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Terminal Paralysis

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Warning: this story contains a whole slew of spoilers from the recently released Kirby Star Allies, especially with regards to the final boss and ending of that game. Yeah, you might want to click away now if you don't want to get spoiled silly.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Kirby series or Hoshi no Kaabii. HAL does, though.

Words in italics indicate character thoughts.

"Born from the total absence of care and composed of dark energy, he has awakened from a state of mere existence to that of true sentience. He now desires only one thing… to CRUSH all opposition!" — pause screen description from Kirby Star Allies.


Chapter 1: When One Door Closes…

If there was a single word that Void Termina could use to express its feelings about the current situation, it would be a rather nasty expletive. Hence, it was probably better for everyone involved that Termina was unable to vocalize said word, since the spherical orb was too focused on trying to defend itself against quite a few pesky intruders. Why is this happening to me, the Termina Core found itself frantically thinking as it erratically scattered wave after wave of energy pellets across the arena in an attempt to try and buy more time for a counterattack. The worst part was that things had gone south for Void Termina in less than fifteen minutes. A mere quarter of an hour! Now that had to be some kind of an insult!

After eons of waiting for what must have been at least a couple dozen of millennia, Void Termina had found himself released from his seal in the Jamba Heart. Relishing at the opportunity of finally being awakened from its ridiculously long slumber, the Termina Core quickly built a protective outer layer to protect itself from harm. Once satisfied that its inner core was securely fortified, Void Termina let out a massive roar as it materialized into existence, emerging from a cocoon of darkness. The form the celestial being took on was that of a huge fifty-foot high armored giant, with its huge form giving it the added benefit of providing the offensive that Void Termina needed to crumble everything into ruin. It was now time for him to irrevocably destroy the universe, until there was nothing left but an empty, inky black void — much like itself.

Nothing would be able to stop the destroyer of worlds from devastating entire planets… no, whole galaxies, until they were left devoid of life and beyond recognition. That was what Void Termina had originally envisioned, at least before he found that there was an immediate resistance to his spree of mass destruction. What was worse was that it had underestimated what it thought to be a puny attempt of resistance against him, and thus he paid the price. The surprisingly powerful Star Allies Sparkler had ended up rendering his outer body immobile, forcing Void Termina to separate the pilots from the Sparkler by sucking them all into its body and utilize his vulnerable core to finish off the nuisances once and for all. It was only when they landed within his body that the Termina Core got its first close look at the irritating pests that stood in his way. They were certainly an odd and diverse squad — a hammer-wielding penguin, a masked knight with a golden sword, and a small orange thing with a bandana atop his head equipped with a spear.

But even Void Termina had to blink in surprise when he saw the leader of the enigmatic group, a small pink puffball who looked eerily similar to his core form. There were exceptions, however. He was much smaller and actually had four appendages compared to his zero. His color was also slightly different — rose pink compared to his magenta purple. He was also wearing an orange and red jester hat and had a glass rod equipped in one of his hands. After being stunned by the sight for a second, Void Termina shook off their physical similarity, beginning to hover around and start attacking the group in earnest. With his very first shockwave attack, he'd managed to catch them off guard and take down almost all of that pink pest's insignificant partners by turning them against one another via brainwashing.

All that was left after the other three fell was that pink thing. He appeared to look briefly stressed upon seeing his teammates fall, but soon that worry was replaced by a determined look in his eyes. He ran forward, but instead of attacking, he proceeded to toss a pink heart towards the core. Void Termina flinched as the thrown heart made contact. The heart making contact had physically hurt him, and it knew exactly why. He recognized it — pink friendly variants of the Jamba Hearts… basically hearts filled with so much love and joy that most sentient beings would be tamed by them.

Friend Hearts.

The core let out a distorted, cruel laugh at the thought. He never would have expected in a million years that the thing was actually trying to befriend him. Someone trying to make friends with him, the lonely Void Termina, the all-powerful destroyer of everyone and everything it came into contact with? He couldn't comprehend the very idea. Joy, love, and care? Such concepts were completely foreign to him.

And now here he was. The core of Void Termina was beginning to fret. The tides were not in his favor at all. As time went on, the pink puffball had slowly managed to gain the upper hand, even managing to revive his fallen allies. Not only were the group of four inside his body still alive, he on the other hand was beginning to feel rather faint from their relentless onslaught of strikes. Shaking off his exhaustion, he transformed his two smaller eyes into one large, singular eye and fired off another laser beam in the direction of the round pink attacker. Void Termina knew full well that of the four who were trying to finish him, this one posed the largest threat to his well-being. Unfortunately for it, the pink one—Void Termina still didn't know its name—nimbly dodged the move by puffing himself up and floating up into the air.

Irritated, Void Termina spun his single eye around, ensuring that the wave of energy would revolve around the area multiple times. It wanted to make sure that the gigantic purple beam that it was currently firing followed the hovering puffball until he was completely cornered. Just when it looked as though the devastating beam was about to make contact, the pink thing shot the core a defiant look. As he exhaled and let himself fall, he twirled around the turquoise rod in his hand and proceeded to let off a charged Wave Beam, timing the release just right so that it phased through the Termina Core's own laser beam and hit it directly in the eye. Void Termina was forced to halt its laser attack, frantically blinking away blurry tears from the direct hit. However, his pink nemesis didn't let up, immediately using the opening to make a dash jump in his direction, swinging his rod at the core and letting loose a barrage of rapid-fire energy blasts at point-blank range.

That was finally the breaking point. After the Beam Blast attack connected, the magenta core found itself giving out with a shattering boom. It didn't even have the energy to float, and hence fell straight to the ground. It groaned as it began to spew out purple lasers in a spastic fashion, ejecting out the intruders. The Void Termina core eventually managed to break out of the explosive chain reaction, slowly rotating around to see the entire inner body in shambles and collapsing in on itself.

I was so close… so close! That pink puffball ruined everything! Must… destroy… threat… must… annihilate… it… FOREVER!

Void Termina found that its sanity was slowly slipping. It was beginning to turn completely primal due to its mind being corrupted by pure anger from its defeat. With a furious shriek, the Termina Core bounced out onto the planet, discarding the lifeless armored body that it had in the process. It didn't care that it was leaving itself open for attack by exposing its round orb-like core out in space for one final last-ditch attack. This was literally his only chance to win! He was so close! He couldn't lose everything that he'd worked for to a mere, tiny insignificant speck!

It locked its own singular red eye on the nuisance and prepared to rid the universe of this threat to its rule, once and for all. His single revealed eye turned bloodshot when he saw the pink puffball clamber back onto the Star Allies Sparkler, taking command of the friend-powered ship once again. He narrowed his eye, glaring daggers at his enemy as he began to charge up a massive attack in the Sparkler's direction. Just as he discharged a huge purple energy beam composed of pure darkness, the Sparkler fired a yellow laser beam in return.

It was all or nothing now. Whoever lost this beam war would be utterly vaporized. After an initial close call, Void Termina begun to focus all of its hatred into the beam, forcing the center of impact between the two beams closer to the Sparkler's side. The Termina Core currently didn't have a mouth since it was currently in its final single-eye form, or else it would be flashing a very menacing smirk at seeing victory within its grasp as his beam continued to gain more and more power, inching closer and closer to the opposite end.

But alas, at the very last second, the foolish resistance managed to catch a second wind, slowly managing to reverse the tide. Void Termina widened his eye when he saw the beam being forced back to its own end. This is impossible, it thought in disbelief. All the hatred I've ever felt in all my millennia of existence is in this one attack! How can they possibly be fighting back!? HOW!?

It struggled to hold its own against the impending beam for as long as possible, but all things had to come to an end. His own beam ran out of juice, allowing for his opponent's yellow energy beam to hit him square in the face as he let out a cry of anguish. As the Termina Core found itself knocked out of his single-eye phase and back to his base core form, it helplessly looked at the horizon behind the Star Allies Sparkler to see a breathtaking sight. Clearly wanting to end this battle once and for all, the pink puffball had summoned an entire plethora of holographic allies to support him from afar. Void Termina couldn't even move when he saw just how many he'd managed to amass. From the Driblees of Planet Misteen all the way to the Burning Leos of Star Lavadom, there was no shortage of friends that spontaneously appeared out of the blue to help him out.

"Go for it, Kirby! You can do it!" they all chanted simultaneously. Their supportive voices might have been like an angelic choir to the heroic Kirby, but it was a collective kick to the soul for the weakened Termina.

Kirby… so that's his name. Void Termina knew that this would be one of the last things he would ever learn. It was a foregone conclusion just how things would end for him at this point: the core knew that it would not survive the next bombardment of attacks. But even in the face of death, it couldn't help but lament. I never had any friends. Throughout my entire existence, not a single soul was willing to stand by my side. Even the eccentric leader of those Jambastion mages who'd worshiped me had only summoned me from my prison because he only wanted to use me for his own selfish, indulgent goals…

The Termina Core wept a single, bitter tear as Kirby's face turned firm and resolute, the puffball letting out a determined cry as he pointed his stubby little arm directly at Void Termina. It flinched slightly, bracing itself when he realized that Kirby was giving his entire platoon of friends the all-clear signal to pummel him.

In the final few seconds before the end, even the pain that it was feeling did not matter to Void Termina. All his mind could think about before everything turned a dazzling white was a primal jealousy of him. He was jealous of Kirby's ability to command and befriend so many others from all over the universe. He was jealous of Kirby's fighting prowess, being skilled enough to take someone like him on despite his small stature. And more than anything, he was deeply envious of Kirby's ability to befriend so many around him. It's not fair, he thought to himself in desperation. Why is it that you have everything but I have absolutely nothing? WHY!?

Perhaps if things had turned out just ever so differently for him, it could have been him in the pink puffball's shoes. But unfortunately for Void Termina, he never had the chance, and thus could only wish beyond hope that events had played out unlike the way they currently were headed in now. As he felt his body starting to disintegrate from the multiple impacts that Kirby's helper friends were collectively hitting him with, only one last rational thought went through its mind.

If only I could be you, Kirby…

In his last moments, the large pink core kept his eye locked squarely at Kirby, locking the name and image of the smiling pink ball firmly in its memory banks. It was all for naught though, as Void Termina began to explode the very next second, which had the side effect of taking down the entirety of the Jambandra Base with an earth-shattering kaboom.

Satisfied that yet another godlike celestial being had been stopped once again, Kirby and his friends hitched a ride on a warp star back to Planet Popstar. All was right with the world again. This certainly called for a celebration, and to one hungry puffball, that was all that really mattered.

After all, Void Termina had been defeated for good, and would never again return from its eternal slumber.


He was roused from unconsciousness when he heard an alarm blaring loudly. Blinking open his eyes, he found himself behind the controls of a star-shaped ship with very advanced looking circuitry.

"Demon beast detected on… Planet Popstar. Initializing warpspeed drive."

He didn't even have a chance to utter a sentence in protest against the mechanized voice before the ship proceeded to go unbelievably fast. When it finally stopped zooming at warp speed, he was so lightheaded that he had to vehemently shake his head to dispel the dizzy spell. When his vision was no longer blurred, he found himself enchanted by a fascinating sight. He uncontrollably gave a coo of delight when he looked out of the glass and saw the beautiful, vast nebula of space. The view entranced him, distracting him so much from the controls that he didn't even realize that his spaceship was out of control until he felt it begin to violently shake.

Despite not knowing much about the ship, even he knew that crashing it was not a good outcome. He pushed a lever in an attempt to try to control the falling ship, immediately regretting his decision when he felt himself spinning along with the spaceship. The ship's computer announcing, "Gyroscopic Lock Disabled," a few seconds later hit home to him just how stupid that decision was.

Mercifully, the shaking and rolling eventually stopped. With a hiss, the cockpit glass opened, allowing him to fall to the hard rock beneath. Unfortunately for him, he didn't even have one second to relish being on solid ground before he felt himself being lifted up by the leg. As he got his first good look at his surroundings, he saw that the one who had picked him up was a large sized blue penguin wearing red robes. When the penguin noticed that he was conscious, he let go of him, unceremoniously letting him fall back down. "It's some kind of an invader from outer space!" he cried out, turning towards a snail-like… snail.

"Eliminate it immediately, great King Dedede!" The snail exclaimed as it whirled towards the penguin. "Mash it with yer' mallet!"

The penguin, who evidently went by the name Dedede, immediately whipped out a large wooden mallet. "With pleasure, Escargon." Dedede wasted no time in preparing to swing his hammer towards him in a downwards arc. He widened his eyes, bracing for impact just before Dedede found himself interrupted by a shrill cry.

"Wait just one minute!"

A girl with a ponytail firmly held her hand up to stop Dedede before the hammer could connect with him. Heaving a sigh of relief, he proceeded to make a mental note that she was on his side. The girl then held her hand out to him, as if beckoning him to take it. He bashfully chose to decline, remaining on the ground.

After realizing that he was ignoring her, she took the verbal approach instead. "Hey, you. Who are you?" she asked, before rolling her eyes slightly as though a new silly thought came across her mind. "It's absurd," she began, putting her hand by her hips as she peered closely at him, "But you couldn't possibly be… Kirby?"

He was about to answer the girl when he abruptly realized that his brain turned up a complete blank on the subject. He could barely remember anything about himself, his mind turning foggy to the point that he didn't even know who he was. Still, something about the name that the girl had said earlier clicked in his head. Gears began to turn as he concentrated hard. His hazy mind slowly began to recall a faint image of a smiling, pink heroic puffball. While deep in thought due to the sudden memory, he unintentionally glanced back to the starship's cockpit window, before double-taking when he realized that he was able to see the exact same image his mind had conjured up in the reflection of the glass.

Yes, his mind exclaimed as he put two and two together. He was the splitting image of what his memory told him, which meant that the memory was telling him about who he was! And the answer to that was simple… he was Kirby!

"Kirby, Kirby!" he repeated merrily in confirmation of his identity, much to the shock of everyone in the vicinity. The newly-christened Kirby merely blinked after he completed his affirmation, gazing around when he noticed that everybody was tensing up. Just why was everyone staring at him like he was a fish out of water?

He got his answer a second later after he found himself bombarded by an entire array of stunned outbursts.

"No way! You're kidding!"

"Th-that's Kirby?"

"The Star Warrior!?"


Author's Note:

Lore. All of the lore.

The final boss of Kirby Star Allies, Void Termina, has an entire wealth of potential for lore that is just begging to be capitalized. Since the fandom has begun their crackpot theories on Void Termina, I've decided to add my own spin on it with this story. And yes, this is a game and anime Kirby crossover. I really like the concept and there aren't a lot of them anyway.

Will this fic be a serious one? Truth be told, I'm still indecisive on this one. On one hand, we have Hyness and Void Termina, as well as the anime's Holy Nightmare Corp. But on the other end of the spectrum, just thinking about all the potential satire and snark that a gameverse version of Kirby can wreck upon the Hoshi no Kaabii version of Dream Land… yeah, it's a close call. We'll see as this goes along.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: …Another Door Opens

You learn new things about yourself with every passing day.

For Kirby, what he'd found out just a minute ago and was immensely glad for was that his rubbery body gave him the advantage of absorbing hits that would normally hurt a lot more if he was a regular person with normal skin. Even with this new information however, he wasn't infallible. Though his flexible skin would deflect much of the blow, even a mere nick that managed to make it past his protective silicon-like skin would still end up being able to hurt him. As such, Kirby was now the proud owner of a boo-boo… sorry, a bruise. The pink puffball rubbed the injury that he received on… his head? Was it around his head area? Truth be told, Kirby wasn't sure whether the bump was on his back, front, face or… wherever on his body. For crying out loud, his body was in the shape of a literal ball, so how was one able to accurately describe exactly where a specific spot was on the surface of a sphere? Short and simple, you couldn't, and thus Kirby didn't bother to try.

But unlike the specific area of his bruise, what he was definitely certain about was how he had received the injury itself. It had happened after King Dedede had laughed and proceeded to send him flying with his hammer. Even as Kirby flew high into the air, he was able to hear Dedede's snide taunt through the air before landing in the valley below. "Heheheh! Some Star Warrior!" the penguin had jeered after smashing his hammer full throttle at Kirby, "He couldn't even take a mere hammer to the face!"

Kirby let out a sad sigh as he remembered Dedede's hurtful words. He vigorously shook his head to rid the thoughts from his mind, unable to comprehend or understand why Dedede's insult had hit him so close to his heart.

"Yaaaahhhhhh!"

A terrified scream pierced through the air, snapping Kirby out of his stupor. As he looked to his left and right to try and locate the source of the sound, he suddenly caught sight of an object falling from the top of the canyon out of the corner of his eye. As he focused on the falling object, Kirby suddenly realized that the one who had screamed was the girl that had tried to protect him earlier. He then jolted up when it hit him that she was in grave danger. On instinct, he gently held his breath, which inflated his body up just like a hot-air balloon. Beginning to slowly to ascend off the ground, he then jumped off the rocky platform he was standing on and moved his legs gently to hover forward until he found himself underneath the screaming girl.

With a flourish, he managed to grab ahold of her as she fell on top of him, thereby cushioning her fall as he slowly descended to the floor. "Po-yow!" Kirby yelped when he felt a sharp pricking sensation by his feet. The pain caused him to jump backwards out of pure instinct, which had the unintentional side effect of causing the girl atop his head to slide off. "Woah!" she yelped as she fell down a distance of about three feet and landed with a whump on the rocky cavern floor. As the puffball rubbed his sore bottom, he noticed that the reason he had gotten pricked was because he had landed on a stalagmite, one sharpened to a very fine point. He had to wince at that, wiping worried beads of sweat off of his forehead when he comprehended just how close the falling girl was from death. If he hadn't intervened, the girl would have been impaled by the stalagmite in what would most certainly be a spectacularly gory fashion.

Speaking of the girl, she was currently gaping at Kirby openly, before clutching her head to snap herself out of her shock. "Y-You can fly?" was all the dazed girl could spit out. He simply gave a nod of his head in response. If Kirby was to be honest with himself, even he hadn't realized that he could pull off that technique until literally a few seconds ago, when he'd instinctively inflated himself out of his pure drive to save the falling girl. Funny how the stakes of a life-and-death situation could make one discover new heights.

"That was totally awesome!" Kirby hopped around to see a boy with unkempt greenish-orange hair, which was so unruly and long that his bangs shielded his eyes. It didn't take a genius to infer that he was the one who had butted into the conversation. "Did you see Kirby back there? Man, that was so cool!" the boy squeed at the girl. Kirby saw the girl roll her eyes in return as she slowly got up and dusted her hands. "It's not something to be proud about, you know?" she grumbled, trying to brush it off. "After all, I was trying to save you when King Dedede sent you hurtling down here."

"But it ended up the other way around, sis. Kirby just saved you from a nasty fall, ya know?" he rightfully pointed out. "I was so scared when you slipped off the rocky cliff! The drop that you fell from was massive! Would it kill you to be just a little bit more grateful to him?"

Kirby took special note at the mention of the word 'sis'. He looked back at the squabbling duo in a new light. So the two of them were siblings. Huh. He honestly hadn't realized.

As though the brother's words had knocked some sense into his sister, the puffball observed that she let out a defeated sigh. Certainly a haughty one, this girl. Having seen enough of the rocky cavern, he slowly walked forward to make his way out, with two children and two floating beings hot on his tail. Evidently they had expected him to stay still.

"Hey, wait up!"

With a cheeky grin, he proceeded to mischievously do the exact opposite as what the girl wanted. Hey, being naughty certainly had its perks! As he continued to hop forward, Kirby soon found himself at the top of a hill, the scenery below showing a bustling village beneath. As he stood by the cliff, he let out an impressed murmur at the view.

"Isn't this village beautiful?" A small, floating pink round orb with a ribbon on her head asked as she finally caught up with him. Kirby had to give a very subtle nod in agreement, as he gestured towards the village with a sappy smile in a bid to ask them more about it.

Luckily for him, they understood what he was driving at from his hand gestures alone. "Pretty, eh? This is the place where all of us live in!" the boy explained in a voice that almost made it sound as though he was a property agent trying to brag about the exquisite location to potential customers. "Say hello to the quaint little village of Cappy Town!"

Satisfied with the answer he got, Kirby then sprang to his left to stroll off. However, the abrupt action caused him to bang headfirst into the girl, who had been standing beside him. "Hey, you… are you even listening to a word we say?" the girl folded her arms, beginning to get exasperated. Seeing as how she got no response when Kirby merely blinked his eyes in confusion, she sighed and tried a different tactic. "I'm the daughter of the Cabinet Minister of Dream Land," she casually mentioned, pretending to be disinterested by flipping her braided ponytail in an aloof manner. Kirby, however, was able to see through her act and chose not to react. "Call me Fumu," she said, finally introducing herself.

Cute name, Kirby thought, immediately repeating it back to her face with a sneaky smile. "Fumu!"

Hearing her name, she let out a gasp. Her eyes widened as she stared back at Kirby, slack-jawed. "You ta-talked!" Fumu finally picked her jaw off the floor and promptly rounded onto him. "You can understand us? You know what we're saying?"

"I'm her little brother, Bun!" He wasted no time in introducing himself the moment he realized that the pink puffball could understand him.

"Bun," Kirby recited. After that, even the two floating blue and pink beings couldn't resist getting into the fun.

"We're the servants Lololo…" the blue orb started.

"…and Lalala!" the pink orb finished.

"Lololo, Lalala?" Kirby couldn't stop grinning when he saw the entire lot of them appear surprised once he demonstrated his ability to comprehend their language. He closed his eyes with a little prideful smile. Honestly, he didn't get what all the fuss was about. Identifying people by names wasn't that hard to do at all!

Vrrrooommmmmm…

The sound of screeching tires caused his eyelids to flutter open.

"Hold still, you pink demon beast! For the good of Dream Land, I'll send you hurtling back to wherever you came from!"

Kirby turned around to see an off-terrain jeep headed towards him. Unsurprisingly, it was commanded by that jerk Dedede, as well as his snail assistant. He cocked his head in surprise, however, when it didn't slow down and instead accelerated. He then flinched back in mild panic when he realized that Dedede wasn't driving on the grassy area to get off the vehicle and taunt him. As the other four by his side ducked out of the path of the vehicle with yelps of terror, Kirby held his ground, staring right at Dedede with displeasure clear on his face.

That guy wanted to run him over! That penguin was too much, really!

"Kirby! What are you doing?" Fumu yelled when she saw the puffball refusing to budge, his feet firmly planted on the ground. "Don't stand still! Get out of the way!"

"She's right! You're a sitting duck, Kirby! Don't let Dedede get ya!" Bun shouted as well.

"Kirby!" Lololo and Lalala yelped as Kirby ignored all of them, continuing to stare Dedede down as the jeep came closer and closer towards him.

"Look at that, King Dedede." Escargon pointed at the unmoving Kirby, "I think he's given up. Looks like you can get rid of the meddling brat before he ruins your plans, your majesty!"

"Accepting your fate, you meddling failure of a Star Warrior?" Dedede clutched the steering wheel even tighter as he sped the jeep up. "Good on you, Kirby! For your bravery, I'll make this quick for you!"

Kirby narrowed his eyes in response to Dedede's words. Against his own body's flight mechanism, he waited until the jeep was almost upon him before he made his counterattack. "Po-poyo!" Kirby yelped, jumping up and immediately inflating himself to float above the oncoming vehicle, barely missing it by an inch. Just a single second later and he would have been flattened.

"What the—" Dedede swore as Kirby ascended upwards to dodge him. He sneered as the jeep missed its target, before letting out a frantic shout when he realized that right behind where Kirby had been standing was a sharp drop. He immediately slammed his foot down, flooring the brake pedal as hard as he could in a futile effort to avoid the cliff. The jeep screeched to a halt, but Kirby's last-second dodge meant that Dedede couldn't react to the danger in time. As a result, the front tires rolled off solid ground before he could bring the vehicle to a stop. Dedede and Escargon yelled as they felt the jeep tip downwards. Mercifully for them, the back wheels remained on the hill, leaving the jeep edging back and forth in a very precarious balance. "Don't move, Escargon!" the king yelled at his side passenger as he felt nothing but thin air under the front half of the jeep. "Our weight is all that's keeping this thing balanced! If you do anything stupid, this jeep will topple and we'll go down with it!"

Kirby's sharp ears managed to catch Dedede's panicked words. With a glimmer of a mischievous smirk, he slowly let himself hover downwards so that he was floating in front of the windshield.

Dedede's eyes widened when he saw the floating Kirby. Even his normally confident gaze had tapered off. "Do-don't you dare land on the hood!" he squealed at the dangerously hovering puffball. The king knew that if Kirby were to land on the bonnet, physics meant that the additional weight to the front portion would cause the seesawing jeep to fall out of its delicate balance and topple off the cliff.

Despite maintaining his neutral expression, Kirby shot an impassive look at the yelling penguin. He felt a teeny bit upset that Dedede was insinuating that he would send the jeep down. Even he wouldn't be that bad! To do something like that out of spite just felt… wrong. All he wanted to do was taunt Dedede and mess with the king a little as a tiny bit of payback for the bump he'd received earlier. Thus, Kirby proceeded to do exactly just that. Maintaining his friendly demeanor, he made it look as though he was going to land on the unbalanced jeep, but floated upwards at the last second just as his feet was about to touch the hood. As Escargon and Dedede shrieked in panic, he shot them both a teasing smile and repeated the act to psyche them out a second time.

By his next attempt however, Dedede was ahead of him. After the initial scare of the puffball trying to intentionally sabotage them to fall to their doom had worn off, Dedede clenched his fist in anger when he saw that Kirby was actively trying to taunt him by faking them out for the third time in a row. "Why, you little brat! How dare you play me!" Completely forgetting about the safety implications due to being blinded with anger, Dedede disregarded his own advice, unfastening his seat belt and propped himself up on the seat with his trusty hammer in his hand. He stared down the floating Kirby, getting ready to mash the annoyance into next week—

"No, wait!" Escargon panicked. "Great King Dedede, don't—"

His warning came too late. It wasn't the snail's words but rather a sudden sway of the jeep that tipped Dedede off to his fatal mistake. The movement that Dedede had made to get into his usual hammer stance was ironically enough, what provided the right amount of force that was needed to tip the jeep past the point of no return. A mildly panicking Kirby flailed his arms wildly to float upwards and evade the vehicle as the jeep lurched forward. However, Dedede and Escargon weren't as lucky as the floating puff. Although in some other time and place, another version of King Dedede might have been able to expand his belly in this situation to float up and save himself, this Dedede was unable to do so. As a result, he found himself trapped with Escargon as their predicament proceeded to get a hundred times more dire. A second after the violent lurch, the jeep's back wheels lifted off the ground. The king and his most trusted servant began to scream, bracing for impact as the unbalanced jeep careened off solid ground and promptly hurtled down towards the bottom of the cliff.

In contrast to the rapidly falling jeep that contained two very frantic passengers, Kirby pushed himself up against gravity by using a draft of wind and proceeded to recover back to the hilltop where the jeep had been a few seconds prior. The next thing he heard after he exhaled to let out the puff of air he held in his mouth was a massive explosion as the vehicle impacted the ground below.

"Kirby!" Fumu and Bun simultaneously yelled when they saw the billowing smoke. "Are you okay?" Taking one glance at the black dust now swirling at the air, he gave a nod in return with an affirmative "Poyo!" He was most definitely okay, unlike poor King Dedede and his assistant. You couldn't even compare between them.

"KIRBBYYYYYYY!"

Kirby jumped two feet up into the air when he heard a furious roar coming from the bottom. As he peered down the cliff, he bore witness to a burning jeep, a sprawled out Escargon, and one very furious Dedede. "This means war, you hear me!?" a Dedede with very tattered robes yelled upwards at him when the penguin saw that Kirby was looking down at him from the top of the cliff face. "You insolent little so-called Star Warrior! I swear right here and now that I'm gonna personally pummel you out of my kingdom! Ya' hear me, Kirby? You hear me!?"

Kirby shuddered as Dedede proceeded to swear an overly-long oath of vengeance against him, his parents, and his entire bloodline up to his fifth generation of ancestors. He shook his head with a worried frown, honestly not liking where this was going. Despite not getting along well with Dedede, Kirby hadn't wanted to make enemies with him. It'd barely been two hours since they first met, for pete's sake!

"Man, this blatant disrespect," Bun muttered to his sister as he saw the fuming king hurl more and more insults at what he perceived to be a confused Kirby. "Kirby's too modest, sis. He isn't even retaliating to Dedede," he observed. "If I were him, I would've laughed my butt off at that rotten loser already!"

Lololo squeezed his eyes shut at Bun's callous remark. If Dedede had managed to hear that, the boy would have single-handedly exacerbated the tense situation even further. "The king sure is being petty even by his usual standards today," he commented with a sigh as Dedede began to jump up and down repeatedly in fury, screaming more insults at Kirby.

"To be fair, I wouldn't blame him for his bad mood when he'd just fallen down a cliff," Lalala pointed out as she beckoned towards the haze that had just started from the blazing wreck below.

"Hey, you! I see the two of you as well!" A trembling Dedede pointed a gloved finger up towards Fumu and Bun when he saw the siblings standing by Kirby's side. "This treachery will not be forgiven! If you're going to take sides with that alien monstrosity, then so be it! I won't go easy on you just because you're the Cabinet Minister's kids!"

"Ignore him, Kirby," Fumu whispered down at Kirby when she noticed that he had an upset face and seemed to be taking Dedede's words hard.

"Yeah, don't listen to Dedede! My sis is right! For once…" Bun said the last two words so softly that Kirby almost couldn't hear them. "Besides, any enemy of King Dedede is a friend of ours!" Bun declared, consoling Kirby by giving him a pat on the back in consolation.

"Come on," Fumu held Kirby by the hand to lead him away from the raving Dedede. "Let's head for Cappy Town."


Fumu's planned Cappy Town tour for Kirby was unexpectedly cut short. All of the fault for that could be solely planted on one singular person: Bun.

Although she had originally wanted to show Kirby around their hometown, that plan was derailed once her brother couldn't keep his big mouth shut and ecstatically mentioned about how Kirby had completely totaled Dedede's personal jeep to a few of the townsfolk. The result of Bun's claim was inevitable — even in the late afternoon, a crowd slowly began to gather around Kirby, with everyone swarming around to give their congratulations to the newcomer. The bustling mass of curious villagers was so huge that Fumu had no opportunity to even get a word in, since Kirby found himself being swamped by words of thanks and introductions from all the other villagers. It most certainly didn't help that Bun had exaggerated the whole affair to make it look like Kirby had deliberately insulted the Dream Land ruler, thus culminating in the entire village deciding to hold a glorious toast to celebrate the Star Warrior's arrival to their village.

Or it would have been a glorious toast…

If only Kirby hadn't feel his appetite acting up. The moment the so-called Star Warrior's nose caught a whiff of the delicious scent that the platter of food was emanating, he proceeded to expeditiously suck up the entire feast into his mouth, right down to the dishcloth. As he concluded his inhale attack and wiped his mouth, he roamed his eyes around to see the entire group around the table too stunned to move as cutlery began to fall from the air.

After that, Fumu then grabbed him by the arm, mumbling a hasty apology to the other guests before she unceremoniously dragged him and a grumbling Bun away from Mayor Len's house. "P-Poyo!" he cried, trying to wrestle himself away from her grip. He didn't understand what he did to warrant this treatment from Fumu, who had been nice to him up to now.

"Not now, Kirby!" she retorted back. As the trio entered a dilapidated shack, she quietly shut the door and looked straight into his eyes. "After what you did to the food at Mayor Len's house just now, I want a straight answer from you. Did you eat those sheep or not?"

He cocked his head, confused as to what she was driving at. "What sheep?" he thought in his mind. There had been no sheep at all on the dining table earlier.

Fumu went on to explain, not sure if Kirby was playing dumb or really had no idea as to the situation that the town had been facing up till now. "Many of the shepherds have been complaining that some sort of a demon monster, one worse than a natural predator like a wolf, had been gobbling up their entire flock recently." Her eyes gazed down at him with worry. "So did you do it? Did you gobble them up?"

Bun bit down on his lip when he saw that Kirby was remaining silent. "Maybe King Dedede was right. Maybe Kirby really is the demon beast—"

"Answer me, Kirby!" Fumu yelled over her brother. It was quite evident from her actions and outburst that she had not wanted him to finish that line of thought.

"Hey! What was that noise over there?"

With a startled gasp, Fumu put her finger to her lip, hushing the group. "Shhh! Someone's coming!"

"Oh man, what if it's one of Dedede's troops? We gotta hide Kirby!" Bun squawked, darting his eyes around the area to look for anything that he could hide Kirby in. "Quick! Lololo, Lalala! That bag ought to do the trick!" Kirby's vision suddenly went black as he found a burlap sack pulled over his body. Surprised by the sudden move, he wiggled around as Fumu and Bun held him down, only stopping when he heard the sound of the hut door being kicked open.

"What the… it's Fumu and Bun!"

"Just what are you two kids doing in a run-down place like this?"

Kirby kept silent, completely ceasing his struggle when his ears picked up two new voices joining the fray. "Sword and Blade!" he heard Bun utter with a tremble in his voice.

"Do-don't scare us like that!" Fumu stuttered. "We almost thought you were Dedede!"

Kirby had to stifle a laugh at that, making a silent bet that everyone in the town knew about the sibling's dislike for the ruler. He then heard the clanking of metal against the wooden floorboards as their heavy footsteps shuffled forward. Those newcomers are wearing armor, he realized with a jolt, before tilting his head in confusion and asking himself why that happened to be the first thing that came to his mind.

"We're looking for someone who goes by the name of Kirby…" the first of the two said in a serious tone.

The second then continued on, "…by the command of our master."

"Really?" Bun tried to sound innocent. If only he wasn't a terrible liar. Even with the knowledge that the boy was not being truthful since he was indeed in the vicinity, Kirby was able to tell that Bun was fibbing just from his tone alone, without even needing to see his face.

However, Fumu did a much better job than her brother. "Well, we haven't seen a Kirby anywhere." Her tone then turned accusatory, "So how about you two go and look for this Kirby at some other place?"

"But is that really the case?" Kirby perked up when he realized that his earlier conclusion was wrong. There were three newcomers, not two. "No way!" he heard Bun exclaim. "Y-you…" Fumu stumbled on her words. "Why are you here? Did you come on King Dedede's orders?"

Kirby began to feel a sense of dread in the pit of his bottomless stomach when he heard Fumu's quivering voice. Besides the time that she'd screamed when she was tumbling down the canyon, he'd never seen or heard the brash Fumu truly scared before.

There was a heavy silence for just a moment. Then without any warning, Kirby found that his vision was no longer black. Realizing that his eyes were no longer obscured, he took a good look around as the burlap sack was lifted away from his body. The first thing that caught his eye was a person standing no less than three feet in front of him. He was about Kirby's height and had a fluttering navy blue cape that he pulled in front of his body. The thing that drew Kirby in the most about him wasn't his sheathed sword or his imposing mask, but rather his impassive yellow eyes. Those eyes were so entrancing that he had to physically tear his own eyes away from them. He felt as though they could look into his very soul. Focusing on the others behind this fascinating newcomer, the next thing that caught his attention weren't the two armored knights behind the masked knight, but rather Fumu holding her hands over her mouth in terror.

Her reaction was Kirby's first hint for what was about to come.

"So, you are the Star Warrior that the villagers have all been gossiping about, hm?" the masked man muttered in a deep, determined voice. He took a single step forward, the creaking of the floorboards from the movement unnaturally loud. Gazing directly at the pink puff with those sharp pair of yellow eyes, he wasted no time in continuing on with his interrogation.

"Am I right… Kirby?"


The candles around the area flickered as the double-doors slid open, allowing the slightest breeze of wind to enter the enclosed room. "Lord Hyness?" a concerned voice meekly called out. Hearing no reply after a few seconds, she repeated her greeting. "Lord Hyness, sir?"

The white-cloaked mage only gave a response when he heard himself being acknowledged for the second time. With an irritated grunt, he turned around to face the speaker. "What… is… it?" he questioned in a tone that showed that he was displeased at being intruded upon.

The female by the door went down on her knees out of respect. "Pardon my interruption, Lord Hyness. But the three of us have done as you've requested."

"I see." There was no emotion whatsoever in Hyness' voice. But that was to be expected. The Jambastion Cult leader was known for having two distinct personalities — one stoic and serious, and the other completely off the wall. The two polarizing dispositions were truly a fearsome sight to behold.

It was due to him being in the latter mode that caused him to lose control of his emotions when he'd decided to get rid of the threat to his cult personally. Hyness had then used his dark magic to control her and the other mages like puppets in a stage show before he'd lost the battle, which then culminated in a combined sacrifice to the Jamba Heart. The betrayal from their leader had hurt all three of them. It's affected Franny and Berge, yes, but it had especially hit her hard. And despite everything, when all three of them regained their senses, they all found that they couldn't help but feel a primal, insentient need to put things aside with Hyness. Even she had to admit that it was a very weird occurrence, as even she would have thought the hotheaded Flamberge would have quit immediately. And yet, she'd remained. They all did.

And now, here they were… ready to make their comeback on an unsuspecting universe. "So, our status report…" Zan Partizanne held her breath as she glanced up towards the impatient Hyness. "We've managed to confirm it. It's like you've suspected, my liege." Instead of giving back an enthusiastic reply as she'd expected, the hooded mage wordlessly pointed his gaze towards a cluster of planets. As his most trusted subordinate followed his gaze, she was surprised to see where the cult leader was looking at — a bright star-shaped planet, with two rings orbiting around it.

She recognized it. How could she not? "Juh? Planet Popstar?" Zan Partizanne blinked once she concluded what Hyness was driving at. "Japolaga, but that's not a good idea—"

"NO!" Hyness screeched defiantly in a response that would have been highly exaggerated and comical to someone who didn't know him well. As it stood to the electric Jambastion mage, his outburst was already eerily creepy enough. "Our Dark Lord LIVES! HE LIVES!" he yelled out in a vocal range that was a cross between a little boy squealing about his new toy and a grown man who'd just walked out of a bar in a drunken rage.

"I know that, my liege!" she snapped back. Immediately realizing that she was speaking out of place, Zan Partizanne promptly knelt down even lower than her current position, to the point where the hat emblazoned with the Jambastion Logo atop her hair was almost touching the ground. "Japolaga, she quickly apologized, "I beg your pardon for raising my voice, Lord Hyness. But I must emphasize that even Franny and Berge are aware that…" she bit down on her lip before carrying on, "…Void Termina lives on."

Zan Partizanne could almost swear that she could see Hyness' sardonic smile underneath his hood. "So… you… can… sense… it… too? Isn't… that… wonderful…?" he asked. "For even in death, our Dark Lord continues to guide us!"

"Yes, my liege. It is truly a miracle that Void Termina still continues to drive and motivate the Jambastion Cult less than a week after his supposed demise. But now that we've confirmed that he's alive, what are you going to do, Lord Hyness?"

"We must find our dark lord!" he hissed venomously in response. "And on that miserable planet called Popstar… lies the key that will unlock our destiny! The path to our dark lord! The path to our eternal happiness, to a universe filled with sunshine and rainbows for our cult when our god achieves a complete victory over those wretched fools who dared to defy us!"

Zan Partizanne ignored the obvious oxymoron and numerous contradictions of Hyness' schizophrenic rambling. She was used to her superior making no logical sense at times when he went deep into his rants.

Hyness then continued to speak. Whether it was due to Zan Partizanne not being prompted to reply or because he was too absorbed in his own words, she didn't know herself. "Yes, and one little traitor to the Dark Lord will be all that I require in the palm of my hand before total victory is mine…" He raised his robed arms into the air as though he was in prayer, "This time the plan will be foolproof. This new course of action will ensure that Void Termina and I will be reunited once more!" The further Hyness got into his rambling, the more his speech became interspersed with demented chuckles of laughter. "Oh, exalted Dark Lord! Soon you will rise again… but this time with ME, your loyal and faithful servant, by your side!" His voice suddenly went off the rails, turning deranged as he started screaming to the sky in ecstasy. "The fated hour of your dominance dawns near! The time when you will arise from the shadows and save us all shall soon come, great Void Termina! BANZAI! ALL HAIL THE DARK LORD! ALL HAIL!"

The kneeling Zan Partizanne used this opportunity to quietly slink away from the unhinged Hyness. If there was any consolation, it was that he at least seemed to be significantly more sane compared to the time he last summoned Void Termina, which spoke volumes about how nuts he was when the pink puffball had arrived. Yes, that pink puffball. The leader of the ragtag group that had somehow managed to ruin years of the cult's progress, setting their hard work back by decades.

The hero of Dream Land, Kirby.

Zan Partizanne knew exactly what was required of her for the task that Lord Hyness wanted her to carry out, but the only problem that she faced was thinking about how they were going to get the hero of Dream Land out of their way. After facing him in battle twice, she'd come to the conclusion that the famed hero Kirby was not to be underestimated. It was also her priority to come up with a counterattack quickly, since he would find out eventually and that would certainly be no good. After all, he'd already thrashed her and her sisters not just once, but twice. As the icing on the cake, he'd also managed to beat Lord Hyness and even take down the great Void Termina. Even someone like her knew that you had to be suicidal to challenge someone as powerful as him again.

But maybe she was looking at it the wrong way. Maybe she didn't need to have Kirby in her way at all. Yes, if she played her cards right, then Kirby wouldn't be a problem to her at all…

Zan Partizanne smirked as she summoned her weapon and proceeded to zip away as quickly as a bolt of lightning. Since she wanted to maintain a low profile, she didn't take a Jambastion with her. Thus, the journey to Planet Popstar took her about a half hour as she made her way across outer space. She and her three sisters had different ways to transverse across the cosmos. While Franny might have used her snowflake axe as a makeshift spaceship, Berge used her fire cannon as an afterburner to propel herself through space. But of the three of them, Zan Partizanne definitely got the best deal here. The quick-foot mage used her feet to ride on her own electricity, basically zipping across space as a constantly reflecting beam of light, only stopping when the planet of Popstar appeared beneath her feet.

"One little traitor to the Dark Lord will be all that I require in the palm of my hand before total victory is mine…"

As Hyness' orders echoed in her mind, she finally decided to take time to reflect on the opportunity that had brought on the cult's second wind. Honestly, she couldn't believe the details herself. She'd actually first heard the news from Flamberge, but dismissed it as hearsay since she didn't see what the hotheaded mage claimed she'd witnessed during both of her own fights with Kirby. The first time and second time they'd faced off, he had the same three sidekicks by his side. She even knew their names by the time they had a rematch in the Jambandra Base — the grumbling King Dedede, the straight-faced Meta Knight, and the energetic spear-wielding Bandana Waddle Dee. However, Flamberge had protested and insisted that when she and Kirby had faced off for the last time on the desolate Sizzlai Moon, he had come fully equipped with a water-elemental team by his side to counter against the fiery mage. A Driblee, a Broom Hatter (who was only included in the 'water group' because she had equipped herself with a water bucket for some odd reason), and…

She shook her head, glaring down towards Popstar. But it just couldn't be true! There was no way that the third ally that Flamberge kept professing about could possibly even exist! But as it turned out, Berge's claim being true after all was one of the only ways that Void Termina could still be alive. Her gaze hardened at the thought. If it was really true… then everything wouldn't be in vain.

Taking a short pause to gaze upon the yellow star-shaped planet, she then grinned and sent herself zipping down to Dream Land.


Author's Note:

Thanks for all the support! To be honest, I've been rather surprised by the strong encouragement that the first chapter has managed to garner so far. I've even received a few messages saying that they had the same crossover idea themselves. Again, thank you all so much for your kind words!

Will I be adapting every single episode from the anime into this story? Ha, no. I'm sorry to admit, but this isn't one of those fics since I hope to have an even mix of focus on both the anime and the games. As of now I only plan to adapt in certain episodes, and even then their plot won't be taken wholesale. For instance, I can guarantee you that Dedede's jeep did not explode by falling off a cliff in the first episode.

This Kirby has a very slight change in personality from the anime. It's very slight, but I hope that it's still noticeable enough. Dedede's still probably still going to be the same for quite a while though. Hope you all enjoy and look forward for more!

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Dawn of the Demon Beast

"So, you are the Star Warrior that the villagers have all been gossiping about, hm? Am I right… Kirby?"

The question inquired by the masked knight hung in the air, swirling around the heads of the people situated in the old hut like an unpleasant stench. And just like a horrible stench, the ones who had this question posed to them all backed away, unwilling to confront it head-on.

The normally haughty Fumu found herself at a loss for words. Unlike the overly brash and assertive personality that she'd openly showed to King Dedede earlier, Kirby made the mental observation that she was much more reserved and careful with this individual, which set off multiple alarm bells in his mind straight away. Likewise, the normally-talkative Bun had his mouth wide open, but found himself unable to say any words to the masked newcomer. A stuttered "Ummmmmm…" was all the boy managed to spit out.

In contrast to the flustering Bun, Kirby found that he himself was being very still and quiet at this new development. He continued to stare at the masked knight, transfixed by his appearance. All of a sudden he couldn't help but to feel very inadequate in front of the caped crusader. The pink puffball eventually convinced himself that the knight must have put some spell on him, which would account for why he was unable to tear his eyes away from the man's shiny silver mask.

"Sir Meta Knight! We can explain!" Fumu interjected, quickly speaking on Kirby's behalf as she stretched her hands out to shield the puffball in a protective manner. But instead of replying the girl, Meta Knight chose to remain silent, his eyes locked on the pink puffball before eventually glowing an eerie, vibrant green. "Poyo?" Kirby tilted his head as Meta Knight's eyes continually changed colors, going through many different hues like they were a chameleon who couldn't decide what skin to wear.

After what felt like an eternity, Meta Knight finally grunted a response. "Is it finally time?" he cryptically remarked.

Before Fumu or Kirby could even begin to question as to what he meant, Meta Knight whipped his flowing cape around with a flourish and turned his back on them, walking towards the ajar door. Seeing their master ignore Kirby and head back into the open meadow, both Sword and Blade gave each other a sharp nod, promptly leaving the hut to catch up with their master and flank him on both sides.

"Phew!" Bun wiped beads of sweat off his face as the last of the swordsmen left the area. "Man, I was nervous there for a sec! I thought he totally caught us out! Don't ya' agree, sis?" When he got no response, he glanced around at where Fumu had been standing only to realize that his sister hadn't heard his comment — since she'd ditched him and left without saying a word. "Ah, man!" he moaned in displeasure. "Man, sis is always like that. Isn't that right, Kirby?"

It took Bun a few seconds of silence before it hit him that he had gotten no response from Kirby either. Turning to the back, he saw that an empty burlap sack was all that remained. Lololo hovered up to the boy's face, pointing his gloved hand towards the open door to wordlessly tell Bun that Kirby had also flew the coop. "Ah, come on!" Bun whined, flinging his hands in the air when he realized that the impressionable Kirby was taking on his sister's undesirable qualities.

As it turned out, Fumu was running out in the meadow, chasing after the retreating trio with Kirby following shortly behind. "Sir Meta Knight?" she called out to him with an outstretched arm. Hearing her call, Meta Knight stopped his stroll, which led to his two cronies halting their march as well. "Yes? What is it?" he tentatively asked.

"I have just one question for you, Meta Knight!" Fumu put on a tough front, but Kirby made the observation that her eyes were nervously darting around. She apprehensively looked at Meta Knight, who still had his back turned to her. "Right now King Dedede currently isn't too happy at Kirby, so why did you just ignore him and walk away when you're working for Dedede?" she shot at him. "Just what are you planning?"

Meta Knight slowly and deliberately turned around, his cape flowing in the cool night breeze. "It is of none of your concern. Just because I'm under Dedede's employ does not mean that I have to be on his watch 24/7." Even Kirby had to nod his head at that. He'd certainly raised a good point. "But just to reassure you, I did not come here on Dedede's orders. All I wished to do tonight was to confirm a little hypothesis of mine."

"Nuh-uh! I don't believe that for one second with that smarmy Dedede involved!" Both Kirby and Fumu turned around to the source of the voice, with Fumu unsurprised to see her brother Bun running towards them. Letting out a sigh, she then tried a more indirect approach. "Please. Why are you looking for Kirby, Meta Knight?" she asked, gazing at Meta Knight worriedly.

Meta Knight took a step forward, rubbing his feet against the tall blades of grass. "That… is something which I cannot say for now." At that statement, Kirby found himself getting intrigued. Did this guy know something about him? To be fair, regardless of whether he did or not, the mysterious knight has been a walking enigma since he had first made his appearance, raising more questions than answers in a span of a mere two minutes.

Unsurprisingly, the observant Fumu caught on to his open-ended statement as well. "You know something about Kirby, don't you?"

Meta Knight's turned his gaze from Fumu onto Kirby. "Perhaps?" he replied in a zig-zag manner. "Regardless, I assure you that I know enough to tell you that Kirby is not the perpetrator for the missing sheep problem."

"Oh, thank goodness!" Fumu couldn't keep the relief out of her voice before furrowing her brow in confusion. "But just how do you know that, Meta Knight?"

BOOOOOMMM!

Any potential response from Meta Knight was cut off as a resounding explosion rang across the grassy plains. All eyes were drawn towards the bright blossom of red that spontaneously appeared, lighting up the night sky with a daunting glow.

Kirby looked for the source of the huge kaboom that had rocked much of the area, his sharp eyes eventually narrowing down the location when he noticed a funnel of billowing smoke coming from a large structure situated on the top of a hill. Come to think about it, he realized that he didn't actually know what that specific building was. Fumu and Bun hadn't taken him to that part of Dream Land before.

As Kirby contemplated about it, a startled gasp from Fumu snapped him back to reality. "What's going on!?" she asked, turning to her brother. "Well, how am I supposed to know?" Bun replied back in annoyance as he stared at the sight.

Unlike the worried siblings, the swordsmen trio appeared to be completely composed. "Sir Meta Knight…" Blade tentatively took a step forward, his hand reaching for his sword. "Does that look like trouble to you?" he posed the query as his eyes glanced sharply towards his master from underneath his green armor.

"A sudden explosion in Castle Dedede at this hour?" Sword reached to his left to grab the hilt of his sword and draw it in a swift motion, the reflection of the moon glinting off the yellow blade as it left the scabbard. "I betcha that there's a problem brewing, sir."

Those two ominous words from Sword told Kirby all that he needed to know. Castle Dedede. He hadn't even realized that the fatso penguin ruler King Dedede actually had an actual castle as his residence. Now knowledge of that plus an explosion certainly spelled out trouble with a capital T. His face took on a determined look as he jumped into the air and inflated himself to get closer to the place.

"Kirby! Come back!" Fumu yelled as she waved her arms in an attempt to signal him to get back to the ground. But unfortunately for her, it was to no avail as Kirby stubbornly continued to press on. "Oh no…" she nervously twiddled her fingers before her eyes fell on two blue and pink floating orbs. Immediately getting a brainwave, she hurriedly called out to the duo. "Lololo, Lalala! Get Kirby back down here before he goes off and does something reckless!"

"We're on it, Fumu!" They both gave a thumbs-up before taking off and flying upwards. Kirby gave a sideways glance at the two as they rapidly caught up with him, both creatures having been made for constant hovering unlike Kirby's more inefficient use of inhaled air to float. Although he tried to change his course, their superior versatility in the air meant that Kirby didn't gain any speed on them. Rather, it looked like they were gaining on him. His eyes darted back-and-forth as Lololo and Lalala proceeded to close in on him from opposite sides. Just as Kirby was about to give up and let the duo capture him, his brain suddenly flashed back to when they'd both introduced themselves to him.

"We're the servants Lololo…"

"…and Lalala!"

His eyes widened as he looked to his left and right again. Why hadn't he realized it before?

As they both dived forward to try to grab hold of him and force him to descend, Kirby suddenly exhaled and let himself freefall for about three seconds before inhaling another puff of air to stabilize himself. Due to the evasive maneuver completely changing Kirby's flight altitude, Lololo and Lalala's swoop now led to them being on a collision course with each other instead of the puffball. "Ahhhhh!" Lololo and Lalala yelled simultaneously as they tried to turn away. But alas, it was far too late for them to change course. Neither of the two were able to compensate for Kirby's rapid change of position in time, which resulted in the two of them slamming into each other with a painful-looking crash. Dazed and unable to orientate themselves after the impact, the both of them then fell straight down to the ground.

Kirby grinned in victory as he emerged from the scuffle entirely unscathed. Remembering that they had introduced themselves by finishing each other's sentences was the exact point that the puffball figured out the floating duo's reliance on teamwork as their dominant strategy. Discerning their technique meant that he was able to use their own tactic against them. Just as he'd predicted, Lololo and Lalala attempted to work together, trying to use their numbers as an advantage to pin him down. He then suspected that they would tag-team him, making use of their reliance on teamwork-based attacks. Once they did indeed do so, all Kirby needed to do on his end was to trick them both into locking onto each other so that he could knock them out. The plan had worked like a charm, the best part being that it would never have succeeded had the duo attempted to capture him one by one.

As he heard two soft whump that signified that Lololo and Lalala had hit the ground, Kirby stopped his ascent to Castle Dedede for just a second. Even though he couldn't hear their groans of pain, he was certainly able to feel them. As a silent apology, he turned his head back, before gaining height and taking off for Castle Dedede again.

Bun pointed at the escaping Kirby as Fumu ran towards the fallen Lololo and Lalala. "Woah! Did you see that, sis? Kirby managed to fake out Lololo and Lalala! He somehow managed to get them both to crash together in midair!"

Fumu scowled at her brother's enthusiastic tone as she cradled the two dizzy servants. "Yeah, I can see that," she snapped back at him with a roll of her eyes. After all, she'd kept her eye focused on Kirby the entire time.

As Kirby continued to float upwards, Meta Knight and his two cronies watched wordlessly, with the masked knight giving the puffball a very subtle nod of approval.

Having lost his two aerial pursuers, Kirby continued to determinedly hover up the hill that led towards Castle Dedede. As he closed in on the area, he slowly came to the realization that contrary to looking at the place from afar, the castle was not actually small at all up close. When he neared Castle Dedede, Kirby found himself looking at a very large stone castle with multiple watchtowers, culminating in a yellow dome-shaped citadel at the very middle. It had certainly left its mark, with Kirby forced to admit that it was a place fit for a bragging ruler like King Dedede.

As the beige castle walls loomed ahead, Kirby couldn't help but have his attention suddenly drawn by a surprising flash of yellow that definitely stood out from the dark pastel palette of Dedede's castle. Focusing on the bright color, he was taken aback by what he was seeing. On the balcony of one of the castle watchtowers was his Starship! He found himself confused when he saw that his crashed starship was the source of the smoke, and undoubtedly the earlier explosion as well.

But the real question was what it was doing way up here. As Kirby approached closer and caught a glimpse of a greenish-teal shell next to the smoking wreck, he got his answer.

Escargon.

Kirby's face fell. As he'd suspected, Dedede somehow had a hand in this. Rather amusingly, he also realized that they had to lug his starship all the way up to the open balcony, which was at a height of about ten stories off ground level. Frankly, how they managed to carry up a five-ton spacecraft up multiple flights of stairs—he doubted that the place had elevators—and somehow succeed in bringing it to the very top of a watchtower was a mystery for the ages. For all Kirby knew, they could've warped space-time to teleport the starship up.

Still, regardless of how they'd managed to get the thing up there, it was his spaceship they were meddling with. With an irritated expression, Kirby made haste to push himself to reach the top of the watchtower.


"See, this is why Waddle Dees make such good fodder!"

Escargon wheezed from the smoke as he proceeded to heave a sigh of relief from the close shave. He had been incredibly close to being caught in the earlier explosion. If he hadn't delegated the task to a Waddle Dee servant, then it would have been him instead of a Waddle Dee getting flung off the watchtower balcony due to the shock wave from the explosion. That would definitely suck for him if it had been the case. Ah well, Escargon thought as he saw the flying Waddle Dee land in the moat surrounding the castle's outer walls with a splash, no one would miss the random sucker.

He took back that statement less than a mere five seconds later. Unfortunately for Escargon, the loss of the Waddle Dee that he had used as manual slave labor meant that he was now forced to do the task all by himself. "Why do I have to be the one doing all the work around here? Lousy Dedede… the least that the king could do is share the workload so that I don't have to break my back fixing this ship just for his majesty's revenge scheme!"

Escargon continued to grumble to himself as he carried on sifting through the wreckage of what remained of the crashed ship, before suddenly stopping when he noticed something out of place. In the burning spacecraft control panel was a small blue cushion pouch, just like the sort that a person'd keep a wedding ring in. The snail reached for it to save the burning case before it turned to ashes, throwing it to the ground to smother out the flames. Once the flames were put out, he slowly flipped open the casing, before gasping when he found a small yellow star-shaped object embedded within the cavity inside.

"Heh! Looks like some sort of a fancy space jewel to me!" Escargon chuckled with triumph as he took the object out from the cushioned casing. "Well, finders keepers!" he declared triumphantly as he clasped the star stone in his hand and strode off to toss it in with his other hidden jewels. However, just as he was about to leave the vicinity, a mumbled "Poyo!" made him stop dead in his tracks.

"Gah!" he jumped up two feet in the air before turning towards the voice. "Ki-Ki-Kirby!" he yelped as the pink puffball exhaled and landed on the watchtower. "Um, uh, well… this isn't what it looks like?" he mumbled, quickly placing his hands behind his shell to hide the tiny star that he was holding.

Kirby took one look at the smoking wreck that used to be his spaceship and proceeded to shoot Escargon a grumpy expression. "Hey, don't look at me!" he piped back at Kirby's accusatory look. "I was trying to fix ya' spaceship there, sonny!"

"Poyo?" There was a hint of skepticism in his voice this time.

"Honest!" Escargon claimed. "Cross my heart!"

Kirby then smiled, nodding his head in thanks. "Poyo!"

Remarkably, it seemed that he'd managed to smoke Kirby by making his voice sound convincing enough, since he appeared to have bought the excuse. Intrigued by his new surroundings instead, Kirby took one last lingering look at the starship before running out of the balcony and into the castle itself.

"Phew! That sure was close…" Escargon wiped beads of sweat away from his brow with his free hand once Kirby was gone. "Ha! Kirby's really a naive fool! And to think I was actually worried there for a second. I needn't have bothered!" Deciding to play it safe, he placed the star back into its casing and hurriedly made away with his prize. Sabotaging the starship could wait, especially now that Kirby had stumbled onto him tinkering with the spacecraft. Keeping the glittering yellow star in his possession was now Escargon's topmost priority.

"And just where is King Dedede anyway?" he asked as he walked down the stairs to head to his hidden treasury, "Wouldn't want to run into him with such a valuable find."

Escargon didn't know it, but the royal king was not actually very far from him at all. Just a couple of rooms away, Dedede was marching into his throne room with an agitated look on his face.

"Hmph! Dare to throw me off a cliff, you little pink punk? Wait until that good-for-nothing Kirby get a load of this!" He sat down onto his throne chair, reaching under the armrest to push down on a concealed button.

The brightly lit room immediately turned dim as all the lamps puttered out at once. Various whirls and mechanical beeps starting to sound off as a large hidden device was revealed from underneath the floor. A large television screen then swung into view from a hidden panel, booting up to show a well-dressed man with tinted glasses on his face. "Welcome back to Holy Nightmare's specialized demon beast delivery service," he greeted the seated Dedede with a wide grin. "How may I serve you, your royal majesty—"

"You might begin by explaining ta' me why the demon beast that you sent me was worthless!" Dedede didn't waste a second before beginning his rant, making sure to immediately yell at the sales representative who was on the screen before he was even able to finish his introduction. "I don't have the slightest requirement for a demon beast that can gobble up sheeps!" That part was actually a lie. Dedede had wanted to ruin the town's livestock lamb supply so that he could disrupt the market equilibrium for wool and sell off his own personal stockpile at a massive gain to recuperate some of his recent spendings, but he wasn't going to tell that to the man on the screen. Dedede needed to use all the ammo that he currently had with him for this argument, adamantly refusing to give the smarmy salesman any leeway lest he turned everything around.

He continued on even as the salesman tried to raise his hands up as a symbol of surrender. "You told me that this guy was a terrifying beast that would haunt my people's nightmares, but then you send me this thing!" he gestured by putting two of his fingers close to each other just so he could emphasize the octopus' tiny size. "And ta' make matters worse, you made me shell up some big dough for this huge machinery just to bring this absolutely tiny demon beast here! I demand that you compensate me! I want you to refund me all the money that I spent on the delivery system right this minute!"

The flustered salesman leaned forward, his demeanor completely cool in spite of Dedede's rage. After all, it was the job of a sales representative to remain calm under any circumstances. "Whoa there. You better watch your blood pressure, Triple D."

"Since when did you, of all people, ever care about my blood pressure!?" Dedede glared daggers at the green-haired salesman as his blood began to boil, instantly recognizing the usual signs that showed that he was trying to squirm away by diverting the topic.

But even with Dedede in the know about the salesman's regular tactic, nothing was actually keeping the well-dressed customer service representative from doing exactly just that. Ignoring Dedede's yells of anger, he continued to speak, "And as we have told you before, your decision to purchase a Demon Beast delivery system from us is certainly money well spent, your majesty. Definitely a worthy investment once you break down the costs. Two hundred million deden is a small price to pay for a subscription to a service that could instantly bring any demonic monster to your planet as per your personalized request." He rubbed his hands together with a gleeful chuckle, "As a matter of fact, if you continue to patronize Holy Nightmare, you will soon be able to take charge of your very own personal arsenal of demon beasts in your native kingdom of Dream Land!"

"Well, some arsenal this is!" Dedede scoffed at the pretty picture that the man on the screen was portraying to him. It appeared that their definition of 'arsenal' greatly differed. He barreled on, jabbing his thumb inwards to point at himself, "Because in my opinion, you sent me worthless doo-dung! You think that the tiny little octopus you sent me is able to strike fear into people's hearts? That's a lie and you know it! What I really need in my so-called arsenal is something truly terrifying… something that would rock a person to the very core!"

The well-dressed customer service representative gave a small condescending laugh at Dedede's request. "Pardon me, but you already have a demon beast that matches that very description currently in your possession. He shook his head with a small sigh. "Oh, if only your majesty is aware of the true power that Octacon wields within him…" As the man straightened up, his orange-tinted glasses reflected off an ominous glint of light.

Dedede didn't miss the retort, the king immediately giving an unamused snort in response, "The worthless shrimp? Don't make me laugh!" His finger hovered over the 'off' switch for the transmission, the threat of him cutting off the conversation implicit. "Because I'm certainly not laughing!"

"My dear king, might I advise you to never underestimate Holy Nightmare Corporation." The normally fast-talking salesman sinisterly lowered the tempo of his speech, slowing down the words of that specific sentence so much that Dedede almost swore that there was a hidden edge of anger to his voice.

However, the agitated reply was not enough to intimidate the angry king. "Then give me something good!" he retorted back, shaking his fist at the screen. The service rep—personally, Dedede and Escargon called him Customer Service given that that was their impression of his job scope—gave Dedede a reassuring smile, one that almost seemed to retract back all of his previous agitation. "Well, it'll cost you about—"

"Then forget it!" Dedede made a shooing motion at the screen with his hands the moment he realized that there would be mounting costs. "No deal! I'll make do with the shrimpy octopus."

At that, Customer Service gave a snap of his fingers. "Ah, but it won't remain a tiny shrimp for that much longer…"

"What was that?" he asked, staring at Customer Service in confusion. Once it was clear that he wasn't going to get a response, Dedede lost his patience and pushed the button to turn off the entire get-up in annoyance, letting the demon beast delivery machine and TV screen slip back into the castle walls and floor. "Lousy service…" he grumbled as he got to his feet once the lights turned on, which was the signal that showed that the entire contraption had disappeared out of sight. "Now I can't even get a good demon beast to get rid of Kirby. Gah! I need that Holy Nightmare salesman to pay for his disrespect once and for—"

A sudden splash coming from the water tank interrupted Dedede mid-rant. He shot a passing glance at the area only to double-take and yell in horror as he witnessed the appalling sight ahead of him.

"Wh-what in the hell is that thing!?"

Only then did it strike Dedede that Customer Service snapping his finger wasn't meant to be a rude gesture to him at all. Rather, it had been a signal to the demon beast in his room, who was now over four times his original size and beginning to overflow the little tank he was kept in. "Get back into your cozy little tank! You're flooding my throne room!" he yelled as the growing Octacon displaced even more water, making a mess of the bright red carpet that covered the floor.

"Waddle Dees! Waddle Dees!" Dedede yelled for his servants. "I'm not vacuuming that dirty wet carpet! Hurry up and get that octopus out of my personal throne room before it turns into a flippin' swimming pool!" Immediately as he finished his order, six Waddle Dees charged forward. But before they could cart the water tank away, the octopus monster eyes flashed green with fury. It began to enlarge itself, squirming its body out of the top of the tank before extending its tentacles out and swinging them towards the Waddle Dees, flinging them away like they were rag dolls. It knocked aside all the Waddle Dees trying to move it away, the swinging attack unintentionally taking out a support pillar in the process.

Dedede instinctively cringed when he saw his throne room getting wrecked apart as collateral damage. "Does this thing think that my place is its own personal aquarium? It's destroying my castle! Don't just stand there, you useless Waddle Dees! DO SOMETHING!" he yelled in fury at a trembling Waddle Dee who was too frightened to even respond. Upon realizing that the Waddle Dee was too scared to do anything of use, he stomped his foot against the damp carpet in anger. "You worthless cretins! You can't fight worth a darn without your leader!"

The king ran back and dove for his throne chair, grabbing hold of his intercom microphone at the side to page the commander of the Waddle Dees up to the throne room. "Alright, this here is an emergency announcement, so listen up! We've got ourselves some big trouble in the throne room, so I wanna see your singular eye right this minute, Captain Waddle—"

Swoosh!

Dedede didn't get a chance to complete the announcement, a looming shadow sweeping across the area interrupting his train of thought. Glancing up, he gave a startled yelp and jumped to the side, just in time to avoid a large pink tentacle coming down on where he'd just been standing.

Stunned that he himself was being targeted, Dedede dropped the microphone, abruptly cutting off the announcement. His feelings of anger at being attacked and fear of further provoking the beast lay in a delicate balance, before his usual fiery personality took command of his behavior again. With reckless abandon, Dedede fearlessly glared at the rapidly growing octopus. "How dare you defy me, you slimy worm! I am your master, so you better do as I say or else!"

Another attack aimed at Dedede had the wondrous effect of shutting his mouth up as the king was forced to hastily dodge the tentacle by diving to the left in a faceplant. "Gargh!" Dedede clutched his head in pain as he clambered to a sitting position on the floor.

However, the force of the moving tentacle proved to be the last straw for the supporting glass. Unable to take the weight of the demon beast any longer, the glass tank imploded, sending a shower of glass all over the room. "Yow!" Dedede cried, wincing as a large shard nicked him in the cheek. The Waddle Dees weren't spared either, the flying shrapnel hitting many of the room's occupants. Now completely terrified out of their wits, all six of the Waddle Dee servants ditched their posts, fleeing the room with bleeding cuts.

Now unimpeded and without a barrier to stop it from enlarging, Octacon continued to grow in size unopposed, its outer skin turning from a pale pink to a menacing maroon red as it did so.

"S-So that's how ya' managed to gobble up all those sheeps…" the trembling king stuttered. Now humbled by the fact that his demon beast was uncontrollable and that calling more Waddle Dee minions just weren't going to cut it, Dedede quickly moved on to Plan B — running for his life. "Yaaahhhhhh!" he yelled as he got to his feet, flailing his hands wildly about as he proceeded to dash out of the throne room at a speed that was surprisingly fast for someone of his large stature.

As Dedede rounded the corner that led out of the throne room, he banged right into Escargon, knocking the velvet box that the snail had been holding out of his hands as they both fell to the ground. "Ahhhhh!" Escargon shrieked as a large red tentacle poked out of the throne room door and headed towards them. "What the heck is that thing!?" he yelled as he got to his feet and ran in the opposite direction of the approaching appendage, the box containing the star left forgotten in the hallway.

"It's my demon beast, ya' doot!" Dedede yelled back as the penguin quickened his pace, overtaking the snail.

Escargon chanced a glance back towards the dangerously fast-approaching tentacle. "That's the demon beast? Your majesty, when was it ever so big!?"

"That's the point, ya' nincompoop! The octopus isn't supposed to be this big-yaargh!" Dedede yelled in fright as he was almost caught by the tentacle. "Oh, I take back everything I said! I liked it better as a tiny shrimp!" As Dedede whirled around the next corner and hid behind a supporting pillar, he happened to notice Kirby strolling down the same hallway by sheer coincidence. With a devious smirk as an idea hit him, he took out his hammer from under his robe and swung it down hard on the tentacle.

"UURGGHHHHHHH!' Octacon moaned, which managed to catch Kirby's attention. "Poyo?" he cocked his head in confusion as the end of the tentacle curled up, the monster proceeding to give Kirby the octopus equivalent of an anger-filled shaking fist.

"Heheheh!" He whipped his hammer back with a laugh, "Now Octacon's gonna think that Kirby there antagonized him and proceed to finish that pesky pink lump off for good! Yahahahah!" Dedede guffawed as Kirby began to panic and run off in the opposite direction once the puffball realized that the tentacle was anything from friendly.


A loud bellow rang across the night sky, catching the attention of many of the Cappy Town residents.

"Oh man, I don't like the sound of that…" Bun muttered under his breath as he ran towards the castle with the rest of the group.

Just then, a loud rumbling sound caused everyone still awake to look up in the direction of Castle Dedede. "What is that thing!?" Fumu cried out, pointing her finger at the monstrosity that she was witnessing. A giant red tentacle that looked like it came out of absolutely nowhere had wrapped itself around one of the tall watchtowers.

"Looks to me like that's the trouble we were worried about!" Sword Knight responded by pointing his blade at the giant tentacle.

Bun jumped up and down as he pointed rapidly at it. "This thing must be absolutely humongous! It must have been the monster who had eaten the sheep! No wonder nothing but bones were left!"

"Oh no!" Fumu quickened her pace as the monster let out another deep bellow. "Kirby's over there!"

As the group ran across the drawbridge and headed for the front doors of the castle, two others running in the opposite direction caused Fumu and Bun to stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the bridge. "King Dedede!" Fumu yelled, pointing at the running penguin.

The girl's shout caused the king to halt in his tracks, although he was the only one to do so since the scaredy-cat Escargon continued to make his way to safety. The Meta Knight crew, Lololo, and Lalala all also didn't slow down, zooming past the three who'd stopped to enter the front doors. As Dedede gave a cautionary glance back to the ragtag team that just entered his castle, he soon snapped his gaze front so that he could glare at the two who were blocking his way forward. "Well, well, well… if it isn't little Fumu and Bun!" Dedede greeted the children with a sneer. "What's wrong? You two seem rather worried. Are you looking for something?" he asked, the smirk never leaving his face as he spoke.

The expression that Dedede had was all the proof Fumu needed for her accusation. She pointed a quivering finger at Dedede, rage visible in her eyes. "You did something to Kirby, didn't you!?"

"Hahaha! That's right, little girly!" The callous Dedede didn't even attempt to deny his involvement in the matter. "The last I checked, Kirby ran all the way back to my throne room in a feeble attempt ta' escape the giant monster ya' see over there." He pointed at the large red tentacle that could be seen even from outside Castle Dedede, which had begun to tighten its vice-like grip on the castle watchtower that it had entangled around its tentacle. Seeing the destructive force of his demon beast as the appendage caused parts of the tower's outer wall to visibly crack, Dedede proceeded to laugh maliciously as Fumu and Bun gaped on in horror at the destruction. "Hahahaha! Look at all of that power! You're too late! Kirby's done dinner!"

"Grrrr!" Bun growled. "You won't get away with this, Dedede!"

"I already have!" Right as Dedede finished his cocky declaration, a loud rumbling noise could be heard throughout the castle. "Would you look at that…" Dedede remarked as tiny pieces of stone and rubble began to cascade down into the moat under the bridge they were standing on. "The whole place is falling apart! I bet that that giant octopus is having an excellent dinner with Kirby right now. You better hurry if you want to save him! Hehehehehh!"

"Let's go, Bun!" Fumu grabbed her brother by the arm and stormed off, refusing to stand for another second of Dedede's words. The king merely watched as she entered Castle Dedede and ran up a flight of stairs.

She never noticed Dedede's crafty smirk.

As another violent rumble vibrated through Castle Dedede, the shockwaves so strong that they could be felt even from Dedede's position on the drawbridge, the king clenched his fist as he was forced to debate in his mind on whether to run for safety or stay to watch the carnage.

"Your majesty! What are you doing?"

Still deep in thought, Dedede turned around to see Escargon by the foot of the bridge. He slowly walked towards the snail with an expressionless look.

Escargon began to ramble. "There you are, sire! I looked back because you weren't with me, so I backtracked to see if the demon beast got you. But you're perfectly fine, so what gives-wargh!" He yelped as he felt Dedede grab hold of his shell and lift him up. "Hey, lemme go!"

"You ain't chickening out of the finale, Escargon!"

"What're you doing, sire? Let me down!" Escargon yelled when he saw that Dedede was preparing to charge back in. "Are you crazy, your majesty!?"

Dedede hobbled across the drawbridge, ignoring Escargon's shrieks and attempts to get free as the snail desperately struggled against the king's grip. "Hmph! I'm perfectly sane! You and I are gonna watch as I finally get my revenge on that meddling brat for sending me off a hill!"

"You really are crazy, sire!"

"Shut yer' trap, Escargon!" Dedede snapped. "Payback will be mine! You hear me, Kirby!? Ahahahha!"


Author's Note:

Rather amusingly, I should say that I never had any plans to adapt the Octacon fight, but circumstances meant that I just had to write it in. It just sort of… happened.

But to be fair, I honestly wasn't going to adapt the entirety of Kirby Comes to Cappy Town aside from the little snippet that you guys got in the first chapter. However, I ended up loving the few bits and scraps I wrote as a story outline, which then slowly became paragraphs and finally entire chapters which spans this mini story arc. But in case you're anxious, the next chapter should finish off the first episode for good, so stay tuned!

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Newborn Star Warrior

The moon was high in the sky, shining bright rays of white moonlight over the airborne palace.

In the lavish jewel-laden palace, there was a single lone person wandering about the grand hallway that led up to the royal throne. For over the past year, the throne chair had been empty, with no one sitting on it. There was not one person who dared to approach the seat out of an equal mixture of fear and respect. After all, the position had been vacated ever since that incident.

But there were some who swore that on a night where the moon was roundest, one could feel a faint presence of the country's former ruler in the air, flowing along the soft breeze like a lost soul.

Tonight was one of those nights for the person in the palace throne hallway. "Heh…" he let out a somber chuckle, "It looks like summer's giving way to autumn back down in Dream Land. But you know as well as I do that it's always spring up here, the perfect weather for flowers to bloom."

If anyone watching were to witness the sight, they would be wondering why a crazy person was talking to himself. But they wouldn't understand. They would never understand.

He gazed upwards towards the full moon with a sense of longing in his eyes. As if in response, the wind gently blew on his face, causing him to close his eyes in mourning. "Yeah, I know. The last time that Dream Land's seasons were like this was about a year ago… you know, when it all went down…" With a sigh, he placed one of his hands to his forehead. "To be honest, it's still hard for me to believe that an entire year has flown on by since then. Can you believe that it's been one whole year since the whole incident happened?" he asked out loud in an exhausted voice.

He grimaced when he heard his own voice sent back to him in an echo, his question reverbing across the marble-laden walls as if to mock him by throwing the query back to him. Ironically, he himself knew that the question that he had asked out loud was a rhetorical one. After all, there wasn't a single person in the surrounding kingdom who didn't know exactly how long it had been since the whole episode had occurred. He blinked away a single tear shed from his eye as he continued to look at the shimmering moon. "I know that it's unlikely, but I sincerely hope with all my heart that you're finally in a better place now."

Letting out a tired sigh, he threw a rose that he had been holding high up into the air, letting the gentle wind currents carry the flower downwind. As his eyes followed the flower's slow descent, he suddenly noticed a lady dressed in black floating towards the palace. Quite amusingly, she was carrying a burlap sack hoisted over her shoulder, which reminded him of the old days when he'd had his fair share of situations where he'd played kidnapper.

He shook his head to rid his mind of the morbid thoughts. He was probably overthinking the situation. The woman was most likely carrying supplies in the sack, or something along those lines.

"So this is where the trail leads… I must say, you've been an excellent help indeed!" The female let out a small chuckle as she gazed around the area. Tugging on the bag, she continued to monologue. "But still, I should thank you for leading me all the way here. I assure you that we Jambastions appreciate your help, regardless of whether you like it or not. Bahahaha! Think of it as one last favor to the Dark Lord…"

He raised his eyebrows at her words. From his perspective, it was almost as though she was talking to herself. Aside from her, there appeared to be no one else except for him in the vicinity. He knew this for a fact — he'd given all of the guards the night off to give himself some personal privacy.

His curiosity now piqued, the small being found himself hovering forward to get closer to her. "Hey, miss!" he called out as he got close, raising one of his many arms to catch her attention. "What are you doing all alone here on a beautiful night such as this?"


"Calm down, sis!" Bun yelled as his sister led him by the arm up a circular flight of stairs.

"Oh, I'm being perfectly calm!" Fumu replied in a voice that was most definitely the opposite of calm. "We are running straight into a crumbling castle with a giant monster somewhere within that Dedede summoned from who knows where. I'm the very definition of 'calm' right now, Bun!" It didn't take a genius for one to realize that sarcasm laced every last one of her words. The massive eye roll that Fumu had as she infuriatingly spat those words out was just the icing on the cake.

As she ran up the final steps to one of the topmost floors of the castle, Fumu tried to recall where the throne room was by memory, only to give up and pick a random direction. As she ran along her selected route with Bun, she suddenly gasped in shock when she saw her parents racing across the hallway towards her direction. "Mom and Dad!" she cried out once she recovered from the surprise, "What are you two still doing here? Dedede just let loose a giant monster! You have to evacuate from this place!"

"We already know that the king did something, Fumu!" Parm replied her in what one would call a rather exasperated tone.

Memu leaned down to Fumu to explain things to her rebellious daughter. "We were running all over the place to look for you and Bun. It was hardly an easy task with all the shaking!"

"That's right, dear." Parm held a finger up as he talked, almost as though he was lecturing his daughter. "We were super worried when we heard the king making an emergency announcement over the intercom."

"King Dedede actually made an emergency announcement?" Bun repeated, shaking his head in disbelief. "Oh man, this definitely spells trouble…"

"That's right, Bun." Parm continued, "Once we heard the news blaring across the PA system, we went about scouring the entire castle looking for you two."

Fumu sighed, putting her palm to her forehead at the sheer irony of the whole situation. "Oh, Dad…" she shook her head as another rumble rattled across the castle, "Bun and I were safely outside Castle Dedede all along."

"Really?" Parm pursed his lips, tugging on his orange bowtie as the minister realized that he had to deal with his daughter's stubborn antics again. Seeing her husband at a loss for words, Memu then took over from Parm. "I don't understand, Fumu. If you were both safe, then why did you choose to willingly run back into danger? That's really reckless of you! I'd expect that sort of behavior coming from Bun—", an indignant 'hey' coming from the boy, "—but not from you. You're more mature than that…"

"Your mother's right, Fumu. Why did you run back here headfirst anyway?"

The girl sharply glanced up to her parents. "Well, that's because Kirby needs our help!" she said with a firm conviction in her voice.

"Kirby? You don't happen to mean the little pink Star Warrior who crashed his ship into Cappy Town?" Parm tilted his head, clearly confused by Fumu's answer. "You know, when Kabu predicted that Kirby was the Star Warrior who would save Dream Land, I personally thought that Kabu was talking about a much more powerful guy. The king easily dispatched this so-called Star Warrior away with just one swing of his hammer." He shook his head, twirling his mustache in thought. "You see, that's what I don't get. If Kirby's gone now, why would he be in need of your help?"

"He's not gone!" Bun insisted. "Me and sis helped him out of the valley that Dedede knocked him into!"

"Really?" Their mother raised an eyebrow, clearly skeptical. "King Dedede sent him tumbling down a valley! Nobody could survive a fall from that height, dear!"

Fumu averted her eyes slightly, deciding to omit mentioning about her brush with possible death. She shot a glare at Bun when she saw the boy opening his mouth, about to spill the beans to their parents. As her brother meekly closed his jaw, she quickly took over the conversation before he could get a word in. "Yeah, we saved Kirby. Everyone in Cappy Town knows that he survived. Mayor Len even held a celebratory feast with some of the villagers earlier tonight."

Bun pumped his fist in the air. "Oh yeah! How could I forget the feast!? The mayor held the celebration in the first place because Kirby had the guts to go up against King Dedede!"

"Bun, that was not the reason they were celebrating." Fumu folded her arms, shooting her brother a warning glare. "We had it to celebrate Kirby's arrival to Cappy Town!"

"Nah, you're wrong! It was totally because Kirby completely owned Dedede!" The excited Bun started to raise his voice, with each subsequent word becoming louder and louder. "Man, you should've been there. The way that Kirby did it was SO COOL!" Despite his sister facepalming, Bun went on to describe the antics that led to Dedede's grudge against the puffball. "When Dedede tried to run Kirby over with his jeep, Kirby somehow managed to fool him into driving his vehicle off a cliff! Man, the look on both Dedede's and Escargon's faces when they crawled out of the burning wreck was unbelievably epic! Aw man, I wish I'd brought along a camera to capture the scene! It would have been priceless!"

"Ahem!" Fumu interrupted Bun's squealing with a cough before the topic could be derailed any further. "Anyway, the long story short is that King Dedede hates Kirby. That's the real reason why this giant monster is here right now! I confronted King Dedede and he confirmed that he sent it after Kirby, who's currently in the castle!"

"Really? I mean, touching story and all," her father admitted. "But right now, we've got to get our priorities straight! We need to get out of the castle before—"

"No, Dad!" Fumu vehemently shook her head, strands of her hair flying around as she did so. "I came back here to save Kirby from Dedede, and I'm not leaving until he's safe!"

"Fumu, wait!" Parm yelled as Fumu dashed headfirst into danger, with her reckless brother following shortly behind. With a sigh, he beckoned his wife to run after his daughter. "We never could control her whenever it came to Dedede, eh dear?" he panted.

"I'm afraid not," Memu replied as she walked briskly after Fumu and Bun. "She doesn't take after either of us when it comes to keeping our personal feelings about the king out of the way."

"Minister Parm!"

"Lady Memu!"

Two worried cries came from the air, with Parm smiling as he recognized the owners of the voices. "Lololo, Lalala!" he exclaimed in relief. "Oh, thank goodness you're both here as well!"

"Is there anything that we can do to help?" they asked in unison.

He stopped his sprint to address both Lololo and Lalala. "Please, I beg you two. Help protect our children and get them to safety if the threat gets out of hand!"

As Bun overheard his parents' plea to the blue and pink duo, he covered his mouth and let out an ineloquent chuckle. "Hah! Looks like Dad's doing the exact same thing to us that you did to Kirby," he teased his sister with a whisper.

"Oh, be quiet!" Fumu hissed back from around the corner as she folded her arms to show her annoyance. "This isn't the time to be making fun of stuff like this," she admonished her brother, "We need to focus! I think that King Dedede's not fooling around this time!"

"Whoa." Bun couldn't help but gape. He couldn't remember the last time that he'd heard his sister say anything remotely positive about Dedede.

"I mean, we all know that everyone in Cappy Town hates King Dedede." Fumu proceeded to hold up her hand, putting up her fingers one by one to make her point, "He taxes the citizens unfairly, passes unjust laws, and always causes a ruckus by being a general nuisance around everybody. All of that behavior is completely normal for someone like Dedede." She let out a sigh upon realizing that all of those traits that she'd listed were considered 'normal' for the plump king. "But destroying his own castle with a monster that looked like it came straight out of a fantasy novel is a whole new level for Dedede. To be frank, I honestly didn't think that he would despise Kirby to this extent!"

"Me neither, sis." Bun could only nod in agreement. "Me neither."

"I'm really worried for Kirby." She quickened her pace, "We have to find him before it's too late!"

Luckily for them, their destination was nearby. "I see it! Dedede's throne room!" Bun pointed at the ajar door of the room. Without concern for their own safety, the two siblings turned the corner that led into the throne room.

It was not a pretty sight. The octopus demon beast was so huge that the top of its head had went straight through the roof, and its squirming tentacles completely filled what used to be the throne room.

"Man, this thing's even nastier from up close!" Bun exclaimed. Fumu ignored his obvious comment, her eyes roaming around the rubble-filled room until they found what she was looking for.

"Kirby!"


WHAM!

The tiling underneath the carpet cracked into a splintered mess as a gigantic tentacle crashed down on it with humongous force. The target that it was aiming at however, was not between the floor and the appendage, having gracefully dodged the move one second earlier. Despite taking a moment to catch his breath, the puffball instantly became on edge as he saw the giant octopus take aim at him again.

He nimbly dodged the octopus' next attack as it tried to crush him yet again. Now Kirby felt himself beginning to get rather annoyed. From what he'd observed, the monster's main attack was to slam a tentacle down to try to pin him to the floor. But the move was relatively slow and thus easy to telegraph, and hence Kirby found the attack relatively simple to avoid.

Truth be told, he didn't even know how things had escalated to this point. The last thing he saw before everything became a blur was Dedede slamming his hammer down on a giant red tentacle, which then proceeded to chase him through the castle corridors like a rat racing through a maze before the game of cat-and-mouse had led him straight to the heart — the monster itself.

Man, was that thing ugly. Almost like the large octopus was able to read his thoughts, another tentacle came slamming down on the spot where he was standing. Kirby dived to the left, landing flat on his face like a pancake before puffing back to his round self.

It was then that Kirby decided that not only was the monster ugly, but it was also rude and had a fiery temper to boot as well.

As the giant octopus got increasingly agitated at being unable to hit the puffball, Kirby couldn't resist the temptation to make fun of it. "Haiiiii~" he taunted, waving his stubby little hand at the demon beast in a manner that basically screamed, "I'm over here! Catch me if you can!"

The demon beast certainly understood Kirby's intent behind the mocking greeting. Its green eyes narrowed even further until they were no more than mere silts. Sensing the octopus's mood turning sour, Kirby was immediately on the balls of his feet, ready to move at a moment's notice. But to his surprise, instead of flinging down the tentacles like it'd always done up to this point, it whipped its tentacles upwards instead, revealing multiple pore-like holes on their underside. Small miniature versions of the octopus monster then proceeded to pop out of those pores.

Kirby grimaced, cowering back as he found himself cornered against the wall by a literal army of mini-Octos. To be fair, he had been somewhat asking for it with the taunt that he did earlier…

Just as he was about to prepare a strategy to get himself out of the pickle he was in, a worried voice permeated the air.

"Kirby!"

He turned his head at the voice, focusing on the front doors of the throne room, only to see Fumu. The girl was frantically waving her hands in a bid to get his attention. "Oh, thank goodness you're safe!" she said in a relieved tone as they made eye contact.

After giving a small smile back to show that he was fine, Kirby's eyes widened as he realized that the giant octopus had her eye on her. With a spring in his step, he hurriedly ran towards Fumu. "Huh?" She cocked her head, wondering what the urgency was about. Unlike Kirby, her reflexes and instincts weren't fast enough to comprehend what Kirby foresaw the instant she appeared at the front door — that she was now the demon beast's new target.

Kirby looked on in horror as the demon beast swung one of his tentacles full-force at the door, aiming directly at where Fumu and Bun were standing. "Ahhhhhh!" The two siblings froze up, unable to bring themselves to flee. They were only able to witness the impending attack as they helplessly shielded their faces with their arms.

With strength coming from a second wind Kirby didn't even know he had, he used all of his reserve energy that he'd gotten from the dinner at Mayor Len's house to sprint forward and jump up, taking the brunt of the attack as it hit him full force.

"Poy-arghhh!"

The tentacle smacked right into Kirby, causing him to slam right into the right wall. Kirby groaned in pain as he slumped to the floor. The impact disoriented him gravely, causing his vision to blur as his eyelids grew heavy. As he struggled to regain control of his visual senses, the demon beast used the opportunity to raise the tentacle high in the air, preparing to send it down at Kirby in a single devastating blow.

"No! Kirby!" Fumu yelled. Just as she was about to run towards him, a loud hearty bellow made her freeze right in her tracks.

"Heh heh heh heh heh! This is great! Now Kirby's gonna get exactly what he deserves! Finish him off, Octacon!"

Clenching her fists, she and Bun instantly whirled on the king standing by the doorway, shouting his name as they did so. "King Dedede!"

"Heh heh!" he gave a polite bow at the two siblings. "It worked like a charm! I figured that Kirby would be awfully protective of the both of you, and what do you know? I was completely right! All I had to do was lead you straight to the lion's den and that idiot Kirby took the hit just for you!"

"You dirty scoundrel!" Bun raised his fist, ready to hit Dedede only for the king to grab his arm as the boy was throwing the punch. As he lifted Bun up with with one hand, he used the other to grab Fumu. "Nooo!" Fumu yelled, struggling and kicking against Dedede's grip as she was lifted off the ground.

"Wow, sire!" Escargon slithered up to Dedede's side, praising the king. "That's so diabolical! You're soooo evil!"

"I know, right!" Dedede chuckled, "I saw this done in a movie once! And to think it actually worked! I can't believe it myself! Hahahahah!"

Two whooshes could be heard above the king as he was laughing. "Dedede, you cheating scum!" Lololo cried out in anger, with Lalala adding on, "Let Fumu and Bun go!"

Minister Parm hobbled forward as well, his face pale. "Were you really using my children as bait? Tell me I heard that wrong, your majesty!"

Lady Memu, however, was much more firm and direct on opinions regarding the matter. "You put my children down right this minute!"

"Will ya' all be quiet!?" Dedede lashed out at the group gathered behind him by the door. "I'm not going to hurt either of them! Of course, I can't say the same for Kirby! I'm just going to make them watch the curtains fall on that Star Warrior once and for all!" As Octacon raised his tentacle towards the ceiling, Dedede cried out in triumph. "This is the end, Kirby! Say goodnight!"

"Noooooooo!" Fumu shouted. "Kirby!"

Just as Kirby clenched his eyes shut and prepared for the worst, a shrill high-pitched cry broke the tension.

"Waddle Dees, charge!"

A platoon of Waddle Dees armed with spears ran past Dedede and charged into the room, surrounding the octopus in a circular formation on all sides. The surprise attack by multiple Waddle Dees running past him spun Dedede around like a top, causing him to drop both siblings to the floor, although Lololo caught Bun and Lalala caught Fumu before they could actually hit the ground. As Dedede tried to regain his bearings, an orange Waddle Doo then marched into the room, whipping out a small double-edged sword as he proceeded to give his men a command. "Alright, Waddle Dees! On the count of three, we launch a brute-force attack! Three, two, on—"

"Captain Waddle Doo!" Dedede yelled in shock, interrupting the captain's countdown. "What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm doing exactly as you'd ordered me to do, your majesty!" Waddle Doo tried to explain. "Didn't you use the intercom system to call me to the throne room before your announcement was cut? Thinking that you were in trouble, I rushed up here with my men!"

"Gah!" Dedede barked in anger, causing Waddle Doo to flinch backwards, his platoon of Waddle Dees following suit. "You utter and complete imbeciles!" he yelled at the whole group before whirling on their leader. "Especially you, Waddle Doo! What you've done is basically insubordination and treason!"

"But your excellency!" Waddle Doo's voice turned pleading after hearing Dedede's accusation. "I thought that you were saying on the intercom that you wanted me to come up here to the throne room to help you!"

"When I made that announcement, I was talking about when I had trouble earlier! Not right now!" He glanced sharply at Fumu, pointing his finger at the girl as Waddle Doo's eye followed suit, "Now look at what you've done! I've set it up perfectly so that Kirby would have to save her and then as a double-whammy, Octacon would clobbah' that there Kirby! But no, you just had to attack my demon beast! You've done gone and ruined everything, Waddle Doo!"

Waddle Doo looked down apologetically. "I'm sorry, sire! I didn't know that the situation has changed!"

Unfortunately, the angry Dedede was not receptive to his apology. "You be quiet! Help me fix this mess!"

"But sire…" Waddle Doo tried to get a word in, but to no avail as Dedede yelled at him again. "No buts, Waddle Doo!"

"But—"

"Are you trying to push your luck?"

"But your majesty!" Waddle Doo raised his voice as an agitated Dedede finally gave up, allowing the captain to speak. "I have one question on my mind that I really want to ask! Just who exactly is this Kirby who you keep on talking about?"

"Kirby is that pink thing that's right over thereeeee…" Dedede trailed off as he turned to his back, feeling his jaw hanging slack. His hand soon followed when he finally comprehended what he was seeing. Where Kirby had been a few seconds ago, there now only lay a pile of rubble. The puffball had taken the opportunity to get away as he was arguing with Waddle Doo.

"Now look at what you've done! Kirby done flew the coop because you just had to distract me!" he shouted, reaching for his hammer and proceeding to knock Waddle Doo aside like a golf ball. "You and your troops have interfered enough for today! Get outta my sight! Scram!"

"It isn't my fault that he escaped, you know? At least you have two eyes, so your field of vision is better than mine, your majesty…" Rubbing his head and simultaneously thanking his lucky stars that the king hadn't hit him right in the eye this time around, Waddle Doo got to his feet and dusted himself off. Accepting that this was one of those days where Dedede was in a bad mood and hence there would be no reasoning with him, Waddle Doo beckoned his men to follow him out. "You know," it occurred to him as he marched out of Dedede's throne room, "I still don't know how this Kirby looks like…"

Ironically, if Waddle Doo had left the room just a tad bit quicker, there was a chance that the one-eye captain would have managed to catch a glimpse of the puffball. Kirby had snuck out of the room as stealthily as he could, tiptoeing round the crowd gathered around the door watching Dedede yell at Waddle Doo so that he could run out into the corridor without even the floating Lololo and Lalala noticing him making his getaway. Knowing that the monster was after him and him alone, Kirby made the choice to split away from the group to allow the others to escape safely.

But his escape didn't go unnoticed for long. As the Waddle Dees disappeared, Fumu realized that Dedede was right: Kirby had indeed disappeared. Even the demon beast realized that Kirby had fled. Now without its pink puffball to target, the octopus' eyes hovered down towards the few huddling by the door.

"Eep!" The two floating balls meeped, the remainder of the family sympathizing since they were feeling the exact same way. Just as the demon beast was about to attack, he howled as he felt glancing blows cut across his appendage.

"Sword and Blade!" Fumu glanced to her left and right as the two armored knights landed from their Spin Slash attack.

"We'll hold them off for as long as we can!" Blade grunted as he swung his sword in a wide arc, getting rid of many mini-Octos in the process.

"You guys go make sure that Kirby's safe!" Sword added.

"But what about you two?" Bun tried to get the two to follow along as well. "We can't just leave you here!"

"It's Sir Meta Knight's orders! He says he saw Kirby headed for the roof! Go!" Blade beckoned with his free hand.

They didn't need any more prompting. The group of six ran out into the corridor. As Fumu ran, her foot stepped on a small object in the hallway. It slid across the floor from the force, causing her to lose her footing. "Woah!" she yelled, flailing her arms as she slipped, falling backwards and landed on her bottom, the blue object that she stepped on clattering towards the middle of the hallway.

"Fumu!" Memu cried out, running towards her daughter.

"Are you okay?" Parm gazed worriedly.

"Need us to help you?" Lalala offered.

"I'm fine, don't worry!" she reassured. "How rude! What sort of person leaves such a dangerous thing like this on the floor!"

"Hey, Fumu!" Lololo pointed at the floor, "I think you broke it when you stepped on it!"

"Yeah!" Lalala agreed with a firm nod. "It looks like it's been split in half!"

"No, wait!" Bun cried, pointing at it. "It's a box! It's meant to flip open!" As he picked it up, a small yellow star clattered out of the opening, bouncing along the stone floor until it came to a rest next to Fumu's hands.

"What's this star doing over here?" Fumu asked as she reached forward to pick the object off the ground. As she got to her feet, she continued to flip the yellow star over in her hand. Amazingly, as she gripped onto the star, Fumu could feel pure energy flowing through her body. It was a rejuvenating feeling after everything that had happened the past couple of minutes.

"Hey you! Gimme that thing!"

Fumu spun on her heel as she heard Escargon's nasally voice. "This yellow star?" she questioned, holding it by the fingertips. "Why do you want it, Escargon? Is this yours?"

"Psshhh!" the snail snorted, immediately dismissing her statement. "As if! I stole this thing from Kirby, so now it's rightfully mine!"

"You what!?" She was stunned that Escargon admitting that he'd committed petty crime without even a tinge of remorse. "Have you no shame, Escargon?"

"Ha! Shame? What's that?" As he finished, Escargon immediately tried to pounce on Fumu. As Fumu dodged to the side, the snail yelped as he realized that behind where she'd been standing was a flight of stairs. "Yarrgghhh!" he yelled as he tripped and proceeded to roll down the entire flight of stairs.

"That's gotta hurt," was Bun's only comment as the group heard Escargon yelping and wincing as he bounced down the stairwell.

"Lololo! Lalala!" Fumu yelled to the two as she ran up a narrow flight of stairs towards the top of a watchtower. "Get our parents to safety!"

"Alrighty, Fumu!" Lalala gave her the affirmative. "We'll do just that!"

Parm shook his head as his daughter ran off. "Ehhhhhh… so whatever happened to you two protecting her?"

Lololo and Lalala simply gave a cheeky laugh in response. "Oh, Minister Parm," Lololo said after he finally calmed himself down, "You of all people should know that Fumu's always been like that!"

As Fumu reached the balcony of the highest part of the tower, she could see that the demon beast has now grown so big that its entire body had crashed through the dome of the castle. She was also able to notice Kirby at one of Castle Dedede's other watchtowers trying to battle away the swarm of miniature octopuses that the demon beast kept conjuring up in infinite supply.

"There you are, Fumu."

The girl jumped three feet in the air when Meta Knight inexplicably appeared by her side, emerging from absolutely nowhere. "Where did you come from!?" She hadn't seen the knight at all when she first reached the area.

"Never mind that," he waved nonchalantly before his eyes were drawn towards the object in her palm. "Is it me…" he asked as his eyes glowed green, "…or is that thing in your hand glowing?"

"Huh?" Before she could even formulate a reply, the tiny yellow star suddenly shined brightly, illuminating up the dark night sky with light as though it was a real star.

Meanwhile, Kirby was still rapidly trying to avoid the miniature octopuses that had been sent his way. After he knocked away the first group with a series of mid-air kicks, a new wave immediately replaced their fallen brethren. Kirby breathed heavily. There was no end to it.

Beginning to lose its patience, the gigantic octopus then took things up to eleven, spreading out its tentacles and proceeding to shoot an uncountable number of tiny octopuses out of the holes in his tentacles. They were shot upwards at such a rapid speed that they literally flamed up as they traveled through the air, turning into flares that spread out in numerous arcs around the castle in an impressive fireworks display before the fireballs curved back down and homed in towards its target.

Kirby darted his eyes around as he saw the multitude of fireballs that was headed in his direction. He couldn't help but wince when he saw one of the first fireballs slam down onto the spot where his spacecraft was, instantly obliterating the metal starship from the sheer impact. He maintained his stance, well aware that a single misstep here would mean certain doom for him.

Although he knew that his flexible skin was able to absorb some physical blows, Kirby wasn't about to find out if fire resistance was part of that package by risking a couple of third-degree burns. He closed his eyes as he mentally prepared himself for some massive evasive maneuvers. If this didn't work… then there was a good probability that he'd end up a burnt puffball. Sure, it sounded delicious unless you were the one getting baked.

"Kirby!"

He opened his eyes from the cry, turning to his right. Leaning on the parapet of the next tower was Fumu. She was holding up a small, glowing yellow star in her hand. Noticing the light, an exhausted Kirby suddenly perked up, feeling new strength coursing through his veins.

What is this? Kirby's thoughts went wild as this new feeling flowed through him. This power that is flowing through me just by looking at that star… it's exhilarating! I feel completely invincible! Haha!

With a look of determination in his eyes, he did the only course of action clear to him. As the shining light gave him courage, instead of dodging the flaming projectiles like what he'd been doing up until now, Kirby opened his mouth and attempted to inhale them.

Amazingly, the suction force to his inhale had more power to it this time. He felt almost thirty flaming octopi that had been headed towards him getting sucked right into his mouth. Finally, Kirby clenched his eyes shut as he swallowed the fireballs he inhaled. Almost instantaneously he could feel a large warmth coming from within his stomach, before the feeling of heat swirled throughout his body. Feeling rejuvenated as the swirl of hot energy began to gather around his head, Kirby then instinctively jumped into the air, spinning rapidly as he did so.

"That is Kirby's special ability!" Meta Knight gazed upwards at the rising puffball. "By inhaling the power of his enemies, he has managed to copy his opponent's ability and use it for himself!"

Fumu gave a blank stare at the knight. "And just how do you know about that, Meta Knight?"

Meta Knight gave her a mere shrug in return. "It just comes to my head." He then signaled for the girl to watch Kirby carefully. "I think you may want to look closely at him…" As Fumu looked at Kirby, she saw a gold-plated headband adjourned with an emerald green gem materializing and then firmly snapping itself onto the front of the puffball's head.

"Kirby has copied the power of the fireballs that had been fired at him! Now he is…" Meta Knight paused for dramatic effect, finishing off by pointing the tip of his sword in a direction at the hot-red puffball just as the area above Kirby's entire head suddenly went ablaze, "…Fire Kirby!"

"Ahhhh!" Fumu held her hand up to shield herself from the searing heat that suddenly flared up, warming up the cool night weather. "Kirby just went up in flames!"

