After Beast was healed and could stand without help the group approached the stone pillars, and touched a small blue crystal at the side, causing a large round caged platform to appear. The group had stepped on and were now riding it toward the castle.
Willow and Buffy kept a firm grip on their weapons, and could feel their lovers eyes on them, but didn't turn around. After what had happened with the twins, they didn't want to face the girls just yet.
How could they explain what had happened, especially if they didn't know exactly what'd happened? Mickey had given them the Keyblades, not their twins. But how did the twins summon the blades to them? Wasn't their hearts in the right place? Had the darkness they'd felt caused the Keyblades to obey the twins' call? But how could that be? The twins were also using darkness, and thus their bodies were covered in it. Neither Willow, nor Buffy knew, but they were going to find out.
Tara and Faith were worried. After Willow had said they were going to stop Maleficent, neither her, nor Buffy had said a word. They had only stared forward seemingly lost in their thoughts. Both worried lovers were wondering if they knew why the Keyblades had switched masters, but having seen the way they'd acted, they didn't think so.
It was then that Tara had began to wonder if the darkness had somehow helped the twins, and had covered Willow and Buffy's hearts. Right about now, nothing would surprise her. All she knew was she and Faith would have to be on guard.
The platform stopped on a stone U shaped walkway, with a gate to the right leading to another section, and a twenty-foot tall set of double doors up and to the left. Past the double doors the walkway continued around to another door, and a small balcony with another crystal. The crystal was glowing red, and the group wondered what it controlled. Overhead they could see smaller platforms moving from the left to the right, and made a circle back. Maybe that's what the crystal controlled, but there was only one way to find out, and right now wasn't the time.
The redhead narrowed her eyes, it was just a little too quite, especially since the twins knew they were there. Even with the swirling darkness overhead; the castle was lit up like the sun was shining down on it. Even in the light, nothing felt right.
The feeling of darkness had grown even stronger as they approached the castle, and was now hurting even the gray mage. The feel of the darkness was making the Al Bhed girl sick, and even her lover wasn't looking to great. But even for how all three hurt, and felt sick; Tara was worse. Her face had gone pale and she was struggling to fight off the sickness that had settled in the pit of her stomach.
Buffy started forward, and was held back, turning she saw Willow shake her head, "Doesn't feel right. Be on guard." the Al Bhed nodded, and gripped her daggers. If the gray mage was uneasy -but then, who wasn't- she'd listen and keep her guard up. All they had to do was find the twins, possibly get their Keyblades back, and defeat Maleficent.
Faith slowly approached the gate, and found it open, now why would that be open? Those twins knew they were there, so why not block every possible entrance leading into the castle? Right now it didn't matter, all she wanted to do was get done what needed to be, and get the hell away from here, before everyone went insane from the darkness. And by the looks of things, Willow and Buffy weren't that far from going totally nuts on them.
Tara watched as Willow and Buffy carefully walked forward, and could feel the uneasiness growing stronger, and then she felt it. A wave of sickness swept over her body, as the darkness grew stronger, and two small portals appeared behind the girls. Her warning came too late and she could only watch as Willow and Buffy were knocked forward by to large black and purple balls, with glowing yellow eyes. Beast roared and leaped forward, slashing another ball as it appeared, his sharp claws cutting it in half.
Tara turned and saw Faith staring at the balls, and had to smile. In this place, why not use something that'll give you an advantage on the enemy?
"Use your magic!" Faith shouted to Willow, before turning to Tara, "Holy! Use Holy!"
The white mage nodded, and could only hope that her magic would at the very least work as she held her hands out. Willow back flipped away from the Heartless when she saw the Holy spell shoot forward, and saw Buffy duck down. The spell exploded around both Darkballs, knocking them to the ground; Buffy stabbed the closest one with her daggers, and felt Willow slide forward thrusting her sword into the other. Both Heartless disappeared with a pop, and leaving the walkway quite again.
Faith sighed, and was thrown forward as a flying Heartless hit her back, and knocked her over the railing; Buffy screamed and covered the distance between them in two jumps. Willow also shot forward casting a Flare spell, and knocking the creature down, but wasn't fast enough to hit the last. Tara cried out, more in fright than pain, as she was knocked over the railing. Beast growled, jumping up, and catching the Heartless with his claws, and knocking it to the ground where he finished it off.
