Chapter 1: Hyness, the Butterfly and a Winged Warrior
It was just another peaceful day in Dream Land. The sky was blue, and soft white clouds gently drifted across it. The green grass was soft, too, and it billowed in the breeze. And in this perfect picture, the Dream Landers went about their normal lives, including the land’s hero, Kirby.
Kirby was glad that things were back to normal again. It had been about three months, Meta Knight said, since Void Termina had been resurrected. But thanks to he and his friends, Kirby had defeated the evil. The three mages that had assisted in Void Termina’s resurrection, as well as the one they used to serve, had landed on Planet Popstar. The mages were friendly, but…
Not that it mattered right at that moment anyway. Kirby was just out for a jog. He was just living life in the moment.
Kirby raced up and down a hill he thought was pretty big, and once he reached the bottom he rested. Flapping his arms a little, he looked up at the sky. He could see a cloud shaped like a Parasol Waddle Dee! And another shaped like a Plugg!
As he gazed at the drifting clouds, he spotted a little butterfly flutter by. There was no other butterfly like this one in Dream Land - it had red wings that faded to a light yellow. Kirby instantly recognised the butterfly, and his face lit up with a smile. He chased after the butterfly with joy. At least until a dark purple sphere of magic almost hit the both of them.
A purple-blue skinned creature with yellow markings on his ears and bulbous eyes leapt out from a nearby bush, screaming at the top of his lungs. He would’ve squashed the poor butterfly had it not fluttered out of the way. The creature growled, scowling at the butterfly, before picking himself up.
“Hyness!” Kirby exclaimed. “What are you doing? Why did you try to squash the butterfly?”
Hyness was the “but” after any good news these days. He was the deranged leader of the three mages, but the mages didn’t want to reconcile, and for good reason. Now, he lived alone, lurking through the bushes during daylight.
“That MONSTER will kill us all!” Hyness shrieked, pointing a sleeve at the butterfly. He sharply exhaled.
“I don’t know… what you think you’re doing here…” Hyness muttered to the butterfly, “But you… must be-”
Hyness frowned before sniffing. He proceeded to lean forward and inspect the butterfly, who darted back a bit. Kirby could only watch on with curiosity.
“It seems… there is another… with you in there… somewhere…” Hyness murmured to himself once done inspecting the butterfly. “I do not… think that they are guilty… of what you have done… though…”
Hyness sighed heavily. “I suppose… I will get them out…”
He closed his eyes and started to mutter something Kirby couldn’t understand. As he did, the butterfly began to glow a soft yellow. The bottom of its wings started to sprout small lavender feathers, which made their way up the rest of the wings. Soon, the butterfly’s wings were covered in feathers, which Kirby knew was not a normal thing. Hyness’ voice hardened with concentration, and the butterfly glowed more brightly. It appeared that something- no, some one - was coming out of the butterfly’s body. He appeared similar to Meta Knight, but had horns atop his head and feathery wings like the butterfly got. The figure slowly rose out of the butterfly as Hyness continued chanting, and his form began to solidify, too. The feathers on the butterfly’s wings receded, and the figure fell face-first to the ground with a mighty thud as Hyness finished his chant. The butterfly took this as the opportunity to fly away. Hyness just stared in the butterfly’s direction and squinted angrily before disappearing into the bush again.
A moment passed before Kirby approached the figure who came out of the butterfly, who was still laying with his face on the ground. He tapped the figure’s head and cocked his own curiously. The figure placed a hand to his head and groaned as he pushed themself up from the ground. As he sat up, he took in his surroundings and let his eyes adjust.
He blinked twice before asking to no one in particular, “Wh...What…? Where…? This isn’t…”
“Isn’t what?” Kirby asked.
The figure flinched with surprise. He looked at Kirby wide-eyed and said, “Wh- When did you get here?”
Kirby looked up in thought, placing a paw to his chin. “Before you got here,” Kirby replied, looking back at the figure.
The figure muttered something under his breath, before getting to his feet.
“Do you mind if you could tell me where I am?” he asked, still looking around.
“Dream Land!” Kirby said, throwing up his arms.
“Ah. And where would the vacant inns be?”
Kirby just stared at him blankly.
“...The vacant inns. Where are they.”
Kirby only blinked.
The figure frowned. “Is there anywhere that I could stay.”
“Oh!” Kirby said, his face lighting up for a moment as the puzzle pieces in his mind clicked together. “I think there might be some spare rooms in Castle Dedede! You’d have to ask if you could stay though.”
“Excellent,” the figure said, “Where might this Castle Dedede be?”
Kirby pointed straight ahead to a rocky mountain with the infamous castle atop it.
“Thank you, kind one,” the figure said.
He stretched out his wings and was just about to take off when Kirby shouted, “Wait!”
The figure turned to look at him.
“What’s your name?” Kirby asked.
“Galacta Knight.” And with that, Galacta Knight took off… only to fall flat on his face again.
Kirby padded up to him and asked, “You want me to walk you there?”
“That would be nice.”
The sun was starting to set as Kirby and Galacta Knight made their way up the mountain trail, dying the sky a bright orange.
“So, uh, why were you in the butterfly?” Kirby asked.
Galacta looked down to the smaller puffball and hummed with curiousity.
“There was this guy called Hyness who said some stuff I didn’t understand and I think it made you come out of this butterfly,” Kirby explained.
“Ah,” Galacta replied, “I suppose I owe him my thanks. As for why I was in there? I… don’t exactly recall.”
Kirby hummed his query.
“I had found myself in a strange place after going through a portal in Another Dimension, but this time, it was on my own free will. Soon after I had arrived, a butterfly - I think it was red? - had landed on my lance, and then…” Galacta paused, “I don’t remember. The next thing I can remember is you waking me.”
“Oh.” Kirby was silent for a bit before saying, “But the butterfly that you said landed on your lance sounds like the butterfly that you came out of! I bet it’s the same one!”
Kirby looked up to see that the two of them had reached their destination.
“Ooh ooh ooh! Galacta! Look! We’re here!”
Kirby ran up the rest of the trail and just in front of Castle Dedede’s doors.
“Come on!” he called out, waving to Galacta Knight.
As soon as Galacta was within range to warrant being close enough, Kirby sprinted inside the castle.
Chapter 2: Trying to Find Answers
The sun had set now, and the moon was starting to creep up into the sky. Thankfully, Galacta Knight was able to get a room in Castle Dedede for a few nights - in fact, King Dedede seemed to like having another knight around.
Kirby was happy that Galacta could get some rest. He was sure he would need it. But now, he had another pressing matter on his mind - finding Meta Knight. He knew that he was up until late, usually doing important duties. If he was quick enough, Kirby might be able to catch him before he went out.
He sped around the castle, shouting excuse me’s to any Waddle Dees in his path. He had decided to go to the runway first, where the Halberd was most commonly rested. As soon as he dashed outside, he was met by Mace Knight and Axe Knight, two of Meta Knight’s most loyal soldiers.
“Hey Kirby!” Mace Knight greeted.
“What’s got you in a rush?” Axe Knight asked curiously.
“Where’s Dad? I gotta ask him some things!” Kirby babbled.
Axe Knight raised an eyebrow for a second, before realising what Kirby meant.
“Meta Knight’s in his room, last I checked!” Axe Knight said, pointing back at the castle.
Kirby turned to look back at the castle for a moment before taking off again.
“Thanks!” Kirby yelled as he ran back inside.
“You’re welcome, kid!” Mace Knight yelled back.
Kirby dashed through the hallways, his arms trailing behind him. He darted down a corridor to the left, which lead him up a long, twisting flight of stairs. Once he reached the top of the stairs, he found his way to Meta Knight’s door. Kirby knocked three times and waited patiently. The door soon clicked open to reveal Meta Knight, who quickly looked down at Kirby.
“Why hello Kirby,” Meta Knight said, “I certainly wasn’t expecting you at this hour. What brings you?”
“You know a buncha stuff, so I was thinking maybe you know a buncha stuff about this one particular thing!” Kirby said, waving his arms.
Meta Knight raised an eyebrow, before saying, “Come on in, Kirby.”
Meta Knight further opened the door and stepped aside, letting the young puffball in. Meta Knight closed the door and wandered over to where Kirby had decided to sit. His bed, unsurprisingly to him.
He sat himself next to Kirby and asked, “So what is this particular thing you want to ask me about?”
Kirby inhaled before saying, “Today I saw the butterfly, you know, the red and yellow one, and I started chasing it when Hyness tried to attack it and he said something, uhhh, about it being a monster that’s gonna kill us all?”
Meta Knight sighed, placing a hand to where his temple would be.
“Hyness is… Hyness, Kirby.”
“Yeah but I was wondering you might know something about monster butterflies or butterflies that were turned into monsters or monsters that were turned into butterflies or anything to do with monsters and butterflies?” Kirby said.
“Monsters… and butterflies…” Meta Knight muttered. He thought for seemed like ages for Kirby, who stared up at his father figure with wide, curious eyes.
“...I can’t recall any myths about butterflies, unfortunately,” Meta Knight said. He looked to Kirby and said, “Sorry, little one.”
“It’s okay, Dad!” Kirby told him, “If I expected you to know everything, I’d be really really silly! But you totally know the most outta everyone in Dream Land!”
Meta Knight chuckled quietly. “Thank you, Kirby.” He picked up the younger puffball and placed him on the floor. “You should get going, now. It’s getting late.”
As if on cue, Kirby let out a yawn. “Okie dokie, Dad. Good night! Sweet dreams!”
“You too, Kirby.”
Kirby made his way out of Meta Knight’s room, and briskly made his way out of the castle, down the mountain trail and through the fields to return to his little dome-shaped home. Of course, he didn’t leave the castle without saying good night to everyone he met on the way out.
Kirby was well-rested when he woke up that morning. He went out and ate his breakfast of some apples provided by Whispy Woods, but one thing from the previous day still lingered in his mind - what was with the butterfly? He still didn’t know. After eating his breakfast, he sat and thought about who else could know about the butterfly.
He could try asking Hyness himself, but that was risky. Hyness was unpredictable at best, and even if he wasn’t, Kirby wouldn’t know where to find him. All he knew was that he was in the bushes somewhere.
He could ask the Jambastion mages! They used to work for Hyness, maybe they knew something! But the more he thought about it, the more Kirby reconsidered. Maybe they didn’t want to bring up any memories of Hyness.
He could ask Magolor. He also knew a bunch of stuff! A bunch of different stuff than Meta Knight, for sure, which would help a lot. And Hyness kinda looked like him, so maybe they were related or something.
Kirby decided to ask Magolor after a bit of debate. The problem was, where was the Lor Starcutter? Usually it was parked somewhere near Marx’s house. That was a good place to start!
Marx’s house wasn’t too far away from his own. Just a little jog and he was already there. It was shaped much like his own, but the paint job was thin, half-revealing the bricks underneath. It also looked much older than his. And, thankfully, the Lor Starcutter was stationed a few meters away from the house.
Kirby jogged up to the Lor, and the door opened with whizzing sound as he stepped onto the ramp.
Magolor was at the keyboard, typing up something up in what Kirby was pretty sure was Halcandran. Marx was there, too, inexplicably holding a cup of ramen and eating from it as he watched the unfamiliar letters flicker up on the large screen.
Magolor’s ears pricked up as the door opened, and turned to see Kirby. Marx did the same, leaving the ramen in his mouth hang.
“Heya Kirby!” Magolor said.
“Hey Kirbs,” Marx said, much more casually than his Halcandran friend.
“Hi guys!” Kirby greeted back, waving an arm.
“What brings ya?” Magolor asked, leaning back one of the star-decorated ends of the keyboard.
“So, uh, y’know that butterfly?” Kirby started.
Marx swallowed some ramen before inquiring, “That weird one with the red wings? Yeah.”
“I think I know the one,” Magolor added, a finger to his collar in thought.
“Yeah well according to Hyness, it’s a monster that’s gonna kill us all? Or something like that?” Kirby explained, “I was thinking that maybe you knew something about dangerous butterflies, Mags.”
While Magolor thought, Marx set his ramen cup to the ground.
“He… said that it was dangerous ,” Marx asked, an eyebrow raised.
“That… is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I mean, how could a butterfly be dangerous?”
“It could be poisonous,” Magolor suggested.
Marx hummed with thought. “True.”
Magolor thought for a few moments before saying, “Sorry, Kirbs, but I don’t think I’ve read anything about butterflies.”
“Aw, that’s okay!” Kirby said. “I can’t expect you to know everything!”
Magolor smiled under his collar and replied, “Thanks, Kirby.”
As Marx picked up his ramen cup again, he asked, “Why do ya want to know, anyway? Hyness is a wacko.”
“Uhhhhhhh…” Kirby placed a paw to his chin with thought. “...I dunno. I kinda just do. ”
“Fair enough,” Marx replied as he started eating his ramen again. “I didn’t really have a reason for trying to take over Popstar.”
Magolor gave him a glare. Marx just raised an eyebrow at him before saying, “What? I’m hungry and ramen’s good.”
Magolor sighed. He lightened up as he said, “Welp, see ya, Kirby! Hope you find the answers to your question!”
“Byeeee!” Kirby said as he ran out of the Lor.
Chapter 3: We Need to Talk
Weeks had passed. Kirby kept thinking about the butterfly, and what Hyness had said about it. Something so pretty couldn’t be dangerous… could it? The Dreamstalk was pretty, but that ended up being dangerous. But then it bloomed and went back to being pretty.
Over those weeks, Kirby always sounded preoccupied. Everyone was worried for him, even those he had asked about the butterfly. It wasn’t like Kirby to be like this.
This was worrying King Dedede a lot. And being the king, it was his duty to make sure everyone in his land was okay.
As another morning rose with no action from him, he decided to mull things over during breakfast as he made his way to the dining hall.
As he entered the near-empty hall, he saw Meta Knight jump up on the counter, a perplexed look on his face and a bowl resting next to him. Dedede grabbed his bowl from a cupboard, then made his way to the rightmost end of the long dining table.
“Morning, Meta,” Dedede said as he sat at his spot at the table.
“Good morning, Dedede,” Meta Knight replied, briefly looking away from the cupboards to greet the king. He returned to the cupboards immediately after.
Dedede watched for a bit as Meta Knight opened and closed just about half of the cupboards he could reach. He knew he wasn’t going to ask for help.
“Whatcha lookin’ for?” Dedede asked.
“The soup sachets,” Meta Knight replied, turning to look at Dedede.
Dedede pointed to a lower cupboard and said, “Down there.”
Meta Knight jumped off the counter and opened the cupboard he pointed to. And just as Dedede said, the soup sachets were in that cupboard. Meta Knight grabbed the box and turned to Dedede.
“You want some too? The Waddle Dees won’t be here for a while.”
“Sure,” Dedede replied, leaning back in his chair.
Meta Knight walked over to the table and jumped up on it to get Dedede’s bowl. He frowned at him and said, “Don’t lean back on your chair.”
Dedede pouted as he sat back up normally, and Meta Knight jumped off the table with Dedede’s bowl. He jumped back up on the counter to get his own bowl, jumped back down, grabbed the box of soup sachets and headed off with both into the kitchen. It was a while before the soup was ready.
Meta Knight returned holding both bowls. He held up a bowl for Dedede, who took it from his hands.
“You want me to put your one on the table?” Dedede asked.
“I’ll be fine,” Meta Knight replied. He then jumped up onto the nearest seat left to Dedede, then, on his tiptoes, gently placed his bowl of soup onto the table. Without spilling a single drop.
Dedede picked up his spoon and gently stirred his soup. “So… Kirby’s been actin’ a little strange recently…” He looked over at Meta Knight and asked, “You know why?”
“Yes.” Meta Knight only looked at his soup. He didn’t pick up his spoon or anything.
“...You wanna tell me? Kinda my responsibility to know, since I’m the king and all.”
“A few weeks ago, Kirby asked me about the red and yellow butterfly,” Meta Knight explained, “He said that Hyness mentioned something about it being dangerous. I don’t know any other details.”
Dedede groaned, and put a hand to his face. “Not THAT guy…”
“Unfortunately, yes. It was him.”
“What would he even want from a butterfly?! Jam?” Dedede ranted.
“I wouldn’t know. But it would seem that Hyness knows something we do not. Kirby does have a knack for seeing this very fact.”
Dedede sighed. “You’re right, you’re right. But I can’t help but worry about the lil guy. He doesn’t rest until he’s got answers.” He paused before adding, “Should I just lie to him?”
“No. That would be wrong - and Kirby would be quick to figure that out,” Meta Knight said.
“Then what should we do?” Dedede asked.
“Let him figure things out for himself. We’ve let him do it before, and I doubt it will hurt to let him do it again. And if worst comes to worst, we intervene.”
Dedede was silent for a moment before saying, “...Sounds good.” Only then did he start eating his soup.
The sun had almost set. The sky was cloudless, leaving it a deep purple. There was no breeze, and all the Dream Landers were inside their homes. The first few stars had come out, and twinkled softly. Kirby had managed to find the butterfly and lead it to his favourite spot in all of Dream Land. Now, he stood under his favourite tree, and the butterfly had landed on a nearby flower.
Kirby exhaled. Earlier that evening, before he had found the butterfly, he had managed to sneak into Castle Dedede’s armoury and steal the exact sword that granted him the Sword Copy Ability. He knew stealing was a bad thing to do, but he had to do it. He had to know.
“...Butterfly, I wanna know,” Kirby said, “I wanna know why Hyness was so angry at you. I wanna know what he meant when he said that you were a monster. I wanna know why he thinks that way of you. And and and… I just wanna understand . None of my friends know anything about you, and I wish they did, because then I wouldn’t have to do this…”
The butterfly twitched its antennae as Kirby choked up.
“If I can’t get answers from anyone I know, I’ll have to get them from you… And I only know one way to do it...”
Kirby drew his sword and held it out in front of him.
“I want you to land on my sword.”
The butterfly hesitated for a moment, but rose up from its perch regardless. It fluttered over to Kirby’s sword and gently landed on it.
Chapter 4: Starlight's Duel
Heart shapes surrounded the butterfly as Kirby glowed white. Kirby disappeared in a cloud of glowing orange ash-like particles, and the butterfly fluttered upward. The butterfly glowed orange, and in a brilliant display of glowing butterflies, an armoured puffball appeared in the butterfly’s place. His bright red wings stretched out, and he let himself float to the ground.
He opened his white eyes and exhaled.
There were many more stars out now. They were all quite pretty. Truth be told, he had actually forgotten what the stars looked like. It had been countless years since he could last get a proper look at them.
His sense of euphoria was washed away by unwelcome realisation. Despite wanting to obtain the little puffball’s strength since the starship’s crash, he felt guilty for what he had done. The child sounded so conflicted, too… And despite all that, he sacrificed himself willingly to bring him back? He couldn’t quite make sense of it.
What was he going to do now? The child only wanted to understand, but he wasn’t sure if the poor boy could even see what he could.
But the problem was now, he had no idea what he was supposed to do. Any significant place in his past, apart from his home, would be gone. So… maybe he could go for a little walk?
He wandered down the hill the tree was on. There was a breeze now, albeit not very strong at all, and the sensation of it on his face made him realise just how much he missed being alive. The sky had gone completely dark now, too, and the moon was starting to creep up the starlit sky. As he continued wandering, he noticed some more things he would’ve brushed off otherwise. The lights of scattered houses, the gently wafting smoke that drifted from some of their chimneys, the fireflies that were just now starting to come out and join the stars and moon in illuminating the night. Maybe, he should just enjoy his time on the planet.
He continued walking through the fields, but for the first time he could remember, without haste. It was all so peaceful; he wondered why anything awful would threaten it.
He spotted a figure making his out of a forest in the distance. He appeared long and thin, with short ears atop his head and glowing eyes. Since the figure was so far away, he couldn’t quite make out what colour they were, but it didn’t matter. He already knew who it was.
The figure inched ever closer as he stared him down. He let out a low growl before hissing, “Morpho Knight.”
Morpho Knight took up a battle stance. “Hyness, what are you doing here?”
“The real question is… What are YOU… doing here? I banished you… and your power… eons ago...”
“Well,” Morpho explained, “you didn’t do good enough. I have been living here as a butterfly for those eons, and I’ve been looking for a way to restore my power ever since-”
“Of course,” Hyness spat. “I should have taken more measures… I should have made sure you would be gone… But that is in the past... I can just… destroy you… NOW!”
Hyness threw up his arms and made several orbs of dark energy. The orbs of energy circled around him as they grew larger. Morpho jumped back a step in preparation. Hyness swung his arms down, sending the dark orbs flying to the ground. There shouldn’t have been any way Morpho could dodge them. The explosion radius combined with the number of orbs made it impossible. And yet, when the purple fog from the orbs cleared, he was nowhere in sight.
Enraged, Hyness spun around in search for the knight. A few seconds passed before he saw Morpho again, standing several meters away.
Hyness charged towards him, summoning more dark orbs and flinging them wildly. Morpho heard the sound of the orbs explosions and deflected an orb back before slicing across Hyness’ cloak.
Hyness continued to lob dark orbs at Morpho Knight, and Morpho Knight dodged these, reflected some, and continued to swing at Hyness.
Both were exhausted and running out of stamina when Hyness decided that enough was enough. He created another orb of dark energy, but this time, let it grow far larger than the ones he usually made. He raised it above his head and with a scream, threw it down to Morpho Knight. Morpho’s eyes thinned as he watched it come down. Without thinking, he held his sword out and pressed it against the orb. It was almost crushing, it was so heavy. But Morpho persevered. With all the strength he had, he sliced through the orb and split it in two. The two split orbs flew out and landed on either side of Hyness, and exploded. Hyness was caught between the two explosion, and damaged him enough to make him fall to the ground.
Hyness was breathing heavily as he laid on the ground. He opened his eyes a little.
“You… How could you… defeat… me…? Wait… I know… it is… only… because… I do not… have… my generals… with… me…” Hyness wheezed, “If only… they would… return…! If… if only… theyyyy… would… help their… loooooord…”
Morpho squinted. “Let them do what they want.”
Morpho turned on his heel and walked away. Hyness attempted to create another dark orb, but it only flickered and died. Hyness growled, and attempted to drag himself along the ground. He couldn’t move. But he still tried. And he failed, collapsing back onto the ground as he passed out.
Morpho looked over his shoulder to make sure Hyness wasn’t going to get up again. After a few moments, he was certain he wouldn’t. He let out a sigh of relief.
“What the hell did I just do,” he muttered to himself.
He promptly sat down without much thought and looked up at the night sky again. While he thought to himself, he realised something.
“No doubt Hyness will awake sometime, and I’d hate to be around when he does. And if I am, I’ll be putting everyone else in danger, too. And everyone will want to know where the child is. If they found out… they’ll be furious.”
Morpho sighed. He got up again and outstretched his wings.
“...I can’t stay.”
He took off into the night sky. He didn’t know exactly where he was going, but he’d take anywhere away from Dream Land.
Chapter 5: Gone
The sun shone brilliantly as it rose. It should have been second nature for one certain Waddle Dee to wake up at dawn, but after year or so of working under King Dedede, they still needed to be woken up by the blaring beeps of an alarm clock.
BEEP-BEEP! BEEP-BEEP! BEEP-BEEP!
Bandana Dee groaned as they fumbled for the alarm clock’s snooze button. They managed to find it and flick it, then push the sheets off their bed.
They stumbled out of bed and shuffled over to the coat rack in their room. It served no purpose other than to hold their iconic bandana when they weren’t wearing it. They grabbed their bandana from the coat rack and put it on over their head. That was much better.
Bandana Dee headed to the kitchen to get their spear (it was kept there for convenience) and grab a light snack before they headed outside.
The air was crisp and cool, like all mornings in Dream Land. It was refreshening, too. The sky was painted a light pink near the horizon, and that same pink reflected onto the undersides of the sparse clouds.
Bandana started walking through the damp grass. Destination: Castle Dedede. Their house was actually a fair way away from the castle, and their work started early, which was why they had to get up so early. But it was good exercise!
And since Bandana had to walk such a long way, it was also a good time to do a quick scouting of Dream Land. Bandana liked making sure everything was okay.
The sun had properly risen when they passed Kirby’s house. They were running on schedule, in other words. But as Bandana took a glance at Kirby’s house, they noticed something extremely off. Kirby’s curtains were open. Kirby’s curtains were always closed while he was asleep.
Bandana waddled over to Kirby’s house, a concerned frown on their face. They peered into the window to find that Kirby wasn’t even in! Bandana was starting to panic. If Kirby wasn’t in his house, then that meant… something bad must have happened! Bandana initiated a Spear Copter and flew to Castle Dedede as fast as they could.
Bandana Dee frantically knocked on King Dedede’s door and yelled, “King Dedede! King Dedede, your majesty! Something’s wrong!”
They heard Dedede mumbling something, muffled by the door separating them. They assumed it to be something along the lines of “hold your horses, I’ll be right there,” so Bandana stopped knocking and stared up at the door nervously.
The door clicked open a couple of minutes later to reveal King Dedede, who looked rather tired despite being fully dressed.
“I’m terribly sorry to wake you up so soon, your majesty, but something’s wrong!” Bandana Dee babbled, “I- I think Kirby’s gone missing!”
King Dedede’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “He what?! ”
“Went missing, your majesty! He wasn’t in his house when I passed by!” Bandana Dee explained.
“This is bad. This is bad .” King Dedede ran down the stairs and yelled to Bandana Dee, “Come on!”
The two made their way to the throne room as quickly as they could. Few Waddle Dees were up, since it was so early, but as soon as they saw their king and their captain panicking, they immediately went over and asked questions.
“Please, everyone, one at a time!” Bandana said, trying to calm the small crowd gathered in front of them and the king.
King Dedede sounded the emergency alarm, and the rest of the Waddle Dees gathered, and all of them stood in their formations.
“Everyone, Bandana has reported that Kirby has gone missing. Squadrons A to E, I want you all to search Dream Land for him,” Dedede announced. “Squadron A, you check to the north. B and C, you check east and west respectively. D, you check to the south, and E, check in and around the castle.”
The Waddle Dees saluted before running off in different directions.
King Dedede pointed to the remaining Waddle Dees. “Squadron F, you tell all the citizens that Kirby’s gone missing, and if they find him, to report to me immediately.”
The Squadron F Waddle Dees saluted before scattering.
“What about Meta Knight, your majesty?” Bandana Dee asked their king, looking up at him.
“That’s a good point you raise there. Come on, let’s go find him.”
King Dedede and Bandana Dee ran onto the runway, with Bandana Dee shouting, “Meta Knight! Where’s Meta Knight?!”
Meta Knight was working on the top of the Halberd. He saw the two, and jumped down, landing in front of the two panicking Dream Landers.
“You seem frazzled. What is it?” Meta Knight asked.
“It’s Kirby! He’s gone missing, I think!” Bandana Dee exclaimed.
Meta Knight’s eyes thinned.
“H-He wasn’t in bed when I was walking to the castle, and maybe he’s okay, but usually he’s still asleep by now! Something could’ve happened!” Bandana Dee explained.
Meta Knight’s cape morphed into his bat wings.
“I’ll go look for him. Where will you be?”
“The throne room,” Dedede replied.
Meta Knight nodded, then turned to his crew, who were by the Halberd. “Axe! Mace! Vul! Sailor Dee! Hold down the fort while I’m gone!”
They responded with a salute and, “Sir, yes sir!”
With that response, Meta Knight took off. King Dedede and Bandana Dee watched him fly away briefly before hurrying back to the throne room.
Meta Knight searched all over Dream Land, and even beyond that. Some Waddle Dees were kind enough to go with him and search on land. But Kirby was nowhere to be found. He asked the Waddle Dee squadrons if they had found him, but they all shook their heads and apologized - they hadn’t found him.
The sun had almost set when Meta Knight finally returned to Castle Dedede. King Dedede and Bandana Dee both looked grim, but his return cheered them up at least briefly. They asked if he found Kirby. He hadn’t.
Meta Knight went over to the runway to tell his crew he had returned, then immediately went to his room. He locked the door before sitting himself down on his bed.
He wished he could have found him. He wished that anyone could have found him. He just wanted to know if Kirby was okay. He might have been scared. He could have been hurt. Anything could’ve happened to Kirby and he wouldn’t know because he was nowhere to be found. He said that he’d intervene if worst came to worst, but what if he waited too long? Should he have done something sooner?
Meta Knight’s sight had blurred from the tears welling up in his eyes. He gingerly took off his mask, and wiped his tears with a hand.
“I’m sorry, Kirby…”
Chapter 6: Start of an Endless Night
Two months had passed since Kirby’s absence from Dream Land was announced. Everyone went wild, most with panic, some with anger. Meta Knight scarcely went out anymore, even at night. King Dedede and Bandana Dee were still sending out squadrons to look for Kirby, some even going to other planets. Magolor also joined the search for Kirby, traveling to different areas of space and time in the Lor Starcutter. Naturally, word got around.
It was passed through Nutty Noon by a resident Waddle Doo who had been visiting Dream Land. Everyone was in shock and awe, and spread the news around like wildfire.
A young Bronto Burt had heard the news and zipped over to a secluded area of Nutty Noon to tell the weird butterfly-winged guy that had arrived about two months ago. They found him, alright - but then again, it was pretty hard to miss him. He said his name was Morpho Knight, and he was running away from… well, he never actually specified. He just said they were after him.
“Hey, Mister!” the Bronto Burt called out.
Morpho Knight looked over at the Bronto Burt.
“Did you hear the news? Kirby’s gone missing!”
Morpho Knight barely reacted. He just said as he looked away, “I did hear.”
The Bronto Burt stared at Morpho Knight for a second before asking, “Aren’t you excited?”
“Not particularly. I don’t even know who this “Kirby” character is,” Morpho Knight said, still looking away.
The Bronto Burt said nothing and buzzed away.
Morpho Knight sighed. All he had done since he had arrived in Nutty Noon was lie. And it was wearing him down.
He continued gazed out at the sky, like he had been for the last three hours or so. If he remembered correctly, Kirby used to love looking at the sky. During day or during night, he would always find endless joy from doing it. And if truth be told, Morpho missed doing just the same thing. He just… didn’t want it at the child’s expense.
A comet twinkled as it shot by, barely visible in the daylight. Then the sun rapidly sunk. The entire sunset occurred in the span of a second. Morpho Knight stood up and looked around. It couldn’t possibly be night already…?
The full moon raced to the top of the sky just as quickly as the sun set. The stars appeared shortly after.
Morpho knew something was up when the moon rose up. And if he was going to find out what was going on, Dream Land would be the place to check. He outstretched his wings and took off, zooming through Nutty Noon and startling all its residents.
It wasn’t an awfully long flight to arrive in Dream Land. Thankfully, not many people were out now. He didn’t want to get spotted and have people think he was the reason why the sun was replaced by the moon. A brief walk brought Castle Dedede into view, the mountain it sat on a black spire in the distance. Above the castle was a giant eyeball, floating in midair. Said eyeball had a lavender iris and a slitted pupil much like a cat’s. It also had a dark purple aura surrounding it. It looked down on Dream Land from the castle, emotionless and intimidating.
Looked like trouble to Morpho Knight.
“Kirby, I know that this eye is a sign of danger. Of evil. And I know that you would go out and set your life on the line to rid Dream Land of this evil. But you are not here right now. You let yourself be a vessel for my revival. So, in your stead, I will go. I will save Dream Land and the rest of Popstar in your name!”
With his sword drawn, Morpho Knight ran to Castle Dedede. He would be the hero of Dream Land for this night, however long it may be.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Oh my goodness!”
A Soldier Dee had burst into the throne room, yelling and panicking their fancy soldier hat off.
King Dedede was sitting on his throne, Bandana Dee standing to the right of him and Galacta Knight to the left. Once the Soldier Dee had run in, however, Dedede sat up, and the two on either side turned to look at the panicking soldier.
“Your Majesty! It’s awful!” the Soldier Dee cried. “A masked stranger is making their way here!”
