Nearly an hour after Eden's destruction, Lightning and the others were cuffed and sitting in a cluster on the ground. Skeletor stood over the group with his back turned to them. Shendu and Hannibal approached Skeletor, who turned his head to them.
"I'm…impressed," Shendu admitted.
"As am I," Hannibal added. "If I didn't know any better I'd say you were Master Xehanort himself in disguise."
"Thank you Hannibal," Skeletor replied with a formal bow.
"You managed to conquer an entire world without relying on the darkness once. It's truly an impressive feat."
"Whatever Master Xehanort's trick was, you my boy have got it," Hannibal boasted.
"Master Xehanort did rely on the darkness, but not his own per say." Hannibal and Shendu gazed at Skeletor curiously. "He used the darkness in people's hearts to manipulate them."
"Then how is he any different from Maleficent," Shendu questioned.
"He didn't manipulate the darkness itself, he made people give into the darkness in their own hearts, their own desires of their own free will. He didn't force it out of anyone like Maleficent. For example, how I used Palpatine to give us lord Vader and his fleet. I used his pride to fool him into giving me what I wanted. And the same with Maleficent. She demands respect and fear from her followers, which is what I gave her once I came home. I showed her respect and I offered myself to any mission she wanted, and thus she let me do whatever I pleased. In this case: taking an entire army for myself, as well as any of her other followers I wish."
"So, you manipulate people through their dark desires. Skeletor I am most impressed."
"Indeed," Shendu replied with a grin. "Imagine the look on that witch's face once we overthrow her with her own power." Skeletor chuckled at the thought. The three dark lords turned, watching Cocoon's people being moved into a central location. "So what do we do with this world?"
"If we're going to overthrow Maleficent, then we'll need a separate base of operations. She has Radiant Garden…I now have Cocoon…"
"So this is our new home world," Shendu questioned.
"Indeed. And the citizens I'm sure will be more than happy to help build a new city, with which we can use to make a new army to keep this world in check." The Shredder walked from his Technodrome and stopped in front of Skeletor.
"I have no been able to locate this Snow Villiers, Serah Farron," Shredder spoke. "They're not on this world."
"Terrific," Skeletor murmured.
"However I did manage to locate the boy Ilias you spoke of. He's apparently on a world known as Radiant Garden, but I cannot pinpoint his location."
"Damn. If he's on Radiant Garden that means we can't interfere." Skeletor turned to Shredder, "Radiant Garden is where Maleficent resides. We'll let the boy go for now. Take these prisoners onboard the Technodrome and lock them away." Shredder looked at Lightning and company curiously. "They're high value, and I want to make sure they don't break loose." Shredder nodded and then motioned to his Foot Soldiers. The robots forced Lightning, Dante, Nero, Ryu, Fang, and Vanille to their feet.
"Take these prisoners to the cells in the Technodrome!" The robots nodded then pushed the prisoners forward. Shredder watched the prisoners for a moment before turning back to Skeletor. "So what's next?"
"Ah yes, well, I already went over this with lord Vader. He said he'll leave a few ships here, along with their crew, telling Palpatine they were destroyed in the battle against you. I'll report to Maleficent that you were destroyed, along with the Technodrome, while you'll actually be here, watching over the world."
"So I'm to be a jailor," Shredder asked in outrage.
"Until you build enough of your Foot Soldiers to ensure that the people stay in line! Besides, you need to lay low, regardless." Shredder scowled angrily, clenching his fists tightly. "Calm yourself, it's only until the wielders of the Keyblade have Maleficent's full attention. And knowing her, that'll be the second they arrive to play. So the faster you build an army, the faster you'll be able to get off this world." Shredder huffed as he folded his arms over his chest. Skeletor made a valid point, no matter how much Shredder was opposed to it.
"But how well can robots watch over a single world," Shendu questioned. "Not only that, but just because we took over this world's capital doesn't mean that we won't have to deal with the rest of this world too."
"I have human Foot Ninjas I am more than willing to leave here," Shredder answered. "I also have my daughter, the Foot Elite, and even Hun, all of whom are fully capable of keeping operations running smoothly."
"Also lord Vader is leaving a few of his Galactic Empire's officers here," Skeletor added. "But they think it's in service to the Empire, so make sure they stay in the dark, lest we risk confronting Maleficent of the Emperor before we're ready."
