Chapter 4: The Nature of the Heartless

We hurried back to the camp where we seemed to come in on an argument. Sora's group was here along with Jane and Tarzan, with her yelling at a man with a sharp moustache, carrying a shotgun.

"What's going on here!?" Oswald asked.

"Clayton here shot at a gorilla." Sora said.

"What!?" The Professor pushed to the front.

"Now, I already told you, I was not aiming at the gorilla, merely at a snake slithering by!" The man named Clayton defended himself.

"Shooting in the vicinity of one is not allowed!" The Professor said.

"You are NOT to go near the gorillas again!" Jane said.

"Come on! This is..." Clayton froze however, as all of us glared at him, and he left the tent, defeated.

"Absolutely despicable." The Professor said.

"Father, I'm glad you're safe." Jane said. "Thank you, everyone."

"It's no problem." I shrugged.

"Hmmm..." Clara mumbled.

"What's up?" Oswald asked.

"That man..." She said. "His heart was filled with darkness."

"What?" I gasped.

"Gawrsh, you can tell that?" Goofy asked.

"Clara is very in tune with peoples hearts and the light within them." Oswald explained. "If she says a heart is dark, it's true."

"I think we could already tell." Sora said.

"It's worse then that." Clara went on. "A heart that dark can easily attract Heartle-"

She was interrupted however when the sound of gunshot suddenly pierced through the air.

"Again!?" Donald cried.

"Let's check it out!" Sora said as all six of us plus Tarzan ran outside, but Clayton was nowhere to be found.

"That gunshot sounded close, right?" I questioned.

"Yeah, but I don't see anybody." Oswald mumbled.

"Let's look around." Sora said, and we all headed into the bamboo thicket.

"See anything?" I asked.

"Over there!" Goofy pointed, and we ran over to a rock where a small pipe was sitting.

"What's that?" Clara asked.

"Looks like the pipe that Clayton was using." Donald said.

"That's never a good sign." I said.

"Or we could be happy that such a horrible person is gone?" Clara suggested with her ever present smile.

We all gave her varying looks. You can decide for yourself who gave which type of look.

Then, a roar resounded throughout the area, and a jaguar leapt out of the thicket!

"It's that thing again!" Sora gasped as we all got battle ready.

The jaguar roared and leapt at us, very quickly, giving us little time to dodge.

"Even so, it's just one jaguar. All its got is claws and teeth against us seven!" Oswald said.

Tarzan then made a bunch of noises.

"What did he say?" I asked.

Suddenly, the jaguar leapt back into the bamboo thicket.

"...It was probably that it knows it can't take on seven of us." Oswald said.

"Ah..." Sora said as we all relaxed.

"Think Clayton got eaten by that thing?" I wondered.

"I don't think so. Didn't see any blood or severed limbs." Clara nodded.

"...Fair enough." Was all I said.

"What should we do now, then?" Sora asked.

"I guess all we can do is head back to the camp." Donald shrugged.

We walked back in, when suddenly, Clara froze.

"Huh? What's up, Clara?" Oswald asked.

"Uh...I can feel some Heartless." She said.

"Where?" Oswald pressed.

"Mmmmmmm everywhere." Clara admitted. "Like...literally everywhere."

"R-Really?" Sora asked.

"Like I said. She knows this stuff." Oswald said.

"So, bad." Sora nodded.

"Bad." Goofy agreed.

"What do we do?" I said.

"Isn't it obvious? We beat them all!" Clara declared.

"...Sounds good to me." Donald shrugged.

"But this is a lot of jungle to cover." I said.

"Then we'll split up. Our trios have been doing good so far." Oswald reasoned.

"You can count on us, Sir Oswald." Goofy and Donald saluted.

"Seriously, stop." He said.

"We'll take the waterfalls, then." I nodded.

"And we'll take the treehouse." Sora said.

"Alright! Let's break!" Oswald declared as we ran off.

We ran over to the waterfalls and...

"Aw, I just got dry as well." I sighed as I jumped in and hurried along.

"Over there!" Oswald pointed.

