7218/KHA: A Door to the Heart

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KHA: A Door to the Heart
Date of Scene: 30 May 2020
Location: Winter
Synopsis: The final showdown with the Seeker of Darkness occurs at the End of the World, a place where Hearts lost to Darkness collect. There, Ansem stands before a door that leads to a Darkness deeper still.
Cast of Characters: 6928, 7002, Seifer Almasy, 7201, Staren, 1106, Rean Schwarzer, 6909, Guzma, Terra, 6906

Riku (6928) has posed:

    A signal calls out to Seifer across the worlds, the SeeD tracking device barely locked onto as Kairi guides them through the Darkness to a place deep within. There, in a lacunae, Hollow Bastion rests, a place of ancient knowledge and dark histories. The place was veritably swarming with Heartless, and the group was pressed to battle their way inside. The gates were left open. Every lock undone, as if taunting them... Or perhaps they were never closed. There, they saw a massive Gate that seemed to lead into a place deeper still. As they debated what to do, they were drawn inside...

    And left spilled onto a beach. There, standing at the wash of water, was Riku... Who taunted them about their behavior. He reshaped his body then, revealing his true form as Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, who had lured them into a trap, presumably, and claimed that he had already won. Those assembled battled him to a standstill until his shadowy guardian was shattered, damaging his ability to continue the battle as he was blasted with intense Light. He evacuated the area, taunting them to follow if they dared.


    The vista is little like it was before. The horizon is shattered, revealing a great ocean of shadow. Structures from dozens of worlds jut out of the blackness, their wrecked remains slowly decaying into nothingness. Spheres of shadow bubble up from the wash, floating there with oil-slick darkness before slowly collapsing back. The place is... oddly peaceful, actually. There are no great Heartless hordes assaulting them, though there is a sense of movement in the distance, something massive and terrible, perhaps, stirring there. The occasional winking of golden eyes, watching them... But nothing moves to attack. Nothing interposes itself.

BGM: https://youtu.be/dkKXbFoMWmw
The Keyblade War: The Final World - ROZEN + REVEN

    All that remains is to brave the path to the deepest Darkness, where Ansem awaits.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko rubs the back of her head, looking at this wasteland.  There is an oddly familiar feeling.  The night after the Iconoclasm, she thinks, it was so much darker without light, with monsters squirming out there waiting to eat you.  There is a moment in her eye as to her she'd see the feet of two people unmoving before she shakes the memory out of her head.  Can't dwell on that, have to push forward.  

Taking a step forward, she starts down the path to the darkness within darkness.  "So wait, is this guy serious about the darkness being inside the darkness?  What does that make it, anti-nega-ultra darkness?  Or do we add greek letters to it to make it sound cooler?"

Well, trying to make light of the situation was probably the best way to keep her spirits up.  This is strange because it's coming out of the mouth of a somewhat demonic-looking girl.  Right now the flesh that can be seen is taut around her muscles.  Her arms longer than they should be, and her fingers extended like claws.  Her face still remains some sense of normalcy, but her eyes are glowing green.  Though as they go, and the energy she managed to steal is evaporating, she starts to return to normal proportions.  

"So...uh...I got nothing."

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     There may be serenity out here, but Seifer is fired up inside. He's almost like a kid again - practically bouncing on his heels as he leads the way into the Darkness Beyond Darkness. He's taking the lead because he's the Knight - the shield, the protecter, the defender. He was always that, that was always his dream, but somewhere along the way, he forgot that part of that was relying on the people he was defending. Somewhere along the way, after he lost Sora and Molly, he started to feel as if he needed to be the only one fighting, as if the only way to protect everybody else was to shoulder the needs of everyone else, as if the only way to win glory and acclaim and make a name for himself as a famous knight as alone.

     But Zefar wasn't alone. He was relying on Ayaka to rebuild the country. He was the shield to her blade, the wall that protected her. Yeah, he was cool. But what made him so cool was that she could lean on him in times of trouble.

     So here's Seifer, rolling forward, Hyperion swinging back and forth like a pendulum as he walks confidently into the shadows. What are the shadows gonna do? Fight him? Hit him in the brain? With a grin like this?

     Bring it. He'll clear the way for everybody else. That's what he does.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Last time, Arkae went in to back up Seifer. Friendship!

It turns out the person they were looking for wasn't there, and it was a trap, but... well, she's still here. In for a penny, in for a heartless pounding.

And as she looks over where they've ended up... she's glad she came. A camera is pulled out of her bag of holding, and pictures are taken. "Neat!"

And then she puts the camera way and draws her sword. "So... we're chasing down Ansem, right? He couldn't have 'already won' like he was claiming he did... they're always lying about that, you know."

"... And besides, I want to see what else is here... and where this ends," she adds, as Seifer gets moving. She falls in line behind him.

Staren has posed:
    Staren started to wade into the ocean, and then Seifer points out the path and Staren follows. Wouldn't do to get lost in darkness, within darkness or otherwise. Staren gives Sumiko a curious look. Now, out of the chaos of battle, he has his first chance to really notice how her powers are different from Mikoto's. Although she does seem to have not been spamming animals as much, maybe.

    Staren likes this change in Seifer. Becoming less a bully who'd psychologically torture someone who'd once been a friend, and trying to do right by them instead. Sometimes he feels out of place in the Concord, when they're robbing banks or feeding souls to despair or stealing pokemon just because, and Seifer's always there on the radio to tell him why being concerned about such things is wrong.

    It makes Staren feel very alone.

    But today? Today they're working together for friendship, to save someone. Even when being torn apart by heartless and dark magic, Staren feels better than during those radio conversations. Maybe Seifer will do more of this sort of thing in the future. Maybe the Concord will. The point is saving Riku, of course, but those would be a nice bonus.

    Thinking about that makes him smile as he walks along after Seifer, even though his armor is covered in scorches, scratches, and hastily-patched cuts.

Tamamo no Mae (1106) has posed:
    Tamamo was called in by Seifer, the blue robed fox woman standing idly behind her knight as her mirror floats around her body. Her eyes take in the scenery, ears perked as notes are taken inside of her mind, "It's oddly comfortable here." she whispers. "Mmm, you'll forgive me if I am here to back you up my dear Knight." there's a bright smile from Tamamo's face, the always supportive wife behind Seifer.

    "Are we looking for someone in particular? That Sora boy and Kairi girl?" she questions, trying to take some stock of the situation, idly flicking her tail in curiosity. Eyes go back to scanning the horizon, taking a brief look at everyone here, some she didn't know, some she did. "Hmm."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Last time, Rean spent an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid his self and Sumiko directed frustration about the Mikoto situation. By the end though he'd

And now, it was time to go save Riku.

Rean follows after the group quietly, glancing around at the fragments of worlds driftng in this sea of shadow.

"Riku actually." Rean says, turning to Tamamo. The one that's Seifer's Wife, not the Paladin one. He's actually never met this one.  "Kairi's here...someplace."

Xion (6909) has posed:
Kairi waves at Tamamo-no-Mae. "Hello! I'm Kairi, Sora's lost his heart, and we're after Riku!" She smiles brightly. "Sorry it's confusing. Riku's heart was overcome by malicious..." A wince.

"Well, malice. If I call it 'malicious darkness' it means more, not less. He's got malice in his Heart and we need to beat it out of him. Basically: Friendly violence is the solution!"

It's a sea of darkness. You can't just jump in. It'd tear you apart unless you knew exactly what you're doing..." Kairi observes, staring out into the waves of inky black and tumbling purple. "And even if some of you have the ability to resist or ignore being flooded by darkness, it'd probably be playing right into his hands. But..."

Archer's dimension... Seifer saying there's always a gap to exploit...

Kairi softly snaps her fingers, the crack of her finger muffled by the black gloves she wears. "Darkness shies away from the light - I'll make a path."

Bringing her right fist into her left hand, she raises both up. With a metallic 'shwink!', she summons a length of odd silver and brass awkward cross guard with a jangling star-charmed keychain she immediately jams into the sand on the beach - and turns.

A sound like a lock clicking open chimes through the beachfront as a washed-out silver godray strikes the dark sea just off the coast, the water parting biblically down, down, down...

Revealing an endless drop, and a shimmering white-silver path.

A rail. A set of rails.

Kairi made a goddamn rail segment, thus marking her as the worst villain.

"Come on, that looks fun!" Kairi calls, sprinting to the coast and leaping acrobatically onto one of the magical rails, griding it down ito the opened path.

"Watch out for heartless!" She adds, disappearing deeper into the Unskippable Playable Cutscene Rail Shooter Between Phase 1 And Phase 2 Ansem

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer, cheerfully, says, "You know what? That does look like fun."

     And then he scoops up Caster in a princess carry. "You shoot if anything comes at us, I'll ride."

     And then he's off after Kairi.

Guzma has posed:
Guzma and the Team Skull Trio are still moving. Golisopod's a bit wounded, so it's been returned to its ball to rest. The group look over the sand, and then up towards the sea of darkness. Tupp, Rapp, and Zipp group-shudder. "We can't cross that! Not even Golisopod could cross that! What do we do, homies?!"

Guzma's considering just jumping in with Seifer, when Kairi saves(?) the day with a rail. Guzma nods, takes a breath, and charges forward.

"Come on, gang! Slide!"

And then, one after another, they all jump on the rail, trying to carefully slide down it. They're not good, but they're not going to fall down during the grinding segment. They'll live.

Staren has posed:
    Staren jumps down onto the rails. He doesn't say it, but... this is kinda fun!

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko looks at Kairi, as the Railway finishes up. She doesn't say anything, just stares at her. Then, flipping onto the rail, she starts the minigame. Hopefully this isn't as bad as finny fun.

Terra has posed:
     Years. So many years since the last time he's fought Xehanort. Every second, every day, every week, every moment of time that passes he's still just as angry as that day. Angry that he failed. Angry that they 'live'. Angry that it took this long to get to this point again.

