I sat at the top of a tall tower, looking down at the world below me. I could see the clouds whisping from underneath the floating land mass, giving me quick glimpses to the world below.The feeling of the sun’s gentle rays did little to pull me from the funk I seemed to be in. I tenderly touched my bandaged chest, the shot of pain that coursed through my body causing me to cringe slightly. When it passed I sighed deeply, my eyes gazing towards the ground below.
“Ha! Finally found you.”
I jumped at the sound of the voice calling to me from behind. As slowly as I could without hurting myself, I turned to find a tall, lanky male with long red spiky hair smirking at me from the ladder he had climbed. With a quick flip, the newcomer bounded the rest of the way up, landing expertly on his feet. Reaching into his coat’s pocket he produced two wrapped ice creams.
“Heh, knew I would find ya up here. Even put it all on the line by buying two of these.” He said showing me both sweets. “Thought you might need something better than hospital food.”
“Axel,” I blinked before asking. “H-How did you figure I would be up here?”
“Hey!" The red head male said with a frown. “I told you before, its Lea. Get. It. Memorized.” He emphasized the last three words by tapping my head with one of the ice creams a few times. “And to how I found you, well, that’s fairly obvious isn’t it? It’s because it’s something that ‘HE’ would do as well.”
I took the ice cream, not taking my eyes off the red head as I pondered his statement. “He?” I closed my eyes and folded my arms across my chest, falling deep in thought. It didn’t take me long before I figured out who he was talking about. “Oh! You mean Roxas!”
Lea pointed towards me before pointing to his nose. “Correctamundo, Hero.”
“But, I still don't understand?” I said.
Lea placed one of his hands behind his head before letting his back rest against the wall, the other holding on to the ice cream as he gave it a few test licks. “Whenever he was feeling all mopey and down, he would always find the place with the most amazing view. Heh, it would always brighten his spirits, seeing the world as it goes by.” He smiled as he looked out into the seamless sky. “...A bit more breath-taking than Twilight Town I'll have to admit"
I had decided to stay quiet, my focus only on the ice cream I held in my hands. After a long moment, I heard Lea speak once again.
“You...ah...Ok Sora?” I didn’t respond. “I’ll take that as a no then. Dude, I know you’re all upset and all that jazz but it’s not like it’s all your fault, you know. That was something that I should have told you right off the bat.”
“But I made it worse by getting angry...I...I don’t...I didn’t...” I countered before looking down again, sighing deeply. “I don’t know...”
“Well in any case you won’t be on any missions for a long while. Potions can heal injuries but not cracked ribs.” He bit into his melting ice cream. “I’m surprised that you made it up here actually, cracked ribs and all.” He said with a smile.
“Yeah...I was really out of it during that last fight...” I said, looking down.
“Out of it? It was like you were a punching bag! I mean, taking that hit head on. You had some serious balls to do that, kiddo.” Lea laughed.
“If I didn’t then it would have hit that lady’s house. I couldn’t allow that.” I tried to argue with a pout.
“I know, I know. Don’t get your underwear in a knot, Hero.” Lea said. “Maybe there was an easier way to have done it but I won’t argue with the results.” He smiled down at me. “Besides, I get to have my chance to shine now that you’re out of commission.”
I perked up at that information. “You have a mission?”
“Of course! Though I will be going with Kairi and Goofy, I’m sure to show them all up with my wicked skills.”
I visibly deflated at the mention of Kairi’s name, my head hanging “Ah...How is she doing anyway?”
I could see Lea open his eyes to look at me before closing them once again. “She’s worried about you, that has to tell you something, Sora.”
I could only nod before asking, “And...Riku?”
Lea was quiet as he took another bite of his ice cream. It was a long time before he said, “He’s still your friend you know?”
I shook my head, processing what Lea had said. “I...I hope so...”
Lea gave a cheeky smile before batting my arm gently with his fist, much to my discomfort mind you. “Hey! Buck up, Sora! You still got me! Remember that.” Lea bit into his ice cream once more. “Now, finish that ice cream up so we can get that. Yen Sid needs ya to see him.”
I graoned and nodded. "Not looking foward to that...Like...at all."
The shining gleam of the morning sun pulled Sora into full consciousness. As his eyes blinked away his sleepiness, the memory he dreamt about slowly bagan to slip from his mind. It wasn't long before the good memory was replaced with bad ones as his body went into full alert. Sitting up, he glanced around the room he was in, finding himself in a familiar room within the familiar home of his bookkeeping friend.
