The bridge of the Halberd was quiet. Everyone was at different parts of the room, having just finished fighting with the controls to stabilize the ship. Sure enough, it was stabilized, but the tension in the air was almost tangible.
Mace Knight hung over the controls, trembling. "Heavy Lobster... took out the right wing..." he said shakily, twitching a little.
"S-so, um..." Axe Knight tried to stay focused on steering the ship, and was subconsciously steering it a bit closer to land. "That means both wings are gone, right?"
"OF COURSE IT MEANS BOTH WINGS ARE GONE, YOU IDIOT!" Mace shouted, spinning around and preparing to slug his companion. Fortunately, Sir Meta Knight grabbed one of his arms, holding him back. "...Sir," he said, voice quickly quieting to a whimper as his rage drained, "Kirby is completely destroying our ship..."
Meta Knight remained silent, but let go.
"Hmmm..." Captain Vul stood back, rubbing his beak with two feather-fingers. "Having both wings destroyed may be just what we needed..."
"...I think we've found someone who's a bigger idiot than Axe," Mace mumbled. He gave a yelp with Captain Vul suddenly grabbed the back of his shirt and hoisted him up to eye-level.
"Who's an idiot?"
"Uh, yeah, actually that is kinda a really dumb thing to say," Axe said, only to duck as Mace suddenly came flying at him.
"...Maybe we should fight Kirby instead of fighting with each other," Sailor Dee remarked quietly.
"That is a good idea," Sir Meta Knight said. "What is Kirby doing now?"
Axe shoved Mace off of himself, and stole a quick glance toward the monitors. "I think he's headed for the helm..."
Mace slowly dragged himself back to his usual post, rubbing his head as he tried to calm down. "I-I wonder what he's gonna try to do next..."
"Whatever it may be, he must not be allowed to accomplish it." Sir Meta Knight's eyes flashed. "Send everyone after him!"
"Okay Dagger, we did this before, and we can do it again, right?" Kirby said as he made his way around the base of the ship. "Just focus, and don't lose your footing."
Focusing was not something Dagger was particularly good at, though, especially not in their current situation. He couldn't help but think about Cutter... Why hadn't they found him yet? They'd gotten out of the ducts, crossed the deck, and were now making their way around the ship, and yet through all that, they still hadn't found him...
Maybe... had Cutter been sent flying off of the ship, like he had? What if he was out there in that forest, and he'd gotten hurt? Or what if he wasn't in the forest at all... What if he'd fallen into the ocean?
Dagger's partially-melted boot slipped a little, immediately snapping him out of his thoughts. He practically threw himself into the side of the ship, glancing wide-eyed at the ocean below.
"Don't fall!" Kirby shouted, still making is way forward. "We're still not there yet!"
Dagger gulped, following his friend. He couldn't help but look back, though, muttering, "Cuh'er... where yuu...?"
"No-one's following them?" Sailor Dee asked as he watched the monitors. Sure enough, Kirby and Dagger were crawling along the base of the ship, unopposed.
"Those insubordinate...!" Captain Vul grinded his teeth as he watched. "I can't believe they're wussing out like this!"
"I am not surprised," Sir Meta Knight said quietly. "We lost a number of crew members when they tried to stop Kirby from attacking the left wing... but they must fight back once he gets back into the ship."
"...Why don't you guys fight back?" Vul asked, glancing at Axe and Mace. "I'm sure you could do something, even though the wind is strong..."
"And it's cold," Sailor Dee added with a nod.
"...And it's high," Axe said.
"And it's scary...!" Mace whimpered, shuddering.
Captain Vul slapped his wing against his face. "All right, you lot."
"Here! Right here, Dagger!" Kirby shouted over the wind.
The Blade Knight looked up, seeing the pink puffball standing by some door. "Buh...?"
"We're heading back into the ship!" he called. "This way!"
Dagger heaved a sigh of relief, quickly clearing the distance between himself and the door and stepping inside after Kirby.
It was dark in there, and the two stood in confusion for a while. "Huh..." Kirby remarked, putting his paw to his mouth. "Wonder where the lights went."
"Here," came an unfamiliar voice. "Allow me!"
In an instant the lights flickered on, and Kirby and Dagger found themselves in a room completely surrounded by what looked like every single goon on the Halberd.
"...Buh-oh," Dagger said with a wince, right before being jumped on by a number of goons.
"AAAGH!" Kirby cried. "Did they send everyone after us?"
"Iunno!" Dagger exclaimed, trying to knock a stubborn Birdon off of his head. Instead of flying off, though, she pecked him in the eye. "OW!" Finally he managed to get the bird away, only to be jumped by several more crew members. "Buuuuuh...!"
Kirby, also getting ganged up on, reacted by opening his mouth and inhaling a few Dreamlanders. He then spat them out, knocking them into their comrades. "Haha, I did it!" he cheered, and started to make his way through the path he'd cleared... only for several more Halberd crew members to get in the way. "Are you kidding me?"
