Olympus Coliseum: R'idill's Room

"So… You landed in a castle town called Radiant Garden?"

"Yep! Unlike Josh, I also had the misfortune of appearing on a roof. Walked straight off and landed flat on my face."

"Ouch. At least you could heal yourself."

"Have you fallen on armor before? It hurts. A lot."

"Yes, I have. You don't remember when I tried gladiator training?"

It was a few hours after the arena had been obliterated by the man-made meteors of Josh and G'dhap. While it was being repaired, they had retired to R'idil's room so they could catch up and hopefully come up with a plan. G'dhap was sitting on a chair nearby the bed where Josh and R'idill were sitting. Both of them had an arm wrapped around the other and it looked like they weren't going to be changing that any time soon.

R'idill had also changed into some different clothing, out of the armor she had been wearing. She had switched into some black robes, with a pointy black hat and wrappings sitting next to her on the bed. Normally, the hat and facial wrappings would do a good job of trapping her ears and blue hair, but for now, she saw no reason to put them on.

"I remember that," Josh mused," "You really didn't like that armor at first."

"Did you?" She shot back, with an amused glance to him.

"Admittedly, no. Then again I didn't wear them for long."

"Wait what?"

"I didn't master Armoring but I still knew enough to make better stuff easily."

"I've missed seeing this," G'dhap said with an amused smirk on his face, "But we really should hash out a game plan before we get further off track. R'idill, this is Olympus Coliseum right?"

"You litt- sorry what?" She said, breaking off from her argument with Josh, "Oh, yes. This is the Coliseum."

"And have you seen any… they're podiums right Josh?" Josh nodded in response.

"Podiums?"

"Yeah. From what I can tell, the screens on them show past areas we've been to. Once we get enough people to tap the screen, we're warped to the place and we have to clear it out before we leave." Josh jumped in, "I think they also leave a crystal behind when we clear them."

"I can confirm that. When I took out the Copperbell Mines, a crystal dropped in front of the exit. Oh, nearly forgot. When we find Iri, I'm gonna need to get her help. Looks like they also drop the same stuff they did when we cleared them the first times so Sora now has an Orchestrion roll. Alchemy was enough to at least get that one restored." G'dhap said, ears perking as he remembered the energetic boy.

"Well you're not wrong about the crystals," a voice rang out from the other corner of the room, "They look a lot like your own crystals of light, don't they?"

Everyone paused and slowly turned towards the corner. Sitting in a chair, that was quite clearly not there before, was a man dressed in a very nice black tuxedo. Under the top hat on his head, blond hair spilled out and a set of green eyes glittered mischievously behind his spectacles.

"It's a pleasure to meet you at last, Warriors of Light," he said, seemingly unfazed by the weapons that were now pointing at him, "I am Nexus, the guy behind the managing of the Mirage Arena. Glad to see the little portal trip didn't end badly."

"Little portal… That was you?" Josh said

"Indeed," Nexus nodded, "If that Flare hit you, it wouldn't have been pretty. Don't worry about the Valley. When you vanished, Emperor Mateus Palamecia simply took off as well, with the leftover Heartless getting dispatched quickly by Shovel Knight and Black Knight. Luckily, all they need to do is rebuild."

"Well that's good," G'dhap muttered, sheathing his sword, "Wait, what's this Mirage Arena?"

"Glad you asked!" Nexus proclaimed, and snapped his finger creating an image of it in front of them, "The Mirage Arena is a place for warriors to train, hone their skills, and take on incredible beasts. Without the fear of… well without dying themselves. It runs off of memories and I can use the data in there to create even tougher fights. Interestingly enough, a powerful being in your world actually seems to have made a sport out of retooling memories for even more powerful fights. So not much work required for me there."

He snapped his finger again, dispersing the image. "I'm also working on creating fights based on other enemy data, but that'll take a bit. If you come visit after a couple worlds, it should be ready."

"Well that's neat and all," Josh began.

"But I don't think that's why you're here," R'idill finished, "So why did you come here?"

"Right, right. Got off track there, sorry," Nexus said, a cheeky grin on his face, "I wanted to help give a bit of direction. As it stands, rules for my kind state that direct intervention is a big no-no. I'm going to catch hell for that portal stunt because of it. However, giving direction and advice is perfectly fine."

"Your kind?" Josh asked, frowning a bit.

"Aye. I'm what you would call an immortal. Don't die of natural causes, and it's going to be near impossible for anyone not an immortal, or outright god, to kill me. However due to this, we have rules that prevent us from messing things up. One of them is no direct interference. With what we're capable of, we could screw things up to a dangerous extent. We're also not allowed to attack mortals until we're attacked first."

Nexus paused a second and shook his head, "Gotta stop getting off track, anyways, guidance." He waved his hand and an map of the Lanes Between appeared in front of them.

