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Chapter 1 - Assessment

After the Battle of Long Valley, the KH team reached the waning stage of their adventure.

Chapter 1 - Assessment

Chapter 1 - Assessment

The death of Cuchulain had already lowered morale more than in had to. But now with Cunlas sudden departing from the team, it seemed as if their world was caving in. They didnt know where he would go what would happen to him. They only knew that the boy would face a great deal of hardship along the way.
You think Cunla will be okay on his own? Sora asked.
Theres no doubt about it. Riku replied.
I cant understand why he would just leave us. Ophelia said. He had a home amongst us.
Cunlas dealing with some major issues right now. His father died and now he has to undergo severe emotional stress. At times, being on your own is necessary to dwell on lessons you learn in the past and rethink your ideas. Cunla is attempting to mend the wound in his heart and soul. I can only imagine how long it will take, tussling with this grief. But its up to him to decide on how fast these wounds will heal.-
I hate to interrupt your conversation, you three, Donald announced, but were reaching Traverse Town. Prepare for a landing.
The gummi ship landed just outside the gates of the settlement. As it landed, the team saw Leon standing below waiting to greet them. The ship touched down, settling upon the ground. Rockets disengaged and all systems shut down, the team exited via the cargo hatch to meet up with Leon.
Hey, Leon, Sora said, Whatre you doing here?
Riku, Sora, he replied, I thought you guys would never get back.
Whats the matter, something wrong?-
We picked up some refugees not too long ago.-
Refugees, Riku asked, What kind of refugees?
You guys better come with me. Leon brought the team to the second district hotel as quickly as he could. We placed them in both the red room and the green room so they could get a good nights rest.
He opened the door and low and behold, there were children all asleep on the bed. At the table sat a lone individual. He turned around to meet the key bearers and company. It was Goten, relieved of his post at Oceansburg for a time being. He turned to see the team come in.
Riku, Sora, he said quietly, Im glad you made it back.
Goten&? Donald uttered.
Whatre you doing here? Goofy added.
I was assigned to take care of these refugees for a while. The young Z fighter replied.
I guess Sneer didnt need you at Oceansburg, eh? Sora said.
Yeah, Goten made a sudden sigh. We heard about Cuchulain.
Yeah, Leon replied. Sorry about what happened to him.
Yeah& Riku replied. Its alright though. It was just his time.
By the way, wheres that kid, Cunla?-
He left us too. Sora told him.
What, he left?-
He struck out on his own back in Ulster last night. Donald added.
The loss of his father was just too much to bear. Ophelia remarked. Sticking around us wouldve caused too much pain.
We didnt know. Leon tried to be as sympathetic as he could. Sorry&
Its his destiny after all. We cant decide it for him.-
Just then, the team spotted another individual appearing from out of the red room. As the individual appeared from the dimness of the red room, the team came to realize that it was a young woman. A young lady they all knew too well. It was Olette.
Olette, Sora said, Is that you?
Riku, Sora, she replied, Good to see you again. She hugged the two of them before sitting at the table next to Goten.
What are you doing here? I wasnt expecting you of all people. Are you one of the refugees?-
What happened? Riku asked. Olette began to cry. She could only lower here head, not wanting to show her emotion. Riku turned to Leon and Goten. Whats going on, what are Olette and the others doing here?
A convoy returned to Twilight Town, Leon explained, to make sure that things were going well since the Sanderson Affair and the penetration to the World that Never Was. But when they got there, the town was deserted. They touched down to see if they could find someone around. But there was not a single person about. Leons fist started to clutch, he was tensing on what he was about to say next. There was one structure, however, I believe city hall that was burned and still smoldered by the time our guys got there. The convoy troops examined the structure and noticed there were chains wrapped around the door handles of the entryway. They peered in to view what remained of the inside. What they found was& Leon could only turn away.
What did they find? Ophelia asked. Leon could not allow himself to speak. It was too horrible for him to say.
Leon&? Sora uttered.
They found over three hundred scorched bodies discovered in the structure. Goten said. This indicated that the people were rounded up from their homes, forced into city hall and burned alive when the building was set aflame.
The team gasped. The sound of such horrific a scene of death was gut-wrenching. The key bearers nearly wanted to throw up at the thought.
My God, Riku said.
Three hundred people were burned alive? Sora added.
Men, women, and children were locked in. Leon said. What reports say, they tried to escape through the windows, but were cut down by gun fire.
What kind of monsters would do this? Riku growled, gritting his teeth angrily.
We later found out that Kambrian forces under Admiral Delorion Rellantando had landed in Twilight Town more than a couple days before. We think that they were the ones who gathered the people into city hall and set the building aflame.-
But why would they do that? Ophelia said.
Apparently, Rellantando found out about you being there not too long before and how you were able to find a secret way to the World that Never Was. As a result, the Kambrians made Twilight Town pay, burning over three fourths of the population alive.-
Those who refused to go were killed. Goten replied. The convoy found some people dead in their homes.
Hayner, Pence, Olette moaned. She threw her head into her arms and wailed loudly, muffling her cries under her sleeves, They killed them, they killed them.
Hayner&and Pence&? Sora said. His eyes grew wide with disbelief.
They shot Pence. Those soldiers just shot him without reason. They shot him and killed him. He was only trying to protect us.-
We did all we could to help those who survived. Leon told them. The Alliance sheltered those remaining and dug graves for the dead.
Those bastards, Sora growled. Riku looked to find that his friend was starting to boil. Soras fists were tightly clutched, his teeth grinding against one another. There was anger and hatred in his eye as the thought of those three hundred lost souls pounded at the back of his mind. In his fury, he drew out his keyblade. He then turned and punched the door open.
Sora, Donald said.
Sora, Goofy added, Where are you going?! But Sora didnt utter a word. He stormed out.
