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KH: Soul Crossed Chap 5

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Kingdom Hearts: Soul Crossed




Chapter 5: The Swirling Sands



Radiant Garden



Riku dragged himself up and out from the wreckage, gripping Roxas's unconscious form as he made his way to the light.  Riku felt it couldn't be more fitting that someone who had spent so much time in darkness was so desperate to find his way to light and safety.  It mirrored his pursuit since returning to the islands, but at least this time, he could see the finish line.

What he couldn't see was Namine through the smoke and sparks and he hoped that she made it out on her own.  He didn't want to have to fight through the loose wires and small fires to go back to her.  He was only praying they all got out before the gummi ship took a turn for the worse and exploded.

He slowed, coughing as he inhaled a large amount of smoke.  He rested for a moment, wiping sweat from his brow.  The strain was more than he expected.  Damn it, Roxas.  You're heavier than you look.  He gripped the boy's wrist, pulling him close so he could wrap his arm around Roxas's waist.  "One last leg of the race, kid."  He coughed into his left shoulder, then gripped one of the metal rods.  He braced his feet, putting most of his weight on his right as he hoisted Roxas up over his head, yelling with the strain.  He came within inches of lifting him high enough, but his strength gave out and Roxas came crashing down on top of him.

"Ow..." he muttered, rolling over the body and sighing.  "I can't do it..." he said, trying to think of another way out.

"Riku?" Namine's voice floated down from the opening above, her face cutting out the light.  "Are you there?"

"You are a sight for sore eyes," he said, laughing, "And arms."

"Is Roxas with you?"

"Yeah, but he's out cold.  If I lift him up, can you take him the rest of the way?"

"I think so," she said.  

Riku could hear the determination in her voice, as well as the uncertainty.  Unfortunately, he didn't have time to try and assuage her fears.  Any second wasted might be the last.  "Alright, I'm going to send him up.  Tell me when you've got a grip.  Pull him as best you can, and I'll try and help as I climb up.  Ready?"

"Yeah," she said and Riku lifted Roxas again, his muscles straining, complaining that this was too much stress over too short a time.  He ignored it, stretching himself out to give Namine a better chance at reaching him.  

Hands slipped under Roxas's arms.  "I've...got him."  Namine sounded like she was struggling not to fall herself, but all Riku needed was for her to take him a bit until he could get up the rods himself.  He could hear her puffing and wheezing, but as he climbed, he stopped every chance he could to help push or steady Roxas for her.  

It was a slow, arduous process, and Riku felt like he could hear a clock ticking down to when things might go haywire inside.  He was thankful when they got Roxas out of the hole and Riku gripped both sides of it, ignoring the pain as the metal sliced into his hands, and pulled himself out too.

"Riku, your hands.  They're bleeding."

"Worry about that later," he said, grabbing Roxas and throwing him over his shoulder.  His legs threatened to buckle, but he took Namine's hand and hurried her off the gummi ship.  Once he deemed they were far enough away, he set Roxas down on the sand, then collapsed on his butt, staring at the hunk of twisted shapes sticking out of the ground.  "Yeah, Donald is definitely going to kill me..."

Magic washed over him and he was aware that Namine had kneeled down next to him, her hands glowing as she healed his wounds.  She was strained herself and when she stopped, there was still some scarring on his palms from where he'd torn them up.  "I'm sorry, Riku...I thought I had more energy than that..."

"It's alright," he said, glancing around.  "We need to find some shelter..."  Riku was finally seeing their surroundings for the first time, and all he saw in any direction was sand.  I didn't even know they had a desert here.  There was no shelter from the blistering heat, nor any sign of where to go.  

"We should go back to the ship for now," Namine said, wiping the sweat away.

"It's too dangerous to be over there."

"Riku, if we don't find some shade out here, it won't matter either way.  We need to give Roxas some time and we're better off where we can be cooler."

