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Chapter 10 - The Gravity Chamber

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

Chapter 10 - The Gravity Chamber

Chapter 10 - The Gravity Chamber
The Gravity Chamber

The three followed Thundro into the room. There was not much to the room except that it was a large gritted dome. At the center of the room, a large steel pillar stood stationary to its surroundings. At its base was a control panel.
Behold, boys, Thundro declared, This is the gravity chamber.
It doesnt look like much does it. Sora said.
Do not be fooled by its simplicity, Sora. This chamber can be a death trap for anyone who abuses its incredible power.-
So what exactly does this chamber do? Riku inquired.
The gravity chamber helps to increase your physical strength. Under extreme pressure, you will be able to overcome the limits that presently hold you back.-
How do you mean? Sora asked.
Let me ask you this, Thundro put his arms behind him, Have you ever once in your life experienced a change in gravity beyond what youre accustomed to.
Well, Riku pondered, recalling any event they encountered in the past, There was one time when we battled against the Midnight Faction forces in the Rurouni realm.
Oh yeah, Sora recalled, That chamber where we fought that guy, Vermoncht Delinor. That had a gravity difference.
And how did that make you feel? Thundro asked.
It was like I was being weighed down.-
And how did this Vermoncht Delinor maneuver himself.-
It was like he was accustomed to the gravity difference for a while. Riku implied. He moved about the increased pressure like a fish in water.
And that is exactly what Im going to do to you. Thundro explained. Im going to let you train in this chamber for an extensive amount of time and at a certain level of gravity. That way, youll become more accustomed to fighting in such an environment if the time arises. At the same time, the intense pull will increase your stamina at normal gravity. Thus, you will break your limits, becoming faster, stronger, more agile, and whatnot than you were before. You might say that everything around you will seem to pace itself in slow down.
Wow, Sora gasped.
Well start you at the basics, taking a little step at a time.-
Exactly how much can you increase the gravitational pull in here, Master Thundro? Riku asked.
You can increase the gravity from the minimum of two times greater, to the maximum of a thousand times natural gravity.
A thousand, Sora gasped.
That is why I said that this chamber is also a death trap. If you increase the gravity too high, youll end up flatter than a pancake, literally. Ive seen it happen. You will start small, from three to five times the natural level just to get your feet wet. Your bodies will become more sluggish and more stressed, but after a couple of days, youll get used to the pressure. Thundro walked up to the control panel and inputted the necessary settings. Since this is your first time, well initiate a trial run and see how far you go. He pressed a few buttons. Well start at three times the natural gravity just to see how much you can tolerate it. He then paused for a moment and looked to the key bearers. Before we begin, however, I need your guarantee to confirm if I can activate the simulation. Are you ready or not?
Were ready, Master.-
No arguments here, Master Thundro. Riku added.
So be it. Thundro activated the gravity simulation. Within a few seconds, there was a sudden rumble from the system. Then, like a hand pressed upon their heads, the key bearers were knocked to their knees. They stressed and strained as the sudden change of gravity weighed them down like a ton of bricks.
My God, Riku staggered to his feet as best he could, This it tougher than it looks. I can barely walk.
You should consider yourself lucky, Riku. Sora grumbled, I can barely move, let alone walk. He then happened to look at Thundro who was walking about as if there was no gravity at all. Hey, Master Thundro, how come youre not affected by the gravity?
Its because Ive been exposed more to such training as this. Ive been training in this kind of atmosphere since the day I was created. Ive mastered the gravity level to its maximum.
You mean you trained in a thousand times the natural level?-
That and higher. The gravity room youre training in presently is insignificant to the ones built for His Excellency Master Cavendish. Those simulations can reach the maximum of one million times the natural gravity level.
Impossible, Riku uttered.
Not for Master Cavendish.-
No wonder he was so powerful. Sora thought to himself.
For your first set of training exercises, Thundro began, I want you to run ten laps around this room.
Yes run.-
But thats impossible, Master Thundro.-
You will run as I have instructed, Sora. Either that or you can take a good thrashing from me. Sora backed off. You know you wouldnt stand a chance against me though. Now will you run or suffer the consequences.
