What is a friend?
Friends are people who share a close connection; a mutual affection, of sorts.
Friends come and form through many means: a slow burn build-up, fire-forged ferocity, or even an act of salvation. They can be people of many colorful identities: good-hearted people, stubbornly-defiant authorities, cool and collected thieves, or even the darkest of villains.
Whatever the reasons, there will always be those willing to put their hearts out to gain a closer relationship – and whoever the people, there will always be those willing to accept it.
…and there’s no denying the power that such friendship can hold.
It doesn’t matter what comes one’s way—be it simple matters, like a mere collectible out of reach… or a grave difficulty, such as the incoming end of the world—so long as one has their friends by their side, there is nothing they cannot accomplish.
But what if a friend has become distorted, no longer the person they used to be?
Would it still be worth holding on to the remnants of the past then, merely out of old affections?
Or, in the end… would breaking one’s ties be the right choice to make?
…even despite all the things he had done for you?
(There’s no easy answer, and no easy way forward. There can never be, with a question so broad—and so difficult.
But perhaps, if a determined soul, empowered by the happiness in his soul and the friends by his side, were to come in to give one final chance…
…there might be hope remaining after all.)
He had renewed his chanting.
Day after day, night after night, he stood in front of the altar where the Jamba Heart once resided, utterly oblivious to anything that might be in his surroundings.
Hour after hour, minute after minute, he pleaded to the stars above that his desires may be granted, that his dethroned Dark Lord of Destruction may rise again, with a vigor that no one—not even Zan Partizanne, his once closest confidant—had ever seen.
He barely stopped to eat. He barely stopped to sleep.
All that mattered to him was to salvage the only things he knew.
No matter what, he would revive Void Termina.
No matter what, he would prove the Ancients wrong.
No matter what, he would salvage his faith and bring forth a new era—the era that was so ungraciously denied to his beloved Destroyer of Worlds— …even if he had to rip apart the space between dimensions in order to do so.
And if it required the damaging of his very soul as well?
…then so be it.
“Oh, Dark Lord of Destruction… Oh, our glorious Void Termina… For your sake—
“I SHALL OPEN THE GATES TO UNTOLD DIMENSIONS, AND RESTORE TO YOU THE GREATNESS YOU WERE DENIED! HEAR MY PRAYERS, AND COME TO ME!”
“Something’s wrong with Lord Hyness,” Zan Partizanne said, just outside the altar to the Divine Terminus. The normally reserved Bringer of Shock was noticeably far more worried than usual, her hands trembling in fear of what could happen.
“We can see that, Zan!” Flamberge exclaimed, raising her arms to the air—though she was equally as anxious as her elder sister. “He’s been like that ever since that stubby little pink thing and his stupid ‘friends’ came in and wrecked the place! That’s… That’s nothing unusual!”
Francisca paced around nervously from behind her hotheaded sibling. “But you must admit,” the Frozen General said, “Lord Hyness has certainly been chanting far more frequently than usual. Ever since we gave him those documents relating to crossing time and space, he hasn’t moved from the altar. I fear for his health, as I’m sure you do, Zan.”
Zan Partizanne had no discomfort admitting that – it was she who was the most devout of Hyness’s followers, feeling indebted to him after he had managed to rescue her sisters. Even if Hyness treated her with disrespect – something the Bringer of Shock would deny to the very end – she remained loyal to her leader, far more so than Francisca and Flamberge could ever hope to be, even though they too had been similarly rescued from precarious situations.
And to stand here, right outside her lord’s gate, unable to help or do anything as he stood wasting away in that NOVA-forsaken altar…
…well, it most certainly peeved her more than usual.
“…then we should not be standing here,” she stated quietly. “If Lord Hyness is performing another of his ritual, then we—the Mage-Sisters of Jambandra—should be by his side!” She lifted her head, eyes steeled in resolute determination. “We may have failed him before, but we will not do so again! Come what may, we will stand by his side and oversee the achieving of his desires!”
“But Zan—you know he’ll just yell at you again!” Flamberge cut in. “Lord Hyness hasn’t treated you with any real kindness for years! If we distract him now, when he’s in the middle of something important…!”
She didn’t bother to finish. Though their loyalty to their leader was unquestionable, despite some misgivings, the topic of his treatment toward them was a sore spot between Flamberge and Zan, especially since Zan was enamored with the so-called Officiant of Doom. Often, the two sisters would quarrel over it, with Francisca acting as mediator. Had this been any other day—or more accurately, a day prior to the Star Allies’ trouncing of Void Termina, the same thing would have occurred, just as it always had.
But today was not such a day.
Zan hesitated for a moment, before balling up her hands in fists. “…for Lord Hyness, I will endure it all,” she declared softly. “There is no danger we cannot overcome in the service of our lord. I will stand by him, no matter what happens.” More quietly, she added, “…it is all I can do after all he has done for me.”
“Berge! Zan!” Francisca suddenly spoke up, catching the two sisters’ attention. “I think something’s happened to Lord Hyness! Listen!”
The two generals complied. Indeed, if they listened closely, they could hear a low, warbling hum echo out from the altar door—a hum that spoke of malice and darkness. And it was getting louder by the second.
Zan’s eyes widened. “Lord Hyness!” she screamed, and—whipping out her spear—bust down the door and ran inside. Startled, Francisca and Flamberge glanced at each other before running into the altar after their elder sister. “Zan! W-Wait up!”
The altar was unchanged from its state following the Star Allies’ first visit to the Divine Terminus. Under ordinary circumstances, nothing should have been any different from usual – but what Zan was witnessing before her eyes had petrified her where she stood.
Francisca rushed to Zan Partizanne’s side and asked, “Z-Zan! What… What are you…” When she noticed her elder sister not responding, she turned to look at where she was gawking –and gasped just as well.
Flamberge followed suit, once she managed to stand alongside her siblings – and the three could only stare helplessly as the whole terminus began to rumble and roar all about them. The sight before them was unlike any ritual their leader had ever done before – and the results of this latest one… terrified them to an almost wordless degree.
“Lord Hyness…” Zan said breathlessly. “…what have you done?”
Elsewhere, in the Gamble Galaxy…
Lor Starcutter – Cockpit
“Pop Star has been pretty interesting lately,” Magolor mused aloud, sitting on a chair in front of his ship’s computer. “The things Kirby and co. stumble upon—they’re truly something else. I thought I had seen it all after Dedede’s Cake Royale, and yet… they never cease to amaze me.”
Months beforehand, Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandana Dee—the core members of the Star Allies—had found a Warp Hole on the grounds of Castle Dedede. Travelling through it, they discovered a most unexpected revelation: another Pop Star, both alike and different from their own.
After they (and their other friends, once they managed to make their way there) had grown accustomed to the other side, the Star Allies had decided to take a trip back home, as a sort of vacation. It would mean saying good-bye to their new friends for a while… but they knew it wouldn’t be long before they came back.
Meanwhile, Kaede and her friends—sixteen Ultimate students that had arrived from a wholly different world entirely; it was a long story—were to be staying in Cappy Town in their place. Kirby had hoped they would like it—after the madness all sixteen of them had went through (another long story), he thought they more than deserved the relative normalcy. Having heard their stories himself, Magolor certainly agreed. (The things he had heard… they gave out a level of despair very evocative of his time as a Soul Boss—which was very, very unpleasant to think about.)
“But despite all the things that have happened in recent years, it’s good to see that Pop Star is still the same World of Miracles as always.” Beneath his scarf, the Halcandran gave a small smile as he looked toward the front door. The stars of the Gamble Galaxy looked back, twinkling as if to show their appreciation as well. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since I first introduced myself to Kirby. My, how time flies…”
It has certainly been a long time, the Lor agreed. It makes one appreciate the part of our lives we take for granted.
