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Chapter 14 - The Dark Heart

Trapped in an unknown world swallowed in ultimate darkness, Sora and Riku must escape anyway possible! But someone lurks in the shadows ...

Its not the end of the world ... Its the end of the Universe!

Chapter 14 - The Dark Heart

Chapter 14 - The Dark Heart
The metal chain glistened aimlessly, shining as if it was the small light in the large, smothering darkness. At the end of this chain was a small, metal crown. The crown felt like a dead weight against the chain itself, but still had some significant importance. Sora continued to gaze while holding the crown pendant that dangled in front of him, lost in thought. He sat there, on the edge of a plain, white, circular platform in the middle of nothing. The darkness that filled the atmosphere around the platform just went on towards the horizon ... going on forever. What was the time? How long has he been here? Does time even exist in this place? Sora had no emotion in him whatsoever; he couldn’t be cheerful even if he tried. He can’t even remember what it was like to smile, let alone how to. All he had left was the chain he was clutching.
“I’m starting to forget everything, aren’t I? Who I was, who I knew, what I did, where I’ve been; my whole existence ... just washing away.” He sighed to himself depressingly.
Suddenly, a large chunk of the platform across the other side from Sora broke away; it fell into to nothingness below, ceasing to exist. This place showed Sora that his own heart was beginning writher away. Sora’s chest began to throb painfully, but all Sora did was brush it away.
Sora placed back on his pendant, hooking it in place round his neck. He then fell back to lay on the surface of the platform, resting his head against his left arm. He then lifted his other arm up towards the nothingness above; instantly his Keyblade appeared in his grasp. He took his time to examine it, juggling it in his palm. It hasn’t changed since he lost his life to Xaphire; it was still the Keyblade of Darkness. Just glimpsing at it filled Sora’s head with dread, sending cold shivers down his spine.
“No matter how much I try; I just can’t get rid of you. You’re just a piece of junk to me now.” He groaned, disgusted by the appearance of the Keyblade.
He carelessly threw it aside; it began to fall into the nothingness below just like the junk of the platform a moment ago. Sora reached out above and held out his right hand once again, still resting against his left. The Keyblade of Darkness reappeared out of nowhere, as if it wasn’t thrown away at all.
“Don’t worry, soon that’ll be out of your misery, just like to rest of you.” A menacing voice suddenly called out from afar.
The sudden voice caused Sora to literally jump out of his skin, his body jolted as a reaction. He quickly leapt to his feet and turned to face what just called out to him, with the Keyblade in hand ready for conflict. Who he saw right in front of him was a masked, mysterious boy; he was fairly muscular, biceps that could match Riku’s own. He wore very dark clothing that had been similar to Riku’s Dark Form from his time in the Darkness, with slight differences including a strange symbol in the middle of his chest and a slight difference in colour scheme. The helmet that he wore to mask his face had a simple round structure, with its black and simple shading and a metal jaw plate on the bottom. He was the exact same height as Sora, and also held a Keyblade as a weapon. This Keyblade had the same patterns and colour as the masked boy’s clothing and gave a cold and sinister vibe. Sora realised that he had seen this guy in the past; but where and when this had been, he had no idea.
“H-how did you get here?” Sora retaliated, stuttering with the surprise.
“Get here!? Hahaha … I’ve always been here. You’ve just been ignoring me.” The Masked Boy laughed, even his voice sounded somehow familiar.
“Huh!? Th-then who are you?! Why are you here?! How is it that you have a Keyblade!?” Sora then bellowed out to him, thrown off by his answer.
“Heh … it seems you are still a mindless fool, asking so many questions. It would be better if I knock some sense back into you. Let’s start off with the names; I already know your name is Sora, so all is left is mine ... I am Vanitas!” The boy introduced himself; his sinister voice echoed the whole area.
