Kingdom Hearts 4: Connected Worlds



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KeybladeOrder

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For those of you have read my previous Kingdom Hearts fanfiction story The Xehanort War and it's sequels, welcome to the fourth installment of my Acolytes of Chaos Saga. For those who haven't read the other stories in this universe, stop reading this right now and go read them. You can find The Xehanort War either here on KHInsider forums or on fanfiction.net. The rest of the stories in this universe are exclusive to FanFiction.net. Seriously, go read them. I'm not going to do 5 paragraphs of Author's Notes every chapter just to make sure everyone's on the same page. Sorry if this sounds a little rude. I'm trying to be, I'm just making it crystal clear in no uncertain terms that I'm writing everything on the assumption that readers at least read my other KH-based fics and I don't want to have to waste time recaping what came before.
Before we get started, the usual formatting reminder so nobody gets confused:
"Talking"
Thinking
"Written Text"
"Speaking in a different language."
"Singing"

Anyway, with that done, on with the show.
[HR][/HR]Prologue: The First Of Many:
Unknown World – Unknown Location
August 7, 2015 – One Week After Kingdom Hearts III

It's time, the woman thought to herself as she looked out over the assembled crowd. From the catwalk in the upper levels of the large warehouse, she could see an army of thousands spread out before her. Brothers and sisters in arms who had fought side by side through countless battles. And would fight in many more battles to come. Which was why she had called this gathering here today. The landscape of the oncoming war had changed, and those who would follow her into battle needed to be informed of what had transpired in the past month.

Time to get this over with, she reminded herself as she stepped up to the edge of the catwalk so her soldiers could see her. A hush overtook the soldiers standing below as they looked up at her. The woman took a deep breath to steady herself before she spoke.

"Greetings, my brothers and sisters," she called out to her audience below. "Today is a day of celebration. Xehanort, that evil, deranged, Seeker of Darkness, is dead!" The roar of applause from the crowd was almost deafening, even from where she stood. As the cheering and shouting finally died down, she continued.

"But," she went on. "It is with great sadness that that I must report that The General was killed in the crossfire between Xehanort and the so-called "Guardians of Light". His loss is a great blow for all of us. But while we mourn, we cannot turn away from our true purpose now. With Xehanort's demise we can now begin the first stage of The Plan unhindered. We will not give up. Like the terrorist group HYDRA says, cut off one head, two more shall take its place. Kill off a Keyblade Wielder and three more pick up the ancient blade to avenge them! And when you cut down one of the true defenders of the Light, LEGIONS MORE WILL RISE UP AND STRIKE DOWN THE INFIDELS WHO DARE TO THINK THAT THE PURITY OF LIGHT CAN COEXIST WITH THE FILTH AND DECAY OF DARKNESS!"

The crowd was cheering and shouting once more in what could only be described as rapturous euphoria. The woman smiled with satisfaction as she briefly closed her eyes, basking in the energy of her army. Her Legion.

"YES!" She shouted back, her voice booming across the cavernous room to be heard above the din of the crowd. "We will show them just how wrong they are! We will remind them that the impurity of Darkness cannot be contained! AND WE WILL REMIND THEM THAT THE ONLY WAY TO PROPERLY DEAL WITH DARKNESS IS TO DESTROY IT! AND DESTROY IT WE WILL! WE WILL CLEANSE THIS IMPURITY FROM THE UNIVERSE! WE WILL DESTROY THE DARKNESS AT! ALL! COSTS!"

"AT! ALL! COSTS!" The Legion roared in answer as twelve thousand fists rose up in ecstatic jubilation. With a triumphant grin, she whirled around on her heels and marched into the council chamber in the deeper levels of the bunker. She had been designated as The General's successor in the event that he perished, and she needed to smooth out the transition of power with the other members of the High Council. An hour later she and the other high ranking agents of the Legion were seated around the table in the nearby conference room, drinking champagne as they toasted Xehanorts death and her promotion.

"Congratulations are in order, Madame N.I.," remarked one of her lieutenants, a man with salmon colored hair remarked as he took a sip from his glass. "With Xehanort out of the picture, you will be the one to finally lead us to victory in this endless war against the Darkness." N.I. smiled and thanked the man as an automatic response, but deep down her promotion was bittersweet. She may be in charge of The Legion now, but it had come at the cost of the life of the man she loved. The Warden, the High Council's enforcer, picked up on her distress and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

"We all miss him," the Warden replied. "But he would have wanted it this way. Don't worry. We will find the one who struck him down, and we will make them pay." N.I. smiled at the gesture of support and turned to address the rest of the High Council. As much as she wanted to mourn her predecessor, they had work to do. It was time to begin preparations for The Plan.

"It's time to get down to business," she said firmly as she looked around the table at each of her advisors. "With Xehanort out of the picture and Maleficent's cabal crippled, it's time for us to move forward with Project: Sileo. We've gathered everything we need for the first phase. While we're implementing Phase One, it's time to start collecting the materials required for Phase Two."

"The Stones," one of the two High Praetors, a grizzled looking middle-aged man with a recently damaged leg, remarked. "We have a confirmed location for two of them, and a general location of three more. Only one remains unaccounted for."

"Either way," the pink haired man, who was the other High Praetor, interjected. "With Thanos and Xehanort both dead, we have time to take the slow approach for now. We don't have the resources for an attack on Asgard, and retrieving the Power Stone from Turo is going to require extensive effort and misdirection to pull off without exposing the existence of The Legion. In the meantime, if Madame N.I. will permit it, I say we take some time to properly celebrate Xehanort's death." The announcement was meant with unanimous agreement, and N.I. raised her glass to propose a toast.

"May the future be bright enough to burn away the darkness," she said. "To Kingdom Hearts."
[HR][/HR]I'm not going to do any Author's Notes on my thought process for the story in the prologue (I'll save that for next chapter), but I will say that those of you who were paying attention to Easter Eggs mentioned in The Xehanort War and my previous Acolytes of Chaos fics will get a pretty good idea of where the storyline of the AOC universe is going.

Expect less frequent updates than when I posted the Xehanort War on KHInsider, because when that happened I was just reposting everything from fanfiction.net and so could post several chapters at a time. Now I'm posting this story on both sites simultaneously, so updates will be slower.
 

KeybladeOrder

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Just a head's up to everyone, this story won't be as long as The Xehanort War was, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to put the same amount of effort and quality into the story.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 1: Morning Routines:
Six Years Later;
Earth – New York City:

Jake Long groggily opened his eyes to the sound of his wife making herself a light breakfast in the kitchen of their small apartment. He looked over at the clock and, noticing that it was 3:30 in the morning, sighed as he realized that this meant that Rose would be home late from work tonight. Whenever there was an emergency at her job, she always ate an early breakfast and typically didn't come home until late at night. But he'd nevertheless learned to accept it. It was the price of being married to a secret agent.

The former American Dragon groaned as he sat up on the bed and shifted back into human form. His little sister Haley, the current American Dragon, had been overwhelmed by a troll attack at the Magus Bazaar, the hub of New York City's supernatural community. Naturally, she'd called in her older brother and his wife for backup, and Jake had ended up going to sleep with more than a few bruises that night. He'd slept in dragon form since it was used less energy that would be better put towards healing his bruises than sleeping in human form would.

As he finished getting dressed and walked out of the bedroom, he thought of how much his life had changed since he'd found out about his heritage on his thirteenth birthday. Falling in love with Rose. Finding out she was a member of the Huntsclan, an organization seeking genocide against all things supernatural. Rose deciding that her love for him meant more than the prejudiced views the Huntsclan had raised her to believe. Rose attempting to sacrifice herself to destroy the Huntsclan forever at the cost of her own life, immediately followed by Jake saving her life at the cost of her memories of him and the supernatural. Rose recovering her memories in time to help stop the Dark Dragon (the number one supernatural threat in the entire world) from enslaving the entire dragon race.

After the battle against the Dark Dragon, their lives had been relatively peaceful. They'd finished high school without any problems, and their relationship remained steady. By the time they graduated high school, Jake decided to become a mythology teacher (the irony being that as a mythological "creature" himself he knew for a fact that half the stuff he'd be teaching was completely bogus or wildly inaccurate), while Rose had been planning to enlist in the military, until a different, more covert government agency came along and offered her a job. Then after three years her agency got downsized in a wild public spectacle that nearly destroyed the organization.

But thankfully the agency had recovered and Rose remained employed in a job that allowed her to put the skills she learned in the Huntsclan to a more positive use. She and Jake had gotten married five years ago, and after Jake retired as the American Dragon (a position requiring him to serve as a mediator, representative, and guardian to every supernatural being in the country) when he started college, they'd finally been able to settle down. Sure, Rose's job was often dangerous, but that was something she did for a living of her own volition. Jake had to hold the position of the American Dragon by virtue of being the only Dragon in the U.S. old enough to fill the position.

Jakes thoughts snapped back to the present as he walked in to the kitchen to find Rose finishing off an egg and cheese sandwich with sausages and bacon. Something big was clearly going on at work, since she was already dressed in full combat gear with a loaded pistol in a holster on her right hip and her old Hunts-Staff leaning against the chair behind her. Though her right hand was her dominant one, she had trained her hands to get used to wielding each weapon in either hand for the purposes of duel wielding in case a situation required her to use both her gun and her staff.

"Hey," Jake said as he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek pefore sitting down across the table from her. It had become a recurring thing for them because of her irregular work schedule that whoever got up first would make breakfast for the both of them, so Jake took a bite out of his own sandwich after pulling in his chair.

"Hey yourself," Rose replied with a playful smirk. "Sorry I've got to run. My boss called me in early today. She told me it was urgent but she didn't say why."

"Don't worry about it," Jake answered with a smile. "They probably figured that it would either take too long over the phone."

"Yeah," she commented as she finished the last bite of her early breakfast. "That's what I figured too. But that reminds me. You've got that meeting at Draco tonight, so what are we going to do about dinner?" Even though Jake had retired as the American Dragon, the Dragon Council still requested his presence at important meetings when they felt his expertise would be needed for a given situation and his sister was unable to attend. At least it was the summer and he didn't have any classes to teach, so his schedule for the next month was pretty clear. And because it was a Sunday he didn't have to attend any school-related functions at work. The downside was that the meetings could take anywhere from half an hour to the entire day.

"I don't know," Jake responded after swallowing another bite of his own sandwich. "I guess we'll just text each other when we're on our way home and if I'm still at the meeting you can just grab me some take out, and I'll do the same for you if you're still at work when my meeting's over. If we both get done around the same time we can meet up and actually go out somewhere without having to worry about our schedules." Rose nodded her head in agreement before looking at the clock.

"I've got to get going, Jake," she said as she grabbed her staff and threw it into the duffel bag hanging across the back of her husband's chair before giving him a deep kiss on the lips. "I'll be back as soon as whatever's going on at headquarters blows over. I love you, dragon boy. Good luck at your meeting."

"I love you to, Rose," he called out before she walked out the door and down to the garage. After throwing her gear bag into the backseat and fired off a quick text to her boss. "On my way," she said before starting her car and driving over to the nearest S.H.I.E.L.D. Facility. The Playground, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Headquarters following the HYDRA Uprising in 2014, was all the way down in Virginia. But it was quicker to drive over to The Cocoon, the Manhattan base that served as a training facility for Agents both new and old, and fly a Quinjet over than to drive all the way down through several states to reach the facility. Whatever was going on was certainly important, otherwise Director Hill wouldn't have asked her to come in so early.

[HR][/HR]The Realm Eternal– Palace Dungeons:
"Loki," the imprisoned former prince of Asgard looked up from the book he was reading at the sound of his name to find Odin, the king of the Realm Eternal standing outside Loki's prison cell. The black-haired prince smiled. Between his status as a prisoner and Odin's duties as king, his father did not visit often, but the disgraced Frost Giant appreciated the few times Odin would visit. When Thor brought him back to Asgard after his failed invasion of Earth, Odin had wanted to have him executed, but his mother had pleaded for his life and managed to get his sentence commuted to a life sentence in prison.

For the next year and half, he'd sat in his cell, fuming at all the slights against him both real and imagined. He'd even denounced Frigga as his mother in a fit of angst-driven anger. But then, at the suggestion of his Midgardian friends, Thor had arranged what the humans called a "group therapy session" to deal with their collective emotional baggage, believing that while Loki may not be redeemed from his ways, that the family could at least try to reconcile with him, rather than simply keeping him locked in the dungeons never to be seen again.

Loki had scoffed at the notion and openly expressed his doubt that such a concept that it would even work. But to the surprise of everyone except Frigga, three hours of angry venting, guilty-driven soul-searching, tearful confessions of concealed emotions, and exhausted hugging later, Odin, Loki, and Thor had managed to make peace with all of their issues and reconciled. Though he was still as sarcastic and as much of a trickster as ever, deep down he was glad to have his father and brother back. Odin couldn't go against his own decrees and have Loki released from prison, but he at least came by his cell whenever he could to visit and discuss the latest news, occasionally asking Loki for advice on political decisions both major and minor.

"And to what do I owe the pleasure today, father?" he asked dryly. Despite the seemingly acidic comment, Odin recognized the lack of malice in the remark. He knew that dry, sarcastic comments were part of who Loki was, and had learned to accept that.

"I wanted to let you know," the Allfather replied. "That we will be having a diplomatic emissary meeting on Asgard this afternoon. Given your penchant for statesmanship, I thought that you would want to weigh in your thoughts on the discussion before the dignitaries arrive." Loki smiled. He'd come to accept that he would never be king, but he reveled in the cloak and dagger mud pit of politics. After asking Odin for news updates on the politics on the nine realms, his father commented that while Thor was born to be king, Loki, it seemed, "was born to be a statesman."

"Well," he began. "Who's coming, and when do they arrive?" This is going to be interesting, he thought to himself as Odin began to explain the purpose of the meeting and what would be discussed at the gathering. If only I could actually attend without having spears pointed at my throat, but oh well. I made my choices and now I have to live with them.
[HR][/HR]I loved watching American Dragon: Jake Long when I was a kid, and I really wanted to find a way to include the characters in the Acolytes of Chaos universe. Most of the background information I referenced came from the show, but some stuff that didn't was inspired by AD:JL Fanfic stories here on that were accepted into my headcanon of the show's mythos. Jake deciding to become a mythology teacher is a reference to the fanfic Say Yes by Fantastic Nonsense. Dragons in the AD:JL verse sleeping in dragon form was based on A Dragon's Nest by Mandaree1.

Much like in the amazing Harry Potter/Avengers crossover Child of The Storm, Loki has been quasi-redeemed offscreen. I know it seems like a cop-out to have Loki pull a heel-face turn all of a sudden, but I felt that since Thor: The Dark World doesn't happen in this universe, that having him try to take over the world again would be too repetitive. I also figured that given all the issues Loki and Odin have in their relationship and their inability to express them, I figured that a decent psychological therapist and a few family therapy sessions would be enough for the Asgardian royal family to acknowledge and move past all their emotional baggage and reconcile. I'm a sucker for fluff like that. The comment about Loki being "born to be a statesman" was even a quote from the aforementioned Child of The Storm, and I tried to take influence from the fanfic saga The S.H.I.E.L.D. Codex by KhamanV (a series of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Thor Crossovers in which Loki decides to try redeeming himself after being kicked out of Asgard after his little stunt at the end of The Dark World gets discovered by allying himself with Coulson's team. Hilarity and Feels ensue) for Loki's personality, where he's basically the exact same only with some rarely verbally expressed regrets over the things he did and a desire to atone for his past misdeeds.

Some of you are wondering why I'm focusing on characters other than the main Kingdom Hearts cast at the beginning here (but we will be seeing minor characters who appeared in other Acolytes of Chaos stories), so let me assure you that while Sora and the gang won't be appearing until Chapter 7, they're still the center of the story. I'm just using the first six chapters to establish some more of the major player in the overarching conflict.
 
