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Kirby swirled through dark clouds violently, falling from the sky after having just teleported to safety. Turbulence rocked the warp star as it spiraled, nearly flinging Kirby away and to the depths below. However, Kirby managed to hang on until the star bounced off the ground, breaking apart and leaving Kirby alone in the dust. Looking up, the grey clouds parted and let crepuscular rays of the golden light of dawn shine across the desolation. Kirby could see down a ledge of rock to a sloping forest below, which seemed as good a first destination as any. The pink puff was disoriented only briefly, and then he rolled down the bleak setting towards the nearest beacon of life.

In the distance above the clouds a brilliant, iridescent light wrapped in ethereal wings watched the land below, moving its agents to carry out its malign will, a world of light.



Kirby remained stranded, on his own in the forest. This was not an unfamiliar setting for the hero; the air held an eerie feeling this time around, however. Kirby noted several spots that might be ideal to rest in the sunlight, that he might have been eager to occupy had he not lost his friends. Surely Kirby’s fellow fighters could not be too far away. Kirby began to run, weaving between the trees faster in hopes of finding anyone else, when he ran into a rather unsettling sight. Bits of shimmering light were pooled on the ground in an iridescent, swirling puddle. The glimmers each seemed to connect with one another then, collecting into a central mass that reformed itself into a humanoid shape. Kirby could tell something was trapped in the center, a soul perhaps, or some essence of a creature that had been taken from its own being and forced into the monstrosity that now rose up in front of him. The light pressed tighter into itself until it was solid, forming the outline of a realized man that dimmed into a washed out palette of greys and rust. Kirby recognized the figure, his friend Mario had appeared! But Kirby was not a fool, and he knew whatever loomed over him was not truly Mario. The washed out man suddenly dashed at Kirby, sweeping beneath his feet and kicking him up. The puff was quick to react, revealing a large hammer and slamming it into the imposter from above. The faux Mario splintered into bits of light, staggering before falling flat and completely dispersing into thousands of tiny, floating glimmers of light. Kirby huffed as the light faded and continued on his way, deeper into the forest, especially wary of anything suspicious.

In the deep-forest a statue rested, planted half in the soil and serving as the centerpiece to a triangle shaped clearing. Kirby stumbled into the clearing and spotted it almost immediately. Rushing to investigate, Kirby noticed the statue was of another one of his friends, the hero of Hyrule. Hesitantly curious, Kirby touched the statue and it began to shake in the earth. Kirby stepped back to guard but the statue then stopped, quiet for a moment before bursting with energy and revealing the swordsman trapped within, Link.

Link immediately unsheathed his sword and spun around, slashing through the air aggressively before stopping to look around. He then recognized that he was not in immediate danger and stood down. Kirby ran up and pounced into his arms, exclaiming excitement as Link nearly fell back from catching the orb.

“Poyo!”

Link smiled and placed Kirby back on the ground, surveying his surroundings. The forest returned to silence. The heroes looked to one another and then set out to search for more of their comrades.

 

Overheard birds cried, peaking through the rustling leaves to watch the two. Link and Kirby had a fairly uneventful walk, with the exception of a couple other spirits masked in light and disguised as their friends. They both managed to continue unperturbed. Soon enough they reached another clearing in the heart of the forest.

This space was much smaller than the last, and was centered around a large stump. Curled up on top of the stump lay a statue. This time Link carefully approached the statue and touched it, releasing another friend, the glutton of Yoshi’s island. Yoshi woke with a start, scrambling to his feet and scuttling around to Link and Kirby. Link placed a hand gently on Yoshi’s snout to calm him. The dinosaur nuzzled Link in return. Just then the three heard the loud snapping of trees crumbling beneath the force of an immense creature. A blinding light peaked through the trees before solidifying into a hulking beast looking back at the heroes. A greyish monster lugged itself forward with massive arms, dragging a small tail that faded into light and a very powerful body. The beast beat its chest before charging. Link and Kirby stood fast, but Yoshi pushed under them and scooped both onto his back, charging away from the monster. The beast was quick to lug itself after them, pushing down more trees. Yoshi was faster than the beast however, and was only stalled by the disturbances to the flora around him. Link pulled out his bow and took a few shots at their pursuer. One arrow pierced the beast and it faltered, sliding forward on its heavy momentum. Yoshi stopped running just as the trees broke away and the landscape dropped in a sharp slope downward, but the beast did not, and its body slammed into the three pushing Yoshi, Link, and Kirby all over the edge before evaporating into glimmers of fading light.