"Wait...this is...This is Twilight's house...but..." He looked over his body, finding himself clear of any bruises or cuts he had prier to passing out. "But...but how did I get here? When then I get here?" He looked to his left, finding his clothes sitting beside the bed in a chair. He also noticed something new sitting on top of his clothes. A pair of bags, red and black in color, reminiscent of the bags he wore on his legs back when he had pants. "Where did these things come from?"
Thinking quickly, he checked within his self hoping to gain some answers from Ventus. He was dissapointed to when he didn't find a trace of other Keyblader within his mind whatsoever.
"What’s going on? Why can't I feel him anywhere, and what happened to that crazy chick." He folded his hooves about his chest and closed his eyes. "I...I remember someone standing over me, and then after that everything went black. What happend..." He paused. "Wait...THE GIRLS!!" He leapt from the bed, only to get his hooves tangled up in the sheets in the process of doing so. With a loud thump reminiscent of how he first awoke to this strange world, he fell to the ground in a tangled mess of sheets and flailing limbs. He wrestled and fought with them, grunting in frustration as he tried to rid himself of the covers once again. Hoofsteps could be heard coming from somewhere close by, followed by the opening of a door, more than likely to the room he was in.
He felt something tugging at the tangled covers, allowing him to see the one who had come to his rescue. To his surprise utter surprise he didn't find Twilight, but instead Applejack, pulling the sheets away from his frame.
"AJ?" He squeaked as he caught sight of her eyes.
The farm mare frowned as she looked down at the tangled caramel pony. "Need help there partner?"
Sora cringed but nodded, and with her help, he was able to get free enough for the top of his body to be seen. As soon as he was he gave her a sheepish smile. "Ah Heheh...thanks AJ. That’s the second time that-!?"
His sentence was cut short however as the Stetson-wearing mare wrapped her hooves around his neck, and buried her face into his shoulder. He sat rigid for a moment, feeling her fur brush into his own as she continued to embrace him, the scent of apples emanating from her yellow mane. He hesitantly raised his hooves before wrapping them around her as well. The action only caused her to lock up before pulling away from him, to which he looked away, not willing to meet her eyes.
"I-I messed up again Applejack. I...I tried my best to protect all of you but in the end all I did was cause you girls trouble. I…I’m sorry I failed you." His words caused her to pull away, and look deep into his sky blue eyes. He could clearly see her emerald eyes after she wiped a hoof across them, clearing any water that may or may not have been flowing down her cheeks. He was about to apologize once again but a hoof coming across his face silenced him, giving him a healthy slap. It didn't hurt him, he had felt way worse in the past and he really felt that she was holding back on his account; still it was surprising to say the least. He stared wide eyed at the mare as she scowled at him.
"Don't..." She said before softening her gaze. "Don't y'all ever say that...Not after what ya did for...well...for all of us..." She smiled gently before pulling away from him and helping him back to his hooves. Realization seemed to have caught up with her as she began to look over every inch of his body. The keyblader froze, not knowing what she was looking for. He relaxed however as she smiled at him again. “Boy howdy, that magic medicine really did do the trick, didn’t it? Ah really had ma worries before but ah guess he was really telling the truth.”
Sora blinked once before asking, “He? He who?”
She blinked at him before smiling gently, “Ah think Twilight would be better to explain what happened when you passed out. Maybe even a bit before that.” Applejack gave him a concerned look. “Do y’all feel okay? Ya sure that ya can walk alright by ya self?”
"Yes...I mean No...I mean..." Sora sighed. "I feel okay...." He looked over his body as he kicked the covers off of himself. "I'm fine, so don't worry, okay? Let’s go. I need to make sure the rest are okay anyway." He said before making his way to his folded clothes. "Hey, where did these things come from?" He said pointing to the bags near his clothes.
"Oh, that’s something Rarity had been working on ever since we were on the train ride back to Canterlot.” Applejack explained. "She was handling y'all getting hurt the only way she could, still it didn't sit right with her. To be honest, none of us didn’t handle you getting hurt so well and the fact that you did it all for us made it even worse." She looked away from the stallion. "Twilight's been in her books talking to herself, Rarity has been working non-stop in her dress shop. Pinkie Pie has been holding off on all parties until you awoke. Fluttershy has been taking care of ya ever since you passed out, her way of saying sorry Ah’m guessing. Ah myself have more than a few words for you after y’all get all settled in and whatnot…”
Sora raised an eyebrow before asking. "And Rainbow?"
