The New Key @ninjawriter23
Chapter 1

The New Key

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts and get no financial gain from this in any way.

A/N: Here we are at book 3! Sorry for almost being late with this update, I was mapping out the basic plot that this one was gonna take. This book is looking like it'll probably be shorter than Redemption, but hopefully it'll be just as entertaining still. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1: Dark Stars and Lost Princesses

A 24-year-old James walked down the path away from the palace Cinderella's been living at since he and Aqua helped her get her dream come true. His steps were filled with anger, the poncho he wore over his usual attire flapped in the wind as he approached the Tremaine manor. As soon as he arrived at the door, he summoned Starlight and pointed it at the door, "Firaga." He says, summoning a massive fireball that obliterated the door.

He walked in slowly as Lady Tremaine and her daughters hurried to the source of the noise. Lady Tremaine sneered at the intruder, "What are you doing here?" She asks, clearly remembering her last encounter with him ten years ago.

In the blink of an eye, James was in front of her with his Keyblade to her neck, "Cinderella! Where is she?" He demands, "The castle staff says she's been missing for several days and you are going to tell me what you know!"

Anastasia piped up, "We have no idea! We haven't seen her since she put on that slipper! Honest!" She says desperately.

James eyed all three of them with suspicion before backing away, "If I have to return here, I won't leave anything standing. Or anyone." And with that, he left the manor and started to pursue other potential leads.

James spent the next seven hours looking for clues, but nothing turned up, "Whoever nabbed her, took her to a different World. Only question now is who?" As he pondered this question, one name came to his mind.

"Maleficent." He then donned his armor and hurried to Aurora's world.

He appeared at Aurora's castle to find it under siege by hordes of Heartless. He immediately charges in and cuts his way through the ranks of darkness as he hurried toward the throne room.

When he arrived, he saw an unconscious Aurora levitating behind Maleficent, who was facing down against Philip. They both turn their heads at the new entry.

Maleficent smirks wickedly, "My goodness. If it isn't James." She says, her voice dripping in sarcasm, "Word among the grapevine tells me you've let your friends down again." She chuckles, "How truly embarrassing."

James stepped forward, "Shut up already, witch. What do you want with Aurora? Revenge?"

The dark fairy lets out another chuckle, "Oh dear, believe you me, you'll know when I am after revenge." She says wickedly, "For the moment, though, I am after something far more… Salubrious." She then vanishes into a Dark Corridor, leaving a number of Neo Shadows in her place that attacked the two on sight.

They were able to defeat the remaining Heartless easily enough, but Philip was increasingly worried about his wife, Aurora. "Please, Jim!" Philip pleaded, "You must find her for me, I beg you! I'll compensate you however you wish."

James slaps Philip's hands away, "Save it. I'm already going to do that. Aurora is too important in the fight against Darkness to let Maleficent have her. I need to speak to the three good fairies."

Philip nodded, "Of course, I'll summon them immediately."

Once they arrived, James spoke up, "I had just visited another World that holds a similarly pure hearted maiden to Aurora. I discovered that she was kidnapped during a massive Heartless raid that ravaged the castle, just like what happened here. I need you three to find Master Yen Sid and warn him that the Princesses of Heart are being kidnapped, and that I'll need Mickey's help to get them back." He then opened a new portal, "In the meanwhile, I'm going to check on another one of them. Maybe I can actually save one for once." He then left and went straight to Wonderland.

He worked his way through the forests, but found no sign of Alice, so he decided to search the Bizarre Room for possible clues. The White Rabbit scurried his way past, but James didn't pay him any mind.

He hears the door open and he instantly summons Starlight, standing immediately on his guard, and rushes at the approaching figure, halting his blade at their throat, "Tell me, right now, who you are and why you're here!"

The person he was currently threatening, was a young boy with brown hair spiking out in strange directions. His clothing was strange.

