Free Essay

Kingdom Hearts Aside

In: Social Issues

Submitted By slashstitch
Words 88982
Pages 356
For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the release of the third game in the series. And while the wait has been agonizing, Tetsuya Nomura has kept a steady stream of spin-offs and side stories coming in order to flesh out the history of this series. But in expanding upon the relatively simple stories of Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, things began to grow more and more complicated. Now, with six games in total making up the series, the plot is a near-labyrinthine mess of connections and revelations. It's confusing for long-time fans and near impenetrable for newcomers. In mere weeks, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance will be releasing on the 3DS and promises, according to Nomura, to lead directly into Kingdom Hearts 3.
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. I have also attempted to make this as inviting as I can for newcomers to the series who decide that they want to start with Dream Drop Distance. Be warned though that this timeline will spoil everything in the series so if you want to go in fresh, then it's probably a good idea to refer to this timeline later. With that introduction out of the way, let's begin…
The story begins with a young boy named Ventus and an old man named Xehanort arriving on the Destiny Islands one night. Ventus is seemingly unconscious, draped in a white cloth, and Xehanort plans to leave him near a tree on the beach. His plan to turn the boy to darkness has failed and left his heart fractured, which is the cause of his deep slumber. But, deep within the remains of his heart, Ventus hears the voice of another who was called to him by his light. The voice offers to join their hearts together until Ventus is strong enough to win back what he lost.
This merging of hearts does not immediately awaken Ventus, but he shows enough signs of life that Xehanort instead decides to leave the barely conscious boy with his old friend and fellow Keyblade Master, Eraqus. It’s there that Ventus meets Eraqus’s students, Terra and Aqua, and the three form a strong bond that eventually returns Ventus to normal. However, he has no memory of his past with Xehanort. They all live together in the Land of Departure where they train to become Keyblade Masters.
Several years later, Terra and Aqua are preparing for their Mark of Mastery exam which is the final test to become Keyblade Masters. As a sign of good luck and a symbol of their friendship, Aqua gives each of them a star-shaped charm known as a Wayfinder. She tells them it was inspired by a fruit on a certain island that, if shared, will bond friends together forever. In the years that had passed, Ventus had come to see Terra and Aqua as older siblings while he was like a little brother to them. That night, it seemed like their dreams would absolutely come true.
The next day, the exam is watched over by Masters Eraqus and Xehanort. As a final test Terra and Aqua duel each other though when Aqua gains the upper hand, signs of darkness come forth from Terra’s heart. Because of this perceived weakness, Aqua becomes a Keyblade Master while Terra does not. As he agonizes over his failure, Master Xehanort approaches him and explains that darkness cannot be truly destroyed. Instead it must be channeled by finding an even greater power. At the same time, Ventus is approached by Xehanort's protégé, a boy in full armor and a mask. He claims that Terra will be leaving soon and the next time Ventus sees him, he would be a completely different person. Before Ventus could question him further, the boy vanishes.
Later, Master Eraqus is informed by the great sorcerer Yen Sid that the Princesses of Heart were in danger from a menace known only as the Unversed. The name describes how these monsters are not well-versed in their own existences and only know destruction. Aqua and Terra are sent out to eliminate this new threat while also keeping an eye out for Xehanort, who has gone missing. However, Aqua is given a third mission from Eraqus: keep an eye on Terra and prevent him from further succumbing to the darkness in his heart. As Terra is preparing to leave, Ventus approaches him and begs him not to go but is unsuccessful. Determined to save his friend from the fate that Xehanort's protégé described, Ventus also leaves the Land of Departure. Aqua sees this and attempts to catch her young friend before he could fall into danger but quickly loses track of him.
At this point in time, it is extremely difficult to travel between worlds. Only Keyblade wielders are able to traverse the space between by donning a special armor that protects them from the darkness. However, beings of darkness can easily travel between the worlds. It’s still possible to travel thanks to other special methods, but it is not a simple task for the average person. Because of this, most people aren't even aware that there are other worlds out there.
Terra first arrives in the Enchanted Dominion (the land of Sleeping Beauty) and comes across a powerful sorceress named Maleficent. She tells him of a man that left a castle after imprisoning the light. Intrigued by her words, Terra explores this castle and discovers the sleeping body of Aurora. Maleficent appears before him again and explains what the Princesses of Heart actually are. Each princess has a heart of pure light and if all seven hearts were brought together, one could rule all worlds. However, only a Keyblade can release the hearts and allow this to happen. Terra realizes that Maleficent must have spoken to Xehanort and asks that she tell him what they spoke about. She agrees to tell him on the condition that he releases Aurora’s heart. He refuses immediately, but she uses her magic to control the darkness in his heart and forces him to extract the princess’s heart. Before Terra can retrieve it, Maleficent disappears. Horrified at his own weakness, Terra leaves the Enchanted Dominion in search of the other princesses in the hope that they would lead him to Xehanort.
He arrives next at the Dwarf Woodlands (the land of Snow White) and comes across the vain Queen who has just discovered that Snow White was the fairest of all the land. She asks Terra to take Snow White’s heart in exchange for use of her magic mirror which could lead him directly to Xehanort. Terra has other ideas though and instead seeks Snow White to see if she knows anything about the Master. Instead Unversed frighten the poor young woman into the forest while Terra fights them off, losing track of her in the process. When he arrives before the Queen without Snow White’s heart, she uses the magic mirror in an attempt to kill him. Terra is able to defeat the mirror and demands to know where Xehanort is. Rather than a direct answer, he is given a riddle. Confused as to what it might mean, he sets off for the next world.
At the same time, Ventus arrives in the Dwarf Woodlands and is ecstatic to finally see another world. In all the years that he had stayed with Master Eraqus, he had never been allowed to visit other worlds. He soon comes across the seven dwarves and asks if they’ve seen Terra. The dwarves refuse to answer, believing that he is a thief, and send the young Keyblade wielder on his way. As he wanders through the forest, he comes across a frightened Snow White. Hoping to calm the young woman's nerves, Ventus takes her to empty cottage where she can rest. The dwarves arrive at the cottage and are surprised to find visitors in their home. Snow White calms them by explaining that monsters had attacked her after being approached by a man with a giant key. Ventus realizes that this is Terra and rushes off to find him, but it’s too late. Terra was already gone.
Ventus arrives next in the land surrounding the Castle of Dreams (the land of Cinderella) but for some reason he has shrunk to a fraction of his true size. He soon meets a talking mouse named Jaq who tells him of Cinderella’s mistreatment by her evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine. Cinderella dreams of going to the kingdom’s ball but with all the work Lady Tremaine had given her, it would be impossible to finish her dress. Working together, Ventus and Jaq gather the necessary materials for the dress and present it to the young woman. She is delighted at the sight of it and thanks the both of them profusely as she goes to get ready for the ball. Happy to help Cinderella’s dream come true, Ventus sets out again on his journey.
However, soon after Ventus left, Terra arrived at the Castle of Dreams though he is full-size. While wandering through a garden, he comes across Cinderella in the tattered remains of a dress. He learns that her new dress had been ripped to shreds by Lady Tremaine and her daughters. The young woman was absolutely downtrodden, leaving Terra shaken at the fact that he could do nothing for her. It was at that moment that the Fairy Godmother appeared. She grants Cinderella a beautiful new dress and a stagecoach with which she could go to the ball. Terra is surprised by the Fairy Godmother’s generosity, but she explains that it was Cinderella’s pure belief in the power of dreams that strengthened her heart and called out to her. Terra decides to escort Cinderella to the ball and protects her when she is attacked by the Unversed. He watches on with a smile as the prince asks her to dance. He also speaks with the Grand Duke who explains that these monsters began to appear at the same time as a boy wearing a mask.
As the night wore on, the clock began to strike twelve forcing Cinderella to run off before the spell was broken. In her fluster, she accidentally leaves behind a single glass slipper. Terra runs after her with the prince and the Grand Duke but discovers Aqua in the foyer of the castle. He tells her about Xehanort’s search for pure hearts while she tells him of Ventus’s disappearance. Terra leaves hoping to find both Ventus and Xehanort while Aqua stays behind. She's heartened by the fact that Terra seemed to have learned something about the power of belief in dreams. With that belief, Terra could keep his darkness at bay. Before Aqua could leave, she suddenly feels a dark presence emanating from Lady Tremaine and decides to follow her.
As she goes to confront the woman, the Fairy Godmother appears and warns her that it is dangerous to fight the darkness with light. Instead, Aqua helps Jaq the mouse free Cinderella from the locked attic. The Grand Duke arrives claiming that he is searching for the woman that the prince had danced with at the ball. When it doesn’t fit Cinderella’s stepsisters, he goes to leave until Cinderella calls out to him. It quickly comes to light that she was indeed the same woman who had danced with the prince. Though Lady Tremaine’s anger calls forth a vile Unversed, Aqua is able to defeat it while Cinderella reunites with the prince. Satisfied, Aqua continues on her journey.
She arrives next in the Dwarf Woodlands where she discovers the seven dwarves grieving over the body of Snow White. They explain to her of the Queen’s jealousy and how she tricked Snow White into biting a poisonous apple. Determined to rescue the girl from her fate, Aqua travels to the Queen’s castle. Along the way she meets the prince of a neighboring land who had fallen in love in with Snow White after a chance meeting. Aqua tells him of the young woman's fate and he rushes off to see her. Aqua decides to continue her quest to confront the Queen and is eventually attacked by an Unversed version of the magic mirror. The Keyblade Master is able to vanquish it completely causing the Queen to disappear as well. Returning to Snow White’s side, she sees the prince give Snow White a farewell kiss which surprisingly awakens the girl. Everyone is filled with relief and joy as the new couple ride off together. The experience reminds Aqua of when Ventus had been asleep for a long time until one day, he had miraculously opened his eyes.
Ventus, meanwhile, had finally came upon the Enchanted Dominion where he found Aurora and the three good fairies. They explain how the princess had fallen into an eternal slumber and also had her heart stolen by Maleficent. Wanting to help the poor girl, Ventus travels to Maleficent’s domain and successfully frees her heart. As the princess's heart passes by him, he sees a memory play out in his mind. It's of Aurora and how she met a prince in the forest one day. It isn't long before the two fall in love. The memory proves to Ventus that it was worth saving Aurora's heart but before he can escape Maleficent’s castle, he is confronted by the evil woman. She reveals to him that it was Terra who had stolen Aurora’s heart. Ventus doesn’t want to believe her, but the words of the masked boy echo in his head. Had Terra already become a different person? It was then that Aqua appeared and eased his fears. She begs him to return home with her, but he runs off instead, desperate to find Terra.
Alone again, Aqua turns to face Maleficent but is sent plummeting into the dungeons before they can fight. There she meets the prince from Aurora’s memories. He had attempted to save his love but had been captured by Maleficent instead. Together, they are able to escape the castle but Maleficent gives chase in her dragon form. With help from the three good fairies, the prince is able to pierce the dragon’s heart with his sword and vanquish the vile woman. Returning to Aurora’s bedside, the prince gives her a kiss which finally awakens her from her long slumber. Happy that the lovers have been reunited, Aqua leaves the castle and discovers a still-alive Maleficent. Aqua declares that the witch could not defeat the power of love, but Maleficent still doubts her words. So long as people like Terra could be driven toward the darkness in their hearts, she would have minions to serve her. With that, she vanishes and Aqua dons her armor to continue her journey.
Terra’s search had brought him to the Mysterious Tower, home to Yen Sid the sorcerer. But as he approaches the tower a young Mickey Mouse crashes through the front doors holding a Star Shard and a Keyblade. The shard begins to glow and he is whisked off in a gleam of light. When Terra finally meets Yen Sid, he learns that Mickey is his apprentice though he has abandoned his training since learning that all the worlds were in danger. Terra tells the sorcerer about the masked boy who was apparently controlling the Unversed. Upon hearing this, Yen Sid tells of his belief that Xehanort’s disappearance and the arrival of the Unversed may be connected. He asks Terra to continue his search for the Master.
It did not take long for Terra to find the Master as he hears his voice in space between worlds. Following it, he arrives in a desolate world known only as the Badlands. Finally confronting Xehanort, Terra asks him what his true intentions are. Xehanort confessed that he was the one who had created the masked boy, who was named Vanitas. Before Ventus had met Aqua and Terra, he had trained with Xehanort but during the training an accident occurred where darkness threatened to take over the boy’s heart. In order to save him, Xehanort had to remove the darkness which was so powerful that it became a being unto itself, Vanitas. Ashamed at his failure, he brought the near-empty Ventus to Master Eraqus to be in his care. The story reminds Terra of the first day that he had seen the lifeless eyes of his future friend; how he had walked unsteadily and how questions from Terra and Aqua had caused the boy to scream until passing out. The incident had left Ventus with no memory of his life before living in the Land of Departure. Though Xehanort had tried to contain Vanitas, the masked boy was traveling from world to world spreading his darkness in the form of the Unversed. Xehanort ends his story by imploring Terra to travel to the city of light, Radiant Garden, which would undoubtedly be Vanitas’s next target.
As Terra left the Badlands, Ventus unknowingly discovers them and finds himself face to face with Vanitas. Ventus demands to know how Terra will become a different person, but Vanitas merely states that, “The Terra you know will be gone forever,” before summoning a Keyblade of his own. Vanitas proves to be too powerful for Ventus and is about to finish him off until Mickey arrives. Together, Ventus and Mickey manage to drive the masked boy off. Mickey then tells Ventus the same story that Yen Sid had told Terra as to why he was traveling the worlds. Mickey then tries to show off his Star Shard which he uses to travel between worlds. However, it goes out of control and engulfs them in its light before sending them off to a different world.
They arrive in Radiant Garden where Ventus is only able to follow Mickey as far as the castle doors as the guards, Aeleus and Dilan, prevent him from going any further. Instead, he spots an enormous Unversed and gives chase. During his pursuit, he rescues Scrooge McDuck who rewards his act of bravery with three lifetime passes to Disney Town. At the same time, Terra also arrives in Radiant Garden with Master Xehanort. Xehanort goes ahead as Terra is sidetracked by the discovery of a strange book which the great wizard Merlin claims could awaken a person’s inner strength. Catching sight of a huge Unversed, Terra gives chase. Soon after, Ventus also runs into Merlin who tells him about the special book. It was at this time that Aqua also arrives in Radiant Garden and immediately discovers a little girl named Kairi surrounded by Unversed. Aqua recognizes immediately that the strong light within her is the thing that's making her such an appealing target. With so many Unversed attacking, Aqua is almost overwhelmed, but Mickey appears before her to help out. Together they fight off the attack and become fast friends though their meeting is cut short when Mickey’s Star Shard activates and sends him off toward another world.
Before leaving the girl, Aqua casts a spell of protection on her so that if her light was ever in trouble, it would be drawn to the light of another close to her. As Kairi’s grandmother takes her away, she tells the story of a war over the light that eventually cast everything into darkness. The only light that remained was within children. Using this light, life continued on though the worlds were separated because of this. But deep within the darkness, the true source of light remains. Aqua then spots a large Unversed and gives chase. She meets up with Terra and Ventus who had also resumed their chases of their own Unversed. The three Unversed combine into one huge monster, which the three friends work together to defeat.
To celebrate their victory, Ventus gives his friends the tickets he received to Disney Town though the happy reunion is spoiled when Aqua accuses Terra of putting himself too close to the darkness. Terra realizes that Master Eraqus had asked her to spy on him and storms off, hurt by their mistrust. Ventus goes after him leaving Aqua on her own. He loses track of Terra and instead comes across a young orphan named Ienzo who is being attacked by the Unversed. He rescues the boy and is thanked by his guardian, Even, who points him in the direction of Terra. Terra, meanwhile, is approached by a man named Braig. He demands Terra’s Keyblade and reveals that he has captured Xehanort. Terra fights off Braig, but the battle is so intense that he is forced to call upon darkness. He’s unable to control it and ends up damaging Braig’s eye and giving him a scar. Though he is the victor, he is ashamed that he was forced to use the power of darkness. But instead of chiding him, Xehanort praises Terra and offers him the chance to become his pupil. His confidence restored, Terra vows to hunt down Vanitas. Before he is able to depart, he is approached by Ventus. Their encounter is awkward as they struggle to find the right things to say, but Terra promises to stay safe.
Ventus decides to go find Aqua, but she is still exploring Radiant Garden where she also encounters Merlin, who also tells her of the special book. Continuing her search, she is confronted by Vanitas and is barely able to drive the masked boy off. Afterward, she is found by Ventus and insists that he return home. Her encounter with Vanitas has shown just how dangerous this quest is. She departs, leaving him on his own. Despondent, Ventus thinks back to happier times when they all dreamed of becoming Keyblade Masters. He is taken from his thoughts when he meets a boy name Lea who challenges him to a fight. Ventus eventually agrees, but Lea quickly loses. Lea’s friend Isa appears and they start throwing friendly jibes at one another. Ventus watches them for a while and eventually becomes friends with the two. Envying their clear friendship, Ventus finally departs Radiant Garden.
The first to depart Radiant Garden, Terra is also the first to arrive in Disney Town. He soon learns that something known as the Dream Festival is in full swing. As he explores the festival, he meets a racer calling himself Captain Dark, though everyone knows it’s actually Pete. His reckless behavior is causing untold headaches for Queen Minnie and the racetrack organizers, Chip and Dale. They ask Terra to teach Pete a lesson on the track, and he manages to win the race. The encounter reminds Terra that while it may be easier to bend the rules, it doesn't always guarantee the best outcome. In other words, though his heart may contain darkness the way of light was not out of reach to him. With his faith in his own power slightly restored, he continues his journey to the next world.
It’s not long after that Ventus appears in Disney Town and also explores the festival. Pete, in an attempt to win the prize for good citizenship, has now taken up the mantle of Captain Justice. Unfortunately, his brand of justice just causes more trouble than what was actually there before. Ventus helps the town fix the problems Pete caused, forcing Pete to run off in a huff. Ventus took the time to enjoy the many games around the festival before bidding farewell to his new friends and setting out. But Pete still hadn't learned his lesson when Aqua finally arrived at the Dream Festival. Though he said that he wasn't just being selfish, Pete ran off when Unversed attacked the town. Aqua immediately stepped in to protect everyone, gaining the admiration of Queen Minnie in the process. During the ceremony where the prize would be awarded, Aqua discovers that she, Terra, and Ventus had come in a three-way tie. She thanks everyone before departing while Pete is exiled by the Queen for his behavior. As Pete is bemoaning his fate, he hears the voice of Maleficent. She offers him a chance of revenge if he would aide her in conquering all worlds, and he accepts without a second thought.
Ventus’s journey brings him to Olympus Coliseum (land of Hercules) where he encounters an aspiring hero name Zack Fair. The young man is attempting to track down a famous trainer named Phil, but Phil insists that he already has a student in the form of Hercules. However, when he sees how earnest Zack is, Phil decides that whoever wins an upcoming tournament would become his student. Both young men are able to make it to the final round but before the match can take place, news comes in that Unversed are attacking the city. Ventus runs off to face the threat, determined not to let Hercules and Zack's hard work go to waste, but Hercules forfeits the match in order to help his new friend. Zack also appears but the threat is gone by the time he arrives. Phil explains to all of them that the sign of a true hero was having a heart that cared about others. Because Hercules left the match without hesitation, he would continue to be trained by Phil. Zack is disappointed by promises Ventus that he won't give up on his dream. Ventus wishes them luck before setting off.
When Terra arrives in Olympus Coliseum, he almost immediately runs into Hercules who tells him about the ongoing tournament where warriors could test their strength. Interested, he sets out to the coliseum where he is discovered by Hades. The god of the Underworld encourages him to enter the tournament with the promise that he would help him conquer the darkness within him if he won. Terra works his way through the brackets, conquering every foe without relying on the darkness much to the annoyance of Hades. In order to drag out his dark heart, Hades enslaves Zack, who had also entered the tournament. Terra uses his Keyblade to free Zack’s heart from Hades's control which forces the god to slink away to form another plan. Zack thanks Terra profusely for saving him and the Keyblade wielder sets out, satisfied that he saved Zack with his own power.
While traveling through the space between worlds, Terra is captured by a spaceship (from Lilo & Stitch). He is taken to the jail cells but escapes once he sees Unversed roaming the ship. It’s then that he meets Dr. Jumba, a scientist who claims that he has created the most powerful being in the universe. The creation of Experiment 626 and its destructive ways landed the doctor in trouble, and he was incarcerated in the ship along with 626. Terra follows Dr. Jumba to where 626 is being held and they free him, but the small yet vicious monster runs off taking Terra’s Wayfinder in the process. He attempts to run after the thief, but Dr. Jumba stops him by unleashing another of his experiments. Terra defeats it without a problem before catching up to 626. He explains that the Wayfinder is a symbol of his friendship. Curious at the concept, the creature seems to calm at his words and even tries to communicate before giving back the Wayfinder. Terra escapes the ship as alarms begin to sound.
At the same time, as Terra’s adventure in space Aqua arrives at the Olympus Coliseum and hears of Terra’s exploits in the previous tournament. Phil suggests she enter the next tournament herself in case Terra comes back to defend his title. Unfortunately there's no sign of him, but she does meet Zack who tells her of how Terra resisted the darkness at every turn. In the final match, she faces off against one of Hades’ monsters and emerges victorious. However, as she is preparing to leave, Zack tries to ask her on a date. Immensely flustered, she lets him down easily insisting that she needs to leave immediately.
Her quick withdrawal leads her to discovering the spaceship that Terra had been on. Deciding to explore the vessel, she is captured by the authorites on board and is accused of being a stowaway. In order to prove her innocence, she insists on being allowed to rid the ship of the Unversed as well as track down Dr. Jumba and Experiment 626. The Grand Councilwoman relents and allows Aqua to search the ship. Aqua eventually comes across the lone 626 who shocks her when he says Terra’s name. Unversed prevent her from asking anything more, but she eventually comes across a rough replica of the Wayfinders she had given her friends. It turns out that 626 had made it after his encounter with Terra and learning about friendship. She can’t help but be relieved that Terra still considers her a friend. When she finally finds 626 again, she realizes that he’s not some mindless monster and fights to protect him from Captain Gantu. The Grand Councilwoman agrees to give 626’s sentence more thought as a reward for Aqua's assistance with the Unversed. Before departing, she returns 626’s Wayfinder and welcomes him to their circle of friends.
Meanwhile, Ventus is chasing after an Unversed that eventually takes refuge within this same spaceship. He soon meets 626 as well and becomes curious when the creature mentions both Terra and Aqua. It even carries its own Wayfinder. The creature insists on following Ventus, but he forces 626 to stay behind for its own safety when he corners the Unversed he had been seeking. However, the battle proves to be trickier than he realized and 626 arrives to help. But there is something different about it. 626 is almost mindless in his violence and even strikes Ventus. It is this act that snaps him from his rage, and he sadly reveals to Ventus that his replica Wayfinder had been destroyed by the Unversed. Ventus cheers him up by explaining that the broken Wayfinder didn’t symbolize a broken friendship. They would still be friends forever. Together, they escaped the spaceship but are separated when 626’s stolen patrol car malfunctions and is hurtled into hyperspace.
The incident sends Ventus hurtling toward a world known as Never Land (land of Peter Pan) so he decides to explore. He soon meets some of the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell. They are all hunting for a shooting star that had landed nearby the night before and Ventus decides to join them. During their search, they encounter Peter Pan who insisted that they steal pirate treasure instead. The Lost Boys go off with Peter while Ventus and Tinker Bell continue to search for the star. Unbeknownst to Ventus, Terra had also arrived in Never Land though his search had brought him before Captain Hook. The pirate informs him that a boy named Peter Pan is after the light that fills his treasure chest. Terra agrees to help protect it and ends up dueling Peter Pan. The fight causes Hook's chest to spill open revealing that the light was nothing but gold. Realizing his mistake, Terra tells Peter that Hook had gone to look for a shooting star.
Ventus and Tinker Bell discover that the shooting star is actually Mickey’s Star Shard but, before they can grab it, Captain Hook appears and kidnaps both the Shard and Tinker Bell. Ventus runs off to tell Peter Pan and together they head for Hook’s hideout in Mermaid Lagoon. Terra is still there though and tricks Hook into giving him the lantern containing the pixie. He releases her and confronts Hook while Tinker Bell flies off to Peter. She explains that a boy with a key-shaped sword had saved her. Peter goes off to challenge Hook while Ventus takes care of the pirates. Terra's fight with Hook ends when the pirate captain sees the crocodile and runs off in a panic. Peter is upset that the treasure chests have been emptied, but Terra suggests they fill them with their own treasure before departing Never Land. Peter returns to Ventus with the empty chests and tells him of Terra’s idea. They all put something they treasure into the chest with Ventus leaving behind a wooden Keyblade that Terra had given him long ago. Tinker Bell is about to place the Star Shard inside, but Ventus explains that it belonged to a friend. As she gives it to him, it activates and whisks him away from Never Land.
Aqua arrives soon after Ventus's disappearance and becomes part of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys’ treasure hunt. Along the way, Captain Hook tries to stop them so he can steal the treasure. It works but he's disappointed to find that the chest is filled with nothing but junk. Peter explains that the treasure hunt was nothing more than a game he had designed. Aqua fights off Captain Hook before the arrival of the crocodile. She inspects the things inside the chest, learning that the Lost Boys had filled it with their own treasures. Among the treasures is Ventus's wooden Keyblade, which is a relief to Aqua since it means that Ventus is still safe. Her smile is cut short as she feels the presence of Vanitas. The masked boy steals the wooden Keyblade, mocks it, then cleaves the toy in two. Angered, Aqua is able to fight Vanitas off. The fight proves too intense though, and she passes out from exhaustion. Aqua is awoken by Peter Pan and learns that everyone is safe. Before heading off, she promises to return someday.
It turns out that the Star Shard brought Ventus to Yen Sid’s tower where he meets Donald Duck the magician and Goofy the knight. They tell him that they are worried for their king, Mickey. Yen Sid reveals to Ventus that he knows that the boy left without Eraqus’s permission but promises not to send him back. Instead, they discover that Mickey is lying injured in the Badlands. Ventus rushes off to save him, insisting that Donald and Goofy stay behind to hold down the fort.
Terra’s journey has led him to a small island surrounded by an immense ocean, Destiny Islands. There he sees the star-shaped fruit that Aqua had told him and Ventus about the day before the Mark of Mastery exam. It's then that he is approached by two young boys, Riku and Sora. Terra senses an immense light emanating from Riku and the boy tells him of his dream to explore the world while being strong enough to protect his friends. Feeling a kinship with the boy, he bequeathed the power of the Keyblade to Riku in a simple ceremony. The meeting reinvigorates Terra’s resolve and convinces him that he could return to his friends unchanged. Aqua also finds herself on Destiny Islands where she discovers Riku and Sora playing. She too senses their intense light and is going to bequeth the Keyblade's power to Sora when she realizes that Terra had already chosen Riku. Instead, she asks Sora to watch over his friend if anything ever happened to him. Sora agrees and Aqua leaves with the realization that one Keyblade is enough for any friendship. She never wanted what she and Terra had gone through to happen to these children.
While Terra and Aqua were meeting these special children, Ventus arrives in the Badlands and discovers Master Xehanort near Mickey’s unconscious body. The meeting triggers a rush of half memories that prey on Ventus’s mind while Xehanort reveals that should the young boy clash with Vanitas, the powerful “Kye”-blade would be forged. It is marked by an ancient letter that resembles a curved “x” that marks endings and death. Master Eraqus feared this aspect of Ventus which is why his master held him back and forbade him from visiting other worlds. Xehanort insists that Ventus should learn the truth before banishing Ventus and the still unconscious Mickey from the Badlands. As soon as they are gone, Xehanort calls upon Terra and informs him that Ventus had learned the secrets of his past and was on his way to Eraqus to force the truth out. This did not sound like the friend Terra knew and, with his concern growing, races off after him.
Ventus’s arrival in the Land of Departure is greeted by Eraqus, but the boy wastes no time in asking if what Xehanort had told him was true. Eraqus tells him that long ago, Xehanort was fascinated with the legend of the “Kye”-blade and the Keyblade War. So much so that he sought to recreate it just to see what new light would emerge from the consuming darkness. Eraqus had halted his ambitions and was scarred in the process though it appeared that Xehanort had given up his plan. Ventus’s arrival proved that was untrue and that Xehnort would someday try again. Eraqus tells Ventus that he is prepared to lock him away forever in order to stop Xehanort once and for all.
But it is Terra who saves Ventus from that fate. He barely holds off his master as he forces Ventus to escape back into the space between worlds. Terra knows that he can’t hope to defeat his master on his own so he calls upon his inner darkness. The two fight until Eraqus slumps to the ground weakly. Realizing what he had done, Terra begs his master for forgiveness. But Master Eraqus says nothing as his essence disappears, leaving leaving behind only his Keyblade. As Terra sinks to the ground in grief, Xehanort appears and finally reveals his true plans to Terra. Within the Keyblade Graveyard, Ventus and Aqua would meet their deaths and Terra would finally fall into complete darkness. As the world of the Land of Departure is ripped apart around him, Terra escapes and heads toward Keyblade Graveyard in the hope of saving his friends.
Aqua’s journey had led her to Mickey, who was floating unconscious in the Space Between. She saves him and brings him to Yen Sid’s tower where she learns that Eraqus has been killed by Xehanort and Terra. Unwilling to believe the sorcerer's claim, she rushes off to the Keyblade Graveyard to discover the truth. That left only Ventus, who had found himself on Destiny Islands with Vanitas. Ventus tries to ignore him as the masked boy insists that they create the “Kye”-blade. Knowing it could not be forged if he didn’t fight, Ventus refuses. Instead, Vanitas finally reveals his full past to him. Years ago, Xehanort had been attempting to draw out the darkness within Ventus’s heart in the hope that when he challenged one of Eraqus’s students, the “Kye”-blade would be forged. But the boy had proven too stubborn. He wouldn’t fight, let alone draw on the darkness within him. Frustrated, Xehanort forcefully extracted the darkness and in doing so created Vanitas. The masked boy ends his story saying that Ventus could either go to the Keyblade Graveyard to fight or merely watch as Terra and Aqua were killed. Determined not to let that happen, Ventus sets out to meet his destiny.
Aqua and Terra meet up in a barren clearing surrounded by thousands of rusted Keyblades. She wastes no time in asking of Eraqus’s fate, and Terra admits that Xehanort had used him to kill their Master. Aqua says nothing more on the matter, merely stating that if he came to the Keyblade Graveyard with hate and rage in his heart then Xehanort has already won. It's then that Ventus approaches them and explains Xehanort's desire for him and Vanitas to clash. Their fight would forge the “Kye”-blade, a weapon that is capable of plunging all worlds into darkness. Despite their protests, Ventus asks his friends to end his life if it appears that the blade will be created. They reluctantly agree when Xehanort and Vanitas finally appear, confident that the “Kye”-blade would soon be theirs.
An intense battle breaks out with Terra charging at Xehanort but the Master soon proves that he was hiding much of his power. With a twitch of his finger, he creates a whirling vortex containing a mix of the earth and the long-forgotten Keyblades. Terra struggles to break through but it proves impossible. Yet in the confusion, Ventus had crept up behind Xehanort and attempts to strike. With a mere twist of his body, the Master dodges the attack and catches Ventus in his grasp. As Ventus struggles to free himself, Xehanort uses a Blizzard spell to turn the boy to ice and throws him over a cliff. Aqua rushes to save Ventus from the fall while Xehanort transforms his Keyblade into a ball of dark energy before sending it skyward, breaking apart the thick clouds to reveal Kingdom Hearts.
This elusive portal is believed to be many things, from the essence of all light to the lair of true darkness to the heart of all worlds. No one is exactly sure, but most believe that it is the aggregate of all hearts. But the true Kingdom Hearts is difficult to summon as it requires a massive amount of hearts in a single place while having a special person open a hidden door. As such, it is likely that this Kingdom Hearts is not the true one. However, Xehanort believes that if he can forge the “Kye”-blade then its power will summon the true Kingdom Hearts.
To further drive Terra toward the darkness, Braig arrives with orders to kill Aqua. He is now sporting an eyepatch and a scar from his earlier battle with Terra but appears no worse for wear. Despite his considerable strength, Braig is defeated by Aqua, and he is forced to slip away before she can finish him. But as Braig leaves, Vanitas appears before her. Terra struggles to return to his friends side but Xehanort blocks him at every turn, making it impossible for him to turn his attention away from the battle at hand. With Ventus still frozen and only able to watch events helplessly, Aqua is forced to face Vanitas alone, but he proves too powerful. As he knocks her out, Ventus's pure fury finally frees him from his frozen prison. He attacks his dark half and is able to emerge victorious, but that proves to be exactly what Xehanort had wanted. Vanitas reveals that with his body disappearing, he and Ventus would merge within one body once again. His mask dissolves, revealing that he has the same face as an older Sora. Though no one realizes it at the time, the reason for his appearance is because it had been Sora who had merged his heart with Ventus's back when he was comatose on Destiny Islands. Even though Vanitas and Ventus's bodies were apart, they are still connected and Vanitas drew upon Sora's heart to form his face and voice. It’s also unveiled that Vanitas has been the source of all Unversed from the very beginning. Ventus tries to resist the fusion, but he is pinned by an unending horde of Unversed. Despite his efforts, the two sides merge creating a massive burst of energy that sends an enormous burst of light skyward.
Terra and Xehanort break from their battle when they see the pillar. Xehanort is filled with devilish glee for he knows that the “Kye”-blade had been forged. He then uses his Keyblade on himself to release his own heart. Terra is shocked that he would do this until Xehanort's heart forces itself into his body. Despite his resistance, Xehanort quickly takes full control of Terra though the boy hadn't given up completely. His heart reaches out to his discarded armor and forces it to take form. The armor and Terra's body fight one final battle with Xehanort overwhelmed by Terra's strength of heart. He passes out though he still has control over Terra's body.
At the bottom of the cliff, Aqua awakens in Mickey’s arms. He sadly points toward Ventus’s body whose hand clutches the now-forged “Kye”-blade. There is little left of Ventus anymore. His body had been taken over by Vanitas. She desperately struggles to fight against Vanitas, but it isn’t enough. In a final desperate act, she clutches her Wayfinder and remembers the many good times she had shared with her friends and all the people she had met on her journey. As she does, light fills her Keyblade and she brings it down upon the “Kye”-blade. To Vanitas’s amazement, cracks began to form along the evil Keyblade and a torrent of dark energy flows forth. Everything in the immediate area is swallowed by this energy with only Mickey able to barely avoid it. As the energy subsides, Kingdom Hearts vanishes along with Terra's body, leaving only his motionless armor behind.
Inside his own heart, Ventus discovers that the “Kye”-blade was not yet finished and his union with Vanitas is not complete. The sides of darkness and light clash yet again, with Ventus seeking to destroy the “Kye”-blade once and for all and Vanitas seeking to complete the merger. However, if the blade is destroyed then Ventus will lose his heart completely. Wanting only to protect his friends, Ventus defeats his dark half without a second thought to the consequences. The “Kye”-blade and Ventus's Keyblade begin to disintegrate while Vanitas’s essence disappears forever. Satisfied that his friends would be safe, Ventus calmly accepts his fate.
In the aftermath of the great battle, Mickey finds Ventus and Aqua’s unconscious bodies in the space between worlds and brings them back to Yen Sid’s tower. When Aqua awakens, she finds Ventus sleeping nearby, but he doesn't respond to her calls. His heart has been fractured once again though this time the boy may sleep for all eternity unless it can somehow be repaired. Yen Sid believes that should his friends believe in their bond then his heart will eventually follow them back to the light. Taking heart in those words, Aqua sets out to find the missing Terra.
Aqua first heads to a world that Ventus unconsciously guides her. She hopes that it is a place that he can sleep safely. It turns out to be the ruins of the Land of Departure. Shocked to see her home in such a state, Aqua takes hold of Master Eraqus’s Keyblade and remembers a lesson he had once taught her. Using his Keyblade, she locks the land away with Ventus safely tucked inside a hidden chamber while resting upon a pure white throne. The Land of Departure transforms into a place known only as Castle Oblivion. Promising to return to him someday with Terra, Aqua goes on the next part of her journey.
She hears Terra’s voice asking her to put an end to him, and she follows it to Radiant Garden. There, she meets the now white-haired Terra who seems to have no memory of his past. He is completely consumed by an immense darkness which declares that Terra’s light has been extinguished. Aqua doesn’t believe him and engages him in battle. She wins this final battle and sees signs that Terra is not truly gone. He fights to regain control, but Xehanort turns his Keyblade on himself in order to expel Terra once and for all. Instead, a pool of darkness spills forth and consumes him. Aqua dives into the darkness to save him but soon realizes that only one of them could return. Sacrificing herself, she sends Terra’s body back to the realm of light with a boost from her armor and Keyblade. As she falls further into the Realm of Darkness, her last thoughts are of Ventus and the promise that she will one day wake him.
Back on Destiny Islands, Sora and Riku are staring at the night sky when Sora realizes that he’s crying for no reason. Riku believes that someone out there may be hurting to such a great degree that it’s calling out to someone for help. Sora wants to know if there’s any way to help this person, and Riku suggests that he may just need to open his heart and listen. Sora does so and his heart connects with Ventus’s for a second time. Until his fractured heart can be restored, the remains of Ventus's heart will rest inside Sora.
Within Radiant Garden, Braig leads a man named Ansem the Wise, the ruler of this world, to a man who had collapsed in the square. They find Aqua’s armor and Keyblade nearby, the only remnants of her existence. Ansem asks the dazed man his name. Delirious, he merely replies, “Xehanort.” Braig flashes a knowing smile at these words though Ansem does not see this reaction. Instead, he decides to take the young man in and care for him.
Meanwhile, Aqua is utterly exhausted from her travels through the darkness. Strange monsters are constantly attacking and she is losing the will to go on. It is then that two beams of light emerge and take the form of Terra and Ventus’s keyblades. They quickly dispatch the monsters and help Aqua realize that her friends had found her even in the darkness. Somehow she had discovered light in the deepest darkness. Terra has also not been completely lost to the darkness. Deep within himself, he faces the old body of Xehanort. He’s too weak to fight, but just strong enough that he won't completely disappear. Xehanort is confident that he will eventually consume all of Terra, but Terra is just as confident that he’ll be free of the Master someday. Xehanort reminds him of his patience and lets Terra know that his body is merely one of many plans he had laid.
As time passes, the new body of Xehanort becomes one of the apprentices of Ansem the Wise though he has seemingly lost all of his memories. Along with Xehanort, Ansem has five other apprentices: Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo. Together, they all use his vast resources to research the heart and darkness in the hope of protecting Radiant Garden. Eventually Ansem proposes conducting an experiment on the heart and Xehanort volunteers to be the subject. Ever since taking him in, Ansem has been impressed with his intellectual curiosity and and deep wisdom. Ansem still has some reservations though as Xehanort may be too talented, too brilliant in this research.
In order to facilitate the experiments, Ansem constructs a laboratory in the basement of his castle as all of his apprentices become enraptured by the study. However, he soon learns that his apprentices are taking the experiments too far and conducting inhumane research on people’s hearts. The research is immediately ceased and Ansem the Wise seals off the laboratory before sinking into a deep depression due to his initial experimentation on Xehanort. His unease is lifted though at the arrival of King Mickey who, in the passing years, had discovered a new way to travel between worlds. He had named it a Gummi Ship, and it was constructed of fallen meteors.
Mickey and Ansem the Wise become fast friends and spend countless hours talking about the different worlds. When Mickey learns of the research that Ansem had done, he warns his friend of the possible consequences. Taking his warning to heart, Ansem attempts to destroy his laboratory completely but, to his horror, discovers a series of reports bearing his name that weren't written by him. Instead, they had been penned by Xehanort. Ansem soon learns that Xehanort had convinced all of the apprentices to help him with his unethical experiments. Delving so deep into darkness brings about awful consequences, namely the creation of an entirely new being, the Heartless. They are the physical manifestations of the darkness within people's hearts and behave entirely without emotions. These creatures came in two forms: Purebloods and Emblems. Purebloods are naturally occurring Heartless while Emblems are those created artificially by Xehanort's experimentation.
