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One minute she was grilling him for his recklessness and how he endangered their well-being, and now she was apologizing to him for the exact reason she was laying it into him. Kai might’ve been young, but this was exactly why he chose to shut up when he did something wrong because he would never be able to figure out why he was in the wrong in the first place. Whichever the case, he listened to her. Kai didn’t want to make the same mistake like he did before. He learned now that he couldn’t act the same way around her simply because she looked like Aira. That wasn’t fair to Cielle.

After she was finished and had ended it with a statement that both could agree to, Kai gave her a simple nod, though it seemed like he did have just a tad more to say. “That’s at least one thing we both can agree on,” Kai said, giving her a warm smile. She might’ve not been Aira, but things kept up, Kai might form a bond with her sister. As things seemed to have settled between them, Kai looked ahead and saw the ice-colored world that he noticed they were a few clicks away before was now a lot closer to them. “So, this must be our next destination.”

“Right you are!”

Suddenly, Kai heard a voice. It wasn’t the voice from his dream nor the one from Twilight Town who he was supposed to meet. So, who was it? “Did you hear that, Ci?” Kai asked, frantic.

“Down here, Master Kai!”

He looked down and, at first he thought he was seeing things. But nope! Kai’s eyes weren’t deceiving him. There on the dashboard holding an enormously thick and large book was a cricket wearing a half-tuxedo and a top hat. And in his hand was a parcel. “So, who are you? Johnny Grasshopper?”

“Close. I am Jiminy Cricket, sent here by The King to aid you in your travels.”

“The King?” Kai repeated to himself, remembering Cielle mentioned something about a king. He wondered if that was the same person, “okay, so Jimmy--

“Jiminy. Jiminy Cricket!” He corrected Kai enthusiastically.

“Right, Jimminy, what exactly will you do to help us?”

“I will catalog your adventures and provide information should you need it.”

Kai didn’t know how to process this, which prompted him to lean over to Cielle, “you buying any of this?” He asked quietly, looking over at Jiminy, who was smiling blissfully.
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Cielle had to turn away to hide her expression at Kai's smile. It was way too warm and inviting for her taste. Luckily for her, Kai was soon distracted by their arrival at the new world. She sighed in relief, though she missed his next question. Before she could ask, Jiminy popped up, surprising Kai. She stifled a laugh by biting her lower lip, watching Kai's expression as the tiny cricket introduced himself. Kai was completely floored by his presence, it seemed. There was no way she was going to admit she was equally the first time they had met, though she wasn't sure who had surprised her more: the cricket or the mouse.

As Kai leaned in and asked Cielle if she was buying what Jiminy was telling him, she nodded. "No need to fret, you won't even notice him," She assured Kai, patting his arm. "Chronicling our journey is good practice in case we ever need to go back and review what we have learned."

At that point she would stand, summoning her keyblade. Drawing a circle on the ground, it would then illuminate itself with a pool of green light. "Oh, I almost forgot," She caught herself, snapping her fingers. "We mustn't meddle in the affairs of the world, nor should we mention our own origins. Maintaining the World Order is important; so long as we keep to ourselves, we can find the Keyhole in no time. Understand?"
Hidden 14 days ago Post by Altered Tundra
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Even as Cielle was telling Kai about the positives of having Jiminy around, Kai shot the little bug a wary glance. Yeah, it was true Kai didn’t notice him until now, but the fact remained that he was there and when he disappeared again, Kai would be on a constant alert wondering where he would be next. Would he pop on his shoulder? Will Kai find him in his pocket? The truth of it all was he didn’t know where the little cricket was going to be half the time and that didn’t sit well with the blond teen.

“Right..”

And as Kai shrugged to that bit of Cielle’s words to him, she would bring up another subject, which sounded like another lecture. He wanted to roll his eyes, but this was something that kind of made sense. Unlike Traverse Town, these other worlds that they were likely to head to probably, like Kai’s Twilight Town, weren’t even aware of such things existed.

“So, we just pretend we’re from their world then?”
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For some reason, Cielle felt that Kai was going to end up overthinking things. Even as she nodded to confirm his question, she just couldn't shake off the feeling that him pretending to be a native would be easier said than done. Eyeing him carefully, she decided she may as well just lay things out for him so he wouldn't have to think too hard on it.

