A/N I dont own kingdom hearts please support the official release

A long time ago

Aqua looked down at the Young girl before her. During her training under Master Eraqus, she had learned how to get a feel for the light and darkness in a person. Most people she had come in contact with during her journey had had low levels of light and dark within them. Some, like Master Eraqus and this Mickey character she had just met, had a great deal of light within them with minimal darkness. Some, like Terra and Master Xehanort, had more significant amounts of darkness. Her sense wasn't flawless, but she had come to trust it.

This young girl in front of her was filled to the brim with light. She had only ever seen this amount of light in somebody once before, when she had met Ven. She couldn't understand why, but she was sure this girl would be significant in the future.

Her thoughts were interrupted when something dragged Mickey away. Shortly after that, the young girl said, "Here," as she held up a small bouquet.

Looking at the pretty display, Aqua could only ask, "Are those for me?"

The young girl responded cheerfully, "I picked you some flowers! Thank you for saving me!"

Aqua said, touched by the girl's gift, "Oh, they're lovely. You're so sweet!"

Happy that her gift had been well-received, the girl said, "My Name's Kairi, and it's nice to meet you."

Aqua responded quickly, "Nice to meet you too. I'm Aqua." Steeling herself for what could be an awkward conversation, Aqua continued by saying, "Kairi, about that light-" anything else she wanted to say was stopped dead in its tracks by the loud yell of "KAIRI!" coming from what was soon revealed to be an old woman, likely Kairi's grandmother.

Moments later, this was proven true when Kairi called out excitedly, "Oh, Grandma!" as she ran towards the elderly woman. Knowing she had to do something quickly, Aqua said, "Wait, Kairi, just a minute…," before she put her index and middle fingers on the girl's necklace and quickly cast two spells. If the need ever arose, the first would guide her to someone who could protect her. The second spell would transport Aqua to the girl in such a situation. It was a bit dangerous, as it would bypass the lanes and, depending on the distance involved, leave Aqua drained of her Mana, but something inside Aqua said that this was the right thing to do.

Looking back at Kairi's face, she said, "I cast a magic spell on you just now. One day when you're in trouble, the light within you will lead you to the light of another. Someone able to keep you safe." Aqua wasn't sure if the girl believed her, but Kairi happily replied, "Thanks!" before she ran over to join her grandmother. With a big smile and a wave, Kairi said bye. As Kairi was walking away, Aqua heard her ask her grandmother for a story. The parts of the story Aqua managed to catch before those two were out of earshot sounded very much like the story her master had once told her about the beginnings of the Keyblade war.

As she walked toward the stairs, flowers still in her hand, Aqua mused, 'Kairi. Something tells me I didn't run into her by accident.' Her thoughts on the subject were interrupted by the sight of a flying Unversed. Unfortunately, the following events would prevent her from thinking about what had just happened for a long time.

Nine years later

Sora

I've been having these weird thoughts lately, like, is any of this real or not.

As Sora opened his eyes, he found himself floating in inky blackness. In the absolute silence that filled the abyss, he was sure he could hear his own heartbeat He had had this dream many times recently, ending when what looked like a large circular stained glass window of a beautiful young woman with pale skin surrounded by smaller pictures of 7 men and even more animals appeared beneath him. Only this time, he didn't wake up, and before he knew it, he was landing on what was revealed to be a platform.

As he stood there, a voice in the darkness spoke up. It was male but had a high pitch and almost melodic tone.

"So much to do, so little time… take your time. Take your time. Don't be afraid. The door is still shut."

What did any of that mean? What door? What was there to be afraid of?

"Step forward. Can you do it?"

Sora wasn't sure what was going on, but he moved toward the center of the platform. As he did, three small daisies rose from the ground, and in a flash, each dais had either a sword, a shield, or a staff on it. The sword and the shield both had a symbol on them that reminded him of a mouse, while the head of the staff had the same shape.

"Power sleeps within you...

If you give it form…

it will give you strength…

Choose well.

While the reverence this place inspired kept him from voicing it out loud, Sora couldn't help but think loudly, "What the heck is this, some sort of game?!"

As he approached the staff, he heard the voice call out,

"The power of the Mystic. Inner strength. A staff of wonder and ruin."

When he approached the shield, the voice said,

"The power of the Guardian. Kindness to aid friends. A shield to repel all."

When he finally stepped up to the sword, the voice said,

"The Power of the Warrior. Invincible courage. A sword of terrible destruction."

"What power shall you seek?"

For what felt like forever, Sora stood there. All this felt like some sort of game, like those tabletop games Kairis dad had introduced their group to a few years ago. Still, something about all this felt like it was something he should take seriously.

Thinking about the roles he tended to play in those games, he stepped forward and grabbed the sword from its dais.

"Now, what will you give up in exchange?"

This took Sora back for a moment. But when he thought about it, most tabletop games had that mechanic. Looking at the shield and the staff, he thought about how he tended to play. Like Tidus, he tended to play full-on offense as opposed to the mage types Kairi and Selphie liked and the tanks Wakka and Riku favored. With that in mind, he stepped up to the shield and placed his hand on it. It disappeared in a flash, and the voice said,

"You have given up the power of the guardian."

In another flash, the staff and the dais disappeared, replaced by three full-length mirrors,

"Choose the path you will follow."

Not sure where this was all going, Sora stepped up to the mirror closest to him. At first, the mirror cast no reflection, but it quickly rippled, and he saw himself wearing something akin to the clothing he had seen visitors from the eastern islands wear. The mirror rippled again, and he saw himself in the same dress, cutting a swath through a hoard of indistinct enemies using some strange-looking weapon. When the mirror version of him was surrounded, he watched as he ran his hand along the weapon, Watched as the strange weapon shifted and became an absurdly large curved blade covered in flames. When the mirror him moved to strike, the mirror rippled again, and it just showed his reflection.

"The path of the Samurai, tremendous physical might combined with magical Empowerment. The strength to cut down armies with the power of your soul."

Moving to the next mirror and watching as yet another weirdly dressed version of himself appeared. This one wore clothes that resembled members of the nobility from years ago, complete with a wide-brim hat. When the mirror rippled again, he watched himself with the same strange-looking weapon facing down another hoard of indistinct foes. This version of him ran his hand over his weapon before swinging it at his enemies. Sora could only gape as the beings visibly weakened and slowed their march toward him. The mirror version of him then ran his hand along with the weapon again, and what looked like lightning cracked along the weapon's body. He watched with fascination as this version of him charged at his foes. Unlike the Samurai version of him, who used large sweeping strikes to take out multiple attackers at the same time, This version was all about precision strikes hitting a single foe a handful of times before moving on to the next at insane speed, leaving just as large a swath of destruction in his wake. Once again, Sora could only gape as this version of his weapon shifted, this time becoming two smaller yet no less dangerous-looking short swords, not unlike the sword he had picked earlier. As this version of him moved to strike, the mirror rippled again, leaving no reflection.

"The path of the Red Mage. The ability to weaken one's foes and empower oneself, Phenomenal Speed and extreme grace in a single package."