“Describe ‘em,” Dedede said.
“Uh…” The Soldier Dee thought for a moment before replying, “It’s too dark out to see properly, but I think they’re like Meta Knight, as in, the same species, and uh… they have butterfly wings? I can’t tell. And maybe horns. Oh! And nasty white eyes.”
Dedede sat back in his throne and hummed in thought. Bandana and Galacta looked up at the king.
“Sounds like a problem. If we don’t know why they’re coming, then we can’t take any chances on how we treat ‘em,” Dedede mused. “Soldier, get back to your post. You’re part of our first line of defense.”
The Soldier Dee saluted and said, “Yes, your majesty!”
As the Soldier Dee ran out of the throne room, Dedede said, “Bandana, you go tell the Waddle Dees to get to their posts and guard the castle. If you end up doing that quick, go stand guard a few rooms down the right corridor, before the stairs up to the balcony.”
“Yes, your majesty!” Bandana Dee said with a salute, then ran down the left hall.
“And what about me…?” Galacta Knight asked, pointing to himself.
“You go station yourself five rooms before the stairs. If our masked stranger wants to get up there, you’ll have to stop ‘em.”
“Of course, King Dedede,” Galacta said, before gliding away down the right hall.
“And I’ll guard the room just before the stairs. Gotta be safe,” Dedede muttered to himself. He ran down to his room, grabbed his trusty hammer, and sped back through the throne room, down the right hall.
Galacta Knight watched as the king entered the room he assigned him.
“I’d hate to be rude, King Dedede, but I must ask, what are you doing down here?” Galacta Knight asked.
“I’m just passing through. Gonna go guard the room just before the stairs,” Dedede replied.
“You shouldn’t worry, King Dedede. I’m sure I’ll be able to stop them,” Galacta Knight told the king.
“Well, I’m not taking any chances,” Dedede said as he walked by Galacta, “If you fail - not saying you will - then someone’s gotta stop the dude from…” He trailed off as he made a hand gesture. Galacta nodded.
“Here’s hoping that when I next see you, you won’t have bad news,” Dedede said before passing through the door.
Chapter 7: Storming the Castle
Immediately it was clear King Dedede had sent his guards to assault Morpho Knight. He had already had to beat some outside the doors. But the inside looked absolutely atrocious. The entrance had been swamped with Waddle Dees.
He could hear murmurs of “Is that them?” and “I’m not sure if I wanna fight this one…” among the Waddle Dees.
But there was one particularly brave Waddle Dee at the front end of the gathering, who turned to their fellow Waddle Dees and yelled, “Come on, guys! Are we really gonna let King Dedede and Captain Bandana Dee down just because this intruder looks really scary?”
“Um… yes?” another Waddle Dee, this one further back in the crowd asked.
“NO!” the brave Waddle Dee yelled, “We’re gonna stand up for ourselves and fight like we always would! No holding back!”
They turned to face Morpho Knight and shouted, “CHAAAAAAARGE!”
And that’s exactly what those Waddle Dees did.
They didn’t prove much of a threat, but were a slight annoyance due to their numbers. Morpho Knight managed to swat them all out of the way.
Running down the entrance hall, there were a few more Waddle Dees that Morpho had to get out of his way. Not as many as the ones at the start of the hall though, which was a relief.
The hall led him directly to the throne room. What surprised Morpho was that King Dedede was nowhere to be found. A large stag beetle, however, was. If Morpho’s memory served right, his name was Bugzzy.
“You!” he yelled, “You’re the guy Bandana told me about!”
“Trust me, I’m-”
“It was Bandana’s orders to crush you! For the safety of the king and everyone else in Dream Land!”
Bugzzy let out a war cry before charging toward Morpho and picking him up with his two mandibles. He swung him around for a few seconds before slamming him on the ground head first. Morpho got to his feet, ignoring the pain in his head. He swung at Bugzzy three times before thrusting his sword into him. That dealt a fair amount of damage, but the fight wasn’t over yet. Bugzzy attempted to grab Morpho again, but Morpho dodged out of the way. Bugzzy tried again, and while he didn’t get Morpho himself, he did get Morpho’s sword.
“Heh heh heh! Not much of a fighter without this , are ya?” Bugzzy snickered.
Morpho narrowed his eyes and punched Bugzzy square between the eyes. While Bugzzy was recovering from the hit, Morpho punched him again, right under his chin. The second blow knocked his sword from Bugzzy’s grip, and it landed a fair distance away. Morpho jumped over to it and grabbed it.
Bugzzy growled at Morpho Knight, then charged at him head-on. Morpho managed to teleport out of the way, then slashed across his back. Bugzzy crashed into the wall at the same time Morpho slashed, take a large amount of damage. He flopped onto the floor, back first.
“Okay… you got me…” Bugzzy said, “That… was a pretty good fight. So…”
Bugzzy fumbled around before pulling a strange-looking orb out of his shoe. He handed it to Morpho Knight, who reluctantly took it. Said orb was pastel blue in colour, with lighter blue mist swirling around inside it. In the middle of the orb was a symbol of a crescent moon with a four-pointed star in the empty area of the moon.
“I dunno what it is, but I found it while I was making my way to the castle. It looks important, so you might wanna hang onto it,” Bugzzy explained.
Morpho Knight simply nodded, putting the orb away, then made his way down the right hall.
The right hallway also had numerous Waddle Dees on guard, as well as some Waddle Doos and Sparkies, and the occasional Scarfy. They weren’t much of a problem for Morpho Knight. Then he found himself in a series of rooms. The first three just had more enemies in them. The fourth room had stars with symbols on them sitting on pedestals high above the ground. He somewhat recognised them, and that they were for Kirby. There was also a bottle of energy drink, which Morpho gladly drank.
As Morpho entered the fifth room, he was surprised to see two people at the other end of the room waiting for him. One was a Waddle Dee that had a more red hue than most other Waddle Dees, a blue bandana on their head and a spear. The other was a bright pink puffball wearing a mask, who wielded a lance in his left hand and held a shield in his right. He recognised both, but the puffball stood out the most.
“We’ve been expecting you,” the puffball said.
“Yeah! Why else would all those Waddle Dees be out and fighting?” the Waddle Dee added, “I ordered them to do that!”
“We don’t know why you’re here, but if you think that you’re going to continue on…” The puffball held out his lance and pointed it at Morpho. “You’d best change your mind!”
“Are you ready?” The Waddle Dee held out their spear and said, “It’s time for you to face the Royal Right-Hand Dee Bandana Dee…”
“...and Temporal Warrior Galacta Knight!”
Bandana Dee held up their spear and yelled at the top of their lungs, “For the king!”
Galacta Knight was the first to move. He glided over to Morpho Knight and slashed with his lance. Bandana Dee followed suit, and jabbed at Morpho with their spear. Morpho had managed to jump out of the way of both of these attacks. Galacta Knight flew the the left wall and glided down with his lance out as Bandana Dee threw some spears at Morpho Knight. Morpho dodged the first of Galacta’s swoops, but didn’t anticipate the second, and got knocked onto his side. One of Bandana’s spears landed on him as he fell on his side. Morpho got back up again, and fluttered upwards. He released two fiery waves of energy from it before returning to the ground. Bandana Dee thrust their spear into the air while Morpho floated down. Galacta went in for more hits once Bandana had thrusted, but Morpho had teleported away. He released another two waves before jabbing at Bandana Dee. Morpho jumped away as Galacta attempted to slash at him. Morpho spun around and slashed Galacta. Galacta retaliated with a swing of his own, initiating a duel between the two knights. What neither of them noticed was Bandana Dee hovering above them, using their spear as a means of flight. They flew across the room and landed behind Morpho, then jabbed him in the back. Morpho instinctively swung around and sliced downward on Bandana Dee, then teleported away.
Both Bandana Dee and Galacta Knight were getting tired now. Galacta looked over at Bandana, who asked, “Now?”
The two went over to each other, meeting in the middle of the room. Galacta picked up Bandana and held them over this head. Bandana held up their spear and initiated a Spear Copter, which lifted the two off the ground. Galacta briefly let go of one of Bandana’s feet to draw his lance, then drew his wings in front of him and held his lance tightly between them.
“Behold!” Galacta announced, “A brilliant combination of our strengths! Together, we have made this unbeatable attack, and we have called it…”
“Combo Drill!” Bandana Dee finished.
“Let’s see you beat THIS!”
Bandana flew the two over to Morpho’s current spot, and stopped spinning their spear briefly to let Galacta’s lance hit the ground. Morpho was smart enough to run out of the way. Bandana Dee started up the Spear Copter again and flew over to where Morpho was again. The Spear Copter stopped again to let Galacta’s spear hit the ground again. Morpho was starting to wonder where the challenge was. Bandana started up the Spear Copter once more and flew to Morpho’s position, Morpho ran out of the way again, and this time, Bandana spun their spear even more. They were almost touching the ceiling when Bandana Dee stopped the Copter. Galacta’s lance had an aura of energy surrounding it when it dropped this time, and when it hit the ground, it punched a small hole in the ground and sent out a shockwave to the left and right. This took Morpho by surprise, but he managed to jump over a shockwave regardless. Galacta Knight struggled to pull out his lance while Bandana Dee started up another Spear Copter, and Morpho Knight took this as an opportunity to attack. He dashed over and slashed and jabbed at them while he could. A few seconds later, Galacta had managed to free his lance, letting him and Bandana Dee rise up. They performed more of the regular drill, but this time at a slightly faster pace, then performed a shockwave one again. Morpho attacked again while Galacta struggled to free his lance from the ground. Once Galacta had freed his lance, he made a gesture to the ground with his lance. Bandana Dee understood this, and slowly returned them to the ground. Galacta placed his lance on the ground, letting his wings stretch out, then threw Bandana across the room. They ricocheted off the walls, and it was difficult to dodge them. In fact, Morpho had been hit a few times by the bouncing Waddle Dee. Once Bandana Dee had stopped bouncing, they sat and rested for a bit. Morpho had took these brief moments where Bandana rested to land a couple of jabs. Bandana soon enough got back up on their feet and ran over to Galacta Knight’s side. Galacta picked up his lance again, and held it to the left. Bandana Dee held their spear to the right so the two opponents’ weapons made the shape of an X. They both charged up some sort of energy in their weapons, and when their weapons were glowing white, they held them up and swung them down to the ground in perfect sync. This created two parallel shock waves, which headed straight towards Morpho. Morpho jumped over them and ran straight for Galacta and Bandana. He swung horizontally, damaging both and defeating them.
Panting heavily, Galacta said, “...Impressive.”
Bandana was too exhausted to say anything, so they just nodded in agreement.
“You may be strong, but the king will stop you.” Galacta said. “We cannot let you up to the rooftop, and if Bandana and I have failed to do so, the king must…!”
Galacta exhaled and slouched a bit, closing his eyes. Then his eyes shot open again.
“Wait,” he said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Morpho nodded. “I don’t exactly remember myself, as it was several thousand years ago, but we fought off a great evil plaguing this galaxy. Specifically around two warring planets, but I can’t remember the names of them.”
“Oh!” Galacta said with a snap of his fingers. “I remember now! You’re Morpho, correct?”
Morpho nodded happily.
“Hah! I thought you look familiar!”
The two knights looked over to Bandana Dee, who had just spoken up.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but uh, does mean you won’t be going up to the roof now? Since you’ve just reunited with an old friend?” Bandana asked.
Morpho simply replied, “...No. I have a job I must do.”
And with that, Morpho left the room and entered the next.
“...It was worth a shot,” Bandana mumbled.
The next few rooms were completely empty. A deafening silence filled both, making Morpho extremely uncomfortable. He passed into one in particular to see the king of Dream Land leaning on his hammer and tapping his foot.
“Well well well, look who it is,” he said, “The butterfly fluttered in, huh? And it had the nerve to defeat all my guards and the two fighters I had stationed a few rooms ahead?”
“Your Majesty, I-”
King Dedede held up a hand and said, “Ah ah ah! I don’t wanna hear it!” He stood up and picked up his hammer, holding it in both hands. “If you’re looking to go up to the roof, I won’t let ya! It’s my duty as the king of Dream Land to stop anyone from going up there and getting themselves hurt!”
King Dedede took a running start and dove forward, crushing Morhpo Knight. King Dedede got up a second later, and Morpho got up after. He swung multiple times at Dedede, finishing with a thrust. The thrust was dodged by Dedede, as he jumped away. He jumped around the room, making Morpho constantly run about. Once he had finished jumping around, Morpho rose into the air himself and fired two waves of energy at him. King Dedede had his hammer held above his head when the waves hit, but it didn’t deter his focus. Morpho landed behind the king and sliced at him more. The final hit of those slices started to noticeably tire King Dedede. This wasn’t going to stop him, though. He held up his hammerand aimed the face of it at Morpho Knight, then released a small missile. It blew up at Morpho’s feet, which dealt a little bit of damage to him. Startles by this, he teleported away. Dedede set up and aimed another missile, which shot Morpho directly. Things weren’t looking good for Morpho. He teleported again, and this time made soundwaves by flapping his wings very fast before teleporting again and doing the same in a different location in the room. This dealt some more damage to Dedede, but after the third set of soundwaves, he decided to stay put to avoid further harm. There were another two sets of soundwaves before Morpho returned to the ground. When he did, Dedede spun around and threw his hammer at him. Morpho simply ducked, then took a running start at Dedede and slashed while his hammer returned to him. Dedede swung his hammer at Morpho, smacking him down onto the ground. Morpho bounced back up and fluttered into the air. He fired two waves of energy at the king, dealing the final blow to him.
Dedede fell onto his stomach as Morpho slowly returned to the ground.
“Okay… so mayyyybeee you’re tough enough to face off against… that guy up there,” Dedede said, his voice barely above a wheeze. “But… why are you even here? ”
“Usually Kirby would deal with this sort of thing, correct? Since he is not here, I am going in his place,” Morpho explained.
“...Oh.” Dedede closed his eyes as he said, “ ...Wow. That… was really stupid of us. Shoulda figured. Well uh… you go on ahead. There’s a Maxim Tomato just to the right of the stairs up.” He raised a hand and pointed at the door lazily. “Good luck, guy.”
“It’s… Morpho Knight.”
Morpho Knight stood and stared at the king.
“Are you… going to do anything?”
“Nah. Not right now, anyway.”
Morpho awkwardly looked to the side. “O… kay.”
He briskly walked out of the room to find himself in a small room. The room was lit up by a single torch. The stairs King Dedede mentioned were to the left, and the right wall was pretty near to them. Morpho made his way over to the stairs, and sitting to the right of them a few steps up in a small hole in the wall was a Maxim Tomato, just as Dedede said. Morpho took it and ate it immediately. He then continued making his way up the stairs.
Chapter 8: Showdown on the Rooftop
There was a breeze that billowed the flags set on the castle’s top. The only source of light up there was, of course, the full moon, and the stars.
At the other end of the castle’s roof was where Morpho saw his next opponent - Hyness. Hyness had his eyes closed and his arms raised high above his head. Floating above his head was the giant eyeball that Morpho had seen earlier.
“Hyness,” Morpho said, drawing his sword, “I thought I would have seen the last of you. Why are you here, and what are you doing this time around?”
Hyness opened his eyes. But they looked… off. Instead of the rings they usually bore, there was a proper iris, surrounded by a singular ring. Both of these were a light purple, and his sclera was white instead. Unusually, his eyes were focused. Normally his right eye would be positioned to, well, the right. And to top it all off, his pupils were now slitted like a cat’s. It unnerved Morpho a little.
“Huh? Who’s ‘Hyness’?” Hyness asked.
“...You are. You’re Hyness,” Morpho told him.
“Am I? I mean- Yeah, I am!”
Hyness cleared his throat before asking, “The real question is, why are you here?”
“I am here to rid Dream Land of this eternal night that has been brought upon it, starting with that.” Morpho pointed at the giant eyeball floating above Hyness’ head.
“Well guess what, bub! I’m not gonna get rid of it! It’s uber important for my mission! Now let’s see you face the wrath of…” Hyness trailed off in thought, turning away from Morpho Knight.
“What sounds cool…” he murmured to himself. “AHA!”
He faced Morpho again and announced, “Officiant of Doom, Hyness!”
Hyness started off by flinging two orbs of dark energy about. Morpho easily dodged these. He then swung at Hyness. Hyness retaliated by making a dark orb and simply slamming it on Morpho’s head. This made Morpho rather dizzy, and it took a while for Morpho to collect himself. This gave Hyness more time to shoot dark orbs at him. Morpho hopped up into the sky and shot two waves of energy at Hyness. Hyness drifted to the center of the rooftop and raised his arms, summoning a glowing purple symbol identical to the one on the orb Bugzzy gave Morpho. Several arrow-like objects came out of it and were shot to the ground. Morpho was still up in the air, so he wondered what Hyness was even trying to achieve with that attack. Morpho then returned to the ground and charged up the energies in his sword. He held it up to release two fiery faces, which immediately attacked Hyness. Hyness made some sort of noise similar to a squawk, and tried to bat them away with his sleeves. This bought Morpho some more time, so he teleported to the opposite side of the faces, went airborne and slashed at Hyness in quick succession before returning to the ground again. The faces had dissipated once Morpho had finished his attack, and returned Hyness’ attention to Morpho. Hyness dropped his arms, and flung them into the air twice, creating four bubbling puddles of lava. These soon erupted into pillars of lava once Hyness held both his arms out. Morpho barely managed to hop out of the way of one of these, as he was standing right on the edge of one. Hyness then made a ball of lightning in between his sleeved hands, and it shot down a thick bolt. Said bolt made two balls of lightning which traveled horizontally from the bolt. Morpho jumped over one that headed towards him. He then summoned four symbols like the one on the orb, this time icy blue, which made a small swirling ice storm. Unfortunately, Morpho got caught in one of these. Hyness drifted to the side, and Morpho teleported to the opposite side. He jumped into the air, and with his sword out, glided down to the ground. Hyness just watched him miss before throwing out another two dark orbs. Morpho jumped up again, and slashed at Hyness. Morpho got hit by both of these, and teleported away again. Hyness threw out two more dark orbs, which both missed. Morpho went airborne and released two waves of energy from his sword. These hit Hyness, who was traveling to Morpho’s end of the rooftop. Morpho teleported to the other end and returned to the ground. He charged up the energy in his sword and released two more faces to attack Hyness. They did pretty well, too, as they distracted Hyness again. Morpho glided across the ground to Hyness and fired some jabs at him. Once the faces were gone, Hyness made one big dark orb and flung it towards Morpho Knight. Morpho flew away, and ended up going in the same direction as Hyness. Morpho slashed at him more, and Hyness retaliated by flinging two dark orbs. Morpho teleported away from them, then fired two waves of energy from his sword. Hyness was starting to tire now. He made and released another large dark orb, then followed Morpho over to his end of the rooftop. He made another two dark orbs before drifting to the center. Morpho dodged both, then flew into the air and held his sword out as he glided down to Hyness. It was a very risky move, as Hyness had summoned more arrows from that moon-shaped symbol, but it worked. Mostly. He got hit by two of the inner arrows. Morpho jumped up again and slashed Hyness once, which was enough to defeat him.
Hyness fell to the left of the rooftop with a scream. Morpho was about to rest when a bright light caught his eye. He turned to look at the source, which was… Hyness. Hyness’ body was glowing white at the center, and a small, cat-like creature popped out of him. Once the creature was out, the glow faded. The cat-like creature was round with white fur, and roughly about the size of Kirby. Speaking of, its face looked remarkably similar to the pink puffball’s, except its eyes were solid black and the blush marks on its face were light blue. They had two ears on top of their head, which had light purple insides. The same light purple was on its shoes, which were also much like Kirby’s. It had a fairly sized tail and two floating hands, which were covered by light blue gloves.
“You stupid masked Dream Lander!” the cat-like creature yelled at Morpho, “That was a really strong Dream Lander too! He had dark magic and EVERYTHING!”
Morpho had no words. Even though he wanted to, he just… didn’t.
“Well I guess I gotta beat you up myself! I was only using that Dream Lander as a scout kinda thing!” The cat-like creature got into a battle stance, its tail lashing. “Get ready, dummy! You’re gonna face the wrath of the Moon Lady’s most bestest aid, Nix! That’s me!”
Morpho was absolutely baffled. How was a little thing like him going to put up a fight with a feared-
Nix had transformed into a much larger form, which towered over Morpho. Nix’s ears were much larger, and were folded back. His eyes were noticeably different - they now had white sclera, with irises the same colour as his gloves and blush marks. Nix now had a discernible body, which was shaped much like an oval, but wider at the bottom. On his new body was the same symbol on Morpho’s orb, the same colour as his eyes. His hands no longer bore gloves, and had three grey-blue claws on them. A similar situation had occurred with his feet, in which they no longer had shoes on them, and had three claws coming out of them. His tail was also much, MUCH longer, and had a pointed tip.
Nix started the battle by getting on all fours and jumping to the other end of the rooftop. Morpho got utterly squashed by Nix. Nix continued by clenching a paw, raising it and slamming it three times on the roof. He then got on all fours again and jumped to the other end. Morpho got up and leapt into the air and released two waves of energy from his sword. He then held his sword out in front of him and glided down to Nix. Thankfully, Nix wasn’t very fast, and easily got hit by both of these attacks. Morpho teleported away just before Nix reached up and clapped in an attempt to trap Morpho between his giant paws. Morpho then sent three waves of energy flying across the round, all of which hit Nix. Nix got on all fours again and leapt up into the air. He curled into a ball and plummeted down to the ground. The impact of the fall sent out shockwaves in all directions. Morpho was unfortunate enough to get hit by one of these. Nix uncurled himself and walked over to Morpho’s end of the rooftop. Morpho teleported away to the opposite end of the rooftop. He charged up the energy in his sword and released two faces, which attacked Nix. Nix panicked and attempted to swat the faces away. Morpho flew over to Nix, held his sword down and jabbed it into Nix. He then jumped over to Nix’s tail and jabbed his sword into that, then performed a spin slash before gliding back to to the other end of the rooftop. Nix had finished panicking over the faces, he turned to face Morpho and let out a loud meow. The symbol on his body glowed, and let out a thin, white beam of energy. Morpho ducked and let the beam go over his head. Morpho let out three more waves of energy from his sword. They all hit Nix, and now, he was starting to tire.
Nix let out a war meow, and flung his hands into the air. A fairly sized ball of white energy gathered in between his hands, and once it was done charging, Nix ate it. This made the symbol on his belly glow very brightly, blinding Morpho. Out of the symbol came a larger ball of energy, with little four-pointed stars surrounding it. Nix clasped his hands together and hit it up into the air. Morpho’s eyes were only starting to adjust when he saw the ball falling towards him. Without much thought, he used a flat side of his sword to lob it back up into the air. Nix returned the ball the same way he launched it, and this time, the ball flew a little bit faster. Morpho was prepared this time, and hit the ball back up into the air more smoothly. Nix once again smacked the ball back into the air, and increased its falling speed. Morpho hit it back up into the air again. The two lobbed the ball between them for some time, and each time Nix hit it, the ball got a little faster. It got a bit harder for Morpho to hit the ball each time, too, he noticed, but persevered. On one particular hit of Morpho’s, the stars surrounding the ball were knocked off, and flew toward Nix. They stabbed Nix, and dissipated afterward. This left Nix unprepared for the ball, and it once it made contact with him, it exploded, dealing a huge amount to him. Morpho glided over to him and jabbed at him multiple times, and finished with a thrust. Morpho had miscalculated the amount of damage to finish off Nix, and the giant cat was still standing with a sliver of stamina left. With this, Nix clenched his paw, raised it, and slammed it three times on the ground, hitting Morpho all three times. This squashed Morpho, and it took him a bit to get up again. By the time he did, Nix had already jumped over to the other end of the rooftop. Morpho teleported closer to Nix, jumped up into the air and released two waves of energy from his sword. The final blow had been dealt to Nix.
Nix fell onto his front and shrunk back down into his smaller form. He rested briefly as Morpho celebrated. The sound of hurried footsteps could faintly be heard, and King Dedede ran onto the rooftop with Bandana Dee and Galacta Knight.
“Is everything okay up here?!” King Dedede asked loudly, “I heard a bunch of thumping and banging!”
“And it scared me!” Bandana added.
King Dedede patted Bandana’s head.
Nix lifted his face off the ground and let out a, “Huh?”
Dedede, Bandana Dee and Galacta Knight started at Nix with varying expressions.
“ That was making all that noise?” Galacta asked.
“You’d be surprised,” Morpho said.
“HEY! Just because I’m small doesn’t mean I can’t-”
Nix interrupted himself when he saw Morpho’s orb.
“What- Where’d you get that Night Orb?!” he yelled.
“The what?” Morpho asked.
“THE NIGHT ORB, DUMMY!”
Morpho pulled out the orb Bugzzy gave him and asked, “This?”
“YES!” Nix got to his feet and yelled, “Where’d you get it? HOW did you get it?”
“Well, I’m not sure where it came from, but a fellow named Bugzzy gave it to me,” Morpho explained.
“ I know where it came from, because I live where it came from!” Nix yelled, “That Night Orb is integral to our home planet! Without it, we can’t see the Moon Lady! And that’s only one of ‘em! There’s still, like, six more! That one there? THAT’S THE WAXING GIBBOUS NIGHT ORB AND THAT ONE’S MY FAVOURITE HOW DARE YOU!”
Nix looked like he was about to jump at Morpho, but stopped himself and exhaled.
“The others wouldn’t be happy if I went off again,” he muttered to himself, glancing at the ground. He looked back up and said, “Well, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got my favourite Night Orb or not! You’re not gonna get to Selenada because the others will stop you! They’re really really strong! Like, way stronger than me! And they don’t need to possess ugly old Dream Landers!”
He turned around and clicked his fingers, making a pathway of stardust appear.
“Smell ya later!” Nix yelled before running off on the stardust pathway.
All was silent for a few moments before Bandana spoke up and said, “...Well, that was… something. Why was he so mad about you having that orb, Morpho?”
Morpho simply shrugged.
“And, uh…” King Dedede pointed to Hyness’ body. “What are we gonna do about old smelly over there?”
“You decide,” Galacta Knight replied, “You are the king.”
Dedede thought for a few moments before walking over to Hyness and pushing him over the edge of the roof.
Everyone else scurried over and looked down at the ground.
“Um… Your Majesty…” Bandana Dee looked up at King Dedede and said, “You realise that you just pushed him off your castle, which is on top of a mountain , right?”
Bandana Dee looked back down at the ground and said, “I don’t think he’s gonna survive that fall, Your Majesty.”
“I beg to differ,” Morpho Knight said, catching everyone’s attention. “I thought he would have died many years ago, but he’s still alive today. I doubt that falling down a mountain will harm him much.”
“If you say so…” Bandana Dee mumbled.
“So what are you gonna do now, Morpho? The moon hasn’t sunk yet,” Dedede said.
“For now, I will stay here until I get any news that may connect to this problem. Where I go after that is a mystery.”
“Sounds good,” Dedede said.
“But he doesn’t have anywhere to stay, Your Majesty!” Bandana Dee told their king.
“He could stay here!” Galacta Knight suggested excitedly.
Bandana Dee and King Dedede looked at Galacta with wide eyes for a moment, before Dedede said, “Sure!”
Galacta Knight punched the air.
“Come on, Morpho! I’ll show you to your room!” King Dedede said, making his way to the stairs.
Everyone else on the roof followed.
Chapter 9: Channel PPP, Reporting Live!
Normally, walking through Fruity Forest would be peaceful and relaxing. But with the moon fixed in the sky, it was far from either of those things.
The only plus to this situation, Francisca could find, was that the weird eye above Castle Dedede had disappeared. She wasn’t sure how, but she was relieved to know it wasn’t there.
Fruity Forest had a life of its own during night. Every little rustle made her look around, and every time the wind blew, it howled like a wolf. Thankfully, this didn’t put off her sisters too much. All three of them were looking for Kirby, and it was very important.
“Kiiiiiiirbyyyyyyyyy! Heeeere, kirb kirb kirb kirb!” Flamberge yelled into the forest.
Zan Partizanne looked over her shoulder at Flamberge, an eyebrow raised.
“I don’t think that’s going to be too effective, Berge,” she said.
“Well it might,” Flamberge replied, shrugging a little.
Zan looked forward again, a sigh escaping her as she muttered under her breath, “Okay.”
Now even though several squadrons of the king’s Waddle Dees, Meta Knight, and at this point the entirety of Dream Land had looked for the missing pink puffball with no success, the mages had taken it upon themselves to find Kirby no matter the cost. They decided to search the forest first, as it was rather large with plenty of hiding places. And Flamberge was rather stubborn about the Waddle Dees being terrible at finding things. The three of them had reasoned that if maybe Kirby heard a familiar voice, he’d return.
“Kirby! Are you there? It’s just the mages, don’t worry!” Zan called out.
“If you’re here, give us a sign!” Francisca added.
Through a gap in the trees, Francisca spotted two white specks in the sky hurtle towards the ground. They easily could’ve been mistaken for stars if they weren’t falling so fast.
“Did you see that?” she asked with wide eyes, shaking Flamberge’s side. Zan had turned to face her two sisters with curiosity.
“See what?” Flamberge asked.
“Two little specks flying to the ground! That could be Kirby!” Francisca exclaimed, pointing at the gap in the trees. “If we hurry, we might be able to find him!”
“What direction?” Zan asked.
Francisca pointed straight ahead.
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Flamberge said, then raced ahead, leaving Zan and Francisca to catch up.
As Francisca and her sisters got closer to where the specks had flown, they found that the forest had decided to annoy them. Occasionally, they’d encounter branches that just so happened to be in level with their heads, or leaves that would blow in their faces and blind them. But regardless, they made it to where they were headed.
They walked into a large clearing, which bathed in moonlight. At the opposite end of the clearing was Whispy Woods, who was fast asleep. The specks were nowhere to be found.
“Hey Whispy!” Flamberge called out, waving. “Whiiiispyyyy-”
She was shushed by Zan Partizanne, who put a finger over her ambiguous mouth area with a sharp SHHH .
“He’s asleep ,” she hissed.
“I was trying to wake him up?”
“Um… Berge, Zan…” Francisca pointed at Whispy Woods, her wide eyes fixated on the guardian of the forest.
Whispy had a thick cloud of dark mist surround him for a moment, before it was absorbed into his body, turning his bark into a charcoal black. He slowly opened his eyes and mouth to reveal they were no longer the dark holes they once were. Instead, they were white.
“That… doesn’t look good,” Flamberge said.
Whispy made a low rumbling sound, that somewhat sounded like trees crashing. The mages could feel noise all through their bodies.
Whispy straightened himself, and with a rustle of his leaves, he shoot two roots from the ground at them.
Both Morpho and Galacta Knight had gathered in the castle’s living room, which was mostly used by Waddle Dees not on duty. Right now, they were watching the Channel PPP news with some of said Waddle Dees. They had invited Bandana Dee too, but they had to attend to captain duties and couldn’t come.
“Apparently, the three mages that recently started living in Dream Land have gone missing! Reports say that they went into Fruity Forest several hours ago to look for Kirby, and have not returned,” Reporter Dee said. “Here with us now is Taranza, the ambassador of Floralia and the mages’ last contact.”
The camera zoomed out to show the Floralian Arachnid, who stood stiffly. He raised one of his six hands and waved at the camera awkwardly.
“So, Taranza,” Reporter Dee said, “why do you think the mages told you where they were headed and not someone else?”
“Because Magolor is out in space… and Marx went with him… and I was around…” Taranza said.
“Interesting. Anything else on the matter?”
“Well…” Taranza rubbed his gloved hands as he glanced down at the floor. “I hope they’re okay… and… Oh! I almost forgot! I did see something fall to the ground an hour or so after the mages headed to Fruity Forest! It was round… and it had two little eyes… and… what else… I think it had some sort of symbol on its head? It fell so fast, I had no time to get a proper look!”