"Generalized answers are best when people start to ask," Cielle stated, waving her index finger as she spoke. "As long as you aren't too specific, you should be in the clear. Answers such as 'far away' and 'not from around here' are not only the truth, but they usually satisfy most people."

Walking over to the circle, she stepped into in, a flurry of green lights surrounding her. "This will bring us to the world's surface, and into an area far away enough that we won't be seen by any prying eyes. Let's venture forth, shall we?"
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As Kai and Cielle were transported onto the winter-themed world’s surface, Kai couldn’t help but notice something about it that brought a sense of familiarity to him. Not exactly a deja vu feeling per se, but he just felt like he was at home when he saw the inner-workings of the world. The atmosphere was chilly, though on the surface there was a lot of greenery. Kai could only surmise that it was springtime. It seemed as though Jiminy was trying to find some warmth in Kai’s jacket. He obviously wasn't a fan of the brisk wind that passed through the air. Kai took in a deep breath, letting the natural, mountainous air fill him up with glee and wonder.

“This breeze feels good,” Kai said with a smile, giving Cielle something she probably hadn’t seen him do since he hugged her, thinking she was Aira: smile at her with a genuine joy.
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With a gust of magic, the pair touched the world's surface. Cielle was caught of guard by the sudden breeze, her hands immediately flying to her hair as it billowed around her. Once it died down, she patted her hair down as she surveyed the area. It looked like the village was relatively close to the mountains, with a grand castle sitting on the water. Numerous amounts of people were going in and out, making it seem surprisingly busy; some kind of event must have been happening judging by the many decorations sprawled around the plaza. Where there was celebration there were people, and where there were people, there was information.

At least, that's how Cielle felt about it. Of course, her history also told her that finding the world's keyhole could either be relatively simple or frustratingly difficult. This would be her first time on this world, so it was a good chance to see Kai's skills first hand without Leon or Yuffie backing him up. Of course, it was also a chance for her as well; she was much too used to fighting alone, so now was as good a time as ever to convert herself into a team player. Sort of.

As Kai mentioned the breeze, she watched his smile, though she ended up looking at the harbor. That smile wasn't meant for her. "We won't really know where the keyhole is until our keyblades react to it. For now we can try to mingle with the people to see what's happening, and try to do our search as quietly as possible," Cielle told him. "My bet is the castle, but we may not get in so easily. Let's continue on and see what happens."

After everything was said and done, the pair would make the short trek to the village. The people were very excited about something, running this way and that, though as Cielle looked around, she realized a majority of the people were heading towards the castle.

"Shall we?" She asked Kai.
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The more that Kai and Cielle walked through the mountainous path and came close to the village that was within their periphery, the more the blond teen felt more at home. Everything from the greenery to the breeze that brushed his hair back and forth had made him overcome with joy. Even if they were here on a sort-of-kind-of mission, that didn’t mean he couldn’t find some enjoyment out of the environment and the world’s pleasing and welcoming terrain. Kai was always a lover of water and green and the spring season. It had always spoken to him for as long as he could remember and he had fond memories of enjoying the sunshine and catching some waves as the breeze filled him up with a natural wonder that was unrivaled by any feeling he had ever experienced in his lifetime.

This seemed to continue when Kai and Cielle made it to the village. It was quaint and reminded of Sunset Terrace. It had a lively feel to it and everyone who seemed to be rolling in from the pier and the paths leading to it and from the mountain paths that led to it. It was quite the sight to see, honestly. Kai had never seen so many people gather at one place. Sure, when he went to Twilight Town for Struggle tournaments, a lot of people from all around showed up, but it never crossed the number of people that seemed to be arriving at this village. Though Kai would usually ask about this special occasion, his main thought (if you could call it that) was this speechless, amazement of the castle that sat on a crystal blue lake.

