Chapter 10: Revelations of the Past
Traverse Town, Jaron's hideout in the third district.
"Jaron, you've got some serious explaining to do."
"Maybe. Maybe not."
"Maybe has nothing to do with it!" said Sora, "I've heard about what happened in Halloween Town. We all know about what went down between you and Oogie Boogie. You acted completely out of character."
"You're normally so kind and understanding", said Hercules, "You're so focused. The other day you were so full of rage and hatred."
"Yeah, that wasn't at all like the Jaron we know."
"What do you know about me, Donald?!" replied the Saviour, "You have no idea what I'm all about!"
"We would if you'd just tell us!" shouted the Chief Magician.
"Whatever happened to "when you're with friends, you don't have to face things alone?" asked Sora.
Jaron was trapped. It was what he previously-- STILL believed in. He remembered when he was on his own in the Deep Jungle and what he had been thinking.
Maybe I should follow my own advice. Maybe I should tell Sora and the others about my pain. Maybe I don't have anything to confess to be afraid of. I think I've known the Keybearer and Donald and Goofy long enough to trust them with secrets. I think I've earned their trust to know their problems.
That's the remarkable thing about friendship. Strength in numbers can help you overcome anything. When you're with friends, their help can allow you to conquer life's toughest obstacles. And in the end, isn't that what makes us strong?
Jaron looked out of the window of his hideout and then turned around to face the others.
"Very well. I'll tell you everything."
Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy, Hercules, Tarzan, Aladdin, Genie, Carpet and Jack Skellington all sat down, waiting for Jaron to speak his story. The Saviour sat down as well in front of them, ready to tell his past.
"My story begins sixteen years ago", he began, "I was born on a beautiful world known as Castle Mahanah. My world was called that because it was named after my ruler. My father. I grew up living in peace and tranquillity, with no reason to live in fear of darkness."
As Jaron told his story, he remembered a conversation he'd had with his father when he was four years old."Daddy?"
"Where is Mommy? I can't find her anywhere."
"You will find her one day", replied Mahanah, "She's still with us spiritually."
"I don't understand."
"You will one day, Jaron", he smiled, "Because you can keep on learning."
"Adam thinks that I'm being silly", said Jaron, "He says that we can never find Mommy."
Mahanah knelt down and placed his hands on the young Jaron's shoulders.
"Adam doesn't understand", smiled the ruler of the world, "and neither do you. But one day, you will both understand all that there is to know. It's just a matter of time."
"Thanks, Daddy. I love you."
"And I love you too, son."
Mahanah and Jaron hugged each other and smiled.
"My father taught me many things", continued Jaron, "One of them being that no matter how deep the darkness, a light shines within. No matter how much despair there is, as long as we have people we love, life will always be worth living. My brother and me didn't understand what he was saying at first, and it took one of the greatest tragedies among other things to makes us comprehend. One night, me and Adam witnessed something I'll never ever forget."
Eleven years ago, Jaron was fast asleep. The sound of thunder woke him up. He looked out of his window and noticed a strange energy sphere floating above his world. It was most strange. It was teeming with energy and something Jaron had never seen before.
Jaron walked over to Adam, who was still fast asleep.
"Adam, wake up!"
Jaron's older brother grunted as he slowly woke up.
"Aw, Jaron! I'll show ya how to skateboard in the morning!"
"Look out the window!"
Adam got out of bed and rubbed his eyes. They soon widened as he looked at the storm outside.
"What is that thing?!"
"Maybe Dad'll know!"
"Let's go find him, little brother!"
The two brothers ran out of the bedroom and into the bedroom of their father. He wasn't there. Jaron and Adam looked everywhere in the castle for Mahanah but to no avail. There were no guards, no other people. The two brothers were the only ones left in the castle. They ran down the many stairs of the gigantic castle. Several minutes later, they were outside in the open air.
Jaron and Adam looked on in astonishment as they saw events that they had never ever seen before. Every guard at Castle Mahanah was fighting these bizarre creatures that were just appearing out of the ground. At best, the guards were just holding them at bay. They were giving it their best shot but the strange monsters were just decimating them. Adam and Jaron gasped in horror as they saw the bizarre creatures leap on several of the residents of the castle and "eat them up". They looked on in shock as the hearts of those that had been eaten by the creatures, turned into those dark monsters.
