Class 78's Face-Off Hope Romp

Chapter 7
Word of Advice, Don't Panic

(Uploaded on July 14, 2020)


Summary: Team Makoto runs into the Dark Lord Fiery, and, uh… they are about as prepared for that fight as a certain Keyblade Wielder was for Terra. (Which is to say, not at all.)

Good thing extra help's never too far away for our heroes!


Easin Hills

Stepping further into the Easin Hills, the trio of Ultimate Adventurers—Makoto, Sayaka, and Kyoko (oh, and Usami, too)—weren't expecting much else to happen. Their journey hadn't quite exited the tutorial phase yet, and they were still on the hunt for the rest of Greenhorne Village's missing faces.

Two outta five was their current record; hopefully, in time, they'd get it to be five outta five. (Like the scores for Super Mario Odyssey!)

"The signals are beginning to split," Makoto noted, tapping away at his e-Handbook. "There's one face over to the left of us, and two toward the rightmost region." He turned toward his two teammates, showing them the indicators on-screen. "So, where do you guys think we should go first?"

Sayaka hummed, putting a finger to her lips. "Well… honestly, we could go either way—I mean, it's not like we've anything urgent to get to! A-Aside from getting everyone's faces back, of course."

Kyoko nodded. "Indeed. So long as we're diligent about leaving no stone unturned, we can afford to take our own route through these plains. That being said," she pointed out a particular symbol located north on the map, "I do believe it will be worth our time to head toward this treasure chest. Based on the icon here, it appears to be different from the previous one we encountered."

And by that, she meant that instead of the chest's rim being gray, it was colored pure gold. Which, obviously, indicated that it has much more valuable than the norm—gold makes money, and as we all know, money makes the world go 'round.

That's how video games work! In fact, that's how everything works!

Just look at The Last Resort: there's dollar bills and gold bars strewn about all over the place. If that isn't proof of how the system works, then I don't know what is!

"Ooh, you've got a sharp eye, Kyoko!" Usami complimented her. "As an adventurer, you should always be on the lookout for any and all kinds of chests. You never know what they'll have inside for you—HP Bananas, new gear; anything goes! Love, love!"

"Anything, huh?" the Pop Sensation tilted her head. "Well, I'm up for that! I don't mind the stuff we have on us now—barring Makoto's stick, of course—"

The resident Cleric pulled out his aforementioned 'weapon', giving it a rather disgruntled look. "Yeah, this isn't exactly the most practical thing in the world…" He squinted at it. "Those aren't cracks I'm seeing, right…?"

…I should hope not.

"—but I'd be up for having a cuter outfit, or a more effective microphone myself," she finished, as peppy as ever. "Anything that helps us out going forward is a good thing in my book!"

"That's the spirit!" Usami cheered.

Again, as you can see, the four of them were pretty relaxed today. Despite the circumstances that had led them here, they had managed to find their own comfortable rhythm—and admittedly, that's quite commendable.

But as much as I'd love to leave things there…

Unfortunately for them, the plot waits for no one.

Or rather, the Big Bad waits for no one—especially not the plot.

(Which is funny, 'cause I have trouble waiting for stuff myself…)

"Then it's settled," the Detective smiled. "We shall investigate the northern province of Greenhorne first, and then backtrack to the forest below. If we move at a steady pace, this detour shouldn't take us more than a day to finish—"

Vroom, vroom!

"Well, well, well… look who it is!"

The entire party went stiff at the interruption.

"Wha—!?" Sayaka's head whirled around, startled. She pointed her mic into the air and waved it somewhat threateningly… which didn't really have the intended effect, but hey, she's trying. "Wh-Who said that!?"

Usami wildly flailed her arms about, Kyoko narrowed her eyes and got out her broomstick—and the Luckster, for his part, simply paled in stark realization.

"Oh no…" he said. "Don't tell me…!"

An abnormally sized yellow taxi inexplicably drove onto the scene, briefly stopping right in front of the four heroes. As it departed, a new figure revealed himself to have arrived: the dreaded Dark Lord Fiery!

…who happened to be laying on his side with one hand resting on his cheek. Sunglasses were also perched on his face, just to add to the sheer hilarity.

Honestly, there's much better apparel he could be using. Sunglasses are lame compared to the majesty of hats.

"I didn't expect that you'd still be kicking around!" he grinned. "And here I thought you would have given up and gone back to Greenhorne by now. Heh, shows what I know!"

"Dark Lord Fiery!" Makoto shouted, fists clenched in anger. "What are you doing here!?"

