Kingdom Hearts II: Fragments of Existence
(Chapter 3): For the Record
Roxas couldn't remember anything that happened when his terrified blue eyes opened. All he recalled was suddenly blacking out when his friends had gone ahead of him.
"Why is all this weird stuff happening to me? I just don't get it
" Sadness nowadays lingered over him, for he felt that, with all the strange happenings that occurred to him, he was living a life that wasn't his.
He got back to his feet and ran after the Twilight Town gang, who didn't seem to notice his brief absence, yet to Roxas it was another reason to wonder why he even existed
* * * *
Students found that the expected day at Hollow's United happened very differently when, right after the break, the rest of the periods were used to carry out the auditions. Kya accompanied Jouji and Milena to theirs, preferring to leave hers for last.
First up was Milena, who read one of the play's most climactic scenes. Then came Jouji, who read the part where the lead male was first introduced.
Kya was very happy for her friends, however the medieval setting and the romantic tone reminded her of a special night in Narnia she'd rather forget. Biting her lip, she looked back up at the auditions, and when they read together, she was surprised at how well they did.
Most of the other roles were cast fairly easily, since they were secondary or extras. After witnessing a few hilarious auditions for the main roles, she went outside to write her name on the application list for the role of assistant director, but when she didn't find any, she went back inside and walked over to professor Corinth, who sat at the very first row of the school's theater.
"Um, excuse me professor Corinth?" She asked, tapping his shoulder.
The amber eyed teacher looked at her and smiled. "Ah Kya, here to audition I suppose?"
"Yes, but I didn't find any application papers outside"
"Oh, so you're here to be assistant director?"
"Yes" Kya answered.
Professor Corinth looked sideways a moment, thinking. "Come, sit here. Let's talk"
Confused by his request but otherwise obedient, she did.
"You see, assistant director is a post I'd much rather choose personally. That is why I didn't put up an application paper"
"Um professor, not to be rude but, why did I have to sit down to hear this?"
"Oh I will get to that" This time an excited gleam overcame the teacher's youthful eyes. "Are you really willing to assume to post?"
"Yes" Kya thought it was a bit stupid to ask that, why else would she approach him?
"Then it is settled" Professor Corinth said. "You will be my assistant"
Kya, though happy, raised a disbelieving brow. "Just like that?"
"Not 'just like that'. Several other people have applied, but all of them are just lazy and want the post as an excuse for not helping with the decorations. You are the first good applicant I've had, so instead of delaying all the work to be done, I'll give the post to you"
"Oh" Kya said. "Well, thanks a lot teacher. I really appreciate it"
"I know you do" Professor Corinth said, grinning. He ignored that some of the students in the audition began to protest when he paid no attention, so he signaled someone to briefly take up for him. "But you must be aware you cannot miss a single day of rehearsal, are we clear?"
"Yeah" Kya said. "When will the first one be?"
"It'll be today, about an hour after school. We are lucky that auditions have a quick pace this year, so the official cast will be announced when the last bell rings"
"No problem" Kya rose from her seat. "Well, thanks a lot teacher! See you this afternoon"
"Absolutely!" Professor Corinth answered, setting his attention back on the auditions.
When Kya walked out of the theater to wait for Jouji and Milena, she couldn't help but feel really lucky when she got the post she wanted, when luck rarely knocked her door anymore
Some good three hours passed until auditions were all done and the board, of which Kya was now member, had taken its decisions. Students excitedly chattered as they were all in a large mass surrounding Professor Corinth and the rest of the staff involved in the play.
"Alright everyone, settle down!" Professor Corinth called down and the clamor soon ceased. "I am proud to announce the students chosen for this year's play, 'The Rose of His Eyes!"
Everyone began speaking again and girls tootled their excitement to one another as, yet again, the Professor demanded silence.
"For the role of Leo we have chosen Jouji Sansur!"
A round of applause, wolf whistles and cheers erupted from the already excited crowd. Jouji's eyes widened in surprise, never imagining he'd be chosen for the stellar role. Kya pat him on and the back and Milena congratulated him.
"Congrats, you did great!" Milena said as she beamed at her victorious friend.
"Thanks" Jouji said, grinning back. "I hope you can get the role!"
Milena showed him her crossed fingers. "Hoping!"
