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Kirbits and Pieces

Chapter Text

Ever since Kirby bested Nightmare, Cappy Town had become a bustling metropolis of tourists, refugees, and warriors who had dedicated their lives to purging evil from the galaxy. All in all, the people had their hands full nowadays. Luckily enough, Meta Knight and his squires were there to help with any troubles that might spring up from time to time.

Of course, sometimes problems pop up out of the blue.

Sword Knight came face to face with a problem of this ilk when one night, while treating a few warriors to a picnic, Kirby bounded over to him. He was dragging a female knight behind him with one hand, his eyes light up as he chirped and squeaked to get the other knight’s attention. At once, woman greeted him like she was talking to an old friend.

“You there! Good fortune to you, sir!”

Apparently, she was known as Lady Isobel, and she belonged to a band of female knights that new Sword very well. Except (of course), she referred to Sword as Sir Tristan and told him that she’d recognized him instantly due to his bread-shaped helmet, and she laughed about his fashion choices with another one of her friends as Sword desperately tried to figure out what was going on.

Suddenly, scenes from his past flashed back into his head in screaming color, drowning out the woman’s praises and recollections of their apparent battles. How he’d found upon a dazzling set of armor that belonged to a duo of star warriors, how he’d promised to retrieve it for Blade as an anniversary gift, and how he’d had to pry it off their dead bodies before the demon beast came back around to have seconds. Frankly, there really wasn’t much he could do at this point other than run for his life.

He faked a very hearty laugh and slapped her on the shoulder. “Been a while, huh?”

“Um, I was telling Lady Niue about how you nearly died of cholera-!” Sword brushed her off and turned to leave. It was now his turn to take Kirby’s paw and drag him away from the warrior woman. Meta Knight, his only hope, was blithely oblivious to the whole misunderstanding as he sat at a table signing autographs. Blade Knight, his back-up hope, was seconds from digging into a large slice of cake when Sword nudged his shoulder.

“Blade?”

“Aye!”

“You see that girl over there?” Sword asked, and Blade shook his head in response. Sword breathed in deep and breathed out slowly. “We can never take these helmets off again.” Blade looked between his slice of cake, Sword, and the woman. And then, he spoke.

“Dangit.”

Chapter Text

“Kirby! Kirby!”

Tiff was getting worried. Kirby had missed freshman orientation, something he himself had been so dead-set on attending that he’d even made 5 batches of cookies for everyone there, and she hadn’t seen him around the campus either. Where could he have gone?

Suddenly, she heard a cry of fear coming from the gymnasium, and horror began to creep down her spine when she realized who it was coming from. She sped over to the doors and thrust them open, not knowing what she’d see inside. To her relief, Kirby was fine and well, and scooting around in a wheelchair. To her disgust, she saw who he’d gotten the wheelchair from sitting on an exercise mat a few feet away.

Marx was amusedly watching Kirby attempt wheelies and donuts as he crammed another snickerdoodle into his mouth from the multiple tins that surrounded him. He was so enthralled with watching the guy nearly piledrive into a ball holder that he didn’t even notice Tiff angrily stomping up to him. He certainly caught on when she slapped him upside the head, though.

“Gah!” He nearly fell over, but caught himself at the last second, looking around until he locked eyes with his assailant. “Oh. Good afternoon, Tiffany. Wonderful day we’ve been having, no?”

“Marx, what’s wrong with you?” Tiff asked, as Kirby continued to speed around. “Do you have any idea how reckless you’re being? You can’t just let Kirby treat your chair like it’s a toy! Don’t you realize you need it to function?!”

“Would you relax and stop being a fun cop for once in a while?” Marx retorted, knocking crumbs off the front of his shirt. “I got clipped by a bike last week, and it didn’t even leave a scratch. Your little cousin’s safe with me.”

“I wouldn’t trust his phone with you, Marx.” Tiff said, rolling her eyes. “You’re not exactly the best influence.”

“Tiff! Look!” Kirby’s chipper voice brought Tiff out of her Marx-induced fury as she looked up at him. Kirby, starry-eyed, grabbed onto the edges of the wheels and popped a wheelie and he spun around. “Look! Isn’t this cool?”

“Kirby! Be careful!” she warned.

“I am being careful!” Kirby said. But one of the sleeves of his pullover got caught in the spokes, causing his spin to veer ever so slightly into the right as his face slammed into the side of the collapsible bleachers. Tiff screamed in panic and darted over the fallen teen, and Marx fell over cackling.  

“I should have stopped you sooner!” she said, as she picked him up off the ground and looked at him. While he hadn’t gotten a black eye, his wrist looked terrible, covered in purple and green bruises. Kirby didn’t notice he was any worse for wear, though, until Tiff grabbed it to get a better look at it. “Let’s get you to the nurse’s office.”

“Oh, good!” Kirby said cheerily. “I was actually gonna ask her about any allergies the other kids had, y’know, with the cookies…” He picked up the wheelchair with his unhurt arm and began to wheel it back over to Marx, who was still writhing on the mat with mirth.

Marx, still snickering, pulled himself up. “But seriously, you didn’t scuff up my chair, right?” Tiff shot a dirty glare at him, drew back her leg to kick one of the wheels, but stopped herself and gave a deep sigh as she exited the gym with Kirby in tow.

“Thanks, Marx!” Kirby called down the hall. “See you later!”

Chapter Text

Morpho Knight sighed as she reformed in the Hyper Zone. Dying was so inconvenient! And she hadn’t done anything wrong; she was just killing Galacta Knight and delivering swift justice to all the planets that he’d obliterated! But, the four heroes ran after her, and she was forced to put up a fight for the sake of it. She hoped that she hadn’t hurt any of them too badly, after all, it wasn’t nearly close enough to any of their times to go.

At least the other emissaries would find it funny. Especially considering who was the one to strike the final blow. Morpho Knight didn’t have much time to think about all the jokes she could crack her own expense when she realized that she was surrounded by some less-than-happy expatriates. All the other villains that Kirby had previously bested were in this dull arena, and every one of them was in silent shock at seeing her again.

Void Termina bellowed in rage and barreled towards her on all fours, snarling like a wild animal as bits of his still wounded soul leaked from beneath his mask. Morpho Knight tried to jump up and fly away, but her wings were still clipped from her defeat, and were regenerating excruciatingly slow. She dipped over to the right as Void Termina scrambled to try and chase after her, tripping over his own lumbering limbs and skidding on his stomach right before Nightmare. The dream wizard golf-clapped sarcastically as he looked down upon the fallen destroyer of worlds.

“Ladies, gentlemen… Galacta Knight.” Morpho began. Galacta Knight flipped her off, and she returned the gesture in kind. “Don’t get yourselves in a tizzy over me. I’ll just be here for a moment.” Her wings fished reforming, and she gave a sigh of relief and slowly began to ascend. “Carry on with whatever you were doing. I won’t bother you any more.”

“You’re leaving?” Magolor clamped onto her feet and tugged downward as he pleaded. “Take me with you, please! Everyone here is totally nuts!” Looking down, Morpho Knight could see the look of pure desperation clear on his face… as well as a very nasty looking scar that appearing to be leaking a pinkish liquid.

In fact, as she looked around, she could see that all the villains had visible injuries from their prior attempts to conquer Dreamland and/or clobber Kirby. Whether it be physical injuries such as the massive cracks in Necrodeus’ skull and the frayed strings on Yin-Yarn’s body, or mystical ones like Dark Mind seemingly trailing shards of broken glass or the Rainbow Sword buried in Dark Matter’s chest that seemed impossible to remove as it gave off small sparkles. All of them were primed for vengeance of they got so much as one claw outside of the area, so Morpho decided the best way to dissuade them was by fear.

“It was Meta Knight who sent me here,” she said lowly, and she could see Dark Nebula cringe reflexively. “And Daroach! And… a chef. And… a little robot.” She realized she may have started off too strong, but Haltmann looked up suddenly and raised one hand as if he was about to say something.

“Not that little robot.” Morpho said. She could see him glitch out for a moment, and then snap his fingers in disappointment. “The only reason I brought back Marx was to aid the rebuilt Nova with regaining his powers. The little mite stole them after he mutated into his Soul form.” She kicked the Halcandran off her. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

Magolor sniffled and curled into a fetal position, and Morpho Knight turned to leave once more. This time, she was stopped by someone clearing their throat. She rolled her eyes and turned to see two villains that she hadn’t quite met before. The first was Drawcia, who’s pale lavender skin appeared to be melting and reforming itself as multiple eyes blinked on and off her face. The second was Queen Sectonia, who’s marvelous wings were coated in lichen, and a single pink flower was growing in one of her eye sockets.

Drawcia cleared her throat again, though Morpho could tell this time it was more to get her face to reform than to get her attention. “You don’t suppose it could hurt for you to visit from time to time, could it?” she asked as a second set of eyes bubbled up unconsciously.

“You’re the only one of these little… reapers that actually cared about us when we died.” Sectonia added. And it was true; every one of these villains was one life she’d ferried away to a special zone, partly out of respect for Kirby, who it seemed was keeping her with a steady job. But, something was different about the ladies’ request, something that stirred feelings inside of Morpho.

“I’ll keep it in mind.” Morpho said. And with that, she was off.

Chapter Text

It had only been a few months after Kirby defeated Nightmare when another threat reared its ugly head. Strange portals had begun opening across Cappy Town, some releasing monsters and others simply sucking things up were causing a panic through the small village. Some claimed to even see copies of themselves through the portals, but much too frightened to explore further.

And obviously, when one is given such an opportunity, why not exploit it?

King Dedede went alone, against his better judgement, to figure out what exactly was going on with these rifts, and maybe get a bit of his mojo back. The one that appeared in his throne room even had a convenient little pathway set up for him, even if it did seem rickety at best. Undeterred, he made his way across the bridge until he saw something that stopped him in his tracks.

It was a massive fountain, even bigger than his castle, covered in gnarled branches and cracked to bits at the foundations. Black water cascaded from the fountain, spilling over the edges and making the floor outside of the pathway into a gloopy swamp. Resting on one of the only dry platforms of the fountain was Lord Nightmare himself, splayed out like a lion, with his clawed fingers relaxing and clenching gently. He emitted a low growl as Dedede came closer.

“Hey. Nice place you got here.” Dedede was already drenched in sweat just by looking at him; he’d forgotten how imposing Nightmare was. Or maybe, it was all this condensation in such a tiny space. Nightmare shifted and growled again, and Dedede could see the rumbling on the water’s surface. “Real nice. Yep. It sure fits such a scary guy like you!”

Okay, that last suck-up should have at least gotten a condescending chuckle out of Nightmare. And yet, he just laid there. It was at that point, Dedede realized that Nightmare wasn’t growling at him.

Nightmare was snoring.

“What?!” Dedede’s voice bellowed through the empty cavern. “Hey! Get up! I didn’t come all the way here just to watch you take a powernap!” Dedede jumped into the murky black water and began splashing around, swinging his hammer, and yelling to try and get him to awaken. “Get up, ya lazy blue blanket!”

While Dedede was busy making as much noise as humanly possible, Nightmare opened one eye disgruntledly. He scowled at the penguin, before noticing that something was a bit… off about his mortal enemy. There was the accent, that was a dead giveaway, but he seemed to be a lot less coordinated with his attacks and significantly more foolish. He’d have to investigate further.

With one hand, he picked up the offending king, and looked down on him. Almost immediately, the strange Dedede quit making noise, frozen in abject terror.

“What do you want?” he asked Dedede, getting only a strained whimper in response. “Speak.”

Dedede gulped loudly. “Well, you see here, I was just reckoning and uh, hoping that you’d come to my aid. You see, I’ve got a little bit of a problem on my hands, and it’s been real boring, and you seem like a good feller for the job and I reckon…” He was rambling aimlessly at this point, doing whatever he could to attempt to get this other Nightmare to drop him in one piece. “So, are you in?”

“No.” Nightmare looked up and saw the rip in space. That answered his first question, but everything else about this Dedede was just about impossible to grasp. And he assumed it would stay that way. After all, he had a dream to get back to.

“Go away.” He chucked the other Dedede back through the portal and laid back down. Escargoon had left the room to make himself tea and cookies, and returned to find one shell-shocked Dedede, soaked in brackish liquid, laying prone on the ground with a thousand-yard stare. Oh, and the rip in space-time was gone as well.

“I’m not going to ask, sire.”

Chapter Text

“What’s that you got there?”

Kirby was holding a glass jar with a label made of making tape wrapped around it. The label had a few D-Bill signs scribbled on it, as well as the word ‘Obscenities’ smack-dab in the center, in Tiff’s unmistakable bold handwriting. She looked pretty proud of herself for making it, and she popped a lid with a slit onto the top.

“It’s a swear jar. I made it for you.” To emphasize her point, she turned the container around to reveal another strip of masking tape on the back with ‘for Knuckle Joe’ written in cursive, next to a small doodle of a saddened Kirby. “Whenever you have bad thoughts or bad words about anyone, I want you to put loose change in here.”

Knuckle Joe put his hand on his chin and walked around Kirby, clearly exaggerating for dramatic effect. “So, what you’re getting at is, if we wanna say anything bad, anything at all, we just gotta pay a toll?”

“No! That isn’t the point, Knuckle Joe!” She slammed a hand on the lid, causing Kirby to jiggle like a plate of flan. “The point is that you’re supposed to look at it when it’s filled and think to yourself if it was really worth it to say such nasty things about other people!”