"Master," Hun called out. Shredder, Skeletor, Hannibal, and Shendu all looked up at the mutated man. "Master, the prisoners have escaped! That one boy with white hair and the devil arm broke free! They're all running loose in the Technodrome!"
"Blast," Shredder shouted. Skeletor shot forward with the other three dark lords behind him.
Nero led the way, punching through every robot and mutant that got in their way. "This way," Lightning shouted. The group went down a hall, coming to a large pair of metal doors. "Damn it, open up!" Nero stepped forward and grabbed one of the doors with his arm. The boy screamed as he pushed one door open.
"Go!" Lightning, Fang, Ryu, and Vanille ran in without another word. Dante ran in, but stopped at the doorway, staring at Nero. The white haired boy smiled before looking at his mentor.
"Make it count kid," Dante stated.
"Bet on it," Nero grunted before releasing the door, letting it slam shut. The boy turned around as a group of Foot Soldiers surrounded him. The boy chuckled as he slammed his fist into his hand. "Bring it on…" The robotic ninjas lunged forward, weapons drawn.
"There's no way out," Ryu stated.
"Great," Dante murmured. "So we just die with our backs against the wall?"
"What's this thing," Lightning asked, approaching a control console attached to a giant screen.
"Maybe they want high def," Dante joked.
"Will you shut your mouth," Fang sniped. "This is serious!"
"It's a computer I think," Ryu stated. "But why would it be this big…?"
"Maybe it's the computer that Shredder guy used to try and find our friends." Lightning started pressing a series of buttons. The screen lit up and a window popped up saying: 'select destination.' There was a loud banging on the doors, causing everyone to turn their heads.
"Pick somewhere," Dante ordered.
"Wherever Serah is," Lightning screamed. The computer buzzed as an 'error' message popped up. "What about Snow?" Again, the computer buzzed.
"The guy who owns this couldn't find them Lightning," Dante shouted. "Somewhere that's not here!"
"What world did he say Ilias was in…? Radiant Garden!" The computer buzzed, causing the heroes to turn their heads. An image of a small town surrounded by a stone wall showed up. "There, take us there!" The screen blacked out and then became bright blue before it started to swirl around.
"Is that thing supposed to take us to that world we saw," Fang questioned.
"It's worth a shot," Dante replied. The banging on the door grew louder, and dents soon started to appear. "We've got no choice!"
"What's to stop them from following us," Lightning asked. Dante scowled angrily. She definitely had a point.
"I'll stay behind," Ryu stated. All eyes snapped to the ninja. "I'll hold them off until the portal closes! You all go."
"You can't hold off those guys on your own," Dante replied. "I'll stay with you in case you decide you want to survive instead of just going out in a blaze of glory."
"We don't have long," Vanille urged as the doors busted partway open as Hun's massive arm tried to break through.
"Damn it, don't die on us Ryu," Fang shouted. "Come on Vanille!" The two girls quickly ran through the portal. Ryu sighed heavily, concentrating all of his chi into his arms. Lightning walked up and stood between him and Dante.
"What the hell are you doing," Ryu questioned.
"I'm not letting you sacrifice yourself like this," Lightning stated. Ryu sighed before he moved in front of Lightning. The soldier gasped with shock as Ryu grabbed her by the shoulders and stared into her eyes. Dante narrowed his eyes at the sight, but a thunderous banging caused him to turn his head forward.
"You have to go," Ryu stated. "There's a chance Serah, Snow, and Ilias may still be alive. You have to find them." Lightning scoffed, shifting her gaze to the side. "Don't throw this chance away." The soldier nodded then quickly turned away and ran to the portal. Ryu took a deep breath as he refocused his chi in his arms as Lightning jumped through the portal. The ninja stood next to PSICOM's devil hunter who had a smirk on his face.
"Do I sense romantic feelings," Dante mused curiously. The doors started to be pried open slowly as Ryu's arms began to glow.
"Don't bet on it," Ryu answered. Dante huffed with a grin, pulling out his pistols and aiming them at the door. "They sure do things differently here than back home…" Ryu spun his arms around, focusing all of his chi through his arms and into the palms of his hands.