"- none other than Milena Salazar!"
"Milena you did it!" Ryou told his girlfriend excitedly. "Milena!"
But she was too busy speaking to Jouji and Kya at the time to notice, so Ryou quickly spun her around so she could face him.
"Yeah, what's up?" She greeted with a smile.
"You were chosen!" He responded in a hurry.
"Really? For what?" Milena said with a streak of faith. "Oh I'm sure they picked me as Freida, I don't know if I did well as Elena, but oh well-"
Jouji snorted a laugh hearing her response. "You idiot!" He said hugging her around the shoulder and messing her short black hair. "You're Elena!"
Now Milena gave a low squeal of excitement and jumped up and down while she hugged Jouji and her boyfriend. "Oh my God I can't believe it! I did it, I did it!"
She turned to Kya who had barely been able to get to them through the crazed crowd. "I did it!"
Kya smiled at her. "Oh I know! I'm so proud of you!" She said, nearly choking Milena in a tight embrace.
Then the rest of the roles were cast, and as a mere fifteen minutes of class were left after the tedious process of auditions, students were dispatched earlier than usual.
Everyone picked up their belongings, glad they had less homework to tend to during the day.
Kya left most of her things in the homeroom and so, while Milena, Ryou and Jouji awaited her at the school entrance, she dashed over to the empty classroom to retrieve her belongings.
"Oh good, everything is still here" She sighed in relief, seeing all her stuff scattered on the small wooden desk. Kya picked everything else until all that was left had been a small object which she always kept in her pencil case: a seashell from the Destiny Islands that he had given her.
The heroes reposed somewhere in a small cave Garrett showed them. The search for Kayley, Ai and Goofy had ceased for the day, and thus they needed a secure place to stay protected from Rubber's minions, the gryphon and the many Heartless that circled the skies.
Sora, unusually tired that day, dozed off immediately after Devon and Cornwall ceremoniously arranged a bed for him and everyone else. Theo went over to talk to Garrett, Akemi and Donald spoke about plans for the upcoming day whilst Riku roamed somewhere around the outsides of the cave and Kya continued her usual training among a thicket of thorn-filled trees.
Kya summoned the Sky Way and fought against the enchanted contraptions that Donald and Ai would always take care of preparing. Except that Ai wasn't there with them. She was somewhere in the clutches of that beastly gryphon, as well as Goofy and Kayley.
She grunted at the thought of this and became further frustrated when the winged contraptions got away from her. Had she been more experienced at fighting, Ai, Kayley and Goofy would be safe with them. But no, she had to be completely useless in fighting from afar and using magic, and so the gryphon wounded her as it snatched her friends away.
Her thoughts were cut when she felt the sting of the deep gash on her Keyblade arm. That nasty thing! Now she couldn't fight well in her conditions, and Donald's magic was weak at the moment after the intense day of combat.
Fruitless after fruitless attempt, her anger made her miss almost every target. Sure, she had done a lot better yesterday, but it just wasn't the same, not now with so many things inside her head. But the wise words of her father resonated in her troubled mind:
'Be strong my daughter. Never forget how much we all love you'. Those had been the last words her father spoke to her years ago, and she would always keep them close to her heart. Now more than ever, now that she knew the true consequences of not being experienced enough at fighting, she was motivated to become as strong as her father so she could be at least half the leader he had been for Narnia, at least half of that wonderful person everyone admired and respected.
She smiled happily at those wonderful thoughts from home. 'Dad.. I love-'
But then she started feeling lightheaded and felt her feet extremely loose. Raising a brow and, in utter shock and almost screaming, she realized she was hovering above the ground.
"What the-?!" She was in a state of panic and became terrified when her Keyblade left her hand and she saw a it was vine from a carnivore plant her body was tangled in.
Kya almost screamed but was muffled by the acid tasting leaves of the monster. She closed her eyes while awaiting her body to become a monstrous plant's supper.
However, as she was close to entering its foul-smelling mouth, a slash was heard and her body weakly fell from the now dead vines, expecting a harsh landing on the rough land.
When least expecting it, her descent was quickly slowed when she felt someone's arms wrapped around her waist. Her eyes slowly opened as silky hair brushed her face and, looking up, saw her savior: Riku.
