Flying into the Fray
A Kirby One-Shot


Notes: This one-shot is set during the events of Kirby's Adventure / Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. Elements from Kirby: Right Back at Ya! are alluded to in this fic (specifically, in Nightmare's sections). No major spoilers for future canon are included here.


Sometimes, fate works its magic in rather serendipitous ways.

One day, a mysterious Dark Lord attempted to manifest himself through the Fountain of Dreams, the mystical spring supplying good dreams and sleep to everyone. By taking control of the Fountain, he aimed to conquer all of Pop Star.

Having sensed this disturbance right before bed, King Dedede was quick to act. He broke the Star Rod into seven fragments, leaving the Fountain inert—and the Dark Lord unable to spread himself using nightmares.

He split his troops into six groups, to defend a region of Dream Land where he would hide a Star Rod piece in the safety of a trusted guardian; himself and another squad would take the last piece and keep watch over the Rainbow Resort. Meta Knight, surprisingly enough, volunteered himself and his crew to guard one – for what reason, Dedede didn't care to find out.

But the dreamlessness that struck his subjects was not to go unnoticed – and Kirby, the hero who had defeated Dedede before, went out to investigate this latest bout of trouble.

And so it was that the wheels of fate began to turn in earnest.

From days of peace comes a reckoning, a reckoning to have long-reaching ripple effects for years to come. Wondrous miracles will be created, malicious demons will be vanquished—and in the end, it all leads back to this point in time.

Because, in a way…

This is the place where the Star Allies were truly born.


The King with a Hidden Heart of Gold


[King Dedede]

Dream Land
Rainbow Resort – Fountain of Dreams

"King Dedede! What the heck are you doing!?"

I resisted the urge to grimace at the sound of my nemesis.

Oh no, not him! Not now! That pink freak can't ever leave me alone, can he!?

I turned to look, and there was an utterly exasperated Kirby, standing by the shore. He looked about ready to throw his hands up in the air at me. "Are—Are you swimming in the Fountain of Dreams!? While everybody can't even get a wink of good sleep!? Seriously!?"

I reluctantly waded over to him, a frustrated sneer on my lips. "Hey, excuse me if I'm trying to relax after saving all of your ungrateful butts!" I shouted at him. "I had to stay up for several hours straight getting this stuff done!"

"'Saving our ungrateful butts'…? Please don't tell me that's what you call… whatever it is you've done with the Star Rod!"

It just had to be Kirby that came here—Kirby, my eternal nemesis! The one person who'd do everything in his power to defy my every order! I've been lucky so far in keeping him out of my business (aside from our tussles in the ring), but if he decides to interfere with what I'm doing, then…!

Calm down, Dedede, calm down. M-Maybe I can convince him to go away. There's gotta be something I can tell him that'll get him to drop this!

"Jeez… y'know, I really want to like you, Dedede," that pudge ball admitted. "I really, really do. But when you pull off stunts like this, you make it just… so difficult, sometimes."

Okay, scratch what I said. If he wants to try and butter me up, get into my good graces so he can find my weaknesses, then to heck with this. I'm not gonna let him trick me here!

I crossed my arms and huffed angrily. "Yeah, well—so what if I don't want you to like me!? How 'bout that, huh!? If you think I'm gonna let you off that easy, you've got another thing coming!"

Kirby sighed—what's he got to be sad about!? "I dunno why you're being so stubborn right now, but I can't afford to waste any more time. Tell me what you did with the Star Rod, 'cause this ain't a game!"

Grrrrrrrr…! Look at Kirby, thinking he's so high and mighty…! Luckily for me, I don't need his assistance, or his presence, or—anything about him at all! I can save Dream Land, all by myself!

"Hmph! I broke that old thing into pieces and gave 'em to my troops! They're everywhere over Dream Land now; you'll never be able to track 'em down—especially since Meta Knight's on my side!" I declared, somewhat proudly. "This ain't like last year—you can try all you might, but I'll make sure nothing'll come out of this here Fountain!"

"Hold up! You said Meta Knight is in on this? Wh-Who the heck is—?"