“Very interesting indeed!” Reporter Dee gasped. He turned back to face the camera and it zoomed back into him. “Well folks, it looks like things just got more interesting in Dream Land! Could these two events be connected? Is whatever Taranza described be linked to the eternal night that’s fallen over our home? After the break, we’re going to get a second opinion!”
As the ads rolled, Galacta said to Morpho, “This might just be the news you were after, Morpho! Are you going to head out to Fruity Forest soon?”
Morpho Knight swallowed his breakfast and replied, “After breakfast. It’s important to eat.”
“Of course, of course.”
There was a SLAM as the door was kicked open. Everyone in the room turned to look, whether it was from the comfort of their chairs or not. The Channel PPP crew stood in the doorway, with a very confused Taranza behind them.
The Waddle Dees were very excited by the crew’s arrival, evident by their excited babbling to one another. Morpho and Galacta, not so much. Galacta almost fell over from the sudden noise and Morpho nearly choked on his breakfast.
“Sir, I am very sorry for the sudden appearance, but when I get a good idea, I’ve just gotta go through with it,” Reporter Dee apologised to Morpho, fixing his bow tie. “As for my good idea? Why, it’s interviewing you, of course!”
“What? Why?” Morpho questioned. “Why not someone like, I dunno… King Dedede?”
“Got no time to explain,” Camera Dee replied, then pointed at the living rooms TV. “The ad break’s almost over.”
“E-Excuse me, everyone! Please quiet down!” Assistant Dee shouted to the Waddle Dees in the living room. “We’re on air soon, and we need you to be quiet!”
“No photobombing either, got it?” Camera Dee added with a growl.
The Channel PPP jingle played on the TV, signifying that the ad break was now over.
“This is Reporter Dee reporting live from the living room in Castle Dedede! With me now is Morpho Knight, a new arrival to Dream Land!” Reporter Dee turned to Morpho Knight and asked, “Morpho Knight, sir, your arrival was quite sudden and took us all by surprise! What was it that made you come here?”
“The eternal night that’s been put over Popstar. I wish to get rid of it,” Morpho said, leaning into Reporter Dee’s microphone.
“Ooh, very righteous!” Reporter Dee said. “There were reports of a rather tremendous fight on the rooftop several hours ago, was that you?”
Before Morpho responded, Assistant Dee rushed over to the butterfly-winged knight’s side and whispered something to him. There was a pause before Morpho whispered something back, which Assistant Dee responded with a nod. He then ran back to his original spot off camera.
“Yes, I was part of that battle,” Morpho answered Reporter Dee’s second question, not leaning into the microphone this time.
“Do you think what Taranza described could be related to the eternal night?”
“What do you think could be causing it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Hm, okay…” Reporter Dee thought briefly before something occurred to him. Something he just had to know.
“Now, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but about two months ago, the hero of Dream Land, Kirby, went missing,” Reporter Dee explained. “This eternal night seems like something Kirby would try to fix, so I must ask… Do you have anything to do with Kirby’s disappearance?”
A couple of Waddle Dees in the living room gasped. After that, a heavy silence. All eyes were on Morpho.
The few moments that passed seemed like forever. Morpho didn’t know how to respond. He couldn’t just tell them that he used to be a butterfly and Kirby let Morpho absorb his power to revert back to his original form. They’d go wild.
It was Taranza who broke the silence. He asked Morpho, “Do you… not know who Kirby is?”
“I don’t,” Morpho quickly replied.
“...Well, thank you for your time, Morpho Knight. We hope you do well in your endeavours to get rid of this eternal night,” Reporter Dee said. The energy in his voice was lost, but a little returned as he turned to the camera and said, “Well, that’s the end of our interview with Morpho Knight! After the break, we’ll be there with the weather!”
The Channel PPP jingle played once more, signaling the start of the ad break.
“Not that there’s really much weather to report…” Reporter Dee mumbled once the camera was off.
The Channel PPP crew exited the room, all except Assistant Dee. He turned to Taranza, who was still awkwardly standing around, and told him, “You’re free to do whatever now!”
Once Assistant Dee had left and caught up with the rest of the crew, Taranza let out a big sigh of relief.
“That was absolutely nerve-wracking!” he exclaimed to no one in particular, wiping his brow with a hand. He turned to Morpho Knight and said, “It must have been awful, having an interview sprung on you like that. I truly am sorry for what happened.”
“Thank you,” Morpho replied with a nod of his head.
“Anyway, I should be going,” Taranza said, glancing at the door. “I’ve got so many duties to get to!”
With a wave of three of his hands, he dashed out of the living room. There was a brief silence before the Waddle Dees started babbling excitedly once again.
“Well that was… something,” Galacta said.
Morpho just nodded.
There was an uncomfortable silence between the two knights as Morpho finished his breakfast. Once he finished the last mouthful, he said, “I’m off.”
“Well, see you! Good luck!” Galacta said after him as he watched Morpho leave.
As he stood upon the mountaintop, Morpho took out the Waxing Gibbous Night Orb and looked at it briefly. The symbol Taranza said was on the thing that fell out of the sky had to be the one on the Night Orbs, he just knew it.
He put it away, and flew off to Fruity Forest. Maybe there he’d find out more.
Chapter 10: Creeps of the Forest
Fruity Forest was far from orderly when Morpho arrived. The forest floor had tree roots growing out of the ground and covering the ground. Tree branches had grown out as well, and hung low. Whatever had happened, it was clear that the forest no longer wanted visitors.
Well, forest, tough luck.
Morpho sliced away the branches in front of him and flew inside. It was rather hard to navigate the forest, due to all the branches, but they were easily dealt with by slashing them down. Flying around the forest seemed to be a lot easier than walking.
Most, if not all of the forest’s regular inhabitants had disappeared. On occasion, Morpho spotted a Nruff, but they always had their eyes wide open and glowing white, instead of them being closed. Not that the Nruffs could reach Morpho and attack him anyway, but it was an interesting observation nonetheless.
After a few minutes of flying through the forest, Morpho encountered a wall of tree branches and roots. He figured it would easily go down with a few slashes, so he let loose at the wall. There was barely a scratch laid on it. Morpho let out an irritated sigh.
He turned away from the wall of branches and roots to see some doors that he hadn’t noticed earlier. There were about six of them, and they all sat near the wall. Morpho glided over to one closest to the left of the wall. He attempted to go through it, only for a pair of green eyes to appear on the door and its shadowy body to slam onto the ground. Morpho narrowly dodged out of the way. Morpho looked around and tried the door furthest to the right. That, too, was a fake door that tried to attack him.
‘Third time’s the charm, right?’ Morpho exasperatedly thought to himself as he tried the door closest to the right side of the wall. Again, it was a fake.
Morpho growled. Were all of these doors just traps set up for him?
As he turned around to try another door, he spotted a small creature standing outside the left center door. It was hard to tell if it was blue or black, due to the shadows of the forest combined with the darkness of the night. Its large eyes looked to be completely fine in comparison to the Nruffs, and it appeared to be sticking out its tongue somewhat. It stared up at him with its wide eyes wordlessly. Morpho stared back just the same.
The two held eye contact for a few seconds, before Morpho slowly approached it at its own level, raising a hand to wave. The creature went through the door just as he came near, making Morpho jump back a little. He flew through the door after the creature.
On the other side of the door was a large clearing. In the middle of this clearing was a fluffy, spherical creature with two small ears on its head and two large arms with three claws at the end of each. Thankfully, it hadn’t noticed Morpho or the creature yet. Its back was turned and seemed it was preoccupied with something else.
The creature looked up at Morpho with the same wide eyes. Morpho looked back briefly, then at the fluffy creature. The creature stuck its tongue out again and started writing in the dirt. Once it had finished, it tapped Morpho’s shoulder with its dirty tongue. Morpho looked at the creature, who tapped the ground near where it had written. It was hard to tell what exactly it had written, due to the creature’s bad writing and the limited moonlight that was reaching them, but it had wrote “Gao Gao” in the dirt. The creature then pointed to the fluffy creature at the other end of the clearing.
“So that’s Gao Gao?” Morpho asked, hushing his voice.
The creature simply nodded.
Gao Gao’s ears twitched, and he turned around to face Morpho and the creature. His eyes had the same unnatural white glow as the Nruffs.
With a low growl, Gao Gao jumped about the clearing, making Morpho dart all over to avoid being squashed. Gao Gao jumped back to his original position, then spun around toward Morpho. Morpho teleported back a bit more to avoid Gao Gao’s attack. Once Gao Gao had stopped spinning, he stumbled back, dizzy. Morpho flew up to him and slashed and jabbed at him, dealing a fair amount of damage. Gao Gao eventually recovered, and started jumping again. This time, Morpho didn’t move away quickly enough, and got squashed underfoot. Morpho got up soon enough, though, and dodged out of the way of Gao Gao’s other jumps. Gao Gao then drilled into the ground, with his arms acting as the drill. Morpho hopped into the air and hovered there, waiting for Gao Gao to come out. He soon did - he leapt out of the dirt with his arms still in the drill position. Morpho just barely dodged out of the way. Once Gao Gao had emerged, he sat down to recover briefly. Morpho attacked once again, dealing just enough damage to defeat him. Gao Gao’s eyes lost their eerie glow, and became black and dot-like. He flopped onto his back.
The creature, who had been watching from the sidelines, came up to Morpho with a big smile on its face. Morpho patted the creature on its head, and in return, it gave Morpho a big lick on his cheek.
From the other end of the clearing, a voice called out, “Hey, Gooey!”
The creature, apparently named Gooey, turned to look at the source, and so did Morpho.
Walking towards them were three animals - a hamster, a cat and an owl. The hamster waved at them.
Gooey’s wide smile lit up again, and he raced over to the hamster and nuzzled him. The hamster chuckled and rubbed his head.
“Thanks for helping us out!” the hamster said to Morpho. “My name’s Rick, and this is Nago, and Coo.” He pointed to the cat and the owl as he said their names. “What’s yours?”
“My name is Morpho Knight,” Morpho replied with a bow.
Nago softly oohed at the sound of Morpho’s name.
After Morpho rose from his bow, he asked, “I must ask what you are doing in this forest right now, though. Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”
Rick scratched his head as he told Morpho, “Oh, we knew. We tried to get out as soon as we noticed something was up, but Gao Gao over there cornered us!”
“And then he went and took us to this clearing! I dunno why…” Nago added. “Maybe he wanted to eat us.”
“Goodness, I hope not…” Coo muttered, glaring to the side.
“Anyway, Gooey here managed to escape, and we told him to get some help!” Rick turned to Gooey and noogied him. “I’m so proud of ya, you little goofball!”
Gooey let out a joyful squeak.
“Hm… Not good.”
Everyone gathered in the clearing looked over to the the other end, where the new voice emerged.
From behind the trees came three women wearing near-identical uniforms, one with long, blue hair, another with spiky red hair and a third with yellow hair. Their eyes were also that unnatural white, and on their berets was the same symbol as the one on the Night Orb.
“Now who do you think you are, young women? What do you want?” Coo yelled at the trio at the other end of the clearing.
“Names are not important,” the trio said in perfect unison. Their voices were had no emotion in them. “None but the name of whom we serve.”
“And who would that be?” Coo questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Mimas?” Nago echoed, cocking his head and placing a paw to his chin.
“That is correct,” the yellow-haired one replied.
“Wait,” Morpho interrupted, shaking his wings a little. “Are you… Are you the three mages that went missing earlier?”
All was silent.
“We… We do not understand what you are trying to say,” the women said in unison.
“But,” the red-haired one pointed straight at Morpho, “you have disrupted Mimas’ plans to control this forest. You must be punished for this… but the time has not yet come.”
“Up ahead is the resting place of Mimas’ current host. They will provide your next challenge,” the yellow-haired one said.
“If you survive, we will contact you once again… If you do not, well… No one will miss you,” the blue-haired one added.
The three women melted back into the shadows.
There was some shuffling from behind them, and another voice, dazed, said, “Eh? What… What happened? How’d I get ‘ere?”
Everyone spun around to see Gao Gao, who was now on his feet and looking around. Rick let out a sigh of relief.
“No, really, how’d I get ‘ere.”
“I wouldn’t have a clue, but you really did shock us!” Nago laughed, his eyebrows furrowed with nervousness.
“Ah.” There was a rather long pause before Gao Gao said, “Well, uh, who were those weird ladies? I kinda saw ‘em before they went an’ disappeared.”
“I wouldn’t have a clue,” Nago said as he and the other Animal Friends with him shrugged.
“They did kinda look like those mages that we and Kirbs fought a little bit ago, didn’t they?” Rick asked Coo, turning to him.
Coo nodded with a thoughtful hum.
“Well, whoeveh they were, you’ll prob’ly need this.” Gao Gao pulled out a Night Orb and rolled it towards the Animal Friends.
All three stared at it with curiosity. Gooey did too, before rolling it to Morpho with his tongue. Morpho picked it up gently and examined it. It was almost identical the Waxing Gibbous Night Orb, except the mist that swirled around inside was closer together, and almost clung to the right side. He then put it away with his other Night Orb.
“I didn’t know you knew I needed it,” Morpho said, a lightness in his voice that usually wasn’t there.
Gooey just blinked.
“You’ve been lookin’ for it?” Gao Gao asked.
“Yes, but I only found out about them recently. If I gather all of them, I may be able to put an end to this eternal night, somehow,” Morpho explained.
“Wow, so noble!” Nago said.
“Well, that eternal night won’t fix itself! Go get ‘em, Morpho Knight!” Rick cheered.
Morpho nodded, and flew deeper into the forest.
The air seemed to get a bit thicker as he delved deeper. Maybe that was a sign of his next opponent. There were a few more Nruffs that he easily flew over, and an energy drink. He didn’t know why there was an energy drink in the forest, but he passed it off as a normal occurrence and drank it. After a bit more flying, he came into another clearing.
This one was a bit more linear than the last, and sitting at the end of it was Whispy Woods. Whispy also had the same glowing white eyes as the other enemies he had encountered, and charcoal bark.
Whispy roared, then rustled his leaves. Morpho flew up to him at the same time. Whispy dropped apples down from his branches, but Morpho dodged them all with ease. He then continuously sliced and diced at Whispy. Whispy puffed out some clouds, but they were easily dodged. In fact, Morpho didn’t even need to move. He just continued attacking Whispy.
He got to a point where Whispy was tiring. Whispy let out some sort of noise, somewhat like a roar, but sounded closer to a very deep howling noise. He shot two roots from the ground, both of which grabbed Morpho and wrapped themselves around him. Morpho was then slammed onto the ground three times as Whispy smirked before the roots let go. Morpho gathered himself and got to his feet, then flew at Whispy again. Whispy, who had left the two roots that had grabbed him out, swatted him down.
Morpho got to his feet again, and stood firmly as he and Whispy stared each other down. It was clear that if he charged straight at Whispy again, he just get swatted. So how was he going to defeat him?
It was then Morpho had a lightbulb moment. The roots! He could attack the roots! And once they were down, he could go straight to Whispy! Morpho mentally congratulated himself on the genius plan.
Without any further delay, he sprung into the air and flew over to Whispy’s right root. He shot two waves of energy from his sword at it first, and then slashed at it directly. Soon enough, it had been chopped away and Whispy’s stamina had been drained. Morpho then darted over to the left root. He attacked in much the same way, draining more of Whispy’s energy. That soon had been gotten rid of, too. That only left Whispy to be dealt with. Morpho glided up to him and slashed at him four times, defeating him.
A strange dark mist started to envelope Whispy, and Morpho quickly darted back. The mist disappeared with a flash of white light, and a strange orb-like creature hovered in the air in front of the guardian of the forest. The only things Morpho could pick up about its appearance was that its body was pitch black, it had two bright white, glowing eyes that looked like large dots and wings before it darted away, deeper into the forest.
Morpho dropped to the ground. There was a brief silence before the three women appeared again.
“So… You defeated the second opponent,” the blue-haired one said.
“Our Mimas has gone ahead,” the yellow-haired one explained. “If you wish to continue, do so. But do not get your hopes up.”
The three women disappeared into the forest again.
Wordlessly, Morpho flew ahead after them.
The forest was getting more dense now. It was impossible to get through without cutting down branches. It was also a lot darker, but that was to he expected.
After lots of hacking away tree branches, Morpho found himself on a cliff that overlooked the sea. It could have been Orange Ocean, but it was a wild guess that couldn’t be counted on. At the very edge of the cliff was a ginormous tree with charcoal bark that bore very few leaves. Its long branches hung over the cliff’s edge.
Three familiar voices rang out in unison, “You made it.”
It was those three women again. They each came in from different sides - the yellow-haired one on the left, the blue-haired one on the right, and the red-haired one seemingly appeared in front of him without coming from anywhere.
“We were waiting for you,” the red-haired one said. “You took too long.”
“Our Mimas suspects you may want to stop the Moon Lady from conquering this planet,” the yellow-haired one said next. “We know this to be true, for we have witnessed your first endeavours to rid this planet of its night.”
“Of course, Mimas cannot allow this to happen. And so, neither can we,” the blue-haired one said. She pulled out her weapon, a large, ice-themed labrys and said, “So we must dispatch of you now.”
She spun around behind Morpho, and jabbed at him with her labrys. It was icy cold to the touch, so much so that it burned. This chill seeped into his wings. It was hard to move them without some pain, so Morpho decided to hold off flying. She spun around closer to the tree and started swinging it up and down, coming closer to Morpho with every swing. Morpho was prepared this time, and backed away each time the blue-haired woman swung. After four swings, she backed away a little and jabbed at Morpho once again. Morpho jumped over her and slashed her in the back. The woman swung her labrys high up into the air, then swung it back down, releasing some shards of ice. She spun back around to the tree’s side, and Morpho ran up to her and jabbed at her himself. The blue-haired woman spun around to the other end of the cliff and started swinging her labrys again. During the brief moment she paused between the swings, Morpho slid under her, jumped up and slashed downward at her. Apparently, that was enough to defeat her… or whatever followed was. She went limp, then was flung to the side, as if some other force was controlling her.
Morpho tested his wings by gently moving them. They were better , but not fit for flying.
The red-haired woman went to fight in her place. She pulled out her flamberge, which was coated in flames, and then bounced behind Morpho. She slashed twice at the butterfly-winged warrior, a trail of flames following her sword. Morpho ran up to her and slashed at the woman himself, but she bounced away before his sword could hit her. The woman bounced in the middle of the battlefield before going high up in the air. She then released several fireballs from her flamberge. Morpho was standing right under her, so he was unaffected. The woman then darted over to the tree’s side and released more fireballs from her sword. As Morpho ran towards her, a fireball narrowly flew over his head. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to her in time, as the woman bounced over to the opposite side. Morpho ran over to her again and slashed at her. The woman twirled her flamberge and jabbed several times in quick succession. Morpho got caught up in this attack. The woman bounced over to the tree’s side again, and Morpho followed. He slashed twice at the woman. The first slice hit her directly, and the second just barely hit her. Like the blue-haired woman, she went limp and was thrown to the side.
Morpho tested his wings again. They were feeling much better now, and Morpho decided they were fit for flying again.
The yellow-haired woman was last to fight. She pulled out her partisan, which had electricity surrounding it. She darted to the opposite side and swung her partisan twice, then paused. Morpho flew up into the air and shot two waves of energy from his sword at her, one of which hit her. The yellow-haired woman swung her partisan twice again. Morpho teleported farther away onto the ground. The woman darted around to where Morpho was before jabbing her partisan into the ground. The partisan released a small shockwave around it, which Morpho barely dodged. She quickly pulled it out and jabbed it back into the ground. Morpho jumped out of the way again and slashed the woman horizontally. She pulled her partisan out and jabbed it into the ground once more, which Morpho dodged again. He jabbed at her, defeating her. Once she pulled out her partisan, she went limp and was thrown to the side like the others.
Just as all seemed calm, the tree at the edge of the cliff made a low howling noise. Morpho looked at the tree. There was some sort of energy being drained out of the three women and being absorbed by the tree. The energy made the tree glow a supernatural white. With its new energy, it stole the women’s weapons and wielded them via telepathy. It twirled the labrys and threw it at Morpho. Ice gathered around where the labrys landed, and some shards of ice flew out. Morpho barely managed to jump out of the way, but a shard of ice hit him. The flamberge was twirled next, and was thrown at a little further than the labrys. Morpho was hit straight on by it. The partisan was then twirled, and flew the farthest out of the weapons. It flew way past Morpho, and once it landed, two electric waves traveled across the ground. They fizzled out once one made it near Morpho. All three weapons were pulled out of the ground and were brought back to the tree. Morpho ran up to the tree in an attempt to attack it, but the labrys was thrust down onto the ground to block his path. Morpho sliced and slashed at the labrys, and eventually the tree’s hold on it was broken. This hold manifested as a single white orb, which hovered above the labrys. Morpho jumped up and slashed vertically down the orb, breaking it.
The tree let out an angry howl, twirled both the flamberge and the partisan, and threw them into the ground so that they made an X. The weapons let out a wave of fire and electricity respectively, and they traveled across the ground towards Morpho. Morpho jumped over these, then went into the air and shot two waves of energy from his sword. They were blocked by the flamberge and reflected back to him. Morpho got hit by one of these waves. In retaliation, Morpho charged up energy in his sword and released two fiery faces from his sword, which traveled towards the tree. Both faces were quickly dispelled by the partisan. Morpho returned to the ground and attempted to run towards the tree to attack again. The flamberge was thrust to the ground to block Morpho again. Like last time, he slashed at the flamberge until it the tree’s hold on it broke. The tree’s hold manifested as a white orb, and Morpho jumped up and slashed it, breaking it.
The tree let out another howl, this one angrier than the last. The tree raised the partisan up high, twirled it rapidly, and then threw it down at Morpho. Morpho was hit by the partisan, which got a sickly giggle from the tree. It raised the partisan again and struck Morpho again. And again. And again. It seemed to be quite entertained watching Morpho get repeatedly struck. Its hollow giggles made Morpho’s anger well up inside of him. He tightened his grip on his sword, and flew straight at the tree. The tree smacked him to the ground with the partisan. Morpho gingerly got to his feet, then ran at the tree once again. The tree blocked his path with the partisan, and Morpho sliced it until the tree’s hold on the weapon was broken. The tree’s hold manifested as a white orb, which Morpho slashed, breaking it.
The tree was so shocked by this that a pair of pure white, glowing dot eyes appeared on its trunk. It let out a deep growl, its eyes furrowing, then let out a roar. The tree uprooted itself and skittered over to Morpho. Morpho ran away to the edge of the battlefield as soon as it approached. The tree raised a root and slammed it on the ground in an attempt to hit Morpho. This attempt was in vain, so it tried again. Each time it slammed a root on the ground, it inched closer to Morpho. Morpho jumped into the air and released two waves of energy before teleporting behind the tree. Both waves hit the tree. Morpho then jabbed multiple times at the tree and finished off with a slash. The tree slowly turned around to face Morpho. It rustled its leaves and rained them down on him. The razor-sharp edges dealt some damage to Morpho. Morpho teleported behind the tree again and slashed at it more. It was starting to tire quite a fair bit now. The tree turned around to face Morpho again and focused itself. With a roar, it shot out multiple pillars of dirt, one after the other. It was quite the task to dodge them, and Morpho couldn’t quite dodge them all. As soon as the pillar of dirt had stopped, Morpho glided down to the tree, holding his sword out. His sword dug into the tree’s bark upon contact, damaging it a bit more. That was enough to defeat it.
The tree stumbled back onto the cliff and fell onto the ground. A dark mist enveloped the tree, and the mist disappeared with a flash of white light. Floating in front of the tree was the same orb-like creature that had come out of Whispy Woods. Morpho could confirm that it was black with two white dot eyes and wings. It also had a medium blue version of the symbol the Night Orbs had on its forehead and what appeared to be dark blue tree roots growing on its body. Its wings were almost like that of a moths. They were single grey-blue with the only markings on them being a single white circle at the ends of each of them. It was making more howling noises in its fit of rage, spitting its unintelligible words at Morpho Knight. Although he could faintly make out what sounded to be “Mimas”. Was… Was that Mimas? He assumed so.
Morpho had spent enough time pondering the strange creature. He ran up to Mimas and slashed at them, only for them to dodge out of the way. It said something to Morpho, still mad and somewhat hurt, before flying away.
Morpho watched the… whatever Mimas was fly away before turning his attention to the three women. They had started to reawaken from their bout with Morpho. The red-haired one mumbled something under her breath before getting up and floating over to Morpho.
“Why are our weapons over there? ” she questioned, pointing to the three corresponding weapons.
Morpho turned to look at the weapons himself and replied, “Mimas stole them from you to battle me.”
“Mimas?” the red-haired woman echoed.
“I think he means that thing that possessed Whispy Woods,” the blue-haired one said as she floated over.
“Oh. That thing, ” the red-haired one grumbled.
“We should probably introduce ourselves,” the blue-haired woman said to Morpho. “My name is Francisca, the one beside me is Flamberge, and over there is Zan Partizanne.”
Zan Partizanne let out a hum as she heard her name.
Francisca turned toward her and told her, “Oh, I was just telling this guy our names.”
Zan gave Francisca a thumbs up before getting up and floating over.
Francisca turned back to Morpho and asked, “Are you okay?”
“And what happened to us?” Flamberge asked. “What I can remember of whatever happened is real foggy.”
“From what I could tell, you were being controlled by Mimas in some way. It may have been brainwashing,” Morpho said.
“Brainwashing! Brilliant, ” Flamberge said sarcastically, throwing her hands up.
“How did trying to find Kirby turn into this…” Zan mumbled to herself.
Their conversation was interrupted by a twinkling noise that came from behind them. They all turned around to see that the cliff was fading into stardust.
“I think Mimas may have made this cliff,” Zan said.
There was a brief silence before Flamberge yelled, “Let’s scram!”
So they did. After collecting their weapons, of course.
Chapter 11: On the Search for a Knight
The Moon Lady’s longest serving aid huffed, and turned to Nix.
“Yes?” she asked. She just wanted some peace and quiet. Was that really too much to ask during the Popstar invasion.
“A mean Dream Lander defeated me!” Nix whined.
“Describe them,” she said.
“He had a dumb red mask and butterfly wings and he was dumb and strong! Stronger than the guy I possessed!” Nix complained.
“Interesting.” With a snap of her fingers, she summoned a small notepad and pen. She scribbled down Nix’s description of the one who defeated him. “What about the one you possessed?”
“He was ugly and he had a big nose and weird eyes but he was really strong! He could use dark magic!” Nix continued. He had perked up now that he wasn’t talking about who defeated him.
She scribbled more notes then said, “His whereabouts?”
Nix cocked his head and blinked.
“...Where is the person you possessed.”
Nix looked up at the ceiling and placed a finger to his chin in thought. “Uh… I think I kinda just left him on the rooftop of the planet’s castle?”
She took a deep breath in and then sighed heavily. “Let me get this straight. You possessed an incredibly strong Dream Lander… then abandoned him on a castle rooftop? ”
She had to take a moment to collect herself before asking Nix, “... Why? ”
“Well I didn’t think about it!” Nix retaliated.
She sighed heavily again and turned away from the younger aid. “Well, no matter. I’ll arrange for another aid to collect this person.” She turned her head to Nix and added, “I may have to get you to draw him later.”
She started to leave when Nix shouted after her, “Wait! I wanna fight the mean guy again! I wanna beat him!”
She paused. Was this really happening. “Nix, if everything is going according to schedule, your brother should be arriving on Planet Popstar shortly. He can defeat this person.”
“But I wanna do it!”
She turned to Nix sharply. “Nix, you can’t do it. You’ve already been defeated by him.”
“But how else am I gonna get stronger?!”
She was stunned into silence. The two aids held eye contact for what seemed like minutes before she growled, “By going to the training grounds. They’re there for a reason.”
She turned around and left.
Things were fairly peaceful at Castle Dedede. As peaceful as they could be. Squadrons of Waddle Dees were still being sent out, and King Dedede was more often than not barking out orders to those who remained in the castle. Bandana Dee could often be found talking to Taranza about the relations between Dream Land and Floralia, which was now strained due to the eternal night. Galacta Knight was now commanding the Meta-Knights in the namesake of the army’s place, the Channel PPP crew were rushing to get the latest scoop on the eternal night situation, and every other citizen of Dream Land was doing whatever they could to help out. The sense of community was quite outstanding to Morpho. And the sense of business made him feel like he was doing nothing to contribute.
Morpho had gotten up from a nap and had decided to take the long route to the dining hall. He didn’t really have a reason to, but he did. As he wandered down a stretched out hall and several Waddle Dees on the job, he heard two people arguing, which was muffled by the distance between him and the arguers, and a closed door. It seemed to come from further down the hall, so he quickened his pace and walked down to the source.
He soon reached the source - King Dedede’s room. The voices were much easier to identify now that he was right outside. One belonged to the king himself, and the other to Bandana Dee.
“Your Majesty, we have to send out at least one squadron to look for him!”
“Bandana, we can’t! We’ve already got them working around the clock! I don’t think they can take much more searching! And besides, we’ve got Galacta commanding the Meta-Knights!”
“He doesn’t know how to drive the Halberd!!! Yeah, sure, Captain Vul can drive it, but Galacta’s gonna be commanding the Knights, and he doesn’t know their strengths and weaknesses and their battle styles nearly as well as Meta does!”
“He doesn’t need to! They’ll be just fine, I’m sure!”
“But the Meta-Knight’s are so used to Meta’s commands that they’ll slip up with Galacta’s! And that means that they’ll fight worse, and THAT means they might lose, and THAT means we could all be doomed under the right circumstances!”
“But how do you know, Bandana? Last time I checked you couldn’t predict the future.”
“ I’m not claiming that I can , Your Majesty! I’m just saying-”
“Just saying what?! That you don’t trust Galacta Knight?”
“ No , I’m not saying that-!”
“That’s what it sounds like!”
“Well maybe you heard wrong!”
“I don’t hear wrong! I’ve got perfect hearing!”
“What I meant was that you understood wrong! Sheesh…”
“So anyway, you were saying that we’re all gonna be doomed? ”
“I didn’t say it like that , Your Majesty! I was just worrying that maybe without Meta Knight, things might go horribly wrong!”
“You said yourself that we’d all be doomed! ”
“Under the right circumstances!”
“And what would those be?”
“Meta Knight isn’t here when something attacks us!?”
“That’s why we have the Meta-Knights and the guards, Bandana!”
“Galacta Knight may be strong, Your Majesty, but he’s too cocky!”
“Well he can fight , can’t he?! What’s your problem?!”
“MY PROBLEM is that Galacta may not think of all the possible options and their outcomes! That could be the difference between winning and losing, Your Majesty! AND HE DOESN’T KNOW ALL OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE HALBERD, WHAT IF THEY’RE FIGHTING AN AERIAL OPPONENT.”
“They’ve got long-distance weapons, haven’t they?! They can use those!”
“But what if they run out, huh? What happens then?”
“Then Galacta fights it! He can fly! ”
“SO CAN META KNIGHT!”
“HE’S NOT HERE!”
“EXACTLY! Your Majesty, we
Meta Knight back!”
“I know that!”
“Then why aren’t you doing anything?!”
“Because he needs to sort out his emotions himself!”
“Well can’t you help him? Can’t you talk things out to him or something? We all miss Kirby!”
“He KNOWS that, Bandana! And believe me, I’ve tried! Three times! Once when he Kirby first went missing, another time when the eternal night started, and a third about 48 hours ago! And every time he just ignored me! Bandana, you’ve got to believe me, he needs to sort things out himself!”
“BUT I WANT TO HELP HIM! IN SOME WAY, AT LEAST!”
“YOU CAN DO THAT BY FOLLOWING MY ORDERS, AND MY ORDERS ARE THAT YOU LET HIM SORT THINGS OUT THINGS HIMSELF!”
The two fell silent for a moment before Dedede growled, “Well?”
