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Chapter 21 - Resolve

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 21 - Resolve

Chapter 21 - Resolve
Roxas continued to lay helpless on his back, unable to move any of his limbs at all. The area around him had been engulfed with a completely plain white surrounding, no object in the distance at all and no echoes of sound whatsoever. Roxas struggled to think; he didn’t know what had happened or what condition he ended up in. Had he been fully erased or just been knocked out? Had Riku been able to hold up in the battle on his own? And what should he do now?
All these questions continued to appear in his mind, yet he could not find an answer to them even if he had been able to move.  Roxas attempted to lift each one of his limbs for any signs of movement … but this itself had been no success. After several attempts to move, Roxas finally gave up and sighed in frustration. Roxas then began to gaze towards the plain white emptiness above, trying to clear his mind. 
Tap … tap … tap …
Roxas’ body instantly shivered with fright, the sudden echoes appearing from absolute silence caught him off-guard completely. The taps, or footsteps, continued to echo around him as they grew louder and closer. Roxas noticed in no time that these footsteps were coming from behind him, causing him to try and lift his head back as he wondered who it had been. But as he tried to lift his head back to find where this sound had been originating from, his neck began to strain intensely and in turn caused him to give up on trying. As the footsteps drew in closer, Roxas began to feel increasingly edgy and nervous, not knowing who had been approaching him from behind.
“Wh-who’s there?” Roxas called out tensely, his anxious voice echoing in the distance as it conflicted against the echoing footsteps. “Speak!”
The moment he called out, the footsteps stopped suddenly in an instant. The surrounding blank area returned to its initial silence, reverting back to the area’s empty atmosphere. Roxas began to sweat, beginning to feel rather disturbed by this whole scenario.
“Right now you should be at least grateful that you survived such a horrific collision with that tail.” A sweet, familiar voice finally echoed back; completely blowing away Roxas’ anxiousness and in turn leaving him totally shocked and relieved at the same time. “If you didn’t brace yourself in time, it would have been the end for you the moment that tail made contact.”
Upon that moment, a light shadow loomed over Roxas, breaking his sight away from the complete emptiness surrounding him. Roxas instantly smiled the moment he lifted his head to catch sight of the girl who called back to him.
“You certainly know how to keep up that mysterious aura of yours, Naminé.” Roxas joked with a small chuckle, continuously feeling relieved to gaze at such a beautiful sight.
Naminé had leant over Roxas from behind as her smooth, bright blond hair began to hang freely by her shoulder. From what Roxas could see, Naminé had been showing her usual, caring smile as she giggled quietly.

Riku glared horrifyingly towards his Replica, both still locked in the stalemate as they continued to grasp onto each other’s necks and their weapons held ready for a fatal blow. As everything kept silent, the breeze began to blow strongly across the plain of the Keyblade Wasteland. The Monstrous Beast had settled down on the dusty ground, waiting patiently for any command by its master. Upon the top of the Monstrous Beast, the battle continued to unfold. Xehanort: Seeker of Darkness watched the two struggle against each other in their locked stalemate, smirking horridly due to his amusement with watching both Riku and the Replica give off such an intense atmosphere. He silently stood back and continued to watch the entertainment commence. 
“How … how is this possible?” Riku stuttered nervously, unable to comprehend this whole situation. As Riku spoke, he also began to try and struggle his way out of the stalemate, finding a weak point that could break him free. “How could there be a fake me!?”
The Replica kept silent for a moment longer, hiding his face behind the long, silver hair. Unexpectedly, a horrific, soul-piercing laughter began to echo the surrounding battlefield, causing Riku’s whole body to shiver in terror. This laughter gradually grew louder and more insane, causing even the Monstrous Beast below to become restless. This laughter had been coming from the Replica, unable to control himself at all for some reason. The Replica lifted his head up into towards the sky above, letting out all the laughter in his body. Riku didn’t understand what had been going on, but began to feel the laughter pierce his ears painfully. He tried to budge himself out of the Replica’s grip but it tightened round his neck the moment he tried, causing him to gasp. In turn, Riku instantly tightened his own grasp of the replica’s neck, keeping the stalemate balanced. Instantly after, the Replica abruptly stopped the insane laughter and locked his sight back towards Riku, showing off the smile of insanity.