"Alright, no more questions," I interrupted him. "Go buzz off and… get clobbered in Vegetable Valley or something. I've got some relaxin' to do, and you're being a distraction." Over his protests, I went and floated over to the middle of this pool, letting the warmth of the waters wash against my back.

I barely registered Kirby dashing away from the Fountain of Dreams. Good riddance. Sure, Kirby doesn't know exactly what's happening, but he'd probably mess everything up if I bothered to explain everything to him. He'll give up, I'm sure.

This is for the best. Really. As king, my word is law and never misguided – so there's no way things can go wrong from here!


I was wrong! I was very, very wrong!

How was I supposed to know that Kirby'd get back each separate piece of the Star Rod, and not even break a sweat!?

"Gwahahahahahaha! At last… At last…! I have been freed from my makeshift prison—and now, I rise to create a new era of despair!"

And thanks to that, this great big… Nightmare's broken out of the Fountain of Dreams, ready to cause havoc throughout Dream Land!

I have so many regrets…!

"Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap, holy crap—! Who are you!? Why were you in the Fountain of Dreams!? What in the name of NOVA's going on!?" Kirby was panicking beside me, limbs flailing up and down—and honestly, I wasn't much better. I mean, all my planning, all my training—in the end, everything I did only delayed the inevitable, instead of serving any actual purpose.

Argh! This wouldn't have happened if Kirby had just left things be!

…no, that's not right.

As much as I hate to admit it… this wouldn't have happened if I had simply calmed down and treated him like a fellow Dream Lander – one who could help me.

(If things weren't so dire, I'd definitely groan at this realization.)

"That's the threat I was trying to seal!" I swiftly explained. "I had this premonition about him showing up through the Fountain—that's why I broke the Star Rod, so he couldn't!"

"You couldn't have gotten that across before I went and undid all your work!?"

"You're my nemesis; I thought telling you would be an insult to my pride!"

"That's literally the last thing you should've been worrying about!"

"Do I sense dissention in the ranks? A failure to communicate, or have any minimal defense force in place? What a truly wonderful mistake you've made!" We jolted, our attention being brought back to the diabolical wizard in front of us. His star-decorated cape fluttered wildly in the wind he was spawning, likely thanks to the tornado of darkness that was his body.

"Sadly for you, king," he cackled, myself flinching at his words, "your efforts have gone to waste. Though my strength in this dimension is limited, I retain enough power to do as I please. But do not fear. I am a merciful conqueror—and besides, it is thanks to you that I have been granted this new opportunity. You and that puffball will make remarkable footnotes in my history books… as the two who made my ascension as ruler of this galaxy possible! GWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Nightmare's form suddenly shrunk into this darkly-colored sphere, spinning rapidly and lit up by stars. It then took off into the sky, his maniacal laugh echoing all around us.

Ohhhh, this is it! I panicked, darkness starting to penetrate the atmosphere. It's the end of Dream Land, the end of Planet Pop Star! There's nothing we can do now, nothing I can think of that'll help us get out of this mess…!

A lightbulb suddenly lit up in my head.

wait. Maybe there is something.

I've made my fair share of blunders during this crisis, but I won't be responsible for more. I don't wanna see my people (or Kirby, I'll confess) hurt by this shadowy fiend, and there's no way in heck I'm letting him take over my rightful property, either!

I can't do much here—but I know how to help one who can!

I opened my mouth… and inhaled.

"Whoa whoa whoa, Dedede, what are you doing—!?"

Both Kirby and the Star Rod flew into my gut—and then, with as much energy as I could muster, I spat 'em out into the sky after Nightmare.

"You better get 'im good, Kirby!" I shouted. "You're my nemesis for a reason—now go kick that bad guy's butt!"


The Knight of Doubt and Good Intentions


[Meta Knight]

Orange Ocean – Battle Dome

"At last… you've finally arrived, Kirby," I coolly stated from atop a nearby halved-pillar. "I have been waiting for this moment for quite a while."

"I'm sure you have," Kirby said, shooting a potent glare at me from ground level. "You've been pretty elusive, y'know—and more than a little mysterious. Don't think I didn't catch you leaving all those Invincibility Candies for me."