Knuckle Joe had a perfectly good retort to counter that, but he was distracted when he heard and saw King Dedede and Escargoon coming down the hall, having a conversation about something that probably wasn’t important. Knuckle Joe looked between them, the jar, and Tiff as they went into the throne room. A devilish smirk crept across Joe’s face.

“Yo, King Dedede! Guess what?” He rushed in after the king and his lackey, and the doors closed with a heavy thud behind the three of them. The following 20 seconds that ensued were mostly muffled by the heavy wooden doors, but there was one voice at the end of it that both Tiff and Kirby knew well. Specifically, the unadulterated rage that was King Dedede’s bellowing cry.

“YOU WHAT?”

Knuckle Joe sped out of the room, cackling his head off. He only stopped to catch his breath, toss two coins into the jar, and then run off again.

“It was so worth it! It was so worth it!” His laughter only increased in pitch as Dedede barreled out of the throne room, brandishing his hammer with a beet-red face and a death glare that could wilt flowers. Escargoon, just as red and just as angry, followed suit wielding a laser-powered chainsaw, which Tiff really didn’t want to find out how he’d got.

“I have made an extreme error in judgement.” Tiff said bluntly.

Kirby didn’t care much. The jar had two shiny brand-new coins in it, and that was enough to make him happy as he jingled it around, unmindful of the explosions off in the distance.

Chapter Text

Meta Knight kicked Galacta Knight into the asteroid belt surrounding Planet Frostak. It was a miracle that they hadn’t caused any meteor strikes on any of the unsuspecting planets below, being that they’d been at this for an hour. How many more hits could this guy take? Meta Knight looked around himself at the carnage and quietly wondered if this was really the best idea to have.

Upon seeing another asteroid with a Galacta Knight-shaped hole punched through it, he smiled to himself. Oh, yes. This was definitely one of his better ideas. He flew down to the downed warrior and pointed Galaxia towards his face.

Galacta Knight weakly pulled himself up back onto his feet. “You truly are… the strongest warrior in the galaxy.” He said raggedly. Meta Knight said nothing, and raised his hand to deliver the killing blow, but something stopped him from swinging down. Curious, he looked over to see why he couldn’t move his arm.

A navy-blue crystal was encasing it.

Galacta Knight chuckled darkly, all traces of fatigue quickly leaving him as he smashed the asteroid that the two were standing on. The crystal was quickly creeping all over the rest of Meta Knight’s body, moving to his wings and other arm next as Galacta Knight’s laughter raised into an evil cackle.

“I’m impressed, really!” Galacta Knight continued, gently hovering around Meta Knight in his current predicament. “I was beginning to think I’d never get out of there. But, lo. My knight in shining armor has come at last.” Meta Knight attempted to respond, but the crystal had already fused his mask to his face, ruining any hope for a final defiant curse and replacing it with a nondescript humming sound.

“Oh, but don’t worry. I’ll pick up the slack in your absence, rest assured.” He brandished his lance and ran a hand down its length. “Dreamland sounds like it’ll be fun, especially if it spawned such a brave warrior such as yourself.” And that was the last thing Meta Knight heard before he was fully encased, watching Galacta Knight dart towards Popstar. Unable to move, unable to speak, unable to hear anything, Meta Knight floated in the vacuum of space, alone with his thoughts.

Well, this was certainly a problem. But Meta Knight knew it was going to be fine. As if Kirby would just run around like a chicken with his head cut off at the slightest hint of danger! He’d beat Galacta Knight black and blue, and then speed up here and break him out. He had nothing to worry about.

TIME TO GO >

Oh, no.

At least, that’s what Meta Knight would have said, as he watched the massive clock open a portal to Another Dimension and felt his crystal prison slowly be pulled into its gaping maw.  

YOU DO NOT BELONG IN THIS WORLD >

The Doomers were already waiting at the opening, hissed in anger and flapping their tendrils about as Meta Knight drifted closer and closer.

YOU ARE NOTHING ANYMORE >

And then, Meta Knight woke up.

Chapter Text

‘CHOCO-CAPSULES! THEY’RE BACK!’ is what the sign plastered on the front of Tuggle’s grocery store said. Escargoon had mixed feelings about bringing back these stupid chocolate eggs, after what had happened last time with the tournament and the downright creepy obsessiveness people had over the figures. But the bottom dollar was what mattered most, and this little scheme was going to make the king and he rich, provided Dedede conveniently raised the taxes in time.

“Hold it, pal!” a voice called out, as two figures entered the supermarket.

“Oh, joy. The fun police have arrived.” Escargoon had fully anticipated Tiff to storm into the store, whining and moaning about whatever he was doing, and try to make a big deal about nothing per usual. What he wasn’t expecting was Sir Garlude and Cavalier Jack to be the ones to accuse him this time. Jack had even pushed his mask onto his head, which could only mean he meant business.

Or maybe he was sweaty.

“We’re not open! Go away!” Escargoon shouted.

“Good. We need to have a talk about something.” Garlude said, crossing her arms. “And I think you know exactly what it is.”

“What, these little things?” Escargoon asked as he pulled one of the boxes off of the counter. “You know, if you really wanted one, you could’ve just asked! Your first ones are on the house!” he said cheerfully, as he unwrapped the capsule and tossed the box aside. “Everything else is an additional fine, no refunds.”

“Yeah, no.” Cavalier Jack said, as he marched up to Escargoon. “How’s about the fact that you’re selling stuff with our faces on it?! If that ain’t creepy, I don’t know what is!”

“You know, most people would be grateful that they’re the face of a brand. So, stuff it!” To emphasize his point, Escargoon jammed the egg in Jack’s mouth. “Besides, they’re great publicity for Cappy Town, and you know how much his majesty loves his publicity!” Escargoon’s voice suddenly went low and harsh. “You got that?”

Obviously, he was trying to sound threatening, but it only came off as a slightly deeper version of his usual snotty tone. This didn’t do much to frighten the two warriors who had seen much worse and was only worth an eyeroll or a cocked eyebrow, or something menial to that extent.

“Anyways,” said he, as he pushed past them and went out the door. “I want to see all those boxes on the shelves by 10 am! Chop, chop!”

“Ghrlhd, I hht thtt ghy smm mhh.” Jack mumbled as he watched Escargoon slither away.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, Jack.” Garlude said, gently bonking him on the back of his head. Jack spat out the chocolate egg and wheezed. She picked up another one of the boxes, examined it, and then opened it, peeling back the wrapping. Jack looked at his own egg, turning it over in his hand.

“You’d expect these things to taste better if they’re a novelty, wouldn’t ya?” Jack asked nobody in particular. Tuggle gave him a response anyways.

“Those are some of my oldest ones, the newer boxes are a lot fresher! You probably got a box that had been sitting back there for months!” Jack silently elected to ignore that statement as he fumbled to pull apart this Choco-Capsule. With a snap, he popped off the top and looked at his figure: a teensy little Sir Arthur, brandishing a sword.

“Aw, look at him! Artie’s never looked better!” He held up the figure and beamed at it. Garlude was more focused on getting to her own figure, and nearly swallowed it in her haste. She fished it out of its chocolate prison and got a good look at it, turned away from Jack.

“Oh Nova, you’re kidding me.” Garlude covered her mouth to stifle a giggle.

“What? Who’d you get?” Jack asked. She said nothing as she turned to him with wide eyes and a grin, and a tiny plastic sword in her hand.

“Look, Jack! I’m Galaxia’s champion after all!”

Chapter Text

It was Meta Knight’s first month on Popstar, first week in Dreamland, and first day at his new job. Honestly, he was shocked it hadn’t taken any longer. Maybe he was just good at convincing people, or the said people he was convincing were much more gullible than he’d previously assumed. He really hoped it was the former.

“And this here is the East Wall!” said his superior, Captain Waddle Doo. The cyclopean puffball had taken it upon himself to show Meta Knight about the castle, which apparently was a completely new and radical idea. What, were people just tossed into the castle with a spear and ordered to stab anybody that came in?

“It’s our first line of defense! If anything at all were to happen to the castle, this would be the first place they’d strike! We gotta stay vigilant here because who knows what could rear it’s freaky head?!”

A short shriek could be heard, and both men immediately went on-guard and drew their swords. Looking around, they saw nothing, but a white picture hat blowing in the wind right above their heads.

It was a very lovely hat, but nothing all that worthy screaming over. Meta Knight caught the hat with one hand and looked at it in puzzlement. At once, a woman plodded down the stairs to retrieve it, nearly knocking the two over like bowling pins as she did so.

“Oh! Oh, goodness! Excuse me.” she squeaked in an accent that Meta Knight couldn’t place. “It’s just gotten so blustery today!”

“No need to apologize, miss.” Meta Knight said. “We’re both…” It was at this point he got a good look at her. She was tall and slender, (which wasn’t saying much compared to him) dressed in a simple gown with a floral pattern. Her face was soft and gentle, her long blonde hair in loose ringlets framing it perfectly.

“...fine.” He hadn’t intended that to come out as cheesy as it had, but words were becoming more and more difficult to form. Captain Waddle Doo took notice of this and picked up the slack.

“Sir Meta Knight here’s our newest line of defense! He tells me he’s pummeled monsters left and right back when he was in the war!” He elbowed Meta Knight. “Ain’t that right?”

Meta Knight said nothing and nodded, gently nudging her with the hat, motioning for her to take it. She got the picture and giggled sweetly as she pulled it out of his hand.

“Well, thank you very much! Hopefully all you’ll have to worry about from now on is helping when someone loses their accessories.” She slipped the hat onto her head and winked. “Maybe you can come over for tea sometime!”

“Who is she?” Meta Knight asked, watching her as she walked back up to the balcony.

“Oh, her? Wouldn’t get your hopes up. She’s the Prime Minister’s bride-to-be.” Captain Waddle Doo said. “Besides, I doubt a girl like Lady Like’s even up your alley.”

“Lady Like. What a fine name that is.” The blue puff wistfully whispered. Captain Waddle Doo stared at him, and then waved a nub in front of his face a few times. Evidently, he had lost Meta Knight. Oh, well. He’d come around, especially if his next stop on the tour was bringing him straight to the boss man himself.

Chapter Text

Being the Royal Advisor was such a drag.

A texomancer like himself shouldn’t be forced into such a boring position! He wanted to be the Court Magician, but no! He had panache! He had ambition! He had a melodious tone to his voice! And apparently, that was all the accursed king and queen needed to toss his dreams of chicanery down the gutter. No longer did he feel bad about plotting to overthrow them and their infant son.

And it wasn’t helping that the newest peasant they’d saddled him with to do their own socializing was a total snooze-fest himself! And he talked to Yin-Yarn about his job like the sorceror was a little kid. He could strangle this guy with his own bowtie! In fact, he was really thinking that he should. He looked closer at Dom Woole’s neck accessory.

Chintz. Cheap. Ew.

But this train of thought went flying off the track when someone came flying in. A fit young woman, pure blue, with fluffy white hair and sparkling green eyes. The satchel on her side and the pocket on the half-apron around her waist were filled to the brim with letters, which rather impressively seemed not to be spilling everywhere.

Stopping on one foot and scrambling to get both feet on firm soil, she made her presence clear by nearly headbutting Yin-Yarn onto his backside. He didn’t even mind. I mean, he probably should have, but she was just so pretty, his brain and common-sense sort of unraveled. He couldn’t even remember what he was so mad about before she came in.

“Dom Woole, a letter. For you.” She gasped through deep breaths. She then helped Yin-Yarn back up onto his feet. “And, an apology for you, my good sir. Once I’ve started speeding, I can’t really stop!”

“I understand completely! I’d give anything to just speed away. At this exact moment, to be specific.” He could feel Dom Woole’s disapproving glare at the back of his neck. “Because it’s such a lovely day.”

That was a good save, right?

“Well, thank you.” Said the landlord. He cleared his throat and introduced this mystery girl. “This is Beadrix, our local messenger! If there’s any royal decrees or missives you need to send out, just call on her.” He then did the inverse. “And Beadrix, this is Yin-Yarn, the newest Royal Advisor!”

“Love to have a spot of tea with you, but I’ve got to run! These letters won’t deliver themselves, you know.” Beadrix winked at Yin-Yarn, and he felt his heart pound. Were it not for the fact that his laugh sounded like someone juggling rabid hyenas (and he was incredibly sensitive about it), he probably would have giggled at that.

“Just one moment, my dear!” He’d noticed a rather large hole was bored in one of her stockings, and with a flick of his wrist, he repaired it. Her eyes went wide as she looked down at her leg. Apparently, this was the first time she’d noticed the hole, too, and she watched as the seams gently plucked back together seemingly on their own.

“I’d hate to see you run without fixing that run.” That line was so corny, he knew.

But wasn’t that what he was best at?

“You’re a texomancer, aren’t you?” Beadrix asked, as she ran her hand down her leg where the hole once was.

“You know the art of texomancy?! I thought I was the only one.” Yin-Yarn was shocked, but in a good way. A completely new emotion for him, mind you.

“I’m acquainted with it, heh. I’m just not very skilled with it.” She messed with one of her pigtails. “Heck, I can’t even tie shoelaces together correctly.”

“Well, if you’re really interested in it, I can always give you a basic demonstration!” The sorcerer was besides himself with excitement. A cute girl, and she was interested in the same things as he? This was too good to be true! “I’m always happy to show somebody the ropes!”