Dagger, meanwhile, had managed to get closer to Kirby. "Whatwe do...?" he whimpered, ducking as a GIM swung its yo-yo at him.
"If only I had the right ability...!" Kirby muttered. Suddenly his eyes lit up, and he turned around. "...Hey Dagger?"
The Blade Knight turned to face his friend. "Buh?"
A few minutes later, Sword Kirby stood triumphantly over a pile of defeated goons. "Hah! That was easy." Giggling a little, he hopped down and walked out of the room, heading down a hallway.
After a few moments, though, he stopped, blinking a few times. "...Oh, yeah, almost forgot." He opened his mouth.
Moments later, Dagger was at the other side of the hallway, having fled there at a speed that rivaled Cutter's. He stood backed up against the wall, staring at Kirby with a look of absolute terror.
"Eheh, guess I should've warned you first, huh?" Kirby asked, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
Dagger nodded his head frantically.
"Well, sorry... I didn't mean to scare you like that, honest! I won't do it again..." He walked down the hallway, laughing a little when Dagger put his arms up in defense when he walked by. "I mean it, Dagger! I'm not gonna eat you, I promise!"
Dagger flinched a little, reluctantly following his friend.
"...Though actually..." Kirby slowly turned around, mouth open wide. "Aaaaaaah..."
"BUUUUUH!" Dagger shrieked, taking off down the hallway and far away from Kirby.
"I'm kidding!" Kirby called out between giggles. "I'm only kidding, Da—" He paused, standing completely still. "Hey, do you smell that?"
Now a fair distance away, Dagger screeched to a halt, blinking. "Buh...?"
"That... that smell..." Kirby tilted his head upward, sniffing with his non-existent nose. "It smells like...!" Without warning, he took off running, charging past Dagger and turning down another passage.
"...Hey! W-wait!" Dagger called, chasing after his friend. Now what was he up to...?
"U-um..." Mace Knight watched the screens nervously, starting to sweat a little. "I w-wonder where they're going..."
"I dunno! Doesn't look like it leads anywhere important." Axe tilted his head to one side. "Does it?"
"No, there's just some old storage rooms down that way," Captain Vul remarked, crossing his wings. "We didn't even use most of those. What's he up to?"
Mace gripped the edge of the console, eyes widening when he saw Kirby burst into a certain room. "NOOO!" he blurted out in horror, jumping up from his seat. "MY HIDDEN TOMATOES!" And immediately he covered up his face guard, where it covered his mouth.
"You idiot!" Vul squawked, knocking Mace in the head. "You hid those?"
"Why in the name of Popstar would you hide tomatoes, Mace?" Axe asked, giving his companion a funny look. "What kinda dumb idea was that?"
"They look delicious..." Sailor Dee murmured as he looked at the screen. "You don't think there's Maxim Tomatoes there, d'you?"
"Don't jinx it!"
Dagger just sat back, watching as Kirby rapidly shoved tomatoes into his mouth. The room they'd found had crates full of them, so they were likely going to be here for a while... The Blade Knight tapped his boot against the ground, wondering how long this would take. He didn't want to sit around here... He wanted to find Cutter!
Whining a little, Dagger looked around the room impatiently... when something caught his eye. On a shelf was a single, large tomato, all by itself, bearing a rather distinctive marking. The Blade Knight's eyes widened, and he rushed up to it, quickly snatching it up. His eyes lit up, and a wide smile crossed his face as he pocketed the fruit. Maybe coming to this room wasn't such a waste of time after all...
"Mmmmm..." Kirby licked his lips. "Now that was a feast!"
Dagger looked back, and started when he saw several overturned crates and not a tomato in sight. "Yuueat all...?"
"Yup," Kirby replied, wiping some tomato juice off of his mouth. "Now let's keep going."
"My tomatoes..." Mace sobbed. He lay curled up on the floor, tears leaking out from beneath his goggles.
Captain Vul was massaging his forehead with a wing, while Axe glanced away from the wheel for a moment to give Mace a sympathetic look. "Cheer up. You can get some tomatoes after we finish taking over Dreamlander!"
For some reason, that seemed to make the knight cry harder.
"Um..." Axe blinked, turning to look at the monitors. "Let's see what Kirby's doin'!"
Sir Meta Knight's eyes flashed. "The path he's taking..."
"...Eeeeeagh!" Axe shrieked, eyes wide. "He's headed for the reactor!"
"It's all over...!" Mace sobbed.
"Hmph! Kirby can't do anything to the reactor," Captain Vul said, a smug grin crossing his beak. "We're still safe."
Sailor Dee's eyes widened a little as he spoke up. "But what if Kirby exploits that one weak—"
"Shut up!" Vul shot a glare at the Waddle Dee. "Don't even say things like that!"
"...So now, all we have to do is destroy the reactor."
Dagger blinked tiredly as he trudged along. He could hardly understand some of the stuff Kirby talked about, and all this running about was really wearing him down. "Why... dothat?" he asked idly.
