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 23 of our ongoing feature.
With all of the other worlds thoroughly explored, Sora decides to return to Hollow Bastion. He has finally collected all of the lost pages from Winnie the Pooh’s storybook. But before he can return there, he receives an urgent call from Chip and Dale. A mysterious portal has appeared in the Hall of the Cornerstone. They're worried that it could surround the Cornerstone so Sora, Donald, and Goofy step through it to see what's on the other side. It actually takes them to the Badlands in the same area that Terra, Aqua, and Ventus made their last stand against Master Xehanort and Vanitas. The Keyblade Graveyard isn't anywhere in sight. The only thing that awaits them is Terra's discarded armor and Keyblade. It turns out that some of Terra's Lingering Will still remains within the armor, and it calls out for Aqua and Ventus.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy prepare their weapons, unsure of what is going on. Terra's armor recognizes the Keyblade and realizes that he met Sora before. But he wasn't the one who he had chosen as his successor. That had been Riku. Thinking that this is some ploy of Master Xehanort's, the Lingering Will attacks Sora, Donald, and Goofy. The fight is an intense one as Terra's rage fuels the part of him still left within the armor. Yet Sora is able to hold him off and demonstrate his true strength. The armor realizes what it sensed within Sora before plunging its Keyblade into the ground and resting against it, forevermore silent. Sora and his friends leave back through the portal, and it closes behind them in the Hall of the Cornerstone. It's time to return to Hollow Bastion.
But the trio is surprised to find that everything is still not at peace in the troubled world. Heartless are roaming the streets and something seems to be wrong with the Claymore defense system. Before they can get anywhere, Scrooge McDuck stops them to have a taste of his sea-salt ice cream. After all this time, he has finally recreated the recipe. He gives some to the group as they continue to search for Leon. Outside of Merlin’s house, they are attacked by a group of Heartless from Tron’s world. The group is able to fight them off though it’s made tougher by the Claymores, which are attacking both them and the Heartless. Once it’s clear, Yuffie pulls them inside, and Cid explains the situation. The MCP has grown even more hostile in the time since they returned Tron’s powers. The Master Control is using the same device that transports Sora into Tron's computer world to send invading Heartless viruses. Now the town is being overrun by them while the MCP has messed with the programming of the Claymores. The MCP wants to take full control of Hollow Bastion.
Sora and the others promise to check on Tron and try to get the system back under control while Cid works on the finishing touches of an eradication program especially designed for Master Control. When it is ready, they need to get back to I/O Tower so they can receive the Eradicator. Now that Sora and the others understand the mission, they teleport into the digital world to save Tron. It isn’t long before they find him surrounded by Heartless viruses. Together, the group fights them off and informs the security program of the plan.
Tron is all for it, and they head for the tower to receive the Eradicator. Back in the computer room, Leon and the others upload the program and Tron downloads the ability. With his powers increased, Tron is finally ready to take on the MCP directly. Tron leads them to the solar sailer hangar, which they can now access, and use it to head for the MCP’s location. But before they can reach him, they have to face off against Commander Sark. The group easily overpowers him, and they turn to the MCP. The evil program tells Tron that Users are unneeded but Tron refuses completely. In retaliation, it gives all its powers to Sark and the rogue program grows huge in size. The reborn Sark tries to stop them, but Tron is able to unleash the Eradicator against the MCP. Finally, Sark and the Master Control Program are de-rezzed.
Sora and the others celebrate their victory. Tron thanks them for teaching him about friendship and helping him to grow even stronger. He pulls Sora into a hug and says that he hopes to see them again really soon. With that, he leaps into the area that the MCP used to occupy and takes over the system completely. He works quickly and helps get rid of the all of the remaining Heartless in Hollow Bastion. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are sad that he left like that, but he speaks to them through the computer monitor. He tells them that he found something in the system archives of when the town was first built.
Outside, he projects beams of light into the sky which begins raining down flower-like petals. Seeing this phenomena, everyone remembers Hollow Bastion’s former name. Before the Heartless completely wrecked it, this world was known as Radiant Garden. The same one Kairi had been born in and the one that Aqua, Terra, and Ventus had visited ten years before. From that point own, the world would again be known by its former name. Sora is only happy that the town is at peace again. Finally he’s able to set out to do what he originally came here for, restore Pooh’s book.