“A fake …” The Replica finally answered, still madly chuckling away. His horrific, dark smile continued to burn in Riku’s mind, causing him to hesitate. “… Yes, that is what I am. But, is that what I should be?”
“W-what do you mean?” Riku nervously questioned, trying to keep his focus with the situation. “How could you be something other than a fake me?”
“Heheheh … It fairly simple, really.” The Replica began to explain keeping his strong grasp on Riku’s neck. “First of all, how could I be the fake when I have the memories of the original? Second, how cou – ACK!”
The Replica had suddenly been interrupted by a sneak attack by Riku. Hoping that this had been the correct opportunity, Riku had struck his Way to the Dawn Keyblade into the side of the Replica underneath the arm that had been grasping his neck. With this, the Replica had reacted to the attack and loosened his grip on Riku, his Soul Eater Weapon even dropped due to the retaliation. Riku knew this had been his crucial opportunity. With everything he had, Riku swiftly swung his leg round to kick the Replica in the same place he had struck with his Keyblade. But before his boot could come into contact with the target, the Replica’s had suddenly grasped Riku’s ankle tightly. Riku eyes widened with shock, he then began to hear the familiar horrid chuckles echo around him.
“How sly of you; interrupting me in the middle of my explanation.” The Replica eerily spoke out, lifting his head slowly and showing off an eerie smirk. “It’s seems as though I’m going to have to teach you some important manners.”
With that, The Replica placed all of his strength in his arms, grasping hold of Riku’s leg as tight as possible. Riku hastily tried to kick away from the Replica but this had been near impossible. The Replica then swung round with an immense amount of might backed up inside the muscles of his body, causing Riku to lift off of the Monstrous back of the Beast completely. The Replica span continuously with a staggering speed from what could be seen as him using Riku as a sort of Hammer Throw. Xehanort stood back further but continued to what the event with amusement, laughing eerily due to the whole situation occurring. Within one last strong swoop, The Replica let go of Riku’s ankle and threw him towards the sky above. Without even thinking, Riku instantly attempted to recover himself with some success, but became terribly dizzy due to the whole situation. Riku carefully landed onto the back of the Monstrous Beast, trying to recover from the severe dizziness. He then began to hear the Replica continue his so called ‘explanation’.
“So back to what I had been saying; how could I be the ‘fake’ if I have the original’s memories and the original does not have any memories whatsoever? That would just seem too ridiculous.” The Replica continued, treading slowly to the recovering Riku as he shrugged off any strain left by the earlier throw. 
“S-so … are you saying that I might be … t-the ‘fake’?” Riku murmured with trouble, struggled back to his feet as he tried to get rid of the dizziness. “I r-refuse … to believe such nonsense!”
“Believe what you will; in the end though, it would only seem more natural that the fact would rise over the opinion.” The Replica proudly towered over Riku, eyes locked like arrows aiming for the target menacingly. “To think the day where the ‘copy’ would rise triumphant over the ‘original’ may have finally arrived.”
With that, the Replica swiftly grasped Riku by the collar and held him down against the Monstrous Beast’s back with as much might as possible. Riku retaliated as hastily as possible with grasping the Replica’s arm in an attempt to pry it away. As this continued on, they swiftly began to clash weapons with each other, attempting forcefully to overthrow the other as much as possible. Blades ricocheted destructively as the two flailed their weapons against each other. Riku tried to defend himself from the Replica’s attacks whist at the same time prying the arm away from holding his body down, making sure not to lose any of his focus. As he did this, a question appeared crystal clear in his mind, something that he needed to get off of his chest. In desperation, Riku hastily kicked which all the force in his body, hoping to break himself away from the bloodthirsty Replica. Riku’s boot jabbed into the Replica’s side, right where the wound from earlier had been. The Replica roared in agony, losing his strength and focus. Riku instantly pried the Replica’s arm away and struck his Keyblade into his opponent’s shoulder, feeling both determined and relieved. The Replica hastily leapt back in an instant, hoping to recover from Riku’s sudden counterattack. Riku lifted to his feet, breathing heavily from the clash. Keyblade in hand, Riku glared towards his opponent with deadly eyes, knowing not to hold back. The Replica, on the other hand, grasped the wound on his side and gasped for air, struggling to breath. Even with this, the Replica still had his eyes locked fully onto Riku. Observing the whole event, Xehenort could not help but smile menacingly throughout due to the amount of enjoyment he had been getting out of it.
