She has thought that the training last evening has been hard, but it seems like Dedede has decided to give everything in order to prepare her to fight Kirby. The fact that she can heal any injuries she gets thanks to the fountain probably helps him because this means that he doesn't have to hold back.
The whole training consists of only one thing : fight him. If she is able to fight against Dedede, then she will be able to fight against Kirby, knowing that Kirby has beaten Dedede. This means that in the space of a few hours, she has to become powerful enough to win against Dedede, and become even more powerful again to win against Kirby. Unless Dedede has been able to get better than Kirby thanks to his training.
She has no chance... At least, when she will be eaten, she will not die, just reappear not too far.
Or she could use what she has told Dedede yesterday. Be cute and innocent, approach him, and beat him with a well placed punch.
She will NOT kill him, so no backstabbing of whatever, even if it's probably the best idea. She will just punch him in the face and hope he doesn't wake up. If he wakes up, well... at least she would have tried, and she will have an interesting subject of conversation with Waddle Dee about what it's like to be eaten.
As for fighting Dedede, right now, it's more a 'run away and hope to not get crushed', where she is the one running. She has tried to punch Dedede, but she can't jump high enough to reach his face, and punching him in the belly doesn't work because her hoof bounces on it. Dedede as actually laughed at that.
If only she knew how to shoot magical lasers from her horn ! Is her magic even enough to shoot a laser?
Eventually, she decides to try something. Rather than running, she dodges the hammer, and quickly hurry to Dedede's feet before crushing one with one of her back hooves. She can't buck as strongly as an earth pony, but hopefully, it will hurt him.
She his answered by Dedede holding back a scream, air coming out of his nose, before he swings his hammer at her from her side. Next thing she knows, she is propulsed right into the water of the fountain. Ooh her back... Dedede quickly picks her up from the water before depositing her on the ground.
"That was a nice try, but you shouldn't let your guard down when you attack."
"Like what you are doing each time you bring down your hammer?" reply Sweetie Belle.
"Mph! Touché. Well, you have the advantage of being smaller and faster, so if you focus, you shouldn't have this problem."
"I will work on it... for my back," groans Sweetie Belle, making Dedede laughts.
"My king! My king!"
The two turn their head to face a Bronto Burt coming toward them in panic.
"Yes?" says the king.
"Whispy Woods has lost!"
Dedede sighs at hearing this news. "Of course... I should have guessed. Thanks, return fighting Kirby."
Sweetie watchs the Bronto Burt go before asking "You knew that this Whispy Woods would lost?"
"Yes. He is not really the most powerful. He is just a tree that throws apples and puffs at you. Against someone who don't know how to fight, he can do his job, but against someone with enough strength to hurt him despite his bark, he is a pushover. This is why I gave him one of the pieces. Who would guess that the weak tree is guarding such an important artefact?"
A living tree? Focus Sweetie ! "Well, Kirby did."
"Mph! Probably because he already fought Whispy the previous time. He must have thought that because Whispy helped me the first time, he would still help me the second time."
"That was still a good strategy for you, king Dedede," says a voice coming from behind them. When they turn around, they find a masked blue individual a little taller than Sweetie Belle, half hidden behind a dark blue cape with gold trimmings. They can see that he also possesses pauldrons of the same color, his left one bearing a symbol that is a blue "M" with a sword of the same color pointing up at the center. Glowing yellow eyes are the only thing visible of his face.
"Meta Knight?!" shouts Dedede at seeing him. "What are you doing there?!"
"Who is this, king Dedede?" asks Sweetie Belle.
Meta Knight ignores her to answer Dedede's question. "I wanted to see what happened for you to give me one of the pieces of Star Rod."
"An entity named Nightmare was corrupting the Fountain of Dreams, giving nightmares to everyone to gain power. I was forced to break the Star Rod to stop him, and now he is stuck inside the fountain. I have no idea where that Nightmare came from, or how to get rid of him, so this is the only choice we have for now."
"But now this Kirby is gathering the pieces, threatening to unleash this entity to the world. Does he know about Nightmare?" resumes Meta Knight before asking.
"Not at all. He came on his Warp Star, saw the broken fountain and the missing Star Rod, and immediately left, probably assuming that I am the cause." At this, he crosses his arms and pouts. "Really, why would I destroy the Star Rod and deny all Popstar from dreaming? Just for a bath in the fountain? Come on! I'm better than that!"
