For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the release of the third game in the series. And now, with six games in total making up the series, the plot is a near-labyrinthine mess of connections and revelations. It's with that in mind that I have decided to unravel the plot of the entire series for those who may have missed the opportunity to play some of the spin-offs and those who just want a refresher before diving into the new game. Today we explore Part 2 of our on-going feature. Click here for Part 1.
The first to depart Radiant Garden, Terra is also the first to arrive in Disney Town. He soon learns that something known as the Dream Festival is in full swing. As he explores the festival, he meets a racer calling himself Captain Dark, though everyone knows it’s actually Pete. His reckless behavior is causing untold headaches for Queen Minnie and the racetrack organizers, Chip and Dale. They ask Terra to teach Pete a lesson on the track, and he manages to win the race. The encounter reminds Terra that while it may be easier to bend the rules, it doesn't always guarantee the best outcome. In other words, though his heart may contain darkness the way of light was not out of reach to him. With his faith in his own power slightly restored, he continues his journey to the next world.
It’s not long after that Ventus appears in Disney Town and also explores the festival. Pete, in an attempt to win the prize for good citizenship, has now taken up the mantle of Captain Justice. Unfortunately, his brand of justice just causes more trouble than what was actually there before. Ventus helps the town fix the problems Pete caused, forcing Pete to run off in a huff. Ventus took the time to enjoy the many games around the festival before bidding farewell to his new friends and setting out. But Pete still hadn't learned his lesson when Aqua finally arrived at the Dream Festival. Though he said that he wasn't just being selfish, Pete ran off when Unversed attacked the town. Aqua immediately stepped in to protect everyone, gaining the admiration of Queen Minnie in the process. During the ceremony where the prize would be awarded, Aqua discovers that she, Terra, and Ventus had come in a three-way tie. She thanks everyone before departing while Pete is exiled by the Queen for his behavior. As Pete is bemoaning his fate, he hears the voice of Maleficent. She offers him a chance of revenge if he would aide her in conquering all worlds, and he accepts without a second thought.
Ventus’s journey brings him to Olympus Coliseum (land of Hercules) where he encounters an aspiring hero name Zack Fair. The young man is attempting to track down a famous trainer named Phil, but Phil insists that he already has a student in the form of Hercules. However, when he sees how earnest Zack is, Phil decides that whoever wins an upcoming tournament would become his student. Both young men are able to make it to the final round but before the match can take place, news comes in that Unversed are attacking the city. Ventus runs off to face the threat, determined not to let Hercules and Zack's hard work go to waste, but Hercules forfeits the match in order to help his new friend. Zack also appears but the threat is gone by the time he arrives. Phil explains to all of them that the sign of a true hero was having a heart that cared about others. Because Hercules left the match without hesitation, he would continue to be trained by Phil. Zack is disappointed by promises Ventus that he won't give up on his dream. Ventus wishes them luck before setting off.
When Terra arrives in Olympus Coliseum, he almost immediately runs into Hercules who tells him about the ongoing tournament where warriors could test their strength. Interested, he sets out to the coliseum where he is discovered by Hades. The god of the Underworld encourages him to enter the tournament with the promise that he would help him conquer the darkness within him if he won. Terra works his way through the brackets, conquering every foe without relying on the darkness much to the annoyance of Hades. In order to drag out his dark heart, Hades enslaves Zack, who had also entered the tournament. Terra uses his Keyblade to free Zack’s heart from Hades's control which forces the god to slink away to form another plan. Zack thanks Terra profusely for saving him and the Keyblade wielder sets out, satisfied that he saved Zack with his own power.
While traveling through the space between worlds, Terra is captured by a spaceship (from Lilo & Stitch). He is taken to the jail cells but escapes once he sees Unversed roaming the ship. It’s then that he meets Dr. Jumba, a scientist who claims that he has created the most powerful being in the universe. The creation of Experiment 626 and its destructive ways landed the doctor in trouble, and he was incarcerated in the ship along with 626. Terra follows Dr. Jumba to where 626 is being held and they free him, but the small yet vicious monster runs off taking Terra’s Wayfinder in the process. He attempts to run after the thief, but Dr. Jumba stops him by unleashing another of his experiments. Terra defeats it without a problem before catching up to 626. He explains that the Wayfinder is a symbol of his friendship. Curious at the concept, the creature seems to calm at his words and even tries to communicate before giving back the Wayfinder. Terra escapes the ship as alarms begin to sound.
At the same time, as Terra’s adventure in space Aqua arrives at the Olympus Coliseum and hears of Terra’s exploits in the previous tournament. Phil suggests she enter the next tournament herself in case Terra comes back to defend his title. Unfortunately there's no sign of him, but she does meet Zack who tells her of how Terra resisted the darkness at every turn. In the final match, she faces off against one of Hades’ monsters and emerges victorious. However, as she is preparing to leave, Zack tries to ask her on a date. Immensely flustered, she lets him down easily insisting that she needs to leave immediately.