Red jumpsuit with a black style jacket that has white highlighting. James stared into the boy's blue eyes, who looked back with shock and a hint of fear until he noticed the weapon in James' hand, "Hey… is that a Keyblade?"

James' eyes widen for a brief moment before narrowing again, "And how would you know that?" He asks. Just then, Donald and Goofy rush up beside the boy. James lowered Starlight, "Donald? Goofy? What are you two doing here?" He asks them.

Donald looks back at the Keyblade Master, "We're on a mission for the King." He explains.

Goofy looks at the boy, "Are you alright, Sora?" He asks.

James' ears twitched at the name, "Sora?" He asks as the memory floods back to him.

Aqua smiles at him, "They're Sora and Riku. I think they met Terra." She tells him, "I think you'd like Sora. He's like the spitting image of Ven."

James looks at the boy curiously, "Can't say I know what she meant. They have similar eyes, I guess, but that's about it." He shakes his head of those questions, "You never answered my question. What do you know about the Keyblade?"

Sora hummed, "Well not much. Aside from the fact that mine looks like this." He says as he summons a Keyblade.

James scoffs, "If you have any wits about you, half-pint, you'll throw that thing away and never look back." He says bitterly, "Any who follow the destiny of the Keyblade are doomed to suffer." He says with hatred in his words, "Trust me." He then turns around, "Go back home, Sora. Play your games with your friends. And forget you ever touched the Keyblade." He then began to walk away.

Sora looked down, "I can't… my World is gone… and my friends are missing."

This caused James to stop, "I'm sorry to hear that, I really am. But it's not my concern. I got my own issues to deal with."

Sora glared at him, "Well I don't care what you say! I'm not gonna stop! Not until I find both Riku and Kairi!"

James immediately turns to him, "What?!" He asks, "Kairi's gone missing?"

Sora seemed taken aback, "You know her?"

James didn't answer immediately. He was focusing on Sora as he sensed something unusual that he was able to guess the source of, "Well, Aqua… It looks like your spell worked." James turns away from Sora again, "Donald, Goofy, take Sora back to Traverse Town, he'll be safe there. I'll find his friends for him."

Sora shook his head, "No way! I wanna help! I can fight too!"

Goofy nods, "It's true! He's already helped us take down a whole heap o' Heartless. Besides, we need his Key to help the King!"

James hums for a moment before sighing, "Alright fine. I'll help you search Wonderland. Just don't get in the way!" He tells them.

Sora smiles before offering a nod, "Thanks!"

Sora idly observed the room as Donald and Goofy debriefed James, "Ya see, we got a message from the King that we needed to find a special Key to stop the Worlds from falling into Darkness." Goofy says.

Donald nods, "Yep. So, we promised to help Sora find his friends if he helps us on our mission to close the Keyholes."

James hums, "Worlds falling to Darkness at a rapid pace… Princesses of Heart are getting kidnapped… What is going on?"

Their conversation is cut short when they heard Sora speak up, "How did he get so small?"

They all turned to see him looking at the living doorknob, "No, you're simply too big." The doorknob replied, shocking Sora, Donald and Goofy.

"It talks!" Donald says in shock.

James rolls his eyes, "Yeah a lot of things do that here, but to answer Sora's question," he picks up a bottle on the table, "here. Bottoms up." After the four of them took a sip, they found that they had shrunk enough to fit the doorway.

Sora tried to go back to the door, but James grabbed the back of his jacket, "Don't bother. He won't open for us while he's sleeping. There's an alternate road over this way, come on." He then guides Sora through the forest and hedge maze to the Queen's Castle. At the castle was a small army of card soldiers with Alice being put on trial.

James face palms, "Again?! How can she not learn to leave well enough alone after almost dying last time!?" He groans mentally before looking to the others, "Keep quiet and follow my lead." They nod and crawl behind him as they listen in on the situation.

The White Rabbit blew a trumpet before announcing, "Court is now in session!"

