"It's the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."-Albus Dumbledore
Chapter 2: Rekindling of the Black Flame part 2
"What is the year?" The second Pete handed the book over the red-head began interrogating him.
"Let me think…" Pete, who was not from here, had no idea how time worked in this world. "I picked up a newspaper yesterday…I think it's 1993."
"Three hundred years," said the red-head smugly. "We've been gone for three hundred years, Sisters!"
"How time flies, "said the fat sister, grinning, "when you're dead!"
The three laughed hard while Pete began to sweat again. He raised the dead! Oh Maleficent isn't going to be happy when she hears about this.
"What is the Universal Year?" asked the red-head as she stopped laughing.
Pete blinked. Universal Year? Does she know of the other worlds? The red-head answered that question for him.
"Oh, come now! Did you honestly think I wouldn't know that other worlds exist? How else would I know about Maleficent? I also know that you're not from around here. Judging by how you're an animal, I'd say you're from Disney Castle!" She walked around him as she spoke, then stopped and folded her arms, "Now, what is the Universal Year?"
"So it's been ten years since that wretch with the keyblade thwarted me."
"The Keyblade Master!" the red-head shouted, "That noble trolup 'Sir Malikai'! Aaaaaahhh!"
"Don't know nuthin' about a 'Sir Malikai' but Maleficent and me have been havin' problems of our own with the Keyblade Master! A pair of 'em actually!" Pete growled at the humiliation dealt out to him by Sora and the King's lackeys as well as Riku's betrayal.
The red-head stopped in the middle of her temper tantrum, "A pair?"
"Yeah! Two of them! Best friends even!" Pete answered, not really noticing the turning gears in the red-head's mind. "Maleficent wants revenge on the both of 'em."
"Two Keyblade Masters?" she said thoughtfully. "So Malikai passed on the torch…But why are there two?"
"Winnie?" the blonde sister looked at the red-head in idiotic wonder.
"Shh! She's thinking," chastised the fat one.
Then the red-head looked up at Pete as if they just met, (even though they did a few moments ago), "Oh, where are my manners? Forgive me. I am Winifred Sanderson!" She took the hand of a very confused Pete and shook it vigorously. "And these… are my sisters," she said this with a tone of disgust, "Sara and Mary."
The blonde smiled and waved while the fat one curtsied nervously several times.
"Now. May I have the name of our knight in shining armor? I don't think I quite caught it the first time" Winifred placed her hand lightly on the towering cat's shoulder and inclined her ear toward him to emphasize her question.
"Name's Pete." Pete said slowly, unsure of where this was going.
"Pete. I want to thank you for saving us. But I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you for a favor."
"A favor? Sure." Pete felt himself relax. Despite the overwhelming amount of Darkness he felt earlier, Winifred seemed, for all intents and purposes, far kinder than Maleficent. When Maleficent wanted something done, she'd threaten to turn him into a heartless or throw things at him. And since he valued his life, betraying her wasn't an option.
"You see, before I lost to that wretch, Malikai, I had in my possession a very rare item," the witch began to wail. "But I'm afraid he took it!"
"Um… I don't mean to sound like a hypocrite or nuthin', but Maleficent's orders come first." Pete stated apologetically.
The wailing became even louder. Pete jumped back as the two sisters rushed forward to console their sister.
"Don't worry, Winnie. We'll find it."
"Please don't cry!"
Pete sighed. This is what he gets for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. He strolled over to the distraught woman; his large mass nudging the two sisters out of the way.
"If you tell me what it looks like, I'll keep an eye out for it." He gently patted the woman on the back.
I-it's…it's small, can fit my hand," she said between hiccups, "and it emits a blue light."
"Is it a crystal with several large cracks?" Pete suddenly remembered the crystal he found awhile ago.
"Why yes…Yes, it is." Winifred said, wiping her nose on Mary's sleeve.
Pete pulled the crystal out of his pocket.
Winifred clapped in relief, "You found it!"
"Was here the entire time." Pete stated as the witch took it from him. "I'd best be goin' now. Maleficent doesn't like to be kept waiting."
As he opened a portal to the Corridor of Darkness, he felt three pairs of hands grabbed him from behind.
"Look…I ain't kidding about Maleficent…If I'm late, she'll skin me alive!" Despite the grip the sisters had on him, he began to move into the Corridor.
