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One More for the Road

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“Why are we heading towards those ruins again?”

“Becauuuuse,” Sora elongated the vowel for dramatic effect, and Riku rolled his eyes. “There's legends of a really powerful sword that might be a Keyblade kept up there. They told the story about the lady who used it to drive off a whole army, remember? And in the end she unlocked the power of the gods and restored the world.”

“OK, so it sounds good,” Riku admitted, “but even they said it was a thousand years ago. That sword or Keyblade or whatever is probably long gone.”

Sora's lip was out stubbornly, and Riku had to resist the urge to kiss it. “Won't hurt to check it out,” he finally said. “Race ya!”

The normally silent mountains rang with the laughter of two young men who still remembered how to be boys. It startled the ravens, who flew away shrieking their annoyance. It echoed across a deserted courtyard, stirring up ghosts that normally only lived in fairy tales. By the time the two pounded through the long broken gate, a snow drift that had piled in front of a set of doors had been mostly blown away by a suddenly strong wind.

They had to work together to open the ancient doors. Inside the air was cold and stale, and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. They both sneezed repeatedly, which stirred up even more dust, until Sora cast Aeroga to blow it all outside. Unfortunately, it also caused the ancient wall hangings to crumble. Riku could only sigh as Sora frantically tried to piece one back together.

“Hey, look at this,” Sora said, carefully unfolding a larger piece on the floor. Riku crouched down beside him and saw a picture of a woman with flame-red hair swinging her sword.

“She's beautiful,” Riku accidentally said out loud. As Sora gasped, he tried to cover it with, “I mean, not as pretty as Kairi, but it's a pretty picture!” Sora laughed at his discomfort. “Shut up,” he said, punching at his friend's shoulder.

Sora fell to his backside, which made Riku laugh, which made Sora launch an attack, which soon had the two rolling around the floor in a mock fight that seemed much more like making out than anything else. It ended rather abruptly when Riku rolled the younger man to pin him and instead cracked the other's head on the wall that neither of them had noticed was there. After hastily casting Cura and being assured that the other was in no danger of dying any time soon, Riku noticed the carving on the wall. It was of the woman again, this time standing with the sword pointing towards altar.

The two searched the area, but found nothing of interest. Sora looked back at the carving, then at the altar again. The sword had been carved into the altar on all four sides. He mirrored her stance, then realized what it reminded him of and called up his Keyblade. The tip glowed when he pointed it to the stone altar, and somewhere a dull click sounded. The top of the altar slowly slide back, and there was what they had been looking for.

Sora let out a crow of triumph. Riku whistled in appreciate as he gazed on the intricate metalwork. “Do you really think we should take it?” he asked in a hushed tone.

“Well, why not?” Sora asked, a little confused. “It could only be found by a Keybearer.”

“I mean...” Riku trailed off. “It seems like... it really belongs here. Besides, it's not like we need one more Keyblade for the road.”

“Oh.” Sora considered that for a moment, looking at the blade. “I think you're right, Riku. I'm glad we found it, but let's leave it here.”

After closing the altar, there was nothing else in the room of interest. As they left, Riku looked back at the carved woman, and would later swear he saw her smiling in approval.