I know I know, bad Prism for leaving this for so long! I know I'm so close to having this story done but I got really sidetracked with work, life and other stories and requests. I know those aren't very good excuses but I'm done rambling now. Without any further ado, here's the new chapter!
Chapter 48: Fall To The Dark Depths
The darkness swallowed the three heroes whole, sending them spiralling deeper and deeper into the inky blackness. The next moment Riku opened his eyes, he was kneeling at the feet of none other than Ansem in an area much darker and colder than they'd ever seen. Pillars of darkness rose up all around them at odd angles and they were surrounded by multiple darksides and shadows; much more than Riku had ever seen at once. West and Mickey had landed a few feet away from him and he noticed that behind Ansem was a decorative white and stained-glass door. It gave off a very distinct, dark and powerful aura that Riku just couldn't seem to turn away from.
"Still breathing are we, my vessel?" Ansem smirked down at the boy. "I would have thought you would have given yourself completely to the darkness by now."
Riku glared up at the man who'd taken his body and poisoned his mind against his friends. Slowly, he pushed himself up to his feet while Ansem looked at him with amusement in his golden eyes.
"I can't disappear yet." Riku said. "Not until I see Sora and Kairi again."
Ansem chuckled in amusement. "You really think they'd want to see you? After everything you've done? After you caused their island home to fall to darkness and kidnapped the princesses?"
Riku felt his face fall and a feeling of dread deep inside his heart. It was true that he wanted to see Sora and Kairi again but did they want to see him? He was responsible for kidnappings, spreading the heartless and causing their home to fall to darkness. Maybe it would be better if he just disappeared here. After everything he'd done maybe it would be for the best. Maybe Sora, Kairi and the worlds really would be better off if he were gone forever.
"Riku's not going anywhere!" West suddenly spoke up as she pushed herself up to her feet and moved to stand beside Riku. "All those bad things, you were the one pulling the strings the whole time!"
"She's right." Mickey agreed, as he pushed himself up as well and stood at Riku's other side. "I may not have known Riku for that long but I do know he doesn't deserve to disappear."
Riku looked up at them, genuine surprise on his face. "West... Your Majesty." He couldn't believe that after what Ansem said about him they were still sticking up for him. "But, he's telling the truth; I did do all those things. Sure he may have suggested things to me behind the scenes but I was the one who actually took action."
"You really think that matters to us?" West grinned goofily down at him. Riku looked up at her with a look of confusion on his face. "We're friends, right? That means we take the good with the bad and don't let you face your demons and past mistakes alone!" She smiled that signature perky smile and held out a hand towards him.
Mickey nodded in agreement as he held out his hand towards Riku as well. "Friends accept you for your faults and wether you like it or not we're going to help you face the darkness and bring you back to light."
"...you guys... You're right..." Riku nodded his head as he stood up to his feet as well, his eyes focused on Ansem as he gripped Soul Eater tightly in his hand. "I won't give in to you, Ansem. These two are sticking by my side and I won't disappoint them by giving up on my life so easily."
"So, a few encouraging words from a brat and a mouse and you think you can stand up to me? I will make you eat your words, boy! I will make you suffer!" Ansem snarled as the Guardian appeared behind him. Knowing that a difficult fight was headed their way, Riku, West and Mickey readied their weapons, prepared for battle.
With his sights set on Riku, Ansem allowed a cluster of dark energy to form in his hand. He fired the darkness directly at Riku who was able to block with Soul Eater, but that only minimized the damage. Mickey jumped in next and attacked Ansem with powerful strikes from the Dark Realm's keyblade. However, before Mickey could get another hit in, Ansem's Guardian grabbed the king by the arms and violently tossed him across the area and into a swarm of Neoshadows. The impact was so great that it caused his clothing to tear, leaving him in only his red shorts and yellow shoes. Still, Mickey refused to back down and prepared to defend himself against the heartless and Ansem who was still attacking him, Riku and West with blasts of dark energy.
West found herself breathing heavily as she tried to dodge the attacks. She was still fairly worn out from both the heartless in the dark realm and her solo fight with Ansem back at Hollow Bastion. Ansem was difficult to steal any potions from and Micjey was dangerously low on magic to heal them properly. Riku managed to get close enough to Ansem to deal a few strong strikes, but Ansem would always counterattack with an even stronger dark blast, pushing him back until he nearly fell over the edge.