"There is no need to fret, Fumu. I assure you, Kirby is not burning up." Ignoring the indignant look of disbelief that Fumu shot him, Meta Knight continued to explain, "Rather, Kirby is controlling the blaze on his head, and using it to fuel his power," he said simply as the newly powered up Kirby shot the monster a vicious grin. "Yes, Kirby is burning up like an inferno, and using the flames as fuel for his Fire Ability."

Bun nodded his head in approval as he ran up to the duo by the parapet. "That's a good one, Meta Knight! Inferno Kirby sounds much cooler than a boring name like Fire Kirby!" he jeered.

Although one couldn't see it from behind the mask, it was blatantly obvious to those around that Meta Knight was raising his eyebrow skeptically at Bun. "Inferno Kirby? Hmph," he snorted, "that title does not have as much of a concise feeling to it. To me, Fire Kirby feels like it explains his special ability much better. I rest my case," Meta Knight justified in a hasty bid to maintain his stand.

Fumu huffed and folded her arms. "Well, in my humble opinion, Fire Kirby sounds less like Kirby's ability to control the flames and more like firing Kirby from a job… or worse, it makes it seem as though Kirby had literally caught on fire!"

"If it comforts you, I would like to point out that right now, Kirby is indeed on fire," Meta Knight pointed out with a swing of his sword as the newly revitalized Kirby proceeded to dash forward and turn himself into a fireball, eliminating three nearby mini-Octos. "Literally and figuratively, so to speak."

Before Fumu could retort back, the star flew out of her hand, sending itself on a precise course in the direction Kirby was in. Her hands flew to her mouth in disbelief when she saw it enlarge, turning into a mini-replica of the spaceship that the Star Warrior was in when he had crash landed in Dream Land.

Seeing the star headed towards him, Fire Kirby decided to take a gamble and jumped for it in order to avoid more projectiles that were headed his way. As he landed onto the star, the delighted Kirby found that was able to control it with his feet. The puffball wasted no time with his discovery, immediately directing his new mode of transport straight at the demon beast. When he drew close, Kirby breathed in deeply before letting a blazing flamethrower out of his mouth. The heat expelled was so searing that those who were nearby had to shield their bodies with their hands due to excess heat being radiated towards them.

But that was for people who weren't supposed to be Kirby's targets and thus weren't in the line of fire. His actual targets were quite literally eliminated from existence, the massive wave of flames vaporizing all of the mini-Octos in the way. Even though Octacon lost the barrage of miniature minions that acted as its cover, the furious wall of fire showed no signs of stopping and proceeded to hit the demon beast dead-on, the giant octopus thrashing about as it attempted to shield itself from the brunt of the fire using four of its tentacles.

Sensing that its life was in peril, it used its remaining four tentacles to furiously secure itself around the castle tower. Once it had wrapped around the stone tower, it then strategically moved itself behind it to use the outer wall itself to block the attack. The demon beast then attempted to bear the brunt of the flames, waiting for his chance to counterattack when the pink puffball eventually tired himself out.

But Kirby wasn't going to give it that chance. With a smirk, he moved the star that he was riding on nearer to the tower until he was basically spewing out the flames at point-blank range. At that close proximity, the heat that Fire Kirby was emitting ended up being so unbelievably hot that even the castle tower itself began to glow an ember red. With the heat dissipating into his tentacles via conduction as the stone tower began to reach scorching temperatures, the demon beast found that its flesh was being torn apart as it gripped the now-fiery tower. With a screech of agony, Octacon was forced to let go. The demon beast was torn off the tower, flying high into the sky as the hot gases carried it upwards.

Now without the stone structure to protect it from the blistering heat, the demon beast screamed as the flames penetrated the skin of its body. Being a cold-blooded organism made for cooler temperatures, its body was unable to take the stress of the heatwave that it was being subjected to. The red-hot octopus continued to scream, uselessly flailing its tentacles about in the air as its cells began to denature. As it continued to soar up with the flames until it was a mere speck in the sky, the demon beast finally exploded into its basic components—large chunks of organic seafood matter—with a massive blast and one last agonizing screech.

"Yeah! All right! Kirby did it!" Fumu and Bun cheered at the sight, jumping for joy on the parapet as Dedede howled in anger. The king had literally just come up to the balcony with Escargon about thirty seconds ago, only to witness his demon beast getting absolutely destroyed by Fire Kirby. "Noooooo! My Octacon!" he wept, clutching Escargon by the shoulders and shaking the snail senseless as chunks of flaming fried octopus flew all over the region of Dream Land.

"Ahhhh! Don't grab me again! Put me down, your majesty!" Escargon yelled out loud, the volume shocking Dedede enough to do exactly as he asked — drop him to the ground… headfirst. After Escargon recovered from his dizzy spell from hitting the stone floor headfirst, he muttered a sarcastic retort as he clutched his forehead in agony. "Well, it looks like there goes your refund, sire!" Taking a good look around at the flaming devastation, he added on to his statement, "And I think the repair work for the castle's going to be a huge pain for the budget too!"

"Yeah! Too bad, Dedede! Looks like you lose this round again!" Bun yelled at the distraught ruler, unable to resist rubbing salt in the king's wound. "Chef Kawasaki hit the jackpot this time! He won't have to buy raw materials for fried squid for at least a year!" he taunted, sticking his tongue out.

"You punk kid!" Dedede flung Escargon aside as he whirled on the boy. Although Bun flinched back as the large-sized king towered over him, a anger-filled cry from Fire Kirby caused him to think twice about pursuing the boy. "Oi, Kirby! This isn't over, you hear me?!" With a swing of his fist, Dedede angrily walked out of the tower parapet and back into main hallway of his ruined castle, cursing his misfortune all the way.

Watching Dedede's furious anger at suffering a crushing loss to Kirby for a second time, Fumu held her palms together with a smile. "It looks like you really are a Star Warrior, Kirby…" she mused as she looked up to the night sky and saw the confident Fire Kirby surfing about on the large yellow star.

Even though Kirby was far away from Fumu, the puffball was able to read her lips and deduced that she was praising him. Thus, he shot her a gentle smile as he flew past the top of the castle tower that she and Bun were at. As he gently guided the star onto the ground, the star shrinking back to pocket size once he landed, he decided that perhaps there was a blessing to his spacecraft being destroyed beyond repair.

After all, he was definitely going to enjoy his new life in Cappy Town.


"Well, it would appear that the little pink puffball managed to defeat the Octarian Demon Beast, Octacon." Customer Service peered closer into his intergalactic telescope, twisting the zoom lens so as to get a clearer view of Castle Dedede. "I'm afraid that there might be some merit in saying that the legend that has been foretold all those years ago might be coming true."

"Oh, really?"

Customer Service didn't dare to peer back as his boss began to speak, "Perhaps… but it is too much of a coincidence that someone would rise up to try to make a feeble attempt to stop me at this time." Customer Service then saw a bright purple flash coming from behind, the afterglow still present even when his superior began to laugh violently. "Yes, it's too much of a coincidence. Focus more on the planet that he's on at the moment," his boss ordered.

"Rest assured, boss. We already have a gullible customer to manipulate as much as we wish on that planet."

"Then so be it. I'll crush the upstart puffball before that Star Warrior even gets a chance to stand on his own two feet!" Even without looking back, Customer Service could hear his boss tap his chin with a bony finger. "Right now I must tend to more pressing priorities. I am leaving this situation to you, so do ensure that the newborn warrior suffers an… accidental miscarriage."

As a white chess piece in the shape of a pawn went sailing over his head, Customer Service merely nodded in acknowledgement as the CEO of Holy Nightmare Corporation, the eponymous Nightmare himself, let out a cackle that could be heard throughout the cosmos.


"Hey, miss! What are you doing all alone here on a beautiful night such as this?"

"Juh!?" At the sudden greeting, the black-clothed woman gave a slight flinch from the unexpected voice. Holding the burlap sack that she was carrying firm, she then turned around to face the one who had spoken up. "Bonjam…" she greeted with a small nod of her head. "So it appears that I'm not alone here."

The small being who had just called out to her proceeded to let out a small chuckle. "You don't say?" There was no malice in his words, only sheer curiosity. After all, it wasn't often that this place saw a new face — the aerial kingdom that he lived in was really off the beaten track for normal travelers. "Relax! I don't bite, despite how I look!" he said in a friendly jab. Upon getting no reply, he decided to switch back to his earlier line of questioning. "So miss, are you even aware of where you currently are at the moment?"

"No." She paused, shifting ever so slightly before continuing, "But please, do enlighten me." Her high-cut collar covered her mouth as she spoke. This unfortunately resulted in him being unable to tell her facial expression, and thus he could not decipher whether her request was made out of curiosity or sarcastic scorn. In fact, if he were to be honest, the woman's tone felt almost like she was issuing him a challenge.

Nevertheless, he couldn't help but to politely oblige her request. "Well, miss," he began, "You're currently in Royal Road, homeland of the royal palace of the Kingdom of Floralia!" He gestured with one of his hands out to the blue-tinted clouds that stretched as far as the eye could see. "In my opinion, it truly is a beautiful place. Don't you agree, miss?"

"Yes… this galaxy is truly beautiful. Makes it such a shame that all of us have to be confined to just this place, wouldn't you say?"

"Huh?" he muttered, confused. Now he was completely bamboozled by what she was sprouting. "What are you talking about? I'm not holding you back. You're free to leave this place anytime."

"Oh no… I'm not talking about this mere, tiny locale." Even though the person she was speaking to frowned slightly from her blunt opinion, she barreled on without mercy. "You're thinking on too micro of a scale. You need to see it from a macro scale of galactic proportions! I'm talking about whole planets, entire stars and galaxies that we may never reach!" She clenched the fist of her free hand. "But not for long… not for long!"

He simply blinked all of his eyes in response, completely lost by what the woman was saying. There was an awkward silence as a soft gale blew across the open-air royal hallway, causing his green cape to flutter back and forth.

"Never mind. Japologa, I got carried away." She waved her hand dismissively before hovering closer, her eyes focusing on something to his left. "But still, it definitely is a shame that a precious thing like this be left to rot in such a desolate location…" she lamented.

As his eyes hovered over to where she was gesturing at, he couldn't stop a look of horror from dawning across his features. "Don't touch that!" he yelled, raising his voice for the first time in the conversation. The tone was so harsh and unexpected that even the woman had moved backwards from his sudden flare-up. Feeling a bit embarrassed from his outburst, he let out a cough and decided to try again, this time with a more amiable approach. "I'm sorry!" he apologized with a bow of his head. "It's just that… that mirror is important to me. Um, I'm sorry miss, but can you please take your leave now?"

"I see…" Her eyes narrowed in a manner that was very reminiscent of someone who he knew well. Her gaze left the artifact mounted on the stand as she turned her eyes towards him. "But no worries, I'll certainly be back… Jambuhbye!"

With a crackle of sparks, she suddenly disappeared from his field of vision. He blinked in confusion when he saw that she was now at a distance of ten meters back from where she had been prior. He had almost confused it for a teleportation move before a second arc of electricity crackled and she instantly appeared even further in the background. When he witnessed her swiftly disappearing and reappearing for the third time, he realized with a jolt that she was simply moving at a very rapid pace instead of teleporting.

As she continued to zip into the distance with her burlap sack in tow, he rubbed his eyes with his hands, unsure if he was hallucinating. The whole thing all seemed so surreal to him. Once he blinked away groggy tears and saw her still zipping across the night sky in an erratic pattern, he convinced himself that their encounter had not been a dream. Finally, he made up his mind to ignore the eccentric visitor and resume what he'd been doing prior.

That was however, before it occurred to him that if the woman wanted to, she could simply snatch the mirror from under his nose using her speed. He let out a flurry of minor curses from the realization. A serious look crossed the arachnid's features as he kept his eyes firmly on the mirror that she had been looking at. If she truly was hostile and desired the mirror for herself, he would be powerless to stop her. Without his usual backup, he would be unable to chase after her at the rate that she was moving.

Once he was absolutely sure that the visitor would not be returning back, the black-cloaked mage having left the palace as quickly as she'd arrived, he proceeded to let out a long sigh of relief, unaware that he'd been holding his breath in for such a long period of time.

He glowered in anger as he proceeded to hover over to the mirror in question. Already he knew that he was unlikely to sleep well tonight. Certainly, there wasn't a chance that he was going to let his guard down after that little was the words that the woman had said earlier regarding the mirror that had set up the red flags regarding their meeting. Those words truly haunted him. Despite merely sounding like humble praise at first glance, he knew better than to believe that. On reflex, a memory of one whom used to be very close to him saying something eerily similar flashed through his head.

"I must say that this is a rather fancy present, especially coming from you of all people. What a beautiful mirror! It's gorgeous, my friend! From the bottom of my heart, I truly thank you for the thoughtful gift, Taranza!"

That was what a female with similar spider-like body proportions had uttered with joy to him what seemed like an eternity ago. Taranza held on to that memory with a mixture of fondness and sadness. Although he didn't know it at the time, it was at this exact point of time—when she had uncovered the mirror—that led to both of their fates being changed forever.

Guilt swam across the former royal servant as he remembered that day. After all, it has been his present to her that had changed everything between them. If he'd never found that mirror in that frozen wasteland, then things would have turned out very differently. But how was he to know? How could he have guessed that the accused mirror would have an otherworldly influence that immediately grasped ahold of her the very instance she removed the mauve cloth that had been covering its reflective surface?

Taranza placed one of his hands on the soft brass frame of the now-reclothed mirror, brushing it ever so fleetingly. "There's no need to fret… I'll make sure that I won't let anyone befall the same fate as you." Tearing his eyes away from the mirror, he turned around to look out of the palace, gazing up towards the full moon before firmly making his declaration up to the stars in the sky.

"Not now, not ever again! I won't let your death be in vain! This I swear to you!"


Author's Note:

Kirby Star Allies Wave 2 DLC (hype) just got fully announced a few days ago, so to avoid future contradictions and plot holes I'm going to be firmly putting my foot down right here and now.

When I originally made plans and drafts for this story, only the Wave 1 group of Dream Friends were released, so for this fic they'll be the only canon group who'd traveled with Kirby in the main campaign. Please note that while I say this, it doesn't mean that characters from the later Dream Friend waves won't appear in the story! They still can make an appearance, just that in the context of this fic, those characters from later DLC waves didn't go on the main Star Allies adventure with gameverse!Kirby, so they'll likely play different roles if they do appear.

Yes, gameverse Kirby. He's been absent for about 20K+ words, hasn't he? Since there's been a bit of confusion in the reviews, I would like to take this moment to clarify and alliterate that this story is a crossover between the game and anime universes. What does that mean? It means that you'll soon see more of the gameverse and its many characters. Yes, I'm aware that there will certainly be a few characters that make appearances in both in the games and the anime, but I'll do my best to make sure that you can tell or at least infer who's who at any given point of time.

Anyway, I'll be switching the focus to the game universe in the next chapter, so y'all can finally see some very anticipated characters. Admittedly, the delay of their appearance is due to this story's adaptation of the anime's first episode being originally planned to be much shorter. But I'm now back on track, so look forward to it!

As I've said before, I started this story due to seeing very few stories of this style. But recently, there's been another anime/game Kirby crossover fic that popped up called "Are You a Friend, Too?" by FierySprites, so do give that a read if you're stuck in the same drought of anime/game crossovers as I am.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

Planet Popstar was known for its varying climates. Lush green forests, scenic sandy beaches, cool blue oceans, chilly icy tundras, boiling hot volcanoes and even grand rocky canyons were all able to coexist under the star-shaped planet's unique ecosystem and atmosphere.

Although one was able to find just about every type of climate that there was on Popstar, to many who lived in the planet's capital of Dream Land, one type of weather and climate was preferred and prevailed over all the others — the cool, temperate summer.

And currently, it was a bright and sunny day in Dream Land. The spring breeze was blowing, the clouds were sparse, and the weather was so cool and cozy that even the Birdons who'd perched themselves on the tree branches were merrily chirping songs in delight. To sum it up in other words, it was the perfect weather for a person to take a nice, long stroll. This train of thought was hence immediately capitalized upon by one jolly fellow, a small and friendly pink puffball. This was Kirby, the titular hero of Dream Land, who had a big jolly heart and an insatiable appetite for food… as well as the occasional penchant of attracting trouble.

Said "trouble" included the recent Jamba Heart incident. Frankly, it was a little hard to believe that so little time had passed since the whole "unusual purple hearts fell from the sky and brainwashed everyone yet again" disaster. Only a mere week had passed since the lives of everyone in Dream Land was turned upside-down by yet another villainous group with their own goals. But slowly but surely, the people of Dream Land were recuperating from the incident and returning their lives back to their normal schedules. Even Kirby, despite being the savior of the entirety of Planet Popstar once again, had humbly shook off the praise and promptly went back to his normal routine after a celebratory feast.

The puffball whistled the classic Gourmet Race tune as he strolled along a forest trail in the area of Cookie Country. Nothing beat a nice relaxing stroll to freshen yourself up after waking up early in the morning. "Ah…" Kirby smiled, closing his eyes shut as he proceeded to inhale in a deep breath of fresh air, feeling the cool oxygen fill and soothe his lungs. "It feels so good to be back to the normal routine again."

"Kirby!"

Kirby's eyes flung open at the greeting. He grinned from ear to ear when he saw one of his good friends running briskly in his direction. "Hi, Bandana Dee!" He waved enthusiastically at an affable Waddle Dee with a sapphire blue bandana wrapped around the crown of his head. Rather creativity, he was nicknamed Bandana Waddle Dee—also known as Bandana Dee or sometimes just plain ol' Dee for short—by his friends and comrades to differentiate him from the other Waddle Dees. "So whatcha doing here?" Kirby asked as he waddled closer, quickly noticing Dee was alone without a certain someone by his side, which was certainly rather unnatural. After double-confirming that Bandana Dee was indeed by himself, Kirby couldn't hold back the burning question any longer. "And where's King Dedede?" he quickly asked.

"Oh, Great King is super-duper busy right now!" Bandana Dee gestured with his hands for emphasis. "It must be because of the big fancy meeting that he's going to host tomorrow."

"But that doesn't explain why you're alone out here," Kirby rightfully pointed out. "You're always with Dedede, so what gives this time?"

"Well, um, that's because Great King was very nice to me! He went out of his way to give me the entire day off!" Bandana Dee explained as he hopped along the dirt footpath. "I insisted that I didn't want to, but he dismissed my opinion and pressed on about his concern that I should take a break and relax, so…" the Waddle Dee trailed off, too embarrassed to continue.

"Ah, I see." Kirby gave Bandana Dee a sneaky wink before he stated his hypothesis on the situation, "Dedede kicked you out of the castle when you adamantly continued to refuse going on no-pay leave, didn't he?" He knew he'd hit the mark when he saw Dee turn scarlet, letting out a cheeky laugh before patting his overly hardworking friend on the back to console him. "I knew it! Dedede might not show it as openly as I do, but he's a big softie at heart!"

Bandana Dee huffed at the thinly-veiled insult-cum-praise of his benevolent king, which only further prompted Kirby to continue speaking, "And that would also explain why you're here, aren't you? You decided to spend time with me as a substitute." Bandana Dee's eyes hovered down in embarrassment when his friend had actually accurately predicted his motive. "Ah, don't worry!" Kirby said with a smile. "I know I'm second in your heart to Dedede, but I'll try my best to be as a good replacement." He then lowered his tone and proceeded to do a poor imitation of Dedede's voice.

"Ahem!" Kirby coughed into his stubby hand before he began to speak with a low gruff voice. "I am the great King Dedede!" Bandana Dee's eyes began to widen at Kirby's Dedede impression and soon the Waddle Dee found himself rolling on the ground in laughter as Kirby proceeded to pace back and forth in a manner that was very Dedede-esque. "And today I'll be with good 'ol Bandana here as a replacement for Kirby, that no-good puffball who suddenly went AWOL at the very last minute. Hmph! Who would have guessed that the hero of Dream Land is so unreliable? But unlike that Kirby, I, King Dedede, swear that I'll be the best escort that Dream Land has ever—"

"What exactly are you doing, Kirby?"

The amused voice that suddenly cut in stunned Kirby out of his Dedede impersonation, causing him to grimace slightly in embarrassment at getting caught in the act. He looked to his left and right, only to be puzzled when he saw nobody in the vicinity except for Bandana Dee.

"Oh, Kirby!" the voice continued to be amused. "I'm up here!"

Realizing that the friendly greeting had come from above, Kirby smiled as he gently shook his head. Without even looking up, he already had a pretty good idea in his mind as to the identity of the one who had called out to him. And sure enough, he was proven right roughly three seconds later when a medium-sized owl with mauve purple feathers came fluttering down. Kirby gave a hearty wave to his friend with his arm as the owl descended down to the ground.

"Do I really want to know the reason as to why you're doing a Dedede impression that is so bad it loops back around to being genuinely good?" the owl asked with an entertained expression as he planted his feet on the ground.

Not wanting to lose the argument, Kirby made sure to tease the purple owl in return. "Well, I'm not telling you," he playfully bantered, before turning to Bandana Dee and hissing to him in a hushed whisper, "And don't tell him why! I think he only caught the tail end of it, so I don't want to ruin the surprise!"

The owl's sensitive hearing was able to catch his muffled whispers, however. "Oh, you wound me, Kirby!" he gasped in an exaggerated fashion, clutching his heart in fake shock.

"Hahahaha! You're the hardest one of the six to mess with, Coo!" Kirby admitted. "Always so serious and stoic… of course I've got to take advantage of you when I actually manage to make you genuinely laugh!"

"Ah, that's very true," Coo said as he preened his wings, pecking his feathers to make them neat.

"Anyway, what's up?" Kirby asked when the owl's expression finally turned back to his usual serious look. "You have this apprehensive look on your face."

"Observant, aren't you? Well, I've got some good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first, Kirby?"

Kirby quickly replied before Bandana Dee could cut in, just in case Dedede's assistant gave a dissenting opinion from his own, "I'm an optimist, so tell me the good news first!"

"When I was making my rounds, I've heard from many of the inhabitants of Popstar that they are in support of Dedede's meeting."

"Yay!" Bandana Dee cheered upon hearing Coo's words. "Great King is being well-loved by his people!"

"Well, I must say that it is a rather unprecedented meeting, certainly the first of its kind," Coo commented. "So to hear that initial reception is good surely must mean something, right?"

"Okay! Glad to hear that Dedede has got all of that settled at least." Kirby nodded. "So then, what's the not so-good news?"

Coo let out a sigh at the prompt, his reaction signaling Kirby to pay attention. "Early this morning, Pitch flew up to my nest and told me that he'd spotted Rick and Kine laying on the ground during his early sunrise flight. But when he landed to say hello to them, to his horror he realized that they had both been unconscious for ages!"

"What!?" Kirby angrily narrowed his eyes with a frown when he heard about the unprovoked attack against two of his good friends. "That's terrible!" Bandana Dee gasped, mirroring Kirby's sentiments.

"I wholeheartedly agree. Who knows how long they've been out?" Coo nodded his head with a somber expression. Kirby could tell that the news had affected him greatly as well. The hamster, owl, and sunfish had often operated as a trio, so hearing about the attack to his land and sea counterparts must have been devastating to Coo. "Pitch had flown them both to the nearest healthcare center for help, so he asked me to inform you about the news while he returned back to the medical center to check on them lest you be caught unaware."

Kirby stifled a smile at the thought of the tiny green parakeet trying to use his talons to lift up a hamster and a sunfish that altogether combined was probably at least five times his weight. "At least tell me that both of them are going to be okay?" he pleadingly looked to Coo for reassurance.

"The doctor's checked their vitals and assured Pitch that they're both fine, so don't worry."

Kirby let out a sigh of relief. "Phew!" His relief, however, was short-lived.

"Well, well, well. It was significantly harder than I'd originally assumed to find you. I had thought that the hero of Dream Land would be in a city, so I must admit to be being surprised at finally locating you at the countryside."

The single sentence was said in a feminine voice that was very familiar to the puffball. Hearing the greeting, Kirby stopped in his tracks, gazing up to the source of the voice.

"Bonjam, small pink one." Zan Partizanne bowed from her vantage point as she hovered above Kirby, Coo and Dee. "It looks like we meet again…"

"Hey, I remember you!" Bandana Dee lifted his spear up, pointing the tip at the yellow-cloaked female that was hovering above them. "You're one of the three… um, Jambastion Mages, aren't you!?" he exclaimed with surprise.

"The leader of the group, actually…" Kirby gently reminded Bandana Dee, never taking his eyes off the woman.

"Hm… so it appears you are able to remember Zan Partizanne…" The golden-hair mage acknowledged Dee's claim as she proceeded to refer to herself in third-person. "Jamanke. You both have a very good memory." Zan gave the group a small bow to show her thanks as she shot the three a feisty grin. The Jambastion's very posture reeked of arrogance and control, and her speech only further proved that hypothesis. "Perhaps I should be flattered?"

Kirby held his ground as he continued to lock eyes with the mage. The pink puffball could sense hostility in her tone. The tension in the air was so thick that Kirby felt that he might actually be able to spread butter on it and proceed to gobble up the resulting air-butter mixture.

"I should have figured you guys had survived. Especially since we rescued you all from within the depths of that giant monster when it went out of control," Kirby finally remarked. "So why are you here?" he decided to probe, making the first move by breaking the awkward silence that had ensued when both sides realized that they were confronting each other right in the middle of a happy and innocent countryside. "Did you come here to make peace with us?"

"Juh?" Zan cocked her head in confusion. "Japaloga, I don't understand what you're implying… elaborate on the matter, won't you?" she practically demanded, tapping her foot in the air to show her impatience.

"Oh, I dunno." Kirby shrugged before giving her a jovial smile. "It seems to be quite the trend for me recently, old enemies reforming and turning into friends—"

"Bahahaha!" Zan interrupted Kirby as she let out a loud and amused cackle. "Are you seriously for real? You can't just expect us to switch sides when we're in the middle of our final push in this war of worlds. That's frankly absurd!"

Kirby straightened up, his guard instantly up at her choice of words. "Excuse me? Final push?"

"War?" Dee repeated in a clearly worried tone. He looked towards Kirby and Coo in turn to confirm that he hadn't heard Zan's words wrongly. Their concerned faces told Bandana Dee that his ears were indeed working fine, gravely worrying him.

"Haven't you done enough damage here? Leave our Planet Popstar alone!" Coo waved Zan away with a continual motion of his wing.

Zan let out a cackle at their reactions, clearly enjoying her audience squirming. "Bahahaha! Not a chance. I'm not going to leave Popstar alone until I am satisfied that the remaining threat to us has been thoroughly taken care of."

"But Kirby saved you all!" Bandana Dee clutched his spear tightly in disbelief. "Is this really how you're going to repay him? How could you!?"

"Ah, you truly are naïve. You do realize that we don't owe you anything just because you rescued us out of your own will?" Zan pointed out the flaw in his logic, letting out a chortle at Bandana Dee's crestfallen face as she did so. "What? Were you expecting us to be indebted to you? Well, here's your reality check! Saving us doesn't make us magically obligated to listen to you!"

"Personally for me, it doesn't matter whether you choose to repay your debt or not," Kirby clucked his tongue. "That's on your own conscience. I'd do the right thing regardless, you know?"

"Even if your mercy ends up biting you later?" She raised an amused eyebrow. "Ever heard the story of The Farmer and the Viper?"

"Did you really just say that?" Kirby shot back, clearly insulted now. "The Farmer and the Viper?" he repeated, saying the title deliberately slowly as though he couldn't believe that Zan had actually just used that as an insult to him.

"Ah, isn't that the story where farmer helps a frozen snake only to get bitten by it in return," Coo helpfully summarized, changing his pitch lower and making him sound like the stereotypical old and wise owl who usually dished out important backstories at moments like this.

"Hey! I know about that folktale…" Kirby mumbled, swiftly crossing his arms to signal to his owl friend that his earlier retort to Zan was meant in jest and not meant to be taken serious as an actual query about the content of the famous story. Kirby himself knew very well about the moral of the folktale. After all, he had often been lectured on this by Meta Knight, especially since the hero of Dream Land was so willing to fall into this trap, to the point where he himself was even able to compile a list of quite a few former villains who'd taken advantage of his willingness to help others in time of need, with Marx and Magolor being the two most egregious examples.

"That's correct." Zan nodded her head. "You see, it doesn't matter if you have good intentions… you will always be betrayed by the ones who you trusted in the end!" she spat viciously.

"Does that happen to include your own boss?" Kirby pointed out, with Bandana Dee nodding in agreement at the point that he'd just brought up. "After what he did to you and your other two mages, doesn't saying that and continuing to work for him make you just a bit of a hypocrite?" He made sure to firmly lock his eyes with hers as he questioned her logic.

To her credit, Zan Partizanne did flinch back from his question. It was ever so slight a movement, but the reaction and hesitation was certainly there. "That was a good attempt there, pink one. But unfortunately for you, there is no point in trying to sow discord amongst us. We are united and loyal to the very end!"

Kirby couldn't help but roll his eyes in annoyance. It appeared that she was going to be stubborn all the way to the bitter end. Zan's stubbornness and defiance was immediately showcased as she looked up towards the blue sky, pumping her right fist with vigor. "And once you are out of the picture, our revenge against those who have wronged the Jambastion Cult will finally be complete!"

"You guys are back for revenge? But your entire base was destroyed!" Bandana Dee cried. "I remember back when Great King had wanted to take his final revenge on Kirby. Great King had spent hundreds of man-hours crafting a new army of stronger enemies, acquiring a personal Kabula airship for air defence, and even resorting to preparing an entire souped-up electric arena to fight Kirby with a mask and his very own upgraded jet hammer! All of this so that Great King could even stand a slimmer of a chance against Kirby…" Dee firmly looked up at Zan after he finished his tirade. "My point is, when people come back for revenge, they usually come back stronger than before, not weaker!"

"You say that assuming that we have been completely and utterly defeated by you and your pesky friends." Her reverent tone of defiant hope caused Kirby to eye her skeptically. "But things can always be rebuilt, and people can always be replaced. So long as our beliefs never die out, you will never be rid of the Jambastion Cult!" Zan stated as though her logical train of thought was the most obvious thing in the world. "And now our reverend Officiant of Doom, Lord Hyness, has revived our group with a new aim in mind!"

"So… is that new aim to spread friendship to all?" Kirby couldn't resist the opportunity to poke a little lighthearted fun.

"Bahahahah! Don't make me laugh!" Zan chuckled sarcastically. "The truth of the matter is that we have figured out that our Dark Lord has been reborn!"

"What?" Kirby stared at her with a look that showed that he was trying to hold back his laughter. "I don't think he managed to survive my last attack on him…"

The humorous mood was abruptly cut short by her next words. "On the contrary… all it would take to bring him back is another resurrection ritual, much like the one that Lord Hyness had performed. So all that's left for us to do is to locate where the reborn Dark Lord is now so that we can finish what we've started." She held out her left arm, revealing a burlap sack that she had been carrying behind her all this time. "And I've got just the tool to do the job…" she said as she unfastened the knot of the top of the bag.

A dark blue blob suddenly poked out of the opening, desperately trying to get free. It almost succeeded, breaking out of the bag only to get caught in Zan's outstretched hand.

"Gooey!?" Kirby jumped back in shock. "Wh-what?" he muttered, confused by the turn of events.

"Juh? You don't understand, do you?" She chortled as Gooey tried to squirm free from her iron grip. "Well, this blob of dark energy is the key that we Jambastions require to locate our dark lord, Void Termina!"

"What!?" Kirby yelped. Zan's eyes widened slightly from Kirby's reaction. That was the first time that she'd ever seen him lose his cool. Seizing that moment of hesitation, the blob suddenly fired out a black laser from his unfocused eyes. Although Zan quickly ducked back, the bolt of energy still grazed her palm, scorching it red.

"Youch!" she screeched. Despite the searing pain, the mage refused to let go of Gooey. After all, she'd been injured with burns before during regular spars that she had with Berge. With a scowl on her face, she immediately tossed the dark blue blob back into the burlap sack that doubled as its prison before it could try anything else. "Why you little… back into the bag you go!" she muttered under her breath as she tried to force Gooey to remain in the bag. Finally, she managed to lift the squirming sack with her left hand again, "It's a good thing that this bag is laser-resistant!"

"Hey!" Kirby shouted, now very unhappy with her. "You give Gooey back right this minute!"

Bandana Dee agreed with a squeal, pointing his spear at Zan threateningly. "Yeah! He's our friend!"

Even Coo joined in the group declaration. "I'll have you know that all three of us will be standing in your way if you try to resist!" he added with a flap of his wings.

"Hmph!" Zan shook her head as she tied the burlap sack into a knot. "I doubt that I'm just going to let him go. But feel free to try and take him back for all you want! Besides, the last two who'd tried to resist went down rather quickly…"

Realization hit Kirby like a Friend Train slamming into him at full force. "You were the one who attacked Rick and Kine!" he accused Zan with an angry tone.

It had been so obvious in retrospect. The last known whereabouts that he'd heard of Gooey was when the three of them—Gooey, Rick and Kine—were going on a fishing trip together the previous night. Kirby had declined their offer as he needed to help Dedede make a few preparations for the big meeting that the ruler had drafted up, but now Kirby felt a tinge of guilt at the fact that his friends were hurt because of his absence. At the very least, he could've helped if he had been there with them!

"Who exactly are Rick and Kine?" Zan mused, asking the query aloud. "Never mind," she snapped as the answer went past her head. Her lips curled up into a cruel smile as she proceeded to admit her thoughts on the subject, "It doesn't really matter, does it?"

Kirby glowered at the indifference of the electric mage, before growling a curt reply back as his response. "No… no, it doesn't," he spat at Zan Partizanne in a serious tone, one which was unusually out of character for the normally jolly and laid-back puffball. The implication of his anger was obvious: "Don't mess with my friends!"

"Indeed," she agreed. If Zan noticed Kirby's vitriol, she chose to ignore the sarcasm. "It doesn't matter to me at all. With all of our differences, it's good to see that we at lease concur on the truth," Zan said as she raised her right arm in the air, grabbing ahold of her favored weapon as it materialized. "So it also wouldn't matter if I eliminate you as a threat before our final plan begins, would it?" she stated before letting out a vicious laugh, "Bahahahah!"

Kirby jumped back as she spun a large electrified partizan around, rotating it multiple times in a flashy display before thrusting the tip forward in a battle pose.

Man, this wasn't good. He wasn't prepared for a fight right now. All he had wanted was to enjoy a walk and have a friendly picnic. Was that too much for one hungry puffball to ask? Evidently so, since he could tell from Zan's expression that she wasn't going to back down. Kirby gave Bandana Dee a firm nod of his head, signaling for him to make the first move as he didn't have a Copy Ability yet, definitely a distinct disadvantage in a battle for him.

Bandana Dee lifted his spear above his head, spinning it round and round until it became a blur and generated enough lift for him to hover off the ground. "Hiyah!"

Unfortunately, Zan was prepared for the attack coming from below. She quickly zipped out of the way and then used her right arm to thrust forward her partizan weapon and block Dee's incoming Helicopter Spear attack. The Jambastion Mage then twisted her arm, managing to ensnare her opponent's spinning spear between two prongs of her weapon from the movement.

When she saw that Dee's spear had been firmly caught by her electrified weapon, she whipped her partizan up with a vicious sneer to parry her opponent's spear and fling it high into the air using the momentum of her swing. The surprise counterattack left behind a frightened Bandana Dee without his weapon, powerless and at the mercy of the electric mage's wrath.

"Wh-when did you get so strong?" Dee stuttered, his eyes darting around nervously as she floated menacingly towards him.

"That's none of your concern. Perhaps it is you who have gotten weak," she mocked the flustered Bandana Dee as his spear clattered to the ground quite a distance away. "I'm battling with one hand behind my back!" The phrase that she'd used was actually literal, instead of referring to the usual idiom meaning… since she actually was using her non-dominant hand to hold onto the sack that contained Gooey.

Just as Bandana Dee tightly shut his eyes as Zan prepared to slash at him with the edge of her partizan, Coo flew forward and attempted to hit her with his feathers. However, she quickly retreated, zipping away right as he flung out three spinning razor-sharp feathers from his wings. "We can't get her individually! She's too quick!" Coo yelled to Kirby as Dee heaved a relieved sigh and ran to pick up his spear. "We need to tag-team her!"

"I'm on it!" Kirby tossed a Friend Heart at the nearest thing that he could spot. It hit its mark, causing a newly befriended yellow-tinted Helper to wave merrily at Kirby… at least until it looked up. Its face instantly fell when it saw a black mage getting ready to fire an electric lance in his direction.

It was then that the newly befriended Driblee cursed its water-elemental nature, gulping as Zan immediately took the opportunity to send her weapon at him.

"Dodge it!" Kirby yelled at the Driblee. He obliged, immediately ducking and narrowing avoiding the huge partizan as it flew over his head, grazing his water crown. The Driblee then slithered forward and started to fire globs of water at Zan.

"You pests!" Zan held her partizan vertically up and began to fire out orbs of electricity. The large yellow orbs scattered throughout the area, many hitting the nearby trees and charring their trunks black.

"Ga-gack!" Coo yelped, barely dodging a blast of electricity with an evasive swoop. "Hey, Kirby! A little help here, my friend?" he pleaded as he ducked his head to avoid another bolt of lightning, the electricity passing by so closely to him that a few of his feathers were torched. "I might be an avian creature affluent with the skies, but I'm no Kracko! I most certainly do not mix well with electricity! So help me, won't 'ya?"

Kirby gave a nod, floating up towards where Coo was. As they met in the air, Coo grabbed onto Kirby using his talons. As Kirby guided the owl by accurately pointing to where he wanted Coo to aim at, the owl was able to fire his feathers more accurately at the constantly moving Zan.

"Jamblasted!" Zan folded her arms, glaring at the group in disgust as she found herself having to dodge attacks from all directions and angles. "Trying to corner me in a four-on-one fight for the third time in a row?"

Kirby's nod of acknowledgement as Coo held him up only caused Zan to give an irritated grunt back. "Hmph! Well, I didn't come all the way back here to this lousy planet just so I would end up losing a fight with you and your comrades again." With three rapid zips, she transported herself a sizable distance away from the group, mostly out of harm's way with the exception of a couple of far-range projectile attacks that would be easy for her to dodge at that distance anyway.

"Are you running away?" Coo asked with a tilt of his head.

"Oh, I guess you can say that. I'm just retreating for the moment. I know when to cut my losses," she said as she twirled her partizan around, before making her weapon disappear by dissipating it into a bright burst of electrical energy.

"This battle isn't over yet!" Kirby wasn't particularly fond of revenge, but in this case he felt that he wanted to at least avenge his two fallen comrades. "You attacked them for no reason, and I'm not a fan of that!" He continued to talk with her for as long as he could, hoping to goad her back into the fight so that things won't be left unsettled and so that might have a chance to rescue Gooey.

"I attacked them because they were trying to protect this little traitor here."

"Traitor?" Kirby cocked his head when he realized that she was referring to Gooey. "What do you mean by that? Why is Gooey a traitor to you?"

"Hmph!" Zan's eyes hovered down to the squirming burlap sack. "Because this little traitor turned against our Dark Lord, of course. What a treasonous little leech…"

But that makes no sense! She's talking about two completely separate entities, Kirby thought as he recalled an old memory. Isn't Gooey supposed to be a part of…

Kirby's eyes widened in terror as the puffball lost his composure.

Unless…

"Anyway, the outcome of this battle does not matter," Zan taunted, snapping Kirby out of his stupor. "You're too late regardless!"

"What do you mean?" Dee questioned.

"We have an idea as to where our Dark Lord is."

"You do?"

"Yes." Zan replied to Coo with delight. "Although our Dark Lord lives, we know that he must be in some other galaxy distant from ours. Unfortunately, we are unable to track him to an exact location at the moment." Zan placed her palm on her forehead as she shook her head. "What a shame. To think I went through all the trouble of kidnapping that blob to use him as a homing tracker so that he could lead me to the Dark Lord. But I only end up getting led to a useless mirror in some floating skyland, of all things!"

Mirror? Floating skyland? Once again, he knew about what she was talking about. Kirby was starting to get a throbbing headache from all this new information.

Mercifully, the Jambastion finally took her leave. "Well then, until we meet again!" her voice rang out, echoing amongst the trees even as she vanished from sight, darting away as quickly as a bolt of lightning. "Jambuhbye, you little pink nuisance! Bahhhahahah!"

Kirby closed his eyes in relief, before beckoning Coo to release him. As the owl obliged, he floated back to the ground. As Bandana Dee strolled up to Kirby to congratulate him on managing to chase away the Jambastion Mage, he was surprised to see that Kirby had a look of absolute seriousness on his face.

"We've got trouble. We've got some big trouble."

As Bandana Dee looked on confused, Kirby proceeded to grab hold of him by the shoulder and look straight into his eyes. "Sorry if this seems so sudden, but I'll explain later. Right now we've got no time to waste. We have to get to Floralia pronto!"

"Wait a minute! What about Great King?" Bandana Dee tugged on Kirby's hand. "I have to tell him about this!"

"Good point," Kirby conceded, taking out a pink phone. He flipped open the lid, only to be greeted with a 'No Signal' status message. "Oh no!" Bandana Dee cried as he glanced at Kirby's screen. "I forgot that Dream Land's cell phone network is down today!"

Kirby let out a puff of air, which was his equivalent of a sigh. "You know, it's days like this that make me feel that sometimes the entire universe is against me," he grumbled as he pocketed his phone. What were the chances of such a contrived coincidence? Really, it had to be less than one percent.

"Coo?" Kirby beckoned towards the owl. "Sorry to bother you, but do you mind if you help me tell King Dedede and Meta Knight about this?" The normal smile which normally adjourned his face promptly vanished as his lips turned into a frown, "Because things might get real ugly soon."

"I'm on it!" Coo bristled, before giving the best impression of a thumbs-up that an owl was able to do. "You can count on me, Kirby!" the avian reassured as he took off to the skies.

Once Coo was in the air, Kirby proceeded to take off into a run with Bandana Dee following closely behind. The puffball was in such a rush that they left behind a rather confused Driblee as they made haste to their new destination. Dedede's poor assistant was being dragged by the arm, basically being led by Kirby towards Floralia while having no input whatsoever in the matter. Well, to be fair, even Kirby had no say in the matter himself, his original plan of taking a nice relaxing stroll in Cookie Country having long been derailed. The situation was so dire that it looked as though recapturing Gooey would have to wait with this nugget of new information that Zan had dropped like a bombshell.

"Because this little traitor turned against our Dark Lord, of course. What a treasonous little leech…"

Just how could her statement be possible? How!? That was the only question that continually permeated Kirby's mind like a parasite that refused to go away. Even the journey up to Floralia passed by like a blur as he continued to ponder and ponder about the topic.

But it looked like his question would have to wait, however. Before he knew it, he had arrived at his destination. "Hey, Taranza!" Kirby called out as he stepped foot into Floralia's royal palace.

"Oh, if it isn't the hero of the lower world? What brings your friendly self back here to the Kingdom of Floralia?"

"You look like you're half-dead, Taranza. Did you get any sleep at all?" Kirby's first response to the arachnid that had floated towards the main entrance was not anything close to what Taranza had expected.

In response, Taranza let out an exhausted yawn, covering his mouth as he did so. "Ah, good catch. To be honest, I really didn't get any sleep. Unfortunately, I've had quite the terrible night." He rubbed the pair of eyes that was closest to his mouth as he yawned again.

"That's not a healthy lifestyle to live…" Kirby muttered as he took a good long look at the groggy Taranza. "You need to get at least seven hours of rest, my friend," he advised as Taranza continued to yawn. "Of course, how long you want to rest is completely up to you, but more sleep is always better than less!"

"That's right!" Bandana Dee added with a thrust of his spear. "I get a good nine hours of shut-eye! Early to bed, early to rise! That's my motto, and it's also the reason as to why I'm such a reliable alarm clock for Great King!"

Taranza let out a good-natured chuckle. The implication that King Dedede used his right-hand Waddle Dee as a personal morning alarm had certainly not been missed by him. "I appreciate the thought, Kirby. Really, I do. But this has nothing to do with the Dreamstalk incident from a year ago. I swear, I'm psychologically okay. And just to clarify, my sleep schedule is perfectly fine. Yesterday was just what I would call an exception of sorts."

Kirby raised an eyebrow. "Why?" he asked.

Immediately, Taranza clammed up. "Oh, never mind about that!" he dissuaded, trying to divert the topic. "Let's get back to my first question. What brings you to Floralia?"

"Well, I overheard something interesting today," Kirby said slowly, looking right into Taranza's eyes. "Something about a mirror…"

Sure enough, the instant he'd brought that up, Taranza flinched back. "Alright, the jig's up!" Kirby snapped his fingers as he noticed Taranza's instinctual reaction, changing his tone to that of a serious one. "You're hiding something from me, Taranza!"

Taranza held his hands in the air, trying to contain the situation before it got out of hand. "Okay, fine!" he yelled in response, a little louder than he should've. "I do have it with me," he admitted as he gestured towards a brass mirror mounted on the wall, relatively out of sight unless one was actively looking up, which a person was unlikely to do in such a location.

"What!?" Kirby cried as he recognized the frame of the sacred artifact. Although coarse mauve cloth was covering most of the mirror, it looked almost as how Kirby remembered it, although he couldn't help but to make a note that the frame seemed to be a little off from what he recalled.

"Behold!" Taranza started as his eyes glistened. "The Dimension Mirror!"

"Bu-but…" Kirby stuttered, "Dedede told me that he destroyed this thing!"

Taranza gave a shrug in response to Kirby's outcry. "Well, have you ever considered that your friend might be lying?" Kirby's face went distraught at that, the puffball visibly upset by the possibility. Dedede's most royal servant, however, didn't just take the accusation lying down. "Great King would never lie to Kirby!" Bandana Dee said in an unhappy tone.

"Oh, really?" Taranza challenged as he hovered over to the brass mirror. "After the mirror first disappeared from the palace, I just so happened to find it in the exact same spot I discovered it the first time, on this cold and barren offshore island down below. How would I have found it there completely intact if it was truly destroyed, eh?"

Kirby didn't like this. He hadn't been privy to this new information. In fact, if he hadn't been prompted by Zan, he most likely would never have found this out.

"Alright, so can I propose something?" Kirby offered as he walked towards the mirror. "I won't say anything about you being in possession of the Dimension Mirror, but you need to let me use it immediately—"

"Not a chance!" Taranza shot forward and bared his front fangs at the duo, a move which caused a frightened Bandana Dee and even Kirby to step back. "I won't ever let the reflective surface of that blasted mirror see the light of day again! It had already taken so much from the People of the Sky… so very much! I'll be damned if anyone ever gets their grubby little paws on this mirror again!"

"Are you even listening to yourself, Taranza?" Kirby asked in a worried voice. "You sound awfully possessive of it!"

"Of course I am!" Taranza replied indignantly. "This is one of only two things I have left as a reminder of the good old days!"

"Do you even know what it does?" Kirby argued back.

"I know perfectly well what it does now!" Taranza said as he clenched his fists. "You think I wouldn't look up all the folklore surrounding this mirror after what it did to us!? After what it did to me!?" He hovered towards the mirror, "There is a curse placed on this mirror…" Taranza said before Kirby could say anything. "It corrupts anyone who gazes upon it unless one pure of heart looks at its surface and dispels the curse."

"That's… new?" Dee cocked his head. "I didn't know that part!"

"You didn't know? Well, neither did I… until everything went straight to hell!" Taranza left the mirror's side, looking down at Kirby and Bandana Dee with a cautious expression. "I swore that I won't ever let this mirror corrupt anyone again, so I'm going to personally guard it for the rest of my life! No exceptions! I refuse to let it ruin anyone else's life!"

"You have to listen to me, Taranza!" Kirby tried in vain to plead with the stubborn Taranza. "You need to let me use it! A being with great power might have been reborn on the other side of the mirror! This other world is in very grave danger if Void Termina really has been resurrected there! I need to get a head start before the bad guys find it first!"

"What's so personal about this so-called Void Termina, anyway?" Taranza's voice turned slightly sheepish as he proceeded to add on as to why he needed Kirby's explanation, "I apologize, but you'll have to let me know the details. After all, I didn't quite catch your latest adventure."

Kirby opened his mouth, about to give Taranza his answer. It was only after a few seconds of silence had passed did he realize that he was unable to articulate the answer to Taranza's query down in words, even though it basically boiled down to one thing and one thing only.

Dark Matter.

The eponymous Dark Matter had been one of Kirby's most persistent and formidable foes — a force of darkness able to possess others and bend them to its will. After he'd slowly eradicated their influence from Gamble Galaxy, it had finally culminated in a showdown at the edge of the cosmos, in a location known as Ripple Star.

Freeing the final planet from their grip, the Dark Matters' final stand was to retreat to a glob-like planet above Ripple Star. This was Dark Star, an area which was entirely filled with the hivemind of the remaining Dark Matters in a single, centralized location. The forces of darkness not one to give up, Kirby found himself forced into one last showdown with the Dark Matter leader, an angelic white eyeball who went by the moniker Zero Two.

With the help of a fairy who went by the name of Ribbon, as well as a completed Crystal Gun made from countless crystal shards by his side, Kirby had finally put an unceremonious end to the Dark Matters' reign of terror once and for all. After defeating their leader in a climactic showdown, the almighty dark force was simply eradicated. Although he'd had other villains trying to wreak havoc on Popstar since then, never again had he seen Dark Matter.

And no, Dark Nebula, the star-shaped blob of darkness that the Squeak Squad leader Daroach had unintentionally summoned, did not count.

As if to punctuate their finality, Meta Knight had told him that a few months back, he had been forced to fight a clone of a previous Dark Matter. Kirby was shocked to hear that, but calmed down significantly when Meta Knight added that apparently not even the one who had cloned it was able to get the exact data and information of the sample down, resulting in an incomplete Dark Matter which was incapable of possession. Meta Knight had thus quickly put it down before it could wreck any havoc, and once again the universe was free of any Dark Matter.

But if what Zan had said earlier was the truth… then Void Termina might just shatter that concept of finality that they had on Dark Matter. Kirby grimaced at the thought. He really did not want these guys to cause trouble again. "Let's just say it's complicated," Kirby finally summarized his thoughts in a very concise manner.

Naturally, Taranza continued to refuse after hearing such a brief explanation. "Alright, I've entertained you enough for everything that you've done to help me and Floralia. But if you continue to remain firm on this, Kirby, then I'm going to be forced to throw you out!"

"I see…" Kirby felt bad for what he was about to do. But he had no other choice. Taranza just wouldn't budge no matter how hard he tried. Giving a subtle nod to Bandana Dee, he then made his move. "Oh, Taranza!" Kirby let out an exaggerated gasp as he pointed towards the garden on his right. "What would your girlfriend think now that you still tender to the plants even after a year later?" he asked, making sure to use the most teasing tone that was possible within his vocal range.

"Hey!" Taranza flinched back at the insinuation, blushing slightly before he gave a flustered yell back at the grinning puffball. "She is not my girlfriend!"

"Is too! You're just in denial, Taranza!" Kirby said in an annoying singsong-like voice, "You're in denial!"

"Stop that, dammit!" Taranza swooped down towards Kirby until his face was no more than half a meter away from the teasing puffball. "I said stop, Kirby!" he raised his voice to that of a yell.

"Denial~"

"I SAID STOP!" Taranza yelled, before catching a sudden movement out of the corner of his front eyes. Turning to his left, he watched in horror as he saw Bandana Dee running for the mirror. "No, no, no!" he gripped the horns on his helmet furiously with two of his six hands when he realized that Kirby had been distracting him all along.

"Oops…" Kirby said sheepishly when the puffball realized that his deception had been caught red-handed.

Now absolutely furious, Taranza yelled up towards the air. "Comos! Comos!" He then pointed his hands at the two, "Seize the Waddle Dee with the spear, and make sure to get that Kirby as well while you're at it!"

"Eeeekkkk!" Bandana Dee shrieked as close to a dozen Comos threaded strings of webbing downwards and crawled down to make their surprise appearance, a multitude of them descending from the domed-shaped atrium of the palace.

"Surprise?" Taranza taunted as Kirby glared at him after recovering from the ambush, the puffball glancing sideways to see that Bandana Dee had also been stopped short of the mirror by the Comos.

"That was no fair," Kirby finally pouted, folding his hands with a huff.

"You're one to talk!" Taranza snapped. "Especially after you pulled the wool over my eyes with that dirty trick earlier!"

Meanwhile, Dee looked up in Taranza's direction after taking in a deep breath to calm himself down. "Where did you get all of these Comos?" he asked, pushing past a few Comos so that he could stand besides Kirby.

Taranza looked down towards Bandana Dee, genuinely surprised by the question. "Well, if you must know, I took them in," he explained to the curious Dee. "You see, when that company mechanized and ravaged the green pastures of Dream Land down below…"

"I remember that incident!" Bandana Dee gasped in realization, flailing his spear about as he whirled towards Kirby. "Don't you remember them, Kirby? They were responsible for the Robobot invasion!"

Kirby apprehensively nodded his head. "My memory isn't that bad, you know? It happened less than six months ago, so of course I remember!" He tapped his forehead as he proceeded to dig up the incident from his memory banks. "Haltmann Works Company, wasn't it?" he tentatively asked.

"Yep, yep! You've certainly hit the mark alright. Haltmann Works is indeed the name of the corporation who had been responsible." Taranza nodded in confirmation. "Ah, the Robobot Invasion…" he placed one of his hands to his lips as he reminisced about the incident, "I'm not really too sure about the itty-bitty little details, but I'll cut the long story short and talk about how the whole thing happened from my own perspective. To be fair, I had noticed the giant metallic structure in the middle of Popstar. Come on, that thing is so big that you could probably see it from outer space." For some reason that Taranza wasn't aware of, Kirby let out a nervous chuckle at that specific remark. Unsure of what was so funny about his comment, he chose to press on, "But I honestly thought that you guys were finally industrializing or something. I didn't realize it was a hostile takeover! In fact, it wasn't until much later that I found out the truth behind the matter…"

Bandana Dee appeared quite shocked by Taranza's admission. "Wait a minute!" he cried. "You mean you didn't know that the Haltmann Works Company took over and roboticized all of Planet Popstar? I thought everyone knew about that!"

"Well, did any of you guys know about what was happening up here in Floralia before the People of the Sky tossed down the seed that sprouted into the Dreamstalk?" Taranza countered, making sure to add a snarky tone in his reply. "Our locality is a bit of a double-edged sword, see? Sure, I knew nothing about what Haltmann Works was planning, but on the flipside, if they knew about Floralia, then I think that we'd have a bit of a problem, wouldn't we?" He let out a small chuckle as he glanced down towards Kirby, "And if things had escalated to that extent, then maybe you would have to come up to save us for a second time."

Even in this situation, Kirby nodded his head. "Sure I will! I never turn down a challenge! But do answer me please, Taranza," he yawned, getting tired of the Floralian beating around the bush, "What exactly do the Comos have to do with the Haltmann Works Company?"

"Hahaha! It's quite ironic, actually," Taranza mused. "When that company turned all of Dream Land's lush forests into timber and built mechanical cities in their place, a lot of these forest-dwelling Comos found themselves rather unfairly displaced from their natural habitat. But since Floralia was untouched by the mechanization that the rest of Popstar was subjected to, they naturally chose to flee up here." He then gave a rather proud look, grinning rather happily. "And yours truly was the one who provided them shelter when they climbed up the Dreamstalk and came begging for help."

Several of the Comos shed tiny tears as Taranza recounted the whole affair. Even Kirby himself gave a small grin at Taranza's unexpected kindness. "You know, after you kidnapped Dedede, I always pictured you as the controlling mastermind who was always pulling the strings. I would never have pegged you to be the type to help others," he commented.

Taranza laughed, flashing a wide smile on his usually stoic face at Kirby's remark. "Well, I simply couldn't resist their cute looks, so I took the Comos in as my personal helpers and stationed them all around Royal Road." The Floralian then floated upwards, his six hands outstretched as a couple dozen more Comos descended in a synchronized symphony, revealing to the Dream Landers just how truly outnumbered they really were. "And now, grateful for my assistance in their time of need, they are loyal to me… and me alone!"

"Oh no! We've been surrounded!" Bandana Dee cried, gripping onto his spear and twisting it as Taranza's smile quickly turned into a victorious smirk. "He was using that speech to catch us off guard and call in even more Como reinforcements!" he remarked, although Kirby didn't need Dee to tell him that in the slightest. There were now so many Comos that Kirby and Dee found that the spiders were literally closing in on them from all sides.

"You don't say?" Taranza let out a triumphant snicker at Dee's obvious observation. "What?" he retorted as Kirby shot him an unimpressed look after being caught off guard by his sneak attack. "Hey, don't you go blaming me! You guys explicitly asked me for the story yourself." As some of the Comos adjusted the vertical positions on the web threads so that they could focus on Kirby and Bandana Dee, Taranza decided to give the duo one final remark on the matter, "No one said that my men couldn't make battle plans behind the scenes while I was talking!"

Kirby and Bandana Dee took their stances, their faces unwavering even as they found themselves surrounded by a literal army of Comos crawling about on threads of web that hung down from the ceiling. Taranza let out a sigh as he saw Kirby's determined face. "I should have known that you'd resist to the very end. It's just so like you, Kirby. Even back then when I kidnapped your king, you just adamantly refused to give in. But, no matter though…" He snapped his fingers, the click causing all of the Comos to focus their eyes on Kirby. "I'm not going to be changing my stance on this even with your defiance. So, if you continue to be stubborn and insist on activating that mirror, I'm going to be a fair person and warn you that you won't get within ten feet of the Dimension Mirror… because you're going to have to go through all one hundred of us to do so!"

Kirby remained calm at Taranza's bragging, glancing left and right to see if he could come up with a strategy to counter his move. Just as a brainwave hit him, Kirby observed that there was a singular Como who stood out from the rest. One of the most striking differences about this specific Como was that he was bipedal, standing upright on his two feet unlike his other comrades. The spider was no slouch in the fashion department either, wearing a distinctive indigo bowler hat with six reflective golden ovals sewn to its front, the glossy honeycomb-like objects giving others the impression of menacing spider eyes when it reflected light into their eyes.

Taranza glanced at the newcomer as the Como strutted forward. "Ah, looks like you're just in time." He gestured to the Como to introduce him, "This is my head guard, the chieftain of the Como Tribe…"

"Wait a moment…" Bandana Dee lowered his spear as he took a closer look at the unique Como. "It's you!" he exclaimed as he recognized the Como in question.

"Huh?" Taranza was surprised by Dee's words. "You two know each other?"

Kirby, however, had beaten Bandana Dee to it, having known who the Como was since the very moment he'd waltzed into the royal hallway walking on his own two feet instead of crawling down a thread of web. He spoke out to the Como in a surprised tone.

"What are you doing here, Webby?"

When Kirby had first discovered his new ability of befriending enemies using Friend Hearts, he'd went wild with the power. Unlike the Ultra Abilities, Hypernova Inhale, or the Robobot Armor, the Friend Hearts weren't overly flashy or powerful at first glance. Even Kirby himself had initially been underwhelmed by this new power. But he soon changed his tone when he appreciated that instead of causing senseless destruction and mass amounts of collateral damage that Dedede always hounded him to pay back after a disaster was over, the Friend Hearts were instead a weapon which was meant to be used for making peace.

Sure, throwing a heart made of pure unadulterated friendliness to force an enemy to relook their perspectives on life and thus join him as a helpful ally was certainly a cool power, but there were times when Kirby still felt that such instant gratification from quickly befriending enemies who would normally be tricky obstacles would not be a good replacement for carving out a real and actual friendship. It just couldn't beat his relationship with Bandana Dee, for example. However, with yet another intergalactic threat on the loose, Kirby was willing to accept the compromise, and thus proceeded to use the Friend Hearts readily to his advantage.

But even though he was now imbued with the power to instantly befriend an enemy, Kirby never forgot about his humble roots when it came to friendships. Instead of taking advantage of his partners, Kirby chose to slowly build up his relationships with many of his newly-reformed Helpers as he went about Popstar with his new allies standing by his side, supporting him whenever the need came up. Especially since the Friend Hearts ability itself came with a rather unique quirk to it. The very first enemy of a species that Kirby befriended with a Friend Heart would not only gain all the powers of the respective Copy Ability, but also gain a few additional bonuses as well.

Not only did they have the additional power of speech gifted to them, but the very first Friend Heart that was fired on the premiere member of a new unique species also gave that lucky one a large boost in their intelligence. Basically, they would hit the jackpot, almost guaranteed to be the ultimate member of their species. It was easy to tell exactly who these lucky ones were, as they would retain their normal color palette instead of switching to a shade of yellow, green or blue. For example, the Driblee that he'd befriended with a Friend Heart earlier during the battle with Zan Partizanne would not qualify under such a scenario, since the very first Driblee Kirby had befriended was a jolly chap by the name of Drebly, who had a Friend Heart thrown to him back in a cave close to a month ago.

Yes, Kirby had the knack of giving all of these special friends a personal nickname to further strengthen his bond with them. The first Sword Knight that he'd befriended was christened Edmund, the very first Waddle Doo was called Goob, and so on. As for the very first Como that Kirby had used a Friend Heart on, he had creatively given him the name of Webby…

…the very same Webby who was standing in front of them now. The Como gaped in surprise once he recognized the puffball, causing them both to stare at each other. "Kirby? Bandana?" he finally asked. "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing…" Kirby redirected the question back to the Como.

"Well, I think you better let Taranza explain that one…" Webby mumbled in response.

"I already told them about why all the Comos are up here. So if you please, Commander Webby…" Taranza signaled to the Como, before pointing a finger towards Bandana Dee and Kirby. "Do me a favor and help to throw these intruders out of Floralia."

"Huh?" All three of Webby's eyes blinked at Taranza's order. "You want me to… get rid of Kirby?" he asked in clarification.

Taranza raised his eyebrows as Webby appeared hesitant to carry out the objective. "That's certainly right."

"Wait, wait, wait! I can't do that!" The Como fidgeted with the six appendages by his side as he tried to justify his hesitation to Taranza, "I mean, Kirby and I are pretty good buds!"

As if to prove his point, Kirby immediately called out to him. "Commander Webby?" the puffball repeated the title as he gave a good-natured grin at the spider. "You're a commander now?"

Webby bashfully looked away at Kirby's remark. "Oh, hush! You're making me blush!"

Taranza was now shaking in fury when he realized that Kirby might now be able to get away with pure diplomacy. "Just do it, Commander Webby!" he snapped, his tone growing low. "That's an order!"

"Don't be as shallow as Taranza! You can do the right thing, Webby!" Kirby encouraged. "You were there when those bad guys tried to summon Void Termina, weren't you? It's imperative that we use the mirror so that we can prevent that from ever happening again!"

Webby looked back and forth between Kirby and Taranza, the constant tug-of-war between the two causing his head to spin. It all boiled down to a conflict of interest. Whenever he was called upon, he had adventures with Kirby, who had been the one to change his life by giving him full sentience instead of living like a normal Como. But on the other hand, Taranza had saved him and the other Comos from Haltmann Works even before he'd achieved sentience from being hit with Kirby's Friend Heart.

"Gah!" he finally cried, causing the two squabbling people to back off of him. "Give me a moment to think!"

It was at that moment that Kirby suddenly opened his mouth and began to inhale, using Webby's outburst to catch multiple of the Comos off guard. A hapless Como close to Kirby who had been loosely dangling from his thread found himself being sucked up, letting out a shriek before it went into Kirby's mouth. Kirby then swallowed the Como, smirking as he gained a Copy Ability.

"What!?" Taranza gaped as a carbon copy of Webby's hat materialized atop of Kirby's head. "Si-since when do you Comos give Copy Abilities!?" he grasped his horns in a mixture of surprise from the newfound knowledge and horror when he realized that his Comos had now lost the advantage in numbers that they had before.

"Ahem! Do I look like a normal Como to you?" Webby cried indignantly at Taranza's comment, pointing his six outer legs inwards towards himself as if to say, 'Look at me carefully, ya' nitwit!'

Taranza appeared confused by Webby's annoyance. "Uh, besides the fancy hat, you look pretty much like all the other Comos to me," he admitted, his words only succeeding in making the chieftain Como even more agitated.

"Hello!?" Webby protested as he spun a web. "Can the others pull off an attack like this?" he asked as the Como jumped on his handiwork and proceeded to repeatedly bounce up and down by using the stretchy web like a trampoline.

"Your commander's absolutely right, you know? Webby's hat should have been your big hint that Comos do indeed give Copy Abilities, Taranza." As the two arguing arachnids turned around, the puffball then gave them a jovial wave accompanied with a sneaky wink. "But since you've been in the dark 'till now… I hope you'll allow me the honors of doing the introductions!" Kirby pumped his fist with vigor in his eyes as he smiled from ear to ear at the worried Comos. "Say hello to the Spider Ability!" he announced.

"T-The Spider Ability?" Taranza tilted his head to one side in curiosity. In spite of his current predicament as Spider Kirby looked set to turn the tides against the Floralian and his men, Taranza couldn't help but let a sappy grin cross his face at the thought of a power that seemed to complement his species. "You know, that actually sounds like a really neat power to have!" he gushed.

"That's right, Taranza! To be honest, I had a sneaky little suspicion that you would like this ability," Spider Kirby winked at Taranza's praise. "So how about if I demonstrate to you how it works?"

Taranza's eyes widened at Kirby's proposal. Even Webby could tell that Kirby's innocuous offer would not end well for them. "No, no, don't!" they yelled in unison.

But the puffball had already gone on ahead, immediately taking the opportunity to use his power. The puffball clenched his eyes shut as he charged up, before extending his arms out in an attention-grabbing gesture as a giant silk web suddenly spawned from all around Spider Kirby's body. Several of the Comos who were dangling close to Kirby ended up being in the web's range and was immediately ensnared by his attack, ending up encased in pods of silk webbing.

"This is the Net Work attack," Spider Kirby explained, giving an innocent gesture to the multiple struggling Comos who were ironically trapped in his sticky web. "It basically traps anything in this giant web and turns them into pods—"

"All right, that's it! This lesson is now over!" Taranza declared, pushing his right-hand Como aside. "Comos! Attack Kirby now!" he ordered with a snarl.

As the eyes of the Comos that surrounded Kirby turned predatory, Kirby's own eyes glinted at the challenge. He turned to the shivering Bandana Dee to reassure his friend that everything was going to be fine, before jumping up and knocking away one of the captured Comos who was stuck in a pod with his arm. The impact detached the silk pod from the giant web and sent it flying. "—which I can then use as a projectile attack!" Kirby proceeded to holler, finishing his earlier sentence as he prepared himself to watch complete and utter devastation unfold.

All of Taranza's eyes widened as the pod hit a nearby Como, the force of which quickly caused the Como who was hit to swing out of his original position. As the Como flew away, he realized with horror exactly what Kirby had just done.

The Como that had been hit by the pod still had its silk thread attached to its stinger on one end… and unfortunately, the origin of its thread was all the way at the top of the palace ceiling dome. Worse still, the centrifugal force exerted by the pod caused the resultant arc of the flying Como to be circular. This meant that although the Como was being flung away from the formation, its finite thread and the centrifugal force would cause it to loop around the entire formation as it swung around in an arc back towards the middle, its flight path similar to that of a spun top slowly moving closer to the center of a concave arena.

And since Spider Kirby had knocked around one of the innermost Comos, its flight path as it swung out would eventually would pull it back in towards the others, but not before his web slammed into a good ninety percent of the others, throwing the whole formation out of whack. Far too late did Taranza realize that his entire army was about to end up entangled together, trapped in an ironic fashion by their very own weapons — their sheer numbers and the stickiness of their webbings.

The result was absolute chaos. Comos frantically tried to dodge up to avoid getting hit by the wayward Como, their own panic causing them to shake out of formation and hitting other Comos and their silk threads, causing them to get themselves trapped and entangled anyway. Eventually, everything was entrapped in a massive ball of silk threads and Comos.

"You see, Dee? Numbers isn't everything. Taranza shouldn't have bragged about having one hundred Comos," Kirby commented as he watched the chaos unfold from their safe spot, which was ironically the very place they had trapped him in — the middle of the arena. "An army of one hundred Comos means one hundred threads of thick, sticky web. All it takes is for one of them to be desynchronized from the others… and the result would be like having one hundred pairs of tangled headphone wires. It would be virtually impossible to untangle and pull apart."

"I want out of this lecture…" Taranza meeped as he saw all of his servants getting destroyed by a single move.

"…yeah, I saw that coming." Webby finally muttered, although the three widened eyes that the Como had on his face as he stared at the carnage that used to be all of his friends seemed to imply the opposite instead.

"Now, if you excuse me, I have a mirror to tend to!" Spider Kirby said with a smile that made it seem as though he hadn't just defeated a hundred Comos with a chain reaction.

"Nooooooo!" Taranza yelled, pitching his body forward and rapidly swooping in a downwards arc to try and overtake Kirby before he could unveil the mirror.

Kirby dropped the Ability Star, inhaling it in and spitting it out at Taranza. The shot hit him right in the helmet, disorienting the arachnid. Kirby grinned as the shot connected, seizing his chance by dashing towards the Dimension Mirror. He then reached for the cloth covering the mirror surface with his right hand.

…until he found that both of his hands were suddenly tied up in silk string. "Webby?" Kirby widened his eyes, turning back towards the Como. "What are you doing!?"

"I was going to go along with you since your point about Void Termina made more sense. But now look at what you've done!" Webby turned towards the mess of unconscious Comos. "You hurt all my friends just so that you could get a shot at this! Is this what you'll resort to just to get the Dimension Mirror!?"

Kirby frantically shook his head at his friend. "No! That's not exactly true…" he tried to deny. Truth be told, he hadn't considered how Webby would react, forgetting that Taranza had put him in charge of all the Comos that he'd just beaten up.

"Don't lie to me! You totally didn't care about them when you did that attack! Admit it!" Webby yelled over the disheartened Kirby, his voice cracking slightly. "And now you've gotta pay the price! I can't just let you off scot-free after hurting my friends and family, Kirby!"

"Hahaha! Good on you, Commander Webby! It's nice to see where your loyalties lie!"

Kirby winced when he saw that Taranza had recovered from the earlier shot. This was not how he had wanted things to go. He had dropped the Spider Ability because he'd assumed that Webby would be on his side and so he used the star as a long-range projectile that the Spider Ability could not provide. After all, he thought that he only needed to stop Taranza for long enough to get into the mirror. Only now did he realized that he might have been a little too hasty there.

As he hung his head in defeat as two angry spiders approached him, he suddenly noticed Bandana Dee behind them, waving his arms to catch his attention.

Taranza grabbed the captured Kirby, holding the kicking puffball up with his hands. "So, do you have any last words before I throw you off of Floralia?" he snarled as he lifted the tied-up Kirby up to his face.

"Yes, only one…" Kirby strained his vision to look at Bandana Dee. Once he felt that the mirror was literally just behind his back, he yelled at Dee. "NOW!"

At Kirby's exclamation, Bandana Dee flung his spear into the air. It flew between Taranza and Webby and proceeded to slice the web that was trapping the puffball. Before Taranza could even react, Kirby whipped off the cloth covering the mirror and touched the reflective surface, feeling himself getting sucked in the instant he did so.

"Nooooooo!" Taranza yelled as he felt himself being pulled in as well due to his proximity. He turned away, scratching the mirror surface with one of his sharp horns in the process, and tried to float as hard as he could to resist the force. When it proved too hard to resist, he then used one of his hands to grab the nearby Webby.

"Hey! Let go of me!" Webby yelped, shooting out a thread of web to avoid getting sucked in as well. Unfortunately, the web he shot at wasn't to a pillar or any sturdy object, but rather the lightweight Bandana Dee. As a result, all four of them were sucked into the Dimension Mirror before they could escape.

As Kirby hurtled through a mess of colors, he found himself spat out on the other end. It looked like he had made it to… the Mirror World?

Hey! This isn't the Mirror World! Since when did the Dimension Mirror lead into outer space?

A confused Kirby looked around to see an unconscious Taranza, Webby and Bandana Dee stuck floating about in the cold, harsh vacuum of space.

And yet, he could see their chests slowly rising, showing that everyone was breathing perfectly fine even in space. Kirby had always found this phenomenon weird. Even the first time that he'd been launched into space was no exception. He remembered the whole incident with some fondness.

"Wh-what is that weird ball thingy!?" A younger him had asked King Dedede in a concerned voice after it turned out that reactivating the Fountain of Dreams seemed to have unintentionally caused a dark orb to appear as well. The king simply gave a wordless grimace in response, before sucking the puffball in without any prior warning and proceeding to shoot him up to the stars.

"Dededeeeeee!" Kirby remembered yelling at the king, who had a mix between a worried and smug look on his face, as he proceeded to soar higher and higher until the blue sky became black and the stars became clear.

Kirby could still vividly remember the panic he had felt as he was flung high into the stratosphere. Upon realizing just how high he was, he had panically gasped for air as he flailed about with the weapon in his hand. But surprisingly, after he finally couldn't hold his breath any longer, Kirby found that he had been able to breathe even without oxygen. Asphyxiating ended up being less of a threat compared to the sentient ball of darkness that he consequently had to face off against.

A bright flash of yellow interrupted his train of thought. Kirby strained his head and turned towards the sight as yellow began to fill his entire vision. As he focused, he realized that what he was looking at was a very familiar yellow star-shaped planet, with two rings orbiting around it.

Kirby shook his head, unable to comprehend the sight that he was witnessing. It looked as though today was the universe's "Mess with Kirby's suspension of disbelief" day. He'd already been hit by a bombshell with the whole Gooey thing, and now this? The last time he had entered the Dimension Mirror, all that was there were mere ruins. But since fate was being an ironic mistress this time…

"Pl-Planet Popstar?" Kirby found himself uttering in disbelief. "How can the Dimension Mirror possibly lead me to another Planet Popstar?"


Author's Note:

When it comes to modern Kirby games, from my experience Star Allies has turned out to be a rather mixed bag. While that game certainly has its perks, Planet Robobot is still my favorite of the four modern platformers when it comes to single-player goodness. However, going for a multiplayer experience definitely pushes KSA up the scale… which is hence also the reason that I'm going to try to write in the titular Helpers/Friends in as characters for this story!

I'm giving Como a shot with this chapter since the Spider Ability is one of my favorite newcomer abilities in Star Allies. I'm not really sure how receptive you all will be about this individual Friend characterization approach, but please do give me feedback on this and I'll see what I can do.

Also, you might have guessed this from previous chapter notes, but according to my original plans, this chapter was supposed to be the second chapter of this story. But can you imagine going from the end of the first chapter to about roughly the start of this chapter with barely any explanation? Yeah, well neither can I. It would have been just way too rushed, and I would rather take my time to write a good chapter rather than rush out a hastily written chapter.

Still, I know all of you have been waiting on the gameverse and the crossover portion of the story for quite a while, so here's a slightly longer chapter compared to the last few to compensate. I hope that it has managed to achieve its aim and satisfy your thirst. Until next time!

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Two Planet Popstars?

"Pl-Planet Popstar? How can the Dimension Mirror lead me to another Planet Popstar!?"

It was a perfectly legitimate question, and yet Kirby himself didn't know the answer to that. Because frankly, it was impossible. The whole thing made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

But the proof was right there, in front of Kirby's very own two eyes — directly below his feet was a carbon copy of his home planet, Popstar itself!

The small pink puffball knew that this wasn't his own Planet Popstar as it slightly differed from the one he knew. Even from this high up, he could tell that this Popstar had lesser areas of interest as everything appeared to be congregated around the center of the planet, close to the general area where he knew Dream Land to be.

And since Kirby knew that this wasn't the Mirror World either, as that place vastly differed in appearance, it begged the obvious question — just where exactly did the Dimension Mirror take him, and why was there a second Planet Popstar there?

"Ugghhhhhh! Kirby, you sneaky little… ngh, my aching head!"

Hearing a raspy voice call out to him (how were longitudinal sound waves able to travel in the vacuum of outer space anyway? The answer was probably another mystery for the ages, it would seem), Kirby turned his body around, only to realize that an exhausted looking Taranza had also regained consciousness, the arachnid groggily readjusting his helmet as he slowly focused his eyes on Kirby.

"Uhh… I'm sorry for this." Kirby apologized upon seeing the Floralian so disorientated. "I didn't mean for you to get sucked in here too, Taranza." The puffball nervously chuckled, scratching the top of his round head. "It's just that, well, you and Webby totally got me cornered, so I had to do something, y'know?" he hastily said in an attempt to justify his actions.

However, Kirby's bid to diffuse the situation hadn't been needed since Taranza didn't even bother to retaliate, the spider too exhausted to do so. After rubbing his eyes a few more times to get himself used to the sudden light, Taranza was finally able to formulate a sentence that came sort of close to some semblance of a coherent reply. "You… you… hahahah!" His eyes glazed over as he began to ramble in a discombobulated tone, "Ah, Kirby… you never did let me finish reciting the legend, did you?"

Kirby frowned as he saw Taranza point his finger upwards in a dazed manner. He looked completely out of it, looking so dizzy that it was almost like he'd just stepped off of an insanely wild rollercoaster ride.

Though eventually, Taranza recovered enough to speak again. With a cough, he began to talk, "To be honest, when I looked up the details regarding the Dimension Mirror after managing to snatch it the second time, I was already well aware of this possibility. But I dismissed it, thinking the whole thing to be absurd. Never in a million years did I imagine it to be true after all!" The Floralian then performed a loop-de-loop, spinning around crazily as he continually floated about in outer space. "Heeheehee!" he giggled excitedly, in a relatively high-pitched tone compared to his usual collected voice.

A confused Kirby furrowed his brow at Taranza's words and more importantly, his questionable actions. "Are you drunk?" was Kirby's immediate response, before he realized how stupid the question was and tried to get through to Taranza with a second, more logical one. "Hey, Taranza!" Kirby repeatedly waved his arms in front of the spider's eyes to try and get an instinctive response out of him. "Is the lack of oxygen causing you to suffer from hypoxemia?"

"Hahahah!" Taranza waved his hands at Kirby dismissively. "Like we need to use oxygen to breathe! You of all people should know this, Kirby!"

Kirby found that he had no choice but to nod his head and simply accept Taranza's explanation. It wasn't as though he could come up with a suitable alternative.

"The reason I'm so excited is because you've broke me, Kirby! After acquiring this mirror for so long, not once did I ever think I could see the day where it would actually work!"

"What do you mean, work?" Kirby prodded, beginning to look worried. Taranza seemed awfully enthusiastic for someone who had been sucked into the mirror very much against his will. "This thing totally malfunctioned! It's supposed to take me to the Mirror World! That's where Void Termina is supposed to be—"

"Beep, beep!" Taranza made a buzzing noise not too dissimilar to the ones heard in game shows. "You've got it all mixed up," he said, proceeding to blow a raspberry to show Kirby that his hypothesis was incorrect. "It's the opposite of what you'd just said! The Mirror World was never meant to exist in the first place!"

Kirby stared at Taranza as though the arachnid had gone mad. "What."

"But it's the truth! The Mirror World is nothing but a sham!" Taranza insisted, although his delivery of the words made it really hard for Kirby to tell if he was being serious or if his personal bias was doing the talking for him. The spider then used his arms to propel himself forward, allowing him to gesture down to Planet Popstar below. "After all, why else would that wretched mirror be called the Dimension Mirror if it wasn't able to let the user transverse dimensions?"

"We-e-lll," Kirby drawled, "Isn't that a surprise?" Taranza shot Kirby a dirty look when he caught the obvious sarcasm in his curt reply. "But still," the puffball continued, "your theory doesn't explain anything about why the Mirror World isn't here—"

"Oh yes it does!" Taranza yelled, before turning his body to gaze at the planet of Popstar down below. "Planet Popstar being below my stinger proves it!"

Kirby's jaw dropped. "You mean you know the reason as to why there's a second Planet Popstar down over there?" he asked enthusiastically. If Taranza knew more about the mirror than he initially let on, then perhaps he had an explanation to this craziness.

"Actually…" he started before trailing off. "Um, no."

Taranza's admission of also being in the dark caused Kirby to facepalm. Seeing Kirby's reaction, the spider quickly appended another sentence onto the end of his remark so that the puffball wouldn't shut out his subsequent words, "But even though I'm not certain, I do have an idea as to why there is another Popstar."

"Then what is it?" Kirby glanced at him impatiently. "C'mon Taranza, spill it!" he pouted with a whine.

"Teeheehee! If you insist!" Taranza grinned. "Surely you must know that this mirror is special, right? Well, when I first laid my eyes on this mirror, I was informed by the tour guide that this mirror could be used as a portal to other worlds, although according to her, that functionality had never worked the whole time it was in her possession."

"Her possession? What are you even talking about?" Kirby cocked his head. "Didn't you say that you had found it in a barren iceland?" Kirby quipped, pointing out the hole in his logic. "Saying that the place is barren implies that it's deserted, don't you? So how can there be a tour guide who owns it? That completely contradicts what you told me back at Floralia!"

"That's elementary, Kirby. I said that I found the mirror there… but I didn't say that the frozen wasteland was where I had first laid my eyes on it, now did I?"

"Okay, I'll give you that," Kirby conceded. "But then how did it get all the way to this 'barren wasteland', especially if someone had been in possession of the Dimension Mirror before you?"

Taranza let out a small snicker, glancing back at the mirror that was floating in space behind them. "Let's just say that there was a little robbery involved…"

"You stole it!?" Kirby stared at Taranza, his jaw dropping. A swirl of emotions ran through the puffball's head, especially since he hadn't been privy to this information in the slightest. All he had known before was what he had found out from Dedede — that the former ruler of Floralia, a maniacal queen by the name of Sectonia, had gotten the mirror from Taranza, her loyal servant.

But Kirby slowly realized with a sinking feeling in his gut that he'd never actually found out where Taranza had gotten the mirror from in the first place. And now, it appeared that the ugly truth was finally coming to light.

"Uh-nuh!" Taranza waved his hands in denial. "I went ahead and commissioned a third party to steal it for my queen. There is a difference there," he said as he wagged a finger.

"It's the same thing!" Kirby literally shouted into Taranza's stubborn face. "The fact of the matter is that the mirror was never even yours to begin with!"

"Well, it's mine now, and I fully intend to keep it that way. Nyheehehe!" Taranza chuckled darkly.

"You…" Kirby growled. He really didn't want to get angry at Taranza. The arachnid really wasn't really that bad on the scale when it came to his list of former redeemable villains.

"But back to the topic at hand, shall we?" Taranza turned his back to Popstar to give his full attention to the end of the Dimension Mirror they had been spat out of, "You're asking me how the original owner of the mirror knew about this legend? Well, she told me that she had come across the knowledge while reading books from the library."

"Why must it always be an ancient library?" Kirby asked with a snarky tone, folding his arms with a smirk. "Isn't that a cliché in of itself?"

"Hey, shut up!" An annoyed Taranza glowered at Kirby. "It may be a cliché, but it's exactly what happened, so stop trying to play a fool and listen carefully to what I have to say."

"Still, isn't it ironic that hidden in an ancient library, there lay notes that revealed all about the mirror?"

Taranza slapped his forehead as Kirby continued to triumph him in verbal battle. "I'm warning you to be quiet! Sure, I don't know who wrote down the legend in the book. It doesn't matter to me. In fact, it could have been word-of-mouth for all I care. But what I can safely say is that this mirror's true purpose was to be a portal between two locations, evidently our Popstar and this one, it would appear." He kicked forward to propel himself closer to the mirror, caressing the brass frame with one of his hands. "Of course, I didn't believe that until the mirror had possessed my liege, so afterwards I made a trip back to that same library and kindly asked the original owner to give me another tour so that I could see the book for myself…"

"Wait, wait, wait! Hold up a minute!" Kirby waved his stubby arms repeatedly. "You had the guts to go back to the place you stole the mirror from and ask the original owner for a favor?"

Taranza lifted up a finger to silence the rambling Kirby. "Well, I did commission someone else to steal it, first of all. She wouldn't suspect me to be the mastermind, now would she?" He then lifted another finger. "And second of all, she didn't seem too bothered by her loss. Would you believe that she somehow still thought that the mirror was safe and sound? What naïveté!"

"Hey! Maybe she's just unobservant…" Kirby said, trailing off when he realized that Taranza had a point. Whoever used to own the mirror should have noticed its disappearance… unless they were a total ditz.

"Whatever! Maybe she's too caught up in her duties to care about a mere mirror. Her loss, because that book says exactly what I told you before in Floralia! There is a curse placed as a safeguard so that the portal won't work unless one pure of heart dispels it." Taranza then fleetingly let go of the brass, pastel-like mirror frame and hovered over to Kirby. "Quite evidently, you, it would seem."

Kirby opened his mouth and let out an indignant snort. "I think you might have left out about a few dozen words when you explained it the first time!" Despite his words, Kirby had said the complaint in jest. He now had what he wanted — clarity. Taranza's verbal confirmation that the Dimension Mirror worked as a portal to this new "alternate universe" was the clincher that explained everything. When Zan mentioned that she suspected that Void Termina had been reborn in some other location and just so happened to bring up the Dimension Mirror a few sentences later, Kirby's instinctive response was that Void Termina had been reborn in the Mirror World. But now that it was apparent that the Mirror World had completely vanished, and this was in its place, Kirby's thoughts led down to one logical point.

If what Taranza is spewing out really is the truth after all, and if Gooey really does track Void Termina and managed to lead Zan to the Dimension Mirror, then that means… Void Termina must be somewhere around here! Kirby glanced down at the star-shaped planet that covered one-third of his visual range. Namely, this universe's Planet Popstar!

Without any signal, Taranza suddenly grabbed ahold of Kirby, almost as though the Floralian spider could sense his thoughts. "Oh no you don't! I'm not blind, I can see your eyes hovering longingly down towards Popstar. But that's a terrible idea, my dear hero of the lower world," Taranza said Kirby's full title out loud, emphasizing the last two words just to make an ironic jab at the fact that Planet Popstar was currently "under" them.

"Let me go, Taranza!" Kirby struggled to squirm free from Taranza's grip. Why did he have to have so many hands?

Taranza held a firm grip as he continued to speak. "Despite the marvel of it all and the natural curiosity you must have at the sheer thought of accessing a new place like this, you have to think of this as a forbidden treasure!" He raised his voice, "In the end, this isn't our world! We are aliens to their culture and civilization. You and I have no right to interfere in this planet's affairs!"

"Whyever not?" Kirby shot back. "I'd visited all sorts of planets teeming with all varieties of life all across Gamble Galaxy! From the dangerous Planet Halfmoon to the au naturel Neo Star—"

"Neo Star is mostly uninhabited." Taranza cut in with a smirk. "What life are you speaking of?"

"Yeah, yeah." Kirby managed to free one of his hands from Taranza's grip and immediately waved it at Taranza to shoo him off. "My point is; this is Popstar we're talking about here. Unlike Shiver Star or Candy Constellation, I know Planet Popstar like the back of my hand! That's why I think that a second Popstar in some alternate universe would certainly be fun to explore—"

"And that's precisely why I won't let you." Taranza announced, letting go of Kirby to smugly fold all three pairs of his arms. "Visiting different planets all around the galaxy is one thing, but if the Dimension Mirror legend is true, then this is completely new ground, untreaded by a single soul from our entire universe!" He gestured down towards Popstar, speaking with a tinge of fear in his voice, "To put it simply, this world is foreign to us! You won't know who lives down there. It's imperative that we don't disrupt their daily lives or let them have the slightest hint of our existence!"

Kirby placed his hands to his chin, his mind pondering on Taranza's words. Despite everything, what Taranza had said did make sense. Kirby himself hadn't exactly found it very pleasant whenever a new force alien to Popstar arrived and immediately caused chaos to the natural order of things. Dark Matter, Haltmann Works, the list went on and on. He filed that thought away, deciding that he would keep that specific argument in consideration.

"I hate to admit it, but Taranza's actually right here! You've got to control your curiosity, Kirby!"

Kirby turned his head to his left, surprised to hear that trusty ol' Bandana Dee was the one who had spoken up. "Ah, Bandana!" Kirby grinned, "You've regained consciousness!" If Dee had voiced his opinion on the whole 'new universe' thing, then evidently he had been awake for quite a bit and Kirby just hadn't noticed, too absorbed in his conversation with Taranza.

"That's right! You can always count on Bandana!" Bandana Dee grinned with a wide smile, cheering happily as he lifted both arms in the air. However, his face fell as he did so, realizing that something very precious to him was missing from his right hand. "Oh no!" he cried. "My spear! It's gone!"

Kirby sheepishly rubbed his head, shooting his friend an apologetic look. "Uh, oops… sorry, Dee!" he gave Bandana an apology when he realized exactly where Bandana's trusty weapon was — back in Floralia's palace. It soon became clear to the disheartened Bandana Dee that his spear must not have been sucked in with them after he had thrown it from his grip earlier to break Kirby free of his web prison.

"Ah, sorry for your loss." Taranza raised his head in acknowledgement of Bandana's lost spear. "But spear or not, it's nice to see you've joined the party." He moved over to Webby and proceeded to shake the Como vigorously. "Hey, wakey wakey! You're the last one up, commander!"

Webby groaned as he blinked his eyes, glancing over and finding himself floating in space. "I missed a lot when I slept, didn't I?" he asked in a deadpan voice. It had a rasp in it, one that screamed "how and when did I get into bloomin' outer space!?"

His query was duly ignored as Kirby suddenly broke the silence with a new sentence. "That's what this is all about, isn't it!?" Kirby accused, folding his arms at Taranza. "It has nothing to do with the inhabitants. You're just upset that the Dimension Mirror works for me!"

"Of course I am!" Taranza growled, his anger evident from the tone of his voice alone. "That blasted thing ruined my life and set the progress of the Kingdom of Floralia back by at least a decade! There's no way am I going to let some random copy of Popstar benefit off of it when that exact same artifact cost me everything!"

"Aren't you just simply being selfish then!?" Kirby glowered, finally realizing why Taranza was being so hard-up on the issue. "This isn't only about you, Taranza! There are thousands, no, possibly millions at risk if Void Termina runs loose in this place!"

"Shut up!" Taranza yelled, his voice cracking. Kirby held back from escalating their argument further when he saw that a single tear had formed near the corner of Taranza's eyes. "The people of this Popstar must have their own heroes to help them with this threat!" he continued to howl, "They don't need you, Kirby!"

"Yes, they do!" Kirby stubbornly held his head high. "Void Termina isn't really a pushover, you know?

"I don't care!" Taranza shook his head vehemently. "They don't deserve an easy way out of this situation! It's their problem, not yours!"

"They need me!"

"No, they don't!" The Floralian screamed, blinking his eyes to clear away his brazen tears. "If you interfere, it's the Dimension Mirror that is the true catalyst! So you tell me, Kirby! Tell me why they should leech off the same mirror that utterly ruined both me and Queen Sectonia? Tell. Me. WHY!?" The inconsolable Taranza then charged forward without warning, ramming straight into the others. Even a startled Webby wasn't spared from the onslaught.

But unfortunately for everyone involved, Taranza wasn't thinking straight and had thus miscalculated the extent of his attack. The slam only succeeded in throwing the group forward and into the range of Popstar's gravitational field. Slowly but surely, the four found themselves being drawn in by the planet's gravity. Without a Warp Star to allow for smooth sailing down to the planet below, the re-entry into Popstar's atmosphere ended up being much rougher for the four falling people.

"Oh no!" Bandana yelled to a tumbling Kirby as his vision started to be tinted red from the atmospheric friction. "Listen to me!" he advised, "We have to hold on to each other or else we'll be separated—"

Unfortunately, his warning came a little too late to be of use. With a series of yells, all four of them became surrounded by heat and began to pick up speed, making it near impossible for any one of the four to grab onto another.

To anyone who was watching the skies from below, they would be able to see four distinct streaks of light hurtling down towards Popstar in various different directions. The unusual sight certainly had its audience from the people situated firmly on the ground.

"Hey, look!" Chef Kawasaki exclaimed, pointing up to the sky as he stood outside his restaurant. "Everybody, it's a meteor shower!" Hearing Kawasaki's proclamation, three young Cappy children excitedly gazed up at the sky.

"Made a wish on the falling star yet?" one of the boys turned to the other two by his side. "Honey? Iroo?"

The shorter boy gave a thumbs-up, a mischievous grin firmly on his face. "Way ahead of you there, Hohhe."

"So what did you wish for, Iroo?" the lone girl tapped Iroo's shoulder to ask out of curiosity.

"Haha! I'm not telling!" he continued to grin. "It's a secret!"


Kirby groggily blinked his eyes open as he slowly crawled out of the crater that he was lodged in. He groaned and clutched his head, feeling pain ripple through his body. That had certainly not been one of his smoother landings.

He tentatively gazed around, only to see that the area he had landed in was devoid of anything but trees. It was for the better in his opinion, since Kirby would have been very embarrassed if anyone had witnessed his ungraceful crash landing. He then proceeded to walk around aimlessly, completely lost. The landmarks around this Planet Popstar wasn't anything close to his home's. Only after close to a half hour later did Kirby manage to exit the thick vegetation of the forest and was greeted with a sight that excited him.

Civilization.

Glad to finally see some sort of life after walking through the empty forest, Kirby quickly ran towards the small little town. He slowed down as the dirt footpath below him turned into a road made from cobblestone. Kirby had to blink as he took in the sight ahead of him — a small town. Although Kirby was sure that the native Dream Landers to this Popstar took this town for granted, he certainly didn't. It wasn't common for Kirby to see industrial development back in his Dream Land. Brick and mortar were uncommon sights to the puffball, as almost every significant area on Popstar were natural landscapes, with the most developed area in all of Dream Land being King Dedede's castle, the place made entirely by hand from good old-fashioned cream yellow bricks.

This was probably the reason why the Robobot invasion had caught Kirby so off-guard. Although he'd seen highly advanced mechanical areas before like Planet Mekkai, Egg Engines, or the factories in Shiver Star, those locales were all on other planets, far away from Popstar. With the notable exception of Meta Knight's flying Battleship Halberd, never before the Robobot invasion had Kirby ever seen so much mechanical development on Popstar itself. He could still remember waking up after a nap to find metal machinery everywhere, and his distinct shock at seeing Dream Land's beautiful grass and natural scenery turned to cold steel, with small bricked towns and bustling casinos littering the landscape.

In fact, the more he thought back to his recent antics, the more he recognized that the Robobot invasion stood out amongst the others. The Lor Starcutter crash basically boiled down to him and his group of friends doing a favor to the ship's captain before he backstabbed the four of them. Taranza kidnapping King Dedede and taking him up to Floralia hadn't really affected anyone outside of Castle Dedede. And while the Jambastion Cult's failed ritual had brainwashed a minority of Popstar, the Friend Hearts put an easy stop to that, with their space station falling quickly after.

But President Haltmann, the CEO of the eponymously named Haltmann Works Company, had went up and beyond Kirby's previous foes by changing the entire topography of his beloved Planet Popstar, arguably making his entire company one of the most personal threats that he had to face in years. The whole thing was an eye-opening experience that he wasn't going to forget in a hurry, with the hero of Dream Land reflecting that it had certainly been one of the more threatening ones when it came to his latest adventures.

And now, the relatively bustling town of this Dream Land was bringing back some minor vibes of that incident from six months ago. If this had been his own Dream Land, then this town he was currently standing in right now would probably be a forest instead, with Bronto Burts and a few other inhabitants taking shelter under trees or in caves. So for there to be actual houses and buildings was definitely a surprise for Kirby. From his initial impression up in outer space, he could say that he definitely hadn't expected for this place to be more developed compared to his home world.

"Hey look, everyone! It's Kirby, the Star Warrior!"

Kirby was in the middle of his stroll along the street when he found himself shaken out of his deep thoughts by the sudden yell that called everyone's attention to him. The puffball was then stunned to find a whole slew of people coming out of the nearby stores and shops, walking onto the street to greet him.

"Why hello there, Kirby!"

"Congratulations on defeating the second horrific monster to threaten Dream Land in a week! What will we ever do without you?"

Kirby simply nodded in acknowledgement, maintaining his pace as many of the townsfolk greeted him.

"It looks like Cappy Town is in your debt again, Kirby." At that specific sentence, Kirby stopped his walking and proceeded to look up, his eyes peering closely at the person who had said those words, an older middle-aged man wearing a brown coat.

It couldn't be… and yet, the answer was right in front of him. After all, the name of the village was Cappy Town.

Now turning his head all around to take a closer look at all of the townsfolk who were gathered around him, Kirby suddenly came to the realization that they were indeed Cappies! Initially, he hadn't realized the uncanny resemblance between the villagers and the Cappies he knew due to the fact that they all lacked the standard mushroom hat that he'd come to associate with the species.

Kirby couldn't believe that it was so obvious in retrospect. Why hadn't he noticed the general anatomy of the villagers? He eventually came to the conclusion that it was because he was used to Popstar having multiple different species. Of the whole melting pot, Cappies had never stood out among the various races, having barely any outstanding qualities or features. Heck, swallowing them didn't even give him a Copy Ability!

But disregarding the fact that the dominant race of the town here appeared to be the Cappies, it still felt unnatural for Kirby to have all of this attention heaped upon him. Although Kirby was famous as Dream Land's hero back on his own Popstar, he had almost never received this sort of unilateral praise from the citizens in the past. Not that the humble hero minded, of course, but the bashful Kirby soon found his cheeks growing red when more and more cheering and hooting Cappies surrounded him in a tight circle like he was an intergalactic celebrity.

Eventually though, the villagers got a bit too rowdy for Kirby's liking. Instead of walking, he chose to jump up into the air and floated up, out of reach of the crowd below.

"Aw! I think we made Kirby mad!" a Cappy said sadly.

"Kirby!" The flustered yell made Kirby look down, causing him to be mildly amused when he recognized Chef Kawasaki, of all people. "Don't forget that I have a special discount off my restaurant dish!"

The puffball filed that important information away in his head as he landed on a rooftop that was out of the villager's sight. Finally, Kirby heaved a sigh of relief. He hadn't expected for his first meeting with the inhabitants of this Planet Popstar to take so much out of him. Some peace and quiet at last…

"Hey, junior!"

The sudden loud voice caused Kirby to jump back while mentally hitting himself for jinxing the situation with his inner thoughts. Looking around to find the source of the voice, Kirby then caught sight of a small yellow bird. As they made eye contact, the bird immediately flew down, flapping his wings in a constant rhythm to maintain his flight position at a distance that was stupidly close to Kirby's face. It was so close that he seemed a lot bigger than he really was. If Kirby were to reach his hand out, he could literally poke the flying bird. "You were stupidly hard to find, you know?" the bird said in a nasally voice, "Where were you hiding at, ya' jughead?"

The yellow bird bore a resemblance to his friend Pitch, being just as small as the green parakeet. However, the visual similarities were all that the two shared, because it quickly became clear to Kirby that this bird's temperament was the complete opposite of his friend's.

"Hey, listen to me when I'm talking to you here!" the bird said at a speed that was about as rapid as how quickly he was flapping his wings up and down. "Hey! Don't you ignore me, junior!" he yelled as Kirby decided that he wasn't going to dignify the bird with a response and turned around so that he could find some other part of the town to explore—

"Yow!" Kirby winced, rubbing his back when he felt a sharp, piercing blow to that area. Now very annoyed, the puffball whirled around and glared daggers at the bird. Surprisingly, the bird didn't even flinch when he was confronted for his rude gesture, with Kirby blinking his eyes in disbelief when it appeared that he was even gloating a little. "Glad to have finally gotten your attention now, junior!" he said in a highly sarcastic tone. "Geez, I sometimes wonder if your attention span is worse off than that of a young toddler…"

Kirby remained silent as the bird launched into a tirade about 'ungrateful brats', involuntarily groaning when he realized that he was likely going to be stuck here for a while.

"…anyway!" the bird raised his voice, yelling right into Kirby's ear at a volume that he swore almost injured his eardrums. "You gotta listen up, pardner! I think that you're done, mate! This bird has heard some nasty rumors that Dedede wants ya' gone for good, so you better buck up and take things seriously or else that fatso's gonna pull some stunt!"

Kirby yawned, making sure to open his mouth wide open to convey his boredom. There was nothing new, nothing special in what he'd just said. The only thing of note that the bird had said was the mention of King Dedede. Eh? So there's a different Dedede here as well? How interesting… I wonder what he's like?

"Why are you so being carefree… oh wait. You haven't heard, have you?" the bird tilted his head at a forty-five-degree angle, his eyes gleaming. "Dedede has already pulled that stunt! I've already got the exclusive scoop ahead of time, so prepare yourself! He'd already sent someone to kick your pink behind to next week!"

Kirby didn't bother to open his mouth. To say anything to the bird was to concede that he had succeeded in annoying him.

The bird raised an eyebrow when he saw that Kirby hadn't given him the slightest reaction. Either the Star Warrior was stupidly brave or stupidly foolish, and with Kirby he couldn't tell which. "Hmph! Fine!" he retorted. "Be that way! But I'm telling you, you're as dense as yesterday's dinner, bud!"

That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Kirby had struggled to remain calm throughout, forgiving the bird's incessant insults, trying to get used to his annoying voice, and even going as far as to tolerate the pecking. But no one, and Kirby meant no one, insulted his food and got away with it.

"Alright, that's it!" Kirby snapped, shooting the bird an irritated scowl in the direction he was currently flying at. "I think I've just about had it with you, little birdy!"

"What the—" The bird gaped, staring at Kirby with widened eyes as though this was the first time they'd met. "Since when were you able to speak proper English-wraghhhh!" He never had the chance to finish his remark before Kirby opened his mouth and began to suck him up. The yelling bird didn't stand a chance, disappearing into Kirby's mouth before he even had the chance to yelp a single word in protest. He then stopped his inhale attack, closing his jaw tightly shut. Kirby almost swallowed the insulting bird, before deciding otherwise at the last moment. The bird wasn't worth the Wing Ability.