“Tell me: What is your reason for fighting me?” Riku began to question the Replica, wishing to know the full story of why the Replica wanted to desperately take him down. “You go on about ‘fake’ overthrowing ‘original’ due to memories, but for what cause? I need to know the detail to understand the reason to fight.”
The Replica’s expression abruptly lit up with surprise, but then began to turn rather glum. Riku gazed with confusion, watching his own Replica showing such an expression caused him to wonder more curiously on what had been the Replica’s motive. He then heard an unusually sad chuckle coming from the Replica.
“I guess that is the right question to ask, especially for someone with amnesia.” The Replica stated solemnly, showing off a more familiar expression that Riku could relate to. “Ever since our last clash in Castle Oblivion; I may have accepted myself as being a fake but I could not shake off the desire for more. I refused to fall as a failure.”
Riku nodded lightly, taking in what the Replica had been trying to say. But then his mind opened up another blurry flashback. Although this had been as indescribable as the others, Riku had just been able to make out two figures clashing weapons in front of a familiar mansion-like building. Riku’s abrupt hesitation from the sudden flashback had been vital, as the Replica used this to his advantage. Without any hint or sound, The Replica sped towards Riku and struck him in the chest with the Soul Eater blade, causing Riku to stumble backwards from the force and become completely breathless by the sudden shock. As he tried to recover his lungs, an eerie voice whispered from behind.
“But in order for me to succeed; I cannot allow myself to be forever stuck in the shadow of the other.” The Replica sneered; his eerie voice caused Riku to shiver horridly. “Only one ‘Riku’ can rise towards success.”
This statement caused Riku to react hastily, leaping out of the way no matter if the Replica would have actually struck him or not. Landing with a safer distance from the Replica, Riku glared at him with cautious eyes. The Replica rose to his feet, showing off a proud yet serious stance. Both had eyes on each other, refusing to be distracted by their surroundings. And then, the Replica raised his free hand towards the sky, ready to snap his fingers.
“I will not be a meaningless ‘puppet’ anymore.” The Replica stated, eyes locked on the target. “It’s time we took this battle to the sky.”
With that, the Replica snapped his fingers, allowing the sound of the snap to echo throughout the Wasteland. The moment Xehanort heard the snap; he began to fade away, knowing what would follow. But before disappearing completely, Riku just heard Xehanort mutter under his breath.
“It’s time for the main event.” Xehanort chuckled, crossing his arms in satisfaction just before finally disappearing from sight.
At that moment, Riku felt a sudden jolt from the Monstrous Beast underneath his feet. The Monstrous Beast shuffled and stretched with absolute enthusiasm, roaring out with anticipation. It began to flutter its wings vigorously, ready to take flight. Riku slowly knelt down to place his free hand against the back of the Beast, bracing himself for what was about to happen. The Replica, however, stood strong and firm on top of the Beast whist also refusing to show any hesitation in the situation. The Monstrous Beast shuffled back slightly, correcting it’s positioning, and then shot towards the sky with no warning at all. Riku managed to be able to grasp onto the back of the Beast securely, but his feet were slipping from behind due to the intense speed of the Beast. As he lifted up his head, he instantly noticed that the Replica had not moved from his place whatsoever. Instead, he began to wield his Soul Eater Blade with it pointing towards Riku, intending to attack him then and there. Riku could then spot Kingdom Hearts glaring brightly from behind the Replica, giving him a strong, powerful glow.
“If you want these ‘memories’ back, then you’ll have to strike me down!” The Replica bellowed out, bearing his teeth horridly and he began to laugh menacingly. 
With that, the Replica leapt towards Riku, swinging his Blade round with the intent of striking Riku down with one blow.