     But it's happening. Again. And while the circumstances are unfortunate, the moment that Terra has been waiting for has finally presented itself to him. He can only hope they aren't too late.

     An armored figure makes its way through the halls of the castle, dealing with whatever remains of the heartless as they make their way to the gate. There's a mighty need to smash it, to reduce it to scrap components, but that's probably what Xehanort wants. And it isn't going to deal with The Problem. So they just push on through. Into the dead land, and past the group as they follow the obvious path of rails towards their destination. They don't even say hello, so it's kind of hard to tell if he even acknowledges them.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Kairi opens a path forward, a bunch of rails of light.

...Ok, that was pretty cool.

Rean takes a few steps back, and then takes a running leap onto one of the rails, sliding down after the others, eventually letting out a "Whoo!" as he slides down.

Tamamo no Mae (1106) has posed:
    Well, this isn't exactly what she signed up for but if she's in a rail shooter and she's carried by Seifer, this is fine.

    Talismans are fired at the various things, ice shards created from those to knock out those targets for Seifer. "Whee, just hold onto me, dear knight!"

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Some ponder braving that endless sea of Darkness by simply walking into it. It would certainly get someone where they want to go, but could their Hearts take being flooded with that much? Any weakness, any crack and they might find themselves being overhwelmed...

    But Kairi makes a path. Her Keyblade is used in the manner it is supposed to, to open the way between one one thing and another. From high above, a beam of light flares, blinding in the ambient dark, a finger of the Realm of Light intruding into this place at the end of all that fall fo the Darkness. The shimmering path is forged, and the great sea of Dark yawns wide, a roaring vortex of swirling pitch that begins twisting in a maelstrom of all-consuming black. Slowly, decrepit buildings and pieces of other worlds expose themselves, and the air suddenly stirs, the piercing glare of yellow as clawed, demonic beings pull themselves out of the black, bearing massive scalloped blades.

    Kairi, and then others, lunge down onto the path and skid down, down, ever downwards into the dark, the swirling and winding path staying a certain distance from the vortex wall. But that doesn't mean the path is /safe/. It bobs and weaves, sometimes splitting into multiple paths doing various directions. Sometimes, a wash of blackness lashes out and breaks one path, leaving the other intact. Other times, the Invisibles lash out, sweeping in darting, deadly strikes across the path to use the momentum against those rushing down into it.

    But also the path bobs, weaving between disparate elements. Ancient banners unfurled on stone walls as the silver light streaks though holes in the wall. Passing over run-down homes and empty houses. Past garages with cars that haven't seen use in aeons. Down past pieces of laboratories and schools, ghettos and mansions. The Darkness takes all.

    With a parting of wash, something massive lurches out of the water. A great horned beast, eyes gleaming with destruction as a building-sized paw comes down and crushes one of those mansions, trying to scatter the others... But with some quick thinking, they can change their path and continue on.

    And the group makes their way inexorably downwards, swirling deeper and deeper, the world itself seeming to dim around them until they reach... A tiny cavern, spilling out into it, the silver path ending here. There are a couple small pools being fed by trickles of glittering water, a tiny point of light in the depths. Before them lies a strangely ornate door of silver, set in against the wall of the cavern. The door looks... important, giving them a final moment to catch their breath before breaching the area beyond.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Arkae knows a final boss door when she sees one.

"Alright, everyone stocked back up on potions?"

The tengu reaches deep into her bag of holding, which stretches out wide as she pulls a large rectangle out of it. It turns out to be a cheap folding card table, followed by a similarly cheap folding chair, both of which she kicks open and sets up.

"Open for business!" she calls as she pulls dozens of brightly colored vials from her bag next, setting them up in neat rows on the card table. They're very pretty, all lined up like that.

"Get your healing potions, your cure-alls, the basics... potions of leaping and wall-walking, water-walking and water-breathing, never know what terrain you're going to come across, right?"

"Oh, you don't want to drink the ones on the end, though," she adds, though given that each of those vials are marked with skulls on their labels, it probably doesn't need to be said. "You want *other people* to drink those."

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     None of this is familiar. None of this is pleasant.

     When they reach the end of the rail shooter, Seifer sets Caster down delicately. His eyes are drawn to the glowing door. He's about to say something when Arkae starts offering potions.

     Seifer laughs.

     He tosses her some Munny. He doesn't ask for a potion. The laugh was worth it.

     Then he starts walking towards the door. He's not ready to open it just yet. It's got...a feeling to it. Something uncomfortable. Something he's not sure about.

     No, he's just gonna...put his hand on it. Feel it. See if it's warm or cold, if he can hear anything behind it.

     But not open it. Not yet.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko is on the path, skating along with the rest of the people on the way to save Riku.  She doesn't have enough time to think, just barely able to focus on the path before her.  As they go, the path is destroyed by darkness in some places, causing her to flip to the other one to avoid being eaten.  

Heartless show up to complicate their path, and she jumps to avoid shots while firing blasts of glass right back at them to try and either shoot them down or get them out of our way.  Ruined buildings start to come up next, causing her to pause.  There are a few flashes of memory in her heart, always driven back to where she doesn't want to be.  Gritting her teeth, she jumps over one Invisible, to fire another explosion of glass at the next.  

Not now, just focus on what's in front of her, she thinks to herself.  Even as the Behemoth growls into existence behind them, and threatens to end their trip, she pushes on.  Opting to try and get to the end first, instead of trying to fight that thing on its turf.  

At the landing, the calm area, she finally has a moment to catch her breath.  The area is...relaxing, to say the least.  How could such a place exist here?  Part of her is leery of it, but she could use a small break.  Though that door forward does loom, as Seifer goes for it to touch it, she frowns.  She takes a drink of the water first, before looking at Arkae.

"That's dedication, I respect it," Sumiko says, paying for a healing potion and a leaping potion.  She takes the opportunity, however, to actually rest.  Rubbing her head to work the images out of them.  Happy thoughts...happy thoughts.    

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The door is firmly room temprature. There is no heat. No cold. No tremors. No movement. Nothing within, nothing without. Only a subtle sense of something beyond. Meanwhile, a mysterious Moogle gets their place as Final Shop cut out by Arkae. Possibly. Probably. Maybe. It's all very mysterious, and as such doesn't appear at all. Such is the way of things.

Staren has posed:
    The grinding is fun and then it gets all... DYNAMIC, with monsters getting in the way and smashing the path. It's dangerous enough to make Staren feel a little more alive jumping to other routes (and abusing thrusters and magic wings when jumping won't cut it) without actually ending his run. The joyful group adventure continues!

    They slide out into a room with a door. Arkae decides to be the wandering merchant. He selects strength and movement-enhancers and powerful repair potions, and then comes to the poisons at the end. "Are any of these the kind that will work with bullets?" He'll pay in coins and/or credits as preferred. Once potions are bought, he opens up a compartment and puts them inside his body for hands-free use.

Terra has posed:
     Terra goes through the rail shooter without a hitch. If there was a score being kept, he clearly would have won the special accessory and the orichalcum+. Sadly, there wasn't. They'll have to comfort themselves with the countless heartless they slew along the way.

     Once they've landed in the safe area and assessed that there are no clear immediate hazards and only 'a door', Terra moves towards it, placing an armored hand on it before shoving it open with surprising force.

     He doesn't care that people want to take it slow. They're free to do it if they want. But for as for him, every moment delaying what he came here for is just making him more mad.

Xion (6909) has posed:
Kairi is acrobatic across the rails, adroitly flipping between the available tracks like a figure skater, light on 'actually helping' but doing some SWEET TRICKS instead. It's fun! The landscape zips past, crumbled laboratories and shattered cities. Down, past giant optional superbosses that the party is currently ignoring against all RPG and ARPG traditions!

To come to rest at a platform of pools and doors.

"Oh! A potion shop! I didn't figure you for a moogle, but if you've got Hi-Potions, I'll definitely buy some." Kairi muses, scoping out Arkae's shop right about the time Terra starts thrust punching the door until the boss fight starts while mashing every face button, all the triggers, start and select all at once.

"H-hey, don't you want to check the shop?"

No, he doesn't, Kairi.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The path becomes filled with Darkness, covering the way with Heartless and the like. He jumps from rail to rail with ease, sending out arc shockwaves and fireballs at the Invisibles to help clear the way.

Once they make it to the end, Rean takes a seat next to one of the pools and takes a few breaths to settle his head. Happy thoughts, right?  Well, that ride down here was fun, even if it did turn into a shootout at the end.

Seifer says something about the door feeling like nothing, along with whatever laid ahead. Also Terra tried to bust the door down on his own by shoulder checking it, which..yeah that tracked.

"Huh, really?" Rean says, getting up. He puts one hand on the door, and tries to get a sense of what's beyond himself, though perhaps his aura sense would just get the exact damn thing.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Some purchase potions. Others recoup their power and senses for a moment. Terra, as inexorable as always, simply open the door immediately, basically making Rean's attempt to divine what's beyond the door a moot point.

    The reason why the door is so odd becomes apparent: The door opens into a vast nothingness, a blackness deep and profound. There are only three things present. First, a series of stark white islands of some unknown mass, tendrils of the material twisting up around them in an almost rootlike manner. The color is even more pronounced against the all-consuming backdrop.

    The second thing present is... another door. Some distance ahead on the largest of the islands, a massive door forged in white, with massive golden bar-handles. Ornate stained glass is inset into the door in diamond-shaped cutouts, and the top is bracketed in an angular decoration of a golden heart against black granite. The top of the door menaces with spikes of marble.

    The third thing present is... As one might expect, Ansem. He stands there, seemingly refreshed after all the damage he has taken. His back is to the group. As they enter, Ansem begins to speak. "Is it not splendid?" He asks, apparently indicating the door. "Here, in this place of absolute Darkness, there lies a door to a place darker still. A Darkness beyond Darkness... The absolute Darkness from which all Hearts emerge, and all return in the end." He turns to face the group, his impassive face still flat. "Kingdom Hearts."

