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Chapter 17 - Brother

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

Chapter 17 - Brother

Chapter 17 - Brother

The day reached its waning stage to mid-afternoon as it always had and things were peaceful amongst old enemies. But that same period of time seemed an eternity now as Kairi awaited the fate of her brother. She was not permitted to go into the medical hall where her brother had been sent. She had no word of his condition. She feared for his life as she watched helplessly from the doors looking inward to the vast hall of medics.
Kirin, Kairi thought to herself, Please be okay.
Her edginess was heightened though, as she heard the cries of so many young men who were still waiting to be helped. They lay along the corridor upon blood soaked canvas stretchers, moaning in a symphony of agony and pain. One by one, the screaming youths were brought into the facility one after the other to see the medics. She looked upon them, some with mortal wounds on their bodies. Others with severe burns covered with field bandages, blackening the white cotton.
It was then that Kairi saw a young soldier, no older than eighteen. He had received a deep shrapnel wound I his gut which had been bandaged to keep the blood from spilling. He seemed to reach for a canteen not too far away, but his weary body could not summon the strength. Feeling sorry for the young man, Kairi came to him and knelt by his side. She took the canteen.
Do you want water? she asked.
Yes& the young man replied. Kairi slowly lifted his head and let the cool water fall upon his lips. The young man smiled after his sipping. Thank you&mother& His head then went limp to the side. Kairi looked at his face. His eyes were suddenly semi-closed, his lips half apart. Kairi backed off, not knowing what to make of it, though she feared the worst.
Medic, she uttered. One of the attendants came to her.
Whats the problem, Miss? he asked.
Theres something wrong with that young man. The medic went to the side of the young man. Kairi watched as he put his fingers to the boys throat. She then saw him shake his head then signal another medic to assist him. They suddenly lifted the still body of the soldier up.
Another that could have made it. The first medic said.
Too bad that they have to die so young. The second medic added.
Kairi began to cry as the thought of the young soldiers weary face still plagued her mind. She suddenly found the face of her brother pop into her head. She then looked about to see that each soldier wounded had that same face. Her daze was broken by the sounding of a deep voice.
Miss Kairi, it declared. Kairi looked to see General Triiken approaching her, You have been wandering about this corridor since they took your brother in.
I still worry about him.-
There is nothing that you can do for him right now. The medics are doing all in their power to help him.-
But its been over nine hours already. Im worried about him. I have to see him, I have to see him.-
This is not a civilian hospital. You cant just go in and see him. There are to be no visitors allowed whatsoever. Kairi could only cry. Triiken sighed. However, Ill see what I can do. Triiken accompanied Kairi and both went to the guard at the door.
Im sorry, sir. The guard said. I cant allow any unauthorized personnel into the medical hall.
Its alright, Triiken said, I grant permission for this young lady to enter.
But sir, I&-
The doctors can say what they will, but they will have to explain to a higher-up such as I why they would not let a young lady go to her brothers bedside in his time of need. Im sure youll know what happens next. The young guard hesitated.
Very well, Inspector. The guard replied. Ill give you clearance.
Thank you.-
Both were allowed into the medical hall. They were guided to a room where many of the other soldiers were put in rehabilitation. There, at the far end of the hall lay Kirin. His body had been dressed in clean bandages and he had been attached to a breathing apparatus. He also went through a blood transfusion to maintain his blood circulation. A doctor had finished her analysis on the warriors condition. Upon seeing Triiken and Kairi, she clapped her board and came to meet them.
Im sorry, she said, There are to be no unauthorized personnel here. Im afraid Im gonna have to ask you to leave.
But my brother, Kairi uttered, Kirin,-
Im sorry, you cant see him.-
I have superiority over this ship and all the personnel, Doctor. Triiken declared. I will decide who will be permitted.
But Chief Inspector, the doctor replied.
This may be the last time Kairi and her brother might see each other. You wouldnt want to be responsible for denying a younger sibling access to her brother when she fears he may die do you?-
Very well then, but I can only allow ten minutes.
I see. Triiken turned to Kairi. You have ten minutes, Kairi.
Thank you. Kairi replied. She walked to Kirins bedside.
How is his condition anyway? Triiken asked.
Hes lost a great deal of blood and has suffered severe internal injuries and a punctured. The doctor replied. I dont believe hes going to make it. Having him here only prolongs the inevitable.-
Do you not have rejuvenation tanks in this facility?-
Those are meant to be used to heal Alliance officers only.-
With this one exception, I will authorize it.-
But sir,-
I will take full responsibility. Triiken watched as Kairi approached Kirins side. Besides, that young man will be worth more to us alive rather than dead.
