Chapter 1: The Breaking Point
"But Francisca! Where do you even want to go!? Why can't we just stay in the castle?"
Francisca twitched one of her eyes in annoyance. "Because, Ms. Zan-" The mage said frostily. "You haven't allowed us to leave the castle. All I ask for is a change of scenery, but YOU-" She pointed a finger into the face of the equally annoyed lightning general. "-won't even let us go out for a day without you!"
Zan's gold hair began to bristle with electricity. "That's because you two can't agree on a place where we can go together!"
Flamberge gave Francisca a quick glance before looking back at the golden haired mage. "What are you talking about? Me and Fran have agreed on where we want to go." Flamberge then pointed her hand at Zan Partizanne as well. "It's YOU who has been disagreeing with us!" The fire mage puffed up her reddened cheeks. "Maybe me and Fran should just go somewhere without you!"
Zan shifted back. "W-what? Why? Ladies, please, at times like this, we've got to stick together-"
Suddenly, Flamberge's red hair erupted in flames as she furiously flapped her hands. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?" The fire mage flew up to Zan's face. "What do you mean 'at times like this'!? This has been the least perilous our lives have ever been! We live on Popstar now! The World of Miracles! Under the protection of the Star Allies! WHAT POSSIBLE DANGER COULD THERE BE!?"
Zan clenched her fists. "Listen, I just think that with Lord Hyness still recovering-"
Francisca crossed her arms and huffed. "Oh, I see. So this your problem, then."
The lightning mage glared at the blue-haired mage. "'My problem'? What do you mean MY PROBLEM!? AFTER EVERYTHING LORD HYNESS DID FOR US-"
Flamberge turned to Francisca. "That's it, I've had enough. C'mon Fran! Let's go!" The fire mage glared at Zan. "-without her."
Flamberge took one of Francisca's hands and the two pushed aside the door to their room before storming off.
Zan drifted to the doorway and outstretched a hand towards her two fellow mages as she saw them disappear behind the corner of the castle's hallways. "HEY! Where are you two going!? Francisca! Flamberge! Get back here!"
Zan kept trying to yell out to them when she heard the sound of heavy footsteps approach her from behind.
"Uh, Zan Partizanne?"
Zan spun around to see the owner of the castle, Dreamland's kind and one of the Star Allies core members, King Dedede, looking at her with confusion and concern.
"What just happened? I heard yelling come from you and your sisterhood's room." The king's eyes widened as he realized that Francisca and Flamberge were no where to be found. "Where's Francisca and Flamberge?"
Zan gripped her black dress, her hands sending jolts of lightning up the fabric, as she let out a snarl. "They left."
Dedede blinked in surprise. "Left? Without you?"
The lightning mage tensed up as the realization of what had just occurred began to set in. "...Yes, Your Majesty." Zan glared at the penguin-folk. "I'm afraid they've forsaken your gratitude just as well as mine."
"Ah! Feel that sunlight, Franny!" Flamberge said joyfully as she outstretched her hands, basking in the sunlight as she and her companion arrived at Waddleville at the base of Mt. Dedede. "'Bout time we got out of that stuffy castle!" Flamberge turned to a waddle dee guard that was on their way to their post at the castle. "Uh, no offense."
The waddle dee simply raised an eyebrow to her as they continued on their way to work.
Francisca giggled. "I'm certain that I'd appreciate it more if I had your tolerance for heat, Ms. Flamberge."
The fire mage jumped. Shoot! I didn't mean to touch up on a sore subject! "S-sorry Fran! I didn't mean any offense!"
The ice mage simply giggled once more. "It's fine. But back to the matter at hand - what do you want to do?"
"Right now?" Flamberge blinked. "Well, right now I just want to go for a stroll!" Flamberge outstretched her hands once more and let out a yawn. "Yep! I just want to take in the sunlight before Zan drags us back to the castle. What about you?"
Francisca brought a hand up to her chin and hummed. "I'd like to explore Dreamland. I would love to go check out the Dreamstalk or the Prism Plains. Take in all the sights, you know?"
"I mean, that sounds great and all Fran-" Flamberge started. "But we already got to see the Dreamstalk from the Jambastion, remember?"
Francisca placed her hands on her hips. "We didn't get to see it up close. What do you want to see?"
"Me?" The fire mage drifted back in surprise. "I was thinking of finding the other Star Allies and hanging out with them! No offense, but you only sit through so many of King Dedede's jokes before you want to stab him!" OK, maybe that's a bit extreme.
Francisca stared at her, looking disappointed. "That's fine, but I really want to go sight seeing." The mage sighed. "Maybe we should split up as well."
"What!? NO!" Flamberge leaped in front of her, frantically flailing her arms. "You and I haven't had a chance to hang out since the Jambastion Invasion! The entire reason we were trying to leave the castle was because Zan wouldn't let us do anything fun! Why should we split up too!?"
Francisca sighed once more, frost forming in the air in front of her collar. "Listen Flamberge, I understand, but-" The mage began to fidget with her long blue hair. "Back in Jambandra, everything we ever did, we only did it together. I'm just ready to try something on my own."
Flamberge sniffled as embers began to form around her eyes. "B-but-"
"Ms. Flamberge." Francisca placed a hand on the fire mage's shoulder. "Think about it. This is the first time in our lives in which we're free to do what we want without asking Hyness or Zan Partizanne for permission. I just think that we should try to different things for once."
Jamblasted! How can she be so proper while she's telling me this!? Flamberge's face warmed. "B-but I don't like the idea of doing something alone!" The mage brought her hands to her chest. "I'm scawed!" She squeaked, trying to deflect the seriousness of the conversation by acting silly.
"You'll be fine, Flamberge." Francisca replied. "This isn't a permanent thing. I just-" The ice mage sighed. "I want to see what I'm capable of on my own. Don't you?"
Flamberge glanced down at the ground. "Yeah, I do." She glanced up to her blue-haired companion. "I just thought we could do it together!"
"We can later." The ice mage replied gently. "But for now, I'm ready to strike it out on my own. What about you?"
The fire mage sighed. Is it wrong that I'm scared? Everything I knew about Jambandra was a lie...Is it wrong for me to be hesitant? Flamberge shut her eyes. But Fran's not wrong. Sure, we work together as a team just fine but I don't really have any friends outside of Fran and Zan right now. Flamberge's mind flashed back to the memory of Kirby, the pink puffball who seemed capable of becoming friends with almost anyone. I wouldn't mind having other friends.
The red-haired mage opened her eyes. "Nah, you're right." Per usual. "I understand."
Francisca smiled. "Thank you." The ice mage gave Flamberge a chilly, yet refreshing hug. "I'll tell you what, for every land mark I go visit, I'll bring you back a souvenir. How does that sound?"
Flamberge hummed. "Well, If you manage to find some cool-looking sword, I wouldn't mind adding it my collection."
Francisca laughed. "That's what I thought you would say!" The ice mage drifted back. "Well, I guess I'll be off then. Jambuh-bye, Ms. Flamberge." The mage said cheerfully as she waved goodbye to her companion.
"Jambuh-bye..." Flamberge echoed with slightly less enthusiasm that her fellow mage as the two began to go their separate ways.
Zan grumbled as she flipped through another book in the Castle Dedede library. Francisca and Flamberge will be back before too long. We're a team. We can't just splinter apart like that.
The lightning mage paused her absent-minded page flipping as she heard two somewhat-familiar voices echo from the other side of the library.
"She's still here?"
"Yeah, but Francisca and Flamberge are gone. The waddle dee guards said that Francisca was heading over to the Dreamstalk and Flamberge was hanging around in Waddleville."
"Leave them be. I don't think they're up to anything wrong."
"I didn't say anything about them being up to no good, MK. It's just that those three usually go everywhere together!"
At this point, Zan gripped onto the edge of the desk where she was reading and jolted her head around to see the two newcomers. One of them was King Dedede once more, and he was joined by Meta Knight, another core member of the Star Allies and seemed to have been the guardian of the Star Allies' leader, Kirby.
"Lady Partizanne. A word?" The masked knight said as he strode his way over to the mage.
"Oh, What? Like you weren't speaking about me earlier?" Zan snapped.
"Yeesh." Dedede replied. "Are you trying to break that table?"
Zan glanced down and saw where he hand had lightly scorched the table with lightning magic. "Of course not." The former general grumbled.
"But of course." Meta Knight replied, just as unphased and stoic as ever. "No, I'm here to ask how long do you plan on staying at the castle?"
The lightning mage blinked. "W-what do you mean? King Dedede said I could stay here for as long as I like!"
"Yeah, I did say that." The king crossed his arms. "However, most of our reformed villains have only needed to stay here for several weeks. You and your sisters on the other hand have been staying here for several months!"
"Not to mention I've been receiving complaints from the waddle dees about your attitude, Partizanne." Meta Knight continued.
Zan felt a spark of electricity jolt through one of her hands. "What are you trying to say?"
The mage's question recieved an answer as she found herself getting hurried out the castle's front gate.
"You can't kick me out!" Zan cried as she found herself getting lead out of the Castle Dedede's front door.
"Listen, I don't want to have to do this either!" Dedede replied. "But you can't just keep hiding in the castle all the time! It's bad for your health!"
"That's ridiculous-" Zan paused her retort as she saw the blinding sun glaring at her and attempted to shield her eyes. "Gah! When did the sun get so bright!?"
Meta Knight sighed. "Partizanne, please, I implore you to stay out of the castle for a little while and try to acquaint yourself with the rest of Dreamland. You are always welcome at the castle, but for your health, I encourage you to get some fresh air. It may help you clear your head."
Zan Partizanne raised her hand, hoping to come up with a clever argument, but found that she was incapable of making a proper retort.