“Ever since we entered this ‘Keyblade Graveyard’ room, both Riku and I have been getting images flash through our minds.” Roxas explained to Naminé, giving out the details whist still unable to move from the blank-white floor. “From what I could guess, Riku seemed to be getting images from his past. But concerning me, I’ve been getting these images that don’t even belong to me.”
Naminé had sat down next to Roxas, drawing her knees up to her chin with her arms wrapped around her closed up legs. She had been nodding and asking questions about the situation Roxas and Riku had been stuck in. Throughout the duration of their time, Roxas had been describing and explaining to her everything that had happened to the two Keyblade wielders since Roxas and Naminé last met each other. When Roxas spoke about his fight with Axel, there had been a clear sign of bitterness as he spoke; this caused him to take pauses on occasions to allow his emotions to calm down. After that he spoke about the recent conflict and how he ended up the way he currently was. It had seemed that Naminé knew about his collision with the tail of the Monstrous Beast but not the full details. When Naminé listened carefully to Roxas about his and Riku’s recent memory sparks, nodding slowly and silently beside him. Then from out of nowhere, Naminé expression sparked up with realisation, her eyes widening with surprise as she had placed together the info she had gained from Roxas.
“Could it be … that Xaphire re-created ‘him’?” Naminé began to wonder to herself out loud, showing off a curious yet slightly afraid expression as she sat up with a straight figure. “But that shouldn’t be possible; he was destroyed back in Castle Oblivion.”
“Who’s ‘him’?” Roxas questioned, gazing towards her with confusion.
“Riku’s Replica, or as the Organization called him: ‘Repliku’.” Naminé answered, turning to him with a serious expression.
“Replica!?” Roxas bellowed with shock, knowing that word all too well.
“That’s right, a replica similar to Xion.” Naminé nodded, knowing what began to appear in his mind. “They were both part of the ‘Replica Experiment’ Programme Vexen had been working during his time in the Organization. When he had been assigned to Castle Oblivion with Axel, Marluxia and the other 3 Members, he created the Riku Replica to use as an object for luring Sora’s into their clutches … Something I reluctantly assisted with.”
Roxas tried to take in everything from her explanation, although the last statement struck him off-guard. A second afterwards though, Roxas understood that Naminé had been helping out with the plan against her own will.
“How did the Replica end up getting destroyed?” He then wondered, remembering her stating that the Replica had eventually met its demise back then.
“He met up with the ‘original’ Riku in the Castle and fought him till the Replica eventually fell.” Naminé stated, showing a glum expression as she spoke. “I thought he would have left in peace, but after your memory spark situation; I’m positive Xaphire re-created the Replica as a way of taunting Riku about his lost memories and a way to stall the both of you from tracking Xaphire down.”
The moment Naminé spoke that last statement, Roxas groaned with sudden frustration, “This ‘Four Doors’ game Xaphire’s been stalling us with is annoying me to no end.” Roxas growled, “All it has been up until now is ‘fight this’ and ‘fight that’, and deciphering a riddle that makes no sense whatsoever!”
“You sound like your giving in.” Naminé noticed instantly, turning to him with her saddened expression. “I thought you were Sora’s Nobody; someone who would never give up in a conflict as serious as this.”
“Yeah well, when I was a part of Sora, there had been time where even he considered giving up on his battles.” Roxas moodily admitted, trying not to make a huge fuss of his current thoughts, “At the moment, I just feel like this whole ordeal is repetitive and getting us nowhere. And now here I am, stuck with a broken body and completely useless.”
Both of them sighed, and a moment of silence drew upon them. Roxas gazed up towards the blank-white sky above, trying to clear his mind. Naminé, on the other hand, hugged her legs and sat in a closed up position, trying to think of what to do.
“So, how would Xaphire be able to re-create the Replica?” Roxas eventually questioned, turning his heat towards her. “He may be cunning, but I wouldn’t think he would be as intelligent as that ‘mad scientist’.”
