Shines One Year After
Kingdom Hearts, Disney, Final Fantasy
ACT 2, Potential Made Real; Journey Under Way
Chapter 1, Magnificent and Malevolent
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle . The shining castle mouthed the edges of a brimming forest; its landscape was presented by a woodland glen, boisterous with the full of flourishing flora and the promise of rosebuds and lustrous from the quivering glow which the stream reflected. At dawn’s awake, golden rays of the sunshine glossed its magnificent scene, and at nighttime, glimmers of one thousand twinkles in the sky allowed the castle to prolong its brilliant shimmer. On high, the palace indeed stood upon the hill with a reverent majesty.
On one night, however, a chilly and horrible curse revisited the Kingdom of Shining Castle…
A woman cloaked in brown panted as she made a sprinting departure of the palace courtyard. The castle itself had been blanketed underneath dark, shrouding clouds of the ominous kind. This malevolent occurrence created a dismal and depressing scene of Shining Castle; its sheen seemed to slowly deteriorate in the umbra of the haze. Splendor in the cloaked figure’s step was depreciated, or for all intents and purposes, non-existence; she was of a haggard appearance, so her actions had most likely lost all vigor. Her tatty strings of white-dashed tresses drug down from underneath her hood. Face decrepit and dilapidated, the hag’s eyes bulged from their sockets like the eyes of fish, and a long, crooked beak of a nose sprouted from the shroud of the hood.
The wizened woman dared the castle draw, and stumbled into the maw of the dead, night glen; the forest, once adorned with green life and fauna, had now fallen into the dark of night, and acquired an eerie fester. Proud, ascending trees to decrepit branches that reached down to grasp, clean streams to grayed creeks, melodious chirps to lunatic howls, the forest had found a terrible curse.
The hag braved the afflicted wood, but was stunted immediately. A grand explosion of lime pyre erupted right before her, out of nowhere. The haggard figure shuddered violently as the pyre dispersed and revealed the ebon form within its magnificence; elegant garbs, furious with black and violet, skin tinged with the lightest shade of olive green; the hag stood before the personification of evil. The fire-borne figure stood majestically, equipped with great black horns that spired upward from her head, and a plain staff with a small green-gleam orb atop it; though retaining a smug smile, the fire-found witch stared questionably at the hag’s fearful expression.
The hag’s mouth curled into a scrunch as she exclaimed, revealing an uneven rope of ragged teeth. Her gasps in the still of the moment were followed by a strangled, raspy chord of message, “I-It’s Maleficent!”
Maleficent’s brow dropped with skepticism. She wore a small smirk as she replied, “Well, who were expecting dearest, the Ghost of Christmas Future?”
The hag dropped her façade and addressed glumly, “Oh…I figured you would at least play along.” The hag shrewdly gave the forest a once over, and commended, “You’ve certainly made short work of this place.”
The dark fairy replied casually, “It suits it all the better, but not nearly as difficult as what you underwent; now tell me dear, did you enjoy your three days in the grand Shining Castle…and,” she addressed the hag’s feigned shock, “what was that just then? Don’t tell me that I’ve caught you off-guard.”
The wizened woman responded with a skimpy pout, “Their castle’s really…not my style, and you’ve been out plotting for sometime; I thought you’d enjoy seeing a little fright this evening deary.”
Maleficent excreted a flimsy chuckle, “That’s kind of you; however, it’s only best when it’s true fright dearest,” and allowed her mood to melt as she gravely inquired in a cautious whisper, “What of the curse? Has it been fully replaced?”
“Not an apple went unbitten ,” the old crone assured with a musty grin; “they even made apple pie. Everyone who has ever seen a curse will re-see it. I assure you.”
Maleficent’s anxious queries did not ease, “And what of our valiant prince; I wonder how he will fair when the curse returns.”
The hag cackled lightly to herself, “As luck would have it, our man went off to the countryside this daybreak. He should being see the curse at its full when he wakes the morrow’s morning, as all the others. Indeed, I wonder how the country folk will fair when they wake to a vile monster.”