Her quick withdrawal leads her to discovering the spaceship that Terra had been on. Deciding to explore the vessel, she is captured by the authorites on board and is accused of being a stowaway. In order to prove her innocence, she insists on being allowed to rid the ship of the Unversed as well as track down Dr. Jumba and Experiment 626. The Grand Councilwoman relents and allows Aqua to search the ship. Aqua eventually comes across the lone 626 who shocks her when he says Terra’s name. Unversed prevent her from asking anything more, but she eventually comes across a rough replica of the Wayfinders she had given her friends. It turns out that 626 had made it after his encounter with Terra and learning about friendship. She can’t help but be relieved that Terra still considers her a friend. When she finally finds 626 again, she realizes that he’s not some mindless monster and fights to protect him from Captain Gantu. The Grand Councilwoman agrees to give 626’s sentence more thought as a reward for Aqua's assistance with the Unversed. Before departing, she returns 626’s Wayfinder and welcomes him to their circle of friends.
Meanwhile, Ventus is chasing after an Unversed that eventually takes refuge within this same spaceship. He soon meets 626 as well and becomes curious when the creature mentions both Terra and Aqua. It even carries its own Wayfinder. The creature insists on following Ventus, but he forces 626 to stay behind for its own safety when he corners the Unversed he had been seeking. However, the battle proves to be trickier than he realized and 626 arrives to help. But there is something different about it. 626 is almost mindless in his violence and even strikes Ventus. It is this act that snaps him from his rage, and he sadly reveals to Ventus that his replica Wayfinder had been destroyed by the Unversed. Ventus cheers him up by explaining that the broken Wayfinder didn’t symbolize a broken friendship. They would still be friends forever. Together, they escaped the spaceship but are separated when 626’s stolen patrol car malfunctions and is hurtled into hyperspace.
The incident sends Ventus hurtling toward a world known as Never Land (land of Peter Pan) so he decides to explore. He soon meets some of the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell. They are all hunting for a shooting star that had landed nearby the night before and Ventus decides to join them. During their search, they encounter Peter Pan who insisted that they steal pirate treasure instead. The Lost Boys go off with Peter while Ventus and Tinker Bell continue to search for the star. Unbeknownst to Ventus, Terra had also arrived in Never Land though his search had brought him before Captain Hook. The pirate informs him that a boy named Peter Pan is after the light that fills his treasure chest. Terra agrees to help protect it and ends up dueling Peter Pan. The fight causes Hook's chest to spill open revealing that the light was nothing but gold. Realizing his mistake, Terra tells Peter that Hook had gone to look for a shooting star.
Ventus and Tinker Bell discover that the shooting star is actually Mickey’s Star Shard but, before they can grab it, Captain Hook appears and kidnaps both the Shard and Tinker Bell. Ventus runs off to tell Peter Pan and together they head for Hook’s hideout in Mermaid Lagoon. Terra is still there though and tricks Hook into giving him the lantern containing the pixie. He releases her and confronts Hook while Tinker Bell flies off to Peter. She explains that a boy with a key-shaped sword had saved her. Peter goes off to challenge Hook while Ventus takes care of the pirates. Terra's fight with Hook ends when the pirate captain sees the crocodile and runs off in a panic. Peter is upset that the treasure chests have been emptied, but Terra suggests they fill them with their own treasure before departing Never Land. Peter returns to Ventus with the empty chests and tells him of Terra’s idea. They all put something they treasure into the chest with Ventus leaving behind a wooden Keyblade that Terra had given him long ago. Tinker Bell is about to place the Star Shard inside, but Ventus explains that it belonged to a friend. As she gives it to him, it activates and whisks him away from Never Land.
Aqua arrives soon after Ventus's disappearance and becomes part of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys’ treasure hunt. Along the way, Captain Hook tries to stop them so he can steal the treasure. It works but he's disappointed to find that the chest is filled with nothing but junk. Peter explains that the treasure hunt was nothing more than a game he had designed. Aqua fights off Captain Hook before the arrival of the crocodile. She inspects the things inside the chest, learning that the Lost Boys had filled it with their own treasures. Among the treasures is Ventus's wooden Keyblade, which is a relief to Aqua since it means that Ventus is still safe. Her smile is cut short as she feels the presence of Vanitas. The masked boy steals the wooden Keyblade, mocks it, then cleaves the toy in two. Angered, Aqua is able to fight Vanitas off. The fight proves too intense though, and she passes out from exhaustion. Aqua is awoken by Peter Pan and learns that everyone is safe. Before heading off, she promises to return someday.