“Uncle, can I?”

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, there it was.

Dom Woole stroked his moustache in thought. “Hm. I suppose it couldn’t hurt… as long as you finish your errands, first.”

“Ah! My errands!” Beadrix slapped her forehead. “I can’t stay any longer and chat! I’ve got so many letters to send out! It was lovely to meet you, Yin-Yarn!” She turned on her heel and bolted out of Quilty Square. Yin-Yarn knew one thing was for certain. When he took over this garbage scrap of a dimension, he was totally going to give this girl her own piece of land. But which sounded better?

Beadrix Bluffs, or Beadrix Bay?

Oh, well! He had all the time in the world, and only a few more peasants to talk to and pretend that he cared about. And the thought of a fleet-footed messenger with the most dazzling of emerald eyes would keep him going though this slog.

Chapter Text

Spikehead’s stomach grumbled as he looked at the new shipments of chocolate bars on the shelves. There they were, a sugary nirvana just waiting there, ripe for the picking! The price tag did nothing to deter him. He looked in his pockets, only a D-bill short.

Spikehead knew he’d get his allowance soon enough, but the shiny foil wrapping beckoned him closer. He looked around the corner and saw Tuggle talking with Mabel. He had to take this window of opportunity while it was still good.

Swiping one of the bars off of the shelf, he held it close to his body as he ducked behind display cases and various foodstuffs. The doors were so close, just a few inches further…

A black blur darted in front of him, causing him to yelp and trip backwards. It was Yamikage, Dedede’s new captain of the guard and resident tough-guy. What this guy could possibly be doing at the convince store escaped Spikehead, but he knew that he was busted.

“This isn’t yours.” Yamikage said coolly, as he snatched the candy from his paw. “And the counter’s that way.”

“Aw, be a sport! I get my allowance tomorrow, I’ll just come back and put it in the tip jar!” Spikehead tried to counter, but Yamikage’s blank red eyes starred him down. He squeaked in fear as he slowly walked closer.

“I detest thieves. Especially thieves who steal for their own amusement.” He shook the chocolate bar in Spikehead’s face. “If you have enough money, you can come back tomorrow and get it. It should still be waiting right here.”

The kid gulped. “It’s… just some candy. I’m sure you’ve met worse thieves.”

“You’re right.” A menacing twinkle lit up in Yamikage’s eye. Spikehead didn’t even know that was possible until now. “You’re absolutely right. His name was Hamlin. Called himself a gentleman thief, what a joke! He came to my village, and all he ever did was take, and take, and take. Eventually, we drove him out. But, I knew he would return someday if he wasn’t stopped. Naturally, I dealt with him myself.”

“Wh- what did you do to him?” Spikehead was shaking so hard, he was surprised that he wasn’t rattling everything in the place.

“I sent the biggest, baddest demonbeasts I could find after him,” Yamikage said. “And they ate him whole.” He punctuated this by the chocolate bar back on the shelf. “So, the next time you think about robbing from someone’s livelihood, just know I’ll be watching. Do you understand, young man?”

Spikehead nodded and quietly walked away, still shivering as Yamikage watched. The shadowy shinobi could practically hear the Spanish guitar strumming as Meta Knight silently glared.

“Don’t give me that look. I’m teaching the boy a valuable lesson about respecting the property of others. And I didn’t even have to thrust him into mortal danger to do it!”

Meta Knight was unconvinced. Or, maybe he was. Yamikage never could tell, really.

“Well, what did you want me to do? Buy it for him, give him a slap on the wrist?” Yamikage scoffed and turned from the knight. “He’ll never learn about consequences that way!”

“Yamikage, you’ve brutally murdered hundreds of innocents under Nightmare’s thrall.” He whipped his cape open to shoot an accusatory finger at the ninja. “How on earth can you talk about morals?”

“But I didn’t raid their corpses!” Yamikage defended. “I deserve a bit more credit for that, don’t I?”

“You do not.”

“Curse you, then.”

Chapter Text

Cavalier Jack rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he yawned, making his way out to the main room. Garlude was already awake, with a fresh pot of coffee and an assortment of breakfast pastries on the table in front of her. Apparently, she’d gone out early to get these, as well as one of the newest tabloids that Dedede had churned out.

“Huh. Looks like Sword Knight got in trouble at Samo’s restaurant yesterday.” She said, with the most sarcastic tone she could muster.

“Oh, really?” he asked, pouring himself a cup of coffee and sitting down on the couch next to her.

“It says right here that Sword Knight insulted my swordsmanship, followed me around all night, and tried to kiss me. Good thing you were there to keep him at bay with a right hook.” Garlude took a bite out of her croissant.

“And he walked it off?” He gave an impressed whistle. “That’s some quality grade armor right there!”

“You two aren’t bothered by all of this gossip?” Meta Knight asked, walking into the room. “I would have assumed that you would be the first to criticize the king’s plots.”

“Gossip, schmossip! Everyone knows that it’s fake!” Jack said, folding his hands behind his head and placing his feet on the table. “That’s what makes it so funny.”

“Besides, everyone knows that Sword Knight would never do something like that! He’s got a code of honor to follow, you’d have to be a major fool to really think he’d-!” Garlude was cut off when they all heard a very loud smack and a cry of pain.

“How could you?” Lady Like’s voice harshly chimed. The three of them poked their heads out of the room to see poor Sword Knight collapsing to the ground, having been punched in the stomach. At least, they hoped that she’d punched him in the stomach. Lady Like stormed off as the poor knight doubled over in pain and moaned.

“Ooh, that’s gonna leave a mark.” Jack said, wincing.

“What was that were you saying, Garlude?” Meta Knight asked. Garlude responded by awkwardly chuckling and ducking back into the room.


“Yamikage!”

Tiff’s unmistakable accusatory tone rang in Yamikage’s ears, enough to rouse him from his nap but not enough to make him lose his balance. He lazily opened one eye and looked down at her from the town’s center’s tree. She glared up at him, her eyes narrowed, arms crossed, and cheeks puffed out in rage. Deeply sighing, he rolled over on his branch to make better eye contact with her.

“Oh. It’s you.” He called down. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

She said nothing as she moved something from her backpack. She held up a glossy magazine with the words “DDDigest” written in bold across the top, and allegedly real incriminating photos of some members of the town. With a completely unnecessary back-flip, he dismounted from the tree and snatched the magazine out of her hands, leafing through it with a glazed look in his eyes.

“It’s not my fault if the idiots in this town believe anything and everything they read,” He said with a shrug. “Why does it bother you so much?”

“It isn’t just that the king’s been selling fake stories,” Tiff elaborated. “Dedede’s been spreading lies and rumors for about as long as I can remember! It’s bullies like you, who sustain them just to hurt people further that’s the problem!”

Yamikage looked at her for a long time. And then, he laughed right in her face.

“Oh, Tiff. It’s a pity the war’s over,” He ruffled her hair, to which she reacted with a squeak of disgust. “You would make a delightfully tortuous interrogator. Emphasis on torture.” He walked off, shoving the tabloid back into her arms.

Tiff crumpled up the magazine as she watched him walk down the street without a care in the world. So much for the direct approach.

Chapter Text

In the center of Cappy Town, a young one-eyed tourist sat in front of the tree. She brushed a chunk of magenta hair out of her eye as she gazed over a map that one of the Waddle Dees had given her. She was so engrossed with trying to decipher it, she hadn’t noticed that she’d attracted a certain somebody who was looking to score a date.

“Good morning!” King Dedede bellowed, casually leaning against the trunk of the tree and slouching down right next to her.

“Oh!” she gasped, looking up from the map she was holding. She squinted her eye. “Hello... sir? Your majesty?”

“Just call me Dedede. What's a pretty little lady like you doin’ in my pretty little town?”

“Right now, I'm looking for the nearest restaurant, but I can't make heads or tails of this map I got.” Ignoring all of his flirting attempts, she showed it to him, pointing to the scribbly text that probably could have meant something were it better written.

“That so?” Dedede took the map out of her hands, scanning it up and down. He folded it into a square and handed it back to her as he caught sight of someone significantly more literate. “Well now, I'll just have one of my here knights give you a helpin' hand!” He whistled over to Blade and motioned for him to come over.

“I'd help you out myself, but I pride myself on being humble and all-” Dedede was cut off when Blade began to speak his usual gibberish. The girl’s eye lit up, and she began to speak as he did. The king’s jaw just about hit the ground as the two continued on with their conversation, until she finally nodded and turned to leave.

“Thank you very much, your highness!” said she, briskly running off towards Kawasaki’s restaurant. “And thank you too, Blade! Goodbye!”

“WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” Dedede ran up to Blade Knight and vigorously shook him. “Are you tellin’ me that gobbler-goop of yours is a real language?”

“Don’t be a racist, King Dedede.” Meta Knight had appeared out of nowhere and with a flourish, slapped Dedede’s hand, knocking Blade Knight free from his grasp. As the two knights walked off, Dedede stood staring out into the distance, quietly wondering to himself if Kirby’s ‘poyo’ noises actually meant something as well.

Chapter Text

“Ganondorf? You’re choosing Ganondorf?”

Bringing Yamikage into the modern world with a video game was Tuff’s idea, but Tiff thought that it could help him blow off his aggression. So, she and Sirica sat beside him on the couch with a copy of Smash 4 ready to go. She’d promised him a 9 v. 9 stock match to help him get acquainted with the controls, and to only use a few items, despite Sirica’s insistence that they’d only distract him with her own reasoning that he’d be confused if someone challenged him to a battle with them turned on.

“He’s the biggest!” Yamikage said. “He’ll be able to take less damage and sustain his stamina, right?”

“That’s not how this game works,” Tiff said. “Weight focuses on how much knockback you’ll receive from a throw or an attack or how good your recovery will be, and there’s nothing in the game to calculate how tired a character would get.”

“Well, that’s total bullsh-!”

“Besides, Dorf’s an G tier,” Sirica followed up. “Probably one of the worst characters for you to start playing with. Pikachu seems a little more up your alley, or maybe Luigi.”

“He’s a what tier?” Yamikage asked. “What the hell does that mean?”

“Tiers don’t matter!” Tiff cried.

“You’re only saying that cause Kirby’s an F tier,” Sirica said as Tiff pouted, and then resumed talking to Yamikage. “Tiers are basically what dictate who’s the best fighter, and who’s the worst, from a scale of S to G. Let’s say I wanted to play Meta Knight, and the guy I was up against wanted to play Palutena. I’d have a significant advantage over them if I played him right!”

“Is Palutena a G tier as well?” he queried. “And why is S the first one? Shouldn’t it be A?”

“No, she’s an E tier. The G tiers are Ganondorf, Dedede, Zelda, and Jigglypuff.” Tiff joined in. “You’re still in the upper percentiles of G tier, but I still don’t think they matter if you get the hang of your character.”

“Well, nearly all of those make sense.” Yamikage said. “Dedede’s too busy stuffing his face to care about fighting. He’d probably go flying with one punch to the gut! And the puffy little cat thing looks just like Kirby, but its mouth is far to small to get a copy ability. It’s just a walking punching bag!”

“And what, pray tell, is wrong with Zelda?” Tiff asked. “A towering swordswoman with magical prowess beyond compare?”

“Well, she’s a woman.”

“Wow,” Sirica said, rolling her eyes as Tiff silently chose Rosalina & Luma. “You’re so screwed.”

Chapter Text

“Quit squirming. I don’t want to paint your teeth, too!” Benikage said, as he finished applying the last of the purple-gray face paint to Knuckle Joes’ cheek. The costume party was only a half-hour away, and it had already taken the boys a few hours to get their outfits fully finished. Knuckle Joe was going as the NME Salesguy, and Benikage was Nightmare himself.

“I’m not squirming! It just tickles!” He shoved the other teen away and readjusted his tie. “Besides, this ain’t all we gotta do. If we’re gonna win this, we gotta get into character. I’ll start off, okay?”

“Uh… okay.” The ninja said, awkwardly chewing on his plastic fangs. “I’ll try my best.”

Knuckle Joe nodded confidently, then cleared his breath as he put on the salesman’s bizarre Mid-Atlantic accent. “Hey, hey, hey! What’s on the agenda today, your nastiness?”

“Customer Serviiiice!” Benikage barked. “You have to sell that fat oaf another monster! I require it!”

“But sir! He’s so far in the red he’s practically gone purple!” Knuckle Joe coughed and cleared this throat, briefly returning to his normal voice. “Wait, wait. I can do better, hold on.”

Benikage paid him no mind as he splayed his cape out again and grabbed one end of the gold chain to keep it from flying around or smacking him in the face. “Goddammit, Customer Service! We have to keep this sweet ice around my neck!”

With the sheer absurdity of the line and the dead-on impression, Knuckle Joe proceeded to lose it.

“Customer Serv- you… you need to get ahold of yourself. This is a very serious matter. The bling-bling of the ancients is in peril!” Knuckle Joe leaned up against a cabinet to try and catch his breath, but fell down still cackling.

“Oh my gosh, are you actually okay?” Benikage dropped the voice, barely able to keep it together himself. “I’m so sorry.”

Knuckle Joe took a very deep breath and, still giggling, readjusted his glasses and pulled himself off the ground. “Yeah, I’m…” He snorted. “I’m good.” The sound of two tiny feet shuffling across the room and a small squeak caught his attention next, as Kirby poked his head around a divider, the blue paint covering his body having finally dried.