Riku barely had any time to recover before dark energy appeared under his feet and attacked him. Riku could only jump out of the way every second to avoid being hit. Ansem laughed darkly at the sight before him that he didn't notice West rushing towards him with her knife sharpened and ready. She took her one and only chance to slash Ansem right across his bare chest, causing a great deal of damage.
Ansem staggered backwards but unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough to finish him off.
"You meddlesome, brat. I will end you once and for all." Ansem snarled, capturing Riku's attention. Time seemed to slow down as Riku watched Ansem raise his hand, coated in dark energy. West braced herself for the attack but it didn't lessen the impact. Dark pools of energy appeared all around her feet and thousands of dark spikes shot out the corridors and slashed at her over and over again, cutting her clothes and skin and drawing blood each time from each deep cut. West screamed from the pain and when it was all over she could barely stand and was panting heavily as blood dripped from her deep wounds.
To finish her off, Ansem shot a blast of dark energy at her, causing her to stagger backward and fall of the edge. Riku immediately jumped into action and reached out his hand towards West, catching her hand in his just before she completely fell.
"West, hang on. Don't worry I'll pull you back up!" Riku held her hand as tight as he could yet he could feel her hand slipping every second he desperately tried to pull her back up.
"...Riku..." West murmured weakly as she dangled helplessly above the bottomless dark abyss. "...I can't... I can't hold on..."
"No!" Riku protested, still trying to hold on. "I want to get out of here and see my friends again! All my friends! That includes you! You still need to meet Sora and Kairi!"
"...Riku..." West barely managed to say as she grew weaker and weaker. "...thanks for all the fun... I'm glad I met you... Thank you... For being my friend..." As she breathed her last words, West's hand finally slipped out of Riku's hand causing her to fall into the dark abyss, further and further until at last she was gone.
Somewhere deeper in the depths of the realm of darkness, a young blue-haired woman was fighting for her life. She swung her master's keyblade, attacking the hordes of heartless that persued her. There was no time in this dark world. A few steps could turn into days or years in the real, of light. She knew that and yet she kept fighting and kept pushing forward, fighting for the day when she could see her friends and laugh with them again.
After defeating the shadows that swarmed her, the young woman took a deep breath and took the time to heal herself. She wasn't sure how long it would be until those creatures attacked her again so she had to take opportunities like this one seriously.
She raised her keyblade and quickly healed herself, but it wasn't enough to heal the pain and loneliness she felt as she wandered the dark alone.
But, just at that moment, the way finder in her pocket began to glow. Out of curiosity she reached down and took it out. The glow it gave off was nearly blinding and a stark contrast to her almost pure black surroundings.
The wayfinder began to glow more intensely as though it was trying to tell her something. Then, a beam of light shot out of the friendship charm, leading her further down the dark paths.
"What is this?" She asked herself as she stared in awe at the glowing wayfinfer and beam of light. "Am I being led somewhere? But why?"
She took a moment to think it over. "Could it be telling me one of my friends is in trouble? Terra or Ven? No, It's someone else... Mickey? But, what would he be doing here?"
Seeing that something serious was causing her wayfinder to react this way, Aqua shoved the charm back into her pocket, tightly gripped her master's keyblade and ran down the glowing path before her.
Riku hadn't budged an inch. He just knelt there with his arm still reaching out into the endless dark void. She was gone. Just like that, she was gone. The once perky, smiling thief was now lost to the darkness.
Visions flashed through his mind of the time spent with West. From first meeting her in Traverse Town, to the times she saved him and the times he saved her, and all the times they fought together. He never realized it until then, but she was a light in all the dark times he went through. And now, because she fought alongside him she was gone. He was unable to control it as tears started to fall down his cheeks.
Mickey moved towards Riku and gently placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. The same sadness that Riku felt was overwhelming his own heart as well. The king was truly at a loss for words; he had no idea what he could say so he remained silent as he started to cry too. He hadn't known either West or Riku that long, but he could tell both the young thief and the silver-haired teen had formed a bond in the time they spent together. Seeing Riku like this and seeing someone as innocent as West fall to her demise tore at Mickey's heart.
