The once-peaceful nighttime forests around me were ablaze with fire, with animals screaming and running for their lives just like we were. I'm terrified. We're all terrified as we run through the blazing woods. But it was not the fire that we're running from, and we are reminded of this constantly by the heavy footsteps behind us that sound like cannons going off. Threats to our life are all around us as the three of us hastily try to navigate this deadly maze.
But like most mazes, they have dead-ends. And we met one in the form of a raging river muddled with charred debris. Burning trees and branches cut off every pathway to the sides. It appears that the only salvation is backtracking, but as we turn around to do so, we are face-to-face with the rabid monster that has chased us through these woods for the past few moments. The flames around us add to its terrifying appearance as its red eye glares down at us, before letting out a roar so loud that it nearly bursts my eardrums. I would've covered them if I weren't petrified with fear.
We look around frantically for any form of salvation, praying that some of the fire has died down or that the river has slowed its pace. Neither has happened; we were faced with the choice of whatever fate would be the least painful.
Or at least that's what I thought, until one of us chose for us. As the monster was about to land its jaws down on the three of us, the woman in front of us and suddenly pushed us both so hard that we lost our balance and tumbled into the river behind us. I became submerged under the charred and mucky wood and struggled to surface, the contaminated water stinging my eyes as I try to see through it.
What I saw upon getting my head above the water made me wish I had drowned.
I see her being violently mangled and manhandled by the monster, her screams of agony prevailing over all other sound in the area. Blood from her body is thrown every which way, some of it getting into the river. I try to swim against the current, try to reach her and help her. But as the river is slowly stained with her crimson fluid of life, I freeze. The sheer amount of it makes me want to vomit, but I am so paralyzed with repulsion and fear that my body can't perform the function. All I can do is watch helplessly as she is torn apart in a frenzy before my very eyes as I am washed away…
And then my world fades away in an assault of blurred colour…
My nerves and my eyes are shot, my breathing is hard, my throat stings and I can feel chilled sweat dripping from my body. It takes me a moment to recollect my thoughts before I realize that I am no longer in the dirty river of a flaming forest, but in this bedroom that I've become so used to over the last couple of months, sitting up under the soft sheets of my mattress.
I let out a combination of a groan and a sigh, knowing that I've just experienced yet another nightmare about that fateful night back in my own world. The memory of the mechanized Drago killing my mother is still vivid in my mind regardless of whether I'm awake or asleep, and it's been like this ever since that night. And the people I live with wonder why I'm so jumpy and sensitive…
They have no idea the horrors that I've gone through in my life. The only truth I've told them about my life is that I grew up on a farm with my father. They believed that my mother died when I was very young and that I never had a brother. In fact, the only person here who knows anything about my life other than what I did as I grew up is Ness, since we both knew Porky – or Pokey as he calls him – but I only told him that because Porky caused trouble in my world as well as his…
This place that I live in, the Smash Manor, is full of people who have had adventures both fascinating and heart-wrenching. There are fighters, heroes and villains of all shapes and sizes here, members of an organization called "Super Smash Brothers." To the outside world, this is a place where the best fighters from across all sorts of different universes come to compete against each other. But in reality, our job is to travel across different worlds whenever a denizen from one world terrorizes another; in other words, we prevent dangers from one world crossing into others. I became a member shortly after my adventure ended, having been immediately thrown into another adventure involving the "Smashers" as I've come to call them; not only is it the traditional lingo around here, but not all people in Super Smash Brothers are male, which has raised a few questions about sexism.
I still don't know how I ended up in this world, but I remember when it happened all too well: it was when I pulled the final needle to release the Dragon of Darkness… which I had to fight and ultimately kill my own brother to reach. Back then, he was Porky's brainwashed servant, reconstructed like the Drago from a harmless little boy into a killing machine. The legend of the dragon stated that it would reflect what was in my heart and cast that reflection onto the world to renew it… but I still don't understand it. I wanted nothing more than a peaceful world with everyone alive and well, able to thrive… and instead I find myself wandering aimlessly around a destroyed city in another world, getting chased by Porky's massive, murderous statue – which I definitely remember blowing to pieces back in my own world – and then defeating Porky again with Ness' help. And I'll note that the tyrant was supposed to be locked in the impenetrable and permanently-sealed prison that was the Absolutely Safe Capsule that he retreated into after me and my friends defeated him the first time, and how he was there to try and kill me again is a mystery that has yet to be solved. The only remotely good part of all this is that I mysteriously gained new powers… the PSI powers used by one of my friends, Kumatora. PK Fire, Freeze and Thunder were added to my arsenal, but I can't use them very well yet… and I don't even know how I got them in the first place.
