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The Dark Meltdown

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Chapter 4.

It was nighttime.

Dedede was sitting behind the desk in his bedroom, which was brightly lit by a candle, and looking at various photos in his photo album.

These photos pictured him, Kirby, Bandana Dee and Meta Knight during their various adventures.

Some photos had just him and Kirby, some just him and Bandana Dee.

Some were gifts from Kirby from journeys Dedede didn’t participate in.

But there was one thing that connected these photos together: looking at them made Dedede feel warm inside.

Lately joy from his life disappeared almost entirely… These photos were one of the few things left that kept him sane.

It was quite bittersweet feeling. On these photos everyone was happy. Not troubled by anything. They were all together. Dedede took this very much for granted back then.

In fact, at first, he even hesitated to accept that he hangs out with Kirby. This brat humiliated more than he could count. And yet even then he couldn’t help but look back at those moments fondly. They felt like a such distant, but oddly comforting memory. Over time he grew to care for the boy.

As much as he hated to admit it, but he knew well that Kirby helped him to change, helphim him to become a much better person.

People often say that you don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone. Well, today the great king truly understood the meaning of this saying.

He only now came to realize how much he came to love these goofs. They were like a family to him.

But at this point he burned all bridges. There was no way to go back to how things were. “And it’s probably for the best.” Dedede thought. “As much as I’m sad because I miss them, I will be even sadder if they will be gone because of me.”

“You are still looking at them, huh.”

Dark Matter materialized itself right next to Dedede. Was it a hallucination or reality? He couldn’t tell. Not that he cared anymore.

“You really should stop living in the past, you know. This is not going to help. What will help… If you finally embrace us.”

“Shut up.”

“Excuse us?”

“You made me lose almost everything I ever cared about in life. These photos… Is all I got left. Just, shut up and get lost. I’m not going to give you any satisfaction.”

“We didn’t do anything. Everything that is troubling you right now is your doing.”

Dedede’s patience was running thin.

“Go away.”

With all his might he smacked his desk. Few photos fell on the floor and candle went out. The only light source left was the bright moonlight from the window.

When Dedede looked again, Dark Matter went away. Did he scare it away? Or his mind stopped playing tricks on him? There was no way to tell.

But the worst part about this that Dark Matter wasn’t entirely wrong. It was his actions that made him currently miserable.

But how much exactly could he trust his own mind and body? He didn’t know for sure. As much he missed simpler, happier times, safety of his friends was a much bigger priority to him. No matter how much it hurt.

Unknowingly, this little smidge of warm and fuzzy feelings left inside his mind is what kept him safe for now. Power of the dark matter piece stuck inside of him was slowly taking him over, but this process was far from finished.

Dedede’s genuine love and care for his friends… This is something dark matter piece couldn’t take care of.

Kirby, Meta Knight and Bandana Dee still got a chance to save him.

* * *

“Dark Matter Murals?! Why didn’t you tell us this before?”

Meta Knight felt both slightly relieved since he finally got information that gave him some hope on saving Dedede, but at the same time he was mad at Kirby for not bringing this up in the first place.

“I’m sorry, but I was in that place such a long time ago that I forget unimportant stuff like that!”

Everyone glared at Kirby.

“…Well I didn’t know that it will be important later!”

“Are you sure they are murals of Dark Matter?” Bandana Dee wanted to believe that Kirby was onto something, but he was the type of person that preferred to get concrete information before becoming too excited.

“Well, they looked like a big dark circle with one creepy eye. Got to be it, right?”

“Sounds about right. We will have to check that place tomorrow.”

“So, we will visit Magolor’s museum after all?” Despite this trip being motivated purely by noble intentions, Axe Knight couldn’t help but get giddy at the prospect of visiting a new Pop Star attraction.

Meta Knight just realized that going to the old tower meant meeting with Magolor.

Oh boy.

“No, Axe Knight. You are staying on Halberd. I have a special mission for you and other Meta Knights. Tomorrow, while I’m gone investigating alongside Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee, you will start additional research on Dark Matter pieces. I didn’t look for anything regarding the topic in a while, so some new information might’ve appeared since then.”