Chapter Text

Hanging from the strings of a foreign puppeteer a soul stirred restlessly, banging against the walls of its cage. Relying on brute strength and determination, the soul beat harder and harder against invisible bars. Fists seemed to not be enough, but the soul felt longing. The soul had to be real again, and it could not fail the way it had in the past. With this thought, the soul’s fists began to bend the bars until they snapped, and the strings above its head were cut, releasing it. Donkey Kong let out a devastating bellow as he burst free from the petrified form of a statue. He could feel other puppets elsewhere that had somehow been connected to his body now failing, losing control as the real fighter broke free.

The ape surveyed his surroundings for the first time since… Donkey Kong thought back to the cliff, the intimidating dawn foreshadowing the beams. He remembered the scream of the veins of energy ripping through the air and rock alike, and seeing his son by his side be engulfed in the blistering light seconds before he was caught himself. Donkey Kong shook his head and focused, he had to find Diddy. Donkey Kong was outside of what appeared to be some sort of lab, alone on the front lawn. The ape made for the building and hopped the fence protecting it with ease, hurriedly charging the door to the building. The large glass entrance to the pristine, sterile-appearing lab exploded as Donkey Kong burst through. Immediately an entire lobby of workers turned at once to face him, pulling laser pistols from their hips. The workers were dressed in an ugly pink, and each wore a helmet that covered their face with a pig mask. Donkey Kong leapt into a frey of flashing greens and purples as the workers open fired. Donkey Kong had the opportunity to bash a couple of the footmen, slamming them against the walls as he pushed forward. At the other end of the long lobby hall was a glass elevator, which Donkey Kong pried open and climbed into. One pig mask hopped through the door after him, but Donkey Kong grabbed the worker by the helmet and threw him back out before his feet touched the floor. Other workers banged against the doors as they shut, but the elevator was already on its way up. The ape waited patiently as he ascended, looking in on floors he passed. Several more masked workers spotted him, but had no way to stop the elevator before it passed them.

Donkey Kong saw floors filled with nothing but rows of robots, all dormant and lifeless. One floor had masked workers inspecting what looked to be the statue of a robot, marking clipboards with pictures of the statue. Another floor was filled with vats of mysterious creatures, seemingly fused with others. One large container had a crocodile fused with something large and horned. Donkey Kong shuddered. Eventually the elevator stopped and opened, forcing the ape out to explore. He wandered an empty hall, carpeted and with a tacky wallpaper. It felt strangely out of place, and only one plain looking door was at the end of the hall. When Donkey Kong reached and pushed it open, the scene changed drastically. The room was huge and circular, walls stacked high with green vats and ominous cages. One cage echoed with a faint, low growl. Donkey Kong walked around the room, finding most of the cages empty until.. behind a set of bars he saw a statue of his son, Diddy. Donkey Kong roared and bashed the bars, but they did not budge, and only left him standing exhausted and annoyed. Donkey Kong ran to the center of the room, where a control panel stood atop a small platform. DK did not recognize how the device worked but he was desperate, and pushed a random button. A siren began to wail and the room flashed red with warning lights. Footsteps could be heard down the hall and DK knew he had to act fast. With his immense strength the ape ripped the panel from the platform and smashed it with a throw to the ground.

