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Fanfiction ► Destati



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Next World following Traverse Town?

  • Underland ( Alice 2011 )

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  • The Lost Empire ( Atlantis )

    Votes: 1 100.0%

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Arcana-Key

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Life Update ; School has been kicking my butt. We can hope that I will eventually get around to throwing out this chapter when I get the time! ;n;
 

Arcana-Key

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Friend asked me to post the chapter today ; so I decided to split the 8K word thing into a 4k a chapter segment. FF.net will probably end up with the longer one. But this took me months to do. Like, months to get anywhere decent months. Not only did I learn that pacing is generally something that I have a problem with, but juggling perspectives and attempting to lorebuild. Knowing me, I'll probably end up revising and rewriting for like a fifth time. But until then, enjoy! Hopefully I'll be back on schedule of posting chapters bi-weekly soon.



Chapter IV ;
Convergence
Traverse Town ;



“We should go to the beach sometime dad, for old times’ sake.”

It’d been a while since she’d had the time to spend with her old man. A long time, if she were frank with herself. To spend a few hours with him, any time, would be better than worrying about him casting her aside.

The glare cast from the evening sun only served to obscure him from her sight.

“Maybe some other time, kiddo.” He’d mumbled to her, apologetically tousling a few feathery-soft spikes of hair in the process. This wasn’t the first time he’d done it. Blowing her off wasn’t exactly what he intended, but it was becoming a pattern since he’d began falling out with Suihei’s mother. Yes, it was a problem, and every time he attempted to push her away through such a method, Suihei found herself angrier. She needed the time, and it wasn’t fair that he never heeded her attempts to grow closer. Immaturely, she stomped her foot into the ground, grinding the ball of her foot into the ground with a petulance befitting of an 8 year old.

“But daaad…” She whined, folding her arms over her chest, trying to put on her best pout to try to bring his brown eyes over to her. To hear him at least give her a little thought would’ve at least been better. It would’ve been better than worrying about if he cared or not. It would’ve been better than a lot of things, at that moment. She knew that she should’ve known better, but she couldn’t help herself. She slid closer to him, curling her fingers against the hem of his shirt and squinting up with a frown tugging at her lips. “You promised today. And you know that when you break promises…”

“I know, I know, Suiheisen.” He laughed, bringing a single index finger to press against her small nose. Seeing that she’d continue pouting until she got her way, he sighed, scooping her up in his arms. “I’ll get bitten by the lying bug…”

“And then you won’t be able to keep any promises.” Suihei huffed, looking away. Reaching over to grasp at her father’s cheeks, she couldn’t help but smile impishly. “…so can we go?” She attempted once more, hoping that a second try would get her what she wanted. It never happened, for a storm of giggles ended up escaping from between her lips at the sensation of fingers assaulting the skin of her stomach. All courtesy of her dad, who seemed more amused at her rather poor attempt at convincing than anything else.

She was still recovering from her fit of giggles when her dad responded. “ ‘Course, kiddo. Just try not to pout until you get your way, the next time, yeah?” It could’ve stayed like this forever. A moment in where they understood one another, instead of playing a slowly budding game of uncertainty.


Plop.
The dull pitter-patter of rain, chilled despite the warm summer air, was the first thing that Suihei awoke to. She felt the stirring of something in her chest. Cold and weighed down.


Buzzing. There was something buzzing, Suihei realized groggily. She blinked once, twice, then groaned under her breath and brought her hand up to cup her head. Agony spiked through her skull as she did, forcing her to curl up for just a second. “Ouch…” She mumbled, trying her best to ignore the feeling of confusion that welled inside of her. She knew that Twilight Town had cobblestoned streets, which made it particularly strange to see that she was staring at brick. A weird thing to notice, Relm would say. The throb at the back of her head didn’t abate, try as she might’ve to push it aside.


“What…” Suihei shut her eyes. Trying to ignore the panic that threatened to engulf her like pins and needles. The last thing she remembered were writhing, pulsating tendrils of shadow. Wild and haphazard, stretching out to grab her, and then—“…what happened?” Her vision span when she opened her eyes again. Slowly, she began pushing herself up to her feet, steadying herself by way of a hand on the wall. Whatever had happened had happened hard, because she found herself stumbling for an answer, physically and mentally. Suihei bit down on her bottom lip, trying to ignore the sense of vertigo that threatened to send her crashing back to the ground.


Cradling her pounding head, Suihei carefully leaned away from the wall. She took in her surroundings passively, brows knitting together in confusion as she noticed she’d been resting against a damp box moments prior. An alleyway of all places. Dank, cold, and with what little she could make out of the sky – dark. Confused, but not yet piecing together what had occurred just yet, Suihei cautiously began to limp her way towards the dim flicker of artificial light that illuminated the exit of the alley. Where there was light, there was warmth, and more pertinently, people.


Ornate, brightly-colored buildings were the first things that greeted her. A mishmash of different architectural designs that seemed so completely bizarre, so unfathomably alien to the more modern homes that they had in Traverse Town that Suihei had to blink to make sure she was seeing this correctly. People mingled together, roaming the bustling street in small groups that briefly turned their heads in her direction to look her over, as if they had experienced this before. Beyond that, no one seemed to pay her too much attention, probably because she tried her hardest to press down the expression of complete and utter befuddlement away from her features.


Maybe it was just a bad dream, she tried to rationalize.


“Where am I…?” She mumbled to herself as she flicked her gaze around once more. She took a few steps, then paused, nearly staggering as a wave of memories assaulted her mind. There was Darkness and Fear and the desire of not wanting to die and the coldcoldcoldcold touch upon something that lay dormant in her chest. Suihei gasped, leaning back against the wall reflexively, her body terrifyingly numb as her mind came to a grinding halt. Something was wrong.


“Mom…?” Suihei finally exhaled, pushing herself away from the relative safety of the alleyway into the relative unknown of the street. She couldn’t understand what was going on, and nothing at that moment could convey that. For some reason, that storm, that unnatural, unearthly storm had done something that made her stomach dip ice-cold for reasons that she couldn’t even fathom. Not a single person stood in her way as she broke into a brisk run, brushing pass people without giving the grace of an apology as she twisted, turned, and wove between them, eyes haphazardly darting around like she was a cornered animal.


People turned to look, but Suihei ignored them, her mind on a single track. She ran until she stumbled, hands falling to her knees, lungs burning for a moment of reprieve. She heard someone asked if she was okay, but she couldn’t answer—“What happened to my home?” She whispered under her breath, standing to her full height abruptly. It wasn’t home. This wasn’t home. “What happened to my Town?!” Suihei managed to gasp out, pain in her chest becoming all the more prominent as the weight of her emotions bore down on her in that fleeting moment.


“Relm? Barret? Marlene?!” She called, clenching her fingers into her gloved palms until she could feel the pressure of her nails against them. Pain, though dull, drew her out of her state of panic. She stopped herself from crying out again, cheeks aflame in embarrassment as she finally caught sight of the few people that managed to stare long enough for her to notice.