Several elephants were being harassed by a group of Powerwild's, with a bunch of green Red Nocturne's. I named them Green Requiem's...the music naming scheme works!

"There they are!" I declared as we all got battle ready.

"So they really did start swarming, but why now?" Oswald wondered.

"Maybe it's because something happened to that Clayton." Clara suggested. "His dark heart could have drawn them here."

"For now, let's just focus on taking them out!" Oswald cried as we charged.

I stretched the whip out and lashed it forward, catching several Powerwild's and launching them all back, whilst Oswald hit another with his Wrench like a hammer, whilst Clara grabbed her Familiar and tossed it like a ball, bowling over several more.

When suddenly some of them gained a green light, and they were immediately back on their feet!

"What the-!?" I gasped.

"Was that Cure?" Clara wondered.

"Ah! It's those!" I pointed up at the green Heartless as they each cast Cure. "Wait, so they're support only? Heartless can use tactics like this?"

"Don't overthink it." Oswald told me. "Heartess are most commonly randomly created. These ones probably just turned out like this and just do what they can."

"Yeah, but still..." I jumped up and hit one of the green ones with my whip. "Isn't it still kinda strategic for mindless creatures?"

"It's survival instincts." Clara said as she jumped up and threw her Familiar over her head like a net, causing it to swallow another one.

Without the Green Requiem's, the rest of the Powerwild's were cleared out pretty easily.

"I wonder if this is getting easier..." I mumbled.

"Why do you say that?" Clara asked from behind me, making me jump.

"W-Well, I'm hoping I'm getting stronger." I admitted.

"'Course you are, we all are." Oswald said. "Fighting and winning makes you stronger. It helps you learn new things, it strengthens your magic, you become more proficient with your weapon. Everything helps."

Just then, one of the elephants came over. It looked kinda red, and it offered me a small thing that looked like a chest, only smaller and rounder.

"An Item box?" Oswald noted.

"So, it's like the chests?" I asked.

"Yeah." He nodded as I accepted it.

"Let's see..." I opened it and pulled out a sorta familiar, green block.

"A Gummi Block!" Oswald instantly grabbed and examined it. "Ah, and it's a defense block too! Nice!"

"That's a normal Gummi Block?" I stared at it. "Looks a bit bigger then individual blocks."

"That's so that it can more easily attach itself to other Gummi's, by molding itself." Oswald explained.

"Gummi's are cool." I whispered.

"Thank you, Mr. Elephant!" Clara cheered.

"Let's keep going." Oswald motioned.

We headed back up into the treetops and defeated another group of Powerwild's and Bouncywild's.

"What's up with all of these monkey Heartless!?" Oswald cred.

"...We're in a fits?" I guessed.

"Heartless don't gravitate towards worlds 'suited' to them or anything. Mindless, remember?" Oswald emphasised.

"You keep telling me." I nod.

"They must've just adapted to the environment or something." Oswald said.

"Or loads of people got their hearts taken in this world." Clara also suggested.

"...That would be...a lot of gorillas." I mumbled.

"Just don't think about it." Oswald tried to reassure me with a pat to the leg.

Some gorillas approached us and offered us another box, which I opened.

"Another Gummi Block!" Oswald took it.

"...Hm?" I noticed that the other gorillas were offering us some fruits and berries. "Oh, are these for us, too? Thank you." I accepted them gratefully, I had an idea for them later.

"This is turning out to be pretty profitable." Oswald said.

"Yeah." I held out my Guardiarm as four green orbs with a leaf in each hovered there. "These Shards I got from the Green Requiem's...I think I can make Cure if I get a few more. That would be really handy."

"Just remember, a Potion is always good to." Clara said. "Cure is all well and good until you run out of MP."

"We should check one more area." Oswald said. "Hm...looks like there are some more trees we can surf on here."

"A-Again?" I mumbled.

"Yay!" Clara cheered. "Let's go!"

"Ahhhhhhh!" I cried out as we all went sliding down the trees again.

"It's alright! I've got you!" Clara said as she held onto me.

"I-I don't need help!" I said.

"Okay!" She let go and I immediately started wobbling.

"I need it! I need it!" I panicked as she grabbed me again, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Even though it was embarrassing...