Morpho quickly shuffled out of the way as Bandana stormed out of the room and slammed the door open. Morpho didn’t think the enormous scowl on the Waddle Dee’s face was even possible. They immediately headed in the same direction Morpho was going to go, which, he presumed, meant he was going to the dining hall. Morpho then decided to take an alternate route to the dining hall. He wouldn’t want to accidentally anger Bandana even more.
Morpho was already seated at the dining hall’s table when Bandana Dee arrived. He had never seen them look so drained before.
Bandana made their way over to the table and seated themself next to Morpho, which was around the middle of the table, and placed their paws on the table with a heavy sigh.
Bandana gave Morpho an dull glance and mumbled, “Hey Morpho.”
“Hello Bandana,” Morpho replied.
“So what did you order for… breakfast? I don’t even know what meals we’re having anymore,” Bandana said, placing their chin on their paws.
“The waiter hasn’t actually come over to take my order yet,” Morpho said, looking over at the busy kitchen at the end of the room.
Bandana lifted their head and looked at Morpho, saying, “You’re supposed to go over there and order yourself.”
“I can come with you, if you’d like,” Bandana said.
“That would nice, thank you,” Morpho replied, looking over his shoulder at Bandana.
Bandana slid off their seat and waddled their way to the kitchen. Morpho hopped off his seat and followed.
There was a fairly-sized line in front of the ordering counter. Everyone in said line was a Waddle Dee, but then again, was that really surprising? Bandana and Morpho placed themselves at the end of the line and waited.
Both of them were silent for a little while - they absentmindedly listened to the sounds of the dining hall. Waddle Dees chatting among themselves, whether they be excited, tired or casual, and the bubbling of pots, whistling of kettles, and the giving of orders from the kitchen. It was calming, Morpho had to admit to himself. He looked over at Bandana Dee. They weren’t looking as gloomy anymore, which made him lighten up a bit.
Before they knew it, Bandana and Morpho were next to order.
The Chef Dee at the counter greeted the two bright-eyed, “Good-whatever Bandana! Good-whatever, Mor- MORPHO KNIGHT?!”
The Chef Dee put their hands to their cheeks and squeaked excitedly, “Oh my goodness! It’s such an honour to meet you up close!”
Morpho gave the Chef Dee an acknowledging nod.
“So what would you two like to order?” the Chef Dee asked, placing their paws on the counter.
“The usual, please,” Bandana said. “...The… breakfast usual. You’re serving breakfast right now, right?”
The Chef Dee grabbed a pen and a notepad from the corner of the counter and replied, “Yup! So the pancake stack, is it? With extra golden syrup?”
“Yeah,” Bandana answered with a nod.
“Alrighty!” The Chef Dee scribbled down Bandana Dee’s order before looking at Morpho and asking, “And you, Morpho Knight?”
Morpho put a hand to his chin and let out a thoughtful hum.
“Pancakes as well? The toast special? Bacon and eggs?” Bandana suggested.
“That one!” Morpho exclaimed, pointing a finger at nothing in particular.
“Which one? The bacon and eggs?” Bandana asked, raising an eyebrow and cocking their head.
“Yeah!” Morpho said.
“Alright then! Bacon and eggs it is!” The Chef Dee said, scribbling the order down on the notepad. “We usually have two eggs in the bacon and eggs meal, but we can add more if you’d like!”
“No, two eggs will be fine,” Morpho said.
“Okay! Your order number is 237!” The Chef Dee hopped down from a stool unseen from Bandana and Morpho’s side of the counter and yelled, “Next order’s going up on the line!”
Bandana and Morpho returned to the table. Thankfully, no one had taken their seats. Waddle Dees were nice like that.
The two decided to pass the time by talking to one another.
“Ugh, things have gotten off to an awful start,” Bandana said, placing a paw to their forehead and leaning on the table.
“...Why do you say that? I’d say that things have gone pretty smoothly in here,” Morpho replied.
“No no, nothing went wrong in here,” Bandana explained. “It’s just that I had this argument with King Dedede, and I bet he’s still really mad. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying.”
“You didn’t swear at him, did you?” Morpho questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, goodness no!” Bandana sat upright in a flash, their eyes wide. “...But I did make some pretty bold claims on a subject I don’t really know much about.”
Bandana slumped back over the table, putting their arms in front of them. “I may be captain of the troops, but only His Majesty’s troops. I don’t know a lot about how the Meta-Knights operate.”
“The Meta-Knights?” Morpho echoed.
“Yeah, they’re Meta Knight’s soldiers,” Bandana Dee explained, looking up a little. They then looked at Morpho, who was staring at the Waddle Dee blankly.
“...You only came recently, right. I shouldn’t have assumed that you’d know who Meta Knight is,” Bandana said, looking away. They looked back at Morpho and asked, “Would you like me to tell you?”
“Well, Meta Knight is this really strong swordsman who wears this mask,” Bandana Dee explained, looking straight ahead. “I’m not exactly sure where his loyalty lies, but he does seem to work for His Majesty from time to time. That’s what happened- Oh, wait, nevermind, I’m getting off track. Anyway, he’s been really down because of Kirby’s disappearance. I mean, we all have, but Meta’s been the downest. The most down? Yeah. I think he might’ve seen Kirby as a son of sorts. Not that he’d admit it. And really recently, he straight up disappeared. He hasn’t come into the castle for food for ages, which is when he usually came in during these past few months. He hasn’t officially been declared missing yet, though.”
They looked down at the ground by Morpho and confessed, “I’ve been really worried about him and his well being. I don’t know what he might do.”
There was a shout from the dining hall’s kitchen. “Order 237!”
Bandana Dee perked up and said, “Oh! That’s us!”
They slipped out of their seat and said, “Come on, Morpho!”
Morpho slid out of his seat and followed Bandana up to the counter, where they got their meals and gratefully returned to their seats at the table.
“So you want me find Meta Knight, correct?”
Morpho Knight and Bandana Dee had gathered in the latter’s quarters. It was surprisingly messy - papers lay about on almost every flat surface, minus the floor, and there must have been at least five pens scattered around. Bandana did apologise for their uncleanliness when they entered.
“Yes,” Bandana replied. “I would say he would have gone quite a way away from the castle. Not exactly where, though. Sorry.”
“That’s alright,” Morpho reassured. “Any other leads?”
“Leads? Uh…” Bandana put a paw to their chin and glanced up with thought. “The Meta-Knights might have a good idea. He was their leader, after all.”
With a nod of his head, Morpho said, “Okay.”
“Do you have any possible time of return in mind? I don’t want you to be out for too long, that’s all,” Bandana added.
“I can’t say when I’ll be back, unfortunately, but if anything bad happens…” Morpho paused for a moment, carefully considering his words. “...You’ll know.”
Bandana blinked before saying, “Well, okay! Good luck out there!”
Morpho nodded, then left Bandana’s quarters. The Waddle Dee waved goodbye until the door shut with a click.
Morpho made his way down the many halls to the runway where the Halberd rested. He had to ask a Waddle Dee wandering by for directions, though. He didn’t quite remember them himself.
Once he walked onto the runway, he was greeted by Galacta Knight, who was admiring the Halberd. He heard the click of Morpho’s shoes, and turned to face him.
“Hey Morpho!” he greeted, waving.
“Hello,” Morpho replied. As he approached the other knight, he asked, “I don’t suppose any of the Meta-Knights are around?”
“The Meta-Knights? Of course! At least some of them should be around!” Galacta Knight said. He turned to look at the Halberd and added, “Actually, I believe there’s some on the Halberd right now! I’ll go get them.”
Galacta Knight stretched out his wings and glided across the tarmac to the entrance of the Halberd. Morpho patiently waited for Galacta, and he soon returned with Sword, Blade, Axe Knight and Mace Knight trailing behind him.
As Galacta Knight landed in front of Morpho, Sword asked, “So why’d you get us?”
“My friend Morpho here wants…” Galacta trailed off, looking to the side awkwardly. “...He wants… something. He didn’t specify, but I’m sure it’s something important.”
Galacta Knight stretched out his wings and said, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going to work on the Halberd myself.”
With that, Galacta Knight took off, darting straight up into the sky. He looped and then glided around the Halberd, returning to the entrance.
“So what is it you want, sir?” Axe Knight asked.
Morpho thought momentarily before speaking, recalling the argument. “...If… someone were to look for Meta Knight, where do you think they would find him?”
The four gathered knights let out a collective hm and thought.
“I’d say around Orange Ocean,” Mace Knight answered after a few moments.
“Isn’t that where the Halberd crashed that one time?” Blade asked, raising an eyebrow at Mace.
“Yeah! Remember that, Axe?” Mace joked, giving his workmate a playful jab in the back.
“Honestly, Mace, who doesn’t?” Axe replied.
“And what way would Orange Ocean be?” Morpho asked.
“It’s, uh…” Blade thought for a moment before pointing behind him, “that way! I think.”
Axe Knight and Mace Knight murmured to themselves as they checked the direction Blade pointed in.
“Yeah, that way,” Axe Knight confirmed.
“Why do you wanna know anyway?” Mace Knight asked, turning toward Morpho Knight.
“...For a friend.”
The gathered Meta-Knights were silent before Sword muttered, “Alright.”
“...I… have got to be going now,” Morpho mumbled before sprinting away.
Morpho made his way up to the rooftop. It was somewhat odd going through the route he went through last time without being attacked constantly. But it was convenient.
Once Morpho stepped foot on the castle’s rooftop once again, he instantly felt a bit of the wind whipping the flags. He could faintly see some dents from his battle with Nix, too. Something else could be heard over the wind - the faint sound of stomping. It was going away from the castle, and whatever was stomping was moving at a very slow pace. Morpho stretched out his wings and flapped in the direction of the stomps.
Said thing making the stomps was humongous. Morpho couldn’t make out many details, but it had a short horn. It also seemed to be dragging a bag, fittingly large for its size. Morpho shook his head. He was getting distracted. He could always investigate later. For now, he had to go find Meta Knight.
Chapter 12: Orange Ocean
Why did Morpho think that his travel to Orange Ocean would be easy?
Vegetable Valley and Ice Cream Island, as he had learned their names were, weren’t too difficult to get through. In fact, the folks there were rather kind and pointed him in the right direction. Getting away from Butter Building was a bit tougher, as he had to convince Mr. Shine to let him pass onto Grape Garden, and NO, Marx was NOT behind the eternal night. Grape Garden was fairly peaceful, until he met Kracko.
The clouds looked like pitch-black mist as Morpho fluttered through. The air seemed tenser at the summit of Grape Garden. He landed on along cloud, initially to rest, but sense something else and tensed. There was a flash of lighting, and then a low rumble. A sudden gust of wind threatened to topple Morpho over, and Kracko swooped over.
“YOU!!!” Kracko bellowed, releasing a crack of thunder. “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?!”
“To Yogurt Yard…” Morpho mumbled.
“SPEAK UP!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!”
“To Yogurt Yard,” Morpho repeated, almost yelling.
Kracko blinked and replied, “Oh.”
There was another flash of lightning, then a rumble of thunder to accompany it. “WELL I WON’T LET YOU!!”
“BECAUSE I’M ANGRYYYYYYYY!!!”
Kracko dropped a Waddle Doo down onto the cloud. The Waddle Doo slowly marched towards Morpho Knight, who dispatched of it quickly. Kracko then spun two electric whips around his body with a scowl. They missed Morpho. Still with a frown, Kracko swooped down and rammed into Morpho as he made his way to the other end of the cloudy battlefield. After being knocked down by Kracko, Morpho got up and grounded himself. Kracko dropped down another Waddle Doo before soaking the cloud with a heavy downpour of rain directly below him. While Kracko was doing this, Morpho jumped into the air and glided over to Kracko, holding his sword out in front of him. He hit Kracko just as the downpour ended. Morpho then teleported to the other end of the battlefield. Since the Waddle Doo was near, he got rid of it. Kracko scowled and drifted across to Morpho’s end, letting out a continuous lightning bolt as he went. Morpho jumped into the air again and flew over Kracko as he came near. Once Morpho landed back on the cloud, he charged up energy in his sword and released two fiery faces, who drifted up towards Kracko. Kracko, while visibly bothered by the faces attacking him, continued fighting. He swooped down and rammed into Morpho again before. Kracko dropped down another Waddle Doo, which Morpho quickly disposed of, then swung two electric whips around his body. Morpho jumped into the air and fired two waves of energy from his sword, one of which hit Kracko. Kracko drifted to the other side of the battlefield and soaked the ground below him with a heavy downpour of rain. Morpho dropped down onto the cloud, ran up to Kracko, jumped up and slashed at him. Kracko’s downpour ended abruptly from the hit, and something else fell to the cloud as Kracko’s eye widened. It was a Night Orb. Kracko looked down at the Night Orb, then sighed with relief.
“Thanks, man!” Kracko said as he looked at Morpho Knight. “That thing fell into me, and it just wouldn’t come out! Drove me insane!”
Morpho had no words.
“You can have it if you want! Think of it as a thank you gift, yeah?”
Morpho approached the Night Orb and held out his hand to pick it up, but hesitated.
“Don’t worry!” Kracko reassured. “I’m a cloud with an eye, I don’t… you know… I don’t…”
Morpho understood, feeling relieved, and picked up the Night Orb and put it with the other two he had collected.
“I’m pretty sure there’s more of those things lying around,” Kracko continued, looking up at the starry sky. “They all fell out of the sky when the moon randomly rose and they fell all over! I can’t say exactly where they all fell, but I think a couple fell in Dream Land, and one might be near Orange Ocean way. Maybe a bit further.”
Morpho nodded, then replied, “Thank you.”
“Na, thank YOU!” Kracko said to Morpho, who was readying himself for flight. “Have a safe travel!”
Morpho flew off and down to Yogurt Yard. Things were fairly uneventful there, but he did manage to find some food to heal himself up from the fight with Kracko. When Morpho arrived at Orange Ocean, it didn’t look too… orange. He figured it was because it was night. As Morpho continued, he found out that the area grew colder as he went further. The ground soon became frosty as he ventured further into Orange Ocean’s territory.
Before he knew it, Morpho found himself before a large temple-like structure among the ice. Morpho wandered inside and took in the sights of the building. It was wide, and made of stone, and several blue pillars held it up and lined the way. There was a gap between the walls and the ceiling that let the astounding sight of the night sky be seen. The floor was gold with navy blue peeking out underneath it. Several designs were etched into the gold flooring. It all seemed very old, and full to the brim with memories of a distant past.
Morpho slowly walked through every room, taking in everything he could. As he entered the last room, he saw someone standing on a ledge made of the same gold as the floor. The person’s cape was pulled in front of them.
There was a long, deafening silence as Morpho looked up at the one on the ledge, before they said, “...You’re... not him.”
Morpho blinked with shock.
The person sighed. “I shouldn’t have got my hopes up.”
There was a beat before he said, “We haven’t before, have we? Then, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Meta Knight. And I ask you this…”
Meta Knight whipped around, throwing his cape over his shoulder. His yellow eyes, hidden behind his mask, flared for a split second before he asked, “Where is Kirby?”
Morpho looked up at the knight, before closing his eyes and sighing heavily.
“I have kept this to myself for far too long,” Morpho confessed to Meta Knight, “and ever since I have arrived on this planet, I have done more than enough lying. From what I understand, you were very close to Kirby, so I will tell you the truth.
“It was two months ago. Kirby had a fateful encounter with a man who had recently begun living in Dream Land and the red and yellow butterfly, and from that encounter, curiosity sparked in the child. He… He wanted to know about the butterfly. He wanted to understand the butterfly. So… he let himself be used for the butterfly’s return to the world.
“...I am the butterfly. This is my true form. And had I have known how much despair I would bring the people of Dream Land and beyond, I would not have gone through with Kirby’s wishes. But I did, and for that, I am sorry.”
Meta Knight was silent. His eyes had thinned with shock, and tears threatened to spill from them. He looked down at the ledge he stood on, and placed a gloved hand to his forehead. Silence once again hung in the air, but it felt completely different. It was a while before Meta Knight said quietly to himself, “I suppose everyone at the castle misses me, don’t they…?”
He pulled his cape around him again, looked down at Morpho Knight and whispered, “Thank you.”
Morpho Knight nodded. “And before you go, tell Bandana Dee that I may be a bit longer before I return.”
Meta Knight nodded, then teleported away, pulling his cape over his mask.
Morpho watched Meta teleport away silently. He was feeling a bit better now. Yes, it wasn’t fun to recall what had led up to all this, but he had told someone. And he had made someone else feel a little better too.
Morpho’s thoughts were interrupted by a voice muttering to themself, “Dang it! I shouldn’t have waited for so long!”
From one of the blue pillars in the room emerged a cat-like creature. It had white fur that was longest on its face, and long, pointed ear with purple-blue insides. It had a long body and a tail just as long, and it wore two purple-blue shoes on its feet. It also had two floating hands covered by purple gloves.
The cat-like creature glanced over at Morpho Knight before frowning. “Do you have any more business here or…?”
Morpho thought for a moment, weighing his words, before replying, “...No. I’m about to investigate something I saw on the way here. A giant of sorts.”
The cat-like creature leaned on the pillar it was standing by, tail gently lashing. “Uh-huh. And… I don’t suppose that you think it’s got anything to do with the Moon Lady’s plans…?”
“What would they be?”
“Keep the moon fixed over this planet and conquer it,” the cat-like creature replied. “Me, my brother and Mimas were sent by the Moon Lady herself to take out anyone who could ruin our chances of taking over.”
The cat-like creature stood up and added, “You seem like one of those people.”
Morpho took out his sword and readied it.
“But where are my manners? I’m Nereid.” The cat-like creature, Nereid, got on all fours and transformed into a much bigger form in a matter of seconds. Said form elongated his ears, which were now folded back, and his tail, which had some fluff at its base. His eyes became a solid purple the same as his gloves were, and the fur on his face was now longer and scruffier. He had gained a thick collar of fur, and his feet and hands, which no longer sported gloves and shoes, had long blue claws and some fur at the top of the foot and at the end of the hands. On his body was a purple version of the symbol on the Night Orbs.
“But you can just call me your worst nightmare.”
Nereid got down on all fours and jumped onto the battlefield, squashing Morpho underfoot. Nereid leapt over to the ledge’s end of the battlefield and clicked his claws three times, releasing three misty white orbs which flew to the ground. Morpho managed to jump out of the way of these, then released two waves of energy from his sword. Both hit Nereid. Nereid leapt over to the other end of the battlefield, and Morpho flew after him. He dropped down and jabbed at Nereid. Nereid attempted to retaliate with a swing of his tail across the floor, but Morpho jumped up and teleported away. Morpho then sent three waves of energy across the ground. Two hit Nereid, but the other simply bounced off and faded as Nereid curled into a ball. He slowly backed away before rolling toward Morpho - and fast. Morpho had no time to react, and was squashed underneath Nereid again. Nereid bounced off the wall and rolled back, this time not as fast, but still relatively quick. Morpho gingerly got up to see that Nereid had uncurled and was sitting on the ground, dazed and dizzy. He took the opportunity to jump into the air, hold his sword out in front of him and glide down to Nereid. That dealt a little bit of damage to him. Morpho continued the attack by performing a simple slash followed by some jabs. Nereid recovered from his dizziness, and jumped to the other end of the battlefield. Nereid let out a loud meow and starting charging energy, making the symbol on his body glow a light purple. Morpho charged up the energy in his sword while Nereid was doing this, and then released two fiery faces from his sword, which drifted over to Nereid. Nereid let out a beam of energy as the faces approached, and Morpho ducked down quickly. Nereid didn’t seem to take notice to the faces, but they wore him down enough to initiate the next phase.
Nereid let out a war meow, and flung his hands into the air. A large ball of energy formed between his hands, and Nereid clutched it in his hands once it stopped growing. He took a bite out of it and let it roll around in his mouth for a bit before spitting it out at Morpho as a smaller ball of energy. Morpho jumped out of the way of the small ball of energy. The ball bounced around a bit, before hitting Morpho in the back of his head. Nereid stifled a laugh, before taking another bite out of the ball of energy. He spat it back out as a smaller ball a couple of seconds later, and that’s when Morpho got an idea. As the small ball of energy approached, he readied his sword, then hit it back when it got close. The ball hit Nereid, who flashed a look of shock followed by anger. He took yet another bite of the ball of energy and spat out a smaller ball, which Morpho hit back. This carried on until the ball of energy had been eaten up entirely. Nereid still stood, with a sliver of his stamina left. He jumped to the other end of the battlefield and clicked his claws three times, sending out three balls of energy. Morpho flew over these and towards Nereid, then released two waves of energy. Both hit Nereid, and they were enough to finish the battle.
Nereid fell on his front and returned to his smaller form. Morpho quietly celebrated to himself before returning his attention to Nereid, who gingerly sat up.
“Colour me impressed,” Nereid said.
His eyes shot open as he spotted Morpho Knight’s Night Orbs.
“Where… did you get those??” Nereid questioned.
Morpho held out his Night Orbs and asked, “These?”
“Yes! Those! Where- How??? ” Nereid stammered, pointing at the three orbs. “Do you… Do you know the names of them?”
Morpho Knight gently placed the Waxing Gibbous Night Orb on the ground and said, “This one’s the Waxing Gibbous Night Orb… but I don’t know about the rest.”
Nereid looked at the Waxing Gibbous Night Orb with wide eyes and whispered to himself, “That’s Nix’s favourite.”
He turned his attention to Morpho’s other Night Orbs and said, “Those ones there are the Waxing Crescent Night Orb,” he pointed to the orb Morpho got in the forest, “and the Waning Gibbous Night Orb,” he pointed to the orb that had fallen into Kracko. “I’m surprised you’re not actually a Heliosprite.”
Morpho raised an eyebrow. “A what?”
“One of our enemies, from the planet neighbouring ours,” Nereid explained. “But I suppose that even if you aren’t a Heliosprite, you’re still an enemy to us, aren’t you?”
Nereid got up and walked to the exit of the room. He turned to face Morpho and said, “Be seeing you, if I ever do again.”
With that, Nereid exited the room.
Chapter 13: Running into Trouble
Morpho Knight headed south immediately as he returned to Dream Land. Whatever it was that he saw on the way to Orange Ocean, he was going to find it now. The only problem was, it must have made some ground. How was he going to find it?
As he glided through the sky, he spied a gathering of Waddle Dees. Maybe they knew where it went. He flew down to the ground and approached them, only for the Waddle Dees to let out a collective scream. They stopped as they looked who was approaching them, were silent as they blinked at him for a few moments, and then let out a collective sigh.
“Hi, Mr. Morpho Knight,” one of the Waddle Dees near the back of the group said, waving a paw lazily. “Sorry ‘bout that, the Channel PPP crew jumped at us out of nowhere, and they only left a minute or so ago.”
Morpho cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. “What were they doing?”
“Oh, y’know,” another Waddle Dee, nearer to the front of the group replied, glancing at the moonlit sky, “interviewing us. They’ve been going absolutely nuts over this whole eternal night situation.”
“They were asking us about some giant that passed by a few minutes ago!” a younger Waddle Dee piped up. “He was really big! Had a really big sack too!”
Morpho’s face lit up as he said, “I’m looking for someone like that!”
“Really? Well it went that way!” the younger Waddle Dee told him, waving their paw behind them. “Maybe if you’re fast enough, you can stop the Channel PPP crew from going after it any further!”
“They-” Morpho Knight sighed. “Right. Will do.”
He stretched out his wings and took to the sky again. He continued in the direction the waddle Dee had pointed him in, keeping his eyes peeled for the Channel PPP crew. After about 20 minutes of continuous flying, he spotted a large hole in the ground and a buggy parked next to it. He swooped down to the ground. Once on the ground, Morpho looked the buggy over. A satellite was mounted on the back of the buggy, and the front sported a Waddle Dee’s face. Morpho Knight frowned. Without further delay, he hopped into the hole in the ground.
He fell down to a thin hall with multiple stone slabs on the floor. Morpho had no idea what they served. He ran down the hall and through the door at the end. On the other side of the door was a bright jungle. Flowers dotted the bushes along the path. It was incredible - Morpho never would have thought that something so full of life could thrive under the earth! He ran through the area, absorbing all of the surroundings. As he continued through the doors, he found that the whole place was almost maze-like. He also found many treasure chests, all of which were empty.
As Morpho advanced into the fourth room in the underground jungle, he found the Channel PPP crew attempting to fight off a green Bonkers. Their attempt was filled with panicked screaming and flailing of microphones and notepads. The two Waddle Dees brave enough to fight the green Bonkers were Reporter Dee and Assistant Dee, who may have just been following the former’s actions. Camera Dee was filming the scene while clinging to a palm tree, and Microphone Dee was sitting behind a bush. Morpho decided to step in by releasing three waves of energy across the ground, hitting the green Bonkers head on. The two Channel PPP members fighting the Bonkers jumped out of the way and stared in awe. He then glided over to the green Bonkers and slashed at him three times, which was enough to take him down. The green Bonkers sat defeated for a few moments before running away.
The Channel PPP crew turned to their saviour, and Reporter Dee said, “Thanks for saving our bacon, Morpho Knight!”
Morpho Knight was silent, frowning at the four Waddle Dees. They exchanged nervous looks before Reporter Dee asked, “Uh... You… okay there, Morpho Knight…?”
“...I was told you were chasing after the giant that was spotted in Dream Land recently.”
“Y-Yes!” Reporter Dee replied. “We thought it had something to do with the eternal night, and that’s kind of our big thing at the moment, so we thought…”
“You would go to investigate,” Morpho Knight finished. “You could have died in here. You almost did!”
The Channel PPP crew was silent, looking away.
“Um, but,” Assistant Dee spoke, his voice quivering, “we did find uh…” he pulled out a Night Orb.
Morpho Knight’s eyes widened as soon as he saw the Night Orb.
“Do you need it?” Assistant Dee asked.
Morpho Knight nodded, and Assistant Dee waddled over to the butterfly knight and handed the Night Orb to him. The blue mist inside clung to the left side of the orb.
“We should get going now,” Camera Dee said. He hopped down from the palm tree he had climbed up and walked to the door to the left. The rest of the crew followed. Assistant Dee gave Morpho a wave goodbye as he went with the crew. Morpho waved back, and once the entire crew had left the room, Morpho continued.
Upon entering the next room, he heard a rumbling voice from deeper inside. He couldn’t quite make out what it said, however. That meant he must have been getting close, though. Morpho Knight continued to hurry through the underground jungle.
The next room was was dim cavern. The only form of flooring was a wooden dock, which covered the caverns. At the end of the cavern was a tall, blue creature with pointed ears and messy black hair tied into a bun. Morpho figured it was the same creature he was chasing, as indicated by the large sack.
It growled before muttering, “I knew I shouldn’t have taken such a long break…”
The creature lifted its head and roared something in an incomprehensible language before chucking what appeared to be a Night Orb into the water and stomping away.
There was silence for a moment before a giant whale with a pipe and sailor’s uniform jumped up from the water before splashing back in, making a huge wave that swept Morpho up from the dock, then threw him back onto it. Several rocks fell from the cavern’s ceiling, which Morpho avoided easily. The whale swam towards him, and Morpho took the chance to attack. He jabbed at the whale many times then finished off by releasing a wave of energy from his sword that ran across the dock. Morpho finished his attack just as the whale shot water out his spout. The water from his spout reached up to the ceiling, and made more rocks fall to the ground. One of the rocks fell on him, but no further damage was done. The whale then barrel-rolled back the way it came, squashing Morpho underneath it. The whale continued rolling, but bounced in a way this time around. Morpho slashed at the whale before teleporting to where it would land next, then slashed at it again once it landed. The whale then shot water at the ceiling as it traveled back, making more rocks fall to the dock. Morpho managed to avoid them all this time around. It dove down into the water and swam away, then leapt up in the air and splashed back down by the dock. Another wave swept Morpho up and threw him back down. Several more rocks fell from the ceiling, which Morpho easily dodged again. The whale rolled towards him again. Morpho was so close, he didn’t have much time to react, and in the moment decided to slash three times at it. He got caught in the whale’s attack just as he finished, and was left squashed on the dock. He managed to get up once the whale had finished barrelling to the other end. He jumped into the air, held his sword out in front of him and glided down to the whale as it bounded back toward him. That was the last hit needed for Morpho to defeat the whale. The whale splashed to the water in defeat, and with its fins, held onto the dock as it hacked out a blue sphere before swimming away.
Morpho glanced at the sphere as it fell onto the dock with a clunk . He walked over to it to find that it was the same Night Orb the giant had thrown into the water. The mist in said Night Orb was unusual compared to the others. It covered exactly one half of the orb, and instead to clinging to one side, it flowed evenly throughout the half it covered. It also had whale saliva all over it. Morpho Knight hesitantly picked up the Night Orb, then put it away with the others with a shudder.
Once that was done, he ran down the other way and reached the door leading out of the cavern. Morpho gladly went through it.
And then he fell face first onto the ground.
Morpho groaned in agony before pushing himself off the floor of the room he just fell into. He looked up to see the door he just went through, somehow fixated in the sky with teal stones backing it. The cave wall was visible, and the ground, and some other man made walls were a light yellow. Not too far away in front of him was a small raised platform with a Maxim Tomato atop it. Morpho stood up and walked over, hopped up on the platform and gladly ate it. As he took the last bite of the tomato, he noticed a railway on the other side of the platform. On said railway was a minecart. Morpho looked down the tunnel the railway went down. He gathered that riding the minecart was the way out, and then hopped in it. Once he was in, the minecart started rolling down the railway. It soon picked up speed and started whizzing down the railway once it had gone down the beginning hill. Morpho’s eyes were wide with exhilaration.
The minecart clattered up and down the railway, slamming into enemies that were stupid enough to wander near the rails. The ride soon ended when the minecart slammed into another raised platform, flinging Morpho out. He flew over the platform and fell onto the ground AGAIN, face first. AGAIN.
Morpho Knight just laid there for a few moments, thinking of how absolutely stupid his current situation was. He stood up and to his surprise, the door to the next area was only a few steps away, and, thankfully, on the ground. He went through and found himself in an absolutely enchanting area. Purple crystals were everywhere in the room, and despite the lack of light source, they shone brilliantly. The ground was a deeper purple, and had some reflective properties. He was stunned.
As he made his way through the room, he couldn’t help but look around in awe, which may have caused him to fall into a pool of water and hit a Blipper while he wasn’t paying attention. He soon regained his composure and swam deeper into the pool, found another door and went through it.
The room on the other side was much like the previous one, but shone everything gold. Even the floor was gold!
He almost ended up paying more attention to the beauty of the room than where he was going, but caught himself.
‘There’s no time to look around, Morpho,’ he reminded himself internally. ‘You’ve got a job to do.’
Chapter 14: Raging Battle Among the Crystals
Morpho’s journey through the Crystal area was challenging. There were so many paths that he had no idea which one the giant had gone down.
The first path had a lot of water inside. He was constantly swimming in it to get around, which upset him greatly. He hated the feeling of water on his wings. It was a surprise he was even able to stand up against the the whale at the end of the last area with all the water that it had splashed onto him.
He had also attempted to ask several enemies wandering the path if they had seen the giant. Most of these attempts ended with a bomb to the face. One of the ones that didn’t was with Poppy Bros. Sr.
Morpho had wandered into a long stretch of flat ground and shook his wings out, spraying droplets of water everywhere. One of these droplets had managed to fly all the way over to Poppy Bros. Sr., hitting him square in the face. His face squished together when it landed. He looked over to Morpho, who instinctively drew his sword.
“Woah, woah, hey hey hey!” Poppy Bros Sr. said, holding his hands up. “No need to jump to conclusions! Enough people do that in these caves….”
Morpho, with an eyebrow raised, slowly sheathed his sword.
“You’ve been navigating the caves around here, I take it?” Poppy Bros. Sr. asked.
Morpho Knight nodded.
Poppy Bros. Sr. put his hands to his hips and said, “You’re not one of many words, are ya?”
“Only when I feel like it,” Morpho replied.