"Bwahahaha! Oh come on, can't a Dark Lord pop in to say hello every now and then?" He picked himself off the floor and wriggled his fingers in front of the quartet. "Sure, I may have stolen some faces, and I am most definitely one of the evilest villains there is, but that's nothing! You should be glad that you get to bask in my awesome presence—even if it's only for a few extra seconds!"

Sayaka took a few involuntary steps back, clutching her crush's arm tightly in dread. "This is… Dark Lord Fiery!?" she breathed. "He—He really l-lives up to his name… I can feel the darkness practically radiating off of him…!"

…you sure that's not 'cause of his Heihachi-esque hairdo?

"Awawawawa! He's here! That naughty Dark Lord's here!" Usami leaped in front of her students and raised her Magic Stick defensively. "Don't worry, everyone, I'll protect you! He won't touch you as long as I'm here!"

Fiery raised an eyebrow. "Oh, and you've picked up some friends, too. Isn't that nice?" He leered at the rabbit, showing his sharp and thoroughly-polished teeth. "You have some nerve showing your saccharine mug to me after what you did, bunny. If it wasn't for you, I could've spread terror to two worlds—not just one!"

"I won't apologize for stopping you in your tracks!" she firmly scolded him. "Spreading harm to others and stealing their happiness is a big no-no in my book!"

Kyoko stared him down, her intense gaze briefly breaking through his confident demeanor. (Dang, she's a little terrifying!) "Hmph. Usami's childish words aside, we're not about to let your reign of terror continue unabated. This world deserves to be free of your despair—as such, we won't rest until you have been defeated, once and for all."

"Kyoko's right!" Makoto chimed in, casting away his fears and shooting his own glare at him. "We're going to stop you, no matter how long it takes! Hope will live on!"

"Bah. Say what you will, it's all noise to my ears. But if you guys want to fight me so bad…" The Dark Lord lifted his hands and started charging up a sizeable orb of darkness, all while bearing a menacing look on his face. "…then let's dance!"

Sayaka and Kyoko shuffled behind Makoto, their Luckster bringing his arms up in an attempt to shield them from harm. Meanwhile, Usami prepared herself to fire back a spell of her own—a Super Defensive Usami Barrier, or whatever weird terminology she enjoyed using.

It's time for the battle of the century to ensue!

Good vs. evil! Hope vs. despair! Kirby vs. that thief who stole his strawberry shortcake!

…what's that, you say? Our heroes are only around Level 3?

Oh, who cares! They're strong enough to handle this, no problem! I've tanked worse in the True Arena, so what's an itty-bitty Dark Lord by comparison?

Now, let's get ready to rumbleeeeeeeeee—


"Hold it right there!"


…eh?

All of a sudden, a bright, cyan laser beam shot toward Fiery's orb and dissipated it entirely.

The five present figures blinked simultaneously.

Fiery's features scrunched up, and he pointed a finger at nothing in particular. "Who dares…!?"

Sayaka turned to Usami, thoroughly confused. "Usami, that wasn't you, was it?"

"N-No!" she denied. "All my magic is pink and rainbows!"

Just then, a kid literally dove into the fray, landing on her feet with an acrobatic spin.

She wore a purple top hat with a yellow stripe, and a thick robe with a similar color scheme and an oversized hood. Big blue eyes, brown hair tied into a ponytail, and a short stature emphasized her rather young appearance—which only further baffled the audience she had collected.

She took one look at the Big Bad ahead of her and pursed her lips. "Wow…! So you're the Dark Lord everyone's going on about! Man, you are ugly!"

"What!? Ugly!?" Dark Lord Fiery became incensed—gee, he doesn't need to get so riled up over such a petty insult. "I'll have you know that I was voted Handsomest Dark Lord of 2019! Wh-Who the heck are you, anyway!?"

"Me? I'm only the cutest time travelling explorer around—and a Great Sage, too!" Ms. Intruding-On-This-Event stood up proudly and aimed her ornate silver staff at him. Cyan sparks started circling around her feet, creating trails of spiritual chains rising up toward the sky.

"I'm Hat Kid! And I'm the girl who's gonna kick your butt into next Tuesday, if you don't stop being a big meanie!" She flashed him a cheeky grin. "C'mon… don't you wanna party?"

The three Ultimate Adventurers exchanged glances.

do I want to know what's going on? Kyoko silently asked. This sassy, lost child is… a strange curveball, to say the least.

Hey, I'm not complaining! Makoto's eyes said. If she's a friend, then that's all I need to know! The more friends, the better—right, guys?

A friend, huh…? Sayaka smiled. Sounds like she's already high up your respect list.

