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Grit Your Teeth and Go

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The True Arena – Stadium

“Oh dear Crystal Shards,” I murmured to myself, a hand right over my open mouth. I could feel my heart pounding as I saw Bandana Dee get freaking eaten whole by Yggy Woods. Ribbon was simply gasping beside me, too – “No, Dee!” I heard her exclaim – as Dedede rapidly bashed the tree over and over in an attempt to get Dee out.

I’ll admit, I haven’t really kept up with some of the weird things Kirby and everyone else do after the end of an another adventure – Ribbon and I were just content to paint – but that didn’t mean I don’t at least know about them.

Kirby’s mentioned ‘The True Arena’ a few times to us before. A tough-as-nails boss rush with limited healing, capped off with a final boss that was even worse. I’ve never seen any of them, and he’s spoken of them as being pretty tense and terrible – but seeing as how he always seemed made it out of them looking just fine, Ribbon and I just took it as just another part of Kirby’s quests.

Seeing my friends get challenged like this is making me regret that decision.

For context, us Dream Friends – including me, Ribbon, Daroach, Dark Meta, and Marx – were sitting in the audience of a giant coliseum, amidst a whole host of people from around the Gamble Galaxy. In the center, where there would normally be a large field for battles, there was a holographic image of the environment our friends were in. “Courtesy of the Haltmann Works Company,” they said. (Meta Knight had automatically began glaring at that statement. I guess he didn’t like them blowing up his huge ship?)

All of us were on the edge of our seats in some way, too. Sure, Kirby and our other friends were only just barely beginning this gauntlet – Yggy Woods is the first round boss (funny, I expected Whispy) – but already he was putting up quite a fight. We were seeing him drop several of those freaking Blados onto Dedede, forcing Kirby (who was using Artist – gooooo, painters!) and Meta Knight to bat them away. The Blados seemed to have a mind of their own though, putting a lot more strength into their pushes than I remember them having at all. Since… Since when did Yggy get so tough?

“Come on, Kirby, Meta,” Marx was muttering under his breath in the seat next to me. “You’ve beaten that ugly tree before, what’s stopping you now?” It’d be pretty cute to see him of all people so worried if I wasn’t feeling so rattled myself.

“Wouuuuuld you look at that!” some announcer was declaring, his loud voice able to heard by everyone in the audience. “The King of Dream Land is trying valiantly to rescue his loyal servant – but Yggy Woods doesn’t look like he wants to let that happen!” If I’m being honest, his voice was kind of grating – if only because our friends were in practical danger and nobody else was caring – and it was also nowhere near the same level of charisma as Master Hand.

“That insolent fool doesn’t know how to shut his mouth,” Dark Meta growled (I still don’t know how Kirby managed to warm his ice cold heart down). He looked like he was itching to pull out his sword. As much as I don’t like the way the audience is just being blindly excited, taking them all out would not do wonders for us as a whole.

Daroach sighed. “I don’t like it either, Dark Meta,” he said, holding his Triple Star Cane tightly, “but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.” As he stated, he definitely didn’t look pleased by all of this, but he was certainly a lot more reserved than the rest of us were. “We can only pray for our friends’ safety.”

“Hmph… I suppose you have a point, cretin.”

The holographic image began to show us Dee spat back out – and boy, them showing stamina meters for everyone on the giant televisions in the coliseum really brought home how hard these bosses hit – just in time for Yggy Woods’ ‘second phase’. “Oh, look at Yggy Woods now! He’s super pissed; just look at him go!” True to the announcer’s words, Yggy Woods had jumped into the air, blew the four other Star Allies into the air, and… did some sort of roar. (C-Can trees even roar?)

“G-Go, Kirby!” Ribbon was cheering, struggling to make her voice heard amidst the crowd of everybody else. “You can do it!”

Inspired by Ribbon’s nervous excitement, I joined in with a “Show ‘em what you’re made of, guys!” And even though I know they couldn’t hear me, I added, “There’ll be a good picnic waiting for you, too!”