Get it together. Suihei sighed shakily and bit her lip. Try to figure out where you are first before looking for people. Maybe—


Maybe they were here too. All of them. Maybe this is just like some bad dream, or—



Or a reality that she was forced to face. What had happened? Where was she? Where were her parents? Her friends? She wanted to ask so much, and she almost felt like she’d retch from lack of answer alone.


Pushing down the noise of frustration that was sure to breach her self-imposed calm, Suihei flicked her eyes around. For a moment, she took in her surroundings. Her feet had carried her somewhere else entirely. In front of a dingy little place with a sign dangling above the edge of her vision.


An item shop?



Only then, did she notice how cold it was. It’d been raining when she’d been swept up. When that had happened. It was alleviating, and for a reason that she, personally, could not entirely understand. Maybe it was the sight of something so familiar that pushed her towards it. Maybe a little detour would help her discover just what was going on.


Entering was easier than she thought it’d be. Her legs still felt like they had concrete weighing them down, but it wasn’t to the point where it was impossible to work.


It was a dingy little place. Filled to the brim with whirring machinery and scraps. Suihei could make out a casing where a few potions where held to the immediate left of the counter, and to the right, there were a few items. Rings? What were those for? She squinted as inconspicuously as possible, leaning forward just enough to look as if she weren’t looking at anything at all.


It didn’t work as well as she thought, for a voice called to her a few seconds later.


“Hey there!” Behind the counter there was a slender young woman ; short, curly blonde hair framed delicate features, and olive green eyes peered from beneath a cap with words that Suihei couldn’t quite make out. She was fiddling with what appeared to be a cellphone with every drop dispassion she could muster drudged onto her face, but she looked up immediately when she heard the door open to greet Suihei.


When the blonde caught sight of her, her expression shifted from the bored, disgruntled stare she had and found itself replaced with something a bit warmer, a bit more concerned. “Welcome to the shop!” Leaning her body forward, the blonde smiled amicably at Suihei. “You look a little lost, is everything okay?”

Oh, that was the question of the century.


Seeing that she wasn’t going to answer, the apparent owner of the shop gave a half-wave before continuing, “My name’s Cidney, but you can call me Cid.”


Something not unlike relief filled Suihei’s stomach, talk with strangers wasn’t a weak point, but she felt terrible enough where it may as well had been. The dull pain that stabbed at her every step that she took was enough make her second guess herself. Something that was presumably readily apparent to the blonde woman, given her almost hawk-like gaze as Suihei strode towards the counter.


“Hey, kid, you look a little down in the dumps. Here.” Cidney shoved a small thermos over. Suihei could feel the warmth still, and for the first time that night, she was reminded that she hadn’t so much as taken a bite to eat. “It’s tomato soup. You can’t really go wrong with that. Tell me if it makes you feel any better.”


It did.


“…my name’s Suihei. I uh- just got here. I guess. I don’t really,” She tried focusing her thoughts, pressing her fingers against the bridge of her nose with a faint sigh of frustration. “,I don’t really know what’s going on.”


There was a flash of understanding in Cidney’s eyes. “Well, you’re in a place called Traverse Town, kid. This here is the first district. I’d throw you a welcoming party, but…” Her expression turned sour, a flash of bitterness warping otherwise soft features. It wasn’t right that this kept happening to people. “If you’re here then that probably means that something big just happened. Were you with anyone?”


Suihei shook her head. “I was looking for my mom,” As she tried to turn her focus elsewhere, she felt tears of frustration begin to well up in
her eyes. At least that’s what she’d tell herself. Not because she was sad. Not because she was scared. But because she was frustrated with the entire situation. Her hands clenched the thermos until her knuckles went white. “, it was storming pretty bad. There were this things, and it was just so cold and I was-“ She was confused. She wanted to admit how she felt, she wanted to pour out all of her feelings in that moment, but her lips pinched together, far from eager to share whatever had been on the precipice of her tongue.


Silence reigned in the room for a minute, before Cidney took the initiative and spoke, maybe she’d be able to at least try to set the kid up with some place to stay. “Well, I know someone that could possibly help. This is the first district, like I said. It’s safer here than the other three. There’s an inn in the second district – you can get there by turning the corner to the left and then going straight. You should be able to get to an inn. When you get there, ask for Rydia.”


Suihei nodded.


Maybe she could get some pointers from this lady. She only hoped so.





It was raining. That was the first thing he noticed when he stepped free from the shadows clinging to his body like liquid, the Dark Corridor silencing itself with a swush of rushed air. He waited several moments, ears perked up to listen for any breathing or sounds of life in the small din of town. It was frustrating. So very frustrating to have to hide away in the dark like some animal waiting to be hunted down. Nyx had never particularly enjoyed it. Not in the slightest.


At least, he was sure that it would be frustrating, if such a word were in his range of emotions. A light grin warped his muzzle at the thought. Frustrating. It was frustrating for him to deal with this. Yes. That seemed to make a bit more sense. Slowly, he slinked from the alleyways, sharp blue eyes peering with the utmost sense of curiosity at the taste in the air.


Foul. Darkness permeated through Traverse Town naturally. The World was a place of refuge; an aberration that was a mishmash of every single place that had been swallowed by the Darkness. That was not what he smelled, for it clung to the World like a fine mist. No, what he smelled was something else entirely. Something bright – magnetic to his being, tugging at the tapestry of his memory and driving his attention beyond observing those who ran along the streets wildly.


For a moment, his eyes caught a flash of peculiarly spiked hair, before the figure was gone. He released the compulsion to stay behind, to shy away from the weapon. He suppressed the bubbling sense of disdain forming in his stomach. “What a curious Something.” Yes, such a curious Something indeed. It almost felt like…


Ah. Perhaps following her trial would lead to something interesting. Her ilk always seemed to draw trouble.


And besides.


It had been eons since he had smelled a Light that burned so brightly.





Suihei sighed, ignoring the dull throb of pain in her sternum as her body cooperated with her again. Her left hand clenched and unclenched subconsciously, causing the warmth that she had felt earlier to spread through her body. A tingle, a jolt along her spine that brought clarity to her mind alongside a sudden weight to her hand that drew her eyes downward. Kingfisher. The name popped into her mind. She hadn’t remembered even learning the name of it.


Suihei gave the weapon a cursory examination, body working on autopilot while her mind was focused on the weapon. It was lightweight, easily a few feet and, despite the silly looking crowned-teeth, held a sort of menacing light to it that told her that it wasn’t just some simple weapon. It was such a strange, engrossing thing, that she failed to notice where she was until she’d nearly hit a lamppost.


“A kid like you shouldn’t be carrying around a weapon like that.” A woman’s voice called out to her. Composed, collected, and biting like the steel of the blade in her hand. “You could end up hurting yourself.”


It drew Suihei’s ire near instantly, causing her eyebrows to knit together in annoyance. No matter how she tried to take it, it couldn’t have been perceived as anything but a thinly veiled insult. A presumption that she couldn’t take care of herself, or rather, that she was incapable of doing so, was nearly grievous. Fatigue weighed her down like a burdensome weight, leaving her patience shot and her lips falling into a frown.


To say that Suihei was patient about the entire ordeal would’ve been a blatant lie. The day had been long. She was confused, and upset, and she was certain that she had a kink at the back of her neck that kicked her already downed mood. Into a ditch. The only thing that kept her from practically leaping over and assaulting the woman was the exhaustion that slowly, but surely breathed itself into Suihei’s body.


