Kingdom Fantasy Chapter 1

The Door

By The Madder Hatter

At the end of the day, the raft was finally complete. The three of them (Sora, Riku and Kairi) have been working on it for the past two months in secret. Their goal was to sail across the sea to the spot where the meteor shower hit (along with Kairi in it) so many years ago. Ten years, to be exact.

Ever since then, Riku and Sora haev been especially curious to find out if there is some way to another world--where Kairi came from--and the first place they could think of looking was the "Meteor Triangle" where the water was silver. No one has ever come back from there, so it had to lead to another world!

For now, they all sat on a little island not far at all from their home island (in fact, it could be breached by a short bridge), where Sora and Kairi sat on a curved palm tree with Riku leaning against it. They were staring out into the golden sunset beyond the shimmering seawater. They did this almost at the end of every day before they went home.

"So," Sora eventually said, breaking the silence, "Kairi's home is out there somewhere, right?"

"Could be," Riku replied. "We'll never know by staying here."

Leaning beyond Kairi, Sora looked at Riku and said, "But how far could a raft take us?"

"Who knows?" said Riku. "If we have to, we'll think of something else."

"So, suppose you get to another world," Kairi said and giggled, "what would you do there?"

"Hm," Riku mumbled, "well, I haven't really thought about it ... It's just ... I've always wondered why we're here on this island. If there are any other worlds out there, why did we end up on this one? And suppose there are other worlds ... Then ours is just a little piece of something much greater. So we could have just as easily ended up somewhere else, right?"

Sora leaned back on the rather uncomfortable palm tree and said quite simply (but truthfully), "I don't know."

"Exactly," said Riku, uncrossing his arms. "That's why we need to go out there and find out. Just sitting here won't change a thing. It's the same old stuff. So let's go."

Kairi shook her head at something Sora was unsure about, and said to Riku, "You've been thinking a lot lately, haven't you?'

"Thanks to you," Riku said, turning around to face Kairi. "If you hadn't come here, I probably would've never thought of any of this. Kairi, thanks."

"Heh, you're welcome," she replied.

* * *

Later on, it was time to head back home. Kairi was ahead of the guys, walking off the end of the bridge, which led to the beach from the island they were on. Sora had only stepped into the wood when he heard Riku say, "Sora."

Turning around, Sora quickly caught something Riku tossed. It was yellow and star shaped and had a stem with green leaves growing on it. "You wanted one, didn't you?" Riku asked.

"A paopu fruit," Sora mumbled.

"If two people share one," Riku said, "their destinies become intertwined. They'll remain a part of each-others lives no matter what. C'mon, I know you want to try it."

"What are you talking--" Sora began when Riku started laughing. Sora tossed the paopu fruit off the bridge and into the water, trying to appear as if he didn't care for such childish things. But then again ... he was more a child than anyone he knew. Except maybe Kairi.

* * *

Squaresoft Grand Castle ... Home of the wise, the true, and the most mysterious. To the residents of the Squaresoft Empire, this castle borne all the mystery of the world since long before ever recorded. Even the eldest could not recall a time where Fantasy never existed.

Fantasy should not be defined--as it were to those on Sora's world, which, in fact, was a world far from this one--as a mental image, or state of pleasurable/imaginative mind, where one could escape from reality to live in some sort of dream world. In truth (and this goes for all worlds): Fantasy is the realm of magic that dominates all life and goes far beyond the limited knowledge that mortals possess. As is told: there is a Kingdom Fantasy, devoid of probability, bound by a path of reality and shrouded in mysterious possibility.

Borne of this ethreal land is a substance called the "Heart". The Heart is a link of biological reality and with a small amount of magical possibility. This power causes a being--such as a man--to think, or act as they themselves see fit as individuals. Some may consider this the act of a mind, or the result of electrical signals passed throughout the body to the brain. This is indeed true, but the brain is rarely seen as a mere organ.The brain is responsible for supporting the body, but without Heart, one would not possess the same sentient abilities as one would with it.