“But that’s it; Xaphire has a staggering amount of intelligence that he would use to be able to control whatever that maybe in his grasp to his maximum advantage. From past ‘Replica’ programmes to controlling armies of Heartless and Nobodies, he will use whatever’s necessary to complete his goal.” Naminé explained, using what she knows from the info she had gathered on the Organization’s Number XV. “He would probably have used the abandoned Replica machine in Castle Oblivion to re-create the Riku Replica, using the data Vexen had recorded as reference. After that, he probably inserted sections of Riku’s lost memories into the Replica’s artificial DNA.”
“Wow, talk about being stubborn.” Roxas murmured lowly, feeling even more confused and frustrated than before. “And that some precise guessing you did, Naminé.”
“It’s only a theory.” Naminé shrugged lightly, showing yet attempting to hide a slight smile. “Besides, if the ‘original’ Riku destroys the Replica, those memories would revert back to its original owner from what I have gathered.”
Roxas’ head shot up from this sudden statement, “Are you serious!?” His voice rose with surprise.
“It’s a strong possibility, but that’s only if he defeats the Replica.” Naminé nodded, although showing a lighter tone, something held her back from properly smiling. “Also this would not recover his memories completely, it would speed up the pace for when I repair the chains when you reach Castle Oblivion.”
“Well, at least’s there’s some positive outcome.” Roxas lightly sighed with relief.
Naminé sweetly smiled, happy to see Roxas with a positive outlook, but soon the smile dropped as looked away. Even though she tried to hide it, Roxas instantly caught sight of it and grew rather curious as to why she began to act this way.
“Is something the matter, Naminé?” Roxas asked her, “You’ve been looking down for quite a while now.”
“It’s … nothing you should be worrying about.” Naminé stuttered, knowing Roxas had enough problems on his mind.
“It is if it’s concerning you.” Roxas replied stubbornly, not allowing her to hide away her problems.
Naminé blushed slightly the moment after Roxas spoke back, feeling rather grateful he was looking out for her.
She let out a small sigh, and then began to speak her mind, “It’s just that … I’ve lost the ability to connect with Kairi.”
“What!?” Roxas bellowed abruptly, shocked by what she had admitted. “But how is that possible? You’re meant to be Kairi’s Nobody!”
“I know that!” Naminé loudly spoke out, trying to hush Roxas’ outburst. “Not long after I last met up with you, I tried to link up with Kairi so I could check up on her. But I found out that I failed to connect with her and I’ve become completely separated from her being entirely.”
“No way …” Roxas couldn’t believe what he had been hearing. With Naminé being unable to connect with Kairi, Roxas knew instantly that Kairi was now in trouble. Drawing in a meaningful, determined breath, Roxas stated out, “I can’t let this happen.”
“But you’re in no state to solve this and I can’t help you in my current form.” Naminé argued back, reminding him that she is only able to talk with him through a type of telepathy and is unable to reach him physically.
Roxas shook his head, “If Sora found out Kairi was struck down, taken hostage, or even worse; then both Sora and I would have failed to keep our promises to protect those we both care about.” Roxas strongly stated, knowing full well how Sora would feel about this situation. “If Sora loses Kairi … then I would lose you, and I refuse to watch another one I care about fade from existence. I’m not going to stay stuck here like a useless corpse, and I’m not going to turn back on my resolve!”
Roxas then noticed Naminé whip her head away from facing Roxas, closing herself up tightly into a ball and began to shake violently. Roxas then began to hear the one sound that he had detested the most: the sound of her weeping sorrowfully.
“Y-yet I’m the one w-who’s useless.” Naminé sobbed, beating herself up. “I c-can’t help you physically. I can’t save Sora. I c-couldn’t even keep my original persona safe! All I’ve been doing is telling you what to do and where to go.”
Roxas watched her hide away in a curled up ball and weep, although it was hard to tell whether or not she had actually been crying due to how silent she was. Roxas sighed heavily, and then noticed that Naminé had placed her hand against the blank-white floor to keep herself upright in her curled up position. With all of his might and pain, Roxas stretched his own hand out and softly grasped hers, feeling her delicate palm close around his own. He began to sooth the back of her hand with his thumb whist keeping a gentle grip. Naminé lifted her head ever so slightly and watched Roxas sooth her carefully, hoping to lift her worries. 
