Chapter Two: The Escape
The Darkside cast the first attack. A pitch black fist crashed into the arena.
King Mickey and Donald Duck were knocked away from Queen Minnie and Jasmine. Carpet flew high and swooped over the Darkside's glowing eyes.
"It's distracted! Now's our chance!" squawked Donald "B-ZAAAAAAH!" His staff shot a zig-zagging bolt of lightning into the monster's chest. Mickey launched two blasts of light at its shoulders. Queen Minnie and Jasmine hurried to action and rammed into each leg. The giant wobbled. Its pointed foot stomped backwards. Mickey hoped their attacks were just enough to push it into the deep space between the arena and the stadium. The menacing monster fell to one knee. They all gazed at its grotesque head and its glowing eyes.
The Darkside jerked its head over to Queen Minnie and Jasmine. Despite its mighty size, its brawny arms swiftly swung across and snatched the two ladies.
“Oh Mickey, help!” wailed Queen Minnie. Jasmine grunted and tried to wrestle her arms free.
“I’m-a comin’!” King Mickey aimed his Keyblade right into the Darkside's face.
“Not this time, you little pipsqueak!" shouted a low voice through a fat neck. A heavyset figure bounced out of the floating pirate ship. His flabby body shook the ground beneath him.
“PETE!” King Mickey called out to his oldest enemy. Pete was the Disney Kingdom's most infamous scoundrel. He had a nasty habit of getting himself involved with the wrong crowd or starting his own trouble. Be it cheating, stealing, or employing the forces of darkness, Pete never seemed to heed to decency.
"What do you think you're doing?" shouted Donald Duck.
"I'm getting this party started, that's what. I've brought my own guests to fill up the seats!" cackled Pete. Little blobs of darkness crept to the edges of the hovering pirate ship.
"We came fashionably late, of course. You like our ride? Courtesy of Captain Hook!" bragged Pete.
"No one wanted you!" Donald shook his head angrily.
"What are you doing here with the Heartless? Tell them to let Queen Minnie and Princess Jasmine go!" commanded King Mickey.
"Hmmm," Pete scratched his oversized jaw. "I don't think so. We're taking them to a VIP cruise ship, you see. He-he-he. But don't worry, we got something extra special for you." He pinched his fingers into his mouth and whistled. Two dark creatures, known as Air Pirates for their wide goggles and mechanical wings, dove down from the ship and captured King Mickey. They swung back upwards in a nautious, corkscrew direction.
“I don’t think so!" cried Donald "GRAVI-"
THUMP! The Darkside’s free hand slapped the ground over Donald.
"Oh no!" shrieked Jasmine. The Carpet was still trying to pull out one of the Darkside's curled fingers.
“HAHA! That's what happens when you mess with the big boys." Pete bore a wicked grin when he watched Mickey being shoved into the loading port of a large black cannon.
"This is my overdue gift, your Majesty. An all-expenses-paid, one-way trip to...far far AWAY!" One of the Air Pirates scratched its fingers and lit up the cannon's short wick.
KA-BOOM! Mickey was shot away in a trail of cannon smoke, miles away past the horizon.
"MICKEY!" screeched Queen Minnie. Jasmine jerked her ears away. She finally managed to loosen her arms. With Carpet's help, she pushed back one of the Darkside's fingers. She had enough room to slip out and land safely on Carpet.
"Donald! You have to get up!" Jasmine and Carpet dodged the incoming pack of Air Pirates.
"That's right! Go and get her back!" fussed Pete. The Darkside tried to swat the Carpet like a buzzing pest. In doing so, its hand moved away from Donald. He forced his legs up and blasted Pete with a Blizzard spell. It came as a shooting, blue star that struck Pete and encased him in ice. He left a bewildered look in his still eyes.
"Let's get this big palooka out of here!" Donald charged his staff with crackling red light.
"B-ZAAAAAAAAH!" Donald fired a calvary of multiple fire attacks against the Darkside. It tumbled on its kness and released Minnie from its clutches.
Pete huffed as he broke out of Donald's icy prison.
"Fine! I'll just settle with one and make this an easy job!" Pete pulled out a pistol, shaped like the muzzle of a fierce hound. He pointed his gizmo-looking weapon at Queen Minnie.
BZZZT! Pete had pressed the trigger and fired a rapid laser beam. Donald and Jasmine winced. When the pistol's light faded, they both saw that Minnie was petrified into a statue.
“No!" cried Jasmine.
"PETE, YOU MONSTER!” yelled Donald angrily. He fired another Blizzard spell at Pete but he bounced off to the top of the Darkside's head. He jumped again and retreated to the pirate ship.
"You certainly took your time." grumbled a grouchy voice. Jasmine and Carpet flew by and glanced at the notorious pirate captain, cloaked in red, with a hook for a hand.
"You wanna leave now, Hooky? Then tell your crew to get packing. We're done here," said Pete. He whistled once more, cuing the Air Pirates to carry Queen Minnie as a statue, off the arena. Jasmine tugged the Carpet to rush over towards Minnie. The Darkside reached out to Jasmine again but Carpet flew away just in time. The giant had missed. Jasmine could feel her thumping heartbeat.