You intend to use him for something?-
I cant allow such fine talent to be wasted in such a way. If he dies, however, then Ill hold you responsible for it. Do you understand? The young lady knew of Triikens notorious reputation. She was not willing to chance it.
Ill authorize your order now, sir.-
Thats a good doctor. The young doctor scurried out without a second thought.
In the meantime, Kairi sat next to her brothers bed. His eyes were closed in a deep sleep. Kairi smiled with her eyes moist with tears. She shifted a few strands of his hair from his forehead. She then grasped his hand. It was cold as ice.
Brother, she uttered quietly. Suddenly, Kirins eyes opened slightly and looked about. He then turned his head, and looked to find his sister.
K&Kairi& he whispered, What are you doing here?
I came to visit you, you goof.-
But I thought no visitors could come in.-
Not even the Universal Alliance can keep me away from you. So how are you feeling?-
Ive had worse. Kirin tried to crack a smile, but his ailments were just too painful. Im glad to see you smile though.
Im just happy to see that youre alright. Kairi clutched tighter to her brothers hand. I was so worried about you. I thought that you were gonna die.-
The thing is, Kairi& Kirin suddenly paused. I thought I was gonna die too. For a moment, when I was shuffling about in the debris after the explosion, I could have easily slipped away. I thought that maybe this is a perfect way for me to repent for my sins, a way to seek atonement for all the wrongs Ive done to people in the past. You dont realize this, Kairi, but I have done many dark things in the past. Ive taken lives of soldiers and civilians alike. Kairi was stunned. All that time, Ive been doing everything that the Midnight faction and Sirius Viicous had been telling me just so I can find your whereabouts
Kirin, Kairi uttered.
All this time, Ive been trying to find you. But I never knew your name or what you looked like. I only knew that you were there. The feeling in my heart and the pendent we shared was my only link. It was not until recently that I remembered and my memories came back to me. But in the process, I have undergone a hideous transformation. I have become a heartless monster. With every innocent life I took, I lost more of my soul. I lost more of who I was.-
Why are you telling me all of this?-
I have born a lot of sins, Kairi, and I cant hold them back anymore. Kairi then came to realize that her brother was crying. Tears rolled down his face, wetting his pillow. Ive done so many horrible things in the past and I cant possibly be forgiven for them. I dont know if I can repent for them. I didnt want to tell you because I feared you might have some negative aspects about me. But I cant hide it anymore. Ive lost many a good nights sleep because of those deeds. And Im tired of having to shut myself away from others because of those secrets. I just wish that I could be forgiven for it, but I know I never will.-
Again, there was a dead silence and Kirin feared a rising tension between him and his sister. But Kairi only put her forehead upon his hand.
Are you truly sorry for what youve done? Kairi asked. Have you not beaten yourself up from the inside? Kirin looked at his sister. You could not have seen this coming. You couldnt have seen this outcome. If you had, you would not have taken such severe measures. But pressure and desperation does that to people and we do stupid things that may end in one persons suffering. But we never think of those things until the time comes before us. If you are truly sorry or if you have remorse, thats good enough for me.-
But Kairi, Kirin said.
You are my brother and you have finally found your way back home. You have been on your own for so many years. Now you can rest. You might have caused a great deal of pain towards others and may think that forgiveness if out of your reach. But you are still young like me and you can make up for all the bad things youve done in the past. No one is out of hopes reach. You can still repent by fulfilling obligations to others. Kirin smiled, despite the pain.
Youre right, Kairi. I realize now that I still have obligations that need to be carried out. I still have many things I need to take care of. He gazed deeply into his sisters blue eyes, seeing his own reflection upon her pupils. At least there is one thing that I have done that was worth while.
And whats that?-
Seeing you smile.-
Really&? Kairi began to cry again.
When I was on the verge of death, I came to the conclusion that Im not gonna let these things lick me. Ill beat these wounds and keep on living. If I had not taken those sentiments into consideration, I would have died early this morning.-
You and I have been reunited for only a short period. Id hate to have to cut it so short now of all times. Id hate to let you lose your smile. And Id hate to keep so many tasks unfinished before my demise.-
Brother, Kairi held his hand, tears falling down her cheeks. She watched her brother shutter a bit from his ailments.
Miss Kairi, Triiken said, We have to go. The ten minutes are up. Kairi continued to look into her brothers eyes, taking in all the features of his pupils to the last detail.