Adam and Jaron hugged each other and started crying. They wanted all this to stop. They had never seen anything like this before. This was the first time they had seen such a horrible event occur and they didn't like it. Then a flash of light appeared. The two brothers noticed it and ran over to where it had come from. They looked up in the sky to see their own father flying. He fired beams of light at the creatures, obliterating them in an instant. The two brothers then noticed that as the creatures ceased to exist, they turned back into hearts and floated towards the sky.
Mahanah continued his attack, trying to save his home and his people from this invasion. He then looked in horror as he saw an ominous figure. He flew down towards the figure and landed behind it. The figure turned around to face him. The figure looked even stranger than the creatures that were running amuck all over the world. It was seven foot tall. It wore a cloak comprised of pure darkness that covered its body. Its entire body was the same shape and build of a fully-grown man and coloured in a shade of black that was just as dark as darkness itself. It had point-blank eyes that were coloured blood red and glowing redder and redder by the second and its head could only be described as a sort of arrowhead shape that was pointing downwards. As for a mouth, it didn't even have one. The darkness looked very bizarre but at the same time, looked as though it could destroy anything that dared to oppose it.
Mahanah and the creature just stared each other down. The carnage still continued all around them. Several minutes later, the ruler of Castle Mahanah spoke.
"Sharak, I assume?"
"You assume correctly, Mahanah."
"Your knowledge is impeccable, creature", remarked the ruler of the world.
"My knowledge is without equal, human", replied the source of all darkness, "As is my power."
"The council said you would return."
"I know what you're thinking of doing. And you would be a fool to try and stop me."
"This is my world, emperor", said Mahanah, "I will do everything in my power to stop you from taking it."
"The credit is not mine to take, sire", replied Sharak, "Although the Heartless are indeed my children, I am not the one who has resurfaced them."
"Indeed. You are too weak to do so."
"For the moment. I will take command again one day. But for now, I shall watch the proceedings. I will give the Heartless' new leader a chance to prove himself as being a worthy successor."
Sharak looked at the guards of the castle as they continued to battle against the Heartless.
"I must congratulate your men", said the emperor, "They fight valiantly. Maybe they will be victorious and succeed in repelling this invasion. Although I seriously doubt it."
"I believe that they will stop the Heartless", replied Mahanah, "Just as I believe I can stop you."
"Very easy to say, very hard to back up", retorted Sharak.
"Maybe. Maybe not."
Mahanah fired a beam of light from his hands. Sharak jumped above the attack towards the beleaguered human and unleashed a fireball on him. The power of the attack struck the master of light in the face, horribly burning him. The source of all darkness continued his onslaught, hitting him again and again. Mahanah was down on the ground in seconds. Sharak stood over him, ready to finish him off.
"Victory is mine, ever so quickly. Because I am the superior of all!"
Sharak altered his left hand into a pickaxe and swung his arm down towards Mahanah. The master of light blocked the attack and leg-swept the emperor, knocking him off his feet. The ruler of the world concentrated the power of light into his fist and connected it with Sharak's chest. The source of all darkness screamed as the light tore right through him.
"You talk too much", remarked Mahanah.
Sharak held his hand over his chest and launched a wave of darts at his adversary. Mahanah realised that were far too many for him to dodge and destroy but tried out of desperation anywhere. The majority of darts he managed to avoid and/or destroy but some of them landed deep into his leg. Mahanah screamed as he felt the sharp projectiles penetrate his skin. Sharak ran towards his enemy, morphing into a bull-like monster, and hoping to gore the master of light. Mahanah held his hand in front of him and a shield comprised of pure light formed in front of him. The creature ran headfirst into the shield and howled in even more agony as another bathing in light tore him apart.
Mahanah flew into the air and fired more beams of light at the severely wounded Sharak. This was Sharak's first battle since his destruction and regeneration. He hadn't battled for about twenty thousand years. Mahanah on the other hand, practised mastering the power of light everyday for forty years. He had the advantage.