“Who are you? Telling me what I can and can’t carry around?!” Suihei spat, whipping around on her heels to confront the speaker.


Settled against the pole of a lamp with her arms crossed beneath her chest was a woman. Suihei noted ( much to her confusion ), that she had bright pink hair, bangs swept to the side like they were windswept while a small amount of wavy curls were tossed over her shoulders. Her clothes were of military make, with a lone pauldron resting on a shoulder and a fluttering cape extending to her boot-clad needs. Sharp, angular features peered at Suihei frigidly, causing her to shiver involuntarily ; this was clearly someone that didn’t take nonsense as a common source of amusement.


Suihei watched as the mysterious woman pushed herself off the pole with a languid kick against it, drawing forward a peculiar weapon from the holster on her leg with a professional flourish. Orienting herself, Suihei reigned in the question that was sure to leave her lips, and peered at it in detail.


Sharp, jagged, and not unlike a sword, the barrel of the peculiar weapon seemed to flicker with the vaguest spark of embers, denoting the more serious threat at hand. “You heard me.” The rosette began, almost sounding intrigued. “I wonder how you managed to get one of those. A kid, of all people.” Curiosity was disregarded in favour of a more confrontational tone.


There was a brief, dizzying moment of movement that Suihei’s eyes threatened to catch up with, straining before she glanced down to the keyblade dangling in her hand. If there were any moment that she could’ve expressed her complete and utter contempt, she would’ve. There was a moment of tenseness between the both of them, “What’s that supposed to mean?” Suihei couldn’t understand it. She couldn’t understand anything, but by way of caution, she allowed her gaze to drop to the rosette’s outstretched weapon.


The choice was a smart one, for tongues of flames began flickering across the woman’s blade. Suihei could feel the heat from where she stood, drowning out the chill that soaked her to the bone from the evening rain. What is she—

Suihei barely had the time to get the thought formulated. A roar of fire writhed through the air like a fiery serpent, cracking through the air with a sharp BANG that nearly reverberated the floor beneath her feet. Suihei hardly realized what was happening, but she had enough presence of mind to push herself to the side. Stumbling onto the wet pavement, Suihei scrabbled to her feet, dropping into a loose stance that solidified itself briskly. What was going on? Why was this person, this stranger, targeting her when she hadn’t even done anything?

Suihei eyes strayed around, flicking for where the woman could’ve possibly gone. Like it was in slow-motion, she felt a blunt burst of pain at the back of her neck. The only sign that her mysterious assailant had even moved was a rose petal, fluttering at the edge of Suihei’s periphery. She fell forward weightlessly, hitting the ground with a groan of complete and utter exhaustion.

Gray edged into her vision as she desperately attempted to stay awake, Keyblade clattering to the ground as exhaustion overtook her.





Lightning watched as the girl hit the ground with a silent thud, overtaken by fatigue that had finally been pushed over its edge by a single blow. After sheathing her blade, she crossed her arms, her brows drawn together in thought. This was the Key spoken about in Legend, lost to the annals of history? It’s no wonder, she thought morosely as she scooped the girl into her arm, swaying slightly from the surprisingly abundant weight against her form. If this was what keyblades had to offer, then salvation was a distant dream.

It was silly to mull over. In another time, or in another place, Lightning probably would’ve lingered on it. No matter how her mind may have assessed the situation, it didn’t change the fact that it was a strange conundrum to face.

Lightning wanted to wake Suihei, but doing so didn’t have any benefit. Not yet. It was for the best if she stayed sleeping until they managed to get to safety. Besides, Vanille was more than enough of a wakeup call. She found herself snorting at her own thought, each step bringing her closer to the small inn rented out for refugees.

An ominous sign, to be certain.

In large because one of the lost legendary wielders hadn’t been seen in eons.

If she had actually bothered to remember what little they’d managed to scrabble together from history books, well over a few centuries. To Lightning’s understanding, there was something greater at work here – weapons like that didn’t just appear. Especially not in the hands of kids. The mechanizations of fate had never sat well with her anyways. It reminded her far too much of another time – another place. Filled with the promises of tomorrow, before the Gods interfered.

As she began her brisk pace back to the inn, she could only hope that her conclusion was as baseless as she thought.

If the Worlds were really in trouble, and this kid was the key to their problems…she loathed to think of the result.






The sharp cry of seagulls always lulled Suihei into a pleased state. She could taste the heavy scent of sea-salt on her tongue. Feel the crunch of sand beneath her feet. It’d been so long since they’d come to the beach, Suihei mused. So long since she’d come to the beach.

As she gazed upon the rolling waves, she felt a faint tug of nostalgia on her heart. Like the tides, the feelings of melancholy often came and went. She didn’t have the fortitude to linger for too long on the memories when they came. It always made her feel like she was weighed down with cement whenever she did. The thing about it was that she never voluntarily chose to remember, when she came to the beach. It was just a place that held significance in of itself.

This was so familiar to her now. Everything felt too small. “I hate it here...” She hated it here for many reasons. She hated the lack of communication that her parents held with one another. She hated the loneliness that ate at her heart. She hated the feeling of being constrained. Like she was trapped in a cage and couldn’t spread her wings.

“How dumb do I have to be?” Suihei murmured to herself indignantly, sliding her eyes shut. It was true. Her cheeks burned in shame, for her words were as silly as they were petulant. There was nowhere else to go, there were just thoughts of grandeur. A desire for change that inhabited her heart. She should’ve been content with ‘here’, with ‘home’, but something in her Heart told her that there were bigger things out there. Better things out there. “This world is just…”

“…This is just world is too small…”


 

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Gotta stop now, mid way through prologue. Loving it though. =D Will read more later.
 

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Do tell me how your feelings are towards it when you finish! ;w;

Well I'm past the prologue now and I'm lovin it so far. I feel sorry for the girl though having to deal with the idiocy of a stubborn father. ;-;

Edit. Read chapter 2! I dont think I could be friends with her friends. lol

This is all greatly written as well. Feels like you have it well planned out.
 
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KingdomKey

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This was outstanding! I loved all of the details that went into this chapter and spun it into something we could visualize in our minds so well. I really feel for Suihei, because being lost on a new world, concerned about her friends and family would leave anyone shell shocked. I really like the female counterpart of Cid aka Cidney, because it was such a sweet and sensitive thing to do - giving Suihei soup like that. I just want to hug her so much. <3 Of course, the high light of this chapter for me was Lightening. A beauty so fierce yet kind beneath the surface in her own way. And last but not least, Suihei has not had it easy growing up. I can understand feeling of being stuck or caged in. Perhaps getting what you wished for isn't always good thing, you know? Overall, I can't wait for the next chapter and I look forward to seeing how Suihei handles meeting Vanille when she wakes up. :)
 

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This was outstanding! I loved all of the details that went into this chapter and spun it into something we could visualize in our minds so well. I really feel for Suihei, because being lost on a new world, concerned about her friends and family would leave anyone shell shocked. I really like the female counterpart of Cid aka Cidney, because it was such a sweet and sensitive thing to do - giving Suihei soup like that. I just want to hug her so much. <3 Of course, the high light of this chapter for me was Lightening. A beauty so fierce yet kind beneath the surface in her own way. And last but not least, Suihei has not had it easy growing up. I can understand feeling of being stuck or caged in. Perhaps getting what you wished for isn't always good thing, you know? Overall, I can't wait for the next chapter and I look forward to seeing how Suihei handles meeting Vanille when she wakes up. :)


Aaah, Cidney's design is legit my favorite from FFXV, so when I saw her, I was like "dang we do need a Cid in this story anyways, don't we- " Next thing you know, poof, she ends up being written in as a supporting cast member. Lightning is- harder to write though, haha. I do need to do a bit more studying on her in order to learn just how to master her nuances and stuff. I always get so nervous writing canons! But I appreciate your compliment and analysis as always! Hopefully I'll stay on schedule this time, and the next chapter'll be out next week!
 

