Knight Errant

Part 16

Countless years had passed since Kirby's escape and disappearance. After evading his pursuers, Kirby's star ship was severely damaged and dangerously low on gas. Desperately, he landed on the nearest planet, Cavius, and had managed to eke out a living while in hiding in the complex network of caves and tunnels that made the planet famous. Kirby was no coward; he wasn't hiding from NightMare Enterprises. Rather, he was hiding from the horrible shame that weighed down on him.

?: Help! HELP!

*Kirby sucks in air, inflating his body, and floats up onto a rock protruding from the cave wall.*

Kirby: Someone's in trouble! I should go see what's wrong!

*Kirby scans the area from the protrusion.*

Even though he was in a fairly large cavern, Kirby couldn't see anything that looked out of the ordinary. He figured the sound must have echoed down one of the three tunnels that led into the cavern.

*Kirby pauses to listen for any sounds of distress.*

A loud crash and the crumbling of stone echoed through the tunnel directly behind him with a cloud of dust following shortly after.

Kirby: That's never a good sign! I need to do something!

*Kirby floats off the protrusion and begins to run towards the tunnel.*

Kirby: Wait a minute!

*He skids to a stop.*

Kirby: I can't go running in there! I'll be recognized, and that could cause big problems for me! I don't have any way of leaving this planet!

*Kirby pauses and looks around the cave.*

Another scream echoed through the tunnel, followed by snarling sounds. Kirby winced guiltily as the sounds reached his eardrums. He was a Star Warrior-he had to do something!

Kirby: *thinking* No, you were never a Star Warrior! The closest you ever came to that was being Meta Knight's squire!

Kirby: *thinking* Well, it doesn't matter if I really was one or not. Someone's in trouble and I should help them, Star Warrior or not!

*Kirby looks around the cavern as he decides what to do.*

Kirby: I know how I can disguise myself!

*He runs over to a large stone and inhales it.*

A brilliant light gleamed and Kirby's body darkened to a rosy brown as a sturdy, ornate metal helmet formed on his head. He had transformed into Stone Kirby!

*Kirby runs down the tunnel, eyes peeled for any signs of trouble.*

At the end of the tunnel, Kirby stepped through a cloud of dust. As the dust cleared, he could make out a massive, stocky form on a pile of collapsed rocks. Beneath the rocks, Kirby could still hear the screams.

*Kirby charges out into the cavern and floats into the air.*

Kirby: What is that thing? It looks kinda like a Grizzo, but it's a lot bigger-and spikier! Let's see if I can knock it out!

*Kirby transforms into a stone, and drops down on it, aiming for the head.*

Kirby: If I can knock it out, I can free whoever's trapped underneath!

*The monster notices Kirby and tries to dodge his attack.*

*Kirby crashes down on the monster's back instead, and it crumples to the ground.*

Kirby: Well, I guess that worked out.

*Kirby quickly leaps into the air and transforms into a stone directly above the monster's head.*

*The monster falls to the ground unconscious.*

Kirby: I bet there's somebody stuck in the rubble!

*Kirby begins to dig through the rubble.*

?: T-thanks for *cough* saving me *cough cough*.

Kirby: Are you okay?

?: Yeah, I'm okay. Could you grab my hand and pull me out?

Kirby: Sure!

*He grabs the stranger's hand and pulls him/her out.*

Kirby: Are you okay? What happened to you?

?: I'm *cough* fine. I just have *cough* a little dust *cough* in *cough* my lungs and I'm still really sore. That monster *cough* attacked me, and *cough* then the roof of *cough* the cave *cough* collapsed.

Kirby: I'll get you back to wherever you came from! Just tell me where that is, and I can get you back safely!

?: Thanks a *cough* lot! You might want to *cough* hurry; it's *cough* waking up!

Kirby: I'll defeat it! Do your best to climb up the rock pile and stay away from the battle!

?: Can do!

*Kirby turns to face the monster, which is now standing up.*

Kirby: It should only take a few more blows!

*The monster charges at Kirby, teeth bared.*

*Kirby dodges the attack by leaping into the air, and transforming into a stone.*

After repeating the maneuver four more times, the monster began to glow slightly. Seconds later, the monster exploded in a flash of brilliant colored light.

?: That was amazing! Thanks for *cough* saving me! My name's Perry.

Kirby: Nice to meet you! I'm-

Kirby narrowly stopped himself from saying "Kirby". He was so excited to be talking with someone else after all his years of isolation that he nearly forgot that he should keep his identity hidden.

Kirby: I'm Rocky!

Perry: I can see why you're named that. I've lived here for my whole life and I've never seen a creature like that before! What was it?

Kirby: It was a monster sent by NightMare Enterprises. I've had to deal with them before, but I haven't seen one down here, either!

Perry: That's really strange. I wonder what it was after, then?

Kirby: I don't know.

Kirby hated lying, but he couldn't help but feel that the monster had been sent to find him. It was too much of a coincidence that a monster would appear in the depths of Cavius, yet Kirby had never seen one before, even though he had been there a fairly long time.

Perry: Anyways, thanks again for saving me! I'll come back here tomorrow-I have something I need to show you!

Kirby: Like a gift? Yay! I love gifts!

Perry: Sort of. It's an old map that a Star Warrior cousin of mine found. Unfortunately, he died before he could really investigate it, and it got passed down to me. I don't have any interest in leaving home to find whatever it leads to, so you can have it.

Kirby: Your cousin? Was he from Pop Star? I've never met Cappies outside of Pop Star.

