• Published 18th Apr 2013
  • 6,193 Views, 212 Comments

Kingdom Hearts: Friendship is Magic - Mudkipman98



The final battle between Sora and Xehanort was a failure. Sora is on his last legs and his friends have all been captured. When he refuses to help Xehanort, he is sent into darkness. What he finds on the other side surprises him above all else.

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Olympus Colosseum (part 3)

Before Sora could move, Fluttershy called to him weakly. "Are you sure I can't just forfeit?" she asked desperately, her voice shaking.

Sora stopped and stood up straight so he could see her, finally meeting her gaze. Her whole body was still shaking, and her wings were snapped to her side in an attempt to make herself look smaller. "I'm sorry, Fluttershy," said Sora. "But I get the feeling we can't."

"But why not?" asked Fluttershy. "Why do I have to fight you?"

"I don't want to say," said Sora. After thinking for a moment, he said, "Let's just say someone who doesn't like us very much is running this tournament."

"Who's that?" asked Fluttershy, growing curious. "And why can't you tell us?"

"I'm afraid I might have already dragged you all into it, but I don't want to risk it if I haven't already," he said quickly. Fluttershy hung her head and started to whimper before Sora spoke again. "But don't hold back." Fluttershy suddenly stopped and looked up. "You can do this, Fluttershy. You can beat us." She watched Donald and Goofy ready themselves. "Now, don't think it'll be easy, but I'm confident you've got the skills to win," he finished with a smile.

"O-okay," said Fluttershy, finally calming down a little bit. "But Sora? Can you please go just a little bit easy on me?"

"Sure," said Sora with a smile. He turned back to his friends before saying, "Let's try to keep to the weaker spells and attacks, okay guys?"

"Sure thing, Sora," said Goofy.

"But do you really think she can beat us?" asked Donald.

"Who knows," whispered Sora back. "But she has to have more confidence in her own strength instead of relying on others. This is the best we can do for her." Donald nodded back as Sora turned to face Fluttershy again.

As Sora prepared to go, Hades suddenly interrupted through the speakers. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don't think you can't give it your all now," he said smugly. Four pillars of stone suddenly erupted from the edge of the circular arena, two behind Sora and two behind Fluttershy. "Let's spice things up a little." The space between the pillars suddenly erupted in flame, causing everyone to jump towards the center to avoid them. The flames made impassable walls, turning the circular arena into a square. "Remember, kids. Don't play with matches," he chuckled to himself. "And if I don't think you're really pushing each other, I'll just add another layer. How do flaming, poisoned arrows sound to you?" Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Fluttershy all cringed before Hades finished. "That's what I thought. Now, go on and tear each other up out there!"

The speaker cut off with a pop, barely audible over the sound of the raging flames. "Well, there goes that plan," said Sora. He saw Fluttershy lying on the ground with both hooves in front of her eyes, quaking in fear and even crying. "This can't go on," he said to himself. He turned away before yelling, "So you want a show, Hades? Then shut off this fire, and you'll get one. But keep it up..." Sora's voice suddenly took on a much darker tone as he said, "then we'll force our way out and come after you personally."

Almost a minute passed without even a static buzz from the speakers. However, the flames shut themselves off, though the pillars remained. Sora smiled to himself before saying, "Good. Now we can get started." He turned back to Fluttershy to find her standing up again, grabbing her keyblade and nodding before crouching slightly to ready herself.

"I'm ready, Sora," she said. "I'll do my best."

"Then let's get started," he responded.

Fluttershy started with the regeneration spell from the last match. Before she could fully execute it, though, she was struck by a ball of fire from Donald and bashed to the ground by Goofy. Wincing when she fell, she did her best to stand up quickly and she barely dodged a series of swings from Sora as he descended on her previous position. As soon as he finished, Fluttershy was upon him, landing a few hits before jumping back to avoid another swing from Goofy.

Donald rushed in and attempted to hit her with a close-up Blizzard spell, but she countered it with Reflect and sent the freezing projectiles shooting back toward him, covering his body in a thin layer of ice on impact. "Oh! I did it!" she cheered in excitement. As soon as her shield was down, however, Sora got in quickly and struck her a few times before knocking her into the air where Goofy landed another hit.

When she hit the ground, she slowly stood back up while the others gave her a chance to recover. Sora ran at her again, but she was ready for him. As soon as he swung, she jumped to the side, using her wings to correct herself and stop just behind him where she landed a few decent hits. Before she could do anything else, both Donald and Goofy came down on her at once, hitting her together and knocking her to the arena floor a few feet away.

Sora cast Cure on himself before turning to Fluttershy, who remained still on the arena's tiles. He let his guard down before slowly walking over to her to make sure she was okay. As soon as he knelt down, however, Fluttershy flared her wings as hard as she could, launching herself a few feet off the ground and back to a standing position. Before Sora could react, she swung horizontally and struck him in the side of the head, knocking him aside as she prepared for Donald and Goofy's attacks. She quickly brought up a Reflect spell to protect herself from a Thunder spell from Donald and to stop Goofy's physical strikes. As soon as Goofy's shield was reflected, the spell released the energy it had built up and it threw Goofy away to send him crashing into Donald.

That's it, she thought to herself. It's a pattern! Every time Sora attacks, Donald and Goofy come right after. Her train of thought was interrupted as Sora struck her several times with his keyblade, knocking her back to the ground. This time though, it was no facade. She tried to stand up, but her body was failing her. She could barely move. "What's happening?" she whimpered.

"You used too much magic at once," said Sora. "You only just learned the Reflect spell, and already you're relying on it. Guarding Donald's magic and Goofy's attacks so quickly drained you. That attack I just used only finished the process. I'm sorry, Fluttershy, but you can't keep fighting like this," he said as he relaxed from his battle posture. Sora was about to call out to the announcer to end the match and that Fluttershy was going to give in when he was stopped by more crying. He looked back to Fluttershy to see her body shaking. "Fluttershy?" asked Sora, concerned.