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The arrival of Terra gets him to narrow his eyes. "And so the prodigal returns. Even now, you think you can strike me down, do you? You already failed. You failed yourself. You failed your friends. You even failed the boy. Everything you have tried to do has come to naught. You would have been better off simply accepting what must be and yielding. I do not fear you, nor the girl. Allow me to remind you what you contend with."

BGM: https://youtu.be/KgTYNov7VJ8
The Keyblade War: Darkness - ROZEN + REVEN

    Burning flames erupt around him, the blackness shaping into a curled sphere around him, the front open as he begins to float higher off the ground. The ebony form spreads outwards, massive spiked wings flaring wide with more of that dark energy... And above him emerges a hollow-chested demonic figure, that wrapped Darkside, reconstituted after it had been shattered... But merged with Ansem in some strange way. It will not be guarding him... Far from it.

    Ansem spreads his arms wide. "And yet you would challenge me here. You have learned nothing. The door will be opened. And I will claim that Darkness as my own." Black energy begins to boil up around him, tendrils of that absolute black coiling around him. "Allow me to draw you into the deepest Darkness!" The wings beat backwards, and a howling blast of destructive force rushes forward, threatening to pitch people into the abyss if the energy does not simply tear them apart.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
"Yay, money," says Arkae as she sells potions.

Honestly, she'd give them away for free, especially for supporting Seifer like this? But... people seem to take more if she charges a little for them, compared to if she gave them away for free. It's weird, you know?

And then the folding card table and its contents are shoved back into the bag of holding as the group transitions into the boss room.

"Okay, that's new..." says Arkae, as Ansem(?) comes into view, wrapped and merged with darkness.

She weathers the blast of destructive force by chugging a couple of potions, ones that help propel her forward to counteract the pushing force being brought forth, but at the end she still looks quite the worse for the experience.

"Yeah... you aren't claiming anything today," says the tengu alchemist, but she's probably spoken over by someone else giving a big heroic or friendship speech. So, instead, she chugs *another* potion, and starts running forward.

As she runs, water rises up to meet her - not whatever inky dark bullshit is between the islands, but genuine pure water, surging around her feet in a wave, lifting her up like a rising tide!

"Taste this!" she yells, swinging her glistening sword at Ansem.

(He probably does not actually want to taste any of the many things she's coated it with.)

Staren has posed:
    When Ansem disses Terra, Staren points out "Hey! He kicked OUR asses! And now it's YOUR turn!"

    When Ansem asserts the door will be opened, Staren retorts, "If you could have opened it you'd have done it already!"

    And then the dark wind howls. Staren pops potions inside his mechanical body and moves with blazing speed, but it turns out he zigged when he should have zagged. The darkness shatters his chest armor and cracks the rest of it, and he plunges to one of the platforms.

    "Rrgh..." Staren groans, but his exposed metal chest opens and the parts inside reconfigure to bring a missile rack to the fore, with dozens of magic-marker-sized micromissiles. They launch into the air and then curve, spreading out to hit Ansem as a swarm across the body and wings; Each warhead is a tiny, one-shot plasma cannon, designed to burn holes in things like wings.

    Will that even work on magic darkness wings??

    Staren will find out, as he groans and gets to his feet.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Terra goes right for the door, "Hey could you like to wait for te-"

Now their in front of a man very attached to his body horror, as the entire area around them is the darkest void.  If it wasn't so real and consuming, she'd make a comment on it.  The wind from the wings blows her away, trying to hold on as the energy tears through her body.  She can feel herself burning away in a way that was very uncomfortable.  Even more than normally being set on fire.  

Too late to turn away, too late to back down.  The Diamond Blade swings into her hand, as a glass winged horse appears right under her.  Now able to fly, she charges the giant Ansem, trying to pull her ride to the side and strike at the big creature by using the sword to make passing strikes.  Each one aiming to try and drain more energy.

She was going to need all she could get.  Even as her body starts changing from what she can take.  She was going to need to go all out to try and win.  

Guzma has posed:
As they push through the grind rails, Guzma ignores the potions. He doesn't need them. They push through the doors, and find themselves in a new place. A new arena.

The same old boss, but stronger. Scarier.
    he sheer power of destructive force is too much for Guzma and his goons. They're thrown backwards, into tendrils and into the ground, clothes torn up, wounds bruised and bleeding, utterly beaten up by that. Guzma shakes, rising. This is too much. How do these people do this?

Wear your confident mask, Guzma. Don't let them see your fear. "Go, Scizor."

The Ultra Ball spins out, releasing the red metal bug, as Guzma flickers a hand out. "Swords Dance."

Scizor starts 'dancing', energy swords appearing around it and spinning, but nothing happens. Or at least, visibly. Scizor then starts to move...

"Now, Bullet Punch!"

A metal pincer goes flying out at Ansem's gut. It moves to /smash him as hard as possible/, with sheer strength and speed. It's frightening. It's like this is one of Guzma's trump cards, thrown out immediately - if Golisopod is the ace, Scizor is the one who cleans up.

Because, as Ansem can likely taste it - he's scared. There's darkness in his heart.

Seifer Almasy has posed:

     The Shadow is a lot bigger this time. It'll take more than just Greg and a bunch of friends to suppress. Seifer alone can't do it - but he can run interference for everybody else.

     First, and most important, is Caster.

     Seifer just hurls Caster up and out of the way. He's about to jump out of the way himself, but boy, he does not succeed. The flames hit him dead-on. Darkness, deepest Darkness, familiar Darkness, burns around him. He doesn't scream. But he'd sure like to.

     And the only reason he doesn't is because he's not sure what it might draw.

     By the time it's passed, though, Seifer's already running forward. He surges into Ansem, Hyperion moving not to attack the core with Ansem inside it but the hands of the monster. He's hammering away at its hands and arms to try and pin it down as much as possible. It may not be as strong as his attack earlier, and he may not have as much behind him, but he can rely on everybody else. And they can rely on him.


     Seifer's loud cheer echoes over the sound of the darkness. "YOU GONNA BRING THE DARK!? THEN I'LL BRING THE HYPE!"


t It's loud, and it's childish, and it's the kind of thing Sora would say. It's the kind of thing Molly would say. It's the kind of thing his more immature (hah, yeah, that's a scary thought) friends might say.

     But right here, and right now, in this place, it's the kind of thing Seifer Almasy would say.

                                  /\ CHEER                                  

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The door opens revealing....another door. And Ansem.

He takes a deep breath. Time to roll. He glances at the others, taking in this team. This was nothing like his usual team, but when was it ever?  But this feeling...it was still the same, wasn't it? All of them aiming for this one goal together.

Rean draws his sword and brandishes it at Ansem. "He hasn't failed yet. /We/ haven't failed yet." Rean says, bringing his own brand of encouragement to the table. Rean settles into his fighting stance. time to roll.  "Just keep focused, and let's get Riku back!"

Rean kicks off the ground, rushing at Ansem at full tilt, using his momentum to amplify the strike.

Tamamo no Mae (1106) has posed:
    Tamamo's listening to Seifer and just smiling, even after she's just lobbed out of the way from the dark wave attack emitted by this weird ass thing floating in the air. It's okay, because as Tamamo's flying, she's chanting faster and faster, "Well well well, it's nice that my Husband is so fired up, it just positively sparks something inside me that I cannot help let escape! Such joy, such cheerful nature, something I don't always hear him do!"

    The fox lady skids down when she lands and her mirror glows a soft red, "He's so fired up, it has me... wanting to let loose with the fire myself!" Tamamo starts to run sideways, looking to duck and dodge anything else that comes her way... at least, that's her hope, as her mirror just starts spamming out fireballs like some sort of unskilled fighting game player!

    Small fireballs, shot out machine gun style towards Ansem, "See, I'm here to support this wonderful person, now... while he isn't able to say these words... please get the fuck out of our way~"

Terra has posed:
     "Ansem...No...Xehanort. Do you remember what I said?"

     They're here. They're finally here. Face to face with him. They don't openly acknowledge what Ansem said, but something doesn't add up. He couldn't have gotten the Xi-Blade, so is this really Kingdom Hearts? He can't say it isn't. It might very well be /The/ Kingdom Hearts. But he doesn't want to believe. It's easier not to, if anything else.

     Deep thinking time is over though, as Ansem greets the party with scorching hot fires of Darkness. They're completely engulfed in it unmoving as they they're lost from view. By the time they subside however, they're still standing, albeit heavily singed, a massive cannon slung over their shoulders as it's already nearly done charging.

     "One day, I will set this right..."

     There's no visible trigger, but Terra somehow fires the cannon, letting out a brilliant stream of blinding white out towards Ansem, the force causing him to skid back a bit ever so slightly.

Xion (6909) has posed:
Arkae's 'yay money' is the last truly happy thing that happens to Kairi before the bad times come again.

Terra is the furious tip of the spear, and Kairi can't help but visibly shake, her eyes misty. An upwelling of nostalgic terror. She looks sick, but there's no real choice to make.

"You keep saying those words like they mean anything!" Kairi shouts, her voice cracking in the highs. She's silenced by the buffeting winds of caustic darkness that flare out, scorching her as they wash over her, striking her airborn -- only for her to flash into an aerial recovery, landing on her toes and knees and rolling to a crouch.

"I've *done* all this before. It was terrifying, scarring, and awful. But I'm still here - like everyone else - for Riku!"

A keyblade like a white angel's wing 'shwinks' into Kairi's hands. "So I'm here to keep my promises. Did you ever think about how light and darkness work? When you're in the very darkest place possible: that's when light shines its brightest!"

She 'swings' her Keyblade, aiming the tip towards Ansem's Big Stupid FLoating Darkball Tornadolegs.