"You always get yourself into trouble" He said somewhat annoyed, leaving her on the ground.
"It was not like that" She responded, embarrassingly looking away from him.
Riku raised a brow and smiled with a small twitch of his lips to the right. "Uh- huh"
"I was out training! I couldn't find you"
"Well you saw what happened today and we can't be separated, got it?" Riku said sternly.
Kya sighed in defeat, admitting he was correct. "Yeah you're right. Sorry" She said, her head hanging a little.
"Nah never mind, let's go back to the cave". Riku made his way there, surprising Kya; what was it with those sudden mood swings of his? She ran after him when she retrieved her Keyblade from the mossy earth. Now they walked side by side, hearing the distant roars of dragons and the cries of Heartless and many forest beasts around them.
They walked for some minutes, and when the cave entrance came to view, Riku decided to break the ice. "I saw you were pretty pissed off"
"I am still pissed off" Kya answered in a straightforward manner.
"That won't help you at all if you're serious about getting better"
"Well I'm sorry, but it wasn't because of you that Ai, Goofy and Kayley are gone" She said while halting behind him.
"Acting like a brat won't get you anywhere. Things happen and you just gotta go with it sometimes. Just be alert next time so it won't happen again"
Kya cooled off somehow, but was not in the mood of any lecturing. "Listen I'm just
Really tired, I don't really wanna talk about it"
He scoffed at her. "So much for being receptive"
She stopped with a sarcastic look. "Really Riku?" Rolling her eyes and scoffing she then continuing along.
He had a smug look plastered all over his face. "Don't take it out on me lass"
"Alright then whitey, I won't" Kya answered back.
"Touché!" Riku exclaimed at her. "You've been learning"
"From who I wonder?" This is one of the things she liked best about him; he never meant any real harm and in the end, if ever he did bother anyone, he'd quickly mend things.
Riku snorted, interrupting her thoughts. "If it helps, you hit the first few targets well"
Kya looked at him and then smiled a bit. "Thanks"
He then twitched his lips to the side in a small smile. "That's better. Now come, I gotta show you something"
They proceeded towards the cave entrance and sat on a flat surfaced rock. Riku searched in his pocket, drawing out a small, cream colored object. "Here"
He took her hand, slowly opened it and placed the object inside, closing her hand again so she could feel it. Kya confusingly looked at him as she looked at what it was he gave her and so she saw it: one of those seashells he and Sora always spoke about. It was small and cone shaped with pale pink interior walls.
Kya nudged him on the shoulder. "It's not even my birthday yet"
"Then consider it two things" Riku stated. "One, an excuse for a lame birthday present" He stuck his index finger out while saying this, at which Kya laughed. "And two, a promise"
"Just to tell you you're screwed if you think I'm giving you something for your birthday" Kya said mockingly, taking the seashell and stuffing it into her pocket.
Riku lightly slapped his forehead with his still gloved hand and snorted a low laugh. "Dumb-ass, I'm not expecting anything in return"
At first Kya was a bit insulted, but then she remembered how Riku normally used expressions like those as pet names for his friends; change really did come whenever you were out of your comfort zone.
"I promise to take you and everyone else to the Destiny Islands once this mess is over" He proposed, raising the second finger and then crossing his arms. In spite of his hiding it the best he could, memories from his first encounter with Maleficent and how she had been able to manipulate him into double crossing his own friends made him feel guilty, and he really didn't feel worthy of returning home. Of course, no one would ever know about that, ever.
She deceitfully looked at him. "Isn't there a catch?"
"I'm guessing the best I can do is take you to Narnia"
"That'll be pretty good"
"Then it's a deal" Kya agreed, stretching her arm and taking his hand in a friendly shake. "Now I must think what to get you
"Nothing really" Riku said with a grin. "Just you guys going will be great, I mean, you really gotta see the beaches and meet everyone there
Kya glanced at him surprised. At first Riku spoke of his world as an insignificant piece of land, but now he talked more eagerly about it, as if some appreciation for those lands had begun to grow in his heart.
"Sounds like you're finally appreciating your home" She commented, making him notice precisely what she wanted.