Sora, Leon sighed. Riku quickly ran after Sora.
Sora, he shouted, Where are you going?
Im going to settle the score. Sora replied, his voice stressed with loathing. Im going to settle the score once and for all. Kambria will pay!
Sora, The key bearer continued his way towards the gates of Traverse Town.
Ill take revenge for what Rellantandos done! Ill make him pay! Ill make all of Kambria pay!
Sora, stop, Riku ran over and grabbed hold of Sora.
Let go of me, Riku.-
Stop where you are!-
I said let go! Sora jerked his arm out of Rikus grasp. Riku didnt give in. He threw his arms underneath Soras and locked him in place. He then threw himself on his back. Sora struggled to free himself.
Let go of me, Riku! Let me go!-
Thats enough, Sora! Riku shouted. Listen to you, youre blind with rage! You go storming in and youll only end up dead! You alone cant battle against Kambria!
Im going to settle this, Riku! Now let me go!-
Sora, Sora, calm down, Riku held firm until Sora gave into exhaustion. Sora started to cry.
I hate you, Riku. I hate you. Why wont you let me go? He began to cry.
Sora, you know as well as I that storming in wont solve anything. Youll die if you just charge in. Dont do what Kira did when Athrun died. If you put your life in jeopardy and you get killed, then how can we close the doors that are still open? I cant do it on my own. And what am I supposed to say to Kairi when this is over? She hopes to find you alive, not in a box.-
Damn it, Riku. Dont you see? Its our responsibility. Its our fault that we put Twilight Town in that predicament. Those people died because of us.-
I know, Sora. But recklessly charging in doesnt change anything thats happened.-
Sora went limp and rolled over of Riku. Riku released his friend. Sora curled up in a ball, bawling his eyes out. Riku placed his hand on his back. Sora edged up to him.
Its our fault, its all our fault.-
No, Sora, Olette said as she and the others gathered around them. None of this was your fault. We helped you because it was the right thing to do. It had nothing to do with our personal safety. You did what you had to do and we did what we had to do.
You have to let it go, Sora. Riku told him. Its too late to change the past.
I know, but it still hurts.-
If you want payback, Sora, then lets do it the way we were doing it before. We break the Imperial Axis up and cause them to collapse little by little.-
The question is how are we gonna do that? Donald asked.
Yeah, Goofy added. We still have to save the king and queen. And the only way to do that is take out that Saber feller. But he aint exactly a pushover.
Goofys right, Ophelia said. We never even managed to touch Saber the last time we battled him. Hes just too powerful.
Do you have any background on Saber, Ophelia? Riku asked.
Unfortunately, no, out of all the officers of the Midnight Faction, hes probably the most elusive, second only to Lord Sirius Viicous himself.-
What do you mean?-
No one has ever seen his face, ever. He always wears a mask, or helmet mask. Even I have never had the privilege of seeing Sirius Viicous face to face, despite my notorious reputation within the faction.-
The only option you have right now is to become stronger and learn more effective techniques that can counter Sabers skills. Leon proposed. Its the only way I know how to defeat a man like that.
But we know nothing about him or his skills. Sora grumbled. He stood up. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he looked to his friends. Lets face it, Saber is completely different from the rest of the Blade Generals. General Knives was easy because he was just a double swordsman. Using twin blades was all he knew. General Bayonet had us stumped for a while, but he used only special devises to give him an edge over his foe. Otherwise, without his fancy gadgets, he would have been easy to take down. General Dagger used manipulation, which was eventually overcome. General Scimitar was tough, but Cuchulain knew her background and managed to defeat her in the end. But Saber is another story. He uses no deceptive gadgets. He has no need to manipulate anyone to do the fighting for him. His expertise probably varies over a wide range of techniques. And above all, he knows how to scheme and plan and hes just as dedicated to his cause as we are.
Sora& Riku uttered.
Even if we did train ourselves to be stronger, we dont have enough time to excel dramatically. Even if we did use our time diligently, wed only achieve so much and it may not be enough. Also, how are we to determine Sabers true strength when weve never seen his true ability? A quiet lull came over the team and their allies.
Sora has a point. Riku could only sigh. We have no background on Sabers history. We have no idea of his techniques and his skills. Even after confronting him a number of times before, it wont be enough to gain a grasp on his true abilities.-
Then how are we gonna fight him? Donald asked.
Perhaps we could get in touch with Sneer and ask him if he has any files on Saber stashed away somewhere. Leon advised. The Alliance references are usually the most reliable.
Then, lets try it. Ophelia added. Well contact Sneer by means of the set up transmitter in the Third District.
The team was led to the vacant house in the Third District. It was there that the alliance had set up a communication station linked back to Oceansburg. The team was permitted to transmit their message. Within seconds the connection was made and Sneer was seen in his office painting another piece at his easel.
Well, well, he said, I wasnt expecting you to be back in Traverse Town so early. How did the remainder of the procession go in Ulster?
It went well. Sora replied.
Thats not why we came to talk to you, Sneer. Riku said sternly. We need to know if you have any information on General Saber.
General Saber, Sneer browsed through his files. He pulled up a few archives. Im sorry, boys, the information on him is very vague.
What do you know about him?-
As far as our archives, we only know that Saber is one of the leading front line generals of the Midnight Faction. He also acted as a field tactician during the old regime of the Dark Empire, answering to the top brass of the Imperial council only. His vital information was strictly given to those of lordly status. Also, the name Saber was just an alias he uses to conceal his true identity.-
What is his true identity? Leon asked.
I dont know. Many of the Imperial files were destroyed after the Empire fell. The Imperials eliminated much of the data on their most elusive officers after the evacuation of Vandor. Saber was one of the officers classified. No previous data exist to this day.-
Are you sure about that? Riku asked.