I have to go now, brother.-
Ill be back again, Kairi. Ill get better. Kairi sniffled and slowly released his hand before withdrawing from his bedside. But from the point of leaving his side to exiting the room, they never once broke eye contact. Triiken had to escort Kairi out, fearing she might bump into something.
The doors closed behind them and the doctors began their rounds soon after.
General, Kairi uttered, Will Kirin make it?
Ive arranged to have him placed in one of the rejuvenation tanks. Triiken replied. Hopefully, hell be alive and well within an hour or so, depending on how serious his internal and external ailments are.
So theres hope for him?-
So long as he doesnt die in the process, Triiken looked down upon Kairi. As for you, I need to discuss something with you.
About what&?-
This is an inappropriate place to talk, Miss Kairi. Let us converse someplace not as monotonous. Triiken and Kairi walked out of the hall, back to his quarters.
He boiled a pot of tea and set it before the two of them. They had an excellent view of the island.
This tea was handpicked from my garden. Triiken declared, sipping the hot contents from his cup. I find it to have quite a zing in flavor with age.
So what is it that you wanted to talk to me about? Kairi asked.
Its regarding your comrades, Riku and Sora.-
The minute on hearing their names announced, Kairi stood up, thirsting for more information.
Riku and Sora how are they? Are they alright? Did something happen to them?-
From what I understand, theyve been doing quite well in their missions. So far, they have not encountered a snag they couldnt handle. That is&except for one obstacle.-
What obstacle is that?-
I dont know if you recall, but your friends, aside from preventing the former Imperial regime from resurfacing, are trying to save King Mickey of the Disney Kingdom.-
Yeah, I remember that somewhat.-
Well, what they didnt realize is that in order to free him, they had to fulfill a task. They have to collect five separate puzzle pieces that unlocks the prison to which the king is being held in, as well as obtaining the information that leads to his location. But to do that, they must defeat the infamous Blade Generals.-
Blade Generals&?-
Yes, so far theyve managed to defeat four of them. However, the fifth is far stronger and much more elusive. Riku and Sora have already fought him at least three times or so and each time the battle was either indecisive, or ended in defeat.-
Riku, Sora, are they okay though?-
They managed to survive every fight. Triiken took another sip from his cup. However, it seems that their opponent is always one step ahead of them.
Who is this person? Kairi asked.
His name is Guentory Finnele. But hes widely known by his alias, General Saber. Hes the former leader and last living member of the Cavendish Shinobis.-
The Cavendish Shinobis, you mean the guys Riku and Sora had to fight the first time?-
Thats correct. He is unlike any the key bearers have fought before in the past. Being a shinobi, Saber is elusive and cunning. His strength is so preposterous; your friends have gone off to do special training to improve their strength against him.-
Special training&?-
I wont tell who from though. Its top secret at the moment.-
I see.-
But while they are undergoing this training, Triiken continued, Saber goes on with his rampage for the Midnight Faction. We fear that even the key bearers wont be able to stop him. Hes the one man who has managed to slip in without notice. At this present moment, know one knows where he is, which makes the situation all the more precarious for us. I fear that even if your friends do complete their training, they still wont have enough to go head to head with Saber.-
There was a sudden pause within the conversation. But Kairi placed down her cup and stood from her seat. Her eyes suddenly turned stern.
Take me to them. She declared. I want you to take me to see Riku and Sora.
That is out of the question, Miss Kairi. Triiken replied, sipping his tea.
Why is that?-
For one thing, the trek is far too dangerous for you.-
You think Im helpless because I happen to be a girl? Or is it because I always seem to be left in the rear for others to take care of? Well, let me tell you something. I have fought alongside those guys more times than I could remember. Ive learned from the best and I can take care of myself in the midst of battle.-
Miss Kairi,-
Ive been left in the dark all this time, not knowing what those two have been up to for the past month. The tension of not knowing whats happening to them is far beyond what I can bear and I am sick to death of it. I dont want to be left behind anymore! I will fight beside Riku and Sora, even if it cost me my own life!-
Triiken set down his cup and smiled.
You are quite the determined young lady, Miss Kairi. Triiken said. I can see why Sora fell in love with you. Kairi slightly blushed. I had a feeling that this might turn up, so Ill make it short. Triiken pulled out a long mahogany box and presented it before Kairi. He opened it. Kairis eyes were glittered with awe. Before her was a custom made keyblade, well curved to match that of a feminine warrior. The hilt was heart shaped, guarding an intricate shaft of flashy design, ending with another heart as the head of the blade itself.
