The Complete Kingdom Hearts Timeline - Part 13: The Puppet Masters
Derrick Bitner
August 8, 2012, 2:13 pm

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 12 of our ongoing feature.

Roxas's search for Xion is put on hold the next day when he learns from Saïx that the impostor has appeared again. This time he’s appeared in Castle Oblivion, and Roxas immediately volunteers to go. Saïx knows how strong Riku is and allows Axel to go along with him since he has the most experience in the castle. But as soon as they arrive, Roxas’s head begins to ache and he falls to his knees. Memories are rushing into his head, and he collapses as they overwhelm him. He wakes up calling out for Riku before realizing that he's back in Twilight Town. Axel explains what happened to him and tries to keep Roxas from rushing back to the castle.

The argument is cut short by the arrival of Xion and Riku. Without saying a word, she leaves through a portal and Roxas gives chase. He’s stopped by Riku before the imposter runs off himself. Roxas and Axel try to catch up, but he’s too fast for them. Afterward, Roxas wonders why Xion ran from them, not knowing that she has reappeared nearby. Riku asks her if she wants to go back, but she decides to stay with him.

Roxas finds Axel arguing with Saïx the next day. Because she has joined up with the impostor, she is now considered a traitor. Roxas argues that she could be with the impostor for other reasons, but Saïx won’t hear any of it. He orders Roxas to find the impostor in Twilight Town and destroy him while Axel finds and attempts to capture Xion. However, Roxas instead finds Xion and corners her in an alley. He begs her to come back and promises her that he’ll always stand by her side. She still refuses and attempts to run off again, but he grabs her hand. In response, she calls upon her Keyblade and points it at him. Axel, who had been watching the scene from the shadows, immediately attacks her, and the two begin to fight.

Shocked at the scene before him, Roxas begs the two to stop fighting, causing Xion to pause. That hesitation allows Axel to knock her out and run off with her unconscious body before Roxas can say anything more. Roxas rushes back to the base and demands to know where Xion is. Axel promises that she’s safe, but Roxas still wants to know why Axel used force on her. Axel said that the situation isn’t about their friendship and walks off to see Saïx. He asks if this is really the way things have to be. Saïx knows it is but voices his concern over Axel’s affection for Xion and Axel. He asks if he would throw away their real friendship from before they became Nobodies for a fake one. Axel doesn't say anything. As a final word, Saïx says that they have to fix things since there is too much on the line. He asks for Axel's help in this goal, going so far as to use Axel’s human name, Lea.

Meanwhile, Roxas is asking every other Organization member if they’ve seen Xion. But many of them aren’t even aware of her return. Roxas is determined to know what happened to her though and goes to see Xemnas. The leader of the Organization tells him to be at ease since Xion is safe and will not be punished for her actions. Roxas then thinks back to a time long ago when he first spoke with Xemnas. He asks who Sora is. Xemnas is frank and reveals that Sora is the one that makes Roxas and Xion a part of each other’s lives. He’s also the reason that he placed Xion amongst their number, but if she is to stay that way then Roxas needs to keep away from the things that have been distracting him. Xion will start her missions again soon as well. Satisfied, Roxas leaves him and runs into Axel. Axel tries to greet him, but Roxas walks away without a word.

Back in the Round Room, Saïx meets with Xemnas and asks if he’s certain that they’ve taken suitable measures with Xion and Roxas. Xemnas admits that Xion is straying from their original designs, but her unpredictable behavior is also having an interesting side effect. The reason for Roxas’s induction into the Organization was because of his Keyblade. Xion’s exposure to that power allowed her to develop a Keyblade of her own just as they’d hoped. Had it stopped there then things would have been a great success since they would then have two Keyblade wielders. However, Sora began to unintentionally shape Xion through Roxas. What had begun as an “it” became a “her” as Xion gained an identity. This development almost seemed like a disaster at first since they wouldn’t be able to control her as easily, but Xemnas realized that Xion was unintentionally trapping Sora’s memories within herself. By keeping her close to Roxas, they insured that Sora could never reawaken. Saïx then asks what they should do with Riku, but Xemnas’s only concern is that he stays away from Roxas and not talk to Xion. As of right now, everything is going perfectly.

