bear this torch against the cold of the night
A Super Smash Bros. One-Shot
Notes: This one-shot is set during Adventure Mode: World of Light, and in-between Chapters 2 and 3 of Smile for the Sake of Everyone.
Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers have already taken place; everyone else except Byleth are from after the latest game in their timelines circa 2018. Spoilers are featured for the original Persona 5, but that shouldn't be very surprising at this point.
This fic is canon to both the Make a Friend series and the A Goddess in Reality series, though the only thing you need to know is that Minato Arisato got turned into Marie for the latter. This does not to be read as a major entry for either series.
The title is derived from the lyrics to Lifelight, the main theme song for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
It was supposed to be a World of Light, yet all they could see was the shadows waiting beyond.
It was a realm meant to be full of life, of stories and dreams—but all that was left were remnants of the past and a world devoid of happiness.
From atop a mountainous riverside, five (okay, maybe six, or nine, or ten) figures looked on at the haphazard mishmash of worlds that used to be. An uneasy silence settled in among them as they remembered the monumental task set before them, the weight of the literal multiverse resting upon their shoulders.
The frontmost one—a fancifully-dressed teenager, clad in a black suit-esque outfit and a white domino mask (oh, and a long badass tailcoat)—frowned, arms crossed in contemplation. "So," he muttered, gray eyes narrowed and steeled, "this is the World of Light Igor spoke of… it's certainly no Palace, that's for sure."
"Whoa… this place is huge…!" his catlike companion gawked, eyes wide and limbs slack. "E-Even with my bus form, it'll take forever to get around where we need to be!"
"Then I suppose we best make haste," said a blonde-haired luminary, a trio of other heroes trailing behind him. "It will not be too long until the Lord of Light realizes we have invaded his territory."
"Bah! Who cares about that!?" a red-winged breegull declared, from inside a certain brown bear's backpack. "That good-for-nothing piece of hot air's got another thing coming if he thinks we'll just let him take our worlds!"
"What Kazooie said," agreed said brown bear. He looked unusually serious for a cartoon animal of his nature. "There's no way I'm gonna sit back and allow this guy to win."
The ninth member—a red-capped martial arts master—pounded his fists together, his stance clearly showing him as battle-ready. "What are we waiting for, then? The universe isn't gonna save itself!"
"Indeed," stated the last of them, a teal-haired mercenary. "It's time for our blades to speak for us. Come, now… let us depart!"
Without any further words, the other nine nodded in unison. The group as a whole proceeded to charge down the mountain and into the fray, to pluck the seeds of this vast and hostile empire right from its roots. There could be no delay; no hesitation or fear in the face of the foes they were up against.
For the countless stories lost to the void… they'd ensure that that faint star of hope—the hope of the entire multiverse—would make it through to the end.
That was a promise.
"I have called you all in today to speak of a great crisis, one that extends far beyond your worlds alone."
Igor's voice carried across the Velvet Room with the utmost seriousness. The room itself—resembling the living room of a mansion (with a particular logo plastered over one of the walls)—was housing a total of thirteen other individuals, ten of whom were currently gathered in front of Igor and giving him their undivided attention.
"He is not unlike the force that saw me imprisoned not too long ago, desiring order and control over everything he deems to be beneath his status."
Behind Igor's seat, two attendants stood closer to the wall, frowns resting upon their lips. Lavenza—the shorter of the two, adorned in an elegant blue dress and yellow eyes sparkling with worry—was hopping at her feet, while Marie—a slender girl with green eyes and a questionable fashion sense—leaned back with her cap covering her face. With them was also a short green girl laying on the couch behind them, wearing some rather regal clothing.
"This Lord of Light—Galeem—has recently slain the participants of the fifth Super Smash Bros. tournament, a competition involving many skilled fighters from a singular cluster of dimensions. Not only that… but he has consumed their worlds whole, and is slowly doing the same to the rest of us as we speak."
Ren Amamiya crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "Well," he said after a moment, "that's… certainly a step up from Yaldabaoth and the other gods. Can't say I fancy having this come at us outta nowhere."
Morgana looked a mixture of amazed and horrified. "Wait, somebody actually got the drop on all of the Smash Bros.!? B-But they're some of the greatest heroes and villains of all time! Wh-Wh-What the heck were they up against…!?"