"I hope that means you're done arguing." Dedede replied. "If I were you, I'd recommend hanging out around Waddleville and acquainting yourself with the locals. Better that than intimidating any more of my soldiers."
Zan grumbled once more before twirling around. "Fine then! Have it your way, 'Star Allies'! 'World of Miracles'? Yeah right!" The mage continued to rant and ramble to herself as she angrily strode down the mountain, away from the castle's King and and Dreamland's greatest warrior who silently watched on as the Lightning Mage General departed from the castle for the first time since she came to this planet.
Chapter 2: The Journeys Begin
Francisca gets some directions. Flamberge gets some advice. Zan gets a new hobby.
I know this is the Green Greens, but I never imagined for it to be this...green.
Francisca breathed in the fresh grassy air as she arrived at the countryside just outside Waddleville. Francisca has been to plenty of verdant planets before but none of them ever came close to the sheer amount of green to be found in Dreamland.
Alright, now if the map is correct, the Dreamstalk should be right over... Francisca scanned the horizon until she saw a large green up-shoot coming from the earth, extending itself into the skies. However, It was still a decent walk away. The Dreamstalk is supposed to lead to Floralia, but I would like to see all the landmarks Dreamland before going there. I wonder if there's anyone nearby-
"The Star Rod needs a little bit more clay to this side."
"Huh? Oh yeah. Thanks, Elline."
Francisca turned her head to see a figure with long blue hair (I like her style) with a rainbow-haired fairy flying next to her looking down on a clay sculpture about the height of the blue-haired stranger.
"Ugh." The other blue-haired figure groaned. "I added too much."
"Just even it out." Her companion replied.
"Um, Pardon me?" Francisca drifted over to the pair, both of them turning around upon the mage catching her attention.
"Oh! Hello there!" The fairy, Elline, greeted Francisca enthusiastically.
"Hm? Oh hey, nice hair." The fairy's companion replied with a smirk.
Francisca twirled her icy-blue hair with one of her hands and smiled. "Oh. Why thank you! Um-" The mage cleared her throat. "Pardon me, but do you two live in Dreamland?"
"Well, we used to live in Seventopia but-" The main sculptor began before she was interrupted by her companion.
Elline nodded. "We do! Is there something you need?"
"I couldn't help but notice your sculpture-" Francisca began to circle around the clay figure the pair were working on. The sculpture seemed to resemble a fountain of some sort and was holding a misshaped star-tipped rod. "It's really...something." Juhwoops. I didn't mean to come off as that icy.
Francisca was actually quite impressed with the clay sculpture. The ice mage had a not-so-secret passion for ice sculpting, and she was very intrigued by the sculpture the two strangers were working on.
"It's a work in progress." The sculptor replied flatly.
"All things start that way, Claycia!" Elline said enthusiastically, as if to reassure her companion.
Claycia smiled again upon hearing this "It's based on the Fountain of Dreams."
Francisca tilted her head. "Fountain of Dreams? What's that?"
Elline gasped. "You've never been there!?"
Francisca simply shook her head.
"You must be new to Dreamland, then." Claycia mused before snapping one of her fingers. "I'll tell you what; Do you happen to have a map on you?"
Francisca nodded and handed Claycia the map she picked up in Waddleville.
Claycia handed the map to Elline. "Hey, Ellie, do your thing."
The paint fairy cheerfully nodded. "You got it!" Suddenly, the fairy flipped around and suddenly began to brush her hair, which Francisca just realized resembled a paintbrush, across the map. "Take a look!"
Francisca took the map back and saw that several places on the map were now circled with rainbow.
Elline pointed a finger on the area labeled 'Rainbow Resort'. "The Fountain of Dreams is located at the Rainbow Resort! However, I also circled some other areas of interest you should see!"
"Oh, thank you so much!" Francisca replied.
"Enjoy your time in Dreamland." Claycia said. "Trust me when I tell you there's no other place like it."
Francisca smiled. "I will. Thank you."
"Man! I can't believe Fran just ditched me like that!" Flamberge grumbled as she wandered into the forest just outside Waddleville. "Of course the first chance we get to properly get to hang out again and she's sick of me because Zan didn't let us do anything alone! Stupid Zan!" Flamberge's hair sparkled with flames, causing some of the embers to fall to the forest floor.
Flamberge jumped upon hearing the deep, loud roaring sound. "B-bonjam? Hello?" She asked, her teeth chattering.
"Ah, you're one of those three mage-sisters?" A low voice rumbled from nearby. "If I were take a guess, you must be Flamberge, correct?"
The fire mage raised an eyebrow. "Yes...? Jupologa, but who are you? I can't see you."
Flamberge spun around and jumped once more when she saw a tree with a long pointy nose and three gaping holes that resembled two eyes and a mouth.
The mage blinked. "Wait...I know. You must be-"
"Whispy Woods." The tree answered curtly. "I was wondering what a fire elemental is doing in my forest. Nothing unsavory, I hope."
"WHAT!?" THe mage exclaimed before furiously shaking her head. "No, no, no, no, no! I was just taking a walk; honest!"
The sentient oak squinted his eyes. "I'd best hope that's the case."
Flamberge nervously chuckled. "Heh heh, yeah..." Wait a minute. "Hey Whispy Woods! Are you any good at giving advice?"
"I believe I am." The tree responded. "Most people come to for advice...or to beat the apples out of my branches."
Poor guy! The fire mage thought. I knew that this guy got possessed by the Jamba Heart, but it sounds like he's been stuck in a couple of other shenanigans, too! Flamberge took a breath, trying to tone down her usual cavalier and aggressive attitude. "Well, I'm not looking for a fight, but I could use some ancient tree wisdom right now."
"I see. Very well then, what is it that's troubling you?"
Flamberge sighed. "Well, you probably already know this, but I'm kinda new to Dreamland. I cam here with Francisca and Zan, who had been my best friends before we came here, but something's changed. Zan has been acting super paranoid and possessive; I think she means well, but it was really starting to tick me and Francisca off! Me and Fran agreed that wanted a little space from Zan, but Fran just took off! You see, I've wanting to make some new friends here and Dreamland, but I'm not actually sure where to start. Any advice?"
Whispy Woods seemed to have closed his eyes in deep thought. "I can see why you're troubled." The tree opened his eyes once more. "Here's my suggestion: most people in Dreamland seem to get together in order to do something together. For example, all of Castle Dedede's guards group together to help and learn from the king, and all of Dreamland's pictomancers come together in order to hone their painting skills. If there something in particular that you would like to do?"
Something I like to do, huh? Flamberge's mind went to her sword. "I like to fight."
Whispy Wood's eyes widened in surprise. "...Fight?"
"I-" The mage stammered. "Well, yes. I like to fight." The mage admitted.
The tree stared at her for a second as if deliberating if he should respond to her or not. Whispy Wood's opened his mouth. "...I see. If you want to fight, I would recommend going to the Sacred Square. That's where the Meta-Knights are currently training."
'Meta Knights'? You mean like that guy with the mask and the sword...and that guy that looked just like him but edgier? Flamberge thought silently to herself.
Whispy Wood's imitated a nod. "Yes, I'd recommend that you go seek out the Meta-Knights. I'll warn you though, you might want to leave soon if you want to catch them. I've heard that their heading out on another mission on the Halberd, so you might went to head out now if you want to catch them."
Flamberge dipped her head. "I see. Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it!"
The ancient tree chuckled. "Anytime. Just try to keep those embers of yours off of the grass."
Flamberge gulped. "Y-Yes, sir!"
"Out of my way."
Several waddle dees tumbled out of the streets as Zan Partizanne marched her way through the Waddleville town square.
Jamblast Francisca and Flamberge for running off like that! Don't they realize that Dreamland is fraught with danger just as well as any other kingdom! It's not like this place isn't cursed with it's fair share of shady characters.
Zan's mind flashed to several of the Star Allies, one of which including that character 'Dark Meta Knight', who appeared to be a violent ruffian after the Jamba Hearts for his own personal gain. Next on that list was 'Daroach', a conniving thief that helped the Star Allies as they plundered away the treasures of the Jambastion and Jambandra. Of course,' Taranza' wasn't much better with his conjuring of dark phantoms; and of course after that, there was 'Marx' and 'Magolor' who-
Zan's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of shrill laughter coming from a stand labeled 'Magolor Shop'.
Of course, it's that stupid clown and that stupid wizard!
Magolor and Marx just continued with their cackling, unaware that the lightning general was angrily drifting into their direction.
"Ok, ok, ok. Watch this!" Marx, the short round creature wearing the jester hat said before he split himself apart, releasing a splatter of green slime.
Zan was frankly appalled by this sight, but his wizardly companion dressed in classic Ancient garb simply laughed and chucked a handful of gem apples at the jester, causing the apples to get stuck in his companions's visible membranes.
Marx simply let out that unsettling laugh of his before putting himself back together. The jester licked his lips and let out a burp. "Mmm! Tasty!"
"NOVA, you're disgusting." Magolor replied bemusedly.
"Yeah, I know!" Marx replied cheekily before the two began to break out in laughter again.
"Just what is today's youth coming to in which boys like you can do things like that!?" Zan asked angrily in disgust as she arrived at Magolor's caravan.
The two boys just looked at each other for a moment before Marx replied. "Listen, I almost died after adsorbing the power of the Galactic NOVA. I'm allowed to use my god-like powers in whatever way I want!"
Zan's eyes twitched. How dare this CLOWN compare himself to a god! Without hesitation, Zan pointed a lightning infused finger right into Marx's lavender face. "You listen here, gremlin-"
"I prefer the term 'goblin'." Marx replied smugly.
Marx was about to get struck down by lightning right then and there before Magolor hurriedly pushed him out of the way. "N-now wait just a second, Zan!" The wizard interrupted. "You do realize that people aren't allowed to come up to my stand unless they're willing to conduct business!"