Outside of their base, which is a large castle within the world known only as The World That Never Was, Riku stands upon the roof of a skyscraper in the midst of an empty city. He looks toward the castle and the outline of the incomplete Kingdom Hearts hanging in the sky nearby. At the same time, Xion is looking outside while sitting in her room, wondering what she should do now that she’s separated from Riku.

Roxas’s next mission brings him back to Never Land where he overhears that Hook has captured Tinker Bell. Roxas realizes he needs to help her and forgoes his mission in order to follow Hook. He climbs aboard the pirate ship, and it begins heading to the next treasure location. Waiting until Hook eventually leaves his quarters, Roxas sneaks in and releases Tinker Bell from her prison. He’s about to return to his mission, but the pixie stops him. She points at one of maps, and he agrees to check it out. However, when he opens up the chest, no Heartless appears. Roxas realizes there must be something about Captain Hook that’s attracting the Heartless.

Sure enough, the chest that Hook digs up attacts the Heartless. Roxas fights them off and is satisfied with what he had accomplished that day. He heads back to base as Pete appears again, still confused as to why the Heartless aren't where Hook dug up the treasure. He reveals that it’s Hook’s greed that is calling out to all the Heartless, but someone is taking them out as they appear. Pete decides to bait Hook’s greed with the ultimate prize so that an extremely strong Heartless will appear. He congratulates himself on his own cleverness as both Axel and Xion join Roxas at the clock tower despite their earlier fights. However, they're all silent as they enjoy the ice cream and watch the sun set.

Back at Sora’s pod, Naminé reveals to DiZ that Sora’s memory restoration has stopped completely. If nothing is done about the current situation, he will never wake from his slumber. DiZ declares that it’s finally time to take care of Roxas and Xion. Naminé tries to protest, but he justifies himself by saying that they never had the right to exist in the first place. She hesitantly agrees.

The next day, Roxas returns to Never Land where he finds Tinker Bell asking him to go to Skull Island. Hook is digging in the last spot marked in his collection of maps. There, he finally strikes gold, discovering a large bird skull and a golden sword. His dreams of wealth create a swirling vortex of darkness around him, which awakens a huge Heartless. It takes form using the skull, the treasure chest, and the sword before attacking. Hook runs off again while Roxas prepares to attack it. However, he’s stopped by Pete and the two recognize each other from the Cave of Wonders. Pete’s plan is to build an army of Heartless by using Hook’s greed to call out to them and gather them in one spot. But his plans were halted by Roxas continually destroying all of them. Pete then sends this new Heartless at Roxas, who is able to fight it off like the others. Unfortunately for Hook, the Heartless’s defeat causes it to crash into his ship, sinking it. Pete runs off in frustration while Roxas is left to wonder why he is interested in creating an army of Heartless. 

Weeks pass and Roxas is remembering more and more of Sora’s past. He sees a memory of the time when Sora lost his Keyblade to Riku in Hollow Bastion, and it’s so painful that Roxas awakes with tears in his eyes. He wonders what the liquid could possibly mean before heading out on a mission to Agrabah with Xion. She notes that he’s looking pale today, but he explains that he’s fine. Their mission takes them to the Cave of Wonders where they find the old keyhole that Sora had locked long ago. Xion remembers it and finally notes how much of a resemblance Roxas has to Sora. The memories are interrupted by the arrival of a Heartless and the two fight it off with Xion providing the finishing maneuver.

Even she is surprised by this sudden show of power, but she forgets about it when she sees Roxas struggling to stay on his feet. He tells her that using the Keyblade recently has been taking more and more out of him. Xion is concerned, but he shrugs it off as just being overworked. The two go for ice cream in Twilight Town, and Roxas jokes about how strange it is for her to be worrying about him when he’s usually the one worrying about her. She responds that she worries about him all the time. The subject switches to Axel and how he hasn’t appeared yet. Roxas is still upset that he used force on Xion, but she has long since forgiven him. If it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t be eating ice cream with Roxas right now.

After hanging out, Xion goes to see Axel and tells him about the fact that Roxas is feeling worn down from using the Keyblade. Stranger still, she is fighting the exact same way he used to. Axel tells her to ask herself what’s causing it. She says she’s not sure, but Axel snaps at her and asks if she was built without common sense. Xion is shocked at his words, but Axel doesn’t buy it. She should know that she’s nothing more than a Replica, the same as the one of Riku in Castle Oblivion. She is a puppet whose original purpose was to duplicate Roxas’s ability to wield the Keyblade. Since he’s getting weaker and she’s getting stronger then Xion is borrowing more from him than she should.

