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 14 of our ongoing feature.
As the next day dawns, Saïx reprimands Axel for interfering with the Organization's plan for Xion and Roxas. Axel acts like he didn’t hear him but knows that he can’t stop their ambitions forever. He's given his next mission, which pairs him with both Xion and Xigbar. Roxas is sent on his own mission despite protests that he wants to join Xion and Axel. However, when Axel, Xion, and Xigbar arrive in Wonderland for their mission, a fight breaks out between Xion and Xigbar. Xigbar laughs during the entire fight, surprised that of all the faces that she might possess when he looks at her, it’s Ventus. It’s such a blast from the past that he’s feeling nostalgic. Despite his jibes, Xion is able to knock him out. Axel tries to stop her from running off, but she reveals her face from beneath her hood, shocking him. She asks him to take care of Roxas before leaving.
Back in the briefing room, Axel is being accused by Xigbar of letting Xion get away. He protests that it was impossible to stop her, and Xigbar reluctantly agrees since she defeated him. As Roxas returns from his mission and sees their gathering, Saïx turns to him and complains that the Organization is now left with the one they can’t use. He walks off in a huff as Xigbar and Axel tell him that Xion ran off. Roxas demands answers, but Axel can only offer half-baked explanations. But he finally relents and tells Roxas that Xion is a puppet that the Organization created to duplicate his powers. Roxas finds himself incapable of believing anything Axel says as Axel struggles to make him understand. He only gets bits and pieces out before Roxas runs off in defiance.
Xion meets with Riku and tells him that she’s finally found her answer. She is on the verge of losing everything she ever cared about and doesn't want to let that happen. Riku tells her that she needs to go to Twilight Town and meet with a girl named Naminé. Xion goes to see her, giving Riku a final goodbye.
Because of everything that had happened, the Organization meets again in the Round Room. Xemnas finally tells the rest of the members about Xion’s origins. She was a part of the Replica Program, a project whose goal it was to duplicate the Keyblade wielder’s memories and, in turn, his powers so that they could control them. Vexen had been the overseer of the project, and the Riku replica was merely a prototype. As far as the others knew, replicas had never formed an identity of their own, but Axel remembered how the Riku one had come into his own as well. He keeps quiet, allowing Xemnas to continue on. Despite her escape, Xion has no hope of dashing their plans, but her knowledge of their secrets could prove troublesome.
Roxas immediately becomes alarmed at this but can’t say anything as Xemnas orders Axel to bring her back, even if it means a few bruises. Xaldin disagrees with this plan and insists that she be eliminated instead. Saïx responds that she is merely a specimen that wandered out from under the microscope. He then turns to Axel and reminds him that the orders were absolute. Roxas still insists that Xion is one of them, but Saïx sees her as nothing more than a puppet. The proof is in the fact that the Round Room only ever contained thirteen seats.
Roxas runs to Axel and tells him that he doesn’t believe Xion will be safe in their base anymore. He begs him not to follow orders, but Axel reminds him that if he doesn't, then he won’t be safe there either. He then tells Roxas that Xion is dangerous since she has slowly been sapping his energy. Roxas in turn asks how long Axel knew about Xion. When his friend doesn't respond, he realizes that it was from the very beginning. Axel leaves without another word.
On his mission in Agrabah, Roxas finds the mysterious device that Xemnas was talking about with Saïx and Xigbar before. He protects it from the Heartless but, in doing so, realizes that he doesn't even know why he’s helping them anymore. They have only ever kept secrets from him. He wonders if there’s any place that he really belongs since it feels like he’s been the only one in the dark all this time. Another tear streams down his face. The connection with Sora has granted him the ability to feel happy, lonely, and worried, but now it only helps him feel sad.
In the forests of Twilight Town, Mickey, wearing the same cloak as the Organization, spots another dressed as him. However, when he puts down his hood, Mickey sees that it’s Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. He pulls out his Keyblade, ready to fight, but Ansem places a blindfold around his eyes. As soon as it’s in place, Ansem becomes Riku. Mickey is shocked by this revelation and asks where Riku has been since going their separate ways after Castle Oblivion. Riku says that he’s been trying to find a way to banish the remaining piece of Ansem that still resides within him while waiting for Sora to wake up. In the meantime, he’s grown used to keeping that side of himself in check.