Axe Knight’s enthusiasm quickly went back to zero. Meta Knight felt sorry for him, so he added:

“…if you do a good job, I will get you a ticket to that blasted museum, if you want to.”

Axe Knight’s spirits immediately went up again.

“Thanks, sir, you are truly the best!”

Meta Knight awkwardly brushed it off.

He loved his men dearly, but didn’t want his façade of a “tough boss” to disappear either.

So, every time he showed affection to any of them, he quickly changed the topic as if nothing happened.

“In any case, we must be going to sleep now.”

“To sleep?!”

Bandana Dee was furious.

“What do you mean, to sleep? We just found out about something that could help us and we are just going to go to bed? Why?! We should do something!”

“Bandee…” Kirby tried to calm his buddy down, but he just got too fired up to listen to him.

“I understand why you want to jump into action immediately. But think about it this way. Didn’t you berate Dedede for not going to sleep yourself? Healthy sleep is needed for any warrior, you know this better than anyone else in this room. Except me of course.”

Axe Knight and Kirby didn’t take this remark too kindly and squinted at Meta Knight.

The noble warrior with good sleep schedule conveniently ignored this.

“All of us should now go to sleep and get some rest before tomorrow. If we will have to fight, we will have to be strong, not exhausted. And I can tell that you two had a long day today.”

Bandee reluctantly agreed. As much as he hated to admit it, Meta Knight was right. There was no point in rushing things and they needed to get some rest.

“Besides… the museum is likely closed for the night and if we break-in Magolor won’t shut up about it until the end of time. And will likely make me pay a huge debt. Which is something I don’t want to do in the slightest.”

With all that settled, the group agreed to meet up near the museum tomorrow. Meta Knight and Axe Knight left Kirby’s house to get some rest on the Halberd, while Kirby was preparing a sleeping bag for his guest.

Bandee wasn’t in the mood for sleeping. In the slightest. There were many thoughts and feelings which he couldn’t even comprehend all at once.

Closest thing he had to a father is in grave danger. How could he allow himself to go to sleep?

But at the same time Meta Knight made such a good point. He always followed his word.

Kirby saw how concerned Bandana Dee looked. Usually at times like these he would’ve tried to cheer him up in his usual Kirby way. But this time wasn’t like the usual ones.

“Do you… Want to talk about it?” Kirby asked quietly.

Bandee sighed:

“No. Not really.”

With these words Bandee just sat on the sleeping bag and started looking into the window with a blank look on his face. Whenever his mind was right now, it wasn’t in Kirby's house.

Kirby jumped down from his bed and sat right next to Bandana Dee. They both looked into the window. Soon, the calming view of a night sky calmed the kids down and they started softly snoring, comfortably leaning on each other.

The next morning came. Bandana Dee woke up feeling somewhat well-rested. It wasn’t 6 am for sure, it was a bit later than usual, since he didn’t have his alarm clock with him.

But with feeling much more energized, he was ready to fight for his king’s life.

Strangely, he didn’t see Kirby anywhere around the house. It was fairly small, so it was basically impossible to hide there.

Curious, Bandee looked in the window. Kirby was outside.

That surprised Bandee. Of course, when it was needed Kirby could wake up earlier, but usually it was always a reluctant, slow awakening. Kirby might be a courageous hero sometimes, but he was still a lazy kid.

Bandee was surprised to see Kirby wake up not only before him, but also to see him… training?

Kirby was trying to execute something with hammer copy ability outdoors. Bandana Dee feeling curious, walked up to his buddy.

“Hey, good morning, Kirby.”

“Good morning, Bandee. If you want breakfast… I think something was left in the fridge? Maybe nothing is left in the fridge. I might’ve eaten everything in the fridge. Sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry Kirby, I anticipated something like that, so I brought my own food. I was just curious about…”

Bandana Dee once again saw Kirby fruitlessly throwing his hammer at a nearby tree.

