Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Chapter 4: The Puppet Cuts Its Strings part 3

"Normal Speech"

'Thought Speech'

[Spells/Magical Objects]

There, sitting on the steps of the altar of the decrepit church, was Roxas. And as he was waiting for the object of his hatred to show up, he thought back to the two men he had met earlier. 'I don't know why I let them know about the sense of smell we Nobodies possess' he thought. He knew he should have kept it secret, but they both gave him a sense of relief that just made it impossible for him not to trust them. But even so, he knew he couldn't bring them into what he was about to do. He swore on the lives of his fallen friends, Xemnas would not have his way. 'And now… I wait' he thought coldly.

After some time passed, the rickety doors of the church opened up with a loud screech. And through those doors, Xemnas could be seen. He walked slowly passed the pews, as if he was taunting Roxas. But Roxas knew that wasn't the mcase. Because he knew Xemnas didn't have enough heart to taunt someone, not on purpose at least. He quickly got rid of those unnecessary thoughts as he prepared himself mentally for the fight that was about to ensue. He stood up and pointed his keyblade, [Oathkeeper], at Xemnas.

"Took you long enough." Roxas said with irritation in his voice. "I thought that after using the [Corridor Of Darkness], you would waste no time coming after me. So what took you so long?" Roxas asked. Xemnas then stared blankly at Roxas,"I thought I would leave you be for a bit and see how you would try and prepare a trap for me." he answered. "But don't think it's because I underestimate you, Roxas. No, far from it in fact. I wish to see the full extent of how powerful the tests have made you. And what better way than in a situation you yourself have selected as our final test." Xemnas said with a small hint of passion in his voice.

Roxas's eyes narrowed at Xemnas after his long-winded speech, the anger in him growing as a fire-like aura of black and white light started to grow around him. He quickly tried to calm himself, knowing that losing his temper would only worsen his chances of defeating Xemnas. Not that they were very good from the start. And as he was finally able to make his rage dissipate, so to did the black and white aura that surrounded him. Though he didn't even notice the fire-like aura because all his focus was on the man before him.

He summoned a pillar of darkness in his other hand and the keyblade, [Oblivion], appeared. He crossed both the light and the dark keyblades together in a defensive stance. His hands still trembling with rage. He decided to calm his nerves by distracting himself asking a question that was on mind for a while. "That was interesting trick you did with your [Interdiction] blades. I didn't know they could do that." Xemnas gave a curious look to Roxas after his earlier display of power, but quickly got over it after Roxas spoke to him. "That is because I never had the chance to use it, until today that is." he said casually. "I simply made the blade with the purpose to meld together within the emptiness inside its target's heart. Which allows me to use it as a beacon for me to track my target anywhere across the worlds. It is part of the reason neither you, nor Sora, can ever escape me." he continued sternly. 'So I was right' Roxas thought. 'Which means no matter where I go, even if it's a world I've never been before, he'll always find me.' he thought grimly.

Roxas then shook his head, 'No! I can't let myself think like that, not after all he's done.' he thought. "So are we just going to stand here talking, or are we finally going to settle this?" Roxas asked through gritted teeth. A small smile crossed Xemnas' face at Roxas' words, but the emptiness in it gave Roxas a bad feeling. "You know, Roxas, for someone who says they want to avenge their 'comrades', you seem to be in an awfully big rush to meet their fate." he said nonchalantly. Surprise appeared on Roxas' face when he heard what Xemnas just said. Fear started to grow within Roxas. "What happened to trying to make me your weapon?" he asked, trying to sound brave as he tried his best to keep his hands from shaking. "That was before you caused so much trouble for me." Xemnas said as his face became stern. "I have been ordered to eliminate you. Such a waste of potential, if you asked me." he said.

Roxas was confused about what heard. 'Since when did Xemnas take orders? Wasn't he the leader of Organization XIII?' Roxas thought. 'And what kind of monster of person would be able to make someone like Xemnas become obedient enough to trash the plan he put so much time and effort into preparing? he wondered fearfully.

He then tried to shake off those thoughts, knowing that they would do him no good in the fight that was about to commence. He readied his keyblades as he uncrossed them. He then entered an offensive stance as he held them with both of their edges pointed in Xemnas's direction.

