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 unrvavel 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 21 of our ongoing feature.
Once they return to the computer room, Leon explains that the King is taking care of the town while they access the data within the computer. Thanks to Tron's new password, it's an easy task so Sora gets started on loading and copying the data while Leon goes to check on the town. Sora immediately begins searching the data for signs of Riku and Kairi but there’s nothing about them. Sora walks off, depressed, while Goofy does a search on the Nobodies. But every time they try to access the information, it comes up that the data is corrupt. Frustrated, Sora pounds on a computer until a picture of the actual Ansem the Wise appears.
It’s then that Mickey arrives and thanks them for accessing the computer. They let him know that most of the data is corrupt save for the one picture. Mickey is surprised to see his old friend, Ansem the Wise, on the screen. Sora, Donald, and Goofy think that he’s merely forgotten what Ansem looks like and take him to the portrait in Ansem’s room. They tell Mickey that this is how Ansem appears. Mickey finally explains to Sora that the Ansem he defeated was actually his Heartless. And even then, his name wasn't Ansem. He just told everyone he was. Mickey's quest this past year has been the search for the real Ansem since he would know Organization XIII’s plans.
Goofy, thinking for a moment, lays things out as they are. A person named Ansem, who wasn’t actually Ansem the Wise, became a Heartless. He wonders if that means that a Nobody of him was created as well. Mickey confirms his suspicions and says that it’s his Nobody who is leading the Organization. He knows that he’s met this fake Ansem before but can’t place when since he never met Xehanort after he took over Terra’s body. But if he can find Ansem the Wise, then he can learn the fake Ansem’s real identity. Sora realizes that it’s this person’s fault that Riku and Kairi are missing and asks if the King knows where Riku is. Mickey grows alarmed at these words, but tells Sora that he can’t help. He can’t even look Sora in the face to tell him what really happened to his friend. But he does turn when he learns that Kairi was kidnapped by the Organization. It gives him a realization. He had forgotten that he should always help others before asking others for help. He says that they’ll look for Riku and Kairi together. Suddenly, a massive explosion shakes the entire room and they rush off to see what could have caused it.
Outside, Maleficent’s army of Heartless have begun their invasion of Hollow Bastion but are being confronted by the Nobodies. Maleficent commands them to destroy all of the Nobodies while Pete claims that she’s nuts for even trying. He runs off before things can become too risky while the witch simply calls him a coward. However, when Sora arrives, she decides to turn the Heartless on him with the Nobodies deciding to join in as well. He defeats all of them, but Maleficent has already escaped. Yuna, Rikku, and Paine arrive asking after Maleficent. When Sora tells them that she ran off, they realize that they picked the wrong side. They begin discussing what they should do until Sora suggests that they join Leon and the Restoration Committee. Yuna asks if he has any treasure, and Donald claims that he has tons of it. The girls immediately agree and Sora takes the chance to ask who they are. But none of them give a direct answer, only saying that they’re nobody special and treasure fanatics before disappearing. Sora asks Donald if Leon really has treasure, but the duck just laughs mischievously.
The trio continues toward the town until a sudden light bursts before them. Stepping out of it is Sephiroth, who Sora and the others recognize from Cloud’s description. They demand to know what his plans for Cloud are, but Sephiroth says that he doesn’t have to do anything since Cloud is the one who hungers for darkness. When Sora mentions that Cloud is looking for a fight, Sephiroth departs to go look for him. As he disappears, he muses to himself that the last bit of light is always the hardest to snuff.