“…whatever you are doing right now.”

“I’m planning to save Dedede today. And I want to do it with a hammer! And I want to master that “perfect hammer throw” he was talking about. So when he is saved, he could see how cool I am with this move.”

Bandee found Kirby’s determination to work on his flaws and to help his friend both impressive and endearing.

He felt much better than yesterday.

“You train for now, I will have some breakfast and then we will go to the museum, okay?”

“Okay-okay.” Kirby answered without even paying much attention to his friend.

If Kirby was focused on something, it was hard to distract him. Which just frustrated others, like Meta Knight, who tried to train him in the past.

If Kirby didn’t have any motivation in the moment, he wouldn’t feel like doing anything and got distracted easily.

But not this time.

While Bandee was finished eating a slice of his apple pie, he noticed that Kirby was still attempting to do “perfect hammer throw” to no avail.

“Come on, you can try to do this again later.”

“But… Bandee, I can do it, I know for sure…”

“Of course, but we don’t have time right now. Remember? We don’t want to be late to meeting with Meta Knight, do we?”

“You are right. I guess I can train on our way.”

Kirby picked up hammer and followed after Bandee.

* * *

Magolor’s new museum’s placement was rather unfortunate.

It was in the middle of the woods, place that wasn’t particularly noteworthy in itself. That’s what happens when you decide to establish a museum in a hole that leads to the series of weird caves.

But Magolor was a good businessman, so the world of mouth spread fast, thanks to this alone this museum was a big event in Dream Land.

The fact that it’s the first museum to be established on Pop Star helped, of course.

If you wanted to get there without lines, you had to wake up pretty early, since most of Dream Landers had a fairly lazy lifestyle. And by early, you should be there at least by 10 am.

Past that every man for himself.

Meta Knight was already waiting for his companions next to the ticket booth.

He really didn’t want to encounter Magolor on his own.

He hated his guts.

While Kirby and Dedede forgave him long ago, and Bandee, while not completely trusting, didn’t have any grudge against the guy anymore, since he trusted Kirby and Dedede’s judgement, Meta Knight couldn’t forgive the betrayal so easily.

“He may be swayed Kirby and Dedede with that theme park nonsense, but I still don’t trust him.”

In fact, every time he saw the guy by himself, levels of his murderous urges were suddenly increasing at the top speed.

He didn’t want to do anything he would later regret.

Thankfully, he saw Kirby and Bandee running towards him already.

“Thank Nova.”

And as if by command, Magolor showed up in a ticket booth as well.

“He-e-ey, Meta Knight, old buddy, good to see you again!”

His voice was so artificially friendly and endearing it made Meta Knight sick.

“Oh, and Kirbster, nice to see you, cool dude! And Bandee, tough little man!”

Kirby and Bandana Dee waved to Magolor, while Meta Knight was trying to hold his own as much as he could.

“So, I was waiting for you all to show up here sometime! After all, this place is themed after your exploits, Kirby!”

“Really?!”

Kirby’s eyes sparkled with excitement.

“Of course! Everyone wants to explore caves you discovered a while ago! Plus, to see some of the mementos of your past adventures!”

“Where… did you get them?” Bandee was confused. Kirby didn’t seem to lend anything to Magolor.

“I just created some replicas. Well. I hired someone who created those replicas.”

“So, there are no real exhibits in the museum? Pitiful.” Shook his head, Meta Knight.

“Don’t tell anyone about this though-, this is a corporate secret.”

No one could see it, but Meta Knight smirked underneath his mask.

He will tell everyone about this.

And he won’t spend any point stars on Axe Knight’s ticker here.

“At any case, what brings you here right now? You seem like a pretty determined bunch.”

“We didn’t really come here for fun, Magolor.”, Started explaining Meta Knight while keeping his cool, “We actually came here because of the certain important matters. We need to access the old tower area in the museum.”

“Sorry folks, but the old tower area is currently off-limits. Because it’s still in reconstruction to be safe for customers. I don’t want anyone to sue me, you know.”