Perry: No, he was from Cavius. There are a fair number of us on the surrounding planets. I know of a few Cappy civilizations on Cavius as well as on Mekkai.

Kirby: I lived on one called Cappy Town on Pop Star.

Perry: You did? But you're not a Cappy.

Kirby: There were a few other citizens who weren't Cappies; I wasn't the only one. It was really nice living there!

Perry: Well, maybe you can tell me about it tomorrow. I'll bring you the map then. See you tomorrow!

*Perry heads off to his home.*

The Next Day

Kirby: So, this is the map?

Perry: Yes. I'm not very good with maps, but I can tell that it leads far away from Cavius. I'd never want to go that far away from home.

*Kirby takes the map and looks at it intently.*

Kirby: This map leads to Aqua Star!

*Perry looks at Kirby in amazement.*

Perry: How can you read that? It's so intricate and elaborate!

Kirby: I was taught how to read maps as part of my training-

Perry: Rocky, are you okay? You don't look right.

Kirby looked down at his skin, which was quickly brightening to its normal magenta. His helmet was beginning to lose its luster and began to feel lighter and lighter with each second.

Kirby: Oh no! Perry, I'll be back in a minute!

*Kirby hastily runs off down a cavern until he comes across a pile of rocks of varying sizes.*

Kirby: That was way too close! I should keep a supply of rocks on me in case I lose my Rock ability!

*Kirby inhales one of the larger rocks, and regains his Rock Kirby form.*

Kirby: That's better! I'd better pick up a lot of rocks; I don't want to lose my ability in front of anyone!

*Kirby picks up as many rocks as he can carry with him and heads back to Perry.*

Kirby: I'm back!

Perry: What happened? Why did you start losing your color?

Kirby: Well, I have to keep eating rocks or I won't be able to use my rock abilities.

Kirby let out a sigh of relief. It felt good to tell Perry something truthful, though he knew he couldn't tell anyone the full story.

Perry: Okay, I believe you. Do you have a ship?

Kirby: Sadly, it doesn't work anymore.

*Kirby leads Perry to where his star ship crashed.*

Kirby: That's my ship. I don't know if it's fixable.

Perry: It looks like it's been here for a long time.

*Perry looks closer at the star ship, and an expression of suspicion crosses his face.*

Perry: Wait a minute, are you a Star Warrior?

Kirby: Well…sort of.

Perry: Can you tell me about it?

Kirby: No. I'm…I'm…undercover.

Perry: Oh, cool! I guess you shouldn't have told me that, though! I won't ask you anything more about it.

Kirby: Thankies!

Perry: It's hard to tell it's a star ship. You shouldn't have a problem getting it to a mechanic without being noticed. In fact, I've heard there's lots of good mechanics on Mekkai. All you have to do is take interplanetary transit there.

Kirby: But I don't have any money!

Perry: The interplanetary transit is free, so getting to Mekkai will be pretty easy. I'm not sure how you'll get your ship fixed. Actually, why do you need to get it fixed at Mekkai? I remember my cousin mentioned getting his ship fixed for free at a Star Warriors base.

Kirby: Well, I'm undercover, so I can't go there.

Perry: Really? You must be really undercover, then. Here's the map.

*Perry hands Kirby the map.*

Kirby: Thankies! I'll do my best to find the treasure map!

Perry: You're welcome! I wish you luck on your mission!

Inside NightMare Enterprises' Base

Nightmare: So Kirby is alive is he…? I knew Kirby was somewhere in that area!

N.M.E. Salesman: We're still not sure if that was Kirby. It might have been Kirby that defeated the Grizilla we sent, but we're not sure. It was a creature with rock abilities that defeated it.

Nightmare: Idiot! There was a camera attached to the Grizilla as it searched around Cavius. I saw it attack the Cappy, and I saw a creature inhale a rock, transform into a rock and defeat it! It must be Kirby!

N.M.E. Salesman: If you say so.

Nightmare: I'll send a few patrols to search around Cavius and the surrounding planets. We must defeat Kirby immediately! We've been searching for Kirby for over fifty years since his betrayal and now we must find him before he can strike back!

Yes, this is still Knight Errant. And yes, there is a perfectly good reason why I split it into two stories.

The second half of Knight Errant is going to differ quite a bit from the first in the plot and tone of the story. Maybe you've noticed that already. Even though it's still technically part of the same fan fiction, it functions as its own autonomous story (which is why I uploaded it as a separate story). That is, you don't need to read the first half to be able to understand and enjoy it.

This was one of the hardest chapters to write. It was a challenge to write this and keep Kirby in character; I didn't want him to be angsty, angry or vengeful, but at the same I wanted to convey that he's depressed and has lost hope. You'll see that more and more over the next couple chapters.

It's interesting how things change while you're writing. Of all the chapters in Knight Errant, this is the one that changes the most from my original outline (when I write, I list out the things I want to accomplish in each part).In the original version of this, instead of transforming into Stone Kirby, he found some old metal and used it to disguise himself (initially, Kirby lived in a landfill on Cavius, but I liked the cave setting better). Instead, I figured it would be better for him to get armor later (which actually works out a lot better for the plot anyways). I liked the idea of Kirby using his transformations as disguises, and I wanted Kirby's abilities to play more of a role in the plot. Also, NightMare Enterprises didn't find Kirby yet in the original version; they would find Kirby towards the end of the story. This installment ran a lot longer than I planned, so I had to move a number of things in it to Part 17. I like this ending better than the original, though.

Coming up next:
For the first time in years, Kirby sets off on a new adventure! What will the Star Warriors think of his return? In fact, what did they think of his disappearance?