 “Okay, you can come out now, Pinky.”

With a wide smile and a chirp of joy, Kirby bounded out from behind the folding wall. The tiny replica of Dedede’s crown slid over his eyes for just a moment, but he quickly pushed it up as he balanced his toy hammer on his shoulder. Remembering who he was supposed to be, Kirby bonked the hammer on the ground and mimicked Dedede’s usual laugh. With the trio compete, Knuckle Joe figured this was as good a time as any to try again.

“How can I help you, King Dedede?” Knuckle Joe rattled off.

“Poyo!” Kirby said happily, and then followed it up with a sterner, gruffer “Poyo!”

“Excellent!” Benikage trilled, and then evilly cackled. “Ooh, too much?”

Chapter Text

Kirby, dressed as a watermelon, waddled over to the table where Sir Arthur and Sarissa were carving pumpkins. He squeaked gently and tugged on the taller woman’s leg until she looked down at him.

“Poyo!” he said, opening a pillowcase he had in one chubby pink nub.

“Aw, look at you!” Sara paid no mind to his request and picked him up. “You’re so cute, I could just eat you up!” While Kirby was expecting candy, this was also an optimal experience. She plopped him down on the table next to the pumpkin she’d been carving, which looked like a fairly realistic caricature of King Dedede. Arthur’s pumpkin was a touch more abstract.

“Ah, look at you. The savior of the galaxy.” Arthur said as he put down the carving knife and gently rubbed Kirby on the head. “Ready for a glorious night of trick-or-treating?”

“Poyo.” Kirby said with a nod, opening the pillowcase once again.

Sir Arthur gave a hearty laugh. “Well, I believe you’re going to have to wait for a little while longer. Look out there.” He pointed out the window at the street. “None of the houses have their candles lit yet, but when that time comes, feel free to do as you please. Do you understand?”

Kirby nodded, bouncing off the table and slipping out the door. As he plodded down the road, he could see tons of kids awaiting just as impatiently as he. But Kirby wasn’t going to just stand there and wait; no, he was going to be the first one to the first house. Standing in the center of the small village, he scanned the horizon for any lit candles as the sun began to dip down below the horizon.

At last! One small, rectangular-looking house with its candle lit (and having been lit for quite some time, it seemed) sat behind Knuckle Joe’s house.  He rushed toward it, his empty sack billowing like a windsock in his haste. He cheerfully went up to the front door and knocked twice. When there was no answer, he knocked again, this time a bit more forceful.

The door slowly creaked open. Kirby craned his head around the door to see... not much of anything. The house was a lot smaller on the inside, and nearly empty save for a rectangular stone jutting up from the ground, and even more candles sitting atop shelves. Kirby walked in, wondering what he was supposed to do next, if he was even supposed to do anything.

“Poyo?” He asked, closing the door behind himself. He stood in place for a minute or two, before he noticed a bouquet of flowers sitting atop the stone, and one laying on the ground in front of it. Being the respectful young man he was, he gently picked it up and placed it back with the others with a satisfied squeak.

All of the candles in the tiny room were blown out one by one, Kirby gasping and tripping backwards in response. The entire room was plunged into darkness for only a few seconds before a pale blue light appeared above the rectangle and began to take on solid form. It emitted a noise not unlike a sharp intake of breath as it became more and more clear.

“No, no! Not in here!” Sir Arthur cried, pulling the door open and barging into the room. “This place hasn’t got any candy! It’s…” Grabbing Kirby and beginning to drag him out, he looked up and stopped in his tracks when he saw the figure, levitating and cloaked in white right before them. Sarissa, who had been following close behind, also froze.

Her eyes widened. “Sis?”

Sir Arthur stood at attention. “Doloire? You’re…”

Kirby beamed and presented his pillowcase. “Poyo!”

Chapter Text

Cavalier Jack limped out of the training room and cracked his neck. He may have gotten a little bit ahead of himself when he tried to take on the highest setting in the simulation, he’d definitely need to remember to turn it down before the next poor sap went in. But that would have to wait, being that he smelled like a dead animal and could barely breathe under his armor.

Entering the elevator around the corner, he stopped to take a breather. Hearing armored footfall from a short distance away, he looked up to see a fuming Sir Arthur. The general’s mood considerably lightened when he saw the other knight, and he shouted across the way.

“Ah! Jack! Just the man I wanted to see. Hold the door; I’ve got something I’d like to speak with you about.”

Jack pressed the open-door button.

“You see, Guinevere and I have a bit of a romantic feud going on.”

Jack pressed the close-door button.

“And Lancelot seems to be intent on butting into everything...”

Jack pressed the button harder. Arthur kept talking about his romantic drama.

“C’mon, c’mon!” Jack harshly whispered, pounding on the button at this point. Didn’t Arthur know anybody else with a healthy relationship?

After what seemed like ages and when Arthur was mere feet away from him, the doors slammed shut. Jack breathed a sigh of relief and leaned up against the back of the elevator. In no time at all, Arthur’s sword burst through the doors, and he screeched in terror as he pinned himself against the wall.

“CAVALIER JACK, I REQUIRE AN AUDIENCE WITH YOU.” Bellowed the green knight as he pried the doors apart.


Guinevere threw her morning-star and shield to the side and plopped herself into an armchair as she emitted a melodramatic sigh. Garlude, who attempting to take a nap on a couch parallel to this chair, said nothing. Guinevere pathetically groaned as she made a spectacle of herself trying to get comfortable, and Garlude finally took the bait.

Opening one eye, she glanced over at the blonde. “Yes, Guinevere? What’s the matter?”

“Arthur and Lancelot are acting strange again. I don’t understand why they keep getting into these petty little fights, or why they have to drag me into them. I liked it better when we were all friends.” She lamented.

Garlude shook her head and tried to go back to sleep. Guinevere’s naiveté in the ways of love were downright comical; she never could forget the look on Arthur’s face the day that Guinevere took Lancelot’s passionate declaration of love as a friendly compliment.

“And to make matters worse, they’re both avoiding me! Lancelot had offered to join me going into town for supplies, and now that he’s gone, every man in town is going to think I’m free for the taking just because one of them isn’t by my side! I don’t know what to do.” Guinevere sighed and rested her hand over her yes, clenching them tight. A spur-of-the moment idea came to her, and her eyes snapped open. “Fake boyfriend.”

“Beg pardon?” Garlude asked, opening her eyes again.

“Fake boyfriend!” Guinevere reiterated, leaping onto the couch Garlude was on and practically squashing her. “You could pretend to be my fake boyfriend! Someone tall, and dark, and dangerous looking… and then, nobody would come close to me! I would finally be able to relax! It’s a perfect idea!”

Now fully awake (and a bit frightened), Garlude gently pushed Guinevere off her. “I see. But, uh, I believe there may be a couple holes in your plan.” She gestured to herself. “I’m pretty sure I’m none of those.”

“Oh, I can fix that. You just need a really good disguise.” Guinevere hopped off the couch and extended a hand for Garlude to take. “I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be you in a big suit of armor. I could always ask somebody else.”

“Don’t worry about it, I don’t mind!  I mean, I’m already here, might as well.” Garlude grabbed her arm and pulled herself off the couch. “Besides, I know a thing or two about disguises.”


“And that is the extent of my problems.”

The previous 45 seconds had felt like the longest elevator ride of Jack’s entire life. Even the sound of scraping metal against metal or the fetor of stagnant sweat couldn’t deter Arthur’s ranting, and Jack still had no idea how to respond to any of it. Admittedly, he’d been drowning most of it out, so the following is the vast majority of what he retained: Lancelot, Lancelot, Guinevere, Guinevere, Lancelot, marriage, Guinevere, kissing, duel, Guinevere, Lancelot, Lancelot, Galahad, sword, shield, Lancelot, Lancelot.

Not very helpful, as you can probably tell. The elevator mercifully reached the proper floor, stopping the loud screeching in its tracks. Jack breathed in deep and moved to exit, but Arthur stepped on his cape.

“I just don’t know what to do,” Arthur said gently, a vast change in tone from the prior tirade. “I know she cares for the both of us, and I don’t want to force her hand.” Jack’s eyes darted over to look at him. Those big lavender eyes, so sincere and sad-looking…

“Alright, pal. Here’s my advice. You really wanna know how to keep someone? Communication and confidence.” Jack noticed Guinevere and Garlude just over Arthur’s shoulders in the distance, sneaking into a mini-cruiser. Hoping that the look on his face didn’t give anything away, he resumed his speech. “You’ve got to listen to each other, really get to know what’s going on in their head, tell them what’s bothering you and visa-versa. And you can’t choke! That’ll put you one foot in the grave. Just be honest and all-in with each other, and you’ll turn out fine.”

The puffball nodded. “Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Great. I’m gonna go shower now.” He patted Arthur’s pauldrons and turned on his heel.

“Oh, and one more thing-!” Arthur called.

“No.”

Chapter Text

Today was going pretty weird, all things considered.

Escargoon had been messing around with the fragments of the busted monster teleporter, trying to figure out how these weird dimensional rifts kept popping up, when he’d accidentally triggered two to open, sending two very confused and very much alive copies of Jack to come crashing to the floor. Meta Knight had attempted to calm them down, but with the hubbub their mere existence had caused, he decided it was best to keep them contained with his own until everything blew over.

Jack had quite liked the idea of comparing and contrasting with these other versions of himself, being awestruck with Jexar’s immunity to poison and Jea’s immunity to freezing cold, being remorseful for Jea’s relations with Yamikage and utterly baffled at Jexar’s choice in fashion. They’d also been impressed with his own resilience and strange biology, especially the whole “I literally could shove my hand on an electric fence and not die” bit.

Oh, right. They’d come up with different names to keep themselves from mixing each other up.

He really wasn’t sure why the mullet was what threw him off the most about one of the other hims, but apparently it also made Jea a bit uneasy until he heard the other him explain who he was. In all of this trains of thought merging together, he remembered what he was doing, and grabbed the can out of the pantry, heading back to the commons room.

For what better way is there to interact with alternate versions of yourself then to one-up them at every turn?

“Gentlemen,” Jack announced, holding the chili powder aloft. “Observe.”

Jexar did a double take at the canister in Jack’s hand, while Jea stared in amazement. “Oh, no. No way, that’s disgusting.” Jexar said, clapping his hands over his mouth.

“Last time I checked, you were the one that slammed back half a thing of rat poison just to scare the hell out of us. I think you’ll survive watching me eat this.” Jack popped the lid off the container and pulled out a spoon as Jexar began to retch.

“You’re so gonna regret that tomorrow!” Jexar yelled, still doubled over.

“Regret what?” Jack asked. Unbeknownst to him, Jea had also snuck behind him and was eating directly from the canister. Jexar retched again as Jack snatched the chili powder from the other him.

“Wh- hey! This was my idea!” Jack protested, holding the jar just out of reach. “Get your own!”

“Hey, you brought it out!” Jea retorted. “The least you could do is share!”

Jecs was shorter, but a whole lot heavier, something Jack found out as he was tackled to the ground, knocking the jar out of his hands as Jexar watched. At that exact moment, a Waddle Dee opened the door to check in on them. All three men watched in horror as half the can spilled all over its face, Jack and Jea’s reaction times kicking in about ten seconds too late. The poor Waddle Dee stood there for a second or two, and then fell over without a sound as its eyes began to gush tears.

“Yo, MK!” Jack called over his shoulder. “We’re heading over to the ER! Be back in like…” He gulped. “Hopefully soon.”

(Drawing by one-starry-knight)

Chapter Text

Gryll soars through the galaxy without a care in the world. His familiars, three onion-like fairies, dart around him as if they were moons orbiting a planet. He’s been alive for longer than any can remember, but he doesn’t quite remember when that was. He reasons that he just is, and probably is how he’ll remain until there’s no more places to travel. He’s quite fond of traveling to new places and meeting lots of new people.

Of course, different things brought him to different lands, and Popstar was no exception. He’d heard of the prank that King Dedede had pulled upon Mr. Star, shattering him into 8 shards and scattering them across the country of Dreamland. Mr. Star was extremely peeved, but Gryll found the whole matter very funny. Didn’t Dedede know that you couldn’t kill a celestial body with a silly little cannon?

What intrigued him most about this planet was someone with powers that rivaled his own. He didn’t know the name of this figure, or what they were like, or how they’d even learnt their skills, but he knew that they’d put up a wonderful fight. He enters the planet’s glowing atmosphere with an impish grin on his face as four colored blobs beneath him begin to take shape.

“Hey, hey, hey!” Gryll calls down to the quartet of friends. Three of them – a fish, a hamster, and an owl to be precise – all gasp and quickly put up their defenses upon seeing him. The small pink orb doesn’t, and instead waves a friendly paw towards the sorcerer. He cackled merrily. “Are you truly so strong?”

The pink one thinks long and hard to himself, tapping a small nub to his face in thought. He shrugs with an equally friendly smile. Gryll prepares his broom as his helpers crowd around him. “Kid, we are good enough to fry you!”

Chapter Text

Garlude scrolled through the fanfiction site on her tablet in the wee hours of the morning. She’d heard about the site from Tiff, who seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the site itself. Tiff did enjoy that it was very well-crafted and provided a decent setup for new fanfic writers, but had equally vocally complained that she hated how there were a surplus of fanfics that involved Pappy getting together with his mentor. Currently, Garlude had found something even stranger.

