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The Bounty Hunter and the...Space Dragon Princess

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In this pocket dimension, not much really happened. Sometimes, pieces of new worlds were drawn into it along with some of its inhabitants and sometimes, everything just...shifted without a warning, but that was about it. However, that didn't mean that absolutely nothing happened. After all, there were people living there and some of them caused trouble just as naturally as they breathed.

Skull Kid was one of them. Normally, he wasn't a part of what was called "the main cast". An instance of him was supposed to be summoned every now and then and, once he played his role, dismissed until the die is cast once more. Of course, not every system is flawless. One instance of him just happened to linger for longer than needed, out of everyone's sight, and it was now walking through halls in search of a victim to harass.

At that moment, he was in a section reserved for three beings from the same world although only two of them were actually seen as people. The masked child didn't intentionally choose this part of the pocket dimension. It just happened to be the closest one on his random path.

He wasn't empty-handed either. Interdimensional junk was also drawn into this place. One such item was held in his bag. It came from that one world filled with way too many inanimate objects that possessed beady eyes and this thing wasn't an exception. It looked like a golden crown with a pink cap, but there was more to it than that even before Skull Kid laid his hands on it.

The child couldn't help but snicker at the thought of harassing someone as he usually did. Well, that actually wasn't something he would do without that cursed mask on his face, but he gained notoriety in this state and so he appeared here with it. This wasn't the first time he was let loose in this place either, but there wasn't anyone who could take care of that issue until it resolved itself, which was bound to happen sooner or later as the "supporting cast" simply didn't have enough energy to anchor themselves to this pocket dimension.

Unfortunately for the occupant of the room Skull Kid walked into, this problem wasn't going away before growing into a bigger mess.

At a glance, nobody would actually think that this thing was more than a beast as he looked like an undead purple dragon with a severe eating disorder and he didn't make a good impression of himself afterwards either. He was among the first to be drawn here, but it took several shifts for him to join the "main cast". His codename - or, as far as everyone was concerned, name - was Ridley and he was easily the worst of the worst here. Extremely violent and just plain rude, there was absolutely nobody who wanted to have anything to do with him aside from maybe one or two people who were too good-natured for their own good.

But none of that mattered when he was sleeping on a couch, curled up like a cat and taking up just as much space. He was the perfect target for the masked child.

Tip-toeing through the air, Skull Kid slowly approached the sleeping beast. He could afford to be much less subtle, but there was something about cursing people like this that seemed amusing enough for him to put a little more effort into it. Everything hinged on Ridley not violently lashing out the moment he caught his scent, but if he didn't do so already, then there was no need to worry about it.

Once he comes close enough to reach out and put the crown on the dragon's head, Skull Kid paused. Seconds thoughts? No. He was simply making sure that his victim was asleep. Since he was sleeping, there was nothing stopping the masked child from doing what he wanted. The moment the crown touched Ridley's head, a puff of smoke and sparkles engulf him.

Unfortunately for Skull Kid, he doesn't get to admire his handiwork as he disappeared without a trace before he could see anything. Or maybe it was for the better as his victim certainly wouldn't appreciate it.

Samus wasn't a morning person. It was hard to wake up in the morning when "morning" was different on many planets she visited and outright non-existent in the reaches of space. She simply woke up when her body had enough sleep.

Her routine after waking up was simple. Physical excercise, a bit of water, brushing teeth, a shower, more excersise and so on. The one thing that she didn't do back home was wearing these pajamas. It resembled the suit she wore under her Power Suit, but it was much more comfortable and it was a gift from one of this dimension's residents. If it weren't for the unusual circumstances, she probably wouldn't wear them, but she could afford that and many more things here. It was a nice change of pace after years of living in anticipation of a surprise attack from whatever horrors the world decides to throw at her. Having people to talk to without worrying about them dying because fate seemingly didn't want her to have company was also nice. She wasn't as cold and aloof as she was back when she first found herself here.

