"The tuna looks a lot smaller once you put it on a plate, huh."

Meta Knight looked up specifically to narrow his eyes at the dee.

"That's because you invited ten more people."

"Well… they came by and asked, I couldn't turn them away…"

Bandana Dee very well could've, but Meta Knight chose not to badger him for it.

He was more bothered as to why a hairless waddle doo was sitting at one table, digging away at the tuna while listening to some of his fellow minions chatter away about something. It didn't make his stomach feel right.

It'd been two days since Meta Knight returned with a list of ingredients Yanne gleefully spewed out. Which was much longer than he anticipated, but Bandana Dee explained that because they were nearing the end of the month, the ingredients in the kitchens had depleted so they had had to set out to search for the ingredients themselves in their free time. Meta Knight had wanted to shed this situation off of him entirely, but Bandana Dee literally begged him to eat the tuna with them, since he, too, put in some effort to making the impossible dish a success. Although Meta Knight could clearly see the dee's ulterior motives, they weren't bad ones, so he (grouchily) agreed in the end.

In the two days, he'd stopped going around asking the minions for any accounts on the incident. No one had a clue, and when Meta Knight returned round to Kirby to ask the pink puffball again, Kirby could only shake his head in an apology. Working (mostly) alone was his policy, and it'd just backfired on him. He wasn't sure what to think about that.

What if that thing attacks again?

He'd considered it. He had, but…

"Meta Knight?" Bandana Dee was blinking at him curiously. "Is something wrong? Do you not like tuna after all?"

"What? ...No, no, that's not it." Bandana Dee was a hero too, right? Then he could handle Meta Knight's worry about the assailant. "I'm still unclear about how I was attacked. It's an unsolved mystery, and… a potential threat, so I've been investigating it. But so far I've come up with nothing."

"Oh, uh… I've heard you've been doing that." Bandana Dee shifted uncomfortably, poking at his piece of fish with a metal fork. "It's… We've spent some time investigating it, too. While you were unconscious. We searched the whole castle and security was really tight and everything, but it was pointless in the end. We couldn't find anything out, either."

Sometimes Meta Knight forgot that he was out of commission for around two weeks. The creature had been inactive not for a few days, but for nearly three weeks. He held in a sigh. "And?"

Bandana Dee fiddled with his cutlery. "And, that's it. We tried, too, but we couldn't find anything. It's like nothing ever happened. So, even if you ask around now, I doubt anyone will have an answer…"

"Does that mean you're giving up?"

Bandana Dee lifted his head. "...Pardon?"

Meta Knight stared, then said, "It's nothing."

Bandana Dee was silent.

A waddle dee traipsed to the tuna and began gouging it out with the serving fork. Even if he asked, Meta Knight was sure the dee wouldn't know anything about the incident, either. None of them had. For all he knew, this was a dee he'd already asked. If the failure rate was so high, normally Meta Knight would switch out to an alternative method. It was common sense not to bank on a one-percent-chance of success.

Except there was no alternative method.

As the waddle dee shook the fork to get the bits out onto the plate, Meta Knight held up a hand to get his attention. The waddle dee's head automatically swivelled in his direction curiously.

"Excuse me, do you—"

"Oh, it's Stay-in-Bed Knight."

He could feel his skin prickling at the unwelcomed voice.

"Ah, it's the hairless waddle doo. How do you do?"

The waddle dee looked incredibly confused, and Bandana Dee looked all types of horrified. Danzi smiled dryly, patted the waddle dee away, and stepped in front of the tuna with the serving fork. Meta Knight held in his breath again and left some unwanted words in his throat.

"I do quite well. So do you, I see. I'm just a bit confused." Danzi spun the serving fork in his hand. "Why does my friend over there look so blue?"

...Was that supposed to be an insult? Meta Knight thought he was good with his languages, but he didn't know what the waddle doo meant. Was it his culture thing?

"What does my body colour have to do with anything?" Meta Knight said.

"Um, I don't think this is an appropriate time to pun on my bandana…" Bandana Dee said at the same time.

Danzi blinked at them owlishly.

"Oh!" Bandana Dee yelped while the gears in Meta Knight's head ground. "That's my bad, Sir Meta Knight. I didn't know you had made friends with Danzi. You're both prickly—I mean, Danzi is—"

"Why would you call me prickly? I'm hurt."

Meta Knight breathed in. Oh. He'd made a huge misunderstanding. Then he knew what Danzi meant—why Bandana Dee looked so upset, and he knew the answer to that one too—and so the only problem was addressing it now. He thought up about several different scenarios that could play out while Bandana Dee was rambling on his unneeded apology, before squaring his shoulders and preparing to talk.

"Anyway, I don't quite think I've befriended any sort of pretentious knight," Danzi finally scoffed. "I wasn't referring to him."

Bandana Dee stopped talking and his entire being ceased motion. He tilted his head, then at Meta Knight.

Meta Knight immediately lifted his head as haughtily as he could come off, even though Bandana Dee looked like he was about to speak. "What we were talking about is none of your business."

"Is it? He's my friend, though."

For a saint like Bandana Dee to befriend such a monster was no surprise, although that was a borderline no-surprise. Meta Knight had half a mind ready to do a one-eighty and stalk off, because although it was every bit in his nature to defend himself, sometimes retreating was a necessary action in battle. The other half was ready to, well, defend himself. Because it was every bit of his nature.

Bandana Dee, obviously tensed at the prospect of two of his friends having a quibble, cleared his throat in the middle of the silence. Meta Knight turned his gaze to him, and surprisingly for Meta Knight, Danzi did the same. There was a heavy pause like Bandana Dee was unsure of what to say.