Sharak needed time to master his powers again. He needed to regenerate more but Mahanah wasn't going to give him that opportunity. The master of light struck the source of all darkness repeatedly. Sharak managed to teleport, fly into the air and claw Mahanah in the back but a greatly injured Sharak was unable to follow up on his counter-attack. Mahanah swung around, vicious hitting Sharak in the face. The creature fell back down to the ground.
Battered and beaten, the source of all darkness looked wearily above him as Mahanah hovered above him, channelling all of his power to his hands, getting ready to unleash a powerful energy blast that would finish the creature off once and for all.
"With your destruction, so too shall come the destruction of all darkness!"
"Yeah, get him, Dad!" shouted Adam and Jaron as they cheered Mahanah on.
The ruler of the world then looked in shock and horror when he heard the cries of his children. He looked to his side to see them out in the open, in the horrific danger of the battle.
"Adam! Jaron! Get away from here before--"
"You almost had me, Mahanah", said Sharak, "Almost."
Mahanah looked at Sharak, fully healed, as he flew up to him, his point-blank eyes blaring bright red.
"But you should have ignored them and finished me off when you had the chance."
The creature altered his right arm into a sword blade and impaled the deadly blade right through Mahanah's heart. The master of light screamed as he felt the darkness enter his heart and swallow it. Adam and Jaron screamed as they saw what Sharak was doing to their father.
Mahanah shook violently as he felt the darkness poison his body and eclipse the power of light he possessed. Sharak pulled his sword-bladed arm out of Mahanah and watched him fall to the ground.
"You were a most worthy adversary, Mahanah", remarked the source of all darkness, "Misguided and weak but nevertheless, a most worthy adversary."
Adam and Jaron ran over to their fallen father as his breathing became slower and slower.
"Dad", said Adam, as he burst into tears, "We're--we're so sorry."
"Not...not your...fault. Sharak k-killed me. Not...not you."
"Don't die, Dad", cried Jaron, "We don't want to lose you."
"You will never lose me, Jaron", replied Mahanah as a smile slowly crept across his face, "Never."
Mahanah grunted and seethed in pain, before his eyes closed.
And his breathing stopped.
Jaron and Adam burst into tears before hugging each other. They were two busy mourning their loss, to be aware that Sharak was still there standing in front of them, staring at the two of them.
"Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Further proof that compassion is for weaklings. Losers."
"Why did you kill our dad?!" shouted Adam.
"Because he had no place in this universe. Just like your mother."
"Our mom?" asked Jaron as tears continued to fall from his eyes.
"Look into my eyes", ordered the creature, "See my past."
Sharak's eyes blared a bright light and the two brothers looked in awe as they saw all of the emperor's experiences. They gasped in shock as they saw everything the source of all darkness had done. How many worlds he had conquered, how many lives he had destroyed, how he had created the Heartless, how he had been destroyed, they began to learn everything Sharak knew. They saw the suffering of billions and much more.
The most crippling thing the two brothers saw though, was the time when Sharak was still regenerating. Adam was one and Jaron had just been born at the time. The emperor had been trying to summon Heartless to help him gather darkness so he could regenerate himself. In his weakened state, he could only summon five Shadows. These five Shadows journeyed to Castle Mahanah, where they attacked Jaron and Adam's mother and consumed her. The guards destroyed the Heartless, but Mahanah cried at the loss of his wife. Leaving Jaron and Adam no idea what their mother looked like.
Until now, when they saw the face of their mother for the briefest of seconds.
Before watching her die.
When they saw everything that Sharak saw, Jaron and Adam got down on their knees and broke down into tears, now knowing why their mother had never been around whilst they were growing up.
Sharak then grabbed Jaron and placed his hand over his face. Jaron screamed as he felt half of his face being burned away. Adam ran to the rescue, determined not to lose another member of his family. Sharak let go of Jaron before Adam could get to him. Jaron cried in pain as half of his face was now covered with a vicious scar.
"Quite scarring, isn't it?", asked Sharak, "Learning of your past."
"You monster!" shouted Adam, "I'll..."
"You'll what? There isn't anything you two can do about it. And you know it."
Realising that Sharak was absolutely right, Adam went to Jaron and helped him run as far away as possible. Sharak just laughed at the two brothers, knowing that anything they did was just futile. The emperor then turned to the Heartless, who had finished off all the people who lived on this world. The creatures walked up to their father, recognising him after so many years.