The Lor Starcutter, Magolor’s faithful ship, had been rumored to have a mind of its own – and, as it turned out, this rumor turned out to be a factual one. (Like most of the legends surrounding the Gamble Galaxy, coincidentally enough.) The Lor had awakened a year after Magolor’s attempt to conquer the universe—yet another long story—and he found himself talking to her quite a lot. It helped pass the time whenever he was traversing dimensions.
He chuckled. “Yes, it does, doesn’t it? Becoming a Soul Boss really gets you thinking about it—and I’ve always been grateful for how much the experience has changed me, as unpleasant as it may have been. Kirby held no grudge against me, too – something I’m also grateful for.”
Kirby… I am often surprised at how strong his compassion can be, the Lor admitted. For him to make so many friends despite several of them being of dubious morality… It is no wonder why he is considered the hero of Pop Star.
A small grin. “Well, whatever the case, I’m glad he’s been able to help out so many people in Dream Land. He really is a great friend.” Magolor swiveled back to face his computer, his gloved hands reaching out to clack at his keyboard. “Right, enough reminiscing. It’s time for your daily check-up, Lor.”
The Lor would’ve nodded had she been able to. That would be much appreciated, captain.
He booted up several systems, checking the functionality of the Lor Starcutter’s systems, weapons, etc. “Let’s see… Wings are attached and require no tune-up,” he recited aloud. “The fins are flapping at their regular intervals; the engines are operating perfectly well…”
As he checked-off several items on his mental check-up checklist (what a redundant saying), a low-volume alert suddenly popped into view from the side of his monitor. “Huh?” He moved his chair over as to get a better look at the alert. “This doesn’t look like a ship problem… What’s going on?”
I do not know, the Lor said. This is an unprecedented event to me. Shall I open it for you?
“That would be nice, thank you.” The alert went full-screen, bringing with it a whole list of statistics and analytics for Magolor to read. His eyes went across the screen from left-to-right several times as he delved into the ramifications of what an alert such as this would mean.
At first, it seemed like the usual report, something that he would investigate in his free time when he had nothing else to do. After all, according to Kirby, there wouldn’t be another world-threatening (or galaxy-threatening) event for at least another year or two, so he could afford to sleep it off a little.
Then he read this line.
Massive fluctuation in dimensional energies detected. The energies appear to be coming from Another Dimension in rapid succession.
That—That’s got to be joking, right!? There’s—there’s no way…!
As he continued to read the report—even though he very much didn’t want to—his eyes began to widen, and his jaw, hidden though it may be, dropped in complete and utter shock. The Lor’s systems would never lie to him like this, even after he had stolen her from Halcandra, which could only mean… “Oh no,” he muttered, “oh no, no, no. No, no, no—no! This—this is bad. This is very bad!”
And as the cherry atop the disaster sundae, this sentence popped up to him as well:
Due to the influence of dark, occult magic, Another Dimension appears to have gone into an unstable state, and is leaking energies to and from the designated World of Miracles, Pop Star. It is believed that this instability may cause…
It was clear: there was no way he could sleep this off. He knew it, and his ship knew it as well.
…I believe we may need to chart a course back to Planet Pop Star, the Lor advised. We must inform the Star Allies of this posthaste. Should this situation escalate without us taking action…
Magolor didn’t need her to finish. “I got it, I got it!” His fingers began dart all over his keyboard, the Lor outside turning one-hundred-eighty degrees and making a mad dash (or the maddest dash it could take) straight back to Pop Star.
He grit his teeth as—on a separate window on his computer screen—the image of Pop Star grew closer and closer in view, and he clenched his fists anxiously as he mentally prepared an idea as to what to tell his friend.
“…this is going to suck,” Magolor decided.
I could not have said it any better myself.
Castle Dedede – Balcony
“It’s a beautiful day today,” King Dedede remarked, relaxing in a beach chair atop the balcony. “Butterflies are fluttering, Waddle Dees are waddling… These past few months may have been great, but it’s always nice to be able to relax in peace like this.”
Beside him, Kirby was also lounging in a beach chair, though he was naturally sitting in it rather than laying back. “You got it,” he agreed, holding up a parasol as to block out the sun. (Sure, it was the tail-end of autumn right now, but allow him some style points, would you?) “Your Cake Royale, the Jamba Heart crisis, the True Arena, Kaede and her crew, Cappy Town… I think this year has been the single most eventful one we’ve ever had. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course.”
As per usual, Bandana Dee was by his King’s side, enjoying the scenery as well though he wasn’t exactly sitting. “I just hope we’ll be able to get to the next month without anything crazy happening,” he said. “I really want a nice, easy Christmas—you know, to celebrate surviving everything. That’s… That’s not too much to ask for, right?”
Dedede grinned. “Of course not, Dee!” He ruffled his assistant’s head. “Yeah, it has been a pretty crazy year – but we shouldn’t let it discourage us! We’ve become closer to each of our friends, old and new,” even if some of them were rather weird to think about it (Marx and Dark Meta Knight come to mind), “and Pop Star’s been the brightest it’s ever been. No matter what happens next… I’ll be proud knowing we’ve accomplished so much.”
Bandana Dee’s eyes shone as he listened to his King. “Gr-Great… Great King…! Your words… They’re so beautiful…! You always know what to say at times like this!”
“Well, of course I do! I’d be a terrible king if I weren’t able to lift anyone’s spirits up, after all!”
Kirby smiled at his two best friends’ antics. He looked back to the Green Greens and Green Gardens beyond, basking in the grasslands and the donut structures littered throughout. And to think, over eight months ago, these lands were wrapped in another desperate crisis…
Heh, good thing that’s over and done with. All we’ve got is the beginning of the new Smash tournament ahead, and then 2018 will be over and done with! He wiped some imaginary sweat from his forehead. Can’t wait for then!
“But…” Bandana Dee spoke up, “we never did find out what happened to the Jambandra Cult.” Right, Kirby remembered, the villains from our last adventure. “Adeleine and our friends told us they were alright and not doing much beyond being creepy and all, but… I can’t help but worry about what they might do next. They… never really became our friends, in the end…”
“Hey, relax!” Kirby assured him, turning his head to give him a confident smile. “I’m sure they’ve at least learned a lesson from what’s happened. And if they didn’t… well, us Star Allies will be able to take on anything together!”
The official formation of the Star Allies was something Kirby was immensely proud of. The seeds had always been there with his three main companions and all – but the return of all his other friends on his newest and greatest adventure finally cemented it as a real thing. All his friends together, facing off against any threat that may come their way…
…it was a glorious sight to think about.
“…I-I guess you’re right,” Bandana Dee relented. “Maybe nothing bad will happen after all…” He looked beyond the balcony—and then his eyes proceeded to widen. “G-Guys!” he pointed up at the sky, “L-Look over there!”
“Dee? What’s…?” Kirby and King Dedede followed his request, and they became witness to a startling sight: the Lor Starcutter, exiting a dimensional portal and descending right in front of Castle Dedede. Its entrance reminded Kirby of the first time they met – but the fast speed at which it was coming down spoke of something other than a friendly visit to Pop Star.
“It’s… Magolor,” Dedede realized. “What’s he doing, docking in front of my castle like that? He doesn’t normally do that…”
“Oh no,” Bandana Dee muttered. “If—If he’s doing that… D-Don’t tell me…!”
“Something must be up,” Kirby said. “Something’s that spooked him enough that he had to get our attention like this.” And wasn’t that a worrying thought. Magolor’s a pretty hard to scare individual, he recalled, so if he’s here right now…!
“We gotta go check it out!” Kirby bounced from his chair and dashed back into the castle, with Dedede and Bandana Dee following suit moments later. Whatever their plans for the day—it could wait!
Castle Dedede – Entrance
“Magolor!” Kirby called out, rushing out from the gates of Castle Dedede to where the Lor Starcutter was presently residing. Magolor was standing next to his ship’s front door, wearing an anxious expression that the pink puffball had never seen on him before. And even the sight of his friend didn’t seem to soothe his worries. That didn’t bode well! “What’s… What’s the news?”