On cue, I could hear Kirby bantering with his friends while batting away even more Blados. “Hey guys, you think Adeleine and Vividra can cook us a good dinner outta this?”

“I hope so,” Dedede replied, “if this is the type of difficulty we can be expecting outta this!” At the very least, I could chuckle at how conveniently timed their comments were. But, if this first round was any indication of things to come… how far would they be able to last in this gauntlet?

The second round was barely any better than the first. Meta Knight and Dedede were valiantly fighting back the Twin Frosties in order to let Kirby paint up a refrigerator on a canvas. (Hey, I recognize that fridge! Kirby used it as a combo back in the day…)

“Jeez, these guys are reaaaaaaally cold!” Dedede grit his teeth, his hammer holding back a spinning Mr. Frosty. “I don’t remember Mr. Frosty being like this!”

“You know how the True Arena works,” Meta Knight was reminding him, similarly pushing against his own Frosty with his sword. “Harder bosses is a given, especially when we are a four-man party against one-to-two-enemy teams.”

“Yeah, I get that. Our previous True Arena together felt like that, too. But that still doesn’t mean this doesn’t suck!” Dedede finally managed to swing his hammer at Mr. Frosty, the mid-boss being sent reeling a fair distance.

As we sat watching, the announcer jabbering on about whatever, I noticed Marx was looking fairly worried – and for good reason. “How the heck do they need to heal already?” he questioned incredulously. “These are just mid-bosses! Why do they hit so hard!?”

“They don’t even look that difficult,” Dark Meta scoffed. “We combatted these insipid wastes during the previous week. This should not be such a problem for my counterpart.”

“It doesn’t help that everything just feels so oppressive too,” Ribbon added. “It reminds me of Ripple Star, when our Great Crystal was broken.” She shuddered. “I… I don’t like it.”

“It might it have something to do with the ambient magic surrounding this coliseum,” Daroach surmised. “We’ve all felt something similar to this from some of our past foes and environments…” He’s really right; Ribbon and I felt as if Dark Matter was hanging over us. (It might as well have been, considering Void Termina…) “…or in Marx’s case, himself.” He looked at Marx, who merely grimaced at the reminder – his time as a ‘Soul Boss’ (from what Kirby tells me) was a touchy subject he never liked elaborating about, even to us.

“Don’t remind me,” he grumbled.

“In any case, this is a byproduct of whatever kind of dark magic that has created this kind of environment to begin with. I dare say it may even be on purpose, to give the audience some sort of greater spectacle.” Daroach’s mouth pursed in an obvious frown. “I’d give it credit if it were anywhere near as harmless as my heists with the Squeak Squad.”

“They shouldn’t be messing with something like that,” I vocalized, crossing my arms with a stern expression. “That’s exactly the type of thing that birthed Zero-Two and Void Termina. It’s… It’s dangerous.” Meta Knight harped on and on about that, too – it’s hard not to see his point. “I’ve never drawn to life anything above Dark Matter for a reason.”

Marx looked at me funny. “You… drew Dark Matter once? Why?”

I stared at him, deadpan. “Let’s just say possession isn’t a very fun experience.”

“…gotcha,” he replied, immediately understanding.

“And one of the Twin Frosties has been taken down, Bandana Dee fearlessly delivering the final blow with his trademark spear,” the announcer told us. The five of us simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief – the first of many, I thought in a cynical manner. “But can the Star Allies last long enough to take care of the other one, too? Let’s find out!”

“How about you find out yourself, you jerkwad,” Marx growled quietly. I wasn’t too inclined to disagree with him, honestly.

Round 3 was, appropriately, against King Dedede. (Except this one had red eyes and was wearing purple. That was odd.) It started out fairly normal, the four Star Allies easily managing to batter the fake king’s stamina down, and then…

“What. In the name. Of the Amazing Mirror. Is that,” Dark Meta blankly voiced at… whatever the heck was happening in the center of the coliseum.