"So, you're here now," he pointed to one of the worlds and a small little arrow appeared above it, "Nearby is the Land of Dragons and Beast's Castle." The two worlds in question lit up as he mentioned them.

"Now here's the tricky bit, right over here you noticed Alexander, correct?" The route between Radiant Garden and Twilight Town lit up.

"Yes we- how long were you watching us?" Josh asked.

"Since you arrived here, considering my own employee caused some of this, I'm trying to keep an eye for a bit. Anyways, it looks like some of the bigger challenges you faced are not located on any world, instead they're located within the Lanes Between. To my knowledge, you can find the Binding Coils… about here," A space between three worlds lit up, "For reference, those three are Port Royal, Agrabah, and Halloween Town. Just, be careful around it. And the Aetherial Rift is located here, probably a good thing too." A space located to the south of the map lit up, with no worlds surrounding it.

"Lastly, that world that you were forced into… Well it really shouldn't have been there."

"And why is that?" G'dhap asked, noting a yawn from Josh.

"It was supposed to be sealed," Nexus answered, "Now, I foresee questions so let me explain. The worlds you have visited, with that one exception, are unsealed worlds. You can see them in the Lanes Between and visit them freely. And then there are Sealed Worlds. For one reason or another, these worlds have been locked away from the Lanes Between for millennia. Only one place holds records of them in detail, not even Master Yen Sid has them. Though it's surprising that he had records of Hydaelyn to begin with, truthfully."

"Why was Hydaelyn sealed in the first place?" R'idill asked.

"The Allagan Empire," Nexus stated, getting nods of understanding from all of them, "Not one of the immortals wanted to entertain the idea of them getting inter-world travel."

"That makes sense," Josh mused, "They committed atrocities on not only those they conquered, but their own people, and ultimately took themselves out with the Crystal Tower."

"Bingo," Nexus continued, "Anyways, that world you were dragged into is called The Valley and it was sealed. Partially because it really couldn't benefit from the chaos that inter-world travel brings. It has its own problems to deal with and none of the Princesses of Heart were there… Nor was there Heartless attacks."

He paused to see two confused looks and one thoughtful one.

"I'll explain some of his terms later," Josh said, motioning for Nexus to continue.

"How did you know about them?" Nexus asked.

"Went on a reading binge of Sora's journals."

"Gotcha. Now, I've been looking about for your teammates. Got good news and bad news. Good news is that I did locate a few, the bad news is only one's in the unsealed worlds. The good news for you," He paused to point at G'dhap, "It's your friend, Iri. Yes, I know, you're far more than friends these days."

G'dhap paused, looking like he took a shield to the face before uttering one word, "Where?"

With a wave, another world lit up along with arrows pointing to Radiant Garden. "They were on Disney Castle, but my moogle minions reported they were heading to Radiant Garden, and then Twilight Town. If you hurry, you can catch them there."

G'dhap nodded and began to get up. Thankfully, they had found the Memory Circle in the lobby as they headed to R'idill's room, but he still needed to fly to Radiant Garden as they hadn't gotten to the Memory Circle there. As he made his way to the door, one of the worlds started glowing red.

"Well that's odd…" Nexus muttered, poking it.

"That's Beast's Castle, isn't it?" Josh asked.

"Correct, looks like something is messing around there. I hate to be a bother but could you look into it for me? I'll give you a nice little boost in your quest as an incentive," Nexus said, frowning at the map.

"What kind of boost?"

"Normally, my own rules would prevent me from doing this, but a reward is a nice little loophole around it. It's a little tablet that will show you where each podium is in a world. Won't be able to show you where the podium leads, but it will drastically cut down your search time. Ah, and I nearly forgot," Nexus grinned, then reached out and slapped each of them with one movement.

"Ow!"

"What the-"

"Gonna kill you!"

"Settle down, that was just an overly dramatic way… of giving you the teleport ability to the Mirage Arena. Now you should be able to visit when you want, and you can take your friend, Iri, with you when you do. One last thing and then I'll be off. That problem likely isn't going anywhere soon so…" Nexus reached out and flicked Josh in the forehead, putting him to sleep, "Take a rest for once. I mean I know stubborn, I worked for a week straight to fix up the crashes that you folks were about to and did bring to the Mirage Arena. But you aren't like me, you need sleep… And you were the last one to get it."

"What?" R'idill looked at Josh with concern, stopping her death glare at Nexus.

"I'll give him this, he puts my determination to shame. I get the feeling he was stressing so much that he was literally unable to sleep. Stressing over you, your friends, probably the whole situation. He needs to get at least a bit of sleep. You can head to Beast's Castle when he wakes up. And it should get G'dhap his time to go find Iri." Nexus said, waving his hand to disperse the map.