"Dia!" Kairi incants, a set of focusing rings forming at the tip of her keyblade and firing out a concentrated beam-blast of light with a cliche 'vrrr-pshoom!' charge-fire sequence.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Arkae faces the Dark Wind. It tears at her, but she's able to push forward, calling up water to push her forward into the oblivion gale. The blade cleaves into the black sphere, cutting across Ansem's chest. He is far, far less concerned about defense in this form, it seems, because it cleaves into him easily, the flesh tinting as the poison begins to do its work. "You think you are going to overcome the Darkness with your cheap tricks?" He hisses back at her.

    Staren follows up on the poisoned Ansem with a barrage of plasma blast missiles. The missiles explode, shredding the Darkness with the burning light of Science, and he actually reels on the impact, the massive beast falling back as the wings begin to reform slowly through the burning blue flame. He doesn't drop to the ground. It looks like the wings are mostly for show here. Still, the damage is massive. "Gggh... You are a fool. You are making assumptions. I am telling you, your struggle is worthless compared to the power of Kingdom Hearts."

    Sumiko strikes fast and true, the Diamond Blade punching right into his chest and drawing away some of that black power for herself. Is this something she really wants? Ansem grimaces as he holds his chest, covering the wound as he speaks to Sumiko. "Do you also seek the Darkness, child?" Ansem asks. "There is more here than even you can consume."

    There might be more to say, but Guzma is a Big Bad Boss who doesn't believe in waiting his turn. Scizor slams into the sphere, the augmented Bullet Punch striking fast and true. It's super effective, it seems, as the strike sends a wash of black flame splashing across the white island in a Kurosawa-esque roostertail before it vaporizes. Just how much Darkness is this man /made/ of? "You wear your bravado like a mask." Ansem says to him. "The Darkness is deep inside you. Deep and strong. It could have made you powerful beyond imagining, but your fear makes you weak."

    Rean charges in. Maybe making up with Sumiko helped. Maybe it's something else. But the swordsman launches towards the dark man, and the blade cleaves into and through him, Rean passing clear through the horror and exploding past, burning fire and destruction in his wake as the massive beast roars. Ansam's arms claw at the air, and the creature's arms follow suit, the pain evident... But he does not fall despite the crushing blow. The creature reincorporates, and Ansem hisses. "You are too late. The boy's Heart is drowned in the Darkness. He will never escape."

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The fox-woman is not expected. She wasn't there with the others. How did she arrive? Ansem has no answer for this, but the flourishing blasts of flame from her mirror rain down over him, peppering him with destructive forces. Red, burning firelight battles against light-devouring black as the creature is forced to bunker down under the onslaught. "Even you will fall to the Darkness." He replies to Tamamo. "I will not allow you to win through so easily."

    But Terra has his own things to say about that, his cannon burning with power as it charges up... And then the beam of white punches right into and through the beast, the energy deflecting cleanly off of the great Door behind into the darkness. Again, he is rebuilding himself as quickly as he is torn apart, the massive form growing darker, denser to try to compensate. "Who are you to say that it is not already right, Terra? You and your friends are scattered and gone. You have nothing left to offer the worlds. You are nothing but a hollow shell that you have allowed to be filled with a foolish thirst for revenge. You should have simply embraced the Darkness."

    Kairi is right there, ready to rebuke his words and follow right up. Do his words mean anything? What does he really have to say otherwise? Even as she proclaims why she is here, there is simply a "Hmph." from Ansem. "You claim you are here for Riku, but do you think you can even give him what he requires? Do you think you can salve his rage and despair just by showing him your face? I think not." But the Dia blasts, blinding bright in the encroaching dark and shredding into the Seeker of Darkness, melting parts of the blackness away. "Your light will be swallowed whole in the Darkness." He spits, grimacing.

    Seifer calls out his defiance, trying to ride high on spirit and happy thoughts, a stalwart Light in the middle of the Darkness. But Ansem chooses this moment to rally, the beast slamming forward to simply intercept the thousand cuts of Hyperion by simply grasping the blade between both hands. For a moment, they struggle against each other... But Seifer can only do so much. The blade is turned aside. "You fool. You scream pointless things like the Keyblade Wielder did. A pity he turned out so poorly. I did not even get a chance to use his body as his Heart departed."

    He pulls back, the massive, half-melted thing lunging into the air and spreading the wings wide once more as it looms over the platform. "You are all doomed, you simply have yet to accept it. Drown in the Darkness!" At that, a torrential series of blasts of scorching black bolts rain down upon the platform, trying to eat away at those present.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
"EXCUSE ME!" calls Arkae.

Bolts of darkness rain down all around her.


"Cheap tricks... I'll have you know..."

She smashes open another trio of poisons onto her blade, even as she weathers the wave of darkness. "That my tricks..."

The wave of pure water wells up around her, and she dashes in to make another swing at Ansem.


Seifer Almasy has posed:
     "You're right! Sora's a complete idiot! A total blockhead! A screw-up! A moron!"

     Hyperion gets turned aside, and Seifer just swings it right back into the fray. He's going to make Ansem keep turning that blade aside, keep having to intercept, keep having to devote a limb to it. Ansem tries to turn him aside, grabs Hyperion; Seifer pushes harder. Seifer doesn't give Ansem a moment - not even when Ansem moves backwards to spread his wings. He charges ahead, straight forward, straight into the bolts. They punch into his body, splattering burning Dark across his form. He doesn't stop. More of them hit his face. He doesn't stop.

     "So I'm saying all the stupid crap that Sora's not here to tell you himself!"

     Seifer jumps. He goes shooting upwards, Hyperion dancing between hands - both Ansem's and his own. He's practically juggling the blade in between stabs in a ridiculous display of skill, an unpredictable dance to keep Ansem from pulling that trick again. Every so often a grey arm pops out to redirect the gunblade, stabbing it downwards when it might have been going up or going up when it might have been going down.

     "Every pointless thing I scream is something for Sora, Kairi, and Riku!"

     Seifer's blade hooks onto the hand of the monster. He swings around Ansem, up above the wings, his eyes alight, his grin wild. "So I'm gonna keep saying them! Over and over and over! Till you get it! Till you understand!"





                                LIMIT BREAK                                
                             CRISIS LEVEL THREE                            
                               SEIFER ROCKET                                


     At the end of the blade, both fingers pressed against its back, he snaps.

     The explosion bursts behind him at the zenith of his jump. It sends him shooting straight towards Ansem, straight towards the back. The tip of Hyperion glimmers in the brief light of the explosion, light brought for a moment into the darkness.

     A charging attack powered by gunpowder and a wild smile.

     Sora's heart's gone? His body's gone?

     Ansem gave him a direction.

     And that's more than he had before.

     So now it's just pulling Riku out and carrying on as usual.

     Seifer lands, whirling around by the tip of Hyperion and coming to a stop with one hand on the ground. "SMILE! SMILEST OF SMILES! I'LL DRAG YOU UP TO THE BRIGHTEST SMILE!"

     This is how stupid you sound, Ansem.

     This is what Seifer is counting on to make Riku laugh.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Dark rain falls, burning through her skin and trying to consume her from the inside out.  However, through perseverance, or released power her body fights the attack off before she comes around again on her glass mount.  The old man speaks to her, which causes her to frown.

"If I wanted all of the darkness you have, I could take it.  You underestimate the power of Greed, Ansem...you underestimate a LOT of things that are not you.  Now..." she says, the blade is drawn.  But this time, she hangs back.  

Instead, shards of glass rain across the back of the giant monster.  Shapes of swords and spears in the form of glass fly at him.  Each one aiming to pierce the darkness, trying to dig through to something important so she can hurt him.

"I don't need your 'darkness' because I contain the strongest of man's flaws.  Of his sin...and you are nothing in the face of them!" Sumiko declares.  Even if it's nothing but bravado, even if she's scared out of her wits, she pushes forward.  She /has/ to push forward.  The only other path is into that dark abyss and she doesn't want to go back to that.

Guzma has posed:
This time, when Ansem's words hit Guzma, he doesn't confidently swagger back. As the rain of darkness impacts, it heads Scizor head on, who dives into each blackened blast to shield the four humans. It struggles, in pain. Guzma shouts out again.

"X-Scissor! Make it cut deep!"

Scizor dashes forward, even as their armor is damaged. It takes both pincers, and moves to cut in an x-shape.

The pincers grip. They move to cause scars. Bleeding scars, that make it harder to move without pain. Burn him with every attack Ansem makes.

Tamamo no Mae (1106) has posed:
    "Oh, but darkness is something I like~" the fox-woman teases right back, that smile still upon her face as the dark rain falls upon her. The actual pain of this rain making her wince, but bolstering her own focus... she couldn't give up here because of a little pain. "See, what you don't understand is that we're here to do what we need to do, not what you tell us. Now kindly, step aside!"

    Tamamo's ears perk as she listens to Seifer's words, shaking her head slightly as a soft chuckle comes across her lips, "Don't ever change, dear..." she whispers to herself as she switches up elements this time, the mirror glowing an ice blue. "Maybe you should... chill out?" a pause, "Is that what they say sometimes?" someone should really stop this fox from watching TV.

    More ice shards this time fly out of that mirror, the fox moving to stand her ground this time and plant her feet into place. "Mikon~, maybe this should slow you down under the heavy weight of ice!

Staren has posed:
    "We're not winning this with tricks!" Staren shouts back. "Didn't you hear Seifer? We're winning this with FRIENDSHIP AND SMILES!"

    How he's wished he could seriously say that. To live in a world where right makes might. Where your personal right doesn't have to scramble for every advantage just to have a chance. How many times has he repeated that might doesn't determine who is right, but it determines who is left? It's never a happy thought. It's always a grim thought, one that can never relax, one that has to keep its guard up because one little mistake could lose everything. It's so tiring trying to live that way, and despite espousing it Staren can't keep his guard up all the time.

    This feels so much better. Just keep fighting and hold onto happy thoughts. Don't focus attention on the STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY: 56% warning on your HUD.