Fanfictions about her and her friends.

The very first story at the top of the page was an explicit rated, 80k word, 15-chapter story about Meta Knight being sexually abused, mutated, tortured and brainwashed into being Nightmare’s lover. At least that’s what she gleaned from the tags, nothing on Popstar could have convinced her into clicking on a story like that, not even morbid curiosity. The story’s only redeeming quality was that it was completed. She scrolled down, trying to ignore the fact that it had over 700 kudos, to find something else.

Upon the second story being described as an angsty one-shot about Galahad attempting suicide, she quickly went over to the search options, removed all stories with Mature or Explicit tags and Archive Warnings, and refreshed the page. Now with a less morally offensive and streamlined selection to choose from, Garlude continued on her merry way looking for a good story.

Even with all of the blocks in place, Garlude noticed a trend with these stories. Nearly all of them focused on Meta Knight or Yamikage, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack to find someone else. What she did find besides them were in varying quantities of passable to bland, with some rare exceptions of good and horrid. She had enjoyed one at first that started off cute with the author’s persona dating Jack, but it quickly spiraled into uncomfortable territories and less-than-optimal opinions on Diopodians later on.

There was also the sheer hatred these people seemed to have for Guinevere. Without fail, Guinevere was either a heartless village bicycle stringing all the boys along, or a weepy crybaby who needed Arthur to save her constantly. If they treated her this cruelly in the “family-friendly” stories, she’d dreaded the thought of searching her up in the “adult” tags. The ones where she was treated as an actual person were ones Garlude could hold dear to her heart, even if they did still make her a little uneasy with the context of reality.

Another story happened to catch her eye. It was one of herself, already a rarity in the tag, and a general rated shipping story to boot. Of her and Nightmare. But this one was only 21 words long, with… 129 comments and thousands of hits and kudos? This was something she had to see, so she clicked the link and prepared herself.

“GET OWNED.” Garlude said, and grabbed Nightmare by his stupid helmet. She suplexed him into a black hole and everybody cheered.

Garlude clapped a hand over her mouth to keep herself from waking everyone in the room up with her laughter. She clicked the kudos button and checked the author’s page. There were a few other Inuyasha and Naruto-based fanfics that they’d written, but they hadn’t written anything else for that “fandom”, besides translating it into Nyxian. She noted that the Nyxian edition had only 9 comments and triple the kudos as she clicked back to the main page, still giggling. Maybe there were a few diamonds in the rough.

Chapter Text

The wedding of Elaine and Lancelot had been extravagant; no surprises there thanks to the du Lac’s fortune, and the reception even more so. The entirety of the backyard had been coated in tiny white lights and wrapped in satin bows, with tables of good food and desserts scattered beneath a large gazebo. All in all, it was a perfect day for the happy couple.

Well, almost perfect.

Lancelot du Lac had found himself bored of the guests, and had strayed from the party alone to walk around the massive estate. Not that he was an antisocial man by any means, perish the thought, but small-talk was the quickest way to loose his attention. He wishes that his wife's friends weren't so dull, then maybe...

"What the...?" Lancelot was driven from his thoughts when he saw someone standing atop a far wall in the garden. At least he thought it was a person at first, but in moving closer, he noted a pair of wings on their back and a set of horns. The stranger's eyes snapped open, flashing red and spooking Lancelot into nearly falling over. "What... w-who are you?"

“You know who I am, boy.” Leaping from the top of the wall and landing before him, the knight splayed out his feathery wings and extended them to their full span. “And if you didn’t wish to seek me out, then you never would have seen me in the first place.”

“Don’t put words into my mouth!” Lancelot bellowed, and then he thought about his own choice of words. “Or, ah, actions into my feet… or sights into my eyes… oh, forget it! What is something like you doing here?”

“Evidently, I haven’t been putting much into your ears.” Said the knight as he began to circle the puffball. “I’m only here because there is a wish you’ve got that I can aid you with, something that you want more than anything.” He laughed, a throaty bellow that Lancelot swore he could hear a chorus of voices in.  “Aren’t you greedy! You’ve already married the most desired woman in town, what else is there that you could possibly covet?”

The other knight had a point, and though Lancelot hated to admit it to himself. He’d heard the fables of Galactic Knight, and even though fables were all he’d seen them as, the man still stood before him with red eyes burning brightly. There was one thing, but even he was unsure if all the knight’s power was able to grant it. Still, it was worth a shot.

“It… it wouldn’t be too much trouble to ask for an heir, would it?” Lancelot asked.

Galactic Knight gave him a look of utter disbelief. “A child? Are you serious? The most powerful warrior in the galaxy is before you, and you ask for a child? I’m not a doctor!”

“We can have children just fine, thank you very much!” yelped the Frenchman, his face flushing red. “It-it’s more about what the child will be like. I want a son with the same amount of prowess, the same amount of drive, the same amount of perfection as I.  But if it’s too much to ask…”

“It’s no trouble.” Galactic Knight said. Lancelot, satisfied with his response, turned to leave. He just about nailed the man who seemed to have teleported behind him and was staring him in the eyes. “But there’s a catch. I require payment.”

Lancelot rolled his eyes and pulled out a coin purse. He pried open the clasps, fished a few silver coins from the bag, and roughly deposited them into Galactic’s hand. Galactic gently weighed the money in his palm before they melted into iron, and he flicked away the greyish sludge.

“Not remotely what I meant.” Galactic Knight said, and gripped Lancelot’s wrist, his hold still red-hot. He bit down on his lip to keep himself from screaming in pain, and the knight eyed this with vague bemusement. “There’s something a touch more important that I require.”

“Lancelot? Mon Coeur?” Elaine’s voice rang like a bell through the silent courtyard. Galactic Knight wings twitched at the sound, and though he was wearing a mask, Lancelot could sense the evil grin on his face. Galactic Knight roughly tossed him to the side and sped toward Elaine. Lancelot barely had time react as he followed in hot pursuit, but the knight had already struck his bride down, and darted up and away into the sky. Though shaky and with a cut across her forehead, she was alright, and Lancelot spent the rest of the night on guard.

The day after the wedding, the vast majority of Lancelot and Elaine’s family had already put his meeting of Galactic Knight to rest, dismissing it as a drunken hallucination he’d had from the reception. Lancelot silently cursed their willful ignorance; was he the only one who cared about what happened to his livelihood? Even Elaine wasn’t moved by any of the knight’s threats, much to his chagrin. Whatever the case may have been, Elaine had borne an egg in only a few months’ time, and it hatched into a healthy baby boy, which she gave the name Galahad.

Lancelot chose not to dwell on the infant’s fuchsia skin or the mark in the shape of a four-pointed star in the center of his forehead.

Chapter Text

“eNeMeE.”

Garlude stood before the Nightmare wizard with a steely glare, and he grimaced down at her in kind. He knew that she’d come here to strike a bargain, he could sense the desperation mingling with her fear. But Nightmare didn’t want her to know that; it was best to play dumb and wait for her to become putty in his hands. He idly cupped his head in one hand and leaned down over the cliff’s edge until the two were dangerously close.

“To what do I owe the pleasure, Lanzer?” he asked, the venom dripping off his words.

“I need you to fix them.” Garlude hefted a satchel off her back, and from it, produced three items. Nightmare had expected something small, like a sickly child or dying bird. Or maybe the fragments of an ancient, legendary sword that he could corrupt. Do you want to know what the last thing he would have expected her to take out of the bag?

Well, it was nothing that he immediately ruled out, but a small stuffed gnome probably wasn’t too high up, either.

“Okay, I actually have no idea what is going on here.” Nightmare lifted the blue and silver gnome’s hat up slightly, and saw two small golden eyes glaring back at him. Meta Knight? He plopped the hat back on his head and then took a look at the other two transmogrified Star Warriors. One was a small puppet with glassy eyes and a half-open mouth, but it unmistakably looked like Cavalier Jack. And on the end of Garlude’s hand was a sock puppet with two angry red-button eyes, one of which had a run beneath it.

“Well, fix them!” Garlude demanded. “How do you expect us to fight you if half of our troops are toys?”

“What about Arthur’s little band?” Nightmare asked, waving his hand. “Surely, they couldn’t have fallen to this insanity, could they?”

“Lancelot’s a clown.”

“No, what was he turned into?”

“…a clown.” Garlude reiterated. Did Nightmare seriously just roast Arthur’s second in command? That was something he’d never live down if he heard of. “Listen, there was this textile wizard, and he-!”

“Yin-Yarn?! I thought I told that primary colored peasant to stay out of my galaxy!” With a snap of his bony metallic fingers, the three of them were turned back to normal, Meta Knight and Jack awakening with thousand-yard stares, and Yamikage clinging to Garlude like a terrified baby koala. “Forget about the Star Warriors! I’ve got a personal vendetta to settle!”

Nightmare shot off and away like a comet, and Garlude watched him as he sped off to find his apparent arch enemy.

“So, we’re all just gonna collectively forget this happened, yeah?"

Chapter Text

The night was silent, and heavy dread hung in the air. Ordinarily, the defeat of a bad guy was cause for celebrations, but this once was a bit different. The traitorous ninja Yamikage had returned to Dream Land with the intent to end both Kirby and Meta Knight, only to be stopped in his tracks by the both of them. And it was Meta Knight himself that had coerced the King into issuing an execution for the villain. Sure, Dedede had threatened martial punishment on people who’d defied him before, but it was usually intended as a bluff and their crimes could barely be considered as such. Betraying the entire galaxy to a nigh-powerful demon wizard on the other hand was no slouch.

Despite all this, Tiff had decided to take it upon herself and try to let Yamikage die with his mind at ease, or at the very least, let him vent a little before his demise. She entered the dungeon quietly, seeing Yamikage sit on the hard ground with his back turned to her as if he were meditating. The second she stepped in front of his cell, he immediately spun around and jumped up to his feet, startling her.

“Good evening,” He said. “Did Meta Knight send you down here to lay on more of the guilt, or did you decide to do that yourself? Oh, if you only knew-!”

“Stop.”

“What?” He hadn’t expected her so interrupt so soon, and especially not that harshly.

“Let me guess,” Tiff put on an exaggerated tone. “Oh, the darkness is just misunderstood! We’re not so different! We’re both the same, you and me! Join me, and we can rule together!”

“I don’t sound anything like that.” He crossed his arms and scowled.

“I wasn’t trying to be you!” Tiff put emphasis on the last word to really get her point across. “I've read this garbage in a million books! I know exactly who you are!”

“Oh, do you, now?” Yamikage asked, cocking an eyebrow. “Of course you do. The violent, vicious ninja who just so happened to be a loner with heinously bad people skills, betrayed the Star Warriors for an unexplained reason, but was stopped in his tracks by the stalwart Meta Knight.” He saw the look of shock on her face and continued. “And how many times have you read that story, might I ask? How the brave knight fought away the scary, evil darkness?”

“You’re… you…” Tiff shook her head and shouted at him. “You’re trying to throw me off! What are you even getting at, anyways?!”

“Don’t you think it’s a little strange that Meta Knight was the only one that survived? And that he seemed to be front-and-center to the defeats and kidnappings of some of the most powerful knights in the Galactic Soldier Army?” Yamikage tilts his head to the side and grins.  “After all, if they truly were their finest, how were they able to make such fatal mistakes?”

“Nobody’s perfect, Yamikage,” Tiff said, coming off a bit more defensive than she’d intended. “How do I know you’re not just jealous of him?”

“Galaxia obeys her master’s whims. His memories, as self-serving as they may be, are the same as hers.” The ninja explained. Tiff was about 50% positive he was totally BS-ing her, but motioned for him to continue out of bile fascination. He nodded and added, “Besides, a feel-good story about a heroic sacrifice does wonders to boost a child’s self-esteem. Not like he’d know, beating down on that poor, defenseless little pink boy.”

Yamikage clicked his tongue, and Tiff rolled her eyes. “Believe me or not, dear Tiffany, but I hope that whatever you choose, it haunts you for the rest of your life.”

With that fairly melodramatic line, Yamikage reached his hand through the bars and placed something in hers. Tiff looked down at what she’d been handed; a warp star. And not just any Warp Star, it was Meta Knight’s; a fact that she could only tell by seeing the resemblance of its metal to his spaceship and that Yamikage had been found rummaging through his room. She continued to examine the object as she walked out of the dungeon, Yamikage starting at her all the way.

The Warp Star looked almost nothing like Kirby’s, the metal on it far more jagged and rough, with visible cracks were forming around its points. Looking closer, Tiff saw an uneven patch in the center with a strange marking, and narrowed her eyes as she tried to make out what it was. The symbol of Nightmare Enterprises was engraved directly in the indent, and it seemed to glow brightly as if it were warning her. Tiff gasped, but didn’t have time to react further when she heard Dedede and Escargoon’s voices coming from down the hallway. She bolted into an adjacent corridor and hid as she listened in on the conversation.

“I dunno about you, Escargoon, but this whole killing the traitor thing is starting to make me a lil’ uncomfy.” Dedede said. “It ain’t good for the ratings! I wanna be seen as brave an’ fearless, not mean an’ merciless! How we supposed to look good if we off everyone that crosses us?” Dedede pondered this for a few seconds, rubbing his chin. “Hm... how ‘bout we say we exiled him?”