“Meta Knight, what does “sue” mean?” Kirby always asked Meta Knight meanings of the words he never heard of before. Meta Knight brushed it off.

“I will explain later, Kirby. Magolor, by “we need to get to the old tower”, I mean that there’s a life at stake if we won’t get there. Pretty sure you know that we can take care of ourselves.”

Meta Knight took his Galaxia out of scabbard. It shined really brightly against sun's rays.

Magolor quickly became sweaty. Meta Knight didn’t joke around.

“Alright, alright. You convinced me. But I need to know what’s your deal with that place. Who’s life in danger?”

Meta Knight reluctantly responded:

“Dedede’s. We seriously needed to get there.”

Magolor was a shady fellow, but he had a soft spot for this group. Especially Kirby and Dedede.

“…You can go. But to make sure there won’t anything happen to you, I will accompany you. As any responsible museum owner.”

Meta Knight groaned after hearing Magolor’s generous offer.

“Thanks, but we don’t need to…”

“No, no, no, this is out of the question. I’m coming with you. I didn’t really explore much of this place myself yet anyway, I’m really curious to see what it contains.”

Magolor was concerned for Dedede.

But also knew that if this group goes there, there must be some priceless information hidden as well.

70% Magolor was sincere with his intentions. Other 30% were purely selfish desire to gather more knowledge that might help him.

“There is no time to argue. You can come, if you so desire. Just don’t be nuisance.”

“Wonderful! First off though, you will have to pay for your ticker.”

“…Pardon? Didn’t you say that this area wasn’t even finished in reconstruction? Why should I buy a ticket? Why am I only one who buys a ticket?”

“Because you are an adult. Only kids can visit the museum for free. And kings. You are neither.”

Kirby and Bandana Dee didn’t want to witness Meta Knight’s slow descent into anger, so they hurried up and started going down the fancy staircase to get to the underground.

 

 

 

 

* * *

The Old Tower area indeed was really unpolished compared to the rest of the museum, which actually did resemble modern-day museums on other planets.

There was still construction work going, with many of materials and instruments lying around, but there weren’t any workers at the moment, it was still too early before their shift started.

“Behold! The Castle of Ancient Secrets!”

“That’s how it’s called?” Kirby was surprised. He didn’t think that this building had any established name.

“It is, Kirbs. That is, it will be called that once it will be opened for the customers to see. It takes longer because it will be actually an interactive museum. With a few games and such! Kids love this stuff. And their parents will bring the money.”

Group was going down the escalator, the only thing that was completely finished in this project.

Before the only way to get down was to fall from the hole.

Fine for Kirby and his friends who all can fly in some capacity, not fine for the customers without extraordinary powers.

 Soon they approached the tower's entrance. This location always had an atmosphere that was way different from the rest of this series of underground caves. It felt like it came from a different world, it was mysterious, lonely, claustrophobic.

Kirby didn’t like hanging out in that place at all but he didn’t have much choice at this point.

He wanted to save his friend.

Group entered the tower. It was dimly lit by small lanterns hanging all over the place by construction workers. Kirby looked around and pointed to one specific wall.

“Guys, here! That Dark Matter plural!”

“That’s “mural”, Kirby.” Corrected him Meta Knight.

Magolor came closer to the mural and looked at it with a very meaningful look on his face.

“You know something, Magolor?”

“Nah, I was just thinking that it’s kinda creepy looking. I don’t want to scare away my customers. I will have to put wallpapers here.”

“…of course. How I could expect anything else from you.”, Meta Knight rolled his eyes, “But anyway, yes, this does look a lot like Dark Matter. But this doesn’t really give us any information. We need to explore more. These murals mean that this tower was somehow connected to Dark Matter or at the very least, to people that knew a lot about Dark Matter.

We will have to split up, this way we will be able to cover more ground on our own.”

No one wanted to do that besides Meta Knight. Especially Bandana Dee. This place was really unsettling to him.

“Maybe, we shouldn’t? What if we find something dangerous? We would be put into disadvantage.”