    Ansem makes it RAIN darkness. Even with Arkae's potions, Staren's not anime enough to dodge BETWEEN the raindrops. It doesn't do MUCH damage, but rain shouldn't damage at all, and suddenly Staren's HUD floods with more warnings. The darkness is eating into him. At this rate, he estimates he'll last seconds before--

    --No! Don't waste processor cycles thinking about that! You said you're going to win with friendship and smiles, now how can you do that?! It's not like you have something that can actually respond to happy thoughts... Wait!

    Deep within Staren's robot body, a tube of glowing purple liquid empties. Valves redirect it to replace some of the other fluids flowing through him -- oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant. Erchius can do anything if you believe in it hard enough! Just have to stay focused on those happy thoughts. Everyone fighting together here, his allies smiling... the future he could have if things continue like this!

    Seifer is right there, making a friendship speech! Staren just goes with the flow. "That's right! This ship runs on smiles... because it's not just any ship! It's FRIENDSHIP!"

    A hexagonal energy field suddenly appears around Staren, purging most of the darkness!

    And then he feels... like he's TOO full of light. Like he's going to explode! It wants to be directed somewhere, so he wills it at Ansem...

    A cloud of light appears above the master of darkness and rains light at him.

    O...Okay? Staren is okay with that!

Terra has posed:
     ""That true."

     The cannon's muzzle grows cold, and Terra removes it off his shoulder, the weapon shifting, contracting, and contorting into a shape that resembles a massive key.

     "I am just a shell. I failed Aqua. I failed Ven. I failed the man that was both a Master and Father to me.... But..."

     Terra, avoiding common sense or any inkling of self-preservation, just walks through the rain, weapon drawn and held to the side as he slowly approaches. A few stray blasts smack him dead on, causing the already singed armor to begin corroding, but it holds. It's built of sterner stuff and just as stubborn as its wearer.

     "A weak old man who manipulates from the shadows, clinging on to every piece of talent he can get. I don't care about justice, but if there is to be any, a parasite like you should die to a husk like me."

     There's a glow around Terra as he crouches down, two hands firmly placed on the grip.

                                /\ ZANTETSUKEN                                

     In a flash, Terra's gone, reappearing behind Ansem. He can't put away his weapon in styleon account of not having a sheathe, so instead he just twirls the blade, waiting for the delayed slash to kick in.

Xion (6909) has posed:
Even if her mouth could create the happy words, Kairi still felt terrible. Her chest ached in this place, and the light shaking of her knees - the tension in her shoulders - wobbled her stance.

It didn't help at all when Ansem-Riku's looming darkness dread settled around her like a choking, burning miasma. Planting her keyblade and panting, Kairi idles in her 'critical hp or status effect' half-crouch while Ansem talks *at* her.

Laughs *at* her. That cruel, adult voice. Did she think that just showing Riku her face would help him? Would snap him out of things?

"I did... Yeah. I did think that."

Seifer is dependably extra. Inspiringly boisterous. It's incredible - just like Sora. No wonder they were friends.

But it's not Seifer that rallies her. It's Arkae.
<Cheap tricks... I'll have you know... ARE EXPENSIVE!>

And Staren.
<This ship runs on smiles... because it's not just any ship! It's a FRIENDSHIP!>

Kairi bursts out laughing. It's too ridiculous. She laughs and laughs, her shoulders rolling back. "I really was doubting that mysterious man I met when he said I had to do all this to save Riku. To free him from you. I really doubted it when he started talking about beating you up to free Riku..."

Kairi lifts her eyes. "He said it was a friendship flagellation. I didn't really like that word at the time, but this is really, really dumb. I'll have a whole lifetime to wonder how this really worked. But right now: I know it will."

Kairi takes her keyblade in a two handed stance and starts running, sprinting, zigzagging towards Ansem. "Trace - On!"

As she runs, thick and pillar-like Caladbolgs with large handles fall out of the sky, sequentially higher single-step platforms that Kairi leaps across like wooden poles. Higher, higher, until she's level with Ansem's head, glaring into his eyes and close enough to strike. "We don't care about Kingdom Hearts - we're here for Riku!"

She thrusts, driving Oathkeeper forward.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean braces against the dark storm, getting pelted pretty damn hard. But...

"How...How about you stop talking?" Rean says, wincing, but smiling nonetheless. He straightens up and ignites his sword. "The S.S Friendship is on a non-stop trip, and no amount of gloating from you's going to stop us!" He whirls around, the fire shining in the darkness like the sun.

If his classmates were here, they'd probably laugh at how corny that was. But he's not even embarrassed.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Arkae launches herself back right into the fray, the poisoned blade lashing out at Ansem once more as the weapon carves into the blackness, Pulsing violet begins veining across the blackness, the thing slowly disintegrating in ways it seems be having problems trying to keep up with the, the rootlike tendrils of blackness writhing and ripppling. "Money is ireelevant against the power of Darkness. Your ego will be your downfall."

    "The Keyblade Wielder is gone. His Heart has been taken by the Darkness and he shall never return." Ansem says, attempting to maintain his bearing in the face of Seifer's yelling. "How can you possibly think that continuing to be such a fool will get you anything but more suffering?" Seifer hooks and swings up on top, coming face to face with the hulking dark beast that is Ansem's totem spirit. He yells about smiles over and over... And Ansem puts a hand to his head, like he's having a migraine. "You blasted fool. You yell nonsense and you think you will succeed? I will crush you into the darkest Darkness!" But the explosion rips through him, Seifer's massive explosion blasting his shell open and laying him out, splayed with black writhing tendrils as Seifer lands nearby. "Accursed... fool...!" He hisses...

    Sumiko's diamond rain layers onto Ansem, the gleaming spikes ripping down into his exposed body and shredding him further. "You are merely... a fraction of true Darkness. You are a fool who claims that a shadow is the same as night." He grunts, the gleaming gems transfixing him suddenly shattering and dissolving as black energy runs down his body, causing him to sag forward. "I will not be defeated by the likes of you."

    But she's not alone. Ya Boi Guzma is RIGHT THERE. He follows up before he can recover, ripping into Ansem and the beast with that dual pincer attack, cleaving once, twice, shredding through him. More shadow splatters across the white island as the burning darkness roars around him. "You cannot escape the Darkness, boy." He simply says.

    Tamamo proves to be as intractable as Seifer in her own way, which might explain some things. Ice joins the assault, the barrage of frozen power building around him and crushing him, trying to weigh him down and sap his strength. "Your glib phrases mean nothing before the power of Darkness. You, too, will be crushed."

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Staren then adds Erchius to injury, hurling the power of positive thinking at him via weaponized quantum effects. The splash of Light sears at him and the creature like acid, the conflicting forces mutually annihilating in little blasts of sparkles and stars. "Friendship means nothing. You are his archenemy. Do you even understand how much he despises you? How much you are the walking focus of his anger? You think you will simply hurl hollow phrases like that when you do not even understand what friendship and smiles are? Your Light is weak."

    Rean strikes, joining in on the corny phrases and insistence that they aren't going to give up in the face of the deadly assault. The burning, massive strike cleaves into the beast, setting it on fire even as he struggles under the ice from Tamamo. "You think you will defeat me with such trite conversation, but you will simply face the Darkness with inane words on your lips." Ansem grimaces, trying to close his wounds as the damage continues to stack up.

    The eyes shift towards that massive key borne by Terra, and he grimaces at the sight of the deadly weapon. "You call me a parasite... But you have no idea of what I have given up for my goals. You have no idea of the sacrifices required to reach into the Darkness of the Heart. You think your pointless vengeance is even a fraction of what I have done? Perhaps I should commend you for being able to survive something that would have hurled countless others into dissolution, but that is all you have."

    He gestures. "When it is gone, what will you have left, I wonder? Will you finally succumb?" The answer comes with a ringing slash of light, the Keyblade carving a glistening line through the floating tan man... And a moment later, the slash erupts in a blaze of light and earth, a geyser of white rocks ripping through him. He does not, however... Fall. "Not so easy... failure..."

    But the defense leaves him wide open for Kairi to follow up. She manages to shake the venomous words of the Seeker of Darkness, rallying thanks to her allies. And just as he is taunting Terra, Kairi is right there in his face, slashing right across his face with the Oathkeeper. There is a roar of pain, Ansem falling back as he claws at the wound that gleams with light, a hissing retort. A crack in the darkness. A scar of brilliance across his tanned features. "You cannot have him. He is lost to the Darkness, just as all the other Wielders are. This is their fate. This will be /your/ fate!" As the damage mounts, emotion begins to crack into his normally stoic voice, his demeanor beginning to fracture just as his body is.

    The massive beast, apparently having had enough of this, slams back down into the white island. The land, what land there is in this abyss of deepest Darkness, trembles... And he spins, arms and wings lashing outwards as he simply sweeps one direction... and then the other, slamming back and forth and sending up washes of deadly dark energy rolling back and forth in sequence.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Arkae chugs a healing potion to deal with the fade HP (backspace backspace backspace) to deal with the ongoing damage she's taking - but doing so leaves her open to getting smacked around by the flailing arms.

And then on the next spin around, she gets hit again so hard that she disappears, leaving only her sword behind! Oh no!


No, wait, she's still there, just clinging desperately to one of the spinning arms so that she doesn't get flung further off into the void

"Big smiles!" she echoes the sentiment being said on the radio. "Biiig smiles!" she calls as the spinning swings her back over the group on the island.

"Just like a carousel ride!"

And then, lacking other options with her sword on the ground, she just simply tries to bite Ansem on the arm.

Guzma has posed:
Ansem shouts more words as Guzma. Over the sounds of battle, the sounds of laughter and smiles, he can't hear them. Why are they all so happy? Why are they cheering?

It makes no damn sense.

The beast moves with the darkness. It slams, it blasts, darkness waves coming. Scizor is knocked backwards, skidding far from Guzma. It's mostly fine, but...