"How long-"

"About three days. I'm surprised he didn't pass out the second he sat down on the bed. But-"

"Not the first time this idiot has done that, won't be the last. Thank you. I'll make sure he gets his sleep. But what about-" R'idill broke off, looking at G'dhap.

"I got some sleep, unlike moron here I was able to get some sleep when I was heading to Twilight Town with Sora, Riku and Kairi," G'dhap said.

"You'll have to introduce me to those three eventually," R'idill said, taking the time to put covers over Josh as he snored away.

"Oh you will meet them. Five gil says that Josh is already planning some sort of test for them involving the four of us."

"Now that's an even bigger sucker bet than when we guess something's going to go wrong."

They paused as they noticed Nexus staring straight at Josh.

"Is there something wrong with him?" G'dhap asked, hand on his sword again.

"Not wrong but… strange. 'Tis a weird dream he's having, almost as though it's a memory." Nexus mused, "But not one that matches with his current ones. I'll look into this for you, free of charge. In the meantime. I look forward to seeing you in the Mirage Arena and… try not to let the incident in The Valley become a regular occurance. I can't save you again like that. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to meet with my own boss and try to explain my actions. Take care!"

He gave a deep bow, and then vanished as though he was never there in the first place. One frame there, next frame not, leaving a small tablet on the ground that R'idill picked up and examined.

"Well… That was… odd?" G'dhap said.

"No kidding… Well what are you waiting for? Go get her," R'idill said, giving him a grin.

"We'll meet you at Beast's Castle, try not to finish the problem without us?"

"No promises."

The Hat cup is now accessible through the Mirage Arena.

The Tensei cup is now accessible through the Mirage Arena

The Star Cup is now accessible through the Mirage Arena.

The Bowl of Embers(Extreme) is now accessible through the Mirage Arena

Exhibition matches are now accessible through the Mirage Arena

[hr]

Radiant Garden: Fountain Plaza

"Donald! Goofy!"

"Sora!"

"Long time!"

Sora found himself tackled to the ground under Goofy and Donald, who had glomped him upon seeing him again.

"What are you two doing here?" He said, laughing as he gave his friends a quick hug.

"Oh, is this your friend?" A serene voice rang out. Sora quickly looked in the direction, as his friends got off him.

"Yup! This is Sora! Sora, meet Iri Shirogane! An… er… I'm sorry Iri, what did you say you were again?" Goofy said, pausing then giving a sheepish look in the same direction.

Walking forward was a beautiful woman, dressed in violet robes that had constellations woven into them, attached to her back was an Astroglobe and on her head was a large pointed hat with more constellations woven into them. What set her apart from others was her white horns in place of where her ears would be, curved so the points were pointed towards the back of her head. Sticking out of the back of the robes was a small draconic tail and on some of her visible skin, patches of scales could be seen.

"An Astrologian," She replied, giving a small bow towards Sora and Kairi, who had been giggling at Goofy and Donald's display, "It is a pleasure to meet you."

"Nice to meet you!" Sora replied, "I gotta ask though, why did you go with them? And where are you from anyways?"

"They told me that if anyone could find my comrades, or had a chance of having met them, it would be you. As for my home, it was a land known as Eorzea. Truth be told this is all a bit surreal to me." Iri said, glancing around the world, "I woke up in.. I believe they called it Disney Castle, and these two found me. Contrary to my expectations, they helped me and quickly devised a plan to help reunite me with my own friends. Though, they needed to get the permission from a king first apparently. Normally, my own experiences from strangers have not gone so well."

"Ohhh…" Sora began thinking a bit, when Kairi provided the memory jog.

"Wait… Eorzea… Would you happen to know a Josh Corvus or G'dhap Tia?" Kairi asked.

Iri's eyes shot towards her, with a hesitant nod.

"Donald and Goofy were right, we did meet them. They gave us something they called Linkpearls and started making their way to The Land of Dragons. They told us how to use them so… Hold on, let me try," Kairi reached a hand up to her ear only to pause, tilting her head at something, "Does anyone else hear that?"

It soon became apparent what she heard as heavy footfalls echoed around the plaza… and Iri was soon bowled over by 150lbs of Miqo'te as G'dhap tackle-hugged her, thankfully he'd remembered to switch into regular clothes.

"G'dhap?!" Sora and Kairi gasped out, rushing to Iri and G'dhap's side.

They needn't have worried, as they saw G'dhap and Iri embracing eachother, both crying tears of joy.

30 min later

They had finally managed to separate the two, though G'dhap still had his hand clasped firmly with Iri's, and were finally getting the chance to ask questions.

"So you two are…" Sora began, only to stop as G'dhap gave a deadpan stare.

"If it isn't obvious by now it'll never be obvious," he said.

"How did you know she was here?" Kairi asked, causing Iri to look at G'dhap.