"Perceptive," I complimented him. "Not many can catch sight of me when I move that swiftly."

"And that's not another thing: you're pretty amicable, for a guy who's trying to stop me as much as he is helping me. So why is it that you're helping King Dedede so much with his latest scheme? I mean, you've gotta know the type of person he is!"

"That's… complicated."

A whole year has passed since Kirby first defeated King Dedede, leading to a significant shift in Dream Land's status quo. In that time, I've kept up training for every one of my Meta-Knights—and not to mention, regularly sending scouts to gather intelligence on my fellow puffball.

As far as I can tell, he lives life like any other commoner: eating lunch, taking naps, and hanging out with a close group of acquaintances. Occasionally, he is challenged by King Dedede for some reason or another, but that is usually no problem for him; the pink puffball inevitably ends up coming on top of these on-the-spot duels.

But that, by itself, is not the thing about him I am most interested in. No, that honor belongs to the reports of his Copy Abilities.

Whether it be him clashing with our esteemed monarch, or merely sharpening his skills by his own house, Kirby has shown off an ability to use an uncountable number of them—Beam, Fire, Sword; all he needs is an associated object to eat, and he can seemingly use just about everything.

To assess his skills for myself… that is why I have allied myself with Dedede.

"You see," I began to relay, "this crisis… it is only the first of many to come. Your arrival last year, I suspect, is something of a catalyst; a sign that danger will soon await at every turn. Dream Land needs a defender—someone who can stand up to these impending threats. And as an honorable knight…"

I levied a hard stare directly into Kirby's eyes.

"…it is my duty to see if you can live up to that ideal."

"So it's a crossover of convenience, huh?" he replied, tilting his head. "Test me in a controlled environment, find out how I'd react under pressure." He snorted. "You sure live up to your enigmatic reputation."

He picked up the sword I left on the ground for him, his form briefly flashing white in a transformation. A green, conic cap with a yellow rim fell atop his head as he pointed his new weapon at me. "Be that as it may, the people of Dream Land are still suffering—and until I get back your Star Rod piece, that won't change! Get ready, Meta Knight—'cause today, I'm gonna show you what I'm made of!"

I smiled, though he couldn't see it. "As I expected of you." I dropped down from my platform, Galaxia held at my side. Whether or not this ends in my victory or defeat… I am confident the both of us shall become enlightened after this showdown. With that in mind…

"Now, Kirby, Hero of the Stars—I, Meta Knight, hereby challenge you to a formal duel! I will not go easy on you. En garde!"


Meta-Knights H.Q. – Conference Room

"H-Hey! Lord Meta Knight!" Sailor Dee babbled, breaking up the conversation about our forces' recent performance in combat. "I—I just wanted to ask… h-how was your fight with Kirby?"

Mace Knight perked up. "Oh, right! I've been meaning to ask you about that!" His attention—and everybody else's—soon narrowed in on me, their faces excitedly expecting an answer. "Our esteemed lord against the trailblazer of the stars… who here wouldn't want to hear about it!?"

I chuckled good-naturedly. "He was an… exceptional challenge," I allowed. "Despite his general demeanor, there was clearly decades of experience behind the swing of his sword. His fighting style certainly caught me off-guard more than once." I leaned back in my chair, a sense of satisfaction in my posture. "He may have bested me, but I need not feel ashamed—for he is truly the worthiest opponent I have faced yet."

"Those are some strong words, coming from you," Captain Vul remarked, a sharp grin showing from his beak. "If he's impressed you that much, then perhaps you don't have anything to fear after all!"

I hummed thoughtfully. "…perhaps." From the documents I had written about this affair as a whole, I picked up the one detailing the fearsome foe who had infiltrated our realm: Nightmare.

Cropping up out of the blue, sealed only by Dedede's quick thinking, only to be undone thanks to poor communication work… if he had gone just a little more unnoticed, the dark wizard could've easily taken over Pop Star, with no one able to oppose him.

And that's not even discussing all the ways he could've corrupted our reveries—a tainted Fountain of Dreams is disturbing to think about, on quite a number of levels.