"Go back to your new master", ordered Sharak, "Help him in his efforts to succeed me as the ruler of all worlds. Help him with whatever his mission is. He has earned my respect and admiration."
The Heartless bowed to their father and returned to Hollow Bastion, eager to respect Sharak's wishes and eager to follow Ansem's orders. Sharak looked around him and used whatever power he had to cancel the mystical storm that was ravaging Castle Mahanah.
"This world shall not be taken by my children", Sharak said to himself, "I am in need of a new home. This one shall suffice."
With that, the emperor entered the world's keyhole and transformed it to suit his style. In the chaos that followed the transformation, Jaron and Adam were cast away to another world.
"Your father was another ally of the council?" asked Sora.
"And what Sharak did to your world was what he did to mine?" asked Aladdin.
"Yes, but I was too busy trying to escape with Adam to realise what Sharak was up to at the time", answered Jaron.
"I'm so sorry", said Sora, "We all are. We didn't know..."
Jaron looked at Sora. Then everyone else. He took his mask off. Everyone couldn't believe all the scars that trailed down the left half of the Saviour's face. There were vicious burn marks that covered one half of his face, whilst the other half of his face was perfectly normal.
"I've had these scars since I was five years old", continued Jaron, "When I have my mask on, you think that I only have one scar trailing down my left eye, when in actuality, I have scars and burns covering the entire left side of my face."
"Is...is this what Sharak did to you?" asked Hercules.
"Yes. I know from my mental interaction with Sharak that I was the first ever person to be burned like this. And I know for certain that I won't be the last. It's called the "Burn of Sharak". It usually kills when the burn takes full effect but that's up to Sharak whether it can kill or not. He can alter the burn in many different ways. He decided to spare me, realising I'd suffer more if he let me live."
"That's how Sharak "told you" about all that stuff you explained to us when we first met, isn't it?" asked Sora, "About how he created the Heartless, how he was destroyed and everything else."
"Yes. Me and Adam didn't quite understand it at all at first, but we did later on when the council recruited us."
"What happened next?" asked Goofy.
Jaron turned to the window again and looked at the moon, before looking at his reflection in the glass.
"The Heartless had devoured my mother when I was just a baby", continued the Saviour, "And now Sharak had taken my father away from me. I swore on that day that not only Sharak, not only the Heartless, but everyone who worshipped darkness would pay!"
He swung round and smashed a near bedside table with his fist.
"I would stop at nothing to obtain vengeance!"
Traverse Town, six years ago. Having been cast here since the loss of their home, Jaron and Adam had spent the last five years wandering across this world, doing whatever they could to survive. Sometimes that included stealing whatever food and drink they could gather. Now eleven and ten years old respectively, Adam and Jaron were on their way back to their secret hideout in the third district that they had discovered just a few days after they had arrived at Traverse Town.
"Man, that bozo never knew what to expect!" laughed Adam.
"True", agreed Jaron, "He looked most peculiar, didn't he? The way he was dressed and everything."
"I don't care if he looked like Santa Claus! We got his food! That's all that matters!"
The two brothers made it to the third district and were just on their way to their hideout when a figure appeared in front of them. He was dressed in a white cloak and hood, and looked very similar to a monk.
"How'd you get here?!" asked Adam.
"How did you get that chain that you're wearing?" asked the stranger, as looked at what was dangling around Jaron's neck.
"Why should you care?" replied Jaron.
"I'll ask you again. Where did you come across that chain?"
"Well that's none of your business now, is it?" replied Adam, "Now do ya wanna get out of our way?"
The cloaked stranger just stood in front of the two brothers and stared at them.
"Guess we're just gonna have to make you move!"
Adam lunged at the stranger who just moved to one side. Adam fell to the ground and the hooded man then calmly put his foot on Adam's back, pinning him down. Adam tried as hard as he could to get up but the stranger's incredible strength pinned him down.
"Leave my brother alone!" shouted Jaron as he charged the mysterious individual. Since the loss of their father, both Jaron and Adam had understood what their father had said to them. Although they had lost their parents, they still had each other. And as long as they still loved one another, then life would always be worth living.