But I've been trying to find the truth behind these events. Why did Porky come to my peaceful world out of all of them? How did he escape his prison? Why did it have to be my mother and brother that died and not me? And most importantly, what became of my world after the Dragon of Darkness was resurrected? I believed this last question was the key to answering all the ones beforehand, and have been trying to get back to my own world.
For this reason I questioned the master of this organization and of this world, Master Hand, about using a special "transportation system" to get there. I forgot the full name of the system, to me it's long, confusing and pointless. But the point of it is to eventually link all worlds together a peaceful joining of them all, such is Master Hand's dream. The system is free for anyone to use as long as they return to the mansion in good time… or at least that's supposed to be the rule. But as I consulted Master Hand about using it to go back to my home at Nowhere Island, he outright refused my request. He didn't seem willing to tell me why he wouldn't let me go either despite my pleading, until he eventually asked me what my home was called. I told him the truth – Tazmily Village, Nowhere Island – and after he looks it up on his "Worlds Database," he tells me that it doesn't exist. I tried to demand to see the computer screen for proof, but he had shooed me from his office before I even got to ask, using the excuse that he was "a busy hand." Any attempt to get information after that was dismissed immediately.
Needless to say, I was outraged. If it weren't for the fact that Master Hand could banish me to whatever location or void he pleases thanks to his own innate power to jump between worlds, I would've lost it on him. I eventually settled for going over his head – pardon me, fingers – and recently tried to sneak into his office while he was out, but I was caught by his right-hand man, Mewtwo. I was stuck with a week-long confinement to my room, and I've been wallowing in my pit of despair since then, all the while still getting no closer to the answers I was looking for. While this mansion would be a more than suitable home for the average person, I still wanted to know what became of my real home.
Right now I'm not entirely convinced that everything Master Hand told me was the truth. He is hasty to dismiss the issue every time I inquire about it, and I've grown sick and tired of the hand's deliberate evasion of my questions. It's clear to me that if I'm going to get any answers, I'll have to go behind his back… er, wrist.
I don't believe I've thought this through. The only place the Worlds Database could be directly accessed from was Master Hand's office computer… of which I've just discovered its only entrance was locked when I tried to turn the knob. Of course it wouldn't be that easy.
And I don't know how right I am. No sooner did I touch the doorknob did the wall above the door part open a little, letting something protrude out; a small, searchlight-equipped camera suspended on a black pole. Its light is immediately shone on me. Now this just sucks, I wound up caught before I even got anywhere with my search, just like last time…
By now I'm so fed up that I don't even care that if I get caught anymore. My hand becomes charged up with my usual green, glowing brand of PSI energy. I jump up and grab the camera with that hand and crush it into scrap. Knowing I have nothing else to lose since I'm already on Master Hand's blacklist, I charge up my foot with PSI and ram it into the door. It flies open, and to my pleasant surprise there is no alarm.
I make sure to close the door – or at least make it look like it's closed since I just busted it open – and rush behind Master Hand's desk to turn his desktop computer on. It's a good thing that Master Hand always gets the best equipment for the manor; the computer was booted almost immediately after I'd pressed the "on" button. The Worlds Database has already opened on its own, and I waste no time typing "Nowhere Island" in the search box and hitting the Return key.
What I see in the results window makes my blood boil.
There is one result, and it's exactly what I typed. I double-click it and am greeted with the black silhouette of my home island, with a history written to the right of the image. Master Hand told me that it didn't exist in the database, and this is undeniable proof that he was lying. Now there was another question piled on top of the others he'd been trying to answer: why the deceit?