Jumping off the rooftop and landing quietly back down onto the streets below, Kirby then spat the bird out like a projectile.

"Yaarrgggghhhhhh!" the bird shrieked as he was launched out of Kirby's mouth, spinning so rapidly that if any passerby had actually been in the area, all they would have seen was a blur of yellow streaking across the area like a missile covered with feathers. This continued on until the bird hit the trunk of the tree directly in the middle of the town. He slammed straight into the obstacle, causing his beak to be jammed into the bark from the sheer force of the impact.

The bird tried to speak, but to his mounting horror he found that since he couldn't open his beak, the only noises that he could make was muffled garbage. "Mmmmpphhhh!" he struggled against his restraints, using his wings to pull against the tree trunk with all of his might in an effort to pull himself free. "MMMPPPHHH!"

"Heh!" Kirby stood proudly, whistling as he admired his handiwork. "Serves that jerk right…" the puffball mumbled to himself as he saw the bird trying to pull his beak out. Kirby was normally a merciful one to enemies who were his obstacles, but he'd definitely done worse to enemies who really ruined his day. And this bird was certainly something else altogether… at least those enemies didn't instigate a verbal spar with him!

He turned his back at the pathetic sight and continued on his merry way, even as he heard the bird's muffled cries clearly getting louder and angrier. But before he could enjoy his newfound peace, another voice came into the picture, although thankfully it was much less annoying than the previous one.

"Look! The other villagers were right! Kirby really is here in Cappy Town!"

Kirby blinked in surprise as three young Cappy children, two boys and a girl, surrounded him with smiles plastered on their youthful faces.

"Bun isn't here today since Fumu dragged him off…" began the tall, lanky boy. He stood out as the only one of the three wearing a shirt on his body.

"…so we were thinking if maybe you could play with us today?" the girl beamed.

"Pretty please, Kirby?" the shorter boy who had his hair tied upwards pleaded with him. "It'll be fun, we promise!"

Kirby slowly backed away as the three kids promptly used the patented puppy-dog eyes that children loved to abuse in order to get their way. Soon enough, Kirby found his resolve crumbling, his eyes softening at the sight ahead of him. The last rational thought he had before he was unable to resist the temptation to hang out with the children was rather ironic.

I can't believe I'm putting an intergalactic threat like Void Termina aside just to play with a bunch of children from a version of Popstar that I know barely anything about. Kirby shook his head with a soft smile. But what can I do? These three kids are looking to me with faces that are just as adorable as Bandana's when he's in a down mood. I can't resist them, heh! Figured that my own weakness is the same cute, sappy looks that I give others.

With that final lament out of the way, the jolly Kirby temporarily put aside his mission, giving a hop, skip, and a jump over to the three waiting Cappy kids.

"Alright!" The Cappy with the hat pumped his fist in celebration when it looked like Kirby had accepted their proposal. "So what should we play today?" He turned his head to seek suggestions from his two friends. "Honey? Iroo?"

"Let's play tag!" the short boy who had his hair tied up, evidently named Iroo, quickly suggested.

"How about a game of hide-and-seek, Hohhe?" The only girl of the trio of kids, who Kirby quickly deduced by process of elimination was named Honey, proceeded to voice out her opinion.

"Hide-and-seek sounds like a good plan…" Hohhe, the boy wearing a shirt and a small straw hat, mumbled to himself. "Sorry, Iroo!" he apologized at shooting down the scrawny boy's suggestion, "Tag is definitely a fun game to play as a group, but it gets a little rough. You know what will happen if Kirby gets hurt in the process."

"Yeah…" Iroo grumbled, conceding to his friend. "Bun's nagging older sister would kick up a huge fuss…"

Now with the game decided, there was one final pressing matter for them to discuss. "So, which one of us wants to be the seeker?" Hohhe raised his hand to ask.

Kirby found himself very amused when he noticed that three fingers from three separate people were simultaneously pointing right at his face.

"Alright!" Iroo chuckled mischievously. "Looks like Kirby's it!"

"The rules are simple!" Honey did a little dance, twirling around before she proceeded to explain. "There's one seeker in this game, and that's you," she said while pointing to Kirby, "We three are the hiders. Our job is to hide from you, and your job is to see if you can find us within five minutes!"

Kirby smiled cheerily as they explained the rules of hide-and-seek to him. It'd been quite some time since he had the chance to act this childishly. Having a maniac constantly try and wreak havoc on Dream Land every six months on average does eventually begin to take its toll. He was actually tempted to tell them that he knew the rules for hide-and-seek, but decided to remain silent and let the Cappy children have their moment in the limelight in the end.

"Don't worry, Kirby!" Honey pat Kirby on the back to reassure him, even though he didn't actually need the support. "Hide-and-seek's a really easy game, even for someone like you! All you have to do as seeker is to count to a hundred and see if you can manage to find us!"

"Good luck!" Hohhe said as Honey skipped back towards him.

"You're going to need it," Iroo playfully hit Kirby's shoulder to show his support. "We're really good at this game!"

The trio then led Kirby out of Cappy Town towards an open grassy field. "Alright!" Iroo enthusiastically pumped his fist into the air. "This is the play area! You ready, Kirby?"

Nodding once in acknowledgement, Kirby then used his stumpy arms to cover his eyes, signaling to the kids that he understood the game and that they could begin in earnest. After counting to a hundred, Kirby uncovered his eyes and prepared to find the hiding children.

Ready or not, he thought with a snicker. Here I come!

His eyes hovered around the horizon, carefully taking in every detail to see if there were any hints as to where the others were hiding. It didn't take long at all before he spotted Hohhe, the boy's hat poking out and being a dead giveaway that he was behind the bush. With a sneaky grin on his face, Kirby tiptoed silently to Hohhe's back and tapped him on the shoulder.

"Yargh!" The unexpected physical contact caused the boy to jump up three feet into the air. He then landed back on the grass, his face scowling. "Kirby!"

But the puffball ignored him, already frantically running towards a shrub. With a savage grin on his face, he pointed at something orange. At first glance, it appeared to be a fruit growing on the bush, but on closer inspection…

"Okay! You got me, Kirby! But my earrings aren't cherries, alright?" Honey grumbled as she crawled out. Kirby then strolled off and darted his eyes all around to hunt for Iroo, letting out a triumphant chuckle when he finally spotted the sole remaining member of the trio. Walking towards a large tree, he tapped his arm on the trunk, the knocking sound proceeding an audible echo.

"Man, Kirby's no fun!" Iroo groaned as Kirby called the boy out from his hiding spot behind the tree. "Wait… he caught all of you guys too?"

"Did it within a minute, too…" Hohhe mumbled as he walked over, the disappointment all too clear on his face.

"Maybe we should reverse it. Kirby can be the hider this time, and I'll take his place as the seeker," Honey suggested, deciding to switch things up.

Kirby nodded his head. Anything was fine by him, really.

"One… two… three… four…" Honey began to count. But unlike the others who immediately ran for somewhere to hide, Kirby waited until both Iroo and Hohhe had found their hiding spot. Once he was sure that they couldn't see him, Kirby ran back in the direction of Cappy Town, letting out a dark chuckle as he found what he was looking for.

The colorful blue and pink sign affixed on the banner of the store he was standing outside of read 'Gangu's Terrific Toys'.

Kirby waltzed into the stall, immediately hiding behind aisles of toys so that the storekeeper couldn't see him. "Hello?" the apron-wearing storekeeper Gangu lifted his head at the open door, only to look confused when he saw no one at the door. He sighed and placed his hand to his forehead. "Probably another prank again…" he muttered as he sat back down.

"Not stealing, only borrowing…" Kirby whispered to ease his conscience when he realized that he didn't have this Dream Land's version of currency. But what sort of currency was a deden anyway? Just solely from the name itself, Kirby had come to the conclusion that it sounded almost like the name Dedede. That was almost 100% confirmation that this King Dedede looked to be just as self-centered as the one he knew, especially when his Dedede was more aggressive a couple of years back.

As Gangu turned his back to head on over to the storeroom, Kirby snatched a bow-and-arrow toy set from the shelves and placed it into his mouth. He then innocently strutted out of the store as though he hadn't just shoved a toy into his mouth and basically committed petty shoplifting. Before anyone could fault him for it, Kirby hurriedly swallowed the toy set, destroying the evidence and feeling himself transform into Archer Kirby in the process.

Kirby adjusted the purple felt hat, grinning at himself as he caught sight of his reflection in the glass outside the toy shop. "Ah, Archer Ability," he said as he admired his own getup. "Probably one of the best abilities I can have for this game of hide-and-seek." Immediately after he ensured that the feather in his cap was looking good, he took off, quickly dashing out of Cappy Town and back to the grassy plains that Honey was still counting down from.

"…ninety-eight, ninety-nine… one hundred!" Honey cupped her hands to her jaw, her voice echoing across the grassy plains. "Ready or not, here I come!"

Kirby simply snickered at her cute declaration. Oh, you poor sweet child… he thought to himself. The Cappy girl had no idea just what sort of mistake she'd made when she was put in the position of trying to find a Kirby who was determined to hide from others.

After five arduous minutes later, Honey had managed to snuff out both Iroo and Hohhe. But Kirby's hiding place was still an enigma, with the puffball nowhere to be seen. It eventually got to the point where Iroo and Hohhe decided to help Honey out and yet all three of them combined were still unable to locate where Kirby was. It was almost as though he'd vanished into thin air.

"Hey, Kirby! Where are you?" Honey called out.

"We get it!" Iroo said, "You're the master of hide and seek, Kirby! We give up, you can come out now!" But even the children conceding to Kirby didn't get the puffball to reappear, which greatly confused the group. Children's minds were innocent and followed a simple train of thought — if someone won a game, they would certainly brag about their victory. Hence, following that train of thought, them letting Kirby have the win should have resulted in a cheering puffball appearing from his hiding spot with a gloat, but it didn't.

"Aw, man!" Hohhe grumbled as he looked behind a large tree. "Argh, I thought Kirby would be here. Just where is he?"

Unknown to Hohhe, Kirby was actually within earshot of the boy. Archer Kirby's laughter almost gave the puffball away as he continued to hide behind the incredibly conspicuous cardboard tree that doubled as the Copy Ability's infamous Camouflage power. This unique cover had the special quirk of shielding him from the attention of just about anything. Behind the cardboard cutout, it was almost like Kirby didn't exist. Kirby himself didn't even know how and why it worked, but he continued to use it anyway because it was an awesome power to have.

While Kirby had to admit that it was certainly mischievous of him to play the children as fools by leading them on a wild goose chase to find a Kirby who would not appear unless he willingly crawled out of his cover, even a heroic figure like him accepted that to balance things out, he had to have a naughty side to him sometimes. As the final irony, he had made his hiding place as obvious as it could be, the puffball being just a meter away from Honey when she had finished counting down.

"Maybe he got tired of us and went over to eat at Kawasaki's restaurant or something?" Hohhe suggested. That was certainly very plausible when it came to Kirby. The Star Warrior's huge appetite had quickly become well-known amongst the Cappy Town residents.

"Yeah," Honey lamented, "That's the only explanation I can think of."

"Well, maybe he's hiding from me!"

Archer Kirby cringed as he recognized the new voice. Didn't I leave you stuck in a tree, he thought to himself as he groaned inwardly.

"Oh, what is it this time, Tokkori?" Iroo folded his arms, shooting the bird a skeptical look quite similar to the expression that people would give insurance agents when they were offering deals too unbelievable to be true. "It better not be something stupid again," he added.

"Of course it isn't dumb!" Tokkori squawked, taking offense at that. "Listen up, because I've got some big news for you busters!" The loud-mouthed bird, which Kirby now knew was called Tokkori, paused briefly before delivering the punchline. "Sir Meta Knight has publicly challenged the Star Warrior Kirby to a one-on-one sword duel!"

What!? Who challenged who? Archer Kirby's mind was in a whirl at the announcement. He wasn't the only one, as the kids went absolutely ecstatic, hounding Tokkori for more information.

"Are you joking, Tokkori?"

"No freaking way! How?"

"Oh my gosh! Where is it?"

Tokkori held his wings out to silence them, before answering their questions in turn. "Of course not, I don't know how, and it's at Kabu Canyon—"

Before Tokkori could say a word more, the three dashed off, leaving a furious bird hurling insults from behind as he flapped after them.

It was only then that Archer Kirby dropped his cover and followed the group. As he saw more and more Cappies heading in his general direction, he used his Camouflage ability to hide until the coast was clear before following the whole group. That tactic had worked like a charm — not a single Cappy had spotted him. Finally, it appeared that everyone had reached their combined destination. A large canyon loomed ahead of Kirby as he peered out from the cardboard tree painting.

From where he was, Archer Kirby observed that there were five people in the canyon down below. There were two young Cappies who he didn't recognize, and there was surprisingly what appeared to be Lololo and Lalala, two of Dedede's former minions who dwelled in Castle Lololo. But what drew Kirby's attention the most was a flash of pink down below.

A round, pink puffball to be exact.

To be fair, Kirby had been unconsciously prepared for this due to the fact that the Cappy Town residents had talked as if they knew him. The final proof was Tokkori talking to him earlier in a condescending tone as though the bird personally knew the puffball, even though this was the first time that they'd met. And yet, despite all of his suspicions and guesses, it was still jarring for Kirby to receive actual confirmation of his hypothesis right in front of his own two eyes.

In the valley below was the splitting image of himself… another Kirby.


A few hours earlier…

"Come on, sis!" Bun nagged her sister in the hopes that Fumu would let him go. "Today's a bright, sunny weekend! It's practically criminal to take me away from the gang now! Hohhe and the others are going to have so much fun that I'm going to miss out on! Please just let me play with them!"

"No, Bun! Set your priorities straight!" Fumu snapped at her constantly pestering brother. "We've got to deal with Tokkori and Kirby's housing problem first." She grumbled under her breath at the cause of the problem at their hands, "I really oughta let Tokkori have it for stealing the house that we all made for Kirby out from under our noses."

"But sis…" Bun whined. "Kirby's okay with the arrangement."

"It doesn't mean that I'm happy about it! As far as I'm concerned, Kirby was pressured by Tokkori to accept the trade-off at the last minute, and I don't think he looked too happy about it either. But regardless of what Kirby thinks, I for one think that he doesn't deserve to sleep out in a tree after managing to save Cappy Town from two horrible monsters!"

"But what can you possibly do about it?" Bun was getting exasperated as the boy became more and more desperate to dissuade his sister so that they could drop the matter and he could play with his friends.

Fumu huffed as she walked up to Castle Dedede's throne room. "Well, I'm going up to try and convince Dedede to let Kirby stay with us at the castle!"

"That's impossible! Dedede will never allow it! He hates Kirby to the very core!"

"Shush!" Fumu suddenly held a finger to her brother's lips. "Is that Sword and Blade over there?"

Both siblings giving the other a nod of approval, the two proceeded to sneakily follow the duo of armored knights up to Dedede's throne room. They crouched down behind the front doors after it swung shut. Fumu and Bun then inched the door open, risking a glance inside to see what was going on.

It wasn't a pretty sight.

To the two children hiding behind the door outside Dedede's throne room, saying that King Dedede was furious was the understatement of the decade. The Dream Land king looked positively livid.

And he had a perfectly sound reason for being that angry. In just a single week, the pesky Star Warrior Kirby had gone from being just a simple pest that Dedede assumed he could eradicate at any moment to being a major pain in the hind for him and Escargon. The three million deden that he had been forced to pay just to repair his castle from the collateral damage after Fire Kirby had done battle with Octacon was certainly enough to send Dedede's blood boiling.

The ruler of Dream Land knew that if he did not get rid of Kirby now, the pink hero would settle down in his kingdom and completely ruin everything. Thus, he had done everything in his power to keep Kirby from staying in Dream Land, ruining every job that he applied for and eventually resorting to sending a demon beast named Blocky after him.

But that wretched Kirby had managed to outsmart Blocky and send the heavy demon beast hurtling towards the ocean. After he lost yet another one of Holy Nightmare's demon beasts to Kirby, Dedede now knew that desperate times called for desperate measures. He was well aware that this course of action might be considered overkill by some, but to him it was a justified move of self-defense. He would not have his authority undermined any longer.

"So, do you understand what I want?" Dedede spoke, looking down at the ones in front of him.

"Yes," came a deep voice from one of his visitors.

"Hey, sis!" Bun's eyes widened at the new voice, one which came from a person who had obviously been in the room even before Sword and Blade had entered. "That sounds like Sir—"

"Shush!" Fumu shoved her finger to her brother's lip before he could blow their cover. "This doesn't sound good. Be quiet and listen," she whispered in a calm voice, even though she was anything but. Her heart rate was increasing the longer she listened on. Thankfully, Dedede was completely focused on the group that was ahead of him and didn't hear either of the two eavesdroppers.

Besides, the next sentence that was said completely changed Fumu's perspective of the situation. After she heard it, Dedede became the least of her concerns.

"But to clarify," the deep voice continued, "you want me to duel with Kirby?"

Dedede leaned back in his throne chair, letting out a huff of annoyance at his subordinate's query. "Of course. This is your chance to show your loyalty to me."

"Kirby is to be banished from the village!" Escargon piped up. "His majesty is basically saying that he doesn't want to see the little pink runt in Cappy Town any longer!"

"You pipe down, Escargon!" Dedede used his fist to clonk the over-enthusiastic snail on the head. "There's no need for ya' to speak on my behalf when I'm standing right here!" He puffed his chest out, making himself look even more self-important as Fumu rolled her eyes from her hiding spot. "I'm going to be the one that's gonna be complaining about that troublemaking Kirby, not you! That little pink punk will PAY for sending my jeep off the top of a hill, and for destroying my castle as well!"

"Hey, sis…" Bun leaned up to Fumu's ear to whisper to his sister. "Wasn't it that giant monster who destroyed it, not Kirby?" She only snorted at his query. "Don't explain the joke… actually, it doesn't matter if you do," she corrected her statement, "It'll fly over Dedede's empty head regardless."

From the slight twitch that the knight in the room exhibited, it looked as though the caped leader of the trio standing before Dedede was also incredibly tempted to tell the king that the castle being destroyed was technically his own fault, but resisted the temptation to do so at the last moment, choosing to keep his lips sealed.

But his refusal to say a word on the matter caused Dedede to look at the trio by his throne chair intently. "What's the matter, Meta Knight?" he asked as he leaned forward, focusing his attention on the masked warrior. "You seem rather… hesitant to take this job."

If the masked knight seemed to take offense from Dedede's accusation, he gave no indication of it. His voice remained calm as ever, even as he replied Dedede, "Kirby does not attack Cappy Town. I have no reason to retaliate against Kirby since I have deduced that he poses no threat to Dream Land or your rule." Meta Knight then looked up, locking his eyes directly with those of Dedede's. "But if you truly want Kirby gone, then why not simply use a demon beast from Nightmare's company?" he proposed with a low voice.

Dedede gripped the armrest of his throne chair at Meta Knight's suggestion. "Demon beast? Nightmare? Whatever are you talking about?" he nervously chuckled, a bead of sweat rolling down his forehead. "Wherever did you hear such baseless rumors? Me, having an interest in demon beasts? That's complete and utter nonsense!" he dissuaded with a casual wave of his arm.

Meta Knight's reply was blunt. "There are many around Castle Dedede that would state the exact contrary, your majesty." His eyes slowly crawled across the throne room as he continued, "There is even an urban legend that states that the demon beast delivery system is in this very room…"

"Lies and slander!" Escargon yelled over the knight, pointing furiously at him in anger. "You… you don't know just what the heck you're talking about! Such baseless accusations can ruin the great king Dedede's reputation! You are a loyal servant of King Dedede, Meta Knight! I'd expect much more befitting behavior from someone in your position and stature!"

"Baseless rumors? Slander? How very amusing that accusation truly is…" Meta Knight shot back, acting as though Dedede's right-hand man had not just interrupted him. "It's an open secret. Everyone in the entire castle knows, right down to the rank-and-file Waddle Dees."

Still leaning on the door, Bun tiptoed up to whisper to his sister regarding this new information. "Hey, sis? Did you know about this before?"

"Meta Knight's just using a figure of speech to put King Dedede in his place," Fumu shot back, although the implications and ramifications of Meta Knight's accusation continued to swim in her mind. She began to feel butterflies fluttering in her stomach.

Dedede was the one who was ordering monsters from somewhere? While it certainly explained the unusual occurrences this past week, she didn't think that Dedede would be actively responsible for such a thing. Fumu had remembered Dedede bragging about the giant octopus monster back when they'd confronted each other on the drawbridge, but not once had the king ever claimed that it was his…

…or had he? A passing remark that Fumu had initially dismissed of Dedede yelling at his trusted advisor suddenly sprang to the front of her mind with a roaring vengeance.

"But no, you just had to attack my demon beast! You've done gone and ruined everything, Waddle Doo!"

Fumu let out a gasp, monetarily forgetting that she should be keeping silent. She couldn't believe she had missed that incriminating tidbit the first time round, although to be fair she had been more focused on Kirby as well as her own safety at the time.

But still, Dedede had said it clear as day. He had called the giant octopus "my demon beast" to Captain Waddle Doo's face. Fumu had already known that King Dedede had some hand in instigating the monster to attack Kirby, but to get actual confirmation that Dedede himself had owned the octopus demon beast painted the whole matter in an entirely different light.

It basically implied that he had deliberately set the octopus demon beast upon Cappy Town to ravage the crops on purpose, for no apparent reason other than for kicks. "Grrrrr…" she clenched her fists from behind the throne room door. Her glare was so intense that if looks could kill, a laser could fire out of them and hit Dedede through the thick double-doors.

Meanwhile, Escargon was finally starting to lose his patience at Meta Knight's insolence. "How dare you talk to the great King Dedede like that!" he retorted, swinging his arms around.

"That's enough, Escargon!" Dedede got off his chair, admonishing the snail by his side. Unlike Escargon, the king knew that a direct confrontation with the stoic Meta Knight would not end in his favor. Therefore, he decided that he was going to play this debate in some other way. "Pah! There's no need to fret, Meta Knight. I won't be sending a demon beast after Kirby this time," Dedede reassured.

Just as Sword and Blade, the two henchmen by Meta Knight's side, relaxed their stances, the smug Dedede carried on and turned around the entire flow of the conversation. "But in return, you'll be the one to have the honor of defeating Kirby this time!" the king brashly declared, pointing towards the masked knight with no restraint whatsoever. As Meta Knight let out a disapproving snort, Dedede proceeded to shoot a glare at him, "What's wrong? I'm giving you the honor of doing the job yourself! Why do you look like you have some qualms with this?" His eyes narrowed as he stepped forward, "Unless you tell me that you're protecting that Kirby…"

"I am not protecting him, sire." His denial of the accusation was swift. "After all, I am your most humble servant."

Dedede reflexively reached his arm behind his robe, feeling the handle of his hammer within his grip. "Then take out your sword and attack Kirby! That's a direct order!" he barked, letting out a large smirk when he saw Meta Knight bowing down after his outburst.

The knight rested his left arm on the handle of his sword. "If that is your wish…" Meta Knight's posture turned rigid as he finished, "Then I shall obey your command, your majesty."

"Very good, Meta Knight. I expect to see an excellent duel." The king smirked as Meta Knight then turned his back to him, the knight only muttering a single sentence of reassurance as he prepared to walk away.

"Well, I give you my word that Kirby and I will have an excellent duel, your majesty."

Hearing Meta Knight's assurance to Dedede that he would follow through with his order was the exact point that Fumu grabbed Bun and quickly sprinted away from the vicinity of the castle throne room before Meta Knight could leave and spot them eavesdropping.

The shaken Fumu continued to run, her thoughts now firmly on finding a certain pink puffball before it was too late. "Sir Meta Knight…" she mumbled to herself as she ran, never looking back. "Why…?"


Back in the present…

"And that's why it's a terrible idea to duel with Meta Knight, Kirby!" Fumu made a show of deliberately spreading her arms wide open in an effort to emphasize to Kirby just how huge of an issue this was.

Even Bun, whose opinions usually clashed with his sister, was forced to agree with her sentiments on this one. "You're in a whole heap of trouble, Kirby."

"That rotten Dedede!" Lalala's face was contorted in anger.

"Yeah, he's not holding back at all." Lololo agreed, nodding in agreement. "Sending in Meta Knight against Kirby must literally be one of his trump cards."

Fumu then took back control of the conversation. "Our point is that it's not possible for you to beat Sir Meta Knight, Kirby! Your best bet is to flee before it's too late!"

"Hey! Fumu, Bun!" Tokkori chirped as he flew down towards the surprised siblings from above. "Looks like you brought Kirby here! Just in time for the show, too!"

"Show? What show?" Fumu tilted her head in confusion until she looked at the cliffs above the valley. She gasped as she saw multiple Cappy Town residents peering down at them. "Tokkori!" she yelled at the bird, who proceeded to whistle innocently from his beak in response.

Fumu wasn't having any of it though, immediately yelling at Tokkori since feigning ignorance did not work on her, "Why on earth does it look like almost all of Cappy Town is here in Kabu Canyon?" Her eyes narrowed and then locked onto Tokkori as she quickly realized that the bird had been unusually enthusiastic to see them arrive at Kabu Canyon. "Wait just a minute here…" she trailed off as she quickly put two and two together.

"Hey, don't you look at me!" Tokkori held his wings out in defense before Fumu could vocalize her thoughts. "I was just the middlemen, okay? All I did was tell everyone where Kirby's duel with Meta Knight was going to happen."

"What!?" Fumu gritted her teeth. "You should have kept it a secret!"

"Sorry, no can do." Tokkori turned away from her dismissively. "Think of this as payback for what Kirby did to me earlier."

"What are you talking about? Kirby had been with me the whole time since I found him sitting in your nest!" Fumu made sure to emphasize the last three words to Tokkori.

"It's that stupid Kirby's fault! How about you stop blaming me and go ask him what happened! Maybe then you'll see why I want a little revenge!"

"Poyo?" Kirby quizzically tilted his head at Tokkori, not knowing what he was talking about since the Star Warrior was under the mistaken assumption that it had something to do with the Blocky incident a few days ago. Tokkori however, thought that Kirby was acting dumb since he was unaware that the Kirby he was confronting now was not the same one from earlier. "Oh, so now you won't talk, junior? Trying to play dumb with me, eh? Well then, allow me to tell your caring caretaker exactly what you did to me thirty minutes prior."

"Huh?" Fumu looked down at Kirby, who gave her a puzzled look back.

Tokkori snorted at what he perceived as Kirby's act. "Well, he must have snuck away at some point, because he sucked me into his mouth and spat me beak-first into a tree!"

"Hahahahahah!" Bun was unable to hold back his laughter at the mental image. "Oh man, I wish I was there to witness that! Hahahaha!" he continued to howl as he rolled on the rocky canyon floor.

"Oh, shut up!" Tokkori yelled before suddenly cowering in fright. "Eep!" he squeaked as he quickly flew up towards the cliff tops, but not before squeaking out four ominous words. "I-It's Sir Meta Knight!"

Fumu whirled around, with the rest soon following, to see that Tokkori hadn't been kidding. Meta Knight had mysteriously appeared behind them without even a word, with Sword and Blade flanking him. Meta Knight slowly shuffled forward. "Why are you here if you do not wish for Kirby to duel?" he questioned Fumu.

Fumu winced when she realized that Meta Knight must have heard her entire heated conversation with Tokkori, only waiting for the opportune moment to step in. "I was hoping to reason with you, Meta Knight," she said with a firm voice, unfazed by Meta Knight's stare.

"Hmph?" His response was quizzical. "Reason with me, Fumu? Whatever for?"

Fumu instinctively held her arms protectively in front of Kirby. "We overheard you telling King Dedede that you'll get rid of Kirby. Say it ain't so!"

Meta Knight flicked his cape over to one side. "Unfortunately, that is the truth." His tone then turned even more serious than it usually was. "So please, step out of the way."

Seeing that Meta Knight was stubbornly refusing to give in and that her hopes for an easy diplomacy were now most likely dashed, Fumu haphazardly ran forward towards Meta Knight in a brazen attempt to persuade him to let Kirby go. "Sir Meta Knight!" she shouted with betrayal in her voice. "How could you stab Kirby in the back like this, you traitor—"

She was cut off as Sword and Blade landed in front of her, holding their arms out to block her passage.

"Fumu, I'll have you know that I am not a traitor." Meta Knight's tone was harsh, almost as if he had taken the girl's words personally. He then turned his head, giving a passing glance over to Fumu as he slowly raised his right arm high into the sky. "I did not betray Kirby. But in the end, I am his majesty's loyal servant, and thus I am unable to disobey a direct order from King Dedede."

With a swift motion, he reached down to the hilt of his sword and pulled it free from its sheath. Everyone watching immediately let out a gasp, almost none of them having ever seen Meta Knight draw his blade…

…only to be surprised when he whipped the handle of his sword around to his front, revealing that it had no blade attached to the hilt at all. The only thing that Meta Knight was holding in his hand was a seemingly broken guard — basically a sword that was effectively worthless in combat.

"That's it?" Chief Borun took off his police cap, wiping the sweat off his forehead with his hand. "I was expecting something more exciting!"

"Yeah!" Tokkori cried, arguably the most disappointed individual in the vicinity that wasn't named Bun. "After all that build up, that's really lame of ya', Meta Knight!"

Fumu began to had her hopes up at that moment. "Maybe Meta Knight's throwing the fight on purpose!" she smiled to herself, "I knew that he was a good guy…" The ponytailed girl then trailed off when she saw that Meta Knight appeared to have taken a more relaxed stance. That was certainly unusual behavior for him. In fact, after revealing that he was weaponless to Kirby, he seemed unusually carefree, almost as if he didn't care. But if there was one thing anyone in Cappy Town knew about Meta Knight, it was that he was a meticulous planner. The very fact that he seemed to be giving Kirby the first move meant that…

"Kirby!" she yelled out. "Meta Knight's up to something!"

Without any warning, bright orange sparks suddenly began to form in the air around the area where the blade should have been. The crackling got louder and more intense until many of the Cappies were forced to shield their eyes when the flash culminated in a dazzling gleam. When the bright light subsided, many of their jaws dropped as the blade of the sword now shone in the sun, the cold golden steel having materialized out of thin air.

Even an outsider could tell just from a casual glance that the blade of Meta Knight's sword wasn't a regular sword. It had a unique shape to it, with several sharp protrusions branching out from the center blade, giving it a menacing and deadly appearance. The blade's polished golden shine, along with the large lustrous ruby that was embedded into the center of the sword's hilt made it very clear that the sword Meta Knight held in his hand was certainly a very rare one.

At the sight, the murmuring of the onlooking Cappies at the top of the cliffs surrounding the valley rapidly grew in amplitude and volume.

"Wow!" Gangu pointed at the shining sword. "I gotta make a miniature toy replica of that! The kids will love it! Man, it'll sell like hotcakes!"

"Well, I for one firmly hold the opinion that this thing oughta be illegal as a weapon…" Chief Borun grumbled, although even he had to admit that it was a cool sword.

"Now, dear," his wife Buttercup massaged his stiffening shoulders, "I don't think you can slap a charge on Meta Knight, can you?"

Even those below in the valley canyon were shocked at the sight.

"Poyo?" A surprised Kirby jumped back, dropping his usual jolly grin as he stared apprehensively at Meta Knight. The pink puffball's expression showed that he had conflicting emotions, his thoughts probably a mix of 'This is unfair!' and 'Oh great, I have to face this?'

"Eeeeepppp!" Lololo and Lalala hovered back a distance of about two meters after Meta Knight showed off his sword. This flinch had happened even though they were both aerial servants, which meant that if they were both thinking straight, the duo should have realized that they had nothing to fear as his sword wouldn't reach them. It still didn't stop them from involuntarily shivering.

Fumu held her hands to her horrified face, only now realizing just how serious Meta Knight was about following Dedede's orders.

And as for Bun…

"Whoa! So coooool!" the boy squeed, fanboying over the spectacle that he had just witnessed.

Fumu didn't hesitate in bopping her brother over her head. "Bun!" she yelled, "Just whose side are you on anyway!?"

All of the chattering went silent instantly as Meta Knight proceeded to tilt his hand, flicking the sword to show its sharp edge to Kirby. Now, the surroundings were so silent that one could hear the wind blowing. "There is something that you must know about a duel, Kirby." Meta Knight took a single step forward, the footstep reverberating around the valley. Even though there were over a hundred people watching, not a single one of them said a word as Meta Knight continued to speak, "A very wise man once said that knowing your opponent is half the battle. I am inclined to believe him. In a one-on-one duel, the winner is often determined not merely by skill, but also by the use of psychological warfare."

He sharply turned up to the crowd gathered above, "As you can see, the simple action of drawing my sword has instilled an instinctive reaction for everyone in the vicinity, and from there I am able to tell what all of you are thinking just from your mannerisms alone. It is written clear as day on all of your faces!" Naturally, this caused many of the Cappies to shift uncomfortably. They were now beginning to see that this duel was not likely to be going down the way they had expected.

His eyes glowed green as he focused back onto Kirby. "But I do not see fear in your face, Kirby. That is good," he praised, causing Kirby to smile very slightly. "Never let your opponent ever see your fear." He took another step forward. "Hold your stance. Be confident. If you let your opponent sense that you are weak, then you have already lost before the battle has even begun!"

"Poyo!" Kirby gave a firm nod at Meta Knight's instructions.

"Alright, then. Now, this duel begins in earnest!" Meta Knight announced out loud in an authoritative voice as he raised the tip of the golden sword up to the sky, the ruby in the center of the hilt reflecting off light from the sun once he held the sword steady. "On behalf of King Dedede, I hereby challenge you to a duel! Do you accept my challenge, Kirby?"

"Run away, Kirby!" Fumu cupped her hands to her mouth to throw her voice, hoping in vain that the brave and foolhardy Kirby would take her advice. "You can't fight Sir Meta Knight! He is without a doubt, the most powerful swordsman in Dream Land! It's one of Dedede's traps, Kirby! You should retreat while you still can, Meta Knight will wipe the floor with you!"

While many of the Cappy onlookers shook their heads and jeered at what they perceived to be the Cabinet Minister's daughter trying to rain on their parade and rob them of a good show, Meta Knight was disapprovingly shaking his head for a completely different reason. "Why are you being so stubborn about this?" His eyes hovered from an agitated Fumu over to the puffball. "It is Kirby's choice to partake in this in the end, so do not interfere in this duel!"

"Alright! You said it yourself, Meta Knight!" Fumu immediately turned to Kirby, shooting him a pleading gaze. "Kirby, the choice on whether you want to take up the duel or not is up to you!" The girl worriedly cupped her hands together, all but begging the Star Warrior, "Please! You have to listen to me, Kirby! Don't take Sir Meta Knight on!"

"Poy-o!" Kirby shook his head apologetically, much to Fumu's dismay as the girl realized that all of her efforts were now in vain — there was nary a thing she could do now to stop the impending match between Kirby and Meta Knight. With the duel inevitable now, all she could do was to pray for the Star Warrior and hope for the best.

"Sword! Blade!" Meta Knight turned back to his henchmen. "Throw Kirby the spare sword that we nicked from Dedede's armory!"

"Right on, sir!" Blade Knight nodded in acknowledgement as Sword Knight tossed a plain unsheathed sword towards Kirby. It landed and embedded itself blade-first into the canyon floor.

Kirby shot the sword a sideways glance, before running over and grabbing it. Once Kirby had armed himself, Meta Knight then faced his opponent. "Are you prepared, Kirby?"

Kirby's body language betrayed his impatience. "Po-yo!" he drawled, elongating his usual catchphrase.

"Very well." There was a slight metallic clink as Meta Knight tightened his grip on his sword's guard. He locked his glowing eyes with the slightly hesitant blue ones of the puffball right before charging forward.

The crowd watching the fight gasped in unison as Kirby reflexively swung his sword diagonally up, blocking Meta Knight's slash with a loud clang as metal contacted metal. The puffball then heavily breathed in, placing all of his strength into his right arm to parry the hit and use the momentum to launch himself backwards to safety.

Once the sparks had settled, both Kirby and Meta Knight eyed the other warily. Although Meta Knight's eyes were hardened, many of the onlookers had borne witness to the stoic knight's eyes emitting a brief glimmer of shock when Kirby had deflected his attack. At the same time, Kirby had a look of pure focus on his face as he pointed the tip of his sword towards Meta Knight. "Poyo!" he cried.

Meta Knight copied Kirby's movement, aiming the blade at his opponent. "The first strike is used to gauge your opponent." He lifted his arm, holding the blade horizontal so that both Kirby and his sword were at his eye level. "Performing a defensive parry out of pure reflexive instinct. You are good indeed…"

The chattering of the Cappies above grew louder. "Man, why can't Sir Meta Knight praise me?" a jealous female Cappy mumbled.

"Damn, Kirby's dangerous!" Chief Borum uttered.

Honey, Iroo and Hohhe all had the same reaction. "Wow!" he gasped. "Kirby's really good!"

Gangu rubbed his hands together in glee. "I need to work on marketing a Kirby action figure!" he said, mentally thinking of the profits that his shop would earn with this new stock of merchandise.

Even Meta Knight's own henchmen ended up relenting and joined in the commentary. "Sir Meta Knight actually called Kirby strong?" Blade asked his partner.

"He certainly did," Sword confirmed, "For Sir Meta Knight to say something to that effect means Kirby must at least have some proficiency with a sword…"

"You don't say, Sword!" Blade gripped the hilt of his sword as he recounted a memory. "Sir Meta Knight grilled me hard when I had to change my weapon from an axe to a sword!"

Close to Meta Knight's two henchmen, Bun was excitedly jumping up and down, bouncing so energetically that he almost reached Lololo and Lalala's hovering height. "Man, that was so epic!" he said, his eyes so wide that they were the size of marbles. "And that was only the first blow, too! Oh man, this is going to be the stuff of legends!"

Even Fumu had to admit that she was shocked by what she'd just saw. "I never would have thought that Kirby could counter a blow from Sir Meta Knight…" It was unbelievable. Meta Knight's sword swing was so quick, and yet Kirby had somehow managed to guard against the impending blow.

And high up in the valley, hidden behind a cardboard cutout with multiple Cappies surrounding him, a second Kirby was carefully observing the spectacle that was below him. In spite of the obvious cover, not a single one of the Cappies noticed the second puffball making a remark to himself.

"Ah, I see that even this Meta Knight is as chivalrous as ever…" Archer Kirby commented as he paid close attention to his counterpart. "The standard sword duel, it seems. Looks like even if the Cappies here can talk and are the dominant species, it's comforting to know that some things never change no matter where you are." He glanced around the arena, feeling a smile creeping up his face. "At least this time I get to watch one of these from the viewpoint of an outside party! It should be interesting, to say the least…"

Eventually, Meta Knight glanced up at the slowly increasing noise from the Cappies gathered around the cliff top. When he realized that the audience was being rowdy again, he promptly decided to get everyone's attention by speaking up. "But since it appears that you are not a novice," he said as he eyed Kirby, "I won't hold back any longer."

"What!?" Fumu yelled when she heard Meta Knight's declaration as she came to realize that Meta Knight's first swing of his sword was merely a front for his true power. "No, please don't!"

"Shhhhhh!" Bun shushed his sister for a change. "Meta Knight is going all out, sis! This is going to be so good!"

"Good for him and Dedede maybe, but not for Kirby!" she huffed.

"Relax, Fumu!" Bun pat her sister on the back to show his support. "Kirby can defend himself, you gotta trust him!" As if Bun's reassurance was all Kirby needed, the Star Warrior lifted his left arm and used it to gesture towards himself as an open invitation for his opponent to attack. "Po, poyo!" he taunted fearlessly, tightening his right arm's grip on his sword.

Up on the cliff, the hidden Archer Kirby gave a nod of proud approval at his counterpart's bravery. He leaned forward, still invisible to the crowd, and proceeded to pay very close attention to the two combatants below. "Now we're talking! Here we go!" he grinned. He had done battle with his own Meta Knight many times before, so unlike most of the dumbfounded crowd, he was very well aware that this fight was barely scratching the surface of Meta Knight's full potential.

And indeed, Archer Kirby's hunch was proven completely right. Back down in the rocky canyon, Meta Knight narrowed his eyes at the defiant Kirby to his front, flicking his sword to his side to discard some stray pebbles that have been lodged between the prongs of his blade. "So do you accept my rules?" he questioned as he stood on the balls of his feet. "No more holding back between us, Kirby?"

Even as the nerve-wrecking question was posed, Kirby continued to hold his sword steady and maintained his stance, unflinching from his opponent's unwavering gaze, which prompted Meta Knight to give a stiff nod of his head from behind the mask, "Very admirable. I will accept nothing less from a Star Warrior like you."

As he finished his sentence, the knight ran forward and launched himself up into the air, his sword raised high as he prepared to make his next attack. The onlooking crowd of Cappies let out a combined gasp as Meta Knight shouted out a firm pronouncement down to the sword-wielding Kirby.

"But I'm afraid that this is it for you, Kirby! Come meet your doom!"


Author's Note:

A Kirby meets a Kirby. Man, have I waited to write this meeting. The events of this and the previous chapter has started what I like to call the Double Dreamland arc, and this story arc will continue in earnest for quite a bit.

You might have noticed that I've changed the story summary very slightly from the original, especially if you're reading the FFN version with its short 384-character limit. The reason I did so is because I think it's pretty clear by this point what the main idea of this story is, so there's no need for me to be relatively vague about where and what exactly Void Termina is. And if you somehow hadn't figured it out yet, multiple reviewers in the reviews section already have, so you can just read their "100% right hypothesis". :P

If you're still unclear up until now, I'm using the original Japanese names for the anime characters (in case you're unaware, basically Tiff is Fumu, Tuff is Bun, etc), so allow me to take this opportunity to highlight something rather stupid about the naming convention with regards to the Cappy children. The boy who wears the hat is named Hohhe in Japanese and Iroo in the dub, which would be perfectly fine… if the boy who has his hair tied back wasn't named Iroo in Japanese! Sure, the dub changed his name to Spikehead, but even KRR and TV Tropes agree with me that the name switch makes no sense whatsoever. Come on, just keep Iroo's name between both versions so you don't confuse the heck out of dub/sub watchers!

Anyway, enough rambling. Here's Kirby's Duel Role, which is one of the better episodes of the anime in my opinion, courtesy due to its take on the Meta Knight v. Kirby battle. By the way, does anyone here actually feel sorry for Tokkori? To be honest, I don't even despise him as a character, but he's highly likely going to be comedy relief material here, just saying.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Dual Weapon Duel

My Adventure Log, Entry #1: Meeting Another Me

Hai!

So I've decided to meticulously log down this current journey on my journal just like I always do for all my previous adventures, especially since this recent chain of events is starting to look like the beginning of an adventure to me. And boy howdy, if it is one, then this one has already gone off the Friend Train rails! It had all started when the evil Jambastion Mage, Zan Partizanne, kidnapped my friend Gooey. That meanie! :(

Add in an angry Taranza (who still needs counselling in my opinion), the Dimension Mirror, and a second Planet Popstar into the mix? Yeah, it's pure absolute chaos. I'll rate it a 7.8/10 on the weirdness scale so far, roughly comparable to the Patch Land incident. I mean, I didn't sign up for any of this, but hey, I guess I can say the same thing for every last one of my other adventures. After all, I rarely get a say in whether I want in or not.

But man, has the stakes been upped! Right now, I have the honor of being able to see another version of me fighting against another Meta Knight in a sword battle! So freaking cool! It's just like witnessing the Amazing Mirror incident all over again! They seem to be holding back their true strength for now, but if I know Meta Knight well enough, that won't last for long. In my opinion, things are definitely going to get very interesting indeed!

I'll update this journal again when it's all over. Until then, toodles!

Hero of Dream Land,
Kirby


"But I'm afraid that this is it for you, Kirby! Come meet your doom!"

Kirby shook his head unhappily at Meta Knight's violent statement. Being a simple minded creature, he quickly realized that he would very much prefer not to meet his doom, and thus had only one appropriate response to Meta Knight's one-liner.

"Poyo!" he cried, gripping his sword tight as Meta Knight came charging in from above. Okay, so perhaps Kirby had to admit that the simple word 'poyo' didn't convey his actual thoughts well enough. It was just too bad that his limited speech output meant that he was unable to articulate what his mind was screaming, which was rather befittingly, 'Sure, bring it on… but please, don't be too rough with me!'

As Meta Knight closed in on him, Kirby had to actively fight against his inner instinct screaming at him to move out of the way of the descending knight, the deadly sharp sword becoming seemingly sharper and sharper as the knight fell rapidly in his direction. The puffball knew that he had to dodge the move at the right time or Meta Knight's superiority with the melee weapon pretty much meant that he would get a nasty cut on his back.

The jumpy Kirby was thus on the balls of his feet, ready to spring away at a moment's notice. Just as Meta Knight was about to slash at him as he landed, Kirby deftly dodged left, rolling to the side to avoid Meta Knight's Spin Slash move. He let out a grin as Meta Knight's sword only contacted air.

However, the second Meta Knight's feet hit the ground, he wasted no time in comboing his attacks, going almost instantly from a Spin Slash to lunging his blade directly at Kirby. Kirby hurriedly got to his feet in response, using his sword to once again stop Meta Knight's thrust. He hastily held the sword forward with the blunt edge facing Meta Knight's sword so that it was able to block the Drill Stab attack. "Poy-o-o!" he let out a strained cry as the center of his blade managed to stop the tip of Meta Knight's sword.

This time though, Meta Knight did not let up. He continued his assault, using the momentum of his dash jump to his advantage as his thrust attack ended up being twice as powerful compared to if he had executed the dash move from a standstill.

Kirby felt beads of sweat trickling down his body as he felt pins and needles in his right arm from the strain Meta Knight's blade was putting on his own. Beginning to struggle, Kirby held his left arm up to his blade as well and pushed forward with his body, trying to get Meta Knight to lose his balance. Unfortunately, Meta Knight was heavier than he thought and thus Kirby quickly found that even though he was using both of his arms, he was being pushed back by Meta Knight's dash attack towards the imposing walls of the valley instead.

"Kirby!" Fumu cried in horror along with many of the terrified Cappy spectators as Meta Knight continued to walk forward, leaving Kirby with almost no space left to retreat. Seeing that his tactic of maintaining the forward thrust of the Drill Stab was working, Meta Knight continued to put all of his strength into the forward attack in an attempt to force a parry with the strike, which would result in Kirby losing his grip on his sword, the end result being that the Star Warrior would be vulnerable.

Kirby sensed that he was about to do just that as his arms ended up being strained to the limit. But he held on, refusing to give in. Hence, Meta Knight continued to take steps forward until Kirby felt that he was unable to back away anymore, his back completely pressed against the valley wall. "Pooo…yoooo…" Kirby heaved as he took in a deep breath, his blue eyes looking desperately at Meta Knight's yellow ones as his own blade was being forced closer and closer to his body despite him using both hands to push back against Meta Knight's sword.

"Admirable that you refuse to give up." Seeing that Kirby now had nowhere to run, Meta Knight then placed his other hand on the hilt and proceeded to use the strength of both limbs to force his sword through Kirby's blade. "But now I think your sword is about to break in half. You have put up a good fight, young Star Warrior. But you are clearly outmatched. Surrender this duel now, Kirby!"

With nowhere left for his feet to back away and unable to find the strength to force Meta Knight's sword away, the puffball found himself in a terrible dilemma. If he let go of his sword, Meta Knight would disarm him and win the duel by default. If he held on, there was a chance that the pressure of the sharpened tip of Meta Knight's sword placed on his own might result in it penetrating through the blade and breaking it… which Kirby reflected, would lead to him getting messily impaled.

Kirby quickly decided that he liked neither of the options, and thus decided to take a third. His hands shaking as he struggled to hold Meta Knight's blade off, he strained his head to his left with a tired grunt and opened his mouth.

"Look, sis!" Bun pointed to Kirby as Fumu watched on. "He's inhaling!"

Sure enough, Kirby made use of his signature Inhale attack to suck up a small stone and promptly spat it out into Meta Knight's mask. With Kirby launching the stone right to his face, Meta Knight was forced to discontinue his forward assault, lifting his blade diagonally to slash the rock in half lest it slammed into his face.

As the stone was disintegrated into small pebbles, Meta Knight's eyes widened as he saw Kirby moving in on the offensive, trying to slash his opponent when Meta Knight had his guard down. Quick on his feet, Meta Knight immediately countered by extending his arm with the sword to block against Kirby's slash. "Using the environment to your advantage. A wise decision indeed," Meta Knight commented as his blades were crossed with Kirby, the two opponents literally face-to-face with each other.

"Poy!" Kirby responded by placing more force against his sword until sparks began to fly from the friction. Finally, Meta Knight stepped back and prepared for another lunge. Kirby leaned his body back as Meta Knight thrusted the sword forward, before switching the hand his sword was in and performing a parry from his bottom-left, launching Meta Knight away from him.

As Meta Knight landed on his back with a whump, Kirby immediately seized the chance to attack, leaping into the air and swinging his sword in a wide arc, performing his own version of the Spin Slash. Unfortunately, Meta Knight threw his cape up in the air, the cloth obscuring Kirby's vision for a split second. When his blade sliced through the cape, Meta Knight was already up on his feet and two meters behind where he had been when Kirby had started his attack.

Deciding not to follow through with his Spin Slash, Kirby confidently landed on the rocky floor with both feet. He could smell the dust swirling about in the air, the particles consisting of former pebbles and grains of rock that had been disintegrated into fine sediments from the clashing blades. As they both stared the other down, he deftly switched the grip of his sword to his right hand to let his left arm relax and take a break.

Kirby had to admit that he was pleased when he saw that Meta Knight looked significantly worse for wear. To be honest, he hadn't known what to expect when Fumu had found him and told him that Sir Meta Knight had wanted a duel with him.

But some inner part of him had relished the opportunity for a battle. He wouldn't say that he was itching for a battle, but he wasn't as averse to it as Fumu was. Furthermore, the sword had felt surprisingly natural in his hand, almost like it belonged in his palm. It was almost like he'd handled a sword before, since his own instinctive reactions to the weapon was to immediately slash with it, the graceful movements of the parry and lunges coming naturally to him.

After Meta Knight betrayed a slight twitch, Kirby decided to go in for the kill. He dashed forward, swinging his sword diagonally from top-right to bottom-left. Meta Knight mirrored Kirby's stance, bringing his sword up in the opposite direction to guard against his blow.

Unperturbed by Meta Knight deflecting the slash, Kirby threw his sword to his left arm and swung it in an underhand arc in the other direction to see if he could catch Meta Knight in a blind spot. This time, Meta Knight tilted his sword to a vertical hold, once against managing to block against his swipe.

He's really fast, Kirby thought as he kept his eyes on the prize. But all I have to do is to get near him with this move, and it's be over for that speedy little mysterious knight!

After seemingly retreating with a feint and goading Meta Knight into moving forward, Kirby then executed a short hop in the air when his opponent was just in front of him. He was so close to Meta Knight that he was practically guaranteed to hit him with an aerial move. He swung down both of his arms, the sword swinging across a large arc… until it impacted Meta Knight's golden sword. To Kirby's surprise, Meta Knight had managed to bring his sword to above his head in time to guard once more. Kirby's blue eyes went from confident to frightened when he saw the impassive knight guard against his air slash as though it was nothing.

"Yargh!" Meta Knight growled as he pushed his sword up against Kirby's. This time, with the lightweight Kirby in the air and not planting his feet firmly on the ground like the prior times, Meta Knight managed to parry his lunge, flinging the Star Warrior down to the ground.

Kirby felt himself landing on his back from the slash, a sharp pain felt across his cheeks. He let out a pained groan as he rubbed the back of his head with his free hand. But before he could get up and continue, he suddenly felt something sharp by his throat.

"You let your guard down, Kirby."

Kirby audibly let out a gulp as he strained his eyes down to see the tip of Meta Knight's sword barely poking the skin right below his jaw. Okay, okay, he thought with panicked eyes. Whoa now, time out, please! I-I didn't ask for this!

"Kirby!" a shrill cry from Fumu rang across the valley. The girl didn't care anymore, running forward to where the puffball and Meta Knight were despite the danger. However, Sword and Blade once again blocked her path. "Fumu, do not interfere in Sir Meta Knight's duel with Kirby." Sword said with a shake of his head, which caused Fumu to fire a flurry of retorts back.

"You can bet I'm going to interfere!" the girl yelled as she struggled to find an opening between the two armored henchmen. "Especially when it looks like he's actually going to kill Kirby!"

"K-Kill… Kirby?" Sword and Blade gaped at Fumu in unison, before looking at each other and letting out a humored laugh.

Her eyebrow twitched at what she perceived to be their callousness. "Just what's so funny about that!?" How could they just laugh so coldly at their boss' murder attempt?

"I think you are mistaken, Fumu," Sword began to explain in a calm voice. "Sir Meta Knight will not take Kirby's life."

"Well, he currently has his sword to Kirby's face right now!" Fumu nearly shouted. "Whose leg are you trying to pull, Sword Knight?"

"We're being honest," Blade insisted, his hands spread out in a dissuasive manner. "We swear that Sir Meta Knight won't harm a single hair on Kirby's head."

"But Kirby doesn't have any hair on his head…" Lalala mumbled from above.

"It's a metaphor!" Sword indignantly retorted.

"Let me through!" Fumu shouted, pushing against the two knights to no avail. "Don't you dare hurt Kirby!"

"Not to worry, little girl. Your Kirby's safe with your Meta Knight." As Archer Kirby caught wind of their conversation from above, he knew that what Sword and Blade spoke was the truth in spite of the Cappy girl's violent objections. The Meta Knight whom he knew was an honorable warrior, and he trusted that this Meta Knight was one as well. For Meta Knight to viciously cut a defenseless opponent when they were down… the thought just didn't sit right with him.

And just as Meta Knight's henchman said and Archer Kirby predicted, instead of taking the opportunity to mutilate his opponent, Meta Knight withdrew his sword, sheathing it. Everyone watching heaved a sigh of apparent relief at Meta Knight mercifully giving the puffball an opportunity to recover.

"If this had been a real battle," he said in a curt fashion as he turned around with a whirl of his cape, "your throat would have been silt by now."

A startled voice came from above as Meta Knight said that, "You mean that you don't consider this crazy sword duel a 'real' battle? Are you legitimately nuts?"

Even Kirby himself was stunned by Meta Knight's admission. "Pooyooo!" he exclaimed to Meta Knight as he got back up to his feet. While he was glad that the sword was no longer by his neck, he was surprised to see that Meta Knight was still holding back, since he had said earlier that he was going all out.

Meta Knight chose to ignore the criticism from the Cappies above. "You don't realize it, do you?" he asked Kirby as the puffball rubbed the cut on his cheek. "As I've said before, the power of observation is essential when it comes to a fight. A person who cannot observe what his opponent is planning and repeats the same tactic over and over again is someone who has a static strategy. They are unreceptive to change, and thus are fools simply waiting to lose!" He inched forward, his eyes glowing green once again. "Kirby! Although you are skilled with a sword, your attack pattern is very predictable and thus, very easy for me to counter as well."

"Poyo?" A tilted head from Kirby showed Meta Knight that the puffball had no clue as to what he was talking about.

Seeing that Kirby couldn't grasp his words, he tried to elaborate further. "Since you are confused, let me enlighten you as to what I mean. Your fighting style is not a bad strategy… until we break it down, that is. When you go on the offensive, you always have a tendency to commit to a triple-move to pin down your opponents." Meta Knight raised his sword up with his right arm and swiped the air. "First, you slash your sword from your right hand, then a slash with your left. Lastly, you bring down both hands in the air as though you are performing a cross-slash with two swords. I must admit that it is a unique fighting style, but as you can see, once I've figured it out, I can dodge you easily."

"Poyo…" Kirby let out a sigh as he nodded slowly to Meta Knight in comprehension. The explanation had been concise, and it certainly explained well enough how Meta Knight had been able to read his moves like an open book. He himself hadn't even realized that his attacking style even had a pattern to it — everything just came instinctively to him, so he hadn't thought about it until a third-party had pointed it out to him.

"Kirby!" Fumu—still stuck behind Sword and Blade—called out with a mixture of relief and determination. "I'm so glad you're okay! Now can you please—"

Kirby shook his head before she could finish, already knowing that Fumu was trying to persuade him to quit. "Poyo!" he cried defiantly. In spite of all the odds, some inner feeling within Kirby told him to determinedly press on with the fight.

As Meta Knight saw his response, he snorted at the stubborn Kirby. "Confident enough not to retreat?" he cocked his head. "I suppose you think you've won now that I've told you about your shortcomings, haven't you? Do not make that mistake, young one. In war, the enemy always has a trump card up their sleeves. You might not be a complete novice with the sword, but you will never best me in a duel." He let out an amused laugh as he locked eyes with Kirby. "Now… you will see true power!"

The commotion up above went through the roof at Meta Knight's words.

"I'm scared." Honey stated her blunt opinion to Iroo. Hearing her, the fortune-teller Mabel also gave her prediction on the matter. "I foresee that this will be bad," she said before she leaned down to Honey and pat the girl on the shoulder. "Very bad indeed."

"True power?" Chief Borun wiped even more sweat from his brow. "Does this battle of wills never end?"

"I agree, chief." Toy store owner Gangu let the clipboard in his hand go slack. "Man, it just keeps escalating! The amount of gimmicks I'm going to have to stuff into a single 'Kirby vs. Meta Knight' toy is going to make it infeasible to produce," he complained.

Seeing the crowd get out of control again, Meta Knight began talking to force them to be silent. "When you become one with your blade, your sword will be like an extension of your arm, being able to reach distances which you yourself physically cannot." He then paused slightly as he felt everyone in the vicinity focusing their attention on him, inclusive of Kirby himself.

"Oh boy…" Archer Kirby rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He had a feeling he knew what was coming. "Finally! This is gonna be good!"

As Meta Knight continued, his voice started to have a determined edge to them. "If you doubt my words, then allow me to demonstrate what true mastery over the sword is!" He raised his sword horizontally as he focused intently on the tense pink puffball ahead of him, who took a step back as Kirby began to get the feeling that he wasn't going to like how this concluded.

"Depending on how one wields their blade, the steel of your sword… can become the wind itself!" Meta Knight then leapt up high into the air, his golden sword suddenly emanating a yellow glow from the blade. As he swung his weapon down in an arc, a wave of concentrated energy was released in the direction of his swing, the beam of light soaring through the air.

"Poyo!" Seeing something that was definitely going to hurt headed right for him, Kirby dove to the side with widened eyes, managing to clear it before the wave demolished the area where he had just been standing. His sword wasn't as lucky as he was, though. He had dropped it in his haste to dodge the massive attack, and as a result his weapon was completely obliterated along with much of the canyon floor as the yellow wave cut through the solid rock, leaving behind a staggering five-inch wide crack in the ground.

"What the actual hell!?" a Cappy yelled from above at the sheer destruction caused from the move. And to be perfectly frank, Kirby found himself inclined to agree with that blunt statement. He had known that Meta Knight would have a hidden ace up his sleeve… but Kirby never expected him to play a full house with it. This was completely unlike anything that he'd expected. And as Kirby passed a glance over to Fumu, her aghast look of horror told him that she hadn't anticipated this either.

"Are you paying attention, Kirby?"

Hearing his name, he snapped his eyes back to Meta Knight. Once the knight was assured that Kirby was listening, Meta Knight barreled on with his explanation. "This is the true potential of a sword, a move that requires complete mastery over the weapon. Energy is gathered from your body into the blade of the sword, before being released outwards in a devastating blast. That is the Sword Beam!" he said as a worried Kirby looked at his sword.

"The move is tricky to execute and requires the user to be at full power before it can be used. If you focus your spirit and allow your power to flow into your sword, you can then release it in a single concentrated attack… the Sword Beam! It has devastating power and range, but only those who have truly mastered the sword are able to use this technique." As if to prove his point, Meta Knight raised his sword into the air and swiftly brought it down, firing off another Sword Beam in the process.

"What the… I didn't know Sir Meta Knight could do that!"

"That's flipping overpowered!"

"Maybe I can name a dish after this!"

"That is so not fair!" Unlike most of the other Cappies who were gaping in shock at the sheer destructive power, Archer Kirby deviated from the norm by letting out a whine instead. "Why is it that even this world's Meta Knight gets to use the awesome wave-like Sword Beam while my Sword Beam is simply an energy sword-shaped projectile? That's so unfair!" he lamented.

He then dropped his camouflage, still making sure that he was situated behind all the Cappies so that they couldn't see him before he stated his honest opinion on the matter, "I call hax, Meta Knight! You cheating little cheater!" Kirby jeered, swinging his fists agitatedly towards the masked knight below. A second later, Archer Kirby hurriedly ducked back behind the pathetic excuse of a cover just as a good eighty percent of the Cappies turned behind upon hearing his sudden voice.

"What was that? Did someone just say something?"

"There's nobody there!"

"It's not the wind playing tricks on my ears, right?"

"No, I heard it too! I swear that there was someone behind me!"

Kirby snickered as the Camouflage move of the Archer Ability saved him from being discovered by the Cappy villagers yet again. Maybe next time, he sneakily thought, I'll spruce things up by using Leaf Hide instead!

Back down below however, the second Kirby wasn't lucky enough to have an ability that allowed him to completely negate the environment around him. He thus had to be quick on his feet to avoid the huge bolts of energy that Meta Knight was firing off.

As another wave of energy zoomed across the valley, Bun clenched up, unable to contain his excitement any longer. "So goddamn cool!" he exclaimed, pointing to the yellow energy wave as it vaporized another part of the canyon.

"Be quiet, Bun!" Fumu whirled on Bun at his enthusiastic squeal. Giving up on trying to pass by Sword and Blade, Fumu looked on the sight with worry. Unlike her brother, she could find no amusement at all in the deadly duel.

And there was a very good reason to this. Unlike many of the others watching, Fumu had actually seen Meta Knight draw his sword from his scabbard even before this current battle. Back when they were together during the octopus demon beast incident, Meta Knight had pulled it out to point the tip of the golden sword towards Fire Kirby, instinctively using it as an extension of his hand. While Fumu had noticed that the sword he had was unusual, never could she have conceived that such an innocent blade could be capable of such power.

"There's no way that Kirby can beat Sir Meta Knight…" she said aloud to Bun.

Bun's face fell. He knew that things were serious when his determined sister seemed to have given up all hope. "Sis…" he said in a soft voice. "What do you think we should do?"

"We have to stop the duel before it gets way too out of hand!"

"But how?" Lololo asked, his query a very legitimate one. If a single one of them actually had the answer, they would have put the plan in action by now.

"Those two won't stop, and the crowd's just going to make it worse," his counterpart Lalala added.

To the group that was actually watching from down below the canyon, it appeared that the sword duel was only going to continue to escalate, especially as Kirby tried to find openings to hit Meta Knight in between his constant Sword Beams. But by some ironic twist of fate, this game of cat-and-mouse didn't last long at all, all thanks to the arrival of a new person.

"Heh heh heh hah! What do we have here?"

A loud hearty chuckle coming from the end of the canyon caused both Kirby and Meta Knight to stop dead in their tracks. They both glanced to the source of the laugh, recognizing the voice instantly. They weren't the only ones to do so though. The Cappy Town villagers above were also mumbling to themselves with disapproval on their faces.

"Oh great." Hohhe groaned, slapping his forehead. "Not him…"

"Whup." Gangu took off his hat. "Pack up guys, show's over. It's gonna turn into a no-fun zone from now on."

"Go home already, king!"

"What an unfriendly reaction…" the penguin mused with a hand to his mouth as he strolled forward, deftly ignoring the crowd above.

"King Dedede!" Fumu folded her arms, letting out a groan that could be probably heard by the few remaining Cappies that were still in Cappy Town. "Just what are you doing here!?" she demanded.

"You aren't that well-loved by the people over here, are you Dedede…?" Archer Kirby commented in a disheartened voice. As the puffball got a front-row seat to the jeering and booing, he couldn't help but be curious as to why the villagers were reacting in such an apprehensive and hostile manner to the newcomer. After all, this was someone who he knew to be quite laid-back with his rule back in his own Dream Land. And if alternate universe him and alternate Meta Knight were similar enough, he didn't see why the alternate counterpart of King Dedede should be any different.

Immediately as he thought that, Archer Kirby then made the observation that this Dedede seemed rather different from the one he knew. While his alternate Kirby counterpart seemed to be roughly about the same as him so far, with the exception that he wasn't capable of speech yet, and Meta Knight seemed pretty much almost the same as well, King Dedede on the other hand seemed to differ a fair bit from the friendly king who Kirby knew now. Kirby frowned as he realized that this Dedede reminded him more of the King Dedede who he first met ten years ago when he'd stolen all the food from his hapless citizens… which wasn't a good sign at all. All the hints that this Dedede was much crueler than his own was even in the king's posture and cocky pose as he continued to ignore his own villagers.

It was rather jarring for Kirby, to be honest. While he had seen a few differences in this Planet Popstar such as the existence of Cappy Town and the flourishing of Cappies, there had been quite a few familiar establishments to get over his transition, like his and Meta Knight's counterparts, who had been rather familiar to Kirby. But this Dedede on the other hand looked almost like a stranger to Kirby, being so different to the point that he even had a different right-hand assistant by his side. You're kidding me, right? Please, other Dedede, Kirby thought with distaste in his mind as he rolled his eyes. Instead of having a loyal Waddle Dee like Bandana as your right-hand… you have some kind of random snail? Have some standards!

Speaking of the random snail, he then began to speak, and Archer Kirby realized that he was just as smarmy as Dedede when he heard the vile words that were expelled from his mouth.

"You keep your mouth shut, honey!" Escargon taunted the simmering Fumu. "His majesty King Dedede is just here to spectate this match."

"That's right! I'm here to watch the finale of this duel between Meta Knight and Kirby!" Dedede smirked as Kirby shot the king a glare that not-so-subtly hinted for the ruler to leave the area. Dedede did not oblige though, instead walking up to Meta Knight with a jovial smile. "So how's it going, Meta Knight?"

Meta Knight shot Dedede the briefest of glances. "It is currently going a-ok, your majesty."

"Good." His praise suddenly turned into a loud bellow as he shot a cruel grin towards his subordinate. "Because as of now, you are hereby relieved of duty."

"What?" A surprised Meta Knight turned around to face Dedede. Many of the spectators couldn't help but note that this was the first time in the whole duel that confusion had crept into his tone.

"That's right. You and Kirby are no longer going to be facing one another."

"You're cancelling it?" Bun asked, trying his best not to sound disappointed.

Fumu stepped forward, pointing right at King Dedede. "So what's the catch?" She knew Dedede well enough to be certain that the king wouldn't just let Kirby off just like that, especially when he had been the one to instigate the battle to begin with. It was baffling and made absolutely no sense… which meant that he had to have some kind of ulterior motive behind it.

Escargon innocently whistled, trying to at least hide that Dedede had something up his sleeve. Dedede himself didn't even bother with the subterfuge, the king pointing up to the onlooking Cappies from above. "Well, I think the audience enjoyed the duel, so I won't cancel it! Sit back and enjoy the show… with my new pet!"

Several of the villagers gasped when a large eleven-foot high bug suddenly came soaring in from above, beating its insect-like wings to stay aloft until it landed by Dedede's side.

"Another one? That's the third in a week!"

"This one looks scarier than the second one!"

"Behold!" Dedede had a massive taunting grin on his face as he introduced the newcomer. "The Insect Demon Beast, Bugzzy!"

"That scumbag Dedede…" Fumu hissed as the giant monster towered over Kirby.

From above, Archer Kirby could only stare at the sight in confusion. The fluttering Bugzzy was carrying a large sword and a huge club in his hands, almost looking like he was ready to head off to a Megaton Punch competition. Alright… so instead of a fast backdrop thrower, this Bugzzy is a user of swords. And Dedede is the one who summoned him to cause trouble. Got it, so not everything between this Popstar and mine is exactly the same. Duly noted.

"Hahahaha! With Kirby weakened from the duel, Bugzzy here—" Dedede gestured back to the dark blue giant insect behind him, "—will get to kick that pink punk while he's down!" In response, Bugzzy struck his giant sword and club together to sharpen his blade, the friction between the two huge weapons as they made contact creating large sparks.

"Your majesty…" Meta Knight turned to face Dedede, with the slightest of growls as he proceeded to sheathe his sword. "I thought you said that you weren't going to send a demon beast and let me be the one to battle Kirby?"

"Yeah! I kept my word." Dedede's smirk made both Kirbies realize in unison just how sneaky the king was. "I gave you the honor of beating up Kirby for five whole minutes, but your time in the limelight is up now!" Dedede sneered at Meta Knight. "Quit being a spoilsport! The time's up for you and your measly little sword duel! Now it's my turn, and I've got the big guns with me!" As he said that, Bugzzy let out a vicious snarl, bringing his sword up so that the blade glinted in the sunlight.

"Sire!" Blade called out to his boss. "We've been played like a fiddle!"

"You dishonorable cheat!" Fumu wrung her fist at Dedede, with Lololo and Lalala following suit by glaring at the king. "Where are your ethics!?"

"Yeah! That's totally unfair!" Bun said, backing up his sister.

"Poyo!" Kirby cried in anger. Whether it was because of his current predicament or if he was just plain upset that his duel had been unfairly interrupted, Fumu couldn't tell.

Dedede simply laughed at the group in response. "Too bad, Kirby! I call the shots now! All's fair in love and war, kid."

"Is this all some kind of a game to you!?" Fumu cynically shot back at Dedede.

"Game? This was never a game, little girly. This was war the moment that there Kirby challenged me!" Dedede gloated. Up from above, Archer Kirby looked on the scene apprehensively, quickly making up his mind that this Dedede was about ten times more of a jerk than his own.

"Bugzzy!" Dedede acknowledged the demon beast with a nod. "You may now feast on that pink puffball! Slice and mince him up into tiny little pieces!" he ordered before breaking into his trademark laugh, "Heh heh heh heh!"

"Kirby! Run!" Fumu yelled to Kirby as she saw the giant insect swing his large sword in a massive arc. Kirby managed to twist his body right to dodge it, but with widening eyes saw that Bugzzy immediately swung his other arm. Unable to block due to the loss of his sword against Meta Knight's Sword Beam, Kirby was unable to guard and thus the giant spiked club made contact with him, causing him to be flung skywards like a baseball being pitched into the air.

"Kirby!" Fumu and Bun yelled, running down the valley in the direction of the rising puffball.

"Yeh heh heh heh! It worked like a charm!" Dedede laughed as he saw his arch nemesis soaring helplessly into the sky.

Archer Kirby shook his head at the events, quickly making up his mind that he wasn't going to stand for this in the slightest. Still behind his Camouflage, he crept slowly behind the crowd of disgruntled Cappies until he was out of sight. Once he had done that, he dropped his disguise, turning around and preparing to make his getaway to help out his other self.

Too bad fate had other plans for him.

"Hey, junior! Did ya' teleport from the sky or something?! How'cha get over here?"

Archer Kirby froze in his tracks as he looked up to see a yellow bird fluttering in the air. Tokkori. That son of a conniving brat had managed to spot him from up above. Evidently the bird had made the mistake of confusing him with his counterpart, mostly because no one knew where the other Kirby had ended up.

"Yo, Kirby's alright after all! He landed right over here!"

"Woah! That's a neat hat!"

"Is that one of Kirby's newfangled Copy Abilities thingamajigs?"

Normally, he would soak in all of their praise with a cheerful wave, but this time, Archer Kirby cursed in his heart as he found himself surrounded by the Cappies. The only way to sneak out after his counterpart had now been ruined, all thanks to that stupid Tokkori.

Gah! What I wouldn't give right now to have the Mirror Ability so that I can split myself into two and ditch everyone!


Fumu had found Kirby completely unconscious on the ground, a large contusion on his forehead. It was apparent that the hit from Bugzzy's massive club had completely knocked him out. Lololo and Lalala had immediately picked up the vulnerable Kirby from the ground and were hovering alongside the running Fumu and Bun. The four couldn't stop themselves from gazing back with worried expressions as they ran. With Dedede and Bugzzy relentlessly pursuing them down, they had to constantly run since falling behind would be very, very bad.

After sprinting for close to three minutes, Fumu's eyes lightened up. "Look! It's Kabu!" she pointed. Kabu was a large, very old sentient rock statue. He was extremely well-respected among the Cappies, to the point where he had a whole landmark named after him — Kabu Canyon.

"The path splits left to head to Kabu, and right continues on towards the rest of the canyon. Which path should we take?" Lalala asked in a hasty voice.

"Left, of course!" Bun instantly replied. "Dedede's dumb! He's definitely going to assume we continued ahead if we're out of his sight.

"Good point," Lololo conceded. No one could argue with Bun's logic, honestly. Applied to Dedede and Escargon, it was pretty flawless. The group thus took a detour left, managing to indeed lose Dedede and his demon beast as they missed the narrow clearing that led to Kabu.

Bun heaved an audible sigh of relief as they passed, "I think it's finally safe to stop now, sis." Before she could give a response, an elderly voice entered the conversation.

"What brings you here, young ones?"

All of them turned to look at the source of the voice. "Kabu!" they all exclaimed.

"W-We're here to hide from Dedede!" Lololo stuttered as he looked up to the rocky Kabu.

"I see," Kabu bellowed back. "Well, it is of no surprise to Kabu that King Dedede is after the young Star Warrior."

"Yeah," Lalala hovered up to Kabu's eyes. "Ever since he fell off a cliff and blamed Kirby for it, he's been dead-set on trying to get rid of him."

"You mean it is because of something as petty as that?" Surprise actually crept into Kabu's usual monotonous voice.

"Yeah?" Fumu pondered why the stone would have reacted in such a surprised manner, before looking up at the wise Kabu. "Wait… why did you expect Dedede to get rid of Kirby then?"

"Because Kirby is a Star Warrior. I told you that about a week ago, didn't I?"

That much was true. Fumu held her hand to her chin as she recalled her last meeting with Kabu. Her father had used his influence as Cabinet Minister to spearhead a gathering of prominent Cappies from Cappy Town to ask Kabu for help in lieu of the Octacon incident. That was when they had first found out about Kabu's prediction that a Star Warrior would come to Dream Land and save them from the sheep crisis.

"Whether it is truly King Dedede's fault that a terrifying monster is destroying the crops of Dream Land or not… I cannot answer. But I will say this much. I can foresee that this is only the beginning. If my vision holds true, more of these monsters will ravage across Popstar until it is completely annihilated."

That was the ominous warning that Kabu had told the villagers gathered around the tribal offering fire when they had consulted him a week earlier. They had then promptly panicked at his prediction until he reassured them that a Star Warrior will also arrive to help them. And sure enough, Kabu was right on both counts. But there was something Fumu didn't quite get…

"What does being a Star Warrior have anything to do with Dedede's rivalry with Kirby?" she looked expectantly at Kabu.

Kabu let out a loud gust of wind that doubled as a snort of laughter. "I'm afraid you are mistaken, Fumu. This is not about King Dedede's grudge at all. There is one who harbors a much deeper grudge with Kirby. One who's grudge with the Star Warriors transcends space-time itself. Dedede's anger and hate for Kirby is but a mere insignificant speck in comparison."

"What?" Fumu's face fell. Someone who hated Kirby more than Dedede? After seeing Dedede's antics this past week, that seemed almost impossible.

Kabu continued to speak, now having the complete attention of the entire group. "Thousands of years ago, there was an emperor of darkness who ruled over the galaxy with an iron fist. He was a vicious dictator, a conqueror of worlds."

"What!?" Even Bun was shocked by Kabu's words. "There really is a person like that out there?" he asked with a contemplative look.

"That is correct, Bun. The name of that person is one that is easy to remember, despite striking fear to all who knows it. He is simply known as Nightmare."

"Nightmare?" Fumu said to herself, holding her hands together. This was the person who hated Kirby more than Dedede? The whole thing all seemed unbelievable to her, absolutely unreal. But the girl soon realized that there was something which backed up Kabu's outlandish theory. A conversation between Dedede and Meta Knight that had taken place just a few hours prior…

"But if you truly want Kirby gone, then why not simply use a demon beast from Nightmare's company?"

"Demon beast? Nightmare? Whatever are you talking about? Wherever did you hear such baseless rumors? Me, having an interest in demon beasts? That's complete and utter nonsense!"

"That's right!" Fumu exclaimed as the answer stared her in the face. "I remember now! Meta Knight had mentioned something about Nightmare to King Dedede!"

"Oh yeah!" Bun agreed, now getting excited as the puzzle seemed to piece together. "When King Dedede was trying to get Sir Meta Knight to duel with Kirby, Meta Knight brought up this Nightmare guy. In fact, he even said something about a demon beast delivery system! Man, it all makes sense now!"

"That is of no surprise to me…" Kabu's voice turned wistful. "After all, Sir Meta Knight was the one who told me the tale in the first place… it must have been decades ago."

"Sir Meta Knight told you what!?" Fumu exclaimed, her hands flying to her mouth in what would have been a humorous moment if the news wasn't so shocking. Even Bun's eyes were widened slightly, although the act was unseen as they were hidden beneath his messy bangs.

"Wait just a minute here! You're telling me that Sir Meta Knight…"

"…was the one who told you about this?"

"But how?" Bun asked, finishing Lololo's and Lalala's query for the floating duo. "How does he know anything about all of this!?"

"You will have to ask him that yourself. I cannot answer on Sir Meta Knight's behalf." Before they could pester him further, Kabu wisely chose to answer Fumu's original question at this point to cut off their argument. "You were asking who Nightmare was, correct? Well, allow me to tell you. He is the creator of the demon beasts, creatures who are imbued by hatred, born only to cause chaos and destroy everything around them."

"What!?" Fumu gritted her teeth at the thought. She slammed her hand against the canyon wall in anger, not bothering about the pain. "Why would this guy do something as horrible as that?"

"Simple. It is so that he can sell those very same demon beasts to gullible customers like King Dedede… and spread even more chaos in places of the universe far away from his reach."

"What!?" Lololo cried with anger. "So then, all these demon beasts that Dedede had all came from him?"

"That's unforgivable!" Lalala backed up her blue counterpart. "We've had to deal with so many of them this past week!"

"That creep!" Bun shouted, shaking his fist. "So he's the guy truly responsible for everything that's happened in Cappy Town!"

"That is indeed correct. Dedede might have control over the demon beasts he has ordered, but the source of all that power comes from Nightmare himself. By purchasing them from Nightmare, he is indirectly a middleman… causing mayhem and chaos on Nightmare's behalf. This way, even if Nightmare is far away from Popstar, the denizens of Cappy Town are not safe from him."

"What does he want with us?!" Fumu yelled, the girl now very furious by what Kabu was telling her. "What did we ever do to him?"

"He wants nothing more than to see your planet fall into anarchy so that he can swoop in and take it for himself." Kabu paused briefly, staying silent as the four gasped in horror upon hearing the brutal truth. "Nightmare craves power and control. He will not be satisfied until the entire universe is in the palm of his hand," he then clarified, before a sprinkle of optimism crept into his tone. "However, Nightmare's approach and success was not indefinite. There were those who began to oppose him… the revolutionaries who craved freedom, known throughout the universe as the Galaxy Soldier Army."

"Galaxy Soldier Army?" Fumu repeated the name of the group that Kabu had just mentioned with an uncertain voice, tapping her foot on the rocky ground in thought, "Who are they? They sound like some kind of a military to me…"

"I suppose you could say that." Kabu's reply was wistful, almost as though he was deep in thought. "The Galaxy Soldier Army were a group of ragtag soldiers drafted from different planets all over the universe to aid in the war against Nightmare."

"There was a war!?" Fumu yelled. Her mind was literally in shambles. She had no idea about the existence of any of this! How did Kabu know about all of this lore?

"Do not fret, young one. This war predates both you and I. It is only natural that your local history books and your Professor Curio are unaware of it."

"A war sounds cool, though."

"Bun!" Fumu, Lololo and Lalala all yelled at him disapprovingly, causing him to wave his hand in annoyance as he mumbled a hasty apology.

The always-serious Kabu simply ignored them, speaking on as though nothing had happened. "Anyway, as the ancient war raged on, the Galaxy Soldier Army found themselves at the losing end. While their numbers were finite, Nightmare had an inexhaustible army of demon beasts at his disposal. However, the Galaxy Soldier Army fought on until they were forced to a final showdown. Because unbeknownst to Nightmare, they had a trump card up their sleeves… the Star Warriors."

"S-Star Warriors?" Fumu's eyes went wide at the title, her green eyes instinctively glancing towards the unconscious puffball. "You mean… like Kirby?" she asked, her eyes softening as she focused on the sleeping Kirby.

"Yes." If the giant stone structure that was Kabu could actually move, he would have nodded his head in agreement. "It was a Star Warrior who was the first to resist against Nightmare, and it will be a Star Warrior who finishes him off."

"So this Nightmare's gone now?" Bun raised his arm to probe. "Kabu, you say that as though Nightmare's been finished off already! But I thought he was still alive!"

"He is. Nightmare himself still lives to this very day. But the reason I know how he will be finished is due to a prophecy that he himself fears, one regarding him and his demon beasts." Kabu's booming voice echoed throughout the area. "It is said that one day, one of Nightmare's monsters that have been summoned by his very own hand will turn against him and become one of the Star Warriors, subsequently unraveling his entire life's work."

Lalala tilted her head, "So Nightmare's own creation would turn on him?"

"Sounds like karmic justice to me!" Lololo chuckled at the thought.

"However!" Kabu's raised voice caused all the excitement about this new discovery to cease. "This prophecy is also partly the reason why Dream Land is currently under attack. You see, Nightmare's perception of exactly who is his enemy is a warped one. Although the prophecy states that the traitor will come from his own men, he does not appear to believe that."

"Peh, how stupid," Bun commented with a snicker.

"You don't truly grasp the situation yet," Kabu's voice turned grave when he saw that Bun wasn't being 100% serious. "He instead feels that the legend is talking about those who struggle against his rule. Thus, he holds no tolerance for anyone who dares to defy him or stand in his way of total conquest. That is why Nightmare treats insubordination very seriously. He is a very cautious man, and fears that any traitor who is opposed to him might just so happen to be the silver bullet that would destroy him. In other words, to ensure that he will never fall, he intends to destroy the entirety of the Star Warriors."

"All of the Star Warriors!?" The entire audience all yelled simultaneously. That sounded pretty much like complete genocide to them.

"He has almost succeeded on that front as well. The Galaxy Soldier Army fell into disarray many moons ago after suffering a crushing defeat. And today, there are almost no Star Warriors left. Most of them have fallen in the purges, battles, and relentless onslaught against Nightmare's forces."

"Almost none…?" Fumu looked down to the ground. While that was certainly worrying, Kabu's statement about the status of the Star Warriors caused Fumu to wonder about something that had been bugging her for quite some time. "Kabu…" she hesitantly started, not wanting to be a killjoy who ruined the flow of a conversation by dragging it off topic. When Kabu didn't raise any objections, she then proceeded to ask her question, "You told us when Kirby came to Dream Land that he was a Star Warrior. But just what exactly is a Star Warrior?"

Before Kabu could respond, a laugh cut across the clearing and interrupted the conversation. "Heh heh heh! So that's where you sneaky brats have been hiding!"

"Oh no!" Lololo pointed as he turned around.

Lalala finished his sentence for him. "It's King Dedede!"

Fumu's eyes widened as she turned around to see a smug Dedede and his demon beast blocking the exit back to the valley.

The king strolled forward, letting out a victorious chuckle. "It's now over for you, you've got no way out! Get him, Bugzzy!"

As Bugzzy charged forward, Bun dove for Kirby and threw the puffball up in the air towards Lololo. The blue floating servant grabbed Kirby, immediately swooping up with his payload and managing to clear past Bugzzy by flying above the confused insect.

"Your majesty!" Escargon cried as Lololo flew out of the clearing with Kirby in his hands. "Kirby's given us the boot!"

"Don't care about the stupid children, Bugzzy! After that Kirby!" Dedede yelled, immediately shoving Escargon to the side as he and Bugzzy ran back in the direction that they had originally come from.

Fumu, Bun and Lalala immediately made haste to run after Dedede, although Fumu couldn't help but feel how ironic it was for the situation to be reversed. Earlier, the giant monster had been chasing after them, and now it was the other way around.

"Sis…" Bun panted as they ran. "If that thing reaches Kirby I don't think he's going to make it…"

"You think I don't know that!?" she yelled back, her eyes worryingly looking up towards Lololo and Kirby.

Lalala looked down at Fumu as she flew. "Don't worry! Kirby's in good hands! You have to trust Lololo!"

Despite Lalala's reassurance, Fumu still clasped her hands together in prayer, hoping for anyone to hear her pleas in case of the worst-case scenario. "Please, Lololo… you've got to take Kirby to safety!"


Archer Kirby wasn't sure just how much more of this he would be able to take.

"I want your autograph, Kirby!"

"You're so cool! Man, Kabu was right, you truly are a Star Warrior!"

"Beat that new demon beast and save Cappy Town again, okay?"

"You can beat Meta Knight and Dedede's crazy new monster as well! I believe in you, Kirby!"

He had steadfastly kept his mouth shut and ignored of all their comments, quickly realizing that opening his mouth to talk would only get him in a heap of deeper trouble and pull him even further down the rabbit hole. Honestly, he could not get used to the celebrity-like status that his counterpart appeared to have on this Popstar. It was certainly humoring at first, but now all he genuinely wanted was not their praise, but some peace and quiet.

"Hey, Kirby!" The three Cappy children he had been playing with earlier squirmed to the front of the crowd. He admired their tenacity. Moving to the front wasn't an easy task, since Kirby was literally surrounded by a ring of Cappies. "Where are Fumu and Bun? Do they know you're okay?" Iroo chirped up, looking down to Kirby expectantly.

Kirby did remember Hohhe mentioning the names before when they'd first approached him, so he decided to further prod the kids to see if he could identify just who in the crowd this Fumu and Bun were. "Poyo?" he said out loud while making sure to tilt his head in an inquisitive manner. He made sure to use the same language as his counterpart so that no one suspected that he wasn't their Kirby. It had been so long since he had used Poyos as a language that he'd honestly felt it a little demeaning.

"You don't know?" Honey gasped, shaking her head in disbelief. "But that doesn't make sense. They were with you the whole time, but after you landed over here Fumu and Bun were chased off by Dedede."

Kirby nodded his head with a smile. So Fumu and Bun were the two Cappy children who had been down in the canyon below. He tiptoed up to look above the crowd and gaze back down to the canyon below.

"Oh n-poyo!" Archer Kirby almost blew his cover by letting out a surprised shout. With rapidly widening eyes he saw that his jig was up. By sheer luck, he had caught sight of Lololo floating down below with the other Kirby in his hands. Kirby clucked his tongue, trying to maintain his composure. As of this point, he really did not want the Cappies to realize that he wasn't from their world yet. He took in a deep breath as everyone looked at him curiously, wondering what had prompted his earlier cry.

After exhaling, he calmly rationalized his current situation in his head. As of now he was still the center of attraction. None of the Cappies had taken their eyes off him yet. Even Tokkori was looking at him intently. Archer Kirby felt a smile creeping up on his face. This was good, perfect for what he was about to do actually.

"Poyo!" he said with an enthusiastic tone as he pointed into the sky. Naturally enough, the excitement in his voice, coupled by the fact that this happened to be Kirby, caused the entire group to look up into the sky, immediately giving him the opportunity to duck behind his Camouflage cover.

"Hey! There's nothing there!" When they saw that they've been jipped, the Cappies looked back down in unison, only to find to their surprise that Kirby was gone in the span of the time that their eyes had left the puffball.

"Eh! What the—"

"Kirby vanished!"

"Where did he go?"

"No, wait!" Iroo pointed back at the valley. "Look down there! Kirby somehow got himself back down there!"

At Iroo's observation, all of the Cappies immediately ran towards the edge of the cliff to look down at the sight, causing Archer Kirby to sigh in relief as he finally got the alone time that he wanted.

Down in the canyon, Lololo began to look nervous as he gazed up to see all of the Cappies looking in his general direction. Distracted for a moment, he missed a large dark shadow looming until he felt the giant club that had whacked Kirby earlier come into contact with his head.

"Yow!" Lololo was forced to let go of Kirby as he tumbled down to the ground. Kirby himself fell to the ground, the rough landing causing him to finally regain consciousness. He groggily blinked opened his blue eyes, letting out a pained moan as he clutched his forehead.

"Kirby!" Fumu yelled, before stopping her run when she caught sight of a masked knight standing on an elevated chunk of rock. She immediately placed her hands to her hips, scowling at Meta Knight, "And just where have you been?"

"I gave Sword and Blade permission to take their leave, but I myself have been waiting right here for quite a while," he replied, gesturing down to the rock formation he was standing on. "I knew that Kirby would eventually return. A Star Warrior would never give up and abandon his post."

"But you could have helped us when Dedede was chasing us!" Lalala muttered exasperatedly as she floated down to the stoic knight.

"The least you can do is help us now," Fumu looked towards him. "King Dedede's monster is going to—"

"I refuse." Meta Knight stated bluntly, shaking his head as he gazed to his right towards Kirby. "This is Kirby's fight, not mine."

As Fumu gasped at Meta Knight's refusal, Dedede had finally managed to catch up to the flying Bugzzy in the meantime, letting out a smirk when he saw that Kirby was now conscious. "Muhahahahah! Yes, you're finally awake! Say bye-bye, Kirby!" He grabbed Escargon's neck and violently shook the snail in his excitement. "Bugzzy, finish that annoying pink runt off for good!"

Hearing Dedede's orders, Fumu yelled across the canyon, throwing her voice so that Kirby could hear her. "Kirby! You might not have a weapon now, but you can use your inhale attack!"

"Yeah!" Bun chorused. "Use your special technique to suck that evil demon beast up!"

With a determined face, Kirby closed his eyes and began to use all of his power to use his inhale attack. Unfortunately, the demon beast stayed still, planting its feet firmly on the ground. With a snarl, it gleefully raised up its arm, taking aim at the helpless puffball.

"Do you really think that huge monster can be inhaled?" Meta Knight asked as he saw that Kirby's move was futile. "Think again," he advised, turning to Fumu and Bun. "There is something else that Kirby can inhale that is much lighter."

Fumu's eyes lit up as she realized what Meta Knight was driving at. "That's right! His sword! Aim it at his sword, Kirby!"

Kirby lifted up his head to do so, but unfortunately for him Bugzzy managed to maintain a firm grip on his weapon. With a phenomenal effort, Bugzzy grimaced and pulled his arm back to resist Kirby's strong inhale move. He narrowed his eyes, knowing that once he pulled the sword out of the attack's range, he could swing it down to Kirby at full strength and hit him with a devastating blow.

"No can do, Bugzzy!" Archer Kirby muttered under his breath, "You ain't hurting him on my watch!" He glared at Bugzzy as it looked like he was going to bring down the giant sword on his hapless counterpart before he could even defend himself. Now he was definitely beginning to get unhappy with this world's Dedede. Already agitated by the crowd earlier, he decided that he would take his anger out on Bugzzy right now while saving the other Kirby in the process. Since everyone was looking at the brawl below, Kirby stayed behind the Cappies before dropping his camouflage, confident that no one would see him.

Now that he was no longer using the Archer Ability purely for hiding, he could use its offensive capabilities to its full extent. Archer Kirby closed his non-dominant eye and aimed his shot steady, holding the drawstring as the star-tipped arrow began to glow white. "Steady now, steady…" he mumbled, biting his lip as he took aim at his target. Normally with Archer, he would simply direct his shots at a straight or slight angle. However, he didn't want the Cappies ahead of him to become collateral damage, so as a result Kirby was going for a tricky forty-five-degree angled shot this time.

Having faith in his aim, Archer Kirby released the drawstring, letting the glowing arrow fly. The charged Magic-Star Arrow attack was then sent in an upwards arc that caused it to sail over all of the villagers' heads, causing them to look up towards the glowing projectile as Kirby hid himself again, grinning to himself as he saw the sharp arrow arcing down towards the canyon floor. It then hit its mark perfectly, piercing right through the skin of Bugzzy's right arm as the arrow came down from above.

"Garghhhh!" Bugzzy screeched as he loosened his grip on the giant sword, causing the whole thing to be sucked out of his hand as it was caught by Kirby's inhale. The sword then spun around like a boomerang until it entered Kirby's waiting mouth.

"Yeah!" Bun jumped, his excitement clear on his face. "He swallowed the sword!"

"Wait…" Fumu turned towards Kirby. "That means…"

Just as she thought, Kirby then jumped into the air, spinning rapidly as a bright green hat began to form around his head. The hat continued to spin even after Kirby had stopped due to the force of inertia, which led to the floppy portion of the hat eventually plopping down on Kirby's face when it ran out of kinetic energy, ruining the hype of the moment at least partially. Unperturbed by this, Kirby flipped the top of the hat to one side, before raising his stubby little arm up, holding the tip of a silver polished blade up to the sky as it materialized in his right hand.

Meta Knight gazed slightly upwards to look at the joyful Kirby. Although the knight seemed as impassive as ever, his vocal tone as he made his next announcement revealed his true excitement. "That is… Sword Kirby!" he said as he lifted his own sword up to the air to gesture towards the green-capped Kirby.

"Sword…" Fumu started with a surprised voice as she took in the sight ahead of her.

"…Kirby?" Bun completed her sentence, equally as stunned. Unlike with Fire Kirby, this time the boy had no objections at all with Meta Knight's selected title for Kirby's Copy Ability.

"Yeah!" Archer Kirby smirked from behind his obvious camouflage. "Sword Ability! Now we're talking! Go get 'em, other me!" he cheered out loud, knowing that as long as he was behind his cover no one would know where the voice was coming from.

The audience of Cappies above also repeated Meta Knight's proclamation with a mixture of awe and shock. "Sword Kirby!?"

"Y-You mean to tell me that the entire time Kirby had been fighting with Sir Meta Knight, he wasn't even using an ability?" Mayor Len wiped his brow with a handkerchief provided by his wife. "Good grief! That's both incredible and scary at the same time!"

"Gosh!" Hohhe shivered, his shuddering obvious thanks to his headwear visibly vibrating. "Now I'm really scared of Kirby!"

"Man, am I glad Kirby's on our side!" Iroo agreed.

"Me too!" Honey seconded the consensus.

"This is great! I didn't know Kirby was good with a knife! Maybe I should hire Sword Kirby as an assistant cook to help me slice sushi in my restaurant?" Kawasaki mused the possibility with a joyful grin on his face.

"Hah! Even if he does, that won't make your cooking any tastier, Kawasaki!" Another voice immediately cut in from somewhere in the crowd behind the chef to dissuade him of the idea, while burning Chef Kawasaki in the process.

Even the normally arrogant Tokkori was stunned by Kirby's new ability. "Man, it's a good thing I didn't set up that betting contest on the winner after all," he muttered, "I would have lost over two weeks' worth of birdseed if I did!"

Not everyone was excited with Kirby's transformation, however. "Sw-Sword Kirby?!" Dedede and Escargon yelled simultaneously, both of them having despair mixed with shock in their outbursts. The two of them somehow got the impression that the composed expression which Kirby now had on his face meant that their Star Warrior nemesis was going to score yet another comeback from certain defeat.

Dedede wasn't going to have that in the slightest. He immediately yelled instructions to the stunned demon beast. "You might not have your sword, Bugzzy, but use your club! Clobbah 'dat there Kirby!"

Bugzzy nodded his head, immediately bringing down his club. Sword Kirby, however, blocked the blow by raising his sword diagonally up, his forceful swing managed to knock Bugzzy down on his back.

As Bugzzy tried to get to his feet, Sword Kirby made use of the opportunity to jump up into the air, not giving his opponent the chance to get back up. He realized that this was his only chance to put a quick end to the sword duel. If Bugzzy got back up, he would put up a good fight with his giant club. It was now or never.

With renewed vigor, Kirby decided to go for the attack that Meta Knight had relentlessly spammed at him a while ago. As he raised his sword up high, he remembered the knight's words from earlier.

"The move is tricky to execute and requires the user to be at full power before it can be used. If you focus your spirit and allow your power to flow into your sword, you can then release it in a single concentrated attack… the Sword Beam!"

He took a deep breath in, calming himself down as he closed his eyes. Time seemed to slow to a standstill as he felt power flowing from his hand down into the blade of his sword. Kirby was able to feel his blade honing and sharpening from the energy transferred as he meditated in midair.

Once he felt the sword brimming with power, his eyes sprang open. "Sword Beam!" Sword Kirby yelled out loud, managing to forgo the usual Poyos in his speech and declaring the name of the attack in English as he swung both of his arms down towards Bugzzy. He could feel the sheer energy being flung out of the sword as a white wave of pure energy was unleashed from the blade.

"Oh, come on!" A frowning Archer Kirby hit a fist against the ground as he let out a bitter chuckle, "Even the other me gets to use the cool version of Sword Beam!?" His eyes followed the wave of light until the energy beam discharged by Sword Kirby slammed straight into Bugzzy. The Insect Demon Beast's eyes widened to the size of marbles as he felt himself being cut cleanly in two.

"Noooooo! My Bugzzy!" Dedede yelled, grabbing ahold of his bobble hat and wringing it as he gave an involuntarily wince at the amount of money that he now knew had just gone to waste.

"Yes!" cried virtually everybody else who was watching, the optimistic cry echoing across the canyon walls just to mock the king.

"Bugghhhhrtttt…" Bugzzy croaked as he blinked in disbelief, unable to comprehend that this was his end even as a hairline crack spread vertically across his body where the Sword Beam had sliced him. The demon beast then began to shine brightly, causing many to shield their eyes before a massive explosion engulfed the area as his entire body was blown apart.

His defeat was welcomed with resounding applause from the Cappies above and the onlookers below. "All right!" Fumu jumped for joy as her brother followed suit, adding on to her whoops of delight. "He did it!" Bun said.

"Very true…" Meta Knight's voice caused both of them to turn back at him. "It appears that Kirby has emerged victorious. To use the Sword Beam on his first attempt… he is certainly a fast learner."

"Well, Kirby's learning too fast for my liking! That cheating little brat! How is that pesky pink punk even able to use a move like that!?"

Fumu folded her arms at the fuming Dedede, who had brandished his hammer in anger. "You didn't see the duel earlier, did you? Well, too bad!"

"Cheaters never prosper!" Lololo grinned with a nod.

"Maybe if you didn't instigate the duel in the first place, you wouldn't have lost so much money!" Lalala pointed out, letting out a cheeky grin when she saw her words hit Dedede where it hurt.

"Hey!" Escargon yelled at the floating Lalala, waving his fist in anger. "That was four million dedens that we now have to write off as a loss!"

"Maybe you should increase the taxes again?" Lololo suggested sarcastically, although if he was to be perfectly honest, that was probably going to be how things would eventually play out. After all, he'd known Dedede's mannerisms for years.

Seeing that the whole lot of them were teasing Dedede for his loss, Bun proceeded to join in the fun as well. "Looks like you lose again, Dedede!" he taunted.

"You little bunch of interfering pests!" Dedede yelled, swinging his hammer reflexively. He prepared to storm towards the group, but Sword Kirby landing back on the ground and glaring at him caused Dedede to change his mind, especially when the puffball menacingly aimed the sword towards him.

"Whoa, nelly!" Dedede waved his arms as he began to backed away from Kirby. "Get that dangerous thing away from me!" he yelled, nervously looking at Kirby's sword.

"Well, you were the one who set Kirby up on a sword duel that he didn't want in the first place, so how about having a taste of your own medicine!" Bun snickered at the irony.

Kirby then raised his arm up, looking as though he was about to fire off another devastating Sword Beam attack. Both Escargon and Dedede panicked at the sight, not wanting to be on the receiving end of the attack that had completely destroyed Bugzzy.

"Argh! Run, your majesty!" Escargon yelped as he took off with Dedede following behind.

"This isn't over, Kirby!" Dedede yelled in a flustered tone as he ran. "I will have my revenge!"

Fumu let out a snort as Dedede cowardly fled. She then turned to Meta Knight with a cautious expression. "Thanks for teaching Kirby how to use a sword, Sir Meta Knight," she said with a grumble. While it hadn't been obvious at first, she could now safely say that Meta Knight had not truly wanted to finish Kirby like Dedede had wanted.

"Hm? I did that?" he replied coolly. "I was going to defeat him."

"You say that, but you were actually nice to him," Bun said. "I was watching you fight with Kirby from beginning to end, and even I could tell that you weren't really fighting him in earnest."

"Whatever makes you think that?"

"Well for one, despite all of your flashy attacks, you never once tried to capitalized on Kirby's mistakes," Bun pointed out as he flung his hands apart. "Instead, you acted as his pseudo-mentor or something, guiding him indirectly and giving him advice until he was able to mature as a better swordsman. You're like that guy from that space movie that I've watched!"

Fumu stared at Bun with a surprised expression. Honestly, she was surprised that her brother had managed to take the words right out of her mouth… well, everything except for the space movie bit.

Now there was only one thing left for her to clarify for the moment.

"Is it really true?" Fumu placed her hands on her hips as she interrogated Meta Knight while making sure that she was out of Kirby's earshot. "Is Kirby actually Nightmare's failed creation?" It would explain a lot of things, namely the theory that Kabu had said earlier about a Star Warrior that Nightmare created turning against him.

Meta Knight replied to her posed question with an unreadable voice. "Hm? Where did you get such an idea? How would I know about something like that?"

"Don't you know everything, Meta Knight?" Fumu skeptically held her ground until the girl saw that she wasn't going to get a clearer answer from the enigmatic knight. Thus, she twirled around, deciding not to further question Meta Knight. It was clear that he wasn't going to answer anyway.

