Familiar, Yet Unfamiliar
Kiera opened her eyes. She was back at the shipwreck Gepetto and Pinocchio had set up camp. She sat up. Sora, Donald, and Goofy were standing with Gepetto, speaking quietly to him. Then, Goofy noticed she was awake.
“Sora! Look!” he announced.
Sora turned around and saw her.
He ran to her.
“Are you feeling alright?”
Kiera’s eyes drooped, and she looked down at the ground.
She looked up.
“We’ve gotta find Riku!” She cried, “We’ve got to save him!”
“We will Kiera, but we still haven’t found Kairi yet” said Sora, “Once we’ve found her, then we will get Riku back.”
Something changed in Kiera’s heart the moment that name was spoken. Something that had been long buried, but suddenly rose up inside her.
“Of course. Because Kairi’s the only one that matters…!”
Sora seemed surprised.
“What? What’re talking about?” Sora gasped.
“It’s always Kairi! That’s all you and Riku ever talk about! She’s the reason why Riku’s falling to the darkness!”
“Kiera! You’re not making any sense-!”
“You’re not even listening to me! Riku’s kidnapping the Princesses of Hearts! He’s trying to open the Door to Darkness! Don’t you care!? We’re losing him! He’s fading away!”
“I don’t understand! Aren’t you concerned about Kairi’s safety? She’s your friend!” Exclaimed Sora.
“She was your friend!” Kiera growled, pointing her finger at him, “She was Riku’s friend! The only reason why I ever hung out with you guys is because I had no one!”
She turned away. “All I had was my Light Friend. But I couldn’t play with him, or draw with him, or collect seashells with him. I couldn’t even touch him! I could only speak to him, far off in the distance…”
She looked back at Sora, eyes flaring with rage.
“All the other kids made fun of me! Even you Sora! But Riku didn’t! He thought what I was doing was important! And its clear that I’ve let my priorities shift!”
She got up, and hopped off the balcony and landed on the floor of Monstro’s mouth.
“Kiera!” Sora cried.
“It’s clear I’m not anyone’s friend, not even Riku’s.”
Kiera summoned her keyblade. She pointed it up in the air.
“Set me FREE!” She shouted.
Suddenly, a bolt of light soared from the Dreamseeker and struck the roof of the whale’s mouth. The ground began to violently shake. The mouth of the whale suddenly open, leaving a air vacuum, suctioning objects into open space. Kiera slapped her shoulder relic, and her armor and vehicle appeared.
“I don’t belong here, or with Riku. My Light Friend is what matters now.”
She hopped inside her aircraft, floated into the air, and shot out into the stars. She didn’t care anymore. She only felt anger, and pain.
“You were going to leave me alone, Kiera. So I needed to make sure you didn’t.”
“What?” Kiera breathed.
“I made sure you didn’t pass that test. I let the darkness bite into you, and make you lose control.”
The world slowed around her. She stumbled backwards. Her breath was stolen from her.
“You…what?” She hissed.
Ventus blinked. Light returned to his face and his eyes widened. He didn’t realize what he said until that moment.
He took a step towards her. Kiera retorted a step back. Ventus froze. His face went pale.
“You…? How could you? Why?”
Kiera continued to huff as she sat alone with her thoughts. She pondered long and hard where to go. Where she would begin to search for her Light Friend.
“He said it was somewhere impossible to find. If I thought about what was impossible, then would it become possible?”
Kiera shook her head.
“That doesn’t make sense, Kiera. Don’t be stupid!”
Just then, she spotted something peculiar. Floating past her, was a dark figure glowing purple and red. He, or she, was wearing a mask, completely covering their face from view. It seemed to slow, and look at her. She could swear she heard a chuckle. She was surprised; and yet, she could swear she had seen this person before…
The figure began floating away again, this time in an Easterly direction. She pressed the accelerator, and turned East to follow him.
She landed in a peculiar place. It consisted of pieces of what looked like to be village houses, scattered across a rocky, tattered landscape, combined with oddly-formed waterfalls. The sky was clear, yet it still felt dark. Something felt missing in this place. Kiera landed in a courtyard. The floor was made of stone, making faded white and blue floral patterns. Once again, Kiera couldn’t help but feel like she had been here before…
Kiera jumped and whirled around.
“-That after all this time, you and I would cross paths again. I thought you were gone for good, just like your other friends.”
There was the figure: a boy, with body-forming, rippled black and red armor with the mask covering his entire head.
“‘Friends’? You knew my friends!?” Kiera exclaimed.