All of the cage doors in the room swung open, and DK ran to embrace the statue of Diddy, which transformed in his arms into the living, breathing Diddy Kong. Diddy cheered with delight as he was scooped up, but as DK turned to escape he saw that the room had filled to the brim with armed pig masks. All was quiet for a moment with the only exception being the wailing siren. DK lowered his stance to fight as a guard stepped forward, but then a sudden scream from across the room drew the attention of everyone. Thrashing through the crowd was a massive chimera, pink-clad limbs dangling from its gigantic maw as it trampled multiple workers underfoot. The creature was a deep magenta color, with a large head and a swishing purple tail. It’s defining feature was its massive pointed teeth that ran down the length of its body, and a small yellow bird sat perched on the head of the monster. Pig masks ran aimlessly, squealing with fear as the chimera ripped through them. Soon Donkey Kong found himself in a silent room yet again, as squealing stopped and the beast turned its attention to him. DK gripped Diddy firmly to his shoulder with one arm, and ran to swing at the chimera with his other. The chimera stumbled to the side as it was hit, wobbling for a moment before screaming with rage. It charged DK faster than he could react, pushing him against the ground. The apes limbs splayed helplessly, the creature above threatening him with gnashing teeth. For a moment DK feared his fate, but then the chimera froze up, going rigid before toppling sideways onto the floor. Diddy stool over the monster, after just pushing the mysterious button on its back that brought it down. He angrily hooted and kicked the monster before DK got back up and scooped him back into his arms.

Running down the stairs now, DK and Diddy swung between floors as fast as they could to avoid capture. Reaching the floor with the statue of the robot, the pair was ambushed by dozens of guards encircling them with laser pistols. Diddy backed up nervously, unintentionally bumping against the statue and bringing it to life. R.O.B. booted up quickly and flew at the guards in a flurry of spinning punches, throwing their attack into disarray and allowing DK and Diddy to continue until they reached the lobby of the lab. Diddy noticed a large grate that he could probably fit through, and that appeared to lead down to an underground portion of the lab, but was snatched by Donkey Kong and pulled away. The pair had safely made it back outside. An alarm could still be heard inside along with shouts however, so Donkey Kong decided it would be best to hide. Both of them hopped around to the back of the building, where they found two more cages. These however, were rusted and already opened, with a couple statues standing dormant inside. DK touched one to reveal a very small human, a cheering villager that presented flowers eagerly. Diddy touched the other statue, which he immediately recognized as his dear friend Fox. Diddy pounced on the disoriented pilot as they reunited, and afterwards the four set out to escape the premises of the laboratory.

Chapter Text

Inside the lab, chaos descended the floors following the descent of R.O.B. the robot. The machine easily dispatched with the masked workers that approached him, returning their laser fire and blasting them away with fiery bursts from his booster jets. A few R.O.B. clones were sent to assail him, but were no match against the now free fighter. A couple of floors down R.O.B. found himself alone, but surrounded by dormant robots. He rushed between their lines to the next set of stairs, but stopped as he passed a different looking figure. A lone statue of a boy in blue, hidden among the ranks. The robot touched the statue, which burst to release Mega Man, armed and aware.

Mega Man immediately turned to face R.O.B. and loosed a blast from his forearm, sending the robot crashing back into other sleeping bots. Mega Man then summoned a circling wind about himself, picking up wide leaves and bits of metal which he cast down at R.O.B. while he was slumped back. The swirling breeze quickly pulled more into itself, slamming multiple limp robot bodies against the walls of the room and sending the entire floor into disarray. Windows cracked and splits ran up the walls. R.O.B. crawled out from under a pile of machinery and looked up to see Mega Man standing over him again, charging up a massive blast. R.O.B. made a concerned series of short beeps before he was blasted straight back through a wall into a hidden room filled with large vials. Several green glass tubes shattered upon his impact and splashed the floor in an unknown suspension fluid, leaving several small, slender creatures splayed about him. Mega Man jumped through the wall after R.O.B. silently looking around when he heard noise back behind him. Turning, the boy saw masked soldiers pouring through a door in the previous room, squealing and pointing at him with laser pistols in dismay. From atop his hill of debris Mega Man re-evaluated his focus, and decided to threaten return fire, raising a glowing forearm directed toward the masked men. From behind Mega Man was flanked on one side by a dazed R.O.B., and his other by Olimar, scooping his small, recently freed friends up into his arms and looking around in confusion before realizing the fight he had just walked into. A pigmask squealed and they all began to run at the three escaping captives, now joining forces to fend them off.