But to be truthful, she didn't care if Meta Knight knew something and was going to keep it from them. The girl was sure that with Kirby staying in Cappy Town, sooner or later the truth will come to light. Hence, instead of focusing on Meta Knight, she found her eyes wandering up to Kirby as Lololo and Lalala carried the victorious Star Warrior up to a cheering crowd of Cappy Town villagers up on the cliff tops above.

Her heart swelled with pride as she saw the beaming Kirby held up in the air by the two servants, her green eyes turning determined as she felt herself silently holding herself to a promise that she made to herself. With a small smirk that didn't normally adjourn the composed Fumu's face, she made sure to declare the promise that she had just made out loud.

"Well, we'll discover it before long regardless!" she said with pure resolve in her voice, focusing her eyes intently on the joyous Star Warrior, "Kirby's secret!"

Her words weren't missed by Archer Kirby, who had a contemplative expression on his face as he looked at the delighted face of this world's Kirby. "My alternate counterpart's secret, eh? Hm, now that's an interesting thought…"

Despite all of the triumphant cheering from the onlooking Cappies up on the cliff tops above, Archer Kirby was the one distinct exception… he himself wasn't cheering for the victory of his Sword Kirby counterpart. Now that the adrenaline of watching the exhilarating fight had worn off, he could focus on a more pressing issue. Kirby apprehensively gazed down at the other puffball, a look of worry crossing his face.

"When you go on the offensive, you always have a tendency to commit to a triple-move to pin down your opponents. First, you slash your sword from your right hand, then a slash with your left. Lastly, you bring down both hands in the air as though you are performing a cross-slash with two swords."

One of alternate Meta Knight's observations had been something that Archer Kirby had noticed himself as well. It was the most minor of details, but Kirby knew better than to dismiss it as a coincidence, especially when far stranger things had ended up being related before in the past. To be truthful, he had been unconvinced about Meta Knight's words at first, but Sword Kirby's finisher against Bugzzy was what changed his mind.

"Perhaps it's for the best if I lay low over here for a bit in this Dream Land…" Archer Kirby finally decided. "It still was a good duel, though. Good fight, other me," he added before taking his leave by crawling away with his camouflage disguise still on him.

One thing was pretty much guaranteed, though. This was definitely not going to be the last time that he would meet with the other pink puffball. Of that much, Kirby was certain.


In a small storeroom that was filled to the brim with weapons, one lone intruder stealthily tiptoed around the dark corridors, trying to rummage around the surroundings while looking for one specific weapon to arm himself with in particular.

"Where do they keep the spears?" he asked out loud in a worried voice, beginning to get more and more frightened as he couldn't find a single spear in the entire place. Already he was starting to wish that he didn't step foot into the room. But he had no choice. He felt naked and vulnerable without a spear to call his own. As he continued to scavenged around the many weapon-filled crates in the dark room, the lights above suddenly flickered on, blinking once as the bulb filament powered up.

The lights caused him to let out a tiny eep of fright when he realized that he had been caught red-handed, only further emphasized when a second voice came from the now-open doorway. "Well, well, well…" the high-pitched voice cut in as the person saying them marched into the room, "Look at what we have right over here." Normally, the voice would sound cute, but in this scenario, the words made the newcomer's usual voice sound threatening.

The intruder stared back with widening eyes when several spear-wielding Waddle Dees strutted through the doors and proceeded to surround him on all sides. Now he was definitely regretting his decision to chance taking a spear from the room without permission.

"I've decided to guard the castle armory more closely after it turned up that a sword was found to be unaccounted for during a random inventory check that we'd carried out a few hours ago. And now, it appears my extra vigilance has paid off, because it looks to me like I've managed to catch my little culprit." The captain by the door said his words in a disappointed, unhappy tone as he took a long, hard gaze at his supposed thief — a frightened Waddle Dee with a navy blue bandana tied around the top of his head.

Disregarding the fact that it was a Waddle Dee that had been the thief, he had to admit that it was certainly an unusual sight. All of the Waddle Dees were usually peas in a pod, perfectly identical to each other in terms of physical appearance. But this one differed ever so slightly, with even his color tone varying by being a brighter shade of orange. And that wasn't even going into his bandana. Perhaps this particular Waddle Dee just decided to wear it as a headband to show off that he was a robber? It was an absurd thought, but it made sense in his head at least.

Looking to be at his wit's end, the Waddle Dee made a last-ditch effort to run for it while the captain was distracted with his thoughts, making a dash for the open door when he spotted an opening between two of the guards.

His singular eye widening, Captain Waddle Doo drew his sword and pointed it right at the thief Dee, causing him to stop his sprint with a panicked expression. His sword remained pointed at the Dee until his guards managed to hold the errant Waddle Dee down. "I must say, never in a million years would I ever have expected the thief to be one of my very own Waddle Dees…" Captain Waddle Doo commented, before walking forward to the apprehended Waddle Dee and shaking his head with a sigh.

"You and I are going to have a personal talk later, bud. I don't tolerate insubordination from any soldier of mine on my watch!" He then straightened up, barking an order to the other Waddle Dees under his command. "Take 'im away, boys!"


"Bahahahaha! How excellent indeed! Everything has gone exactly as I've planned! It's almost like the good old days when I came up with plans on the fly. Good to see I haven't lost my touch… I truly am a strategic general!"

Needless to say, one could tell from her delighted tone alone that the black-cloaked blonde mage was pleased when she had returned to a scene of utter devastation in Floralia's royal palace.

…although another voice that came less than a minute later was not as joyous as hers. "Good grief!" it exclaimed in an accent that screamed formality. "What happened here? Why are there unconscious Comos everywhere? Oh wait… it's you. Well, that certainly explains a whole lot."

"Bonjam." Her eyes narrowed as she gazed at the new visitor. She hadn't expected to see anyone on her scouting mission. "We meet again, it seems."

"Narily!" The owl perched himself on the frame of the mirror, glowering down at her. "Honestly, I would prefer if I never saw your face again. After all, you attacked Rick and Kine, so that makes this something quite personal for me!" His anger then seemingly evaporated as he reverted back to his polite demeanor. "Ah, sorry. Where are my manners? I never introduced myself, did I? Well, I'm Coo the Owl," he wrapped a wing around front of his body, almost as though he was emulating a royal whipping their cape to their front. "And you know, I was just wondering if you remember my friends, Rick the Hamster and Kine the Fish?"

"Oh, so the hamster and the fish was who that puffball had been talking about all along?" she mused, before her eyes turned brutally vicious. "Then yes, I will confirm right now that I did indeed kick them both to the curb."

"How very honest of you, Miss Zan." Coo didn't seem to react very much to her statement, having already guessed most of it when the mage had confronted him and Kirby earlier on in the day.

"Jamanke," Zan thanked the owl as she simultaneously made sure to inject a massive dose of sarcasm into her voice. "We Jambastions aim to please. I sincerely hope that we've been successful."

"Well, you've certainly succeeded in pleasing a certain demographic…" Coo preened his wings before his eyes suddenly went from jovial to serious in one second flat, "…namely, those of the masochistic kind," he finished in a savage manner. He couldn't care less about the inevitable burn that Zan must have felt when he had compared her to a sadistic masochist. Those perceptive eyes of Coo then wandered over to the spear that she was holding in her hand. "Especially since it looks to me that you managed to get Kirby and Bandana as well, you scum."

The mage chose not to deny his accusation, simply holding up Bandana Dee's spear as a taunt in her left arm before putting it back down. Her silence caused Coo to shuffle his feet uneasily on the top of the mirror frame. "Sigh… I'll be frank. I really didn't want it to come to this." His uncertain eyes bridled with emotion. "But alas! It would seem as though I'm at my wit's end…"

"Yow!" Zan winced as a sharp purple feather suddenly cut her palm, causing her to let go of her partizan as it clattered to the marble floor. Now without her electric weapon, Coo jumped off the mirror, flying forward and pinning her against one of the palace's outer pillars by the balcony, holding her shoulders apart using his wings so that she was unable get free and pick up her weapon.

"Please, do not attempt such a hasty move," Coo said as he shook his head, his calm attitude only succeeding in making Zan more agitated as she began to thrash about, shaking the owl so hard that it almost seemed as though she might squirm free. He continued to hold a firm grip, knowing that if she managed to move her body so that the pillar was no longer behind her, she could simply float to the open sky behind her and thus force Coo to release her as he needed to use those same wings to fly.

"Enough playing dumb with me, alright? I'm being positively serious now! Where's Kirby and Bandana Dee!?" Coo's voice began to grow desperate as she continued to still her tongue. "I know you have them! Just like how you have Gooey!" Zan suddenly stopped her thrashing at his questions. It looked as though the sharp owl had noticed that the burlap sack was conspicuously missing this time round.

Well, she could use that against him. "Oh, that blob?" Zan tried to shrug, or at least giving the best attempt that she could when she was pinned against a solid pillar. "If you really must know, I'd left him locked inside a train locker for safekeeping."

"Excuse me? What?" Coo quizzically tilted his head, unsure if she was being serious or trying to mess with his psyche. Unfortunately, he failed to notice the glint in her eyes as he unconsciously let his guard down. That was the opportunity that Zan wanted. When Coo had held her down, the owl had wisely disarmed her of her weapon.

But Coo had forgotten one important fact… Zan had been carrying Bandana Dee's spear in her other hand when he had tackled her to the pillar. The spear was out of Coo's sight because the position that he currently held her in led to it being behind the mage's back. However, now was the perfect time to bring it back into the open…

The owl yelped when the spear was stabbed straight into his left wing. "Ahhrgggghhh!" he let out a pained cry, letting go of Zan's shoulders as he clenched his eyes shut from the piercing pain.

Seizing her chance, Zan violently ripped the bloodied spear out to completely immobilize the owl. Letting Bandana's spear clatter to the marble floor with the moaning owl following suit, she quickly swooped down and grabbed her fallen weapon, feeling a smug expression cross her face as she felt the familiar smooth metal once again in the grip of her hand. Her eyes then glinted red as she charged her partizan up with electricity and proceeded to use all her strength to bring her weapon down on the vulnerable owl in a brutally fast arc.

"Grraghhhhhhh!"

Purple charred feathers scattered everywhere as an incredible amount of electricity coursed through Coo, a split-second before the large bladed weapon smacked right into his face, managing to score a direct hit. Coo had been incredibly lucky that Zan had used the blunt edge of the weapon and not the sharp portion, else his injuries might have been much worse. Although, that fortunate luck of his was rather short-lived as the force of the impact flung the purple owl straight through the pillar and out of the windowless palace. With his wings paralyzed from the shock, Coo was unable to flap his wings and maintain his lift, resulting in the bird tumbling down to Dream Land below with an anguished cry.

Zan hovered over to the scenic edge of the palace, glancing down at the falling owl with a look of pure indifference, indignantly ignoring the avian even as he grew smaller and smaller until he finally disappeared below the clouds of Floralia. But the fate of the owl didn't really personally matter to Zan. Whether he returned or not, that animal was insignificant in the grand affair of things, unimportant to her in the slightest. She couldn't afford to care for a mere distraction like him. Not right now…

Not when she was so close to seeing the Jambastion Cult finally achieving their dream after so long!

"Fifteen thousand years…" she began to speak with a longing voice, staring up to the stars that surrounded the bluish night sky of Royal Road. "…that's how long we've waited for this day. Fifteen. Thousand. Long. Years. But those long years won't all be for naught!" she excitedly said as she raised her arms up to the palace's atrium ceiling. "We might have only made significant progress during the past century, but the fifteen whole millennia of cumulative blood, sweat and tears that we've put into this venture after all of us had been unfairly thrown to the sidelines has finally paid off! Our patience might have worn thin, but fate has finally led us all here to this very moment! With the power of Void Termina within our grasp, our vengeance will soon be complete!"

Zan reached her palm out to the surface of the mirror, before hesitating right as her fingers were about to touch the glass. Almost as though the mirror had turned into a spiky cactus, she withdrew her hand slightly, before hovering back from the brass mirror altogether. "No…" she muttered, "It wouldn't be right unless the great Lord Hyness is personally here to witness this historic moment as well…" She then pursed her lips, putting a hand to her collar as she fiddled with her attire before correcting the statement. "Actually, come to think of it, the entire Jambastion Cult should be here for such an occasion!"

But to call for such a thing would require her to leave the mirror unattended to, which was certainly a problem. She didn't dare to carry the fragile mirror up with her into space. If it shattered, they would be back to square one. But to leave it in Floralia would mean that it ran the risk of getting stolen… although Zan quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't likely. Not only had the Como guards been knocked out, they were immobilized under layers of web and thus weren't getting free anytime soon.

While there ran the troubling possibility of outsiders potentially bumbling into the royal palace and discovering the mirror like the owl friend of Kirby's, the whole thing with Coo was also dismissed by Zan as a one-off incident, with there unlikely to be a repeat incident. After all, she'd noted that the spider who had talked to her when she arrived here on the first night was right — this place was well enough out of the way that most people wouldn't come across it. Thus, after weighing her options through her risk assessment, she decided that it was worth risking making a return trip to Jambastion Base to bring all of their troops to the Kingdom of Floralia for this grand ceremony.

It would certainly be quite the show. Quite the show indeed. And the best part was that all of Gamble Galaxy would be cordially invited to witness their revenge scheme finally put into action. Once their grand plan was executed, they would make the history books. Certainly, it was something that no one alive would ever forget as long as they lived.

Just as Zan made her final preparations to leave, she took a long glance at the reddened spear that was now lying on the ground. Thinking back, she realized that there had been one thing the owl she'd just fought was mistaken about — she hadn't been responsible for the mishap of Kirby and his little Waddle Dee friend. However, if she was right, then the owner of this spear and the pesky pink puffball had played right into her hands… just the way the general had wanted it.

"Hmph! So it would appear that you do have a use after all, you little troublemaker." The Jambastion Mage scoffed before letting out a small chuckle, "You can consider it my personal thanks to you for ensuring the success of our plan, you small pink nuisance! Bahahaha!"

After concluding her triumphantly evil cackle, Zan Partizanne promptly zipped out of the Floralia's royal palace, leaving the moonlit Royal Road under her as she used her speed to leave Planet Popstar and take off to the stars again. "It won't be long now until we manage to find our Dark Lord, Void Termina…" she declared to herself as she exited out of Popstar's atmosphere and prepared to return back to the rebuilt Jambandra Base located on the edge of Gamble Galaxy.

"And once that happens, we can finally kiss Jambuhbye to this wretched prison, once and for all!"


Author's Note:

Whew! Kirby's Duel Role just doesn't want to end — in fact, this is the longest chapter of the story yet! I was really tempted to cut it into two chapters at the midway transition, splitting at the point where it line breaks between Lololo carrying anime!Kirby and game!Kirby getting swamped by fans. But in the end I decided it wasn't a very good stopping point. As a consequence, we now have this behemoth of a chapter clocking in at about 16.5K words, including this author's note.

Word count exempted, there really is a lot going on in this chapter. Finally, you get some much-needed backstory on the Star Warriors and the Galaxy Soldier Army… as well as a Zan scene that probably created far more questions than answers. Hey, if Kumazaki and HAL can set up all the lore that they want, then I'm legally allowed to foreshadow stuff in my own story too!

Opening up chapters with a prologue from game!Kirby's POV is something new that I've decided to try. It is interesting to write first-person POV given that it is something I rarely do outside of internal monologues. Regardless, I hope that my version of the Meta Knight v. Kirby battle was a satisfying read for you all. Anime!Kirby got whacked a bit this chapter, which I should now say has no relation to me losing a solo Adeleine & Ribbon Soul Melter run attempt to Void Termina's 2nd phase due to me getting rusty at said fight when the Wave 2 update finally dropped. They are mutually exclusive events, honest… and I did beat it the attempt immediately after with a time of 18:31.54.

But yeah, the Kirby's Duel Role adaptation ended up being relatively similar to its original anime episode, since well… about half of that episode was the duel, and the other half breaks tradition by instead being a part of the very sparse backstory we get on Holy Nightmare. But relax, the story won't all be like that. I swear that not every chapter will be an anime adaptation (especially later on) since it would get super repetitive and annoying, even for me, regardless of how much I change up the formula. As I've said, not all episode adaptations will be a carbon-copy of how things went down in the show, especially now with gameverse characters roaming about Cappy Town.

One thing that bugged me about the actual episode is the supposed crowd for the hyped-up fight. You don't actually see the Cappies from when Tokkori announces that Kirby fled to Kabu Canyon all the way until Bugzzy is beaten. Yes, the animators straight up forgot about the Cappies and didn't show them react to the duel till the end. You can't expect me to believe that they were there all along and yet kept so quiet for the majority of the battle, because you're lying to me if that's the case!

There's something I would like to finally clarify to you readers, by the way. Surely some of you might be wondering why I'm holding off on character interactions between the two worlds, especially since it's the part that's most looked forward to for any crossover. In fact, if you look up just about any other Kirby game/anime crossover besides this one, especially the old unfinished ones, you'd find that the two Kirbies plus the rest of the game and anime characters know that their counterpart exists in less than a couple thousand words at best ('Are You a Friend, Too?' by FierySprites is a wonderful recent example).

But here we are, seven chapters and close to 70K words in, and yet Terminal Paralysis still appears to be in the introductory set-up phase with clear distinctions between both worlds. So what gives? Well, the key lies in this chapter, namely in gameverse!Kirby's thoughts about his counterpart…

Part of this reason I wrote this story in the first place is to break from the traditional mold of "game meets anime characters, instantly gets along/fight" trope that these crossover stories tend to have. Not to say that they're bad, in fact it's a great cliché when executed right, but it's something that has been done repeatedly time and time again in my books, which is why I'm going for something different to pull my own unique spin on it. The interactions between game and anime characters WILL still happen, just not in the direct 'you're-my-counterpart?' way that you'd expect.

Believe me, it's as tough for me to write things this way as it is for you, the reader, who I'm guessing is still pondering about why I'm doing things this way. I can honestly say that there have been many points when I was writing the past two chapters where I just wanted to ditch my original plans and just get to the epic portions that I've planned up prior. But to ease up on this wait, I've got one such character interaction already planned up for the next chapter!

Trust me, I've got many plotlines in store once I set them up. As an author, I simply hope that you'll stay and enjoy the eventual payoff when I get to the part where this story turns into a full-fledged crossover between worlds! But until then, I hope you enjoy regardless!

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Whoop-Dee-Doo

My Adventure Log, Entry #2: Thoughts on Other Me

Hai again!

Ignoring the fact that I'm still totally salty over Sword Beam, the duel between other me and other Meta Knight has been constantly on my mind. This world has been perplexing me ever since that fight, and to be honest… I don't know what to think. I mean, everything's so different! For example, Cappies are the dominant species here in this Dream Land. Not to mention that the Dedede who happens to be in charge of this place is totally not a nice person at all. :(

And then there's other me. That guy's a whole different level of enigma to figure out. To be honest, I've only seen him in action for less than twenty minutes, so I don't think I'm fit to draw any conclusions on him as of now. But still, I've pondered and pondered about it, and came to the decision that perhaps I should keep an eye out for him.

Ironically, it looks like that nagging arachnid Taranza was right about one thing: I can't let the villagers here know about my existence as of yet, at least until I confirm my hypothesis. But until then, I've made it my goal to find out as much about my alternate counterpart as I can.

I even thought up of a rather cute name for 'other me' too! Hee hee hee! If only I can actually share that nickname with one of my friends… but they're all back home with the exception of Bandana Dee and my Como partner (and Taranza's right-hand), Webby.

Speaking of which… just where is Bandana anyway?

Visitor of Another Dreamland,
Kirby


As one might now know, there is not one, but two Planet Popstars. However, the Popstar we will be focusing on for now is rather different from the other Planet Popstar. Here, there were no demon octopuses, terrified sheeps, or crazy monarchs constantly wanting to "clobbah that there Kirby".

Okay, so perhaps maybe the last point was somewhat debatable, but this King Dedede was significantly more on edge for the past week after his sudden possession by a Jamba Heart, and thus as a result it wasn't likely that the ruler of Dream Land was going to try any mischievous pranks against his self-proclaimed nemesis soon.

This went double as the king proceeded to let out a huge yawn. "Man, am I pooped!" Dedede heaved a sigh of relief as he finally walked back into his throne room after a long day of work. He had gone all over Planet Popstar to talk to multiple people in preparation for a huge peace meeting that he had set for tomorrow, and since the mobile phone network had gone down… let's just say that communication was absolute chaos. Some of them didn't even know he was coming and Dedede was forced to rush like crazy just to coordinate everything.

But finally, everything was all set. The following day would be a day that hit the history books for Popstar — tomorrow, he would host a conference of peace between the multiple species and work out an arrangement with them to divide up the vibrant lands of Popstar so that Dream Land wouldn't be completely decimated if one of them decided that they didn't get their fair share of the cake.

He groaned at the sheer thought of having to organize such an event in the first place. Dedede had traced the necessity of the meeting down to one factor — namely, Kirby's usage of the Friend Hearts. After the whole incident with the Jambastion Cult and Void Termina was settled with, Kirby had brought close to twenty sentient former enemies turned partners back home, regardless of where they originally came from. Those pioneer Friends, with their power of speech and greater intelligence, quickly became the leaders of their respective species here on Planet Popstar. As a result, as the ruler of Dream Land, the responsibility to clean up after Kirby's mess and meet their demands lest things got ugly ended up falling squarely on Dedede's royal robes.

"Kirby, Kirby, Kirby…" he mumbled as he placed his head to his forehead. "Why did you have to befriend so many helpers who want their fair share of land and habitats?" It didn't help that the instigator of this mess, Kirby himself, had brazenly taken the day off to go on a picnic. In the end, Dedede had had enough and decided to solo the whole thing, even giving his trusty servant Bandana the day off.

Dedede let out a huge yawn, walking in a daze to prepare for sleep to claim him.

It never did.

"Ahem! Um, your majesty!"

Dedede's eyes, who had narrowed to slits as he began to snooze while standing up, shot wide open at the formal voice. Those eyes then hovered to an open window to see a panting owl with frazzled purple feathers.

"You… you're one of Kirby's friends, aren't you?" he finally asked after his tired mind was able to process the image.

"You're absolutely right there, king." The owl patted his chest, before wincing as though the motion itself had physically hurt him. "Coo from Big Forest, if you recall," he said to Dedede in a gentle reminder.

"Well, I don't." Dedede snarkily shot back. "Not when I have to remember like, twenty more new friends after the Jambastion incident!"

"Ah, the Jambastions." Coo shook his head in a tired manner. "Well, I've got some bad news for you. They're back with a vengeance. In fact, they did this to me…" He then spread his wings apart, showing off many charred feathers and a nasty scar across his chest, the brutal nature of which caused Dedede to grimace and look away. "To be honest, if I didn't land in the water and gotten myself saved by a Driblee, I wouldn't be here right now."

"Wait! Did you just say… a Driblee?" Dedede involuntarily groaned, clutching his forehead as he began to expect the worst. "Oh, no. Please, no. No, no, no! Not happening, not happening," he said as he rapidly shook his head in denial. "Don't tell me…"

The doors of his throne room was then ceremoniously slammed open, with a hyperenthusiastic Driblee confirming his fears as he slid into the room with his Wave Surf move. Dedede instantly facepalmed at the sight, mumbling curses under his breath, much to Coo's confusion.

"Uh, King Dedede…" the owl started as he leaned towards the ruler.

"Not. One. Word." Dedede growled, his fists gripping onto his robe in an effort to calm his simmering anger down.

"Hello!" he greeted with a wide grin as his Wave Surf continued to dampen much of the red carpet. "It is very nice to be seeing you again. It is, it is!"

"D-Drebly…" Dedede grimaced, saying the Driblee's name with much trepidation as his worst fears ended up confirmed. If the Driblee's opening words didn't confirm it, the crown made of water atop his head did. The Driblee that Coo had mentioned about was indeed Kirby's first Driblee friend — the friendly little rascal, Drebly. A little too friendly in the king's opinion, however. Dedede held the opinion that the Friend Heart that the pink puffball had tossed at the Driblee must have been at 200% efficiency that very day.

Drebly soon stopped his dash attack, the Driblee letting the last of the wave dissipate over the now-soaked carpet as he propped his lower body down on the floor. "Say, you look upset. You do indeed," he commented as he tilted his head sideways. "Did you miss me, King Dedede?"

"No." Dedede let all pretenses of being nice drop. He might have had to put up with diplomacy the whole day due to talking nice to a whole bunch of Kirby's friends, but to do so in the confines of his own home was a stretch too far. "I thought that I'd seen the last of you and your overly sappy self back in Ripple Field…"

"Nope, nope, nope!" Drebly shook his head with every 'nope' he said. "I have returned to your castle for another chat with this owl in tow. Hee hee!"

"Go away! You taste like diabetes!" Dedede hollered. "I'd heard enough of you and your sappy self earlier today after our little chat in Ripple Field! You were supposed to come here tomorrow for the big peace meeting, not parade around my throne room now… after we'd last met less than five hours ago!"

"You're mean, Dedede," Drebly replied. "You are, you are," he repeated the words to emphasize Dedede's "meanness", only causing the king to roll his eyes in exasperation.

"So this guy was the one who actually saved you?" Dedede muttered in a hushed whisper, leaning to the perching Coo.

"Yep, yep, yep!" Drebly confirmed Dedede's query, somehow managing to hear the king even from a distance. "I found this owl floating all alone in the open water and decided to rescue him! I did, I did!"

"Well, to be fair…" Coo began to explain himself as Dedede shot him a skeptical look. "In case you're wondering why a creature of the deep water would save a flying avian like me, falling from the Kingdom of Floralia while you're paralyzed would usually be fatal, so—"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a second, back up there." Dedede interrupted the owl by holding up both of his hands. "Falling from the Kingdom of Floralia? Excuse me? I might be sleepy, but even saying something like that would jolt me wide awake! The freaking Kingdom of Floralia? What were you doing up there? And just what the blazes is going on here!?"

The owl began to look sheepish at the barrage of questions that were launched by Dedede. "Well to be honest, I, uh… flew up there. I know, I know, it sounds absurd to head all the way up to Floralia for seemingly no reason—"

"Which is exactly my point! Don't you beat about the bush! Exactly what happened up there in Floralia!?" Dedede practically demanded the owl, his body posture straightening up to that of a rigid one. "I want answers, now!"

"I do too," Drebly butted into the conversation. "You did not tell me what happened either when you landed beak-first into Ripple Field. You did not! Oh, no, no, no…"

"Alright already! I get it!" Coo snapped, the stoic owl losing his patience for once as he grunted at Dedede. "So what happened was that Kirby told me to look for you—" he gave a subtle nod towards Dedede, "—but due to extenuating circumstances, I ended up flying up to where Kirby was headed instead, only to run into that electric mage, Zan. You can guess where things went from there, can't you?"

Dedede clenched his fists. "Then why the heck did you disobey Kirby's own order, fly off to Floralia first and end up taking that general on in such a reckless manner? That's such a stupid move!"

"It was because I couldn't find you at the castle, your majesty! Or Meta Knight either, for that matter! Didn't you hear me earlier when I said that certain circumstances forced my wing?" Coo indignantly snapped back. "So I thought I'd fly up to Floralia first to ask Kirby what to do next. But evidently, that was the wrong idea." He let out a cough, heaving his body. "Evidently getting myself fried by lightning was the only thing that came out of the flight. How tragic indeed."

"Hold up a moment!" Dedede raised his eyebrow. "You couldn't find Meta Knight?"

"Right on that, good sir! But I think you're already aware that means that the mysterious fellow's up to something, right?" Coo then shook his head with a sigh. "But I wholeheartedly admit that it was my fault. I let my anger take over when I saw that general over there, even though she has the obvious elemental advantage over me…"

"Then why did you fight her?" Drebly curiously asked. "I am weak to electricity myself, so I would never fight someone like that willingly without any friends as my backup. No, I would not," he shook his head, "I would not…"

"To be fair, I thought I had all bases covered when I disarmed her. But it would appear that the sneaky little rascal managed to catch me off guard." Coo winced as he recalled the rather painful memory. "When I had Zan pinned down, she suddenly mentioned out of complete nowhere that she had Gooey stuffed in the locker of a train station somewhere. That came so out of left field that I didn't even realize that she had said the whole thing just to cause me to lose my attention of her for just a second. Evidently a second of lost concentration was too much."

Dedede raised his eyebrows at Coo's reaction. Just why would she have Kirby's friend Gooey anyway? It was probably an obvious bluff and the owl wasn't thinking straight. Filing the information away, he then explained things from his end. "Anyway, you certainly wouldn't have been able to find me today." Dedede proceeded to gesture out the window, looking out at the moon that was high in the sky. "I was running all over Popstar today to try and find all of Kirby's reformed friends to call a meeting. An example of which would be this runt over here," Dedede pointed at Drebly, the Driblee giving a happy wave at the attention. "In fact, Bandana was supposed to help me with this, but I forced him to take the day off. You can guess how well that went, right?"

"So Dream Land's mobile network just had to go down on the day that no one could find anyone. How coincidental indeed. It's almost like fate is toying with us." Coo rolled his eyes, an unusual sight for the normally stoic owl. But could you blame him for being grumpy after he'd had ten thousand volts of electricity course through his body? Frankly, it was a miracle that half of his feathers managed to survive the shock blast.

Dedede heaved a tired sigh, shaking his head at Coo. "I do not find your sarcasm humoring at this time. Get to the point. What else is there to say?"

"What do you mean, what else?" Coo tilted his head at a forty-five-degree angle. "That's literally all I got."

Dedede grabbed Coo by the wing, shaking the owl senseless. "Oh, come on! You've got to have more details than that!"

"Well, excuse me!" Coo replied in a formal yet irritated tone as he shook off his dizziness. "I seem to notice a trend of people who tend to forget that I'm the unsocial one of Kirby's animal friends. I mean, you have ditzy Kine, bashful Pitch, calm Nago, joyous Chuchu, outgoing Rick… but no one remembers boring 'ol me, do they?"

"What about me, then?" Drebly waved his arms, using his Rainbow Rain move to dissipate his water crown as a rainbow appeared over his head for a split second. "You remember me, do you not? Huh? Huh?"

"Yes, I do indeed remember you!" Dedede snarled at the Driblee, taking out his mallet and flailing it about dangerously. "I have the exact opposite problem for you, Drebly! You have already been ingrained into my mind in less than a few weeks! Consider that an achievement!" he spat, saliva spewing out of his mouth from the sheer force of his irritation alone.

"Ahem!" Coo coughed in a deliberate fashion to interrupt the impending feud between Dedede and the Driblee leader. "Actually, now that I recall, there's something that I think you should know. About that mage, Zan… when I fought her, she had Bandana's spear with her."

Despite his constant flailing, Dedede managed to halt his swinging instantaneously as he heard that. "What… did you just say?"

"Zan had Bandana Dee's spear. She was holding onto it, to be exact." He repeated as Dedede stared at him. "When I last saw Kirby and Bandana, they were headed up to Floralia. But when I went up, only Zan remained in Royal Road's palace. You can see what I'm implying, right?" Coo bowed his head apologetically. "I'm so, so sorry that I had to deliver this news to you in person, King Dedede."

"S-so… what does this mean?" Dedede stuttered, worry creeping into his voice.

"I'll be frank, Great King." Coo drooped visibly, his beak turning to the castle floor. "I have no clue where they are now… or even if they are still—"

"Don't you finish that sentence!" Dedede yelled. "Both Kirby and Bandana are fine! They've got to be okay!" he insisted with a loud tone, although the slight quiver in his voice betrayed his uncertainty.

"I wasn't going to end it off by saying they're gone!" Coo rapidly denied, shaking his wingtips. "But still, you must admit that it's always a possibility—"

"No! Don't you complete that thought!" Dedede yelled, brandishing his hammer and bashing it against the wall just below where Coo was. "Scram already, owl! Give me some time to think! I don't want to see you or anyone else right now!"

Coo remained impassive as he glanced down to see a fuming Dedede with his hammer planted in the wall just under the windowsill where he'd planted his feet. "I see… well, I guess I only have myself to blame for not getting there quickly enough. Don't blame yourself, Dedede… it's not your fault. See you tomorrow, your majesty." He let out an exhausted sigh as he took off to the skies with a wince, making it clear that he was still hurting from his injuries.

Dedede simply watched the owl fly away until he disappeared into the distance.

"Do not be sad, great King Dedede!" Drebly slithered towards the upset king with a chirpy smile on his face. "Being unhappy is very, very—"

"Will you shut up and just leave me alone already!" Dedede whirled on Drebly, ripping out his hammer and turning it on the Driblee, causing the terrified Drebly to back away from his threat. Seeing the perpetually cheerful Driblee actually apprehensive, Dedede smirked, knowing that now was the best chance to get rid of him. "Get the hell out. Now," he muttered in a tone that screamed finality. "Come back tomorrow when the 'Peace Between Friends' meeting actually commences!"

"Geez…" Drebly grimaced at Dedede's outburst, the cheerful Driblee feeling a frown creep up on his face, which put a damper onto his normally-enthusiastic demeanor. "Must you be so mean? I was only trying to help," he lamented with an upset voice, "I was, I really was…"

Still, like Coo before him, Drebly exited the throne room, the Driblee giving only one tiny glance back before he shut the door of the throne room. Soon, only one lonely king was left in the area, with only his demons left to keep him company.

"This is so not happening right now. All of this nonsense is just a bad dream…" Dedede repeatedly muttered to himself, struggling to retain his calm composure as he paced about the throne room. The prideful king normally cared for his image. But now, even he couldn't help but to fall into a primal state. Dedede began to mumble to himself incoherently. He simply didn't care if anyone saw him.

The mental image that Coo had painted in Dedede's mind was so vibrant and striking that it literally was the stuff of nightmares. The king could literally visualize it in his head… the images being so real that they were almost like one of Adeleine's pastel drawings coming to life. It got to the extent where he was beginning to hallucinate a vivid picture of the turn of events from Coo's perspective, with Dedede literally seeing a wicked Jambastion Mage cackling madly as she played with his trusted servant's spear right in front of his eyes, spinning it in place of her partizan.

"Gah!" Dedede screeched, swiping wildly at the air only for his hammer to meet nothing but thin air. That finally snapped the king out of his stupor, causing him look around the area in a disorientated manner. He was no longer in that accused palace where Taranza had once kidnapped him to, but back in his own room.

Dedede rubbed his reddened eyes repeatedly, before furiously slapping his own face to try and get rid of the images that were now seared into his brain with a branding iron. Dammit all, he was a complete wreck and yet he still had to prepare himself for the next day! He was beginning to regret not moving the peace conference between Kirby's helper friends to an earlier date. How could he possibly host the meeting in his current emotional state?

"Please be okay, Bandana!" Dedede choked back a sob as he dragged himself to the window, before looking up to the night sky in the area where he knew the aerial kingdom to be. "Please, Bandana! I beg you! Give me some sign that you're okay… please…"

His pleas went unanswered.


Bandana Dee had always been an optimistic member of his species. Even in the face of total despair, he had always held steadfast.

Always.

As a matter of fact, Great King himself had been a witness of this firsthand during his final siege on Kirby, an incident that has been affectionately dubbed in history as "Mt. Dedede's Revenge". Back then, Bandana had been a supporting commander to the king, helping to stall Kirby despite escalating odds.

"Great King! Kirby made it here!" Bandana had turned around with a panicked expression to his superior, King Dedede. "W-What do we do!?" he asked in a scared voice, knowing that their entire cavalry had been beaten single-handedly.

Dedede grimaced at Bandana's panicked voice. "…O-Ok then. I guess it's your turn," he finally said with great reluctance.

Even though Bandana had expected the suicidal order, he still hadn't been mentally prepared to hear it. "B-but, Great King, I can't do it alone!" he cried, beginning to hyperventilate at the thought of confronting Kirby.

Dedede took one look at the sniveling Bandana and heaved a heavy sigh. "…Fine, you can go. You've been spared," he muttered as he glanced away, unable to stand Bandana's sobbing any longer.

Bandana hiccupped and glanced up at Dedede's resigned tone, realizing with a dawning feeling of dread that his Great King was evidently giving up on his army stopping Kirby… and thus about to use his absolute last resort. "Don't go, King!" he cried in horror as Dedede ran for his throne room.

"Great King!" Bandana reached his arm out after the retreating king, before letting it go slack when he realized with mounting horror that his pleading cries were futile.

It was his Great King's forlorn expression that had changed everything. Bandana shivered in spite of the heat. He never wanted to see that face of pure desperation on his king's face ever again — that "it's-now-or-never" expression that Great King had shown when he realized that if he couldn't beat Kirby this time, he would never be able to do it ever. If he'd lost that fight, it was all over.

After Bandana was left alone, the Waddle Dee realized that he had only two options. Bandana was ashamed to admit that he had initially wanted to flee like a coward with his tail between his legs. But after he saw his king losing all hope in all his men after they had all been soundly beaten, he realized in his heart that he couldn't disappoint his Great King as well.

Thus, he refused to give in, choosing not to flee even despite of his Great King's wishes. He'd summoned all his courage and faced off against the pink terror himself in a last ditch effort to protect his king.

Bandana was proud of himself for that choice, even though the fight had only lasted a grand total of five seconds. Back then, he had no weapon to defend himself and thus was virtually helpless. In fact, Kirby had stared at him incredulously with a surprised look. After a few tense seconds where they both looked at each other, the pink puffball managed to get over his shock, opening his mouth to inhale the Waddle Dee that was in his way and promptly spitting him back out.

Only much later did Bandana learn that his acts had earned him the respect of Dedede and just about every single Waddle Dee there was. To Bandana's embarrassment, Kirby had told him that the intercom system in the castle had been inadvertently switched on during the entire raid, which had resulted in Kirby listening in to his entire conversation with his Great King all along. But perhaps it wasn't all that bad, since it had led to him getting closer with Kirby. Even Kirby himself later confided to him that even though they had adventured once before this, his actions on Mt. Dedede was what caused him to pay closer attention to the Waddle Dee.

Thus, to those who knew him well, Bandana's unwavering determination became known as one of his most distinct traits to his loyal allies. He would fight to the very end, pushing himself to the limits of his species if need be. But even so, there were occasions where Bandana felt that things got out of hand, even for him. Take his current predicament, for instance.

"So, do you have anything to say for yourself?"

Bandana hesitantly glanced up to meet a single impassive eye of the Waddle Doo to his front. He was currently in a small crew room with a swinging lamp above him. Across a wooden table was the Waddle Doo who had caught him out.

The Waddle Doo let out a sigh as he shook his head. "I have all the evidence, you know? Stealing a weapon from Dedede's armory is a grave crime. His majesty is a penny-pincher when it comes to certain aspects and doesn't like it when his assets get stolen."

Bandana perked up at the words 'his majesty'. He couldn't believe his ears. Did that mean that Great King was here as well?

His captor, however, mistook his sudden jerk of his head as a sign that he was willing to cooperate. "I assure you, if you confess, I'll make sure your sentence is lightened." With a firm nod of his head, the Waddle Doo gazed right into Bandana's eyes. "We already have multiple eyewitnesses. Just plead guilty and I'll try to fight for leniency when it comes to your punishment."

Bandana involuntarily shuddered despite the Waddle Doo's reassuring words. Frankly, he wasn't sure whether to believe him. The fact that he was using a cute high-pitched voice to say that made it even more sketchy compared to if he were to use a gruff voice. It was almost as if everything he was saying was just… an act. He knew this trick well. It was the famous 'good cop, bad cop' routine, a frequent psychological tactic used by the police when it came to interrogating criminals.

So what… he'd watched a few buddy cop movies, okay? Bandana let out a sigh, shaking his head as the concept formulated in his mind. If this Waddle Doo was the 'good cop', then he didn't want to know who the 'bad cop' was.

But what could a mere Waddle Dee like him do without his weapon? Ever since the Jambastion Mage Zan Partizanne had returned to Popstar with a fiery vengeance, things had been spiraling out of his control. Not that they were ever really in his control to begin with though… after all, he'd been all but forced to the Floralia's Royal Road by Kirby. But the lack of control that he had was really beginning to grate on him.

Desperation could bring one to perform acts that they might not normally be able to muster themselves to do in a normal, more rational state. The Jambastion Mage, for example, was much faster than she was prior, managing to disarm him with a vengeance that he hadn't even seen during the final battle that they had on Jambandra Base a week prior.

Perhaps he could have fought his way out of the room, but what caused him to hesitate was seeing his own brethren going against him. In his eyes, he saw it almost as though his own Waddle Dee friends had turned against him. It was so unbelievable for Bandana to see Waddle Dees being ordered to capture him that he honestly couldn't fight back. Although Kirby and the others were usually a bit more carefree when it came to hurting Waddle Dees in their way, Bandana found that he was incapable of harming them, which was something that held true even here. The brief scuffle in the armory proved that he couldn't do harm to the Waddle Dees here either.

And that was why he was currently stuck in this situation now — sitting down on a seat with a Waddle Doo interrogating him. To be honest, Bandana hadn't expected for his interrogator to be a Waddle Doo. From what he could see, this Waddle Doo was the one in charge of the Waddle Dees here. Did that make him of an equivalent rank to what he held back in Great King's army? It still wasn't clear to Bandana though. Back home, while Great King commanded them all, Waddle Doos were of a different species compared to regular Waddle Dees, higher ranked in the army as they were able to defend themselves with a Beam Whip attack.

The Waddle Doo raised an eyebrow. Bandana could see that his captor had expected him to give a reply by now. Seeing the Waddle Dee still reluctant, he blinked his eye before giving one more amount to reassure his prisoner. "Despite everything, you are still a Waddle Dee, and being in the position that I am now, I care for each and every single one of you. Trust me, I won't let any harm befall you, even if it means I have to battle your case all the way up to the highest order."

Finally, with those words Bandana relented, deciding to put his fate into the Waddle Doo's hands. What choice did he have, really? "U-um… are you being honest with that, Mr. Waddle Doo?"

The Waddle Doo's eye went wide, which was an achievement considering that his eye was roughly about half the size of his body. When he eventually recovered, his prior calm composure was had completely vanished. "Y-you can talk?" he stuttered as he took in deep breaths.

Bandana Dee covered his mouth with his hands when he realized that he might have just made an irrecoverable mistake. At least, he tried before putting his hands down when he realized that the action was now all but futile. "Yes…" he admitted, sheepishly adjusting his bandana as his head drooped forward.

"B-but how!?" Waddle Doo was so stunned that he'd dropped his earlier interrogative tone, his tone now swamped with wonder and curiosity.

"Um…" Bandana was put on the spot as the question was posed. He hadn't expected that the Waddle Dees here were unable to talk. Now with his cover blown, what was he going to do? Make up a lie and pray that his Waddle Doo captor fell for it? Or should he tell him the truth, no matter how unbelievable it was?

He was spontaneously saved from having to make the decision when the door to the room flung opened. "There you are!" an annoyed newcomer spoke as he slithered into the room. "King Dedede has been looking for you! Get your butt over to the throne room, now!"

Bandana grew a worried expression. King Dedede… Great King? Huh? The confused Waddle Dee tilted his head in a cutesy fashion as he thought about exactly what this new development could mean. As far as he was concerned, the only ones who had went through the Dimension Mirror to this new Popstar had been him, Kirby, Taranza, and Webby the Como. So why would Great King be here?

As Bandana was pondering to himself, he didn't notice that Waddle Doo's eye was focused on him. The single eye then darted from Bandana to the light mauve-colored snail by the door. "What does his majesty want with me?"

"Well, he wants your face, buster." The snail folded his arms with a scowl. "We're calling a meeting now to discuss about the situation with that freeloading Star Warrior, and you can bet it's an urgent one. So stop whatever the heck you're doing right now and get yourself there, pronto!"

Waddle Doo got to his feet. "You may leave first. I'll be on my way," he reassured.

"You better be there in five minutes, tops," the snail ordered curtly before turning around and leaving.

The moment he was out of sight, Waddle Doo turned to Bandana, gesturing to him to get the Waddle Dee's attention. "I can't leave you alone here, so we're going to be meeting with my king. Remain quiet and follow my lead," he mumbled to Bandana in a hushed whisper. "And above all else, do not make eye contact with the king," he added after a moment.

Bandana simply nodded as he was escorted out of the interrogation room and up a flight of stairs that looked like it led to the throne room. As the duo walked on, he saw the Waddle Doo let out a wistful sigh. "Never did I ever think that I'll see the day where a Waddle Dee could communicate in English."

"Pardon?" Bandana perked up at that statement. Where they were from, Waddle Dees were always able to talk, it was just that they were usually too shy to do so. To be unable to communicate was… something unthinkable to Bandana.

"Fact is, that was the whole reason I was employed here in the first place. Dedede hired me solely because I was able to be a middleman between the people of Cappy Town and the Waddle Dees. I'm technically a different species from them, but I can speak both English and the Waddle Dees' native language. But you are different." He cocked his head to one side as they both reached the top of the stairs. "There have been no Waddle Dees that I've seen besides you who has been able to talk English. So then, out of curiosity… how do you do it?"

Bandana decided that he could at least be truthful about this one. "I always knew how to speak English, ever since young."

"That's… quite interesting."

"Yeah." Bandana piped up, relaxing his stance as he started to feel more comfortable about the conversation. "I didn't know that the Waddle Dees here couldn't talk."

"Hm, you didn't know about that?" Waddle Doo perked up at that tidbit of information, before he narrowed his eye slightly in suspicion. "Say… you aren't from around here, are you?" Seeing that Bandana had stopped walking, frozen stiff by his words, the one-eyed Waddle Doo decided to assert his dominance by stepping towards him and pressing the matter further. "Say, how long have you been here in Cappy Town?" he questioned.

"To be honest, only a few hours." Bandana found that there was no harm in admitting that much, especially since the Waddle Doo had a much warmer demeanor compared to earlier.

"Ah… that explains a lot. Listen, young'un." The Waddle Doo's voice turned low. "It's imperative that King Dedede doesn't know about your talent. If he does, he will literally squeeze you dry. If you want a free and easy life here in Castle Dedede, I suggest that you remain low."

"Great King?" Bandana tilted his head in confusion. "What's so bad about Great King?"

Waddle Doo shook his head with an all-too-knowing look. "To put it bluntly, his majesty can be quite a handful sometimes."

Bandana found that he had to agree with Waddle Doo's statement. Great King was rather stubborn at times, although that personality wasn't something that detracted Bandana from worshiping the ruler. "So how long have you known Great King?" he asked curiously.

"For close to ten years, actually." Waddle Doo let a bit of sentimentality creep into his voice. "And for eight of those, I've been Dedede's faithful commander."

That answer confirmed it to Bandana. The very fact that Waddle Doo knew him for eight years was the cincher. After all, Bandana had been with his own Great King for seven. Somehow, inexplicably, there had to be a second Great King—a duplicate of his own—just like how this Dream Land was a duplicate of their own.

Waddle Doo's no-nonsense voice knocked Bandana out of his thoughts. "Alright, here we are. Remember what I said."

As Bandana gave a nod, he pushed against the double-doors that led into the throne room.

His first thought as he gazed at the king sitting on the throne chair was straight to the point.

Y-you're not Great King!

Their appearances might look the same, but Bandana had been around Dedede so much that this king almost looked as though some actor had been hired to play the role of Great King, and that actor still had kinks to iron out. Even right down to minor details like his body posture, this Dedede wasn't like the Great King who he knew.

And his words were also a whole lot different as well…

"Your majesty, I mean no offence!" Bandana curiously cocked his head when he saw the snail from earlier talking to this imposter Dedede, who Bandana quickly decided to name not-Great King. "But after Kirby destroyed Bugzzy, I think brute force just ain't gonna cut it!"

"For once your words make some semblance of sense, Escargon. Heh heh heh!" Not-Great King's eyes lit up as he let out a chortle. "If I can't use pure power, then I'll just have to do things in a sneakier manner instead. Heh! Fact is, I've been thinking about doing just that, and now I think I finally managed to find myself a new way to get rid of that annoying Kirby!"

"Really, sire?"

"That's right!" The king leaned backwards on his seat, smirking to himself as he closed his eyes to fantasize about his own plans. "If I can't beat Kirby by playing dirty, then I gotta double down on the dirt!" He was so distracted by his own thoughts that he didn't even notice the newcomers who were by the door until Bandana heard a greeting coming from his side.

"Your majesty!" Waddle Doo chirped with a wave of his arm. "I'm here, as per your command!"

"Very good, Waddle Doo. I expect you to-hey!" Not-Great King let out a bark as he locked eyes with Bandana. "Who's the Waddle Dee that's beside you?" the seated king asked as he pointed his finger right at him.

Bandana couldn't help but to flinch back as not-Great King posed the question. He had to admit that it hit him hard for someone of Great King's likeness to treat him so dismissively, especially since Bandana had earned his own Great King's respect for years now.

The Waddle Doo looked directly at not-Great King as he answered. "This is my new protégé, your majesty." Bandana whirled at the Waddle Doo with a stunned expression, just as Waddle Doo hissed a 'play along' to him. "That is why he's wearing the bandana on his head, in fact. It makes him stand out from the rest, does it not?" Waddle Doo continued with a roll of his eye.

Not-Great King narrowed his eyes at the remark. His eyes lingered on Bandana, hovering over every inch of his body suspiciously before he let out an anticlimactic response. "Whatever," Dedede bluntly said with a wave of his arm. "You want a protégé? It's fine by me, just so long as I ain't raising his salary. I ain't going to create a new job establishment post for a commander's assistant if it means the money is going to be coming out of my own pocket!"

"Yeah! Who here even cares about the Waddle Dees anyway?" Escargon added his own disgruntled opinion.

Since Bandana was next to the Waddle Doo, he could hear him letting out a slight growl of agitation at Escargon's callous dismissal. However, Waddle Doo forced a chirpy face as he redirected the topic back to the meeting agenda. "Ahem! Enough about him, your majesty! What did you call me here for anyway?"

"I was just telling Escargon here that pure power alone isn't going to work on that crafty little Kirby." Bandana began to cower as not-Great King's voice began to turn very sour at the very mention of the puffball. He involuntarily let out a shudder at not-Great King's glower, vivid memories of his own Great King spitting Kirby's name with such anger in the past going through his head.

"So what do you require my assistance for, your majesty?"

"I'm need a whole whoopin' lot of manpower for this plan." The king stood up, towering over both Bandana and Waddle Doo as he rose to his full height. "And since you are the captain of those Waddle Dees, I insist that my manpower demands are met by your men."

The Waddle Doo jumped to attention as he saluted. "Aye-aye! We're ready on your command, Great King Dedede!"

"The plan is simple." Dedede began to pace around as he explained. "I've ordered a whole bunch of television sets and all I need you to do is to disseminate them to the folks at Cappy Town. And soon, with the power of good 'ol propaganda on my side, I will rule the minds of all my citizens! Heh heh heh!"

"What a brilliant plan, your majesty!" Waddle Doo clapped along to Dedede's laughter, not noticing the look of horror on Bandana's face.

"Good! Let's give Cappy Town a gift that they won't soon forget!" Dedede flashed the Waddle Doo a thumbs-up. "Roll out!"

Waddle Doo saluted and signaled to Bandana to walk out the throne room. Bandana, however, found himself unable to move, the Waddle Dee continuing to stare at Dedede in horror.

Y-you… would do something like that? You really aren't the Great King I know at all—

Snap!

Bandana jerked his head, only to see that what had made the noise was Waddle Doo snapping his fingers. "Psstt!" he whispered, "I said, let's go."

This time, Bandana was able to drag his feet out, glancing back reluctantly until not-Great King was firmly out of his sight. As they rounded the corner, Waddle Doo's expression suddenly changed, going from serious to jovial in a second flat.

"Whew! Glad that's over with." He then raised his arm out, clasping Bandana's hand with a firm handshake. "Pleased to make your acquaintance. I'm the commander of the Waddle Dees, Captain Waddle Doo." He bowed his head slightly, before he blinked curiously. "So what's your name, lil' fella?"

"Bandana Waddle Dee," he replied with a bashful smile. As Captain Waddle Doo nodded with realization, quickly knowing where the name came from as his eye looked towards the navy blue bandana on the Waddle Dee's head, Bandana made sure to add with a cheerful grin, "But my friends call me Dee or Bandana for short!"

"I see…" Captain Waddle Doo nodded as he walked along the corridor. Just as he was about to turn the corner, he paused and looked right at his new comrade. "Say… how about you join me and the other Dees when we make the rounds in Cappy Town?" he proposed.

Bandana looked at him weirdly. Really, did he have the option to refuse the offer? "I guess it can't hurt…" he mumbled in a soft voice.

"Good job!" Captain Waddle Doo praised, patting him on the back. "I like your attitude, Private Bandana."

"Private Bandana?" Bandana quipped, emphasizing the first word as he appeared confused by the title.

"That's an army rank insignia." Waddle Doo clarified. "For example, I for one am holding the rank of Captain. By right, private is one rank above the initial rank of recruit, but I think that I can immediately promote you up one rank for your special ability."

Bandana Dee simply nodded in response, although in his mind he was wondering exactly when he had gotten himself recruited by Captain Waddle Doo.

He then quickly got his answer when Waddle Doo calmly told him that having to serve a term of community service under his platoon was the captain's selected punishment for Dee trying to steal from not-Great King's armory.


"Get a move on!" Captain Waddle Doo ordered the Waddle Dees with an authoritative tone as they scattered about the main street of Cappy Town, with multiple pairs of hardworking Dees carrying boxes atop their heads as they moved them to their intended destination. "We have to distribute these TV sets to all the villagers by noon so that everyone can catch the live premiere of the king's TV network!" he said as he stood atop a stack of boxes.

Bandana looked on at the scene with impressed eyes. Frankly, he was startled by the cutthroat efficiency and coordination of the Waddle Dees under Captain Waddle Doo's command. Despite all of his complaints about not-Great King, Dedede had been correct about one thing: their potential as a logistics crew. The Waddle Dees were extremely efficient in their assigned tasks, carrying them out with utmost precision on a mega-scale that made the combined group of Dees almost seem to be like a machine.

It was interesting to Bandana how different their individual styles in leading their men were. While Waddle Doo appeared to be more of a traditional leader type, a stern chief who disseminated down orders, Bandana on the other hand had been a more relaxed leader, being friends with all the other Dees and Doos and using his position as Dedede's right-hand as a foothold of respect to train the others up.

He looked on at the scene with longing eyes. If he closed his eyes right now and only listened solely to the sounds of pattering feet on the pavement below, it was almost like he was back home at Castle Dedede with Great King and all of his friends…

"Captain Waddle Doo! What's going on over here?"

That daydream was abruptly interrupted, his bubble popping at the stern cry that a short female Cappy emitted. Adjusting his bandana, he looked to his left to see that a short female Cappy was the one who had spoken, interfering by having her arms outstretched and blocking a few of the Waddle Dees. Bandana, however, was focusing less on her words and instead on a more pressing matter.

Since when did Cappies wear clothing?

Unlike the disoriented Bandana, Captain Waddle Doo gave a curt bow to the girl as he sheathed his sword and jumped off the boxes to land on the road pavement below. "Ah, if it isn't Cabinet Minister Parm's daughter." Bandana cocked his head at the title, but Waddle Doo pressed on before he could think much about it. "Why do you appear to be so agitated on this fine day, Fumu?"

Bandana observed that the ponytailed girl had her hands by her hips. She was clearly unhappy, with suspicion written all over her face. "What's Dedede playing at this time? It's barely been a day since the Meta Knight duel and he's trying to pull a stunt again?"

"Ah, just relax. You're being paranoid over nothing! There's nothing fishy's going on here." Captain Waddle Doo gently laughed with a dismissive wave, causing Bandana to glance at him apprehensively, the Waddle Dee surprised by how calmly he had managed to tell the lie.

To add icing onto the cake, Waddle Doo then continued to elaborate and build upon said lie to make it sound even more convincing. "All that Great King Dedede is doing is giving you Cappies these newfangled devices, completely free of charge. You can make of that what you will, but it's simply nothing more than a complimentary gift that all citizens are eligible to claim. You may consider it something like a tax rebate," he chuckled.

"Hold up, hold up." Fumu assertively held out her palm to try and take back control of the conversation from Waddle Doo. "Did you just say that they were… free?" she tilted her head in pure disbelief. Bandana couldn't even blame her. Despite him knowing that the television sets were given out for a nefarious reason, the amount of capital pumped into the venture still made it seem like a very generous offer with no strings attached.

"That's right. His majesty King Dedede is giving away a television set to every household in Cappy Town." His confirmation only seemed to make the girl's stance even more rigid, and the next sentence that Waddle Doo said didn't help much there. "And out of his personal generosity, he's even doing it completely free of charge."

"Really? King Dedede actually said that he's doing it out of generosity?" A tinge of suspicion crept into Fumu's voice before her eyes bristled with anger. "Now that's just a load of hogwash, and you know it!"

Before she could go any further, the Cappy with greenish-blonde hair who was next to her piped up. "Television set? What's that?" he asked.

Captain Waddle Doo blinked before responding. "Well, that's a good question. Allow me to educate you. A television set is a device that can receive analog signals to display transmitted images from Castle Dedede. It's like having a personal mini-movie theater in your house," he said as he pointed his sword up into the air. "Faraway scenes and even the news can be seen live, while you sit in the comfort of your very own home. A marvelous contraption!"

"Wow! That's so cool!" The young boy exclaimed. Bandana only had to looking at his enthusiastic demeanor to know that he had fallen for Captain Waddle Doo's bait — hook, line and sinker. "I wonder if Mom and Dad were given one too, sis?"

"Bun—"

The boy ran off before his sister could finish, leaving a moping girl behind in the dust. As Fumu strutted off with her arms folded, Captain Waddle Doo kept his eye on her until she rounded the corner and went out of sight.

"Minister Parm's daughter is a real troublemaker at times…" he muttered as he turned towards Bandana. "Looks like we got her off the trail. Phew! We've dodged a bullet there."

"Hm?" Bandana pointed to the direction where Fumu had ran off in. "But she actually had a point…"

"Exactly." Waddle Doo's eye gleamed. "That was why we had to quash her concerns."

"But why?" Bandana was puzzled by his new mentor's train of thought. "Her points were perfectly valid!"

"There's something that you should remember, Private Bandana." Waddle Doo leaned downwards, peering right at Bandana as he held onto Bandana's shoulder. "One thread unraveling is all it takes to bring down a conspiracy. His majesty is pulling one of his usual sneaky schemes. Frankly, I don't support it, but I am subservient to King Dedede. So as unfortunate as it seems… we are the bad guys here."

Bandana kept quiet at the reply, his posture drooping slightly as Waddle Doo's words buzzed about in his head.

"So as unfortunate as it seems… we are the bad guys here."

I'm the… bad guy…?


"Ten!"

"Nine!"

"Eight!"

"Seven!"

"Six!"

"Five!"

"Four!"

"Three…"

"Two…!"

"…One!"

The final ten seconds of the countdown to noon was yelled out simultaneously by multiple Cappies in Cappy Town who were seated in front of their free TV sets. As the countdown concluded and the clock struck noon, the television screens proceeded to burst to life in unison all across Dream Land.

"And we're now live! His majesty King Dedede is proud to present… the premiere of Dream Land's very first television network!" Escargon's voice boomed through the speakers as a glowing silhouette of Castle Dedede was shown against a black backdrop.

"Bringing you… Channel D-D-D!" he announced as three large letters D zoomed towards the bottom of the screen to show the broadcast channel name — the eponymous Channel DDD. The animated channel intro then proceeded to cut straight to a scene of Dedede, the king dressed in a fancy grab and smugly looking straight into the camera. "A very good morning to you, Cappy Town!" he began in a booming voice, "I'm—"

"Psshhh! It's already noon, sire," came a hushed whisper. It wasn't soft enough though, and thus Escargon's voice was humorously picked up by the microphone and audible to the watching audience.

"Ahem!" Dedede coughed at Escargon's prompt, the king coolly playing his mistake off. "A very good afternoon to you, Cappy Town! I'm your host, the one and only great King Dedede!" He then burst into a triumphant cackle. "I'm live on TV, broadcasting live from Castle Dedede! It's very pleasing to see that you Cappies are all tuning in to the greatest form of entertainment ever created! Say a fond farewell to mundane walks, boring books, and growing crops. All are now obsolete with Channel DDD in the mix! And now, for today's schedule…"

Bandana wasn't sure how long he sat in front of the television set in one of Castle Dedede's crew room. His body had been on autopilot ever since he'd heard Captain Waddle Doo's words. When he'd finally managed to take his leave, he had found an empty room and began to watch the television craze that had ensnared most of Cappy Town.

"So as unfortunate as it seems… we are the bad guys here."

The Waddle Dee let out a sigh as the show went on and on. Channel DDD ended up being humorous but mundane, featuring not-Great King in every single segment that was on air — from the documentaries to the cartoons… even the infomercials!

"Channel DDD wants talent!" he glanced up at the screen when it finally cut away from not-Great King, only to reveal not-Great King's snobby assistant there instead. "Even you, yes you—" Escargon said as he pointed his finger right at the screen with an obviously forced smile, "—can be an amateur filmmaker who can develop your talents with Dream Land's first TV network. Send in your amateur tapes to Castle Dedede and our loyal judges will see if it's fit for airing. You can send in anything — from documentaries, prank videos, and even incriminating footage of Kirby-I mean, your fellow citizens doing something bad. You stand a chance to win up to four hundred deden of prize money if it is accepted and broadcast on live television!"

His sharp ears had caught the "incriminating footage of Kirby" portion, causing the normally happy Dee to snap.

That was the last straw.

He couldn't stand it.

He just couldn't take it anymore.

Try as hard as he could, he just couldn't accept that this Great King, aka not-Great King, was trying to get rid of Kirby. It was like watching two of your best friends turning on each other. And while Great King and Kirby had done that from time to time after the Mt. Dedede's Revenge incident, it was all friendly rivalry made in jest by two vitriolic buddies, not actual hate.

"How could you do this to Kirby…" he mumbled sadly to himself as the commercial cut away to another one. Bandana finally got to his feet, marching to the television set and preparing to shut that blasted thing off.

At least, that was his original plan…

"We interrupt this program to bring you breaking news!" Not-Great King's switching from his normally-cocky tone to a more serious one caused him to halt his maneuver to switch off the TV. Admittedly, his words also helped Bandana with making that decision too.

"Yes, I repeat… breaking news!" Not-Great King slammed a stack of papers that he was holding down onto the desk to his front. "We have just received incoming reports that an enormous demon beast has just appeared on the fields outside Cappy Town!"

It was not-Great King's cruel smirk as he delivered that statement that cause Bandana to realize with a jolt what was going on here.

"And soon, with the power of good 'ol propaganda on my side, I will rule the minds of all my citizens! Heh heh heh!"

Bandana's eyes widened in horror, his bandana almost popping off his head as he jerked forward, rushing towards the screen.

Fake news. That was what it was. This whole thing had to be fake. That was what not-Great King had meant when he had said that he would rule over the minds of his people. After a whole day of television programming, Bandana was all but certain that they would be conditioned to believe what he said, whether it was true or not.

Basically, not-Great King was going to engineer a fake disaster. And based on what Bandana could guess, he was going to frame Kirby for it.

Not on his life.

With renewed vigor and rightful agitation, Bandana ran out of the door and down the corridors until he arrived at a familiar location. This time, as he walked in, he turned on the lights to the room. Now that he was on Captain Waddle Doo's employ, no one would say a thing if they saw him taking something from the armory.

Bandana rummaged around the armory, finally breaking into a smile when he saw a wondrous sight that he had missed the previous time. His arms gripped onto his weapon of choice, a wooden spear. He held on to it tight, familiarizing himself with a spear that was quite similar to his old one. It wasn't quite the same — the handle was not quite as thick, allowing for a lighter weapon at the cost of less strength, and its material felt of lesser quality—but it was close enough for him.

In the end, a spear was a spear. He'd take whatever he got.

Bandana Dee then climbed onto the parapet and proceeded to twirl his arms until he broke into Helicopter Spear, the lift generated by the spinning spear enough to lift him up into the air. He admired the view as he flew, seeing the castle in all its majestic glory. But soon, he spotted his target — the saucer that was beaming those transmissions out from the castle roof.

His face hardened as he slowed down his arm motion, the chopper-like motions of his spear slowly becoming unblurred as he landed on the ground.

"Sorry, not-Great King! But this sabotage is necessary!"

Bandana Dee expected to feel the slightest hesitation at betraying someone who looked like his most loyal king. But as he readied his stance, he realized that he felt nothing at all. Not even the tiniest shred of remorse.

He aimed the tip of the spear at the device, preparing to throw it at the expensive looking white saucer. Just as he was about to thrust the sharpened end of the spear at the antenna, a sudden gust of strong wind began to blow. Bandana stopped his spear mid-thrust, using his free hand to tighten his bandana. But within a few seconds, the howling winds turned deafening as the gale rapidly picked up speed.

"Whoa!" Bandana yelled as he found himself swept off his feet from the blowing winds. He quickly jabbed his spear down onto the floor tiles, embedding the tip within so that he could avoid being blown away by gripping onto the handle. With widening eyes, he saw as the saucer beaming the television broadcast waves tipped over due its foundations not firmly secured down to the ground.

A humongous shadow then descended over Castle Dedede just as a loud screech pierced through the air.

"Kehhhhhhhhhhh!"

Bandana couldn't believe what he was seeing. But there was no mistaking that sight. "No way! It can't be…" he muttered in awe, almost losing his grip on the spear as he admired the view.

But before he could say anything more, the large being swooped past Castle Dedede, leaving almost as quickly as it had come. All that was left behind once the beast flew past was a deafening sonic boom and disruptive wind currents trailing behind it as it continued to leave a trail of devastation towards anything unfortunate enough to be in its flight path.


Fumu, like multiple other Cappies, had caught the breaking news transmission that was broadcasting on Channel DDD. But unlike them, she had actually caught wind of the broadcast when going around from house to house to try and get the others off their television sets, not from actually watching it live. It made her unique, she supposed.

When she had first seen the news, she ran out towards Cappy Town, only to see the place in a state of complete disarray. She had to admit that a part of her was prepared to call Dedede's bluff when he announced the impending disaster on Channel DDD — after all, he had to be up to something, right? But to Fumu's adamant surprise, she found that there was merit in his warning announcement, if the muttering of the Cappies surrounding the destruction was any indicator.

"Man, I was worried when Dedede's announcement on Channel DDD suddenly cut off into static."

"Did you hear the roar of wind? I actually thought it was a cyclone!"

"Dude! That sonic boom was loud! It was roaring so loud I thought that my eardrums would burst!"

"Nooooo! My father's crops are gone again!"

She winced at that last one, having to admit that she felt a little sorry for Hohhe there.

In this case, knowing nothing and being in the dark was scarier than knowing the full scope of the disaster for the villagers of Cappy Town. With only the beginning of Dedede's announcement managing to air before the entire television network went down, the villagers had nothing to go on. They had no idea who or how this had happened, with no eyewitnesses since most of them had been indoors when it went down. The only concrete thing they could agree on was the sheer devastation that awaited them.

And man, was it one! Trees were overturned, roofs were blown apart and the crops were absolutely ravished… for the second time in eight days.

"The nerve of that Dedede!" Fumu growled as she saw the wreckage. "He has some guts to announce that a demon beast was coming live on television."

As she walked forward, she was forced to squint her eyes as a harsh glint of light went right into her line of sight. "What is that?" she gasped as she pointed to a giant, thin piece of metal lying on the grassy plains. The silver blade laid out in the open, contrasting heavily against the blades of grass below.

"Out of the way!" A middle-aged Cappy dressed in green garb ran forward, waving his arms frantically. "No way! Dedede is wrong! This is not the work of a demon beast at all!"

"It isn't?" Fumu was shocked by the Cappy's pronouncement. Honestly, after Dedede all but admitted to having demon beasts to everyone in Cappy Town during the Meta Knight duel, this was a far bigger surprise than a demon beast actually being the one responsible. "But if this isn't Dedede's doing… then who is responsible for this, Professor Curio?"

Curio pulled out a magnifying glass, kneeling down to inspect the metallic object. "In actuality, this destruction is the work of something far greater!" he exclaimed in a startled voice. "This giant feather… it's an incredibly rare find! How remarkable! I-I never thought that I would lay my own two eyes on one of these in my entire lifetime!" he said as his eyes turned misty. "It's a dream come true!"

Fumu tugged at the curator's sleeve. "So what is that thing, Professor Curio?" she asked, gazing at the foreign object with curiosity in her eyes.

"What you're all looking at right now is the feather of a giant bird whose wings are coated with pure steel… a being that has lived in Dream Land for eons and centuries!" As the buzzing and excitement amongst the Cappies hit an all-time high at his words, Curio paused as he held his hand with the magnifying glass up high, making sure to let the suspense build up before he finished up his sentence with a bang.

"This piece of metal is a feather from Dyna Blade itself!"


Author's Note:

This is a bit of a cooldown chapter. No epic fight, no long exposition, and both Kirbies aren't the main focus this time. This chapter basically ended up being just plain world and character building, as well as starting a setup to some uncertainties beginning to brew on the other side with gameverse!Dedede and the remainder Helper-cum-Friends. By the way, there are no prizes to be won for guessing who Drebly is an expy of… it's blatantly obvious.

Yeah, in case it wasn't made clear, the interaction I was referring to in the last chapter's A/N was between Bandana Dee and Captain Waddle Doo. Two servants loyal to their kings… it was just begging to be written. Writing a Bandana-centric chapter was also quite a lot of fun, after all the lil' guy deserves some attention! *cough* the Smash Direct is coming out tomorrow and I'm sending my prayers so please let him in Sakurai *cough*

You might notice something very minor if you read back: the introductory Taranza scene has now been moved back from its original position as the first part of Chapter 4 to instead be the cliffhanger of Chapter 3. This is to balance out the length and pacing of those two chapters. Speaking of that, someone actually asked in the reviews about what happened to the Amazing Mirror's Mirror World. I can say that as of now Kirby can't access it, but the reason as to why is a huge spoiler, so I'm going to be keeping mum on that.

Also, I've gotten varying feedback on the last chapter, so just to let you all know, I am indeed aware that I've been neglecting the gameverse for the previous few chapters. There really is no excuse for this other than pure literary reasons — Kirby Comes to Cappy Town and Kirby's Duel Role are both major anime episodes that I pretty much need to adapt back-to-back for story reasons, which poses a problem — to switch back-and-forth between worlds like I did here in this chapter would break the immersion in my opinion, hence why I avoid doing so for any big subarcs like those. But now that I've got those two out of the way, I can safely say that you'll see more of the gameverse side and how they react to their missing Kirby.

Anyway, although Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure is technically Dyna Blade's first anime appearance, I am actually going to be taking a few more cues from the games rather than the anime for the next set of chapters. Stay tuned for more as we sort of start our first Kirby game adaptation next time — that of Kirby Super Star's Dynablade minigame!

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: A Sticky Situation

My Adventure Log, Entry #3: Wings of Steel

Hai again!

Well, color me surprised… it's Dyna Blade! Now there's a familiar face and a blast to the past indeed! I haven't had to deal with her for more than nine years, in fact!

It looks like this Dream Land has more in common with mine than I thought. Destroying crops to feed her young again, it would seem. Well, at the very least I know what she's after, so I am able to preempt her before she causes any further trouble.

Off to Candy Mountain, I suppose… or whatever the name of the mountain that this Dyna Blade lives is. Although if the complete brownness of the mountain path is any indication, this cliff seems a lot more boring to transverse than the last time I confronted my Dyna Blade. But not to fret… if all goes well, there wouldn't even need to be a confrontation at all! (:

Flying with the Winds,
Kirby


"Just what were you thinking!?"

Bandana Dee flinched back as Captain Waddle Doo shrieked at him. Even though Waddle Doo's voice was cutesy and high-pitched, the commander was still somehow able to incite fear with it… which probably spoke volumes as to how fearsome the Waddle Doo could be despite his nimble appearance.

Bandana had to admit that he had never been so terrified of a Waddle Doo before. Nevertheless, he fought to remain calm as he responded to the captain. "I'm so sorry, Waddle Doo—"

Waddle Doo glared at Bandana, his unwavering stare causing Bandana to freeze up. "When you talk to me, call me 'sir'. Got that, private?" he barked.

"Y-yes… sir!" Bandana stuttered, hastily adding on the term of respect lest he provoke his new mentor any further.

"Good." Waddle Doo's gaze finally softened. "Please don't worry me like that, Private Bandana!" Waddle Doo lightly reprimanded as he gave Bandana a pat on the back in apology. "Going up to the roof to confront Dyna Blade is incredibly reckless! Sure, I might not know much about Dyna Blade myself, but I assure you from what the legends say that it's practically suicide for someone of your stature to do it alone!"

Bandana meekly nodded at his words. He hated to admit it, but Waddle Doo had a point. He had never fought against the Dyna Blade of his world, but from what Kirby had told him, Dyna Blade was certainly not a pushover when the Dream Land hero had gone up against her.

"I understand." Bandana Dee nodded his head, heaving a hidden sigh of relief. When Waddle Doo had marched up to the roof for an inspection after Dyna Blade's flypast and happened to find a stunned Bandana along with a TV saucer that had been toppled over, he knew that he had to come up with an excuse quickly lest they figured out his true intention. And thus, Bandana had blurted out the only thing that had come to his mind — that he went up to the roof to confront Dyna Blade. While such a brash statement was certainly going to get him in trouble, it was heaps better than saying that he had been on the roof to destroy the broadcast saucer dish.

"I understand your enthusiasm, but please keep your eagerness in check!" Waddle Doo continued on. "In battle, always remember that fighting head-on without thinking is a surefire way to get yourself injured. That is why you Waddle Dees must use your overwhelming numbers to your advantage! Surround them as a group to flank them instead of blindly charging in one-by-one! We have to work as a team, not as a lone individual!"

Although Bandana kept his face straight, he actually felt those words cutting deep into him. As Great King's right-hand man, he was usually the lone ranger, the singular Waddle Dee leader that went on epic adventures together with his king! Since the other Waddle Dees were often used as support—or occasionally brainwashed to be the enemy—that normally left just Bandana to be the spearhead of his entire species. As such, if he were to be honest, having to work as a team with other Waddle Dees felt a little challenging for him, since he was so used to being a lone wolf when it came to being with his species. Sure, Bandana didn't find it demeaning, but that was because it was rather unlike what he was used to.

"Hey, Waddle Doo!" The tender moment between Dee and Doo was broken apart by Escargon's nasally voice, the snail marching down Castle Dedede's corridor as though he owned the place. Seeing Dedede's actual right-hand man, Captain Waddle Doo turned around to greet the snail. "Yes, sir? What brings you here?"

"King Dedede wants to see you." Escargon folded his arms. "It's regarding Channel DDD and—" he shook his head before he finished off the statement, "—that overgrown bird, Dyna Blade. It's been about two hours since it flew over us, and we want to make some plans regrading that bird. So come along now, Waddle Doo!"

Before Bandana could follow Waddle Doo, Escargon held up a hand and added an extra few words. "Alone. He wants to see you alone, Captain Waddle Doo." Bandana saw that the snail's glare was directed at him and wisely decided to stay put. From his reaction, Bandana could tell that Escargon hadn't overheard him speaking to Waddle Doo since the captain had been the one talking in the conversation for the past thirty seconds. That was certainly good. Dee very much preferred it that way. There was no need to paint himself to be a bigger target in not-Great King's eyes. Giving Waddle Doo a wave of support as the captain strutted off, he turned around the corner, nervously gripping onto his spear.

Amazingly, Waddle Doo hadn't said a word about his new weapon when he'd been fetched down from the castle rooftop, merely giving a grunt of approval after a simple glance before Waddle Doo had scolded him. Perhaps it was because the Waddle Dees here were all usually armed with spears, while back home only the most elite received spears as a weapon, and even then most of the Dees weren't as proficient with a spear as Bandana was.

Bandana let his body slouch as he let out yet another sigh. "If there's another Great King here, and another Dyna Blade here as well… just how many copies of us are there here…?" he mumbled out loud in an inaudible voice.

Just how different would this Dream Land be from his own?


"Dyna Blade!?"

Curio shook his head in disappointment as the Cappies surrounding the giant metallic feather cried the bird's name in surprise. "Honestly, do any of you young'uns actually study ancient Cappy history?" he asked to the crowd standing before him.

Seeing everyone in the vicinity—from the kids to the grownups—shake their heads with no shame whatsoever, Curio let out a sigh, inwardly grumbling about the younger generation's lack of interest in the historic aspects of Cappy Town. Nevertheless, he trudged on, proceeding to relay the tale of the giant bird as the curator became the center of attention. "Yes, this is definitely the work of Dyna Blade. It is an unmistakable fact. There can be no doubt… this giant feather proves it."

"Giant feather? That's actually a feather?!" Bun quipped, observing the large size of the fallen metal blade on the ground. "You mean this huge thing is the feather of this Dyna Blade? Oh man, if that's the size of just one single feather, then Dyna Blade must be huge!" he pointed out with a tremor in his voice, a few of the Cappies shuddering as they came to the same conclusion.

"You are definitely correct there, Bun. Dyna Blade is indeed one massive being… an unbelievably large avian creature whose multicolored wings shine like the rainbow. The legends vary about what its actual size is, but I guarantee you that it is much larger than you and I."

Iroo folded his arms as he sarcastically shot a remark at Curio, "Yeah, like you couldn't guess that from all the destruction that's surrounding us, Mr. Curio?"

"Iroo, this description is not based from a mere hypothetical guess." Curio grumbled at the child's blaséd remark. "Sure, you might be able to infer Dyna Blade's size if you look at the turmoil that Cappy Town is currently in, but there are Cappies from centuries past who have seen Dyna Blade fly with their own two eyes, recording their experiences in written manuscripts. And according to them, Dyna Blade's wingspan alone puts our infrastructure to shame!"

"Oh yeah?" Chief Borun put his hand to his lip, clearly skeptical and still of the belief that someone else was behind the destruction. "Then how come this time we happen to have no witnesses who saw this 'Dyna Blade' in all of Cappy Town in spite of our increased population compared to a couple hundred years prior?"

"Gah! You're right!" Curio raised both hands to his temple, grabbing the sides of his forehead at Chief Borun's point. "Argh, I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's because of his majesty's newfangled Channel DDD! Why did King Dedede have to release it and keep me home on the day when a once-in-a-lifetime event happens?!" he bemoaned as the reality of the situation hit him in the face. "I can't believe I missed my chance to see an actual Dyna Blade flypast with my own two eyes!"

"See, Professor Curio!" Fumu had a small dignified smile when her ears finally caught wind of the first actual criticism of Dedede's TV network. "I told you that King Dedede's television sets would only keep you all distracted, but no one wanted to listen to me!" she said haughtily, the Cappy girl finally satisfied that Dedede's Channel DDD had suffered its first blow after hearing nothing but universal praise about it for the past eight hours or so.

Curio raised a hand helplessly at the girl as he let out a tired groan. "That's enough from you now, Fumu!" Frankly, the last thing that he wanted to hear right now was the Cabinet Minister's daughter nagging and telling everyone that she told them so. She meant well, yes, but even the calm archaeologist had to admit that it did get grating at times whenever she got petty at Dedede's schemes. "Although it is a shame that I missed seeing Dyna Blade in person, I can at least take solace in the fact that Cappy Town is now in a possession of an actual Dyna Blade feather!"

"Hey!" Honey raised her arm as she pushed through the crowd to get close to Curio. "I have a question, Mr. Curio! How do you know how Dyna Blade looks like if you yourself have never seen it before?"

"Ah, good catch!" Curio gave a small wink at the query. "Remember that I said that Cappies from ancient times have witnessed Dyna Blade themselves? They have left behind records of their encounters from times long past. That being said, there is no one who is currently still alive who has ever seen Dyna Blade in person. No one knows where Dyna Blade comes from, but first sightings of it has been recorded as early as written history, at least a few millennia ago."

"A few millennia? Dyna Blade is that old?" Fumu asked, her eyes still lingering on the blade-cum-feather.

"Yes, that's right." Curio looked up to the night sky, his face deep in thought. "It is foretold that once every century, Dyna Blade will awaken to nurture its young. Only when its child has fully matured will it go back into hibernation. This cycle continues on for century after century, with each subsequent generation passing down the tale of Dyna Blade to their descendants…"

"Whoa, that's so freaking cool!" Bun muttered in awe at Curio's words.

His sister Fumu nodded along as she added in a impressed voice, "Generation upon generation? Dyna Blade must really be a legend…"

"…a legend that wrecked half of Cappy Town!" Mayor Len cried in protest, pointing at the overturned trees and ruptured roofs. "Look at the ruined roads and infrastructure! It'll take days, no… weeks to fix this mess! Worse still, even if we've got Minister Parm's backing, I'm not sure that King Dedede is willing to cough out the funds for the repair work if he knows that it'd basically been caused by a natural disaster that we couldn't prevent…"

"Well, I know for a fact that Dedede's not going to be funding anything to help us, even if it was within the humanitarian rules for disaster aid!" Fumu turned her head away from the feather as she pumped her fist into the air in a bid to rouse the audience up. "That's why we've got to work together and rebuild Cappy Town without him! Who's with me?!"

After her inspirational speech concluded, there was only an awkward silence that remained, finally broken when Iroo casually mentioned a thought that just about every Cappy around could relate to.

"Man, that sounds like a lot of work… I'd think that I'll rather be watching Channel DDD instead."

Fumu wasted no time in whirling onto the young boy. "Iroo! Not now!" she admonished.

"I admire your tenacity in trying to lead the repair efforts for Cappy Town, Fumu. However, I'm afraid that such an undertaking will all be for naught." All eyes fell on Curio as he suddenly began to speak again in a grim tone. "Since Dyna Blade has awakened once again, it must be rearing its young. That makes one thing certain at the very least… this will not be the last time that it devastates Cappy Town."

"What?!" The indignant yell of the Cappies caused Curio to flinch back. "Everyone, calm down! Listen, listen," he raised his arms, trying to maintain order in the panicking mess of villagers. "This flypast is merely a natural phenomenon. You have to think of Dyna Blade is a force of nature. If it flies past us at the speed capable of causing sonic booms, of course Cappy Town will suffer the full force of its supersonic flight. And thus, we'll be back to square one…"

"So Dyna Blade is like one of Dedede's demon beasts, only worse?!" Chief Borun yelped, his face turning queasy. "I don't like the sound of that bird coming back."

"I agree!" Honey nodded.

"Gosh, I don't feel so good…" Iroo retched.

"Please don't wreck my restaurant, Dyna Blade!" Kawasaki pleaded, gripping onto his frying pan tenderly. "It's my pride and joy! I promise I won't cook your chick, so don't destroy it please!"

Hohhe let his eyes hover towards the grassy outgrowth. "Will my dad's crops ever survive at this rate?" he grumbled.

At the outburst of negativity, Curio glanced back down to the feather on the ground, the innocuous piece of metal now gleaming menacingly under the moonlight, giving it the appearance of a terrifying blade. He cleared his throat to attract everyone's attention, making a grim statement to the crowd once he felt all eyes on him.

"One thing is for certain, though. With it nurturing its hatchling, it will be awake for a while. Hence, I can guarantee that Dyna Blade will return for sure!"


"Uh, your majesty…"

"How dare that Dyna Blade! I spent a whole million deden on that saucer!" Dedede bellowed in anger before Waddle Doo could finish his greeting. To be fair, anger was pretty much the king's default mood ever since Kirby had come to Cappy Town.

Although Captain Waddle Doo noted that on this occasion, the king was directing his anger at someone other than Kirby for once. "If you don't mind me asking, what's so special about that saucer, your majesty?" he asked out of curiosity.

"Hmph!" Dedede sneered, snorting as though his subordinate had just asked him a stupid question. Nevertheless, he still gave Waddle Doo a reply. "That saucer ain't no ordinary saucer! It's been powered by a high-power frequency amplifier, purchased courtesy of the same company that provided me my demon beasts — Holy Nightmare! After all, why simply broadcast my Channel DDD across the mere plains of Dream Land when I can amplify the radio waves until it can be beamed throughout the whole galaxy! Hahaha! There's no reason to settle for just Cappy Town when I can broadcast my charming face out throughout the entire universe instead?"

Captain Waddle Doo nodded in understanding at Dedede's words. "Ah, I see! So that's why the saucer's so powerful!" he exclaimed.

"And expensive, too! Holy Nightmare Corporation claimed that a saucer of that power is worth a ton of dough, so I had no choice but to pay 'em hard cash up front. I was planning on recuperating my losses with advertising revenue from the ratings, but lo and behold, that rotten bird just decides to ruin everything by thrashin' my saucer less than one day in!" Dedede yelled as he added onto Waddle Doo's statement, slamming his palm on the golden throne chair's armrest as he did so. The stricken king then continued to rant in a rather loud and undignified manner, "That Dyna Blade's trashed my saucer and my chance of being an intergalactic superstar! The nerve of that stupid featheredbrain bird! When I get my hands on that overgrown Dyna Blade, I'm gonna personally give it a taste of its own medicine!"

Waddle Doo tilted his head in confusion at what his king was saying. "But sire… what are you talking about? The saucer's safe and sound! There's not even a scratch on it! It just tipped over from being under Dyna Blade's flightpath. A saucer that's this expensive won't break from something as minor as that! A little tinkering with the wires and Channel DDD will be back online!" he reassured the king with a determined glint in his eye.

Dedede's mood switched instantaneously at the surprisingly good news. "Really? Well… okay then." Even Escargon was able to see that Dedede had significantly cooled down after hearing that his broadcast saucer was alright after all. "Well, don't just stand there… get it back online, Waddle Doo!" he ordered in a curt tone.

"Already on it, your majesty! My Waddle Dees are lugging it back up and running frequency tests on the saucer to make sure that it's serviceable as we speak. Soon Channel DDD will be back up, as soon as we iron out a few bugs with the cables! It'll happen in less than twelve hours! By dawn, your network will be back up!"

"Excellent work, Captain Waddle Doo!" Dedede praised the commander in a rare show of respect. He clenched his fist, determination crossing his face. "And then, I will make that Dyna Blade will pay for disrupting my television services—"

"Actually, your majesty…" Waddle Doo raised his arm, interrupting the king's speech as he held up a tape in his other hand. "Speaking of Dyna Blade, I think that you might want to see this, your majesty…"

"What's that?" Dedede raised an eyebrow.

Waddle Doo simply gave a firm nod to Dedede with fiery determination in his eye. "It's a video tape, sir," he informed. "One of the Waddle Dees brought it in. I've watched the contents of the tape and I must say that it's the perfect encore to resume the broadcast service for Channel DDD, your majesty."

"I ain't got time for any of that!" Dedede dismissed as he prepared to dash out of the throne room and head towards the recording studio located at the basement of the castle. "I need to prepare for my glorious re-debut—"

The king however, stopped short when Waddle Doo mentioned something that was music to his ears. "This tape involves Kirby, your majesty." Waddle Doo's eyelid narrowed, giving the impression of a distinct smirk. "And the best part is that Kirby can't refute this! It's full live video proof of his crime!"

Dedede sat back down on the throne chair. "Interesting…" he murmured with an increasingly vicious smile, "Do carry on 'bout this, Captain Waddle Doo…"


The next day…

Kirby let out a tired yawn, the small pink puffball snoozing in the nest on the tree outside of the dome-shaped house.

Such a peaceful morning, Kirby thought to himself as the first rays of sunlight began to break over the horizon. He rubbed his eyes at the light, leaning back on the nest and using the wooden twigs as a sort of makeshift pillow as he glanced up to the stars above, stars that would soon recede from view once the sun fully rose.

"Kirbyyyyyyy!"

Kirby grimaced as the tranquility was promptly shattered like fine glass by Fumu's shrill cry. "Poyo?" he muttered a response, getting up from his laid-back position to wave to Fumu and Bun from atop Tokkori's former nest as the duo ran towards him.

"There you are, Kirby!"

The puffball dropped his smile as he saw the female Cappy run towards him with a half-worried, half-angered expression on her face. He instantly tensed up. The last time she'd had that expression on her face, it had ended with him forced into a duel with Meta Knight.

And sure enough, the tongue lashing soon came knocking, right on schedule. "What did you do, Kirby?" Fumu questioned him with her hands on her hips, causing Kirby to tilt his body in confusion.

"Poyo?" the puffball asked, the single word conveying his surprise. What's going on? I don't know what she's talking about? What did I do?

"Oh, never mind. I'll explain the situation to you soon enough," Fumu placed her hand to her forehead exasperatedly. "But it's not safe for us to talk out in the open. Let's get into Tokkori's house. Now!" she sternly instructed to Kirby in a tone that brokered no arguments. As the trio marched into the domed house, Kirby heaved a tiny sigh of relief to see that Tokkori was absent from the vicinity. Frankly, he was in no mood to deal with another bout of whining from the yellow bird.

As Bun shut the door behind them, Fumu then pressed the button to turn on the television set, her green eyes glaring at the television as it powered up. "Pay close attention to what's onscreen, Kirby," she said as she stood behind the Star Warrior.

Kirby nodded at Fumu, before turning forward as he curiously looked up at the TV set. When Tokkori had been at home, Kirby had heard the bird laugh at the antics of the shows that were being broadcast. But when his curiosity had finally been piqued and he tried to catch a glimpse of the program himself, Kirby had found himself unceremoniously shooed away by Tokkori's beak.

Sure, he could have walked to Cappy Town to watch the program from another TV set, but Kirby felt that it was too much effort with too little payoff and thus went to sleep instead. As a result, this was the first time he'd actually managed to see Channel DDD. He licked his lips in excitement, crouching down in anticipation to see what would be airing.

Finally, the screen flickered to life. Kirby's face fell instantly when he was greeted by an image of King Dedede. Worse still, Dedede had a smug expression plastered on his face as he made the announcement, a dead giveaway to Kirby that the Dream Land ruler had something up his sleeve.

And sure enough, the Star Warrior's suspicion was proven right.

"On today morning's hot news, we now reveal the shocking real reason that Dyna Blade attacked our beautiful Cappy Town!"

Kirby grimaced at Dedede's exaggerated voice that blatantly screamed that he was vying for attention. He immediately knew that his earlier hunch that this was not going to be good was now 100% right.

Next, Dedede slammed the desk, yelling so loud that his voice clipped the speakers. "It's because of Kirby! And I've got incriminating footage of his crime, now about to be shown to prove this fact!" The king then laughed out loud, the camera zooming in to his laughing face before it cut to an entirely different scene.

"Poyo?" Kirby muttered in surprise as the image switched from Castle Dedede to an aerial view of a tall mountain. He could see that what was being aired now was of different quality compared to what Channel DDD usually aired. The footage was shaky and there was visible film grain on the screen. Thankfully, the night sky gave the recording a monochromatic feel, making the on-screen artifacts not seem so out of place.

Nevertheless, even he was shocked when he caught sight of himself in the tape. Kirby gaped at the screen when he saw his virtual self climbing out of a huge nest situated atop the mountain. Whoa, whoa, whoa! He did not remember doing any of this!

"What is this, Kirby?" Fumu asked with a glower, "I know about this since this is a repeat telecast from the 6:00a.m. morning news when the show went online, but I want to ask you personally. Why were you at Dyna Blade's nest last night?"

"Poyo!" Kirby tensed up, waving his arms about in denial as he backed away, sending a very clear message to the girl — "I didn't do it! I wasn't anywhere near there!"

Even Fumu could tell what Kirby was saying from his body language. "Wait a second! You really didn't do that, Kirby?" She looked back and forth to Kirby and the TV screen in confusion.

"Poyo." He shook his head to confirm her query, even though he still had no idea as to what she was referring to.

"But that doesn't make sense!" Fumu mumbled as she shot Bun a look for help, with her brother merely giving a useless shrug in response.

"Don't y'all see where this is going? This humongous nest is Dyna Blade's!" Dedede's booming voice, hastily dubbed over the footage, caused everyone to focus their attention back on the screen. "And now look at what Kirby's doing!"

Kirby was surprised to see that the 'him' that was on the screen was carrying out something yellow from the nest, holding it atop of his head. As the camera focused, he gasped when he saw what the flash of yellow was.

"That's Dyna Blade's chick…" Fumu stated the obvious as she saw the camera—capturing Kirby and the hatchling from an aerial bird's-eye view—slowly homing in and getting closer to the two. It was as though a flying drone was capturing the footage and zooming in on the two from afar.

Suddenly, the onscreen Kirby paused his trek down the mountain trail. Almost instantly, the tape suddenly cut to the sky, before ending abruptly a few seconds later. Afterwhich, the scene proceeded to cut back to a triumphantly cocky Dedede. "Tapes don't lie," he sneered, "This here is proof that the so-called heroic Star Warrior that y'all have been sheltering this whole time has betrayed you in a most ironic fashion by stealing that overgrown chick and thereby inciting Dyna Blade's wrath!" Dedede declared as he mockingly pointed his finger to the camera. "Heh heh heh! What do you have to say now, Cappy Town? What do ya' have to say!?"

"This is terrible, Kirby!" Fumu moaned as Kirby looked at the screen in shock. "My first reaction when Bun told me about this was pure unadulterated shock! King Dedede's painting you out to be the cause of all the destruction of Cappy Town that had been caused by Dyna Blade!"

"Poyo?"

"Oh, right." Fumu sighed. "I forgot that you weren't there when Professor Curio gathered the villagers. For context, Dyna Blade is a huge bird who'd destroyed Cappy Town late last night." She kneeled down to look Kirby in the eye. "Needless to say, Dedede scapegoating you has worked scarily well, Kirby. When I looked across Cappy Town this morning, I could see that some of the villagers were positively fuming! It's best for you to stay away from there for now at least."

A-All of this was lies! Kirby frowned unhappily as he continued to stare at the broadcast. He hadn't done any of what they were accusing him of! He didn't even know who Dyna Blade actually was before Fumu had told him!

"You know, I just wanted to come here and look for you just to confirm something." She folded her arms. "And based on your reaction, I now have my answer. You haven't the slightest clue about this at all before I told you, had you? You were here all this time, right?"

A nod from Kirby caused Fumu to growl. "That settles it! Something's definitely fishy here! If you were actually here all along, then how could there exist a tape that shows you going up to Dyna Blade's nest?" She then shook her head, knowing that she wasn't going to get the answers to her questions by staying here and doing nothing. "Alright, let's get to the bottom of this! There's only one way to get to that mountain range from Cappy Town… and it's through Whispy Woods' Forest!"

"Whispy's Forest? Wait a moment!" Bun grabbed Fumu's arm to stop his overenthusiastic sister. "Shouldn't we at least tell Mom and Dad that we're headed to such a dangerous place?"

"To do that, we'll have to pass by Cappy Town, and that runs the risk of somebody noticing Kirby! We can't tell or parents! It's up to us to get to Dyna Blade's nest and settle this mess on our own! Come on, Kirby!" she said as she broke free from Bun's grip, grabbing Kirby's hand and dragging the puffball out of the door before he could say a word, with a grumbling Bun following behind.

"Let's head there and find out the truth behind this, once and for all!"


The tranquil silence of the forest was broken by one blunt comment from an annoyed boy.

"We're lost, sis."

"I know that, Bun!" Fumu hissed as she held up a lit lighter—their light source—to her front. "How about you be quiet and try to help me find a way out of this maze!"

"I dunno!" Bun retorted, before groaning. "Ugh… I knew that heading here was a bad idea…"

"Poyo!"

"Kirby." Fumu frowned, a tinge of betrayal creeping into her voice. "You don't think that I was too reckless, do you?"

Caught out by Fumu, Kirby decided to lie so as to not hurt her feelings. "Poyo," he shook his head, even though he inwardly felt annoyed at being lost as well. But to be fair, the alternative of going through Cappy Town and dealing with the villagers would probably be worse.

As the trio trudged through the dense undergrowth, little did any of them realize that they were being stalked by someone from the canopy above.

An eight-limbed creature stared down at the pink puffball and his Cappy companions from his vantage point, high above in a tree branch. As he glanced down towards the undergrowth, the glossy golden hexagonal objects sewn to his hat glistened, giving the illusion that he was a predator stalking his prey — which he pretty much was.

"I've finally found you!" he muttered as he moved his limbs about. "And it's about time too, because you've got some major explaining to do!" he hissed as he stared down to see Kirby making small talk with the Cappies surrounding him. "This is it? You trashed my Comos to come all the way here not even to find what you claim to be looking for… but to befriend some random bunch of nobodies instead!? Gragh!" He bared his fangs, a move which scared some of the nearby avian woodland critters. "Oh, that does it! You're going to get it from me now, Kirby!"

But before he could make a move, someone else beat him to it.

"You!" a booming voice echoed throughout the forest, scaring the three wanderers in the dense undergrowth below.

"P-poy!" Kirby yelped, jumping two feet back into the air when he saw two black dots appear on the tree bark that he had just been leaning on to take a break from his trek. It was only when they blink did the puffball realize that they weren't holes caused by bugs at all, but rather the eyes of a sentient being.

One very upset sentient tree at that.

"You dare to return here after what you've done? You must have a death wish!" the tree said, its voice reverberating all throughout the forest as it narrowed his eyes.

Bun pointed at the tree in shock. "What's that! Who are you?"

Fumu, on the other hand, slowly backed away from the tree. "Whispy Woods…" she mumbled in wonder.

"Whispy Woods?" her brother echoed after her. "Who's that?"

"Hey, Bun!" Fumu brushed her hair aside as she turned to her brother. "His name is in the name of this forest, Bun! According to ancient Cappy folklore, he is the forest deity of Whispy Woods' Forest!"

Her brother nodded in understanding, before his posture slackened in a "do-I-look-like-I-care" demeanor that was very Bun-like. "Well, excuse me, but I don't read any of that boring stuff. You're a geek, sis! Isn't that right, Kirby?" the boy leaned down to ask the puffball.

"Poyo!" Kirby chirped in agreement, until another loud bellow from the tree caused his face to morph into panic.

"You come to my forest, defile my trees, and yet you still dare to play ignorant?" Whispy bristled his tree branches when he saw that the three were ignoring him.

"Whispy! Please, this is a misunderstanding. We didn't do any of that! Don't jump to conclusions…" Fumu pleaded with the elderly tree as Bun sided with his sister.

"Yeah! We haven't been to this forest in months!"

"Lies!" Whispy's face contorted with anger as his booming voice echoed across the forest. "How dare you try to squirm out of this? This is unforgivable! Prepare to suffer the wrath of Whispy Woods!"

"Yikes! This is very bad!" Fumu cried when she saw that they were in huge trouble. "Kirby!" she yelled, causing the puffball to turn towards her as she held up the silver metallic object. "Suck up my lighter!"

Kirby nodded with a relieved grin, opening his mouth and starting to inhale. As Fumu let go, the lighter spun alongside a few nearby leaves and twigs before being swallowed whole by the Star Warrior.

"Here it comes!" Bun gleefully said as Kirby jumped into the air, a gleeful smirk crossing the puffball's face as the warmth of the lighter became his Copy Ability. As the headband with the adjourned emerald fastened itself squarely on his head, the area of Kirby's head surrounded by the headband burst into fiery flames, completing his transformation.

"What is this sorcery!?" Whispy howled, his voice raspy as the fire atop of Kirby's head alone seemed to light up the entirety of the dark forest.

"Alright!" Bun jumped as Kirby gained his Copy Ability. "It's Inferno Kirby to the rescue!"

"Um, Bun. It's actually Fire Kirby," Fumu corrected.

"I don't care what Sir Meta Knight says, sis. Inferno Kirby is objectively the cooler name!"

Whispy narrowed his eyes at the newly powered-up Kirby. "You think that you can burn down my forest with that pathetic flame? Arrogant fool!" he howled, shaking his branches so vigorously that a barrage of apples enough to fill numerous fruit baskets fell off their stalks, dropping to the ground like a bombardment of guided bombs.

As Fumu clutched her head as she was bopped over the head by one of the ripe falling apple, Fire Kirby quickly decided that he didn't want to be the next target, rolling to the side to dodge an apple. Immediately after, he jumped up into the air and dashed forward towards Whispy by using his Burning Attack. The flame-coated Kirby bashed straight into the bark of Whispy's trunk, the impact knocking piles of leaves from the tree down onto the ground.

"How dare you!"

Although Whispy had uttered that as a retort, Fire Kirby was able to sense the ever-so-slight hesitation as the tree shouted in anger. The puffball thus grinned triumphantly, able to tell from Whispy's tone alone that the elderly tree knew that he was at a disadvantage. Running forward, Fire Kirby situated himself next to Whispy, causing the angered tree to growl, dropping more apples down as his sharp and pointy roots sprouted out from beneath the soft soil.

"Poyo!" Kirby repeatedly dove to the side while maintaining his proximity to Whispy as he dodged the root attack and the multiple falling apples. Once the barrage of attacks stopped, Kirby knew that Whispy was left open and thus began his counterattack by using his Fire Breath technique, letting out a red-hot flamethrower from his mouth at one of the vulnerable bark roots.

"Argh!" Whispy yelled, the old tree visibly wincing from the heat. Fire Kirby maintained his output, continuing to blow flames through his fire breath, the puffball squeezing his eyes shut as the flames rapidly became more and more intense, until…

"Whoa!"

Fumu and Bun used their hands to shield their eyes as a bright flash suddenly illuminated the entire dark forest. Fumu squinted her eyes to turn and look at Kirby, only to see Fire Kirby's entire body completely covered in searing flames, with only his eyes visible in the inferno.

"Wow…" Fumu mumbled in awe. She hadn't seen Kirby use this move the previous time that he had been in this form.

"Look, sis! Whispy doesn't like this attack at all!" Bun observed as he pointed to the tree's pained face.

"Of course he doesn't, Bun! The fire from Kirby is literally roasting him!"

Sure enough, Fire Kirby's Burning Inferno attack did a massive amount of damage to Whispy, the blitzing fire literally roasting the bark of his branch and whatever projectile Whispy futilely tried to toss at him as a counter. The smell of burning bark began to waft around as Whispy was literally burning to a crisp.