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KeybladeOrder

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I will be keeping the chapter theme naming going from The Xehanort War, so once the story gets off Earth, you'll be seeing some chapter titles from The Xehanort War reused alongside some new ones for the field and battle music of new worlds.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 2: Heading to Work:
Earth – The Playground:

"Good morning, Agent Long," the portly man in charge of the security of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s facilities greeted as Rose walked into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters. "Director Hill is waiting for you in her office." Rose nodded to Eric Koenig as she walked through the corridors of the multi-level bunker that served as the nerve center of the international security agency. Because of her time in the Hunstclan, she'd never really had an idea of what she wanted to do with her life, or what she'd want to study in college. But in high school, she'd joined the Judo team to give herself an outlet for her combat skills, and had quickly won first place in many subsequent tournaments. That had been enough to catch S.H.I.E.L.D.'s interests, and Agent Daisy Johnson had come around during her senior year with a job offer that she couldn't resist.

In her first three years as a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, she had a few friends, but because of the size of the organization, she didn't get to see them all that much. But after HYDRA's corruption had been exposed by Captain America, the agency had downsized as part of their deal with the international governments to maintain their legitimacy. They'd traded a few bases to various governments and lost a few to HYDRA. Half the agents who weren't HYDRA either retired for jobs in the private sector or simply began selling their skills and knowledge to the highest bidder. But the comparatively few agents who remained loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and what it stood for became a lot closer as a result.

Now, she knew the names of almost every agent stationed at the Playground, and almost all of them knew her name. She passed by Agents Fitz-Simmons working in the lab on her way to Maria Hill's office and chuckled a little. It had been a running joke about how similar the two were that everyone referred to them as a single person. Then when they got married a year or two after Simmons' sudden trip to space, they decided to hyphenate their last names so that everyone would continue to refer to them both as such. Some people would think that weird or stupid, but Rose was used to the eccentricities of her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and thought it was a cute little in-joke.

She shook her head to focus herself back on the present as she walked into the common room to find Hunter reclining on the couch with a beer in one hand and his wife Bobbi's shoulder in the other.

"Uh oh," Rose commented with a smirk on her face. "Whatever's going on must be serious if Hunter's drinking this early in the morning." Hunter loudly protested despite Bobbi's uproarious laughter. Though Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse had gotten married again five years ago, Bobbi was still referred to as Agent Morse to avoid confusion on paperwork or in mission briefings. "I take it Hill's got all hands on deck for whatever this is?" Rose asked the couple as she stopped at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the director's office. Bobbi and Hunter nodded before Rose sighed and headed up to find out what exactly was going on.

She reached the director's office to find Maria Hill waiting there along with her second in command, Phil Coulson, looking at different documents, photographs, and what appeared to be drawings displayed on the wall-mounted monitor of the office. She greeted her superiors respectfully before taking a seat in the chair across from Director Hill's desk and asking what all this was about.

"The Elders of Lai Shi gave us a call," Coulson began. That narrows it down pretty easily, Rose thought to herself. There were only two reasons that the isolationist Inhuman community of Lai Shi would make contact with S.H.I.E.L.D. Either there had been an Inhuman who went rogue, or Raina, a former ally of HYDRA incarcerated in Lai Shi after undergoing Terrigenesis and gaining the ability to dream the future, had a vision. Given the urgency of the call, Rose was willing to bet money on the latter, and voiced her thoughts out loud.

"For the last six years," Maria Hill explained. "Raina's visions have been mostly quiet and benign. She hasn't experienced anything earth-shaking since the raid on Von Strucker's lab in Sokovia. But last night, she woke up screaming so loudly she woke up the entire compound. It took half an hour before her assigned therapist was able to calm her down enough for her to coherently explain what she'd seen in her vision." Rose nodded in understanding, though privately, she thought that if this turned out to be as serious as the director was making it out to be, then it was likely to start making waves in the magical community soon enough, and Jake would probably be able to get better details than Raina's out-of-context predictions had been in the past.

"Once she was coherent," Coulson went on, picking up immediately where Hill left off. "She described seeing a vision of a calamity far greater than anything previously seen in recorded history. She explicitly described multiple large planetoids hurtling towards Earth, the destruction of Asgard and the other realms of Norse Mythology, some group she referred to as "The Timeless Ones" and something about "darkness fighting darkness while light fights light." Rose had to blink a few times to process what she'd just heard.

"So from the sound of things," she voiced aloud. "We have multiple cataclysmic events coming up on the calendar, but we don't know where or when. And other than the large meteors and mythological Armageddon, we have no idea what exactly is supposed to happen." She never mentioned the instinctive fear in the pit of her stomach at the mention of the term "Timeless Ones." There was only one thing those words could refer to, and the thought that they were active was setting off alarm bells in her head. She had to warn Jake as soon as she left the Playground.

"The whole Darkness and light thing is pretty easy to interpret though," Coulson replied. "From the sound of things, it seems like that part refers to villains fighting villains and heroes fighting heroes. Of course, it's a prophecy. Those things are never understood until after the events have already happened. Just once, I wish that anything prophetic was actually specific on the details." Rose chuckled at her superior's joke before asking what they were going to do about it. The director pointed out that they couldn't formulate a plan until they knew more, so until then, they'd borrow an old adage from former director Nick Fury. "Until such time as the world ends, we shall act as though it intends to spin on."

But unbeknownst to Rose, both Coulson and Hill knew far more than most of the other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As members of the Society of Advanced Cultural Knowledge, a secret society for the relatively small number of people in the world who knew about the ancient Keyblade War and the impact it had had on Earth's history. Daisy, Bobbi, Hunter, the Fitz-Simmons, and the absent agent Alphonso Mackenzie were members of this little club, started by eccentric millionaire Preston Whitmore after his company's covert expedition to the presumably (but in fact alive and thriving) lost city of Atlantis.

Both leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. kept this information from most of the lower-ranked agents. Aliens and Norse gods had been hard enough for the general public and the agency to accept. Add in the reveal of the Keyblade and all the insanity that came with it, and everyone in the S.A.C.K. agreed that the world wouldn't be ready for that knowledge to be made public for a while yet. Agent Mackenzie (referred to as Mack by his friends for short) was currently at a S.A.C.K. meeting being held to discuss the meaning and ramifications of Raina's vision and what it would mean for the future of their society and the worlds.

Thanks to Ludor, Zack, Isa, and Xiruk, they were able to speculate that the planetoids Raina talked about after her vision referred to the scattered fragments of the original world returning home after eight thousand years. The potential destruction of Asgard didn't warrant much discussion, both because it was a common subject of Norse Mythology, and because worlds being destroyed had been done before by the Heartless and was therefore nowhere near as impactful as the restoration of the original world. Raina's comments about Darkness and Light were more ominous.

While the idea of the forces of evil fighting each other for power would ordinarily be cause for rejoicing, the part about Light vs. Light implied the ranks of the Guardians of Light (as Xehanort had informally dubbed the group of Keyblade Wielders who ultimately slew him) would fracture and fight each other more than they fought evil. The "Timeless Ones" on the other hand, were a complete and total enigma. Nowhere in their century of existence had the Society ever encountered the term in the course of their research. They had a theory, but without any hard evidence, they had nothing more than speculation to go on. Raina's little prophecy had thrown a box full of metaphorical jigsaw puzzle pieces into the air, and now everyone was scrambling to figure out how they all fit together.
[HR][/HR]Earth – The Isle of Draco:

It was, Jake Long reflected, the first time he'd managed to ride the enchanted elevator to the hidden island of Draco without losing his breakfast all over the grass. With the increasing technology level of the mundane world, dragons were no longer allowed to travel to Draco by air for fear of accidentally exposing both the existence of the magical world and the location of the headquarters of the Dragon Order. So everyone had been forced to take the Enchanted Elevators (which had been moved to more secure locations to avoid detection), an unpleasant method of transportation that left the rider's stomach queasy and often resulted in copious amounts of vomit being deposited on the grass outside the castle on Draco that served as a meeting chamber and place of ceremony for Dragons all over the world.

Jake hadn't come to Draco in over six months, and he rarely cared to. His relationship with the Dragon Council had always been strained. Many of them, particularly Councilor Kukulkhan, disapproved of his relationship with Rose, mainly because they were constantly suspicious of her past as a former slayer. Most of the magical world was skeptical of the idea of a former member of the Huntsclan could ever stop being a slayer, but those living in New York had been won over by all the times she'd helped him in his duties as the American Dragon.

But he'd never cared what anyone else thought about his relationship with Rose. He loved her no matter what, and the fact that she chose her love for him over her loyalty to the Hunstclan was proof enough for him. He'd never reveal the fact that in a past incarnation she'd actually founded the Huntsclan, though. That would only worsen public opinion of her and was her secret to share anyway. And she had no intention of telling anyone outside their families the truth about her past as an Unchained.

He shook his head to clear his thoughts as he marched into the Council chamber for the meeting he'd been summoned for. The rest of the Dragon Council was already there, as were a number of magical creatures of varying species from Centaurs to pixies. He was about to ask someone what was going on when Councilor Andam spoke.

"Good morning everyone," the Norwegian Dragon greeted. "Thank you all for coming. You have each been selected to represent the major representatives of the magical world in a diplomatic missions to Asgard in a few hours." This got a buzz of excitement from everyone in the room, and Jake's interest piqued. They're actually sending me to Asgard? He questioned with amusement. Even though he'd matured since middle school and his early days as the magical protector of the United States, he still had a tendency to accidentally disrespect authority figures without meaning to. So he was surprised that the council had actually picked him to represent the entire dragon race.

Despite his internal confusion, he listened as Councilor Andam continued by explaining the purpose of the mission. With Asgar becoming more active in the universe again, it was time for them to renew their treaty with the "Realm Eternal" and so the diplomats were being sent to Asgard to negotiate the finer details of the treaty. It wasn't anything major, just an agreement that Thor, Sif, and any Asgardians who traveled to Earth would refrain from revealing the existence of the supernatural community to the rest of the world. If the magical world was to ever be exposed (and given the continued prominence of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jake was certain that it was only a matter of time), they wanted it to be on their terms.

After Andam finished giving everyone chosen a refresher course in how to interact with Asgardians, Jake discreetly walked up to the Councilors' table to ask why he had been chose instead of his sister. Andam's answer surprised him.

"Mr. Long," the older dragon answered. "You may be as brash and impulsive and unintentionally disrespectful towards authority as you were when you were younger, but your heart is ultimately in the right place. And your Sister already has enough on her plate with her own duties as the American Dragon without having to take a day off for this meeting. But the reason I really recommended you is because you know how to see both sides of a situation. You can look passed deeply held prejudices and recognize when something is wrong."

The councilor's sterling recommendation made Jake grin. Andam was one of the few dragons besides his grandfather to be accepting of his relationship with and subsequent marriage to Rose. He thanked the Norwegian Dragon for his approval and recommendation, then ran to catch up with the rest of the delegation, who had already started walking out of the palace towards the section of the lawn that had been set aside for the Bifrost to transport them all to Asgard. Showtime, he thought to himself.
[HR][/HR]It was a little vague and unclear in Ripple Effects, but Raina's still alive in this universe, so the Inhumans have been using her powers of prophecy to their advantage.

And yeah, Jake and bunch of magical diplomats are heading to Asgard. Will Jake cause an interplanetary incident? Will the meeting go well? Will there be some villainous faction launching an attack on Asgard only for a smaller team to sneak in and steal something critical to the plot from the palace vaults? Time will tell. ;)
 

KeybladeOrder

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This chapter's a little shorter than the last two. Sorry about that, but that's just how it ended up being written. Next chapter, we're going to finally get to a new world. That's right readers, we're going to Asgard.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 3: Secret Meetings:
Earth – Whitmore Mansion:

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Alphonzo Mackenzie grumbled about the early morning meeting as he stepped into the old-fashioned elevator inside the mansion of the deceased billionaire Preston Whitmore. As much as he loved being part of the Society for Advanced Cultural Knowledge, he hated the unpredictability of meeting times. Nevertheless, the Society's dedication to its purpose ensured that nobody on Earth need fear the Heartless or Organization XIII. The S.A.C.K. had been protecting the people of Earth since 1912 and would only stop when the scattered fragments of the world were finally brought back together. Which, if Raina's prophetic dreams were any indication, would be happening within the next few years.

Although the Atlantean Crystal necklaces could extend one's life by centuries, Preston Whitmore decided not to extend his life too long, feeling that he'd lived a full enough life that he didn't need to worry about extending it. Cookie Farnsworth and Wilhelmina Packard, the cook and communications officer on Whitemore's original expedition to Atlantis, respectively, had felt the same way, and both had passed away during World War II. When he died, Mr. Whitmore left control of the company, and by extension, leadership of the Society, to Joshua Sweet, the expedition's medical officer.

Their research into the lore and legends of the Keyblade War had turned up several surprising results, like the discovery of the Reaper's Game, a form of the afterlife where the spirits of the dead competed for a second chance at life. They'd recruited a few members that way, such as Ludor, Isa, and Xiruk, former members of Xehanort's Organization seeking to atone for their actions, or Zack Fair, the warrior from ancient Greece who'd been murdered by the mercenary Sephiroth.

The Society had members all over the world. Jiaying, the leader of the Inhuman village of Lai Shi, had been a crucial member and enabled the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents who were part of the society to prepare for the day when HYDRA's existence was finally exposed. The Pelekai family in Hawaii gave them a network of contacts in the intergalactic community. Lady Sif's membership enabled them to keep up to date on news related to Asgard and the other mythological realms. They had contacts in the magical world as well, but since the supernatural community was just as secretive as the Inhumans were, the S.A.C.K. couldn't overtly act on the intelligence their contacts gave them.

Atlantis had undergone exponential population growth in the last six years, when the island semi-mysteriously expanded. One minute, the city was the same plateau of patched up ruins it was before. Next, there was a flash of light, and then, Atlantis had been instantaneously restored to its pre-cataclism state. Everyone in S.A.C.K. figured that it probably had something to with the Keyblade Wielders setting the restoration of the world in motion, but they needed to actually talk to one for confirmation. Mack's thoughts returned to the present as the elevator reached the bottom level of the Society's headquarters and he stepped out.

"Morning Mack," greeted a black-haired man in his mid-thirties with a sword strapped to his back as the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent walked down the corridor towards the briefing room.

"Morning Zack," Mack called back as he gave the resurrected hero a high five. Zack Fair had lived in ancient Greece alongside the mythical hero Hercules (and was able to clarify that most of the myths about him were either made up or completely exaggerated), and had been a surrogate brother figure to one Cloud Strife, a survivor of The Fall (the cataclysmic destruction of Radiant Garden at the combined hands of Xehanort and Maleficent). But then two years after that, he'd been murdered by Sephiroth, the result of an experiment to remove the darkness in a person's heart that Cloud had been the guinea pig for.

Zack had spent a few centuries in Elysium (the portion of the afterlife that most people referred to as Heaven), but eventually got bored and was offered a place in the Reaper's Game for a second chance to be a hero. Now he and the three ex-Organization Members were sharing an apartment in Hawaii. Mack had been assigned to help the other man adjust to the modern world, and had quickly ended up bonding with the overenthusiastic "puppy" as Zack's adopted father back in Ancient Greece liked to call him. Forcing his reminiscing out of his head, Mack took a deep breath before stepping into the briefing room.

He walked into the room to find the Society's original founders, Lady Sif, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Cobra Bubbles, Ludor, Xiruk, and Isa. Since Lady Sif was here, Mack was able to guess pretty quickly what this was about. The magical community was sending a delegation to Asgard to renew a treaty between the supernatural community and the Nordic realm regarding the former's desire for secrecy. Sif quickly confirmed his hunch and explained that she had received permission from Odin (who knew about the lore of the Keyblade but was not a formal member of the Society) to bring a team of S.A.C.K. members to Asgard as extra security in the event that someone such as Maleficent attempted to use the meeting as the opportunity to break into the palace and steal any of the powerful artifacts stored in Odin's vault.