He enters the book and helps him remember all of his friends one by one. But for some reason, he still can’t remember Sora despite the fact that everyone else does. Pooh does start having dreams of the night Sora left the first time though. Sora, determined to help him remember, keeps working with him until finally he’s back to normal. That night, Pooh tells Sora that he’s begun to start thinking of a way to make sure he doesn’t go away. Sora tells him he will visit when he can, but Pooh doesn’t seem satisfied. Pooh Bear is finally cheered up when Sora tells him that he’ll always be in his heart. The others arrive and agree with Sora's sentiments. Though they may be apart, they’ll never forget each other. Sora leaves the book, happy that he was able to help his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.
As he leaves the book, Sora senses a deep darkness nearby. He, Donald, and Goofy run toward it and find Sephiroth on the cliffs outside of town. He demands to know where Cloud is, but Sora claims not to know. He summons the Keyblade to protect himself, but Sephiroth becomes interested in the blade. The dark being wonders if it will change masters if he defeats Sora in combat. Without warning, Sephiroth pulls Sora into a duel that pushes him and his friend's to the brink. His speed and strength is uncanny yet they are able to hold him off in battle. But it seems impossible to destroy him completely. Sephiroth explains that only Cloud can do that. He allows Sora to go fetch him which Sora does. He watches the fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, cheering for Cloud to overcome his darkness all the while.
The two swordsman are evenly matched, but Sephiroth taunts Cloud the entire time. He'll never let go of the darkness. He'll never forget his past. That is why Sephiroth will return even if Cloud strikes him down. But Tifa arrives and shouts that he's wrong. Cloud tells her to stay back, but she's been searching for him all this time to help. Sephiroth claims that it is impossible since Cloud will never let go of the darkness. Tifa shouts back that he doesn't need to if she surrounds that darkness in light. It'll be there, but in a place that Sephiroth can't reach. She joins the fight against Sephiroth as flashes of light burst forth from her. She and Sephiroth dodge each others attacks while Cloud yells at her to get to safety. Tifa offers Cloud her light, and it surrounds him completely. In a burst of light, both Cloud and Sephiroth shoot into the sky, gone for now. Sora asks Tifa where they went, but she explains that they've gone off to complete their great battle. She will have to find Cloud once again. As she walks away, Sora realizes that he, Cloud, and Sephiroth were the only ones to recognize Tifa. Was it possible that she was Cloud's light personified? The same way that Sephiroth represented Cloud's darkness? That is a question for another day as the trio return to the gummi ship.
Throughout all of Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s visits to other worlds, strange readings have been popping up on the gummi ship’s radar. When they leave Radiant Garden, those readings begin to make more sense. A huge world that seems to show a large city with an immense castle floating above has taken form. But they have no way to access it. That is until those same strange readings begin emanating from Twilight Town. The trio travel back to Twilight Town where they decide to start their investigation by going to the mansion shown in the picture of Roxas, Pence, Olette, and Hayner.
Outside the mansion they discover the unconscious bodies of the three kids. Hayner explains that they came there looking for Kairi before they were jumped by Nobodies. They go on to say that they’ve seen a lot of strange people going in and out of the mansion and wonder if it leads to some kind of alternate Twilight Town. The proof is the duplicate of the money bag. If there is another Twilight Town out there, it could be where Kairi was taken. Suddenly they are jumped by another group of Nobodies, but Mickey leaps to their aid. He tells them that he’s discovered the location of the real Ansem, Ansem the Wise.
Somehow, he was able to sneak into Organization XIII’s stronghold. Sora tells him that they came here based on a clue that Riku may have given them and demands to know what Mickey knows about his friend. The King says that it isn’t his place to tell which only confuses Sora more. It’s then that Hayner’s group realizes that Riku was the one who gave Mickey the pouch but made him promise not to tell Sora where it came from. Feeling that he’s finally getting close to finding his friends, Sora, Donald, and Goofy head inside the mansion.
It doesn’t take long for them to find the computer that DiZ used to keep Roxas in a digital version of Twilight Town. The computer uses the same technology that's in Radiant Garden; the device that transported Sora to Tron’s computer world. None of them are that good at computers though so Pence offers to help. He activates the digital transporter and Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey step through to the other Twilight Town. Mickey believes that they’ll be able to find a way into the Organization’s stronghold somewhere in here. The King is right, and they all step through a dark portal.
