“…terrible tragedy in the southern country of Dreamland yesterday as the now universal threat called the Dark matter invaded the land and threatened the inhabitants of the island. Reports and witnesses say that the Dark matter made their way in through the land’s castle, but our reporters have yet to speak with Dreamland’s monarch, King Dedede. Unfortunately, there has been a victim from this invasion, the Star Warrior known as Sir Meta Knight. From the information we currently have in hand, Sir Meta Knight might have had a larger role in the fight against the Dark matter, presumably having defended the whole planet for as many as five years or more. Our reporters have spoken to many of the locals, and-”
Tokkori pressed a claw on the remote’s mute button, silencing the news report from another country. The little bird looked behind from his perch on the edge of the bed, at Kirby who was laying on his side under the covers. Tokkori for once didn’t talk and turned back to the images of the villagers talking about what had happened the day before. He wasn’t usually good with words, he liked to say what he was thinking, but even now, he didn’t know what to think. Kirby had destroyed hundreds of demon-beasts in the past, but now, this was a… a real death, a sentient person, Sir Meta Knight no less! Was this a murder? Or a simple accident? Of course it’s an accident, he thought angrily. Tokkori didn’t know much about Meta Knight, but he did knew that Kirby had looked up to him. After all, the bird thought, the guy was the only one from the same species as the pink puffball on this whole planet. It was no wonder they’d be friends eventually!
However now… The bird turned once more to look at him, opening his beak as if to say something, but stopped. He wanted so much to just peck him until he said something, until he moved, but he had never seen Kirby like this and, frankly, after seeing him covered in blood the day before, he didn’t know what he would do to him. Finally, Tokkori decided to speak.
Silence answered him, but he expected it.
“Are you really going to stay in bed?”
“You haven’t even eaten anything today. You’re gonna be sick, pal, unless you already are. Are you?”
“Maybe you’re just dead and I’m talking to a corpse. That’s a morbid thought.”
“Shut up, Tokkori.”
The bird flapped his wings and tapped his claws on the wooden end of the bed.
“The mute speaks!” he laughed for a short moment, even though he knew it wasn’t even funny.
As Kirby groaned, as if having just woken up, the bird flew over his head and perched on the bed’s other end, close enough to peck him if need be.
“Hey, listen Kirb… I’m sorry I’ve always been a, uh, jerk and all… I mean, yeah, you stole my nest, but you basically saved us a thousand times. I don’t know why I’m like that, I’ve always been like that. Guess I wasn’t used to living with somebody else. You listenin’?”
There was a silence, but Kirby nodded his head, surprising Tokkori. Was it the lack of sleep that made him honest, or was it some sort of guilt of seeing the guy he always called dumb and stupid sprawled on the bed in grief? Nevertheless, considering that this Arthur guy said Kirby would come with them to the Agency, he thought it was a good enough time to say these things.
“So… Yeah. Sorry ‘bout everything.”
“…Thanks, Tok… Really.”
Tokkori couldn’t help but smile, but it quickly vanished when someone knocked on the door. Squinting his eyes, he turned to the entrance.
“Who is it?” he called, annoyed.
“A friend of Kirby’s! I was told he was here. You in there, Kirby?”
Kirby stirred, his eyes widening. This voice… He jumped out of bed, almost pushing the bird back with the covers, and ran over to the door to push it open. There stood his old friend, whom he had not seen in such a long time he barely recognized him.
Blade sighed silently as he looked through Sir Meta Knight’s things. Sword wouldn’t do it; his brother took it harder, with more anger than sadness. Blade was better to hold himself back, especially when he needed to look here. He found many documents and papers on the desk where he used to work. He had spent so many nights here when they were building the Halberd, designing and thinking. Blade never found the blueprints he knew his lord had kept, but he didn’t care much about it now. Among these documents were many unsent letters, each to many people… both dead and alive. Some of these names Blade didn’t recognize, others he knew had been friends of his lord in the war, and the rest were either here or away, he and his brother, Sir Arthur, Fumu, Kirby, so many letters… On top of the pile of envelops, there was a note written in neat curved lines.