“Splendid. You truly are a work of art,” Maleficent praised, and then subjected a courteous, but lax, bow to which she loosely referred to the old woman, “Your Majesty.” She mocked faintly and lightheartedly, “Who would have thought that an old haggard wench would do such a marvelous job with curses?”
“Old haggard wench—“ the bat retorted, “How dare you speak of me in such terms! Don’t think that just because—”
“Oh!” Maleficent interjected with a slight startle to the response of the queenly hag, “Dearest…you didn’t think that…” and resorted to light chortles as she amended, “Ah ha ha ha, no harm was meant, love. I only meant to comment on how splendidly and cleverly you’ve worked with spells; your curse to replace curses seems to work like a charm, and your own appearance…” the wicked incarnation beheld the queen’s guise, and contained the acts of snickers and thoughts of bemusement, “though permanent, is quite flawless. But of course now, there are the counter spells…What of them?”
“I nearly have all of the ingredients for my spell—”
“You shall be beautiful once more.”
“Mm hmm,” The queen nodded in sound agreement, “and unless you cast the Greater Call as I explained, the castle’s curse will pass after two days.”
“Yes. The call must be done within the castle, and is only broken if the grievers are vanquished before their call is complete. Have you found the length in which they must live?”
“The scroll says as long as the call is done before the stroke of eleven, then they only need to persist ‘til midnight, but again, you can only cast the call after the replacing curse has reached its zenith.”
“Very well, it seems as if I’ll be taking to this place. It’s just now become quite quaint here, and look, even the castle is starting to shine in all its former radiance.” Even as she remarked, the shining castle that had once stood righteously upon the hillside, was in the throes of morphing into a hideous edifice of cracks and stone gargoyles. Both acknowledged the curse in process, their faces contrived a visual sigh of accomplishment.
The hag-formed queen addressed with an air of pretentiousness, and a tinge of fatigue, “Now, is there anything else to be done? You’ve worn my patience enough for one night.”
“You may go…” the Maleficent dismissed. A corridor was open with a simple flick of the wrist of the mistress of evil. She reeled with a false zeal, “unless you wish to accompany me tomorrow night while I ask our neighbors for a cup of sugar.”
The wretched women replied plainly, “I’d rather get as far away from this place as possible.”
Maleficent smiled with satire, and lectured delicately, “Oh…and now it’s you who doesn’t play along. You could have at least pretended to be communal, and not in hiding.”
The wizened figure hinted, “I leave that to you, as I always have, I mind you,” and shifted her way into the unfastened cavity.
Maleficent addressed heedlessly before the hag made off, “By the by, what type of neighbor would I be, if I simply just left this poor man out in the woods,” she shuffled to the side with one sliding step, and from behind her, as if magically revealed, the unconscious body of a stout, late-aged man laid shiftless on the dew-yielding grass. Maleficent prattled on in reverence, “incapacitated; all by his lonesome; fodder for the Heartless…”
The hag, peering from within the mouth of the Corridor, shrewdly eyed the evil mistress for a fleeting second. She asked with skepticism, “What exactly are you playing at Maleficent?”
Maleficent administered a sheepish chuckle as she softly bit at her bottom lip to keep from beaming. She finally let go of the grin in delight, and replied zealously with sheer and blatant pretense, “My dear, I’m only acting out of good will—an “act of the heart” if you may.”
 This sentence was, in fact, the first sentence recite in the prologue to Beauty and the Beast. This sentence also inspired the name which I decided for the world inspired by the movie; there is more meaning to the ‘Kingdom of Shining Castle’ than there is to ‘Beast’s Castle’, especially considered that the entire world is not a castle, and the prince was no longer a Beast.
 The apple was a recurring theme in many Disney films. Seemingly harmless and tempting, the deceitful apple was regarded taboo; the shiny apple is bruised but sweet, a forbidden fruit. Such Disney films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl depict the apple and its symbolism.