“Yeah!” King Dedede was soon by Kirby’s side, looking a little tired from all the running he just did. “You don’t normally come in so close to us. Is… Is there something wrong?”
“The True Arena didn’t start up again, did it!?” Bandana Dee gulped. “Ohhhhhh, I’m not prepared to go through another boss gauntlet…!”
The Halcandran looked at his three friends, an intensely grave atmosphere surrounding the normally jovial traveler. “Kirby, Dedede, Bandana Dee,” he said slowly, “I need you to gather everyone.”
Kirby blinked. “Huh? Everyone? Like… all of the Star Allies?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Everyone. It’s an emergency. An extremely dire emergency. One that’ll affect the entirety of our galaxy. And everybody needs to be here to hear it, now.”
Magolor was serious. Very serious. And very spooked; Kirby could hear something wavering in his voice as he spoke, which told wonders in the heat of the moment. He wouldn’t lie about this, Kirby knew that.
Dedede nodded, putting on a serious expression himself. He blew a whistle from his mouth, and in seconds, a swarm of Waddle Dees gathered by his side. He turned to them and commanded, “Waddle Dees! I need you to bring all the Star Allies to in front of Castle Dedede, stat! Adeleine, Gooey, Marx, Dark Meta Knight—even Taranza; he’ll want to hear this too—everyone needs to be here, on the double!”
The Waddle Dees all saluted, and—after grouping together—took off in different directions to where each Dream Friend was located. While normally it would be a difficult task to find several people in such a short timeframe, Waddle Dees were known for getting things done in a very efficient manner. They were the perfect men—err, creatures for the job.
“What—What kind of danger i-is this, M-Magolor?” Bandana Dee asked as his brethren carried out their King’s orders. “…p-please tell me it’s not the True Arena.”
“It’s not the True Arena.” For a moment, Bandana Dee looked hopeful that this wouldn’t be as bad as he thought. I—I could be overreacting! It… It might just be something small! Y-Yeah! It has to be!
His hopes were then immediately shattered. “It’s worse.”
Kirby and Dedede both looked disturbed. “…worse than the True Arena?” Kirby breathed. That—That couldn’t be possible. The True Arena had always been the worst things Kirby had ever faced. Always. For there to be something worse… “Are… Are you serious?”
“Kirby,” Magolor said, “I have never been more serious in my life.”
A silence passed between the quartet. The three (out of four) core members of the Star Allies glanced at each other with great worry. This is really, really not good, they shared the same thought, before they turned back to the once-final boss. “…tell us all about it,” Dedede said. “If it’s as bad as you say, then… we’re gonna need to know everything about what’s happening.”
“I hear you loud and clear. Come in; the Lor and I have all the information you need.”
From atop a cliff at the Sacred Square, Meta Knight glared toward the skies. “I can feel it,” he said to himself. “There is a new disturbance out in the galaxy. One with a danger level higher than we have ever seen before.”
Being the ‘Strongest Warrior in the Galaxy’, the commander of the Meta Knightmares was very in tune with the events that happened on Pop Star – and he knew that something very bad was on the cusp of happening. As a core member of the Star Allies, he knew that not investigating this to the fullest extent he could would be a devastating mistake, one he was not inclined to pursue.
“Kirby and King Dedede surely know about this already,” he mused. “I must join them as soon as possible. This threat must be extinguished!” With that bold declaration, he spread out his wings and took to the skies, a hard destination already in mind.
“Our esteemed King needs us, you say?” Coo questioned. The Waddle Dee in front of him – and all the others – nodded assent. “Something about a big ship and a bigger danger?” They nodded again, giving the owl all the information he needed.
“Well, mates,” Rick said, “looks like we’ve got an invitation to a new cowabunga. You guys ready?”
“Adventures are nice,” Gooey airily added. “Especially with good friends. Kirby’s a good friend. Let’s go be even better friends. And have a big picnic. Mmm, picnic…”
“If he and Kirby needs our help,” Kine chimed in, “then there’s no way we can decline. He’s going to need all the help he can get, I think.”
“I guess you’ve got that right!” Coo turned back to the Dees. “Alright, Waddle Dees—take us to Castle Dedede! We’ll be there behind you!”
Cloudy Park – Strawberry Pass
“Our friends need our help?” Adeleine asked from atop her usual place. She had been painting as usual when a group of Dedede’s Waddle Dees had come up to her and stated their wishes. “Something dangerous is approaching us fast?”
“There’s no time to waste, then!” Ribbon exclaimed with a determined expression. “Kirby and Dedede have done so much for us already; it’s only right we help repay the favor!”
Adeleine smiled. “I suppose there’s nothing else to it, huh? I’m up for painting away at the bad guys again.” She turned back to the Dees. “Castle Dedede, right? Then let’s go! Ready, Ribbon?”
“Ready, Addie! C’mon!”
“A new mission from our bloated king, you say?” Dark Meta Knight sneered, scaring several of the Waddle Dees in front of him from his rather hostile demeanor. (It had been a long morning for him, and he was rather grumpy. “And just what is the nature of this new… galactic crisis?”
“Who cares?” Much to his annoyance, Marx hopped in to his side, wearing the same irritating grin the mirror knight had reluctantly grown accustomed to over the past few months. “I, for one, think it’ll be great to mess with whoever’s behind this!” Adopting a more serious expression for a moment, he added, “and if it’s the True Arena again… then we can’t exactly skip it now, can we?”
“…you make a good point, you irritating insect.” After what he had been forced to witness in the stadium… he wouldn’t pass a chance to tear apart the True Arena’s hosts where they stood.
“Hey, I try my best to please everybody.” That was a big fat lie on the level of Kokichi’s ones, but there was no time to think about that now. “Betcha I can get to Castle Dedede faster than you can!”
“What!? Oh no, you don’t, you little pest. I’ll be the one to make it there first!”
“Try me, Darky! Hee hee hee!”
Daroach’s Airship – Cockpit
“Kirby and Dedede require my services, you say?” Daroach said, an eyebrow raised in amusement at the Waddle Dees that had come to see him. The Squeak Squad was going to go investigate the Raisin Ruins again for any other lost treasures they hadn’t found, as he had done months earlier. But…
“Well, if our planet’s savior and king need our assistance, who am I to deny them that privilege?” he continued.
“Yeah, boss!” Storo agreed. “We might even find even better treasure than where we normally do!”
“It might give me ze opportunity to ztudy new, advanced technologies…” Doc giggled. (It was a rather creepy giggle.)
Spinni shrugged, as if he didn’t particularly care either way – but the leader of the Squeak Squad knew he was secretly interested. And that was all the confirmation he needed to make his action.
“Very well. To Castle Dedede we fly!”
“…King Dedede is calling for me?” Taranza quietly asked from the base of the Dreamstalk. The Waddle Dees nodded, and the arachnid-turned-current regent of Floralia sat and thought for a bit.
The self-proclaimed king of Dream Land had been a close friend of his, ever since Queen Sectonia had been dethroned as a result of her corruption (he involuntarily sniffed at the reminder). Though he had yet to join him or Kirby on any major adventure… Dedede had stated that he had been a great person to have on Pop Star, especially during the Robobot crisis of two years prior.
He had consoled him after the death of his once-best friend, and even helped him get his bearings as the de facto leader of the People of the Sky, once Sectonia… ‘passed from this realm.’ Even though the once-villain had kidnapped him and forced him to fight his best friend, he held no grudge. And now that he—and Kirby—needed his help for real…
…there was no way he could refuse.
“…alright,” he replied. “Take me to him.”
Haltmann Works H.Q.
Elsewhere in space, Susie—second president to the Haltmann Works Company—stared at a list of analytics similar to what Magolor had seen only an hour prior. Her eyes narrowed as she continued to read about it—and then she growled.