Eventually, even Whispy was unable to take the heat. In the end, a sentient tree was still a tree, and timber had a knack of catching on fire very easily.

"Nooooo…" Whispy whimpered softly. "Please… stop… the… burning…" he begged just as a tree branch sheared off nearby. "I admit defeat… please… just stop…"

Sensing no trick or hostility in Whispy's tone, Fire Kirby stopped the blazing fire that surrounded him, winking at Fumu and Bun as they ran forward to congratulate him.

"Great job, Kirby!" Bun cheered, pumping his fist in the air at Kirby's victory.

"You were amazing, Kirby!" Fumu added.

Just as Fire Kirby bashfully rubbed the back of his head at their combined praise, a scratchy chuckle rang throughout the vicinity, breaking up the tender moment. "Ahahahah!" the voice laughed, before continuing on with a humored tone, "Using your Fire Ability on Whispy? Oh, the poor old tree! Man, are you as vicious as ever whenever it comes to disposing of your enemies."

Both Cappies and Kirby jumped at the new voice, looking up to the canopy above from the direction the voice came from, their eyes landing on a large golden-yellow spider wearing a purple bowler hat. Seeing that he had everyone's attention, he cleared his throat and spoke again.

"Step away from the girl, Kirby."

Kirby instinctively jumped in front of Fumu, holding his arms out as a show of protection. Meanwhile, Fumu had a contemplative look on her face, quickly observing that the spider standing on the branch above had acknowledged the Star Warrior by his given name.

"Hmph! So you intend to be defiant to the very end?" The spider let out a sigh at Kirby's response. "Well, I suppose it's only natural considering your feisty personality. Oh, Kirby… why must you insist on being so stubborn? Once you make up your mind, no one can change it even if it means that you have to move literal mountains to get to your goal."

Who is this guy? Kirby tilted his head as the spider kept talking to him in a charismatic voice. Why is he acting like he knows me when I've never met him before in my life! His thoughts were quickly interrupted as Fumu furiously pointed upwards. "Are you after Kirby too? Because you'll have to go through us if you even think about harming him!"

"Grrrrrr!" The spider snarled at Fumu as his trio of eyes narrowed, before his words segwayed into a rant. "You have some nerve to say that to me! Don't act like you know him, girl! You know nothing about Kirby! Heck, even I barely know much about Kirby and yet even I can safely say that I know more about him then you do. And why is that, you may ask? Well, simply put… it's because Kirby's not from this world. He only crashed onto this planet thanks to the stunt that he'd pulled with the spear!" He let out a small snort as he pointed six of his limbs towards the puffball. "And now, I'm going to be taking him back where he belongs!"

Kirby stared at the arachnid as he suddenly dropped that wealth of information. Did the spider really just say that he knew the reason that his spaceship crashed onto Planet Popstar? Fumu gasped, having caught the tidbit of information as well, which caused the Cappy to be too surprised to shoot a retort back. After a few moments of silence, the newcomer from above switched his focus, seemingly losing his interest in Fumu as he turned his head towards the smoldering tree.

"I was wondering what that charred smell was! Why, if it isn't Whispy Woods!" the spider greeted the moaning tree down below with a slight bow of his head. "Glad to see that some things never change… like the fact that you're just as pathetic as ever, Whispy." he said with a sneer at Whispy, with the tree too injured from his earlier beating to give a response back.

Fumu glared up at the spider when she saw him insult the forest deity. Sure, Whispy might have attacked them, but the way that the arachnid coldly dismissed Whispy reeked of sheer arrogance. "Alright, I've had it! Who are you?" she yelled with a slight edge to her voice. The question was then repeated with more force when she saw the spider smugly smiling down at her, "Who are you!?"

"Oh, I really would prefer not to say. You know, what they said about cross-contamination between worlds and all," he replied coolly, his calm demeanor only succeeding in making Fumu more on edge. "But since you asked me so kindly, milady… I simply can't refuse the request of a lady in distress!" As he said that, the arachnid jumped down, landing on his two feet as he bowed with a flourish. "I'm Webby the Como, commander of the Como Tribe!" he introduced himself to the group. "You may refer to me as Commander Webby!"

"Hahahah!" Kirby turned his head only to see—to no surprise—that Bun was the one who had laughed. "Webby? Seriously, are you for real? That's a dumb name! Who on Popstar named you that?!"

The laughter was immediately cut short when Webby gestured directly at the pink puffball. "Of course I remember who named me. It was Kirby, of course!" he answered, much to the confusion of Fumu, Bun, and Kirby himself.

Okay… now this went from crazy to creepy! I swear that I really don't know this guy! Kirby thought as he placed his arms around his temples, trying to rack his brain for any recollection of the Como, only for his befuddled mind to turn up a complete blank.

Fumu herself was also getting unnerved by the newcomer's confidence and prior knowledge regarding Kirby. "Alright, I've had it!" she snapped. "Are you another one of Dedede's demon beasts? How come you are able to speak!?"

"Demon beast?" He chortled at the term, the laugh that he let out appearing creepy to Kirby just by the sole virtue that a relatively large-sized spider was the one who was laughing. "Personally, I don't think that I fit that description, ma'am," he said as he tipped his bowler hat to Fumu. "In fact, in a way, you can say that I'm probably working for King Dedede's former enemy…"

His answer only succeeded in creating even more questions. "Dedede's former enemy?" Bun whispered to his sister, clearly interested in the spider the instant he mentioned that he was against Dream Land's ruler. "Hah! That's a good one! I bet King Dedede manage to amass a ton of 'em!"

"My bigger concern is that this former enemy—" Fumu raised her fingers up, gesturing them to emphasize the words 'former enemy' in large inverted commas, "—is even striking revenge in the first place!" She glared at the Como before leaning down to whisper into Bun's ear. "Cappy Town doesn't need to be caught in the crossfire if this whole debacle is between that giant spider and Dedede! Let them settle it on their own and leave us out of it!"

Not noticing their harsh whispers, Webby proceeded on to answer Fumu's second question. "And as for how I can speak English? Why don't you direct that question towards Kirby? He was the one who'd made me able to communicate in English, after all! I think he of all people should know the answer best!"

Finally, Kirby had had enough of this random person barging into his life and acting like they knew each other when the puffball had absolutely no recollection of seeing him before. "Poyo!" Fire Kirby yelled indignantly, breathing out a small flame as he did so.

Kirby had expected for the arachnid to stop talking and get irritated at being interrupted. What he did not expect was him getting angry for a completely different reason.

"Eh? Speaking in 'poyos'? Are you actually deliberately trying to taunt me? The nerve of you, Kirby!" Webby snarled, taking a step forward. "Aren't we friends? Aren't we!?" he asked the question out of the blue in a rather somber voice, causing Kirby to quizzically tilt his head at Webby's question.

"Friends…?" Fumu asked in a soft whisper, one said so softly that only Bun could hear her quivering voice.

When Webby didn't hear a response, he lowered his head slightly and let out a forlorn sigh. "So that's it, huh? Do I really mean nothing to you? Is the Dimension Mirror and stopping the Jambastion Cult all you care about?" he lowered his voice as he asked one final question to Kirby in an almost pleading-like manner. "Is it, Kirby…?"

Kirby remained quiet. The puffball had no idea what the Como was talking about, but it was clear to him now that Webby was not faking a relationship between them. Kirby could very clearly hear the anguish in his voice as he talked.

Could it be that they really were friends at some point of time? He hadn't remembered a thing about his life before he'd crashed his ship into Dream Land, so there was a very real possibility that perhaps he and the Como might have been friends before all of this.

But if they were indeed friends… then alas, Kirby couldn't remember a single memory of it. The Star Warrior looked down to the ground, feeling a frown beginning to don his face at the harsh realization.

Finally, Webby could take no more, the Como closing his eyes as he spoke to his audience in a somber tone. "Well, I take it from your silence that you don't really care about our relationship. In which case…"

Without any warning, he bared his fangs, causing Fumu and Bun to jump back. Even Fire Kirby took a step backwards from the sheer ferocity of his screech. "…so be it, then!" he spat, before continuing on his statement with anger. "It's truly a tragedy, but just remember that you were the one who personally forced my fang! Looks like I'll have to be loyal to the Kingdom of Floralia and personally take you down myself!"

Although Fire Kirby had no clue as to what the spider had been sprouting about for much of the one-sided conversation, the last statement that Webby made was very clear and concise to him. A fight was all but imminent now. Fire Kirby had his guard up, preparing for an attack of any sort. "Poyo!" he stiffened his stance when he saw Webby inch forward.

"Watch out, Kirby!" Fumu cupped her hands together, throwing her voice. Kirby nodded in agreement, preparing himself. But to all of their collective surprise, the attack that came was not what they were expecting in the slightest.

With a cruel smile, Webby raised one of his spidery limbs up and shot out a small, almost invisible string of web towards Kirby.

…which was then promptly obliterated as Fire Kirby spat out a small ember in retaliation, the fire burning through the web and leaving nothing behind but charred ashes.

Bun burst into laughter at the anticlimactic end to Webby's initial attack. "That was it? Man, all of that hype for nothing!" Fumu had to control her laughter as well as she saw the distraught face of Kirby's opponent. She had to confess that her brother was right this time — the attack was a complete letdown. It looked as though the Como was all bark but no bite.

"Th-that's not fair!" Webby shouted over Bun's laughter as Kirby cheekily shot him a smug grin. "You have the Fire Ability on your side. That's like a complete type advantage over me! How am I supposed to beat you when you can burn through almost all of my attacks like they're butter?"

"Hah! Too bad for you! Probably should have thought twice before challenging Kirby, you cocky spider!" Bun taunted. As Fumu watched on, she realized with startling horror that Commander Webby's eyes had switched its gaze from Kirby to her brother.

"Bun! Look out!" she cried, rushing to her brother and shoving him out of the way right as the Como fired a String Shot attack in their direction. Bun fell to the ground with a whump, the silver string passed over his head harmlessly. But unfortunately, the attack had been directed at the area where he had been standing previously, and thus connected with Fumu instead. The instant the tiny string hit Fumu, the girl felt herself immobilized. "What is this… help!" she shrieked as the tiny string suddenly grew a hundred-fold, encasing her within a pod from all sides.

"Sis!" Bun whirled his head up from the ground upon hearing his sister's cry.

"Poyo!" Fire Kirby copied Bun's sentiments. The measly looking attack suddenly didn't seem quite so pathetic now. As he rushed on over to Fumu's side, a disapproving cluck from his opponent caused Fire Kirby to stop short of the trapped Fumu.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Kirby," Webby said threateningly as he strolled towards the pod. "Once someone or something is trapped in my web, it's completely under my control!"

"How's this for control, you rotten spider?!" Bun yelled as he got to his feet and charged at the Como. "Let go of my sister, you jerk!"

Webby let out a sigh as he simply threw one of his silk strings at the charging boy, immediately trapping him on the spot before he got anywhere within five feet of the Como. "Sigh… kid, you really are a stupid reckless fool," he said at the pod as he shook his head with a mildly amused chuckle.

However, unbeknownst to Webby, Kirby was able to use Bun's charge as a distraction for him to rush over to Fumu's side. As Webby was chastising Bun, Kirby gently blew flames at the cocoon that encased the Cappy girl. Controlling his fire so that he didn't accidentally burn Fumu, Fire Kirby quickly managed to burn all of the webbing that encased the girl, thus freeing her from her prison.

"W-what?" Webby stuttered as his eyes darted towards the freed Cappy, before whirling back around to glare at Bun when he realized that intentionally or unintentionally, the boy had drawn his attention away from his hostage. "You little punk!" he yelled, preparing to give the boy his just desserts by knocking the pod encasing him away, a move that would almost certainly break a few bones of the Cappy trapped within.

"Poyo!"

Before Webby could kick the silk pod away, a sharp cry caused him to look forward. He grimaced at the interruption, before letting out a gasp when he saw Fire Kirby use his Burning dash attack directly at him.

Webby's eyes widened in terror as he saw the ball of flame rocketing towards him. The Como instantly dropped all thoughts of the irritating Cappy in his grip, with his mind instantly switching his train of thought to focus on his own safety instead. Right as the blazing fireball was about to strike him right in the face, he hastily spun together a web from his spinner that quickly surrounded him from all sides.

Barely a second later, the searing fireball blitzed right past the newly-made cocoon. However, instead of burning right through the ball of web, the tough silk webs managed to bear the brunt of the damage. As Webby dropped his guard once Kirby's Fireball Attack passed by him, Fumu and Bun were surprised to see that the Como was relatively unscathed, with only a few minor burns on his body.

"No way!" Bun shouted in amazement, right as a surprised Kirby cancelled his attack and turned back to stare at Webby in shock. "It didn't affect him? But how? That same attack completely destroyed Whispy Woods and that giant octopus monster!"

Fumu found herself surprised as well, the girl gaping at the Como. Kirby's opponent looked like a bug, something which fire would seem incredibly effective on. Webby has said that much as well, the disdain on his face clear earlier on when he saw that he was up against a Fire-powered Kirby. "How that did—" Fumu started, only for Webby to cut her off with a snort.

"You're wondering how I'm still standing, aren't you?" he cut to the chase. "Well, what I just did is something called a Guard maneuver, in essence, a technique that allows me to absorb my opponent's blows." Webby let out a small laugh as he adjusted his hat slightly. "And not to brag, but we Comos have a specialized guard better than that of most of the other species."

He then demonstrated the move for a second time, briefly ducking into his cocoon for a second before immediately breaking out. "This move is known as Pod Guard, if you want to be exact. With this defensive move in my arsenal, I'm practically invulnerable!" Webby boasted, before jumping into the air and shooting three small webs in Kirby's direction.

As the webs thrown by Webby's Web Scatter began to enlarge, Fire Kirby performed a slide to avoid being entrapped, before breaking into another dash attack in retaliation. But alas, the instant Webby's eyes caught sight of the telltale red that showed that he was beginning his Fireball Attack, he instantly retreated back into a Pod Guard and managed to tank the attack again.

Fire Kirby narrowed his eyes, halting his attack when he saw that once again, it was ineffective the moment his opponent raised his defense by using his Pod Guard technique. At the rate this was going, he could see that they were quickly approaching a stalemate.

As long as they both remained out of reach, their ranged attacks would be ineffective on each other. He had enough reaction time to burn or dodge his opponent's webs, while the Como could put up his Pod Guard as long as Kirby used his Fireball Attack from a distance.

Kirby tapped his feet in annoyance. He was going to need to use an attack that was less telegraphable, or else his opponent was always going to manage to get his guard up before Kirby was able to burn him. The only way to break the stalemate was to get closer, but that entailed the risk of Kirby being unable to react in time to Webby's own attack and getting himself trapped. However, the opposite also held true — while striking from a closer range meant that Kirby was more at risk, the same applied to the Como as well.

Deciding to goad his opponent into an attack, Kirby taunted Webby with a sarcastic cry. "Pooyyooo~" he said, elongating the word to Webby's annoyance.

"Quit messing with me!" Webby lunged at Kirby, scattering about even more sticky traps with his Web Scatter.

Bingo! Fire Kirby grinned as he dove down to dodge the three scattered webs, finding himself next to Webby. Checkmate, he thought. From such a close distance, his opponent had no way of being able to aim his Pod Scatter attack as it required the Como to jump up into the air. To give Webby a further disadvantage, Kirby could also avoid his String Shot attack easily at point-blank range, leaving the Como completely vulnerable, much to Kirby's glee.

Just as he was prepared to launch a Fire Breath at the Como from close range, Kirby yelped as he suddenly felt himself being hoisted into the air. "Poyo!" With a cry of terror, Kirby found multiple sticky threads of web surrounding him as a large spider web was created around the Como.

"Oh no! Kirby!" Fumu shouted in horror as Kirby was caught in his opponent's web. "Wow!" Bun gasped, having the opposite reaction as his sister, much to her annoyance. "That's a new attack! What's that move?"

"Net Work." Webby informed the curious boy, the Como grinning viciously as strong silk threads wrapped themselves tightly around Kirby. "Hahahaha! Oh, Kirby, Kirby… you were trying to lure me to attack you in close range so that you could counter with a melee attack, weren't you?"

A surprised Fire Kirby jerked in shock—or tried to at least—when he realized that Commander Webby had read him like an open book.

The Como simply chuckled at Kirby, shifting his eyes slightly to see Fumu and Bun gaping at him as he outsmarted the Star Warrior. "How careless of you. I can't believe you forgot that I had a way to attack from up close," he snorted. "Honestly, it might have worked if you didn't use the exact same tactic yourself when you transform into the Spider Ability. You think I forgot you using this same exact technique on my men when I had my army surround you in Royal Road's palace? Well, think again!"

What? Spider Ability? Kirby was astonished that there even was such an ability. But when he tried to open his mouth to express his surprise, all that escaped his lips were muffled cries. "Po-mmmfhhht!"

"Hmhmhm!" Webby laughed sinisterly as Kirby futilely tried to break free. With the web covering his mouth, Kirby was unable to spit fire to burn it away.

"Noooo!" Fumu yelled out as she saw Kirby's predicament, running forward to try and stop the Como before he could strike at Kirby. Webby simply leered at Fumu as she approached. "Don't you get in the way, girl!" he sneered menacingly, "This is between me and Kirby!" Seeing her continue to approach despite his protests, Webby simply grimaced and used his Net Work attack again to surround the area around him and Kirby with a giant web. This stopped Fumu dead in her tracks, the girl knowing that she couldn't get anywhere near the two now without getting trapped in Webby's clutches herself.

As Fumu and Bun helplessly gaped on in horror from the sidelines, Webby proceeded to let out a triumphant declaration of victory. "Hahahaha! This ends now, Kirby!"

"Kehhhhhhhhhh!"

The sudden screech emanating from the air caused the Como to look up above the trees, only to be greeted by a horrific sight in the darkened sky.

"D-D-D-D-Dyna Blade!" Webby's fangs chattered with fright as he let out a scream at the gigantic rainbow bird that was now swooping past the forest, the resulting winds from its flyby so strong that it caused swaths of leaves from the undergrowth to be blown all over the place.

Meanwhile, Fumu and Bun stared at the flying bird up above with complete awestruck. "That's Dyna Blade?" they asked in unison. This was the first time that they had ever seen the legendary bird in person, and even though it only appeared as a relatively tiny speck due to its high altitude, they both could tell from one look that the avian was not one to be trifled with.

"Oh, to hell with this!" Webby cried out, snapping the Cappies out of their stupor as he suddenly fled, heading further into the forest towards where the canopy above was thicker. "I don't know if Dyna Blade wants me for dinner, but I am not going to risk finding out the answer! A Como like me knows when to cut their losses! But mark my words, Kirby…" he yelled from the distance with a vengeful voice, "I'll be back for you!"

As Webby disappeared from sight, Fumu took the opportunity to run to the trapped Kirby. She took out a spare lighter from her pocket, lighting up a small flame to burn away the silk threads that held Kirby within. The flames slowly licked the ball of web, burning away the threads slowly but surely. Once Kirby's mouth was free, the puffball managed to use his Fire Breath attack to burn away the remainder, freeing himself from the pod.

"Kirby!" Fumu hugged him, taking care to keep her hands away from the flames that were emanating from his head. As Kirby nuzzled against the girl, she continued in a relieved voice, "Oh, I'm so glad you're safe!"

"What was that all about?" Bun finally asked, breaking Kirby and his sister apart. Frankly, the boy just appeared confused by the turn of events.

"To be honest, I don't know…" Fumu muttered with trepidation as she reflected on the past ten minutes, making sure to burn the name of the arachnid that had faced off against Kirby to her memory — Commander Webby.

It was definitely worrying to her that someone of his relatively small stature had been able to go toe-to-toe with Kirby, putting up a better fight than some of Dedede's demon beasts, actually. In fact, the only reason that they had won was because Webby had abandoned Kirby despite having a prime opportunity to win the fight right there and then. If Dyna Blade hadn't interfered by swooping above the forest, it was likely that he would have come out on top.

Fumu's face grew serious as she realized how just close Kirby had come to losing the fight. Now this definitely was a powerful foe that they would have to keep in mind. He was certainly more threatening than Dedede, and unlike Sir Meta Knight, he was definitely not on Kirby's side. To further add to the mystery surrounding him, he was someone who seemingly had previous relations with Kirby, even though she herself didn't know a thing about what he was talking about. And judging from Kirby's puzzled expression from earlier, the Star Warrior didn't either.

"I can't say it for certain, but I don't think that we've seen the last of that Webby guy…" she finally admitted, with Fire Kirby nodding his head in agreement at her statement.

While Webby was certainly a problem that they'd have to deal with in the future, it currently wasn't the main issue on hand. Right now, they still had to deal with Dedede's claim that Kirby had been the one who had stolen Dyna Blade's chick from the nest.

"Kehhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

And not to mention that the group would still eventually have to settle with Dyna Blade itself. As the bird let loose another screech of anger, Fumu realized that it must currently be looking for its child.

"Sis, I think that Dyna Blade's really, really mad."

Fumu rolled her eyes. As if that much wasn't obvious! "You're right, Bun," she said, not wanting to rain on his parade. "It's a bad idea to approach its nest for the moment. Although we might have to hide from some of the villagers, we have no choice but to return. It isn't safe over here, so we best retreat back home for now until Dyna Blade calms down."

"Poyo…" Fire Kirby murmured as he continued to stare up into the sky at the soaring Dyna Blade. In his mind, he was still pondering about why everyone in Cappy Town believed the recording that showed him bird-napping the child of the bird that was currently flying in the air.

He let out a sigh, before focusing on another issue. Namely, the words that the Como from earlier had said to him.

"Well, simply put… it's because Kirby's not from this world. He only crashed onto this planet thanks to the stunt that he'd pulled with the spear!"

Just who was this mysterious figure from his past whom he had no recollection of, and how did the Como know so much about him? Were they really friends before, in a reality that Kirby could not recall? It would seem that way…

Fire Kirby continued to peer in the direction that Webby had scampered off in. Eventually, he reluctantly tore his eyes away and walked away from the scene with Fumu at her request.

But now, Kirby found himself more curious than ever before about his origins. His life before Cappy Town had been a complete blank. Webby was literally the first link that the Star Warrior had to a past that was completely shrouded in mystery. All the confused Kirby knew for a fact was that he, Fumu, and Bun had only scratched the surface of this rapidly growing enigma.


K-Kirby?!

That was the singular thought on Bandana Dee's mind when he caught a glimpse of the familiar face waltzing around Castle Dedede. He had reacted with a stunned double-take at first, but it turned out that his eyes hadn't been playing a trick on him — it actually was his friend, right in the flesh.

What wasn't quite so familiar though, was the two Cappies who were parading around his good friend.

Wait a second! I… I think I know those Cappies as well! As Bandana racked his brain, he suddenly remembered that he had seen those exact same two Cappies yesterday when he was assisting with the rolling out of not-Great King's television sets. In fact, Captain Waddle Doo had even stated a grouchy comment to him with regards to the determined girl.

"Minister Parm's daughter is a real troublemaker at times…"

That was what Waddle Doo had said about the girl, whose name was Fumu if he recalled correctly. As they turned the corner to head downwards, Bandana made up his mind to follow them.

"You sure about this, sis?" he heard the boy say.

"No one uses the basement in Castle Dedede, Bun!" the girl replied as she held Kirby by the arm. "It's safe to hide Kirby in here for now until it's safe to venture to Dyna Blade's nest."

Bandana tiptoed behind them as they took Kirby to the basement, opening a door and entering inside. As the door swung shut, Bandana opened the door by a slimmer and glimpsed within what he had learned was the recording studio for Channel DDD, eavesdropping on the group as they explored the area.


Who would have expected a simple hunt for a hiding place in Castle Dedede to turn up this treasure trove?

"Whoa, sis!" Bun exclaimed, drawing his sister's attention to a large table situated in the middle of the large refurbished room. "Look at that!"

Fumu walked forward to see what Bun was looking at. When she finally saw it, she gasped in surprise, feeling a little impressed herself.

The "table" was in actuality, an elaborate stage set of a scale model of a miniature Cappy Town, one so obsessively detailed over that it even had miniature toy models of vehicles propped on it. The architecture of the model Cappy Town screamed "perfectionist" — the scale model of the town being wholly accurate right down to the tiniest nook and cranny.

"I didn't know that Dedede liked model sets." Fumu couldn't keep the surprise out of her voice.

"You mean toys!" Bun said in a teasing manner, exaggerating the word. "Man, King Dedede playing with stuff like this? This will be prime blackmail material if word gets out!"

"Well, if Dedede is actually able to feel even the tiniest shred of shame, then maybe your blackmail idea might work," Fumu shot back sarcastically.

"Hey, sis!" Bun pointed at a camera mounted on a tripod stand next. "Why would Dedede even want to tape this table anyway? That makes no sense at-woah!" As the boy walked towards the camera, he tripped on an object on the ground. Fumu and Kirby ran up to help him up, glancing at what was on the floor as Bun held up a purple cloth with a scary face stitched to its front. "What's this?" he asked out loud, staring at the object. "A costume of a monster?"

Hearing his words, a sudden memory of the newsflash that had blared when Dyna Blade had struck immediately sprang to the forefront of Fumu's mind.

"We interrupt this program to bring you breaking news!" Dedede spoke to the camera as the feed was broadcast live over Cappy Town. "Yes, I repeat… breaking news! We have just received incoming reports that an enormous demon beast has just appeared on the fields outside Cappy Town!"

Oh, heck no.

"I know what the scale model is for!" Fumu exclaimed as the answer hit her in the face. "It's so that Dedede can fake footage of Cappy Town in his show! Caught on film it looks as real as the actual Cappy Town! This monster costume was supposed to be the demon beast he was talking about on the news yesterday night!"

Bun kicked at the ground. "But if that was supposed to be false, then that means…"

"…King Dedede faked the tape of you going up to Dyna Blade's nest, Kirby!" Fumu finished, turning to the puffball in shock. "That's the real reason he gave everyone in Cappy Town a television set! It was all propaganda just so he could further his own agenda!" She slammed her fist down on the model Cappy Town set, causing a few toy vehicles to rattle from the vibrations. "Argggghh! I knew from the very start that he was up to something!"

"No way! How dare he!?" Bun stared at the scene as a feeling of raw anger began to rise in the boy. After all, he had been a fervent supporter of Channel DDD, so for Bun to find out that his sister was right all along and that it really was a scam? Needless to say, the realization hit the boy hard.

"But I don't get it…" Bun finally mumbled after he had calmed himself down enough to think coherently. "How did Dedede know about Dyna Blade in the first place?" he pondered, right before his sister slapped her forehead at his words.

"Wait! That's it, Bun!" Fumu exclaimed as all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together. "King Dedede simply improvised when a real disaster actually happened! He must have changed the scene on the fly to include Dyna Blade into the scenario, all so that he could make the news report and the later tape with Kirby seem more realistic!"

"That utter jerk!" Bun stomped his foot. "Does that mean that all the giant mecha monster battles that he aired on Channel DDD were all faked too?"

"Uh… yes?" Fumu deadpanned at her brother. "Come on, those are most certainly fake."

Bun clenched his fist as his fantasy was shattered apart piece by piece. "This is unforgivable!" he declared, the absurdity of his statement causing Kirby to smile, the puffball's mood improving ever so slightly.

As the trio continued to explore the stage set with growing apprehension, none of the group noticed the lone Waddle Dee poking his head from around the corner of the ajar door.

Bandana gave a wistful sigh as he looked upon the sight. It appeared to him as though the curious Cappies had managed to find out about not-Great King's treachery. The whole matter saddened him greatly, their words about Dedede hitting Bandana where it hurt since it reminded him very much of a different Great King.

Those words being used to describe King Dedede—even though it wasn't his Great King—had hurt him. It really, truly did.

"Psst… hey, Bandana… Bandana!"

A muffled greeting caused Bandana to turn towards the top of the stairs, where his eyes widened when he saw the person walking down the steps to confront him.

"Heh heh!" A puffball that looked almost identical to the one in the room had a cheeky smirk on his face as he descended down the stone staircase. "You're looking at the wrong Kirby!"

"Ki-Kirby!?" His eyes darted back and forth as his body whirled between the two pink puffballs. Bandana felt his knees wobbling, the Waddle Dee clutching both hands onto his spear for support as his mind took in just what he was witnessing.

Two Kirbies? There were two Kirbies? If the Kirby behind him was the Kirby whom he recognized from his own Planet Popstar… then who was the other one with the Cappies?

"Hee hee!" The Kirby who Bandana knew giggled good-naturedly as the pink puffball strode forward to greet his good friend. "Yo! I've certainly missed you, Dee! How have you been doing over here in Dream Land, version number two?"

Too speechless to respond, he simply stared at Kirby, in spite of the fact that his mind actually had an answer that wasn't able to escape his mouth.

I-I've been better, Kirby… I've certainly been better…


Castle Dedede was not a place where a Waddle Dee wanted to be stationed in today. Not when the important "Peace Between Friends" conference was underway, at least.

Their king had given them a single explicit order as he woke up in the morning, sipping from a cup of coffee and looking like he was half dead. That order was idiot-proof and straight to the point: do not make any mistakes or offend any of the guests.

King Dedede himself wasn't faring all that better when compared to his servants. The chubby ruler was literally dragging his feet when he finally walked into the conference room — which was basically just his throne room, except that it had now been fitted with an extremely long table that his Waddle Dees had set up in the carpeted area in the middle of the floor to give the place the appearance of a meeting boardroom.

He was the last to arrive… not that it really mattered. He was going to be the one who chaired the meeting anyway, so that position gave him the right to arrive exactly on the dot. His face remained impassive as he stared down the approximately thirty people gathered in the room, all patiently seated at their seats in various spots across the long table.

Dedede's eyes swept across the room as he mentally did a roll call, only to see that one wouldn't be needed. All the seats were taken except for five spots, signifying that attendance was full with the exception of five absentees. He already knew the grim reason as to why Bandana and Kirby were unable to attend, and the same went for Rick and Kine after Coo had briefed him yesterday.

But surprisingly, the final absentee was Meta Knight, who was somehow still missing in action. Dedede made a mental note to find out just what had happened to the knight after the meeting concluded… right after he was done making plans regarding Bandana and countering whatever plot that utter scumbag mage from the Jambastion Cult was up to, at least.

As he ascertained that everyone was present, Dedede then proceeded to clear his throat, putting his left hand to his mouth to focus his voice forward as he spoke. "Ahem! This meeting will commence very soon. Should you have any business to do, please finish it quickly and be back in five. If you are thirsty, some refreshments are provided on the table in front of you, so feel free to have one," Dedede said, gesturing to a can of drink in front of every chair. At his signal, several committee members reached forward and took their drinks.

Drebly opened the can, leaning forward to take a small sip. However, before he could swallow the mouthful of drink that he had gulped from the can, his face turned pale. He retched on instinct, spitting liquid out on the table, much to the annoyance of those seated around him. The Driblee wheezed and hacked as he tried to catch his breath. "Gack! Wh-what is this abomination of a drink!?" he finally managed to splutter.

Dedede raised his eyebrow as he saw Drebly looking at the can with an expression of pure hate. Of course, given that this was the perpetually happy Drebly that they were talking about, his definition of 'pure hate' was the equivalent to a mildly annoyed face. "It's… soda." Dedede muttered bluntly as the Driblee continued to fiddle with the can.

Drebly gasped, his jaw dropping at Dedede's words. "A-Are you kidding me? This is soda!?" the Driblee spat the word out, backing away from his seat in horror. "Soda is carbonated water! Who on Popstar would pump carbon dioxide into fresh clean water!? This is a crime! It is, it is!"

"I concur with Drebly!" Dedede saw a female Chilly on his left getting to her feet, the icicles in her cap glinting from the morning sun as many of the helpers looked at her. "More carbon dioxide means more greenhouse emissions! More of that would damage our precious ice caps further! Iceberg is already diminishing in size! We don't need any more global warming affecting this planet! I say that these canned drinks be banned!" the Chilly said passionately, the determined conviction in her voice causing many of the others around her to nod their heads in agreement.

"You are absolutely right there, Snowy!" Drebly nodded merrily at the Chilly in approval as he sat back down on his seat. "I completely agree! Yep, yep, yep!"

Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit! Dedede felt like hitting something as he glanced to his right to see the Driblee adding on to the Chilly's statement.

Honestly, this was ridiculous. He wasn't even able to serve freaking canned drinks without it somehow turning into a debate, all thanks to the fact that he had more than twenty different species all clustered together, each with their own personal outlooks, perspectives, and goals. As he had feared, the conference was a disaster waiting to happen.

"Yeah! If we ban canned drinks here on Popstar, there would be much lesser pollution!" Brenda the Broom Hatter nodded her head-sorry, her body.

"But that also means less stuff for me to blow up!" Lil' Pop, the Poppy Bro Jr., grumbled with an unhappy frown. "Not cool! I want to explode things! I want things to go kaboom!"

"CANNED DRINKS ARE MADE OF METAL." A golden-colored robot spoke in a robotic monotonous voice. "METAL GOOD. METAL MASTER RACE. HAIL METAL."

The Beetley seated next to the Gim buzzed his wings threateningly at the words. "Say that again, Robert! I dare you!"

"I WILL SAY IT AS MANY TIMES AS I WANT, BENNETT. YOU CANNOT DENY THE TRUTH."

Bennett slammed the table with his horn in response, the Beetley furious by the response he had gotten. "You annoying piece of scrap metal!" he snarled.

Lil' Pop, ever the mischievous Poppy Bro, chose this moment to add fuel to the escalating argument. "Hey, if Robert's scrap, does that mean I can blow him to smithereens? With a Bluster Bomb, preferably?" he grinned as he held up a small unlit bomb in his right arm.

"COME AT ME, LIL' POP." Robert held up his yo-yo as a threat, preparing to knock away the thrown bomb if necessary. "I DARE YOU, POPPY BRO."

"You're on!"

"Hey! Both of you stand down, now!" Dedede pushed his chair back to stand up, nearly screaming at the squabbling duo. "Nobody is blowing anything up in my conference room!"

After dealing with the immediate threat of Lil' Pop and Robert's brawl, the king then let out a long groan as he looked around the room to see that the floodgates of bitter debate had been opened, leading to multiple helpers beginning to chatter and quarrel amongst themselves. Before he could even utter another sentence in protest, the entire place began to turn rowdy as the volume of the voices began to increase in amplitude.

As the noise level started to become unbearable, Dedede sharply inhaled, taking in a deep breath to cool down the agitation he was feeling inside. He knew that he had to be strong. If his audience sensed weakness from him, Dedede knew that they would waste no time in exploiting him.

When he and Kirby had agreed to set up a committee to settle the Friend Heart dilemma caused by twenty-odd capable Helper leaders moving to Planet Popstar, Dedede had not expected for the Helper union to collectively make such a stupid decision in such a short span of time. For Pete's sake, the meeting hadn't even really started and he was already begging for it to end. The Dream Land king began to picture a dartboard with Kirby's face on it and proceeded to throw imaginary darts at the imaginary dartboard in his mind to relieve the tension.

Bandana wouldn't want you to snivel over him and wind up a completely useless wreck as a result… Dedede's mind yelled at him. Now get out there and prove to all these fools exactly why you're the glorious king of Dream Land!

When he next looked at the seated members of the audience, his face was impassive, showing none of the turmoil that he had gone through earlier or during the previous night.

"That is it! Enough of this canned drink fiasco! We will discuss the matter later!" Dedede yelled as he swung his hammer down like a gavel, lightly bringing it down on the table to keep order. As the crowd quietened down, the king began to speak, standing up firm as he became the center of attention.

"Thank you for maintaining order," he muttered in relief. "First of all, let me extend a sincere thank you to all of you for coming here to Castle Dedede on such short notice. Especially to those of you that don't cause any trouble," he hissed, directing a glare at the Gim, Beetley, and Poppy Bro Jr. in particular. "I, King Dedede, am proud to be the host of the 'Peace Between Friends' conference on Dream Land's behalf!"

Dedede heaved a tiny sigh of relief when he felt all eyes focusing on him. Finally, it was time to get the show on the road—

"Hah! Is that all you got in you, buster? How disappointing… you don't deserve to be the host of this conference!"

Goddammit. Dedede groaned, feeling a painful headache coming to his head, one that was even worse than when Coo the Owl had dropped the Bandana and Zan bombshell on him yesterday. Somehow, it had inexplicably slipped Dedede's mind that inviting every single friend that had tagged along with Kirby for the Jambastion Cult incident meant that they also had to invite… him.

"What's the matter, Dedede? Cat got your tongue?" The jester chuckled as he bounced atop his colorful beach ball. "Look at your king, gentlemen," he said in a mocking tone as he leaned forward to point everyone's attention to the fuming king. Normally a person would use their arms to gesture to Dedede at this point, but rather unfortunately he was lacking such appendages for the time being, and thus was forced to use his body instead.

"You better keep your trap shut before I personally kick your sorry hind out of this conference. This is a conference of peace, not anarchy! You got that, Marx!?" Dedede made sure to hiss the jester's name with as much disrespect as he could muster.

"Oh no… the terror!" Marx gasped in horror… or he at least tried to, anyway. Even Drebly could tell that the jester was faking said gasp from how much he was exaggerating. "Hahahaha! Is that really all you've got, Dedede?" he jeered.

Dedede held silent as he glared vicious daggers at the jester, daring him to make the first move. No one else dared to speak up, the entire room deadly silent as everyone kept their eyes on the feuding two.

Finally, Marx let out another chaotic laugh after sensing that he was going to get no response from Dedede. In return, Dedede let out a pitiful groan, cupping his ears as Marx's earsplitting cackle reverberated throughout Castle Dedede's throne room. "Oh, Stars… I need aspirin. I need all of the aspirin." The day had barely even started and yet Dedede already knew that he was going to utterly despise the next hour or two of the conference.

After what seemed like forever, Marx eventually stopped his laughter. Dedede hesitantly uncovered his ears and heaved a relieved sigh as he enjoyed the mild reprieve that he was given. However, Dedede's relief was short-lived, lasting only until the jester proceeded to turn to the remaining Helpers and make a startling declaration to the entire crowd.

"Hmph! Guess you aren't in a playful mood, eh? Because if that truly is the best retort that you can come up with, then me think that I have a better idea on how to run this meeting instead!" As Dedede and some of the more reasonable helpers looked on the scene in horror, Marx began to laugh like a maniac, his demented cackle echoing throughout the conference room.

"This conference is my show now, Dedede! Muhihihihi!"

It was at the exact point that Marx squealed out his declaration of intent that Dedede faceplanted, slamming his head on the table to his front while letting out a pitiful moan as the clownish jester continued to howl in laughter. Dedede continued to groan as his mind began to shut out the noise and focus on one singular thought.

Curse you, Kirby! How could you possibly leave poor ol' me behind to deal with all of this chaos instead of handling it together with me? Did you have to ditch me by absconding up to Floralia with Bandana?

And more importantly, Dedede thought as he stared at the demented Marx, am I even able to clean up your mess!?


Author's Note:

And thus the Dyna Blade arc continues. If you squint a little, you'll see that Fumu, Bun, and Kirby going through Whispy's Forest and Castle Dedede is sorta like going through Peanut Plains and Mallow Castle.

Beware: Whispy Woods actually gets referenced very briefly in this chapter, but the star of the chapter isn't the Whispy Woods battle, but rather the return of Kirby's Como helper Webby with a vicious vengeance. I hope you guys didn't forget that he's stuck in the wrong Planet Popstar as well! Yes, the Helpers/Friends make their big debut after a test run with both Webby and Drebly. I did say that I wanted to write in helpers since Chapter 5 and well, here you go! I hope you like the way they're written in.

I suspect that those of you who are in this story for the 'Void Termina reborn' concept set up at the very beginning will be pleased by the developments in this chapter. With a crafty foe from the other Popstar eyeing on and interacting with the wrong Kirby, things will get ugly very quickly.

As you can see, things are steadily heating up after the slower pace of the previous chapter. Dyna Blade roams around Dream Land in anger, a Como commander isn't too pleased, Kirby and Bandana Dee are reunited, and a coup seems imminent in the gameverse Dream Land's so-called peace meeting. So how will things play out? Find out next time!

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Pecking Order

My Adventure Log, Entry #4: A Dee-lightful Reunion
(I'm not sorry for the pun! Hee hee!)

Hai!

No, literally… I would like to give a very big hai to my good friend, Bandana Dee! My trip to Candy Mountain might have been cut short due to some rather unfortunate circumstances, but surprisingly that had turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Who would I run into as I recuperate in Castle Dedede but my good friend, Bandana himself!

I must say that it is relieving to finally meet with someone who I truly know in this foreign world. But to be frank, I think I better jump back to reality and put this adventure log aside for now. We've definitely got a lot of catching up to do!

Meeting with an Old Friend,
Kirby

Finishing up his entry for his adventure log, Kirby proceeded to keep away the leather-bound book and his pen. Once his hands were freed up, he wasted no time in greeting his friend again, cheekily beginning to wave them in front of Bandana's eyes to try and stimulate a response from the Waddle Dee. "Heellloooooo? Are you still physically here with me, Bandana? Or have you been lost to the void? Ah, don't freeze up on me now! You're acting as though you've just seen a ghost!"

Bandana finally managed to spit back a response to Kirby's vitriolic teasing. "B-b-but… there's two of you! There are two of you, Kirby!" he exclaimed in a hushed voice, flailing his arms wildly about.

"Heh! You aren't the only one to notice that little detail." Kirby clucked his tongue at the obvious statement. "So I take it that you only just happened to take notice of my doppelganger?"

Bandana nodded at his friend to give him the affirmative. "Y-yeah…"

Kirby simply chuckled in response at the rhythmic nodding that Bandana was giving him. "Hahaha! I guess it's no surprise that you found him, really. That guy really isn't subtle, not in the slightest," he commented as he gestured towards the studio door, "Yep, the pink puffball in that room's my alternate dimension counterpart, I would assume."

"But… but there's another you!" Bandana raised his voice in exasperation, stunned to see that Kirby was being so relaxed about the whole situation. "There's literally another version of you standing less than ten feet away from us! I just don't get it! How can you be so calm about this?"

"Bah, lammeeeeeee~" Kirby gave a small teasing wink, his style of response rather opposite to that of the panicked Bandana. "Having more of me has already happened before with the Amazing Mirror incident. Honestly, it's no biggie at all in my opinion, Bandana," responded Kirby in a dismissive manner. "Anyway, have you seen the television? If so, you've probably already noticed that this universe's Dedede is different from ours, so what's so surprising about there being double of me?"

"I don't know…" Bandana admitted in a soft tone that was rather unlike his typical enthusiastic demeanor. He pointed his spear towards the studio room door as he looked down at his toes. "It just feels awkward for me. Even with there being double of you, there's only one Kirby who I'll consider truly you!"

"Quite certainly!" Kirby nodded as he closed his eyes. "I mean, you don't really expect the guy in the room to have the exact same personality as me, do you?"

"What are you talking about?" Bandana argued. "He's literally a carbon copy of you! Wouldn't you two end up being rather alike?"

"Oh, on the contrary. You'd be quite surprised, actually. Even two identical peas in a pod won't turn out to be exactly the same when you sprout them…" Kirby replied to his friend with one of his cryptic answers.

A tilted head from Bandana clearly showed the Waddle Dee's confusion. "I'm sorry? I don't really understand what you're driving at."

"What I mean is that from what I've personally observed myself, we're both very different creatures indeed." Kirby glanced at the door, before segwaying into a different topic as he turned back with an unhappy expression. "Sigh… it's confusing, don't you think? Having to clarify which Kirby is which whenever you talk about one of us?" Bandana raised his head at Kirby's words to see a knowing grin on the puffball's face.

Seeing Bandana slowly realizing what his point was, Kirby pressed on. "But not to fret about this minor issue. I've already foreseen this ahead of time and thus have already managed to come up with a fancy solution to our problem! Simply put, I've given the other Kirby a nickname so that you won't be confusing between us anytime soon!"

"A nickname? That's an amazing idea!" Bandana's eyes sparkled with pride as Kirby once again proved exactly why he was the savior of Dream Land with his shrewd mind. The solution that Kirby had come up with was so obvious in retrospect, and yet it had never crossed Bandana's mind, not even once.

"From now on, I've decided to call my alternate Kirby counterpart…" Kirby dramatically paused, beating his hands together to simulate a drumroll effect before he concluded his sentence in tune with the crescendo. "…Carby!" He took a bow as the single word escaped from his lips in a triumphant manner. "That will be his name!"

Bandana could only blink in response as his ears registered Kirby's declaration. "Carby?" he repeated in confusion. He was aware that Kirby absolutely loved to nickname his friends, but that didn't mean that he was good at dishing out those identities. Just what sort of a name was Carby?

Kirby didn't notice the uncertain thoughts on Bandana's face and hence merrily went on with his spiel. "That's right! From now on, he shall be known as Carby! So what do you think of that huh, Dee?" he asked, enthusiastically giving the Dee a hearty pat on the back as he seeked Bandana's opinion. "It's a great name, am I right?

"Y-yeah…" Bandana stumbled on his words as he "concurred" with Kirby, in spite of the fact that he wasn't exactly feeling that it was the perfect name for the alternate Kirby as of now. He supposed that he still required more time before he got used to it.

Kirby frowned, noticing Bandana's slight apprehension as the Waddle Dee stuttered slightly on his words. "Oi! Just relax, Bandana. It might take a while for you to not mix up the names, but I assure you that Carby's an excellent name! I put work into that name, y'know? You get the pun, don't you? It's pronounced kaa-bii, so it sounds almost like the name Kirby!" Bandana Dee let out a muffled 'oh' as he nodded at the puffball's explanation. To be honest, he hadn't even thought of it in that manner until Kirby had pointed it out to him.

"Plus, Carby also happens to sound like a short form of the word 'carbohydrates'. That would make it quite the sneaky reference to food!" Kirby said as he smiled brightly. "Aw come on, admit it! It's the perfect name for him, Bandana!"

Bandana fiddled with his spear as his eyes went over to the closed studio door, imagining the other Kirby within.

Carby…

He supposed that when his own Kirby had put it so eloquently, he couldn't help but to agree. Like Kirby had said, the name did make quite a fair bit of sense. And he wouldn't admit it to Kirby, but in addition to it being intelligently crafted, the name Carby was pretty catchy as well.

"Yeah… I suppose I could call him Carby."

Kirby gave a sly grin in victory at Bandana's you-dragged-me-into-this-again face. "Heh! I knew you'd come around to it eventually, Dee!" His smile then fell as he apprehensively looked up the vacant stairs that led back to ground level. "But all that said, there is something else that's on my mind right now…" Kirby admitted, a serious expression crossing his normally jovial face as he said two words that shifted the entire tone of the conversation.

"…Void Termina."

Bandana instinctively flinched, the Dee's widened eyes avoiding Kirby before he repeated the name of the destructive god in a hushed whisper. "V-Void… Termina? The Jambastion Cult's Destroyer of Worlds?" Man, that was one of those names that he'd hoped he would never have to hear again, although Zan Partizanne had already ruined that dream rather quickly when she name-dropped the name of their god during their scuffle back at Cookie Country. "What about him, Kirby?"

"I dunno. My mind's basically just a swirl of marshmallow paste regarding him…" Kirby shrugged. "Void Termina has just been on my mind a fair bit as of late. After all, he's like, the entire reason that we're even here right now. If it weren't for the return of the Jambastion Cult, we never would have gone up to Floralia. And if we'd left Floralia and Taranza alone, I never would have unintentionally activated the Dimension Mirror as a last-ditch attempt to escape Taranza's clutches. But fate had other plans, I suppose, and now you and I are the first are the first explorers of this brave new world as a result!"

Bandana could only nod at Kirby's detailed analysis of the turn of events that had transpired. "Well, when you say it like that I can't help but to agree with you! You're one hundred percent right, Kirby! Void Termina is the real instigator of all of this!"

Kirby smiled at the praise. "He certainly is. Or at the very least, the plan of the Jambastions trying to bring him back is the ultimate cause behind everything." He then sighed as he began to complain about the situation, "But the troubling thing is… I'm unsure of whether Void Termina had really been reborn yet, like what that mage had claimed. Because if so, I would have thought that Void Termina would be, y'know, a little easier to find? I mean, he was ginormous when the Jamba Heart unleashed him into Gamble Galaxy! By right, I should be able to spot Void Termina from over ten miles away if someone like Hyness managed to summon him anywhere in this galaxy, which would make stopping a potential resurrection easy!"

"Wait, why wouldn't you be able to spot Void Termina if he was already resurrected?" Bandana cocked his head. "He was so big that we had to use the Star Allies Sparkler just to break through his armor! He's gotta be easy to find!"

"Well, that requires a lot of assumptions, namely that the Jambastions will summon him using the Jamba Heart again… and as far as I know, it took them long enough the last time and we actually have a significant headstart on them this time round. But to be fair, all the information that we currently have on Void Termina was what Zan had told us, which is definitely a biased viewpoint since it comes directly from one of the top brass of the Jambastion Cult," Kirby pointed out before placing one of his hands to below his lips. "That said, looks can be deceiving. As a matter of fact, I actually have a hunch as to Void Termina's current whereabouts, and it's not where you'd expect…"

"Wait… you do?" Bandana exclaimed with a shocked voice, gripping tightly onto his spear at Kirby's stunning claim.

"That's right, Bandana!" Kirby confirmed with a whistle. "Just keep in mind that it's only just a hunch, so I might be wrong. But if I'm actually correct, then Void Termina is actually right here, in Dream Land itself! But whoa, let's not jump the gun, Bandana," he said as he gestured for the excited Bandana to stand down. "We shouldn't play our hand so early. Let's wait it out and have some situational awareness in mind before doing anything hasty over here. After all, this place isn't our home. To behave recklessly in a place like this would be an unwise move."

"I agree. This Dream Land really is different from ours…"

"Hey, Bandana…" Kirby shut his eyes momentarily, frowning as he shot a concerned look at his friend. "Apologies in advance for asking this out of the blue, but why exactly are you feeling so down, anyway?"

"W-W-What!?" Bandana flusteredly tried to deny his friend's accusation by waving his hands frantically about, unintentionally swinging his new spear in a wide arc as he did so. "Me, upset?" he nervously chuckled. "W-Whatever are you talking about, Kirby? I'm perfectly fine, I swear—"

"It's about Dedede, isn't it?"

Bandana jolted back, staring at the solemn Kirby. Was the puffball a mind reader?! How did Kirby know what he was thinking?

"Heheh!" Kirby snapped his fingers upon seeing Bandana's expression of surprise. "You didn't even have to tell me, Bandana! It's clearly written all over your listless face!" he replied, answering Bandana Dee's unspoken question. "I just wanted to confirm my suspicions, that's all."

A sigh escaped Bandana Dee's lips. "Okay. I admit it." He huffed as he broke eye contact with Kirby. "It has to do with not-Great King."

"Not-Great King?" Kirby now had an amused smile as he waved one arm in a circular motion to beckon his friend on.

"Yeah, not-Great King. I mean, he's not the same as the Great King whom I know…" Bandana flung his hands out to express his unhappiness to Kirby. "Not-Great King's so mean in comparison to Great King! They look alike, but they are basically two completely different people! I can't really describe the emotions that I feel about the whole thing, but it's just so… jarring! I can't get used to it!"

"Oh, don't you worry yourself silly. I know what it's like, Bandana…" Kirby consoled the distraught Dee. "If it makes you feel better, you are not alone. I feel very much the same way. In fact, my first encounter with this King Dedede was seeing him actively trying to finish off my counterpart."

"Uh… didn't Great King try to do the same to you?"

"But the key difference here is that this Dedede has no honor at all! He didn't even have a traditional hammer fight with this universe's Kirby! Can you believe that? Absolutely disgraceful!" Kirby shook his head in disappointment. "All he did was resort to using sneaky tactics and tricks to win. He's poles apart from our world's Dedede, and that's inclusive of when he was more on the mischievous side."

"You know… I can't help but to feel bad for the Dream Landers who live over here." Bandana Dee turned to the window to look out at the surrounding town below the castle. "The local Cappies here deserve so much better than this! Maybe it's my loyalty to Great King, but I just can't stand seeing them suffer under this tyranny! Great King would be a much better king here rather than Fake King!"

"Fa-Fake King?" Kirby's let out a snort at Bandana's nickname before eventually falling into a flurry of laughs. "Hahaha! You know, that's actually an excellent name, Bandana! It's even better than not-Great King! After faking the news and faking his superiority, I think that is the most suitable title that we can bestow on this Dedede. You're a genius, my friend!"

"Thanks…" Bandana sheepishly rubbed the top of his head, shifting his bandana around in the process. "I don't really mean it as too bad an insult, it's just that I firmly hold the opinion that not-Great King is conducting blasphemy in Great King's name. He's ruining the good name and reputation of my Great King!" Bandana said angrily, slamming the bottom of his spear on the stone ground, the impact of which echoed around the area.

"Hey!" A female voice rang out, which both Kirby and Bandana identified as belonging to the Cappy girl who went by Fumu. "What was that noise just now?"

"You think it's Dedede? I think we better investigate, sis." That was the Cappy boy, Bun.

"And I think that's our cue to go," Kirby muttered as multiple footsteps crept towards them from the other side of the shut door. "Bandana! We don't have the luxury of strolling up the stairs, the pitter-patter of our footsteps will give us away. To not blow our cover sky-high, you'll have to Helicopter Spear us both up to the top of the stairs! Make them think that the noise they heard was just from their imagination!"

Bandana quickly followed the order, feeling himself take off from the stone floor as he spun his spear atop his head like a helicopter rotor. The force of the resultant torque caused Bandana to spin slightly to the side as well, but Kirby grabbing ahold of his feet put a stop to that. They made it to the top of the stairs in record time, the two rounding the corner just in time, as the door to the studio swung open only a mere second after they managed to get out of sight.

SLAM!

"Hey! There's nothing here, sis!"

Kirby heaved a sigh as he peered around the corner from the top of the stairs to see the two Cappy children—and Carby as well—look out onto an empty flight of stairs where they had been standing ten seconds prior.

"I don't get it, Kirby." Kirby turned around at Bandana to see his friend shaking his head as he fiddled with his spear. "Why don't you want to let them know about us?"

"As I said… this place isn't our home. For all intents and purposes, Taranza is right about the fact that we have to keep them in the dark. To act out of line here would be the equivalent of someone like Haltmann Works Company invading us without warning, and I doubt the citizens here would appreciate that."

"Yeah," Bandana's face turned despondent. "I guess with not-Great King around and all, despite how similar this Dream Land is, it's not the same…"

"If it makes you feel any better, you can be a bit more optimistic about everything. Look at it on the bright side — you and I are blessed to have a Dedede who we can truly call a friend."

"I guess you're right about that…"

"Right I am! Just relax, Bandana!" Kirby reassured his friend as he looked out to the horizon. "Your Great King's quite a capable person. I am quite sure that King Dedede is managing just fine without you by his side!"


"Argghhh! I am not managing fine without my trusty Bandana by my side!"

Marx blinked at Dedede's outburst, before letting out a vicious giggle that screamed of smarminess at the king. "Awww… too bad, too sad!"

"You shut your big mouth!" Dedede growled. "You are not in the position to make any comment about this, Marx!"

Marx chuckled at the raging Dedede as he switched his voice to a formal one. "I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. As the new elected chairman of the 'Peace Between Friends' conference, it is my solemn duty to care about my members' state of mind."

Dedede slammed his hand down on the desk, causing cans and glasses all across the long table to topple and spill carbonated water over the surface. "In my opinion, you should first worry about your mental state, Marx! You damn hypocrite!"

"Relax, King Dedede! I assure you that I am thinking perfectly clearly right now." A slimmer of viciousness crept onto his charming smile as he cheerily continued, "To emphasize on my sound state of mind, allow me to say that I already have the agenda of the meeting all planned up in my head well in advance…"

"You sneaky, conniving son of a…" Dedede cursed as he heard Marx's confession. "So you're telling me that you already planned this out in your twisted little head beforehand? You've got some guts to admit to my face that you wanted to take over the conference before you even stepped foot in my castle!"

"Hush now, Dedede. Please remain silent. Do not disrupt my peace conference."

Dedede shot daggers at Marx as the jester told him off in the same way that a school teacher would lecture their rowdy students. Honestly, Dedede couldn't believe the nerve of that guy. Marx had no shame or self-restraint whatsoever.

If only Kirby was here… he lamented as he clenched his fists. Or Bandana. Or Meta Knight. Or anyone on Popstar that can put this damn clown in his place! Heck, I'll even take Prince Fluff at this point! Someone just shut him up!

"Now that you've finally calmed yourself down," Marx said, unaware that Dedede was anything but, "please remain that way and allow me to speak up." The jester proceeded to clear his throat and bounce his ball around to turn it to the right so that he was facing towards all the Helpers. "Hello?! May I have your attention, everyone? Are you still there or have you all already nodded off to own your little dreamland?" He suddenly broke into laughter, bouncing rhythmically on his ball as he chuckled at his own joke. "Get it? Dreamland? Dream Land? Y'all get the pun, right? Ahahahahahha!"

A collective series of scoffs and groans instantly filled the room.

"Ouch." Brenda grumbled as she leaned down to pick up her broom, which had fallen to the ground from her shock. "That one physically hurt me… and probably dirtied the floor as well."

Snowy shook her head as even more groans echoed around the area. "Well, what do you think, Drebly?"

"Nope, nope, nope." The Driblee shook his head with a sad smile. "That was not good at all…"

"You don't say! That was somehow worse than one of Leonard's puns!" Bennett scolded.

A fireball shot across the room, the Beetley only barely dodging it. "Take that back, Bennett!"

"Never! Your jokes freaking suck!"

"I'm going to roast you!"

"Bad pun! Bad pun!" Lil' Pop furiously bobbed up and down, ignoring the fireballs that were being thrown about the throne room. "Blow it to deep space!"

Even Dedede had cringed at Marx's take of humor, the penguin tightening his grip on his hammer hidden beneath his robe. The king swore that he was only maintaining whatever grip he had left of his sanity by imagining himself repeatedly clobbering Marx over the head with it like a game of Whack-the-Moley. Whack, whack, whack, he smirked as he mashed another imaginary Marx over the head — with an imaginary upgraded Jet Hammer for bonus points. Eat my mallet, Marx.

"Ah, nice to see that you're all still awake! Good day, gentlemen." Marx took a small bow as everyone's attention was focused on their new unpredictable host. Making great effort to ignore Dedede's nasty scowl, he carried on with a jab solely directed at the king, "I have interrupted our dear ol' King Dedede here to bring you all a stunning announcement that must simply be heard first-hand!"

"What is this blasphemy?" muttered Dedede with a low voice. "That's what this is all about? Some mere announcement!?"

"Hey! I resent that remark, Dedede! Please do not jump the gun and call my words a blasphemy before your ears partake in the glorious orchestra that is my delightful voice!"

"Yeah, if your orchestra was conducted by a tone-deaf conductor, resulting in it having an output of garbage even worse than white noise being generated over a surround speaker system!" Dedede shot back, not showing any mercy whatsoever with his words.

Marx frowned, snorting out a tsk at Dedede's insult. "How very rude! Whatever happened to good form and parley, gentlemen?"

"Good form and parley? That sure doesn't exist with you! I'm real patient with tons of people, but you're one of those rare exceptions!" Dedede declared as he pointed at Marx, wishing more than ever that he could whack him out of the conference with his hammer. The only thing that was stopping him was the fact that if he did that, the remaining Helpers would take the attack as a sign of hostility, which would lead to complete pandemonium as a result. The worst part of it all was that Dedede knew that Marx was only acting this way and going this far because the jester himself was well aware of the fact that Dedede couldn't lay a finger on him in front of all the Friend Heart Helpers.

Marx put on a pitiful face, fake crocodile tears brimming from his eyes. "Oh, please just listen to what I have to say, Dedede! In my personal opinion it's certainly… VERY ENTERTAINING!"

Dedede and many of the others flinched back in their seats when Marx's personality abruptly shifted a complete one-eighty, the clown suddenly raising his voice for the last two words, momentarily making him sound like the demonic jester that Kirby had told him horror stories about. The king had waved the puffball's tale off at first since he hadn't been around during the Milky Way Wishes incident to see it firsthand, but now the king was starting to see just where Marx had amassed that reputation from.

Meanwhile in the present, Marx continued to howl to the crowd in a mad manner, without a care in the world. "Ahahahaha! This is perfection, Dedede! Perfection, you hear me?! It is like the angels have descended from above to grace us with thee!"

Good grief, Dedede grimaced as the jester hogged the spotlight with his unhinged voice. Kirby was absolutely right… Marx really is one crazy nutjob!

"It's the most glorious thing to ever be bestowed on the shores of Popstar!" Marx jumped onto the floor, kicking a paper flyer that he'd meticulously placed there in advance up into the air. "I'll tell you what it is! It's an upcoming concert play, sponsored by a new startup manpower management company, the Heta-Wocky Corporation!"

"Wait a minute! Concert play? Do you mean the annual Dream Land theater play that's conducted every year?" Dedede felt a smile creeping up his face as he grabbed the paper flyer as it sailed across the room, looking down to take a quick glance at the contents. Here he was getting worried about nothing. Dedede had to admit that he felt rather silly getting all worked up now. "Well, well… it actually is. I would be lying if I said I wasn't interested. But based on this year's scenario, I think it would be for the best if I abstain from attending it this time."

"I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THIS. THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT ABOUT A YEARLY PLAY THAT DREAM LAND HOLDS ONCE PER YEAR." Robert flicked his robotic wrist, flinging his yo-yo out as he spoke. "AND IT STATES HERE THAT THE NEXT PLAY IS COMING SOON AND LOOKING FOR PARTICIPANTS TO ACT IN IT."

And once again, chaos reigned supreme as the topic was not-so-subtly diverted.

"Participants!?" echoed multiple Helpers at the same time.

"Marx! You little scumbag!" Dedede raged at the chuckling Marx the instant he heard the unified cry from the others. Now he knew exactly what the jester was up to. All of his hollering and personal attacks had been a distraction from his true motive… bringing up the recruitment drive for the concert play. Sure enough, the various Helpers soon began to state their interests for the play and thus ruined any semblance of progress for the meeting.

"Sounds interesting to me!" the Jammerjab nodded, his yellow eyes shining brightly.

The Sword Knight partner drew his sword from his sheath. "Yes, do count me in as well!" Edmund spoke with a formal, polite accent. "This scenario will certainly be intriguing for me to act out!"

"Ohhhh… I bet I get to use my bombs to blow a whole lotta stuff up with this one! Fun, fun, fun!"

"Dammit!" Dedede howled over the chattering Helpers. "Marxxxxx! I hate you! This was supposed to be a peace conference, not a headhunt for actors in a play!"

The limbless jester gave his best impression of a shrug. "Well, it is now. Too bad, Dedede!"

Dedede struggled to keep his face neutral and not snarl at the cheeky jester, something which his self-control was sorely lacking in. "So let me get this straight, Marx. You effectively took over control of my conference for a brief instant, giving me and everyone else in the room a heart attack… just to advertise about a damn play that I knew was coming anyway!?"

"That sounds about right, although I must say that you are rather forgetful. You've missed out the part where me taking over had the additional effect of ruining your planned meeting schedule as well! Muhihihi!" Marx giggled, prompting Dedede to let out an elongated groan.

"Alright! I've heard more than enough nonsense from you for the remainder of the month! Everyone, listen up!" Dedede slammed the wooden table with both of his hands to take back everyone's attention. "Enough idle chit-chat! Let's take all of this offline for now and get back to our main topic, pronto!"

"Ah yes, I must agree with that sentiment." Snowy smiled as she adjusted her icicle cap. Just as Dedede was about to praise her for having at least a fractional amount of common sense in a room filled with people who was lacking them, the Chilly completely proved him wrong by beating a dead horse. "So, let us return back to the debate about canned drinks on Popstar…"

"Screw the freaking canned drinks!" Dedede stood up, yelling at the Chilly with a bellow that was so loud that a few of the glasses that stood on the table vibrated from the sound waves. "Let's actually discuss about something that will actually be productive now! We've sidetracked for far longer than I'd have preferred!" The king shot an unmistakable glare at the jester as he announced that fact, leading to Marx mischievously sticking his tongue out, as though that cheeky response would lead to forgiveness.

Of course it wouldn't, but he was still doing it anyway for the sake of trolling. Damn that jester, Dedede seethed.

Although Dedede was still highly skeptical of Marx granting him some leeway, he wasn't going to pass up this chance to finally have some order. If there was any advantage that Marx's ploy had, it was that the rowdy Helpers were now mostly under control after his little stunt. Dedede cleared his throat, looking firmly at everyone. "It is time for me to inaugurate all of us into a Cabinet, a combined ruling party governing all of Planet Popstar."

"You want us to group up to form up a cohesive government just like that, your majesty?" Bennett waved his horn skeptically as he held his head up high. "And you expect all of us to finish undertaking this task in a few hours? You must be absolutely bonkers!"

The Bonkers helper at the far end of the room muttered something unfriendly under his breath. Five seats away, Snowy nodded along in agreement with Bennett. "Now that's certainly a fair point."

"Ughhhhh…" Lil' Pop yawned, the Poppy Bro idly kicking his feet around as he leaned back and forth in his seat. "You want me to do legislation and paperwork stuff? How boring! Where's the fun in that?"

Dedede wasn't all that surprised when the crowd before him became unwilling to listen to him. That being said, he had one last trump card to maintain order.

And it looked as though he was going to be forced to use it.

"If you're all going to act like immature babies, then I'm calling the whole conference off!" Many of the others seated around were surprised by those words until Dedede finished his sentence as he puffed up his belly. "But if that happens, then you'll all miss my epic, awesome topic…"

Dedede let out a smirk when he saw that his threat had the intended effect. All the chattering around the room quietened down at the drop of a hat.

While curiosity was often unfairly blamed for leading people down a slippery path due to the famous "curiosity killed the cat" quote, using it effectively by trying to lead a person to find out more about the unknown can lead to their innate curiosity overcoming many obstacles in their path. And in this case, said obstacle was keeping their own mouths shut, something the members seated all around promptly did. Now that attention was once again squarely focused on the chairman of the peace meeting, Dedede's face turned grim as he began to speak about the new agenda of the meeting.

"You know, before yesterday, this Cabinet thing and having a legislation was meant to be for peace. But now, things have changed for the worse. The situation has turned dire." Eyes narrowed into slits as he glared out of the window. "Now, this meeting's whole purpose has turned on a dime. Once it might have been for peace, but now it is to prepare our defenses for an inevitable onslaught… a war meeting, you could say."

"If you folks are confused, perhaps I can explain on his majesty King Dedede's behalf." Coo interrupted King Dedede before anyone else around the table could. The owl shuffled his feet, wincing as he felt static electricity discharge from his wing to the ground. "After all, this incident is arguably the most personal to me."

The Birdon seated next to Coo giggled as she saw the feathers on the owl frazzle up. "Oh, do tell! This is getting rather exciting! Hee hee!"

Coo's lower beak dropped open, the bird placing a wing to the top of his forehead in exasperation at the Birdon's antics. "Like the second act of a waltz, it unfortunately appears that an old enemy has returned for revenge," the owl said with words that practically screamed "drama" to the crowd, and yet he did so with such a mundane voice that it almost seemed as though Coo was bored with the whole affair. "And now, the Jambastion Cult has risen from the ashes anew, with a vengeance rivaling that of some of the most brutal enemies that Popstar has ever seen…"

"The Jambastion Cult!?"

Everyone in the room stared at the one who had interrupted Coo's dramatic speech. Most were unsurprised by the identity of the one who had the outburst, with even Dedede forced to admit that he wasn't surprised by who had spoken up either. It was certainly more predictable than Marx from earlier on. Nothing was going to beat that trainwreck of a topic derailment.

"L-Lord Hyness and his three generals are back?" The Jammerjab flung his chair back, standing up with terrified yellow eyes under his gray hat. "I-I-If you're trying to emulate the previous clown guy, this isn't funny!" he stuttered, breathing heavily. "Please, tell me you're joking!"

Dedede exhaled as he shook his head sadly. Like he'd thought, Jackson had been one of the most violent reactors to the news, which made sense since the Jammerjab was originally part of the Jambastion Cult. After all, he was the first Jammerjab that Kirby had befriended with a Friend Heart while patrolling the Jambastion's Eastern Wall.

"I'm afraid not. Unfortunately, it is the truth." Dedede cut in with a grave tone, coldly shattering the Jammerjab's preconceptions that he had heard wrongly. "I hate to admit it, but the Jambastions managed to survive the final showdown at Jambandra Base."

The room was now quiet as the implications of the announcement rang through their heads. After a moment of silence, the Dream Land ruler proceeded to slam his hammer on the table, shocking quite a few of the seated helpers. "So now, we have a new agenda to discuss. Lasting peace for you and all your people in Planet Popstar is an impossibility with them back in the picture. Therefore, we are left with no choice but to deal with the source of the problem."

Dedede's eyes hovered around the room as he posed the dreaded question. "So… how do we fight back against the Jambastions?"


Kirby had to admit that this was one of his hastier plans.

Bandana's deadpan stare towards his good friend as they found themselves surrounded by a mess of angry Cappies was pretty much the proof of that.

Perhaps I shouldn't have led Bandana to charge headlong towards Dyna Blade's nest… gah! I can't believe that I forgot about the villagers! Passing through this place was a mistake…

"How could you do this, Kirby!?" Honey cried as she looked at Kirby with a disappointed expression. "We trusted you!" she sniffed.

"Yeah!" Chief Borun added. "I blew a fuse when I saw what was broadcast on Channel DDD this morning! You definitely bit off more than you can chew by provoking Dyna Blade! Ohhhh! What were you thinking!?"

"Where did you leave Dyna Blade's chick, Kirby?" Iroo questioned in a stern voice as he tapped his foot. "Maybe we can still salvage this disaster if we bring it back…"

Hohhe raged, hopping up and down. "My father's crops are on you!" he yelled, the straw-hat kid unusually furious about what he perceived as a complete betrayal.

Kirby raised his arms in surrender, steadily backing away as the villagers slowly edged forward. Yeah, choosing to walk back to Dyna Blade's nest with Bandana was not a good plan.

"Don't let Kirby get away!" Kawasaki yelled to the crowd as the chef pointed his frying pan at Kirby. "Dyna Blade's wrecked my restaurant when it flew past Cappy Town! If King Dedede isn't going to give me any compensation, the least I could get in return is to hire Kirby for free for weeks on end to pay back the damages!"

"What about my store!?" The toy store owner Gangu folded his arms at Kawasaki. "Dyna Blade's trashed that too, y'know? I need Kirby to pay me back as well, Kawasaki!"

"Don't forget about my farm!"

"My fortune telling shop as well!"

"The police station's a pile of rubble!"

Kirby's face turned contemplative as the townspeople began to argue among themselves. He didn't want to hurt the villagers, but if push came to shove…

"Kirby!"

"There you are!"

With surprised expressions, Kirby and Bandana glanced up to the sky to see two small floating creatures. Even though Bandana might not be familiar with them, Kirby on the other end was certainly able to recognize the two floating orbs that had saved them.

Lololo and Lalala, the fearsome fiends of Castle Lololo.

Fact was, he had already just seen the two very recently, during the Meta Knight brawl a while ago. That had been a very nostalgic sight to Kirby — after all, he hadn't interacted with the duo in what seemed like eons.

"What are you doing over here?" Lololo asked as his eyes fell on the murderous crowd below his feet.

"Yeah! It isn't safe for you here in Cappy Town!" seconded Lalala. "Come on! Let us get you to safety!"

Bandana was about to give a reply, but then quickly realized his current position as Kirby shot him a hasty look that said 'Don't blow it!', and then thought better of it.

"Poyo!" Kirby said, firmly pointing to Bandana as Lololo and Lalala swooped down to grab him.

"Lololo! I think Kirby wants the Waddle Dee as well."

"I've no qualms with that." Lololo broke away from Lalala to grab Bandana by the knot on the back of his blue bandana. Not noticing Bandana flailing about in wild panic from Lololo's grip, he returned to his counterpart. "Now I think we better go! Let's make a move on before the crowd turns nasty!"

Kirby snorted before he laughed out loud at Bandana's uncomfortable position, which caused his friend to huff and look away. That however, only caused Kirby to laugh even louder and prompt Lololo and Lalala into wondering just why he was laughing at almost getting butchered by the Cappy Town villagers.

To be honest, Kirby realized that he could have simply just floated up to escape the crowd. But he supposed that this way was fine as well.

"Oh no!" Gangu cried out as he pointed to the sky, "Kirby's getting away, you guys!"

Chief Borun blew into a whistle, directing the Cappies in their general direction. "After him!" he ordered. It was a futile effort, though. If only land-dwellers like them could fly.

"Are you just gonna run away after causing Dyna Blade to attack our town? Are you, Kirby!?" Kirby winced at Tuggle's remark, directing his eyes away from the yelling Cappies below.

As they were carried away from the fuming Cappies, Kirby's eyes widened as he managed to catch sight of another pink puffball sneakily hiding behind a trash can in the vicinity.

"Carby…" he mumbled under his breath in awe, making sure that Lalala couldn't hear him from above.


"Looks like all the villagers are gathered at the town square of Cappy Town!" Bun pointed as they hid behind a trash bin in the main street of the town.

"Hey!" Fumu turned to Kirby and her brother, "This is our chance! While they're all distracted, we can make use of the opportunity to sneak back to Dyna Blade's nest unnoticed!"

That had happened an hour ago, and surprisingly that hasty plan had worked. Honestly, the permanently wary Fumu was rather surprised that their return trip had gone this well so far. After an hour's trek, they were practically almost at their destination.

"Look at that huge nest, sis!" Bun pointed to his front to see a nest perched on a rock face a few meters above them. "Think it's Dyna Blade's?"

Fumu grumbled under her breath as she climbed up the steep cliff. "If this isn't Dyna Blade's nest, I'll eat my shoe." The sarcasm was very obvious there.

"You're on!"

"Poyo!"

Fumu could only shake her head as she reached the top, with Bun following shortly behind. Kirby simply puffed up his body to overtake the duo, the Star Warrior running ahead of them, heading straight for the large nest.

Before he could approach any closer to the nest, Kirby suddenly found his feet stuck firmly to the ground. "Poyo?" he quipped, looking down to see a sticky substance coated on the rocky floor around the area.

Bun had to tilt his head at the unusual sight. "Is that spider web? What would that be doing way up here?" he asked out loud, the Cappy boy literally tempting fate.

If only he hadn't opened his big mouth.

"That's right, kid… a spider web. What a surprise. Whoopie-doo."

All three of them whirled around as they heard an eerily familiar voice that they would rather not hear again. Their eyes widened in shock as the person spoke again and proceeded to walk within their range of vision, "I knew that you'd eventually make your way here to the peak. How very nice of you not to disappoint my expectations, Kirby." A confident Como strutted up from behind an inconspicuous rock next to the nest, chuckling at the trio.

"You!" Fumu pointed a trembling finger at the newcomer who was calmly strolling towards them. Webby the Como. Now that was certainly a face that neither one of the three wanted to see at the moment.

Bun clenched his fist, the boy not forgetting about the time that he had been trapped in a web cocoon by this clown. "Hey, you! What do you think you're doing here, you jerk!?"

"That's right!" Fumu added as Kirby gave a stuart nod. "Are you following us around? Because you have no reason to be up here at Dyna Blade's nest otherwise!"

The commander merely shrugged at their outcry, letting out a small laugh as he responded to the Cappies. "No reason to be here? Hahahaha! Unlike what you think, I do have a legitimate purpose for being this high up, kid."

"Oh yeah? What is it!?"

Webby ignored Bun's unfriendly question and Fumu's glare as he glanced towards the horizon, watching the speck that was Cappy Town far off in the distance. "The reason I'm here at the summit of Candy Mountain? Why, it's to finish off what I started, of course," he stated in a voice that made it seem as though the answer was as plain as day. "I swore that I'd be back for you, and I am one to keep my promises. This time, I fully intend to finish this feud between us, Kirby. You're coming back with me!" he declared with a boisterous voice.

"Not likely! I refuse to let you take Kirby!" Fumu warily eyed the arachnid as she saw his lips curl upwards at her defiant remark. After his near-victory at Whispy's Forest, she knew better than to underestimate the little critter.

"Hah! Now that's a joke if I ever heard one! Honestly, what do you think you can possibly do to me?" Webby laughed vicariously as he sneered at Fumu with a glint in his eyes. "I told you before, girl… you know absolutely nothing about me or Kirby!"

He gestured towards Kirby, who had an unhappy expression on his face when he realized that he was singled out by the Como, "I definitely already said this before and probably sound like a broken record, but I must emphasize this fact because I simply do not get you people. Why put your safety on the line to protect someone who you know virtually nothing about? Hmph! It boggles my mind. Just make my job easy and scram already, you insignificant Cappy!"

Fumu held her hands up to shield Kirby from Webby's piercing gaze, with Bun quickly copying the motion. "Never!" she firmly retorted, remaining obstinate on the matter. The girl held her stance, deciding that she wasn't going to be influenced by his taunting jabs. Just like with King Dedede, she adamantly refused to listen to a single word that Webby had to say.

The Como helper could only grumpily shake his head in response. "Some things never change, huh? To think that you already managed to amass allies here in this godforsaken place… you certainly are quite the charmer, Kirby!" Webby murmured to the Star Warrior, who wasn't sure if the statement was meant to be a praise or a stealth insult.

As a result, Kirby chose to be optimistic and let out a merry "Poyo!" in reply, letting Webby know that he took it as a compliment.

He appeared briefly shocked by that, before recovering and gently shaking his head. "Why… thank you. I appreciate that, Kirby…"

Fumu and Bun were surprised to see that Webby had a genuine smile on his face as he thanked Kirby. Even so, she frowned at that unusual response. It certainly gave some credence to the idea that Webby knew Kirby somehow… as though his words hadn't done enough to convince her of that.

"You've been quite the naughty little rascal, Kirby." Webby continued on, snorting as he gazed at the large empty nest. "To think that you took Dyna Blade's kid just to try and protect this miserable little carbon copy of a place. But alas," he shook his head with a wry smirk, "it appears that your pre-emptive strike was all for naught, since all you managed to accomplish in the end was successfully bringing down her full wrath upon all of Dream Land!"

"Her?" Bun yelled as the boy heard the gender-specific pronoun. The Cappy shook, wracking his head with shock before turning to the arachnid and asked Webby a question that no one had thought to ask before this point. "Wait, wait, wait! Hold up! Dyna Blade's a girl?" he cried with a fair amount of disbelief in his voice, "The giant bird that is capable of all of that destruction is actually female?"

"Yes…?" muttered Webby in a snide tone of voice, before quickly struggling to keep his face straight as he found himself forced to ignore Fumu hitting her brother for his insensitive and somewhat-sexist remark.

He would have laughed at their little skit, but that would have sent a signal to the duo that he somewhat enjoyed their company, and he certainly wasn't going to hint that to them as he knew that the Cappy girl would instantly rub it in his fangs, taking his amusement as a victory. Thus, he instead rolled all three of his eyes at the siblings' antics before reaffirming his answer. "Yes, boy. Dyna Blade is indeed female."

Bun rubbed his shoulder, redirecting his glare from his sister to Webby as he shot the spider an obvious question. "How do you know actually know that for a fact?" Even Fumu had to concur with Bun on this query, since it didn't make any sense to her as to how Webby would know of Dyna Blade's gender… and how he even knew about Dyna Blade at all to begin with.

"You see, where I come from…" Webby's eyes suddenly widened, abruptly stopping his sentence short when he realized that answering the question would put him in a very bad spot. Already he was treading on thin ice by physically interacting with the duo of Cappies, but he had only done that since Kirby had beat him to it. Revealing that he knew of a second Dyna Blade in his world would be tantamount to verbal suicide. The less that this world's inhabitants knew about his Planet Popstar, the better.

Deciding not to unintentionally dish out any more information, he quickly switched topics. "Enough talk. I see what game you're pulling — the distraction game. Too bad you can't pull the wool over this spider's eyes!" He took a single step forward. "I'd been holding back for far too long. Your visit on this planet will soon draw to an abrupt close! Let's resume our fight, Kirby!" The sudden change of the conversation led to everyone being caught off guard when Webby jumped and launched out three small webs that he spun from his limbs.

"Poyo!" Kirby managed to free himself from the web on the floor to dodge to the side and avoid the Web Scatter attack. Getting to his feet, Kirby's eyes frantically darted around for anything that he could use as a weapon against this persistent nemesis.

He found it, rather surprisingly, inside Dyna Blade's nest. There was a small yellow feather that conspicuously stood out among the brown branches which made out the nest. Deciding that it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot, he sucked the small feather into his mouth, grinning when he felt the signature warmth that came when something he inhaled an object that granted him a Copy Ability.

Oh, yes! How he relished getting a Copy Ability, yearning for the taste of power it granted him. He thoroughly loved the sense of empowerment it granted him — how it made him feel strong… how it made him feel nearly unstoppable. Simply put, for Kirby, inhaling a Copy Ability was a euphoric feeling that the Star Warrior simply could not describe in mere words.

Rather, it was an experience, one he always looked forward to.

Alright! Now let's see what Copy Ability this feather grants me!

"Look! He's transforming!" Kirby heard Bun cry. Sure enough, as he jumped into the air, he felt himself landing on a giant white feather that materialized out of thin air. He merrily bounced on it multiple times, jumping on it like it was a trampoline. The third bounce then propelled him high up, with a spontaneous explosion of feathers surrounding the puffball.

"Whoa! What kind of ability did Kirby get from that?" Bun asked as Kirby was obscured by the flurry of feathers.

"I'm not sure, Bun—"

"Wing Kirby!?" Webby hollered as he stared upwards in shock, unknowingly answering Fumu's question for her. Shaking his head vehemently, he then shrieked at the sight. "Nooooooooo! Anything but that!"

"Wing Kirby?" Fumu echoed after Webby. Somehow, Fumu felt that Webby's curses seemed rather different compared to when Sir Meta Knight was the one announcing the Copy Ability transformation.

Bun looked up in awe. "Wing Kirby? That sounds awesome!"

When the feathers no longer covered Kirby, the three on the ground could see the new Wing Kirby, currently flapping his newfound wings in the air. He had a large greenish-white headdress that emblazoned his entire forehead, as well as large red-tipped white feathers that extended from his arm.

"You blooming jerk, Kirby! You of all people should know that I vehemently despise the Wing Ability, especially after meeting with Alma…" He shuddered as he remembered the damned leader of the Birdons, letting out an involuntarily groan as he remembered her constant teasing remarks directed towards him, "How, Kirby… how could you do this to me!?"

Kirby fluttered down to the ground, nonchalantly grinning at Webby. "Poyo!"

"Never mind! After all those times that Dream Land's nearly been decimated, all's fair in love and war, eh?" He ignored the confused 'Dream Land's been what?' coming from Fumu and Bun, letting out a growl at the happy-go-lucky Wing Kirby. "If you're going to play dirty, then so shall I!" Webby began to ramble as his pinkish fangs chattered.

He closed his eyes and let out a deep breath to compose himself before staring at the feather-adjourned Kirby. "Heheheh! Get yourself ready, Kirby! Time for me to unleash my Friend Power!" he laughed as he lifted two arms above his head.

Fumu and Kirby both unanimously decided that they didn't like the sound of that, their paranoia growing more paramount when they saw that Webby had a smug grin on his face. "Watch out, Kirby!" she signaled uneasily as a warning, moving closer to Kirby to give him her unwavering support. Wing Kirby simply gave a tense nod back in acknowledgement, keeping his eyes on his opponent and narrowing them slightly when he saw Webby stepping forward to make his move.

"Behold!" Webby cackled sadistically as a humongous web began to form over his head. He continued laughing as he brought his hands down with fire in his eyes, preparing to fight in earnest. "Friend Bou—"

"Kehhhhhhhhhh!"


"There you go, Kirby!"

"Don't run off again! Just stay here!"

"Poyo!" Kirby mock-saluted with a relieved smile as Lololo and Lalala flew off to another part of Castle Dedede.

"Why are the villagers so mad at you, Kirby?" Bandana asked when Lololo and Lalala were out of earshot. "I don't understand…"

"Oh, I know exactly why they're angry at me," Kirby muttered with a hint of irritation as he glanced out of Castle Dedede. "You've seen the newfangled television sets, right? Did you happen to see a recording of me taking Dyna Blade's chick from her nest?"

"N-no!" Bandana vigorously shook his head. "What recording? How did you know about it anyway?"

"An annoying runt by the name of Tokkori—" Kirby hissed the name, "—managed to record me snatching Dyna Blade's hatchling using a video camera. Yeesh, this bird has some sort of grudge against me!"

"Huh? Who's this Tokkori?" While Bandana knew the name of most counterparts that he'd seen around the area, this name was one that eluded him.

Rather surprisingly, Kirby chose not to entertain his question. "Ah. You don't need to know, Bandana," the puffball said as he folded his arms and let out an exasperated sigh, "As far as I know, Tokkori doesn't have a counterpart, at least not one that I can think of right now. He looks a little like Pitch, if Pitch was yellow and as annoying as a swarm of Gordos, that is."

"But I don't really see what's so bad about that…" Bandana knew that he was playing devil's advocate, but it was so rare to see the ever-jovial Kirby actually genuinely upset about someone that the Waddle Dee couldn't help but to probe further, poking the metamorphic lion with a sharpened spear.

Kirby sighed, a forlorn expression decorating his face. "Let's put it this way, shall we? We didn't get along the instant we laid eyes on each other. Things escalated until he pulled this stunt. But the thing that irks me the most was that it was an out-of-context recording. That bird didn't know why I took Dyna Blade's hatchling, and yet he still wanted to catch me on tape just to cause trouble!"

"D-Dyna Blade's hatchling?" Bandana gasped in horror. "You took him from the nest?"

"I took her, actually," Kirby corrected with a sly grin. "Don't be so surprised, Bandana! Surely you must be aware that I've faced off against Dyna Blade before. Albeit it's a different Dyna Blade, but that makes no difference in the long run since I know the reason why she's attacking the town. So with that knowledge in mind, I made the choice to preemptively snatch Dyna Blade's child away and feed it on my own accord so that its mother doesn't have to wreck half of Dream Land to look for food. Heh, babysitter Kirby! That actually kinda has a nice ring to it, I gotta say…"

Before Bandana could raise his hand to bring up an embarrassing incident, Kirby quickly carried on. "But now thanks to that stupid Tokkori, everything has gone way wrong!" He folded his arms, letting a frown tug on his lips. "I had a feeling that the recording would be spread, to be honest, and coming back to this town and seeing television sets everywhere that were airing an advert which welcomed citizens to submit headline-worthy recordings just proved me right."

"An advertisement… on Channel DDD… that welcomes incriminating recordings?" Bandana stuttered when he realized that he knew exactly what Kirby was referring to. How could he not, when it was those exact same words from the mouth of not-Great King's assistant last night that almost made him destroy the broadcast saucer in a rage.

"Send in your amateur tapes to Castle Dedede and our loyal judges will see if it's fit for airing. You can send in anything — from documentaries, prank videos, and even incriminating footage of Kirby-I mean, your fellow citizens doing something bad. You stand a chance to win up to four hundred deden of prize money if it is accepted and broadcast on live television!"

Bandana had known that the announcement was bad news from the start, and now less than a day later the fruits of not-Great King's labor were apparent — he had already gotten the nasty scoop that he wanted.

"I know that commercial!"

"I bet you do, Dee." Kirby placed on of his hands by his forehead, closing his eyes shut as he reflected on the situation. "I guess that in retrospect, my plan was a little ill-conceived. But I hadn't expected someone to actively sabotage it! And now, what can I say? There's nothing I can do to salvage this mess. Besides, it's too late for the citizens of the town anyway. I've failed in protecting them from Dyna Blade, and now they all think it's my fault. Perhaps it is…"

Bandana looked down when he saw Kirby's upset expression. "So what now, Kirby?" he finally asked.

Kirby looked out of the castle, fearing for the safety of the town that he'd unknowingly endangered. The memories of the townspeople accusing him for their plight were still fresh in his head. "I don't know, Bandana. I don't know…" the hero of Dream Land mumbled softly as he gazed out to Cappy Town.


"Kehhhhhhhhhh!"

"W-What?!" Webby stopped his attack as his ears heard the screech, looking around in a daze as he realized what was happening. "Oh, you've got to be kidding me!"

"Sis!" Bun yelped as he saw a huge shadow loom across the mountain peak. "I don't think we're gonna like this!" he gulped, with Fumu swallowing a healthy dose of saliva as well about two seconds later.

Webby repeatedly yelled in a flustered panic as the winds began to howl and accelerated like a racecar. "No, no, no, no, no, NO!" The gale forced the Como to hold on to the rim of his bowler hat to prevent the purple headwear from being blown off the side of the mountain. "Please… not here, not now!" he begged, his formerly calm composure evaporating into nothingness.

Unfortunately for him and the others on the mountain peak, his pleas had no effect on the state of reality. With terrified eyes, his ears heard a second deafening screech that echoed across the entire mountain range.

"Kehhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

All four of them froze at the screech. They had all heard that horrible sound before while they were in Whispy's Forest. But with no trees around now, the canopy cover wasn't going to be their salvation this time. That, and it was much louder in amplitude compared to the previous occurrences — rather fittingly, because the one making those noises was fast approaching them.

"Oh, screw this! Dealing with Alma the Birdon is enough for me! I refuse to be a giant bird's lunch!" Before anyone could stop him, Webby quickly ran to the side of the cliff and went over the edge.

"Wait! Don't jump!" Fumu yelled as she sprinted to the side of the cliff. Despite everything, she didn't want to see him end up as a splat on the rocky path twenty feet below.

She needn't have worried. As Bun and Kirby stopped besides Fumu, they managed to glimpse him using Pod Guard as he began to fall out of sight. The cocoon wrapped around Webby's body, shielding him all the way until he hit the ground, at which point he released his guard and ran off in a frenzy, a little dizzy but otherwise unscathed.

And completely safe, too. Very much unlike her, who didn't have an ability like that which could break her fall from this height. Sure, Kirby could float, but Fumu doubted that he could support both her weight in addition to her brother's. As a result, they were rather unceremoniously trapped by the nest, with a very angry bird headed their way.

As the winds around them began to pick up speed, Fumu, Bun and Kirby could see a huge black shadow loom across the entire area. Straining her head to look up, Fumu gaped at the sight ahead of her.

An enormously large avian glistened in the sun, its wings reflecting off rays of light and refracting the sunlight so that it seemed to bask and glow of its own volition. When the clouds covered the sun a few seconds later, only then were they able to get a good look at the creature without being blinded by the sunlight that it was reflecting.

Rainbow feathers adorned her huge wings, these wings themselves creating breezes of winds as it soared in the air. After beating those wings once to slow down, it proceeded to swoop down to the mountain range down below and land ahead of them. As she gently flapped its wings to plant her talons softly on the cracked mountain ground, only then did the three register just what they were looking at.

They were actually witnessing the legendary rainbow phoenix with wings of steel right in the flesh — Dyna Blade herself.

This was so not good.

"Man, Dyna Blade's even more colorful than Professor Curio made her out to be…" Bun muttered as he stared at the bird in question. "It almost looks like she came straight out of some artist's canvas or something…"


"Achooo!"

The young artist scowled when she saw that her sudden sneeze had caused drops of saliva to land on her canvas. "Ah, drat! My painting's all ruined!"

A bubblegum pink-hair fairy giggled as she saw the predicament of her human friend. "Awwww! Getting cold, Adeleine?" she asked with a cheeky tone.

"I-I'm not cold, Ribbon!" Adeleine pouted, the artist placing down her wooden pallet on her canvas so that she could fold her arms in all her angered glory. Too bad things never went as planned — her piercing glare would have had the intended effect had there not been a trail of mucus dripping down her nose.

Ribbon placed her hands to her mouth to suppress a chuckle upon seeing the humorous sight. "Oh, you've got to toughen up a little! You're here on my warm and merry Ripple Star, not freezing your hands off in barren Shiver Star!"

"Ribbooonnnn!" Adeleine whined, flinging her arms to her sides as she squeezed her eyes shut with mild irritation at Ribbon's teasing.

"Okay, okay!" Ribbon grinned mischievously as if to say 'no hard feelings'. "I admit, that was a little uncalled for. But let's get back on topic, shall we?" The fairy mischievously flew up to Adeleine and knocked her beret away so that she could ruffle the girl's silky black hair. "So why are you feeling cold, huh? You aren't even painting a picture of the cold!"

Adeleine waved Ribbon off, grumbling as she wiped the excess mucus away and flung the viscous substance away to the grass with a flick of her finger. "I don't know why I sneezed like that, Ribbon. But I bet it's just someone talking bad about me." Picking her trademark red beret up from the ground and placing her back where it belonged (atop her round head), the artist then wasted no time in sticking her tongue out at the hovering Ribbon. "Who knows, maybe it's actually you who's been talking behind my back!"

"Nonsense!" Ribbon wagged a finger as she frowned disapprovingly at the very idea. "No one can talk bad about you, Addie! Least of all me!"

"Well, then perhaps they're talking bad about me from halfway across the universe," Adeleine suggested with a circular wave of her paintbrush, the movement matching the slow and deliberate roll of her eyes. "Or maybe it's King Dedede, y'know?" she took a wild guess, with Ribbon chuckling at the thought. "He was a grumpy grouch the whole time he went with us to piece back the Crystal Shards scattered all around Gamble Galaxy during our adventure seven years back!"

Of course, Adeleine had no idea that her outlandish suggestion had actually been the truth. Well, at least the former part, that is…


"I don't get it, sire. Why go after Whispy Woods?"

Escargon asked the most ridiculous questions at times. At least, that was what Bandana Dee thought. But then again, this also was a ridiculous turn of events. From moping about Dyna Blade to eavesdropping on not-Great King again in the span of five minutes. If he hadn't spotted Escargon walking down the corridor in a fluster, he supposed that he and Kirby would still be lamenting about Dyna Blade elsewhere in the castle.

"Hmph! His stupidly large forest is messing with the reception for Channel DDD!" Dedede folded his arms. "And when I tried to cut his forest down, that tree ran me out. Grrrrr! That gnarly Whispy's gotta go!"

"Hm… you were right about Dedede being a fake king. Of course, I knew that already after the Meta Knight duel, but just needed more reassurance, heh."

"Meta Knight duel?"

Kirby looked at a shuddering Bandana Dee with a raised eyebrow. "Hm, I suppose you weren't there when that went down. But yeah, that totally happened by the way." His words were dismissive, with Kirby literally hand-waving the matter away with both his words and an arm.

Besides, now was not the time to be distracted. Currently, the two of them were huddled together, peering from outside the double-doors of the throne room to spy on Dedede, or as Bandana put it — not-Great King.

"Those two will pay for interfering with the great King Dedede! Now, I'm gonna get rid of both Dyna Blade and Whispy Woods in one fell swoop! It'll be like killing two birds with one stone."

"You mean 'a bird and a tree' with a stone, your majesty."

Dedede scowled at Escargon, brandishing his hammer at the snail. "No one asked you, ya smart alec!" Although the correction was somewhat correct, he was still angry that Escargon had to explicitly point it out.

"Well then, no need to fight now, Triple-D," Customer Service interrupted their feud with his serenading voice.

"Who's that guy?" Kirby questioned with a questioning look.

"I don't know." Bandana gazed up as he tried to jog his memory for anyone who looked like that, only for his mind to turn up a blank.

"Well, Bandana. I have just one comment. His glasses are so old-fashioned."

It was rather unfortunate that Customer Service was unaware of Kirby's thoughts on his fashion sense as the puffball's voice was not audible inside the throne room. "Since you're aiming down two targets instead of one, how about a delightful two-in-one special deal that I've got just for you?" he offered to Dedede.

Dedede shot his usual are-you-trying-to-scam-me face at the screen. "Special deal?" he repeated in an unconvinced voice, one that was earned with ire after he'd had repeated dealings with the salesman and his company.

"That's absolutely right, my good king." He snapped his fingers. "Right now, we have a limited time offer for your consistent loyalty to Holy Nightmare Corporation!"

"Wait a minute here…" Kirby's voice dropped an octave as he eavesdropped on the conversation. He leaned down and whispered to his right, "Did that guy just say Holy Nightmare Corporation?"

Bandana gave a shaky nod, the Waddle Dee echoing Kirby's sentiment on the issue. "Isn't that the guy from the whole Fountain of Dreams incident that happened almost nine years ago? Nightmare's the monster that you and Great King collectively fought together, wasn't he?"

"Excuse me, Bandana? Collectively fought together?" Kirby's face fell as he let out an irritated grumble at Bandana's words. "To set the record straight, the 'help' that Dedede provided was inhaling me without any prior warning and proceeding to launch me out into outer space. He could have at least warned me before pulling a stunt like that! Geez!" Finishing his complaint, Kirby then focused his attention back on the seated Dedede. "But still, this is certainly bad. Very bad, in fact."

"Why?" The question was rhetorical and Bandana knew it, but he still asked it anyway so that he could seek Kirby's opinion.

"Isn't it obvious?" Kirby stood on tiptoes as he lowered his voice, "I must unfortunately concur that you are right. This company does indeed share the same name, which I admit does gives me a sense of foreboding. A name like Nightmare isn't one that some random guy will use lightly, so I definitely don't like the fact that this company has the exact same name as an old foe…"

"But there's no need to worry! You've already gotten rid of Nightmare by using the Star Rod!" Bandana declared as he pumped a fist into the air. "Everyone in our Dream Land knows that Nightmare is dead!"

"Ah, but you see it now, don't you? While it's true that Nightmare is dead, you've witnessed firsthand how this place has counterparts, right Bandana?" Kirby's face turned sour as he sagely pointed out the obvious. "So while our Nightmare is certainly very dead, along with um, well… half of the moon…" he sniggered as he recalled that, before coughing and getting back on track. "As I was saying, while our Nightmare is gone, there is a chance that this universe and second Planet Popstar also has another alternate version of Nightmare haunting them!" Kirby announced with a grim expression.

A spear almost clattered to the floor, only managing to not clack on the ground thanks to Bandana managing to catch his own weapon before it fully fell from his grip. "Another Nightmare out there? I dunno…" He looked to the ground, deep in thought. "That's a little far-fetched, don't you think?"

"And finding another Popstar with another Kirby isn't?" Kirby deadpanned, rolling his eyes. "Regardless, I am not a fan of creepy coincidences, and this is shaping up to be quite the big one. Plus, there's the fact that we're not dealing with a single lone individual, but rather with a company…" Before Bandana could ask him what he meant by that sentence, Kirby hastily appended an addendum. "Haltmann Works had taught me a valuable lesson. Sinister secretaries who represent a corporation are bad news indeed."

"Yeah, I don't like this either…" Bandana nervously twitched as he saw not-Great King glaring at the screen. The king had a nasty scowl on his face and promptly scoffed, unconvinced by Customer Service's smooth offer.

"Loyalty offer? What a load of crap! Just what kinda special deal have you got!?" Dedede placed his hand on the armrest, his finger playing around with the controls on his chair as he implicitly threatened to cut the call like with the Octacon incident. "I've heard enough sweet talk from your stinkin' mouth for an entire week! Just cut to the chase already! What'cha got for me to pummel an annoying bird!?"

Customer Service raised his arms in surrender, although his facial expression didn't change, making one who paid attention note that the salesman appeared to be completely unfazed by his customer's feistiness. "I'm glad you asked, king! Your enthusiasm certainly is contagious. Since your enemy this time is a master of the winds, allow me to promote a demon beast who can blast any aerial bird with its natural weakness — thousands of volts of electricity!"

"Electricity, huh?" Dedede beckoned Escargon forward and whispered something into his ear that was inaudible to Kirby and Bandana from their vantage point.

"That's correct, King-D! Meet our special lightning monster! He's known around these parts as the dreaded Lightning Demon Beast! A terrifying truly monster who electrifies everything wherever he goes, his power so massive that he ionizes the very air within ten feet of his vicinity!"

"Heh! Now that sounds like something I'd like in my possession!" Dedede smirked as he propped his feet up into the air. "What's this guy's name?"

"Ohohoho! I'm glad you asked! This fearsome being goes by the name of…" There was a distinct pause before Customer Service announced the monster's identity with a glint from his glasses, much to the shock of the two outside the room.

"…Kracko."


Fumu had to say that she couldn't blame Commander Webby for fleeing from Dyna Blade twice. She truly was a fearsome beast, even moreso up close.

"S-S-Sis…" Bun trembled as he averted his eyes away from the large bird. Fumu glanced to the side and subtly held her hand out to signal him to be quiet so as to reduce the chances of provoking the beast that was in front of them.

Still, it didn't help much. She could hear Bun's teeth chattering, and to be honest she wasn't faring that much better herself. Her brother looked to be absolutely terrified for once, and Fumu couldn't blame him. Dyna Blade looked positively furious.

It was at this very moment that Fumu remembered a statement that she had read before in a biology book. Rather fittingly, it was about the term "pecking order".

"A hen often asserts dominance on its competitors in its herd by pecking them. Those who are lower on the scale know when to submit to a higher-ranked member in a group and allow themselves to be pecked. That is how a social hierarchy is born among hens — a pecking order, so to speak."

Well, that was the perfect statement to adequately describe their current situation. Dyna Blade currently towered over the group as she stood less than a few meters away from them, her sharp wings glistening in the sun as she stared at the trio by her nest. Fumu definitely knew that none of them—except maybe Kirby—were any match for Dyna Blade, and by the bird's sharp glare, she certainly knew that too.

They could feel Dyna Blade's piercing gaze on them. The bird studied the three specimens by her nest, before letting out a piercing shriek at who she perceived to be intruders in her nest.

"Kragghhhhhhh!"