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Welp I'm past chapter 3 now. You write fighting scenes rather well. :D Still feel bad for Sui. ;-; First she doesn't feel like she belongs now her actual world is gone. She gave that darkside a lashing though. lol
 

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I finally caught up on all the chapters!!! It's very good so far! ;-; I love the retelling in some ways but additions in others. x3 You describe scenes real well too which helps visualizing.
 

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Preview of the next chapter! A more uh, actiony flick in comparison to the story things. The actual chapter should be out some time after I'm done dying from finals.


Suihei heard the whoosh of air displacing before she could even see them.

Yet she nearly stumbled over her own feet once a purple-black light flashed at the edge of her vision. Quickly, she turned herself away from the fountain, hands clasping against the railing to support herself. She stayed as still as a statue, not daring to move, not even for a second. She could barely breathe, barely think as she took stock of the sheer amount of Shadows rising from the ground. One became two, then four then eight - until just well over a dozen set of eyes were peering at her from the shadows.

There were even a few others with strange...armor interspersed throughout the dark beasts.

More? There were- more?

They were that close. They had been right behind her. So close--

Tha-thump, tha-thump. Her heart was pounding in fear. No, not fear. Terror. She was terrified of these things. Terrified to the point that even watching them left her wanting to veer away from the district and hide as fast as she could.

There was a peculiar scent in the air, one that Suihei quickly deduced to being relevant to the twang of these...Heartless. Cool like winter. Crisp like decaying leaves. But it didn't quite fit her memory of hot chocolate or raking leaves for a little extra munny. There was something unnaturally foul about it. Something that left her throat feeling like it was fighting back gags.

Like a parasite, her fear ate at her, leaving her standing in place with a slight tremor. She took a deep breath, stomping her foot down in order to clear out her thoughts. Her mom's mom- her grandma, would be more liable to slap at her heels for standing there when she could've been doing something.

They scared the crap out of her, this was true, but...

Being afraid wouldn't change anything.

She didn't get the reprieve of a moment. She didn't get a chance to think.

She moved before she could.

Planting the balls of her feet onto the railing that her hands had been gripping just moments before, she vaulted back, leaping off the rail only to--

Land right in the fountain that was located beneath it. If the cold bite of water splashing against her legs didn't wake her up, then the Shadows leaping forward like a dark storm.

By that point, her gloved hands slapped against the edge of the fountain, arms tensing as she all but threw herself out until. It would've been hilarious if she wasn't so terrified, but just seeing one of the creatures with their claws outstretched with the intent to steal her Heart caused something in her stomach to churn and click.

Her first instinct was to run. It was natural. When flight or fight came in, Suihei had always been one of the first to say 'See ya another day!’ But now--

Now I can fight.

It was important to remember that, it was important to do what she could do now. Not just for her, but her mom too. Just the thought of her family being taken by these things filled her with a rotten feeling of hate, a dull pain in her chest that definitely wasn't just from the earlier wound.

There was only time to react.

She sidestepped, she ducked, and despite the fear she felt, barreled forward, desperately grasping at what she was quickly coming to realize as the 'trigger' to calling forward her Keyblade. It wasn't unlike tugging on a string, with the 'twang' causing Kingfisher to form into her hand. Its weight seemed like nothing when she flicked her wrist upwards. Ease brought about from years of kendo saw the weapon sliding through the Shadow that thought itself clever by slithering in front of her.

She didn't bother stopping. Shoes slammed against the pavement as she ran forward blindly. She continued forward to the building that looked vaguely like a cathedral, abruptly turning on her heel and darting to her immediate left.​
 

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This is the first time I've ever witnessed Suihei being terrified of the heartless. I feel a bit bad for her, because the thought of losing her family to the heartless would suck. The fight or flight instinct was really well done within the chapter too. I really love the insight we get on Suihei. Gosh, if it were me, I probably would've lost my heart to the heartless out of sheer terror. Otherwise, love seeing snippets like this a lot. It was great!
 

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The long and short of it is that writer's block is terrible, life threw a few curveballs, and I ended up putting this chapter to the side when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. In combining IV + V together, you get what's possibly the longest chapter in setting the groundwork for Destati. The next chapter will see us doing things like branching into other worlds, and, hopefully, touching on the villains that we just might have to face in doing so.
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Chapter V - Convergence ( 2 )




He couldn’t recall the last time he had smelled darkness this foul. It had slipped from his mind after spending so long traversing the lanes between the World. With how transient it was, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But it didn’t. Traverse Town had almost always seemed infected with the taint of Darkness, no matter how hard people tried to bring their own light to the world of refuge. None could truly manage such a thing, he thought. It was just an impossibility born of their own desires.

It was…sad.

“Such peculiar Somethings…” They held hope. It wasn’t like the place that danced at the edge of his memory. A place of broad ecosystems and crisp sands. He thought that the answers would be there waiting for him if he waited long enough; a cure to the questions that had plagued his mind for so, so long. Why did they feel hope? Why did they hold out, despite their homes being swallowed by Darkness? He bode his time. He watched and he waited, and yet the answer never came to him, despite his best efforts. It left him frustrated, well and truly frustrated, or perhaps, it was just a memory of the sensation that leapt to the opportunity of being recollected.

He shook his head at the nonsensical thought, banishing phantoms of the past away with but a brief adjustment of his hood over his head. Then, smoothing out his coat, he left the gripping shadows of the alleyway behind, mindlessly twitching his fingers to lance through a Heartless that had attempted to creep behind him.

So many pests. I have quite the feeling that this will be interesting…

The scent he had caught earlier tugged at his memory. Light. Bright and scalding, like an alleviating balm and a repulsive flame all in the same token. Nyx felt as if…he could look forward to that.

Now, it seems, would be the time to seek this scent.

Yes, this had the opportunity to get a little more interesting than he thought possible.


Perhaps this was what he had been waiting for this entire while.





Suihei’s eyes fluttered open once more. Soft. Her bed? A part of her wondered if she’d gotten into her mom’s drinks again. She hoped not, it was a mistake that she swore she’d never do again. The dull throb at the back of her head told her that it wasn’t though, and the ache in her chest, unmistakable as it was, had settled into something less agonizing. “Nngh, where am I…?”