Yes, sir, Master Thundro, well run Sora and Riku moved their feet, increasing their pace to a jog. Their legs felt as if great weights were holding their feet towards the ground, making it extremely laborious to move. But despite that, the key bearers continued their run side by side ten times around the dome.
Move it, move it, move it, Thundro shouted, like a military drill instructor, Ive seen glaciers that move faster than you! Pick up the pace, you two!
Yes, sir, Riku shouted.
The first lap proved a difficult task. The second lap proved just as formidable. The third was unbearable, but the key bearers continued with their laps, despite the fact that already their legs were throbbing with a pulsating ache. The fourth and fifth were just as equally unbearable as the third. Only half way to go, but already the gravity was taking it toll on Riku and Sora.
I cant keep this up. Sora panted.
You gotta keep it up, Sora. Riku encouraged him. Its you and me all the way. You gotta keep going.
Ill try.-
Move faster, Thundro shouted, Keep it up, only half way to go now! The sixth and seventh passed. By this time, the key bearers were already starting to feel the numbness in their legs overcome the pain. They felt no sensation as if their legs were made of jelly. The only think they could feel was the hardness of the floor at the bottoms of their feet as they continued their lapping.
This is so hard, Sora gasped, sweat dripping down his face.
I know, Sora, I know. Riku replied. But we gotta keep going.
But I cant feel my legs.-
Neither can I. Think about something thatll keep your mind occupied as you run.-
Like what?-
Think about home, our friends, our mission, or something else to keep your mind from thinking about the number of laps we have to run.-
Right, Sora concentrated, thinking about the things that he left behind on Destiny Island, his friends at Traverse Town and in other worlds awaiting their return. He then thought of King Mickey and Queen Minnie who have been confined for over a month now. Those thoughts helped to motivate Sora and keep him going forward.
Thundro looked on as Sora and Riku finished their eighth lap and were in the middle of their ninth. He watched them closely, gazing at their breathing, their chests going in and out as a new breath of air was taken in. The sweat dripped from their foreheads and their legs seemed to decrease in stride. But still they pressed on.
That fire in their eyes. Thundro thought to himself. Its just like all my other students and pupils. They have that raging determination to continue. The key bearers, Riku and Sora, they have that same attitude. Theyre going all out no matter what. They want to succeed. Though their bodies feel pain and their minds are weary, telling them that its enough, their hearts urge them to continue. They know that surmounting the pain is the only way to overcome the hardship of this chamber. He smirked. These boys, they are out to do great things, perhaps greater than those who came before them.
Riku and Sora now finished the ninth lap and were now running the tenth and final lap.
Just a little further, Sora thought to himself, Just a little further.
Thats it, Sora. Riku remarked. Youre doing it. Were doing it.
But by the time they entered the second half of the final lap, despite Sora urging himself to continue, his legs could not bear the stress and tear. Thus, as if running into an invisible barrier, the young key bearer collapsed to the floor. Riku saw as his comrade fell.
Sora, he cried. He stopped and turned around. He knelt by Soras side.
I cant, Riku, Sora uttered. Ive reached my limit. I cant feel my legs anymore. Im so tired.
Its not over yet, Sora. Riku said. Cmon, you can make it.
Sora looked up at Riku. Noctin Tilandir extended his hand, wishing to assist him. In his eyes, Sora saw in Riku a vision of himself. He had done the same for Riku, giving him hope. Now it was Riku who gave the hope to him. Sora smiled and took hold of his friends outstretched hand. He heaved up and staggered to his feet. The two young men supported each other. Riku pit Soras arm around his neck. The youth gazed at Noctin Tilandir, a faint sadness in his eyes.
Thanks, Riku, Sora whispered. Thanks for keeping faith in me.
Were gonna beat this thing together. You and I are a team.-
Its only the two of us.-
We have to look out for each other, bro. Ill never let you go, just as you have done for me.-
Yeah, Sora looked ahead, then back at Riku, Just a little further.
Lets go.-
The key bearers reached the ending mark together, though their pace had been reduced to a snails speed. Slumped in each others arms, they reached the finale of their task. Thundro watched in awe as he beheld the determination of the key bearers unfold before him.