While Fumu and Bun fell on their rumps from the menacing snarl that Dyna Blade emitted from her beak, Kirby had a rather different reaction. He froze, rooted to the spot as he heard a discombobulated voice echoing about in his head.

"Who are you, Star Warrior?"

Wh-what? Who's there? Am I hearing things? Kirby thought as he clutched his forehead.

Seeing the puffball ahead of her in a daze, Dyna Blade reached her right foot out and took a step forward, the claws in her talons crushing the rock beneath her as she let out another screech.

"I asked you a question. Please do respond." A clack could be heard due to an impatient tap of Dyna Blade's talons against the ground as the bird grumpily cocked her head before posing the question to Kirby again. "What is your name?"

This time, as Dyna Blade repeated her query, Kirby knew that he wasn't hallucinating. For some inexplicable reason, he was actually able to hear the translation of Dyna Blade's cry in his head! Her voice was slow and deliberate, yet undeniably female as well.

"Poyo!" he replied out loud while simultaneously thinking the translation of his answer inside his head. My name's Kirby!

"Kirby?"

To Kirby's huge shock, it appeared that Dyna Blade had managed to extrapolate the name from his thoughts, almost like the bird was a medium who was able to read minds. "So that is your name. How very interesting indeed…"

"I don't have a good feeling about this…" Bun whispered to Fumu when he saw Kirby and Dyna Blade calmly exchanging poyos and screeches. "This doesn't seem like random timing to me. Kirby is speaking when Dyna Blade isn't, and vice versa! It's too coincidental for the timings of the two to alternate between each other if they were just random calls."

As Dyna Blade leaned forward and screeched at Kirby again, Bun pointed at the bird while stating his hypothesis. "I think they're somehow talking to each other! Don't you think this looks like a two-way conversation, sis?"

Despite how ridiculous it sounded, Fumu had to agree as she glanced at the two. Unless you were witnessing the sight firsthand, Bun's theory seemed to be completely absurd. But as she saw the two visibly react to each other's garbled noises, she realized that Bun had to be correct.

They were indeed talking to one another!

But her newfound knowledge of that mind-blowing fact ironically ended up creating more questions than answers.

Her view of the situation completely changed from that observation. When Curio had talked about the legendary bird, he had made it sound as though Dyna Blade was a phenomenon — a wild creature, so to speak. But what she could clearly see in front of her eyes disproved that theory, one-hundred percent. Now, Dyna Blade instead began to look more like a smart and sentient bird, a far cry from the description of the hostile force that Curio had painted…

…which was arguably much more dangerous for them in the long run. Dyna Blade being able to communicate, even though it was with Kirby instead of using the Cappy language, meant that the giant avian was intelligent and thus posed a much larger threat compared to if it were simply a feral beast with a primitive thought process like Dedede's monsters.

The second problem was that this development led to an even more puzzling question — how was Kirby even able to communicate with a creature like Dyna Blade in the first place? It seemed like an ability that came completely out of left field, considering Kirby's origin as being from outer space.

"You're… right, Bun. It looks like Kirby is somehow able to communicate with Dyna Blade in his own language!" Fumu nervously took a step back as she observed Dyna Blade's tensed-up stance. "And I don't like that we can't understand a word that they're saying!"

"Me neither, sis. I really don't want to know what they are talking about."

Dyna Blade looked down when she saw the pipsqueaks in front of her talking. Although they couldn't understand her, she could understand them. "That's enough banter, I say. No more beating around the bush." Her voice turned fierce as she turned her head up high. "Why did you take my child, young one? Who was the one that put you up to this terrible act?"

Dead silence. Once again, like with Webby, Kirby had no answer. He knew that this pertained to Dedede's faked tape, but it was supposed to be just that, right? A faked incident on the camera sets of Channel DDD.

So then, why did the real Dyna Blade had her kid stolen?

"Poyo!" he shouted back to Dyna Blade. I don't know!

"You don't know?" Dyna Blade shook her head at Kirby's non-committal response, raising her large wings threateningly and causing the two Cappies and one puffball at her front to flinch back. "Don't you lie to me!" she hissed, "I've only seen you and those two Cappies here at my nest! Who else could have taken her!?"

Another response. "Poyo!" It's really not me! You have to believe me!

"Still playing dumb? Peh, I should have known. It is just like what Nightmare swore all those millennia ago, during the climax of the great war. I still remember his words to this very day…" Dyna Blade shook her head before raising her beak to the sky and letting out a haunting shriek that reverberated across the mountain range, one that could be heard from miles around as she quoted those words.

"Every last Star Warrior is destined to be a fallen star… a mere shadow of their former heroic selves…"

What the heck is going on!?

That was the thought that flashed through Kirby's mind as Dyna Blade lamented her thoughts through her screech, clearly reminiscing about something that appeared to be quite important, even if the exact specifics of the situation eluded him for now.

Still, he knew that it was important. After all, Dyna Blade had literally name dropped the term "Star Warriors" like a plane dropping a volley of bombshells! Star Warriors! That was what he was supposed to be, right? A Star Warrior. Fumu had said that to him quite a fair bit, even emphasizing the term when he had first awoken from his slumber!

So then, it begged the question — how did Dyna Blade know at a single glance that he was a Star Warrior? Well, Wing Kirby didn't know, wasn't sure, and uncertain of whether he wanted to find out.

Dyna Blade flared up, extending its wings outwards to show their wingspan in a full impressive display as she snarled at the trio below her with a face that screamed at them just how foolish they were in standing against her. It was clear from her body language that she considered dealing with them to be a trifling matter for her, a minor obstacle at best.

It was certainly an intimidating display. Just the sheer difference in size between him and his soon-to-be opponent made it clear just how clearly outmatched he and his companions were against the metal-coated avian — the pure destructive force of nature that was Dyna Blade.

Nevertheless, he wasn't going to give in.

"Poyo, poyyyoo!" Kirby's voice was filled with vigor as he jumped up and used his wings to soar upwards to the skies. Even though only Dyna Blade was able to understand the full translation of his cry, the implied meaning was obvious enough to Fumu and Bun in spite of the language barrier.

I'm ready for you, Dyna Blade! Come and get me if you can!

Wing Kirby grimaced as he flew, the puffball taking in deep breaths to fight down the feeling of trepidation he felt in his belly as he determinedly prepared to face an enemy more than thirty times his size. Sure, the giant octopus under King Dedede's command technically beat out Dyna Blade by being the first giant beast that he had to face, but the silver-tinted bird appeared to be a much more personal and dangerous foe to face down — seemingly having some role in his past, much like Webby before her.

Dyna Blade angrily narrowed her eyes as she saw her tiny opponent's defiant response. They simply stared at each other for a tense few seconds, from one winged creature to another. However, that moment of peace was not to last. A haunting screech from Dyna Blade then cut through the air, her cry so sharp that it felt like a sword that pierced through the molecules in the surrounding mountain air themselves.

"So you accept my challenge? Hmph! To be fair, I'm not too surprised that someone like you would dare to take me on. It seems to me that history will soon be repeating itself once again. But alas! What can a mere bird like me do? I can't change the choices that the Galaxy Soldier Army made all those years ago…"

The more Dyna Blade droned on, the more befuddled the puffball found himself. Evidently there was some story behind this… which would be useful to him if he had even the slightest inkling as to what the behemoth was blabbering about.

"But since you won't back down, I have no choice but to follow through with my threat." Dyna Blade retorted inside of Kirby's mind as the giant bird stared down at her flying foe, beating her steel wings in a heavy, deliberate manner to generate more lift. "Allow me to be the one who humbles your arrogance. Let us fight this battle to the end, Kirby!"

As she finished, Dyna Blade held her wings horizontally straight, falling from where she was hovering in the skies and rapidly dived down with a swoop, aiming her sharp talons at Wing Kirby as she howled out her brutal intent at the aerial Star Warrior in one terrifying screech that besmirched the skies.

Even Wing Kirby had to admit that he felt cold beads of sweat forming on his forehead in spite of the cooling mountain air that was all around him when his mind managed to telepathically translate the words behind Dyna Blade's angered cry. While Fumu and Bun were only able to make out a simple "Kehhhh!", Kirby was able to hear every last piercing word behind her sinister screech.

"This is for my hatchling! You will pay the ultimate price for your betrayal, treasonous little Star Warrior! I, Dyna Blade, swear that I will slice you in half… right where you stand!"


Author's Note:

Surprise! Did you really think that Dyna Blade would be a straightforward fight? Well, if you've managed to read this far and still haven't figured out my writing style by this point, then this is where I tell you that you'd be dead wrong.

Confused by the conclusion? Well, you probably should be, especially since the cryptic words that Dyna Blade says to animeverse Kirby seemingly contradicts the timeline that I'd just established three chapters ago… but there is a reason for that. Besides, Dyna Blade's a severely underrated and underutilized boss in Kirby Super Star, so in this fic I'm going to be giving her the tender love that she deserves.

We've also hit a double-digit number of chapters, so here's a pretty big whammy of a chapter. There's a whole load of stuff here in this chapter that advances the plot, so I hope you enjoy it!

Before anyone asks, Adeleine and Ribbon are gameverse. I mean, it's blatantly obvious, but still. As I've said, Dream Friends from Wave 2 onwards didn't participate in the Star Allies main campaign in this fic. Regardless, I don't think I'd be writing animeverse versions of gameverse characters if they don't actually exist in the show, else I'd go insane.

So, yep… after ten chapters we finally have a name! Carby is the name that I've decided to give to anime!Kirby so as to make differentiating between the two Kirbies easier in-narrative. Although I gave a different reason for game!Kirby naming his counterpart that in the story, the real reason I gave this name to anime!Kirby is because Kirby's name is pronounced Kaa-bii in Japanese. Also, not to spoil anything, but while gameverse!Kirby will refer to his alternate counterpart by this name, it doesn't mean that everyone will…

Thank you all for the support you've rendered in the last chapter, especially on FFN when the site broke a couple hours before I updated which caused the story to not bump up to the front page for about twenty hours or so. I appreciate all your reviews and love hearing your thoughts on how the story is progressing! After all, I'm pretty much in it for the long haul!

Chapter Text

A/N: Words in bold represents telepathic speech.


Chapter 11: One's Mission at Hand

My Adventure Log, Entry #5: Crackly Kracko

Every passing day I don't like this King Dedede—or as Bandana calls him, not-Great King or Fake King (I like the latter more, while Dee prefers the former)—more and more. He really is a terrible person. He really is. :(

And guess what? Even though I thought I had it all figured out, this world continues to bring out more and more surprises. First of all, me and Bandana manage to find out that Dedede is getting his so-called demon beasts from a Nightmare-esque company. Seriously, just what is up with that? The coincidences are creeping me out!

But secondly, they just offered Kracko. I repeat — this is not a drill… they'd literally straight up just offered Kracko to Dedede. Um, please excuse me while I gasp in abject horror yet again.

This isn't good. This is so not good. As Drebly, that Driblee Helper Friend, would say: "Nope, nope, nope!"

Preparing Ultra-Heavy Electric Insulation,
Kirby

Closing his adventure log, Kirby proceeded to share a tense glance with Bandana Dee, one which instantly showed both of their apprehensiveness at the current swerving turn of events. The silence persisted for a short moment before they concurrently hissed a single panicked word at the other in unison.

"Kracko!?"

They both had the exact same reaction as their eardrums perceived the name of a very familiar cloud-based foe… which to be fair, wasn't really that much of a surprise now that they actually put some thought into it. Asking for something that spat out electricity and expecting only a mere Plugg like Watt was pretty much tempting fate. And in such occasions, fate always liked to play the evil mistress, laughing in a clichéd manner as she strutted down the catwalk.

"These guys have Kracko on their side? Okay, this is fast approaching the likes of a disastrous train wreck which I'd rather much prefer to avert. But as a consolation, it looks like we've managed to nail down our supplier for these so-called demon beasts… not that I'm surprised." Kirby shook his head as he saw King Dedede lean forward to the partially obscured screen, an interested look on the ruler's face. "Also, Kracko's much worse than Bugzzy, I gotta say," he eventually added.

"Kracko?" Dedede repeated, unaware that two intruders outside his room had already uttered the same name in disdain earlier. Amusingly, he had to roll his tongue and mouth the word a few times to get used to the unusual pronunciation of the demon beast. "That name sure dang sound crackly to me!"

"Crackly? More like electrifying, your highness!" Customer Service leaned closer, resulting in his smarmy face filling up the large screen. "Kracko is a special electric demon beast, so unique that we at Holy Nightmare Corporation guarantee that he's one-of-a-kind! He's so powerful that he can only be shipped by air, lest an accidental discharge of electricity completely destroys the entire demon beast delivery system. We don't provide a warranty for that piece of equipment!"

Those encouraging words were all the reassurance that Dedede needed to make his choice. With him more confident than ever before about the demon beast Kracko, his greed and anger naturally won over rational skepticism, hence tipping the scales in the Holy Nightmare salesman's favor.

"Yer got yourself a deal! I'll take 'im! Send this Kracko to me right away!"

"You got it, king!" His smile then went unnaturally wide as he flashed his teeth. "But before I proceed on, that'll first be eight million deden that you need to fork out!"

"Wh-What in tarnation? Eight… eight million!?" Dedede yelled, getting to his feet the very instant his ears caught wind of the price tag that was attached to Kracko. It was only now, upon witnessing the crafty smirk on the salesman's face, that he realized that he might have been a little too hasty in committing to his purchase without knowing about the actual investment that would end up flowing out of his own pockets.

Customer Service leaned back against the company backdrop behind him and chuckled with a sinister laugh when he saw King Dedede's reaction to his quotation price. It was blatantly clear to everyone in the throne room from that triumphant laugh alone that he had conducted the sale pitch like a true businessman — effortlessly bragging and singing praises about the demon beast's features to such an incredible extent that neither Dedede nor his more observant right-hand Escargon had even thought about the costs that would be involved until the very end, allowing him to charge a hefty sum once Dedede had committed to the purchase.

And Dedede was aware that the crafty salesman knew just that. Flashing a snarl at the salesman's smug face, the king relented just this once and admitted defeat. "F-Fine! You've got yourself a deal, Customer Service. But this time, I want them all eliminated, ya got that!?" Realizing far too late that he'd been suckered into yet another purchase, Dedede recklessly shook those thoughts from his brain, the king telling himself that this time it would be worth the return on investment.

"Sure thing, King Dedede! I assure you that you won't be disappointed. Ohohohoho!"

Dedede slammed a clenched fist down onto his chair's armrest, growling at the constant reassurance of the salesman. "Shut your trap and just send this Kracko to me already! I want to see that mere paltry obstacle that is Dyna Blade completely annihilated!"

"Mere paltry obstacle?" Kirby almost snorted. "Hah! As if! Sending someone like Kracko is overkill for something like this! He's usually one of the tougher foes that I have to face off with on a regular basis!" he said as Bandana nodded along, "And this Dedede is using him for a cleanup mission? Of all things? Man, his priorities are skewed. Oh, so very skewed."

"You got it, king." Customer Service smirked. "One extra-special Kracko meal, coming right up!"

"And once Dyna Blade's gone, that good-for-nothing Whispy Woods will be next." Dedede's face then darkened before he let out a cruel laugh. "And after they're both charred toast, that annoying Star Warrior… that pesky little Kirby, will be saved for last — the final icing on the zapified cake! Heh heh heh!"

This sentence from Dedede was surprisingly met with slightly more approval from Kirby, although not for the reason Bandana had expected. "Hm, so Dedede's trying to go for an elemental advantage against Dyna Blade? Can't really say I blame 'im there… I mean, I did use Plasma Ability to cheese my brawl with her back in the day. Go, electricity!"

Bandana took this opportunity to raise an arm. "Um, Kirby. Are you actually taking not-Great King's side here?" he muttered with a frown, one laced with disappointment and betrayal.

Kirby shook his head with a flicker of a smile at Bandana's reaction. "Nah. Of course not. I never could, Bandana… he's still a royal jerk," he reassured with a small chuckle. "It's just that, for the briefest of moments, the two of us happened to think completely alike. Fake Dedede and I had a little connection there." He let out a small laugh at his own observation. "It's humorous, because I should reiterate something that you've probably already pieced together about this world's King Dedede. He's quite the insufferable brat as compared to our own friendly Dedede. For me to even find some semblance of similarity between him and I is honestly a miracle."

"I agree with you! By golly, the two of them are as different as night and day!" said Bandana, as he slammed the bottom of his spear on the ground to concur with Kirby.

"Wait just one moment!" A skeptical Escargon remained steadfast, viciously challenging the confident salesman. "Do ya think we're both idiots!?"

"Actually… yes, I do." Kirby had a boyish smirk on his face as he muttered that inaudible reply.

Unable to hear the giggles from Bandana at Kirby's blunt answer, Escargon continued his sarcastic spiel. "And just how are ya gonna deliver this so-called upsized Kracko to us, huh? You say you're gonna give it to us via air?" he shot at the smarmy salesman without mercy.

"That we do." Customer Service's lips tugged upwards as he acceded to Escargon's sarcastic request, the tiniest smirk crawling on his face before he calmly made a vow to Dedede's irate assistant. "We guarantee Kracko's arrival before dusk falls on Cappy Town."

Dedede skeptically raised an eyebrow. "Before dusk falls?"

"Hah! Do ya guys think you're some sort of a pizza delivery service?" Escargon's facial expressions proceeded to turn cartoony and exaggerated as the snail put on a convincing middle-aged male accent. "Good afternoon, sir. I would like one Kracko Supreme. With added cheese and pepperonis! Give it to me in an hour or you better give me half my money back… phuew!" he spat on the ground, disgusted by his own words and subsequent performance act.

"Well, I certainly hope that your Great King has more faith in us compared to a mere pizza delivery service!"

Dedede folded his arms, glaring daggers at Customer Service. "Only barely," he spat, "Don't try to push your luck, buster."

A glint from the orange glasses of the salesman, however, unnerved Escargon when he realized that Customer Service had a coherent response to shoot back. "Associations with pizza deliveries aside… we hope you understand that we provide reliable services. Trust me, we have our methods," the salesman muttered in a cryptic manner, "We can travel to almost every part of the entire universe. Kracko will be in Dream Land, at this Dyna Blade's nest, in a couple of minutes at most."

When he saw that his bragging was met with no fanfare, he decided to cut things short. "And with that, I believe that my job here is done. Toodles, sire!" The screen then went black, cut off from the other end.

"Don't you 'toodles' me!" Escargon folded his arms as he turned away with a huff, the snail so angry that he didn't realize that the farewell was intended for Dedede. "Your majesty! Surely you don't buy his sweet nothings!? He didn't even deliver this Kracko via the Demon Beast Delivery system! I'm telling ya, it's one big phony scam!" he grumbled.

"Relax, Escargon!" Dedede had a brutal smirk on his face as he stood up. "I don't think that they're lying. They've got a vested interest in keeping me a loyal customer…"

"Sire! You don't really believe that he'd actually deliver this ultra-powerful Kracko, do ya?"

Kirby ignored the snail's minor concerns as Dedede and his assistant began to argue over the legitimacy of the deal. He had more to worry about on his mind than whether Dedede had been scammed or not. "Let's move, Bandana!" he hissed in a hushed whisper.

"Where to, Kirby?" Bandana asked as he dragged his feet along the corridor.

There was no surprise as to Kirby's response. "Dyna Blade's nest. I want to see this for myself." Kirby finished his declaration just as a Waddle Dee carrying a spear rounded the corner, causing the Waddle Dee and Kirby to stare at each other curiously.

At least, that was before a brutal grin crept up onto Kirby's face. The hapless Waddle Dee didn't stand the slightest ghost of a chance, screaming for only a brief instant before he disappeared into Kirby's mouth.

Kirby then forced it down his throat, feeling small yellow stars swirl around his body as he absorbed the Waddle Dee's weapon, quickly gaining the power of the weapon to copy its ability and become…

"Spear Kirby, alrighty!" Kirby cheered as he held out the spear with a threatening stance. "Now that I have the Spear Ability, sneaking around the villagers in the town should be a cakewalk!" he proclaimed to Bandana, using his hands to spin the spear around and around until it rotated at such a speed that it became a blur.

"Helicopter Spear!" Spear Kirby announced as he propelled himself off the ground. "C'mon, Bandana!" he beckoned with a nod of his head.

While he would normally signal by using his hands, doing so now, while performing the Helicopter Spear maneuver, would be incredibly stupid — since the spear he was currently spinning as a rotor blade using both hands would spiral out of control if he reduced the number of hands turning the handle by one. At best he would quickly recover and get off with a minor scare. At worst he would careen face-first into the ground and kissed the earth with his teeth, something that Kirby decided he would not like to experience.

Hearing the trademark sound of spinning rotors that signified that Bandana was hovering behind him, the flying Spear Kirby promptly made his way to his destination—Dyna Blade's nest—in the same way that the demon beast Kracko was slated to arrive.

Stealthily through the air.


Swoooshhh!

As Dyna Blade swept across the skies, the very air itself felt as though it was being torn asunder.

"Poyo!"

Flurried feathers scattered about as Kirby nimbly dodged to the side, lowering one wing to yaw leftwards as Dyna Blade zoomed past him, missing him by about five meters. Undoubtedly, if he hadn't managed to successfully maneuver out of the way, things would have gotten terribly painful.

Kirby winced as he witnessed Dyna Blade's claws unintentionally clip the edge of the mountain cliff, causing small pieces of rock to shear off the side.

Yep, it would definitely have been very painful indeed. Kirby had to forced himself to stay determined and motivated, the puffball teetering on the edge of simply choosing to flee. This battle was clearly one-sided, after all — Dyna Blade dwarfed him, the legendary phoenix-like bird being at least twenty times his size.

Despite contemplating about a strategy for a while, he could see no way to offensively deal damage to her. All he could do for now was defend against Dyna Blade, stalling for time while he waited for an opportunity to strike.

"So you were able to dodge that attack?" Dyna Blade mused with a contemplative expression on her metal-plated face as she made a large circular turn around to face back in Kirby's direction. "Not bad, I must say. It would appear that I've been misled. I had assumed that you were a novice when it came to the skies. Evidently that is not the case at all."

Kirby chuckled at her remark. To be fair, his enemies—and even he himself—tended to forget that he could puff up and float on occasion, so it wasn't so outlandish that Dyna Blade would make the same incorrect assumption as well, even more so considering that she hadn't even seen him using his floating maneuver before.

"But I won't make that same mistake twice!"

Dyna Blade then fell slightly and committed herself to another swoop, screeching as she aimed her talons at Wing Kirby's face. Needless to say, Kirby hurriedly dodged, rather much preferring not to have his eyes gouged out by those sharp claws at the ends of the bird's wickedly sharp talons.

"Kirby!" Wing Kirby's eyes fluttered down when he heard the shrill, distinctive voice of Fumu crying out from down on the mountain cliffs below. "Please watch out! Dyna Blade's coming back! Don't let her get you!"

He definitely didn't need to be told that twice. Maintaining his flight altitude, he slowly gazed at Dyna Blade as she slowly turned around, keeping a sharp eye out for any sudden movement that signified another imminent attack from Dyna Blade.

"You better keep moving, Kirby. The moment you drop your guard, I'll make sure to tear you to little shreds!"

Or perhaps another angry shriek from Dyna Blade, with the translated words echoing in his mind would do the trick as well.

To say that Dyna Blade was unhappy was an understatement. Despite being quite a distance away, Wing Kirby could see that she was positively livid. Her erratic movements in the air were testament enough to her anger, but the rare moments where he managed to get a glimpse of Dyna Blade's face and her rage-imbued eyes were much more telling of her true rage.

All things considered, Dyna Blade was still considered relatively calm considering that she thought that he'd made off with her chick… if the definition of 'calm' meant that the giant bird was flying around the whole length of the entire mountain range in a murderous rage. Certainly, it varied wildly from the dictionary definition of the word.

His eyes managed to catch Dyna Blade extending her wings to their full extent, using a warm updraft to soar up using the extra lift generated on the additional surface area. It quickly became apparent from her rapid ascent that she was going to swoop in from above this time.

Wing Kirby couldn't help but feel very concerned by this development. Dyna Blade had adapted very quickly to the situation. The moment she saw that she couldn't strike him on level altitude, she immediately made the choice to go higher without any hesitation. Kirby glanced up to see the gray clouds from above starting to obscure Dyna Blade partially, making it exponentially harder to maintain visibility with his target.

He calmly breathed in, taking in a deep breath of the cool mountain air around him. No point in panicking now, Kirby told himself as his eyes hovered up to the dense cloud cover above where he was currently flying. Dyna Blade's made her move, so now I've got to come up with a counter-strategy if I don't want to have my face clawed out!

Wait! A brainwave struck Wing Kirby as his eyes gazed upwards. If I can't see her… maybe I can hear her!

"Kirby! Dyna Blade's out of sight! You need to keep a sharp lookout for her! She'll be coming at you from above! Don't let her catch you off guard!" Fumu yelled from below. Her voice would have been almost inaudible if Wing Kirby hadn't been focusing on auditory cues from Dyna Blade.

You think I can't see that!? Kirby grumbled inwardly as his eyes glazed downwards. Calm down, Fumu! I've got this, girl! All I've gotta do is to simply listen intently to Dyna Blade so that I can tell where she is behind those clouds! She always screeches before an oncoming attack! That cue is her weak point, and you can bet that I'm going to abuse it so that I don't say hello to Mrs. Claws!

For a few agonizingly slow seconds, Kirby waited and waited for the slightest hint that Dyna Blade was preparing to strike at him. After a few more silent seconds, his opponent did indeed let out a menacing screech.

"My colorful wings, going through the full spectrum of the rainbow, rather much like the paint on an artist's palette, will be the last thing that you'll be able to witness before it all goes black for you!"


"Achooooo!" Adeleine sniffed, rubbing her sore nose after yet another huge sneeze. "D'oh…" she grumbled at her unsavory handiwork, "Not again…"

"Ah, face it!" Ribbon flew around the artist's head in a spiral-like manner. "You're catching a cold, Adeleine!"

Adeleine folded her arms. "Not true!" she denied. "It's just the climate. I'm just under the weather at the moment. I swear, Ribbon!"

"We'll see, Addie…" Ribbon's vindictive singsong-like voice simply caused Adeleine to let out a groan. "We'll see…"

Adeleine simply cupped her hands over her ears as an automatic response. "Lalalalala~" she sang while squeezing her eyes tightly shut, "I'm not listening!"

Ribbon simply giggled at Adeleine's stubborn antics. She knew that the artist would eventually concede sooner or later.

After all, that was what friends were for.


Her elusive position given away by the direction of her cry, Wing Kirby made ample preparations for an evasive maneuver from an aerial Dyna Blade swoop based on a rough estimate of where she'd appeared to be.

A brief glint of sunlight reflecting off a flash of metallic rainbow was the visual cue that Kirby solely needed. He quickly flapped his wings to gain height as cold steel fell from the sky.

And not a second too soon. The giant beast whooshed past him, her flight path flying past where he had literally been three seconds ago. That was all the confirmation Kirby needed for his hypothesis.

She was able to see him.

While he couldn't see Dyna Blade in the clouds, she on the other hand was able to get good visibility from above, and could thus register the puffball's whereabouts despite maintaining her own cover, giving the large bird a solid advantage.

Now well aware that she had an edge at higher altitudes, Dyna Blade rapidly gained height and disappeared above the gray clouds once again.

"Geez!" Bun complained as Dyna Blade vanished from sight. "Dyna Blade's a coward!"

"That's the point, Bun!" Fumu replied as she gave her brother a good thwap on the head. "She doesn't want to be spotted!"

"Yow!" He rubbed his head at his sister's hit. "I mean, I know that, but she keeps on hiding! I get that this whole thing is bad for us, but still, where's the action? I at least want to see Kirby pull more evasive maneuvers, but that isn't going to happen if Dyna Blade's practically invisible."

Fumu's green eyes pierced right through her brother as she hollered back at his insensitive comments. "It'll still happen because Kirby has to dodge her, you dinkus!"

Wing Kirby starchily ignored the intense squabbling between the two Cappy siblings, instead focusing all his mental energy into scrutinously listening out for Dyna Blade with his ears.

This was unlike any battle that Kirby had previously fought before. Aerial battles weren't something new to Kirby. He had previously been on the Warp Star and used it as a decisive key in his fight with the octopus monster, and now he had the Wing Ability to command the air. However, he had never faced against an opponent who could do the same as well. Kirby was cautious and liked being able to retreat, but Dyna Blade being able to transverse across all three dimensions always kept him on his toes, never quite giving him a chance to rest and catch his bearings.

In short, Dyna Blade was going to slowly wear him down using attrition. The mental strength required to constantly listen out for an incoming Dyna Blade was immense. And then, when he eventually tired out and his reflexes weren't as sharp, the predatory bird would simply finish the job.

Whhoooosshhhhh!

Kirby widened his eyes when Dyna Blade silently dived down at him. As he saw her triumphant smirk, the Star Warrior realized that the bird had caught on to the method he'd previously used to get her position, and quickly adapted by no longer making her calls in advance.

"Oh no!" Fumu gasped in horror as Dyna Blade rapidly dove down at Kirby.

Bun nervously gazed up as well when he saw the tides beginning to turn in Dyna Blade's favor. "Watch out, Kirby! Above you!"

With much lesser time to react due to him losing precious seconds thanks to his panic, Kirby tried to dive to the side just like the last time. Only far too late did Wing Kirby realize that Dyna Blade wasn't actually aiming for his face or body this time.

"Poyyyooooo!"

A cry of pain was forced out of Kirby's lips as Dyna Blade managed to slice through a good portion of his left wing. With many torn white feathers shedding from his shredded wing, Wing Kirby began to veer left and right with every rhymetic flap, quickly realizing that he had lost effective aerial control and would henceforth be unable to maintain a stable flight path.

Dyna Blade knew that too.

No longer having the need to maintain cover using the clouds now that she'd managed to cripple her opponent, the metallic bird extended her wings to generate additional drag so as to aid her in making a hard U-turn maneuver, one which put her on a direct collision course with the Star Warrior as she exited her turn.

"Krragghhhhhhh!"Hmph! Good fight, but this is the end for you now, Kirby!" Her upper beak slowly rose in impudence as her eyes sternly glanced towards a flailing Kirby who looked to be in a heap of trouble. "Since you're a newcomer to the world of avians, I hope you allow me to share a personal tip, from one dweller of the skies to another…"

Wing Kirby shuddered at her words, getting a sinking feeling from her condescending tone. Whatever Dyna Blade wanted to say to him, he had a feeling that it wasn't really going to be an advantageous tip at all.

Sure enough, he was proven right when he saw Dyna Blade let out a vicious cackle, her laugh from the air echoing throughout the valley below. "Our wings are indispensable to us birds, these feathery limbs being our bread and butter! That is why a downed flyer…" she stopped her quote for a second, concluding her statement with a tone that meant brutal finality before surging forward, "…is a doomed flyer!"

Wing Kirby let out a wince, trying his best to avoid Dyna Blade by flapping his right arm as hard as he physically could. They both knew from her forward lunge and her words as to what her target was — his one remaining good wing.

But flapping as hard as you could without any chance to take any rest quickly took its toll. Wing Kirby began to visibly pant by the time Dyna Blade drew near. Fighting against every instinct telling him to rest his torn left wing and spiral down to the mountain below, he decided to play it risky, calmly taking in a deep breath and closing his eyes.

"Are you nuts!? Shutting your eyes with only one good wing and risk going into a death spiral and slamming painfully onto the ground below?" Kirby heard Dyna Blade utter in surprise. "Well, perhaps you've accepted your fate. Lamenting and regretting your folly? I won't fault your suicidal choice." She clucked her tongue, imperceptibly shaking her head. "In which case, I promise I'll make this as quick and painless as I can… for my child's sake!"

Excellent! Dyna Blade took the bait to charge at me! Now all I've got to do is wait…

In the icky blackness of his imagination, Wing Kirby was no longer in mid-air with a crazed avian headed right at him. Rather, in his mind he visualized an irate King Dedede charging at him with his jeep, an incident which had happened close to an entire week ago.

Well, that incident and its glorious aftermath was soon about to get an encore.

"My precious hatchling empowers me! Get ready for the end, Kirby!"

Without the use of his visual senses, his other senses were amplified. Wait for it, Kirby. Wait for it… now!

Like with Dedede's attempted run-over with the jeep, Kirby waited until the last microsecond before impact before making his move. He jerked open his eyes, seeing Dyna Blade so close to him that the bird filled up his whole vision. The steel of her wings was at such a close proximity that he could basically smell the metallic odor.

As Dyna Blade's blue eyes widened, Wing Kirby shot her a confident smirk, the puffball giving one good hard flap of his wings, using the last remaining reserves of his energy to propel himself up into the air.

Timing was everything.

Thanks to his injury, he could only pull this stunt at the exact right time since he couldn't attempt the stunt twice. Too early and he'd waft back down and get himself cleanly cut in two. Too late… and the exact same thing would happen.

The burst of second wind ended as quickly as it started, causing Kirby to freefall and let gravity decide things. As he'd predicted, Dyna Blade swooped past where he had been before he'd swooped up at the last second, leading him to end up landing on the top of Dyna Blade's orange beak.

"Get off of me!" Dyna Blade howled in anger as she stopped her swoop, vigorously shaking about. It was unsafe for her to continue to fly in any direction as Kirby's close proximity to the bird's eyes led to him obscuring a good portion of Dyna Blade's field of vision. "Let go of my beak, you little pest!"

Kirby ignored her protests, steadfastly holding onto Dyna Blade. He clutched both of his hands tightly on her beak as he rode on Dream Land's wildest amusement park ride — without the park and the ensuing amusement, of course.

The puffball knew that if he let go now, he would end up being flung far away due to the way the laws of physics, namely inertia, worked. He also knew that thanks to that, he did not want to experience the feeling of being flung far away firsthand. It would hurt. That much was obvious.

Unfortunately, Dyna Blade's beak was small and smooth, two factors which didn't allow for a firm grip. He felt his paws slipping, something Dyna Blade took notice of. With a firm jerk of her head, Kirby was sent flying upwards.

Unperturbed however, Wing Kirby immediately went straight into a Dive Bomb, slamming down on Dyna Blade's head with a downwards attack.

"Keeehhhhhhh!"

On the ground, Bun winced as he heard the metallic clang. "Man, that's gotta hurt!" Even Fumu had to nod at his observation.

The impact from the shock wave emitted as Wing Kirby landed on the top of Dyna Blade's head was brutal, causing her to repeatedly blink painful tears from her eyes. As Dyna Blade found herself disorientated, Kirby took the opportunity to firmly hold onto her orange mohawk, gripping onto her neat head feathers like his life depended on it.

Well, it sort of did.

Finally shaking the last remnants of her dizzy spell away, Dyna Blade glanced upwards to see that Kirby had made her head his new home. "Why, I oughta…" she snarled viciously.

Kirby stuck a tongue out at her in response. "Poyo!" he called out teasingly. Try and get me, Dyna Blade! If you can even reach me, that is! Tee hee!

He had virtually nothing to fear from her now. Although it initially seemed that no physical location on the whole of Dream Land would be safe from Dyna Blade's sharp wings and supersonic speeds, the safest location by far was ironically up close — the head of the beast itself. Dyna Blade's wings were so large that she couldn't reach the back of her head with them. He was practically impervious here.

If I can't beat Dyna Blade in terms of size, then I'll just have to use her own large size against her! That was what Wing Kirby declared inwardly to himself as he cheekily grinned, casually resting his feet on the metal surface beneath him as Dyna Blade let out an angered howl.

He'd basically found Dyna Blade's weak spot, much to the avian's displeasure.


"Sis…" Bun held Fumu's palm with one hand while pointing at the flailing Dyna Blade with the other. "Feel free to correct me because I'm not sure if my vision's playing tricks on me, but is Kirby actually… riding on Dyna Blade's head?"

Fumu pursed her lips, looking intently at the tiny Star Warrior clinging onto Dyna Blade's wild mohawk. "Yes… he is," she finally said, shaking her head in sheer disbelief at what her eyes were telling her.

Bun's face lit up like a Christmas Tree at her confirmation. "Yo, that's so unbelievably cool! Driving around a legendary bird like a personal plane? Vroom-vroom!" he imitated the sound of a racecar, not noticing his sister's growing displeasure. "Man, I'll give up my action figures to trade places with Kirby!"

"BUN!" A scowl appeared on Fumu's face as she unfurled her hands. Honestly, she couldn't believe her brother's insensitive remarks at times.

"Sorry, sis! But quit being so stressed out! Kirby'd gotten out of worse before. He'll be just fine!"

His reassuring words had little effect on her. "He'll be just fine!" was the obvious conclusion and best-case scenario. But there was always that self-doubt. That little incessant nagging voice of worry in her mind telling Fumu otherwise.

Never before had she felt so helpless. Fumu was a hardy individual, always willing to step in whenever she felt something wasn't right, a trait which had gotten her in hot water multiple times, especially with Dedede. But on this occasion, she could only be a mere bystander, completely powerless to change the outcome of the battle.

Oh, Kirby… I'm so very sorry that I can't help you with your battles… I'm so useless!

While she had felt this way before during the Meta Knight sword duel and the Webby showdown back in Whispy's Forest, the impotence of her ability to contribute struck her the most here. It wasn't as if she could sprout wings and fly, so she could do virtually nothing, which infuriated her.

"So it appears that Dyna Blade and Kirby are at it. Just like I had expected."

"Huh?" Fumu and Bun cocked their head at the new voice coming from behind them.

"This should be an interesting test for Kirby. Certainly quite the challenge to face for the Star Warrior. It certainly appears that Kirby is a shrewd one, using the back of Dyna Blade's head as—"

The masked newcomer didn't come anywhere close to finishing his analytical remark before Fumu spun on her heel, the Cappy girl whirling around at the familiar deep voice — one she recognized instantaneously. "Sir Meta Knight!" she exclaimed, interrupting him mid-speech.

"Ah, Fumu, Bun." He nodded to the two in acknowledgement. "How very coincidental that we would meet like this." As Meta Knight gave his reply, his yellow eyes remained solely focused on the mid-air battle that was going down above.

Which was the reason Fumu wasn't buying his bluff in the slightest. "Coincidental?" she retorted, her hands firmly by her hips. "I don't think that you being here at Dyna Blade's nest is just a coincidence, Meta Knight."

"Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. You'll just have to decide that for yourself, Fumu."

She shook off the cryptic, non-committed response. "Well, I happen to decide that you do have a deliberate reason for being here. You almost always find some way to make time for Kirby's battles."

"Of course." He shrugged at her astute observation. "I do indeed make time for Kirby's battles. Although I'd given Sword and Blade time off to watch Channel DDD, I myself simply had to see this in person. As a matter of fact, I'd only just arrived when I heard the faint echoes of Dyna Blade's shrieks from Castle Dedede. That was when I knew that their feud had started. A brutal clash of passion, one fought gracefully in the blue skies high up above…" he muttered poetically.

"But if you knew all this, then why didn't you stop my sis?" Bun shouted. "She was the one who'd dragged Kirby here in the first place! If she didn't do that, then all of this wouldn't have happened in the first place! So much for your plans of spectating then, huh?"

"Wrong."

The firm rebuttal of Bun's statement caused the two Cappies to look at the knight. "It would have happened regardless of whether you sought her out or not. I know Dyna Blade quite well, actually." Meta Knight admitted as he continued to look at the giant bird. "If she had managed to narrow the perpetrator down to Kirby, then she would literally turn the entirety of Cappy Town upside-down to find him. That is how determined Dyna Blade is when it comes to this."

"But Kirby's not the one who took Dyna Blade's child!" Fumu exclaimed, her eyes shifting to the empty nest. "Dedede set Kirby up!"

"Yeah, that's right! King Dedede faked everything!" Bun added, before his voice turned soft. "Even the epic mecha monster battles…" he sniffed.

"Everyone in Cappy Town saw the news on Channel DDD," Fumu explained to Meta Knight. "But what they don't know is that it's faked. We found a stage-set in the recording studio that proves that Dedede wanted to film a fake disaster."

"Careful with that accusation there, Fumu. That is not decisive evidence, it is only circumstantial. You have no definite proof that his majesty wanted to use it for nefarious purposes," Meta Knight advised, ever protecting his king when the time aroused. "Besides, what you'd said just now raises a contradictory point. If this video tape really is faked, then Dyna Blade has no reason to be antagonistic at all."

Bun's face fell. "Wait… Meta Knight's right! If Dedede faked the video tape, then how come Dyna Blade's attacking Kirby!?"

Meta Knight's voice turned grim. "The reason is simpler than you think. It doesn't matter if the tape was faked or not, because it would appear that her child really is gone."

Bun snapped his fingers. "So that's why she's after Kirby!"

Fumu nodded alongside her brother's words. "Even if the tape was faked, with her real child missing… she would go after who she had assumed the perpetrator is. In this case, Kirby!"

"Actually, there is a rather major problem with the statement that you've just made." Meta Knight pointed out as he let out an amused snort, quite a rarity for the perpetually serious swordsman. "First of all, the biggest problem with this hypothesis is obvious." He jerked his head up towards Dyna Blade. "The contradiction is blatantly in plain sight. I highly doubt that Dyna Blade has the ability to sit down in front of a television set and watch Dedede's claims live."

His blunt comment caused both Cappies to slap their foreheads at the huge misconception that they hadn't even realized they'd made up until this point.

"That's right, sis!" Bun groaned at his own stupidity. "I completely didn't realize that! We'd assumed that Dyna Blade knew about Kirby because she'd seen Channel DDD…"

"Yeah, like that'll ever happen." Fumu rolled her eyes as her mind brought forth a mental image that she'd rather forget. "So not only is all of Cappy Town hooked onto Channel DDD, an ancient legendary bird is also in on this television craze too. Sure…" she sarcastically muttered.

"But if that's the case, then I don't get it!" Bun pointed up at the rainbow-winged avian, shooting Meta Knight a question. "Why is Dyna Blade still attacking Kirby even though she never had the chance to watch the faked tape on the news?"

"The reason is clear as day. It means that Dyna Blade has sufficient merit to believe that Kirby was the one who took her child," Meta Knight responded to Bun. "Sure, she has come to an incorrect conclusion, but it is a valid assumption, and one which has led to the battle that you are witnessing now."

Observing both Kirby and Dyna Blade furiously shrieking at the other as the bird flapped her wings in one spot, he amended his statement since it appeared that the duo had temporarily put their fight on hold. "Or rather, the battle which you had been witnessing…"


A hateful glare decorated Dyna Blade's face.

"Get off me, you lowly worm!"

If only the person she was directing the scornful look to was actually able to see the bird's expression from his vantage point on the back of said bird's head.

"Poyo!" Hey! Don't compare me to a worm! Worms aren't all that tasty when it comes to food!

"Just what are you talking about? They totally are tasty! Delicious grubs, yum!" Dyna Blade purred as she thought about dinner, making a slurping noise with her tongue. "And on the subject of annoying worms, how about you cease your incessant tugging on my head feathers!?"

A determined shake of his head. "Poy-oooo!" Not happening! I for one happen to like feathers! They're soft and fluffy!

As Wing Kirby and Dyna Blade bantered back and forth, shooting stealth insults at the other, the Star Warrior slowly began to realize that he'd reached an impasse. Although he now had Dyna Blade exactly where he wanted her, he couldn't do a thing to her.

His basic attack, Feather Gun, was all but useless against Dyna Blade's tough exterior. Dive Bomb and Condor Dive, his two effective attacks, could be dodged by her now that she was privy to his tactics, which would cause him to lose his current advantage, a risk that Kirby was unwilling to take with a broken wing.

Similarly, as long as he remained on Dyna Blade's mohawk, she couldn't get him either. With Kirby unwilling to make the first move, they were basically stuck in a stalemate.

But all stalemates could either be played perpetually in the hopes that their opponent accidentally makes a mistake down the line, or in the case of one where neither party were willing to concede to a draw, an outside force would have to disrupt the match. And in this case, the latter scenario happened a lot faster than either one of them had expected.

As Kirby was preparing himself to shoot another taunt back at Dyna Blade, he suddenly winced in pain when he re-grabbed onto her mohawk, feeling static discharge from his body into the hair. Static electricity? But why would there be…?

He never had the chance to finish that thought.

A bright teal lightning bolt suddenly shot out of the sky, the searing beam of electricity only narrowly missing both Dyna Blade and Kirby.

"What in the—" Dyna Blade cursed at the near miss, before cutting her curse short as another bolt of lightning flashed downwards. "Wait a minute! These storm clouds can't possibly be natural…" Tilting her head up towards the swirling dark gray clouds, she let out a horrified gasp as her lower beak fell open in horror.

"No! It can't be…"

Kirby gaped in shock upon hearing a worried tone creep into Dyna Blade's voice. That was the first time throughout the entire battle that he'd managed to detect fear in the discombobulated voice that was floating about in his head.

"…it's them! Holy Nightmare Corporation!"

Holy… Nightmare?

Kirby felt his head being to throb as he heard those words from within his mind. Something about the name that Dyna Blade had just said sounded… eerily familiar to him.

But what? Why was it so familiar? Just what was going on? As Kirby began to wallow deep in his thoughts, Dyna Blade continued to shriek as she made a hard swerve to dodge another blast of lightning.

"It has to be them! Nooooo! You've got to be kidding me! Why now? Why at such an inopportune time? Why choose to send a demon beast here to Dream Land right now, of all times!? Why must they show up in the midst of me avenging my hatchling? Why!?" she screeched furiously, the translation of her angered words pounding in Kirby's mind and ruining his concentration. The sheer desperation in Dyna Blade's repeated questions made it impossible of Kirby to focus on his own insecurities.

Down below, Bun covered his ears at Dyna Blade's vicious ear-piercing howl, aggravated by the constant loud bursts of thunder from the nearby lightning strikes. "What do you think is going on, sis? Dyna Blade seems absolutely livid!"

"I don't know, Bun." Fumu thoughtfully placed a finger to her lip. "But whatever it is, I don't like it, not one bit. This lightning storm screams trouble. We better get to shelter!"

"Shelter from lightning?" Bun skeptically kicked a pebble as he gestured at the view of the mountain range from the summit. "On the top of a mountain? You're kidding right, sis? We'll never find shelter here!"

Next to them, Meta Knight rested one hand on the hilt of his sword, gently shifting the handle as he stared up into the sky with a grave expression.

Meanwhile, high above, Wing Kirby cocked his head as Dyna Blade continually ranted to the point where she even forgot that she had an unwelcome guest clinging onto her head.

What had Dyna Blade seen? That was the "free-for-all buffet" question to Wing Kirby. Obscured by the thick mohawk he was holding on to, Kirby was unable to see what had terrified the great Dyna Blade herself. Eventually, curiosity won the battle over safety, leading Kirby to pull on Dyna Blade's mohawk to hoist himself above her topmost head feathers.

Immediately after he did that, he wished he didn't. The sight which greeted Kirby's eyes was not pleasant.

Situated in the middle of the storm clouds above them was a flash of white, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst all the gray. The… thing—Kirby could only call it a 'thing'—consisted of a singular eye filled with a plethora of white fluffy clouds that surrounded it. Multiple pointy spikes layered its outer cloud-like surface as it hovered in the air.

As the eye in the middle of the cloudy mess eyeballed its avian target, it narrowed its eyelid and began to rub its outer spikes together, the electric field being generated from the sizzling sparks as a chain reaction of static electricity jumping from one metallic spike to the next being so powerful that the air molecules around it began to ionize.

The feathers on Dyna Blade's wings began to bristle from the static buildup. Without any warning, the single eye widened viciously. Right on schedule, the formerly tiny sparks quickly escalated into a full-blown beam of electrons, using the ionized molecules in the air to blast a singular bolt of high-voltage lightning down.

Dyna Blade pitched right, narrowly dodging the lightning bolt, which struck a slab of rocky ground at the base of the mountain range instead.

Okay, Kirby winced as he covered his ears from the resulting bang of thunder. So that thing is what's causing this freak lightning storm. Got it. Do not mess with Mr. I… duly noted.

The eye wordlessly stared down at the duo before shooting another beam of lightning at them.

As Dyna Blade became the world's craziest rollercoaster, a Kirby who was starting to get motion sickness from the massive g-forces caused by the hard swerves and rolls began to regret his position atop Dyna Blade's head for the first time since he'd gotten on.


Schluck!

Fumu and Bun gasped as Meta Knight drew his sword from his scabbard, a bright orange flash momentarily lighting up the summit as the blade materialized.

"Sir Meta Knight!" Fumu exclaimed.

Meta Knight shot a discreet glance over to her. He couldn't blame her for her apprehensiveness, considering that the last time that she had seen that blade unsheathed, he had been shooting energy beams from it directly at Kirby. Nevertheless, he felt compelled to ease her fears. "Fumu, the reason I'm drawing my sword is simple. It is for the sake of precaution." His eyes locked on to the large gray swaths of low-lying clouds above the mountain. "The thing that is up there is a demon beast."

"What!?" Bun yelled, evidently shocked by this turn of events. "Now even lightning's a demon beast?"

Meta Knight shifted his stance, a small smile creeping up behind his mask at the boy's naïveté. "Not exactly. But it appears that this demon beast is able to discharge lightning at will."

"I knew it!" Fumu stomped her feet as she glared upwards. "I knew that this freak lightning was unusual!"

"And the demon beast itself is not a normal one, too. Judging from its sheer size and scope of power, it looks to be a very powerful one. I think it's safe to assume that Holy Nightmare Corporation is pulling out all the stops for this offensive move."

As Meta Knight concluded his remark, a fleeting thought occurred to Fumu. She suddenly felt that there had been something weird with what he had just said. Going through the statement again, the Cappy girl quickly caught the offending phrase out as a deep voice spontaneously howled out from the deep recesses of her mind.

"You were asking who Nightmare was, correct? Well, allow me to tell you. He is the creator of the demon beasts, creatures who are imbued by hatred, born only to cause chaos and destroy everything around them."

"That is of no surprise to me… after all, Sir Meta Knight was the one who told me the tale in the first place… it must have been decades ago."

"Now I remember!" she cried, gasping as her hands flew to her mouth. "There was something that I've been meaning to ask you, Meta Knight! How do you know about Nightmare? Kabu said that you were the one who had told him about it!"

"Oh yeah!" Bun seconded. "He did say that!"

"Did he?" Meta Knight placed a finger to his mask, breaking eye contact with Wing Kirby and Dyna Blade for the first time since his arrival.

"Answer me, Meta Knight!" Fumu demanded with a stomp of her foot. Rather unladylike of the Cappy, but the tomboyish girl couldn't care less of what others thought of her. Her reputation had been sullied enough by Dedede, and sometimes even by her brother and his myriad of young mischievous Cappy friends — Iroo, Hohhe, and Honey.

Seeing Dedede's masked assistant still remain silent, she practically began to plead with him. "Please, Sir Meta Knight… just what aren't you telling us about Kirby…? You know something… I know you do!"

Meta Knight imperceptibly shook his head, letting out a sigh at her insistence. "It would not be a good idea to reveal everything I know. Always keep a firm trump card up your sleeve. That was the first thing that the Galaxy Soldier Army taught us."

"The Galaxy Soldier Army!?" Fumu repeated after Meta Knight. Whether he had intended to reveal that he knew of the group as well, or had unintentionally done so as a means of deflecting her question, it didn't matter. With that admission, she now had concrete proof that there was more to Sir Meta Knight than met the eye.

"That is right, Fumu." A glint from his sword as Meta Knight shifted it ever so slightly emphasized his confirmation. "The one and the same."

Fumu shook her head, letting out a confused sigh. "But Kabu said that the Galaxy Soldier Army is long gone…"

"Indeed it is," Meta Knight nodded. "The Galaxy Soldier Army is but a relic of the ancient past. The ranks that made up the entire organization was almost entirely wiped clean millennia ago, virtually disbanding the whole force after one final failed onslaught."

"That's what I don't get!" She flung her arms out as another rumble of lightning rocked the air. "How can you possibly know of this? There's nothing in the Cappy History books that records this great war Kabu speaks of! And he said that you were the one who had told him in the first place!" she accused Meta Knight, who had a plaintiff look on his face at the accusation. "So how do you know of it!?"

"Tell me, Fumu." He took a single step forward, a bitter laugh escaping his mask. "How old do you think I am?"

"Isn't that a bit of a sensitive question?" Bun chuckled. "I mean, you wouldn't want Dedede's tabloids to get a hold of this information."

Fumu triumphantly held her gaze, lifting her head up slightly at her brother. "So you do admit that Channel DDD is basically one big useless tabloid, Bun!" she declared.

"I didn't mean it that way…" Bun tried to verbally backspace. "It's entertaining at times, but—"

"Ahem!" Meta Knight coughed into his free hand to prevent his topic from being sidelined before an agitated Bun could derail the conversation further. "Please answer my question. How old do you think I am?"

At first thought, she wanted to say that Meta Knight was around her parents' age. After all, he'd been Dedede's loyal servant for longer than she could remember. But as she thought more and more about it and wondered what Meta Knight had to gain from asking such a question, her earlier thought was abruptly proven highly incorrect upon closer introspection.

"Sir Meta Knight was the one who told me the tale in the first place… it must have been decades ago."

From decades ago…

That was the exact words she'd heard from Kabu.

"But it can't be…" she mumbled, staring at Meta Knight as though it was the first time they'd truly met.

"I see you have figured it out." Meta Knight gently shook his head with twinkling eyes. "I am not as young as many assume."

Bun leaned forward and scrutinized the masked knight. "Well, your mask does kinda gives you this mature aura."

"There's a story behind the mask…" Meta Knight casually mentioned, before biting his tongue and changing the topic. "Anyway, yes. To elaborate, I have been here since the great war."

"But that's thousands of years ago!" Fumu cried. "How can you still be alive!?"

"The long answer is complicated, so I'll give you the short answer instead." He ignored the pouts that Fumu and Bun shot him and gazed upwards, reminiscing his memories from a time long past. "I'm a member of a race who typically live very long lives due to our natural lifespans. The Galaxy Soldier Army called us their trump card. I was one of the few ace in the holes that the Galaxy Soldier Army possessed as an invaluable asset — one of the legendary group of elite fighters known as the Star Warriors."

Fumu and Bun's yells of shock were simultaneous. "What! You're a Star Warrior?!"

"Hm? Do I not look the part?" Meta Knight murmured with an amused tone in his voice. "A single glance at me back in the day and everyone knew that I was a Star Warrior."

"So you're just like Kirby?" Fumu exclaimed, eyes darting back and forth between the tiny speck in the sky and Meta Knight. "Wow! That explains how you know so much about him!"

"I knew that he was a Star Warrior from the very moment I laid eyes on him in that dilapidated shack. I'd heard rumors that a Star Warrior by the name of Kirby had arrived in Cappy Town, but I only received full confirmation in that old, dusty hut."

"That's why you hunted out Kirby!" Bun jumped up and down as pieces of the mystery began to fit together for the first time. "You wanted to see if the rumors were true!"

"…and that also explains why you didn't turn Kirby in to Dedede when you found him!" Fumu joyfully clapped her hands together. "'All I wished to do tonight was to confirm a little hypothesis of mine'… that was what you said!" She folded her arms in victory. "That hypothesis was to check on whether Kirby really was a Star Warrior, like what the rumors had all claimed! It all makes perfect sense now!" Finally, a question that she'd asked an entire week earlier was answered.

"Yes, that is indeed why." Meta Knight said, before whirling around to look at Fumu directly. "But that wasn't the only question that your inquisitive self has asked me over this past week, yes? You've asked me quite a few questions, and now I shall do my best to answer those questions."

He shook his head as he reflexively stepped forward, his cape blowing in the air from the howling winds. "Holy Nightmare Corporation, the intergalactic company owned by Nightmare himself. I never thought that I would have to bring up this name so quickly." Meta Knight's gaze turned predatory beneath his mask as those words left his mouth. "So, what do you know of it?"

"We know everything that Kabu told us," Fumu started.

"And he said that you were the one who'd told him to begin with!" Bun accused. "So tell us something we don't know!"

"What do you know about demon beasts?" Meta Knight asked out of the blue. "Did you know that they were considered to be above-average foes?"

"Really?"

A blast of lightning hitting the ground half a kilometer away answered Fumu's question before Meta Knight could dispel her skepticism.

"Anyway, it is this recent proliferation of demon beasts which gravely concerns me. In a timespan of approximately one week, Cappy Town has had to deal with three, and now four, demon beasts. This constant onslaught is something that is completely unprecedented in recent times. It likens more to the days long past… the days of war."

"War?" For the first time in quite a while, Fumu observed that Bun didn't seem excited by the prospect of something violent… something very unusual for the violence-entertained boy.

"Yes… war." His dark announcement was emphasized with another loud bang caused by the nearby thunder. "I am almost certain that Nightmare is now making his final push on Planet Popstar. He has patiently bidded his time, but now he must want to eradicate the remnants of the Star Warriors, once and for all. Why else would he send a monster like this to Cappy Town… unless he was aware of Kirby's existence. That would explain why he's sending more demon beasts to King Dedede."

"That rotten creep!" Bun growled. "Why can't he find some other dumb planet to pick on?"

"Because he is now aware that another Star Warrior is on this one. If Kabu hasn't already told you, Nightmare vehemently despises the Star Warriors. He has a very good reason to want to hunt down any that live to this day."

Fumu gasped in realization as she recalled Kabu's words. She knew the exact reason that Nightmare hated Kirby. After all, she'd been told why. "The prophecy!" she exclaimed, answering the unspoken question that hung in the air.

"But the reason I know how he will be finished is due to a prophecy that he himself fears, one regarding him and his demon beasts. It is said that one day, one of Nightmare's monsters that have been summoned by his very own hand will turn against him and become one of the Star Warriors, subsequently unraveling his entire life's work."

"Do you remember, Bun?" she asked as she turned to her brother, "The prophecy said that a Star Warrior would be the one to bring Nightmare down!"

"Yes, totally!" Bun pumped his fist in the air. "That means this Kirby will be the one to defeat this evil Nightmare!"

"Unfortunately for us all, I'm afraid that he still has a long way to go."

As he made his observation, Meta Knight swiped his sword as he continued to look up into the sky. "The Galaxy Soldier Army had heaped all their dreams and hopes on this prophecy." There was quite a bit of resentment in his voice as he said the sentence. "Unfortunately for everyone, that reassuring prophecy appeared to be worth next to nothing in the final showdown." He turned back to the two siblings, his next words dripping with anger as he closed his eyes.

"The so-called miracle that the top brass of the Galaxy Soldier Army was hoping for… never happened. Mark my words, children. No one is infallible…" he spat those four words with a vicious glint in his eyes. "Most made the mistake of waltzing into that battle thinking that they'd won. We were all solely mistaken. I was one of the lucky few…" he looked away before finishing, "…most weren't as fortunate."

"That's… terrible." Fumu finally said, her green eyes lowered in understanding. Kabu had never mentioned the exact specifics of what had happened to the Galaxy Soldier Army besides a casual comment about them being defeated, and just one look at Meta Knight's pained expression made it clear why.

"I agree!" Bun sympathetically showed his support. "At least you're still alive, Sir Meta Knight! You are the last hope of this… whatever-Soldier Army!"

"It's Galaxy Soldier Army, Bun!" Fumu glared at Bun's flippant disregard for Meta Knight's feelings as he botched the name of the organization up.

"Regardless, that is why I'm so hard on Kirby." Meta Knight admitted as he raised his hand, lifting the tip of the golden blade he was holding up into the air. "While I've managed to remain under Nightmare's radar, I'm afraid Kirby isn't so fortunate. I'm almost certain that he now knows that Kirby is here. Believe me, we are talking about a megalomaniac who will lay waste to Dream Land with legions of his demon beasts in a bid to snuff Kirby out. If Kirby isn't ready…" he trailed off. He didn't need to finish the sentence.

Eyes widened in understanding. "The sword duel…"

"That is right, Fumu. I think I made it clear from our last encounter that I'd crossed blades with Kirby solely to test his skills. You must understand the forces that we're playing around with are no joke. Sword Beam might have been insanely epic for an outsider to witness," he chuckled as he couldn't resist bragging about his special move, "but to some of Nightmare's elite forces, that move is ineffective chump change."

"No way…" Bun muttered. Fumu couldn't blame him for his reaction. Sword Beam was so destructive and now Meta Knight was downplaying it like it was nothing? Just how powerful was Nightmare and his allies?

"This is a battle of wits between Nightmare and Kirby. It's very much like evolution — either Kirby adapts and grows stronger… or he dies."

No subtlety there on Sir Meta Knight's part, Fumu winced slightly as Meta Knight calmly stated Kirby's fate should the young puffball end up faltering.

"And like Kabu must have told you… should Kirby and I fall, Planet Popstar will follow."

"Aw, not a chance! That's like, the worst-case scenario!" Bun gasped, a fleeting glance towards his beloved Cappy Town. He clenched his teeth. "I won't ever accept that creep taking over Dream Land! King Dedede's already bad enough!"

In stark contrast to the look of denial on Bun's face, Fumu had a determined look firmly on her own. "That is why we'll make sure that Kirby never loses! I swear that I'll make sure that no harm comes to him!" she declared as she firmly made a promise not just to Meta Knight and Bun, but also to herself. "Those demon beasts won't stand a chance if we work as a team! We'll support Kirby and let him keep learning to get stronger until he becomes—"

BANNNGGGG!

Before Fumu could comment further, a deafening bang echoed throughout the entire mountain range, causing all three standing at the summit to sharply look upwards. The acrid smell of smoke soon followed the explosive sound.

"What the heck!" Bun yelped, covering his ears at the sound. "Look! Dyna Blade's been hit!"

"I am not blind, Bun," Meta Knight chided. "I can see that very clearly," he said as his eyes focused on the falling metal bird.

"Oh no!" A shrill cry from Fumu caused the two besides her to glance briefly at the distraught Cappy girl. They soon realized why when she pointed up at the sky.

"If Dyna Blade's been hit… then that means Kirby's been hit as well!" Her palms covered her mouth before letting out a horror-filled cry that reverberated around the mountain range.

"Kiirrrbbyyyyy!"


"Kiirrrbbyyyyy!"

Bandana snorted at the irony as he saw the Cappy girl fall to her knees, crying out for Kirby. After all, he himself had been looking for his own Kirby just a few minutes prior.

A few minutes ago…

"Kirby!" Bandana Dee cried when Spear Kirby silently made preparations to touch down on the mountaintop with Helicopter Spear. "Where were you all this time? I've been waiting for at least ten minutes!" He pointed his spear up in the sky. "Look! Dyna Blade and the other Kirby's already in the midst of fighting!"

"Sorry for the delay, Bandana! I was just getting a little friend…" Kirby smiled as a small head poked over the cliff, letting out a chirp as it did so.

"Th-that's… Dyna Blade's hatchling!" Bandana yelped at the sight, inching away from the small bird which quickly ran straight for him, the hatchling roughly about the same height and size as him and Kirby.

"You're right. It's Dyna Blade's child, right in the flesh," Kirby confirmed, chuckling as Bandana found himself being nuzzled by yellow feathers. "I did say that I took her from the nest to feed her, right? Well, all I did now was recover her. I simply took a little detour to collect her back from Whispy's Forest."

"Whispy's Forest?" Bandana crowed as the hatchling beside him let out a soft coo. "Why Whispy's Forest?"

"I'd chosen to hid her in Whispy's Forest when I fled from Dyna Blade's nest." Kirby then had a mischievous chuckle plastered on his face as he continued, "It was the perfect place to keep this naughty little rascal occupied, too. I simply had to steal a bunch of apples and then stockpile them at a single location to keep her in one safe place. Heh!" he chuckled as he tapped his foot, "Ah, Whispy wasn't too happy about my decision, let me tell ya!"

"Now I remember! There was something that I've been meaning to ask you, Meta Knight! How do you know about Holy Nightmare Corporation? Kabu said that you were the one who had told him about it!"

All three turned their heads at the question posed by the Cappy girl with a furious voice. Poking their heads from the outcropping which hid their bodies from view, they then listened on as Meta Knight gave his response.

"That's Meta Knight!" Bandana gasped.

"Not ours, so hush!" Kirby signaled for him to be quiet. "I wanna listen to this!"

"Chirp!"

Back in the present…

Well, that was certainly some exposition.

Bandana had to clutch his head so that he didn't get a headache. All this talk about some army and a war against Nightmare seemed… so fantasy-like. It was on a far bigger scale than anything that he'd ever had to face.

"So this Nightmare outlives our own one… interesting…" Spear Kirby commented as he held a firm grip on the flailing hatchling.

"Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!" The yellow hatchling tried to squirm out of Spear Kirby's grip, tears threatening to fall from her eyes as the giant metal avian hit the ground many meters below them with a resounding thud.

"Oh no! The poor thing has to watch its mommy fall!" Bandana held back a sob when he realized why she was behaving in this way. "Can't you let it go, Kirby? I think she wants to nuzzle her mom—"

"Not now."

As Bandana gaped at Kirby in horror at his callous response, Spear Kirby took a long hard gaze at his identical twin, who was still miraculously flying even after a direct lightning strike had hit him and Dyna Blade. "We can save the touching reunion for a little while later," he began to explain his choice, "If I bring Dyna Blade's young hatchling out into the open, Kracko will almost certainly turn her into roast chicken, just like her mother."

"Oh." Bandana hadn't even considered that possibility. Nah, the way Kirby had put it, it would pretty much be an inevitability.

"Chirp!" The yellow hatchling was kicking her feet, pecking Kirby's arm in an attempt to break free. "Chirp! Chirp!"

It didn't work on the puffball. Although the child was stubborn, Spear Kirby was even more stubborn than her, continuing to maintain his grip on the crying hatchling. "Let's wait until Carby settles this before we hand Dyna Blade her beloved hatchling back," he said.

"Alrighty, Kirby!" Bandana thrusted his spear up in the air in concurrence as Spear Kirby proceeded to glare up at the swirling maelstrom above the area, trying to catch a glimpse of the white cloud-based foe who he'd had to face off with multiple times before.

"So we meet again, Kracko…" he whispered softly, with a slight nostalgic edge to his voice.


He had gotten incredibly lucky.

As the teal lightning bolt was fired down from the one-eyed demon beast above, it had missed Kirby by an inch and ended up hitting Dyna Blade directly in the midst of an aerial maneuver, the electricity bursting into her chest at the spot where a large blue orb was emblazoned on the bird's outer armor.

As a result, only Kirby's feet had gotten mildly singed from contact with Dyna Blade's metal body. Due to the potential difference in his body not being much at all thanks to the fact that he wasn't touching the ground but rather Dyna Blade instead, Kirby had been fortuitous enough to come out of the devastating strike surprisingly unscathed, with the exception of a few mild burns and frazzled wing feathers.

"Keeehhhhhhh!"

Dyna Blade was far less fortunate.

The metallic beast was an excellent conductor for the electricity, leading to millions of volts blasting through most of her organs before it exited Dyna Blade through her talons. The blackened Dyna Blade let out a painful scream before losing all control of her wings, spiraling down at an impressive speed and slamming into the ground near the base of the mountain.

The resulting impact was huge, pretty much the equivalent of a plane crash. Rocks in the ground unfortunate enough to be directly underneath the impact zone were completely smashed to pieces. A staggering number of cracks splintered off from where the giant bird now lay.

As Wing Kirby free-fell from the sky, he dropped his ability, letting the ability star fall down below as the Star Warrior regained his ability to float in the air without the Copy Ability. It didn't give him as much freedom or maneuverability that he had with the Wing Ability, but it certainly beat having a useless limb.

Come to think of it, he could have done that earlier while he was resting atop of Dyna Blade's mohawk. The Ability Star could have been a projectile that he could have been able to spit at her. Oh well, there was no point in crying over split milk and regrets now. Not at this juncture.

"Kkkkeehhhhhhh…"

Hearing a weakened rasp as he cautiously landed on the uneven ground, Kirby turned his head towards the stricken Dyna Blade lying on the ground. All thought of their prior battle was forgotten as he ran up to the fallen legendary bird. "Poyo!" he cried, shaking her.

Zap!

"Poyo!" The puffball ignored the sting he received from the excess electricity discharged from their physical contact and continued to stroke her, trying to stimulate Dyna Blade to no avail.

"I'm afraid… there isn't much time left for me…" Dyna Blade finally murmured, with drooping eyelids covering her once-bright blue eyes. "The electricity from that demon beast went through my entire body."

"Poyo?" He tilted his head. Demon beast?

"You don't know?" Dyna Blade's beak fell open in surprise, before the bird quickly recovered. "A demon beast is a monster who exists only to kill, a monster created and sent by the great Nightmare himself… a tyrant from a time long past…"

She struggled to lift her head up, gazing directly at the puffball. "It wants you, Kirby. That is Holy Nightmare Corporation's goal. Nightmare wants all the Star Warriors finished off-gack!" the weakened bird explained to Kirby before weakly coughing as she tried to lift her heavy body off the ground. Kirby could only attempt to assist her, although the phrase "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" ran rampant in his mind.

When she realized that she wouldn't be getting up again, her eyes softened as she began to plead with her former opponent. "My aging heart can't handle the stress for…" Dyna Blade shuddered, her eyelids drooping further, "…much longer," she finally managed to force the words from her beak. "Please, I beg of you, Kirby. Let me see my hatchling… please…"

How the tables had turned. Normally, Kirby would be inclined to spit an insult at the opponents he'd finished off. Especially so as Dyna Blade was his toughest one yet, technically tied with the much tinier Webby in the sense that he had never beaten both of them in a fair one-on-one fight.

But how can he refuse a dying opponent who had simply misunderstood him? All Kirby could do was not burden her with lies by telling her the truth. "Po-Poyo…" he stuttered, stroking a rainbow-colored feather attached to a metal large wing, spreadeagled out on the rocky ground.

Kirby knew Dyna Blade would need comfort from his words. Right now, he was all the company that Dyna Blade had on this wretched, secluded mountain. But, alas. In the end, he couldn't give Dyna Blade the solace that she required in her time of need.

"I'm sorry… but I never took your child." He looked away sheepishly, unable to look her in the eye. "Honest! I don't even know… where he is…"

"You… never… took her? But… I saw… you…" Dyna Blade trailed off as she fell into another coughing fit.

"I swear, I never took him-I mean, her!" The final 'poyo' was met with a wistful sigh from Dyna Blade.

"Then I'll amend my last request, Star Warrior." Her words grew heavy as she used a superhuman effort to spit them out. "Please… find… me… my… young child…"

By now, Dyna Blade's ragged breathing had grown very faint. Her eyes began to turn glassy and vacant, a repugnant feeling bubbling up in Kirby as he witnessed the horrible sight that lay right in front of him.

"Poyo!" Hey, Dyna Blade! Don't you dare d-… stay awake, dammit! No, no, no!

His pleas were futile. Dyna Blade then went silent, her head rolling back. She closed her eyelids as if to take a snooze.

At the sight, Kirby stopped prodding the massive beast, realizing that it was all but pointless. With hardened eyes, he now glowered up at the storm clouds that were above him.

You… monster…! Kirby blinked tears from his eyes as he tried to focus on the lightning monster who he now knew lay within.

The lightning storm had momentarily ceased. Whether it was because the demon beast didn't realize that one of his targets was still breathing, or because he wanted to give his foe a temporary reprieve out of a sadistic nature to watch Dyna Blade gasping her last breaths, Kirby didn't care.

He clenched his fists as he solemnly shot a fleeting glance at the still Dyna Blade. "Poyo!" he furiously cried up to the skies, announcing his presence to the cloud demon high above.

This time, it was personal. Kirby swore to himself that he would take this guy down… no matter what.

Far above, a single eye narrowed as it heard and then caught sight of its target, the presumed Star Warrior that his master had told him in not-so-kind words to thoroughly eliminate. The demon beast slowly descended upon the tiny pink speck down below, the gray storm clouds all around him following the eye of the storm.

Although both Kirby and Kracko didn't know it, their opponents were thinking the exact same thing in their minds.

Failure is not an option. I will defeat you!


"So… how do we fight back against the Jambastions?"

It was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

There was a deathly silence as Dedede dropped the question on a multitude of unsuspecting helpers, many of whom were unprepared for the sudden shift in tone. Just barely a minute ago, they were discussing about slots for an upcoming play. And now, the topic took an abrupt change to… preparations for waging an all-out war.

"Oh, Dedede… why so serious?"

Dedede growled as Marx ended up being the first to break the silence. "I'm serious because this is a legitimate problem! So how about you shut your mouth and let others join in the debate, ya senseless prat!" he yelled at the jester, who frowned at the unkind words in Dedede's retort, mumbling unfriendly words under his breath as he looked away.

Now that the mood had lightened up, a few others were more compelled to speak.

"Duh!" Lil' Pop slammed a small hand down on the table with explosive force. "The answer's obvious! We have to strike at them first! Blow them out of deep space before they can even get anywhere close to Dream Land!"

Dedede exhaled a breath that communicated to all in the vicinity just how stupid he thought the Poppy Bro Jr's proposal was. "Can you even hear yourself? Your words make no sense! They already struck before we did! A strong frontal assault as a show of power is futile now that they've got the advantage of a first strike!"

"Yep. King Dedede's right. Don't even try. It's doomed to fail."

Everyone in the room stared at Jackson as the purple-robed Jammerjab began his lament, gripping onto his own clothes as he started to hyperventilate. "Are you forgetting that I was once a foot soldier in their army?" he asked as his eyes glowed with a tinge of fear. "The Jambastion Mages are masters of planning and strategy. Listen to me! You can't possibly outwit troop commanders like them with a simple plan like this! It's tantamount to suicide!"

Dedede narrowed his eyes at the Jammerjab. "We better that statement with a pinch of salt, considering that you are only privy to this knowledge because of your former alliance with them." His gaze never wavered from Jackson, even as a few of the others stood up in his defense.

"Hey, Mr. Dedede!" The NESP helper, Esther, levitated up from her seat. "I demand that you take that remark back! Jackson's no longer with that cult after Kirby befriended him! Don't associate him with the Jambastions just because he has a point to make!" she said with a stern voice that brokered no argument.

Bennett also rose to his feet. "I agree with that statement. Don't accuse him of something like that without any hard evidence," the Beetley scolded.

Dedede held his hands to his ears, his temper flaring up again. "Alright! I know, I know!" he whined as he was utterly trounced by the combined might of the Helpers. It was amazing just how easily agitated Dedede could get without having Bandana by his side to keep him under control.

"But at the same time, we can't just do nothing!" Snowy stood up, the Chilly gazing at everyone all around the room with her ocean-blue eyes. "Especially if we're all going to settle down here on Planet Popstar! This affects us too, you know?"

"Yep, yep, yep!" Drebly stood up in agreement. "We have to put a stop to them in order to stand a chance in our new homes! We do, we do!"

"I wholeheartedly agree." Edmund the Sword Knight drew his sword as he declared in an archaic voice, "We shall defend our precious homeland from all intruders!"

Pitch fluttered to Brenda's shoulder, the small bird chirping an agreement as the Broom Hatter swept the floor. "That's a-right! I might be small, but Dream Land I shall protect!"

Coo perked his head up at Pitch's voice. "Ah, Pitch… I never did thank you for sending the others to the healthcare center, did I? It must have been taxing for you…"

"It was nothing, Coo!" The green canary assured. "Besides, a friend in need is a friend indeed! I would have let that mage have it had I been there! How dare she kidnap Gooey!?"

"Wait a second!" Dedede turned to Pitch as his ears caught the last statement. "Gooey was actually kidnapped? I thought you said it was a bluff, Coo!"

"That's what I would have thought too, if it wasn't for the fact that I've actually seen Gooey with her when she confronted me and Kirby in Cookie Country."

"Wait one second!" Dedede yelled, his body going tense as he stood up and stared at Coo. "That actually happened!?"

Coo fluttered his injured wings with some effort. "Well, of course it did. Why do you think that Kirby asked me to look for you and Meta Knight to begin with? It wasn't just for fun, you pompous fool."

"Dammit!" Dedede snarled as he shook his fist at Coo. "Mention important stuff like that first next time!" His facial expression suddenly changed as his jaw dropped. "Wait a second… but that means she really has Gooey!"

"Indeed she does. I thought you knew that Gooey was with that electric mage. Oh, the perils of miscommunications…" Coo shook his head before his beak fell into a trite scowl. "Funnily enough, now that you mentioned about the Jambastions, I just recalled something…" the owl tentatively spoke.

"Huh?" Dedede tilted his head towards the perched owl. "Recall what?"

"I'd just remembered something about the statement that electric mage had said to me to distract and cause me this annoying injury."

"What did you just say!?" Dedede slammed his hands on the table in front of him. He suddenly remembered that Coo had told him the same exact thing yesterday, but now that Dedede knew that Zan actually had Gooey and that it wasn't simply just a spur-of-the-moment ploy to distract Coo, the words held new meaning to them. "Say that again, Coo!"

"Well, my headache has subsided from yesterday, so now I'm able to recall exactly what Zan said to me before she hit me with her weapon. 'If you really must know, I'd left him locked inside a train locker for safekeeping.' That was what she'd disparagingly told me when I questioned her about Gooey." Coo gave a brazen shrug to the crowd as he shifted his shoulders. "Now, I'll be frank. Even in the spur of the moment, I'd honestly thought that it was a bluff to get me to lose my guard. However, now that I think about it…"

It hit Dedede as quickly as it hit the others. There was a chance that Zan was lying… but there was also the possibility, however slight, that she could have unconsciously blurted out the truth.

The alternative spread throughout the seated Helpers in the vicinity like wildfire. "…what if it's not!?" the cry echoed from throughout the meeting room.

What if it was the truth?


Jambandra Base.

The nondescript name didn't tell much about what the place actually was. While many might think that such a place would encompass a large area, one would never expect the actual size of it without actually seeing the base for themselves. Jambandra Base wasn't just large on a city-wide scale. It was considered large on an interplanetary scale.

The Jambasion Cult's base of operations was a humongous fortress made of carbon steel and reinforced by titanium, situated on the far edge of Gamble Galaxy. Despite its sheer size, it was a cold and isolated place, floating alone in the far represses of space with nothing surrounding it but the Jambastion space stations. The closest actual planet to the base was a heart-shaped planet by the name of Ripple Star, and even that was quite a distance away.

Thanks to its reclusiveness, Jambastion Base was considered by many of the Jammerjabs and Jambastion Cult members to be their home… at least, to many of the younger ones. The older members, as well as the top brass, held the opposite opinion.

Was it home sweet home for her, for instance? Well, Zan Partizanne knew full well how she'd respond to that question if asked.

In a sense, Jambastion Base sort of was her home, considering that she'd have to live in the base for a good number of years. And yet, that wasn't what the yellow-coated mage thought about the megastructure that was the Jambastion Cult's headquarters that doubled as their de facto base of operations.

No, Jambandra Base was just another temporary fortress in Zan's mind. The whole place just never gave her that warm, comfortable feeling that a home would normally give its owner. In fact, if the situation called for it, she would self-destruct the entire place without a second thought, much like the Jambastion space station that had formerly been stationed in Popstar. She hadn't cared much about that asset either, and had hence used her partizan to blow the entire place to pieces in an attempt to get rid of that annoying Kirby.

It didn't work, but it was the perfect example for her to quote to exemplify just how little she cared for the marvels of engineering that were the Jambastion space stations. And if that little space station could be written off as a loss, then so could their main base.

As she silently slid down the dark hallways, she approached the double-doors that led into the main ritual room. Knocking on the door to announce her arrival, she then waltzed into the room.

"Bonjam, Lord Hyness." Zan bowed her head deeply at the white-hooded figure who was still staring vacantly into space. "I, Zan Partizanne, have returned."

"Ah, bonjam… I trust that… you bring me… good news?" Hyness didn't even turn back or acknowledge her presence, although the two other mages by his side certainly did.

"Bonjam!" Francisca greeted with a small bow of her head. "Welcome back, Zan!"

The fiery Flamberge reacted in a rather different manner. "Jamblasted! The nerve of you, Zan! You disappeared without a trace for two whole days! To think that the first that I'd managed to hear about this was from one of the Jammerjabs."

"Ah, Berge…" Zan muttered with distaste at the curt greeting. "Japologa, but I hope you understand."

"Okay, I accept that apology, but you better don't do it again!" Flamberge laid a hand on Zan's shoulder, her voice softening very slightly… for Berge standards, that was. "Don't you remember the first rule of war? Never charge into battle unprepared and without a proper strategy. You must never forget our roots, Zan. We three make up the Jambastion Mages… the greatest generals to ever roam the galaxies. This isn't a one-woman show, y'know? So swallow your dumb loyal pride and accept some help, ya got that?"

"Yes, I understand," Zan tried to wave Flamberge off, but unfortunately for her, the hot-blooded general wasn't even anywhere close to completing her rant.

"And why the blazes would you even bother returning to Planet Popstar anyway? Not only does that place absolutely suck, it also has nothing we want! So why even bother—"

"Planet Popstar holds the key to our Dark Lord, Berge," Zan rasped back to her. "That was the mission that was assigned to me from Lord Hyness himself," she bluntly replied to cut off their conversation.

Her answer didn't satisfy Flamberge. "So what!?" the Blazing General spat, "I don't care if it's a personal order from Lord Hyness himself! Francisca and I could have come along with you as support!"

A nod from Francisca by the side. "Berge is absolutely right! We could have been your backup, Zan!"

"I didn't need help," she muttered, arrogantly folding her arms with a huff. "I handled the situation just fine by myself!"

"Excuse… me…" The three stopped talking as Hyness slowly peered towards them. "Cease this… senseless squabbling…" As the room quietened down, his glowing eyes slowly locked onto Zan.

"What did you… just say?" His voice grew raspy as he slowly began to hyperventilate, his shaking able to be seen thanks to the vibration of the white hood which surrounded him. "Did you say that… you found the key… which I seek?"

Zan immediately knelt down, her eyes glistening with tears of joy. "Indeed. We have found our salvation, my liege. Soon… we Jambastions will finally be free!"

"Excellent." Hyness slowly closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath of oxygen as he slowly took solace in relishing the news. "How… very excellent! SO VERY EXCELLENT!" he suddenly screeched without warning, causing Zan and her sisters to flinch back. "THE TIME OF GREAT GIVING HAS COME FOR US ALL!" he declared, raising an arm up to the visible depths of outer space above him. "JAMANKE! LET US CELEBRATE AND REJOICE! WE SHALL SOON HAVE A PARTY WHICH WE HAVE PLANNED FOR MANY MANY YEARS! AND EVERYONE'S INVITED! CAKE FOR EVERYONE!"

Zan let out a tired sigh as Hyness began rambling incoherently yet again, with Francisca and Flamberge joining in the symphony of sighs a couple of seconds later.

"Anyway… we have found our Dark Lord in a most ironic location." Zan took a tentative pause to ensure that Hyness was sane once more lest she wasted her breath. Once she had no overreaction from her chief and felt all eyes on her, she continued on, "That traitorous blob of Dark Matter that Berge thought she'd seen during her battle with that pink runt at Sizzlai Moon… has been hunted down and captured by yours truly."

"Wait… for real? You seriously got him? I honestly thought my eyes were playing tricks on me because of heat mirages that were caused by the blazing temperatures on Star Lavadom and Sizzlai Moon," Flamberge scowled, holding her hand to her hat.

"So that means Berge had been telling the truth all along? I don't believe it!" Francisca uttered in surprise. "I mean, I know that she insisted that the pink Dream Land hero, Kirby, came at her with a water-elemental based team. But I never assumed that a piece of Dark Matter would have an affinity with water… much less even be alive!"

Zan chuckled with glee as she tightened her right hand. If her partizan had been there, she would have had a firm grip on it and would also be twirling it around with mirth. "But he does exist, and now he's in my grasp. That blob of darkness is living proof that our Dark Lord still wanders this universe!"

"Indeed…" Hyness murmured with a subtle nod of his head. "As long as the little ones live… our Dark Lord does as well. This is our reassurance… our proof that Void Termina dwells in this mortal realm once more!"

"But I'm afraid that we have no more use for him for now," Zan callously dismissed, "He has already narrowed down our Dark Lord's location." Her voice lowered an octave as she closed her eyes. "It would appear that Void Termina himself is located in that place."

"Noooo! You're kidding me, Zan!" Francisca gasped.

"For the love of…" Flamberge spat. "Why!?"

Even without Francisca and Flamberge's comments, the emphasis on the word 'that' was not missed by the now cool-tempered Hyness. "Oh…" the hooded figure murmured. "How… fitting." The comment from him was apt and spat in a cold manner. "So it ends… where it all began. Truly… ironic. The irony of ironies…" He then hovered slightly forward, hissing a question to Zan. "So then, how do you propose we get to our Dark Lord?"

"How do we cross that unreachable chasm, Lord Hyness? We pay the toll that the troll demands from us in order to cross the bridge, of course."

Flamberge snarled at Zan's cryptic words. "Jamblasted! Stop speaking in riddles!" she howled, flinging her arms to the sides. "Answer the damn question already!"

"Why, we use the mirror, of course…" Zan couldn't stop a smirk from crossing her face as she haughtily answered Hyness' query. "The Dimension Mirror!"

"Wh-what!?" Francisca winced at Zan's proclamation. "It can't be!"

Flamberge, however, gasped in shock at the bombshell that the leader of the three had just casually dropped. "The Dimension Mirror? But that's impossible!" When she looked at Zan to see a completely serious look don the yellow mage's face, she lashed out in fury. "It's impossible, right? Right, Francisca?" she asked Francisca in a tone that increasingly grew more and more agitated. "How can it possibly still be in one piece!? How, Zan… how!?"

Their supreme leader had a much calmer reaction to the news, simply ignoring Flamberge's loud cries and turning to Zan himself. He wordlessly scanned his eyes on his subordinate, focusing on any trace of possible deceit as the yellow mage calmly stood her ground.

Once he had assessed that she was telling the truth, Hyness' eyes gleamed at her surprise announcement. "The Dimension Mirror?" he repeated after Zan, before letting loose a cruel laugh. "What… incredible… luck. So it has somehow survived… for all these years? Truly, fate has thrown us a bone…"

"Indeed," Francisca nodded. "I had thought it lost, myself." Before she could speak more of her thoughts, a violent outburst from the hot-headed Flamberge caused her to remain silent.

"What the blazes, Zan!?" She was about to get even angrier when she suddenly calmed down, lowering her voice. "No, wait. It doesn't matter anyway," she sighed. "The failsafe on the mirror—"

"…already taken care of." A triumphant smirk was plastered on Zan's face as she predicted what Berge was about to say before she'd even finished her disparaging remark. "Do you remember what you said to me earlier, Berge? That we Jambastion Mages are the masters of strategy? Well, I've already planned three steps ahead of my competition! The portal won't work unless one who is pure of heart dispels it? Not a problem. Not a problem for us at all…" she said as her grin turned savage.

"So you're telling me that a non-failsafe mirror actually managed to survive? Are you trying to mess with me? How did you even break the curse? And where did you even find it anyway?" Flamberge hastily demanded, even managing to beat Hyness out to the Phan-Phan in the room.

Zan chuckled with glee. "Good one, Berge. Well, I simply used my brain." She tapped her finger on the black cap atop her head as she spoke. "And with my nifty thoughts, I broke the curse with a bit of manipulation. You remember Kirby, don't you?"

"Duh!" Flamberge shot back. "Of course I do! You think I won't remember that brat blowing my fire cannon apart with his oh-so-special Water Ability?" she hissed as she wrung her fingers.

"Well, I picked a fight with Kirby on purpose, and then discreetly name-dropped the location of the Dimension Mirror before I fled. Curiosity festers itself once the seed is planted, you see. All I simply had to do is return a few hours later, and voilà! That fool Kirby had fallen for the bait, activating the Dimension Mirror on my behalf when I'd next checked it."

"Wow!" Francisca clapped her hands together. "I get it! That's brilliant! You tricked him into dispelling the safeguard for you!"

"Exactly." Zan strummed her fingers together. "And now, that mirror is ours for the taking!" she declared with a snap of her fingers. "As for your other question, I'd last seen the mirror inside of a palace in Royal Road, located in the Kingdom of Floralia."

The mage's announcement was made without any special fanfare. She was completely serious, her words accompanied only by a firm determined voice, one that had the slightest tinge of hope in it as she proceeded to quote the same words that the caped arachnid with the horned helmet had greeted her with when she first stepped foot in the moonlit palace.

"The Kingdom of… Floralia?" Hyness mused, temporarily closing his eyes as he committed the name to memory. When his yellow obscured eyes shone again, there was only cold fury in them. "Activate all Jammerjab platoons! Make sure to place every last troop on high alert. I want the entire battalion on standby immediately!" His piercing gaze fell on Zan, Francisca and Flamberge. "And as for you three, promptly make your preparations. We must make haste and head for that place at once!"

Hyness' order was curt and direct. All three of the Jambastion Mages immediately saluted and sped out of the main room to carry out his wishes, leading him to once again be left alone in the area, with only the flickering of candles to keep him company. As the flames continued to burn, wreathing his white hood in orange light, Hyness simply floated to the lotus-shaped structure that once housed the Jamba Heart. His eyes then narrowed into slits as he gazed out of the base to see the faintest speck of a yellow planet.

Planet Popstar.

He grinned savagely.

It was time. After so many years, it was finally time. Their salvation had arrived. It was knocking on the Jambastion Cult's doorstep, and he would certainly be remiss not to respond to this golden opportunity.

"Hear my voice, O Dark Lord!" he cried out in a tone that screamed 'desperation'. There was a raw, primal quality to his words as he fell into his usual ramblings. "I am one step closer to victory… our victory! With that mirror in my hands, no amount of outer space will be able to physically separate us ever again! Soon, we shall be reunited, Void Termina! It will be a day that this ignorant Jamblasted universe will remember for all eternity!"

Hyness clenched his fists before pumping them up into the air, the hooded cult leader letting loose an insane, depraved cackle to the many stars above him. "And once that moment arrives… revenge will be mine!" he vowed.


Author's Note:

Extremely casual ~17K word count for this chapter is extremely casual. Looks like Chapter 7's previous record got blown out of the water really darn quickly. This chapter wasn't even meant to be this long when I'd drafted it out, but well… a lot of stuff happened. A whole slew of questions that had been set up in the previous chapters get answered here. I wonder what you all think about this new developments?

Anyway, all I happen to do is make one joke about Prince Fluff in the last chapter, and then they proceed to announce Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn in the Direct. Yeah, that was completely unintentional. For the record, I can't see into the future. Jotting that fact down for future reference.

Dyna Blade's mid-air brawl with Kirby was a really unique fight to write. It was certainly fun to pen my take on a battle that took place using three-dimensional axis planes. I hoped you all enjoyed it too, considering that I'm a little disappointed that there has never been a Wing Kirby mirror fight with Dyna Blade in the anime. Regardless, I've been writing angst and sad stuff a lot in my other stories recently, so I guess some of it spilled over in this chapter with the Dyna Blade scene.

Anyway, fun fact: I actually had to rewrite a good portion of the Dyna Blade and Kracko lightning strike scene when it struck me that Kirby actually would not suffer as heavy a hit from the lightning strike as I originally thought. Why? Because Dyna Blade's a metallic bird. Since Dyna Blade's body counts as a metal surface, the electrons will take the path of least resistance, thus resulting in it passing harmlessly by Kirby since his body offers more resistance than the metal surface so long as his feet isn't touching the ground — basically the same reason that birds on high-voltage wires aren't shocked. At least, I hope that I got the physics of it right.

There's more lore with the now-defunct Galaxy Soldier Army in this chapter, and a much needed talking-to with the animeverse's Meta Knight. Though much of the Nightmare lore has already been covered in Chapter 7, there is new information… and this is the first time their gameverse counterparts hear of it, so there is that. Plus, this conversation is canon to the anime anyway, even if the circumstances of it do differ.

With the arrival of Kracko on the scene, some cutbacks to Dedede and the gang, as well as another much-needed update on the Jambastion Cult, things are finally coming to a head. The next chapter will be the finale of the Dyna Blade arc, so look forward to its conclusion!

Chapter Text

A/N: Um, HAL? Thanks for dropping the Star Allies update right as I was about to release this. That massive Wave 3 update doesn't mess with my plans at all (insert massive sarcasm here).

…I mean, it even looks like they revealed the whole "another dimension" thing with regards to Void Termina in a tweet. You know, the idea that I'd started penning down five months prior simply because the headcanon sounded awesome in my head — that's the very fic which you're reading right now.

Guess great minds think alike. Even canon knows that it's cool.

I'm calling it — someone's gonna call this fic's entire concept a ripoff now. Ah, whatever. Ideas are cheap. It'll probably throw off some foreshadowing that I've made earlier in the story, but we'll just have to see where this revelation and its resulting lore takes us. I doubt my original storyline will deviate too much, but we'll see…


Chapter 12: Great Circle of Life

My Adventure Log, Entry #6: Lightning Rod

Today's weather forecast is heavy storms, with a sprinkle of severe lightning. Serve with a dash of charred Dyna Blade and you're ready to go. Serves one upset Kirby, aka me. Zero stars. Will not frequent again.

Yep… it's Kracko, alright! And boy, he'd certainly brought a whole bunch of clouds with him this time! The cloud cover above us is so dense that it could pass off as Cloudy Park with a whiter coloration. Before I end off, I also have a few choice words with regards to other Meta Knight and his story about this "Holy Nightmare Corporation", but perhaps that's best saved for after we deal with the main problem on hand. Namely, one angry cloud named Kracko.

Also, yeesh! My handwriting is really untidy for this entry. Guess that's what happens with you're forced to write with one hand. Can you blame me, though? After all, I'm using my other arm to hold Dyna Blade's very upset hatchling, so apologies to my future self in advance for the scrawling.

Yowch! She's hitting my arm with her beak again! Me think it's time to put this thing away before I suffer any additional collateral damage to my limbs… :(

Being Pecked Incessantly,
Kirby


Blue eyes met blue eyes… or more specifically, blue eye. After all, the beast in the air had only one singular eye.

One dilated pupil stared down the young agile Star Warrior. A humming noise could be picked up as the air around the demon beast began to crackle, the white cloud-like being slowly descending from the gray cloud cover swirling all around it.

Kirby maintained a tense stance, biting his lip as he felt the air around him begin to sizzle with built-up static. He unrelentingly stared up at the monster that hovered above him.

It was a test of endurance, making himself appear to be calmer than he actually was. He was already aware that deep within his heart, he was frightened of the monster, but the puffball sure wasn't going to let him discover that fact. He knew that if he had been just a tad bit unluckier, the one lying on the ground with third-degree burns might have wound up being him instead of Dyna Blade.

As things stood now, Kirby understood that the time for games was soundly over. He might have been able to mess around with Dyna Blade once he'd figured out her weak spot, but he doubted that he could do the same here with this guy. The monstrous beast lurking above him appeared very much to be a no-nonsense nemesis who wouldn't hesitate to eliminate him without sparing a second thought.

"Kirby!"

He whirled his head around, peering up at the Cappy girl who had called out to him from the clifftop above.

Fumu.

No surprise there. She was an extremely cautious girl. But it was really too bad for her… Kirby doubted that he could heed her advice. From the piercing gaze that the eyeball from above was giving him, the Star Warrior was pretty sure that there was no turning back now.

It was going to be a fight to the finish. That knowledge firmed up Kirby's resolve. He had no wish to end up on the losing and of such a high-stakes battle.

He had to win. Not just for his sake, but for Dyna Blade as well. And nothing Fumu that said would be able to dissuade him from that. In the end, she wasn't the one battling a fearsome electric cloud. Her wishes for him to flee held no water.

Kirby's mind was so focused on the inevitable battle that he didn't realize that newcomers had arrived on the scene until he heard an astonished voice coming from behind him.

"Hey! What do you know, sire? There really is an actual giant cloud monster high up in the sky. I don't believe it, but that salesman genuinely wasn't scamming ya after all!"

Kirby spun on his feet, immediately recognizing the nasally tone of the one who had spoken.

Sure enough, there he was — right behind Kirby at the base of the mountain range. Holding onto a flimsy looking umbrella that looked like it could barely provide any shelter from the oncoming storm… was Escargon the snail.

And next to him was one cocky King Dedede. Of course.

Kirby felt himself narrowing his eyes as Dedede slowly strolled towards him, the ruler of Dream Land flinging his arms wide open. Perhaps Kirby might have mistaken the gesture for a fond welcome… had the king not been leering at him as he was casually strolling forward.

"Heh heh heh! Sure looks like I'm going to be getting bang for my buck! Spending this much of my dough on this powerful demon beast is gonna be so worth it!" Dedede chuckled with mirth as he peered towards the fallen Dyna Blade. "Now that's one downed Dyna Blade, if I don't say so myself." He patted Escargon heartily on the back before making eye contact with an angered puffball. "And next on the agenda is that rotten Kirby!"

Dyna Blade's haunting words about demon beasts before she lost consciousness was immediately brought to the forefront of Kirby's mind as he heard Dedede brag about purchasing the demon beast that had nearly turned him into a crisp.

So Dedede really was the one responsible for this! To make matters even worse, the recesses of his memory banks also reminded him that the king had been the one behind the fake tape aired on Channel DDD as well. Shooting a passing glance at the limp form of Dyna Blade, Kirby felt a white-hot anger welling up within the base of his belly. However, before he could retort with an angered "poyo!" at Dedede's callous admission, someone else beat him to the punch.

"Dedede!" Kirby tilted his head up at Fumu's cry of anger. The girl was standing by the edge of the cliff, hollering down to the despicable duo below. "I should have known that you had something to do with this!"

"Poyo!" Kirby added, folding his stubby arms in concurrence with Fumu. Although it made sense that Dedede had been the mastermind pulling the strings, it was still jarring to find out about it firsthand.

Escargon sniffed in a dramatic manner, rubbing his nose for added emphasis. "How touching, sire! The children are only just discovering about your absolute and utter hatred for Kirby."

"Heh heh heh!" Dedede laughed vicariously. "How nice of them to finally unearth the grudge that I've had with Kirby… as if it wasn't obvious!" He stopped walking about a meter away from the puffball in question, gloating when he saw Kirby's expression. "Hah! Would ya look at that! Even Kirby here looks like he's finally realizing just how much I despise him. Don't worry, Kirby…" He calmly reassured the puffball as he took another step forward, "I'll remember that face of rage. I'll be sure to keep that expression in my fondest memory banks after you get fried like a lightning rod and are out of my hair once and for all! Ahahahahah!"

Kirby glared at the smug King Dedede, the Dream Land ruler laughing triumphantly upon seeing that he had succeeded in making his pink self-proclaimed nemesis scowl.

"Behold, Kirby!" Dedede raised an arm and pointed up to the sky, a wide grin splitting his face. "I'd paid out a whoopin' eight million deden for this! The fearsome being you see up there in the clouds above is the Lightning Demon Beast, the monstrous Kracko itself!"

The Star Warrior seethed at Dedede, cautiously looking up at the titular cloud in the air. At least now he knew the name of the one who had nearly zapped him into oblivion.

"You rotten scum!" Bun shouted from his vantage point above as Dedede burst into unrestrained laughter. "Do you have nothing better to do? How about you just leave Kirby alone already!"

"Not a chance! I purchased this here demon beast for quite a hefty sum, and I'm going to make sure that I fully utilize him! I ain't wasting a single cent! Kracko conforms to me, and me alone!" Dedede sneered before he brought his arm down, pointing his finger directly at Kirby. "Oi! Can you hear me, Kracko? Don't just laze up there and do nothing! Hurry up and annihilate that Star Warrior already!"

He was already doing that before you even showed up and gave that order, ya dumb king… Kirby grumbled snarkily in his mind, folding his arms at the smug Dedede.

That show of annoyance nearly cost him dearly.

ZAP!

Kirby yelped, dodging to the side right as a bolt of lightning rocked the ground where he was standing just before he'd instinctively jumped aside. The deafening reverberation from the thunder echoed shortly throughout the mountain range thereafter. The shock wave that swept through the lands a few milliseconds after the lightning strike was so unbelievably loud due to the close proximity of the lightning strike that everyone around the area, from Fumu to Dedede, was forced to cover their ears with their arms to protect their precious eardrums.

As Kirby got to his feet, he nervously peered upwards to see the single-eyed Kracko glowering at its prey. Brushing himself off, he determinedly glared up in return.

The chase was on. It was only now that the fight began in earnest.


"Ban-gack! Bandana!"

Bandana Dee whirled his head around to see his good friend struggling desperately to maintain his grip on the yellow hatchling he was holding in his arm.

"Kirby!" he exclaimed when he saw the tense look on his friend's face. "What happened!?"

"Do-don't just stand there!" Kirby grunted, gritting his teeth. "Help me!"

A change had swept across Dyna Blade's hatchling the exact instant she saw her mother's eyes close. Where there had been panic earlier, now her eyes were deadly calm. It had creeped Kirby out until the hatchling began to act in a completely different way than she had earlier. Instead of incessantly flailing around like she had done a few minutes ago, she suddenly stopped struggling, remaining calm for a few seconds.

Then without any warning, she went straight for her captor's eyes instead.

"Gah!" Kirby flinched back to avoid his irises being poked out by a sharp beak. "She really wants me to let go!" He would have used his spear to counterattack, but unfortunately he had carelessly left it on the ground while writing his adventure log, and now he wasn't able to get into a position where he could pick it up without losing his hold on the bird.

"Don't worry, Kirby!" Bandana reassured, running up to Kirby. "I've got you covered with my trusty spear!" He ran up to the struggling duo, waving his spear at the hatchling in a threatening manner. "If you don't stop struggling right now, I'll uh… well, I'll uh…"

Unfortunately, even with a spear pointed directly at the hatchling, Bandana found that he was unable to keep up the charade of a threatening captor for long. The Dee had all but trailed off with his threat, which had the side effect of now making him look like a fool — standing by the sidelines while holding onto a spear and watching Kirby struggle to hold on to the bird haplessly.

