When it was Hollow Bastion, the world seemed very gloomy, even after Maleficent had been driven out. Now that it was Radiant Garden, even the most pessimistic individual would be hard pressed to say that improvements hadn't been made. Indeed, the world was regaining its former glory, bit by bit.

Which was why the warrior in front of the portal was so unnerving. The portal had appeared about ten minutes prior when a small crystal smashed into the ground and shattered. In a few seconds, the portal had appeared where it landed. Five minutes later, the warrior had appeared, cursing about some dark creatures and wondering where he was, calling out names such as Corvus, Iri, R'idill, and Sosoloji. Now he stood for the past few minutes, wondering what lay beyond the portal.

He wore what looked like heavy, but bright white, armor. A small crown lay on his head and on his back was a heavy shield and sword. What was the strangest about this man wasn't that his garb was out of place for this time, but more the fact that he had cat ears on the top of his head, and a fluffy, brown, cat tail swishing out of his backside.

After a few seconds, he nodded to himself and stepped into the portal, completely missing the two people that had been about to call out to him.


Thanalan: Copperbell Mines

As his eyes adjusted from the bright sun to the darkness, he soon made out a dark mineshaft and frowned.

"Of all the… How did that lead here?" He wondered aloud, turning to view where he came from. As he stared at the closed doors that he had apparently walked out of, a light sound drew his attention. A moment later, two forms tumbled out of the door, landing heavily on the ground as the door slammed shut and clicked behind them..

The first was a boy, probably around 18 years of age. His clothing seemed pretty light, not suited for fighting in the warrior's opinion, he had very spiky brown hair, and clasped in his right hand was a large… key? The second girl seemed to be close in age to the boy. Once again, the clothing didn't seem right for fighting. And clasped in her own right hand was a similar key, though her key looked to be a bit more flowery than the boy's.

He crossed his arms as the two started groaning and pushing themselves to their feet.

"Now who might you two be?" He asked, getting their attention.

"I'm Sora!" the boy said, pointing his thumb at himself, then gesturing to his friend, "And this is Kairi."

The warrior nodded, "You may call me G'dhap Tia. Now what possessed you to follow me into an incredibly dangerous area?"

"How were we supposed to know where it went?" Sora protested.

"True," G'dhap nodded, "But do you always jump into things instantly?"

"He does," Kairi confirmed, a bit of a sheepish grin on her face making G'dhap think it might not have been just Sora's idea.

"Where is this anyways?" Sora asked, looking around the entry.

G'dhap merely started walking towards the next room, unslinging his sword and shield and clasping them together. A small aura covered him as he focused his attention on the strange rock-like creatures and a black bunny in the next room. Their backs looked like crystals were growing out of them but their sharp teeth showed that going for the crystals was a bad idea. The bunny held a crystal in its little paws but its beady eyes were filled with feral malice. "Welcome to the Copperbell Mines," G'dhap grunted before yelling and charging in there.

Sora and Kairi barely made it to the entrance of the room before G'dhap had finished the creatures off in there. The gruesome scene left them nauseated. The crystals from the rock creatures lay shattered on the ground, and they had to turn away from the walls which now contained a very splattered rabbit. Meanwhile, G'dhap was picking up a small key from the ground and staring at a locked door.

"So, I need to make my way through here again to escape…" He muttered, pushing past Sora and Kairi to check the entrance door. "Locked. Figures."

He walked back to the first door and unlocked it, turning to Sora and Kairi. "Well kids? You coming?"

His voice shocked them out of their stupor and he saw them stare rapidly at the carnage then back at him. With a heavy sigh he brought his gauntleted hand to his face, speaking through it. "Look, if you want to get out of here, you'd best follow me. You'll have to deal with that for now."

He lowered his hand and walked through the door, muttering about kids not knowing how to deal with killing despite having weapons, and occasionally rubbing where he slapped his hand to his face. Sora and Kairi quickly caught up with him, as he stopped in a lift with his hand on the lever.