I could scarcely believe it myself, and neither could Ribbon. I felt like both her and I were just staring slackjawed at this point, actually. Even with the way my imagination can flow, I don’t think I could have ever even tenuously begun to paint something as absurd as that. Heck, even the real Dedede looked a little befuddled. “Oh, so that’s what I looked like,” he noted, one of his eyebrows raised high.

I did my best to answer the question Dark Meta had poised. “I think that’s… Dedede… with… muscles…?” I replied, but I simply couldn’t keep the ‘what-the-heck’ tone out of my voice. “I… I don’t really… know…?”

Ribbon, meanwhile, certainly had words set to go already. “…we must never let Her Majesty know about this,” she stated, floating alongside me. “Ever. I don’t even want to think about the consequences.”

“Yeah, lemme tell you—that was a side of our esteemed ‘King’ I never, ever wanted to see,” Marx stuck his tongue out in disgust. “I am also suddenly grateful we were never hit by any of those Jamba Hearts. Blegh!”

Daroach, to his credit, merely raised an eyebrow. “…hmm. That’s certainly irregular.”

Four perplexed heads – mine included – turned to look at him. “Irregular? We are literally seeing Dedede suddenly use steroids and you just say that’s irregular?”

“Last I checked,” Dark Meta also chimed in, sounding noticeably less abrasive than usual, “beings do not look like that – real world or Mirror World.”

The leader of the Squeak Squad shrugged. “This is Dream Land we’re talking about,” he told us, as if that actually answered anything… and come to think of it, it kind of did. “It’s a world in which kings can steal all the food, jesters can make celestial satellites fight—” Marx stuck his tongue out at him in response— “and our resident savior sleep through whole alien invasions. What is there to be surprised at anymore?”

“I dunno, Void Termina gave us enough of a surprise, I think,” I snarked.

Round 4, and our friends had made it to the Twin Vividras. Vividra became a pretty good friend of ours, and we certainly have a good time painting – but this fight also reminded me of how much of a fight she could really put up. One of her was having a paint war with Kirby and Dee, and her other self was ravishing Dedede in a barrage of reds and blues and yellows and basically every color I had ever seen on a palette.

The other Vividra followed up by painting a bunch of buzzsaws, with one of them striking Kirby for a split second. This prompted the annoyance that was the announcer to proclaim, “It looks like the Twin Vividras are giving the Star Allies a bit of a tough time! Her painting skills are certainly something to behold!” The audience seemed to agree, cheering and gasping in awe – whereas us Dream Friends were rather subdued. I could come up with about a dozen words to say, none of them I think would be worth writing on a canvas.

“Don’t cheer for her, cheer for Kirby!” I stated, feeling my eyebrows furl. How can these people just sit there and think even remotely that this is anything good? I could see bruises on everyone, for Star Rod’s sake!

Marx had brought out his wings by this point, repeatedly tapping the bench with his claws in clear apprehension. I could hear him muttering “Come on, come on…” repeatedly, his volume at a level where he was almost silent against the roaring spectators. Ribbon was holding on to me tightly, too, her hands shaking with similar unease.

“Hmph. This level of combat aptitude is far below what I have come to expect,” Dark Meta decreed, attempting to be as rude as always, though it fell flat when he was clearly as nervous as we were.

On the venue, we bore witness to Kirby whipping out a statue of that weird lady – Susie, I believe Meta Knight said once – and finally taking down one of the Vividras. As the other geared up to summon another creature (wouldn’t be surprised if it was Kracko), Daroach looked at our tense forms and said to us, “You guys do realize this isn’t even halfway done, right?”

An automatic groan passed by my lips. How much more can we take of this?

Round 5, and Not Actually Meta Knight’s up. Dark Meta was initially amused by a battle between two of his Dream Land counterparts – which went alright, as far as everything in this gauntlet went – before becoming a bit ticked at the trick Not-Meta whipped out.

“Duplicating is my shtick, not his!” he snarled, instinctively bringing out his sword and pointing it straight at the image presented before us. “He can’t just take away the one thing that is unique to me and only me.” He was actually growling deeply by the end of his words, and any audience member that wasn’t us began to scoot away from the former villain.