Memories of times past, messages for the future, for all those who cared. Let these words reach their destinations when I return to the stars.
Blade rubbed his tired eyes before taking the pile of letters and bringing them out of the room and into the main apartment. These had probably been written during the last weeks or even days. Sir Meta Knight had seen his death… This simple thought brought shivers up his spine but still he walked up to the table and set them so all the names could be seen. Some of the envelops definitely contained small objects, giving them larger sizes, but it was hard to say what some of these were. Even the one adressed to him and his brother contained something. Even if he wanted to see for himself, he decided against it and waited for Sword to come back from wherever he had gone to. As the words from the note repeated themselves in his mind, Sir Arthur walked into the apartment. He had been to have a nice talk with King Dedede, and Blade didn’t doubt that his words had been harsh. He stood up from his chair and saluted him, Arthur nodding back before noticing all the envelops on the table.
“What is all this?” he asked as he walked up to look at them himself.
“I found those letters on his desk, Sir. There was this note with them,” he answered, handing him the piece of paper. “He must’ve written them some time ago, or maybe over the years. It’s the first time I see them.”
Sir Arthur looked through them all, freezing on some names he remembered and nodding his head.
“I see. Knuckle Joe has arrived, at least. He has a letter as well.”
Sword was sitting by the sea, in complete silence. He looked out and listened to the calm waves, trying to relax. But alas, it was in vain, for he could only think of the day before. Azure was laying on the grass next to him, head in his lap. Sword was scratching his neck near his collar in an almost mechanical manner; the Wolfwrath had howled at the sea all night, calling out to its lost master in vain. If Sword had not been convinced at first that a demon-beast could be… loving like this, toward someone else, now he was. Maybe that Wolfwrath had been like he and Blade; maybe it had seen Meta Knight as a father, as someone it could rely on and someone that would care when others were gone. As far as Sword knew, the wolf was an orphan. Neither its mother or anything like it had been seen around the village or even in the forest. But if Sir Meta Knight didn’t bother with the questions, neither would he. And that was why Sword wasn’t against keeping the pup with them. After all, it was one living thing that his lord had held dear, even for a short time.
The Wolfwrath lifted its head a bit when someone approached and Sword recognized those steps as Blade’s. His brother sat down next to him, sighing deeply.
Sword turned his head when his little brother put something in his hand; an envelop.
“What is that?” he asked, letting Azure sniff the letter curiously.
“It’s from Sir Meta Knight. It’s for both of us it seems. I figured you should open it, considering I found it,” Blade answered as his elder brother eyed their names written in that familiar writing. “There were a whole bunch of letters, Sir Arthur said he would bring the rest to the others.”
And thus, in a common agreement, Blade watched as Sword carefully opened the envelop. Before the papers containing the message could be taken out, a small object fell out of it into his hand; a key. Handing it to Blade who looked at it closer, Sword went back to the letter and unfolded it, clearing his throat to read it outloud.
My fellow companions, Sword and Blade,
I have been thinking too much lately, and thoughts of my possible death have occurred to me more than once. As I taught you, a man should trust his instincts, and thus here I am, writing this letter which I did not think I would be writing so soon. I will not say that I hope you never read this, for if you do, it means that I have fulfilled my destiny as a Star Warrior. These times are hard. Even as I write, the Dark matter are chanting in my mind, the same tune I never want you to hear. Whatever happens, there is one thing I must ask of you both. Remain together.
Sword paused here, feeling his throat blocking with a burning lump. Swallowing it down with a grimace, he continued reading, under Blade’s silent gaze and open ears.
It is together that you two have survived in the past, and it is together that you will survive the future. There is simply so much you can do as a team, and I have seen firsthand what you already did. You two have grown from hungry robbers into honorable warriors skilled in the arts of chivalry. I will not lie; suddenly finding myself with two growing teens like you was at first the weirdest experience in my life. Even Jecra’s demon soup with mashed mushrooms was less weird than that.
Blade chuckled, and Sword saw him rub his eyes with his sleeve. Himself could not help that smile from sticking to his face. Even Azure’s bright eyes were fixed on him, as if understanding the words he was reading.