“Another Dimension, huh…” She closed her eyes. “That place… Why… Why does it continue to haunt me…!?” Her hands unconsciously clenched into fists, memories she once thought bottled rising back up to the surface. Memories of her time exiled in the rift between time and space, tormented by monsters she knew nothing about and endlessly searching for a way back home to no avail…
…and now, this—this—this twisted waste of dimensional space was trying to have its way with Pinky and his friends? Pinky, the one rival she hadn’t been able to bring down yet, the one she had declared to be hers and hers alone to defeat?
She slammed her fist on her desk. “I’m not gonna let this stand. Pinky is mine. Mine. And if I have to team up with him to destroy this new threat, then so be it.” She pushed back her swivel chair and stood up, marching toward the elevator to get to her Business Suit. “It’s time for the Haltmann Works Company to finally have its long sought-after vengeance.” And she definitely wasn’t talking about Kirby.
Castle Dedede – Entrance
Above the Lor Starcutter, Kirby looked ahead on his Warp Star for the incoming arrival of his friends – and he wasn’t disappointed in that regard. Over the horizon, he could see several people coming: Rick, Kine, Coo, and Gooey walked in from the Great Forest, lead by a group of Waddle Dees; Adeleine and Ribbon soared in on their own Warp Star; Marx and Dark Meta Knight were having a little race as to who could get to Castle Dedede the fastest; Daroach’s airship casually strode up to the castle as if the world was its playground; and finally, Taranza arrived from the direction of the Dreamstalk, looking apprehensive as he went.
Kirby drove the Warp Star back down and landed on the ground. To his three other friends, he said, “They’re all coming. Everyone’s almost here.” (How ironic, how he was saying that so close to the beginning of the Ultimate tournament.)
“Good.” Dedede spun his hammer around, already mentally prepared for the dangers ahead of them. He recalled the information Magolor had given him and the others, and grimaced at what the Star Allies would most likely have to face. A threat worse than the True Arena itself… And here I thought today was going to be just another day in Dream Land. He quietly scoffed. Shows what I know.
Beside him, Magolor had pulled out some modified Nintendo 3DS, several statistics highlighted on both screens that honestly made Dedede’s head hurt trying to read it. He occasionally looked up from his device, as if he was checking to see if anybody had arrived yet. Bandana Dee also stood on standby, his trademark spear at his hand. He looked far more nervous than he had ever been, but given the subject matter, it was only natural.
Meta Knight was here as well, having arrived first before everyone else and just in time to be informed of the situation by Magolor. He, too, was on edge, his trusty sword Galaxia out and ready to attack any hostile foe that dared to come his way. Dedede almost pitied the bosses they would face. Almost.
“Kirby! Dedede! Bandana Dee!” Adeleine and Ribbon were first on the scene thanks to their Warp Star, crashing in front of the Star Allies’ core quartet and landing on their feet (well, Adeleine did, anyway). They looked no worse for wear as usual. “We came here as fast as we could once we got your message!” She brandished her paintbrush with a determined smile on her face. “I’m ready to paint! Whenever you need a picnic, just say the word and I’ll be in it!”
“Adeleine, Ribbon,” Dedede smiled. “It’s good to see you guys again.”
“It's good to see you too! So, what kind of enemies do we need to face?” Ribbon asked, fluttering alongside her friend. “Dark Matter? Zero? Dark Matter and Zero? We’ll take them all on!”
“I don’t think that’s what we’ll be seein’, mates,” Rick’s voice suddenly came into view, “but good guesses either way.” The three Animal Buddies (and Gooey) waltzed up to the growing group, the group of Waddle Dees leading them dispersing once they did. “G’day, everybody,” he greeted. “Fine day for an adventure, wouldn’t you say?”
Kirby smiled ruefully. “If only that were the case,” he grimly stated.
“Huh?” Kine blinked. “Is something wrong, Kirby? You… You don’t seem as jolly, today…”
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Gooey spoke up, as dreamily as always. “He’s Kirby. He’s a good friend. He can handle anything.”
“Hmm…” Coo hummed. “Are you sure about that? I don’t think even Kirby’s sure about it this time…”
“You’re pretty perceptive,” the pink puffball noted. “Let’s just say this journey might be a more troublesome one than usual.”
“Whatever comes up,” Rick continued, “it can’t be any worse than what we’ve seen so far, eh mates? No worries – she’ll be right in the end!”
Suddenly, crashing in from the sky, Marx descended and proved himself the ‘winner’ of his and Dark Meta Knight’s race. “Wooooooo!” he cheered, his wings raised to the sky. “I won, I won! Take that, Darky! Looks like I’m the better flier between the two of us! How does that feel, huh, huh?”
“This means nothing,” Dark Meta Knight’s guttural voice growled from above, his form flapping in after the jester. “It was merely a fluke. The sun got in my eyes and distracted me. Nothing more.”
Marx snickered. That was an absolutely terrible lie. If Kokichi was here, he thought, he’d see through it instantly! “Sure, sure! Whatever you say, Darky.”
Meta Knight met their gazes with a reserved expression – they may not have been as bitter enemies as they were starting out, but by no means were they the best of friends now either. “Marx. Dark Meta Knight. It is… good to see you here, at the edge of this crisis.”
“Meta Knight!” Marx greeted his fellow Star Ally in faux-happiness. “Aww, you were invited, too? It’s like a big party of Dream Friends! Hey, hey—you know of there’s any cake around?” (Kirby twitched, but didn’t so much as react otherwise.)
“Shut your simpering, Marx,” Dark Meta Knight groaned. “I am growing tired of listening to it.” (Marx cheekily replied, “Well, if you say so~”, much to his irritation – but he’d let it slide for now.) To his non-mirror counterpart, he said, “I… trust… that you will have my back in the coming battles?” It was a miracle he was able to say this, given how volatile he had been months earlier – and to Meta Knight, no less.
The wielder of Galaxia nodded assent. “So long as you’ll have mine,” he replied, “you shall have nothing to worry about.”
Dark Meta Knight relaxed a little. “Good to hear.”
Next in line was the Squeak Squad; Daroach’s airship was making a swift landing close to the Lor Starcutter. The bridge came down, and Daroach came down in a rather stylish fashion – plus the rest of the Squeaks, who proceeded to run around the exterior of the Lor Starcutter. “Hello there, Dream Land!” he called. “The Squeak Squad is finally here!”
Bandana Dee’s face lit up, while Magolor’s merely held reserved curiosity. “Daroach!” he cried back, waving his hands in the air. “You made it!”
“Why, if it isn’t good ‘ol Bandana Dee!” The treasure hunter grinned upon seeing his familiar acquaintance. “Still serving your king faithfully, I see.”
He stood up proudly. “Yep-yep! There’s no one else who I’d rather be besides! O-Oh, but you’re still a good friend, too! I’d—I’d never forget the things you’ve done for me and everyone else.”
“Just a day in a gentleman thief’s work,” Daroach casually dismissed, though not out of any malice. “I was just in the right place at the right time. Though, in that note… should you ever decide to leave your king’s employ, you’ll be welcomed in as an honorary Squeak.”
“R-Really?” Bandana Dee rubbed the back of his head, a blush rising to his cheeks. “T-That means a lot to me… T-Thanks!”
Also walking in, albeit slowly, was Taranza, current regent of the islands of Floralia. He looked plenty nervous about the situation, his eyes darting all about in a presumed attempt to keep himself distracted. “H-Hey, Kirby, Dedede.”
If possible, Dedede’s burgeoning smile grew even wider – and the same could be said for Kirby as well. “Taranza!” the king called out, rushing over to give his fellow ruler a great big guy. For what it was worth, the arachnid seemed much more soothed after he elected to hug back. “How’s Floralia been, buddy? I haven’t had a chance to visit in a while.”
Taranza looked bashful. “W-Well,” he began to explain, “we’ve—we’ve been doing pretty great, all things considered. I… still don’t know why the people like me so much,” especially since I used to work for—He shook his head, “but it hasn’t been a bad thing, honestly.”
“Sounds like you’ve been doing good work!” Kirby chimed in, his signature happy smile shining brightly on his face. “…you’ve gotten a lot better since 2014, you know. I’m… I’m glad to see you happier than you used to be. You really deserve it.”