"Since when?" Marx whispered from behind Magolor.
Magolor whispered back to his friend. "Since it saves you from becoming a lightning rod, now get back behind me!" Magolor whipped his head back around to give Zan a sickeningly-sweet smile. "Now, is there anything I can do for you?"
Zan brought her hand down, the lightning coursing within it beginning to subside. "...Is there anything you can do for me?" She echoed.
"W-well you know, If I were to take a guess, I'd say that a newly retired cultist-"
"Priestess." Zan corrected.
"Right. -priestess like yourself is probably looking for a new hobby!" Magolor said enthusiastically.
The lightning mage raised an eyebrow. "Would you happen to have anything in mind?"
"Let's see..." The blue-robed figure quickly dove into the back of his shop and begin to dig through a chest full of oddities. "Ah, how about this!" Magolor quickly popped back up and handed Zan a small bag labeled 'daffodil flower seeds'.
The mage's raised eyebrow somehow raised even further. "Flower seeds?"
Magolor nodded. "Yep! Straight from Floralia, too!"
Zan huffed. "What do I look like? A florist to you?"
"Listen, I'm giving this to you on the house. You can either take it or leave it; but if you really have nothing better to do than bothering me and my buddy, I suggest you take the seeds." The wizard replied curtly.
Zan glared at Magolor one last time before she swiped the bag of seeds from his hand. "Fine. I'll take it."
"Pleasure doing business with you."
The Dreamstalk was so much larger than what Francisca had anticipated. The diameter of the stalk's base was enough to rival the size of Castle Dedede and it seemed to stretch up into the sky for what appeared to be miles. The stalk was also covered with ladders and flying balloons could be seen circling around the stalk in the evening sky.
"If you're planning on going to Floralia, prepare yourself for a pretty long climb."
Francisca spun around to see a familiar figure. The figure that stood before her had a round, brown face with two ghostly white eyes...and two amber eyes hidden beneath his silver bowl-cut, a pair of orange pincers that outstretched from his head like horns. He was wearing a red cravat and a green poncho with a spider web pattern decorated on it. He had six floating hands, two of which were politely clasped together in front of his chest.
"However, if you're looking for a quicker way up, I'd recommend catching a balloon ride." The spider-folk said cheerfully.
Francisca pressed a finger against her cheek. "I know you. You're...Taranza, right?"
Taranza happily nodded. "Indeed I am! And you're Miss Francisca!"
"Yes! I am!" Francisca said enthusiastically before her eyes focused back on the Dreamstalk. "So this is the Dreamstalk?"
Taranza's eyes drooped a bit, but his smile didn't fade. "Yes, it is. The Dreamstalk acts as the road between Dreamland and the Floralia Archipelago. Now the people of the earth and the people of the sky are closer than ever."
The ice mage titled her head. "Now?"
The spider-folk let out a quiet chuckle. "Yes, The Dreamstalk has only been here for about over a year now. It was only after the flower-folk of Floralia tossed the Dreamseed down to earth, that the stalk began to grow."
"I see." Francisca replied, her gaze still fixated on the stalk itsself. "I heard that at the top of the stalk, there's a massive, beautiful flower in bloom. Is that true?"
Taranza's smile completely faded as his mouth dipped into a frown. Francisca watched as the spider-folk floated over to the base of the stalk and gently placed one of his hands on it. "...What you've heard is true."
Francisca was about to make an interjection when Taranza continued speaking.
"You already know by now that I once kidnapped Dreamland's king." Taranza looked over his shoulder to the ice mage. "That's how I first met Kirby. Kirby had climbed up the Dreamstalk and had liberated it from the control of Floralia's dictator, Queen Sectonia." Taranza's voice stuttered as he said that name. "-But The Queen wouldn't give up."
"What happened?" Francisca asked quietly.
Taranza stared at the Dreamstalk for a moment before he began speaking again. "Sectonia threw herself into the Dreamstalk and magically fused with it. She was so desperate for eternal life that she begin to destroy herself. Kirby did the right thing in defeating her."
Francisca stared at the young magician, hey eyes beginning to frost over as she felt Taranza's heartache.
Lord Hyness. Francisca remembered how the high summoner chucked the three mage generals and himself into the darkest heart, the Jamba Heart, in order to summon the creature that would give them ultimate power, Void Termina. But Hyness corrupted himself, and ended up flinging himself beyond the walls of dimensions. The ice-mage gripped onto her dress. And now he will never be same.
"Of course though, it's not all doom and gloom."
Francisca perked up when she heard Taranza continue.
Taranza formed a melancholy smile, his hand still placed on the Dreamstalk. "At least I can still see Sectonia whenever I want. At least I can still talk to her."
The blue-haired mage blinked. "What do you mean?"
"Sectonia's soul is now part of the Dreamstalk, and it always will be." The spider-folk glanced at the ice mage. "Do you want to know how I know?"
Taranza pulled out a leaf from his robe and began to blow against it, releasing a long series of notes that echoed through the night. Suddenly, Francisca noticed a small pink bud begin to bloom out of the Dreamstalk.
Taranza let out a contented sigh. "There she is." Taranza backed away from the Dreamstalk, his eyes still fixated on the tiny flower. "They never truly leave us, do they?"
Francisca's eyes trailed up the Dreamstalk where it finally met the blue moon, shining radiantly upon Dreamland. "I suppose they don't." She murmured.
Chapter 3: Adventure Awaits
Flamberge finds a fight. Francisca learns about a legend. Zan stakes her claim.
Flamberge quickly leaped up the stone staircases leading up to the Sacred Square, a ring of fire forming underneath her dress each time she landed. The ancient ruins were covered with sand and dust and the sound of clanking gears could be heard as the staircases would arrange themselves, guiding Flamberge further on her mission.
I probably should've asked Whispy Woods where exactly this 'halberd' is supposed to be. From what Flamberge knew about weaponry, a halberd is like an axe with an extended handle; but Flamberge was having trouble finding anything like that around the Sacred Square.
The mage grumbled. It doesn't help that I've walking around for hours and I still haven't seen Meta Knight anywhere. Of course there was those 'Blade Knight Junior's' I saw earlier. Flamberge remembered stumbling into a group of knights on her way to the ruins who offered to guide her to they're airship. But I'm not looking for an airship! I'm looking for a halberd-
Flamberge shuddered as a strong gust of wind washed over her and a large shadow began to creep over the ruins. What the-
Flamberge looked up and jumped when she saw a large metal structure with bat wings sail it's way over to the highest point of the ruins.
"C'mon, Sails! We're going to be late!"
"I'm running as fast as I can!"
The fire mage spun around to see a skull-faced individual holding a standard battle axe and a waddle dee wearing a sailor hat quickly stumble up the stairs. Unfortunately, the waddle dee tripped on his way up, but their companion was quick to go back to them and help them get up.
"Hey, little buddy! Are you alright?" The skull-faced stranger asked.
The waddle dee shut his eyes and winced. "Y-yeah. I just stubbed my toes. I'll be fine, Axe."
"C'mon, Sails-" 'Axe' hoisted the waddle dee onto their back. "Let's get a move on."
Just as the two strangers ran past Flamberge, the fire mage caught a glimpse of an m-shaped symbol on Axe's shoulder pad.
Wait, doesn't Meta Knight wear a symbol like that? "Uh, Excuse me!" Flamberge quickly bounded over to the duo. "Hey, you two wouldn't have happened to have seen a halberd somewhere around here, would you?"
"A Halberd?" Axe glared at her. "Are you serious!? It just flew above us!"
"Above us? You mean that-" Flamberge's eyes widened. "Wait, that was the Halberd!?"
Axe groaned. "Ugh, C'mon Sails! Let's get going!" Axe and 'Sails' continued to rush up the stone stairs.
"Hey, Wait!" Flamberge said, quickly running after them.
Zan brushed the sweat off of her forehead as she put her plow down on the grass. The seeds she had received yesterday from Magolor were now planted in a plot of land she claimed in the Green Greens.
Since the King kicked me out of the castle, I might as well get started on asserting myself. Of course, the only house Zan had at the moment was a tent, but the mage was fine with having to make due for now. Of course if Francisca and Flamberge were here, we'd probably be able to put together something more extravagant, but such is life, I suppose. Needless to say, the mage was still pretty bitter about the whole affair, but at least she now had something to keep her busy. The lightning mage picked up the watering can next to her tent and took to watering her flowers.
"Hiya, Miss Partizanne!"
Zan raised her head and squinted through the sunlight to see who had called her name. What she saw was a waddle dee wearing a blue bandanna walking over to her. That waddle dee, isn't he-
Bandanna Dee quickly surveyed Zan's land plot. "I see you've already started to make a home for yourself here! That's wonderful!" The waddle replied cheerfully before he glanced over where Zan had just planted her flower seeds. "Ooo? What'cha planting?"
"Daffodils. Don't step on them." Zan said, her voice turning into her signature snarl.
"O-oh." Bandanna Dee quickly stepped away from the plowed fields and waddled over to Zan. "Uh, I brought you a housewarming gift!"
Zan once again wiped the sweat from her face and raised eyebrow. "A 'housewarming gift'?"
The waddle dee nodded. "Yep! Here, try this!" Bandanna Dee quickly handed her a straw hat.
"A hat?" Zan quickly put the hat over her head and blinked her eyes as the sun's blinding rays were blocked. "Oh!"
"It'll help you keep the sun off of your eyes! It'll be very useful for when you're doing your gardening!"
"I...I see." Zan looked at the waddle dee. "Thank you. This helps a lot."
"Anytime, Miss Partizanne!" Bandanna Dee chirped. "If you ever need anything, just stop by Waddleville! More often than not, I'll be hanging out around there if need anything. See you around!" The waddle dee waved goodbye as he headed back to town.
