I dont remember leaving the dark.
Youd think you would, you know, after wandering around, tripping over who-knows-what for His-Ratness-knows how long, youd think youd realize when youd emerged into light.
The darkness just started to creep away, tucking its tail (funny, I thought I cut that off) between its legs and tentatively backing up. I can smell, rather than see, light making its entrance.
Oh, its nothing like Soras light. God forbid I have that blinding monstrosity make an appearance here. No, I get crouching, creeping light that glimmers in the way the light in the bathroom does.
Bright enough to show you where you should be going, but dim enough that you piss all over the seat and your sister yells at you in the morning.
Not that I had a sister.
A couple steps forward and water splashes beneath my feet. As a reflex, I look down and see-
Nothing. Ive still got a blindfold on. Big surprise there. I reach up to pull the thing off, just for a moment, its not like Sora will jump out to yell ANSEM EYES! or
whatever I believed he and Kairi would do if I didnt wear it. The world shades itself into focus like an etching, the blurry textures becoming more solid.
Man, those were fun as a little kid. Running around with a piece of charcoal and paper, imprinting everything on it from palm trees to Soras shoes. We had to work hard to get that last one; the idiot kept moving and I practically had to staple his Restless-Leg-Syndrome-prone ankle to the ground to get the etching of his shoe. And Kairi was standing there, giggling the whole time, putting her hand up to her mouth to cover it.
How the heck does a twelve-year old know how to be coy? Theyre supposed to just have trouble realizing guys are not girls at that age, arent they? Bloody
The world has shaded itself now, becoming grey and black with white pinpoints of light glowing like the lights of Disney Castle. Ive gone bloody monochrome. Fantastic.
and, apparently, insane.
Wheeled metal surrounds me.
A deranged form of heartless? A failed form of heartless? None of them move even though Im right in the middle of them, fully within range of attack. No bloodthirsty breathing, no tear of claws on ground like Ive grown used to. May as well shoot a spell at them
Wow. This is heavier. The dim light reflects off the keyblade brighter and it feels heavier, more solid and real than before. It always weighs next to nothing when its summoned
its because Im the true keyblade master, it should be light!
--maybe this is what its like for those who try to take Soras keyblade from him? Its so heavy they cant hold it? Bugger that, this isnt Soras, its mine! This doesnt even make sense! If Sora made my keyblade somehow heavier as some kind of joke, I swear, Ill rip his
Or I could just rip the pseudo-heartless apart. Thats what Im good at.
The thing utterly fails to balk and run when I approach it. The sign of either a strong heartless or a stupid one. Two seconds later, when my slash-and-kill lust is temporarily satisfied and it looks like the wrong end of a Heartless ship against Soras trigger-happy Gummi finger, I decide to opt for the latter.
The other wheeled metals still havent moved, even though the one I destroyed is letting out a pitiful wail. One more good whack and the sound dies.
Well, that accomplished silence, but I was hoping for a bit more than that.
Arent there more heartless? This is starting to get to me
there must be heartless. This is just a different area of Kingdom Hearts after all; its not as if
With a black squiggle and a poof, one wriggles its way out of the ground. Tightening my grip on the keyblades hilt, its all I can do to stare.
The body is rounder, sleek and black and round like a
like something I dont know, this hasnt happened before! Its claws gleam sharply and the sudden notion that they can actually rip and tear yanks on the light switch in my head.
There can be blood here.
But when has that bothered me? Leaping in, I thrash the black head from the shoulders and it poofs and vanishes as it dies. Riku triumphs again! My ego is restored and the keyblade dissolves. Funny how it knows when to do that
I know I dont tell it to but it just does. Maybe theres a counter somewhere that assesses how many heartless were there when it showed up and how many bashes it takes to kill them.
But using that logic, it should have disappeared in the middle of every boss battle I ever fought. And what about Ansem, who never really dies? Never mind.
The quiet here is eerie. Now that the metallic wail has died and the heartless vanished, the lights humming becomes audible. The last time I heard that was in Traverse Town, near the electric wires powering that pointless giant star. Upon closer inspection, these lights have that same strange roundness. A solidity.
Do I have it too?