Roxas then charged forward, this time keeping his body lowered as he swung his right blade aimed for Xemnas' torso while his left blade aimed for Xemnas' leg. But Xemnas was ready for Roxas' attack. Within less than a second, Xemnas had already formed two ethereal blades in each hand that were ready to block both of Roxas's blades. A grunt had escaped Xemnas' mouth after the keyblade connected to his ethereal blades. "I'll admit, you are stronger than I had anticipated." he said. He then pushed Roxas back with enough force that the blonde collided with the wall, which then collapsed on top of him after he hit the ground. Roxas then crawled his way out from the pile of stones where he was met with the sight of Xemnas, slowly walking towards him with ethereal blades in hand. And as Xemnas raised the blade inches away Roxas' face he said "But that strength will not save you, so long as you lack the knowledge to use it. Farewell… Roxas" he said.

And just as he was about to strike Roxas down, he himself was struck from the side by a wave of darkness. The words "[Dark Magic: Dark Cloaked Avidya Slash]!" were yelled after the wave of darkness appeared. Xemnas was then launched through several rows of pews and though the wall, which then crumbled on top of him. "Wow kid, when you suddenly ran off I knew you were in some kind of trouble. But I didn't expect you to be in this much trouble" said a gruff voice that sounded familiar to Roxas.

Roxas looked around to see where the voice was coming from. He then looked up to one of the windows, in the direction of where the wave of darkness came from. He then saw the black-haired man he met earlier, holding his katana as if he had just slashed something in midair as a black book was floating next to him. Both the blade and the book were coated in wisps of darkness, but not the kind that wild and tried to corrupt every living thing like his corridor or the heartless. No, this one felt calmer. Almost, like it was at peace with how things currently were.

Roxas was shocked to say the least. "But… but… but how did you did you find me?! I ran as fast as I could until I was out of your line of sight! There's no way you could have detected me with my hood up!" he exclaimed in a surprised tone. "...huh? So me and Julius were right about that coat of yours." he said as he took a puff from his cigarette. "So when the hood is up, you become completely undetectable by all kinds of magical senses. But when the hood is down, you become like something in the background. Blurry and unfocused, until you direct your attention exactly on it. That sound about right, kid?" the black-haired man asked.

Roxas was surprised by how this man was able to find out the additional ability of the cloak so quickly. "Y-Yeah, that's pretty accurate." he answered awkwardly as he scratched the back of his head. But then, he noticed something. Or to be more accurate, he did NOT notice something. "Hey wait a minute! Why can't I smell your heart?! Every time I try to I-ugh! Pee-Yew! What is that awful smell?!" Roxas asked as he pinched his nose.

The muscular man then laughed at Roxas, as he jumped down from the window into the old church. "Ha! I thought if you sniffed me out, you would try to make me lose sight of you! So while I was running after you, I took a quick stop at a stable!" he exclaimed with combination of pride of mischief in his voice. Roxas then looked at the man in horror. "Oh no. Please don't tell me you…?" Roxas asked, already afraid to know the answer. The man then grinned mischievously "Yup!" he yelled as he pulled out a bag with flies flying around it. "A big ol' bag of manure!" he exclaimed.

Roxas looked like he was about to hurl, but then remembered he hadn't eaten anything since he first woke up in Xemnas's sick experiment. He then remembered. "Oh no! Xemnas!" he shouted as he turned towards the pile of rubble. When he ran over there, he didn't see any sign of Xemnas' body. His reflexes then urged him to look behind him."Look out!" Roxas shouted to the man as he saw Xemnas appear right behind the man with an ethereal blade at the ready.

But just as the blade was about to make contact with the man's back, it stopped immediately. When the two of them looked at Xemnas, they saw him trapped within a blueish sphere. He also had a blue ring with Roman Numerals on it floating around it. The words "[Time Magic: Chrono Stasis]" were calmly said after the strange, blue sphere appeared around Xemnas.

"Your slipping Yami" said yet another familiar voice, but this one was softer and gentler than the previous man's voice. The two then looked towards the open door of the busted church. Roxas recognized him as the other man he had met earlier. "So are you. What took you so long Julius?" the black-haired man shot back at the light-haired man. "Sorry. I was so engrossed in watching the unique magic of these two that I got a little distracted." the middle-aged man said in a carefree manner. The muscular man then gave an irritated look to the thin man as he took a another puff of his cigarette.

"Just who are you people?! I mean, I knew from your scent alone that you were magic casters. But I've never met anyone use such powerful magic before." Roxas asked, not knowing how to respond to the situation he was in. "Oh, forgive me young man. I'm Julius Novachrono, also known as the Magic Emperor of the Clover Kingdom" said the man, now known as Julius, as he introduced himself. "The name's Yami Sukehiro kid. And I'm the Captain of the of the Magic Knights Squad, the Black Bulls." said the man, now known as Yami, as he introduced himself.