Mickey is relieved to hear that but curious to hear why Sora’s memories haven’t been restored yet. Riku explains that the Organization didn't go quiet just because they eliminated half of their numbers. Their plan wasn't only to take apart Sora’s memories but to ensure that they would be difficult to put back together. Mickey wonders if they’re trying to buy time for something. Riku says that he’s correct. Because the Organization has the pieces of Sora’s most precious memories, the ones of Kairi, Sora cannot recover. But Riku has a plan to get them back. However, it leads him into direct conflict with one of the Organization members. He may not survive the encounter and, if he does, it will be because he gave into the darkness. Because of that, Mickey will have to be the one to guide Sora, Donald, and Goofy when they awaken. Mickey reluctantly agrees, not wanting to think about what may happen to Riku.
Roxas’s worries over Xion and the many secrets of the Organization have begun to make him wonder if he’s nothing more than a replica too. He still has no idea who Sora is or what their connection may be. But he knows that Axel must know. He finds him in the briefing room and asks who he really is. Axel tells him he’ll always be his best friend but can’t bring himself to say anything other than confirm that Roxas isn't a replica. He asks Roxas to trust him, but Roxas can’t bring himself to do it when Axel won’t tell him the truth.
Knowing that there’s nothing left for him within the Organization, Roxas attempts to escape the Organization's castle but is stopped by Saïx.The two fight and Roxas is able to triumph. Roxas walks away while Saïx curls up on the ground, wondering when Kingdom Hearts’s strength would be his. Outside, Axel is waiting for Roxas. He tells him that if he leaves now, then the Organization will destroy him. Roxas doesn’t care; no one would miss him. Axel says he’s wrong. He would miss him.
The next day, Xion finally meets Naminé in her room of the abandoned mansion. Naminé asks Xion what she wants to do. The replica thought she knew at first, knew that she just wanted to be with Axel and Roxas forever. But the realization that the memories within her didn't belong made her realize that it was impossible. Naminé explains that the memories within her are of the Kairi that Sora remembers. Xion tells her that the more she remembers, the more she feels she needs to return to him. But Naminé reminds her that if she does, she’ll disappear, and because her entire being was created from those memories, then no one would remember her when she’s gone. It’s impossible for Naminé to save even a little of her.
Xion knows this and accepts it. She also knows that Roxas belongs with Sora though she doubts he knows that. Naminé agrees, saying that Roxas can’t feel Sora yet, but he soon will. Xion asks Namine to look after Roxas after she’s gone and Naminé agrees. They are about begin when DiZ arrives. He warns them that the Organization has found them thanks to Xion. He claims to have known that they never should have trusted her. Xion, wanting to prove her sincerity, promises to get rid of them.
The one outside is Axel, who is complaining that he’s always the one that gets stuck with the dirty jobs. He asks her what she plans to do, and she says she is going back to where she belongs. Axel says that he always felt that she should, but now he feels like it isn't right. Xion thinks it’s for the good of everyone, but Axel argues that she couldn’t possibly know that. He knows that they’re going to destroy her, but she draws her Keyblade. Solemnly, she begs him not to hold back. Axel is angered at her words since it seems like her and Roxas keep running away, but he promises to bring them back every time. He succeeds in capturing her though the fight has left him extremely weak. He carries her back to the castle before passing out. Xemnas sees him fall, takes the unconscious Xion, and leaves.
Roxas finds himself in Twilight Town where he sees Hayner, Olette, and Pence playing. He realizes that not all friendships fall apart before heading toward the clock tower. He sits there for a while, laughing at his own foolishness. No matter what, he doesn’t have any place to go. He’s surprised when Xion suddenly arrives with ice cream. They share it before Xion tells him that she’s out of time. Lowering her hood, she reveals that she now has the face of Sora. She thanks him for all the memories that he has poured into her but, now that her face is almost completely Sora’s, the Organization’s plan is close success. She declares that she needs to defeat Roxas and bring him into her being.