"N-no," she sobbed. "I d-don't want to give up." She started shifting as she struggled in vain to move her hooves. "I wanted to-to show you that I can fight. Th-that I can be a strong part of the team. But I had to hurt Pinkie Pie, and now I have to fight you? How can I help you all?"

"Fluttershy," was all Sora could say as he watched her slowly moving. She struggled greatly, but managed to sit up on the arena floor. After another minute, she stood again, holding her keyblade off to the side. Her breathing was ragged and several tears still rolled down her face.

Sora couldn't bear to look anymore. He lowered his head and ran at Fluttershy as fast as he could. He pulled back his keyblade, flipped over her, and struck her hard in the neck with the hilt. As Fluttershy lost consciousness and fell, Sora said to her, "You've done great. Rest up." As soon as Fluttershy hit the floor, the announcer made his decision over the intercom.

"The winner is team number 1!" he said. Before the curative drones could surface, Sora scooped up Fluttershy and carried her to her open gate. He entered it and set her down in her room before leaving and returning to his own.

As soon as he entered his room, his headset materialized around his head and it immediately filled his ears with the sound of Twilight screaming at him. "What did you do?!" she shrieked in fear and anger. Her voice was joined by the others shortly.

"How could you do that to poor Fluttershy?" asked Applejack, sounding more sad than angry.

"I'll kill you!" shouted Rainbow Dash.

"Everyone, shut up!" yelled Sora. The speakers in his headset went silent at his command. "First off, it was the only way to save her. She was pushing herself too hard to try to prove that she could fight. You all saw her out there. Twilight, you should know more than anyone else what happens when you expend your magic. Imagine that happening to a pegasus whose normal range of magical abilities consists of pushing around clouds! I had to knock her out before she took it too far and surpassed her limits. And second, I had to make it look convincing for Hades. Knowing him, he wouldn't have let Fluttershy go on talking like that for long. He wanted excitement and a fight to watch. It was a risky move, but it was the best I could do!"

"I never want to hurt my friends. I'd destroy anyone who does the same. Do you really think it was easy for me to knock her out like that?! I haven't known you all for that long, but I do know this: you all care the world for each other. There's a reason for that, so I believe in those reasons even though I don't understand them yet. She deserves protection just as much as you all, so as long as I still have a heart, I won't hesitate to do what has to be done to save my friends, including all of you!"

Silence filled the frequency for a little bit longer until Twilight finally spoke up. "We're sorry, Sora," she sighed. "Fluttershy is the kindest, most gentle pony I know, and to see her get hurt like that by someone we thought - and now know - was our friend; I think we all lost control."

More silence, and then, "That's okay, everyone," Sora spoke again in his normal, cheery voice. "There's something more going on here. Let's focus on that. After the tournament, we'll do some investigating and figure out exactly what's happening; with Pinkie Pie and with everything else." He dismissed his headset before sitting down again. None of his teammates said a word, not even Riku.

"Gee, Sora. Isn't that a little bit dark for you?" came Hades' voice over the intercom. "That whole 'I'd destroy anyone' bit was pretty intense. What's gotten into you?" he finished mockingly.

"Shut up," shouted Sora. "You don't know the half of it." No sound came back through the speakers, and before they knew it, the announcer was voicing the fighters in the next match.

"The next match will be between fighter 5 and the team of fighters 2 and 3."

"Aren't those..." began Riku.

"Applejack and Rainbow Dash?" finished Sora.

As he finished, the gates opened and Rainbow Dash flew into the arena, followed closely by Applejack, both spinning their keyblades. "Who wants some?!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"Come an' get it while it's hot!" shouted Applejack enthusiastically.

Twilight stepped out of her gate at a steady pace, dismissing Rainbow Dash and Applejack's overenthusiastic mood. "Oh no," she said out loud, sounding annoyed.

"Alright! We get to fight Twi!" said Rainbow Dash, even more excited now.

Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack stepped in first, Twilight coming in on the other end. "Are you both really so happy to be fighting each other like this? Shouldn't we be out trying to find a portal to the dark realm? That's still our goal, isn't it?"

"That can wait," said Rainbow Dash as she waved a hoof dismissively. "Besides, we never got a chance to really check out our skills."

"An' fightin' you sounds like a lot of fun," added Applejack.

Twilight sighed again before saying, "But why should we be fighting in some tournament? Why couldn't we have just practiced ourselves?"

"I guess you'd just have to ask Sora," offered Rainbow Dash. "He's the one who told us all to enter separately."

"Oh, I plan to," said Twilight under her breath.

As soon as she summoned her keyblade, the announcer came back on and said, "The fight between combatant number 5 and team 2-3 will begin... now!"

Applejack and Rainbow Dash immediately split apart, attempting to flank Twilight on either side. As they approached to attack, however, Twilight cast Thunder around her, halting both of her opponents before she leaped at Applejack. She swung her keyblade in an arc as her spell died down, causing the remaining bolts of lightning to charge Twilight's keyblade before it impacted Applejack, knocking her back and stunning her as she crackled with electricity.

When Rainbow saw her teammate taking a beating, she charged toward Twilight before casting Blizzara around her keyblade, freezing it and giving it a temporary ice attribute. When she uppercut Twilight in an attempt to knock her into the air, Twilight froze on contact with the keyblade before being launched, coating her in a thick layer of frost rather than the massive block of ice that Rainbow Dash had expected.

As Twilight struggled to thaw before she was attacked, Applejack stood, grabbed Rainbow Dash by the hoof and spun, sending Rainbow flying into the air at lightning fast speed. Just as Twilight thawed and started to fall, Rainbow Dash reached her, jabbing her in the back and launching her further as the air went rushing out of her lungs.

While Rainbow glided back down the Applejack, she watched Twilight's eyes flickering as she struggled to remain conscious as she got closer and closer to the ground. When she landed, she passed out, but only for a brief second. She quickly jumped back up and held her keyblade in front of her so that she could guard any oncoming attacks. She thanked Celestia when she realized that none had come her way.

"What was that?!" said Rainbow Dash indignantly as she stomped a hoof. "I thought we had you!"