The self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" had been presumed dead by the Organization shortly before Ludor, Isa, and Xiruk had died, but given the track record of people who were presumed K.I.A. only to come back later (Akela Amador, Mike Peterson, Captain America, and even Coulson himself immediately sprang to mind), the S.A.C.K. wanted to be prepared for anything. They knew from Loki (who contributed information from his cell on Asgard) that Maleficent wanted the Infinity Stones in addition to galactic conquest. And since the Tesseract was on Asgard, the Society refused to take any chances. So an hour later, Sif, Zack, Stich, Mack, Ludor, Isa, and Xiruk were transported to an open field in the middle of nowhere and far away from any civilization where they took the Bifrost up to Asgard.
[HR][/HR]The Kiln – Conference Room:

"There are three objectives to this mission," Maleficent explained to the three men seated across the conference table from her. "The first two are simple. By attacking in the open again, we'll be telegraphing my survival to the rest of the universe, announcing to all the known worlds that I have returned. The second objective is to make the city's defenders focus on your group while the second strike team completes the third objective. Do I make myself clear?" The three men in front of her nodded in agreement. Good, she thought to herself. Now I just need to find a way of giving them what they want so I can keep them working for me. Empty promises will not hold their loyalty for long. We need their help and we need to deliver on our promises in order to keep it.

"And in return," the youngest of the three men replied, a warning tone in voice. "You'll help us find what we're looking for so that we can put our family back together." It was a demand, not a question or a request, and Maleficent knew it. On the one hand, she was unconcerned with them attempting to fight her. She was powerful enough that these children were nothing compared to her. But if they achieve their goal, Maleficent thought with a rare frightened shudder. Not even I can hope to last long in the face of their true goal. She needed to figure out a way to pacify them in a way that didn't involve her being killed for real this time.

After the three new recruits had been dismissed to prepare for their mission, Maleficent called in her council of advisers to discuss the loyalty of the new recruits. A few minutes later, Malekith the Accursed, Cruella De Vil, the Red Skull, and Captain Hook were seated around the table. Her husband, Hades, was busy putting their five year old daughter Lilith to bed. Meanwhile, the remaining members of her inner circle were busy preparing for their own assignments.

"They will betray us as soon as they have what they want," Malekith spat in disgust. The dark elf leader had spent the years between the rise of Organization XIII and Xehanort's demise scouting the universe for potential new allies for Maleficent. His contributions to the re-forged Hellfire Club were able to compensate for the loses suffered at the tail end of what the so-called "Daybreak Coalition" was now calling "The Xehanort War". Now, after six years of preparations and rebuilding, they were ready to step out of the shadows and begin their campaign of conquest anew.

"Obviously," Johan Schmidt, the infamous (on Earth at least) Red Skull, commented. "But we can prolong what they want by waiting to give it to them until after we have all six Infinity Stones. Then we can just kill all three of them easily in one strike." Everyone nodded their heads in agreement as Hades walked into the room and took his seat next to his wife. With the discussion on what to do with their new recruits once they'd outlived their usefulness ended, the conversation turned towards the upcoming offensive they had planned for later that day. Within a matter of hours, the Hellfire Club would make its presence known, and those who knew what was good for them would be trembling in fear.
[HR][/HR]Xiruk is the Riku Replica for those who didn't figure it out. I got the idea for the name from the amazing KH fanfic series Anitpode, which is an AU where Riku gets the Keyblade like he was supposed to instead of Sora like in canon, and examines the butterfly effect of that, and the Riku Replica is still alive in that version, and when he naturally finds out the truth about himself, he eventually decides to find his own name, and ends up borrowing the Organization's naming scheme.

The bit about Zack telling S.A.C.K. that a lot of Greek mythology was inaccurate is a nod to the inaccuracy of Disney's Hercules movie. Since the Disney version is what actually happened in this universe, I thought having the real-world mythology being the inaccurate one in this universe would be a fun little in-joke.

The puppy comment is a reference to Angeal Hewley, Zack's mentor in the Final Fantasy 7 prequel Crisis Core. I wanted to include some more FF7 characters while respecting the character connections without contradicting previously established details of the KH backstories for the characters who've already appeared. I thought having Angeal be Zack's surrogate father in Olympus Coliseum would be a nice nod to Crisis Core.

Yeah, I decided to have the heroes use The Xehanort War as the in-universe term for the battles against Xehanort's forces. I mean, the FF7 universe refers to everything that happened with Sephiroth in the original game as the Jenova War, so I thought, why not do the same thing for the KH universe? That deision has nothing to do with my choice of title for my KH3 fanfic though. I just picked TXW because I wanted something that sounded both cool and unique.
 

KeybladeOrder

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Another shorter chapter this time. I'll try to have the next one longer, but just be prepared for some chapters to just be short compared to the others.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 4: The Realm Eternal:
The Realm Eternal – Bifrost Gate:

"Welcome to Asgard," greeted Heimdall, gatekeeper of the Bifrost, as the magical delegation emerged from the swirling portal of Asgard's famous rainbow bridge into the Bifrost Gate that served as the midpoint between the flat portion of the bridge leading back to Asgard and the cylindrical half used to transport people and objects across the Nine Realms. Jake Long and the rest of the delegation from Earth dizzily walked forward as they tried to regain their balance after the disorienting experience of traveling by Bifrost. Heimdall informed them that Odin was waiting for them in the throne room, and a squad of guards arrived to escort them all to the palace.

The journey across the bridge into the city was remarkably pleasant. While the guards rode on horseback, Jake and the other fliers in the group took the opportunity to stretch their wings and fly above the bridge while some of the smaller members of the delegation rode on the back of the Centaur. It took almost half an hour to reach the palace, but thankfully they were provided with a banquet full of food upon their arrival so they could refresh themselves before the meeting. Looks like Rose'll be getting home first, Jake thought to himself with a chuckle. Regrettably, his cell phone didn't get coverage all the way in Asgard. He'd have to figure out how to send his wife a message that he'd be out really late.

Once everyone finished eating, they were lead from the banquet hall to the throne room. There, they all came face to face with the imposing and intimidating figure of Odin Borson, the Allfather, Forst Slayer, One-Eyed Warrior, and King of Asgard. The aging king held a variety of impressive titles and sobriquets in the magical community, and most of the delegation approached the throne with what would almost be called reverence. Jake however, thought everyone else in the group was going overboard. Despite Thor's repeated insistence to the media that the people of Asgard were not gods, the magical community had a tendency to ignore that in favor of ancient traditions going back thousands of years.

Sure the young dragon was respectful and followed protocol, Odin was a king for crying out loud! But he wasn't going to trip over himself trying to kiss up to the guy like some people in the party were. Odin smiled in a way that reminded Jake of his grandfather when Jake simply greeted him with polite words and a small bow. Although the ancient king's face was impassive, Jake could tell from the look in his eyes that Odin was clearly thinking Finally, a mortal who doesn't fall over themselves genuflecting at the mere sight of me. Odin may be a little out of touch with the times according to what Jake had heard, but he seemed like a pretty cool guy beneath his grisly exterior.

The meeting went by pretty smoothly. Odin was perfectly understanding of the magical community's desire to remain secret. After all, even after nine years of The Avengers operating in public, there were still a few prominent anti-superhuman hate groups. The magical community didn't want a new Huntsclan or government persecution, and the people of Asgard could accept that. The end result of the treaty was that Odin would pass a law forbidding any visitors to Midgard from mentioning Earth's supernatural population. In return, the magical community would try to deal with any mythological monsters that came to Earth as long as it was away from the public eye. The meeting adjourned, and Thor led the group back to the banquet hall two hours later for some light refreshments before the trip back to the Bifrost. Jake was just about to sit down when the castle walls shook.

"Attention, people of Asgard" boomed a voice that every one of the magical diplomats recognized. Oh great, Jake thought to himself. This guy again. Just when I thought this meeting might actually go by without anything crazy going on. "I am Eli Panderas," boomed the voice of the megalomaniacal sorcerer who had been a constant member of Jake's old rogues' gallery back before the now former American Dragon's retirement. "And I intend to claim your realm as my own!" Here we go again, Jake groaned inwardly as he raced outside with Thor and the royal guards to stop the megalomaniacal wizard.
[HR][/HR]Unknown World – Unknown Location:

"Forgive me for asking, Madame N.I.," the young man began, slightly nervous out of fear for disrespecting his superior. "But why do we stand by and do nothing while those fiends lay siege to Asgard? Our duty is to protect the Realm of Light and destroy the Darkness." N.I. sighed. Every member of the legion had known each other for years now, but many of them often forgot the subtleties of battle strategy and war tactics. Tearing herself away from the window of her office, she turned around to face the young Legionnaire.

"Because, Legionnaire Martin," she replied. "The three most important rules of The Legion when engaging an enemy are to act smoothly, swiftly, and secretly. The three S's. If our existence is exposed, the common people would label us villains for daring to disrupt their precious status quo, and the false heroes would view us as threats to their own power. Therefore, every move we make must be carefully chosen and calculated to be pulled off quickly, without incident, and with the least chance of revealing ourselves to the public."

"An attack on the false gods of Ygdrasil, though cathartic and just, would be premature at this point. We do not have the necessary resources to launch an assault on Asgard. Therefore, we must wait and listen for the ideal time to strike. The heathens laying siege to the blasphemously named "Realm Eternal" will eventually retrieve the object we seek, and once they are out of reach of the other false defenders of light, we will destroy them and take the Tesseract ourselves. A Win-Win scenario that will result in the fewest lives lost and the lowest risk of exposure. Wouldn't you agree?"

The Legionnaire nodded his head and agreement and asked forgiveness for being foolish. N.I. told him that his innocent question was nothing to be ashamed of, and that he was hardly the first to ask such questions. Once he'd been dismissed from delivering the news report of the attack on Asgard, she returned to gazing out the window of the facility's second floor (as opposed to the five subterranean levels in the facility) at the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. She'd been staying at the Legion's Hawaiian base for the past week overseeing preparations for the next stage of The Plan.

Sighing in frustration, she walked over to her desk and pressed a button on her communicator signaling for the other members of the High Council to report to her office immediately. They hadn't planned on putting Phase Two into action for another year, but the attack on Asgard was a clear sign that they needed to accelerate their plans. The forces of Darkness were going after the Infinity Stones. And the Legion needed to take the lead now while they still had the opportunity to do so. May Kingdom Hearts preserve us all if we fail, N.I. thought to herself as she sat down in her chair and waited for the High Praetors to arrive. Otherwise, the worlds are doomed.
[HR][/HR]I've heard a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe fanfiction give Asgard the nickname, "The Realm Eternal", and I thought it sounded like a fitting World name for the place in a Kingdom Hearts story. So I took the name and ran with it. Like in the Xehanort War, the story will rotate party POV's every world. So the story will alternate between what's going on in the Kingdom Hearts corner of space, and what's happening on Earth. There is a reason for that though, the two sides of the story aren't going to be completely disconnected from each other for the entire fic.

Before anyone starts spamming the reviews and my PM inbox with questions about which worlds I'm going to include and "can you include a world for _?" requests, let me just clear a few things up, because I've gotten such reviews and PMs before and I want to make my intentions clear.

1. There will be no Star Wars in any of the Acolytes of Chaos stories.
2. Roughly 40% of the Disney worlds in this story are returning.
3. If it's not something under the Disney umbrella, it's not going to be in here.

Hopefully that clears everything up. Enjoy.
 
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KeybladeOrder

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Updated Chapters 1 and 4 to account for forgetting to properly label locations according to the world names I came up with. My mistake and sorry for any confusion that my little blunder may have caused.

So yeah, The Legion has a base on Earth. The bases The Legion uses are still going to be referred to as "Unknown World – Unknown Location" because they have multiple bases and with a few obvious exceptions, it's supposed to be vague which world they're actually on and which base they're using. As far as you know, they could be in the heart of New York City or under the frozen mountains of Arendelle.

Another short chapter this time folks, but you know how my previous stories go. Once the main plot kicks off, the chapters gradually get longer and longer.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 5: Asgard:
The Realm Eternal – Castle Courtyard:

Who are these guys? Jake wondered to himself as he dodged a gunshot fired by one of the three strange men working for Pandarus. Normally, the billionaire wizard usually worked alone, and if he had back up, it was usually in the form of hired goons who worked for his company. These guys were clearly something else. They looked completely human, but fought like nothing Jake had ever seen before. Even Thor's friend Fandral was having trouble dealing with just one of them. And aside from those three, Pandarus' only backup was a legion of small monsters with black skin and beady yellow eyes.

Fortunately, the monsters were extremely weak, and a few fireballs and some sword swings were all it took to dispatch them. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done, since there were a lot of them. Fortunately, because of how quickly Asgard's warriors raced into battle, the tide was quickly beginning to turn. As the Einherjar arrived and began focusing on the shadowy monsters, Thor and his friends were able to take over dealing with the three super powered men. Since Jake had fought Pandarus before, the task of dispatching the rogue wizard fell to him.

"I don't get it, Pandarus," Jake taunted as he and the egomaniacal billionaire flew above the rainbow bridge of the Bifrost. He was trying to appeal to the sorcerer's ego to trick him into accidentally revealing his plans. "Conquering worlds isn't really your style. I bet you're just using this as a distraction for your real motives. So what's your real plan? No, wait. Let me guess. You're trying to steal the Bifrost tech and get a patent on it so you can boost your fortune." Pandarus only laughed maniacally. Jake smirked inwardly. He knew he had the guy now. Hook, line, and sinker.

"Your pathetic inability to keep up with my brilliant mind is amusing," Pandarus chuckled as he fired off a lightning spell. "I made a deal with a like-minded business associate. I keep the armies of Asgard away from the dungeons, and in return, I get the opportunity to plunder the greatest vault of magical treasures in the universe." Everyone's eyes widened in horror as the implications of what the wizard had just said hit them all at once like the shockwave of a bomb going off. Before he could detain Pandarus, the sorcerer clutched his chest as he fell a hundred feet down to the surface of the bridge with a sickening splat.

"Useless idiot," one of the men commented as he blew away the smoke from one of his guns. Blood pooled around Pandarus' disgusting-looking corpse. "I don't know why She even bothered recruiting him if he was just going to blab all of our plans to the enemy."

"It was precisely because he was an expendable weakling, brother," the man with the Tazer gauntlet remarked. "After all, we cannot afford to lose any of our more valuable allies at such a critical stage." While the three men conversed with each other, the Warriors Three engaged the trio while the Einherjar finished off the monsters. Realizing that whoever Pandarus' benefactor was intended to free Loki from prison for some unknown person, Sif, Thor, and Jake made a beeline for the palace dungeons as quickly as they could to protect the disgraced prince and figure out what it was that they wanted with Loki.[HR][/HR]The Realm Eternal – Palace Dungeons:

As the alarm bells began to ring, Loki immediately sensed something was wrong. Not because the bells were ringing, (although many Asgardians arrogantly questioned who would date be stupid enough to launch an attack against their realm), but because of the familiar scent he detected in the hallways leading towards the dungeon. As soon as he detected the alien smell of a Corridor of Darkness opening in the halls of Asgard, he knew that the attack outside was merely a diversion for a smaller team to infiltrate the castle. Loki had his suspicions though. Not wanting anything to happen without leaving his family an explanation, he quickly scribbled out a message to Odin and tucked it under the cushion of his chair just as one of the palace guards walked into the room.