Riku didn't want to admit it, but she was right.  "Give it a few more minutes, and if there isn't any reaction from the ship, we'll head down.  If something happens with the circuitry, I want it to happen while we're away from it."  Namine didn't argue with him there and he could see she was just as worried about it as he was.  Her face showed a strain he'd never seen from her, and most people would not have noticed, but Riku had seen it before.  A tightening of the jawline here, or a quick weary glance there.  She was not used to exerting herself like this.  The time to rest was as much for her as it was for Roxas.

The blazing heat didn't get much cooler by the smoky remains of the ship, but Riku was determined to make Namine comfortable.  She positioned Roxas in the coolest portion of the shadows and Riku, after checking to make sure he could navigate in and out, slipped back in through the hole in the ship to see if any of the provisions survived the crash.

Most of what he found was unusable, but he did find one of the units still intact.  He opened it up, sorted through the jumbled mess and smiled when he found some of the food in one of the compartments.  He glanced around, hoping he could find something they could use for canteens.  The only water would have to come from ship's water system itself.

All he could manage were a few mangled bottles, and they wouldn't stay cool for long in this heat.  "It'll have to do," he muttered to himself, packing up what he could.  

He and Namine shared some of the food, and by the time Roxas woke up, the sun was to the west instead of directly overhead, though the heat hadn't diminished by much.  "Are you alright?" Namine asked, rushing to his side and tending to him, her strength having returned some.  Riku felt a twinge of jealousy as he watched the two of them together.  As much as he tried to deny it, he wished Kairi would look at him that way.  Sora had always been better with Kairi in that regard, and he'd resorted to bravado and childish games to try and keep his place by her side.  

When the battle with Xehanort ended and they were back on the islands, he hoped that maybe there was still a place for him in her heart.  He'd never gotten an answer to that question.  Kairi hadn't treated him any differently, and while he thought he caught her looking at him longer than normal, or staying in his arms when he caught her fall just a little too long, he was certain it was only his hormones playing games with his mind and he hadn't the courage to try and ask her for more.  Not after everything he'd done.  They might have forgiven him, but he was still a long way off before he truly forgave himself.

He knelt down by them both, clearing his throat a little and breaking up what might turn into something mushy.  He wasn't sure he could handle that, nor was it the time or place to do so.  "If you're up to it once you get some food in you, I'd like to see what's over those dunes."  He showed Roxas what he was looking at.

"Wandering around out here is a good way to get lost," Namine chided.

"I'm not saying we should leave completely.  I just want to see if there is anything to be seen.  Something we can guide ourselves to."

"He's right," Roxas said, his voice weak.  "We can't stay and hope someone wanders by."

Namine bit her lip, but she nodded.  "But only if you're up to it.  You took a nasty bump to the head when you rebounded off the console.  I've healed a little, but you need rest more than anything."  

"I'll be fine," Roxas snapped, holding his hand to his head.  "I mean...I can handle myself, Namine."

Namine cringed back.  Riku wondered what got into Roxas, but he didn't have the time to waste standing around and trying to figure it out.  "Let's go," he said, trudging through the sand.

The dunes turned out to be further away than Riku first realized.  He'd been fooled by the mirage in the heat and by the time they reached them, he was winded and took a minute, resting his hands on his knees.  Roxas was on his right and he took a knee in the sand, staring straight ahead, his white top drenched in sweat.  Namine had the worst of it.  The black outfit clung to her petite form and she nearly collapsed as she crashed ungraciously to the ground, gasping for air.  Of the three, she had the least training or experience and her dark clothing was not giving her any respite from the furnace of heat..

"H...how...do you...two...stand it?"  She ran an arm along her brow, then fanned herself weakly.  "This heat...it's...unbearable..."

"Try running around in it wearing a long black cloak and destroying Heartless," Roxas said, smiling.

Namine looked confused, but Riku knew what Roxas was talking about.  "Agrabah."  He sat down, remembering his own mission Maleficent had given him there.  "At least on that world there were buildings to provide shade."  

"Yeah, but fighting there took its toll."