But, I came to see it as the happiest days of my existence. After I had lost all of my friends and family to this war that took so much from me, your arrival into my life that I had thought to be meaningless had brought a spark of light that shines even brighter today. Words are not enough to thank you properly. I will place a key with this letter. There is a box in the nightstand next to my bed. What you will find inside, you may do with as you please. You may accept it or refuse it, but they are yours. To see you two come this far, I am not ashamed to say I feel like a father looking at his two maturing sons. Sir Sword Knight… and Sir Blade Knight…
The two brothers stared at each other for the longest time, their glances going back and forth from the key to the letter.
“S… Sir? Does that mean…?”
“I… I don’t know…”
Sir Sword Knight and Sir Blade Knight. By this letter, let it be known that you both are, officially, Knights in your own rights. You are not bound to any leader unless you choose one, and you will have full responsibility of the apprentices you take, such as Bun. I have no doubt that you have been waiting for this to happen, and I apologize if this comes at such a time. I should have given them to you sooner. Please accept the contents of the box as tokens of my appreciation for all that you did. I owe you my life, in more ways than you imagine.
I will watch over you from my place among the stars.
Sir Meta Knight
Sword felt his arms go numb as they plumped back down with the letter, blinking those silent tears out of his eyes. Next to him, Blade looked at the key.
“Knights…,” he whispered. “We’re knights… We’re not apprentices anymore…”
“L… Let’s go open that box.”
They both stood up, but as Sword was folding the letter and putting it back in the envelop, Blade spoke.
The knight only had to look at him to know. They pulled each other in a brotherly hug that they both needed, and Sword felt once again his eyes water as he patted his brother on the back. Letting go, they gathered their wits and left toward the castle, to find what Sir Meta Knight had left for them.
Kirby stared blankly at the letter Sir Arthur had just given him. There was his name, in cursive writing. The emerald-skinned knight stood in front of him, with a rather taller Knuckle Joe next to him, both waiting for him to open it. Swallowing the lump in his mouth, he carefully tore it open. His eyes weren’t used to the curved alphabet, but after a few words the sentences flew past like a stream’s flow.
My dear friend Kirby,
There are many things that I have never said, and some things will surely be left unsaid, for a single letter is not enough to say all that needs to be said. I know I do not have long to live anymore. No matter the way I leave, I want to make sure you are ready to face what the world will put in your way.
When I was young, I was already called the universe’s last hope. Because people thought I was the last Star Warrior to have been born with Copy abilities, much like yours, the very same in fact. I once had the same abilities you have today. This is why I decided to train you, because I knew just what each ability needed to activate. I once had the burden to carry these abilities until I was ready to face Nightmare. But, it seems fate had something else in store for me, and my abilities were taken from me in a most gruesome manner I will not bother to describe to you. I thought I had wasted this one chance. I thought I had failed as a Star Warrior. And then, you arrived. When I first saw you, in this stinky hut near the sheep’s pens, I thought I was having hallucinations. I watched you grow, I tested you, I tried to protect you. There are so many things I would like to apologize about. Some would say that I often acted cold-hearted with you or the villagers whenever something happened. I know I did, and I would like to first apologize about this. I tried to be like this so I wouldn’t get attached to either you or anyone else. That was foolish on my part, and I realize it more and more as you grow.
Despite all my efforts, you came to me by yourself, and I found how much you reminded me of myself when I was your age, of what I used to be. And I thank you for it all. Remember, Kirby, that there are things or persons in life that will make you believe you are not worth anything. It is up to you to step above it all, to do what I couldn’t. I know for a fact that you have this strength in you. Of course, if you are reading this, then it means that I am gone. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter the way I leave. I am happy with the life I lived, and most of all, I am happy that I was able to see you grow into the young man you have already become. There was no greater honor than to be your teacher and friend, Kirby. I have no doubt that you will prevail against all the events and trials that fate will place in your path.