Since I've already broken into Master Hand's office with my face recorded on his blasted camera, leaving the manor seems to be the best option. And I know exactly how I'm going to get out: the transporter.
Not caring to set the office door back to the way it was this time, I dash out into the hallways… before I realize that I have no idea where I'm going. It then dawns on me that despite knowing about the transportation system, that I've never had to use it since I came to this world by way of the dragon's power – mind you I'm not entirely sure about this, but it's the best theory I have right now – but instead I've been riding on some of the airships and spaceships that we have here to traverse dimensions. Fortunately there are maps posted on every floor of the Smash Mansion since it's so easy to get lost in, and I quickly track one down and locate my destination on the 2nd floor's left wing.
I make haste down two adjacent hallways, three flights of stairs and one long hallway before I come across the room… blocked by another locked door. Unlike the one for Master Hand's office, this one appears to be made of solid steel. But I'm no fool; being with the Smashers has taught me a few useful tricks. I cook up the hottest PK Fire I can and blow it at the steel, and then follow it up with a PK Freeze, and then another PK Fire. I repeat the pattern several times until I can hear crackling from the steel. I smile; making something hot, cold and hot again quickly enough can make it very unstable. I charge my foot up with PSI and slam it into the damaged door, and a sizeable hole crumbles out of it.
I slip through the hole, momentarily grunting and mentally cursing as a jagged edge of it rips my shoulder, but it's not a bad wound. I flick the power switch on, and the room sparks to life around me. Terminals and gizmos start powering up along the exterior of the room, but I care little for them; what I care about lies in the centre, the transportation system itself. It's a large, white-topped platform with several black rings attached to its side and a white computer screen beside it. Knowing that I have no time to lose, I quickly type the name of my home into it, hit the green "Start" button and run up onto the platform. It begins to glow with white light beneath me, and the rings start to rotate slowly, but gradually speed up to a dizzying pace. I'm quickly getting concerned; I've never used this machine before and begin to fear that I've done something wrong… but it's too late to stop it now, the rings are going too fast for me to get out of, generating a low humming sound as they spin.
Through the rings, I see the damaged metal door slide upwards the way it's supposed to be opened. Then enters the last thing I wanted to see right now: a floating, massive right-handed white glove. It's none other than Master Hand, flanked by a trio of what he calls "Red Alloys." They are robots built with chrome, red-steel armor and made vaguely in the shape of tall human beings. Their hands, the heels of their feet and where their faces would be are replaced with white orbs, and their mid-sections are made of some kind of purple mesh containing another white orb.
Master Hand… I wouldn't have had to do this if you had just told me the truth. "What are you doing!?" the floating glove shouts at me.
My answer is simple: "Going home." My vision is then consumed by white…
When I'm able to see clearly again, I immediately collapse to my knees as a wave of violent nausea passes over me. I'm promptly sick on the black ground for a moment… wait, black?
Once the nausea passes, I take a better look around… what I see is nothing but long-ended tales of destruction. The ground is cracked and black with something that rubs off on my hands… soot? The only visible plants in the area are long-dead trees covered in soot and ash. The sky is covered in thick lightning clouds that spew rain. The water that he could see in the distance was a murky, foreboding purple instead of a calming blue. Where on earth am I? There's no way this could be Nowhere Island!
But the only way to know for sure is to explore… and as I move, I immediately see the familiar graveyard. But any place where people used to live had graves, right? People die all the time. This could be any graveyard; the transportation system could've messed up. Master Hand could've done someth…
My train of thought is completely derailed as I see a gravestone up on a small cliff that screams familiarity. I rush up to it, hoping and praying – really praying – that it doesn't belong to who I think it does. I crouch down and read the inscription, and in an instant those hopes are dashed:
Mother of the twins Lucas and Claus.
Daughter of Alec.
May the beautiful Hinawa rest in peace here for all time.
I can hardly believe what I see… but it's true. This grave… this is undeniable proof I'm on Nowhere Island. But… I don't understand! The world was supposed to be reset! This island was supposed to be saved when the Dragon was released, not turned into this wartorn wasteland! Did this mean that the Dragon destroyed everything? Did… I destroy everything?
