Then I shall make you see... That your hopes are nothing. Nothing but a mere illusion!
Zexion, the Cloaked Schemer (影歩む策士 Kageayumu Sakushi?, lit. Shadow-Walking Schemer), is the Nobody of Ienzo, and Rank VI of Organization XIII. He weaves illusions to fight for him. Unlike the other Organization members, Zexion's weapon was originally unknown, and his talents were used only outside of normal combat. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Zexion's weapon was revealed to be a book called a Lexicon.
Zexion appeared in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a participant in the struggle within the Organization between the newer and veteran members. He is also central to the plot to use Riku as a puppet in Castle Oblivion. Zexion also appears in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, as one of the playable characters in Mission Mode.
Easily the most enigmatic member of Organization XIII, Zexion is sometimes seen smirking or grinning, something he and Larxene share. Unlike the other members, he conducts his tasks in a veil of secrecy. Zexion also holds a fondness for literature, the arts, and humanities, which is noticed in the weapons he utilizes and his manner of speech when speaking to other members. It was most notable in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days when he had assisted Roxas in his tutorial mission, thoroughly explaining details in a polite fashion. During the same mission, he indicated that he strongly dislikes laziness, insisting that Roxas should continue even after his main mission objectives have been fulfilled. In addition, it can be noted that he is very loyal to the Organization and it is reflected in his work ethic and quality, as seen during some instances in 358/2 Days.
His weapon panel in the Proof of Existence is shattered in Kingdom Hearts II, but it is revealed in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories that his weapon is, in fact, a Lexicon, which attacks through a flurry of pages and trapping people within it. The lack of a visible weapon panel may stem from developers indecisiveness to retroactively assign Zexion a weapon as his Lexicon first appears in the 2008 Re: Chain of Memories remake and not the original 2004 GameBoy Advance title, hence its non appearance in Proof of Existence. Like Riku, Zexion has the ability to identify the "scents" of others, with great accuracy and at great distances. The "scent" he smells may be based off other things than mere odor, and is affected by presence of darkness in the heart, an entity's power in the castle, and other factors.
Zexion stands out in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as the mastermind behind the actions of those members who are actually loyal to the Organization. He is aware of the Organization's decline, calling it "deplorable". Zexion also takes his missions seriously (in contrast to Demyx or Xigbar, who do not).
Of the three senior members (the other two being Lexaeus and Vexen) with the lowest thrones in their meeting chamber, named "Where Nothing Gathers", he seems to have the highest, while Vexen's is the lowest, indicating he might be the most competent of the three, as he is the mastermind for the plot chronicled in the Reverse/Rebirth storyline, which only failed through Axel's betrayal of both sides; Axel's betrayal of Marluxia, by releasing Naminé, caused a chain reaction, as it was Naminé, in the guise of Kairi, who assisted Riku in breaking free of Zexion's trap in the Destiny Islands, which caught Zexion off-guard. Immediately after, Axel himself appeared and had the Riku Replica kill Zexion.
The fact that he acts as the mastermind behind Lexaeus and Vexen shows that his rank in the Organization may in fact be higher than his number would lead one to believe. This is further reinforced by an additional scene in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix where he is seen to have a conversation with Xigbar. He reprimands Xigbar's habit of eavesdropping, and even talks down to him, stating that he should get back to work. When Xigbar informs him that he was hoping to just have a "friendly chat" with him, Zexion tells him he has more work to attend to, and finishes the conversation by telling Xigbar that if he is through working, then it would be in his best interest to get rest. In addition to this, Saïx had him eliminated so that he could rise in the ranks of Organization XIII.
Zexion to some appears to be emotionally distant, but this is not completely true, as observed in his death. Upon hearing Axel's dialogue with the Riku Replica, Zexion's horrified reaction shows that he clearly does not want to die. He has an undying sense of duty to the Organization, and goes to almost any length to ensure the success of his missions. At times, he can also be humorous and jest with other members when the moment shows itself.
A good example of this is in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories where it's shown that he and Axel are having a friendly gamble at which Organization member in the castle will be the next to die (something they've been apparently doing ever since Vexen got killed by Axel). Axel proves to win that particular round when he accurately predicts that Marluxia will be the next to die. Zexion is also particularly cheeky towards Vexen, giving dry and smart retorts when Vexen attempts to reprimand him with his superior ranking.
Zexion also prefers not to fight his opponents directly. As shown by his attempts to deceive Riku, Zexion prefers to use his powers of illusion to manipulate his enemies rather than directly fight them.
It’s very likely Zexion values his bond with the Organization due to its founding members being his fellow apprentices to Ansem the Wise. Additionally, since Zexion became a Nobody as a child, it stands to reason that his politeness and respect for others were the result of his fellow Organization members serving as "role models".
