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How to Survive the End of Everything

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My name is Master Aqua.

Now return my friend's heart, or pay the price.

All your life you put others before yourself, before your desires, before your well-being. Do no different here. Fight against the boy you grew up with. The boy you promised wouldn't go astray. The boy who did—and the darkness that overtook him. Throat still sore from when he nearly choked the life out of you, raise your blade. Be prepared to lose everything to bring him back.

Clash against the darkness. Blame it for everything that went wrong. For your Master. For your friends. Never stop fighting. Bruised. Bloody. See Terra within him, call out to him, plead for him to fight back, like you have. Like you always have. Watch as he turns his Keyblade against himself, plunges it deep into his chest. Barely comprehend what is happening as the dark creature dissolves into a pool on the ground. As your friend falls back into it.

Dive in after him, down into the abyss, never stopping to think otherwise.

Pay the price to save him—

Yourself.

In the Realm of Darkness time is meaningless. Disorienting. Nonexistent.

Wonder if days or years in the Realm of Light pass with each step. Wonder about the lives and worlds your left behind. Are they safe? Is everything okay? Never ask these questions about yourself. Simply put one foot in front of the other. Over and over. Never stopping. Never questioning what is going to become of you now. Feel numb from it all, like it all is happening to someone else, like it all is just a bad dream—a nightmare—that will one day pass. Know deep down it won't be that easy.

Keep moving anyway.

Lose yourself into the endless hours of the dark. The abyss. The pale walkways and structures. All of it so alien to you. The glowing rocks and terrain remind you of the way light passes through the stained glass windows back home. How long has it been since you last saw it? Days? Weeks? Months? How long has it been for them, out there?

A pain in your heart emerges. Push it down, deep. You'll see it all again. You have to.

You're okay.

You're going to be okay.

 

After ceaselessly wandering through the dark, come across a peculiar sight. Against a cavern wall lies tons of debris. Piled up and discarded. Sharp edges jutting forth from every which angle. The material foreign to you, almost futuristic. Endless metal and glass. At the heart of it all, a casualty. A large white balloon like creature, soft to the touch with a friendly disposition. His eyes appear as two dark beads connected by a black line. He reaches out to the sky, to the distance, to unfound salvation. His hand is missing. Call out to him cautiously. Receive no answer. Utter silence. Motionless.

Step closer to him, only to knock against something on the ground. A red card branded with a skull. Stare up at this chest which lay open, heart missing. Wonder how it got trapped into the Realm of Darkness—how it ended up there, lost and abandoned. Clench your fist.

Vow to never end up like him.

Press on still.

 

As the lack of time wanes on, find yourself doubting your promise, your life, your existence. How can any of this really be happening? How can the nightmare not have ended? Wander aimlessly through the dark, desperate to clutch at any glimmer of light, only to find none. Feel shadows watching your every move. Hear their empty laughter. Turn around to find nothing but the same hollow dark. A trick of the mind, perhaps. Hear it again and again. Doubt everything.

Put a hand against your heart. Feel its warmth. A beacon in the cold—faltering. Question whether it is even possible to go on. To escape. To survive? Tell yourself all sorts of things, but find it hard to be soothed by any of them. Find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway. Never stop.

You'll be okay.

You'll be okay..

You'll be okay...

—Won't you?

 

Stumble forth, worn down. Tired. Empty. Wonder, as you always do, just how long you've been down there, wandering for ages in the dark, alone, step after step. Each one taking more effort than the last. Each one a little more hopeless.

An immense darkness arises in front of you in the form of a large black creature with gold eyes and tentacle like hair. A giant heart shape is cut out of its chest. It stares down at you, threatening.

Stop walking.

Draw your Keyblade. Your Master's Keyblade. Feel the weight of it in your hand as you stand your ground against the darkness. Watch to your horror as more creatures appear, one after the other. Surrounded. Stare in astonishment at the sheer number of them all. Prepare yourself to fight through them, like you fought through everything thus far, only to falter.

Alone.

Don't deny it anymore. Your friends. Your Master. They're gone. You're forgotten, abandoned, lost. How long can you really hope to go on like this? How long will you suffer through and unrelenting nightmare? It can end. One way, or another.

Hear your breath escape. Feel the Keyblade go loose in your hand, until its gone. There was never any hope for you, really. Accept the end. Your end.

Let yourself fade into the darkness here.

The creature raises its fist, pulls back, readies itself to extinguish your existence. Don't even look up. Stare down at your feet, finally having stopped moving, finally giving up. It was inevitable.

The darkness prepares to come crashing down on you once and for all, only for it to burst. Suddenly in this endless dark, a spark of light. Raise your eyes and look up. Watch in awe as the beams of light twist and twirl through the abyss, through the creatures' nonexistent hearts one by one, obliterating them before you. Recognize them. Your friends' Keyblades. Their hearts. Protecting you. Saving you.

Their light stirs your heart, waking it up, freeing it from rust. Watch as they fade into the distance, gone as quickly as they arrived. But feel the warmth they left behind. Touch your lips in surprise. You had almost forgotten how to smile, it had been so long. Smile unashamedly now as you pull out your Wayfinder.

The weight of it in your hand is more than just the weight of the object. It's the weight of your bonds. Feel your connection to their hearts as it radiates within you, bringing you warmth in this long dark. Ven. Terra. Your Master. Mickey. Cinderella and the others from the Castle of Dreams. Snow White and her seven dwarfs. Aurora and her fairies. The citizens of Disney Castle. Zack and Herc. Stitch. Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Master Yen Sid, Donald, Goofy. Kairi. Riku. Sora. The echoes of all their hearts resonate within your own.

Grip your Wayfinder. A new determination grows within you, making roots. Stare off into the distance, where you last saw Terra and Ven's Keyblades, where you last saw the light. Never forget the weight of the charm in your hand as you smile wide.

There's Always A Way

You say it, and you believe it.

For now, that is.