Lost Lights: Chapter 13
Osmore, No More
Summary: In which a very unlucky thing happens.
Word Count: 3,302
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"We need to teach you how to summon a Keyblade glider." Terra grumbled as the group moved further up the mountain again. Mickeyjunk Mountain was hard to traverse without the projectors. There were areas of ridges with enough room to catch your breath- but in between, you were essentially rock climbing until you reached the next ridge. Rock climbing would be a lot easier if there were actual rocks, and not mounds of trash and forgotten memorabilia.
"Naw, do you want the easy way out? We're already halfway up. Are your muscles really for show, then?" Sabrina teased as she continued to move. "Figures."
"No." Terra quickly objected. "That is not at all-"
He wasn't able to finish his sentence because his hand had slipped. Everyone paused for a precarious moment as Gus rushed to help Terra keep his footing. When Terra had readjusted, both hands firmly grasping a more stable hold, that was when everyone let out a collective sigh of relief. This hadn't been the first close call, and they all knew by now that it wouldn't be the last either.
"If only we had a better way to get your four up to the top." Gus noted. He was more cautious of wielders now, flitting near them more often to make sure they were secure. "Ski lifts, or something."
"But then we'd have to readjust them way too often." Sabrina countered. "Assuming we don't get a sudden influx of rejected merch. Any upset in what little balance there is could knock out everything. At least we can easily move the projectors where they're needed. Even repair one on the spot if it's not too bad."
"But we can't use the projectors." Aqua reminded them.
Sabrina grimaced. "Yeah. What an inconvenience." Then, under her breath, she grumbled, "Good excuse to keep some people away too."
Terra, Aqua, and Ven shared an equal look. It didn't take much to surmise that she was talking about Oswald. Was it really a surprise that the projectors were put in use for the expressed purpose of keeping Sabrina in one place? It sounded mean, but not out of the question either.
"How much further until we get to the next ridge?" Sabrina then asked Gus.
"Roughly a meter and a half, if my calculations are correct."
"Good." she huffed. "All this whining and emotional drama is making me exhausted. Can't get out of this world soon enough."
Ven gave Sabrina a curious tilt of his head. He supposed he could understand a part of where she was coming from. She had been told to stay in one place for as long as she could remember. With the opportunity to leave coming up close, the taste of something new was overwhelming. But didn't she have some fear of what could happen? She was tied to the natural spirits of Wasteland. Wouldn't that have an effect on this world if she left? Didn't she want to say goodbye to anyone? She must have had some friends around here that would have been upset that she was going away...
"Made it." Sabrina said as she climbed on top of the next ledge. After unhooking some of her climbing gear, she then turned around to watch the others climb up as well.
Terra and Aqua came up without a problem. Ven was a little behind, and was honestly pretty eager to stop climbing. In his eagerness, he looked up to figure out how much longer he could go before reaching the ledge, and instead he looked straight at Sabrina. Even sitting, she stood tall and holding an air of authority. It was amazing, considering all that she’s been through. Spare for that one vulnerable moment on the train, you could hardly tell that she was upset over her relationship with Oswald. Ven wasn’t paying much attention when his hand slipped on a hold.
It wasn’t even until Sabrina called out his name in surprise before he realized that he was falling over. His mind was too focused on her hand in his. That was when it kicked in that he was now dangling for his life.
"Gus!" Sabrina quickly called out, grunting as she had to use both hands to keep Ven up. "A little help!"
"Right away!" the gremlin agreed the moment he saw their predicament. He quickly disappeared, then reappeared behind Ven. Gus took a firm hold of Ven's clothes as he helped Sabrina hoist Ven up. Terra and Aqua had turned around, but by the time they could have helped, Gus and Sabrina had already gotten Ven on the ledge proper.
“What were you thinking?” Sabrina snapped at Ven. The young man just blinked at her. Instead, he looked back down the ledge. The idea that he almost fell down just seconds before seemed like a fever dream.
"That's a long way down." Ven noted in a small voice.