"A strange, somewhat irritating, guy pointed me here. He called himself Nexus and started dropping information left and right. He mentioned that Iri had left Disney Castle and was headed here, spouted some stuff about the Mirage Arena, said something was happening at Beast's Castle. He then flicked Josh in the forehead, gave a bow and left. And I am leaving stuff out here," G'dhap said, his expression showing exactly how crazy he thought the situation was.

Sora being Sora and possessed of a heroic complex, immediately latched on to what he considered the most important bit. "Something's happening at Beast's Castle? Did he say what?"

"Nope, just asked us to handle it and offered a way to find the podiums we're looking for faster," G'dhap then got a somewhat anxious look, "actually if there's nothing else, I'd like to get going there."

"Dear," G'dhap turned to Iri at that one word, who was currently giving him a deadpan stare, "Would this be a result of your 'competition' with Josh again? You don't want him stopping another problem before you can get there again?"

"Er…"

"Do you not remember what happened the last time you rushed to get to one of these incidents?"

Sora, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy were darting their eyes back and forth between the two as this continued.

"I-"

"You not only fell into Issom-har as you rushed to Urth's Fount, you managed to stir up a Spriggan Nest, annoy a few Water Elementals, you outright pissed off a Sylph and when you did arrive, you were immediately knocked out as Odin slapped you out of the arena with his sword. I'm still finding sap in your hair to this day for that matter! You are not rushing off without me this time and that's final."

G'dhap was speechless for a bit before a grin appeared on his face and he hugged Iri, who could only squeak in surprise.

"Yes, dear."

[hr]

?

"Look I don't bloody care! You broke the rules again! What the hell is your excuse this time?!"

"Sir, with all due respect, they are our best shot at containing this whole fiasco. I took a risk to make sure they could at least get better to help us get that beast sealed again. Look I'm already dealing with the fallout that Vortex caused, you could at least let me get a bit of leeway. Sides, I already told this it won't happen again. Either they get good, or they get dead."

"Nexus, you're one of my best people. You get shit done, and you do it efficiently. On top of all your other projects. But you messed with reality, giving leeway for that is not easy. I gotta punish you somehow, whether I like it or not. And believe me, I don't like it. Let's see what we have to work with here… Mmm. That's impressive… When did you have time to do this?"

"That was a good… five years ago, it was a spur of the moment idea and it's actually working to help us now."

"You mean one of them is-"

"Yep."

"Good work…. Alright, made my decision. Don't make me regret this."

"Sir?"

"Finish your projects in the Mirage Arena, do it quickly and set it up so you're not going to be needed for a long time. If you have to, train a moogle to help you out there. Don't care how long it takes. After that, you're going to the sealed worlds. Find these other Light Fighters or whatever bollocks they're called. And keep an eye out when you're searching. Some other idiot has been messing with other multiverses and sending people from Hydaelyn to other versions of the worlds. Already found one that we can't return and there's another one in progress that I can't do a thing about. If you find the idiot behind it, stop him. You won't be penalized for engaging him. Good luck kid."

"Will I be allowed to visit my wife every once in a while."

"Of course. Just no sticking around in unsealed worlds for more than a couple days at a time. Lanes Between are perfectly fine though. No contacting these people when you start your sealed world crap either."

"Understood."

"Well? Get to it. I've got another gang of idiots to check in on."

[hr]

A.N: Well this was a long time in the making, less so than the previous one but long nonetheless. So who is this mysterious person? We know who Nexus is but now we get a bit better glimpse of his abilities and the rules constraining him. And some new stuff in the Mirage Arena alongside a bit of a plot dump! Those cups are effectively the 'raids' of the story. Not completely optional either as they'll serve a bit of a purpose. The Mirage Arena will also serve as the staging ground of Extreme Trials, Savage Raids, and Minstrel's Ballads. Otherwise they'd have no reason to be in the story beyond the 'Oh shit' moments and it wouldn't really be fair to anyone other than the four WoL. No. There won't be any more Warriors joining the fray, I'm going to deal with enough crap just keeping all the current characters straight. No Class Corner today either.

Lastly, I hope I don't annoy anyone with how fast Iri joined the party. I figured with the amount of stuff Nexus was doing, it wouldn't be out of his nature to offer guidance to the one member he could find. Knowledge is the only thing he can freely offer anyways. I was tempted to have his punishment be more slapstick in nature but I realised I wasn't able to write it in well.

Thanks for sticking around for the chapter, make sure to review, and I'll hopefully see you next time!

Next Time:

"There's someone on the bridge. He hasn't been there for long but he outright refuses to let anyone pass who can't beat him. If he's still there when our supplies arrive, there might be trouble."

"We'll deal with it."

"Uh Josh? You're not gonna like this one."

"Who is it?"

"Well…"

"Oh! It is about time you showed up! Now it's time for our long awaited rematch! If you win, I shall leave this world behind! But should you lose, your weapons are forfeit to me!"