Alice tilts her head, "I'm on trial? But why?" She asks.

Ignoring her question, the rabbit gestures to the judge's box, "Her Majesty, the Queen of Hearts, presiding!"

The queen leans forward, "This girl is the culprit. There's no doubt about it. And the reason is…" she paused.

Sora, Donald and Goofy leaned forward in anticipation, but James just shook his head, already guessing what she was about to say.

"Because I say so, that's why!" The queen finishes.

Alice leans on the table in front of her, "That is so unfair!" She protests.

James sighs, "She's wasting her time, she must know that. Queen of Hearts doesn't listen to reason or care about proper judgement." He tells them. Sora clenched his fist as he watched this unfold.

"Well, have you anything to say in your defense?" The queen asks.

Alice glares back at the woman, "Of course! I've done absolutely nothing wrong! You may be queen, but I'm afraid that doesn't give you the right to be so… so mean!" She states confidently.

"Silence!" The queen shouts, "You dare defy me?"

Sora stands up, "Hey guys, we should help her out." He says.

Donald looks up at Sora, "Yeah, but the…"

"We're outsiders, so wouldn't that be muddling?" Goofy finishes.

James stands up, "It's 'meddling' and yes, but I agree with Sora. The queen will kill Alice if we don't act and she's too important to let that happen. Here's the plan-." But Sora didn't stick around to listen, as he charged head first into the court.

"The court finds the defendant…" the queen starts, "guilty as charged!" Alice looked up in shock and fear as the queen finished her rant, "For the crimes of assault and attempted theft of my heart… Off with her head!" The Card troops surrounded Alice.

"No! No! Oh, please!" She begged, but the queen wasn't listening.

"Hold it right there!" Sora yells as he storms into the room.

James groans, "That idiot! Come on!" Goofy and Donald rush beside James to back up Sora.

"Who are you?" The queen asks in surprise. Alice looks at the four of them and is relieved when she recognizes James' face. The queen looks at them in anger, "How dare you interfere with my court?"

Sora steps forward, "Excuse me. But we know who the real culprit is!"

Goofy nods, "Uh-huh. It's the Heartle-." He quickly covers his mouth.

Sora looks back to Alice, "Anyway, she's not the one you're looking for."

James sighs, "Look, we know where to find the real culprit, but we need her help to get to them." He says, pointing to Alice, "If you let her accompany us in capturing this fiend in your name, then we can have them here within 5 hours."

The queen looks at the group with a bored expression, "That's nonsense. Have you any proof?" She asks. When Sora failed to provide an answer, the cards locked Alice inside a cage. "Bring me evidence of Alice's innocence! Fail, and it's off with all of your heads!" So, the four of them exited the courtyard and headed towards the forest.

Once they were a fair distance away, James slammed his fist into the back of Sora's head, "You complete idiot!" He screamed, "If you had waited and let me handle that situation, Alice would be safe and sound without the queen ever seeing us, and we'd be on our merry way right now!" He rubs the bridge of his nose, "I told you not to get in the way, and you go and get in the way as much as you possibly could have!"

Sora rubbed the back of his head, "I'm sorry, I just thought I could help and-."

"You have no idea what you are doing! This isn't some video game where you can just reset back to your last save, alright? This is for real! Now I have to find a way to save Alice while keeping some semblance of the World Order intact!"

He took a long look at Sora and turned away, "Who knows what she was talking about. You're nothing like him at all."

Sora tilts his head, "Who are you talking about?"

James looks back at him, "He's someone who knows what he's doing in this sort of situation!" James lets out a huff, "Look, if you're really going to be hell-bent on ruining your life with the Keyblade, then you need to learn to think before you act! Now let's find a way to prove Alice's innocence before the queen 86s Alice." James marched ahead, with a severely downhearted Sora trailing behind with Donald and Goofy offering what emotional support to the young teenager that they could.