Head on, Kirby is no doubt capable to take on the task of defending Dream Land from the dangers ahead. And Dedede, should he put his mind to it, is more than qualified of supplementing his efforts.

But will they be enough?

"So," Axe Knight interrupted the silence, "what do we do now? I mean, we've been spying on Kirby long enough, and we've gotten enough information. Do we simply… keep training 'til we can surpass him, or do we go work on something else?"

A half-forgotten idea, filed away in one of my mental cabinets, suddenly drifted to the surface of my mind. "Actually," I replied, "there is something." I turned to Vul. "Vul—that proposal for a battleship you once had… I believe now is the time to turn it into a reality."

The avian captain leaped in his chair, his eyes jolted toward my position. "W-Wait, wait, wait—you're serious?"

I nodded. "I am."

Several more beats passed before another reaction was had. At first, it was a nervous, almost disbelieving chuckle. Slowly, it graduated to some light chortling, to mediumly loud guffawing, all the way to full-blown laughter, with Vul hopping out of his seat and raising his wings to the sky.

"YES! HAHAHAHAHA! The Battleship Halberd is finally poised to set sail! Get ready, landlubbers—we're gonna best everything that comes at us from here on out! WAHOO!" He continued to cackle as he ran out of the room, hopping and skipping with every step he took.

Sailor Dee, Mace Knight, and Axe Knight stared bug-eyed at their normally-composed colleague's uncharacteristic actions. I merely took a sip of a mug of coffee I had sitting by my desk, no unmasking necessary. (You learn these tricks when you wear a mask most of the time.)

"…I've never seen him so… excited before…" Sailor Dee whispered. "Was—Was that really our captain…?"

"Oi…" Mace Knight put his head in his palms. "He's never gonna shut up about things now…"

"His excitement aside, the necessity of having a fortified fortress in this new age should not be understated." I got up from my chair as well—I have orders I need to give out. "We got collectively lucky with this first incident; we cannot assume the same for future ones. More than ever, we need to prioritize the defense of Dream Land… and that starts with ramping up our operations.

"Be prepared, you three. We must be prepared, by any means necessary.

"Dream Land will not fall today—or any day afterward."


The Wizard Full of Nightmarish Intent


[Nightmare]

Within the Fountain of Dreams

I was not satisfied with merely conquering the planet I once called home.

No—my empire must extend its reach over all there is and ever will be.

So long as fear and torment exists in every mind, I will be there to supplement their growth—through whatever means I can create.

And it will all be mine to consume whole.

To that end, I set my armies of demon beasts to conquer every system in the Gamble Galaxy, supplemented by the growth of my corporation, Nightmare Enterprises. Against the might of my monsters, planets fell in great numbers – either taken by force, or through the services I 'generously' supplied. Freedom and security became a thing of the past, as I fed upon the nightmares of the populace—and I never let them forget it. There was little they could do to resist—

—that is, until the Galaxy Soldier Army decided to interfere.

Far more than a simply well-organized group of rebels, my self-appointed opposition became a face of hope throughout the galaxy and beyond. With that accursed Meta Knight taking the lead, I found my efforts at expansion slowly producing diminishing returns, for their messages of resistance were creeping into my already-existing empire.

They were taking losses—but so was I. I could only produce so many demon beasts at a time, to replenish their declining ranks.

Something would have to give. It was only a matter of time.

Fortunately for me… I had a trump card hiding in my deck.

I was able to pick up a few new tomes, thanks to a few raids on some more magically-advanced worlds. After… discouraging them from continuing with their experiments (only I can be the most powerful wizard, you see), I tasked my own researchers with solving the mysteries behind these untold discoveries. And soon enough, we managed to attain that which would grant me my ace in the hole: a ritual to transport your form past the barrier between dimensions.

Reportedly, this spell spoke of a galaxy much like the one I knew, except it contained a whole host of mystical artifacts that I could use to bolster the strength of both my magic and my demon beasts. To have even one such relic in my grasp would turn the tide of this conflict in an instant – which is why I initiated the ritual as soon as I could afford to.