This keyblade was custom made for you, Miss Kairi. Triiken continued, Compliments of President Sneer and the Universal Alliance. Triiken then closed the lid. I have been given orders to proceed with this. If your heart is strong enough, then the keyblade will come to you, proving your worth to the cause. Thus, you will be taken to Traverse Town where the rest of the KH team is waiting. However, if you cannot grasp the keyblade from out of this box, then you are not worthy enough to join the fight. Are you ready, Miss Kairi?
For Riku and Sora, Kairi drew up her hand, I will fight to the bitter end alongside them! Almost as if commanded, the keyblade appeared in Kairis hand. She beheld the glimmer of this grand weapon, its taint of red and white, with a touch of feminine pink and dash of gold. The weight was light in Kairis grasp. She smiled.
Our cruiser leaves within the next three hours, Miss Kairi. Triiken implied. Best you take that time to say farewell to your other friends.
I will, Kairi retracted the keyblade. I take my leave then. She thus withdrew without uttering another word. Triiken picked up his cup and sipped his tea. He then smirked.
Its almost time. He thought to himself. Soon a great battle with emerge. And all those whom the keyblades have chosen must rally to end this era of chaos.

Kairi came to meet with her friends. They themselves were helping with the clean up and the assisting of the wounded and burying of the dead. Selphie and Tidus were aiding soldiers, dressing their wounds, and Wakka was helping to move the debris from the field when they saw Kairi approaching them.
Hey, hey, Wakka said to Tidus and Selphie, Look whose coming.
Hey Kairi, Selphie cried, signaling her.
Hey you guys. Kairi replied.
So whats the news? Wakka wondered.
So how is your brother doing? Tidus asked.
Kirin is doing alright. Kairi had a rather solemn look on her face and her friends were curious.
Is there something wrong? Selphie asked. You look like you have something on your mind.
Is there something that you want to tell us? Tidus added.
Guys, Kairi stalled for a moment, but continued with her declaration, Im going to go find Riku and Sora.
What, her three friends were stunned.
Youre gonna look for Riku and Sora? Tidus asked.
But thats crazy. Selphie protested.
Its dangerous, ya? Wakka added.
I know, Kairi replied. But I cant wait any longer. I worry about them and I need to be with them. Ive been here always worrying every day, not knowing. If Im going to do anything, Im going to help them fight.-
But Kairi, there may be a chance that you wont come back either, ya?-
Thats a risk that I am willing to take. As long as I am with Riku and Sora, thats all that matters to me.-
If thats the case, Tidus declared. Then why dont you let us go with you?
No, this is something that I must do myself. I cant afford to let you guys get involved.-
You guys have a responsibility as well. After this fight, there is no doubt that the Aryan Faction and their allies might come back to take revenge. If you guys go with me, whos gonna be left to defend our home.-
I guess youre right. Selphie said.
Dont worry, Ill come back safely with Riku and Sora.-
Then, Wakka uttered, If this is the decision youve made, then we wont stop you.
Thanks you guys.-
How long will it be before you go though? Tidus wondered. I leave in about three hours.-
You should take that time to rest up then. You have a long journey ahead of you.-
Good idea.-
Well be seeing you then. Selphie said. She ran up and gave Kairi a big hug. The two embraced each other tightly. You take care of yourself alright, Kairi? Bring Riku and Sora back safely.
I will, The two released each other and gazed into each others eyes. Kairi then looked at Tidus and Wakka.
Keep us in your heart, Kairi. Tidus said. Well be waiting here for you guys.
Her eyes, teary, Kairi waved farewell to her close friends. As she vanished further into the distance, the three went about their business to restore order to their home.

Kairi came on board the Alliance carrier. There, she saw Mulian Arakis and Imetriarch Crassus conversing with General Triiken.
We will depart from here soon enough, Your Excellency. She heard Triiken say.
When will we be ready? Mulian asked.
Within the next four to six hours. As soon as we have secured all the needs necessary and have this world placed in a descent state where the people will be able to rebuild their home. We also have the countless dead and wounded that are need of attention. By order of the president, he wants to make sure to maintain equal share amongst everyone involved, aggressor and victim alike.-
I never would have thought Id see the day when the mighty General Arinario Triiken would take command of the Alliance forces so thoroughly. Crassus stated.
With the Alliance as the new lone super power, I will do all in my ability to make sure that it maintains its word as well as its honor, doing as much for it as I had done for the form Dark Empire as an Imperial.-
Then we will do the same. Mulian replied. The General saluted and his guest did the same before withdrawing. It was only then that they saw Kairi. Mulian ran to her. Hey Kairi,
What are you two doing here? Kairi asked.
