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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: This World we call "Home"

Chapter Text

When the sky falls

Then it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all, together…

Today was as bright as any other could be during the even’s tide in the World of Trophies, yet despite this there hung a thick miasma of proverbial darkness. All of creation could feel it; it was all-encompassing, threatening to swallow every bit of life that it could. As of late, a notable cliffside had become a popular spot to gaze into the sunset, becoming a site for many a romantic getaway to take place; on this day though, there was no love of any kind to be found in the air—in its stead, hatred and despair ruled over what had now become a battlefield. Combatants from every corner of the universe had gathered in this spot, all baring their powers and wills against what would be their ultimate enemy. Standing at the forefront, son of the legendary StarFox founder James McCloud—Fox McCloud—aimed his trusted blaster into the sky as he led not just his StarFox crew but all the fighters against this mysterious menace.

“Don’t let a single one get away!” he spoke, loud and clear for all to hear. Before him and the others stood a sheer army of the world’s highest power: Master Hand. He was not alone—countless spitting images of the god-hand faced the fighters, all commanded by an entity the likes of which none had ever seen before: a mass of light divinity compacted into a perfect globe as a core of sorts was surrounded by four sprawling sheets of wings, glowing in a red inferno one second before shifting into a sapphire coldness the next. Despite the authority Fox wielded in his voice, there was an eerie nagging in the back of his head that still shook his entire being. It was a voice alien to him, though he had a feeling he knew exactly who or what it was.

‘You cannot even begin to hope that you have a chance of prevailing against me… Surrender and accept your inevitable demise…’ Shrugging off the doomsayer, Fox had his reflector active and on standby in the event of a projectile war.

“We’ll each need to take down about ten,” Marth had assessed. Hyperbole or not, it was clear that everyone the hero-king fought with were so woefully outnumbered by what had to be among their most difficult opponent ever faced, and while his assessment wasn’t meant to be inherently encouraging, a voice Lowell could hear in his head did his stiffening nerves no favors.

‘We are immeasurable—your error will swiftly be your undoing…’ Trying to shake the morbid thought from his mind, he was joined by fellow royal Princess Zelda Pratibha Hyrule V—her face set in forged steel as she attempted to assure her comrades.

“Stow your fear,” the maiden commanded. “It’s now or never!” Even with these words the young princess could still feel obscene dread resting in the pit of her heart, and a voice had made it obvious to her that she was not the bearer of the Triforce of Courage for a reason.

‘False bravado will not save you now… You will all be consumed by the light…’ Never before had something so holy and bright seemed so evil, even with her knowledge of the prince of darkness’s ironic usage of light against the heroes of her world. As if to remind her of what true divine light was, there stood Pit the Kid Icarus and his goddess Pallas Athena—affectionately known as Palutena—their weapons drawn in anticipation of the battle to ensue.

“We’ll win this,” the young angel chimed in. “I know we will!” It wasn’t in his nature to be so down and glum about the situation outside of very rare situations, though this seemed to be one of those moments and he did his best to keep his head high. Though the entire force of fighters rallied against this threat, none could shake the inescapable sense of fear and impending doom; even some of the most hardened warriors—among such ranks including the former FOXHOUND “Solid Snake” David Hayter, Gerudo King Ganondorf Dragmire, Umbra Witch Cereza “Bayonetta”, and Space Pirate Commander Ridley—could not deny the almost suffocating sense of foreboding that this entity had brought with it. And as every fighter had finally prepared their armaments to take down the otherworldly creature, something strange happened. The Master Hands who had taken place around this being saw their fabric peeling away to reveal ghastly blue life-forms underneath, and these lights were pulled in together into the angelic being. One by one they added to its power, and then a terrible scene took place thereafter. With so much light drained into its core, the being had collapsed into a small black hole crackling with fell power, raising alarm for the fighters but without majorly deterring their will. However, one individual had suddenly been struck by a vision of the future: this one depicted the very immediate events succeeding this spectacle, a truly grisly fate befalling all that had come to do battle with the being of light. He could only look back at the others, choked up in raw terror and unable to say a word, but he did cast his focused, glimmering glance upon one. The significance of this visage had only confirmed to the others of their ill-fated encounter, with many faces giving way to fully-realized horror with what was about to happen next. There was no confidence left to be found, no semblance of hope, no victory: only despair.

*SHIIIINNNNGGG*

A deafening burst of light rang out in the sky, burning with such great power as a great photon shower frantically raced towards the fighter at blinding speeds. To their credit the fighters did not immediately flee upon the sight, resolving to dodge and block as many of the shots as they could; it would all be in vain.

There is no stopping my power

Link, Champion of Hyrule, had seen the rays barrel toward him and others, but with the Hylian Shield and Master Sword at his side he did his best to deflect the beams. He was familiar with the technique having slew countless Guardians and Galamity Ganon itself, both of which used deadly beams of light to devastating effect; he would deflect these attacks no problem. Except he didn’t—no matter how hard he swatted at them they pushed him back and merely slid off of his shield, his Master Sword completely failing to hit even one. Several more beams crashed with crushing power straight into his shield, more than shattering a bone or two in his arm all the while forcing him off his guarding stance. That was when he saw the last beam rush at him, completely engulfing him in a searing light that burned him away until he was no more. Samus Aran, the Galactic Federation’s most renowned bounty hunter, unloaded her strongest arm cannon enhancements, firing off round after round of charged plasma waves and missile storms. It was only to watch them all obliterated by the malefic ray of light headed right for her, tearing through her and destroying both hunter and suit in one fell swoop. It was with this that many of the once brave fighters were now frantically fleeing for their lives, with so few remaining to stop the beams in any way possible.

There is no strength in numbers

Princess Zelda had nearly faltered seeing another version of her world’s hero slain so effortlessly, but the legendary pokémon Mewtwo had arrived to combine its strength with Zelda’s, knowing that as a goddess descendant with great magical prowess and its own vast psionic power would be devastating if put together. With this encouragement Zelda invoked the blessing of Nayru’s Love as Mewtwo focused its might into a confusion attack, placing faith in each other’s power to pull them through. It was for naught, as their defenses were pierced as though they never existed, and both princess and pokémon met their white-hot ends.

There is no escape

Ogilvie Maurice Hedgehog was among the first to try and escape what was quickly becoming a massacre as much as he hated it, using his trademark supersonic speed in the hopes of outrunning the murderous light rays devouring other fighters left and right. He swore that he would escape this madness and hopefully find a way to rescue his friends and get back at this monster taking them away. However, as he ran as fast as his legs could carry him, he spotted another creature attempting to run away that he was about to pass up, that being the electric-typed mouse pokémon Pikachu. The sight of such a helpless creature being forced to run away from danger struck a chord in the young hedgehog, and he endeavored to at least save the life of one other person. Slowing down only by so much, he stretched out an arm for the small pokémon to grab onto so he could carry them both away to safety. Pikachu saw this and starting burning through as much electric power to boost their speed so they could so that they could catch up with him; the critter never got the chance as a beam of light struck it and obliterated it without so much as an ounce of effort, with Ogilvie watching in sheer horror. He was once again not fast enough to save one of his friends from their doom, and finally he was overtaken by a harsh burst that not even he could have seen coming with all his speed.

No darkness can hide from my light

Cereza was watching the scene around her, several newfound friends and little ones all about being murdered left and right by this wretched abomination of light. Not even those insufferably bright Angel Landers deserved this fate, and this thing was just another Jubileus the way she saw it. She’d taken down so-called “all-powerful” gods of light without so much as batting an eye before, and she would do it again for the sake of her new friends. She found that her Witch Time did so little against this new being unlike Jubileus however, to the point of effectively being rendered useless without truly unleashing its full potential at the possible cost of the others, and in one of the very few moments of her life she was truly startled by this revelation. It appeared she would have to dodge the beams by unleashing the bat within her. To her terror, though, she was using so much energy too quickly to do so and she would not remain as such forever, forcibly reverting into her humanoid form just in time for a burning blast to ram headlong into her and finally eradicate the Umbra Witches with her ensuing demise.

Nothing in this world can save you

Redd Pallet and Leif Pallet knew that they were potentially condemning themselves and their pokémon to death, but with Leif having the foresight to bring a smash ball with them they had to give it a shot at the very least. Using the ancient artifact’s power to fill their Squirtles, Ivysaurs, and Charizards with its boundless strength, they gave what was likely their last command to use Triple Finish to its fullest extent. The Squirtles dipped into their deepest water resources to unleash powerful hydro pump, the Ivysaurs were drawing in as much intense light from their surroundings to further empower their solar beams with the hope of beating the creature at its own game, and the Charizards simply roared their mightiest fire blasts so worthy that would put some of the truest dragons to shame. King Bowser Koopa Sr., whose anger had finally reached its boiling point from witnessing his son’s game being ended as well as the Koopalings he was so proud to call surrogate children in their father’s absence, finally gave into his fury and unleashed a hellish maelstrom of inferno at the light to prove that he wouldn’t even need to tap into his visceral giga metamorphosis to turn the tables on this menace. None of the beams had been slowed into the slightest, and both young and old found that death does not discriminate in the least as all were burned into nothingness.

Nothing from your world can save you

Captain Douglas J. Falcon knew a crash and burn scenario when he saw one, and he was actually one of the first few to outright flee from the start. He knew no amount of martial arts or bounty hunting training would get him through this as the “Bruiser from the Bronx” as well as the two world warriors and bounty hunter extraordinaire from prior could attest to with their demises, and so he urged whoever else had the chance to run to do so while they could still do so (Ogilvie being one of those who took this to heart yet with no success on his end). He was dead set on getting to his Blue Falcon as fast as possible and escaping so he could formulate a rescue operation later. Finally he found where he had parked his vehicle and saw a glimmer of hope thinking it would be enough to get away from this battle-turned-bloodbath warzone. The moment he tried to hop into its cockpit, he could see a particularly damning light beam racing toward him and silently cursed this enemy in his last moments before both he and his racecraft were wiped out, the light of his hope snuffed out along with his life.

No mind can hope to outsmart me

The aura pokémon Lucario and the ninja pokémon Greninja were masters of stealth and evasion, and it would be unwise to blindly rush at either without sufficient preparation beforehand. Lucario sensed great intent and purpose within this foe but remained steadfast with its inner focus, seeing the light beams as mere brute force that could easily be misdirected. It utilized its double team art to lead one of the lasers into an illusory body double as it had planned. Unfortunately for the aura pokémon, it had reappeared right behind Greninja who was currently being targeted by another beam, and without Greninja noticing that Lucario was behind him he leapt into the air with a great bounce in his step. He managed to dodge one of the pesky beams, though he never got to see his erstwhile sparring partner taken out in his stead by a light flash that was noticed too late for the aura pokémon. This would be rectified however, because a second power beam was right on its mark, catching the airborne ninja before he could drop himself back to the ground.

There is nowhere to hide

Both Agent 3’s were hurriedly covering as much ground as they could with their inkshots, having seen how their new buddies were unceremoniously splatted by this total creepshow, and if flat-out dodging the light beams the old-fashioned way didn’t work then they had to hide in their ink and hope that the murder spree would eventually stop. Everything had limited ammo after all, and they simply had to play the waiting game until them. Before they could get a lot of ink coverage though, the threat of a light beam about to murk them told them that time was up, and they dove into their separate ink puddles to try and stall out the lasers ripping everyone else into shreds. What they didn’t count on however, was whether or not the beams of light were strong enough to tear through the terrain itself and take them with it, which is exactly what happened as a great laser ripped through the cliffside and erased all traces of the inklings ever being there.

There is nowhere to run

Falco Lombardi, one of the late Fox McCloud’s teammates and close friends, simply had no further reason to stay behind in the ruined battlefield, ruefully escaping to the sky with his tail between his legs the way he saw it while Fox and even that dastardly Wolf O’ Donnel stood their ground. He’d pay this jackass back tenfold once he found a safe place to recover from the massacre, and boy did he have no shortage of ways for payback. Out of the corner of his eyes, though, he spotted several beams trying to tag him and quickly kicked his Sky Claw into high gear, pushing his personal starfighter to its limits. His plans of escaped were dashed when he felt one of the beams nick the wings of his ship, and it was a matter of time until the rest caught up with him, clipping his wings and taking him down from the skies for good.

Divine or mortal means nothing to me

Pallas Athena knew that this was a celestial being on an entirely different level than most other gods in her world, possibly including herself. She may have been the goddess of light, but she still represented a coherent, tangible aspect of light distilled through a divine being while this thing was almost pure light in and of itself. Against Pit’s protests and with Dark Pit’s encouragement, the goddess sent the angels on their way with her power of flight. Without Viridi around to help her get them to safety, the nature goddess herself an unfortunate casualty before this whole disaster started, she was on her own. She had to be careful to not steer the angels into the flight path of any of this being’s attacks, and while it took up much of her focus and strength she wouldn’t dare let it lay a hand on her angel, not after all they had been through. She’d get him and Dark Pit out of this crisis or die trying; she was still the goddess of light, and she would not stand to see light used in such an evil and murderous manner. She called forth her reflect barrier hoping that the light ray would be slowed and that she could buy them all some more time to escape. But for all her power as a true goddess, she had spread herself too thin trying to save the angels—her heart could not take Pit being finished for good after the torment that was the Chaos Kin fiasco, and yet it was her undoing as light pierced her holy shield and felled her like all the rest. Pit and his dark counterpart soon felt a violent yank from their wings and they were flying no more, now plummeting to the ground at speeds that would assuredly kill them upon impact. In his realization, Pit knew that his goddess was dead and was only stopped from letting loose an anguished cry by light devouring both kid icaruses, finishing them just like the goddess.

Accept death

David Hayter had made no effort to fight or escape the beams, instead placing his favorite cardboard box over him while waiting for the grim reaper to finally pay the old war dog an overdue visit. Once that monstrosity had unleashed its ultimate attack it was all over. While he would be killed eventually, he was going out in a peaceful state of mind, the thought of all the companions he’s made on his mind while he proceeded to break the oath he made to Big Boss; his headband was now placed over his eyes to shield them from the burning light coming for him as he took out a cigarette and lit it for his last smoke and let it flow into his lungs, finding that he quite missed the feeling. He leaned against the box and let out his last smoke-infused breath, finally at peace with himself and welcoming death’s embrace with open arms.

You will all join each other soon

Diddy Kong had managed to get a good head start in escaping compared to most others with the help of Rosalina and her star children. He only wished he could have saved his monkey of an uncle too while they were at it, and he even found it sad that the longtime-missing King K. Rool who had finally snapped out of his funk to see them again had was gone once again in a matter of seconds. He just hoped that his rocketbarrel pack had enough fuel to last him until he and the nice Miss Rosalina had found shelter for them otherwise he may very well go bananas in no time flat. Said oft-called “goddess of the cosmos” was planning to take her and the little monkey with her to the vast reaches of space where her observatory awaited her return. There she could formulate a plan to defeat this celestial horror and restore all who had fallen in battle against it, though she was no battle expert and sorely wished that ♪!? was still alive to give her his sagely counsel, having been embroiled in combat far more often than her. The whistling sound however told Rosalina that she and the monkey named Diddy were not going to make it, and with the knowledge of the innocent star children about to perish along with them both her maternal instincts kicked in, pulling all into a loving embrace as she kept flying up and way, uttering a silent prayer for the great cosmos to watch over their souls before the light caught up and erased them.

For this is the end

The Mayor of Smashville candidates were all so unused to the sheer level of death having came from their peaceful little towns and cities. Worse of all was that their loyal, lovable secretary Isabelle had tried to reach out to them all in what was likely to be a before-death embrace before she was taken away right before their eyes. The poor children could only either run about in a blind panic from all the chaos or completely broke down crying knowing that they were all going to die. The duck hunter’s pet dog watched helplessly as a beam was headed straight for them, whimpering and hoping that it wouldn’t feel it when it hit as it covered its eyes with its paws—though their duck companion was having none of it and desperately tried to pull its friend away from the carnage, unwilling in any fashion to leave the dog behind to save itself. The Wii Fit trainers on the other hand seemed almost too calm for the occasion, simply performing various yoga poses in some attempt to go out doing what they did best. In truth, it was also to calm their nerves as they too had little in the way of such violent encounters along with the absolutely heartbreaking sound of children scared out their minds and crying their hearts out in the face of doom and the poor animals either frantically trying to escape in vein or bracing for the impact. Oh how they wish they were holding them in their arms instead while telling them all sorts of encouragement such as “It’s okay”, “The nightmare will be over soon”, and “Don’t cry, I’m here for you”, but alas they performed yoga exercises out of habit for doing it so long and they had never felt so terrible for doing so. A single tear fell was all that fell from their eyes as they whispered “I’m sorry” and finally the light had consumed them all, stripping away flesh, blood, and bone in a single stroke, killing the last of the fighters who stood against them.

It is done

This world has fallen

As light consumes all

Now this world shall be reborn

…?

In the sky was a lone twinkling star deftly evading the lasers at every turn, though it would not be for much longer he knew. Kirby, having been forewarned by Shulk the Visionary, quickly understood what was going to happen, and with a little boost from the Homs with the speed art he took off at light speeds before the whole crisis began. But now light was catching up to him, and the speed boost was about to wear off soon, so Kirby knew he had to push his warp star to its absolute limit. Full of determination, Kirby kicked it into high gear and blazed across the sky as his warp star reached higher pitches of intensity with a scary sound accompanying it. He was almost there, he just needed to go a little faster…! The light beams were relentless in their pursuit and would not let up either, with the gap between life and death quickly closing as they picked up speed. Kirby would not let it all end like this; he had to survive for everything and everyone, he had to win! Without warning the star warrior and his air ride seemingly shattered into stars before the rays of light could overtake him and truly doom everything. This attack did not stop because of Kirby’s mysterious disappearance, continuing on to claim the trophyfied bodies of friends, family, and spectators of the fighters. Soon the light became too much for the world to contain alone and it spread to other planets at a frightening speed, burning them into sub-atomic particles in its ever expanding reach on towards the rest of space with no sign of stopping until absolutely everything was engulfed in its blinding flare.

And thus, the universe was crushed in the hands of the ultimate enemy:

Galeem, Lord of Light.


 

And that concludes the first part of the Prologue. It's not too much going on that's different from the original story, and the next chapter will explore the collective perspectives of our deceased cast and what kind of threat we're going up against (with a minor twist as well). I can only hope that you all liked this first native story on AO3. This is Motley World Studios, signing off of the air!

 

Chapter Text

Somewhere in all of the emptiness that was the ruined universe, there was some sort of dark storage room or warehouse where various individuals were on display, similar to trophies if one would. They all appeared to be bound in tight confinement by sets of wires filled with a glowing blue essence, their faces being set in what appeared to be a deep sleep. They would all be awake very soon though.

‘Mama mia…’ a distinctly Italian voice echoed out in the darkness. Just then a spotlight shone down on the bound figure of Marius Gonzales Mario. Though he spoke, he could not move so much as a twitch; even his face remained in stony slumber. ‘Huh? ‘ello? Anybody a-there?’ Despite his eyes being closed, he somehow could see where he was, but it wasn’t as though he could recognize this place either way. ‘Hey! Is there-a somebody else-a out there?’

‘M-Mario…?’ came the scared response, which the man instantly recognized as his younger brother Luigi Gonzales Mario.

‘Luigi…! Where are-a you?!’

‘I—I don’t know bro… What’s-a going on…?’ The young man always was faint of heart compared to his older brother and was close to losing his nerves. Being the protective older brother that he was, Mario sprang into action upon hearing his terrified little brother.

‘Don’tcha worry little bro, I’mma comin’ for y—Wha? Hey, I’mma stuck!’

‘M-Me too…’

If there was anything Mario hated more than most other things, it was the feeling of complete and utter helplessness when someone else was in peril. Maybe this was how Princess Peach had always felt every time Bowser had kidnapped her. ‘Yeesh, just-a perfecto. Don’t-a worry Weegee, I’ll-a get us outta here somehow…’

‘M-Mario, Luigi? Is that you?’ Speak of the devil, Princess Peach Toadstool had called out to her heroic plumbers after hearing their voices, being one of the few comforts she could afford in bleak times such as this.

‘P-Peach?! Are you okay?!’

‘I…I think so… But, you got hurt because of me…’

‘Hey, no, that’s-a not—’

‘I—I couldn’t defend myself…’ Peach was now starting to sound choked up on tears, threatening to start bawling her eyes out at any moment. ‘Y-You pushed me out of the way, and you…you…’ Mario had almost forgotten about the last memory he had when he was alive; he had pushed Peach out of the way of an incoming light beam and tried using his super cape to redirect the attack, only to fall victim to its power and was promptly incinerated before Peach’s very eyes. A part of him that it broke her heart to see the hero she loved sacrifice himself for you, but he likewise couldn’t bear watching her being burned away as he watched. Peach herself hadn’t dodged another attack, having completely broke down in agony from his death.

‘P-Please, Peach, don’t cry. It’s-a not your fault…’ Listening to the exchange between bother and friend sparked the reminder of how Luigi ended up suffering this fate. He similarly found Princess Daisy Sarasa Toadstool in the way of a death ray and quickly pulled her toward him with his new poltergust’s plunger shot, only to quickly eject her away from him when another blast headed for him that he knew he couldn’t dodge. He could faintly recall her anguished cry right before he was obliterated and everything else faded into black when the burning light consumed him. The thought of where Daisy could be sent a terrible chill up her spine with the thought that she too had perished despite his efforts.

‘D-Daisy? A-Are you there…? P-Please…S-Say something…’ Luigi was a sensitive guy and was on the verge of tears if his love hadn’t turned up anywhere like his brother and friend. He could hear a choked sob in the distance and right away he knew who it was. ‘D-Daisy, is that-a you?’ The sobbing had become uncontrollable at the sound of his voice, putting his worst fears to rest but finding himself shedding tears all the same. ‘It’s…It’s okay Daisy, I-I’m here…’ “Poor Daisy” Peach had thought; she knew her cousin was a tough cookie where it counted—tougher than her in most situations—but unlike the Mushroom Kingdom’s princess the Sarasaland princess had scarce been in truly harrowing encounters. Perhaps it was because of everything and everyone else after the Mushroom Kingdom and its princess over Sararaland which was only invaded back when Wario was such a huge jerk and sent his then-minion Tatanga after her as a mere distraction from his true goal anyways (he still is a huge jerk mind you but has simply channeled his jerkishness elsewhere). Being so suddenly thrust into such a hopeless slaughter without warning and having never been in serious situations of the caliber herself had not done Daisy’s psyche any wonders, hence her nervous breakdown resulting in sobbing uncontrollably.

‘Ugh, my aching shell…’ came another voice, clearly belonging to the senior Bowser. ‘The heck was that light made out of? Geez, way to make a guy feel worfed huh…’

‘P-Papa?’

‘…! Junior! Where are you kiddo?!’

‘I don’t know…I’m scared papa…’

‘I—’ Being a proud single parent of one—eight when he counted the Koopalings whenever their dad wasn’t around (who he knew would kill him if he found out something happened to his kids), Bowser Sr. was understandably worried about the poor koopa kids. He couldn’t lie to his son about how bad things were though, and it was not hard to swallow his pride to give the boy the down low on their situation. ‘Junior, I won’t lie to you—I’m scared too, not just for me but for you and the others too. Things are looking real bad for us right now, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Just…keep being brave over there Junior, wherever you are. Your papa’s not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, and that goes for the rest of you Koopalings if you all can hear me.’

‘We hear you King Second-Dad,’ Ludwig von Koopa responded.