“You make a good point, Bandana Dee. We will split up into groups instead.”

The obvious pairs would be Magolor/Meta Knight and Kirby/Bandana Dee, but Meta Knight didn’t want to be in pair with Magolor.

“So, how will we decide the pairs?” Meta Knight was hoping others will come up with a good solution to this dilemma.

“I know!”, Magolor quickly said that as if he was anticipating something like that happening, “We should play “rock-paper-scissors”!”

“Yeah! Great idea, Magolor!” Kirby loved to play games like that. But then he realized that he doesn’t have fingers.

No one in this group had fingers.

“Uh. This won’t work sadly. Unless you want to play “rock-paper-rock”, he-he. I know!”, suddenly Bandee felt inspired, “Maybe we should split based on alphabetical order?”

“That would be…”, Meta Knight started reciting the alphabet in his mind, “…A, B… Bandana Dee… J… K… Kirby, L… M…  Magolor and Meta Knight…”

There was awkward silence for a second.

“Universe hates me for something. I have no idea what it is, but it sure does hate me.” Meta Knight thought.

Meta Knight had no choice but to go with Magolor at this point. He accepted his fate.

Teams split up and went into the opposite directions. Just in case either group finds something, they should call another group.

Thankfully both Meta Knight and Kirby had handy mobile phones with them. And thankfully somehow both of the phones could catch a signal even underground.

Well, that’s where Kirby found his in the first place.

Kirby and Bandee were slowly going through the tower's corridors. It was a very eerie place to explore.

There was just something extremely wrong about it. Kirby also got this feeling way back when he first explored it.

He didn’t feel comfortable being here in the slightest. Walls with this Dark Matter imagery gave off the feeling as if they were all looking at him. Spying after his every action.

Not to mention the tower was just extremely annoying to traverse with all various traps and occasional pits and gaps. Some of the gaps were clearly just showing how old the tower was, while others felt like intentional traps for uninvited guests.

As they went deeper, the place was becoming less and less lit. Construction workers clearly didn’t get this far into the tower yet.

“Kirby, tt’s getting dark here. Do you have anything to light this place up?”

Bandee wasn’t a scaredy cat, but he did feel uncomfortable in the dark. Especially in the place like this. He could never fall asleep in Castle Dedede without his night light on, for example.

“Of course!”

Kirby took a hammer in his hands and concentrated really hard. Soon it started to fill up with energy that manifested in bright red flames.

Despite looking intimidating, they weren’t dangerous to Kirby, only to those who wanted to taste hammer’s wrath on themselves.

These flames were much brighter than those lanterns, but the ominous atmosphere of the place remained.

“Do you even know where we are going, Kirby? I mean, you explored this place before.”

“I blocked it out of my memory. We are lucky I remembered what the walls looked like.”

They reached the humongous room, where they had to use platforms to climb up to get anywhere. There were few branching paths too, which added to annoyance.

Kirby sighed. This was another reason he hated this place. Any other time he could’ve easily ignored it, but not right now. They absolutely had to look everywhere for the sake of their friend.

“Bandee, this is getting exhausting. And kind of creepy. Let’s talk?”

Dee had a very worried expression. Unsettling atmosphere in this tower was getting to him, not even mentioning his worry for his king.

“Yeah, Kirby, this is a good idea. I wanted to ask you something.”

“Sure! But don’t ask super-hard questions or anything. I’m not Meta Knight, I don’t read too often.”

“No, this is more of a personal question. How do you keep being so cheerful no matter what? I legitimately want to know. Because I want to be as strong as you.”

Kirby went silent for a second.

He couldn’t just say to his friend that his optimism lately was more for the show, rather than his genuine feelings.

He felt worried for Dedede as much as Bandana Dee. But if he will be visibly worried, everyone will just devolve into nervous sad sacks.

And Kirby didn’t want that. So, for the sake of everyone, he tried to keep up his cheerful image.

After much thinking, Kirby answered:

“I just think about how when this all is over, we will all go together on a picnic, have some pizza and tell each other jokes!