"Jambuh-bye." Zan awkwardly waved back at him.
The lightning mage adjusted her hat. I have to admit, this hat is a good fit. Zan's gaze drifted over to her priestess hat that she placed on the ground when it started to get to hot. The mage couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt. It's almost too good of a fit.
Zan Partizanne dipped her head and sighed. However, Zan perked up when she saw a small, green sprout poking up out of the soil.
What? The mage crouched down and gently placed a hand on the sprout. But that's impossible! No plant should ever be able to grow that fast! Zan paused. Is this place really a world of miracles...?
Francisca stopped at a sign labeled 'Candy Mountain ->'. Underneath it was something else carved into the sign; 'Beware of Dynablade!!!'.
Francisca found this very confusing. Dynablade? What's a Dynablade?
Suddenly, the mage's long hair began to whip wildly as a gust of wind swept over Francisca and a shadow quickly flew by.
"C'mon, guys! Dynablade went back up the mountain!"
Francisca over her shoulder and saw a pink octopus-folk, a small lime-green bird-folk and a calico cat-folk quickly stampede their way onto the mountain trail.
"Oh Jambadear." Francisca brushed the dust of her dress. "What was that about?"
The ice mage whipped her head around once more to see a familiar purple owl-folk flying down to her.
Francisca's eyes flashed with recognition. "Oh, you're one of Kirby's animal friends! Coo, wasn't it?"
The owl-folk landed and stopped to catch their breath. "We can catch up later! Right now, I could use your help." Coo pointed one of their wings up the mountain. "We need to go after Dynablade."
"I mean, don't get me wrong, I would like to help you-" Francisca began. "But what exactly is Dynablade? And why are you after it?"
"Dynablade's the guardian of the Candy Mountain and the Celestial Valley. She's the reason that the mountain and valley have gotten caught up with alien invasions." The owl explained.
You mean the alien invasion I took a part in? Francisca asked silently before she fully registered what the owl-folk had said. "Wait, you mean-"
Coo nodded. "Yes. I don't know why, but for some reason, Dark Matter has never been able to come to this area and even the Haltmann Works Company was incapable of mechanizing this region."
"And you believe Dynablade is causing this?" The mage inquired.
"You don't understand." Coo replied. "Dynablade's much older than you think. We have folk stories about her."
"So why are we chasing her?"
Coo flapped their wings. "We think something's wrong with her! That's why everyone's heading up the mountain. Would you mind helping out?"
I'm still don't understand everything that's going on here, but it's not like I have much else better to do. Not to mention I would like to see this Dynablade for myself. Francisca shook her head. "I wouldn't mind. I'll see what I can do to help."
The owl-folk breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh thank you! We don't have a lot of magic users so you will be a big help. Come on! Let's get going!" The owl quickly begin to flap their way up the trail and Francisca was quick to follow.
Several days have passed since Zan first started her flower garden, and the daffodils had already bloomed at a miraculous rate. Zan was already unaccustomed to Popstar's vegetation as she spent most of her life in Jambandra, a land with no plant life; but the rate at which flowers bloomed on Popstar was truly a sight to behold. When the flowers first bloomed, Zan found herself captivated and enamored with the plants; it also helps that the flowers were her favorite color, yellow.
All of this was why it was so appalling to her for her wake up the next morning and see that almost all of the flowers had wilted.
"NO!" Zan quickly bent down and looked down at the shriveled, dried-up petals of her once beautiful daffodils.
But...This is impossible! I haven't been under-watering them or over-watering them, and they've been receiving plenty of sunlight. The mage looked down to the ground. How does the soil feel?
Zan carefully placed one of her palms on the soil and was shocked to feel that she was...shocked. A jolt of electricity had sprouted out of the ground and climbed up her hand.
What in Jamba's blazes? The lightning mage closed her eyes as she pressed her hand back down on the ground, trying to sense the electricity in the ground. Zan was perplexed when she felt a steady current pulsing underneath the soil, moving in a uniform line.
Electricity doesn't move like that. This is unnatural. Zan Partizanne opened her eyes and got up, her magic still focused on the electric current. ...There. Zan looked over to her left. That's where the current is coming from.
The mage silently grabbed her partisan from the inside of her tent. Forgive me, neighbor, but you've picked the neighborhood to mess with. The lightning mage than began to quickly set off in the direction of the electric current.
Flamberge nearly tripped as she reached the Sacred Square, where she saw a massive battleship parked. Multiple armored warriors were swarming both on and off the airship's boarding dock, but what caught Flamberge's attention was the knight called 'Axe' and the waddle dee called 'Sails' were about to board the bridge.
"HEY!!!" Flamberge screeched, perhaps a bit more loudly and aggressive than intended.
The crowd of soldiers all jerked their heads around to look at Flamberge, many of them whispering to each other upon seeing her.
"S-she followed us?" The waddle dee was the first of these voices Flamberge was able to hear clearly.
A masked figure holding a large mace walked over to 'Axe'. "Hey, Axe. Who's that?" The knight said pointing at Flamberge.
"Uh, bonjam." Flamberge waved her hand awkwardly. "H-how's it going? I'm Flamberge!"
The mace-wielding knight and 'Axe' shared a glance before the shorter of two knights spoke. "She said 'Flamberge', right? Isn't that one of the Three-Mage Sisters?"
"I think so."
The knights stepped forwards, the taller of the two swinging their mace and the shorter of two pulling out an axe from behind their back. I figured out where the name comes from!
Flamberge's brief, private celebration was quickly cut off as the mace knight slung their mace right over the mage's head.
OK, so it's gonna be one of those days then? Flamberge's sword magically appeared and her hand and began with the 'Berge Slash'; a typical opening attack for the fire mage.
Mace Knight caught the sword with the chain of their mace while Axe climbed on Mace's shoulder before chucking their axe at Flamberge who swiftly jumped out of the way.
"Alright then! You asked for it! BBQ SKEWER!" Flamberge gripped her blade and pointed it downwards, striking it towards the ground as she felt back to the earth, blasting the two knights with a wave of heat.
Axe Knight stumbled back and shielded their face with a hand. "BBQ Skewer? That's a funny attack name."
"I agree." Mace Knight replied. "How about we do her one better?"
"META-KNIGHTMARES!!!" The two knights roared.
Suddenly, several over knights began to fall from the sky, circling around Flamberge.
"Alright, let's do this - Wait." A knight wielding a trident and wearing a helmet decorated with a crescent moon glanced around the square. "Hey guys, why did you summon us? You're only fighting one opponent."
"She's really tough..." Axe whimpered.
"She was calling out her attacks aloud, and 'Meta-Knightmares' is the only technique we have a name for." Mace answered.
"Not true." A small knight wearing red armor, a strange electronic visor and holding a spear replied. "What about my 'Kamikaze Kaizer Crusher'? That's a good name!"
"No it's not!" A knight wearing dark green armor and holding a sword replied. "Javelin, no one likes that name! Not to mention Sir Meta Knight doesn't like you saying it!"
"So? At least it's better than 'Sword Beam'!" Javelin retorted. "Honestly Sword! How generic could you get!?"
The group of knights suddenly interrupted into argument (save for the knight wearing green armor and a red-plumed helmet holding another sword. They seem like the silent type.) while Flamberge just watched on.
"Uh. Guys?" The mage interrupted. "I thought you guys were supposed to be fighting me and not each other."
The waddle dee in the sailor hat sighed. "Don't worry about it. This sort of thing is just par for the course." The sailor turned to Flamberge. "So what's your deal? Why were you following us?"
"Well, I actually want to join the Meta-Knights. Aren't you guys heading out on a mission or something?"
The waddle dee's blue eyes seemed to light up upon hearing this. "OH! Why didn't you just say so? Hey guys!" The bickering knights jerked their heads over to Sailor Waddle Dee. "The mage just wants to come along with us on our mission!"
The knights glanced at each other and all said something to the effect of "Why didn't she just say so?"
Because you didn't give me a chance!
"Uh, Flamberge was it?" Mace Knight said approaching the mage. "You said you want to join us on our mission, huh?"
Flamberge simply nodded. "Yeah."
The mage's eyes widened in shock. "Wait? That easily?"
"Well usually we have an initiation." Javelin began. "But since you already beat Axe and Mace-"
"We just called for help!" Axe interjected.
Javelin seemed to ignore Axe Knight. "Since you you did that, there's no reason for you to undergo the initiation!
"Welcome aboard!!!" Sailor Dee cheered.
Flamberge stumbled back as the waddle dee gave her a hug.
"Well then, what are we waiting for, gang?" Mace Knight asked.
"ADVENTURE AWAITS!!!" Javelin Knight pointed their javelin to the Halberd and screeched as all of the knights began to head inside the massive battleship.
"C'mon, Miss Flamberge!" Sailor Dee tugged on her dress as he began to run towards the Halberd. "Let's Take Off!"
Zan stopped as she saw that the verdant grass ahead of her was being plated over with...steel?
The lightning mage raised her head and gazed further ahead, her eyes widening as she saw a metallic dome sitting in the center of a yard of steel plates bolted into the ground. Several antennas were pointing out around the structure; Zan could feel their electricity bristle in the air. There was a single door that Zan could make out and it was decorated with a yellow H-symbol. Zan disregarded this however as she reached for a handle on the door...of which there were none.
Figures. The mage grumbled. However, Zan could feel a very strong electric current within the door. Perhaps If if just- Zan placed both her hands on the door and tried the jumble the electric current within.
There we are. Zan dragged the door to the side and quickly jumped inside, the door slamming back into it's position behind her. The structure was just as unnatural, if not more, on the inside as it was on the outside. The metal walls were lined with visible electric cables that glowed bright blue and purple.