Im sorry, but I do wish you luck on your further investigation.-
Thank you& The transmission ended. Things looked gloomy for the team.
Now what do we do? Donald asked.
With no leads, theres no way to exploit Sabers weaknesses. Ophelia added.
Not necessarily. Riku said, snapping his fingers. I have an idea.
What is it? Sora asked.
Saber was a tactician of the former Dark Empire right?-
Well, all we have to do is track down those who might have somehow been acquainted with him during that time.-
Yeah, youre right, Riku.-
At last we have a lead. Donald cheered
But how many Imperials do you know that would be willing to give away that vital information. Leon asked.
We might be able to ask Triiken. Ophelia advised. He was a formal Imperial.
Thats right, Sora added, And hes an alliance officer now. He shouldnt have that much trouble telling us what we want to know. Maybe he could help us.
Hold on, Riku suddenly interrupted, Dont you remember, Triiken was only a general during the Imperial regime. Sneer said that Saber only gave vital information to the lords of the empire.
Great, Sora grumbled, his hopes dashed, that narrows it down then. Exactly how many lords of the former Empire do we know that would be willing to help us, if theyre not dead already?
There is one man, Sora. Lord Lucien Exmortus Thundro.-
Yeah, Goofy added.
We know Thundro, said Donald. Maybe he could help us.
Theres only one problem though. Leon implied, Do you know where this guy, Thundro lives?
Well& The team was stumped. They had no clue of where to find him.
Hey, wait a minute, Sora said. He turned to Goten. Goten, you were one of Thundros students, right?
Well, uh& Goten uttered.
Thats right, Riku declared, You were once Thundros pupil. Maybe you could tell us where we could find him.
The thing is, Goten stalled for a moment, The thing is I was not meant to tell anyone where he lives.
But Goten& Sora uttered.
Thundro made me promise that I was never to utter a word of where he resided. I&-
Goten, Riku said. We are dealing with a matter of life and death here. As far as we know, Thundro might be the only one who would be able to help us. You have to tell us where we can find him.
But I promised him.-
You have to tell us, Goten. Theres no other option. Goten looked to his comrades. He didnt want to break his promise to Thundro, but at the same time he knew of what they were facing. He could only sigh, at the same time regretting what he was about to do.
You can find him near the Gilgazion springs in the Montroze Forest, located three hundred miles south of Gombria. Its the old secret hideaway of the Death Lords. No one knows of its location except for the Death Lords themselves. And Im not sure youre aware of it, but Thundro is the only one left.-
Thanks for telling us, Goten. Sora implied. The young Z fighter only looked away.
Just be careful, you guys. Thundro may not receive you very well. He doesnt like visitors and might blow his stack. Hes known to kill trespassers in that area, no matter who they are. So dont expect a warm reception when you get there.-
Oh man,-
Well, if the risk is too high, Riku explained. Then Sora and I will visit him alone.
Alone...? Donald asked.
But why do ya have to go alone? Goofy added.
Well go with you. Ophelia replied.
No, Riku said. Its better that only two of us risk our lives instead of the whole team. For now, just sit back and wait for us to return.
This is something that Sora and I have to handle on our own.-
We have an old score to settle with Saber. Sora added. We dont want you guys involved.
Riku, Sora& Ophelia lowered her head. She suddenly felt the hand of her beloved Riku lay on her shoulder.
You dont have to worry about us. Well be able to take whatever Thundro dishes out. He turned to the others. So are there any further objections to us going alone? Their friends were silent, some not willing to speak while others were concerned only for their safety. Then its settled. Sora and I will meet with Thundro alone.
Well be back before you know it. Sora added.
Well, Donald grumbled, Its not like we can stop you. Alright, just be careful.
Be very careful, you guys. Goten added.
We will, The key bearers replied in unison. They quickly withdrew to the gummi ship and fired it up. The team ran in pursuit. They stopped and watched as the two key bearers boarded the ship, closed the hatch, ignited the rockets, and waved farewell as they ascended higher into the atmosphere.
You come back alive, you two. Ophelia quietly thought in her mind. Your jobs arent finished yet.
In the gummi, both key bearers were a little anxious and apprehensive. They wondered if what Goten said was true. If Thundro did find them about his realm, would he kill them?
Now that I think about it, Sora said, Is this really a good idea?
Theres no real option open for us. Riku replied. We need to know more about Saber. And if theres one Imperial out there that might be able to help us, its Thundro.
Yeah, I know, but youve seen how cranky he can be.-
Well just have to bear it.-
The gummi sped off at warp speed, reaching for Oceanaria.

It took a little over than an hour for them to reach Oceanaria. Using the universal guiding system in the cockpit, the key bearers kept an eye out for the areas south of Gombria.
Well, Riku asked.
Nothing yet, Sora replied. He gazed at the navigation screen, then to the outside of the cockpit. Below them was a vast forest, which looked almost like a vast green carpet. That must be the Montroze Forest.
Thats great, Sora, but where do we start looking for this Gilgazion Spring?
Im still looking, Riku. Keep your pants on.-
I hope Sneer doesnt get freaked out about us going missing.-
If Thundro kills us, then hell have no other choice, but the freak out.-
Dont jinx it when we havent even found the place yet, Sora.-
Sora kept browsing on the map until finally, a feature of a thin blue line, representing some natural water way, appeared on the screen. Its title was Montroze.
Bingo, Sora shouted, There it is, just three miles west of us.
Good job, Sora. Riku replied. Now buckle in. Im gonna land this thing.
The key bearers fastened themselves to their seats as Riku maneuvered the gummi down. The ship landed upon a bank of pebbles. Next to it, a stream of cool running water ran by. The ship nestled on the smooth pebbles. The two key bearers emerged out of the ship and looked about.
Wow, Sora said, awed by the thick wilderness around them, This is pretty nice.