Jaron just went straight through the stranger, who held his hand up and a field of light appeared around the ten-year-old boy. Jaron didn't feel any pain, he just couldn't move at all.
"Let us go!" shouted Adam.
"I'll ask you one more time", the stranger calmly replied, "Where did you get that chain?"
"If we tell you", asked Jaron, "Will you let us go?"
"It...it belonged to our father", said Jaron, as tears fell from his eyes, "He gave it to me when I was five. He's dead."
"I see. I am sorry to hear that."
The stranger took his foot off Adam and the field of light faded away from Jaron. The two walked up to the stranger.
"How can you be sorry?" asked Adam, "You didn't know our dad."
"Maybe I know a lot more than you think. What are your names?"
"Why should we tell you?"
"I'm reaching out to you."
Jaron and Adam looked at one another, then back at the stranger.
"My name is Jaron."
"I see", said the hooded man, "I take it you are the sons of Mahanah."
"You knew our father?"
"Yes. He was an old friend of mine. I heard about what happened to him. I'm very sorry for what you've lost."
"Yeah, well, you can't change the past", said Adam sadly.
"True, but maybe I can help."
"How?" asked Jaron.
"If you two would like the opportunity", replied the stranger, "I can help you train. I can teach you how to fight the Heartless, how to avenge your father with honour without degrading yourself to the level of the enemy. I can also help you fully embrace the light and save others from suffering the same fate that your family and world has suffered. And I can also help you make peace with your past and rebuild your shattered lives, but it will not be easy. It is up to you two to make this work."
"No offence, buddy", said Adam, "But why would you want to help us?"
"Because your father was more than just a friend. He was an ally to a society dedicated to the preservation of life. We owe it to him to teach his children what he was prevented from being able to teach you himself."
"Who's "we"?" asked Jaron.
"If you come with me", answered the stranger, "You can see for yourself but I am not going to beg you to come along. I am merely offering help and sanctuary. You don't have to accept but personally, I believe that what I'm offering is better than looking over your shoulders for the rest of your lives."
Jaron and Adam looked at one another for several minutes.
"The next day, we arrived at the World of Heaven", continued Jaron, "The home of the Council of Light. It would be our home for the next six years. On our first day there, we were introduced to the other members of the council. The council was lead by six individuals, one of them being the stranger we encountered at Traverse Town. In fact all the other leaders were exactly the same as the one we met. The next day, we had the honour of meeting King Mickey, King Triton, Zeus and the Sultan of Agrabah. Like my father, they were trusted friends and allies of the council. We had the honour of becoming friends with all of them, as they were being introduced to what the council intended to do with us."
"The council said they would help us avenge our father and they did that by training us. We had inherited our father's ability to use the power of light but we had been unable to utilise it. Mickey, Triton, Zeus and the Sultan witnessed the first few weeks of our training before returning to their own duties. We trained for a year. I was eleven and Adam was twelve when we had finished. Adam gained enhanced strength, speed and agility as well as an extraordinary talent to rapidly heal from injuries. I on the other hand, received enhanced speed, agility and enhanced senses and mastered numerous fighting styles and marksmanship. We also learned magic among other things."
"When did you first fight the Heartless?" asked Jack.
"A few days after we finished our training", continued Jaron, "The Heartless invaded the World of Heaven. Me and Adam eradicated them in seconds. Over the next few years, we helped others that couldn't help themselves. We journeyed to other worlds, saving people from Heartless invasions. We became the council's top soldiers. For the first time in a long while, we were happy. We were saving lives, rebuilding our own lives and making peace with our past. But as I told you when we first met, happiness doesn't last forever."
The World of Heaven, six months ago.
The Heartless attacked again.
Only this time they were lead by Sharak, who had regained control of his children.
The source of all darkness was unable to further regenerate himself by consuming others but he was far more powerful than when Jaron and Adam last saw him.
And much to their despair, history was repeating itself.
Just as they had witnessed eleven years ago, when they lost their home along with everything else they held dear, Jaron and Adam once again saw their whole world fall apart.