"Ahem! What are you doing, Bandana!?" Kirby narrowed his eyes in a rare display of anger, silently pleading for help as he began to grow desperate. "If you don't help me, this thing is going to get free, and—"

Those words were a jinx.

The instant they had left Kirby's mouth, the hatchling observed that his captor was distracted and aimed one good peck at Kirby's eye. Not wanting to suffer an eye injury, the puffball instinctively flinched and stepped backwards…

"Wh-wh-whooaaaaaa!"

…and promptly fell on his back as he lost his footing on the uneven gravel floor, unfortunately causing him to lose his hold on Dyna Blade's hatchling. Now free from Kirby's grip, the bird immediately seized the chance to get away, taking flight and zooming past Bandana before the Waddle Dee could even react to the sudden unexpected turn of events.

"Stop her, Bandana!" Kirby yelped as he got to his feet, grabbing ahold of his own spear that had been lying on the ground and launching it at the bird with a Spear Throw attack.

The hatchling's eyes gleamed as she thrust her body to one side to dodge the flying spear. It sailed past the small bird, the tip of it embedding itself against the rock wall.

Wasting a few precious moments to taunt her would-be captors by mischievously sticking her tongue out at them, the hatchling then turned tail and jump off the cliff, flying down to the base of the mountain below.

Bandana lifted his spear above his head, preparing to give chase by taking flight. However, right as he began to spin his spear like a propeller blade, he was stopped by a most unlikely obstacle.

"No!" Kirby reached out, grabbing firmly onto Bandana's arm before he could go into Helicopter Spear.

"Ki-Kirby?" Bandana went wide-eyed, confused by this contradictory event as he accidentally dropped his spear from Kirby's intervention. What was going on? Wasn't Kirby dead set on stopping the hatchling from reaching her mother? Why would he now choose to act in a manner that defied his own words?

He needn't have worried, however, for he soon got his explanation from a grumpy Kirby. "Don't act so rashly, Bandana. Don't forget that we aren't the only ones up here on this cliff." Kirby glanced towards the rock outcropping, implicitly referring to Meta Knight and the Cappy children. "We can't let them see us, remember? Else the jig will be up! We can't cross-contaminate the culture of this place! I've seen far too many bad guys do that to our Planet Popstar, and by golly, I adamantly refuse to be the instigator of chaos on this Planet Popstar."

"But that means…" Bandana trailed off, looking worriedly at the tiny hatchling flying down below, who was now the size of a speck from where they were standing.

"Yep." Kirby confirmed with an upset frown. "It means that she'll be taking the fight to Kracko."

Bandana's eyes widened, his gaze darting between Kirby and Dyna Blade's hatchling. "But that's practically suicide! Isn't there anything we can do to help her?"

Kirby wordlessly removed his spear from the rock wall, brushing off splinters of rock that'd adhered to the tip.

"Unfortunately, no." A curious expression crossed Kirby's face as he looked down to the mountain base. "But not to fret, I have good faith in my counterpart to help and remedy the situation."

A blast of lightning from above directed at said counterpart interrupted his statement, causing Spear Kirby to sheepishly rub his head, before shaking it with an upset sigh.

"At least, as best as Carby is able to…"


"Sir Meta Knight! Kirby's in big trouble!"

The caped knight continued to look down at the scene of the battle, only replying the Cappy a moment later. "Yes, I can see that, Bun."

Fumu tugged at his cape. "Isn't there anything you can do?" she pleaded with Meta Knight, wincing as Kirby narrowly dodged another lightning strike from Kracko.

Meta Knight's yellow eyes flickered in response. "You should know my style by now. I am his majesty Dedede's royal servant. To assist Kirby would constitute treason." He pointed the tip of his golden sword towards the scabbard, sheathing the blade. "This is Kirby's fight, not mine."

Fumu huffed, folding her arms at Meta Knight's refusal to assist. "But Kirby's in danger! Kracko keeps on shooting lightning at him! It took down Dyna Blade with one of those attacks! If one hits Kirby…" she dropped the sentence as she trailed off, unwilling to imaging the grotesque sight that would constitute.

"Have more faith in him." Meta Knight's voice took on a mildly insulted tone, though his comment was made in jest. "Or perhaps, do you not have trust in Kirby?"

"It's not that I don't have faith or trust in him!" Fumu vehemently shook her head, denying Meta Knight's accusation in a voice that suggested that she felt contrary of what she'd said. "It's just that if Kirby does lose, he has no fallback!" she admitted softly, her voice lowering to that of a whisper, "I… can't help him."

"Net Work. Hahahaha! Oh, Kirby, Kirby… you were trying to lure me to attack you in close range so that you could counter with a melee attack, weren't you?"

The vivid memory of a smirking Webby preparing to unleash his worst on a trapped Kirby slammed back into her mind at full force.

"Don't you get in the way, girl! This is between me and Kirby!"

The desperation that she'd felt when the arachnid had spun a web to isolate Kirby and himself from her, flashing a sneer which made it clear that he was preparing to do his worst to Kirby… it was almost too much for Fumu to bear, even though she was merely reminiscing the incident through a flashback.

"Hahahaha! This ends now, Kirby!"

That was a one-off fluke! He just got lucky! All of Kirby's other baddies were beaten rather easily once Kirby got the upper hand! Fumu had to tell those reassuring words to herself as Webby's haunting laugh rang throughout her ears, the Como in her flashback viciously preparing to launch the trapped Kirby away. It won't happen to Kirby again!

It couldn't happen again…

…could it?

Unfortunately, the cruel and unforgiving nature of reality just wasn't going to be that kind to Fumu. Fate was full of ironies.

Her mind went into overdrive at all the terrifying possibilities that could unfold every single time Kirby jumped to dodge Kracko's lightning-fast bolts of electricity. Every blast that Kracko sent down only amplified her fear that what had previously happened with Webby would repeat again with Dedede's demon beast. Only this time, Dyna Blade rising from the horizons and making a sudden appearance to scare away Kirby's opponent would not come as a means of escape to save the Star Warrior from the jaws of defeat.

That, and Kirby's opponent had been the one to down the legendary Dyna Blade, who herself was capable of slicing down Cappy Town had she wanted to. The almost-serial escalation of the opponent's power levels damned well scared her, even though she wasn't actually the one in battle.

"Sir Meta Knight… I just feel so helpless," Fumu softly admitted with a pathetic whine, averting her eyes from the battle below as she confided in the knight. "If Kirby falls in battle, I can't do a thing to help him. What sort of friend am I to Kirby…?"

"You're not the only one who feels this way."

Fumu widened her eyes as Meta Knight turned around to face her. "Do you recall what I said about the Star Warriors?" he asked.

She nodded at his words. After all, he'd just spoken them to her and Bun a moment ago.

"When you look at things from my perspective, you must realize that I have just as much of a stake in Kirby as you, maybe even more so than and Bun, actually."

"I know, I know!" Fumu raised her voice, slightly upset at the answer she was getting. She had anticipated more supportive words, but evidently expecting that from the serious Meta Knight was a mistake. "It's just… I wish that there was something I can do to help!"

Her face turned resolute, the girl flinging her arms to her sides determinedly. "I don't want to be a burden to Kirby by always staying in the sidelines, unable to do anything but watch him fight his battles! I want to actually assist Kirby in his time of need!"

Unbeknownst to her, those words were a trigger. A yellow glow emanated from the girl's pocket as she finished her declaration.

"Hey, sis! Your pocket's glowing!"

And sure enough, it was. Fumu reached into her pocket at her brother's observation, lifting out a glowing object which brightened as it left the fabric that had obscured the light earlier.

She remembered that object. How could she not?

It was the yellow star that she found after Escargon had dropped it at Castle Dedede a week ago, the same star that'd enlarged and assisted Kirby in the battle with Dedede's octopus monster. In the aftermath of the battle, Kirby had handed it back to her with a cheerful smile on his face, one which almost made it seem like he hadn't used the thing to aid him in completely decimating the octopus monster.

Back then, Fumu had hesitantly took it back and slipped it into her clothes. Fact was, it had completely slipped her mind up till now. The Cappy held the tiny star in her hands like a lifeline, questions populating her mind.

Why activate now? It hadn't glowed since the fight with Octacon up until this very moment. Not even in the Meta Knight sword duel. So why would the tiny star suddenly activate again, right now of all times?

She wasn't the only one with unanswered questions. Two very curious onlookers were staring at her from behind their hiding spots with befuddled expressions.

"Why, it's a Warp Star!" Spear Kirby exclaimed, momentarily distracted from his fleeting loss of Dyna Blade's hatchling. "How did that girl get a Warp Star?"

Bandana shrugged, using his hand to shield his eyes as the glow around the star got more intense. "I don't know…"

As the two continued to curiously glance at the shining star from behind the rock outcrop, Meta Knight himself sharply glanced towards Fumu. "Fumu… isn't that the same thing that you had with you about a week ago?" he asked.

Before Fumu could answer him, the luminosity of the star suddenly turned intense, lighting up the entire summit of the mountain. As Fumu shielded her eyes from the glare, it once again flew out of her hand, with Meta Knight following its flight trail with unwavering yellow eyes, a contemplative expression on his face.

An expression that only grew firmer when he caught sight of Dyna Blade's hatchling following behind the zooming star.


With a single sweep of his eyes, Kirby was able to instinctively perceive three distinct things headed in his general direction. He wasted no time after his visual senses registered them, quickly making a mental analysis in his head regarding what to do with them.

The first was a bolt of lightning, raining judgement down from the heavens above like a streak of fire. No surprise there. He dodged it, adding another point to the "lightning bolts dodged" counter. Frankly, he'd lost count after twelve.

The second was Dyna Blade's hatchling, who had mysteriously appeared from out of nowhere. Kirby found himself growling in annoyance upon seeing the bird. Couldn't it have showed up when he was actually battling Dyna Blade? That would have solved the initial misunderstanding that he'd had with Dyna Blade right away and saved him the trouble of having an intense battle with the metal-plated legendary bird.

The final was a very welcome sight for the retreating Kirby. It was the same flying yellow star which he had piloted over a week ago. Talk about coming in a time of great need! Kirby relished the thought of turning the tables against Kracko with the star, giving him air superiority and allowing him to execute evasive maneuvers to aid in dodging Kracko's electric attacks.

As the star enlarged once it was within close range of the puffball, Kirby nimbly launched himself up, landing on the yellow star with his two feet planted firmly on the top surface of the star.

Kirby couldn't resist flashing a who's-laughing-now grin up at Kracko when he saw the demon beast narrow his eye in rage at the new mode of transport that he'd managed to acquire right under the demon beast's nose.

In fact, Kracko didn't like it so much that he fired a lightning bolt down. Kirby took a hard swerve to the left to easily avoid it, much to Kracko's displeasure. The cloud definitely didn't like the appearance of the 'Deus Ex Machina' star, if the expression on his eye was any indicator.

As Kirby was preparing to ascend upwards, his eyes caught a flash of yellow to his side. Turning his head to his right, he was astonished to see Dyna Blade's hatchling flying alongside him.

"Poyo?" he asked. What do you think you are doing!? It's not safe! Stay back!

The hatchling firmly shook her head at Kirby's warning, stubbornly maintaining her course in spite of his words.

Kirby frowned as Dyna Blade's hatchling continued to ascend, trailing him in pursuit as he headed up to the clouds above. Why was she doing this? Shouldn't every natural instinct within that child force her to flee as far away as she possibly could? The beast above had felled her mother, after all…

Wait a second! A haunting thought crossed Kirby's mind, the puffball looking intently at the soaring hatchling, an expression of grave concern on his face as he began to comprehend the full reality of what this meant to the young hatchling.

Was it about revenge… about avenging her mother?

"Poyo?" he turned to the bird again, finally realizing from her hardened mischievous blue eyes exactly what she was up to. You aren't backing down from this, are you?

The airborne hatchling squawked in the affirmative, nodding her head to give Kirby further confirmation.

Whup.

To be fair, Kirby felt like he should have expected that much. Kracko blasting Dyna Blade with a lightning bolt already had a profound effect on him, and that was taking into account that up until that point, he and Dyna Blade had been rivals, to the extent that she had been prepared to claw his eyes out. But considering how much of an impact that would have made to someone like her own child… yeah. It was no wonder the hatchling would want to assist, no matter what the odds.

Kirby's face hardened. Well, if Dyna Blade's hatchling wasn't going to turn back, then neither was he. He had half a mind to sock this cloud monster in the face for everything that he'd done.

Kracko raised his eye, bristling his many spikes as he abruptly swooped down, the cloud demon beast charging right at the airborne duo with a melee attack instead of the long-range lightning that he'd been using up to this point.

Kirby immediately performed an evasive maneuver, sharply bringing the star down to avoid the beast as it flew over him. In contrast, Dyna Blade's hatchling increased her altitude and went above instead of under, greatly annoying Kracko as the demon beast now had to focus on two wildly different opponents in very different positions.

It was times like this where the demon beast wished that Nightmare had created him with two eyes so that he could keep his eye on more than one opponent without having to dart his singular eye all around.

Nevertheless, Kracko refused to let the pesky Star Warrior and that young hatchling stop him. If they thought that splitting up would hinder him, they thought wrong. He had a way to get them both with a single move. Bristling the golden needles on his body, he proceeded to unleash two beams of teal energy from his sides.

Down below, Spear Kirby recognized the oncoming move. It was a signature attack from the movepool of the Kracko from his own world. The flashy move involved twirling around two swaths of electric sparks which circled a complete three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around the attacker, a technique which he himself had performed before with the Beam Ability in his arsenal.

Revolution Beam.

"Come on, Carby…" Kirby worriedly glanced up at the flying Warp Star, dangerously nearing the fiendish Kracko. "If you're really my counterpart, you'll know how to dodge this attack…"

High above, said counterpart grimaced as Kracko kept on twirling the wave-like beam of sparks, making it so that neither he nor Dyna Blade's hatchling were able to approach Kracko without getting zapped by electricity, since the attack was enveloping the cloud.

Kirby prudently kept his distance, retreating slightly so that he wouldn't be caught within the range of the attack. He needed to find a way to break past this barrier or else Kracko would soon get the upper hand. It was a repeat of what happened with Dyna Blade — he wasn't able to attack his opponent, but the opposite did not hold true.

To Kirby's disdain, Kracko could still attack him just as easily even though the beast had just changed tactics. Kracko had been using the swirling beam as a means of defense, but he was now moving his body while performing the attack, hence turning the wave beam into an offensive move.

Just brilliant.

Kirby held his breath just before another bolt of white-hot lightning shot down, missing him by a few feet as the puffball placed all of his weight on one feet, dodging to the side as the star beneath his feet rolled left.

He knew it! He knew that Kracko was baiting him to try and attack!

"That sure was close…" Fumu held her hand to her mouth as she strained her eyes to look at Kirby, who was beginning to become obscured by the foggy dark gray clouds all around him.

Meta Knight's eyes shone as the clouds began to obfuscate the battle above, the combatants only briefly illuminated by the lightning which Kracko shot out on occasion.

"So who's actually winning this shocking battle, your majesty?" Escargon asked from the base of the mountain. "Is it Kracko or Kirby?"

Dedede snarled, clocking Escargon over the head with a clenched fist, in part due to his annoyance at Escargon's presumption that Kirby might prevail… and also partly because of his low-quality pun. "Kracko's gonna win, duh!" he responded, "Look at how much lightning Kracko's discharged already! Kirby can't possibly dodge all of that, even with that stupid star on his side!"

The king had a hearty laugh as he peered up to the sky. "Sooner or later, his luck's gonna run out! And when that happens, I'll finally be able to get rid of Kirby once and for all! Heh heh heh!"

Kirby glanced down with a flicker of annoyance as he directed the Warp Star to head above Kracko so as to avoid further blasts from the lightning attack. Frankly, he didn't know whether it was amusing or annoying that he was able to discern Dedede's distinct laughter even at this distance.

"Chirp!"

Kirby's eyes flickered over to Dyna Blade's hatchling, who was swerving left and right to avoid the twirling wave beam attack that Kracko had reverted back to using. With a determined expression, he swooped towards Kracko to divert the demon beast's attention away from the flying hatchling.

Kracko narrowed its eye, rapidly bouncing up just as Kirby was headed for him. With a stunned expression, Kirby saw that his swoop maneuver had ran out of momentum directly underneath a very triumphant Kracko, with no time for the puffball to escape.

With an expression that could pass off as sadistic glee, Kracko charged up and fired down at him with a blast of lightning that was so bright that it illuminated the entire sky.

Fumu gasped in horror as her eyes caught the attack happening, almost in slow-motion. "Kirby!" she shouted, running to the cliffside and stretching out her hand.

"Oh no!" Bandana cried in terror, while Spear Kirby mentioned a stoic expression.

"Yes!" The smile on Dedede's face grew to the size of a watermelon as he ecstatically gestured to the sky with open arms. "Blast him out of the sky, Kracko!"

The hatchling gaped at Kirby, her beak dropping in horror as she maintained her aerial position to stare at the disaster that was waiting to happen.

As the bolt of electricity descended upon Kirby, panic gripped his veins. He closed his eyes, bracing himself for impact. There was no escaping this now.

…or was there?

In a split second, Kirby opened his blue eyes. He wasn't going to let it end just like this. Bringing his head up to face the blinding lightning, he opened his mouth and began to inhale.

It was all or nothing. If he couldn't dodge it, the best he could hope for was to cushion the blow.

As he began to suck up the air above him, something unusual began to happen to the blitzing trail of electricity. Its focus and intensity suddenly seemed to waver… right before the entire lightning blast and its resulting shockwave disappeared into his mouth.

"H-He… inhaled the lightning, sis!" Bun rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things before repeating his statement in disbelief. "The lightning!"

"I can see that!" Fumu shot back as she herself gaped at the astounding sight, taking it in with an equal mixture of horror and awe. "I'm not blind, y'know!" The additional words appended a few seconds after didn't even have sarcasm intended in them — she was in too much shock to say her usual snark-filled words deliberately. "Wh-what's going to happen…?" she found herself uttering in fright.

But instead of frying Kirby's digestive system, the puffball managed to inhale it all in, wasting no time in jumping up into the air once all of the lightning was absorbed into his round pink body. Right as he initially hurled into the air, a blue orb slammed right into Kirby's forehead — much like the emerald green jewel that adjourned his head with the Fire Ability. As he spun around and around, the blur of pink slowly turned to a dark green shade. At first Bun and Fumu were confused as to what was happening, but slowly they realized that somehow, inconceivably, Kirby's entire coloration was changing.

Bun widened his unseen eyes in surprise. "Look! Kirby's switched colors! He's turned green!"

"He can do that?" Fumu muttered, rubbing her eyes in disbelief. That spinning move that Kirby made as he jumped into the air was now very familiar to her — it signified that Kirby was gaining one of his signature Copy Abilities.

"Who knows?" Meta Knight subtly nodded at the determined Star Warrior. "Anyway, it would appear that he is now… Spark Kirby!" he declared with a whirl of his cape as the crown of the newly-named Spark Kirby's head began to sizzle with those familiar sparks of bright teal stray electricity.

"Spark Kirby?" Fumu repeated, raising a hand to shield herself from the sudden shower of buzzing sparks that surrounded Kirby's head with a neon glow.

"That is correct. It appears that now, the odds have evened up. Kracko is no longer the only one in command of electricity." Meta Knight snorted, shaking his head in an almost smug manner. "With the Spark Ability, Kirby can do the same."

"Wait a minute…" Bun raised his arm in a thoughtful gesture. "If Kirby can produce sparks of electricity out of nothing… then that means that Kirby can power all of my toys!"

Fumu almost tripped and fell to the ground from the sudden mood whiplash at her brother's random remark. "Bun!" she yelled as her cheeky brother simply chortled in response.

"What, sis?" he grumbled indignantly, a defiant smile on his face. "It's free electricity with Kirby. Think of how much I'll save Mom and Dad on the utility bills!"

"BUN!"

Behind the rock outcropping, the two hidden eavesdroppers had a different reaction.

"Look!" Bandana pointed up at the sky. "He can use Copy Abilities too!"

"I knew that!" Spear Kirby said teasingly, shooting a humored retort back at Bandana before looking towards the green-skinned Kirby in the sky.

"So Carby's going with Spark Ability, eh?" he mused with a soft smile as he tapped his spear on the floor. "I wonder if it's the subclass that's more suited for close-ranged combat, or if it's the newer variation with Plasma Ability's moveset imbued inside it." He clicked his tongue as he glared up to Kracko. "For Carby's sake, I sincerely hope it's the latter. Kracko's best fought from a distance, that trigger-happy jerk…"

Meanwhile, as the Cappy siblings continued to argue, Spark Kirby could only sigh atop his Warp Star before glancing down to the base of the mountain and sticking his tongue out at a furious King Dedede, who'd began to show the first signs of impending panic in his eyes when he realized that Kirby had managed to absorb Kracko's lightning attack.

Good. The king had definitely realized by now that witnessing his sworn nemesis getting a Copy Ability was always the game changer in a fight.

Kirby returned his gaze to Kracko, before frowning slightly when he observed something unusual. Not about Kracko — the demon beast was slightly stunned that his attack had been stopped, but other than that showed no visible reaction. Instead, it was of the hatchling trailing behind him. She appeared unnerved at seeing his new appearance, the hatchling staying in one specific spot as she stared at Kirby.

Unfortunately for her, Kracko soon realized that as well. Viciously narrowing his eye, he charged towards the hapless hatchling, who realized a little too late that she was about to get a face-full of cloud to her beak.

Oh no, you don't! Spark Kirby bristled, feeling static build up around him before unleashing the built-up charge in a laser-like attack aimed right at Kracko. Due to not charging as much as the absolute maximum due to time pressure, he'd fired out the less powerful Plasma Laser instead of the strongest attack that could be shot at maximum charge, Plasma Wave.

Not that it mattered much. The Plasma Laser was still incredibly effective, the greenish-teal laser slicing right through Kracko's lower body, causing the monster to howl in inhumane pain.

"Yes!" Bun yelled in triumph from below as the sky lit up an eerie green at Kirby's onslaught, making Kracko's pain of enduring the searing taste of his own medicine that much more satisfying. "Kirby's able to hurt him!"

"Go get him, Kirby!" Fumu encouraged with a fist pumped to the sky. "You can do it!"

Meta Knight continued to wordlessly peer up to the brightened sky, his hand hovering away from his sword's hilt.

The attack and close call managed to stun Kracko long enough for Dyna Blade's hatchling to recover from her shock and dive away to safety. She appeared visibly relieved and shot Kirby a thankful glance as she made her turn away from the demon beast.

Kracko didn't relent, however. Now with his guard up, he let out a vicious scream and charged right towards Kirby, ignoring the hatchling and focusing on his new priority.

Gotcha!

Spark Kirby smirked as he crouched down, moving his feet rapidly to begin to build up static charge. In less than a few seconds, a glowing ball of energy surrounded him. "Poyooo!" he announced as Kracko rapidly began to fill his vision. Take this, you scum!

Thrusting his hands out, Spark Kirby sent the ball of plasma flying, the force of the blast so immense that Kirby found himself knocked back from the recoil as he launched it. He then held his breath as the Plasma Wave flew through the darkened skies, aimed at one very unfortunate cloud monster.

But Kracko wasn't a moron.

He'd pre-empted a second attack, and when he saw the attack coming from his front, Kracko immediately changed his course and narrowly dodged the destructive orb of plasma, the ball of cold energy passing so close to him that it grazed one of his golden spikes.

Kirby yelped as Kracko managed to complete his swoop and managed to get within close range of his star. With a vicious expression, Kracko began to use his twirling beam attack to stun his opponent, moving while firing the electric waves for maximum coverage.

Only just barely escaping the swiping bolts of sparks by rapidly swerving in and out, Kirby grimaced. It's no darn use at all, he thought with despair as he brought the star around, circling to Kracko's back and buying himself a few precious seconds to think about the situation on hand before Kracko could turn around. He's smart enough to dodge all my electric attacks now that he knows that he can beat hurt by them. That really sucks!

If he didn't come up with some sort of a trump card soon, Kracko was going to turn the tide, especially since Kirby had now brought the fight to him. Being at a scarily close range to Kracko had its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, he could actually land an attack on Kracko, something he couldn't do prior when he was stuck on the ground. On the other hand, Kracko was now able to have a much easier time aiming his shots since his target was at a much closer proximity to him.

It was at that point that he caught sight of Dyna Blade's hatchling, the yellow bird fluttering in the background. Trying his best not to give anything away to the giant cloud beast within close proximity to him, Spark Kirby made a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree aerial loop-de-loop, waving at the hatchling at the height of his upside-down loop to catch her attention.

Sure enough, she perked up and noticed the unusual turn. Kracko didn't, just as Kirby had planned, since he'd assumed that the maneuver was used to dodge his lightning attacks. With a wink, Kirby made a passing glance towards Kracko, hoping that the message was clear.

Distract Kracko… together.

Thankfully, she understood. With a sharp turn, the hatchling let out a savage cry, charging right at Kracko. "Chiiirrrppppp!" the shrill noise rang throughout the skies, immediately distracting Kracko from his pursuit of Kirby and his yellow star.

The sound of crackling could be heard as his outer golden needles began to vibrate slightly, the arcs of electricity jumping from one metal spike to the next a clear warning sign. This was enough for the bird to immediately panic, pitching down into a dive.

Just in time.

A split second later, Kracko fired a blast of electricity horizontally, right at the spot that the hatchling had been flying at before sensing the oncoming danger. This had differed from the bolts of lightning he'd sent out previously — unlike the prior lightning strikes, he'd charged up this one, resulting in a two concentrated blasts of pure current slicing through the sky to the cloud's left and right.

But he wasn't done. Just as the hatchling was about to heave a sigh in relief, Kracko immediately followed up with two more concentrated electric blasts to his top and bottom, the bottom one almost striking the hatchling. She had only survived by executing an immediate halt in mid-air, extending her wingspan so that the air resistance could slow her down before she ran right into the beam of high-power electrons and ended up vaporized.

Two more attacks came from the charged Kracko. One to his top-left and bottom-right, and one to his top-right and bottom-left. Much to the demon beast's anger, Dyna Blade's hatchling had been able to dodge it all. Even more insultingly, she had deliberately taunted him right as his charge wore off, opening her beak and sticking her tongue out.

That was it.

Kracko shook with anger, the metallic spikes on the edge of his outer cloud-like body grinding against one another. The white bubbly clouds that surrounded Kracko's eye slowly began to turn a dark gray, the eye itself appearing triumphant as Dyna Blade's hatchling stared upwards in confusion.

Like mother, like daughter. He was going to ensure that they both met their ends today, here on this mountain range.

"C-Chirp?" the hatchling hesitantly squeaked before a literal river of water rained down upon her.

Kracko smirked—as best as a being with one eye was able to smirk, at least—as Dyna Blade's hatchling struggled to flap her wings against the torrential downpour which rained from his body, her upwards motion the only thing preventing her from being forced to the ground and flattened against it by the force of the water. He'd elected to use the attack with the greatest coverage so as to trap her. And what better way to do that… than to be an actual storm cloud.

If that measly bird was going to use her swift reflexes to dodge his lightning, then Kracko was going to make sure that her swift flying skills wouldn't be quite so swift. With the excess water on her feathers weighing down her wings, she would soon be unable to fly effectively, if at all, which would leave the drenched bird wide open for a well-aimed lightning bolt attack.

Sadistic pleasure could be seen in his crazed eye as Kracko let even more rainwater fall directly from his cloud. You think you're a hero, avenging your mother? You are dead wrong! No one in the universe has managed to attack the Great Kracko and live… you are no exception!

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" Dedede cheered with exuberant glee, hitting Escargon in the head with each 'yes'. "Get that bird, Kracko! Any friend of Kirby needs to perish along with him!"

"Yo-your majesty!" Escargon tried to splutter, the bottom of his body sloshing around the increasingly muddy ground. "This whole place is flooding!"

"Be quiet, Escargon! It's just runoff water! Don't ruin my mood!"

The ones up by the cliff, however, were not cheering at Kracko's new strategy.

"Oh no!" Fumu cried as she saw Dyna Blade's hatchling thrashing in the vortex of water, the concentrated rainfall coming from Kracko looking almost like a waterspout. "Dyna Blade's hatchling is in trouble!"

A snort could be heard from Meta Knight as he laughed openly — a booming, low-pitched humorless laugh. "On the contrary, Fumu…" he said cryptically, much to the Cappies' confusion.

"I don't get it!" Bandana exclaimed upon hearing other Meta Knight's unusual prediction. "What does he mean by…"

He trailed off upon seeing his own Kirby rolling on the ground in laughter. "Ahahaha!" Kirby convulsed as he looked up at the sight. "Oh, man… Kracko's an idiot!"

"Um… Kirby?"

Spear Kirby ignored Bandana, the puffball continuing to cackle as he uncontrollably pounded the rocky floor. "Hahahaha! Why would you even do something like that? You're shooting yourself, Kracko!"

But Kracko didn't hear any of this, and it wasn't just because of the fact that he was too far away to discern any of their voices. Right now, the beast was currently in his own little world — one that consisted only of himself and the struggling hatchling beneath him, the one he intended to crush with the torrential downpour he was precipitating.

Muhahahaha! The cloud laughed in his mind as he saw the bird continue to thrash up against his downward current. Resistance is futile! You think you can beat me? You are WRONG! Pay for your insolence, scum! Lord Nightmare will soon rule the universe forever, and there's not a thing you can do about it!

"Poyo!"

A shrill cry caused Kracko to turn slightly, his eye catching a glint of neon greenish-teal as it headed in his direction. The hatchling ceasing her vertical struggle against his onslaught of rainwater and using his brief distraction to fly horizontally out of the vortex of water confirmed Kracko's fear.

The hatchling was a diversion from the start. She always had been.

Damn you, Star Warrior! He immediately bounced higher into the air to avoid the Plasma Wave attack. Hahaha! Kracko laughed viciously once he was about fifty feet above where the attack was aimed. Did you really think that you could get me with a mere distraction like… what?

Kracko's thoughts trailed off, the cloud finding himself promptly confused when he saw that Spark Kirby still had a cocky grin on his face even though his opponent was out of his Plasma Wave's attack range.

"Poyo, poyo, poyo!" Kirby yelled with an exultant grin.

'Hey, Kracko! Did you know that water conducts electricity?' was the translation.

Kracko glowered at the words of the taunting Star Warrior. Ignorant fool. What is that brat even talking about? Everybody knows that water's able to conduct… wait, no!

Far too late did Kracko realize his mistake.

With a look of terror, his eye darted down to see that although he'd stopped using his rain attack the instant the hatchling had freed herself from the water blast, there was so much water in his cloud that a significant amount of it was still exiting his outer cloud due to gravity.

In other words, the stream of water was still raining down from his outer body.

Spark Kirby hadn't been aiming at him with his Plasma Wave. He had been aiming for the swirling vortex of water that he'd dropped on Dyna Blade's hatchling all along.

Even with the receding water, the Plasma Wave hit its mark, catapulting right into the waterspout and dissipating into the wall of liquid. In a panic, Kracko tried to move away with what little time he had left, but the stream of water was still intact even as he moved, making it practically the equivalent of someone moving a barrel of gunpowder when a trail to it had already been lit.

In both cases, an explosion was inevitable.

The electrical circuit was closed, completing as the electric voltage from the Plasma Wave was shot into a highly conductive liquid — saltwater rain. This resulted in the immense current taking the path of least resistance, immediately being conducted up through the rainwater and into Kracko, the blast of electricity electrocuting the demon beast as he let out a deafening scream.

Bun grinned, the sound from above like a symphony to him and his sister. "Alright! Kirby's got this!"

"Indeed he does." Meta Knight spoke his first confirmatory words since making note of Kracko's fatal mistake.

"Look!" Fumu pointed up, rubbing her eyes at the unusual sight. "Kracko's… shrinking!"

Sure enough, the dark gray clouds that had surrounding Kracko's eye since he'd began using the water attack that ended up being his downfall all dissipated into a mist of vapor from the sheer heat of the electricity that had been channeled into him.

All that was left of Kracko when the electric attack finally ceased was surprisingly little. The numerous golden spikes, his outer layer of clouds that doubled as his body, the actual maelstrom of gray clouds that surrounded the entire mountain which Kracko had controlled and used as cover from Kirby's battle with Dyna Blade all the way till now — all of it was gone, leaving behind Kracko's true form.

A singular white eye.

Furthermore, as a final irony, the Lightning Demon Beast's fate was sealed thanks to him being paralyzed by the very element he controlled — electricity. The eye was literally stuck in mid-air, incapacitated from the electric current that shorted out his own body. He was writhing and rotating his pupil, but otherwise unable to move.

It was over. There was nary a thing he could do. Spark Kirby knew this and thus heaved a sigh of relief as he brought the star he was controlling upwards to meet the impotent Kracko face-to-face.

The yellow hatchling fluttered up to Kirby's side, giving him a single nod of her head. The message was clear.

Time to end this.

As Dyna Blade's hatchling wordlessly fired a single feather out from her wing in the style that a Birdon would use to attack, Spark Kirby crouched down and built up static, preparing to fire a supercharged Plasma Wave like no other.

"Pooyyoooo!" A firm, unwavering expression was on his face as he addressed Kracko. This is for Dyna Blade, you monster!

The force of the Plasma Wave that Kirby fired from his arms was immense, the electric ball propelling forward with a sonic boom, quickly swallowing up the feather and sending it flying along with the orb of plasma at supersonic speeds.

When the combined attacks hit the helpless Kracko, the demon beast let out an inhumane screech. The rapidly spinning feather cut his eye, which only made the Plasma Wave that engulfed him that much more painful as he disintegrated from the inside-out.

It can't end… like this! Kracko pathetically squealed in agony as his vision began to go white. His final thoughts were primal, the demon beast refusing to accept his fate, futilely trying to hold on even as his single organ began to break apart.

I cannot be… defeated… I refuse! I am… Nightmare's greatest cre… gack… creatio-aaahhhhhhhHHHH!

Even Dyna Blade's hatchling averted her eyes from the gruesome sight at the end.

An eye for an eye, Kirby grimly thought, witnessing the eye that was once Kracko exploding into tiny pieces as the Plasma Wave attack detonated with a massive blast. This is for cruelly shooting down Dyna Blade! And for almost frying me in the process too!

A happy chirp from the bird flying beside him made it all worth it.

Spark Kirby then smiled in relief as he heard the sound of resounding cheers from Fumu and Bun down below, before scowling when the dissenting opinions of a certain king immediately followed.

"Noooooo!" Dedede yelled as he clasped onto the bobble hat atop his head. "That Kirby's done gone and ruined my Kracko!" he hollered, invariably strangling Escargon by the cuff of his neck in his uncontrollable rage yet again.

"Y-your majesty! I can't breathe…"

"Yarghhhhh! My eight million deden! It's nothing but toast… my investment's all flushed down the drain again!"

As Dedede began to take his anger out on Escargon, he failed to notice Spark Kirby's eyebrow twitch.

A shot of teal lightning fired down and hit Dedede right in the head, shocking him.

"What the—" he quickly glanced up in hope that Kracko might still be alive, only to flail and duck when another bolt of lightning came down upon him.

Dedede shook, falling to the ground and stuttering, "S-Since when did Kirby become Kracko!?"

"Since now, maybe!" Escargon yelped as the snail jumped to dodge the next Lightning Strike attack, one of Spark Kirby's moves that was eerily similar to one of Kracko's attacks.

"Let's get out of here!" Dedede cried as he got onto his feet, grabbing hold of Escargon and making a run for it. But unfortunately, less than three steps in, he lost his footing and began to tumble down the steep incline, rolling down from the base of the mountain all the way to ground level, a distance of more than a hundred meters in altitude. "Yarrrgggghhhhh! I'll get you for this, Kirby!" the chubby king yelled as he continued to roll all the way to the bottom.

With a satisfied smile, Spark Kirby dropped his ability, turning back to a pink coloration and gently brought the star he was standing on back to the cliffside, with Dyna Blade's hatchling following him.

The very moment he stepped foot on solid ground, Kirby found himself immediately glomped by Fumu. "Thank goodness you're safe!" she said. He returned the gesture, hugging the distraught Cappy girl as he consoled her.

It was probably one of the few times that Kirby would be able to see the hot-headed girl all emotional, so he might as well make the moment count.

When they broke the embrace, Kirby quirked his head when he saw that the hatchling had perched herself by Dyna Blade's nest.

Her mother's nest.

Raising up a hand to request for privacy, Kirby ran towards the bird as the Cappies and Meta Knight stayed behind.

Kirby failed to notice that Meta Knight's eyes glowed briefly green before he turned away and looked to the horizon.

When Kirby reached back to the nest, the yellow hatchling had her wings by the sides of her hips, the top of her beak opened very slightly in a somewhat sassy manner that almost made it seem that the young child was taunting him.

"Chirp!" she cried.

To Kirby's surprise, he was able to hear the translation of the bird's cry in his head once again — just like what'd happened before with Dyna Blade's declaration of battle. This time though, the voice was that of a young and carefree girl.

"It's finally over…"

Kirby almost keeled over in shock. "Poyo!" Yo-you can talk as well?

"As well?" she repeated in an amused tone. "Oh, come on now…" The young hatchling hopped over to Kirby, a twinkle in her eyes as she stopped in front of the Star Warrior. "Don't you recognize me, Kirby?"

"Poyo!" Kirby excitedly raised an arm as he answered her. Of course I do! You're Dyna Blade's hatchling, aren't you?

"Wrong guess! Tee hee! To be fair, I kind of expected that you'd answer my question with that, but your guess is incorrect!"

"Poy?" Kirby cocked his head in confusion. What was she talking about? She was obviously Dyna Blade's hatchling — the one whose kidnapping had started this whole ordeal in the first place!

…wasn't she?

As if responding to that insane thought, the yellow bird strutted forward with a massive taunting grin decorating her face, one which made it clear that something was clearly up. "I'm stunned, Kirby. How can you not remember me when I'd literally just introduced myself to you less than an hour ago?"

Kirby was even more puzzled by the indignant tone that the hatchling was now using. Just what was she getting at? He was beginning to feel like everyone was in on the joke except for him, and that the resulting punchline was going to hit him as hard as a truck that was out of control because of that.

"No more guesses? Okay then, fine by me. Curtains to the guessing game, I suppose. It's me…" she began as she puffed her fluffy chest out, patting it with one wing before finishing her introduction, "…Dyna Blade!"

Not paying close attention, Kirby nodded at her with a smile. When his brain actually comprehended the hatchling's words though, he immediately performed a double-take, his eyes hovering to the still metal beast on the ground before he frowned at the young bird.

"Poyo…" he muttered darkly. Ha, ha, very funny. What a morbid joke, naming yourself after your mother.

The hatchling chirped again, throwing a miniature tantrum as she stomped her talons on the ground. "Hey! I'm being serious, Star Warrior! I really am Dyna Blade! Me and that broken husk on the ground were once one and the same!" Upon seeing Kirby fold his arms at her crazy remarks, she let her beak fall open and wheezed out a reluctant sigh.

"I'm going to have to prove it to you, aren't I?"

Kirby gave her a deadpan nod. "Po-yooo!" What do you think?

She folded her wings, huffing as she began talking. "When you made yourself comfortable on my head, we had an excellent chat about worms. And you, party-pooper that you were, said that they weren't that tasty." She shot a wry grin at Kirby as his mouth fell open. "How could you, honestly? They're gourmet grub…"

To say that Kirby was stunned speechless was an understatement. Dyna Blade's hatchling had literally recounted something that only Dyna Blade herself would know. Which meant that either the hatchling had somehow made an inexplicable, one-in-a-million chance lucky guess…

…or she was telling the truth.

And frankly, Kirby was inclined to believe the latter, given how confident she appeared. "Po-poyo?" he finally managed to stutter at the hatchling. But… how are you… alive? And here… like literally here, in the world of the living? Before he could finish the maelstrom of questions which swirled up in his head, he found himself forced to wring the sides of his head to help mitigate the oncoming migraine.

Actually, correction… the more important question is… how are you and your hatchling the same person?! Kirby clutched his head even more as his thoughts ran into conspiracy theories. This makes absolutely zero sense! Just what is going on here? Am I going nuts!?

The young Dyna Blade giggled as Kirby flailed about in a mild panic at the revelation, fluffing up her feathers as she gazed into the puffball with soft blue eyes. "Well, how do you think the legends of me have passed on for so long? I'm sure that the locals here have always mentioned the tale of me raising a hatchling once every century…"

That much was certainly true. Kirby knew that. But then, he didn't see a correlation with the legends and what she'd just admitted…

Seeing Kirby still perplexed, her eyes glinted mischievously, with the kind of face that a magician had on their visage before they revealed their glamourous trick. "And yet, not once have they ever asked the most obvious question of all — why aren't there more than one Dyna Blade if we keep proliferating? The answer is simple… because my hatchling becomes my new body."

What.

Kirby felt a fuse blow in his brain, his open jaw now his default expression.

"Don't look at me like that!" she chided, shaking her head as she took mild offense from Kirby's body language. "There's a reason for everything, you know? This is actually why I lay a single egg once every hundred years. To bring forth a new life which will become me. Haven't you noticed that I'm incredibly protective of my own child? Pretty obvious why now, huh? After nurturing it like my own daughter, I eventually merge my spirit with it when the time comes, discarding my aging body and gaining the memories and experiences of my former hatchling, as well as its body."

She took a step forward, looking up to the sky. "And then, like a phoenix… I rise anew from the ashes."

Kirby finally managed to stutter a reply, adding his own statement to all of Dyna Blade's hatchling—no, the reborn Dyna Blade's—chirps. "Poyo!"

But that doesn't make sense, he exclaimed. All this talk about souls! How can you merge with your hatchling?

"My hatchling is actually sentient." Kirby couldn't help but feel creeped out at how the young hatchling, with Dyna Blade's soul bound into it, kept on referring to her hatchling as another person. It was probably the melodramatic face that she had while speaking in such a young body. "But when my soul is transferred over into her body, I become her. She becomes me, as well. That personality doesn't just go away, you see. It simply becomes a part of me."

"So to sum it up," Kirby finally managed to splutter in awe. "You're a spirit who's constantly being reborn…"

"That's quite right," she confirmed, "Every one of my childhoods has led a different life. My current personality is but an amalgamation of every single one of those childhoods and experiences, combined into one spirit as my aging soul is reborn anew into every hatchling as they mature."

"Poyo?" So this isn't the first?

"Hee! I've done this numerous times in the past. But never before was I forced into a new body at this young of age and maturity. But alas, I had no choice… if I had allowed myself to die by the hands of that demon beast, the cycle of rebirth would be broken forever!" Her voice broke and turned uneasy. "It almost happened once, many centuries ago… I'd rather not have it happen again."

That's terrible, Kirby said reassuringly. I expect that you'd grown used to his whole birth and rebirth cycle by then?

Young Dyna Blade looked quite perturbed at his words. "In a sense, you are somewhat right," she finally nodded. "Although, I must emphasize that this constant cycle really isn't by my choice…"

To Kirby, the largest irony about this development was that he had remembered Fumu mentioning something like this when they were discussing about Dyna Blade on the way to Whispy's Forest hours prior.

"It is foretold that once every century, Dyna Blade will awaken to nurture its young. Only when its child has fully matured will it go back into hibernation. This cycle continues on for century after century, with each subsequent generation passing down the tale of Dyna Blade to their descendants…"

Fumu had quoted those words from the resident Cappy historian, Professor Curio, while simultaneously geeking out about the impact of a legend that transcended time like this one. But never had Kirby expected that those innocuous words would come back to haunt him with a roaring vengeance.

Albeit in this case, the legend had ended up being a blessing in disguise. Kirby knew that he wouldn't have forgiven himself for letting Dyna Blade down if Kracko had actually succeeded in killing her off for good.

"Poyo…" Kirby murmured. At least you're alive…

"You are wrong." Kirby was stunned when the young Dyna Blade denied his statement. "I'm afraid Dyna Blade is quite dead. As you can see over there…" She pointed towards the broken body of her former self. "…quite dead."

He vigorously shook his head. "Poy-yoooo!" But that's not you, Kirby protested. Not anymore, at least!

"Is that really the case? Because I think your friends think otherwise…"

Kirby slapped his forehead at that startling admission. Of course! That was what she was getting at. "Poyo!" So I have to do is tell them that you're not dead, then!

"You sure about that? You can't speak the Cappy language!" Young Dyna Blade did a little twirl around as she pointed that fact out, the small bird adding in a mischievous wink for good measure. "So for better or worse, you are unable to tell your little Cappy companions about this surprisingly optimistic turn of events." Her gaze turned contemplative as she looked right at the Star Warrior. "So I suppose that this will be our little secret, Kirby. Just between you and me. Please, let them continue to think that Dyna Blade is dead, no matter how tough it would be for them to cope with that presumption."

"Po-poyo!" What… w-why!?

Seeing Kirby with a troubled expression at her request, she reached out with a wing to console him. "It's better this way…"

"Poooy!" He firmly shook his head, angrily flinging his arms to the side. No, it's not!

"Oh, so naïve…" the hatchling wistfully sighed. "But in reality, life isn't always a bed of roses. Sometimes, you just have to be cruel to be kind. Life is like that, Kirby. You never know when it ends. Besides, it'll be able to throw Nightmare off my scent, at the very least."

Young Dyna Blade sharply gazed up. "That is, if he doesn't spill the beans." Kirby followed her eye, only to lay his eyes on a familiar stoic masked knight. "That Meta Knight… honestly, he'd always acted however he so pleased. Such an unbelievable pain…" Kirby heard her murmur in a disapproving tone, almost the sort of voice that a headmaster would use to lecture a misbehaving student. He could only quirk his head in confusion, eliciting a laugh from the small hatchling.

"Heh! You aren't the only Star Warrior in Dream Land! I can tell you that much!" She haughtily stretched her wings, letting out a yawn. "Ah, come on! Is it not blatantly obvious that Sir Meta Knight is the other one?"

"Poyo!?" Kirby's jaw dropped. Meta Knight… is like me?

Dyna Blade chuckled, laughing at the puffball's startled reaction. "Now that would be telling, wouldn't it? If you really want to know more, please do ask him about it. I think I'll let that glorious warrior, Sir Meta Knight, explain it on his own. It really isn't my story to tell…"

"Poyo!" An exasperated retort from Kirby. But I can't speak to him! Unlike you, he doesn't understand me!

Young Dyna Blade coughed and sharply looked away with a tinge of red on her cheeks. Had it not been for that, Kirby might have legitimately thought that her reaction was from a strep cough and not out of embarrassment.

That, and the fact that Dyna Blade was using telepathy for translated speech, which meant that a hoarse voice had nil impact to her words.

"Well… about that…" she darted her eyes about, eventually choosing to put her feet down and change the subject. "Ah… forget I said that, alright? I think that he'll tell you when the time is right. It's certainly his style…"

Kirby couldn't help but nod, shooting a glance towards the knight. That much certainly was true.

"Anyway, it looks like this nest has done its job. No more hatchling for me to raise, after all." Young Dyna Blade's voice turned somber as she looked towards Kirby with a sober expression. "See you around…"

Kirby immediately broke out of his stupor, running towards the bird. "Poyo!" he cried with desperation, grabbing ahold of some of her yellow feathers. Wait! Don't go! Please don't go, Dyna Blade!

"I told you, Kirby…" The merry and jovial tone that Young Dyna Blade had kept up for the whole conversation suddenly vanished with those four words, her face now utterly forlorn as she spoke in a drab manner. "You've already avenged me when you destroyed Kracko. So just let the legend of Dyna Blade go. As far as anyone is concerned, Dyna Blade died right here on this mountain, protecting her hatchling from Nightmare's demon beast."

"Poy, poyo!" Kirby stamped his foot, his eyes growing misty at the lies that he was hearing. No! That's not true, and you know it! So why choose to hide like that! Why…?!

The small hatchling delicately released herself from Kirby's grip, gently patting the top of his head with her wing to console Kirby, looking like he was close to breaking a tear. "I have my reasons, Kirby. If not for your sake, at least keep up the masquerade for mine…" She gave one last fleeting look back at the puffball before she left, taking off to the sky.

Kirby could only wordlessly stare at her as she gained altitude, eventually waving one of his stubby arms. Seeing him bid his farewell, Dyna Blade smiled, the hatchling letting out a tweet that rang out across the mountain.

"Destiny and fate has ordained you for great things. So may the Stars be with you always, young'un…"

It was truly a shame that all everyone except for Kirby could discern from that as she flew away from the nest was a, "Chirp! Chirp~".

Bun looked up at the retreating bird, shielding his eyes from the now visible sun that quickly made its presence known after all the dark gray storm clouds had subsided. "There it goes," he murmured.

"Dyna Blade's final legacy…" Fumu said, blinking her green eyes as they followed the bird. "Her young child… the one she wrecked Cappy Town to protect… it's all that's left…"

Meta Knight didn't even bother to look at the flying hatchling, turning towards the mountain trail and gesturing the other Cappies to follow along. "I think that's more than enough for today. It's time to return back to Cappy Town. Your parents must surely be worried."

Kirby narrowed his eyes but acceded to the request, the puffball slowly following behind Fumu and Bun as they descended the mountain.

"You know, Sir Meta Knight… Kirby was talking to Dyna Blade's hatchling, just like he did with Dyna Blade." Fumu muttered her observation, causing Kirby to freeze in his tracks.

"Yes. He was." The masked knight didn't reply any further beyond those simple words, continuing to walk forward silently.

"I wonder how they can communicate? And why?" Fumu mused before relapsing back into silence, the girl evidently thinking about her question deep in her mind.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Kirby continued to trek on until his ears heard Bun mutter a comment.

"Man, I wish I knew what Dyna Blade and her hatchling were saying to Kirby…"

Oh, trust me, Kirby scornfully thought with a rare frown as he kicked a pebble along the trail. You don't want to know.

He still couldn't stop a sour feeling from erupting in his stomach. So what if Dyna Blade had lived in the end?

No one would ever know.

On Dyna Blade's own admission, she'd wanted to keep her survival a secret. And besides, how she had managed to survive against Kracko was so ludicrous that no one would ever believe it, even if Kirby somehow had a way to communicate it to the Cappies.

To the world at large, he would have failed to protect her.

Did that really count as a victory?

Kirby silently walked, the sounds of shuffling footsteps the only thing permeating his mind when he discovered that he couldn't answer the question.

Lost in his thoughts, neither he nor anyone else were able to notice the two eavesdroppers who were still lurking at Dyna Blade's nest.

"Hooray! Carby managed to beat Kracko!" Bandana cheered, "And to make things even better, Dyna Blade's hatchling is now safe and sound! All's well that ends well, right Kirby?" he asked, before trailing off when he saw the hardened look on his friend's face. "Kirby…?"

"All's well that ends well?" Spear Kirby shook his head with a somber expression, his eyes lingering on the stiff body of Dyna Blade far down below, long forgotten by the hatchling that had flown westwards. "Not by a long shot, Bandana. Not by a long shot."

He beckoned Bandana to the edge of the cliff from the back of the nest. "But you are right about one thing. This mess is over… for now, at least. Let's get out of here before someone sees us."

As the duo used Helicopter Spear to descend from the mountain in a different direction from the Cappies' mountain trail, Spear Kirby was able to get a good look at Dyna Blade's hatchling. The bird was flying with a jovial expression, quite unbefitting of one who'd just lost her mother.

Guess she let go of her mom really quickly, Kirby thought before frowning. Now if only the villains after Void Termina could let go of him that quickly as well…

Because if the Jambastions didn't let go, a problem would soon arise. One which was rapidly becoming apparent to the hero of Dream Land. One which he himself wasn't sure if he was able to solve.

He just needed more proof of concept. The Meta Knight sword duel had been his first sign of something being off, and the brutality of how Kracko had been finished off moments earlier was strike number two.

Strike numero duo.

Spear Kirby's gaze lingered on the mountainside.

He just needed to observe them one more time.

A final confirmation.


To this very day, Ribbon still had a lingering phobia of aliens invading her home planet.

That fear of outsiders storming her home had stemmed back to the horrific Dark Matter invasion of Ripple Star from seven years prior. The memories of the terrifying enemy engulfing all of her home planet, of brainwashing everyone who she knew, of unrelentingly chasing her down when she'd escaped from Ripple Star with the Crystal… now that wasn't an experience that one forgot easily.

And now, Ribbon found herself breaking into a cold sweat at the sight that she saw up in the sky above her. Foreboding, and for good reason. It reminded her of the apprehensive feelings that she'd first felt seven years ago when Dark Matter had come knocking at her doorstep. That tense feeling in her gut was also the reason that Ribbon had abruptly ceased all teasing of her good friend, when just moments before she had been thoroughly messing with Adeleine about her persistent sneezing fit.

A resolute expression was firmly adjourned on the pink fairy's face as she warily gazed at the multitude of spacecraft that she'd just spotted hovering on the outskirts of Ripple Star's upper atmosphere. Though those spacecraft might appear relatively small to the naked eye of a person situated on the ground, Ribbon knew better than to casually dismiss them from being a threat. An object was always smaller from a distance, and besides, their sheer numbers made it quite clear that they weren't here just for a fun intergalactic tour.

"What's that, Ribbon?"

The fairy fluttered around at Adeleine's words, her voice turning grave as she joined the artist in looking up at the sky with a feeling of dread settling in her stomach. "That, my dear Addie, is very bad news."

As if her words were a bad omen, the moment they'd left her lips, the gusty winds began to pick up speed as several of the spaceships began to touch down, descending down from the stratosphere in a united, coordinated manner.

Was this fleet of ships a show of force from the outsiders to intimidate the citizens of Ripple Star? Ribbon was pretty sure that it actually was by this point.

"Adeleine," she muttered in a hushed voice, subtly glancing towards the approaching ships. "You think you're ready to take these guys on?"

"Sure!" The painter gave her friend a thumbs-up, all traces of their earlier discord gone without a trace. "But how are you so sure that they're hostile?"

Ribbon folded her arms as she looked at the legions of spacecraft that were rapidly losing altitude, preparing to make their landing. "It's just a hunch," she finally admitted.

And not a moment too soon, for it appeared that the first spacecraft of the group had just touched down on the ground. Forcing her inner turmoil aside, Ribbon struggled to keep her facial expression calm as she and Adeleine tentatively approached the craft.

"Hello? Who's there?" she called out, simultaneously using an arm to feel the familiar shape of the Crystal Gun snugly tucked under her red clothes. If these people were truly hostile, then they were going to learn firsthand that they would have a long fight ahead of them if they wanted to take Ripple Star.

"Oh my gosh! Did we cause a panic? Yikes, I'm so sorry!"

Needless to say, hearing a panicked chirp and subsequently seeing a small tiny being was something that she had most certainly not expected to witness after witnessing the impressive landing display of the spacecraft fleet. "Apologies if we caused any trouble! Please don't mind us!" the tiny robed alien squeaked in an apologetic voice as he jumped down from the craft's exit door.

Adeleine tilted her head as she stared blankly at the robed being. "Um… who are you?" she finally brought herself to ask. Honestly, they reminded her of the numerous gray N-Zs that she had seen before on her adventure with Kirby.

A small smile flickered on his face at her query. "I'm a Jammerjab specialist of the Jambastion Cult's infantry division, platoon sergeant of Platoon Three!" he introduced with pride, instinctively slamming down a staff which he was holding in his right arm down onto the ground. "Sergeant Bobby is my designation!"

"So you're basically admitting that you're some sort of army," Ribbon deadpanned.

Bobby was mortified by her suggestion. "But we come in peace, honest! We're just here on Ripple Star to restock our necessary supplies, not to attack it! We have a long journey ahead of us!"

Ribbon's eyes hovered back and forth between the Jammerjab and the armada of parked spaceships. "Right…" she muttered sarcastically, wincing as she bit her tongue by accident.

The sergeant didn't catch her sarcasm, however, which resulted in him nodding his head in agreement. "Yep!" he replied with a salute. "But if you want to ask more specific questions, perhaps you can try speaking with my commanding officer instead?"

As Bobby finished his words, a yellow-cloaked woman floated forward, her eyes shining a deadly yellow. "Yes, sergeant? I hear that someone here wishes to talk to me?"

The little guy immediately saluted, his entire body going as taut as a wire. "Commander Zan Partizanne! Lightning General, ma'am!" he greeted as she approached.

A small smirk was on Zan's face as she glanced to the Jammerjab who was standing at attention. "At ease, sergeant," she dismissed. However, her smile disappeared by the time she turned around to face Adeleine and Ribbon. "And who might you two girls be?" She looked at the two with a face that barely disguised her contempt. "Wait… you two were the ones who wished to see me?"

"You're the commander of these spacecraft?" Ribbon asked, cutting to the point as she physically forced herself to hold back a glare at the smug woman.

Zan laughed haughtily, holding her hand up to her covered mouth. "Ohohoho! That I certainly am. I am the Lightning General of the Jambastions, Zan Partizanne!" she introduced, bowing down in a gesture that was both courteous and scornful at the same time. "For what do you seek me out?"

Ribbon left Adeleine's side, fluttering her wings so that she ended up right in front of Zan. "I've come to request that you leave my planet alone!"

Zan coyly grinned, lifting an arm to her jaw as she seemingly contemplated the fairy's request. "Hmmmm… I suppose I can do that. After all, there's nothing here that we want but logistics and supplies for my troops."

Somehow, Ribbon didn't buy her reassuring words. It probably had something to do with the numerous foot soldiers and air artillery that were situated behind the general. But still, she allowed her hopes to get up a bit. At the very least, the commanding officer hadn't immediately declared war on the entirety of Ribbon Star when she'd approached her.

As Ribbon warily eyed Zan, the electric mage's eye fell onto the right arm of the young girl next to the fairy. She reacted with the slightest of reactions when she noticed that the artist was clutching onto the handle of a paintbrush. Her lips slowly curled upwards in amusement at the sight.

"How amusing… it appears that we're both more alike than I'd originally thought."

"Excuse me?" Adeleine cocked her head, her red beret almost slipping from her head from the movement as she heard Zan's words. "What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, it's nothing, really." Zan dissuaded, her eyes never leaving Adeleine's paint-splotched paintbrush. "An amusing thought just occurred to me, that's all," she uttered, laughing vicariously as she looked directly into the artist's eyes.

"After all, the two of us have been outcasted from where we both truly belong…"

Before Adeleine could ask the general as to what she meant by that remark, Zan whirled around, promptly giving an order to her troops. "Alright, we've slacked here long enough. You all had more than enough time to get the supplies needed for your long journey, so let's head onwards to our glorious destination. Move out, men!"

"Wait!" Adeleine called out, running forward and reaching her hand out to Zan.

But the mage simply ignored her, floating further and further away.

"Ma'am!" Bobby saluted Zan, curiosity imbued in his yellow eyes as he fell in step alongside his commanding officer. "What do you mean by that?"

"You haven't been here long ago to know," she replied cryptically to the Jammerjab Sergeant. "Why don't you ask your superiors for more details, soldier? I'm sure they'll be delighted to give you the details," the mage spat, practically hissing the word 'delighted'.

As Bobby saluted and marched away, Zan turned around to look at a puzzled Adeleine once more. "Ah, how nostalgic. Seeing that artist so clueless about the battle that will soon ravage across the cosmos… truly, a senseless fool who doesn't know her history," she mused, a brutal grin creeping onto her face.

"Achoo!"

As the mage completed her words, a loud sneeze from behind smashed the peaceful atmosphere to pieces.

"Aha! That settles the mystery once and for all, Addie!" Ribbon had a vindictive look on her face as she floated in front of Adeleine, who simply glowered back at the gloating fairy. "The reason that you'd kept on sneezing earlier is because people have indeed been talking behind your back!"

"Oh, shaddup…" Adeleine whined as she sniffled.

Zan simply snorted at the two. She didn't even care that the pink fairy had indirectly accused her on insulting her artist friend. She cared not what others thought of her. After all, in war… one could not afford to get too sentimental to anyone.

"The die might have been cast long ago, but I refuse to be held back by a stupid decision made eons in the past," she murmured as she stared solemnly up into the night sky. "Yes, the Dimension Mirror will be the game changer… it will be our chance to take back what rightfully belongs to us!"

Taking one last look at the wary denizens of Ripple Star, Zan raised an arm to recall her troops. To start a fight here would be a senseless waste of resources. Their real target was the palace in Royal Road, not this insignificant planet.

Still, before Zan left the confines of Ripple Star, she couldn't help but to let her eyes linger on the artist one last time. The piercing gaze was immediately reciprocated by the painter, who immediately looked back at her with a confused look. Finally breaking eye contact, the lightning general made preparations to get back onto the spacecraft that would take her and her troops to her destination.

The natural land high above the clouds of Popstar ruled by the People of the Sky… the Kingdom of Floralia itself.


Whispy Woods was a very sad tree.

It probably had to do with the beating that he had been handed at the hands of a foe who had the power of fire at his disposal.

He'd already had a terrible day. Firstly, a pink puffball had arrived with a bird and ate all the apples off his forest. Whispy could still remember his words.

"You don't want to face me, Whispy," he had said in a confident voice that made his leaves tremble, a dangerous glint in his eyes. "Let this hatchling have her fill. You don't want to anger her mother. I'll just keep her here for the time being until the pesky bird who wants to catch me on film is gone."

He then made a harrowing promise before puffing to the size of a balloon and floating off the top of the forest canopy. "Not to fret, though… I'll be back for her later…"

Of course, Whispy'd jumped the gun, chasing the hatchling away from the forest with his roots the very instant the puffball had left. No one ruined his forest and got away with the deed, after all.

He hadn't anticipated that the pink puffball would actually return.

Upon the pink one's return with two other Cappies, Whispy lost his temper and quickly expressed his anger by unleashing his fury on his opponent. But Whispy hadn't expected him to hold true to his word, the puffball retaliating to such an extent that he'd been thoroughly cooked to a crisp by a blazing flamethrower.

And then, just like the puffball had said, the mother bird came to his woods with a roaring vengeance. With just a few passes over his forest, the fires had been put out by the wind… but the sheer force of the winds generated by her flypast had themselves toppled dozens of trees.

The pride and joy of Whispy Woods' forest was no more. Only charred ashes, burning branches, overturned trees, and the cores of apples remained.

But to make things worse, presently a silver floating person just so happened to stop by the area and admire his ruined forest, the caped person staring at the ruined trees with piercing white eyes. "This place is burning to cinders…" the intruder muttered as his gaze swept across the forest. "Yes, the carnage of what remains of this once-vibrant place has a unique signature. I recognize it quite well…"

His voice grew dark, "It must be the work of… him."

Whispy winced when the helmeted person suddenly lost his cool, raging at the skies above with a betrayed voice. "Why do this to me? I'd repeatedly warned you not to interfere with this world! Why didn't you listen to me!?" he howled. "These guys don't deserve to be saved just because the Dimension Mirror helped you to get here! This is their place! You aren't their hero! This world doesn't deserve you! I swear on Queen Sectonia, if you interfere… you… you biased…" He suddenly choked on his voice, sniffling before screaming to the skies.

"Why them and not us? Why?!" he wailed. "Why must… the mirror torment me so…"

Whispy was finally unable to keep his face neutral in front of the raging madman. "Who… are… you?" he managed to wheeze.

Hearing Whispy's voice, he whirled around, noticing the burned-out tree at last. But instead of acknowledging the forest guardian by answering his question, he wiped his tears and floated towards him, placing one of his many palms to the bark of the charred Whispy.

While caressing the burned-out tree, the arachnid proceeded to snap, lashing out in an unusually angry voice. "Kirbyyyyy!"

Whispy simply chose to remain silent, which prompted Taranza to slam all six of his hands down on the crumbly crust of the tree in fury as he took his anger out on the helpless guardian. "Where are you hiding in this miserable copy of Planet Popstar, huh!?" The desperation in the Floralian's tone could clearly be heard. "Why are you torturing me like this!? Show yourself already, hero of the lower world!"

Right after he let out his final screech, Taranza went back to calmly stroking the burnt bark of Whispy's trunk as though nothing was wrong, almost making it seem like the outburst that had just happened was nothing more than a momentary lapse of self-control.

But the growl Taranza subsequently let out implied the opposite. "Just where are you hiding, Kirby…?"


"How would I say this, sir…"

"Cut to the chase. Do not beat about the bush with me." The voice said with a snarl, eliciting a gulp from the first speaker.

"Well…" A hesitant bite of the tongue as the first man took in a deep breath, before tumbling out the remainder of the words as hastily as he could. "It would appear that the Lightning Demon Beast Kracko just got grounded, my liege."

Forced to be the bearer of bad news, Customer Service expected many things from his boss. What he absolutely did not expect, however, was a rather amused chortle from Nightmare.

"Kracko was defeated? Oh, what joy!"

Customer Service blanched, his stoic neutral poker face falling apart as he heard his boss' mad response. Had he heard him wrongly? Were his ears playing tricks on him? "Sir! I beg your pardon! Do you have something against Kracko? I mean, this is no cause for celebration! The defeat of a high-ranking demon beast like Kracko means that we must reevaluate our strategy! I—"

"Silence."

At that single word, Customer Service stopped his flurried reply and hastily saluted. He trembled slightly, not daring to look his master in the eye. He knew that tone. That harsh, grating tone brokered no defiance, lest you wanted to be destroyed.

"Kracko's defeat is certainly a loss, but it doesn't mean that I can learn nothing from it. On the contrary, I am now intrigued by this miserable whelp of a Star Warrior. Kracko's foolishness in challenging a foe like this unprepared is a necessary sacrifice to understand more about the situation on hand." Nightmare calmly chortled, laughing off the death of his own minion like it was no big deal.

Which to be fair, it really wasn't.

"As I'd said before, the timing is no mere coincidence. Defeating a demon beast the size of Kracko is no small feat. To defy me so brazenly…" A cloaked hand slammed against the chessboard-motif table, the sound reverberating throughout the control room.

Customer Service felt a bead of sweat trickle down his forehead, and he knew that quite a few demon beasts were in a similar state of mind. Even without the PA announcement system on, many of them could hear his anger and were able to tell when Nightmare was in a bad mood.

Nightmare reached a skinny, bone-like gray finger forward, picking up a small white knight piece from a large chessboard. "So it appears that it's true… the resistance still dwells. Even as I recover from my failed gambit, they think that I have shown them a moment of weakness. The hapless fools, jumping on even the tiniest slimmer of probability just for a shot to take me on."

Still holding the chess piece in his hand, the caped figure clenched his palm around it and proceeded to squeeze it with so much force that it was crushed with an agonizing crunch sound, the former object having been reduced into fine dust that blew away when he opened his hand.

"The Galaxy Soldier Army were finished off many millennia ago, and yet they still intend on being an irritating thorn in my side? Hah! Annoying whelps! They don't know when to give up, do they?!" Nightmare let out a terrifying chortle, although the noise that expelled from his mouth sounded more like that of animals dying. "Well, I'm about to let those optimistic imbeciles know that their last hope… is about to be extinguished. Their final hope will die with their precious Star Warrior, snuffed out like the light from a candle out of wax." He snapped his fingers, clicking his tongue as he turned to his subordinate.

"Customer Service."

The dark blue-suited man straightened up immediately, acknowledging his boss within a second. "Yes, Great Nightmare!"

"I reckon that we should up the ante on Planet Popstar. Make sure to let that pathetic runt squirm."

"R-Right away, sir…" the well-dressed man rasped, grabbing ahold of his collar and adjusting it nervously. "But who should I send over to that moron Dedede, Great Nightmare sir?"

"Hmhmhmhmhm!" A vicious chuckle from Nightmare caused Customer Service to freeze in his tracks, too terrified of his master to even move a muscle. "Now, that's a good question, indeed. Which demon beast to send…" he mused, a bony finger to his chin. After what seemed like an eternity, Nightmare moved forward, his face being lit up as he went into a well-lit area of the control center.

"Enough organic monsters…" he drawled. "This time, we shall instead send in a robotic demon beast."

Customer Service nodded apprehensively, preferring not to act out of line until he was convinced that his boss' temper was firmly in check. "Of course, sir. I'll put up an immediate listing on the PA system and update you on any inorganic demon beast that volunteers for this valiant undertaking… they'll be acting in your honor, of course!"

"Excellent." Nightmare clasped his hands together, his pitch-black glasses gleaming under the lights as a vicious grin crept across the megalomaniac's visage. "The time for games is over. You might have been able to survive up until now, but now that I know where you are, miserable Star Warrior…"

His hand slammed down on the chessboard-cum-table once more, the sound reverberating throughout the entire base of Holy Nightmare Corporation.

"…I will make sure to crush you like an ant!"


Author's Note:

And that's the Dyna Blade arc completed and done with!

By word count, it's the longest arc of Terminal Paralysis thus far, which is ironic considering that very much like the Octacon battle in Chapters 3 & 4, it was completely unintended to be a story arc! The storyline here was originally meant to be more isolated and episodic, but I managed to string them together into a mish-mash of a decent coherent plot that culminated in Dyna Blade getting more screen time.

Kracko is… well, Kracko. I actually tried to incorporate more of his attacks from the games into this Kracko, since the anime's version of him… is wholly underwhelming in terms of his moveset. The actual fight's underwhelming too: once Kirby gets the Warp Star and sees the unobscured Kracko for real, he dodges a few lightning bolts, gets hit by one, recovers thanks to the Power of Friendship™, then gets the Sword Ability (why!? why Sword and not Spark?) and finishes him off with multiple Sword Beams. Yeah, kinda sloppy. Also, the way he's beaten by Kirby and Young Dyna is a sneaky reference to his battle in Kirby Star Allies, where you can damage Twin Kracko during his rain attack with an electric-based counterattack.

I somewhat copped-out with Dyna Blade's death as well, but to be fair I did foreshadow it with the legend Curio spoke of. Basically, I specifically wrote it this way to address a plot hole in the anime — namely, if Dyna Blade lays an egg every century, then why aren't there countless Dyna Blades roaming the skies, especially since Curio makes it sound as if there's only one singular Dyna Blade, in which case… what happened to all the hatchlings? Hence, I used the tale of the phoenix and the eagle to pull a rebirth story and give my own answer to this. And yes, because of this twist, the chapter title is a reference to both The Land Before Time and The Lion King. Hope all this mythology didn't feel too out of place in a Kirby fic!

Anyway, with regards to the Jambastions and Ripple Star… remember when I said in this story canon that only the Wave 1 Dream Friends assisted with the Star Allies storyline? Well, here's your first taste of future Dream Friends getting pulled in story-wise. Poor Taranza and the diabolical Nightmare get their mentions too, given that we haven't seen those two in a long time.

And if y'all don't mind, there is a question which I would like to ask my readers. Since the start of the Double Dreamland arc with Chapter 5 till now, this story has consistently had over 10,000 words per chapter, sometimes even stretching all the way to the 15K word mark and further beyond. Are they getting too long to be manageable, or do you like this update length? The long chapter length also plays some factor with the later releases, do keep in mind! I really hope to hear your responses!

I have to admit, this chapter took a while to release since I've been so busy with life recently, not to mention that I'm juggling with writing new stories. But next time, we'll start up a story arc that I've been planning up from the very beginning of this story's conception (unlike this one). So buckle up and get yourselves excited, because I fully intend to deliver on the hype! :)

Chapter Text

A/N: Due to HAL being the ultimate pre-emptive troll, this chapter contains major spoilers for the hardest difficulty of the Ultimate Choice in Wave 3 of Kirby Star Allies.

Steer clear if you don't wish to be spoiled by groundbreaking L O R E and/or haven't cleared that mode in the couple of days that have passed since the DLC dropped. Don't say I didn't warn ya! :P


Chapter 13: Double Trouble

My Adventure Log, Entry #7: Calm After the Storm

Kracko's been beat. Hooray… I guess. Oh, what's the matter? Can one tell that I sound upset just from reading the messy scrawl of my words? Well, perhaps to some extent…

Normally, hearing news of something like Kracko's defeat would elicit a cheer from me, but there's just an eerie aura about this whole affair which gives me a bad feeling — like a persistent chill that simply refuses to go away. And no, turning into Fire Kirby won't help… this is more of a psychology thing.

It was that final Plasma Wave that did it for me — the callous expression on Carby's face as he finished off Kracko without mercy. Now, that spiteful expression was the face of nightmares, a haunting vicious smirk that I want wiped from my memory banks ASAP.

yeah, I just have this ominous feeling that something's about to go drastically wrong. This nagging sensation of something being off… it's a persistent feeling of dread, constantly swirling around my mind like an oppressive demon. It's so unrelenting that the depression's taking over my thoughts and actually able to bog down even someone of my optimistic nature.

'Course, if Bandana asks if anything's the matter, I'm just going to smile and pretend that everything's alright. But no, it's not alright. A catalyst for trouble looms upon the horizon. Right now, I desperately need to confirm my suspicions and fix the issue should one crop up. This is serious. Else, the lives of everyone here might soon end up in dire jeopardy…

I've already failed the people of this Planet Popstar once… I refuse to have that happen again! And I swear that vow upon my lucky Warp Star, cross my heart!

Wary Yet Optimistic,
Kirby


"What if it's not!?"

Now, wasn't that the question of the year?

From those four words alone, the very air in the meeting room itself grew unbelievably tense. Eyes were darting around the throne room of Castle Dedede as the various befriended helpers eyed one another, trying to scan their peers' potential thoughts before making the first statement themselves lest they contradicted the majority with their opinion by recklessly stating it out before the general consensus was clear and distinct.

Of course, there was one in the room who cared naught about his image, and thus chose to speak up before any of the others.

"Well, isn't it obvious? Do you need me to spell it out for y'all? Well, if that's the case… get ready to drink up your alphabet soup, lads! If your precious little Gooey had really been shoved inside a locker in some random train station somewhere, then shouldn't retrieving him be our utmost priority as of now? Duh!"

Dedede couldn't believe that the one who had spewed out the coherent suggestion was Marx, of all people. After all, it had been the first rational statement he had said all day. Funny how the jester had dropped practically all of his goofiness and jokes when he himself had a vested interest in achieving a common goal — after all, the whole reason he was even a member of the meeting committee in the first place was because he had previously banded together with Kirby to take down the Jambastion Cult, in spite of all their differences.

"Verily, I say." Coo preened, the purple owl straightening his body to show his support. "That is a most excellent suggestion. But honestly, do we even have a choice in the matter?" he brought up, his piercing eyes sweeping across the room as he made his point. "After all, right now it is but our sole, singular lead. Doesn't that mean that we have no choice but to go for it, no matter how slim the chances of success might be?"

Dedede clenched his hands, a trickle of sweat flowing down his face. Those words struck him hard. Alas, Coo was speaking the truth, stating it out loud in spite of how bitter it had turned out to be.

Because no matter which way they looked at it, they were flat out of options.

Dedede found that his hands were tied, and now he had no choice but to attempt to find a train station scattered around a railroad line on Popstar that may or may not even have Gooey trapped in a locker… despite the very real possibility that Zan's words could be all a feint. The search was a necessary risk for Dedede to take, even in spite of the fact that it could be all for naught, or worse, end up being bait for a dastardly reverse-psychology gambit.

Right now, all Dream Land could do was what it'd always done — defend themselves from the imminent attack that they knew was coming.

It was always a defense… never offense.

Dedede scowled at the window as he pondered that thought. Dream Land had only ever reacted to an external crisis, and oftentimes the delay was crucial as the sheer power of the enemy meant that it was usually far too late to amass enough manpower to actually stop it, hence resulting in Kirby having to step in and save the day, as usual.

But Dream Land had never been proactive in times of crisis before. Always reactive, never proactive. His kingdom had never made the first move to actively prevent an oncoming attack. Admittedly, it was usually because most of the time they were always caught off guard and had zero time to prepare an adequate defense.

However, this scenario had played out differently from the norm. This time, Dedede and the many Helpers all around knew that they were coming.

The Jambastion Cult.

With the sparse information that they had now, scouting for Gooey using the conditions that Zan had blurted out was the only offensive move that they could currently make against the crazy Jambastions.

"Ohhhhh…" The silence was broken by an excited chirp from Alma the Birdon. "This is getting exciting!"

"Exciting?" Beetley narrowed his eyes, holding his horn up high. "I'll say that this has turned out to be more like a travesty than anything else!"

Alma stuck her tongue out of her beak. "Party pooper!" the Birdon groaned, extending her wingspan in what was probably meant to be a threatening display, albeit one that failed spectacularly at its job due to her bright pink palette of feathers appearing more cute than terrifying.

"Everyone, hush!" Dedede raised an arm to quell the crowd before things got too rowdy. "Let's focus on the facts that we know of before jumping to any hasty conclusions!" He raised up a closed fist, extending the first digit of his finger to show the number one. "One… the Jambastion Cult have recouped."

The second digit was then extended. "Two… Bandana and Kirby disappeared while trying to track them down, last known location — the royal palace located in the Kingdom of Floralia." From the corner of his eye, Dedede observed that a few of the helpers had tensed up at those words.

"Wait a moment… the Kingdom of Floralia? Isn't that where dear Webby got posted to?" Alma whispered to Bennett with a raised beak, one that was filled with joy. "It is, isn't it? If Webby's working under that pompous Taranza up high in the clouds, that means that we can totally ask him for help!"

"In case you haven't noticed, Webby's absent from the meeting," Bennett pointed out, leaning towards a conspicuously empty seat and gesturing to it with his horn.

Alma's beak fell in disappointment. "Aw, man!" she groaned unhappily, pecking at the feathers on her wing. "I was so looking forward to working together with him!"

"You're ignoring the fact that Webby adamantly despises you…" Bennett mumbled to the oblivious Birdon in a voice that was too soft for anyone but him to discern.

With the exception of the Beetley's final remark, Dedede had caught wind of the conversation between the two helpers. The king couldn't help but to raise a brow at the unusual coincidence. He hadn't noticed it himself until it had been brought up, but now that he thought about it… it was certainly suspicious that the Como helper working at the immediate vicinity of the brawl was absent from the meeting.

It was a suspicion that was quickly proven right when Dedede overheard Coo murmuring to himself. "Ah, the Como Helper Webby is absent," the owl bristled, "Why, I suppose that would explain the utter carnage of Comos that were littered all over the palace…"

Dedede shot a glare at Coo as the owl once again unintentionally kept what he perceived to be "unimportant information" to himself. Nevertheless, the king dismissed the new information as insignificant for now, not letting Coo's words sidetrack him from his current summary and filing away the knowledge of the Comos' defeat for later. His third finger was extended next, his palm now having three out of five fingers straightened out.

"And three… we have reason to believe that Gooey was kidnapped by Zan Partizanne, and that he is currently being held hostage in a locker placed around a train station that is located somewhere in Popstar!"

"You know, that last one's only accurate provided that the ruffian electric mage is not actually lying." Coo ruffled his feathers, pointing out the key flaw with the assumption. "It is unfortunately a risky assumption, but alas, it's all we got! Verily, I sincerely wish that we have other fallback options."

"MY CALCULATIONS CALCULATE THAT THE ESTIMATED PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS FOR THIS CURRENT PLAN OF ACTION IS A MEAGER TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT," Robert spoke with a drone, the Gim flicking his yo-yo as he grunted.

Snowy nodded her head as she heard the chances of their plan's success. "Well, twenty-five percent is still better than nothing!" she reassured, the Chilly jumping into the air and performing an Ice Sprinkle maneuver for emphasis. "At least we currently have some semblance of a plan!"

"I feel like that is not enough, though…" Drebly shook his head, his shoulders drooping slightly. "Nope, nope, nope…"

Coo, ever the analyst, chose this moment to speak up. "Well, if we ignore this most significant lead, we'll end up back at square one! A most undesirable scenario, if I do say so myself…"

"That's right!" Pitch crowed in agreement. "Besides, I want payback! That wicked mage took down Rick and Kine without an ounce of remorse! When she comes back to Popstar, I'm gonna give that Zan her just desserts for messing with my friends! No one meddles with my partners!"

Hammond, the Bonkers partner, raised an eyebrow skeptically at the minuscule Pitch's claims. "Um, no offense, but you're… so small," he grunted in a low-pitched voice. "What can you even do?"

Pitch's brow twitched at the mention of his relatively short height. "Oi, oi! Don't underestimate me because of my size! Just because I happen to be the size of a soccer ball doesn't mean that I'm automatically worthless!" he retorted. "I'll have you know that I've managed to work out a combination routine with that Broom Hatter over there! I give the Splash element, too!"

Brenda gave a nod from the far end of the room, the obsessive-compulsive cleaner sweeping the floor as she confirmed Pitch's claim. The bird was tiny, but certainly dependable.

"Anyway…" Dedede raised his voice to prevent any further wisecracking remarks from anyone in the room. "Let's put it to a vote. All in favor of Coo's proposed plan, kindly raise your hands up—"

A shrill cry suddenly filled the room, interrupting Dedede's statement (to the king's great disdain).

"Discrimination! This is blatant discrimination! I call for a minority voice!" Marx shrieked, cutting off an annoyed Dedede.

"What the blazes—" Dedede started, only to find himself get cut off as the jester continued on.

"In case you haven't noticed, I don't have arms," he pointed out, his toothy grin causing Dedede to slam his head, becoming even more disdained than he already was.

Marx quickly made sure that he was jiggling his body while balancing on his beach ball for maximum ironic effect, while making his solemn declaration simultaneously. "How do you expect me to vote without limbs, Dedede? I deserve the right to vote as well! Equality!" The jester finished off his remark by sticking his tongue out, forcing an exasperated Dedede to facepalm and groan an amendment to his previous statement.

"…all in favor of Coo's plan, say I…" an annoyed Dedede growled.

The room was then immediately swarmed with the voices of multiple simultaneous 'I's.

Dedede grunted. "Well, then. I suppose it is unanimous. We have come to a consensus." He had to physically bite his tongue to stop himself from adding the words "at last" to the end of his statement.

Glancing at the wall clock, Dedede found himself stunned silly by the time that was displayed on its hands. Had he really been kept in here for three entire hours? For some reason, Dedede had been expecting a much shorter duration… and had also expected it to be put to better use.

He'd expected too much, honestly.

"So it's settled, then. Our game plan is to source for Gooey throughout Popstar's extensive rail network." Dedede's voice hardened as he swept his eyes across the room to check that everyone was paying attention. "It's slim, but we have a chance to recover Gooey and really put a dent into whatever those Jambastions are planning should we succeed in doing so."

The occupants around the room nodded in agreement. Finally heaving a sigh as Dedede realized that he'd managed to get the rowdy group to concur on an opinion without a massive argument ensuing, the king realized that he couldn't blow this chance and hurriedly disseminated some orders. "We'll split up the tasking to cover a wider range. Every one of you is in charge of your allocated district."

Marx's eyes gleamed. "Hey! What about me! I'm not a Friend Heart helper, so I ain't in charge of any part of Popstar." A wily grin appeared on his face. "Perhaps if you were to share some authority of a portion of Popstar…"

"Can it, Marx." Dedede shot back, quickly put it a stop to that. "I'm not handing you any part of my kingdom." He then grinned savagely as he glanced towards one of the helpers. "But that doesn't mean you can't help out with this. Just go follow Drebly or something."

Dedede smirked when he saw the Driblee flinch back at the thought of the infamous jester clown joining up with him, the worried Drebly shooting him a silent plea for help, one which the king made sure to pointedly ignore — that stubborn optimist deserved the torment which he was about to suffer through. Flashing a satisfied smile at getting some well-deserved revenge against the annoying Driblee, Dedede cleared his throat and continued to address the others seated in the room.

"Anyway, we have to get on it, pronto. We have no time to waste. Because whatever it is that evil cult is planning… it's not going to be good. We better prepare ourselves for battle… because the way I see things, a bloodbath looks quite imminent in our not-so-distant future. It's not even a matter of 'if' at this point…" Dedede said, his voice turning grave.

"…it's a matter of 'when'."

He let his despairing announcement hang in the air, pausing for the helpers to absorb the dangerous intent behind his words before continuing. "They'll be coming for us alright, and I refuse to be caught with my robes down! Remember, this is the Peace Between Friends conference! We intend for my… sorry, our planet to be peaceful for eons to come!" Dedede bit his tongue at his faux pas, inwardly hitting himself for making the mistake — he was not used to sharing control with others.

"To put things nicely, no one messes with our planet and gets away with it scot-free! This time, I want Dream Land… no, Planet Popstar to be prepared for those interfering intergalactic prats!" Dedede's piercing gaze swept across the myriad of seated helpers, his hardened eyes convincing everyone about his point where his words alone might have faltered.

Seeing everyone in consensus, Dedede swung his hammer down, slamming its blunt edge against the tabletop like it was an extra-large gavel wielded by a judge. "That is all for the agenda for today. You are all dismissed. This meeting is now adjourned!" he declared, dusting off his robe as he lifted himself off of the chair, striding towards the door as he got ready to leave.

"W-Wait!"

Dedede spared a passing glance at the helper who'd spoken up, before grimacing when he realized that it was Drebly. Dedede hadn't recognized the Driblee's voice at first as the normally peppy Drebly had a worried tone for once. He raised a brow at the water-based helper who had slid up to him. "Yes…?" he muttered exasperatedly, glaring at the worried Driblee. "What do you want from me now, Drebly?!"

"Um… can you maybe rescind that statement you made earlier? Pretty please?" Drebly begged, his ocean blue eyes uncomfortably shifting back to the bouncing Marx. "I plead of you, King Dedede! Do not be so mean to me! I do not wish to be partnered with Marx… he scares me! He does, he really does!"

The king shoved the Driblee out of the way when he realized that he'd just been stopped for such an insignificant matter. He didn't even bother looking back as he walked away and left the remainder of the helpers in the meeting room behind him. They needed some time to reflect and prepare themselves for the seriousness of it all.

Walking along the corridor, he strolled over to the open balcony of his castle, sweeping his gaze across the lush plains of Dream Land from his humble alcove.

This was it. His home.

The beautiful countryside of Dream Land all seemed so peaceful from his vantage point on the balcony of Castle Dedede. He seriously doubted that any of his citizens even remotely knew of the danger that would soon come, especially considering that the Jambastion Cult had just been forced off Popstar barely a week ago. No self-respecting citizen would expect an encore attack so quickly.

Was this his fate? For Dream Land to fall to yet another unprovoked attack?

Well, they weren't going to succeed this time. Dedede firmly decided that. No one would ever take his humble kingdom of Dream Land away from him. This much, he swore to himself, going as far as to cross his heart and seal the promise for good measure.

Dedede closed his eyes, before opening his jaw wide and taking in a huge gulp of oxygen. He breathed, relishing the cool air as he inhaled it into his lungs, before exhaling an exhausted breath from his mouth with an elongated sigh.

This was going to be a long week. He could already tell.


"So that's it, then? King Dedede framed Kirby for the Dyna Blade flypast? It was all nothing but lies?"

"I don't believe this… man, I feel like crap now after what we did to Kirby. He was innocent after all!"

"Grr… that Dedede! I can't believe we fell for that darn guy's tricks again!"

"Me neither! It all seemed so real when it was aired on Channel DDD!"

Fumu held up both her hands to appease the rowdy crowd gathered at the town square of Cappy Town. "Alright, everyone! Settle down! Ask your questions one at a time!" The moon shone brightly behind her as she spoke, a beautiful round circle affixed to the night sky. Standing by her left was her brother, and situated to her right was Kirby, who appeared to be quite jolly and relieved when he realized that he no longer had to fear being lynched by an angry mob.

On the contrary, they now had to worry about quite the opposite scenario — being swarmed by an overeager crowd. Gathered to their front in a massive semi-circular arc was almost the entire population of Cappy Town, the villagers all crowding around the trio like news reporters swarming around a tentative scoop. The way that they were greedily asking questions made them almost seem as though they were a group of hungry vultures hovering around a dead carcass.

Perhaps they shouldn't have started by announcing that Dyna Blade was actually female. The very idea that such a mass weapon of destruction was of the fairer sex was wholly unexpected, drawing in quite the crowd as a result… and that was before they'd even mentioned the brutal consequences and battles which followed that revelation.

A sheepish Honey raised her arm, waving them to get ahold of Fumu and Bun's attention. "So there is something that's been on my mind! How did King Dedede trick Dyna Blade into thinking that Kirby was the culprit who had taken her hatchling?"

Fumu winced. Honey's query had been the only unanswered question from her informative chat with Meta Knight. "Honestly, he got lucky," she shrugged. "He had a whole stage set ready in Castle Dedede to fake a disaster on air, but upon reflection I don't think that alone would have been able to trick Dyna Blade. But unfortunately… or maybe fortunately for Dedede's case, when he was faking the scenario, Dyna Blade's hatchling had coincidentally disappeared. Thus, she easily thought that Kirby did it."

To be completely honest, she still didn't have a clue as to how exactly Dyna Blade had come to that conclusion. But with the legendary bird now gone, there was no way for Fumu to confirm it now. It would be left as a mystery for the ages.

"Hey, I know! Maybe there's a chance that Dyna Blade saw Dedede's broadcast on Channel DDD while she was flying over Cappy Town. Perhaps that's how she thought that Kirby was the culprit… because of the footage that was aired!"

Fumu couldn't keep the smile off her face upon hearing Iroo's suggestion. She'd initially thought out the exact same scenario in her mind as well, before Meta Knight had told her how ridiculous the idea of Dyna Blade sieving out the perpetrator from a recording aired on an exponentially smaller television screen actually was. "Well, I don't think that there's a television screen which is large enough for Dyna Blade to actually be able to see the broadcasted images from high up in the sky." Fumu made her opinion known, while simultaneously seeking confirmation from the toystore owner. "Well, is there one, Gangu?

"Nope! Besides, my shop didn't issue those sets, Captain Waddle Doo did," Gangu recalled. "And the TVs were all standard-sized, so you're right! She couldn't have seen it!"

"Hey, wait a minute…" Fumu began when she saw some of the Cappies whistling innocently and shuffling their feet at the mention of the Channel DDD television sets. She narrowed an eye suspiciously at the crowd, her hands by her hips. "Are you all still going to keep those television sets even after I'd literally just proved that they were nothing but mindless propaganda?" she questioned the townsfolk, sweeping her eyes across multiple sheepish Cappies who all instantly averted their eyes out of embarrassment.

Mayor Len chuckled at Fumu's query, modestly rubbing the back of his head. "Well, uh, Fumu… they were free… I mean, they weren't even taxed, and this is King Dedede we're talking about! He taxes practically everything!"

"Mayor Len!" Fumu exasperatedly clutched her head with her hands at the mayor's words. "Dedede gave them out free of charge for a reason!"

As Mayor Len clutched his own forehead at Fumu's blunt and honest statement, his wife Buttercup consoled him by massaging his shoulders.

"There, there. Maybe we can keep those sets but tune them to another channel instead? Surely this TV can pick up other channels as well?" Buttercup winked at her husband. "You never know until you actually give it a shot, dear," she teased.

Mayor Len scratched the top of his head with a laugh as his wife teased him. "Well, I guess it's time to try the antenna's auto-tuning feature. Who knows what other channels we'll be able to pick up from the myriad of frequencies?"

Next to raise their arm up was Hohhe. "B-But… her hatchling survived the battle, right?" he took in a deep breath, asking the question with much trepidation. There was no doubt in anyone's minds that the boy's tense behavior could be partly attributed to the fact that his father's crop fields had ended up being thoroughly wiped out by Dyna Blade during her prior flypast.

"Yeah, it did survive." Bun responded to Hohhe, causing the straw-hat boy to groan and begin praying fervently for his crops, hoping that they wouldn't get wiped out for the third time in a month. "But it's much smaller in comparison to Dyna Blade, so it won't cause any sonic booms," Bun added when he saw his friend beginning to fret and worry.

Borun shook his head, removing his star-crested police visor cap out of courtesy and respect. "But it should never have happened in the first place! That despicable Dedede and his antics led to a child having to grow up without any guidance or love from its parent! Now, that's something which is truly tragic…"

"Hold up! I have a question!"

Fumu saw Professor Curio frantically wave his hands about, his behavior making it seem almost as though he believed that his incessant waving would allow him to be picked before a few of the other Cappies standing to his front.

Which to be fair, wasn't entirely false.

"Yes?" Fumu rolled her eyes and pointed to Curio, prompting him to speak what had been bothering his mind since he'd heard the two Cappies tell their tale.

"You said that this monster zapped Dyna Blade with lightning. So I must clarify… is Dyna Blade really g-g-g… gone?" he asked, finally gaining the courage to spit out the last word of his question.

"We went down to Dyna Blade's nest, so yeah… we can confirm it." Bun's voice turned slightly solemn, a rarity for the boy. "That rotten Dedede," he kicked the ground in anger. "Because of him and his demon beast, she didn't make it."

Curio's face turned clammy. "So it's actually true, then? The legendary Dyna Blade is gone… nothing more than a legend once more…"

The historian gasped, falling to the ground as though he'd suffered a stroke. "Dear heavens… I need aspirin! What a disaster this is! What a complete and utter travesty!" Curio sputtered as Chief Borun ran to his side to help the fallen Cappy up.

"Curio! Are you alright?"

"Alright? Alright!? Do I look like I'm remotely alright to you, Chief Borun!?" Curio shot back at the police chief. "Well, I'm most definitely not alright! This is absolutely terrible! To think that a legend like Dyna Blade would get snuffed out by King Dedede's greed, of all things! His demon beast wiped out a bird who'd lived for many centuries. By gosh, she's been around since the time of the ancient Cappies!"

He clutched his temple, squinting his eyes tightly shut as he felt a major migraine piercing his head. "And now I've lost the chance to study a fine specimen like her forever! Future generations of Cappy descendants will never know her tale! Oh, this is the greatest loss to Cappy history in over a decade!"

Hearing the distressed Curio speak his mind caused Fumu to sigh wistfully. Despite his over-exaggerated actions, the historian actually did have a point. The loss of Dyna Blade was truly a detrimental blow to a local legend with much historical value behind it. And as a person who liked to study, Fumu can certainly see where Curio was coming from.

One thing was for certain though — Dyna Blade's death was completely on Dedede. That much was indisputable.

The enthusiastic Cappies in the crowd prepared to ask another question, but two shrill cries from the sky interrupted them before they could do so.

"There you are!"

Fumu and Bun peered in the direction of the two simultaneous voices, only to see a flustered Lololo and Lalala fly towards them from the sky, their faces illuminated lightly by the soft white glow of the moonlight.

Bun acknowledged the flying duo by looking up at them. "Hey, what are you guys doing over here?"

Fumu was about to add on to her brother's greeting when she saw that Lololo and Lalala were both glaring at them. "Uh… what's wrong, guys?" she asked.

"Fumu, Bun, Kirby!" Lololo folded his arms in a cross manner, wagging his miniature tail in a manner that mirrored his disappointed face. "The three of you are all in big trouble! Don't you know what time it is right now? Did you even realize that you broke your curfew?!"

"Uhhhh…" Bun started, the Cappy boy tongue-tied by the accusation. "What curfew?"

Lalala sighed. "Really? You forgot?!" she murmured with a suspicious tone as she folded her arms and looked at the children with a 'you-think-that-I-would-believe-that?' expression.

Even Fumu chuckled nervously at Lalala's exasperated voice, despite the fact that she had forgotten about the curfew herself. After all, it wasn't something which was commonly enforced, so it wasn't on the top of her mind.

And that by itself was a major clue which told her that what they were agitated about wasn't actually the curfew at all…

"Oh no, you don't! Don't even try to escape!" Lololo narrowed his eyes when he saw that Fumu and Bun—copying his sister—were both backing away, pressing back against the tree that was planted behind them.

Fumu turned apprehensive at Lololo's stern tone. It was certainly unusual to see either Lololo or Lalala in an actual agitated mood, considering that the two were very well-mannered due to their nature and roles of castle servants — a job where one could not afford to get angry and were better off being submissive.

But both Lololo and Lalala were angry now… a surefire sign that something must be terribly wrong.

Lololo coughed, clearing his throat to get the attention of the Cappies below his hovering body. "You three are coming back with Lalala and I to Castle Dedede…" he began.

"…your mom and dad would like a word with you both!" Lalala concluded her counterpart's statement, an equally cross look on her face.

The sternness of the blue and pink helper duo stunned the two Cappies, with Kirby merely quirking his head in curiosity and mimicking Fumu and Bun's indignant behavior as the Cappies attempt to act ignorant.

"Mom and Dad? What do mom and dad want with me and sis?" Bun asked, slightly biting down on his lip. He could already tell that this wasn't going to be especially pleasant for him. Although the flying servants also obeyed orders from him and his sister, Lololo and Lalala were technically subservient to his father, Cabinet Minister Parm. For the normally calm duo to be this furious at them meant that something serious must have happened.

"Yeah. What is it?" Fumu added, swaying from side to side as she felt a sense of foreboding creep up onto her. A tinge of fear was beginning to take ahold of the girl and slowly suffocating her from within.

"Um… how would I say this?" Lololo sighed, shaking his head with a pang of reluctance in his eyes. "Your parents heard the news…"

Lalala then carried on from where Lololo had stopped, "…and they're not happy with you two. Not in the slightest…" she continued with a disappointed tone.

Lololo shot the Cappies a pained look before he gestured to Castle Dedede with his gloved hand, the beige structure looming ominously up on the distant hill. "Fumu, Bun. Come with us!" he reluctantly ordered, "Your parents, Minister Parm and Lady Memu, want you home now!"

"And when they say now, they mean now!" Lalala emphasized, her eyes following Lololo's gaze towards Castle Dedede. "Effective immediately!"

With Fumu's senses giving her a substantial amount of foreboding dread, the Cappy girl raised both of her hands into the air in a bid to signal to the crowd that their impromptu question-and-answer session had come to an abrupt close.

She walked towards Lololo and Lalala, shooting the two an unusually annoyed expression. "Can you advise Mom and Dad that they don't have to keep on being this overbearing towards us?" she protested futilely.

Lololo and Lalala acknowledged her words with a subtle nod, though Fumu doubted that they'd heed her complaint. She glowered at the floating duo as Lololo and Lalala guided them back to their second home.

However, Fumu wasn't able to keep up the stern act for long. A troubled expression crossed her face as she sighed before following Lololo and Lalala as they hovered back to Castle Dedede.

"Hey, sis!" Bun ran forward to catch up, before whispering in a hushed voice to Fumu, "What's the matter with them? Both Lololo and Lalala seem awfully upset…"

Fumu kept silent as she pondered the matter for a moment before replying. "I'm not too sure myself, but I do have a hunch."

"Well, what is it then?"

Fumu sighed. "We'll soon find out when we face the music. Honestly, I'm quite sure Mom and Dad's moods will mirror Lololo and Lalala's."

Kirby perked up, frowning when he heard Fumu's downcast tone. Nevertheless, he kept his head down and chose to quietly follow them, keeping his inner thoughts to himself.

As the crowd began to disperse upon realizing that the show was effectively over with the removal of the hosts, none of the Cappies who were leaving the vicinity made note of an unusual observation. If they had been paying attention, some of them might have noticed that the Star Warrior Kirby had actually appeared twice…

…in other words, that there happened to be a second pink puffball hidden amidst the crowd.

Of course, there was a very good reason for no one actually making that observation. The second puffball was extremely well hidden, covering himself in the most epic disguise that one could procure.

Archer Kirby sniggered as numerous Cappies walked past his inconspicuous cardboard tree. Man, he absolutely loved the Archer Ability's Guard maneuver.

"Psst… Kirby! Where are you, Kirby? Oh, please come out if you can hear me!"

Kirby groaned with a soft smile when he heard Bandana's concerned voice, the puffball peeping out of his disguise to see a confused Waddle Dee rapidly darting his eyes about in an attempt to locate his friend. "Ahhhh… I lose sight of you for one second and you end up disappearing on me!" he complained with an unhappy frown. "This isn't fun…"

Unfortunately for Archer Kirby, his disguise skills being so outlandishly brilliant had a major, unintentional drawback — said disguise was also impartial, meaning that its power affected everyone around him.

Neither friend nor foe could locate him if he went into his specialized Guard. That was why even in the past, moves like Camouflage and Leaf Ability's Leaf Hide had resulted in even his own allies being inept at locating the hiding Kirby even if he was standing a mere two feet away from them.

He slowly waited for all the Cappies to disperse and leave the vicinity around the main town square before making his move. By that time, a flustered Bandana had already spent approximately five minutes pacing about the area, hunting high and low for Kirby.

Now that they were all alone, Archer Kirby was just about to reveal himself to Bandana when he suddenly decided on a better approach at the last moment. With an impish grin, Kirby decided to prank his friend.

Crawling behind Bandana, he ensured that the coast was completely clear before dropping his Camouflage and eagerly pouncing on the Waddle Dee from behind. "Guess who!?" he teased, posing the age-old riddle as he covered Bandana's eyes with his arms while resting the remainder of his soft, puffy body on top of the Waddle Dee's trademark ocean blue bandana.

"Ki-Kirby!" Bandana gasped in exasperation, struggling to support his friend's weight. "Please, let go of me!"

Archer Kirby obliged, jumping backwards and landing gracefully onto the ground. Although Bandana turned around and looked at Kirby with an upset glare, he found that he was unable to maintain his anger for long. He ended up laughing with Kirby, their duet of laughs filling the now vacant streets of Cappy Town.

"Okay… I have to admit, that was admittedly pretty funny." Bandana giggled. "You totally got me, Kirby!"

"What can I say…" Archer Kirby smirked good-naturedly, tipping the rim of his felt hat with a posh bow. "…I'm a young, mischievous puffball at heart, Bandana. But already you knew that much, didn't you?" he said while sticking his tongue out.

After chuckling for a while more, Kirby finally decided to get to business. He gestured Bandana towards an alleyway to prevent any would-be eavesdroppers from noticing them, even though the late timing was already quite the deterrence.

"So what's this about anyway, Bandana?" he prompted. "Why were you looking for me in such a hurry anyway?"