Such dedication towards friends. He thought to himself, Riku and Sora, they only live for each other. They never leave each other behind. Their bond, their friendship, its greatly intertwined like knotted chains, firmly established like the very foundations of Oceanaria itself. Nothing could ever break them apart.
The key bearers reached the end, falling to their knees and gasping for breath. The weight of the gravity made their bones feel brittle and their muscles like thin tissue paper. Sweat fell from their faces like rain.
Man, Riku said, That was a workout and only ten laps too.
It makes me feel like Im completely out of shape. Sora added.
This feeling of fatigue will soon pass, boys. Thundro explained. Soon it will be no more than a distant memory. Now, get up and let us continue.
Awe come on, Master Thundro. Cant we have a break?-
There will be no break for you if you keep whining, now on your feet, you two!-
Cant we at least take these uniforms off? Theyre really stifling me right now.-
Id have to agree with Sora, Master. Riku agreed.
I suppose your right. Thundro thought about it. Youre not adapted to the change. So Ill allow you to strip down.
Thanks, Riku and Sora took off the heavy shell jacket, then the vest and gloves, then the long sleeve shirt. Both decided to train shirtless. I feel much better.
This is just this once, boys. The next time, I expect you to keep your uniforms on, agreed?-
Then for your next exercise, you will both do a hundred crunches.-
A hundred, Sora gasped.
Is that too much for you?-
Well, Sora sneered, of course not. I can take a hundred crunches no problem.
Well just see about that then.-
The key bearers lay themselves on their backs and started doing crunches, hardening their abdomens. Thundro folded his arms in front of him and began the count. However, performing a hundred crunches were completely different in heavier gravity than it was in normal gravity. To the key bearers, it was like someone was forcefully holding them down. Again, after only a set of twenty, the key bearers could feel the pressure. But still they continued, despite their weariness. Through their minds, they concentrated on the battle ahead, thinking of that significant fight that would erupt in the future, the fight against General Saber.
Thats it, boys. Thundro said. Take it at a nice, steady pace. Up, down, up, down.
Remember, Sora thought to himself, straining to keep his mind off of the battle to come, Your friends need you, Sora. King Mickey, Queen Minnie, and Daisy, they all need you. I have to do this to avenge my friends and allies, Cuchulain, Edward and Alphonse, Athrun&
Thats it, Sora. Riku said. Let your mind wander. Crunch sets fifty through sixty passed and the key bearers were only slightly aware.
It looks like theyre getting the hang of this new gravity. Thundro inwardly spoke. Theyre faster than most, impressive.
Seventy through eighty passed by and still the key bearers did not relent in their crunches. It was around number ninety that the key bearers started to lose focus. They were at the end and wanted to much to get to the end. But it seemed as if the gravity had gotten a lot heavier, ninety-five, ninety-six, almost there.
Just a little more, Sora cried. Then with one last thrust upward, the final crunch was reached. The key bearers then lay exhausted on the ground. We did it.
Yeah, Riku panted.
Not bad, Thundro looked at his watch. You managed to accomplish those a hundred crunches in only ten minutes. Quite a foot indeed, considering that the gravity pressure is three times greater.
You can do anything if you put your mind to it.-
Ill give you two a five minute rest before starting the final warm up exercise.-
What, Sora was stunned, You mean what weve been doing were merely warm-ups?
Thats correct. Youre real training will be to battle against me.-
Oh man,-
Now, you have five minutes. Rest a while before we commence again.-
Five minutes was not an extended period though. The key bearers barely had enough time to regain their strength before Thundro called them to their feet again.
Alright, boys, he declared, Your five minutes are up.
Already, Sora said.
Yes, Riku and Sora staggered to their feet, their youthful bodies still drenched in heavy perspiration. Your final task is to perform a hundred push-ups.
A hundred push-ups&?-
Yes, Ill count off.-
Alright, Riku implied, Lets do this, Sora. Sora could only nod, though he detested the thought of a hundred push-ups in such heavy gravity. They got on their hands and extended their arms straight under them.
