"I think up here are the living quarters." Flamberge said, upon her and Jambo arriving at the upper floor of Castle Lololo.
"You think it's alright for us to be snooping around?" The jammerjab asked, obviously trying to be cautious of overstepping Lololo and Lalala's boundaries during this investigation.
Flamberge huffed. "We're not going to dig through any personal belongings, but we are going to take a peek around."
"You got it, boss."
Flamberge led Jambo into the first room down the hallway. For a bedroom, it was very generic, leading Flamberge to believe that it was probably a guest room.
Flamberge turned to Jambo. "Do we know whether or not Meta Knight spent the night here during his visit?"
Jambo blinked their neon eyes. "Hmm...I'm going to say no. Meta Knight just stopped by to say hello. And even that, Meta Knight typically doesn't stay the night at any place other than the Halberd...and Castle Dedede now that I think about it."
"Yeah." The fire mage frowned. I used to bunk at Castle Dedede too.
"Do you think it's even worth our time to check this room...?"
Flamberge shook her head, both in response to Jambo's question and also to help clear her head. "Yeah. I say we should just skip for now. If we don't find anything in Lololo and Lalala's room, we'll try searching through the guestrooms, but for now I don't see any point."
Flamberge closed the door to the first guest room behind her and began to head towards the door at the end of the hall. The fire mage was about to barge into the master bedroom when Jambo's staff blocked her.
"We should probably knock first. We haven't seen Lady Lalala anywhere else in the castle." The jammerjab explained.
Flamberge sheepishly scratched her head in embarrassment. "O-Oh right." The mage then proceeded to slowly open the door. "Bon- I mean, Hello? Miss Lalala? Are you here?"
Flamberge tried to peer inside, but the bedroom was completely dark. Flamberge could barely make out the shapes of two beds in the room, but nothing more than that. The fire mage snapped her fingers, creating a small flame to light up the room.
Jambo tried to get a look from behind her. "What do you see?"
The fire mage frowned. "Nothing out of the ordinary-" Flamberge stopped as she noticed movement from one of the beds.
Jambo quietly gasped. "M-Miss Lalala! We're so sorry for barging in!"
"Hold on there, 'Bo." Flamberge said, stopping Jambo with her hand. "Miss Lalala? Are alright?"
The response was more subtle movement from the pink-colored bed.
"Something's not right." Flamberge's companion remarked. "She can't hear us at all." Jambo's eyes dilated as Flamberge began to approach the bed. "F-FLAMBERGE! What are you doing!?"
The fire mage gently shoved the orb figure in the bed. "Lalala! Wake up! We have some questions for you!"
Suddenly, a small voice began to come from the bed. "N-no...leave us alone...go... go away!" Lalala quickly flew out of the bed, her eyes shut tight, and materialized a large emerald cube in her hand. "DON'T HURT US!!!"
Francisca smiled as she looked up from her map to see the clouds above and the castles that were built atop them. Grape Gardens! I made it! Francisca happily drifted her way over to the group of hot-air balloons lying in the field beneath the grape gardens. Manning one of the balloons was a blue Burning Leo tending to their balloon.
The Burning Leo looked over their shoulder to look at the ice mage and smiled. "Oh, hey there! I take it you're looking for a lift to the Grape Gardens?"
Francisca nodded. "Indeed I am! You wouldn't mind me catching a lift with you, would you?"
"No at all!" The fire-elemental replied. "Get on!"
Francisca gracefully floated into the balloon basket as the Burning Leo began spewing fire underneath the balloon.
"So how has business been?" The mage asked in attempt to make small-talk as the balloon slowly ascended.
"It's been good for me!" The leo replied. "-But a lot of my buddies have been skipping out on work."
Francisca raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
The leo sighed. "I don't know. It first started a couple of weeks ago. One of the other leos said that they were having trouble sleeping, and slowly everyone began to have that problem. It's gotten so bad everyone has needed to stay home."
"And what about you?"
"Oh, I'm fine!" The leo blurted out. "M-my problem is not nearly as bad as my friends."
"What's your problem?" Francisca inquired, growing increasingly concerned.
"It's nothing really...I just haven't had any dreams recently."
Francisca titled her head, now completely puzzled. "D-do you always have dreams? I didn't realize that dreams are a constant thing?"
"Oooh! You must not be from Dreamland!" The Burning Leo exclaimed. "No, In Dreamland, everyone typically dreams everynight thanks to the Fountain of Dreams!" The leo paused. "I mean, there was an instance a couple years back when the Star Rod was broken and everyone stopped dreaming; but that was only because King Dedede broke it and he wouldn't do something like that now!"
The ice mage blinked. "I...I didn't know that the Fountain of Dreams was that important..."
"I mean, it's all folklore, but legends say that the Fountain of Dreams is why Dreamland is as peaceful as a place as it is! If something happens to the fountain, all of Dreamland would be in grave danger!"