Soon, they arrived in the Lotus Forest. When they arrived, the Cheshire Cat's head appeared in front of them, startling Sora, Donald and Goofy, but getting no reaction out of James. Soon enough the cat's body materialized as well. "Who are you?" Donald asks.

"Who, indeed?" The cat replies.

James sighs, "He's the Cheshire Cat. Don't waste time talking to him, we have to hurry before-."

"Poor Alice. Soon to lose her head, and she's not guilty of a thing!" The cat interrupts.

Sora turns fully to face the cat, "Hey, if you know who the culprit is, tell us!" He demands.

The cat flashed his trademark smile, "The Cheshire Cat has all the answers—but doesn't always tell." He says, "The answer, the culprit, the cat all lie in darkness." And with that, he slowly faded out of sight.

"Wait!" Sora yells.

The cat's voice echoes out, "They've already left the forest. I won't tell which exit."

James immediately ran through the entirety of the forest in his mind, using his memory to sculpt out where each path would take him until his eyes shot open wide, "I know where they went! Follow me!" And so, with James and Sora summoning their Keyblades, and Donald and Goofy summoning their weapons, the four of them fought through the Heartless as they made their path forward.

There first piece of evidence was found in the form of a stench that James had managed to capture and store away, "It's crazy and doesn't make a lick of sense but, as I'm sure you've seen by now, that's exactly how this world works." He explains to the three. Sora nods as he pants heavily to catch his breath. James rolls his eyes, "If you can't keep up then just wait here. If you tire yourself out, you'll be wide open for the Heartless."

Sora looks up at him, "What are they even after anyways? What's the point in doing this?"

James looks down at him, "They don't have one. Heartless are the embodiment of the World's Darkness. They have no rhyme or reason, they just cause anger, hate, and pain. Which, in turn, spawns forth more Heartless." He turns away from Sora and prepares to leave, "Last chance to stay back."

Sora shook his head and rose to his feet, "Not a chance!" He says enthusiastically.

James sighs, "Why did I know you'd say that?" He says dejectedly.

The second piece of evidence was a set of footprints. Goofy started making a cast as Sora approached James, "You're really good at using those cool moves! Could ya teach me how to do them?"

James shakes his head, "Why would I teach you how to do these things when I'm trying to make you give up on the Keyblade entirely?" He says with a sigh of exasperation, "Though, I admit, you're not half-bad for a half-pint. Still, you're better off without the Keyblade." Goofy showed up with the cast of the footprints and the group set out on their way again.

The third clue was a strange antenna that Donald put in his bag. Sora looked at his Keyblade curiously, "Are there any others that have Keyblades?" He asks.

James looks away sullenly, "Once there were many. Then there were a select few. Now…" he pauses to keep himself composed, "There is only myself, the King, and you as it happens."

Sora hums, "If there's so few of us… why do you want me to leave so bad?" He asks.

"Because I don't want anyone else to die for a hopeless cause." James answers before heading towards the final clue.

After obtaining the claw marks information, the Cheshire Cat reappeared, "Well, look what you've found. Nice going." He said.

Sora smiled, "Now we can save Alice." Just as he was about to head towards the courtyard, the cat spoke up again.

"Don't be so sure!" He tells him, "She may be innocent, but what about you?"

James sighs, "What are you talking about?"

The cat shakes his head, "I won't tell." then faded away.

James rolled his eyes, "Why do I bother asking him questions?" He says in a huff, "Come on, we have to hurry."

Soon they presented all their findings to the Queen of Hearts. Sora taking the stand with the rest sitting in a nearby booth. The queen glanced at what has been brought before her, "Well, that's certainly a lot of evidence, but I'm still not impressed." She then asked for the evidence to be brought to her, suddenly, one of the boxes of evidence turned into a Heartless before fading away. The queen was shocked, "What in the world was that?" She asks.