Speaking of former villains, Marx steered his gaze toward Dark Meta and stated, “Jeez, you’re really hung up about that, aren’t you?”

“I’m the one who gets to be a mirror. He’s just supposed to be my counterpart. Him just deciding to take what was mine like that… It makes me enraged beyond belief.”

“B-But just because it seems like he’s copying you on a surface level, doesn’t mean it’s really like yours at all,” Ribbon pointed out to try and soothe him. “That one’s just, uhh… What’s the right word…?”

“Lazy?” Marx drawled.

“Lacking flair?” Daroach suggested.

“Not as cool?” I put in my few cents.

“You… You think my skills are… ‘cool’?” Dark Meta calmed down, seeming a little confused by my words. (At least he wasn’t frightening everyone around him anymore.)

“Well, yeah,” I replied. “Your stuff’s pretty useful, and something that’s really ‘you’ in its feel. Even if Meta Knight tried to recreate it… it’d never be as neat as yours.”

If I looked closely, I could see a bit of red seep through Dark Meta’s mask. “H-Hmph… I-I certainly appreciate your words,” he tried to thank me in a dignified manner.

“It’s alright to say ‘Thank you,’ Dark Meta!” Ribbon flew around him. “Don’t be shy!”

“G-Gurk! …t-thank you, then,” he reluctantly acquiesced, looking away in embarrassment.

Round 7 – it’s Kracko. Well, Twin Kracko, at this stage of the game. These bosses were really showing their edge – everyone other than Kirby was getting battered by the torrent of rain, and it was really painful to have to look at.

I-It was just… I could hear each and every raindrop that fell onto their bodies, and it not only looked painful, it sounded so too. The sounds everyone was making – some sort of “Grlblblblblbl!” – would’ve been funny if it weren’t making so many bruises. Not to mention, Kirby was frantically trying to paint at the rainstorm in an attempt to help, but it wasn’t helping, unfortunately.

“No, no, no, no,” Marx was denying, his eyes glazing over the others’ plummeting health bars. “You guys can’t possibly be getting owned by Kracko.”

“And the Star Allies have fallen victim to the Twin Krackos’ deadliest move, the Twin Waterfall technique! Oh, if only they had the power of Blizzard or Zap on their side – but alas, none of them came equipped with it.”

“How condescending,” Daroach noted. “He certainly knows how to be as much of an auditory annoyance as possible.”

“If it were up to me, I would have torn him apart half an hour ago,” Dark Meta growled. “Unfortunately, the rules have regulated against… ‘violent’ and ‘unnecessary’ acts. Hmph. They think it unnecessary when they hire such an irritating, unworthy peon to do the job. Despicable.”

“…not the way I would have put it, but I suppose you do get the message across,” the mouse deadpanned.

“Guys, guys, oh crap, oh crap!” Kirby was panicking, flinging about splotches of paint as he tried to figure out anything he could do. As soon as the Krackos stopped their second barrage, he quickly went to work putting up his canvas and frantically painting another fridge.

It was heartrending, really – especially as he had to pick up his canvas and run in order to dodge another dual downpour. I could hear Marx tapping the bench we were on at an even faster rate than before. Heck, even Daroach’s frowns seemed to crease further into his cheeks.

A Plasma Wisp attendant soon came by us, carrying a host of snacks and drinks for us to purchase. “Are you enjoying your time here at the True Arena?” he asked the five of us, and we all looked at him with varying degrees of ‘what the heck, dude.’

“This place is an insult to me and the worthiness of my counterpart,” he growled. “If I were the host, I would shut it down myself.”

“It doesn’t really work as entertainment when you’ve fought these guys before,” Daroach drawled, sounding as reserved as always.

Marx was less so. “Hell no,” he declared angrily.

I responded differently. “…why does this place even exist, anyway?” I asked the Plasma Wisp. “This kind of sport, it’s just… an insult to what we’ve done to save the galaxy. Can you do anything to stop it?” We’d try ourselves, but we’re not too keen on trying to go against these types of dark magic unprepared.