Suitably impressed, Sora moved to the last mirror, eager to see what this third version of him could do. This time when the mirror rippled, the alternate him was wearing an open white coat over a black shirt and a pair of white pants. His hands above the wrist were covered in armored fingerless gloves, and he wore similar armored boots that went up to the knee. Once more, the mirror rippled and showed the mirror him in the middle of a battlefield holding a strange-looking weapon that, now that he thought about it, looked a lot like a key. The other two versions of him had weapons that, while different in many ways, both resembled a key. Shaking his head and focusing on the mirror, Sora watched as six indistinct light figures appeared, standing around him three to a side. He watched as the other him raised his hands above himself, and power flowed from him into the six figures. He watched as the six figures charged forward, tearing the dark figures apart, and they moved through them. As the scene continued, he noticed that every time the light figures made a killing blow, the energy seemed to flow back to him and that the power was collecting in his left hand. After a minute of this, the energy which had been red changed and became a bright white before it started to take form. When it was done, the energy resembled a sword. With the weird key-shaped weapon in one hand and the blade made out of energy in the other, Sora could once again only gape as the other him leaped into combat. Just as the mirror, Sora was about to jump and bring both blades down upon an enemy, the mirror ripped again, ending the vision.

"The path of the Synergist, Camaraderie in its purest form, The ability to empower your comrades and be empowered by them."

What will you choose?"

For what felt like an eternity, Sora stood there deep in thought. He wasn't sure if any of this was real, but something told him to take this seriously. After much thought, Sora stepped up to the Synergist mirror and put his hand on it. In an instant, the mirror disappeared, and the voice spoke.

"Your path is set."

Suddenly, the other mirrors shattered, Sora didn't have much time to think about this as the platform he was standing on started to follow suit, and soon he fell again. After a while, he saw another platform. The image was of another beautiful woman, this time wearing a light blue ball gown. She was surrounded by pictures of horses, carriages, and castles, and on the outer edges were images of people dancing. When he finally landed, the voice spoke again.

"You have gained the power to fight."

The sword he had chosen earlier appeared in his hand in a flash. He gave it a few practice swings getting a feel for its weight before the voice spoke again.

"There will be times when you have to fight,

Keep your light burning strong."

Soon weird shadowy creatures started to rise from the ground. Their bright yellow eyes and the unnatural nature of their movements freaked Sora out. They would appear and disappear just as quickly.

"Behind you!" the voice called out.

Sora turned around as the creature behind him melted into the ground. The other creatures surrounding him soon followed suit. Before he knew it, he was sinking into inky blackness, he tried to fight his way out, but inevitably he was completely submerged.

Sora struggled to prevent drowning, but suddenly the light returned, and he found himself on another platform. In front of him was a door. When he tried to open it, it was firmly locked. After a few more futile pulls, the voice spoke again.

"Before you go, a few more questions."

Sora wanted to protest, but there wasn't much he could do about it.

"What is most important to you?"

Sora thought about that for a moment before he replied, "Friendship" out loud. After all, in his opinion, friends, even more than family, helped push you forward.

"What do you want out of life?"

This time Sora responded without any hesitation. "To broaden my horizons." That was half why He, Riku, and Kairi built the darn boat. They wanted to see what was beyond the large grouping of islands that made up their home.

"What are you afraid of?"

Once again, Sora had to think about what truly frightened him. There were stupid things like looking foolish in front of his friends, particularly Kairi. But he didn't think that was what the voice was asking about. Finally, after a bit, he said, "Getting old." To Sora, it wasn't about growing old and dying. It was about how friendships could change or end as you got older. His mother had told him one such story not too long ago, and the idea that it could happen to him and his friends, especially Riku and Kairi, shook him.

"Very good, Your journey begins in the dead of night. Your road won't be easy, but a rising sun awaits your journey's end."

As a bright flash took up his vision, he heard the voice again.

"The day you will open the door is far off and very near."

When his vision cleared, he was standing on yet another platform. The woman on this one seemed to be blonde and wearing a pink dress. Thorns surrounded her. Once again, the weird yellow-eyed creatures appeared, as did the sword. This time Sora went on the offensive as the blade flashed into existence in his hand. With a wide single-handed swing, he slashed his sword through three creatures before bringing the weapon above his head, grabbing the handle with both hands, and bringing the blade down on the fourth. When he noticed a fifth within his peripheral vision, he responded with a backswing, only for the strike to miss. Turning around to face it, he jabbed forward, stabbing it through the middle. When he looked around, all of the creatures had disappeared, as had his sword, and a set of stairs had appeared on one side of the platform leading upwards. Sora started walking up the platform with little else to do but couldn't help but wonder, "How long is this going to go on?"

When he reached the end of the stairs, he found himself on another platform. This time the woman had brown hair and a yellow dress, and standing behind her was some beast. Surrounding them were pictures of eating utensils, and on top of the image the platform was depicting was a red rose. After moments of taking in the sights, the voice spoke again.

"The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes."

Sora looked behind him and saw that his shadow had become very long. Then to his horror, something started rising from it. As it grew, it took on more color and definition; before he knew it, he was looking at a near duplicate of himself. It had yellow eyes and black hair, and its clothes were a much darker red and black, but it was unmistakably him. It looked at him with its head lopsided before. In a wave of darkness, it summoned a sword almost identical to the one he had been using, and the only difference was that this one had no emblem on it. Sora freaked out by what he was seeing and started to back away.

"But don't be afraid."

Sora suddenly found himself with nowhere to go as he ran out of the platform. Mentally chanting, "I can do this, I Can Do This, I CAN DO THIS!" His sword appeared in his hand in a flash. His dark duplicate only grinned before it charged forward, attacking with a one-handed downward slash. Sora lifted his sword, grabbing the blade's flat as he blocked the blow mere inches from his head. He pushed the copy's weapon off him and made three wide slashes in front of him. The dark Sora deftly dodged the first two before the third caught him on the side. Wanting to press his temporary advantage, Sora started his overhead swing, Only for the copy to roll to the left and stab at him. Something that he only barely managed to dodge. Once more, he heard the voice call out, sounding distorted.

"̶͇̼̣͕͈̽̔͐b̶̟̥̪̄̅̇̃̆̈́̋ů̷̝̘̩̭͚̭̣̃̀̋t̸̼͖͍̱͝ ̴̲̓ḍ̶̡͍́̍̏̕ͅó̸͕̝̤̿̀̚n̴̛̳̯̟͙̂ṯ̶̢̢̞̣̖̓ ̵̧͍̹̝͎̯̐b̶̢͓͖͗̊̊̕̚e̷̬̹̱̖͗̈͠ ̴̰̺̓ã̷̳̭̬͕̟͋̈́̋̓̏f̸̛̥̮̖̱̂̔͝͝r̵̤͖̤̩̭̖̎̓ḁ̸̱́̓͗̃ỉ̴̢͖̙̤͉̂͂ͅḑ̶̬͈̱͈̪̎̒̈̈̑̈́́"̴̬̼̞̺̖͉͊͠

In his distraction, the copy knocked Sora's blade away, causing it to disappear. With its sword raised, it started a slow walk toward him, a grin on its face. Sora stumbled, falling onto his backside, and as he did, darkness appeared beneath him, once again attempting to swallow him.

"But don't be afraid."

The darkness was now up to his head, slowly covering his face.

"You hold the mightiest weapon of all."

Sora made one last futile attempt to save himself as the darkness sought to claim him.

"So don't forget."

As Sora was about to be consumed, he heard one last thing.

"You are the one who will open the door."

When Sora opened his eyes again, he was on the beach. He heard the waves crashing against the ground and a seagull squawking. He felt sand against his skin.

"What the heck was that?"