“Later losers! Have fun with your new friend!” taunted Pete. He cackled into the cabin as the ship rose and flew away from the stadium.
"Get back here!" shouted Donald. It was just him, Jasmine, and Carpet against the Darkside. Their fiendish foe raised its arm, as if to crush them. Donald and Jasmine were stood bravely, ready to fight back. Before they could do anything more, the Darkside started to vibrate throughout its shadowy limbs. Its eyes shined like an overcharged beacon. Maybe it could not handle the damage from Donald's attacks.
PWWWSH! The Darkside's body burst, disintegrating into blotches of dark energy. Donald Duck and Jasmine retreated to the Carpet. They swiftly flew over the remains of the giant. Shades of black and purple matter spread voraciously, consuming the arena and the stadium. Everything disappeared under its darkness. It was no longer safe to be there.
The Carpet carried Donald Duck and Jasmine out of the floating stadium, humming until it stopped abruptly.
The explosive power of the darkness rang the sky. Donald and Jasmine gawked down below at the stadium, engulfed in a massive orb of swirling darkness. It was like a hideous, black planet, burning with gas and light.
"Oh boy. I'm glad we got out of there." Donald let out a heavy sigh. He swiped the sweaty feathers over his eyes.
"I don't think Pete's realizes what he's gotten into. We can't let him get away," remarked Jasmine. She tugged the Carpet by its fuzzy fabric. It bolted ahead, chasing the pirate ship through the distant clouds. Their plan was to get more information while they had their enemy in sight. Jasmine's heart ached for Queen Minnie, petrified and imprisoned by Pete and the Heartless. As for Donald, he only wanted to teach Pete a lesson with a good pounding. He trusted King Mickey, a noble and brave hero, would be fine, wherever he landed. They would find each other. Eventually. Hopefully.
* * *
“Holy Shiitake Mushrooms!” Mushu was flabbergasted by the series of events he witnessed from the mirror. After the darkness conquered the stadium, the footage was then lost. He and Mulan stared blankly into their reflection. They were not not sure if Donald Duck and Jasmine had escaped in time.
"This is terrible. The King was attacked. And the Queen was kidnapped," recapped Mulan.
"Why do the Heartless and the oversized dumpling have to ruin a good day? Now it's a disaster!" rambled Mushu.
"Based on the sunlight from the stadium, the cannon launched the King in the East. If we hurry, we might be able to find him. He'll know how to fight the Heartless threat."
"Great plan! But uhm...where do we start lookin'? We can't use the mirror. It only shows us a place we already know about." Mushu was right. Mulan did not want to waste time and resources scouring in the wrong places. She took a deep breath and came to her knees. With a humble nod, she began praying to her ancestors.
"Please. Guide us to King Mickey. Guide us like you guided Mushu to me," Mulan spoke softly. Mushu rolled his eyes. When it come to speaking to the other guardian spirits of the Fa family, he could never please them.
A streaming breeze whirled through the window. It carried the wispy trail of the burning candles around the ancestral shrine. An azure aura brimmed from the tombstones, from which Mulan's pale ancestors emerged.
"Fa Mulan," begun the elder spirit with a ghostly white hair. "A new kind of darkness has surfaced. It seeks to leave its own realm and conquer the worlds of light."
"We know. We saw the whole showdown. It's crazy!" blurted Mushu.
"King Mickey is lost somewhere. He needs help," said Mulan urgently.
"And so you two shall aid him. Others will join you. Others will try to stop you," cautioned the elder spirit.
"Soooo, you gotta tip on where we gotta look?" asked Mushu.
The elder spirit gave only a quick glare at the puny dragon.
"Fa Mulan. Travel North with your...guardian to the Bamboo Forest, at the edge of the Eastern mountains. There you will find the King with the key. Be safe. Be wise. And fight with honor."
"I will. Thank you," Mulan bowed respectfully. Mushu nudged his head and rolled his eyes. The elder spirit and the ancestors receded into their tombstones. Mulan sprung up and told Mushu to wait outside her home. She went straight to her family to tell them that she would be leaving on an urgent mission. As they shared an endearing hug, Mulan assured that she will return as soon as she can. Wearing her family sword in its scabbard by its strap, Mulan signaled Mushu to followed her into the stable.
"All right! It's Mushu and Mulan! Out again in the battlefield! Family honor for the win!" cheered Mushu from the wooden windowsill. Mulan latched her saddle and other supplies onto her reliable horse, Khan. She then pulled herself over his back and flapped the reins. Mushu leaped and perched on her shoulder.
"First it was saving the Emperor. Now we're saving the King! Let's do this!" Mushu shared great enthusiasm for the adventure ahead. Mulan appreciated his company. He lent a helping hand when it came to combat and morale. She loved her family and her village dearly. It was her goal to seek the King and stop the Heartless hordes from spreading to the Eastern mountains. It was more than just a matter of honor on the line. She knew from stories that the Heartless were more vicious and merciless than the Huns. There was no time to lose.