“I’m just an attendant, madam. Even if I tried, my requests wouldn’t be of much help.”

“That’s a bummer,” Marx muttered. “I’d love to sink my claws into this jerk of a host.”

Round 10. Zan Partizanne. The ‘Bringer of Shock’, as they describe her.

Francisca and Flamberge had been fairly easily disposed by the gang, though the former’s water cannon was strong enough to get a few hits in on them. It didn’t escape my notice that only three of the small tomatoes remained now – and our friends started with six. And even with the help from Kirby's ‘Still Life’ ability, they were basically coasting on fumes.

It was… unnerving, admittedly, to see the three mages not speak a single word while battling. When us Star Allies together were fighting them, we shared plenty of banter – but now, it was as if they were robots, programmed only with their fighting capabilities and basic sound effects.

That didn’t stop Zan Partizanne from being quite the threat, though. Her lightning prowess was dangerous as ever, her sword being put to great use in making large and electrifying slashes. “Meta Knight appears to be making ground against Zan Partizanne, folks!” the announcer declared as the two clashed sword with sword. “Their skills with their blades are nothing short of legendary – but can the supposed ‘greatest warrior of Dream Land’ hold up his opponent's rampage?”

I was stress drawing in my sketchbook at this point, trying to keep my mind off the doom that might be awaiting our friends if they failed. (They may have survived before, but that didn't mean I wasn't still worried for then.) Ribbon was lending a hand too, adding her own touch to our little sketch.

“Huh?” I heard Marx draw his attention to us, and he scooted over to take a peek. He smiled (a genuine one, too!) and said, “Well, I have to say, that doesn’t look half bad, Ado, Ribbon.”

“Oh, Marx!” Ribbon squeaked. “You… You really think so?”

The picture in question was of me and Ribbon standing over a thoroughly thrashed Hyness, a triumphant look on both of our faces. Ribbon had added the Crystal Gun to her drawn counterpart's hands, cutely blasting a few extra Crystal Shards into the Officiant's unconscious body.

“I’m glad to hear that, Marx,” I replied, momentarily taking my pressed crayon off the paper. “It won't come to life like my other works of art, but it's still pretty good.”

“Yeah,” he snickered, “I can tell. Let me join in on the fun!” Without asking (par for the norm with Marx), the jester grabbed a crayon and added his own visage on top of Hyness, rolling over him with his trademark beach ball. Of course, crayon Marx was also closing his eyes and sticking his tongue out, as if to mock the Jambandra leader.

The small commotion had also attracted Daroach and Dark Meta; the mouse and the dark knight looking intrigued at my little drawing. “You’ve certainly got talent, Adeleine,” the thief complimented. “Mind if I steal a slice of the pie?” I handed him a crayon of his own, and he similarly began to draw himself off to the side, looking over the drawn Hyness in a cocky manner. He even put in a Squeak beside him, holding up a piece of the big Jamba Heart as if it were treasure.

“I think you four are just a bunch of amateurs,” Dark Meta taunted in his usual fashion. “Allow me to show you how to do the job right.” Another crayon given, and he got to work himself. However, it was kind of clear he didn't have a lot of experience being an artist – guess he didn't have a whole lot to do in the Dimensional Mirror -  but his goofy, off-model interpretation of himself trying to stick his sword into Hyness was still a work of art of its own.

The four of us burst into light laughter. “Ooh, Darky,” Marx was saying, a smirk on his face, “I didn't know that was how you thought of yourself.”

Dark Meta looked affronted. “Hmph! I’ll have you know, this is a spectacular image of myself. I drew myself and my sword just perfectly!”

“Don't worry, Dark Meta,” I assured him, trying to hide my own giggles, “we're not judging you over this.”

Seeing him get all defensive about his art just put a smile on my face. It allowed us to forget, just for one solitary moment, about the possible threat to the universe looming over our heads. Just for one moment, we could just be friends and budding artists and just plain dorks in peace.

Kirby and our friends were still fighting, after all – we can't lose our spirits now.

Round 12. Morpho Knight. This guy was a weird one.

