Set in an AU universe, the story begins when Aqua, Terra and Ven are sent on a mission to locate Master Xehanort. Somewhere along the way, they end up losing Ven, but manage to trace him to a town called Silent Hill. . .
Characters from these works appear:
- Final Fantasy VII
- Silent Hill
Tropes applying to both works include:
- Abandoned Hospital: Ridgeview Clinic. Brookhaven Hospital looks like it's going to be this, but it's actually inhabited.
- Enemy Without: Vanitas to Ven, as per canon.
- God of Evil: Vanitas is revealed to be the god of Silent Hill.
- The Heartless: Since this is Kingdom Hearts, the franchise's usual take on the Heartless shows up here as well.
- I Just Want to Be You: Vanitas would love nothing more than to take over Ven's life.
- Love Hungry: Vanitas just wants Aqua and Terra to love him and be his friends.
Tropes Applying Exclusively to The Shrouded Path include:
- Action Girl: Aqua, until her keyblade breaks.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Ven's final battle against Vanitas takes place within his heart.
- Big Damn Hero: Terra does this twice. The first time is for Ven when he is dragged into the Dark World. The second time is for Ven and Aqua after Vanitas captures them.
- Bittersweet Ending: The trio escape from Silent Hill, but are all damaged from the experience, and Vanitas is still out there. As of the sequel, this becomes more of a Pyrrhic Victory.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Aqua temporarily defeats the Bogeyman, but at the cost of losing her keyblade.
- Demonic Possession: Vanitas attempts this on Terra, but ultimately fails. He has better luck with brainwashing Aqua.
- Distress Call: Terra receives one from Ven via radio
- Drone of Dread: In Silent Hill fashion, a air raid siren announces the shift to the Otherworld.
- Heroic BSoD: Terra falls into one, but snaps out of it once he's told his friends are in danger.
- Hope Spot: In Chapter 13, the trio is finally reunited and about to leave. Then Terra's Dark and Troubled Past rears its head...
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Ven tries this with a brainwashed Aqua. It doesn't work.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Terra nearly kills Aqua, paving the way for Vanitas to take over her mind.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Instead of being broken, the trials Silent Hill puts Terra through just help him master his inner darkness, which he then uses to save his friends.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Individually, all three members of the trio have plenty of opportunities to escape, but they absolutely refuse to leave without the others. However, it's averted with both Xion and Ansem the Wise.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Xion fighting The Corruption with nothing but a flashlight and some aglaophotis.
Tropes applying exclusively to Those Who Fight Monsters include:
- Alone with the Psycho: Aqua is captured by Vanitas and held prisoner inside her own home.
- Batman Gambit: Vanitas lures Aqua away from the Land of Departure as part of a plot to make Master Eraqus leave. This way, that world is left undefended and Vanitas can take it over at his leisure.
- Berserk Button: In addition to Terra's berserk button, Ven now has one regarding Xion's death.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Ven is the nicest and sanest of his friends, but by the end of the story, is arguably the strongest
- Big Damn Heroes: Vanitas captures Ven and starts to torture him. What does Terra do? Break away from Maleficent's mind control and proceed to rescue him.
- Chekhov's Gun: In The Shrouded Path, Terra's Wayfinder was modified to be able to track his friends' whereabouts. When Terra falls under a sleeping spell and Ven is left on his own, he uses Terra's Wayfinder to track Aqua.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Where the title comes from. Terra appears to be falling victim to this trope. However, it's Ven who ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
- Hypocrite: Vanitas and Ven go back and forth accusing each other of this.
- Love Makes You Evil: Vanitas. Ven and Terra have also been performing some morally ambiguous actions, thanks to their obsessive need to protect Aqua.
- Not Quite Dead: Despite Terra sending them down a Bottomless Pit in The Shrouded Path, the Bogeymen are just as strong as ever.
- Only Sane Man: Ven appears to be this among his friends
- Rage Against the Mentor: Terra blames Master Eraqus for the events of The Shrouded Path.