Chapter Eight

“You spoke with him?”

The low voice echoed in the expansive room, the space much too big for the few people that occupied it. Those few present sat perched on high chairs, veritable towers that rose in a circle from the floor.

“We did,” came the simple response.

Each body atop each towering chair was cloaked in black, almost all identical but for their faces and the style in which they wore the garment. Only one was of significant build, the other six all lithe. Long hair was the norm.

“I was asking about you specifically, Axel.”

Momentary silence met the reply.

“And I told you that we did, Xemnas.”

“Must you always be so difficult?” Xemnas sighed. “Drop your own agenda for once. Give up on the boy. He remembers this time.” His words were an accusation. “You had your chance to bring back Roxas, and you failed. If he wouldn’t listen to you then, as a friend, what hope do you have now?”

Axel suffered the verbal blows in silence, though another member came to his rescue by changing the subject.

“I opened a corridor of darkness as you asked, Xemnas.” The words came from a black haired man, his face crossed with a deep scar. A patch covered his right eye, though the partial lack of sight didn't impede his fighting: he was known as the Freeshooter.

“And you had it terminate near Iron Town?” The ice was gone from Xemnas’ voice, though it was still cold and emotionless.

“In the forest. I didn’t want to risk the boy being seen as he stepped through.”

“Good, Xigbar. I trust you’ll be keeping an eye on Roxas and Iron Town?” He glanced at Saïx as he said this.

With a slow nod, Saïx replied, “That is the mission I’ve assigned him, Xemnas.”

A smile. “Good.”

Silence descended once more on the white chamber, filling it completely. After some seconds had passed, Xemnas spoke once more, addressing no-one in particular.

“What of Lady Eboshi?”

“What of her?” Xigbar huffed.

“She’s the reason our Roxas is in Iron Town, for starters,” Saïx said.

“Go on,” Xemnas intoned.

“Her hatred for the forest gods is consuming her heart. I expect that she will soon draw Heartless to her, like a beacon,” Saïx began. “Roxas will naturally confront the Heartless and, with his laughable Keyblade, defeat them. When Lady Eboshi herself becomes a Heartless, he’ll do the same: defeat the monster and bring us that much closer to Kingdom Hearts.”

“And?” Xemnas asked after letting the Saïx’s words sink in.

Saïx didn’t reply to the question.

In response to his silence, Xemnas laughed, a dull and hollow sound. The other six men in the Round Room exchanged perplexed glances, unsure of their leader’s madness.

“And with every Heartless comes a Nobody: Lady Eboshi’s Nobody. And we need a woman in our ranks, with Larxene off in Castle Oblivion scheming away with the others.”

Now the remaining six, Saïx, Axel, Xigbar, Demyx, Luxord, and Xaldin, added their hollow laughs to Xemnas’, the noise reverberating through the Round Room from their perches.

The End

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