She hoped not, it’d be absolutely terrible if she did. Awash with a peculiar feeling after stirring awake, she could barely take stock of her surroundings. Everything was fuzzy. Her ears were ringing. There was a slight, metallic taste at the back of her mouth that she attributed to bumping her chin off something really hard. She nearly leapt out of her own skin when, after her eyes opened, she came eye to eye – or perhaps nose to nose, with a young woman. The scream that rolled in Suihei’s throat died off immediately, her body pushing itself back against the wall as she gave the woman an awfully scrutinizing glance. Was she going to get kidnapped? She curled her fingers into the plush sheets of the bed, lips pinched together in clear apprehension. Ignoring the hammering of her heart in her chest was easy. It seemed natural to do at this point. It wasn’t easy to just ignore that she had ended up somewhere else.

It just took a moment to calm down, was all. “Uh, hey…” Suihei greeted with an awkward twist of her hair between her fingers. “You guys aren’t going to kidnap me or anything, right? I don’t—ngh.” Her head gave a sharp throb. Suihei gritted her teeth at the near unbearable headache that seemed so attached to her.

“What? Why would we kidnap you?” Clearing the fog from her head was a voice with the most peculiar accent. “Are you alright? No daydreaming now.” Bright, way too chipper for its own good. Who could be so…happy this early in the morning? And her ears wouldn’t stop ringing either. Ugh.

Squinting, Suihei tilted her head to the side. Orange? It was bright. So, so, so bright that she got a little frustrated at the sight alone. “Who…?” She couldn’t entirely bring her focus around. Every time she tried, there was a dull throb of her head and a slighter ache in her chest. “Quistis…?” No, no, it wasn’t the girl that Suihei knew as an early graduate. The colors were way too garish to be anything along whatever train of thought her brain was taking.

“Sorry, what? My name’s Vanille! Oerba Dia Vanille! At your service!” Her voice was just as bubbly as Marlene’s on a good day.

Blinking rapidly, Suihei focused her eyes on the blurry silhouette.

Once Suihei did, she noticed how bright the woman’s hair was. Coloured a vivid red, they were curled in twin pigtails. She only looked slightly older than Suihei, albeit, with a bizarre fashion sense that left the young girl blinking.

A pink halter top all but mingled with a bright yellow and orange skirt. Heavy boots followed the young woman’s motions, with several bracelets clattering together as her fingers interlaced. What was up with that? Was she some sort of performer or something? The smile on the woman’s face was far from unkind, so, fortunately, it seemed as if the kidnapping idea had been tossed right on its head.

But then, where did they come from? What did they want with her? Answers seemed to enjoy eluding her today, which left Suihei in a less than flattering mood. “My name’s…Suihei.” Even if she had a throbbing headache, she had the grace to recall her manners. Distastefully, she thought of how her grandma would react if she had spat something foul instead of introducing herself in turn.

“I think you might’ve hit her a little too hard, Light…” Although the voice carried some form of amusement, there was also concern there. That threw Suihei for a loop.

“She talked too much.” Another voice quipped fluidly. Suihei recognized it instantly. She nearly stumbled out of bed in her attempt to whip herself over to the rose haired woman that deigned it appropriate to recline against the wall with every ounce of nonchalance she could muster. She didn’t even look like she cared at the mild look of offense that crossed Suihei’s features, responding only with a slight notch of the brow that expressed far more than Suihei ever thought possible. Annoyance.

“And you can’t complain too much. It stopped them from being too active.”

Them?

Suihei’s question was answered by the other woman – the one with the bright outfit. Vanille. She reminded herself. “I guess…” Her mysterious savior gave a nibble of her bottom lip. Despite the telltale sign of discomfort on her face, Suihei felt like she was missing something in that moment. “But the Heartless are always there, y’know?” Vanille gave Lightning a look out of the corner of her eye – there was no satisfaction there, only worry.

Fed up with the lack of answers, Suihei tossed her arms up in the air, drawing the attention of both women from their silent conversation.

Suddenly feeling awkward at two sets of eyes falling onto her, she looked down to her knees, “What are the Heartless, exactly?” Suihei asked, fingers awkwardly rising to toy with her hair again. The untamable mass of locks often found themselves under assault by her whenever she had the misfortune of overthinking things.

Lightning was reticent. Prying answers from her seemed to be impossible. Vanille seemed just as hesitant, but opened her mouth, prepared to share pertinent information.

So it came as a surprise when Lightning spoke first, turning her wayward gaze from the skies towards the younger woman in the room. “Darkness made manifest,” She began, pushing herself off the wall with a foot. There wasn’t a need to explain everything. Not the theories or the ideas that they had come up with on their origin. Just fact. What they knew. That was all they needed to get by. Seeing Suihei’s confused look, Lightning elaborated. “When a Heart is consumed by the Darkness within, it separates from the body, which gives it shape, and the soul, which gives it logic.” Her fingers bit into the leathers of her gloves, causing the material to creak. “They don’t tire. They don’t weaken. And they’ll keep coming back, no matter how often you put them down.”

There was no hysteria in Lightning’s tone. Only the bitterness that rose from failure. A bitterness that seemed only matched by the flash of uncertainty on Vanille’s face.

Suihei’s shoulders sagged at the explanation, feeling as hopeless as Lightning looked bitter. Was it even possible with that explanation in mind? She wasn’t a doctor or anything, but she was sure that something could’ve live without a Heart. It didn’t make any sense at all! Her fingers clenched together in against her shorts. Regardless of what she thought…it just seemed impossible. The girl sagged her shoulders at that. It wasn’t impossible, was it?



“Unless you have the keyblade.” Vanille interjected. She smiled helplessly, leaning forward slightly to peer carefully into Suihei’s eyes. She hummed a light tune thoughtfully as she looked her over. After a moment, she rested her hand atop Suihei’s head. “At least, that’s what the legend says…” Vanille trialed off. Maybe she was overthinking it. There had always been legends shared throughout history. Some of them were fabricated. Others were distorted. There was always a chance that she was wrong, that they were wrong, but she was willing to take that chance.

Suihei’s eyes followed Vanille’s as they trailed across the room, her eyes catching sight of that weapon propped up next to Lightning. “Keyblade…”

“Yep!” Vanille chirped, springing up from her crouched position to skip into the center of the room. She rocked on her heels as though bundling with energy. “We had- well, Light had to uhm…knock you out so they didn’t follow you? Just to shake them off for a little while!” She turned to face Suihei with a sheepish smile, twining her hands behind her back. “Guess that’s how they were tracking you down.”

“It was the only way to keep you out of the way.” Lightning said bitingly as she set a hand on her hip. “But it’s not guaranteed. So long as you have that, they’ll probably keep after you. It’s ridiculous to think that it would pick a kid like you.” Her tone derisive as she scoffed that out.


Suihei’s eyes met Lightning’s furiously. Her jaw tensed with an urge to scream, emotional and physical fatigue eating at her spirits. What did she know? What did she know? About such a stupid weapon in the first place?! She watched as the woman picked the Keyblade up and looked it over before giving it a needlessly impressive twirl. Almost instantly, the weapon shattered into multifaceted light of purples and whites, disappearing from Lightning’s grip and reappearing in Suihei’s. She balked in surprise at the sudden weight, recalling the way it appeared in her hands back at home.