“I’m still not sure about that,” Taranza said, “but… thanks.”
Out of the blue, Ribbon floated over to the arachnid, startling him immensely. She spun around his body much like a certain navigation fairy would do. “Wow… So you’re a ruler, just like Dedede and Her Majesty?” (‘Her Majesty’, for those curious, was Queen Ripple of Ripple Star.) “That’s so cool! Look, Addie! He’s—he’s like royalty!”
“I—I wouldn’t say I’m r-royalty,” he protested. “I’m—I’m just… the interim guy, th-that’s all…” But the Crystal Shard duo had become pretty interested in the regent of the skies.
“Don’t be like that!” Adeleine admonished him. “You have to be a great king—” (“But I’m not a king…”) “—to have stayed in power for four years! It—It is four years for him, right Kirby?” she asked, turning to her pink friend. He nodded ‘yes’.
A light bulb then went off in the artist’s head. “Ooh, maybe we can introduce you to Queen Ripple!” she said. “She rules over Ripple’s home planet! I think the two of you would get along swell!”
“Yeah!” Ribbon exclaimed. “More friends for Her Majesty!”
“Now that I think about it,” Dedede remarked, “I think Queen Ripple would like having another regent to talk to. N-Not that… I’m… not good enough, or anything…” A light blush popped up on his face, which made his friends giggle.
“…I s-suppose, if you guys think it’s a good idea,” Taranza said, “th-then… we could give it a shot. B-But after we get through… wh-whatever we’re doing here. That’s important.”
That would have been all the Star Allies (and Magolor and Taranza), but there was still one more arrival left. The sound of something mechanical descending from the sky fluttered into everybody’s auditory range. Upon hearing the unfortunately familiar hovering noise, Meta Knight immediately narrowed his eyes. “That craft… She dares to come back here, after all this time…!?”
Kirby was surprised too, but for a different reason. “Wait… She’s actually coming here…!?”
The Star Allies collectively looked up, and bore witness to a combat mech touching down on Pop Star, the likes of which had only been seen beforehand by Kirby and Meta Knight. As it landed with a thud, the figure in the cockpit took off their visor—and revealed themselves to be Susie, current CEO of the Haltmann Works Company.
Several reactions occurred at this point: Bandana Dee yelped and hid behind his King, who had his hammer ready to slam; Adeleine instinctively grabbed Ribbon and Gooey and hugged them tight between her arms; and Meta Knight drew his sword toward the woman, seeming about ready to cut her where she stood. “You,” he growled, intense anger undercurrent beneath his voice.
Susie raised an eyebrow, completely nonchalant at being threatened in front of several figures. “Me,” she agreed.
Marx and Dark Meta Knight looked at their fellow warrior in surprise, having not expected his rather hostile reaction. He hadn’t reacted like that to them, and they were former villains, for crying out loud! “H-Hey, Meta Knight?” the jester worriedly asked. “Wh-What’s up with you?”
“Is there something about this woman that draws your ire?” Dark Meta Knight inquired as well. What could get his doppelganger all ticked off like that?
Meta Knight grunted. “…you could say that.”
Undaunted by his one-time enemy’s surprise appearance, Kirby walked up to Susie as if she were just another person on Pop Star. “Susie,” she cordially greeted. “What brings you here? Something tells me it’s not for a business trip or anything like that.”
The secretary-turned-CEO despawned her Business Suit mech, leaving her standing alone and armed only with a blaster. “Pinky,” she greeted the multi-time savior back. “I heard you were about to embark on an… adventure, of sorts.”
Worried mutters and rumblings floated through the crowd of gathered Dream Friends. Kirby did nothing more than tilt his head slightly. “You could say that,” he confirmed. Since she was the current owner of a massive technological provider, it only made sense that she would see the incoming crisis about to hit Pop Star (and the Gamble Galaxy, for that matter). “And?”
“Well, I want in.”
“Absolutely not,” Meta Knight spat, his glare becoming even frostier than before. “After all the things you and your NOVA-forsaken company did, do you honestly believe that we would take you in with open arms?”
“Hey, hey, hey, hold on,” Marx interrupted the party. He looked extremely confused, as did Dark Meta Knight next to him. (Understandable, as they had only come back to life after the Robobot crisis had come and went.) “Am I missing something here? What exactly did this Susie lady do that’s got everyone on edge?”
“She—She turned half the p-planet into p-p-poor c-cyborgs!” Bandana Dee stammered out.
“The whole environment was nearly ruined because of her!” Coo added his own two cents.
“Her minions tried to take my friends away for—for—experimentation, or something!” Adeleine stated, keeping a close eye on Susie and still hugging her friends.
“She turned me into an enslaved mechanical abomination,” Meta Knight hissed.
“Okay, for your information,” Susie began to correct them, “it was the company as a whole that did those things, not me individually. Well, except for that last part.” She turned her gaze to Meta Knight, matching his icy glare with her own calm eyes. “Honestly, you were a very impressive knight; it was only natural that I gave you an upgrade like that.”
Dark Meta Knight shuddered. When she put it that way, it was no wonder his light world counterpart held so much disdain for her. A lack of free will? Forced to do somebody else’s bidding? No, thank you! I had enough of that with Dark Mind!
“Speaking of knights…” Susie then turned to him, and the mirror knight instinctively stepped back in alarm. “I didn’t know there was another knight just like you, Meta Knight.” She seemed to be sizing him up, which gave him a substantial amount of discomfort. “Perhaps I could model our newest batch of Mecha Knights after him…”
“Hey, hey, hey—stay away from him!” Marx defensively stood in front of his fire-forged frenemy, spreading out his fanged wings again in an attempt to look intimidating. (To its credit, it worked a little.) “You wanna touch him, you’re gonna have to go through me.”
“M-Marx?” Dark Meta Knight was startled by the jester’s response. Even now, he wasn’t quite the most socially aware of things – but he was grateful all the same.
Susie huffed. “Fine, be that way,” she grumbled. Under her breath, she muttered, “I guess you natives will never change…”
Meta Knight turned to Kirby. “Kirby,” he began, “don’t tell me we are actually going to include her on this mission. You know what she and that blasted company of hers is like; involving her would be a security risk of the highest order. There should be no doubt as to how dangerous she is.”
“I dunno, Meta,” Dedede interjected, wearing a contemplative expression, “she looks like she can pack a big punch, and if what Magolor told us is any indication, we’re gonna need all the help we can get to survive this. We shouldn’t dismiss her out-of-hand when the whole galaxy’s on the line like this.”
“B-But—Meta Knight does have a p-point!” Bandana Dee added. “The things that happened during the R-Robobot crisis… T-They were terrible! Wh-Who’s to say she won’t do the same thing again to us when this is all over?”
“I won’t,” Susie declared confidently, having overheard the core quartet’s conversation about her. “You have my word on that. Besides,” she looked away and clenched her fists, “this is… personal for me. I—I have to do this.”
Meta Knight continued to glare at the secretary for several more moments, trying to ascertain her true motives for coming (though to a certain pink puffball, who remembered the conversation he’d had with her two years ago, her ‘true motives’ were very clear). He was interrupted from shooting a sharp response at her by said pink puffball voicing, “Alright. You can come, Susie.”
Several eyes widened at Kirby’s acceptance of yet another (former?) villain onto their team. Dedede glanced at Meta Knight for a split second before asking Kirby, “Hey, Kirby. Are… are you sure about this? I mean, you know how Meta Knight feels and all…”
“Trust me,” Kirby replied, “I’m sure. She won’t start up anything, I promise.”
It was a testament to the trust and long-time friendship the four of them shared that they took the puffball by his word.
“…okay. I trust you, so we’ll make this work. So long as she does no funny business, we’ll hold her to it.”
“If—If she promises to k-keep away f-from my brethren, then… then I c-can deal with this!”