The darkness has also driven all of the apprentices, save Xehanort, insane and they banish Ansem the Wise to the same Realm of Darkness that Aqua had found herself in. Consumed by the need for vengeance, Ansem discards his stolen name and takes on the mantle of Darkness in Zero, or DiZ. He eventually gains the powers of darkness and uses them to keep an eye on Xehanort. He learns that the Heartless eventually escaped his former castle and lay waste to Radiant Garden. He also learns of the fate of his former apprentices and the fact that Xehanort had turned himself into a Heartless though it maintained a human form. Since humans could not hope to control the Heartless, Xehanort had sacrificed his body to gain this power. Xehanort's Heartless takes the name Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, for himself. While he begins formulating a new plan for conquering Kingdom Hearts, DiZ uses his new power over darkness to escape the Realm of Darkness. He takes shelter in an abandoned mansion in a world known as Twilight Town where he plans to watch Xehanort's Heartless while preparing his own plan for revenge.
Ten years have passed since Ansem the Wise's fall and the rise of Xehanort's Heartless. The worlds have slowly been changing as the Heartless begin spreading their destruction outward. However, Sora, Riku, and Kairi have been living peacefully on Destiny Islands with no idea as to what is approaching. this series of events and the story picks up with Sora, Riku, and Kairi living peacefully on Destiny Islands. Their only concern is building a raft in order to visit the countless worlds that are surely out there. Riku and Sora know that Kairi once lived on another world though she has long forgotten what it was like there. As they gather the necessary materials for their raft, Sora and Riku have many friendly competitions to see who would get to share the star-sharped paopu fruit with Kairi. It’s said that if two people share one, their destinies will become intertwined.
Thinking of the fruit, Sora visits a secret cave that he and his friends used to frequently visit to draw on the walls. He remembers drawing portraits of one another with Kairi and, on a whim, adds to the picture him handing her the paopu fruit. His memories are interrupted by a man in a brown cloak who tells him that this world has been connected to the darkness and soon it will disappear forever. Sora isn’t scared by the man’s words but is confused when he suddenly disappears. Putting the encounter from his mind, he joins his friends in finishing the raft. That evening, he is sitting alone with Kairi when she mentions that Riku has changed. Sora doesn't understand what she means and is shocked when she suggests that she and Sora should just go off together. Before Sora can respond, she shrugs it off as a joke and tells him that she’s not afraid of the journey anymore because she can always return home. As they part ways for the night Kairi asks Sora to never change.
Meanwhile, Donald Duck goes to see King Mickey but finds that he has disappeared. The only sign of him is a letter tucked in Pluto's mouth. Donald immediately runs off to Goofy and tells him what happened. The news soon spreads to Queen Minnie and her handmaiden, Daisy. The king’s letter tells them that he feels that trouble is brewing. One by one, all the stars in the sky have been disappearing. Disaster is approaching soon, and he needs to investigate why this is happening. While he does so, he requests that Donald and Goofy search for someone with the “key” and stick with him. He believes that if they go to Traverse Town and speak with a man named Leon then he will point them in the right direction. Donald and Goofy say their goodbyes to Minnie and Daisy before being joined by Jiminy Cricket, who will chronicle their travels.
Jiminy tells them of how his world disappeared and its inhabitants were scattered. As far as he knew, he was the only one to make it to the Mickey's castle. While traveling to the different worlds on their search, Donald and Goofy agree that they’ll have to blend with each new world in order to protect its natural order. Taking the gummi ship maintained by Chip and Dale, the two set off for Traverse Town, Pluto following after them at the last moment.
Unable to sleep, Sora spots a storm heading toward the island. He realizes that the raft could be destroyed and rushes toward it. When he arrives, he discovers that Riku and Kairi's boats are already there. He sees no sign of them though as a dark portal opens and begins spilling out countless Heartless. He finds Riku who seems strangely excited by everything that is going on. He asks Sora to join him in stepping through the portal to darkness so they can finally visit other worlds. Sora doesn't care about any of that and is only worried for Kairi's safety. Riku says that she will come with them as tendrils of pure blackness begin to envelop the both of them. He declares that he isn't afraid of the darkness while Sora struggles to pull him from the tendrils. He is unable to reach his friend though and is almost consumed by the darkness. He is only saved by the Keyblade that suddenly forms in his hand. A voice echoes the weapon's name in his mind as Sora escapes the darkness. However, there is no sign of Riku.
Using the Keyblade, Sora fights through the Heartless until he reaches the secret cave. There he finds a dazed Kairi. He reaches out for her when a gust of wind blows her toward him, but she seemingly passes through his body. The same wind blows him away too until he stands on only a small fragment of his former home. He’s able to fight off a large Heartless but is still sucked through a dark portal.
Arriving in Traverse Town, Goofy notices that a star has gone out. They start their search for Leon while Pluto discovers the unconscious body of Sora. The happy-go-lucky dog wakes Sora, and the boy quickly learns that he’s arrived in another world. He begins exploring and soon comes across Cid (from Final Fantasy 7) who confirms that he’s in a new world. Sora decides that he should start searching for Kairi and Riku in the hope that they were also brought here.
During his search, he sees a man lose his heart to a gang of Heartless. Sora is unable to save the man but is able to fight the monsters off when they turn on him. It appears as though the creatures have infected every world, and this is confirmed when he is confronted by Leon. The man is actually Squall from Final Fantasy 8, but he changed his name out of regret that he was unable to save his home. He explains that as long as Sora possesses the Keyblade, the Heartless will continually attack him and try to steal his heart. The two duel to see if Sora is worthy of the blade, but the pace is too much for the boy and he passes out. Leon’s friend Yuffie arrives, and the two take him to a safe place. Leon still finds it strange that Sora was chosen by the blade but realizes that he isn’t in a position to beg.
Donald and Goofy’s search leads them to Aerith, who recognizes them as envoys of the king. She tells them that she also knows that other worlds exist though they’ve never been connected until recently. This is because of the Heartless, beings without hearts who are attracted to the darkness within others. Since almost no one possesses a heart without darkness, everyone is at risk. She also explains that a man named Ansem had studied the Heartless and collected his findings in a report though no one knew where he or this report was now.
Leon gives Sora the same information Aerith gave Donald and Goofy when he finally awakens. He decides the two parties should meet, but the arrival of the Heartless interrupts these plans. The battle spills out of the hotel room they were in and into the streets. It's then that Sora finally meets with Donald and Goofy. The trio team up to take down a particularly strong Heartless. Afterward they invite Sora along with them, promising that they could look for Kairi and Riku during their journey. Donald doesn’t know if they’ll actually find his friends but realizes they need him to find King Mickey. At Leon’s encouragement, Sora agrees to join the two.
In an unknown place, a group of villains from various Disney worlds are watching Sora’s victory. Jafar, Hades, Ursula, Captain Hook, and Oogie Boogie are all amazed that he took down the Heartless and attribute it to the power of the Keyblade. No matter what, they agree that he must be stopped. Their discussion ends with the arrival of Maleficent. She muses on whether he’ll be able to conquer the darkness or if he’ll be swallowed by it.
The first stop on Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s journey takes them to Wonderland (land of Alice in Wonderland) where they immediately see the White Rabbit rushing off to see the Queen. Following after him, they see that a young girl named Alice is on trial before the Queen of Hearts for the attempted theft of her heart. The girl’s trial is a farce and Sora wants to help, but Donald and Goofy insist that they shouldn’t meddle in other worlds’ business. When the Queen calls for Alice’s head, Sora can’t help but step in and declares her innocent. The Queen asks for proof so Sora heads out to find evidence.
He explores all of Wonderland and soon discovers the evidence that he needs. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the Queen still insists on having Alice's head. She sends her card soldiers after him, Donald, and Goofy, but they handily defeat them. He rushes to Alice's cage, opening it to find that the girl has completely vanished. They realize that she must have been taken by the Heartless in the confusion. While trying to return to their ship, a large Heartless ambushes them, but they're able to defeat it. However, the battle reveals the hidden location of the keyhole to Wonderland's heart. The Keyblade suddenly sends a beam of light to the keyhole, locking it. With it locked, the world's heart cannot never be reached by the Heartless and consumed. Hoping that they’ll discover Alice and the rest of their friends on another world, the trio set out.
Their travels bring them to the edge of a world known as Deep Jungle (land of Tarzan). Goofy wonders if the king might be there but Donald doubts it and suggests they move on. Sora thinks that Riku and Kairi might be there though and insists on checking it out. Donald refuses and as they argue, they crash land in the world. Sora finds himself separated from the others and is soon attacked by a leopard named Sabor. A jungle man named Tarzan rescues him, and Sora tries to explain he’s looking for his friends. At first he explains that he’s looking for Goofy and Donald but, remembering the argument that landed them there, Sora instead asks after Riku and Kairi. Tarzan then leads him to his friends.
Meanwhile, Goofy and Donald are lost in the jungle with Donald insisting that they don’t need Sora. Goofy is still worried about him, but they are soon discovered by a man named Clayton. He takes them back to the base camp where Tarzan and Sora have already arrived. Tarzan introduces Sora to Jane, and she asks if the boy is there to see the gorillas. Clayton dismisses the trio, wishing nothing more than to hunt gorillas, but Jane reminds him that they’re there to study, not hunt, them. At first Sora and Donald are happy to see one another but soon dismiss each other again because of the argument. Their standoff is broken up by Goofy who shows them that he found a gummi block, one of the materials used to build gummi ships. Realizing that the king may be there, Donald and Sora put aside their differences for now.
The search turns up nothing, but Clayton insists that their friends must be with the gorillas. Only Tarzan knows where they are though, and he’s kept it secret up until now. But the sight of Sora desperate to find his friends changes his mind. Clayton follows and tries to shoot one of the gorillas, but Donald is able to stop him. The gorillas’ leader, Kerchak, sees Clayton’s actions and rebukes Tarzan’s pleas. Clayton tries to explain himself, but no one believes him. Storming off, he is attacked by the Heartless that fill the jungle. The shots from his gun alert the others, and they go off to find him. The search is fruitless and when they return, they discover that Jane and the gorillas have been kidnapped.
Sora and the rest find Clayton commanding the Heartless to hunt the gorillas. The darkness in his heart has consumed him, granting him temporary control of the monsters. After a fierce battle, the hunter is crushed beneath the large Heartless that he was riding. Sora's actions finally earn the gorillas' trust. They lead Sora and his friends to Deep Jungle's hidden keyhole which he locks. Having earned the gorillas’ trust, they lead Sora and his friends to the Deep Jungle’s hidden keyhole which he locks. Tarzan is eventually able to communicate that friends are always in a person’s heart. While they weren’t able to find Mickey, Riku, or Kairi, Tarzan’s words help repair the rift between Sora and Donald.
The group sets out while the villains discuss what drew the Heartless to a far off world like Deep Jungle. Maleficent explains that it was Clayton’s lust for power that called out to them. They all declare that Clayton’s fate would not be their own though some are concerned about Sora closing the keyholes. Maleficent assures them that it would take ages for him to lock them all. Besides, he remained completely unaware of their other plans: the seven Princesses of Heart. She reveals that the girls are slowly falling into their hands before bringing in a confused Alice.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy are unsure of what to do with the gummi block they found so they return to Traverse Town to ask Leon. He explains that every world has a keyhole and that they lead to the heart of that world. The Heartless are able to enter through this keyhole and eventually cause the world to disappear. Locking them is the only way to guarantee their protection. Leon tells them to visit Cid to explain the gummi block, and the old man explains that it will help them find new worlds. Before sending them on their way, he hands them an old book that he had just finished restoring and asks them to deliver it to a certain person.
When Sora arrives at the house, he sees of vision of Kairi that reminisces of their times together. It’s interrupted by the the appearance of Merlin who says he was instructed by Mickey to help them. He tells them that the book they brought is special (since it’s the one that he showed Terra, Aqua, and Ventus years ago) though some of its pages have gone missing in the chaos of the past ten years. He teaches Sora some basic magic before introducing him to the Fairy Godmother who also provides guidance. Taking their leave, they’re suddenly attacked by a group of Heartless, but it’s Riku who saves them.
He tells them that he hasn’t seen any sign of Kairi since they were split up. Sora is relieved to finally find his friend again before showing him the Keyblade and introducing Sora and Donald.He asks Riku to join them, but Donald refuses. While they argue, Riku disappears from sight. Despite him wondering why Riku left, Sora is simply satisfied to see him safe. They reunite with Cid, Aerith, and Leon who all tell them about how Maleficent had been controlling the Heartless for years. It was partly her fault that their world was lost in the first place. They also mention Ansem again and how he dedicated his life to studying the Heartless.
Unknown to all of them, Maleficent and Riku are watching their discussion. She tells him that while Riku was searching for his friends, Sora merely replaced him with new ones. Maleficent convinces him that he shouldn’t care about him anymore. Instead, she will help him find what he's so desperately looking for. As Leon and the others finish their story, they tell him of a bell in town that no one can reach. Sora and his friends manage to find a way to it, revealing Traverse Town’s keyhole and a massive Heartless. They defeat it handily before locking the keyhole, forever keeping Traverse Town safe from total destruction. Relieved at their handiwork, they set out to continue their search for Kairi and King Mickey.
Their journey takes them to Agrabah (land of Aladdin) but as they arrive, Maleficent and Jafar talk about the search for the world’s keyhole. It will be found eventually, but he is having more difficulty finding Princess Jasmine. He doesn’t see why she’s so important but Maleficent reminds him that Jasmine is one of the Princesses of Heart. If they don’t have all seven girls, then they won’t be able to open the door they reveal when brought together. Jafar swears to redouble his efforts and calls forth a swarm of Heartless.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy are soon found by Jasmine, and she tells them of Jafar’s rise to power thanks to the darkness. She would have be captured if it hadn’t been for Aladdin, but he’s currently searching for a safe place for them to hide. Jafar suddenly appears and Sora tells her to run while they hold his Heartless off. Losing track of the princess, the trio head into the desert in hopes of finding the Cave of Wonders. They find the mysterious cave as well as Aladdin outside though he's trapped in quicksand. Rescuing him proves difficult though as they are surrounded by a horde of Heartless. Aladdin ends up saving all of them though as he uses a magic lamp and its genie to make the Heartless disappear.
Recovering from the encounter, Aladdin introduces himself and Genie, a magical being of the lamp that he had found in the Cave of Wonders. Genie then informs his master that he only gets three wishes and one has already been used. Aladdin tells of his dream to be with Jasmine though since she is a princess and he is a mere street rat, it's nearly impossible. He could use his next wish to become a prince but puts the idea on hold when Sora, Donald, and Goofy recognize Jasmine' name and tells him that she’s in trouble. Worried, the group rushes back to the city but along the way Genie tells them of his dreams of freedom. Aladdin, considering Genie a good friend, promises to free him after they save Jasmine.
They find Jasmine in the clutches of Jafar and Aladdin uses his second wish to save her. It’s interrupted though when Jafar steals the lamp and the princess before disappearing back to the Cave of Wonders. With complete control of Genie, Jafar uses his first wish to find the keyhole which is tucked deep within the cave. The group finally stumbles upon Jafar and demand Jasmine's return. He refuses and reveals that she is one of seven Princesses of Heart. He then uses his second wish to tell Genie to crush them. A battle rages with Genie resisting as best as he can while Sora and his friends attack Jafar. Growing desperate, the villain uses his final wish to become an incredibly powerful genie himself.
The odds seem low, but they manage to wrestle control of Jafar’s lamp from Iago and imprison him. Sora is then able to lock the keyhole of Agrabah though Jasmine has disappeared during the scuffle. Aladdin begs them to take him along on their journey, but they can’t since it would meddle with the worlds’ order. Genie reminds Aladdin that he still has one wish left and that he could use to get Jasmine back. Aladdin thinks about for a second but selflessly wishes for Genie to have his freedom. Genie is absolutely ecstatic to be free after thousands of years and goes to explore the worlds, telling Aladdin that they'll always be friends. The new friends all say their goodbyes before leaving Agrabah.
It isn't long before the other villains discuss Jafar’s defeat. Hades states that it could have been avoided had Riku helped out, but the boy states he did his mission by securing Jasmine. Maleficent states that Jafar let himself be too drawn in by the darkness and was punished for it. Still, she praises Riku for his good work and, as part of their deal, she asks Captain Hook to take Riku to Kairi. Riku asks what the catch is but the witch insists that there’s no catch since he’s like a son to her. The boy doesn’t believe her so instead she reminds him that she kept her end of the bargain. Riku warily goes off with Captain Hook without saying another word.
Sora’s ongoing search brings him to Olympus Coliseum where he meets the hero trainer, Phil. Another series of tournaments are about to begin, but only heroes are allowed to enter. Donald, Goofy, and Sora insist that they are heroes, and Phil breaks into hysterics at the thought. He does allow them to take part in a series of trials that Sora handily passes but is still turned away since he isn’t a hero. Dejected, the group leaves until they are confronted by Hades who provides them with a pass into the tournaments.
Sora is finally able to enter and makes it through several rounds before catching sight of a mysterious cloaked figure named Cloud. The two fighters make their way through the rounds until they are finally matched against one another. Hades insists that Cloud kills Sora, but the brooding man questions why the god of the Underworld is afraid of a kid and reminds him that his contract only requires him to kill Hercules. Hades reasons that a few casualties along the way is no big deal as Cloud walks off in silence. The match between Sora and Cloud is an intense one with Sora only barely pulling off a victory.
Determined to make his plan work, Hades sends out the monster dog Cerberus. Hercules arrives to hold him off while Sora and his friends escape, but he can barely fight while protecting an unconscious Cloud. Sora decides to return to Hercules to help and manages to hold off the three-headed demon dog while Hercules gets Cloud to safety. Hades is furious at his plan’s failure but decides to bide his time. Meanwhile, Phil gives Sora, Donald, and Goofy the junior hero status stating that they’re not quite true heroes yet. Sora asks how they’ll know when they become one, and Hercules responds that it’s something they must discover on their own like he had. Before leaving, they find the keyhole of Olympus Coliseum and lock it. Outside the main entryway, they discover Cloud waiting for them. He explains that he only helped Hades because he had promised to help him find a certain someone. In relying on Hades, he tried to use darkness but the opposite happened instead. As Sora goes to leave, he and Cloud promise to continue looking for their respective lights.
While traveling in their gummi ship, the three friends spot an enormous whale that Jiminy recognizes as Monstro. It swallows their ship whole before they can escape. Awaking inside, they discover a wooden boy named Pinocchio who runs off despite them calling after him. He leads them to his father, Geppetto, who tells them that they were swallowed while escaping their world. Pinocchio runs off again as a kind of game, and they are amazingly able to explore the body of Monstro though they have to fight through the Heartless that he’s swallowed as well. Their search leads them to Riku who accuses Sora of having forgotten his friends since obtaining the keyblade. Sora denies the accusation and asks if he had found Kairi yet, but Riku plays aloof and runs away.
Riku is met by Maleficent who wonders why he still cares about Sora despite his former friend abandoning him. Riku insists that he’s only messing with his him, and Maleficent leaves him with a warning of the darkness in his own heart. If it grows too much, the Heartless will consume him. Riku shrugs her off and goes back to confront Sora. Sora is confused as to why his friend is acting this way but their argument is interrupted by Pinocchio’s capture by a Heartless. The two rescue him but Riku grabs the wooden boy before Sora can. While Geppetto begs for the return of his son, Riku reveals that Kairi has lost her heart and hopes that transplanting Pinocchio’s heart to hers will save her.
Riku offers to team up with Sora to save Kairi, but Sora refuses upon seeing the measures his old friend would take. Riku is shocked that Sora would chose a wooden puppet over Kairi and Sora explains that his conscience tells him Riku’s on the wrong side. He's able to force Riku to drop Pinocchio who Jiminy immediately runs to. The arrival of another Heartless forces Riku to escape while Sora, Donald, and Goofy fight it off. The battle tickles Monstro's throat enough that they are ejected from his mouth. Back on Captain Hook’s ship, Maleficent confirms that Kairi’s body is little more than a lifeless puppet now since the Heartless stole her heart. Riku begs the witch for a way to save her and Maleficent tells him the full story of the Princesses of Heart. If all seven are brought together then a door to the heart of all worlds will appear. There, Riku has a chance of finding Kairi’s heart. To help him on his quest, Maleficent grants the boy the power to control the Heartless.
Still concerned about Riku, Sora sets off to the next world: Halloween Town (land of The Nightmare Before Christmas). There’s something strange about the town though. Some of the Heartless aren’t acting like they usually do and are merely standing still. Curious as to what may be causing it, Sora and company follow Jack Skellington to the laboratory of Dr. Finkelstein. They learn that the doctor has created a device that controls the Heartless as a way of spicing up Jack’s Halloween celebration this year. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite up to Jack’s liking so he wonders if adding a heart to the Heartless will help. Sora sees this as a chance to stop the Heartless so he helps the pair with their experiment, but it still fails.
The doctor believes if they can add the essence of memory to the heart then it could still work but his assistant, Sally, has it. Jack joins Sora and his friends in the search, but the group quickly learns that the previously motionless Heartless have gone berserk because of their experiments. They fight through the Heartless and find Sally. She gives them the essence, but she believes that things will go horribly wrong. Jack doesn’t believe her and heads back to the doctor with the memory, not realizing that Lock, Shock, and Barrel have overheard them. The three children report to Oogie Boogie who becomes curious at the concept of Jack attempting to create a heart. He believes that if he steals the heart then he’ll be able to control the Heartless with no fear of them overtaking him.
The doctor successfully adds the memory essence but before they can try the experiment again, Lock, Shock, and Barrel steal the heart. Sora and his friends chase after them to Oogie Boogie’s hideout and work their way through his traps. When they finally find Oogie, he swallows the heart and challenges them to a fight. They defeat him by tearing a hole in his body which leaks out all of his bugs, leaving only the heart behind. Just when they thought their battle was over, Oogie reappears filled with the power of darkness and possesses his hideout. Sora and company mangae to break his connection, causing the entire place to disappear and revealing the keyhole. He locks it, ensuring that Halloween Town is safe. However, the heart is still a failure and Jack finally listens to Sally’s advice to cancel his Heartless Halloween plans. Doctor Finkelstein still can’t understand why his heart didn’t work though. It’s apparent that the heart is much more complicated that he believed. Sora, Donald, and Goofy leave, promising to return for next year’s Halloween festivities.
Their next destination is Atlantica (land of The Little Mermaid), where the trio transform into mer-people in order to properly explore the completely underwater world. They are immediately found by Ariel who quickly realizes that they’re from somewhere else. Sora tries to shrug it off that they’re from a different sea and Ariel believes them. Heartless suddenly appear and Sora fights them off, but Ariel is worried that they might attack her father at the palace. Everyone reaches the palace just fine, and they discover that King Triton has been able to hold off the Heartless thanks to his magic trident. Triton chides Ariel for wandering out into dangerous waters and asks where Sora, Donald, and Goofy came from. Goofy lets slip that they’re searching for the world’s keyhole, and Triton becomes angry at the word, insisting that it doesn’t exist.
Ariel tries to argue with her father, but he forbids her from leaving the palace since the rest of the ocean is too dangerous. The girl leaves defiantly along with Sora while Sebastian informs Triton that the Heartless seem to be coming from Ursula’s grotto. Outside, Ariel invites Sora to her secret place where she keeps dozens of trinkets from other worlds. She tells him her dreams of someday seeing these worlds, and Sora lets on that he had the same dream. Feeling a kinship with the boy, she suggests that they try looking for the keyhole Goofy had mentioned earlier. Ursula watches over them as they search, making plans for Ariel.
Despite facing off against a huge shark, their search turns up little and they return to Ariel’s secret place. Triton finds them though and, angered at being disobeyed, destroys many of her treasures. Ariel swims off, distraught, while Triton confronts Sora. He reveals that he knows Sora is the key bearer and from another world, not another sea. The king reprimands him for meddling in the affairs of other worlds claiming that the key bearer brings nothing but chaos. Triton thanks him for saving Ariel but commands him to leave.
While crying alone, Ariel is discovered by Ursula who claims that she can help the girl. She knows that Ariel desperately wants to see other worlds and reveals that her new friends came from one. Ursula tells the mermaid that if she can sneak her into the palace, then Ursula could send her to another world. Instead, the sea witch steals Triton’s trident and uses it to wound the king. Ariel is distraught at Ursula’s actions and swears that she didn’t want this, but Ursula promises to fulfill her word and send Ariel to the dark world of the Heartless. Ariel and Triton are saved by the arrival of Sora and friends.
The group gives chase to Ursula and confront her in her lair. She sends her lackeys after them, but Sora easily defeats them. Swearing vengeance, she transforms herself into a giant. Sora is somehow able to defeat her, causing the sea witch to disappear and leaving the trident behind. They return it to Triton, who apologizes for his actions. He then uses his trident to reveal the world’s keyhole in Ariel’s secret place so that Sora can lock it. Sora apologizes for lying to her, but she forgives him. She knows someday she’ll reach another world. The group says their goodbyes and leaves.
While traveling to the next world, they are suddenly cut off by a pirate ship that takes them to Never Land. Sora is separated from Donald and Goofy, and Riku welcomes him aboard. He asks where his friends have gone, and Riku again claims that Sora has pushed aside his old friends for new ones. He then reveals the lifeless body of Kairi, and Sora tries to run to her. He is stopped by Captain Hook and a group of Heartless. Stepping back, he asks Riku why he sided with the Heartless but Riku explains that he now controls the monsters and has nothing to fear. Sora calls him out for being foolish and knows that they’ll eventually turn on Riku, but Riku believes his heart is too strong. To prove it, he creates a shadow version of Sora before locking him away in the ship with Donald and Goofy.
He’s happy to reunite with them and tells them that he finally found Kairi. It’s then that they meet Peter Pan, who’s waiting for Tinker Bell to come back. When the pixie does, she claims that she found Wendy and another girl. Tinker Bell opens the door for them and the two groups team up until they can rescue their friends. Along the way, Goofy asks how Peter Pan can fly, and he sprinkles some of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust on them. It doesn’t seem to work though as Donald merely falls on his face.
In the captain’s quarters, Hook is surprised to discover that Wendy isn’t one of the Princesses of Heart. Riku tells Hook to leave the girl behind so that they can return to Maleficent. The pirate captain wants to know what Maleficent’s plans are, but Riku doesn’t care so long as he gets Kairi’s heart back. Hook is then informed that the prisoners have escaped. Sora and Peter Pan have found the room where Wendy and Kairi are being held though Wendy confirms that the girl seems to be almost asleep. The two are taken away before they can reach them though Sora notices that Kairi’s body seems to move when he’s near. Before Sora can find Kairi, Riku takes her away and sends Shadow Sora after his former friend.
Sora defeats his doppelganger and resumes his chase while Peter Pan takes Wendy to a safe place. Hook stops Sora’s progress and informs him that Riku has returned to Hollow Bastion, the base of operations for Maleficent. He then reveals that he’s captured Tinker Bell and demands the Keyblade in exchange. Sora is forced onto the ship's plank but as he jumps, he gains the ability to fly thanks to Peter Pan’s encouragement and thoughts of Kairi. Peter swoops in to rescue Tinker Bell and together they fight off the Heartless and Captain Hook. Hook is sent into the water with the crocodile where he is promptly chased off.
Donald and Goofy are worried for Kairi after seeing her and try to be delicate around Sora. Instead of being depressed, he puts on a brave face and muses about telling her how he flew when she wakes. He vows to find her and tell her the story of all he’s experienced. Tinker Bell then takes them to the clock tower in London where Sora locks the keyhole. They say their goodbyes before heading off for Traverse Town to recuperate.
Riku arrives in Hollow Bastion completely worn out from the journey since he didn’t use a vessel or protection to travel the space between worlds. Maleficent chides him for relying too heavily on the darkness, warning that it could consume him. Before Riku can respond, he hears a roar outside that belongs to a castaway. Though his world had disappeared, his conviction led him to Hollow Bastion, the place where his princess was taken. Maleficent isn’t worried though as she claims that Riku is more powerful thanks to the untapped potential within him.
Despite his earlier words, Sora is still unsure if they can succeed since they’ve seen no sign of King Mickey. Donald and Goofy say that they’re doing what the king asked by helping Sora and that they believe in both him and the king. Their words resonate with Sora, and he sees a vision of Kairi and her grandmother. The girl is the same age as she was when Aqua first met her and her grandmother once again tells her the story of how the light would have been lost had it not been for belief of children. Sora snaps out of it and wonders if Kairi just called out to him.
Before leaving Traverse Town, they return all the lost pages of Merlin’s book to the wizard. He uses them to finally restore the tome to its original state. He encourages Sora to look through it and when he does, he’s pulled into its world. This world turns out to be the Hundred Acre Wood (land of Winnie the Pooh) where Sora discovers Pooh. The two talk and Pooh tells him that all his friends have disappeared. They decide to work together and eventually find all of Pooh’s lost friends, helping them with their troubles along the way. That night, they all sit beneath the stars and talk with one another before Sora takes his leave to find his own friends. The experience with Winnie the Pooh and the rest seems to have strengthened his resolve, and he feels ready to take on the trials of Hollow Bastion.
When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive in Hallow Bastion, they discover a world that seems completely ravaged with water flowing upward and a large castle in the distance. Yet despite its appearance, Sora feels a strange warmth in his heart as if he had been here before. His introspection is interrupted by a great roar which he finds belongs to the Beast. Riku is talking to him, trying to discover how he made it to Hollow Bastion, but Beast says he simply believed he could. His belief that he would find Belle here must be the reason he had made it. And if she is there, he will take her back no matter what. Riku merely taunts him and easily avoids his attacks until Sora intervenes.
Riku isn’t surprised at Sora’s arrival and muses how their rivalry has pushed them to become stronger. But that rivalry is coming to an end since he claims there can’t be two Keyblade masters. Riku states that he is actually the wielder of the Keyblade and, at his command, Sora’s Keyblade appears in Riku’s hands. Riku states that Sora is too weak to save Kairi and that his journey was nothing more than delivering the Keyblade to him. Sora falls to his knees in sorrow as Riku throws a wooden sword before him, telling him to go off and play. Taking Mickey’s words to heart, Donald and Goofy follow after Riku since he is the true bearer of the key, offering their friend only a hollow apology.
Sora is left alone with Beast who forces himself onward despite his injuries. Sora tries to stop him, but the Beast repeats that nothing will stop him from saving Belle. Drawing strength from those words, he takes up the wooden sword and follows after him, determined to find Kairi. Inside the castle, Maleficent has captured six of the Princesses of Heart: Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, and Alice. She then uses them to create a tenuous portal while keeping Kairi’s body nearby.
The Beast and Sora make their way inside the castle, but Beast’s anger overcomes him when a vision of Belle becomes a Heartless. He runs off and Riku locks the door behind him. Riku advises Sora to just quit as the darkness will destroy him, but Sora doesn’t believe him. Even if it tears apart his body, his heart will always remain strong. Angered at his words, Riku dawns a suit of dark armor and fires a ball of magic at him. The shot is blocked however by Goofy who declares that he can’t betray Sora despite the king’s orders to follow the key. Donald agrees and the two rejoin Sora who is moved by their display of friendship.
Riku remains unconvinced though and asks how Sora expects to fight without the Keyblade. Sora declares he doesn’t need the weapon and believes that his heart will protect him. Riku scoffs at the idea since Sora’s heart is too small to do any good. Sora agrees but with every new experience, every new friend he’s made, it’s grown. He’s a part of all their hearts just as they’re a part of his. This show of faith proves to the Keyblade that he should wield it, and it returns to his hands.
Angered, Riku finally engages Sora in an intense duel where Sora emerges victorious. Riku runs off, confused as to why the Keyblade left him. It’s then that a mysterious voice rings in his head, telling him that only a heart strong and true will win the Keyblade. Riku can’t believe that Sora’s heart is stronger than his own, but the voice promises that he can become even stronger. By stepping into darkness with no fear, Riku showed the power that he held. The voice turns out to be the man in the cloak that had spoken with Sora before Destiny Islands vanished. He advises Riku to delve deeper into the darkness until his being was filled with it. This in turn will cause his heart to grow even stronger.
Riku agrees to his terms and appears before Maleficent, his voice deeper and more menacing than before. The door to the darkness is beginning to stabilize and soon Heartless would flood Hollow Bastion. Using its immense power, Maleficent plans to conquer all worlds. Riku then summons a dark Keyblade and explains that the door can’t stabilize without Kairi’s heart. She is the final Princess of Heart. Maleficent then senses that Sora and his friends are on their way, but she decides to deal with them herself. Riku stays behind to guard the princesses, his body glowing with dark energy.
Maleficent uses all her magic to try to stop Sora, but the boy proves too powerful. Wounded, she retreats to Riku with Sora and the others close on her heals. They’re confused by his Keyblade, and he says that, unlike Sora’s, it has the power to unlock people’s hearts. He then turns it on Maleficent and forces her to surrender her heart to the darkness. She becomes drunk on the power and changes into her dragon form. The fight is much more difficult than before, but Sora manages to defeat the dragon. It collapses before burning away to nothing but ash.
Seeing Maleficent's demise, Riku returns and is bemused by the irony of the Heartless using her. All along, they had been slowly eating away at her heart, but she never noticed and paid the price. He beckons them deeper into the castle where Sora finds the unfinished portal and Kairi’s unconscious body. He runs to her, but Riku once again confirms that she lost her heart. Without it, the portal cannot be completed. It’s then that Sora realizes that Riku is not himself anymore. He begs the presence to give Riku back his heart but the being refuses. Instead, he reveals that Kairi’s heart has been inside Sora’s all along, safely tucked away thanks to Aqua’s spell.
The presence possessing Riku finally tells Sora that he is actually Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. He goes to strike Sora and steal Kairi’s heart, but Kairi’s voice alerts him and he blocks the blow. Sora swears to protect her heart and the two engage in a one-on-one duel that he manages to win. As Riku/Ansem reels from his wounds, Sora takes the opportunity to seal the portal which leads to this world's keyhole, but it fails. Without Kairi’s heart the door is still too unstable. Realizing that there is only one choice left to save Kairi, Sora takes the dark Keyblade and turns it on himself with one last smile. Meeting Sora’s heart destroys the Keyblade and returns the princesses stolen hearts back to their bodies at the cost of his own. Kairi tries to go to him, but he disappears into light at her touch. His friends call after him but he’s gone.
It’s at this moment that the true from of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, appears, having overtaken Riku’s body. Donald and Goofy try to protect Kairi as Ansem approaches, but he’s stopped by Riku, who is fighting for control of his own body. He uses the interruption to tell them to run as the Heartless are coming and the three of them take the opportunity. A lone Shadow Heartless watches as they run. It’s similar to the others yet acts differently. It follows after them but never attacks. It’s then that Kairi realizes that this Heartless is actually Sora. More Heartless appear and though Donald and Goofy try to hold them off, they swarm on Kairi. She hugs Sora’s Heartless swearing to protect him. The two are then covered in light as Sora regains his human body and heart. Sora thanks Kairi for saving him before they escape from Hollow Bastion.
Unknown to all of them, it’s at this point that a boy named Roxas and a girl named Naminé are created. What many in the world do not know is that when a person loses their heart to the Heartless, their hearts and bodies separate. The heart becomes the vessel for the Heartless and endlessly seeks more hearts, which create the bigger versions. The empty body then becomes a new monster known as a Nobody. However, only those with strong wills can maintain this form. There is also one other form of Nobody, a form that only comes into being with the strongest of wills. If that occurs then they can retain their human appearance though they still contain no heart. Even though they possess bodies, it’s as if they don’t exist.
~ * ~
Roxas was born because of Sora’s sacrifice and is able to maintain his human form due to Sora’s inherent strong will. However, because Sora was able to quickly return to his human form, Roxas has no memories of his past. Another strange aspect to him is that he doesn’t look like Sora, instead he has taken the form of Ventus, who has been residing within Sora’s heart all this time. He is found in a world known as Twilight Town by another Nobody named Xemnas, leader of a group of humanoid Nobodies called Organization XIII. Xemnas provides Roxas with his name (rearranging the letters in his original name and adding an ‘X’, like all members) and promises to provide him answers to his past if he joins the Organization. Nearly comatose from the ordeal of being created, Roxas agrees.
Naminé is also found by Organization XIII within Castle Oblivion, but she is vastly different from every other Nobody. She was also born when Sora used the dark keyblade to free his and Kairi’s hearts. Rather than just being the leftover body from her human form becoming a Heartless, Naminé was formed from Kairi’s heart and Sora’s body and soul. It is impossible for Kairi to become a Heartless because she is a Princess of Heart and therefore has no darkness within her. Because of this, Naminé also has no memories of her life as Kairi but has been granted extremely unique powers. The Organization has plans for these powers and keeps her locked away in the upper floors of Castle Oblivion.
~ * ~
Switching back to Sora’s struggle against Ansem, the group returns to Traverse Town where they explain to Leon everything that happened. With the portal still open, Heartless have been pouring into Hollow Bastion. Sora knows he needs to return to not only lock the door but save Riku. Before leaving, Sora and Kairi talk, and he vows to get their lost friend back. Kairi is unsure if anything will ever be the same between them, but Sora reminds her that it was her heart’s light that guided him back from the depths of darkness. Kairi begs him to take her along, but Sora can’t risk putting her in danger. He reminds her that their hearts will always be connected no matter where they are. She relents and gives him a star-shaped lucky charm (reminiscent of the Wayfinders that Aqua made for herself, Terra, and Ventus) that he has to give back to her one day. He promises to return to her.
In a world of nothing but darkness, Riku is struggling to hold onto his light. He wants to see Sora and Kairi at least one more time. It’s then that he hears a kind voice that tells him he will rescue him soon. The voice had been trying to talk to him all along, but his heart had been covered by darkness. Now, Riku has conquered the darkness in his heart, but he is too weakened to recover his body. Riku asks what he should do and the voice responds that two keys and two hearts are needed on each side of a certain door in order to close it. The voice believes that they can fulfill these conditions together. Riku is relieved at these words and goes off to meet this voice.
Before making their journey to Hollow Bastion, Sora and his friends discover that Pinocchio and Gepetto were able to safely escape Monstro’s body as well. They’re now living in a temporary house within Traverse Town. Happy that they’re both safe, they arrive in Hollow Bastion and meet up with Beast. He tells them that Belle and the other princesses are still inside of their own will for some unknown purpose. They meet the girls in the castle library. Belle tells them that the darkness within the portal is raging and their hearts are the only thing holding it back. But time is running out as the girls’ strength is waning. They also tell him that Ansem passed through the door with a delighted smile on his face.
In the same room they fought Maleficent’s dragon-form they are approached by a figure in a hooded black cloak. He remarks Sora’s similarity to Roxas though he never says the newly born Nobody’s name. When Sora demands to know what he’s talking about, the figure fires a stream of dark energy at the boy that is just barely deflected. Bemused, the figure (secretly Xemnas) points out that Sora is incomplete and desires to test his power in this state. A fight breaks out that pushes Sora to his limit, but he’s able to survive. However, Xemnas isn’t damaged at all and states that they will doubtlessly meet again. Sora again asks who he is, but Xemnas remains cryptic and states he is merely a shell.
Sora pushes the incident from his mind and reaches the portal. Before he can go through, he discovers that Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith have also come to Hollow Bastion and reveal that it was their childhood home. Though it is a mess now, it and all the other worlds that disappeared should be restored when Ansem is defeated. Taking their words to heart, Sora goes through the portal, finds Hollow Bastion’s keyhole, and locks it. The darkness is now cut off and begins to weaken. Thankful, the princesses of heart tell him that Hollow Bastion is now safe but a deeper darkness is growing elsewhere. This is likely where Ansem has gone. Once he is defeated, not only will the worlds be restored, but all the people of those worlds will be brought back immediately.
The final battle upon him, Sora reaches a point known only as the End of the World. It is a place where fragmented pieces of the other worlds have gathered and been encased in darkness. The Heartless are at their strongest here as it can be considered their home world. They push forward until their way is blocked by Chernabog (from Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain). Defeating the demon opens a path deeper into the world until they reach a final door. Opening it, Sora finds himself back on Destiny Islands.
However, as Ansem’s words echo throughout the world, pieces of the island gradually disappear until only the beachfront remains. They find Ansem on the shore, and he explains that it was Riku’s desperation to reach other worlds that opened his heart to darkness. Ansem’s body has completely overshadowed Riku’s by this point, and he exposits that since all things begin and end in darkness then that is the heart’s true desire. Sora denies that idea and claims that though hearts may be weak at times, they all contain a light deep within. A fight begins between the two, but Ansem runs off before Sora can finish him.