"Don't know what you're so wobbly about." Oswald shrugged. "This is eas-ack!" He got whacked in the face with a branch.

"Hahaha-ouch!" My gloating was cut short as I got hit in the forehead by an overhanging branch.

We reached the end and ended up on a cliffside overlooking a shore, with vines wrapped all around the place.

"This is new..." I noted as I looked around. I could actually see the campsite from here.

"Heartless spotted!" Clara pointed.

This Heartless seemed to be completely covered in a white robe, with a red cap on it. I called it a White Mushroom...because that's basically what it looked like.

"Just one?" Oswald thought aloud.

I stared at it for a moment as it looked at us. "It sees us...but it's just standing there."

"It might be a trap." Oswald said.

"I thought you said Heartless can't have complicated things like tactics." I muttered with half-lidded eyes.

"Like I said, it's probably an instinctive manoeuvre rather then using actual thought." He argued back with half-lidded eyes.

"Sooooo, are we gonna get it?" Clara said.

"I'll go!" I immediately ran forward.

"Hey!" Oswald growled, but I was already there.

"There's something about you, isn't there?" I asked it.

The Heartless looked up at me, then crouched down and began waving its hands.

"What's that gesture? Cowering? Shivering?" It seemed to quicken its pace at my mention of shivering.

"What's taking so long!?" Oswald called.

"Gimme a second!" I called back. "Shivering, huh? What does that mean?"

It just continued doing the little dance.

"Shivering...shivering...could this be it?" I summoned the Guardiarm and held my palm out. "Fire!"

As the fireball hit it, the Heartless suddenly jumped up in joy and scattered a load of MP orbs, as well as handing me a Shard with a mushroom cap like its own to me.

"Thank you." I said as it vanished.

"Hold on, what the heck was that!?" Oswald cried as he and Clara ran over.

"I...think I just played a game with it, or something." I figured.

"It didn't attack, it played a game, it even gave you rewards! I've never seen a Heartless like that before!" Oswald cried.

"Sooooo, does that mean my argument has some merit?" I smirked.

"Ooooh no! I'm not accepting that yet! I'll think of a reason for this!" He insisted as he tapped his head.

"Nox...why are you so insistent on giving the Heartless an identity?" Clara asked, quite seriously. "They're monsters born from the darkness in hearts that terrorise others. Why try to give them meaning?"

"Give it meaning? I wouldn't go that far." I folded my arms. "The Heartless...apart from people in Traverse Town, they were basically the only other kind of life I knew. I suppose I've always wanted to learn more about them, and classify them for the sake of others. But still...that white one, it definitely didn't act like a monster. So what are Heartless really? What determines their appearance, how they act, why they attack? It might just be my own fascination, but I want to see if I can find an answer to stuff like that."

"Those might be dangerous questions." Oswald added. "Trying to find them...,one can easily lose their heart to darkness. If you keep chasing ideals like that, you'll fall into a spiral of dark intrigue, and be swallowed by the shadows in your heart. Darkness is a vacuum. It pulls in all who touch it, and they can't escape, no matter how hard they struggle or cling to that which makes them themselves."

He shrugged. "Besides, the main focus should be beating 'em. And it seems like we've done a good job of it."

'Darkness...' I thought. 'Is it truly that destructive?'

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of another gunshot.

"Was that Clayton!?" I gasped.

"It came from the bamboo thicket!" Oswald said. "C'mon. We'll climb down the vines."

We climbed down the vines and ended up in a thicket of trees, where we actually ran into that large figure again.

"You again!" I gasped.

"Aw, not you bozos again!" He cried. "Whaddya think you're doing around here, huh!?"

"We need to be moving! So move it!" Oswald said.

"Wha-!? Pretty tough talk for a half-pint pipsqueak!" He said.

"Size blow. Real original. At least I'm not a flabby fatty." Oswald retorted.

"I'll have ya know that this is all muscle!" He argued.

"Sure. And I'm bright pink under all this black." Oswald shrugged.

"Grrrrr! You annoying little big mouth!" He actually began stomping in a tantrum. "Ya think ya can just make fun of the great Pete and get away with it!?"