The doors flew open, Shredder and Hun charged in first with Hannibal and an army of Food Soldiers behind them. Shendu and Skeletor flew above the ranks, blasting their way at Ryu and Dante. The ninja screamed with all his might as he unleashed a massive ball of his entire chi at the enemies at the same time the devil hunter rushed forward, guns blazing.
Snow groaned, pushing himself off the ground. The man held his aching head as he looked up. Snow was shocked and confused where he was. Everything was dark, burning. It was like the end of the world.
Snow got up and started walking around, finding no life, or even any signs to show that there ever was anything alive on this god forsaken world. Snow stopped once he heard a strange hissing noise. A dozen flames suddenly erupted out of the ground, taking a strange shape. The only thing that truly alarmed Snow was the fact that these flames had glowing red eyes.
Snow raised his fists as the creatures shot forward. They lashed their arms out, extending them to ridiculous lengths. Snow ducked under the appendages as he rushed forward. He punched through one, and then another, reducing the flame monsters to smoldering ash. Snow continued to duck and weave between the monsters, punching and freezing them until there were no more.
"Oh god…where the hell am I," Snow asked, rubbing his aching head.
"You're in Jump City," a voice called out. Snow looked up, seeing a man in battle armor, a metallic mask, one half orange and the other half black, only one eye, and a strange, jagged 'S' looking symbol on his forehead. "Now currently known as Hell on Earth." The man's hands began to burn with raging flames, "I suppose I should welcome you…" The man thrusted his hands forward, unleashing a wave of fire upon Snow.
Lightning landed with a thud against the ground, groaning as she slowly pushed herself up. A hand grabbed her by the arm and helped her up. "Come on there," Fang murmured. "You okay?" Lightning nodded, looking around curiously. "We dunno where we are love."
"We're away from those bad guys," Vanille stated. "We should be happy for that at least. And remember Skeletor said that they couldn't follow us here because of…Maleficent or something right?"
"Hold it," a voice shouted. Lightning spun around, pulling her Blaze Saber out in readiness to fight. A man covered entirely in armor stood next to another man with brown hair, wearing all white. The two seemed relatively calm, but they kept their eyes fixated on Lightning's sword. "State your business here ma'am," the man in armor asked.
"This is Radiant Garden right?" The two men nodded. "I'm looking for someone."
"Put the weapon away and we'll help you," the brown haired man spoke. Lightning's gaze showed mistrust towards the two men. The soldier gasped as Vanille pushed her was past her and towards the two men.
"I'm Vanille, who're you?"
"I am Hayate."
"You can call me Duncan."
"Nice to meet you both," the redhead smiled. "The woman in blue is Fang, and the one with the sword is Lightning. We're from Cocoon."
"Another world you mean," Duncan asked. Vanille and Fang nodded. "So…you're aware of the concept of other worlds…?" Again, they nodded. "Good, that'll save some time. Well, I suppose I should welcome you three to Radiant Garden. Come with us and we'll everything situated…"
As the group moved through the city known as Radiant Garden, they all observed the town carefully. Vanille smiled and gapped with wonder at the fresh new world. Despite what had happened less than an hour ago, she was beaming with excitement. Fang stuck close to Vanille as she scanned the town. She wouldn't say it aloud, but she couldn't help but find herself in awe of the world as well. Though she didn't show it like Vanille did.
Lightning seemed to be the only one who was upset about everything. Their world was taken from them. They were forced to run from their own home, and they had left Ryu and Dante by themselves to protect them. Ryu could be dead right now for the sake of people he knew less than two weeks, on a world that wasn't his. Didn't anyone else care besides Lightning?
"Leon," Duncan called out. A man with hair styled similarly to Hayate's poked his head up from the top of a stone home that was apparently going over construction. "We've got new arrivals." Leon nodded then jumped down from the roof and landed before the others. Lightning stared at the man with eyes similar to those of a cornered animal. Despite her cautious stare, she couldn't help but wonder where in the world he got that scar on his face.
"My name is Leon," the man said. "I'm the leader of the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee."
"What're you restoring exactly," Fang questioned. "Looks to me like everything is under control."
"Maybe here, in town, but…our world hasn't been like this in a long time. It may not look like it, but we're under constant threat of attack. Our town has an advanced security system, as well as members of our Committee patrolling around the wall regularly."