"Will you hold on for just a second?" cried Winifred as she and her sisters made an effort to pull the big cat back. "I have a proposition for you."
"What?" Pete turned.
"Allow us to come with you."He shook his head.
"I doubt Maleficent would like it."
"Listen, you said that Maleficent wanted revenge on the Keyblade Masters, correct? A Keyblade Master has given me—us—grievances in the past," She explained. "It's only natural that those who share ideals should work together. I'm sure Maleficent would agree."
"What's your relationship with Maleficent anyway?" Pete was curious. The witch mentioned that she knew Maleficent several times now.
"Well, we're not exactly friends; but," Winifred held up a hand to stop Pete from interrupting, "we're not enemies either; which is why I know she'll hear me out."
Pete considered it for a moment, "Oh, alright. I suppose it won't hurt."
Winifred instantly took his arm in hers and led him into the Corridor of Darkness while her sisters trailed behind, "Now tell me everything that's happened…"
The black cat, who had been hiding beneath the stairs, darted toward the vanishing portal, unnoticed.
The Grey Area was a large, spacious room. It had several couches and tables used for relaxing; all different shades of grey and white. The wall opposite of the doorway was made up entirely of glass, overlooking different parts of the castle and the giant chasm below. Other than a grumbling moogle in black robes, the room was devoid of life.
It was here that Pete decided to enter the Castle That Never Was. The castle was abandoned after the Nobodies left. Despite the damage it took from last year's incident, Maleficent still believed it suited her purposes perfectly. What Pete didn't like about it was how depressing many of the names were: Nothing's Call, Hall of Empty Melodies, Naught's Skyway…and the like. For "people" who wanted to be whole again, they certainly liked flaunting their nonexistence.
"So this is the World That Never Was." Winifred and her sisters stepped out of the portal and went straight to the window. To Pete, there wasn't much to look at because the Grey Area was somewhere in the lower part of castle; but if one has been in limbo for three hundred years, then anything would be intriguing.
"Big hole," giggled Sara. Winifred glared at her in contempt before turning to Pete.
"I take it Maleficent is somewhere in the upper castle." Pete nodded.
"Yep. Ever since we finished the reconstruction, she's been stayin' in the tallest tower." The big cat walked toward the only door. "I think the Nobodies called it the "Alter of Naught." The former head honcho stayed there. It the best place in the whole castle to view Kingdom Hearts. Anyway let's get going."
The second they left the observation room, Winifred tried to leave in a different direction.
"Don't wander off. This castle's huge and you might get lost." She huffed and followed behind the small group. While Pete informed his sisters about different parts of the castle, the green-robed witch made note of every place they passed and began muttering to her book.
After Pete led them through the Hall of Empty Melodies, He stopped in front of the darkened doorway on the second level and shuddered.
"Is something wrong, my good captain?" asked Winifred, noticing the big cat's hesitation.
"It's nothin'. I just don't like going through this room. It gives me the willies." Pete muttered in a low voice and stepped forward. "Well, no time for dallying, mustn't keep Maleficent waiting."
Like everything else in this castle, the oddly proportioned room was different shades of white and grey. On either side of the rising ramp were floor panels. There were twelve in all, six on each side. All were red with the exception of the one on the far right. Set up above each panel were the remains of doorways or portals. Each panel supported a different type of weapon, save one panel that had been so damaged it was hard to make out. At the top of the ramp was a rather large portal; above it was the Roman numeral: I. Pipes seemed to spread away from the portal like metal vines with thorns. Everything seemed to be doused in dull blue and red lights. There was a heavy sort of silence to the room. If you've ever been to a cemetery then you can understand what they felt as they walked though.
"What is this place? It feels like a graveyard," said Sara in a subdued voice. She tread cautiously through the room, afraid that something might happen, because she and her sisters were not allowed to step foot on hollow ground.
"This is the Proof of Existence," said Pete in a higher pitch than usual. "From what Maleficent said, Organization XIII used this room to remind themselves and others that they existed once. So yeah, guess you could say it's a graveyard of sorts."
"Interesting…" Winifred said to herself as she looked around at the desolate area. A plan was quickly coming together. But in order to execute it, she had to get rid of her accursed sisters and the cat. As it was, the cat was ushering Mary and Sara toward the large portal at the end of the ramp.