"We tried our absolute best to fight off the Heartless but there were far too many of them. Thousands and thousands invaded the World of Heaven. With Sharak guiding them all. Just like it was Sharak from the beginning, it was Sharak again, just like it was him here and now, and like it will be to the bitter end."
The Saviour remembered a conversation he had had with his masters.
"Jaron, we've lost. We want you and Adam to leave whilst you still can."
"I understand your intentions and I refuse. I won't leave you and that's final."
"Jaron, try to understand. There is far more at stake than just your lives. We hate to admit this but the Council of Light is finished. We can't stop Sharak from destroying us or the World of Heaven. With us gone, Sharak's chances of reclaiming all worlds increase tenfold but it's not too late. If you and Adam can survive to meet up with the Keyblade master and King Mickey's followers, you can gather a force powerful enough to stop Sharak and his plans. It is up to you and your brother to follow up to King Mickey's letter and remain faithful to his wishes. You two must go ahead with this for the greater good. OUR lives are expendable, YOURS aren't."
Jaron seemed hesitant. What his masters were telling him made sense but he wasn't at all comfortable with leaving people behind. People who had given him so much care and love after the loss of his parents.
"Do you know why we passed the mantle of the Saviour to you instead of Adam?"
"Because unlike Adam, you can fully understand and grasp the concept of sacrifice. You can understand how to decide the greater good, giving up your life so others may live. That is what being the Saviour is all about. All Saviours before you learned and appreciated the responsibility of saving innocent lives at ANY cost, whether it be you, us or anyone else. I know that you understand and respect that we want you and Adam to live, just as we respect you for wanting to save others."
"I...very well", relented the Saviour, "Me and Adam will evacuate immediately."
"It has been an honour and a privilege to know that Mahanah's children were just as great as Mahanah himself." All the members of the council said this in unison.
"Thank you", smiled Jaron as a small tear fell from his right eye.
The Saviour ran back outside, tearing through the Heartless that stood in his path. He frantically waded through the creatures, calling out for his brother.
After several minutes of searching, the two brothers finally regrouped.
"Adam, the council leaders want us to retreat to another world!"
"No way, little brother!" argued Adam, "Sharak made us runaway last time and we lost everything! Or have you forgotten?!"
"Of course I haven't forgotten!" shouted Jaron, "The council want us to live to fight another day! They want us to meet up with the Keybearer and the king's followers so we can develop an alternative plan!"
"Forget it, Jaron! I don't care what the council want us to do! We lost a home and a family when we were in this mess last time! I'm not gonna lose another home and family!"
"Adam, I don't like this anymore than you do! But as it stands if we carry on fighting, we will surely die! If we retreat to catch our breaths, it maybe the only chance we've got of stopping Sharak once and for all! It's our only chance to avenge Dad!"
Adam hesitated. He too felt what Jaron was feeling earlier.
"If we leave, we will lose the only family we've got left but we will STILL have each other! And if we still have each other than life will always be worth living! Always!"
Adam thought about it for a few seconds before making his decision.
"Alright, Jaron", relented Adam, "You win. But that doesn't mean I have to like what we have to do."
"I know, my brother. I know."
The two ran to the hangers, avoiding the Heartless whilst doing so. Several minutes later, they made it back to the council headquarters. The Heartless were now in the headquarters, consuming all the other members. The two brothers watched the council's leaders scream as the Heartless leapt at them, stealing their hearts in the process. Jaron and Adam knew they had to put their grief aside. They knew they had to survive, the safety of all worlds depended on it. After fighting their way down to the hangers, the two brothers witnessed another shock as they ran through the doors.
"Going somewhere?" asked Sharak.
"Move or we'll go through ya!" shouted Adam.
"I move for no-one."
"You can't stop us!" shouted Jaron.
"Pardon me if I wish to differ", said Sharak as wrapped his cloak around his body and then unravelled it. A fifteen-year-old girl appeared in front of the two brothers only to have Sharak's arm wrapped around her neck and a bladed finger held against her throat. The girl was a close friend of both Jaron and Adam. She had been their friend since the day they first arrived at the World of Heaven.
Adam and Jaron both said the name of their friend in unison and shock.
"It would be such a crippling moment for you two if she joined your parents and masters to rot in the realm of death, wouldn't it?"