"Wait…what're you under threat of being attacked by," Vanille asked. In response, there was a loud booming sound, accompanied by the forceful, light cry of Kasumi. Another explosion went off, and the redhead kunoichi along with Ayane flipped backwards off the roof of a nearby building.
"Heartless," Ayane called out.
Without another word, Leon rushed forward, grabbing his gunblade that rested against the outer wall of Merlin's home. A blue streak shot past Leon, who was no accompanied by Duncan, Hayate, and the newcomers from Cocoon. Lightning, more than ready to take out her anger and frustration on anything, swung first with a vicious, forceful cry.
Snow was thrown back by an explosion. He grunted as he bounced off the ground and rolled to a stop. The fire wielding man landed on top of a nearby boulder, hands burning with the flames he summoned. Snow groaned as he pushed himself to his feet. He was already worn out from fighting that metal guy back on Cocoon, and he already felt like he was beaten with a sack of stones when he woke up. If Snow was at full strength, he wouldn't have any trouble fighting this guy.
"So, how are you enjoying the grand tour so far?" Snow spat with distaste as he glared up at the masked man. "Me too, but I'm afraid playtime is over." The man raised his hands up, the light from the flames bouncing off his mask. "Farewell…" The man raised his hand up high above his head, but a projectile of some sort hit his hand. The man cried out and looked at his hand which was now completely frozen. He looked over, his only visible eye narrowed. Snow blinked with surprise before looking back just as a group of four landed around him. "The Teen Titans…"
"Slade," the boy with spiked, black hair seethed.
"Why do you insist on fighting Robin," the man known as Slade questioned. "Your world has been destroyed. All that's left is for Trigon to recharge his power, and then all the worlds will be under his rule."
"That's not gonna happen," the boy, Robin, shouted.
"Yeah," the largest boy, who was nearly two thirds cybernetic, snapped as his hand formed into a cannon. "And at the very least we can take you down!" Slade showed no sign of emotion as he raised his unfrozen hand above his head.
More fire erupted from the ground, but instead of the creatures Snow fought, these demons were large, bulky, grey figures wielding giant battle axes, halberds, and any other weapon that would require a ridiculous amount of strength to wield.
"I'd love to stick around and play, but my master is calling me. I hope that these fellows will be able to entertain you Titans until then." Slade turned then shot off into the city, using his fire powers to propel himself.
"Titans, GO!" At Robin's order, the teenagers rushed forward.
Snow was now even more confused by this world. Mask wearing fireball throwing psychos wasn't too strange from anything from his world. But tight wearing, cybernetic, green shape shift, and orange skinned, flying teenagers were a bit much to swallow. Regardless, these kids helped Snow. The NORA leader pounded his fists together before rushing forward. Time to repay the favor.
Skeletor, Shendu, Bowser, and Dark Samus returned to Villain's Vale where they were greeted by a sneering Ganondorf. "How did the mission go," the dark lord asked.
"Vader lost a few of his Star Destroyers in the battle, but the new Shredder and his Technodrome are destroyed," Skeletor replied.
"How unfortunate," a voice echoed behind Ganondorf. Maleficent, with Pete right behind her, walked out of her castle with a smile on her face. "It would've been so nice to have another ally to join my cause. Now, dear Shendu I believe you have something of mine." The demon hissed before flinging his four talismans forward. The witch caught them effortlessly before hiding them in her robe. "Regardless…I'm glad your mission was a success lord Skeletor."
"Indeed it was," Skeletor murmured. "Have the wielders of the Keyblade arrived yet?"
"No. King Mickey just left from what I've been able to discern. I would expect Sora here any day now. Which means we have much work to do, come." Maleficent turned and entered her castle with six of her followers trailing behind her.
