~by Crypt ~inspired by the Square-Enix series "Kingdom Hearts." Note: This story has a lot of references towards KH, but it does not follow the storyline exactly. There may be many changes. Chapter 1 "Jack Daniels, please," Zel said. The bartender slid a whole bottle of Jack Daniels across the counter to Zel. "There you go, sir," the bartender said. Zel closed his eyes, flipped off the cap using his thumb, and started taking gulps of his beer. As the piano player finished up the song, the audience (consisting of only 7 people) clapped. One man even put his fingers in front of his mouth and made that ever so annoying whistle sound. Zel put one hand over his ear as he heard the high-pitched whistle. "Rough day, eh?" the bartender said, wiping off the counter. "Well, I sure as hell have had better," Zel said, placing his bear on a coaster. When you come to think of it, Zel has had many better days than the one he had today. The Heartless (which are creatures that have no hearts) have been multiplying since day 1 of the "dark surrounding." One sub-species of the Heartless, called the Shadows, had formed a group of 10, surrounding Zel in a circle. They all walked around the circle in harmony, staring down Zel, ready to attack. Zel closed his eyes and slowly reached for his sword. As one of the Shadows couldn't take it anymore, it jumped at Zel. Zel pulled out his sword swiftly and sliced the Shadow in two. Making the others mad, they all jumped at him. Zel couldn't handle it all, so the Shadows knocked him to the ground, clawing his chest and his face. Since his sword had been knocked out of his hands, he had to punch them off of his body. That did nothing, only making them more upset. He stood up, flailing his leg to get a Shadow off that had clawed into his jeans. He ran over to his sword, grabbed it, and threw it like a boomerang, slicing through 4 of the shadows. With only 5 left, he decided to make a run for it. He charged inbetween the Shadows, grabbed his sword, and ran. It didn't take him long to lose the heartless in various alleyways. Zel was an average, 23 year old man with long, black hair that went half way down his neck and covered most of his eyes. He was tall, muscular, and fast. The only problem with that perfect-sounding figure is that the hearless' power still came on top. He can't handle most of the heartless that crosses his path, because they like to travel in packs, 12 being the maximum. Most of the thime it's just Shadows. Other times they're much more difficult, like Neoshadows or Orcus'. His blade, called the "Slice Ripple," isn't enough to defeat most of them. Zel usually ends up running or calling for help. Back when the Dark Surrounding first started, Radiant Garden (his town) was filled with a limpy amount of heartless, easy to take care of. Zel actually found killing heartless kind of fun up until they started traveling in fours. After many circumstances where he was knocked down and clawed in the face, he decided to give up. The only times he ever pulled out his sword was if he knew he was screwed. Even though the heartless are destroying his home town, they're not the only ones. There's another species, much more difficult, said to be the "origin of the heartless" or "darkness's favorite." Their name? The Phantoms. Chapter 2 "Would ya' like another one, sir?" the bartender said. "No, I'm fine." Zel said, burping inside his mouth afterwards. "You know, you drank that beer like there's no tommorow." the bartender said with a bit of a smile. "With all that's happening, I wouldn't be surprised if there WASN'T a tomorrow." Zel said, ticked off. Zel noticed a news report on the TV about the dark surrounding. Several reports from Twilight Town consisting of Neoshadows and Soldiers tearing down billboards and doors. People running around, screaming. People trying so hard to fight off the heartless. Zel knows it's useless. The news then began talking about the Phantoms, who are conducting the heartless. The Phantoms are what started the dark surrounding. It all happened in Traverse Town about 5 years ago. A wanted dark mage, someone named Aramus, conducted a spell that he had created. The spell surrounded Traverse Town with dark orbs that spun in a circle. As Aramus summoned more darkness from his staff, the orbs started growing. As soon as all of the orbs were the size of a human body, he said one last word, something researchers believe was "KA!" Once he said that, the orbs transformed into figures. Figures that looked like humans. But of course they weren't. The figures began to morph into something different. They grew sharp teeth, claws, black armor, and yellow-dotted eyes. They also grew larger. Shortly after, they summoned staffs like Aramus's and shot electricity at citizens. From what Zel hears, Aramus was killed by the galactic government, but the Phantoms teleported into each and every world. Around the time when the public was notified about this, the Phantoms started creating the heartless from spare darkness they had inside them. Now-a-days, the Phantoms and the Heartless pray upon citizens. The government can hold off what's happening, but they can't defeat it. Zel payed the bartender, hopped off the stool, and walked outside casually. Being cautious, he looked both ways before crossing the street. Not because of cars. There were no cars. He made sure that the heartless didn't come after him. As Zel headed down an alleyway, he noticed a tiny speck of light next to the wall. He squinted his eyes in curiosity, walked towards in slowly, and examined it. It was nothing but a tiny speck of light. He slowly reached to touch it, but it grew bigger and startled him. He heard a voice. Whispering, the voice said, "Hello? Can anyone hear me?" Zel replied, whispering as well, "Who, or...what is this?" "Oh goody, a warrior." the voice said, cheerfully. "Wh-what...?" Zel replied. The dot grew brighter and larger. Zel stepped back a few feet. The dot grew even larger. It sucked Zel in.