Lets begin. The key bearers bent their elbows and the count down began. One&two&three&four&
As before, the key bearers did all in their power to focus on something else other than the task at hand. Up, down, the process was repeated. Half an hour would pass before they would reach the end of the third task. And in that time, when the numbers began to wane, the minds of the youths began to waver, back and forth. Though their minds encouraged them to continue, their bodies could not keep up. By the time the Thundro cried out one hundred, the key bearers simply flopped themselves onto the ground, soaked in a puddle of their own sweat.
I cant do anymore. Sora uttered, Im too tired. This gravity is taking its toll on me.
I have to agree, Master Thundro. Riku complied. My legs, arms and abs feel like theyre made of jelly.
Ill give you boys a ten minute break to regain your strength. Thundro said. Then you better be ready to battle.
At this rate, I dont think well have enough energy to stand.-
Well, you better get used to it, because youll be feeling this kind of pressure from now on. Ive been too soft on you already, allowing you to strip down, giving you five and ten minute reprieves. From this point on, you better be ready to die if necessary. We have already spent a full two days of our three week regimen and yet we have accomplished very little. I expect you to toughen up and take whatever I throw at you from this point on, got it?!-
The key bearers could only give a nod. Ten minutes of rest and the rest of their stay would be nothing, but hell.

The reprieve was brief and Thundro once again took his role as the taskmaster.
Alright, boys, he declared, Back on your feet. We still have the rest of the day ahead of us.
Yes, Master, Sora replied. The key bearers bore the strain and staggered to stand. They wavered for a minute or two, but regained their composure.
Now, Upon his side, Thundro wore a gold hilted saber in a white scabbard with gold trim. He drew out the sword, revealing its flawless, glimmering, and razor sharp blade. Let us see how you favor against me.
The youths drew out their keyblades and took a defensive stance. Thundro posed himself, making that intimidating stance as well. There was a lull between both sides as they analyzed any possible attacks that the other might engage in.
Thundro was the first to attack. He moved fast enough so that the key bearers would have a difficult time to battle him. But not so much that it would be impossible for Riku or Sora to even have a chance. There was the first clashing and clanging of steel as Thundro appeared between the two and knocked the key bearers away from each other. The youths staggered, but regained stamina.
Hes fast, Sora thought to himself. Thundros moves are like lightning, even in this kind of gravity.
You think this is swift? Thundro chuckled, Im barely even trying, if not trying at all. Thundro attacked again. The key bearers did their best to regain their stamina, but the gravity pressure made them feel sluggish. Thus, their reaction time was a lot slower. Back and forth the battle went, the key bearers waning in their defense as the Death Lord struck at them from all sides. Attack blindly if you must. Attack me as if I am your enemy and I am sworn to kill you and everyone you know.
But what if we hurt you?-
That is the purpose of sparring! You have to fight as if you are fighting the foe themselves, whether they be a teacher, a parent, a sibling, or even a close peer or best friend. The only thing you have to be concerned with in the heat of battle is defeating your enemy. And at times kill them.-
But we dont want to kill you! Riku said. This is just a practice run!
Thats not open for discussion! Thundro lunged at Riku and easily pummeled him to the ground. Riku groaned as he tried to stand. Thundro only stood over him, one arm at his hip, the other wielding his sword. This is pathetic. Is this all that the infamous Noctin Tilandir can do?
Leave him alone, Thundro! Sora roared. He lunged at Thundro. But the gravity still weighed him down, making his approach sloppy. Thundro saw the attack coming well in advance and evaded with barely any trouble.
Another pathetic loser, and so disrespectful as well Thundro somersaulted over the youths head and bashed him at the back of the head with his sword hilt. Sora tumbled to the ground, skidding next to Riku. Thundro eased himself upon his toes as if he were lighter than air. I told you to address me as Master, didnt I. Your insubordination will eventually lead you to a swift downfall.
Sora, Riku approached his friends side, Sora, are you alright?
Hes making us look like a couple of chumps. Sora growled.
I know, I know, but there is a way to beat him.-
Our team effort is our strength. If we fight together and as one, as we always have before, I believe we might be able to beat him.-
Yeah, youre right, Riku. Sora staggered to his feet. We can take this guy down. They raised their keyblades again, daring Thundro to attack them.