“Anyway, you must be after something. No one’d come down here for fun. But if it’s treasure you’re after, then you’re all out of luck…”
“I haven’t come for treasure,” Morpho told Poppy Bros. Sr. “I’ve been chasing after a giant who has entered this area of the caves. Have you heard of the eternal night situation up above?”
“Eh, a little,” Poppy Bros. Sr. replied, waving a hand around and absentmindedly glancing away.
“I believe that this giant has something to do with the situation. The fact that it carried a certain type of orb I’ve been collecting since the start of the incident only points towards this,” Morpho said. “Have you seen this giant, by any chance? Blue skin, big bag, single horn on its head?”
Poppy Bros. Sr. hummed in thought for a moment before replying, “Nope, can’t say I have. Sorry.”
“No need to be,” Morpho replied.
As Morpho left, Poppy Bros. Sr. called out to him, “Good luck finding it!”
The next path also had a lot of water. All that swimming around and there wasn’t a single person who knew where the giant was, nor did Morpho see it. Dismayed, he went on to the next path.
The third and final path was coated in gold and thankfully, there wasn’t a speck of water to be seen. The sound of something slamming the ground echoed from far away and into the gold-coated caves, and the ground quivered slightly with each stomp from the source. He was getting close.
Morpho darted through the gold-coated caves. He paid no mind to the enemies trying to attack him. Soon, he reached a small, purple cave, with a Maxim Tomato laying in the middle of the room. Morpho ate it quickly, then proceeded into the next room.
The next room was entirely purple crystal. The floor was purple crystal, and there was a field of purple crystals surrounding the floor pointing up from the ground that extended as far as he could see. The cave’s roof and walls looked almost as if the stars were shining through, even though it was just hundreds of glowworms. The small vibrations felt from the gold-coated area were now full on thumps that shook the ground.
Morpho ran down the hall-like cave until he reached the source of the tremors - the giant.
The only movement visible from the blue giant was the rising and falling of its shoulders as it panted heavily. It took a moment before dropping a spiked club to the ground with a ringing clang , then turning around to pick up the bag, which it had dropped further away. It rummaged around in the bag before pulling out a strange, glowing blue star-shaped fruit, then ate it. Once it had finished, it picked back up the club it had dropped. Just before it was about to leave, it glanced at Morpho with an eyebrow raised.
“So...” it said, turning to face him, “...you’re the one I had to look out for. You fit the description I was given.”
The giant’s single horn on its head was a light blue at the tip, and it wore a grey-blue animal pelt that covered most of its body. It had large pointed teeth that lapped over its bottom lip, black metal cuffs around both its wrists and icy blue eyes.
Morpho squinted at him, and drew his sword.
“Dumb red mask and butterfly wings… Yep, that would be you! So I’m assuming your battle against Fatty Whale went well, if you made it here,” the giant continued.
“Enough. Why are you here and what do you know about the eternal night up above?” Morpho Knight demanded.
“I’m here on a pickup trip. I was only supposed to get one thing, but I couldn’t help but find half of the Night Orbs while I was at it,” the giant explained. “Speaking of which… how many do you have now?”
Morpho took a moment to count them inside his head, squinting up at the ceiling.
“Five,” he said.
“Then you’ve almost got them all,” the giant said. “I dropped the Waning Crescent Night Orb to distract some monkey… It gave it to you?”
“Some Waddle Dees gave it to me in exchange for saving their lives.”
“I see… And the First Quarter Night Orb was given to Fatty Whale… You must have that one, too.” The giant flung the bag off its shoulder and rummaged through it. It pulled out a Night Orb and told Morpho, “This Night Orb, the Last Quarter Night Orb, is the only one you need now. I’m not going to just hand it over to you, though.”
“You imply that you plan on giving it to me,” Morpho said.
“In a way,” the giant replied. “I’m making it a prize. We battle, and whoever wins gets to keep it. And then I’ll head on my way. Deal?”
The giant placed the Last Quarter Night Orb back in the bag before tossing it aside. It cracked its knuckles before gripping its club firmly.
“Before we battle, we must introduce ourselves. It’s a tradition from back on my home planet. I am Kerberos, former leader of the Tribe of Hydro and the one the Moon Lady’s aids.”
“I am Morpho Knight, a reborn butterfly from days of yore, fighting in place of the hero of Dream Land.”
“Now,” Kerberos announced, raising his club above his head, “let us do battle!”
Kerberos slammed his club on the ground, making shards of the floor fly up everywhere. Morpho jumped out of the way of the club, but was hit in the face by a shard. Morpho ran up to Kerberos and slashed many times at him, then finished off with a wave of energy from his sword. Morpho then teleported behind him and slashed four more times at him. Kerberos turned around and raised his club above his head. Morpho jabbed at him before teleporting behind him again as he swung it around for a few seconds. Kerberos slammed his club on the ground and turned around to face Morpho. Kerberos jumped up, then landed back on the ground with a heavy slam . Shockwaves traveled across the ground from every direction, which tripped up the already stunned Morpho. Once Morpho had shaken out his paralysis, he jumped into the air, held his sword out in front of him and glided down to Kerberos. His sword hit the giant’s shoulder, giving him some more damage. Morpho dropped back down to the ground and teleported away behind Kerberos again. Kerberos turned to face Morpho, then backed away. While Kerberos did this, Morpho charged up the energy in his sword, then released two fiery faces from it, which traveled over to Kerberos. The faces did almost nothing to Kerberos, and faded as soon as they landed their first hit. Kerberos charged towards Morpho, who released three waves of energy across the ground. Once Kerberos was close, he swung his club upward. Morpho got smacked in the face with it, and smacked on the head when Kerberos brought club down after a moment. Morpho flew to the other end of the battlefield, briefly charged his sword and released three energy waves across the ground. All three hit Kerberos. He was starting to tire
Kerberos let out a roar, then twirled his club and held it down with the end touching the ground. The club glowed after a couple of moments, and Kerberos held it back up. He closed his eyes and focused, and soon, his horn also began glowing. He shot open his eyes, and a swirl of water appeared around the club’s spiked end.
‘ Perfect, ’ Morpho thought to himself, looking at Kerberos’ upgraded club with fear and dread.
Kerberos held his club high, and a beam of water shot out of the swirl surrounding it. Morpho squirmed as it hit him directly in the face. For water, it certainly did hurt. He didn’t want to know what other water-based attacks Kerberos could do. Morpho flew to the other end of the battlefield, and released three waves of energy across the ground. All three hit Kerberos as he turned around to face Morpho. Kerberos held his club up above him, and swung it around, stirring the water surrounding it and making it flow faster. He then slammed it onto the ground, releasing a wave of water Morpho narrowly missed by jumping up and teleporting away. Kerberos turned around to face Morpho again and swung his club across in front of him, spraying a wave of water that soaked Morpho. With a twitch, Morpho released some energy, then teleported up high. He held his sword in front of him with both hands, charging up energy. His sword glowed white, and he separated his hands to produce two, bigger versions of his sword. He teleported away again and held one sword back. It largened, and then Morpho swung it down at Kerberos, who flinched under the impact of the enlarged sword. Morpho teleported to the other end of the battlefield and did the same with the other sword, which hit Kerberos again. Morpho teleported to the middle of the battlefield, held both swords up, and swung them down on opposite ends once they had enlarged. As Morpho returned to the ground, he returned his sword to normal. Kerberos slammed his club down on Morpho as soon as he got the chance. Morpho teleported away once the club had come off his head. He jumped up and released two waves of energy from his sword. Both hit Kerberos. Kerberos raised his club, held it there for a moment, then slammed it down, releasing a wave of water. Morpho got hit by this, then teleported away behind Kerberos. He ran up to him, jabbed at him and finished off with a slash. It was a tough fight, but Morpho had managed to defeat Kerberos.
Kerberos fell to the ground. Morpho shook himself off, then looked over at Kerberos. Wincing with pain, he propped himself up with his club, which had now lost the water swirling around it.
“That was a good fight,” Kerberos said. “Haven’t had anything as challenging as that in a while. Good work.”
He gingerly stood up and walked over to the bag. He knelt down and grabbed it, and rummaged around before taking out the Last Quarter Night Orb. He rolled it over to Morpho, who blinked at it before picking it up and putting it with the other Night Orbs
As Kerberos stood up again he said, “However, your journey ends here. You’ve interfered in Her Radiance’s plans more than enough.”
Kerberos held up his club, and focused. His club grew even bigger than Morpho’s enlarged swords, and he thrust it up, hitting the ceiling. Rocks started crumbling down all around.
“If you survive, may the Moon Lady have mercy on you!”
With that, Kerberos jumped into the hole he created, leaving Morpho alone in the quickly decaying cave.
At first, Morpho was too shocked to move. Kerberos had so much power… and he could do that?! Morpho had soon overcome his shock and was about to take off after Kerberos when a rock fell on his foot, causing him to fall over. The rocks continued to pile up around him, and it wasn’t long until the piled on him too. He felt something hit him from his left side as he blacked out…
Chapter 15: Palace of Heliospa
His head throbbed. That, as soon as Morpho awoke, was all he cared about. His throbbing head. He couldn’t even remember what caused it to be like this. Did it just… happen?
He wasn’t in a place with a white roof before. And he certainly didn’t remember being on a bed. He was in a cave before. So how did he get into this new place?
Morpho rolled over to take in more of his surroundings. He was in a fairly large room, and it was fancily decorated. The walls were painted a soft orange, with light yellow swirls accompanying it. Standing next to his bed was a woman with a stark white face and large eyes that glistened in the light. Her ginger hair was tied into a large bun at the top of her head, and she wore a orange-yellow kimono with yellow markings. She also had large wings, which were a translucent red.
Morpho let out a yelp and sat himself up.
“No no, lie back down,” the woman said, holding her gloved hands out. “You need to rest.”
Morpho hesitantly laid back down on the bed.
“That’s better,” the woman commented aloud. “I must ask, though - why were you, a Heliosprite, doing on such a faraway planet?”
Morpho said nothing for a moment before replying, “I’m… not a Heliosprite.”
“Oh, you’re not? My apologies!” the woman said sheepishly, clapping her hands together. “You’d have no idea who I am, then! I am Lady Solarana, the ruler of Heliospa. And you?”
“Morpho Knight. Where am I?”
“You’re in my palace, of course!” Lady Solarana said. “Solar Flare Palace is it’s name! One of my aids brought you back here while you were unconscious and said you could have-”
Lady Solarana looked around the room quickly.
“Maybe I should invite her in…” she muttered to herself. She placed a hand to where her mouth would be and called, “Rikka!”
As soon as her name was called out, a dark red-skinned creature with a long nose and blond hair covering an eye teleported into the room. She wore a cloak made of brown feathers, and two floating, clawed feet were visible from where the cloak parted.
“Oh, you could hear me from all the way down there?” Lady Solarana asked Rikka, pulling over a nearby stool and seating herself on it.
“No,” Rikka replied nonchalantly. “I foresaw you calling me here and acted accordingly.”
“I should have expected that, and yet I didn’t,” Lady Solarana muttered, looking at Rikka with bewilderment. She cleared her throat and said, “ANYWAY, Rikka here saved you!”
Rikka looked over at Morpho, her bored gaze cutting straight through him. “The cave you were in collapsed. You were going to be buried in rubble.”
It was at that moment that Morpho recalled what had led up to that point. The caves, the Channel PPP crew, the minecart, and his fight with Kerberos…
Morpho sat up in a hurry, and started patting himself over. His look of concern grew as he frantically checked the bed, to no avail.
“You also had all six Night Orbs on your person,” Rikka added.
“WELL WHERE ARE THEY?!” Morpho almost screamed.
“I put them in my room,” Lady Solarana spoke up.
There was a brief moment of silence before Rikka said, “I’ll be back.”
She then teleported out of the room.
There was an awkward silence between Morpho and Lady Solarana before the latter cleared her throat and asked, “So why did you even have the Night Orbs, anyway…?”
“I found them. Well, some were given to me, but the point stands,” Morpho Knight replied. “I figured they had something to do with the eternal night that started not too long ago on the planet I came from, Popstar. I’ve been trying to end the night in the place of… someone else.”
Lady Solarana sighed, then said, “That planet… That’s the one… she’s trying to take over.”
Morpho Knight raised an eyebrow curiously.
“...The Moon Lady.”
Lady Solarana glanced down at the ground as she continued, “Not too long ago, the Cycling Asteroids that circle around our planets flew between them, disturbing their orbits. It’s said in legend that if they were to fly in between Heliospa and Selenada, it would spell certain doom for both. We blamed each other for it, and now we’re fighting against each other when we had lived in harmony for so, so long.”
Tears started to form in her eyes, but she continued. “I don’t want to believe that she would cause the asteroids to fly between our planets, but… the more I think about it, maybe...”
She wiped the tears from her eyes and looked back at Morpho. “I’m sure things will work out in the end. They have to, right?”
Lady Solarana stood up and told Morpho, “I should let you get some proper rest. I’ll send Keichitsu over with some tea.”
As she left, she poked her head through the door and asked, “What flavour would you like?”
“I’ll just get you green tea.”
Morpho Knight hadn’t even realised he had fallen asleep until he was woken by a gentle prod and a quiet voice saying, “Sir…”
Morpho blinked his eyes open to see a slim white creature with light yellow stripes on both of its long ears and the end of its neck hovering beside his bed, carrying a tray with a porcelain teacup and some sun-shaped biscuits. The creature and Morpho held an awkward gaze before the former placed the tray on the bedside table.
“Be careful - it’s hot. I think,” the creature told Morpho.
Morpho rolled onto his side and picked up the teacup. He held it to his face for a moment before taking a sip. His face scrunched up with disgust. The temperature was fine - it was the flavour. He couldn’t place his finger on what it was, but the green tea just wasn’t his thing.
The creature had noticed his disgust, and said, “If you’d like, I could make you some coffee. Lady Solarana doesn’t like making it for guests, she says it’ll ruin her ‘rep’, whatever that means, but I’m sure I could get her to-”
“No, no, it’s fine,” Morpho told them, holding up his free hand. He then took another sip of the tea and grimaced.
The creature closed their eyes and bowed slightly.
“I’m Keichitsu, one of Lady Solarana’s aids. She got me to make some tea for you,” the creature, Keichitsu, said.
Morpho Knight nodded. “Speaking of her, she did mention that this “Moon Lady” was trying to take over Planet Popstar?”
Keichitsu face lit up with recognition, and said, “Yes, that’s correct. She’s been trying to take over that planet for, uh… I guess to expand her rule? I’m not sure.”
“Uh huh.” Morpho said, nodding. He took another sip of his tea. “And what about the Night Orbs? What do they do- How did they even get on Popstar?!”
“Well, to answer your first question, they’re what power the Moon Gate on Selenada. Without them, the gate can’t move at all. Even if you get someone incredibly strong to push it, it won’t budge. And currently, those gates are closed, so no one knows what’s going on behind them,” Keichitsu explained. “As for your second question, Lady Solarana went over to Selenada as the war started and removed them herself. She then threw them down to Planet Popstar. I’m not sure why, but it’s not my place to judge.”
Morpho would have left his mouth hanging agape if he had one.
Keichitsu cocked their head and asked, “You’re shocked? I honestly thought that it would be obvious that someone removed the Night Orbs.”
“Well I didn’t know… any of what you just told me.”
“True,” Keichitsu said, glancing out the window absentmindedly.
There was a brief silence before Morpho asked, “So, do you guys have something like Night Orbs too?”
Keichitsu blinked and looked at Morpho wide-eyed as they sputtered, “Huh?”
“...Do you guys have anything like Night Orbs.”
“Oh! Yes! Yes we do!” Keichitsu replied. “We have Day Orbs, to be exact. They serve the same function as the Night Orbs, just with the Sun Gate outside the palace.”
They hurriedly bowed before telling Morpho “Sorry about that. I tend to do that a lot.”
Morpho took another sip of his tea, then told Keichitsu, “It’s alright! I don’t always pay attention either.”
Keichitsu clapsed their hands together as their face lit up. “Well I guess that’s something we could bond over, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so,” Morpho said with a chuckle.
Keichitsu glanced at the door, then said to Morpho, “I should probably get going. Lady Solarana wants you to get lots of rest and I’m probably bothering you at this point-”
“Oh, not at all!” Morpho Knight said.
“Aw, thank you,” Keichitsu replied. “Uh, anyway, I should get going.”
They zipped over to the door and said as they went through with a wave, “Bye.”
Morpho waved back as he took another sip of his tea.
After Keichitsu left with a soft click of the door, Morpho lowered the teacup from his face and stared at it intently. A few moments later, he sculled the rest of his tea down and gasped.
“Never again,” he said under his breath.
Chapter 16: Pretty Secret Walk-in Closet
“Hey hey hey! Wake up mister! It’s morrrrniiiiiing!”
Morpho rubbed his right eye as he opened the other, not bothering to sit up just yet. His eyes focused to see a green spider-like creature dangling from the ceiling. Morpho let out a shriek and hurriedly sat up.
“Chill out, stupid!” the spider creature huffed, shooting Morpho a frown. “You’re gonna get everyone scared over nothing!”
“You were right in my face!” Morpho retaliated.
The spider creature rolled their eyes. “Duh. I do that all the time.”
With a breath in, Morpho replied, “Well, I’m new here. I didn’t know that.”
“Well maybe you should ask more questions.” The spider creature retracted their legs and dropped down from the ceiling, flipping themself rightway up. They flopped onto Morpho’s bed and brought their legs back out, and heaved themself up.
“You’re the guy Rikka brought back yesterday, right?” the spider creature asked, raising an eyebrow at Morpho.
Morpho squinted at the spider creature as he warily replied, “Yes…”
“The name’s Risshun, okay?” the spider creature, Risshun, said. “Breakfast’ll be ready soon. Do whatever ya need then head down to the dining hall.”
Risshun hopped off Morpho’s bed and skittered across the floor and up a wall. They crammed their legs into a small crack near the edge of the wall that Morpho hadn’t even noticed up until that point, and soon their whole body slipped through.
“But where’s the dining hall…?” Morpho mumbled to himself.
Lady Solarana and her aids sat around the dining table. They were all sitting at the very left end of the table, and every single time they ate without many guests was always awkward.
Keichitsu glanced around the dining hall nervously, drumming their fingers on the table.
“Where’s Morpho Knight?” they asked.
“Who?” Risshun said.
Keichitsu went to reply, but Rikka spoke over him, saying, “He’s lost.”
Risshun shot Rikka a glare and told her, “That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Will he be coming soon…?” Lady Solarana asked Rikka.
Rikka hummed with thought for a moment before saying, “He’ll wander in right about…”
From the other end of the hall, one of the doors creaked open to reveal Morpho Knight, eyes wide with confusion.
“Is this the dining hall?” he asked.
“Yes, this is the dining hall!” Lady Solarana called out to him. “Come on over and take a seat!”
Morpho wandered down the hall and up to the table, pulled out a chair next to Keichitsu and sat down.
The table had some fairly sized plates at each occupied seat, plus a few to the right. At each plate, there was a knife and fork and a glass. A salt shaker and a pepper shaker sat in the middle of all the plates. The pepper shaker was half empty.
“We’re having bacon and eggs for breakfast today,” Lady Solarana said. There would have been a smile on her face if she had a mouth.
Morpho chuckled to himself, thinking back to the breakfast he had with Bandana Dee before he went out to find Meta Knight.
“We’ve also got some juice!” Keichitsu added. They paused before asking, “...Where is the juice?”
“Down there,” Risshun replied with a sly grin, pointing to the other end of the table with one of their legs.
Keichitsu let out a groan of annoyance and said, “Why must you always do these things?”
They got out of their seat and floated down to the other end of the table, grabbed the jug of orange juice put there by Risshun, floated back and put the juice in the middle of where everyone was sitting before sitting back down in their seat with a huff.
Everyone started eating in silence. Rikka had pulled the button that held her cloak down, revealing a small, indifferent mouth. Risshun’s face slid to their back, and a more grotesque one slid up from their bottom side. They propped two legs onto the table, grabbed a utensil for each and proceeded to eat. Keichitsu rolled their eyes at the mildly disturbing display.
“I thought Lady Solarana told you not to do that at the table?” they said, frowning at Risshun.
Risshun simply stared at Keichitsu with slitted eyes for a moment or two before continuing to eat.
Keichitsu watched for a moment before sighing with defeat and poking their food.
Morpho then started to eat his. As soon as the food came in contact with his face, it kind of just… slid in. He had no idea how it even worked, but it happened with drinks, too. He always thought it was just something his body had done to adapt after… an incident.
Looking around the table, Morpho noticed something.
“Lady Solarana,” Morpho asked, catching the attention of the fairy-like ruler, “Do you have any more aids? I was just looking around and thinking-”
“Oh, no, I don’t have as many aids as her,” Lady Solarana said. “Back before this war started, she’d sometimes go out to who knows where and come back with someone FROM who knows where! And then they usually became her aids. I think a couple of them became citizens, though.”
“Did you have run-ins with HER aids?” Keichitsu asked, concern evident on their face.
Rikka then spoke up, “I’m not sure, but-”
She was interrupted by Risshun saying mockingly, “ WOAH. Rikka isn’t sure about something?! Oh my goodness! The world’s gonna-”
They caught Rikka’s glare, which was laced with hostility Morpho had a hard time picking up on. Risshun closed his mouth briefly and returned to eating.
“I’m not sure, but I may have saw Kerberos while on my way back to the the palace,” Rikka said.
“So who have ya fought?” Risshun asked, their mouth stuffed with food.
Morpho placed his fork down as he glanced up at the ceiling and thought. “There was… the small cat- Nix? And the little- Oh! That one was Mimas, and Nnnnnnereid? And Kerberos.”
“Interesting,” Risshun said, then swallowed their food.
After everyone had finished their breakfast, Lady Solarana gathered up everyone’s dishes and called over a fairy-like creature wearing a simple kimono. She gave the fairy the dishes, and they zipped away with them in hand.
While wandering around the palace trying to find the dining hall, he had seen several, but one had the time to stop and talk to him. Apparently their species were called Sunray Sprites, and they were native to Heliospa. The Sunray Sprite had also mentioned fact that the planet originally consisted only of Sunray Sprites may have contributed to a denizen of Heliospa being called a Heliosprite, but nobody was sure. He had also learned that Lady Solarana was a Sunray Sprite, albeit a much bigger one. She was like a queen bee in that sense. The Sunray Sprite then pointed him in the direction of the dining hall, which he greatly appreciated.
Lady Solarana excused her aids from the table, and all three went in different directions. At least, Morpho assumed that Rikka went a different direction than Keichitsu and Risshun. It was impossible to tell since she teleported away.
Once all three aids had left the room, Lady Solarana stood up and said in a quieter tone than usual, “Morpho Knight, come.”
Morpho hopped out of his seat and jogged after Lady Solarana as she headed to the door a few meters behind her seat.
After Morpho had gone through said door, Lady Solarana looked down at him and said, “Would it be safe to assume that you would like to go to Selenada?”
“Yes, it would,” Morpho replied.
Lady Solarana walked down the strangely empty hall she and Morpho were now in, and Morpho followed.
“Then you’ll need to cross the Shine Bright Bridge,” Lady Solarana said. “But it’s broken.”
“What?! Why?” Morpho questioned with shock. “Did the Moon Lady destroy it?”
“No,” Lady Solarana replied nonchalantly, “I did.”
Morpho almost shrieked out his, “WHAT?!” It was then followed by flabbergasted sputtering.
“Don’t misunderstand!” she added, turning to Morpho and holding her hands out in front of her. “I did for everyone’s safety! I feared that if it stayed up, she’d send over Selenadians to attack us.”
“You sure are bold, aren’t you,” Morpho mumbled.
“Everyone says that and I have no idea why,” Lady Solarana said, turning to a wall and placing a finger to her chin thoughtfully. “But no matter!”
She turned around and continued walking down the hall.
“To repair the Shine Bright Bridge, you’ll need the four Stars of Unity,” she said.
“And let me guess, you’ve scattered them somewhere, either in the palace or all over Heliospa, and I have to go and get them?” Morpho asked.
“Oh, no, they’re in the super secret walk-in closet which is in my secret walk-in closet which is in my walk-in closet,” Lady Solarana replied.
‘Not so much of a secret now,’ Morpho thought to himself.
Lady Solarana gestured for Morpho to continue following her, and quickened her pace. She led him to her bedroom, which was less elegant than he was expecting. The bed had one of those fancy veils he had only seen in pictures, but the blankets were plain and, if truth be told, normal. The pillowcases were normal, too. The floor was rather messy, and Morpho found himself tiptoeing around the room. Lady Solarana had no trouble navigating the room, though. It made sense. It was her room. He opened up the white-doored closet at the end of her room and slipped inside. Morpho jumped after her, dodging the casual clothing laying on the floor in a heap.
The closet was dim inside. Various kimonos hung about, and Morpho couldn’t help but stare at them. Lady Solarana sifted past two kimonos and flipped a switch, as indicated by the click Morpho heard. There was a small rumble before Lady Solarana slipped somewhere into the darkness, and Morpho followed.
“So this is the secret walk-in closet?” Morpho asked, attempting to look around in the darkness. “Where are all the clothes?”
Lady Solarana flipped a light switch, lighting up the room to reveal an abundance of t-shirts and skirts, and also making Morpho squeeze his eyes shut.
“Over there,” Lady Solarana replied, pointing at the clothes. “Also yes, this is the secret walk-in wardrobe.”
Morpho opened his eyes and put a hand above them. He noticed there were many more items of clothing here than in the not-secret walk-in wardrobe. He looked up at Lady Solarana, who was busy trying to find something in amongst the clothes. She soon found it, as her face lit up with success. There was another small rumble, and Lady Solarana walked through the new door that appeared.
The new room was pitch black. Morpho couldn’t see a single thing, so he said, “Lady Solarana? Are you still there?”
“Yep!” she replied. She held out a hand and from that hand, a small flame appeared, lighting up the room.
“Welcome to the super secret walk-in closet!” she announced.
The super secret walk-in closet was a lot different than what Morpho was expecting. The walls were a dark grey that contrasted with the white of the last two closets. And it wasn’t exactly a room. It was a hall. A very long, narrow hall.
Lady Solarana began to walk down the hall, and Morpho followed. Her pace was slower than usual. Morpho noticed that they were walking past several buttons and switches on the walls. He would ask about them, but held his tongue, assuming that they were for things just as secret as the super secret walk-in closet.
They had been walking for what seemed like ages to Morpho when he saw a faint glint in the distance.
“Are those…?” Morpho wondered aloud. He didn’t get his answer.
The glint slowly grew as they continued walking down the hall. They soon got close enough to the glint that Lady Solarana didn’t need to use her flame to light up the hall. And not too soon after that, they reached the end of the hall.
The hall ended with a more open area than the rest of the hall, and in a corner of this area sat the source of the glint. Lady Solarana stopped in front of the source of glint, moving to the side so Morpho could take a look at it.
“The Stars of Unity.”
Morpho looked at them wide-eyed. He could just make out the shapes of the stars, which emitted a bright white glow. He looked up at Lady Solarana and asked, “Can I touch one?”
“I wish you could,” Lady Solarana replied. “Unfortunately, they can only be held by the rulers of Heliospa and Selenada.”
Lady Solarana picked up all four Stars of Unity and turned to Morpho. “Now that we have the Stars, we can head to Shine Bright Bridge.”
“What about the Night Orbs?” Morpho asked.
“Oh yes, we’ll need those too.” Lady Solarana walked back down the hall and said, “Come on! I’ve got tunnels that lead to all over the castle!”
Night had fallen on Heliospa by the time Lady Solarana and Morpho Knight reached the Heliosprite end of Shine Bright Bridge. Nighttime on Heliospa was odd - once it reached twilight, it never got darker. Lady Solarana had assured Morpho that it was nothing to be concerned about, as it was just the nature of the planet. As for Shine Bright Bridge, it wasn’t shining very bright. All that was there was the start of a orange grandiose frame, which faded into nothing.
As the two of them stopped in front of the start of Shine Bright Bridge, Lady Solarana said, “This is it. Once you set foot on the bridge, I won’t be able to help you any further. It’s been lovely to have in my palace, even if it was a short while.”
She held the Stars of Unity up, and they flew up into the sky. They danced in the sky and then twirled back down to the bridge. They sat themselves in a square, presumably where the middle of the bridge would be, and then the stars flashed. With that flash, the rest of the bridge formed. The frame now shone with life, and the path of the bridge looked as if stars coated nebulae that had come together to make the path itself.
“And before you go, you’ll need these,” Lady Solarana said, handing Morpho the Night Orbs. Morpho took them gratefully.
He walked up the edge of the bridge, but was stopped by Lady Solarana shouting after him, “And one more thing!”
Morpho looked over his shoulder at Lady Solarana, who said, “Whatever happens, make sure the Moon Lady’s okay! I believe in you, Morpho Knight!”
With a determined and understanding nod, Morpho drew his sword and held it up high as he charged onto Shine Bright Bridge.
Chapter 17: Pressing Onward
The journey across Shine Bright Bridge was a tough one. Much tougher than Morpho had anticipated.
Almost immediately, enemies had swarmed onto the bridge. Most were white floating orb-shaped beings with black dot eyes and four diamond-shaped crystals circling around the underside of their bodies. There were some bigger enemies that were no more than gaseous orbs that were pitch black with glowing white eyes and two thin, diamond-shaped wings sprouting from their backs.
Morpho met one of the small white orb creatures merely a meter or two onto the bridge. He skidded to a halt and examined the creature with a raised eyebrow. The creature stared back. Morpho attempted to sneak past, but was shot down and pinned to the ground by the creature’s crystals. Thankfully, the crystals were soon released and returned to the creature. Morpho stood up, clutching his head with his free hand. He gathered himself, then slashed the creature. It disappeared from his sight with a small explosion of stars. There were only more from there. Some came alone, others in pairs or groups of three.
Not too much farther onto the bridge, a staircase floating above the bridge itself came into view. As he got closer, he could see a glimpse of a higher path. Morpho flew up onto it, only to find himself face to face with one of the black gas creatures after only taking a few steps on the path. He naturally swung his sword at it, only to find his attack did nothing. The black gas creature flapped its wings, then rammed into Morpho, knocking him to the ground. Morpho got up quickly, and tried to slash the black gas creature again. Again, there was no effect. He frowned. He decided to hop over the creature and continue on. He failed to recognise that the black gas creature followed him until he found himself face to face with another. Morpho had skidded to a halt in front of the second black gas creature. The first black gas creature took the opportunity to ram into Morpho’s back. Morpho fell face first onto the ground, much to the amusement of the two black gas creatures. Morpho pushed himself off the ground, and grabbed his sword. He charged the energies in his sword, then held it up and released two fiery faces. The faces split up and attacked a black gas creature each. Both soon disappeared along with the faces that attacked them. Morpho raised his eyebrows with surprise. He wasn’t actually expecting that to work, but hey, he was still happy it did. Without further delay, he hopped to his feet and continued running down Shine Bright Bridge.
The rest of the trip went as you might think. Run and beat up a few enemies. It wasn’t until right at the end of the path did things get interesting.
As Morpho hopped off the end of the higher path, he spotted a creature not too unlike the white orb and the black gas creatures. This particular creature was much larger than either of the two, but it was a floating orb like them. It was grey with three quills resting flat on the back of its head and two darker grey dot eyes. It sported a unattached tail that had a floating base then slumped to the ground and two hand-like floating limbs at its sides. As soon as Morpho got close, it let out a battle roar. It inched towards Morpho. Morpho let loose with the jabs and slashes. That was a bit foolish of him, as the grey orb creature punched him in the face and sent him flying. I took Morpho a moment to get up, but he was soon back in business. It didn’t take much longer for Morpho to defeat the grey orb. With it out of the way, he stepped onto Selenada.