Nows not the time to be site seeing. Riku told him. We have an infamous Death Lord to seek out. He pressed a button to the side of the ship and transformed the gummi back into its portable capsule form and put it in his pocket. Thank goodness for Capsule Corp.
So where do we begin?-
Lets browse around and see if we cant find anything first.-
Good idea.-
The key bearers made their way into the forest. Surrounding them was a brilliant forest of chirping birds and active little rodents wandering about with hordes of food in their mouths. The sun pierced through the thick canopy of high pines, making the forest seem more of a pleasant experience than an intimidating one.
This is a pretty nice forest after all. Riku said.
I know. Sora replied. It just has that atmosphere. Its not like anything weve ever encountered before. And the weather is just right. Not too cold and not too hot either.
Cmon, we have to find Thundros hideout. We could be gazing at nature all day and still not find a thing&-
Suddenly, Riku was jerked upward in the air feet first. Sora watched as his friend was found dangling from what looked like a concealed rope. Riku had stepped into a trap and was now hanging upside down. Following his ensnarement, a loud ear piercing sound was heard echoing through the forest, scaring off birds and animals. It was an alarm siren which was activated the moment the trap was activated.
Riku, Sora cried. Are you alright?! What was that?!-
It was a booby trap! Riku shouted. Get me down out of here, Sora!
Dont worry, buddy! Im coming!-
But no sooner had Sora said that then he too was sent skyward with a noose around his foot. He hung from the air kicking and screaming, not knowing what happened.
You idiot, you fell into a trap too. Riku grumbled.
Shut up, Riku! Youre the one who stepped into a trap first, so dont you be calling me an idiot!-
Never mind, lets just get ourselves out of this.-
No sooner had he said that, the siren alarm stopped. Then the sound of foot steps came from behind, indicating a large bipedal individual.
Well, well, a voice uttered, What have we here, a trespassing duo. The key bearers couldnt see who was talking, but the voices tone was all too familiar. Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesnt know where to find them. But unlike that old nursery rhyme, you two will not be going home wagging your tails behind you. You have dared to enter the realm of the Death Lords and your day of judgment is now imminent. They heard the individual come about to look them in the eye. Let me gaze upon the faces of these trespassers, so that Ill familiarize their features before killing them.
Sure enough, Thundro walked before the two key bearers. Riku and Sora only smiled.
Hey, Thundro, Sora said with a sheepish grin. Long time no see. Thundro, realizing who it was that dangled from his traps, only gave that annoyed glare.
So its you two, he grumbled, The two stooges. Thundro drew out his blade.
Hey, hey, Riku shouted. What are you doing?!
I know you two well, Riku, Sora. But youve dared to enter the domain of the Death Lords without my permission. Ergo, it doesnt matter if I know you or not. You approach this territory unannounced and without a good explanation, then you will meet your demise swiftly and without mercy. He drew the point of his blade at them. Let me ask you this. What is it that youre doing here, how did you get here, and who was responsible for telling you where I could be found? And you better give a straight forward answer, no beating about the bush. Depending on how you answer will determine on whether you live or die this day.
Oh my God, Sora shouted, Hes gonna kill us just like Goten said!
Shut up, Sora! Riku bellowed. Youre only making things worse.
So Goten was the one who told you, eh? Thundro asked.
I knew that boy couldnt keep his big mouth shut, choosing cause over master. Now I know whos responsible for telling you. But you still havent explained to me on how you got here and why youre here.-
We got here by gummi ship. Sora said.
I see, and the final?-
We came here because we need your help, Thundro. Riku replied.
My help, you say? And what could you possibly need my help for?-
We need you to tell us what you know about General Saber.-
It was those words that struck Thundro deeply.
Sneer told us that Saber used to be a leading tactician for the former Imperial regime. Sora said. He said that Saber answered only to the lords of the Empire. And since you were a former lord, maybe you could tell us if you knew anything about Saber.
And thats why you came?-
Thundro gave a sudden smirk. He raised his blade and slashed at the ropes suspending the two key bearers. Riku and Sora fell to the ground. Riku managed to land on his feet while Sora landed on his head.
Consider yourselves lucky, boys. Thundro said as he sheathed his sword back into its scabbard. Ill tell you what you need to know, but not here. I hate to explain things in an atmosphere where Im not comfortable. Follow me. He simply walked away without concern for the key bearers.
Sora stood up with a large red lump on his head.
Man, he grumbled, You think he could have taken it a little easier?
Be grateful that he was easy on us at all. Riku told him. We could have been killed by him instead.
I guess youre right.-
Are you two going to dawdle all day? Thundro hollered. I dont have time to waste with this menagerie!
Coming, were coming! The two key bearers rushed behind the Death Lord trying to keep up.

The three came to a Cliffside, jagged and formidable. Thundro stepped up to the side of the cliff.
Here we are. Thundro implied. The key bearers looked about. To them, there was only a wall of rock, nothing more.
Theres nothing here. Sora said.
It just goes to show how little you know.-
Whats that supposed to mean?!-
Silence, fool, Im trying to concentrate.-
Man& Sora growled.
Easy, Sora, Riku replied, Dont do anything rash.
Now, Thundro drew up his hand and uttered an Oceanarian phrase, Vi Da Concorte Exmortin, Lucien Exmortus Thundro ot Radiin Noctin Imperin. With that phrase, the outline of a door suddenly appeared, glowing with a bizarre blue light. The design was so elaborate and so intricate, its center bearing the crest of the Imperial Death Lord symbol, the Cross of Conquest and the lightning volt. The side of the mountain began to crack open. Bits of rubble fell from the cliffs face, at times pelting the trio.
Unbelievable, Sora uttered.
What a door. Riku added. The door opened fully and led into a dimly lit hall.
Well, hurry up, Thundro said. Theres no time for you to be footling about like court jesters.
