For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the third game in the series. And now with six games in total, 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 8 of our ongoing feature.
As he reaches the next floor, Sora finally remembers who the blonde girl is. She also lived on Destiny Islands and would always play with Sora, Riku, and Kairi. The others are surprised at this news since this is the first time Sora has ever mentioned her. He confesses that he had actually forgotten about her since she moved away when they were all still young. He does find it strange that even though he's been losing memories since coming to the castle, he's slowly regaining memories of this one particular girl. Her name is still beyond his reach though. Sora can't help but feel guilty that he had forgotten about her after all their talk about never forgetting their friends. But Goofy tells him that at least he's remembering her now. His spirits lifted, Sora heads for the next floor.
It’s then that Riku is confronted by Vexen. Riku immediately goes on guard and demands to know if he’s with Ansem. Vexen remains cryptic, saying he’s only half correct. He goes on to say that the Organization is neither light nor dark but the twilight in-between, just like Riku. Riku admits that he’s right about him but refuses to even think about joining them. They may not be full of darkness, but they’re still a part of it. Refusing to give into the darkness even a little, he battles with Vexen. The fight ends with a draw though Vexen feels more confident than ever that Riku should join them. His connection with the darkness is immense and provides just the kind of data that Vexen was seeking. The Nobody says a biting thanks before disappearing.
On the next floor, Donald asks Sora if he’s remembered anything more about the girl. Sora recounts how she was very quiet and always drew pictures in her pad. She would rarely join them in games since she was content to just draw the scene instead. Because she was so good, Sora and Riku would often fight over who she would draw next. Then one day, she just disappeared. Jiminy realizes that Sora is remembering some things as he forgets others. He wonders if these memories were buried deeper and that by losing other memories, these were brought to the forefront. Sora then realizes that this is what the man in the black robe had meant when they first entered Castle Oblivion. "To lose is to remember." They move on, curious as to what the rest of the castle will bring.
Lexaeus appears before Zexion to ask after Vexen. It appears that after battling Riku and obtaining his data, Vexen is planning to create some kind of replica. Lexaeus tells him that Marluxia's plans seem to be working. Sora's memories are already being shuffled by Naminé. They wonder how dangerous he’ll become if his plan succeeds. Larxene is just as untrustworthy and Axel’s nature makes it difficult to predict whose side he’s on. The two decide to continue observing further before making any plans with Vexen.
Meanwhile, Larxene and Axel watch as Sora grows more frustrated. All the memories related to this girl have come back to him but still no name. Larxene is pleased at the result, knowing that the new memories have taken root. Axel suggests another round with the Keyblade wielder in order to see, but Larxene demands that she be the one to play with him. Axel reminds her that they need him in one piece if they are to take over the Organization. Larxene is surprised to see that he is in on the coup and warns him not to get sloppy. After she leaves, Axel smirks knowing that he had tricked her into revealing this plan.
Riku is still working his way up from the basement floors when an identical version of himself appears before him. The only difference is that he wears the dark armor that he had donned when Ansem had taken over his body. This new Riku then tells him that he is a replica that Vexen created. He explains that they are the same in every way except that he isn’t afraid of the darkness. Riku is angered at the accusation, but his replica goes on, saying that the mere thought of embracing the dark again has him scared witless. But he fully embraces the darkness, believing that it has made him stronger than his original. The two duel, but Riku easily defeats his replica. The fake Riku runs off making the excuse that he’s still new. With time, he’ll become much stronger.
The replica Riku returns to Vexen, who asks how it felt to fight the original. His creation is still confident that he can defeat the original, but Vexen suggests that he meet another first. He’s not sure if the replica will have to kill Sora, but it may come to that should Marluxia really have plans to betray the Organization. Meanwhile, the real Riku is still searching for his fake when Ansem appears again. He tells him that this creation really is a model of what Riku should be like. Riku isn’t buying his ploy and believes that Ansem is trying to trick him into giving himself to the darkness to prove he isn’t afraid. Riku promises once again to never give in before moving on.
At the top of the next floor, Sora, Donald, and Goofy finally come face to face with Larxene. She talks about how it must feel good for Sora to remember his true memories and forget all the worthless ones he had built up. Still toying with him, Larxene lets on that she knows the girl from Sora’s memories. Sora then realizes that the girl must be in the castle itself. Larxene confirms his suspicions but claims that he has to fight through her to reach the girl. Without warning, she charges at Sora and forces him to drop Kairi’s lucky charm. But Sora no longer recognizes it. Larxene chastises him for forgetting when Sora finally remembers who gave it to him: Naminé . The new memories Naminé is providing him are taking hold.