The planet was rather monotone, consisting of grey grass and trees with dark blue leaves that sparkled under the moonlight. Everything was covered in a darkness that had begun to lift somewhat - thankfully, the trees and shrubbery lit up the cobblestone paths. It oddly reminded him of home. In the distance was a palace with several deep blue-purple topped spires. It was painted white, and in front of it was a sky blue gate.
‘That has to be Moon Gate, there,’ Morpho thought. ‘I know where I’m headed now!’
Without any further delay, Morpho sped towards the Moon Gate and the palace that guarded it.
As he ran down the cobblestone road, he had to hack his way past several more white orbs and black gaseous creatures. There just seemed to be no end to their numbers. There also seemed to be no end to the path he was going down. The palace barely looked as if it had gotten closer after what seemed like half an hour. The truth was he was getting impatient due to how close to his goal he was.
During the run to the Moon Gate, he encountered a new kind of Selenadian enemy. It was a dull blue and its face lacked a pair of eyes, only sporting a mischievous grin and a single horn that curled down like a crescent moon. Its body was shaped almost like a teardrop, and around it was a glowing white ring. It had two floating hands and feet that hovered just below its body, that were strangely the same tone was very light skin. Morpho had halted in front of the strange enemy, and the enemy had stopped too. It seemed to look up at him, something not physically possible for the humanoid creature. Morpho looked back, tilting his head with a look of perplexion. Then, without warning, the creature enlarged the ring and spun it around, knocking Morpho and spinning him around with it. He was flung off behind the enemy, and lay on the ground for a few moments, dizzy. The creature giggled as Morpho heaved himself off the ground, which earned a glare from Morpho. The creature didn’t seem phased.
Morpho then proceeded to continue making his way to the Moon Gate, putting the creature’s antics to the back of his mind. After only a few meters he could have sworn he heard a faint pitter-patter , but passed it off as his imagination. A few more meters, the noise persisted, and Morpho couldn’t handle it anymore.
He whipped around, sword held out, and almost screamed when he saw who was following him.
It was the creature he had encountered earlier. It wasn’t phased at all by Morpho’s yelp. In fact, it seemed happy to have gotten a reaction out of him. Once Morpho had calmed, he squinted at the creature and lowered his sword slightly.
“What is it,” he muttered, eyes half lidded.
“You’re not seriously going to the Moon Gate, are you?” the creature asked.
“As a matter of fact, YES, I am,” Morpho replied.
“Don’t you know it’s sealed shut?”
“I am aware,” Morpho replied, sheathing his sword.
“Then how are you going to get in?” the creature asked.
“Let’s just say…” Morpho thought for a moment before finishing, “...I have a set of skills that will help me get in.”
The creature scoffed, then held out a hand for a handshake.
“The name’s Hoolaphoop,” the creature, Hoolaphoop, said. “And oh man, I can’t wait to go to your funeral.” She turned her head away and muttered, “If you even have one, that is.”
“Morpho Knight,” Morpho replied. He hesitated before taking Hoolaphoop’s offer for the handshake.
“So you’re trying past the Moon Gate?” Hoolaphoop asked, cocking her head and putting her hands on her hips. “Ha! You’re begging for a death wish. The Moon Lady’s got her two strongest guards out. And let me tell you, they’re ruthless! They’ll tear you to pieces.”
“So if you want to go to the Moon Gate, sure! But don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Hoolaphoop enlarged her ring and knocked Morpho to the ground before turning around and skipping away.
Morpho huffed as he propped himself up. How rude.
After running for another half hour and slashing away enemies, Morpho had finally arrived in front of the Moon Gate. There was a pillar at each end of the gate, which reached higher than the gate and had what appeared to be the trail of a shooting star etched out. The gate itself had an entire mural carved into it, depicting both Selenada and Heliospa living in harmony. But… he didn’t see any guards. His immediate thought was that Hoolaphoop had lied to him. He wouldn’t be surprised. Morpho looked both ways to make sure no one was around, then got out the Night Orbs. He held them up above his head, and the six orbs glowed. The glow faded and the orbs tumbled to the ground when a voice called out, “Oi!”
Two canine-like figures jumped down from the pillars. How Morpho hadn’t spotted them earlier, he didn’t know, especially with how bright their manes and tails were.
The figure on the left had a long purple-blue mane that was tied into a low ponytail and pulled to the her right. Her light-turquoise eyes had heavy mascara on the top. She had a slight hunch, and in her left hand, she held a cutlass with a light purple handle.
The figure on the right was much more hunched over than the one on the left. Their turquoise mane draped over their forehead and reached down to their nose, and the lower parts of their mane flicked up onto their cheeks, sprayed out and reached down past their shoulders, though it wasn’t as long as the left figure’s. It was hard to tell whether they wore eyeshadow under their eyes or if they were bags from a lack of sleep. In their right hand was a scythe with a small hole on the inner edge.
Both had dull dark blue fur, bushy tails and two blue armbands with the symbol of Selenada on each arm - one at the end of their shoulders and one at the top of their floating, clawed hands. They also wore silver boots that partially covered the claws on their feet.
“What do you think you’re doing here?” the left figure questioned, glaring at Morpho. The right figure simply stared at Morpho, their back slowly rising and falling with each breath. “Not trying to get into Full Moon Palace are you?”
The right figure sniffed the air, then barked at the left figure. She looked over at them, and the right figure said, “Pasiphae, he’s got the Night Orbs.”
The right figure, Pasiphae, looked back at Morpho with a squint.
“Is that true?” she asked.
Morpho glanced to the side. He hesitated before replying, “...Yes.” He looked at the two canines and added forcefully, “You need to release Planet Popstar from the eternal night you’ve cast over it! We’ve done nothing to deserve it!”
Pasiphae had her hands on her hips and an eyebrow raised as she said, “Me and Io just guard the gate.”
“Sometimes we don’t,” the right figure, Io, added. “Shifts, you know.”
“We were tasked by the Moon Lady to guard the Moon Gate and stop ANYONE who tries to get past and interfere with her plans!” Pasiphae growled. “And you look like the exact kind of person were supposed to stop.”
“We’ll tear you into shreds!” Io barked, holding their scythe into a battle stance.
“En garde!” Pasiphae shouted.
Io and Pasiphae switched sides of the battlefield. Morpho was at a loss for who to attack first, and was contemplating this when he felt something prod him. It was Io’s scythe, and it was dangerously close to his face. They yanked him over to them, and as soon as the scythe was released, he spun around to face them. Io slashed him with the outer edge of the scythe, which was followed up by Pasiphae jabbing him in the back. Morpho retaliated by slashing at Pasiphae three times, and finishing off by sending a wave of energy across the ground. Io ran towards Morpho and held their scythe up. A small aura of sparks gathered on the scythe’s blade before they sliced the air, releasing the sparks. The sparks headed right towards Morpho, and they gave him a good shock. Pasiphae took the chance to charge up an attack of her own while Morpho attacked Io. A small gust of wind gathered around her cutlass, and just as Morpho had finished jabbing at Io, she released it. A small tornado made its way across the battlefield, which Morpho noticed. He teleported away as the tornado got close, and reappeared behind Pasiphae. He slashed her just as she turned around to face Morpho, then teleported away again. Io slashed at Morpho twice. Morpho jumped out of the way of the second slash, then charged up the energy in his sword, then held it up and released two fiery faces. The faces went for Io, which visibly upset them. The two faces dealt some damage before disappearing. Morpho then dove forward and jabbed at Pasiphae. These blows made Pasiphae buckle over a little. That was when Morpho knew that the two guards were getting tired.
Pasiphae held her cutlass high up into the air. With a nod from her, Io did the same with their scythe. A whirling wind gathered around Pasiphae’s cutlass, and bolts of lighting gathered around Io’s scythe. The respective storms around the blades of the pair’s weapons only grew as a dark cloud covered the sky. The cloud sucked up the lightning and wind, and once it had all been absorbed into the cloud, Io and Pasiphae jumped up onto the cloud, swapping sides once again. Morpho stretched out his wings and attempted to fly up after them, but was struck down by a bolt of lightning Io had commanded with a flick of their scythe.
With a shout from Pasiphae, two tornadoes emerged from the cloud and made their way down to the ground to attack Morpho. These tornadoes were only slightly bigger than the ones Pasiphae had made before, but the double threat made Morpho panic a little. As the two tornadoes came closer, Morpho teleported away to the side of the battlefield and waited for the two tornadoes to disappear. As soon as they met, the tornadoes merged, spun in place, then quickly died out. Pasiphae squinted distastefully, then sent down two more tornadoes. The left tornado was dangerously close to Morpho, and he teleported to the middle of the battlefield. He stayed there for a few moments before teleporting away to the other end of the battlefield when the two tornadoes were closing in on him. The tornadoes merged like last time, then soon died out. Pasiphae sent down two more tornadoes, this time even bigger in size. Morpho did the same as before - teleport to the center of the battlefield, then teleport to the other side when the tornadoes got close. The two tornadoes merged together like the last ones, spun around around and then died out. Pasiphae would have shouted at Morpho if it weren’t Io, who ordered the cloud to shoot down a lightning bolt at Morpho. It hit him straight on. Io sent down another lightning bolt, which Morpho narrowly dodged this time around. Io sent down another, and Morpho dodged again. This continued as Io tried to chase down Morpho with lightning bolts and Morpho running away from the lightning bolts. With a loud growl, Pasiphae smacked the cloud with her cutlass, and a cannon fell out of it and landed smack in the center of the battlefield with a heavy clunk. The cannon lurched over and just so happened to point in Morpho’s direction.
“Good thinking, Pasi,” Io said to Pasiphae. “Shooting him out with a cannon! That’ll get rid of him for sure.”
“Uhh, yep! That was totally part of the plan,” Pasiphae replied with a nervous smile. She looked down at Morpho and shouted, “You’ve only got ten seconds, loser! You’ll never be able to point the cannon back up!”
Morpho ran over to the cannon and pushed it back up at the cloud. He then hopped inside it.
“What is he…?” Io muttered under their breath.
The cannon shot Morpho out, and he went through the cloud. He hovered in place and held his sword out as he said, “Thanks for the hint!”
“OH ARE YOU-” Pasiphae sighed heavily, then drew her cutlass. “Whatever, you freaky butterfly!”
As Pasiphae charged a gust of wind around her cutlass, Morpho twirled in the air, then glided down to her, hitting her with his held out sword. He landed behind her, then turned around and slashed her thrice. He finished off by letting out a wave of energy that glided across the ground. That was Pasiphae taken care of. Morpho jumped up in the air again, and released two waves of energy from his sword at Io. Both hit them, and as Morpho returned to the ground, Io ran up to him and yanked him over with their scythe. Io held up their scythe, outer edge facing Morpho, and swung it down at him. Morpho got hit head on, then retaliated by jabbing them several times. He finished off with a slash, which was enough to defeat them.
With both guards defeated, the cloud disappeared beneath them and Morpho. All three fell to the ground. Morpho landed on his butt, Io landed on their back and Pasiphae got a snout full of cobblestone. Fortunately, none of them were seriously injured from the fall.
Io heaved themself up onto so they sat, and Pasiphae propped herself onto a knee.
“You’re pretty strong for a weird butterfly, you son of a biscuit eater,” Pasiphae muttered to Morpho.
“What kind of insul-”
“One that’s very near and dear to me,” Pasiphae said, cutting Morpho off. “Plus, I can say it without getting in trouble!”
“You had the Night Orbs. You wanted to open the gate?” Io asked.
“Yes,” Morpho replied.
“They’re over there, for one,” Io told him, pointing to the scattered Night Orbs just behind him. Morpho picked them all up as quickly as he could, then turned to face the guards again. Io continued, “And second? You’re gonna need our help. It’ll never open without us.”
“So hold up those Night Orbs, loser!” Pasiphae said.
Morpho held up the Night Orbs again, and all six hovered in the air and glowed. They floated over to their respective slots, and entered them. Io and Pasiphae stood up, laying their weapons on the ground, and held their hands so their palms faced the gate. The Night Orbs slowly made their way further into their slots until a click sounded, and the Moon Gate lurched open with a groan.
Once the gate was open, both guards turned to face Morpho again, and Io said, “There. Now it’s open. Go do whatever it is you’re going to.”
“But if you break any of those fancy jars, I will destroy you,” Pasiphae added.
Morpho stood in fear for a moment before nodding and running through the gate. Now he was in the home stretch.
Chapter 18: In the Eye of the Storm
There was a large tree outside Full Moon Palace. It was only visible if you walked past the Moon Gate, but it was there. There was something about this tree that unnerved Morpho. Something about it was familiar. He couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. And it felt as if the tree was staring at him. Of course, that wasn’t possible, since it was a tree… wasn’t it?
Morpho had been staring at the tree for a little while now, and was just now approaching it cautiously. As he got within a couple of meters of the tree, it shook violently. Morpho jumped back, eyes wide. He stared at it for a few more moments, just to make sure the tree wouldn’t attack him. As he stared, he felt some sort of presence in his mind. There were no words, but instead, faint emotions whispering in the back of his mind. It was annoyed, mostly likely at his presence, but seemed to urge him on into the palace. Not wanting to linger around the tree any longer, Morpho made his way up to the doors of the palace. He heard a groan as the tree slowly moved a branch to a lever unseen by him. He heard the lever lower with a thunk , and the palace doors slowly creaked open afterwards. Morpho gave the tree a nod as it moved its branch back, then entered the palace.
It was empty. Completely empty. Which was strange, because he had been swarmed by enemies on the way to the palace itself. But for that same reason, it made sense. He walked down the hall, which was adorned in tapestries and paintings. Not a single torch was lit. With a slight quiver of his wings, Morpho started walking on the balls of his feet. He suspected an ambush, and he had to be ready. He had made his way to the end of the room, signified by the large, wooden doors. He quickly glanced behind him, then pushed the doors open and passed through.
The next room was a lot smaller than the last. The only light in the room was a torch that whose flame was starting to die out. Despite there being little light, Morpho appreciated what there was. Next to the torch was a white sticky note. Morpho padded over to it and stood on the tips of his toes to read it.
You’ve got many tough fights ahead of you. We got you some food to recover your health, it’s in the basket nearby. Best of luck!
- N & N
Morpho had no idea who “N & N” were, but he appreciated the thought. Now where was that basket?
It actually didn’t take long for Morpho to find it at all. Just barely in the light of the flame was a small picnic basket. Morpho approached it, knelt down and opened it. The basket was full of both foods he had never seen before, assumably from the palace’s pantry, and foods familiar to him. He gratefully ate the breadstick and the strange, watermelon-looking fruit, at the very top of the basket, which replenished his health fully. He then noticed a Maxim Tomato amongst the other foods. He hastily grabbed it and put it away to wherever he actually kept things (including the Night Orbs, when he had them) on his person. He stared at the food inside the basket a bit more, longing filling his eyes and heart. He desperately wanted to take more food with him, just in case he needed it, but the Maxim Tomato was already a bit much…
...But what was stopping him?
Morpho grabbed another breadstick and shoved it into the same place he was keeping the Maxim Tomato. He decided that was enough food to last him and closed the basket before he took the whole thing with him. He wanted to write “Thanks” underneath was N & N wrote on the note, but he had no pen. Or pencil. He furrowed his brow and thought for a few moments before coming up with an idea. He unsheathed his sword and poked it into the lid of the basket. It took a little while, but soon he had poked a smiley face into the basket with success. Feeling accomplished, he stood up and went through the doors.
He was surprised to see that the next hall was fully lit. On each side of the velvet royal blue carpet were crowds of Selenadians, lined up and looking at him. There was no doubt in Morpho’s mind that the whole thing wasn’t planned ahead of time. It was unnerving and impressive in equal parts.
From somewhere in the palace, either in the hall Morpho stood in or further ahead, an organ sounded out. And the Selenadians began to sing.
We love it so~
There’s no planet
We’d rather go~ ”
Morpho had jumped at the sudden song and looked around nervously. A Selenadian near him had caught on to his shock, and lightly tapped his shoulder. Morpho spun around with fright.
“We are singing our song to praise the Moon Lady,” the Selenadian explained in a whisper. “We will not harm you. Go forth.”
Morpho hesitantly nodded, sheathed his sword, then strode down the velvet carpet.
“ Oh, Moon Lady,
Share with us
Care for us~ ”
Morpho passed under an marble arch with the moon and a strange, swirling something that Morpho could only see as magic of some kind etched into it. Two gold-trimmed banners depicting that ever-so familiar symbol of Selenada draped down from each end of the arch. Just before he passed under it, he could have sworn he saw Nix perched on a pillar in the right corner of the room for a moment before jumping off. He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head.
‘Don’t be silly, Morpho,’ he told himself.
The next portion of the hall had light purple walls as opposed to the pale blue ones he had seen up to this point. There looked to be painted paw prints on the right wall. The was also a crowd of Selenadians in this room, and as he walked in, the song continued.
“ Storm of ice,
Fast and hard hitting,
Survival’s the roll of the dice~
Storm of ice,
The cold’s too fitting
To what they
Have been told~ ”
The next arch had the moon carved into it again, but this time, tree roots burst from the ground of the arch’s scene. The same two banners were draped over the arch.
This portion of the hall had more earthy colours on the walls than the last, but still managed to keep the same coolness in hue as the other rooms did. A forest was painted on the right wall. There were a few less Selenadians in this room, Morpho had noted, but the song continued.
“ Storm of fire,
Fight for your life on the wire~
Storm of fire,
The feeling of burning
Is too like
Their own pain~ ”
The next marble arch only had the moon engraved on it, but it kept the same banners as he had seen before. The arch extended into a tunnel, which was lit up by stars stuck to the roof of said tunnel. Several more Selenadians lined each side of the tunnel, and they continued to sing.
“ But even so
Through flames or snow
They have healed
And they will shield
The Moon Lady wherever she goes! ”
The next portion Morpho had entered was much like the first, with pale blue walls and crowds of Selenadians to the sides of the carpet. The song entered its second chorus.
That’s admirable~ ”
A Selenadian near the center of the hall waved to him, and Morpho look over at them. It was Hoolaphoop.
“Long time no see, huh?” the Selenadian asked.
Morpho squinted at her.
Hoolaphoop giggled before telling him, “Well, good luck! You’re going to need it…”
The way she said that last part made Morpho stiffen for a moment. But still, he pressed on.
“ Oh, Moon Lady,
With your kindness,
Cradle us~ ”
The next marble arch had something accompanying the moon carved in it, this time, a waterfall. The same banners draped down the arch.
This portion of the hall was a lot of water painted on the right wall. Morpho instinctively flinched at the sight, but soon recovered from the initial shock. More Selenadians were gathered and singing.
“ Lies of hate,
Nothing but loathing
Injected in soft spoken words~
Lies of hate,
They have been clouding
And wise minds~ ”
The next arch had a thunderstorm carved next to the moon in the sky. Of course, the banners were there, draped over the arch as per usual.
The next portion of the seemingly endless hall was a little different from the last ones. It had bolts of forked lightning painted on the right wall, and dark grey clouds and whirling wind painted on the left wall. Morpho had only just noticed that there were less and less Selenadians gathered as he entered each section of the hall.
“ Crazed sea storm,
Crashing and thrashing,
Change happens in just a blink~
Crazed sea storm
They’ve were behaving
So then why
torture them? ”
There was another arch that extended into a tunnel at the end of this room. As he entered, he noticed that there were very few Selenadians at all in the tunnel. Maybe seven or eight on each side. Despite their small numbers, they sang loud.
“ They have been grazed
Through plains and waves~
But they lived,
And they’ll give
The Moon Lady the strength to be brave! ”
The next section was much like the first and the fourth, bearing pale blue walls. There was only a spaced out line of Selenadians on each side of the carpet.
Land of the Moon~
Stars around us,
How we love you~ ”
As Morpho approached the end of the hall, a canine-like Selenadian who walked on all fours approached him. This canine was old, as shown by the many grey hairs they had and the wrinkles by their eyes.
“You have come far, knight of another world,” the canine said. “Remember to stay brave. No matter what happens.”
“ Oh, Moon Lady,
Please guide us~
With your wiseness,
Please lead us~ ”
Morpho’s face had softened significantly at the elder’s words. He nodded with determination, then made his way up the sky blue stairs at the end of the hall.
They lead to an open room, which bore pitch black walls and no windows. A balcony spanning the width of the room was located at the other end, and spaced-out pillars held the roof up where the room ended and the balcony began.
In the middle of the room was a fox-like creature with silver-blue fur and silver-rimmed glasses resting on its snout. She notably had two tails, both tipped white. She somehow had hair that reached down to her translucent shawl, then flicked up to form some sort of scruff on her head. She wore a near-white dress, which had a lavender ribbon around the waist and light blue frills under it. Both her hands, which sported small white claws, and feet were floating. She had her own verse to sing in this song, and was clearly wrapped up in it.
“ The life
You have given this planet~
You have given your people~
We could only wish
To have all this
If it weren’t for you!
To give to all of my friends~
To continue through hardships~
I could only wish
To have all this
Moon Lady, we love you! ”
Her voice lowered to a murmur as she added, “And I love you too…”
She raised her voice back up as she yelled out to the other Selenadians, “Final chorus!”
Morpho turned to look down the hall as the Selenadians sang the song’s finale. He heard it loud and clear as it echoed down into the room.
We love it so~
There’s no planet
We’d rather go~
Oh, Moon Lady,
Share with us
Care for us~
Oh, Moon Lady,
With your kindness,
Land of the Moon~
Stars around us,
How we love you~
Oh, Moon Lady,
Please guide us~
With your wiseness,
Please lead us~
Moon shining bright~
We dance under
Radiant light~ ”
The organ struck its last note, then faded.
The fox lady cleared her throat, grabbing Morpho’s attention.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to turn your back on someone you just met?”
Morpho turned back around to face her.
“Good. Allow me to introduce myself.” She placed a paw on her chest as she said, “I am Lysithea.”
Her paw fell back to her side as she continued, “I’ve been expecting you for quite some time, but it’s unfortunate that you have. You’ve interfered with Her Radiance’s plans quite enough, don’t you think?”
Morpho gripped his sword’s handle as he frowned. He was tempted to yell at her, but held his tongue.
“Thankfully, I have a plan to make sure you never disrupt us again.” Lysithea clapped her paws twice and yelled, “Dysnomia! Come!”
There was a brief moment of stillness before a hooded figure slowly floated into the room from an entrance to the right. This figure, assumably Dysnomia, wore teal robes, which had black stripes at the end of the hood, sleeves and body. The hood had a low rim, covering Dysnomia’s face in darkness. Said rim was a dull dark silver that extended past the rim itself and fell to his shoulders. The neck of his robes seemed to be pulled up to cover the lower half of his face for some reason.
Dysnomia stood next to Lysithea, and that’s when Morpho realised just how big she was. Dysnomia was at least half the size of her.
Lysithea gestured to Dysnomia with a paw as she said, “Dysnomia is our newest aid. He doesn’t say a lot, but he has quite powerful magic. I’m sure that this magic will be enough to stop you once and for all!”
She glanced to the left and frowned slightly as she muttered under her breath, “It had better; I promised the Moon Lady it would.”
She returned her gaze to Morpho as she ordered, “Now, Dysnomia…” She pointed a finger at Morpho and barked, “OBLITERATE HIM!”
Dysnomia raised his arms above his head, letting a ball of dark energy grow between them. Morpho ran back, jumped up and released two waves of energy from his sword. Just as he did this, Dysnomia released the fully-charged ball of dark energy, and the two collided before exploding. Lysithea ducked to the balcony’s edge of the room as Dysnomia drifted closer to Morpho and charged another dark ball. Morpho ran forward and slashed at Dysnomia. Just as Dysnomia was about to unleash the dark ball, he slid underneath him. Morpho twirled around to face Dysnomia’s back and jabbed at him. Dysnomia let out a low growl before drifting to the right end of the room. He raised his arms and started charging up another ball of dark energy. Morpho took the opportunity to charge the energies in his sword and unleash two fiery faces. The faces drifted over to Dysnomia, throwing off his balance as they gnawed away at him. Dysnomia waved a sleeve at the faces, trying to shoo them away. The faces soon dissipated, and he attempted the attack again. Morpho ran up to Dysnomia and jabbed at him as the dark ball continued to grow, then teleported back to his original position. The dark ball, which had grown humongous in size, glowed for a second before firing a smaller ball at Morpho. Morpho got hit directly on the head. He teleported closer to Dysnomia, hoping he wouldn’t be hit again, but another small ball was fired from the big ball. It would have landed on Morpho’s head again if he hadn’t managed to jump out of the way. The smaller dark ball landed on the ground and made a small explosion. The dark ball of energy then released five more smaller versions of itself, and Morpho jumped out of the way of them. Once the dark ball had dissipated, Morpho charged up to Dysnomia and jabbed at him, finishing off with a slash. Dysnomia drifted to the other end of the room, then held his arms straight out. He charged up another dark ball between his arms. Morpho ran up to him again, choosing to ignore the upcoming attack. Once the dark ball had finished charging, it glowed briefly before shooting out a beam of energy that reached to the other end of the room. Morpho got caught in the beam, and once the beam faded, he fell face first to the ground. He pushed himself up, teleported behind Dysnomia and gave him a good slash on the back. Dysnomia growled again before drifting to the right end of the room again. He held up his arms and charged up a ring of several smaller balls of dark energy. He released them in quick succession once Morpho started charging towards him. Morpho somehow managed to dodge them all, then jumped up in the air and released two waves of energy from his sword. Both hit the hooded dark mage. Dysnomia drifted to the left end of the room, charged up another regular ball of dark energy and flung it at Morpho. The ball bounced down towards him, and without thinking, he held out a flat side of his sword. The ball rebounded and bounced back towards Dysnomia, then hit him directly on the head. Morpho then jumped up in the air, held his sword out in front of him, then glided down to Dysnomia. Just as he did this, Dysnomia drifted to the right end of the room. The two met in the middle of the room, and while Morpho did not deal the finishing blow to Dysnomia, his sword managed to snag the dark mage’s hood. Morpho noticed this when he landed, and promptly shook it off. He then turned to face Dysnomia, freshly unhooded. The mage’s back was turned as he made a strange gurgling noise, but then looked over his shoulder, fury filling his visible eye. He then fully turned to face Morpho as he hissed at him.
Morpho took a deep breath in, and with pure anger, he threw his sword to the ground.
“ REALLY?! ” he exclaimed, his voice rising to a pitch that even he hadn’t heard before, “ YOU AGAIN?! ”
To say that it was a welcome face would be the lie of the century. To say that it was a face that made Morpho a bit mad would be the understatement of the millennia. On the contrary, to say that it was a familiar face would be right. And to say that Morpho never wanted to see this person in particular ever again? You would have hit the nail on the head about ten times. And that nail would have been huge.
Everything about him was the same, apart from the eyes. His pupils had gone from black to white, and grew somewhat as well. The light blue-purple rings that once surrounded the pupils had now become dirty, nebula-looking clouds. The biggest change of all were the translucent galaxies in his eyes and the stars twinkling clearly in them. If he were still hooded, one may have pointed out how similar Dysnomia’s attire was, but never would have guessed that he used to be Hyness.
While Morpho was fuming over this revelation, Dysnomia charged up another dark ball and threw it onto Morpho, knocking him to the ground. Morpho clutched his sword, gingerly stood up, and jabbed his sword straight into Dysnomia. Dysnomia was silent for a second before he hovered backward, clutching his chest after the sword slipped away. He hovered in place for a moment before teleporting away with a flash of white light.
Lysithea growled as she returned to the middle of the room.
“Curses! Curses curses curses!” She took a sharp breath in and exhaled as she told Morpho, “Well, you’re a lot stronger than I anticipated. But there’s still time! I can save this! The Moon Lady’s plans will be complete!”
Lysithea made her way to the middle of the room, and with a lash of her tails, she snapped, “Your journey ends here!”
With a snap of her fingers, Lysithea summoned a flame in the palm of her hand. She flicked her hand outward and shot it towards Morpho. The flame grew bigger as it shot out of Lysithea’s hand, and Morpho wasn’t prepared. His face got burnt, but figured it was better than being drenched in water. Morpho shook his head and wings, then charged towards Lysithea. He jabbed at her several times and finished off with a slash. Lysithea darted to the left end of the room and made another flame in her paw and let it grow big. Morpho turned on his heels and ran over to Lysithea. Lysithea held the palm of her paw out and unleashed a flamethrower from the flame she grew, toasting Morpho once again. She then darted to the right end of the room.
Morpho glanced over his shoulder at Lysithea and wondered just how he was going to beat her. He was starting to tire, so he had to be cautious.
“Are you done there?” Lysithea asked, raising an eyebrow as Morpho internally monologued. “I’d quite like fry you into nothingness, if that’s okay.”
Morpho squinted. “Why would that be okay.”
Lysithea opened her mouth to say something, but stopped herself. She furrowed her brow and placed a paw to her chin in thought.
Morpho teleported behind Lysithea, jumped into the air and released two waves of energy from his sword. One skimmed over her head and the other hit in right in the back. She whirled around and glared at him, growling. She snapped her fingers twice, and two flames appeared at her sides. She pointed up at Morpho, and the flames shot towards him. Just before the flames hit him, Morpho teleported away. Lysithea was stunned for a moment, which Morpho took to slash her in the back. Lysithea whirled around again as Morpho teleported to the very end of the left end of the room. She darted over to him and while lashing her tails, she grew a ball of fire in between her paws. She then pushed the fully-sized ball of fire out at Morpho, who slid under Lysithea, jumped up behind her and slashed her in the back again. He then teleported to the very right end of the room. Lysithea snapped her fingers twice, making two flames appear by her sides once more. She pointed at Morpho, and the flames flew towards him. He jumped over the flames as she drew near. Once he landed back on the ground, he charged up the energies in his sword. He held it up and released two fiery faces, which drifted over to Lysithea. The two faces didn’t deal a lot of damage to her, since she was a fire user herself, but they dealt some damage nonetheless before fading away. Lysithea bounced backward to the left end of the room. Morpho ran towards her, and skidded to a halt in front of her. Lysithea made another small flame in her paw, and as she sent it at Morpho, he teleported behind her, then jabbed her several times, and finished off the attack with a slash. Lysithea turned to face Morpho as she drifted to the right end of the room.
With a growl, she made a ball of fire between her paws. It reached a size bigger than what Morpho thought was safe, and she raised her paws above her head, the ball coming along with them. Once the ball stopped growing, she let out a war cry as a beam of fire shot down at Morpho, hitting him just above the eyes. Morpho teleported closer to Lysithea, and another beam fired down at him. He narrowly jumped out of the way, and the beam almost burnt his toes. More beams of fire shot down at him continuously, and Morpho hopped around dodging them. The beams kept coming until the ball of fire from which they were shot out of had disappeared. Once the attack had ended, Morpho teleported to the very left of the room. Lysithea snapped both of her fingers, and a flame had surrounded her. She bent down, flicked her tails and charged straight at him. Morpho got hit head on. Morpho fell to the ground, then gingerly got up. He teleported into the middle of the room, high above Lysithea, and held his sword in front of him with both hands. Energy charged in the sword, and once his sword turned white with power, he pulled his hands away to form two bigger replicas of his sword in each hand. He teleported to the right end of the room and held his the sword in his left hand back. The sword grew even larger, and once it stopped growing, Morpho swung it down onto the ground. Lysithea got crushed underneath, but she wasn’t quite down for the count. As Morpho teleported to the left end of the room, Lysithea snapped her fingers three times. Three spots of heat appeared around her. Lysithea darted away to the right end of the room as Morpho held the sword in his right hand back. It grew larger, and once it stopped growing, Morpho swung it down onto the ground. Just as the giant sword was swung, jets of fire erupted from the ground right underneath Morpho. The result was Lysithea getting crushed underneath one of Morpho’s swords again while Morpho got his butt seared. Both Lysithea and Morpho were low on stamina, and a single hit could determine the fate of Popstar. Morpho teleported into the middle of the room again and held his sword across each other. Lysithea picked herself up as the sword grew larger, and Morpho swung the sword onto the ground. That was the final hit needed to defeat Lysithea.