The others in the room all reacted with varying degrees of 'oh crap' and 'say what!?'.
"Donkey!? Diddy!? B-Both of them are dead!?"
"Such a dishonorable way to go… if it was my students in the same position, I'd…"
"No way… I was hoping to get a chance to face off against them sometime…!"
Igor waited for the chaos to die down before continuing. "This scheme must not be allowed to succeed, for the sake of all who live in these realms. Unfortunately, I cannot personally act against him, due to my own non-interference clause. However, as you all have been scouted out to be part of the Smash Bros.—"
"You're joking! Byleth can't possibly be a candidate…!"
"That big nose of yours better not mean you're lying…!"
"Wait, seriously!? A-All of us!? …really!?"
"—you may have what it takes to turn the tides against Galeem. One spark can be all it takes to ignite a revolution, they say."
"It's gonna be tough though," Marie spoke up. She lifted her cap and stared at the assembled crew with a piercing emerald gaze. "This'll bigger than anything else you guys have seen before. The whole world will be up against you—and you can't afford to fall even once."
"Marie is right, Trickster," Lavenza said. "The Lord of Light has an army of Spirits he can empower, and he won't be afraid to manipulate things to his favor."
"I'll take that risk," Ren replied, mouth morphing into a familiar grin. "I've always been one to rebel against unworthy authorities—and this time's no exception. You say there's a god that needs defeating? I'll help out anytime."
"Joker's right!" Morgana agreed. "A Phantom Thief doesn't let injustice go—and they don't let their friends do things alone, either!"
The rest of the group, while not quite sharing the ideals held by the two Phantom Thieves, nodded their assent as well. They may have been a varied set of individuals, but they were still undoubtedly heroes; protectors of the innocent. If this was the mission they needed to accomplish, then they would do it without question. It was simply in their nature.
Igor smiled. "A valiant answer, one I very much expected. Very well. Let us begin your journey to saving existence as we know it."
Ren sat on a tree branch, a hand placed horizontally on his forehead.
Below, his teammates waited for him to finish scouting the area ahead. Byleth Eisner (Professor of Garreg Mach Monastery) and a few of her teammates looked a little impressed at how professionally their appointed leader was handling things.
"W-Wow… he really knows what he's doing…" one of the four heroes breathed. "I can't believe he's only a little older than me…"
"It may not be the most glamorous of tasks," Byleth said, "but it is certainly an important one. Wars have been waged and lost due to poor knowledge of the battlefield."
Eventually, Ren—alternatively known as Joker—dropped down from his perch. "Coast is clear for now," he relayed. "Let's get a move on, before that changes."
In the lead, Joker took to the shadows, dashing between pieces of cover and keeping a good lookout for Puppet Fighters in the vicinity. The rest of the crew followed him through the same route, some more easily than others ("Ugh, this is boring as heck… can't we just run and jump a whole lot?" "Kazooie, shush!").
"You truly have a lot of experience in this field," the professor noted. No amateur thief could recreate the way he moved so elegantly. "Your qualifications as leader clearly did not come from nowhere."
"What can I say?" Joker smirked. "I'm just naturally talented." He brought out his smartphone, bringing up the Maps application and watching as more and more of the World of Light was revealed on it. (Thank god for Velvet Room phone upgrades.) "'Sides, when you've got a lot of fortresses to infiltrate, you learn how to do things fast."
Byleth raised an eyebrow. "Hmm… sounds like you've led quite the eventful life." She smiled. "I bet you could teach my students a thing or two. They're a talented class, but I think some out-of-school aid for them would be appreciated."
"Asking me, an infidel Phantom Thief, to teach a crowd of proper nobles and warriors?" he faux-gasped, placing a hand dramatically over his chest. "Why, I didn't know you were such a rebel, my lady! Beneath that hard exterior must lie the heart as a mischievous scoundrel!"
A snort. "It's not like that, and you know it. Being a… former mercenary, I understand the need to perform reconnaissance and play to your advantages in combat."
"A mercenary, you say…? Now that's a story I'd like to hear." Idly, he started twirling his trusty butterfly knife in his hand, curiosity written all over his face. "How does a mercenary become the teacher of a respected institution? Seems like a big stretch to make."