Meta Knight took the longest to respond. He didn’t know what to say, having yet another enemy joining the Star Allies he had come to cherish – before he finally turned away and replied, “…fine. Do as you wish. I will trust your judgement, just this once.”
Several of the other Star Allies made similar noises of agreement, trusting their leader to do the right thing. Susie smiled. “Glad to see you made the right decision in the end,” she said.
Magolor, who had been long silent—and also analyzing each of the Dream Friends that had deigned to show up (though ‘friend’ was definitely stretching things for some people)—finally decided to speak up. “…you’ve certainly made quite the collection of friends in the years past, haven’t you, Kirby?” he remarked, putting away his modified 3DS to look out at the crowd assembled. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it would be an utterly impossible task.” Like coming back from the dead after becoming a Soul Boss, he internally joked—though it wasn’t much of a joke at all.
“You know me,” Kirby said with a smile. “I’ll make friends with anybody, even if they don’t really want to be friends… and even if they’re determined to be anything else. I couldn’t do anything else. It’s just in my nature.” The existence of Marx and Dark Meta Knight was proof enough of that fact.
Magolor nodded to himself. “If all goes well, it shouldn’t be a problem then. Right, enough playing around.” He began to raise his voice, “Star Allies! May I have your attention, please!” The crowd went silent at the Halcandran’s voice – at last, he could finally get this show on the road.
“Thank you. Ahem!” he coughed. “You have all gathered here for a very important reason. It is to my displeasure that I must announce that a crisis has once more engulfed our Gamble Galaxy.” The crowd immediately began to murmur among themselves at this declaration.
“It’s not Dark Matter again, is it? We’ll take them down if it is!”
“Are crises tasty? I think it sounds tasty… Can you cook it?”
“Didn’t we just deal with a crisis back in March!? I’ve got a pranking quota to fill you know; this isn’t good for that!”
“Most intriguing. Another crisis, you say? I wonder if it has anything to do with the Jamba Hearts that fell from that time…”
“…I have no idea what you all are talking about…”
Magolor waited for the audio to die down. Once it did, he continued his speech. “Now, I am aware that under normal circumstances, such an event would not require us to be meeting up like this. But I’m afraid this isn’t your usual, run-of-the-mill crisis this time. It’s far, far worse.”
Kine piped up, “Is it Dark Matter worse?”
“Even worse than that. I would tell you all here, but I’m afraid my explanations would not suffice with just me alone.” The Halcandran directed the Star Allies’ attention to the Lor Starcutter, standing right in front of them. “If you would follow me into my ship, I will be able to properly give you a rundown of our current situation.” He then proceeded to enter through the open front door, practically beckoning the others after him.
“Whoa, mates,” Rick breathed, he and the other Animal Buddies having somehow missed the ship’s dominating presence. “When did that get there?”
“It’s massive,” Coo commented. “A work of art all on its own.”
“…you are jesting, correct?” Dark Meta Knight asked, a bewildered expression beneath his scarred mask. “It was right there this whole time. There is no possible way you could have avoided witnessing it. Are you dullards absolutely blind?”
Amidst a volley of ‘hey’s’ and ‘no, we’re not’s’, Marx gave an irritating grin and jabbered, “Hey, don’t be like that, Darky! If anyone’s gonna be jesting here, it can only be me! You think this hat’s just for show?”
With yet another groan coming from his mouth, Dark Meta Knight did his best to ignore his half-friend slash half-irritating pest and walked on into the Lor Starcutter, disappointing Marx, who had been eager to see his friend’s reaction. “Hey, don’t be like that!” he pouted, running in after him. “C’mon, where’s your edgelordiness? You can show me! Don’t be such a tsundere now!”
The rest of Star Allies followed suit: while the Animal Buddies were still confused (as was Gooey, but… Gooey is Gooey, and he’s absent-minded in the best of times), they managed to shrug it off. “Well, mates,” Rick said, “this may be ‘crikey’ and all, but we’re wastin’ daylight here. What are we waiting for?”
“Oh, you’re gonna like this place, Taranza!” Adeleine was saying, taking Taranza by the hand and all-but-dashing into the ship’s cockpit, with Ribbon following close behind. “It’s really cool; I bet you’ve never seen anything like it!”
“Yeah! It’s a technological marvel!”
“Wh-Whoa, wait, s-slow down, A-Adeleine, Ribbon…!”
“An interesting design,” Daroach mused as he entered, “truly out-of-this-world.” He glanced at Doc, who was staring at the ship with an undisguised gleam in his eye. “Doc is certainly going to be busy for a while once we get out of here…”
As she walked in, Susie, too, was analyzing the Lor Starcutter in interest. “So this is what the ship technology of the Ancients looked like,” she murmured mournfully. “I… I still find it hard to believe something so beautiful… could come from those that could make…” She cut herself off at the end before she walked into the ship.
Finally, there was just the four core Star Allies left: Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandana Dee. Kirby looked up at the Lor Starcutter they once helped repair over seven years ago, now the bridgeway to quite possibly the most important venture they would ever undertake. “…this is it, guys,” he said. Though the skies were still bright, the ship that loomed overhead seemed like a daunting obstacle to overcome. “Once we pass through this door, there’s no going back. Whatever’s ahead, whatever we may see, we’ll have to face it head on.” He turned back to the friends he’d known for twenty-six long years, the companions he would trust with his very life—and he’d knew they’d do the same in return. “…are you guys ready?”
Dedede gave out one of his almost trademark grins. “Heh—what kind of question is that? Of course we’re ready for this!” He bopped his best friend’s head lightly. “You remember what we said when we faced Void Termina, right? You’ve got us by your side! And there’s no way we’d ever let you do things alone – and everyone else feels the same way, too.”
Meta Knight nodded in agreement, almost beaming in a sense of pride. “Through thick and thin,” he stated, “we will stick by you, no matter what creatures or demons dare to step in our presence. You have our word—and the knowledge that our weapons will be behind you every step of the way.”
“Y-Yeah! I—I may be nervous,” Bandana Dee admitted, “b-but… you’re a good guy! You’re our friend! If I couldn’t stay with you at a time like this—I’d have no right to stand by my Great King! S-So…” He pointed his spear to the sky. “L-Let’s go and show the bad guys what we’re made of, together!”
Kirby smiled. What else did he expect? If Void Termina and his corrupted Soul wasn’t enough to dissuade then—well, nothing ever would. It was simple as that. Meta Knight, Dedede, Bandana Dee… Where would I be without you guys? “If that’s what you’re willing to do… then I’ll stand alongside you guys, too,” he said. “There’s no time to lose! Come on—we’ve got a galaxy to save.”
With that declaration, the four heroes of Pop Star walked on into the Lor Starcutter, and the front door closed shut right behind them.
Whatever awaited them now… they’d—and everyone else—would be there to see things through to the very end.
That… was a promise.
Lor Starcutter – Cockpit
The Lor Starcutter was a technological marvel, a slick and clean-looking ship from which dimensional travel could be achieved. Several of the sixteen Star Allies stared in awe, be it subdued or on display, as a globe of screens lit up all around them.
Magolor chuckled. Outstretching his hands away from himself, he declared, “Welcome, Star Allies, to my humble abode—the Lor Starcutter. I hope she’s not too gaudy for your eyes; I’m not exactly the most artistic of people out there.”
Gooey hummed, “Hmm… I think it needs more pictures of food. It’d be nice, to look at food while you live… at least, that’s what I think is good. It’s good, right, Ado?”
“I can’t disagree with you there,” Adeleine said (being friends with Kirby gives you a much deeper appreciation for the finer aspects of food), “but it’s honestly nice enough as it is. I’m an artist; I should know!”
“Artistry or not,” Marx chimed in, “you have to admit all these screens have so much potential—right, guys? I’m itching to do something already…”
“Prank-related, I assume,” Daroach raised an eyebrow.
“You know me all too well!”
As amusing as that would be, Marx, a feminine voice rang out through the room, I must ask that you please refrain from such actions until our current crisis is resolved. It is best to stay focused on one singular task.