Guzma won't be.

The darkness is going to consume him whole, and he has no defenses against it.

"What the hell are you talking about? Why are you all smiling? Why are you all laughing?! WHY AREN'T YOU TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY?!"

He closes his eyes, waiting to be consumed.

There's a call. Three lights shine as one.
5rThree hearts.

"Because, boss..." Tupp says.

"Because, boss..." Zipp says.

"This ship runs on happy faces!" Rapp shouts out.

Huddling together, holding each others' hands, they take the blast. They're sent flying backwards, skidding hard across the ground. Each one is rendered unconscious in an instant.


Why? Why are they doing this for him? What did he do to earn such loyalty? Sure, he was their boss...but to die for him? Are they dead? No, no, no...

"SCIZOR!" Guzma roars. He's angry, not happy. There's no smile on his face. But three hearts just touched his.


Scizor swords dances, the swords scattering around it. Again. And again. Until it maxes out.

It pulls back.

It launches.

Its fist goes to plunge straight through Ansem's chest.

                              /\ TRINITY SKULL                              

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
The massive hands of the Darkside swing down before she knows it the ride she is on is smashed, and she's falling.  However, as those giant arms swing she has another shot.  She lands on the arms and starts moving like a madwoman.  Her blade leading the way as she attempts to use the blade to slide down the arm, tearing through the skin if she hits as she aims to get onto the main part of the creature.  

"Just a shadow, huh?  I'm not just /A/ greedy person, you insufferable windbag.  I am /greed/ itself.  I am not just a candle, I am the bonfire that is humanity's collective greed.  I am not just a bit of darkness, I encompass both what is good and bad about humanity.  Greed might be looked down on as a sin, but it is THAT very same greed that pushes people."

"Was it not your own greed for power, or knowledge?" She grins, "I am the embodiment of that source.  You might call me an avatar, or a container.  However..." she says as he crosses the last bit, aiming for the barrier that protected Ansem from the rest.  Her blade thrusts towards it, as shards of glass rained down all around her, aiming to give her the footing she needs for this strike.

"I will tear from you everything that you think is yours, and take it for /myself/.  Your power, your possessions, the person you possessed.  NOTHING is beyond my grasp, you arrogant fool!  Now..."

"Enjoy what makes me /happy/.  My overwhelming obsession with having /everything/!  Items, money, and the most cherished possessions...those who stand with you!"  She cackles, apparently leaning into the full Cardinal Vice.

Terra has posed:
     "What happens after? I don't care, but it doesn't scare me."

     Rather than dodge the incoming swipe as Ansem enrages, Terra just kind of takes the hit in stride. Which is to say, it nearly knocks the wind out of him and there's probably plenty of broken bones, but he's going to use this opportunity to grab on and climb up.

     At this point, the Keyblade Knight has shed his damaged armor for whatever small increase in mobility he can take, before running down the length of the beast's arm.

     "One day, I will set this right.

     One step. "I will return to this land."

     A dozen more steps, the weapon in their hand morphing and shifting into some sort of spinning fist weapon as they reach the monster's face. "And..."

     Something's said after, but it's cut off as Terra jumps and delivers an earth-shattering punch to the creature of DARKNESS, the fist weapon spinning and exploding with light as it impacts.

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer plows straight into the dark energy. No dodging, no blocking, no cutting it aside, no clever ploys. He just runs straight in. He's being bolstered by others, but more importantly, he's the rock on which they can rely. He's the guy up front. He's the guy taking the hits.

     Yeah, Tamamo's there, and that gives him even more will to fight, to protect. It's one thing when it's "friendS". It's another when it's part of his dream. Protecting not just the people who are relying on him, but his own dream - his own feelings, his own desire - is more than enough. That's putting him straight into Light Territory.

     "I'm gonna make an opening!"

     Seifer charges straight ahead. He's not concerned with fighting back. No. Everything he's got right now is bent wholly into deflecting every kind of projectile he can think of. He crashes into Darkness Waves. He knocks aside Fireballs of Evil. Greg emerges to push aside Dark Rain. Hyperion comes up to knock against those huge hands. Everything Seifer has is given over to giving everybody else a chance to take the most important shots. To giving them that moment to save Riku.

     That's what he is, and it's what he does.

     He's the Knight.

     Knights save the people they care about and they get in the way.

Tamamo no Mae (1106) has posed:
    "My glib phrases mean everything." she retorts, "But I shall not fall, not with my Knight's shining light and everyone here. Nay, I think... the Darkness shall drown in the Light. Now, I may not have the light..." her mirror floats around her and the area behind the foxwoman takes on an new view.

    Torii gates slowly come into view and Tamamo hops onto one of them. Seifer would feel a spike of mana drain from him as Tamamo powers herself up. "See, we are... going to push this." There's a deep breath from the fox as she floats herself up off that gate. six talismans float around her as she starts her chant, familiar to Seifer, maybe to others...

    "God who resides in Izumo.
    Aesthetically certain,
    Breath of the Soul.

    Residing in the mountains and watery heavens, Amaterasu.
    Let this freely become the proof of purification.
    Thy name is Weighted Stone of Tamamo.
    Become the scared treasure, Mirror of Uka!"

    As the chant goes, each talisman bursts into orbs of ice and fire as Tamamo moves to take her mirror, thrusting it forward. The orbs follow suit and fly right towards Ansem, "We'll purify this darkness in the name of our light and our happiness!" she quips once more before she floats down, resting on her knees as the gates slowly dissapear from sight.

Staren has posed:
    For a shining moment, it's working.

    Staren has harnessed the power of happy thoughts with a bullshit psychoreactive material. The purifying energy makes his body sparkle. Another swing comes. He can weather it...

        ...you do not even understand what friendship and smiles are...        

    SMACK. Staren goes down. The sparkles fade and the bit of darkness still left from before begins to eat away at him again.

    It's true. Has he made any new friends in years? Is there anyone here he actually considers his friend? There are associates, and allies, and he can count on Rean to have his heart in the right place. But they're not really FRIENDS. Seifer? He's a stern commander but he looks out for the Concord's interests and doesn't seem to care about doing the right thing when he's not chasing Sora. This has been a nice change, but... is it real? Seifer's not really like this. Staren's not really like this. They're both aping what they've seen others do and hoping it will work out.

    If the world really worked that way, it would look very different.

    Staren glances at the increasing damage warnings in his HUD. Probabalistically, he's not going to be in shape to keep fighting if he takes another hit.

    Staren rises to his feet. "You forgot one thing. Even if we're not really friends... YOU'RE still actually an asshole!"

    Staren clenches his right fist and his arm starts glowing, electricity arcing across it. Little spikes rise out of the ground around him, spite given physical form by the erchius still running through him.

    "Whatever happens, you guys better bring me back to Grand Dorado!" He crouches, then leaps through the air towards Ansem, thrusters and magic wings and Arkae's potions propelling him at incredible speed... And he tries to chop into the Seeker's body with his hand, suddenly surrounded by a cutting energy field and discharging all that stored electricity at once! And as if that weren't bad enough, in his current state physical contact keeps making those little spikes grow out of everything he touches!

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean gets tossed around by the waves of darkness, bouncing against the white stone. "Ugh.." Rean says. Were they getting through after all?

Kairi and Seifer are talking to one another about how to actually get Riku out of the darkness within. The worrying feeling that they were just going to end up killing Riku in the process rose up, again, but Rean tamps it down for now. Knocking the malice off of someone's Heart, though....

"...Autumn Leaf Cutter." Rean says, turning to Kairi. He's talking about a specific form in the Eight Leaves One Blade sword school he practices, and a move that anyone who's seen him fight before has likely seen him perform many times ...And does, right here and now.

Rean rushes forward, swinging his blade as he passes by Ansem. Just like Terra's Zansetsuken, there's a delay for a moment, and then the slashes appear on Ansem. But they're focused on a single spot on the guardian shadow, not even touching Ansem himself. "I'm not sure if you can do a move like that with a Keyblade, let alone spiritually but...If you can manage to cut through the malice without hitting Riku's essence, it might work. I can walk you through it, but you have to focus."

Xion (6909) has posed:
The devil of 'Ansem', the creature of malicious darkness that had taken over Riku's body, rages and smashes against the terrain, the air, and, for a momet, Kairi. A great limb crashes into her and even catching the blow on her weapon, sends her flying back in a parabolic arc, landing at the edge of the arena on her back and flipping into her front.

Oathkeeper goes flying away, tumbling into the darkness where it 'pops' in a shower of sparkles and motes and winks out of existance.

"Nnnngh..." Kairi groans, her coat open and showing visible damage as it pools around her sides. She pushes up to her hands and knees, and then up - a deliberate motion with her hands righting her.

"Yeah. You're right. About a few things: Most importantly that we're all fools. Fools following their friends into danger. Fools for coming to this place of tremendous darkness and talk about our light. Fools for smiling, when this is..." She shudders. "Scary as heck."

"But we're going to win, thanks to that foolishness. I've held a keyblade in my hands - I've felt other's hearts. I know the chain that links hearts togethr! It's the chains of smiles, and laughter, and crying, and being there for each other! And we're all here, together, for one --" Tears roll down the inside of Kairi's face. "--one tre-mendous idiot who went and got swallowed up by a malicious ghost."

Seifer is there for her, protecting her. Rean shows her his banishing blade, trusts her with pulling off her best try at it. "I'm going to do better than try for you, Riku. Not with myself -- but with the power of all these frieds!"

At her feet, she reaches a hand out towards Rean and tugs, drawing a bead of energy out from him and into her hand, which closes around a flash of silver. Theb she brings up both hands, steeple fingered, and begins incanting. She has all the time in the world, with Seifer covering her.
"I am the beat of your heart."
"Steel is the chains that bind us together."
"I have made so many wonderful memories,"
"Unknown to despair, nor known to doubt."
"Have withstood pain to come here to you."
"I know our hands will hold each others,"
"So as I pray - Unlimited Chain Links!"