"Auto-Life spell," she smirked. "Remember the doppelganger spell I used against Rarity? This was another from the book. It allows soldiers to quickly recover as long as their wounds aren't fatal. I cast it before we started fighting just in case you beat me."

Rainbow Dash and Applejack's jaws dropped when they heard Twilight's explanation. "In fact, I've got another one to show you," said Twilight confidently.

A moment later, her horn started to glow as her body became cloaked in her violet aura. She took a single step toward the others, leaving a violet trail of magic behind her. She turned her head to make sure it was there as she watched it fade out. "Perfect," she said with a smile as she turned back toward Rainbow Dash and Applejack.

Taking another step, this time with her keyblade raised, she darted forward, leaving a trail of magic in her wake. In under a second, she became visible next to Applejack as she brought her keyblade to her friend's chin, launching her back and knocking her out instantly.

"What the-" A swing from Twilight against Rainbow Dash silenced her as she was forced to block. Twilight continued her assault, striking from left to right relentlessly and pushing Rainbow to the limits of her guarding speed.

When Rainbow faltered just an inch, Twilight deflected her keyblade before jumping high into the air and bringing her own down on her friend, knocking her out as well and ending the match.

"The winner is fighter number 5!" cheered the announcer. "Fighters 2 and 3, please return to your gates."

Rainbow Dash and Applejack stumbled as they stood up. Seeing this, Twilight quickly cast Cure on both of them to recover their strength. "That was some spell," said Rainbow Dash as she rubbed her aching head. "But did you have to go so hard on us?"

"Did you really expect me to fight fair?" asked Twilight with a smirk. "It was two on one, and I say my actions were completely... justified..." As she finished speaking, she began to waver before falling to the arena floor, motionless.

"Twilight?" asked Rainbow, approaching her friend quickly before kneeling down next to her.

"Is she okay?" asked Applejack.

"How am I supposed to know?" retorted Rainbow. "She's still breathing," she said as she saw the gradual rise and fall of Twilight's chest.

"Let's get her back to her booth," said Applejack as she moved to Twilight, struggling to lift her up. Rainbow gently assisted her and they laid Twilight across Applejack's back. Together, the three returned to Twilight's gate and set her down inside, propping her up against the wall. As soon as they were finished and they'd returned to their gates, the announcer's voice came back on over the intercom.

"We'll be taking a short break before the final two matches. The break will last for half an hour, so be back in front of your gates at that time." As soon as he was finished speaking, everyone's gates back to the arena lobby slid open, allowing the group freedom for the time being.

As soon as each of Sora's party was out, they immediately grouped up. "Where's Twilight?" asked Sora as he searched for her among the team.

"She's probably still resting in her gate," offered Rarity. "I'm sure she'll be fine, though. She's a tough one," she finished with a smile.

"If you say so," said Riku, hesitant to believe her.

"Riku," began Applejack, "could you take a look at Pinkie Pie now? After what happened in the arena, we're really worried about her."

"Why would you guys be worried about me?" she asked with a subtle tilt of her head. She gasped before asking, "Did I do something wrong?"

"I'm not sure," said Sora as he crossed his arms. "Something happened to you out there, but you don't seem to remember it. Riku, can you really tell what's wrong with her?"

Riku looked to Pinkie to see her frowning at him, fear in her eyes. "To be honest, I won't know until I look." Turning back to Sora, he said, "Sora, do you remember what happened to you during our Mark of Mastery exam?"

"Yeah," answered Sora as his body seemed to droop. "I almost got trapped in the dream world, but you dove back into my heart and saved me." It took Sora few moments to pick up on what Riku was suggesting. "You're not saying-"

"Yes, I am," said Riku firmly as he cut Sora off.

"What's wrong?" asked Fluttershy as she visibly shrank.

"During our Mark of Mastery exam, the test was hijacked," said Sora. "Xehanort, the man we're trying to find in the dark realm, created a trap in the sleeping worlds." He could see the confusion on the pony's faces at the mention of their test. "In short, it's a test to determine weather or not a warrior of light has become a master with the keyblade."

The ponies let out a collective, "Oohhhh," as he paused.

"While Riku and I were testing, we walked into a trap. They tried to make me one of the dark pieces of the X-Blade. It might have worked, but Riku saved me by diving into my heart and rescuing me."

"What do you mean 'diving'?" asked Rainbow.

"It's too hard to explain," said Riku quickly to try and dismiss the others' curiosity. This only stoked that fire further. "Anyway, I could try the same thing in order to figure out what's wrong with Pinkie, but it may take some time. If I remember right, Sora, our team, Twilight, and Princess Luna are the only three competitors remaining. If we're unlucky and we're the first ones up, then can you, Donald and Goofy handle the fight?"

"Of course we can!" rebutted Donald.

Riku smiled at Donald's confidence. "Glad to hear it," he chuckled. "Just stay focused. Don't go all out unless you really need to."

"You got it," said Sora as he pounded a fist to his chest. "We can handle 'em."

"So how long is it gonna take?" asked Goofy.

"To be honest, I won't know until I try. Pinkie, are you ready?" asked Riku.

"I guess so," she said worriedly.

"Okay then," said Riku. "Everyone, stand back." The group backed away from Riku and Pinkie Pie, giving them as much space as possible. "Sora, as soon as we start, take me back to our gate. Applejack and Rainbow Dash, you guys take Pinkie back to hers, got it?"

"Sure thing," said Applejack, still wary of what would happen.

"Then here we go," said Riku. He summoned his keyblade and leveled it at Pinkie Pie. "Just relax, okay?"

"Okey dokey lokey," answered Pinkie nervously.

Riku shut his eyes and concentrated his light, charging the tip of his keyblade with it. "Here we go!" he yelled. At that exact moment, a beam of light shot from his keyblade and impacted Pinkie Pie, causing her to stumble back for a moment as her eyes went wide in shock. Riku's eyes slowly shut as he went limp and fell. Sora rushed forward to catch him as Pinkie fell too, Rarity catching her.

"Are they alright?" she asked as she gently set her unconscious friend down.

"I hope so," said Sora worriedly as he knelt beside Riku. "He told us to take them back to their gates though..." After a few minutes of carrying them to their gates, the two sleeping keyblade wielders were resting inside, left to their own devices.