I don’t think about how we get to this point.

I just think about how we will get to that point, no matter what.”

“You are so confident. Don’t you worry about that, well. We might fail?”

“Bandee, we always win! We always defeat these dark forces of evil! How can you feel so unsure about that?”

“You are right. But Meta Knight did fail once.”

As they were climbing the platforms, they both went silent.

“…Well, back then, Meta Knight was alone. Now we are a team! We are simply unstoppable together!” Kirby’s cheerful demeanor found its way back into conversation, for the better.

Bandana Dee felt much more relaxed after talking to Kirby.

While Kirby felt a bit more stressed than he would be willing to admit.

As they were talking, they reached another corridor that would be nice to check. It was completely dark, but thankfully, Kirby’s hammer lit the place well.

However, soon they reached the dead end. It was rather peculiar though. Walls and the floor were very different and colored in brown rather than in dark greys like the rest of the tower.

“Great. Now we have to go all the way back. Who even builds castles with dead-ends?! This is why I hated exploring this place.”

Kirby got so frustrated he stomped with all his might. This made this dead-end shake.

“Oh, I think I remember what this is. It’s an ELAVATOOOR—”

This elevator suddenly activated and went down with very high speed, making Kirby and Bandana Dee forcefully fly up and stuck to the ceiling.

When the elevator reached its destination, kids painfully fell back down.

“I hate this place.”

* * *

Magolor and Meta Knight went the other way.

Meta was trying his best to stay focused on the mission and not get distracted in his fury he felt towards his current “companion”.

Magolor meanwhile didn’t seem to mind Meta Knight’s company.

In fact, he seemed to weirdly enjoy it.

“Hey, Meta, buddy.”

“What do you want? Did you notice anything important?”

“No. Just wanted to say that we should hang out more.”

“I doubt it. But you know. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have a question for you.”

“What is it?”

“How haven't you explored this place before by yourself? After all, you love exploring various ancient places. Also taking their artifacts and using them for nefarious purposes.”

“Oh, come on, Meta. Okay, once I stole the ship and crown, almost conquered the universe… Is it such a big deal? I mean, everyone makes mistakes, right? Didn’t you also try to conquer Dream Land once?”

Meta Knight hated when others used this “you tried to take over Dream Land” trump card.

Yeah, he did.

But this was such a long time ago, he barely resembled himself during that event.

At the same time. Magolor did have a point. He also made an effort to apologize and change. But forgiving him would make Meta Knight a hypocrite.

Because he still hasn’t forgiven himself.

“Okay, you have a point. But you still didn’t answer my question.”

“Simple! I was too busy. You know I also manage my theme park, right? And my merch shop in Rainbow Resort. I can’t simply be everywhere at once, you know. I did want to explore this place sometime, but errands just kept piling up. But you all presented me a perfect opportunity to finally do it.”

Soon both of them reached a wide-open room with strong wind currents and a huge pit in the center, making traversal pretty complicated and dangerous.

Meta Knight wondered:

“Where this wind comes from?”

Magolor immediately went into business mode:

“I have no idea. But it’s one of those things that halts my construction work.”

Meta Knight started thinking of how he should get across this pit.

Using wings is obvious solution, but wind currents might lead to unfortunate disasters. And on a rescue mission this is the last thing he wanted.

While he was thinking about the safest route he looked around and noticed that Magolor was nowhere near him.

“Where did he go?”

Then he noticed him on the other side of the room.

“It’s sure convenient to be able to float all the time, isn’t it?”

Keeping composure was becoming increasingly difficult for Meta.

“Anyway, you should hurry up. This room leads to the second floor. Maybe it contains the info we… I mean, you. Yes, that you might need.”

Meta Knight rolled his eyes. He had no choice but to use his wings. They should be stronger than these wind currents.

Right?

He spread his wings and took off. Currents made this, otherwise trivial action, much harder than usual. And then, from this pit along with wind, sharp rock flew up. Rock that pierced right into one of Meta Knight’s wings.

He couldn’t fight the currents any longer and started falling down.

