Dandelion Tongue - Chapter 4, “Explanation”
Kairi was, well, surprised. She probably shouldn’t have been, being so used to Sora’s antics, but she still found herself impressed by the amount of time Ven was able to keep himself entertained by staring out the window. The look of wonder had yet to leave his face, and he had hardly moved from his position at all, even when Chirithy had gotten up to explore the ship. She watched him with her hands in her lap. Chirithy was somewhere in the closed off quarters that made the bedroom and bathroom, and Aqua and Terra were sharing quiet conversation between each other as they took turns piloting.
Kairi pulled out her Gummiphone, the screen flickering awake to show the time. It had been nearly two hours since they left The Land of Departure, which meant Ven had kept himself busy staring outside for nearly two hours. That also meant that Kairi had kept herself busy watching him stare outside for nearly two hours. She sighed, sliding her phone back into her pocket.
She never could have guessed how much of a constant reminder of her best friend Ven would become. There were days when being around him hurt, just as there were days where she felt as if she was talking to an old friend, instead of a person she had hardly known for a year.
A whole year . Sora had been gone for a whole year now, and any progress they had made was small. Sure, they had some leads from Kairi’s memories and Riku had left for Quadratum to look for him, but it didn’t feel like anything had changed. It was different when he was gone not long after Kairi had returned to Destiny Islands when she was 14. Then, missing him was just a dull ache, a longing she couldn’t quite place for a boy she couldn’t quite remember. And as horrifying as it had been, the steps to get him back were simple. Destroy his nobody, reconstruct his memories, recomplete him. But now things hurt so much more. Kairi knew exactly what was missing and why . Sora had sacrificed himself to save her , and what was she doing about it now? Hardly anything. She was supposed to be the one protecting him now; she had promised . Instead, he had become a festering wound inside her heart. A gaping hole that she couldn’t fill despite her best efforts.
She closed her eyes, resting her head on the back of her chair. She was tired of being cast aside. She wasn’t going to be the weak, helpless girl of the group anymore. This time, she was going to get Sora back, no matter what it took. They were going to go back to being the carefree trio that had lived on Destiny Islands what felt like so long ago.
“We’re going to be landing soon!” Aqua called from the driver’s seat. “Chirithy! Can you let Ven know?” At the mention of his and his Dream Eater’s names being called, the young boy looked up from the window for the first time and instinctively held onto the back of the couch. The spirit quickly shuffled into the room.
“Nevermind,” Aqua laughed. “I think he’s got the idea.” Chirithy sighed and turned to Ven, saying something to him in the language only they understood. The boy nodded, relaxing slightly into the couch. They chatted back and forth, Ven pulling the Dream Eater onto his lap at some point.
Ven, as Kairi was learning, was full of surprises. He had already changed so much from how he had been that morning. Even before that, he was always quick to find the positive in any situation. Aside from occasional flickers during sparring and his scene from earlier that day, Kairi couldn’t really remember ever seeing him upset. Maybe she just hadn’t known him for long enough, but what she had seen so far was, well, impressive. Even Sora hadn’t been this content all the time.
She watched as Aqua carefully chose a landing spot behind the world’s castle, nervously setting the vehicle down in as clear of an area she could possibly find. The blue haired master was still nervous about driving the ship, and usually didn’t have much good reason to practice. Upon landing, she wiped her hands on her pants—yes, pants; she had finally decided that her previous outfit wasn’t fit for her line of work—and released the pressure lock holding the door closed.
The four of them, er, five, if you counted Chirithy, exited the ship, stepping out into the warm sunlight that reminded Kairi of her home on the islands. Aqua closed the ship up once Ven had stepped out, curiosity in his eyes. He spun around slowly, taking in his surroundings. His gaze finally settled on the blonde girl standing in the shade of the castle.
“Naminé!” Kairi called out to her. The girl smiled and carefully walked over to the group.
“It’s nice to see you all,” she said. “You said Ven was having some… issues?” Aqua nodded.
“We think he—” she glanced at Terra, “—may have suppressed some of his memories while trying to uncover ones he had forgotten.”
“I see,” Naminé nodded, a solemn look flashing over her face. “Oh, I shouldn’t force you to stand outside. Please, come in!” Kairi followed her other into the large castle, the others close behind her.
Ven liked this new world much more than the one he had woken up in. It reminded him of Daybreak Town, in a way, and the lack of hallways so far was a definite plus. The blonde girl that had welcomed them shared quite the resemblance with the redhead girl— Kairi. Maybe they were sisters? He would have to get Chirithy to ask. If Kairi had reminded him of Lady Ava, then this new girl—he thinks her name is Naminé, but he can’t be sure—reminds him of Lady Invi. Quieter and more shy, but she seemed nice all the same. Unsurprisingly, he can’t understand anything she says either, but it’s less of a frustration now that he’s getting used to it. Probably-Naminé makes conversation with the others, while Ven pulled his Dream Eater a little closer to his chest.