"Leave her alone, Sharak!" shouted Adam, "This is between you and us! Not HER!"
"No, Adam", replied Sharak, "This involves everyone. EVERYONE."
"You STILL have the cowardice to kill those we love instead of just us?!" asked Jaron, "You're a worm, Sharak! You always have been!"
"Cowardice has nothing to do with this, Jaron. I just kill to prove that I do NOT accept defiance and rebellion. There is no place for it in MY universe."
Jaron and Adam didn't know what to do. Then the Saviour remembered the exploding orbs he possessed. He revealed one to Sharak. The source of all darkness just stared at it. He had never seen one before. He looked at it in puzzlement as Jaron rolled it towards him. The orb landed beside Sharak's foot. The emperor looked down at it and then screamed in pain as it exploded and the light destroyed a small proportion of him. Sharak let go of Lisa, who ran into Jaron's arms. Adam took advantage and nailed Sharak with a punch that sent him crashing through the walls of the hanger.
"Come on, let's get out of here!"
"Guys, where are we going?!"
"We'll worry about that later!" said Jaron, "Let's just get out of...no. No! Not now!"
The Saviour could sense Sharak recovering fast. Jaron, Adam and Lisa ran as fast as they could to the nearest cruiser. They almost made it inside when Sharak teleported behind Adam and grabbed his head.
"Such defiance does not go unpunished."
Adam screamed in pain as Sharak psychically attacked him. Using his powers of telepathy, Sharak erased the majority of Adam's mind, leaving the seventeen-year-old able to only remember one thing.
The names and personalities of the people he loved. He couldn't remember anything else.
"You'll suffer more with amnesia you can't recover from."
Sharak then opened a portal to another world and threw Adam through it. He screamed as the portal dragged him through to the world on the other side.
Jaron couldn't believe it. Sharak had taken his brother away from him, just like that. He had suffered so much and was now on the verge of total breakdown. Lisa then screamed as Sharak grabbed her by the hair and struck her. He calmly walked away carrying Lisa in front of him. Jaron looked on as he saw what Sharak was doing. Horror quickly turned to rage as he got out his sword. He'd lost his family, his friends and his home but he was determined not to lose Lisa.
"Let her go!" shouted Jaron as he threw his sword in a fit of rage at Sharak. The source of all darkness knew the sword was coming closer and closer to impaling him. He could have just dodged it or swatted it aside.
But he chose to do something far more callous.
Sharak mused as he swung round and pushed Lisa in front of him, into the path of the incoming projectile. Jaron looked on in horror as he realised what was going to happen.
The sword went right through Lisa's heart. Lisa staggered and then fell to the ground in seconds. Jaron couldn't fight the tears that fell from his eyes, trailed down his scarred face and down his mask. He ran over to her, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Sharak just stared at the Saviour as he ran over to Lisa. The creature went over to the girl, pulled the sword out of her and then dropped it. It fell to the ground alongside her.
"You are so predictable, Jaron", remarked Sharak, "So pathetic and so predictable. I will however let you live. Not because I am merciful but because you, like your brother, will suffer more if I let you live."
The emperor returned to Castle Sharak, the world that had previously belonged to Mahanah but now belonged to him.
"Goodbye, Saviour. We will meet again."
As Sharak faded out of sight like he never existed, Jaron, now completely broken into tears, knelt beside the dying Lisa.
"Lisa. Don't...don't die. Please."
"J-J-Jaron", spoke Lisa, "Take off...take off your...mask. I want to...see your...face."
The Saviour took off his mask, revealing his scarred face to Lisa.
"Keep...keep on...keep on fighting."
"Lisa. I...I'm so...sorry. I...I failed you. I've failed everyone."
"You haven't failed...anyone", replied Lisa, "This is Sharak's doing. N-n-not...yours."
"I..." Jaron couldn't speak anymore. He was too emotionally broken.
"K-keep on...fighting", smiled Lisa, as Jaron held her hand, "M-m-make us all proud."
Lisa was able to continue smiling for a few more seconds.
Lisa seethed in pain one more time.
Then she closed her eyes.
Then her breathing stopped.
Along with her heart.