There is a fine path between the "real" world in which beings live, and Kingdom Fantasy. This path is the Heart. The controlled Heart (one that belongs to a very specific type of a highly wisened being) can allow a collision of the physical and magical realms; resulting in what is known as magic.

The Squaresoft Empire owned an elite team of these wise beings, known throughout the world as Mages. They are the powerful forces able to use many forms of magics.

King Cid is the cherished ruler amoung the enhabitants of the Squaresoft Empire. Everyone knew his name and history as the king. Though he is only a mortal man, he possesses a knowledge passed down throughout his blood line, of magic and Heart and Kingdom Fantasy. Every one of his fathers, grand and great-grand, knew these things, of which he knew now. His personality, however, was unusual for a king. He was very interested in space-travel and rockets. Even as a boy he made models of planes, and was a skilled engineer. Today, he's a first-rate pilot for any air/space craft he knew of.

Zane was the court mage, and a very loyal servant to the king. She had fiery red hair, gleaming green eyes and wore a silver skirt. She had also a maroon-coloured, wide-brimmed, pointed hat, and many jewels on her rings, bracelets and necklaces, as well as a large one on her staff. The jewels were known as Materia, and had the power to ease the concentration of magic. This made casting spells much easier.

She was a bit worried because she hadn't seen the king immediately about the problem, even though the Captain of the Knights of the Square Table had advised her to do so. It didn't seem like that big a deal last night, but it was cloudy then. Tonight she could see every star in the sky, which worried her even more because there were obviously fewer than there used to be. They've just been flickering out lately ...

Knowing the king, he'd take action the second he found out. He'd probably be angry to know that she didn't tell him as soon as possible. Heck, he might even trust Sir Macealot more than her, now.

Typical! The guard was asleep on duty. Oh, well, she'd let the king take care of him. She didn't need an escort, after all. Making sure her skirt wasn't a single inch above her knees, Zane pulled on the large handle and opened the door. She peered through the crack in the door and saw no sign of the king ...

"Uh, Your Magesty?" she called, causing the guard to snort very loudly. She shut the door behind her and looked upon the seat of the empty golden throne. There was something there. Getting closer, she discovered it was a letter with the king's signature on it! What in the world? The words "To Zane" were scribbled, as if written in haste, on the envelope. She tore the letter open immediately and began to read.

Her eyes opened so wide she could see the green reflection of them shimmering on the ink.

* * *

"Ow, Sora, that frickin' hurts!" Ambit whined. He was a boy with black hair that wore really baggy clothes (even in the scorching sun) and was only fourteen. As such, he was still kind of a kid and liked to have sword-fights with a long, curved stick.

Sora, however, fought with a wooden sword he made himself. He'd just beaten his friends, Socia (who fought with a whip), Bade (who fought with a staff) and Ambit. He was taking a break from collecting provisions for their (he, Riku and Kairi's) trip out to sea.

"Sorry, pal," said Sora with a grin, "but I guess I win this one!"

Riku was clapping after this. Sora had no idea he'd been watching. He rubbed the back of his head, smiling.

"Hey, Sora," Riku said. "Our raft still needs a name. Let's see ... How about Highwind? What would you call it?"

"Me?" Sora asked. "Well ... hm ..." He thought for a moment, and after digging deep in the furthest areas of his mind, he came up with: "Excalibur!"

"Hey, how about ...?" said Riku

"The usual?"

"Let's do it!"

By this, they were referring to having a sword-fight. Of course, Riku was extremely good, and Sora would need more than just the thought of losing a name to inspire him to win. "If I win," he said, "I'm captain! And if you win ..."

"I get to share the paopu with Kairi," Riku siad, sounding very serious.

"Huh?" Sora wailed.

"Deal?" Riku asked. "The winner gets to share a paopu with Kairi."

"Wha ... Wait a minute ..."