W-Well, I wouldn't say that…he scratched the back of his head. I just—like being optimistic, that's all!

Either that, or his standards for friendship are simply scattershot.

why are they looking at each other like that? their mentor wondered, putting a paw to her chin. Don't tell me… are they all in love with each other!?

Back on topic…

Fiery, for a moment, seemed to consider Hat Kid's 'generous' offer. On one hand, he could probably take her on and not break much of a sweat. But on the other, she was quite the epic question mark—and combined with Usami, a battle with her was a risk he'd rather not take at this point in time.

"Ah, you know what? Screw it." The disgruntled Dark Lord threw his hands up in the air. "All of you get to live this time. I've got better things to do with my time, and spending it with party poopers like her isn't it."

Hat Kid stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry.

"We'll meet again, somewhere else—so you better enjoy this mercy while you still can. Bye for now! Mwahahahahaaaaaaaa!"

At last, Fiery warped away, much like he had with his last two appearances. And now I was left immeasurably disappointed, with my day thoroughly ruined.

I wanted to see an epic battle play out! Sure, our heroes probably would've lost epically, but it's the principle of the matter!

Maybe next time…

"Phew!" The Luckster wiped some sweat from his forehead. "That was too close for comfort… looks like we really owe you one, Hat Kid."

"No problem!" she beamed. "Stopping bad guys like him is something I do a lot." She hopped up and down, taking in the quartet of strangers in front of her. "I'm sensing something… unique, coming from you guys' souls. You're not from Miitopia, are you?"

"Wow, you're really talented in magic!" Usami piped up. "Even I can't detect that, and I'm a majestic Magical Miracle Girl myself!"

Makoto nodded. "You'd be right on that front. I'm Makoto Naegi, and these are my friends, Sayaka Maizono and Kyoko Kirigiri. We're students at Hope's Peak Academy, and we're looking for the rest of our classmates—which necessitates us being adventurers. And, uh, trying to stop Dark Lord Fiery from doing whatever he wants."

"Ooh, sounds complicated. I'm guessing he got you guys involved in this to begin with."

"Unfortunately," Sayaka pouted. "It makes me a little mad, honestly. I wish we could show him what we're made of, but—we're nowhere near strong enough to fight him yet!"

Yeah, it's a lot like Xenoblade, in that regard.

Except replace the creative fantasy party with sixteen in-over-their-heads teenagers. With a bunch of semi-fancy talents, to boot.

"We do still have a long way to go if we are ever to match him," Kyoko admitted, crossing her arms. "And that's not even mentioning how we're thirteen short of our usual count."

"Hey, I'm sure you guys'll be alright!" Hat Kid said, chipper. "You may not be much now, that's to be expected! In time, you'll ste—get more stuff, learn new skills, and do all kinds of cool things! You just gotta give it some time!"

A pause.

"…or find a way to use some cheat codes; that works, too!"

Usami's jaw comically dropped. "No! No cheat codes! If you skip a challenge like that, you'll never learn anything!"

(…and who exactly cares?)

The Pop Sensation giggled. "That's not very sagely of you. For somebody who's got the mentor clothes down pat, you sure don't fit the archetype."

"Pfft. Archetypes are for chumps!"

For how childish her words were, they did a decent job inspiring the three Ultimates to brighten up. Simple, but strong advice—kids have a knack for dishing 'em out at a startling rate, seriously.

"We'll keep that in mind, then," the Detective smiled. "Well, it's probably best if we get a move on; we have hostages to rescue, and a large landscape to traverse." She fixed the witch's hat on her head. "It was nice meeting you, Hat Kid. Perhaps if our fortunes align, we might see each other again."

"Fine by me!" A puff of smoke sprouted from her head, and her top hat was replaced by a feathered red cap. "I gotta get going, too—I'm doing a bit of investigative work, and I've gotta log things in my spaceship. Catch ya guys later!"

A yellow scooter poofed into place beneath her feet, and she proceeded to drive off into the nonexistent sunset.


"I can't believe someone so young is already taking up such an important job!"

As Usami waddled along with the crew of Ultimate Adventurers, she couldn't help but fixate on one topic in particular.

"That Great Sage Hat Kid… she is most definitely not a high schooler—or a middle schooler, either!" the rabbit professed, curiosity written all over her features. "I wonder how she got such magical powers at such an age…"

"Maybe she's something like the Warriors of Hope—you know, the ones Junko adopted?" Sayaka theorized. "She likes to go on and on about how cute and amazing they are, and Toko's always complaining about how much they kick her ass."