They quickly reconvened back in the lobby. "Where's Princess Luna?" asked Fluttershy, scanning the lobby for any sign of the princess.

"I don't know," said Rainbow Dash as she and the others started looking around. "I didn't see her leave her gate, so maybe she's still there."

"Well, don't you think we should check on her?" suggested Sora. "I mean, when Riku and I ran into her yesterday-"

"Wait, what?" asked Applejack. "Why didn't you say somethin' earlier?! Twilight woulda wanted to know that!"

"I was getting around to it," said Sora as he scratched the back of his head. "Anyway, when we talked to her, she said that her time as Nightmare Moon changed her heart and she's traveling the worlds, trying to fight the darkness and find her light again, but I don't understand what that means. She thinks that as warriors of light, we may be able to help."

"Then let's talk to Twilight as soon as she wakes up," said Rarity. "She may know how to help the princess. After all, she helped her come out her shell on Nightmare Night."

"Is that like Halloween?" asked Sora in confusion.

"What the hay is Halloween?" asked Applejack. Both parties eyed each other in confusion. A few moments later, the announcer came back on over the intercom.

"Ten minutes until the semifinal match. Ten minutes until the semifinal match," he repeated. "All participating combatants must be back in their gates by that time or you will be disqualified and lose by default."

"I guess we should finish up and be ready to go," offered Donald as he turned back to their gate. "Let's go, Sora."

"Yeah," added Goofy. "Let's all talk after the match with Twilight and that Princess of hers."

"Okay," said Sora, still confused about the whole Nightmare Night/Halloween business. As all of the ponies retreated to their gates and awaited the start of the final matches, Riku's hand started twitching as he dreamed...

/)*#*(\

As Twilight began to wake up from magically exhausting herself, she could make out the voice of the announcer repeating something over the intercom. After rubbing away the drowsiness from her eyes, she managed to understand what it said.

"Repeat, contestant number 5, if you do not enter the arena then you will be disqualified." As soon as the words registered in her brain, she sprung up and rushed out of her gate to the arena. She was still half asleep, but she managed to get to the fighting area. Standing in the arena was Sora, Donald, and Goofy, each holding their weapons but remaining relaxed.

"So the semi-final match is between you three and I?" asked Twilight.

"Looks like it," said Goofy.

"Hey, Twilight," said Sora as he started to smile. "Now that you're stronger, why don't we treat this as a rematch for our practice battle in the lumber yard back on Equestria?"

"Sounds good to me," said Twilight as she summoned her keyblade and crouched into a fighting stance.

"Without further ado, the semi-final match of the Hades cup tournament will begin... now!" shouted the announcer.

"Wait a minute," said Sora out loud. "This is a Hades cup?!" As soon as he had finished his sentence, Twilight dashed past Donald and Goofy before knocking Sora across the arena hard. Before Donald and Goofy could react, she took her keyblade in her magic and quickly bashed them aside before leaping back to plan her next move.

Her three opponents stood up shakily before Donald cast Cure on the group, recovering them slightly. "How did you do that?" asked Sora in disbelief.

"I guess some of the agility spell I used against Rainbow Dash and Applejack is still active," she confessed.

"Then that just gives us more of a challenge," answered Sora with a smirk as he charged Twilight. It took a lot of focus to guard his attacks, and it quickly pushed Twilight to the edge of her strength as she was forced to continue blocking swing after swing.

As Sora struck over and over again, part of his mind was still occupied by what the announcer had said. This was a Hades cup? If that was the case, then the final match would be against Hades himself. Three scenarios crossed his mind. If he won, then Sora would have to face off against Princess Luna in the finals. If Twilight won, then she would have to do the same. The winner of the final match would then have to challenge Hades. Sora lost his concentration just enough for Twilight to cease her guarding and counter attack, staggering Sora as she unleashed a Blizzard spell at him.

The magic blasted through Sora as Goofy rushed in to fill his place, rushing at Twilight and knocking her aside with his shield as he broke into a run. When he reached the edge of the arena, Goofy turned around and dashed back for another hit.

Donald, meanwhile, had just recovered his magic and was busy pounding Twilight repeatedly with Thundara spells, stunning her over and over again. This only angered her and she countered with Thunder spells of her own, her unicorn magic adding to her power and defeating Donald. Sora immediately focused more, realizing that this was the first time that a party member had been KO'd during the tournament. Not long after, Twilight fired repeated Fire spells at Goofy, bringing him down as well.

"It looks like it's just you and I left, Sora," said Twilight snidely, glowing with pride at her skill.

"It's about to get a lot harder for you," rebutted Sora. Twilight was about to ask why as if she expected an answer when Sora activated a drive form that she didn't recognize. As he was lifted into the air and the barrier surrounded him, Twilight stepped back a little and cautiously watched Sora, both curious and afraid of what new powers Sora would possess.

As it turned out, Twilight didn't have to wait long. As soon as the barrier was down, she was met with Sora charging her with lighting fast jabs over and over again, knocking her around like a rag doll. All she could make out as she was struck repeatedly was a blinding flurry of white, red, and gold. After the final few hits, Sora retreated and downed an ether, recovery his recently spent energy.

Sora didn't give Twilight a very long period to recover as he unloaded a Strike Raid at her. The first few keys, Twilight was able to guard. However, the fourth broke through her guard and threw her into the air. The final Judgement strike knocked her out as she plummeted to the arena floor in a motionless heap. Sora sensed that the battle wasn't over as he prepared for her to stand.

Sure enough, she had prepared beforehand with another auto-life spell and was standing up again shortly, panting hard. "What *gasp* was that?" she breathed more than spoke.

"This is Limit Form," jeered Sora. "Got it memorized?" he added, tapping the side of his head with a finger like Lea had always done.

The gesture confused Twilight, so she brushed it off. "I meant those attacks," she added. "What were they?"

"The first one is called Sonic Blade," explained Sora. "That last one is known as Strike Raid. They're some of the best moves I've got," he added with a smug grin. "In fact, why don't I show you another?" Twilight cringed with fear at the mention of even more overpowering moves as she backed up and prepared herself.