“Eh, it’ll work.” Escargoon shrugged. “I’ll just dump all this ninja stuff in the forest.”

Tiff listens to the two of them walk away, and releases a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. She looks down at the Warp Star again, still seeing the evil emblem on it, until the image of Nightmare slowly faded away on it. She plastered herself against the wall and began to tear up as she curled into the fetal position, gently sobbing as the Warp Star falls out of her hand.

“Tiff!” Kirby’s voice rang out like a bell, and she looked up to see her sweet little friend standing in front of her her. He bounced on his feet a bit as he smiled, clearly seeing her disgruntled expression and trying to get her to smile in kind, having no idea what she’d just uncovered. But Tiff just sighed and took him by one tiny paw.

“You need to go home, Kirby.” She said, gently herding him towards the castle’s open doors. “I don’t think you wanna see this.”

Of course, Tiff doesn’t want to see this either, nor would her parents permit it. So, after she escorted Kirby out of the castle, she turned into bed alongside her brother. But Tiff’s mind rushed with thoughts of what Yamikage had said and what that tainted Warp Star could have meant, and it was far too much for her to sleep through. Being careful not to wake her brother up, Tiff slid out of bed and into the main hall. Maybe she’s not too late, she hopes, maybe she can convince Dedede to reconsider, or reschedule, or-

The sound of a man crying out in pain drags her from her thoughts, and she can already feel her heart pounding. Peeping over the edge of the great hall, she can see Yamikage stripped down to his trousers, hands manacled to a post, and currently being used as a punching bag. Waddle Dee soldiers all armed with spears line the room, seemingly waiting for Meta Knight to relent. Her parents, the king, Captain Waddle Doo, and Escargoon all watch the scene, and she can’t tell if they’re poker-faced or silently horrified. After what seems like forever, he stops.

"Go to hell." Meta Knight spits.

Yamikage looks up at him through his messy hair. "I'll see you there." he replies.

Meta Knight says nothing, but snaps his fingers as he motions to the Waddle Doo and the drums begin to pound. Yamikage refuses to give him the time of day, remaining tight lipped and offering no visible struggle as he stares down the blue knight. Tiff knows he can get out of this, it’s just as if he doesn’t want to. She swears he locks eyes with her for a split second as the commander orders his men to fire.

Tiff clapped her hands over her mouth and turned away as Yamikage died defiant.

Chapter Text

“Through arduous, the act of scaling mountains is beneficial to the health and stamina of a knight. It builds up a good bit of teamwork as well.” Meta Knight said. His pickaxe slammed into the top of the mountain ledge, and he pulled himself up to admire the view. “You see, when you fully rely on your team, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Isn’t that right, team?”

There was no response.

“Team?” He asked again and looked down. A few meters down, Sword Knight and Blade Knight were dangling on the tether rope, with Sword desperately trying to yank his pickaxe out from where it had got jammed, and Blade limply hanging with what Meta Knight could only imagine as an expression of sheer ennui behind his face-guard.

“You know, you’ve gotta help too!” Sword shouted down to his partner, finally freeing his axe. “You’ve been listening to what he just said, right?"

“I am helping,” Blade mumbled. “I’m giving you a weight to keep your balance with.” Meta Knight shook his head, chuckled a bit, and figured he could stand to sit for a minute or two until they caught up with him. But then, there was a sudden loud rumbling that called all of the knight’s attentions.

“Maybe a storm’s rolling in.” Sword said, looking up. But the skies were blue and soft, per usual, and the rumbling had stopped just as abruptly as it began.

“No, that wasn’t thunder,” Meta Knight said. His eyes narrowed as he looked up and across the valley. “Wasn’t an earthquake either.” He saw a plume of smoke off in the distance and felt a pit form in his stomach. “It came from over there.” he said, pointing towards it.

“Hey, isn’t that where Castle Dedede is?” Blade asked. He immediately put two and two together the second the sentence left his mouth. “Oh, no. That’s where Castle Dedede is.” He clutched onto the tether rope for dear life, and Sword slammed his axe into the side of the cliff again.

That being said, nothing that the two did mattered as Meta Knight simply unfurled his wings and flew off towards the castle, carting them along with him. Sword managed to cut himself loose from the tether rope before Meta knight landed before the castle, negating any possible embarrassing entrances.

Speaking of entrances, when Meta Knight and the duo landed before the castle, they could see that it was once again in a state of disrepair. A massive hole had been blasted through the front, and many poor Waddle Dees were still feebly pulling themselves out from under the rubble. The perpetrators of the crime hadn't gone far, though, and the duo trios came face to face with one another.

“It’s those three crazy girls!” Blade yelled as he pointed at them. “The Jambastion Mages!”

“Bonjam!” Francisca said, ignoring the insult. “Did you miss us? We didn’t miss you!”

“I sure didn’t miss this planet. It smells like a scented candle shop.” Flamberge said, mock retching. “How do you freaks live like this?”

“Sisters, sisters.” Zan Partizanne said. “Let’s focus, alright? We came here to curry favor with His Majesty.”

“Like heck you are,” Blade said, pulling out his weapon. “You’ll have to beat us first!” Sword nodded in agreement, pulling out his own. Meta Knight wasn't exactly sure what his next action should be, until he saw King Dedede ducking out from behind a pillar, and motioning for him to do... something. Meta Knight squinted, and Dedede slapped his forehead in frustration. The king mimed talking with one hand, and then made a punching motion with the other, and then ran off up the stairs, unseen by the three mages. Meta Knight took a wild swing at what he wanted him to do.

He stalled.

“Now, now,” Meta Knight said, raising his hands. “Let it be known here that chivalry isn’t dead. We’d all be more than happy to accept your unconditional surrender.” Sword and Blade gave him confused looks, clearly not in on the plan.

"Surrender?" Zan asked with a laugh. "You really think us that weak? If anything, you'll be the ones surrendering to us in a matter of seconds, if you'd just listen up already!" 

"Listen to you? I can barely understand you with that thing in front of your face!" he jeered. "Do you know how hot it gets in Dreamland? You lot are going to be drowning in your own sweat before you even get to the throne room!"

"Uh..." Zan cocked her head to the side. "Why exactly does that matter to you?"

Meta Knight shrugged. "I'm simply looking out for you. A faux pas before royalty is very hard to live down."

The thunder general was getting frustrated. "Jamblast you!" she yelled, slamming her pole-arm down on the ground so hard that it jolted the knights off their feet. They fell to the floor in a mess of tangled limbs and armor with a dull clatter. "Enough of these games!" she cried. "Where's Dedede?"

"That's something I'd like to know myself," Meta Knight muttered under his breath. He decided to try a different tactic and go for another sister. "Your showboating can't last forever. My knights and I can take you down. Better yet, I'll take all of you on myself!" he declared, staring intently at the fire general.

“You’re a fool, Meta Knight!” Flamberge shouted. “When we’re together, we burn even brighter! There’s not a single technique that you can beat us with now!”

“That might be true.” Meta Knight said with a short grunt, pulling himself up as he heard the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. “But maybe someone else can.”

Puzzled, Flamberge squinted at the knight, but then she and her sisters started hearing it, too. The sound of a crackling steam engine, and heavy footfall. They stuck together, back to back, as they tried to gauge where the noises were coming from. And then, the footsteps ceased, replaced by the sound of rapidly whiffing air. With dawning horror, the three mages looked up and saw Masked Dedede dive-bombing the three of them, jet-hammer wielded at the ready.

“FORE!” shouted the king. The three sisters screamed in terror as his jet-hammer slammed down and they were rocketed out of the castle. Meta whistled in awe as they flew off, disappearing with a twinkle in the sky.

King Dedede snickered as a group of Waddle Dees off to the side cheered. “That’ll teach you chumps to mess with 3D! And don’t come back!” He helped Meta Knight to his feet and knocked off the dust from his cowl. “Should’ve warned you ahead of time, shouldn’t I?”

“No, don’t apologize. I had a feeling you were going to go all out, especially after…” He motioned outwards and flexed, and both men shuddered at the memory. “I’m just glad we got here in time for once.”

“Yeah, ain’t that the truth.” Dedede said. He looked around at his wrecked throne room and walked out to gaze out of the newly-punched hole in his castle. “What was it they wanted, anyways? They just barged in here like they knew the place.”

“I don’t know. But what I do know is that if they’ve returned, we must be on high alert. If killing Void Termina somehow revived them, then who’s to say that Hyness didn’t return as well?” Meta Knight opined.

Dedede suddenly turned on his heel. “Then grab your squires and check it out, will you? What are you still doing here?” Meta Knight could tell the kind was clearly shaken up by the thought of this, and was feebly trying to cover it up as he scooted the three knights out of his castle. “Daylight’s burning! Out you go!”

Ever since the previous attack on Pop Star by Haltmann Enterprises, Meta Knight had worked tirelessly with his crew to make it both more aerodynamic and to heighten it's defenses. As of current, the top speeds on it matched Kirby's Warp Star to a T, and it could survive a meteor directly to the hull. The inside of the Halberd was another story. For when Meta Knight was barking orders at his crew to set sail and search Dreamland for three villains, one of them had already taken up residence inside. And he came face to face with her when he entered the starboard.

“Bonjam, mon Chevalier.”

Zan Partizanne had already been waiting for Meta Knight at the wheel, casually leaning against it as she leered. Sailor Dee ran in after Meta Knight, already out of breath and squeaking in terror.

“Sir! We’ve been breached! We’ve been breached! And-!” She looked up at the blonde woman sitting atop the console. “Oh. Um, I guess you’ve already figured that bit out.” Sailor Dee coughed, shifted awkwardly on her toes, and then bolted away. “Call me when the fight’s over!”

“Since we were so rudely interrupted last time, allow me to put this out before anyone else tries to throw me from a moving vehicle.” Zan Partizanne said, watching the doors close. With a flick of her wrist, her axe disappeared in a flash of light. “I don’t want to fight. I want to be forgiven.”

“You can’t be serious. You might be able to win Kirby over with that line, but not me.” He unsheathed Galaxia and readied himself. But Zan Partizanne floated over to him and gently lowered his sword with one hand.

“You know, being inside the soul of a universe-destroyer gives you a lot of time to think. To reflect on your actions, to… reimagine yourself.” she continued. Meta Knight still held his ground and clutched harder onto the hilt. “And when I could see my sisters again, when I could touch their faces and know that we were united for real, I made a decision. We all did. We decided that we’d never let blind devotion get in the way of our morals ever again.” She took a few steps back and fiddled with a lock of her hair. “Basically, what I’m trying to get at is… I’m sorry.”

Meta Knight’s eyes flashed gold. “Sweet Nova. You are serious.” He put Galaxia back into its sheath and walked up to her. “Are you the only ones that came back?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow in puzzlement.  

“I mean,” his eyes darted around the room nervously, trying to find a polite way to breach the subject. “If there happened to be any other life forms that may have also been residing in Void Termina’s core for an undisclosed matter of time…”

“If Hyness came back, I’d have come here to get your ship to blast him into a scorch mark on the ground!” Zan Partizanne suddenly shouted.  Taking in Meta Knight's spooked expression, she took a deep breath and said normally, “It’s just me and Fran and Flamberge, okay? Mage’s honor.” She crossed her heart.

Meta Knight stared her down for what seemed to be forever, before he finally sighed and said, “Okay. But I think you’d better leave now.” He pressed a button on the dashboard, and the doors opened up. Sailor Dee, who’d been leaning against the door and listening in to their conversation, fell to the ground on her face. Ignoring her, Meta Knight elaborated. “If anybody on the ship saw you, I can guarantee you’d be meeting with the business end of their weapon. Escape pods are down the hall and to the left.”

“Noted.” Zan said, nodding. She briskly patted him on the head as she moved to the door. “Jambuhbye.” She stepped over Sailor Dee and gently hummed as she exited. The Waddle Dee scrambled up, blushing profusely in embarrassment, and adjusted her cap.

“Do you really believe her, Sir?” Sailor Dee asked, watching as she went down the hallway.

“Not in the slightest.” Meta knight replied. “But, I’ve been wrong before. We’ll just have to see how this one plays out.”


 

Ghostly Gulf was a magical place in the early mornings, when all of the Horrortramps and Mumbies had finally curled up to rest, and you could take in the dawn as the sun gently peered over the murky ocean. Of course, nobody could really do such this morning, as they were too preoccupied with having to listen to Kirby hammer on Meta Knight’s front door for the past 20 minutes. If he didn’t cut it out soon, the little puffball was going to get tossed into the harbor.

“Alright, Kirby, I’m up.” Meta Knight said, opening the door. A collective sigh of relief fell across the town as Kirby bounded into his house. “I’m assuming you’d like something.”

“Let’s play some chess!” Kirby said, brushing off Meta Knight’s kitchen table and slamming a box on it. “I just learned how to play, and I’ve been dying for someone else to challenge me. I tried playing with Gooey, but he thought it was checkers and kept eating the pieces.” He took out the board and began to set it up. “Do you want to be blue or grey?”

“Grey,” Meta Knight responded, as he closed the door. He shook his head in disbelief, as he walked towards the table. If Kirby wanted to play chess at 4 in the morning, there really wasn’t anything he could do to stop him. “Who even taught you how? I doubt Dedede would care about the finer finesses of strategic gameplay.”