I start to step backward, but I suddenly find that there is no ground beneath my feet and fall down. I am then introduced into a world of pain as something sharp is jabbed into my left shoulder. My anguished scream tears through the silence like a knife. I quickly sit up and try to tear the intrusion from my shoulder. I succeed and throw the thing to the ground, grasping the profusely bleeding wound… the sight of blood causes the vivid nightmares of my past to resurface again. Trying to forget about it, I look at what impaled my shoulder… a bone. I realize that I've fallen into a grave that was torn open…
I shriek upon realizing that it was in fact my mother's grave, since it's the only one on the cliff. I can no longer suppress the memories... all I can do is hyperventilate as bloody scene after bloody scene plays through my mind like a screen play. I feel like… I feel… strange…
"Lucas!" My name is called. My head lolls to the side, and I see Master Hand still being followed by the Red Alloys. Upon seeing the one who caused me to go such lengths to see that my home has been reduced to ash, my mind is filled with oddly-delicious notions of how I can exact my revenge, causing me to forget about the blood dripping down my arm from my wounded shoulder. "I… I didn't want you to see this… you're still young, I didn't believe you'd be able to take the shock…" He's unaware that his words are falling on deaf ears. I slowly get to my feet and climb out of the grave, taking slow steps towards him and his companions. "Lucas, I'm sorry…"
Apologizing… "Sorry… sorry…" I droll as I lumber over to him, twitching. "You… think saying you're sorry… is going to fix this?" My words are cold and dripping with venom; if I weren't in a trance-like state, I'd surprise even myself. I can see him back off a little bit through my hair, which I only now realized was matted down because of the heavy rain. I could care less right now.
"Lucas, stop where you are." Master Hand ordered.
I didn't comply. I kept walking towards him, and the Red Alloys stood in the way. I still walked and talked. "If you had any sense, you would've just told me the truth… you're not sorry…"
"Lucas, stop where you are now, or I will have the Alloys restrain you!" Master Hand said with whatever authority he could muster. "I don't want to hurt you…" Again, I ignore him. I still lumbered towards him, an erratic pulse of PSI forming on my right hand. Apparently that was all the provocation he needed. "ATTACK!"
One of the Red Alloys dashed at me… what did these simple arena toys think they could do to me? I grabbed the arm it tried to bring down on me with my left hand, and shoved my glowing right hand into its chest… no, correction: through its chest. Fragments of what used to be the mesh of the alloy's chest cut my arm and hand, but I don't cry out in agony… in fact, I find that I'm liking the pain. It collapses without so much as a scream. Disappointing… the other two Red Alloys rush me. They don't even get the chance to attack. My bloody hands are outstretched, and they stop knowing what's coming. "PK FIRE!" I roar. A row of flame blasts out of my hands, one considerably bigger than I thought I could create. One of the Red Alloys is lost in a huge fireball that isn't at all hindered by the pouring rain. It is melted into slag in less than a moment. Cowering before the awesome power, the remaining Red Alloy attempts to run. "PK FREEZE!" The robot is suddenly completely encased in a block of ice. Charging up my hand with PSI, I drive it through the frozen prison and shatter it along with the robot.
My gaze turns to Master Hand, and while he has no facial expression, my mental powers help me feel his terror. I continue my previous approach to him. "Lucas, stop! I'm warning you! STOP!" I have no intention of stopping now… I'm going to make him pay for deceiving me. The only thing I can't decide on is how to make him pay the most… thoughts of sweet revenge make me laugh quietly with glee. "I WARNED YOU!" He snaps his fingers. I find myself engulfed in a white light not unlike that of the transportation system…. no, no! I won't be denied sweet vengeance when I'm so close to it! I charge up my PSI, getting ready to use another blast of PK Fire to blow the glove into oblivion. "What are you doing!? If you use that much power, you'll disrupt the transportation!" I ignore his warning and fire anyway, and feel so satisfied upon hearing his agonized screams as the flames sear the white fabric that is his "body."
It's the last pleasant feeling I get before the white light turns red… I can feel my body burning up. This pain wasn't at all pleasant like when I punched my hand through the first Red Alloy's chest, it was horrible… I can only scream as red consumes my vision before I black out…