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“Okay,” Luso says, reaching into his jacket. “If we’re going to do this, we need to do this right. Here.”

He thrusts an object into Eden’s hand, and another into Adelle’s. Eden glances down at his hand, tilting his head a little.

“... Sunglasses?”

“They’ll make us look cool and professional,” Luso says, putting his on. They almost completely obscure his eyes. Eden shrugs, pulling his on as well.

“Remember, guys, this is serious,” Adelle says, as she puts on her own sunglasses.

---


“I say, have we met before?”

“No,” Eden says, holding out his arm for Luso to scribble a note on (“I didn’t bring a notepad!” “But you did bring a pen?”) “So, just making sure Lu’s got everything right: First name ‘the,’ middle initial ‘M,’ last name ‘Hatter,’ and you say Alice was here having a tea party with you?”

The man in the hat nods. “We had jam!”

“They had jam,” Eden murmurs to Luso. “Not sure what that is, but they had it.”

“Can anybody else corroborate that?” Luso asks.

The man in the hat points down the table, to a mouse sleepily rising out of a teapot.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat … how I … how I wonder …” the mouse says, softly.

“That sounds like it could be important, note it down,” Eden tells Luso.

As Luso quickly scribbles the note onto Eden’s forearm, Eden catches Adelle skateboarding past, giving them encouraging fingerguns.

---


They’re questioning a pair of identical men when it happens. A Heartless, spherical save for three tentacles protruding from it, bursts from the undergrowth, followed by two more.

“Heartless!” Luso calls, as Adelle brings her skateboard to a sharp stop and whisks off her sunglasses.

“On it,” Adelle replies.

The two of them summon their keyblades -- Luso’s large, bulky and translucent Warring Leonid; and Adelle’s slender, sparkling Silver Tiger. Eden snaps his own into his hand.

“One each?” Adelle asks.

“One of us should take a picture,” Luso says. “It’s evidence.

“You can do that,” Eden says, and Luso tucks his keyblade under his arm, pulling out his Text and flipping through the pages until he finds a camera function. “Adelle and I will do all the hard work.”

‘Hard work’ is right, it turns out. The spherical Heartless zip around the woods fast enough that forty percent of the battle is chasing them down, and forty percent is fending off rapid attacks from their tentacles. The remaining twenty percent is trying to herd them into places where Luso can take pictures of them.

Eden takes down the first, trapping it in place with a barrage of criss-crossing beams of light and then slicing it in two, and a minute later Adelle freezes the second in place and shatters it with a flurry of thrusts. They converge on the third and batter it to death in short order.

“Did you get any good shots?” Adelle asks, putting her sunglasses back on. Eden adjusts his own pair, now askew and hanging lopsidedly off his nose, so that they sit more comfortably over his eyes.

“A bunch!” Luso says, giving them both a thumbs up.

“Heartless separated from the main horde,” Luso’s Chirithy notes, from his shoulder.

“And of a type not native to this world, I do believe,” Adelle’s Chirithy adds.

“Curious indeed,” Eden’s Chirithy says. “We’ll have to report this to Foreteller Gula.”

The other two make agreeable noises, before all three vanish.

“What’s got them worked up?” Luso asks, shaking his head. “Weird guys. Anyway!”

He nods to Eden, and Eden reaches over to grab one of the twins by the back of his shirt, swinging them roughly towards Luso for further questions.

“So, describe the being you saw exiting the Queen’s castle,” Luso says. "We'll draw the culprit based on what you say."

---


darkball


“This is way better than my drawings, Lu,” Eden says, mildly, peering at his arm.

“Thanks! Sometimes I think of myself as an artist first, and a keybearer second,” Luso replies.

“You have a rare skill.”

“It’s clearly that big spherical Heartless we saw, right?” Adelle asks, leaning over Luso’s head.

“Oh, yeah, deffo,” Luso says.

---


They catch sight of the horde of Heartless in the middle of interrogating a particularly obstinate dodo.

“Moving towards the castle,” Adelle notes.

“Perhaps they’re drawn to the girl,” Adelle’s Chirithy remarks. “Her light shines brighter than anyone else’s here.”

“Speaking of the girl,” Eden’s Chirithy adds, “I understand that this world is a terribly distracting place, but someone please tell Luso to stop dancing so that we may return to the castle and present our evidence before it is overrun by Heartless.”

“But he looks like he’s having fun. We should leave him here forever instead.”

“No, Eden.”

---


Luso slams his hand down on the podium. “So, as you see, Alice could not possibly have been the one to try to steal your heart!”

The Queen doesn’t say anything, having long ago started staring into space, until the small man next to her tugs at her sleeve. “My dear? The trial is over.”

“Hm? Then I shall give my verdict!” The Queen says grandly, leaning forward and gesturing at Alice. “I have listened to all of the evidence given today, and come to the obvious conclusion.”

Eden takes a step to one side, eyes flicking between Luso and the Queen as she pauses for dramatic effect, straightening herself up to her full but not tremendously impressive height.

“Alice, I find you guilty. Off with her head! Off with her head!

Eden sighs, lifting his shoulders into an expressive shrug. “Well, I guess that’s our job done. Bad luck, Alice, goodbye forever.”

“Sorry, not sorry,” Adelle says.

“But this is simply absurd!” Alice protests.

“Sorry,” Adelle repeats, a little more firmly, “not sorry.”

“We should go deal with that horde of Heartless before they get here, I guess,” Eden says, raising his arms over his head and stretching, as Luso shrugs and tosses his sunglasses on the ground, and several guards move to try to drag a reluctant Alice away.

“Now, why would you want to do that?

That’s not the Queen, or Alice, or anybody Eden knew was on this world, yet he still isn’t even remotely surprised when Mateus emerges from the hedge maze, with the red-haired boy in the hat on one side, and a girl with white hair styled into elaborate horns on the other.

“Oh, good, Ursus are here,” Adelle says, tone entirely flat. “Go bears.”

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Eden Llyx

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