Being away from it for so long has definitely made me think about all the stuff I miss and my family, and that really, no matter how small, it's part of something much, much bigger. I was just meant to be there in order to do what I'm doing now and honestly, I don't regret a second of it"
She smiled at him when realizing how his change of heart had slowly yet definitely begun. Sora would definitely be happy about all this; his friend is finally realizing how much of a wonderful world they live in. "Home will always be home, Riku. No matter where you go or how long you've been away from it"
"Home's where the heart is" Riku said, gazing up at the starry veil.
"Guess you love it very much"
He looked down and thought about it. "Yeah, you're right" He then stared at her silent figure for a few moments before speaking. "Well, what about your home?"
Kya's eyes drooped a little sadly when he said this. "Can't really remember much of it since I've lived in the Magic Kingdom for many years now"
"There's got to be something you remember" Riku said curiously.
I remember many things, but it's been kinda hard to remember when I've barely heard anything from my parents"
"Yeah it's been, what, seven years now since I last heard them?" She exhaled a sigh of sadness.
"I'm guessing they did it because they wanted to protect you" Riku said. "They wanted what was best for you"
"After almost seven years without writing me?"
"Look, you just got to be patient, that's all. Sure, it's hard to wait, but I'm sure they're doing it because it's best. I know this will sound corny as hell, but if love's strong, then it'll never break"
Kya almost laughed at the final part of that. "You better go to sleep Riku, I think the gryphon smacked you pretty hard"
Riku laughed at her comment. "Maybe, who knows" He said, standing up much to her surprise. "Tell you what, that seashell's also a third promise"
"Really? What?" Kya asked curiously standing up.
"You'll see your parents again and you'll see how much you mean to them" Riku said. "This journey's taught me something and it's that there's nothing like the strength of the heart. If you keep it strong, you can beat anything. You just gotta have faith in it and yourself" He seemed to go on a train of thought before speaking once more with a small rub to his head. "God I better stop before the corniness goes overboard"
Kya giggled and pat the pocket where the seashell was. "Thanks Riku. Good night"
"Same" He said with a wave, retreating to the now warm cave and making himself comfortable between Sora's and Theo's beds.
Kya looked at Riku once last time before he went to sleep and then lifted her skies to the beautifully lighted sky, taking the seashell out of her pocket and holding it tightly with a confident smile aimed straight to the heavens.
Now she knew she had to go to her home however possible and let her parents how much she loved them before their travels took her farther away from her family.
But she also had another reason to become stronger, another reason to be a person with a braver heart than ever before: and it was him.
* * * *
Her eyes opened after the brief memory lane. She smiled and yet the thought made her sad, because that had been one of the last moments she spent with him at peace, before his betrayal-
"No! I can't think like that
Ansem made him do those things. I have to remember him for what he really is" She looked determinedly at the seashell clutched in her hand. "He promised he'd never leave us, he promised he'd never leave me
The only rare times that she allowed herself some emotional weakness were, so she succumbed to the rebel tears which for so long had dwelled in her eyes. She cupped her mouth and supported herself with the other on the table.
And so she cried.
It was hard to constantly remember people she'd never see again and it was especially heart wrenching to remember those who had been her best friends and those most special to her.
She sobbed for a few second and then dried her eyes off with her long sleeve. 'I have to get over this, they're waiting for me'.
With that she put away the rest of her belongings in her backpack and stuffed the seashell in her pocket, then reached to feel the two winged pendant hanging right above her collarbone. "I promise I'll see you all again
" she whispered softly, throwing the bag over her shoulder and introducing both arms through the leather straps.
Kya started to walk out of the deserted classroom, thinking about the long memory she had just recalled
When something crashed with a loud thundering sound.
She immediately turned around, scanning the floor, walls and ceiling of the classroom. Nothing unusual could be seen, but then she saw smoke rising from a desk right next to her hand.
Apparently someone or something ignited it. About to walk away without a second glance, the smoke began to clear and what were absolutely inscriptions could be seen.
Brows furrowed in confusion and eyes attentive and sharp, she bent to look at whatever they were, and when the smoke had disappeared, a series of somewhat elegant letters read the following message which she said out loud:
'The time has almost come. Be ready'
Puzzled, she looked around the room once more before departing. Kya was quickly outside the secondary hallways as she got closer to grand double doors which led to the entrance courtyard. The glistening sun shone amazing rays of pure white light down on everyone in Hollow Bastion the second she saw Milena, Jouji and Ryou in the distance.