With a groan, Lysithea slowly picked herself off the ground. Morpho pulled out the Maxim Tomato he had stashed away and quickly ate it.
As Lysithea returned to the air, she muttered, “H-How…? Just how are you so strong?”
She sighed heavily before continuing, “I won’t give up just yet, though. I CAN’T give up just yet...! I can go as many round as you’d like-”
“Lysithea, that’s enough.”
Lysithea’s ears pricked up as her eyes widened. She spun around as a new figure entered the room from the balcony. The figure wore a light grey-blue dress with a white collar. The dress had shoulder pads, and the long sleeves were almost as long as the dress itself, hiding her hands. The figure’s hair was almost as black as the night itself, and it fell between her dull blue eyes and past the collar of her dress. It also had three flicks in the back.
“Y-Your Radiance, forgive me! I may have gotten a bit carried away…” Lysithea stammered as she bowed.
“So this is the one who’s been bothering us?” the figure asked.
“Y-Yes, that is him…” Lysithea replied.
The figure took a moment to stare down Morpho before saying, “Very well. Lysithea, you are dismissed.”
Lysithea exited the room wordlessly.
The figure moved closer to Morpho, her shadow looming over him. With her face somewhat obscured in the darkness, her eyes glowed a little. Morpho couldn’t help but shrink down a bit in her presence.
“So you finally made it here. Morpho Knight, is it?”
Morpho nodded timidly.
“Interesting. You managed to defeat all my aids? That’s not an easy feat.”
The figure moved back a bit, revealing her face a bit more.
“You’ve heard my title uttered many times, haven’t you? The Moon Lady. But not once my name… Lady Synodia. That is my name.”
Morpho’s wings quivered upon hearing her name. It truly fit someone in such a high position as her.
Lady Synodia spread her arms out as she continued, “And what purpose do I have for claiming Planet Popstar? That’s simple, really. Dominance. Your planet was only the beginning. Once you’re gone, I’ll move onto other planets. And then the whole galaxy will see how powerful I truly am! And you will too. It’s just a shame it won’t last for long!”
Lady Synodia drifted to the right end of the room. She held her arms straight up and pointed upwards with her exposed gloved hands. A ball of glowing white energy tossed and turned above her head, and it eventually took the shape of a whip. The whip extended and lashed out at Morpho with a crack . Morpho managed to jump back to avoid the initial attack, but that first attack released a shockwave, which tripped Morpho up. Morpho quickly got to his feet and slashed at the magic whip, making it explode. Morpho ducked, expecting the blobs of magic to rain down on him, but instead they instead collectively did a loop-de-loop and hit Lady Synodia. She lowered her arms and shook them to recover from the attack, then raised her arms up in the air. She cupped her hands and another ball of glowing white energy formed above her. It soon took on the form of a giant hammer. Lady Synodia pointed straight ahead, and the magic hammer flung itself in that direction. It skimmed over Morpho’s head as it came down and flew over to the opposite wall. It raised itself, then smacked the ground. Two shockwaves came from the left and right of the hammer due to the impact. The left shockwave dissipated rather quickly, as it hit the wall, and the right shockwave traveled towards Morpho. Morpho jumped over it, and it hit Lady Synodia for a little bit of damage. The magic hammer then lowered and flung itself at Morpho, spinning rapidly. Morpho ducked, and the hammer skimmed over his head. It spun back to the left wall, lifting itself up a little before spinning back to the right wall. Morpho jumped up into the air, held his sword to the ground, and when the magic hammer was just underneath him, he dropped down. His sword pierced through the magic hammer, making it dissipate. The blobs of magic leftover flew towards Lady Synodia and hit her for a fair chunk of damage. After shaking out her arms, Lady Synodia held them back up. Her fingers pointed toward each other as another ball of glowing white energy formed above her head. The ball twisted and stretched itself into the shape of a bow, and part of the magic bow detached itself to make an arrow and lodge itself in the bow. The bow readied its aim, then fired at the very left end of the room. Another magic arrow was made, and it shot down about a couple of meters away from the left edge of the room. Morpho cautiously walked back, keeping an eye on the next magic arrow. It landed just near Morpho’s feet. The next two magic arrows landed closer to Lady Synodia. The arrows pulled themself out of the ground, and merged together into a singular, bigger arrow in midair. It returned to the magic bow. The bow pulled the arrow back, pointing it straight at Morpho. The giant magic arrow was fired at Morpho. As it shot towards him, he held his blade over his head. He swung his sword down just before the arrow hit him, making it explode into blobs of magic. The blobs turned and hit Lady Synodia. Lady Synodia shook out her arms once again, then raised them back up. Lady Synodia’s hands were clenched into fists as the next blob of glowing white energy formed between them. The blob eventually molded itself into a wand. The magic wand shot out a whip-like beam of magic. Morpho tried to jump up to avoid the whip of magic, but instead jumped straight into it. Another whip-like beam of magic hsot out of the wand, and Morpho got hit by that, too. Morpho teleported away to the left end of the room to avoid the third whip-like beam of magic. His plan worked in his favour. He teleported close to Lady Synodia as she charged up a large ball of magic. The ball crackled with energy as it grew, and once it was at its full size, it was released from the wand. Morpho jumped back, then held out a flat side of his sword. The ball collided with Morpho’s sword, sending some sparks flying. Morpho pushed against the ball of energy, his shoes skidding across the ground as the ball fought back. With a cry, Morpho pushed the ball flying back to Lady Synodia, and it hit her square in the face. She lowered her arms with a growl, shook them out, then teleported to the left end of the room.
Lady Synodia clapped her hands together. She opened them to reveal several small blobs of glowing white magic. She pointed at Morpho to release them. The blobs flew straight at him. Morpho’s eyes went wide as he teleported away from the blobs. The blobs hit the other wall. Morpho held his sword back and charged up some energy, then released three waves of energy with each swing of his sword. The waves of energy traveled across the ground and hit Lady Synodia. She rose into the air and levitated a short distance off the ground, and a white glow surrounded her. The glow became so bright that it filled the entire room. Morpho could no longer make out his surroundings, and Lady Synodia simply became a silhouette. He could feel that she was making some sort of attack, but it was impossible to tell where it was, so he simply guarded. He soon heard a small explosion, then another, but felt nothing hit him. Lady Synodia returned to the ground, and the light faded. Morpho blinked to adjust to the sudden change, and unfortunately for her, so did Lady Synodia. Taking the opportunity, Morpho ran up to her and jabbed at her multiple times, and finished off the attack with a vertical slash. Lady Synodia teleported to the middle of the room and clapped twice. A ring of symbols of Selenada appeared around her, and spears shot up from them a second later. Lady Synodia pointed straight up, and the spears rose into the air. As the spears hovered above her head, they repositioned themselves down either side of her. They then fell to the ground, and some hit Morpho. He teleported to the right end of the room, spun around to face Lady Synodia, held his sword back and charged up energy in it. He released three waves of energy across the floor, all of which hit Lady Synodia. Lady Synodia teleported close to Morpho and clenched her hands into fists, and milky white energy charged up around them. Without thinking, Morpho slash horizontally at Lady Synodia as she brought a wave of energy down on him. Both were hit, but Lady Synodia was promptly defeated.
Lady Synodia knelt in the middle of the room one knee, and her hair fell over her face. She quivered, then glowed. A black orb about twice the size of Morpho slowly rose out of her, taking the glow her body produced with it. It hovered in place for a couple of moments then flew away over the balcony.
All was silent for a moment before a familiar voice cried out, “Lady Synodia!”
Lysithea came rushing into the room and knelt down beside Lady Synodia. Lady Synodia took Lysithea’s paw as she gingerly stood up. She squeezed her eyes shut as she shook her head clear.
“Lysithea? Who is this? What happened?” Lady Synodia asked, pointing at Morpho.
“That’s Morpho Knight, Your Radiance. You… fought him,” Lysithea replied, looking at him as he sheathed his sword.
Lady Synodia blinked twice as she squinted with confusion.
“When I beat you, this weird black orb that glowed came out of your body and went,” Morpho pointed in the direction of the balcony, “thataway.”
Lady Synodia’s eyes went wide as she covered where her mouth would be.
“Oh no,” she whispered.
As Morpho padded up to her, he asked, “What is it?”
Lady Synodia knelt down to Morpho’s level, put her hands on his shoulder pads and told him, “The whole galaxy is going to be destroyed if we don’t do something!”
She hastily stood up and turned away from Morpho, muttering to herself, “Oh, there’s so much I have to do… I’ll have to find the harp and the ocarina, and then there’s the whole matter of-”
She spun back around to Morpho and asked, “Is Solarana okay?!”
“She’s fine, yes,” Morpho replied.
With a sigh of relief, Lady Synodia exclaimed, “Oh, thank the stars! But I’m still not sure if she’ll forgive me for the mess I’ve made…”
“Don’t worry, Lady Synodia, I’m sure she will,” Lysithea assured her, moving closer to her.
“Thank you, Lysithea,” Lady Synodia sighed. She turned to Morpho and told him, “Morpho Knight, you need to go after that orb. The entire galaxy depends on it. Stall its destruction for as long as you can.”
Unsheathing his sword, Morpho replied, “Right.”
He took out the bread roll he had stashed away and shoved it into his mouth. Once he had finished chewing and swallowed, recovering his lost health, he ran onto the balcony and jumped onto the railing.
He looked over his shoulder and asked, “But, who exactly am I fighting?”
Lady Synodia’s face went grim as she replied, “Ecliscor.”
Hearing the name sent shivers through Morpho’s body. Without further delay, he jumped off the balcony railing and flew into the sky to find Ecliscor.
Chapter 19: On the Edge of Destruction
There was a forest that stretched out underneath the balcony. The leaves on the trees shined together and illuminated the skies that Morpho flew in, which he was grateful for. In fact, he couldn’t think of a time he was more grateful to be alive. But he couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread - if he failed to stop Ecliscor, then there wouldn’t be any galaxy left to explore. No one left behind. All their souls would be crushed along with the galaxy’s. And that grated on Morpho’s heart more than anything.
Against the full moon in the sky, Morpho could see the black dot that was Ecliscor in the distance. It was flying away from him, but to where, he had no idea.
With a flap of his wings, Morpho picked up his pace and shot towards Ecliscor. The orb-like creature heard his approach, and started fleeing. Clearly it didn’t want its plans foiled.
Ecliscor halted above a clifftop. It was strangely flat, and most of the grass on it had been worn away. An entire galaxy could be seen from the clifftop, almost like it was positioned at the edge of the world. Morpho landed on the clifftop, and faced Ecliscor, his sword tightly gripped in his hand. The aura around Ecliscor grew for a split second, before it unleashed its first attack.
Several stars shot down at Morpho as Ecliscor spun around to shoot them. Morpho jumped out of the way of these stars, then jumped into the air, held his sword out and glided over to Ecliscor. His sword made a dent in the orb’s surface, clearly damaging it. As Morpho dropped to the ground, Ecliscor spun around as it unleashed another attack. Another flurry of stars shot down in the same spot as before, leaving Morpho completely unharmed. He jumped up and stabbed Ecliscor on its underside, dealing a bit more damage to it. Ecliscor spun around and darted to the other end of the clifftop. Morpho chased after it. Ecliscor spun around and hot out another flurry of stars, which nearly clipped Morpho’s wings. Once the stars has dissipated, Morpho jumped up and slashed horizontally at Ecliscor. Ecliscor’s body has starting to crack, most likely due to the injuries it had obtained from the fight. It had… surprisingly low defenses. Ecliscor shot out another flurry of stars, which Morpho just watched as he stood under Ecliscor. Once the flurry of stars ended, he jumped up and slashed Ecliscor once more. Ecliscor traveled higher into the air, hovering above the middle of the clifftop. It spun around rapidly, shooting out glowing white orbs of energy. They exploded upon contact with the ground, and Morpho almost got caught in one. He narrowly dodged the energy orbs which pelted down all across the clifftop, then jumped up and jabbed at Ecliscor as many times as he could before falling to the ground. Ecliscor swooped down at Morpho, who just barely managed to duck in time. Ecliscor then swooped over to the other side of the clifftop, where the battle had started. Ecliscor spun around and another flurry of stars shot down at him. Morpho jumped out of the way again, then jumped up into the air, led out his sword and glided down to Ecliscor. The dent made by his sword this time around made Ecliscor’s surface crack even more, letting a bright white light seep out. Clearly, it was down on its health. And that was when Morpho decided to finish it. He jumped up into the air once more, outstretching his wings. He flew above Ecliscor, and with both hands firmly gripped onto the blade’s handle, he thrust it down into Ecliscor’s body.
The bright light burst out and filled the area. Morpho was flung back by some unknown force and thrown onto the ground. There was some sort of noise - like a high-pitched squeal, and quiet as whisper, but so loud, it overwhelmed him. The edge of a churning mess could soon be vaguely made out, folding over itself and struggling to take form. As the light faded, the blob’s details soon became clear. It looked like a stormy sea, with stars dotted all over it. The starry blob glowed a little as it took a form. And it was huge.
Towering over him was scorpion-esque creature made of… some sort of space material. It looked like it would blend right into the deep reaches of space, with the stars all over it and its deep blue colouring. At the end of its two thick arms were a pair of large claws. The end of its body had a segmented tail, which grew gradually lighter, with the lightest point being at the tail’s tip. White clouds reminiscent of sea froth lay on edges of its body. Its eyes were barely discernible from the rest of its head, and two pearly white tusks laid at the bottom of it. The only pat of it that wasn’t starry was its belly, which was a solid creamy colour.
With a hiss, it summoned a long, yellow hexagonal shield, studded with star imagery, and held it in front of them. It backed up to the right edge of the clifftop. Morpho charged forward at Ecliscor and thrust his sword into Ecliscor’s shield. The sword had lodged itself into the shield with little damage to the shield itself. Morpho propped himself onto the shield and started tugging on his sword. It took a few attempts, but Morpho managed to pull his sword out, flying backwards and skidding onto the ground with the force from the pull. Ecliscor hovered over to the opposite end of the clifftop. Morpho knew he had to get this final battle over with quick, or else the entire universe would cease to exist. He teleported a few meters away from Ecliscor in midair, and then lunged down at it, sword pointed straight out. Ecliscor spun around and blocked the attack the split second before Morpho’s attack landed, causing the shield to become dented and Morpho to bounce away from the recoil. He teleported back onto the clifftop where he previously was. Ecliscor raised its free arm and charged an attack. The attack was another flurry of stars raining down on him, but this time, they posed a much bigger threat, with a longer range and bigger projectiles. Morpho got hit by these falling stars a couple of times. Once the storm was over, Morpho ran up to Ecliscor and sliced at its shield as many times as he could before Ecliscor pushed him away. Ecliscor raised its free arm again, and this time, its claw began to glow. It lowered its claw and shot beams down at Morpho, making sure to be precise as possible. Morpho darted between the beams, eventually closing in on Ecliscor again. He jumped up into the air, charged the energy in his sword and released it as two waves of energy at the shield. It seemed the magical nature of the attack dealt more damage to the shield. Ecliscor hovered back to the right edge of the clifftop. Ecliscor didn’t seem to be doing anything in particular, so Morpho took the opportunity to charge up more energy in his sword and unleash two fiery faces. The faces hovered to Ecliscor’s shield and began gnawing away at it as Morpho ran up to Ecliscor and jabbed and sliced at the shield. The shield was beginning to look battered now. Ecliscor, tired of the constant attacks on its shield, pushed away Morpho and the faces he had summoned, destroying them. It raised its free arm and began another flurry of stars. This one was more concentrated - having a smaller range and projectile size, but more stars in quantity. The stars began to pelt down on Morpho, and he quickly teleported away. Ecliscor just aimed the stars at him again. There was a steady stream of teleports until the flurry of stars stopped. Morpho let his wings twitch and shake as he rested for a moment. While he could continue to use his magical capabilities, he felt that he could come to harm himself if he did - so until he felt confident to use it, magic was a no go. Morpho changed up to Ecliscor’s shield again and slashed at it as many times as he could. Ecliscor then hovered over to the left edge of the clifftop and idled again. Morpho spun around to face his opponent, then jumped into the air, held his sword out and glided down to Ecliscor’s shield. After his sword made another dent, he continued his attack by slicing at the shield as many times as he could before dropping to the ground. As Morpho’s feet returned to the thin layer of grass on the clifftop, Ecliscor raised its arm up again. Morpho backed away as the attack charged. There was a glow overhead, and a meteor hurtled to the ground. It landed with a deafening crash , and shockwaves came from the impact. Morpho jumped over one that was headed towards him, only to trip on the second. There was another meteor that fell onto the clifftop, repeating the same shockwaves the first gave off. Morpho managed to jump over both this time. A third meteor fell onto the clifftop and had it not been for the large shadow it cast over him and the ear-piercing whistle it gave off whilst falling, Morpho would have been squashed by it. Morpho scrambled onto the second meteor, which had cooled off, then watched as the third landed and made the edge of the clifftop crumble away as it landed. Morpho didn’t have to worry about the shockwaves the time, but it saddened him to see part of the clifftop go. Morpho returned his attention to Ecliscor. He hopped from one meteor to another, then jumped at Ecliscor’s shield. He slashed at it as much as he could before hearing a loud crack. He looked up to see a crack had formed in the center of the shield. Ecliscor had noticed, too. Using its free arm, it returned the remaining two meteors to the sky, then hovered back over to the right end of the clifftop. It raised its free arm again, then shot more beams at Morpho. Morpho ducked and dodged them again, but got caught by some. Morpho then ran back at Ecliscor’s shield and jabbed at it as many times as he could. Ecliscor was strangely idle, so Morpho took the chance to continue attack the shield. He slashed and jabbed, unaware that the shield was slowly moving up. He only noticed when it was too late, when his sword sliced at the air instead of the shield. Ecliscor then slammed it down on him before he could process what was happening. As the shield was slowly raised, Morpho found himself slowly peeling off the shield as it rose back up. It was looking pretty worn, and maybe…
Morpho gingerly raised his left arm, his hand tightly gripping his sword. With all the strength he could muster, he thrust his sword into the shield. The shield cracked more with the sword’s impact. The cracks grew, and sprawled all over the shield’s surface. It then shattered, flinging Morpho off.
Morpho’s heels skidded on the clifftop as he landed. Ecliscor growled, looking up at the galactic skies. The shards of the shield had started falling to the ground. Morpho curiously picked one up and inspected it. It was certainly sharp enough to harm, if shot in the right direction. He threw it up, and using the flat side of his sword, volleyed it toward Ecliscor. Ecliscor writhed in pain when the shard hit its belly. Morpho picked up another shard and volleyed it to Ecliscor, piercing its belly once again. Its eyes flared white with anger for a split second, then held up its arms.
Morpho picked up a third shard and smacked it to Ecliscor. Ecliscor deflected the shard with its right claw, sending it hurtling back to Morpho. The shard hit him right between the eyes, stunning him for a moment. Morpho pulled out the shard and discarded it. He then picked up another and smacked it toward Ecliscor. Ecliscor deflected it again, but Morpho was ready this time. He shot the shard back at Ecliscor, and it hit it in the belly again. Morpho picked up another shard and started another volley between him and Ecliscor. It was tossed between them four times before Morpho hit Ecliscor in the belly again. Morpho started another volley between himself and Ecliscor with another shard of the shield. Six times it was tossed between them before Morpho hit the shard into Ecliscor’s belly.
Ecliscor growled at it pinched the shards shot into it and flicked them away. It narrowed its eyes at Morpho as it hunched over. Just as it was about to attack, a sweet melody wafted through the air. Ecliscor’s eyes widened, and it swerved its head to find the source. Morpho looked in the same direction, raising an eyebrow.
On a winged platform stood Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana, playing a harp and an ocarina respectively. Morpho’s face lit up as soon as he figured out who they were.
“Lady Synodia! Lady Solarana! You made up!” Morpho exclaimed as they approached.
“Synodia told me what happened, you’re not too hurt, are you?” Lady Solarana asked.
With a shake of his head, Morpho replied, “Just a little banged up, but otherwise-”
He was cut off by the sound of his stomach growling.
“A little hungry, it sounds like,” Lady Synodia finished.
Sheepishly, Morpho pulled out the bread he had stashed away and quickly ate it, restoring the health he had lost.
“You’ve done a good job at holding off Ecliscor,” Lady Synodia told him. “But you can’t defeat him entirely on your own.” She held up her harp as she continued, “Not without us and the instruments of the sun and moon!”
“I’ve got the Ocarina of the Sun, and Synodia has the Harp of the Moon,” Lady Solarana explained. “With the power of the ancient melody passed down to us both and our love, we can stop Ecliscor!”
“Now hurry, Morpho Knight! Lead Ecliscor down the cliff! We’ll keep playing our song!” Lady Synodia said.
Morpho nodded. Without further delay, he dashed down the left end of the clifftop. Ecliscor wasted no time in chasing after him.
The clifftop’s left end dropped off after a fair way, leaving whatever lay below in darkness. Without hesitating, Morpho dived down into the darkness, spreading his wings out. Ecliscor dived down after him, focused on getting Morpho only. The drop was quite deep, and Morpho found himself crashing face first onto the ground below the clifftop. The grass was much softer down here, and though he could see faint lights on either side of him, he couldn’t see the path ahead on him. Still, he kept running. Once Ecliscor made it to the bottom of the drop, Morpho’s path became much clearer. It gave off enough light to light the path ahead of him, thanks to the sheer energy it held and the stars on its body. The path ahead was rather clear, surprisingly. Morpho was running in a plain, the grass untamed, but not untouched. Some blades had soft lights at their ends, which swayed to and fro. It didn’t take long for Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana to catch up, playing their song from the safety of the winged platform they stood on.
Ecliscor didn’t plan on just chasing Morpho. It raised its left arm and slammed it onto the ground, causing the ground to ripple with a shockwave travelling underneath it. The wave caught up to Morpho and caused him to trip. He soon got up and continued running. Ecliscor then pulled back its right arm and punched it forward, closing the space between it and Morpho even more. Morpho glanced behind his shoulder to see Ecliscor’ raging eyes right behind him, earning a yelp from the knight. He pushed himself off the ground and flew a short distance to get further away from the destruction-bringing entity.
Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana’s song was starting to take its toll on Ecliscor. As Morpho approached a steep hill, Ecliscor let out a screech as its body fell to the ground. Morpho paused and looked at Ecliscor, who had taken a fair amount of damage. It heaved itself off the ground and hissed at Morpho. Morpho decided to continue running.
Ecliscor hovered over Morpho as he ran up the hill. As Morpho ran as fast as he could up the steep hill, Ecliscor pointed its tail out at him. It glowed, then shot a comet-looking blast down at him. Morpho barely dodged the first as it made a hole in hill. Another came down at him, and this time, it hit. With a low growl, Morpho got up and continued running. More blasts came down at him, sometimes in threes, but Morpho kept running. It seemed he would never reach the top.
Another one of Ecliscor’s ear-splitting screeches broke Morpho out of his thoughts. Ecliscor crashed to the ground, accidentally stabbing itself with the end of its tail. The impact caused the ground to shake. Morpho took the opportunity to distance himself from Ecliscor by flying a short distance up the hill. Ecliscor soon rose back up, its entire body heaving with effort to stay alive.
Ecliscor wasted no time in making its next attacks. It dove down at Morpho and squashed him under its head. It slowly rose back up, leaving Morpho to drop back onto the ground. Now he too was running low on stamina. But he had to stay strong. For everyone. Morpho used what power he had to dash up the hill for a short while. Ecliscor dove back down in an attempt to dispose of Morpho, only just barely missing the knight. Morpho’s lungs burned, and his feet ached, but he kept running. He ran and ran and ran, and Ecliscor kept attack with what little power it had, trying to stave off the harmful effects of Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana’s melody it had on it.
After what seemed like an eternity, Morpho finally reached the top of the hill. The view was quite nice from there. Ecliscor let out another ear-piercing screech as it slowly hauled itself up to the top of the hill and hovered in the air, its shadow cast over Morpho. It glared at him as its arms starting fading, becoming no more than dark grey mist. The rest of its body started turning to that same mist as its breathing became raspier and heavier than ever before. It closed its eyes for a couple of seconds before reopening them. Only its head and end of its tail remained as it hurtled toward Morpho. The knight, caught off guard, was surrounded by the mist, then collapsed on the ground. This was not planned.
Morpho came to in a completely dark area. He couldn’t tell the ground from the sky, and all around was the same colour as the mist that Ecliscor’s body had turned into. He gingerly got up and rubbed his head as he looked around. Everything seemed hazy and foggy, even though there was no real way to tell. There was no visible way out, but if he looked for one, maybe he’d find one. Morpho started walking straight ahead.
It had been about 30 seconds into his walk that he started hearing faint whispers from around him. He whipped around to check if there was anyone behind him, but no. The whispers ceased when he did. Furrowing his brow, he turned back around and continued walking. The whispers continued, and he glanced around to see if any thing was there making them. No. Nothing but him in this dark realm. Morpho tried listening to the whispers as he continued walking. They were unintelligible, as if they were another language.
A few more moments later, he heard a raspy voice. It was hard to tell what it said at first, but as he kept walking, it continued. It seemed to be singing a song of sorts to itself, but the melody was horribly distorted. Eventually, Morpho came upon two, glowing white eyes that pierced the dark. The eyes were surrounded by glowing dots, arranged in such a certain way it seemed meticulous.
“.era uoy erehT”
Morpho felt a shiver run down him. That was the same voice that was singing to itself.
“?won yb pu evag evah dluow uoy thguoht I”
Morpho didn’t know how to respond. His words seemed to be caught in his throat.
“.ah ah aH ?gnignis saw I tahw wonk ot tnaw uoy oD”
Morpho wanted to look away, even for a moment, but found he couldn’t peel his eyes from… these ones.
“.yawyna uoy llet llahs I tuB .ah ah aH .t'nod uoY ?erac uoy dluow yhW”
Whatever this voice was about to say, Morpho didn’t want to hear it. But he couldn’t tell it that. And he felt frozen in place, anyway.
“.gniyalp erew owt esoht taht gnos eht si tI
.ti etah I
.ti gnis tsum I ,tey dnA
?taht dnif uoy oD
?etah uoy gnos a gnis uoy taht dnif uoy oD
.ah ah aH”
Whatever it said, it seemed important. But there was no way Morpho could understand it.
“.nac edistuo esoht tub ,dnatsrednu tonnac uoy ebyaM
.lasopsid rieht ta sloot erom ynam evah yehT
...oot ,sloot esoht dah I hsiw I”
Morpho wished this would end. That this thing would shut up, and he could just return to Popstar. He wanted nothing more than that in that moment.
“thgil sti serahs nus ehT
thgin yks dna dnuorg htiW
?tuo gnillaC ?ti leef uoy naC”
It was singing again.
“gnos eht ot netsiL
gnoleb uoy erehw dnif dnA
...yks eht ,yks eht nI”
There was a pause.
“.ah ah aH .struh tI .struh tI .em struh tI .gnos elbirret a tahW…”
Morpho’s hand balled into a fist.
“.lliw I ,daetsni no evil ot uoy esu tsum I fi tuB .won uoy dne ot naht erom gnihton evol dluow I”
Morpho found the courage to speak.
“Who are you.”
“.wenk uoy thguoht I .ah ah aH
.rocsilcE si tI”
Something about its tone, the way it hissed out its name, was familiar to him. Now he knew. Now he knew it was Ecliscor, using this place it had trapped him in as a final attempt to live on and destroy.
“!dnatsrednu uoy woN
?sey ,erofeb deyortsed evah uoY
.niamer lliw gnihton dnA .niaga ti od uoy ekam lliw I”
“Whatever you are trying to make me do, I will not do it.”
“?daed ffo retteb esrevinu eht t'nsi tuB”
“I can see that you are trying to convince me to join you. I will not be swayed that easily.”
“?retteb leef uoy ekam snigiro ym dluoW .enif hO”
There was no reply from Morpho, though it went on despite that.
“.etah dna etips fo nrob ma I
.erofeb esrevinu siht yortsed ot detpmetta evah I
.gnos emas taht htiw srats eht ot em dehsinab apsoileH dna adaneleS fo srelur tsap ehT
.denekawaer I ,yltnecer ratspoP dekcatta sah taht live eht lla htiW
.lliw I ,taht od tonnac ,rewop sti rof derever ,reyortsed cimsoc a fI .esrevinu siht egrup ot - ylno esoprup eno evres I .sdneirf tnaw ton od I”
“...I’ve met many like you. Just like them, you don’t know when to quit. ...That’s why I’m here.”
Morpho slowly unsheathed his sword and held it up. It began glowing yellow with power. Soon, a spark flicked out from the pointed end of the sword.
“You’ll be on your way soon.”
The light from the sword quickly filled the area, blinding both Morpho and Ecliscor.
Morpho’s body began glowing with a brilliant yellow light, and, reanimated, it stood up and hovered into the air as Ecliscor’s now-misty form was pushed out from it. Ecliscor gathered into itself as Morpho Knight rose higher into the air, his form now towering over its.
“May you have a safe travel, but Father forbid a happy ending for you.”
Morpho pointed his sword at Ecliscor, and a sparkling beam shot it. The beam sucked in Ecliscor, then darted into the distance, far, far away.
Morpho’s body stopped glowing, and he fell to the ground. Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana watched Morpho’s wings twitched. Gingerly, Morpho pushed himself off the ground.
As he rubbed his eye, he mumbled to himself, “What… What…”
There was a brief silence before Lady Solarana exclaimed, “YOU’RE ALIVE!”
She jumped off the platform and tackled Morpho with a hug, letting out a small yelp from the latter.
“Honey, careful, he just had a big fight!” Lady Synodia warned Solarana as she approached.
“Ah, right.” Lady Solarana let go of Morpho and stood up.
“You had us awfully worried when Ecliscor went into your body!” Lady Synodia told Morpho.
“And just when we thought we had it, too,” Lady Solarana mumbled, crossing her arms.
Morpho let out a relieved sigh. He was alive. Everyone else was alive. He had done it. He had saved the universe.
Cocking her head, Lady Synodia asked, “Do you want to stay a while at my palace? You look exhausted, and I’m sure-”
Standing up, Morpho said, “I must be going.”
“But you’re in no shape to travel on your own!”
Morpho turned to Lady Synodia and closed his eyes. “As much as I would love to stay, I have other things to attend to. And this will be the last time I see either of you again, I feel, so…” He looked up at the two rulers of Selenada and Heliospa and said, “Say goodbye to everyone for me, okay? It was a pleasure meeting them.”
“Even Dysnomia?” Lady Synodia asked.
“That’s what I thought.”
Morpho turned back around and spread out his wings. He looked over at Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana and said, “Goodbye.”
Lady Synodia and Lady Solarana waved as Morpho took off into the sky.
Chapter 20: All Aboard
Space held many things within its ever wide realm. Pocket watches, the odd can or two, planets, and millions of stars. Floating among the gifts of space was a Starcutter, her oars paddling quietly as she took her inhabitants with her. Normally, her trips with her pilot would be carefree, but she knew that this time around was serious.
Magolor had been stationed in front of the Lor Starcutter’s main interface for hours. His face was deep in a focused frown, and his hands occasionally danced across the keyboard. With him aboard the Lor was Marx, his best friend. The self-proclaimed jester was leaning against the wall, his feet resting in front of his iconic beach ball which he usually perched upon. The both of them had been searching for Kirby for days, maybe even weeks or months now - it was hard to keep track of time in space.
Marx glanced over at Magolor, his eyes lidded. “Have you picked anything up yet?” he mumbled.
“I haven’t picked anything up for days, Marx,” Magolor replied, his eyes glued to the screen.
Marx sighed. “We’ve been up here for ages, when the hell are we gonna find Kirby?”
“I don’t know, Marx, how long is a piece of string?” Magolor retorted.
There was a silence between the two before Magolor finally turned away from the Lor’s main interface.