“You don’t remember?” said the boy, “That, I can’t be all that surprised about. After all, Aqua had to hide you from me somehow.”
“Oh yeah! I forgot! Since Kiera, ~~~~~and I have Mark of Mastery exams tomorrow-” Aqua reached into her pocket and pulled out four star-shaped charms, all different, gleaming colors, “-I made us good luck charms!”
“Woah! Aqua, they’re beautiful!” Kiera gasped.
Aqua tossed one to each of her friends. Kiera caught the red one.
“Yay! My favorite color! Thanks Aqua!” Kiera exclaimed.
“Aqua?” Kiera asked, “She-” she pulled out her red wayfinder charm, “-She made this, didn’t she?”
The boy scoffed. “You’re just as oblivious as my brother was” the boy sneered, “So tell me, where praytell, did Ventus skulk off to?”
Kiera’s eyes widened.
“Ventus? I don’t…!” she grunted.
“I know it’s a lonely place, but you’ll be safe” she cooed, “~~~~~Kiera, and I will be back to wake you up before you know it.”
Then, Aqua got up and headed towards the door. She watched as Kiera knelt down in front of Ventus. She smiled sadly, and quietly exited the room
Kiera knelt down to look at Ventus’s face. Tears once again filled her eyes. Already, she missed his voice, already, she missed his smile. And who know when she would ever see or hear those things again?
“I’ll come visit. How’s that?” Kiera resolved, “I have the Wayfinder. I won’t get lost. With Aqua’s help, I can see you! You won’t be able to speak but…I’ll talk.”
She closed her eyes, gripping his hand tightly. She leaned forward and pecked a kiss on his forehead, and held there for a moment.
“I love you Ventus. Don’t ever forget that.”
And with that, with difficult steps, Kiera walked away, and out of the chamber, the doors sealing shut behind her.
“I-I don’t remember!”
The boy scoffed again. “That can’t be right. After all, you two were very close…”
“Trust me, if I knew, I wouldn’t be here, now would I?” Kiera snapped.
The boy chuckled. “Sassy as ever I see, Kiera.”
Kiera suddenly felt a shiver down her spine. She suddenly had a gut feeling that she made a huge mistake coming here. She couldn’t remember much, only fragments, but she realized something very important:
She pulled her eyelids open. She could see Ventus, a blurry image, amidst bone-dry land with cracked canyons. She felt limp, yet heavy as a stone, floating, bobbing up and down in the air. Looking to her right, she could see the masked boy. Ventus saw her stirring and waking.
“Kiera!” He cried.
“Ven…tus…” she mumbled.
The masked boy glanced at her, and chuckled. Ventus was furious.
Blonde hair, blue eyes.
“Why’re you doing this!?” He demanded, “Let Kiera go!”
“Stupid. I’m giving you a little motivation,” the masked boy answered, baritone, cooly, “Besides, having your friend get you out of this would be cheating.”
He reached out his hand. A weapon was summoned, a keyblade, black and red with a blue dragon eye at its hilt. Ventus summoned his keyblade.
“Good. Let’s see what you’re made of.”
Kiera took a sudden step back. The boy chuckled.
“So, you remember now, eh?” he asked, “It’s a shame those memories will never be put to good use. Because I will smite you before you will ever see his face again!”
A barrier of darkness was thrown up, blocking all entrances and exits to the courtyard. The boy raised his hand, and summoned a keyblade, the same one from her vision.
“Farewell, Kiera Dream-seeker.”
Kiera summoned her keyblade, and prepared for battle. All of the sudden, Kiera felt something. A heart thumping. At first, she felt her own heart racing inside her chest. Then, she felt another.
“Just trust me, Kiera.”
She looked at her wayfinder charm.
She held the wayfinder up to the sky.
A large beam of light suddenly shot up from the sky. Kiera instantly felt stronger. She suddenly had the knowledge of keyblade magic that she previously had no knowledge of.
She shouted: “Wind-Raid!”
She threw her keyblade. It spun around like a boomerang, and flew towards the boy. He dodged the attack, but the force sent him skidding back. He laughed.
“There you are, brother.”
Kiera whipped around her keyblade. She charged, front flipping towards him, landing two or three good blows before the boy flung her away. She quickly got on her feet and kept going. Vanitas suddenly vanished from in front of her. She whirled around, hearing heavy breathing behind her and dodged his attack.
The attack was long, and challenging, even more so because Kiera was alone, and no one to help her. But with the D-Link she had established, she felt strong enough to combat this masked figure.