No matter how hard he tried to keep up in the air, it was useless. He fell down the pit.

Magolor chuckled.

“Well. That was amusing. But I have to save him, don’t I?”

Fully ignoring the wind currents Magolor started slowly descending into the pit.

* * *

Kirby and Bandana Dee found themselves in a very dark room. Thanks to elevator shenanigans Kirby lost all of his concertation, so all flames in his hammer went away.

“Kirby, we need the light!... I’m getting scared!”

“Don’t worry, I’m with you. And while I’m with you, you shouldn’t be!”

Kirby concentrated his energy once again and the hammer was enveloped in bright flames once again.

Of course, the sight they witnessed wasn’t very exciting. It was yet another corridor.

“Just great.”

Kirby was optimistic, sure. But even his optimism had limits.

“We are wasting our time here! There are no answers to anything! Why did I ever remember this tower even existing!”

“Kirby, calm down.”

“No, I won’t calm down! This is just not funny anymore! Where when we will find something? Anything? You yourself said that time is running out for Dedede and all we do is just walking around in this stupid place!!”

While Kirby was throwing a tantrum, he was doing wild gestures with his arms and light from the flames sometimes fell into corridor.

Bandee couldn’t help but notice something peculiar about those walls.

Wait! I think we should go in here.”

“Of course, we should go in there, it’s not like elevator is working anymore.”

“No, I mean, walls! These walls have different murals!”

Kirby suddenly got excited again.

He looked around and ran into the corridor, leaving Bandee behind.

WAIT FOR ME, KIRBY!”

Walls down here indeed had something different from just Dark Matter images.

These were crude murals depicting… Fountain of Dreams? And various people standing around it. It almost looked like they were praying. While one of the people was floating above the fountain.

“What does it have to do with Dark Matter??” Kirby was really confused while looking around.

But this confusion was of a good kind. He felt genuinely excited and hopeful once more.

As both of them reached the end of the corridor, they found themselves in the very large, round hall.

It didn’t have any windows or windows. It was a complete dead end.

But walls?

Walls were filled with various weird murals and text. Though, neither Kirby or Bandana Dee could read it.

“Do you understand anything here?”

“Nope. Meta Knight’s handwriting is more understandable than this.”, as Kirby said that, he took his phone, “I guess it means that it’s time to call Meta Knight.”

He tried to make a call, but the worst thing happened. There was no connection. I guess this part of the cave was too deep even for this one.

“Come on! When we finally found something?”

“Kirby, we are probably so deep in the underground right now that no reasonable connection can reach here.”

“I guess… What a bummer… What are we supposed to do now?... Walk all the way back?!”

The mere thought made Kirby fall down.

“Kirby, remember what you said? Let’s just think about that picnic, right?”

“I do think about picnic now. Somehow it doesn’t give me much strength either.”

Suddenly, both of them heard a loud crash.

They looked around for the source of this sound and noticed Meta Knight who fell from somewhere.

Kirby looked up and noticed a light coming from way up there. It seems like this strange hall was the bottom of a pit.

“Meta Knight, you are just in time! We found something!”

“G-great…” Mumbled swordsman, while trying to stand up.

Then, Magolor also showed up.

“Oopsie-daisy, Meta, hon. I wanted to catch you, honest, but you were crashing down so fast, I simply couldn’t manage in time! You should go on a diet.”

Meta Knight ignored all of Magolor’s quips and instead took Galaxia out of scabbard. He concentrated all his energy into the sword and suddenly it became extremely bright. It was overcharged with energy.

This was a much more effective way to light up this room in comparison to flames on Kirby’s hammer, which had much less reach in comparison.

“What is this writing doing here, at the bottom of the pit? How both of you got here, you were going in a different direction entirely!”

Meta Knight couldn’t make sense of anything that was happening anymore.

“I guess they just circled back here. Maybe this gap up here wasn’t intentional part of the construction (hopefully, otherwise I have no idea what the purpose of it would be) and this place down here was totally secret.”, Magolor was throwing around his guesses, “Now, let me check these writings. Maybe I can read them.”