Upon hearing the boy’s name, Sora felt a sudden surge of pain surge through his head. The pain grew stronger, causing Sora to fall to his knees and his hands gripped his head tightly. Vanitas took the opportunity to collide his boot against Sora’s forehead, sending Sora flying. Sora began to fly away from the edge of the platform, slowly falling to the nothingness below. He swiftly recovered and gained control of his balance. He grasped the platform edge to prevent himself from falling, but the pain inside his mind continued to grow. Sora hoisted himself up to the platform and rose to his feet, feeling light-headed. Suddenly, Vanitas leapt for another strike, this time it involved his Keyblade. Sora clashed against the incoming Kayblade with his own, causing both Keyblades to ricochet against each other. Sora then dipped his body and launched an uppercut. Vanitas evaded the incoming attack by leaning away while taking a quick step back. Sora then curved his Keyblade round and attempted another attack, switching his Keyblade to a back-hand attack. Vanitas instantly leapt away to gain distance from Sora. He landed and dug his boot against the floor to halt himself; as he did this, he threw his weapon-free hand towards the opposite direction, head still locked on Sora. Sora’s eyesight followed the direction of Vanitas’ free-arm and caught sight of an object appearing from the far away darkness. At first glance it seemed to be a golden spot of light; but as it grew, it formed some sort of tail.
“You have a very unique way of fighting, almost like ... an old friend of mine.” Vanitas menacingly pointed out, although this did not seem like a compliment.
“An old friend of yours?” Sora echoed in confusion. “Who would that be?”
“I’m sure you have met him in the distant past, you were probably just too young to remember him though.” Vanitas tormented, pointed his Keyblade at Sora and chuckling horridly. “Then again, all that’s left of him now is an empty shell!”
“From that tone of voice, you sound as though you did something to him.” Sora gathered, feeling uneasy about this guy. “What did you do to that guy?”
“That … is none of your concern.” Vanitas chuckled darkly, his voice echoed all around as though he was in control.
Vanitas then turned towards the flying tail in the distance; Sora also switched his sights towards the incoming object. The flying tail had gotten closer, increasing in size. Sora then gasped in shock as he realized what this flying object actually was. It was a large mass of various different Keyblades. Hundreds of them in all shapes and sizes, slithering through the pitch black sky like some sort of dragon. Sora at first was too mesmerized by the tail of Keyblades to realise to he was their target. But soon enough he swiftly snapped out of it and instantly leaped towards Vanitas for another clash without thinking twice; making sure that the tail won’t strike him when it goes in for the attack. But that was when the unexpected happened. Vanitas launched himself high into the air as Sora was just about to come into contact with him, he then caught one of the oncoming Keyblades forming the tail. Sora halted his own movement and watched Vanitas in horror, gobsmacked by this unusual sight. Vanitas swiftly threw himself from the Keyblade onto the top of the tail and began to ride it like a surfboard. Sora had seen many unusual sights during his time as a Keyblade Wielder but this this had stepped up a whole new level. Vanitas rose high up above, gaining distance from the platform, and then swiftly swooped down towards Sora like a flash of lightning. Sora had no time to think; he instantly reacted to the incoming attack and leaped to evade the Keyblades as they narrowly missed him. Sora landed into a smooth roll and hopped back to his feet, feeling somewhat relieved. Vanitas instantly switched around to strike a second time. Sora switched his sight back towards the incoming attack, eyes locked onto Vanitas. Without thinking, Sora swiftly launched himself out of the way as the tail of Keyblades sped past. Sora continued to evade incoming attacks as the tail of Keyblades constantly attempted to collide into Sora. He caught sudden glances of Vanitas appearing from completely out of nowhere during these attacks, as if trying to catch Sora out by surprise. Suddenly, Vanitas’ movement stopped completely and he was nowhere in sight. Sora halted to a stop and cautiously tried to find Vanitas’ position, refusing to blink in case of Vanitas attacking by surprise.
“Sora, why do you fight me? What is the point in it?” Vanitas’ voice then echoed from all around Sora.
“You started it! Where are you, you coward!?” Sora bellowed out, restlessly turning to spot any sign of movement.
“You continued to fight me and yet ever since your loss against that Xaphire guy, you’ve been doubtful of your own abilities.” Vanitas’ voice stated ominously. “So, what’s the point in fighting me if you know that it is highly possible you would lose again?”
“I made a promise! I made a promise that I will return to Riku and Kairi, and I will keep that promise until I fulfil it! So I will keep fighting, and I will win!” Sora bellowed out, beginning to believe in himself again.
“Promise!? How pitiful! You use them to bring up others hopes only to be shot down due to these so called ‘promises’ actually being lies!” Vanitas’ voice argued in distaste.
“Then I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen!” Sora stated proudly, finally beginning to smile. “So come out from hiding and we’ll see who’s correct!”
“You shouldn’t be concentrating on finding my whereabouts. Instead, you should be concentrating on your time limit.” Vanitas then stated, chuckling.