There is only so much I can do to help you. All I can do is name you the new wielder of Galaxia. With the natural skills you have with the sword, she will be of great use to you. I would also like you to have something that is most precious for me. I have hidden it, a very long time ago, inside Kabu. Search for a hidden space near the pedestal where your Warp Star rests. Take good care of it for me, and it will accept you. Consider this my heritage.
Do not stay alone, Kirby. Whatever you may think, no matter the number of enemies you may face, your allies will be your best defence in these times. I am certain that one day, we will meet again, Kirby of the Stars.
Live happily, my friend.
Sir Meta Knight
It took him a long time to look away from the letter, and he only realized he had been crying when he saw Arthur hand him a handkerchief. The chief wasn’t wearing the bottom half of his helmet, and Kirby could see a sympathetic smile on his face. He took it, muttering a thank you, and he dried his tears tiredly before folding the letter. He looked up at his friend and saw that Joe was holding an envelop too, but it was still closed. He gestured toward it.
“You’re… not reading yours?”
Knuckle Joe shook his head, fingers playing with the paper.
“Nah, I’ll read it later. It’s the kind of stuff I want to read by myself, if you know what I mean. Did he tell you anything particularly incomprehensible? He’s pretty good at that.”
“Well, not really incomprehensible, but…” He looked up at Sir Arthur with a confused look. “He said that I’m Galaxia’s new owner, but…”
Arthur blinked and nodded his head slowly, placing a hand on his hip.
“Ah, I see… I am afraid there isn’t much we can do about that. Unless we find his body, we may not find Galaxia ever again.”
Kirby dropped his head for a few seconds, breathing in to keep a calm attitude even though his heart was aching like hell.
“There’s also…,” he started, before looking up. “He said something about a thing for me that was hidden inside Kabu… I don’t know what it was.”
“Inside Kabu?” the leader repeated. “Is this where your Warp Star is?”
Kirby nodded, but turned his head when he heard knuckles cracking.
“What are we waiting for, then?” Knuckle Joe said, already turning to go on the road. “Let’s go see what it is!”
Kirby and the elder Star Warrior followed close behind, and it was only a matter of time before they arrived into the canyon. As they approached the giant stone, they saw the familiar shape of Fumu, sitting on one of the producing blocks scattered around the place. With her elbows on her knees, chin in her palms, she was staring ahead at practically nothing. Kirby walked ahead of the others and came up to her, still holding the envelop close. The young woman looked up and smiled at him, straightening up.
“Hey Fumu,” he greeted. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, nothing, really. Just thinking, is all,” she answered softly, looking up at Knuckle Joe and Sir Arthur in surprise. “Joe! So you’re heard then…”
Kirby immediately detached himself from the conversation and turned to the silent stone guardian. He walked up the steps that led beyond the fiery altar and didn’t hesitate to slide in through the opening. The moment he set his eyes on the Warp Star, resting on its pedestal, he somehow felt better, warmer. As he walked down the stairs, the closer he came to his star, the warmer he felt, and when he put his hand on it, it felt like he was touching his own heart. For a moment, he stayed there, thinking that if he kept the star with him, he may go through his grief better. He was brought back to the present when the others came inside the chamber.
“Aah, your Warp Star,” Arthur sighed as he walked up to it to look at it with a soft smile. “It has been so long since I have seen one in such good shape.”
“Are there many Warp Stars out there?” he asked curiously.
“No, not at all. Only Star Warriors with your powers are born with them.”
Before Kirby could think this through, Knuckle Joe spoke up, his voice echoing in the chamber loudly:
“Oy, did Meta Knight say where he hid the thing? There isn’t much space to look around, it’s just one room.”
Kirby had to agree to that…
“No, he didn’t… He just said he hid it here a long time ago, near the pedestal, but….”
It was at this moment that Kabu’s booming voice echoed much louder than the fighter’s own voice, taking them by surprise.
“Kabu remembers. Kabu allowed Sir Meta Knight to hide an object here. It was the day he arrived on this star.”
“Do you know where he hid it?” Fumu asked to the omnipresent entity, who took a moment to answer.