Meta Knight chuckles. "Well, your little stunt with Dreamland's food probably didn't help your case in his eyes. And yes, I have heard everything about it, including your lost." Dedede facepalms, groaning. "Now that I know better about the situation, I'm going back to watch Kirby. If Kirby is able to gather the first five pieces, then I will fight him at Orange Ocean. If he has been able to beat you, I'm curious to see how he will fare against my Meta-Knights, and against me. I will try to think of a plan to get rid of Nightmare in the meantime. Worth case scenario, Popstar will have to do without the dreams." With these words, he covers himself completely in his cape. Surprisingly, he suddenly get thinner before ascending to the sky in the blink of an eye.
This left Sweetie agape, and full of questions.
"Who... Who was it?" she asks.
Dedede sighs before answering. "That was Meta Knight, a lonely knight leader of his own little army named after him, and probably the most powerful warrior of Popstar, even more than me. I know it because I once tried to make him my general, but he kicked my butt in return. Outside of that, I don't know much about him, this guy is full of mysteries. I don't even know how he looks behind his mask, or where he comes from. This makes him our best chance to stop Kirby."
Sweetie still looks, agape, at where the knight has disappeared, before she suddenly hears her stomach rumble, making her blush. This makes Dedede raises an eyebrow before he hears his own stomach asking for food.
"Right, we had no breakfast." he says before taking some device with a big button. After pressing it, he places the device beside his head and starts talking after a few seconds. "Yes it's me. I didn't have my breakfast. Make one and get it transported at the Fountain of Dreams pronto. Make another one for Sweetie Belle too." He then presses the button again and puts away the device.
An invention to communicate in long distance? thinks Sweetie, yet again agape. This becomes a habit. Twilight would sooo want one ! And maybe Rarity too, to take commands.
After breakfast, thankfully for Sweetie not as filling as last night's dinner, training resumes, with the same results as previously. At one moment, Sweetie finds herself under the hammer without being able to dodge in time, so instead, she puts her forehooves above her head and catches it with them. This doesn't stop the hammer from crushing her with Dedede's strength, but at least it has lost enough of his momentum to make sure that she is not turned into a pancake. But her poor legs... Owie...
This has given Dedede an idea, so after a quick bath in the fountain for Sweetie, he starts it. He tells her to take the same position, forehooves above her head, and to not move. He then starts to press his hammer against her hooves, and tells her to push it back. Little by little, he gives more strength to the hammer, until it starts to be too much for Sweetie Belle and she starts to buckle under his weight. So he stops and decreases the pressure, making Sweetie pushes the hammer back. Then he starts to go back and forth between increasing and decreasing the pressure.
Even after they hear that Paint Roller has been defeated, they continue the exercise until Sweetie's legs give up. He then tell her to do the same thing, but with her magic, and the training continue, exercise after exercise.
After a heavy lunch, and after taking a break to digest, they continue. After hearing of Mr Shine and Mr Bright's defeat, they continue. At Kracko's defeat, they continue.
Rainbow Dash would love that place. Infinite training thanks to the fountain's water. She would pass days here. Sweetie Belle thinks then.
Comes Heavy Mole's defeat, and that's when they are interrupted by Meta Knight's sudden arrival.
"Kirby just reached Orange Ocean." he says.
"I know. I got the news." replies Dedede while Sweetie uses his belly as a punching bag. "Stronger! I don't feel anything!"
"I can't hit harder!" shouts back Sweetie Belle. "I'm using all I have!"
Dedede sighs. "You weren't a big sportif at your homeworld, right?"
Sweetie rubs her head before answering. "Not really. I ran a lot, and I did some stuff here or there, but I'm not the sportive type. My friend Scootaloo is the sportive one. And Apple Bloom is the strong one. I'm more... hum... the smart one. Not like my friends are stupid!"
Dedede just shakes his head at that. He looks back at Meta Knight. "So you will fight Kirby?"
"Yes, I haven't changed the plan. But I think I have found a way to get rid of Nightmare, but it's risky."
"Better than nothing. What is it?"
"Let Kirby destroy him with the Star Rod."
"What?! Are you crazy?!" yells Dedede.
"Hear me out. I think that Kirby can use the power of the Star Rob. Its power being the opposite of Nightmare's, making dreams, then he should be able to destroy him."
Dedede crosses his arms. "But you said 'I think', not 'I'm sure'. I will not take that risk. It has been countless time since someone has been able to use the Star Rob." He sights. "I will think of it as a last resort for the worth case. Until then, I will continue to try to stop Kirby."
Meta Knight only nods in answer before departing like he has done earlier, soon to fight Kirby.
It's in the middle of dinner that they learn that he has lost, to everyone's shock.
"I still don't believe that he lost. Are you ready?" Dedede asks Sweetie Belle.
"Not really. But I will try." she answers, scared.
"I will hide behind the fountain. When... I mean, if he defeats you, then I will jump out and fight."