Out of nowhere Kairi said, "Are you guys at it again?" She appeared over top of them on a large rock. She could see that they each were holding their swords. "Okay, I'll be the judge." She jumped down from the rock she was on and stepped in between the two. "I've been looking all over for you guys! After this, back to work!"

Riku rose his sword (which was identicle to Sora's) and got into position. Sora was still a little unsure about the paopu thing ...

"Okay, on my count!" said Kairi. After a pause she said, "Three, two, one ... Go!"

Sora approached Riku, who was grinning broadly. They both locked swords with a thump!and the battle began. Sora felt proud of the way he had been fighting, but his opponent showed no signs of letting up. Crack! The fist hit received was a hit to the jaw for Sora. He bore the pain and struck Riku's arm, which was stupid because Riku had such big bicepts.

Stopped the frontswring, dodged the backswing, slashed and missed, jumped back ... The two followed patterns such as this for a long time, like a dance, until Sora finally landed four good hard hits to Riku's chest, knocking him over. Sora jumped in the air in joy, when Riku rolled onto his back and kicked foreward, hitting Sora in his stomach and knocking the wind out of him.

"Stop! End! Finish! Done! ... Whatever!!" Kairi squealed, running over to Sora and helping him to his feet.

Riku looked at her with remorce and let out a breath he thought he had been holding the whole fight. He shook his head and stared at the ground.

"I'm fine, Kairi!" Sora eventually gasped, puching her away in rage partly because he was still mad for losing, and because he didn't want Riku to think he needed any help.

Kairi snorted and said, "Fine! Get back to work, then, you two!" and stomped off.

Sora looked back at Riku and said, "Good game."

"You still think it's a game, do you?" Riku muttered. He saw that Sora was confused by this. "What's that?" he said. "Oh, the paopu thing?" He thought for a moment and then said, "It was just a joke. You should have seen your face."

"Oh," Sora replied dully, and stopped himself before saying something really stupid.

It was obvious that Kairi cared more for Sora than for Riku, so it was best he didn't push it. Sora had to be number one at something, right? As much as Riku hated to do it, he put off asking to share the paopu with Kairi before the trip. At least until he knew she liked him best ...

* * *

Mushrooms ... Yuck! Only Riku likes mushrooms, Sora thought, why couldn't he go find them? No, I have to look for the food because my mom's too poor to have any at home that I could just get!

He grunted at the smell of the other two mushrooms growing from his bag. Only one more and he could ditch the job.

Ever since Sora could remember, there had been a secret area under a large tree growing by a beach. In it was a wonderful cave filled with stone walls that have been drawn on all over with rocks. He, Rukku and Kairi were the only ones that knew about it so far.

When they were young (around seven years old), they would make stoies from little drawings they scratched on the walls of the cave. There were so many that the whole cave was covered with them. Sora always drew pictures of him slaying monsters and being the hero; Kairi always drew beautiful princesses (whom Sora would rescue); and Riku loved drawing bats, for some reason.

As Sora glanced at the pictures, memories rushed back to him. Particularily one drawing, which was two portraits he and Kairi made of each another when Riku wasn't there. Two heads facing the side, looking at one another. Kairi was a much better drawer, so the picture of Sora wasn't as sloppy as the one of Kairi. Man, it was so long ago ... He touched the face of Kairi, remembering all the carefree times ...

They had really been close since she came down from the heavens so many years back. Ever since then, she and Sora were as close as a boy and girl could get without ...

He sighed. It was almost as if they had shared a paopu back then and their fates were tied together all this time. He almost wished they had. That way it wouldn't be such a big deal right now.

Through the longest time he spent entranced in memory, he absently lifted a stone off of the ground and drew an arm from the picture of Sora, extending to Kairi, a paopu fruit in his hand, as if offering it to her. If Riku ever saw that ... whatever, he never came in here anymore. They'd be leaving soon, after all.