Applejack sighed before saying in a gentle tone, "Ah’m not too sure, to tell ya the truth. Ah haven't seen her around apart from her weather duties, but ah do hear her ranting every now and then and...well…its not all nice words ah’m afraid."
Sora’s head slumped as he began to don his clothing once again. "Great...."
She smiled as she patted him hard on the back. "Now, don't be like that Sora! You’re a hero to us, more than ever before now." She added before chuckling gently.
Sora looked down before looking back to the mare. "I only did what I could, and it still wasn't enough."
"And for what ya did" Applejack continued for him, "...I thank ya from the bottom of my honest heart." Applejack said gently before turning her smile into a frown. "Now don't y'all ever do it again or I'll take you down personally. Y'all nearly had me worried to death seeing you take such a beating like that." She growled, causing the stallion to stumble over.
Sora gave a sheepish smile once again before turning it into a wide grin, a grin that was being mimicked by the Apple farming pony. It wasn't long before both were laughing up a storm, eventually dissolving into gentle chuckles.
It immediately ended with Applejack giving Sora deadpanned stare. "Ah mean it...Don't do that ever again."
"Y-Yes ma'am!" Sora said with a hasty salute.
Sora followed Applejack down the stairway, the bags Rarity had made him slung across his back in an awkward saddle-like appearance. The rapid sounds of hoof steps filling their ears as they neared the main library causeing the stallion to look towards Applejack, who only motioned for him to follow. Looking through the doorway at the end of the hall, both ponies could see Twilight dashing to and fro, a whole heap of books scattered around the room, more than a few stacks looking as though they were about to topple over.
"There has to be something! There just has to be!" She cried as she quickly flipped through another book. When she was done she growled with frustration before tossing it to the side with her magic. "Darn it! Nothing in this one either!!"
Despite her back facing towards them, Sora could see she was clearly stressed, what with odd ends of her mane were tweaked out of place. He was almost afraid to disrupt her from her...whatever she was doing...and highly considered backing away.
"Hey Twi, guess who's up and about?”
The lavender mare stopped at the sound of Applejack’s cheery country drawl, which caused Sora to contemplate a full on escape (possibly through a nearby window if he could) at the way she just stopped all motion in one moment.
That was not to be.
He felt himself being tackled to the ground after a bright flash of purple and the shrill call of his name. He recovered enough to looked up at the mare as she stared down at him, a crazed look in her eyes causing him to cower somewhat beneath her.
"There you are! I've been waiting for you forever! Almost thought about using my magic to look into your memories but I was told that was immoral. But I needed to know! I have to know! Applejack told me about how you all met the original Elements of Honesty and Laughter, and how something called a human had helped form them. Not just any human, a human with the same power you have! How do you have the same power as a creature not of this planet?! That is not physically possible! You are not physically possible!!” She said, becoming more frantic towards the end of her rant.
“Woah, easy there Twi.” Applejack said with a chuckle, placeing a hoof on the mare's back. “Give ‘im time to answer one of ya questions before ya bombard him with another one, okay?”
Twilight blinked at Applejack before looking back down at the stallion she had pinned under her. With a heavy blush that rivaled one of Fluttershy’s, she quickly pulled away and allowed him to sit up on his haunches. “Ah! I’m so sorry, Sora! It’s just...There are so many questions I need answered and from what I’m told by both my friends and the Princess, you’re the one who can answer most, if not all of them.” She paused before smiling gently at the stallion, both worry and kindness emanating from her eyes. “And…ah…sorry for not saying this earlier but, well…” She slowly closed the distance between them before wrapping her hooves around his neck in a gentle embrace. “I’m glad you’re okay…I was really, really worried about you. Riku said-“
Sora’s eyes widened at the name. “Riku!?" He pulled her away to look into her eyes. "What about Riku?!”
Twilight blinked, slightly confused, before responding. “He’s the one who gave us the potions to use on you, even gave me a few extra for you to have. When he found out your magic wasn’t working, which I still can't believe you have, he told us to use these on you before leaving with Chrysalis…”
“Wait, wait, wait…Back up a sec.” Sora told her. “Who’s Chrysalis? And just what the heck did Riku want? How did he even get here? How did he know where to find me?”
Twilight frowned before stating. “You haven’t answered my questions yet, I’ll have you know. Just what are you, really? Where did you come from? How do the princesses know about you?”
Sora fidgeted before looking over to AJ, the farm pony nodding in response to his questioning gaze. Turning back to the lavender mare he sighed gently before saying. “It’s…Kind of a long story…And I would rather tell the rest of the girls too…I kind of promised I would.”