Sabrina looked at him, then also looked down the ledge.
"Yeah..." she agreed, her voice also a bit subdued. But then she gave a quick shake of her head before turning back to him. “If you fall over the edge again, I’m not saving you. You’re as good as dead.”
Ven looked over at Sabrina just to study her. She looked mad. But there was a tiny flicker of something else in her eyes. He wanted to get closer, to see just what that tiny something was, before his thoughts were caught off by Gus.
“A fall from this height would be particularly nasty indeed.” the gremlin told them. “You might get lucky and hit one of the previous ledges, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
The gremlin gave a little shutter at the idea.
“Righto, then.” he then proposed. “Oswald’s sanctuary is only a hop, skip, and a jump from here. Let’s get going away from the, uh, ledge. Shall we?”
Sabrina and Ventus exchanged a look before looking back at Gus.
"Let's get going." Sabrina decided as she got up. Gus gave her a firm nod before going on back to where Terra and Aqua were. Sabrina dusted herself off for a moment, then looked over at Ven. He was carefully getting up as well. The corner of her mouth snarled but she said nothing. Instead, she left him there- looking far more tense than what she had been when he slipped.
. . .
The door to Oswald's liar stood tall and rather intimidating along the mountain's side. It took Terra, Ventus, and Gus to get it open. The door opened to a large room with a long winding staircase, not unlike the one in Yen Sid's tower. With their only option to go up, that was exactly what the group did. The staircase led up to a large room with its center point being a throne outfitted with some sort of viewing screen on the right armrest. Behind the throne and on the ramps leading up to it where open doors to another, much smaller room that also looked to have various televisions and control panels inside of it.
Gus was the first to lead them on, Sabrina lingered near the back.
Oswald had been waiting for them in the smaller room. Seeing him nearly gave everyone a start.
"Nice to know no one fell off the mountain." the rabbit sheepishly chuckled. "That would have been bad."
"You think?" Sabrina immediately retorted. Oswald flinched. The rabbit carefully moved closer to her- something that Terra, Aqua, Ventus, and Gus easily got out of the way for.
"Look, Sabrina, I need to apologize." he said to her. Sabrina just raised an eyebrow at him, folding her arms in defiance.
"You think?" she spat.
"Well, if you keep that attitude up, I might just change my mind again."
The teen and the rabbit glared at each other for a moment before an equal grin etched onto their faces. Gus also had a small smile on his face. He leaned over to Terra, Ventus, and Aqua and whispered to them, "He can never really stay mad at her. She is his first child, after all."
"Sounds a lot like how our master used to treat Terra." Aqua whispered back, even giving Terra a nudge.
"That's not how I remember it." Terra hissed- although his face was starting to heat up. "It was Ven he went easy on."
"Nu-uh!" the teen joined in. The three gave each other hard, accusatory glares before erupting into small laughters.
Gus tried to stifle a laugh of his own before looking back over at Oswald and Sabrina. The duo really had seemed to make up rather easily. Sabrina had gotten down to her knees to be at Oswald's height. The rabbit didn't waste any time in giving her a quick hug. In a small, subtle moment, Sabrina held him just as tight.
"Everything I do is to protect you, you know." he said, quietly, as if he knew it was a weak excuse for everything that had happened. "There's so much we don't know about you. What you're able to do..."
"You know as well as I do that I'm not going to figure it out here." she just as easily pointed out, moving away a bit so they could look each other in the eye. "Let me train with Master Aqua. Maybe for a year or something. If something goes wrong here, we're not going to know until it happens. I need to learn, we need to take risks. Just give me that much."
But Oswald's mirth was still easily broken.
"Princess..." he tried to say, but faltered.
"If I can interject for a moment," Aqua suggested, carefully making her way to the duo as Ven and Terra went into some argument on who Master Eraqus had been tougher on. "She'll be safe in the Land of Departure, Oswald. We won't let anything bad happen to her while she's still learning. We can even avoid contact with King Mickey regarding her, if you'd like. He doesn't have to know that she's related to you."