Dedede nods, says "Good luck." before hiding behind the fountain, which doesn't work because the fountain barely hide him. But Sweetie will do as if she doesn't see him.
And so she waits. And waits. And waits.
And finally, he falls from the sky.
Here he is, finally, Kirby, hero of Dreamland, supposedly now the most powerful warrior of Popstar. And he is... Oh my gosh! He is adorable! Sweetie barely suppress a squee. Kirby is like the dummies have described. He is a pink puffball a little taller than her, the same size than the Waddle Dees, with tubby arms and feet that are a darker pink close to red. He has two small oval blue eyes, and blushing cheeks. And right now, he his watching her!
At seeing her, he tilts his head and lets out a "Poyo?"
Squee! I wanna hug him!
Sweetie can't stop smiling has if she is Pinkie Pie. It's really him that has been able to beat Dedede's army, Dedede himself, and Meta Knight? And Dedede expects her to hurt him? She can't!
Breaths Sweetie, breath! You have one job! Even if he is adorable, all this training and suffering would be for nothing if you don't at least try. Beside, there is a high risk that if you let him win, he will lead the world to its doom. You must do it! she tells herself, trying to regain her calm.
Then she starts to talk to him. "Hum... Hello! My name is Sweetie Belle! You are Kirby, right?"
She is answered by Kirby smiling, nodding and waving at her while saying "Hiiii!"
Gosh darn it! Stop being adorable! You are making my job harder! Is this what the adults feel when I do my 'puppy dog eyes'?
Then Kirby does something she hasn't expected: he hugs her.
"H-hey! What are you doing?! Stop! You shouldn't hug me! I'm an enemy! I'm working for Dedede! I have to beat you and... and..." she turns her head toward Dedede. "I can't! I'm sorry! I can't hurt him!"
Dedede facepalms. Hard.
"Ugh! Just get out or here and let me fight then!"
"O-okay! I'm sorry! I really tried! I swear!" She turns to Kirby. "Sorry Kirby, I have to go so king Dedede can fight you." She then has an idea. "Hum... Can you lose please?" she pleads, making her famous 'puppy dog eyes'. He shakes his head and pets her on the head. "Aww... Well, I'm going then. Good luck you two."
She quickly runs to get far enough of the future fight between Dedede and Kirby. Once she thinks she is at a good distance, she stops to watch.
Dedede jumps from behind the fountain and falls beside Kirby, who looks at him angrily. She hears him says "I didn't think that you would be able to beat Sweetie Belle simply by hugging her. I knew she was not ready to face you, she isn't yet hardened to battles." He takes his hammer. "But now you have to fight me, and it will not be as easy! I have trained hard for this day! Don't expect me to be sent flying again! I will not let you get the last piece of the Star Rod! Prepare to be clobbered!"
And he starts the fight by swinging down the hammer. Kirby dodges, and the hammer hits the floor instead, letting appear one of those yellow stars that appear every time he hit the ground with the hammer or when he jumps. Then Kirby inhales the star, making him balloon up, and spits it back to Dedede who is hit.
So that's how. thinks Sweetie Belle at seeing this.
The hit seems to make Dedede angry, because he then charges at Kirby and fall on him at the last second to try to crush him under his weight. But it looks like Kirby already knows that move, because he has no problems avoiding it by inflating before flying away. Dedede immediately follows his attack by jumping, trying to fall right on Kirby. Because he is slower in the air, Kirby isn't able to dodge this attack and get flattened under Dedede's feet. Sweetie his worried for a moment, until Dedede moves away. Kirby then gets back to normal, shaking his head to regain his bearing. He quickly dodges another swing of the hammer, inhaling the star it produce before hitting Dedede with it.
Dedede opens his mouth, about to use the same technique as Kirby, but Kirby get out of the way just before Dedede starts to inhale. Seeing that Kirby has dodged, Dedede decides instead to inhale the air to inflate his belly, making him float. Kirby seems surprised at this, making Dedede smirk.
Yeah, I remember, it's a new move. thinks Sweetie Belle. Watching those two fight is really something. Dedede unleashes all the techniques he possesses in hope of hitting Kirby, and Kirby tries to dodge them until a yellow star appear to use it as a projectile. Is it really all there is ? Has he really been able to beat Meta Knight with just that ? It would seem that Meta Knight would be hard to hit because of his smaller size. There must be something else.
Kirby has a hard time trying to dodge Dedede while he floats around to crush him under his belly. After some time, he releases the air and falls back on the floor and charges again at Kirby. No hitting Kirby, he jump again, but this time, Kirby his able to dodge before inhaling one of the stars appearing and spitting it back at Dedede. The king decides to get serious, and starts swinging around his hammer, again and again, running after Kirby all the time. Kirby runs toward the fountain, dodges another swing, and jump on the edge of it before making another jump this time to reach Dedede's head. He then use the back of Dedede's head as a springboard to bounce away, making Dedede fall, his head hitting the edge of the fountain.