The Nobody then goes to smash the charm, but Sora viciously protects it. He won’t let Larxene destroy something so precious to him. Larxene scoffs at his show of loyalty since he only just remembered the girl now. Sora doesn't care if that's the case and attacks her. They seemingly come to a draw with her still taunting him. Before disappearing, she hands him more cards so that he can continue on. Sora desperately searches for the Nobody, but she’s nowhere to be found. He absolutely hates her, and the fact that she was the one who helped him finally remember Naminé. He then rushes ahead, desperate to save his almost forgotten friend.
Larxene returns to Axel and is surprised to find Vexen there as well. He chastises her for losing the battle though she tries to play it off like she threw the fight. Axel and Vexen know better but drop the subject anyway. Axel then asks why Vexen has joined them on the upper floors of the castle. Vexen states that he is unconvinced as to why they’re going through all this trouble just for Sora. He wishes to experiment on the boy and see just what his true potential might be. Axel has no problem with this but knows that by experiment, Vexen means test his Riku replica on Sora. In order to help him with this plan, Axel hands over a card that contains Sora and Riku’s memories of Destiny Islands. With it and Naminé’s powers, they could make the replica Riku believe that he is the real one. The replica resists but the three Nobodies force him to go through with it.
When Sora reaches the next floor, he is shocked to find Riku waiting for him. He’s immediately standoffish and accuses Sora of forgetting all about him. Sora protests that he came to the castle in the first place hoping to find him. Riku doesn’t buy it and claims that Sora’s only here for Naminé now. He goes on to say that Naminé doesn’t even want to see Sora anymore because of what he did on the islands. Sora doesn’t understand, but Riku tells him to leave. When Sora refuses, the two duel with Sora winning once again. Riku immediately runs off before Sora can talk to him anymore. Saddened that his friend is still acting like this, Sora is cheered up by Jiminy's words. He believes that Riku merely forgot that he and Sora were friends.
Sora finds Riku on the next floor and declares that he’ll save both him and Naminé. Riku states that he doesn’t need saving, that Sora should have gone back to Destiny Islands to be with Kairi. Sora insists on Riku and Naminé coming with him, but Riku only wants to stay by Naminé's side. Sora suggests that they save her together, but Riku refuses and runs off yet again. After watching the chaos the girl's powers have wrought, Larxene decides to visit Naminé on the uppermost floor. She taunts the girl over her sadness and guilt at messing with Sora’s memories. It's then that Riku interrupts her and promises to protect Naminé from Sora, going so far to promise it on an exact replica of the good luck charm that Sora now believed Naminé gave him.
Naminé says nothing as Larxene expresses her amazement at how completely the Riku replicant has changed. She notes how nice of a touch it was to change a card into the keepsake. The more she sees Naminé's power, the more confident Larxene is that Sora will soon forget about Kairi completely. Naminé finally speaks and states that no matter how much she may change his memories, Sora will never forget Kairi. The memories she makes of herself will only make his feelings for her grow stronger. Larxene isn’t convinced and tells Naminé to continue the process of rewriting Sora’s memories.
Sora still can’t understand why Riku doesn’t want to join him when they both want the same goal. Donald reminds him that it will turn out fine since Sora, Riku, and a third person were always together. To his shock, Donald realizes he can’t remember the third person's name. Sora corrects him by saying it was himself, Riku, and Naminé. He has finally forgotten Kairi, replaced in his memories by the presence of Naminé. In a room above them, Larxene expresses concern since it seems like the Riku replica is disobeying them. Vexen defends his project and the two begin to argue until Marluxia appears. Marluxia tells him to clean up his mess, but Vexen is too appalled to move.
Marluxia is only number 11 while Vexen is number 4, but Marluxia shoots him down. Xemnas and the Organization entrusted Castle Oblivion to him so he was the one in control no matter what number he may be. Vexen grows even angrier as Marluxia declares the Riku replicant a failure. Marluxia threatens to inform Xemnas of this failure unless Vexen eliminates Sora. Vexen is confused by the request since all their plans revolved around the boy, but he leaves anyway. Axel comments that Vexen will really do it, but Marluxia says that they have no choice. He goes to Naminé, who is sitting in the corner and asks what she’ll do if her hero falls. After all, he did make a promise to her. She catches the hint as Sora finally reaches the tenth floor of Castle Oblivion.
