“The Heartless are Multiversal creatures. Fighting them has a cost.” Merlin waved a hand. “Most of those in this room have already paid it.”
“And part of you is a Heartless,” Aeris put in. And how did that happen to Galian, anyway? “You already have the Multiverse’s attention.” I don’t want to tell him. I want him to stay.
But that had to be Vincent’s decision. No matter how lonely she was.
“You can’t fight the Heartless with just physical weapons,” Leon said plainly. “You’ve been shooting them; you have to know that. They’re made from Hearts, and the only way to take them down is to use part of your own. Do that long enough, in a Multiversal place like Traverse Town… the Multiverse gives you back more than you lost. That has – consequences.”
“We call it Keying,” Merlin picked up the thread of the story. “There’s a very long, technical explanation, which I prefer to reserve for nights we’re all stricken with incurable insomnia. In essence, the energy of the Multiverse is vastly different from that of any one World. Take enough of it into your system that your Heart becomes used to it… well. You won’t be able to go home again, even if your World reforms.”
“We can evacuate the two of you to another World,” Leon offered. “We try to do that with most refugees, when we can find somewhere safe. The Castle’s a safe World, even if it is Multiversal, and Queen Minnie has spells to let people fit in on some of their linked Worlds without being noticed.” He hesitated. “But most of those worlds aren’t very technological. There’s Navigator, and the Lost Empire; you might try one of those. But… I don’t think they have shape-shifters.”
The sniper looked down. Let the Shadow lean against him, obviously comforted by his presence. “What would be best for my Team?”
Leon started. Merlin peered over his glasses at the four of them, and raised a bushy white brow. “Oh dear. I don’t think the question’s ever come up before.”