At first, I seemed to have arrived in an advantageous location—a fountain powered almost entirely by dreams, its influence spread out over an entire populace. These people, on this backwater planet called Pop Star, dream wonderfully thanks to this spring—dreams waiting to be corrupted by my touch.

Vexingly, however, my presence did not go unnoticed. Some foolish king by the name of Dedede managed to temporarily stop me by disabling this Fountain of Dreams. And because I had not fully materialized in this realm… I can only wait for myself to be set free, through some means or another.

But I am a patient man. My empire would not have grown as far as it did had I not been.

I shall triumph over this brigade of loosely-heroic buffoons, and make this new frontier part of my domain. The Galaxy Soldier Army will fall helplessly to their knees, once I unlock the secrets to this mystical dimension—

—and I, the Emperor of Darkness, shall reign supreme.


The Puffball Who Fights with All His Heart


[Kirby]

Stellar Moon
Stormy Surface

"How can it be… that I am losing… to someone so inconsequential…!? And that relic you hold… why…!? Why does it give me so much pain…!?"

Up on Pop Star's moon, on this battlefield illuminated by starlight, stars blazed through the air. Letting my instincts guide me, I ducked and dove past volleys of projectiles, flicking the Star Rod and tossing my own blasts at the cape covering his core. They merely bounced off it, but it was telling how bad things were for him that he lightly flinched from their impact.

"That's an easy question to answer!" I shot back at the so-called Dark Lord. "If you're the embodiment of everyone's nightmares… then it stands to reason that your greatest weakness would be the embodiment of all of Pop Star's hopes and dreams!"

Though Nightmare was certainly not a pushover, it was clear that he didn't have everything under control—as he said himself, his strength had been limited from his entrance to our dimension (however the heck he accomplished that). Not only that, it was easy for me to tap into the power of the Star Rod; for whatever reason, it synergized perfectly with the well of energy I held deep inside of me.

Combined with my own determination and skill… he didn't stand a chance, not in the slightest.

"Hopes and dreams… what are they worth, compared to corrupted passions and aspirations!? What use could they have, when you can reign over an empire forged through steel!?" Anger was edging into his voice, lined with a bit of bewilderment.

"Life's a lot more than just being a huge jerk, y'know! It's about the little things: lunches, naptimes… and friendships, too! That's why I won't let you take over Pop Star—not if I have anything to say about it!" I pointed the Star Rod at him, giving him the smirkiest smirk I could muster. "C'mon, now—let's put an end to this, once and for all!"

Nightmare snarled, re-engaging me in battle—but despite his increased efforts at trying to defeat me, he wasn't able to regain the upper hand. I continued to whittle away at his health, steadily emerging more and more victorious in this battle of attrition—until eventually…

…I dealt the final blow.

His form became unstable, columns of light shot forth from his eyes—and massive amounts of energy were emanating from his increasingly distorted appearance. "YoOooUUuuUUU… KiiRRRRBbbbYYYYY…! THIS—THIS IsSSN'T… THE EeennNNNdDD!" he screeched, explosions going off all around me. I summoned my Warp Star and started flying, watching as he desperately tried to claw his way to safety. "I WIlLLLL—I wILllll RETuRRNn, Sooo LOnNGG aS FeAArr LIVeS oNN in EEveRYoNE'S HEAaRT! AnDD ThEEN, YooU! WillL! FALLLLLLLLLLLL!"

"Then I'll be there to vanquish you again," I said, "so that everyone can keep dreaming peacefully. 'Cause in the face of fear—there'll always be bravery to back it up!"

With one final roar, he disappeared in three purple flashes of light, each of them gradually expanding to cover a significant chunk of the moon. I took this as my cue to take off into the distance, heading back to the planet I was proud to call my home.


Dream Land
Skies Above the Fountain of Dreams

"You've got a lot of issues, y'know."

"…mmm."

"Like—being so aggressive earlier? Wasn't your brightest move ever."

"Mmm."

"I know you consider me your nemesis and all, but… there's a time and place for everything. This wasn't it."

"Mmm."