Loki's eyes narrowed in both concern and curiosity. He could tell the guard was an imposter, but the illusion or transformation used to disguise his true form was so thorough that not even he could detect who was really under the mask. Since most of the guards had been called out of the dungeon to help repel the attack, the dungeon was guarded only by a skeleton crew to prevent any scout teams from staging a jailbreak. Loki knew from the moment the false guard stepped into the room that the attack was a diversion to draw the army away from the dungeons so that the infiltrator could rescue him.

To be fair, the impostor could have been attempting to rescue anyone in the dungeons, but given that every other prisoner in the dungeon was part of a band of marauders who had harassed the Nine Realms after his failed attack on Jotunheim all those years ago. Nobody in the Nine Realms really cared about them, and from Odin's reports, the friends and allies of the pillaging brutes didn't have enough resources even collectively to pull off something of this magnitude. That meant that the odds were extremely high that he was their objective.

Loki cycled through a mental lists of everyone he knew who would want him dead. Nobody on Midgard had the technology to kill him, never mind the means to reach Asgard. Thanos had been dead for seven years, mysteriously assassinated, his head cut off and his body delivered to the galactic capital of Turo on a silver platter. The Frost Giants still resented his murder of Laufey, but give what Odin and Thor had told them of the state of their civilization, he doubted any of them had developed the skill necessary or even the need to disguise themselves as a guard, even if they could muster up the anger and hatred necessary to open a Dark Corridor. So if it wasn't one of his many enemies, it was someone he had long since believed abandoned him.

All of this passed through his head in an instant as he watched the false guard slit the real one's throat. He frowned. He'd always liked that guard. One of the few people he'd always felt he could say was his friend and his alone. Despite the fact that the Warriors Three had managed to forgive him, he still saw them as Thor's friends first and his second. The exception to that was Sif, who he'd fallen into a bit of a rapport with over the last nine years. Had he not been confined to a prison cell for the rest of his life, Loki probably would have worked up the courage to confess the romantic feelings he'd developed towards her.

Pushing those thoughts aside, he kept his expression neutral and dull as he watched the impostor move through the dungeon towards his cell. It was time to see if his suspicions were correct. As the guard approached, his form shifted, and the disguise fell away. The straight backed Asgardian warrior was smoothly replaced by a familiar looking man with dark eyes, black hair, and black clothing. As the man approached Loki's cell, another Corridor opened and out stepped a blue-skinned Luphomoid female with a cybernetic arm whom the Asgardian prince had never met before.

The alien woman was accompanied by troops in black combat gear with an insignia on it that Loki had heard described by Thor (his brother had also attempted to draw it, but Thor was not the artistic type, and every attempt at asking one of his friends or the guards to draw it ended in failure), but had yet to see in person. The skull and tentacles logo of HYDRA. That threw a wrinkle into his suspicions of who wanted to break him out, and he raised an eyebrow in response as the unarmored man stopped in front of his cell. There was something vaguely bird-like about the man's physical features, but it wasn't until the man opened his mouth and spoke the words that confirmed Loki's theory that the answer clicked in the prince's mind.

"Maleficent sends her regards," Diablo greeted with an insidious grin.
[HR][/HR]Yep, Maleficent's busting Loki out of prison, but the question is, will she tempt him towards the Dark Side once more, or will he stay and fight off the attack. Or will he just be Loki and just do something completely unexpected? Tune in next chapter to find out. Anyway, time for author's notes on my thought process.

Loki having a crush on Sif is a shout out to Child of The Storm by Numbus Llewelyn. Basic outline of that amazing crossover is that James Potter (Harry Potter's dad for those who've never read the books) was actually Thor in a mortal body as a Beta Test version of what Odin did to him in the movie. Or for those who have read the Thor comics and know that in them Thor can shapeshift into his split personality mortal alter-ego Donald Blake, same basic principle, just replace Donald Blake with Harry's dad. Anyway in this fic, after Voldemort killed his mortal body, Odin had to wipe Thor's memories to keep him from going insane with grief, and thirteen years later, a redeemed Loki restores his memories in time to save Harry from a Dementor attack. The series examines the butterfly effect from there. To go into too much detail about the story would spoil too much, but it's full of awesome moments, hilarious comedy, moments that make you go "awwww," and nightmare-inducing monsters. Currently at 78 chapters and just waiting on the epilogue with a grand current total of 788,317 words. Enjoy.

Final Fantasy savvy readers can probably guess who the three men are. Originally, I wasn't going to include them, but after a round of brainstorming to try and add a few extra subplots where I felt that the story line was a little too bare-bones, and I decided to just throw them in there. But their backstory is going to be significantly different in this universe, even more so that the person they're connected to. ;)
 

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Chapter 6: Invasion of Asgard:
The Realm Eternal – Odin's Vault:

Loki looked down at the corpses of the Einherjar the former daughter of Thanos had just killed and fought the urge to retch. It wasn't that the sight of blood disgusted him, but he knew that as soon as the people of Asgard found out that he'd been broken out of prison, they immediately jump to the conclusion that he'd betrayed them once more. He hoped that his family would have more faith in him, but he'd discreetly left them a note in his cell explaining what he planned to do. Hopefully they believed him.

He'd given up his dreams of ruling years ago, but clearly Maleficent needed his help for something, or she wouldn't have gone to the trouble of breaking him out in the first place. So when Diablo had come to free him from his cell, he saw an opportunity. Although he'd reconciled with his family, the one thing he still wanted was the freedom to travel again. Since Maleficent needed him for a purpose that he had a sneaking suspicion of, he would play along with the rescue attempt. Then, once they were far enough away from Asgard, he would double cross the entire Hellfire Club and take them down in one strike.

From there, he'd drag them all back to Asgard and present them to his father as an offering in the hopes of bartering his release from his prison sentence. He'd explained his plan in the letter, but deep down he was afraid. Under ordinary circumstances, he'd never pull off a gamble this risky unless he could predict the pieces in play. Here though, he had no way of prediction how his letter would be received. One of the Einherjar could find it and destroy it before Odin and Thor could read it. Or his family could read the note and not believe it. Or nobody might find his message at all. If nobody read the note, he was throwing his relationship with his family away for a gamble that may not even work. His only option was to go with it and hope for the best.

Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he followed Diablo and Nebula into the vault. The HYDRA agents had retreated back through the Corridor of Darkness so that the trio could move through the halls of Asgard without attracting attention. Loki inwardly grimmanced as his theories of what Maleficent was after were confirmed while he followed his "rescuers" up the stairs towards the pedestal on which the Tesseract now sat. Nebula and Diablo stood to either side of the cube, and Loki immediately understood that due to his knowledge of the workings of Asgardian technology, he was expected to get them out of there.

Clever, Loki thought to himself after a brief moment of hesitation. If I betray your infiltration team and summon my father, they'll know and will drag me back to you for punishment. You expect me to prove my loyalty by bringing the rescue team home. Maleficent, my dear, you haven't lost your touch. He quickly crouched down and used his magic to remove the covering off the mechanism that kept the Tesseract's glass container affixed to the mechanical pedestal. A quick glance at the device's inner workings and he instantly understood how it worked. A few pulled wires and cancelled spells and the Tesseract's cynlindrical container was free of its metallic prison.

Diablo and Nebula quickly grabbed one handle while Loki's free hand grabbed the other. The transfigured bird-man turned the handle, and the three figured departed Asgard. An instant later, they reappeared lightyears away from the Realm Eternal, in a facility that Loki had heard rumors of but never actually gotten to see for himself. His "rescuers" led him out of the small antechamber they'd arrived in and through the long winding hallways of the space station. A confusing series of turns later, and they left him in a conference room sitting across the table from someone he thought he'd never see again. He wanted to get the conversation over with, but right now he had only one thing to say to Maleficent.

"Where in Hel have you been for the last nine years?"
[HR][/HR]The Realm Eternal – Palace Dungeons:
Thor was frantic as he raced into the dungeons to find the Einherjar guarding the prison dead and his brother's cell open. No, he pleaded mentally as he raced into the now open jail cell. Don't do this, Loki, he pleaded mentally, even though he knew his brother would never be able to hear. Don't throw away your family for another chance at conquest. The prince of Asgard tore through the cell, leaving no stone unturned. Despite his fears, Thor knew Loki too well to think that after all the time and effort the family had put into reconciling, that his brother wouldn't at least offer his family an explanation for his sudden disappearance. He was proven right when he found a folded piece of paper tucked under the cushion of Loki's chair. Thor quickly pulled it out and began to read

"Brother,

If you're reading this then whoever is attacking Asgard has used the outward assault to distract the guards long enough for some old friends of mine to sneak in and free me from my cell. I know that given how hard you fought to reconcile our family that you'll be the first one to come running to the dungeons when you figure out why they're here. I also know what you're thinking, that I could have killed my would-be rescuers or led them towards the guard. But the Hellfire Club is not so easily deceived. They are a cabal of conquerors who I ran into after I fell from the Bifrost but before I ended up in the clutches of Thanos, and their one goal is the conquest of reality itself.
To that end, they seek the Infinity Stones. I never mentioned them before because I'd bitterly felt that they'd abandoned me to prison and did not wish to think about them. Anyway, getting back on topic. They came for me and will likely bring me along as they go after the Tesseract. My only option is to play along for now because while Asgardians are difficult to kill by means other than our own weapons, Maleficent is one of the few beings in the universe with the time, resources, and patience to give it her best shot. If I openly betray her she will find ways to make me suffer that will make me beg for the sweet embrace of death.
I know that Father cannot commute my prison sentence, but I intend to deliver him the entire Club on a silver platter in the hopes he may be able to find a loophole that will enable him to make an exception. I miss the sky, Thor. I'll find a way to pass on another message as soon as I can. Tell our parents of what I intend to do. If you and our parents never hear from me again, and Maleficent figures out my change of allegiances, know that I love you all.

-Loki."

Thor's brow furrowed in worry as he examined the letter once more. It was Loki's handwriting, and his mother was able to verify that it was not a forgery. This was unlike Loki. Even after reconciling with his family, Loki never told the whole truth about anything. To do so went against his nature as a trickster and god of mischief. The fact that he was doing it now (confirmed by Odin's foresight and the fact that Loki was not masking himself from Heimdall's all-seeing gaze) meant that this "Hellfire Club" truly terrified him. And the thought of a malicious army that even Loki was afraid of made Thor think of a phase he'd never said before but had heard Tony Stark use multiple times We're screwed.
He'd spoken to his parents about going after Loki to bring him home. Odin refused to allow Thor to leave and told him to have faith that his brother would succeed in his gamble and come home safely. When Thor asked the Allfather how he could be so calm, Odin admitted that he was as far from calm as Midgard was from the sun.

"But as king I must at least pretend to be calm and fearless in the face of this threat for the sake of our people's morale," the ruler of Asgard explained. "Inside, I fear for your brother's safety as much as you do. But while Loki is not masking his presence, this "Hellfire Club" has found a way to shield their operations from Heimdalls gaze, and so once your brother left Asgard the gatekeeper could no longer see him. We have no way of tracking these villains' movements, and so we must trust your brother's judgement and wait until we receive new information that we can act upon."

Thor calmly accepted the explanation then, and bid his parents farewell as he made his way out of the castle. He needed to bring the Avengers up to speed on what had happened. The mortal sorcerer's use of an army of Shadows troubled the Asgardian prince. Heartless hadn't been seen in the Nine Realms in almost a century, and the fact that the demons of Darkness were active again was an alarming revelation. He reached a balcony and was just about to take off towards the Bifrost when Sif came running up behind him. Having assumed that she'd returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. to inform them of the break-out, Thor greeted her with a confused "hello."

"When you return to Midgard," she began. "Do not speak of the Heartless to the rest of the Avengers or the S.H.I.E.L.D. There are some things that the mortals are not ready to know about the Keyblade War just yet. You may discuss them with the Son of Coul, but no one else. He is part of a secret society of humans who research the secrets of the Keyblade to prepare for the day when the Heartless come again." Thor disliked keeping secrets from his friends, but nevertheless agreed to omit the presence of the Heartless from his retelling of events.

When Thor flew off to the Bifrost, Sif retreated towards her chambers, where the members of the S.A.C.K. she'd brought with her had gathered. Before their return to the Society headquarters, they needed to go over the results of today's test. When the Society of Advanced Cultural Knowledge was first formed, the founders knew that Keyblade Wielders would not always be there to protect them. So with the aid of Atlantean technology, they had begun designing energy weapons capabale of destroying Heartless. Thankfully, the weapons had never had to be used before, but when they heard Raina's prophecy and suspected the potential imminent return of Keyblade Wielders, they'd broken the weapons out of storage in preparation for when they would be needed.

The Society members stayed away from the public areas but helped to pick off the Shadows that got too close to civilians. The weapons were a complete success, and they contacted Headquarters to notify the council of the results. Once the call ended, Sif discreetly lead the group out of the castle and back to the Bifrost. The magical community's delegation had left shortly after the attack had been repelled, so they had no fear of causing an incident with them, but Sif still wished to avoid her colleagues being spotted by the guards or by random citizens. Once they reached the bridge, Heimdall deposited them a few miles from The Playground. Agent Sif sent the rest of the S.A.C.K. members back to their headquarters in New York before returning to The Playground to notify the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. what was going on. There was no mistaking it now. War was on the horizon.
[HR][/HR]I've read MCU fanfiction where Loki swears using the Norse mythology version of hell (Hel), and decided to throw it in. I figured it Loki were ever to swear, he'd do it Norse Mythology style and be creative with his cursing. He's not going to do that often, but I figured that since he hasn't seen Maleficent in years and she made no effort to get him out of Asgard, I figured that his comment at the end would be the perfect response to seeing her again.

For those wondering why Asgard thinks it's only been a hundred years since the Heartless were last seen, my headcanon on the Thor movies is that Heimdall's sight is limited to within the nine realms, and that he can't see anything or anyone beyond them. As for why Sif doesn't mention the reunification of the world, that part of the Keyblade War lore in this verse isn't part of Asgard's knowledge of the conflict.

And thus, the conflict begins. Next chapter, we finally get to see the Kingdom Hearts cast. Look out for lots of SoKai feels though, so fair warning. SoKai fans will be cheering by the end of next chapter. Good luck guessing why. The next three chapters are going to be focusing on the changes to the worlds in the last six years and showing the changes from the early days of the Daybreak Coalition.
 

KingdomKey

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After reading the current chapters you've posted, I'm really happy about Jake Long being married to Rose. They're a good team and it's a dream come true for me, because I used to watch the show too. Anyways, it's nice to see Loki isn't up to his old bag of tricks. I did find great amusement with his swearing. I just hope he doesn't die with his plans to over throw the Hellfire Club. In any case, I like how Maleficent is planning to go back out in the open to try to win with her schemes again. Otherwise, the stuff with Agent Shield was good. All in all, it was a fun read and I look forward to more updates, Keyblade Order.
 

KeybladeOrder

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Prepare yourselves ladies and gentlemen. We’re checking back in with the Kingdom Hearts cast, so prepare for lots of SoKai feels. [HR][/HR]Chapter 7: The Question:
Radiant Garden – Marketplace:

The Daybreak Coalition had come a long way in only six years. Worlds that were once isolated and disconnected from each other had banded together to defend each other against the forces of evil like Maleficent. It had taken the combined threat of her and Xehanort to band the Coalition together, and the possibility of her survival held them together, enabling them to share technology, resources, and troops. The Coalition Council had created standardized systems of education, health care, and transportation across the known worlds, and times had been peaceful.

The Order of The Keyblade continued to protect the worlds from the Heartless like they always had. The United Coalition Army patrolled Coalition space, keeping watch for the return of the Hellfire Club. Coalition Intelligence scoured for the known worlds for signs of Maleficent army while scouting for new worlds that weren’t yet part of the Coalition. Travel and trade between all the different worlds was more common now. A businessman from Arendelle had even set up an ice rink in the deserts of Agrabah for instance.