Despite being one of the Organization's founding members, Zexion physically appears to be among the younger members, and is certainly one of the smallest in stature (save for Roxas). He wears the signature black Organization cloak, boots, and gloves, though his cloak's sleeves are slightly bell-shaped. Zexion has bright aqua colored eyes, though only his left one is clearly visible, the right one being covered by his long, layered bangs.
His steel-blue hair (appearing more grey in the Gameboy version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories) sports messy bangs that completely cover the right side of his face, reaching about an inch or two past his chin. On his left side, his bangs, though still rather long, are shorter than the right side, partially covering his ear. A few strands of hair fall over the exposed section of his face. The back of Zexion's hair is quite a bit shorter than the front.
A data recreation of Zexion can be fought during the New Organization XIII Event in the month of June.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
You too should concentrate on your real mission and collect more members.
Zexion to Xigbar
Some time before Marluxia's official recruitment, Vexen tromped down the stairs of Twilight's View, calling out for Zexion and demanding to know where Xemnas was. Zexion answered that Xemnas was in the Chamber of Repose, and though Vexen complained, he decided to wait for Xemnas to return.
Xigbar was eavesdropping on the conversation, and drops down from his perch after Vexen left. Zexion tells Xigbar that he believes eavesdropping was intrusive, questioning why he was back at the castle and not on his mission with Xaldin to recruit new members. Xigbar says he was doing his job, explaining he found the Organization's eleventh member Marluxia not too long ago, and rewarded himself with a break while Lexaeus took his place for the day. Before Zexion could leave him to his break, Xigbar stops him and tells him to stay and chat, asking of Xemnas's secret. Xigbar then spiels on Xemnas's origins as Xehanort, causing Zexion to ask what he was getting at. Xigbar tells him of the Chamber of Repose, a room that was constructed in the basement of the labs they used to work in when they were complete beings, and that Xemnas goes down into the room to chat with someone, when in reality there is no one else there.
Zexion asks if he should repeat himself on what he thinks about eavesdropping, although Xigbar explains that he wasn't since he couldn't hear anything, asking Zexion if he knew anything about it. Zexion tells Xigbar that he would very much like to get his own work done, as should Xigbar, reminding him that they need to prepare the new facility at Castle Oblivion, but they still needed more hands on deck. Xigbar questions what Xemnas wanted with the castle, and although Zexion assures him that Xemnas revealed his intentions to them, Xigbar interrupts and tells him that there was something Xemnas didn't share. Xigbar explains that the Chamber of Repose is part of a pair, and that the Chamber of Waking is the other. He explains that it was constructed by someone other than Xemnas, and that it was where he would find his other "friend". Zexion silently stares towards the hooded Xigbar, pondering on what he had just heard.
Kingdom Hearts will complete us. That's the Organization's goal.
Zexion to Roxas
Zexion is present when Xion joins Organization XIII. Zexion later teaches Roxas how to fill the mission gauge in Twilight Town before being sent away to Castle Oblivion. True to his personality, he was patient with the Keyblade wielder, carefully and calmly explaining the filling of the gauge in great detail.
After Axel returns from Castle Oblivion, Axel specifically mentions that he had eliminated Zexion during a conversation with Saïx. Sometime later, Axel admits that he doesn't mind "getting his hands dirty" to Saïx, and comments on killing both Zexion and Vexen.
During Xion's nightmare on Destiny Islands, Roxas stands on the beach of the island, missing his friend. He later sees the hooded Xion and approaches her. She removes her hood and turns out to be none other than Zexion, who proceeds to taunt a younger version of Riku as he did in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The scene then begins to fade, Xion (in the form of the shocked Roxas) undergoing a series of transformations until she finally takes Sora's form for the first time.
The world of darkness and Ansem's shadow still nest within your heart. Do you plan to face Sora like that? Even after what you did to him? Are you not ashamed?
Zexion interrogating Riku
After Sora had been lured into Castle Oblivion, Zexion discovers two other scents deep in the dungeons of the castle. One of them belongs to a Maleficent formed from someone's memory, having been given life by Castle Oblivion's unique properties. Originally, he mistakes the other scent to be that of "the Superior". Eventually, however, Zexion and his cohorts determine that the scent belongs to Riku, who had appeared in the castle by force of will after Sora's arrival. Vexen hypothesizes that the darkness in Riku's heart, Ansem, caused Zexion to mistake him for "the Superior", calling the effect "fascinating." Specifically, Riku's heart is plagued by the presence of Ansem.
Zexion, as well as Lexaeus and Vexen, come to see that Marluxia, keeper of Castle Oblivion, intends to take control of Organization XIII, with the help of Larxene, by using Sora as their puppet. Though they see that they can use Riku to counter Sora, they decide to oppose Marluxia's plot by having Vexen investigate Marluxia under the guise of offering to help using the Riku Replica he creates with combat data from the real Riku. However, Vexen is eventually killed on Marluxia's orders by Axel, whom Zexion and Lexaeus had been unsure about trusting. Axel later tells them he had performed the deed only to gain Marluxia's trust, and continues to cooperate with Zexion in tracking Sora and Riku.