The dark witch grinned to herself. It seemed like decades ago when she stood in this once worn-torn castle that she was at the end of her rope, desperate to reclaim her seat of power. Now here she was, more powerful than ever, and more than ready to take on anything that got in her way. Ganondorf, whose powers of darkness were second only to hers and with physical strength that was unheard of, was without a doubt one of the more loyal members. Shendu, an immortal demon inhabiting the body of a mortal and was next to invincible with all his talismans together. While he was no doubt angry at her, without his powers Shendu could do nothing against Maleficent. And of course there was Skeletor; the first of her new Evil Council; a warlord with immense power beyond that of her former group. He survived the destruction of two worlds, which one was destroyed because of him. He fought against three powerhouses that even the gods in Olympus revered, and emerging the victor. There was no chance Sora could defeat him easily. With this new Council, Maleficent had surpassed Master Xehanort, and she would succeed where he failed.
Little did she know of Skeletor's devious little plan…
Snow screamed as he punched the last demon in the chest, sending it smashing through the wall of a destroyed building. The hero sighed as he shook his hand loose, having dealt with the last of those demons. Snow turned around, facing the four self proclaimed 'Titans.' Snow brushed off his self off before looking back at the kids with an uneasy smile and wave.
"Hey there," Snow said.
"Hey," Robin murmured. "I haven't seen you around here before…"
"I uh…sort of just got here. My name's Snow, Snow Villiers. You?"
"We're the Teen Titans. I'm Robin, this is Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy."
"Yeah," the green shape shifter, Beast Boy, spoke, "And that jerk throwing fireballs at you is a bad guy known as Slade!"
"But Slade is just a servant," the orange skinned girl, Starfire, added. "The real threat is the demon Trigon. He is the reason our home is the way it is now."
"Yeah…but not much we can do about that," Cyborg murmured. "We tried fighting Trigon and that got us nowhere. There's only one person who could've helped us and she…" The group fell silent. Snow didn't know the whole story, but he knew enough to know that this Trigon guy hit the team hard, most likely on a personal level.
"Hey come on, things are never hopeless," Snow stated, trying to boost the morale. The teens looked up, still with grief stricken expressions. Their world had obviously been like this for some time now. "You can't think negatively if you're going to save the world! Where there's a will, there's a way, and I'll help you guys do whatever it takes to get your world back to normal!" Starfire smiled widely. Cyborg and Robin smirked while Beast Boy grinned.
"Alright," the green shape shifter shouted. "Let's go kick some demon butt!"
"We still can't take on Trigon right now," Robin stated. "We need to work out a definite plan of attack before we do anything stupid." Snow nodded firmly with his usual confidante grin. "Come on, let's get out of here before more demons show up."
The Titans turned and walked down the street. Snow took a few steps forward before stopping. He turned around and stared at the sky with a solemn look. He was worried, worried about Serah, Ilias, Lightning, and his home. He saw Serah swallowed up by that darkness. But that same darkness was used to bring Snow to this world. Maybe Serah was here somewhere. Snow looked around the city again before shaking his head. Maybe somewhere safer. Regardless, he had to deal with the situation at hand, and then he'd go looking for Serah. The NORA leader moved quickly to catch up with the Titans down the street.
Lightning screamed as she sliced through the final Heartless. The Restoration Committee sighed with relief before looking back at one another. "What in the world were those things," Fang asked.
"Those were the Heartless," Leon answered. "They're the darkness in people's hearts taken form."
"Save the explanations for later," Lightning snapped. "We were told that there was a friend of ours here, a boy named Ilias."
"He's short, has shaggy blonde hair, wearing a white coat," Vanille explained. The Committee members looked at one another with blank expressions. Their silence was enough of an answer. Vanille's eyes filled with sorrow as she looked down at her feet. Fang huffed with anger, snapping her head to the side.
"DAMN IT," Lightning shouted. All eyes moved to the pink haired soldier. "Damn it!" Lightning punched the stone wall behind her, rage consuming her. She had lost her home, her sister was lost in some other world and couldn't be found, and now she lost Ilias. "He was supposed to be here! They said he was here!"
"Lightning," Vanille whispered worryingly.
"Damn it," Lightning shouted, her voice breaking, as she ran away.
Vanille gasped then moved after her, "Lightning wait!" Vanille was stopped when Fang walked in front of her. "Fang…"
"She needs to be alone Vanille," Fang muttered softly.
