Eyes in the Skies
Dawn of a New Day
(Uploaded on October 28, 2019)
Summary: It takes a lot of courage to be able to stand up for yourself. It takes even more of that to stand up against your former friend.
Barely a week after Sectonia's defeat, the deposed regent returns with deluxe-level strength—but this time, Taranza won't give her any inch forward. His heart still aches… but with Dedede to show him the way, he'll make a future worth remembering.
(That was his promise to her. And he won't make the same mistakes again.)
Notes: This chapter is set at the end of Triple Deluxe's Extra Game, Dededetour.
One week later…
In retrospect, I probably should've seen something like this coming.
It's been a little under a week since Queen Sectonia was struck down from the heavens, courtesy of Kirby and one huge fat honking laser beam. (His Power of Miracles works as spectacularly as ever.) And though it's a little too early to say, I feel that Floralia's well on its way to recovery—though it helps that my own forces are assisting with the process.
Under different circumstances, I'd be up there in Royal Road personally, instead of spending most of my time coordinating recovery efforts from safely in my castle. But, well, who wouldn't want to kick back and relax a little after the ordeal I just went through?
Even a king needs a break every now and then!
…and so did Taranza.
I invited him over to stay at my castle for a while, give him time to grieve. And though he got a few disgruntled looks from my guards at first (single-handedly trashing them and kidnapping their king tends to do that), eventually, they started warming up to him.
Helps that I'm a little more forgiving than most. And that Kirby's pretty much influenced all of us in that regard.
I'm not complaining much, either way.
But unfortunately for us, the gods above decided that escalation is the hippest trend to go for. What else could explain Queen Sectonia inexplicably returning through an ornate mirror, as reported by my troops? And if that wasn't bad enough, she had used its dark magic to power up her forces—all so she could take back her throne and return Floralia to a state of localized hell.
Oh, and Warp Holes were everywhere now, for some reason.
…I miss the days when things were as simple as 'beat 'em once, they don't come back'.
Notably, the situation was remarkably similar to that of three years ago. Upgraded enemies, EX Bosses, a much more high-stakes situation, mysterious artifacts doing weird stuff, portals up the wazoo… and a recently-defeated villain was at the helm of that insanity, too.
(Who knew what kind of power the Master Crown really had?)
Back on topic… Given that Kirby was most certainly deserving of a nap after everything he's done, I elected to be the one to hike back up Floralia and deal with the renewed crisis personally. And I wouldn't be alone, either—Bandana Dee and Taranza would be joining me, spears and magic aiding my trusty hammer.
We may not be the one-man army that Kirby is… but we're still a force to be reckoned with.
And so, after a long and arduous trip dealing with all these Deluxe-Level Devils… we found ourselves in the throne room once more.
Here we go. No regrets, now.
It's rematch time.
Royal Road – Throne Room
"You are all fools to oppose me so."
Queen Sectonia was a figure I had scarcely seen. I caught a glimpse of her as I had woken up from being unconscious—and believe me, that's an image I sincerely want to forget—and as I was swooping in to save Kirby from her, but that's it.
From here, though… yeesh, I can honestly say I'm never gonna be able to look at bees the same way ever again.
She hovered relatively high above us, holding her twin scepters tightly in her grasp. Her red-and-pink color scheme radiated power about on a level close to Magolor's EX form, not helped one bit by her frayed wings and her curved cape. Behind her was a twisted and black Dimensional Mirror, sinisterly staying in the background where we couldn't reach, and filling the room with an oppressive aura amplified by Sectonia's presence.
Monarch of Madness
Queen Sectonia DX
In short, she was every bit the tyrant I had expected to be… and more.
"Do you truly believe your pitiful resistance will do you any good?" she continued to ask. "A self-proclaimed king, a measly Waddle Dee, and a useless traitor… none of you have anything on the might of my righteous royalty. That sanctimonious puffball isn't here to save you this time—and yet, you insist on fighting against me, the almighty ruler of the heavens?"
Indignantly, Dee stood to my right, spear pointed directly at the resurrected regent's heart. To my left stood Taranza, staring forlornly at the friend he used to know. And meanwhile, I was bristling in irritation as I held my hammer over my shoulder, ready to pound her into the dirt where she belonged.
I was confident in my own skills, don't get me wrong, and her words really shouldn't have affected me at all. But hearing them come out of her mouth… it just rubbed me the wrong way.
(Maybe it's because, as a fellow royal, however self-proclaimed I may be… I hold her to a much higher standard than others.)
Either way… I wasn't gonna let her arrogance slide here. "Just 'cause Kirby's taking a nap right now," I growled, "doesn't mean we can't show you a thing or two! The People of the Sky are better off without you—and we're gonna prove it!"
"Yeah! Great King's right!" my faithful assistant exclaimed. "You're not gonna hurt anyone anymore, Queen Sectonia! We won't let you!"
"'Hurt'? 'Better off'? I ruled this land with all the kindness I believed it deserved. My leadership was unparalleled, incomparable to all others! To insinuate that it was somehow unspeakably wrong… is sacrilege." She turned to her former servant, insect eyes gleaming with malice. "Taranza. You would dare side with these fools, after all I have done for you? Betray your queen and this land to perish under the oversight of these conceited clowns?" She shook her head. "Perhaps I should've labeled you my court jester, rather than as my retainer."
"Hey!" Dee interjected. "Don't talk about Taranza like that! He's a hundred times the person you'll ever be!"
Keep calm, Dedede, keep calm… don't let her appearance creep you out!
"'Sides, you're one to talk, Sectonia," I remarked. "You and that horrific make-up job belongs more in a circus than on a throne!"
"Silence. I see no need to further waste my time with you."
I grit my teeth. That's how you want to play things, huh…?