Sora charged toward her rapidly with his keyblade at his side, ready to unleash another limit. As he approached, Twilight tried to slow him down with Thunder spells, but he powered through them despite the crackling electricity clinging to his body. As soon as he was close, his keyblade lit up with a golden light as he unleashed Ars Arcanum. He swung his keyblade around in a berserk rage, knocking Twilight around despite her attempts at blocking them. In a matter of seconds, Sora finished off the limit with a final strike, launching Twilight into the air before jumping up after her. With the last of his magic, he unleashed his final attack; Ragnarok.

To start the move, Sora landed even more hits against Twilight before throwing her down to the arena floor and overcharging his keyblade as he hovered in mid-air. At Twilight tried to stand again, swaying as she did, she looked up to see a massive ball of energy building around Sora. Before she could even utter a protest, Sora fired off the energy, unleashing a salvo of light in spiraling orbs, spinning around Twilight before striking her all at once, knocking her back down to the floor as they finished her off.

"The winner is Team One!" shouted the announcer. "That means the final match will be between Team One and combatant 10. Fighters, please return to your gates and await the final match," he finished.

Sora reverted from Limit form before casting Cure and healing Donald and Goofy. They both stood up shakily as Donald asked, "Did we win?"

"We sure did," said Sora with a smile. "The announcer told us to go back to our gates, so let's get ready and resupply before our match with the princess."

"Good idea," said Donald as he and Goofy trudged back to their gate, Sora close behind. Before he stepped through, he paused and cast Cure on Twilight as well, healing her before he departed.

/)*#*(\

The dive through Pinkie's heart and memories was a mixed bag of secrets. At first, Riku could see some of Pinkie's most precious memories; the times that she spent with her friends learning and playing. Put simply, enjoying her life and the experiences that went with it.

But near the end, things grew dark. He saw a depressed Pinkie Pie, hating her life and going through all kinds of withdrawals about herself. Riku could see the conflicts with her friends from a darker outlook. The memory that disturbed him the most, however, he stopped diving to watch unfold before him.

He could see how, when she felt that her friends were avoiding her, she had changed completely. Pinkie's heart grew dark and she shut everyone out. She shut herself in her room and started talking to herself. Riku watched as her heart started insulting her friends and even attacking itself, splitting into two halves; a heart full of happiness and light through which Pinkie had lived her life up to that point, and a dark heart. One full of hatred and evil that was waiting in a dormant state. That is, until recently. The acquisition of the keyblade reawakened that darkness when Pinkie opened her heart of light up to wield the keyblade.

Before the memory could continue further, it disappeared, replaced by a flood of darkness that began to spread throughout the area, consuming the other memories one by one. "Crap," said Riku as he started to fall again, resuming his dive. Before he got too far away, he pointed his keyblade at the swarming darkness and fired a burst of light at it, dispelling it and freeing the memories that were being swallowed. However, as Riku turned back around to dive headfirst, he could see the darkness changing direction and pursuing him out of the corner of his eye.

"Well this is just great," he said out loud in frustration. He straightened as he fell in an attempt to increase his speed, but it only afforded him a few extra seconds before the darkness caught up with him.

It first wrapped around him like a massive tentacle, binding his arms and legs and making him drop his keyblade. He, as well as the darkness, continued falling as it constricted him and choked the life out of him.

Just when he thought he would be swallowed, the tendrils started pushing on him, driving him further down and toward the rapidly approaching stained-glass platform. Riku braced himself as he was shoved into it hard, knocking him out in an instant. He would have been swallowed by Pinkie's uncontrollable darkness had it not been for a spark of light that Riku hadn't felt for a long time.

The crushing and overwhelming darkness had suddenly retreated and was replaced with a warm light. When Riku opened his eyes, he found himself face to face with a large, candy colored bat flapping it's wings hard in an attempt to wake him with gusts of wind. He immediately recognized it.

"A dream eater?" he said. As soon as he was standing, it nuzzled him affectionately. "Hey, cut it out!" he chuckled. After a few moments, he remembered where he was. He spun around and took in his surroundings. He was on a stained-glass pillar depicting Pinkie Pie in a state of pure joy. In the picture, she was laughing and pictures of her friends smiling surrounded her. That is, on one half.

The second half of the pillar depicted a depressed Pinkie Pie, her hair straightened and her color drained in depression. This Pinkie was grimacing as darkness was built up behind her.

After a moment of taking in his surroundings, the dream eater bat redirected his attention to the edge of the arena where he saw the darkness from before beginning to gather. After a few moments, it began to solidify into the shape of the dark Pinkie Pie. It was pitch black like a shadow heartless, all except for the eyes which glowed a deep, amber gold. As it stepped onto the platform from over the dark abyss below, Pinkie's keyblade appeared in front of it. Slowly, it stood up on it's back legs and held the keyblade in the exact same style as Riku, taking the exact posture and relaxed crouch. The candle that made up the keyblade's shaft burned with a deep purple and black flame that pulsed with the power of darkness like an ominous drum beat.

"Pinkie Pie?" asked Riku, hoping to get some sort of answer to his confusion. Instead, Pinkie jumped into the air and fired off a Dark Firaga spell, forcing Riku to jump away to dodge it. Unfortunately, as he backed up, the spell changed its trajectory and followed Riku, impacting him hard and searing him as he tumbled to the ground.

Immediately after, the dark Pinkie dropped back down and rushed him, pulling her keyblade back and going for a sharp jab. Crap, thought Riku as she got close. I won't have time to dodge! Riku braced himself, but found that no attack came. Instead, he saw a blur of color dash in front of him and take the hit instead.

As Pinkie's jab made contact, she seemed to stop in midair before back flipping away, leaving a wispy trail of darkness from her keyblade as she landed. The dream eater that had protected Riku was the bat that woke him earlier. It drifted to the ground as it lost consciousness, glowing slightly as it began to dissolve. Riku sprang up and dashed forward, prompting Pinkie to do the same as they both dashed for the downed dream eater.