Sora and the others keep moving, but the closer they get to town, the more devastation they see. The Heartless and Nobodies have breached the outer wall and through it, Sora can see all of Maleficent’s army marching toward them. The Restoration Committee is desperately fighting as many as they can with Stitch even helping to fight them off. Further in, Cloud and Leon are fighting back to back as they are slowly encircled by the Heartless. Leon asks if they can handle that many and Cloud responds that it might get tough if one more shows up. Leon promises to take care of that extra one. Cloud merely smiles and says, “What? You’re fighting too?” Their banter finished, they begin tearing through the Heartless. But Cloud’s battle is interrupted by the arrival of Sephiroth. He taunts Cloud by saying that his darkness comes from his own dark memories. Cloud wants to erase his past but he constantly lives in it, turning his back on the present in the process. That is because the light of the present is too much for him. Cloud claims that Sephiroth doesn’t know him, but Sephiroth says that he and Cloud are the same. The fight is held off though due to the arrival of Tifa, who calls after Cloud. He runs off after Sephiroth while Tifa struggles to catch up.
Seeing all the chaos before him, Sora vows to go help his friends but Mickey stops him. He says that Sora should concentrate on finding Riku and Kairi. But Sora argues that everyone in Hollow Bastion is his friend too. Mickey says that they’ll be able to handle it and orders Goofy and Donald to take Sora away. Donald and Goofy look at each other before telling Sora to come with them. Sora tries to argue until they run in the direction of the fighting. They apologize to Mickey as they jump into the fray. The King can only watch with a sad smile as they go.
Back in the computer room, a security camera spots the arrival of someone from the Organization. He dismantles it before it can record any further then approaches the computer. Pulling out a special disk, he inserts it into a reader and types in 'ANOTHER.' This leads to another screen with six blank entry bars arranged around a circle. He types in the names of Ansem the Wise's six apprentices before the screen flashes 'SYSTEM START.' The Organization member takes the disk back as a nearby door opens, and he enters a secret room that reveals a huge circular staircase. He descends this staircase until he finally enters the Chamber of Repose. It looks exactly like the Chamber of Waking that Ventus was left in so long ago except that it is adorned by the symbols of the Nobodies linked by chains. In the corner of the room is Aqua's lost armor and Keyblade. The Organization leader, Xemnas, looks at it and only says, "It's been a long time, my friend."
Xemnas comes to this place to regain the lost memories of his life as both Master Xehanort and Terra. In this instance, he's channeling Terra. But he also thinks back to years before when the Organization was still young. Zexion is walking through the castle when he's approached by Vexen. He is looking for Xemnas, but Zexion explains that he's in the Chamber of Repose. Vexen knows it's impossible to reach him there and storms off. Zexion is about to move on until Xigbar calls out to him as well. Zexion accuses him of eavesdropping and says that Xigbar should return to his mission of recruiting new members with Xaldin. But Xigbar says that they just reached eleven with the recruitment of Marluxia.
He's more interested in talking about their past lives as apprentices to Ansem the Wise. Back when the warriors with keys for weapons fought great battles before a man who lost his memories appeared. The first thing Xehanort did when they got rid of Ansem the Wise was reopen the old laboratory and create the Chamber of Repose. Ever since then, Xigbar could sometimes hear him talking with someone. He finds it odd since he's supposed to be alone in there. Zexion says he doesn't care about any of that and suggests that Xigbar should concentrate on preparations for the new base, Castle Oblivion. He asks if Zexion knows why Xemnas chose a place like that, but again Zexion doesn't care. Xigbar continues on anyway. When there's a Chamber of Repose, there must also be a Chamber of Waking, but this room was not created by Xemnas. He's searching this place, Xigbar thinks, for his other friend. Zexion can only stare at Xigbar as his mind begins to wonder.
Back in the present, the trio quickly come across the arrival of Demyx. He looks like he’s ready to run but stops and greets Sora. Sora remembers him from the Underworld and wonders how a wimp like him could even get into the Organization. Demyx tries to put on a brave face but complains that he told the higher ups that they were sending the wrong guy. But when Sora claims that Demyx has no heart, he grows angry and challenges them to a fight. It’s a surprisingly tough battle as Demyx has control over water, but Sora and his friends are able to destroy him just the same. There’s no time to rest though as their friends still need help.
