Written by: Tomoco Kanemaki
Original Plan: Tetsuya Nomura and Masaru Oka
Illustration: Shiro Amano
Copyrighted by 2012 Disney and SQUARE RNIX CO., LTD. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations.
Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]: Side Sora
Prologue -Destiny Islands-
In the Mysterious Tower, Mickey stood before his teacher, the great sorcerer Yen Sid. That tower was the place where Mickey had once undertaken his training to become a Keyblade Master, and it was also a place Sora had visited before his battle with Xemnas. And, it was also a place that ‘those three’ had once visited.
Two journeys had been completed, and connecting the memories from them had been another journey that was now over.
However, Yen Sid’s expression was sombre.
“Master Yen Sid. I think we’ve finally almost figured out where Ven’s heart is.”
“Have you now… So now it’s just Terra left.”
“Yes, and we can help all three of them for sure,” said Mickey, firmly.
“Next is working out how Xehanort will appear, isn’t it.”
The name already felt somewhat nostalgic to hear, to Mickey. He titled his head. “Xehanort? He split into Ansem, who commanded the Heartless, and Xemnas, who commanded the Nobodies, and didn’t Sora defeat both of them?”
The battle was supposed to be already over. However, Yen Sid closed his big googly eyes and got up to stand by the window.
“Yes, those two were certainly destroyed. However, the fact that those two were destroyed means that their original form, Xehanort, will revive.”
Mickey’s breath caught. “What?”
“If the heart is released from the Heartless trapping it, and the body that has become a Nobody is destroyed, the two will become one once more. In the end, that means Master Xehanort will return.”
Master Xehanort. That was the name of the man who had once tried to spread darkness throughout the worlds.
“So, you think he will try to start something again?”
“Xehanort was a man of many plans.”
“But, if another crisis comes, Sora and I are here, and Riku too,” Mickey told Yen Sid, voice full of confidence. However, Yen Sid turned to Mickey and quietly shook his head.
“They are definitely strong. But King, you are the only Master. What if there were more than one Master Xehanort…?”
“Huh? What do you mean!?”
Yen Sid didn’t answer Mickey. He opened his huge eyes.
“King, would you call Sora here for me. Riku, as well.”
“What on earth for!?”
“We shall hold a Mark of Mastery Exam.”
Thus begins a new battle—and a tale that will connect the future and the past.
Sora stood next to Riku, waiting for Yen Sid to start speaking and feeling a little uncomfortable. He was fine with being called to the Mysterious Tower by a letter from the King, but he’d come all this way and it had been such a long time since he’d seen Donald and Goofy, and the King too, but here he was standing stiffly before Yen Sid. It was so boring. Riku was waiting silently for Yen Sid to start talking too. Maybe he was nervous, or maybe he was lost in thought by himself again.
Sora tried to say something to Riku, but that was the moment Yen Sid chose to finally speak.
“Master Xehanort was a genius Keyblade Master.”
Sora thought about the person named Xehanort. When the boss of Organisation XIII, Xemnas, was human his name was Xehanort. And then Xehanort stole the name of Ansem the Wise and tried to plunge the worlds into darkness. But I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone called Master Xehanort. I wonder if Xehanort and Master Xehanort are different people? If they were, Sora didn’t know of a Master Xehanort.
Choosing to leave Sora’s doubts aside, Yen Sid continued speaking.
“Such rare genius causes troubled thoughts. What is the heart, that which decides even a person’s strength? The answer he arrived at was the Keyblade War.”
There’s something else I haven’t heard of. Keyblade War… Maybe that means people fought a war with Keyblades.
Thinking this was a little strange, Sora continued listening to Yen Sid.
“He intended to seek from the battle of light and darkness of ancient times the essence of the light and darkness within the heart. Over his duties as a Master, he chose the journey of a seeker. On his long journey of searching, he changed form many times, and stood in the way of the Keyblade Wielders who protect the light.
Umm so basically, this Master Xehanort guy was worried about what the heart was, and he tried to find out about the light and darkness inside the heart by starting up some battle between light and darkness called the Keyblade War, is that about right? And then on top of that he changed forms a bunch of times, which means… umm…?
Having confused himself, Sora sneaked a look at Riku’s face. Riku was listening to Yen Sid with a serious expression. Riku probably understands all this…
“However, it is not yet over. I am afraid that hereon an even greater threat will arise. We must prepare in order to face up to this threat.”
Seems like this Master Xehanort is going to do a bunch of bad stuff. Oh, so they called us so we can face it! I think I get it.
“So, Sora, Riku, I would like you to take the Keyblade Master’s Mark of Mastery Examination.
A Keyblade Master Exam…!
At those words, Sora finally snapped up to match everybody else’s straight posture.
The word ‘exam’ makes me a bit nervous, but surely there’s no way they’ll test us on math or anything. But, what if they make us study the history of the Keyblade or something? I don’t really like the sound of that.
“Originally, years of training were necessary for one to become a Keyblade wielder. However, now, we will not hesitate. We must outmanoeuvre Xehanort and prepare for the coming battle. The Keyblade is something one bears having received tutelage from a Master. However, Riku and Sora, up until now you have wielded in your own style. To become a Keyblade Master, you must learn the correct methods.”