“Well, I turned the scanner back on again, if that makes you feel better,” Magolor told Marx, putting his hands roughly where his hips would be.
As Magolor finished his sentence, there was a soft thud. Marx jumped up on his beach ball and looked at the wall where the thud came from.
“What was that?” he asked.
Magolor darted to the Lor’s main interface and tapped in a command on the keyboard. A few moments later, he looked back at Marx and said, “It’s a living thing.”
“A living thing? Out in space? What are they THINKING?!” Marx nearly screeched.
“Can you bring them in?” Magolor asked, his eyebrows twisting in concern.
“Why not you?”
“Well you can fly.”
“So can you.”
“Yeah, but- ...You can’t fly the Lor.”
“She can fly herself, can’t she?”
“JUST-” Magolor rubbed his forehead and asked, “Would you please go out and get that person.”
With a sigh of defeat, Marx mumbled, “ Fine. ”
He summoned his wings, bounced off his ball and padded up to the Lor’s door. Magolor entered a command and the door slid open. Marx jumped out and glided around to the other side of the Lor, the door shutting behind him.
Floating a short distance away from the Starcutter was a black, possibly unconscious puffball with red-orange armour and butterfly wings of the same colour. The helmet they wore sported ornate decorations and a pair of long horns at the front. Marx couldn’t say he had seen them before.
He looked the puffball over, looking for a way to bring them back into the Lor. He decided on biting down on one of their hands and drag them along. The short trip back to the door side of the Lor was slower than the trip to the opposite side, thanks to having to drag the puffball with him. Once he reached the door, he went to kick on it, to knock. The door, having a motion sensor, slid open before Marx’s foot could reach it, and he was sucked back inside.
Rather ungracefully, Marx backflipped into the hubroom of the Lor and landed on his back, all while biting down on the puffball’s hand. The puffball was slammed onto the ground with him. The force of the impact combined with Marx’s sharp teeth forced them awake with a yelp of pain.
Marx let go off the puffball’s hand, and the puffball quickly returned it to their side. They shook it, trying to stave off the pain, then took off their glove. Under their glove was a floating, three fingered paw. The puffball frowned as they looked closer at their hand.
“Yeah… That’s gonna be there for a while,” they murmured to themself.
Marx stood back up and retracted his wings.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Didn’t realise that I’d flop back in here so suddenly,” Marx apologised, glancing away as he added the last part. A sorry yet amused face was earned from Magolor.
As they put their glove back on, they said, “Apology accepted. I believe we are yet to introduce ourselves?”
“Oh, yes! I am Magolor,” Magolor put his left hand on his belt, then gestured to Marx, “and this is Marx! We’re good friends.”
“I see.” With a bow, the puffball said, “I am Morpho Knight. You may simply call me Morpho, if that makes you more comfortable.”
As he rose back up, he said, “Now, where am I, exactly?”
“This is the Lor Starcutter!” Magolor said cheerfully. “She’s the most reliable Starcutter I know!”
“Isn’t she the only Starcutter you know?” Marx asked, raising an eyebrow.
Magolor stammered before frowning at him and simply saying, “...Shut up.”
He then turned back to Morpho and clapped as he said, “ Anyway, how can we help?”
Morpho glanced up and placed a finger to his chin as he thought. After a few moments, he replied, “Well, I do need to go somewhere, but I think I should attend to some other things beforehand. Do you have any food?”
Magolor’s eyes lit up. “Of COURSE we have food aboard! And now that I think about it, I’m getting pretty hungry myself!” He excitedly glanced over to Marx as he said to him, “Guess what I’ll be cooking~!”
Marx’s eyes widened as he gasped. “You don’t mean… The same thing you made for dinner the last five times?”
“YOU BET! Rameeeeeeeeeeeeen!” Magolor had thrown up his hands, and though his belt masked his mouth, it was clear he was smiling. “I’ll get started right now! Lor, weigh anchor!”
A compliant beep came from the Lor as Magolor dashed off to the Starcutter’s kitchen. Marx hopped back onto his beach ball and eagerly followed. Morpho Knight decided to stay in the hubroom and wait for the younger duo to finish preparing the meal.
Magolor placed the two bowls of ramen on the dinner table. “Here ya go!”
Marx wasted no time in digging into his bowl of ramen. He inexplicably held up his fork and dug into his ramen. Morpho picked up his fork and held up some strings of ramen, cooling them off. As he glanced around the table, he noticed something odd.
Putting the fork down into his bowl, Morpho asked, “How come you don’t have a bowl, Magolor?”
“Oh, I’ve already had my fill,” Magolor replied. “I get uncomfortable eating around others.”
Strange, he thought, but there must have been a valid reason for it. And that was fine by Morpho.
As Marx finished another mouthful, he asked Morpho, “Hey, uh, why were you out in space all by yourself?”
Magolor frowned with thought. “Yeah, that is a little odd.”
“Long story short, I ended up having to save the universe from destruction.”
There was a small silence from Marx and Magolor before Marx simply replied, “Huh. Sounds like something Kirby would do.”
Magolor’s ear pricked up as Marx finished his sentence and continued eating.
“Oh yeah, Morpho! I almost forgot to tell you what we’re doing out here!” Magolor’s face dropped with seriousness as he explained, “You see, the hero of Popstar, Kirby, went missing a few months ago. Everyone’s gone crazy looking for him, or at least, when I last checked… Me and Marx decided to look for him out in space, thinking maybe he’s out here somewhere. A lot of his adventures have happened out here recently.” There was a pause before he asked, “...Have you seen him?”
Morpho didn’t think he’d answer this sort of question again. He had hardly thought it through. He thought he’d be at his destination by now.
After glancing around and quick thinking, Morpho croaked out, “...Not… really!”
Magolor raised an eyebrow and Marx gave a confused frown as he paused his ramen munching.
“Not… really?” Magolor echoed.
“...It’s a long story. One that I need to properly think through.” Morpho picked up his fork and dug back into his ramen. “How about we just… enjoy our meal for now?”
“Yeah that’s a good idea,” Marx said through the ramen already in his mouth.
Morpho continued eating and Marx slurped up the rest of his ramen.
It didn’t take much longer for Morpho and Marx to finish up their meals. Magolor had done the dishes and returned to the Lor’s main interface, and Marx naturally went with him. Morpho had decided to reside in one of the guest rooms for a while.
He knew he had to leave something for Kirby. The child’s original plan was to find out more about Morpho himself. But it was highly unlikely Kirby was even consious while Morpho was. And if he couldn’t provide the answers the child wanted just by taking his power, then he needed to do something else. He needed to be more direct.
He spent what was possibly hours pacing around the guest room, trying to lay out everything he was going to say. Where to start, what to leave out? It was driving him up the wall. But eventually, he figured it out.
Morpho Knight peeped into the hubroom, catching the attention of Marx.
“Oh, there you are! I thought you’d be in there forever!” he teased lightly.
Morpho slid the rest of himself into the hubroom and padded toward the main interface as he asked, “Magolor, does the Lor have any sort of… voice recording function?”
Magolor had turned away from the main interface when he replied, “Yeah, why do you ask?”
“May I use it for something? It would be best if you… left the room. While I talk.”
“Sure!” Magolor smiled. He tapped away on his keyboard, and before long, he had brought up a new screen depicting a microphone with a dot underneath it. With another tap on the keyboard, the dot turned red with a small bloop.
“There! I turned it on for you so you wouldn’t have to figure it out yourself,” Magolor told Morpho. “And I’m sure the Lor will stop recording for you if you ask!”
Magolor hovered away from the main interface, and Marx hopped on his beach ball as his Halcandran friend passed by him.
“Have fun!” Magolor told Morpho once he reached the door to the rest of the Lor. He and Marx exited the hubroom, leaving Morpho to himself.
It was harder than Morpho thought would to find Marx and Magolor, but he found them. They were both in what appeared to be Magolor’s bedroom, reading strangely thin books with lots of pictures and characters that had oddly large eyes. Morpho didn’t understand a thing about it from first glance, but he didn’t pry. It was probably best if he didn’t.
Magolor’s ears perked up once he heard Morpho. “Did you say everything you wanted to?”
“I did,” Morpho replied with a nod.
“That’s great!” Magolor said, putting his book down and rising back up into the air. Marx also put his book down and stood back up on his beach ball.
The three of them returned to the hubroom, and Magolor asked, “Is there anything else you need to do while you’re at it?”
“Yes, actually,” Morpho replied. “I need to do something very important, and I can only think of one place in particular to do that. And so I ask to borrow your Starcutter to get there.”
“Sure! But, uh… where is ‘there’, exactly?” Magolor asked.
Morpho let out a chuckle under his breath. “It doesn’t have a name. Not an official one, anyway. But you may know it as paradise, or perhaps the other side.”
Magolor and Marx’s eyes went wide as they both screamed, “WHAT.”
Morpho padded up to the main interface. He had to jump up and hover in the air to reach the keyboard, but he wasn’t bothered by that. He raised his hands, then slammed them down on the keyboard. A white glow emitted from Morpho’s hands, which seeped into the keyboard and spread throughout it. The Lor let out a whirr which got increasingly louder, and without warning, it sped away with a trail of that same light.
Chapter 21: Paradise
The Lor Starcutter gently slid to a halt, kicking up a cloud of white mist as it landed.
Morpho Knight released his hands from the control panel and returned to the ground, then turned to Magolor and Marx. “We’re here.”
The duo had been slammed against the wall during the Lor’s takeoff, and had been nauseated by the journey.
“We are…? That’s… That’s good,” Magolor mumbled, a hand to his head.
Marx struggled to sit up, sat for a few moments, then got up and hopped onto his beach ball, which had rolled a small distance away.
“Thank the stars it didn’t pop…” he mumbled to himself, looking down at the ball.
Magolor rose into the air and asked Morpho, “So… now what.”
“I’ll be heading to one of- no, THE most important area of my home dimension. You two can come, if you’d like.”
Magolor and Marx exchanged glances, before Marx replied, “Ehh, why not.”
Morpho Knight gave a nod of thanks to the Lor’s main interface before heading out the door, Magolor and Marx trailing behind him.
Morpho’s home dimension was… bright. Certainly not where Magolor and Marx were expecting to go. The ground was pure white, and made up of a soft and fluffy, yet surprisingly strong, mist. A short distance away were many multi-storey buildings with flat roofs, painted pastel colours. Past them, there was a tower that pointed straight into the never-ending sky, and a light shone from the very top.
“Welcome to paradise.”
After taking a moment to take in all the sights, Marx turned to Morpho and asked, “Wait, so if this is- Does that mean we’re-?”
“No, no, we’re still alive,” Morpho chuckled. Marx let out a sigh of relief.
As Morpho Knight trotted to the city, he gestured for Marx and Magolor to follow, saying, “Come on!”
The two quickly caught up to Morpho as he entered the city of paradise. There were many others roaming the city, of all different species. They laughed and conversed with each other as if they had known each other for millennia.
“Yes, they’ve known each other for millennia,” Morpho told Magolor and Marx. He pointed to a dragon not too unsimilar from the notorious Landia and said, “That’s Raxor over there! He was in my study group way back when.”
“Um… I feel like I’ll regret asking but, how long ago IS way back when?” Magolor asked.
Morpho glanced up as he thought aloud. “About…. 15 000 years ago?”
“FIFTEEN THOU- PLEASE TELL ME THAT’S NOT HALCANDRAN YEARS.”
“Of course not! That would be an awfully long time ago even for me if it was.”
Magolor let out a sigh of relief.
The three of them soon passed by a small cafe lodged between similar facilities.
“What’s the coffee like?” Marx asked Morpho.
“I wouldn’t have a clue. The last time I was here, coffee hadn’t been made,” Morpho replied.
“I’ll fill ya in, Morpho - it tastes pretty bad.”
Morpho almost screamed at the top of his lungs when the answer was given to him. From seemingly nowhere, Hoolaphoop bounced over to Morpho.
“H-Hoolaphoop? What are you doing here?” Morpho asked.
Hoolaphoop cackled before saying, “I’m a reaper just like you, dummy! I’m stationed out on Selenada, ‘round the palace. I blend in pretty well!” Hoolaphoop was pretty proud of this fact.
Hoolaphoop spotted Magolor and Marx, standing awkwardly behind Morpho as the conversation took place.
“Who’re they?” she asked, pointing at them. “You wanna bring ‘em to Father directly?”
“No, they’re just tagging along with me,” Morpho replied. “I used their Starcutter to get here, actually.”
“Huh. Coulda sworn they would be on Death’s Row by now…”
Magolor and Marx exchanged panicked glances.
“Heymaybecouldwechangethetopictosomethingelseplease?” Magolor squeaked.
“Alright, scaredy-cat,” Hoolaphoop muttered.
“...Wait. Hoolaphoop, how did you find out so much about me in such a short amount of time?” Morpho asked.
“Oh, I came back here after I finished up a few send-offs and asked around. Somehow I didn’t hear that big legend about you and some mortals goin’ off to fight What’s-His-Name Master Crown guy from a few thousand years back,” Hoolaphoop explained. “And people thought you died, dude! So, uh, I guess I’m just really ignorant or dumb for not taking history.”
There was a silence between them before Hoolaphoop spoke up again; “Well, I gotta get back to reapin’ duties. See ya!”
With that, Hoolaphoop bounced away.
Morpho stood there for a few moments, completely silent, before muttering to himself, “Who would have thought.”
“Uh, don’t we need to get to that really important place?” Marx asked. “Well, you. We’re just taggin’ along.”
Morpho’s face lit up with recollection as he said, “Oh yeah!”
Without a second thought, he started walking through the town again. Magolor and Marx followed after exchanging glances.
The town slowly melted away into fields of the same fluffy white substance the Lor landed on. The roads transitioned into mere paths, and before they knew it, they were in the countryside. Or at least what Magolor and Marx assumed to be the other side’s equivalent of the countryside. The fields went on for what seemed like forever. Occasionally one of them would spot some form of life in the fields and excitedly point it out to the other. Morpho told them that those were spirits that simply wanted a peaceful afterlife with lots of space; at first, that creeped them out, but they soon grew used to it. Magolor tired to hush his voice more as not to disturb said spirits, and Marx would have done that same if he could. The time went by quicker than Morpho’s company had expected, as Marx didn’t notice Morpho had stopped and almost tripped over him. Magolor was quick enough to grab Marx before he fell, and gently placed him back on his beach ball.
“We’re here,” Morpho told Marx and Magolor.
The two looked up to see a glistening white temple looming over them. It almost hurt their eyes looking at it.
“Now,” Morpho said to them in a hushed voice, turning to face them, “You need to make extra sure to not attract attention to yourselves. Which will be hard, admittedly, because you are living mortals in this realm, which really shouldn’t happen by usual circumstances. I don’t know how stern everyone in there will be, so unless I or someone else tells you otherwise, don’t say anything unless you’re spoken to first.”
Marx gave a look of concern.
“I understand that this will be hard for you, Marx. But can you try? I don’t want you dying prematurely.”
Marx was silent for a few moments before mumbling, “Okay…”
Although it was impossible to tell, the warmth Morpho gave off felt as though he was giving a smile. “Thanks.”
Morpho turned back around and walked into the temple. Marx and Magolor followed. The inside of the temple was filled with ornate gold decorations and pastel blue walls, deeper blue drawings dotted on them. The entire hall seemed to be looking down on them, though Morpho wasn’t phased. The presence of many seemed to get stronger as the three of them went deeper. A light drew near, signifying the end of the temple. Just in front of the open end, there was a stand with an all white humanoid figure attending it, though it looked as though they were rather bored. Morpho straight ahead to the stand, jumped up to reach the top and rung the bell sitting on it.
The humanoid was snapped out of their thoughts and looked down to see Morpho Knight standing in front of the stand.
“M-M- ...You’re back?!” the humanoid exclaimed. “But I thought-”
“So did I,” Morpho replied. “In any case, it’s good to see you again, Malare.”
The humanoid, Malare, straightened themself, and said, “Y-Yes, it’s good to see you again too. So, uh... “ Malare trailed off as they spotted Magolor and Marx standing behind Morpho, and frowned with confusion.
“Uh, Morpho, who are they?” they whispered, pointing to the knight’s company. “They’re… They’re alive. And Father doesn’t take too kindly to Halcandrans nowadays!”
“Trust me, Magolor is nice. He let me use his Starcutter to get here,” Morpho explained to Malare. Magolor gave Malare a timid wave. “He and his friend are simply accompanying me. And with what I… They’ll need to be shortly.”
Malare raised an eyebrow. “They’ll need to be? Good grief, what are you planning, Morpho? And now that I think about it, what happened to-” They shook their head and asked, “You’re here to see Father, I assume?”
“Great. I’ll tell him that you’re here to see him, NOT deliver some souls to him directly. You never really did that anyway, did you? I don’t think you did.” Malare left their stand and wandered out the temple. They were gone for a few minutes, but soon returned to the stand.
“Morpho, Father is ready to see you. He’s letting your guests come with you,” Malare told Morpho. They lowered their voice to a mutter as they added, “Which is actually really weird… But whatever…”
With a rumble, Malare’s stand slid to the side, allowing Morpho and his company to pass.
Morpho, Marx and Magolor stepped out of the shade of the temple and into the light of a large field. At the other end of said field was a giant pair of feet, which glowed bright. These feet wore a pair of roman sandals, which, thankfully, did not glow. The figure sitting in the giant marble chair was so big, it wasn’t visible past the upper leg. And yet, its eyes still gazed down on them.
Morpho bowed and said, “Father.”
A voice echoed around them. “Morpho. It is wonderful to see you again. I thought that you had gone for good, but it appears to not be the case. I was wondering how spirits from Popstar were getting here…”
“Ah, yes, spirits! How have they been going?” Morpho asked. “Not too many for you, I hope?”
“Just the usual amount, my child,” Father replied. “Although there have been an unusual amount of dark happenings recently, I have noticed. I still do not know what to do with this “Destroyer of Worlds” character…”
Magolor and Marx exchanged glances, then looked back at Father.
“I see,” Morpho said.
“And… your companions…” Father said. “Malare did tell me about them. The Halcandran is “nice”, you say?”
“Yes, Father. He was kind enough to let me use his Starcutter to get here,” Morpho explained.
“...Interesting... “ Father mused.
“B-But I didn’t just come here to chat,” Morpho said.
“I know that.”
Morpho paused for a moment, then swallowed.
“I actually came to ask you a favour. You see…” Morpho took a deep breath in, “The reason why I’m here now is because of a child’s curiosity. Plain and simple. I deeply regret taking up the offer to borrow his strength and return to the realm of the living. And I can think of no other way to bring that child back, so that’s why I came to you, Father. I ask you to deliver a blow to me that will return me to the form of a butterfly, and from there, extract the child from that form.”
Father was silent for a moment before asking, “...But how will you perform your duties…?”
“Do not worry, Father. I will be able to perform them as a butterfly. I have been for thousands of years.”
Father was silent again. “...Very well. Morpho, my child, come closer.”
Morpho looked over his shoulder at Marx and Magolor, his eyebrows turned with nervousness. “It was a pleasure meeting you in person. Now, please stand back.”
Marx and Magolor stood back, sharing the same expression as Morpho. They only watched as Morpho stepped forward. A moment or two passed before a white ball of energy landed on top of Morpho, the blast pushing wind against the bystanders’ faces. Marx slipped off his beach ball and quickly stood himself up once the wind settled. In Morpho’s place was a red and yellow butterfly, an all too familiar one, which fluttered in place. Another moment passed before Father began murmuring something unfamiliar, and the butterfly began to glow softly. A pink hue began to spread up from the bottom of the butterfly’s wings. Father’s murmuring got louder and the butterfly glowed brighter. A round form rose up from the butterfly. As the figure rose further up, the pink on the butterfly’s wings faded, and the figure’s form solidified. The round figure landed on the ground with a squish, and the butterfly stopped glowing. The figure sat up and rubbed an eyes.
“KIRBY!” Magolor and Marx yelled in unison.
They ran up to the pink puffball, who was still a bit weary.
“THAT’S where you were?” Marx questioned. “We’ve been looking all over for you, dude!”
“Please don’t scare us like that ever again,” Magolor said, holding his hands to the sides of Kirby’s face.
Kirby simply had a perplexed look on his face. “H-Huh? What happened? Where’s…?”
“The butterfly?” Marx finished. “Right there.” He gestured to the butterfly with his head.
The butterfly fluttered down and landed on Kirby’s head. Kirby looked up at the butterfly.
Kirby stood up, and the butterfly flittered off his head. “So where am I?”
Marx replied, “The place where spirits go when they’re- uh, y’know-”
Kirby went wide-eyed as he shouted, “WE’RE DEAD?!”
“Nonono! We’re still alive, don’t worry Kirbs!” Marx said.
Kirby let out a sigh of relief.
“...Guys. How are we gonna get back.”
Marx and Kirby looked at Magolor. Marx’s eyes went small with fear.
Magolor looked up at where (assumably) the rest of Father was and eked out, “Uh, sir? I don’t suppose you could help us get back to Planet Popstar?”
There was a brief moment of silence before the three of them and the butterfly found themselves back in the Lor Starcutter. The Lor let out an error noise of shock. Magolor rushed over to her main interface and quickly tapped away at the keyboard to check if everything was in order.
“I guess that was a yes…?” Marx asked aloud.
The keyboard of the Lor’s main interface glowed white, and Magolor raised his hands off it and moved back. The Lor then started whirring.
“Uh oh,” was all Magolor could manage to say.
The Lor sped away again with a trail of bright white light.
Chapter 22: Home
The Lor slowed to a halt in the midst of space.
Magolor tapped away at the Lor’s keyboard. Marx and Kirby watched silently.
“...We’re in the same place we were before Morpho took us to the other side,” Magolor said, his voice barely louder than a mumble.
“Before who took you to the other side?” Kirby asked, cocking his head.
Magolor turned his head away from the Lor’s main interface. “Oh yeah, right! You didn’t meet him! There was this Morpho Knight guy- also a puffball- he was on here for little bit! He was chill.”
“Didn’t he use the Lor for something?” Marx asked.
“Oh yeah he DID!” Magolor said. He turned back to the Lor’s main interface and tapped away at the keyboard. It was after a few moments that he found what he was looking for.
“Morpho left a recording - apparently he named it “For Kirby” so I guess it’s for you?” Magolor told the pink puffball.
Magolor tapped two more times on the keyboard before hovering over to Marx and Kirby. A media player popped up on the Lor’s main interface, and it soon began playing the recording.
“There! I turned it on for you so you wouldn’t have to figure it out yourself.” That was Magolor. The Halcandran smiled with embarrassment under his belt. “And I’m sure the Lor will stop recording for you if you ask!”
The was a silence before Magolor’s voice, albeit further away from the microphone now, said, “Have fun!”
The sound of one the Lor’s doors opening then closing was heard, before another silence.
Another person took a deep breath in, then let it out hesitantly.
“...I should start with an introduction, huh. I’m Morpho Knight. The butterfly that you often see around Dream Land is a form I take when I sustain enough damage that, under normal circumstances, would kill me. ...It’s a long story as to how I ended up like that.
...But you did want to know about me, so…”
Morpho let out a sigh.
“I come from a place you may know as paradise, where souls go when their time has come. I was- well, still am, I suppose- a reaper. I help souls still stuck in the realm of the living move on to paradise. I had a pretty peaceful existence for a while.
It was about 10 000 years ago when I was assigned a job out on Halcandra and Jambandra. There was a war at the time, and I was sent to help the other reapers stationed there help spirits move on to paradise. On the way there, I met three others of your kind - Galacta Knight was one of them. He was lost.”
Morpho Knight chuckled.
“I let him accompany me on my trip, and after the war, I would help him find his way back home. We also ended up with Ember and Fae, so!”
Morpho Knight laughed. It was a sincere laugh.
“When we arrived on Halcandra, the Halcandrans immediately accused us of being too strong. If it weren’t for the Jambandrans, then I wouldn’t be here right now. It was about a day or so later that one of the Halcandran prophets said we would end up helping them, so they trusted us. I went around and did my job for a couple of days or so, and then one of those Dark Matter things I’ve seen you fight gave the King of Halcandra’s crown some of its own essence… Or something like that. The king didn’t know that - none of us did - and put it on, then became some sort of monster. A brief truce was made between Halcandra and Jambandra while the people tried to defeat the king. Many of the royal guards on Halcandra died trying to fight the possessed king, and it was… horrifying. So after some talk with the friends I had made, we decided to try and take down the king ourselves. We were much more prepared for that sort of thing than the guards were.
We weren’t the only ones who had that idea. Now it may surprise you to hear this, but Hyness had been given the job to defeat the king by his superior. He took the mages with him. Just before we headed out to find the king, Hyness stopped us and explained that he too was going to fight the king. We discussed our battle plan together, then set out to find the king.
We found him, and we fought him. Galacta, Ember, Fae and I dealt most of the damage to him, and Hyness and the mages dealt the finishing blow with their magic. Everyone was now safe from the king, but the king himself died in the battle. We took the Dark Matter-infested crown to the Empyrean that once resided on Mount Haldera and entrusted it to the dragons that lived there. We then returned to the capital of Halcandra to announce our success.”
Morpho was silent for a moment before he continued.
“...The thing is about Halcandrans, at least, back when I was there, I don’t know if they’re still like this, is that they get scared when they learn someone has too much power in their eyes. They like to keep everything under control; tame it, if you will. Hyness knew this all too well. When we returned, he told all the Halcandrans of my friends’ and I’s power. The Halcandrans grew scared of us, and the king’s advisors were enraged. They declared us to be banished. The council governing over Jambandra, which, funnily enough, Hyness was part of, tried to stop them, but ultimately couldn’t.
Galacta always acted on his emotions. So when the Halcandrans told him they were going to banish us, he lashed out immediately. He cut off parts of the planet by himself. After that, the Jambandrans were no longer against our banishment.
...I don’t know what happened to Ember and Fae. I never saw them after we became wanted. But after I had managed to find Galacta after he cut Halcandra, we made a plan to escape Halcandra. He would destroy the moons of the planet, and I would escape while he did so. He would then find me on a smaller planet that we agreed to flee to. And we would have done that if it weren’t for the fact there was Dark Matter all over.”
Morpho was silent for a few moments.
“...One got me. It didn’t do the classic possession, but instead put some of its own substance into my bloodstream. Everything I did is fuzzy to me, but I ended up fleeing through a portal. I don’t know how it got there. I continued doing whatever the Dark Matter was making me do for a while on another planet. But then it… faded. I somehow managed to gain control over myself. I’m very grateful that I did. And even though it’s changed a lot over the years, I know now that the planet I fled to was Popstar. After staying there for a while, I found another portal and returned to Halcandra. I wanted to find Galacta, apologise to him and run away with him, but I… I couldn’t find him. So instead, I returned to my work as a reaper. Unfortunately, the king’s advisors thought I was committing murder. I ended up having to fight them, too. It was only when I accidentally killed one and sent his soul off to paradise that the advisors finally understood. None of the Halcandrans knew what to do with me anymore.
Hyness decided to take things into his own hands. As I was heading over to Jambandra to continue my work there, he and the mages ambushed me. We fought. I was weakened severely by the long battle we had, and Hyness took the opportunity to finish me off. He and the mages casted a spell together, and I don’t know how, but I was banished to the Gamble Galaxy and while I lost my physical form, my soul was turned into a butterfly. I returned to Popstar, this time with the intent to stay permanently.
...I don’t know why I ever trusted Hyness.”
Morpho thought aloud to himself for another moment.
“About… two months after I took your form, the day ended early and the night started. The night didn’t end, either. I went to investigate and found a floating eye- no relation to Dark Matter I promise- and knew that you would get to the bottom of a situation as strange as it. But since you weren’t there to do so, I went in your stead. I became a lot closer to a lot of Dream Landers. I even defeated a god-like entity, just like you would…”
Morpho chuckled again.
“...I doubt I’ll ever see you in person, Kirby. But I just want you to know that no matter what happens, to stay strong. Don’t lose hope, and keep your sense of humour with you. Everyone loves you, Kirby, and they all believe in you. I’ll be watching over you on Dream Land, as the butterfly.”
Morpho lowered his voice as he said, most likely to the Lor herself, “...I’ve finished.”
The recording ended, and the Lor closed the media player. Marx, Magolor and Kirby stood in silence, sharing the same awe. Kirby turned toward the butterfly and stared at it for a couple of moments.
Kirby’s face grew a small smile. “You’re like a guardian butterfly, ha ha!”
The Lor landed in the lush fields on Dream Land, nearby Mount Dedede. The Starcutter had been spotted by many people, and they all hurried to it, hoping for good news.
The door of the Lor whizzed open, and Magolor stepped out, Marx not too far behind him. The two were taken back by the rays of light that now shone over Dream Land once more.
A familiar voice cut out from the crowd; “You’re back!”
Gryll leapt onto Magolor, embracing him in a hug. Taranza hovered over to them, preferring to not join in.
Once Gryll was done squeezing Magolor’s eggy body in delight, they returned to the ground and said, “The day returned while you guys were gone! I dunno how, but it’s a miracle!”
“The People of the Sky were really getting on my case, too,” Taranza added, rubbing the back of his head. “In any case, I’m glad you’re back.”
“Yeah!” Gryll agreed. “But what about…?”
Kirby peeped out from behind Marx’s beach ball, then squeezed past and popped out on the other side, rolling to the ground. He sat up, blinked, and began standing up. He was soon toppled over by King Dedede, who embraced him into a hug by tackling him. He stood up, holding the puffball in an arm.
“Kirby! I’m so glad you’re back, pal!” he exclaimed.
“I am too! I’m sorry I scared you like that, though,” Kirby apologised.
Dedede noogied Kirby, then replied, “It’s all good! I’m just happy to have you back safe ‘n’ sound!”
He then cupped his free hand to his mouth and shouted into the crowd, “META! META, KIRBY’S BACK!”
Meta Knight’s voice was heard, though unintelligible from where Kirby and Dedede were.
“HOLD UP I’LL JUST-” Dedede ran into the crowd, Kirby still in arm, to Meta Knight. Bandana Dee stood beside the puffball, their eyes showing some fear, as opposed to Meta Knight’s confusion barely visible behind his mask. Once Dedede found the knight, he held out Kirby with both hands and breathlessly exclaimed, “He’s back!”
Meta Knight’s eyes went wide. Dedede put Kirby to the ground, and Kirby hugged the larger puffball. Meta Knight returned the hug. They hugged for a long while.
When the hug ended, Meta Knight barely managed to choke out, “Kirby, you’re- You’re-” The knight’s breathing was uneasy, and his the tears in his eyes glistened in the sun. Meta Knight pulled Kirby back into another, tighter hug, holding the younger puffball close to his face. It was a while before he let go.
“...I didn’t mean to scare you like that, Dad,” Kirby said, looking down at the ground with guilt.
“Oh, Kirby…” Meta Knight put a gloved paw to Kirby’s face and told him, “It wasn’t your fault you were so curious. Children are by nature.”
Kirby nodded, though his eyes didn’t leave the ground. Meta Knight’s words did make him feel a little better, though.
Kirby’s thoughts were interrupted by a nearby sniffle. He looked up from the ground to see Bandana Dee, already crying.
“Awww, Bandana!” Kirby went over to the bandana-adorned Waddle Dee and gave them a big hug. Bandana accepted the hug. A few moments passed before Kirby broke the hug and wiped away Bandana’s tears.
“Sorry, it’s just- ...I get emotional very easily, okay?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that!” Dedede commented. “Heck,” he wiped away a tear, “I’m gettin’ teary too!”
“YOUR MAJESTYYYYYYYYY!” Bandana Dee hugged Dedede’s side, hoping to cheer their king up. Dedede smiled and gave Bandana a pat on the head.
As the day went by, more people came to say their hellos to Kirby. The Channel PPP crew wasted no time in giving the residents of Dream Land the news. Peace and joy had returned to Dream Land.
And the butterfly fluttered by...