It would be naive of her to expect no drawbacks from it though. While there were bits and pieces of many different worlds here, this pocket dimension was still very limited and nobody could leave on their own. She also had to live with some people she really wasn't fond of. And of course that just had to include the bastard who took everything from her twice. She also took everything from him and killed him twice, but he was still here and it didn't look like he was going anywhere anytime soon. Samus couldn't even try killing him here as death simply didn't in this place. As some sort of a cosmic joke, there was Death and he was an actual Grim Reaper whose scythe she had the opportunity to use several times, but it wasn't actually "the permanent end of life".

Worst of all, they shared rooms. That meant she had to see his ugly every single day. Aside from the whole killing parents thing, he was just an asshole in general. The kind of asshole who would unscrew a salt shaker when asked to pass the salt, then flip the table and start mauling whoever tried to call him out for that. That had already happened once in the canteen shortly after he joined them properly.

Ridley wasn't the only one from her world, but that...thing just wasn't a real person. It could think and it had her DNA, but the only thing it had on its mind was Phazon and how to spread it. It was even less than an animal. Almost everyone here hated Ridley, but Dark Samus just creeped them out. The fact that it had a piece of her never stopped being disturbing, but at least she didn't have to see it that often.

This should have been just another day, but there was something unusual in the living room. There, curled up on a couch like a cat, was a petite girl no older than eighteen. She had never work any and she barely knew anything about them as they were simply too ancient for her, but Samus was sure that sleeping in a purple dress like that was neither comfortable nor good for the clothes in question. It wasn't quite as long as Peach or Zelda's dresses as the skirt just barely reached the girl's knees, which were covered by black thigh-highs. The skirt itself parted in the front to reveal red frills. Her shoes with heels were purple too, much like her waist-length hair with blunt bangs and sidelocks. Part of the dress covering her chest was grey, with a big red bow and a yellow gem attached to her collar. There were also two pairs of yellow gems on her stomach connected with thin silver chains and a weird crown on her head.

That's when Samus realized that, whoever she was, she wasn't human. There were two purple horns growing out of her head, a long purple tail with an arrowhead-shaped tip curled around her body and two large wings with red membranes. Her skin was awfully pale like the skin of a corpse after enough time passes for the lack of blood circulation to take its toll on it. That alone wouldn't have been so bad as the bounty hunter had seen one person who could grow draconic features here, but these weren't just any dragon wings, horns and tail. They reminded her too much of the one who took the lives of her parents.

What was she doing in that room anyway? Samus wasn't told about any guests coming over and there didn't seem to be any newcomers for now. She thought about that creature capable of replicating the appearance and abilities of anyone it sees, but while it could never get faces right, it never combined any features and there wasn't anyone who matched the girl's appearance aside from her wings and such.

She would get the answers soon as the girl started to wake up.

"Grrgh...Would you kindly piss off and let me sleep in peace?" the girl said, briefly opening her yellow eyes just to glare at Samus. Hearing those words said with such a soft voice was a little weird.

"I'm sorry, but you should leave before any of the other two come here. You don't want to meet them."

"And you should eat shit and d...Hold on..."

The incredibly rude girl squinted before shaking her head and sitting up. Samus wasn't sure what she was doing when this stranger continued to stare at her, but given how the conversation began, things were going to get rough from that point.

That ended up being an accurate prediction as the girl tried to take a swipe at her, but ended up falling off the couch when the older woman moved out of the way. What she didn't expect, however, was the girl starting to freak out when she tried to get up. It looked as if she was trying to find some critter crawling all over her, with both confusion and disgust visible on her face. That expression quickly shifted into one of pure anger before the girl lunged at her, but the bounty hunter easily caught her.

"SAAAMUUUUS! I KNOW THIS IS SOMEHOW YOUR FAULT!" she screeched, desperately waving her arms in front of her in an attempt to claw Samus' face off. There was something both funny about it, but only until something occurred to the bounty hunter.