She chuckled, low and throaty, the sound itself seeming almost new to her. "Just saved the academy's three heirs, unlocked a new power, gained a snarky girl in my head—" ("I can hear you, y'know!") "—and impressed the staff a lot. It's not where I expected my life to go, but… I'd be lying if I said it wasn't fulfilling, in a way. And you?"
"I was falsely criminalized by a corrupt politician, afterwards finding a world made from the desires of those like him. And then…" Ren let his mask burn into flame, that familiar black demon emerging behind him. "…I awakened Arsene, and the rest is history. I became an ordinary student by day—and Phantom Thief by night, he who steals the hearts of the distorted!"
Despite herself, Byleth couldn't help but hold a hand to her mouth. "Fascinating."
Just then, they heard footsteps coming toward their direction. Instinctively, Joker signaled the crew to hide behind various trees and rocks nearby. A duo of swordsmen—or rather, a swordsman and a swordswoman—emerged, sharp red eyes analyzing the environment around them. Joker and Byleth locked eyes with each other, a knowing glance in both their gazes.
"Two foes appear to have approached us," the latter noticed, taking out her axe. "Shall we take care of them?"
"Oh, my lady, I thought you'd never ask," the Wild Card smirked, fingers itching to cast an Eigaon. "Betcha I can land the finishing blow first."
"We'll see about that."
"Y-Yowwwwwwch! Bad dogs! B-Bad dogs!"
In a pocket world resembling an island drawn in crayon, a cat, a bear, and a breegull were doing their best to prevent a quartet of dogs (and ducks) from getting the better of them.
Admittedly, the former was probably not the best choice to take into this clash, given what he was up against.
"Diego! Magarudyne!" The swarm of Puppet Fighters clumping together was suddenly blown away by a harsh tornado, leaving Morgana and his Persona standing alone in the settling dust.
The self-proclaimed not-cat grit his teeth, bringing out his scimitar and slashing away at a Duck Hunt Duo coming right toward him. "What the heck is up with these puppies!? They won't stop charging at me, not even for five seconds!"
"What, you thought 'not being a cat, I swear!' means you're immune to nature?" Kazooie sneered, pecking at one particular duckling in an unamused manner. "Yeah, nice try, bucko!"
"You know Kazooie, the clones of these two kinda fight a lot like us!" Banjo off-handedly mentioned. "The dog hits hard, the duck helps him out—it's pretty weird, don't ya think?"
"Gee, I wonder why? I hope it's not 'cause Nintendo was trying to replace us. I mean, them first and not us!?"
"Hey, I don't think things are like that!" the anthropomorphic Phantom Thief said. "Maybe the hosts of this tournament—whoa!—thought you were out of reach or something and went for somebody else! They may seem similar enough, but—Miracle Punch!—that's not indicative of anything!"
"That's easy for you to say," the red-winged bird groused. "You're not the one who was left abandoned on the cutting room floor for an eternity!" Irritated, she stunned a closing-in Duck Hunt Duo with several explosive eggs, and proceeded to take her rage out on them.
"Sold off to Xbox, separated from all our friends, given a terrible redesign, forced by L.O.G. to participate in a slog of an adventure… then to make matters worse, he blocks us out of anything! Worthwhile! For! Years!" Each bullet point was punctuated by her angrily stabbing them again, tears threatening to fall from her eyes. "And to top it all off, we come back only to find our friends dead and their bodies trying to kill us!"
The poor Puppet Fighter eventually succumbed to all the damage taken, flying off the battlefield and right toward their doom. Kazooie panted heavily; Banjo looked noticeably haggard himself.
Morgana bit his lip. "That's… a lot," he said lamely.
"It was a pretty hard time," Banjo admitted. "We got letters, but L.O.G. only gave them to us to taunt us. It… felt like we were forgotten. A relic of the past. Something nobody cared about anymore."
"…but that's not true."
Banjo and Kazooie blinked.