Soon the stench of mushrooms caught Sora's nose again and he siged. Times sure have changed ...

What was particularily interesting about this cave was the fact that there was a door in it. A large, rounded, wooden door on the wall of the cave. It's been there since the cave was discovered, but no one (out of Sora, Riku and Kairi, who were the only ones on the island who knew of this caves' existence, and still kept it secret) knew how to open it, for there was no handle. They've tried knocking, kicking, hitting it with a rock, and even lighting it on fire -- which burnt itself out hours later without even leaving a mark.

He'd almost forgotten about the door. Perhaps it was time to ask someone about it?

"Is there a way to alter one's fate, I wonder?" came a voice. Sora whipped around to the sight of a man in a dark cloak. The hood hung low over his head and shaded his face.

"Whoa! Who are you, buddy?" Sora asked. "You scared the hell outta me!"

"What can I say that will make you understand?" the man said in a low, drawing voice. "You must know that you have the choice. The worlds are changing. Soon, your world, too, will become infested with them."

Quickly analyzing what the man had just said, Sora said, "So you're from another world! ... Infested by what, exactly?"

"Even in the darkest of worlds there is a light," the man continued. "But the closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes. Eventually, your shadow will consume you the moment you look away. It is a doppleganger, for even the brightest of Hearts possesses one. When the light goes out, however, they disappear. Do not fear shadows, for that only means that there is a light shining near. I can tell you nothing more of this.

"One of you will fall into darkness, and one of you will be engulfed in the light. It will come to you, what path you will take. Ultimately, you must decide between dreams and realities. Only then can you find the answer ..."

"Start making sense!" said Sora. "Who are you? Where do you come from?"

"You cannot know just yet," the man replied. "One who knows nothing can understand nothing. When you learn, you may be able to understand. You do not yet know what lies beyond the door."

Sora turned his head slowly, until the man passed beyond his eyesight. With this, he turned his eyes to the odd, handle-less door on the wall of the cave. "What does that have to do with --" he said, but when he turned back, the man was gone.

* * *

My dear Zane,

I am very sory to leave everyone but there's something that needs to be taken care of.

It's all coming, just like my mother prophecized! The stars have just been blinking out lately, and I need to make things right again. But I'm going to need your help.

There is a world not far from this one, simply called "Traverse Town". There, you must find a man named Seraphim. He knows about me and my story, and I know he'll point you in the right direction.

Whatever you do, you must know the danger that lies ahead of you. There are beings called the Heartless that have been terrorizing worlds and inevitably destroying them. You will recognize them as shadowy creatures devoid of emotions. They do not think: they act. These monsters lack any Heart at all and their own bodies are in control. They must feed off of Hearts to survive, and will not stop until they consume every world they come across. Ours could be next. It would take too long to explain how I know all of this, but please just try to understand. I know what I am doing.

Now, there is somebody with a "Key" -- the key to our survival ... We need that key. You must travel with this somebody to every world you can find and lock the doors that lead to the path of Heart. When these doors are locked, the Heartless will find no path to the worlds.

On one of these worlds, I will be waiting for you and the person with the key. You will find me, I promise!

Get Ace to pilot my ship, Excalibur, for you. He'll apprihend everything, trust me. Thanks a million, Zane!

P.S. Please don't tell Aki about this!

P.P.S. Sorry again about all this confusion. I hope you understand.

What the hell was that supposed to mean!?

Zane paced back and forth in the throne room, still studying the letter for any noticable imperfections in the handwriting. It all seemed to be in order, and there was no way anyone could copy the king's writing; what with all the loops and curves and the poor grammer, which, due to the king's childish nature, made it look like some teenager wrote it. Most kings would avoid this. That is: most, other than the great King Cid himself!

Traverse Town ... What kind of name is that for a world? Nothing made sense. She'd have to find this Seraphim guy. He'd know something, perhaps. Was she to leave though, all of a sudden? That would make a big mess ...