But within the dark portal, they are attacked by countless Nobodies. Things seem hopeless as there’s no sign of an exit. It isn’t until the arrival of Axel that things start shifting in their favor. He rips through the Nobodies and tells them not to stop for a moment or the darkness will overtake them. As they run through the nothingness of the dark portal, Axel explains that Kairi escaped from him after he kidnapped her. But Saïx found her and took her as his own hostage. The lesser Nobodies begin to clog their path, forcing the group and Axel to fight their way through. But even with Axel’s help, it’s too much. The Nobodies encircle them and begin closing in. Axel, in an incredible display of power, takes them all out in one massive attack.
He saves them all, but he used too much of his own power. As he slowly fades away, Axel tells Sora to go find Kairi. He apologizes for kidnapping her in the first place, but Sora says that he should do it himself. Axel jokes that his heart probably wouldn’t be in it. Before Axel fades into nothingness, Sora asks why he kidnapped Kairi in the first place. It was all to see Roxas again. He had been his only friend in the Organization and had made him feel like he actually had a heart. Sora gives him the same feeling actually. Axel opens an exit that leads to the Organization’s stronghold before disappearing completely. Despite all Axel had done, Sora feels bad for his former enemy. But he doesn’t have time to worry about that now. Heartless are pouring into the city to slow their progress.
Within the Round Room, Xemnas, Xigbar, Luxord, and Saïx are discussing Axel's demise. Xigbar comments that a lot of the seats in the Round Room are available again. Luxord wonders if Axel was satisfied with his death. Maybe he got something for putting his life on the line. But Xigbar argues that they don't exist and have no life to put on the line. Luxord agrees and believes that he still won in the end, which makes Axel a cheater. Saïx doesn't believe that. He thinks that his former friend couldn't stand to live without a heart and was destroyed for getting close to one. He was simply weak. Xemnas finally says that weakness can have its affects too. Axel probably touched Sora's heart and reawakened Roxas within him.
Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey arrive in the World That Never Was and see the Organization’s castle in the distance with the heart-shaped moon of Kingdom Hearts hanging above it all. Sora’s first priority is to save Kairi. Then he’ll stop the Organization's plans once and for all. As they fight through the Heartless occupying the city, a storm begins to send down sheets of rain. Within that rain stands an Organization member who summons a Keyblade. He comes at Sora and the two begin to duel.
Sora believes it may be Riku, but the figure only says that he defeated a Riku once. He demands to know why Sora was chosen before disarming him in combat. The figure believes he has the upper hand until Sora draws it back to him and finishes him off in one swing. His hood falls down, revealing that it was Roxas he was fighting within in his own heart. As Roxas falls, he remembers the first day of his existence as a Nobody. Back when Xemnas had first given him his name. Then, he's back on the clock tower roof where he used to share ice cream with Axel and the forgotten Xion. Axel appears and the two have one final conversation. They wonder about the nature of the heart and remember all the good times they had together. But it can't wait forever and Sora is waiting for him. Axel and Roxas say their final goodbyes as a single tear falls to the ground below. Roxas, facing Sora directly, tells his human original that he makes a good other before re-entering his body.
Returning back to real world, Donald and Goofy are confused as to where Sora disappeared too. They never saw Roxas or the confrontation. Still, the encounter has unsettled Sora. Roxas said that he had defeated Riku. Did that mean his friend was gone forever? Goofy and Donald believe that it was just a trick devised by the Organization, and Sora shakily agrees. They continue making their way through the abandoned city. Mickey finds them and tells them that the castle is actually floating over a chasm near the city. There doesn't appear to be a way in, but they decide that there has to be some kind of hidden entrance.
Within the castle, Kairi and Pluto are locked within a cell. Saïx comes for a visit, and she demands to know what their plans for her are. He explains that she is the fuel for Sora’s anger. They will use that anger to make him collect the final hearts needed for their plans. Kairi despairs that Sora’s in danger because of her until a dark portal opens within her cell. From it appears Naminé, who tells Kairi to follow her. Kairi hesitates at first but soon takes her hand to step through. Their touch creates a brilliant light that resonates all the way outside. Upon seeing it, Sora is able create a bridge of light that takes them directly into the lower floors of the Organization’s castle. The final battle with Organization XIII has begun.
The story continues tomorrow as Sora attempts to rescue Kairi, defeat Organization XIII, and save all worlds from Xehanort's Nobody. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-22 of the Timeline:
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