She asks what she should do, and Axel finally relents, telling her that he can’t make that decision since he doesn’t view her as a puppet. She is one of his best friends along with Roxas. Xion thanks him for his kind words and asks about Sora. She knows he resembles Roxas, but she doesn’t know who he really is though she has a suspicion. As Axel confirms it, Xigbar listens to their conversation with a slight chuckle. He reports to Saïx and Xemnas that Sora is having a powerful effect on Xion. Xemnas takes this as proof that the puppet is the more worthy vessel in the end. He then asks Saïx if certain devices are ready. Saix confirms that all three will be ready in a matter of days before asking what should be done with Roxas. Xemnas responds that while they both have connections to Sora, only one is necessary in the end. Either Xion will take all of Roxas’s abilities or Roxas will destroy her and regain all that she took. Whichever one occurs, Sora’s power will belong to the Organization.

Days pass and Xion can only worry that she is going to ruin everything. She wishes that she could talk to Riku since he would know the right thing to do. Thinking back to the time on Destiny Islands when he held her in his arms, she remembers how he had actually saved her in the end. He told her he just felt like it but before he can leave, Xion asks him to tell her about Sora and Kairi. Riku explains that the connection between Sora and Kairi is extremely powerful. Xion almost knows this. She is a puppet, but the memories within her are so strong that she doesn’t quite understand them. She asks where Sora is now, but that is one secret that Riku will never tell anyone. Riku does tell her that her memories really belong to Sora and that he will end up sleeping forever if they stay within her.

He tells her that if she goes with him, then they can put those memories back in Sora like they belong. Xion asks Riku if he hates her for forcing him to go through all this while taking his friend away in the process. But he can't bring himself to hate her. He's only sad at the situation. Xion finally says that she can’t go with him because her friends still need her and she needs them. Riku tells her to take some time to think about it. Evetnually, she'll need to figure out who needs her more and where she really belongs. She’s worried that she won’t come up with a proper answer, ad he tells her that she can’t just think of one that’s best for her. It needs to work best for everybody. She only promises to try.

Xion still hasn’t come up with an answer but when looking at the seashell that Roxas had given her, she decides that she needs to make the most of her time. She goes to the briefing room where Roxas tries to talk with her. However, she strangely brushes him off leaving him confused. Saïx asks him how he’s feeling, but he’s just fine he claims. Axel tries to stop him from taking the mission, but Roxas is insistent that it won't be a problem. As Roxas heads out on his mission, Saïx tells Axel to just let things run their course. Roxas arrives in Halloween Town to hunt down a powerful Heartless, but it proves too strong for him. He musters all of his strength into a final attack, but it is blocked by Axel. He tells him to snap out of it, and Roxas realizes that Xion was the monster in reality. Both he and Xion were under an illusion.

As the two of them try to figure out what is going on, Axel tells them that the mission was nothing more than a setup. The Organization made it seem like the other was nothing more than a Heartless in order for them to fight to the death. They’re surprised that the higher-ranking members would do something like that, but Axel takes them back to Twilight Town for ice cream. Despite the near accident, they’re able to relax together just like old times. It had been a while since they were all together. Axel tells them that they should be check their popsicle sticks since it could say “WINNER.” After all this time, Roxas remembers his winning stick from long ago but decides to keep it a secret. 

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, Xion wishes that they could stay like this forever. Roxas suggests that they all run off so they would be guaranteed to be together. Xion reminds him that they have no place to go. He knows, but it was just a thought. Axel reminds them that no matter what, they’ll never be truly apart. Meanwhile, in front of Sora’s pod, DiZ decides that they’ve waited long enough. He tells Riku that he knows what must be done.

The story continues tomorrow as Roxas finally learns the truth about everything and the time for Sora's reawakening draws closer. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-12 of the Timeline:


Part 1: The Three Princesses                           Part 7: Castle Oblivion

Part 2: Xehanort's Plan                                    Part 8: Memories of Naminé

Part 3: Birth of the Heartless                            Part 9: Warrior of the Dawn

Part 4: The Disney Villain Alliance                    Part 10: Roxas's Purpose

Part 5: Rivals                                                  Part 11 - Lessons from the Worlds

Part 6: Xehanort's Heartless                             Part 12 - The Problem with Xion

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