A mirror, need to find a mirror
Im not Kairi, cant pull one out of thin air and check my hair like she did when we were kids. Man, she loved that little golden hand-mirror until Sora broke the clasp being dumb. How can such an idiot get the girl? Constantly running around, saving the world, and yet he can come home to a girl whose hand mirror he broke trying to find out how many times he could open and close it in fifteen seconds.
never mind the fact that I was the one timing him.
Light bounces off the shop windows. Funny, they never seemed so glassy before
the reflection is like staring into a lake.
Is that me?
Wow. I have to lean closer to get a better look. Never mind the fact that I havent seen myself or much of anything for a long time
Im sure I wouldnt look like this. The black-clad, glaring, Ansem-eyed man (wasnt I a teen when I slammed the door? Fourteen
how old am I now?) staring out with that perplexed, fingers-just-slammed-in-the-door expression is definitely me but
The man fingers the end of his long silver hair and my glove grates across the individual pieces. Strands of silver hair gleam brightly against the black fingers of my gloves. Now, I know I have strands of hair. Everyone has strands of hair, even crazy Sora, though his like to defy gravity. But
Ive never felt them before. Never seen them individually before.
Its weird. Hair is supposed to come in clumps, clusters of hair, pointed and unmovable. Well, of course they move when I fight but come on, hair is clustered. But mine has
come apart? The hell?
Im not Sora. I dont need hair gel to make my hair be normal in the morning. Im actually one of the few who knows the three bottles of Cids SuperTastic Hair Potion he uses every morning, the sneaky fop. Of course, hes the only one who knows I roll out of bed looking like Sephiroth and have to viciously comb my bangs out of joint to lose that. It was why I kept my hair so short before slamming the door and losing all access to scissors forever. (The keyblade cant cut, it merely bashes)
Now Ill be lucky if people dont start screaming for certain blonde mercenaries and start looking for black Materia in the sky when I walk up.
But aside from the hair
I look rounder as well, in the same way as the heartless. This is odd, since I should be emaciated. The main fare in Kingdom Hearts is Heartless and well
The one time I tried to cook a Heartless, it tasted like
eating Maleficents cooking. The witch doesnt (or didnt, shes dead now if I remember right) know any methods of cooking something other than deep fat frying it (and Hook was always complaining about finding his hair care bottle missing after she cooked, so I can guess where she found her grease) or magicking it (the last time she tried that, we had to force feed it to one of the Behemoths
Im under the impression that was the only reason Sora could beat it.). So her cooking always turns out slippery and greasy. Eating it is like swallowing a moray eel thats been swimming in toxic waste.
Puking is mandatory.
Heartless, both for memories of Maleficent and for tasting like theyd been bathed in Petes armpits, were immediately nixed from the menu and their nixing put a new vigor into my killing them.
So, I survived in Kingdom Hearts, which Im starting to realize isnt here, by scraping moss off rocks and drinking from running streams. I dont know where the streams came from and I dont know how the moss grew where there is no light, but I do know that both tasted awful.
I peer into the window and spot rows of things. Knickknacks? It looks like the kind of store Kairi could spend a day in, rows of wooden clocks, sculptures, teapots, candlesticks
rather like the Beasts Castle actually.
If I ever get back, Im going to take her to that refuge of living cutlery. Just to see her face when the candlestick starts dancing around and she gets served dinner by perpetually grinning plates, spoons, teacups, and gravy boats. Kairi would love it.
Sora would probably try to smash it though. The kid seems like hed spaz if a frog jumps at him at the wrong time, I cant imagine what hed do to dancing dishes who belt out showtunes at the drop of a hat.
As I remember, they didnt sing when I went there. Then again, I didnt sing while I was there either, so I guess that makes us even. My singing voice, Sora says, is like listening to a deep sea clam try to sing Hit me baby one more time physically painful and family-reunion-style embarrassing.
Of course, he could sing it with the original feminine voice, the brat. That recording he did on Atlantica ended up echoing even into Kingdom Hearts. Now that was physically painful. His voice probably still hasnt changed.
Now, to find some food
my stomach is throwing daggers at my brain with an unusual accuracy. Obviously, eating antiques isnt an option, so
There has to be a shop, or something. Dragged on by hunger, I start peering into windows down the street as my feet carry me on who-knows-where. The sky is getting lighter. Morning?