Before they can go anywhere, Mickey catches up and stops the three. He looks at them sternly before softening and saying that he sure does have a lot of friends to help. The King says it’s time for them all to pull together and help. Suddenly, a battle on the cliff above them between a Heartless and a Nobody propels a large rock toward Mickey. Goofy is able to push him out of the way before taking the blow directly to the head. His friends run toward him and try to wake him up, but he doesn’t respond. Sora can’t believe this is happening as Mickey swears vengeance on both the Heartless and Nobodies. Finally throwing off the Organization’s cloak and calling forth his Keyblade, King Mickey rushes off to battle with Donald not far behind. Sora looks sadly at Goofy’s body before joining the others.
Along the way to catch up with Mickey and Donald, Sora is helped by all of his friends in turn: Yuffie, Leon, Tifa, and Cloud. He reaches his friends, but they’re still saddened by Goofy's fate. Suddenly, they hear his voice call out to him. They turn to see him running toward them, perfectly okay. As Mickey gives him a big hug, Goofy explains that he gets bumped on the head all the time. All of them are happy that he’s okay, but the Heartless army is still approaching. They reach a large gully on the outside of town where the largest portion of the army is waiting. Strangely, all of the Heartless are completely still.
On the side of the gully, they see someone from the Organization appear. He removes his hood, revealing himself to be Xemnas. Seeing his face, Mickey finally remembers who he really is. He thinks back to a time when he was speaking with Ansem the Wise about how his research into hearts and the doors could create instability amongst the worlds. It was during this discussion that one of his apprentices appeared, Xehanort. He asked permission to continue the research, but Ansem forbid it and told him to forget about the heart of all worlds. That is one place that must never be defiled. Xehanort tried to argue but left all the same when Ansem refused to hear any more.
Mickey runs off to confront Xehanort's Nobody, but the army of Heartless surround Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Even with a thousand Heartless all around them, Sora and his friends fight fearlessly and manage to defeat all of them. Exhausted, the three of them head off to where Mickey has gone. Mickey confronts Xehanort’s Nobody as the others join him. Xemnas muses on how long it’s been since abandoning his old name. Sora demands to know where Riku and Kairi are. Xemnas says he doesn’t know anything about Kairi but claims that Mickey knows the truth about Riku. Xemnas disappears through a dark portal as Mickey leaps in after him. With both leads gone, Sora collapses to the ground disappointed. As he wonders what Xemnas meant about Riku, Axel chides them for falling right into the Organization’s trap. Sora faces him, but Axel just keeps going. Xemnas is using Sora to destroy the Heartless. That is his master plan. The group is confused about why the Organization wants the Heartless gone, but Axel explains that every Heartless destroyed by the Keyblade releases a captive heart. The Organization wants those hearts. Donald demands to know what they plan to do with the hearts, but Axel stays silent.
Sora then realizes that Axel is the one that kidnapped Kairi and demands to know where she is. Axel admits that he did it and begins to apologize before Saïx appears before them. Seeing his former friend, Axel runs off before giving Sora any answers. Saïx assures Sora that Axel will receive the maximum punishment, but Sora doesn’t care about that. He just wants access to the realms of darkness so he can get to Kairi. Saïx tells him that the Organization is taking very good care of his friend. Sora begs to be taken to her, and Saïx asks how important she is to him. Sora says that she’s the most important thing to him and Saïx demands a demonstration. Sora silently bows to Saïx to the shock of Donald and Goofy. But Saïx still refuses to take him to her.
Jumping back to his feet, Sora is furious at Saïx, but the Nobody tells him to direct that rage at the Heartless. Each heart Sora frees from the Heartless weave together in the dark emptiness until they create Kingdom Hearts. With the creation of the heart of all worlds, the Nobodies can finally truly exist. Maleficent arrives and calls Saïx a fool since Kingdom Hearts will belong to her. Sora begs her not to bring more Heartless, but she refuses to listen. Saïx isn't even concerned about the witch as he calls forth a group of Nobodies. But to the surprise of everyone, Maleficent decides to take them all on herself. In the meantime, she commands Sora to find a way to stop the Organization forever. Despite the gesture, she swears she’ll have vengeance on Sora.