Seeing that Vexen's efforts to derail Marluxia's plan had failed, Zexion sends Lexaeus to sway Riku into joining them, but Riku refuses to allow darkness to control him and defeats Lexaeus in combat. With the last of his strength, Lexaeus manages to knock Riku unconscious, rendering him helpless. However, before he can finish the job, Ansem takes control of Riku's body and finishes Lexaeus with the power of darkness. Riku is then enveloped in his own personal darkness, where Ansem tries to seize his body once more—however, he is saved by King Mickey, and continues ascending the basements of Castle Oblivion.
After Lexaeus dies in his failed attempt to subvert Riku's resistance to darkness, Zexion discusses the Organization's fate with Axel and learns that Larxene has been killed as well, bringing the number of Organization members eliminated to three. Axel tells him that he himself was defeated by Sora as well, and that Marluxia is almost certainly the next to go. Zexion decides that with the possibility of Marluxia dying soon, Riku is no longer needed, and heads off to intercept him.
Zexion appears before Riku while he is between floors of the castle, immediately after the death of Marluxia. As the force of Marluxia's death shakes the castle, Riku halts with surprise and comments how a very strong scent in the air has died. Zexion materializes in front of him and tells him that Sora has just defeated Marluxia. Riku is surprised to learn that Sora is also in the castle, but Zexion tells him he would never be able to face him after having such darkness in his heart. He then gives Riku a World Card to Destiny Islands before disappearing.
While he explores it, Zexion reappears, and continues to play on his guilt, telling him Sora will always oppose him as a host of the dark. Zexion vanishes and Riku winds up facing a Darkside Heartless. After he defeats it, Sora then appears himself, brandishing his Keyblade and accusing Riku of being corrupted. He envelops Riku in light, rendering him unable to do anything. Instead of drowning Riku into helplessness, however, the predicament causes Naminé to come to his aid. In the guise of Kairi, she tells him that he should stop rejecting the darkness within his heart, and instead draw on that power to free himself of the oppressing light. Accepting his dark power and entering Dark Mode, Riku strikes out at Sora.
He wounds Sora, whose disguise falters to reveal Zexion, who had been using his powers of illusion to deceive Riku. Zexion is astounded by Riku's ability to control the darkness, and is also enraged at his perseverance. He decides to engage Riku in combat himself, albeit wounded, but still puts up a rather difficult fight. However, Riku eventually overcomes and defeats Zexion.
After escaping from Riku, Zexion appears in the meeting room he shared with Lexaeus and Vexen, flabbergasted as to how Riku can wear darkness the way he does as no one has ever done so before. Waiting for him are Axel and a companion. In a panic, Zexion thinks Axel's companion is Riku himself, but then realizes it's only the Riku Replica. Zexion suggests they pit the replica against the real Riku, though Axel directs the replica's attention to his lack of wholeness. He tells him that if he can find strength that the real Riku doesn't have, he can become a whole person of his own, rather than a mere puppet or whole copy of Riku.
Axel then suggests that he should start by eliminating Zexion and take his powers for himself. Zexion is horrified by Axel's suggestion and tells him he can't do that, but before he can do anything, the replica grabs and absorbs Zexion's life force, taking his power and causing him to become the Organization’s fifth member to fade away; judging by Axel's line of Zexion finding out "way too much", Axel purposefully set this up in order to move Saïx up within the ranks of the Organization.
As Roxas begins to reclaim more of his memories after entering the computer room of the digital Twilight Town, he remembers the Organization's meeting chamber, with all of the members gathered there, including Zexion.
Zexion's Absent Silhouette appears before Sora in the Cave of the Dead: Inner Chamber of Olympus Coliseum. The silhouette is visible from the first visit, but Zexion cannot be battled until after Sora learns about Absent Silhouettes from Demyx.
Initially, Zexion was never seen in combat, and his weapon and attribute were a mystery. In an effort to keep Zexion's weapon unknown, his gravestone in the The World That Never Was laid destroyed, as all the gravestones depicted the member's weapon of choice. Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix revealed his weapon as the Lexicon. Zexion can use his Lexicon to mimic the attacks of his enemies in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories.
He is also seen to be able to change how he appears to others. In Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, he takes the form of Sora to taunt Riku in Destiny Islands. Despite being a Nobody, he displayed the ability to use light to an extent, drowning Riku in light and nearly managing to drag him into helplessness had Naminé not interfered. After freeing himself, Riku strikes Zexion, causing his disguise to fade and revealing himself.