Its been a while since Ive seen those colors. You dont realize youre supposed to appreciate the reds, oranges, and purples until theyre gone. The vantage point from my tree back on the Island was great, you could see everything on the horizon over the bright waves, but I didnt stare up often enough. Staring at the stars at night and trying to pick out which ones were planets was more routine.
Sunrises and sunsets were for Sora and Kairi. I know because after I would go home for dinner, theyd run out there and sit on the tree and hold hands and giggle like puppies.
You say puppies dont giggle but if you sat there, and you watched them, you would say that if puppies giggled, thats what theyd sound like.
Im on a tangent again.
Anyway, with morning approaching at his back, the valiant Riku strode gallantly down the street in search of sustenance (and food while he was at it) with his long-bloody-Sephiroth-impersonating-traitorous hair streaming down his back and making him look oh-for-crying-out-loud-so-freaking feminine and his long legs eating up the ground in his quest for food
All right, there are some things you just shouldnt do in narrating your own story. I think I just got all of them into that sentence.
The skys wrapped itself in light blues now and red is starting to shine with yellow, like blood staining an egg yoke. That was almost poetic, if it hadnt gotten disgusting at the end.
Something always has to die in my metaphors.
This place appears to be bedecked in grey. Yes, I realize bedecked should be out of my vocabulary, but since there is just no other way to describe that nutcase Marluxia but bedecked in flowers, its there legally. Marluxia isnt human.
Then again, technically, none of the Organization is, since they all just seem to be
undead. Apparently, you die and acquire hair that looks like you stuck your finger in a light socket while taking a bath. If looking like that clown Axel is death, I never want to die.
Back to the grey surroundings. The sky is light grey now, the colors having died out a while ago (possibly because of my bad metaphor, possibly not). Theres a wind picking up and
--my first sign of life appears.
The thing, person, whatever/whoever it is, is scrambling around a pile of paper that just fell, making panicked noises and yelping words that Im guessing arent things youd write in a letter home. Must be human, and male by the voice. Its not my job to help clean up his mess so I just wait until he stops yelling and looks at me. Hes shorter than I am. I cant help but wonder why hes up this early with a bunch of papers.
Wow, my voice is rusty. Rusty and deep. I feel like a camel bleating out of a well. The person just blinks at me some more. Please tell me he doesnt think Im Sephiroth
--and with that, he goes back to his job, as if everything should make sense to me now. I, being myself, stand there and wonder what the heck he just spouted. Does he have a strong accent or something? I always prided myself on being able to figure out what His Ratness said though that squeaky mouse voice of his and Ansem with his dual vocal chords but this
You wanna repeat
Thanks, but that wasnt very
He stops and stares at me as if Im retarded.
No. Ha. Blow. In. Glayse.
You. Are. A. Nut. Case.
We stare fixedly at one another like feral animals until he starts looking at me funny. This baffles me for a second before I realize what hes looking at.
Never get into a staring contest when you have orange eyes. It confuses the jeepers out of the competition and theyll keep staring, just because youre so weird.
Aiming for drama, pathetic though that may be, I whirl and stalk away. Unfortunately, my whirling brought me face to face with the rising sun and now I have to stalk away literally blinded.
Its going to be a long day.
My feet kept dragging me on until I located a sizeable rock garden
thing, in the middle of the town hours later. Sitting there keeps me from wandering in circles, so on I sit. For hours. Its very dull.
I feel like Im waiting for something. Nothing has struck me as familiar yet, just more wheeled metal, lack of heartless (though I did find that if I want one bad enough, I can summon one. They always look so pitiful and confused just before I kill them though
guilt isnt normal for me but its drenching me here. Must be an aspect of the weird roundness), and no comfortingly familiar food.
Im starting to believe I would marry the first girl who showed up with food. It would be bad for her of course, Id be a crappy husband, but at least Id have food. Until she left me anyway, probably for Sora.
Soras probably proposed to Kairi now. If he hasnt
I dont know if Ill be pissed at him for not going back to her or glad because Ill have the opportunity first. I could be the saving hero.
--After getting a haircut.
Kairi has expressed a definite disliking for Sephiroth and I dont want to show up looking anything like him.
Hes got white hair mommy!
Hush, its not polite to point!