What is this place...? Zan couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by the pure amount of electricity she could sense flying around her. How can anyone sleep with this...?
The mage's pondering was interrupted as a large clanking sound began to come from the floor; getting louder and louder.
Zan cautiously stepped back as what sounded like a person's voice singing drawing closer.
"Noble Haltmann, We Adore Him!
Noble Haltmann, We Adore Him!
Kingly Lord Of Science!"
The floor opened up to reveal a somewhat familiar figure, dramatically singing her heart out, as she was elevated to the floor. The figure had short pink hair (I recall it being longer.), electric-blue eyes, and wore a grey skirt and a white hoodie embroidered with the same yellow H-symbol Zan saw on the door leading into the facility.
The figure looked like she was about to begin another verse until she saw Zan Partizanne.
"OH!" The figure blinked her electric-blue eyes in shock. "Hello there!" She placed her yellow gloves on her hips and let out a huff. "You know, it's incredibly rude to come in without knocking, Miss Partizanne."
Chapter 4: Connection
Francisca climbs the mountain, Zan meets her neighbor, Flamberge joins the crew
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Down there." Coo pointed a wing down the beginning of a cavern. "This is the Cocoa Caverns. This will lead us to the summit of the Candy Mountain." The owl explained.
"Where Dynablade is?" Francisca inquired.
Coo nodded. "Yes. The caves are the quickest way up the mountain while remaining undetected by her."
The owl led the mage into the caves before they stopped at a mine cart.
"This Dynablade sounds quite...violent." The ice mage remarked.
"She usually isn't." Coo replied. "However, she can get quite wrathful when she gets disturbed."
The owl fluttered into the mine cart and Francisca was quick to follow suit. The mine cart began to slowly creak down the rails leading into the depths of the cave.
However, the rattlings of the mine cart did little to distract Francisca from the matter at hand as she continues the conversation. "Has Dynablade ever been disturbed before?"
Coo nodded. "She has. The last time was about...two years ago. Dynablade's hatchlings were starving so she began attacking farmers and the like for food."
"What her made her stop?"
The owl got a small, smug smile on their beak. "Kirby."
Kirby? Go figure. Francisca silently remarked. "How'd he do it?"
Coo got a nostalgic look in their eyes and laughed. "Kirby brought food for Dynablade's babies; he even taught them how to fly."
"Huh." Was the only response Francisca could utter before she felt her head jerk back as the mine cart slammed to a halt.
Coo flapped out of the cart, unphased by the sudden stop. "Oops. I probably should have warned you about that."
Francisca adjusted her hat and awkwardly lifted herself out of the cart. "I-It's fine..."
"This way." Coo pointed their wing down a corridor. "This way is the quickest way to the summit." The owl hurriedly flapped ahead while Francisca trailed behind.
"What do you think is bothering Dynablade now?" The ice mage asked as she followed the owl-folk further into the cave.
"That's a toughie." The owl hummed. "I don't think the problem is food related. All things considered, we've had a pretty good harvest this year, and it's not like King Dedede has been hoarding food recently."
I find it hard to imagine Dreamland's King doing anything like that to be honest. From what Francisca knew of the Self-Made King, Dedede was a rather heroic individual who took Dreamland's protection as a priority. However, Francisca had heard about the king's past as a thief before, so she didn't question Coo's remark.
"However-" Coo continued. "I wouldn't surprise me if Dynablade is simply feeling a bit antsy. The Jamba Heart incident was not to long ago and the Haltmann Works Company Invasion wasn't too long before that either."
Francisca frowned at the mention of the 'Jamba Heart' incident but shrugged it off. "How will we help her?"
"Well, if my hunch is correct, the goal won't be to help Dynablade-" Coo gave Francisca a sharp glare. "We'll just have to try to discourage her from going on a rampage."
The fire mage looked around the Halberd's interior in awe. Knights and soldiers were constantly riding up and down elevator shafts and the metallic hallways echoed with clangs and the excited voices of the airship's passengers.
"So, you're Flamberge, huh?"
Flamberge spun around and saw the purple armored Meta-Knight, Mace Knight, standing confidently before an elevator shaft with their signature mace slung over their shoulder.
The mage hesitantly nodded. "Yeah, b-but I thought that that was already well established."
Flamberge could detect a sneer coming from behind Mace's visor. "You're one of those Jambastion mages, right? Sir Meta Knight told us about what happened with the Jamba Heart."
Flamberge shifted back in shock. "S-so he did."
The mage tensed up as Mace Knight's hand reached towards her and jumped when the knight simply patted her shoulder. "I'm sorry about what happened to Jambandra."
Flamberge blinked. "O-oh."
"We're glad you and friends made out of it OK!" Axe Knight replied, walking over next to Mace Knight. "Not many people can claim that they've made it out of Another Dimension unscathed, you know?"
Flamberge quietly chuckled as she bashfully fiddled with her hair, frankly feeling very uncomfortable with the subject matter. "Heh heh. Yeah..."
"Speaking of: How are your friends doing? I thought that you and those other two mages typically stick together." Mace Knight remarked before searching around the surrounding area. "Where are they? Or did you just-"
"I came alone." Flamberge answered bitterly.
"Oh. Alright." The mace-wielding knight replied, somewhat taken aback by Flamberge's sharp response.
"Well, we're happy to have you aboard regardless!" Axe Knight exclaimed. "We're currently conducting an investigation right now, but you're free to hang out on Halberd in the meantime!"
"Here." Mace Knight handed Flamberge a folder. "This is a map of the Halberd. You can use it to get around. If you ever need anything, try to find one of the Meta-Knights or go up to the control room."
"Hey, thanks!" Flamberge replied cheerfully as the two knights entered an elevator shaft.
The mage began to flip through the folder. I could really go for a bite to eat...'Mess Hall'! There we go! Flamberge looked up and began to make her way down a hallway.
"Miss Susie." Zan replied as the pink-haired figure approached her. Another one of the Star Allies. If I recall, she's rather polite and well-mannered. Zan squinted her eyes in annoyance. However, the electricity that shocked my flowers came from her house, so I shouldn't let myself be fooled.
"Zan Partizanne." Susie said in that sing-song voice of hers. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Actually there is." The lightning mage replied. "I believe there's a slight problem with your house's electricity."
The bug-eyed figure tilted her head. "A problem? In what way?"
Zan made quick haste on dragging Susie over to her house to show her the magically shriveled flowers that were in full bloom the day before.
"Ah, I see." Susie crouched down and carefully poked one of Zan's wilted flowers, the petals cracking upon her touch. "My cables must have dug their way under your garden."
The mage raised an eyebrow, looking down at Susie. "Is there anything you can do to get rid of them?"
"But of course." The former-secretary replied as she stood back up and brushed off her skirt. "I had no idea that I would be getting a new neighbor." Susie turned to Zan with one of her gloves extended, her blue eyes twinkling in delight. "However, if I had to ask for one, it would probably be you."
Zan cautiously shook her hand, her eyebrow still raised. "And why would that be?"
"I always thought that your sister, Francisca, is cute." Susie replied simply.
Zan pulled her hand away as she stumbled backwards in shock, her face flushing. "E-excuse me?"
"Oh relax!" Susie waved her hand dismissively. "I'm only joking! But no-" The former secretary drifted her way across the garden, staring up at the sky. "I've been stranded on Popstar for almost a year now, you're the first person to ever move this close to me." Susie quickly spun back around and clasped her hands together as she faced Zan. "It's honestly rather exciting!"
The lightning mage blinked. "I see..."
The former secretary nodded. "Uh-huh." Suddenly, Susie's eyes lit up as she let out a small gasp. "I have an idea!" Susie pointed a finger at Zan's tent. "You're still living in this tent, aren't you?"
"I am." The mage answered. "But it's just a temporary situation."
"That's what I thought." Susie replied. "I could easily help you build a new house!"
Zan gave her a look of suspicion. "And why would you do that?"
"Because we're neighbors." The scientist explained. "And helping each other is what neighbors do. Well then!" Susie chirped. "I'll get to removing those cables right away! Feel free to stop by my office anytime; but next time, please remember to knock." The scientist waved a hand as she drifted away from Zan's garden. "Good-bye!"
Zan's mouth formed into a frown. I was really proud of those flowers. I hope that this won't be a reoccurring issue with Susie.
Francisca fluttered her eyes as she exited the caverns and found herself back outside, supposedly near the summit of the Candy Mountain. The mage let out a contented sigh as she felt a gentle breeze flow down on her. Francisca's moment of peace was quickly interrupted by the sound of a loud bird-like screech going off in the distance.
Francisca whipped her head around to see Coo flutter up from behind her.
"Is Dynablade in pain?" Francisca asked with concern.
"It's still hard to say." Coo answered. "Rick and Kine should get here soon, but I need to find Chuchu, Pitch and Nago." The owl-folk flapped their wings once more. "Try to go to the nest and see what's going on. I'll be back soon!" Coo propelled themself off of the ground and quickly flew off.
Francisca whipped her head around more and looked up to the peak of the mountain. From where she was, the ice mage could see the silhouette of a large bird like creature outstretching it's wings.
Francisca shuddered. That must be Dynablade. The mage placed her palms out in front of her, ice crystals beginning to form within them before a large blue labrys materialized in front of her. Francisca gripped the battle-axe fiercely as she began to climb up the trail leading up to Dynablade's nest.
Several times on her hike up the summit, she heard the bird-creature's monstrous shriek ring down the mountain side. This creature sounds like it's in pain. There has to be way I can help it. The mage kept her axe close as she reached the mountain's peak, where she realized that so much time has passed that the sun was beginning to set. The mage quickly huddled her self behind a rock as she heard the sound of heavy footsteps going of nearby.