‘Alright then, so just remember this, okay guys? If you koop and stay in the fray, you’ll live to koop another day. A true Koopa Troopa never gives up, and neither should we, you hear me?’

‘O-Okay papa.’ Bowser couldn’t help but smile that, despite how scared his son was, he made an effort to keep pushing on despite the badness.

‘Aww, that was so sweet of you Bowser,’ Peach remarked.

‘Hey, a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.’

‘Okay, so…’ Daisy finally spoke up, having calmed down considerably over the exchanges. ‘Is it just us, or…What about everyone else?’

‘We are all accounted for,’ a gruff but calm voice said throughout the distant darkness.

‘Who said that?’

‘I am identified by what your kind refers to as “the Aura Pokémon Lucario”.’

‘Oh hey there, you’re alright too! So, you said that everyone’s…?’

‘Yes, we are all accounted for; many of us are still gathering our thoughts over our current predicament.’ Much like Lucario had said, the voices of all the others eventually made themselves known. Voices such as Pit frantically calling out for his goddess before she confirmed that she is still with him to his relief (also earning Dark Pit’s ire in that Pit didn’t ask for whether or not he was also okay), Solid Snake saying something about being in some sort of factory, and the panicked voices of the lumas before Rosalina made to comfort them with the sound of her voice. As it appeared, everyone was presently accounted for, though that begged the question: why they were all in the same room with each other. Did this mean that they truly were all dead or were they merely—painfully at that—transported from their world to this strange place? Could it be both in the end?

You have awakened

At the sound of that voice everyone had froze up in fear; they knew who it was: the very same being responsible for putting them in this situation. They could not see it but they could feel its presence surrounding them from all angles.

You ought have remained in slumber

‘You!’ Zelda called out at it. ‘Why have you done this? What are you after?!’

You shall be my soldiers

‘And what, humor us for a moment will you,’ was Ridley’s scratchy voice come taunting, ‘exactly makes you think we’ll do it? You’ve some nerve commanding anything from us, let alone me.’

Your compliance is a non-factor

‘So you’ll make us your slaves is what you’re saying.’ Bayonetta noted. ‘Naughty little thing you are, forcing a lady to do as you say, not to mention countless others.’

You have only yourselves to blame for your fates

‘I beg your pardon, but what in the almighty Lord’s holy name have we ever done to you to deserve this madness?!’ Simon bellowed out. ‘You have not only destroyed our bodies and countless others in our world, but now you insult us in that we are the ones who have brought this upon ourselves!’

Your resistance against me only made your deaths more painful than it need be

‘Of course we were going to resist!’ Roy indignantly replied. ‘For you to think that we would sit and do nothing as all we know and love would come to an end while we could do something to stop it, are you mad?!’

You also have the Hom by the name of Shulk and the star warrior known as Kirby for their part in your fates

‘Shulk? Kirby?’ Leif asked. ‘But, how? You wiped us all out in your attack!’

Your Monado-chosen ally had foreseen my attack and cast the speed art upon the star warrior to allow for his escaping my grasp with the aid of his reality crossing Warp Star

‘So he lives after all…’ Meta Knight muttered to himself, a faint twinkle of hope shining in his eyes. ‘Salvation may come for us yet.’

‘Wait, Kirby survived?’ Kenneth Masters said. ‘Ha ha, yeah! That’s our little guy!’

‘Atta boy Shulk!’ Captain Falcon hollered. ‘That’s putting that big ol’ head of yours to good use!’

‘Oh, n-no, it’s just that I did the only think I could think of,’ the bashful hom responded. ‘But, really, I’m just glad it did something in the end.’

‘Kirby! Kirby! Kirby!’ Isabelle began chanting with her cheer having returned, celebrating that the light of hope was shining down upon them once more. Soon enough everyone began to follow Isabelle’s example, even those not much for cheering in the first place if only to spite their captor.

‘Kirby! Kirby! Kirby! Kirby! Kirb—’

*SSHHHIIIIIIINNNNNG*

All were silenced when a harsh explosion of light illuminated the room far beyond what one could see before the darkness quickly returned, denying anyone of the chance to figure out just where they were. Apparently they had incensed their enemy with their cheers, driving in the point of its failure to completely wipe them out.

You would be wise to not celebrate for you have long since lost. One mere survivor amongst you will make no difference in the end.

‘Really now?’ Robyn asked with Reflet following her soon after. ‘This is a grave miscalculation on your end, and it will be just as you’ve said to Marth: your error will be your undoing.’

‘Sorry to break it to you “Thanos”—not really—but you messed up,’ Snake stated plain. ‘Your mistake will come back to bite you in your ass, marks my words.’

‘Kirby’s going to chew you up and spit you back out!’ Yoshi taunted

‘Face it, you have lost,’ Greninja said. ‘Kirby possesses unlimited potential that none of us could ever hope to match in a true battle.’

Do not confuse “Unlimited Potential” with realized potential. Kirby will fail, as all of you have done before him.

‘Oh come now, little ol’ Kirby gon’ get clobbered so easily by some big bad monster?’ came King Dedede’s jeering response. ‘Heh heh heh, surely you jestin’!’

‘Besides, what fool would send an army of warriors their enemy is used to fighting on a daily basis?’ Ganondorf added. ‘Kirby has been sparring with us since the very first tournament, so what army could you ever hope to dream of besting him with if all you plan to use is us against him?’ For a long time their foe had been mysteriously silent, normally one to respond so quickly to taunts, but this time it was eerily quiet. This made many others wonder if they had finally gotten one over on their captor. After a straight minute of no noise, it finally spoke again.

I never said you were the only soldiers at my disposal

‘Wait, what?’ Chrom said, clearly confused and with a hint of creeping fear. ‘But, that’s impossible! We all saw how you absorbed you Master Hand lackeys for your ultimate attack, and you can’t possibly tell us that you somehow have spares just lying around.’

I do

That was exactly the sort of thing no one wanted to hear, that this being somehow had yet more Master Hands still at its disposal.

‘That…That can’t be…’ Palutena muttered. ‘Then…Why are we…?’

You will replenish what I have lost

‘Oh yeah?’ Wario said, clearly not buying into this thing’s scare tactics. ‘Unless you can somehow clone craptons of us like that Tabuu freak did with those shadow bugs or something, it’s not happening bub.’

Precisely

Now Wario was suddenly regretting opening his big mouth, and everyone knew what this meant, but still there was some form of doubt over how this could be achieved.

‘So you’re going to clone us huh?’ Samus remarked. ‘Tabuu required the shadow bugs to make copies and be able to control them, and I don’t see how—even if you could clone us—you could control them without some other lifeform controlling them like puppets without anything similar to extract from us seeing as how you’ve killed us all.’

Now you are beginning to ken into my intentions

‘Wha…?’

You forget that you are not the only ones who have perished from my attack…

Now everyone knew exactly what this being was talking about, and it horrified them.

‘No…You—You wouldn’t…! You monster!! Zelda’s hateful cry fell on deaf ears as the party would soon bear witness to their enemy’s twisted scheme.

Observe

A low humming sound was heard in the distance, and into view flew a glowing, disembodied being surrounded in a multi-colored flame. Its features were a green slug-like body with glowing purple eyes and only a pair of arms at its front. It was alien to all but one person, who recognized the panicking creature instantly.

‘That’s the smoky progg…’ Captain Olimar Odysseus gasped. ‘It can kill pikmin with just its poisonous trail alone…’

The spirits of your family, your friends, your enemies, and all others shall form the forefront of my new army, and your bodies shall be the templates through which they shall carry out my will—the arks that shall sustain them

‘That’s sick man!’ Sonic shouted. ‘Dolling up dead people with fakes of us is way past fucked up!’

‘Please, do not do this to them!’ Rosalina begged. ‘They have done nothing to deserve this…! Just…use us in their stead and let their poor souls rest!’

There shall be no expense spared as I move to eliminate Kirby and dispel any delusion of hope you cling to

‘How could you?’ Miss Wii Fitt said. ‘How can you desecrate the dead so callously? Is nothing sacred to you?!’

I will have total victory. I will burn away all of the chaos that is the darkness, and light and order will rule absolutely, Now and Forever.

No matter who else shouted at it, their captor paid them no further heed to them, and a buckot had been summoned from the dark beyond. Instead of carrying a bucket full of white-hot bricks, it was filled to the brim with molten gold, and it hovered intently over Mario before slowly pouring the substance over the hero. Instantly the man could feel how burning hot it was, shrieking from the sheer pain as the liquid slowly dripped over his entire body and covered him completely as the others watched on with pity and horror. Then, the molten gold began seeping through to the bottom of the stand Mario’s body had been placed on, hanging from its bottom before it formed a perfect replica of Mario’s body. Soon it fell from the bottom onto the floor with a thud just like a statue, remaining motionless for a spell.

With a vessel, the spirit shall be given new form

The smoky progg’s spirit jerked about violently with the clear message of being forced into this situation, and multiple tendrils extending from its spiritual form reached out before taking root into the false Mario’s body and disappearing inside of it. Within seconds, what was once entirely solid began to move, first completely collapsing onto the ground before being lifted into the air little by little by the smoky progg. When he finally stood to his feet, his new living, breathing features showed him with a black overall and hat combo over his white shirt, though his blood-ed eyes that shone bright in the darkness were the most immediate deviations from the real deal.

‘Sweet baby Jesus, what the fuck?’ Richter whispered.

‘So your aim is to create heartless clones of us to use against Kirby,’ Mewtwo spoke. ‘And all to eradicate darkness from the universe with no one left to oppose you? You are more of a fool than I took you for.’

‘You…You’re not-a going to…get away with this…’ The feeling of having so ungodly hot slowly coat his body left the plumber in an out of breath shape; he may not have had any control over his body but he could still feel everything that happened to it.

I will, and there is nothing you can do to stop me

And with that the mysterious being summoned hundreds upon hundreds of other spirits just waiting to be forced into a fighter’s discarded shell. Now everyone knew exactly what kind of predicament they were in, proverbially twisting their faces in terror from the hell that would be unleashed upon them as their screams continued to fill the air in the dark room. Is there any hope left for the fighters’ torment…?


When the dust had finally settled on the world, it no longer resembled anything that it looked like prior. Gone was the mostly orderly World of Trophies, in its place being a new realm that was simply sprawling with a mix-and-match patchwork of worlds pulled from many parts of the old universe. It even seemed to have the fighters casually enjoying their usual hobbies here and there, all with simple smiles on their faces and eyes shimmering brightly. Except no, these were not the true fighters, rather spirits stuffed inside duplicates of the originals and on the lookout for their target while appearing unassuming. Though their eyes burned a bright red even in midday, the light of life was gone from them, being merely puppets animated through unwilling spirits who played pretend as to take their minds off the cruel hand fate had dealt them. Some acted as themselves while others emulated whoever they inhabited to keep with the charade that they were tasked with upholding until the star warrior showed himself. The spirits would not need to wait for much longer though, as to their (mis)fortune there was a twinkle appearing in the sky. Some of their ranks locked eyes with the shooting star, watching it crash down onto the ground as a round and pink creature flew from its crash landing. Skidding a few feet forward, the small creature woozily stood to his feet and tried shaking what was left of his daze. And then he saw it: the world was so different from how he remembered it. He wondered how he ended up here but then he locked his gaze with a being of light far off into the distance. There it stood at the very edge of the new realm it created—its shining core surrounded by its many wings and protected by a great barrier. Without hesitation it dispatched its army to corner and kill the lone survivor of its universal attack. Now having spent enough of its energy, it bid its time to recover as much of it as possible; it was not invincible after all, and if it was to rule absolutely then it had to play its cards right. It watched Kirby lock eyes with it, knowing that it would all be over soon.

I finally made it back…[/]You have finally returned

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you all before…[/]Now you stand alone with no one to help you

But I promise to set things right.[/]You cannot hope to prevail against me

The balance is all whacked out…![/]The new balance has finally come

Light is threatening to swallow everything![/]Soon light shall be absolute and restore order

I must be the shield against this glare![/]You are blinded by your self-righteous “light”

And I’ll return it to the glow that warms…[/]This is what pure light has always meant to be

You…![/]Kirby…

Watch out ‘cause I’m coming for you![/]Make peace as you face your ultimate enemy…

Into this world called "home"…The World of Light!

Chapter Text

Kirby’s newest adventure had just begun; a malefic, angelic entity had committed universal-scale genocide and with its power it had transformed the realm the fighters had lived in, disfiguring what was once a more naturally-orderly—if not somewhat nondescript—world that was still bustling with life into more of a mix-and-max patchwork of the fighters’ various home worlds cobbled together that somehow felt hollow and lifeless, and most of it was obscured by bright clouds from what Kirby could see. Still, he could see the one responsible from a great distance away, perched upon the very edge of the world reaching out into the heavens, and what mattered most now was getting to it and putting an end to its twisted schemes. With his mission clear, Kirby gave himself a determined nod and made his way down from the hill he had landed upon.

Upon rounding a corner down the hill, Kirby quickly came face-to-face with a face he didn’t expect to see so soon; Mario of all people had apparently been waiting for him while leaning under some shade. Kirby couldn’t make him out all that well. but he was more than happy to reunite with one of his friends so early into his adventure. The young star warrior ran up to the man and waved to get his attention, but now that Kirby had gotten closer he started to notice that there was something distinctly different about him; it wasn’t until Mario slowly opened his eyes and revealed the true nature of the fighter.

“Mario’s” eyes burned bright with white irises framing blood-red pupils, and his clothing color was different—being a black-and-white combo with a white shirt and gloves alongside a pair of black shoes, black overalls, and a black cap. Not long after spotting Kirby, this “Mario” became enveloped in a multi-colored aura, and he locked his eyes dead into Kirby’s for a brief spell. What happened next was something that the young star warrior was not entirely prepared for; “Mario” clenched his fists before leaping high into the air, and he came crashing back down with a fist aimed at Kirby. Kirby dodged the attack in time and looked to “Mario” for an explanation behind the attack; the response he received, however, was that “Mario” was somehow spawning an unira in his hand before pitching the spiny item at Kirby. Thinking fast, Kirby inhaled the unira and swallowed it down, relieved for thinking on his feet yet also disappointed in not acquiring the needle copy ability from it. His relief did not last long as not too soon did the star warrior find “Mario” ramming into him with a sliding leg takedown. Though the young star warrior was taken down from the hit for the moment, he was far from out of the fight; once he was back on his feet Kirby waited for “Mario” to close the distance between them while assuming a guarding stance—“Mario” took this as a challenge and bolted toward Kirby and reached out toward his enemy with a grabbing gesture. Kirby sidestepped the maneuver with little effort and laid into “Mario” with a vulcan jab flurry and finished it off with a mighty smash punch.

Now it was Kirby’s turn to go on the offensive, following up his punches with a burning tackle against the helpless “Mario” and sending him flying like a fireball. Kirby continued his assault and leapt up at “Mario” ready to bean him with his triple spin kicks, but when he reached his enemy his attack had only struck thin air as “Mario” had enough time to shift his aerial momentum in another direction, safely landing off to Kirby’s side. Seeing this, Kirby tried to turn himself around to better protect himself with whatever attack “Mario” had in store for him, but he was too slow to prepare for “Mario” jumping up at him and getting in two somersault kicks before capping off the combo with his super jump punch. Call it crazy, but Kirby could swear that “Mario” was quite stronger than the last time he faced him; he knew his attacks shouldn’t normally hurt that much from having sparred against him too many times to count and that he wasn’t doing as much damage to him in turn, and he quickly suspected that this was the doing of that evil-looking angel that started this whole mess, but Kirby could always hit harder than him—after having gained generous distance away from each other, Kirby pulled out a copy of the late King Dedede’s hammer that he often had on loan and began channeling his ferocity into it which manifested as an intense blaze cloaking it, slowly floating back down toward the battlefield. “Mario” saw this coming and tried to intercept the attack with another super jump punch, but Kirby being as light as he was had evaded the move and he glided toward the now helpless “Mario”. Once he felt the sting of power overflowing, Kirby readied his landing stance and let loose with the dreaded hammer flip, swinging the hammer in a massive arc and sending “Mario” flying as far as the eye could see.

Or at least that’s what should have happened.

Kirby could hear and feel his hammer striking something very hard of metallic nature, and the force of his swing colliding with such an object sent him reeling slightly in the opposite direction. When he looked at “Mario” to see why, he found his answer: “Mario” was inexplicably now made of metal, and the hammer flip didn’t do so much as even dent his surface. Now Kirby was incredibly confused and nervous—the Mario he knew had never displayed any sort of ability to suddenly coat himself in metal, not counting the actual Metal Mario separate from him who was like such all the time. “Mario” was able to quickly regain his stance and charged at Kirby once again with his arm outstretched to grab the star warrior. With Kirby in his grasp he wasted no time slamming iron head after iron head into the lad, not too staggered from the headbutts but more than disorienting his opponent before tossing him behind like how he had done to Bowser so many years ago. This whole turn of events had caught Kirby by complete surprise, and until “Mario” had changed back to normal—assuming if he ever did—the star warrior would have to remain on the defensive. Patience was a virtue and he would be rewarded if he played his cards right.

Unfortunately for Kirby, by the time “Mario” had changed back to normal—and even then he kept changing back into his metal form at crucial points during the fight—he had already beaten the poor Dreamlander into the ground with a modified fighting style that Kirby was not used to dealing with before; Mario was an all-arounder who was already tricky to deal with, and now it felt as though “Mario” was possessed by something else entirely like it isn’t naturally used to being in “Mario’s” body. Thinking about such things were irrelevant now, as Kirby was already in the red while “Mario” was hardly fazed at all by Kirby’s attacks. One more good hit on the star warrior and it was off to the K.O. zone for him. Kirby frantically looked to his surroundings left and right to find anything that would help him escape; continuing to fight at this point was suicidal with how “Mario” kept activating his metal skin at inconvenient (for Kirby) moments, never letting the star warrior get a single good hit in. When it almost looked like Kirby would have to face “Mario’s” wrath and endure through it, he spotted a nearby smoke ball that had dropped in on them. Kirby was quick to grab it right before “Mario” could catch him and the star warrior threw the item in “Mario’s” face, blinding the fighter with colorful smoke and causing him to wander about aimlessly. Kirby was tempted to try and attack “Mario” as he was now, but Kirby was still in the danger zone while “Mario” was effectively unscathed, and he still had his metalmorph ability that Kirby was far too tired to deal with for the moment. Thus, with the chances Kirby had he decided to accept the loss for the moment and retreat while he still could—formulate a plan of attack then come back for a comeback after he recovered enough of his strength.

And so, his feet carried him back up to the top of the hill where he had crash landed from earlier as fast as they could for his condition, not bothering to peer over the edge to see if “Mario” was searching for him or not. In hindsight, Kirby honestly didn’t know where else to go, and if “Mario” was smart enough then he’d know that there really was nowhere else to go either except for right past him; Kirby did consider running past him instead of retreating back to the hilltop, but he still wanted an explanation behind “Mario’s” strange behavior, not helped by “Mario’s” total unwillingness to speak to him. If only Kirby knew what exactly was wrong then perhaps he’d have an easier time on this journey to defeat this “ultimate enemy”; his adventure had already started on a bleak note with absolutely everyone else but him and the monster behind it alive with the rest of the universe obliterated, and having to fight his friend (or at least whatever looked like his friend) without knowing the reason behind their hostility had Kirby confused and sad at best. He knew that he couldn’t—mustn’t—give up as everything literally depended on him, but he was starting to wonder how he could do this without any sort of help. And Kirby knew that this monster was likely doing everything it could to stop him, and it was just a matter of time until he was actively being hunted down.

‘…’

…? Kirby could have sworn that he just heard a low humming sound, but as far as he knew that could have just been the wind howling since there was no one else but him up on the hilltop—unless somebody had found him up there. This was really something Kirby was in no right mood to deal with but he had to, so he gathered up what little strength he had left and prepared for a fight.

‘…’ The humming sound continued and got louder while sounding like it was coming from behind Kirby; the star warrior spun on his heel to confront the intruding force but only found empty air. The sound continued again from behind him, and naturally when Kirby turned around there was nothing there while the noise persisted. This was getting very irritating very quickly because now it was just messing with the star warrior, and in response Kirby took out his hammer and swung it around him with a battle cry hoping to catch this annoyance off guard.

‘…!!’ The sound abruptly stopped, making Kirby wonder if he had hit something without knowing it, and when he looked around to see if he was truly alone he found something very curious; levitating just a few feet away from him was a glowing white will-o’-the-wisp covered in a multi-color flame, shaking like a leaf before Kirby. The poor thing must have been startled when Kirby swung around his hammer, but being cautious himself Kirby slowly approached it. As expected, it backed away from him in fear seeing that the hammer was still in his hands, so Kirby put away the weapon and slowly approached the being without trying to cause much alarm. Though it flinched, it did not stray too far from Kirby now that the hammer was gone, and Kirby stared at this being in curiosity; this led to Kirby easing up around it, and he could feel that it was doing the same. Upon closer inspection, it did not happen to have any identifiable features beyond its colorful fire so Kirby couldn’t’ exactly tell what it was supposed to be, but it did have a pleasantly warm feeling from just being near it that seemed to soothe his mood.

♥!” Suddenly the ball of light didn’t seem so afraid of Kirby anymore and quickly flew toward him, circling his body in a way that made Kirby feel like he was being hugged; it even felt like his battle wounds were slowly starting to heal, and this made the star warrior absentmindedly wonder about what this thing truly was. It seemed friendly enough when not threatened, and while it didn’t speak Kirby knew that it felt safe with him. He didn’t get much time to ponder on what it was, as the sound of footsteps nearby alerted him to another’s presence…

“Mario” had found him, looking no worse for wear as if he hadn’t sustained any damage from prior, apparently having followed the sound of Kirby’s war cry from earlier. His eyes went straight into Kirby’s at first, but something strange happened when he looked upon the floating energy creature beside Kirby; suddenly he was snarling like a mad beast and adopted a primal stance, a far cry from the stoic fury he displayed earlier. The creature had panicked from the sight and did something Kirby was not expecting. It flew straight into Kirby to avoid being attacked and the star warrior could feel a bright power coursing through him as a rainbow aura hugged his small body, invigorating him to levels he didn’t think were possible in his current state, and when he turned to look at “Mario” that’s when the most noticeable change had occurred; it turns out “Mario” was not alone—another one of the energy beings was flying behind him, and this one had clearly defined features inside its will-o’-the-wisp shape: a green slug-like body, glowing purple eyes, and two arms at its front. Kirby recognized this creature as the “smoky progg” that Captain Olimar had met during one of his expeditions and talked about with the others in-depth. More importantly was that Kirby could see what looked like tendrils attaching itself to “Mario’s” body. Kirby, however, couldn’t feel any true ill will coming from the smoky progg but rather sadness and pain, and it looked as though it was trying to pull away from “Mario” instead. This gave Kirby the impression that this smoky progg was actually anchored to “Mario” rather than actively controlling him. It still didn’t entirely explain “Mario’s” hostility or what this all fully meant, but at least Kirby knew that there was more going on to it, and with a new friend on his side Kirby was fully determined to square off against “Mario” once more.

