“Aw, man!” Sora knelt down next to his keyblade, looking up with an awkward grin to the person who’d just disarmed him.
Kairi sniggered and retreated her Destiny’s Embrace, with the sneaking suspicion Sora might not have gone all out against her. “Told you I wouldn’t go easy on you.” She stretched out her hand and pulled Sora back to his feet. “But, fair’s fair, you’ve also been practicing with Riku today.”
“Hm,” Sora agreed, brushing the sand off his knees with his free hand. “Where is Riku, anyway?”
He had a point. Riku had been watching their training session from the Paopu tree, but his place was abandoned now. Neither of them had seen him leave, as caught up as they’d been in their friendly sparring.
“Don’t go blame your loss on me now, Sora.” The missing case was quickly solved as Riku walked the bridge that covered the main island with the inlet, carrying a bottle in his right hand with the setting sun reflecting on it. He grinned at his friend. “It’s not our fault if you’re slacking off.”
“Hey!” But Sora laughed back at him as he got up to meet him halfway. “What have you got there?”
That was enough for Kairi to join the two boys, leaning in curiously. “Another world?”
“Yes. It’s from Mi- Majesty. I mean, the King. For all three of us.”
Kairi sniggered. “I see you’ve already read it.”
At least Riku had the decency to look a little embarrassed. “Yes, well, had to make sure it made its way to the right person, didn’t I?” He tilted the bottle so that the rolled-up letter fell out and handed it over to Sora, who stood closest to him. “Here.”
‘Sora, Riku, Kairi,
I know you guys are busy with your training, but I have a request for you on behalf of Master Yen Sid.
One of the worlds out there has recently survived its near destruction. We thought it had fallen into darkness completely, but it returned and actually seemed untouched by darkness. However, Heartless have been showing up from time to time lately, exclusively in the last of its six remaining cities. This city called No. 6 is considered an utopia, it should be entirely at peace. Any Heartless activity at all is dangerous, as they could take down this world as yet.
I would like to ask you three to check on this situation and clear the city of whatever is lurking inside that draws in the Heartless. Be on your guard at all times, even if the city might seem safe.
Good luck, and thank you three.
P.S.: do me a favor and stick together in this, won’t ya?
“So it’s another mission,” Sora cheerfully said. “And a new world, too, cool!”
It wasn’t the first time King Mickey sent them a letter, though they were scarce in between as they were all busy training. Kairi was determined to catch up with the boys as soon as she could, making up for the time she’d spent waiting on the islands for them to return. She was entirely done with waiting by this point.
Meanwhile, Riku had his duties as a keyblade Master, which mostly meant he was going places from time to time when not training for himself, and Sora was, well, Sora. He went to other worlds only to get distracted by whatever he stumbled upon this time, be it another mission or helping someone out. He was technically still in training, though he could and would take on Riku in battle quite easily. Sora would be fine.
They met on their island, to catch up with each other and sometimes to train together, as had been the case this afternoon. Once every blue moon, one of them brought a message from their allies, but it had been a while since the message had arrived in a bottle. It had also been a while since they’d had a mission assigned to the three of them. They could be counted on one hand, and all had been on worlds they’d visited before. Luckily so – Sora truly had made a lot of friends on other worlds, as it turned out, and they made great allies.
In short, their lives were decidedly different from a couple of years ago, before the night of the storm. And maybe one day, these new days would come to an end as well. They had a big mission ahead of them, but what came after? None of them dared to think about ‘what if we can’t make it’, ‘what if Xehanort wins’. It wasn’t an option. They had win this final battle, simple as that.
For now, they simply weren’t ready yet. They were a keyblade Master and two trainees, who had mostly picked up their skills on the go. The confrontation would come – not now, but soon.
“Guess we should leave, huh?” Sora now said, sounding quite eager at the prospect.
Riku slowly nodded, but not with full conviction. “Guess so. Though it must be something serious, considering he – hey, Sora! Wait up!”
“Last one there has to buy treats!” Sora had already run off, rushing back to the main island to find a good departure spot.
Riku groaned a little and pushed the letter into Kairi’s hands. “Hold this. Sora!”
“Riku, wait for-” Kairi fell silent halfway through her sentence, as Riku had dashed out of earshot within seconds anyway. He’d almost caught up with Sora when the latter took off, still a little unstable with his only recently acquired keyblade armor. Riku followed suit immediately.
And so, Kairi was left behind mere seconds later, a little dumb-founded and King Mickey’s letter still in hand.
“Okay boys, seriously?” Unsurprisingly, Kairi’s words were directed to empty air and a lone seagull passing by. She sighed and stared at the last line in the letter. “What happened to ‘stick together’? We’ve had this conversation before, let me remind you.” She rolled up the letter and tucked it neatly but firmly in her bag. The city of No. 6, huh.
Kairi looked up to the skies and took a deep breath. The two boys weren’t the only ones on the island with a keyblade and a way out, not anymore, and she was planning on personally informing them of this little fact. “Just you wait until I catch up with you!”