Sora drew back, “W-what are you talking about!?”
Sora then realised what Vanitas had meant, and he was right. Sora was too fixed on the fight that he had completely forgotten he was on a time limit. He noticed that the platform continued to crumble; many various sized cracks split the platform in several sections, with the edges of the platform jagged and awkwardly shaped. Sora became cautious of his foot placements, being sure not to cause sections of the platform to break away. Suddenly, the platform began to shake lively and violently as if it was an earthquake. Sora stumbled backwards with loss of his balance and fell to the floor. The quake was so violent it had been impossible for Sora to stand up at all. Just then, a large, horrifying crack ripped straight through the middle of the platform, causing the platform to split apart. Sora realised in shock that he was sitting right on top of the crack. The left half of the platform broke away from the right, causing Sora to tumble off of the platform. Swiftly, Sora twisted his body and latched his hand onto the remaining half. Carefully, he gazed back at the falling half of the platform as it disappeared into the darkness below. At that moment, Sora’s chest began ache painfully, causing him to struggle keeping his grip.
“Not much time left, I see.” Vanitas’ cold, calm voice echoed. “I wonder how long you’ll be able to hold on to that life of yours.”
“I. Will. Not. GIVE UP!!!” Sora roared at the top of his voice, shaking as he tried to keep grasp of the edge.
“Famous last words …” Vanitas chuckled.
Suddenly, Sora heard the clashing sounds of metal from the far distance, the sound of Keyblades. Vanitas was about to make his move. Sora urged himself to hoist up onto the platform, but he had somehow lost most of his strength in an instant. Sora then felt a strong gust of wind from below, causing his body to sway. And so Vanitas struck. The hoard of Keyblades collided into Sora from below within seconds. Sora screamed in pain and agony as every Keyblade went right through his body. His body flew high up from the platform, Keyblades passing through with no end in sight. Just then, it finally finished. Sora began to fall, close to losing consciousness. Swiftly, Vanitas appeared from above and caught Sora by the neck. Sora struggled to breathe and began to choke.
“Tch. You’re such a worthless being. Just like everyone else.” Vanitas spat at Sora coldly. “No wonder you fell into the dark abyss yet again.”
“Sh-shut up! No one, n-not even a Nobody, is worthless,” Sora struggled, gasping for air. “Wh-why are you so cold hearted!?”
“Cold Hearted!? Me!? Never! I’m only pure darkness anyway.” Vanitas joked, his chuckles echoed horrifically.
“P-pure darkness!!! That’s impossible! A person of pure darkness w-wouldn’t even be-” Sora began, surprised by Vanitas’ statement.
“-A being? Is that what you were about to say? It’s true; I am no being, but half a being.” Vanitas finished, explaining what he was.
“I don’t ... get it.” Sora’s voice trailed, showing signs of him weakening.
“Maybe this will make you understand.” Vanitis then sighed.
With that, Vanitas’ helmet faded away, revealing his true identity. Sora was completely dumbstruck; he gazed at Vanitas’ face, not taking his eyes off him. Sora saw his own face, albeit paler skin and jet-black hair. Now Sora realised that the familiar voice he was hearing from this masked being was his own, darker voice.
“It’s rude to stare, you know.” Vanitas noted arrogantly, an evil smile strapped across his face.
“N-no way! Wh-what ... WHAT ARE YOU!!?” Sora bellowed with the last of his strength, utterly confounded.
“I am your worst nightmare.” Vanitas’ voice echoed horrifically in a deep tone.
Vanitas tossed Sora onto the remaining section of the platform as if he was a broken toy. Sora rolled across once he collided against the floor, ending up just lying motionless and in agony. Vanitas lowered onto the platform and strode to Sora, his own Keyblade by his side. Towering over the fallen hero; Vanitas began to lift his Keyblade, holding it with both hands, ready to strike down. Sora just lay there; he couldn’t move, speak, or even easily breathe anymore.
“It was great beating you up, but now ... I’ll have the pleasure to end your existence!” Vanitas chuckled gruesomely.
Sora slowly closed his eyes; drew in a long lasting breath and was ready. But, he knew he wasn’t ever going to be ready.
“I wonder what ‘they’ would feel if they saw you now; I bet they would be turning in their graves … once they’ve enter them.” Vanitas spoke curiously and mockingly.