Man, Sora grumbled. Cant he just speak plain English once in a while?
Im afraid I wouldnt understand him even if he did. Riku replied.
The two followed him into the hall. The door closed behind them, making the hall seem darker than usual. On the walls were the portraits lords and leaders within the former Empire, those who deserved recognition by the Death Lords.
Riku, look, Sora said, pointing to one of the portraits.
Well, Ill be damned. Riku uttered. They beheld the portrait of none other than General Saber. I guess Saber mustve had a big impression with the Death Lords.
Boys, Thundro shouted.
Coming, the two rejoined Thundro.
After walking for about a hundred yards, they stopped before twin doors made of cast gold and silver.
Welcome to the realm of the Death Lords. Thundro said. He swung the doors opened and before the key bearers, the more magnificent hall mesmerized their eyes with an almost envious lust. The main hall was a large dome carved into the side of the mountain. It had intricately carved designs, complex, forming a vine-like interweaving. Gold and silver were pained about. To the very top, a painting of Imperial glory colored the domes head. Bright lights lit the hall.
Look at this. Riku said, unable to turn away.
Ive never seen anything so magnificent. Sora added.
Boys, Thundro interrupted, My chambers are down the west wing. Follow me. The young key bearers hastened themselves. They followed the Imperial down another corridor. But it was simple, not showing any intricate designs. They stopped by the first room and entered. This is my quarters, make sure not to touch anything if you value your fingers that is. The three sat upon overstuffed chairs. Now, what is it that you want to know about Saber?
First things first, Thundro, Riku demanded, If you would be so kind to tell us. Whats with all the secrecy and hostility? You do know that the Imperial regime has been waning since the defeat of the Three Excellencies right? So why maintain this place. Why keep it a secret?
You just expect me to walk about in the open as if nothing has happened? I may have defected against the Empire, but I still consider the Imperial way my way. I may have raised arms against them, but that just gives me all the more reason to repent for my betrayal. Despite proving to the Alliance that I had turned over a new leaf, not only would they have not accepted me for who I was instead of what I was, but there was still that part of me who thirsted for Imperial rule. This is the only real haven left where the last of the Death Lords can reside the rest of his life in peace.-
Youre just as proud and anti-social as usual. Sora implied.
Dont change the subject. You came to me for help, which is bold of anybody. Even Sneer never dared to enter this realm without my permission. Thundro folded his arms in front of him. You wanted to know about General Saber correct? So what is it that you want to know about him and why is it so important?
First of all, Riku began, We need to know about Sabers techniques and skills. We have to know how he thinks and where he gets his power. We need to know him in and out so that well be able to counter any attack or strategy he throws at us.
Weve already encountered Saber several times before. Sora added. At times we had to battle him. But hes so hard to figure out and so hard to approach. Those techniques that he used were mind boggling.
And what techniques did you see him perform? Thundro asked.
Well& The two key bearers pondered for a while at what they witnessed in the past worlds when they confronted the last of the Blade Generals.
There was that time he used a clone technique on us back at Maleficents castle. Sora began.
Then there was that time in Agrabah. Riku added. He used a sand storm trap on us.
And just recently in Neverland, he used that gravity spell on us.-
Not surprising, Thundro inquired, Saber is very cunning, very cunning indeed. Had the Empire survived, he would have been promoted to lord due to his exquisite profile. Sabers style is unflawed, unblemished. He has the charisma and the determination that would make even the greatest of Imperial lords envious. Thundro leaned back in his seat. If there is one important thing you should know, its Sabers grasp on the eleven natural elements.
Eleven elements? the two key bearers were shocked.
There are eleven elements? Sora said. But I thought there were only seven.
You parallel that knowledge with the experience of battling the Cavendish Shinobies. But you merely battled against seven elements. You did not battle against all of them.-
What are the eleven elements? Riku asked.
First you have the five basics, the ones you battled, ice, water, fire, wind, and soil, or earth as some call it. Those are the basics, especially for Shinobies. Then come the three elite basics. First, there is sound in which a master of the sound element is able to inflict severe damage to the body with the use of sound waves. After that comes the seventh element, the element of darkness and shadow, much like what you faced when fighting against Kahn. Then you have the light element, categorized as the eighth in the scale.
Why only the eighth&?-
The power of light is the top of the basic elements, those that can be easily grasped by the majority. The light element is considered to be hard to grasp because of its effectiveness in battle. Lightning also adds as a sub category to this element. Others like Soras Corona Flash Barrage rank a little higher.
So those are the eight basic elements then. Sora said.
Then there are the two rarities. Thundro continued. The first of these is the element of force, much like the gravity technique you saw Saber unleash. The element of force is wide ranged. By force you can manipulate atoms and molecules to become your weapons. The force can be a repelling style. It can be an immobile style. In which one can halt an enemys attack, forcing them to float freely in mid air against their will, or hold them in place, a sort of paralysis. Then there is the gravity effect in which an epicenter is created and draws everything to it. A true master would be able to create such a powerful force, that it levels up to the gravitational pull of a black hole. The key bearers were shocked about what they heard.
I never knew you could bring it to that kind of extremity. Riku said.
Then there is the tenth element, the element of dimension. This is a rare elemental manipulation indeed. The effect is that one who grasps and masters this element has the capability of bending or breaking the space time continuum.-
Is it like the attack I use when turning into Dark Riku?-
Not entirely. What you undergo as Dark Riku is more of a teleportation technique that revolves within a 360 degree circumference. No, the dimensional element is different. By opening up a dimensional portal, one would be able to direct their attack, not in the direction of their enemy, but by opening a dimensional portal, they can link the attack back to the present plain and attack the enemy from a completely different angle.-
Okay, Sora grumbled, You lost me completely.