Francisca carefully peaked behind the rock and saw a large red bird with a golden crest and rainbow-colored wings. As magnificent as the bird was, Francisca couldn't help but let out an "Eep!" as she saw the silver blades that came out from the tip of the creature's massive wings. T-this must be Dynablade. The mage thought as she pressed her back against the rock. But she doesn't appear to be in physical pain or have any injuries. Francisca peeked behind the rock once more and looked Dynablade's eyes. The creature's eyes were a brilliant blue but the looked glossed over and had bags under them. She looks tired... The mage observed. Something else is wrong with her.
For the first time in a long time, Francisca clapped her hands together in a prayer. Oh Dynablade, what is it that is ailing you? The mage could detect the faint hint of magic, Jambandran Magic, to be precise. Francisca frowned as she felt a pang of guilt. Don't tell me that you're still suffering from the Jamba Heart. The mage got up and floated away from the rock, her eyes now opened. Dynablade glared and let out a loud avian hiss as the mage approached, but Francisca was not deterred. The mage stared into the eyes of the giant bird once more, but this time Dynablade was staring back, her blue eyes blazing with fury and hatred. Francisca raised her axe, prepared to strike, prompting Dynablade to let out another thundering screech.
Is this what the Jamba Heart did? Is this what it did to Hyness? The mage clutched her labrys. I have to help her... Francisca flinched as she felt a sharp, rising heat begin to form within the creature. What now? Dynablade's beak opened, releasing a stream of scorching flame down at the ice mage. Jamblasted! Francisca attempted to shield herself but was quickly overcome by the current of flame, the heat sweltering all around the mage.
The Halberd Mess Hall was bustling with activity as groups of knights, squires, and soldiers took their places at tables in order to begin their meals.
Flamberge lifted her head into the air, catching the scent of the nearby food. Juh? The mage blinked. The smell leaves something to be desired. The mage's inner dialogue was interrupted by the sound of her stomach growling. But food is still food.
The mage scooted herself over to the lunch line where she picked up her tray and slid her way over to boiling pot.
Flamberge frowned as she took a look inside the bubbling pot. Looks some sort of curry. The mage took a quick sniff. But it smells kinda bland. The mage, however, sighed and took a spoonful anyways; knowing that her stomach was too hungry to be picky right now.
"Juh?" Flamberge promptly turned around and jumped upon seeing a jammerjab dressed in red gawking at her.
"I-It is you!" The jammerjab exclaimed, looking just as shocked as Flamberge was. "General, what are you doing here?"
Hey, I do know them! Flamberge squinted at the jammerjab, struggling to put a name to a face. What's their name...Jally? No, it was Jamberson. No, that's not it! It was-
"Uh, it's me." The jammerjab sheepishly adjusted their hat. "Jambo."
Flamberge's eyes widened in recognition. "Oh yeah! I remember now! You were with us at the Jambastion!"
Jambo nervously chuckled. "Uh, yeah, until I decided, to, you know-" A visible sweat fell down the former-acolyte's face. "became a turn coat and betrayed you and Lord Hyness."
An awkward silence followed Jambo's statement before Flamberge nervously laughed herself.
"Yeah, well-" Flamberge looked down to Jambo. "I guess we're both traitors now."
"I-" The jammerjab stammered. "I supposed that's probably true."
The two both laughed.
"So, what brings you to the Halberd, General?" Jambo asked. "Seems pretty random all things considered, and I haven't seen General Francisca or General Partizanne with you."
Flamberge flicked her hair. "Let's just say things have gotten a little complicated. I decided to come here because I'm looking for a good fight, I think I might be able to find that here."
"Oh!" Jambo's eyes widened. "Well, that's great! We haven't gotten all the details on the mission yet, but I'm really excited to see what this is all about! I'm glad to have a familiar face be joining us."
"Yeah, me too!" You have no idea how lost I've been without Zan or Francisca. Flamberge thought, feeling some of her previous apprehension melt away. Maybe this whole 'making friends' thing might actually work out.
Francisca hacked the heat out her chest, feeling it be quickly replaced with the relieving cold that she had grown accustomed to. Forgive me Dyanblade, but I'm now one you should push around. Francisca flung her labrys forward, parting through the flames until she landed on the creature's chest. The mage quickly raised her axe, knocking Dynablade in the head, who responded with a low growl as she stumbled backwards.
Francisca quickly stretched her hands forward, slowly encasing Dynablade's form with a thin layer of ice. The bird let out another screech, embers erupting from her beak, but appeared to incapable of summoning flames any stronger than that. Francisca continued to spray a layer of ice and snow over the creature, completely immobilizing Dynablade. The bird monster tried to hit the ice the away with it's massive wings, but was incapable of releasing itself from the wall of the ice.
Dynablade, please... Francisca pressed her hands together in a prayer once more. Dynablade responded by letting out another furious, but clearly more tired screech. Dynablade is still festering with dark magic. The mage sighed and gripped onto her labrys once more. You leave me no choice. With great force and precision, Francisca whacked Dynablade atop the head with her labrys, resulting in Dynablade's eyes to roll back and black out.
"Francisca!" Coo quickly flew over to mage, looking very out of breath. "Y-you-" The owl-folk looked over at the unconscious Dynablade in disbelief. "You beat Dynablade on your own?"
Francisca didn't seem to regard Coo's question much as she continued to stare at Dynablade in anticipation of something. This isn't right. The mage shut her eyes and focused on Dynablade's presence. Dynablade's unconscious but I still sense dark magic. The mage abruptly opened her eyes and jumped up, her teeth gritted and her eyes widened. "Where's the Jamba Heart?"
Coo gave an inquisitive "Hmm?".
"I thought that Dynablade was being possessed by a Jamba Heart." It felt like she was being possessed by a Jamba Heart! "But there's no Jamba Heart!" Francisca exclaimed.
Coo's eyes formed a glare. "I don't like where this is going."
The mage clenched her hands as she felt a shudder go through her body. "Something else was causing Dynablade to lose control." Francisca lowered her head, as if to piece together a puzzle in her mind. "Some other dark magic."
oops accidental mystery plot
Chapter 5: Out There
Zan receives a gift. Flamberge receives a mission. Francisca gets a lift.
"Hey, wizard! I require your assistance!"
Magolor jumped upon hearing Zan's voice, as he did not notice the mage march her way over to his stand.
"O-of course!" Magolor yelped. "W-what can I do for you?"
Zan carefully placed paper flier labled 'Magolor Shoppe' on the counter of Magolor's caravan and pointed at a certain section of the flier. "This says that your store offers farm crops as well. I was wondering if I could have some potatoes and carrots."
The wizard seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. "Oh, certainly!" The blue-robed figure quickly ducked himself to the back as his caravan and dug through his pile of disorganized merchandise. Magolor let out an audible "Ah-Ha!" and handed Zan two linen pouches. "Here you are."
"Thank you." Zan replied, happily placing the pouches into her messenger bag.
"So." Magolor began. "I take it this gardening thing is actually working out for you...?"
"No, actually." The mage replied quickly. "But I enjoy doing it, and I thought that I might have better luck with vegetables than flowers."
The wizard tilted his head in confusion. "R-really now?" Magolor's neon-yellow eyes squinted at the lightning mage. "You know, you seem a lot less...angry than you were the last time you stopped by."
"I suppose the fresh air has been doing me some good." Zan remarked before adjusting the strap of her bag. "Well then, I'll be heading off now. Thanks for doing business with me."
"N-no, thank you-" Magolor tried to reply back, but Zan was already making her way out of the square. The mage scratched one of his ears. "Talk about an attitude adjustment."
The walk from the town square back to Zan's tent was an uneventful one. When she arrived back at her home, Zan Partizanne wasted know time grabbing a shovel and beginning to dig away at the soil of her garden. The mage, however, was quickly interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Ah, Miss Partizanne! There you are!"
Zan made little effort to stop the groan of annoyance escaping from her mouth as she saw a familiar figure with pink hair and luminescent blue eyes.
"Susie, what are you doing here?" Zan said, glaring at the former secretary.
Susie simply lifted a hand up to her non-visible mouth and laughed. "I'm here because I believe that I owe you an apology."
"You mean about my flowers?" The mage arched an eyebrow. "Well, thank you, Susie. I really appreciate that, but with all do respect-"
The other lady seemed to have disregarded Zan's response as she was quick to interrupt. "-And I thought what better way to that then to offer you an apology present!"
Zan had little time to react as Susie quickly shoved some small mechanical object into her face. The mage's vision corrected itself to show that the machine was flower like in design, but was still very much inorganic.
"What...what is this?" Zan asked.
"A windmill flower." Susie answered. "It powers itself." She said with a glimmer in her eyes.
"Well yes-" Zan began. "All flowers do that. Through synthesis."
"Yes, but this one is is less...flimsy. It's the state of the art of Haltmann products!" Susie replied. "A 'must have' for any new homeowner!"
"Thanks..." I don't really care. Zan slowly took the mechanical flower. "I...appreciate it."
"Why, thank you!" Susie winked. "If you like it, maybe you'd consider letting me help build your house?"
"I'm doing just fine on my own." The lightning mage deadpanned before she crouched over, set the mechanical flower down, and began digging in the soil to plant her new crops.
Susie quietly hovered over Zan and studied the crops that Zan was planting. "Hm? What are you planting now?"
"Hopefully something that won't get electrocuted by any stray cables." The lightning mage answered flatly.
Susie glared. "I promise - I had all of the wires removed. Honestly, I truly didn't expect the cables to go that far out. I didn't mean to trouble you."
Zan sighed. "It's fine. I'd just rather have nothing bad happen to my garden again."
The mage reached her hand out next to her, trying to grab her shovel, but found that she couldn't reach it.
Zan felt the handle of her shovel touch her hand, and glanced over to see that Susie was the one that placed it there.