I never even thought there was a correct way to use the Keyblade. Well, I’ve been defeating Heartless and Nobodies all along, so I’ve been using it right. What else could there be to learn?
Feeling worried, Sora waited for Yen Sid’s next words.
“Now the two of you must forget the way you have been wielding the Keyblade so far, and learn again from the beginning.”
Learn from the beginning…!? I’ve come all this way to be this strong and now I’m meant to go and be weak again!?
“I don’t have to do that, no one can beat me. Not now that I have the King and Riku by my side. Right, Riku?”
Sora looked up at the boy by his side. But, Riku’s expression was still stiff.
“I… there’s still darkness lurking in my heart.” Riku made the Soul Eater appear in his hand. “I think we need to make sure someone like me, who walked the path of darkness, is worthy of wielding the Keyblade.”
Sora looked down.
For Riku to be suffering over that… I had no idea he was still thinking that way. Then I…
“I’ll take the Mark of Mastery Exam too, of course. Then Riku and me will be Keyblade Masters together,” Sora declared, and Riku smiled very faintly. The King, Donald and Goofy all looked at each other as though relieved.
Yen Sid addressed them.
“Thus, let Sora and Riku’s Mark of Mastery Examination commence.”
I can hear that same old sound, the one that makes me feel good right down in my heart. The sound of waves… this is Destiny Islands.
Sora and Riku were on the island of their childhood home. It was also the childhood home of that particular ‘someone else’.
Standing by the lapping tide, Sora and Riku gazed out at the horizon. They were dressed differently than they had been when standing before Yen Sid a moment ago. They had returned to the way they looked about one year ago, when they had departed from this island. They had even lost what little height they had managed to gain in the past year or so.
It seemed that this was what “forget the way you have been wielding the Keyblade so far, and learn again from the beginning” had meant. Yen Sid had told them a good deal more, but there had been a lot that Sora didn’t quite understand.
Anyway, if I win the fight then I’ll pass the exam… right?
“How far do you think we could go on a raft?” Sora asked Riku, still staring at the horizon.
“I wonder. Well, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll find another way,” said Riku, and he started walking. The raft that they’d made together back then was in front of them.
If there are other worlds out there, then why do we have to be here?
That’s what Riku said, that day. I’ve seen lots of other worlds, and made lots of friends. Unlike Riku, Sora had never wondered why they had to be on their world. But, it seemed that Riku was always thinking about it.
Sora chased after Riku and climbed onto the raft. It looked like it was the only way to get to the other worlds.
The sea around Destiny Islands was fundamentally always calm. However, the open seas weren’t.
After only about an hour, the skies darkened and the sea began to get rough.
“Riku, a storm’s coming,” Sora called, a little worried. The wind was now chilly. Thunder began to rumble from the skies.
“Yeah. The waves are getting high, too. Let’s fold up the sail,” Riku said, moving over to it.
“Yeah,” said Sora, and as he also went to go over to the sail, a great wind began to blow. The raft’s sail billowed out in the wind and the mast snapped off.
Sora hurriedly clung to the raft, but Riku went tumbling with the broken mast into the ocean. He narrowly managed to cling to the mast, which saved him from going under.
Sora stretched out his hand. However, that moment, the ocean heaved ominously. And then, a sea-swallowing whirlpool formed. A pitch-black hole opened in the centre.
“What?” Riku hissed, and in that instant, a huge purple octopus arm thrust out of it at the surface of the water. Then, with a splash, a huge monster—no, Ursula—appeared with a booming laugh. Ursula was a witch from Atlantica who had tried to trick Ariel.
“It’s true, you really are here. How about you let me give you some payback!” Ursula yelled to Sora and Riku, tentacles undulating.
Sora gripped his Keyblade. “Ursula! Is this part of the test!?”
“Sora! We don’t have time to wonder!”
“I know!” Sora replied. Riku was making his way back to the raft, using Ursula’s tentacles as stepping stones.
“Not going to happen this time!”
Ursula brought the raft up in her tentacles. Her lough laughter booming with the thunder, Sora and Riku attacked.
“Time for a lesson!”
Ursula’s huge face, five times bigger than Sora’s body, began to fire bubbles. However, Sora deflected them with ease. Forgetting how to use the Keyblade doesn’t mean forgetting how to fight. Plus, I have Riku beside me.
“Okay, let’s go!”
Sora and Riku ran across the raft simultaneously, and struck Ursula with all their might. Ursula disappeared with a scream.
However, the instant Ursula had been annihilated, Sora and Riku were thrown into the sea.
They sank deep below the waves.
Losing awareness, Sora could see a light in the distance.
Is that a keyhole…?
Light beamed from the keyhole as it opened by the Keyblades in Sora and Riku’s hands.
The strong light that had shot from the keyhole enveloped their bodies.
A shadowy figure had been watching them.
A man in a brown robe…
“This world has been connected…”
Half-asleep, Sora saw the man, but he was already fading out of consciousness.
Sora and Riku drifted off to sleep.
Continue to Chapter 1: Traverse Town