Kairi

"Recently, I've felt like there is something significant I should remember, but whenever I get close, it slips away again."

Kairi opened her eyes. Instead of the familiar surroundings of her room, she found herself floating in utter blackness. As far as she could see, there was nothing but more void.

"Wait, didn't Sora say something about a dream like this recently."

Honestly, if this was what he had been dreaming about, Kairi felt a little bad for all the teasing she had done regarding it. She could see how something like this would make a person more introspective. After a time, Kairi saw something. At first, it just looked like a speck of light, but as she floated closer, it looked like a stained glass window like the kind her adopted father had shown her growing up. And it was massive.

She couldn't tell how large it was precisely, but it looked large enough to walk on. The scene on the platform was a young blue-haired woman wearing a dark bodysuit and thigh-high stockings with a billowing cloth behind her. She was crouched down above her were portraits of 3 men. One was of a blonde-haired boy who didn't look too much older than Kairi or her friends. The next was a dark-haired boy who looked a few years older than the woman in the picture, and the last man looked much older with black hair and a pair of scars across his cheek and one of his eyes. Kairi couldn't understand why, but the woman felt very familiar.

When she finally touched down on the platform, she couldn't help but think, "What the heck is supposed to happen now?" Any other thoughts that she might have on the matter were banished when A voice spoke up. It was a female and sounded a lot like some of the older women of the village. It also felt very familiar to her.

"Oh dearie, time is running short, but we still have plenty of time. So much time and so little to do….reverse that."

Kairi would have chucked at the voices' antics if this situation didn't feel so serious. As it was, a smile crept onto Kairi's face.

"Would you be a dear and step forward, just a bit."

Still a bit wary about the whole situation, she complied without anything else to do. When she had moved a few feet forward, three small daisies rose from the platform, and in a flash, each dais had either a sword, a staff, or a shield on it. The sword and shield each had a symbol that looked like a mouse, while the staff's head was shaped the same way.

"You have a great power inside…

But to access it, you need to give it a form...

When you do that, it will give you power

Choose well.

The reverence Kairi felt while standing there kept her from saying it out loud, but Kairi couldn't help but think, "This feels like some sort of game."

When Kairi approached the dais holding the sword, she heard the voice call out.

"The Power of the warrior, Deadly strength, a weapon made to slay evil."

When Kairi moved to the shield, the voice said,

"The power of the Guardian, Invincible defense. A tool to protect against evil."

When Kairi finally moved towards the dais holding the staff, the voice said,

"The power of the Mystic. An external force from an inner source. A staff to drive back evil.

"What power will you take up?"

Kairi stood there. It could have been for a minute. It could have been for an hour. She honestly wasn't sure. The whole situation felt like the games her dad had introduced her and her friends to, but this felt real, like something was at stake. She knew what roles she tended to play in those games. She tended to stick with mages, often switching with Selphie on who played the healing white mage and who played the attacking black mage. She had occasionally swapped roles with Sora and Riku, who favored physical damage dealers and tanks, respectively but had never really enjoyed those roles. Taking that into consideration, she placed her hand on the staff, grabbing it from its dais.

"Now, dearie, what will you give up in exchange for your selected power?"

That took Kairi by surprise. She had to give something up? If this was some game, she could understand that since game balance was a thing, but this didn't feel like a game. Still, she didn't seem to have much choice, so she started thinking about her choice. While not the biggest fan of either, she had enjoyed the physical damage classes she had played more than the few times she had played the tank. She liked her characters to move, and the tank, more often than not, just stood there and took it. Considering that, she stepped up to the shield and placed her hand on it. In a flash, it disappeared, and the voice said

"I see that you have given up the power of the Guardian."

In another flash, the sword and the daisies vanished and were replaced by three full-length mirrors.

"Choose the path you will follow."

Kairi stood there for a moment, trying to parse that statement. The longer this weird dream went on, the more and more it felt like some game. Still, she walked to the mirror closest to her and looked at it. To her surprise, it cast no reflection. Suddenly it started to ripple, and suddenly she saw herself, but instead of the clothes she was wearing, the reflection wore a light blue short-sleeved mini dress over that was a darker blue coat that fell to the back of her knees. It was held to her body with a dark black belt. Across her chest was a small silver breastplate, and a pair of lightly armored gloves protected her arms. Her legs were covered by armored boots that went up to her kneecaps. In her hands was a weapon that looked weird.

"Is that a Key?"

Kairi's thoughts on the matter were interrupted by the scene in the mirror panning out. She was surrounded by a group of indistinct light figures, who were surrounded by an even larger group of indistinct dark figures. She watched as the other her raised her weapon over her head, and a bright light lanced from it to the light figures around her. Suddenly the figures had a distinct purple outline. She watched as the light figures charged forward toward the dark ones and started attacking them with fierce abandon, but she noticed that the light figures were not taking as much damage as the dark figures. She also saw that when one of the dark figures did land a severe blow, her mirror self would wave her weapon at the light figure, who would be covered in a bright green glow that seemed to heal the light figure. Inevitably some of the dark figures managed to slip past the light figures and make a dash for her mirror self. Kairi watched as the weapon suddenly shifted, and instead of a key, she was now holding a long staff with a purple gem.

Kairi watched as her mirror self slammed her staff into the ground, making an earthquake and forcing large shards of rock to rise into the air before, with a flourish spinning her staff above her head, causing an intense wind to surround her, breaking the floating stones into smaller pieces. When the dark figures got too close, they were hit6 hard by the rocks and the wind. Finally, the mirror, Kairi pointed her staff at a new, much larger dark figure, and just as the tip of her staff became uncomfortably bright, the mirror rippled again, returning to normal.

"The path of the White mage, peerless healing, the ability to bring your friends back even from the brink of death.

A little shaken from what she had seen, Kairi moved to the next mirror. Just like the first one, this mirror bore no reflection. And when she drew close, it rippled. Once again, she found her mirror self wearing a minidress, but that was where the similarities ended. This version was white and had no sleeves. Holding the dress to her was a black belt with a waist cape that fell to her calves. On either arm was a pair of dark gauntlets that she couldn't figure out what they were made of. Whatever it was, the breastplate that adorned her chest was made of the same thing. Her legs were covered in a pair of single-leg thigh-high stockings that ended with white boots. In her hand, she held the same key-shaped weapon she had before.

When the vision panned out, Kairi found that this version of her was standing alone, but this version of her didn't seem bothered by that or the fact that a considerable amount of dark figures surrounded her. Kairi watched as her mirror self struck, first raising her weapon and firing a series of fireballs, each aimed at a different target hitting each with enough force to throw them off their feet. When the dark figures started to move towards the mirror, Kairi, the girl, just smirked and, with a spin, was surrounded by flames that the figures ran into, setting themselves aflame. When the fire dissipated the mirror-Kairi slammed her weapon on the ground, and Kairi watched as several lines of ice spread from that point. Occasionally new lines would fork off from the larger lines, but in each case, they eventually found a dark figure that suddenly found itself trapped in ice. As the second wave of foes made themselves known, Kairi could only gape as her mirror-self raised her weapon above her head, and it shifted, becoming a staff as it had in the previous vision. This time, however, the staff had a red gem at the head atop, which sat a black witch's hat. Pointing her staff at the approaching enemies, Mirror Kairi seemed to pull water from the air before blasting her targets. As she raised her staff above her one more time, Kairi could only stare as lightning dropped from the sky, hitting the staff's head. As mirror Kairi moved to strike, the mirror rippled, causing the vision to end,

The path of the Black Mage. The ability to command the elements, the power of nature in the palm of your hand.