Let me demonstrate then. Thundro drew up his fist and punched outward. But as soon as his arm was fully extended, this entire forearm disappeared, as if it had been cut off. At the same time, Sora felt a punch at the back of the head. Both key bearers looked to find Thundros missing forearm behind them. Now do you understand?
I see, Riku was impressed, never seeing anything like that. So thats what you meant by breaking the space time continuum.
You could have at least given me a warning! Sora shouted.
Thats the reason for such a technique. Thundro continued. That tactic was meant for deceptive moves. The dimensional element can also be used in redirecting an attack against incoming energy waves or other sorts of projectiles. One who masters the dimensional element is able to open a temporary portal and redirect an enemys attack right back at them.
Exactly how many people have mastered that technique? Riku asked.
So far, only four have ever even come close to touching that element, let alone mastering it. One who fully mastered the dimensional element was Lord Cavendish himself. Then there was Lord Arakis, followed by myself, and finally General Saber. Simply trying to acquire the basics is more difficult than what people think. Even the most talented of elementals cannot even dream of gaining such power. And one must master, or at least obtain basic knowledge of the first ten in order to obtain the final and most potent element of them all, the eleventh element.-
And what is the eleventh element. Sora asked.
The element of time,-
Thats correct.-
But how is the time element so potent? Riku inquired.
With the time element, one is able to slow down time or even halt time entirely in order to obtain their wanted outcome in a battle.-
Is it like the Stopga spell? Sora wondered.
Not exactly, Thundro continued. The Stopga spell is merely a cheap imitation, a paralysis technique, shutting off all basic functions of the body and mind so that an opponent is immobile to attack. Ergo, they believe they were placed in a state where time seems to cease itself. No, the time element in its purity is more than that. When one increases their stamina from within, they can unleash a halting effect in the space time continuum. Thus, all time around them halts. A single second would seem a day to one who truly mastered it. This is a technique used against extremely swift enemies, or numerous enemies. With the time element, one would be able to abide their time and not have to worry about any form of retaliation. They simply initiate the time element; inflict the damage necessary to defeat their foe, and its over. The opponent would not have known what hit them. But by then its already too late.
But if Saber has the ability to halt time completely, that means that&-
It means that if you battle him, youd be dead before you could even draw out your keyblades.-
Is there a counter to that element? Riku asked.
There is only one way. Thundro stood up and locked his hands together behind his back. You must gain enough knowledge and power of the eleventh element to develop immunity to its effects. Unfortunately, for you, youd be old men before you could even hope of reaching for such a goal. And I do not believe Saber will wait that long.-
In other words were screwed, right?-
In many possible phrases, yes, so you might as well forget it. Battling against Saber and actually winning is virtually impossible at your level.-
Then what do you propose we do?-
If there is one way to gain quick immunity to all eleven elements, it would have to be this. Thundro drew up his hand. Suddenly, there was an immense surge of energy that lifted up from his open palm. Appearing over his fingers in a flash of red light, a gleaming white orb appeared. It was a pure white light. Around it, sparks of blue electrical surges snapped and wisped around it. There was an immense aura coming from such a small orb. The key bearers were dumbfounded by its beauty.
Wow& Sora said.
What I bear here is the solution to all your problems. Thundro explained. This little sphere is what has been dubbed the Immunity Orb in which when absorbed into your bodies, you will be able to obtain all knowledge of the eleven elements and will have the capacity to nullify their effects if theyre deployed by an enemy, even if your foe combines elemental and physical components. Not even Saber knows about it. Thundro dispersed the orb into his hand. It was a technique and quick solution passed only amongst the Death Lords. Not even a man as revered as Saber was allowed access to that knowledge.
But why share it with us?-
Its because there is no other solution. You either gain it through your own means, which may take years, or you can achieve it in one little package. And in all my experience, I never knew a single man who could achieve such knowledge in a single lifetime. Saber may look young, but hes old enough to be your grandfather. The key bearers cringed a bit. Riku, however, was not deterred.
Then, can we have it? Riku asked.
In your state, I think not.-
But why not?-
The Immunity Orb may not look like much, but dont let its size fool you. By absorbing the orb, you gain knowledge of all the elements and develop immunity to their effects. However, as is with everything in this world, there are negative aspects to coincide with positive aspects.-
And whats the con for the Immunity Orb?-
In order to fully absorb the orb, youd have to be at least three to five times stronger than you are now. If you absorb the orb right now, it will undoubtedly kill you.-
Kill us? Sora uttered.
Thats right. Thundro replied. It will kill you. The reason why is because your bodies and minds, as tough as you think they are, will not bear a quarter of the power and endurance needed to absorb the orb.
Well undertake it then. Riku declared. Whatever the consequence, we have to have that power to defeat Saber.
No, Thundro walked away towards the door. Letting you intake the orb now is out of the question. And theres no discussion strong enough to persuade me otherwise.
Hey, Riku and Sora got up and followed Thundro as he exited out of his quarters. At least let us give it a try.
A try you say? Youve be dead before you realized what happened. And youre not worth anything to anyone if youre dead.-
Listen, we dont have time to screw around right now! We need a way to defeat Saber. And if absorbing that orb is the only way, then so be it!-
Youre not strong enough, believe me. It will kill you.-
And how bad could it possibly be?!
Do you really want to know? Thundro suddenly turned around. His hand gripped like a claw, he unleashed surge of energy through Riku. Riku was struck by an indescribable sensation of pain. It was as if something were able to blow him up from the inside. Every nerve and every capillary pounded with this sharp, gut wrenching pain. Riku cried out and screamed like mad because the sensation was so unbearable.
Riku, Sora cried. He glared at Thundro. What did you do to him?!
Im merely giving him an example of what hell be feeling if the Immunity Orb were absorbed in him.-
Riku, Sora tried to touch him, but Riku only shouted him away.