Destiny Islands begins to break apart as a massive Heartless appears. Sora is separated from Donald and Goofy and must fight it alone, but he prevails. Not giving the boy a chance to rest, Ansem immediately goes on the attack again. Sora is able to keep up with Xehanort’s Heartless and forces him back once again. Destiny Islands falls away until Sora, Donald, and Goofy are floating in a completely black void. Within this endless abyss is the door to darkness. Behind that door is the heart of all worlds: Kingdom Hearts. Ansem unleashes all of his power and transforms into a massive creature. However, Sora is able to pinpoint Ansem’s weakness in this form and, together with Donald and Goofy, defeat Ansem once and for all.
Dying, Xehanort’s Heartless begs Kingdom Hearts to fill him with the power of supreme darkness. The door to darkness begins to open and dark tendrils begin pouring through. But once again Sora declares that Kingdom Hearts is filled with light. At that moment, the tendrils disappear and Ansem is flooded with light from the source of all hearts. His body is finally destroyed, but the door to darkness remains open. Inside, blocking much of the light that Kingdom Hearts emanates are hordes of giant Heartless that begin to awaken. They have to close the door if the worlds are to be safe again.
But Sora, Donald, and Goofy can’t even make the door budge. All appears lost until Riku appears, back in control of his own body. He swears that together they can close the door though he appears on the opposite side. As Heartless prepare to attack Riku, King Mickey finally appears with a Keyblade in hand. He tells Sora that they have to close the door together, but Sora doesn’t want to trap them on that side. Mickey reassures him that there will always be a door to the light. Riku asks Sora to take care of Kairi as the door closes him in with King Mickey. Then, using their Keyblades in conjunction, Sora and Mickey seal the door to darkness.
The worlds begin to restore themselves themselves immediately, and Sora sees Kairi appear on a section of Destiny Islands. He cannot reach her though as he is pulled back into the land of the abyss. He promises once again to return to her, and she admits that she knows he will. Kairi can’t help but cry as the lights from all worlds begin to reform. It’s then that Destiny Islands returns to its former place and all the residents are restored to their proper homes. Lost in thoughts of Sora, Kairi visits their old secret place and sees the drawing of him giving her a paopu fruit. She then adds to the picture with her giving him one as well.
As the worlds pop back into existence, friends from all over reunite. Cloud returns to Hollow Bastion and meets up with Aerith, Pinocchio is able to become a real boy, and finally Jasmine and Aladdin kiss and become a couple. However, Sora finds himself in an endless green field with Donald and Goofy. They have no idea where they are with the only option to keep walking down the path they're on. Still, they are determined to find Riku and Mickey no matter how long it may take. It’s then that they encounter Pluto, who is holding onto a letter from King Mickey. They give chase with renewed hope of finding their friends again.
With the worlds safe from Xehanort's Heartless, things return to normal for everyone except the Organization. Days have passed and Roxas has gained more cognition since his creation. He is officially brought into the Organization as its 13th member. It is there that he is introduced to the other members of the group. Number 1 is Xemnas, Nobody of Xehanort though his name is derived from the stolen one of Ansem the Wise. He is also the leader of the Organization. Number 2 is Xigbar, Nobody of Braig, who helped Xehanort with his plans for Terra ten years ago. Number 3 is Xaldin, Nobody of Dilan, who was one of Ansem the Wise’s apprentices. Number 4 is Vexen, Nobody of Even and another of Ansem’s apprentices. Number 5 is Lexaeus, Nobody of Aeleus and former apprentice. Number 6 is Zexion, Nobody of Ienzo who was the last of Ansem’s apprentices. Number 7 is Saïx, Nobody of Isa, who Ventus met in Radiant Garden ten years ago. Number 8 is Axel, Nobody of Lea who became friends with Ventus through an impromptu duel. Numbers 9, 10, 11, and 12 are Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene respectively, and no one knows who they were when they were still human. The reason for the ‘X’ in each of their names is actually a sly callback by Xemnas to Xehanort’s goal of creating the “Kye”-blade which was represented by a curved ‘X’.
Roxas learns that Organization XIII’s goal is to call forth Kingdom Hearts and use its power to give them back their hearts. To do that, they hunt down the Heartless and destroy them in order to feed their captured hearts to Kingdom Hearts and draw it to their world. After the meeting, Roxas is called to the Realm of Darkness by Xemnas. Roxas still has no memories of his life as a human or why he is able to wield a Keyblade. Xemnas reveals to him that he met his human form not too long ago, and that they share a resemblance to one another. Roxas still cannot remember his human name until Xemnas tells him of Sora. If Roxas stays with the Organization and uses his Keyblade to harvest the stolen hearts of the Heartless, he will learn his purpose.
Roxas may not understand why he can wield the Keyblade, but it is because of his connection with Sora. Unknown to both him and Sora is the fact that they are incomplete without each other. However this link allows Roxas to experience real human emotions despite lacking a heart, something that no other Nobody can do. A week passes with Roxas still quiet and almost vacant, but Xemnas has called all of them to the meeting room known as the Round Room. It is an important occasion as the 14th member of the Organization, Xion, is introduced. Xion says nothing and doesn’t reveal what’s beneath the cloak, choosing instead to keep secret. The others observe this new recruit with varying degrees of interest, but Roxas finds himself intrigued.
The next day, Roxas is sent on his first mission with Axel acting as his guide. Using portals known as Dark Corridors, they travel to Twilight Town where Axel teaches Roxas mission basics. The two begin to bond as Roxas slowly comes out of his vacant state. To celebrate a job well done, Axel invites Roxas to the top of the giant clock tower in the center of town where they eat sea-salt ice cream. His next mission is with Marluxia who teaches him about combat and the Heartless. Throughout the mission, Marluxia displays a strange fascination with Keyblade and the things that can be done with its power. Roxas still doesn’t quite understand the concept of a heart or why Kingdom Hearts matters, but is thankful to finally have a purpose.
Over the next couple of days he is paired with Zexion, Larxene, Vexen, and Lexaeus. He learns a bit about each of their personalities as well as more about the Organization. All of them note his importance because of his Keyblade, but many view him with contempt for his seemingly slow-witted nature. With his grasp of his duty within the Organization becoming clearer, he is again paired with Axel. They complete the mission and talk about returning to base when three of the kids that live in town run by. There’s two boys, Hayner and Pence, and a young girl named Olette. Roxas is confused by their displays of friendship despite Axel attempts to describe it to him. He then suggests that they grab sea-salt ice cream together because they are friends as well. As they eat the ice cream together on top of the clock tower, Axel suggests they meet up there again after their next mission.
As the days pass, the other Organization members begin recognizing that Roxas has grown competent and less spaced out. He has even created a routine where after each mission, he and Axel watch the sunset in Twilight Town while eating ice cream. They rarely talk but enjoy each other’s company just the same. But after a couple days, Axel informs Roxas that he’s going to gone for a while. He, Marluxia, Larxene, Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion are all being sent on a special mission to Castle Oblivion, a secondary castle that belongs to the Organization in the world between worlds. The same castle that used to be the Land of Departure until Aqua hid the sleeping Ventus within it. Axel leaves to prepare while Roxas eats his ice cream alone. However, he finds the word “WINNER” on his popsicle stick. Not sure what it means, he tucks it away to ask Axel later.
Saïx meets Axel on the outer edge of their base with a message from Xemnas. He tells them that they have reason to believe that one or more of the Organization members going to Castle Oblivion intends to betray them. It’s his mission to discover who they are and eliminate them. Saïx leaves Axel and returns to the mission room where Roxas rushes in looking for Axel. Saïx tells him that he’s already left much to Roxas’s disappointment. He wanted to ask what he had won. It would have to wait until Axel’s return.
During all this time, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are still following the same endless path until reaching a crossroad. Since it’s dark, they decide to turn in for the night, but Sora is unable to sleep. He goes back to the crossroad where a figure in the Organization’s cloak suddenly appears before him. He tells Sora that there is something ahead that he needs but will need to lose something dear to him in order to obtain it. The figure disappears and Sora wakes his friends so that they can follow after him. They soon arrive at Castle Oblivion.
Sora enters the castle where he, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy all remark that they believe that King Mickey and Riku are somewhere in there. They know it can’t be mere coincidence and decide to check out the castle. It’s then that the cloaked figure appears before them. They try to defend themselves, remembering the earlier encounter at Hollow Bastion, with Donald attempting to use his magic but nothing happens. This new figure tells them that as soon as they entered the castle, they forgot every ability and spell that they had learned in the course of their previous adventure. Within Castle Oblivion, to lose is to find and to find is to lose. The figure then samples Sora’s memories and creates a set of playing cards. He gives one to Sora and tells him to use it to continue onward. By using cards marked with locations, they can open the doors within the castle which simultaneously transforms the rooms into those worlds. Taking the card in hand, Sora and his friends use it on the door and walk through.
At the same time, Riku is drifting through the darkness once more but is awoken by a mysterious voice. Riku asks where King Mickey has gone, but the voice says that only he is there. Continuing on, the voice lets on that he’s been watching Riku struggle with the darkness and knows that he was too weak to overcome it. He advises Riku to just go back to sleep since it will be easier on him. Riku rebukes him, and the voice instead presents him a card with a picture of Castle Oblivion. The voice warns him that since he has chosen not to sleep then he will undoubtedly reach a truth that brings little else but pain. Confident that he can overcome this trial, Riku takes the card and appears in the bottom floor of Castle Oblivion’s basement.
As Sora and his friends arrive on the other side of the door, they discover that they're in Traverse Town. Sora wonders how this is possible when the figure in the cloak appears once again to explain that it is merely an illusion culled from his memories. The door read the memories from the card and created Traverse Town based on that data. Cards control every aspect of Castle Oblivion. Not only does traveling from room to room require them, but fighting as well. The figure explains all this to Sora before providing one last bit of information. If Sora cannot master the cards then he will never be able to progress through the castle and discover what he lost. As the cloaked Nobody disappears, Jiminy states his distrust of everything that’s happening. Sora shrugs off his worries, confident that he can handle anything, and the group begins making its way through the recreated Traverse Town.
Riku has also been granted a set of cards with his memories though the deck is much more sparse. He slowly figures out how they work and is surprised to find himself in Maleficent’s castle in Hollow Bastion. Riku believes at first that he actually is in Hollow Bastion and was brought there while he was sleeping. The voice calls to him once again and explains that it is merely an illusion created from his memory. He provides Riku the same explanation of Castle Oblivion that Sora was given. Riku grasps the concept immediately and asks if he’ll be meeting people from his memories as well. The voice responds that ordinarily that would happen but offers no further explanation.
Sora quickly learns that not only are his memories of Traverse Town being recreated, but his memories of the Heartless. He has to fight them off as he travels from room to room and finds he’s having more difficulty since losing all of his magic and abilities. It’s then that Leon appears, telling him that he should be more careful when dealing with the Heartless. Sora is shocked to see him in Castle Oblivion, but Leon has no idea who Sora is. Sora questions how that's possible, and Leon tells him not to worry about it. The strange thing is that he uses Sora’s name even though Sora never provided it. They’re both surprised by this development until Yuffie appears and explains that this must be the strange aura that Aerith was sensing. However, she doesn’t remember Sora either except for his name. All of them are confused, but they set off to meet Aerith in the hope that she can explain what’s happening.
Riku seems to be all alone in the recreation of Hollow Bastion save for the scores of Heartless that come after him. He finds nothing of interest until stumbling upon the room Maleficent had given him when he had first joined her. The voice taunts him that the memory of receiving it must have been nice, but Riku wants to forget his time with the witch. Continuing his jibes, the voice notes how Riku had thrown away his friends, his home, everything, when he was offered the darkness, but at least he got a nice room. Riku’s tone is filled with contempt as he tells the voice to shut up before quickly moving on.
When Sora and Aerith meet, she is unsure of whether to greet a new friend or welcome the return of an old one. It seems the same thing that is affecting Leon and Yuffie is happening to her as well. As they try to figure this out, they learn that they also remember things that they’ve said to Sora. It’s like they know him but have no idea who he is. Aerith suggests that maybe their memories are coming from Sora. They don’t know him, but the memories in his heart are resonating with theirs and creating this familiarity. It’s then that Sora remembers what the cloaked figure said about his memories creating this illusion. Maybe that’s why his friends can’t remember him. Still confused as to why this is happening, he decides to explore the rest of Traverse Town in the hope of finding Riku.
But Riku is far below him, still completely alone. He finally calls out to the voice and asks why he hasn’t met anyone rom his memories. The voice asks in turn if he still wants to see his friends since he had cast them aside before. Riku tries to argue that he absolutely wants to see them again. But the voice reminds him that to reach the outside world from Destiny Islands, he passed through the door to darkness. He accepted darkness and pushed aside everything else he had ever cared about. Riku tells the voice that he also cast aside the darkness that he once accepted. The voice isn’t impressed, telling the boy that he has nothing to show for it and that his heart knows only how to throw things away. That is why he’s alone these halls of memories. His heart is hollow, save for the darkness that he couldn’t quite get rid of. Riku doesn’t believe him, but the voice merely laughs.
While exploring the rest of the recreated town, Sora is attacked by the same large Heartless that he, Donald, and Goofy had first fought together. He defeats it once again but sees no sign of Riku. Returning to the others, he tells them that Riku must be deeper within the castle. They all wish him good luck before leaving him to go through the next door, but Aerith hangs back. She tells him that since Traverse Town is but a figment of Sora’s memory then Yuffie, Leon, and herself must be too. Sora can’t believe this since she’s standing right in front of him, but Aerith knows that her theory is correct because she doesn’t remember the things that she should.
As a final warning, she tells Sora to be wary of his memories. These illusions may try to lead him astray, away from the things that really matter. Sora still doesn’t quite understand, but he promises to remember her words. Donald and Goofy call after him to hurry up and when he turns to respond, Aerith disappears. They ask what he was doing leaving Sora confused as to why they couldn't see him talking to Aerith. But Donald and Goofy say that she had left with the others and he was just standing there by himself. With that encounter, he understands what Aerith meant about illusions before leaving for the second floor.
Meanwhile, Riku finally comes across another person: Maleficent. She explains that she is merely a figment of his memory. Riku sarcastically responds that of all the people he could meet, it had to be her. The witch responds that he can only see others steeped in the same darkness that he was. People like her. Riku knows that he once clung to the darkness she once offered, but he has no intention of returning to it. If all he can see are beings of darkness then he will destroy them one by one. Maleficent responds that he himself should be on that list and Riku agrees. He hates the weak part of him that relied on the darkness. With that declaration, the two battle and Riku emerges victorious.
On the second floor, the cloaked figure approaches Sora again and asks how he enjoyed meeting his memories. Sora asks why he is bothering to show him an illusion. What do they actually want from him? The figure responds that it depends on what he has to give. The two are about to square off when another cloaked figure appears, Axel. He doesn’t bother covering his face with the hood and complains of boredom. The cloaked Organization member relents and allows Axel to handle things.
He immediately challenges Sora to a duel, commanding the Keyblade wielder not to die on him. Sora is able to hold him off despite his power. But Axel doesn't seem fazed at all. Instead he just disappears while leaving behind more location cards for the boy and his friends to use. As Sora picks them up, Axel appears again congratulating him for surviving his test. Before allowing Sora to move on, Axel advises him to follow his memories, trust what he remembers, and seek what he forgets to find someone special. He goes on to say that Sora has forgotten what he forgot and that he has to find the light in the darkness to remember. However, once he recovers these memories, he may not be the same person. Axel then disappears again, leaving Sora and his friends more confused than ever.
As Riku reaches the next floor, the voice asks why he continues to shun the darkness. Riku doesn’t bother answering, knowing that the voice has been listening in the entire time. The voice continues on, stating that darkness is Riku’s weapon and he needs the boy to accept it. Riku asks why and the voice finally reveals itself to be Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, and Xehanort's Heartless. Upon seeing him, Riku refuses to give in again and promises to fight him every step of the way. Riku tries to attack him, but he is easily thrown back. Ansem taunts him for his weakness even when he relied on darkness. He commands Riku to submit to him because that darkness is his only choice.
But he’s interrupted by the voice of King Mickey. He reassures Riku that he’s not alone and that the light will never abandon him as long as he believes. Strengthened by Mickey’s words, he and Ansem battle. Riku wins though Ansem is far from finished with him. He gives the boy world cards based on his memories, telling him to travel the worlds so he can finally understand the truth. No matter how long he runs toward the light, he’ll never escape the dark. Riku takes the challenge, confident that he’ll never again submit to the darkness.
Jiminy stops Sora as they continue through the castle. He’s concerned about what Axel said about Sora not being himself anymore. But Sora is confident that he’ll never change no matter what may happen. Jiminy just reminds him to be careful. Goofy then asks if Castle Oblivion reminds them of the other castle they were in. But Donald and Sora are surprised to find that they don’t remember what castle he's talking about. Even Goofy has trouble fully remembering it after a while. They wonder if Goofy is just making it up.
But as they continue to work their way through Castle Oblivion, he’s positive he didn’t make it up. He can't remember all the details though. Only that it was where Sora used a Keyblade to free Kairi’s heart and became a Heartless in the process. Sora remembers that happening but is surprised to learn it took place in a castle. They decide to check Jiminy’s journal and are shocked to discover that every page is now blank. Jiminy knows he didn’t lose the journal but can’t explain what happened to it.
On the upper floors of Castle Oblivion, Larxene and Axel are discussing Sora. She’s surprised by how intrigued Axel is by the Keyblade wielder. She hasn’t decided how impressed she should be though. Axel seems fixated on the fact that despite the fact that Sora became a Heartless, he was still able to hold onto his human feelings. The only other one to manage that feat was Ansem (or rather Xehanort). Larxene realizes that Axel is curious as to what makes Sora’s heart shine with such a brilliant light that it could overcome such a trial. He reminds her that the Organization exists to unlock the secrets of the heart.
Elsewhere, Lexaeus, Zexion, and Vexen are also discussing what’s been happening inside the castle. Zexion complains that the Organization used be the rope that bound them all together, but now it seems to be full of kinks. Vexen is outraged at his implication until Lexaeus tells him to forget it. Zexion has detected two scents within the basement floors of Castle Oblivion. One belonged to a convincing double of Maleficent that is now gone. The other is still a mystery to him though this person has a scent that's extremely similar to Xemnas. Vexen doesn’t believe him, but Zexion’s intuitions are never wrong. Rather than be too hasty, Lexaeus suggest that they wait and see what develops.
Sora and his friends have completed another floor of the castle, but they are still concerned about Jiminy’s journal. Sora wonders if its not just the journal missing things. It seems like their memories are fading as well. It’s as if certain events have completely disappeared. Jiminy then recalls what the hooded figure had said earlier. If they keep ascending the floors in Castle Oblivion then more memories will be lost to them. Sora and Donald wonder if they should turn back for fear of losing all their memories of their friends, but Goofy doesn’t believe that. They may forget events and places but never their friends. The proof is the fact that Sora didn’t forget them when he became a Heartless. Their spirits renewed, they push on to the next floor.
Riku has also been making his way through Castle Oblivion though he has not lost any of his memories. His rooms are still empty save for the beings of darkness. It’s like he can’t escape his mistakes with darkness even creeping into his senses. He's about to give into the sorrow of it all when the voice of King Mickey calls out to him again. The king is only able to send a little of his power to him, but it’s enough to project his image. He asks Riku not to lose hold of himself just because the darkness has a grip on him. There is always light within the darkness no matter how small. The proof is in when they closed the door. Despite the darkness of the Heartless all around them, the light of Kingdom Hearts still shined through. Riku promises to believe in the light while Mickey, in turn, promises to rescue him.
With another floor conquered, the trio of Sora, Donald, and Goofy discuss what memories they may have lost. It’s difficult to say since they’ve already forgotten them. But Sora is happy to know that he still hasn’t forgotten the good luck charm Kairi had given him before his final battle with Xehanort’s Heartless. He knows he’ll never forget her but wonders how she’s doing. Suddenly, he sees an image of Kairi that begins to flicker between her and a similar looking blonde girl. Sora wonders who the girl is before being snapped out of the trance by Donald and Goofy. Unknown to them, this same blonde girl is sadly drawing on a pad in the uppermost floor of Hollow Bastion. Later, Sora wonders again who the blonde girl was. It’s like she’s in his memories, but he can’t place where. He then wonders if it was someone else from his past. Her name is almost on the tip of his tongue, but he is unable to remember it. Frustrated, he continues on through the castle.
In the lower floors of Castle Oblivion, Zexion tells Vexen that he’s identified the scent of the one who smells like Ansem, Riku. Vexen is surprised at the news since it seemed that both Riku and King Mickey were lost on the other side of the Door to Darkness. Zexion believes Riku escaped because of his close ties with the darkness, which would also explain why he was unable to place his scent at first. Vexen is immediately intrigued by the prospect of someone bearing ties to both the Keyblade and the power of darkness. Zexion only wonders why Riku appeared in Castle Oblivion of all places. Vexen waves away any concern since the boy likely followed after Sora. He tells Zexion that Marluxia’s plans for Sora are already progressing. Naminé is already meddling with Sora’s heart. The two don’t seem to trust Marluxia but decide to let him continue on with his plans for now. In the meantime, Zexion and Vexen plan to capture Riku.
As he reaches the next floor, Sora finally remembers who the blonde girl is. She also lived on Destiny Islands and would always play with Sora, Riku, and Kairi. The others are surprised at this news since this is the first time Sora has ever mentioned her. He confesses that he had actually forgotten about her since she moved away when they were all still young. He does find it strange that even though he's been losing memories since coming to the castle, he's slowly regaining memories of this one particular girl. Her name is still beyond his reach though. Sora can't help but feel guilty that he had forgotten about her after all their talk about never forgetting their friends. But Goofy tells him that at least he's remembering her now. His spirits lifted, Sora heads for the next floor.
It’s then that Riku is confronted by Vexen. Riku immediately goes on guard and demands to know if he’s with Ansem. Vexen remains cryptic, saying he’s only half correct. He goes on to say that the Organization is neither light nor dark but the twilight in-between, just like Riku. Riku admits that he’s right about him but refuses to even think about joining them. They may not be full of darkness, but they’re still a part of it. Refusing to give into the darkness even a little, he battles with Vexen. The fight ends with a draw though Vexen feels more confident than ever that Riku should join them. His connection with the darkness is immense and provides just the kind of data that Vexen was seeking. The Nobody says a biting thanks before disappearing.
On the next floor, Donald asks Sora if he’s remembered anything more about the girl. Sora recounts how she was very quiet and always drew pictures in her pad. She would rarely join them in games since she was content to just draw the scene instead. Because she was so good, Sora and Riku would often fight over who she would draw next. Then one day, she just disappeared. Jiminy realizes that Sora is remembering some things as he forgets others. He wonders if these memories were buried deeper and that by losing other memories, these were brought to the forefront. Sora then realizes that this is what the man in the black robe had meant when they first entered Castle Oblivion. "To lose is to remember." They move on, curious as to what the rest of the castle will bring.
Lexaeus appears before Zexion to ask after Vexen. It appears that after battling Riku and obtaining his data, Vexen is planning to create some kind of replica. Lexaeus tells him that Marluxia's plans seem to be working. Sora's memories are already being shuffled by Naminé. They wonder how dangerous he’ll become if his plan succeeds. Larxene is just as untrustworthy and Axel’s nature makes it difficult to predict whose side he’s on. The two decide to continue observing further before making any plans with Vexen.
Meanwhile, Larxene and Axel watch as Sora grows more frustrated. All the memories related to this girl have come back to him but still no name. Larxene is pleased at the result, knowing that the new memories have taken root. Axel suggests another round with the Keyblade wielder in order to see, but Larxene demands that she be the one to play with him. Axel reminds her that they need him in one piece if they are to take over the Organization. Larxene is surprised to see that he is in on the coup and warns him not to get sloppy. After she leaves, Axel smirks knowing that he had tricked her into revealing this plan.
Riku is still working his way up from the basement floors when an identical version of himself appears before him. The only difference is that he wears the dark armor that he had donned when Ansem had taken over his body. This new Riku then tells him that he is a replica that Vexen created. He explains that they are the same in every way except that he isn’t afraid of the darkness. Riku is angered at the accusation, but his replica goes on, saying that the mere thought of embracing the dark again has him scared witless. But he fully embraces the darkness, believing that it has made him stronger than his original. The two duel, but Riku easily defeats his replica. The fake Riku runs off making the excuse that he’s still new. With time, he’ll become much stronger.
The replica Riku returns to Vexen, who asks how it felt to fight the original. His creation is still confident that he can defeat the original, but Vexen suggests that he meet another first. He’s not sure if the replica will have to kill Sora, but it may come to that should Marluxia really have plans to betray the Organization. Meanwhile, the real Riku is still searching for his fake when Ansem appears again. He tells him that this creation really is a model of what Riku should be like. Riku isn’t buying his ploy and believes that Ansem is trying to trick him into giving himself to the darkness to prove he isn’t afraid. Riku promises once again to never give in before moving on.
At the top of the next floor, Sora, Donald, and Goofy finally come face to face with Larxene. She talks about how it must feel good for Sora to remember his true memories and forget all the worthless ones he had built up. Still toying with him, Larxene lets on that she knows the girl from Sora’s memories. Sora then realizes that the girl must be in the castle itself. Larxene confirms his suspicions but claims that he has to fight through her to reach the girl. Without warning, she charges at Sora and forces him to drop Kairi’s lucky charm. But Sora no longer recognizes it. Larxene chastises him for forgetting when Sora finally remembers who gave it to him: Naminé . The new memories Naminé is providing him are taking hold.
The Nobody then goes to smash the charm, but Sora viciously protects it. He won’t let Larxene destroy something so precious to him. Larxene scoffs at his show of loyalty since he only just remembered the girl now. Sora doesn't care if that's the case and attacks her. They seemingly come to a draw with her still taunting him. Before disappearing, she hands him more cards so that he can continue on. Sora desperately searches for the Nobody, but she’s nowhere to be found. He absolutely hates her, and the fact that she was the one who helped him finally remember Naminé. He then rushes ahead, desperate to save his almost forgotten friend.
Larxene returns to Axel and is surprised to find Vexen there as well. He chastises her for losing the battle though she tries to play it off like she threw the fight. Axel and Vexen know better but drop the subject anyway. Axel then asks why Vexen has joined them on the upper floors of the castle. Vexen states that he is unconvinced as to why they’re going through all this trouble just for Sora. He wishes to experiment on the boy and see just what his true potential might be. Axel has no problem with this but knows that by experiment, Vexen means test his Riku replica on Sora. In order to help him with this plan, Axel hands over a card that contains Sora and Riku’s memories of Destiny Islands. With it and Naminé’s powers, they could make the replica Riku believe that he is the real one. The replica resists but the three Nobodies force him to go through with it.
When Sora reaches the next floor, he is shocked to find Riku waiting for him. He’s immediately standoffish and accuses Sora of forgetting all about him. Sora protests that he came to the castle in the first place hoping to find him. Riku doesn’t buy it and claims that Sora’s only here for Naminé now. He goes on to say that Naminé doesn’t even want to see Sora anymore because of what he did on the islands. Sora doesn’t understand, but Riku tells him to leave. When Sora refuses, the two duel with Sora winning once again. Riku immediately runs off before Sora can talk to him anymore. Saddened that his friend is still acting like this, Sora is cheered up by Jiminy's words. He believes that Riku merely forgot that he and Sora were friends.
Sora finds Riku on the next floor and declares that he’ll save both him and Naminé. Riku states that he doesn’t need saving, that Sora should have gone back to Destiny Islands to be with Kairi. Sora insists on Riku and Naminé coming with him, but Riku only wants to stay by Naminé's side. Sora suggests that they save her together, but Riku refuses and runs off yet again. After watching the chaos the girl's powers have wrought, Larxene decides to visit Naminé on the uppermost floor. She taunts the girl over her sadness and guilt at messing with Sora’s memories. It's then that Riku interrupts her and promises to protect Naminé from Sora, going so far to promise it on an exact replica of the good luck charm that Sora now believed Naminé gave him.
Naminé says nothing as Larxene expresses her amazement at how completely the Riku replicant has changed. She notes how nice of a touch it was to change a card into the keepsake. The more she sees Naminé's power, the more confident Larxene is that Sora will soon forget about Kairi completely. Naminé finally speaks and states that no matter how much she may change his memories, Sora will never forget Kairi. The memories she makes of herself will only make his feelings for her grow stronger. Larxene isn’t convinced and tells Naminé to continue the process of rewriting Sora’s memories.
Sora still can’t understand why Riku doesn’t want to join him when they both want the same goal. Donald reminds him that it will turn out fine since Sora, Riku, and a third person were always together. To his shock, Donald realizes he can’t remember the third person's name. Sora corrects him by saying it was himself, Riku, and Naminé. He has finally forgotten Kairi, replaced in his memories by the presence of Naminé. In a room above them, Larxene expresses concern since it seems like the Riku replica is disobeying them. Vexen defends his project and the two begin to argue until Marluxia appears. Marluxia tells him to clean up his mess, but Vexen is too appalled to move.
Marluxia is only number 11 while Vexen is number 4, but Marluxia shoots him down. Xemnas and the Organization entrusted Castle Oblivion to him so he was the one in control no matter what number he may be. Vexen grows even angrier as Marluxia declares the Riku replicant a failure. Marluxia threatens to inform Xemnas of this failure unless Vexen eliminates Sora. Vexen is confused by the request since all their plans revolved around the boy, but he leaves anyway. Axel comments that Vexen will really do it, but Marluxia says that they have no choice. He goes to Naminé, who is sitting in the corner and asks what she’ll do if her hero falls. After all, he did make a promise to her. She catches the hint as Sora finally reaches the tenth floor of Castle Oblivion.
Soon, Sora mentions his promise to Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy, and they are confused by this new bit of information. Sora tells them that he made a promise to Naminé when they were young that he’d always protect her. Somehow, he had forgotten it, but this was his chance to finally make it up to her. They continue on and come across Vexen. The Nobody claims that he was the one who reunited Sora with Riku (which is only half true). Angered at meeting the one who changed his friend, Sora and Vexen duel. Vexen is delighted at seeing Sora’s strength and claims to have delved deep in Sora’s memory, on the other side of his heart, while they fought. He reveals a new card and hands it to him, claiming that if they visit that card world, then they’ll be able to fight for real.
Watching the battle, Larxene discusses with Axel and Marluxia whether Vexen has truly lost his mind. By entering that world, Sora could discover his other side. It won’t be a problem if the boy doesn’t catch on, but if he does it could cause problems. Marluxia’s confident that Naminé will be able to fix any complications that may arise. He then sends Axel off to eliminate the traitor. Axel walks off, a smile on his face.
Sora arrives in the new card world and is surprised to find himself in a world he doesn’t recognize. Unknown to him, they are in a recreation of Twilight Town. The same world where Roxas was trained by the other Organization members. Jiminy comments that they’ve only visited places from Sora’s memories so how could this place be from Sora's memories when he has no recollection of it. They believe it means that Sora somehow forgot this town as part of Castle Oblivion’s trick and worry about how many memories they’ve lost since entering the castle. Sora still isn’t worried though and show’s the good luck charm that had been Kairi’s, but he now associated with Naminé. He tells them the story of how she gave it to him, but suddenly, in the recesses of his mind, Naminé apologizes for all she’s done to him. He hears her but doesn't understand what she means.
The real Riku has been working his way up from the basement floors all this time and realizes that there’s only one location card left. He wonders if this journey through the Castle will really rid himself of the darkness that still lies within him. Taking heart, he continues on as Sora, Donald, and Goofy explore Twilight Town. Unlike the other worlds, it is completely deserted. They find nothing of note until they arrive at a gated mansion. It’s then that Sora feels the familiarity of this place though he still has no memory of ever being here. Vexen finally appears, having listened in to Sora’s conversation. He asks which feels more real: the memories of Naminé or the familiarity with Twilight Town. Sora doesn’t hesitate and declares that Naminé is more real and the card world is nothing more than a trick. Vexen merely laughs at these words. He restates that this world is a memory from the other side of Sora’s heart. His heart remembers this place even though Sora’s mind does not. Sora remains defiant of Vexen’s clues and Vexen decides that Sora is not a true Keyblade master. He is a slave to twisted memories and deserves to be wiped from existence, just like his Riku replicant. Sora still believes that every word Vexen has said is a lie and charges at him.
Sora's defiance is so strong that Vexen is wounded from the battle. The Nobody realizes just how powerful Sora is, even when a slave to Naminé’s new memories. Sora demands that Vexen return Riku to normal, but he merely laughs. The only fate for that Riku is to fade into darkness. The same fate as Sora if he continues to be led by memories of Naminé. At the rate he's going, he’ll lose his heart and become nothing more than a pawn to Marluxia. Before he can explain any further, Axel appears and drives his weapon deep into Vexen’s back. Vexen begs for mercy, but Axel finishes him off. Sora is left shocked as Axel disappears.
The assassin returns to Marluxia, Larxene, and Naminé where he accuses Marluxia of using Vexen to gauge Sora’s strength. Larxene confirms this as well, saying that it was a test for Axel as well. They needed to be sure he was willing to kill a fellow member of the Organization. With Axel now a part of them, Larxene fully explains their intention to create a coup within the Organization. With Sora under their control thanks to Naminé, there’s no way Xemnas and the other members could stop them. Listening to these dark plans, Naminé can only express a silent sorrow for all she's done to Sora. Sora has left the recreated Twilight Town and returned to the white halls of Castle Oblivion. There, he’s surprised to find Riku who is still desperate to protect Namine from the pain that he believes Sora will bring her. Sora is confused as to why Riku still seems different despite Vexen’s death. He had hoped that would revert back to his old self. Riku tells him that Vexen never affected his heart and provides his reason for protecting Namine. It turns out to be the exact same story that Sora told to the others before. Every detail is the same even the promise to protect and the lucky charm that she gives him. The two are unsure of what this could mean, but Riku declares Sora’s charm a fake and the two duel once again. Sora wins this one as well and Riku runs off, dropping his charm in the process. Picking it up, Sora is shocked to see it transform into a simple card.
Axel approaches Namine and says that she’s the only person the Riku replica has left and that only she can stop this. She’s surprised at his words but believes it’s too late to do anything. He tells her it may not be time to give up yet and mentions that Marluxia isn’t around at the moment. Taking the hint, Namine runs off while Axel delights in the prospects of what may happen. One by one, he’s put all of the actors in place and can’t wait to see what the results may be. Donald and Goofy are attempting to figure out what’s going on and why Riku and Sora have the same exact memory. But Sora doesn’t care. His only thoughts are of Namine and saving her. He lashes out at Donald and Goofy when they resist causing Goofy to remark that Sora’s changed. Frustrated that they aren’t going along with him, Sora runs off alone.
Down in the lower levels, Zexion learns from Lexaeus that Vexen is dead. He finds it deplorable that Axel was the one to do it. Having members of the Organization strike each other down leaves a bad taste in his mouth. Lexaeus realizes that the bigger problem is Marluxia’s plan for Sora. If the boy is already stronger than Vexen, it’s likely he will prove difficult. Rather than trying to kill the boy, they decide that they’ll combat him by capturing Riku.
Above, Jiminy is trying to talk some sense into Sora but is snapped at for his trouble as well. He rushes through the next door and finds himself on Destiny Islands. While exploring, he discovers the version of Riku from his memories. This Riku asks if Sora is going to go see “her” when the island begins to quake. The island is breaking apart once again. Sora navigates the wreckage and finally discovers Namine. They’re relieved to see each other once again until Namine admits that she messed up. She was so desperate to see Sora after being alone for so long that she called out to his heart. Sora says that he doesn’t mind, but suddenly a second Namine appears.
Sora is confused at first, but the new Namine immediately says that the other is a fake. The fake agrees while the real one states that she isn't in anyone’s heart, especially not Sora’s. Sora doesn’t believe her because of his twisted memories, but Namine questions if it was really because of her that he came to Castle Oblivion in the first place. He shows her the good luck charm as proof. Namine waves it away and begs him to think of the person who is truly most special to him. He still believes it’s Namine at first but an image of Kairi finally breaks through. Sora can’t remember Kairi’s name, only that the image was familiar. He’s snapped out of it when he realizes that Namine’s disappeared.
He begins to search for her as the real Riku is confronted by Lexaeus. Like all the others he’s met, Lexaeus tells Riku to embrace the darkness in his heart, not fear it. Riku is adamant that he does not fear it and refuses to give in. At these words, Lexaeus attacks him seeking to either pull out his darkness or end Riku completely. The fight is an intense one that leaves both on their knees. Lexaeus is astounded by Riku’s power while Riku taunts the darkness. Lexaeus admits that he is dying from the wounds though the Organization is even greater than himself. He then falls and the darkness within him bursts forward and surrounds Riku. In this darkness, the voice of Ansem calls out to him again saying that the more Riku thinks of him, the closer his return draws. Ansem tries to take over Riku’s body, but he is saved by the words of King Mickey once again. He pulls Riku from the darkness but is nowhere to be found in Castle Oblivion. Riku realizes that the king is in his heart.
Sora’s search brings him to the next floor of Castle Oblivion where Namine is waiting for him. He reveals to her that she is not the most important person to him, but he can’t remember the name of the girl who is. Namine begins to explain that it’s her fault, but she is cut off by the Riku replica. He attacks Sora without warning, catching the Keyblade wielder off guard. As he is about to finish him off, Riku’s heart is attacked by Namine in an attempt to save Sora. He collapses to the ground as Larxene appears. She explains that in order to save Sora, Namine smashed Riku’s heart. She then reveals that this Riku is nothing more than a puppet created by Vexen.
Taking pleasure in Sora’s pain, Larxene goes on to reveal that Namine has the power to mess with memories. She can rearrange them as well as create brand new ones. Sora finally realizes all his memories of Namine are fake as Larxene tells him everything that occurred behind the scenes. That they had lured him to the castle to make him their puppet, and that Axel had ruined everything by letting Namine escape. Namine tries to protect Sora as Larxene approaches, but she is smacked away. Larxene taunts Sora’s concern for Namine, but he retorts that even if his memories are fake, he’s going to stay true to them and protect Namine. Larxene calls Sora an idiot and goes to attack but is blocked by Donald and Goofy.
Sora is amazed to see them there after what he had said before. They reassure him that they’ll always be friends no matter what. Together, they take on Larxene and defeat her. She throws curses at them as she fades into nothingness. Afterwards, they all greet Namine and she explains exactly what has been happening in Castle Oblivion. Little by little, she has been taking the memories in Sora’s heart and replacing them with false ones. It isn’t the castle that has this ability, it’s her. She was never Sora’s friend, she never lived on Destiny Islands, everything was a lie. She did all this because Marluxia had threatened to lock her in the castle forever if she didn’t, and she complied because of her loneliness. Jiminy asks if it’s possible to return their memories to normal, and she says she can if they reach the topmost floor. Unfortunately, they have to fight through Marluxia to reach it.
She begins to cry (something that other Nobodies are unable to do) and asks Sora’s forgiveness. He says he’s not happy with how she messed with his memories, but he can’t bring himself to blame her. Despite the fact that he knows the memories are fake, Sora wants to protect Namine and keep her happy. Namine is shocked at this kindness and the ease with which he, Donald, and Goofy can joke around. Determined to get their memories back, they head off to face Marluxia. However, as they battle their way through the final floor, Marluxia appears before Namine.
Zexion is disturbed at the loss of both Lexaeus and Vexen. He ponders what he should do when Axel appears before him. He reveals that Larxene is dead too because of Namine. Zexion believes Axel may be next, but Axel is content to let Sora think he beat him for good. Instead, he guesses that Marluxia will be the next to die. It’s poetic justice that Sora will likely be the one to take him down. Zexion realizes that they won’t be needing Riku anymore if Marluxia’s plans are finished. He asks for the data on Riku’s memories of Destiny Islands, choosing to take down the boy indirectly.
Axel then decides to return to Marluxia. He calls Axel a traitor and complains about how close they were to making Sora their slave until Namine was freed. Axel says that because of Marluxia’s and Larxene’s plans to overthrow the Organization with Namine and Sora, that he is actually the traitor. Marluxia questions how Axel could have killed Vexen if he wasn't with them, but the assassin reveals that he did it so they would trust him. The traitor realizes that Axel was sent there to spy on them from the start. Axel goes to attack Marluxia, but he brings out Namine as a shield. This doesn’t affect Axel though as he plans to just kill them both.