Kairi found herself suitably impressed by what she had seen; god only knew what the last mirror would show her. Moving over to it, she watched as it rippled. This time Kairi's mirror self was wearing something entirely different. Instead of the minidress, the other Kairis had worn this version wearing pants. Specifically, a pair of dark black slacks flowed into a similarly black set of boots meeting just below the knees. Up top was a fancy-looking red jacket with gold trim that at the waist split into three tails. Underneath that was a puffy white shirt. Atop her head was a red tricorn hat with black trim. In her hand was the same key-shaped weapon that the other two versions of her had used. Surrounding the mirror her was a small group of three dark figures, fewer in number than the other hers had fought. Still, they made up for it by being significantly larger, nearly three times the size of mirror Kairi, as they started their slow, lumbering walk towards her.

Not missing a beat, Mirror Kairi adjusted her weapon so that the blade pointed down and slammed it into the ground. Much like the white mage version of her had earlier, the red-clad Kairi raised her sword, and suddenly the wind around the battlefield started moving at terrifying speeds breaking the large rocks into many much smaller stones. Jumping onto one of the larger rocks Mirror Kairi bounced on it before moving to strike one of the giant figures with her blade several times. When the giant moved to strike at her, she jumped off of it back onto one of the rocks. As soon as the other Kairi made landfall, she bounced off of it again, leaving a glowing figure behind as she moved to strike another of the giants repeating the process several more times, always leaving a glowing figure behind when she bounced off of a rock. When she had done this five times, the Mirror Kairi leaped high into the air, her weapon shifting into a saber as she reached the limits of her jump. Slashing her weapon down, the glowing figures started releasing bursts of energy at the dark giants causing them to stagger. Mirror Kairi's saber began to glow blue with cold energy as she descended. As she gained speed in her fall, the other Kairi aimed at the figure that had taken the most damage of the three. Seemingly pushing herself off the air mirror, Kairi pierced through it, ice forming at the entry and exit sites to cover the rest of the body. Turning to face the other two figures, the mirror version of her waved her off-hand, causing several phantom swords to appear around her. With another much fiercer wave of her hand, the phantom blades surged forward, piercing the closest of the two figures and causing it to collapse. Turning the last of the giant figures, Kairi could only watch as her mirror self brought her saber to her side and started to glow a blinding white. As the last figure moved to attack, the vision rippled again, leaving the mirror in its original state.

"The path of the Red Mage, Sword, and Sorcery in one package, Ebony and Ivory together in harmony.

Kairi stood there for several minutes. All three versions of her had been very impressive. Her black mage and red mage selves had been absolute badasses, and her white mage self only slightly less so. Still, it felt like she had to make a decision. She immediately rejected the white mage mirror. While she had played the role off and on with Selphie, she preferred playing offense.

That left two choices, The black mage had looked fun, but it still felt like a job where she would have to stay in the back while others were in the thick of it. And honestly, she was starting to get tired of playing that role in those games. With that thought in her head, Kairi moved over to the red mage mirror and placed her hand on it. Almost instantly, it vanished, and the same feminine voice spoke again.

"Your path is set."

Suddenly the remaining mirrors shattered like glass, and while she was trying to figure out what had happened, the platform did the same. Kairi tried to move but quickly found herself without anywhere to go. Before she knew it, she was falling again. After a while, she saw another platform beneath her. This one displayed a smiling older woman in a purple dress and a white apron. Surrounding her were portraits of two teenagers. One was a boy that had fair skin and dark blonde hair, while the other was a girl with long black hair and fair skin. Around the edges of the platform were portraits of foxes. The woman felt very familiar. Kairi felt like she should know who she was, but for the life of her couldn't place her.

When Kairi finally landed on the platform, the voice spoke again.

"You have gained the power to fight."

In a flash of light, the staff she had picked was in her hands. She waved it around a few times, getting a feel for its weight and heft before the voice spoke again.

"Unfortunately, dearie, there will be times when you must fight, but keep the light inside you shining brightly."

Soon weird shadowy creatures rose from the ground. Kairi cringed at their bright yellow eyes and the unnatural way they moved. Every time she would look at one for long enough, it would disappear and reappear somewhere else.

"Look out!" The voice called out.

Kairi barely moved out of the way as one of the creatures tried to tackle her. Every time she would try to swing at them using the staff as a club, they just dodged.

"I wish I had some sort of ranged attack."

As if responding to her thought, the staff suddenly released a blast of light that, unfortunately, missed by a considerable distance. Soon Kairi found herself overwhelmed as several creatures tackled her to the ground while others melted into it. Soon she felt herself being submerged, She struggled as hard as she could, but eventually, everything went black.

When she could see again, Kairi found herself on another platform, she couldn't make out what the image was, but it didn't seem to be of someone like the last two platforms. In front of her was a door. It didn't seem to be connected to anything, and when she gave it a few tugs, it wouldn't budge

"Before you head home, dear, would you answer a few questions?"

In annoyance, Kairi blew a loose strand of hair out of her face but didn't see an alternative.

"What is most important to you?

Kairi thought about it for a bit. She thought about the friends she had known over the last nine years of the happy memories that Tidus, Selphie, Wakka, Riku, and Sora, especially Sora, had brought her. With that in mind, she said, "Friendship."

"What do you want out of life?"

Kairi thought about this one for a bit. On one level, she wanted to learn more about the world outside of the Destiny Islands; That was why they built the boat in the first place. But if she was being honest with herself, she wanted to see things that nobody had ever seen before or, at the very least, very few. She nodded her resolve: "I want to see rare sights."

"What are you afraid of?"

This time Kairi didn't even have to think about it before she said, "Indecisiveness." For as long as she could remember, whenever it was something she viewed as important, she always second-guessed herself. One of the things she admired most about Riku and Sora was that both of them, once they had set their minds on something, would not be dissuaded, though that might just have been stubbornness.

"Very good, sweetheart. Your journey begins at midday.

Suddenly her vision was overtaken by a bright light, and she heard the voice speak again.

"The day when the door will be opened is far away and very near."

When Kairi's vision cleared, she was standing on another platform. As she looked at it, it appeared to be Sora and Riku. They were positioned on the outer edges of the platform and in such a way that, depending on your position, the other would be upside down. In Sora's hand was a key-shaped weapon like the one the mirror versions of her had used. In Rikus's hand was a large purple and red curved blade that looked a lot like a bat wing, the blue Catseye gem at the base of the weapon gave her shivers. Any other thoughts she might have had on the matter were interrupted when the weird shadowy creatures returned.

In an instant, the staff appeared in her hands. Now with a better understanding of what it could do, she willed it to release a blast of energy as she pointed it at one of the creatures. The creature was blasted back a considerable distance when the energy made contact. With that success, Kairi started firing away at the shadowy monsters. Eventually, however, Kairi found herself overwhelmed by numbers. She had an idea as they began to back her to the platform's edge. Earlier, the staff had responded to her wanting to blast them,

"Maybe that can work for more than just blasting!"