Lightning ran. She had no idea where she was going, and she didn't care. The grief and rage she felt was too much. She lost the only things she had left in her life. Her sister, who was the world to her, was god knows where. She could be alone, or being attacked by those Heartless creatures. Lightning finally stopped, panting heavily as she placed her hand against the wall to her side. The soldier closed her eyes, trying to compose herself. The tears managed to squeeze their way between her eyelids and rain down on the ground. Serah, who was everything to her, was gone. And Ilias, a boy she saw as a little brother, maybe even a son, was missing too. Lightning punched the wall she rested her hand against with frustration. It was like she was becoming a tool of fate all over again.
Something flickered with Light's head. For some reason, Snow came up in her mind. The journey that they all went through to save Serah, they all changed. Everyone except Snow. Snow managed to remain determined to his goal of saving Cocoon and Serah, no matter how bad things got. He was determined to defy fate and the higher powers that manipulated them until the moment they were reunited with Serah. The need to save Serah is what kept him going, what always made him dead-set on saving everyone. Maybe Lightning could try being more like Snow in that aspect. Lightning sighed heavily, slowly sitting down on the ground. Looking at the sky, she felt a brief glimmer of hope in her heart.
"I'll save you," Lightning whispered. "Somehow…I'll save you and we'll all go home…together…" Lightning closed her eyes as a tear rolled down her cheek and smiled. "Serah…Ilias…"
Aqua walked through the stone halls of a castle, turning into an open door which led into a large throne room. At the end of the room, on a high platform was a single throne which seated a hooded man. On his right was the redheaded man, and to his left was the purple haired woman. Aqua looked back at ground level, seeing a blonde boy wearing a white coat sitting at the bottom of the platform. The Keyblade Master looked back up at the hooded entity and walked further into the room.
"Did he come to us willingly," Aqua questioned.
"I did," Ilias whispered. Aqua stopped, looking at the boy before he turned around. His eyes were red, most likely from crying so much. The Keyblade Master's eyes softened a bit with pity. He could tell the boy's will was weakened. "The Master told me there was a way to save my world from the darkness…and to bring back my friends." Ilias' eyes snapped up, gazing into Aqua's with a newfound resolve and intensity. "I'll do whatever it takes to bring them back. I'll help you all get Kingdom Hearts!" Aqua blinked at the boy before looking up at the Master.
"You will train the boy to use the Keyblade," the hooded Master spoke. "You're a Keyblade Master after all, this'll be your first student Master Aqua."
Ilias' eyes drifted to the ground as he spoke, "I don't know much about this Keyblade stuff, or this whole bringing balance to the Realm of Light. But I'm a quick learner, and I'm all yours." Aqua slowly nodded, glancing back up at the Master.
"Come on Ilias," the Keyblade Master whispered. Ilias walked towards Aqua who turned to the door. The two wielders of the Keyblade left the room, leaving the three mysterious entities in the throne room. "Are you okay…?"
"No," Ilias replied bluntly. "I just had everything taken from me. My world, the people I considered my family, they're all gone. And now the only hope I have left is trusting complete strangers with the heart of all worlds." Aqua's eyes softened before she placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. Ilias looked at his new teacher's hand then up at the woman herself.
"I'm sorry for your loss," Aqua murmured sympathetically. She knelt down to eyelevel with Ilias, putting her other hand on his shoulder and looking him straight in the eye. "I promise that I'll help you do whatever it takes to make everything right."
An expression of shock was stamped on Ilias' face. He just met this woman, and already she was a pillar of support for him. The determined look in her eyes reminded Ilias of Lightning in a way. It also reminded him what he was fighting for.
"Thank you…Aqua," Ilias murmured. The blue haired woman nodded then stood up.
"Come on, we'll start your training immediately." Ilias nodded then followed his new teacher through the halls of the castle.
In the throne room, the three mysterious figures remained where they stood when the wielders of the Keyblade had left them. "The pieces are in place," the redheaded man spoke.
"Now all that's left is Kingdom Hearts," the woman added.
"In due time," the Master murmured, a pair of ember eyes glinting behind the hood. "Soon…everything will be…mine…"
And CUT! That wraps up this story (FINALLY). I thank everyone who read this far into the story. I know it's a hell of a read, so I thank you very much. I also thank anyone who reviewed as well.
The sequel is next, but I'm not sure when I'll post it. It could be soon, it could be later. Dunno, just warning you guys lol.
Thank you for reading this far, and I hope you enjoyed the story. I had a lot of fun writing it.