With the battle over, I went and guided my Warp Star slowly back down to Pop Star, myself intent on returning the Star Rod back to its rightful place for real. As I was descending, I happened upon Dedede aimlessly floating in the air, so I invited him to come ride along with me.

…that didn't make things any less awkward between the two of us, though.

(I kind of wish it did.)

"…why're you even still talkin' to me, anyway?"

"Huh?"

Dedede turned his head to look at me. His usual zest was gone, his spirits a little more down-in-the-dumps than before.

"I mean, it's not like I contributed anything to this story, in the end – you're the one who saved everybody, just like you did last year. Shouldn't you be going off to celebrate your total victory, and eat 'til your mouth falls off?"

"…I could've," I acknowledged. "I could've immediately flown back to everyone and told them the good news, after reactivating the Fountain properly. But… I wanted to talk with you first. Say a few important things."

The ruling royal scoffed. "What, you're gonna tell me all about the virtues of friendship, or whatever?"

I shook my head. "Tempting… but no." I held up the Star Rod, the artifact I had fought so hard to restore. "I admit… you did your best to safeguard your people this time. If I were anyone else, I'd have a tougher time putting the Star Rod back together. It was muddled a bit by you being so antagonistic and casually swimming in the Fountain—but it's still a pretty impressive effort to make."

"…I couldn't beat you, though. And I couldn't do anything by myself, either."

"It's not about 'beating' people, Dedede," I sighed. "And it's definitely not about being able to survive by yourself. It's okay to put your fears aside and get some help—heck, I would've lent a hand if you gave me a decent explanation. And Meta Knight didn't hesitate to side with you, too.

"You can be a better person than just my nemesis, I know that. You simply have to reach out… and open your eyes."

Silence filled the air. Dedede contemplated the speech I had given, crossing his arms and looking away. In the meantime, as we passed over the Fountain of Dreams, I dropped the Star Rod back onto its podium. Streams of water gushed around the fountain, the Star Rod itself glowing brightly and expelling stars into the sky.

It made me smile. It really did.

Finally, we could go back to sleeping as peacefully as we could be.

Who wouldn't say yes to that?

"Right, that's done!" I said happily, stretching a limb in the air. "Anywhere you wanna go first, Dedede? I've got plenty of time left in the day, and a whole lotta things I'm willing to do."

"J-Just… bring me back to my castle, will ya?" he groused. "I've had enough excitement for today—and enough of hangin' around with you. The sooner I get to sleep in, the better!"

"If you say so! Let's get going!" And so, we soared off to the monument that was Mt. Dedede, our jobs here being well and truly done.

This may have been a pretty unexpected event, but ultimately, I emerged from it victorious and in one piece. Even if this is only 'the first of many crises to come', like Meta Knight implied, I think I'll be perfectly fine.

I'll keep flying into the fray, and smiling all the while!

And if I can keep making and helping friends as I go…

…that'll be even better.


Epilogue: As Long as There is Fear…


"Boss!"

Nightmare warped back into the control room, his form much more fractured than it had been prior to his little undertaking. His fancy glasses were cracked and sparking with electricity, as was the tornado that made up most of his form. His armor pads were ravaged from battle, his cape more frayed at the edges—and he was noticeably struggling to stay level with the ground.

Customer Service wasted no time in rushing to his superior, his expression wracked with worry. "What happened!?" he asked, inspecting the damage for himself. "The ritual should've been performed perfectly! There shouldn't have been anything strong enough to cause… this!"

The Emperor of Darkness coughed, an uncharacteristic grimace on his face. "I stumbled onto… complications. A resistance force, in the form of a self-righteous king and an absurdly talented puffball." He clenched his fists, his recent memories standing out like a spotlight next to his usual successes. "I lost much of my power holding myself together against that… Star Rod he used. If I hadn't escaped at the last second… I would not be here to tell this tale."

Nightmare's right-hand man seemed very much disturbed by this revelation. "It looks like that plan was a bust, then. But surely, we can recover from this setback? We haven't lost anything in terms of resources, after all…"

"Unfortunately… whatever that Star Rod did to me, it will take me a long time to heal. It may be months, or it may be years—either way, I will need to take a different approach to this conflict, until I am restored to full power."