The lives of the “Guardians of Light” had changed dramatically as well. Terra and Aqua had gotten married a few months after Xehanort’s demise. Roxas and Xion had started dating the following spring. Lea and Elsa had just gotten engaged a few months ago. Namine had gotten together with Pence a few years back, and Riku had been in a relationship with Selphie since he and Sora had finished their remedial Senior Year of High School. Donald and Daisy got married within months of Xehanort’s downfall, and even Goofy had managed to find himself a girlfriend in the librarian of Disney Tower Library.

One thing that hadn’t changed, though, was how nervous Sora could be where his relationship with Kairi was concerned. They’d been dating for over six years now, but the twenty-three year old Keyblade Master would still feel nervous talking about their relationship. He wasn’t like that all the time, but Kairi had noticed that he’d been acting more and more nervous around her lately. Almost like he was hiding something. When she asked Riku, Donald, Goofy, Ventus, his parents, or even Vanitas about what was going on with him, they kept denying any knowledge of what she was talking about.

She had her suspicions about why he was acting this way, but unless he actually told her, she could only guess. Tonight, they were having dinner at a small restaurant in Radiant Garden’s marketplace. It had been a crazy week for both of them. After she and the boys had finished high school, they’d travelled around the worlds for a while before settling down to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. As Ansem The Wise’s niece and heir to the throne of Radiant Garden, Kairi had moved back to her original home world so that she could get used to being royalty in preparation for her eventual ascension to the throne.

Sora hadn’t had any real plans and so had enlisted in the royal guard so that they’d always be on the same world together. He usually schedules his patrols and shifts so that he’d be able to visit her on his days off, but this week had been particularly busy for the both of them. Her uncle Ansem was away visiting Mickey at Disney Town, so Kairi to spend the week meeting commuting to the current seat of the Coalition Council in San Fransokyo to oversee and sign off on some new trade legislation.

As they ate their dinner, Kairi grew more concerned when Sora barely said anything as the meal went on. She could see the sweat on his forehead and the blush in his cheeks and she could tell that he was nervous, and she had a pretty good idea why.

“Sora,” she began. “Is something going on at work? You’ve barely said a word to me since we got here.” She didn’t share her suspicions of what she thought he was really thinking about, figuring that doing so would only make him more nervous.

“No, no,” he reassured her. “It’s not that, Kairi. I’m just nervous.”

“About what?” she asked innocently. “Sora, we’ve been dating for six years now and you weren’t even this nervous when we had our first kiss.”

“I know, I know,” Sora replied. “It’s just. There’s something I want to do, and I think we’re ready for it. I’m just worried you might think that we’re not.” And the likelihood that I’m right just went up exponentially, Kairi thought to herself. She leaned across the table and gave him a brief but passionate kiss on the lips, and this managed to finally get him to calm down.

“Well,” Kairi responded. “The only way to find out would be to just tell me what it is you’re worried about.” Though she didn’t voice her thoughts out loud, when she saw him take a deep breath, she could tel exactly what he was thinking. After a quick mental self-pep talk, Sora reached into the pocket of his dress pants and slid off his chair.

“Kairi,” he began as he got down on one knee. There was a nervous quiver in the Keyblade Master’s voice as he pulled a small velvet box out of his pocket. “Will you marry me?”

“Yes,” she gasped before he even opened the box. She stood up, pulling him to his feet as she did so, and gave him another longer, more passionate, and more romantic kiss. The restaurant patrons who were watching the scene unfold (the couple had been famous ever since Xehanort’s fall, and the local news outlets had been speculating since they turned eighteen how long it would take Sora to finally propose) broke out into applause as Sora lid the engagement ring onto her finger. “What took you so long you lazy bum?” she teased as their lips parted and they sat back down.

“You know me,” Sora replied. “Fear always ends up making me second guess myself.” Kairi chuckled and gave him another kiss just as the waiter arrived with a bouquet of flowers Sora had brought with him but been too nervous to bring into the restaurant area with him. The wait staff, having been told the purpose of the reservation by Riku, had been kind enough to store them in the fridge until Sora had managed to finally ask the question he’d been waiting years to ask. As they continued to eat their dinner, the every diner in the building came up to the table to congratulate the two of them.

In between saying thank you to everyone who came to the table (except for Riku, Ven, and Vanitas, who had come to watch. Sora jokingly told them to get lost and stay out of his love life), the two of them discussed wedding plans ranging from the date and location to who to send invitations to. Since they both had friends on several different worlds, they needed to keep the guest list to a reasonable length. Obviously Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the rest of the Order of the Keyblade were invited. Sora’s parents, Kairi’s adopted father, her Uncle Ansem, and her Cousin Ienzo all went without saying.

As they finished eating and paid for their meal, they walked back to the castle together. The guards’ barracks was just outside the castle (although Sora had risen high enough in the ranks to earn his own private room), while as a Princess, Kairi’s bedroom was all the way in the Hollow Bastion’s upper floors. The castle’s sleeping quarters were normally off limits to civilians, and guards were only allow when they were on duty for the sake of residents’ privacy, but since Dilan and Aeleus were part of the castle’s security detail, they let Sora be the exception so that he could walk Kairi back to her room after one of their dates.

On worlds like San Fransokyo or Zootopia, they would have been mobbed by reporters as they made their way home. As it was, even with the tourism boom and immigrant influx in recent years, Radiant Garden remained a small tight-nit community after the horrors of The Fall, and so they were able to have some privacy as they made their way back to the castle. Somone at the castle would issue a statement to the press tomorrow morning so that Sora and Kairi wouldn’t have to deal with the sudden influx of reporters begging at their doorsteps for interviews.

The paparazzi as the people of Earth referred to it, wasn’t really an issue in Coalition space. Even as the number of news outlets grew in the past six years, people’s privacy was respected. It helped that very few member worlds had technology and social structures remotely close to modern-day Earth. Nevertheless, between the fame they had both individually and as a couple, reporters would travel from all over the Coalition to get the best scoop on what would probably be blow out of proportion as “the wedding of the century” or something like that. Right now though, neither of them cared about any of that. They could deal with it tomorrow. All that mattered at the moment was each other. [HR][/HR]The Kiln – Conference Room:
“Where in Hel have you been for the last nine years?” Loki demanded as a small red monster appeared from a side room and poured him a glass of wine. He accepted the glass and took a sip, making himself look like he was trying not to slam the glass on the table in anger. It wasn’t that hard, he’d been friends with the original members of the Hellfire Club and they’d never made any effort to break him out of prison in the last decade. He may have given up his ambitions of conquest, but the abandonment still stung. The least they owed him was an explanation for why they never bothered to at least send a message.

“Technically speaking I was dead for one of them,” she replied calmly. Loki blinked. He hadn’t expected that answer, and Maleficent went on to explain how after his capture by Thanos, they’d been unable to track his movements, and by the time they learned of his location, a lone Keyblade wielder had managed to decimate their ranks. Ursula, Jafar, and Oogie Boogie had all been killed and Maleficent trapped in the Realm of Darkness, dead to the world for all intents and purposes.

A year later, Maleficent managed to return to the land of the living and begin rebuilding the Hellfire Club, but her efforts had been hindered by the incompetence of that bumbling oaf, Pete. It had taken a further two years to rebuild the Hellfire Club, and six more to accumulate the resources necessary to stage an open attack against Asgard. Taking all that into consideration, Loki couldn’t say he blamed her for having to move a prison break down on the list of priorities when having to deal with Xehanort and his Organization. That didn’t mean he wasn’t still frustrated about it though.

With the elephant in the room taken care of, they moved on to discussing recent events and Maleficent’s current goals. He was far from surprised when Maleficent confirmed that she was searching for the Infinity Stones to accelerate her path to conquest.

“Lovely fellow,” Loki remarked sarcastically. “Reminds me of a few humans who were a gigantic pain in my arse when I was forced to conquer Earth on Thanos’ behalf.” The Mad Titan had used the same scepter that the prince had been given for the invasion to compel the Asgardian to do his bidding. Maleficent only chuckled in response.

“Kadaj and his brothers are a bit of an odd bunch among the Club,” she replied. “Where most of us want to conquer the universe, they simply want to find a way to bring back their father and take revenge on those who killed him. They call themselves the Advent Children, but Captain Hook gave them the more popular nickname of “The Angel’s Bastards”.” Loki had been in the middle of taking a sip from his drink and so Maleficent couldn’t help but chuckle as he spat his drink across the conference table in shock. Surely she hadn’t meant…?

“Are you serious?” he gasped as he recovered from nearly choking on his wine. “Him!? Having children?” He couldn’t fathom the idea of Sephiroth having a sex life period! Never mind the fact that he somehow managed to procreate no less than three times. But Maleficent’s nod was all that he needed to confirm that his train of thought was correct. Still surprised from that little bombshell, Loki couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the situation. As one of the little crimson beasts came in and cleaned up the spilled wine, the newest members of the Hellfire Club leadership filed into the room. It was time to meet the new recruits.

Hades and Captain Hook he recognized. The woman with black and white hair and an extravagant fur coat was unfamiliar to him. He recognized Maleficent’s shape-shifting raven familiar among the crowd. The other two members of the inner circle he had never seen before, but was able to recognize on sight based on reputation and descriptions. Well this just got more complicated, Loki mused to himself as Malekith and the Red Skull took their seats at the table. As the meeting got underway, Loki prepared himself to mentally notes on the Hellfire Club’s plans and began preparing his next message to his family. This was going to be more dangerous than he’d thought it would be.

[HR][/HR]I know, I know, Sora and Kairi’s proposal scene was really cheesy towards the end, but they’ve always been a cheesy couple, so I ran with it.
Goofy having a girlfriend is a reference to An Extremely Goofy Movie.

Yeah, the Remnants Of Sephiroth are in this story. Only in this universe, instead of being clones (or whatever they technically are) of Sephiroth, they’re his actual children. I thought that it would be an appropriately KH-style twist to have them still be connected to Sephiroth without having them be his Heartless/Nobody/Unversed or something. More simpler to just say their his children and leave it at that.

There was never anything in the actually games that actually supported this, but whenever I speculate on a potential romantic partner for Riku, I keep thinking of Selphie for some reason, so since this is fanfiction and not canon, I decided to just go with it.

For those of you who wanted to see more KH couples focused on besides Sora and Kairi, the next story in this universe after Connected Worlds will be a prequel titled The Calm, which will show things that happened in the six years between The Xehanort War and Connected Worlds. The reason I’m not writing The Calm first is because it will have extensive foreshadowing/spoilers for this story, so I wanted to do Connected Worlds first.
 

KeybladeOrder

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More SoKai fluff this chapter. Next chapter will be when the Kingdom Hearts characters start getting involved in the overarching plot. Shorter chapter this time since it’s not as plot heavy. [HR][/HR]Chapter 8: Radiant Garden:
Radiant Garden – Kairi’s Bedroom:

Kairi opened her eyes to the sunlight filtering into her suite in the upper levels of the castle. She smiled as she felt the comforting grip of her fiancé’s arms draped over her. Although he normally went back to the barracks after he dropped her off at the castle, she’d managed to persuade him to come upstairs for some celebratory sea-salt ice cream. It took four hours before they both came down from the resulting sugar high and passed out from exhaustion. She just needed to get him out of the castle before security figured out he’d spent the night. She didn’t want anyone jumping to conclusions about what they’d gotten up to. They were saving that for after the wedding.

Brushing the last strands of hair out of her face, she looked over to the clock on her nightstand and her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw that it was 11:00 in the morning. She didn’t have any functions today, but she needed to get Sora out of here before the guards came to break down her door and make sure she was alright. Frantically, she lifted his arms off of her and rolled off the bed. Once that was done, she gave Sora a kiss on the lips. This proved to be enough to rouse him from his slumber. He groggily rubbed his eyes as he woke up and she frantically reminded him of the need to avoid getting him in trouble for sleeping in her bedroom. She was about to go into the bathroom of her suite and change when there was a knock on the door.

“Kairi,” called the voice of her uncle from the other side of the door. “Are you alright?” Frantically, she whispered for Sora to hide behind the bed before she opened the door.

“I’m alright, Uncle,” she replied as she gave Ansem the Wise a good morning hug. “I was up late last night so I ended up sleeping in.” In response, Ansem only raised an eyebrow as he noticed some of the recognizable spikes of Sora’s hair peeking out from behind the large queen-size bed. She was planning to smuggle him out of the castle before anyone figured out he’d ever spent the night, he realized with a mental chuckle. Too bad she forgot that there are security cameras in every hallway in case of intruders attempting to access the upper levels of the castle via Dark Corridor.

“Oh?” he asked, deciding to play along and pretend he couldn’t see him. He wasn’t worried. He had talked to both of them when they first started dating and made sure he made it clear that they weren’t allowed to sleep together until they got married. But seeing as news of their engagement had been spreading like wildfire all morning, he could understand her convincing Sora to at least spend the night as to celebrate. “And might the reason you were up so late be the same reason the security cameras saw Sora enter your room last night and not come out?” he added with an impish grin. For all his regrets and the weight of his duties as the reappointed king of Radiant Garden, Ansem the Wise still had a very wicked sense of humor.

Kairi’s face flushed red with embarrassment as she tried to stammer out an excuse while Sora sheepishly stood up from behind the bed.

“Your majesty,” Sora said frantically as he gave a respectful salute to his boss. (Dilan and Aeleus may have been his commanding officers, but they both reported to Ansem, making him the de facto superior of every member of the royal guards) “I’m so sorry. We didn’t do anything last night. I swear.” Ansem chuckled.

“No need to apologize, my boy,” the middle aged king replied. “Your engagement has been the talk of the city all morning. I knew you were spending the night to celebrate, I just thought I’d have a little fun this morning. Congratulations by the way. I’m happy for you both.”

“Thank you, sir,” Sora answered as Kairi gave her uncle another hug. The happy couple breathed a sigh of relief at not having to frantically rush Sora out the door before anyone discovered he was there. Everyone already knew, and simply chose to let the infraction of security slide for one night so the two lovers could celebrate.

“So,” Ansem went on. “When’s the wedding?”

The Kiln – Conference Room:

“Now that we’re all here,” Maleficent began as she gestured around the table at the members of her inner circle. “It’s time to get down to business. Our last two campaigns to conquer all of reality failed. Xehanort was manipulating us into acquiring the Princesses of Heart for his own ends, and our ranks were crippled by the time the truth was revealed. Going after the Book of Prophecies was a failure as well. We could always attempt to acquire the Princesses and the Books again, but a certain Nordic deity once advised me to “never repeat the same trick for the same audience twice.”” She, Hades, Diablo, and Hook glanced at Loki with sardonic smiles on their faces. To keep up appearances, Loki answered with a satisfied smirk.

“Therefore,” she went on. “If we are to achieve our collective dream of conquest, we need a new approach. We have spent the last six years quietly rebuilding our resources away from the prying eyes of those who would oppose our plans. No more. It’s time we went with Plan B. We will assemble the Infinity Gauntlet, and with it, all of reality will bow to our will.” Loki noticed that no one commented on the fact that Maleficent would still be the one in charge wearing the gauntlet. The command structure of the Hellfire Club had evidently been restructured in his absence, with Maleficent now clearly at the top of the pyramid, and her inner circle directly beneath her.

“Thanks to Malekith’s reconnaissance reports,” Maleficent continued. “We have confirmed the locations for two of the remaining five Infinity Stones, and solid leads on the hiding places of two more. We know exactly where to find the Mind and Power stones, and we know at least where to look for the Time and Reality Stones. Only the location of the Soul Stone continues to elude us. With Thanos and Xehanort out of the way, we will have no competition in our quest for power.” The group continued to discuss their battle strategy for locating the missing stone for the next hour.