“You can read ancient texts?” Bandee was surprised.

“Well, of course. That’s how I learned about the history of my ancestors on Halcandra and such.”

Magolor flew up to the walls.

“My goodness! These texts look remarkably similar to those I saw on Halcandra! Could there be a connection here?”

Magolor’s inner history and archaeology nerd woke up and was restless. With a very meaningful look on his face, he was studying the texts thoroughly.

Kirby, Bandee and Meta had no choice, but to wait until his investigation was done.

He was the only one here who could supposedly read these texts. And as much as Meta Knight didn’t want to trust him in the slightest, this was the only lead they had right now.

He couldn’t allow it to go to waste.

Kirby couldn’t help but be mesmerized by murals all around this room.

They were big, elaborate and highly detailed. It was hard for him to understand what they were depicting exactly.

There were many vaguely people-shaped figures that were all looking sad. But the person with sparkles all around him did… something around Fountain of Dreams and these people became happy-looking.

“I’m done! So…”

Magolor flew up to the gang.

“Before I begin, I have one personal request.”

“What is it, more point stars?” Asked Meta Knight in an annoyed tone.

“No, no, silly. I want you to say “Magolor is a genius” 3 times in a row.”

“Why?!”

“Because I think this will be highly amusing and most of all, quite truthful.”

Kirby and Bandee couldn’t help but chuckle. Meta Knight had no real choice.

He of course could argue about this request a little bit longer, but he understood that he won’t be able to change Magolor’s mind.

So, the faster he will be done with this, the better.

“Magolor is a genius. Magolor is a genius. Magolor is genius.”

“Hmmm, I feel like this was quite disingenuous. Try with more feeling!”

“I will try with more feeling to shove Galaxia up your… Bottom, if you won’t stop acting like a buffoon and tell us what these texts say.”

This warning was quite effective.

Alright, good enough.

Anyway, I didn’t completely understand everything as my knowledge of this language is full of blanks so far.

But what I could gather is:

We are full of regret. We wanted power, but only got misery. This wretched place has to be buried and forgotten… But If history repeats itself and you want to stop The Matters of the most Dark, you will have to immerse yourself into Realm where all people’s desires manifest. This is where the Matters are at their most vulnerable. Only the purest of hearts can enter the Realm…”

Meta Knight was slowly piecing together information he just got.

“So, this tower… Was it full of Dark Matter worshippers? This is why their murals were all over the place? But something went wrong and they learned of Dark Matter’s true colors. To get rid of their influence you have to entire the Realm where people’s desires manifest…”

Kirby mumbled:

“Fountain of Dreams…”

Everyone glanced at him.

“Fountain of Dreams collects the hopes and dreams of everyone on Pop Star. To assure them a good rest.”

Meta Knight has an eureka moment:

“That’s it! We have to get to the Dream Realm through Fountain of Dreams! But how are we going to get there? Magolor, was there anything about how to enter the realm?”

“Sadly, even if there is, I couldn’t understand it.” Regrettably informed him Magolor.

Bandana Dee walked up to the walls and looked closer at the murals. Especially the part where a person was standing next to the fountain and doing something.

This part of the mural was in very poor condition, it was all scratched and hard to make out what was depicted there.

But Bandee seemingly could understand what this part of the mural represented.

“To enter the Dream Realm, we would have to sleep In Fountain’s waters.”

“This… does make sense. One of us would have to enter the Dream Realm and get to Dedede's dreams and vanquish the Dark Matter piece that got stuck inside him. This is seemingly something that only manifests in your mind before the piece sucks out all energy out of you. And dreams are windows into your mind and soul.”

“But who will go?... Maybe we all should go together?”

“This won’t be it. Did you forget?

Dedede doesn’t want to sleep anymore. Someone will have to force him to do it.

And someone else will have to watch over the person who will enter the realm, to make sure nothing happens to the body. Besides…”,

Meta Knight looked at Kirby, “Only purest of hearts, huh?”