“Francisca taught me!” Kirby said cheerfully. “She said that it’ll make me smarter!” Meta Knight was rendered speechless as he sat down and the two began to play. He opined over this discovery for quite some time, despite Kirby going into detail about every single moment that he’d spent with the three sisters.

“Kirby, let me put it this way.” Meta Knight said after half an hour, moving one of his rooks. “If the Nightmare Wizard was drowning to death, and your house was on fire, which would you save?”

Kirby tapped his chin. “Well, if we’re right next to a body of water, then I could always save both.”

“Okay, bad example.” Meta Knight rubbed the areas on his mask where his temples were. “What I’m trying to get at is that you’re overtly trusting. Your heart is far too big for the rest of your body, and it shows. These women have done nothing but cause trouble, to both you and the rest of this planet! Why do you keep doing this?”

“I can’t forgive everyone,” Kirby said. “Even if I want to. Susie flew off before I could even say anything to her, and your evil twin tried to rip my legs off the last time I talked to him. Daroach had to lock his shard in a box and put it in a tree just to make sure he wouldn’t attempt to kill me in my sleep.” His stubby pink hand wavered over a bishop, but he pulled it back.

“That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try and help people!” He moved a knight quicker than he’d intended, slamming it down on the board. “Magolor and Taranza are trying their best to make up for what they did, and Daroach didn’t know any better. And if Marx wants to talk again, he knows that I’m willing to listen to him, and that I won’t try to jam a sword into one of his eyes.” He inhaled and exhaled deeply. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I do care too much.”

Meta Knight realized he’d been a bit too harsh and tried to dial it back. “Kirby, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people, especially if said people are trying to actively better themselves. My point is that you’ve got to step back and see the full picture before you start handing out your free time and emotional labor. Forgiveness isn’t something to be passed out lightly.”

“I forgave you when you tried to take over Dreamland, didn’t I?” Kirby said with a wink. Meta Knight responded by wordlessly checkmating his Bishop. Kirby looked down at the board in shock.

“Meta Knight, I don’t feel any smarter.”


Bandanna Dee checked his line one more time before taking a sip from his apple juice. Fishing always seemed to clam his nerves, and he certainly needed a cooldown after the week he’d had. King Dedede was a nervous wreck trying to find the Jambastion Mages, and he was running his men at double-time to make sure that the sisters weren’t planning a sneak attack or luring them into a false sense of security. He’d only today decided that they should also attempt to lure the mages into a false sense of security.

Bandanna Dee didn’t put it against the king, though. He’d been through a lot, not just from the Jamba Heart’s possession, but from prior possession attempts and kidnappings. Still, it was nice to have some rest and relaxation once in a while. He was such at ease that when he saw the blurry reflection of a certain electric general, he didn’t even flinch.

“Hey, you. Little orange fat kid.”

“Actually, I’m 27, and-!” Bandanna Dee screeched in horror when he realized who he was talking to. “Z-Zan Partizanne!” He fell to the ground, burying his face in the dirt and whimpering as he groveled. “Please don’t roast me like a marshmallow! I don’t care what His Majesty says about you, you aren’t the ugliest sister!”

“Wrong sister.” Zan Partizanne replied. “And what did he say about me?!”

“Uh…” the Waddle Dee looked up at her. She’d changed her usual black attire for something more vibrant, a copper blouse and a creamsicle-colored muffler. “You know, you look kinda weird without a hat. Not-not in a bad way, it’s just sort of like seeing Meta Knight without his cape if you catch my drift.”

“Prone to waffling and kowtowing,” the Thunder general said to herself. “Quite interesting.” She gently floated down and sat next to him, gazing intently at the water’s surface. “Speaking of, what was going to ask you is of a very important matter.  Do you think you’re up to the task?”

“I’ll try,” he said, pulling his line from the water. “Does it have anything to do with Dark Lords?”

“Not a Dark Lord, but a Dark Sir,” Zan said. “You see, I’ve already given up hope on that ox of a king you’ve got up at the castle. But I’m still holding out for someone else.” She messed around with her muffler, getting more and more anxious as the Waddle Dee watched her. “I just feel like he doesn’t trust me as far as he can throw me.”

“She’s got that right.”

Meta Knight and Kirby were hiding in a swath of tall grass a couple feet away, anxiously watching the two to make sure that Bandanna Dee didn’t say anything wrong and drive her away. Kirby hummed a jaunty tune as he adjusted a large bouquet of yellow roses, and Meta Knight pulled his head back in.

“Pastel orange really fits her, doesn’t it?” Kirby asked, handing the bouquet to the knight. “Okay, just like we practiced. You’re gonna walk over to her and tell her that you’d like to spend the day with her, as equals.” He confidently nodded, and then added, “And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got something else to help.”

“You are aware of what yellow roses imply in the language of flowers, right?”  Meta Knight asked, and then internally retched and externally shuddered as he watched Kirby casually pull a heart shaped box of chocolates from his mouth.

“Yeah. You’re not asking her out on a date!” Kirby placed the box in his other hand. “You’re asking her out on a friend-date! They’re totally different.”

Meta Knight rolled his eyes and opened the box a crack. “Oh. Ew. This is white chocolate.”

“You don’t have to eat it. Not unless you want to.” Kirby then sprayed a small white bottle in Meta Knight’s face, right in front of his visor. Meta Knight hacked and wheezed as he stumbled backwards from the sudden attack.

“Did you seriously just try to use breath spray on me?!”

“No, that was vanilla. It reminds me of cookies!” Kirby’s innocent smile never wavered. “Go get her, tiger!” Meta Knight deeply sighed and exited from the bush. Kirby popped his head out and gave him a thumbs-up, and Meta Knight shoved him back in. With what felt like a weight on his chest, he walked over to the two.

“So, what you’re saying is you really admire Meta Knight’s skills, but you’re worried that he’ll get the wrong idea and think you’re trying to find his weakness when you’re really just trying to be polite?” Bandanna Dee asked. “And that you’re worried that you and your sisters will forever be ostracized for the mistakes you’ve made and never be safe on this planet or anywhere in the universe again?”

Zan cocked an eyebrow. “Is there a reason that you’re paraphrasing everything I just said?”

“It helps me remember it in case I’m asked about it again.” He responded, nervously rubbing his foot in the soil. He then gasped as he saw Meta Knight walking up to them, with candy and flowers in hand. Zan also turned around and Meta Knight froze, his eyes shrinking to noting but yellow dots behind his mask. Her face flushed as she saw what he was holding.

“Sir Meta Knight…”

“These are for you,” Meta Knight said, shoving the bouquet outwards. “Get it.” Zan Partizanne took the bouquet, her face still bright red as Bandana Dee gasped softly. Meta Knight then gingerly opened the lid on the box of chocolates. “These, um, are also for you.”

Zan took a piece of chocolate from the box and examined it. “White chocolate, hm? I would have preferred caramel.”

Meta Knight shrugged. “I’m partial to coconut myself.”

“Gross!” Bandanna Dee said, and then jumped back as both the knight and general shot him death glares. “Uh, I mean. Hey, Meta Knight. What brings you to this fine… neck of the woods? You on a quest or something?”

“Not today.” He handed him the box of chocolates and turned to Zan Partizanne. “I understand that we may be mere acquaintances at best, enemies at worst, but I would like to change that. I’ve a modest proposal, that maybe-”

“Wait! You’re asking her out a week after you tossed her out of your ship?” Bandanna Dee asked. “What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s not a date.” Meta Knight said sternly. “It’s a summit of equals.”

Zan Partizanne grinned. “Then I accept your proposal.”


 

“I’m forming a database on all of my potential new allies.” Producing a spiral-bound journal from the basket and presenting it before him, she opened it up and flipped to a page full of names. “Kirby insisted that I try to make friends with people that I share interests with, and I feel it’s only reasonable to gain as much information from outside sources before I go forward with a proposal.”

“How… analytical of you.” He’d never admit it, but he was mentally kicking himself for not coming up with that idea first. It certainly would have helped him with his previous attempted coup of Dreamland. “You know, there are significantly less complicated ways of obtaining allies.”

“Challenging them to a duel, perhaps?”

Meta Knight proceeded to make a noise that sounded like a tea kettle whistling as he clapped his hands over his mouth. Zan Partizanne chortled in kind, and it seemed that the two had finally managed to decompress after their first two disastrous encounters.

If only things were that simple.

Meta Knight heard a noise, like a low distant ring in his ears. His head whipped around as he searched for the source. A bush rustled, and the noise chimed again, this time with an added laser-sight that happened to be angled straight between Zan Partizanne’s eyes.

“Look out!” he shouted and tackled the woman to the ground. A blast of ice erupted from the bush, missing them by a hair and instead ripping a chunk off of Adeleine’s easel. She shrieked and covered her face in fear, as the rest of the group looked towards their new assailants. A group of robotic creatures, with bright red lenses and sharp claws sped out from the bush, swarming the picnic area.

“So much for the lazy lifestyle of Dreamland!” Zan Partizanne groaned, pushing the knight off of her. She tossed her scarf to the side, summoned her axe, and slammed two of them away from herself. Meta Knight unsheathed his sword and slashed a sword beam into the pack, scattering them about. Even this didn’t stop them, for every time one fell, the others simply ripped them to shreds and used the pieces to upgrade themselves.

“Oh, that’s just messed up!” they could hear Kirby yell from behind. Out of the corner of her eye, Zan Partizanne could see that the kids had joined the fray as well, and they weren’t half bad at battling either. Kirby seemed to be struggling, stuck with only his inhaling and star spit, but Adeleine gave him a quick boost with the aid of an Ice copy ability.

Turning back to her own battle, Zan Partizanne launched electric bursts towards them, only to have them met with similar bursts. In fact, a lot of their attacks were starting to seem familiar to her. The little Waddle Dee was fighting one that sprayed freezing water from a cannon attached to its arm, and two of them with fire blazing from their claws were hounding Meta Knight. A third one suddenly leapt up behind the Swordsman.

“Meta Knight! Watch out!” she screamed. But, he wasn’t fast enough, and the flame cut straight through him.

Literally.

The false image of Meta Knight petered out in a blue haze, and the true one kicked in the creature’s head so hard, it just about exploded on impact. Looking around, two other Meta Knight illusions faded away, causing their respective attackers to smash each other instead.

There was only one of the unidentified monsters left, and it clearly was the smartest out of all of them. It took one look at the mess of scrap and metal, and ran for the hills, slamming into a tree in its hurry to get away.

“Is everyone okay?” Meta Knight asked, turning to the small band of youths. All of them were out of breath, but unharmed.

“Uh-huh! We’re… we’re all good!” Kirby said, and the others gave half-hearted cheers of agreement. Parasol Waddle Dee fell over in exhaustion with a tiny wheeze.

“And how about you, Zan?”

“Hm. Could be better, could be worse.” She picked her scarf off of the ground, shaking the last few remnants of oil from it. “What were those things?”

“I’m not sure. We’ve never seen anything like that.” Meta Knight said. “Not even when Haltmann attempted to conquer us.”

“Well, that explains a lot.” She snarked.

“I don’t even think they were the same…” Meta Knight paused, and then slowly turned to her. “Excuse me?”

“They weren’t coordinated at all! Do you know how long it took for Kirby to get a copy ability? If he didn’t have us around, he would have been a goner!” Kirby blushed in embarrassment and kicked the ground. Meta Knight really didn’t like where this was going, but Zan Partizanne was on a roll with her harsh digs.

“And let’s not even get started on the rest of them! The blonde little elf was screeching his attacks so loudly it’s a miracle that they weren’t able to catch on to his every move, the other robot and the goblin boy were more interested in showing off yo-yo tricks then defending themselves, the green bird didn’t do anything at all, the parasol girl was horrendous at blocking, the fire boy was abysmal at recovery, and the little artist with the massive forehead-!”

“Enough!” Meta Knight’s wings snapped open in anger. “I’m not going to stand by and watch you make these kids cry with your insults.”

“I am offering constructive criticism!”

“You are bullying children!”

“I think they’re gonna start swearing. Should we leave?” Adeleine asked.

“Uh… maybe?” Poppy Bros Jr. said, titling his head in confusion. “But if they kiss, I’m really outta here.”

“Consider this summit concluded!” Meta Knight flew off in a huff, grumbling under his breath.

“It’s been concluded!”  Zan Partizanne yelled back, snatching the picnic basket up so hard she nearly snapped the handle off. “Who does he think he is?! The nerve of some people!” 


 Zan Partizanne grumbled all the way home, and angrily slammed the basket on the kitchen table after she returned. Her two sisters, who’d been watching TV, were alerted by the noise and turned to see one very angry mage.

“Zan, where’ve you been?” Francisca asked. “We were starting to get worried!”

“I wasn’t worried!” Flamberge declared. “This place is so boring nowadays, I thought you’d fallen asleep in a tree or something.”

“I was at the worst picnic of my life!” Zan Partizanne yelled. Out of context, it was a pretty odd phrase, so her sisters waited for her to clarify. Getting the picture, she continued. “Everyone was terrible at their jobs, we were attacked out of nowhere, and Meta Knight went off at the smallest provocation!”

“It wasn’t that bad!” said Kirby. Zan Partizanne nearly jumped at the sound of his voice and looked around to see where he was. Looking down, she found him inside the basket, wrapped up in the checkered blanket.

“Kirby, what are you doing in the picnic basket?!” She demanded.