"Danzi, thank you for the concern, but I'm fine," Bandana Dee said slowly. "I wasn't upset or anything. Absolutely not—we were just discussing something about the safety of the planet and I got a little disheartened over it."

The more Bandana Dee talked, the more it made it look like Meta Knight was the bad guy, he swore.

Although he hated to admit it, Danzi was astute; he could probably figure out the truth behind the situation. Meta Knight wondered if it was a good time to cut in and add onto Bandana Dee's testimony. Would that make it sound too exaggerated? Sometimes he really envied Kirby's social skills. He could probably hop across slippery rocks in a rushing creek with them.

Then staying silent would be the better course. But that would seem like—

"Mister Kniiiiight!" sang-song someone with a hint of an accent. In the next moment, Yanne bulldozed right onto Danzi's back. The waddle doo resolutely remained standing up. "Look at the tuna! So you got it across? That's great! Aren't you glad we dropped by? I want some tuna, too! Right, Ody? Hm? Where's your mask? —Oh, it's Dan!"

"Good afternoon," Danzi said.

"Good afternoon!"

Ody followed into the room shortly after and only acknowledged them with an almost unnoticeable nod.

Bandana Dee's eyes lit up at their presence. He putted forward like he wanted to dart by their sides, but stopped short halfway, probably reconsidering Meta Knight's and Danzi's feelings. Meta Knight wasn't sure whether to tell him it didn't matter.

"Oh, Ody, Yanne," Bandana Dee greeted with his arms swinging. He adjust his bandana then placed it on the table then left it dangling by his side again.

"Yep, that's us. You could combine our names and we'd be Odyanne! Pretty cool, right? Ody, what if we got another sister?"

"That can't happen," came Ody's short reply.

Not even clearing his throat to dismiss their banter, Bandana Dee continued. Meta Knight felt like that ignoring their in-betweens was an often occurrence. "I'm glad you could make it back within a few days. I wanted you to take part in something you contributed to."

"We hardly did."

"Yanne, get off me, please," Danzi huffed from under her weight.

"Yanne, get off," Ody echoed. Yanne jumped off and landed with a heavy thud. The quiver and bow rattled on her back.

"But you still did," Bandana Dee pressed. Patiently, Meta Knight had to mentally add. "I don't think we'd be able to stomach it all if you hadn't told us to to gather those… strange mushrooms from the forest nearby."

Strange hardly covered it, Meta Knight thought. He remembered the minions bringing them back, sides heaving and coated with sweat, carrying a basket of translucent mushrooms with purple fibers swimming inside of it. In all his travels, there was hardly anything that came close.

Yanne whipped round from where she was sniffing the tuna. "They're called vengi!" she chirped, then looked at Ody for approval.

She didn't get any, but Meta Knight figured Ody was the kind of person who'd sooner do a three-sixty five times in his grave before expressing positive feelings.

Instead, he said, "You had a message for him."

Yanne stared at Ody like she genuinely had no idea what he meant before squawking excitedly, jumping around in a full turn and rattling Danzi's shoulders enthusiastically.

"The doc!" she chirped, making the most obvious waddle dee-grin Meta Knight had seen—and that was saying something, because he'd seen a lot. "The doc wanted to see you! To check up on your condition. And shizz."

Ody made a disproving sound. "Please remove that word from your vocabulary."

"Shizz."

Meta Knight lifted his head. "The doctor?"

"That's right! She said meet you by the wards. Dunno where that is, though."

Well, Meta Knight knew where that was. What would the doctor want to see him for? Post-release check-up? That wouldn't make him surprised. Although he didn't like it, making sure he was in good health certainly was safer than waddling around with maybe some sort of parasite in him. It'd happen before. Not good.

Meta Knight turned towards the doorway. Bandana Dee notably shifted. "Are you leaving already?"

He turned back round slightly. Everyone was peering curiously at him. Except Danzi. That one just looked completely disinterested. "It would be best not to delay."

"Oh. Tha—That's right." Bandana Dee looked around nervously as if readying to tell a secret, but there were that many people around. "About what you said earlier—erm, I think—" He cleared his throat. "I'll talk about it. W-With Great King, and Kirby."

...What was he referring to? They were talking for a while. Meta Knight knew that if he was being vague he probably didn't want to talk about it with everyone present. He could agree; he'd rather have the absence of Danzi, and he didn't know the hunter siblings entirely too well.

"Ohh? What's going on?" Yanne crowed, tilting her head all the way down that her body structure made a right angle. "What is this? A secret?"

"Probably," Danzi, who seemed to indulge in Yanne more than Meta Knight did, affirmed.

"Confessions? I want to know!"

"It's nothing big that you have to concern yourself with," Bandana Dee said with a less certain waddle-dee smile, putting it gently.

Yanne blinked and then righted herself. Then she spun a quick half-turn to Ody and grabbed his arm, tugging on it like a child pulling at their mother's hand. "Ody! We're still being treated like strangers! Even after all these years!" she whined.

Ody pried her off with ease.

Before Yanne could start throwing questions Meta Knight's way, he slunk out of the kitchen.


15 March 2018

3 months of absence and a filler chapter to boot! Yes, this is the worst author, TechnoDee, reporting.

Well..? School happened, I have Very Important Exams this year, also I tend to lose interest and start working on something else right away... burp.

In the offchance that you're still reading this, thank you for your dedicated attention. It means a lot to a potato.