Thrusting her hands out in front of her and focusing on a wall of pure force pushing the creatures away. Her idea worked, and she was rewarded with the creatures being thrown away from her. A few were thrown far enough to fall off the platform. After a few more such pushes, the last of the monsters were pushed off the edge. As Kairi hunched over, trying to catch her breath from her exertions, a set of stairs appeared. Once she had recovered enough to continue, she started making her way up the stairs.

When she reached the top of the stairs, she found herself on another platform. This one depicted her. She was positioned similarly to Sora and Riku, holding a key-shaped weapon. Next to her were portraits of the blue-haired woman from earlier and of a woman with green hair and a white hoodie. After a few more moments of observation, the voice spoke.

"The closer you get to the light, the greater a shadow you cast."

As Kairi tried to figure out what that meant, she noticed that her shadow had become very long. She was horrified when something started to rise out of it. As it grew, it took on more definition and color; before she knew it, she looked at a near duplicate. The hair was almost black, the eyes were yellow, and the clothes were of much darker shades of black, but it was still unmistakably her. It looked at her for a moment before it smirked at her.

"But don't be afraid."

When it raised its hand, a staff appeared in a wave of darkness. Unlike Kairi's staff, this one had a spherical gem on top. Before her shadow launched a blast of darkness, Kairi barely had time to dodge and bring her staff to bear. When her bearings returned, Kairi launched her shot only to see it be blocked as it splashed against some shield. Kairi briefly wondered if she could do that as well but didn't have time to contemplate it as her shadow put its hands out and released a wave of force that knocked Kairi to the ground,

"̶͇̼̣͕͈̽̔͐b̶̟̥̪̄̅̇̃̆̈́̋ů̷̝̘̩̭͚̭̣̃̀̋t̸̼͖͍̱͝ ̴̲̓ḍ̶̡͍́̍̏̕ͅó̸͕̝̤̿̀̚n̴̛̳̯̟͙̂ṯ̶̢̢̞̣̖̓ ̵̧͍̹̝͎̯̐b̶̢͓͖͗̊̊̕̚e̷̬̹̱̖͗̈͠ ̴̰̺̓ã̷̳̭̬͕̟͋̈́̋̓̏f̸̛̥̮̖̱̂̔͝͝r̵̤͖̤̩̭̖̎̓ḁ̸̱́̓͗̃ỉ̴̢͖̙̤͉̂͂ͅḑ̶̬͈̱͈̪̎̒̈̈̑̈́́"̴̬̼̞̺̖͉͊͠

How distorted the voice sounded broke Kairi's concentration as she tried to release her wave, and it barely knocked her shadow off balance. When it had recovered, it slowly marched towards her, its staff held at the ready, its gem glowing with dark power. Kairi tried to back away to gain some distance, but she quickly found herself weaponless and a shrinking floor behind her. To make matters worse, darkness erupted below her, and Kairi swiftly found herself submerged again.

"But don't be afraid."

The darkness was now up to her neck, Kairi did her best to get out, but it seemed useless.

"You hold a light to drive away the dark."

Kairi was now mouth-deep in the darkness. Her struggles were growing weaker.

"So don't forget."

As She was about to be consumed by the darkness, Kairi heard one last thing.

"You are the one who will close the gate.

When Kairi opened her eyes, she was in the little room she and Selphie had claimed as their bedroom on the island. She felt the sheets underneath her and the wind from the outside cool her skin. It sounded like a storm was beginning to stir. As she got up to check on the others, they needed to head back home before the waters became too choppy to safely paddle through. She couldn't help but wonder,

"What the heck was that?"

Riku

"For a long time, I have felt caged. Like this world was just too small."

When Riku opened his eyes, instead of the familiar surroundings of his room on his friends and his island, he found himself floating in utter darkness. No matter which way he looked, he could see nothing.

"This sounds like what Sora was talking about the other day, which means I should be seeing something soon."

Rikus' belief was soon rewarded as, in the distance, he saw a bright light in the darkness. It was small at first, but as he floated closer, he started to be able to make out what it was. It was a giant platform and looked like it was made of stained glass. As he got closer, he saw what was depicted on it. The picture was of two young men that looked painfully familiar. The first was a dark-haired young man dressed like some eastern islanders. He had piercing blue eyes, and in his hand was some sort of key-shaped weapon that Riku was sure he had seen before. He was standing up straight and facing away from the center.

The second young man was almost identical in looks and pose but in the opposite direction. This young man had light, practically white hair and piercing yellow eyes. In his hand was another darker key-shaped weapon. This weapon had a freaky-looking cat's eye gem in it. Surrounding them were portraits of silhouettes of the two weapons and a heart.

When he landed on the platform, he only had a few seconds before a voice spoke up. It was deep and quiet. There was something about it that reverberated around the area.

"Come, time is short. What has been done before must be done again.

Riku paused at that. What did "what has been done before must be done again." mean. Riku didn't have time to think about that before the voice spoke again.

"Step forward, boy. There is much to do."

Riku's hackles raised at the order being given and at being called boy. Still, there was nothing else he could do, so he complied with the order stepping into the middle of the platform. When he stopped, three small daisies rose from the ground, and in a wave of darkness, each dais had a sword, a staff, or a shield. The sword and the shield had a symbol that resembled a black heart outlined with red also crossed across the heart. At its bottom, it split into three points. The staff had a head that resembled that symbol.

"There is great power within you.

But without a form, there is no way for you to claim it.

Choose what form your power will take."

"Oh god, This is like one of those games Kairi's dad taught us."

Riku considered the items before him, wondering which he should take. When he walked up to the sword, the voice spoke again.

"The power of the Warrior, deadly strength, a blade to tear asunder all who would stand in your way."

Riku had to admit, he liked the sound of that. But he stepped up to the staff regardless.

"The power of the Mystic, Magical might, The power to drive your enemies from you with the elements."

Once again impressed by the description, Riku stepped up to the shield and waited for the voice's explanation.

"The power of the Guardian, An immovable force. The fortitude to stop all who would take what is yours."

"What will you pick?"

Riku thought for a while. All three were desirable options. He wasn't sure what this was for, but he tended to play the defensive role with Wakka in those tabletop games protecting the others. It was something he was comfortable with. So he moved towards the shield, intent on taking it.

"Are you really sure that is what you want? To take up a role you previously took merely because it is comfortable. Why not expand your horizons."

Riku had to admit the voice was making sense. Honestly, he always played defense. Even in the real world, protecting the members of his group from bullies, particularly Sora and Kairi. He had done so for as long as he could remember.

"So why do I find it so aggravating right now?"

Almost without thought, Riku moved over to the sword and placed his hand on it. In a wave of darkness, the other weapons and the dais they were on disappeared and were replaced by two full-length mirrors.

"Choose the path you will follow, boy."

"Again with the boy bull shit."

"Call me boy, or child, or anything else like that, and we are done!" Riku angrily yelled.

Unfortunately for Riku, the voice gave no indication that it had heard him. For the moment lacking any other recourse, Riku drew close to the mirror nearest him. When he looked into it, there was no reflection. Before he could consider this, the mirror began to ripple. Suddenly, he saw himself. Only this version of him was wearing a black bodysuit with red piping down the arms and legs. Over each hand was a dark metal gauntlet with a blood-red gem on the back of his hands, and over his feet were similarly styled sabatons that went up to his kneecaps, where another set of gems were placed. Finally, a cuirass of the same material was on his chest and shoulders. The chest had a stylized lion face protruding from it, and in the mouth was a red gem. In one hand was a helmet styled to look like a lion with a black visor in front. In his other hand was a weird-looking red and purple sword resembling a leathery wing. In its center was a blue cat's eye gem. The mirror then panned out to reveal that the mirror version of him was surrounded by a large group of indistinct light figures. Mirror Riku smirked for a moment before donning his helmet. Quicker than lightning, he moved forward, slashing one of the figures across the chest, causing it to fall to the ground.