I see that youre back on your feet. Thundro said.
This time around, youre going down! Riku shouted.
Is that so? Thundro only snickered. Well, I highly doubt that even with a tight effort of teamwork, you would not be able to hinder me.
You keep talking,-
I think I will. Thundro suddenly pulled out from his pocket two spheres, one of glass and the other of gold. Both had little bells inside that jingled and jangled. Tossing both spheres into the air, the Imperial closed his eyes and concentrated in heavy meditation. Lifting up his sword, he held it at a slight angle, with the blades sharpened tip pointing upward. The two balls descended and delicately landed onto the fine tip of the sword, not giving off a single ring from the bells within. They rolled down the blade, tapping each other as they hit the hilt and still no sound from the bells. Im so confident in your inability to fight; Ill bet that you couldnt even distract my concentration on balancing these orbs on my sabers blade. Of course these comments angered the key bearers.
Watch what you say, Thundro, Sora said in an aggressive manner. Youre talking to the guys who defeated the Cavendish Shinobis and went head to head with the top lords of the former Empire, so dont you dare mock us!
Im free to do whatever I have the urge to carry out. I already know that youre not a threat to me.-
Youve gone too far with your taunting!-
The key bearers attacked, preparing to initiate the technique that they relied on from the start, the evasion technique. But Thundro did not waver. He suddenly tossed both spheres into the air, just as the key bearers unleashed their attack. Light and shadow filled the room. Within seconds it was over. The spheres fell towards the ground, but landed gently upon the blade of Lord Thundro. The key bearers on the other hand had fallen to the ground, struck by Thundro.
Well, the Imperial implied, I see that youre not as cracked up as you had thought yourself to be.
But how, Sora uttered, How could our evasion technique have failed?
Its impossible, Riku added.
It was the most obvious attack you would use. Thundro explained. You give off a certain signature level for that attack, which is the reason I was able to evade you. Thundro rolled the glass and gold spheres on his sabers edge with such ease and grace, at the same time giving a flaunting gesture, telling his two apprentices that they stood not chance against him. Well, well, well, will you look at that? It seems I was able to keep the two orbs balanced on my blades sharpened edge without any trouble.
Stop making fun of us! Riku shouted. The two key bearers suddenly leaped up ad lunged at him again. Lets see how you favor when both of us are attacking you at the same time!
They sliced and jabbed at Thundro with random attempts, all in completely different intervals. Up, down, side to side, in and out, backwards and forwards, Riku and Sora did all they could to hinder the Death Lord, or at least make him regret his own confidence and arrogance. But alas, their efforts against proved futile. To their utter shock and amazement, Thundro was able to battle them both at the same time, evade, dodge, and counter, at the same time not allowing either ball to strike the ground. They flew into the air, or swerved upon the Imperials blade, or bounced off the hilt and back onto the tip without making a single clang or grunt all the while not making a stirring jingle from the bells. In fact, the entire spar only sounded the grunts and cries of the key bearers as they attempted to cut the Imperial.
For twenty whole minutes, the two youths attacked and struck with all they had, but still not a scratch was made on Thundro. Even the belled spheres didnt speak. So flawless and graceful was Thundros swordsman skills, he easily fended of the key bearers without ringing a single tone from the bells within the spheres, let alone dropping them to the floor. In the end, he was able to give a good kick to the key bearers, knocking them to the ground once again. At the same time, the belled spheres landed upon this swords razor edge and still not a ring sounded. He then threw them up into the air and caught them in his hand. Only then did the bells jingle, very boastfully at that.
He looked at the key bearers who were dead tired and unable to rise from their fatigue.
Well, I have proven my self correct, boys. Thundro sighed. I told you that you were incapable of battling with me.
But how, Sora asked as he panted, his hard, youthful body drenched in sweat, How is it that you can move like that and not let one of those balls fall to the ground?
Forget that, Riku said, How is it that youre able to move like than and not let the bells in side ring even once?
Ive had a great deal of practice. Thundro answered. My mind was clear of any thought. The only thing on my mind was those two orbs and how I would be able to catch them without letting either ring.