A bunch of Jamba Hearts had resurfaced a few days back and had made some clones of our friends and enemies. They were wreaking a bit of havoc whule Kirby and co. were taking a little vacation, so us Dream Friends had to go deal with them and the Jambandra mages again. At the end of the road, we fought this weird knight guy (after he ate this other pink guy first; it was weird) who kind of looked like Meta Knight except he had butterfly wings???

Judging by the audio playing, it seemed like our friends were equally as confused as to what just happened. “Did… Did that butterfly just absorb Galacta Knight's essence?” Meta Knight asked, his voice carefully level.

Kirby and Dedede's jaws had dropped wide open. “…holy crap,” the two of them stated simultaneously.

“You—You mean that cute little butterfly was an evil demon too!?” Dee exclaimed, flailing his hands in the air. “T-That's--That's just crazy!”

“Buddy, you have no idea,” Marx drawled, both his eyelids half-closed. “Guy was a bit of a prick, too.”

“He didn't deserve the honor of being a knight,” Dark Meta scoffed. “He was just a lowly imitator, trying to ascend to a throne he was unworthy of ever reaching.”

“You feel pretty strongly about it, don't you, Dark Meta?” Ribbon saw fit to ask him. Understatement of the century.

“I don't blame him,” Daroach put in his two cents. “That knight did attack us without precedent. He had those weird brainwashing waves, too. At least my squad managed to snap me outta it, but it was still unpleasant.”

“Where did this guy come from, anyway?” I pondered. “He just… showed up out of nowhere.”

“He's not working for Dark Matter, is he!?” Ribbon panicked. Oh, Ribbon – looks like she still hasn't quite gotten over the Ripple Star invasion yet.

“We can’t know that for sure, unfortunately,” Daroach told us. “Only that the butterfly is far more powerful than we could have ever thought.” And boy, did that sound immensely worrying.

“…I don’t like what this all means,” Ribbon said quietly, watching as our friends sidestepped Morpho Knight’s big sword beams. “I really don't.”

“…me neither, Ribbon,” Marx admitted. “Me neither.”

At last. Our friends had made it to the end, with just two tomatoes remaining on their perches. Kirby, Meta Knight, Dedede, and Bandana Dee all looked various forms of tired and battered, Kirby especially – but all four of them still had that determined glint in their eyes.

The very same look Kirby had all those years ago, when he went to confront Zero-Two.

Somehow, it was… comforting.

“Here we are, guys,” he stated. “The end of the road.”

“They finally made it,” Ribbon breathed. “That's… That's wonderful!”

“You can say that again,” I said. “Just one more guy to go, and we can be done with this place.”

Funnily, Dedede had collapsed onto the floor, letting his grip on his hammer go slack. “Oh, Star Rod!” he swore, panting heavily. “I forgot how stressful the True Arena could be!” He groaned loudly. “We really, really need a break after this!”

“Don't worry, Great King!” Bandana Dee was quick to jump right to his King's side, patting his shoulder in an assuring fashion. “Together, we can take on whatever evil demon lies ahead! You can count on it!”

“But perhaps it would be prudent to ‘catch our breath,’ as they say,” Meta Knight said. “After all… we know exactly the type of enemy we will be facing next.”

“What did those four say lies at the end of these gauntlets, again?” Dark Meta muttered to himself. “A Soul Boss, I believe it was…?”

“That's right,” Marx agreed, his face looking far more serious than I had ever seen before. “They're about to face the worst possible type of monster. A shell of what once housed a… let's say, whole soul. A demon that knows nothing more than pure hatred and revenge and suffering and you want to break out of it you really really do but you're too far gone and so all you can do is fight and fight and eventually it starts to overwhelm you and you forget who you are and it just… It just…!”

Marx was hyperventilating hard, his eyes tightly closed and very much remembering something terrible. Quickly, me, Ribbon, and Daroach (and even Dark Meta) all rushed to his side, holding him up as he threatened to fall over from trauma. “Hey, hey, Marx, Marx!” I shook him a bit to bring him back to his senses. “It's okay! You're not a monster anymore!”

