Clouds of Pop Star were once colored like snow, puffy and soft. Now, they're filled with the dead dust of the planet, colored in a sand like color, engulfed by fog. An eternal sandstorm raged within the clouds, giving a chance to live there only to the most adaptable organisms. A being could walk on the clouds before, now was it sort of easier to walk on them, since they consisted more of the solid matter. Sometimes a lightning struck through the clouds, although some of them went upward instead. The chance of rain ever being then was lower than zero.
Kirby, Meta Knight and Bandana Dee traveled through those clouds, being challenged by the slight sandstorm that was happened at that moment, but they didn't let themselves to be stopped by mere weather. Lightnings generally avoided them, but sometimes a few of them flashed right in front of them. Not a single word was spoken between each other, as they were too busy trying to get away from those beings as far as possible. Even the wind that sometimes blew in their direction didn't stop them.
Suddenly, they stopped after witnessing a slight yet unknown silhouette from distance. The figure seemed to be completely hooded, carrying a big pole like object, assisting it when walking. As it got closer, Meta Knight prepared his sword in case of an attack. With silhouette getting closer, it was revealed that the hood was colored brown and it covered nearly the entire body bar hands and feet. The being seemed to be unaffected by the wind as its cloth didn't move an inch. Face of the being was hidden as well. By the time it got closer, Meta Knight increased his guard by pointing his sword at it. Kirby prepared a battle stance too, but wasn't exactly too sure if the figure that was approaching to them was hostile. Bandana Dee remained observant, but doing nothing that could cause escalations. The figure only stood there, not even raising its pole-like object in defense.
"I do not seek needless fights." warned the figure to them. Kirby lowered his guard down, now becoming curious of the figure. Bandana Dee kept observing.
"Who are you?" asked Meta Knight, still pointing his sword at the figure. He received no response from the hooded figure as it started to inspect them from a distance. Suddenly, the figure towards Kirby as it approached him. Kirby tilted his head, being rather perplexed by the actions of the unknown figure.
"Do my eyes deceive me?..." wondered the figure as crouched down towards Kirby, slightly touching Kirby on his head with its finger. Kirby kept wondering what did the figure mean.
"You must be the fabled Warrior of the Stars!" exclaimed the figure, changing the mood of the situation entirely. Meta Knight folded away his sword as he observed them.
"Poyo? (Huh? What do you mean?)" pondered Kirby as he saw the figure stand up in front of him, aiding itself with the pole-like object.
"Forgive me, for I have yet to introduce myself." said the figure as it removed the hood from its face. It was revealed that the true identity of the figure was a female specimen of moth-like biped. She seemed to be slender, beige colored as she had rather long yet thin limbs. Her heavy-lidded eyes were red as they glowed even in the brightest of days. The triangular face of hers spouted two mandibles on either side. Beneath the cloth, the front of her torso was protected with thick, white fluff and behind her back she had some kind of wing-like appendages. The pole-like object was her spear that had some kind of crystal on the pointed head, illuminating blue light.
"I am A-Zol, one of the last remnants of Luminoth in the galaxy. Along with Warrior of the Stars, you must also be Swordsman of The Night and Helper in Need." she introduced herself to them as she bowed down as the part of the greeting. Kirby and Bandana Dee waved happily at her while Meta Knight just nodded as a greeting.
"For many cycles I have lived on this planet, researching the history and organisms on it. However, I am native to this planet, as I come from Aether. Your planet gave me a lot of reminiscence of my old home….It pains me deeply that your home suffered the similar calamity as my own…." informed A-Zol in a calm tone. Kirby became curious as he paid attention to her words. Bandana Dee also stepped closer, so that he could get a better understanding of the situation.
"The same kind of reckoning happened to your planet too?" asked Meta Knight.
"Indeed. I shall tell you the peril of my world, perhaps it will sound similar to yours." spoke A-Zol as she created a hologram of her planet with her palm, impressing Kirby and Bandana Dee. Even Meta Knight seemed to be amused by the hologram, despite not showing any visible signs of it. "Luminoth were once traversing through the cosmos to find ourselves home. During our travels, we have met many kinds of intelligent species, sharing our technology and wisdom with them. One day, fortune smiled upon us as we found out an ideal place for home….Aether. It was filled with vast plains and luscious forests, containing many life forms to accompany the harmony of the planet. Although we had to interfere with the energy source of Aether, since it was too dangerous for the stability of the planet, Aether offered us everything we needed and more..."
The hologram suddenly depicted a celestial body, similar to that one that has wrought devastation upon Pop Star, crashing right into Aether as the waves of destruction spread on the surface. Kirby and Bandane Dee jumped a little bit back from being startled while Meta Knight felt a large amount of unease after witnessing the events on hologram. For a brief moment, a second version of Aether was displayed, being nearly identical yet off-putting.
"The era of prosperity ended once a stellar object collided with our home, bringing ruin upon our beautiful home. The vast plains became a single desolate desert and the joyous forests turned were flooded, turning them into morbid swamps. Many life forms were eradicated by the catastrophe, but the Luminoth lived on. Soon we have discovered that another Aether was born…..Aether of pure darkness." continued A-Zol before the hologram of her planet disappeared from her palm.