“Her name is Naminé, right?” he asked. Chirithy nodded, and the blonde girl perked up at hearing her name being said. She gave him a polite smile and then turned back to talking with the others. They followed her through the castle, passing by several libraries and rooms Ven didn’t even have names for.
Eventually they ended up in a futuristic looking room with a large computer. One of the walls was made entirely of glass, giving a view into a long corridor with tons of… Containers? Ven couldn’t quite tell. Stacks of papers and books littered the floor and the counters. Naminé motioned for them to sit in some chairs that looked like they had been set up specifically for the occasion. She nodded at the older two, commenting something in their language, before excusing herself from the room.
“We just have to wait a little bit now,” Chirithy explained as their wielder watched Naminé leave. He nodded in understanding, then chose to occupy himself with observing his surroundings. This new building shared some similarities with the Clock Tower, at least more than the castle in the mountains had. It felt mechanical, and the piles of books reminded him of his bedroom. It made the nearly empty room feel lived in, gave it a little bit of personality.
Ven wondered why there would be so many books in this room in particular, given that there were many libraries that probably served much better for housing them. Maybe this room was someone’s favourite spot to read, he thought, as he remembered how he would spend hours in his own reading corner, far enough away from everyone else that it would be quiet enough to concentrate, but not so far that he would get lost trying to find his way back. After his reading sessions, he would usually stack the books he had been reading somewhere on the floor or tables in his room. Despite all the books he kept in there, he tried not to read them in his bedroom, as he would usually get tired, try to read in his bed, and then fall asleep only to wake up later with a sore neck and his book dropped on the floor with no indication of where he left off.
He temporarily pulled himself from his daydream to hug his Dream Eater closer to him. Kairi was showing Aqua what looked like a small, flat, box. She would occasionally tap and swipe at its surface, smiling and talking with the blue haired woman. Terra watched over their shoulders, adding his own comment every now and then. Ven wondered what the box could possibly be, if it was able to hold all of their attention like that. He was about to ask Chirithy when he heard a loud crash outside the door. Everyone’s heads jerked up at the sudden commotion, and Terra got up to his feet and sped to the door to see what lay on the other side.
“Again, I am so sorry,” the young scientist muttered, bringing in the last of the books he had dropped in the hallway. “We’re still in the process of digitally archiving all of Even’s notes and you came on such short notice—.”
“It’s alright, Ienzo. Really.” Aqua gave him a patient smile. “We’re not in any hurry.” Terra sat the pile of books he had helped Ienzo gather on the counter, giving a nod that showed he agreed with her.
“Right,” Ienzo sighed. “Well, would you be willing to elaborate on your issue? With… Ventus’s memories, I believe you said?” Aqua nodded.
“Well, he woke up this morning and suddenly couldn’t recognize any of us or speak our language. The only one he remembers is Chirithy, and they can talk with each other just fine. Chirithy said they had been trying to restore some of Ven’s lost memories, and we think that he somehow repressed his memories of being with us in the process.”
“That is peculiar,” the scientist remarked, looking over to the young boy. “Have you been able to deduce what language he understands now?” Terra shook his head.
“It’s nothing like any language I’ve ever heard before.” He looked over to Ven’s spirit. “Do you know the name of it, Chirithy?”
“Oh, no, I don't,” they squeaked. “Only that Ven and I have been speaking it all our lives. I’m not sure about him, but I’ve only recently become fluent in English.”
“I see,” Ienzo said, resting his hand against his chin in thought. “And you’ve known Ven since he was a child? Do you recall the name of the world he grew up in?”
“It was known as Daybreak Town,” the spirit explained. “But I don't think it’s around anymore.” Ven suddenly perked up and asked them a question in his strange tongue. Ienzo listened intently as the two of them conversed.
“Uh, if you will excuse me for a moment, I believe I may have some resources on this language.” He moved towards the door. “I believe Naminé was assisting the guards with a task; she should be back momentarily.” Aqua and Terra nodded, signaling they would be alright in his absence. He slipped out the door, leaving the five of them in the computer room.
“Ven grew up in… Daybreak Town?” Terra asked, turning to Chirithy.
“I’ve never heard it before,” Aqua remarked.
“Neither have I.”
“Um, yes, but, I believe it was, er, destroyed a long time ago,” the spirit said. “I haven’t been there in quite some time…”
“It’s a shame,” Aqua said. “I was kind of hoping we could pay a visit. Especially with how Ven is now...” Chirithy nodded.
“It would be nice, but—,” they shook their head, attempting to clear their thoughts, “—sadly, that’s not possible.” They leaned in closer to Ven’s chest, feeling his warmth that they had gone so long without. “I’m sure right now, most of all, Ven is the one who wants to be there the most.”