The waves of darkness sound like ocean waves.
Children laugh.
It's a beautiful, sunny day on Destiny Island. The breeze is pleasant, warding away the worst of the heat.

Nine people stand on the beach, linked together with a constellation of light.

Through Archer's contract to Riku, Kairi reaches out. The nine points converge.

It's about that time Ansem's giant stupid darkness boss explodes. Violence, as it turns out, can be weaponized Friendship.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The force is oppressive. The burning flame lashes out, the massive hands flickering and crushing like trucks that happen to move like rapiers. The energies at play dance and lash out almost on their own at anyone around them, searing and annihilating all they touch. Only a madman would charge into that.

    Seifer might just be that madman. He launches into the midst of the deadly barrage, letting it scorch and crash into him, weathering the blows to parry and slam those arms wide, making them swing out conveniently for people to take advantage of and drop his guard.

    People like Sumiko. Sumiko moves with the precision of a surgeon as she leaps onto the beast as it smashes around, and the Diamond Blade cleaves deeper and deeper into the Darkside, dragging it down the arm as it slashes the limb open. The strike cleaves into the shell, ripping it open one more time. The weakened blackness doesn't regenerate anymore, the man floating within looking increasingly wounded and exhausted... And Sumiko begins stealing even that from him as his last defenses are stripped away, laying him bare and vulnerable once more.

    Vulnerable to things like the potent Noble Phantasm of Tamamo no Mae as she unleashes a fraction of her true power. The overwhelming barrage of ice and fire slam down on the man, battering him and searing him in turn as he writhes in pain. The damage mounts, the man not even able to do more than howl in pain and a dark dream denied as the assault seems to go on and on and on...

    Which doesn't stop Arkae from taking full advantage of the situation to leap into the middle of that barrage and give him a nice big bite on the arm while she's in the area. You just can't stop the tengu, it seems, and the unrelenting positivity just seems to work out pretty well for her, allowing her to have weathered her way through most of the battle without being crushed under the weight of the DARKNESS. The bite gets a nice meaty grip on his arm, and Ansem howls, trying to shake Arkae away under the painful and unorthodox assault.

    But really, despite the words being hurled at Staren, maybe some part of it does work that way. Would Seifer have been so effective if he was just faking it? Would Guzma? Would Kairi? Would any of the others? He even managed to strike Ansem himself with the power of Happy Thoughts for a moment. But perhaps it's all a state of mind. Regardless, it doesn't keep Staren from ensuring that those Happy Thoughts are followed up with a massive blow from his cleaving hand, the sizzling strike slashing into him while the followup while Staren uses a little bit more weaponized emotion. It might not be the same as just raining down more happy thoughts on him, but the spite spikes still rip painfully through him, driving the beast roaring through the abyss...

Riku (6928) has posed:
    And right into Rean's bladework. The sword slashes past, piercing into the beast as the lines appear, forming a deadly series of strikes in a single point that punches into the horror, destabilizing it just as the final strikes begin. How can someone cut the malice off of someone's Heart? How can someone rip out something that feeds on that malice and anger and darkness like a parasite, trapping them in an endless loop? Will simply punching them be enough? Probably.

    The strikes crush the three goons of Guzma. "Why did you bring them, anyway?" Ansem asks Guzma. "If you were looking for someone to die in your place, you achieved it." His callous, cold tone stabs at the Team Skull leader like a knife, attempting to breach what resistance he has left.

    What he isn't expecting is the incredibly, violent retribution. Guzma looked like he was on the verge of collapse. Where did this sudden strength come from? The Scizor is met with a massive blow from the fist of the beast... And the Bullet Punch crushes right through it, severing the hand of the demon and shredding it into a nimbus of dissolving darkness. It plunges straight into his chest, Ansem's eyes widening...

    And Kairi reaches out, unleashing the power of the Keyblade as she forges a chain between them. The power surges, the world of darkness being overwritten with better times, better places. A place where people laughed, when days were spent looking out onto the ocean at sunset, wondering what lay over the horizon. Chains forged of life, light, love and dedication. Chains of hope... And chains of bright memory.

    Nine beams of light fire inward, piercing the massive beast, Ansem reels, screaming as the weaponized hopes and dreams and memories shred into his Darkness, ripping it apart...

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Then Terra's massive fist slams down into the creature. Weakened as he is, there is no way that he can possibly resist any more. The devastating blow smashes into the head of the demonic creature, shredding down through it into a massive earthshaking impact. "NO!" Ansem yells. "YOU CANNOT DO THIS! I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY A FAILURE AND A PUPPET I-RAAAAAAAAGH!"

    The impact is earthshaking. The crash blasts outwards, purging the fire and the darkness and leaving a critically wounded Ansem lying on his back. Somehow... He still stands back up, wavering on his feet despite shadow pooling around him from dozens of wounds. His body flickers, twitching... Unstable. As it something is struggling within him. "It isn't enough. I need more... More Darkness. More power. But there is a reason why you all were brought here. When you are all destroyed, it will finally be over. And now..."

    There is a flash of black flame, and within Ansem's hand, long black key with a red handle manifests, the tines in the shape of the silhouette of a Heart. He points it at the great door... and a keyhole appears. "I told you... I had already won." With a massive, resonant click, the great door is unlocked and begins to swing open.

    "Now COME! Darkness beyond the deepest Dark... KINGDOM HEARTS! Fill me with your power!" Ansem calls to the door, his arms wide as he makes his final gambit.

Roxas (6906) has posed:
==================================< The Door >==================================

White-faced and golden-handled, the Door to Kingdom Hearts yawns open. For a heartbeat the doors seem to linger only just partway open, its edges obscuring what is within. Then, after what seems like an eternity but was most certainly less than a second, the gate yawns open.

                           But there was no Darkness.                          

But the darkness surrounding the great white door does not shrink from the brilliant red that composes the interior of the gate. It is not light, exactly, in the way that the material world expects it.

Another heartbeat passes, and tendrils of red spiral out from the interior of the gate. Each stands out sharply in the environment, but offers no true illumination. Crude fingers, like those that might be imagined by a small child trying to draw a hand, materialize at the ends of the tendrils and bury themselves in Riku's form.

No blood is drawn. Instead it draws forth the etheral form of an old man, hunched over, unable to stand straight. The tendrils twist and bend, closing around Xehanort's form, embracing him. The tendrils draw Xehanort's spiritual body in, where he has but a moment to speak before he seems to be washed out into the interior of the gate.

The door does not shut.

The endless field of red does nothing, but there is a sensation of growing sickness that goes beyond the surface level. It is like one's soul is being shined down on by a star, becoming irradiated, filling up vacant cavities and beginning to expand you from within.

Heartless begin to emerge from the surroundings, bathing in the color. It twists them, almost artistically. Their anatomical features become distorted, taking on a sketchy black-and-white, red-eyed appearance and beginning to grow into impressively elaborate shapes. As the process proceeds, the Heartless's shapes become more unique.

Like Primal, Totemic Gods.

Equally abruptly, Riku, Seifer, Terra, and "Kairi" all experience a brief discomfort as a yellow-eyed copy of themselves steps sideways from their forms.

Terra and Kairi's are... off.

Terra's Shadow is a quarter of a man, his head and upper left torso defined but the rest of his body an empty framework. What little of him /is/ there is emaciated, sickly. His expression is hateful.

Kairi's Shadow is a weirdly greyscale version of herself with simplified features and a switchblade. It also looks emaciated.

Seifer and Riku's more-or-less appear as they do, apart from the eyes.

None of them do anything. They seem to simply be bathing in the red of the gate.


Terra has posed:
Ansem is 'gone'. The new problem now being the door he has left open. There's no time to process what the red light is, or the weird, shadowy copies. Terra's not a quick thinking man, he's a fact acting one.

     The weapon in his hand is thrown to the ground, clattering and skidding from the force before it just sort of disspears in a cloud of cubes as they rush towards the door, attempting to wrestle it shut with whatever remaining strength he had left. Hopefully, it doesn't need to be locked, but if need be he's willing to help keep it shut for a while.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
"Seifer? Oh-"

Arkae has no idea about what's going on.

However, people are suggesting that closing the door is a good idea, so she lends her strength towards doing that!

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Mikoto lands...her body more or less completely changed at this point.  Anywhere where skin shows the body is taut, with muscle bulge seemingly just barely contained by the skin.  It looks...well very unnatural.  Fingers are elongated, as well as her feet.  Her face only barely has a mouth, and lines running down the front of it made out of jade.

Her eye, yes singular, as in a single jade eye that glows brightly in the middle of her face.  Looking up, she stares at the old man as he finally goes down.  Heh, she is good, she thinks to herself, and with this stolen power she's gotten pretty strong!

Out of spite, the old man continues on.  The key comes out of...wow...and points at the door.  Kingdom hearts is...


There is no time, she shouts for the door as she leaps towards it.  The glass flying horse appears again, carrying her to the door itself so that she...doesn't...have to walk through the red stuff.  She aims to land right next to one of the doors and starts trying to put her weight into shutting a very large, and presumably heavy door.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
On the one hand that door apparently ate Ansem. On the other, that door was leaking out some really freaky stuff. It wasn't darkness, but something else.

"What the--" Rean says, and then runs at the door, putting as much of his weight as possible into getting it closed with the others.

Staren has posed:
    Staren thought for sure he'd be struck again and then wake up on his ship or Grand Dorado. Instead... Kairi makes him part of a FRIENDSHIP RAINBOW LASER attack! This one doesn't turn Ansem to stone, but that's probably for the best since they still need to get Riku out of him. So what Element does that make Staren?

    But then Ansem reveals that the power to open the door to Kingdom Hearts was within him all along.

    But it seems that it didn't contain what Ansem was expecting.

    Staren can only hope that spirit that got dragged in was Ansem's true self or something, meaning Riku is now free.

    And then things get weirder.