“You talk about being unable to help due to your current ‘position’, but you have guided me through ordeals that could have broken me. Not just here but all the way back since we met in that digitized Twilight Town. Knowing that you were by my side, you kept me from losing myself when things got low and allowed me to feel like I was my own being.” Roxas thoughtfully soothed, fully aware of how helpful she has been. He then began to smile towards her, lightening up the atmosphere around them, “And besides, you’ve have a very important role coming up soon with repairing Riku’s chains of memories. So getting all teary about being useless certainly won’t get us anywhere.”
“Yeah, that’s true.” Naminé smiled, nodding in agreement, “But-”
“No Buts!” Roxas snapped. “No matter what object is obstructing us, we can overcome it.”
The two of them fell silent for a moment, trying to read each other’s emotion. Roxas then turned to gaze towards the blank-white sky above them, taking in a deep, powerful breath. Suddenly, his body tensed up and shook violently as he began to critically concentrate on what he was about to do. Naminé’s eyes widened with shock as she noticed him prepare for what she knew was about to happen.
“No, don’t do that! It’s Impossible!” Naminé yelled out, trying to prevent him from continuing, “If you attempt that, you’ll just make your condition worse.”
“Well … there’s no harm in trying.” Roxas replied back, gritting his teeth in the process.
Whilst still holding Naminé hand, Roxas placed his free hand on the floor beneath him to give him solid stability as he began his attempt to break out of his paralysed position. Naminé could only watch as he continuously drew in more power in his body. Roxas began to let out a low growl and the whole area began to shiver due to the almighty force Roxas placed in his body. At first it seemed like no use; but after a while, progressing seemed to finally show up. Roxas’s back began to rise from the floor, arching up as though it was literally being resurrected. Roxas’ growl grew stronger and louder and he continued to place more pressure in his body. He refused to let go of his resolve, no matter what stood in his way. With one last push, Roxas slammed his free hand against the floor yet still kept hold of Naminé’s hand with his other. Just at that moment, Roxas threw himself to his feet, finally regaining control. Naminé gasped with shock, gobsmacked by the successful outcome.
“See, this is why you should never doubt me.” Roxas chuckled, giving out a cheeky grin to her. “It’s seems we both should keep one thing in mind: we should always have a positive mind-set.” 
It took Naminé a while to take in what just happened, but ended up smiling back cheerfully. Roxas properly turned to her, still holding her hand yet this time with confidence.
“So, are you ready to head on together?” Roxas asked her, smiling with the confidence he had now gained.
Naminé nodded cheerfully, “Yeah,” showing that she could now once again depend on Roxas and, more importantly, herself. Roxas pulled her up to her feet, helping her stand beside him. As he did this, light began to blind his surroundings, catching him off-guard. Just before everything completely disappeared, Roxas caught sight of Naminé’s confident smile one last time and her voice echoing around him.
“Thank you. Roxas.”

Roxas’ eyes abruptly flew open. All at once, unbearable pain surged through his whole body, causing him to gasp horridly. He knew now that he had returned to reality, although not in the best way. Roxas noticed instantly that he was in the same position as he had been in the dream he had. He examined his surroundings carefully; he noticed the same deserted wasteland with thousands of Keyblades lodged tight in the dusty ground. He saw the same dark clear sky with the blue Kingdom Hearts overseeing the whole surrounding area. Roxas then lowered and caught sight of both his Oblivion and Oathkeeper Keyblades lying motionless by his side. Roxas took in a few deep breaths, trying to sooth his own, broken body from the agony that continued to surge through him. Then with the best of his abilities in his current state, he grasped hold of both Keyblades and began to concentrate.
“Curaga!” Roxas roared at the top of his voice, tensing up the muscles in his body.
In no time at all, rings of green auras engulfed Roxas’ body, beginning to heal him straight away. Roxas then began to feel every section of his body repair as a staggeringly fast rate, causing him to also realise the extent of damage the Monstrous Beast’s tail had done to his body. After a short while, the healing had been complete with nothing left damaged at all. Roxas took in one last breath and hoisted himself to his feet, feeling the stiffness in his body. He began to feel the dusty breeze of the wasteland brush against him, giving him a refreshed mind. Stretching himself out, Roxas continued to think about one of Naminé’s statements.