Sora’s eyes suddenly snapped open, just as when Vanitas began to commence his final strike. Sora gripped his Keyblade tightly as he clashed it against the incoming Keyblade, causing them both to ricochet upon each other. Vanitas had been completed caught out by the surprise, losing his balance. Sora then swiped his legs around as he leapt to his feet, tripping up Vanitas in the process. Vanitas bashed the back of his head against the platform, causing him to daze. Just as he tried to recover to his feet, Sora’s boot pinned him to the floor by his chest. Sora then aimed the tip of his Keyblade towards Vanitas’ forehead. Both of them were heavily panting; Vanitas with the shock of being suddenly overthrown, and Sora with the sudden adrenaline and aggressiveness rushing through him. He was furious, what Vanitas had said had caused Sora to lose control of his own emotions.
“So, this is why you lost to that Xaphire guy; because you were just too laid back.” Vanitas realised, mysteriously calm.
“I’ve had enough of being pushed around and beaten down by the darkness, I WILL fulfil my promise!” Sora bellowed, his eyes burning with rage.
Vanitas gazed back at him for a moment, as if trying to read him. But then he began to laugh.
“How will you accomplish this goal when you’re in this situation? You’re stuck in your own soul as your heart is crumbling out of existence, how will you get out of it?” Vanitas argued, his evil smile showing scornfully.
“I’ll improvise.” Sora answered with a serious smile, determined.
Just then, Vanitas snapped his fingers, giving out a dark and penetrating aura around him. Sora leaped back in retaliation. Vanitas slowly rose to his feet, eyes gazing at Sora like sharp daggers ready to stab.
“I’ll make sure to not let that happen.” Vanitas horrifically stated, gritting his teeth.
Suddenly, Vanitas began to hover off the platform floor, drawing back his Keyblade showing he was ready to clash. Sora then felt his own body beginning to lift off the ground. He then knew what was about to happen; they were entering sudden death. Sora began to draw back his own Keyblade, ready to clash blades. All the anger and determination he had gained transferred into his weapon, causing both him and his Keyblade to have terrifying willpower. Within seconds, both launched towards each other at explosive speeds, causing the whole area to shake violently as they collided against each other. Keyblades were clashing at every direction, ricocheting off the other’s blades constantly and swiftly. The booming sound of clashing blades pieced the atmosphere, shredding it to pieces. Sora’s fury proved no limits, overpowering Vanitas malice. Vanitas was showing signs that he was struggling to keep up with the constant clashes. And that one moment, Vanitas left a fatal opening. Sora swung his Keyblade with full force, colliding into Vanitas’ ribs with explosive power. Vanitas crashed to the remaining section of the platform, causing it to crack. Sora lowered himself to Vanitas’ side, sighing heavily with relief. Vanitas was motionless, he seemed to be unconscious. Sora took a moment to examine Vanitas’ appearance. Sora was still in shock of the fact that his own reflection had been his foe during this whole fight.
Suddenly, he felt the platform jolt with the deafening sound of cracking. Sora switched his sight to the whole platform. He began to panic; the final section of the platform was breaking apart at an alarming rate.
“No matter how much you try … you’ll never be able to return to existence.” Vanitas consciously wheezed, struggling to stay alive. “It’s hopeless.”
Sora switched back to him, hearing his weakly chuckle.
“Nothing is ever hopeless.” Sora argued, keeping hold of his sense of resolve.
Just then, the platform shattered into falling pieces. Both Sora and Vanitas fell to the nothingness below. Sora reached above to grab anything that prevents his fall, hoping to get out of this soon to be nightmare. But all around him was nothing. Just nothing.
“Give it up. Your heart has fallen.” Vanitas chuckled weakly as he fell beside Sora.
“Just wait, they’ll bring me back! I’m sure of it!” Sora bellowed out to him in frustration.
“Well, if you ever do, let me warn you.” Vanitas began with a dark sigh. “I am always your shadow, following you wherever you go. I have always been and always will be, as long as ‘his’ soul sleeps inside your heart.”
“… His?” Sora echoed in confusion.
Then, Vanitas began to laugh uncontrollably, “Get ready for the endless pain and suffering!”
With that, Vanitas disappeared into the darkness, out of sight.
Sora fell and fell, unable to do anything. He tried one last time and reached up above, hoping there was someone there to catch.
And at that moment, his call was answered.


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