"Simple!" Kirby grinned. "Once the reactor's gone, the ship will start to crash, and there's no way they can make it keep going!" He kept walking, but it took him a moment to realize that he couldn't hear the sound of boots stomping after him. "...Dagger?"
Kirby blinked, slowly turning around. Dagger had stopped following, and was standing firm in the middle of the hallway. "'No...?' But... but this is the last thing we have to do!"
"No!" Dagger repeated, shaking his head. "No makeship... crash! No! Wenot... find Cuh'er!"
"...I know..." the puffball said slowly. "But we will find him. I promise."
"No!" The Blade Knight stomped his foot, now on the verge of tears. "Not find... 'cuz... yuunot luuk!"
"I..." Kirby blinked. "Dagger, I have been looking! We just haven't been to every part of the ship yet... And we can't get to every part of the ship! We don't have time!"
"Inot helpyuu!" Dagger shouted, turning around and crossing his arms.
"Remember what I said before, Dagger? What's it that Cutter always says?"
"...Heno... wanna die..."
"So if the ship's crashing, he's gonna escape. Everyone's gonna escape, unless they're crazy!" Kirby took a deep breath. "So if we don't find him on the ship, we'll find 'im when we escape the ship. Okay?"
Dagger remained still, and swallowed. He hated the fact that they weren't going to directly search for Cutter, but... what Kirby said was right. Cutter would always run away from danger, so that's what he would do here. "...Isorry," he said quietly, sniffling. He turned around, wiping the tears from his face. "Ihelp yuu..."
Kirby sighed in relief. "Great! Thanks, Dagger..." He patted the Blade Knight on the back when Dagger approached him, and turned around. "We're almost there."
Sure enough, it wasn't long before they reached the reactor. The two found themselves in a strange room, where they faced a giant crystal suspended between two parts of a machine. On the walls on either side of them appeared to be strange gears, though it was difficult to make out in the dark.
"Here we go..." Kirby whispered, approaching the reactor.
Dagger, instead of following, continued staring at the walls, giving them a funny look. Something was weird about those gears... He had to inspect them more closely! Nodding, he approached one of the walls, and gasped.
The things he and Kirby had mistaken for gears were actually Wheelies! They were trapped in individual tiny rooms with a thick—but see-through—wall on one side. The floors were actually treadmills, so the Wheelie was constantly moving. These Wheelies were all different shapes and sizes, but they had one thing in common: they were all very, very tired.
Dagger watched them for a while, thinking, then perked up. These were the Wheelies he'd had to get onto the ship earlier! Were they helping the ship somehow?
It wasn't long before he noticed a certain small Wheelie... the one that had knocked him off of the Wheelie he'd been riding a while back. Stupid Wheelie! He glared a little, making a face at it.
The Blade Knight's mockery didn't go unnoticed. The little Wheelie turned toward him, backed up as much as its tiny room would allow, and charged forward, ramming into the window.
"Buh!" Dagger jumped back in surprise, eyes wide when he noticed a tiny crack in the glass. It was breaking stuff! Now a little angrier, Dagger pulled another face.
And, once again, the little Wheelie rammed into the glass, making the crack bigger. This went on for a while before the Wheelie burst through the glass, landing on the floor outside of its prison.
The other Wheelies immediately stopped, peering out at their freed comrade. Seeing that, they all began to ram into the windows of their own cages, starting to form cracks in the glass.
Dagger, realizing what the possible result of this would be, darted away from the cages and backed up against the wall. As he did so, he remembered why he'd come to this room in the first place, and turned to look at the reactor. Kirby was standing in front of it, but, oddly enough, was facing away from it. Instead, he seemed to be focusing on some sort of weapon that was hanging from the ceiling...
"Kirby!" Dagger cried when the weapon suddenly fired a laser at his friend. But Kirby rolled out of the way, causing the laser to hit the reactor's core.
There was a horrible rumbling noise as the reactor began to spark and shake. The Wheelies quickly noticed this, and started to panic and ram into the windows of their cages even harder, busting through soon afterward. The room was full of the sound of tires screeching and squealing as the Wheelies drove out of the room in a frenzy.
"Dagger, grab one!" Kirby called over the chaos, and Dagger responded by snatching the handlebar of the Wheelie that was closest to him.
"Buh?" He looked down at the wheel creature, and groaned when he realized it was that same small Wheelie that had been making fun of him.
"Get on it, Dagger, hurry!" Kirby cried, rushing up to the Wheelie. The Blade Knight obeyed, and Kirby quickly jumped onto his head. "The reactor's gonna explode!"
The Wheelie, hearing that, gave a screech and followed its larger brethren, carrying Kirby and Dagger off to another part of the ship.
A terrible explosion rang out within the depths of the Halberd, causing the whole ship to shake. And it didn't stop—no amount of counterbalancing would save the ship this time. Very soon, the gigantic warship began to plummet from the sky, and every person onboard felt it.
That included a certain Sir Kibble that stood, alone, in a room on the Halberd. "Th-that was the reactor…" he said, feeling his heart rate quicken to an alarming pace. "H-he did it… K-Kirby did it…!"