Kai gave Cielle a slow nod as they walked forward. Truth be told, Kai was more focused on just how many people he saw. It didn’t do either him or Cielle any good when he started lagging, giving those who saw them a smile. They didn’t think much of it, so they responded with a ‘hello’ and a ‘how are ya?’ This brought some feelings of joy and excitement to Kai, giving him a wider grin than he had on his face (if that was even possible).

“What a world!” Kai said, jittering because he was so overcome with gusto.

As they were walking, Kai was lagging again. But this time it wouldn’t be without consequence. Suddenly, when Kai turned around, his head met the head of someone with red hair.

“Owie!”

“You said it!”

After a moment of complete silence and both trying to gather themselves, Kai’s eyes fell upon the person who he connected with (quite literally). She was a pretty, fair-skinned, girl a few years older than Kai with red hair and blue eyes like a sapphire. It took him an additional moment to gather himself, but when he did, he saw the girl took the full brunt of the hit. Kai was dealing with a headache, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as she was.

Kai gave Cielle an apologetic look. “Oops, I did it again.”
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Admittedly Cielle had also been looking around when Kai bumped into the young woman. As opposed to his curiosity, however, she had been looking for more clues. From the whispers of the people and the excited chatter, it was rather easy to deduce that some sort of coronation was happening. Listening carefully, Cielle picked up the pace to listen to a conversation between a mother and her child. The poor thing was complaining about having to dress up, to which the mother reminded him of the Queen's coronation. So it seemed someone was ascending the throne.

As she stopped to ask Kai if he was listening, he had already crashed into someone, sending the poor girl tumbling onto the ground. Cielle had to keep herself from glaring at him, although she knelt down, offering her hand to the girl. "My apologies, Miss...?" Cielle said, pulling the girl to her feet.

"It's okay, I wasn't looking where I was going, either," The chipper young lady perked up immediately as she got to her feet, lightly dusting off her green dress. "I'm Princess Anna!"

"Princess...?" Cielle blinked in confusion, though the realization hit her not to long afterwards. "I deeply apologize for the actions of my companion, Your Highness."

Anna couldn't help but giggle at Cielle's reaction. "Hey, it's okay, I promise," She assured her. "No need to be so uptight, it was an honest mistake."

"[color=deepskyblue]Even so, he could stand to use a little more caution," Cielle couldn't help but quip, giving Kai a look.

"You remind me a lot of my sister, she's pretty...strict, too." Anna said, shrugging. "Hey, you know, you guys should come to the castle, too! It's Elsa's Coronation Day--the more, the merrier!"

Anna's sister couldn't have been too much older than Anna herself. For someone so young to ascend the throne could only mean... But as she watched Anna, she didn't see any sort of resentment or sadness. Though the fact that she was talking to them could be explained by her friendly personality, she was just a little too trusting, a little too open. That poor girl had probably lost her parents, and her sister was all she had. Cielle felt her heart ache for the girl, though she was pushed out of her thoughts by the sound of a distant bell ringing. First it was one, then other bells began to chime in.

As the bells started to ring, Anna let out a gasp. "It's time, I need to go--I'll see you guys there!" She told them, picking up her green dress by the skirt and taking off.

Cielle stepped forward, watching Anna run towards the castle. Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she looked back at Kai. "That's one way to receive an invitation, I suppose," She conceded with a sigh.
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When Kai had collided with the now-revealed-as Anna, he was more concerned with the princess’ well-being than he was about Cielle’s scathing glare that she gave him just moments after realizing just who Anna was and how he wasn’t careful. It wasn’t as though Kai decided ‘oh hey, here’s a fun thought: let me bump into the first person I see!’ No, Kai didn’t intentionally set out to bump into people, much less them be of royalty. Frankly, Kai was beginning to wonder why these things happened to him. First, it was Cielle back in Traverse Town and now Princess Anna of whatever this world was called.