The titles of the two men before him confused Roxas. "Well, since we're doing introductions… I'm Roxas. And I… have no idea what those titles mean. But they sound important, I guess." he said, not really sure what to say in the situation he was in. He then scratched the back of his of his head and chuckled nervously as the two men gave him curious looks.

"Hey kid, are you from a land known as 'The Land Of The Rising Sun'?" Yami asked Roxas. "Huh? Never heard of it." Roxas responded. Yami and Julius looked at each other as they were left with more questions. "Anyways…" Roxas said to get the attention of the two men. "How did you trap Xemnas in that weird magic… Bubble?" he asked the two. Julius, understanding what Roxas was talking about, decided to answer the boy. "That was me. I used my time magic to trap him in that exact moment, making it impossible to cast another spell to make his escape" Julius answered.

This news made Roxas worried. "You said that you used time magic, right?" Roxas asked. Which Julius responded by nodding, even though he didn't understand what had Roxas so worried. "And you said that it was impossible for him to cast another spell after he is trapped inside, right?" Roxas asked. Once again, Julius nodded his head while he was still trying to figure out what Roxas was getting at. "But what about spells he already cast?" Roxas asked, the look of fear growing on his face. Julius was about to answer, when he heard a sound similar to glass breaking behind him.

And as soon as they turned towards the noise, a red-glowing blade had pierced the center of Julius's chest from behind. "Julius!" Roxas and Yami yelled, fearing for their friend's life. Yami quickly grabbed Julius before he hit the ground and leapt back to the other side of the church, and placed his friend's body behind the altar for safety. Roxas jumped over there quickly, and saw that Julius was starting to look as pale as a ghost. "I can save Julius before it's too late, but I'll need you to distract Xemnas and buy me some time." Roxas said. Yami didn't know why, but his gut told him that if he trusted the boy, everything would be alright in the end. " Okay kid, I'm trusting my gut and letting keep and eye on him. But he better pull though, or you'll wish I left you to Mr. Bangs over there. You hear me!" Yami exclaimed, as he leapt of the altar with both his katana and his floating book coated in wisps of darkness.

Roxas heard the sounds of blades clashing, but he tuned them out as he focused at task at hand. He put two fingers in his mouth and and let out a shrill whistle. A second later a [Corridor of Darkness] appeared before Roxas, and out came a small, white creature with a large, spherical head, small ears sprouting out of the sides of its head, and stubby hand and feet that lack distinct digits. Its eyes were narrowed into brown slits and its nose was bulbous and red. It also sported tiny, purple bat wings, and perhaps its most distinctive trait, a large, red, spherical "pom-pom" on attached to the tops of their heads by a thin, brown, antenna. It was also wearing a black coat similar to the one Roxas and Xemnas were wearing, which looked very contradictory to its otherwise adorable appearance.

"What is that thing?" Julius asked weakly as he then coughed up blood. "That's a Moogle. They're race is known for being the best alchemist in the whole universe. They should have a potion to fix you right up." Roxas said through a forced smile to inspire confidence in Julius. But Julius wasn't holding on that great, and his breathing was getting slower. Roxas then turned to the Moogle with tears in his eyes. "Please, I'm begging you! You just have to have a potion that can save him! Please! I'll pay you whatever you want you just have to save him!" He pleaded, as his tears started to fall down his cheeks.

"There's no need for you to beg like that." the Moogle responded softly. "Luckily your account still has plenty to buy the Elixir you need." the Moogle said. "Are you sure all he needs is just one Elixir?" Roxas asked, worried that it wouldn't keep his friend from dying. "Normally it wouldn't be. But because his magic is so well integrated with his life force, and because his magic pool is so huge, all he needs is an Elixir to heal him up enough so he doesn't keel over." the Moogle explained as he handed Roxas a golden orb covered in moons and stars with a pointed tip on it. Roxas then broke off the tip as he elevated Julius' body. And as Roxas poured the golden liquid down Julius throat, Julius' body began to glow green as the wound in his chest slowly closed up. Julius had a nasty scar on his chest, but at least his color began to return as his breathing steadied. "Thank you... Roxas" Julius muttered as his eyelids slowly closed. He slipped into unconsciousness, but at least he was alive.

"And that's about all I remember. You'll have to ask Yami about the rest." Julius said to Owen. "So that's how you got that nasty scar on your chest. As well as the strange feeling I got from coat the boy had on him before I badaged him up." Owen said to Julius. Owen then looked to Yami so he could hear the rest of the story.

Yami sighed at being put in the spotlight, but he knew that Owen needed to know what happened to Roxas in order for him to best help him recover. But deep down, Yami knew that not even Owen would be able to heal the scars Roxas had.