Ouch! It must have hurt! thinks Sweetie while recoiling from the impact, closing her eyes.
Dedede quickly recovers and starts inhaling again. This time, Kirby his not able to dodge, and gets sucked to Dedede's mouth. Before entering it, Dedede close it and swing his hammer right at Kirby's trajectory, hitting him full force and sending him away. Kirby bounces on the floor a few times before landing on his feet and running back to Dedede who jumps, starting to fall in Kirby's trajectory. A back jump saves Kirby from being crushed, and he is able to hit Dedede with another star.
Another swing of the hammer, another star in the face. Kirby takes the opportunity to jump again to Dedede's head, but rather than falling on it, he punches Dedede in the left eye, making him scream in pain as he covers his eye with his hand, releasing the hammer.
Sweetie's eyes become as big as saucers at seeing what Kirby does next: he eats the hammer! Not just that, but eating the hammer provokes something in Kirby. In the blink of an eye, some kind of headband appears around his head, and a smaller version of the hammer appears in Kirby's right arm.
Dedede stares at what has happened dumbly for a few seconds before yelling "Since when can you do that?!"
He is answered by the hammer slamming on his right foot, before bonking him on his head while he screams again. He is able to slap Kirby away, but the puffball quickly comes back for more hammer time.
So he can use weapons? I suppose it's how he won against Meta Knight. thinks Sweetie Belle. It's good to know, if she ever end up really fighting Kirby in the future. Cuteness will not always save him!
Before long, Dedede falls on the floor. Kirby then release his hammer, under the form of a brown star that bounces out of him before the star transforms back into Dedede's hammer, which falls right on his head. The piece of the Star Rod falls of Dedede, at Kirby's feet. Once Kirby takes it, the seven pieces start to gravitate around him, before forming the completed Star Rod in a big flash of light.
Star Rod in hand, he starts to make his way to the fountain.
Oh no! We must stop him! But how?
At her surprise, Dedede wakes up and clings himself to Kirby's foot. And yet Kirby continues to walk. How strong is this little guy?
"Stop! Don't put the Star Rod back!" screams Dedede, only to be thrown away in one jump from Kirby.
Sweetie starts running to them, and yell "Stop!"
Kirby plants the Star Rod right where it belongs, and the fountain starts to work again. Everything seems good, but Sweetie and Dedede know better. Indeed, not a few seconds later, the fountain stops working, and something black starts to form at its center. Before long, a blue sphere, purple and pink at the bottom with white stars everywhere, gets out of the fountain, knocking out the Star Rod, before flying away.
Nightmare is free.
Right as everything seems lost, Dedede remember what Meta Knight has said. He then says to Kirby, who panic, "So, you want to play hero? Then go being a hero!" He then inhales Kirby and the Star Rod, and spits them toward the sky in the direction where Nightmare has flew. "Let's hope you are right, Meta Knight."
Turns out the impossible is in fact possible. Kirby can use the Star Rod like he has used the hammer earlier. With it, Kirby can shoot yellow stars to Nightmare, and they seem to hurt him. Sweetie and Dedede can see Kirby battling the sphere in the sky, which is shooting back the blue star-shaped projectiles that he dodges. Sometime, the sphere also sends some blue shockwaves to Kirby. They are big, fast, and hard to dodge, so Kirby has gotten hit the first time. But eventually, Kirby is able to force Nightmare to retreat. A Warp Star appears where he has been, and Kirby takes it and starts to follow Nightmare, toward the moon, where they can't follow the fight, to Sweetie's disappointment.
Soon after, they can see the Warp Star coming back from the moon, followed by an explosion at the surface of the moon like Sweetie has never seen before, leaving a big crater easily visible.
Dedede sighs in relief. "Let's go back to the castle, Sweetie Belle."
She hops on his shoulders before Dedede inflates to fly back to the castle. As they fly, the Warp Star flies beside them for a moment, and Kirby waves at them. Sweetie waves back. Then the Warp Star goes toward the fountain, and Kirby lets the Star Rod falling right at its place on it, giving back the indescribable spectacle of the Fountain of Dreams working. After that, the Warp Star flies away, disappearing at the horizon.
Sweetie Belle will never forget this day.
Her first world crisis.
Her first look at Popstar.
Her first encounter with a real bad guy.
Her first encounter with Meta Knight.
Her first encounter with Kirby.
Her first 'fight' against Kirby.
The Fountain of Dreams.
What a day! And it's only her second day!
At the castle, Broom Sunglasses says "I told you so."