"Now I want to clarify something with you kids. If you want to survive here, you need to fight," he said, pulling the lever down and sending the lift down as well. As the lift door opened, he guided them out and through an opening to see their targets gathering a little outside the door.

"These creatures can and will attack you without provocation. Those," he pointed his blade at the crystal-rock creatures, "are Coblyns. They bite hard, and have a nasty tendency to blast energy out of their crystals. They're usually either territorial or have a fight response to anyone getting close. And those," he pointed his blade at a black bunny entering a tunnel, "are Spriggans. They will use those crystals as a focuser, channeling spells at you. They also have a wide range of movement and won't hesitate to send themselves hurtling at you. They are also quite protective of the crystals they carry, and by that I mean they attack on sight."

He turned back to them, making sure they understood. "Do you get it? Killing here… It's not a choice. If you don't kill them, they damn well will kill you. Understand?" He watched as they nodded, then turned back to the foes.

"Good. Oh and… It's not normally that messy," He scratched his head sheepishly, "I didn't expect to be back here and the enemies aren't exactly strong for me at least. I didn't expect my first moves to effectively annihilate them."

He took a deep breath and threw his shield forward, catching it on the rebound getting the enemies attention as he ran forward and the shield bounced off their heads. With another small burst of magic, he sent out a flash of light, making certain they focused on him. Sora and Kairi took that as their cue and jumped in, slashing at the enemies until they were no more.

G'dhap nodded approvingly as the enemies fell to the onslaught, not the least bit as gory as his first fight there was. With a beckon, he led them through the first segment of the mines, making one small detour to grab a chest. As they approached a small bridge to get over a chasm, Sora and Kairi jumped as the wall burst open and a large beast lumbered through. Its brown torso was heavily muscled, its eyes were covered in a horned helmet, its left arm had a large buckler and in its right hand was an axe that it had used to break the wall down.

"Hecatoncheir! Just dodge the axe and you'll be fine… But if you get hit it's going to hurt, those muscles aren't for show," G'dhap ordered, hurling his shield at the beast's head to get its attention and turn it away so the other two could hack at it uninterrupted. When it fell, they continued on, crossing the two bridges that connected a small rock outcrop in the middle to the other side, and slaying the monsters on the way. The only other time they stopped was to let G'dhap grab a small baggy that was on a lift on the other side of the chasm and to also point out a new enemy they encountered halfway through, the strange, purple, floating enemies he called Lightning Sprites.

Soon they reached what appeared to be a dead end. Sora looked at G'dhap to ask a question only to see… He wasn't there. Instead he had begun climbing a pile of rubble to get at a strange black powder that he scooped into the bag he'd picked up earlier. With a mischievous glint in his eyes, he walked over to another rubble pile and poured the powder into a small hole, before moving back to a plunger and pushing down on it.

With a loud explosion, the pile of rubble vanished, leaving a lone Spriggan in the room ahead.

"Be warned," G'dhap said, "That one may fall quickly but this room has them hiding all over. If we make enough noise, the big guy carrying the key to get out will drop in. However, another kind of enemy will also appear. It looks like a round, orange ball, but it has a shite-eating face and needs to be taken out quickly before it literally explodes. Are you both ready?"

Receiving nods from the both of them, he hurled his shield at the Spriggan and charged in. He was right, the first one went down within seconds. But they were soon attacked by many more… that fell just as quickly. Eventually, G'dhap hurled his shield over their heads to smack into a round, orange, monster that had an evil grin on its face. "That's one of them! Get it!"

He said to get it, but the two could only watch as his own attacks tore the monster in two, with a ferocity born of fear. The scene repeated itself twice more as two more fell from the roof amongst the onslaught of Spriggans. Eventually as the last of the bunnies fell, they heard a stomping from the tracks above them as a Hecatoncheir dropped down to fight, and got beaned in the head by G'dhap's shield. The fight didn't take too long as Sora continued slicing through the beast, with Kairi not just assisting, but casting an occasional cure to G'dhap who had been taking the brunt of the Hecatoncheir's blows.