But Marluxia isn’t worried. He knows that Sora has appeared and heard Axel’s threat. Marluxia disappears with Namine as Axel tells Sora that he doesn’t want to fight. He isn’t given a choice though as the two square off. Sora wins the fight, and Axel is satisfied to see that the boy was worth saving from Marluxia. He runs off, not telling Sora any more. Sora then runs ahead to face off against Marluxia. Before Sora can do anything, Marluxia commands Namine to destroy Sora’s memories. From that empty shell, he’ll finally have his puppet, but Namine refuses after all that Sora has done for her.
Sora then surprises everyone by telling her to do what Marluxia says. He doesn’t want her hurt and knows that even without his memory, he can defeat the Nobody. Suddenly, the Riku replica appears and attacks Marluxia. He’s shocked at this development since Namine had destroyed his heart before. Riku explains that his heart and body may be fake, but the memories Namine had given him feel real and that’s all that matters. Marluxia scoffs at the idea though he has lost Namine as his hostage. With nothing to stop them, they attack Marluxia together and seemingly defeat him.
However, it turns out it was nothing more than an image Marluxia had created. Namine leads them to a door where his true being is held. Sora asks the Riku replica to keep her safe while he takes on Marluxia. His plans now completely ruined, Marluxia decides to end Sora once and for all and uses a massive contraption to do so. Sora is able to wear down the machine and destroys it along with Marluxia. The crash is so massive that the real Riku feels it in the floors below. Zexion appears before him and informs him that Sora just destroyed the keeper of Castle Oblivion. Riku is shocked to hear that Sora is there as well, but Zexion wonders if he can even face Sora with Ansem’s Shadow still entrenched in his heart. Before leaving, Zexion gives Riku the card for Destiny Islands where he says Riku will discover the truth.
Riku is surprised to discover how homesick he feels as he wanders through the recreation. For the first time since arriving in the castle, he finally finds the friends he once had. But each time he tries to talk to them, they vanish. When the same thing happens to Kairi, Riku can only sulk. Zexion appears again stating that his friends’ disappearances prove that Riku only has dark memories left in his heart. Riku contests the claim but as if to underscore how he threw everything away, Zexion brings him to a recreation of the islands’ destruction. It was because of Riku’s selfishness and desire to leave the islands that everything was destroyed.
While Riku deals with the guilt of his past actions, Sora reunites with Namine and the Riku replica. The replica is still trying to deal with the fact that he is nothing more than a fake. They ask if Namine can return him to normal, but her powers don’t work like that. The replica thanks Sora for his kind words and walks away from the group without another word.
It’s then that the real Riku is attacked by a recreation of Sora. Riku holds him off, asking why he wants to fight. This Sora claims it’s because Riku’s heart is filled with darkness. As Sora attacks him again, Riku feels himself fading in the brilliance of Sora’s light. But he’s saved by memories of Kairi. She reassures him that no power can defeat him, not light nor dark. Riku should stop running from the light and fearing the darkness since both together will make him stronger. Then, finally, he can reunite with the friends he misses so much. Riku uses his powers of darkness to pierce the light and strike at this Sora. Sora flies back and reveals himself to actually be Zexion, who is shocked that Riku was able to find him in the light.
Riku tells him that by using the darkness, he was able to find Zexion. Zexion is amused that Riku ended up using these powers after all his protestations. But his words don’t affect Riku anymore. He knows who he is. Zexion runs off before Riku can make the killing blow. He's still shocked by the boy’s power since, up to this point, no one has used the darkness in conjunction with the light. He turns to find Axel and the Riku replicant watching him. Axel tells the replicant that he could become his own person in time and defeating Zexion was as good a place as any. Zexion can’t believe Axel’s words, but the assassin says that saving him doesn’t seem half as entertaining as watching Sora and Riku. The replicant kills Zexion and absorbs his power without question.
With Marluxia gone, Sora, Donald and Goofy ask Namine if she can now fix their memories. She explains that memories are like a chain and that she never destroyed them, merely took apart the links and rearranged them. But the process is going to be complicated since she has to undo the links that she added and then reconnect the ones that they lost. Jiminy then realizes that if she does that, they’ll forget everything that happened in Castle Oblivion. Namine agrees and says its the only way to restore them. Sora asks her to go ahead with the process so that he can remember all he’d lost. Namine agrees but is saddened at the decision.
Riku is almost out of the Castle’s basement floors when the voice of Ansem calls out to him once again. He’s delighted that Riku finally let the darkness in. Despite his words, Riku argues that the darkness no longer controls him. To demonstrate how wrong he is, Ansem lifts Riku’s body into the air. The deeper darkness takes hold, the stronger Ansem becomes. It’s then that Mickey finally arrives and breaks Ansem’s hold on Riku. He checks to see if Mickey is really real before collapsing on the ground. After being alone for so long, it’s a relief to finally be with a friend. He asks Mickey how he found him and the king shows him a card that had come to him in the Realm of Darkness. When he took hold of it, it led him to Castle Oblivion and Riku.
Namine leads Sora and his friends to a set of massive pods where they’ll have to sleep while she restores their memories. She warns that it may take a while, but she’ll be sure to return them to normal as quickly as she can. They still feel bad that they’ll forget Naimine in the process, but Jiminy makes a note in his journal to “Thank Namine.” Sora gets ready to enter the pod and tells her that he’s happy to have met her. He then promises to find her again someday. That way they can be friends for real. As he enters the pod Namine tells him that if he can remember Kairi, the light in his heart, then all the loose chains in his heart will come to that light. He looks at his good luck charm one last time and finally remembers her name. With a smile on his face, the pod closes upon him.
Using the card that Mickey found, Riku finds himself in Twilight Town’s recreation but with no sign of the king. Instead, Ansem appears and tells him that the king is gone until they settle things one on one. But Riku doesn’t raise his blade. He’s finally realized that this Ansem is different from the one in his heart. The one in his heart is completely foul, but the one before him has a quality that he doesn’t quite recognize. He finally puts things together and realizes that he’s the one who really guided him to Castle Oblivion. The voice that had started everything. All so Riku could face the darkness. Ansem admits that he is correct and changes his form to that of DiZ (the original Ansem the Wise).
He tells Riku that he’s been watching him all this time and Riku asks to what purpose. DiZ responds that it is because Riku is special. He is one that walks between the light and the dark, upon the path of twilight. He wants Riku to meet Namine before making a decision. He disappears, leaving Riku to explore the rest of Twilight Town. When Riku discovers the large gate in front of a mansion, his replicant reappears again. He has been consumed by anger that absorbing Zexion’s power has done nothing to change him. He figures that by destroying the real Riku, he won’t be a fake anymore. He is outclassed though and the real Riku mortally wounds him. As the fake begins to fade from his existence, he wonders what will happen to him since his emotions and heart are probably fake too. Riku doesn’t know how to comfort the replicant as he disappears completely.
With this victory, he has finally escaped the basement of Castle Oblivion and easily makes his way to the topmost floor where he finds Namine. Riku immediately realizes that the vision of Kairi he saw when trapped by Zexion was actually Namine in disguise. She then takes him to a nearby pod where he sees Sora sleeping. At the sight of his confusion, Namine tells Riku everything that had happened to Sora and his friends. It’s then that she tells him about the decision he must make.
In his heart is darkness and in that darkness is the remnants of Ansem. Riku has been able to keep him at bay for now, but when he does eventually awaken, he’ll fully conquer Riku’s heart and body. She offers to seal the darkness off from his heart to protect him forever, but it would cost him all the memories of his past. After thinking about the times he had with Sora, Riku decides to forego the lock. When Ansem does awaken, he’ll just finish him off once and for all. Namine is surprised by the decision, but Riku isn’t worried. He asks her to look after Sora before taking his leave.
He finds Mickey waiting for him in the hallway. The king and DiZ have been talking about Riku’s decision. Mickey says that he feels like he’s met DiZ before but doesn’t know when. Ansem the Wise has still not revealed his true identity as their mysterious new ally. He remains aloof when Riku asks for his identity but commends the boy for choosing to face Ansem. DiZ then gives him a card that will draw the darkness from his heart, allowing him to fight Ansem. Mickey offers to help in the fight, but Riku knows he has to face him alone.
It isn’t long before Riku finds Ansem. The remnant of Xehanort’s Heartless is confused as to why the boy has accepted darkness but still refuses his influence. Riku says its just because Ansem stinks. Ansem calls him a fool for throwing his offer away since he was conquered once already. Riku remembers that he used all of Ansem’s darkness to fight Sora and still lost; he’s not impressed. The two finally face off and Riku is able to emerge the victor. As the final blow strikes him, Ansem notes that while the bulk of his darkness may be destroyed, a part of him still lingers in Riku’s heart. Riku ignores the comment and returns to Mickey.
With everything in Castle Oblivion wrapped up, Mickey asks Riku what he’ll do next. Riku knows he can’t go home until Ansem is completely gone. His presence may be faint, but it’s there. Mickey tells him not to worry. Up until now, he thought that all darkness was bad. But seeing Riku conquer the darkness as well as the light has changed his mind. The way the two sides intermingle in him is wholly unique. Mickey wants to join Riku on his journey to see where this new idea leads. Riku accepts and, now donning the black robes of the Organization, leaves Castle Oblivion. They come to a crossroads where DiZ is waiting. He asks Riku if he will take the road to light or the one to darkness. Riku doesn’t hesitate before saying, “Neither.” He will take the middle road. DiZ asks if he means the twilit road to nightfall. Riku corrects him once again. He is taking the road to dawn.
With Sora, Donald, and Goofy asleep, Riku joining Mickey and DiZ, and all the Organization XIII members at Castle Oblivion dead save for Axel, the story returns to Roxas. While Axel and the others were gone, he was sent out on missions with Xion, who still insists on staying hidden beneath the Organization's cloak. Number 14 also stays silent, never once saying a word to Roxas. He still goes to the clock tower every day to eat ice cream while waiting for Axel's return. As he and Xion work together, his partner begins to open up by saying Roxas’s name. It’s a start, but Xion has still yet to remove the hood.
However, on their third day working together, Xion finally lowers her hood and reveals that she is a girl. They set out on their mission to defeat a large Heartless, but Roxas is disarmed during the fight. His Keyblade slides over to Xion who picks it up and uses it to defeat the Heartless. To celebrate their victory, Roxas brings her to the clock tower, and they share sea-salt ice cream together. Roxas and Xion have their first full conversation, and they promise to have ice cream with Axel as well when he returns. When that happens then all three of them can be friends.
Roxas arrives in the briefing room the next day to find Xigbar and Demyx talking. Xigbar tells him that at least one of the Organization members sent to Castle Oblivion was killed. He tries to get more information out of Saïx to see if Axel was one of the members lost but is instead sent to Agrabah with Xigbar. Worried about Axel, Roxas has trouble concentrating on the task at hand. But Xigbar expresses no remorse at the thought of his comrades dead and makes light of it. Still, they work together to complete their reconnaissance mission and discover that the city has been hit by several strong sandstorms recently. Much of Agrabah has been damaged though the city has been working hard to keep things from falling apart. Confirming their theory, they discover Aladdin and Jasmine discussing the recovery effort and the fact that Genie has been gone for some time.
As they go to leave Agrabah, Roxas collapses and sees a vision of Naminé. He’s brought back to his room where he lies comatose. Xemnas and Saïx visit him, knowing that Naminé has begun her work of messing with Sora’s memories while he travels through Castle Oblivion. Once she strips all of his memories, Roxas will finally reawaken. In the meantime, they plan to continue collecting hearts with Xion’s Keyblade. They reveal that they had always intended for the girl to gain control over it. Xemnas also asks Saïx if the Chamber of Waking (which contains the sleeping Ventus) has been found yet, but no progress has been made. Before leaving, he comments that Roxas has once again been taken away by sleep.
Three weeks pass and Roxas is still asleep, but Xion has been visiting him every day. She talks to him at his bedside, telling him about the new worlds that she has visited and leaving behind a seashell for each day that he’s been asleep. But the next day, Roxas finally awakens with a vision of Sora entering the pod in Castle Oblivion and the voice of Kairi ringing in his ears. He goes to the briefing room to find it empty and decides to spend the rest of the day at Twilight Town’s clock tower. He’s discovered there by Xion, who’s shocked to see him awake. She sits down with him and gives him another seashell, telling him to hold it to his ear. He does so, hearing the ocean but also seeing a scene of Sora and Kairi watching the sunset on Destiny Islands. It’s a familiar feeling, but he doesn’t understand where these memories are coming from.
Roxas’s missions begin again the next day though the first thing he asks is the fate of those who went to Castle Oblivion. Saïx informs him that every member who went to the Castle was wiped out. Roxas tries to find out more details, but Saïx just tells him to get to work. He arrives in Agrabah to find Aladdin and Jasmine discussing a pattern they have been noticing. Right before a sandstorm hits, the Heartless always appear. They’re worried, but there’s little they can do about it at the moment. As Roxas watches them, he gets a strange feeling that he’s seen them before. He goes to his clock tower after his mission in the vain hope that Axel will be there, but there’s no sign of his friend.
Weeks pass with no sign of Axel. Roxas has been forced to take on missions alone due to the loss of half of the Organization’s manpower. He’s barely said anything to anyone, instead feeling a strange lump in his throat. But Xigbar is still giving him a hard time for even caring. It’s with his hope almost fully gone that Axel suddenly appears, still very much alive. Roxas is absolutely surprised, but Axel brushes it off that only the weak ones were killed. He tells Axel how worried he’s been though that should be impossible since they’re Nobodies. In the end, the two have ice cream together just like the old days.
While they eat, Axel tells him he was gone for so long because he had to sort out his thoughts. Roxas nods at this and tells him that he started bringing Xion to their spot since he had left. Axel is surprised to see that Xion’s opened up so much while he’s been gone and that she and Roxas have become friends. When Axel returns to the base, he’s immediately confronted by Saïx. He asks how Naminé got free, but Axel plays it off like he doesn't know. Saïx asks after Ventus’s chamber, but it still hasn't been found. Axel then commends Saïx for rooting out all the traitors before the mission though he reveals that he was the one who took care of Zexion. Saïx isn’t surprised since he’s the one who ordered him killed.
The next day finds Roxas and Axel paired up for a mission once again. They arrive in Agrabah and spot Pete, former resident of Disney Town, looking around for something. It appears he’s searching for a magic lamp in the hope of getting his wishes granted. Axel immediately wants to start following Pete instead of doing the mission. Roxas tries to protest but gives in when Axel mentions that following suspicious characters is also part of the job. They tail him until he arrives at the Cave of Wonders but lose track of him inside. Axel suggests they give up on following him for now and finish their mission.
At their usual spot, Axel mentions that Roxas is far more outgoing now. Roxas thinks Axel is different too, and his friend mentions that it’s because he met someone. Roxas has no idea that Axel is referring to his meeting with Sora, but shrugs it off. He keeps an eye out for Xion to arrive, but there’s no sign of her. She’s still missing the next day, and no one has seen any sign of her in ten days. Axel offers to ask Saïx about her and see if he knows where she has disappeared to.
While Axel looks into that, Roxas is sent to Beast’s Castle (land of Beauty and the Beast) for his next mission. Upon entering the world, Roxas immediately hears the roar of the Beast and decides to investigate. He finds a secret entrance into the castle entryway where he’s confronted by his target Heartless. Thinking that the roar he heard before came from the Heartless, Roxas goes to leave before hearing it again. Rather than exploring further, he decides to go meet up with Axel at the clock tower. But there’s no sign either Axel or Xion there.
He runs into Axel the next morning and is informed that Xion was sent out on a mission but never returned. Roxas is worried about why her mission is taking so long but is thrilled when Axel reveals that today their mission is to track her down. While investigating around Twilight Town, they overhear Hayner and Olette, two of the local kids, talking about strange occurrences within the town. It turns out that it was just a list of local mysteries that were being compiled by Pence, Hayner and Olette's friend. All of them sound spooky but are easily explained away except one. Axel and Roxas decide to check out this last one that is located in the forest outside of town. There they discover a large Heartless camouflaging itself amongst the trees. During the battle, Xion appears and is surprised to see Roxas suddenly there but is struck by the Heartless because of the distraction.
Axel and Roxas finish off the Heartless, and Roxas rushes to Xion’s side. She’s fine, if a little dazed. They all decide to return to the clock tower in order to recuperate and hear why Xion’s been gone for so long. Strangely, Xion’s hood appears to be on while Axel looks at her but is off when Roxas sees her. The two don’t notice this though as Xion explains that she cannot summon her Keyblade anymore. That’s why she couldn’t defeat the Heartless in the forest. The situation makes her worry about her position within the Organization since, without her Keyblade, she is essentially useless to them. To save her, they decide that she and Roxas should always go on missions together so Roxas can pull double duty with his Keyblade. Roxas is all for this plan, and Xion hesitantly agrees to it.
Axel’s help prompts Xion to ask if they’re friends now as well. He says they are which causes Xion’s hood to now be lowered in his eyes. He’s surprised to see her similarity to Naminé. He doesn't say anything though and joins in with Roxas’s and Xion’s laughter. The next day the two of them are able to convince Saïx to let them do missions together despite the fact that the Organization is shorthanded. Their first mission together is further exploring the Cave of Wonders. During their search, they’re found by Pete who accuses them of trying to find the magic lamp. Roxas tries to explain that they don’t know what he’s talking about, but Pete attacks them anyway. They defeat him but the battle causes a cave-in, forcing all three of them to escape the cave.
Roxas and Xion end up lost in the middle of the desert but are found by Genie and the Magic Carpet. A memory of Sora meeting the two flashes through Roxas’s mind though he ignores it for now. Genie explains that he was on his way back to Agrabah when the Magic Carpet suddenly raced off, saying it saw a friend. It had mistaken Roxas for Sora though Roxas doesn't know why. Genie has no idea who Roxas is but doesn't concern himself about it. Instead, he explains that he’s off to see his friend Aladdin after being away for so long. The two tell Genie about the sandstorms hitting Agrabah and how Aladdin says the city shouldn't rely on Genie’s magic. Genie decides to adhere to Aladdin’s wishes but still gets rid of an incoming sandstorm. While he is distracted, Roxas and Xion sneak away.
At the clock tower, Axel asks the two how their mission went. They tell him about all the people they met in Agrabah and discuss what it means for friends to be inseparable. Axel explains that even if friends are apart they are still friends because of the bond they made. It’s difficult for him to put into words since he has no heart. The next mission brings Roxas and Xion back to Beast’s Castle. Roxas tells her about the roar he heard before, and they wonder if they’ll find out what was making the sound. While exploring, they hear the voices of Lumiere and Cogsworth talking about how their master didn't want to leave his room. The two don’t understand how a candle and a clock can talk but are curious as to who they mean by Master.
They sneak past Lumiere and Cogsworth and find themselves at a large door. Just as they wonder if is is the Master’s room, a loud roar erupts from behind it. Roxas sneaks a peek inside the room and finds it in complete disarray. Standing in the center is the Beast, who is staring at a rose under a glass case. He is furious that Belle has refused to join him for dinner, but Roxas is just confused that this beast is the master of the castle. They decide to take all this information back to Saïx. Days pass without incident until Xemnas summons all of the Organization members to a great balcony. He reveals to them a heart-shaped moon hanging in the sky. All of their hard work has finally made Kingdom Hearts appear. Though it is not yet complete, Kingdom Hearts will eventually grant them power over the human heart rather than being subservient to it like the humans.
The thought sticks with Roxas as he and Xion go to their next mission. It brings them back to Beast’s Castle where Lumiere is still fretting over the Beast and Belle forgiving one another. He decides to go see Belle hoping that she’ll be the one to take the first step. Roxas and Xion are curious as to what is going on but decide to continue with their mission instead. They find the Heartless they’re after, but it’s suddenly dispatched by the Beast. Roxas is impressed by his strength but notes the oddity of the master of the castle fighting the Heartless since the Organization’s master, Xemnas, only issues orders. Xion wonders if it’s because the Beast has something he wants to protect. The two decide to call it a day and head off to meet with Axel.
They talk about Kingdom Hearts and the possibilities it may bring. But Roxas isn't so sure about it. He doesn't understand why having a heart is important at all or whether it’s worth fighting all of the Heartless. Axel explains that they’re fighting to find out exactly why it’s so important. Roxas is still unsure but agrees with Axel anyway. As time passes, Xion begins to worry about how much longer they can keep fooling everyone else about her lack of a Keyblade. Roxas isn’t too worried, but Axel knows it’s only a matter of time before someone finds out.
There’s nothing they can do about it at the moment though so they continue talking about other things. It’s then that Axel says that he can still remember things from before he was a Nobody. This is disheartening to Roxas and Xion since neither of them can remember their lives as humans. Roxas asks Axel what he was like as a human, but Axel just shrugs it off and says he was pretty much the same. Roxas then says that he can’t even remember anything from his first week as a Nobody. Xion admits that she’s the same, and the two of them wonder what kind of people they were like before. Axel, knowing the answer, says nothing. At the same time, unknown to everyone within the Organization, Naminé and DiZ have left Castle Oblivion and brought Sora, Donald, and Goofy's pods inside the abandoned mansion in Twilight Town.
The next day, Roxas and Xion are met with bad news as Saïx informs them that they’ll have to separate in order to take down two major Heartless monsters that appeared in two different worlds. They try to argue, but it’s the interruption by Axel that allows them to stick together. He explains that one of the monsters is way too tough for Roxas and that he’ll soften it up so they can finish it off another day. Saïx relents but states that starting tomorrow, they’ll be working solo again. As Numbers 13 and 14 leave, Saïx turns to Axel and tells him that he knows he’s hiding something. Axel plays stupid and rushes off to Agrabah.
Xion is immediately worried about what she’ll do starting tomorrow. She desperately tries to summon her Keyblade, but it refuses to materialize. Roxas decides to lend her his Keyblade which she can fortunately still control. It’s Roxas’s hope that using it for the day will allow her to remember how to summon her own Keyblade. Their mission brings them to Beast’s Castle again where they come across Cogsworth. He’s fretting to himself that because of the constant Heartless attacks on the castle, that the Beast has been unable to talk to Belle for days. Roxas and Xion wonder why all the servants are in such a rush for Belle and the Beast to make up but continue on their mission without dwelling on it.
After defeating a particularly large Heartless, Xion returns Roxas’s Keyblade. She attempts to summon her own and is delighted to see it manifest in her hands. They rush off to Twilight Town to inform Axel. Xion thanks the both of them for all their help, but Axel doesn't want to take any of the credit. They continue to pour praise on him, and he finally says he’ll take a sea-salt ice cream as reward. As they eat together, Roxas and Xion hope that they can make these days last forever. Axel says that probably isn’t possible, but they’ll still have each other even if things change.
Roxas's next mission brings him to Agrabah where he sees Aladdin and Jasmine talking about how a sandstorm somehow just disappeared. Things are starting to look up for the city though there are still Heartless all around. Roxas leaves them to track down the Heartless that Axel had weakened for him the day before. It's still a tough fight but Roxas takes it down regardless. When Roxas returns to the city, he finds Aladdin wondering why the Heartless's numbers are gradually decreasing. Genie comes across Roxas and thanks him for helping Aladdin protect the city. The genie leaves without saying goodbye to Aladdin, satisfied that he kept his friend safe.
Days pass with Roxas and Xion continuing their missions, but things are taking shape in the background of the Organization. Saïx approaches Axel and demands to know what Xion has been doing. Axel refuses to answer and tells Saïx to just leave him out of it. Instead, Saïx tells Axel that he has to return to Castle Oblivion since they still haven’t discovered all of its secrets, specifically the Chamber of Waking that Ventus is hidden in. Axel says that they've turned the place inside out without any luck. If they haven't found it by now, he wonders if they ever will. In order to give Axel more incentive Saïx reveals that, like Naminé, Xion also began life as a Nobody in Castle Oblivion. Axel is intrigued but doesn't fully relent. He knows the reason Saïx wants to find the Chamber. With it, they could unveil Xemnas’s true agenda.
Saïx relents and says that the Chamber of Waking is directly related to Xemnas’s own chamber, the Chamber of Repose, though he doesn't know what their true link is. What he does know is that Xemnas is keeping something from them, and the Chamber of Waking is the key to those answers. With that information, Saïx and Axel could gain the upper hand over Xemnas for their own personal reasons. Axel then reveals that he understands why Saïx had him assassinate Vexen and Zexion in Castle Oblivion. It killed two birds with one stone: Zexion was close to uncovering Saïx's own plans of betrayal and it secured Saïx's position as the second-in-command. However, Axel warns his old friend to be careful with his plans for power. Saïx leaves Axel with a reminder that the mission to Castle Oblivion will come soon.
Roxas’s next mission finds him paired with Xigbar as they travel to a brand new world, Olympus Coliseum. He is soon discovered by Phil, who mistakes him as a trainee. Roxas tries to explain that he isn't one, but Phil doesn't listen and Xigbar has disappeared. Phil tells him to show up for training and, as soon as he is gone, Xigbar reappears. He throws jibes at Roxas for getting roped into the training but admits that it works out since Roxas won't have to sneak around anymore. He leaves to let Roxas take care of the mission on his own. After investigating the surrounding area, he meets with Phil to do a round of training.
After the training, Phil reveals that the reason they’re looking for trainees is because they are currently understaffed. With Hercules participating in the current round of tournaments while also holding back the Heartless, it leaves little time for the hero to do much else. Roxas is intrigued by the tournaments and asks if he can join, but Phil refuses to even consider it until after Roxas has trained more. The denial triggers a memory of Sora also getting talked down to by Phil. Roxas decides he wants to continue with Phil’s training so he can eventually enter the tournaments.
Xion and Axel are already at the clock tower eating ice cream. They wonder where Roxas is but eventually begin talking of their pasts again. Xion tells him that when she sits there with the two of them, she gets a strange feeling that she used to watch sunsets with someone else. Being near the ocean also gives her this feeling, which is why she started to collect seashells. She wonders if they’re memories, but they don’t feel like they belong to her. Xion asks Axel about his memories, but he seems almost bitter about them, not saying anything.
When Roxas arrives in the briefing room the next day, he finds it empty save for a notice saying that everyone has a vacation day. He’s not sure what this means so he tries to find someone who does. Axel is the first he finds, and he explains that Roxas can do whatever he likes. Roxas is still unsure and asks what Axel will do for his vacation. But his friend just plans to sleep all day. Still confused as to what he should do, he next comes across Xion. She plans to spend the day practicing with her Keyblade and offers Roxas to join her. He declines, deciding he’d rather grab some ice cream.
Upon arriving in Twilight Town, he comes across Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Pence recognizes him from when he was searching for Xion and introduces him to the other children. Hayner immediately challenges him to a game where they try to keep a ball up in the air. Roxas accepts and manages to impress the other kids.They offer him to hang out with them, but he declines. They all agree to meet up again soon though. Roxas goes to his special spot where he is soon joined by Axel and Xion. They spend the rest of the day just laughing and talking with each other. But as the day draws to a close, Axel tells them that he’s going on a classified mission for a few day and won’t be around. They’ll miss him but know they’ll be reunited soon enough.
As Axel prepares to leave for his mission, he’s stopped by Saïx. He accuses Axel of growing too attached to Roxas and Xion, and that he’s changed because of them. Axel says nothing as Saïx finally leaves him alone. Roxas’s mission brings him back to Beast’s Castle with Xaldin, who immediately shows contempt for the Beast, thinking of him as nothing more than a monster. But he does believe that he was turned into one because of a spell. As they continue on their mission, they come across Cogsworth, who is complaining that the Beast still hasn’t found time to make up with Belle because of the constant Heartless attacks. If it continues any longer then they’ll run out of time. Xaldin tells Roxas that the spell that cursed everyone in the castle must have some kind of time limit.
They continue searching the castle and finally come across a room containing Belle. Sneaking a peek, they hear the young woman wishing there was a way she could help Beast with the Heartless. Xaldin is intrigued by her but wishes to see the Beast. Roxas takes him to his chambers where he discovers that Beast is nowhere to be found. Xaldin sees the rose in the center of the room and becomes interested. Upon closer inspection, he realizes that there is a power within it and that it must be precious to the Beast. He theorizes that the Heartless are being drawn to the castle because of the power of the rose. Satisfied with his discovery, Xaldin suggests they depart.
Weeks pass with no word from Axel though there’s rumors floating around of an impostor wearing the cloak of the Organization. It’s not Roxas’s concern though, and he’s sent to a new world, Halloween Town. He soon finds Jack Skellington fretting in the middle of town about what kind of new frights he should add to the coming year’s Halloween. Roxas pays him no mind though and goes about his mission to defeat Heartless. As he’s about to leave, he’s confronted by Lock, Shock, and Barrel. They play a trick on him before running off, leaving Roxas confused. He steps through his portal which Jack spots before it disappears. The sight provides him with just the inspiration he was looking for.
Axel finally returns that evening as Roxas is sitting at the clock tower, but there’s no sign of Xion. They wonder where she could be. It turns out that she is sitting in her room, thinking back on the day’s events. Scenes flash by in her mind of a young man in a black cloak defeating her. He calls her and her Keyblade a sham which shakes Xion to her core. Roxas finds Xion the next day begging Saïx for another chance. He doesn’t relent and calls her a mistake that never should have been made. Roxas tries to see what’s wrong, but she runs off without saying a word.
Roxas is sent back to Beast’s Castle with Xaldin where they quickly dispatch a large Heartless. Afterward, they hear the roaring of the Beast and go see what has him so upset. Peeking through the door, they hear that the last rose petal is getting closer to falling. If it does, he will remain a Beast. Xaldin appears delighted at this information, knowing that he’ll be able to use it to his advantage someday. Roxas doesn’t understand what he’s planning, but they leave the world before he can ask any further.
Xion doesn't show up at the clock tower that evening. Roxas decides to ask Axel about the Beast’s situation. Was there anything that Axel couldn't bear to lose? Axel is surprised at the question and says that neither of them do since they both lack hearts. Roxas, in turn, comes to realize that he could never bear to lose his memories of Axel and Xion. It scares him. Axel tells him that feeling scared is something that he shouldn't feel, but Roxas still feels it. He doesn’t know why, but it doesn't seem like just a memory of what fear was like.
His next mission is in Twilight Town, where he immediately spots Xion at the top of the clock tower. He rushes to her side and is surprised when Xion suddenly apologizes to him. She explains that she ran from him the other day because she had badly messed up a mission. It had been her assignment to take out the Organization impostor, but he was too strong for her. To cheer her up, Roxas suggests that they work together on their separate missions. It works and she joins him.
Afterwards, they have ice cream together, but Xion still seems lost in thought. Each time he tries to start a conversation, she doesn’t say a word. She’s too busy thinking about her battle with the impostor, who turns out to be Riku. For some unknown reason, he has started wearing a blindfold but by using the powers of darkness he is able to “see” everything around him. He only removes it to see Xion’s face with his own eyes and is shocked at what he sees. Riku demands to know who she really is and why she possesses a Keyblade. Instead of answering him, Xion asks why he is dressed in the Organization’s cloaks. He simply responds that he’s protecting his best friend while he sleeps. Inspecting her Keyblade, he calls it a sham before tossing it at her feet. Xion takes it in hand and tries charging at him, but Riku is able to disarm her even without a weapon. He goes to depart, telling Xion that she should leave the Organization, but she shouts back that he’s actually the sham. Riku agrees with her and calls himself the biggest nobody of them all before disappearing. In her frustration, Xion can only scream.
Roxas shakes her from her thoughts and asks what is wrong. She apologizes before asking why they are working for the Organization. Roxas tells her the usual reason: so they can have hearts of their own. But that doesn’t satisfy her. Xion doesn’t know why they need hearts at all. She’s frustrated because she doesn’t know where she came from or what her past is. All she knows is that she’s been having the strangest dreams. She can’t remember the specifics, but they always make her feel as if something is truly wrong. In the end, Xion believes she’s just a mistake. Roxas doesn’t believe that, but Xion walks off anyway. Axel arrives soon after and asks where Xion is. Roxas doesn’t say a word about what she had said.
Life continues like normal as Roxas is sent on a mission with Demyx to Olympus Coliseum. Demyx isn’t the most motivated Organization member and would always prefer sleeping or playing on his sitar. Throughout the mission, he makes excuses to Roxas so he can skip out on the fighting. They split up at one point and Roxas finds Phil training with Hercules. He’s amazed at how much more intense his training is yet Phil is still pushing him to go further. Demyx joins him and comments how he would pass out if he was worked even a little like that.
Phil’s training with Hercules ends, and he tells Roxas that he’ll soon be ready to take part in the tournaments. Roxas takes the opportunity to ask why Phil was training Hercules so much harder, and Phil explains that Hercules is the best prospect he’s ever had. The talk of Hercules triggers another flash of Sora’s memories in his head. He leaves with Demyx before going to think at the clock tower. Axel soon joins him and asks after Xion again. Roxas isn't sure what happened to her which makes Axel wonder what had happened between them. They talk about how complicated girls are and how it goes double for human girls. Axel advises Roxas to just give her time and space, knowing that Xion will snap out of her depression eventually.
Roxas’s next mission brings him back to Halloween Town where he’s surprised to find that there seem to be no Heartless around. Instead, he finds a series of balloons with mischievous grins painted on. In the center of the town, Jack is admiring his handiwork while speaking with Doctor Finklestein. It turns out that the balloons contain a trick that will surprise anyone who touches them. Jack believes it will spice up the coming year’s Halloween, but it’s not quite enough. Examining the balloon, Roxas discovers that it’s harmless enough.
However, as Jack is brainstorming new ideas he discovers a Heartless hiding inside one of the balloons. He didn’t put it there though making him wonder who’s competing with his Halloween ideas. Inspiration strikes him again though, and he sets out to the doctor’s lab to prepare it. Roxas is still searching for Heartless and realizes that Jack’s dog, Zero, can sniff them out. With Zero’s help, Roxas is able to complete his mission. He rushes to the clock tower but neither Axel nor Xion join him. The next day isn't so lonely as Axel joins Roxas for ice cream. He explains that the Organization has been keeping him and Xion extremely busy lately. Still, Roxas finds himself lonely without his friends around each day.
More time passes and Roxas returns to Beast’s Castle for yet another mission. This time he follows after the Beast’s roars to the castle gates. However, as he arrives he sees the master of the castle flung over the gates like he was a ragdoll. When Roxas goes to the other side, he finds a massive Heartless that takes the form of a siege engine. Roxas is able to keep it from breaching the gates and returns to where the Beast had landed. There he spots Belle running out of the castle to his side. She’s worried about his wounds, but he’s more concerned that she may be attacked by the Heartless. Belle, in turn, begs him to stop risking his life fighting the Heartless. If he were to be killed, she doesn’t know what she would do. The Beast doesn’t care about himself, he just doesn’t want to see her or the others hurt.
Roxas watches the scene and is surprised to learn that the Beast was fighting to protect the people in the castle, not the rose. As if sensing his thoughts, Xaldin appears before Roxas and makes light of Beast’s and Belle’s gestures of empathy. He doesn't believe a simple beast could ever feel love. Roxas doesn't understand the word, but Xaldin goes on to say that love can’t protect the couple. In the end, love always withers and dies. Roxas asks how he could know that without a heart, but Xaldin says he only needs his eyes and brain to know how things will turn out. Unsure of his words and still confused as to what love really is, Roxas returns to the clock tower.
He finds Axel waiting for him but there’s still no sign of Xion. Roxas decides to ask Axel about love. Axel is surprised about the question, but he does his best to explain it. He states that it is an extremely powerful emotion though one that he’ll probably never experience. In order to have love, you need a heart, but if you do then love is the extra special bond between two people. Roxas asks if it’s like a best friend, but Axel clarifies that it’s even stronger. The young Nobody still doesn’t quite understand and wonders if he’ll finally know once Kingdom Hearts is complete.
Roxas’s next mission is with Luxord, a Nobody obsessed with card games and odds. Before they set out, Luxord tells him that Xion messed up her last mission and is now in a deep sleep. Roxas immediately tries to run to her side but is stopped by Saïx. Roxas is adamant about being with her and shoves past him. But before he can leave the briefing room, Saïx asks why he even cares about her since she is a broken creature. Complete defective. Roxas is angered at Saïx’s words and tells him to shut up, but Saïx keeps going. He calls Xion a mere thing and how the Organization treats her is no concern of Roxas’s. Saïx’s complete callousness throws Roxas off guard, but he goes to her side nonetheless.
He finds her sleeping in her bed and waits by her side for some time. But he can’t put off his mission forever so he places a seashell that she had once given him by her pillow. He returns to the briefing room to start his mission with Luxord. The arrive in Wonderland where he sees the all too familiar scene of the White Rabbit running off while claiming to be late. Scenes of Sora’s adventures in Wonderland play out in Roxas’s mind, prompting him to follow after the rabbit. He loses track of the White Rabbit but discovers the Chesire Cat in his stead. Roxas is able to puzzle together the cat’s cryptic clues and complete his mission.
He spends the rest of the day at the clock tower thinking of Xion. When Axel arrives, he asks why Saïx hates her so much. Axel doesn’t respond right away, instead commenting on how Roxas talks like a real person sometimes. Roxas doesn’t understand what he means since he has no idea how a real person acts. Axel explains that sometimes it seems that Roxas really is heartsick over Xion. Roxas doesn’t really respond and only wonders if she’ll ever wake up. But he realizes that Saïx must know something about her and about why he and Xion are considered special Nobodies. Axel offers to ask Saïx about it but tells Roxas not to get his hopes up.
When Axel confronts Saïx about Xion, he is met by instant resistance. Axel continues to pressure him, saying that Saïx should be honest with him for once. Saïx throws the comment back in Axel’s face since he knows Axel has own his secrets. Saïx only says that Xion has no right to be considered Number 14 before walking away. Axel gives Roxas the bad news the next day but recommends that he keep up the hard work in order to help Xion. Roxas is heartened by this and returns to his missions.
His next one takes place in Never Land where he soon spots Captain Hook digging for treasure. It appears that he found a collection of treasure maps and has been digging around Never Land for some time. Unfortunately for him, none of the marked spots have contained any treasure and the same holds true for the newest one. He's positive that he'll find gold with one of the maps, and Roxas notices that a dark air has begun to swirl around the pirate captain. It isn't long after that Heartless appear, forcing Hook to run off.
Roxas destroys the Heartless and takes a closer look at the chest that Hook had dug up. It’s glowing with the same dark energy that surrounded Hook earlier, making him wonder if it was some kind of trap. He spots Hook’s ship nearby and decides to investigate. The ship is too far away for him to reach, but he fortunately stumbles upon Tinker Bell. She senses something familiar about Roxas and decides to sprinkle him with her pixie dust. She then communicates that he’ll be able to fly so, with scenes of a flying Sora in his mind, Roxas makes a leap of faith. The pixie dust works, allowing him to fly, but he decides to go complete his mission rather than confront Hook like Tinker Bell wants. He then returns to the base, feeling guilty for not helping her but afraid of what Saïx would say if he did.
At the clock tower, Roxas describes to Axel what an amazing thrill it was to fly. Strangely, he feels like he’s done it before. Axel says nothing, not really believing him, and just listens as Roxas wishes that he could tell Xion about it. Weeks pass before she finally wakes up. Roxas is there at the time, and he tells her how long she was out. She apologizes for sleeping for so long, but Roxas tells her not to worry. She asks to come along with him on his mission that day. However, as soon as Saïx catches sight of her in in the briefing room, he immediately forbids her from going along. He insists that she should be confined to her room for the time being. Xion begs to be let out, but it’s Axel’s insistence that finally convinces Saïx to relent.
The mission is going well until Xion suddenly passes out. Visions of Sora begin to flood her mind: Sora trying to catch Kairi; Sora becoming a Heartless to save Kairi’s heart; Kairi giving Sora her good luck charm. Axel catches her before she can completely collapse, but she calls out Sora’s name in her sleep. It appears that she’s fine if a little weak. They carry her back to base and are immediately met by Saïx. He makes the comment that it was inevitable that would break again, but Roxas and Axel both tell him to shut up. As they leave with Xion, Saïx muses to himself that something at Castle Oblivion must have changed Axel, and he’s now throwing away his past.
The two take Xion to her room, and Roxas asks if Axel is worried about her. Axel responds that of course he is, but Roxas remarks that he’s a little surprised since he usually hates complications. Axel is taken back at Roxas’s words and says that he considers the two of them his best friends, that they’re inseparable. Roxas is delighted at his response and Xion wakes to their conversation. She apologizes for becoming so dizzy, but they just tell her to relax for now. Yet within her new room in the abandoned mansion, Naminé is drawing a picture of the three of them. They’re important, but she only partially understands why so far.