Drawing on all her power, Xion transforms herself into a faceless being that resembles Sora and a regular Nobody. They are transported to the first device, which was placed in Wonderland. She draws upon it, destroying it in the process, but Roxas is still able to hold her off. She then takes them to the next world and draw upon that device, changing forms once again. Roxas holds this one off as well before she brings him to the final world where she takes in even more power from the device and changes forms. Roxas somehow holds this version off as well, and they are brought back to Twilight Town. There, Roxas sees Xion’s final incarnation, and he’s able to fully defeat her. Her memories flood into Roxas’s mind, and he immediately forgets who Xion ever was. Relieved that Roxas was able to stop her along with Xemnas's plan, Xion slowly breaks apart as the rest of her returns to Sora. But before she disappears forever, she asks Roxas to free all of the hearts that they had sent to Kingdom Hearts. He can’t allows Xemnas to get ahold of it. Vague memories of her push forward, and Roxas begs her not to go as she tells him that he and Axel were her best friends.
Tears flow down Roxas’s cheeks as Axel feels Xion’s presence leave his mind. He wonders how it all came to this as he finds a note from Roxas. It contains the popsicle stick that Roxas found long ago that says “WINNER.” Xemnas and Saïx meet to declare Xion no more which Xemnas says is probably for the best. He commands Saéx to bring back Roxas. He doesn't have to go far. Roxas, now wielding both his and Xion’s Keyblades, has returned to the World That Never Was. His power now is overwhelming as he easily rips through even the most powerful Heartless that stand in his way. His sole concern is fulfilling Xion’s last wish, to free Kingdom Hearts.
But before he can reach the castle, Riku appears and together they take out the remaining Heartless. Roxas asks who he is but Riku only states that he’s here to take him back. He wants the rest of Sora’s memory. But Roxas is sick of hearing Sora’s name. All he wants is to free Kingdom Hearts so that he, Axel, and his faint memory of Xion, who’s name he can’t remember, can go back to having ice cream together every day again. Riku declares that he can’t allow Roxas to do anything crazy. If he were to make contact with Kingdom Hearts, the Organization would destroy him completely. Roxas doesn't want to hear it and the two’s duel begins.
The fight is long and intense, but Riku is able to knock Roxas out. He goes to finish him off but can’t bring himself to do it. Suddenly, Roxas reawakens and goes back on the offense. Riku fends him off and, hoping to prove something to Roxas, says, “Come on, Sora. I thought you were stronger than that.” It works as Roxas slips into Sora’s memories and gives back to proper retort. He tells Roxas that he really is Sora’s Nobody. Roxas doesn’t understand and declares that he’s only himself. He attacks Riku again, injuring him. With no other choice left to him, Riku unleashes the dark power that he’s been holding back in his heart. It will likely change his appearance forever, but it’s worth it to save Sora. A dark vortex of energy surrounds him, turning him into Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, and granting him all of his abilities.
The power is enough for him to finally knock out Roxas, and DiZ arrives in the aftermath. Riku pulls up his hood to cover his face and tells him that Roxas could feel Sora. DiZ dismisses the notion since Nobodies cannot feel any emotion. Riku can only wonder how things might have been different had Roxas met Sora. As he is passed out, Roxas hears the voice of Xion. She asks him not to be sad since she came from him and Sora. She is him just as she is Sora. Everyone may forget her but the memories of their time together will always be locked away within Sora.
Roxas awakens on the 359th day of his life in normal clothes, in a normal room, on a normal day in Twilight Town. He has no memory of his time with the Organization, only memories of dreams he’s been having of a certain boy. As far as Roxas knows, he only has seven days before his summer vacation is over. His only hope is that he and his friends, Hayner, Pence, and Olette, will get to go to the beach.
The story continues tomorrow as Naminé begins the final process of restoring Sora's memories while Roxas unknowingly lives out his last days. Neither will be as simple as they first seem. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-13 of the Timeline:
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