As the beast fell, Sora and Kairi fell back, panting. G'dhap looked none the worse for wear but he still motioned for them to sit and catch their breath, something they did without complaint. While they were doing that, he picked up a small key that had fallen nearby the locked door on the other side of the room during the commotion caused by the battle. He also opened a chest that had fallen as well and appraised the contents of it, grinning.

"Sora, " His voice called out, getting their attention. Kairi blinked as a pair of gauntlets flew out and nailed Sora on the head.

"What was that for?!" He yelled at the man, only to see his ears twitch in amusement.

"Your reflexes could use some work… Put those on, those are pieces of enchanted gear that should provide a nice little boost. Perhaps bolster your flagging strength. I'm not certain how you've survived this far with that clothing you call armor but the opponents will be getting more challenging. You best be prepared."

Sora glared but attached the gauntlets to his arms as Kairi giggled a little. It wasn't long before he felt that the man was right, the enchantments on there gave a small boost to most of Sora's attributes. Strength, vitality, defense, all got a small surge.

"Now, the one thing you need to be aware of is this. The second you start fighting wearing those, they become bonded to you. From that point on, no one else can wear that piece. Now if you keep using it and the spiritbond becomes full, I, or one of my teammates, can show you another way it can become useful."

"But what about you? Don't you need stuff like this as well?" Kairi asked.

G'dhap shook his head, and motioned to his own armor. "This stuff is actually pretty good. While that pickaxe stung a little towards the end, This armor is actually much better than what this place contains. If you wind up with me again later on, we might be able to find more potent pieces…" He paused and then unlocked the door. "Take another five minutes to catch your breath and meet me at the lift up ahead. I'll clear us a path."

With that he unsheathed his sword again and walked off. As he walked down the hallway, he came across two flying, yellow orbs that he recognized as Errant Souls. At his current strength level, they were not a threat and he proved it quickly. By simply pressing his sword and shield together and focusing, he let loose a magic shot called Holy Spirit. Two shots later and both had fallen and faded from view. He continued following the path, and took a quick detour left to open a chest and grab another couple potions from it, before arriving at the lift and settling down to wait.

A few minutes later, Sora and Kairi got to the lift to see him simply leaning against the back of it.

"Come on, kids," He said, "We've still got two segments left to cover and I'd rather not stay here any longer than necessary."

They nodded and entered the lift.G'dhap reached over and yanked a lever causing them to descend slowly.

"When we arrive down there, there will be two paths. One to the left and one to the right. We need to clear both sides before we can proceed," G'dhap calmly stated.

"How many times have you done this?" Sora asked, a curious expression on his face as he held his hands behind his head.

"Many times. My team was renowned through our home as a group that was capable of taking on any threat. Defeating any foe. But at our core, we really all are just adventurers. We want to explore, to find all the secrets the land has to offer. We started as four people, but we grew so much bigger. I hope everyone's alright. Knowing Josh, he's likely already searching for us… Probably looking for R'idill first. But all things considered, once I get my bearings I'll likely do the same for Iri-" He caught sight of their confused looks, "Er… I'll explain a bit more once we're out of here," He said as the lift door opened and a Spriggan scurried across their view… Only to take another shield to the head. G'dhap really liked that move.

The action also served to bring in an Errant Soul that had been lingering down towards a wall, allowing G'dhap to give a brief explanation, "If you see that drawing in energy, back off. As quick as you can. If it hits you, it not only damages you, but also drains your stamina and makes it more difficult for you to swing your weapon."

The bunny and soul fell, and G'dhap led them down the left side, where they saw an Errant Soul alongside the Grenade and Spriggan. As they dove in, the enemies fell before their blades. G'dhap noted, approvingly, that Sora and Kairi were getting used to slaying the creatures.