“Cause it’s mine.” He stated matter-of-factly. Even after he’d said that, it took Zan Partizanne a couple seconds to realize it had completely slipped her mind. She pulled Kirby out of the basket and knocked the crumbs off of him. With that out of the way, she unceremoniously dropped him on the ground, and fished her journal out of the basket.

“You were attacked?” Flamberge asked, floating over to her side. “By who?”

“Or what?” Francisca added, picking Kirby up and placing him in a seat at the table.

“These… mechanical creations. They came right out of nowhere and tried to kill Meta Knight and I. Kirby and his little allies helped us out in the battle, but the whole thing just took us by surprise.” She rubbed her ‘arm’ and lowered her gaze.

“That’s it? Some robots tried to mug you?” Flamberge asked. “Aw! I can’t believe I missed it! That sounded so awesome!”

“They had our powers.”

The room fell into an awkward silence as Kirby hopped up onto the table and pulled a red lens from underneath the blanket and handed it to Francisca. It had obviously come from the battle, but he had no idea how it had gotten in there.

“It might just be a coincidence…” Zan started, but Kirby cut her off as he pulled the bouquet of yellow roses out from the basket next.

“We can talk about that later. What matters now is that you’ve gotta apologize.” He handed the flowers to Flamberge, who eyed them with confusion.

“Apologize?! To whom?” Zan asked, still annoyed from the last time she’d (in)directly taken Kirby’s advice.

“To Meta Knight! And everybody else! I’ve dealt with worse stuff, and I can tell that you’re really bothered by those things…” He pulled out the box of chocolates next and popped a few pieces into his mouth. “So maybe you can just mellow out while me and Dedede figure out what’s going on.”

“How deep is that flipping basket?” Flamberge asked, craning her neck to peer inside.

“I have nothing to apologize for! Meta Knight’s just too sensitive, that’s all.” Zan Partizanne crossed her arms defensively.

“You were pretty nasty, though.” Kirby said quietly.

Zan Partizanne sighed, but she knew he had a point, and nodded in agreement. “Alright. I guess If I really have to. That is, if he’s cooled down enough.”

Kirby sweetly grinned. “I’m sure that if you just go to him and talk it out, he’ll understand!”


"Who does she think she is?! The nerve of some people!” Meta Knight practically kicked the door of his study down, spooking poor Sailor Dee and causing her to nearly drop the ship in a bottle she’d been dusting.

“Did you enjoy your summit of equals, sir?” she asked shakily, placing it back on the shelf.

 “Absolutely not! It was terrible! We were attacked halfway through, and she couldn’t even stop herself from mocking the fighting tactic of children! It’s the worst lunch meeting I’ve ever had!” Meta Knight slipped off his sabatons, placed his cape on a coat hanger, and marched over to his desk. He thought about it a bit longer as he sat down. “Mm, not quite. Maybe it’s the fourth or fifth worst. Anyways, how on Popstar did you know about it?”

“Bandana Dee.” She replied.

“Ah.” Meta Knight hadn’t so much as picked up his pen when the alarm bells rang out. He could hear Captain Vul yelling for everyone to get to their stations and hoped that this was just another false alarm. Sure enough, he looked out through the window and saw Zan Partizanne, standing alone with her arms crossed and about a dozen canons pointed on her.

“Once more, I am here to apologize!” She shouted up at the ship, and Meta Knight groaned as he lowered the lift and walked out to meet her. “For any slights, transgressions, or whichever one of my traits you’ve decided annoys you in the current hour.”

“I’m not the only one you should be apologizing to,” he said, his voice barely audible over the sound of creaking metal. He paused and waited for it to stop before he carried on. “But it’s good that you’ve realized when you’ve done something wrong, and that you were acting like a complete…” The word failed to come to him, and motioned around with his hand, as if that would somehow help him recall it. “What’s the word?”

“Neanderthal?” she offered.

“Yes, that works just fine.” Meta Knight said with a chuckle. Upon seeing the massive number of cannons still pointed at her, he waved his hand, and they retracted. From inside the cockpit, Sailor Dee sighed as Vul gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder.

“And I must admit, even with all that happened, it was an enjoyable few moments of peace that we had together,” Zan continued. “To be frank, your own fighting skills left little to be criticized, especially with that clever substitution move you pulled off on an entire group. It was sort of like watching ballet.”

“So, it’s alright when I’m flashy?” He asked.

“You do have more experience. That gives you the right to flash once in a while!” Zan Partizanne’s eyes narrowed and her nose crinkled up in disgust at herself as she smacked her forehead. “Oh, that line was terrible.”

“I’ve heard worse.” He responded.

“Thank you,” Zan Partizanne said as she rolled her eyes. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some children to make amends to.” She floated off, still pretty embarrassed by her dorky compliment. Genuine compassion was a bit new for her, so it wasn’t like Meta Knight could blame her.

“Have fun.” Meta Knight said earnestly as he returned back inside.

Well, that was a bit redundant, wouldn’t you say?

“Repetition is the key to mastery.” Meta Knight whispered under his breath. There were still knights and Wheelies coming down the hallways, and looking crazy in front of them would only push Dedede’s agenda that the Jambastion Mages were bad news. Galaxia paid this no mind as she carried on with her gentle chastising.

It’s also the definition of insanity. Doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Meta Knight scoffed in annoyance, which Mace Knight happened to pick up. The purple knight stared at him in confusion (and potential slight offense) before Meta Knight played it off, coughing overdramatically as he entered his study and locked the door firmly behind him.

Would you like me to give you some advice? You’re awfully slacking in the ways of women.

“Do I really have a choice?” he asked, pulling her from her sheath and placing her in a specially-made holder. “We’re mentally bound.”

Well, let’s get this straight. You’re a hypocrite of the highest caliber. You tell her to be laxer with her friendship making endeavors, but you handle her like she’s a business venture. Zan Partizanne is still just an average person, no matter what her magical prowess or previous affiliations may say. If you’re looking to form a long-lasting acquaintanceship with her, you have to step back and think about it from an outsider’s perspective.

“And what, ignore everything she’s done?! If I were to do that, I’d be more naïve than Kirby!” His eyes darted over to an envelope on his desk, and it hit him. “The cotillon.”

What?

 “I can take her to the cotillion.” He repeated. “There should be tons of people there, people with… contrasting personalities. She can mingle as she pleases, and it’s in a fully controlled environment. And if she wants out, she can just say the word, and we’ll go our separate ways, and be at home before sundown!”

Now you’re treating her like a force of nature.

“She is a force of nature, Galaxia.” Meta Knight said. “It’d be wrong to treat her any other way.”

 

Chapter Text

“So, when did you figure it out?” Guinevere asked.

“Huh?” Jack looked up from the mugs he was filling with coffee. “Figure what out?”

“Well, you know…” she waved her hand around, trying to come up with a way to better phrase her thoughts. “When did you know?”

“What, you think I was born, and from second one didn’t want nothing to do with it?” Jack snickered a bit as he walked over to her. He handed her a mug and sat down beside her. “But if I’m gonna be honest with ya, I was about… I dunno, nine-ish? And I really, really wanted to be like my godfather, Sir Gawain. I wanted to look like him, sound like him, fight like him… everybody in town just thought I was a tomboy, so I just guessed that’s what I was.”

Guinevere nodded knowingly as he continued.

“But then, I started hitting puberty and I flipped. I was panicking like crazy and I didn’t know why. I started hating everything about myself, how I looked, how I dressed. Got to the point where I chopped all my hair off with a pair of scissors.” He took a deep breath, his voice audibly shaking as he collected himself. “I was in a bad spot, and everybody knew it. Gramps took me aside, we talked it out, and I figured out that I’d feel a whole lot better as a guy.”

“The testosterone worked wonders, but we couldn’t exactly afford the surgery. And it’s not like I can schedule an appointment here,” He motioned towards his chest. “But if I could, I’d chop these off and give ‘em to you.”

Guinevere scrunched up her nose and giggled. “Purple’s not really my color.”

“Hey, purple is a terrific color!” He snorted and took a sip of his drink. “And everyone was cool with it, took a little while for my name to catch on, but that’s how my life turned out. How about yours?”

“Well, I was a little younger than you, I think it was around the time I was six. Father had kept wanting a son to be his heir, and he’d tried eleven times before me. When I was born, he was so happy that he’d finally have another man around the house.” She squirmed a bit, the uncomfortable memory making her feel queasy. “But I’d always preferred being around my other sisters rather than him; I always thought they looked so pretty in their dresses, and I wanted to be as beautiful as them.”

“Hey, I think anybody would’ve preferred being around your sisters!” Jack quipped. “That guy could make eNeMeE shake in his boots!”

They laughed for a short while, and as the moment passed, they resumed looking out into the distance. The only sound was the crackling fire and the gentle chirping of crickets. Jack became mindful of the pause and the contemplative look on Guinevere’s face, suddenly remembering the horror stories that she’d told him of her father. And this was prior to her revealing she was trans, he couldn’t imagine how somebody less open-minded would’ve treated her.

“My father actually did support me when he discovered it,” Guinevere said as if she could read his mind. “But I had to be a woman by his standards, further than that, I had to prove myself of being called his daughter. I always felt like he resented me for wanting to be female, like I was doing it solely to anger him. He made me feel like I’d committed the gravest mistake of my life.”

“And then, I met Arthur and the rest of the Star Warriors. He did a lot more for me than just save my town,” she continued. “I didn’t have to be feminine and frilly all the time, I could still be a woman and adore adventure, no matter what my father said. So, Arthur and I feigned a marriage, and my father washed his hands of me. It hurt at first, but… it was for the best.”

“Been an adventure for both of us, huh?” Jack put down his mug and leaned back against a tree. “Gotta say, kinda glad that it’s not a big deal here, either. Of course, you still get stupid questions from time to time.”

“From Lancelot?” Guinevere questioned.

He shrugged. “Almost always.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. He’s not malicious, just misinformed.” Guinevere lifted her cup to take a sip but hesitated. “Why did you choose the name Jackal? I’ve always wondered.”

“Hey, I was thirteen! Gimme a break!” Jack said. “I’m just grateful it was the least embarrassing name I coulda chose.”

“True. It’s much better than mine, I just chose it because it sounded pretty.” The lady gave him a half-smile and punched his arm playfully. “And you are quite rugged, you know. A bit on the doggish side.”

“Watch yourself, I got a girl waiting for me back home!”

Another bout of laughter, and another cursory glance towards the horizon. Sentry duty could drain someone like crazy, but it was so much more bearable with a friend.

Chapter Text

Bored, bored, bored.

Cavalier Jack was bored off his nut as he watched the horizon. He yawned gently and rubbed his eyes, wishing that Garlude had taken the night shift instead. He was beginning to wonder if it even mattered that they watched the boundaries, Nightmare was dead and gone, what did they have to fear? Come to think of it, Nightmare was the reason behind them even having to feel worried, he could take on anything after that.

“Not afraid of me, are you?” a voice from behind asked.

Jack nearly jumped at the sound, but quickly collected himself and turned to see... Sir Percival? 

No, it wasn’t Sir Percival. It was a different puffball all together. They had silver blue skin, purple hair, golden horns, and bright red eyes. They wore a domino mask accented by red rubies and lavender colored pauldrons. Their cape, which shone with bright stars, shot out as if it were alive and quickly disarmed him.  

The stranger’s eyes narrowed as Jack’s widened, and then he spoke again.

“Are you surprised to see me? I bet you are. It’s been so long since I was in this form.” They explained.

“Huh? Enemy?” Jack asked. “But how? I thought you were destroyed.”

“Mmm, only my false form. The one that that money hungry piece of shit Customer Service put me in.” he hissed. “He said it worked better with the test audiences or something like that. I feel so much freer in my real body!”

“Oh, no! I’m not gonna fall for this!” Jack said. Even though eNeMeE had taken his sword, he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He raised his hands in front of his face and growled. “This has gotta be a trick! You won’t take control of my mind again.”

“Take control of your…” the puffball’s face dropped. “Oh. You still remember that, do you? Look, I feel legit bad for that.”

“How could I forget?! You screwed me over!” He stayed in his fighting stance and glared harsher.

The puffball sighed and shook his head. “I never wanted anything to do with the company. Customer Service forced me into it. If I had it my way, I’d just be making monsters and scaring people harmlessly. But he desired power and his greed lead him to making a company, one I was goaded into backing for his... ugh, artistic endeavors.”

Jack lowered his hands and titled his head in confusion.

“Nightmare Enterprises was all his work, I was just the muscle. You wouldn’t believe how relieved I was when the bastard croaked.” The puffball grinned and blushed. “Besides, you’re very robust, you know. You inspired me… in all your little quirks. It broke me to corrupt you, but I was under contract.”

Jack scoffed and tried to cover his face with his hand, feeling his face get hotter. “Wh- whatever. How do you expect to make up for all that you’ve done?”

“With this.” Nightmare said breathily.

The cape pulled Jack in closer, causing the bright red blush to spread across the taller man’s face as their lips inched closer and closer together. He closed his eyes in bliss, waiting for contact, until…


As the bloodcurdling scream tore through the castle at 1 am, Meta Knight felt justified sleeping in full plate armor. He and his squires bolted into action and darted after the sound, only for it to lead them to the locked bathroom door. Vigorous scrubbing and muffled praying could be heard on the other side, as if someone was brushing their teeth and begging for forgiveness at the same time.

“Uh, Meta Knight?” Sword Knight asked. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t think I want to know.” Meta Knight replied.