“But I guess that means that things are a lot more serious than we thought, right?” Vanille was nursing a look of worry, wringing her still locked fingers together.

Questions, questions, more questions. It seemed to be constant, now. It was one thing to have people babble about asinine things like the heart, but this was on another level entirely…

“I don’t understand any of this. Why don’t you guys start making sense?!” Suihei yelled.


Vanille paused, a flash of gloom dancing across her countenance as she took in the sight of the young woman. Sad. She looked sad, Vanille realized. Like she was lost and confused and, “Suihei…” Vanille whispered, looking over to Lightning, who appeared to be as impartial as ever.







“We’re not serving here! The inn is closed, sorry!” It was with a long-suffering grimace that his features contorted into something resembling annoyance. It would have been something else if this wasn’t the fifth time this had happened to him, Noxic noted sourly. He curled his hands into fists at his side, disbelief flashing across his face as he pointedly eyed the gaudy OPEN sign dangling from the door.

He had wanted to stop for a few potions. Maybe a room to get some sleep. Something to take care of himself instead of just—running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Better than doin’ that, at least. “C’mon, this place is clearly still open, who th’heck are y’tryna fool here?!” His foot tapped against the hardwood floor impatiently, crimson eyes burning with nothing but revulsion at the clear disservice.

“You don’t have pants Sir.” For his credit, the innkeeper didn’t even look too bothered by the menacing glint that sparked in Noxic’s eye like wildfire. He just drawled on like it wasn’t a big deal, “That’s public indecency. We can’t allow you to say here-“

Without really thinking on it, Noxic reacted. He leaned forward, lips curling into a grin that revealed decisively sharp fangs for an herbivore. The sudden discomfort that settled on the human’s face was well worth it. “How ‘bout ya stop foolin’ around and rent me a room, eh? Even rabbits gotta sleep…” Noxic thought he argued his point fairly well. He was willing to continue, too, if not for the abrupt SLAM of a door down the hall.

Locking his eyes onto the brunette that admittedly looked like she’d seen better days, Noxic scoffed. What was that? Emotional anguish or somethin’? Geeze, that kid didn’t know the half of it. He eyed her scornfully for a few minutes, watching as she paced back and forward in anxiety before she turned on her heel and stormed right out of the inn, inadvertently bumping against him with her shoulder in her haste.

Noxic scowled. “Agh! What the-?! Hey, you?! What’s your de-“ Noxic didn’t even get to get his complaint out. Attempting to brush off the situation was harder than he thought. Shoveling his hands into his pockets, the red-eyed rabbit exited the inn with a flare of his nostrils. Ugh, how annoyin’.

Even as he tried to take his focus elsewhere, it ended up being drawn right to the shadows that were creeping up from the ground. It seemed like everyone wanted him to have a terrible time today. Because clearly he wasn’t gonna be gettin’ any form of peace. With a noise of disgust, he brought his foot down on the Heartless hard enough for it to disperse into a few wispy tendrils.

Annoyed at the encounter, the lagomorph’s crimson eyes all but glimmered with vindictive promise.

Now to find that brat for bumping into him.


Suihei’s rush had taken her right beyond the inn and to the open plaza with a small, tinkling fountain set in the middle. Captivated by the sight of sparkling waters, she came to rest her forearms against a railing and thought about the conversation she had with Lightning, with Vanille. An eye-opening revelation that had left her feeling more burdened than lighthearted.

She was in another World. A fantastical thing, something that seemed to be right out of her dreams and muddled with nightmares. How long had she thought about seeing other places? How often had she thought about seeing greener pastures, away from the mundane life that she would’ve otherwise been resigned to? Desperately, she wanted to believe that this was a dream. What else could it have been? “Heartless.” She tested the word on her mouth and decided then, that she hated them.

I haven’t thought this through, Suihei realized with no small amount of bitterness coiling into her stomach. Bringing a hand up to run through her spiked locks, she grumbled beneath her breath, “I can’t believe I’m in another World…” Suihei wished she could have told someone, she wished that she could have someone from home here, with her, to share in that experience. Even Caius, as rude as he was, would’ve been preferential to being alone.


Suihei heard the whoosh of air displacing before she could even see them.

Yet she nearly stumbled over her own feet once a purple-black light flashed at the edge of her vision. Quickly, she turned herself away from the fountain, hands clasping against the railing to support herself. She stayed as still as a statue, not daring to move, not even for a second. She could barely breathe, barely think as she took stock of the sheer amount of Shadows rising from the ground. One became two, then four then eight - until just well over a dozen set of eyes were peering at her from the shadows.

There were even a few others with strange...armor interspersed throughout the dark beasts.

More? There were- more?

They were that close. They had been right behind her. So close--

Tha-thump, tha-thump. Her heart was pounding in fear. No, not fear. Terror. She was terrified of these things. Terrified to the point that even watching them left her wanting to veer away from the district and hide as fast as she could.

There was a peculiar scent in the air, one that Suihei quickly deduced to being relevant to the twang of these...Heartless. Cool like winter. Crisp like decaying leaves. But it didn't quite fit her memory of hot chocolate or raking leaves for a little extra munny. There was something unnaturally foul about it. Something that left her throat feeling like it was fighting back gags.

Like a parasite, her fear ate at her, leaving her standing in place with a slight tremor. She took a deep breath, stomping her foot down in order to clear out her thoughts. Her mom's mom- her grandma, would be more liable to slap at her heels for standing there when she could've been doing something.

They scared the crap out of her, this was true, but...

Being afraid wouldn't change anything.

She didn't get the reprieve of a moment. She didn't get a chance to think.

She moved before she could think.

Planting the balls of her feet onto the railing that her hands had been gripping just moments before, she vaulted back, leaping off the rail only to--!

SPLASH!

Land right in the fountain that was located beneath it. If the cold bite of water splashing against her legs didn't wake her up, then the Shadows leaping forward like a dark storm.

By that point, her gloved hands slapped against the edge of the fountain, arms tensing as she all but threw herself out of it with enough force for her sneakers to skid across the ground. It would've been hilarious if she wasn't so terrified, but just seeing one of the creatures with their claws outstretched with the intent to steal her Heart caused something in her stomach to churn and click.

Her first instinct was to run. It was natural. When flight or fight came in, Suihei had always been one of the first to say 'See ya another day!’ But now--

Now I can fight.

It was important to remember that. It was important to do what she could do now. Vanille had said it. Only the Keyblade could do this, so she had to. Not just for her, but her mom too. Just the thought of her family being taken by these things filled her with a rotten feeling of hate, a dull pain in her chest that definitely wasn't just from the earlier wound. She couldn’t overthink this. She had to do something, and she realized that with such an intense feeling in her chest that she wasn’t time to think.

There was only time to react.

She sidestepped, she ducked, and despite the fear she felt, barreled forward, desperately grasping at what she was quickly coming to realize as the 'trigger' to calling forward her Keyblade. It wasn't unlike tugging on a string, with the 'twang' causing Kingfisher to form into her hand from pure willpower alone. Its weight seemed like nothing when she flicked her wrist upwards. Ease brought about from years of kendo saw the weapon sliding through the Shadow that thought itself clever by slithering in front of her, dispersing it in purplish wisps.