Soon, Sora mentions his promise to Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy, and they are confused by this new bit of information. Sora tells them that he made a promise to Naminé when they were young that he’d always protect her. Somehow, he had forgotten it, but this was his chance to finally make it up to her. They continue on and come across Vexen. The Nobody claims that he was the one who reunited Sora with Riku (which is only half true). Angered at meeting the one who changed his friend, Sora and Vexen duel. Vexen is delighted at seeing Sora’s strength and claims to have delved deep in Sora’s memory, on the other side of his heart, while they fought. He reveals a new card and hands it to him, claiming that if they visit that card world, then they’ll be able to fight for real.
Watching the battle, Larxene discusses with Axel and Marluxia whether Vexen has truly lost his mind. By entering that world, Sora could discover his other side. It won’t be a problem if the boy doesn’t catch on, but if he does it could cause problems. Marluxia’s confident that Naminé will be able to fix any complications that may arise. He then sends Axel off to eliminate the traitor. Axel walks off, a smile on his face.
Sora arrives in the new card world and is surprised to find himself in a world he doesn’t recognize. Unknown to him, they are in a recreation of Twilight Town. The same world where Roxas was trained by the other Organization members. Jiminy comments that they’ve only visited places from Sora’s memories so how could this place be from Sora's memories when he has no recollection of it. They believe it means that Sora somehow forgot this town as part of Castle Oblivion’s trick and worry about how many memories they’ve lost since entering the castle. Sora still isn’t worried though and show’s the good luck charm that had been Kairi’s, but he now associated with Naminé. He tells them the story of how she gave it to him, but suddenly, in the recesses of his mind, Naminé apologizes for all she’s done to him. He hears her but doesn't understand what she means.
The real Riku has been working his way up from the basement floors all this time and realizes that there’s only one location card left. He wonders if this journey through the Castle will really rid himself of the darkness that still lies within him. Taking heart, he continues on as Sora, Donald, and Goofy explore Twilight Town. Unlike the other worlds, it is completely deserted. They find nothing of note until they arrive at a gated mansion. It’s then that Sora feels the familiarity of this place though he still has no memory of ever being here. Vexen finally appears, having listened in to Sora’s conversation. He asks which feels more real: the memories of Naminé or the familiarity with Twilight Town. Sora doesn’t hesitate and declares that Naminé is more real and the card world is nothing more than a trick. Vexen merely laughs at these words. He restates that this world is a memory from the other side of Sora’s heart. His heart remembers this place even though Sora’s mind does not. Sora remains defiant of Vexen’s clues and Vexen decides that Sora is not a true Keyblade master. He is a slave to twisted memories and deserves to be wiped from existence, just like his Riku replicant. Sora still believes that every word Vexen has said is a lie and charges at him.
Sora's defiance is so strong that Vexen is wounded from the battle. The Nobody realizes just how powerful Sora is, even when a slave to Naminé’s new memories. Sora demands that Vexen return Riku to normal, but he merely laughs. The only fate for that Riku is to fade into darkness. The same fate as Sora if he continues to be led by memories of Naminé. At the rate he's going, he’ll lose his heart and become nothing more than a pawn to Marluxia. Before he can explain any further, Axel appears and drives his weapon deep into Vexen’s back. Vexen begs for mercy, but Axel finishes him off. Sora is left shocked as Axel disappears.
The assassin returns to Marluxia, Larxene, and Naminé where he accuses Marluxia of using Vexen to gauge Sora’s strength. Larxene confirms this as well, saying that it was a test for Axel as well. They needed to be sure he was willing to kill a fellow member of the Organization. With Axel now a part of them, Larxene fully explains their intention to create a coup within the Organization. With Sora under their control thanks to Naminé, there’s no way Xemnas and the other members could stop them. Listening to these dark plans, Naminé can only express a silent sorrow for all she's done to Sora.
The story continues tomorrow as the events in Castle Oblivion come to a head as Sora learns the truth about Naminé and Riku faces his own darkness. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-7 of the Timeline:
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