The Red Skull advocated for retrieving the ones they knew of now, but Loki had played chess against the Mistress of All Evil enough times to know how she thought. She never committed to a move until all the unknown variables were known. She wouldn’t make a move until she’d at the very least narrowed down their options for the location of the Soul Stone. Although he had already figured out where the stone was, he declined to share it in order to delay the Hellfire Club’s plans for as long as possible. When the meeting concluded, Maleficent announced that she needed to pick up her daughter. Loki was still trying to process the fact that Sephiroth had kids when Maleficent dropped her own parental bombshell on him, and sat dazed in the room for another five minutes as everyone else left. Everyone that is, except the one he’d quickly deduced to be the father of Maleficent’s child, if the matching wedding rings to go by.

“She’s clearly been busy for the last six years,” Loki said to Hades once the rest of the council had filed out of the conference room. “Congratulations on your marriage by the way. I assume Maleficent left to collect your child from whoever was hired to babysit during the meeting?”

“Correct-o-mundo,” the now-former lord of the underworld answered with a smirk. “Maleficent’s a little overprotective about Lily, but after what happened to her first kid, who can blame her?” Loki nodded in understanding and sympathy. He was one of the few people to know that much about Maleficent’s past, having deduced it after his arrive in Hollow Bastion all those years ago based on his own brief experience with parenthood. He shoved those tragic memories to the back of his mind as Hades asked if there was anything he needed to be caught up on.

“Well there is one thing I’m still confused by,” the Norse god of magic admitted with a chuckle. “When did Sephiroth ever find the time to, as the mortals say, get laid?” [HR][/HR]The “Never do the same trick for the same audience twice” comment was a quote from The S.H.I.E.L.D. Codex brought up in multiple stories, but first used in the original story of that saga, A Clear And Present Loki.

Lily being the name of Maleficent's daughter is a shout out to Once Upon A Time, as that was the name given to Maleficent's daughter in that show.

Loki having lost a kid like Maleficent is a reference to Child of the Storm (and that backstory for him will probably influence what I come up with for him here). I figured Loki would probably empathize with Maleficent’s overprotectiveness if he had a similar backstory.

I thought it would be really funny if Sora ever spent the night at Kairi’s when they were together and she had to sneak him out before anyone found out he was there because they knew that everyone would assume they had sex if he got caught staying overnight in her room. I figured it would be good for some laughs before we get into the drama of the piece, so I ran with it. Next chapter is when things really start getting serious.
 

KeybladeOrder

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Chapter 9: Scherzo Di Notte:
Radiant Garden – Library:

Something’s definitely going on, Kairi thought to herself as she and Sora walked into the Hollow Bastion’s library. After their late brunch, they’d been informed that an operative from the Coalition Intelligence Network had arrived with urgent news and needed to speak with her right away. Sora had changed back into his guard uniform and accompanied her up to the meeting. On the way down to the castle library, the two of them blushed in near-perfect sync as everyone they passed in the hallways congratulated them and asked when the wedding was.

They walked into the library to find a small gathering waiting for them on the upper level. Once they walked through the doors, Dilan and Aeleus tapped a “Closed” sign to the door before closing and locking it. This is serious, Sora realized as they made their way through the maze of bookshelves towards where the rest of the group was gathered. When they reached the second floor, they took stock of who was present. The group consisted of King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Aqua, Queen Elsa, General Shang, and a brown-haired woman who Sora knew he had met before but couldn’t remember exactly where.

“Agent Yuna,” the woman introduced herself. It clicked in Sora’s mind where he recognized her from. She and her fellow treasure hunters Rikku and Paine had fought in the Battle of Hollow Bastion eight years ago. Of course, back then, the trio had inadvertently been shrunken down to the size of small fairies as a result of some cursed treasure they’d taken from the cave of wonders. While they’d claimed back before the battle that Maleficent had promised them treasure, it had just been to cover the fact that the witch was supposed to return the trio to full size. Eventually, they’d figured out how to reverse their condition and all three eventually became members of the C.I.N.

“My partners and I picked up some suspicious activity in Zootopia and San Fransokyo a few days ago,” Yuna explained. “We investigated our leads and discovered Hellfire Club agents operating in hidden bases on both worlds. We managed to overhear enough of their communications to pick up the fact that this isn’t some hold-out that’s managed to survive for six years. They’ve reorganized, and they’re planning something big.” A hushed silence fell over the group as they considered the ramifications of what she’d said. There were very few criminals in Coalition space with the kind of influence to take over the remains of the Hellfire Club, and none of the original members had the charisma to hold all the different splinter groups together. That left only two possibilities: either someone new had managed to bring order to the chaotic factions, or Maleficent had indeed survived all these years.

“We need to handle this quietly,” Elsa said bluntly once the briefing finished. “They’ll likely be monitoring all Coalition news feeds, and if we announce this information publicly, we lose the element of surprise and give them time to escape.”

“I agree,” Sora commented. “But at the same time we can’t just let civilians on either world get caught in the crossfire because they’re oblivious to the danger. We have to give people just enough information that they’ll steer clear of the Hellfire Club’s bases until we’ve given the all clear.” Everyone voiced their agreement, and Kairi suggested putting out a public safety announcement warning residents about a gas leak or something of that nature to force a temporary evacuation of the surrounding buildings and reduce collateral damage.

Next came the decision of who to send for the raids on the two bases. Sora, Donald, and Goofy quickly volunteered to lead the attack on the Club’s Zootopian base. Aqua recommended Terra and Ven for San Fransokyo. With the teams decided, the meeting adjourned, and everyone went their separate ways to prepare for the operation. Sora, Donald, and Goofy headed down to the barracks so Sora could change out of his uniform and into the outfit he usually wore while out travelling the worlds (with Kairi tagging along to see them off). Aqua headed for an outdoor balcony from which to fly her Glider back to the Land of Departure and notify Terra and Ven of their assignment, while Mickey went to go visit with his friend Ansem. Meanwhile, Yuna accompanied Elsa back to Arendelle to relay her findings to Director Cassim from the C.I.N. base in the kingdom’s northern mountains.

With the possibility of Maleficent’s return, the Coalition government was now on high alert. Nobody was foolish enough to believe that these two bases were the extent of the Hellfire Club’s resurgence. But everyone hoped that by going after these cells, even if some of the villains managed to escape, would give them enough clues to start making their way up the ladder towards Maleficent herself – if she was alive, that is. They still had no confirmation that this was really her in charge or someone new who’d managed to win the loyalty of those who remained. As everyone prepared for battle, a sense of grim determination came over those who’d be involved in the battles to come. They would not stop until the Hellfire Club had been either captured or killed, down to the last member. [HR][/HR]Maveth – Angelic Sanctuary:

Coming home always brought back bad memories for Kadaj. His and Yazoo’s mother had died when he was only ten, and his father had brought him here. Although the planet had no official name, the humans who had worshiped his grandmother called it Maveth. Apparently it meant “death” in some language Kadaj had never learned, but he thought the name quite fitting. Even with the great Sephiroth raising three children in the halls of this very citadel, the world had always felt cold and lifeless. Between the eighteen years between sunrises and the dust storms every time they sat foot outside the castle walls, Maveth had always been a hellish place to live.

Despite the nightmarish environment, this castle had been home to Kadaj for so long that even when he wanted nothing to do with the place, he and his brothers still found themselves drawn back to their father’s home. The trio were under no illusions about who and what their father was. Sephiroth trained them relentlessly, making them practice for hours to sharpen their reflexes and hone their skills in battle. But despite his cold and aloof attitude, he was still their father, and he still cared for their needs. He comforted them when they missed their mothers (Yazoo and Kadaj had the same mother, but Loz, who was the oldest of the trio, had a different mother), took care of them when they were sick or injured, and cooked dinner for all of them when he was home from a job.

A tear fell from Kadaj’s cheek at the memory of dad’s first disastrous attempt at cooking dinner for four. Sephiroth may not have been a perfect father, but he still cared for his sons. And six years ago, he left for job, promising to be back in a few weeks, but he never came home. Eventually, the three brothers left Maveth to find him, only to discover that he had been murdered by the man he’d tried to kill. Never mind that Sephiroth killing the man would have amounted to murder either way. That man, Cloud Strife, had killed their father. And for that he would die horribly. Vengeance would be theirs.

Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he stood up and returned to join Yazoo and Loz in the dining room. They wound find the man who took their father from them and kill him. None of the three cared about Maleficent’s plans to remake the universe in her image. It made no difference to them whether she succeeded or failed as long as they got what they wanted. All that mattered to them was avenging their father’s death and reuniting with their lost brother. The rest of the universe could burn for all they cared, as long as they could put their family back together.

[HR][/HR]Zootopia is a freaking fantastic movie, and if Square Enix doesn’t include it in Kingdom Hearts 3, they had better do so in the first game of the next saga. I never bothered to include it in The Xehanort War because it hadn't even been released yet, and I saw it as pointless to speculate on the overall plot of a movie and thought I should save it for when I'd actually seen the movie.

My explanation for why YRP were so small in KH2 while none of the other Final Fantasy characters in the KH universe were size shifted. I figured that because of their whole thing about being treasure hunters in 2 they’d probably make pretty good agents for Coalition Intelligence in this universe.

While I enjoy the Sephiroth battles in the Kingdom Hearts games are fun, there’s no denying that they water-down his personality and backstory considerably. In the original game there’s more to him than just being Cloud’s rival, and the prequel, Crisis Core, he’s a legitimately decent (if cold and socially awkward) person before he turned evil, and I decided that it would be good to expand on his KH backstory to give him more to his character than just “Cloud’s Inner Darkness personified.” So I decided to have references to Sephiroth being a caring father to Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz as a way of reminding everyone that for all that he’s hyped up as one of the biggest badasses in gaming, that he’s a more complex character than his Kingdom Hearts portrayal so far would have someone unfamiliar with FF7 believe.

It’s never stated the physical ages of the Remnants in any material for FF7 (only that Kadaj is the youngest), other than the fact that they were created mere weeks before Advent Children. So I decided that since Loz looked the oldest out of all three, then he’d probably have a different mother than the other two. The reason why is kind of implied but won’t be fully explained until my KH5 story. Can’t ruin all the surprises for the saga in the first major story, now, can I?

For the next three chapters, we switch back to Earth and see how the Avengers are reacting to the attack on Asgard. After that, we’re jumping back to the Kingdom Hearts cast for about 27 chapters.
 
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KeybladeOrder

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We’ll be on earth for the next 2 chapters, then we’ll head back into Coalition Space for the remainder of the first half of the fic. The second half of the story will switch back and forth between Earth and the KH worlds. I’m not going to explain how or why. That’s a surprise. [HR][/HR]Chapter 10: Damage Assessment:
Earth – Avengers Headquarters:

Thor looked around at the faces of the Avengers and saw varying levels of concern on each of their faces. It was a sign of how serious the situation was that even the infamously comedic Tony Stark didn’t crack a joke. After all, it’s not any old department store supervillain with the funding, manpower, resources, and audacity to pull off something of this magnitude. Loki’s escape didn’t faze anyone. They had all come to terms with his quasi-redemption years ago. What left them all in such a stunned silence was how effortlessly this unknown faction pulled the break-out off.

Looking at each of the faces of his teammates, the prince of Asgard found that despite conveying the same emotions, they were all clearly thinking different things. Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximov, and Ron Stoppable were already attempting to determine the motive behind the prison break. The former thief Scott Lang, his girlfriend Hope Pym, Pietro, and the little blue alien called Stitch were attempting to calculate just how the break out had been accomplished. Tony Stark, Kim Possible, Rhodey, Bucky and Dr. Banner were analyzing the implications of a military force capable of successfully achieving a stunt like this. Natasha, however, was an enigma. She looked as if she knew exactly who had done it and what the attack entailed.

Deciding to inquire as to what she knew later, Thor continued the discussion towards what they would do next. Every member of the team unanimously voted in favor of pursuing the culprits. Anyone with the resources and audacity to pull off a successful attack on Asgard was also a potential threat to Earth. If they could infiltrate Asgard’s dungeon, then there was no telling what they would be capable of if they decided to set their sights on Earth. Unfortunately, other than what little information Loki could offer in his letter, they had no leads to go on. Nevertheless, Tony began making plans to upgrade everyone’s gear to prepare for when Loki’s next info drop gave them enough intelligence to act upon.

With the meeting adjourned, the team was about to head downstairs for lunch when the Biritsh-accented voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. emerged from the ceiling.

“I’ve just received word from S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the artificial intelligence announced gravely. “A group of terrorists have launched a series of attacks across Europe. They are wearing HYDRA uniforms but it’s unclear yet if they are a small cell that managed to escape the last purge, or if it’s just a bunch of would-be anarchists attempting to use HYDRA’s imagery and reputation to bolster their own.” Their rest time cut short, the team raced down to the armory and prepared for battle. Within the next fifteen minutes, the Avengers’ Quinjet was flying away from their headquarters towards Europe to stop this new would-be HYDRA cell. They were superheroes. Saving the world and fighting groups like HYDRA was part of the job. [HR][/HR] Unknown World – Unknown Location:

“Our spies have confirmed that the breakout was successful,” the pink-haired man reported solemnly. “Maleficent and her allies now have control of the Space Stone. Our sources indicate that she intends to lie low and confirm the locations of the Time, Soul, and Reality games before moving forward with seizing the other Infinity Stones. We cannot allow those miscreants to get their filthy hands on the Gauntlet of the First Master.”

“Thank you, High Praetor,” Madame N.I. replied grimly. The leadership of The Legion had gathered on one of their outlying bases to discuss recent events and begin preparations for the first phase of their grand plan. So far, the meeting hadn’t been going well. Word of Maleficent’s success would harm troop morale, and that was the last thing the High Council wanted. “What we need to decide now,” N.I. went on. “Is how to proceed from here. We ourselves know the locations of several of the stones, but many of them are in places we cannot enter without attracting attention. So how do we go about acquiring them?”

“Well,” suggested the blonde-haired Warden. “We can always manipulate events in our favor. We can mislead the Hellfire Club’s research, have them chase down false leads to buy ourselves time. Plant breadcrumbs to have those heathen Keyblade Wielders take the one already in Maleficent’s possession. The Club will lay siege to whichever world it’s taken to in order to retrieve it, and in the chaos of the battle, we will slip in and grab it for ourselves.” The rest of the council nodded their hands in agreement with the plan, and began making preparations to put the idea into action. An hour later, N.I. was sitting at her desk filling out paperwork when the Warden knocked on her door.

“Forgive me for intruding, Imperator,” she began. “But I think now that we’ve begun seriously preparing for the endgame, it’s time that we seriously began preparing disciplinary action against the traitors” Ah yes, N.I. reminded herself. The Lost Ones. The loyalty the soldiers and officers of the Legion displayed towards their cause was ironclad, but every once in a while they would get an aberration in the norm. A high ranking soldier who had grown dissatisfied with the lack of progress and forsaken The Legion’s ideals. Most had realized the error of their ways after a cycle of exposure to the destruction the Darkness caused. But these two, they had not only openly deserted the Legion but remained steadfast in their defiance of The Cause.

“Very well,” the supreme leader of the Legion replied. “You have authorization to take a Cohort and bring them back to the ISMCC to stand trial for their crimes. But please remember to be discreet.” The Warden nodded in understanding and swept out of the room to select her team members for this mission. She was looking forward to the court martial and summary execution of the two traitors, but she was not blind to the fact that this would have to be planned very carefully. Both traitors had several powerful friends who would raise hell if they were ever overtly abducted. But a “mysterious” disappearance en route to a destination with no surveillance along the way could quickly be covered up and all clues manipulated to lead to dead ends. The ensuing missing person’s cases would remain forever unsolved.