Weve made arrangements to leave this place. Imetriarch said. Triiken has provided escort for us to Oceansburg. It seems that this pact between the Arakis Foundation and the Universal Alliance will become possible after all.
And what about you, Miss Kairi? Mulian asked.
Well, Kairi replied, Ill be going out to find Riku and Sora.
Ah, the key bearers, Imetriarch said.
Those two are going to need my help this time around. This is a task they alone cant go head to head against. 
Well, I wish you the best of luck, Miss Kairi. I hope for a safe journey home for you and your friends.-
Thank you.-
Actually, it is us who should be thanking you. You helped to save young Master Mulian. Had it not been for you, the foundation might have met its downfall two days ago.-
Thanks, Miss Kairi. Mulian said.
It was the least I could do, kiddo. Kairi patted the young man on the head and ruffled his hair a little. I hope that you grow up to be a strong and righteous leader.
Like my father?-
Y&yeah, like your father.-
We take our leave, Miss Kairi. The two bowed respectfully and withdrew. Kairi watched as they walked away.
Miss Kairi, Triiken said, Prepare yourself, youll be departing within the next couple of hours.
Coming, Kairi replied and went to join the general.
Three hours had passed and gone quicker than expected. Triiken and Kairi in the meantime had another cup of tea in the waiting room near the launching pad. Kairi gazed down at a series of Alliance cruisers. The cruisers looked similar to that of the gummi ships except for their black and white hulls. Kairi watched as one of the cruisers was being moved to the launch pad.
Is that it? Kairi asked. Is that the one were going to board?
Thats correct. Triiken replied. We just have to wait for them to prepare the boosters. Then well be prepared to depart.
It takes three hours to get it ready though?-
Space flight should never be taken lightly, Miss Kairi. It would be a shame to encounter a problem, especially in a high speed flight.-
I guess youre right. She took another sip of tea. So by the way, will Riku and Sora be there at Traverse Town?
Unfortunately, they will not be there.-
No&? But why&?-
They are still undergoing their training regimen. It was guaranteed that they would be able to train for three weeks. As far as I know, only one half of a fortnight has elapsed. Instead you will be meeting up with Colonel Ophelia Billiard, the present leader of the KH team. That is until your friends return.-
Ophelia Billiard&?-
Thats right. She was a former member of the Midnight Faction before turning in favor of the KH team. Now, shes one of the most dedicated warriors in the group.-
But how did she come to join the team in the first place?-
From what I understand, its not only from a disgruntled past and dealings with the former Organization XIII, the Heartless, and the former Imperial regime, etc, but she seems to have developed sentimental and emotional feelings for your friend, Riku.-
Riku, really&?-
My God, Kairi thought to herself. Could it be possible that Riku has found another love? Or could it be that another love has found him. I never thought Riku would ever look at another girl after Namine passed away, if she passed away at all. Kairi made a sudden random ponder in her mind. I always thought Namine was part of me that could never be separated. But I guess Nobodies do have wills of their own.
Miss Kairi, Triiken said, standing up. Let us proceed to the launch pad. Theyre waiting for us.
Oh, Kairi replied, alright.
The two made their way down to the launch pad. The mechanics were making last minute repairs and the pilots were readying their coordinates. Triiken stopped just a few feet away from the opened hatch. He pulled out his pocket watch and checked the time.
Where are they? Triiken mumbled to himself.
Where are who? Kairi asked.
Well, I knew that you might have some trouble in the later campaigns against the Imperial Axis. As a precaution Ive asked Madam General Devardios to send and transfer warrior to accompany us. Besides you, he will be a new addition to the KH team and he will be a strong asset. His strength is equal to Riku and Soras.-
A new addition&?-
Thats right.-
Who is this guy then?-
But Kairi, Triiken seemed to give wink, You should know him well.
Inspector Kuroda, a voice shouted out. Triiken looked to see the Madam General and the warrior approaching.
Speak of the devil, here they come.-
Kairi turned to see. When she did, her heart began to pound as her eyes seemed to betray her senses. Low and behold, she saw standing next to the Madam General was her beloved brother Kirin. Healed and replenished, given new garments, which maintained the old Imperial look, he came before his sister.
It cant be, Kairi uttered to herself.
Im sorry that were a little tardy, Chief Inspector. Devardios said. The two saluted the chief inspector, Madam General Gala Devardios reporting, sir.
Prince Kirin reporting, sir, Kirin added.
Better late then never. Triiken returned the gesture.
Kirin is that really you? Kairi asked.