"Yeah! I reckon I-...wait...Pete!?" Oswald gasped.

"Wait, do you know him, Oswald?" I asked.

"Oswald!?" Pete yelled.

"Pete was a troublemaker in my home world." Oswald said. "But what the heck are you doing here?"

"Oswald...yeah, now I remember! No wonder you rile me up!" Pete raged. "Let me tell you somethin' Mr. Special, I got somethin' cool now too. It's called the good ol' power of darkness!"

"What did you say!?" Oswald said.

"That's right, bozo! I got darkness on my side now! Hehahahaha!" He laughed.

"...Not really." Clara stated quite bluntly. "His heart isn't really that dark. He's got a bit of darkness, but it feels...lent. Like it's not his own."

"Oh shut yer yap! Whadda you know!?" Pete growled. "Or do ya need some proof!?"

Pete snapped his fingers, and suddenly a group of Soldiers appeared!

"He summoned Heartless!?" I gasped.

" really-!" Oswald mumbled.

"Have fun playin' with these guys. I've finally got a good target I saw swingin' through these trees!" He then turned and hightailed it, with the Soldiers blocking our path.

We quickly dispatched of the Soldier's and regrouped.

"I never imagined Pete of all people could do something like this..." Oswald admitted.

"What did he mean when he said he found a good target?" I asked.

"I don't know. But it can't be good." Oswald said. "Let's quickly head back to the camp and check on everyone, then go after Pete."

We hurried back to the camp and checked around, but nobody was there.

"Where is everyone?" I wondered.

"Over there!" Clara pointed.

We rushed over as Sora's group, Tarzan, Jade and the Professor approached us.

"Everybody okay? We heard gun shots." Oswald said.

"We're okay now." Sora said.

"A lot happened, most I don't really think I understand." Jade admitted.

"The important thing is, everything seems to have worked out." The Professor said.

"Sir Oswald, we're going to be moving on now." Goofy said.

"That so? We're gonna stick around a little longer. But if you guys are moving on, go for it." He said.

"Huh?" I knelt down to Oswald. "Is that okay? Couldn't we use their help."

"If they're leaving now, it's selfish to ask them to stay and help us." He whispered. "Besides, it's just Pete. And the three of us have done pretty good so far, right?"

"Right!" Clara hissed instead of whispered.

"Hope you guys do well." Sora said.

"You too." I nodded.

"Hope we meet up again!" Clara said.

"Ah, just remember, be discreet when you leave." Oswald said.

"I know, Sir Oswald." Donald nodded. "We should go to the treehouse."

"Okay. See you around, guys." Sora waved as they headed off.

"We should go too." Oswald said. "Pete seemed to be going into the jungle."

"Is something wrong?" Jade asked.

"Just one more troublemaker to take care of." Oswald said. "Don't worry, leave it to us."

"Well, I've seen that you're more then capable." The Professor said. "Of course we'll leave it to you."

"Tarzan, go." Tarzan seemed to say, before making more ape noises.

"Um...guess that means he's coming with?" I guessed.

"If he wants, I guess." Oswald shrugged. "But let's hurry."

As we were climbing up into the treetops, I felt something hit my face, and I looked up to see clouds rolling in.

"Aw no, it's about to rain." I said.

"Then climb quicker, otherwise you'll slip down." Oswald coaxed.

We made it up as it began raining at a steady rate, and ran over to the gorillas nest, where all the gorillas were backed against the wall by Pete.

"Pete!" Oswald cried as we got battle ready.

"You lot again!? And at the worst time, too!" Pete grumbled.

"Kerchak!" Tarzan said.

That seemed to be the big gorilla at the front, standing up to Pete.

"That must be the leader of the pack." Oswald figured.

"That's right, ya lucky pest!" Pete nodded. "I've been lookin' all over this stinkin' jungle, and I finally found this leader-type. Big and strong too. Perfect candidate for turning into a Heartless!"

"A Heartless!?" We all gasped.

"My new occupation, see?" He emphasised 'occupation'. "Find strong folks in all the worlds, and make 'em into stronger Heartless!"