It turns out that the Star Shard brought Ventus to Yen Sid’s tower where he meets Donald Duck the magician and Goofy the knight. They tell him that they are worried for their king, Mickey. Yen Sid reveals to Ventus that he knows that the boy left without Eraqus’s permission but promises not to send him back. Instead, they discover that Mickey is lying injured in the Badlands. Ventus rushes off to save him, insisting that Donald and Goofy stay behind to hold down the fort.
Terra’s journey has led him to a small island surrounded by an immense ocean, Destiny Islands. There he sees the star-shaped fruit that Aqua had told him and Ventus about the day before the Mark of Mastery exam. It's then that he is approached by two young boys, Riku and Sora. Terra senses an immense light emanating from Riku and the boy tells him of his dream to explore the world while being strong enough to protect his friends. Feeling a kinship with the boy, he bequeathed the power of the Keyblade to Riku in a simple ceremony. The meeting reinvigorates Terra’s resolve and convinces him that he could return to his friends unchanged. Aqua also finds herself on Destiny Islands where she discovers Riku and Sora playing. She too senses their intense light and is going to bequeth the Keyblade's power to Sora when she realizes that Terra had already chosen Riku. Instead, she asks Sora to watch over his friend if anything ever happened to him. Sora agrees and Aqua leaves with the realization that one Keyblade is enough for any friendship. She never wanted what she and Terra had gone through to happen to these children.
While Terra and Aqua were meeting these special children, Ventus arrives in the Badlands and discovers Master Xehanort near Mickey’s unconscious body. The meeting triggers a rush of half memories that prey on Ventus’s mind while Xehanort reveals that should the young boy clash with Vanitas, the powerful “Kye”-blade would be forged. It is marked by an ancient letter that resembles a curved “x” that marks endings and death. Master Eraqus feared this aspect of Ventus which is why his master held him back and forbade him from visiting other worlds. Xehanort insists that Ventus should learn the truth before banishing Ventus and the still unconscious Mickey from the Badlands. As soon as they are gone, Xehanort calls upon Terra and informs him that Ventus had learned the secrets of his past and was on his way to Eraqus to force the truth out. This did not sound like the friend Terra knew and, with his concern growing, races off after him.
Ventus’s arrival in the Land of Departure is greeted by Eraqus, but the boy wastes no time in asking if what Xehanort had told him was true. Eraqus tells him that long ago, Xehanort was fascinated with the legend of the “Kye”-blade and the Keyblade War. So much so that he sought to recreate it just to see what new light would emerge from the consuming darkness. Eraqus had halted his ambitions and was scarred in the process though it appeared that Xehanort had given up his plan. Ventus’s arrival proved that was untrue and that Xehnort would someday try again. Eraqus tells Ventus that he is prepared to lock him away forever in order to stop Xehanort once and for all.
But it is Terra who saves Ventus from that fate. He barely holds off his master as he forces Ventus to escape back into the space between worlds. Terra knows that he can’t hope to defeat his master on his own so he calls upon his inner darkness. The two fight until Eraqus slumps to the ground weakly. Realizing what he had done, Terra begs his master for forgiveness. But Master Eraqus says nothing as his essence disappears, leaving leaving behind only his Keyblade. As Terra sinks to the ground in grief, Xehanort appears and finally reveals his true plans to Terra. Within the Keyblade Graveyard, Ventus and Aqua would meet their deaths and Terra would finally fall into complete darkness. As the world of the Land of Departure is ripped apart around him, Terra escapes and heads toward Keyblade Graveyard in the hope of saving his friends.
Aqua’s journey had led her to Mickey, who was floating unconscious in the Space Between. She saves him and brings him to Yen Sid’s tower where she learns that Eraqus has been killed by Xehanort and Terra. Unwilling to believe the sorcerer's claim, she rushes off to the Keyblade Graveyard to discover the truth. That left only Ventus, who had found himself on Destiny Islands with Vanitas. Ventus tries to ignore him as the masked boy insists that they create the “Kye”-blade. Knowing it could not be forged if he didn’t fight, Ventus refuses. Instead, Vanitas finally reveals his full past to him. Years ago, Xehanort had been attempting to draw out the darkness within Ventus’s heart in the hope that when he challenged one of Eraqus’s students, the “Kye”-blade would be forged. But the boy had proven too stubborn. He wouldn’t fight, let alone draw on the darkness within him. Frustrated, Xehanort forcefully extracted the darkness and in doing so created Vanitas. The masked boy ends his story saying that Ventus could either go to the Keyblade Graveyard to fight or merely watch as Terra and Aqua were killed. Determined not to let that happen, Ventus sets out to meet his destiny.
The story continues tomorrow with the fight against Xehanort and the aftermath of this crucial battle. Also be sure to catch Part 1 of the Timeline!
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