Joshua. Just then, the globe behind Joshua began to sparkle, and Rhyme appeared beside him in a burst of light.
“Rhyme! You’re okay!” cried Sora. Rhyme replied with a smile.
Now that things have settled and I’m thinking calmly, I’m seeing that this Joshua guy is pretty suspicious. Plus, it’s weird that he knew my name when I’m pretty sure I’ve never met him.
Just has he had trusted his own intuition that Neku was a good guy, Sora trusted his own intuition when he felt that someone was suspicious.
Not that a bad person and a suspicious person are the same thing. But I’m not trusting this Joshua just yet.
“Neku, do you know this guy?”
“Yeah. He’s Joshua. My, uh, friend,” said Neku, walking over to Sora and the others.
“Oh, okay,” Sora replied, folding his arms.
Maybe he’s not a bad guy, if he’s Neku’s friend. But he definitely gives me a suspicious vibe.
“Joshua, are you the one who took Rhyme? And how do you know my name?”
“I’ll answer if you let me get a word in,” Joshua replied, flicking his hair back with a smile. “Let’s start with Rhyme. I’m taking care of her dreams, ‘kay, they’re my portal,” he explained, but Sora tilted his head. He had absolutely no clue what that meant.
“Long story short, they work like a gate that connects worlds.”
Well, I know what gates that connect worlds are, at least. I’ve opened and used loads of them so far, so maybe whatever portals are, they’re something like that.
He realised that Neku was now standing beside him.
“Next you wanted to know how I know your name, right? Okay. Now, this town is a pretty strange place. It appears in order to shelter people who have nowhere to go.”
I knew that. Traverse Town is a special world where people go when the worlds they used to live on are lost. That’s why Leon and the gang were there.
“Right now, it’s a long story, but this world is made from my dreams. So of course I know about everything in it,” Neku continued explaining. Sora didn’t really understand.
‘My dreams’…? This world is Joshua’s dream, then? So, this place isn’t the same Traverse Town as the one I’ve always visited?
“I even know that you’re Riku’s best friend.”
“Riku?” Sora hadn’t expected to hear that name. “Do you know Riku?” he pressed.
The state Sora was in made Joshua smile. “Didn’t I just say? I know everything.”
“Where is Riku?” Sora asked, taking a step forward automatically. Joshua turned to the image of Riku. It looked like Riku was facing off with somebody there.
“He’s in another version of this exact world, being projected.”
Sora considered Joshua’s words.
Sounds like that projection of Riku is from a world that’s exactly the same as this one. I don’t really get Joshua’s explanation, though.
“Another version of this world? Can I go there using a portal thing?” Sora asked, wanting to go straight to where Riku was if he could.
“Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to. I’m the only one who can, because I’m the one holding Rhyme’s dreams.” Joshua looked at Riku again. “Things happening in the other world, shut away by the Dream Eaters, show up in those projections. As for why the world branched apart in the first place–it’s safe to say he had something to do with it.”
He–the figure of the person Riku had been facing up to–appeared.
It was the black coated man. At the same time, two people appeared as projections behind Sora.
There was a boy wearing a hat with a picture of a skull and a girl wearing a pink hat. The boy was shouting something desperately at Riku.
Then, the black coated man slowly pushed his hood back. Under the coat was a silver haired young man.
“…Who is that?” Sora found himself saying under his breath.
I’ve never seen him before–he’s not a member of Organisation XIII. I feel like I know him, though.
Inside the projection, the man turned into light and disappeared. Then, so did the boy with the skull hat. Rhyme turned to where he had been.
“Beat…” she murmured.
The girl in the pink hat disappeared too.
“Shiki…” Neku said under his breath.
Sora and Riku faced each other in separate worlds. However, Riku did not disappear.
In exchange, it seemed, Neku and Rhyme disappeared, wrapped in light. Joshua stood before Sora and Riku as they stood side by side in divided worlds, and began to speak softly.
“Their existences had come to an end, in their original world. So that their beings wouldn’t be erased, I managed to scrape together the remaining fragments of their dreams and searched for a place that would shelter them.”
Joshua turned his back on Sora and Riku and took a few steps. He stopped, and put his hand in his pocket. Sora didn’t really understand the part about the world Neku and the others had come from.
What exactly does it mean for an ‘existence to come to an end’, though? It sounds like something pretty awful.
“Then, thanks to the dreams of Rhyme’s that I was holding, this town appeared in the realm of sleep. Seeing as they had become pieces of dreams, I thought that perhaps in a place like this my best friends could be brought back to how they were.”
Joshua turned to Sora and Riku.
“I was surprised to find that in the realm of sleep, fragments of dreams were corporeal. And then, I thought that connecting the bonds between my dream-fragment friends might strengthen their respective beings, and help them be reborn.”
Riku seemed to ask Joshua something from where he stood beside Sora. Sora’s voice couldn’t reach Riku, and Riku’s couldn’t reach Sora. It seemed to reach Joshua, though.
“You saw the results for yourself. People can’t exist alone. You are first able to exist as a person the moment that someone else becomes aware of your being. The strength of their connected awareness of each other allowed them to be reborn. Your efforts with them were of course a great help, too.”
A connection… your feelings of thinking of each one of your friends makes each of their feelings, and hearts, stronger. Sora too had come to understand this on his journeys. Connected hearts give power to everyone.
“Joshua, who are you?” Sora asked.
This is the out-of-place feeling I got when first meeting him.
Joshua had a special position from which could travel between Sora and Riku’s worlds. Who on earth was he?
“Just a friend,” he said, and from his back appeared white wings that looked just like an angel’s.
Right before Sora’s shocked eyes, Joshua beat his wings and disappeared into the heavens, leaving Sora and Riku behind.
Something appeared in front of them–a keyhole. Sora looked over into the world that was this one but not, at Riku. Riku was looking at Sora, too.
He’s right by my side and we can’t touch or talk or anything, but Riku being here means that our worlds are connected.
Sora remembered something Yen Sid had said.
One dream is connected to another. You must first begin from a sleeping land.
I will have the two of you return to Destiny Islands, to the moment before it was swallowed by darkness and sank into sleep.
When you fall into the dream, your dreams will connect you to the worlds bound by sleep.
By unlocking the keyholes, you will not only gain new power,
you will also release the world from being bound by sleep.
Just as there are seven pure lights, there are seven keyholes. By unlocking them,
and returning here, you will show the Mark of Mastery.
This keyhole would release this world from being bound by sleep, and if Sora and Riku were to unlock seven of them, they would be able to become Masters.
Sora and Riku nodded to each other across worlds, and raised their Keyblades to the keyhole.
Light beamed from both of their blades and unlocked it.
Sora looked beside him to Riku once more. Riku was looking right back at him. They nodded to each other once more, and Riku disappeared.
“Well then, better do my best!”
Sora set off for the third world.
Continue to Chapter 2: La Cité Des Cloches