Hi, Kairi, Kirin replied. Kairi walked up to him and looked at Kirin from all over. She rubbed her hand around his arms, his chest, and his back.
Are you for real? Are you really here, brother?-
I wouldnt be standing here if I wasnt.-
But how? You were riddled and bloodied this morning and you could barely move too. How can you be here like this all of a sudden?-
I took the liberty of permitting your brother to be placed in one of the rejuvenation tanks, which is strictly used for Alliance officers only. Triiken explained. With the use of that devise, one is able to heal from severe wounds in less than an hour. By the looks of it, Kirin has made a full recovery.
Im good as new, Kairi. Kirin said with a smile. Kairi was so overcome with joy, tears began to fall. She hugged her brother tightly and cried. Kirin was somewhat startled at first. Kairi,-
Brother, I thought you were going to die! I was afraid you werent going to make it, but here you are! This is real! This is real!-
Sister, Kirin put his arms around her. The two embraced so tenderly. I have you to thank, Kairi. You gave me a reason to live on.
Thank you,-
Isnt that cute, Madam General Devardios whispered, nearly tearing up in the eye as well.
Well fight together, Kairi. They pulled each other away. Ill be there at your side, another friend, another brother in arms.
Kirin, Kairi, Triiken declared, We have a task to fulfill. You can reminisce and embrace later.
Yeah, Kirin said, you do have a point. Sorry sir& He looked at Kairi. Shall we go?
Yes, Kairi replied.
General Devardios, Triiken said, I leave you take care of things here.
You can count on me, sir. Devardios replied.
Let us be off then. Triiken entered the cruiser. Were taking off! Prepare for ignition!
Aye, aye, sir, the pilot replied. The three boarded and the hatch closed behind them. The rockets blasted and the cruiser lifted up out of the hanger and into the pure blue sky. It then bursts off in a loud sonic boom and vanished from sight.

Riku and Sora had already undergone severe training under Thundro. The Imperial was ruthless and unwavering, not allowing his pupils to gallivant about needlessly. It was on this particular day, however, that a transmitted message had reached his quarters. The key bearers in the meantime were still straining their bodies to the point of exhaustion. It had already been nine days, going on ten since their training began.
A message on the secret line, Thundro said to himself. He activated the message. A holographic image appeared from the icon of the transmitter, followed by a hard copy on a piece of paper. Thundro read the message on the printed piece and sighed. Riku and Sora may not take it well, but its better than hiding it from them. This might change agenda a little.
The Imperial returned to the gravity chamber where the two key bearers were undergoing their training regimen at ten times the natural gravity. They were still lumbering about in the gravity like slugs and were at the present moment taking a short break.
This is too much. Sora huffed. Ten times the natural gravity is out of the question.
Youre telling me. Riku added. I feel like a have a ton of armor on me. Its so difficult to move.
Im surprised I didnt bust a gut through all the strain.-
Thats enough blubbering, you two. Thundro declared as he walked in.
Its easy for you to say. Youve been accustomed to this kind of atmosphere for a long time. We only have three weeks.-
Less than three, Riku said.
Thats all the more reason for you two to stop sitting around on your backsides and get back to your training. Thundro said.
Were just taking a short break.-
By the way, Sora asked, Where did you go?
I just received a message on the secured line. Apparently, the message was sent from an anonymous source, though I have a feeling I know who it was that sent it.-
What is it, another coup or something?-
Whatever it is, it certainly has nothing to do with us. Riku sighed.
On the contrary, boys, it does. Thundro said. The key bearers lifted their heads.
It concerns us? Sora asked.
Yes, Thundro paused for a moment. This eerie lull in silence disturbed the key bearers. Though they knew not what the message was, they could see on the face of the Imperial that the news born was not good in nature. The Destiny Islands have been attacked.
What&?! The key bearers jumped to their feet, forgetting their own pains in concern for their home.
What do you mean the Destiny Islands were attacked?! Sora said.
Who attacked them?! Riku added.
Why dont you read it for yourself? Thundro said, handing them the printed paper. Sora snatched the message and began to read it. Read it aloud, Sora.
I bear bad news for the key bearers. Sora began. Three days ago, the forces of the Arakis Foundation arrived at the Destiny Islands, landing on the major settlement on the big island.
Thats our hometown. Riku uttered.
Read on, Thundro said.