This time he took the initiative, charging at the Smoky Progg-possessed “Mario” with a burning tackle and sending him flying farther than last time Kirby had noted—still not as powerfully as normal but this was certainly progress. Though “Mario” tried his best to recover aerial stability Kirby was already on him with his triple spin kicks, sending the possessed plumber flying right onto his back. Kirby made a mad dash for his downed opponent and stopped right before him, waiting for the now enraged man to throw out a flare kick to defend himself from his enemy. It was dodged with minimal effort and the star warrior now had “Mario” in his grasp, taking his turn to pummel the man with punches only to let him go. Thinking he had an opening, “Mario” whipped out his firebrand thrust at the star warrior and only struck air, as Kirby had slipped behind him with a dodge. The next thing “Mario” knew he was being grabbed from behind before being violently slammed to the ground by Kirby’s German Suplex. The lad was quick to distance himself from his enemy and wait for another opening once “Mario” inevitably made another mistake, but that was when Kirby noticed something strange about the Smoky Progg possessing “Mario”.

It started with a few violent and uncontrollable spasms, followed by a few of its tendrils breaking away from “Mario”, and Kirby could more clearly see that the creature was trying to break away from the other fighter. Now Kirby knew that it truly was trapped, and it seemed to break free more and more the closer to defeat “Mario” was. With this new knowledge Kirby reignited his vigor, determined to save the Smoky Progg. “Mario” eventually stood to his feet and was starting to see more red than usual, rushing at Kirby with a super jump punch in mind, though when Kirby had his hammer prepared to knock the wind out of the possessed plumber, “Mario’s” body had began its metalmorphisis midway into his charge. Kirby knew from experience that it ultimately hurt him more than “Mario” whenever he tried to drop the hammer on him unprepared, so Kirby hopped away to grant himself sizeable difference and readjust his swinging force as “Mario” attempted to launch him to the sky. When the metal man came back down from his jump, though, the force of his landing so close to Kirby threw the boy’s concentration off center right before his swing was carried out, clumsily throwing his entire body into the attack and reeling from the impact of his hammer against the metal “Mario”, and the plumber seized this chance to slide into Kirby with a leg takedown and leapt at the disoriented star warrior to ground him with a flaming meteor knuckle. Had Kirby been able to speak proper English he’d have had a choice curse or two to yell at the plumber for activating his metalmorph yet again right as he was about to land a good hit, now starting to wonder if it was intentional or not. He stood up regardless and decided to take a different approach to fighting the man. Baiting the plumber with a cheeky taunt, Kirby silently thanked the stars that “Mario” took it without hesitation and ran toward him, and Kirby decided to keep the man at bay with his kicks constantly poking at him from a distance. When “Mario” retaliated in kind with a kick of his own, Kirby merely dodged and ran in for a grapple, laying into “Mario” with more jabs to soften him up before the plumber harshly threw him off. It went back to poking at “Mario” with kicks and tripping him up a few times until his metalmorph wore off, and when it did Kirby quickly threw out a single grounded spin kick, immediately following up the attack with his breakdance spin kicks and finishing off his crazy kick combo with a lunging double spin kick. The combo did serious damage to “Mario” and nearly flung him off of the hilltop but he was not out just yet, channeling his inner fire and throwing it out as fireballs to keep Kirby at bay; though Kirby simply inhaled them with no issue, “Mario” had been charging up his F.L.U.D.D. water pressure while the star warrior was busy, and by the time Kirby realized this “Mario” had already finished. Ready to fight again, “Mario” took to rushing Kirby again and the star warrior inwardly sighed wondering if the man had any actual strategy left or if he was getting desperate. Kirby had dodged what he assumed to be another sliding tackle, but this time “Mario” was the one with a trick up his sleeve.

The man swung out his cape when Kirby was ready to counterattack, flipping his orientation in the other direction when Kirby went for another grab. Before Kirby realized what had happened “Mario” tripped him up with a sweep kick followed by an uppercut, and without giving Kirby any time to recover “Mario” unleashed his firebrand thrust upon him again to blast the boy near the edge of the hilltop. Not one to give his opponent a chance to fight back, Mario charged the downed star warrior again with a sliding leg takedown, flinging him to where Kirby was forced to grab on to the hilltop’s ledge. When Kirby looked down to the ground while considering another retreat, he found that he was suddenly tons of feet in the air when he could have sworn that he was only a few dozen feet above ground just moments before the fight had started. Was this the work of that light demon far off in the distance…?

‘…!!’ Kirby could hear his new friend’s distress and tried reassuring them that he was okay, at least until “Mario” walked up to him with a none-too-pleased look on his face. Kirby’s hand would have been promptly stomped on which would have sent him plummeting to certain doom had he not have the foresight to let go and take to the air, utilizing his signature hovering to pass over “Mario”, but even this was countered; “Mario” had finally unleashed his F.L.U.D.D. upon Kirby to push him way past a safe distance to be away from the stage, and Kirby being so full of air only made it easier for “Mario” to trap him and harder for Kirby to win. His exhaustion starting to get the better of him, Kirby’s hover flight was not lasting long at all, and he pushed himself to make it back to the hilltop, and then he saw “Mario” running towards him ready for another meteor knuckle. Swearing to himself Kirby had only two options left: evade his attack to make it back to the hilltop and leave “Mario” able to get back to it himself, or intercept “Mario’s” attack with one of his own to finish the man off and potentially risk losing his life in the process.

“…!!!” “Mario” swung his fist down at Kirby to finish the last piece of resistance against his lord, but he failed when in a quick burst of movement Kirby had propelled himself back toward the much to his own shock and infuriation. Just how long did this weak Dreamlander intend on dragging out his inevitable death instead of accepting his loss?! No matter— he’d get his due in time, but for now he had to get back to the hill himself and not disappoint his master. Using his spare midair jump he steered himself toward the ledge, not feeling the need to use his super jump punch, but that was where things had started to go downhill for him. The beginning of the end for him was near when he felt Kirby’s foot kick him squarely in his stomach, flinging him a ways away from the ledge; now realizing the predicament he was in, “Mario” did his best to steer his fall toward the wall he could kick off of, but then he felt the metal in him pouring out through his pores and coating his entire form, meaning he had to make this next move count. He put all his might into his super jump punch to try and reach the ledge, but it was already too late by then.

Kirby was beyond irritated with fighting “Mario” and used his smash kick to give him time to charge up his fierce aura into his hammer one more time, and when the plumber was trying to recover Kirby knew he had finally won when he felt the burn of his fully-charged hammer flip. Wasting no more time, Kirby marched over to the ledge and pulled off a move he hadn’t done since his time in the Super Smash Bros. Melee scene back in 2001: Kirby dove off at the ledge and performed a flaming variant of his big hammer swing, barreling at “Mario” while swinging his hammer at a furious speed and then finally smashing it into the metal face of his opponent, sending him falling down like a blazing meteor. “Mario’s” last thought as this had happened was how he had failed his lord and silently begged forgiveness for his failure, finally crashing into the ground from up above and exploding into a burst of bright multi-colored lights from the impact. Kirby was also so spent from the sheer force he put into his attack that he simply allowed himself to glide down to the earth below, knowing that he couldn’t make it back up and wondering if it was all worth it in the end before drifting off midflight…


So, the Smoky Progg I had sent after Kirby has failed me…

‘Hah, as if a novice ghost-a possessing a body of mine could be any real challenge for-a Kirby!’ Mario said, rubbing in their enemy’s failure in its face. ‘Even with the metal shift, Kirby still-a beat him no problemo.’

Only because of the intervention of a rogue spirit that had somehow eluded my reach

‘I think it is time you face the music,’ Marth spoke. ‘You’ve committed a grave mistake that will be your downfall.’

‘It is only a matter of time until Kirby comes for you,’ Sheik continued. ‘Your vile schemes shall soon lay broken before your feet.’

‘That’ll teach you to destroy everything you big bully!’ Redd Smascevilla taunted. Though they knew that their enemy was not one who took to jeering very kindly, they couldn’t help themselves after feeling Kirby’s first victory against this menace. Thus, they were hardly surprised when it decided to punish them for their mouthing off at it.

I see. Then perhaps my overreliance on the weaker novice spirits was an error in judgment. Though I am still recovering my energy, I still possess an unchallenged hold over this world, and Kirby has far more to worry about alongside the traps I have put into place. In the meantime, I shall correct my error from sending a novice spirit believing that it would finish Kirby.

‘And how exactly do you plan to do that?’ Mario asked, not convinced that this thing had any contingency plans in the making.

You will fight him Marius. If a novice spirit truly cannot compare to you, then you will assuredly kill Kirby without so much effort. And should you fail, I will have Prince Mars Lowell, Princess Zelda Wakana Hyrule IV, and the Smashville mayoral candidates on standby to finish off the weakened Kirby. I need not worry so much about the outcome of your battle either way—I have all the puppet fighters I need from you and as such I require no further assistance from you.

The enemy certainly was subtle about sending Mario to his death against Kirby, and a part of him sorely hoped that it wasn’t the case, after all if Kirby had no reason to believe that there was a spirit to be freed he would keep fighting until Mario had simply stopped fighting, and that could easily be caused through his ultimate demise.

‘Come on-a Kirby, don’t-a let us down now. You can do this…’

I believe that now would be most opportune for you to battle Kirby. I would say do not disappoint me, but I must remind myself that—for better or worse—you have no say in the matter anyhow. I suppose that this is a farewell then, Marius Gonzales Mario, Prince Mars Lowell, Princess Zelda Wakana Hyrule IV, and Smashville mayor aspirants. Pray that Kirby fells you in his ill-fated quest to stop me should you fail, for what I have in store for those who oppose me will not be pleasant.

‘Why you sunnova—’ Mario never finished the curse directed at him before he was instantly spirited away, soon followed by Marth, Sheik, and the Villagers right behind him. The others can only hope and pray to whatever benign power that be left out in the empty universe that Kirby had the strength to prevail against tried and true fighters hellbent on killing him, and that he would avoid killing said fighters in kind.

Fret not, for it shall all over be soon. Kirby may be mighty but he is not invincible, and he will learn this soon enough…


When Mario had finally come to, he found himself standing guard before a crossroad of sorts, though the whole area was heavily cloaked in a thick sea of shining clouds of gold. Somehow he knew exactly what was around his immediate vicinity as strange and scary as that was. Not too far ahead of him were three false Yoshis—coming in colors of blue, yellow, and red with Tanooki ears and tails—all strung along by a very scared Eevee doing its best to not to get attacked again yet was forced to remain on watch for Kirby, all of whom preceded Celeste controlling a Jigglypuff’s body who had little else to do besides nap—none too enthused to fight her target so soon and would much rather get back to the other villagers who were undoubtedly worried sick about her just like how she worried about them in return. Behind Mario was a giant R.O.B. visited by the spirit of one of Hyrule’s many Guardian Stalkers, the Sheikah sentinel expressing great depression over not just merely being an unwilling tool of Calamity Ganon that destroyed countless innocent lives with reckless abandon but now also being forced to lend its strength to a shell under a fell god’s thrall for the purpose of eradicating the one thing able to free it from its torment—if only its creators could look upon its pitiful soul now, having majorly failed its duty of being a protector many times over. Further off were Mario’s other friends Marth, Sheik, and the Villagers at each of the crossroad’s ends who were hoping to hope to be freed and even if that wasn’t an option that Kirby at least would continue having the strength to face their enemy and free the universe from its control. He understood how they felt; everything they had done in preparation of facing this menace was all in vain, and now everything hung on a very bleak thread as Kirby alone had to carry on for everyone, assuming that the ultimately couldn’t find a way to save them all. Mario wouldn’t put it past that monster to make it so, perhaps as a twisted way of “punishing” the fighters for defying it. Either way, it wasn’t as if Kirby knew exactly everything that was going on and likely wouldn’t know of a surefire way to free everyone, let alone anyone, and while that was a depressing thought to think that Kirby may be forced to kill all of the friends he made Mario couldn’t find it in himself to hate Kirby if it ever came down to that. He knew that Kirby would’ve done everything that he could do and would’ve been heartbroken in the ensuing failure, and he believed that the others would surely understand that too. All anyone could do at this point was—damning as it sounded—resign themselves to being at the mercy of both Kirby and their enemy, with only time telling what fate had in store for them yet remain hopeful in the dream of salvation from this brightly-light hell.

‘Well, Kirby ol’ pal, you’re about to face the greatest challenge you’ve-a ever had, taking cautious steps everywhere you go not sure what to expect, but don’t you feel like giving up, alright? We gotcha back kiddo, right to the end-a your journey… Good luck kiddo, and may we shine ever brighter to bring back the dying life in this world…!’

Chapter Text

Kirby didn’t know where he was for a spell, as everything had blacked out on the star warrior following his battle against “Mario”. He could feel something earthly and soft underneath him, and for a time he wondered if he had truly died and gone off into some heaven of sorts, free from that monster’s control—he perished the thought very quickly, pointing out that if a benevolent goddess of light was one of the many casualties of this battle, on top of this monster messing the entire world up, there’d really be no safe haven away from it unless Kirby forcibly took a stronghold from the enemy forces. It took the lad some time, but he finally realized that everything was so dark because his eyes were closed, so he sat himself up and wiped away whatever debris was on his face before slowly opening his eyes. When he did, he found that he was actually where he first met “Mario” rather than where he thought he would land after plunging off of the hilltop—speaking of which he noticed that everything seemed to be back to normal in that the hilltop wasn’t so high up above the ground anymore. If Kirby had any doubts that this was the work of that monster, they were henceforth banished from his mind, though a part of him wondered if it was all a dream. He didn’t see the Smoky Progg that was controlling “Mario” anywh—

‘…’ Right on cue there was that familiar humming sound that Kirby recognized, and he looked around to find the source of it. Not having to search for much longer, Kirby had found his target: the Smoky Progg creature he had battled against earlier. Now it was unbound from “Mario”, more than happy to have its freedom once again. With it no longer in an apparent fighting mood, Kirby had approached the creature with caution hoping to get some sort of explanation from its forced aggression toward him. Though initially startled by the star warrior’s presence, the creature had steadily calmed itself seeing how Kirby was not there to fight—and if it remembered correctly then Kirby was the one who had freed it from its prison. Slowly, it nuzzled against Kirby’s frame to find any sort of resistance in him, and it was pleased to see that Kirby liked the feeling; now it knew it could trust Kirby and circled his tiny body in joy, knowing that he had indeed come to help it.

‘♥!’ The ghastly little ball of light within Kirby rejoiced in kind, happy to have found a kindred spirit. Now that Kirby had earned the trust of the Smoky Progg, Kirby decided to ask it a few questions, namely how it transformed into the state that it was in. Said question had noticeably saddened and angered the creature Kirby had noted—not at him he knew—but he could tell that it still upset it greatly. Perhaps “Mario’s” aggression was partially in part due to the Smoky Progg’s anguish seeping into him. Regardless, the Smoky Progg had allowed its thoughts and feelings to flow into Kirby and give him an understanding of what had happened to it.

There Kirby had learned of it suddenly being trophied at the hand of Master Hand like he and many others had witnessed earlier that day before the monster’s attack, and when it did all those who were trophies had their bodies annihilated, leaving such bystanders of the battle unable to return to their worlds of origin at will. It is here that Kirby had also finally learned of their ultimate enemy’s title from the Smoky Progg: “Galeem, Lord of Light”. This Galeem thing had taken express liberty in stuffing the now disembodied spirits into copies it had created of all the fighters at their painful and torturous expense, all for the sole purpose of killing Kirby because he survived the initial onslaught—though the Smoky Progg could recall perhaps two fighters who never went through that horrific experience. As for what Galeem had in mind, it sought to eradicate all darkness in reality and recreate it in its own orderly image, instantly reminding Kirby of the tyrannical Queen Sectonia who was one of the very few light-aligned foes he had faced. Sure the darkness was often scary, chaotic, and destructive, but it could also be a force for good if handled by the right person, and Kirby knew that light without darkness would just continue to burn everything until nothing was left. Now knowing what he was up against, Kirby resolved to save his friends to free more spirits from Galeem’s control and ultimately defeat the mad god of light. The star warrior’s determination was quite infectious, filling the two spirits with him full of hope that this world and everything in it could be saved, and they endeavored to help Kirby along every step of the way. Not to be cocky and overconfident, but with two allies at his side and knowing what he must do, Kirby now felt ready to take on just about anything. On the note of his new allies, he never did catch the name or identity of the spirit that had joined him in battle against the false Mario, yet he found reluctance and very slight resistance when he asked. Maybe it was too personal for the spirit to tell Kirby, so he didn’t complain about it or press the issue further; all that really counted was that the spirit trusted him and he trusted them. Alone no longer, Kirby set off to descend further down the hill, ready to take on the next challenge that came his way.

After a short stroll down past a waterfall, Kirby came upon what looked like three smaller-than-usual Yoshis, with each one colored blue, yellow, and red with Tanooki ears on their heads and all had their original Yoshi tails replaced with a Tanooki tail; of particular note was that the blue Yoshi held a Poké Ball in its hand, the yellow Yoshi had a Screw Attack badge on its chest, and the red Yoshi seemed to be spewing small amounts of embers and smoke from its mouth. Kirby almost bemoaned his ill luck at not just running into another puppet fighter so soon but three of them. The Yoshis did not stray too far from each other and looking to what would be the center of each of them was a lone spirit with tendrils dug into all three of them: an Eevee. While the Eevee Yoshis seemed to be out on patrol, Eevee themselves looked very much scared as if watching out for danger, and it clearly showed on the Yoshis faces.

Kirby couldn’t imagine what is was like being forced to operate three separate bodies at the same time, all while being frightened out of your mind at what was going to happen next, but he knew that it had to be stopped. If Kirby was being honest though, he didn’t know how he alone could take on three opponents ganging up on him at the same time, let alone three fighters with abilities out of the ordinary, but he had to try anyway. Kirby decided that a sneak attack on one of them would be a good head start in gaining the upper hand for a short time, quickly taking one of them out while only having the other two to deal with in their shock. He very much didn’t like scaring the poor pokémon any further, but just running at them guns blazing was clearly a bad idea. With so much open space between them Kirby didn’t see much of a good ambush spot anywhere, but there was a bit of a ditch off to the right from where he looked. Moving slowly as to not create such noise, Kirby crept off toward the ditch and evade the pokémon’s sight. However, much to his misfortune and by no fault of his own at that, a twig off to the side had been snapped by one of the inattentive Yoshi bodies, causing the Eevee to look toward all sides of it before spotting Kirby off in the distance. The next thing to happen took the young Eevee by surprise; with no warning control of the Yoshi bodies was suddenly yanked from it, and it could only watch, feel, and be pulled along as the three mutant dinosaurs sauntered up to the star warrior with murder in their blood-red eyes. The blue one out of them shouted some unintelligible (and likely obscene) babbling at Kirby before tossing the Pokéball it had in its hand to the ground, summoning a similarly uncontrollable Eevee duplicate to the field.

“Wooooaaaahhhhh!!” And the first Yoshi was off, charging at Kirby with the false Eevee trailing behind it. Kirby threw up his shield to block what he thought was a flying stomp, only to feel the Yoshi’s wet tongue slip right through it and drag him out of it into the dinosaur’s mouth. He never did understand how anyone always magically shrunk to fit right inside Yoshi’s mouth, but he didn’t care all that much especially when he could feel teeth crunching on his soft body. He absentmindedly wondered if this was how it felt whenever he inhaled something and had it sit inside him—not that he had teeth to speak of for himself—and the next thing he felt was being harshly spat out at the ground right before a tanooki’s tail whipped him into the air. The whipping did not stop as he felt two more lashes flinging him higher up, and when the first chance came he airdodged away from the Yoshi to give him some space; the star warrior landed safely on the ground, but it did not last long until a large head slammed itself into him, popping him back into the air for another harsh headbutt to slam him back down into a tackle. Kirby rolled away from his aggressors and found that he almost slid right off the ledge into a deep drop that was not there a minute ago. Looking behind him showed that the entire landscape had transformed yet again, this time being what looked like Yoshi’s Island from the Tourney of Brawl. A familiar sight from below caught his eyes, and seeing the blue Yoshi ready to dunk him into the abyss made an idea hatch in Kirby’s head. He had let go of the ledge and allowed the Yoshi to chase him offstage, and with his steering he landed on the rising Blarggwich, which by the time the Yoshi understood what had happened was now frantically fluttering itself back onto solid ground, but Kirby had other plans in mind for it. Allowing himself some airtime over the abyss once more, Kirby took his feet and drilled into the Yoshi trying to recover, squarely plunging him deep below the support ghost’s ledge.

The last of the Yoshi that Kirby had heard was its frantic babbling before it disappeared from his sight, exploding into a colorful blast before his eyes soon after. Kirby could have sworn that he heard a sharp yelp of pain coming from the Eevee spirit back from the main battlefield, and Kirby couldn’t help but wince at the pokémon’s situation. Still, he had a mission to complete, and though he knew it would hurt Eevee more for the time being he had to go through with it.

Kirby had made it back to the stage, just in time for a yellow Yoshi to blindside him with a double screw attack combo and finishing it off with a tail whip; maybe Kirby was crazy, but he knew Yoshi’s tail did not hurt as much as it did now, and he was quick to blame the Eevee’s unwilling power boost for the small Yoshi and the tanooki tail that the Yoshi’s tail had morphed into. When he saw the Yoshi rearing up for another tail whip, he acted fast and used his stone copy ability to plummet back down with a great thud, slamming the Yoshi back down with him before burying him deep into the ground. This was a tad strange for Kirby since the last he remembered he couldn’t normally meteor smash or bury his opponent in this tournament, let alone doing both—those were features of that “Customization” fad from the previous tournament that ultimately proved unpopular so he was initially confused as to why it had returned here of all places. Either way he wasn’t complaining—rather ecstatic that he had another way to deal with enemies. After changing back to normal he readied his hammer to smash the false Yoshi clear out of the sky like a golf ball, and he allowed himself a small smile when his hammer flip reached full charge. Just before he could swing it though he heard the Eevee’s scared and panicked cries, causing to look up where the pokémon’s spirit hovered and found it cowering in fear, and Kirby had remembered how the spirits could still feel pain even when they weren’t in complete control of the bodies they possessed. He almost lowered his hammer in response before also remembering that the spirits would not be freed unless he forcibly beat them out of their prisons, and with grim determination on his face he raised his hammer back up and took aim at the buried Yoshi. Then out of nowhere he felt flames lick his backside and dropped his hammer in response from the sneak attack. The red Yoshi had gotten behind him while he was distracted by the Eevee’s distress and he shot a dirty look at the puppet fighter for taking advantage of its captive’s fear stoking the sympathy in him. Now the (pissed) yellow Yoshi had crawled itself out of the hole Kirby dug it in, and Kirby now knew that he had just dug himself into a hole of his own letting the two Yoshis gang up on him like this. In response Kirby could feel the power from his spiritual friend welling up inside him, almost as if it was ready to explode, but Kirby couldn’t actually feel it coursing through him so he mostly put the feeling on the backburner while he stared down the two Yoshis. The red Yoshi ran towards him with flames spewing from its maw but stopped just short of Kirby while its fire breath would have kept Kirby from advancing to close toward it. Fortunately for Kirby he had his burning tackle that could plow through such weak projectiles; unfortunately for Kirby he had been sucked straight into the yellow Yoshi’s mouth and was promptly laid into an egg. He struggled to break free from it before he felt something from the outside heating the eggshell up, severely cooking him. With a yelp he finally broke free, but only so that he could set himself up for a headbutt slam, tail swipe, and karate kick in that order.

Now Kirby was in critical condition for the second time that day, and it was worse having two fighters ganging on him, one of which was constantly spitting fire at him. Though he got to his feet he was woozy, and he could see the yellow Yoshi lightly dashing at him from afar rather than outright running. Kirby already knew that a smash attack was next and he didn’t have enough time to turn himself into stone, so he tried to raise his shield to absorb the brunt of the move before he was launched far away and then it would be game over for everything.