"Why are you doing something like that, you idiot!?" Oswald shouted.

"I don't gotta tell ya nothin'!" Pete cried.

Just then, Kerchak seemed to lunge at Pete from behind, but Pete actually spun around and decked him in the face!

"Kerchak!" Tarzan cried.

"Think yer' tough, eh?" Pete laughed. "Well, guess what? That toughness is Heartless material now!"

Suddenly, Pete's fist was enveloped in darkness, and he uppercutted Karchak, causing the gorilla to collapse back as his heart flew out!

"No!" Tarzan yelled as the body disintegrated into darkness.

" took his heart!" Oswald said.

"Hahahaha! Got a problem with that?" Pete mocked as he held the heart in its hand. "Y'know, I reckon this'll be a Heartless that'll get you lugs off my back! Two birds with one stone!"

He threw the heart up as it got enveloped in a cloud of darkness, that grew bigger, and bigger, until a Heartless fell out and crashed to the ground. It was a large, bulky Heartless, with the traditional yellow eyes and the emblem over its muscled chest. It had a large pair of curving, blade like red and black horns, and three black metal rings around each of its arms, whilst a purple sash tied itself in a criss-cross pattern over its body, before wrapping itself around its waist. The end of its legs had clawed hands instead of feet, and it walked on its knuckles like a gorilla. I named this Heartless the Barbarioni.

"Hey, I was right! Got a real good one here!" Pete laughed.

"Pete!" I shouted as I charged towards him, but the new Heartless blocked my path.

"Awww, mad, are ya?" Pete taunted. "Welp, looks like I'd better be leaving. Have fun, you two!" He then turned and ran!

"Get back here!" I cried, but the Heartless knocked me back.

"Aaaahhhhhh!" Tarzan charged forward in range and held his spear at the ready, but the Barbarioni suddenly jumped incredibly high before smashing back into the ground and knocking him away.

"Ungh...hah!" I recovered quickly and slashed it across the chest with my whip, but it didn't even seem fazed as it pulled back my arm.

"...Cr-" It punched me with a fist bigger then my torso, sending me crashing back into a tree with such force my vision nearly blacked out as I collapsed to the ground.

"Nox! Heal!" I felt a lot better, but still sore as Clara cast Cure on me.

"Ahhh!" Tarzan swung his spear again, but it blocked with the rings on his arm, before it suddenly swung its head and slashed him with its horns, hitting him back.

"It's strong..." I admnitted as I stood up.

"Then leave it to me." Oswald said as he wielded his wrench. "You two jump in when it flinches."

"Oswald..." I mumbled as the rabbit charged forward.

"Hey!" The Heartless took note of Oswald as he wielded his wrench. "Why don't you try picking on someone less then half your size!?"

The Heartless pulled back a fist and launched a punch, which Oswald met with a swing from his wrench, and they clashed evenly! I could feel the force from all the way at the back of the treetops!

'Geez! I didn't really think about it much before...' I thought. 'But for his size, Oswald is crazy strong!'

Oswald spun his wrench around, causing it to charge up and the light to flash. "C'mon!"

The Heartless took the bait and punched again, but Oswald swung his charged up wrench and overpowered it, knocking the Heartless back. As soon as it did though, the Heartless got back up and beat its chest with its fists furiously, before jumping up into the trees and swinging around on them.

"Now what?" I wondered.

It then suddenly rocketed down towards us, and I had to jump out of the way as it smashed the ground with its fists as it jumped back up into the trees, before once again launching itself towards the ground, forcing us to dodge as it jumped up again.

"You think that's gonna keep working!?" Oswald yelled, as suddenly he jumped up, spinning forward like a wheel.

"Hatchet Rabbit!" Using the spinning momentum, Oswald brought his wrench crashing down on the Barbarioni's skull, making it collapse to the ground.

"Let's go!" I shouted as I whipped it across the face whilst Clara used her pouch like a sock puppet to bite its head, and Tarzan stabbed it in the chest. Head seemed the best route to go.