Mulian Arakis had hoped to seek temporary shelter while he and those men still loyal to him and the Arakis family continued on their trek to the Alliance capital. Sora continued, However, a large force of the Aryan Faction, under the command of Lieutenant General Hector Fortinbras, had managed to catch up with the foundations remnants. Fortinbras, in his determination to redeem his reputation after the disastrous engagement in the Oceansburg Campaign, sought to destroy Mulian Arakis and all traces of the former foundation. Thus, without giving any formal declaration to the citizens of Destiny Island, he engaged in highly aggressive hostilities towards both the foundation and the inhabitants of the main settlement.-
The bastards& Riku growled.
Mulian Arakis, believing himself to owe a significant debt to the people of the Destiny Islands, decided to stay and defend the town to the best of his abilities. But two days of bombardment had proven chaotic to the town itself, which suffered a great amount of damage to many of the structures.-
Damn it&
But what about everyone else&? Sora asked, temporarily leaving his dictation of the letter.
Continue, Thundro said. Sora commenced with the reading.
Fortunately, it has been recorded that there were no civilian casualties during the confrontation.-
Thats good to hear. Riku sighed.
All local residence picked up their belongings and moved to the far side of the Island where the battle did not reach. Only a handful of civilians stayed behind to help in the confrontation. No deaths occurred amongst them. Sora stopped his reading again. You think Kairi was amongst those who helped?
Read on, Sora. Thundro declared.
However, the Arakis Foundation had suffered a significant amount of casualties. Of the twenty-two hundred men who served under the banner of the Arakis Foundation, almost eleven hundred were killed, wounded, or missing.-
Man, Riku said.
However, this is a significant and miraculous victory on account of the foundation. The forces of the Aryan Faction had numbered over ten times the number of Mulians troops, yet they lost a full third of their force, an estimated seventy-five hundred troops, killed, wounded, or missing.-
Man that is a miracle.-
Just a force of twenty-two hundred defeating a force ten times their number, wow.-
Read on, Sora. Thundro said.
Adding to the fall of the Aryan forces, Sora continued, Over a half of the men serving were still sympathetic to the Arakis family and three-fourths of the men still alive despised General Fortinbras for his brash and arrogant attitude. Thus, a coup de tat commenced and the higher up of the Aryan Faction was overthrown. As chaos came over their forces, the Arakis Foundation managed to contact reinforcements from the Universal Alliance. The arrival of three Alliance carriers brought an end to the fighting.
So our home was saved after all. Riku sighed relief.
The Foundation has thus made safe passage to Alliance territory and shall commence with peace agreements between the Arakis family and the Universal Alliance within the next three weeks or so. Because of the efforts of the people of the Destiny Islands, the Foundation and the Alliance have guaranteed safe haven to its people and will donate funds for the immediate reconstruction of the town. The Alliance has also granted clemency to one Prince Kirin of the Flaming Blades who arrived at the start of the battle and took responsibility for penetrating the factional lines to bringing a downfall to the Aryan ranks.-
Kirin made it to Destiny Island?-
Apparently, he is after all Kairis long lost brother. But to think that he would battle against the Aryan Faction, theyre a member of the Imperial Axis. So does this mean that Kirins on our side now?-
Since youve been moving about constantly, Thundro inquired, You might not have caught wind of the news within the Midnight Faction. Kirin has been openly marked as a renegade and is wanted dead or alive by Lord Sirius Viicous.
But I thought that Kirin was one of the most trusted officers within the faction. Riku said. How is it that he suddenly decided to swing in the other direction?
Was I correct in hearing that he is your friend, Kairis brother?-
Thats right. Sora replied. We found that out back in Monsteropolis.
Then perhaps the reason for his defection was for the sake of his sister. He only fought for the sake of gaining something in return. In this case, it was Kairi, perhaps the only family that he has left.-
Just like Ophelia and Cunla.-
Thats how Sirius Viicous operates. He promises rewarding loyal followers by filling their heads with his propaganda about helping them fulfill their own goals in exchange for their absolute loyalty.-
But can people be so stupid as to fall for such lies?-
You would be surprised how desperate people can become. They would be willing to trade their souls to the devil in order to get what they so long desired. There again was a silence between the three. This gave Thundro the opportunity to drop the subject entirely. Now enough of this chattering, we still have training to do. I need to get you boys strong enough to battle against Saber. We have less than six days to complete the training.-
Six days? Riku asked. But weve only been here for a little over a week. I thought we were here for three weeks?-
The last week I am keeping something open. That is why I expect you two to master ten times normal gravity before the end of the week. I also expect you boys to stay one full day in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. That should increase your stamina even further.-
Well, thatll certainly boost our strength.-
So are there any other concerns before we continue?-
One, Sora uttered. Ive been meaning to ask you lately, Master Thundro. I know youll object, but its something thats been wearing on my mind for a while now. What exactly is behind that jade door on the second floor?
