“To make a very technical explanation short – I did mention a sledgehammer, didn’t I?” Merlin asked, eyes twinkling at Archimedes.
“Yes, you did,” the owl sighed, all too familiar with how Merlin’s mind could grasshopper between a future he’d seen and what he’d actually done. “Would you mind explaining the sledgehammer?”
“Ah! Easily done.” Merlin tried not to chuckle too loudly as everyone else – even Keys – braced themselves. “Picture one of Cid’s jelly sandwiches in a bag.” He raised a fist, then tapped it with his free fingers. “What happens if a sledgehammer comes down on one side of it?”
“The bread gets flattened… but the jelly squishes away.” Aeris’ eyes were bright. “Oh!”
“Ah. But now it gets a bit complicated,” Merlin allowed. “If you recall what young Riku told us about chains of memories… now, put Lea’s chain in that bag.” He clapped his hands together. “The chain would be shattered. Many of the links would still be intact, yes; but they’d be squished away, all higgledy-piggledy, with nothing to tie them together. Even if Axel could reach them – and it’s possible he can – they would not be links in his chain.” Merlin regarded the sniper with compassion. “Even if he knew your face, young man, he might not be able to realize why.”
Vincent held very still. “But you do believe Blackfire holds Lea’s memories.”
“A Heartless is raw emotion, and very little else. He probably can’t use them,” Merlin nodded. “And he may not have all of them. Void is… well. It’s meant to destroy, in a way even Fire can never do. Fire leaves smoke and ash behind; the potential for new life, just as we see the phoenix embody. Void leaves nothing.”