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 22 of our ongoing feature.
The next stop in Sora, Donald and Goofy's search for the entrance to the Organization's stronghold is Port Royal, where a cloaked figure is approaching the cursed Aztec chest. When Sora arrives at the docks he finds Jack surrounded by cursed pirates. He rushes in to help, confused as to how they could be cursed again. Once they’re defeated, Elizabeth approaches and tells them that Will has gone to Isla de Muerta to check on the Aztec gold but has been gone for far too long. She begs Jack to take her to the island which he does when Elizabeth mentions that Will saved his life before though he's still reluctant.
Before even reaching the island, they find Will passed out aboard the Intercepter. They bring him to the Black Pearl, and Elizabeth is able to revive him. When he awakes, he explains that the cursed Aztec chest has been taken by a man in a hooded black cloak. Sora realizes that the Organization is behind it all as Will passes out from exhaustion. While everyone wants to stop the Organization's plans for the chest, Jack wants no part of it. But when they return to the deck of the Black Pearl, they find Luxord waiting for them with the Aztec chest and a large Heartless. He wonders if the curse is strong enough to serve the Organization.
Sora and the others fight the monster and toss it overboard before confronting Luxord. But he invokes parley and Jack orders them to stand down. They can’t harm him until negotiations are complete as per the Code. Sora tries to argue, but Jack says that honorable pirates always stick to its rules. He turns to Luxord, who says that he will give back the cursed chest with the humblest of apologies. But before handing it over completely, he throws several of the coins to lesser Nobodies who all escape. Luxord takes advantage of their surprise and has the Heartless rise up from the water and blow them onto the nearby Intercepter. Before Sora and the others can recover, he has his Nobodies fire upon the ship, destroying it completely. Sora and the others are okay though as the remnants of the ship have drifted to a graveyard of wrecked vessels. Because Jack had stolen a coin before, the curse has reactivated on him. All they can do now is try to find a ship that can still sail. Along the way, they spot one of the Nobodies that had stolen a coin. They defeat it and get the coin back as Will and Elizabeth suddenly arrive with a ship. Together, they hunt down the remaining coins so that they can stop Luxord.
Once they have them all, they return to Port Royal in the hopes of finding Luxord and the cursed chest. They find the Heartless waiting for them at the docks with the chest nearby. Together they’re able to defeat the Heartless and return all the gold pieces back where they belong. But their victory is cut short by Luxord, who gathers the Heartless’s heart and thanks Sora for his help. When Jack asks what that was all about, Sora explains that the Organization releases Heartless into the worlds so that Sora will defeat them and they in turn can retrieve the hearts. But there's little more they can do except drop the cursed chest to the bottom of the ocean. Jack asks for the reward Elizabeth promised, and Jack asks for Sora’s Keyblade. While the others are surprised, Sora accepts his terms and hands it over. It immediately returns to Sora and Jack commends him on the little trick. Beaten, he decides to take the Black Pearl and start searching for a crew while Sora and the others continue their search for the Organization’s stronghold.
Sora and the others return to Olympus Coliseum where they learn that the Underdrome has been unlocked (thanks to Sora). It’s Hades’s personal coliseum and much more brutal than the one on the surface. Despite the warning, Sora takes part in the tournaments and even wins. It isn’t long before Hercules returns to the Underworld with Megara to see how Sora and his friends have been doing. Sora is more concerned about Hercules who still seems to be in a funk. This isn’t helped by the constant put-downs that Hades throws his way. Hades has arrived to announce the ultimate tournament to determine the ultimate hero. He says that Hercules’s fans will want to see him participate, but it’s going to take a true hero to survive. To ensure that Hercules will enter, Hades goes so far as to threaten Megara. Hercules has no choice but to enter. He’s not alone though as Sora enters the tournament as his ally. He’s not too worried until he discovers that Auron will be participating. Still, he knows that he has to get Hercule’s confidence back.
They’re able to make it to the finals, but Hercules attributes that solely to Sora. They soon discover that they’ll be facing Auron, but a strange dark aura emanates from him. The group is surprised to find that he doesn’t even recognize them anymore. All he says is that he has to defeat them to atone for his crimes. Sora and the others decide to follow him to see what’s wrong. They see him meet with Hades where he asks Auron to repeat his crime, which is apparently to exist. The only way to atone for this is to defeat Hercules and his friends. Auron tries to resist this suggestion, but Hades uses a special doll to strengthen his control off the warrior.