Several more figures moved forward and met the same fate as the first, and Riku noticed that as the other him slew his enemies, a dark red aura formed over him. After several more fallen foes, new larger light figures entered the field. In response, Mirror-Riku raised his weapon to the sky, which was covered in darkness. When the darkness dissipated, the blade was much larger, nearly as long as Riku, and at least twice as wide as it had been previously. When the light figures resumed their charge, Riku brought the blade down upon its head, neatly bisecting it. As the others reached weapon range, the other Riku never stopped moving, each swing bringing a swift end to one of the figures, and Riku noticed that after each blow, the sword started glowing the same dark red that Mirror-Riku had previously. When the last of the smaller figures had fallen, Mirror Riku looked at the larger figures and brought his blade to a ready position. When the first of the larger figures started to charge at him, the other Riku swung his weapon, and a wave of dark red energy erupted. Almost instantly, the wave made its way to the larger figures cutting one in half and causing the other to fall to the ground. As the Mirror Riku leaped into the air to strike, the mirror rippled again, and Riku was left looking at a reflectionless mirror again.

"The Path of the Dark Knight, Righteous anger made manifest. The power to draw on the darkness within to bring your foes to their knees."

Riku thought about what he had seen. The Dark Knight him had looked pretty badass during the fight he had seen. But he had another mirror to look at.

When he stepped up to the other mirror like the first one, it at first showed no reflection before rippling to reveal another him. This Riku wore a fancy button-up black shirt over a long dark red coat with a serrated bottom. His legs were covered by a pair of black trousers held up by a dark red belt. On his feet were a pair of black boots that went up to his shins, held on by several red metal clasps, and his hands were covered by a pair of black fingerless gloves. As he looked at his mirror self Riku couldn't help but think, "This guy is trying way too hard to be edgy."

As his attention returned to his mirror self Riku noted that the other him had the same weapon as the Dark Knight version of him. Any further contemplation was interrupted as the mirror panned out and revealed that the other him was surrounded by a staggering amount of light figures.

Mirror Riku smirked for a second before he started moving, his blade passing through the skull of one of the figures before moving on to the next, stabbing it through the midsection. Mirror Riku ran his hand along his weapon, causing it to be surrounded in black flame before dashing into a crowd of figures, dancing around as he ran his blade through them. Each of them would stand still for a second before being engulfed in black flame. After several more groups had been dispatched, Mirror Riku's weapon glowed black. Riku watched as the darkness covered the entire weapon. Watched as it elongated and changed shape. When the darkness dissipated, Mirror Riku was holding a long black shaft. At the top, running perpendicular, was the blade of the sword he had used earlier, joined at the shaft by the gem. Riku took a moment to understand what he was looking at but quickly understood.

"Holy Shit, that's a scythe."

Riku had only just realized this when the other him disappeared from view. When Mirror Riku reappeared, it was on the opposite side of a large group of figures who suddenly started falling apart. As they fell to the ground, a red light escaped them and flowed toward the scythe that cut through more and more of the light figures with each passing moment. After several minutes of cutting through the enemy hoard, Mirror Riku raised his scythe, now glowing a blackish red, and swung. The energy released slammed against the closest expanding as it did so, slamming into more and more of the figures as it moved. The mirror's perspective returned to Mirror Riku, who had a wicked smirk before the mirror rippled again, showing no reflection.

"The Path of the Reaper, The fear of death shared by all beings made manifest. The power to steal your opponent's life force and add it to your power."

"What will you choose?"

Riku thought about it for a while. Both versions of him had been incredible in their own way, even if the reaper had been a bit stupidly dressed. Both had extreme amounts of power that Riku wouldn't mind having for himself, but he needed to make a choice., As he was getting ready to make his choice, Riku had a thought. "Both of these paths operate the same way. Why couldn't I choose both?"

Looking up, Riku shouted to the voice, "I want both!"

Riku couldn't be sure since it was just a voice, but he was almost sure he heard a smirk when the voice responded, "Your path is set."

The mirrors disappeared in a wave of darkness, and a set of winding stairs appeared on one side of the platform. Riku took this as his cue to move on. After several minutes he saw another platform at the bottom. On this platform was the image of a young man. His darker skin and white hair reminded Riku of some features he had seen on the other islanders. Another boy with much paler features and dark hair stood back to back with him. Like the boy from the first platform, he was dressed in clothing closer to what he had seen eastern islanders wear. When Riku reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard the voice speak again.

"You have gained the power to fight."

The sword he had chosen earlier appeared in Riku's hand in a wave of darkness. Sensing something was about to happen, he brought it to a ready position.

"There will be times when the darkness will threaten to overwhelm you. But as long as your will remains strong, you can bring it to heel and make it serve YOU!"

Riku was surprised. This was the first time the voice had shouted since this whole thing had started. He didn't really have time to consider this as, from the ground, a puddle of darkness formed quickly, surrounding him before creatures spawned from it. They were shorter than he was, with bright yellow eyes and skin that seemed to be made out of darkness. The unnatural way they moved freaked him out, but Riku shook it off and gripped the handle of his sword even tighter.

When one of the creatures moved to lunge at Riku, he was ready, and with a swing, he chopped it in half, causing it to fade into a dark cloud. This caused the other creatures to begin attacking, and soon Riku found himself being harassed from all sides. With skills learned from constant practice with Sora and Tidus, Riku deftly moved around the clumsy monsters. When an opening would show up, he would strike hard and fast. Soon, all the creatures had been dispatched, leaving him standing there gasping for breath.

"Very good. Your power is without peer."

Riku knew that the voice was buttering him up, but he accepted the praise anyway. When another set of stairs heading down appeared, he didn't hesitate to head on down. After a few minutes of walking, a new platform became visible. The picture on this one was a powerfully built, slightly dark-skinned man with long white hair and yellow eyes. He wore a long, high-necked black coat over a partially open white shirt that fell almost to the knees. Beneath that was a pair of black slacks and equally black boots. Combined with the armored shoulders and the white gloves, he looked like some sort of pirate. Behind him was a monster with straps all over its chest and mouth. Surrounding them were portraits of the symbol on his sword earlier. When Riku made it to the bottom, the voice spoke once more.

"It is good that you have made it this far, but before we continue, you must answer a few questions.

This annoyed Riku, but there wasn't much he could do about it. So he prepared himself for whatever the voice was going to ask.

"What are you afraid of?"

This took Riku aback a bit. What was he afraid of? On one level, he would say being stuck on the islands for the rest of his life. Sometimes he felt suffocated. He loved his family and friends but couldn't stand the idea that this was all there was. On the other hand, part of that fear was attached to the idea of getting old. Of wasting all of his life just existing on the islands like his father or grandfather had. So after a few more moments of thought, he said, "Getting old."

"What do you want out of life?"