As he planned on sulking for a moment, Kai shrugged after hearing Anna had invited them to this Coronation thing. Kai didn’t know what that meant nor did he know who this Elsa chick was, but it seemed to settle their problem of not being able to get into the castle. They couldn’t turn them down if they were invited by the princess herself, could they? Suddenly, the sounds of bells went off from the castle and Anna was heading towards the castle faster than he had ever seen anyone run before. This sudden act sent Kai into an excited frenzy, giving Cielle one look before taking off himself, not far behind Anna. “Well, come on, Ci! We’ve got a party to crash!” Kai smiled, running forth.
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The implications of the coronation flew past Kai, it seemed. Cielle shouldn't have expected any better, but her disappointment was imminent. Oh well. There was little point in enlightening him, though at least she was just as curious as he was to the inner workings of the kingdom. Her eyes landed on the castle, losing herself in her thoughts, though Kai's voice brought her back to reality. Once again, he had run off without her.

"H-Hey!" She cried, giving chase. "There isn't a need to run! Wait for me!"

Of course, there was no stopping Kai, and Cielle gave chase anyway. As they reached the bridge, the pair went from a run to a brisk walk, considering the crowd that had formed. It seemed to be mainly composed by members of the nobility, making the two stick out quite a bit. She figured so long as they kept their heads down, they'd be alright. Following the crowd to the ballroom, Cielle ended up pulling Kai to the side of the crowd, away from curious eyes. She managed to gently push her way to the front just in time as the clapping started. Spotting the princess, she noticed Anna waving at them. She nudged Kai, motioning towards the front of the room to make sure he was paying attention.

Soon afterwards, the royal chancellor would speak. "Presenting Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elsa!" He announced. An elegant looking woman then entered, her very long, magenta cape trailing after her. Her teal dress was accompanied by gloves, and Cielle noticed how it covered her entire body. She was certainly modest, though very graceful, her blonde hair adorned with a small crown. Just as Cielle had suspected, she was rather young to be a queen, but the civilians seemed content, erupting in applause at her arrival.

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In the midst of Kai’s excitement, he seemed to left Cielle in his dust. He couldn’t quite see her when he glanced back for a moment. As he did, while still running, he had done it yet again and collided with someone. This time around, however, Kai was not only in the wrong, but this person who was now on their butt looked quite livid with Kai. His ocean-colored eyes glanced at the older man and this stout man had one of those faces that made you not trust them for a moment. The way his sinister gaze met Kai’s and the way his mustache curled almost to the point of Kai not really getting this chill vibe from him.

And as this man spoke, Kai was justified in this feeling. “You little scoundrel! You’ve ruined my suit.”

Kai collected himself, offering a hand to help the man up. He didn’t accept Kai’s offer, smacking away Kai’ hand. Instead, he got himself up and dusted off whatever dirt was on his suit. Kai bowed as if he was trying to make amends and he ran ahead to the castle, hearing the man say something at Kai loudly, but Kai didn’t hear what it was.

At some point, Cielle had caught up to Kai. Thankfully, she didn’t see him make a fool of himself with that merchant. The last thing he needed was another lecture about how careless he could be or how he should watch where he’s going. Instead, he arrived at the castle with Cielle next to him. Though she seemed to fit the attire somewhat, Kai wasn’t such a case. While everyone from man and woman to teen and child was wearing suits and elegant gowns. Meanwhile, Kai, who was wearing no shirt under his jacket, swimming trunks-like shorts, and running shoes, stood out like a sore thumb. Though, as he let the amazement of everyone and the design of the interior of the castle, he didn’t seem to mind it as much.

Right before Cielle pulled him to the side of the crowd so they wouldn’t stare that much at them, Kai managed to snag some food. All of this fighting and running had worked up quite the appetite. While he began to dig into the tray of food he managed to get himself, he saw that everyone had been looking up to the second level. It wasn’t until the announcement did Kai, like everyone else, look up and see a blonde girl about a year or so older than he was, slowly walk down the stairs. Her beautiful dress matched her graceful visage perfectly--or so Kai thought was the proper way to describe it.

“Wow, she’s young!” Kai said, his mouth full of the party appetizers. He saw Cielle give him a small glare, so he waited to swallow his food. “I said she’s young. But also very pretty. Like wow!” That time, Kai spoke clearly, if not just a tad too loud for it to remain unnoticed. Oops.
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The entire ordeal had left a bitterness in her heart that she didn't know she was capable of having. Cielle kept her eyes on Elsa, watching her movements. She seemed very composed, if not distant. When the chancellor prodded Anna to stand next to her, she could tell there was a separation between the two as Anna would give Elsa her space. Elsa either didn't notice or simply focused on the crowd--Cielle wasn't sure which. Soon afterwards, the crowd dispersed slightly, and Cielle guided Kai once more towards the edge to make sure he wasn't left standing in the middle. As she had anticipated, music began to play through the halls, and the nobles began to dance.