"West..." Was all Riku could say as he clenched his fist and allowed the tears to fall at an uncontrollable rate. She was innocent in all this, she hadn't done anything wrong! It wasn't fair! All she did was try to be a good friend to him and he ended up repaying the favour by leading her to her death.
"Why waste your tears, boy?" Ansem spoke from behind him. Riku had been so focused on West's demise he'd almost forgotten Ansem was still there. Riku and Mickey both turned to face the smirking face of the Seeker of Darkness. "That girl was useless to you; a poor fighter and a clumsy oaf. You should be thanking me for disposing of such a nuisance for you-"
"Shut up!" Riku snapped, the tears still falling. "West wasn't a nuisance! She was my friend!"
"West was innocent in all this! How could you do this to her?!" Mickey shouted.
Ansem released a dark chuckle. "As I said; she was useless and she got in my way. You should know by now that I don't tolerate things that have no use to me. That being said, I will give you one last chance to prove your worth to me, Riku."
Riku was stunned at what he was hearing. "What?!"
"I'll let you join me and a few others as an ally. What do you say, Riku?" Ansem smirked darkly as he held out his hand. "Will you join us and become a seeker of darkness?"
"You monster!" Riku snapped as he jumped up to his feet. "Do you really expect me to join you after everything you've done and out me through!"
Ansem simply chuckled in amusement. "A monster? Hm, I suppose that's accurate. I am a heartless after all."
"What?!" Mickey gasped. "You're a heartless?!"
"No way!" Gasped Riku. "You mean a heartless took over my body?!"
Ansem smirked. "Now you see why you made the perfect vessel for me, Riku. You remember when we first met I had no true physical presence. Unfortunately, I had to cast aside my physical form for reasons that are unimportant to you at the moment. To regain physical presence I needed to rest within a dark heart and yours, Riku was just what I needed. You practically let me in on your own and made dark choices all on your own. It didn't even matter how light that idiot girl was; once I was inside there was nothing she could do-"
"-SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!" Riku shouted angrily as he pointed Soul Eater at Ansem with anger and pain in his eyes. "I don't want to hear another word! You caused so much pain across the worlds and caused so many people to suffer! West, my friend you took her life!"
"Well, so did you." Pointed out Ansem. "Just think; that girl could have been spared if you never met her."
"I won't deny that." Riku took a deep breath. "West, Destiny Islands, Beast's Castle, Land of the Dragons, Sora, Kairi, Mushu, the princesses, they all would have been better off if I didn't exist. If you destroyed me now maybe that would make up for my mistakes. But that's not what West would tell me. That's not what my friends would want."
"That's right!" Mickey agreed. "They'd want Riku to live! They'd want him to stand up and fight!"
"And once I get out of here and reunite with my friends I'm going to become someone worthy of their friendship." Riku vowed.
Ansem shook his head as he snapped his fingers. Instantly, Riku and Mickey became surrounded by hundreds of Shadows, Neoshadows and Darksides, all hungry-looking and ready to nearly rip them apart.
"I wish you luck with that, Riku." Ansem spoke sarcastically. "That is, if you can survive the heartless. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to open the door to darkness and dispose of your little friend Sira and the king's lackeys."
"You won't win against them!" Mickey said. "Donald and Goofy are no pushovers! I know that with Sora and the Keyblade with them you won't stand a chance!"
"We shall see about that." Grinned Ansem. And with a dark, evil laugh, he disappeared in a cloud of darkness and smoke.
The moment Ansem was gone, the heartless jumped to attack Riku and Mickey, their claws raised with a murderous intent to devour their hearts. Riku and Mickey slashed at the heartless with their weapons, desperate to survive.
"This is gonna be tough Riku, you ready for this?" He asked as he dodged an attack from a Neoshadow.
"I've never felt more ready, your majesty." Riku said as he slashed at a Darkside's claw. "We will survive this!" With that, Riku fought the heartless with everything they had. They had every intention to keep the heartless at bay, to help Sora, Donald and Goofy save the worlds, they would survive this darkness.
More references to A Fragmentary Passage! And no! West! I'm sorry by beloveved OC but if you guys have been following my main story Reconnected at all you know she won't stay gone for long :) Hope you enjoyed the chapter and once again I'm sorry about the wait but we've got about three more chapters left for this fic so I think we'll be done soon. See you guys next time!