Oswald looked at Aqua for a moment- simply studying her for some kind of lie. It was her genuine sincerity that made him give in.
"Let's seal the keyhole first." he decided. "We still have a lot to discuss about it."
"Of course." Aqua agreed. She gave him a smile before returning to her friends and the gremlin.
Oswald watched her leave, but was easily distracted when Sabrina gave him another tight hug.
"Thank you." she quietly mumbled.
"I haven't made up my mind yet." he told her, stepping out of their hug. "We still have things to do."
Sabrina gave him a silent nod as she got to her feet. They joined the others and got ready to climb that last leg of the mountain.
. . .
From this height, they could almost see the entirety of Wasteland. Assuming they could see through the dark clouds, of course. The top of the mountain contained a sturdy, but not very thick, ledge that led way to a platform guiding one to a rather large glass jug.
"Everyone here?" Gus asked, making a preemptive head count regardless. No one could disagree otherwise. The gremlin gave a rather proud smile at the little fact. "Good." he then said. "We should make haste to the bottle, then. Unless anyone has any other objections?"
"I think we're all good, Gus." Terra smiled.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," Oswald told the both of them before directing everyone's attention to something.
Close to the path leading to the jug, a puddle of darkness was starting to take form. The Keyblade wielders all got ready for a fight as the darkness grew in size. The darkness took the form of a Darkside, its empty eyes looking down at everyone before starting to raise its hand.
"Get cover, quickly!" Aqua managed to tell everyone before the Darkside slammed its hand on the ground. The ledge shook a little, but it did not stop the Darkside from pulling out a large ball of darkness, ready to attack them.
"Gus, go make sure the seal on the jug remains in tact." Oswald quickly told the gremlin. "I'll stay here with the kids."
"Righto, your majesty!" the gremlin agreed with a salute.
"You should go too." Sabrina argued. "We don't know how Wasteland as a world will react when I leave, but the people will be expecting you."
Oswald laughed. "This old rabbit still has a few tricks, princess. Just watch."
Sabrina gave her caretaker a rather bemused half smirk before the two of them went into battle. They quickly fell in line with the instructions Aqua gave to subdue the Darkside. She tried to keep Terra and Ventus on the offensive, while she, Sabrina, and Oswald were more defensive. It worked well as they quickly beat down the Darkside.
"This guy's not so tough!" Oswald declared as they had the Darkside on its last legs. He spoke too soon, as the Darkside lazily lulled its head to his direction. It started to lift its hand, then slammed it close to where Oswald was. The shock knocked Oswald back quite a bit.
"Oswald!" Sabrina exclaimed, immediately going over to him.
"I'm fine." he told her as he got up again. "Don't let your guard down."
She gave him a quick nod before their attention returned to the Darkside. It was still looking at them with a dulled interest. The creature once more thrust its hand into the ground, withdrawing another ball of darkness. Instead of raising the condensed darkness in the air, it instead directed it to the side- roughly the same direction to where Sabrina and Oswald was standing.
"Aqua, what is it doing?" Terra questioned. But the Keyblade master had never seen a Darkside do this before.
"I'm not sure," she admitted, tightening the grip on her Keyblade, "But stand ready for anything."
Both Terra and Ventus gave her a firm nod, also adjusting their hold on their Keyblades. The Darkside continued with its plan, using the concentrated darkness to spawn a row of Shadows between the two groups. Sabrina did her best to fight off what she could, but multiple Shadows were able to swipe at her. She flinched at each blow and took several steps back to avoid more. Oswald hung close to her- serving quite a few kicks for defense. Aqua gave a half glance at them before an idea came to her. She studied just where the Shadows were leading Oswald and Sabrina, and nearly gasped.
"It's trying to force them off the ledge." Aqua realized in horror. She turned to Terra and Ventus to quickly tell them, "Take out the Darkside now! I'll cover for the other two!"