Twilight blinked before nodding and smiling warmly. “Then let’s go get them Sora, and...well...You better have an amazing story to tell."
Pinkie was the first to be gathered, the pink mare instantly tackling Sora as soon as she saw him. Sora could have sworn that her pink mane went from scary straight to extremely poofy in a span of less than a second before he could see nothing but pink fur and smell nothing but bubble gum.
“OH MY GOSH SORA! YOU’RE OK! I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND YOU WERE NOT MOVING AND WHEN YOU WERE MOVING YOU WERE IN PAIN AND I WAS SO SCARED, AND YOU LOOKED SO SAD, I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! I DID ALL I COULD TO HELP YOU LIKE THE REST OF THE GIRLS, BUT I KNEW YOU WOULD BE OKAY BECAUSE YOU PINKIE PROMISED YOU WOULD TELL US THINGS AND YOU CAN’T BREAK A PINKIE PROMISE BUT I ALMOST THOUGHT YOU DID OR WAS GOING TO BUT YOU DIDN’T BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE AND I’M SO HAPPY!!”
The stallion couldn’t even begin to comprehend what she had just said, let alone the amount of oxygen it would take to say everything the way the pink mare had just said without a breath, once again reminding him just how Pinkie, Pinkie Pie was. The only way he could even fathom how she did it was with using his own oxygen, which he was, admittedly, beginning to lose the tighter and tighter the mare wrapped her hooves around his torso. In any case, she was thankfully pulled away from him in a sparkling magenta aura, a clear sign that Twilight had saved him from succumbing to a cuddly, yet scary death.
“Pinkie!” Twilight said in an irritated tone, her death glare only matched by Pinkie’s innocent smile. After a few long seconds, and the allowance of Sora to once again get on his hooves, the lavender mare sighed and set the pink one back down onto her own hooves, the latter instantly wrapping her hooves around Sora once again, this time at a much gentler tone.
Sora had cringed at first, but feeling her soft fur caused him to relax and return the hug. After a few seconds the pink mare pulled away, smiling brightly. “So are you gonna tell them!? Huh? HUH? HUH!?!”
Sora blinked before a smile played across his lips. “I did Pinkie Pie Promise, didn’t I?” He asked, to which she beamed even brighter.
“Yep, yep!! And breaking a Pinkie Promise is the best way to lose a friend…FOREVER! And you don’t want to do that now, do you?” She said before bouncing around the stallion and making her way to Twilight's side. “Well then come on! We need to get the other girls and then we get to hear the fantastical tale of Sora, the Warrior of Light and wielder of the Keyblade!!”
Twilight giggled before nudging the stallion. “Hear that, Warrior of Light?” She said in a joking manner, the stallion instantly blushing and looking away.
“But…I…I didn’t…I mean I am but...” He didn’t get to finish his sentence as Applejack pushed her head into his flank, pushing him out the door.
“Don’t start that up again, Sugercube. Now let’s git!”
“Ack! Ok, ok! Don’t push!” Sora yelped as he was forced out of the store, Twilight and Pinkie giggling as they followed after once the pink party mare bid farewell to Mrs. Cake.
"Welcome to Carousel Boutique where every...thing...is..."
Rarity's normally upbeat voice had a miserable tone before it trailed off at the sight of the caramel stallion making his way further inside. She gave him a rather long, hard stare, furrowing her brow more and more the longer she did so. After clearing her throat, she slowly strolled her way towards him, the gentle sway of her hips catching his attention . She came within inches from his own face before saying. "You do know I am very angry with you right now, correct?"
The stallion could only look down and nod once.
"Good..." The marshmallow mare continued. "Now that that is out of the way." She wrapped her hooves around his neck, drawing him into a gentle embrace. "I'm oh, so glad you are okay...I was so worried." Her frown returned as she looked at the bags strapped across his back. "Darling...Why are you wearing your bags like that?"
Sora blinked before looking towards his back. "Oh! Ah...I thought they were the kind of bags that you guys wear...but...they did seem kind of awkward to put on now that I think about it."
Rarity giggled gently before pulling the bags off his back. "That's because they are meant for your hind legs, darling." She said with a smile. "Your unusual dress style had got me thinking of different ways for us to wear fashionable yet comfortable styles. One of which is what I gave you here. Now then," she moved to his side. "Allow me to...hmm...Help you with putting this on." She said, reaching for the side of his flank. She yelped in an un-lady like fashion as she was forcibly pulled away by a certain apple farmer.