Get away, Sora! he cried. Dont touch me! Dont touch me! He curled into a ball again as the pangs struck in multiple waves. The pain was so great, tears started dripping from his eyes.
The pain, the pain, its unbearable&!-
Is it really? Thundro wondered. Im sure one with a will as strong as yours can take a little pain.
Stop this, Thundro! Sora pleaded. Youre killing him!
Riku wanted to experience the pain of absorbing the orb, so I gave it to him.-
He wont last long at this rate!-
I dont expect him to. Riku gluttons for pain, I thus bestow that pain on him as he wished.-
I will overcome, Riku cried. I will overcome! Using all his energy, he suppressed the pain. It felt as though his head was about to explode. Finally, Riku turned into Dark Riku, unleashing all the darkness he had to subdue the pain. But even so, the effects did not diminish. I will not be defeated by mere energy! At last, with one last push, Riku expelled the energy from his body. But doing so left him exhausted. He collapsed to the ground.
Riku, Sora caught Riku as he fell backwards. The key bearer was drenched in sweat. His body was aching so much that each muscle throbbed with pain. Even his bones seemed to throb with pain. Riku gasped for air as the sweat trickled down his brow. Sora held him tight. Are you alright, Riku?
My body, Riku whispered, unable to raise his voice above a whisper, Its so heavy. That pain was unbearable. Im so tired&so tired&
Its alright, buddy. Youll be okay.-
What was that?-
What you experienced was a portion of the pain you would have felt had you decided to absorb the Immunity Orb. Thundro replied. The Death Lord knelt and laid his hand over Riku. There was a pulsating energy resonating from his palm. Within seconds, Riku was mended up and back on his feet. I apologize for that, but you seemed determine to endure the pain. I did warn you that it was enough to kill you. It nearly did. So tell me, how did it feel?
Ive never felt such pain before, nothing like that ever. It affected all of my senses and shut down my body. It was like all the pain, mentally and physically, I ever had to endure in my entire life all rolled into one moment and concentrated a hundred fold.-
Thats right. And even when youve gone beyond the point of feeling any pain, that pain still strikes hard. Thundro put his arms behind him again. What you experienced, however, was only a tenth of what the true orb feels like. The true pain would have been ten to twenty times greater. And with the overload in energy, if your body was not able to suppress and maintain it, you could have blown up like a hand grenade.
My God&-
So I guess absorbing the orb is out of the question. Sora said.
Im afraid so& Thundro replied.
If thats the case, Riku implied, Then we have to become stronger so we can absorb the orbs true power.
Riku&? Sora was baffled, he and Thundro both.
Is that so, and how do you plan on becoming stronger? Thundro asked.
Well train. Riku replied, his voice filled with new determination.
But Riku, Sora told him, We cant train like we always do. We wouldnt have enough time and wed only be able to achieve so much. We couldnt hope to become three to five times stronger in such a short period.
We have to try, Sora. Its our only option right now.-
But how are we gonna train? Normal training wouldnt be enough.-
Oh yeah& Riku pondered. Once again, it seemed their hopes were dashed. But then Sora had a brilliant idea.
I have it! He turned to Thundro. Maybe you can train us, Thundro.
I beg your pardon? Thundro seemed rather stunned by Soras words, but his shock didnt show behind his calm faade.
Yeah, Im sure you have some training techniques that might be able to make us stronger. Youre the last of the Death Lords, so that means you have to have at least a few styles that exceed normal training.-
Thats right, Riku added, You trained Goten to excel in swordsmanship in about a months time. I remember him mentioning that when we first met. And thats incredible. If you could some how train us, we might actually be able to reach to the level of strength we need to take in that orb. And we might still have a little time to spare!
I see, Thundro replied. If I take you in, then you will undergo new and rigorous forms of training that will bring your strengths to incredible heights. And once you have achieved your goal, you will be able to confront Saber and put him in his place! The key bearers were perked by Thundros level of enthusiasm. But the mood turned sour when his true thoughts emerged, his enthusiasm regressed to cruel sarcasm. Are you two imbeciles running a high fever or something, how in the world could you have conjured up a strategy so idiotic?! Of course the key bearers were offended by this remark.
Hey, whats with the sarcastic attitude all of a sudden?!-
My training is only meant for the elite, not the rabble. I dont think you two are even worth my time and effort to train! Thundro turned his back on them.
What are you saying? Sora growled. Are you saying that were not good enough?!
Youre an intelligent young man, Sora, what do you think?!-
Are you trying to be funny?! Cause were not laughing!!-
I dont expect you to. And I dont expect you to understand my reasons for rejecting your proposal. Thundro turned again to face them. You might think you have the charisma. You might think you have the determination. You might think you have the strength, the cunning, the ability, and the power. And all these might be true. But your level of so called strength pales in comparison to my definition of these categories. Engaging in my regimen will cause your bodies to shut down and your minds to go into a frenzy of insanity. You might actually go crazy and not be able to recover. Ive seen men lose their sanity and logics due to the severe stress. And they were supposed elites. So what makes you think that you are any more qualified then they are?!
Listen to me, Riku said with a stern tone. You think you can just judge us without even knowing our capabilities? Were stronger than what you give us credit for. Sora and I are a team, thats what makes us strong!
Yeah, Sora agreed.
Really, Thundro replied. Then if you are so strong, how is it that every time you confronted Saber, you were somehow repelled by him? You could have used that teamwork of yours to defeat him and yet he still roams freely about with no one to oppose him. I understand that hes been sent to several worlds accomplishing in a matter of days what the S class elites couldnt achieve in a month. So how can you justify this excuse for him living?
Well, uh& We still dont know anything about him! We need to know him better! Those times before, he caught us off guard with his elemental techniques. But if you were to help us, then maybe we might be able to defeat him the next time we meet!-
Is that so?-
You say that we dont have the ability, right?! Riku declared most strongly. But I say youre wrong, we do have what it takes! We do have what it takes to defeat Saber! But training under normal circumstances will not be enough to reach the level were hoping to achieve! If there is anyone who can help us, its you, Thundro!