"It's a monster that tries to steal people's hearts. Odds are that's what the one that attacked you looked like."

Sora nodded, "There's your evidence. Alice is innocent." Sora declared, causing the queen to growl in anger.

"Silence! I'm the law here!" She screams.

James summons Starlight, "Whelp, I know how this is gonna end!"

The queen points to Sora, "Article 29: Anyone who defies the queen is guilty! Seize them at once!"

Hearing that, James sprung from his booth and cast a Magnera dome around the Queen of Hearts, "I'll grab Alice! You three hold off the Cards!" Sora nodded and worked with Donald and Goofy to fight the card soldiers while James picked up Alice and leapt to safety.

James made it to the Lotus Forest with Alice and put her down, "Now I'm sure I've told you before to stay away from the Queen of Hearts!" He tells her.

She nods, "Indeed. But I was just oh so curious about the White Rabbit."

James shakes his head, "That curiosity of yours is gonna get you killed one of these days, mark my words." He suddenly sensed a presence, but had no time to react as he was sent flying by a powerful blast of dark magic.

James groaned as he regained consciousness in the Tea Party Garden. He slowly rose to his feet as Sora and the others approached, "Are you ok?" The boy asks.

James nods, "I'm fine. Where's Alice?"

"We haven't seen her." Goofy says worriedly.

"We think the Heartless might have grabbed her!" Donald says.

James grits his teeth, "We have to find her now before it's too late!" They nod and hurry along with him towards the Peculiar Room.

When they arrived, they found a huge Heartless known as Trickmaster.

Sora immediately rushed him and started trying to deal damage with Goofy, but nothing was getting through. Donald and James combined their Thunder magics to stun the monster. Sora used Goofy's shield as a springboard while James leapt up naturally and they both delivered fierce blows to the head of the Heartless.

When it began to spin and summon several magma balls, James took aim, "Union Ragnarök!" He fired his Shotlock to obliterate the rocks, allowing Goofy to use a spin attack on the Heartless' legs to make it wobble, Donald's Fire spell to topple it, and Sora's downward Sonic Thrust to finish it off.

The noise from the battle was apparently enough to rouse the doorknob from his slumber, "What a racket." He says with a yawn so big that a magic Keyhole was seen inside his mouth. James pointed Starlight at it, but nothing happened.

When Sora did the same with the Kingdom Key, it fired an energy beam and locked the Keyhole shut.

James looked at this in awe, "Well, seems your Keyblade has a unique ability to control the Keyholes of the different Worlds. Looks like you can't afford to quit just yet after all."

Just then, the Cheshire Cat appeared again, "Splendid. You're quite the hero." All eyes ignored the cat and started looking about, "If you're looking for Alice, she's not here." He tells them, "She's gone! Off with the shadows, into darkness."

Sora looked down, "No…"

James balled his fist, "We were too late…" He mumbles.

Sora approaches him, "I'm sorry, James. You were right back there. If I hadn't gotten in the way, Alice would be safe right now. I messed up pretty bad."

James studied the boy for a moment before sighing, "It's fine. You were being true to your Heart. That's more important than anything, especially to a Keyblade Wielder."

James walks away, as Sora tries to approach, "Wait! Aren't you gonna come with us? We could use your help."

James shakes his head, "No. I have somewhere else I must go. The Darkness is after pure young maidens, so I have to hurry." He saw the intense worry that just appeared in his face and knelt down to look him at eye level, "She's safe, Sora." He tells him, "In fact, she's much closer to you than you realize." He used Starlight to open a Gate, but before entering, he looked back the three half-pints he fought beside during this miniature adventure, "May Your Heart Be Your Guiding Key." And with that, he went to the next World.

(A/N: That's it for this Chapter! A new quest is on! This was an extra long chapter, I know. Rest assured I don't believe there will be any others that are quite this long. If you like them being this long, however, be sure to let me know and I'll consider it. Until next time, Read and Review!)

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