Sora was expecting his instructor to blast out with a sudden lecture about how he would not show them until the end of the third week as he had declared before. The key bearers might have expected him to ramp and rave about it. But instead, Thundro was silent. For ten seconds, they expected something to come out of his mouth. Finally, the Imperial uttered he few words.
I know I said that Id show you that final door on the last week that you were here. But I cant afford to let you reminisce about whats behind it. Todays just as good as the final. But I suddenly find it more beneficial to show you now rather than later.-
You mean we get to see whats behind the door?-
Dont get too excited, Sora. Being in a good mood is the last thing that you want when entering that room. Thundro deactivated the gravity sequence. Follow me boys.
The key bearers pursued Thundro up the stairs to the jade door. The key bearers were awed by its magnificence. Never before had they seen such a well detailed door of jade and gems.
So what is this room called? Riku asked.
This is what I call the Mandate Chamber. Thundro replied.
Mandate chamber&?-
There is only one like this around, and it resides here.-
So whats so special about this room? Sora inquired.
Before I explain, do you remember, if you were told at all, about how His late Excellency, Lord Vischerz von Cavendish controlled the Universal Mandate?-
I do. Riku replied. Sneer told us about it. He said that anyone who possessed the mandate is invincible and is able to bend history, time, and the will of the universe in his favor absolutely.
Then let me ask you this. Exactly how many times do you think His Excellency used the Mandate when the motive was needed?-
I dont know, a hundred times maybe?-
Id say about a thousand. Sora said.
In all the millenniums preceding the rise of the Dark Empire, Thundro said, Master Cavendish only used the power of the mandate once.
Once&? the key bearers were dumbfounded.
Only once& Sora uttered.
Thats correct. Despite His Excellencys thirst for power, he knew not to rely on the Universal Mandate, even in the most desperate of situations. The reason why is because he knew the extent of the Mandates power and knew the outcomes of what might occur. The use of the mandate can change a historical lineage completely. What should have been would never come to pass. That is how potent the mandate is. It has permanent effects. Things that were supposed to be the hope of people became their doom. Where life was supposed to flourish would die. And where life was never meant to be would sprout.-
Thats very interesting, Master Thundro. Riku said. But what does this have to do with the chamber.
This Mandate Chamber is the only place in the whole of the Universe where one is able to experience first hand how things might have been had the Mandate not been used. This chamber somehow maintains the original historical line unaffected by the mandates power. It is believed this is where the sacred flames once resided, the flames that counter the mandates potency. Thundro walked up to the door. Once you enter this facility, you will arrive in a time and place coinciding with your own history, but was never able to occur due to the effects of the Universal Mandate. He placed his hand on the handle. Are there any other questions before you enter?
I do. Sora replied. Have you ever been in there before?
I have, Sora. And let me tell you this. Had things remained as they were, it would have been I that had a notorious reputation for ruthlessness and thirst in torture and not the late General Ameba. Who knows, had things been tweaked a step further, it would have been you, Sora, and not Riku that would have felt the lash at the hands of not Ameba, but I. Soras spine stiffened. You will spend the next six hours in there. Once you emerge, you tell me what you saw of the past which was supposed to be.
Sora, Riku uttered.
Im ready, Sora replied.
Then be off and good luck. Thundro opened the door and the key bearers went in. Thundro then sealed the door. He turned away and returned to his quarters. I wonder what it is they will see&

Six hours had passed and gone faster than expected. In that time, Thundro spent two hours in the scenario chamber, two hours in the gravity chamber, and the equivalence of two hours in the hyperbolic time chamber until finally, the time had come for the key bearers to emerge.
Its time, Thundro said as he looked at his watch. He exited the hyperbolic time chamber and made his way to the second level to the jade door. He stood and waited for ten minutes.
Suddenly, the door opened slowly and Riku and Sora emerged. But the looks on their faces were a somewhat frightened gaze. They were tattered and beaten, tired and exhausted. They did not utter a single word, still overcome by what they had witnessed. Riku then suddenly began to cry as if some deep emotional scar had afflicted him.
So tell me, Thundro asked, What is it that you saw? Riku looked up at him.
I cant tell, he uttered before collapsing to the ground. I dont have a right to.
Is that so? Thundro then turned to Sora. What is it that you saw, Sora? Sora faltered and fell to the ground as well. But he uttered only two words that described the epic confrontation that they had witnessed, but were denied as an effect by the mandate.
I see, Thundro sighed. Well leave it at that then. Quite a significant change for both you and I.


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