Growing curious about Xion’s origins and Saïx’s secrets, Axel goes to Vexen’s old study and reads his report on Naminé. While Axel attempts to learn more, Roxas and Xion go to the clock tower and share ice cream together. Xion is feeling much better now, much to Roxas’s relief. She thanks him for always being there for her though he says that it’s thanks to Axel that things usually work out for them.
The next day’s mission brings Roxas and Axel to Never Land. Roxas immediately tries to show off how he can fly, but it doesn’t work. He realizes that he must need the pixie dust again. It's then that he hears the voice of Hook cursing his luck. He has dug in another spot for treasure, but all he keeps finding is junk and Heartless. Roxas can still see the dark energy swirling around him, but Hook doesn't seem to notice. He runs away from the Heartless again, returning to his ship so that he can blast them with his cannons.
While investigating the last chest that Hook dug up, Roxas and Axel are discovered by Tinker Bell. She chastises him at first for not helping her the first time but eventually relents and gives him more pixie dust. Axel is amazed that Roxas can actually fly and tries it himself. While at first it fails, his second attempt actually works much to his shock. Tinker Bell begs them to go to the ship again when it suddenly begins firing cannonballs on the island. Roxas is about to go with Tinker Bell, but Axel reminds him that the mission comes first. They complete it while dodging the cannonballs that fall all around them and leave Never Land with Roxas still feeling guilty. As they depart, Pete arrives and looks at one of Hook’s empty chests. He’s pleased that his plan for the captain is actually working though he wonders where all the Heartless are.
Weeks pass and Naminé is still working on restoring Sora’s memories. DiZ notes that she seems to be struggling with the process. She tells him that a Nobody is interfering with her efforts and that some of the pieces of his memories could become lost. If that happens, it would be impossible for her to finish. DiZ reassures her that he could do without one or two memories, but she argues that those memories could be the key to him waking up. Hearing this, DiZ asks if she is seeing something he can’t because of her power over the memories of Sora and those connected to him. Naminé can only say that if Sora’s memories become Xion’s memories then Xion will never survive it.
Roxas is still going about his days normally with his new mission taking place in Olympus Coliseum. It turns out that it’s the start of a new tournament. Much to his delight, Phil has finally decided to let him enter the newest tournament. He does so with the alternate goal of finding a certain Heartless to eliminate still in his mind. Roxas makes his way through round after round until he reaches the finals. He’s surprised though when Phil says he has faith that Roxas will win. He’s not used to that sentiment since Roxas usually just takes orders. Heading into the final round, he shocked to see that his final opponent is Xigbar. Xigbar claims to just be checking up on Roxas’s hero training. However, before they can start the fight, the target Heartless appears, and Xigbar leaves it to Roxas. Roxas destroys it without much difficulty and Xigbar actually compliments Roxas on a job well done before leaving for the base. Afterwards, Roxas wonders if the only reason Xigbar joined the tournament was to test his strength.
At the clock tower that evening, Xion asks Axel what Castle Oblivion is like. He tells her that it’s only used as a research facility by the Organization. Roxas comments that it seems like everyone gets sent there all the time. But Xion has noticed that neither she nor Roxas have ever been sent there. Axel shrugs it off as the Organization not needing them for those assignments, but Xion doesn’t seem satisfied. She stands, declaring that it’s time for her to go, when she suddenly feels lightheaded and almost falls from the tower. Roxas is qucik enough to grab her hand and save her before pulling her back to safety. As she recovers, they ask what happened to her. Xion doesn’t really say, but Axel suggests that they go to the beach as a change of pace. Xion still seems distracted by something though she agrees to join them.
Back in Halloween Town, Roxas finds Jack and Dr. Finkelstein discussing the new items for the upcoming holiday. Jack is delighted with the results that they've come up with. The doctor then asks Jack about Lock, Shock, and Barrel since they seemed to be up to no good recently. Roxas still remembers how the kids terrorized him in the past but ignores the conversation for now, choosing to complete his mission. However, when he heads for the portal out of this world, he’s attacked by a clawed arm that bursts from the ground. Roxas is able to defeat it but wonders what it could be. He decides to report it to Saïx just in case.
Roxas finds Xion at the clock tower that evening, but she decides to leave soon after he arrives. When Axel gets there, Roxas decides to ask him if he thinks Xion’s been acting strange lately. Axel tells him that she’ll be fine in time, but Roxas hopes another vacation day will happen soon so they could finally go to the beach. While Axel and Roxas talk, Xion sneaks into the Organization’s computer room where she begins going through their files. She’s desperately searching for something and eventually finds it.
Weeks pass with little change until Saïx, Xemnas, and Xigbar meet within the Round Room. Saïx informs them that he sent Axel to Castle Oblivion yet again in order to expedite a certain matter as well as clear out all of their facilities there. Unfortunately, they’ve had no luck rocating Naminé since the incident with Sora in the castle. He also tells them that somebody accessed their main computer without authorization. Xigbar tells him to stop acting mysterious since they all know that it was Xion. In his eyes, she’s becoming quite the problem. Saïx doesn’t see her as a problem at all, and Xigbar laughs at his blindness. Xemnas silences both of them and tells them that their plans aren't affected by any of this. Axel, Roxas, and Xion will all play the roles that Kingdom Hearts has chosen for them. Saïx wonders if certain steps should be taken, but Xemnas cuts him off. To him, everything is turning out perfect. Xion is slowly approaching her destiny, and they merely need to watch and wait.
In the meantime, Xion has taken it upon herself to finally visit Castle Oblivion. There she sees a vision of her early days where Saïx tells her it’s the last she’ll ever see of the castle. The experience forces her to her knees as Axel arrives. She asks why he’s there, but he says he’s only there for orders not related to her. He goes on, saying that he doesn’t know what she expected to find in the now-empty halls of Castle Oblivion. She then lashes out at him, saying that she knows that this was where she came from. He calmly tells her that she can’t ignore her missions. If she does, the high ranking members of the Organization will outright destroy her. She tells him that she’s remembering bits and pieces of who she was before, but he tells her to stop remembering since nothing good will come of those memories. Instead, she insists that they had met each other once before in the castle. Axel denies it and tries to force her to leave, but she escapes his reach and pushes deeper inside.
That evening, Roxas reminisces with Axel that it has been 255 days since he first joined the Organization. Axel is surprised that Roxas has memorized the amount, but Roxas goes on to say that he has to hold on to something since he can’t remember his time before. Feeling nostalgic, Axel tells Roxas why the sun sets red. Light is made up of lots of colors and out of all of them, red travels the farthest. He seems to take pride in it since his hair is a sharp red. But as time passes, Roxas begins to wonder where Xion is. Axel is about to tell the truth about her but can’t bring himself to do it. Instead, he tells Roxas that she was sent on a really important mission and would be gone for a few days. But within Castle Oblivion, Xion has finally found what she’s been looking for and is horrified at the truth. The person she thought she was before becoming a Nobody wasn’t actually her.
Axel’s lie doesn’t last long as all of the Organization members meet in the Round Room. Xemnas tells them that Xion has left the Organization. Demyx and Xaldin ask why she would knowingly leave their order since such an act would mean death. However, Xemnas tells them all that no one is to go looking for her without his permission. Roxas demands why not, but Saïx retorts that searching for her isn't even worth their time. Xemnas only says that all will be revealed when the time comes. Feeling defeated, Roxas goes on his next mission.
When he arrives in Halloween Town, he’s surprised to see Jack’s decorations and many of the Heartless gone. Just as he’s wondering what could have happened to it all, he spots another clawed arm burst from the ground and eat a stray roaming Heartless. More and more appear, forcing Roxas to defeat them all. His victory only earns him more questions as he has no idea what kind of creature would try to eat Heartless. He goes to explore more of the town and sees Lock, Shock, and Barrel running from more of the claws. He fights his way past them to a massive Heartless which turns out to be the source. Roxas manages to defeat it but on his way back to base, he spots Jack’s newest creation: a scarecrow version of an Organization member with giant black claws. Roxas doesn’t see the resemblance and heads back.
Weeks pass and Roxas finds himself on the shores of Destiny Islands collecting seashells and thinking of Xion. It’s then that he sees a cloaked figure walking along the beach. He rushes toward the person, but when his hood is lowered, Roxas is shocked to see Zexion. It’s then that Riku appears behind him. The two talk like Roxas isn’t even there, leaving him even more confused. What he doesn’t know is that this is the exact same encounter that took place between the two in Castle Oblivion. Roxas’s mind begins to ache as the scene plays out. He writhes on the ground and his body begins to change, first becoming Xion, then Riku, and finally Sora.
However, this entire scene was only playing out in Xion’s mind. In reality, she is passed out on Destiny Islands, murmuring about who she really is. Riku, still donning the Organization’s cloak, appears and holds her in his arms. Thinking back, he remembers his meeting with Naminé. He had reminded her that she promised to look after Sora, and she apologizes for not keeping that promise very well. She explains to him that some of Sora’s memories are missing. They are escaping from Roxas, Sora’s Nobody, into a third person: Xion. As they flow into her, they are slowly becoming a part of her being. In order to get them back, Naminé would have to untangle Xion’s memories as well. And while the process of restoring Sora’s memories should have taken only months, this new complication means it could take years.
This, of course, is not a viable option, but Naminé can’t just start rearranging her memories from afar. If she did, Sora could wake from his slumber and find that nobody even remembers him. In either case, Sora’s reawakening will have to be delayed. It never occurred to her that Roxas and Xion would fight so hard to become their own people. Unfortunately, the quickest solution to the problem is for both of them to disappear. The guilt of this suggestion forces Naminé to keep talking, telling Riku that when Xion first appeared her face was completely blank. The fact that people can now see a face is proof that Sora’s memories have escaped inside her. With pieces of Sora’s memories inside himself, Roxas, and Xion, Naminé can no longer just sort them. All that can be done is picking up the various pieces once the other two are gone.
Riku listened to her silently before agreeing that something had to be done. Yet as he holds Xion's body in his arms, he finds himself hesitating. Even now Sora’s memories are mixing with Xion’s as she imagines herself, Roxas, and Axel hanging out together in the same way that Sora, Kairi, and Riku once did. She wants to know whether she was ever even supposed to exist. The dream version of Axel asks what she thinks and what she wants to do now. But Xion only wants to stay with Roxas and Axel forever. Dream Roxas tells her to come back to them, but she can’t, not the way she is now.
At the clock tower, Roxas and Axel finally decide to ignore Xemnas’s orders and spend their free time between missions and hanging out in Twilight Town to go look for Xion. They search for days with absolutely no luck. The only place Roxas hasn’t looked is Castle Oblivion, but Axel tells him that the castle has been cleaned out completely. He does say that it is where she first appeared though. Roxas hopes she’s alright and promises to keep searching until he finds her.
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.
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.
With a new day beginning, Roxas heads to the clubhouse where he hangs out with Hayner, Pence, and Olette. The three of them are already there and talking about how the bully, Seifer (from Final Fantasy 8), has gone around town claiming that they’re the thieves that have be plaguing everyone lately. They decide that the best way to clear their names is to catch the real thieves. However, when the other three run out, Roxas suddenly collapses. In his head, the voice of DiZ begins to speak. He mentions that his memories are slowly returning to Sora and soon he will reawaken. Not understanding what just happened, Roxas gets back up and joins the others.
They first go to the sandlot to find Seifer but instead come across his friends, Raijin and Fujin (also from Final Fantasy 8), as well as the tag-along, Vivi (from Final Fantasy 9). All of them immediately accuse them of being the thieves, but when Roxas and his friends deny it, Seifer appears and tells them he’s not convinced. The two groups argue as Seifer continually calls them losers until both he and Roxas bring out their padded swords. The two duel with Roxas coming out the victor.
Raijin and Fujin immediately come to his aide saying that he’s not feeling at his best and that the upcoming Struggle tournament will decide who the true winner is. Pence takes a picture as proof of the victory but suddenly a basic Nobody known as a Dusk wraps around him, steals the camera, and runs off. Realizing that it is the thief, Roxas gives chase until he reaches the woods outside Twilight Town. Coming out on the other side of the woods, Roxas corners it in front of the gate to the abandoned mansion. It's then that the Dusk suddenly speaks to his mind. “We have come for you, my liege.” Not understanding, Roxas tries to defend himself as it attacks him, but the cushioned sword is useless.
As he backs away from the Dusk, data numbers swirl around the play sword until it forms a Keyblade. With it in hand, Roxas is able to easily defeat the Nobody. Pence’s camera and dozens of photographs fly from its body as it's destroyed. Gathering them up, he and the group realize that every single picture stolen had Roxas in the frame. Pence wonders if it was like the thief wanted to steal the real Roxas, but the others don’t believe him.
In a makeshift laboratory beneath the abandoned mansion, DiZ is watching Sora’s progress. Already the remainder of his memory restoration is at twelve percent completion. He curses the Organization for finding ways to reach Roxas already as Riku asks why the Dusk would bother stealing photographs. DiZ explains that, to them, both Roxas and the photos appeared to be made up of similar data so it had trouble telling the difference. DiZ realizes that time is running short and that the rest of Naminé’s work needs to be completed soon.
More of Sora’s memories flash through Roxas’s head in his dreams. Hearing the name of the Keyblade in his dreams, Roxas realizes that it must be the weapon that had appeared in his hand the day before. He tries to summon it again but nothing happens. It’s then that he sees a black cloaked figure. Before he can say anything, the figure walks away without a word. He shrugs it off and joins the others for ice cream in the club house. They all complain that even though it’s summer vacation, they’ve never gotten to go to the beach. The big reason for that is the simple fact that they don’t have enough money to take the train there.
Hayner claims to have a plan, and the others follow after him. He tells them that in order for all of them to go to the beach, they need 4800 munny (the currency of all worlds in Kingdom Hearts). If all of them do odd jobs around the town, then they can afford to go to the beach. They split up and each perform jobs for people around the town before meeting up at the train station with enough munny to cover all of them. However, just as Roxas is about to follow them, the figure in the black cloak trips him, picks him up, and whispers something in his ear before disappearing.
Weirded out by the encounter, Roxas joins the others but realizes that the figure has stolen all the munny that they had earned. He tries to explain it to his friends, but they never even saw the figure in the cloak. To them, Roxas had just tripped on his own. Roxas is still confused by the encounter as the four of them get ice cream instead and eat it on top of the clock tower. Roxas remembers what the figure had said before taking his munny. “Can you feel Sora?”
Back in DiZ’s room, Riku holds onto the bag of munny Roxas had been carrying and asks him if it would have been really that hard to create a beach. DiZ explains that it would be a simple enough task, but it would also give the Organization another entry point. Better to just prevent Roxas from going at all. Riku asks what he should do with the munny, but DiZ jokes that they could buy sea-salt ice cream. He then tells him to delete it since it's worthless in their world.
Sora’s memories continue to flow into Roxas’s dreams, seeing scenes from all the worlds he had been to during his first adventure. He then sees a vision of Naminé but can’t tell who she is. When he wakes up, he heads to the clubhouse only to find a note from Hayner to meet at the train station. As he’s traveling toward it, he spots Pence and Olette but before he can call out to them, time seems to stop for everyone but him. Naminé flashes in before him and pleasantly says hello. She says that she wanted to meet him at least once before walking off. As soon as she leaves, time returns to normal with Olette and Pence none the wiser.
Roxas chases after Naminé which brings him back to the forest outside of town. However, a portal opens up and more Dusks appear. They try to drag him back through, but he resists and they give chase. He comes across Seifer and his gang, and they all decide to fight back despite being armed with only cushioned blades. It doesn't work, and they’re all surrounded. But time stops again for all except Roxas and the Dusks. He tries to back away until Naminé calls out for him to use the Keyblade. It finally appears in his hand, and he uses it to fight off the Nobodies.
Afterwards, Naminé pulls him into her pure white room before telling him her name. She then asks if he remembers his true name. Before she can say anything more, Riku appears and tells her to say nothing more. Namine tries to argue, but Riku says that it’s best that he doesn’t know the truth. Riku then returns him back to Twilight Town where Seifer has claimed that he was was the one to save everyone. Roxas ignores him and joins his friends back at the clubhouse. They’re upset that he decided to hang out with Seifer today, but Roxas tries to explain that it wasn’t how it appeared. He asks them how the beach was, but they say they didn’t go since it wouldn’t be the same without Roxas. Feeling guilty, he tries to apologize but Hayner doesn’t want to listen.
Riku and DiZ watch the scene from their lab before Riku asks if the Naminé that appeared before Roxas was data. DiZ confirms that it was not. Naminé had hijacked the data herself. He complains that she is beyond his control, but Riku tells him to calm down. It wouldn't be long before Naminé’s long task is finally complete.
The next day is the day of the long-awaited Struggle tournament. Roxas, Hayner, Seifer, and, surprisingly, Vivi have all made it past the preliminaries and into to the final rounds. The first match is between Hayner and Roxas with Hayner finally forgiving his friend for the day before. His mind eased, Roxas is able to win the match and promises to win the whole thing. Seifer’s match is against Vivi, who seems kind of off compared to how he usually acts. To everyone’s surprise, Vivi completely overpowers Seifer and wins the match. Seifer is convinced that Vivi isn't really Vivi and tells Roxas to take him down before storming off.
Roxas is about to win the match against Vivi when time suddenly stops again. The young boy then transforms into a Dusk before more appear from all around. The Keyblade appears in Roxas’s hands, and he uses it to fend them off. However, time is not restored with their defeat. Instead, Axel appears and applauds him for his skills. He asks Roxas if he remembers him though based on his reaction, knows that he doesn't. Roxas demands to know what’s going on, but Axel says he doesn't have time to answer him since they’re in DiZ’s creation. Summoning his chakram, Axel declares that Roxas is coming back with him whether he’s conscience or not.
Growing frustrated with not knowing what is going on, Roxas throws his Keyblade away, but it soon returns to his hands. Axel can only say that Roxas is number 13, the Keyblade’s chosen one. Finally realizing that he has no choice, Roxas engages Axel in a duel. But their battle is interrupted by the arrival of DiZ. He insists that Axel is lying while Axel says that it is DiZ deceiving him. Overwhelmed by all the directions he's being pulled in, Roxas can only call out for his friends. Time is suddenly restored with no sign of DiZ or Axel anywhere. Vivi walks off with no memory of his possession by the Dusk. Roxas is then declared the winner and is given the opportunity to challenge the reigning champion, Setzer (from Final Fantasy 6). Roxas can only go along at this point though his mind seems more focused on what Axel and DiZ had said. Still, Roxas is able to emerge the victor as the entire crowd cheers for him.
His former troubles forgotten for the moment, Roxas takes in the adulation that his friends and the crowd gives him. Afterward, the friends go to the clock tower with the championship trophy in hand. He takes four decorative crystal balls off the trophy and gives one to each of his friends. They thank him for sharing the trophy with them, and he goes to stand. However, he loses his footing and falls off the clock tower. Things go blank as he sees a vision of Kairi as she is now.
She’s walking home from school with a friend and asks if she still remembers the two boys that she used to hang out with. There’s Riku who Kairi knows will come back to the islands someday and another boy, who Kairi can’t quite remember. She feels awful about it so she promised herself that she wouldn’t return to the island where they used to play until she remembers everything about him. Unknown to her, her loss of memory regarding Sora is directly related to his own loss of memories. Roxas watches this scene silently until he calls out to Naminé because of Kairi’s own resemblance to her. Kairi actually hears his voice and clutches her head, confused.
Roxas asks what is happening to him and where she is. Kairi doesn't recognize Naminé’s name and asks who Roxas could possibly be. She gives her name which Roxas recognizes as the girl that boy from his dream likes. Roxas tells her his own name, but she begs him for the boy’s name. Suddenly, Sora’s voice breaks in between the two and jokingly chides Kairi for forgetting his name. He decides to give her a hint before the connection is broken. His name starts with a 'S.'
Excited from the encounter, Kairi rushes to the shore of her side of the island and releases a message in a bottle. She tells her friend that she wrote it yesterday to the boy she can’t remember. In it, she wrote that no matter where he may be, she’ll find him one day. The letter is the first step to them reuniting, she can just feel it. As Kairi watches the bottle float away, she finally remembers the boys name, Sora.
With restoration at seventy-nine percent, DiZ is astounded at the progress they’ve already made. He also notes that Roxas’s encounter with Naminé put his heart in contact with Kairi’s. He had called out to Naminé during his fall but had mistakenly found Kairi since Naminé was her Nobody. This, in turn, affected Sora who was able to speak to Kairi himself. Riku is amazed at Naminé’s power and DiZ explains that she isn't like other Nobodies. She can interfere with the memories of Sora and his friends. Riku doesn’t realize that Naminé is Kairi’s Nobody, and DiZ keeps this fact to himself. Instead, he asks Riku to lower his hood, revealing that releasing his darkness for the boost in power needed to capture Roxas had permanently changed his appearance to that of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. Giving up hope to ever return to his true appearance, Riku has even taken up the name of Ansem. DiZ, remembering that he once used the name of Ansem as well, begins to laugh heartily.
In the Organization’s Round Room, Axel is meeting with Xemnas and Xaldin. He is furious that Xemnas is already ordering him to eliminate Roxas. Axel still believes he can bring him back to rejoin the Organization. Xaldin asks him why he’s hesitating when an order has been given, especially since Axel was the one who eliminated the traitors in Castle Oblivion so easily. Axel argues that this is different since Roxas hasn't turned his back on them. He’s just unable to return. Xaldin doesn’t care. If Roxas doesn’t come back, then he will pay the price. And the same thing will happen to Axel if he opposes the orders. Xaldin summons one of his lances and launches it toward Axel to emphasize his point. It strikes near his head, but Axel doesn't even flinch at the threat. Xemnas only looks his way for a time before Axel relents and swears to do it if it comes to that.
The next day, Roxas is surprised to find himself in his own bed with no injuries despite the fall. He realizes that he must have been dreaming though he can’t tell which parts were the dream. He ends up going to the clubhouse like normal and asks his friends if he really did fall off the clock tower, but they don’t remember it. They’re more concerned about the fact that there’s only three days of summer vacation left, but Olette is insisting that they all finish their summer homework. It’s an independent study assignment and Pence suggests that they dedicate theirs to investigating what he calls the seven wonders of Twilight Town.
With the first six wonders, strange things happen to Roxas that make them seem true. However, when the others arrive, they can be simply explained away. Roxas doesn't understand why he’s the only one who can see these things and wants to investigate the seventh wonder. But the others are tired from the long day and decide to head back to the clubhouse to work on the paper. Roxas instead heads for the seventh wonder, which is located at the abandoned mansion on the other side of the forest. Outside the gate, he’s stopped by Pence who tells him that they plan to investigate it tomorrow along with Seifer’s gang.
They head home for the night, but Roxas imagines being in Naminé’s pure white room. It is covered with drawings that she’s done of Kairi, Roxas, and even Axel. Roxas is surprised to see a picture of him and Axel together. Naminé confirms that he and Axel are best friends, but he doesn't believe her. She asks him if he wants to know the truth about who he really is, but Roxas still believes in this life he now leads. He just doesn’t know why strange things have been happening to him lately.
He spots a picture of Sora, Donald, and Goofy and Namine tells him of how she had to take apart the memories chained together in Sora’s heart. But she’s very close to having them all back to the way they were. The process of restoring these memories has been affecting Roxas as well. His connection with Sora is why he’s been having the dreams, but in order to be fully restored, Sora needs Roxas. He finally asks who Naminé really is.
She explains that she’s a witch with power over Sora’s memories and those around him. She doesn’t know why she has the power though. It was just there when she was born, and she’s not even sure if there’s a right way to use it. Listening to her, Roxas suddenly doesn’t feel like he knows himself at all. He changes his mind and asks what she really knows about him. Tenderly, Naminé tells him that he was never supposed to exist. He doesn't know what to say to that and suddenly finds himself out of Naminé’s room again.
DiZ is resting in a part of the abandoned mansion when Riku approaches. He tells DiZ that the holes in his memory are slowly starting to fill in. The same thing is happening to everyone with ties to Sora. With Naminé’s process nearing completion, the haze surrounding him is finally clearing. To those he met, it’ll be like he’s a good friend that’s been gone for a year. Riku finally asks DiZ what it is he truly wants, but DiZ simply responds, “Revenge.” Riku says nothing at this answer and stays silent as DiZ claims that it’s almost time to take care of Naminé since, like Roxas, she was never meant to exist either.
As Roxas awakes the next day, he feels the presence of Sora more and more within him. Ignoring the feeling, he goes to see his friends at the clubhouse, but they don’t seem to hear or see him. He tries to shake them, but his hand passes straight through. Confused, Roxas takes a look at a picture they had all taken together and finds that he’s no longer in it. He retreats back outside to find the whole town empty save for Axel and a legion of Dusks. He tells him that he’s been ordered to either bring Roxas back or destroy him completely.
Roxas tries to fool Axel by claiming that they’re best friends, which excites Axel. He believes Roxas has finally remembered their time together but to double check, he asks what their boss's name is. Roxas has no idea, disappointing Axel. It's then that the Keyblade reappears in his hand, and he tries to fight his way through the Nobodies. He defeats them and is about to duel Axel again, but time suddenly stops for his forgotten friend. DiZ’s voice calls out to him, telling him to go to the mansion. Time returns once Roxas has gotten far enough away and Axel realizes that the Roxas he used to know is long gone. He finally resigns himself to what he has to do.
Roxas rushes inside the mansion as Riku appears outside to hold off all of the Nobodies. He comes across the room he met Naminé in before though it is now empty. Seeing a picture of himself in the Organization cloaks triggers the memory of day he left the group. Naminé appears behind him and explains that the Organization is a group of Nobodies that wish to become whole. Roxas finally asks what will happen to him when he joins with Sora, but before Naminé can answer, DiZ severs her connection. He phases in himself and states that there’s nothing that can happen that will change Roxas’s fate.
Roxas argues that he has the right to know, but DiZ shuts him down by saying that a Nobody doesn’t even have the right to exist. Riku comes in and says that Nobodies are flooding the town. Naminé forces herself to reappear and explains that even though he may disappear by joining with Sora, he’ll finally become whole. DiZ quickly grabs her and tries dragging her away, but she is able to promise Roxas that they’ll meet again even if he may not know it’s her and she may not know it’s him. They all disappear, leaving Roxas to explore the rest of the mansion.
He discovers a hidden passage leading to an underground laboratory. His head begins to ache as he remembers his time in the Organization: meeting everyone in the Round Room, running from the World That Never Was, and his defeat at the hands of Riku. It’s then that he remembers how his unconscious body was sent into a simulated version of Twilight Town by DiZ. He gives Roxas simulated memories in order to throw off the Organization while Naminé uses him to weave Sora’s memories back together. Riku feels sorry for him, but DiZ doesn't care. All this time, Roxas has been in a fake version of Twilight Town living a life with fake friends. The invasion of the Dusks and Axel were them hacking into DiZ’s simulation. That is why strange things kept happening to him and only him.
In his anger and frustration, Roxas destroys DiZ’s computer console but another room suddenly opens. Inside he finds Axel, once again invading the simulation. Roxas remembers him for real this time, but Axel is too angered. His power over fire surrounds them in a flaming arena while Roxas calls upon both his and Xion’s forgotten Keyblade. Roxas’s previous power returns, and he’s able to fight off his old friend with little difficulty. Axel tells him that they’ll meet again in the next life and Roxas agrees. But then Axel chides him that even though Roxas has a next life, he does not. He retreats to care for his injuries.
Roxas continues on to find a series of pods containing the sleeping Goofy and Donald. He recognizes them before moving on to the final room. Waiting for him there is DiZ. He tells Roxas that even though he’s half of Sora, he resides in darkness. For his plans, he needs someone who can move about the realm of light and eventually destroy Organization XIII. Roxas asks why he’s so focused on destroying the Organization, but DiZ says that he’s only a servant of the world. And if that’s the case, Roxas is nothing but a tool. Angered, Roxas attacks DiZ but his strikes pass harmlessly through him. He is nothing more than a data projection.
Roxas, in his frustration, continues to uselessly attack DiZ’s projection declaring that his heart belongs to only himself. He hates DiZ for what he’s done, but DiZ just laughs it off saying that he should share that hatred with Sora. The boy is far too nice for his own good. Suddenly, the pod containing Sora’s sleeping body opens up and DiZ disappears. Finally meeting his human original, Roxas can only say that it looks like his summer vacation is over. He rejoins with Sora’s body after a 365 days of existence causing Sora to finally reawaken.
Mickey arrives in Twilight Town still wearing the cloak of the Organization as Sora wakes to the calls of Donald and Goofy. Sora yawns as if his year-long sleep was merely a nap before leaping into the arms of his friends. Jiminy is also there and tells them that it must’ve been some nap since they all feel so drowsy. Goofy wonders how long they were asleep and Sora recalls them defeating Ansem, restoring all the lost worlds, finding Kairi, and then going to look for Riku. But after that, he can’t remember anything. They take a look at Jiminy’s journal, but there’s only a single sentence, “Thank Naminé.” They wonder who that could possibly be. It’s just as Naminé said. They don't remember anything about her, the Organization, or Castle Oblivion.
The group decides to figure out where they are and leave the abandoned mansion. As they travel through Twilight Town, Sora can’t help but feel like he’s been there before. But when he can’t remember its name, he just passes it off as his own imagination. They stumble upon Hayner, Pence, and Olette (the real ones since only Roxas was in the digital version of Twilight Town) who all introduce themselves and mistake Sora as a new kid. They ask if he’s finished up his summer homework yet, but Sora doesn’t even recognize the word. Sora introduces himself and his friends and Pence and Olette remembers their names. Someone in a black cloak with big round ears was asking around for them. Sora and the others realize that it must be King Mickey and rush off to the train station to find him.
Once they arrive, they’re attacked by a horde of Nobodies though Sora doesn’t recognize these new enemies. He tries fighting them off with Donald and Goofy and while they hold their own for a while, it’s too much after being asleep for so long. Fortunately, they’re saved by the the arrival of Mickey, who’s able to use his Keyblade to defeat all of the Nobodies without a problem. He tells them they have to board the special train in the station to leave town. It will take them someplace safe. He gives them Roxas’s old munny pouch before running off.
Sora is surprised to have seen Mickey since the last time they saw him he was on the other side of the Door to Darkness. If he had escaped, then Sora realizes that Riku must have too. He decides that he’ll start searching for Riku so the two of them can return to Kairi. Donald and Goofy stick with him and all three head for Mickey’s train. As the three leave the town, Hayner, Pence, and Olette wave goodbye. Sora gets a strange feeling that it’ll be some time before they’ll be able to return, but Donald and Goofy just think he’s being silly. Still, he senses a kind of familiarity with the three kids and unknowingly sheds a tear as they disappear from view. Absentmindedly, he looks in the pouch and finds the one of the crystal balls from the Struggle trophy. He looks through it in the light before telling Donald and Goofy that he feels kind of sad for leaving those three. They tell him they’ll return someday as the special train leaves the world of Twilight Town and travels across special tracks in the Lanes Between.
Axel watches as Sora, Donald, and Goofy disappear from view from a hill overlooking the tracks. Surprisingly, he’s also with Naminé and Riku. It’s time for Naminé to go with Riku since she has nowhere else to go at this point. Axel also wonders if he has nowhere else to go as well. Places of belonging don’t really exist for Nobodies. But Naminé has a place that she would like to go and people she wants to see. She forlornly looks at a picture she drew of Sora and Roxas holding hands. Axel says that he’d like to go with her and asks Riku to let them go. DiZ had order him to dispose of both of them, but Riku decides to free them because of all their help in Castle Oblivion. Axel thanks him before leaving with Naminé.
Sora’s train finally stops at Yen Sid’s tower where they find Pete looking through the front door. Not knowing who he is, they ask what he’s up to. He responds without thinking and says that he sent in some of his lackeys to see if the the master of the tower is as strong as he’s heard. If Pete can make the master a Heartless, then he’ll do whatever he commands. As soon as they hear this, Sora, Donald, and Goofy draw their weapons, but Pete doesn’t notice. He keeps talking about how is doing this to repay a debt to Maleficent. His plan is to build a massive army of Heartless, just for her. He finally turns around and recognizes Donald and Goofy.
They tell Sora that Pete’s been causing trouble for ages and that he was banished long ago. Pete tells them that Maleficent rescued him from his exile and now they’ll take over all worlds together. Sora and his friends begin laughing at this since they know that she’s now gone forever. Pete is shocked at this news and calls in Heartless to fight them. They easily dispatch the Heartless, but Pete is confident that Master Yen Sid is a Heartless by now. Donald runs off to help him while Goofy explains that Yen Sid is Mickey’s teacher. They ignore Pete and run after Donald.
They arrive in Yen Sid’s room to find him perfectly fine. Donald and Goofy treat him with the utmost respect, but Sora just acts casually. Yen Sid explains that Mickey has been quite busy of late which means the instruction of the three of them falls on his shoulders. He tells them that there’s a perilous journey ahead which Sora is surprised to learn. He thought he’d be able to simply search for Riku and then return to Destiny Islands. Yen Sid tells Sora that everything is connected. His search for his friend, his wish to return home, and whether everything will be safe when he returns. As the chosen wielder of the Keyblade, Sora is the key that will open the door to the light. Sora knows and accepts this before asking what this new quest is and why the Heartless are still around. Yen Sid assures him that his past efforts did make a difference. Despite the fact that Heartless are still roaming the worlds, the number would have been innumerably greater without him. Yet while darkness remains in even a single heart, the Heartless will always be there. However, a new enemy has appeared in his absence, the Nobodies.
Yen Sid explains how they come into existence and that while they seem to have feelings, they don’t exist and merely act like they have emotions. He then tells them of Organization XIII, a group that commands the lesser Nobodies. While Heartless only act on instinct, Nobodies can think and plan which means that the Organization is working toward some higher goal. Mickey has learned of the Organization and seeks a way to stop it. He has already found the Keyblade of the dark realm and used it to seal the Door to Darkness with Sora, but now he travels from world to world in order to discover more information on Organization XIII. Sora’s mission is to find the King, as well as Riku, and help discover what the Organization’s plan is.
But before he can go, he needs new clothes. The ones he started in have become too small because of his growth spurt in the last year. He leads them to the three good fairies from the world of the Enchanted Dominion (land of Sleeping Beauty), who grant him new clothes with special abilities. He can now call upon Goofy’s power to wield two Keyblades whenever things look especially difficult. Now wearing his new outfit, Sora is granted another gift by Yen Sid. In order to travel between worlds, he gives them a new gummi ship but says that with all the worlds' keyholes locked, they’ll have to find new pathways to the other worlds.
As they leave, a crow flies into the room of the three good fairies with the remnants of Maleficent’s garments. Memories of the witch come flying back to them, granting power to the clothes. They begin to form and take shape as the fairies rush off to tell Yen Sid. But it’s too late. Maleficent is alive once again. Pete returns to Maleficent’s castle in Hollow Bastion hoping to confirm whether she really is dead or not. However, as he does so, the crow from before arrives.
Meanwhile, Sora and his friends also arrive in another part of Hollow Bastion where it appears Leon and the others from Traverse Town have begun a reconstruction effort to reclaim their former home. Their first stop is a shopping district where they find stores set up by Huey, Dewey, and Louie as well as Scrooge McDuck. Goofy explains that he’s Donald’s uncle and once traveled the worlds with Mickey in a gummi ship in order to create a transit system. However, with the arrival of the Heartless, those ideas were put on hold. It seems he’s now trying to recreate his favorite ice cream from before the Heartless invasion but is failing so far.
They move on when they suddenly spot strange beams of light popping up around them. They have no idea what they could be until Yuffie explains that they’re the town’s defense mechanism, called Claymores. Looking around, they find their old friend nearby who gives them a wave and a happy smile. They ask her how the others are, and she says they’re all doing well. Sora wonders if she’s seen the King or Riku, but there hasn’t been any sign of them. She tells them to join her and the others at Merlin’s house. Arriving there, they find what Yuffie calls the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee which is made up of her, Leon, Aerith, and Cid. They ask Sora where he’s been all this time since they suddenly all remembered him at the exact same time. He explains that he was asleep the whole time.
Leon’s group asks if Sora and the others could help them in dealing with the Nobodies and Heartless that are appearing around town. It's then that Merlin arrives and asks if they gave Sora his present. Aerith pulls out three membership cards which welcomes them as honorary members of the Restoration Committee. Sora gladly accepts the gift as well as Merlin's offer to restore his magical abilities since he forgot them while asleep. With all that out of the way, Leon takes them to an alcove overlooking Maleficent’s old castle. Sora is shocked to find it completely surrounded by an immense army of Heartless. He also shows them that Nobodies have begun to wander around the town. Sora immediately promises to help take care of these problems as soon as he can and tells him of how Pete is amassing the army.
He’s about to tell him about Organization XIII as well when a voice calls out to all of them. They rush toward it and discover all of the remaining members of the Organization, except Axel, waiting for them. Each member makes light of Sora’s inability to use the Keyblade to its full potential until they all leave, still laughing all the while. Sora goes to give chase, but Xigbar bars their way, threatening him with how strong the Organization really is. Sora claims that he’s not impressed since all they did was send the lesser Nobodies at him. Seeing Sora’s defiant look, Xigbar can only laugh since it reminds him of the one Roxas used to give him. Sora believes he’s just trying to confuse him before Xigbar leaves with one final laugh.
With all of the Organization’s members gone, and Sora realizing just how much of a threat they must be. He, Donald, and Goofy decide to head out to search the other worlds for Mickey and Riku and promise to return to eventually help deal with the building Heartless threat. But back in the Organization's Round Room, they are discussing their meetng with Sora. All of them are confident that their little show will push him down the path that they desire. With the loss of Roxas and Xion, Sora is now their only hope to complete Kingdom Hearts. Xemnas tells them to go starting planting seeds along his path. The others all head out as Xemnas stays behind.
Sora and the others first arrive in the Land of Dragons (land of Mulan) where Shan-Yu, leader of the Huns, has razed a village. Watching from the the distance is Mulan and the dragon, Mushu. He encourages her to take on Shan-Yu in order to reap the accolades, but Mulan only wants to find the army so she can join in her father’s place. Sora, Donald, and Goofy see the conversation between Mushu and Mulan and misinterpret it as her getting attacked. They rush in but soon realize that it was all a mistake on their part. Mulan introduces herself as Ping, son of Fa Zhou, as well as Mushu who is the family dragon. As payment for the misunderstanding, Mushu says that they should join them so Mulan will have an easier time passing for a boy in the Imperial Army. Sora and Donald are surprised that she’s actually a girl while Goofy admits that he had suspected as much.
When they get to the training camp and enter the line to join up, Yao cuts in front of Sora. Sora tries to argue and Yao punches him in the face for his troubles. Donald immediately enters the fray as Ling and Chien Po also get into it. Mulan tries to break off the massive brawl, but it isn’t until the arrival of Captain Li Shang that the fight is finally broken up. It’s then that a group of Heartless arrive and Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mulan fight them off. Seeing their skills in action, Li Shang is impressed and allows them to join the army but tells Mulan that she should go home because of her distinct lack in fighting talent. Mulan begs to stay so she won’t dishonor her family.
It’s only through the interference of Sora that Li Shang changes his mind. He decides to give them a mission that would prove Mulan’s worth: scouting the mountain pass that Shan-Yu’s army is advancing through. Sora isn’t worried, but Mulan is still unsure of herself. With Sora’s help, Mulan is able to complete the mission and earn praise from Yao, Ling, and Chien Po. She’s also allowed to enter the Imperial Army though Captain Li Shang is still unsure of her true worth. But all the while, Mulan has been training with Sora and gaining confidence in herself. She displays a powerful drive to exceed the captain’s expectations. At Mushu’s suggestion, they decide to go after Shan-Yu themselves in order to prove once and for all how great Mulan is and protect her family’s honor. However, they are unable to find anything and return to the nearby village to find it burnt to the ground and Li Shang wounded. He tells them that Shan-Yu is at the mountain summit, and Mushu feels like the village attack is his fault since he was the one to suggest that they leave. But Sora tells him that it’s only the fault of Shan-Yu and the Heartless. Together, they’ll stop him for good. They head for the mountain summit, determined to defeat the would-be conqueror. It's not long before they see him leading a horde of Heartless which he immediately sends at them. It seems to be just too much for Sora and the others. No matter how many they defeat, more keep coming. Suddenly, Yao brings in a cannon to shoot directly at Shan-Yu, but Mulan steals it and aims it at the mountainside. The explosion triggers an avalanche that completely envelops Shan-Yu and the Heartless, but it also puts Li Shang and the rest of the army in harm’s way. Mulan is able to save his life while Sora and the rest of the army get to safety.