The Fashionista could be pretty terrifying when it came to her kids, actually. She genuinely cared for the five 'Lil Ultimates, enough to spoil them rotten… which, when combined with her Analytic skills, meant that she'd destroy anyone who dared to make them cry.

Few things at Hope's Peak Academy was worse than Junko Enoshima on the warpath—with the exception, perhaps, of Chiaki in Super-Duper Extra Pouting Mode.

No, that's not as cute as it sounds.

"She reminds me of Komaru, myself," Makoto said—"with a little more sass, and a lot more experience to boot."

"She seems to have that kind of effect on all of us, I see," Kyoko noted. "Her presence naturally exudes charm, and I have no doubt she's very aware of it." She held a hand to the side of her head and chuckled. "Still, at least she's on our side—that's one more face we'll be able to count on as we continue our quest."

Usami sighed. "She better take good care of herself, though! A growing young lady like her needs plenty of nutrition and hygiene—if she's eating hamburgers all day, there's no telling what'll happen to her development!"

While they were on the topic of younger siblings… there was one thing going through Makoto's mind at that moment.

"…I hope Komaru isn't too freaked out over our disappearance," the brunette frowned. "There's no way Hope's Peak could've covered up what happened—and we've already been gone a couple days…"

"Yeah—everyone will have heard about it by now, I'd bet." The Pop Sensation shuddered. "I'm never gonna hear the end of this from Ibuki, am I? She'd definitely get on my case about doing this without her… and then she'd probably write a whole new song about it."

"Ooh, ooh! That sounds like fun!" Usami perked up. "Songs can bring a whole lot of people together! What's Ms. Ibuki's songs like?"

"…trust me, you don't wanna know."

The resident Mage hummed. "With luck, this'll be treated as simply another case study in Hope's Peak Academy's seminal weirdness. So long as we return in a relatively reasonable timeframe, our friends and loved ones won't think to question the circumstances."

Makoto slouched and sighed; he could only pray that his luck was solid enough to prevent that. "I hope you're right, Kyoko…"

Sayaka had her own reservations.

Komaru doesn't just care for her brother, though, she recalled. She's the biggest fan of me I know—and she's Toko's best friend, too. If all three of us going missing isn't enough to kickstart her curiosity…

she's gonna be a troublesome sister-in-law, isn't she?


Meanwhile…


Hope's Peak Academy
Courtyard

"So, that's the thing that sucked up everyone… jeez, it's even crazier up close."

"I agree, Big Sis Komaru. Monaca likes it about as much as she likes cold meals."

The wormhole from a couple days ago was still hanging in Hope's Peak Academy, much to the staff's dismay.

Thanks to its rather… explosive entrance, everyone had heard of how Class 78 had been spirited off to places unknown. Naturally, several Ultimates' curiosity had risen as a result, forcing security to focus on keeping them away…

…allowing for Komaru Naegi and Monaca Towa to sneak toward the site unspotted.

The green-haired duo stared at the frozen vortex from behind a nearby bush.

Somehow, somewhere, their friends were trapped in a whole 'nother world—and for all the world knew, they were in more danger than anyone could imagine.

Luckily for Class 78, the Ultimate Ordinary Girl and the 'Lil Ultimate Homeroom were on the case!

And sure, these two weren't who'd you expect to be saving anyone, let alone a whole class—but sometimes, desperate times called for desperate measures. If Hope's Peak couldn't figure this out… then they could at least give it their own fair shake!

(Good an excuse as any to slot these girls into the plot, I guess!)

"Don't worry, Makoto… we'll get to you, somehow! Hold on tight!"

"You too, Big Sis Junko! Monaca won't leave you alone! That's a promise!"


Holy crap, it has been way too long since I last updated this.

It probably would've been even longer, too, if I hadn't stumbled onto writer's block for Star Allies, Unite!.

On the bright side, it gave me the motivation to finally get this long-delayed chapter out, so… there's that!

Dark Lord Fiery's entrance was something that just came to me. When you're making a crack fic (half-serious or not), then the least you can do is go all-out, right? And thus, the taxi entrance.

I have no regrets.

My first playthrough, I made Magolor into the Great Sage—he seemed pretty suited for the position, given his canonical magical prowess. (That, of course, made the second half of the game ultra-hilarious.) This time, I decided to give the same role to Hat Kid, because… why not? She's so far removed from the usual disposition of a wise mentor, I figured it'd loop back around to being genius. Everybody's gonna get sassed, and everybody's gonna like it!

by the way, she's not a Mii in this 'verse.

You'll learn why that is later. Much later.

Well, that's all for now – tune in next time for more adventuring shenanigans!