‘Share stock…!’

‘…?’ Kirby didn’t know where that had come from, and in his distraction he had lowered his shield for the yellow Yoshi to attack him once it closed the distance; realizing his mistake Kirby desperately tried raising it up again but he felt that it wouldn’t be fast enough to catch the Yoshi’s attack in time, so he closed his eyes with his guard up and hoped that it wouldn’t hurt as much if it hit, silently saying an apology to all his failed friends…

“Hiyah!!”

*CLANG!*

Another foreign sound had caught Kirby’s attention with the realization that he hadn’t been hit, and he peeked one eye open to see what had happened and saw something he never expected; another “Kirby” had spawned out of nowhere and blocked the Yoshi’s headbutt smash perfectly before launching it away with a smash kick. This “Kirby” had white skin and dark gray feet while being covered in a multi-colored aura but otherwise looked the same as him. The other Yoshi had also taken pause at this new challenger while the previous Yoshi that was knocked away was shaking itself out of its surprised daze. Just then the other “Kirby” had turned to look at Kirby and he could see that it had bright yellow eyes and a determined look crossing his features, similar to how he himself had looked when under the thrall of the Smash Ball’s power, and he noticed that he couldn’t sense the power his spirit friend was building up inside of him, let alone feel the spirit inside of him for that matter. Soon the realization dawned upon Kirby, and Kirby was wondering if this was the same spirit that had lent him its power against the false Mario from earlier. The answer he received was a nod from the other “Kirby”, confirming to the star warrior that his friend had indeed transformed into a look-a-like of him, and the new fighter charged right at the red Yoshi with a burning tackle. Kirby gave a grateful nod of his own with a smile, and he leapt back into the fray to assist his new friend.

Kirby had grabbed the yellow Yoshi and quickly laid into him with vulcan jabs before tossing him underneath and trampling it with his fury stomps. Kirby then hopped to the platform above them and waited for the yellow Yoshi to try and screw attack him; the now furious Yoshi took the bait and jumped at Kirby, not realizing that Kirby was not where it thought he would be, waiting just a few feet away with a hammer flip ready for him. In record time the false Yoshi ate the flaming hammer and was sent hurtling like a burning comet, exploding in a bright blast once he was far out of sight. The other “Kirby” was being burned from the red Yoshi’s fire breath, but that was about to change; Kirby had crept to behind the dinosaur and started charging his hammer flip, though the Yoshi had somehow noticed this and turned around to snatch Kirby up into its mouth. The star warrior was inside a Yoshi’s mouth for the second time that day, this time feeling the wrath of fire and teeth crunching at him and with a harder time escaping the dino’s mouth. Fortunately he didn’t have to wait for long as his friend had smash kicked the Yoshi, forcing the dinosaur to spit Kirby out. Seeing no Blarggwich underneath it, it did its best to flutter back to the stage using all of its limbs to their fullest potential. What it did not count on was the second “Kirby” to fly up and meet it with a moon somersault kick, launching the dinosaur skyward and blasting off into the distance until it was but a mere twinkle in the sky.

“Owowowowowowowowowow…!” And with that the final Yoshi of the trio had been defeated, and in the blink of an eye the environment had changed back to normal. Kirby didn’t think he’d understand why that had always happened, but he’d keep a close eye out for when it started getting screwy. Looking for his friend he could see them turning around to face him with a bright smile on their face despite their own exhaustion, one that Kirby found himself reciprocating.

‘Restock!!’

There was that strangely familiar voice again, and both of the Kirbys looked around to see where it had come from, but that wasn’t as important as what happened next; the other “Kirby” was slowly shining until its entire body was engulfed in light, and when it cleared the spirit was back to its original form, apparently having burned through its transformation energy.

The wisp was quick to swarm Kirby with a warm “hug”, causing the star warrior to laugh from the tickling experience, and his wounds were gone as if they were never there before flying back into him.

‘♥!’ Kirby very much liked the warmth his friend gave him while inside, and it made him think about it being a form of noble light: a glow that illuminates and warms against the cold darkness of the world, completely unlike Galeem who was only a burning light that threatened to sear everything in its path—Kirby knew it must be stopped.

With everything back to normal, Kirby had started to wonder about the Eevee spirit who had to have been freed from its shackles, and floating down from the sky was the little creature itself, laying on its side with its paws over its wettened face and crying from the fear and pain it was in. Kirby could feel his heart going out to the poor creature feeling sorry that he had to put it through such torture, and he slowly walked up toward it with his hands outstretched to receive its trembling form in his arms and comfort it however he could. Much to his surprise, he could actually feel its furry body and warmth emanated from it, being incredibly light because of its corporeal state, but this meant that he could at least gently pet it to soothe its shot nerves. The sniffling slowed down over the minute as it finally uncovered its face to look up at the one who held it. Kirby had the most compassionate look in his eyes that almost threatened to spill forth tears themselves, and he pulled the small pokémon into a hug. It took some time, but the small critter had hugged Kirby back, finally understanding that the star warrior had only meant to save it from being trapped. After a minute had passed and the pokémon had no more tears to cry, it floated to a few feet away from Kirby, finally able to smile for being free at last. Kirby nodded and gave the pokémon a bright smile of his own with a wave.

‘Vee! Eevee!’ The critter flew back to Kirby and nuzzled against his cheek in affection, earning a pleased laugh from the lad.

‘♥!’ Even Kirby’s spirit friends could feel themselves being uplifted by the small pokémon’s cheer, and Kirby held up his hand for a high five. This had confused the small critter at first, but it caught on quickly and patted its paw with Kirby’s hand in joy. Kirby’s group was growing ever bigger, and with it Kirby felt a strange need to ask what it was the pokémon could do. Eevee let out a small whine in that there was not much it could do and it wasn’t super powerful, but being dictated as a primary spirit if it understood correctly, that meant that it could form links with at least three other support spirits. The Smoky Progg knew what this meant and flew out of Kirby, glad that the opportunity that it could finally be of some assistance to Kirby had come. Both it and Eevee exchanged thoughts and cheered after the talk was over, and then tendrils began to flow out of the Smoky Progg to attach to the Eevee spirit. The pokémon could feel new power coursing through it and jumped in happy response.

‘Vee, vee! Eevee!’ From what it told him the Eevee was a primary spirit, and that meant it could lend its power to any fighter of its choosing now that Kirby had freed it from Galeem’s bindings. To demonstrate, it flew behind Kirby and allowed spiritual tendrils to flow from it, attaching themselves into Kirby. The star warrior was amazed at how much more powerful he had become thanks to having what was ostensibly three spirits lending their power to him, and not long afterward he could feel what felt like an unira spawning in his hand. He remembered the false Mario having one in his hand earlier, and he guessed that it was the power of the Smoky Progg coursing through him. He was confused as to why his currently unnamed spirit friend couldn’t do either of what Eevee or the Smoky Progg could do; he could sense its distress, however, and that likely meant that it couldn’t even if it wanted to, although he did note that it became stronger from the few battles it had fought with him, so ultimately he didn’t mind all that much. Now that he was more well prepared for the road ahead, Kirby marched forward, nearing the bottom of the hill and approaching a great cloudstorm barring his path further in. Before it stood another fighter he was familiar with, one he shared a few similarities to; a Jigglypuff puppet fighter was up ahead, though from what he could see it was actually fast asleep. This made Kirby wonder if he could simply sneak past it and dive through the clouds; slowly and carefully, he (and the Eevee spirit not entirely remembering that it didn’t need to) crept along the ground and tiptoed up to the sleeping pokémon, behind it being the similarly sleeping spirit of a female red owl he didn’t recognize, and when he walked past it suddenly it sounded as though it was waking up, making him freeze on the spot. Thankfully it only stirred for a bit before dozing off again, and with a relieved sigh Kirby continued on towards the clouds. They were brightly colored from what he saw, almost as if there was a storm raging in them, yet he continued to attempt passing through them. He could feel the clouds whoosh past his hand, but when he walked in he found that he was being constantly blown back, and no matter how fast he ran he couldn’t get through. This must have meant that the cloudy barriers stood so long as the spirit guarding the area they concealed was trapped. Granted, he was going to free the spirit anyways, so he left the clouds alone for the time being and went back to the sleeping Jigglypuff. An idea hatched into his head to see if he could knock out the fighter in one blow and spare the spirit (and himself) the trouble of having to fight. Taking out his hammer he charged up the hammer flip and was ready to strike, then all of a sudden the environment began to shift once again, this time to the Smashville town that the villager kids hailed from. Eventually the Jigglypuff had stirred from its long nap, yawning away a little of its exhaustion. To its surprise, the entire location had changed, and the spirit within it had wondered if she had just woken up from a bad dream and was back home where she belonged. Sadly for her, the moment she laid eyes on Kirby, her hopes and dreams were dashed.

Control of her body was promptly snatched away from her and the bow-wearing Jigglypuff who she was forcibly lending power to had puffed its face up in anger before going in for the attack. Both balloon-fighters ran toward each other, and while Kirby made for a grab the Jigglypuff with his free hand while it had taken to the air. Of course it would take to their air Kirby had thought—it was a bird-possessed Jigglypuff after all, and he admitted that said pokémon was annoying to fight at times, so he simply waited until it had stopped floating around the arena and came back down to fight him. After spending as much time in the air as it could, it was finally falling back down to the battlefield and Kirby was ready to kick into it, at least until it literally fell asleep on him—launching him high up into the sky and forcing him to drop the unira he was carrying with him. Being so high up, Kirby’s fastest course to get back down was to use his stone copy ability to plummet and bury the sleeping pokémon, but continuing his poor string of luck was a platform passing underneath him and over the Jigglypuff, basically protecting it from his attack. By the time he changed back the pokémon had already woke up and slapped at him with a few strikes as it rose to the air. He once again turned to stone only for the pokémon to dodge him at the last second. Quickly changing back, he felt something incredibly prickly slam straight into his face and send him flying quite a ways. After regaining his bearing, he saw that the Jigglypuff had taken the unira he had with him and used it against him after knocking it out of his grasp, and boy was that annoying. He could just reclaim the unira he had dropped, he just had to hit it hard enough and it’d retract its spikes; he went up to it as the Jigglypuff took to the skies once again and he whipped out a smash kick, but to his agonizing surprise he discovered that that trick did not work anymore, meaning that the unira would stay like that and continue to harm him as long as it stayed out, making Kirby go from zero to pissed in a moment; goodness did this fighter have talent pushing his buttons, and it was about to see just what happened to whoever pushed his buttons. As the Jigglypuff stuck to the air as much as it could, Kirby merely waited for it to come back down and try to bean him with that rest crap again. Sure enough, the fighter started getting tired midflight and began descending back to Kirby, where he waited for it to attack. It didn’t, instead airdodging out of his way past the unira it had laid down. Kirby was really trying not to explode as he slid his hand over his face and took a calming breath, jumping over the unira to land on the platform over it, and that was where the Jigglypuf jumped up to him out of nowhere and landed another rest on him when he least expected it, sending him flying high up again and almost knocking him clear off the battlefield and having the nerve to taunt him afterward as if it was bored. If Kirby could speak English he would be yelling all sorts of profanities at the false fighter; “pretty jolly guy” his nonexistent pink ass—his friends are all fucking dead, this Jigglypuff keeps using fucking rest on him, and he was fucking pissed.

‘…?!’ Kirby’s spiritual friends were not liking the mood he was in; now triggered beyond reason he forwent all pretenses of staying calm and dropped down in his rock form to crush that hapless little shit. He predictably missed, and after changing out of his stone form he was met with a harsh kick that nearly knocked him out of sight, realizing the serious error in his judgment, Kirby hurriedly tried floating back to the stage, and he found the Jigglypuff running to meet him, most likely with another rest or some edgeguarding scheme, but he was not having it.

Celeste could see how angry this fellow was and was hoping that the fighting would end soon, not just for her sake but also for this lad. She could feel herself flying toward him, feel the exhaustion and drowsiness setting in, and she knew that either way this fight was over; she hit him and he was done, and if she missed she was done. Now she had gotten above the pink creature and felt sleep quickly taking over before she blacked out completely—she couldn’t tell if she had hit him or not, but she got her answer soon; the next thing she felt was a blade slicing her up to the sky before that same blade slammed her down with it, and opening her eyes she saw that she was headed straight to the ground from high in the sky. All she could do now was close her eyes and wait for the inevitable end, and when she felt herself impact with the ground the next thing she felt was an explosion. After that everything faded to black for the museum owl, likely for the last time…

Kirby almost didn’t feel any remorse for that fight; had it not been for the fact that an innocent spirit would feel the pain he was putting it through, he’d have went full ham on the Jigglypuff. He was starting to think he had some repressed aggression toward the fighter herself, but at least it wasn’t wearing the green headband from that one Tourney of Melee incident (that he had yet to forgive himself for taking it out on Gooey, or was that actually a dream…?). When he looked up from where he slammed his final cutter sword, he saw that everything was back to normal, the battlefield he had fought in having vanished completely. Thinking back on that fight, he had never been that mad in a long time he had noticed, and he hoped that it would not resurface again in the near future.

‘…’ The spirits had to agree with Kirby on that one—it was a pretty scary change from the “pretty jolly guy” they all know him to be. Kirby was just about to give them lip for calling him that (one of his least favorite nicknames back when Masahiro Sakurai still directed the Arenas on Popstar before he moved away after the Air Ride Tournament), but he held it in to keep a cool head.

‘Hoooooooot…’ Kirby heard the sound of another spirit nearby, and he looked up to see a red female owl descending from above. She was about the villagers’ size and looked a lot like them, and Kirby made his way over to greet her.

‘Oh, hello dearie… Hmmmmm…’ She was a sleepy soul Kirby could tell, and that was clearly reflected in the battle against her possessed fighter. ‘Thank you for saving me. My name is…Celeste…’ At least Kirby recognized the name before, having heard it from one of the villager kids talking about “the sleepy museum lady”, and he didn’t want to bother the dozing bird any further. The star warrior had Eevee brought out to see what power Celeste would add and simply leave her be to allow her some rest. Once Eevee had established that her power was something called “Item Gravitation” (which probably explained why the Jigglypuff fighter was able to quickly snatch the unira he had dropped), Kirby decided to let the spirit rest for the time being—she clearly needed some shut eye. Soon Kirby heard a rumbling sound, and the clouds that had been barring his path were gone, revealing the path ahead for him. Now he could finally get down from the hill’s road and continue on ahead.

Having obtained four spirits granting him pretty decent power (three really if excluding Celeste), Kirby felt some of his confidence starting to come back after the gang up that was the false Yoshi trio and the arresting power of the false Jigglypuff. Up ahead Kirby could see a crossroad of sorts and maybe a giant robot or something near the middle, but more than that was a familiar face he didn’t expect to run into again so soon; he wore a bright red cap and shirt that was framed by a pair of blue overalls, his feet were clad in brown work shoes and his hands were wrapped in white gloves. Kirby knew exactly who this was, blocking his way further into the road…

Mario

Chapter Text

There he stood in the distance, his gaze wary on the star warrior approaching him. The fell god of light made its hold on him known clear by the lights of his blood-red eyes, and that was not all—surrounding him was a single strip of two wings that glowed between red and blue wrapped around from back to front while two halos of light orbited his frame in an x-pattern, with the smaller of the two circling under his left arm while the larger one went over his right shoulder. Finally, a white flame of an aura with hints of blue and gray tightly enveloped his body. If this Galeem being was trying to make a statement, it certainly had done more than was necessary. Much to Kirby’s curiosity, he did not move toward him in aggression like the other enemies he had faced prior had done, rather being content to stay in one place and wait for the boy to approach him instead. Kirby eyed the man cautiously, considering if he was being led into a trap by the fighter, and he wondered if there was a spirit pulling at the man’s strings much like the false fighters he had fought before.

‘…!!’ Kirby’s spirit friend displayed a spike in tense emotion, and Kirby could understand the thoughts flowing from it: before him was the true, one and only Marius Gonzales Mario—better known simply as “Mario”. This shell was what Galeem had stripped him down into, his spirit being a prisoner in his own body—unable to control it but able to feel all that it experiences. Though Mario’s eyes could see Kirby, they felt less like they were looking at him and more like they were looking into him. Dead and dull-looking as they appeared, they were deceptively focused beyond focused, and Kirby knew he couldn’t pull a fast one on Mario with his exceptionally trained eyes. Kirby was only marginally relieved in that Mario’s facial features bore no ill will towards him, only a stoic gaze as Kirby found himself slowly drawn towards his friend. For a moment they only stared into each other’s eyes, looking for something deep within the other fighter; while Kirby looked for any signs that his friend was inside and was fighting against Galeem for control, he didn’t know what to think of what the soulless man before him could have been searching for.

“…” Almost without warning, Mario raised a fist looking as if he was ready to fight Kirby, putting the star warrior on guard. What happened instead was that he slammed his hand behind him without removing his gaze from Kirby’s, seemingly hitting some invisible wall. The next thing Kirby knew, the very environment itself around them was shattering, the cracks spreading until they engulfed the entire area surrounding them, and finally it gave way as pieces of the sky fell away like glass around them. Kirby had shielded himself in case any debris would fall on him, and when he uncovered his eyes he saw that the environment had changed once more, this time into an all too familiar arena; the sky was in a perpetual twilight of chaos, the ground glowed with energy streaming from a mess of machinery and meta crystals, and there was nowhere for any fighter to run or hide—only to fight for glory: Final Destination.

“…” Mario continued to say nothing as he held his fists in a defensive combat stance, waiting for Kirby to make the first move; there was honestly not much to say in the first place, and all the plumber could do was hope for the best as his body prepared to do battle with his friend in what was potentially a death match for either of the two.

‘Alrighty kiddo, let’s-a see what’cha got…’ Mario watched as Kirby came charging at him, and from what he could see the star warrior was going for an unira toss; his body reacted with swishing his cape out from his back to deflect the spiny item, followed by a rolling dodge toward Kirby when the lad jumped over the projectile. Then he grabbed him, bashing his head into Kirby’s face a few times before tossing him away. Mario himself could feel how much damage he was doing to Kirby, being a frightening amount more than usual—and furthering the man’s worry was that he could feel it hurting him too. It was as if Galeem had set his body into suicide mode to harm himself as he attacked Kirby, because he could feel excessive force being thrown out in every attack—his leg takedown noticeably burned through some of the denim on his overalls and his foot was left somewhat sore from popping Kirby into the air. His lead headbutt similarly powered through Kirby’s drill kick yet if left Mario with the feeling that he almost threw his own head off from the sheer force of the swing, not to mention the headache he had gotten from the blow.

‘Yeesh, this Galeem-a fella really wants to end-a our games eh?’ Bitter thought as it was, it was nothing compared to some of the more morbid thoughts that had been invading his mind as of late. It felt so alien, yet it was stoking some part of him and brought some of those feelings up to the surface for them to bubble over. Thoughts about that simpering little thing thinking that it could possibly stop Galeem as things were now, ignorant and defiant in his course to stop the lord of light. Images that came to mind were that of various little Goombas marching toward him, so cocksure of themselves in that they’d mess Mario up so easily. Those traitors that readily sold out their fellow fungus folk and princess to the Koopa Kingdom only got a disgusted sneer out of him at best and filled him with rage on his off days. He would never shy away from admitting the sheer number of those little bastards he done stomped in his day (unless he was traveling through the rare friendly Goomba communities), and he’d keep stomping them until they quit. Even outside of Bowser’s Koopa Troop, there were still quite the deserter Goombas who thought far bigger of themselves than what was warranted, especially for their “smallest of fries” status, and sometimes it was so hard to tell the difference between a good shroom and a rotten one at a glance. Come to think of it, Kirby kind of looked like a Goomba didn’t he? With his stubby feet and round-ish shape, he could actually pass-off as a pink Galoomba of sorts. Kirby really was like a lot of Goombas wasn’t he? For something so tiny so thoroughly outmatched by something far stronger than himself, he sure held on defiantly to the fading hope of opposing the lord of light…

‘No, stop that!!’ Mario violently tried to throw the bad thought out of his head so he could refocus himself on the fight he was having with Kirby. Now having been updated on the uptake, Mario had noticed that he fully charged his F.L.U.D.D. partner to the maximum for use against an off-stage Kirby; Mario knew that it wasn’t all that effective against someone who could fly back to safe ground with ease, especially since Kirby was nowhere near badly damaged for it to work all that well. The next thing he knew his hand was reaching for some knob on the gadget he didn’t even know was there, and once he turned it all the way to another direction he could feel something different about the water stored up; it had somehow heated up to high degrees, something Mario thought impossible in the current tournament with the Fighter Customization fad from the last tournament having been promptly dismantled. Perhaps the intense remnant energies of Galeem’s recent conquest of the universe were starting to warp some of the established laws of reality in small ways.

Either way, he watched as his body unleashed the blistering torrent of high-pressure of scalding water upon Kirby, blowing the shocked star warrior far away from the ledge. It was quite hot for even him to merely hold the nozzle of F.L.U.D.D. as it blasted out its torrent. His body seemed to ignore this sensation of pain and charged at Kirby apparently having seen an opening. Leaping off the battlefield with suicidal fervor, Mario’s body attempted to smash Kirby down into the spatial abyss with a meteor knuckle, only to fail as Kirby’s final cutter sword hit him with extreme rising power, launching back onto the stage flat on his back. Mario knew that Kirby’s final cutter sword did not hurt that much, vaguely remembering a variant Kirby had used which forsook the falling slash in favor of a stronger and higher rise, leaving the star warrior helpless afterward. Even so there was no denying that Kirby had grown a good deal stronger since they last squared off (which was not too long ago). Sure enough, Kirby had made it back no problem, and a feeling of relief washed over Mario at the boy’s survival. The feeling was unexpectedly replaced by a sudden surge of rage that was not of his own, bubbling up to the surface and marring his facial features into a fierce snarl. Mario was no longer seeing Kirby anymore, his vision clouded by a glare of murderous red light that made him see yet another insignificant little thing trying to test him. That damnable cretin was mocking him he was sure—him, the undisputed superstar hero of the mushroom Kingdom who’s been across galaxies and realities and always made it back in one piece all to rescue one princess from a mutant of a turtle monster who just would not die, and this little shit was mocking his skill?! Oh, he was sure to make it pay with interest…!

‘…?!’ The spirit within Kirby sensed the massive spike in rage from their foe, and in a surprising burst of mobility used its power to propel Kirby out of the way of a meteor knuckle—merely fighting Mario wasn’t working.

“Get back here so I can stomp you into star bits!!” Mario roared. He didn’t sound entirely like himself, his voice howling out with countless other souls it seemed and without his classic Italian flair. The change was disturbing to say the least, showing just how much Galeem was messing up Kirby’s erstwhile friend. And if hitting him really hard only made the hostile takeover worse, what else could Kirby do? He didn’t need to do much else to free the spirits from within their prisons, but having to awaken a trapped fighter whose consciousness was sealed away within their own body? That was something Kirby was so used to doing during the whole Dark Matter fiasco by literally beating the demons out of his possessed friends, but it wasn’t working here so Kirby was at a loss. Until he could see some crack in the tough shell Galeem had built around Mario, Kirby had relied on primarily dodging Mario’s onslaught, only throwing out weak attacks meant to disrupt the man every now and again with their distance and to gradually tack more damage upon him then wait for an opening to free Mario. Eventually and unfortunately for Kirby, Mario had grown way past tired with the star warrior’s seemingly aimless shenanigans.