Namine interrupted.  "What's that all the way out there?"  She was pointing far to Riku's left and he thought she was seeing things at first, but when he squinted, he could see a formation just showing out of the sand.  "Think it might be something we can use for shelter?"

  "I think so," Riku replied.  "We shouldn't stay here long.  I'd rather get there before darkness falls."

"Don't they say you should travel at night in the desert?" Roxas asked, puffing.

"Without any canteens?  We need to find shelter from the sun as soon as possible."

Roxas sighed, his hands on his knees.  "Alright, but we need to at least stop for a minute."  He gave a small nod at Namine, who was hanging her head over her trembling legs.

Riku nodded.  He was amazed she could still stand, but he didn't want to stay here and bake either.  "Agreed.  Enough to get our breath back at least."

As the sun headed for the horizon, they reached the formation of rocks they'd seen before.  They were large enough for shelter and formed a pseudo-canyon as they walked through.  All three were sweaty and exhausted, but they'd found a safe place.  Or so they thought.

Chilling laughter bounced off the rocks and several strange creatures popped up out of the sand, surrounding the trio.  They had swirls for eyes and had a checkerboard of white and black on the body.  They danced and swayed around the group, but the claws they had for hands were menacing enough.  

Weapons were drawn by Riku and friends, preparing for the attack, but they seemed content to keep the group in the center and a shadow spilled down from a figure at the end of the passage.  A high-pitched cackle echoed off the stones, growing higher pitched with each subsequent volley from the laughing figure.  "Well, well, looks like a couple of heroes have fallen into a sand pit.  You three look positively boiling.  Allow me to lead you to a much colder place."  He laughed again, a strange mirth to his mad words, and he stepped closer and out of the shadows.  "But don't worry.  Death's embrace won't hurt...much!"  

The middle-aged man was dressed in green robes with gold trim with red silk shirt and pants underneath.  He looked lithe but somewhat fragile, not a strong fighter by any means.  His blonde hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and had a white feather extending from it.  The most glaring feature was the white makeup all over his face, except at the eyes where a deep red circled them and had three small spikes of red protruding from those circles, two toward each matching ear and one that went down toward his cheeks.  His lips were also a bright-red, making a garish mask for his face.  

Riku wasn't sure if he should be afraid or laugh. He looks like a psychotic clown, he thought.  He held the Way to Dawn steady, ready to show the joker that he'd messed with the wrong group.

"We're not going to die that easily." Roxas said, glancing between the creatures, then swung at one.  The creature moved faster than Riku expected, dodging under the blade and rolling up, gripping Roxas's arm from underneath, flipping him over onto the sand and taking a small chunk from his arm in the process.  Roxas cried out, dropping the Keyblade and clutching the wound.

"There's nothing like the sound of a scream of agony.  Almost musical..."  He chortled, staring at the group.  "And the Whimsies are so good in bringing them out."  His footsteps crunched under the sand as he slowly approached.  "I don't want you to die easy.  I want it to be slow...and painful.  I want it to last!"  He snapped his fingers and the creatures raced in.  

Roxas ducked under one as it raced by, scooping up his Keyblade and turning to attack.  Riku felt a cold rush behind him.  Namine must have cast one of Blizzard's forms because she gave a quick cheer, then cursed as the spell apparently didn't do what she wanted.  Riku had no time to check on her as he wielded The Way to Dawn with expertise, trying to eliminate them before those claws could be put to good use.   However, they were incredibly speedy, dodging attacks before Riku could even complete the motion.  He was good enough to avoid serious damage, but he took a few cuts on the way.  He needed to end this fast. The long walk they'd taken had stolen a lot of his energy.  

Namine screamed, falling back into Riku.  He spun, steadying her, and saw her clutching her stomach, blood leaking between her fingers.  Roxas hurried to her, the battle forgotten for a moment as he held onto her.  "Yes, yes!   Bleed!  Let the red flow until you're all screaming for the end!"  Riku grit his teeth, the clown getting on his nerves.  

