The Darkest Depths
Pinocchio was quite easy to find. He was hiding behind another tunnel entrance.
“What are you doing?” asked Kiera, “come on, let’s head back.”
“You know, Geppetto’s awful worried about you” Goofy added.
“Quit foolin around! This is no time for games!”
“But Sora, I thought you liked games. Or are you too cool to play them now that you have the Keyblade?” said a voice.
They turned around and saw Riku emerge from the darkness.
“Riku!” exclaimed Kiera.
“Kiera” replied Riku.
He still sounded as cold as ever.
“Riku, what are you doing here?” asked Sora.
“Just playing with Pinocchio” replied Riku.
“You know what I mean! What about Kairi? Did you find her?” Sora asked.
“Maybe. Catch us and maybe I’ll tell you what I know.”
“Come on! Admit it! You really, really like Kairi don’t you?”
“Leave it alone Kiera”
“Aw come on Riku, it’s so obvious! She’s the person you talk about the most! Or are you too scared of being snitched?”
“What? No way.”
“Then tell me!”
“Fine. I like Kairi.”
“You mean, you looooovvvveeee her!”
“Riku and Kairi sitting by a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g”
Something wasn’t right about Riku. Riku had a crush on Kairi. He wouldn’t be so casual about it. He would tell Sora right away about Kairi. Or would he?
“Why do you still care about that boy? He has all but deserted you for the Keyblade and his new companions. And, he’s got your sister under his command, after all.”
“I don’t care about him. I was just messing with him a little.”
“Oh, really? Of course you were. Beware the darkness in your heart. The Heartless prey upon it.”
“Mind your own business!”
“…I should persuade Kiera to come with me. She’ll be safer; and she’ll be with me and Kairi.”
They chased Riku and Pinocchio until Riku stopped and Pinocchio raced into a tunnel.
“What’s the matter with you? What are you thinking?” asked Sora, “don’t you realize what you’re doing?”
“I was about to ask the same thing, Sora” said Riku, “You only seem interested in running around and showing off that Keyblade these days, instead of protecting my sister, MY sister, letting her go off by herself! Do you even want to save Kairi!?”
“You didn’t seem to care when you went to Castle of Dreams and kidnapped Cinderella!” Kiera snapped.
“He did what!?” Sora exclaimed.
“Help!” cried a voice.
“It’s Pinocchio!” exclaimed Kiera.
When they found him, Pinocchio was trapped inside a huge heartless cage. Kiera and Sora summoned their keyblades.
“Hang on Pinocchio! We’ll get you out!” Kiera cried.
When they finished, the Heartless growled, opened his mouth, and let Pinocchio out. Pinocchio fell into a hole in the floor and Riku jumped in.
“Riku!” exclaimed Kiera as she jumped in to follow him.
They went straight back to the boat where Geppetto was pleading with Riku to give Pinocchio back.
“Sorry old man,” said Riku, “I have some unfinished business with this puppet.”
“He’s no puppet! Pinocchio is my boy!” cried Geppetto.
“He is unusual. Not many puppets have hearts. I’m not sure, but maybe he can help someone who’s lost theirs.”
“Wait a minute! Are you talking about Kairi?” asked Sora.
“What do you care about her!?” Riku snapped.
“RIKU STOP!” cried Kiera.
Riku ignored her and he disappeared. Kiera was now desperate. She had to figure out what was going on. She ran immediately up the crates and through the doorway. She ignored Sora calling her from behind her. But she kept running.
“Riku! What is wrong with you!?” she thought desperately.
“Riku! Riku!” she kept crying.
She was running on and on for what felt like hours. She sprinted through various tunnels, trying to tear her eyes away from the pumping organs and revealing bones. She hated this place. She wanted to go home, back to the Destiny Islands, before all this mess started.
“I’m in here Kiera.”
She stopped and went into a large place. It was still damp, but much brighter. Riku was standing with the unconscious Pinocchio behind him. Kiera stopped in front of him, leaning into her knees and panting. Then, she cried:
“Riku! Please, tell me what’s going on! Why are you so different? You’re so cold!” she cried.
She ran into his arms and sobbed.
“You’re almost like…like a stranger to me…! I don’t know what to believe anymore. Just…tell me this just a dream, Riku! Please tell me I’m just imagining you this way.”
Riku exhaled, heavily, as if he was having second thoughts. He wrapped his arms around her tightly, and rested his head on hers.
“Kiera…” he said, in a slightly more human tone, “I have to do this. I have to save Kairi.”
“But why are you willing to kill a little puppet boy to achieve that? This isn’t you Riku!” Kiera pleaded, “I know you’re always willing to do anything to help someone, but this isn’t the way! Please! Stop what you’re doing, and come back to us, back to me!”
“Or, you can come with me.”
He looked at Kiera, a shimmer of child wonder in his eyes that she hadn’t seen in years.
“You, me, and Kairi. We can be together, and explore the worlds forever!”
Kiera’s heart ached.
“That sounds wonderful. But Riku, I can’t just leave Sora to save the worlds himself. I still have to find my Light Friend, remember? And you can’t abandon Sora either! He’s your best friend, right?”
The darkness returned to Riku’s face. He turned away.
“I’ve grown up now Kiera, our friendship can’t continue. He’s too arrogant, swinging his keyblade like some kind of hero. I’m surviving. I had to work hard to get what I want. He just sleeps on the beach!”
He suddenly grabbed her wrist, almost with the same threatening expression he had given Cinderella.
“-You’re coming with me whether you like it or not.”
Kiera’s eyes sparked with surprise and anger.
“Let me go, Riku!”
Suddenly, Riku took a towel and covered Kiera’s mouth. It was like from the old detective movies. Kiera tried to break free but Riku was too strong. With blurry eyes, she saw Sora, Donald, and Goofy rush in. Sora shouted Kiera’s name. And then, she went black.
“I’m doing this for your protection, Kiera.”