(Chapter I: meeting the other side)
Swarms of shadows suddenly engulfed a young man until he thought he could no longer breathe. All around him was complete and utter darkness, suffocating him, taking the very life out of him as it seemed. He struggled to reach for his throat, desperate for air, but then, he felt his face hit rock bottom, and his whole body go numb.
“Riku?” a voice echoed, ringing in his ears. Great, first I go blind, now I’m delirious! The man thought bitterly, I’m so out of it, I’m hearing voices!
Riku?” There it goes again! The man cursed silently, confused, why all of this nonsense was happening to him. Suddenly light flooded his eyes and a pair of bright blue eyes stared into his own. Those eyes…they were like that of a clear ocean on a sunny day, just like--
“Are you okay?” Riku blinked. It was the same voice as the one that had spoken to him earlier! (So he wasn’t delirious!) He then felt a soft hand stroke the side of his face. “Are you hurt? Do you need help up?” Riku shook his head, his vision still blurry. He tried then to sit up; only to wince at the pain that shot through from his neck all the way down his spine. He could feel himself give way, and starting to collapse onto his back, but before he hit the floor, someone caught him. It was then that Riku finally got a good look at the owner of those bright blue eyes.
The owner appeared to be that of a young girl, his age he presumed, for her face still showed signs of baby fat, despite the dark bags that rested underneath her eyes. Her hair reminded Riku something that of a rich black silk, shining beautifully in the sun as the wind tenderly caressed it. Her skin was a light olive color, and was like that of a porcelain doll’s; soft, delicate, but cool to the touch.
But still, nothing captivated him more than her gorgeous eyes; they shone like fiery sapphires, but like before, as he stared intently into them, he couldn’t help but think of another, whose eyes resembled her own, someone that hit close to home…
“Excuse me, but can you get up?” she asked again. Her voice sounding like sweet chimes ringing in the early morning breeze.
He nodded to her question, and then groaned at the pain. Then Riku came to a slight realization.
“Wait…where…where am I? How did I get here…and how the heck do you know my name?!” Riku demanded, though unpleasantly surprised at the unintentional roughness in his voice compared to hers. But to his astonishment, the girl merely giggled softly at his demands. She smoothed out her black satin dress and smiled.
“First off, you’re in Hollow Bastion, where the witch Maleficent resides. As for how you got here, I honestly haven’t a clue. I was just taking my leisurely walk when I saw the shadows jump from the ground and there you were, lying there, still as could be! (Truth be told I thought you were dead!) And Maleficent has been keeping an eye on someone named Riku, and since you’re the only person that’s come up to the wretched place, I could only assume you were him! I guess I was right huh?” she threw her head back and laughed gently.
Riku sat still on the cold ground in disbelief and looked around; surrounding him were vast waterfalls pouring over the sides and down into a crystal blue lake. He himself was sitting on a levitated platform of rock above the lake. Though the water was flowing over, there was no ripples or even anything to show the water breaking the in the lake; and the lake itself seemed completely still, as if it was made of glass. This was definitely was not Destiny Islands…which meant…could he…was he…yes…it had to be it!
He was finally in a different world! He’d finally done it! He couldn’t wait to tell Sora and Kai--Kairi! Then it dawned on him, and a heavy weight seemed to be dumped onto his shoulders.
“Wait a minute!” The girl turned around at him and hopped to her feet.
“Have you…have you found anyone else…besides me on this place?” he demanded, jumping to his feet, staring down at the girl. She shook her head sadly.
“I’m sorry, you’re the only person I’ve seen…is there anyone else that should be here?” she asked, sincerity playing on every word that she spoke. Riku’s gaze shifted to the waterfalls; did that mean…was Kairi…was she okay? And what about Sora? What became of him as well?!
Suddenly the world seemed a little darker, and the excitement of being in this new place started to fade away; he was alone. How was any of this going to be an adventure, if no one was there with him to share the joy? Riku hung his head, and stared at his feet, not knowing what to do. He then felt a small hand on his shoulder.
“We’ll keep an eye out for anyone else, alright? Just think about it, if you got here safe and sound, I’m sure your friends made it somewhere okay. You’ll be reunited with them soon, I can feel it!” she added with a smile, withdrawing her hand, but then grabbing his own.
“Come on, we can’t stand here all day! I’m sure you’re starved!” she giggled, pulling him along a rocky path that led up. As they reached over the top of one hill and onto a large courtyard, Riku could see a large Victorian style mansion, with swarms of dark creatures swooping down and hanging about; he’d never seen anything of the such before, and he didn’t like their appearance.
“Excuse me, but…what are those?” he asked, his pale green eyes wide, shocked at the fear in his voice, but surprised that he couldn’t tear his gaze from the magnificent dark creatures. He marveled at what this new world held in store for him.
“O? Those things? They’re just heartless, made from the darkness in people’s hearts. Maleficent controls these particular ones,” she explained, shooing one away from her. Riku stared at them, wondering what would become of someone if they were to get on their “bad” side. “You have to be careful about them though, mess with them too much, and they might just steal your heart!” she added playfully. Riku wasn’t sure if her last statement was meant to be funny, or if she was being serious, and then decided to take the latter. But still, as she pulled him along the pathway up to the house, he just couldn’t figure this girl out! He couldn’t tell whether she was cynical, sad, happy, funny, mad or anything. It was like each new statement held a new emotion. Or it was rather, no emotion at all. Serious things (like the topic she just discussed) were joked around about, and even more important than that…she somehow could tell what he was thinking! And what person would so naively take someone in, without knowing who they were, or why they were here! For all she knew, he could’ve been a demon out to kill her! For God sake he didn’t even know her name!
“That’s right!” he said, thinking aloud accidentally. She turned around and cocked her head to the side in confusion. Riku flushed a lovely shade of maroon. “I’m sorry, I was just thinking how, well, how that I didn’t even know your name,” Riku confessed, scratching the back of his head with his free hand.
“Is that all? My name is--”