He stared around at the Whimsies, dancing around, taunting them from just outside his reach.  It was only a moment before they'd attack again, following this madman's wild ideas of torture.  He couldn't allow that.  They had to have a weakness.  They were great at dodging individual attacks, and he didn't have the energy to throw a spell that would hit them all.

There's always that new attack I've been practicing.  It couldn't make things any worse and he was running out of options.  He whispered back to Roxas.  "Keep her low to the ground..."  He watched Roxas long enough to see him nod before he stood, gripping the blade with both hands as he lifted it straight in the air.  Dark energy danced between his fingers and then to the hilt and up the blade until the entire weapon burned black and red.  He brought it down quickly, slicing in an arc and spinning on his heel in a circle.  The energy blasted from the tip of the Way to Dawn, hitting everything in its path.

He sunk to his knees after he completed his circuit, spent.  His Nocturne Slash had taken months to set up and learn, but it had been extremely effective.  He didn't see a single Whimsy around.  "When'd you learn that move?"  Roxas asked.  "You didn't have that when we fought."

Riku didn't get a chance to respond as the man began clapping.  Riku cursed, thinking he'd got him too.  He didn't suppose it mattered.  The man was frail.  Even weakened, they should be a match for him.  "I suppose I should have expected nothing less from two-bit heroes who have an overblown sense of their self-importance."  He cackled again, the arrogance and egocentrism of his attitude oozing through.  "But you aren't going to stop my fun.  I said you were going to suffer, and I mean it!  I'll paint the sand with your blood!"  Riku saw him ready the powerful fire spell and he pushed himself in front of the others, knowing they had no way to deflect that spell.  He saw the flames coming and braced for impact.

The fire rushed toward him, then flew over the top.  Riku spun, seeing the spell fly and slam into the point of a sword, the magic swirling down to the hilt and vanishing.  A blonde woman held the sword.  She was dressed in green and white armor with a long white cloak and blue boots.  She wore a blue headband under her long blonde hair.  She sat on the back of a large yellow bird that was saddled and she was staring daggers at their attacker.

The clown giggled.  "If it isn't my favorite traitor.  Come to join the bloodbath?  I'm sure my friends would love to include you."  Dark portals opened and closed, bringing more Whimsies to the party.  Riku grimaced.  They may have a new ally, but one more person wasn't going to tip the scales, not unless she could take down the whole army by herself.  And the man did not seem very scared of her.  "Did you bring my little pet back to me?  I'd like to add her to the body count as well."

"Terra couldn't make it.  But I brought another friend with me."  She gestured with two fingers and there was a recurring clunking noise.  Arrows flew at an alarming rate from an elevated position and the Whimsies fell in quick succession, disappearing back to the darkness from which they spawned.

The clown snarled, then shook his finger at her.  "You think that sand-rat who calls himself royalty can stop me?"  He looked from the woman to the trio and then up on the rocks.  "I'll be back and his precious Figaro castle is going to be the first of many tombs."  Dust swept up and around him.  Arrows flew into the cloud, but when the dust settled, he was gone.

Riku stood, scratching his head.  He had the feeling they'd walked into the middle of a war they knew nothing about.  It wouldn't be the first time, but he hadn't expected it to be here on Radiant Garden.  The woman came over, dismounted and leaned over Namine.  Roxas tensed a little, but she simply held out her hand, healing the wound on Namine's stomach.  "I figure you three must be exhausted.  Leon said to keep an eye out for you after the computer said you crashed.  We weren't sure where you'd gone down.  Unfortunately, Kefka found you first."

"But thankfully we got here in time to help out."  A man rode down to meet them, a strange-looking crossbow slung across his back.  His hair was also blonde, pulled into a ponytail like Kefka's was, which was held by two blue ribbons.  He wore dark green armor and a long blue cape with yellow trim.  His deep-blue eyes roamed over the group, stopping on Namine.  He jumped down to the sand, walking over and kneeling in front of her.  "Especially as I was able to save such a pretty desert flower."

Namine blushed, staring at her hands, and Roxas fumed just a few feet away.  The woman pushed the man over.  "Really, Edgar?  Out here?"