Watching the nobles dance, Cielle let her thoughts drift away for a moment. Elsa was truly composed as she also watched the dancers, politely clapping at the end of the song. Would approaching the queen be in their best interest? Probably, but Cielle was having a hard time trying to get over the coronation. No, she needed to focus.

Looking around, there wasn't anything in particular that Cielle figured would lead them to the keyhole, but Kai's comment needed addressing. Honestly, she couldn't even be annoyed; he probably had his family back in whatever world he came from. "To have a Queen so young...it means her parents are deceased," Cielle's quiet voice could almost be mistaken for her breaking it gently to him, though there was a lot of sadness as she spoke. "I am certain that the Queen and Princess are all the other has right now."
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If Kai was being truly honest with himself, he didn't know what it was like to be alone like Cielle stated these two--Elsa and Anna--were like. He didn't know if what Cielle was true. He had no clue of knowing if they were orphans or if they simply were fortunate to be of royalty at a young age. You see, Kai wasn't born in a world ruled by kings and queens. He didn't know the first thing about a monarchy or kingdoms or anything like that. The one thing he knew was a single mother's love and the love of his brother. The one constant throughout his young life was knowing that sort of love. This was why Kai didn't respond properly to the young age of Queen Elsa, though Cielle's reasoning made as much sense as magical weapons shaped like keys and people going to every world and plunging it into darkness.

The blond teen simply gave Cielle an understanding shrug. When his mouth was no longer full of hors d'oeuvres, he looked around the room. Knowing the last thing that Cielle Just said really hit him hard, especially when Kai could relate. Having lost his own family, he could imagine the pain they must've gone through. It was still fresh for Kai. He didn't know how long it had been for Anna and the queen. It must've been a while. This was just Kai's own personal opinion on the matter.

Kai shook off those thoughts, shrugging to himself just to change his mind to something more positive. "We should go say hello," he suggested, though it was more of a statement as Kai had proceeded to make his way along the wall, gesturing Cielle to follow.
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Kai didn't have much to say to her response, and Cielle felt it was for the best. Maybe it was just dumb luck that he didn't want to talk about it much longer; he usually didn't seem to know when to quit. Whether it was just having nothing to say or knowing she didn't want to talk about it anymore was up for debate, but either way she would agree with his next statement, and thus she returned to the focus at hand: finding the world's keyhole.

Putting all the unpleasant thoughts behind, the pair got in a short line of people who were wishing the Queen well. Their greetings were rather brief, simply complimenting on her grace or saying something about how the girls had grown. Cielle couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that. It was almost like rather than a simple debut as a queen, the girls were...well, debuting to their kingdom in general. No, that couldn't be right. She must have been mistaken, or misunderstood. But the closer they got, the more the same compliments were repeated over and over. It was strange, to say the least.

As soon as Princess Anna saw them, she gave them a restrained, yet terribly excited wave. She was definitely the more energetic of the two, though knew how to keep her wits about her. Her excitement seemed to bubble the closer they got, until finally, it was Kai and Cielle's turn. Cielle stepped forward, placing her left leg behind her right and bowing her head, executing a perfect curtsy. "Greetings, Your Grace, Your Highness," She seemed to know exactly how to greet both sisters, bringing her head up after she spoke. "I am Cielle. This is my traveling companion, Kai."

"And I thought you spoke pretty fancy before..." Anna couldn't help but murmur under her breath, clearing her throat as Elsa shot her a look. "W-Well, I'm glad you guys could make it!"
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Kai had read stories about moments like these, well not him specifically but he was read these sort of stories that told the meeting of peasants and queens. While some embellished the experience a bit, there were also some stories that told that it was a very humbling interaction - depending on the queen, of course. Some were uptight and refused to smile, while others obviously had a gracious presence and welcomed her subjects to her home should they choose to meet her. Whichever it was, Kai had never thought in a million years that he’d be afforded the opportunity to live out what he was read to in storybooks.