But we were attacking you from all sides and at either the same or at different times.-
It just goes to show how undisciplined you are.-
Undisciplined, Sora asked, How could you say that? Riku and I are a tight team! Weve never lost many of the battles that we fought when we fight together.
And what about your past scuffles with General Saber?-
Well, that was different.-
How so&?-
Well, uh&-
I can tell you why you lost. It was a combination of many factors.-
What kind of factors? Riku asked.
For starters, Thundro explained, The gravity you were fighting in was three times greater than what youre usually used to. As a result, because of the added weight affect to your bodies, your reaction time, agility, and speed were reduced tremendously. Thus, I was able to predict every movement you made. Not to mention the fact that you wasted a great deal of your energy with those exercises I made you do previous to this fight. The key bearers slumped with awkward stares on their faces. At the same time, you were attacking with a mix of outer emotion and interior thoughts. When meaning exterior emotions, you were inwardly enraged when I mocked you, thus you were only concentrating on how to get back and me and redeem yourselves of your supposed incompetence. This flaw in mentality clouded your sense of judgment. Coinciding with this, you might have been thinking about other things outside the battlefield. You friends, your family, if youll win, it you are truly incompetent, questioning your ability, even thinking of your own demise and faults. These factors further cloud the mind and affect your efficiency in battle.
Well, of course we would be concerned with our friends. And of course wed be a little ticked off after you taunted us. Anyone would have reacted the same way.-
No argument there, Riku. I would react the same way as well and I still have a tendency to do so. But if you were to let those things go for the duration of the battle, then you will have a better time of combating a stronger opponent. Thats what an enemy like Saber will to. He will seek out your weaknesses in both mental and physical strength. You can counter this by only accepting the taunting and throwing it aside. You must not think of anything outside the battlefield except the task that you were sent there for in the first place. It may be cruel, and it may be a way of decreasing your motivation. But you concentrate too much on the people on the outside, who need you then you limit your own abilities.
But we usually find that to be a source of strength for us. Sora told him.
That may be true, but you let it override your concentration and that sentimental value will be your downfall. Thundro swerved the orbs around his palm, the bells not jingling. Let your mind focus on the battle itself. Feel for your foes movement. You concentrate on that and youll know where they will strike next. Itll take discipline to achieve this state of mind. Thundro then tossed the orbs at the key bearers, each catching one. Sora caught the glass orb while Riku got his hands around the gold orb. The bells inside jangled loudly. Before the three weeks are up, I expect you two to master the use of these orbs.
Use of these orbs&? Sora gazed at the glass ball, seeing his rounded reflection on its surface.
In other words, you will be able to perform the same as I did in our spar, balancing the sphere upon your weapon without having it jangle or fall.
What, The key bearers were shocked. But that will take months or even years to master!
Then I suggest you start working on it and fast.-
And how do you expect us to do that? Riku asked. Even after three weeks of rigorous, twenty four hour training, wed never be able to move that gracefully and accurately by even a fraction.
You never know what you can do until you try.-
But we also have those other things to do, conditioning our mentality and physical strength. Sora said. So how do you expect us to master that kind of discipline and accuracy in only three weeks with all this stuff piled on our shoulders?-
I have my ways. You just leave that to me. Thundro turned and walked to the control panel and upped the gravity pressure to level five. This sudden change in weight pressed down on the key bearers, making it harder for them to move, let alone walk.
What are you doing, Master Thundro?-
Im increasing the level of gravity from three to five times the natural level.-
Youre going to kill us. Riku strained to stand.
God willing,-
Cmon, its impossible for us to move in this.-
Then I suggest that you get used to it and fast. Even if you have to bust an artery and start bleeding out your ears, you will grasp and adapt to this pressure before the day is ended.-
So much for the royal treatment, Sora thought to himself.
I told you, if youre going to train under me then you better be prepared to die. Thundro walked before the straining key bearers with no strain himself. To him, the gravity wasnt even worth noticing. He then drew his saber forward. Now, prepare to battle again. Attack me!
Youre kidding!-
This is no humor or falsehood, young Sora. You will do as I say or I will have no problem to thrash you about like a rag doll. The more you cry for mercy, the more you plead for me to go easy on you, Im only going to make myself more cold-hearted and act more ruthlessly. And the thrashing you receive will be ten times more than what youve experienced presently. Now are you ready.-
We dont have much of a choice. Riku complied.