"What is that stuff?" Sora asked.

"Gunpowder," G'dhap answered, slipping the bag into his pockets, causing Sora to stare at him, "What? All adventurers get an inventory enchantment that lets them store a massive amount of stuff without any weight problems. Gods help the poor sod who tries to carry a normal adventurer's load without the enchantment."

He guided them back up the ramp to the other side where they proceeded to slay the monsters on that end as well, and got another bag of the gunpowder. Before Sora and Kairi could even ask what the gunpowder was going to be used for, G'dhap headed back up the ramp and walked towards a dead end. It was then that they noticed the lever near, what seemed to be, a wall, and realized that G'dhap was going to blow up yet another wall.

With an ear-splitting explosion, G'dhap strode through the new hole in the wall, leaving Sora and Kairi to get the ringing out of their ears. It didn't take long before they saw him grabbing another gunpowder bag off the ground in the new passage and pausing before another room.

On its left was a lift system, meant for pulling ores out to be sent up to the surface. To the right stood another blasting lever and a pile of rubble. In the center, was a big, green slime.

"Ah this thing. The Ichorous Ire. I'll keep its attention, there will be a blasting lever really close by it. Not the one by the wall, though. A Bomb will appear out of the ground. Do not attack this one. As much as I hate those things, it's only the force of their explosions that make this slime actually beatable. If any Spriggans appear, kill them fast. They tend to go for the variety of Bomb that spawns here. When I give the signal, rush the slimes that will be there. Once they've divided a few times, they lose the consistency that causes attacks to bounce off them. Got all that?" G'dhap finished off his explanation, looking over at the two.

"Let's get to it!" He yelled as he threw his shield forward once more, catching it on the rebound and keeping that Ire's focus. "Sora, get over here and push the blasting lever, then get clear!"

In a couple seconds, he saw the Blasting Cap appear and he gave a small burst of light to draw its attention to him. He waited a few seconds, then dove out of the way as a large explosion rocked the ground and forced the Ichorous Ire to divide in two. He sent out another flash and pulled them towards him as he nodded to Sora to hit the lever again.

As the new Blasting Cap spawned, a Spriggan also made its way up to the top of the pulley. "Get rid of that Spriggan!" G'dhap shouted out. He heard two clangs and a small yelp, then saw the bunny go flying off the edge. He smiled briefly, then dove again as the second Cap detonated, splitting the Ichorous Ire once more.

"One more oughta do it!" He said, drawing the Ichorous Ires all to him with another Flash. Sora hit the lever one more time, another bunny went flying off the platform, and the Ichorous Ire was divided once more by another explosion.

"That's it, now give em hell!" He shouted as the two Keybladers dove in and made quick work of the eight Ichorous Ires. He had been right, again. During that fight, whenever he smacked it with his blade, you couldn't see any sort of injury on the monster. It was as if his attacks were bouncing off. Now it was in visible pain as the copies started dying quickly. When the last one died off, Sora and Kairi took the chance to catch their breath again, as G'dhap walked over to the pile of rubble in the bag and picked up another small bag.

He also took the time to open the two chests that had dropped and withdrew two items from them. "Kairi, got something for you here," He called out, tossing a pair of goggles to her. "Same deal, should give you a boost," He said, pocketing the other item that he'd taken out.

As Kairi caught and put on the goggles, Sora spoke up, asking a question that'd been on his mind.

"G'dhap, you know this place right? Could you tell us about it?" Sora asked.

"I can… but it's not the nicest of tales," G'dhap said, "but if you're certain, then far be it from me to hold back the truth. These mines used to be abandoned. Their veins emptied of ore for years. Then an Ul'dahn mining company by the name of 'Amajina and Son' came and reclaimed the shafts. They had hoped to expand downwards in an attempt to find new veins of ore. But their powder kegs uncovered only terror. In the midst of the smoke and rubble, they came upon a horrifying discovery. You see, one of the previous dynasties of Ul'dah, specifically one called the Thorne Dynasty, had used Hecatoncheires as thralls. Slaves if you will. They'd buried them deep below the ground in a lightless prison. And those explosives freed them from their prison. They came surging out with murder in their eyes and revenge on the brain, completely unaware that the dynasty in question had been gone for over 300 years. We didn't like it, but we had to slay the attacking giants. They were completely in the right… but their rage was very temporally misplaced."