But just as Yami was about to continue where Julius left off, they heard a loud thud coming from the room Roxas was in.

They decided to continue the story later, after they checked in on how Roxas was doing. When they opened the door they saw Roxas with his arms and legs covered in bandages as he was struggling to stand up. He was using the foot of the bed as something to lean on as he tried to get himself on his feet.

Owen then rushed to Roxas' side, "Now, now. We'll have none of that. You still have yet to fully recover." Owen said as he forced the boy to lay back down on the bed. Julius then chuckled at the energy Roxas had despite being injured. "It's good to see your feeling better, Roxas." Julius said to Roxas with a sincere smile on his face. Roxas then had a huge smile on his face when he saw Julius healthy again. "Julius! Your okay!" he said as he tried to sit up, only to be forced back down by Owen.

Julius then chuckled again at Roxas' struggling despite Owen's orders for him to rest. "It's all thanks to you and your friend, the… the… oh what did you call him? Oh that's right! It is because of you and the Moogle that I'm standing here today." Julius laughed at his own silliness. But then his face became more serious, and he bowed his head to Roxas. "But all joking aside, I offer you my sincerest gratitude for what you did. And not just for me, but for my friend Yami as well. Had you not stayed to fight, despite what "he" said to you, the two of us would surely have perished. And the Clover Kingdom's defenses would have been in a dire situation. So on behalf of the Clover Kingdom, I thank you" Julius said with deep gratitude in his voice.

Everyone in the room was surprised by Julius' actions and words. But Yami and Owen were the most surprised because they understood the gravity of the situation. The Magic Emperor expressing their gratitude was a big enough matter in and of itself, but to bow their head to someone of unknown origins and standing. If this got out, it would severely damage Julius' reputation as the Magic Emperor and lead people to question his authority even more than they already did.

Roxas then nervously chuckled as as he tried to read the tension in the room. "Hey come on, there's no need for you to go so far as to bow your head to me. I didn't do anything worth your praise. I just tried my best to make sure you guys didn't get hurt too badly. After all, you were only trying to help me out with the mess I made. So lift up your head, and we can call it even, deal?." Roxas said as he gave a goofy smile to lighten the mood as he extended his hand out to Julius.

Julius then lifted his head and accepted Roxas hand with a goofy smile of his own. "Deal. Now how about we listen to Owen's advice and let you rest. We still have stuff to talk about. But we'll be outside if you need anything. Okay?" Julius said. Roxas nodded his head and closed his eyes as he slowly drifted off to sleep.

The three men then quietly walked out of the room. When they finally closed the door, both Yami and Owen let out a deep sigh. "Seriously, Julius. What were you thinking? If it gets out that you bowed your head to some unknown person, it could seriously damage your reputation." Owen complained to Julius. Julius then laughed it off and said "Then it's a good thing that nobody but us saw it, am I right.". Owen then sighed again. "This is serious Julius! If Marx had seen you do that, then he would have had a heart a attack on the spot." Owen said worriedly to his old friend.

Julius then placed his hand on Owen's shoulder. "It'll be okay my friend. The reason i offered Roxas my thanks as the Magic Emperor was because it's who I am. I'm the type of man who believes that people deserve to be rewarded not based on things like status or wealth, but based on the their own merit." Julius said to Owen with passion in his voice.

Owen then sighed a third time, although this one didn't sound as exasperated as the others. "Alright Julius. I trust your judgement. And besides, from what you told me, he doesn't even understand the true weight of your actions as the Magic Emperor anyway." Owen said in a much calmer mood. "Good, now how about we let Yami finish the story while you brew us up some of your own traditional blend?" Julius suggested.

Now it was Yami's turn to sigh. "If I must." Yami said, exasperated by Julius's overly giddy mood. But little did the three know, that by taking the Roxas in they had accepted a new fate for not just the Clover Kingdom, but a new fate for the entire world.

Yes, yes. I know I said that this would be the final chapter in this arc. But I decided to withhold the epic battle of Yami and Roxas vs Xemnas for a flashback. That way, the big reveal of Roxas's power becomes more grand.

Sorry if I'm not the best at describing battle stances and fight scenes. I'm not an expert in that field. I also think I overdid it on the head scratching, but I've seen Sora do it a ton whenever he was in an awkward situation.

I tried experimenting with thought speech in this one. I'm not one hundred percent sure I should continue doing it because more speech equals more opportunities to mess it up character personalities or to over-reveal future plot.

Please remember to be review/follow/favorite my story. Thank you.