The man brushed himself off as he stood.  "You're right Celes.  I let my entrancement with her beauty get the best of me."

"If it's a woman and she's old enough, you're entranced," Celes said.  "Go get the other Chocobo and let's return to Figaro Castle.  I'd rather not wait around to see whether Kefka has any other nasty tricks waiting for us."

"Cold as ice," Edgar said, chuckling, as he took Namine's hand and kissed it.  He stood and walked off, Namine staring at him all the way.

Riku coughed, then held out his hand to Celes.  "Thank you for helping us."

Celes stared at him, then shook it.  "Think nothing of it.  We are honored to help the heroes of the Keyblades, even if two of them are only represented by Shades for now."  Roxas bristled but Riku held up his hand.  Celes flushed a little, glancing at Roxas.  "I apologize.  I didn't mean to be rude.  However, the two of you are Nobodies, who were meant to have rejoined with Sora and Kairi.  Aerith is curious as to why you've appeared again, and I must say that I want to know myself."

Namine paused, but she never got a chance to say anything as Edgar came around, leading a Chocobo around as fast as he could.  "More Whimsies coming fast!  We need to get going now!"  He handed the reins to Roxas, turned to Namine.  "Come, my lady.  Let us make a hasty retreat."  He wrapped her around the waist and lifted her into the saddle, then leapt up behind her.  It gave a soft 'Wark' as he turned the Chocobo around and raced away on it.

Roxas glanced at Riku, who shrugged, then jumped on.  Roxas followed, snapping the reins and the Chocobo shot past Celes after Edgar as Riku held onto his companion.  Riku was surprised how fast the over-grown chicken could move, but if it got them away from the danger and closer to Aerith, he wasn't about to argue.  


---------------------


Namine felt the wind whip through her hair as she leaned back, trying not to focus too much on the passing terrain lest she get sick.  Instead, she watched as the sun began to set, the colors of red and orange streaking the darkening sky, mixing together like some of her paints.  She closed her eyes after a minute, just enjoying the ride.  It was an incredible feeling and not as jarring as she thought it would be.  It almost felt like flying.  

Edgar stayed silent and alert, looking for possible danger as they rode, and it gave her time to reflect.  Before, when she'd been with Organization XIII, she dreamed of meeting her prince, of finding her place in the world, of living.  As she helped Sora regain his memories while he slept, she felt that dream slip away like the sands of time through her fingers.  Even helping Kairi escape had only felt like something she had to do, not something of her own free will.

Now, she was having her own adventure.  She was seeing and experiencing so many things all at once and it was hard to take it all in.  She even got kissed by a handsome king, though only on her hand.  She wanted to giggle and just pretend everything was for her. When it eventually ended back with Kairi, it wouldn't feel so empty.  

"Look ahead, my lady," Edgar said as he leaned down, speaking in her ear.  It gave her a small thrill to have his lips so close.  She glanced ahead, seeing what he was pointing at.  Rising above the dunes was a large castle with large wind turbines in two towers to either side, a sentinel in the growing darkness.  As they got closer, she could see the stone used for it was weather-beaten but sturdy and she could see all types of people milling about outside, awaiting the return of the king. "That's Figaro Castle."

"Impressive," she said, her breath taken away.  It was nowhere near as large as the one from The World That Never Was, but somehow the age and grit to it held a longevity that surpassed anything Xehanort had planned in his own.  There was a warmth to it all that the cold halls that held Organization XIII never had.  She wondered if Roxas would notice the difference too.

Roxas...  The thought of him made her look back at her two companions who were following close behind.  She could feel her heart jumping a bit at the thought of him, and the fact that they were truly together for once was not lost on her.  She hoped to get a chance to speak to him alone.  There hadn't been time for it since they'd first come back to reality.

Edgar pulled the Chocobo to a stop as a guard in red and green armor walked up, smiling.  "Looks like your search was successful, my liege."

Edgar hopped down, clapping the man on his shoulder guard.  "Indeed it was, Redrick.  And not a minute too soon."