"Shit," Riku thought that was another difficult question. Of course, he wanted to see things that few had ever seen before and, through that, expand his horizons. But neither of those things were why he and the others had built the boat. For as long as he could remember, he had been one of the most physically capable kids in the village/ Stronger and faster than anybody in his age group and sometimes more than some adults. But it felt hollow like there was no challenge. Riku hated that thought. He wanted to be strong and to prove that strength to all those around him. With that in mind, Riku roared, "To be strong."

Once again, Riku swore he could hear the voice smirk as it asked its last question.

"What is most important to you?"

"Damnit, what's with all the philosophical questions?"

Riku started thinking about the question in earnest. What did he consider most important to him? Obviously, he considered his family and his friends to be very important. At the same time, some of the things he had helped build, like some of the shelters on the island and the swords. He. Sora and Tidus had created were important to him because of the memories attached to them and the feelings of accomplishment. But if he was honest with himself, he wanted to be the best. He was the best fighter and runner at whatever he set out to do. As much as he hated admitting it even to himself, he had always felt this way, going back to even before he had met that older boy with the weird key-shaped weapon.

With that thought in his mind, Riku raised his head and shouted, "Being number one!"

There was a pregnant pause before the voice spoke again.

"Very good. Now continue forward."

Another set of stairs manifested in response to the voice's words, leading further down. After walking for a few minutes, he saw a new platform. The image on this one was of a man who looked much like the man on the last platform. The major difference was that this man's hair was a bit wilder, and he wore a dark cloak that reached down to his ankles. His arms were crossed over his chest, and Riku couldn't help but feel a profound sense of emptiness coming from the image of the man. When Riku stepped onto the platform, the voice spoke again.

"You have done well to get this far but be warned. People will try to stop you as you get closer to your goals."

As if to prove its point, two figures rose from the ground. One of them had a masculine figure, and the other was feminine. Beyond that, Riku couldn't make out anything concrete about them. Suddenly a sword appeared in the male figure's hand, and a staff manifested in the female figure's hand. In a dark flash, Riku's sword appeared. He barely had time to bring it to the ready before the male figure charged at him. Riku managed to parry the male figure's blow and moved to slash at it, only for a barrier to block his blow. Riku looked at the female figure and saw that its staff was glowing. Riku rolled to the side and charged at the female figure, trying to get to it before it raised the barrier again. With a leap, Riku raised his blade above his head, ready to cut the female figure in half. Just before he made contact, Riku felt himself get tackled to the side. As Riku righted himself and looked at who had hit him, the voice spoke again.

"It will not always be strangers and enemies trying to take what is rightfully yours. Sometimes it will be those you call friends."

As if responding to the voice, the figures blurred a bit, and suddenly Riku was faced with Sora and Kairi. Both of them had creepy smiles on their faces. Riku barely had a moment to think about the horror of the moment before 'Sora' charged at him with a series of jabs that Riku barely managed to dodge before ending the onslaught with a spinning slash that caught Riku in the side. Riku tried to move, only to find that he was surrounded by barriers. He looked to the side to see 'Kairi' holding her staff up and continuing to smile,

"But if you trust in your power, you can overcome anything that stands in your way."

Suddenly Riku felt a surge of power throughout his body. Looking at himself, he saw a dark aura surrounding him and his sword. After a moment's thought, he swung his sword wide. When it made contact with the barriers, they shattered like glass. Riku took the initiative and charged at 'Kairi,' who put up a barrier to try to block him. However, when his sword made contact, it passed through it like it wasn't there before passing through her. Her smile changed to a look of shock as she faded away into nothingness. Riku didn't have time to think about what he had done to someone wearing a friend's face. 'Sora,' now wearing a look of anger, started swinging at him wildly. Riku noticed that all 'Soras' movements seemed slower and more sluggish than earlier. So much so that Riku saw an opening in his opponent's backswing. Taking immediate advantage, Riku brought his blade down on 'Soras' shoulder causing him to drop his sword. Riku seeing this brought his blade down on 'Soras' head, ending the fight.

As Riku Riku watched 'Sora" fade away, the weight of what had just happened started to hit him. Even if they had been fakes, he had just killed things that were wearing his friends' faces. Riku didn't have much time to think about that as suddenly, the platform started to fade around him. As it did, Riku heard the voice speak one last time.

"Well done, you have dispatched those who would hold you back. Your journey will begin as soon as you wake up. It will be perilous, but remember that the darkness is nothing to fear. It is a tool to be used.

As the last of the platform faded away, Riku started to fall, he closed his eyes, and suddenly the feeling of falling stopped, and he found himself in his bedroom. As he looked out of his window, he saw a large storm starting. His first thought was on what the voice had said and the end. His second thought was, "Oh shit, the boat!"

Kairi

A roar of thunder woke Kairi up from her nap. When she opened her window to look outside, she saw that the clouds were dark black, and the wind had picked up even more than it had earlier in the afternoon. She jumped a bit when a lightning bolt hit the ground not too far from the house. Slipping on her shoes, she ran outside. "Crap, I need to move the boat further, or this storm will blow it out to sea!"

Making her way to her paddle boat Kairi jumped in and started fighting through the stormy waves. Twice on her way to the island, the boat nearly capsized, but eventually, she made it. At that point, things got weird. As she made her way to the boat to tie it down, she looked over at where the cave was supposed to be and found a white door. Shaking her head to clear out the distracting thoughts, Kairi made her way to the boat. She said a small prayer of thanks to whoever was listening that it was still there. She attempted to move it further inland but was unable to get much headway. After a brief moment of thought, she found some spare rope and tied the mast to a nearby rock.

Satisfied that she had been able to do something to protect the boat she, Sora, and Riku had spent so much time on. Kairi started making her way back toward the boat. She was not looking forward to whatever consequences awaited her for suddenly running out of the house and getting in a boat in the middle of a storm. To put off the admonishment she knew was coming, Kairi made her way to the door that now blocked the cave entrance. A cursory examination of it showed that it was ornate in a simplistic kind of way. When she opened the door, she found the interior was the same as usual. Feeling a bit underwhelmed, Kairi continued inwards. When she reached the end of the pathway, she found herself in the cavern. There was nothing different. Even the mysterious door was still there. As she began to turn around to head home and face the music. She felt a pulse. When she turned around again, she felt another pulse. Only this time, she could feel it coming from the door. It was hypnotic and Kairi soon found herself in its thrall. She didn't notice her necklace starting to glow.

Riku

Riku barely heard his parents as he ran out of the house. Running to the dock where his boat was located, he noticed that Kairi's boat was missing. His first thought was that she had thought the same thing he had and was on the island trying to save the boat they had built. On the other hand, the storm may have caused her paddle boat to float away. Either way, he had to get to the island, and either help save the boat or save the boat himself.

After a rough journey to the island, Riku made landfall. When he looked up, all he could think was, "What the Hell!" up in the sky was a large dark sphere. Riku stared at the sphere transfixed for several moments before he remembered why it was there. A quick run to the boat revealed that it had been tied down, Most likely by Kairi. As he was returning to his boat, he wondered where she was.

"She is currently on the island, and your other friend will be here shortly. The door has been opened and this world has been connected. Be warned that when you leave this world, you may not be able to return to it or your families."

Riku smiled. He, Sora, and Kairi were going to get to live their dream in ways they could never have considered. All he had to do was wait.

Sora

'I Just can't wait. Once we set sail, it will be great."