This ability follows a trend where the Organization members bear abilities and skills mirroring those of Final Fantasy jobs (ex. Xaldin = Dragoon, Luxord = Gambler, etc.). In Zexion's case, his abilities mirror those of a Blue Mage, who can learn and mimic enemy attacks, or possibly a Mime who can perfectly imitate the most recently used ability.
In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, he has a unique fighting style; he steals and hoards Riku's cards until he has enough to use it in his own deck. He creates copies of his lexicon and telekinetically suspends them in the air and has them attack the opponent, which is his standard attack and steals Riku's attack cards. His standard sleights creates either a tornado of dark energy or a sphere of magnetic energy that drags Riku in, and then damages him while stealing his cards. When Zexion hoards enough cards, he copies the Soul Eater and copies himself, gaining the uses of two new devastating sleights. First is "Dark Punisher", where Zexion's copies vanish while Zexion grabs Riku and drains his HP, while the other is called "Catastrophe", in which he and his copies vanish and then reappear near the perimeter of the island and each fire an energy beam. The beams meet and slowly form a ball of energy as Zexion and his clones rotate around the island before the energy ball explodes over the entire island.
His standard attack now becomes a combo with each of the copies slashing once in turn. Meanwhile, the lexicons are spreads out through the island encased in blue flames. Each of those lexicons support and act as the health of a clone. Destroying a lexicon causes a clone to disappear, and the destruction of the last copy frees all the stolen cards, and Zexion reverts to attacking with his lexicons until he hoards enough cards again. However, even if Riku manages to steal his cards back, Zexion occasionally prepares a countermeasure of sorts by planting a dummy Soul Eater card amongst the scattered pile for Riku to collect. The card is distinguished by the "wing" of the blade's design being orange instead of red, as well as the Soul Eater facing the opposite direction. If the card is collected then used, it damages and stuns Riku momentarily, giving Zexion an opening to steal cards again. In addition, he can effectively restore all the destroyed Lexicons even after Card Break.
Zexion also has access to the "Elixir" Card, which will allow him to reload all his cards, and he can use his enemy card to gain the ability to inflict confusion with any strike.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Zexion returns as an optional boss. Zexion's fighting style is totally different; however, in the islands, his Absent Silhouette's only attack is to seemingly ensnare his prey in his lexicon, through use of illusion, causing them to hallucinate and physically feel any damage they believe they are taking. Once they have fallen victim to the illusion, they begin to see an area where lexicons float around, being conducted by Zexion, who makes himself appear as a lexicon himself to hide.
Only the reaction command, Dispel, used on Zexion after depleting his fake HP frees them from the hallucination. Meanwhile, they are either bombarded by lexicon copies and explosions, ensnared in life-draining lexicons, or have their commands mixed up. However, if the right commands are selected, HP, MP, Munny balls, or experience points can appear, while another command temporarily removes all the decoy lexicons.
His greatest attack involves creating another illusion, which causes the victim to see a pitch black room, save for three spotlights, one of which will be blue. The blue light will rotate between the three lights thirteen times until it comes to a complete stop, after which the entire area will be bombarded by meteors, with Zexion's laughing heard. However, the spotlight where the blue light stops on will be protected by a barrier. Zexion is also forced into the barricaded area, leaving him vulnerable to attack.
In both instances, he is shown to be a particularly powerful opponent, noted by many to be more difficult than Ansem, Seeker of Darkness in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories Reverse/Rebirth.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Zexion has a Limit Break called Meteor Mirage. During Meteor Mirage, Zexion and his open lexicon are brought into the air. While in the air, Zexion summons many balls of dark indigo energy to bomb the field, dealing a large amount of damage to enemies hit by the barrage. During the bombardment, Zexion cannot move around to hit enemies that are further away with the meteors but, if you press B, you can cancel the limit to run to a better position and then press A to resume the attack.
During Zexion's Final Limit, Zexion exerts more power into his lexicon for the attack. The meteors that he summons are larger and more plentiful, and crash down faster.
Zexion uses a book called a Lexicon, the Greek term for a dictionary. Its main form is named the Book of Retribution. It is unclear exactly what the pages contain, but from what can be seen, it tells some sort of story and lacks a basic dictionary layout. The cover displays three interconnected Nobody symbols. The back bears the outline of another Nobody logo. The spine of the book displays a Roman number six (VI), along with the title "Hallucination—Another Side", superimposed over yet another Nobody symbol.
Zexion has the power to seemingly trap people within the pages themselves, sending them to a different dimension where he can hide from them and attack. Although it is quite possible this is just a hallucination that his foes experience after looking into the green light emitted from the lexicon. He can also hide himself in the pages through use of illusion to make it appear he is actually inside them.
An accessory based off the lexicon called the "Shade Archive" can be synthesized in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.