Nightmare was not a person who enjoyed admitting his personal flaws. He would much rather torment others over their own struggles, as many in Nightmare Enterprises could profess.

For Customer Service, hearing this come out of his boss's mouth…

it didn't bode well.

"What shall we do now, then? If the Galaxy Soldier Army catches wind of this, I have no doubt that they'd strike hard while they still have the chance."

"Then we shall use that to our advantage." The Dark Lord trudged over to his 'throne' of sorts, settling down in it and leaning back. "As it stands… we need to delay the Galaxy Soldier Army's advances. We need to cripple their Star Warriors, demoralize their troops completely—and give me the precious amounts of time I require.

"Customer Service. Get my researchers on creating the strongest, most fearsome demon beasts feasible. Send as many scouts as we can to discover and decipher any leads that can give us an edge in this war. Perhaps we can even leak rumors of my current weakness, as to set them up to be foolish and overconfident.

"We cannot afford to waste any time during this fragile state of affairs. I refuse to let my empire become another relic of the past. I will conquer this galaxy—no matter how long I have to wait for it. Have I made myself clear?"

The manipulative salesman nodded solemnly. "Crystal clear, Boss. Our employees will get to work ASAP." He returned to his work station, sending out e-mails and calls at a rapid pace.

Nightmare, at last alone with his own thoughts, decided to reflect upon the hero—no, the Star Warrior he had battled not an hour prior.

He had underestimated him, on account of his appearance and Nightmare's own unfamiliarity with the dimension as a whole. Coupled with his weakened state, and the discovery of a vulnerability he had not known about before…

He would not make the same mistakes again.

He knew the risks associated with Pop Star now—and he had learned some very valuable lessons from the debacle.

Someday, as he had promised to Kirby… he would return to the parallel dimension, and strike back against the Dream Landers with the full might of Nightmare Enterprises.

And if he was lucky…

he might even find a way to turn Dream Land's greatest weapon against them.

Soon, Kirby, soon… you will regret daring to defy my will. You, the Galaxy Soldier Army… and everyone in this wretched realm.

And then… you will learn the meaning of true suffering.

You'll see.


Wasn't intending on writing this one-shot, but I felt like it couldn't hurt to build up Meta Knight and Dedede's prequel character arcs a little more. Oh, and to create a few new ties to Are You a Friend, Too?—'cause baby, I've got an important retcon to take care of.

After The First Rival and As the Spring Breeze Blows had Dedede placed in an antagonistic position, I felt that it was prudent to showcase some of his… slightly more reasonable side. More often than not, he's revealed himself to have pretty good intentions – and establishing it here'll go a long way to making his redemption in later fics feel more natural.

Don't ask me why he was just wading in the Fountain of Dreams, though. There's a time and place for everything and that… definitely wasn't it. (Maybe the whole situation made him more irritable than normal. Can't rule that out.)

Kirby's Adventure was where Meta Knight was introduced into the franchise, and so by proxy, it's the first time Kirby and Meta Knight have gotten properly acquainted. Much like his anime self, he desires to test Kirby, to ensure he will be able to protect Dream Land from future threats. He also has a firm interest in having Dream Land able to defend itself—which, as you can see, will lead into Revenge of Meta Knight three years down the line.

Despite him being one of the more publicized Kirby antagonists out there (in part thanks to the anime), Nightmare is one of the more… 'eh' villains within the mainline canon. His design is cool, and his fight's alright, but compared to the vast majority of Big Bads after him, he doesn't exactly stand out a whole lot. Which is why he's now the Nightmare from Right Back at Ya!, attempting to stage a Hostile Show Takeover. Makes things more interesting… and also allows me to better set up this series' future.

Also, Kirby's here! He hasn't changed too much – though given that this is his first major Eldritch Abomination situation since landing on Pop Star, he's a little on the backfoot here. Lucky for him that he adapts to things relatively easily – otherwise, the road ahead would be far more troublesome to deal with.

Well, that's all for now – see you guys around!