"Well, I'm glad you're back.  That bounty hunter fellow who you sent to hunt Heartless has been waiting for you to return.  He needs to get back to master Cid."

"Vic's back already?  That was quick."  He pursed his lips, then turned to help Namine down.  She took his hand, gracefully dismounting.  "Though I doubt Cid would like the honorific there.  Did he mention why?"

"No, my liege."  Redrick glanced at the three of them.  "Shall I take them to the guest quarters?"

"Not yet," Celes said, walking up to Edgar.  "Aerith will want to know they're found, and if she has any questions for them, I don't want to have her wait while we bring them in."

Edgar nodded.  "I'll speak with Vic personally, and then we'll prepare for departure."

"We'll be riding again so soon?"  Roxas said.

Edgar chuckled.  "We have other means to get you there," he said.  "Just wait and see."

They were led through the castle to the throne room where Vic sat waiting on them.  He was a large man, his body muscled and toned.  His hair was black and spiked straight up with red spikes of hair coming from the hairline itself.  His eyes, dark and soul-piercing, took in the group as they entered.  He wore a casual, light green, sleeveless top and matching pants as well as brown gloves that ended at the wrist.  Across his back was an impossibly large sword made from some form of black metal.  It was slightly curved at the end and had two areas where the blade came out, then curved back in before finally continuing.  On the blade near the hilt was a large red symbol Namine couldn't identify.

"Have fun hunting the Heartless?" Edgar asked as he made his way to the throne.

"The pay was good.  Fun doesn't enter into it," Vic replied gruffly.

"You take your work too seriously," Edgar said.  "I hear you need to head back to the city."

"A new job came up and it pays a lot more than going after Heartless did."  He folded his arms and leaned against a pillar.  Namine thought for a moment that his huge body would push right through the column.

"Never were one for small talk, were you?  Ah well, I doubt we have any room to complain.  You covered your share of the bargain Yuffie set for you and then some.  Well, I'll send one of the guards to set you up a room.  We'll be underway to the city momentarily."

Vic nodded, bowing slightly, and headed out of the throne room.  As he passed the rest of the group, his eyes focused on the trio of newcomers, taking them all in for a bit as he walked by, his stride never broken as he did.  The door to the throne room shut with a resounding thud and Namine shivered.  Something about the way he'd looked at them didn't sit right with her.  She was grateful when he was gone.

She turned back in enough time to see Edgar speaking into a video screen that seemed out of place in the old-fashioned throne room.  "Can you let him know we'll be arriving soon, Aerith?  I know Leon doesn't like it when Figaro arrives unannounced."

"We'll be waiting for your arrival."  Aerith responded.  "Was there any trouble in finding them?"

Edgar grimaced.  "Kefka found them first." There was a sharp intake of breath from the monitor.   "Not only that, but there are more Whimsies showing every day.  Terra and Locke went to go find out what Kefka's up to.  I only hope he doesn't find them first.  We need as many fighters as we can get or we'll be overwhelmed out here."

"You could always come back out here."

Edgar shook his head.  "I bring Figaro there and Kefka just gains more ground.  We'll survive."

"At least the Heartless have grown less aggressive with these Whimsies around.  And the Nobodies have gone back into hiding.  It's nothing we can't handle."

Riku stepped forward.  "These Whimsies might not be your only problem."  He explained about the strange creatures that attacked the island and the strangers who attacked Sora and Kairi.

"King Mickey told us about Restin and his group.  You're sure what attacked weren't more Whimsies?"  Aerith asked.

"Positive."

Aerith frowned, lines of worry on her face.  "I'll let Leon know.  We need to be prepared.  Edgar, we'll see you soon."

Edgar nodded.  "Also, I'm bringing Vic back per his request.  He has more than fulfilled his bargain and he has other ventures to attend to."

Aerith nodded.  "I see," she said, her voice grave.  "Well, God speed."  And the screen blinked out.

Edgar rubbed his forehead.  "I worry about her, Celes.  The strain is showing, even through her normally calm self."

