Stake conference has us thinking about a lot of things, but I think Elder Klebingat hit on exactly the main thing we need to work on...which of course is always the hardest thing to confront. That's how learning and growing and becoming a better person works. But it's personal, so I'm not going to share any more than that.
Instead, let's talk about Kingdom Hearts! Basically, when we got that save point at the Land of Departures, that was the game's way of saying, "You just had a bunch of cut scenes, and there's about to be a bunch more, so this is your chance for an intermission."
We went to the main room where Terra and Aqua tested to be Keyblade masters, and there was Ventus, sitting on the throne-like chair in the middle, still asleep. Aqua tries to wake him up, apologizing for taking so long, but it doesn't work. Just as they start asking each other what to do about it, we hear a voice that says, "Sorry to interrupt your touching reunion, but I want in on this, too."
It was Vanitas! Oh no!!! Everybody gets ready to fight, and Aqua's like, "Nope, this one's mine," and Sora's like, "But you're still recovering from that other stuff!" and she's all, "Seriously, I looked pathetic back there. I have to show you I can be awesome, too." So she puts up a magic barrier, and for some bizarre reason I thought, "Oh good, we don't have to fight Vanitas." Well, the joke was on us, because now we got to play as Aqua. (We should have seen it coming, because in that first Aqua fight, we played as Riku.) So you beat Vanitas, and he's all, "Hmm, I'm not winning. Instead of fighting her, I'll just break down her barrier." She catches on right before he sends a fireball straight at Ventus, and ha! the joke was on her, because Vanitas knew she'd jump in the way, and the fireball hits her instead. So now he's ready to jab his Keyblade right into her heart! Dun dun DUN!
Of course now all Sora can do is watch helplessly, and the stress sends him into his own head, where he talks to Ventus, who says, "I have to wake up, huh?" and Sora's like, "Yeah, but I don't know how to wake you up. I haven't gotten my awakening powers back yet." And Ventus is like, "Yeah, they never left you. They're just asleep." And Athena is all, "Then what in the heck did we go to all those different worlds for?"
Anyway, the point is, Sora unlocks Ventus's heart, and then we go back to Vanitas, whose fatal blow is stopped by Ventus! Tadah! He's awake now! And that's really all Vanitas wanted all along, so that, and the fact that Aqua's barrier had been shattered so Sora and Pals are ready to gang up on him too, makes him decide it's time to leave. Now Sora can formally introduce himself to Ventus, and he offers his hand for a handshake. Ventus looks at him and immediately sees the resemblance to Vanitas (for those of you not playing along with Birth by Sleep, Vanitas looks exactly like Sora, only with blacker hair and yellow eyes, but he usually wears a helmet that covers his whole head, so nobody (except Ventus, who's seen him without it) knows). Still, Ventus knows a friendly guy when he sees one, and he made some significant comment that I've since forgotten, and shook Sora's hand anyway.
I do want to point out that Vanitas kept calling Ventus his defect brother, and I don't remember if Birth by Sleep fully explained their relationship. (It would have been right before a boss battle. Athena says she believes that Vanitas is all the darkness that Xehanort extracted from Ventus's heart. I think they still haven't explained why Xehanort chose Ventus to do that to, though.)
So now we have a big reunion at the Mysterious Tower with Sora and Pals, Riku and Mickey, Kairi and Axel, and Aqua and Ventus, and they're all happy because now they have the Seven Guardians, which means they can go fight Xehanort. Sora's still bummed out, though, because they were supposed to rescue Roxas and Namine and Terra back, too, but in the meantime, he'll take what he can get. Aqua goes around remembering all the young'uns from when she met them as kids, and we're reminded that Kairi appeared mysteriously on Destiny Islands with no memory of her previous life. Aqua met her back when she still lived in Radiant Garden, and is not offended at all that Kairi doesn't remember her, pointing out that Kairi was so little, she probably wouldn't have remembered even if she didn't have amnesia. But Aqua did also remind us that she cast a protective charm on Kairi, so we'll see if that comes into play later (or if it already did).
Through all of Aqua's stuff, Axel starts to get impatient, and he's all, "So I'm still waiting for us to get Roxas back anyway, and now there's a guy over there who looks just like Roxas, but I actually know him, too, and this is all getting really confusing." And Ventus is like, "I remember you, Lea." And Axel's like, "You do?" and Ventus is like, "We're friends, aren't we?" and I'm like, "*cries*!!!" and Sora's all, "But I thought your name was Axel," and Axel's all, "See!? I told you it was confusing!" (Or was it Sora saying, "Wait, you know Axel?" and Ventus being like, "Axel? I thought his name was Lea!" Either way, it's so confusing, now I'm confused.)
Yen Sid tells everybody to take some time relaxing in preparation for the big battle, so then we have a bunch of scenes to tell us what all's on everybody's mind. First, Aqua and Ventus talk about getting Terra back and how they're really close to everything going back to normal.
Then there's the scene with Axel! Oh my gosh, you guys! Axel was sitting on the Twilight Town clocktower, all by himself, eating some sea salt ice cream with his right hand, and holding two other ice cream bars in the other! Awwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! Then Saix comes and starts making fun of him, and takes one of his ice creams! What! What a jerk! He's all, "What were you doing with three anyway? I mean, I'm guessing one was for Roxas, but were you going to eat two?" And we're all, "Shut up, it's for Xion!" but of course nobody knows that. Even Axel was like, "I don't know, I just bought three, okay!?"
And this is the scene where we learn that even Saix has been trying to be a good guy all along. Apparently when they were kids, Lea and Isa used to sneak into the castle at Radiant Garden, and there was some other kid they knew (only referred to as "ano ko," so we don't know anything else, but "ano ko" instead of "kare" indicates maaaaaaaybe female?), and s/he disappeared! And the whole reason the two of them got involved with Ansem and Xemnas and whoever all else is that Saix wanted to find this person again. Maybe he's the one who sent Vexen and Demyx to help Ienzo! So many mysteries. And who is "ano ko"? Is it Kairi? It could potentially be Kairi, since we know she was on Radiant Garden and disappeared, but Axel's been hanging out with Kairi all this time, if it were her, you'd think he would have recognized her. Maybe it's Namine. I don't know! I'm sure we'll find out later.
Then there's a scene where we learn that Riku Replica's heart is living inside Riku now, so that's a thing. Riku was all hanging out on the beach talking to him, and Sora and Kairi were over somewhere else on the beach, and Sora looks at Riku talking to an invisible person, and is like, "What is Riku doing?" And Kairi's like, "Oh, he's Riku." Then she's like, "Here," and Sora looks over, and she's holding a paopu fruit!!!!! AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! After all their heartache and being kept apart and scratching drawings on the cave wall, they finally get to really share a paopu fruit! Sora seemed a little hesitant, though, so I'm kind of wondering what that's about. Maybe he was worried about the coming battle, but he got over it by saying, "I'll keep you safe!" and Kairi's like, "No, I'll keep you safe!" and it was cute. Those two are adorable.
And then it was time for more Gummi exploration, and now here we are.
In summary, there were some very emotional scenes and I'm afraid I'm just not good enough at expressing myself to do them justice, but you guys, this game is really good.
Today I'm thankful for another great session of stake conference, getting all the feels in the Kingdom Hearts scenes, the game not being over yet, having plenty of Girl Scout Cookies, and finding the little crocheted cactus we bought at a local arts and crafts show a year or so ago.