"Well… you heard all of their questions, right? So I just wanted to ask you what you personally thought about those Cappies' recap. You know, about what happened at the top of the mountain?" Bandana prodded, before stiffening when he saw Kirby's gaze hardening, his friend's smile turning upside-down.

The puffball looked up at the night sky and gazed at the bright stars that were shining brightly above. "Does it matter what those Cappy children say? In the end, no matter how they spin the tale, Dyna Blade is still gone…" Kirby lamented as he shook his head. "That's all that matters, really. I've failed to protect her…"

Kirby's words were hollow, his despondent words so unlike the optimistic puff that Bandana immediately took notice. "That's not true!" he countered, joining his friend in admiring the serene skies. "We couldn't do anything without giving ourselves away! That was what you said! We've technically did the best we could!"

He frowned at the Dee in reply. "Well, our best is not enough! Not at all! Not with a casualty!"

There was silence after Kirby's outburst, his words echoing around the empty streets. Suddenly slapping his mouth and preparing to use Archer's Camouflage in case anyone heard the commotion, Kirby visibly relaxed after a few seconds when no one exited their house.

"The long story short… it should never have happened. And perhaps if I hadn't been distracted with her hatchling and went up to personally fight Dyna Blade or Kracko, it wouldn't have!" Kirby whined, letting his optimistic mask fall in a rare moment of weakness. It was truly a sight to behold for Bandana, who'd never seen a true upset frown on the cheerful Kirby's face before.

To Bandana, it was like bearing witness to the death of an idol.

"Besides, I want to help people!" Kirby added, "It's in my nature to be nice and friendly, to friends and foes alike! Do you have any idea how much it hurts me to be nothing more than a mere bystander when Dyna Blade was being shot down by Kracko? It didn't just hurt my conscience… it'd physically hurt me too!"

Bandana furrowed his brow, tugging at his bandana as Kirby lashed out in anger. He could only show his support by listening in silence, unwilling to interrupt his upset friend.

"It wasn't just that which is causing me grief, by the way," Kirby continued as he kicked a small pebble along the gravel road. "When the Cappies were yelling at me earlier today because they thought that I'd caused Dyna Blade to wreck their home… it hurt."

Kirby pat his chest, around the area where his large, goofy heart would be. "It really, truly hurt."

An expression of understanding crossed Bandana's face as he slapped his forehead in comprehension. "Oh! You mean when we had to cross through the village earlier today to get to Candy Mountain?"

"Yes, I'm talking about that," he affirmed. "When they mistook me for Carby. The villagers… I could see the hatred in their eyes. Those words of grief, laced with betrayal—" Kirby shuddered as he recounted the facial expressions of the angered villagers, "—they echoed in my head, telling me how much I'd screwed it up for them. And the truth is, even though they got the wrong Kirby, it really was my fault…"

A wistful sigh escaped his lips as he turned to look at Bandana Dee. "Isn't it ironic, Bandana? In attempting to avert the catastrophe, I end up causing what I was trying so hard to prevent. All of that devastation and the resultant collateral damage caused to the town… it was all on me. And those villagers… their faces of betrayal won't make me forget about it anytime soon. The guilt still lingers even now…" Kirby confessed with a dejected frown.

"But you meant well, Kirby!" Bandana tried to reassure his unhappy friend, patting him on the back to cheer him up. "You wanted to prevent Dyna Blade from devastating the crops by feeding her child—"

"Well, I ended up messing things up instead!" Kirby lashed out, raising his voice and causing Bandana to step back. After pausing to make sure that Bandana wasn't scared too badly, Kirby continued to ramble, "Because that stupid bird Tokkori taped me down and twisted the whole scenario around with his footage, the villagers all ended up thinking that it's my fault that their village was flattened!"

"But it's no fault of yours, Kirby. I mean, there's no need to suffer in silence by taking the brunt of the blame for your fallacy…" Bandana tried to protest.

Kirby shifted his feet back-and-forth, looking at the ground with a feeling akin to shame before he continued speaking. "Sure, you could argue and say that Tokkori was actually the one who's really at fault since he was the troublemaker who managed to catch my actions on tape when I took Dyna Blade's hatchling out from the nest to feed her. In fact, one could even debate that he ended up scapegoating my counterpart because of that tape…"

Kirby's eyes grew misty as he shook his head, "But I can't lie to myself… in the end, the root cause of Dyna Blade's extreme grief and the resulting destruction was because of the disappearance of her hatchling. And that… falls on me."

Bandana consoled his friend by gently massaging his shoulders. "You don't have to take it so hard, Kirby!" he argued. "It's not your business to interfere, so if you accidentally mess up, it's exactly not your fault either!" he said with a smile, a smile that was quickly wiped off his face when Kirby's expression turned pensive.

"You mean… you want me to follow the advice that Taranza had given to me when we were floating up there in outer space? 'That I don't have to hold myself responsible for the affairs of this Planet Popstar?'" Kirby let out an icy laugh as he quoted the silver-haired Floralian, laughing coldly towards the sky at Taranza's callous and condescending words. "That was what he kept on insisting to us, right?"

Bandana nodded.

"…but I'm afraid I cannot accede. And the reason I refuse to comply is rather telling — he'd made that request to us for entirely selfish reasons." Kirby shook his head, before pumping his arm up towards the sky. "Besides, I'm Kirby, the hero of Dream Land! The friendship gene is all but spliced into my DNA… it's virtually impossible for me to stand aside and do nothing! I need to lend a hand and help others out in times of crisis!"

Bandana's eyes shone with pride, hot tears threatening to fall as he heard Kirby's heartfelt declaration.

Now there was the triumphant Hero of Dream Land whom he knew!

"I'll concur with Taranza that the denizens here shouldn't know about us. That part makes sense." Kirby tapped the side of his cheek contemplatively. "Though we've probably tread onto the surface of just about every planet in Gamble Galaxy uninvited, this is uncharted territory here! The very fact that there's an alternate Meta Knight and King Dedede who are so different from the ones I know… okay, maybe not Meta Knight. He's still the same, I swear."

Kirby chuckled at his own observation, with Bandana following suit.

"Still, I'm scared to unintentionally trigger a chain reaction which I can't undo if I mess things up. But electing to not help them just because I can't let my existence be known… no, I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that at all…" Kirby folded his arms, eyeing the full moon tentatively. "To cut to the chase, Taranza's wrong!"

He forcefully stood firm on the matter… quite literally too, as Archer Kirby's two feet were firmly planted to the ground while he stressed his stance. "I see Taranza's point, but I refuse to agree with him on this part! There are ways to help those in need even while hiding in the shadows. For the people of this Popstar, I can still be their benefactor… their philanthropist, and I don't care if I forgo taking a single footnote of credit in return! Just attribute it to Carby… I don't care! At least I helped, and that's all that matters!"

Kirby only stopped his spiel when he saw Bandana struggling to keep a straight face. "Hey…" he quirked his head. "Just what's so funny about that? I was totally serious!" he stressed, his expression turning grouchy.

"It's nothing… just, have you ever heard of the legend of Robin Hood, the masked Spynum whose sharpshooter skills are reputed to be so extraordinary that he could split one of Whispy's apples in half while it is perched on top of a Waddle Dee's head?" Bandana's eyes fell to his weapon as he said that, no doubt wishing that he himself could achieve such a level of mastery with a spear.

Kirby cocked his head. "And…?" he prompted, "What does some Spynum have to do with this?" he asked, confused as to why Bandana would bring that enemy up now.

"…your Copy Ability." Bandana spared Kirby the guesswork, revealing the delicious irony as the marshmallow-shaped puffball groaned and let out a humored chuckle.

Spynums gave the Archer Ability.

"Oh." Archer Kirby almost wanted to slap his head. He couldn't believe that he hadn't managed to extrapolate what Bandana was trying to drive at before his friend chose to reveal the answer to him.

Even though it happened to be a cringeworthy pun-cum-reference, missing the point of the joke was completely unacceptable in Kirby's books. His pun game had to be top-notch if he wanted to be able to annoy his pal Dedede on a whim.

Bandana giggled, unable to keep his growing laughter within when he saw Kirby slump in defeat. "Hee hee! But I'll be honest… you really did sound like him just then!" he admitted. "Right down to the 'I don't want credit for this, I'm doing this for the greater good' part. It really helps that you're dressed like him too! The only key differences are the difference in species, and the fact that his bow and arrows are made of fine mahogany."

"Well, you gotta admit…" Kirby tipped his purple hat, bowing down slightly as he placed one foot forward. "The Archer Ability always did come with a fancy hat!" he said, lifting the lilac hat off his head to admire its look and material. "It's very ornate… almost regal, even."

"Yep! You're right on that part!" Bandana raised his spear in agreement as Archer Kirby replaced the hat back to its proper location — perched primly on top of the puffball's head.

Bandana's eyes then shone as he hit a brainwave. "If the attire is so formal that it's fit for royalty, maybe Great King should try wearing it sometimes!" he suggested.

"Don't even bother. Dedede would never wear anything as his headgear of choice except for that red goofy bobble cap. It's useless to resist," Kirby countered Bandana's recommendation, grinning when Dedede's right-hand Dee attempted to muster up a retort to his statement but quickly gave up, realizing that he couldn't possibly argue against Kirby's point.

After all, Bandana can attest that his Great King genuinely loved his cute diddly-widdly bobble cap… probably a little too much.

"So, um… I guess you feel better after that, huh?" Bandana tread carefully, worried that his friend might relapse back into the depressive mood he had earlier.

Archer Kirby grinned as he fiddled with the drawstring of his purple bow. "Ya got me, Bandana. I suppose that laughter really is the best medicine."

Bandana nodded with merry eyes. He cautiously took a step forward, eyeing Castle Dedede in the background. "Well, I guess I better get going now. I need to be with the other Waddle Dees."

Kirby had a joyous smile on his face when he heard Bandana's comment. "Oh, what's this? You've already made friends with your kin over here?" he asked in jest.

"That I did!" Bandana sheepishly rubbed the back of his head as he confirmed Kirby's query. "I'm glad it happened the way it did. I was originally going to hide, but I'd gotten caught out by one of not-Great King's men."

Noticing Kirby tense up, Bandana hurriedly added on before the puffball could panic. "Don't worry! He won't tell on me, he's on my side! As a matter of fact, he was actually the one who warned me to keep my guard up around not-Great King."

"Sounds to me like you've made a really great friend around these parts. Congrats, Bandana!" Kirby beamed, before using his arms to hoist the Dee up into the air without warning.

"Wh-whoa! Kirby!" Bandana yelped, instinctively using Helicopter Spear to free himself from Kirby's celebratory throw and lower himself back down to the pavement.

Kirby cheekily smiled as Bandana frowned at him. "See, it's not all doom and gloom," the puffball said, holding his arms out to his sides to show Bandana that he'd meant to perform the gesture without any malice. "So, who's the lucky Waddle Dee, huh?"

"Actually, it's a Waddle Doo."

Kirby snapped his fingers. "Ah. Perchance, do you happen to be referring to the Waddle Doo who has a sword sheathed to his side?"

Bandana gaped at a smirking Kirby, unable to keep the shock out of his face. "Ho-how did you know?"

"Lucky guess. I'd seen him making his rounds around Castle Dedede when I was trying to find you." Kirby shrugged. "Wasn't really too hard to figure it out from there."

Plus, Kirby had to admit — the polished broadsword was the Waddle Doo's most defining feature thus far. Of course it'd be his first thought.

"Yep!" Bandana spun around the handle of his spear. "He goes by Captain Waddle Doo. We just struck up a connection when he decided not to sell me out to not-Great King and instead took me under him as his protégé."

Bandana stopped spinning his spear and held it horizontally at eye level, looking longingly at his own reflection shining off the bladed tip. "He kind of reminds me of myself, actually — he is not-Great King's right-hand man, plus he's in charge of all the Waddle Dees! Captain Waddle Doo is in the exact same position as me with my own Great King!"

"I see. So he's the head honcho of the Waddle Dees…" Kirby murmured as he strolled towards Bandana, rubbing the blue bandana tied to the top of his head. "Well, I think that I've decided that I'm going to be joining you on your trek to Dedede's castle, then!" he declared in an enthusiastic voice.

"Wh-what!?"

He chortled at Bandana's reaction. "Don't act so shocked! I can't let a random Waddle Doo steal my friend status of being best friends with you from right under my nose!"

Kirby pat his friend good-naturedly, paying back Bandana for the Dee's help in relieving his own tension earlier in the conversation. "Don't get me wrong… I think that he would be a great friend for you, but I won't let him earn his 'best friends' status without a challenge!"

Bandana could only sigh. He knew the tone that Kirby had with him currently, as well as what it brokered. "You're not going to relent, are you? You're accompanying me to not-Great King's castle?" he asked, despite knowing that the question was rhetorical.

"That I am! Onwards, Bandana!"

As the two friends left together in tow, the town square of Cappy Town finally became truly silent.


"Fumu, Bun! Oh, thank goodness you two are safe and sound!"

Fumu and Bun both groaned as their mother pulled her children into a crushing embrace and refused to let go. From halfway across the room, Parm could only sigh at his overprotective wife's antics, the man curling his lavender-colored mustache as he let out an exhausted sigh.

"Yes, Memu, it is indeed truly a blessing that our children are safe. Now please, I think that you should let them go. I don't think they can breathe." The man's expression turned sour as he eyed both his children after Memu relinquished her embrace with them. "That's right… I think that we should let Fumu and Bun know our thoughts on the matter…"

Parm placed a finger to his lip, mulling over his words before he finally began to speak in a disappointed tone. "Fumu… Bun… do you have any idea how worried your mother and I were when we heard from King Dedede where the two of you were? Do you!?" As he raised his voice, he began to cough, choking on his own saliva.

"Minister Parm!" Lololo cried, flying to the choking Parm's back and positioning himself in a location where he can induce the Heimlich maneuver if required.

Lalala followed her counterpart, offering her assistance to Parm as the man bent over, desperately clasping his shirt collar. "Just relax, Minister Parm!" she stated in a concerned manner. "Take in deep breaths and you'll be fine!"

"Dear!" Memu gasped, rushing to her husband's side and gently massaging his back to help relieve his acute coughing fit.

Parm raised an arm and haphazardly waved it about to shoo Memu, Lololo, and Lalala away, sending them the implicit message that he could handle it on his own. As he coughed and hacked, he was eventually able to clear his airway and regain his vocal functions, the man taking in a deep breath as he did so. Parm found himself sitting down on a chair to get some fresh air as he began to show some signs of hyperventilation.

"H-His majesty… King Dedede," Parm corrected, "He came up to me earlier today…" he finally managed to wheeze. "And then he proceeded to laugh at me… telling me that my children had went up to Dyna Blade's nest on a suicide mission before walking off."

The words were made without the slightest trace of humor. The worst part of it all was that both Fumu and Bun knew that it was well within Dedede's capabilities to pull a stunt like this.

Parm clutched his temple with one hand, fanning his pale face with the other. "I didn't believe him at first, but now it turned out that his majesty was actually telling the truth. That he was one-hundred percent correct — my very own flesh and blood had willingly gone down to the nest of an ancient bird who has the power to destroy all of Cappy Town should it deem fit!"

Parm slammed his hand down onto the chair handle, causing the occupants in the room to jump at the impact. "Fumu, Bun… are you both insane!?" he yelled, before taking in a deep breath and looking to his children with unsure eyes. "Why… why willingly risk your life like that?" He balled his hands into fists, hot tears visible in his eyes. "As your father, I just don't understand… how can you both be so impulsive!?"

There was silence after his outburst. Parm breathed heavily, with all five occupants in the room unwilling to interrupt the man at this juncture.

"Dyna Blade…" Parm carried on his rant, spitting the name of the legendary bird out with much trepidation. "My own children… taking on a force of nature — a being with so much power that it had been worshiped by Cappies for centuries on end!" There was silence as Parm paced back-and-forth around the room. With a defeated sigh, he looked at his two children with tired eyes.

"Why… just why would you even attempt something as reckless as that?" he asked, wringing his fingers. "Do you have any idea just how worried I was when I realized that you two were really at Dyna Blade's nest? Do you even have the slightest idea… DO YOU!?"

Silence once more. No one dared to interrupt the distraught man.

"Well, for your information, I was literally pulling my hair out!" he resumed when he realized that no one was going to cut in and answer his question. "I seriously thought that I'd never see you two come back from that mountain nest alive…"

Memu worriedly gazed at her husband, powerless to do anything to help him. "Dear…"

"I genuinely thought that I had lost you both because I never taught either of you how to properly gauge a situation and flee when things get out of hand. Nothing is more precious than your own life!" Directing his anger towards himself, Parm clenched his fists even harder, to the point where his nails were digging into his skin. "Don't you two get that?"

"Dad! Stop! You don't understand!" Fumu stormed back at her father, finally unable to take the reprimand she was going through for a single second longer. Sure, she could definitely understand her father's distress over her safety, but she still felt the need to justify her actions.

A vein on Parm's forehead twitched as he stared at his own daughter with an open jaw. "What do you mean by, 'you don't understand'?" His voice became incensed as he forced himself to calm down in light of Fumu aggravating him. "It's quite clear what happened here!"

"Well, you're wrong, Dad!" Fumu retorted, rolling her emerald eyes. "Dedede framed Kirby with a falsified tape and erroneously claimed on Channel DDD that Kirby's the root cause of all the devastation that Dyna Blade had brought to Cappy Town. I bet Dedede didn't tell you about that, did he?" She straightened up, her voice turning resolute. "Anyway, there's no way that I'm going to let Kirby take the fall for something that isn't even his fault! Not if I have anything to say about it!"

"Besides, we were totally safe!" Bun insisted, ignoring the fact that Kirby had always helmed the front when it came down to battles… a grand total of five of them fought throughout the eventful day — Whispy Woods, Commander Webby, Webby again, Dyna Blade herself, and Dedede's Lightning Demon Beast, Kracko.

Fumu almost wanted to roll her eyes and tell her brother off for making such a substantial understatement, only refraining from doing so at the last moment with the realization that she was on the same side of the argument as Bun was.

But Fumu didn't need to say a word for Parm to remain skeptical about Bun's outlandish claims. "You're telling me that you were both safe. But is that really the case…?" he tentatively queried with a pensive frown, his narrowed eyes a warning for his children not to even attempt to hoodwink him. "Can you touch your heart and promise me that?"

"Uh…"

Bun's hesitation gave the entire game away. Minister Parm felt his eyebrow twitch, shaking his head in disappointment.

"You lied to me, Bun?" he asked, a hint of despair in his voice. "You'd do that to your own father without a shred of shame?" Parm slouched further into his seat, using a hand to fan himself and provide the ventilation he solely needed.

"…I thought I raised you better than that."

Ouch.

Fumu winced. Although her father had directed those words to her brother, she couldn't help but feel as though they had been meant for her as well.

As Fumu directed her gaze to her brother, she could see that Bun had gotten it worse. The Cappy boy dejectedly looked to the floor at the accusation, unable to meet his father in the eye.

Fumu then darted her eyes about to assess the scenario. Her mom was fanning herself with a handkerchief. If her pale face was any indicator, she looked just about ready to faint. Luckily though, Lololo and Lalala had wisely positioned themselves behind her, ready for the worst-case scenario.

And then there was Kirby.

Fumu quietly observed that the Star Warrior had stared on from the sidelines throughout the entire conversation. Currently, the puffball had a look of confusion, making it quite obvious that he was unable to make anything significant out of it.

But perhaps that was for the better.

Seeing that Bun couldn't muster up a response to her father, Fumu decided to take the reins. "You did raise us well, Dad," she stressed, warily eyeing her father as he perked up at her voice. "That is the reason Bun and I did what we did."

Parm straightened up, peering at his daughter. "Excuse me? I never raised you both to charge headfirst into danger!"

"Well, you raised us to always do the right thing!" she fired back. "No matter what!"

Parm raised a finger, a retort readied on the tip of his tongue. However, the words died in his throat when he heard Fumu's statement.

How could he even argue against what his daughter had just said?

Parm used the back of his palm to wipe the sweat from his brow. Taking in a deep breath, he decided to change the topic and try a different approach to get Fumu to see reason.

"Don't be like this, I beg of you. Must you be this rebellious? Just listen to what I have to say…"

"I'm not a kid anymore!" she retorted, raising her voice as she found herself refusing to back down. "I'm almost eleven! You and Mom don't have to keep on treating me like I'm a child!"

"You mind that attitude, young lady!" Parm snapped, a rare occurrence for the normally easygoing man. "You better watch your words when you're talking to me, Fumu!" he wearily cautioned his daughter, "Don't forget that I am your father!"

Fumu folded her arms, glowering at her dad. Her green eyes silently glowed with defiance.

That was the last straw.

It was a gaze which spoke volumes to Parm. Fumu didn't even have to say a single word to cause her father to blow his gasket. Parm clutched his hands over his ears, forcefully standing up and knocking the chair that he had been sitting on backwards from the abrupt motion.

"That is it!"

Parm's yell reverberated throughout the room, causing everyone to freeze.

"Fumu, Bun! I've seen and heard enough! I don't want to hear another complaint out of you both tonight!" he yelled, raising his finger and shakily pointing it towards Fumu and Bun's bedrooms. "To your rooms, both of you! You're both grounded until further notice!"

"What!?" Bun yelped, falling to the ground. The boy used his hands to run through his scalp as he let out a horrified cry. "You can't do this to me, Dad! Please! I promised Iroo and the others that I'd play with them tomorrow!"

He got to his knees and practically begged for Parm to rescind the punishment. "Come on, Dad! I'm sorry!" he apologized with a whine before whirling towards Fumu. "You're sorry too, right sis? Right?" Bun prodded, his face quickly falling when he realized that his sister wasn't going to dignify him by playing along.

Fumu exaggeratedly rolled her eyes as Bun turned his formerly neat hair unkempt after constantly caressing it out of stress. "Punish me all you want, Dad, but I'm not going to retract my stand," she stubbornly maintained. "I still think that I'm in the right by heading up to Dyna Blade's nest so that I could prove Dedede wrong!"

Parm's face contorted as he heard those words coming from his very own daughter. It wasn't even her being defiant due to anger… she genuinely was willing to risk everything just to go up against Dedede.

"Dear! Please! Don't let your anger get the better of you…" Memu rushed over to her husband, only to let herself trail off when she was met by a resolute glare, one that showed that Parm wasn't going to relent on his punishment either.

Like father, like daughter.

Both defiant and stubborn to the very end.

"Sis!" Bun hissed with a mixture of fear and awe. "What are you doing!? Dad's totally gonna dole out twice the punishment to us if you keep this up!"

Fumu folded her arms. "I don't care. Dad's always wrapped around King Dedede's finger. He needs to learn that not everything can be kept safe if you follow orders!"

"But did you have to do it by making him even angrier?!" he hissed back. "Now look! He's probably gonna ground us for months on end!"

Fortunately for Bun, the situation was already under control.

"No…" Parm muttered, averting his eyes from his children as he clasped his collar and loosened his orange bowtie to get some much-needed air. "I've heard more than enough." He turned towards Fumu and Bun, sighing. "Head to your rooms and get some rest. We'll talk more about this when dawn breaks."

He then muttered a few additional words in a voice so low that only he could hear them. "I think I need some rest myself…"

Minister Parm spun on his heel, dragging himself to the queen-sized bed in his bedroom. As he hugged his pillow, he found himself reflecting on the events that had just taken place.

There was no closing his eyes from the truth. His relationship with Fumu had been strained as of late. In fact, for longer than he could remember, his daughter had constantly accused him of being too subservient to his majesty — King Dedede.

But to be fair, it wasn't as if he had a choice! He was the Cabinet Minister, for Pete's sake! The job required settling the local affairs of Cappy Town and passing recommendations for the bills and rights that were to be made legal in Dedede's court. Being the Cabinet Minister thus required for Parm to sustain a delicate balancing act between the people and the monarch.

Of course it was a given that such a post required him to take an impartial stand, which meant that he had to maintain a cordial relation with the king, no matter how much his rebellious daughter cried foul about it. Many a times she had went against Dedede without the slightest slimmer of a thought of how much her hot-headed actions of going against Dedede would impact her parents.

Sometimes, Parm really wondered why Dedede hadn't already fired him from his position so that he could indirectly take his revenge against Fumu. Dedede had actually threatened it before, but to date the king had never gone through with the threat. At the very least, Parm was glad that despite all of the fiery tension between his superior and his daughter, not once had Dedede held his job hostage so as to get her to back off.

An exhausted Parm reached to his bedside and held up a wooden picture frame in his hands. Inserted within the frame was a glossy portrait photo — a captured image of their family from close to an entire decade prior, a memory preserved in film like a time capsule.

Parm got on the bed, lying down as he touched the frame longingly.

The image showed a baby Fumu dressed in pajamas, the young Cappy girl held in a cradle position by her mother. The infant had a small joyous grin upon her face as she sucked on a pacifier. There was absolutely no hint in this photo that the young Cappy would later grow up to be the complete opposite of her silent self that she had once been as an infant.

Bun was absent in the image, Fumu's younger brother unborn as of the time this image had been captured. At best, he would only appear as a small baby bump on the pregnant Memu.

Parm wistfully sighed as he saw the occupants in the image, reminiscing a time that was now long past. In the background of the picture was a much younger version of him, seated in a formal posture on the stone wall of the water fountain. He was much more youthful in those days, and it clearly showed. His mauve purple moustache had not fully grown out, and his smile was much less forced, as compared to the way things were now with his current role as Cabinet Minister of Dedede's cabinet.

Memu had been seated next to him, using one arm to cradle Fumu while her free arm clasped palms with her husband's, the dual jade rings on their fingers glistening under the bright sunshine as their fingers locked and intertwined with the other's. Both husband and wife shared a mutual smile of glee, one that was most likely formed at the photographer's cue as the person captured the image.

And to the left and right of the seated Parm and Memu—hovering above the misty spray of the water from the fountain—were their loyal servants, Lololo and Lalala, the floating duo almost on the very edge of the photo.

Parm wiped his brow as he replaced the frame back to its original position.

Lololo and Lalala…

Had it really been ten years since he'd first gotten the two as his very own personal servants from King Dedede?

"Cabinet Minister Parm! Lady Memu! Here's a present from yours truly to congratulate the arrival of your newborn child! Actually… not one, but two! You see those two worthless demon beasts that I'd just tossed down to ya? Well, they're named Lololo and Lalala, and from now on they'll be under your jurisdiction!"

He still remembered his protests at Dedede on having to care for two additional… things. But Dedede wasn't having any of it. Parm could remember Dedede's next words as clear as day when the king pointed down at the unconscious blue and pink "demon beasts" and let out a chortle.

"Is that so? In that case, those worthless maggots can become your new servants and help to take care of your child! Heh heh heh! With two helpers on hand to tender to your newborn, you can now work overtime for me with no additional compensation! Hah! Ain't I a genius, Escargon?"

Parm flipped the picture frame face-down, unable to look at the family portrait for a moment longer as a feeling of guilt quickly welled up within the minister. To this very day, he still had not broken the news of Lololo and Lalala's unfortunate heritage to either of the duo, or even his own children.

And given Dedede's newfound obsession with demon beasts as of recent, it was now even more paramount to keep the whole affair under wraps, especially after Cappy Town was finding itself recuperating from the aftermath of the whole Dyna Blade debacle.

It would be a disaster if the information ever came to light. Over the years, Lololo and Lalala had both served his family well in their role as servants, none the wiser to their origins… and their original purpose.

How could he possibly do that to his loyal floating duo? Honestly, Parm truly felt as though it was better for them to stay ignorant than to ruin their blissful lifes by revealing the terrifying knowledge which he held within him. He'd sworn it to his wife one day when they were lying together on their cozy bed — that Lololo and Lalala's unfortunate origin would be a secret that he would take with him to the grave.

"Minister Parm?"

Parm jolted up with fear in his eyes when he heard the greeting, his eyes meeting with that of a worried Lololo. "Y-Yes?" he managed to stutter as his heart beat furiously within him. "Wh-what is it, Lololo?"

"It's nothing important," Lololo reassured as Lalala flew towards his side. "We were just concerned. You look as pale as a ghost…"

Parm clasped his blanket sheet, creasing the woven material as he scrunched it up in his hands. "No!" he exclaimed, a little too forcefully. Parm had to force himself to settle his nerves before continuing. "It's fine. Don't worry," he assured the pair while taking in a deep gulp of oxygen.

"Are you sure you're okay?" That'd come from Lalala this time.

"Positively sure!" Parm exhaled, slumping onto his mattress. "I just need a good rest after that whole fiasco with my children, that's all!"

"Well, if that's the case…" began Lololo.

"…rest well, Minister Parm!" concluded Lalala.

Parm smiled, articulating his thanks to the two. "Lololo, Lalala… the two of you have always been there for me and my family for far longer than I can recall. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you both for your continued assistance in times of trying needs."

The two modestly bowed as one. "Thank you, Minister Parm!" they both said in unison before flying out of the master bedroom to take their leave.

As a restless Parm rolled over and covered his body with a blanket, he didn't notice a pink puffball trying to creep out of their combined residence via the front door.

Kirby was stealthily floating in the air in an attempt to undo the door lock. As he managed to unfasten the door lock, the Star Warrior left the house and strutted out to the castle corridor with a troubled look on his face.

He then slid the door back into position, making it seem as though he'd never left.


Clink-clank!

"Wh-what's that noise?"

"Hush, Bandana! Guards up!"

The sound of metal clanking against the floor instantly put Archer Kirby and Bandana Dee on edge, the two readying their stances in case of any threat.

As a shadow loomed on the wall, the duo of friends soon caught sight on the being who was causing all the ruckus at this midnight hour.

Kirby's left eye began to twitch as he started to utter a stumbled question. "H-hey, about that robot who's causing all the noise over there… is that Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright on its rods?"

"Hm…" Bandana Dee squinted his eyes as the mechanical being rounded a corner in the distance and disappeared out of sight, before confirming with a nod of his head. "Now that you mention it, I think it is! But why do you ask, Kirby?"

Memories of the sun and moon duo immediately played back in Kirby's mind. The Dream Land hero could distinctly recall trying to frantically dodge flaming shooting stars which rained like a torrential downpour from the sky, while simultaneously having to deal with a blazing hot laser beam vaporizing everything in its path as Mr. Shine chased him around.

It had culminated with their final, most devastating move — a massive solar eclipse attack which blasted virtually everything in sight with the exception of a tiny blind spot, their combined might wiping Red Canyon clean of all water and vegetation within a three-mile radius.

"Oh, no reason! No reason at all…" Kirby shrugged it off, keeping his inner turmoil hidden within. Now he most definitely needed to eat some comfort food to forget those painful memories. He had never quite forgiven Adeleine for sketching those two brutal foes and calling them to battle him in a miniature boss rush at the peak of Cloudy Park during his first battle with the painter.

Sure, they'd made up after the brief scuffle caused by her first—of two—possession from Dark Matter, but her summoning up that dastardly sun-and-moon duo from her canvas was still an incident Kirby had occasionally brought up in small talk to tease the artist when the girl had been journeying with them during the Ripple Star crisis.

Man, those were the days. Kirby honestly couldn't remember the last time that he'd had the chance to visit the reclusive artist ever since she took up residence with Ribbon in Ripple Star.

Kirby couldn't help but to let out a yearning sigh at those fond memories. Man, those really were simpler times. Nowadays, every little adventure that he'd partaken in often led to a massive battle of epic proportions at the very end of it.

He missed those early days where he could've had a fun and enjoyable adventure with his friends that didn't end in complete catastrophe at its finale. Unlike present day, where the endgame of a disastrous scenario typically ended up being so epic that you could make a feature-length film out of their respective climaxes. Kirby shook his head as he reminisced about some of the more recent examples.

The adventure to help fix up Magolor's ship ended up taking them to Dangerous Dinner of Halcandra, which was where the blue mage had betrayed them after Kirby had defeated its four-headed guardian, stealing the Master Crown for himself with devastating results.

Taranza's kidnapping scheme ended up leading to his monarch, Queen Sectonia, practically fusing with the Dreamstalk to form up Eternal Dreamland — a world where the floral queen would leech off Popstar's life force and live forever.

The Mechanizing Occupation Project eventually ended with a break-in into the headquarters of Haltmann Works Company — the Access Ark. After a heated battle with President Haltmann, all hell broke loose when his secretary Susie stole the controls for the Mother Computer from her superior and activated it, with the unfortunate side-effect of Star Dream gaining sentience and rapidly declaring all organic lifeforms obsolete.

Because of course it would. Of course fate would toy with him like that.

And right now, Kirby found himself reflecting on his most recent ordeal. The Jambastion Cult.

Their single-minded pursuit of the shattered pieces of the Jamba Heart was troublesome, made worse by the fact that those purple shards had influenced several who Kirby personally knew to go bad. So why were they reassembling the Jamba Heart, though? That one was simple… it was to call forth their all-powerful Dark Lord.

And of course, they'd managed to succeed in doing just that.

It was almost as though every subsequent adventure Kirby had participated in wanted to outdo the last, with more and more devastating results. Honestly, the last time that he probably had a journey without implausibly high stakes at the very end was Dedede's final stand, dubbed by many as the Revenge of the King incident.

But still, the threatening letter that Dedede had sent so to tell 'my self-proclaimed annoying pink marshmallow nemesis Kirby' that it was personal during the events that led up to their final showdown meant that Dedede's endgame at "Mt. Dedede Revenge" ended up packing quite the punch. Even without the crazy stakes of facing down yet another intergalactic entity at the end of an adventure, Dedede proved that even a mere penguin like himself was no pushover without being an over-the-top intergalactic big bad.

Kirby sighed wistfully. His one-on-one hammer brawl with Masked Dedede in an electrified arena was certainly a showdown he would never forget. If there was one thing he was immensely glad for, Dedede's last battle with him had the unexpected effect of finding him a new friend — after the ruler's surrender, he had befriended Dedede's assistant, Bandana Dee.

Seeing the valiant Waddle Dee put up a final stand for the Dream Land ruler even after everyone else had fallen during that last onslaught was so touching that it certainly made up for all the trouble that Kirby had to put up with to get that far into Castle Dedede.

He rubbed his eyes, disorientated from the swirl of memories that he'd brought to the surface of his head. Alas, now was no time for him to reminiscence about the past. Kirby quickly made that decision before his excited mind could venture further into the past and dig up more memories from his youth.

What happened in the past stayed in the past. As of now, it was time for him to move on and focus on the present.

Too bad the present time seemed like such a downer in comparison to his nostalgic youth… sometimes Kirby truly missed the era where the biggest issue that he had to deal with was a greedy Dedede stealing food from the denizens of Dream Land.

And speaking of present time, Kirby realized that he had wandered so deep into his thoughts that the robot he saw earlier had all but disappeared.

Perhaps he should've actually paid more attention as to where it was headed. After all, Kirby had half a mind to teach the robot a lesson for daring to wield the sun-and-moon duo as his scepters of choice.


Kirby walked along the vacant corridor, idly kicking his feet as he paced.

This wasn't a good day for him. First he'd unintentionally brought about Dyna Blade's demise by being unable to save the bird-turned-hatchling from her fate, and now… this.

He had stayed in the room and bore witness to Fumu and her father fighting it out in a battle of wits until he could take no more. When Minister Parm had ordered Fumu back to her room, he hastily took his leave before any of them could realize his disappearance.

In fact, he'd acted dumb and pretended that he didn't understand what was going on. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Why did they have to fight? He'd only left the area to get some space to himself before he found himself forced to take a side. It was going to happen, sooner or later.

How could he even pick between the girl who had been by his side since he was first roused from unconsciousness on a hill in Cappy Town, and the benefactor of the family who had voluntarily offered to care for him?

He couldn't possibly decide…

"…Kit-ta-ri!"

Kirby stopped walking when he heard an unusual noise articulated behind him. He whirled around, only to gasp at the sight.

A large quadrupedal robot with a light moss green coloration loomed behind him. In his hands he held two long rods — one emblazoned with the sun, and the other with the moon. Seeing Kirby now facing him, the robot narrowed his red eyes. "So, it's you…" he hissed with delight, his green pupils dilating as he focused onto Kirby. "…the Star Warrior! Gyoi!"

Kirby slowly backed away. "Poyo…" he tried to dissuade the mechanical beast, the puffball instantly on edge.

But the robot wasn't having any of that. "Hickory, dickory, dock…" the robot muttered, raising both his rods diagonally up.

Kirby instantly turned tail and ran.

"…the pests ran up the clock…"

Unfortunately, Kirby had underestimated just how long the rods in the robot's arms were. Without even moving a step, the robot was able to hit Kirby from afar. The blunt edge of the sun rod slammed into the fleeing Kirby directly on his head, causing the puffball to bounce up into the air.

The robot's eyes gleamed as he retracted the limb holding the sun rod, raising the other arm in preparation for attack. "…the clock struck one…" he droned, continuing the nursery rhyme with a hint of amusement as he held the moon rod high.

"Po-poyo!" Kirby yelped as he found himself flying, his eyes meeting the mechanical being's cold emotionless ones in mid-air.

"…one became two…"

The moon rod came crashing down in a single, swift motion.

"…hickory, dickory, dock!"

Before Kirby knew it, everything turned a dazzling white.

Then, blackness.


Stars.

All Kirby could see around him were multiple stars orbiting around his head in a circular pattern.

The puffball groggily opened his eyes, quickly wincing as a splitting headache flared up, the sharp pain around the back of his head quickly threatening to tear him apart.

There was no sign of the jerk who'd tried to carve him into pieces. It became clear that the robot must have fled while he was unconscious. Just how long had he been out cold?

Stumbling to his feet, Kirby rubbed his exhausted eyes in an effort to clear the migraine plaguing him.

Ehhh? What… hey, what happened?!

Kirby was instantly wide awake, roused out of his drowsiness when he observed something odd with his arms when rubbing his eyes.

His hands weren't pink anymore. Now, they had a much richer coloration of bright purple, approaching shades of lilac and violet on the color spectrum.

But how did that color-change happen in the first place?

He didn't have much time to reflect and ponder the question. As his vision cleared up, Kirby suddenly realized that he wasn't alone. Standing to his front and leaning against a pillar in the corridor… was another Kirby.

"Po-poyo?" he mumbled in shock. Kirby couldn't keep the surprise out of his face. Was he seeing double?

After rubbing his eyes again, the white Kirby continued to remain in his specter of vision. Unless he was hallucinating, there really was another him standing to his front.

Kirby couldn't believe his own eyes… another one just like him. His heart fluttered as he couldn't help but smile. So he wasn't alone after all! The waves of sheer joy that he felt from the realization was exhilarating.

I-I'm not alone! I can't believe this! Oh, happy day!

But Kirby soon found that he was unable to keep the smile up for long. Something about this was creeping him out.

This Kirby was a pale, milky white, but he happened to have a vicious grin plastered firmly on his face throughout the entire time he'd looked at Kirby, never dropping the smirk.

That was, at least until he opened his mouth to speak. "Poyo," the white Kirby murmured.

"Muhihihihi! At last, I am free… free from this wretched prison! How long has it been since I've had the chance to admire this fragile universe? I cannot even remember…"

Kirby was shocked when he heard a high-pitched voice—which somehow still sounded menacing despite the childish overtures—speaking telepathically within his head. He stared at the puffball that loomed to his front, his jaw dropping.

This was just like what'd happened with Dyna Blade… right down to the telepathic speech! What was going on?

"So we finally have the chance to be able to meet face-to-face… oh, how I've been waiting for this moment…"

Well, that statement wasn't foreboding in the slightest. Not one bit.

The now-magenta Kirby apprehensively stared down the pale white reflection of him that had literally just appeared out of nowhere.

"You truly don't know a thing? Come on, don't even try to pull my leg! Are you really that ignorant?" As Kirby quirked his head in confusion, the… other Kirby shook his own head with a growl. "Oh, I see… you genuinely don't know what's going on?"

A shake of the head was the response, causing the white Kirby to put his arm to his jaw in contemplation.

"So you have no memories of your past, huh? Hee… I should've known that would be the case. Well, since things have turned out this way, I hope that you'll kindly allow me to introduce myself. Or should I say… ourselves?"

Kirby cocked his head at the other puffball's unusual choice of words. O-Ourselves?

"Void…" the pale-white Kirby started, pointing towards himself in an indifferent manner. Seeing that his fuchsia half had no visible reaction to the word, he lazily swiped his arm forward and gestured to the other puffball in an effort to catch his attention. "…Termina." He completed his sentence while pointing at the magenta puff, breaking into a cruel grin as the word left his mouth.

Kirby simply blinked cluelessly in response, tilting his head in befuddlement.

"Are you still confused?" The white being shook his head, rolling his eyes in a manner which suggested that he thought his counterpart was completely hopeless. "Eh… I grow weary of this. Let me explain this in a way that even an imbecile would be able to understand," he said condescendingly to the violet Kirby.

By now, Kirby was looking at him warily. The other puff's snotty attitude had extinguished his usual cheeriness, leaving only a feeling of dread inside him, made worse by the white puffball's next words.

"Since I happen to go by Void, that would make you Termina," he proceeded to clarify as he pointed to himself and Kirby in rapid succession. "Do you get what I'm saying? To put things bluntly, you are but my other half! Muhihi! In a time long past, we were once one and the same…"

Kirby gaped at what the ghostly white puffball ahead of him was murmuring about. He had a confusing myriad of thoughts in his mind, telepathically sending the other Kirby a muddled array of questions as his stomach began to fill with mounting dread.

Te-Termina? Other half? Ho-hold up… I-I'm your other half?! You're… a part of me? B-but, this doesn't make sense! Nothing adds up! How can we be the same?!

The purple Kirby then flinched, recoiling backwards with a look of horror when he saw the white puffball ahead of him tilt his head up to the ceiling and let out a truly terrifying cackle when he heard those very thoughts from his purpler counterpart transmitted to him via telepathy.

When Void finally lowered his head, he telepathically gave Kirby… no, Termina, his answer with a soul-piercing stare. "That is most correct. You and I are two halves of the same celestial being that has existed for millennia — the ancient Dark Lord of Despair who has been worshipped by countless devotees across the cosmos as a vengeful god!"

His soulless black eyes gleamed with icy gratification as he tenaciously made sure to divulge the terrifying information as tactlessly and callously as he possibly could for maximum effect. The sick tactic was most definitely working, too — the other puff looked physically ill, his purple face paling as he stared on with an open mouth.

But this wasn't even close to the end of the horror yet. The white puffball wanted to emphasize their connection to his uninformed other, making the truth indisputable even if the other puffball stubbornly wished to disaffirm it.

Slowly raising his stumpy arms up to the ceiling while gazing directly into his magenta counterpart's eyes, he made a final remark in a low and haunting tone — the resonance of his telepathic voice so impactful that it single-handedly caused the other puffball to stumble on his reddish feet, falling backwards with a yelp and landing clumsily on the polished marble floor of the castle.

Now sprawled out on the ground, the magenta-purple round puff could only hoist himself up into a sitting position and gape in horror as his "other half" began to laugh viciously — in a manner that allowed even those who were unable to understand their language, like Fumu and Bun, to make a rough guess that he was being condescending even without understanding the contents of his speech.

It was truly a cold and savage laugh, one which was accompanied with an equally foreboding assertion for someone like him — someone who was actually able to comprehend the cruel words that lay hidden behind the pale white puffball's innocuous sounding 'poyos'.

"And together… we make up Void Termina, Destroyer of Worlds! Muhihihihi!"


Author's Note:

Yeap… the Void Termina rebirth subplot finally gains the major plot relevance it deserves after I'd unabashedly slept on it, teased it, and foreshadowed it for close to half a year. Congrats everyone — I finally wrote significant plot-important stuff without going off on a tangent forever!

Still, if there appeared to be a slight delay between this and the last chapter, well… both Wave 3 of Kirby Star Allies and Smash Ultimate came out within the span of a single week. 'Course, I went nuts playing those games in real life. Priorities, people. :p Plus, I spent time writing a separate Wave 3 celebratory fic on a whim… and somehow caught a flu yet again, which might account for additional delay. So don't worry folks, I'm not dead.

Anyway, y'all knew that Void Termina and the animeverse Kirby were one and the same, right? I mean, it wasn't even really a secret from a reader's POV for the past twelve chapters. And if it was, it was the most lazily kept secret ever — the prologue… heck, the damn fic summary spoils it before you can even click on the hyperlink of the story!

I really must applaud you, Kumazaki. Both sarcastically and unsarcastically. First you unintentionally ruin all of the suspense I was building up with the Jambastion Cult by unveiling Heroes in Another Dimension when I had released the previous chapter, and then you literally robbed me of the twist that I'd planned for this very chapter — by naming the true final boss in the True Arena-esque boss rush Void. Hahahaha! Oh well… I did say previously that I planned up this arc from the very conception of this story, and yes, in my story outline I'd always intended to split them up into two—Void and Termina—at this point of the plot.

Yeah, I am slightly disappointed that I hadn't managed to release this chapter before Wave 3's release… it would have been hilarious in hindsight if I somehow had! But alas, it is now December 13 and I've missed the boat by a few days. Believe me, if I'd actually followed my story plans to the letter, then it would have happened — because the events in this chapter were originally supposed to happen all the way back in chapter flippin' seven!

That is, it would have… if I hadn't sidetracked myself with worldbuilding and writing all sorts of additional stuff like the Octacon demon beast battle and the entirety of the Dyna Blade arc. xD Although perhaps it's for the best that I didn't preempt the actual canon with the headcanon that some people had with Void Soul's pause description… to confess, I'd originally wanted to name Void something else because I felt that the name "Void" sounded off in prose format. But now, I'm glad I didn't after all!

Ah, that's enough of that. All this Wave 3 lore is like handing me a silver platter, but since a fair bit of it differs from my headcanons before its release, it will probably require me to make a few substantial changes to the preexisting plot behind the scenes. And since I'd unintentionally ended up on this crazy theory ride, let's just cease with the senseless whining and laments of regret… and make the best out of this concept!

…alright, readers! This is the glorious start of what I would consider the first major arc of Terminal Paralysis — the Fofa Factor arc! No surprises with the name here, at least. This episode adaptation was always intended to be an important one, since I especially like the plot, the demon beast introduced in it, and the significant development of Lololo and Lalala's characters. Thus, it's probably going to get one of the biggest and most important arcs for Act 1 of this fic.

I do hope that the chapter conclusion didn't steal the show — there's actually a lot going on in this chapter as a whole. From Dedede and his Helper crew finally reaching a consensus on Gooey, Kirby and Bandana Dee reflecting on their places in this Popstar, and the aftermath of the Dyna Blade fiasco (did you really think I was going to pull a Status Quo is God and reset things between episodes just like the anime? No. :p) that resulted in a breakdown of relations with the formerly close-knit family… it's all coming together in the most disastrous of ways…

Sorry for rambling on so much, I'm just excited for the start of chaos myself. But one last thing of note — general consensus was that the current update length is fine (opinions were pretty much unanimous), so I'll try to maintain around this average word count per chapter. Thank you all for your wonderful support in the last chapter as well… all your reviews and kind words really helped to make my day and keep me going! I hope to see y'all next time as well, when things are set in motion and get extremely crazy! ;)

Chapter Text

A/N: Once again, words in bold represent telepathic speech…

"No telling if it's true, but according to the ancient scrolls, Void Termina may rise again in other forms depending on whether positive or negative energy is gathered. It seems this being of darkness will wander the galaxy until one day he is reborn into a new existence. When he returns, hopefully it will be as… a friend."
— VS Void Soul, Kirby Star Allies


Chapter 14: Are Two Kirbies Better than One?

When the bright sun sets beneath the horizon, the moon comes out to play — rising into the air like a Night Circle desperate to get its moment in the limelight.

One could say many things about the moon hanging against the blue backdrop of the starry skies. Perhaps it was a sign that the bright moon was shining forlornly on the regal marble palace below, almost as though it was a flower blossoming in the night sky.

Yes, it was a sign, alright. A sign foreshadowing their success.

To Zan Partizanne, Lightning General, the full moon was like the start of a new chapter — the sweet seeker of salvation that would lead them all to their destiny.

On this cool night, where the wind was as mild as a spring breeze, it sure did feel like the winds of a new beginning were blowing in their favor.

"Behold, Lord Hyness! Here it is, lying in disarray in the miserable Kingdom of Floralia… our salvation, the Dimension Mirror!"

Zan's eyes gleamed as they fell upon the uncovered mirror, lying out in the open in the palace of Royal Road, all theirs for the taking. She beckoned Francisca and Flamberge forward, before bowing her head down when their leader slowly hovered to the artifact.

Hyness floated along the vacant corridor, the hooded officiant approaching the golden mirror in a slow and deliberate manner. It was almost as though he was relishing the act of walking towards it like a model on a beauty stage walkway… if any such show would ever invite him to their stage, that is.

"Jes… bonjam lor majaja! Zan, vun jamanke jhappy gopokko."

"Yes… greetings to paradise again! Much thanks for the happy surprise, Zan," Zan translated his words in her mind. Hyness had broken into his native Jambanese tongue, an obvious hint that the leader of the Jambastions was very pleased by this development.

And quite frankly, why wouldn't he be pleased? Zan could barely hold back a smile herself. The fated hour of reckoning had come at last.

So many centuries of patiently waiting had culminated in this moment. Last time, that pink annoyance had interrupted the ritual… but now that he was out of the picture, Void Termina would finally be theirs to command once more.

At long last, they would have their glorious revenge against the ones who had forced them into this bleak, miserable existence.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. That was what everyone said. And considering that they had all waited an inordinately long time for this, their revenge was going to be dished out in a very extravagant manner to their former aggressors. Zan personally couldn't wait, trembling under her robes herself.

She wasn't the only one who felt this way, however.

"The portal out of here is jonto opening!" Francisca murmured, the icy mage giggling to herself as she raised her axe to the air in joy. "I can't believe this day is finally upon us!"

"Of course it would be, Francisca!" Flamberge retorted, cackling wildly as she relished the mirror that would be their ticket to a new world. "Fate has finally smiled upon us again, just like it once had during the height of our glory, all those centuries… no, millennia ago!"

Zan raised a hand up to silence her sisters as she kept her eyes on Lord Hyness, who slowly reached his arm out to the golden mirror, its lustrous pastel-like frame glinting under the soft white rays of the dim moonlight.

So innocuous looking… and yet, so brutally powerful in the hands of the right people. There was a reason why she had recognized the artifact in a single glance even though it had been obscured by a mauve cloth and the floating arachnid who had greeted her was futilely trying to divert her attention away from it.

Not that he did a very good job at that task. The way that he'd reacted when she deliberately instigated him by approaching the mirror made the façade as blatantly obvious as the red scarf tied around his neck. The mage snorted as she recalled the blubbering consort who had been in charge of the palace. Whatever happened to him, anyway?

Well, an insignificant detail like that didn't matter now. She slowly rubbed her hands in glee as Lord Hyness stood in front of the Dimension Mirror, looking like he was praying upon a sacrificial altar, not unlike the shrine dedicated to the Jamba Heart back at Jambandra Base.

Zan chortled to herself, twiddling her fingers impatiently while she waited for Lord Hyness to open the portal. She had places to visit, old grudges to settle.

At long last, she could personally settle the score with the foolish imbeciles who had betrayed them all in their moment of triumph… the ones who had banished them to this realm and sealed them alongside their Dark Lord, Void Termina.

It was almost too good to be true!

Alas, the very instant that thought had crossed Zan's mind, it ended up jinxing the entire situation.

"JAMBLASTED! WHAT IS THIS BLASPHEMY!?"

Zan winced when Hyness suddenly whipped around, lurching forwards with his body stretched in a twisted angle. The vicious words he spat thereafter, however, perfectly explained his bombastic reaction.

"Of all the nerve… ZANNNN! The Dimension Mirror does not work at all! Look at the mirror, you bloody idiots!" he screamed, pointing at the pastel-framed mirror. "Look closely, you fools! There's a scratch on the surface with a piece of glass missing! Janno majaja! You… how dare you get my hopes up for nothing!"

There was a harsh pause after he yelled, his words reverberating around the white palace. But as the shock of his words wore off upon everyone, Hyness abruptly lunged at Zan, a psychotic snigger echoing around the Floralian royal castle as he clutched onto her throat, rage clouding his eyes. "You… are you trying to mess with me!?"

Zan gurgled, gasping out a response to the deranged Hyness as he continued to grapple her throat, almost to the point where he was actually strangling her. "Ga-gack… Lord Hyness! I swear that it worked… japologa… let go of me, my liege! It's just a minor, temporary setback! I'll resolve it… in the name of our Dark Lord! I… promise… ack!"

Almost impeccably, Hyness narrowed his eyes until they were nothing more than yellow silts, sinisterly juxtaposed against the shadow covering his face. With a swift motion, he flung a gasping Zan to the ground, an arm raised to the mirror. "So you insist… that it used to… work?"

Zan weakly nodded at her boss, who stared at the mage on the ground with a look that couldn't be deciphered — even if his face had been unveiled.

"Well, for your sake…" he hissed, "…you better make sure it does. That mirror is my only way to our Dark Lord! My only way to funness… SO FUN IT LEADS TO A SUGAR RUSH OF SUGARY HAPPINESS!"

Even from her spot on the ground, Zan could hear Flamberge whisper a "not again" to Francisca.

"DID SOMEONE SAY SUGAR? S-U-G-A-R, SUGAR RUSH, SUGAR RUSHHHH! YES, A SUGAR RUSH OF APOCALYPTIC DIABETES! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT, DARK LORD? SO HAPPY! FUNNITY-FUN RACES AROUND GUMBALLS AND LACTOSE INTOLERANT MILK CEREALS! BLISSFUL JOY WOULD HAVE AWAITED ME AND MY DARK LORD BEHIND THAT MIRROR!"

Hyness' insane, incomprehensible howl echoed throughout Royal Road before he regained some semblance of sanity. The officiant faced his three generals, breathing heavily. "The three of you… get this mirror fixed," he ordered with a vicious growl, before adding on a final word. "NOW!"

Francisca hesitantly saluted while Flamberge narrowed her eyes, but nodded in agreement nevertheless.

Zan, on the other hand, couldn't face her superior, a tired moan as she lay on the cold marble floor being her only form of acknowledgement.

As a disappointed Hyness hissed at her broken form on the ground before beckoning for a few Jammerjab troops to take him back to the waiting ship, Zan tried her best to keep her tears within her.

She would not cry. She refused to… she was no longer that weakling from a time so long in the past she couldn't even remember the date.

As Hyness retreated from Floralia, Zan eventually pulled herself to her feet, a memory from a time long past forcefully entering her mind despite her best efforts.

"Bonjam… what are you doing at the top of this tower?"

She had almost thought the voice was a hallucination, a simple trick of the mind. But then she lifted her head up with a superhuman effort, and realized that it wasn't.

"My-my… sisters," she managed to gasp, greedily sucking in oxygen. "I'm a failure of an older sibling. All my younger sisters are gone, and it's all my fault — Franny, Berge, even… gah! Look, I came here to die, okay? The lightning strike from that monster should have ended me!" she snapped, her voice turning dark as she snarled at the man.

She looked up at him with tears brimming from her eyes, unable to control her emotions. "Why did you save me? Tell me why!?" she demanded, "I'm all alone on this miserable planet now! Why couldn't you let my existence perish in a natural disaster like a freezing blizzard, a searing firestorm, or a roaring tornado? Why must you let me carry on living this wretched life so that my conscience will forever ruin me!?"

"Why…?" She was unable to continue her rant, hot tears leaking from her eyes.

Her savior's eyes glowed yellow as he laid a hand on the sobbing girl's shoulder. "Do not be hasty with such a decision," he lectured. "And besides, you need not let your guilt consume you. All of them are safe with me."

"They are… safe?" She hesitantly looked up at the man, who merely chuckled in return. What the…? His words were impossible, weren't they?

"They have all been reborn… as generals in my brigade. Adversity trains nerves of steel. All of them have been groomed to be perfect soldiers in our resistance, elemental mages wishing for revenge against their fated murderers."

Even back then, the petite girl managed to break free from her sobbing upon hearing her savior's words. It was the first ray of hope to ever break past her blanket of despair… a cold mist that had surrounded her for months until she had wanted to end everything.

"Who… who are you?" She remembered shaking her head in confusion at the white hooded man who had reached his hand out to her.

The hooded figure calmly pulled her to her feet, glancing around the stormy weather all around them. Almost at once, the storm dissipated, an irritated one-eyed monster glaring at the two before retreating.

"Bonjam, young one," he greeted the stunned female with a raspy voice. "I take it that you've heard of our organization? Well, I'm the leader of a subunit of that group — a subdivision known as the Jambastion Cult. Instead of brute force, we use the power of divine magic… a lifeblood granted to us by gods!"

"Magic? Gods…?" She couldn't help but to feel incredulous, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

His hooded head raised slightly, allowing her to glimpse the slightest hint of blue under the robe. "Jes… it is because of my god that you still breathe after that lightning bolt struck you. Young girl, my dark magic has renewed you and given you a second chance. No longer will you be of a species so helpless and fragile. Instead, you are now a mage infused with electrical energy, able to control pure electricity at your fingertips!"

She could only gape as the man cackled, looking up to the clearing sky. "So, how would you like to repay your debt to our merciful lord, Void Termina? Care to join me and my quest for glory? Your reward is simple… you'll be with the rest of your sisters."

The newly transformed mage immediately nodded her head without the slightest hesitation. "Yes!" she almost shrieked at the thought of meeting those whom she thought had been lost to the sands of cruel time, "Of course I'll accept your proposal… s-sir?" she only trailed off in embarrassment, a tinge of red lining her cheeks when she realized that she didn't even know the identity of her mysterious liberator.

"Ah." It didn't take him long to catch on. He leaned down, holding her chin up with his robed arm. "Japologa, vun nice to meet you. You are?"

"Zan… Zan Partizanne."

"Bonjam and jamanke, Zan. They call me the Officiant of Doom… Hyness."

…Hyness.

Lord Hyness.

How long had it been since that fateful day when her life received renewed meaning?

"Um… Zan?"

Zan turned around to face the icy mage. "Yes, Franny?"

"What do you think happened?" Francisca asked with an upset voice, brushing her blue bangs aside. "I believe you one-hundred percent when you mentioned that it worked before. There's no way you would have dared mention it to Lord Hyness otherwise."

A sigh left the lightning mage's lips, lips that were thankfully obscured by her clothes. "I'm not sure myself…"

As Zan glared intensely at the mirror, she focused her attention on the defect that Lord Hyness had pointed out — a thin hairline scratch that stretched across the smooth mirror surface, a glaring fault when seen from the correct angle.

And at the end of the crack, a minuscule shard—no larger than the size of a peanut—had been sheared off the reflective surface.

Zan grimaced, rubbing her temples with her hands. Had that defect always been there? The mirror was covered up by a silk cloth the first time she'd witnessed it, so she couldn't tell for sure.

No… something was wrong. She'd planned it all perfectly! The treasonous piece of Dark Matter had helpfully locked down Void Termina's location to outside of Gamble Galaxy, and using that intel, she managed to carefully bait that pink annoying runt to activate the Dimension Mirror that she found by chance. So far, so good.

The thing was that the current turn of events didn't make any sense if the mirror had actually been broken to start with. All signs pointed to the pink puffy nuisance activating the Dimension Mirror at some point. It was the only reason for that pink runt to disappear and cause the chaos she'd witnessed with the Como guards on her reconnaissance mission earlier.

So why would it not work for them now? There was only one answer that crept up upon her, and it caused the mage to angrily manifest her partizan and slam the triple-bladed weapon tip-first into the ground, shattering the tiled surface at the impact zone.

Sabotage.

The mirror had been sabotaged. It was a given that the portal between Gamble Galaxy and their destination would fail if the mirror surface was splintered and imperfect.

The instigated fight had gone as planned, else the pink puff wouldn't have caused such a ruckus with the local guards the last time that she'd checked on the place. Hence, if the mirror had worked then…

…someone must have splintered the surface after she'd successfully manipulated the puffball to break the seal and activate the portal.

Unconsciously, Zan found herself articulating a cruel laugh.

They have the nerve to sabotage… me!? Zan snarled, looking up at the moon. Jamblasted! Those fools, whoever they are… I've come too close to be ruined like this! I've tasted the forbidden fruit of freedom… and no one shall stop me now!

She ripped her partizan out of the ground, gesturing for Francisca and Flamberge to flank her.

"Um… are you okay?" Francisca asked, biting her lip in worry.

"Yeah, you look like you blew a fuse, Zan." Flamberge added haphazardly, her tactless words only causing Zan to snap.

"Everything is fine, Berge…" Zan reassured in an oddly calm voice. "We shall recuperate for now. Let us retrieve that Dark Matter blob and restart this chase anew." Clenching her fists, she let out a growl. "And the next time… I will make sure that it works before announcing it to Lord Hyness!"

Her eyes flashed with fury. This wasn't over. Not by a long shot.

As Zan was so caught up in her anger and the other two were so absorbed in worry for their leader, the three failed to notice that an outsider had overheard their entire conversation. The caped intruder cautiously looked on as the Jambastions departed from the royal palace.

"So the Dimension Mirror has a crack on its surface that wasn't originally there? Hm… how interesting. A puzzling development." The comment was said matter-of-factly, a neutral expression embellishing the face hidden behind the mask.

Unfortunately for the person speaking, his comment wasn't inaudible. A curious guard managed to hear it and immediately headed for the source of the voice.

"H-Hey! Who are you!? What are you doing, hiding behind this pillar inconspicuously?"

The caped knight jolted slightly upon being noticed, slowly turning around at the squeaky voice.

"Greetings. I am Meta Knight." The response was a curt one, as he had more pressing matters to worry about. "And you are?" he prompted in return as his gaze fell on a leery Jammerjab.

"Sergeant Bobby of the Jambastions!" the Jammerjab introduced himself before folding his arms, his glinting yellow eyes turning accusatory. "Hey! Don't play dumb! You were eavesdropping on my commanding officers earlier, weren't you?! There's no other reason for you to be in this place!" He frowned before demanding an answer from the suspicious intruder. "Are you some sort of spy?"

Meta Knight grunted at him.

"Um… are you deaf? Can you please answer me!"

Still hearing no response, Bobby gave up his line of questioning, instead holding out his right arm and bringing out his trusty staff from underneath his robe, continuing to warily keep his eye on the sheathed sword that happened to be snugly tucked around the knight's side. "I'm warning you… don't try anything funny! I have a weapon! You will soon feel the wrath of a trained platoon sergeant of the Jambastion Cult, Mr. Meta Knight! Get ready!"

Meta Knight narrowed his eyes at Sergeant Bobby's nonthreatening display.

There was an awkward silence that followed as Jammerjab and knight stared at each other, both waiting for the other to make the first move.

That wait ended up lasting for a full minute.

"Ahem…" Bobby uncomfortably whispered, still maintaining his now-awkward stance. "Can you please attack?"

Meta Knight didn't humor the request. "The very fact that you incessantly wish for me to make the first move even now tells me that you have something up your sleeve," he deadpanned.

"N-No!" Bobby denied, shaking his head a little too hastily. "Whatever makes you think that?"

"The way that you'd just responded to my query."

"Oh." Bobby winced upon being caught out, before breaking into a run and raising his weapon above his head.

"Ah, ya got me! I was gonna wait for you to strike and use my guard dodge technique as a counterattack, but I can clearly see that my trick's not going to work on you! So take this instead! Behold, every Jammerjab's favorite starting move… Pole Vault!"

The Jammerjab jumped into the air and slammed the tip of his weapon down on the ground, preparing to thrust himself forward as he bent his staff, leaning backwards to gain more potential energy. As he released himself, he sailed into the air and prepared for his next move once he made sure the knight was under him.

"And here's the reason every Jammerjab likes Pole Vault… it leads directly into Unrelenting Staff! Hiyaah!"

With a swift motion, Meta Knight drew Galaxia from its sheath, blocking the multiple, blurred thrusts of the staff with the blunt edge of his golden sword and his Guard.

Finally, Bobby tired himself out and fell to the ground. Meta Knight wasted no time, immediately dashing forward with a Piercing Slash to end up behind the falling Jammerjab. As Bobby plonked onto the ground, Meta Knight prepared to cleave him from behind with an Overhead Slash.

To the knight's surprise, his opponent managed to block the swipe, spinning the staff around in a weird manner that allowed him to parry the attack. The flurried motion even managed to hit Meta Knight right in the mask, causing him to grimace.

Bobby grinned underneath his hood as he turned to face the knight, quite proud at parrying the sudden blow. "Hee hee! You like that? That's my Guard Dodge, Staff Counter!"

"So that was what you wanted me to do at the start. You wanted me to attack you so that you could parry my sword and turn the tables in the split-second that I happen to be defenseless."

"Yep, yep! That's right! You catch on quick! It's all about strategy!" Bobby confirmed, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head with a mildly embarrassed expression. He closed his eyes with a smile as he recounted the description of the move.

"'Counterattack the very instant before an opponent's attack lands, and you'll avoid all damage while parrying their own attack against them.' — that's Staff Counter! Frankly, I'm surprised that I pulled it off myself. I mean, this was one of the toughest techniques to learn back at the academy. Even some Lieutenants have trouble with it! Precise timing is needed to—"

Thwap!

"Another person who monologues too much," Meta Knight commented as he slid Galaxia back into his sheath, the unconscious Jammerjab falling to the ground. "The number one rule of a fight is to never let your guard down."

Honestly, he couldn't believe that the Jammerjab had chosen to ecstatically recite a theory lesson in the middle of a brawl, thereby leaving himself wide open for attack. It really didn't help that he had closed his eyes while he was recounting. A swift blow from the blunt edge of his sword to the Jammerjab's forehead had mercifully knocked his opponent completely out cold.

At least that was one problem solved. He wouldn't be blabbing to his superiors about witnessing a spy anytime soon, if Meta Knight had his way. Besides, having a hostage against the Jambastions would definitely be useful in this case.

Especially if the Dimension Mirror was involved… after all the chaos regarding the Mirror World, whatever the Jambastion Cult wanted from it wasn't likely to be pleasant.

And not to mention Hyness' worrying words regarding Void Termina.

"That mirror is my only way to our Dark Lord!"

Now, that begged the worrisome question. After Kirby and the others finished Void Termina off with the Star Allies Sparkler, if Hyness was so resolute that it had been reborn…

Meta Knight tapped his mask, a thoughtful expression adorning the face behind the metallic mask as he tackled the worrisome question.

…where was the Jambastion's Dark Lord located now?


"And together… we make up Void Termina, Destroyer of Worlds! Muhihihihi!"

Despite its hidden meaning, the remark sounded so innocuous to an untrained ear that the purple puff couldn't even begin to imagine how someone unversed and illiterate in their language could possibly guess that the white Kirby's 'poyo's, telepathically carried across between the minds of the two puffballs, would make up such a terrifyingly grim statement after translation.

Besides, his own mind was a whirlwind of confused thoughts at the moment.

Vengeful god? Dark Lord of Despair? Destroyer of Worlds?

Void Termina?

Kirby found himself quickly getting overwhelmed by what he was hearing. This was absurd… completely unbelievable!

…and yet, he found that he couldn't simply discount the other Kirby's words as mere false prattle.

That bothered him. A lot.

"What's the matter, Termina? You're being awfully silent all of a sudden."

The white Kirby—the one who'd called himself Void—grinned with a smirk. It was a smirk made with carefree abandon, one which Kirby was certain that someone who was hot-tempered like Dedede might end up clobbering him for it if he had been the one to perform that expression.

Still, Kirby remained quiet, twiddling the tips of his front arms together. The aura around the general vicinity suddenly seemed to grow very foreboding, even more than it already was in the dark gloomy corridor that they were in.

"Well, no matter how unreceptive you are as of the moment, I must still stress that it truly is a pleasure to finally meet my other half in person. The honor is all yours, dear Termina! Muhihihi!" Void laughed with a cynical cackle that echoed throughout the empty corridors, the horrible voice reverberating over and over throughout Castle Dedede like it was trapped in an echo chamber.

Well, if the white Kirby was enjoying this meeting, then good for him. Because right now, Kirby held the exact opposite opinion as his counterpart.

"Why the long face?" Void prodded him further, his smile growing more and more vicarious as he reached forward and poked Kirby in the cheek.

With a huff, Kirby grunted and turned away. This subtle action prompted the white puffball in front of him to hit his waist in laughter.

"Come on now… it's no fun if I'm dominating the conversation. Say something, won't ya?"

"Poyo," he grunted in response to the 'poyos' that Void had been annoying him with for the past few minutes. Okay, I said something. Will you quit pestering me now?!

Void shook his head, wagging a finger in disapproval. "Not a chance, Termina. This conversation is just getting started!"

Kirby fervently eyed the end of the corridor, trying to see if he could slip away. "Poyo?" Can I leave?

"No can do, Termina… ugh!" Void snapped, grumbling under his breath. "Termina is too long and eloquent of a name to enunciate all the time!"

Kirby turned his head slightly out of uncertainty. 'Enunciate' was such a complex verb that the exhausted puffball was forced to admit that he wasn't sure as to what the word actually meant.

"Ter-mi-na — three whole syllables compared to my one," Void complained, rolling his eyes as he shuffled closer to his other half. "Let's try something simpler, shall we? Hm, let me think…" he mused, mulling it over before hitting his arms together with a cheer. "Yes, I've got it… the perfect name for you, you violet-colored softie!"

Void grinned at his magenta counterpart with a brutal look, one that Kirby found himself being legitimately terrified by. He felt like a helpless deer caught in the headlights under Void's piercing gaze.

"Termy."

Kirby opened his mouth, confused. But before he could get a single word out, Void cut him off with a glare and proceeded to elaborate.

"Termy…" Void repeated, a flicker of amusement briefly appearing on his features. "Yep, yep… short for Termina. That'll be your new name from now on! Muhihihihi!" he giggled, clearly taking great enjoyment out of teasing his counterpart.

"Po-poyo!" Kirby stuttered in response, trying and failing to keep his voice level. Termy…? But I'm not Termy, he insisted with a staunch frown. I'm Kirby! Kirby, the Star Warrior!

"Nope. You're Termy now, Termy!" Void held firm as he stuck his tongue out, an uncharacteristic first for the puffball who had been completely serious up until that point. It was so unexpected and out of place that even Kirby had to stifle a laugh in spite of the tense atmosphere.

If Kirby closed his eyes right now, he could almost imagine that he wasn't being harassed by a puffball who claimed to be his evil counterpart.

Almost.

And then Void just had to open his mouth and let loose a flurry of snarky remarks.

"Shutting your eyes in denial won't change the fact that your name is Termy from this point on. Muhihihi!"

Kirby grumbled, the purple puff rolling his eyes at the white puffball's mischievous chuckle. "Po-yooo," he drawled in an attempt to turn the tides. Well, excuseeeeee me, but my name was the only thing that I could clearly remember when I woke up, so it's something quite precious to me. Don't slander it!

"Your name is all you recall? Oh, don't try and flatter yourself." Void dismissed with a bored wave of his arm, his amused expression from earlier completely gone. "Of course you would have no memories… you were literally just born. You weren't always a Star Warrior, you know?"

Kirby did a double-take, staring at the cocky puffball in surprise. Wait… I wasn't always a Star Warrior?

Well, that certainly explained a lot on why someone like Webby, who he was unable to recall for the life of him, acted as though he knew him inside-out… although if Void's assertion was indeed true, it also opened up a whole new can of worms.

"You don't recall?" Void raised a brow inquisitively upon seeing his reaction. "Well fortuitously, I do. I felt it too, when I-no, we—" he corrected, "—were revived from the emptiness of our sealed prison after a botched summoning ritual at the Divine Terminus, on the very edge of Gamble Galaxy."

Divine Terminus? Gamble Galaxy? Kirby cocked his head in confusion, feeling a surmounting headache beginning to rumble from the back of his head.

Just what he needed. More names he didn't know.

Void didn't even notice—or if he did, didn't bother—that Kirby was being slow on the uptake and carried on with his speech relentlessly. "But because that utter imbecile didn't break the seal properly, I… we weren't reborn as our true form."

Void Termina… Kirby thought to himself. He was still having trouble grasping the whole idea.

"That's right. Void Termina." Kirby winced as Void shot him a smug look, reminding his counterpart that he could look into his mind with those telepathic powers. But Void soon broke composure, letting out an annoyed click of the tongue that echoed about the area before continuing on with a grave expression. "Instead, we were reborn as an inferior, imperfect form. And as a result of that, I wasn't able to influence my actions, causing my thoughts to be muffled during the ensuing fight back then."

His expression turned somber as he looked up to the ceiling, his eyes focused upwards in a manner that showed he was trying to recall a memory. "Alas, because of that messup, I wasn't able to remember my former existence as the Destroyer of Worlds when I managed to break free from the Jamba Heart. For shame."

Kirby smirked, holding back a bout of laughter upon hearing his supposed counterpart's laments. "Poyo." Well, I for one personally happen to think that this chain of events turned out for the better.

"You better shut your trap, Termy. I will be the one snarking you to death, not the other way around."

He was unable to suppress his grin when he saw the white puffball snap at his retaliatory remark. Well, too bad… Void had instigated it first! In part of all the hostile remarks made, Kirby decided that he wasn't even going to attempt playing nice with this guy.

"As I was saying, I had been brought back to this mortal realm as a primal beast. All my single-focused mind could think about when summoned back at the Divine Terminus was the desire of freedom… and well, the Star Warrior pest and his allies who were flying in front of my armored face, valiantly standing against that desire of mine!"

Star Warrior pest and his allies? The more Void spoke, the more befuddled Kirby found himself. His counterpart couldn't possibly be referring to him… so just who was he talking about with such anger and vigor?

"But during that battle, the haze of my confused thoughts led to our incomplete heart, the Termina Core, to feel a sense of yearning upon watching the puffball who had dared to defy us. It was a longing for a dream which we can never have — of tasty treats, of a gentle spring breeze, of… friends."

His delivery of the statement was laced with so much hatred that Kirby trembled, taking a step back. The word "friends" was telepathically hissed with such intensity that even the untranslated 'poyo' came off as harsh. Void appeared positively livid, and the white puffball only continued to get angrier as he ranted on.

"But you see, the bitter irony is that our true form would have never felt that kind of weak emotion. We are incapable of feeling… such positive emotions." A wistful sigh escaped his lips. "And thus, upon our defeat, you were splintered off from my original self and born as a new, separate entity — an astral birth manifested out of a desire to feel, to be… happy. Peh!" he snapped, snarling as he rounded on a visibly uneasy Kirby. "Isn't fate a cruel mistress…?"

Kirby began to get a sinking feeling in his belly as he saw the vicious expression on the white puffball's face. The cold expression on Void's visage rivaled that of a frosty glacier, and it was just as immobile as one — his scowl wasn't leaving him anytime soon.

Void closed his eyes with a sigh, the puffball silently pacing along the corridor. Even though he was as blind as a bat with his eyes closed, it didn't hinder his movement at all. As such, he was confidently strutting down the corridor without the use of any visual cues.

Why? Because he could, that's why.

In fact, to Kirby, the calm demeanor that Void currently exhibited was honestly scarier than if he happened to be a monstrous beast along the lines of Octacon or Bugzzy. The way he acted made it appear as though he held all of the cards and was ready to trounce everyone in a game of poker.

The purple puffball shuddered as the thought crossed his mind. Amazing how such a simple walk told Kirby so much about his "counterpart".

After continuing to walk silently, Void finally spoke when he sensed that Kirby wasn't going to answer his question. "And since you fervently kept that desire dear to you as you perished, we were reborn as a cheerful, innocent being… with no memories of our former selves."

Those weary eyes of his opened again as he peered back to a wary Kirby. "So yes, back on our initial topic, it is a given that you would have no memories of our combined past. The reason is simple — you were created out of an impulsive desire to feel happiness."

Happiness.

The word bounced around Kirby's mind like an out-of-control tennis ball, made worse when Void slowly strolled towards him, his projected words turning dark.

"But that is a problem." Kirby could spot Void tensing up as the puffball growled, his breath turning labored as he proceeded to ramble vividly. "Because you see, I have never felt happiness. Hence, when you split off from me, it was no wonder you ended up amnesiac. Seriously, what memories of bliss and joy are there for you to even go off of besides those miserable, ignorant minutes of hopeless pining that you felt when fighting against that puffball, Kirby—"

Void suddenly cut himself off, a flicker of annoyance briefly flashing on his face. It was clear that he hadn't planned on revealing that last part.

But Kirby had heard his discombobulated voice, loud and clear. He froze, unsure as to what this could mean.

"Oh, did I forget to mention? How very careless of me…" Void muttered in a tone that implied that he had dropped the bombshell deliberately, although his body language completely showed the opposite, entailing that it couldn't be further from the truth.

Still, it was a decent recovery on his end. Instead of losing ground from his slip of the tongue, Void had turned the situation around to his advantage. And what an advantage it was — with a single remark, the purple puffball had lost all composure.

Spotting his counterpart shivering from anticipation, Void deliberately held off from continuing until the tension hit its peak, after which he cruelly cackled and looked directly at the shaking magenta puff.

"The one who had put us out of our misery was a pink puffball who went by the name of Kirby…"

There was silence as Void concluded. The air surrounding the area itself grew brittle as the inflection of his final word echoed in the catacombs of corridors that were littered around Castle Dedede.

Void's smile grew unnaturally wide before he flashed his counterpart a sardonic sneer. "Muhihihi! How very ironic… I could almost swear that you'd introduced yourself to me earlier with that exact identity, Termy."

Sarcasm laced the white puffball's words as he walked forward, causing the purple Kirby to back away in fear, slowly shaking his head as he backed himself against the wall with mounting horror.

The one who defeated him-no, wait, correction… us, happened to be a Star Warrior named Kirby? Oh, no, no, no! Kirby's jaw dropped in comprehension. As if Dyna Blade's demise and unexpected revival wasn't already enough revelations for one day!

But this was so, so much worse. This was the equivalent of being told that everything you thought you knew… was a lie.

…was it?

"You understand, don't you?" Void taunted with a knowing smirk, the corner of his lips touching the sides of his round face. "I'd told you that you can only remember happy memories when you were born out of our combined core. Is it really a far stretch to believe that the name of our opponent during your wistful struggle is all you can remember, thus causing you to steal it for yourself and use his identity as your very own?"

Void let the silence hang in the air after dropping the rhetorical question, before interjecting a contemplative purple puffball who wasn't even sure who he even was anymore.

"However… even though you have been reborn as a clean slate, I still exist within you. Because in the end, I am your former self, Termy." He took a step forward, his foot clacking against the hard ground. "I am Void — the embodiment of emptiness… of nothingness… of hatred. While you have no memories on your person, I by contrast can remember that emptiness quite clearly… too clearly."

He turned to the wall and hit his palm against it with a growl. "Hmph! That stupid cult leader didn't even bother to perform our revival properly. I still remember our true power, the power we once held and commanded at our fingertips… tell me, Termy, have you ever felt 'strong' before?"

Kirby bit his lip before he responded, knowing that it was a trick question. He wasn't about to dignify Void with the reply that he wanted to hear… because the honest truth was that, yes, he did feel a sense of power whenever he was armed with his trusty Copy Abilities by his side.

"You don't actually have to respond," Void murmured, causing Kirby to flinch at his words. His confident, indifferent attitude to this whole affair made the topic so much worse. "I already know what your answer will be, Termy. Just imagine… the power that you hold now is but a measly fraction of our true potential! Yes, we were all-powerful in the past. We once stood upon the highest echelons of this weak universe — an ancient god revered by an army of devoted worshippers. Our pitch-black and blood-red colors had chilled our enemies to the very core!"

Drunk with power. That was all Kirby could think as Void grinned maliciously. A chilling cackle that followed only further emphasized his apparent lust for power. "They were petrified of us! Mortified by our sheer potential for devastation through power and pure anarchy! That mortal terror is a fear I intend to fully revitalize! It was thrilling… it was wonderful… it was incredible!"

"Poyo!" Kirby finally had enough. Despite all the soul-crushing evidence, he simply couldn't believe that he and this madman was once the same puffball.

Well, I don't want that! I want to be friends with everyone! You can keep your destructive tendencies to yourself!

Void could only shake his head, a disappointed frown on his face as he heard those words. "Oh, you naïve little Star Warrior. To think that you were so misinformed… so oblivious to the truth! You… no, we can't possibly belong in this mortal realm! To make friends with others?" He then glared with a look that made Kirby shrink back. "Meheheheh! What you seek is impossible! This wretched universe is only filled with manipulative, high-Machiavellian scumbags! There is no such thing as a true friend out there… it's futile to even try! Your wish is but an implausible dream!"

Those cold words sliced right through Kirby. Try as he might to keep his expression neutral, he found that his mask was slipping.

"You should never have been born, Termy," Void barreled on with a murmur, his harsh words cutting through Kirby like ice. "One mistake was enough, but at least that one wasn't birthed from the pieces of my own soul."

One mistake was enough? Kirby was bamboozled upon hearing this statement. Did that mean that there was another in the same predicament as him?

Void pointed at Kirby, his red pupils narrowing to slits. "You, on the other hand, have no right to exist. Someone who bears my namesake, and yet able to… feel? Your continued existence disgusts me!" he spat with vitriol, stomping his gray foot against the ground. "We can never be happy! We shall never be happy! We WILL never be happy! You defy everything we stand for, Termy! You have no purpose… nil, null, zero!"

He pointed to himself, a disgruntled frown on his visage as he spoke. "As of now, I am most unfortunately weak while stuck in this puffball form. But mark my words, Termy. When I regain my former glory, I will reabsorb you back into the deepest recesses of my consciousness… right back to where you belong! I will take back the control I never should have lost. We will be one again — the Destroyer of Worlds, VOID TERMINA ITSELF! Meheheheh!"

Kirby couldn't take another second of hearing him speak. Against his better judgement, the magenta puffball spun on his heel and fled, tears brimming in his eyes as he dashed down the corridor.

Void simply stared at his fleeing counterpart. "Po-yo," he grunted, knowing that Kirby… or to be more exact, Termina, wouldn't be able to hear his translated words due to the growing distance between them.

"You can't run from the chains of fate, Termina." A dark chuckle filled the now-vacant castle corridors as he articulated those words. "Not when the two of us are one! And we will be one again, this time with me controlling the reins! We, as Void Termina, are destined to rise from the darkness… and reduce all of creation to ashes!"

The pale white puffball smirked contentedly at his own promise before calmly strutting away, making plans for the future.

His dystopian future.


"Ahem! Just who are you talking to?"

Bun jumped into the air, slamming down the phone until he realized that it was his sister, Fumu.

"No one! Nobody at all!" he hurriedly replied.

Fumu shook her head with a wry smile, winking to show Bun that he wasn't fooling anyone. Quickly deciding to divert her attention away, Bun changed the topic of the conversation in a not-so-subtle manner.

"Man, we really got ourselves in a stew this time!" he remarked, the boy idly kicking his feet about as he sat on the bed. "Dad's unbelievably mad at us!"

An eye-roll from Fumu accompanied her reply. "You don't think?"

"He grounded us, sis!"

"…so?"

Bun raised a hand, preparing himself to shoot a snarky response back at his sister. Unfortunately, his brain promptly short-circuited, so he ended up repeating his earlier statement instead. "…Dad grounded us."

"Well, what do you expect me to say to Dad, Bun?" Fumu scoffed, walking up to her brother. "You want me to tell him that Whispy's Forest has magic healing properties that can miraculously bring any near-dead plant-based being back to life? Want me to distract him with something like that?" The snide comment was made with no mercy whatsoever.

"Yeah!" Bun agreed with Fumu, pumping his fist in excitement when he realized that he had an additional counter to his father's harsh punishment. Either he hadn't managed to catch his sister's sarcasm, or he pointedly chose to ignore it. "Please do! At least he'll think that we were in a safer position than we actually were!"

Fumu glared at him for a moment before relenting with a gruff. "…that part about the plants is actually true, by the way," she admitted, running her hand through the strands of cream-yellow hair that made up her ponytail. "If you read up history like I do, it's actually a footnote in the books — Whispy's Forest is blessed with enriched soil powered by the life force of Whispy Woods himself, so all organic plant life is able to grow rapidly in it. That's the reason why Whispy's Forest is sometimes called 'Nature's Au-natural Haven' by some of the animals like Rick and Coo."

"Wait, wait, wait!" Bun held his hands up, waving them about to halt her sister before she went into a lore-filled tirade about stuff he didn't care about. Gosh, Fumu was such a nature lover at times. "So that means Inferno Kirby burning down the forest didn't actually hurt Whispy? All his apples and trees can grow back? Then why did Whispy even bother kicking up such a big fuss at all?"

"Have you even glanced at a botany book?" Fumu didn't wait for Bun's answer, instantly knowing that it was not going to be affirmative without a shred of doubt. "Plants take time to grow back. Of course it'll damage the forest! Even if Fire Kirby—" she made sure to emphasize the correct name, "—didn't ruin the forest entirely because Whispy has the power to bring back the dead trees back to life with the enriched organic matter in the soil, it doesn't mean that the deforested trees will grow back instantly! It still takes time for the entire undergrowth and canopy to regrow."

"Cool!" Bun quipped. "So that means we were safe after all! Can you perhaps mention this to Dad and make him less angry?" he suggested, hoping that his father would rescind his punishment.

She placed a hand to her forehead, glaring at Bun. "Seriously, if I were to bring this up to Dad, he'd get even more upset than he already is. Besides, you know firsthand that we were anything but safe in Whispy's Forest! Need I remind you that Whispy tried to attack us?"

"Uhhhhh…"

Fumu interrupted him before he could say anything stupid. "And that's not forgetting about that other guy. The one who had a grudge against Kirby — Commander Webby…"

"Honestly, what do you think you can possibly do to me? I told you before, girl… you know absolutely nothing about me or Kirby!"

Fumu pensively sighed. In some ways, Webby was more terrifying than Kracko itself, by sole virtue that he was always one step ahead, somehow managed to beat Kirby in a fair fight, and had fled with the threat of returning another day.

She wasn't the only one who had an adverse reaction to the well-dressed spider who had followed them all the way from Whispy's Forest to Dyna Blade's nest. Bun gulped at the name himself, before his lips sunk down into a scowl. "Oh yeah… him." The very fact that the Como was still on the loose—last seen fleeing the premises when Dyna Blade had returned to her nest—really grated on the boy.

"Anyways…" Fumu cleared her throat to resume the conversation. "That evil insect had you trapped in a pod of threaded silk! Bun… he was going to break every bone in your body by kicking you! I didn't even have to hear that from his fanged mouth, it was blatantly obvious from the fire in his eyes when he saw Kirby use you as a distraction to free me!"

"Uhhhh…" Bun raised a finger up in a futile attempt to try and find some counter-argument, the very act causing Fumu to groan.

Without giving him a chance to interject, Fumu continued on, "And that's not even talking about Dyna Blade! Losing her hatchling must have given her a second wind, because she was literally slicing the air apart!" Her eyes narrowed as she looked to the ceiling.

"And let's not forget about Dedede's demon beast. That monster was firing actual lightning bolts as an attack! The only reason we were safe from those two was because they were solely focused on Kirby! You think that we would have stood the slightest slimmer of a chance against a legendary bird who can fly at supersonic speeds or a sentient storm cloud if Kirby ended up being downed and they proceeded to go after us just like Webby?"

Bun hit his hand against the mattress. "Of course not! But Dad doesn't need to know that—"

"He knows, Bun!" Fumu stated plainly, trying to keep her quivering lips steady. "It's as plain as day!"

"Then we scam him using the fact that you'd just told me about Whispy's Forest! Tell him that we would have been safe there!"

"You're missing the point, Bun!" Fumu fumed, her face scrunching up. "This isn't about the forest. He doesn't care if there's a magical aura that managed to protect us from harm in the forest, even if that barrier happened to be at the peak of the mountain around Dyna Blade's nest. In the end, all that he's concerned about is that we got ourselves in danger, even though we did it for a good cause!"

Fumu sat down on the mattress right next to Bun, looking down at the carpeted floor before continuing on with a tired lament. "Dad's too protective of us, I swear. Back during the octopus demon beast incident, too… he tried to stop us from interfering and attempted to get us to safety. Don't you remember?"

Bun snapped his fingers as he recalled the incident. "Oh yeah! I remember that! It wasn't just Dad though… Mom wanted the same thing as well!"

Fumu grunted, swinging her legs back-and-forth. "Fine. I stand corrected. Both our parents are too protective of us."

"But why are you being so hard-up about it?" Bun asked, patting his sister on the back.

The girl accidentally kicked the mattress as her legs swung more and more vigorously. "Of course I'm going to be prissy about it! I'm not a kid anymore, and yet they still baby me like I'm one! Moreover, their overprotectiveness is the reason Dedede gets free reign around Cappy Town!" she rambled with a huff. "You know, sometimes I feel like I'm the only sane person in this entire town… no, in all of Dream Land!"

She began to brood, a defeated frown gracing her lips. "And that is exactly what King Dedede wants. He wants me to suffer so that no one will ever take my side when I resist him until I eventually give up."

There wasn't anger in her exhausted words. Only despair and a sense of longing.

Silence filled the room until Fumu wistfully gazed to the ceiling. "Even my very own parents would take Dedede's side over mine. Dad didn't have to believe Dedede, but he still did, even though Dedede twisted his words to make me look like the bad guy when we went up to Dyna Blade's nest. What's the point…?"

Bun felt a bad feeling in his stomach at her sorrowful tone. "Sis…" he attempted to start.

"You're no exception, Bun…" Fumu knew the words would sting, but she said them aloud anyway. "When Captain Waddle Doo was handing out the free television sets, you believed what he said without thinking twice. Even though I insisted that Channel DDD smelt like a crate of fishes, you still bought into Dedede's scam without a moment's hesitation…"

More silence as she trailed off. It was now so quiet that the two children could hear their father snoring away from the next room.

Bun eventually tried to lift Fumu's spirits. "If anything, the villagers of Cappy Town support you—"

"—when I'm proven right," she pointed out, rubbing her reddened eyes. "They think I'm being too paranoid about Dedede otherwise. Didn't you see Mayor Len refusing to give up his television set earlier on?"

Fumu hit her hands against the mattress in agitation. "Seriously! What will it take to get everyone to turn against King Dedede? He's a terrible ruler! Time after time again he pulls a stunt and every single time people just 'hopes' he gets better… well, news flash!" she snarled while glaring at the wall. "He's never going to change! From the time that I was a toddler up until now, he has only grown worse!"

How she wished that the citizens of Cappy Town would revolt against the monarchy and start a revolution to instill some sort of fair democracy… anything to throw Dedede out of power.

But alas, the outlook of that wishful dream appeared rather bleak to Fumu, seeming grimmer than the prospect of trekking through a desert without any water. The other Cappies were too meek to stand against Dedede, even though as a united front, Fumu felt as though the one that should really be scared was Dedede.

As such, it was only her. It was always her.

Sometimes she felt like the reason the other Cappies assumed that she had the guts to stand up to Dedede was because of her father's position possibly giving her immunity to prosecution, thereby saving her from any potential retribution.

Hahahahah… no. It wasn't that. Even if she wasn't the daughter of a minister who was part of Dream Land's parliament, but rather someone like Hohhe — a farmer's son put in charge of a corn field, she would still fight against Dedede's tyranny.

Her hatred for King Dedede and everything he stood for was in her blood.

"Well, sis." Bun's voice snapped Fumu out of her feisty imagination. Even her aloof brother had noticed that she was currently fixated on the issue on hand. "Maybe you want to let off Dedede for a while? It's stressing you out."

"Oh, don't worry," she deadpanned with a standard roll of her eyes. "It's just one of the many perks I get for being the only one brave enough to go against Dedede all the time."

It didn't take a genius to realize that the term 'perks' was meant to be taken sarcastically. If it meant Dedede singling her out in rage numerous times throughout her childhood… she supposed that perhaps it could be considered a perk if one spun it the right way.

Yet, no one was willing to help her. Nary a soul.

Bun was, but he was her brother, so that was sometimes out of obligation. Iroo, Hohhe, and Honey were better friends with Bun than her, and tended to help out if they were dragged deep into Dedede's schemes, but usually stayed away otherwise.

As for the adults… the less said, the better. Fumu sniffed, turning her head to the window. Beyond which, Cappy Town lay.

Cappy Town… oh, Cappy Town. Fumu really had a love-hate relationship with the place sometimes.

The grownups were always wanting to play things safe. Despite being in a better position to resist against Dedede and his crazy regime as compared to someone like her, they often tried to ignore the situation, or even exacerbated it with their actions at times.

To think that they had all stood aside when Tokkori summoned them to Kabu's Canyon to spectate Kirby's sword fight with Sir Meta Knight! First off, the very fact that they actively made an appearance at the physical location to watch the match like it was some sort of movie screening was disgusting enough.

But when things had gotten hairy, their true colors showed.

When Meta Knight chose to fire off a destructive Sword Beam, when Dedede decided to use the opportunity to eliminate a weakened Kirby with his own demon beast… all they could do was gasp fearful comments from the cliffs above.

Not a single one of them had tried to stop the brawl or even attempted to lift a finger to assist. Not one!

The cowards!

Weren't they able to see that they were trapped in a cycle of Dedede always tormenting them on a whim for all of eternity if they didn't have the guts to call him out? It was like one of those long-running comedy sitcoms that went on for a hundred episodes, except that there was nothing remotely comedic about their current situation.

That was why she had to be the one to stand against Dedede's iron rule, no matter how much her protective parents tried to dissuade her. There was no one else fit for the task.

That was Fumu's greatest fear. If she was ever put out of commission… she couldn't trust anyone else to be able to put Dedede in his place. It was a sobering, terrifying thought. King Dedede would be able to freely rule like a tyrant without her constant interference.

And no one would dare defy him. His reign over Dream Land would be a true dictatorship without her.

Fumu squeezed her eyes shut, a choked sob leaving her. The other Cappies were hopeless… it was a lost cause.

Meanwhile, Bun simply huddled closer to Fumu. She was not in the best of moods. Normally, she would never open up and reveal her shortcomings to him like this… Fumu was too prideful to do so. But now that he was this close to her, he could see that her cheeks were sullen and her normally neat hair was disheveled.

Not to mention, this was one of the few times he'd seen his tomboyish sister close to tears. Her defiant green eyes were watering up, just like they almost did at Dyna Blade's nest out of worry for Kirby right before Sir Meta Knight had revealed himself and murmured words of comfort at her to alleviate her sense of helplessness.

At that, his eyes suddenly widened. "Wait… where's Kirby, sis?" Bun murmured, in an attempt to get her sister's mind off the current topic.

That seemed to snap the sullen Fumu out of her trance. She looked around the room and hastily jumped off the bed when she realized that Kirby was indeed missing from the immediate vicinity.

"He must have wandered off," Fumu finally said. "He was with us earlier when Dad gave us an earful."

Bun cheekily grinned. He knew a chance to cheer his sister up when he saw one. Even though they didn't see eye-to-eye on most affairs, he didn't want her to be in the funk that she was in now. He didn't want the depressed, moping girl that was currently beside him.

He wanted his annoying older sister back.

"Hey… let's go find Kirby."

Fumu's eyes lit up at his suggestion. "…sure." Her lips slowly curled into a smile.

As they creaked open their bedroom door, the two children crept to the front door. But before either of them could depress the door handle and sneak out, two small creatures floated to their front with stern glares.

"Fumu…" the blue orb started.

"…Bun…" the pink orb continued.

"…where are you two going?" Lololo and Lalala finished in unison, glowering at the two children, who shivered under their gaze.

Well, Bun did, anyway. By contrast, Fumu had her hand on her hip, stubbornly looking back at her two floating guardians. "Nowhere?" she responded… though her snarky tone gave her true intentions away.

"Your father already told you that you were grounded," Lololo spoke, trying to keep his voice level when he realized what was happening.

Lalala scrutinized their faces. "So what are you up to?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.

As Fumu tried to think of an answer, Bun suddenly shouted. "Oi… Lololo, Lalala! Think fast!"

Lololo and Lalala looked at Bun, their eyes widening in panic before a fluffy pillow slammed into them and sent them both flying to the wall.

Fumu's eyebrows twitched at the wacky sight. "Wh-what?" she uttered in confusion.

"There!" Bun picked up the pillow and laid it on top of the two unconscious helpers, smothering them underneath. "That ought to knock them both out cold for a while."

"You did that?" Fumu snorted, but the girl was unable to hide her amusement this time.

Bun winked. "I had a feeling that Lololo and Lalala would be on patrol, so I carried a pillow behind my back. Clearly, it paid off."

"Ugh…" Fumu grumbled with the tiniest flicker of a smile. "That is so you, Bun…"

Bun gave a thumbs-up in response, beckoning his sister forward as he swung the front door ajar. "Good to have you back, sis."

"Yeah, yeah. You win this time. But remember what I said earlier… don't baby me!" Fumu playfully chided as she gently closed the door. "Now let's go find Kirby!"


Two demon beasts in a single day. This was practically unheard of!

Captain Waddle Doo shuffled his feet, trudging along the dimly lit corridor of Castle Dedede.

An upset Dedede led to an impulsive Dedede. And an impulsive Dedede was a recipe for chaos.

"No one asked for either of your opinions."

Waddle Doo shuddered at the dressing-down that he had been given by King Dedede earlier, almost wanting to phase through the floor tiling and sink beneath the floorboards. The events from a few hours ago weighed heavily on his mind, and now he was unable to sleep even if he wanted to.

No, he had half a mind to keep his Waddle Dees on high alert after what had happened…

Three hours ago…

He'd known that trouble was brewing the moment he saw a very charred and drenched Dedede trudge into the castle, a vengeful fire in his eyes as he cursed Kirby with more colorful language than what he'd heard from his commanders when in the military.

Despite how amusing Dedede's predicament was—it looked like he had drowned and suffered from second-degree burns at the same time—the commander of the Waddle Dees wasn't an idiot.

Those blue eyes of his screamed of vengeance.

Captain Waddle Doo silently stared at his king from the sidelines as Dedede licked his lips and sat down on his throne chair, proceeding to make another one of his usual orders as he summoned the hidden television with a direct link to Holy Nightmare Corporation.

When the uplink was established, Dedede didn't waste a single second in giving the sales representative a well-deserved tongue lashing.

"Customer Service! Your so-called 'special demon beast' got busted in an hour. A mere hour!"

"Now, now, your majesty—"

"Shut it!" Dedede glowered at the sheepish green-haired man on the screen who was attempting to play ignorant. In spite of his best efforts, his pity act didn't work on Dedede, as the king was still fuming and very dissatisfied when he'd returned back to Castle Dedede with a soaking wet and charred robe. "I shelled out eight million for Kracko, and he goes kaput in one damn hour. Hmph! To think this is the sort of service that a loyal customer like me receives from Holy Nightmare!"

Waddle Doo had to restrain himself from rolling his eye. It ended up being a harder task than he had anticipated.

After Dedede's verbal display, the captain took in a breath, preparing to try his best to dissuade his king from doing something stupid again. With his words being his only weapon and knowing that his ruler was as stubborn as a mule, Waddle Doo knew that it would be a hard sell, but he had to do something lest Dedede ran the funds for the royal treasury dry.

Because really, wasn't he being a bit reckless with his expenditure? He had just spent a good portion of his money on that other demon beast earlier in the day! And now, he was going to double his expenditure, just like that?

But before he could get a word out, Waddle Doo found himself stunned into silence.

"No worries, Dee-Dee! We understand your concerns." The salesman flashed an innocuous smile at Dedede, his glasses gleaming before he said his next words. "So that's why this next one…" he paused to laugh heartily, before displaying a cocky smirk, "…is on the house!"

To say that Waddle Doo was shocked by this turn of events was an understatement. The captain had to literally pinch himself when he heard the Holy Nightmare salesman refuse to give a seven-figure quotation and instead offer the next demon beast to Dedede completely free of charge.

Such things did not happen outside of Dedede's most lucid of dreams, and the fact that it had just happened in reality was… concerning.

He wasn't the only one to have that thought. "Your majesty?" Escargon raised his arm reluctantly. "Forgive me for being a spoilsport, but doesn't this sound too good to be true?

Dedede raised his hammer as a warning. "Who cares, Escargon! A freebie is a freebie, and I need every bit of fortune I can to clobbah that annoying Star Warrior after the humiliation that he'd put me through!"

"But I agree, sire!" Waddle Doo seized the chance to speak up, running up to the foot of Dedede's throne. "I must be honest, your majesty… I don't have a good feeling about this. Master Escargon has a point, so I must side with him this time and recommend that you be careful with Holy Nightmare's offer! It really does sound too good to be true! No matter how much you hate Kirby, you have to remember — one thread unraveling is all it takes to bring down a conspiracy!"

Dedede viciously growled, the hand that was clutching his hammer tightening until his knuckles went white. "No one asked for either of your opinions." He spat at the captain with such anger that Waddle Doo immediately gulped and fell back.

"Yes, your majesty…" he meeped.

The king grinned at seeing his subordinates relent, swiveling his chair back to face the screen. "Now, where was I…?"

Waddle Doo gave the smiling salesman a cautionary glance as Dedede fervently nodded at the salesman in agreement. "I don't like this," he whispered to Escargon. "The king's wholesalers never provide him items free of charge. I doubt that smarmy guy on screen actually had a change of heart. Something's up…"

"Ya think I don't know that, short stuff?" the king's right-hand hissed back, scowling. "But what can I do, Captain Waddle Doo? His majesty won't listen to me either!"

A smirking Dedede laid back, propping his feet up on his seat as he relished his unexpected windfall. "Alright, then! If it's free, I'll have that demon beast!" he ordered, "No take-backs! Send 'im here immediately!"

Waddle Doo squinted as the delivery system booted up, squeezing his eyes shut when the light became blisteringly bright. When the flash subsided, he opened them and despondently shook his head.

Yet another monster brought to Dream Land, with none of the citizens any the wi