The key bearers drew up their weapons and again they attacked. Thundro had proved good to his word. The training was anything, but a joy ride. From sun up to sun down, he pushed the key bearers to the brink of death. Their bodies were torn and muscles were stretched beyond their limit. The five times gravity broke their bodies a hundred times over, but the key bearers did not relent. Though they hated it, though they despised Thundros mocking and taunting, they took every blow without complain. By the end of the day, the key bearers realized that nothing would persuade the Death Lord otherwise. This was Thundros realm. Ergo, they had to abide by his rules, regulations, and way of training. Sweat fell like rain, blood flowed in streams, and their bodies became infested with indescribable levels of pain.

Nighttime fell and the key bearers were now prostrate on the ground side by side, gasping and nearly suffocating as the pressure pushed down on their chests. Thundro on the other hand hadnt even broken a sweat. He simply yawned with boredom.
I cant do this anymore. Sora said. Im so tired, sweaty, and Im bleeding and aching all over.
You and me both, Riku added. Im aching in places I didnt even know existed.
Well, well, well, Thundro chuckled, It looks like you two managed to stay alive. Bravo.
Its over for us. We cant do this anymore. We did more rigorous training in this one day than weve done for the past ten years.-
Then hopefully, youve gotten stronger.-
I certainly dont feel stronger. Sora complained. But Ill definitely feel the pain of this training later.
I think not. Thundro bent over the key bearers, placed his palms upon their chests, and accumulated his energy over them. The key bearers were filled with a great surge and within seconds, their energy had been fully restored and their bodies were healed of their ailments. The key bearers sat up. Now, perhaps you wont be as whiney. Thundro pulled out his watch and checked the time. Well, boys, lets do this.
Alright, Riku said. He and Sora stood up again, but now the gravity pressure didnt seem to bother them as bad. They drew their keyblades up again. But to their surprise, Thundro only sheathed his sword.
And what are you two think youre doing? Thundro asked.
Well, I thought we were gonna fight some more. Sora said.
Thats enough for today. Ive tortured you enough. My watch gives the time about 8:30 p.m. which means weve been in here for just a little over fourteen hours. Thundro turned to the control panel and deactivated the gravity simulation. Immediately, things seemed lighter to the key bearers. Get dressed and go back to your quarters. Ill have dinner brought up.
I never would have thought I would be so happy to hear the word dinner. The key bearers picked up their gear. But for some reason, their bodies felt different, as if they were lighter. Hey, Riku, do you feel different?
I do, Riku replied. I feel a little&lighter.
Those are the effects of the gravity. Thundro explained. Youll get used to it. Your bodies are becoming accustomed to the heavy weight. Sora, give a swing with your keyblade. Sora did as he was instructed and pulled out his keyblade. He then swung his keyblade. But for some reason, the keyblade seemed light, almost weightless in his hand. It no longer seemed to strain his arm as much. To add, the swing was so swift, even Sora didnt see it.
Did you see that, Riku? he asked.
I did. Riku drew out his keyblade and did the same. The result was just as surprising. Youre right, I feel faster and the keyblade doesnt seem as heavy.
It just goes to show that your bodies have already adapted to the weight. Thundro said. The longer you work in such heavy gravity, the faster you will become.
No more dawdling now, boys. Back to your quarters the both of you.-
Yes&? Sora replied.
I want you to stay behind. I need to talk to you. Sora was a little apprehensive at first, but agreed to remain. Riku, go ahead and clean up. You have done a good days work.
Thank you, Master Thundro. Riku replied and scurried off back to the room. Ill make sure to leave you some hot water, Sora! When Riku had left, Thundro spoke his peace.
So what is it that haunted your dreams last night, Sora? Sora looked at him, surprised and rather apprehensive.
You heard? Sora asked.
How could I not? You were wailing in your sleep crying out Rikus name.-
Did you hear us talking?-
Yes, I did. You seemed rather despondent though when he asked you what it was about. Perhaps you can tell me about it. Sora didnt want to unveil anything that he might regret in the future, but he saw that stern glare in Thundros eyes. As an added pressure, the thought of the dream weighed heavily on his mind, troubling him. He knew the only way to release this pressure was to confess it to someone.