As Pinkie approached, she leaped into the air and prepared for a downward jab through the dream eater. At the exact moment that her attack would've landed, Riku slid under her and scooped up his old friend, leaving behind a small trail of stardust in its wake that slowly faded away.

As soon as he was in the clear, Riku focused his light and used it to revive his dream eater, causing it to flutter to life and hover next to him. "Where are the others?" asked Riku to the dream eater. It shook its body left and right, giving a rapid gesture of confusion as well. "Well then, I guess it's just you and I," said Riku as he turned toward the dark Pinkie who was now glaring at him from across the platform. "Here we go."

Pinkie was the first to strike. She charged forward yet again, jabbing with a powerful darkness flowing from her keyblade. Riku quickly sidestepped and struck Pinkie from the side, knocking her down and giving Riku's dream eater a chance to attack as well.

As soon as both Riku and his dream eater had attacked, they both jumped away to analyze Pinkie's recovery speed. She quickly popped up like a spring before glaring again at Riku. Again, she charged them using the same jabbing attack.

"Are you serious?" asked Riku to himself. Again, he jumped aside as he and the dream eater repeated their attack from earlier, striking Pinkie again. Once again, they jumped away from her and watched her recovery again.

Yet again, they found Pinkie popping up like a spring board ready to repeat her attack as if she hadn't been struck in the first place. "We're getting no where," grunted Riku under his breath. An idea came to him as he pondered a possible solution.

This time, when Pinkie charged him and went for a jab, he took the attack head on and guarded it before countering with a burst of light to stun Pinkie. As soon as she was stunned, Riku and his dream eater combined their attack to bash Pinkie around, pushing her back toward the edge of the arena. However, as soon as they came close to the edge, she teleported behind Riku and jabbed, sending both him and his dream eater over the edge.

As Riku started falling, he reached for his dream eater and shouted, "Now!" In a fraction of a second, the bat combined with Riku as it smothered him in darkness. Riku kept it far away from his heart using light, being sure to only use it in his attack rather than fueling his attacks with only darkness.

The moment his dream eater combined with him, he sprouted dark wings and soared back over the edge, high above Pinkie. Before she could react, Riku dove straight down at her, putting all of the dream eater's darkness into the jab as he reached her. Right before he struck, Riku forced his light through the darkness, transforming the darkness into pure light. This shocked Riku at first, but he ignored it for the moment.

In a blinding display of light, Riku's keyblade impaled the dark Pinkie, causing him to blast through her using light as he slid to a stop on the pillar of Pinkie's heart. He quickly turned to see the dark Pinkie, split down the middle as it started to dissolve into darkness, falling to the floor and sinking into it as it returned to Pinkie's heart.

Riku's dream eater separated from him, drained of its energy as its natural darkness had been overpowered by Riku's light. It whimpered lightly in pain, causing Riku to turn to it. "Sorry about that," he apologized when he realized what he'd done. "But I needed to use light. You're okay, right?"

The bat slowly nodded as it started to slow its wing beats, drifting to the ground. Riku quickly cast Cure on it, recovering its strength enough to keep it flying. "That should keep you going," added Riku with a smile. "I still need your help though." When Riku's friend tilted its head, Riku added, "I need you to stay here in Pinkie's heart and watch it closely. I don't think we wiped that thing out completely, so it's important that we keep an eye on her. Can you do that?" The bat quickly nodded its head yes. "Great. I'm counting on you," finished Riku with a smile before he turned and held his keyblade up. A burst of light shot from it and a portal to the real world opened again. Riku quickly stepped through, ready to report back to Sora and the others.

He failed to notice, however, that Pinkie's darkness had gathered again around the portal before shooting through after him.

/)*#*(\

Riku slowly opened his eyes in the real world, finding Sora and his friends sitting around in their room, seemingly waiting for him. "Oh Riku, you're awake," said Sora when he noticed Riku's eyes open. "So what happened?"

"Well, it was... interesting to say the least," began Riku. He recounted as much as he could about what he saw and experienced in Pinkie's heart.

"But how did one of your dream eater's get in Pinkie's heart?" asked Sora.

"I guess it was still with me as part of mine," answered Riku, racking his brain for further answers. After a moment, he added, "I acted as your dream eater in your heart during our exam, so maybe my dream eaters came from me. Maybe that's where it came from."

"That makes sense... sort of," said Sora as he tapped a finger to his forehead as he tried to understand it.

Before he could keep thinking, the announcer came on over the intercom. "Team one and combatant 10, please enter the arena for the final match," he said before the crackling of a disconnected signal filled the intercom briefly.

"So who are we fighting again?" asked Riku as he stood up.

"Princess Luna; the one we ran into yesterday in the city below," said Sora.

"Alright. Have you decided on who you want to fight with you?" asked Riku.

"I was thinking you and I should go together," said Sora with a smile. "After all, we know what's coming, don't we? I get the feeling Donald and Goofy would be too unprepared."

"What's that supposed to mean?" asked Donald indignantly.

"It means just what I said," said Sora calmly. "Riku and I know what's coming. You two will get wrecked out there because of the strength and speed of her attacks. I get the feeling only Riku and I will be able to handle her speed and be able to counter her."

"But shouldn't we still go with in case something happens to you or Riku?" asked Goofy. "Besides, we could just watch at first so we can see what she does. Then, if you need help, we can jump in."

"Good point," said Riku as he weighed their options too. On one hand, having Donald and Goofy in case Sora and him couldn't handle the princess was a helpful safety net. But, on the other hand, if he and Sora were both defeated, the chances of Donald and Goofy surviving long enough to revive either of them were slim. Eventually, he settled on the former.

"Sora, maybe we do need their help as back up if nothing else. If the Princess overpowers us, we could use them as backup. Besides, they're stronger than they look," added Riku with a chuckle.

Before the others could speak, the announcer came back on over the intercom. "Combatants for the final match, enter the arena now to begin."

"Well, here we go," said Sora. "Donald, Goofy, stay on the sidelines for a while while Riku and I take the princess head on. If something happens to either of us, jump in and support us, okay?"