He waited as this sunk in and turned to pour the gunpowder into the small tube near the wall. One last explosion would put them on the path to the exit.

"But… how?"

G'dhap stopped, and turned around at Sora's question, noting that Kairi seemed to hold the same one. "I presume you're asking how someone could be that cruel," he said, getting a nod in confirmation. "I don't… presume to know. It disgusts me just as much. But there wasn't anything me, or my team, could do. Let's just get through the last leg and wrap this up."

With that, he pushed the lever down… and frowned as no explosion occurred. Then he remembered, slapped his gauntleted hand into his face, paused to whimper slightly, then poured the gunpowder into the tube and pushed the lever again. Once everyone's ears stopped ringing, he guided them through the last leg.

On this last bit, they encountered enemies that he called Living Fossils and Pit Hippocerfs as they went through an area absolutely covered in crystals, and traversed a small underground spring to get to the last open area. As they approached the huge open ground, G'dhap held out a hand to stop. As they came to a halt, they soon found why.

[BGM - Nemesis - Final Fantasy XIV]

The ground shook as a loud smash echoed through the chamber… Then another, and then another. Until finally, with a loud crack, a large hammerhead burst through the far wall.

"Slaves no more! Free! Freeeeeeeee!" A loud rumbling voice roared through the cavern as a large Hecatoncheir forced his way through the opening, carrying that large hammer with one hand. As it made its way towards the group, it continued roaring out, "Masters must pay! Masters must die! Never again! NEVER!"

"This is it!" G'dhap yelled, charging forward, directing the giants attention to him and away from the group.

"Right!" Sora shouted, joining him in the fray.

"Got it!" Kairi jumped in as well, slashing away and keeping a steady stream of cures to G'dhap.

Under the steady stream of attacks, it wasn't long before the giant moved to the eastern wall, followed by G'dhap, Sora, and Kairi. As they got close to it again, they saw it bashing away at a wall, finally letting it crumble to reveal another giant moving to the western wall to proceed to do the same.

"Sora! Kairi! Make certain it's down before it breaks down that wall! It'll let more of them through and we do not want that! I can handle myself here!" G'dhap yelled out, ducking the swing of the huge hammer. With a quick nod, the two Keybladers ran to take care of the additional giant as G'dhap started laying into the big one.

The pattern wound up repeating itself as they wore the biggest giant down. They would take out the smaller one it summoned, return to keep beating it, then go take down another one it called. While it took them a bit of time, they managed to defeat him before the western wall could fall, and with a pained cry, the giant fell forward, dead as it hit the ground.

[End BGM]

"That… is that," G'dhap breathed out, with his hands on his knees to finally catch his breath.

"Is there any more?" Kairi asked, staying alert as she stared at the hole.

"No, they stopped coming when their boss went down. At the time we thought they just fled. We figured out we were wrong about three months later. But if this is based on our first time through, we shouldn't need to be worried." G'dhap said, straightening up and sheathing his sword and shield, "And if you'll look over yonder, you'll see we have another chest and the exit."

He pointed towards the far wall where a chest had indeed fallen, and a portal had appeared in the hole that the giant had smashed through. But as he got closer, he realized there was something on the ground next to the chest.

"What have we here?" He muttered, reaching down and picking up the small crystal. It took a couple seconds but it soon glowed with a bright light and flew into his armor. For a second he could've sworn he heard something, nearly too faint to make out, but it was there.

Hear… Feel... Think...