“Oh ho, you must think you’re sooo smart eh, but lemme teach ya’ somethin’ you might not know, and pay attention: C O W A R D S. Piss. Me. Off. Mario charged at Kirby once again and did something Kirby did not expect him to do; he took the wing wrapped around his body and swung it full force at the star warrior like he would do his cape, having the razor-sharp feathers slash across the boy’s body and draw blood. The boy reeled from the feeling and frantically set to dodging Mario’s wrath. “You know what you and those rotten Goombas have in common?” Mario asked whilst whipping out the wings again. “You pipsqueaks don’t know when to call it quits!” Again Mario assaulted Kirby, this time with fireballs enhanced by the two halos now shrunk and circling his hands, all the while continuing to spew out a hate-charged rant at the star warrior. “You think you’re so big and tough for a couple o’ smallfries, marching and stomping through everything in your way as if not a damn thing can stop you!” Mario got in close with several short-ranged punches, finishing with a strong rising kick to knock Kirby down on his face. “You types disgust me you know? Why can’t ya’ get it through your thick, pea-brained skulls that you’re clearly outmatched?!”

Kirby really did not know how much more of this hateful bile he could take from Mario. A part of him wanted to believe that it wasn’t really him, that it was all a ploy by Galeem to weaken his resolve, but it all sounded like something Mario actually would say—just not necessarily directed towards the star warrior, and he knew that Mario held a great deal of respect for Kirby in spite of the very things he was calling him out for. The worst part was that on some level Mario wasn’t wrong; Kirby had his fair share of scuffles where he brazenly charged into the fray of whatever battle was ahead, sometimes way out of his league, so he couldn’t say that he never acted that way before.

Kirby silently pleaded with Mario that this wasn’t the real him; the man he and many others knew and loved as a close friend was still inside of this monstrosity made in his image and with his memories. Just as Mario was about to land a finishing blow on Kirby, something inside the star warrior had finally shattered, like the last restraints bolting his true power shut away, and raising his hands high he exploded with radiant energy that began to surround them both. Mario found himself stopped in place out of wariness as to what had just happened; Kirby was now surrounded by a multi-color aura and his eyes shimmered with a brilliant gold sheen—plasma-like energy crackled all around the pink puff, and though he was woozy from the experience his senses started returning to him. He knew this feeling quite well—the power of an ancient Smash Ball, artifacts created during the earliest halcyon days of the World of Trophies under Master Hand’s playful whims, coursed through the star warrior’s small body and filled with determined hope. Inside each one was the power to unleash truly powerful techniques known as Final Smashes, and the power exerted by one was so great that others refused to manifest within the vicinity, but Kirby did not recall ever breaking a Smash Ball open. Perhaps it had something to do with his spiritual friend of whom he could feel was also bursting with boundless energy. It wasn’t as outright strong as that granted by a Smash Ball itself, but Kirby was not complaining; now he had an edge over Mario, and he planned to take full advantage of this turn of events.

“You dare bare such wretched strength against me?! Mario bellowed, his voice more distorted than ever from Galeem’s chokehold on his body. “You will rue this day star warrior!!” Now the man had taken the wings around him and cracked them at Kirby like a whip, but Kirby finally found the opening he was looking for and let the power inside him explode. A massive ultrasword materialized in his hand as a familiar green cap plopped onto his head; Kirby had transformed into Ultra Sword Kirby, a greatly enhanced variant of his normal sword form, and it was as though it had given him the answer to free his friends from Galeem—with a renewed confidence he took his ultrasword and channeled all his heart into it, lighting it up in a noble blaze with the shock of its power eruption causing Mario to finally snap out of his haze of hate, only able to stare deep into Kirby’s golden eyes. Gone was the fear or apprehension, replaced with burning hope and strength from the bonds the two had forged with each other—or rather strength from all the many friendships Kirby had made in the World of Trophies, the world they all called home.

‘K-Kirby…?’ Mario said, back to his old self again and astonished by the change that had happened in the young star warrior before him. ‘What is this…?’

You may have stolen the universe from everything and everyone…

With his sword enlarged, Kirby was ready to take his swing at Mario. Though his body had done its best to evade the attack, somehow Kirby had gotten through to Mario at last, and though the man knew he had no control over himself he did not mentally challenge the oncoming attack nor could his damaged body truly escape it; he felt that Kirby was full of righteous power and was about to strike him down with all his might, realizing right then and there that it was all finally over for him. And thus, somehow his body had stayed rooted to the ground, as if momentarily in Mario’s possession once more.

…But I’m here to set it all right again!

Kirby’s blade finally fell upon the man, locking him in place so that Kirby could finally purify his tainted friend with a torrent of strikes charged by his emotions. Mario felt every slash across his body, and though it hurt him greatly he knew that he was feeling less and less under the thrall of the eldritch light god. The raw emotion spilling into him from Kirby’s every slash was overwhelming; his love for life and hope, his anger towards Galeem, and his sorrow over his friends singed away at the possession of his captor just as alcohol burns and stings against an infection. Consciousness was slipping away fast, but Mario was not afraid. Whatever fate had in store for him now, he’d accept it without further complaints.

Your reign of terror is coming to an end!

With one last slash, Kirby threw all that he was into the blow, using the light of his life to overpower Galeem’s flare as he launched Mario far into the distance. Kirby for his part was hoping to hope that this had finally done the trick, finding it surprisingly hard to watch as Mario became a twinkle in the distance before a large explosion appeared, despite the sight being a common occurrence given the Smash Tournaments. Suddenly, the ground began to give way and Kirby saw that there was nowhere to run, so he braced himself for what was likely a long fall; instead, light erupted from the cracks around Kirby, signifying an impending explosion from Final Destination itself. With little time left to escape, Kirby took to the skies with his balloon hover and flew as fast as he could—there may have been nowhere else to really go, but Kirby would rather not get caught up in the blast. Soon it was all for naught, as the arena where he and Mario battled finally shattered, and boundless light energy poured out from within to devour everything in its path. All Kirby could do was simply hold his breath and close his eyes as the light was catching up to him, bracing himself for the white out…


Hmm…It appears that Marius Gonzales Mario has failed me…

‘Hate to break it to you pal,’ Bowser started, ‘but of course he was going to lose. I’ve fought him countless times and I knew right off the bat that that wasn’t even remotely close to his best effort. You stripped him—and all of us—of free will, putting his body on autopilot which is basically the same as letting a newbie into the elite leagues on day 1.’

What you speak is that my disallowance of freedom in one’s own body precipitates failure…

‘Precisely,’ Ryu said. ‘Refusing a warrior’s mind access to their own body cuts off their potential and hinders effective strategy. It is a common mistake villains such as yourself often make.’

Common mistake as it may be, Kirby’s victory as a result ultimately means nothing…

'Such a common mistake shall be your undoing,' the Metroid Prime—better known as “Dark Samus”—clicked and hissed in response. 'Universal conquest demands far more foresight and attention to detail, characteristics you seem to lack entirely.'

And I plan to rectify this…

‘Tch, how exactly?’ Falco asked. ‘You’ve already screwed up, what, five times now? Kirby surviving and his subsequent wins over three spirits and Mario? Not a very impressive track record if you ask me.’

You forget that I still hold dominion over your bodies. As the battle has demonstrated with my influencing of Marius Gonzales Mario’s will, Hoshi Ryu’s words hold merit: allowing more direct emotional input from you will hasten my victory…

‘So that was you manipulating Mario’s heart…’ Yamato Kamui said, not liking where this was going.

‘As…“effective” as this little plan of yours is,’ King K. Rool started, ‘you majorly mess up just once during your schemes and it will fall apart as fast as any dumb monkey’s banana hoard being disturbed. Any homespun idiot can easily see that, and speaking from personal experience you would have to be incredibly stupid not to.’

You dare refer to my intellect being vastly inferior to your mentally challenged generals, King Keith Rool?

“Keith”? That’s what the “K.” stands for?’ Donkey Kong asked in disbelief at the stunned king’s expense.

‘Wahahahahaha! Oh, wait to Dixie hears this one!’ Diddy laughed, adding more fuel to the steaming Kremling king’s fire.

‘Now listen you incompetent cretin; no one, not no one, dares utter that name in my presence—!’

*SSHHHIIIIIINNNNGG!!*

Just like that the room was brightened to blinding degrees for a few seconds, catching everyone off guard and cutting off the sheer mire that would have spewed from King K. Rool’s mouth at their captor.

I grow weary of inferior lifeforms not learning their place in this world. I have half of a mind to save Kirby the trouble of fighting you and erase you all from existence permanently myself with what little power in reserve I still have available, and it will be unimaginably painful—that I will promise you.

No one else had dared say anything to the enraged lord of light, clearly not wanting to get on its bad side any further considering that it completely wiped out the rest of entire universe with impunity, leaving the planet they were on as the only one left in the vast nothingness of existence.

You will all fight and ensure that Kirby will not succeed, and you will assist me in reshaping the new world. It will not be over soon. You will not enjoy it.

‘Oh no, he’s quoting 300…’ Mackenzie Dolittle griped. ‘This is going to suck hard…’

Now begone to wherever you will. I tire of so many presences.

Before anyone could protest, many of their bodies were blinked out of the room faster than light itself. The transported fighters soon found themselves either stranded far out of anyone else’s conceivable reach from what they could see or placed on roads should Kirby draw near. Their only hope for freedom now lied with the star warrior, and only time could tell if he would survive the ordeal or not, assuming they wouldn’t somehow kill him or vice-versa thanks to Galeem’s influence over their bodies. What little company some of them had left were the duplicated bodies of themselves and their friends possessed by unwilling spirits. Pit Icarus for instance was made to guard some sort of blue crystal in some sort of divine temple based on what he could see, and guarding him was a dour spirit of a mage trapped in Lucina Lowell’s body, muttering all sorts of curses she would have liked to inflict on her transgressor. He could feel his old buddy Simon within the temple from quite the ways away, much further beneath the area he was stationed at. David Hayter on the other hand found himself almost completely alone in a dark room, sitting in a cardboard box waiting to ambush any unsuspecting visitors. While he could sense several spirits in the many different rooms, what bothered him most was the powerful spirit he could feel a few rooms past him, and it was a malignant beast of a machine he had not seen since his last tournament outing. He could also barely make out Rock somewhere outside of the building and a powerful spirit guarding him, though who it was he couldn’t say. Bowser, for his luck, ended up being stationed in a lava fortress very much like home; it would have put him at ease had it not been for the circumstances at hand, and even when Princess Peach was within his reach off in the distance he could not go to her. Further worsening matters was that he couldn’t sense his son or the Koopalings anywhere, only spirits with tangential resemblance to them. Strange as it was, Bowser could feel some feral beast burning inside of him, threatening to explode to the surface, and if he wasn’t crazy he could have sworn that it felt very familiar to him. All in all, the one thing everyone could place their faith in was Kirby, the young star warrior who was braving the world to rescue them all and stop Galeem’s twisted schemes. They knew he was still out there somewhere, and all they had to do was patiently await his arrival. He had to hurry soon, though, as Galeem made it clear that time was running out for them all before it regained enough power to truly stamp them all out once and for all…


At the crossroads leading deeper into the cloud-covered world, Kirby began to stir from his stillness, now back in the realm of light. Memories of the previous battle were still fresh in his mind, and in the blink of an eye he shook the daze of drowsiness from his mind, searching around frantically for the man he had done battle against. He didn’t have to look for long, as he found a body laying off to the side of the road from where he stood. Hurrying over to them, he found a grown man—not necessarily a tall one—draped in a bright yellow cape that covered most of his body. Kirby rolled the body over and found that it was indeed Mario’s unconscious body, but his attire appeared slightly different from how he last saw it; the adornments from Galeem were gone, but Mario’s outfit appeared to have some protective padding on it, most prominently on his overalls and gloves. Concerned for his friend, the star warrior tried rousing the man from his stillness, with each passing second instilling more worry into Kirby. Finally, after what felt like a minute, Kirby got a reaction in a groan escaping Mario’s mouth, followed by Mario clutching his head in pain and wincing from it. Eventually, his eyes had finally opened, meeting with Kirby’s bright blue ones that were about to burst with joyful tears, and Kirby’s smile couldn’t be any bigger. Though barely awake, he managed to let his lips curl into a relieved smile of his own, happy to be right where he belonged.

“Hey there… Missed me, little buddy?” he said, earning himself a relieved hug from the happy star warrior and returning it in kind. “It’s-a good to be back.”

Chapter Text

In Kirby’s new adventure against the fell god Galeem—Lord of Light and the Ultimate Enemy, he had made some good beginner’s progress in freeing not just a few spirits from their prisons but also Marius Gonzales Mario, the elder twin of the famed Mario Bros. hailing from the Mushroom World. After he had regained a good deal of his own strength, the man was able to stand to his feet looking no worse for wear—never having felt better in fact.

“Man, that was a horrible experience…” Mario said, running his hands through his hair. “I’mma not-a sugarcoat this a-Kirby: that was-a scary as hell, having-a something else-a warp your mind like-a that.”

“I’ll say…” another voice said, catching the two off-guard though not for long with Mario. “That was far more a harrowing experience than when that overgrown Pteranodon ambushed us a while back, was it not?”

“You can say that again.” Now Kirby was confused; he didn’t see anyone else around but him and Mario, and he was certain that that wasn’t Celeste talking to them. Mario caught on to Kirby’s confusion and made to explain it all to him. “Oh yeah, I don’t think I’ve-a actually introduced you to anyone-a here. Kirby, say hello to Cappy, my new-a friend here.” At the sound of his name, the hat on Mario’s head suddenly grew beady red eyes where the “M” should have been, though they were infinitely friendlier than the burning glare Kirby experienced earlier. In a flash, the hat poofed in white smoke and transformed into a small white ghost like a boo, a curl of blue hair resting at the head of his top-hat shaped body. “I met him in the Cap-a Kingdom on my way to stop ol’ Bowser’s schemes to marry Princess Peach.”

“T’would be my greatest pleasure to make your acquaintance young master Kirby,” the little spirit replied with a bow, cordially shaking hands with the star warrior. “I must thank you dearly for your effort to free us from that villain Galeem’s clutches. Truly, you are as much of a hero as Master Mario.”

“Yup, that’s-a what I say. He’s got that hero’s light-a shining bright in him.” Kirby rubbed his head flushed with pride, flattered by the man’s words. Just then, two of the three spirits Kirby had rescued had manifested themselves, with Eevee in particular showing excitement over the plumber they had come to know thanks to being chosen by him in many of the previous tournament’s matches. “Hey little fella! You okay?”

‘Vee, Eevee vee!’ The small pokémon flew circles around the man, nuzzling against him with express affection. The Smoky Progg was warier, having been trapped in a copy of the man’s body prior to its rescue, yet it slowly approached him all the same.

“Well then, you’re that little fella from before aren’t ya’?” Mario reached out a hand to pet the creature but it retreated slightly, still traumatized from being trapped in a copy of his body—Mario nodded understandingly.

“Beg pardon,” Cappy said, “but who is the other spirit beside you Master Kirby?” The bonneter had been referring the currently unidentified spirit besides Kirby, and Kirby introduced said spirit as a friend who had helped him throughout this adventure. Though Kirby did not know its name, and it did not want to delve into its history, Kirby was fine with that in the end. If Kirby really believed in someone, then that was enough for Cappy to go on as well. “Well-spoken Master Kirby. What matters most is that we should trust them, and since you sincerely trust your spirit friend then so shall I.”

“Kirby may seem-a simple but he notices lots’a more than what others-a give him credit for.” Perhaps it was his simplicity and forthrightness that let him see things that others didn’t despite being nowhere near shrewd or suspicious of others, and it was hard to truly fool Kirby with anything. He didn’t have extrasensory powers like many others (unless he was ESP Kirby of course), but he didn’t need to for most of the situations he found himself in. “Kirby’s a good fella, and if-a anything I’mma super glad he didn’t get nicked by that Galeem-a fellow too.”

“I’ll say. I do not even wish to imagine what could have happened had Master Kirby not survive…” Silence hung in the air for but a brief spell, and the group was quick to snap out of the funk. Something mechanical began to whir and it caught the group’s attention.

“MARIO,” the device on Mario’s back spoke, “I AM DETECTING THE SIGNS OF A HOSTILE LIFEFORM NEARBY. I SPECULATE THAT IT IS OF MECHANICAL ORIGIN, AND IT APPEARS VERY ANCIENT.”

“Yeah, I-a know about that one. I think it’s a Sheikah robot or-a something along those lines from what Sheik-a told me.” Sheik had told Mario that? That didn’t make much sense to Kirby given how the Zelda timeline was as he understood it; “Sheik” didn’t exist during the any period of time when Hyrule had robots, and while there were no official records of Sheik’s existence even during the Era of Time, at least that Link actually knew who Sheik was unlike the other two—including the new one from the Era of the Wild where said robots hailed from even when he had somehow acquired the Sheikah ninja’s garb. Regardless, Kirby knew what he and the gang had to face up ahead but he had to make sure absolutely everyone was okay after the previous battle. Mario was touched by the star warrior’s concern for his friends and attempted to ease the boy’s worries. “Don’tcha worry about me Kirby. I’mma back and-a better than ever.” Speaking of which, Kirby was curious as to Mario’s new attire; he distinctly remembered Mario not wearing any of the additional embellishments on his outfit, including the cape that Mario only had out when deflecting a projectile weapon. Mario had finally noticed this as well, giving himself a once-over about his new look.

“Huh, this is actually kind of snazzy if you ask me,” the man said, observing his new look. He had protective gear over his shoulders, forearms, upper torso, and legs. Even his hat had additional plating to make it a little more than just an ordinary cap(py), and of course there was the golden cape slung around to his back with a royal blue on its underside and super feathers decorating the collar area. F.L.U.D.D. looked a little different too, with their nozzle being attached to a retractable hose and they had a slightly smaller yet sturdier water tank that didn’t push out from his back so much. “Makes me look like a superhero eh?” All things considered he may as well had been a modern day superhero to Kirby which was thankfully lacking the underwear on the outside of his suit. But they had more than enough time later to ponder the reasoning behind Mario’s new clothes, so Kirby had urged his teammates that time was of the essence. “You’re right kiddo, now let’s-a go!”

Kirby’s group had only managed to travel a short distance further before they came nearly face-to-face with their next roadblock, another spirit trapped in their new body. It looked to be a giant light pink and purple R.O.B. covered in what looked like moss and grass, and its back was turned to them. In truth, it already knew that they were there, and to be frank it did not even want to acknowledge them lest it be trapped into another battle against its will. However, that was cowardly even for itself, to pretend that they weren’t there so that it wouldn’t be put through more torment, and besides it seemed as though they had prepared to fight it anyhow even if it protested. Nay, it was a noble guardian stalker through and through, and even though it was being made to guard against the heroes’ progression it must fulfill its many-millennium-long duty, obliterate its own discontent and fears as if they were the chosen hero it once stood against, and do what it did best. Perhaps this was the end for it anyhow, and after accepting its grim fate its new body whirred to life and burned with a malignant light as it had done long ago. Once it made sure that all parts were functional it slowly turned around to face the newcomers who had come to challenge it atop the Great Plateau’s tower, and as the bright blue lights on its chassis darkened into a royal blue it finally opened its eyes. They were without light for but a brief moment, and when the pink hero stepped up to challenge it its eyes came alive once more with an evil red light—the time for battle has finally come with an ominous piano cue somewhere off in the distance.

*BONG*

The first thing the guardian did was lock Kirby into its sights and fired a deadly laser dead at him; the laser wasn’t as powerful as its original nor could it be charged up to full power as quickly, but it would have to do in the meantime. Kirby dodged the beam with noticeable difficulty, as the beam had nearly grazed his foot. That wasn’t the end of his troubles as the giant R.O.B. took to charging its gyromite on its stand to supplant its neutral game.

Kirby ran toward the giant R.O.B. knowing that it couldn’t hit him with the gyromite being so close to it, but he failed to take into account that it could easily change weapons, and it did just that without waiting for its laser to fully charge and instead releasing a short-ranged burst of energy that that was still strong and could still burn Kirby. Catching the star warrior off guard with its point-blank laser eyes, it belted out a quick rotary attack with its arms and launched the lad far away onto his back. From just a matter of seconds Kirby was already in critical condition, and seeing this the guardian R.O.B. finished up its gyromite charging. Once it was at full power the robot quickly launched the blade at the star warrior, though it didn’t count on Kirby being stable enough to swallow its projectile, recovering some of his lost health in the process. The robot stared dumbly at Kirby, wondering how the miniscule creature had just eaten its rather large gyromite—let alone to any benefit of itself—but it brushed the matter off and simply charged another one it somehow had in reserve. Kirby could try inhaling the gyromites again, but that would ultimately get him nowhere against this R.O.B., so he tried to close the distance again while staying out of the range of the R.O.B.’s physical reach. When the robot flung out another rotary arm attack, Kirby finally closed the distance and went for a burning tackle; to his surprise, the robot had not budged an inch, and Kirby paid for his efforts with being grabbed by the robot and promptly jackhammered into the ground. He didn’t have much time to escape before the guardian unleashed its S3 laser on him, blasting him straight out of the ground right in time for a giant gyromite to bean him dead-on.

“Kirby!” Mario just couldn’t believe how much of a bad start Kirby was off to against the robot, and speaking of which the machine had finally readied its full-charge robo-beam, slowly hovering towards the downed boy to finish him off once and for all. “Not on my watch! Eevee, lend me a paw here!” Mario dashed off as fast as he could with the pokémon trailing behind him, and just before the guardian R.O.B. could unleash its point-black beam, Mario had finally managed to step in-between his friend and the enemy robot—flinging out his cape in front of him to reflect the deadly robo-beam. His aim was timed just right, redirecting the attack right back into the R.O.B.’s optical sensors, forcing a recoil out of it as it struggled to regain its bearings. Knowing that the machine would not easily flinch or be launched from his standard attacks, Mario opted for the grab-n’-toss tactic, jumping up to grab at one of the R.O.B.’s arms and slam it straight down to the ground, far more forceful than what he had remembered. “Hee hee, take-a that!”

Furious at how a short, portly plumber managed to bring it to the ground when the champion of Hyrule himself had to thoroughly struggle against its overbearing might the first few times around, the guardian spewed white-hot flames from its thrusters as it attempted to regain its footing, hoping to catch its foe off-guard. Mario was nimble enough to easily sidestep the attack, and he switched to dodging and deflecting further attacks until the robot was vulnerable to being grabbed again. By then the R.O.B. had finished charging up enough decent energy to fire off another robo-beam, though that too was simply deflected by Mario’s magic cape. The R.O.B. had enough sense to counteract this ploy with its rotary attack, using its arms to continually repel projectiles launched against it—even one of its own. This had caught Mario by surprise for a moment, forgetting that R.O.B.s were capable of that, and he wasn’t fast enough to play tennis with the robot using his cape, so he simply sidestepped the beam, leaving him open for when the R.O.B. came rushing at him. Snatched up into its arms he was, squeezed tight in its grip he was, and finally piledriven against the ground and launched into the air he was. He was too dazed from the surprise attack that he had no way of dodging the searing flames erupting towards him from the R.O.B.’s burner thrusters. Already he was on the ropes from just a short amount of attacks laid on him, and he absentmindedly wondered what had become of Kirby, the lad who had saved him just minutes prior. If he wasn’t in so much pain he’d have yelled at the star warrior to run while he still could—live and fight for another day—as he held this spirit at bay.

‘Share Stock…!’