So as they neared Maleficent and the tower, she decided to put her plan into action. She made to take a hall that branched off from the one they were in when Pete stopped her, "I ain't kiddin' about getting lost. This place is like a maze." But his expression clearly stated, "Maleficent will kill me."
"But I need to use the little witch's room. Three hundred years is a very long time…"
Pete sighed and pointed her in the right direction, "Down the hall, first door on your right."
Winifred curtsied, "Thank you. I have no problem tracking my sisters. No need to wait for me. After all, 'we mustn't keep Maleficent waiting.'"
As soon as she rounded the corner, she pressed her back against the wall and waited. When she couldn't hear the trio of idiots anymore she made her way back toward the main castle.
"I need more information before I can completely execute my plans," she opened her book. "Book, my darling, please lead me to your silent brothers and sisters who sit forgotten in this empty world." The book flipped through its own pages, before stopping on a glowing white page. A sphere of light erupted from it and floated off in a general direction. The witch followed.
The light led her to the castle's library. This room also shared many of the castle's appearances. Even the books were white. Neat piles were stacked on several tables as well as tucked away on the shelves that lined the walls.
Winifred made her way over to one of the tables. A book had been left open. She decided to start here:
I find myself envying the children. Perhaps some fundamental difference exists between those who become Nobodies as adults and otherwise. The longer you have lived, the more you are positioned to lose with such a gamble. But a child can look forward, unafraid even in the face of immeasurable odds. I doubt they even see life as a gamble the way we do.
She flipped through several pages:
The gears of Xemnas' plans have begun to spin wild since the loss of half our membership at Castle Oblivion. The results are there, but can this state of affairs fairly be called a success? If Kingdom Hearts can be said to possess a mind of its own, it is surely rejecting Xemnas - no, rejecting Xehanort. Roxas left the Organization today.
She went to the back of the book:
How did this come to pass? When did Roxas grow strong enough to outmuscle me? What were you really after—
She tossed the book aside and moved to a bookcase and started pulling books from the shelves, hoping to find more about the man in charge. She was sure she heard that name somewhere before. She pulled a book and heard the sound of gears turning. The bookcase swung open to reveal a large square object that emitted a humming sound. Coming from a time without technology, the witch had no idea what a computer was. She poked at the small square knobs tentatively.
"ERROR! DOES NOT COMPUTE."
"Wha! Who's there? What is this sorcery?" Winifred jumped as a voice came from the strange contraption. She punched more strange buttons.
"ERROR! ERROR! ERROR: DOES NOT COMPUTE!"
The beeping just got louder. Frustrated, she kicked the foreign mechanism. It was like kicking a stone wall. In addition to a gong-like sound, Winifred hurt her toe. She let off a string of curses unbecoming of a lady. However, the beeping finally stopped.
"Despite not having any memories of the incident, she still refuses to cooperate. I am given no choice but to keep her isolated and secret from the others. Xigbar may have already guessed who she is, but it matters not. I can silence him if I must... It's for her own good. If she were to have any contact with the Keyblade Master, it could prove disastrous. I must not let her regain her memories. I cannot allow Xion to remember."
The voice stopped speaking and pictures moved across the glass window. Winifred watched in confused interest. The scene before her looked like the shores of the Dark Margin. There were two cloaked figures. One sat on a rock, facing the sea. The other smaller figure stood off to the side.
"I've been to him; he looks just like you." The one on the rock spoke. The other remained silent.
"Tell me do you remember your true name?"
To be continued…
A/N: Okay I lied. I said Axel would be making an appearance this chapter and he didn't. But he will next time. And, yes, I know it's a slow start but it's a necissary piece. It'll pick up I promise. Also, this is a slight AU. When I started writing this, 358 and BBS weren't out yet. This was to be what I thought might have happened in the two games. So if you read this story and something doesn't quite fit in with the actual Kingdom Hearts storyline, it's because I changed it. But I promise I'm trying to stay as close as possible to the actual storyline. Next chapter, the story starts to pick up. The last scene was from deep dive. Yes, I know the other figure was really Roxas, like I said this is an AU story. I came up with this when that scene was still unclear (if you ask me, it's still confusing. Roxas has blue eyes but that cloaked figure's eyes were gold). Anyway I'm not really satisfied with the ending, but I'm happy to take suggestions. Please review; I wouldn't mind a little constructive criticism. Also I wanted to thank my recent readers, your comments motivated me to finish the chapter. Thank you!