Sora realizes he can’t let this go, and he, Donald, and Goofy plan to search for the doll while Auron and Hercules fight in the tournament. However, the only way Hades allows them to withdraw from the finals is if they meet the winner of Hercules and Auron’s brawl in one final match. Hercules agrees, and the trio begin their search while Hades leaves to watch the tournament. They find the doll in Hades’s chamber but when Sora grabs it, he is shocked violently. Echoes of Auron’s past flows into his mind, and he realizes how tough his life must’ve been. Only by returning the doll to Auron will he be free of Hades. They return to the Underdome and find Hercules and Auron evenly matched, but Hercules is beginning to struggle. At the moment that he’s about to finish Hercules, Sora returns to the statue to Auron, and it frees him from Hades’s control. Hades explodes in anger from losing his edge and declares that he will no longer follow the rules. He captures Megara and tosses her into the swirling vortex of the dead. Hercules leaps after her while Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Auron are left to contend with Hades directly. But he’s still a god in his own domain. There’s no way for them to win.
The group is only saved by the arrival of Hercules, who was able to save Megara and finally regain his status as a true hero. He remembers that a true hero is measured by the strength of his heart. He vows never to forget it again, but Sora just asks him not to pull any more crazy stunts. Hercules admits that people always do crazy things when they’re in love. Sora and the others laugh at this, driving Hades into a pure rage. With Hercules’s help, they face Hades once again and defeat him. Weakened, he stumbles back into his vortex of the dead where it will take some time for him to escape. As things return to normal, Sora, Donald, and Goofy ask Auron what he’ll do now. He says that he spent his life protecting others but now there’s no one left to protect. Maybe it’s time for him to shape his own story. He thanks them for saving him and leaves to prepare for his new journey. Hercules also thanks them for all their help and asks where they’re headed next. Sora says that they’re gonna keep searching for the Organization’s base and don’t want to interrupt the two lovebirds. Laughing, Hercules and Megara wish them luck on their journey.
Their next stop is Agrabah where it is revealed that their earlier efforts have been for nothing. The Peddler, greedy for the black lamp, has found where they hid it and has accidentally released Jafar. Iago sees this and goes to warn everyone while Jafar is bound by the peddler’s wishes. Sora and the others arrive in his shop and are shocked to find it completely covered in gold. He claims to have gotten it all through his own hard work, but Sora only asks if he’s seen anyone from Organization XIII. They’re about to leave when Aladdin and Iago burst through the door. He reveals to them that the Peddler released Jafar, but the crafty salesman has already escaped.
Iago explains that Jafar is probably headed for the desert ruins, and the group heads out to find him before he can plot his revenge against Agrabah. As they reach the city gates, they see a massive sandstorm forming in the distance. But Genie is more than willing to help and easily gets rid of the storm. This also clears their path to the ruins, but there's no way to descend into them. That is, until Carpet appears and gives them a lift into a tower in the center of the ruins. They rush to the top of it but find no one there. Iago explains that Jafar forced him to lie to them. Aladdin demands to know where Jafar is, and Iago says that he’s probably attacking the palace by now. All of them are disappointed in Iago for lying to them He apologizes, but they can’t forgive him. They use Carpet to return to the city as quickly as they can though it’s too late. Jafar has already captured Jasmine. He’s positive that Aladdin and the others have been dealt with until they actually arrive. Jafar doesn’t give them an opportunity to do much more though before he fires a magical blast at Aladdin. Iago intercepts the blast and falls to the ground unconscious. The others go to his side as Jafar transforms into his genie appearance and begins wrecking the palace.
Sora and the others are only saved by the arrival of Carpet, who grabs them so they can fight Jafar in the skies above Agrabah. Thanks to the power of the Keyblade, Sora is able to counter Jafar’s genie abilities. His lamp is destroyed ensuring that he’ll never again be able to return. Genie arrives and complains about not being able to get in on the action, but he is able to return the damaged Agrabah back to its original state. The group then frees Jasmine and resuscitates Iago. He apologizes once again, and they finally believe that he's good now. With things back to normal, Aladdin tells Sora that he will definitely find his friends again. Heartened by his words, Sora continues his search for the Organization’s stronghold.
They arrive in Halloween Town where Doctor Finkelstein is almost finished with his newest creation. But before he can put the finishing touches on it, he’s jumped by someone out of the blue. Meanwhile, Sora and his friends appear in the forest outside of town where they see presents scattered about. Jack suddenly arrives and says that the presents seemed to appear out of the blue, and he’s gathering them for Santa Claus. Sora isn’t sure if he’s telling the truth since he’s still wearing his Santa outfit. But Jack assures them that his Christmas fantasies are over. The foursome return the presents to Santa has his home. He tells them that these are only some of the presents that were stolen. Santa wonders if Jack did it since he’s still wearing the outfit, but Jack insists he didn’t. To prove it he enlists Sora, Donald, and Goofy to help find the real culprit. It doesn’t take long as they hear a crash coming from the workshop. They find Lock, Shock, and Barrel rooting through all the toys, but the kids say that they aren’t the ones who took the presents. The reason they’re there is so that they can find parts for Finkelstein’s experiment.