"Gotcha, Sora," said Goofy as he drew his shield. Donald followed suite by drawing his staff. Sora and Riku both summoned their keyblades as they turned to leave, making their way to the arena.

When they stepped out of their gate, they saw Princess Luna already waiting for them in the arena. When she noticed Sora and Riku enter while leaving Donald and Goofy behind, she said, "So you choose to fight me alone?" Sora and Riku both nodded shortly. "That is either very bold or very foolish," she replied. Luna raised her hoof as darkness began to gather around it. In a burst of darkness, her keyblade appeared, covering the arena in a cloak of darkness that found pinpricks of light in its surface to create the illusion of stars above the arena. This barrier sealed Donald and Goofy outside and prevented them from getting in. "We'll see which one you've chosen," she added as her Nightmare Moon armor surrounded her.

When Sora realized that Donald and Goofy were separated from them, he said, "Are you serious? Again?!" Before he could complain further, the announcer's voice came over the intercom.

"The final match of the Hades cup tournament will begin... now!"

Luna started with the attack she used against Auron during their match, creating a jet of energy like the night sky shooting toward Sora and Riku. Sora immediately cast Reflect, stopping the attack just before it made contact with him and Riku. Luna's magic fizzled out as the Reflect spell activated and fired bursts of light out. Unfortunately, Luna was too far away to be affected by the magic.

Just as Sora's shield dropped, Luna rocketed forward and jabbed him in the stomach, knocking the air out of him as he was propelled backward into the wall of darkness before he fell to his knees on the floor of the arena. Before Riku could react, Luna spun and cut him across with her keyblade. Her attack propelled him backward and staggered him long enough for Luna to land a long string of attacks against him.

Sora quickly cast Cura to heal both himself and Riku before standing and running at Luna as she continued striking Riku. When Luna drew her arm back to bring a final strike on Riku, Sora jumped in the way and held up his keyblade in defense, stopping the Princess's attack and pushing her away from Riku.

As Luna slid backwards on the arena floor, Riku used an elixir to heal himself before he said to Sora, "She's incredible. She's so much faster than when fought her before."

"I noticed," said Sora as he gasped for air. The speed of his movements and guarding had already exhausted him, especially after the damage Luna's attack had done. His Cura spell and the elixir hadn't healed him enough. "We might have to use Session early."

"Already?" asked Riku as he took his eyes off of the recovering Princess in front of them.

"I don't think we have a choice," said Sora. "Let's do it!"

"Alright," said Riku apprehensively as he held his keyblade high in the air, touching it against Sora's as he followed suite.

Luna paused as she watched Riku and Sora charge their light together. When they were ready, both Sora and Riku shouted "Session!" Their attack followed in the same way as before when facing Luna. Both Sora and Riku dashed forward and started bashing at Luna together, knocking her around before backing up a few feet. Then, they repeatedly jabbed her over and over again, knocking her in between them. Sora and Riku quickly combined their keyblades into one blinding streak of light as they continued their attack before Sora split them into thirteen separate blades, each one striking her at his command. To finish the attacks, Sora and Riku's keyblades reformed as they drew the Princess into the air before battering her from both sides with light as she hung suspended above the arena.

When the attack finished and Sora and Riku summoned their keyblades back, they found that Luna was standing up and brushing herself off as if the attack had barely touched her. "I suppose you were actually foolish to challenge me alone. Your attack just proved as much."

"What are you talking about?" asked Sora as he searched for any indication that their attack was successful.

"You used the same attack on me yesterday. Did you really think that I had forgotten our battle?"

That stopped Sora and Riku for a moment. Immediately, they thought back to their fight before. When Sora recalled it, he remembered that he had indeed used the same move. Before he could think more about it, Luna pointed her keyblade at him before firing a jet of darkness his way. Sora wasn't fast enough to stop the attack.

The blast pierced straight through his chest, causing him to freeze in place as the darkness circulated through his system. "Sora!" shouted Riku as he noticed his friend's damage. The darkness slowly drew out of him, bringing with it a loud SHIIIINK sound, like a sword dragging out of a body. When the darkness retracted and returned to Luna's keyblade, Sora's eyes shut and he dropped to the floor, unconscious.

Riku turned back to Luna, shouting, "What did you do to him?!"

"Don't worry," said Luna, a sly grin stretching across her face. "I just tore the darkness from his heart." Luna's voice changed to a harsher tone as her keyblade turned black, channeling more darkness into her body and causing her armor to glow a ghostly blue. Her eyes briefly flashed white, leaving behind thin, dragon-like irises.

Riku glanced back to Sora, watching as Roxas began materializing behind him, keyblade in hand. Wait. Keyblade? thought Riku. Roxas was holding only Sora's Kingdom Key instead of the Oathkeeper and Oblivion keyblades. He also still wore his attire from Twilight town. As soon as Roxas appeared, he fell to his knees, clutching his chest as he screamed in pain. "What's wrong, Roxas?" asked Riku, fearing for his safety.

"Urgh," groaned Roxas as he tried to speak. "She did something... to Sora," he struggled through clenched teeth as he pounded a fist to the arena floor. "My heart... it hurts..."

"Heart?" asked Riku. "But I thought that-"

"Watch out!" shouted Roxas, interrupting Riku to warn him of Luna's advance. The Princess of the night dashed forward and swung her keyblade horizontally in a wide arc. Her keyblade would have hit Riku had it not been for Roxas's warning, allowing Riku the time to spin and guard her attack. When she approached, Riku could make out a harsher expression on her face, almost as if she was a different pony from the one they had met in the alley.

Riku pushed back hard against her, sending Luna back to the other side of the arena. He turned to Roxas as he asked, "Can you fight?"

Roxas used his keyblade as support to stand up before taking a deep breathe and relaxing into his combat stance. "I'll do my best," he grunted.

"Great," said Riku. "Something's wrong with the Princess. We need to snap her out of it. Are your ready?"

"Yeah," said Roxas as he prepared himself.