"What… was that?" He muttered, turning to Sora and Kairi who were looking through the chest, "Anything good in there?"

"There's a pair of boots in here and this strange worn out roll," Sora said as G'dhap made his way over to take a look.

"Ah, those boots… hmmm.. Kairi, those would work best with you, I think. As for that roll, might I borrow that just a second?"

Sora handed the roll over to him. In a second, they saw his attire change to what looked to be a white tuxedo, with a purple tie. His leggings swapped to actual pants and his boots followed. Instead of the crown, he now had a monocle as well. And his sword was replaced with a strange device. He pulled out a blank roll, that was in much better shape, and a phial of ink. They watched as he started poring over the faded roll and inscribing on the blank one. When he finished, the faded roll crumbled, the inkpot vanished, and the blank one took on the shape of the faded roll but in much better condition.

"There we go," G'dhap said, his attire switching back to his armor, "Once we get out of here, I should be able to construct something that you can play this through."

"But what-" Sora began, and was rudely cut off by G'dhap.

"It's what we call an Orchestrion Roll. Originally, in Hydaelyn, you could find faded rolls or the real things all around the place. My friend and boss, Josh, is a very avid collector of them and I learned how to restore the rolls and make Orchestrions from him."

"Hey!" The two of them turned to see Kairi at the exit smiling at the both of them, "Come on! Let's get out of here!"

"Coming!" Sora shouted back and started running over.

"Kids," G'dhap muttered, grinning, and walked over as well. As he got closer, the two of them walked through the portal.

"But that voice…" He muttered, once he was certain no one was there, "That sounded like… It couldn't be… What happened to Hydaelyn?"

Shaking his head he followed the two of them through the portal. When they arrived back in Radiant Garden., he gazed around the area, getting tabs on what he could make out. A strange shop nearby the portal, and a house that reeked of magic, likely a wizard's house, behind him.

As he exited out of it, the portal closed directly behind him, causing him to ponder for a bit. But a new voice broke him out of his musings fairly quickly.

"Sora, I really should stop being surprised at how quickly you get involved in these things."

G'dhap turned… and saw a silver haired boy, once again in way too light of armor, grinning over at Sora and Kairi.

"This day… This day just keeps getting stranger," G'dhap muttered.


"Finished at last! Mogkin, go ahead and tell the rest of the moogles to start planning their pranks. I'm taking a month off to spend time with my wife and then you guys get your prank -yaaaaaaawn- day."

"Aye aye boss! Where you headed?"

"Atlantica. She went there while I did this and I am not missing this for the worlds."

"Do you have your-"

"Yes, yes, I have the enchantment all ready to go. I'll see you then. Oh. and how's the little project I assigned you guys going?"

"Apart from one of them vanishing in Radiant Garden, the rest of them are all set. Shouldn't have any civvies going into them now."

"Perfect. You take care now!"

AN: And here we are! The second chapter! Apologies for it taking so long but school and retail are a pain in the ass. Not only that but I had a bit of difficulty figuring out how to get this chapter to work and even then I might go back and edit it later if I can find a way to make it work any better. Please feel free to leave any reviews you have down below.

Now onto business. Yes, this will be switching between the Free company viewpoints. As of now, only Josh and G'dhap will be used but the others will soon be brought in. Secondly, I don't claim to be an expert on how to write the Kingdom Hearts characters. If I slipped up, please… please let me know. I cannot improve without feedback and I'm caught in a bit of a hard place as there's no one I know to actually proofread these things. As for how fast Riku managed to find them... Don't be so quick to judge on the time, remember, some worlds really have no indication of time and even of those that did, it's quite possible that if it looks the same time, it might not be. In-game, for FFXIV at least, time can flow pretty quickly. You enter a dungeon in morning, only to exit when it's the dead of night.

I'll be trying to go back and not only redo each instance I plan on using, but also replaying Kingdom Hearts, each game that I can get my hands on, to get a better handle on the characters. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next chapter!