The boys didn't need to be told twice, working even faster to subdue the Darkside. The creature of darkness had no intent on stopping its attack. Even with Aqua helping to take out the Shadows, more just appeared to further force Sabrina and Oswald toward the end of the ledge. The Shadows were able to lure the duo very close to the edge. They were also starting to cluster more together- a trait that made Oswald realize something with a start.
"Sabrina, look out!" Oswald shouted. After that, several things happened at once.
The Shadows lunged for the Keyblade wielder, but Oswald forced her down in time. Unfortunately, it meant that he was instead barreled by the Heartless. They all fell over the edge as Terra and Ventus dealt the last blow on the Darkside. Every Heartless in the area disappeared in a puff of smoke, but Oswald was left to fall. Sabrina let out a horrified shout of "Dad!" as Oswald fell too far out of reach. She almost fell herself had Aqua not pulled her back over. At the same time, a mass of Guardians appeared and seemed to follow after Oswald, but they were all lost in the cloud cover. After a few dreadful seconds, the Guardians came back up, empty handed.
"No..." Sabrina whimpered, falling to her knees. "No, no, no, no, no!"
"Sabrina..." Aqua carefully said, reaching out to her. Sabrina quickly got out of the way of her touch. She didn't want to be touched right now. She didn't want anyone else to be around right now. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to cry.
The Guardians tried to surround her -to distract her from her misery as they always did- but she refused their aid.
"Go away!" she screamed at the Guardians. For a moment, it looked like they had flinched. Terra, Aqua, and Ventus had. "This is all your fault! You didn't... You didn't save him! Now... now he's gone... Wasteland has no one..."
"They still have you." Aqua carefully told her.
Sabrina immediately turned around just to give Aqua a nasty glare of contempt. But she couldn't hold it. She looked back down at the ground, shaking her head in grief.
"I was a princess in name, not in practice." she spat, although the fire within was all but diminished. "They have no hope now."
"Sabrina," Aqua carefully said, even taking a seat next to her, "You are Wasteland's hope. Have you never saw it? It was why Oswald wanted you to have the title of princess to begin with. It was why he was so protective of you. You are part of the light that guides this world, don't extinguish it just yet."
Sabrina's face scrunched into absolute disgust. However, she knew that Aqua was right. She carefully got to her feet (rather annoyed at how lightheaded she was from grief) before looking between Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. What they did next depended all on her now.
"We're still going to seal the keyhole." she decided. "After that...? I guess Gus and I are going to have a town meeting, or something. Preferably before the Mad Doctor or some other loon gets any ideas."
"Good plan." Aqua agreed, standing up as well. Terra gave a nod to show he was in agreement, but Ven was still a bit hesitant. For now, it was all the votes of confidence Sabrina needed to keep going.
The four of them started to move out with this new plan in mind. They did not get very far as a shadow came over the ledge. Terra, Aqua, Sabrina, and Ventus turned back to where Oswald had fallen to see a large mass of something that no one could fully describe. What was for certain was that it started to hang over the area like a large cloud, and coming down from that cloud was what appeared to be Oswald's own distorted face. Parts of his face almost looked like they were melting off; like paint that was still wet, or blotted ink.
"Is it a Heartless?" Terra questioned, readying his Keyblade.
"It looks like it's made out of ink." Aqua thought out loud, also preparing herself for a battle.
"What are we going to do?" Ventus then wondered. He summoned his Keyblade, but was hesitant to use it. "If it's Oswald's Heartless, then..."
"Then we're going to beat it back."
The trio looked back at the fourth Keyblade wielder. She too had summoned her Keyblade.
"Sabrina?" Ven was first to question. Sabrina only got into her battle stance- albeit a bit hesitantly.
"I don't know what that thing is," she said, "But I know this; it's not him. If that monster is the only thing stopping us from doing the one thing we've set out to do since you three arrived, then it must die."
"Sabrina..." Aqua also noted in lament.
The teen only tightened her battle stance. Her only advice to the others was a small, "Don't hold back."