They decide to see what Finkelstein’s experiment could possibly be but when they reach Halloween Town’s square, they discover a batch of Heartless playing with some presents. The group recovers the presents though it appears that someone has stolen Finkelstein’s experiment as well. He describes the attack that was made on him. Jack decides that the best way to catch the thief is lay a trap for it. They create a large decoy present for all of them to hide in and when the thief comes around, they’ll be able to catch him. It turns out that the thief is actually Finkelstein’s experiment which they are able to defeat. As a reward for his help, Santa takes an excited Jack on his Christmas run. While he is gone, Sora explains what happened to Doctor Finkelstein. He believes that it was looking for a heart. Sora doesn’t understand why that meant stealing presents. But Sally believes she knows why. Giving presents is a way to give your heart to someone special. It’s then that Jack returns from his trip with Santa. Sally is finally able to explain to him that it is the act of giving a gift that is the real present, not what’s inside the box. The two begin to dance as Sora thinks back to giving gifts to Kairi. He realizes that just being together with her is all he needs. He can’t wait to see her again and resumes the search.
That search leads back to the Pride Lands, where Simba has earned himself a reputation as a wishy-washy king. Not sure what could have happened to cause this, they decide to go see him. But on the way they see a dark manifestation of Scar. Donald suggests that it could be Scar’s ghost. The trio rush on to see what could be happening. They find Simba in his den where he is depressed again. Sora suggests that they could work together to figure out the mystery of Scar’s ghost. Simba snaps at him that it’s none of his business before apologizing. He just has no idea what his father would do in this situation.
Goofy suggests that he not worry about that. He’s different from his father and should rule according to his own heart. Timon and Pumbaa come in to help cheer him up. He realizes that they’re right as Nala comes in as well. She thanks them for getting Simba out of his funk. Her and Simba’s baby deserves to be born in a Pride Lands not covered in strife. Sora congratulates the two as Simba joins him to learn the origins of Scar’s ghost. The first stop is a visit to Rafiki. The wise baboon suggests that Scar’s ghost was born from Scar’s lingering hatred and the hesitation in Simba’s heart over being king. He may think he’s gotten over his indecisiveness in his head but that's not the case in his heart. Rafiki suggests that they visit the hyenas in the Elephant Graveyard to learn more of this ghost. But all the hyenas offer is that it is attracted to scaredy cats. It’s at that moment that Scar’s ghost appears and begins taunting Simba’s reign as king. Simba can’t handle the remarks and runs off despite the others calling after him.
Sora and the others find Simba back in the Oasis where he’s being haunted by Scar. They try once again to help, but he won’t listen. Sora and the others finally have enough of his moping. If he won’t even try, why should they waste their time. In reality they go into the brush and begin to call out insults to him. They finally get him angry, and he confronts the ghost directly. He’s able to face his fears without hesitation now. Simba thanks them for standing by him despite everything, but they are brought terrible news by Timon. Dozens of Scar’s ghosts have appeared in the Pride Lands putting Nala and his unborn baby in danger. The group hightails it back to Pride Rock where they find that Nala has been cornered by a ghost. He tells it to get out of his kingdom, and it disappears without a word. However, things aren’t finished yet as the ghosts coalesce into an absolutely enormous Heartless. But together, Sora and Simba are able to destroy it. With that act Simba will forever be remembered as a good king. Sora wishes Simba and Nala good luck with the baby and continues the search for either the Organization’s base or his friends.
Their travels lead them back to Atlantica where Ariel is looking at the night sky after a harsh storm. But as she’s swimming, she sees debris from a wrecked ship drift nearby. Looking around, she sees the unconscious body of Prince Eric clinging to a piece of driftwood. She carries him to shore and begins singing about being a part of his world as he fades in and out of consciousness. When Eric does awaken, he remembers being rescued by a beautiful girl with an incredible voice, but she is long gone. Ariel returns to the world of the sea to discover Sora, Donald, and Goofy struggling to acclimate to life underwater again. When the three are used to swimming again, they ask if Ariel has noticed any Heartless or members of the Organization in the seas. In reality, it's been absolutely peaceful since the last time Sora was there. To celebrate their return, Sebastian asks if they would like to join in on their concert. He then tells Sora in confidence that Ariel has been acting strange and that maybe his presence would help settle her down. They agree and take part in the concert practice.
Sebastian is impressed with their performance as King Triton comes to see them. He’s glad to see Sora again but hopes that he’s not hear because of the Keyblade. Sora assures him that everything is as peaceful as it seems in Atlantica. Triton then tells them that Ariel is still infatuated with other worlds, specifically the surface world of the humans. He hopes that a busy rehearsal schedule will help take her mind off such things. But back on the surface, Prince Eric still hasn’t forgotten his savior. He hears Ariel’s voice and tracks it to the ocean shore where he begs for her to come out so he can thank her. Strangely, Ariel is still in the sea and is too distracted to keep rehearsing with Sora. Flounder says he has a way to cheer her up and takes all of them to a sunken ship. There they see a statue of Prince Eric among the wreckage. Flounder is sure she’ll love it, not knowing she actually met him, while Sebastian worries about what Triton will think if he discovered that they gave her such a gift. But Donald tells him that it’s better than actually going to the surface.