Hm? Mario wondered where that voice had come from, but forgot about it as he found himself helplessly falling toward the R.O.B.’s revved up burner thrusters. He braced for impact, but the next thing that happened he never would have expected; an arm wrapped itself around him, and wondering who it was he turned to see that it was another Mario holding on to him tightly, and the other man had used his fully charged F.L.U.D.D. to push the pair away from the burner thrusters’ attack path. Once the pair was back on the ground, the original Mario was gently sat down on the ground to recover some of his strength, and the other man charged off against the guardian. This Mario, the original one could see, was dressed in a pattern of black and white in place of red and blue respectively, just like the false Mario that the Smoky Progg was forced to operate, though this Mario’s eyes were not the murderous glare of red light but rather the brilliant gleam of gold, and his clothing reflected the change that Mario himself had underwent upon his true awakening in this world.

“Hoo-waah!!”

Now the guardian was thoroughly confused; where exactly had this second Mario come from? It didn’t matter all to much in the end since this Mario was now laying quick blows into its hull, quickly dodging to another side whenever attacked. This pattern of weaving and bobbing out of its attack range was getting incredibly old, so it turned its focus on the recovering fighters who had yet to recover their full strength, and it targeted the one it knew was the biggest obstacle in claiming victory: Kirby. Its robo-beam was fully charged, and after forcing the second Mario off of it with a rotary attack it focused its aim on the star warrior in a bid to eradicate the threat once and for all. Suddenly, it found itself harshly yanked from behind and landed face down on the ground right before its laser was fired, literally blowing up in its face and severely damaging its optical receptors further, and that was before it found itself being flung in a circle and tossed off the ledge of the tower. Acutely aware of how much fuel it had used in its attacks from prior along with the second Mario’s F.L.U.D.D. having messed with its burner thrusters, it was quick to grab on to the ledge and roll out of the way of the Mario who was waiting for it. Unfortunately for it, in its partial blindness it found itself right before Kirby who had regained some of his strength, and Kirby locked it in a grab and pummeled away as its chassis, soon pulling it down to the ground and stamping it with furious feet. Frantically, the guardian rose to its footing but found it increasingly harder to see where it was; its lens had been damaged from having not one but two of its own fully charged robo-beams directly hit them, and as such it could only rely on sound and without its robo-beams. When it heard heavier footsteps draw near, it dropped its arms to the ground and furiously spun them around in the hopes to catch them, but when it heard something lighter jump up towards it, it quickly raised its arms back to maximum height and spun them around once again to defend itself. It was left vulnerable to one of the Mario’s grabbing at the cord connecting its arms to its base, and in a blind panic it tried to crush the fighter to keep them from disconnecting its cord. It was too late, as the cord had been ripped out of its socket, and in a matter of seconds it was almost completely helpless at the mercy of the fighters once it felt that it could no longer move its arms. At the very least its burner thrusters were still operable, and out of a desperate gambit it hovered a foot or two off the ground and began burning through as much of its fuel as possible to sear anyone who dared get close enough.

The guardian was absentmindedly wondering about the last time it had felt so helpless; some time ago back in its own world it had faced off against the champion of Hyrule, though his appearance was alike its own on top of mounting a strange horse of similar creation—out of nowhere it was blindsided by the hero as he cleaved its legs off with an ancient bladesaw, knocking it down on its side afterward and leaving it completely at his mercy. It was finished off quickly, but the few seconds it had spent in that state made it really feel useless, never mind not wanting to have fought the hero in the first place alongside its fellow turned brethren. For all its strength, it may have held off the hero at an earlier time, but now that he had regained its full strength there was truly nothing that could stop him, and even though it was unable to escape the thrall of the calamity’s power, a small part of it at least desired to fulfill its purpose of being a guardian. It couldn’t even have that, and after so many blood moon nights it found itself the target of the hero’s assault once again. Each time, it ended with it completely decimated, and it had wondered whether the hero truly hated them all for the carnage they had wrought upon those they were sworn to protect. Soon its mind was dominated by hatred toward the hero for causing it and its brethren models so much pain, and in time it no longer thought about its former duties; if it was to forever be an instrument of the calamity’s power then so be it, and with true malice flowing through its ancient hull it had stalked after the hero in vengeance.

A few more battles afterward and subsequent blood moons returning it to life, it had established a game of sorts with the hero, that of a cat-and-mouse-like chase wherein it pursed him with the discarded ancient weapons used against it. In time it had learned to modify itself, becoming more dangerous with each weapon the hero had lost, and though it had lost a few times it had a small sense of satisfaction in how many steeds it had taken from the hero. Before the hero could face off against the calamity after he had torn through even the dreaded Golden Wolf Warriors of the Lynelkin, it alone stood between him and his final destination—armed with ancient armaments upgraded by the power of Ganon, and the two of them clashed blade to blade. Though it appeared to possess an early advantage, the hero had by then acquired that damnable Master Sword, and the spirit within the goddess-made sword had fought with him as one against its overwhelming might. Soon it lay broken at his feet, not even able to fire off a deadly laser at him, and it seethed with unbelievable rage. To its curiosity, the hero had neither hate nor pity for it, only a solemn look of compassion for its plight. Then is when it felt the spirits of its brethren at its side, telling it to let go of the past and the pain it had suffered through—allow the hero to win and finally save the kingdom as they were meant to do. Finally it had regained its old sense of self, remorse fighting against the hate the calamity had stoked within it, and with a final thrust it felt its life claimed from the jaws of Ganon for good.

Now, as it squared off against the fighters of this new world, a familiar sense of longing for freedom started to take root, finding a life under this fell god of light was far worse a fate than complete death, and little by little it was less trying to keep them at bay moreso than it was simply burning through its last source of energy so that when the time came it would not run from its fate. Then it finally happened—its fuel was completely emptied and it slowly fell to the ground, utterly spent and awaiting its last judgment.

“Hey, it-a stopped,” Mario spoke, confused and curious behind its change of behavior, watching as the second Mario had slowly walked toward the fallen guardian. The two of them shared a deep look in the other’s eyes, even if the guardian could not actually see anymore with the loss of its optic sensors. After a long silence the R.O.B. had closed its eyes, finally at peace with itself knowing that it would be freed. The second Mario gave a compassionate nod much like the hero had done for it once upon a time, and in his hands a great fire had blazed to life before being set loose upon the weakened robot. The blast pierced its chassis and set alight an explosion from within, and the guardian keeled over before the malicious light that had taken hold leaked out. The guardian gave one last silent praise to the skies where it assumed its creators rested as the energy had finally overtaken it in a great blast:

Free at last!

Free at last!

Thank the Goddesses almighty, I am free at last!

*BOOM!*


 

‘So, any more brilliant plans in that little head o’ yours?’ Wolf O’Donnel jeered.

You shall see soon enough, as now that they have bested the Guardian Stalker they must make a hard decision…

‘And…that being…?’ Dark Pit Icarus goaded.

The crossroad before them is where they must chose who they are to save out of the three fighters awaiting them, assuming that they manage to survive…

‘You’re forcing them to choose one between three paths while abandoning the other two…’ Corrin surmised. ‘Regardless, I assure you that they’ll save them all no matter what they choose.’

The view must be great from that glass house of yours, Corrin Plantagenet

‘I—beg pardon?!’

‘01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01110000 01101111 01110100 00101100 00100000 01101101 01100101 01100101 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101011 01100101 01110100 01110100 01101100 01100101 00101110’ R.O.B. bleeped and booped at Galeem’s expense. ‘01000001 01101100 01110011 01101111 00101100 00100000 01101000 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100100 01101111 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110011 01110111 01101001 01110100 01100011 01101000 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101111 01101101 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00100000 01101100 01100001 01101110 01100111 01110101 01100001 01100111 01100101 00111111’

You ought know how to do that yourself, Family Computer Robot Model Number HVC-012…

‘01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01100100 01100101 01100001 01100100 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01110000 01100101 01110010 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 00100000 01110011 01100101 01101100 01100110 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01101110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01010100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100110 01100001 01110101 01101100 01110100 00101110’

Then perhaps it is in my best interest to silence you instead…

‘01010101 01110000 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 01110011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101111 01110110 01100101 01110010 01100111 01110010 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01101100 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01100010 01110101 01101100 01100010 00101110’

‘Language!’ Rosalina chided. ‘There are children present.’

‘Yeah, knock off that crap—whatever you just said,’ H.D. Quinn, better known simply as “Incineroar”, said in agreement, not realizing his own mistake in the process and causing a rousing bit of laughter from various others. ‘What, did I say somethin’ funny?!’

Enough.

Just like that everyone was silent once more, wondering what else their captor had in store for them.

Whatever choice they make, it will not matter in the end. Should they get past any of the fighters I have stationed, there are many more of my soldiers lying in wait to finish them once and for all.

‘You keep saying that,’ Sir Meta Knight challenged, ‘I don’t think you realize the predicament you’re really in.’

Galeem honestly could care less of how little they knew about how futile it was to hope that Kirby and Mario would win, but by the powers that be could they get incredibly annoying about it. Galeem had considered banishing them all from its presence but that was unwise; it needed them in reserve as to not allow Kirby any more chances of victory, because even if Kirby was to somehow make it all the way to Galeem personally, the less energy spent until then then better. There was, after all, no such thing as a truly invincible being, and Galeem itself was far from an exception. Galeem remained unwavering in its confidence; it may not have been invincible but that hardly mattered if your enemy wound up dead before they could exploit that fact, and as the battle had just proven to them all, there was only so much that Kirby and Mario could take… Still, though, things would either quickly grow ungodly dull with the fighters’ silence or irritable with their constant bickering back and forth between Galeem’s downfall or victory. Thus, the light god began considering ways to keep the fighters’ minds off Kirby’s and Mario’s adventure without giving them a chance to undermine its plans. After it finally recreated the world they would all wind up serving under it anyhow, and to ensure that they would remain loyal to it then it had to somehow appeal to them despite everything.

…So… Who amongst you wishes to test their minds against me in a game of…“chess”?

Chapter Text

When the light of the explosion cleared away, Kirby and Mario found themselves at the crossroad again, with the pieces of the false giant R.O.B. they had defeated strewn about before them for a brief moment—vanishing into thin air after a short while. The black Mario responsible for defeating the humongous mecha turned to his comrades with a bright smile and a thumbs up, though it did not last long once his body glowed and dispersed into light, leaving behind the spirit of light that had allied with Kirby and Mario.

“Say, that’s-a nice power you got there,” Mario complimented. “That really helped us outta that jam!”

‘♥!’

‘Eevee! Vee!’ As Eevee and the nameless spirit playfully nuzzled against each other—with Mario adoring the sight—Kirby noticed something large and imposing wrapped in a multicolored aura descending upon them, and he pointed this development out to the others. As they watched, they could make out its large six-legged hull covered in grass and moss, and bright orange lights ran across its large frame while cyan lights came alive throughout its head. When it finally landed, the giant robot’s cycloptic lens flared to life once again.

*BONG*

Cautiously, the guardian stalker surveyed its surroundings and concluded that it was at the crossroad from before its battle against the fighters. Curious, it was, since it did not see any of the fighters themselves, at least not until it felt a light tap on one of its legs. Angling its eye downward, it spotted Kirby prodding at its leg, trying to get its attention. When Kirby realized he had its attention, he gave it his famous two-handed wave meant to assure the machine that he was of no threat, though much to Mario’s and the other spirits’ horror the ancient robot had picked Kirby up in one of its claws. For a minute Kirby and the guardian stalker simply stared into each other’s eyes (or eye in the guardian’s case), and to everyone else’s eventual relief the robot eventually sat Kirby back down gently on the ground, expressing silent gratitude toward the star warrior and his friends for freeing it. Kirby gave a happy little twirl and stuck a pose on his foot, shortly before feeling the fatigue of several consecutive battles get to him and culminating in him falling forward into a tired position.

“Kirby!” Mario rushed toward the little guy and did him a once-over to make sure he was alright. Thankfully, the lad had fallen asleep, and Mario knew a nap and food was all Kirby needed to regain his strength. “Phew, he’s just-a tired…” Truth be told, Mario was too after just having the tar beat out of him by Kirby and then almost getting gotten by the guardian stalker, and he could tell that everyone else was too. If only there was a safe enough spot in this death world for them to rest…

‘…’ What happened next was that the guardian stalker had picked the sleeping Kirby up again, but this time the machine had placed the boy atop its head, letting him rest there for the time being. Mario found it to be kind of sweet for a robot to do that, and the next thing he knew he was being swept up towards the guardian’s huge hull by two of its appendages.

“Oh, aren’tcha the caring type eh? *yawn* Welp, guess I-a better get some shut eye too. Wake us up if-a somethin’ happens yeah?” The man stretched out against the guardian stalker’s frame and found himself drifting off to sleep along with his cap companion, followed by the Eevee and Smoky Progg spirits finding a spot to nap on Mario’s body. With everyone asleep, the guardian stalker did a double take of its surroundings to ensure the lack of hostility nearby, and its sensors picked up the life readings of at least three hostile lifeforms rather close by, presumably one stationed at each end of the crossroad. Not wanting to take chances and risk getting its newfound allies killed, the guardian stalker quickly backpedaled away from the area toward a safer spot. Down the road it could see a hilltop overlooking the area, and it kicked its limbs into gear and made haste to the hilltop where the group would not be disturbed, also making sure not to drop any of its occupants on the way. Eventually, it had finally reached its destination, climbing up to the top of the hill and releasing Mario from its hold to lay on the grass below, and it carefully plucked Kirby from the top of its head to rest nearby the man. The guardian stalker, of course, remained ever vigilant and took to watching over the group until the had slept away their exhaustion; that was where it had laid its eye upon the fell god responsible for the universe’s situation, and for a while the two locked glares with one another. The guardian stalker silently swore that the abomination of light would dearly rue its every action either through its own hands or another’s. With that settled, it returned to its peaceful patrol over the hilltop.

‘Hooooooo…’ came a sleepy call. The guardian searched the immediate area wondering where the sound came from, and it found a red female owl apparently just waking up beside it. In her tired daze, when she looked at the massive machine she did not falter in her mood, instead cordially greeting it. ‘Hello there, my name is Celeste, Museum Observatory Operator of Smashville. And you are?’ The guardian recognized it as a fellow disembodied spirit freed by Kirby and Mario’s group, and after disengaging some of its aggro protocols it allowed itself a peaceful conversation with the lady.

‘…’

‘Oh my, you are a guardian you say—as in, a guardian from an ancient kingdom? My, that is simply fascinating! Of where do you hail from?’ The two spirits held their chat for what seemed like ages, and the guardian was pleasantly surprised with how sociable the little bird was, finding her an enjoyable person to talk with. Likewise, Celeste was simply taken in by everything the guardian had spoke of with her; though it had no mouth she could hear its spoken thoughts just fine, and with a compassionate ear she listened to all of its recounting from its creation and active duty to its fall from grace and subsequent liberation. The guardian need not fear for much else anymore, though it had expressed a clear concern for the hero and princess of Hyrule.

‘I understand how that feels. I too worry about everyone and just hope that they’re alright, especially the young’uns. Those children running for mayor, and their adorable assistant Isabelle… We see them from the sidelines sometimes, other times we don’t. I always root them on so they can do their best in this little shindig, but now…I just want them to be safe out here…’ The guardian had just realized that; there were innocent children out in the world, ripped away from their worlds and killed all the same as everyone else. Children who were likely scared out of their minds and wondering what in all of heaven and hell is going on, and there was nothing they could do about it. That thought depressed the guardian, and it wondered just who else was out there, crying out for help. ‘Aw, I’m sorry for making this take a sad turn. I just can’t help it with all that’s going on now, but I have to keep staying strong for everyone back home and for the little ones out there.’ The guardian could agree with the sentiment; it must remain strong and vigilant for the sake of this world, and until the day came where peace would finally take reign for many years to come it would not rest.

Hours had passed into the sunset evening, and the two spirits continued their talk of various things ranging from serious topics to more mundane ones, and this was when the fighters began to stir from their naps.

“Hoooooweeeee…” Mario yawned with a stretch. “That was a…gouda dream.”

“Was that necessary Master Mario?” Cappy complained as he roused from his slumber.

“Aw come on-a Cappy. I gotta make at least-a one pun a day, right?”

“Once a day? Goodness Master Mario, you certainly have interesting hobbies…” The man rose to his feet and stretched the sleep out from his bones. “Mmm, feels good to be back at one-hundred percent again! Hey Kirby, you—oh.” The star warrior was still snoozing away, occasionally rolling over to one side in his sleep—a simply precious sight for sure to anyone watching. “Actually, let’s let ‘im rest for a little longer; he’s done a lot already, so he deserves this.” The rest of the group simply sat and enjoyed the scenery; despite Galeem messing everything up, the sky still looked absolutely beautiful from where they could see it, and no amount of hardships could take that from them. Soon, Kirby started stirring from his sleep, sitting himself up and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes before he opened them. He saw everyone watching him with smiles on their faces, and he broke into one of his own.

“Rise and shine little fella!” Mario greeted. “Had a nice-a nap?” Kirby never felt better—actually that was a complete lie, but still the point still stood in that Kirby was rarely so refreshed in his life. With a fist pump Kirby was ready for action. “Glad to hear it little buddy! Everybody else ready to go?”

“Ready when you are Master Mario.”

“I AM READY TO PROCEED FURTHER ON THE JOURNEY MARIO.”

‘Vee, Eevee vee!’

‘Ready to go sweeties.’

“Oh hey, I don’t think I-a met you yet. I do think I’ve seen you in either Smash-a-ville or Town and City—one of those two though I-a can’t remember which. Glad to have-a you on the team miss!”

‘Oh, thank you dearie! My name is Celeste; a pleasure to meet you!’

“Likewise!” Mario and Celeste shook hands and then the group was off, making their way back downhill all the way back to the crossroad where they had met the guardian. Before they could reach the center of it, a strange voiced had spoken to the group out of nowhere, sounding familiar but hard to pinpoint for certain

Your friends await you at each of the crossroad’s ends ahead… You must carefully consider who you wish to save and who you will leave behind…

“Wait, what’s-a that mean? We have to pick-a someone and ditch the rest? That doesn’t seem-a right to me.” The group walked up to the middle of the crossroad and found three of their friends patiently waiting for them at each end. The path leading west was blocked off by Prince Mars Lowell, affectionately known as “Marth”, who stood with his Falchion drawn and his steely eyes boring holes into the group. Toward the north end was Princess Zelda Wakana Hyrule IV, adopting “Sheik” persona, and she readied her variant of the traditional Sheikah-jutsu stance. Lastly, to the east was one of the Smashville mayor candidates, the one specifically known as “Redd Smascevilla” or something along those lines, and in his hands was his trusty bug-catching net. All three of them were enclosed within a single wing strip and encircled by halos with shimmering blues auras just as Mario had been, and they stared expectantly at the group waiting for them to make their choice; deep down the trio knew that this was a hard decision for their friends to make, and it wouldn’t be made after careful deliberation.

“Geez-Louise… Which one do we-a go after?” The guardian was easily in favor of rescuing the princess above virtually anything else, but at the same time it did not want to abandon the children that its new friend Celeste cared for so deeply. Celeste was obviously very anxious and worried for the villager children, and it was in her nature to want to save them, but she couldn’t do it at the expense of the other fighters despite not knowing the other two as well. Mario simply didn’t know who to choose; between Marth, Sheik, and the villager boy, all of them were potent fighters in their own rights and would be invaluable in helping them out, but under the assumption of taking one of them while permanently leaving the other two behind made him not want to choose, and Kirby was in the same boat as Mario. It appeared the villager boy would win out the vote in the end, so the group was starting to err towards rescuing him…

‘Share Stock…!’

Just then a bright flash of light erupted from Kirby, and out flew the nameless spirit taking on the same grayscale, golden-eyed Kirby form from before. The spirit looked at them with the flames of determination inside its eyes, and that could only mean one thing: the spirit intended to save them all, and with taking on a physical form once again it would have nothing less.

“Hey, why didn’t I-a think of that?” Mario said. “We have-a three fighters here, so that means each-a one of us could free each-a friend!” The group beamed at the prospect, having outsmarted Galeem’s little trick. “Alrighty then, who’s-a going to save-a who now?” The nameless spirit stared down the path of the villager boy, and Celeste lent them her power of item gravitation along with the Smoky Progg providing the spirit with an unira; Kirby himself was facing Sheik and was merely accompanied by the guardian stalker’s spirit, being granted no power without a primary spirit of his own for the time being. This had left Mario and Eevee ready to square off against Marth, and both Cappy and F.L.U.D.D. were able to support their partner in any way they could through Eevee’s web of connections. “Best of luck to you guys!” Mario gave his encouragement to the rest of the team before he went to face the prince. Marth could see Mario approaching him, and though he wanted to wish him the best in freeing him like Kirby had done with Mario, a different set of words escaped his lips instead.

“You intend to fight against Galeem, the Lord of Light who shall rid this world of the foul darkness forever?” It was less of a question and more of a statement, and from his own experience Mario could tell that Galeem was using Marth’s experiences against the Shadow Dragon on him. Still, he answered his friend with complete honesty.

“Marth, we’re not just-a gonna fight Galeem,” Mario said, “we’re-a gonna beat Galeem and free this-a world from its control. Because of Galeem, the balance is outta whack, and it is up to us to restore it.” Even when under the fell god’s control, Marth was known for his grace and politeness, so he merely sighed and shook his head in disappointment even though on the inside he couldn’t be prouder to call Mario his friend.

“I had expected you to say so, but you know as well as I do that this battle—this war you wage against Lord Galeem—is pointless. You will be tried for your treason, but it is not too late; just return to our side and I can vouch for you so that your betrayal will not be so severely punished. You are, after all, still my friend after all this.” Marth even held out his hand as to extend an olive branch at a time like this, but Mario knew all too well that this was just Galeem twisting who Marth was and what he stood for, using his kind nature to get him back under Galeem’s control.

“Sorry Marth, I can’t do that. If you want-a me to come back, you’ll have to take-a me by force because I’mma not going down without a fight.”

“Then you leave me with no other favorable options my friend. If you will not return to our side, then I shall do what I must and spare you the judgment Lord Galeem will surely rain down upon you.” Marth raised his Falchion and pointed it at Mario, past the point of convincing him to come back and only wishing to fight. “In the name of Lord Galeem’s new world of light, I—Prince Mars Lowell of Altea—challenge you to a duel! En guarde!

Kirby had approached Sheik with nothing but the guardian stalker’s spirit giving him sideline support, but Kirby was simply glad that the robot was around to help him; it made it feel like Kirby was adventuring with his Robobot Armor all over again, though without the copy abilities at his disposal this time around. The Sheikah gave Kirby her most intense glare, analyzing Kirby’s every movement. While Sheik was internally relieved to see that Kirby had no fear in him, she was also worried that this would lead to his very undoing if he was not careful against her possessed body.

“So, you have finally come Kirby…” Sheik spoke. “You are a fool to believe that you stand any sort of chance against Lord Galeem. You can either choose to wisely surrender and I will mercifully terminate you, or you can do this the hard way and drag out your painful demise. The choice is yours…” Kirby had made it this far and rescued Mario along the way, and though he still had quite a ways to go he wasn’t going to give up and quit no matter who said what to him. “So be it. As you take your dying gasp, know that you have only yourself to blame for your fate.” Sheik’s stance had gotten lower, and Kirby knew that in any second the warrior would pounce him so he readied his guard and prepared for the fight.