"Then let's go!" shouted Riku. He ran forward and locked keyblades with Luna, both trying to overpower the other. Roxas jumped in and swung at Luna's side where she was unprotected. However, a jet of darkness launched from her body, guarding the attack before retaliating and forcing Roxas to retreat. At the same time, Luna overpowered Riku and broke through his attack, pushing him back and stunning him for a moment. Before he could recover, Luna uppercutted him and threw him into the air toward the roof of her black dome. At her command, three jets of darkness launched from around her and grabbed Riku before throwing him into the ground below.

When Riku impacted the ground, he clenched his teeth in pain. "Roxas!" he shouted.

"Right," he responded. Roxas ran forward and struck Luna while she was distracted, landing a strong combo against her that staggered her for a moment, releasing Riku as Roxas landed another combo. Before he could continue his attack, Luna recovered and struck Roxas, sending him careening across the arena and knocking him out in the process.

Riku stood up and quickly cast Cure, recovering himself and Roxas. "How do we beat her?" asked Riku as Roxas stepped up beside him.

"No idea," said Roxas. "That darkness she's using is strong. I got lucky to get through it while she was distracted with you."

"Let's just try attacking her head-on," suggested Riku. "Nothing else is working, so maybe we just have to overpower her altogether."

"Whatever you say," said Roxas, unsure.

"Let's do it," said Riku. Both he and Roxas ran forward as Luna charged to meet them. When Riku and Luna's keyblades clashed, Roxas jumped over Riku and attempted to jab Luna from above. Darkness tried to block him, but he plowed through it and struck Luna hard, beating her into the ground. As she stood up, both Riku and Roxas continued to strike her, keeping her from recovering. Eventually, her darkness started to disperse, destroying her armor and revealing her body beneath it.

"Keep it up!" shouted Riku. After two minutes of constant attacks, Luna's darkness finally broke as Roxas landing a strong, final hit on her. Both Riku and Roxas jumped away as they gasped in exhaustion. "Did we do it?" asked Riku.

After a moment, Princess Luna stood up again. This time, however, she showed no traces of darkness around her keyblade. "You stopped it," she said quietly. "I can't believe you did it." She collapsed to the floor, unconscious. Riku and Roxas relaxed, taking a deep breath of relief.

Suddenly, a raging darkness erupted from her body, blasting it around the arena and strengthening the dark barrier. Her body was lifted into the air as her armor began forming around her again. "Are you kidding me?!" shouted Roxas. "We just finished her. How can she keep fighting?!"

"I don't think that's really her," said Riku. He paused for a moment in thought. "Roxas," he began, beginning to charge his keyblade with light at its tip. "If we can put enough light under that armor, she might be able to break through if she wakes up and uses it. Can you help me?" he asked.

"I'll try," replied Roxas. He shut his eyes as he focused, trying to gather light into his keyblade. However, his heart was still weak from the attack that Luna had used on Sora. He still gave it his all as a small glow began to form around the tip of his keyblade. "This is all I've got," he managed as he put all of his energy into his keyblade.

"Then let's get her," said Riku. He leveled his keyblade at the Princess and Roxas followed suit. "Now!" shouted Riku. At the same moment, Riku and Roxas both released their light, firing a pure white beam toward Princess Luna's heart, embedding itself under her armor as it closed around her, the darkness disappearing under it.

"What a weak string of attacks," said Luna, her voice reverting to its twisted state. "Did you really think that would work?"

"Princess Luna!" shouted Riku. "Wake up! You have to break through the darkness before it consumes you. Roxas and I have given you what we can. Now, it's up to you!"

"What in Equestria are you babbling about?" asked the Princess. After a moment, she realized what they were getting at. "Don't be silly," she mocked. "She can't hear you anymore. She let her inner darkness out, and now no one can hear her scre-" As she finished that last word, her voice was cut off as she dropped on her knees. "What's happening to me?" she shrieked.

"I think we got to her," said Roxas. "Keep fighting it, Princess!"

Luna began writhing in pain as her heart began to fight out of her possessed armor. "Aaargggh!" she yelled as the armor began breaking off again, dissolving into light as it fell to the ground. Underneath, all Roxas and Riku could see was a bright light radiating from under the holes in her armor.

Riku turned to Roxas as he said, "Come on. Let's help her finish it off."

"Right," said Roxas as they both turned back to Luna. Together, they sprinted forward and jumped into the air before bringing their keyblades straight down on Luna, splitting her armor apart as the arena was bathed in light. When the light dimmed down, Roxas and Riku saw the darkness around the arena dissolve as Luna collapsed to the floor, finally ending the fight.

"And the winner is team 1!" shouted the announcer. "Congratulations on completing the Hades cup. Are you ready for your reward?" Both Riku and Roxas tensed. Outside the arena toward one of the walls, the wall itself opened up, revealing the spiraling, green vortex of the Well of Souls.

In a blaze of fire, Hades appeared in front of it and stepped into the arena. "That's right you two. Playtime's over!" he shouted in anger. "How in Zeus' name did you win?! Seriously! I could have sworn the darkness would take the pony. But obviously, that wasn't enough. So now," he said as his skin turned bright red, "I'll deal with you myself!" The area around the arena burst into flame, blocking out everything around it and preventing entry. Almost.

Just as the flames erupted, Donald and Goofy jumped into the arena and crowded around Sora. "Don't forget about us!" said Donald in protest. He immediately held up his staff, casting Curaga on Sora. With a quick spin, Sora rose into the air and touched down, summoning his keyblade as he did so. As he took his surroundings in, his face contorted in confusion.

"Hades?" he asked, confused. "What are you doing here?"

The god of the Underworld looked as if he was about to explode in response. The next thing Sora noticed was Roxas. "Wait. If I'm awake, then how are you..."

"Heck if I know," he said as he faced Hades, disbelief on his face as he marveled at the god's power. "But let's focus on the fight, okay?"

Sora snapped out of it and ran up to join Roxas and Riku, Donald and Goofy not far behind. "Right," said Sora as he too dropped into a crouch. "Let's do this!"

Author's Note:

The reason Rarity could 'forfeit' in the last chapter and Fluttershy can't here is because Rarity had already fought the battle, while here Fluttershy wanted to forfeit before the fight started.