The scientist let out a sigh. "I can't say that I understand gardening as a hobby, but I'll help you anyways."
Flamberge groaned as she lifted her head from her pillow. The mage drowsily looked around and noticed the small room she was sleeping in lined with steel plating.
Good morning, Halberd. The mage thought as she groggily got up from her new bed.
"Flamberge! Are you awake?" The voice from outside her room called.
"Yeah, yeah! I'm awake! Just give me a second!" Flamberge hopped out of her bed and quickly changed out of her nightgown into her priestess robes before opening the door to her new cramped bed room.
Behind the door stood Axe Knight, who was tapping their foot impatiently while the scowled at the mage before them.
"Flamberge! What took you so long?" The knight said with clear disapproval. "Didn't you hear the morning alarm?"
The mage grumbled. "Of course I did! I know did because I-" Flamberge glanced back into her room and realized that there was a large scorch mark over where the speaker in her room was placed. "Whoops."
Axe Knight scoffed, almost seeming to be amused. "Whoops indeed. Anyways, get your tail over to the main hallway. We're about to reveal what this secret mission is. I wouldn't miss it if I were you!" The skull-faced knight spun around and gestured for Flamberge to follow them as they began to march down the hallway.
When Flamberge arrived at the main hallway, a long trail of soldiers were already diligently lined up against the wall. Across from them stood Mace Knight, who was simply giving the soldiers a blank stare before Axe Knight took their place next to them.
"Flamberge! Over here!"
Flambege jerked her head around to see Jambo standing at the edge of the line, motioning for Flamberge to take her place next to them.
The mage quickly trailed over to the space next to the jammerjab before whispering to them. "Say Jambo-" Flamberge began. "Any idea what-"
Jambo simply placed a finger in front of their collar and shushed Flamberge as the sound of metallic footsteps began to approach from down the hallway. Flamberge instinctively turned her head around to the source of the sound, her eyes widening as she saw a very familiar figure approach. The figure was rather short and round and stature and wore a silver mask, obscuring all of his face save for his piercing silver-gold eyes. He wore a brilliant purple cape and his right shoulder-pad was decorated with Meta-Knights' insignia.
This figure was, of course, none other than Sir Meta Knight; the leader of the Meta-Knights (Still weird.) and core member of the Star Allies. Flamberge instinctively tensed up as the knight walked by. Please don't mention anything about Fran or Zan. Please don't mention anything about Fran or Zan. Please don't-
Meta Knight marched past her without even acknowledging her presence. "Mace, Axe." The caped knight adressed his companions.
Both Axe Knight and Mace Knight saluted. "Sir!"
The lead knight turned to the line of soldiers. "I suppose you all are wondering why you all are here. I assume most of you have heard something about a mission?"
The group of soldiers hesitantly murmured to each other before nodding their heads.
"Well, it's time that we let know whats been happening." Meta Knight began. "You all recall the Jamba Heart incident from a couple months back?"
Flamberge felt a bead of sweat go down her face. Really? For me, it seems impossible to forget.
Most of the other soldiers simply nodded.
"There's been a slight problem." The masked knight announced.
"Last week, I went over to Castle Lololo. However, Lololo and Lalala were very much not acting like themselves."
"What do you mean?" Flamberge quickly clasped her hands over her mouth. Don't speak unless your told to, Flamberge! The mage shut her eyes, expecting someone to scold her.
"Lololo and Lalala attempted to attack me." The knight answered. "Not only that, but I detected dark magic when they did. And this isn't the only incident I've heard about. There's been multiple cases of Dreamland inhabitants turning violent due to the cause of dark magic."
"So we need to find them and destroy the Jamba Heart pieces that are corrupting them?" Flamberge asked, gathering a couple of looks from the other soldiers.
"That's the problem, Flamberge. When I pacified Lololo and Lalala, a Jamba Heart piece didn't appear. Same for the other incidents I've heard of." Meta Knight explained, perplexing Flamberge even further.
So this isn't being caused by the Jamba Heart? The fire mage pondered. "Is there any other explanation as for what's happening?"
"None that are likely." The masked knight answered. "We'd know if this was being caused by Dark Matter, and the Dimensional Mirror has been carefully locked away in Floralia." Meta Knight's eyes squinted as Flamberge sensed a strong feeling of contempt rise within the knight. "And we know that the cause is magical in nature, so the Haltmann Works Company has nothing to do with this." Meta Knight's voice tightened at the mention of the Haltmann Works Company, but Flamberge couldn't remember what the connection was there.
Mace and Axe both glanced at their leader, whose mood had become much worse in the matter of the past few seconds.
"T-the point is-" Axe Knight began. "The mission right now is to investigate possible causes of these incidents."
"This side of the line-" Mace Knight pointed to the half of the line where Flamberge and Jambo were standing. "You all are coming with me. We're going to do some investigating at Castle Lololo. Come on now."
As Mace Knight split off to go down the hall, Flamberge quickly began to follow with Jambo behind her and so on.
Francisca rolled her head over. I can't sleep. Francisca began to crawl her way out her sleeping bag that the animal friends so graciously gifted to her.
The ice mage had attempted to spend the night near the summit of Candy Mountain, but it was no good. The mage's thoughts were plagued with worries about Dynablade, the guardian of the Celestial Valley who had recently been corrupted by jambandran magic. Francisca had climbed the mountain in hopes of soothing the ailing creature, but was forced to resort to violence in order to incapacitate it.
I wish I could've done something different. The mage thought of what Flamberge would have done.
"Dynablade doesn't seem to listening to reason, Franny. I say we just fry her!"
Francisca sighed. Yes, I suppose that is what she would do. Zan probably wouldn't say anything different, either. The mage exhaled an icy breath once more. I just wish I could've done more. Francisca grimaced. I want to do more than just hurt people.
The mage's eyes lit up in realization. Maybe I still can. Francisca quickly spun around and looked up the hill of the summit. Dynablade should still be here. The mage quickly grabbed her sleeping bag and began to hastily make her way up the hill to where the bird-creature's nest was. Francisca ever so cautiously crept as she approached Dynablade's nest but stopped when she noticed that Dynablade was fast asleep.
Looks the ice thawed out. The mage sighed. At least she won't freeze in her sleep.
Francisca stared at the bird-creature's face. Dynablade's eyes were shut, but it was clear that the bird must have passed out from exhaustion after the events that had occurred prior. Francisca slowly drifted over next to the bird and hovered a hand over one of Dynablade's massive wings.
The animal-folk were right. Dynablade does seem to mostly passive. The mage frowned. Which her behavior earlier today all the more concerning.
Francisca finally placed her hand on Dynablade's wing, causing the bird to shudder in shock. Dynablade began to raise her head, her eyes blinking in confusion as she awoke.
"O-Oh! Jupologa! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to wake you!" Francisca blurted as Dynablade rolled her large head over to look at the startled mage.
Instead of attacking, screeching or anything that Francisca expected the creature to do, Dynablade simply stared at her with her ocean-blue eyes as if waiting for Francisca's response.
The mage found herself stumbling over her thoughts. "I-uh-" Francisca swallowed. "Sorry for freezing you earlier." The mage whispered.
Dynablade's raised an eyebrow, clearly having expected a different response.
Francisca blinked, somehow feeling more awkward than before. "W-what? I-"
Dynablade whipped her head around and began pointing to her back with her beak.
"Your back?" Francisca cautiously floated over to get a better look when Dynablade's beak suddenly lifted the mage off the ground by the back of her dress.
Francisca panicked and sputtered for a second until she found herself set gently on the back of the giant bird.
"Why did you want me to look at your back?" The mage said with an eyebrow raised. "Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary-"
The bird creature stood up and outstretched her massive multi-color wings, startling Francisca, as Dynablade's wings began to flap and propel the bird off of the ground, and eventually, off the mountain.
Francisca watched with astounding and mild terror as she saw the mountain underneath her fly pass her vision, quickly being replaced by the sight of the nearby valley that lied beyond the mountain.
"Dynablade!" Francisca yelped, her hands gripped firmly onto the feathers on Dynablade's back. "Where are you taking me?!"
Dynablade didn't audibly respond (though to be fair, Francisca wasn't sure what she expected when she tried to ask.) and continued her graceful glide over the Celestial Valley.
The mage caught the words in her throat, realizing that Dynablade was likely to not respond to anything she had to say. Instead, Francisca's gaze drifted back down to ground below them, her attention now focused on the sights below her.
From what Francisca could make out through the nighttime darkness and the fact that Dynablade was flying by with incredible speed, Francisca saw the many waterfalls that spilled into the valley's basin, cloaking the entire region in a fine, but dazzling mist. As Dynablade carefully descended, Francisca could get a better view and realized that the mist were illuminated by gentle rays of color.
Moonbows...! The mage titled her head and gazed at the blue moon above her. The light from the moon is clear enough to create rainbows even during nighttime! Francisca's gaze returned to the waterfalls below her as Dynablade concluded her descent and landed in a nearby waterhole.
Francisca carefully climbed down from Dyanblade's back and looked back to the bird with a large grin. "Thank you Dynablade! That was spectacular!"
Dynablade must of have been preening herself as Francisca said that, and responded by pulling a feather out of her massive wings and offering it to Francisca.
"Your feather?" Francisca began to take the feather out of Dynablade's wing, until her left hand was met with the sharp, metallic end of the feather.
Francisca reflexively pulled her hand back and began cooling it with magic, until she saw Dynablade still staring at her expectantly.
"Jupologa." The mage apologized before carefully pulling the quill out once more, now held gently in her hands. "Are...you giving this me?" Francisca asked.
Dynablade slowly nodded her head before stepping back and flapping her wings, taking off back in the direction of the Candy Mountain.