“If the ‘original’ Riku destroys the Replica, those memories would revert back to its original owner.”
That gave Roxas the motivation to strive forwards. Keeping everything that Naminé stated in his mind, Roxas began to locate the Monstrous Beast and Riku’s position. This did not take him too long as he spotted the Beast gliding through the dust filled sky in the distance. With his eyes locked on the target, Roxas leapt into action and ran towards the location of the Beast, his Keyblades grasped in both his hands.

Riku swayed his body hastily to dodge the Replica’s oncoming attack, trying not to lose his grip on the Monstrous Beast’s back as the Beast continued to soar skywards. The Replica swung his Soul Eater weapon but just missed Riku by a short distance. The Replica then swiftly dug his feet into the back of the Beast, causing friction and steadiness in his recovery. The Monstrous Beast had been flying at a staggeringly fast rate, something at a normal being wouldn’t be able to handle. This, of course, meant that Riku struggled to keep a firm grasp on the back of the Beast, no matter what he tried. Finally, the Beast stabilised and began to level its flight, allowing Riku to find his feet again. Riku swiftly leapt to his feet, the strong rush of wind blowing through his long, silver hair. The Replica locked his eyes on Riku once again, not allowing his target to escape his sight. Both Riku and the Replica tightened the grip on their weapons and leapt to clash with each other. The two weapons ricocheted off each other instantly, sending the two off balance slightly. They both recovered themselves and clashed blades in a second attempt, refusing to falter.
“It that all you have?” The Replica taunted, giving out a low chuckle under his staggering breath. “Rather pathetic for a Keyblade Warrior.”
“This is nothing!” Riku spat back, gritting his teeth as his struck the Replica as strong as possible in the chest where he had momentarily let his guard down.
The Replica stepped back, gripping his chest from where Riku had struck him. He then shook his head tensely, beating himself up due to not noticing he had let his guard down. The two the swiftly continued to clash a series of blows against each other, concentrating solely on the battle at hand. That had been until Riku heard a sudden call out to him below. 
“OI, RIKU!” A familiar voice roared from the distance.
Rikuhastily pushed the Replica back and turned to locate where the call out came from. It didn’t take him too long to spot Roxas sprinting alongside the Monstrous Beast, somehow catching up to the speed of the Beast’s flight.
“Roxas!?” Riku bellowed out in surprise, “Where have you been!?”
“I was preoccupied!” Roxas called back, chuckling light-heartedly, but instantly turned serious afterwards. “Keep concentrating on your opponent! I’ll take down this beast!”
Riku nodded in agreement, but as soon as he turned to face the Replica, he had been struck in the shoulder by the Soul Eater Blade. Riku staggered back, pressing his free-hand against the wound that had opened up. He heard the Replica begin to laugh manically, causing him to grit his teeth in anger. Having no time to recover his wound, Riku hastily began to clash his Keyblade against the Replica.
Roxas noticed Riku get struck by his opponent, apologising in his mind about distracting Riku.
Oops … Sorry Riku.
He then turned his concentration towards the Monstrous Beast, locking his gaze on its head. Roxas then tensed up his body, still running alongside the Beast, and roared, “Final Form!”
His body and Organization clothing instantly transformed into his Final Form attire, seeming as though his cloak hadn’t been damaged whatsoever. Roxas’s legs lifted and began to soar at a constant pace, rivalling the Monstrous Beast’s own pace of flight. With eyes locked on target, Roxas twisted his body and shot towards the Beast, his Keyblades soaring by his side ready to strike.
Riku ducked as the Replica jabbed his weapon forwards, missing the target at the last second. Riku then hastily shoved his whole body forward, tackling his Replica to the Beast’s back. He then swiftly executed a flurry of strikes, targeting weak points on the Replica. The Replica, in turn, parried most of the oncoming strikes, only missing a few of the lesser attacks. The Replica then kicked back, forcing Riku out of the way so he could recover to his feet. Both Riku and the Replica then once again clashed their blades together and began to execute several blows on each other. They were both evenly matched, unable to come to terms as to who is the better warrior. As Riku fought, he had something on his mind from an earlier statement from the Replica:
“How could I be the ‘fake’ if I have the original’s memories and the original does not have any memories whatsoever?”