As they fight through the Heartless, Sora begins to wonder if everything they had done up to that point was all for nothing. With the Organization collecting the captured heart of every Heartless, he can’t use the Keyblade. From the edge of the gully, Leon and Cloud watch as Maleficent’s castle is enveloped in light. Leon is worried for Sora, Donald, and Goofy, but Cloud knows that they’ll be fine. As the light from the castle rises to the sky, Leon promises to see Sora soon. The trio have escaped to the cockpit of the gummi ship. It’s revealed that Maleficent had saved them by sending them to the Realm of Darkness. There, they are confronted by a figure in the Organization’s hooded cloak. He leaves them a box before leaving. Inside is a sea-salt ice cream popsicle and a picture of Roxas, Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Goofy and Donald don’t recognize Roxas but somehow Sora knows his name. He explains that it just popped into his head. Taking inspiration, Sora unlocks a pathway so that they can leave the Realm of Darkness. That is how they were able to return to the gummi ship.
Back in the Round Room, Xemnas, Saïx, Xaldin, Xigbar, and Luxord are now discussing the situation of Sora knowing their plans. They know that he won't be as easy to manipulate any more, but he also won't let his friends be harmed by the Heartless. The Keyblade wielder has already destroyed Demyx. The time to tread softly around him has passed. If they have to, they weill eliminate him. Back on the gummi ship, Goofy wonders why that person left those items for them and if they could be some kind of clue. Sora thinks it could have been Riku based on the feeling he got from that person. However, Sora is still unsure if he should use the Keyblade since it only helps the Organization. Goofy and Donald say that they have no choice since the Heartless would only keep hurting people. Sora agrees, and they decide to revisit the worlds to see how all their friends are doing and perhaps find a way into Organization XIII's stronghold.
Their first stop is the Land of Dragons where they see someone in the Organization’s cloak walking through the ruins of the village that Shan-Yu had destroyed. He runs off when he sees them, and Sora is about to give chase when Mulan calls out to him. She says that she’s following him too so they join up. They track him to the summit, but he’s somehow able to lose them. Mulan explains that there’s been a spy in black around the Imperial City, and she came to investigate. More Heartless appear at the same time as the man in black, but he confronts Sora alone. The two duel though the mysterious person seems more interested in fighting the Heartless. He runs off as they’re cleared away leading Sora to wonder if it’s actually Riku. Before he can follow after him, a large Heartless bursts out of the mountains and begins flying toward the Imperial Palace. They rush after it, worried for the Emperor’s safety. But at the Palace, the mysterious man in black has defeated Captain Shang and confronts the Emperor. Outside, Sora and the rest learn of his invasion and head inside to stop him.
They find a cloaked figure in the hall of the Palace, but it turns out to be Xigbar. He sends lesser Nobodies after them as he runs off. They’re able to defeat the Nobodies, but Sora can’t help but shake the feeling that the person he encountered earlier was Riku. Xigbar must have shown up later. But that doesn’t matter at the moment as they rush to the throne room where they discover that Shang and the Emperor are perfectly fine. He tells them that a young man in a black cloak had defeated Shang before warning them about the large Heartless that was coming their way. Sora is positive that he’s talking about Riku, especially after mentioning how rude he was. Still, they can’t figure out why Riku is in the Organization’s clothes.
Sora’s thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of the large Heartless outside the Imperial Palace’s gate. The group heads outside to face it while Shang protects the Emperor. By catching a ride on its back, Sora is able to beat the Heartless into submission. It falls toward Mulan, and Shang rushes to protect her. Fortunately for them both, it fades away before hitting the ground. The two look into each others eyes warmly before breaking away, embarrassed. All of them head back to the Emperor where Sora requests as his reward to know what the man in black specifically said to the Emperor. As he said before, the young man in black had come to warn him of the danger of the large Heartless and that he should prepare his army to handle it. However, when he learned of Sora’s arrival, he assured the Emperor that the Keyblade wielder and his friends would handle it. Sora is positive that it was Riku, but Donald and Goofy are worried over why he’s wearing the cloak of Organization XIII. Sora doesn’t know but is just happy that his friend is safe. As for Mulan’s request, she asks for Shang to have a vacation. The Emperor refuses but offers her the chance to protect him alongside the Captain. Mulan gladly accepts as Shang puts his hand upon her shoulder. Sora is happy for them but knows that the Organization could still be messing with other worlds.