    <"What IS this?!">

    People say to close the door. That seems like a GOOD IDEA! So since Ansem didn't break this body after all, Staren runs to the door and strains with the power of technology, magic, and potions to help push it closed!

Xion (6909) has posed:
The malevolent entity in Riku is pulled out - great, and then the doors don't close.

"YEAH, NOPE!" Kairi shouts, a frantic yet rather unshreikingly decisive sort of sudden expressiveness. "Seifer, someone, anyone grab Riku. Terra!"

He's sprinting for the door. "You idiot!" She barks, but he's committed. He's going for it.

And so is Sumiko.

Summoning Oathkeeper back into her hands, she takes a few steps to build momentum before 'throwing' her whole body forward like a professional pitcher. Oathkeeper leaps from her fingers towards the door's keyhole, trailing white-purple sparkles as nearly the whole squad joins to push against the door.

She has to ignore the yellow eyes all around her -- the ones she can see in the shape that had slipped from her shadow.

Guzma has posed:
Scizor makes the hit. Ansem is weakened. But he pulls out a keyblade as he flickers and opens the door to Kingdom Hearts.

Guzma returns Scizor to his ball, unable to make a second hit, weakened. Red light shines out, not darkness, and Ansem disappears into it. Riku is saved.

The light is toxic, somehow. Creating duplicates. This is /bad/.
5r"/Crap/! Zipp, wake up!" Guzma barrels over, almost falling over, to the pile of the trio. He shakes Zipp awake, who is luckily the least wounded, and shouts out to him. "Grab Tupp! I have Rapp!" Guzma moves to try and get them out of the scarlet energy, Zipp helping groggily, and they move to lift the two and try and group up with 'however they're getting out of here'.

"Seifer! Sorry, but I need to get my squad out of the light! Do you guys have the door?!"

Riku (6928) has posed:
    Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.... No, Xehanort, the entity that inhabited Riku, is dragged out of the boy's body. The man looks surprised, his eyes widening as he works to comprehend the enormity of the existence that has seized upon him and is now dragging his weakened, disincorporated, aged form inexorably forward.

    "Something beyond the Darkness...?" He does not scream. He does not cry. He laughs... But not a laugh of victory. It's the laugh of a man who has just seen something that has turned his understanding of everything on its side. Not victory. Not defeat. But Something Else.

    And then he is gone.

    Only Riku is left behind, dressed in his casual clothing, just as he was in Kamurocho on that fateful day. He collapses to the ground, alive but exhausted and weak. He looks up, looking at his own darkness, his Shadow.

    For once, it doesn't look like that distorted heartless demon. Perhaps that is why he has a little smile on his face despite the encroaching horror. Or perhaps it's because he's surrounded by people who, in their own way, care. He struggles to his feet regardless, slouching towards the door. He has no strength to give, but he will support how he can... Even if it seems impossible.

    These people risked their lives for him. He can't just... let things pass. Not like this. Not without doing something.

    But what can he do?

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     It's familiar.

     Seifer says that he has no idea over the Concord radio. He claims he doesn't know what it is. And, that's true. He doesn't know *exactly* what it is. He has never seen its like. The roiling red. The Shadows growing long and dark and filling with yellow eyes and crooked smiles. In the face of this his smile falls away, even with Riku safe. There is no smiling here.

     But it is familiar. And he is lying about having no idea.

     Painfully so.

     It is the top of a tower in the wilds of Australia. A spiralling black tower that rises from the desert. A nonstop battle to reach its top, set upon by yellow-eyed monsters. The spire jutting forth. The sky growing an awful, dark color, roiling with stormclouds and anger.

     The yellow-faced god on his pale horse.

     The words of challenge.

     Oh it is so painfully familiar.

     And yet it is completely, utterly alien. That touch of the familiar is enough. A chill up his spine. A wide-eyed stare.

     Kairi shouts for him to get Riku.

     "I got him!"

     And that's what he does. There's plenty of people running to close the door. But nobody's looking after Riku.

     So he's gonna do it.

     Seifer runs to grab the younger man. Hyperion snaps up.

     He'll hold off the yellow eyes as long as he has to. As long as he can.

     But the chill down his spine won't go away.

     The black blade that cannot fail to kill.

     The moment between life and death.

     The technique that cannot fail to kill.

     The red light brings back memories, and when Riku goes and throws himself against the door, Seifer does the same, slamming against it with all his might.

Roxas (6906) has posed:
Being the point man in this situation is... strange, for Terra.

His Shadow follows alongside him, bracing itself against the opposite side of the door and pushing. But the Shadow is frail-- terribly so. He can feel it struggling to move the door even the tiniest bit. It fails, but it tries anyway. As it does so, it is bathed in the light the same as Terra is.

Quickly -- not slowly, like the Heartless simply bathing at a distance -- it fills out. Its emaciated face becomes healthy and familiar again. The blurry bits of it that don't really exist adopt a sketchy, primal look like the transforming Heartless. As it does so, it gains strength. The change begins to mirror itself across Terra's form, red light searing itself into tattoos that match the appearance of the Shadow across his flesh.

Others who come after are met with a slowly shutting door, their movements to avoid the Red keeping them from experiencing much of it.

Kairi only gets a little bit of it. She's being careful-- and going for the keyhole, besides. The faint red light causes her murderous-looking Shadow to gain mass. It joins her at the door, stabbing it in greeting.

Stabbing the door is not particularly effective.

Seifer's Shadow raises its Gunblade towards Seifer almost immediately-- but when Seifer does the same, it's given pause. It shakes its head and lowers the weapon, as if to say, 'If it's that predictable, I'm not going to do it.'

As large as they are, the vast doors do not resist closing. They shut slowly as force is applied by nearly everyone who can muster any at all. The silence of the motion completing is unnatural, save for the inevitable CLICK of Xion securing the lock.

The Heartless who bathed in the light are, by now, more than a little anthropomorphic-- with at least one looking more like a human being than the sketchy narwhal demon it was moments ago. They look at each other, turn, and disperse into the surrounding darkness. True Heartless -- for those could surely not be called so anymore -- skitter after them greedily, yellow lamp eyes glowing in the dark. No more attention lingers on those assembled.

Riku (6928) has posed:
    The door is closed. It's over. Everything is finally over.

    And Riku finally... smiles, as he slumps against that closed door, sliding to the floor now that it is safe to do so.

    "... You guys..." He shakes his head in disbelief. "Thank you. Everyone." His head tips back then, and his eyes close as he finally allows himself to slip into blessed unconsciousness, a relatively peaceful look on his face for a change. He'll probably wake up somewhere else...

    But where becomes a question for someone else to answer.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko slumps against the door once it's closed.  Still monstrous as she looks down at Riku who's more or less passed out.  Looking over towards Kairi, Sumiko looks back towards the true heartless starting to uh...surge.  

"I think it's time to go," she comments, "I have a feeling the locals aren't too friendly." She says, moving to fireman carry Riku.  

She is making good on her promise.

Xion (6909) has posed:
The darkness rises. The 'Empowered Shadows' are strangely helpful, but equally capricious. And the ocean of purebloods are equally hungry.

"Not waiting on this to turn into a tornado, thanks."

She pulls Oathkeeper from the lock, stepping back and holding her brow. "We can leave this here - it'll stay locked."

She pushes her keyblade into the air, catching it and zippering it down to reveal a 2-dimensional sworling vortex-portal back to...

Sunny Balamb town. It's a beautiful day! There's a bar and a port and a nice seaside cafe-hotel, and just down the street and past the T-Rex, is an elite military academy!

Nothing interesting EVER happens in Balamb Town!

Seifer Almasy has posed:

     They're in Balamb.

     Seifer just falls backwards onto the pavement, hand on his face, laughing. He's exhausted, but it's Balamb. It's Balamb! He knows Balamb. He knows the Garden, right up the way. He knows the T-Rexaur, right up the way. He knows all of it.

     So he's laughing. He's laughing under the sunlight. Going from that alien darkness to this sunny little town. This boring, sunny, lovely little town.

     He's not gonna stop laughing for a while.

Staren has posed:
    Well, time to go before more heartless show up. Staren glances around before jumping through, to make sure that key that opened the door hasn't been left lying around.

    And then they're in... Seifer's old home, apparently! It is MOSTLY a chance to relax, but Staren's wary around the T-Rex.

    Legends say they can turn invisible, after all. It seems like such a dangerous thing to keep around.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean slumps to the floor, letting out a sigh of relief. "...We did it." Rean says. He then looks over at Riku and smiles. The other boy was knocked out but ok, it looked like. "We did it."

Since Sumiko's on Riku pick up duty, he gets up and heads through the portal.

And /holy crap it's a dinosaur./ Also Seifer's old school, apparently. Rean edges away from the dinosaur juuuuuust in case it wasn't friendly. And Seifer seems happy to be back 'home.'

Terra has posed:
     "You're helping too, huh?"

     Terra is probably the closest thing he could be to surprised as his doppleganger appears to help him. It's weak at first. But something happens. He's not sure /what/, there is really no time to think on the /what/, like a lot of other things.

     He's seared with tattoos much like his shadow counterpart after it seems to get healthier, before ultimately everyone else comes in to join, and they're all whisked away by Kairi.

     It's a nice day out in Balamb Town. A really nice day. There's a moment of self reflection as e looks himself over, a new feeling flowing through him that he's never felt before. Well, no, he's definitely felt it before, it's just been so long before he felt anything else.

     His job here is done, however, Xehanort is taken care of for the forseeable future, and Riku made it out in one piece. In that order of importance. It'd be awkward if he stuck around.

     Terra turns around and taps the armored band around his arm,the armor he had discarded previously returning over his body, though his helmet is currently being held in his hands. It looks a bit different than usual. A lot more muted and sinister with various tribal designs literring it.

     They turn their head to look at the group one last time, before sliding on their helmet and simply walking away.

     There was a clear smile on his face..