“Sir Meta Knight hid it under the altar of the Warp Star. He asked me to keep it here, and Kabu has protected it.”
“Under the altar…?”
Fumu looked down at the others, and both Sir Arthur and Knuckle Joe went to work. There was one stone between the supporting blocks, and by tearing away some vines and moss that had grown there, they were able to find a small space on both sides of the stone, as if to squeeze a finger through. By doing that, they each pulled their own side, and with some force, were able to pull off the stone slab that was surprisingly thinner than expected. As they set it aside, Kirby and Fumu leaned in to take a look inside. In the center of a small space filled with dust and old cobwebs was a small, blue box that seemed so familiar it hurt.
“Is that…?” Fumu started, unable to finish.
Kirby stepped closer and whisked at the cobwebs, scaring away whatever insects might have been crawling in there, and leaned in to take the box from its socket. He held in his hand so all could see and Arthur smiled brightly.
“Ah, I knew that was what he wanted to give you.”
Without more questions, Kirby opened it. He thought he was hallucinating at first, but it really was it. It was a Warp Star, blue in color, soft in shade and bright in light. Mouth open in shock, Kirby took it out to look at it from other angles, his eyes reflecting the blue star’s light.
“Holy-! A Warp Star! Now that’s fancy!” Knuckle Joe exclaimed, bringing back the smile on Kirby’s face. “Two Warp Stars for one Star Warrior? Imagine all the power!”
“B-but I can’t use it, can I? I mean, it’s not mine…”
He looked up at Sir Arthur, hoping he had the answer, but the knight shook his head.
“I only know so much about Warp Stars, Kirby. If Meta Knight really cared about you, his Warp Star might listen to you, like yours listens to Miss Fumu.”
Kirby looked down again at the blue star in his hand; it was warm, like his was, and had so much energy flowing through its surface it tingled his hands. Maybe, just maybe, it was true…
That night, Kirby sat on the balcony of the Parm family’s apartment. Bun was sitting not far from him, lost in his mind. Their things were already packed and ready; all they needed to do now was wait. Kirby was holding the blue star in his hands, but he was staring at the sky. Since the Dark matter clouds had dispersed, the stars were visible once again, thousands of tiny dots of light on a beautiful deep blue sky. Not a cloud in sight. Out here, on the balcony, they both could hear a tune coming from another open balcony, from the Knights’ tower. It was a music they both knew well, some classic orchestra with opera singing in an unknown tongue. Kirby had heard it a few times in his life when he had walked into their apartment to see the blue knight. He remembered the old gramophone, sitting in a corner, with enchanting songs coming out of it from time to time. It was the same for Bun, who had got to spend a lot of time in that apartment of theirs as well. They knew that the two knights now living alone there were playing these songs as a tribute; wherever the dead went, the concerned would certainly enjoy his favorite songs.
As they rested and mentally prepared themselves for the long journey ahead, the doors of the balcony behind them opened and the tingling sound of glass tapping filled the air. They both turned to Galacta Knight, who walked up to them with three glasses of wine in his hands. He handed one to Bun, then one to Kirby, who hesitated.
“Nah, for you Fumu gave me grape juice. You don’t stand alcohol too well, apparently?” he said nonchalantly as Kirby took the glass.
“Not really,” he answered, watching him go sit on the balcony’s edge. “The taste isn’t my cup of tea either anyway. Too bitter.”
“You probably got some cheap wine, then. If you could taste the wine from my home, ha! Now that is some good stuff! The wine’s not bad here too, that Samo guy knows his stuff. What do you think Bun?”
“M-well, I think Samo is better in cocktails. He knows a whole bunch of awesome recipes. I admit the wine Kirby drank wasn’t all that good, it did have a weird taste. You hear that, Kirby?”
“Meh, maybe I’ll try again some other time. Grape juice’s just fine right now.”
“Your call, kiddo,” Galacta said to conclude this conversation.
There was a moment of comfortable silence between the three men, which was filled with the distant music from the tower next to them. Eventually, Galacta shifted his wings and chuckled.
“I didn’t know he liked this stuff,” he commented, referring to the music. “Although I’m not surprised.”