With that in mind, they set out for Beast’s Castle to see if he’s had any luck with the curse. It turns out that Belle has changed into a beautiful gown and is preparing for a date with the Beast. The Beast has also changed into nicer clothes and is nervously pacing the halls when Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive. They explain that they’re looking for a possible way to the home world of the Nobodies, but Beast barely pays attention as Belle descends the steps toward him. Arm in arm, they walk into the ballroom. Goofy realizes that they’ve come at a bad time, but Donald wants to see how things go for the two of them.
But before they can even dance, Xaldin interrupts the happy occasion. He’s standing in the balcony and calls forth lesser Nobodies. Beast and Belle are both upset that he would ruin tonight of all nights as Sora steps in to help. Xaldin says that he’s there to take something Beast holds dear. He vanishes as the group fights off the Nobodies. When Beast sees that Belle is safe, he realizes that Xaldin was talking about something else. He runs to his room with Belle following close behind. When they reach his room, they discover that Xaldin has indeed taken the rose. Beast is absolutely enraged at its loss and lashes out at Belle for suggesting their date. Sora comes to her defense, and Belle tries to apologize. Beast realizes that he’s truly becoming a beast and asks Sora and Belle to leave the castle. He had hoped to change for Belle, had been willing to go through anything to be with her, but he was just fooling himself. He’ll never be able to change. Belle tries to change his mind, but he turns away, his decision made. Belle grows sad at his words, but Sora vows to get the rose back in the hope of calming the Beast down.
Sora knows though that even if he got the rose back for the Beast, it wouldn’t change his feelings. The Beast has to help them and restore his faith in himself. Sora approaches him and tells him that he looked up to him when they first met. Seeing the lengths he was willing to go to save Belle from Maleficent gave him the courage to keep searching for Kairi. He begs Beast not to throw away his last chance because why would he ever want to return to how things were before Belle arrived. Beast listens silently before saying that this was his castle and that Xaldin will pay for all he’s done. His confidence restored, the Beast joins Sora and the others as they head back to the main entryway. Xaldin is waiting for them, still holding the rose. He says that he was afraid that the Beast had truly given up. Sora demands to know what he really wants and Xaldin simply states that their goal is Kingdom Hearts. Its power will allow them to exist fully and completely. With the Beast’s Heartless and Nobody, their goal will become that much easier to obtain. He leaves through the front door almost daring them to follow. The group goes after him, and Goofy spots Belle on a balcony. The rose suddenly appears next to her and when she grabs it, Xaldin kidnaps her and the flower.
They chase after him as he leads them to the bridge leading outside the castle. Beast commands him to leave his home. Xaldin says he will but only after leaving either Belle or the rose behind. He leaves it to the Beast to choose which it will be. Beast calls out Belle’s name immediately, and she takes the opportunity to slam Xaldin in the stomach and run off with the rose tucked in her arms. Sora and the others protect her escape route as Xaldin summons forth his six lances. He has total control of them and the wind. It’s an incredibly tough fight, but they take him down and watch as he fades into nothingness. Belle returns the rose to the Beast, and he says that he’s glad that she wasn’t hurt by Xaldin. He goes on to say that he’s grateful for what she did to get back the rose. Everyone encourages him and the Beast finally asks her to stay with him at the castle. She says that she will, and the two of them finally get to dance. Everyone is happy that the two of them have gotten past these difficult times. Confident that they two of them will be fine from now on, Sora and the others take their leave.
The story continues tomorrow as Sora, Donald, and Goofy begin their world tour in an effort to track down a way into the Organization's world. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-20 of the Timeline:
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