The act finally shows Li Shang that Mulan is a good soldier until Mushu accidentally lets it slip that she’s a girl. The fact that she lied to him shocks Li Shang, and he tells her that the punishment for such an act is death. But he only tells her to get out of his sight. Disheartened that they were found out, Sora, Mulan, and the rest are left behind. Sora asks what she’ll do now, and she says she’ll head home. Sora promises to help her explain things to her father, who’s sure to be upset at her actions. However, on their way back to her home, they see that Shan-Yu is still alive. His enraged heart calls forth even more Heartless, and he sets out for the Emperor’s Palace. Worried for the Emperor and Shang, Mulan and Sora race after Shan-Yu. They find Li Shang first and tell him that Shan-Yu is on the way to the Palace, but he doesn’t believe them until he sees the villain with his own eyes. He immediately sends his troops to secure the Emperor while Sora and his friends protect the courtyard from the invading Heartless. But when they dispatch all the Heartless, they discover that Shan-Yu has already taken the Emperor hostage.
It’s only thanks to the ambush by Li Shang that they get the Emperor to safety while Mulan and Sora finally confront Shan-Yu. They defeat him and ensure that the Land of Dragons is safe. To celebrate Mulan’s great achievement, the Emperor thanks her for all she’s done despite her deceiving everyone. He gives her the sword of Shan-Yu so that everyone will know of her deeds. The Emperor also throws some friendly jibes at Captain Shang indicating that a relationship may be developing between him and Mulan. Mulan thanks Sora for all the support that he provided her before he and the others continue on their new journey.
Sora and his friends arrive next in Beast’s Castle, where they immediately hear the roar of the Beast. Recognizing its familiar sound, they decide to check up on their old friend. But they spot a Heartless before they can even head in his direction and chase it into a nearby room. Unfortunately, all they see is the magic rose within the glass case. But while they're distracted by the rose, a horde of Heartless attack them from behind. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are protected by the arrival of the Beast but, strangely, he doesn't say a word to any of them. He just shoves them aside, takes the rose, and leaves without saying a word. Not sure what’s wrong with the Beast, the three of them return to the entrance hall.
Once there, Donald swears that he catches a glimpse of a young woman. Goofy realizes that the woman Donald saw must be Belle and suggest that she must know what’s wrong with the Beast. They find Belle in her room, and she’s delighted to see them all. She explains that the Beast hasn’t been talking to her lately and has even gone so far as to lock his servants in the castle dungeon. Belle has no idea what may have changed him so much, but she’s sure the servants would know. Sora promises to free them all.
They find the door leading to the dungeon but find it blocked by a wardrobe. Sora goes to push it out of the way until it starts talking to them. It tells them that it used to be human until an enchantress cast a spell on the entire castle, turning the servants into living objects and the prince into a beast. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are shocked that the Beast is actually a prince but promise to help him. The three of them finally arrive in the dungeon and are able to set Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, and Clocksworth free. The servants tell them that when the Beast was human, he had an incredibly cruel heart and the enchantress's curse was a way to punish him for that.
But ever since the arrival of Belle, the Beast’s heart seems to have been slowly growing kinder. He had been protecting them from the Heartless and had grown to care for Belle. However, something seems to have reverted him back to his old ways though they’re not entirely sure what. Cogsworth tells them the way to Beast’s room, and they find him sadly looking at the rose as Xaldin speaks to him. The Organization member tells Beast that it is time to deal with Belle since she is scheming to take everything he has: the castle, his rose, and then his life. Only by feeding into the anger that drives him can the Beast stay strong.
The Beast is tired of always staying angry though. He only wants to love someone and be loved in return, but Xaldin asks him who could ever truly love a beast. It’s then that Xaldin sees Sora arrive. He tells Beast that Sora is Belle’s accomplice before disappearing into a dark portal. Enraged at Sora’s perceived betrayal, the Beast attacks them all. It’s only with Cogsworth’s help that they’re able to snap the Beast back to his senses. He hadn’t even realized that he had put everyone in to dungeons. The Beast explains that when Xaldin came to him, the Nobody saw his built-up pain and loneliness and changed it into rage. By blinding Beast to the truth, Xaldin could use that rage to easily control him.
Just as Beast is about to feel completely guilty for his actions, Goofy and Cogsworth realize that the Beast must have locked everyone in the dungeon as a subconscious way to protect them. He wonders if that’s really the truth before remembering how selfish and cruel he had been to Belle. He knows she’s far too pure hearted to say anything bad about him which makes it all the worse. Cogsworth knows that the Beast is judging himself far too harshly and can’t see the good that’s truly in his heart. Sora then suggests that Beast go talk to Belle and even promises to help him break the ice.
They arrive in Belle’s room but discover that she went searching for Xaldin. Immediately worried for her safety, Sora and his friends rush off to stop her. They hear her voice crying for help in the ballroom and find her being attacked by a large Heartless. She runs to safety as the group confronts the monster and destroys it. Xaldin claims that he’s not through with the Beast yet but leaves before they can get to him. Sora works out that Xaldin was trying to get Beast to become a Heartless and his remaining strong body to become a Nobody. That way the Organization could have complete control over the Beast.
Belle returns to the ballroom, relieved that the Beast is still safe. He apologizes to her for his actions, and she accepts. She knew that he was being controlled somehow but still chides him for not putting more trust in her. Lumiere and the others watch the scene, glad that everyone’s safe but still worried about the spell. They tell Sora that if the Beast can love and earn love in return before the last petal of the rose falls then the spell over the castle will be broken. Sora hopes that he’ll be able to do it and says that it’s time for them to go. They all say their goodbyes and wish Belle and Beast luck before heading toward the next world in their search for Riku and the King.
But before they can go to the next world, the gummi ship is pulled in the direction of Hollow Bastion. Wondering what could possibly be going on, they head to Merlin’s house and see Heartless running out of it. It turns out Merlin was the one who summoned them back, but he used too much power and attracted the Heartless in turn. Fortunately, he was able to drive them back with his magic but his house ended up ransacked. He tells them that he had found Winnie the Pooh’s storybook though he was afraid that the Heartless might damage it. Merlin is about to tell them more but realizes that Leon and the Restoration Committee should hear what he has to say too. He goes off to find them while Sora decides to visit Pooh in the meantime.
He finds Pooh thinking on a log in front of his house and greets his old friend. Pooh is happy to see him and says that he’s about to do his stoutness exercises. He asks Sora to join him but as he goes to jump off the log, he’s frozen in time. Confused, Sora asks what’s wrong and goes to touch him but is blasted away by an force so strong that he’s ejected from the book. Before he can figure out what’s going on, he hears Donald and Goofy fighting Heartless outside. He goes to help them but while they fight, the Heartless steal Pooh’s book. Sora is able to get it back, but it’s damaged in the process.
Worried for his friends in the storybook, Sora rushes back inside it. There he finds Pooh sitting on his log again. Sora’s glad to see him okay, but Pooh repeats that he was about to start his stoutness exercises and would have to enjoy his company later. It appears that Pooh has completely forgotten about him and everyone else that lives in the 100 Acre Woods. Not sure why this is happening, Sora returns to the real world to ask Merlin. The wizard explains that while they also damaged the book, the Heartless stole pages from it as well. The only way to return Pooh’s memory is to gather the lost pages once again. Merlin had been planning to tell the Restoration Committee about the book as well but decides to wait until it can be repaired. Promising to find the pages once again, Sora and the others leave Hollow Bastion.
Their next stop is Olympus Coliseum, but they strangely find themselves in the Underworld. They see the path to the Coliseum but hear a woman’s scream before they can head for it. Racing toward the sound, Sora sees Megara being attacked by Heartless. He fends them off and asks if she’s okay. She says she is but is standoffish and more than a little surprised that they know Hercules. Still, she introduces herself and explains that Hercules has been fighting constantly in the Coliseum. It’s becoming almost too much for him, to the point that he’s ready to drop. Hades has been sending monsters in waves to try to wear Hercules out, and it’s working.
Megara was actually on her way to see Hades to beg him to give Hercules a break. Goofy wonders if she’s actually more than just friends with the hero if she’s willing to go to Hades to help. Sora, wanting to keeping Hercules’s friend safe, offers to go see Hades in her place. She agrees but requests that they keep this meeting a secret from Hercules. They agree and head further into the Underworld to find Hades. But as they explore deeper inside, they spot an Organization member run past them. They give chase and catch him, but he then runs past them telling them to run away themselves. Sora can only give him a confused look as the Organization member disappears within a dark portal.
Up ahead, Hades and Pete are talking about Hades’s plans for Hercules. Pete notes that every monster that Hades has sent at him has been completely defeated. He laughs that Hades might as well send someone already dead at Hercules to save him the trouble. The remark gives Hades an idea and knows just the warrior who would be perfect for the job. They go to a swirling vortex that acts as the deepest dungeon of all the Underworld. Hades’s plan is to bring out the biggest of all the bad guys down there. He summons forth Auron (from Final Fantasy 10) and offers him a deal. If he fights Hercules to death in the Coliseum then he’ll be released from the Underworld with no strings attached.
Auron refuses, claiming that this is his story and he’ll have no part of Hades’s plans. He draws his sword as Hades fumes at his impertinence. The two clash and Sora stumbles across the scene. Hades is surprised to see Sora again as Auron asks him to join him in the fight. They try to fight the Lord of the Dead but find their attacks completely useless. It’s the effect of fighting in the Underworld. As Sora’s strength is slowly draining away, Hades is about to finish him off but is blocked by Auron. The warrior tells Sora that they need to get out as the god sends fireballs at them.
They barely escape and Sora asks if Auron’s some kind of hero because of his immense strength. Auron says he’s no hero but doesn’t elaborate. Back in Hades’s chamber, Pete says that he can leave Sora to him. All he needs to do is concentrate on turning Hercules into a Heartless. Hades screams at Pete that this is his Underworld, and he’ll do things his way. As a demonstration, he sends Cerberus after the group. Sora and the others reach the gate but find it locked. Before he can use the Keyblade to open it, Cerberus catches them and attacks. They’re able to hold it off and escape from the Underworld.
Back in the Coliseum, Megara is begging Hercules to take a day off from fighting. He says he can’t and tries to put on a brave face before tiredly heading out to fight. In the Underworld, Hades is musing about the fact that Sora’s Keyblade can unlock any lock. He notes that the Underworld has its own Coliseum that makes the one on the surface look like a kid’s pool, but Zeus locked it away to never be opened again. He realizes that he could have Sora open the lock with the help of Megara.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy finally reach the Olympus Coliseum and come across Hercules. He asks how they have been, and they explain that they’ve been dealing with Hades but the Underworld keeps sapping their strength. Hercules tells them that there is a special stone that could guard against the ill effects. He goes to get it for them and suggests that they get some more training from Phil to better prepare for the fight against Hades. Phil puts them through some exercises before Hercules joins them outside. He tells them that the special stone has been stolen by a man in a black-hooded cloak. Sora promises to get it back in return for borrowing it. Before he heads out, Hercules asks Sora if he's seen Megara anywhere, but he hasn’t.
It’s then that Hades arrives and tells them that he’s kidnapped Megara. Hercules is about to go save her, but Hades has also unleashed the Hydra in the Coliseum. Hades disappears as Hercules tries to figure out what he should do. Sora offers to get Megara back while Hercules takes on the Hydra. They separate with Sora heading back to the Underworld. It isn’t long before they find Phil who says that he was ambushed by the black-cloaked Nobody. He points Sora in the right direction while Hercules fights and defeats the Hydra.
Sora finally catches up to the Organization member and discovers that it’s Demyx. He calls Sora by the name Roxas which only confuses Sora. Demyx pulls out a note that says if Sora doesn’t respond like he knows him, use aggression to persuade him. He mutters that they picked the wrong guy for the job and pulls out the special stone. Demyx uses it on himself before summoning his sitar to challenge Sora to a fight. He uses his music and power over water to surround Sora with giant musical notes, but Sora is able to dispatch them with little difficulty. With a sigh, Demyx calls Sora by the name Roxas again, telling him to return to the Organization before disappearing. Luckily, he leaves behind the special stone which immediately frees the three from the Underworld’s strength-sapping curse.
Continuing on, Sora discovers a large stone with the image of Megara carved into it as well as a keyhole. Sora uses the Keyblade to unlock the keyhole causing the rock to disappear and allowing the group to enter a large hole. Inside they find Hades with a bound Megara. He thanks them for their help before disappearing. Pete arrives with a legion of Heartless. He’s confident that he’ll be able to wipe the floor with them since he thinks they’re still affected by the curse. Sora and the others are able to protect Megara for a while, but the Heartless legion just keeps coming. It’s only due to the arrival of Hercules that they’re able to get the young woman to safety. He asks Sora to take care of her while he deals with Pete and the Heartless.
Before they can get too far, Megara begs Sora to go back to Hercules since he’s reaching his physical limit. Sora promises to do so while Pegasus takes her back to the Coliseum. Together, Sora and Hercules are able to drive off Pete, but the cave their in is starting to collapse. They get to safety while Hades delights at the day he’s having. He’s positive today is the day that he defeats Hercules. He then goes to the edge of the Underworld to taunt the two heroes. He tells them that Hercules failed to fully defeat the Hydra, and it’s now tearing apart the Coliseum. Hades disappears before they can say anything but quickly go to stop the Hydra.
Hercules is devastated at the sight of the ruined Coliseum. He knows he let everyone down and is nothing more than a washout. Phil tries to snap him out of it, but the strength seems to just fade from his body. Sora offers encouragement as well but nothing reaches Hercules. Megara helps him get away from the rampaging Hydra as Sora, Donald, and Goofy are forced to take it on with the help of Phil and Pegasus. It’s an incredibly tough fight as Sora has to find another way to defeat it since cutting off its head only causes it to grow more heads. Still, he manages to wear it down and bury it in rubble. They go to see Hercules, who is still depressed over everything that happened and everyone that he let down. He feels like he’s completely useless, but all of them remain supportive. Goofy tells him to rest while the Coliseum is rebuilt and Megara reminds him that even a god would be worn out after all the fighting he had been forced to do. She turns to Sora and thanks him for all his help. They promise to return if they ever need help again and finally leave for the next world.
Back in Hollow Bastion, Maleficent is asking Pete where all the other villains are. He suggests that they all had other matters to take care of. She bristles at the idea that they would ignore her return. Pete tries to explain that Organization XIII keeps getting in the way as well as Sora. Curious as to what this could mean for her plans, she tells Pete to tell her everything that has happened during her absence. Meanwhile, in Disney Castle, Queen Minnie is looking for an old album in the castle library until Chip and Dale run in with urgent news. Sharp thorns have grown all over in a place known as the Hall of the Cornerstone. She goes with them to see and discovers that what they say is true. She prays that Mickey, Donald, or Goofy will return soon as the castle is now in incredible danger.
As if sensing the pleas of Queen Minnie, Sora, Donald, and Goofy all arrive at Disney Castle. Sora asks the pair how it feels to be home, but neither feel that things are quite right. As they try to place just what feels off, Chip and Dale run into the gummi ship hangar bay to see them. They tell them that the castle is in danger and that Queen Minnie needs to see them in the library immediately. It isn’t long before they reach her though the castle is brimming with Shadow Heartless. She’s relieved that they’ve come back and tells Sora that she’s heard all about him from Mickey’s letters. Unfortunately, she has no idea where the King might be.
She explains that she has something dire to show them but is worried for all the other residents of the castle. While Donald and Goofy go off to bring everyone to safety, Sora stays behind with Minnie to escort her to the audience chamber. Together, they’re able to make it to the door of the chamber with Minnie helping Sora to fend off the Heartless with her magic. She unseals the room, and the two enter to find it overrun with Heartless as well. Sora swears he'll keep Minnie safe and fights through them all until they reach the throne. There, Minnie activates a special switch that causes the room to be filled with a brilliant light. It's so powerful that all the remaining Heartless in the chamber are instantly destroyed.
Sora can’t help but be impressed by the demonstration and turns to see that the floor holding the throne has shifted to the side to reveal a hidden staircase. Minnie says that this secret passage leads to the Hall of the Cornerstone. Within its walls lies the Cornerstone of Light, a powerful object that protects Disney Castle from the evils of other worlds. Unfortunately, the entire room has been almost completely filled with large thorns and only the Cornerstone itself remains accessible. Because of this, the Cornerstone has weakened and the castle is now vulnerable to the Heartless. Minnie wonders who could have done such a thing.
As if on cue, a projection of Maleficent appears before them. Sora can’t believe that she’s alive. Maleficent delights in their confusion and tells them that she’ll have revenge on them in due time, but she has other plans to take care of first. Minnie demands to know what she’s done to the Cornerstone. The witch explains that she wants Disney Castle for her own, but it’s far too bright for her tastes. By completely enveloping the Cornerstone in the thorns, she’ll be able to spread her darkness all throughout the castle. She disappears with a great cackle as Minnie begins to despair.
She tells them that she looked through every record in the library, but nothing was ever written about what was happening to them now. Minnie doesn’t know how they’ll be able to return things to the way they were. Goofy suggest that they should consult someone who knows more about everything than anyone else. Donald picks up the idea and suggests that they could return to Hollow Bastion in order to ask Merlin. They promise Minnie that they’ll come back as soon as possible before heading off again. It’s not long before they find the wizard and begin explaining everything that’s been happening inside the castle.
Strangely, Minnie can hear Donald’s voice inside the Hall of the Cornerstone. Turning around, she sees Merlin transport himself, Sora, Donald, and Goofy right next to her. Donald is surprised that they’re back, and Merlin explains that he just wanted to see the problem for himself. Inspecting the Cornerstone, he realizes that things are quite serious for the castle. He then uses his magic to summon a special door. When Sora asks what it is for, Merlin explains that it is a gateway to a special world. Whoever is inside that world is the one responsible for what’s happening within the castle.
Sora and the others are about to enter but Merlin explains that they have to find a door identical to the one before them within the special world. Their enemies have used this twin door to enter the world and corrupt the Cornerstone. It’s their mission to find this twin door and close it forever with the Keyblade. He warns them that the nature of the special world may tempt them to do something dark, but they must resist no matter the cost. With that, they finally walk through the door and into the special world.
But there’s something weird about this special world. Everything is black and white, and they’ve all reverted back to a style of early animation (in Donald and Goofy’s case they appear like they did when they were first created). Donald and Goofy remark that they’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, and Sora wonders if they’ve been there before. While looking around, they come across the Cornerstone of Light and Pete (in his old animation design) comes up to them. He asks if they’ve seen any bad guys around, but they only point at him. He takes offense at the accusation and says he doesn’t have the time to waste on them. Pete runs off and Sora thinks that they’ve found the one responsible for all the trouble.
Asking around, they finally realize that the world is called Timeless River (land of Steamboat Willie) and is the site of where Disney Castle will eventually be built. The special world is actually in the past. The trio find Pete on the pier, and he asks if they have a bone to pick with him. Sora is ready to fight, but the sound of a boat whistle distracts Pete. He goes to walk away, but the trio stops him and forces him into a fight. Pete is more than happy to rumble with them. However, he’s not very tough, and he demands to know what their problem with him is as his entire body aches. Sora tells him to stop acting like he doesn’t know them. Pete hears the boat whistle again and tries to go to it but is too injured to move. Goofy wonders if this really is Pete, but Pete claims he is since he’s the captain of the steamboat. He says he needs to go after the runt that stole his boat. The three step aside and realize that they’ve made a mistake since this Pete hasn’t even tried to call any Heartless. They apologize to him and promise to get his steamboat back to make up for their attack.
During their search, they come across a floating curtain that shows a scene of the Heartless spreading out amongst the world before they arrived. They decide to keep the world safe first and go after all the Heartless. In the first place they visit, they spot Mickey (also in his original design). Goofy notices that he seems kind of different but when Heartless show up, Sora and the others rush to protect him. He thanks Sora wholeheartedly with a great shake of his hand before running off without a word. It’s then that they notice a new floating curtain which shows them a scene of Maleficent. She’s admonishing Pete for being a complete failure and a fool. He may have thought that he could take over when she was gone, but now there will be no place for him when she finally conquers all. He tries to explain himself to her, but she calls him an imbecile before walking off. Sora and his friends are confused by this scene and how they’re able to see it, but they continue to search for more invading Heartless.
With each new place they secure, the same events keep happening. Sora and his friends protect the area from the Heartless. A silent Mickey then thanks them. And then a new curtain reveals a scene that took place at Maleficent’s castle in Hollow Bastion. The scenes show Pete feeling down about Maleficent’s harsh words. He knows he’s failed along the way and misses the good old days when he was first starting out. When he wishes he could go back in time, the twin door of the one Merlin conjured appears before him. He steps through and realizes it’s a portal to the past. He shows it to Maleficent, and she tells him to find a way to use it to their advantage. But when she sees the Cornerstone of Light, the witch knows that she could use the one in the past to take Disney Castle from Mickey in the present. She gives Pete instructions for the Cornerstone and tells him not to fail her again.
Now seeing the whole story of Maleficent’s plan, Sora and the others realize that Pete was the culprit all along. But the Pete from before still doesn’t seem like the one they know. It’s then that they finally see the Pete from their time sneaking around. They go to protect the Cornerstone of Light, but it’s already gone. Realizing that they’re running out of time, the trio rushes toward the boat docks. There they find the Pete from their time knocking out the Pete of the past and stealing his steamboat which is loaded with the Cornerstone of Light. They’re able to stop the boat from leaving and free the Cornerstone, but Pete runs off toward his door. They leave the Cornerstone for now and give chase so they can seal the twin door.
Past Pete comes back and tries to stop his future self. He gets decked again, but Sora and the others come to his aid. Together, they all take on the Pete from their time and defeat him. He summons the door and runs off as Sora seals it behind him. Past Pete thanks them for all their help and even allows them to ride his steamboat. They use it to return the Cornerstone back to where it belongs. Remembering Merlin's words that they'd have a dark choice, they realize that he meant that they could end up changing the future. Fortunately, as they return to their own time, they realize that everything is still as it was. The thorns have disappeared and the castle is safe once again.
She and Merlin thank them for protecting the castle and grant Sora a new ability. He can now call upon Donald's power to change his clothes to the Wisdom Form, which increases his magical ability. Daisy then comes into the Hall of the Cornerstone to see Donald. Goofy explains that she is Donald’s sweetheart. Sora and the others laugh as she yells at Donald for missing their date. She understands he’s on an important mission, but he could check in every once in a while. Donald tries to explain but she won’t hear any of it until Sora tells her that they need to borrow him for a little longer. She relents, and they head to the next world.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy find themselves in a strange new world called Port Royal (land of Pirates of the Caribbean). They notice that things seem much stranger in this place but can’t place how. Before they can think on it any further, they hear screaming coming from the town. Thinking it may be the Heartless or Organization XIII, Sora rushes off to help. Close to the actual port, Pete is talking with Captain Barbossa about the Aztec curse that he and his crew is under. Pete is impressed and warns him about Sora and the Keyblade, specifically that it could actually defeat them while they’re in their skeletal forms. Barbossa is intrigued and sends half his crew after Sora while the other half searches for a specific medallion.
Sora is able to defeat the pirates but only after learning of their curse from Pete. The constant thorn in their side runs off yet again, but Sora knows they have work to do in this world. As they get closer to the town, they see a woman named Elizabeth being kidnapped. A young man named Will tries to save her but is stopped by a group of Heartless. Sora steps in to help and drives off the Heartless. Seeing their skills, Will asks for their aide in rescuing Elizabeth. They all run to the docks, but it’s too late. The pirates have taken her away on their ship. Will despairs at never being able to find her again but is interrupted by a new voice.
It comes from another pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. He recommends that Will forget about her and find a new girl. Will is upset at his words and accuses him of trying to steal the royal navy’s ship, the Interceptor. Sora’s more excited about meeting a pirate that isn’t trying to skewer him. But as Will thinks more about the situation, he asks Jack for his help in finding Elizabeth since he helped free him from a jail cell. Jack initially refuses until he realizes that he has no crew to help pilot the Interceptor. They all join up with him as Jack notes that Will’s last name is Turner. The captain goes to liberate some effects for their journey as Donald and Goofy ask Sora if he really wants to be a pirate. Sora says he doesn’t and merely wants to use Jack’s ship. Jack in turn asks Sora if he knows anything more about Will, but he admits that he only just met him. Thinking on everything, Jack believes that his luck is about to change. They then set sail to save Elizabeth.
Aboard Barbossa’s ship, the Black Pearl, Elizabeth is being forced to have dinner with Barbossa. She demands to be released since he had gotten his hands on the medallion he was after. But Barbossa has no intention of freeing her since the medallion is actually a piece of cursed Aztec gold. It’s one of 882 identical pieces that was part of a great treasure chest that was hidden on an island that can only be found by those who know where it is. Barbossa’s crew didn’t believe in the curse until after they had spent almost all of the gold pieces. The curse then took hold, turning all of them into creatures that aren’t quite dead yet not alive either and unable to enjoy anything that the gold might buy.
Elizabeth shows no sympathy at their situation, but Barbossa continues on. There is a way to remove the curse. If all of the pieces of gold are returned to the chest and the blood of every soul who first touched the treasure is repaid then they will be freed. It’s taken them ten years to find them all but with the medallion in their hands, they have all the pieces they need. Elizabeth asks about the blood to be repaid, but Barbossa says that is the reason they haven’t killed her yet. She tries to run off, but there’s no place to go. She is surrounded by the skeletal forms of the crew revealed by the moonlight.
On their way to find Elizabeth, Sora asks Jack why he’s so fixated on a compass. He explains that it will take them to the Isla de Muerta which is where Barbossa’s heading. Sora wonders how Jack could possibly know that. Jack reminisces about how he and Barbossa had hunted for the treasure together but once they found it, he turned traitor and stole the Black Pearl from him. He goes on to say that Barbossa is out to break the curse, but he doesn’t care about any of that. Jack just wants his ship back. When they finally arrive on the Isla de Muerta, Jack tells Sora, Donald, and Goofy to wait behind while he and Will rescues Elizabeth. But as they wait, Sora begins to wonder what’s taking them so long. He’s worried that Heartless may have impeded their way and decides to enter the island after them. He’s worried over nothing though as Jack and Will are spying on the pirates in the midst of celebrating the return of all of the cursed coins. Barbossa holds the final piece up and says it’s time to add the necessary blood to be repaid.
Sora heads into the island and comes across Will and Elizabeth running from a horde of pirates. He and the others promise to hold the pirates off as Will and Elizabeth get to the safety of the ship. Once the two young lovers are safe, Sora takes off to join them. He asks where Jack is and Will explains that he knocked out Jack because he tried to stop him from interrupting Barbossa’s ritual. Barbossa had cut Elizabeth’s hand and covered the final coin in her blood before dropping it into the chest. But the curse didn’t go away. It turned out that the pirates thought she was the daughter of “Bootstrap” Bill Turner. Barbossa tossed her away in anger as the pirates argue over what is to be done. Many are confused since Elizabeth said her last name was Turner, not Swann. Elizabeth had taken the opportunity to grab the coin while Will grabbed her hand and led her back to the Interceptor. His story over, Will says he had no choice but to leave Jack behind because he couldn’t be trusted. Sora begrudgingly accepts this as they head back to Port Royal harbor to return Elizabeth home.
Along the way, Will asks Elizabeth why she told the pirates her last name was Turner. He then notices the coin in her hand, recognizing that it was a gift from his father. She had taken it for her own the day her father, the governor of Port Royal, found Will in a shipwreck. With that coin in his possession, she was worried that he’d be mistaken for a pirate. Will realizes that Barbossa’s pirates need his blood to be rid of the curse. Back on the Black Pearl, Barbossa has captured Jack and asks how he had got off the island that they had abandoned him on. Jack says that it was simply because he’s Captain Jack Sparrow. He then offers to get the last coin back in exchange for the Black Pearl. Barbossa refuses and locks him in the brig as they come alongside the Interceptor. The attack causes Will to fall overboard as Sora grabs the coin and decides to fight off the pirates. Unfortunately the pirates' experience on the high seas and their capture of Elizabeth puts Sora in a difficult position.
It’s then that Will climbs back onto the ship with a pistol in hand. He tells Barbossa to free Elizabeth or he’ll shoot himself which would damn them to the curse forever. Barbossa realizes that he’s actually the son of the “Bootstrap” Bill Turner and agrees to let Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Elizabeth go. But Pete arrives with a squad of Heartless which he uses to knock out Will. With him unconscious, the pirates go back on their word, tying up everyone, including Jack, in the ship's hold while they prepare gunpowder kegs.
Once Barbossa and Pete leave, Jack is able to free himself from his bindings and get the others out. Together, they get all the powder kegs off the ship and set sail for the Isla de Muerte. Elizabeth stays with the ship while the others head further into the island to save Will. They’re able to get to the treasure cave and interrupt the ceremony before Barbossa can get Will’s blood. Jack and Barbossa begin dueling but Jack is stabbed through the stomach. However, when he steps into the moonlight, he also turns into a skeletal creature. He reveals that had stolen another piece of the treasure in order to be cursed and granted immortality.
Angered at the ruse, Barbossa calls out to Pete who brings in a large Heartless. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Jack face off against Barbossa and the Heartless. Together, they’re able to defeat them and Pete runs off. However, Barbossa is still ready to fight. Jack pulls out his pistol and shoots Barbossa as Will drops the coins covered in his and Jack’s blood into the chest. The curse finally gone, Barbossa falls over dead. The group leaves the island with Will asking what Jack will do now. Jack says that he’ll do whatever he likes now that he has the Black Pearl again. Will and Elizabeth embrace as Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue their search for their friends.
The next stop in the search for Mickey and Riku brings the trio to Agrabah. They hope that Aladdin and Jasmine might know where their friends are but along the way, they spot Iago. He tries to tell them that he’s turned over a new leaf after Jafar’s defeat, but Sora doesn’t believe him. Iago tells them that after escaping Jafar’s lamp, he wants to apologize to Aladdin and Jasmine. Goofy decides to give him a break and says that they’ll ask the princess. The catch is that Iago will have to win her over himself. The group then heads for the palace to see their old friends.
The city has been completely rebuilt from the earlier sandstorms, but Jasmine has become worried about Aladdin. At times he seems the same, but other times he just seems sad. He’s also been making trips to the desert for some unknown reason. Iago wonders if Aladdin’s got a secret girlfriend, but Jasmine is more worried that Iago has returned. She runs off to get the palace guards before Sora can explain. They decide to go find Aladdin and see what he’s been up to. But as they go into town, Aladdin and Abu run past them as a peddler calls them a thief. Aladdin gets the stolen black lamp from Abu and gives it back to the peddler.
Aladdin finally greets Sora and Sora wastes no time in asking him about what Jasmine had told them. Their friend explains that Genie and Carpet had left to go see the world, but in the year since they’ve gone, he’s grown to miss them. Aladdin goes into town to try to drown himself in the action of the marketplace. They can see where he’s coming from and are about to have Iago apologize, but Iago is scared stiff by the sight of the peddler’s lamp. He tells them that it’s Jafar’s lamp, and they all chase after the peddler. They ask to buy the lamp from him, but he’ll only part with it if they give him a treasure beyond his imagination. Iago suggests that they could grab some treasure from the Cave of Wonders, and Aladdin decides to believe him. While exploring the depths of the cave, they come across a room filled to the brim with treasure. Marveling at it all, the group takes what they need as Pete stumbles into the room with them.
Upon seeing them, he hides in a corner and listens to their conversation. His ears perk up at the mention of Jafar’s lamp, and he sneaks off back to town while leaving a group of Heartless behind to deal with Sora and the others. They’re able to fight them off, take the treasure, and head back to the peddler. But when they arrive, they hear Pete threatening the poor man. He runs off, but Pete gives chase with Sora and the others close behind. Pete finally catches him in the Palace courtyard, but Iago steals the lamp from him before he can rub it. Desperate to get the lamp back, Pete smashes Iago into a wall and takes the lamp for himself.
Pete is excited to make Jafar a Heartless but before he can do anything, Genie returns to Agrabah. He mistakes Pete for Aladdin during his goofy reintroduction causing the villain to drop the lamp, but Aladdin finally corrects him. The two friends happily reunite while Pete recovers. In his anger of being made to look like a fool, Pete summons two large Heartless. But the heroes are able to defeat the Heartless together as Pete runs off once again. The group decides to hide the lamp under a heavy stone slab in order to prevent the release of Jafar. Afterwards, Jasmine decidea to pardon Iago for his past deeds after all he’s done to help them. Sora is happy for him and that everything is back to normal between Aladdin and Jasmine, but he still has to keep searching for Riku and the King. They say their goodbyes and leave Agrabah.
Meanwhile, Pluto, still searching for Mickey on his own, has somehow stumbled into the World That Never Was. He’s scared and lonely but catches sight of Axel walking the streets of the abandoned city. He sees Axel enter a dark portal, but it closes before he can enter. However, he hears a whistle and another one appears which he happily runs through. The scene shifts to Kairi, still waiting on the shores of the Destiny Islands. She’s starting to believe that waiting isn’t good enough. Axel calls out an agreement to her as he steps through the dark portal. Kairi nervously asks who he is, and Axel introduces himself, saying that he’s an acquaintance of Sora’s. As Dusks surround her, Pluto rushes to her side. Axel says that they both have something in common. They both miss friends that they care about. Pluto hears the whistle again and leads Kairi to the dark portal that appears. Within the portal, she can only see the endlessly repeating symbol of the Nobodies and a great red light. Another whistle rings out, and Pluto leads her towards the light. They step through, but as it closes behind her, she sees a hooded figure in a black cloak. Kairi awakes to find herself in Hayner, Pence, and Olette’s clubhouse in Twilight Town. The three friends ask if she’s alright as she tries to figure out where she is.
At that same moment, Chip and Dale inform Sora and the others that they’re receiving strange signals from Twilight Town. They decide to check it out and soon see Vivi run past calling out that Seifer is in trouble at the sandlot. Sora runs off to help and finds Seifer, Fujin, and Raijin all downed by a group of Dusks. Saïx appears before Sora after they’ve defeated the lesser Nobodies and commends him for his abilities. He asks if Sora has seen a man named Axel anywhere, but Sora hasn’t. The Keyblade wielder prepares his weapon as Saïx keeps talking, informing Sora that Axel is no longer acting in the best interest of the Organization.
Sora makes jibes at the fact that the Organization seems to be having troubles of its own, but Saïx actually gives him a warning. Axel will stop at nothing to turn Sora into a Heartless. Saïx says that it would break the Organization's hearts if something were to happen to Sora. Donald mentions that Nobodies have no hearts, but Saïx says that all Organization members remember what it was like. It’s one of the things that makes them special and helps them know how to injure a heart. As Saïx summons a dark portal, he tells Sora to keep defeating the Heartless. Sora whispers to the others that they should enter the portal with him so they can find the Organization’s base. But Saïx overhears and warns them about being too reckless. If he is, he could end up like Riku. Sora wants to know what he means, but Saïx leaves without another word.
As thanks for their help, Seifer gives Sora, Donald, and Goofy the Struggle trophy, signaling them as the strongest in Twilight Town. Sora tries to refuse it, but Seifer shoves it in Goofy’s hands before leaving. It’s then that Pence shows up and asks if Sora knows a girl named Kairi. Sora becomes excited at the name and confirms that he does. Pence tells him to come to the station in that case. They all rush there as Hayner and Pence meet up with them. Sora finally asks how they all know Kairi. The three tell him that she had appeared in Twilight Town and was looking for him. He asks where she is now, but, unfortunately, Axel had shown up again. The Nobody had praised her for the guts it took to jump through the portal like she did. Hayner and Pence had tried to protect her, but Axel merely batted them away before dragging Kairi through a dark portal with Pluto chasing after them.
Sora forlornly looks at Kairi’s good luck charm as Goofy wonders if it was Axel who took her. Hayner apologizes for losing her, but Sora says it isn’t their fault. He vows to find her again and adds her to the list of people he’s searching for. Once again, he says goodbye to the kids of Twilight Town and returns to the gummi ship. Sora is depressed that all of his friends have been spread so far apart, but Donald and Goofy try to cheer him up. They decide to search the remaining worlds open to them in the hopes of finding at least one of their friends.
Meanwhile, Saïx has returned to the Round Room to report to Xemnas. The leader of the Organization commends him for not only hurting Sora's heart but throwing it into confusion as well. This will only help them gather more hearts. His confusion will lead him to frustration which will make him fight the Heartless with even more conviction. Saïx agrees but voices his concern over Axel. Xemnas calls him a sentimental fool who follows a friendship that he cannot feel. He truly believes he can bring Roxas back. But Xemnas tells Saïx that he should give Axel something to be truly pitiful about.
Their first stop brings them back to Halloween Town, where Jack Skellington is walking through the woods and discovers a tree with a door carved into it. The door is shaped like a Christmas tree. Curious, he opens it and is pulled inside. On the edge of town, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are greeted by Zero, who guides them further inside. They find that Halloween Town looks completely different with decorative lights all around and a large ramp built right in the center. Just as they wonder what it could be for, they see Jack fly by on a sleigh pulled by skeletal reindeer.
He lands on the rap and greets all of them with a “Merry Christmas!” Sora asks if he doesn’t mean “Happy Halloween” instead, but Jack tells him that he’s in more of a Christmas spirit this year. He wants to run the show, but he needs to ask Santa Claus’s permission so he’s soon heading out for Christmas Town. Jack was the one who put up all the Christmas decorations in celebration of this exciting new holiday. But before he can visit Santa, he needs to see Sally since she’s working on something special for him. He asks Sora and the others to join them, but they’re more than a little freaked out by the strange mix of Halloween and Christmas. Still, they decide to tag along, hoping to find one of their other friends.
Jack leads them to Doctor Finkelstein’s laboratory where the doctor is reading a large book. He’s in the middle of conducting a new experiment with the help of Lock, Shock, and Barrel. But the kids mishandle it causing the doctor’s work to explode. Sally finally appears but explains that she still needs more time to finish Jack's request. Jack says that it’s okay as long as it’s finished by Christmas. She tries to say more to him, but he’s too excited to see Santa Claus to listen to her. Sally begs Sora to stop Jack as she feels something terrible will happen if he goes through with his Christmas plan. But Sora’s more excited about getting to meet Santa.
When they go to leave Finkelstein’s laboratory, they are attacked by a group of Heartless. They defeat them easily, but Jack is worried for Santa Claus’s safety when he relaxes this year. He decides to assign Sora and the others as Santa’s bodyguards. Outside of town, Lock, Shock and Barrel are confronted by Maleficent. She decides that they could be of use to her and bring them along to show them the true meaning of mischief. Jack, Sora, and the others arrive at the door to Christmas Town and Jack explains that he’s grown tired of the same old spooks of Halloween year after year. He wanted to find something new and eventually found this door. As he describes the wonders of Christmas Town, Sora grows more and more excited. Jack finally opens the door and Sora jumps through without a second thought. On the other end, they find themselves in a winter wonderland with Santa’s workshop in the middle of it all. Unfortunately, Heartless have also found their way to Christmas Town. Determined not to let anything bad happen to Santa, they travel to his house.
Inside, they find Santa going over his “nice” list. Sora finds out that he’s not on Santa’s list because he told all of his friends he didn’t believe in Santa seven years ago. He’s devastated as Donald and Goofy discover they are on the list. Jack asks about himself, but Santa is alarmed just at the mention of his name. He’s about to say more when he hears a racket coming from his workshop. They follow after him and discover Lock, Shock, Barrel, and Maleficent inside. The witch tells the children what to do and disappears as they jump out the window. Santa asks them to deal with the kids, but Jack wants to ask Santa about Christmas first. Santa tells him it’ll have to wait as Jack joins Sora and the others outside. It doesn’t take much to see the kids’ tracks in the snow leading back to Halloween Town. The kids have retreated to Curly Hill where Maleficent has decided to take care of Sora before destroying Christmas Town. Pranksters they may be, Lock, Shock, and Barrel are still surprised at how evil she is and remark that she’s as bad as Oogie Boogie. This sparks an idea and Maleficent decides to bring him back to life.