'

Sora lay on his bed thinking about what Kairi had said earlier. The boat was ready. All they needed was to gather some more supplies, and they would finally be able to set sail and see what was beyond the islands. Sora was excited at the prospect. Suddenly a peel of thunder shook him out of his thoughts. As he looked outside, he saw a storm ramping up. It took him a second to connect the dots. "Oh no, the boat."

Grabbing his wooden sword, Sora lept out of his window. As he ran towards the docks, he swore he heard his mother call out to him. But he would worry about what she had said later. When he made it to the docks, Sora noted that both Kairis and Riku's boats had gone missing. He briefly wondered if they had come to the same conclusion he had and gone to secure the boat. But shelved that thought as he got into his own paddle boat to check on the craft they had spent so much time working on.

When he finally made it to the island, he looked up in the sky and saw a gigantic spherical mass in the air that seemed to be sucking everything underneath it into the sky. "What the heck is that?" He tore his eyes away from that unusual sight to note that Riku and Kairis boats were there. That meant that they were on the island! That observation was interrupted by those weird yellow-eyed creatures he had seen in his dreams. Bringing his sword to bear, he tried to attack the creatures that got in his way, but they kept dodging out of his way, and on the rare occasion he did make contact, the blows just moved right through them. After a minute of fruitless combat, Sora saw Riku standing by the grotto.

Sora made his way to the grotto without bothering to fight anymore. When he got there, he called out hurriedly, "Where's Kairi? I thought she was with you!

Rikus's response was off, putting "The door is open." When Sora replied with "What?" Riku responded much more forcefully, "The door is open, Sora! Now we can go to the outside world!"

Confused by what his friend was saying, Sora responded, "What are you talking about? We have to find Kairi."

With as much force as before, Riku shouted, "Kairis coming with us! Before he calmed down and continued, "Once we step through the door, we might not be able to come back. We may never see our parents again. There's no turning back. But this may be our only chance. We can't let fear hold us back! I'm not afraid of the darkness!"

Sora, worried and confused by the situation and his friend's words, could only utter "Riku." Suddenly Riku reached out his hand as if bidding Sora to join him. Sora, still confused by what was happening, hesitated. Suddenly, a puddle of darkness appeared beneath Riku. Tendrils rose from it, covering the lad. Sora, desperate to save his friend, ran to Riku with his hand outstretched to pull him out of the darkness. Sora quickly became covered in the same darkness as he desperately reached for his friend.

As he was about to be subsumed by the darkness, Sora felt a familiar light penetrate him. Suddenly he was free again. But Riku had disappeared, and when Sora looked at his hand, he saw a key-shaped sword like the mirror versions of him had used in that weird dream. Suddenly he heard a voice this time of a teenage boy saying just one thing "Keyblade."

Sora looked at the weapon in his hand. This gold-handled silver shafted thing was called a keyblade? Had the key-shaped weapons he had seen the other versions of him carry been Keyblades as well? His thoughts on the matter were interrupted by more weird creatures appearing before him. As they gathered, Sora felt the Keyblade vibrate in his hand. Even though his attacks had been useless before Sora swung at the closest creature. He was surprised when it cut through the monster like butter, and it disappeared. Releasing something that looked like a heart. Sora didn't have time to think about that as the other creatures attacked in mass/ Soon, Sora found himself hacking and slashing through the monsters with reckless abandon.

Each blow dispatching more and more creatures. As Sora fought, he called out for Kairi, but he couldn't hear her response between the storm and the sound of battle. When he looked over by the cave entrance he noticed a white door. Fighting his way through to the creatures. When he finally made it to the ornate door, he rushed in. He was surprised to see the door aside. It didn't look any different than earlier when he talked to that weird cloaked man. When he finally made it to the cavern he saw Kairi standing there just staring at the wooden door calling out "Kairi!" Kairi turned around and he noticed that the necklace on her chest was glowing brightly with a white light. When she responded her call of "Sora" was painfully like she was out of it. Suddenly the mysterious door that they had never been able to open slammed open of its own accord releasing an extreme current of air. Kairi was pushed forward. Sora tried to catch her, but as he was about to make contact Kairi turned into a ball of light and passed through him. As that happened, he felt a brief jolt. He didn't have time to think about that sensation as the face often air picked up, lifting him off his feet.

Grabbing a nearby root, Sora did his best to hold on but soon found himself thrown out of the cave. When Sora regained his senses, he was outside again. As he looked around him outside his immediate area, there was nothing but darkness. "What the heck happened" was the first thought to come to mind as he looked at the devastation surrounding him. The rumbling of the ground beneath him shook him out of his ongoing horror and introduced him to an entirely new horror as a massive figure rose out of the ground. While it had the same yellow eyes as the creature from before, all similarities stopped there. This creature was much more human-looking, and he could practically taste its power. It was just Sora's luck that the monster took notice of him and swung at him with its massive fist. Thankfully for Sora, it was slow, and he could dodge out of the way before it made contact with the ground, punching a hole it got stuck in. Seeing an opportunity, Sora brought the Keyblade to bear and started bashing the stuck hand with everything he could muster. Unfortunately, unlike the smaller monsters, one blow wasn't enough to dispatch it. When it finally got its hand free, Sora moved to attack its legs, trying to apply every lesson he had learned fighting with Riku and Tidus. After a few moments, he had to dodge a kick from its massive feet before it tried punching again.

As before, its hand got stuck, but its mouth opened this time, and a dark glow emanated from it. Realizing that something was about to happen, Sora climbed onto the massive arm and made his way up to the head, where he started bashing it in the skull several times. After several blows, the beast collapsed to the ground, causing Sora to do the same. But it was all for nothing as the wind picked up and pulled the unconscious creature into the dark sphere. Sora, holding on to one of the few remaining trees, did his best to avoid the same fate. But his grip failed him, and soon he was pulled into the sphere and knew no more.

Across the universe, several beings noticed. Something happened. The more primitive cultures saw a star disappear, and it terrified them. The more advanced civilizations saw the same and were vexed by what was happening. Both recognized that this was an event that had happened more and more often over the last ten years. What did it mean? When would it happen again?

In the realm of darkness, a blue-haired young woman trudged through a barren rocky landscape. How long had she been here? How long had she walked through this world filled with darkness and visions of what she had lost? How many times would she be forced to relive her failures as a student? As a master? As a friend? Every day she was forced to fight for her life against the horrors of this place. It was only her promise to Ven that she would be there to wake him up that had kept her going all this time.

Amongst those who studied such things, it was known that when a world was consumed by darkness, for a brief period, there was a weakness in the walls between the realm of darkness and the realm of light. However, in most cases, the weakness only existed for mere seconds. Hardly enough time for anybody to take advantage of that weakness.

So Aqua was surprised when she felt her magic activate of its own accord. Logically, Aqua knew she was in the grips of a transport spell but couldn't figure out how it was working or where it was taking her. On some level, she didn't care. While there was the risk that where she would end up would be worse than where she was. After only gods knew how long in this hellscape she didn't think that was possible. As she relaxed and let the magic take her, she rose into the air and became a ball of blue light. Immediately after that, the blue ball shot off, flying higher and higher before flying to a dark sphere that had just opened up. In seconds it pierced the sphere and vanished from the realm. Moments later, it appeared in the realm of light and was joined by a ball of white light. They briefly danced around each other before they shot off towards a distant target, far away from the darkness that permeated the area.

A/N For my fans who are reading this IHS will be updated shortly special thanks to the forums and discords that helped me work on these stories links to those places are in my profile and should be up to date.