It didn't like that. It jumped up quickly and beat its chest so furiously all of us were knocked back. It then held up one of its arms, and it suddenly gained a red aura as its muscles expanded to twice its size, stretching the metal rings out.

"That's not good." I stated.

"I got it!" Oswald said. "You guys dodge."

"You can counter that?" I cried.

"Nope!" He said. "But leave it to me!"

"Okay!" Clara flashed him a thumbs up.

The Heartless pulled back its now giant arm and threw a powerful punch which Oswald jumped to face. But instead of clashing directly, Oswald instead tuck and rolled along the top of its arm like a ball until he uncurled and clotheslined it in the face, knocking it onto its back once again.

"Go for it!" Oswald cheered.

"Fire!" Clara shot a more powerful fireball from her puppet that hit the monster square in the face as it tried to get up.

"I'll hit it as hard as I can! Heartfelt Attack! Star Spear!" The spear materialised in front of me as I grabbed it, the lights on it glowing strongly as I threw it forward, and it stabbed right into its chest, pushing it back and pinning it to a tree before the attack vanished and the opponent slumped to the ground.

"Did we get it?" I wondered as we regrouped.

After a second, the Heartless' eyes flashed as it got back up and beat its chest furiously.

" never preemptively say something like that." Oswald berated me.

"Ah...right." I admitted.

The Barbarioni fell to its knuckles and leapt forward horns first, we rolled out of the way but it swung its arms and caught all four of us as it flew past, then jumped into the canopy.

"Lesson learned..." I wheezed.

"Alright guys...I'm gonna aim to finish it." Oswald said as he charged up his wrench. "Mind giving me a hand?"

"Yep." "No problem." Me and Clara agreed as Tarzan nodded.

As it crashed into the ground again, Tarzan dashed forward and stabbed one of its legs with its spear, causing it to stumble. In response it once again bulked up its arm as it flared with a red aura.

"Freeze!" Clara shot a powerful Blizzara that froze the monsters entire arm, weighing it down.

"Haaaaaaaa!" I ran forward and punched it in the gut as hard as I could, making it lean over.

"Thank you!" Oswald cried as he jumped. "Take THIS!"

He smashed his wrench right on top of the monsters head, the impact ringing out as the monster then instantly burst into shadows, and I grabbed the shard that fell from inside of it, which looked like it had a pair of red and black horns forming a ring, with two crossed arms over it.

"Kerchakā€¦" Tarzan mumbled as the heart flew away into the sky.

As the battle finished, the rain finally stopped, and the sun began to peek through the clouds.

"We did it." Oswald said.

"But Pete got away." I pointed out.

"That doesn't take away from our victory. We'll just get him next time." Clara said.

"But if we had stopped him, Kerchak wouldn't have..." I trailed off, almost in guilt.

"Tarzan...we're sorry." Oswald said.

Just then, the gorillas all gathered around us, and Tarzan placed his hands to his chest.

"Friends." He said. "Family. Safe."

"Right, if we hadn't stopped it, everybody would have been goners." Clara said.

"...You still have your family, huh?" I said.

"It would seem they have accepted you three."

We looked up as Jade and her father appeared.

"Hey, we said no following." Oswald said.

"I'm sorry, we just got a bad feeling." Jade said.

"It seems something might have happened...but now, they are all grateful and accepting of you." The Professor said.

"Really?" I looked around at the gorillas, who all seemed calm.

Just then, a small light appeared in front of me, and what materialised was some kind of Crest, which looked like an axe-head shaped skull with spike-like leaves curving out from the sides.

"What's this?" I wondered.

"The way that appeared..." Oswald mumbled. "Nox, try putting that on the Guardiam."

"The Guardiarm?" I summoned it, the armour covering my arm. Placing it on the back of my hand did nothing, but when I placed it on the shoulder plate, it suddenly attached like a magnet, and in a flash of light, the Guardiarm changed!

Instead of the metallic look, it now sported a skull and bone design with sharp leaves curving off of the shoulder, elbow and wrists, as the fingers were now bony claws.

"It changed!" I gasped. I summoned the whip, and even it looked different! It now looked like two vines twisting together.