“Meanie,” Marx pouted. “You never let me have any fun in here.”
“That’s probably for the best…” Adeleine sighed.
Meanwhile, the eyes of the Animal Buddies, Taranza, and Susie comically widened at the unknown person’s presence. “Wh-Who’s there!?” the HWC president uncharacteristically stammered, grabbing her blaster and aiming it all about the walls. “I—I have a blaster! And—and I’m not afraid to use it!”
Calm down, Miss Susie, the voice consoled her. I am not your enemy. I am the spirit of the Lor Starcutter. Though you cannot see me, I am here to act as an ally.
“Th-That’s what you want me to believe! H-How am I supposed to know you’re not gonna possess me and absorb all the knowledge from my brain!?”
“Lor would never do anything like that,” Magolor assured the hysterical secretary. “I’ve been with her for years; if she wanted to do something like that, she would’ve done it when I first repaired her. You don’t have to worry.”
Susie didn’t looked convinced, but it was enough for her to put her blaster away and reluctantly concede the point to the Halcandran. “…f-fine. B-But I’ll be watching her! Watching very closely!”
Dark Meta Knight scoffed. “This is the harlot you quaver at?” he derided his counterpart.
“…she is much more menacing than she appears now,” Meta Knight replied—though if one looked carefully, they could see an embarrassed blush show up beneath his mask. “Just—Just ignore her for now.”
Anyway, the Lor continued speaking, it is good to see that all of you are energized and gathered here today. I do not exaggerate when I say that the road ahead will require all of your strength and determination to end this new threat.
“She’s right,” Magolor confirmed, steeling his face back into being serious. “Trust me when I say the True Arena honestly has nothing on this.”
“So, is it really that bad?” Coo asked. “We’ve never needed all of us in one spot like this – which worries me a little, actually.”
“That doesn’t sound good…” Kine worried. “My wife isn’t going to like this. Not one bit.”
“My… My strength?” Taranza drew his gaze to the floor. “…I don’t know if I’d be able to help out, though…”
“How can something be worse than the True Arena?” Adeleine wanted to know, a staggered expression on her face – which was also being worn by Ribbon, Dark Meta Knight, and Marx. “I remember when Kirby and our friends did it – it was… brutal!”
(A memory resurfaced, of their faithful friends being battered by an endless series of waterfalls as Kirby watched on in horror)—“And you’re saying we’re about to go through something even crazier!? P-Please tell me it isn’t true!”
Ribbon whimpered. She desperately didn’t want to believe it herself. Nobody did.
(Susie and Taranza, meanwhile, clenched their fists. The True Arena was horrible, yes – but to them, it was for a matter entirely different.)
“It’s true,” Kirby spoke up. The other Star Allies all turned to him in surprise. “You guys know I’ve been through the True Arena five times over now – and Magolor’s not kidding when he says this is going to be worse than that.”
“I found it hard to believe myself,” Dedede confided. “Soul Bosses were already a pretty insane threat on their own.” At this, Marx and Magolor briefly looked away, a hard grimace appearing on the former’s face at the reminder. “…I wish it was something as relatively simple as that now, I really do.”
“But we do not have the luxury of hoping for such impossible aspirations,” Meta Knight added. “We cannot hesitate in the face of this fresh nightmare. If it is to conclude, then we must be the ones to end it ourselves.”
“Y-Yeah!” Bandana Dee expressed his agreement. “Wh-What he said!”
“Well said, you four.” Magolor walked up to his ship’s computer and started typing things into the keyboard. In the blink of an eye, several windows showed up on the screen, each of them displaying some sort of statistics that barely anybody (i.e. Kirby, Meta Knight, and Susie) understood to any extent.
“As you can see,” he began explaining, a hand outstretched in the direction of the monitor, “the Gamble Galaxy is sustained by collective amounts of energies, as you can see from this graph.” There was a colorful graph on-screen, displaying a wide assortment of neon colors over a star map of the Gamble Galaxy. “It’s what keeps reality stable, and allows life to truly blossom on our planet and others. Several artifacts, such as the Star Rod, often harness this energy to do a wide assortment of things – in this case, give the people of Dream Land good dreams.”
“Is that how it works?” Rick asked, his eyes closed in contemplation. “I always thought it was a forcefield or somethin’ myself…”
“Sounds dreamy,” Gooey unintentionally punned. “I wonder if it tastes as dreamy as it sounds…”
“…Gooey,” Dedede said carefully, ruffling his brow, “please don’t tell me you’re planning to eat the Star Rod. Please tell me no.”
“E-Eat the Star Rod!?” Bandana Dee exclaimed in surprise. He nervously laughed, “H-Ha ha ha, you’re—you’re f-funny. R-Really funny…” Then his face became comically distraught. “Oh NOVA, you’re serious, a-aren’t you?”
“…is it a bad thing to eat it?”
“Now I regret not seeking it out when we invaded this planet before,” Susie muttered to herself. “Such an artifact would most definitely give us the blueprints for a perfect new product… shame.”
Meta Knight glared at her. She didn’t seem to notice – either that, or she was actively ignoring it. (Either one could be possible, really.)
“Another thing that’s important is how other dimensions can affect the energies of our dimension. The manipulation of such is what allows things like Warp Holes to open up, or specific individuals to carry powered-up Super Abilities. But if the energy balance between our dimension and others becomes unstable – then we cross into incredibly dangerous territory.”
The Halcandran brought up another window: a bar graph presenting the ‘energy balance’ of the Gamble Galaxy over time. While the past few months showed a consistent moderate amount, the most recent time – that of a scant three hours ago – had a massive spike that was exceptionally discomforting, when combined with Magolor’s explanations.
“And that’s exactly what’s going on now. Three hours ago, while I was traversing the cosmos as usual, a warning came up on my computer. It informed me that due to the influence of ‘dark, occult magic’—” He stopped talking for a moment, to let it sink in. “—the dimension simply known as Another Dimension is now unstable and leaking energies to and from ours. Should we fail to resolve this… our way of life will be endangered to the point of no return. The energies will break time and space wide open, and the creatures within will rampage through our dimension until there is nothing left. And that is something we cannot allow.”
A silence passed through the cockpit. “…no way,” Ribbon breathed.
Dark Meta Knight growled. “…‘dark, occult magic’?” he repeated. “That can only be the Jambandra Cult. Hmph… I knew we should’ve taken care of those uncultured swine. Their persistence has proven to be more than irritating now.”
“The Jambandra Cult?” Susie looked disturbed. “I hadn’t thought them to be real, just… relics of an age no longer relevant to our present. How—how can they still be operating today?”
A scoff came from Meta Knight. “Shouldn’t your ‘advanced systems’,” he said that term in a mocking manner, “have picked up traces of their existence by now? Surely, you could not have missed the influx of negative energy from several months ago.”
Susie’s face went red, and her eyes averted the knight’s cold yellow orbs. “…I was… focused on restructuring the company, then,” she muttered, barely audible to the Star Ally’s ears. “…I didn’t really think much of it…”
“Seriously?” Daroach raised his eyebrow again. “Even I detected it, and my airship is not as advanced as your technology.”
You all are certainly an astute bunch, the Lor complimented them. It is as you say. The source of this disturbance has been confirmed to be Jambandra Base, located at the edge of the Gamble Galaxy, as I’m sure you all know. A rift in time and space is most definitely present there as well, and should we enter it, I am positive that we shall arrive in Another Dimension. And from there… there is no telling what will await us.
I will not sugarcoat this – you shall face great hardships, should you choose to follow us to the edge of the galaxy. Another Dimension is not the World of Peace or the World of Miracles you know so well. It is a dangerous, unfettered anomaly. And any hesitation while in there will bring forth untold amounts of suffering.
Knowing that… will you help us bring an end to this galactic crisis?
…if you say no, we shall understand. This is not to be taken lightly, and I know that many of you enjoy your comfort here on Pop Star—
“Oh, shove it in a windpipe, will ya?” Marx suddenly interrupted her. “There’s no need for your boring warnings now.” She went silent, and everyone turned to the jester in anticipation for his next words.