“It is not like you to be so unnecessarily tense,” Dark Meta tried to soothe him in his own way. “Face yourself with confidence!”

“Stay with us, Marx,” Daroach said. “This is the present, not the past. Just calm down.”

Eventually, we managed to get him down to something resembling calmness. “Alright… alright… I'm—I'm fine now,” he breathed. His whole body was still vibrating a bit, but at least he was back to being stable. “…thanks.”

“Anytime!” I proudly stated. “That's what friends are for, after all!”

“Yeah!” Ribbon added. “You can always count on us!”

“Friends… heh.” Marx chuckled. “Never really thought I'd end up having friends to call my own. It's… still strange, actually.”

“Friends is a strong word,” Dark Meta scoffed – but we all knew he was thinking the same way deep down.

Back with Kirby and friends, the five of us noticed they actually were taking a break, sitting down in a circle and reflecting on how far they had come. “It’s certainly been a long time since I arrived on Pop Star, huh?” Kirby remembered, a wistful expression on his face. “Feels like just yesterday I was fighting to take back Dream Land's food supply.”

“Man, it's hard to believe that was over twenty-five years ago!” Dedede agreed with him. “And now we're here, ready to refight one of the greatest threats in the galaxy.”

“They really have come a long way,” Marx mused. “Kirby especially. I still remember the day he stopped my plot to take over Pop Star.” He closed his eyes. “Heh, those were the days…”

“Don't forget how he saved Ripple Star and stopped Dark Matter!” Ribbon added, fists pumped in the air.

“Yes, yes, we get the point,” Dark Meta groaned while rolling his eyes.

“Don't forget all our friends, too!” Dee said. “We're doing this for them, too! Rick, Kine, Coo, Gooey, Marx, Adeleine, Ribbon, Daroach, Dark Meta – everyone's waiting for us to come back safely! We can't let them down now!”

“That is correct,” Meta Knight agreed. “I must admit… even I have gained some form of acquaintance with Marx and my mirror counterpart. They may be former enemies, but they are still a part of our little family.”

Dark Meta looked away, letting out a little scoff (but not denying anything, noticeably) while Marx just deadpanned, “Gee, you're sounding appreciative.”

“We are sooooooo going to have a big picnic after this,” Dedede groaned. “With melons and tomatoes and Pep Brews and even shortcakes. I'll even make it a royal decree, or something.”

“Yeah, I'm pretty hungry too,” Kirby said. “I think it’s time we go out and finish this. Ready, guys?”

“They're fighting so hard…!” Ribbon said. “Oh, I'm going to give Kirby the biggest hug I can when he's through with this!”

“I'll never forgive them if they die now after all of this crap,” Marx grumped. To the hologram, he yelled, “So you better make sure you stay alive, Kirby, Meta Knight! You hear me!? Don’t die!”

“If they can make it this far, then we have nothing to fear,” Daroach said, tipping his hat down. “We will hold out our faith just a little longer, so that they may come back to us safely.”

“My counterpart better make sure he doesn't fall to pieces.” And there was Dark Meta's obligatory cheer. Eh, it's the best we can expect out of him.

“Gooooo, everybody!” I made sure to try and cheer as loud as I could, even louder than everybody else in this sinister stadium. “Don't hold anything back!”

I know it's been a tough ride for them, but now there's only one barrier left holding them back from total victory. They haven't given up, even after getting bashed and thrashed all over – so we shouldn't give up hope, either!

They can do this. The Star Allies can win this. I know they can.

We know they can.

And as our friends walked toward the door to the end, two tomatoes eaten and shared between the lot of them, the announcer began to proclaim, “And this is it, folks! The final fight is about to begin! We are about to witness another battle of the ages for the fate of the Gamble Galaxy! Will the Star Allies secure their fifth consecutive victory, or will the newest, the baddest threat finally get one over them? Let the battle against Void Termina… be-gin!”

Here we go.

Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede, Bandana Dee…

Show this gauntlet who’re the real bosses here.

We'll be here, cheering for you.