Behind the larger fight breaking out, a freed blue pikmin crawled away on his hands and knees, squeezing between the bars and into a vent in the back wall. The small creature pawed it’s way around the inner workings of the facility for a few minutes before it tumbled through a loose grate into a basement room. The frail creature bounced and knocked against a few panels above the floor, activating an unlock procedure that it had not been aware of. Above it, a latch untwisted itself from around the arms of a quiet armor suit. Cords fell limp to to the ground in a series of clinks and a mechanism programmed to promote dormancy became inactive. An advanced technology whirred to life as it was freed from its electric shackles, and the visor glowed a faint green. Samus awoke in her suit, feeling a sudden rush and remembrance fill her. She tore her feet from sticky latches on the platform and stepped down onto the ground, stretching and looking around. Her suit’s scanners had been offline too long to reveal a useful information, but her protocols and weaponry were still intact, which would be more than enough to help her escape her strange prison. The pikmin scuttled through another vent, and Samus was left alone in the strange room.

 

Even further underground, a distance from the lab, a room shrouded in darkness caged a lone soldier. The silence bouncing around the wall bore down with an unbearable weight, and the man struggled to come to consciousness amidst the void. As he began to open his eyes, he realized reality and the cold air soaking his skin. His gruff voice broke as he freed himself of the invisible shackles of immobility and burst free from his statue. Snake looked around warily, sight slowly adjusting to unrelenting darkness, and found a wall to cling to in search from any kind exit to the room. The wall felt like.. stone. Was he in a cave? Snake took a deep breath and moved on, crawling down a dark hall as quietly as possible. It seemed he was alone, but he couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. His footsteps crunched on a thin layer of sand over the earth, and his breathing was baited but visible in a light fog against the chilling dark. After a minute or two Snake fumbled against the stone, bumping into another cold wall. Huffing in disgruntled annoyance, he took a step back and noticed an imposing symbol on the wall. Smeared in some form of red pigment on the stone, a huge eye looked back at him, empty of any emotion. Snake’s hand immediately went to his belt, when he realized he had been unarmed this whole time. Cursing under his breath, Snake padded himself down and determined he had had all of his tools and weaponry taken from him. The man shook his head, even his transceiver was gone. Taking another breath, he turned the corner and continued down the hall, seeing a very faint, warm light at the end. Padding towards it, he reached the end of the dim hall and peeked around a corner cautiously. The hall broke away into a massive stone room draped with banners of the same red eye symbol. The light was radiating from a few glowing torches sparsely scattered about the space, and then Snake heard the first noise aside from himself since coming to. Heavy footsteps trod through the sand as an incredibly burly guard stepped into view, out from behind the wall of another stone corridor. The other man wore a white mask painted with the sigil of the eye, and tight red and black fabric. Snake slipped back behind the wall and thought about his plan of action. Looking back he scanned the entire room and found two more guards farther out, counting three. They all seemed to be following a loose path around a column in the center of the room. The column was built on wooden pillars and draped so as to conceal whatever was held at the center.

Snake held his position until he knew all the guards would be turned, and then bolted across the the room, darting behind boxes and walls of stone. He needed to find his equipment, but an exit was his highest priority. The silent man spotted an opening in a near wall with stairs leading up, and followed the path up to a wooden scaffolding that crossed over the room. The planks stretched all around the circumference of the room, precariously lain over the guarded perimeter below. Snake hesitantly crawled out onto a platform, sneaking his way along the wood until coming to another, more secure platform. On the platform Snake stood and nearly jumped realizing he had walked right up to a statue without noticing the shining bronze-y finish. It was small and curious, and as he turned it to face him it began to glow. Snake cursed and the statue transformed before he could escape, revealing a small, golden dog clad in a colorful green cardigan and blue skirt. Isabelle hopped up excitedly without noticing her position, stepping backwards off of the platform, beginning to fall. Just as she tipped back and lost her balance, Snake leaned down and grabbed her collar, stopping her from tumbling to the floor below where a guard wandered just below them. Isabelle gulped nervously and shared a mutually confused stare with Snake before they both turned to see a figure standing at the other side of the bridge. A smaller figure clad in the red and black and hidden behind a white mask stood motionless, glaring right at them. Then the figure slipped its hand swiftly under its mask to whistle, alerting the guards and personnel below.