She smiled when she saw them, about to run in a flash to greet them, happy about having them as her friends in the midst of this very confusing world
But then the smile faltered when suddenly a strange voice muttered in her head, causing her to pass out in the middle of the hallway, her body falling limp over the tiled floors.
* * *
The Kingdom of Hollow Bastion hadn't been the same since the disappearance of Ansem the Wise. Not only the people had to deal with Heartless and the concern of safety in their homes, but they also had to face the fact that they were being ruled by an incompetent leader, though the man was supposedly a close friend of Ansem's.
Turns out he knew all about his dark researches on the heart and he exposed them to each and everyone in the kingdom.
Steward Pierrot, previously known as the Counselor of Hollow Bastion, was the selfish magician who occupied the throne of Hollow Bastion until Ansem's return or until an old enough heir appeared to claim.
Being the steward almost completely entitled him to the privilege of being a king, especially in condemning those against him.
His tall body made way through the castle's dungeons, dark navy blue hair falling above
emerald green eyes accentuated by a lock-styled beard around his fine mouth. He walked through a secret passageway among the sewers until he arrived to his destination.
Today however he was slightly excited about his visit, for a traitor, who supposedly claimed herself as Ansem's daughter, was brought to him and locked up in the farthest dungeon. He cleared his throat at the guards, whose magic lances they slightly retracted to let the Steward pass.
Pierrot crouched carefully in his black and red robes as he lighted the cell with his staff to get a better view of the prisoner.
The girl's head spun upon hearing the sound of crackling fire and she faced the man. Medium length chocolate brown hair fell over bright orange eyes and tan skin. She was dressed in a wraparound white halter, blue trousers and black martial arts shoes. A bright red sash was tied around her waist and a long, red scepter lied on the farthest side of the cell. "Oh look who it is"
"Excuse me?" Pierrot asked, insulted. "How dare you speak to me like that child! I am the king of Hollow Bastion"
"You mean the phony king that stole my father's throne" She retorted.
"Stop these blasphemies immediately!" He said, seizing a handful of her and slamming her against the bars. "I've had enough of your lies! I am tired of coming down here, day after day, to see the same kind of traitors as you!"
"Hmm, then I wonder how can you stand looking yourself in the mirror if you're the biggest traitor of all" The girl said with a defying smile.
Hiroshi let her go and looked at her with a look of rage. "You better stop saying these lies or else you will be sentenced to death by hanging for treason to the throne"
"Treason to the throne? You mean defending what is just!"
Pierrot was about to aim his scepter at the girl when one of the guards spoke. "My Lord, you may also want to know that she is with the group that has been pestering the town"
The Steward's rage grew, but it grew to the type of dangerous and silent anger. "On top of that causing trouble in my kingdom? Very well. Guards, leave the child to starve. She
has already been enough of a disgrace to this kingdom"
With that Pierrot began to depart, but then he heard the girl scoff loudly. "For your information sir, my name is not 'child'. My name is Ai Vallientri Diggionet and my father, the rightful ruler of Hollow Bastion, knew everyone's names. Consider it a little advice if you want to continue this ruse. Of course, I doubt you have the mental capacity to even remember mine."
His ear's pricked upon hearing this, and he turned in further annoyance, pointing a menacing finger at her. "If you dare speak like that and utter that name one more time, you will be killed child, mark my words!"
"Then so be it! Because I AM Ansem's daughter" Ai said bravely.
"Enough of this!" Pierrot lashed out, his steps thundering on the aged cobblestones of the abandoned dungeons. "Guards, carry on my orders, and may this girl never see the light again, because to be such a cunning disgrace she must a child of the damned. Let her rot in her own lies"
With that the Steward finally departed, leaving Ai on her own with her growing frustrations. She was rendered incapable of using magic since Pierrot had been careful enough to place magic seals in all cells to prevent prisoners from escaping.
She clutched her temporarily useless staff as she crawled to a corner and lied against the murky smelling stone walls, gazing outside a small fissure towards what once was the wonderful kingdom her father ruled. "He'll pay for all he's done, to everyone
Oh he will pay"