The Warden smiled to herself as she reviewed the profiles of the Legionnaires she intended to select for the mission. They would have to do this one at a time to avoid arousing any further suspicion, but they could pull this off. They just had to be stealthy. To that end, she had changed into civilian attire, complete with a black wig to conceal her natural blonde hair, and contact lenses designed to make her eyes appear brown instead of their true greenish-blue. Once she’d changed, she used the dandelion-imprinted seal to stamp the papers she’d needed to file for the mission before ordering the Legionnaires she’d requested to report to the briefing room. They had work to do.
[HR][/HR]Yeah, the Avengers ranks have expanded since my other Acolytes of Chaos fics. Ant-Man and the Wasp have joined the team, as has Stitch. I thought it would be hilarious to have him be on the team. Imagine Tony’s reaction to how readily the little guy can operate high tech machinery. It’d be freaking hilarious.

I’ve given you a clue as to the origins and motivations of The Legion. Not saying what, since I want to maintain a little bit of the element of surprise in this saga. For those who get the hint, PLEASE DO NOT spoil it in reviews for those who haven’t figured it out yet. Let them reach the conclusion on their own. Rest assured though, the conflict involving the Legion and the Hellfire Club will most definitely not be as one-sided as the whole Maleficent vs. Organization XIII conflict in KH2. I’d like to make Maleficent’s armies seem badass and effective again.
 
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KingdomKey

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I felt surprised when you added in Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz into the story. Especially when they're considered Sephiroth's children. I slightly laughed because, it amuses me to no end with Sephiroth finding the time to get laid to cooking for three children. At the same time, I'm quite pleased, because this is way better than Sephiroth being Cloud's darkness. Anyways, I really liked all of the Sora and Kairi fluff going on. I do wonder when their wedding will be. And wow, a whole lot has happened the KH crew as far as relationships go. You really know how to juggle everyone around quite well. :) And Goofy getting his girl is the best part because, I've seen that movie and it was the best. Overall, can't wait to see more! Great chapters as always!
 

KeybladeOrder

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Thank you, KitKat. I was trying to give Sephiroth more development, but since I already killed him off in The Xehanort War, I figured it would be better to have it be done posthumously than not at all. And I'm trying to show how much has changed in the course of the six years between KH3 and this story. For some people, I figured it'd be a bit jarring, which is why (but also because I wanted to do some one-shots set during that time) I'm going to do another interquel once this fic is finished that covers the gap between TXW and Connected Worlds. It'll just be a series of one-shots showing the lives of the heroes and villains of the saga over the course of the six-year time-skip.

Edited last chapter to account for a continuity error with previous Acolytes of Chaos fics. The Avengers were in their post-Age of Ultron base, not the Tower.

[HR][/HR]Chapter 11: Head or Leg:
Earth – Schoonebeek Oil Field:

"Great," Captain America growled with a sigh as he slammed his shield into a HYDRA trooper as he drove past on his motorcycle. And here I was hoping the reports of HYDRA were just a bunch of would-be terrorists using HYDRA's logo to make people afraid of them, he thought as he drove across the oil field on the Dutch-German border that served as a cover for an underground HYDRA facility. According to the intelligence they received from S.H.I.E.L.D., former World Security Council member Gideon Malick was leading the newest incarnation of the terrorist organization, using this subterranean bunker as his base of operations.

While Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and The Hulk fought off the base's perimeter defenses, the rest of the team fought their way through the bunker disabling henchmen and halting attempts to evacuate HYDRA's research as they made their way towards the base's command center, hoping to capture Malick before he could get away. Kim, Ron, Hawkeye, and Black Widow were handling most of the combat while Stitch downloaded the base's mainframe. Meanwhile, the tag team of Ant-Man and the Wasp used Hank Pym's shrinking technology to make their way through the base discreetly to handle the capture of Malick. War Machine, Falcon, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and the Winter Soldier were off battling HYDRA forces attempting to reuse Von Strucker's old castle in Sokovia.

Once the team had confirmed that this was indeed the resurgent HYDRA carrying out these terrorist attacks across Europe, the team unanimously decided that the best course of action would be a two pronged attack. The Avengers would go straight for the heart of the beast, while S.H.I.E.L.D. and the militaries of the various European nations would work their way in from the outside, cutting off a limb as they worked their way up HYDRA's chain of command one base at a time. The battle went by surprisingly quickly, and the team was nevertheless on their guard because fighting HYDRA was never this easy. On their guard in case of an ambush (and suspecting that Malick had sacrificed this particular base as part of a long-term stratagem), the Avengers continued to mop up as the battle wound down.

They were about to clean out the base and ship the captured HYDRA agents off to prison when they heard the distinctive sound of a video call. Unsure whether it was Malick (who hadn't even been on the base, it'd turned out) calling to gloat, or someone else trying to call HYDRA, Steve ordered Stitch to answer the call and patch it through to Romanov's comm unit so she could speak to whoever was on the other end of the line. Unfortunately, it seemed that every method Stitch tried to transfer the call to avoid tipping the caller off as to the status of the base was being remotely stymied, and the call went through. The monitor crackled, and as the image came into focus on screen, a voice boomed from the speakers that chilled the great Captain America to the bone.

"You never give up, do you, Captain?" Came the sarcastic greeting of the Red Skull as his frightening visage materialized on the computer screen.

Earth – Whitmore Mansion:

"If we weren't sure about what Raina's prophecy was about before, the attack on Asgard pretty much confirmed it," the Chairwoman of the S.A.C.K. council remarked as she looked around at the faces of the other members of the Society's leadership. Sweet, Vinnie, Mole, Audrey, Jiaying, Milo, and Lady Sif had assembled at the Society headquarters as soon as Sif's team returned from Asgard and brought news of the attack. An attack on one of the most heavily defended of the mythological realms within hours of a foreboding prophetic dream did not bode well, and they needed to figure out what they should do.

"Our security cameras were able to identify most of the people involved in the attack and the breakout," Lady Sif explained. In recent years, Odin had been convinced to allow the installation of CCTV cameras to provide security in the royal palace. Attacks against Asgard were considered impossible, but given how many enemies he had, Loki (who kept in contact with the Society from his prison cell through Sif) had persuaded his father to have them in stalled, stating that it was better to prepare for the unexpected than to be caught off guard and have allow the damages and casualties to mount higher than they would be otherwise.

"The three silver haired men were identified by Loki as the illegitimate children of the mercenary Sephiroth," the Asgardian warrior went on. The disgraced prince of Asgard had become a valuable source of information about Maleficent once he'd figured out Sif's membership in it. "According to Isa and Xiruk, he was killed a few days before their deaths. The team sent to free Loki consisted of a squad of HYDRA agents, the intergalactic assassin Nebula, and the shapeshifting raven familiar of Maleficent. From this, we can gather that the children of the "One-Winged Angel" are working with the Hellfire Club as a means to an end to avenge their father's death. And the fact that the remnants of HYDRA have allied with Maleficent suggest that the Hellfire Club is on the move once more."

Although this was a surprise to everyone on the council, they were far from alarmed. They had been preparing for this since the Society's inception. Between the S.A.C.K., the Avengers, the Defenders (a group of crime-fighting heroes operating in New York City), Team Go, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Inhumans, and the supernatural community, Earth was more than well defended. And since the Hellfire Club was active again, that meant that they were likely to be seeing some Keyblade Wielders sooner or later. From there, they could finally stabilize a timeline of events for that side of the universe in regards to Xehanort and Maleficent.

From there, the council went on to discuss the rest of Raina's vision once more. The "planetoids hurtling towards Earth to bury themselves in the planet's surface" seemed like an apt metaphor for the fragments of the original World returning to their proper places, so they resolved to begin preparations for gradually revealing the existence of other worlds to the public. They'd already released a popular series of video games to acclimate people to the idea, but now that they knew that the Restoration (as they had begun to call it) was finally on its way, it was time for the full-court press.

The "Timeless Ones" were a mystery to be solved another day, but Raina's words about "darkness fighting darkness while light fights light" were mildly disconcerting. There'd been a few near misses when the Avengers had nearly come to blows over political issues, but this seemed like it would be something on a whole other level. But without context, there wasn't much they could do but keep their eyes open for events with the potential to become catalysts for a hero civil war. The darkness half of the equation was easier to explain. It seemed that sooner or later the Hellfire Club or some other villainous organization would be facing an internal power struggle. That would be a huge benefit if the Society and the other heroes of Earth could take advantage of the ensuing chaos.

With HYDRA active again, the Society had begun its own plans to contain and eliminate the terrorist organization. With the aid of Atlantean technology, several of the bases that S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers didn't know about had already been taken off the map. They'd been able to download some of the files from the terrorist organization's computers, but the information on them was heavily encrypted. But while the Society's best computer programmers were decrypting the data as the council spoke, their assault teams had heard Maleficent's name uttered enough times during their raids to confirm that the Hellfire Club was responsible for HYDRA's resurgence. Having a Keyblade Wielder or two to lend a hand would be a welcome sight for all of them, but for the time being, they seemed to be able to hold their own. Hopefully the situation might be able to stay that way.
[HR][/HR]The big about near misses is a reference to the fact that Captain America: Civil War doesn't happen in this universe. And yes, I intentionally referred to Ant-Man and Wasp as a reference to the upcoming Ant-Man sequel, since Phase 3 isn't canon in this 'verse.

The Chairwoman of the S.A.C.K. leadership council will be another enigmatic figure in this story. But while Madame N.I.'s backstory is going to be revealed in small doses across six stories, the Chairwoman's identity and backstory will be revealed by the end of this story. The Chairwoman is a Marvel character who has already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That's the only clue you'll get.

Just to clarify, this chapter, the previous one, and the next are all happening at the same time as the chapter where Sora proposes. The same goes for the scenes with Loki and Maleficent.

The whole bit about the society publishing a series of video games about the whole "other world's thing" is a reference to Assassin's Creed, where the Templars basically published Animus-based video games that were essentially an in-universe meta-reference to the Assassin's Creed series itself. I thought it would be fun if the people who knew about the Keyblade War did something similar to get the public used to the idea.

The title of this chapter is a reference to the conversation Coulson and Garret had in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. regarding HYDRA's motto, where one of them questioning whether it was the head or the leg of the mythological Hydra that was supposed to grow back. Last chapter didn't really have any significant meaning, I just needed something generic that sounded like a reasonable after-battle title.

The HYDRA base in the Avengers' scene was used by Gideon Malick (the World Security Council member played by Powers Booth in The Avengers, the only one who didn't appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) in the second half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 as HYDRA's main headquarters until Hive (who's in-universe role in the story as the ancient Inhuman worhsiped by the early founders of HYDRA has been taken up by Jenova) decided he no longer needed it and abandoned the place after S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked it near the end of the season.
 
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KeybladeOrder

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As I was writing this chapter, I realized that I forgot about Falcon, War Machine, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch, so I just added a line handwaving that they're off dealing with a different HYDRA base.

Alright, this is the last Earth-based chapter for now, although we will have small scenes set on Earth from time to time. But for the next 27 chapters will be all Kingdom Hearts-focused. We won't be visiting Earth in a major capacity until Chapter 40.
[HR][/HR]Chapter 12: Earth's Mightiest Heroes:
Earth – Shoonebeek Oil Field:

For a moment, Captain America, the First Avenger, the world's first superhero, the "Star-Spangled Man With A Plan" was rendered speechless in shock and horror at the face of the Red Skull, his original nemesis, back from the dead. He was too shocked and confused to even stutter in fear and surprise, mentally trying to figure out how Johan Schmidt could possibly have survived for all these years. And it wasn't just him, all of the Avengers, even Stitch were staring dumbstruck at the mangled face of one of the most feared men in World War II. Like Steve, the Red Skull hadn't even aged a day. Unfortunately, he also had to break the silence before any of them could.

"Surprised to see me, I take it," Schmidt remarked with a triumphant smirk. "I expected as much. After all, it's not every day that your arch foe returns from the dead. Although if your Asgardian friend told you about the true nature of the Tesseract, you should have suspected that I hadn't died, Captain. But in any case, I figure that you deserve at least a partial explanation of how I survived. The Tesseract, or should I call it by it's true name as the Space Stone, transported me to another planet. I was found by a band of rogues who placed me in cryogenic preservation to keep me out of their way until they could find a potential use for my influence and abilities. Eventually, I was rescued by a rival faction that recognized my true genius, and in return for HYDRA's remaining resources, they have returned me to the Earth to reclaim what is rightfully mine." It was then, when Schmidt went into his predictable routine about how the world was his to rule, that the Captain finally found his voice again.

"And what makes you think we'll just roll over and let you take whatever you want?" he retorted, surprisingly calmly. Schmidt's actions as the leader of HYDRA had caused so much pain in Steve's life. The murder of Howard Stark, the brainwashing of Bucky, and other things. But Steve was just that much of a good person that he kept his head clear and his emotions in check until the Red Skull had finally been finished off for good.

"I don't expect you to simply give me what is mine by right," the Red Skull answered mockingly. "But with the aid of the Hellfire Club, you and your pathetic "Avengers" will easily fall." Face the facts, Captain. You failed to stop me all those decades ago, and with the powers of Darkness behind me, you will fail once again, as you always – " Whatever the madman was about to say next was cut off when Steve hurled his shield at the wall-mounted screen. He didn't say anything, but the Avengers could tell from his heavy breathing and the pained expression on his face what he was thinking right now.

Deciding to discuss Captain America's little outburst later, the team finished cleaning out the command center before loading everything onto S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Quinjets to be taken back to The Playground for study. Once that was done, the Avengers all boarded their own quinjet and flew back to their headquarters. Upon their return, everyone went off to do their own thing. Scott, Hope, Kim, and Ron left for a double-date night. Clint dashed off to catch a bus home to his family. Tony flew off to visit Pepper back at Stark Industries headquarters in California. Thor went to go see Jane and bring her up to speed on recent events. Bucky and Sam talked to Steve about his frustration at the Skull's survival.

Rhodes went to report on the World War II-era supervillain's sudden reappearance to the U.S. government. Pietro and Wanda were staying in Sokovia for a few days to visit their friends and family. Stitch had joined the Avengers to keep himself busy while Lilo was in college, and once she'd graduated and became a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, he divided his time between Avengers HQ, The Playground, and visiting his cousins back in Hawaii. The experiments were exposed to the rest of the world following the Chitauri invasion in 2012, and although most of the world was reticent about the idea of powerful extraterrestrials living among humanity, the governments of the world were satisfied with the experiments' desire to remain in the Hawaiian islands, and were therefore left alone. Anyway, Bruce was heading home to his wife, Betty, while the one member of the Avengers who was off on their own tonight was the one with the most red in her ledger.
[HR][/HR]Earth – Avengers Headquarters; Black Widow's bedroom:

"I checked with my contacts," Natasha said to the person on the other end of the phone call. As soon as the team had arrived back at their compound in upstate New York, she'd gone back to her private quarters and put them in lock-down mode. She didn't want anyone overhearing her. "They're getting ready for Endgame." She spoke in a hushed whisper, even though the cameras She had given the other Avengers bits and pieces of her blood-soaked past over the years, but this was one secret even they didn't know, and she preferred to keep it that way.

"Don't joke about that, Natalia," came the voice from the other line.

"I'm dead serious," the Avenger replied. "They've spent the last six years gearing up for Phase One. Now they're going after the Gauntlet. You know what that means."

"They've left us alone for decades," the other woman protested. "Why come after us now?"

"Don't fool yourself, V," Natasha answered. "You know how it works with them. The only reason we've been left alone is because we're too high profile to target openly, but now that they're gathering up the Stones, they don't want any loose ends. We know too much." The former assassin allowed her lips to twitch into a small, satisfied smirk as the voice on the other end of the call sighed in defeated.

"You're right," the woman, "V", admitted. "I just need to figure out how to explain to my co-workers why I'll be going off the grid until we can figure out a way to get them off our backs."