Well, Sora hesitated for a second or two before speaking again, The thing is that Ive been having this dream repeatedly.
I started having this dream about six years ago, when we were battling against the former Dark Empire. The first half always changes, but the battle that involves Riku is always the same, perhaps with a slight few changes in the way he looks.-
And what is this part of your dream?-
Well, Sora took to memory each account he saw within his mind, I always see Riku battling against himself. Its a tough fight and he never seems to beat his enemy. The thing is, the battle never had a conclusion until tonight.
And how did it end? Thundro asked.
I saw Riku killed.-
Is that so?-
I fear that this dream is leading up to some inevitable event and theres nothing I can do to stop it. But how is it possible for Riku to fight himself? I dont know if its literally fighting against himself, or a metaphor. Riku does have that tendency to reject the darkness after our return from that realm eight or nine years before.-
I believe that there may be a darkness lingering in Rikus heart that is slowly edging out. Because he is holding back, he may without a doubt unleash a terrible flood and that flood of emotion or hidden strength may overwhelm him and change his being entirely.-
But what is all this supposed to mean? Sora asked.
No can really determine that right now. Its only a matter of what actions will be taken to prevent or enhance its occurrence. The thing is that you know its coming. The conclusion is inevitable.-
But how do I prevent it?-
Perhaps if you told Riku&-
No&I cant&-
And why not? Thundro asked.
If I do, I fear Ill only burden Riku with an unnecessary emotion. And that in itself might interfere with out own objectives.-
Thats the reason you didnt tell him?-
Well, Thundro folded his arms in front of him, I can guarantee this much, Sora. Whether you tell him or not, the event will occur. If youve had this dream repeatedly and virtually unaltered every time, then there is no doubt that this battle between the Riku you love and the Riku you loathe will happen. And now that you have witnessed a conclusion to that fight, that only indicates that the end is near and you can do nothing to prevent it from this point on.-
But what am I supposed to do?-
The thing you have to truly ask yourself is if Rikus dark side reemerges, will you be willing to kill him if he turns against you?-
I dont know&-
Will you? Sora could only look away, his eyes saddened with the thought.
Rikus my best friend. Ive already seen him suffer and Ive already seen him die once in real life already. The loss was too much for me to bear. I dont want to lose him again. Not again&-
You do what you must do, Sora. Thundro put his arms behind him. Now, enough said Return to your quarters and get a good nights sleep. And do not let this supposed prophecy cloud your judgment.
Ill try.-
Sora saluted and withdrew.

He took his time returning to the room. The thought to the dream weighed heavier than ever. He shook his head, trying to loosen the thought.
Why is it that this dream is making me feel less easy than ever before? Sora thought to himself. Its never bothered me this bad. Is it because I told Thundro and not Riku? When he came into the room, Riku had just finished showering. He sat in bet, his long silver hair a little damp. He placed his towel around his neck.
Hey, Sora, Riku smiled, Why the long face?
I&I& Sora wanted to tell him, he wanted to tell Riku so badly, but he could not summon the courage to, fearing if he did, Rikus attitude might change. So Sora lied, even thought that by doing such a thing, he might have put his friendship with Riku in jeopardy.
I was lectured by Thundro. He said to stop complaining, it wastes time.-
Well, that sounds like Thundro. Anyway, the showers free.-
Thanks Riku. Sora undressed and walked to the shower. But at times, he would take small glances at Riku, wondering if lying to him was for better or for worse.

After dinner, they tucked themselves in and began another night of slumber. But such a peaceful night was not to be for Sora. His mind was still haunted by the dream, the revealing to Thundro, and the lie he told to Riku.
I should have told him. Sora uttered. He looked at Riku who was sound asleep. I should have told you the truth, Riku. He said it loud enough, hoping that Riku would hear and wake up, asking what the truth was. Then, Sora would be able to tell him and get everything off his shoulders. But Riku didnt stir. Sora only sighed, curled up in his bed and entered a restless sleep.


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