When Sora and the others arrive, Oogie Boogie has already been revived. He thanks Maleficent, but she notes that he owes her a favor. She begins to tell him her plans for Sora and Christmas Town, but he begins to act dazed. Maleficent realizes that he needs more time to recover and orders the kids to distract the heroes in the meantime with a giant Heartless. Sora is able to defeat it but is still worried since Oogie has been revived. In the meantime, Santa has stumbled into the outskirts of Halloween Town where he is found by Sally. He explains that he came to see Jack about what he wanted, but Sally responds that he should return home and lock the door. Maleficent and Oogie watch the scene while she explains that while Oogie kidnaps Santa and destroys Christmas Town, she will work toward turning the jolly old man into a Heartless. They set the plan into action and Sally rushes off to find Sora.
Upon hearing the news, he and the others return to Christmas Town as quickly as they can. But they’re running low on time as Santa has been tied to one of the conveyer belts in his workshop. Luckily, they are given more time as Oogie and Maleficent begin arguing. Oogie keeps forgetting that the witch had helped him in the first place. She storms off angrily as Oogie begins redecorating the workshops into a death trap. Oogie’s memory continues to deteriorate when Sora and the others arrive. He knows he wants revenge on Jack and the others but doesn’t remember kidnapping Santa, even when he looks directly at him. Fortunately, Sally is able to rescue Santa while the others confront Oogie.
Despite Oogie’s deathtrap, Sora and the others are able to defeat him once again. Christmas is safe and Santa’s elves quickly set about restoring the workshop. Jack is still set to handle Christmas himself, but Donald and Goofy insist that he should stick to Halloween instead. Sally arrives and gives him the Santa suit that she had been making him but still questions his intentions for Christmas. Jack isn’t fazed until Santa himself thanks him for all he’s done but declares that he’ll never take over Christmas for him. He explains that seeing the happy faces of children makes all the effort worthwhile before asking Jack how he’d feel if someone tried to take over Halloween from him. Jack realizes that he should stick to what he knows best and begins making plans for next Halloween. Sora says goodbye to everyone before heading to the next world in search of his missing friends.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s next stop takes them to the Pride Lands (land of the Lion King) where an older Simba is having a nightmare about the death of his father. He looks into the night sky, remembering him, while Timon and Pumbaa sleep nearby. But Sora and the others disembark in the Elephant Graveyard to see that they’ve been disguised as normal animals; Sora is a lion cub, Donald is a tropical bird, and Goofy is a tortoise. While admiring their new forms, they’re surrounded by hyenas who plan to have them for dinner. Sora tries to run, but isn’t used to his lion appearance yet. The group is only saved by the roar of Scar, who is calling the hyenas to some kind of gathering. Not wanting to get on his bad side, the hyenas leave while Sora tries to get used to life as a lion.
As Sora figures out that he can use the Keyblade in his mouth to fight, Donald remarks that Kairi would probably find Sora adorable in this form. Sora just smiles before starting the search for their friends. Instead they come across Nala, who is getting attacked by a group of Heartless. They use their new skills to fight them off without too much difficulty. Nala thanks them for their help and Sora takes the opportunity to ask if she knows if his friends are there. She hasn’t seen them, but Sora decides to take a look around anyway. Before they go, Nala warns them that the Pride Lands have become dangerous under Scar’s rule.
Sora isn’t worried now that he’s grown accustomed to his lion form but listens as Nala explains that Scar and the hyenas have driven off all the prey. The Pride Lands have become nothing more than a barren waste. Despite all that Scar's done, Sora is surprised that she would want to take down their king. He’s worried about the world’s order but decides to keep exploring for his friends anyway. Nala leads them to Pride Rock where she introduces Sora and the others to Rafiki. The old baboon looks them over before telling Nala that they’re not the ones who can save the Pride Lands. She tells them to leave before Scar can catch them.
But as they go to leave, they’re once again surrounded by the hyenas, this time joined by Scar and a lion version of Pete. He commands the lionesses to use Sora and his friends as prey, but Nala instead attacks Scar. She throws him off guard, giving herself and the others enough time to escape. Sora decides to ask her if there’s anyone else that could be king, and she tells him about Mufasa’s son, Simba. Sora offers to go searching for him while Simba still broods over the nightmare of his father’s death. Timon and Pumbaa try to cheer him up, but nothing seems to work. Simba walks off to a nearby cliff and plops down onto some flowers. The petals are sent into the air and carried by the wind to Rafiki. By smelling the flowers, he jubilantly realizes that Simba is still safe.
Sora’s search takes him outside the lands surrounding Pride Rock to an oasis. It’s there that he finally discovers Simba. Sora introduces himself and the others but are interrupted by the screams of Timon and Pumbaa. Simba rushes off to help them with Sora offering to help. They discover Nala about to eat the two, but Simba pounces on her. The two fight for a bit before Sora tells him that it’s his old friend. Simba is relieved to be reunited with Nala and asks for some alone time with her. She begs Simba to come back to Pride Rock and save them all from Scar. But Simba refuses, saying that sometimes bad things happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Nala grows frustrated with him and leaves as Sora and the others come upon the scene. He approaches Simba, but the lion prince walks away without a word. That night, he tries to convince himself that even if he did go back, nothing would change. It’s then that he’s visited by a vision of his father who tells him to remember who he used to be. Simba takes the words to heart and asks Sora to help him take back his kingdom.
When they arrive at Pride Rock, Simba is shocked at the devastation of his home. He makes his way to Scar and gives his uncle a choice, step down as king or fight. Scar appears to cower at his words until he begins talking about Mufasa’s death. He threatens to tell Simba’s friends the truth of his disappearance. But Simba admits it to them himself. He’s the one who killed his father. Scar continues to accuse Simba as the lion tries to explain that it was an accident. Simba is so unnerved that he almost falls from Pride Rock. As he struggles to hang on, Scar whispers to him that he was the one who killed Mufasa. Simba becomes furious at these words and is able to leap back to safety. He pins his uncle to the ground and forces him to admit the truth.
Scar is able to escape from Simba as Sora and the others handle the hyenas. They fight them off and rush to see how Simba’s doing. Donald wants to help, but Sora realizes that they shouldn’t. It’s his fight and will decide the true king. Simba is able to do it on his own and sends Scar careening off Pride Rock. But just as they think it’s over, Pete appears again. He reveals that all of Scar’s jealousy and hatred of Mufasa has turned the tyrant king into a Heartless. This time, Sora joins in the fight and helps Simba defeat his uncle once and for all. After years of being away from home, Simba claims his birthright as king and everyone celebrates. Sora knows that his friends aren't here and heads out, positive that he’ll find them eventually.
They decide to return to Hollow Bastion to see how Leon and the others are doing but find the town crawling with both Heartless and Nobodies. On their way to Merlin’s house, the discover that Cloud has returned to Hallow Bastion. He says that he’s tracked down the one that embodies all the darkness within him to this world and vows to defeat Sephiroth once and for all. Sora promises to keep an eye out for him, but Cloud warns him that he messes with people's heads to make them believe that darkness is the only way. Aerith then appears and gives Cloud a hard stare. He doesn’t want her involved in his problems. She takes it as him not wanting her there, but Cloud promises to always return no matter how far he may go. Aerith understands and assures him that she’ll always be there, cheering for his victory and return. As Cloud walks off, Sora tells her that he’s positive that Cloud will be fine and that he still contains light within him. Aerith already knows that.
Sora and the others then go to Merlin’s house where they find Yuffie and Cid. They tell Sora that they’ve discovered the computer that Ansem once used. With it, they can maybe get all kinds of information on the Heartless and maybe the Organization. Sora hopes that it will have details on the Realm of Darkness too since it seems like it could be where Riku and Kairi are. Cid isn’t sure but tells them that Leon is waiting for them. While on the way there, Sora is stopped by someone asking if he’s with the Restoration Committee. He turns to find three small fairies, Yuna, Rikku, and Paine, (from Final Fantasy 10-2) who ask where Leon might be. Sora tells them and the three girls grow excited.
The girls are about to go report back to their leader, and Sora asks who that might be. Rikku almost lets slip that it’s Maleficent, but the other two cover her mouth before she can finish. Sora, Donald, and Goofy look at them suspiciously, but Paine insists that they come in peace. Yuna apologizes for the trouble and all three disappear. The trio continue on where they find that Aerith is waiting for them near the entrance to the computer room. She tells them that Mickey is with Leon, helping him figure out how to access it. Donald and Goofy are excited for the news, but Sora immediately asks if Riku or Kairi is with him. Aerith shakes her head so Sora decides to ask the King about them directly.
They finally reach the old room of Ansem which even contains a portrait of him. There’s no sign of Leon or the King though. The search is interrupted by the appearance of Tifa, (from Final Fantasy 7) who asks if they’ve seen anyone with spiky hair. Sora tugs at his own hair, but she says that it’s spikier than that. She begins searching all over the room, knocking in various places and even delivering a terrifying kick to a wall. Satisfied that there’s nothing there, she takes her leave. Sora and the others stiffen as she walks away, nervous about her immense physical power.
Leon finally greets them, and they ask about the King. He promises that they’ll see him soon enough and shows them a secret entrance to Ansem’s computer room. Sora runs toward the main console and begins jamming buttons in order to search for Riku and Kairi, but he has no idea how to use it. Suddenly, Goofy screams out as they spot Stitch crawling on the ceiling above them. Unknown to them, the warp drive from ten years ago had sent him to Hollow Bastion. He lands on the keyboard and activates a strange voice. It warns them that further misuse of the computer will result in defensive action. Sora asks who the voice is, and it calls itself the Master Control Program which oversees the system.
Donald accidently touches another button causing the Program to declare them under arrest. A machine activates behind them and hits Sora, Donald, and Goofy with a beam of light. They are then digitized and sent within the computer’s world, Space Paranoids (land of Tron). Sora awakens to find himself in the strange outfit of the world. He looks around and sees that Donald and Goofy have been captured by virus versions of the Heartless. Sora is about to go help them when Commander Sark appears and begins using his abilities to shock Donald and Goofy. Not wanting to see his friends hurt, Sora gives himself up.
They’re taken to a prison cell where they’re left to wonder what kind of world they’ve entered. A voice suddenly rings out behind them saying that they’re in a Mainframe Computer System. Sora doesn’t understand, but their fellow prisoner tells him that the system is a copy of one created by a corporation called ENCOM. The original was destroyed, but this copy was brought into existence by another User. This user upgraded all the programs and renamed the system, “Hollow Bastion OS.” He used the system for town maintenance and furthering his own private research. Their fellow prisoner introduces himself as Tron, a security program. Sora looks at Donald and Goofy. None of them understood a word Tron had just said, but they introduce themselves just the same.
Tron recognizes them as Users and tells them that they should escape quickly since there’s no telling what the Master Control Program, or MCP, will do to them. It is what controls the entire system and could very well de-rezz all of them. They become alarmed at this and ask how they can escape. Tron shows them a terminal which could take them back but power was cut off to it. They’ll have to find a way to get it back up and running. Unfortunately, they have no way to do that since they’re locked in this cell. Sora then gets the idea to use his Keyblade to unlock the door and the four escape. Meanwhile, Commander Sark is asking Master Control why they haven’t de-rezzed Tron yet. The program explains that it still hasn’t located the password to the data space. Sark suggests a logic probe, but MCP says that’s out of the question since the current environment is hampering the processing power. MCP dismisses Sark and commands him to take care of any remaining anomalies in the system.
Tron guides the trio to an energy core which he easily repairs, allowing them to now access the terminal home. But before they can leave, Tron asks a favor. He’d like them to find his User, who will give them the password to access the DTD. The name DTD is what Tron’s User named the dataspace, and it’s where all of the original system programs are stored along with sensitive and restricted material. Goofy realizes that it could contain information on the Heartless and Organization XIII, and Tron confirms these suspicions. The main reason Tron needs the password though is because that’s where all of his higher level functions have been taken since failing to defeat Master Control in their first battle. With those functions back, he could get rid of the MCP and restore the system back to the way it was. Sora is more than willing to help and asks the name of Tron’s user. It turns out to be Ansem the Wise. The three of them are shocked at this news, not realizing that the Ansem they know stole the name from the original. Confused as to why someone good, like Tron, could have an evil User, the group still promises to find the password.
Leon is furiously typing on the keyboard to the computer when Sora, Donald, and Goofy return. He’s shocked to see them and even more surprised to learn that they were in the computer. They tell him about the password, and he realizes that with Ansem defeated, there’s no way to find it. Tifa suddenly appears and begins looking around in the same way as before. They decide to help her ransack Ansem’s room and eventually discover hidden notes behind Ansem’s portrait. Reading the notes, they discover that DTD stands for Door To Darkness. While discussing what it could mean, they hear Mickey asking about the door.
They all turn around and discover that Mickey has finally joined them. Goofy and Donald hug their King excitedly, but Mickey tells them to calm down since the Organization could be listening. They tell him about the password and the words they found. Mickey thinks about it and realizes that the Door to Darkness can only be opened by the seven Princesses of Heart. He begins listing them all off and Leon finally realizes the password. When Sora tells him that the password will grant them access to Ansem’s research data, Mickey sees that he has to explain the true origins of Ansem the Wise.
But before he can tell them anything, Leon says that they need to return to Tron. The trio look back and forth between Leon and Mickey, but the King assures them that he won’t go anywhere. While they’re gone, he’ll protect everyone. Relieved, Sora and the others head back to the computer room. Before they can head in, Mickey upgrades Sora’s clothes so that he can use the Master Form, which draws on the power of both Donald and Goofy. The three of them return to Space Paranoids but can’t find any sign of Tron. Instead, they’re transported to a huge grid that Sark explains is the game grid. There they will be tested by playing the games. If they lose, they’ll be de-rezzed. Sark doesn’t say what will happen if they win since no one ever wins. Sora and the others are positive that they can beat the odds and tell Sark to bring it on. They’re able to pilot the light cycles and escape the games thanks to a large whole in the grid created by a Heartless virus. They are taken back to the terminal where they find an unconscious Tron.
They wake him, and he asks why they came back when they could have just transmitted the data. None of them understand, but Tron is too weak to explain. He only says that they have to get to the DTD and access it as soon as possible. Once there, they enter in all the names of the princesses as the password. Unfortunately, though it’s unlocked, the DTD sends a final security program at them. They’re able to defeat the security program, and Tron regains all of his lost functions.
The celebration is cut short though as the Master Control claims that it has full access to the DTD and that the entire system is now under its control. More worrisome is the fact that the MCP has discovered an automatic destruction sequence for Hollow Bastion. Before the corrupt program can activate it however, Tron changes the password to buy them some time. Hopefully, they can use that time to head to the I/O tower and seek a way to stop the MCP. When they get to the tower, Tron thanks them for all they’ve done. Sora decides that he can’t hide the truth from him anymore and tells him that Ansem was their enemy. It’s then that Tron tells them that Ansem was his enemy too.
Sora is surprised at this confession as Tron goes on. Ansem took ENCOM’s original system and customized it for his own use. Tron was part of the original system and was modified by Ansem as well, which made him his User. But Ansem also brought back the MCP which is something that the Ansem Tron first knew would never do. Neither Tron nor Sora understand what could have changed Ansem so much. But right now, it doesn’t matter since they learn that Hollow Bastion has fallen into chaos. Sora and the others promise to return someday and defeat the MCP. Until then, they have to see what's happening to all their friends.
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 has 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 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.
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.
As soon as they arrive in the castle, Mickey runs ahead while Sora and the others are held up by a group of Nobodies. Kairi and Naminé are running to the lower floors of the castle before Saïx cuts them off. He promises that he’ll take her to see Sora, but she backs away. The Nobody asks if she doesn’t want that, but she does. She misses him so much. But if Saïx is around it would ruin their reunion. Saïx says that he would die of laughter at her words if he actually had a heart. But the girls are saved by the arrival of Riku, who cuts through Saïx’s lesser Nobodies. Naminé says that he can take care of the rest as she disappears. He tries to finish Saïx off, but he escapes through a dark portal. He’s about to give chase, but Kairi stops him. Pluto recognizes him as the one to guide him to Kairi and barks excitedly at his feet. Kairi is so relieved to see him and goes to remove his hood, but when she does so she is shocked to find Ansem’s face.
Meanwhile, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are still fighting their way through the castle until they are met by Saïx. He commends Sora for making it this far, but he only demands Kairi’s location. Saïx stays cryptic to him and says that she’s probably catching up with her friend from the darkness. She doesn’t need Sora anymore. Sora doesn’t believe him, but Saïx doesn’t care if he does or not. All that matters is that Organization XIII no longer has a use for Sora. Kingdom Hearts is one final push from being completed. He summons forth hundreds of Heartless, and Sora hesitates to fight as they close in.
Suddenly, he hears the voice of Kairi calling out to him from a nearby balcony. They’re ecstatic to finally see one another again, but Sora is dog-piled by Heartless during his distraction. Kairi leaps from the balcony to go help him but is quickly surrounded as well. She’s saved by Riku, who gives her a Keyblade of her very own. It a final unknown gift from Aqua. When Kairi met the Keyblade master as a child, she had placed her hand on the hilt of her Keyblade. This created an impromptu ceremony that granted Kairi the ability to wield a Keyblade. The young woman vows to fight alongside her friends despite her inexperience. Kairi and Riku jump into the fray as Saïx spies Maleficent and Pete making their way into the castle. The witch commends Pete for finding her such a grand castle. She vows to acquire it for their own purposes, but he’s afraid that it is too close to the darkness for them to properly control the Heartless. Maleficent isn’t afraid though.
Meanwhile, Mickey is tearing through scores of Lesser Nobodies until he finds someone collapsed upon the floor with a device nearby. It’s DiZ, who finally reveals his true identity as Ansem the Wise. He says that it’s good to see his old friend again, but Mickey demands to know why he didn’t come for his help before things got so out of control. Ansem explains that Xehanort was his apprentice and therefore his burden to bear. But revenge was what was mainly on his mind. His apprentices had stolen everything that was once precious to him. Mickey says that he can’t help him with revenge, and Ansem admits that Riku has told him the same thing time and time again. Mickey asks where Riku is now, but Ansem assures him that he’s rejoined his friends. Riku and Mickey had separated sometime after the trials at Castle Oblivion because the boy was still feeling the effects of having Xehanort’s Heartless within his heart. He was suffering, but not to the degree that he would take the form of his invader. Especially since he still acted like Riku down to the very core.
Ansem explains that it is his fault that Riku ended up that way. He had asked Riku to retrieve Roxas for him since it would help Sora awaken from his slumber. Unfortunately, the battle proved too much for him. He lost and was forced to immerse himself in darkness when the battleground was so close to darkness itself. By doing so, he was cursed with his new form and resolved to live in the world of darkness to help his friend. In the end, Riku was the victim of Ansem’s revenge. The shame of what he did to the poor boy had caused him much grief, but he could only laugh to hide that feeling of regret. With that, he tells Mickey that it’s time for him to make amends to all the young people he had used for his own ends. The two continue on with Ansem grabbing the strange device along the way.
Sora is able to finally free himself from the Heartless but is confused when he sees Xehanort’s Heartless and Kairi fighting side by side. Before he can do anything though, Xigbar fires a volley that takes out all the Heartless around him. He calls Sora by both his real name and by Roxas’s name before saying that he’s really caused trouble for the Organization. But even still, Sora doesn’t come close to the heroics of the other Keyblade wielders he had met. With that, it’s finally time to eliminate Sora. But Sora proves to be more powerful than the sniper realizes. Sora demands to know why Xigbar called him Roxas, but he only smiles as his existence fades completely. Donald points out that Kairi and Xehanort’s Heartless appear to be in trouble. It’s something that Ansem and Mickey see as well. Ansem isn’t worried though. As long as Sora and Riku are together, nothing will stop them. He and the King have a different part to play. Mickey wonders if Riku will ever regain his old appearance, but Ansem knows that it won’t be an easy fix. The two walk off as Sora goes to help Kairi.
But they are all running out of time. With each Heartless defeated, Kingdom Hearts is growing closer to completion. Saïx arrives to ask Xemnas if he can end his charade. Xemnas permits him, and Saïx admits that he's been anticipating those words. Sora reaches Kairi and Donald praises her for holding her own against the Heartless. She tells them that when Sora and Riku never came home, she decided to look for them. Sora goes to apologize, but she rushes into his arms for a hug before he can finish. Kairi is relieved to see that he is real as he returns her hug. Xehanort’s Heartless goes to leave through a dark portal, but Sora stops him. He’s surprised to see him again and just thinking about his past actions makes Sora angry, but he has to thank him for saving Kairi. Xehnort's Heartless goes to leave again, but Kairi grabs his arm and begs Riku not to leave. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are shocked at this revelation though Riku denies it. Kairi begs Sora to help her make him stay. He goes to her and she puts his and Riku’s hands together, telling him to close his eyes. When he does, he’s able to clearly sense that it is indeed Riku.
Happiness overwhelms him once he realizes that his friends truly have been reunited. Sora tells Riku that he searched everywhere for him, but Riku didn’t want him to find him. Goofy realizes that it was Riku that helped them all along their journey. Sora wonders why he never let him know he was okay, but Riku was too ashamed to be seen in the form of Xehanort’s Heartless. He had won the battle for his heart, but the form was necessary to win the battles ahead. Sora promises that they’ll finish it soon since he’s still Riku no matter what. Encouraged that all of his friends have been reunited, they head out for the rest of the castle to finally destroy all of Organization XIII.
Ansem and Mickey reach a spot on the outside of the castle where they can clearly see Kingdom Hearts. With the device, Ansem believes that they can reclaim the lost hearts and encode them as data. He’s unsure it it’ll work since hearts are unpredictable, but he feels like it’s their best chance of freeing them. He starts the machine as Sora and the others see a beam heading for the massive heart. Riku explains that it’s the King and Ansem the Wise and that they should hurry to catch up. But before they can go anywhere, Luxord appears and surrounds everyone except Sora with large playing cards. They spin faster and faster around them until the cards separate to reveal that his friends have disappeared. Luxord views battles as little more than games of chance and challenges him in such a way. Cards and dice become deadly weapons as Sora fights to survive Luxord’s games. But he's able to learn Luxord’s tricks and slices through him, cards and all. As Luxord disappears into nothingness, he accuses Roxas of betraying one of his own. Sora insists that his name is Sora as his friends are returned to him. They are all okay and ready to continue the fight.
They are next confronted by Saïx who also insists on calling Sora by Roxas’s name. He reveals his huge weapon, the Claymore, and swings it so hard that they are almost blown back. Riku throws himself in front of Kairi to protect her, but the two are blown outside of a magical barrier in the process. Sora, Donald, and Goofy will have to fight Saïx alone. The fight is incredibly tough as Saïx’s power is overwhelming. Yet, working together, they’re able to direct his attacks back at him and finish him off. As he slowly begins to disappear, Saïx turns to Kingdom Hearts and asks why he wasn’t granted a heart. He is still desperately reaching for the heart of all worlds as he too fades into nothingness.
Sora turns to Riku and asks why the Organization insists on calling him Roxas. Riku tells him that it’s because Roxas is his Nobody. Sora doesn’t believe him until he remembers how he became a Hearltess in Hollow Bastion. Xemnas sought out Roxas because he could wield the Keyblade as well. But Roxas ended up betraying them. Riku says that he fought Roxas to bring Sora back though he wonders if he would have met Sora willingly. Sora wishes he could meet him too, but Riku tells him that Roxas is still there within his heart. Sora clutches his chest as they walk toward the final showdown with the only remaining member of Organization XIII, Xemnas.
Ansem’s device is beginning to shake violently though he can only laugh. Despite years devoted to the study of hearts, it seems he still hasn’t learned a thing. The process of encoding hearts is incalculable, and the denizens of his fake Twilight Town was proof of that. He had developed each person in the town based on the hearts of their real counterparts. Ansem thought he could predict what they would do in that state, but they continually surprised him. It seems like every time he tries to wrap his mind around something that his heart already knows, he fails. He had designed so many plans for Sora while he still slept, but once Sora had awakened, every one of them fell apart. All of his research amounted to nothing compared to that one boy’s heart.
The machine begins to spark and sputter and Ansem tells Mickey to get away. His miscalculation is causing the machine to self-destruct and anything could happen. Sora finally meets up with them along with his friends. Ansem the Wise leaves it up to Sora and apologizes to Roxas before preparing himself to contain the device’s destruction. Before it does, Xemnas arrives to see who was interfering with his Kingdom Hearts. He calls his old master pathetic, but Ansem doesn’t care. He should have seen what a fool Xehanort was years ago, but he failed at that too. Xemnas tells Ansem that he truly is the source of all Heartless since it was his research that inspired him to go further than even Ansem dared. Ansem the Wise only asks what Xehanort was seeking by furthering that research. He erased him from his world only to steal his name and continue the research. Xehanort’s Nobody insists that he discovered what he sought by doing all that and surpassed Ansem in the process. He will create worlds of his own design. But Ansem believes that he only proved how little they both knew. The worlds of Xehanort’s Nobody would be nought but a failure in the end. With that, Ansem the Wise says his final goodbyes as the machine explodes and the former leader of Radiant Garden is bathed in both light and darkness. The hearts that he encoded rain down upon the city below, birthing new Heartless as they touch the ground.
Sora and the others try to stand after the blast only to discover that both Ansem and Xemnas have disappeared. It’s then that Sora realizes that there’s something different about Riku. He has returned to his former appearance. For the first time in a year, Riku is able to see the light without his blindfold. Sora chides him for trying to do so much on his own when he had so many friends that would’ve been willing to help. They see that the castle is being stormed by newly born Heartless. Time is almost up. Xemnas must be defeated soon, or he’ll obtain his goal. As they ascend the final floors of the castle, thousands of Heartless are pouring in and threatening to slow their progress toward Xemnas. However, help comes unexpectedly from Maleficent and Pete. They say they’ll hold of the creatures while the rest take on Xemnas. She explains that she’ll soon have the Heartless and the castle under her control. Sora feels a little bad leaving them behind, but Mickey says that they are doing what their hearts command. They all understand and continue to journey to the top of the Organization’s castle.
They find Xemnas staring forlornly at a ruined Kingdom Hearts. Ansem’s machine has hollowed out the recreated heart and all the hearts are slowly breaking free. Xemnas realizes that he’ll have to start all over again. He asks Sora, Riku, and Mickey to bring him more hearts, but all three refuse and draw their Keyblades. Xemnas asks why they hate the darkness, but Mickey explains that they don’t hate it. He understands that the world is made of light and darkness and neither can exist without the other. Riku takes over and says that they fight the ones who lurk within the darkness even though the darkness itself isn’t inherently evil.
Xemnas begs them not to cast out ones who were turned away from both light and darkness. What choice did they have but to interfere with the worlds if they were to properly exist. But Sora isn’t fooled. His sad act is little more than that, an act. Xemnas congratulates him on seeing through the ruse and calls forth all of his power. Sora is transported to the same spot that Riku and Roxas dueled before though it waves in and out of existence. The only one there with him is Xemnas. With his goal before him, Sora attacks the leader of the Organization head on. The fight is a ferocious one with Xemnas utilizing twin Ethereal Blades, but Sora is able to use all of his skills to come out victorious. Xemnas is sprawled out upon the ground but uses a dark portal to escape. The world of illusion dissipates, and Sora is thrown back to his friends. They come to check if he’s okay as Xemnas floats before the ruined Kingdom Hearts. He vows to feed it as many hearts as it needs. It needs his power just as much as he needs its power. He asks it for the ability to destroy his enemies. The others call out to him to stop, but he’s able to enter Kingdom Hearts. A brilliant white light bursts forth and a gigantic door appears that Mickey says will lead them to Xemnas. The worlds gave them this gift to protect their future. The fate of all worlds depends on this battle.
Sora, Riku, and Mickey use their Keyblades to open the door and all of them walk through. In the short time that he’s been here, Xemnas has already changed things to appear like his castle. He tosses a building at them, and they run back toward the door. The shockwave knocks them to the ground sending Mickey and Kairi back to the other side. Now only Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku can stop Xemnas. Together, they’re able to board Xemnas’s massive airship, which is shaped like a dragon, and dismantle it piece by piece. At the top they discover Xemnas sitting upon a throne and covered in armor. He’s able to command all the abilities of the other Organization members and throws everything at Sora’s group. But it’s still not enough. They defeat him once again and eject him from Kingdom Hearts. Xemnas believes he needs more hearts and rage to fuel them to win. Sora tells him that a heart is full of so many more emotions than just anger or hate. Has he really forgotten about those too? But he has, and he disappears without another word.
They celebrate before Sora asks if Riku is coming back home with them. Riku is still worried about how he will face his friends knowing he had given in to the darkness once. But Sora says that he’ll be just fine. It’s then that they feel the entire castle shake. Riku promises to get them out of there with a dark portal, but he’s lost those abilities. It’s Naminé who helps save them one last time. A mirage of her appears and opens a dark portal though only Kairi and Sora can see her. Pluto rushes through it followed soon after by Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. But Sora and Kairi talk to Naminé before entering the portal. She says that she and Sora have met again, just like they promised so long ago though Sora, of course, has no memory of it. But she wasn’t actually talking to Sora. A mirage of Roxas steps out of his body and says to Naminé that she was right. They remember each other completely despite being apart, and Naminé realizes that Nobodies aren’t doomed to fade into darkness like she originally thought. Instead, the two of them were able to reunite with their original selves so now whenever Sora and Kairi are together, they’ll be together too.
Kairi promises that they’ll be together everyday, and Sora shyly agrees. Finally, the two Nobodies merge completely with their originals. Kairi steps through the portal and tells Sora and Riku that it’s time to go home, but it suddenly closes before they can enter. Xemnas massive mechanical dragon has returned and slices through the top floors of the castle. As the piece they’re standing on collapses, Sora and Riku jump onto a nearby hovercraft and follows after it. Using their combined powers, Sora and Riku destroy the flying capabilities of the dragon and crash it into the city below. But that only serves to create a whirlwind of darkness that slowly begins to destroy the World That Never Was. Sora and Riku enter the mechanical creature and face Xemnas’s armored form once again.
Xemans throws the city itself at them but, working together, Sora and Riku are able to beat him down to inner workings of the dragon. Xemnas faces them, perfectly fine, as he wears a black and white version of the Organization’s cloak. No matter what they may do, he will never give up. Light, Dark, and even Nothingness; all are eternal. Sora and Riku agree, but they know that he isn’t eternal. He challenges them to one final duel. The fight is more intense than either of them ever imagined. His speed is immense, and he can summon as many duplicates of his blades as he wants. But together, Sora and Riku are able to counter every one of his attacks, including deflecting hundreds of his blades as they surround them from all sides.
However, things look dire when Riku takes a vicious strike. Sora takes Riku’s Keyblade and uses it in conjunction with his own to deliver a series of devastating strikes against Xemnas. When Riku recovers, they hold a Keyblade together and send a beam of pure light against Xehanort’s Nobody, stunning him. One final strike is all it takes to finish him off for good. He finally disappears into nothingess, but the victory is shortlived as they are surrounded by hundreds of Nobodies. They defeat them all but are completely exhausted from the effort. Lost in a realm of nothingness, they keep walking until seeing a ball of light. It brings them to the shores of the Realm of Darkness, the end of the road.
They talk of old times, and Riku feels that this is a perfect place for him. Sora says that he’s only happy that all of his friends are finally safe. They may be lost here, but at least the waves sound the same as home. Riku admits that he was always jealous of Sora, and how he was able to easily follow his own heart. Sora says that he always wanted to be Riku too. But they realize that having each other as friends was all that really mattered. Suddenly, a message in a bottle washes up on shore. They open it and realize that it’s Kairi’s letter. The one that she had sent when she had regained her memories of Sora. As they read it, a door to light opens in the water and, together, they step through. Sora and Riku land near the shores of Destiny Islands where Kairi calls after them. Sora happily swims toward her, but Goofy, Donald, and Mickey tackle him and Riku in a hug first. Sora finally returns Kairi’s good luck charm and images of Roxas and Namine smile at one another. They’re all home.
In the aftermath of the final battle, the worlds have returned to peace once again. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy return to Disney Castle to be reunited with their loved ones. Hayner takes on Seifer in a Struggle tournament. Pooh and his friends continue to have fun in the Hundred Acre Wood. Mulan and Shang have finally started a relationship. Beast has broken the curse and returned to his human form thanks to Belle. The Olympus Coliseum is rebuilt as Auron moves on. Captain Jack Sparrow, Will, and Elizabeth sail the high seas. Jack Skellington plans the next Halloween with the help of all his friends. Tron continues to monitor his system and even downloads some dance moves. Aladdin and Jasmine ride the skies above Agrabah together on Carpet. Ariel is turned into a human so that she can marry Eric. Nala has Simba’s cub, and it is proudly shown in a restored Pride Lands. The Restoration Committee shares ice cream together fresh from Scrooge McDuck while Aerith awaits Cloud’s return. And finally Sora sees the addition made to the doodle that he and Kairi made of one another. She is now giving him a paopu fruit as well. Touching the picture tenderly, he smiles.
Days have passed since the defeat of Organization XIII and things have gradually returned to normal at Disney Castle. Jiminy Cricket is taking some time to remember the two previous journeys he had taken with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. One to stop the darkness from spreading, and one to save all of the lost hearts. The records of these journeys sit safely in two identical journals. But Jiminy still doesn’t know why the first journal is completely erased save for a single line, “Thank Naminé.” He flips through it one last time before getting ready to shelve it for good until he spots a brand new message upon the last page. “Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it.”
Jiminy rushes to the castle library and tells Mickey what he's found. He knows that he didn’t write it and never once did he let the journal out of his sight. Looking over the message once more, Mickey realizes that somebody must need their help. In order to find out who, he enlists Chip and Dale to create a computer that will digitize the contents of the journal. With that they’ll be able to see everything that had been written there, erased or otherwise. But just as all the worlds are coming into view, red and black blocks completely fill the screen leaving them with no way to analyze the data. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy wonder if there is something else they could try, and Goofy comments how it would be nice if they could get into the data-worlds and fix the corrupted data to see what’s wrong. Chip latches onto the idea and suggests asking someone already inside the data-worlds to work their way through the corrupted areas and repair the corruption. Everyone thinks of who they could ask, but Mickey knows just person.
In the world of the journal, a version of Sora at the age of his first adventure drifts down before them. Chip and Dale has already made it so that this “Data-Sora” can use a digital version of the Keyblade. An alarm suddenly begins to sound and Chip and Dale leave to take care of it. In the meantime, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy discuss the plan to have Data-Sora fix everything. But things are already going haywire. Events in the data worlds should be playing out exactly as they were written in the journal. Instead, a figure wearing the cloak of the Organization has appeared before Data-Sora. He runs off, and Data-Sora tries to follow but is blocked by Heartless.
He fights through them all, gradually learning how to wield the Keyblade. Data-Sora discovers a door that brings him back to the data version of Destiny Islands. It’s then that Mickey talks to him and tells him what they’re trying to accomplish. Data-Sora agrees to help as best as he can and notices the red and black boxes, or glitches. Fortunately, the Keyblade is able to destroy these glitches. He continues to explore the island to learn more about the properties of the glitches until he sees the cloaked figure enter an invisible door. Mickey insists on following him, hoping to learn more on how to fix all the data. Data-Sora is able to locate the hidden door which turns out to be a System Sector, a place with no set world where corrupt data flourishes.
By destroying all the glitch blocks and Heartless viruses within a system sector, Data-Sora learns that he de-bugs the world he’s in. In this case, it brings back a bridge that allows him to visit the favorite hangout spot of Sora, Riku, and Kairi. With things cleared up there, Data-Sora heads for the secret place where everyone draws pictures on the walls. But when he arrives, a strange voice calls out to him. “There’s a road for the taking if you end our world’s aching.” The ground begins to rumble before a bright light emanates from Data-Sora’s Keyblade. It’s so bright that it even blinds everyone in the real world.
Looking back at the screen, they see that a new entry has been added to the journal. It says the same thing that the strange voice just said to Data-Sora. They have no idea what it could mean but stop worrying about it when the cloaked figure appears before Data-Sora again. He says that to make this place whole, the Keyblade is the place. The figure disappears and a giant keyhole appears before Data-Sora. He uses the Keyblade to unlock the keyhole and runs through the pathway it creates. He finds himself in a ruined version of Destiny Islands where a large Heartless is wreaking havoc. Fighting it off, Data-Sora realizes that it’s actually made up of glitches. He’s able to disable the corrupted blocks but is sucked through a large dark portal before he can get to safety.
Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are worried if he’s alright, and Jiminy begins tracking him. In the meantime, a new entry has appeared in the journal. “There are more hurts than the one you have just undone.” From that text, a screen pops up showing Riku walking through the darkness ravaged Destiny Islands before being confronted by the man in the brown cloak. He raises his hand to Riku and a dark vortex appears behind him. The scene cuts off leaving all of them confused. If the data was repaired then they should be seeing things that were actually written in the journal. But what they just witnessed never happened or at least it was something they never knew about. Somehow, the journal is showing them things that it shouldn’t know.
Just then, the computer begins beeping to let them know that it’s found Data-Sora’s location. He has arrived in Traverse Town, just like the original did on his first journey. Mickey tells him where he is now and assures him that despite being taken to Traverse Town, Destiny Islands has been freed from the corrupted data. Data-Sora begins exploring the town and soon comes across the data version of Cid. He talks about the missing triplets, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and how he can’t find them because of all the blocks around town. Sora agrees to keep an eye out for them as he takes care of the corrupted data.
During his search, Data-Sora locates two of the brothers as well as two items that fit snugly together. It’s still incomplete though so he continues to look for the final brother and more pieces. Along the way, he repairs the hidden System Sectors so that he can access blocked areas. Data-Sora cannot find any sign of Louie though he does spot the cloaked figure. He tries to make the figure admit that he is the one causing all the glitches. This time the figure says nothing before again entering a hidden System Sector. With that one fixed, it seems everything is mostly back to normal until he does another sweep of the town in search of Louie. The Second District has gone haywire with corrupted data blocks actually merging with some of the buildings. Stuck inside one of them is Louie. Fortunately, Data-Sora is able to repair the data and return the buildings to normal.
He makes his way to the top of the building to find Louie and one more piece of the strange item. It seems to need one more before finally becoming complete. In the meantime, Data-Sora takes Louie back to Cid’s, but he’s confronted by the cloaked figure. He again accuses the figure of causing all the corruption in the first place, but mysterious person remains silent. Instead of fighting, he leaves Data-Sora the final piece of the item he is trying to reconstruct and disappears. Data-Sora isn’t sure what the act means and uses the final piece to create Traverse Town’s keyhole. He realizes that the source of all the glitches must be inside, just like it was on Destiny Islands.
Data-Sora uses the Keyblade to enter the keyhole’s pathway and confronts the source of the glitch. Just like the large Heartless was the origin before, the original Heartless Sora fought in Traverse Town is what’s creating the glitches here. However, the nature of the corruption forces Data-Sora onto a two dimensional plane. It’s an incredibly strange feeling, but he’s able to navigate the dangers and defeats the Heartless, which is referred to as a “bug.” Back in the normal data world of Traverse Town, Sora locks the keyhole again ensuring that the corrupted data can not spread any further.
With that finished, Jiminy sees that another new entry has been added to the journal. “There are more hurts than the one you have just undone.” They realize that a new message is added every time a world inside the journal is repaired. Another scene is brought up on the monitor that shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy uniting for the first time while Pluto sniffs around the town. He sees a dark portal and runs through it. Donald and Goofy try to remember if they saw him do that while they were there, but none of them remember and Jiminy certainly didn’t write it in the journal.
As they talk, Heartless begin sneaking into the library with them. Mickey suddenly spots the Heartless and draws his Keyblade. Jiminy has no idea how they can be in the castle with the Cornerstone of Light still safe. The King easily defeats them as Donald and Goofy go to see if the rest of the castle is safe. But they can’t open the door. They pound on it in an attempt to get out, but it looks like they’re trapped. Suddenly, the computer begins beeping again. A new entry has appeared. “Undo the hurt to unbar the way.” It looks like the only way to escape is to repair the journal’s data as fast as they can. In the meantime, Data-Sora has reached the next world. They’re still worried about the castle, but their only hope right now is to keep fixing the journal. All of them turn to the computer monitor and watch as Data-Sora sees that Wonderland is full of corrupted blocks as well. He will have to locate the keyhole of this world in order to challenge the bug and repair the data. But first, he hears the cry of Alice as she is attacked by Heartless. Data-Sora rushes to her side and fights them off to her relief.
Unfortunately, he discovers that the young girl has lost her memory and cannot even remember her name. It’s an effect of the glitches. In fact, all of the denizens of Wonderland have lost their memories, and they’ve been scattered about in the form of Inklings. Data-Sora’s only hope of discovering the keyhole is collecting the Inklings and returning them to their proper owners. Alice knows that she’s seen the keyhole but can't remember it like so many other things. His only choice is to set out to locate her lost Inklings. Along the way, the figure in the cloak encourages him to find the keyhole and end the hurt of this world and all the worlds.