The nameless spirit stared down the possessed villager boy, watching for any sudden movements in the kid’s stance. It knew it didn’t have much longer in the spare body it had created in Kirby’s image, so it had to act fast and end the fight as soon as possible before it destabilized again. The villager boy’s body gave the spirit that same unwavering smile on its face, though its occupants were anything but smiling on the inside. The eight children, minds somehow forced into the first villager’s body and with an equal amount of control over it, were scared to be frank; they knew this creature was on their side, but they feared what would happen if they were pushed too far and go nuts on the spirit. Much like the memes that had circulated due to their status as a “psychopathic murderer”, they found themselves dangerously close to nosediving into the persona. Maybe the tournaments really had changed them, or perhaps it was the influence of Galeem tainting them like poison in their bloodstream, but they hoped and prayed that this Kirby doppelganger ended the fight soon and that the killer in them did not come out, otherwise they would never be freed from the evil god’s possession.

Marth was the first to attack, dashing out and sweeping his Falchion wide to catch Mario with the tip. This forced the plumber back for a moment, knowing he had to play it careful with Marth given his overall poor track record against the prince up until the preceding tournaments. With no projectiles to speak of, Marth’s game plan revolved around getting in close for the tip of his blade, and Mario had to keep the swordsman out of that range.

“If you intend to stand against me then fight with honor!” Marth commanded, often just barely missing Mario by a hair with his dancing blade. Mario had quickly dodged toward Marth’s back, swishing out his super cape to flip the prince’s orientation the other way once the man had caught on to Mario’s presence behind him. Marth predictably struck empty space and was quickly tripped up by a pair of legs sweeping out his own from underneath him. The prince had heard of the phrase “Don’t Knock It ‘Till You Try It”, but he had found himself slowly becoming irritable with Mario’s tricky shenanigans; he had always fought with the utmost respect for his opponents’ abilities and as a true prince should, yet here Mario was playing him like a novice fool. Then again, he could still admire the effectiveness of it—Mario knew what he was doing and did it well, and were it not for the fact that Galeem still held a bit of control over him, he would have complimented friend. He eventually rose back to his feet after rolling away several feet from Mario, giving him time to recompose himself.

“Very well then, you leave me no choice. It’s time for me to—?!” The net thing Marth knew Mario was barreling toward him full speed and lunged at him with a dropkick, squarely planting his steel-toed boots into the prince’s chest and flinging him far off the battlefield. Mario did not want to waste time freeing his friend from Galeem’s control, and he ran after the falling prince with a meteor knuckle at the ready. He didn’t get far off the platform before Marth quickly made it back with a dolphin slash, striking him along the way and launching him far enough to give Marth a safe landing. “Hah…Not one to waste time hm? Fine by me, for Lord Galeem!” Mario never knew just how much hearing that could tick him off, seeing his friend so devoted to the very enemy responsible for him being in this predicament. Not thinking straight, he charged into what looked like Marth preparing an attack of his own, and when he threw his fist out aimed at Marth’s pretty-boy face his knuckles found steel instead. Marth had just blocked Mario’s attack and flung his fist far to the side. “Take this!” Marth’s Falchion found itself dead in between Mario’s eyes, forcing the plumber back to clutch his bloodied face in pain, and the prince darted after him.

“Aiee! Since when could—” He didn’t have much time to complain before Marth’s hand found itself at his collar and his knee pummeling his gut repeatedly. Marth must have been sufficiently mad with him if the prince threw him to the ground with nary an ounce of grace followed by a kick to the face, something Marth would never consider doing and was a clear sign Galeem’s influence was taking over. Rolling a few feet away, Mario knew he had to end this fast, so he clapped his face harshly to force his senses into him, right in time before Marth could pin him to the ground with Falchion. Mario tripped the man up with a sweep and flicked out his cape at him once again, pushing him towards the edge. Before Marth could even register what had happened, he was hoisted up by his shoulders.

“I’d-a really hate to do this to ya’ friend,” Mario said to the shocked prince, “but I have to.” Marth was flung straight up and kicked once on the way up before getting punched away hard. The abyss eagerly awaited the prince below but he would not let it claim him, jumping his way back to the edge, only for Mario’s cape to push him away once again. Realizing what had happened, Marth desperately pushed his momentum towards the stage with an air dodge and dolphin slash his way up again, and that was when he felt a high-pressure blast of water blast him far away from the ledge and out of recovery range. The only thing he could do was scream out as he fell helplessly to his doom, cursing Mario to the last yet commending him a well-done for his victory on the inside before he exploded into light.

Kirby’s fight against Sheik hadn’t been any easier, constantly on the dodge against her fast and furious strikes. Impa had certain trained her well, as Kirby had next to no openings, and what openings there were he was too scared to jump the chance and capitalize on them thinking that Sheik was merely misleading him.

“Dodge all you may, you will tire out sooner or later,” Sheik yelled out. “You cannot escape your fate, so just lie down and accept it.” Sheik had found an opening in Kirby’s stance and bashed him over with an axe kick, following it up with a roundhouse wheel to place him a ways into the air. From there she swiped at him and landed quickly for another roundhouse wheel, following up with another swipe and landing right beneath him to axe kick him once more. There she tossed out a burst grenade to catch him as he fell, pulling the pin and leaving him trapped in the bomb’s vortex as it prepared to detonate. Kirby didn’t even have time to react properly once the bomb went off, launching him into the air, and Sheik was quick to lunge at Kirby with her bouncing fish attack. Already the Sheikah warrior had landed him a little over halfway into critical condition with her quick flurry of attacks, and now she was gathering up needles in her hand. Kirby ran up to her to force her into making a mistake. She had stored the needles and had a deku nut in her hand prepared, slamming it into the ground right before Kirby could catch her and releasing tons of smoke into the air. Kirby quickly looked around him and didn’t find the Sheikah above or behind him, assuming her to be past the cloud of smoke. He jumped back hearing needles fly at him followed by footsteps, and he dodged Sheik’s double swipe just in time.

“Wha—” Kirby quickly grabbed the Sheikah and landed five punches to her before piledriving her into the ground behind him, blitzing her with his triple kick and quickly dashing out at her with a burning tackle. To her credit, Sheik was quickly able to regain her footing from such an attack and conjured her shield in a desperate bid to keep Kirby from attacking her again so soon. The star warrior instead went for another grab and laid into her with more punches, and before she had a chance to throw him off of her she was slammed down and furiously stomped on.

“Hyaah!” Kirby smashed Sheik beneath him full force, quickly hopping away from her before she lashed out at him, watching her instead opting to back off and recompose herself. Sheik had been surprised by Kirby’s ability to remotely lay a scratch on her, let alone severely harm her to such a degree. The Sheikah had decided to simply let Kirby make the first move and counterattack him; Kirby had seen this stance and took it as a pre-pouncing gesture, letting himself slip into a defensive stance as well. The two smashers kept their eyes on each other for around a minute long, and the Sheikah found herself getting impatient, having long realized that Kirby was waiting for her to strike first much like what she was doing. Slowly she inched her hand to her back, reaching for the dagger sheathed behind her, and in response Kirby reached to his back as well to grab the cutter sword on his back. After several more seconds of intense glaring like a lion and tiger staring each other down, something snapped in the two and they bolted at each other without restraint, slashing at one another with their blades.

It took some time afterward, but they each finally reacted to the other’s attacks: Kirby winced from the many cuts and his arm grew a little heavier but he held his stained blade tight, and Sheik struggled to keep her trembling legs supporting her—failing and falling to her knees as several large gashes revealed themselves on her legs, chest, and arm. Sheik had failed to remember that Kirby had ninja training as well and that he was used to handling much larger swords than the one she carried, explaining his ability to actually strike faster than her and lessen her own blows in the process. Before Sheik could recover her strength, Kirby was poised to finish the fight; with the swiftness of a bluster he reached her and caught her in a series of five rising slashes, topping off the combo with a spinning final cutter slash back down to the ground and firing her off along with the shockwave. Sheik silently accepted that this was her punishment for failing Lord Galeem, having been blasted too far away and in too bad a shape to recover, yet even then she couldn’t help but feel a small sense of pride in that Kirby had managed to best her with all his skill and might, proving him the superior ninja warrior of the day.

The spirit eyed the villager boy warily as he innocently planted a sapling into the ground and watered it into a full-blown tree, only to heartlessly hack into it from where he stood with his lumberjack axe. The kids inside could only feel for that poor tree, the gardeners in them cringing at how quickly they would dispose of a tree. The spirit dared not get any closer, knowing the villager would feel the tree above them. Seeing this, the villager moved in front of the tree and pulled a Lloyd copy out, letting it fly forward at the spirit and forcing them to jump over it. Now airborne, the spirit was vulnerable to the villager’s slingshot attacks, quickly landing to smack the spirit with his umbrella. The spirit decided that now was a good time to pitch its unira at the villager, forgetting that the boy was capable of pocketing it and storing it for later which was exactly what he did. Still, the spirit did not let this deter them and dashed up to the villager, getting within punching range and dodging to the boy’s back.

The spirit wasted no time grappling the villager and throwing him in a suplex behind them, and without giving him time to rest they descended upon him with a drill kick. Following that was a series of upward kicks and airborne crescent kicks that kept juggling the village boy further into the air; the spirit refused to give the village boy any room to breathe so they set upon him like a man possessed, capping off the assault with a final cutter attack that brought them both back to the ground. After launching the villager away the spirit set off to reignite their onslaught, only to get beaned in the face with the unira they threw at the villager earlier. Thinking quickly, before the unira could land and extend its spines the spirit caught it midfall using the gravitational pull provided by Celeste. The spirit planted it on the ground, leaving it as a hazard and not wanting to chance the villager pocketing it again.

Again the village boy planted a sapling and grew it into a tree. He pulled out his Lloyd decoy and let it fly, using it as a distraction to chop into the trunk of the tree, priming it for timber. The spirit could see this ploy but remained still, waiting for the villager to come to them instead. Predictably, the boy let loose another Lloyd and trailed after it, lumberjack axe in hand. Though the spirit was able to block the Lloyd rocket’s attack, keeping their shield up left it ready to be shattered by a single swing of the villager’s axe. With the spirit vulnerable to attack, the villager lashed out with their axe and drew forth blue-and-whitish essence from them and quickly retreated to behind his tree. It took a while for the spirit to recover from losing a bit of their lifeblood, but to their credit they were back on their feet and ready to continue the fight. They pulled out their final cutter sword and slammed it down on the ground, the bladed shockwave racing toward the villager’s tree and felling it on top of the boy. Realizing this too late the villager tried blocking the move and ended up with his shield fully shattered. The spirit was quick to charge up their hammer to its full charge, and without a second thought spared to the village boy they unleashed their hammer flip upon him.

The spirit knew that it was not enough to get rid of the boy for long, and they could feel their copied form beginning to destabilize little by little, so they hurried and pursued the villager off the battlefield knowing that they were at severe risk of losing the fight with the villager. Much like the spirit expected, the village boy was quick to stall his fall with the Lloyd dummy and pulled out his helmet to take a balloon-fueled trip back to the stage. It was not to be; though he had a long-distanced recovery, his doom was spelled out to him when he heard the spirit changing into their stone form, dropping down faster than he could fly out of their way, and they ripped straight through his balloons to plunge him deep into the darkness below. Though the village boy’s body screamed out in pain and terror, the children inside could not be any happier, whooping and cheering the spirit on for their victory.


 

‘Gods…damnit…’ A frustrated Reflet could not believe he was bested at chess so effortlessly; every move he made was countered immediately, and the few captures he could manage were meant to set him up for a fall later into the game. ‘First Virion and now this?’

You fail to learn from your past encounters Reflet Wyrmtongue Lowell…You treat chess the same as how you approach true warfare, and your unwillingness to sacrifice units of no major significance to accomplish your goal will spell your defeat virtually every time against a less discerning opponent…

‘I just…I don’t—’

‘Come now, don’t worry about it so much,’ Lucina said to her uncle who was ready to tear his hair out. ‘You’ll have your victory next time, positive.’

‘If you say so Lucina…’

Take this as a learning experience and use it to hone your abilities. You are a remarkable strategist in your own right, yet you are too held back by your inability to make sacrifices for the better good save for yourself. Overcome this and you may yet see a victory against other advanced players.

‘Gee, thanks. Way to boost a guy’s confidence here.’

‘Ha!’ Sonic meanwhile was laughing over the outcome, earning a few glares from Chrom, Robyn, and Lucina. ‘Pay up Cloud. I told you Galeem was going to beat Reflet in chess and I said exactly why he was going to lose. There it is straight from the horse’s mouth.’

‘We didn’t bet,’ Cloud simply replied, not caring for the outcome of the game either way.

‘…Dang.’

‘I doubt you could do any better hedgehog,’ Ganondorf taunted.

‘You sure? I snagged a win against the ol’ doctor once. I mean, sure, it was a bit of an unusual battle, but that’s gotta count for something eh?’

‘Oh, so the blue rat is not as simple as he seems to be hm?’

‘Watch it Old Manondorf; the last person to call me “just a blue rat” is wishing he could erase all the poor life choices he made, and I don’t look like it but I am a pretty darn good sword knight if I do say so myself.’

‘Wait, you’re a knight?’ Chrom asked. ‘I never would have guessed that looking at you now.’

‘Since when?’ Ike asked. ‘I’ve never seen you with a sword of any kind the whole time I’ve known you, not counting the beam swords or the killing edges of course.’

Ogilvie Maurice Hedgehog has received extensive training from the legendary sword Caliburn within the storybook world of “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”. During the events that had transpired within the book his deeds had earned him the right to rule as “King of Camelot”, though he has since abdicated the throne in favor of Merlina Ambrosius claiming it in his steed.

‘Aw come on, I was going to get to that part myself!’ Sonic complained, almost ignoring the many surprised stares he had gotten. ‘What? Being a king isn’t really my style you know?’

‘Even so, that is still a very huge honor and responsibility,’ Meta Knight said. ‘Giving up kingship is not without profound consequences Sonic.’

‘Trust me, I know. But I had my own world to get back to, and I know Merlina will do a great job as queen—’

‘Wait a second, Merlina? Richter asked incredulously. ‘You don’t mean the royal wizard that stabbed you in the back and became that monstrous “Dark Queen of the Underworld” right? Please tell me you seriously didn’t just hand over the entire kingdom to that witch of all people?’

‘Ooh, not too fond of witches are we my boy?’ Bayonetta teased, though not without that subtle undertone of malice. The man backpedaled after his statement and attempted to salvage the conversation.

‘N-No I don’t, it’s just…she’s…’

‘Something tells me you didn’t finish reading the story didja, and besides: so what? She had good intentions behind that whole betrayal thing and I managed to get through to her by the end. I’m sure the story is doing just fine without me.’

‘How can you be so blasé about this? Sonic, man, I just don’t—’

‘Please, Richter, let us drop this topic,’ Zelda interrupted. ‘Let us trust in Sonic’s wisdom and respect his decision on this one shall we?’

‘I—ah…sure, I guess…’

‘As interesting as ol’ Sonic boy here being king is,’ Wolf said, ‘shouldn’t we be more concerned about Kirby? Speaking of which, what’s the status update on him eh Galeem old pal?’

Kirby’s group has defeated Prince Mars Lowell, Princess Zelda Wakana Hyrule IV, and the Smashville mayoral candidates…

‘So, that’s how many victories Kirby against your forces has now?’ Ridley taunted.

Far more than your victories against Samus, which still rests at one to this day…

Ridley was so ready to let loose a piercing screech at Galeem but reigned himself in, knowing that the light god was merely pushing his buttons, and he wasn’t stupid enough to incur the being’s wrath like how King K. Rool almost got them all obliterated with his remarks earlier.

Though the group has won and defied the choices I have laid out before them, I have a remedy for this issue. Observe


Back in the realm of light, Kirby’s group was observing their friends, watching them reawaken into the world as changed people. To Mario the Hero-King’s new clothes was replete with navy and golden armor pieces adorning his torso, arms, and legs, and his cape was lined with a fur trim at its collar and tail. His exposed arms were now covered in sleeves and his white cloves had small blue “claws” at the ends of the first three digits. A few other fancy adornments such as epaulettes and a cravat were seen, but most notable was that Falchion’s design had changed, having evolved into an appearance similar to how the Shadow Dragon chronicles had depicted it, and what looked like the very Binding Shield itself was on Marth’s left arm.

Sheik had also been changed in notable ways, her entire suit having switched from a traditional Sheikah stealth suit to one that rung a darkly familiar bell in Kirby’s head even if Sheik’s original colors were retained along with the Sheikah symbol. Armor was retained though her shin pads and the new forearm guards had small spikes on them, and her shoulder armor extended to cover her collar area. The suit’s tighter composition left far to the imagination than before if anyone was ever confused as to what sex Sheik was even with her pronounced musculature. Most notable was addition of small conical Sheikah straw hat decorated with talismans. Sheik’s face was covered behind a transparent cloth with the Sheikah symbol on its front, and hidden in the scarf was a necklace of prayer beads.

The village boy had one of the more drastic changes; his limbs were longer than previously, his hair was messier, his lashes were longer, and he wore a black t-shirt with red trims that read “NTDO 1889”. His pants were also brown and tan patterned and he wore white tennis shoes. The whole change had made the boy look a tad older than previously, and the spirit could only imagine just how much the other villagers had changed, but they dare not dwell too much on that. Gently, they tried rousing the boy to see who would wake up. Green eyes slowly opened up while the body stayed the same, showing the spirit that the body’s original owner was in control. Surprised, the boy took a few glances around him to see where he was, and he found himself back in control of his own body once more. To his right he saw that the spirit he fought against was smiling at him the way Kirby would, and he knew that he was in the company of a friend, smiling in his newfound safety.

“Ugh…” Sheik groaned from the intense pain she was waking up from, rubbing her face from the experience and immediately jumping from finding something in her face that was not there before. A cloth draped over her face from the hat she was now wearing, and without needing to be told she could feel that her suit was also different. In a start she sat up to find out the meaning behind it, and she found a smiling Kirby fight before her. Then she remembered the battle she just had with him, quickly deducing that Kirby had just freed her from Galeem’s control. “Kirby…”

“Oof, my head…” Marth was barely cognizant of what had just happened to him; he and Mario had done battle and he was on the losing end of it. He didn’t think Mario could hit that hard, or was that him blowing up that made him feel like he got trampled by an earth dragon or two? Speaking of said plumber, he was standing to his left, offering a hand to help him up. The prince graciously accepted his friend’s help, taking hold and letting the shorter man help pull him to his feet. Once he was standing tall, Marth was quick to repay the gesture with a polite bow. “Truly, words cannot express how grateful I am for your aid. I sorely needed the rescue.”

“Hey, no problem-o Marth. That’s-a just what friends do right?”

“Indeed. How fortunately I am to have a friend like you.”

“Looks like our group’s-a gettin’ bigger. Let’s a get back to the others eh?”

“A splendid idea Mario. Let’s—”

RAHAHAHAAA!!

There goes that deep laugh that everyone was all too familiar with. Snapping into existence was the Master Hand of the old world, sizing the fighters up from their positions. He wasn’t here to fight them however; his lord had forbade him from taking direct action against the meddlesome fighters as much as he wanted to, but perhaps this new scheme was more fun this way. He merely raised his first three digits up with his thumb pressed against his middle finger, and then the Master Hand snapped them together. At first it seemed like nothing happened, but when the fighters looked around to see exactly what he did, they found that behind them was a giant spherical forcefield lined with hexagons right in the center of the crossroad. Realizing the trap that they had walked into, they all ran back to push past the barrier and reunite with their separated friends. Eventually they realized that there was no way to get through or around it; now they were cut off from their friends, looking to each other with uncertain glances. Just as it seemed their group had gotten bigger, Galeem had managed to splinter it up into smaller pieces. Making matters worse was that the spirit that had helped Kirby had finally ran out of energy, reverting back to their original form with their energy spent, and through a mysterious force at play they could not fly past the barrier in place. The only thing the fighters could do was to press on their chosen paths and hope to cross with each other once again soon, but to their shock they had to get past hostile spirits that had just so happened to be stationed behind the imprisoned fighters should they fail.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…!!

The Master Hand took such sick glee at their misfortune before snapping out of existence, his laughter echoing in their heads long after his disappearance.

“Gods, that fiend…!”

“Easy there Marth,” Mario said to calm him down. “We gotta keep-a cool heads about this, especially since we gotta fight comin’ up.” True to Mario’s words, Marth could see up ahead where the clouds of light barred their path further, and guarding it stood a false Zelda dressed in blue, possessed by a young woman with similar clothing colors, and behind her was a false Richter that didn’t look too different from original self aside of a few minor color changes. Standing before Sheik and Kirby was a single false Sonic sporting green bands around his hands and green shoes, and his body was used by what looked to be a robotic doppelganger of his, which likely explained the metallic sheen that coated the hedgehog’s body. The villager boy by the name of Redd Smascevilla was staring down a false Wendy O’ Koopa that was flanked by two small yellow R.O.B.s, and they all seemed to be controlled by a teenage girl with big brown hair and wearing pink. Separated as they were, the fighters knew they had to make a stand if they wanted to be reunited, and they prepared themselves for their next big battles…


‘Tch, so what you’ve separated them?’ Dark Pit said. ‘They’ll just regroup. No big deal.’

Assuming that they will survive the ordeals ahead of them…

‘Mario’s gonna be okay,’ Luigi countered. ‘He’s been through a lot worse than this.’

A false statement, which is why he shall fail. Though many of the fighters and spirits resist my control, they shall all inevitably fall under my complete sway and carry out their tasks…

‘Assuming that they do not break free from your control before they are freed,’ Mewtwo stated. ‘Without exerting complete dominance over another’s mind, there will always be a chance for the control to be broken.’

And that is if I do not destroy their original sense of self, which poses a severe disadvantage to my goals as not only is their original personalities the lifeblood that fuels their powers but destroying the spirits’ and fighters’ original senses of self very taxing on my powers. I have applied a viral effect to my control that will slowly erode any and all resistance against me to conserve and regain my strength…

‘Avoiding spreading yourself thin hm?’ Palutena surmised. ‘I’ll admit, that’s actually pretty smart.’

‘What, so you’re giving Galeem kudos Palutena?’ Dark Pit scoffed.

‘Hey, don’t start copping an attitude with me mister.’

‘Oh kiss and make up already,’ Wario jeered. ‘So what she thinks it’s smart? It’s what I’d do.’

‘Oh please, you make Mario and Luigi look like brain surgeons,’ Daisy taunted.

‘I’m sorry, what was that Princess “Always the Backup Never the Prize”? I distinctly remember having Tatanga kidnap you to mosey on in Mario’s castle while he went to rescue some princess he didn’t even know existed at the time, whose kingdom was basically unheard of and ignored by everyone else until he spread word of it after he saved you.’ Wario knew he was playing with fire smashing Daisy’s buttons like he did, playing off her pointed dislike for lack of visitors to Sarasaland and basically just being “Peach’s Friend” outside of her own kingdom. Instead of an indignant protest, to his surprise the normally chipper princess remained silent in the face of the insults hurled toward her. ‘Hah, that’s what I figured.’

‘Hey, don’t you dare talk to Daisy like tha—’

‘It’s okay Luigi.’

‘But, Daisy, he just—’

‘Just ignore him. He’s clearly looking for attention so don’t give him any.’

‘I’ll get it one way or another,’ Wario continued talking. ‘Besides, you not defending yourself shows that I’m right! Wahahaha—’ Out of nowhere Wario was struck by a bolt of light, shocking whatever wind he had left in his sails.