"He can do it himself later, Rarity." Applejack deadpanned.
Rarity could only pout before sighing and looking back to Sora. "Yes...but I expect you to show me what it looks like later, Sora. I do so enjoy a good show." She said with a gentle smile.
"Um...Ah...Sorry if I'm bothering you. I can come back later if that’s okay."
Everypony turned to see a familiar, butter yellow mare peeping from around a door frame, a timid blush forming on her cheeks as she saw that she was now the focus of attention.
"Fluttershy! You’re here, darling!" Rarity said with a bright smile. "I am sorry but we will have to postpone that fitting for now."
The shy mare shook her head. "I...It’s okay, Rarity." She said before her eyes gazed towards the caramel stallion. As his own met hers she began to shiver slightly, a guilty feeling emanating from the Sora’s eyes all too clear in her own. Slowly she made her way to the stallion before hesitating. After a bit of resolve and a determined frown, she leaned into him and nuzzled his neck gently before pulling away a second later, a heavy blush forming on her cheeks . "Um...Ah...I'm glad you’re okay, Sora...I was...I was really worried about you and...well..." She trailed off before squeaking adorably.
Sora sighed before looking back to Fluttershy. "I'm sorry Shy...I...I didn’t upset you did I?”
“Oh! No...I...Um...I’m ok...really…”
The sound of her friend’s berating tone caused the mare to cringe.”Ah...okay. I was...well...devastated.”
Sora hung his head . "I really am sorry...and...I have a lot of things to tell you girls. About me...about where I come from...what I do...And about what might be happening now." He folded his hooves across his chest before saying, "That last part I am vague on but if that crazy girl was any indication, then this might go way deeper than that Sombra guy."
Twilight lowered her head. "You mean Sunset Shimmer." She said in a low tone. "The princesses have a lot of things to tell me too, so how about I meet you all at the barn while I go message them. I let Spike sleep in today so he might be up but now, I want answers, and by Celestia I will have them."
Sora raised an eyebrow. "What about Dash? Don't we need to find her?"
Pinke Pie, who had been looking out a window, smiled back at Sora . "That’s not gonna be a problem, silly billy. Now, let’s get going!" She bounced out of the room, heading towards the barn.
Sora looked to where Pinkie had left before looking back at Applejack. The farm mare only chuckled. "If she says it won't be a problem then I'm inclined to trust her." She gave a wink. "Now come on Sugarrcube, y'all got a story to tell us."
"That was a wicked battle!"
"I was so worried!"
Those were the responses of three familiar fillies as they all pounced on Sora, the yellow filly almost crying as she held his left forleg in a vice like grip. Despite the glare that Sweetie and Applebloom were getting from their sisters, the trio of fillies were allowed to stay, much to their relief. With the three fillies now joining, it had become quite the little party down at Sweetapple Acres. So much so, in fact, that Pinkie had set up balloons and streamers prior to them arriving.
Which was unnerving to Applejack since the last time she was there, there was no sign of Pinkie doing any such thing.
Nopony dwelled on it though, saying it was just Pinkie being Pinkie again.
Sora and the girls were soon joined by Twilight, Spike, and, to his surprise, not only the princesses of the moon and sun but the princess of love too, as well as her husband, much to Sora's surprise.
"Shining!? You’re okay!"
"Heh...Yeah..." Shining said with a meek smile. "I'll tell ya about it later."
They were interrupted by Cadence, who, in Sora's opinion looked much better then when he last saw the mare.
"Sora...It is good to see you again." The princess of love said with a gentle smile.
Sora, despite himself, gave the mare a wide grin. "It's good to see you much more...ah...Brighter than before."
Cadence giggled, covering a hoof to her mouth as she did so. "Yes well...Sleep does wonders for the soul."
"I'm sorry, but you can play catch up later Sora," Twilight interrupted as she stood between Sora and her brother and sister-in-law. "I think it’s high time you tell us about you first though." She said sitting on her haunches in front of him, a quill and parchment appearing beside her.
Sora looked about at everyone that was staring back at him expectedly, even the Princesses, or more so Luna, giving him their full attention. After a deep sigh he closed his eyes and gathered his thoughts.
"Well...To start things off, how about I start from the beginning?" He said before opening his eyes once more. "It all started with these weird dreams I had been having..."
As Sora began his tale, a pair of magenta eyes watched him from above, making nary a sound as she listened in on the young keyblader’s tale.