As both Kai and Cielle approached where Queen Elsa was, they were met by a rather lengthy line. The line itself had been moving at a brisk pace, something that Kai was excited about. He felt every hair on his head and the one hair on his chest stand up with he came face to face with Elsa. From far away, Kai couldn’t tell but she was a lot shorter than her visage made her seem to be. Kai was also of average height, so he didn’t tower over her at all. Another thing that Kai noticed was how pretty she was. They had the same shade of yellow for their hair, though her eyes were lighter than his - almost as if they were like ice.

Cielle introduced both of them. When she said his name, Kai stumbled, looking at her frantically, then back at Elsa “Oh, uh--” Kai collected himself, trying to find words that wouldn’t make him sound like an idiot, “--I mean, hiya! I’m Kai. Well, you already know that, don’t you? Put it there, partner!” Kai grinned, holding his hand out.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Kai,” Elsa said briefly, taking Kai’s hand with her own in what could only be described as the shortest handshake to ever happen to anyone.

Uncertain about what to do next, Kai put on a face and smiled, looking over at Anna. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve absolutely loved the idea of kings and queens. Hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly was something I’ve longed to see for myself for a while,” he said with a grin.

"You're not like most boys your--our age--are you?"

"I mean, my mom used to read me stories about kings and queens. It might sound silly, but where I'm from, we didn't get to experience this kind of lavish lifestyle. It was a simple life I lived and just being here makes me so happy. Almost like I'm close to my mom again." He said somberly, though his grin faded into just a slight, if not sad, curve of a smile.
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Cielle had absolutely no idea what Kai was saying, though she just assumed that there was no kingdom where he came from. It wasn't unusual; there were plenty of worlds that had abandoned the ways of royalty, or hadn't developed to that point. Anna and Elsa listened politely, though it was obvious that Anna was the more expressive of the two, showing more curiosity than the reserved Elsa. Cielle had nothing to say on the matter, though she did clear her throat slightly as Kai finished. Best not to say anything that would require too much questioning, and she could tell Anna certainly had a few questions to ask.

Instead, Cielle took the lead. "Has anything unusual happened around here?" She decided to ask, thinking that it was as good a place to start as any.

"None that I've been informed of," Elsa replied.

That was an odd answer. Seeing Cielle's confusion, Anna elaborated, "This is the first time in a long time that we've opened the gates to everyone. But if anything like that happened, I'm sure they would have told us!"

"Forgive my asking, but...opened the gates? As in, they had been closed?" Cielle was a little confused, her hand to her chin as she thought.

For just a moment, Anna looked at Elsa, the slightest bit of sadness in her eyes, though she perked up immediately. "Yeah, you know...I don't really know why, I just went along with it," She admitted. "But that's okay, they're open now and they can stay that way, right, Elsa?"

The blonde hesitated. "...if only, but it can't stay this way," She admitted.

"Wh-why not?" Anna asked, touching her sister's hand. To everyone's surprise, Elsa quickly jerked away from her, though recompsed herself shortly afterwards.

"It just can't."

The statement seemed to make Anna upset, the younger girl shaking her head at her sister. "If you'll excuse me..." She said to the three, choosing to take her leave.

Watching Anna disappear into the crowd, Cielle felt there was something else going on that she wasn't aware of. But if she pushed it too hard, she felt that it could upset Elsa further. What happened? Anna was clearly the more sociable, but if Cielle didn't know better, she would think that the two had been isolated from people for a long time--and from one another. But why? Did it have to do with Cielle's hunch where their parents were gone? No, there had to be more to it. Whatever had happened was the result of years.

Fearing that either she or Kai would make it worse, she would take Kai by his arm. "We've taken enough of your time, if you'll excuse us, Your Majesty," Cielle bowed once more, and without waiting for Kai to say anything, dragged him away. Once she thought they were out of earshot, she shook her head. "Something unusual has happened, alright, but I can't say it's Darkness or Heartless related."
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