“I know I may not be the nicest of guys, or even the most well-intentioned. Heck, I tried to take over Pop Star once – which honestly does say a lot about me. But you know what?” He looked up with a determined expression. “There’s no way I’m going to be sitting this out, not by a long shot.” He glanced over to Kirby. “Don’t tell this to the guys back at Cappy Town, ‘cause I have a reputation to keep and all, but… I like you guys. I really, really do. So that’s why I can’t let these occult idiots have their way. You need us to go in and stop them and this ultra-hard dimension stuff? Then sign me up.”
Marx’s abrupt and unexpected speech caught most of the crowd off guard for a few brief moments. The silence was soon broken by everyone else deciding to throw in their two cents as well.
“As much as it pains me to admit this,” Dark Meta Knight said, “I agree with this jester’s words. All of you are part of my domain, and the thought of the Jambandra Cult trying to interfere in that dominion infuriates me beyond belief.” To everyone else, that was Dark Meta Knight-speak for ‘I like you guys and I don’t want you hurt.’ “Consider my blade one of the many weapons that will be on this journey. I will teach those heretics the meaning of pain for their insolence today.”
“We’ve been through a whole lot together,” Adeleine chimed in, “be it five of us hunting down the Crystal Shards, or thirteen of us on a journey to save the galaxy from darkness. And while Ribbon and I haven’t been there for most of Kirby’s adventures, that doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon you guys now!”
“Yeah!” Ribbon agreed. “Her Majesty would never forgive me if I backed out now! Addie and I—we’re gonna be painting masterpieces for you guys ‘til the very end! So let’s go in and beat up that Hyness guy already! Who’s with me!?”
“We’ve mostly kept to ourselves over the past few years,” Rick admitted, “but that doesn’t mean we’ll let that continue now. You and Kirby and all our other mates need our help, right? Then count us in! We’re gonna ace this, no prob!”
“I’ve been in the mood to stretch out my wings more, anyway,” Coo lazily dismissed. “Need a flight? I’ll be happy to give you one – so long as it’s not too many people, anyway! I’m getting a bit old, you hear?”
“My wife, Mine… she’ll understand the importance of what we’re doing here,” Kine resolutely stated. “I may not be the most useful of fishes out there, but I’ll do my best to help you guys all the same!”
“I like friends,” Gooey randomly said. “You guys are my friends. Very good friends. If you want to go somewhere, I’ll go somewhere with you, too. That’s what matters most, right?”
“…heh. I’m a treasure hunter by trade; a gentleman thief by nature,” Daroach recited. “And there’s no better thing to steal than the twisted desires of the most distorted villains.” That was… probably a reference to something, though nobody in the room knew specifically what he was referencing at the moment. “We may be simple mice, but the Squeak Squad will never back down from a challenge such as this. Let’s not hold back any of our punches now, shall we?”
“…I don’t really know most of you aside from Kirby and Dedede,” Taranza confided in his new… friends? (Could he call them that?), “but I can see that this is a problem I can’t ignore. I—I can’t let another Sectonia happen. I can’t. And… if I leave this alone… my—my worst fears will come true. I… I don’t know why the People of the Sky chose me, b-but… I’ll do my best to live up to their expectations by standing by you all. I may only have my spiderwebs and my magic, but I’ll put all of my efforts in anyway!”
“I despise Another Dimension,” Susie hissed. “It’s taken so much from me – my home, my childhood… my family…” Meta Knight looked particularly startled by that statement. What? “…so, as long as I breathe, I won’t let a single trace of it try to intrude on my destined territory. And if that means having to team up with you guys… then I’ll do it with pride if it means I can get what I want. Infinite prosperity doesn’t matter now – I will have my vengeance, one way or another. And I won’t take no for an answer.”
“And you know what our answers are,” Dedede grinned, gesturing toward himself and the three other core Star Allies. “We’re going to face this crisis head on, with our heads held high and our strides still strong. Because if we didn’t, I know that Kirby would just do it alone, and I can’t exactly let that happen!” Kirby let out a light laugh, taking the jest in stride, as did Dedede. “As the ruling King of Dream Land, I’ll say this: let’s go out and kick some butt!”
“W-Well said, G-Great King!” Bandana Dee praised. “I—I’ll be beside you, too! My spears will cut any bad guy in their way! J-Just give me the word, and I won’t let them past!”
“Do I honestly need to say anything else?” Meta Knight asked. “The others’ words are proof enough of our resolve, I believe.”
“You hear that, Magolor, Lor?” Kirby finally spoke up, the widest of smiles on his cute little face. “We’re gonna face this together – all of us. Friends, enemies, we’ll be there all the same. I’ve never been more proud to call everyone here my friends. So let’s get to Jambandra Base already before we get too mushy.”
A chorus of agreements rang out from the crowd of Star Allies. Magolor chuckled. “You really know how to pick ‘em, Kirby. I can’t exactly back down now, either – it’d look bad on my resume, especially when everyone’s so eager to fight.”
If that is everyone’s decision, then there is no more time to waste. Gather whoever else you may want to bring, and we shall take off to the edge of the Gamble Galaxy. Let us charge forth and embark on your greatest challenge yet.
Before long, everyone was prepared for the journey ahead. King Dedede had called in a bunch of his Waddle Dees—‘to help with maintenance,’ he said, which Magolor greatly appreciated—and Daroach had his Squeak Squad—Doc, Storo, Spinni, and the little Squeakers—also ready to help if needed.
Doc had to be restrained from tinkering with the Lor Starcutter’s systems, given that he was a scientist and a technician by nature – but otherwise, there wasn’t anything blocking the Star Allies from moving on forward.
Everyone else was preparing in their own way: Rick, Kine, and Coo were resting as to conserve their strength; Adeleine and Ribbon were practicing their painting skills while Gooey watched; Meta Knight and Dark Meta Knight fought with a couple of dummies in order to keep their sword expertise sharp…
Marx was flying about and dropping balls everywhere for giggles; Daroach was in the corner, strategizing over the journey to come; Dedede and Taranza were having an insightful conversation, with Bandana Dee joining in wherever he could; Susie had brought out a Nintendo 3DS of her own and was looking over the screens…
It was a sight to behold, the likes of which very few people in the multiverse would be able to see. Kirby watched over the scene with a smile. These are the things I want to keep the most, here, he thought. My friends, being able to live out their lives in bliss and happiness, just as they’ve always had. There’s nothing that matters to be more than to be able to see that dream continue on.
And I won’t let the Jambandra Cult shatter their happiness in their desires to revive their Dark Lord. If they want to try, we’ll fight them ‘til the bitter end. That’s how strong our friendship as the Star Allies is.
…I’m ready. This is what everything has been leading up to.
We’re gonna save the galaxy—no, the universe again.
And nothing’s gonna stop us now!
Over the intercom – which was required for anyone to be heard over the volume at this point – Magolor said to everyone, “Okay, Star Allies! It’s time to make our way from Dream Land all the way to the Jambandra Base! Make sure all of your belongings are on you, because we won’t be coming back until our goal has been reached. Is everybody ready?”
A synchronized “Yeah!” rang out through the room.
“Alright then! We have liftoff in three… two… one! HERE WE GO!”
At last, the Lor Starcutter took off from the ground, and shot off into space. Cheers and ecstatic shouts echoed off of every wall, absolutely deafening anything else in the room. Kirby’s smile, if possible, got even bigger.
“Okay, everybody!” he shouted, wanting to do one last thing before things truly got started. “All together now: let’s go, Star Allies!”
“Let’s go, Star Allies!”
And so, with that final declaration, a new adventure began. A quest to another dimension, in order to save the Gamble Galaxy again, and perhaps, to save those who never knew they needed saving. It was going to be a long and arduous venture, but there was no need to fear. After all…
…the Star Allies had each other’s backs!