Firing off another Garudyne, Morgana continued, "You haven't been forgotten. That's why you're here! I know what it's like to feel like you're obsolete—but that doesn't mean your friends feel that way! If there was anything they could do to help, then they would've!" He turned to the bear-breegull duo. "You were chosen as Smashers, right? Then that's all you need to know! And if this L.O.G. guy wants to contest that… we'll just steal his heart, if that's what it takes!"
A brief moment of silence. And then…
Kazooie smiled. "Ha! I guess you're more than a simple alley cat after all."
"Well, of course! I'm a Phantom Thief of Hearts; there's nothing more to it!" Then he nearly got ran over by another Duck Hunt Duo (again). "Whoa! Still!?"
The remaining three Puppet Fighters gathered as one, giggling in that annoyingly memetic way.
A vein appeared on Morgana's forehead. "Ugh, enough of these wannabe Shadows! I think it's time we hit 'em with everything we've got!"
"Fine by me!" the breegull savagely grinned. "I'm raring to beat these guys down, anyway!"
"Guh-huh! I agree! Let's do this, Kazooie!"
"Alright! It's time for some bloodshed!"
Eleven, Luminary of Erdrea, and Terry Bogard, The Legendary Hungry Wolf, stared at the sight before them in befuddlement.
A Piranha Plant in a brown pot was panting with its tongue out, somehow appearing expectant despite its lack of eyes.
"…what's it doing?" Eleven asked, not-so-subtly whispering to his fellow Smasher.
Terry brought a hand to his chin, watching as the plant looked back and forth between the two. "I… think it wants to join us our quest to dethrone Galeem."
"Eh?" The Luminary's head whipped around toward the martial arts master. "J-Join us? You mean—as a teammate?"
"Well, yeah!" he shrugged. "Did you see that bout we had? It managed to give us one heck of a fight, using that stem and those sharp teeth! I wouldn't mind having it watch our back."
The Piranha Plant beamed at this praise, and went up to snuggle up to Terry (which was weird in just about any context, honestly). Terry laughed and lifted its pot, with no worries as to the little minion's possible danger level. When the other hero still looked unsure, he laughed. "C'mon, look at him! You can't say no to a face like that!"
Eleven furrowed his brow. To be fair, he thought, it's a lot more intelligent than you'd think it is. And it knew how to use its unique abilities to its advantage: stretching its stem, summoning spike balls, spinning its leaves around and flying… it could be a great help, especially considering the dire circumstances and their limited numbers.
…that didn't mean this wasn't weird as heck, though.
"I guess you know better than me what to do," Eleven conceded. He sighed. "I feel so out of my depth… I've saved my world and become an inspiration for my descendants, but somehow, I don't feel like I'm prepared for this at all."
Terry just shrugged. "To be fair, I don't think anybody can really say that. The world's a big place, and sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches." He handed the Piranha Plant to the teenager, saying, "Here! You see what this little guy's like!"
The Luminary latched onto him, head tilting in curiosity.
The plant chomped repeatedly toward the air, a clear smile on its face.
Idly, he fed it a few spare Seeds of Strength, which it lapped up in an instant.
"…I've never taken care of a plant before," he said quietly. "Not a plant like this one."
"Now's the perfect time to learn then!" the so-called Lone Wolf grinned. "I don't know either, but between us and everyone else, I'm sure we'll figure something out!"
"You're a… pretty optimistic guy, huh?"
"You kinda have to be, in this profession of mine! Hasn't failed me yet!"
The Piranha Plant laid its head on Eleven's chest.
…I guess it won't be so bad, adventuring with everyone here, he thought.
"Good job, Trickster, everyone," Lavenza said, communicating directly from the Velvet Room. "It may not appear as such, but we are gradually making an impact on Galeem's forces. If we continue along this way and unite with the other Smash Bros., then it won't be too long before this world is saved!"
"Gee, what are the rest of us, chopped liver?" Kazooie muttered. "Give us a better acknowledgement than that, sheesh…"
"Glad to hear it!" Banjo said, oblivious to his best friend's grousing. "Y'know Lavenza, you're a really nice girl! Encouraging us and keeping track of all these Spirits—you remind me a little of my sister Tooty!"
"O-Oh!" None of the Smashers could really tell, but the youngest attendant was now sporting a sizeable blush. "Th-That's—That's very kind of you, Banjo! Th-Thank you."