And exactly how desperate are you to seeking my council?-
Riku, determined to show his will to the Death Lord, did the unthinkable. He fell to his knees and bowed respectfully. Sora saw his friend humble himself and he too did the same. Both key bearers fell to their knees and bowed.
Were begging for your help, Thundro. Please teach us your way of preparation.-
Yes, Sora added, please train us.
So youre that desperate are you? Thundro approached them. You certainly show humility, but my answer remains the same. You are just not qualified for my level of preparation. Thundro walked the opposite way, but Riku grabbed the bottom of his frock. Thundro turned to find Riku looking at him, his eyes filled with eagerness and desperation.
Were on our knees letting go of our pride. He uttered. Please&
I see. The Death Lord smirked. Something is definitely pressuring you to do this, eh? How can I be certain if youre made of the right material?-
If theres anyway we can prove our worthiness, Sora implied, name it.
Very well then, Thundro helped the two young men up. You are young, but your eyes tell me differently. You are not doing this to boost your egos. Though you might still be hatchlings, your eyes hold wisdom beyond your years. Thundro turned towards the exit of the great hall. Then if you are so determined to prove your worth, well do it my way.-
Hows that? Riku asked.
Follow me. Thundro marched to the exit. The key bearers quickly pursued him.
The three exited the Imperial facility and walked up a narrow path. The key bearers were curious, but said nothing, fearing that uttering one word might change Thundros mind. The train led in an upward pace, leading through tranquil parts of the forest that would have otherwise remained unseen. Eventually, the trail ended, coming to a flat basin of short grass and dusty terrain. Nearby, a water fall fell, pelting the eroded rocks at its basin, feeding the stream. It was here that the Thundro halted. The two key bearers stopped short of him.
So what did you bring us up here for, Thundro? Riku asked.
You said that you wanted to prove yourselves. Thundro replied. You want to convince me that you two are made of the right stuff, correct?
Yeah, Sora replied.
Very well, then if that be the case, we handle it in the manner that Ive executed to prove the worth of a student. Thundro turned, in his hand he wielded a blade, which had been concealed about his person. Riku, Sora, I challenge you both to a duel.
A duel&?-
Thats right. It is how I am able to determine whether you are taken in or booted out.-
Is that so? Riku replied with a smirk. Then what are the terms, do we have to beat you?
I wouldnt ask you to go that far. You dont have to beat me. All you two have to do is inflict one strike anywhere on my person.-
You mean& Sora uttered.
Thats right, if either one of you manage to strike me at least once, no matter how small the impact, then I will take on the responsibility of training you.-
Is that all? Riku asked.
Then thisll be easy. Sora added. They both drew out their keyblades. Get ready, Thundro, youre going down!
Now wait a minute, Thundro replied, I havent finished yet. Thundro reached in his pocket and pulled out a gold plated watch. He opened its lid and checked the time. He then stuffed it back in hi pocket. He then pulled out red lens scouter and mounted it upon his left ear. He pressed the little red button on its side, thus activating the machine with a soft beep. Ive checked my watch and it read 10:00 a.m. That means you have one hour, on hour to strike me at least once. However, if you cant strike me by the time the hour strikes eleven, then you go home and forget about this proposal.
An hour time limit eh? Riku wondered. Well, I think thats more than enough time we need.
Dont get too confident boys. It wont be that easy to best me.-
And why do you say that?-
Do you really think I would propose such an outcome if I knew it would be easy for you?-
Well just see. He looked at Sora. Are you ready for this, buddy?
Yeah, Sora replied.
Then lets get him!-
With incredible swiftness, both key bearers launched themselves at Thundro. However, as the swung down upon him, believing that victory was theirs, the elusive Death Lord vanished from sight. He then appeared behind the key bearers and pummeled them both on their backs with two powerful picks. The key bearers fell forwards, dropping to the ground and skidding across the dusty rubble. Riku and Sora slowly rose up, coughing and choking as the clouds of dirt suffocated them. They turned up to see Thundro standing above them like a storm.
So tell me, gentlemen, he implied, Do you really think its going to be as easy as you had anticipated?
That attack, Sora uttered, I didnt even see him.
Its like he just disappeared into thin air. Riku added. Could that have been the time element?
That last attack had nothing to do with time, Riku. Thundro explained. What you just witnessed was pure speed.
Pure speed&?-
Thats correct. And to tell you the truth, that speed isnt even a fraction of what Im capable of.-
Man, Sora said.
Now do you dare try again?-
Dont count us out so soon in the game, Riku declared, The partys just starting!
Lets hit him again, Riku! Sora shouted.
The two charged again and swiped and struck with all their might. Their own speed was incredible, mind boggling to most people. But to Thundro, they were moving way too slowly. He dodged and evaded as if the grapple was well choreographed ahead of the bout.
You guys are fast, Thundro chuckled, but you lack severely against the likes of me. Thundro elbowed Sora in the chest, while kicking Riku in the gut. The two key bearers tumbled backwards and fell in the dust again. Thundro stood up, not even laboring in breath. Have you two had enough yet?
Not even close! Riku shouted.
We wont give up until we win! Sora cried. They attacked again, yet the result was the same. But still they were undeterred. Again and again, they were pummeled by Thundro, but even so after every tumble, they stood back up and assaulted once more. In all their assaults, Thundro was impressed.
I have to admit, he thought inwardly, These two young men are determined. Perhaps they do have what it takes. Their hearts are pure, but then again so are fools. However, maybe it is because of their pure hearts that they are so determined to succeed. Perhaps maintaining those pure hearts is the only way for them to maintain their humanity.


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