Relaxing my muscles a little, I cast a glance at Taranza, who was shaking in his nonexistent boots. All six of his hands were clenched into fists, and his gaze was notably pointed toward the floor and away from she who he once served. Glimmers of something were falling from his eyes, too—something I suspected to be tears.
I could tell this whole situation was really getting to him. I mean, seeing his one-time best friend again, taunting him so soon after her recorded death? I'm not sure what I'd do about that myself.
"There is still hope, though. This mirror… This wondrous, exquisite mirror…" Sectonia gestured to the decoration behind her. "…it holds a grand and potent power, the likes of which Floralia has yet to see. If you choose to side with me, to remember your place in my world… then I will grant you amnesty, for everything you have failed to do. And you will be rewarded with abilities beyond this realm—and beyond that of your pitiful lackeys."
To his credit, Taranza didn't submit at all – in fact, he held his ground and shook his head to her bid. "…it's that mirror that made you like this in the first place. It's that mirror that c-cursed Floralia to a nightmare under your guidance. I… I won't have anything to do with it—or what you've become."
He finally lifted his head, tearfully looking at her. "Sectonia. C-Can't you see that—that what you're doing is… w-wrong? Th-That this… this doesn't help anybody, not even y-yourself?" More hysterically, he pleaded, "P-Please! We—We used to be friends! Tell me… isn't there enough of you left to remember…?"
"…I have no 'friends'," she coldly stated, eyes narrowing into slits. "Only tools to further my cause for complete control."
The arachnid slumped. I think he knew it was pointless to reach out. Sectonia's mind was long gone by this point. Anyone could see that, honestly.
But… something tells me he felt he owed it to her to at least give it his best shot.
"…so you say," he whispered, hoarsely.
I patted his back. "I know it hurts," I said, "but there's nothing more you can do for Sectonia now." I aimed my harshest glare at the so-called queen, readying my hammer to start bashing at her to-be corpse. "All that's left… is to give her the eternal beauty sleep she so desires!"
"Y-You said it, Great King!" Dee chimed in. "If—If she's no longer a friend, then as your friends, it's—it's our job to take her down together! We'll have your back, d-don't worry!"
Taranza smiled a little. "I… I know. Th-Thank you."
"I can sense it—you are choosing to oppose me, in spite of my generous offer," Sectonia sneered. "Disappointing. If that is your wish… then I will have my divine essence purge this land of your insolence!"
"I won't let this twisted mockery of you go on any further," Taranza declared, magic flaring from each of his limbs. "For the sake of everyone—in Dream Land, in Floralia—we'll stop you in your tracks, no matter how much my heart may ache!"
"You may have forsaken your bonds of friendship," I added, "but we still feel them as strongly as they ever were. When we're united, with the prayers of our other allies backing us… there's nothing we can't do!"
"It's time f-for you to surrender, Queen Sectonia!" Dee finished us off. "Y-Your days of torturing the world are through! G-Get ready!"
The monstrous tyrant made no verbal affirmation, only a furious snarl—and from there, the final battle for Floralia began in earnest.
Y'know… this whole adventure was kickstarted by Taranza mistaking me for the 'hero of the lower world'. And yet, funnily enough, I'm living up to that ideal of heroism despite my more sidekick-esque status. Me, Dee, and Taranza too.
It's true that Kirby's our savior, the bringer of miracles, the one who defeats deities and demons alike. I won't dispute that. But if there's anything—anything at all—that these last couple of weeks have taught me…
…it's that every story has its fair share of heroes. Never just the one.
And likewise, every story has its heroes waiting to be born, a light waiting to overcome the darkness within them and do right by this galaxy. It can be faint, almost nonexistent sometimes—but it is there. So there's no reason why we can't do our best to let it shine.
Kirby said to me once, so long ago, "There's nothing wrong with having a lot of good friends!" That's part of the reason why I never disparaged Taranza: you never know when a good friend will be waiting around the corner.
We'll always find a way forward, with friendship at our fingertips—
And if I'm being honest… there's nothing else I'd rather be doing.
Alright, Taranza. You ready for this?
Let's make a future worthy of the crowns we wear!
Initially, last chapter was supposed to be the end of the line for this fic—but I feel like it's really prudent to show some of the Extra Games' canonity in the Make a Friend 'verse. I mean, they do often reveal vital plot elements, and they're just cool either way!
As I mentioned back in Chapter 1, Dedede's a little more qualified for the role of 'hero' than he gives himself credit for. Being a strong, benevolent king and an accomplished adventurer (see Return to Dream Land) makes you a pretty good contender, in that regard – not to mention, he's a Royal Who Actually Does Something. In a way, this is the culmination of all of his Character Development—and it's something of a high mark to end this fic on.
I couldn't resist having Dee and Taranza join Dedede on his self-appointed quest. Dee's pretty loyal to his Great King, and Taranza deserves a chance to prove he's reformed. The latter point's kinda the point of this fic, after all—it's only appropriate he gets to personally deal with his inner turmoil, right here and now.
'Sides, this series is all about the Power of Friendship. It's been that way from day one. I couldn't really foresee this fic, centered so closely around Dedede and Taranza, ending on any other note, to be honest. Taranza's a friend now—and Dedede won't let him down if he can help it. And from here… life can only move on upwards, hopefully.
One last thing: Return to Dream Land's Extra Game, in this 'verse, was more along the lines of Dededetour and Meta Knightmare Returns: a marathon romp across each of the game's levels, featuring all the harder difficulty changes and the EX Bosses. The difference between the latter two modes is that this Extra Game ended at Landia EX, Magolor EX, and Galacta Knight, in that order. ('Cause Soul Bosses, I feel, should be kept to the True Arena. Feels more… climatic, that way.)
Well, that's all for now – see you guys around!