Riku began to consider who he actually was: real or fake. Finding it ridiculous, he hastily placed it to the back of his mind and continued to clash with the Replica. 
Abruptly, the Monstrous Beast jolted its body, causing both Riku and the Replica to lose their balance slightly. They both turned to the head of the beast and caught sight of Roxas attacking the Beast, attacking various points where he felt had been weak and vulnerable. Riku used this chance to deal damage towards the Replica, lodging his Keyblade into the Replica’s back. The Replica roared in agony and dropped to his knees, wheezing horribly due to the vital strike.
Roxas continued to clash his Keyblades into the Beast with all of his might, trying to locate the weak points, but with barely any success. He then hastily decided to change his tactics upon realising that using normal attacks wouldn’t inflict much damage. He swiftly dodged the Beast’s sudden incoming claws and tail. Just then, Roxas knew the one attack that would end this completely, but could cause some unnecessary consequences in the process.
“I see how it is.” Roxas murmured cheekily, tensing up his body. “It looks like I’m going to have to bring out the big gun.”
Instantly, Roxas soared to a safe distance, keeping the constant speed to match the Beast’s own.
“Riku! Watch yourself!” Roxas bellowed out with warning, indicating of what he had in store for the Beast.
Riku caught sight of him and nodded back, prepared for what was about to happen. Roxas locked his arms towards the Keyblades beside him, charging himself up. The Keyblades then began to engulf in a bright white aura, giving out strong vibrations in the process. With that completed, Roxas swooped in to begin his technique. He soared past the Beast in a diagonal spin, allowing his Keyblades to inflict large gashes in the rock-hard skin of the Beast. He then twisted his body and swooped in for a secondary strike. The Beast could not dodge in the air due to the speed of the attacks. After a series of repetitions with his attacks, Roxas swiftly flew back towards a safe distance. He swiftly threw out his arms the moment he stabilised himself. His Keyblades span in front until the tips faced each other. A small orange aura grew in between the Keyblades, spinning about at an unbelievable speed. Roxas’s body tensed up even further to the point that his muscles began to strain, but he refused to lose his concentration no matter what the cost. The aura maximized its growth to the size of the Beast’s head. Roxas was ready to unleash it.
“Obliteration: Ragnarok!” Roxas roared out, throwing all of his power into the attack.
Riku grasped the Replica’s hood and leapt off of the Monstrous Beast’s back. Riku knew he was saving his opponent, but he knew this wasn’t over yet. 
The Ragnarok aura shot towards the Beast, splitting up into several aura’s in the process. The auras collided into the Beast’s, exploding severely upon impact. The Beast roared loudly, causing Roxas to wince as he braced his ears. After several of the Ragnarok shots collided into the Beast, the Beast began to lose its ability of flight. The Monstrous Beast fell towards the dusty ground, crashing against the ground like a meteorite. Finally, the Beast lost its consciousness and faded away into mist. 
Roxas felt the sudden urge of relief; sighing at the thought of accomplishment. He then noticed Riku and his Replica falling towards the dusty wasteland. He leapt into action and swiftly flew to catch the both of them, grasping them by the back of their clothes. He placed them down safely on the dusty ground and reverted himself to his normal Form.
Riku recovered his footing on the ground, feeling off-balance due to his time on the back of the moving Beast. He then turned towards his Replica, who had been kneeling on the dusty ground, shaking violently. Riku felt somewhat sorry for him, knowing how his Replica had always desired a true life rather than a like of a fake.
“Why …?” The Replica spat out, refusing to make eye contact with the victor. “Why did you save me!? I am your replica. I am a FAKE!”
Riku wondered that himself: Why save his copy from his demise when he is just a fake? But then it occurred to him. He stepped closer towards his Replica and gave out his hand to help his opponent to his feet, smiling towards him. The Replica became confused because of this.
“I saved you because you are not my replica,” Riku stated proudly, keeping a serious yet light-hearted tone about him, “… you are my Nobody.”


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