No! She would leave a respectable note behind, and leave Sir Macealot in charge until she returned with the king.

Nervously, Zane lifted up the quill that sat beside the throne on a small table. She dipped it in a jar of ink which was placed beside the throne on a small table. These two items also indicated that the king left hastily, not having the time to put them away. She scribbled on the back an equally hasty message to Sir Macealot that basically said that she is carrying out the king's request, and that he shall be left in charge while she was away. Hesitantly, she also wrote "And don't tell the public! This could cause a large problem." and signed her name as neatly as possible to make it easier to be convinced that it indeed was her who wrote the message.

* * *

Ace blew smoke into Zane's face. He was a tall man, with short, bleached hair and a solid build. He had that sort of look that crossed between a pilot and a mechanic, which was what exactly what Ace was.

Balancing his cigar in his teeth, Ace said, "Ready to go, then, darlin'?"

Zane gave him a look of disgust and asked, "So you know about the king?"

"Uh-huh," Ace smiled. "Gave me specific orders to be your little chaperone until he says otherwise. He also said he was goin' on a trip somewhere, and took the other ship. We're to pick him up somewhere, eh?"

"That's right," Zane said and siged deeply. "My first destination is a world called Traverse Town. You know where it is?"

Folding up a magazine he had been reading (which had a very young woman, improperly dressed, in the cockpit of a classic airplane on the cover), Ace put out his cigar and said, "Of course I know where it is, hun. Remember to buckle up now, the road's a bit bumpy along the way. Well, let's go, before Queen Aki finds out about Cid and bitches at me for letting him go. I hope you're packed."

* * *

Sora rolled over in bed, wondering what tomorrow would bring for him and his friends, for they were due to set sail. He thought about other worlds, how he would get there, what kinds of things he would do, and he thought most of all of Riku and Kairi.

Would we even be able to go with such a big storm?

Thunder and lightning raged just outside his window. He looked out at the sea, watching it crash into the shore and slide back, in and out, in and out ... Before his mind could slip into some kind of obscene fantasy, he gasped, "The raft!"

Sora could have kicked himself for not taking the time to find a coat. He ran, soaking wet in the rain, toward the beach to pull the raft in before it was washed away. Wet sand was kicked up into his face as he made for the rushing tides. He could see the soil of the raft lash violently in the wind. It tore off soon after.

"Ah, son of a -- "

Boom! There was a brilliant flash and the raft split into many burning pieces of wood. Why the raft? There was nothing to attract electricity. They worked so long on the damn thing ...

He turned around to a very odd sight. Black patches were appearing on the beach. From them emerged the same creatures as from his dream, snarling and scampering about. Or was it a dream? It didn't seem so, now.

Panicking, Sora ran around the apparitions to wherever he could go. He suddenly saw something. It was Riku! He was on the little island just off the coast of the beach.

"Riku! Hey, Riku!" Sora called to no avail. Riku still stood with his back to him. The black monsters were advancing, so, with nothing else left to do, Sora dove into the water and swam as fast as possible to the ladder that led to the top of the small island's cliff. The creatures stopped before going into the sea and disappeared into their black holes.

Sora couldn't believe he made it. When he reached the end of the ladder, he climbed onto the wet ground. He noticed it had stopped raining, but was still dark out, due to the clouds. He removed his hood and flicked the hair out of his face.

"Looks like it's our time, Sora," Riku said, turning around to face him.

"We gotta get outta here!" Sora cried. "The raft's been blown to splinters and these weird creatures keep appearing. C'mon! We need to warn the town before --"

"No, Sora!" Riku said flatly. "Don't you see? This is our way out!" He pointed to the sky. Sora looked up to see a swirling, purple-black mist in the clouds. "That's our gateway to another world," Riku continued, "but only if you aren't afraid. And I'm not afraid of the darkness!"

"What about Kairi?" Sora shouted, for the wind was picking up.

"Kairi's coming with us!" Riku snapped back.