Suihei didn't bother stopping. Shoes slammed against the pavement as she ran forward blindly. Whenever a Heartless leapt forward, she bat it aside with ruthless efficiency, trying her best to tuck thoughts of fear away by reminding herself of what she had to fight forward. She continued forward to the building that looked vaguely like a cathedral, abruptly turning on her heel and darting to her immediate left. Her eyes widened in surprise, but also delight.

There were doors there.

That meant there was a chance to herd them somewhere else.

Suihei ran as fast as she could, marveling at each stride, which seemed to come far, far easier than what she expected, given her long night. She couldn’t wonder what exactly was going on for too long, for Heartless remained at her heels, like a tidal wave of darkness that seemed fully intent on devouring her whole. In that moment, she felt panic swell in her heart once more. Every step brought the chill she was trying to escape closer. Every tap­ of her sneakers hitting the ground found itself muffled by skittering claws across the ground.

One. Two. Three. The door was so close, and in her haste to simply get through, she rammed as hard as she could with her shoulder, paying no mind to the audible crack the wood gave as she tried to keep herself ahead of the horde.

Suihei broke through, she leapt across a railing, just barely managing to regain her balance enough to pivot on her heel and stare at the collection of shadows.

And in that moment, she could only think with determination to see this through. Warmth bubbled up in her chest once more, something that she was beginning to associate with Keyblade as the night went on. She hated it, she hated it more than anything, but…

She wouldn’t run anymore.


He was beginning to find this entire ordeal bothersome.

Nyx had not noticed it at first, blinded as he was by the searing light teasing at the periphery of his awareness, but aside from the odd impulse that he should investigate, there was a taint of Darkness on the air that seemed to make the fur on the back of his neck stand.

Nyx didn’t doubt that this was the result of his awareness, and in annoyance, he tapped his clawed feet against the cool pavement of the floor. It was something he did often, connect his non-being to the mystical font of planets. He had long since learned that it assisted with his ability to sense, despite being nothing.

So it came as a surprise where, near the incandescent Light, he felt more than saw a Darkness that wasn’t entirely chaotic.

It had a mind. It was intelligent.

Nyx was not able to stop himself, nor could he stop the trickle of ire that seemed to roll down his spine. Extending his non-being, he disappeared with a displacement of air, only to reappear but a few feet higher than intended.

That…

Was not calculated.


Thunk. THUNK. THUNK.

Before Suihei realized what had happened, there was a sharp, abrupt weight on her that seemed to come from too many directions at once. Certain that she hadn’t gotten slower, but hesitant to think of the repercussions that could come if she didn’t react quick, the young woman pushed herself up with a battlecry, Keyblade pointed skyward downward to strike the first…fuzzy thing that landed on her?

Wait, fuzzy? Suihei couldn’t wrap her mind around that before she found that her blow had been intercepted. Suspended but a foot above the first figure hexagonal shapes that seemed opaque. Relieved, if not confused, she came to a second realization.

Her foot was mashing against something.

“Get y’er foot outta my face before I lop it off!” Came a hiss. The accent was unlike anything she had ever heard before. Choppy, yet somehow still sophisticated to her ears. Gruff. It was the strangest thing she had ever heard in her life. Suihei withdrew her leg as if she burned, and the other creature beneath her seemed to react as if her touch had burned him, pressing his face away from her as soon as the opportunity presented itself..

The other figure, a cat? Seemed just as revolted at both of their touch. Dizziness teased at Suihei’s mind, because she was sure, she was positively sure, that this wasn’t normal. Like liquid, that cat twisted himself out of the pile of limbs, sleeves fluttering by his side. It seemed to slow his descent.

“Something.” Came his voice. Light, airy, yet almost like a whisper. Suihei couldn’t help but listen anyways, and if the shift of her leg said anything, neither could the guy beneath her. “Darkness spawn.” Yes, there was a hiss of disbelief beneath her leg. “I believe that there are more pressing matters than your petty arguments.”

Disentangling herself, Suihei planted her hands against the pavement, whirling on the feline despite the shaky knees. “My name is Suihei! Not Something you overgrown cat!”


“Is it? That is pleasant.” The cat shrugged. His features were obscured beneath a white coat that appeared two or three sizes too big. Leathery material, maybe, with the only disruption in colors being the purple bands that teased at the hem of his coat and the tip of his hood. Stranger still was the emblem at the center of his hood.

Dully, she realized that now wasn’t the time for introductions. She hadn’t thought of that until she picked up something. A displacement of air. There was a moment of incredulity at the motion, so fast that she barely saw it. What?
Threads of darkness pulsed from a pole held in the grip of the person that had been beneath her. Now that she had a good look, Suihei could tell that he was a…rabbit. Wearing a sense of smug satisfaction on his face, he canted his head to the side. Mocking her. Slowly turning around, Suihei could only blink at the Shadow lanced through by what appeared to be a..blade? But it was attached to the rabbit’s staff. A... , scythe. That was strange.

But then she came to the realization that she had almost been speared through by the Heartless caught midair, and felt her breath catch in her throat. Suihei sighed in relief, bringing a hand up to her chest to soothe the staccato of her heart bashing against her ribcage.

“Noxic.” The rabbit said in his gruff tone, looking at her like she had done something to warrant it. Suihei decided then, that if she had to deal with the cat that seemed way too sarcastic, or the rabbit that looked as if he had a grudge on his person, she would rather deal with the cat. With a flourish, the ra- Noxic, hoisted the weapon onto his shoulders, ignoring both the look of unease that Suihei gave him, and the reprimanding sigh at the edge of the feline’s throat.

“Nyx will suffice.” The feline begrudgingly introduced himself, twisting his body to gaze upon the scrabbling assortment of Heartless that followed the girl. “I do wish that you both would not waste time in a situation so dire.”

Frustration rushed down Suihei’s body like wildfire. Just who did both of these guys think they were?! Noxic’s eyes narrowed. Apparently she was not the only one to be provoked by such haughty behavior.

“I’d say it’s awesome to meet the both of you!” She tried to joke, but it fell flat on its face. Something between annoyance and exasperation settled into the pit of her stomach, scrubbing away the lead weight of fear that seemed to paralyze her most of the night. Drawing her keyblade in front of her with her left hand, Suihei supported her grip with the right. The guard was awkward, ungainly and unfamiliar when it came to the kendo that she practiced, but it also seemed to fit just right. “But I doubt either of you would get that!”

Suihei could feel the stares at the back of her head.

Prepared to say something else to quell the budding air of awkwardness, she barely noticed the cat – Nyx – blur ahead of her but two steps. The air around him seemed to rapidly chill, cooling off and condensing into beads right in front of her eyes. She was curious as to what he was doing, at least until she watched lances of ice materialize in front of him and dart forward at the shadows that dared to get close. Amazed, Suihei wasn’t ashamed to admit that she stared for a second. She stared more when when the lances of ice exploded outward, shredding the Heartless that slithered forward like serpents.