"O-oh." Francisca whispered, suddenly feeling very uneasy, thought she couldn't quite pinpoint as to why.
"Oh, relax!" The leo replied. "It's just a folk story! Everyone knows that the real reason Dreamland is as safe as it is is because we have people like Kirby, the King, Meta Knight, and the rest to come in and save the day! No fountain could ever change that!"
The ice mage frowned. "...I'm not sure that I agree. I've seen some ancient artifacts myself in my time, and I know that their power is not to be underestimated."
"I don't know. I just don't think some ancient artifacts are the cause of all of our fortune or misfortune."
Francisca hummed as the balloon finally arrived at the entrance to the Grape Gardens. "I suppose that it's just a matter of opinion."
"So who exactly is going to be building my new house?" Zan inquired, now having arrived at Susie's house, where she'll be staying while her house gets built.
Susie clicked a remote she was holding in her hand. "They will."
Zan's attention was brought to the opening garage door which opened to reveal some rather menacing, large, steel robots. Zan stepped back with caution, but Susie seemed entirely unphased.
"Don't worry, Zan." The scientist asserted. "These...are the Robobot mechs that were used during the..." Susie's voice trailed off; her face twisting as if she was a child being forced to explain she did wrong. "...Nevermind. It's not important." She muttered before shaking her head. "I haven't had the chance to redesign them. However, they are completely docile and are only programmed for activities such as construction now."
"I'll take your word for it." Zan replied, squinting at Susie; still feeling very doubtful in the scientist's claims.
"Well, then." The scientist clapped her hands together. "Shall we go inside?"
Zan rolled her eyes. "If we must."
There was an awkward silence between the two as the doors to Susie's lab split open. Zan followed the former-secretary into the building, still just as disturbed by the loud mechanical whirring as she was the first time she came to this place.
"Here, let's drop your stuff off in your room." Susie clicked her remote again, prompting an elevator to rise up from the floor in front of the mage. "Follow my lead."
Susie took her place on the elevator and Zan awkwardly took her place next to the scientist as the elevator began to sink back down into the floor.
"So-" Zan began. "This is...quite the lab you have here."
"It gets the job done." Susie replied dryly, which was odd, because typically Zan was the deadpan one of the two while Susie was typically more...perky.
The elevator passed through at least two other floors before stopping on the third basement.
"Hand me your bags."
Zan handed her bags to Susie who put them down next to the door at the left side of the room.
"This is your room." Susie directed. "I built it as a guest room but it's...a tad bit disorganized right now, so if you want to stay in the common room for now, you're free to do so."
Zan looked around the room they stopped on, what she assumes to be the common room. The room was lined up with shelves that displayed multiple models of HWC branded machines and robots. At the center of the room was a large velvet couch placed in front of a large holographic monitor.
"And if you ever need anything to eat, just go over to the kitchen area over there."
Zan looked over to the bar table at the corner of the room where she could see a fridge, stove, and oven ready for use.
"I don't personally eat much myself, so that entire area is pretty much clean. Use it as much as you like." Susie pointed out before whispering to herself. "Besides, it's not like I ever get much use out of it."
"I would love to stay and chat, but I do have some work I need to do. Let me know if you need anything. My door is always open." Susie said before heading towards the door on the right side of the room, walking inside before her head out. "I meant that figuratively." The door closed behind her, leaving Zan alone in the living room.
As if on cue, Zan shivered with discomfort. It's not exactly homey. The mage sat down on the couch. But it will do for now.
"Jambo! Get back!" Flamberge gripped onto the giant green block that Lalala was attempting to whack the fire mage with.
I wasn't expecting someone like her to pack such a punch! Flamberge thought, struggling to keep Lalala's block in place.
"I-I'll go get Axe Knight!" Jambo said before dashing out of the room.
Realizing that she was at a stalemate, Flamberge quickly hopped to the side, causing Lalala to crash into the wall, creating a fairly sizable hole within it.
"That's it! You're on, now!" The fire mage cried before slashing her sword at Lalala.
Lalala didn't physically react to Flamberge's attack at all, and instead lifted herself out of the wall and give the fire mage a blank stare.
Flamberge shuddered as she met her gaze. What's with her? She didn't even react at all. It's like she's staring right through me...
Lalala picked up the heavy emerald block once, slinging it in Flamberge's direction.
Aw crud! Flamberge quickly hopped out of the way again. The fire mage jabbed at her opponent once more, to which Lalala failed to physically or emotionally respond to, despite the fact she was being showered by a cloud of red-hot embers.
Flamberge grit her teeth. She's clearly hurt, but she isn't reacting at all. I can't keep attacking her like this or else she might get seriously hurt! The fire mage took a deep breath, prompting the embers surrounding her to cool down. I have to end this right now. Flamberge raised her sword, noticeably not engulfed by flames, and quickly knocked it against Lalala's head.