"Ha! Not used to compliments from people who aren't Ren, huh?" Marie's teasing voice slid in. "Man, I didn't think your face could get so red…"
"You're one to talk, Marie! Don't tell me you've forgotten the time you showed that in front of—"
"D-D-Don't you dare tell anybody about that!"
Morgana sighed. "Is this really the time for these antics…?"
"Eh, it's no trouble!" Terry espoused. "It builds up our fighting spirits and makes us stronger than ever! What's not to like?"
"I—I wouldn't quite put things that way," Eleven said, still holding the Piranha Plant's pot in his hands (it was rapidly endearing itself to him), "but a greater team solidarity never hurt anybody."
"Besides, it's hilarious as heck," Sothis weighed in. "I thought watching Byleth fumble around was entertaining, but you guys together take things to a whole new level!"
"I'm just going to assume that means you do actually care about me," Byleth replied dryly, raising one of her eyebrows.
"Well, of course! Somebody's gotta make sure you don't screw everything up."
Ren felt the tips of his lips quirk up before he willed them back down. "Hold up, guys," he stated, extending an arm out. "Something's not right."
The company came to a dead stop, turning their attention to what lay ahead. In the middle of a valley of stone spikes stood a massive violet castle, electricity streaking out of it and into the sky. An aura of maliciousness radiated from the entrance, beckoning all those who sought it to face a grim and dishonorable end.
"Wh-Whoa!" Banjo recoiled. "Now that's an evil fortress if I've ever seen one!"
Kazooie grimaced. "Eugh! They couldn't have chosen any better décor than this…?"
"I'm getting a reading of something," Lavenza informed the crew. "If I'm not mistaken, it's…" She gasped. "…it's the surviving group of Smash Bros.! And they're in grave danger! There are several powerful Puppet Fighters engaging them, and it is overpowering them as we speak! Trickster, Smash Bros., you must go and help them!"
"No need to tell me twice!" Joker's gun flew into his hand, and signaled for everybody else to follow. "Alright, team—let's get to work! Move out!"
The world, at this moment, was chaos; a never-ending cavalcade of chaos.
Kirby yelped and shot out of the way, just in time to avoid a red-hot stream of fire from torching him. Equipping Jet as his Copy Ability, he rocketed into the sky, trying to shake a crimson Charizard off his tail.
"Now is not the time for your crap!" he yelled. Up and down and left and right he flew, barely speeding ahead of the flames threatening to overwhelm him. His eyes looked to the battlefield around him, and he suppressed the urge to spit out a curse. (Given the circumstances, he was almost inclined to let it out anyway.)
Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Villager, and Isabelle were outhopping both a giant Duck Hunt Duo and a giant Bowser; Dr. Mario, and Pikachu were being harassed by three Greninjas and their giant shurikens; Captain Falcon and Lucario and were contending with a red Roy on steroids—
Dear NOVA, how did this all go so wrong!?
Even with a bevy of Spirits at their disposal, Kirby and co. were hard-pressed to deal with a brigade of Puppet Fighters ambushing them all at once the moment they stepped into the castle. They managed to quickly rescue Peach as things went to hell, but you could forgive Kirby for getting barely any comfort out of it.
Getting desperate, he shot off high into the air and swapped to Stone, moving to pound the stubborn Charizard—Ho-Oh, whatever—into the ground. The Heavy Smash, miraculously enough, managed to connect, and the two hit the floor hard and fast. Detransforming quickly, he wailed on the enemy with fists made out of stone.
"Just! Stay! Down already!" he screamed in desperation. It was no use, though; the Ho-Oh just grabbed onto him and headbutted him away. And—of course—this was followed up by scorching flames at literally point-blank range.
Kirby, now without a Copy Ability, lay dizzily on the floor. Looking up, he saw the Charizard hovering over him, preparing to dish out another high-grade barbeque.
Dang it! This—This can't be the end…!
…but I'm out of energy, and I don't have it in me to dodge anymore.
Ugh… This is gonna hurt…!
Grimacing, the puffball braced himself for impact—
—and was instead greeted by several bullets slamming into the beast and felling it.