“Why?” Bun asked.
“When we were kids, Meta was always the silent kid in the corner lost in his thoughts, floating on his own little cloud. I don’t picture him listening to another kind of music. Fits him.”
“You two really grew up together?” Kirby asked this time, simply curious to hear more.
“Yup,” the knight answered nodding his head. “Knew him since he was just a wee lad. His mother is my aunt, and our family was kinda important because of its size and its not-dead members of a rather young age. It goes without saying that Meta was important by himself, what with his Copy abilities and all.”
“How did he lose them?”
Galacta paused here, before rubbing his nose.
“Go on, Galacta,” said a new voice from above, making them all raise their head.
On the tower next to theirs, Knuckle Joe was leaning over the railing, his own glass of alcohol in hand. The music was still playing from behind him, and Azure’s head was poking out of the railing to look at them, but the fighter had good enough ears to hear what they were talking about. The winged knight grunted, looking away.
“Come on,” the fighter said. “It’ll make you feel better.”
“I don’t think so, but it seems you’re not going to let go of me about it.”
“Does it have anything to do with Meta Knight holding a grudge against you?” Bun brought up, making the knight turn with a questioning look.
“Was it really that obvious that he hated me…?”
“Well, from what I’ve heard from Sword and Blade, it was weird. But yeah, he wasn’t hiding it apparently.”
Galacta Knight sighed deeply.
“Ain’t that just swell. Good thing I made up for it in the end…”
“So, what happened?” came Knuckle Joe’s voice from above.
“Oh, for stars’ sakes, just shut it! I’m thinking ‘bout where to start!”
Kirby couldn’t stop that chuckle as his friend up there raised his arms in an innocent way. Finally, Galacta sighed.
“It happened during a particularly heated battle on a shitty planet that for some reason that doesn’t concern me was important for the GSA to take back. I was doing my job, killing one demon-beast after another, but the bastards just kept coming. I saw a group of particularly large demons out the corner of my eye, and I decided to be smart and throw a grenade at them. Thing is, I’m just a stupid asshole that didn’t take the time to look properly and thus didn’t see that my only cousin that I held so dear was just standing there, about to inhale a special ability that I’m sure would’ve gotten rid of all of them. You know how inhaling works. Everything that comes in front gets sucked in, and a grenade is light. And then, uh…”
He paused here, taking a deep breath. Kirby saw his hands shake as he took a few gulps from his glass.
“The grenade exploded before it got inhaled. In his face. Or even in his mouth I think.”
He paused again, letting it all sink in, more for him than the others, and he sighed again.
“It was an accident, but I still held myself responsible for all its consequences. I had watched him bleeding in the mud, his face torn in impossible ways. Even when he was brought at the hospital at the HQ, the medics were saying he was beyond saving his wounds were so great. He was blinded, he couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk, couldn’t move, and I’m not talking about all the blood he lost. All thanks to this asshole here. And what did I do, thinking I was the cause of the death of the universe’s last hope to defeat Nightmare? I ran away like a stupid coward and thus started my happy mercenary days of flying across space in hopes of finding food and money for weird jobs. Hurray.”
Without waiting for any sort of answer, the knight stood up on the railing, and Kirby feared he would fall off, for he didn’t seem to be balanced on his feet. He didn’t know how many cups of wine he had drank before coming to them after all… Galacta Knight turned to him and pointed to the star in his hands.
“That thing, I remember him holding onto it like it was his life. You’d better do the same, you hear me?”
Kirby nodded, assuring that he would. He knew he would, without anyone having to tell him that.
“You two are coming to the Agency, right?” Knuckle Joe asked from up there, directing his question to Bun and Kirby.
“Yeah,” Bun answered, “our things are packed and ready. We’re leaving tomorrow with you guys.”
“Well then,” Galacta said, holding up his glass. “One last toast! To my cousin! To our freedom!”
“To our freedom!”
All raised their glasses, and drank.
Kirby looked down at the blue star in hand. Words appeared in his mind when he looked at it, as if it spoke to him in complete silence.
“To this new age.”