Jaron placed his face in his hands and cried like he had never done before. Sharak had reduced him to a whimpering heap.
"I put my mask back on. Gathered my sword, got into the cruiser and piloted the vessel away from the World of Heaven. I looked back at it. As it fell into darkness."
A long silence followed.
"And I've been here ever since", finished Jaron, "And that was six months ago."
The Saviour placed his face in his hands as tears fell from his eyes for the umpteenth time. He looked up at the others as they looked at him with sadness and sorrow. Jaron put his hand into his pocket and took out the small, silver necklace with a heart-shaped diamond on the end of it. The one that he had chased after Oogie Boogie for the other day.
"This belonged to Lisa. She told me that she had worn it everyday since she was three. When she died, I thought it had gone with her. I didn't know that Sharak had taken it off her."
"That's why you chased Oogie Boogie and freaked out when he showed it you."
Jaron slowly nodded his head.
"This is all I have left of her. And this chain with a peace symbol on it that I wear around my neck, is all I have left of my father. As for my brother, I don't know if he's still alive. And I have nothing to commemorate his memory. As far as my mask goes, I've been wearing it since I was eleven. The council gave it to me to hide my pain. I only took it off once before today. And that was when Lisa died."
Another unholy and lengthily silence followed.
"You certainly fooled us", said Donald as he broke the silence, "We had no idea..."
"It takes time to get over things as hard as this", interrupted Jaron, "I doubted I could but I had a mission to accomplish, so I had to deal with it. When I sensed that you, Donald and Goofy were in trouble, Sora, I rescued you and when I got to know you, I was happy again. New friends and a fresh start as far as the mission was concerned made me happier and more focused. I started to regain my kind and gentle nature. And for the first time in my life, I believed that I could make peace with my past. Yesterday made me realise that I can never do that."
"Now don't be too sure, little buddy", spoke Genie, "You can..."
"I appreciate your efforts, Genie, but they're all for nothing. I'm not going to lie to you all. The friendship that you have all given me has meant a lot to me. I'll treasure it until the day I die but I now know that no matter how hard one tries to reach out to another, in the end, it is all for nothing."
"So all that stuff you said to us was just a lie was it?" asked Sora, his anger starting to rise, "All that stuff you said about not having to face things alone when you're with friends was just nonsense? Or was it stuff you once believed and you now think it's garbage?!"
"What I said wasn't important", answered Jaron, "The things that I told you about belief and friendship was what YOU knew already, Sora. It was what you ALL knew. You don't need me, you never did. You can save all worlds without me."
The Saviour put his mask back on, opened up the window and got ready to leap out of it.
"Jaron, wait!" shouted Donald.
"The cruiser is yours. You all know what has to be done."
"What about you?" asked Aladdin.
"I'll make my own way to Castle Sharak", replied the Saviour, "One way or another this is going to end."
"What do you mean?" asked Goofy.
"I've waited for vengeance for so long. I'm ready to get it. I don't care if I die in the process, I will destroy my greatest enemy. He'll pay for what he's done to all worlds, to my family and everybody else. It is time Sharak was made to pay."
With that, Jaron leapt out of the window. Everybody ran out of the hideout looking for him but couldn't find him. He had vanished into thin air.
The next morning, Sora and everybody else were loading up on supplies. They all boarded the cruiser.
Everyone that is, except Sora.
Donald and Goofy walked up to him.
"Come on, Sora", said Donald, "Let's go."
Sora didn't say anything.
"Look, Sora", said Goofy, "What Jaron said last night was a great shock to us all. We're sorry about what happened to him but we have to get on with our lives. We have to carry on with our mission. And we have to do that without him."
"I know", replied the Keybearer, "And in my opinion good riddance."
"He was right. We don't need him. We never did."
"I am sorry for Jaron, guys", explained Sora, "But he turned his back on stuff he believed in. And he also refused our help. Over the last few days I've seen a side to Jaron that I thought never existed. And now that I know the truth about him, I'm not sure if things can ever be the same again between us."
Sora turned around and walked to the cruiser.
"Come on, guys, let's go."
Sora, Donald and Goofy boarded the vessel and took off. They still had a job to do. Jaron on the other hand, had only one thing to carry out.