"She worries about all of us.  She cares and that's important.  I just don't like leaving Locke and Terra alone out here."

"I'll leave some of the soldiers behind to let them know where we've gone and to help them until we return."

Celes gave a curt nod and turned to the trio.  "Let's get you settled for the trip."

Edgar perked up a bit, hurrying over to Namine.  "I have a room where you can stay, my Lady.  If you'll allow me," he said, offering his elbow.  Namine blushed, looking back at the others for a moment before taking his arm, feeling lighter than air as he led her through the halls.  He was talking to her about the history of the castle, but it was hard to hear over the beating of her heart.  She was confused at this feeling.  Normally she only felt this way around Roxas and now she was feeling like this around a man, albeit a charming man, she'd just met.  Maybe it's because I spent so much time as a servant of the Organization.  She didn't know, but she wasn't sure how to react.  For now, just enjoy it.

Edgar stopped and was looking at her, as if expecting something, and she realized he'd asked her a question and she had no idea what.  "And you weren't paying attention..." he said, a rueful smile on his face.

"I'm sorry, your Highness, I..."  

He held his hand up.  "Please.  Just call me Edgar."

Namine glanced down at her feet.  "Edgar.  I'm sorry.  There's just a lot on my mind right now."  She began toying with the tear in her blouse, then grimaced.  She had taken this outfit from Kairi's closet, and now she'd ruined it.

Edgar took her hand.  "I understand.  And if you like, I can have the matron take a look at this and fix it for you."

"I'd like that," she said, smiling.

"Just set it outside the door.  There are other outfits inside.  We should have it fixed before we reach our friends."

Namine watched him go, then entered the room.  It was elegant, fit for a princess, and Namine spun around, amazed at the feel of being allowed to stay in a room like this.  It was contributing to her fantasy of meeting her prince and falling in love.  She wanted to immerse herself in the room and the dream and never let it go.  She pulled off the blouse and looked for a dress to wear while she waited, something frilly and soft to wear for the evening.  She giggled to herself.  Maybe she could convince Roxas to dance with her.  Or Edgar.

Stop that!  It's not your life to live.  No matter how much she wanted it, that life would never be.  Her goal had to be finding Kairi and returning to her and fixing the balance.  If she got distracted, she might fail and Kairi might be lost for good.  Tears slipped down her cheek at the thought of this ending, but she hardened her heart and stared in the mirror.  She had a job to do, even if it meant that the person who stared back at her would once again cease to exist.


---------------


Vic sat in his room, listening to the whirring of the gears in the castle walls as Figaro castle prepared to submerge beneath the sand.  The monotonous sound was soothing to him and allowed him to reflect on the past day's events. He thought back to his encounter with his newest client out on the sands.  The woman was gorgeous, her body curving in all the right places, red hair flowing down her back in curly waves with deep silver eyes that called out to his soul, but Vic was not one to be taken in by beauty alone.  He'd been wary of her when she'd approached.  He'd known people who'd tried to take him out because he'd dropped a job when he'd learned the truth about his targets.  Even after returning the fee, some people felt he should finish the job regardless or die for what he knew.

So he'd kept his blade ready when she'd approached with an offer.  "I hear you're the bounty hunter who only goes after those who threaten all that is good."  He'd nodded.  That part was very well known.  It was his own personal honor code.  He only took jobs that eliminated people or creatures that were evil.  He followed his marks, learned the truth about them, and passed judgment on whether they were the horrible beings he'd been told of when he'd been contracted.  

"What's it to you?" he'd said, a bit more gruff than he'd intended.  He'd been hunting down a group of Heartless, tracking them across the sands, and she was interrupting him.

"I have a very important assignment for you.  A group of betrayers and deceivers that have shaken the very foundation of the worlds.  Their actions led to the destruction of a large group of people, kidnapping of several princesses and even messed with the minds of innocents.  They need to be eliminated before they do more harm."