Automatically, I turn towards the two voices. Theres a teen mother and her kid walking by, the kids hand wrapped around a red balloon thats tied to his wrist. He looks about four and hes only a little taller then a Moogle. Heh, midget.
Hn. I make one of my famous Riku Noises of Contemplation (©) and the pair continues on. Of course, the mother cant resist sending a rather come hither stare back my way when she thinks Im no longer paying attention to them.
Its funny how many of those I get, and then lose out when they learn Soras the one who saves the universe on a weekly basis. Its like being best friends with someone in the band.
Sure, your girlfriend likes you now, but all you can play is Stairway to Heaven on the banjo and here comes your best friend, having just perfected the guitar riff for Paralyzer and whoops, there she goes, wasnt she hot though? How the heck did I end up Soras roadie when I was supposed to be the lead singer in the band? With, of course, the band being saving the world, the girl being Kairi, and the songs being
I dont know, the bashing of heartless over the head with keyblades? Whatever.
Isnt there anyone in this town who is going to tell me whats going on? My patience is running thin and the unusual snappiness of my stomach is starting to develop claws. I dont remember it being this intense before
what does it matter?
Food isnt appearing and, while my attention span is a bit longer than Soras ADD, Im getting bored.
Sliding off my rock, I start wandering around the square. No food shops, just lots of colorful signs featuring a redhead with pigtails, what looks like a giant hat, and a evil-looking yellow M, none of which smell like food. Why cant this world be more like Traverse Town, where at least if you WANTED food, you knew to head for the area which the loose-looking woman (my mom always condemned calling anyone easy, but come on. She looks easy) hangs out in and theres a lot of tables and beer.
Then again, most people dont go to Traverse Town to eat if theyre underage. Just look at how Leon turned out. The man cant be older than 30 and he looks like a hardcore biker. It defies explanation, except the influence of drink.
In any case, the return of my lack of food announces itself through my stomach. A man in coveralls and a frizzy head of hair the same color as mine looks at me oddly.
You need food young man?
Finally! Someone with sense! I nod, trying out the camel-from-the-well voice again. I knew I hadnt spoken in a long time but this is ridiculous. It comes easier this time though.
Yeah, you want to tell me where to get some?
The man gestures at the red-head with pigtails on the signboard.
He points at the hat sign.
Then at the M.
I stare at him, despite the orange eyes issue.
Is there anywhere I can eat where Im not a cannibal, hat-eater, or chow down on some Ms? Im HUNGRY, not crazy!
I then notice that hes staring at my hand with a worrying attention. With a crackle of electric energy, my keyblade has decided Im angry enough to warrant its appearance. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, this terrifies my food-provider.
I-Ill get you some food! He babbles. I put the keyblade over my shoulder, out of his direct vision.
Soras the one who negotiates and apologizes and goes on Quests for things, but Rikus the one who gets results. The man bolts into the redhead store and I sit down on the rock again. Hes out again in five minutes, hands me a bag, and bolts. Now that hes gone
Its a greasy bag. Nothing in the worlds Ive been to was ever greasy, with the exception of more technical aspects of gummi building. What did he buy me? Is this even edible??
I stick my hand, wondering idly if Im going to come out with the grisly remains of that redhead on the signs head, or any other necessary body parts. Instead, I get a papery circle, that smells vaguely like food or at least something that was once food...
Unwrapping it increases the food scents and biting into the thing
well, it really obliterates all sense that this is actually food.
I think I sat there with the thing in my mouth for a full minute, which is disgusting, but since I wasnt likely to get another one unless I rampaged in, I may as well savor it. Finally though, its gone and time to investigate the rest of the bag.
Which has sticks of gold stuff, rather in keeping with the gummi motif. Theyre greasy and look like you could build something with them
I resist the urge though. Sora wouldnt have, I can just picture him now, in a golden stick fort. Hed be proud of it too, even though it just proves what a kid he is.
Of course, since Ive had the impulse to build something too, that makes me almost as ridiculous
Finishing off the golden sticks of potato, I have to decide what to do next.
This world is bigger. I dont think the world even has limits, I can just keep running and running, without any names of where Im running to appearing. No Heartless pulling themselves out of the ground, even though those wheeled Heartless have people getting in and out of them with no apparent side effects. This is weird. On a comet-from-the-sky-two-Soras level of weirdness.
Where the heck am I?