Data-Sora eventually comes across the White Rabbit and helps him regain his memories. But before he can ask anything about the keyhole, the rabbit runs off yelling about how late he is. The next denizen of Wonderland he finds is the Doorknob, who has been turned on his side thanks to the glitches. Data-Sora realizes that there is a System Sector nearby that should fix things for the Doorknob and sets to work repairing it. When he does, the Doorknob thanks Data-Sora for his help and happily goes back to sleep. It isn’t long before he finds the remaining Inklings and returns to Alice. She begins recounting how she came to Wonderland and encountered all the different residents. But it was when she was in the Queen of Heart’s court that she noticed the large keyhole.
Data-Sora and Alice immediately head for the Queen’s court while the cloaked figure watches their progress. He muses about how the truth and true memories lie beyond the keyhole. But Data-Sora runs into trouble when the Queen accuses him and Alice of stealing her memories. He tries to explain about the system bugs, but the Queen just takes it as a sign of guilt. She sends her card soldiers after them, and Data-Sora quickly asks Alice exactly where she saw the keyhole in the court. She says that it was in the birdcage, and Data-Sora tells her to escape while he fights through the soldiers. He’s able to make it to the keyhole and quickly uses the Keyblade to open the way to the main bug.
With this glitch, Data-Sora finds himself forced to constantly run forward while fighting off the Heartless and corrupted blocks. Fortunately, his Keyblade has gained the limited ability to fire beams of light which he uses to unblock his way forward until reaching the main bug. He’s slowly able to sap it’s strength before completely destroying it for good and repairing Wonderland completely. Data-Sora returns to Wonderland to find that the Queen has regained her memory but forgotten her desire to try him in her unfair court. All of the corrupted blocks have also disappeared meaning that this mission is complete.
Mickey and the others celebrate back in the library just as another entry appears in the journal. It seems they were right about how the new journal entries work. “There are more hurts than the one you have just undone.” It seems like Data-Sora still has a lot more to do, and the door leading outside is still stuck. They turn back to the computer to see that the cloaked figure has again appeared before Data-Sora. He demands answers about whether he is the source of the glitches or not, but the mysterious person only says that Wonderland has been connected. Memory and reality are now tied together meaning it’s time for Data-Sora to know the truth. But, as if to taunt them all, he vanishes. Data-Sora tries to give chase as the others discuss who this person could possibly be. Donald wonders if he really is a part of Organization XIII. Mickey doesn’t know one way or another but believes that Data-Sora will catch him. Then they’ll be able to learn everything. Suddenly, the door to the library begins to pound and shake. They believe that Chip and Dale must be trying to get them out, but they’re completely wrong. Data-Sora is the one who bursts through the door.
Mickey, his friends, and Data-Sora are all shocked that he’s there with them. He explains that he was led there by the figure in the cloak. Before he can speak any further, the computer monitor flickers on and shows all of them watching the screen. Turning to where the view must be coming from, they see that cloaked figure has entered the library as well. Binary code circles around him before the hood is lowered and reveals that it was Riku beneath the hood. All of them wonder how that is possible, but Riku explains that he isn’t quite the Riku they know. He’s nothing but data as well.
Memories make up much of Jiminy’s journal, but when these memories were pulled apart and stitched back together, the glitches appeared. It’s these glitches that keep the journal from being completely restored. Of all the vessels that could have protected the data, his current form was the one that was chosen. The full set of memories within the journal were transferred inside of him to shield them from corruption. Basically, this data version of Riku is Jiminy’s journal. He explains that the bright light that had blinded them before was him importing all of them inside the datasphere to better help solve the mystery of the original entry.
They don’t believe him until he hits a few buttons on the computer. Suddenly, they hear the voices of Chip and Dale calling out to them. They’re relieved to finally get through to the King. When they had returned, the library had been empty except for the computer which showed all of them. That’s all they need to hear to believe in what Riku, or Journal-Riku, has said. Mickey asks if there’s any way for them to go back home, but an alarm begins ringing, interrupting his question. Chip and Dale tell them that someone is trying to break into the datascape from the outside. Journal-Riku realizes that it’s a hacker and says that this person could prevent any of them from ever leaving. Their connection to Chip and Dale is suddenly cut off.
Journal-Riku sadly informs them that the link to the real world has been lost. The only way back is to repair that link and create a new pathway. But the various glitches will hinder even that progress. Data-Sora finally speaks up and says that he’ll gladly help. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy thank him for all he’s done while he runs off toward the next world. It seems that only he can repair the glitches.
Data-Sora arrives at the Olympus Coliseum where he finds Phil blocked from entering the building. He explains that Hercules already went inside to investigate the strange blocks, but more appeared preventing him from every leaving. Data-Sora easily gets rid of the blocks with his Keyblade and is surprised to already find the keyhole of this world. He promises to keep an eye out for Hercules as he enters the core of Olympus Coliseum. Unlike the previous worlds, the source of the glitches isn’t immediately obvious. This is because the coliseum itself has been changed into a massive labyrinth.
The glitches of the core are not only affecting the world though. Each time he encounters an enemy, he’s forced into a turn-based combat with only a few of his moves available. Still, he’s able to improvise and realizes that he must decrease the bug level in order to move to the next section of the labyrinth. As Data-Sora makes his way through, Hades watches his progress. The glitches have only helped him in his attempt to defeat Hercules, but he soon sees that Data-Sora could really cause him some trouble if he teams up with Hercules. He quickly thinks of an idea to take care of them both.
But Data-Sora and Hercules are able to meet up before this plan can be put into action. Data-Sora quickly fills in the hero that they need to search for the source of all the glitches. They realize that this will go a lot easier together and join forces. As they navigate the labyrinth, Data-Sora asks if Hercules would know who would be trying to do this to the world. Hercules is almost positive that it’s Hades so the two try to find him within the maze. Despite Hercules’s suspicions, it seems that Hades isn’t the source of the glitches. He’s merely using them to his advantage. The same way he’s using Cloud, who he sends out to defeat Hercules and Data-Sora telling him that it will help give him access to the next world. It’s also a chance to erase the failures of his past and gain a true hero’s strength.
It doesn’t take long for Cloud to find Data-Sora and Hercules. He immediately challenges them to a fight and proves to be incredibly strong. However, he’s not able to stand up to their combined might. As soon as it looks like he’s about to lose, Hades throws a massive fireball at all three of them. Cloud deflects it without a second thought and is angered by Hades’s lies though he’s too weak to stand up to him directly. Data-Sora demands to know if Hades is behind the glitches, but he tells them that something else is causing those troubles. In fact, he’s going to let the keeper of this maze take care of all three of them while he sits back and watches. He disappears leaving Cloud to apologize for the attack before walking off.
Hercules and Data-Sora continue to work their way through the maze until they spot Cloud again, this time surrounded by Heartless. They promise to come help him, but he doesn’t want it. He’s created this trouble for himself and caused them trouble as well so he will take care of his problems on his own. But Data-Sora and Hercules don’t listen and join in on the fight. After destroying all the Heartless, they ask him to join them to help solve the labyrinth, but he keeps making excuses about how he attacked them before and how he always lets people down. But they know he’s not a bad guy because of how he protected them from Hades. They offer him encouragement and finally he joins the group.
It doesn’t take much longer for the three of them to discover the door leading out of the labyrinth. They believe that on the other side is the source of all the glitches. Stepping through the door, they come upon Cerberus. Data-Sora is intimidated by the sheer size of the beast, but Hercules tells him not to worry as he’s fought bigger monsters in the past. The thing to remember is that friends will always be there for you when you need them. With both Hercules and Cloud at his side, Data-Sora faces off against Cerberus and the three are able to defeat it. They celebrate their victory and the fact that everything should soon return to normal, but the jubilation is cut short by Hades. He challenges them to a fight in his anger, but the strength of the three friends is too much for even him.
But there’s something strange. The labyrinth isn’t disappearing. Instead, it just keeps going. Cerberus actually wasn’t the source of the glitches. The trio band together again and work through the maze until Hades comes to challenge them. This time he’s brought an enormous creature known as the Rock Titan. Hercules comments that this is the kind of monster he’s used to seeing. Data-Sora and Cloud aren’t worried either. With friends by their side, they can take on any challenge and prove it by defeating the gigantic creature. Hades rages that everything he throws at them is defeated though he tells them that there is still plenty of labyrinth to go as he disappears.
As they walk through the maze, Hercules gives the others tips about what it takes to be a hero. Data-Sora thinks getting through the maze is a heroic enough task since it seems like it goes on forever. Cloud mentions that he once knew somebody who never quit, no matter what challenge he faced. Hercules agrees that it’s by facing those challenges that you eventually become a hero to somebody. Data-Sora’s spirits are raised by the conversation, and he rushes ahead to the next challenge. It turns out to be a Behemoth Heartless, which Cloud recognizes. The Heartless charges at them, but once again they are able to rise to the challenge and defeat it.
Unfortunately, that still wasn’t the source of all the glitches. Data-Sora almost despairs again, but his friends encourage him to keep at it. They keep working their way through the labyrinth until reaching a massive gate. Data-Sora almost says that this one has to be the end of it all, but he keeps his mouth shut in case it isn’t. They’ve had enough false hope. Sure enough, on the other side, Hades is waiting. He’s called upon his last and best fighter. The Ice Titan is sure to finish off all of them this time. But Hercules knows they have Hades on the ropes if he’s calling out this monster. If they can beat it, they should be in the clear. The three charge into the battle and are able to completely shatter the Ice Titan to Hades’s utter rage. He can’t understand how they’ve been able to defeat everything he’s thrown at them.
Hades disappears for a final time as the glitches finally disappear and the coliseum returns to normal. It turns out that the Ice Titan was the source of all the problems. Cloud decides to waste no time in setting out for his next journey while Hercules offers Data-Sora the chance to help keep Olympus safe. He graciously declines, saying that he has friends waiting on him. With Olympus Coliseum glitch free, Data-Sora heads for the next world.
Back in the library, the computer screen displays that data recovery has reached 10%. Donald’s confused as to why they didn’t receive a new video this time, but Journal-Riku explains that those scenes originated inside his mind. By getting rid of the bugs, he was able to access deeper memories associated with those worlds. Jiminy finally understands why those scenes were so unfamiliar to all of them, those memories didn’t belong to any of them. Glancing back at the monitor, Goofy sees Pete suddenly approaches Data-Sora. Mickey demands to know how he got into the datascape, and he explains that it was the same way they did. He thought he’d enter to get a vacation from the outside world. Pete then runs to the next data portal claiming that he’ll take the next world for his very own. Data-Sora runs after him to both protect the data world and fix its glitches.
He arrives in Agrabah and soon loses sight of Pete. Data-Sora finds it strange that the streets are so empty and wonders if it’s due to the glitches. In any case, it’s time for him to start looking for the keyhole and stop any trouble that Pete may cause. He soon comes across Aladdin, who explains that all the strange blocks and creatures are what’s causing people to stay indoors. Data-Sora asks why he isn’t inside as well, but he explains that he just escaped a cave and is now looking for a friend from the palace. He asks for Data-Sora’s help in keeping an eye out for the missing Jasmine, and the two go their separate ways.
It’s not long before he spots Jasmine and Jafar in a back alley of the city. Jafar is attempting to force the princess to marry him, but she outright refuses. Data-Sora steps in when it looks like Jafar’s about to strike her. He tells Jasmine that Aladdin is looking for her causing Jafar to rage at the news. He had thought he had gotten rid of the street rat already. Jafar plans to try again, but first he attempts to get rid of the meddling Data-Sora. The two fight in the streets of Agrabah, and Jafar is forced to retreat. He curses his ill luck until Pete approaches him with a lamp. It doesn’t take long for the vizier to recognize it as the lamp he’s been searching for. But Pete explains that it isn’t the same. He created a copy using the corrupted data of the world. Jafar doesn’t understand though he takes it just the same. Pete is about to ask for Jafar to plunge the world into darkness, but the vizier is already wishing for the power to defeat anyone who dares challenge him.
Jasmine tells Data-Sora that she tried to warn everyone at the palace of Jafar’s underhanded plans, but no one believed her because he’s so well respected. When the blocks appeared, it proved the perfect excuse for him to begin his plans to capture her and make her his wife. Jasmine is relieved to hear that Aladdin is all right, but he doesn’t know anything about Jafar’s plans. Data-Sora promises to take her to him so they can give him a warning. The two find him in the plaza where he’s relieved to see the princess safe. He explains that he found a lamp in the cave he was trapped in and with it, they can defeat Jafar.
Suddenly, the vizier appears before them and grabs Jasmine. He uses his new powers to completely throw Data-Sora and Aladdin off. As he disappears, he casts a spell but Data-Sora doesn’t notice until he sees everything else around him frozen in time. Mickey explains that it was the Keyblade that protected him though its power will only keep him safe for a short time. Before he can do anything else, Data-Sora watches as Iago steals the real lamp from Aladdin’s frozen hand. Mickey tells him to go after Iago and get back the lamp as it contains a friend that will be able to help.
He has to chase him all of the city, but Data-Sora eventually retakes the lamp from Iago. Not realizing what’s so special about it, he decides to give it a little polish. The act frees Genie from the lamp, and he addresses Data-Sora as Aladdin before realizing that it’s someone new. He promises Data-Sora three wishes, and he immediately uses one to go to Jafar. Genie takes him to the Cave of Wonders, where time is flowing normally. It seems Jafar’s spell only affected the city. He finds the vizier near the mouth of the cave and demands to know where he took Jasmine. Jafar only offers the clue that she’s resting on the far side of the door. Data-Sora wants to know more, but Jafar uses his second wish to prevent him from entering the cave.
Fortunately, Data-Sora is able to find and repair a hidden System Sector which allows him to reverse the effects of Jafar’s wish. He rushes inside, and Genie tells him that it’s been loaded with traps. Data-Sora realizes that they must be there to prevent him from reaching Jasmine. He’s able to disable all of the traps thanks to the repairs he’s made to the System Sectors and along the way Genie tells him of his dreams of freedom. He had told the same story to Aladdin and got the feeling that he understood more than most. Data-Sora agrees that Aladdin tends to look out for others, but now it’s their turn to help him.
Eventually, he reaches Jafar and is able to corner him. The vizier realizes that he’s no ordinary boy and promises to grant him whatever he wants if he joins him. Data-Sora says he’ll join him if he makes Aladdin sultan, but Jafar absolutely refuses. The two battle once more with Data-Sora again able to overwhelm him. In his desperation, Jafar uses his final wish to become a genie himself. He retreats inside the keyhole with plans to use his new power to make Jasmine love him. Data-Sora, running low on time, is able to find it and enters its pathway. On the other side, he finds himself in a room blocked on all sides by lava and Jafar lording over all.
Genie tells Data-Sora that Jafar truly is invincible now. His only hope is to get his lamp back from Iago. He gives chase to the bird while Jafar throws everything he has at him. The boy is too quick though and is able to secure Jafar’s lamp. With it in hand, he forces Jafar inside to be trapped forever. It turns out that the lamp itself was the source of all the glitches in this world. Data-Sora repairs it, freeing Agrabah from the glitches. Pete expresses his disappointment at Jafar’s failure and runs off. Before he gives chase, Data-Sora uses his second wish to have Genie return Jasmine to Agrabah. The city should be unfrozen now. He’s about to wish for Genie’s freedom, but he decides to leave that to Aladdin since he was Genie’s first friend. With that done, Data-Sora heads after Pete.
Outside the Cave of Wonders, Data-Sora confronts Pete but is shocked when he opens the datascape to Maleficent. She knocks him back immediately and uses her power to shatter his Keyblade. It’s then that she realizes that he is not the real Sora nor was that the real Keyblade. With it gone, she can rule the datascape with all of her Heartless. But before the Heartless can attack Data-Sora, he’s saved by Mickey and Journal-Riku. Mickey demands to know what the witch is doing there, but it seems she doesn’t understand that it’s a world of data. It turns out the idea was Pete’s.
He had caught wind of something happening at the castle and spied Mickey and the others watching the computer. When they were pulled into the datascape by the white light, it touched him as well and dragged him into it with them. He awoke on his own in a strange place but realized that Maleficent would be interested. Pete called out to her, and she used her magic to enter this reality with him. They then cut Mickey’s link to the real world so that only they could use it. Once they covered the datascape in darkness, it’ll make the perfect launching point for sending Heartless into Disney Castle. Best of all, Mickey and the others have no chance to escape. Journal-Riku declares that she won’t touch any part of the datascape, but Maleficent uses her magic to knock him out and kidnap him.
Mickey and Data-Sora head back to the library and are greeted with the news that the data recovery has reached 30%. But they’re more worried about Journal-Riku. If Maleficent were to cast him into darkness, the entire datascape would destroyed. Fortunately, it seems there is only one more world left to repair though without the Keyblade, there’s no way to do it. Worse is that there’s no way to create another one since they wrote it in from the real world. With them stuck in the datascape and cut off from Chip and Dale, it’s impossible to get back. Mickey decides to see if his Keyblade is capable of repairing the final glitches. He leaves and the others wonder if he’ll be able to fix everything. But Data-Sora can’t stand to just wait around so he runs off to the final world.
The final world turns out to be Hollow Bastion. Data-Sora vows to be of some help to Mickey, even if it just means rescuing Journal-Riku. On the outskirts of the castle, he comes across Pete. Pete tells him to scram, but Data-Sora asks where they’re keeping his friend. He decides he’ll tell Data-Sora if he can catch him but since he just finished rigging the castle with traps, it’ll be near impossible. Still, Data-Sora is determined to help and goes after him. Despite the fact that he has no Keyblade, he’s able to navigate the corrupted blocks and make it inside the castle. Pete blocks off the exit as soon as he’s inside and sends a group of Heartless after him. With no Keyblade, Data-Sora can only vainly try to dodge the Heartless and encroaching glitches.
He’s only saved by the arrival of Goofy. He thinks that they want to take him back to the library, but instead they decide to go look after Pete. As they work their way through the castle, Goofy tells him that he got split up from Donald while they were searching for him. Data-Sora hopes he’s okay and keeps an eye out for him as they follow Pete. The two catch a glimpse of him and finally reunite. Data-Sora apologizes for causing them so much trouble, but Donald and Goofy say they like getting pulled into his adventures. Helping him like this is just like old times. It’s their turn to protect him as they search the castle for Pete, the King, and Journal-Riku.
Using the power of teamwork, the trio is able to navigate through the corrupted Hallow Bastion and find Pete. He immediately calls forth a group of Heartless which Donald and Goofy go after, but it’s only a ploy by Pete. He traps them in glitch blocks leaving Data-Sora to fend for himself with no Keyblade. Pete chides Donald and Goofy for risking their necks for mere data, but they don’t see Data-Sora that way. If he had no heart and was merely data, there’s no way he would fight for them as hard as he has. Sora is their friend no matter what form he may take. Data-Sora is touched by their words and tries to help, but the blocks are only squeezing tighter. But when it look like it's over for his two friends, the Keyblade appears back in his hands.
Pete is confused as to how he could possibly get a new Keyblade when he watched Maleficent destroy the other one. Mickey arrives and says that Data-Sora is just full of surprises. The Keyblade reacts to the strength of heart of its wielder. Mickey gave him his Keyblade as data, never expecting it to match the real one. But as Ansem the Wise said before he disappeared in the blast, “A heart is so much more than any system.” Data-Sora has somehow made a connection to all of them and earned the right to wield the Keyblade, just like his real world counterpart. Now, together, they’re ready to take on Pete and get back Journal-Riku.
But as they turn to face him, the world begins to shake and rumble. Pete uses the momentary confusion to leap through the keyhole. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are ready to chase after him, but Data-Sora asks them to leave it to him. They’ve done so much for him, and he owes it to them as their friend. As he enters the pathway, Jiminy sees that the data recovery has reached 60%. Once on the other side, his battle with Pete begins. Data-Sora is able to defeat him, but Pete isn’t done yet. He calls forth Journal-Riku, who has donned the old Heartless armor that the real Riku once wore. Journal-Riku begs Data-Sora to run as he’s lost control of himself. Pete has loaded him with glitches and ran off, leaving things up to Journal-Riku. He begs Data-Sora to finish him off as the two are forced to fight. Data-Sora emerges victorious which repairs all of the glitches within Hollow Bastion. However, Journal-Riku is still in danger. The glitch blocks have merged with his body leaving him in a weakened state. But the Keyblade begins to react and unveils a keyhole that will allow him to enter the world of Journal-Riku's data. The only way to save him is for Data-Sora to repair the glitches. The others promise to provide him back-up as he opens the path inside.
As soon as he enters, balls of light escape from his body. A version of Journal-Riku explains that he’ll only be able to fight off the glitches for a little longer. It’s those same glitches that made the light fly off from Data-Sora. They’ve weakened him by stealing some of his data. Journal-Riku says that he should just take a collection of special data that was partitioned from the rest of him. It contains information that somebody added to the Journal after the fact. With all of the worlds repaired, all that remains is to solve the mystery of this extra data which will also reopen the way home for Mickey and the others. In the meantime, he’ll take the glitches into the deepest darkness to protect everyone. But Data-Sora doesn’t believe that his idea is the the only way. He promises to save him from the glitches no matter what.
Journal-Riku can only relent knowing there’s no way to convince Data-Sora otherwise. He explains that he’ll need to retrieve his own data first in order to be powerful enough to take on the source of his glitches. Data-Sora sets off on his mission to save his friend. It takes him to a version of each of the worlds he visited before though they are immersed in glitches. One by one, Data-Sora clears them out and learns of Journal-Riku’s reasoning for keeping his identity a secret. It seems like it was a way to toughen Data-Sora up for the difficulties ahead. He was also trying to protect Huey, Dewey, and Louie since they each had a piece of the keyhole and were therefore targets. He thanks Data-Sora for always being there for him and tries to apologize for his own weakness. But Data-Sora doesn’t want to hear it and says that he’s always too hard on himself. Despite everything that’s happened, he’s still his best friend.
Finally, Data-Sora is able to repair all of the data save the source of the initial corruption. Once that is gone, the datascape will be fully back to normal. Data-Sora thanks Journal-Riku for all of his help along the way since he was there from the moment he woke up. But Journal-Riku corrects him and says that he first encountered Data-Sora on the beaches of Destiny Islands. Data-Sora doesn’t know how that could be since he saw someone in the same black cloak when he first awoken by Mickey. Confused, Data-Sora can only push forward and deal with the problems ahead. As soon as he arrives in the final world of Journal-Riku’s data, Data-Sora is confronted by Riku in his Heartless armor. Data-Sora is shocked at first, but quickly realizes that this one is not the friend he knows. Instead, it’s a manifestation of all power that the glitches stole from Journal-Riku. He duels the fake and destroys him completely. With that, Journal-Riku should be back to normal. Back in the library, Jiminy sees the data recovery reaches 90%. According to the computer, the conditions for awakening have been met.
Data-Sora returns to Journal-Riku triumphant, but the ground begins to shake around them. Journal-Riku realizes that Data-Sora has to get out of his data before the road back is closed forever. Data-Sora rushes off but is stopped right before the exit by Maleficent. She is still here, trying to re-corrupt Journal-Riku. The witch transforms into her dragon form, but Data-Sora is able to defeat her. With Journal-Riku now completely safe, Data-Sora escapes while ejecting Maleficent from Journal-Riku’s data.
Outside, Mickey and the others are waiting for him. They tell him that all of the glitches have been completely erased and that they couldn’t have done it without his help. Journal-Riku awakens with all of his functions intact and creates a pathway for Mickey and his friends to return to the real world. Chip and Dale welcome them back confirming that they have indeed returned home. Journal-Riku appears on the monitor and tells them that he has some news for them. With all the glitches gone, the Journal is destined to return to its original state. Because of that, both him and Data-Sora will revert back as well meaning that they’ll forget any of this ever happened.
Mickey and the others are saddened by this news, but their friends in the datascape aren’t worried. After all, this was how things were supposed to be. And besides, though the words may be gone from the journal, the memories will always remain. But just as they’re about to give their final goodbye, an alarm on the the computer begins to ring. The data recovery has reached 100% and a glitch has been found in the darkness. It is now awakening the Dark Glitch. The option to completely delete the datascape comes up and some unknown force types yes.
The world of the datascape begins to shake violently as Journal-Riku realizes that whatever caused this will escape to the real world if the datascape is deleted. The only hope is for Mickey and the others to lock the datascape. But Mickey is reluctant since it would mean losing both of them and the hidden message they found in the journal. Jiminy remembers that Maleficent and Pete are inside as well. If they datascape is deleted, they’ll be gone forever. Whether they’re evil or not, Mickey can’t just let that happen. Data-Sora decides to help by finding the two troublemakers and getting them out of there. With them gone, they can safely lock the journal.
It’s already apparent that the datascape is slowly disappearing. He rushes through it until finally finding Maleficent and Pete facing off an enormous data-laced Heartless. Data-Sora tries to convince them to escape, but Maleficent refuses to listen. Suddenly, they are both absorbed by the Heartless which speaks through the monitor. It demands more glitches so that it may feed. Seeing this, Journal-Riku realizes that Data-Sora wasn’t the only one to change and evolve because of Mickey’s presence. This Heartless, Sora’s Heartless, was the exact same way. Data-Sora doesn’t understand, but Journal-Riku explains that because his transformation into a Heartless was in the journal, the memories of it also entered the datascape.
He believes the reason the words never returned to Jiminy’s journal when they got their memories back is because Sora’s Heartless absorbed them and kept them for himself. The same thing applies to all the Heartless he defeated within the datascape. Instead of freeing their hearts, all he did was free their minds. Those minds, filled with dark intentions, were absorbed by Sora’s Heartless and used to recover itself to full strength. It is the source of all the glitches, and it’s escape into the real world would be a catastrophe. Data-Sora takes it on directly, hoping to save his friends. He fights valiantly, but it uses the remaining glitches in the system to evolve itself once more. It finally takes shape as a dark version of Sora and attacks.
The duel is an intense one with Sora’s Heartless able to create multiple copies of itself. It all becomes too much for Data-Sora, and he falls to his knees as it prepares the final blow. But a voice rings out for him not to give up as Mickey appears before him. He’s returned to the datascape to help his friend. Mickey uses his Keyblade to extract the essence of Sora’s Heartless while Data-Sora destroys it completely. The two return to the data version of Hollow Bastion where Journal-Riku is waiting for them along with Pete and Maleficent. It turns out that they were lost in a rift of data. They finally agree to leave and do so. With Sora’s Heartless gone, the deletion process has been stopped and the datascape is saved. Soon, everything will return to the way it was. Mickey promises to always treasure their time together, realizing that the journal isn’t just a listing of events but a memory of times with friends. He promises to tell the real Riku and Sora what happened there so that they can all share the memories together.
They shake hands one final time, and Mickey leaves the datscape. Using the Keyblade, Data-Sora seals it behind him so no evil can threaten it ever again. Mickey is greeted by all of his friends in the library before they see a final goodbye message from Data-Sora on the monitor. As they look at it, Goofy realizes that they never did find out the secret of the mysterious message. It’s then that Journal-Riku appears and tells them that a new world has been discovered. It seems that someone added extra data once all the other data was restored. They realize that if they can explore that world then they’ll finally be able to answer the mystery of the message.
Mickey plans to ask Data-Sora to explore that world for them, but Donald and Goofy remind him that he’s probably forgotten all about them since the data has been fixed. Journal-Riku explains that he’s still fine because of a partition, but if Data-Sora is sent out there, he’ll have no clue what’s going on or who any of them are. Mickey suddenly gets an idea and asks Journal-Riku’s help in getting him back into the datascape. Once inside, he greets Data-Sora as he first arrives in Traverse Town. He again tells him about the message, the Keyblade, and that they need his help. Data-Sora doesn’t understand until the Keyblade materializes in his hand signifying that he may have lost his memories but his powers remain intact. He’s confused but as willing to help as ever. Together, he and Mickey open the way to the new world.
The new world turns out to be Castle Oblivion, but Data-Sora loses contact with Mickey almost immediately. Instead he’s greeted by someone in the Organization’s cloak, and Data-Sora demands to know who he is. The mysterious person only says that he’s nobody and in this world to find is to lose and to lose is to find. He gives him a card and tells him to find the truth that sleeps. The figure explains that the cards he finds will show him illusions of the people and places that were in Jiminy’s journal. Data-Sora doesn’t understand, but the figure explains that he will remember all of these things when he sees them. But in Castle Oblivion, there is no script. Whatever he does in here is not guided by the words that Jiminy once wrote. Data-Sora is given free reign to do whatever he likes within Castle Oblivion since everything is an illusion. However, the action he takes in regard to these illusions will affect the things he finds.
Data-Sora takes the card and enters the illusory Destiny Islands where he helps the people around him once again in the same way. As he returns to the halls of Castle Oblivion, The figure appears and says that he has something for him to see. A hidden truth from his first adventure. A scene plays in Neverland as Riku is looking at the far-off moon. Behind him sits Kairi, still in a coma-like state since she lost her heart. The figure explains that darkness had taken hold of Riku’s heart at that point. Both Riku and Kairi and were hurting so what would Sora have done? Data-Sora says that he would have done everything possible to help them. The hooded person agrees. Sora would have done that, did do that. Data-Sora asks why he showed him the scene, but the figure only says that more than one truth will come to light on the road ahead. But that same road will be the source of hurt for him. However, if Data-Sora follows his heart, he can change lives. It’s just the way he is, able to help people just by being himself.
Back outside, Data-Sora realizes he has forgotten all of the friends that he met in the Destiny Islands illusion. The cloaked figure appears again and tells him that his choices within these worlds will each lead to three possible conclusions. It can be the same as what’s written in the journal, or even an extra or alternate outcome. Data-Sora can visit these worlds as many times as he likes in order to discover all of the possible truths. Because both Data-Sora and the illusion inside the card worlds will forget things as soon as he reaches a conclusion, the figure encourages Data-Sora to be as mean to them as his heart desires since there’s no repercussions. But Data-Sora doesn’t feel that way. Even if he won’t remember what he did, the regret of doing such an action would always stay with him. The figure only responds that the reason why he would want to carry around such hurt is the real question.
Data-Sora begins working his way through the illusion worlds meeting and helping each of his friends in turn. As soon as he leaves, he forgets their names, faces, and what they’ve done together. But the pain of missing them still remains. He realizes that it’s that pain that signifies he does remember some part of them. The memory is gone, but the feeling is still there. If he can find some kind of trigger, he can remember all of his friends. After Data-Sora completes another world, the figure accuses him of taking the lost memories of his friends nonchalantly. Data-Sora informs him that it’s not the case. The pain in his chest is the proof though the figure was wrong when he said no one would be hurt. Data-Sora is feeling plenty hurt from his frustration and loneliness. It’s those feelings that are the key to getting his memories back. The figure only says that he’s right on schedule before disappearing once again.
The pain is beginning to build as Data-Sora completes another world of illusion. The figure appears yet again and laughs at his efforts. It was all just too easy in the end. He has tricked Data-Sora into both losing his memories and finding a nonstop feeling of being hurt. Most of all, by convincing himself that the hurt was the way to fix things, Data-Sora gave up all hope of ever being free from that hurt. The wound will never heal and soon he’ll be dragged into darkness. Data-Sora declares that he’ll never let it happen as the figure vanishes.
But when Data-Sora completes all of the illusionary worlds, the figure appears one more time. He knows that Data-Sora must be feeling pretty empty by now. But that’s not the case. Data-Sora is filled with the painful knowledge that he’s forgotten all of his friends, but he refuses to cut it loose. Without that hurt, there would be no proof that these people were important to him. He won’t run and will instead carry this hurt until the day that he remembers again. The figure warns him that it could lead to him becoming lost in darkness, but Data-Sora refuses to get rid of those feelings. He accepts them. The cloaked person laughs at Data-Sora’s notion and transports them to an arena within Castle Oblivion. It’s time for him to learn what real hurt feels like.
The figure challenges Data-Sora to a fight and reveals that he wields twin Keyblades. This person is Data-Roxas though Data-Sora doesn’t know that. Data-Sora is able to win the duel, and Data-Roxas tells him to finish him off. But Data-Sora can’t. Data-Roxas believes its because he’s data and not worth the effort, but Data-Sora tells him he’s wrong. He could feel the hurt emanating from Data-Roxas as they fought. It was like a never-ending sharp pain, but it felt familiar too. Almost like it was his own. If hurt can help him connect to people like that, then a little hurt can’t be all bad. Data-Roxas is speechless at his worlds before finally saying that he gives up. Since Data-Sora now knows true hurt, he can finally go find the real truth of the message.
Data-Sora wants to know what he means, and Data-Roxas explains that his role was to see if he was ready to take ownership of the hurt within him. It’s now time for Data-Roxas to go home. He merges with Data-Sora, who immediately senses memories that are not his own. He sees a sunset, sad yet comforting, and the place where he spent his first and last days. Data-Sora tells Data-Roxas to rest easy. They can share the pain together now. He then goes to enter the door to the truth as Mickey finally catches up to him.
It seems that he was taken away from Castle Oblivion when he tried to enter it the first time. He apologizes for being late, but Data-Sora tells him not to worry. Together, they take the card that will lead them to the truth and enter the door. On the other side, they discover Data-Naminé. Data-Sora feels like he knows her but cannot remember. Mickey explains how the real Sora had lost all of his memories, and Naminé was the one to put them back. Data-Sora goes to thank her, but she says that she doesn’t deserve it since she was also the one to take apart his memories. The glitches that appeared in Jiminy’s journal were also her fault.
Data-Naminé explains that it all began with memories that were sleeping deep down in Sora’s heart. But the memories didn’t belong to Sora. They belong to people connected to him, namely Ventus. It’s not something usually possible and because of that, Naminé thought she had made a mistake when she found them. But as she began investigating, she realized that they did belong in his heart, and they’ve been sleeping for an extremely long time. One day, the real Sora will have to call them to the surface. The problem is that even though they are important memories, they are extremely dangerous. If they are handled the wrong way, they could damage or even break Sora’s heart due to the sheer pain found within them.
In order for Sora to face that kind of hurt, she needed to leave the message. “Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it.” It turns out that the journal and Sora are deeply connected which is why it was erased when she unraveled his memories. When she took his memories apart, they still stayed in his heart. The same applies to the journal. Though the words were gone, the feelings behind them stayed within the pages. That’s why Mickey and the others were able to render the missing entries as data. The glitches came from the hurt that Data-Naminé was trying to convey. She believed that if he could fight the things that sprouted from these memories then he could learn to face the hurt in the memories themselves.
Data-Naminé wishes she could have told them all this in person but since her real world counterpart has merged with Kairi, it was impossible. But in the end it worked. Data-Sora learned how to face the hurt. Not all pain can be wiped away. When that happens, it must be faced and accepted head-on. And even if it’s too much for him alone, then a friend will always be there to share it. That hurt can bring friends together and make them stronger. With that, Data-Sora is ready to accept these painful memories that Naminé had found within Sora. Mickey also offers to help since he is Data-Sora’s friend. Data-Naminé thanks them both and gives them the memories.
They see visions of Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Data-Naminé explains that Ansem the Wise had hid the memories these three shared during the year he was asleep within Sora. Namine had asked why he was doing this, but Ansem only said that he was clearing his conscience. She realizes that Sora must be the key to saving them as well as the other three: Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. Mickey immediately remembers them, and how they fought together so long ago. All of these people are still connected deep down within Sora where he never even realized. Looking at the Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, Data-Sora feels as though he’s met them. Data-Naminé confirms that he indeed met two of them and though he never met the third, he shares an extremely special connection to him. Mickey wonders if its time for Sora to bring these memories to the surface, but Data-Naminé only knows that a day will come when all three of them will need to rise from their sleep. At that point, the only one who can save them is Sora. Mickey promises to pass all of this information to the Sora of the real world.
It’s time for them to go and once again allow everything to reset. But this time, Data-Naminé will disappear too since she’s been able to pass on the message that the real her wanted. She’s not worried though. As long as Mickey tells the real Sora everything that happened here, she knows she will live on his heart as well as Kairi’s. Before they leave, Data-Sora passes on the message that Jiminy left in his journal so long ago. “Thank you, Naminé.”
Back in the library, Mickey begins writing a note to Sora, Riku, and Kairi. He tells them everything that happened within the datascape as well as the memories of the past that still sleep within Sora. These memories will have a direct effect on his future as well as theirs. Sora is who he is because of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus but now they are hurting and they need his help. It’s likely possible that all of his journeys up to now have been preparing him for this great task that lies ahead. There are no such thing as coincidences, only links to a much larger chain of events. The time for his next journey is at hand. With all that said, Mickey places the letter in a bottle and sends it toward Destiny Islands. Not long after, Sora and Riku are watching the sunset like they used to. They realize that it’s a small world connected to a much bigger one. They’ve also realized that it was Sora’s heart that reacted to Kairi’s letter on the shores of the Realm of Darkness and created the door to light. Just then, Kairi rushes toward them with a message in a bottle from the King. They open it up and read the letter.
As they read, Ansem the Wise arrives on the shores of the Realm of Darkness himself. It appears that the explosion of his device did not kill him but returned him to the exile that his apprentices once forced him into. Almost as a symbol off his foolhardy quest for revenge, he now wears the same cloak of those in the Organization. All he has left is a few scraps of memory that weren’t taken away in the blast. Suddenly, the still-young Aqua approaches him and tells him that she’s been wandering for an unknown amount of time. Yet, despite the crushing loneliness of being trapped within the Realm of Darkness, she still dreams of seeing her friends again.
Her words spark a memory within Ansem the Wise, and he tells her of a young boy who has fought many times to keep the light safe. Despite all that he has faced, he has succeeded in protecting the worlds each time. When he mentions the boy’s Keyblade, Aqua hopes that it may be Terra or Ventus, but Ansem tells her that neither of those is the boy’s name. Ansem tells her of the great regret he feels over what he did to this boy and all of his friends all in the name of revenge. But he truly believes that despite all that, the boy could still save them all from the darkness they find themselves trapped in. Aqua finally asks the boy’s name and, all at once, all the people who’s heart he touched and memories he holds says his name together. Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Terra, and Ventus all happily say, “Sora.” Remembering the young boy she once met and told to protect his friends, Aqua can only shed a single tear. After ten long years, she now has hope.
His message sent, Mickey goes to see Yen Sid and tells him everything that happened in the datascape as well. It looks like they’re finally close to finding out where Ventus’s heart is. The only one they still need to find is Terra. Then they can finally save all three of the lost Keyblade wielders. But Yen Sid still wonders what Xehanort plans to do next. Mickey is confused at these words since both his Heartless and Nobody were destroyed by Sora. Yen Sid explains that while that is true, it also guarantees the original Xehanort’s reconstruction. Xehanort’s heart, once seized by his Heartless half, has been freed and his body, which had become a Nobody, has been vanquished. With both halves freed, they will now return to a whole. There’s no way around it. Master Xehanort is going to return.
Mickey promises that he, Sora, and Riku will be there to stop him no matter what he decides to try next. But Yen Sid is worried. Though the two boys are indeed strong, they are not true Keyblade Masters. Yen Sid then asks Mickey if a single one of them would be strong enough if what they faced was not a single one of Xehanort. Mickey is immediately concerned at this thought, but Yen Sid asks him to summon Sora and Riku to his tower so they may be finally tested for their Mark of Mastery.
Back on Destiny Islands, Sora and his friends have all read the message from King Mickey and learned of Yen Sid’s plan to test them for the Mark of Mastery. Riku asks if Sora’s mind is made up, and it is. He is determined to save them, no matter what. After all, without Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, he and his friends would not be who they are today. Together, he and Riku will pass Yen Sid’s test. But before they can prepare for their journey, Sora goes to Kairi and apologizes for having to leave her once again. She presses her good luck charm back in his hand and promises to see him soon.
And with that, the story of the first six Kingdom Hearts games has been told. That story is both the series' greatest strength and weakness. It has an incredible sense of continuity between games, but the release order of those games tends to muddle things up. There's no doubt that a story about key-shaped swords, the strength of a heart, and Disney characters can be extremely cheesy at times, but I absolutely love it. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance has been released in the time since I began posting this timeline. By all accounts, it leads directly into Kingdom Hearts 3. I cannot wait for that day and I hope, with the help of this Timeline, that both newcomers and devoted fans will have a better understanding of the story.

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