While Ariel looks forlornly toward the water’s edge, Sora and the others approach her saying that they have a surprise. They take her to the grotto where she becomes speechless at the statue of Eric. The others only talk about how cool it is, not knowing that she has already met him. She’s delighted at their gift, but Sebastian is still worried. He reports back to King Triton and tells him that the song for the musical has been completed. He struggles with telling Triton that he thinks it’s impossible to take her mind off the surface but runs off at the thought of what the king will do. Sebastian returns to Ariel and Sora so that they can do a rehearsal of one of the musical’s songs, Under the Sea. The crab hopes that it will convince her to stop dreaming of the surface, but it doesn’t work. She loves the song though she really wants to sing about the surface and sea living in harmony. Sebastian knows that Triton would never allow a song like that so Ariel decides that she won’t sing at all. She swims off with Sora, Donald, and Goofy not far behind while Sebastian laments that she’s in love with a human. However, Triton has just appeared and has heard his words.
Ariel and the others travel to the surface where they see Eric walking along the beach. Donald suggests that they go talk to him, but Ariel is too frightened of what he may think of her. As he walks away, a locket falls out of his pocket. Ariel sees this and decides to retrieve it. She takes it down to her grotto for safe keeping until she can properly return it, but her father is there waiting for her. Triton commands her to get the human world out of her head, but she swears that all humans can’t be bad like he says. In his anger, he uses his trident to destroy the statue of Eric. Crushed, Ariel swims off. She sobs near a coral reef until she hears the voice of Ursula. After her defeat at Sora’s hands, she was banished. But she claims to have returned to help Ariel since she’s so miserable. Ariel is about to swim away, but Ursula promises that she can make all of Ariel’s dreams come true. She will make Ariel human. Sebastian and Flounder stumble upon the scene and are about to rush off to tell Triton, but are stopped by Ursula’s eels. Ursula says that all she needs from Ariel is her voice. However, the spell will only last three days. If she isn’t able to get him to kiss her before sunset on the third day, she will revert to her mermaid form and be a slave to Ursula. Thinking hard, Ariel agrees to Ursula’s terms.
Sora arrives too late to stop the transaction and Ursula takes Ariel's voice before turning her into a human. They pull her to the surface so she’ll be able to breath, and Eric stumbles upon her passed out on the shore. She’s unsteady on her new feet, but Eric helps her. Unfortunately she can’t speak, but she is able to return his pendant. As thanks, he takes her with him so that he can help her. While she is with Eric, the others decide that all they can do is help her with her romance. It seems like she’s doing quite well as they spend every moment together. On the night before the third day, they’re about to kiss but are interrupted by Ursula’s eels. Sora knows that they have to find the sea witch in order to truly solve the problem but can’t find any sign of her. As the third day dawns, they spot Ariel crying on the beach. It turns out another woman who is using Ariel’s singing voice has enchanted Eric. They realize that the woman must be Ursula, and Sora uses his Keyblade to break the conch shell around her neck. The act frees Ariel’s voice and she’s able to talk again. Eric is freed from the spell and rushes toward Ariel.
Upon hearing her voice, Eric realizes that she was the one who had saved him. They’re able to admit their feelings for each other but the scene is interrupted by Ursula, who has reverted back to her original form. The sun is almost setting, and she kidnaps Ariel before she can kiss Eric. Ariel returns to her mermaid form which makes her Ursula’s slave. Triton arrives and decides to take Ariel’s place in exchange for his daughter’s freedom. Ursula laughs evilly as Triton is transformed into a sea slug, and she takes his trident. Eric dives into the ocean and uses a spear to injure Ursula and free Ariel. Sora protects him from Ursula’s eels as he and Ariel swim to the surface. But there’s no escaping her as she uses the trident to grow to an enormous size. Sora and the others are able to destroy her eels and disarm her. The trident falls next to Eric and he uses it to pierce Ursula’s stomach, finally destroying her. In the aftermath, Ariel is forced to reveal that she is a mermaid to Eric. She’s afraid that he won’t want to see her anymore but instead he jumps into the water with her. He doesn’t care, he loves her. To celebrate, they go ahead with the concert and Sora says farewell to all of his friends. It’s time to continue the search.
The story continues tomorrow with Sora and the others finally finding the entrance to the Organization's stronghold. The final battle with Organization XIII is approaching. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-21 of the Timeline:
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