Francisca looked down at the feather. The feather was indeed tipped with a sharp, metal edge, and while it appeared to primarily be red in color, Francisca could make out speckles of every color of the rainbow and it glowed like a faint flame.
Francisca chuckled. Looks like I already found a souvenir to bring to Flamberge after all.
Chapter 6: Adapting
Flamberge gets investigating. Zan gets called out. Francisca gets a break.
The first thing Flamberge would say about Dreamland architecture is just how colorful everything is; nothing at all like the dark halls of Jambandra and the Jambastion. Castle Lololo, like most other buildings in Dreamland, was candy colored with star-patterns engraved in the bricks of the castle wall.
"So, where's Lololo and Lalala?" Jambo, who was following behind Flamberge, asked Axe Knight who was leading the investigation at the castle.
"If I were to take a guess, I'd say that they're inside." Axe answered. "Follow me! I used to work here, so they'll be more negotiable with me around!"
The group were quick to follow Axe Knight as they enthusiastically led them across the bridge and into the entrance of Castle Lololo. The inside of the castle was just as colorful as the outside, but what the interior apart was the number of long, narrow corridors that split out from the entrance hall. In the center of this hall was a small blue orb-shaped person who was standing around, their eyes sunken with dread.
"Hey Lololo! How are you holding up?"
The blue figure's large eyes dilated as they stumbled back in shock. "Oh!" Lololo's eyes sunk as they began fiddling with their hands nervously. "I-it's you guys..."
"Easy, fella'." Axe Knight began, gesturing for Lololo to calm down. "We're not here looking for a fight."
Lololo breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh. I suppose you're here to-"
Axe nodded. "Figure out what exactly caused you and Lalala to attack Sir Meta Knight? Yep."
"Well, make yourselves at home." Lololo replied. "I've been giving it some thought myself, but I still can't figured out what possessed me to try and fight Sir Meta Knight. But maybe you and your crew will be able to piece things together."
"That's the hope." Axe Knight spun around to Flamberge, Jambo and the rest of the crew. "Alright, gang. Let's split up! Let me know if you find anything suspicious. I'll go search around with Lololo and see what we can find. Good luck!"
With that, Axe Knight began to follow Lololo down one of narrow corridors in the castle and the rest of the party began to split up as well.
"Well General?" Jambo started. "Where do you think we should start?"
"Good question." Flamberge brought a hand up to her chin. "I think we should go the upper floors and work our way down. Everyone else is starting on this floor, but I say we should cover as much ground as we can." The fire mage mused.
"Great!" Jambo cheered. "Let's get started then!"
That's odd... Zan thought as she looked out at her garden. The carrots have begun to sprout but not the potatoes. The lightning mage floated over to her field to investigate further, only to see that nothing had sprouted where her potatoes were.
Zan huffed. Ugh! Don't tell me that Susie had something to do with this!
"Excuse me?" An unfamiliar, shrill voice said.
Zan snapped her head around to see a Waddle Doo standing across her yard; wearing a blue witch's hat gazing at her with a giant, bulbous blue eye.
"I believe I may know why those crops of yours aren't sprouting." The waddle doo said curtly.
"Well, go on then." Zan replied. "I'm all ears.
"Those are potatoes you planted; They grow underground. If you want to harvest them, you'll have to dig them up." The stranger answered, as if explaining something that was supposed to very obvious to Zan.
Zan felt a familiar twitch of irritation in her eye. "Why thank you for the constructive criticism." That I didn't ask for.
The mage hurriedly bent over and began to dig up her potatoes, which to her surprise, had begun to multiply.
"Told you so." The waddle doo said.
"Alright, alright. Sorry!" Zan replied. "I'm new around here, I don't know a lot about farming."
"Oh I figured, Partizanne."
To this, Zan responded by looking at the waddle doo with confusion. Wait, do I know her? The mage squinted as her memories began to return. "Miss Dooloo?" King Dedede's lead Waddle Doo Mage?
Dooloo bowed with her signature arrogance. "At your service! King Dedede sent me to check up on you! So, how are you doing?"
"Well-" Zan started. "Apparently I don't even know how to farm potatoes, so make your own conclusions."
"Well, as embarrassing as that must be, you're still faring better than some people." Dooloo said, her eye glancing in the direction of Susie's house(?)(It's really more of a lab).
Zan tilted her head. "What do you mean?"
The waddle doo huffed. "You're neighbors with Susie, right? Certainly you've noticed her...stubbornness."
"Are you referring to her 'go-getter' attitude or her tendency to make every conversation about her business?" Zan inquired.
"The business thing." Dooloo answered flatly. "I'm honestly impressed that you've adapted so well."
"Well then-" Dooloo chirped. "I'll be taking my leave! If you have anymore potato troubles, feel free to enlist my services! It is my royal duty to aid this kingdom's denizens! So long!"
Zan chuckled as the waddle doo took off. She's right. I've had make great progress. If only Hyness, Francisca and Flamberge could see me now!
The moment that thought entered Zan's head, she felt her chest tighten. Jamba's heart. How long has it been since Francisca and Flamberge left? A month? How long has it been since I've seen Hyness...?
Zan felt tears beginning to form in her eyes. How did I ever forget about them? The lightning mage's thoughts began to spiral until she heard the sound of gusting wind go off from behind her.
"Bonjam, Miss Partizanne!"
Zan jerked her head around to see Susie, holding onto her HWC copter drone as she flew over to the mage.
"I'm proud to announce I have a new business proposal for you!"
Francisca found herself humming the 'Song of Supplication' as she made her way out of Celestial Valley. Now, where to next? Francisca unraveled her map.
Let's see... The thing that immediately caught her eye, like every time she referenced her map, was the Fountain of Dreams. However, she was still quite a ways away from the Rainbow Resort, and there were other places of interest along the way to the dream fountain anyways.
How about...here? Francisca placed her finger on the location labeled 'Grape Gardens'. It's along the way after all.
The ice mage hummed in amusement. Hopefully this adventure will be less intense than the last. Francisca brushed off her dress. This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. The mage picked her traveling bag and began her hike to her next destination. I'm sure Flamberge would say otherwise, however.
The ice mage frowned. She'd been thinking a lot about Flamberge. When Francisca would have missions in the past, Flamberge's raw determination and enthusiasm was Francisca's greatest source of motivation; but now that she is traveling on her lonesome, the ice mage has realized just how quickly she gets burned out.
How does Flamberge do it? How is she always so cavalier all the time? This perplexed Francisca. Francisca has always been known to be levelheaded and strong judge of character. Meanwhile, Flamberge's energy and enthusiasm could infect any person near her, no matter what the end goal was.
This is why Francisca and Flamberge always worked so well together. They balanced each other out. But now that Francisca is on her lonesome, she found herself confronted with a feeling she only felt during the Jambandra invasion; a distinct lack of drive.
Why...don't I spend another night in the Celestial Valley? I'll head out for Grape Garden tomorrow.
The ice mage began to set up the camp she just finished packing earlier, preparing for another night; despite the fact she was worried about the pace she was making on her trek through Dreamland.
"Sorry, Susie. I don't have time to listen to your business drabblings." Zan sighed, turning around to get back to tending to her crops, and to hopefully avoid Susie seeing that she had been crying.
"Hear me out!" Susie blurted out. "It's about the housing options I've been trying to tell you about!"
Zan exhaled. I...would like to sleep with something sturdier above my head. Especially with creatures such as Kracko making frequent visits here. "...I'm listening."
Susie clapped her hands together, her eyes sparkling. "Excellent!"
"Just try not to go overboard." Zan interjected. "Remember, I don't like anything flashy. All I need is something f-"
"Functional?" Susie interrupted, finishing what Zan was about to say. "I knew that's that what you would say."
The scientist unraveled a blueprint she had been holding and handed it to Zan. The schematic was surprisingly simple, as it displayed a dome shaped structure; much like rest of houses that were scattered across the Green Greens.
"I based it upon most of the other houses in this area." Susie explained, confirming Zan's intuition. "However, I am willing to add any additions or modifications if that's what you wish."
"No, no. It's fine." Zan replied, surprised that someone as conceited as Susie would actually come up with something so...simplistic. "I do have one concern though."
Susie raised an eyebrow coyly. "That's it's going to be made of metal?"
Zan turned to her in shock. She...actually thought about that?
"Now why I do usually use metal in my construction projects-" The scientist mused. "I also realize that a metal house may become problematic if you decide to go...'lightning happy'. That's why I'm leaving the choice of material up to you." She said with a smile.
The lightning mage blinked. "I- Thank you." Zan began absent-mindedly fiddling with her hair. "I was so worried that you would make all of the design choices for me. That's why I've been putting this off." The mage admitted, still impressed by how much care Susie took into this project.
"My pleasure." Susie said before bowing her head. "Now all that's left is for you to decide where you want it to be built."
"Right, I was thinking maybe you could- Oh no."
The scientist tilted her head. "What's wrong?...oh."
What Zan and Susie both realized is that Zan just tilled the land around her tent in a circle, meaning that the only open space to put up the house would be in the tent's current position; meaning that the tent can't stay at all.
"Argh!" Zan growled, before slapping a hand onto her face. "Jamblasted! We can't build now! I don't have another place I can stay!"
"Really?" Zan turned to Susie, who looked like had just come up with some brilliant scheme. "Can't you stay at my place?"
Zan's eyes widened and looked at Susie with a complete loss for words.
"Oh, come on! It will be fun!" The scientist pleaded. "Besides, with me at this project's helm, this project will be complete in no time! What's a couple of days?"
Chapter 7: Information
Flamberge finds a fight. Zan makes do. Francisca gets some info.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"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.
you've probably expected this but three no more is probably going to go on hiatus. im going to my first year at college in about a month so i just dont really have the time or energy to continue right now. thanks for reading. Three no more will probably be revisited later on when things are less hectic.