"Don't you let go!" Buffy grunted as her grip on Faith's wrist tightened to the point it was painful, "I swear if you do, I'll hunt you down on the Farplane, and chase you around with my daggers!"
"Same here, Tara!" Willow half grunted, half growled, as she pulled the white mage up, "You let go, and I'll chase you around with my sword! That's a promise!"
After taking care of the Heartless; Beast hurried over and leaned between Willow and Buffy, grabbing and pulling the two girls up, and back over the railing.
Willow wrapped her arms around Tara, and sighed, she caught the same motion from Buffy, and saw her doing the same with Faith. They had thought they'd lost their lover's, it was a long way down, and neither she, nor Buffy could have saved them. Willow wasn't even sure if the Float spell Faith and Buffy knew would have helped all that much, but had faith that it would have. Either way, it had been a very good chance of them almost losing their girls.
Beast watched the four girls before he approached the double doors, and pushed, shaking his head the beast man turned. "The doors have a mechinal lock, we need to find a way to unlock them." he spoke and headed for the gate to the right, and could feel -without glancing back- the girls were right behind him.
"Hey, there's another crystal." Faith pointed to a small blue glowing crystal, and watched as Tara touched it, causing another small caged platform to rise.
Tara, after touching the crystal, felt better, it was like the darkness' sickness had been taken from her. The color came back to her face, as her strength began flowing through her body again; Willow watched as her lover stood straighter, and sighed. She was relieved that somehow Tara was feeling better, and felt the darkness pushed away from her own body. Glancing around she could see that Buffy was breathing easier, as was Faith, and it could only be one thing -or rather two people- Tara and Faith's twins.
"Let's see where this leads, shall we?" Tara stepped on to the platform with the others by her side, and waited as the elevator-like cage took them down. Ten minutes passed as the platform lowered, and finally came to a stop on the castle's bottom level.
"What the..." Buffy trailed off as she stepped forward, and glanced around. She really couldn't see much since it was dark, and startled when Willow cast a low-level Fire spell on a torch.
With the flame lighting the corridor, the group could see they were in what looked like catacombs, causing the girls to shiver. They remembered what happened the last time they were in a place like this, the skeleton's coming to life, and chasing them around, and then entering Omega's temple to rescue Tara, and Mythe. The girls could only hope there wasn't anything like that just waiting in the dark for them to make one wrong move.
"Do not worry, there isn't anything dangerous down here." Beast said stepped forward, and glancing down another dark tunnel, "I can feel it, there is no darkness here."
Willow had to agree, she couldn't feel anything speaking to her black magic, and could also see that Tara was a lot better than she was on the walkway, "Yeah, it's like the darkness, and the Heartless can't get down here." The gray mage shrugged, and stepped beside Beast, "Well, shall we?"
"Yeah, let's find a way to open the doors, and get this over with." Faith said, and just to be on the safe side, unsheathed her blade.
As the group walked through the maze-like corridor, to find the machine to unlock the doors, up in a large chamber deep within the castle sat six tubes on either side of a red, and black carpet. Under each tube was a golden name plate, and in each tube was an unconscious woman. The three on the left were Belle, Jasmine, and Aurora, and the three on the right were Snow White, Alice, and Cinderella.
Above the unconscious women was a circular balcony where Maleficent appeared, and stared down at Tara and Faith's twins -who were laying on the floor in a purple capsule shaped barrier.
The witch smiled her evil smile as she looked around the room, it hadn't been hard to get all the princesses, but it hadn't been easy either. But having those two fools helping had been the best thing she could have ever done, and to think, the witch though, her her evil smile growing wider, they think their lovers can be saved, what fools! she chuckled evilly, and raised her staff over her head.
"O purest of hearts!" Maleficent shouted, "Reveal to me the Keyhole!" The hearts of the princesses began glowing, and shot a beam toward a space behind the witch.
Maleficent was so focused on the beams of light that she never knew when the group found a way to unlock the double doors, nor did she know that they were now retracing their steps, and was ready to enter the castle.