"Could it be that those monsters come from Dark Aether?" caught on Meta Knight. A-Zol remained quiet for a moment, but her arm that held the spear trembled.
"...They are…..the Ing." revealed A-Zol with a calm tone, yet her voice was filled with wrath. Another hologram was created, the one resembling the aforementioned monsters. As an example, she chose the five limbed specimen to show. Kirby felt an unnatural amount of fear witnessing the hologram as he started to tremble. Bandane Dee hid behind Kirby out of complete fear. Meta Knight already grasped his sword in advance.
"P-poyo…(T-they….they are attacking my home...)" stuttered Kirby while looking at the hologram of Warrior Ing.
"Creatures of complete malevolence...the ones of darkness….The Horde spawned upon the creation of Dark Aether. Once they have arrived to our Aether, they have started massacring everything on their path. They wouldn't stop the slaughter until nothing but an Ing remained. We didn't waste a single moment mobilizing our forces to combat the Ing. The Luminoth have stood against them for decades, but they have overwhelmed us. The Ing turned everything against us, from fauna to our ver y own war machines. We were nearly annihilated by them, hadn't it been for my colleague, who has realized we were losing the war, and his plan to put the remaining Luminoth into a statis until our home gets a salvation...Liberation from the Ing." concluded A-Zol as she looked down to the ground. Kirby went out and hugged her, thinking that she feels down. A-Zol gave him a pat on the head in response.
"My condolences….No planet deserves such fate..." lamented Meta Knight after hearing her story.
"Indeed….I'm afraid the Ing have already begun their conquest outside of my home. They will seek other planets and eradicate any life on it. Seems that this planet was a perfect candidate for their conquest." said A-Zol as she looked around, witnessing the ongoing sandstorm.
"But fear not, warriors. The Ing are still young here, they don't have almost complete control of the planets just yet. I have constructed four Energy Controllers there, not only to regulate this planet's energy source, but to keep it safe from being completely overtaken by darkness, including the one of the Ing. However, the Ing will seek out for Energy Controllers as well and if they manage to get their claws on them, the world shall succumb into an eternal darkness, where only the Ing would strive." assured A-Zol as she made a hologram out of Pop Star. It displayed bright points on it, locating the Energy Controllers.
"I shall join you on your quest as I cannot defeat the Ing by myself. My time is coming to an end, but I refuse to die until the menace of the Ing is no more. For years I have searched you, Warrior of the Stars, as I've heard the tales of how you can vanquish the forces of malevolence with relative ease. " offered A-Zol as her hand reached out for them.
"Poyo! Poyo! (Thank you! I didn't know I was well known, heh...)" mused Kirby as he gave out his stubby arm to her.
"Thank you. Any kind of help would be most appreciated. Please join us." said Meta Knight, also offering her a hand. Bandana Dee also quietly gave her his stubby hands as well.
"Together we shall defeat the Ing once and for all. Now, we must make haste. I shall guide you to one of our Energy Controllers. May the light of Aether shine upon us!" stated A-Zol as she gave her blessings towards her new friends. They went forth, now unaffected by the sandstorm, thanks to the shield made out of energy. The source of the shield seemed to be the crystal on a spear. A-Zol used her spear as a walking stick.
"There is one thing that you must wary, warriors. I've felt its presence there." cautioned A-Zol during their journey. Kirby became curious on what could that be as he looked towards her.
"What could it be? One of more advanced Ing?" asked Meta Knight while assuming on what could her answer be.
"Perhaps, but there's one anomaly on this planet that wasn't spotted on my planet." answered A-Zol, to which caused even greater curiosity around her.
"Beware of the Parasite Warrior…."
After hearing those words, Kirby felt a slight shiver, but kept going forward. Meta Knight and Bandana Dee remained puzzled but also kept walking. Their journey through the clouds continued until they disappeared into the sandstorm, continuing their path to find the aforementioned Energy Controller.
The night dawned once again upon Pop Star. The clouds were colored pitch black with only lightnings brighting up the sky occasionally. While the lightnings in the day were no different from ordinary ones, the nocturnal ones had a slight tint of blue around them and were much fiercer and frequent. More of the upward lightnings happened during the night. The clouds were so dense that even airborne Ing didn't bother much with them, keeping their operations on the ground. No sign of life were in the clouds. A few of the lightnings struck once again, but suddenly they became horizontal. More of the lightnings happened, gathering around a certain unknown point. It was then found out that those lightnings had one but same destination: the upper tendrils of a sole levitating Ing. It absorbed electricity from them until it decided that it had enough of them. Suddenly, as a test of its new ability, it fired a beam composed out of electricity towards the clouds, splitting them up in the process. The clouds remained electrified thanks to the attack. Satisfied with its results, the Ing kept moving forward, towards unknown, possibly to find out something familiar, someone close to it.
That Ing was no other than Parasite Warrior.