To Sora's horror, the black haze opened up under Riku and began twisting around his legs, steadily growing higher. He offered an open hand to Sora, just like in his dream. Sora could feel the mist beneath himself, pulling him in. He lunged for Riku's hand but could not reach it. The fog began to blacked his eyes.

"NO!!" he screamed, and the haze turned white all around him and dissolved. He saw Riku, black as the night, rise into the swirling clouds and disappear.

The vortex slowly began to close, but before it shut completely, something came spinning toward Sora. It flew over his head and landed, sticking straight up in the wet sand. Lightning flashed and thunder roared.

Its point was shoved halfway into the ground, but the end looked like almost like the hilt of a sword, for the blade emerged from it and plunged into the sand. Sora cautiously stepped up to it, not knowing what to think in this confusion, wrapped his hand around the handle and pulled up. The end came out roughly.

The weapon (if weapon it was) had the shape of a key. That is to say: The end of the blade had what looked like the hilt of an axe with a crown shape carved in it, sticking out the side. The edges were razor sharp, the metal gleamed silver, and the grip was of comfortable black leather. Sora stared at it with awe. It was so light! And it fit so well in his hands.

Without warning, the black creatures began to appear on the island. Sora slashed at one with his new weapon, gripping it firmly in both hands. The monster split into two and it's remaining pieces gleamed white and disappeared. Sora continued the battle for several minutes before noticing that the shadowy figures never ceased to emerge from the blackness and attack. He had been lucky enough to avoid any damage so far, but soon he would run out of energy.

Sora cut his way through his opponents and headed for the bridge back to the beach. He needed to find shelter -- the storm was picking up again, and the monsters were no help. There was only on place to find any kind of shelter near here ...

It seemed to work, because the minute Sora entered the cave, he felt drier and the creatures stopped coming. There was something else, though ... No, there was never a door to the cave! As he came in he opened the door and slammed it before even acknowledging that it was there in the first place. Before, there was only a hole as an entrance. It was a tall door, even for a small entrance and looked strangely like --

Looking over his shoulder, Sora gasped. "Kairi!" he shouted. She was standing in front of the handle-less door at the back of the cave. The one that was always there. Kairi was facing it, her back turned to Sora.

She then turned around, a very sorrowful expression on her face. Her head was hung. She said, "Sora," in a very tired tone. Her body then blew like a feather through some sudden gust of wind to Sora. He opened his arms to her, even with the weapon in his hand. Her body vanished the moment it came in contact with Sora's. He stood, dumbfounded, and searched the cave for her.

Then, a strong wind seemed to engulf Sora. It was so violent, it picked him right up off of his feet and blew him with powerful force out of the cave. Everything went dark, and he remembered nothing more.

* * *

When Sora woke up, he drearily found that he was laying on the small island once more, his weapon laying at his side. However, there was something strange about the ground ... He could see that there was a kind of shadow over parts of it. As he lifted his head, he could see that the shadow stood straight up. By the time he saw the top of it, he realized that it was the extremely large being formed from Sora's shadow in his dream. No different. As he looked higher, he could see a swirling orb of darkness, purple lightning storming through it, the clouds a haze around it.

Luckily, this particular dream was not one he could forget moments after he woke up. In fact, he remembered every single thing that happened, and, as such, he knew exactly what to do. He gripped his weapn and charged toward his enemy.

Sora was experiencing major deja vu, as the battle seemed almost identicle to the one in his dream, which was beginning to seem like more of a nightmare. This time, however, he did not let the creature grasp him, and his sword did not disappear, but he continued to fight until the monster shrieked in defeating pain. Just when Sora was starting to feel a sense of satisfaction, he began to feel himself lose all weight. This lifted him off of the ground and he began to scream, as he was sucked into the black orb. Everything rushed past his eyes. He was spinning out of control.

And then ...

Everything was black.

Chapter 2

The Madder Hatter's Fanfiction