"Even more evidence..." Oswald mumbled as the Guardiarm vanished, and I stared at the Crest now attached to the Guardiarm.

"So this changes the Guardiarm's appearance and power? This thing just keeps getting better and better!" I cried with a fist pump.

"Does that mean you will be leaving as well?" Jade asked.

"Hm...seems so." Oswald said. "Doesn't seem like the Door is here. And we should see if we can chase Pete, too."

"Yeah...we're not just gonna let him turn people into Heartless!" I declared.

"We've decided to stay here, with Tarzan." Jade said. "But we wish you all the best."

"If you ever return to this island...well, I suppose simply yell and we'll find you." The Professor chuckled.

"Friends. Ever." Tarzan said with his hands to his chest, as the gorillas copied the motion.

"Friends, ever." Clara smiled as the three of us copied the motion.

We returned to the Gummi Ship, and just sat down for a moment.

"Pete...what happened to him." Oswald seemed to mumble.

"He's bad news..." Clara said.

I stared down at the Shard I got from Kerchak's Heartless. I decided to Synthesis it in a second...first...

"Anybody hungry?" I asked.

"Wha-?" Oswald gasped.

"We just spent ages running through a jungle. I'm hungry." I admitted.

"I am kinda hungry." Clara admitted.

"I'm fine, no time for-" Oswald's stomach grumbled loudly, and we both looked at him. "...Guess I'm hungry."

"Hm." I pulled over my dessert machine, and tossed in the berries the gorilla gave me, and set it to 'Tart'. "Gimme a second." I switched it on, and it beeped and bounced as it got to work.

"How does that work?" Clara asked curiously.

"Simple. You pop ingredients in, and it makes something sweet." I said. "Had to read a bunch of cookbooks."

"I do wonder why you brought that along." Oswald said.

"It's my best work!" I said, as the machine dinged, and a tart popped out. "Here we go! Jungleberry Tart, coming up!"

"Ah, hold on..." Clara reached inside her pouch and pulled out a knife and some plates to cut the tart up and distribute it among the three of us.

"Mm...this is good!" Oswald said.

"Really?" I asked.

"Mmmpppmmphhh!" Turns out Clara had happily stuffed the whole thing in her mouth, and she clearly enjoyed it, but her eyes were watering from the heat.

"Right, that settles it, I dub thee ship chef." Oswald said as he ate another piece.

"Okay...but all it can make is desserts." I said.

"Fine by me. We'll burn it all off fighting Heartless." Oswald declared. "Speaking of which, we're moving on!"

"Wiph a belly full oph tart!" Clara declared with a full mouth.

"An to find Pete!" I said.

"Let's go!" With renewed vigor, we set off once again.


Leaf Shard: Contains the magic of Cure. Can be released in Synthesis.

Oni Shard: A Shard from the Barbarioni that radiates power. This power can be unleashed with Synthesis.

Barbarioni: A power, brutal Heartless that was created from Kerchak's heart by Pete. It put up a strong fight, but our heroes and Tarzan defeated it, saving the rest of the gorillas.

Wild Claw: A Guardiarm that increases the power of punches and slightly increases whip speed.

Nox's most proficient spells are: Fire, Aero, Stop.

Clara's most proficient spells are: Blizzard, Cure.

Oswald's most proficient spells are: Thunder, Gravity.

And with that, Deep Jungle has been concluded. And would you look at that, I fixed that whole Kerchak still being alive thing. Aren't you thankful?

Yeah, Pete's gonna be an antagonist here, and he was more capable in this chapter then he was in the whole of KHII. And 358/2. And Re:Coded. And III probably.

Quick thing also, recommendations, because I've been reading KH FF as part of my preparation for III. Go check out 'Mage of Hope' and 'MemoryStormSanctuary' for some OC inserts that DON'T focus on romance, like mine.

And of course, big thank you to pokemonking0924 and ScalchopWarrior for reviewing the last chapter. Pokemonking, you actually nailed my idea of Oswald being a lobster and werewolf, so now I'm gonna have to defy the other ones. And Scalchop...what, you only just figured he's a nerd? And no, you weren't crazy after all.

Thank you all for reading, see you at Olympus!