Then it became doubly hilarious and at that point, she couldn't help but burst out laughing, something that rarely happened in her life. The idea would normally be utterly ridiculous, but here, all notions of normalcy were thrown out. Samus herself had already used several times one strange item that gave her ears and a tail of some mammal and that somehow let her hover. So did Ridley at least once. That was only one of the many examples of how ridiculous things could get in this pocket dimension.

But this? This was something else.

"Quit laughing your ass off!"

Hearing him talk now made it even funnier. His voice had none of its usual menace and his even further diminished size made him so much less threatening. At that moment, he was just a child trying to act tough and talk shit.

Samus' laugh is stopped when the sharp tip of Ridley's tail found itself lodged into her stomach, making her release him instantly and double over from pain. Anywhere else, that would have been life-threatening, if not outright lethal, but this attack didn't even leave any visible wounds or staining her clothes with blood. There was pain and that's about it. She probably shouldn't have let her guard down, but she rarely had an opportunity to humiliate the stupid dragon like this. It was the most she could do when killing him wasn't possible.

An awfully wide smile appeared on Ridley's face at the sight of the human wincing from pain. Seeing any form of suffering always made him smile. Unfortunately for him, Samus continued to laugh once she recovered and when he tried to stab her again, she caught his tail and yanked it as hard as she could, making him fall flat on his back. The way he yelped in surprise only made her laugh harder.

"You know, the last time you were this adorable, you had white fur growing all over you. You sure this isn't just a natural part of your life cycle?"

While she mostly intended to mock the purple bastard, Samus did actually find this form somewhat cute and she had a soft spot for cute things. It ended up biting her in the ass once, sure, and it was with him too, but she couldn't help it. Even Metroids, as grotesque as they look, still seemed kinda cute, especially when they weren't busy killing everything in sight. It really was a shame that she couldn't have kept that Metroid hatchling with her without breaking several laws. She did get attached to it.

"You bitch...Hm...Aaaa...Aaaa...Aaaa..."

What was the doing now? She could tell that he was changing the tone of his voice, but she had no idea where he was going with it. It probably wasn't going to be anything good.

"E-Even if you look different...W-We can still be friends...!"

Those words rang a bell...Those words and the voice he used were familiar to her. She remember it all too clearly.

"Mommy! Mommy!"

As soon as those words left his mouth, Samus wrapped her hands around his neck and pushed him to the floor. Seeing him smile at her violent response only made her grip tighter. His neck really should have been broken at that point, but it wasn't and it couldn't be.

"Heheheh...Isn't it a shame? No matter how much we want to kill each other, we can't! Before your kind turned dreams of seizing stars into reality, they thought of an afterlife filled with nothing, but endless bloodshed and endless feasts with no fear of permanent death, didn't they? You lot named one of your ships after it before we massacred everyone on-board...Valhalla, was it? And now look at us...Locked in eternal combat without shedding even a drop of blood... You could say we're now stuck in the shittiest Valhalla imagineable...Hehehe...Ghyahahahaha...!"

The bounty hunter's hands didn't lose their hold on Ridley's neck until they grew too numb to keep it. Completely exhausted, she lied down on her back. He was right though. As much as she wanted him dead, there was nothing she could do here. Samus had to simply accept that he wasn't going anywhere and, no matter what form he took, he was going to be an asshole until the very end. Whoever arranged this whole thing must have had a sick sense of humour.

A minute or two passed with both parties just lying on the floor before something else occurred to Samus. When she found him in this state, he had a crown on his head. The crown had beady eyes much like those strange mushrooms and leaf, both of which altered the state of whoever got their hands on those things. Sure, Ridley was easier to handle like this, but it would make beating him up much less satisfying and the thing he did with his voice was going to get on her nerves. Maybe taking the crown off would fix everything.

But when she sat up and looked at the space dragon in question, she didn't find the crown on his head. Instead, it was lying on the floor a few feet behind him. It must have been knocked off his head when she tried to strangle him.

...which meant that the solution wasn't that simple.

"I can't kill you, sure...but it looks like you're not going to turn back to normal for a while."

Hearing him scream in rage made her feel just a little bit better.