Vic had been skeptical.  He'd heard the same things on more than one occasion.  There were always those who tried to play to his code and the ones who did soon lived to regret it.  She seemed to know what he was thinking, because she'd shrugged.  "You can do your own research, but everything I've said is the truth."  She'd pulled out a folder, tossing it to him.  He caught it, looking inside immediately.  There were files inside on his targets, a large amount of cash, and three photos.  "Take it or leave it."

Vic had paused, then shrugged.  "You know about my return policy?"

"Of course.  Though I don't expect you to ever need to enforce it."  She smiled again, and his skin had crawled.  She was too sure of herself, but she didn't waver at all in dealing with him.  She'd walked away, then turned back, glancing at him.  "I'd be careful with them.  They're masters of deception.  They had to be, to destroy all they did.  Don't let their looks fool you."  She'd flicked her red hair back over her ear.  "I'll be in touch, Vic."

The room shook, and Vic looked up from the folder by his side.  He had expected to need to travel to track down the people he was supposed to eliminate.  Instead, he'd almost done a double take when he'd seen them standing in Edgar's throne room.  They'd looked young in the photos, but he hadn't expected them to actually be children.  How can three people so young do all this?

The woman had warned him that he couldn't trust his eyes, but he wondered if he could really trust her.  If these three were betrayers though, the group in Radiant Garden could be in grave danger.  "What do I do?" he asked as he stared at his gargantuan fists.  He might not have the time to stop and research them, and he might not be able to trust what he saw if he did.

Keep a close eye on them and wait for one side to slip up.  Evil always does.  The red on the black metal of his sword glowed at that thought, lighting up his somber face.  Sooner or later, one or the other would mess up, and when they did, justice would be served on the end of his blade.
And here we have Chapter 5 of Soul Crossed. I think this is the most fun I've had writing a chapter in this fic. I just had to use my favorite Final Fantasy villain. I really like Sephiroth, but Kefka just rocks. And with Kefka, I had to bring in a few of the heroes to counteract him.

I also got to bring in Vic, who belongs to my friend :iconkairukurumi: and who I hope to god I got right. I know his section isn't much, but that's on purpose as I plan to reveal him more as time goes on and not as much right now.

We also got to introduce the Whimsies, which I feel I should explain a bit more to the reader. I was looking at the two creature types in Kingdom Hearts: Heartless and Nobodies. The way I always looked at a person is heart, mind, body and soul. We had heart and body stealers, and I made the Soulless (Which I couldn't find a better word for) but I also wanted to create one for the mind stealers. Thus, the Whimsies were born, creatures that are designed to be similar to the person they are attached to.

I cannot wait until I can link to some of the designs or pictures of these new creature types. If I could draw, they'd already be up. I may just have to pester my wife more.

Anyway, I hope my fans enjoy this newest romp into the worlds of Kingdom Hearts.

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© 2010 - 2021 Tymestalker
Comments7
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shinigamisparda's avatar
KEFKA!?! YOU ADDED KEFKA!?! Ok, it's official, everyone's fucked.

Anyway, another great chapter, and I have to say I really didn't see it coming. I mean, FF VI out of left field. And that Vic guy, really interested in where this is gonna take the story. And now you've added something more interesting than the continuation of the Sora/Riku/Kairi love traingle: Kairi (and possibly Roxas) having to come to terms with their individual existence ending. Will it come to be? Will it turn out well for them? Will it turn out to be worse? ONLY YOU CAN TELL!
Tymestalker's avatar
I had to. I really love that game and he's my fave FF villain. And Vic was definitely interesting to write in.

Also, I think you meant Namine and Roxas having to deal with their existence ending, right?

I'm glad you liked the chapter. It was very fun to write. Hope the next one comes out soon.
shinigamisparda's avatar
Yeah, I meant Namine.

No need to rush, quality is more important!
Tymestalker's avatar
Well, I'm glad you think this is quality ^_~
horsez219's avatar
which final fantasy are these characters from?
Tymestalker's avatar
Final Fantasy VI.
horsez219's avatar
oh, okay. I never played that one >.<
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