"That makes two of us," the secret agent replied. "But with things the way they are, we need distance in order to fight them. The lower the chances of us exposing their secrets to the world, the less effort they'll put into dragging us back. I've got to go. We're debriefing on our latest HYDRA battle. Stay safe, V. Call if anything changes."

"You too," V responded. "Good luck, R." With that, the call ended and Natasha hung up the phone before walking back to the conference room in Avengers HQ. She suspected that They would go after V first, but as soon as this post-battle team meeting was over, she was going to head to her room and pack a travel bag and get ready to take off at a moment's notice. Not that she didn't trust her teammates, but this was one aspect of her past that she had no desire to share with anyone, ever, under any circumstances. Not even Clint, her closest friend and long-time combat partner, or Bucky, her husband, knew. Once They came after her, Natasha knew that she would need to disappear. As much as she had come to care for her teammates, she couldn't drag them into this conflict.
[HR][/HR]And the mystery deepens… It seems Black Widow has a pretty good idea of everything that's going on. But whose side is she on? In all seriousness, Natasha and "V"'s little subplot will be a major element of the story, and more details will be dripped out over the course of the Acolytes of Chaos Saga. Until V's identity is revealed, lease refrain from posting guesses in reviews to avoid accidentally spoiling anything for anyone reading through the reviews before they actually read the story.

So yeah, Captain America has discovered that the Red Skull is still alive. I figured that since the audience knew already from my previous Acolytes of Chaos stories, I should avoid dragging out the reveal. So now Steve has to deal with the fact that even the Red Skull managed to escape death. Steve's handling it calmly for now, screen smashing aside, but as the story drags on and Schmidt continues to escape justice, Cap's going to get more and more agitated about it.

And yep, Black Widow is paired with Winter Soldier in this universe. I decided that having the two former assassins with dark and troubled pasts paired up made sense, and ran with it since Bruce is with Betty in this storyline.

Regarding the experiments being known to the public, I figured that after the Chitauri invasion they would have come out of hiding eventually. But since they're all happy living on Kauai in Leroy & Stitch, S.H.I.E.L.D. (which has known about them since before the Avengers in this 'verse) worked out a deal with the rest of the world to leave them alone.

Anyway, next chapter we dive right into the first new D
 

KeybladeOrder

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Chapter 13: Zootopia:
Zootopia – ZPD Headquarters:

Sora looked around in wonder at all the anthropomorphic animals around him. Even though Zootopia had been a member of the Daybreak Coalition for two years now, the size and scale of the magnificent metropolis at the world's center continued to amaze him. But despite how much he enjoyed the place, he couldn't help but notice some of the wary glances directed at him and Donald when they were out exploring the city's street. Humans were completely alien to the different species of Zootopia and the surrounding towns, and nobody was used to the idea of an anthropomorphic duck on this world either. The suspicion had died down a bit, and the ZPD officers were an open-minded and accepting bunch, but distrust of humans was still present on the Zootopian streets.

The Keyblade Master turned his attention back to the podium as Chief Bogo walked into the room. Since the Hellfire Club base they were going after today was in Zootopia's terriroty, the large Cape Buffalo was given command of the joint strike team for the upcoming battle.

"Alright, listen up!" the Chief shouted, quieting the room as he got everyone's attention. "Hellfire Club forces have been sighted by Coalition Intelligence at the old hospital where Lionheart was operating during the Night Howler crisis. These criminals are a threat to the people of Zootopia, and to the Daybreak Coalition. We go in and hit them fast, hit them hard." All the animals in the room roared, howled, or trumpeted in excitement before Chief Bogo was able quiet everyone down again.

"This is going to be a three pronged assault," Bogo went on. "Francine, McCorn, Higgins, and myself will be on strike team Alpha. We'll be attacking through the main entrance. Grizzoli, Fangmire, Delgatto, Snarloff, and Wolfard will be team Beta. You'll be parachuting in from the helicopter to attack from below. While the Club forces will be busy repelling the pincer attack, Hopps and Wild will be partnered with Sir Donald, Captain Goofy, and Master Sora. They'll enter through the sewers and catch our targets by surprise. We don't know the extent of the Hellfire Club's resurgence, so our orders are to take as many of them alive as possible. Only use lethal force if absolutely necessary. Alright people, LET'S GO HUNTING!"

Everyone in the room let out an excited cheer as the three strike teams headed down to the precinct garage to gear up and roll out. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde had infiltrated this building before, so Sora, Donald, and Goofy let them take point on their leg of the mission so that things would go as smoothly as possible. The three off-worlders had been good friends with the fox and bunny duo ever since the Coalition made first contact with Zootopia, and it was a blast to be working together again. As they drove through the boroughs of Zootopia towards the tunnels between the Rainforest District and Tundra Town, Sora could only hope that none of the Hellfire Club goons could escape this time. With any luck, they'd be able to wrap this up quickly.

[HR][/HR]Twilight Town – The Old Mansion:

"Director," Agent Yuffie Kisaragi called out as she raced down the hallways of C.I.N. Headquarters after Cassim, the leader of Coalition Intelligence. "I just made contact with Agent Hooter. Leroys have been spotted in Saint Canard." The former King of Thieves stiffened in surprise at confirmation of further activity from those fiends.

"Is it a full base, or only a scouting party?" Cassim inquired as he looked at the so-called "Great Ninja". Yuffie shook her head in answer.

"It's unclear at this point," she replied. "Vanitas has dispatched additional agents to investigate. Once we receive confirmation, I'll pass the information on to the Defense Force." Cassim nodded before gesturing for young woman to follow him to the command center in one of the new rooms they'd dug underneath the mansion. Originally only a two-story ruined landmark, Twilight Town's legendary haunted mansion now sat atop a mutli-story underground bunker housing several offices, armories, and barracks.

"Any word from Vanitas?" the director asked as he and his subordinate stepped into the elevator.

"Negative, sir," Yuffie answered. "Last I heard, he was spending the night in San Fransokyo." Cassim shook his head in exasperation. The former apprentice of Xehanort always had a tendancy to be off doing his own thing right when they were in the middle of a crisis. Not that he could blame the raven-haired Keyblade Wielder. Being in charge of a network of spies was a rather stressful occupation, and everyone dealt with the pressures of the job in their own way. For Cassim, it was the occasional trip to the nearest bar. His second-in-command, however, had come to preferred more physical forms of recreation.

Shaking his head to focus on the task at hand, he told Agent Kisaragi to report to him as soon as they received an update on the situation in Saint Canard. If it was just a handful of scouts, then the Coalition military could handle it. But if there was already a Hellfire Club base in the city, then they had two options depending on the size of the facility and how recently it had been established. A relatively new base could be dealt with by a small strike team of C.I.N. agents relatively quickly, while a larger and entrenched one would require the aid of at least one Keyblade Wielder to eliminate.
[HR][/HR]Since humans don't exist in the world of Zootopia, I figured that there would be a choice between having Sora, Donald, and Goofy taking on Zootopia-like animal forms (like I did for Sora in Sherwood Forest back in The Xehanort War), or, since birds aren't anthropomorphic in that universe, have them stay the same and have Zootopians seeing humanity as aliens be a semi-major plot point. I figured that the latter would be more interesting, so I went with that. And yes, the interquel during the timeskip will have a chapter showing the Coalition's first contact with Zootopia. And while the movie never makes anything explicit, after the ending of the movie, I ship Nick and Judy, and that will be mentioned in the next chapter, along with more background on what happened in Zootopia between the end of the movie and now.

Figured we should have a short scene to pop in and see how things are going with some of the side characters. I figured Yuffie would make a good spy with her whole "great ninja" thing, so I have her as an intelligence operative in this universe. It's probably hectic at Coalition Headquarters, with Vanitas being the Maria Hill to Cassim's Nick Fury. And that's right folks, after San Fransokyo I'll be treating you all to a Darkwing Duck world. ;)
 

KingdomKey

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It's pretty exciting seeing what the world Zootopia is like. Including how the animals react to Sora, Donald and Goofy. I am curious who miss V is in the previous chapter except I probably wouldn't be able to guess correctly because, I don't watch Agent of Shield any. Otherwise, I got real excited seeing Yuffie again. It's super cool how she's a spy with Vanitas. And that job suits them both rather well. Is Vanitas second command to Cassim? And is Cassim from Final Fantasy? (The name sounds awfully familiar to me.) In the meantime, I enjoyed all three updates, KeybladeOrder. :D Can't wait for Darkwing Duck's world!
 

KeybladeOrder

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Working on the next chapter but just wanted to answer your questions. V isn't a marvel character, she's just a regular Disney character. Cassim is Aladdin's dad from Aladdin and The King of Thieves, and yes, Vanitas is his second in command.
 

KingdomKey

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Oh my gosh, I feel a bit embarrassed for missing that tiny detail with Cassim. You even wrote he was the former king of thieves! I must be more tired than I thought. Otherwise, it's good to know V is a Disney character! And I'm excited to hear you're working on the next chapter. :) Thank you for responding so quickly to my questions.
 

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You all know where the chapter title comes from. No need to bother explaining it. [HR][/HR]Chapter 14: Try Everything:
Zootopia – Cliffside Asylum:

I’m just glad these tunnels are big enough for a human to crawl through, Sora thought to himself as he, Donald, Goofy, Judy, and Nick crawled through the storm drains leading out of the abandoned hospital that was now serving as a base of operations for the Hellfire Club. Judy and Nick had come through this way a few years ago on the trail of a missing mammal case, so they took the lead. The sewers weren’t designed with larger species like humans in mind, but there was just enough room for Sora to crawl his way through the pipes. Since Donald was shorter and Goofy skinnier, they had an easier time fitting through the plumbing. As the quintet climbed higher and higher through the large metal tubes, the building shook around them as the ZPD strike teams stormed the asylum.

“We need to hurry,” Judy whispered from the front of the procession, gesturing for everyone behind her to pick up the pace. “We can’t let too many of them get away.” As the group double-timed it through the pipes, Nick couldn’t help but reflect on how much things had changed for the better in Zootopia during the last five years alone. As a cop, he’d gotten a lot more respect than he’d ever gotten before, and inter-species prejudice had finally begun to die down. He’d become a fantastic cop, and after Zootopia joined the Daybreak Coalition, he’d been recruited into the Intelligence Network because of his role in the Night Howler crisis. And just a few months ago, he’d gotten proposed to Judy after being her partner on the police force for nearly five years and her boyfriend for four.

He brought himself back to the present as they emerged from the pipes into an empty room in the hospital. Since the had experience fighting the Hellfire Club, Sora, Donald, and Goofy took the lead from there as they walked through the hallway that had once housed the victims of Assistant Mayor Bellwether’s hate plague. A flash of light from Sora’s Keyblade and the door was unlocked as they raced out of the empty lab and into the corridor. Sirens blared and the building continued to rock under the force of the ZPD assault. With the addition of the third strike team, the base quickly fell, and within the hour, Zootopian police officers were escorting handcuffed Leroys and bizarre creatures that looked like elves wearing porcelain masks.

The hospital’s laboratories were being used to create more of Yzma’s animal transformation potions. Considering the fact that the “scary beyond all reason” potion maker had spent the past six years in Radiant Garden’s dungeons, the fact that her work was still in use by the Hellfire Club was a little alarming. Either that gerbil-like scientist Hamsterviel had managed to reverse engineer her techniques based on samples, or the Hellfire Club was preparing a jailbreak. With the villainous henchmen in custody, most of the ZPD officers were heading back to the precinct to lock up the little a Defense Force gummi ship could arrive to help with the interrogation. Only a few officers remained behind to finish mopping up the evidence and gear left behind.

The quintet was about to head out the door and climb back into the police van when Judy’s ears perked up. As the bunny cop began sniffing the air and Nick began looking around in the dark, the hairs on the back of Sora’s neck stood on end. The group whirled around to find three figures in plain brown robes. And the heroes’ alarm only grew when they saw what the robed intruders were carrying: a box full of animal potions, and an open back full of Night Howler bulbs. [HR][/HR]Radiant Garden – High Tower:

“This is troubling,” the large winged figure commented as he walked beside the ruler of Radiant Garden along the upper levels of the castle as more and more similar looking statues came to life and shed their stone skin. The news the man he was speaking to had delivered was truly disconcerting, and he wished to discuss how best to protect the city.

“I agree, Goliath,” Ansem replied as the duo walked past the remaining gargoyles awakening from their stone slumber with the setting of the sun. A thousand years ago, the gargoyle clan had once served as guardians of human settlement, before prejudice, a brutal massacre, and a bitter military defeat caused a human sorcerer to curse the surviving clan members to remain in stone (their biology caused them to turn to stone at sunrise as their way of sleeping) permanently, until and unless “their resting place rose above the clouds.” Scrooge McDuck had discovered the statues on his travels before the fall of Xehanort, and had them brought to Radiant Garden when he set up shop. Partly because everyone had other priorities at the time (and partly to avoid them being destroyed should Maleficent and Xehanort attack again), Scrooge kept them in storage until after the official end of the Xehanort War.

After the war ended, Ansem and Scrooge decided to have the statues moved to the upper levels of Hollow Bastion for decoration, recalling ancient lore of how such sculptures were used to ward off evil. That evening, the duo bore witness as the gargoyles within awoke for the first time in a millennium. At first, the clan was disoriented by the changes to their surroundings and slightly bitter towards humanity for the betrayal that had led to their predicament, but after a few conversations with the king of Radiant Garden, Goliath and his clan began to warm up to humans once more. Goliath and Ansem quickly became close friends, and the Gargoyle leader had become one of the scientist-king’s most trusted advisors. Which was why Goliath remained at the castle while the rest of his clan flew out to enjoy Radiant Garden’s night life.

“The resurgence of known operatives of the Hellfire Club can only mean that Maleficent has decided she’s done waiting around to conquer,” Goliath went on. “She’s ready to begin her campaign. None of the other members of her cabal have the charisma and leadership necessary to keep all of her allies in line, and they would not trust a newcomer so easily.” Ansem nodded his head in agreement.

“The real question though,” the king answered. “Is just how far her empire has spread without us realizing it.” The two leaders didn’t have a good answer for that question, so they set it aside as they continued their evening walk down to the library while helping to coordinate the defense of the city. After getting over their bitterness over the previous massacre of their clan, the Gargoyles had pledged to defend the city by night on the condition that the Royal Guard protect them while they slept by day. Time differences between worlds would make things challenging, but they’d been discussing Gargolyes enlisting in the Coalition Defense Force and the Intelligence Network for a while now, and in the face of this new crisis, having Gargoyles on the front lines of the conflict could make a huge difference.

[HR][/HR]And now the plot begins to thicken as The Legion begins to take a more active role in the plot. The goals and motivations of the mysterious organization are supposed to remain a mystery until the very end of the Acolytes of Chaos saga, so expect lots of seemingly random moments or acts to make a lot more sense in hindsight when you see the big picture.

Yeah, I know the movie never made it clear if Judy and Nick would hook up later on or if they were just friends, but they had such good chemistry together that my head-canon lands on the side of romance in that debate. I understand that not everyone thinks that they should get together, and I respect that. I just feel that because of their chemistry together in the movie, the odds of Nick and Judy becoming a couple in any sequels, spin-offs, or other follow-up material are extremely high.

That’s right people, I’m bringing Gargolyes into the mix. To avoid over-stuffing the current storyline, the Gargoyles mythos has been heavily streamlined (meaning no Xanatos, Puck, Oberon, or King Arthur. Sorry fellow Gargoyles fans L ) Macbeth and Demona will still have roles to play, but by and large, the Gargoyles characters will only have minor parts in the story. I mainly added them in for new Disney cameos outside of Marvel, but since I heard from an interview with series creator Greg Weisman that there were once failed talks to include the series in the KH games (interview was unclear if it was KH3 or an earlier game), so I decided it would be fun to acknowledge that and have some Gargoyles characters show up in my Acolytes of Chaos Saga.
 
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