Heart-themed sparkles suddenly sprouted from inside Kirby, healing the bruises on his skin and replenishing his stamina reserves. Before he could react, three figures dropped in front of him: a well-dressed teenager, a cat, and an armored lady.
"Looks like we made it in time," the teenager said (what was with his getup? Was he a thief or something?). He eyed the downed Puppet Fighter and smirked. "Don't you know that that much fire can give you heartburn? You oughta give it a rest!"
The cartoon cat walked over to Kirby, concern plastered over his face. "Hey, are you okay? That was one heck of a beating you took there!"
"What the—who the heck are you three?" Kirby asked. They don't look like Assist Trophies or anything…!
"My name is Byleth Eisner," the armored woman introduced herself. "That is Ren Amamiya, alias Joker, and our feline friend is Morgana. We—and our other companions—have been summoned to assist you on your quest."
"O-Other companions…?" Kirby glanced around the castle again—and lo and behold, the Puppet Fighters unexpectedly had a lot more competition to square off against. A red-clad muscled man and a freaking Piranha Plant were aiding Team Mario; Banjo and Kazooie made the three Greninjas more of an even match; and a quartet of sword-wielding heroes were quadruple-handedly taking care of the Legend-class Roy.
And just like that, this war no longer seemed so insurmountable.
There were those that hadn't yet been consumed by Galeem, those who were willing to help despite the risk of failure.
They were charging on in, for strangers from even stranger dimensions, because it was the right thing to do.
The Smashers weren't alone.
…Kirby wasn't alone.
"…you sure took your sweet time getting here," Kirby joked, getting up and activating the Copy Essence Deluxe for Sword. (They weren't like the Star Allies, far from it—but for a moment, it wouldn't hurt to pretend otherwise.) "What, were you preparing for that super-special entrance or something?"
"No, but it was a nice bonus," Ren grinned. He clutched his knife tightly, getting into an attack-ready stance. "Now—what do you think about showing this oversized Pokémon a thing or two?"
"Do you have to ask?" Kirby scoffed. "C'mon—we've got a castle to bring down, and I can't do it by myself!"
"Very well, then." Byleth got out her own weapon—that's one ancient-looking sword, Kirby noticed—and was similarly prepared to leap. "Let us show this foe the might of our combined forces!"
"It's time for an all-out attack!" Morgana cheered. "Alright, you oversized Shadow—quiver in fear!"
The four of them instinctively leaped into action, blades slashing and dicing at Ho-Oh's Puppet Fighter from just about every angle—
—and the battle for the World of Light continued in earnest.
The last Fighters Pass character was announced last week(-ish). It's only right that I write a quick one-shot to celebrate.
In-universe, I operate off the idea that DLC characters are added into the Smash roster as they were revealed in real life. This time, however, Galeem's takeover meant that these guys needed to be pulled in early. Kirby can't do things alone—and he needs all the help he can get.
Of course, there needs to be a reason behind how they can even get in, since I imagine Galeem's hold over his sector of the multiverse is absolute. So I brought in the Velvet Room. The Lord of Light's actions definitely wouldn't mesh well with Igor—it'd be enough to get at least one Wild Card to deal with the situation, at least.
…and he might as well add in the rest of the Fighters Pass characters while he's at it. Nintendo did decide the entire roster for the first pass prior to development, after all.
I tried my best to give the other guys as much equal screentime as I could. The Luminary, Banjo & Kazooie, Terry, Byleth—I may be unfamiliar with their characters, but I'm definitely not cruel enough to leave 'em out. I hope they're still recognizable as themselves.
I organized this fic the way I did thanks to how… abruptly you get all the DLC fighters after unlocking ten from the base roster. Since you never fight them in-game, I headcanon them as instead having to catch up to Kirby and co. from elsewhere in the World of Light. And then them coming in with a good 'ol Big Damn Heroes moment, 'cause why wouldn't they? Joker's known for his flair. (And I think it fits the situation well enough.)
Also, since Piranha Plant was revealed prior to Ultimate's release, I slotted him in as being with the Smashers during the Galeemageddon. From there, it only made sense for him to be rescued by the DLC crowd (since he's not in the overworld itself). It's a bit of an unorthodox way to add him into this fic, but hey, it works!
Well, that's all for now – see you guys around!