Silence, I tire of your noise. You dare claim great intelligence citing your ultimately failed endeavor to take over Marius Gonzales Mario’s castle undone solely due to your ignorance-born arrogance, and for the express purpose of “one-upping” him to be recognized much like how you attacked Dú-Xùn Jú-Huā Gōng-Zhǔ over her and her kingdom’s lack of recognition. Thus you did not achieve the fame you sought and consequently you doomed yourself to be seen as an odious and obnoxious attack on Marius Gonzales Mario’s good character for the rest of your life. While Dú-Xùn Jú-Huā Gōng-Zhǔ may not have the popularity or respect that her cousin Princess Peach Toadstool has, she shall always be loved unlike you who does not even have the basic respect of anyone besides said princess.

The words were surprising coming from Galeem and everyone could feel just how much they stung the WarioWare president even if they couldn’t see his face. Daisy almost felt kind of bad for him despite him unashamedly flinging harsh insults at her. It was telling how bad it was that Wario merely growled in response instead of coming up with a snappy retort like he did with Daisy. Perhaps it was unintentional on Galeem’s part, but the words had made a good number of fighters in the room somewhat self-conscious. Still, the fact that Galeem actually came to someone’s defense even if only briefly while slamming into someone else caught everyone off guard; there was so much that no one knew about Galeem, but now they knew even more not to personally piss the being off if they didn’t want to be emotionally crushed like Galeem did with the universe—also that Galeem was not above giving someone advice like it had done with Reflet for chess. Either way, they hoped that this situation would not last too much longer, silently praying that Kirby and his friends would come to wake them all up from this nightmare. Who knew what Galeem had in store for the future of their worlds…

Chapter Text

The future had been looking bright for Kirby and his rescued friends; a grand total of four fighters and spirits were rescued through the heroes’ efforts, and while they still had a way to go, each victory added up to their team’s power. But now, Galeem had thrown a huge wrench in their game plan, splitting the fighters up between Mario with Marth, Kirby with Sheik, and the nameless spirit with the Smashville villagers. The spirits had also been split from one another, with Mario and Marth having Eevee in their possession, the Guardian Stalker being stuck along with Kirby and Sheik, and the Smashville villagers having the nameless spirit, the Smoky Progg, and Celeste accompanying them. Making matters worse was that they were all stuck where they were, making the fighting up ahead unavoidable; without time to retreat and rest up properly about half of the group was not particularly prepared for another fight so soon, but it was not to be with the hostile spirits closing in on them.

“Oof… These guys aren’t gonna give us a time out eh…?” Mario panted. “That’s-a fine, I’mma ready for round tw—” When he stood ready for another fight, he found a hand in front gently telling him to take it easy instead; Marth gave him a soft yet stern look meant to dissuade the man from doing anything reckless.

“You’ve done a lot for us Mario—both you and Kirby,” Marth spoke, “but now it’s time for you to take a short rest; you’ve earned it.”

“I mean…if you-a say so, but, there’s-a two of them and—”

“I know. However, you have fought in two battles without rest, against myself included, and I know that you do not have much energy left to spare after them. Please, allow me to cover for you this time.”

“…Alrighty then. Just-a be careful okay?”

“Will do.”

“Oh, and uh, Marth?”

“Yes?”

“Thanks.”

“You are most welcome my friend.” The two men shared sincere smiles before Marth turned to the Eevee spirit. “Eevee, was it? Could you please lend me your strength?” The pokémon happily agreed and hovered near the hero-king, letting their spiritual tendrils take root and fill Marth up with new power. While it didn’t quite measure up to the strength demonstrated by the spirit before him, it was more than enough to give him some staying power. “Hear me fair spirit: I, King Mars Lowell, appear before you not as an enemy but rather as a kindred soul who was once made to do harm by the self-styled “Lord of Light”—Galeem—and as such I beseech you with a final request.”

“Do speak sir,” the puppet Zelda spoke—the vessel’s voice intermixed with that of its host. “You are armed and yet you implore me peacefully; I shall endeavor to listen.”

“If there is but a shred of resistance left within you, I must urge you to use that resistance and fight against the control of Galeem, and with our combined might we may yet save our world from the never-ending glare of light that threatens to overtake us. Our worlds rest upon the cusp of change—a change that we may or may not live to see, yet one that will shatter the balance our worlds have between darkness and light. For the sake of not just all we hold dear—but for all that exists under our starry skies and beyond, we must band together hand-in-hand as brothers and sisters in arms and fight against the forces of Galeem. We may yet save all our worlds from a most terrible fate.” Being the gentleman he was, Marth extended the arm at his scabbard and held his hand open—an act of inviting peace instead of violence, all while gently smiling at the trapped spirit who had continued to glare at him. After a few moments of silence, the puppet Zelda finally spoke again.

“You are more courageous and courteous than you appear—also a tad more foolish if I must add.” Marth simply grinned at the remark; he’d been called many less flattering things before. Still, his eyes did sharpen and his brows did furrow ever so slightly in anticipation of a battle, chuckling in good spirit.

“I suppose that is due to my princely upbringing fair lady. So, I am to take it that we shall do battle?”

“Quite.” To her own surprise, the spirit was smiling wide as well through the Zelda puppet she commanded. She was tasked by Galeem to eliminate the traitorous hero-king, but damn it if he wasn’t the nicest and most respectful person she had met; perhaps Johnathan could learn a thing or two in manners from the hero-king after the battle was said and done—wherever he was. “If you are to sway me to your cause, then you must defeat me in combat fair king.”

“A duel is it? It shall be as you wish, though I must warn you; I shall hold nothing back fair lady.”

“Likewise.” The princess puppet held her hands together and a blaze sparked to life. The fireball grew bigger and began to encompass the spirit, searing away at the very atmosphere as it expanded and transforming it into something new. Marth, Mario, and Eevee saw this blaze headed for them and braced themselves for the impact, though while Marth, Mario, and Eevee appeared completely unscathed, the others nowhere to be seen when the trio reopened their eyes. Rather than at the end of the crossroad they were at before, Marth realized that they were instead on an altered battlefield that resembled Eldin Bridge. The spirit’s hands still burned much like her eyes did in determination.

“Hear me King Mars Lowell; I am Charlotte Aulin—aide to the holy church in service with the House of Belmont, and as an ally to light against the darkness of this world I hereby challenge you to a duel!”

Sheik stared down the metallic menace standing before her, her hand inching ever closer to the eightfold blade sheathed at her waist. Kirby and the Guardian Stalker likewise focused their glares upon the puppet fighter, the Sheikah construct and Kirby in particular finding themselves on high alert against the spirit their trio faced. The Guardian Stalker knew there was something truly malignant about the spirit facing them; it gave off an abnormally intense aura of madness and murder very much like the calamitous Ganon, almost as if the Guardian Stalker was staring right into a mirror—Kirby likewise was having dreadful flashbacks of the rogue, wish-granting supercomputer Star Dream after having its Soul OS program activated. Kirby and the Guardian Stalker cautioned Sheik with great concern against the spirit, and she gave an understanding nod as she fully unsheathed her eightfold blade and brandished it at her foe.

“Kirby, you have not yet fully recovered from your duel with me,” Sheik explained. “Allow me to combat our foe while you rest.” Kirby knew that Sheik was not going to take no for an answer on the matter, so despite his reservations on her fighting solo for his sake, he relented and allowed her to do as she pleased. Once the Sheikah warrior confirmed herself ready for battle, her metal enemy took a step forward and beckoned the warrior with a laugh. Soon after, the sky was riddled with storm clouds as the metal Sonic puppet fighter made grandiose sweeping gestures with his arms before pointing one to the sky and sending up a great lightning bolt. Moments later, it came back down with fell force and struck the puppet that called it forth, blinding the area in intense light. Sheik shielded herself from the blast, and when it died down she found herself standing in the Windy Hill Zone arena, and more to her surprise was that Kirby and the Guardian spirit was nowhere to be seen, leaving her utterly alone at the hands of her foe. Speaking of whom, the false Sonic stood before her not merely just lightly coated with metal, but rather he was made of metal from head to toe, and a rocket belt was strapped to his back. Even with these changes, his eyes still burned with the malefic light of Galeem’s power, and as more of a machine than a manimal they pulsed with a cold killer’s intent.

“All living things kneel before your master!” Metal Sonic boldly declared through Sonic’s body, staring down at his enemy at the top of the windmill. The way he positioned himself—claws to the sky with a maddened smile on his face—rung Ganondorf-esque bells in Sheik’s head, and realizing the exact kind of enemy she faced made her snarl through her scarf, baring her Sheikah’s fangs in fierce determination.

“You are but a monster in the guise of machinery—under the thrall of yet another abomination,” Sheik spoke. “No matter your transformation, I shall not let you claim victory over me! Shadows take you foul beast!”

Redd Smascevilla stood between the false Wendy with her R.O.B. lackeys and the vulnerable spirits of three, not wanting to lose his new friends to Galeem’s puppets. Though he honestly wasn’t a true fighter in the sense of martial arts, he had perfected his unique craft nonetheless and swore to put it to good use against the hostile spirits of the world. Seeing his sheer will to protect such flimsy looking spirits made Tron Bonne laugh through her new body, not taking him the least bit serious compared to the likes of Mega Man Volnutt.

Oh~hohoho~! What, some shrimpy kid of a mayor thinks he can take me and my servbots?” Tron Bonne. “Please; once I waste you and take those spirits off your hands, Galeem’s bound to grant me a huge bonus over those other losers! Maybe he’ll even let me keep some of the loot for myself, heheheh…” Redd knew just what type of person he was dealing with: a pirate. This meant that Tron Bonne was probably more likely to pilfer his pockets in the midst of battle and high-tail it out of there with the spirits in tow, and that wasn’t if she didn’t just shake him down after beating him into the ground, so he had to be on his best guard.

“Don’t you worry dearie,” Celeste said to the boy. “We’ll be right with you giving our full support, isn’t that right fellas?” The Smoky Progg and Nameless Spirit bobbed their bodies in agreement, and in a flash all three spirits flew inside of the village boy’s body. The sensation surprised him for a bit, and he quickly welcomed this new power coursing through him no matter how small it felt for the time being; his other villager friends could feel it too, and with their encouragement Redd turned to glare at Tron Bonne as best he could, warning her that she was in for a fight she would not win; all she did was scoff in response, arms folded at the lack of being impressed.

“Ooh, you’ve got a spirit empowering you now; I’m so scared…! Pffft, yeah right bumpkin brat. You wanna look remotely intimidating? Ditch the tee, please; it makes you look like a random convention lurker.” Redd really didn’t like being talked down on the basis of his humble village beginnings, and he could tell the others were upset by Tron Bonne’s remarks too. Slowly he felt his hand inch close to the lumberjack’s axe stashed in his pocket, clenching and unclenching his fist while fighting the urge to go full “Killager” on the brat. “Aw, am I making you upset? Sorry kiddo, it’s not my fault you don’t have thick enough skin. Bet’cha they didn’t teach you how to grow a spine back in the backwater woodlands huh?”

‘…!!’ The spirit felt Redd’s will to kill Tron Bonne bubbling up at an alarming rate until it spilled over, the last restraints the boy had snapping like a twig as he instead yanked out his survival hatchet and blindly bolted at Tron Bonne with a decapitating swing. He missed of course, with Tron Bonne ducking into her mech and blowing a raspberry at him before disappearing into the shining clouds. His violent persona taking over, the villager gave chase.

When Redd finally made it through the clouds, he found himself in a completely different area than where he thought he would be, standing near the edge of Wuhu Island’s Talon Rock. Waiting for him at the other side was Tron Bonne and her servbots, thumbing her nose down at the boy.

“Took you long enough,” she scoffed. “And here I could have been prettying myself up for when I whoop you and deliver you and your loot to Captain Galeem.” Redd said nothing in response to the girl’s taunts, instead letting a slasher smile creep onto his face as he tightened the grip on his hatchet, to which Tron Bonne only smiled wider herself. “There it is—there’s that killer I was looking for. I knew he buried somewhere under the layers of goofy cheers and smiles. Maybe now I’ll get an actually challenge out of this! Servbots!” The two yellow R.O.B.s saluted their leader and stood at attention. “Slow him down and take him for all his worth, but leave him to me. I’m sure Captain Galeem’ll be pretty generous with us after we hand over the kid’s body…now march!” Tron Bonne commanded her minions and they obeyed, darting off toward the kid casually twirling the hatchet in his hands. Tron Bonne was going to get a challenge she wanted alright, whether she was ready for it or not…


 

‘Is this…truly the Hero-King?’ Lucina mused. ‘Goodness, the portraits and stories do not do him justice.’

‘I must say, he’s far more impressive than I’d have ever imagined,’ Chrom chimed in.

‘Feh, he’s not so imposing—far less than even the impotent king of Hyrule,’ Ganondorf sneered. ‘How anyone respects such a baby-faced lad as a king is beyond me.’

‘The boy could stand to put on a few more pounds if you ask me,’ King K. Rool remarked. ‘Being so spindly must be taxing with the many battles I’m certain he partakes in.’

A king is to maintain a steady and strong rule over his nation efficiently before other more trivial concerns are to be considered, and Mars Lowell manages this with little issue.

‘A king is to instill a fear of rebellion and maintain absolute power over his sovereignty, lest he grow soft and weak like the boy.’

‘Precisely. If a king cannot keep an iron grip over his rule he cannot call himself a true king. A king does not need to be remotely friendly with his minions, only make sure that they don’t rebel against him or his rule. Shame that the kid doesn’t seem to understand that.’ Ganondorf and King K. Rool’s negative remarks about Marth only earned them scathing glares from the hero-king’s friends.

Worthless advice from two utter failures of “kings” whose reigns of terror only served to undermine their power.

‘What?!’

‘How dare—’

You both have severely abused and manipulated your subjects for the selfish purpose of advancing your sole power, and what did you get in return? You were both betrayed at crucial points by your own subjects while the only minions that were loyal to you proved to be too ineffective to stop your enemies, a flaw that you should have had corrected instead of grandstanding in your supposed invincibility. For all your boasts of power and grandeur you have not once had a lasting victory. You are no kings—only overconfident thieves and bullies with delusions of meaningless conquests.

‘You’ve some nerve to call us failures of kings when you tout yourself as a god who will rule this universe absolutely, all the while continuing to ignore your own failure of not having eliminated Kirby when you had the chance, and now that very same “hero” has managed to free enough of your captives to mount an attack upon you.’ Ganondorf didn’t think it was possible for anyone to make him hate them more than the hero of Hyrule but Galeem had managed to do just that, and the king of evil had everyone’s attention turned to the reflection of Kirby’s allies taking on their foes with little issue; Marth and Mario were handling Charlotte Aulin and her body doubles just fine, Sheik was making short work of Metal Sonic with her speed and weaponry, and Redd Smascevilla was letting his wild side loose against Tron Bonne and showed her just how much of a killer he could be much to her shock and growing worry. ‘What was that about Corrin living in a glass house? A failure is a failure “Lord of Light”, and even though you had nearly conquered the entire universe, your failure will be the end of you.’

Surprisingly, Galeem did not have an immediate response to Ganondorf’s retort, partially because the being knew that Ganondorf was right on some level; Galeem had failed to specifically eliminate Kirby and Shulk first when it had the chance—the two of them being the biggest threats to Galeem’s goal next to Palutena and Bayonetta—instead opting to wipe out the entire universe first in the hopes of snuffing out any immediate threats in one fell swoop. As Galeem watched the freed fighters and spirits battle against its own forces, Galeem knew deep down that it was only a matter of time until Kirby and his allies had finally caught it if it didn’t act soon enough, but Galeem still couldn’t afford to expend too much of its energy so soon after obliterating all but one planet in existence. Galeem decided to carefully watch Kirby and his allies to look for anything that will give it an advantage to use for later.

‘Hmph, nothing to say for yourself? Typical of you cretins of light to act high and mighty when you’re really no better than the rest of us. You parade about wearing your gold and ivory silks as if nothing can touch you because you are so pure and holy, like you do not cast such a great shadow yourselves.’

‘He’s got a bit of a point,’ Dark Pit chimed in. ‘Light’s been used for evil just as much as darkness has by countless people so it can’t be as good as people say it is. Galeem right here is a shining example of how bad light can be.’

‘Are you trying to say that the light is no different from darkness?’ Zelda said, not liking where the discussion was headed. ‘Without light, life cannot survive. The same cannot be said for darkness.’

‘Yeah,’ Ken said in agreement. ‘Everybody knows that light is our biggest source of energy. Plants need it to make their food, and many animals eat these plants for energy, including us. We can’t live without it.’

‘That’s not even halfway true,’ Ridley argued. ‘We don’t all need light to live, we just need food to get up everyday, and our food does not necessarily have to have been juiced up by light.’

‘He’s actually kind of right there,’ Wolf added. ‘I guess being a space dragon means he’d know exactly what does and what doesn’t need light. Hell, vampires can’t stand light with it burning their skin and all.’

‘That’s because vampires are not even supposed to exist in the first place,’ Richter shot back. ‘Ghosts and goblins and other sorts of unholy demons are of course going to be weakened by the light. And besides, anything that doesn’t need any sort of light to survive clearly doesn’t exist in our worlds.’

‘THAT IS A FALSEHOOD,’ R.O.B. countered. ‘SEVERAL WELL-KNOWN ORGANISMS WITHIN PLANET EARTH ARE ABLE TO SURVIVE IN ENVIRONMENTS THAT LACK ANY FORM OF NATURAL LIGHT, WITH MANY OF THEM RESIDING IN APHOTIC OCEAN ZONES.’

‘The hell’s that supposed to prove?’ Incineroar barked. ‘Just because a few species don’t need light after all means that we should scrap the whole system just for them? I don’t know about you all but I very much appreciate having the sun on my planet!’ Several of the captive fighters continued bickering back and forth about the impact light and darkness had on their worlds while others either merely drowned out the heated debate or watched on with interest. Cloud for one was more interested in what Kirby and his allies were doing, silently relieved to see that Marth and Mario now had a two to one advantage against Charlotte Aulin while Sheik had already demolished the Metal Sonic puppet fighter. Dark Samus was keenly listening in on the argument the others were having without involving herself, already formulating a plan in her head on how to get some of them to side with her against Galeem if emotions continued to run high. Kamui and Corrin were busy trying to defuse the situation by appealing to each of the different sides of the argument with mixed success while others such as the Koopalings and Bowser Jr. merely fanned the flames for their own amusement. Much to Bayonetta’s curiosity, Palutena had chosen not to partake in the argument despite being the goddess of light herself, only half-heartedly staring at where their friends were wrapping up their battles.

‘Something the matter Goddess?’ the witch asked. ‘Surely, you’re not bothered by the bickering going on, are you?’

‘No,’ the goddess quickly answered. ‘Well, maybe just a little bit.’

‘Aw, their fussing must be making our goddess of light feel bad, the naughty little children. Well, you shouldn’t worry so much dear; we all know better that we can’t have one side without the other can we? It’d be far too dull for everything to be one way or the other you know.’

‘I know that, it’s just…’ Though she didn’t mean to, Palutena found her eyes drifting up to Galeem’s silent form, the god of light watching the heroes with great intent. A few seconds later and Palutena could feel her features twisting in hateful disgust at the mere sight of Galeem, something Bayonetta picked up on quickly.

‘It’s this Galeem fellow isn’t it?’

‘You sure don’t miss a thing do you? Yes, Galeem definitely has a part in it. Being the Goddess of Light, I feel that it is my duty to ensure that I bring life and order where it needs to be, and in my world I did just that. Here, in this world I feel a little, well…’

‘Unneeded?’

‘Yes. Many of our new friends from their own worlds don’t strictly have gods or goddesses of light to keep their balance in check. Rosalina’s a goddess of the cosmos for all intents and purposes whether she cares to admit it or not and she’s done a pretty good job of keeping watch over things, Zelda’s a literal reincarnation of a goddess of light who wasn’t even the goddess meant to oversee her world—that falls to the golden goddesses who are more aspects of nature itself rather than light, and the Belmonts have the whole “Holy Trinity” thing going on with the “Father”, the “Son”, and the “Holy Spirit”; I’m a pretty smart goddess if I do say so myself, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that last one.’ Bayonetta laughed in response to that remark knowing full well how confusing it was even for her to understand, yet the Christian warriors explained it as though it was the simplest thing in the world. ‘I guess what I’m getting at is that…where I come from light and darkness are the most important aspects of maintaining the balance, and yet there’s quite a few things that don’t strictly need light in order to be; at one point in all of existence there was no light, and the universe at that point was quite fine. Though all I’ve ever known darkness to be was simply the lack of light and thus the absence of life, whenever I look at something or someone using what I’ve known to only ever be good for the express purpose of ending life, I just…’ Palutena had to stop herself from continuing and took a deep breath, knowing she was on the edge of flying into an unpleasant tirade. ‘…I just feel all sorts of conflicted to put it lightly—pun acknowledge but not intended.’

‘Oh I know exactly what you mean Goddess.’ Bayonetta would have put a reassuring hand on the goddess’s shoulder had she been able to move, having to settle for a more soothing tone and some words of comfort. ‘The universe can be a harsh mistress, especially when we’re brought up into understanding it to be one way and she comes and slaps us right in the face to make us question everything we thought we knew. Life can be quite tragic.’ Palutena only let out a soft sigh at the witch’s words, unable to argue against what Bayonetta had said. ‘And yet, all we can do—what we ought do—is simply be the best we can be no matter what is thrown at us. The world isn’t all black and white, light and darkness, but rather all of the beautiful and ugly things in the world that we cherish and take for granted.’ Palutena perked up at Bayonetta’s words as the woman continued. ‘I’m not much of a heroic person myself mind you, but even I can recognize and appreciate the efforts of those who earnestly try their best to make the world a better place for us all, and as such we ought do the best we can when we are needed to do the same. Even if the light is not as holy and benevolent as you would have liked, you could still stand to be that light if that is what you really want. Tell me goddess: what is it that you really want?’ Palutena—at a loss for words—couldn’t really say anything; Bayonetta knew this and simply allowed the goddess time to think it over for herself. ‘Do let me know when you’ve found the answer won’t you? I’m simply dying to see what you’ll come up with.’

Bayonetta had redirected her attention to the arguing fighters who were simmering down thanks to some of their fellow prisoners calming them considerably. Palutena let herself drift back to her own thoughts about everything that had happened so far and about what Bayonetta had told her. Galeem, meanwhile, had watched as all three of the spirits stationed at the edges of the crossroads had been defeated, their prisons having vanished after the battles and happily (begrudgingly in the case of Metal Sonic and Tron Bonne to a lesser extent) joined the fighters in their crusade against the lord of light. Despite Galeem’s best efforts to craft the many puppet fighters to be as powerful as their bases, in the end they were still falling one by one, and while splitting them up meant they couldn’t regroup immediately and strengthen their entire force, it gave them more ground to quickly cover should they continue their streak of victories. Against Galeem’s predictions, the rescued fighters had somehow become more powerful than what they originally were, and worst of all was that nameless spirit that had eluded Galeem and its myriad of skills that it granted to whichever fighter held it in their possession. The spirit had some sort of effect on Kirby that the star warrior passed on to others and that they would pass on to others they encountered like some sort of empowering virus. If only Galeem could understand exactly what it was Kirby had done to Mario so that Galeem’s own forces would stand a better chance, and until then Galeem would carefully analyze every move the fighters and the nameless spirit made…

Kirby, you may have had an early lead against my army, but make no mistake; I shall find out the secret to your power, and when I do you will be hard-pressed to earn another victory against me. Your trials have only just begun…