Countless questions baited at her mind, but going by the disgruntled stare on Noxic’s face, it was nothing he had never seen before.

In fact, Noxic twirled his twin-ended scythe like the blades of a chopper, sparks of purple fire dancing along the end of each blade. He delved into the midst of the shadows that seemed to leap forward at some invisible signal. Cutting. Twisting. Contorting his body in ways that would have made her sick if she wasn’t legitimately impressed by it. He moved with a an ease that spoke of practice. Tongues of flames burned through every Heartless in his path.


It took all of Suihei’s pride to keep from saying anything that could have been construed as insensitive.

But they were both ahead of her. Handling a situation that had been foisted on her. It wasn’t something she was able to handle, and her resolve, which had emboldened her already, pushed her into rushing forward. She couldn’t sit back and do nothing. She wouldn’t sit back and do nothing. Kingfisher glinting in hand, she slashed horizontally, bursting the few Shadows that crept from the ground into plumes of black smoke. An odious stench rose in the air, matched only by the cloying Darkness that blinded her.

“Get down!”

Suihei obeyed without thinking, dropping into a crouch so fast that she surprised herself. It was good that she moved too, because the rabbit’s scythe came swinging through the place her head had been moments prior. Ichor splattered across her face, causing her to gag in disgust. Suihei wasn’t ashamed to admit that she was prepared to chew the—Noxic out for his hasty action.

Another Heartless leapt forward, claws extended towards her chest. It’d steal her Heart. Make..more of those things. And that was not something that Suihei would take sitting down. Grunting in exertion, Suihei parried the claws with her blade, muscles screaming in exertion at the abrupt, jarring weight of shadowy musculature pushing as much power as it could into overwhelming her. She was tired or it was strong. Either option didn’t appeal to her in the least. It made Suihei’s eyes tear up in frustration, and desperately, she pushed back.


Then, the strangest thing happened. The iridescent blue lining her Keyblade glimmered. Vines of light rolled along the edge of the blade, and the Heartless’ claws were shorn through like wet mache. Disgusted by the reaction, Suihei was nearly too slow when another Heartless sheared through its comrade to reach her. They were relentless, Suihei thought. Pursuing her just as Lightning had said they would. Muffling her shock, Suihei rose her blade to fend it off.

A sudden bolt of ice speared through the heartless, its body pinned to the ground. Rapidly freezing, its limbs reached out in a futile attempt to grab her. The crack of another lance spearing through the air split the heartless’ hand in twine. It jittered as if it were freezing, and its shadowy form was crushed beneath a merciless crack of ice that shattered it into dust.

Suihei looked over her shoulder in amazement to Nyx, who locked eyes with her, but refused to offer platitudes.

“Do not lose sight of your focus.” He chastised, eyes scanning around for Noxic, who had peeled away from Suihei as soon as he finished swiping through.

The rabbit hardly seemed bothered by the odds he was facing. He met the Heartless’ attacks with ferocity, meeting its attacks with blazing fists and scythe alike in a maelstrom of flesh and steel. Pushing it down into the ground, Noxic stomped hard enough for the Heartless to disperse. He used his powerful legs to leap over efficiently, spinning vertically to hook a Heartless by its chin and sheer through the top with another wet sounding pop.

Suihei wasn’t sure when they managed to stop. Her heart was pounding against her ribcage as she continued to hack and stab and slash at every Heartless that managed to crop up. Sticking close to Nyx seemed to be the most reasonable option. What few enemies managed to slip behind their choppy synchronization were disposed of with sweeps of the scythe, courtesy of Noxic. Thankfully, Suihei and Nyx were close enough that they could nudge and push one another out of the way with elbows. She’d be sore by the time morning came, Suihei thought, grimacing whenever Nyx’s elbow bit into her ribs sharply to nudge her out of the way.

By the time they finished mowing down the Heartless, Suihei was sticky with sweat and exertion. She fell to her backside, seeking a few second reprieve.


Nyx scoffed derisively as she did so. Fortunately, it wasn’t geared in her direction, but instead towards Noxic, who bristled with indignity at the noise.

“Do you not think of risks when you battle?” Nyx asked him scathingly, his voice like a whip. A chill swept up Suihei’s spine, and she didn’t have to look up to know that Noxic was scowling.

“No, I kinda don’t think when I’m in th’thick of it.” He retorted, shooting down the argument before it began. He hated the cat. What little of his face Noxic could see was too smug for its own good. And his voice grated on him. Shifting his weapon over his shoulder, Noxic raked his eyes across what had turned into a battlefield quickly. Movement caught his eye, and he turned around, drawing Suihei and Nyx’s attention. He frowned, inspecting the patchwork blobs of darkness that seemed to ripple and shift in the corners furthest from the fountains. In curiosity, he leaned forward. Shades peppered the cobblestone, creeping closer like gnarled fingers interweaving with one another.

“Somethin’s comin’.”

Suihei jolted onto her feet, brandishing her weapon in surprise. “What?” she asked in disbelief, brows creasing together in disgust. She was unable to get her answer verbally, because it was answered by the sharp clang of metal. Realizing that it was the bel lfrom a nearby church, Suihei raked her gaze around. She stopped when she noticed what Noxic did.

From the shadows came a gangly figure, warped with metal. Sinister golden eyes shone luminously from the dark, and a long, purple tongue dribbled with saliva as it stalked with jerking motions. In the glimmer of the lights offered by lamps, Suihei could make out razor-sharp teeth. It was disconcerting to look at. It dimmed the lights around them considerably, as if it were attempting to suck out all the light of the district in order to fuel the metallic bits woven throughout its hide.

Suihei’s face wrinkled in distaste, as did Noxic’s. Nyx kept his expression schooled, and observed as crackles of lightning darted across the plates that coated the Heartless’ forearms.

The Heartless gave an earth-rumbling cry, and leapt forward towards the trio, intent on devouring its prey.
 
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KingdomKey

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This was magical in the best way possible. I absolutely love how Suihei, Nyx, and Noxic met each other for the first time. Or how well Suihei and Nyx work together in a fight against the heartless. And Noxic is so freaking cute despite being refused a room at the inn. You poor rabbit. </3 And I like the evident of frustration in Suihei's voice about her situation and understanding of what's going on too. Nice to see Vanille and Lightning are together though. :) Great chapter as always, Arcana-Key!
 

Arcana-Key

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Unfortunately, as school and work kind of eat my life away, I don't have much in the way of time or energy to focus on fiction writing. While I got as far as the fifth chapter, a lack of motivation on my end caused the story to get stagnant, and it's been sitting on my hard-drive for the last few months. I may pick up on it in a few months, but for the time being, I'm putting a hiatus on the story; the universe itself is still around, and I do still write supplementary stuff on it, but I was a bit too ambitious and plotting out three 'books' was going to be murder on my entire, whole dang spirit. For that reason, I decided to go on ahead and post the timeline for the time being; at the very least, you guys can at least look into my character notes, hah.

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I genuinely do appreciate the interest though ; any other questions, or comments, or discussion about the direction in which this may have gone are free to be asked. I'll probably revisit it when I get the time, but uuuh​ full time work and full time school are a danger to my emotional power.
 
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