Consciousness comes back to Sweetie Belle, the filly feeling the warm of wherever she is. She doesn't want to open her eyes, she doesn't want to move from where she is, it's just so warm, and so calm, especially after all that happened... But her gurgling belly and her full bladder are saying something else.
Urg... Stupid natural body needs.
So she opens her eyes, and discovers that she is back in her chamber in Dedede's castle. She can see that it must be rather late in the day, the sun not showing through the window like it does in the morning. She looks down at her bed, and smile at seeing Dedede's red finery covering her above her normal cover. Not so selfish the penguin, when he wants. She remarks at the same take some bandages on her body, where she has been hurt in her fight against Dark Matter.
It's only then that everything she has done catches up in her mind. She has helped saving the world! She has gone in an adventure with the local hero, has passed mortal traps, has fought a whole army and powerful beings that would give problems even to her sister and her friends, excepted probably Twilight, has almost gotten herself killed many times, and they killed, actually killed a creature of darkness with the help of a powerful artefact! It's not in Equestria that something like that would have happened to her! At worst, she had to face Diamond Tiara! And Scootaloo's 'awesome' ideas to obtain their Cutie Marks at the risk of being sent to the hospital... Without forgetting hiding during the occasional disaster that happens in Ponyville, from bunny stampedes to evil beings coming back after millenia of emprisonnement... Yeah, her life in Equestria was full of excitement, but actually risking her life to fight an evil being and save the world, never!
Sweetie takes the finery and puts it on her back to cover her whole body, then she takes the Rarity plushie and hug it, trying to think of it as her sister reconforting her. Her stomach and bladder can wait.
She drops the Rarity plushie and quickly gets out of her room, surprising the two Spear Waddle Dees guarding her room.
"Hey! You are awake!" says one of the Waddle Dee.
"No time! Need to go!" And she disappears behind the door to the toilet, making the two Waddle Dees chuckles.
"Well, I'm gonna warn the king. Wait her and tell her whatever she wants to know when she gets out," says the first Waddle Dee.
"Alright," answers the second.
"Wait, was she wearing the king's finery?" asks the first.
"Yep. And it's definitely too big for her."
Sweetie gets out, relieved, and is joined by the Waddle Dee.
"Hello," he says.
"Hello. What time is it?" she asks.
"It's almost 5pm. We are still the same day if you want to know."
"Really? I thought that I would have slept at least a whole day after everything that happened."
"Eh! That was just one day of adventure! Nothing too serious!" says the recognizable voice of Dedede from further, making them turn in his direction as he approaches them. "After all thoses days of training, that wasn't too much!"
"My king." says the Waddle Dee, bowing.
"Thanks thanks. You can go."
"Yes my king!" he shouts before exiting the hallway.
King Dedede then takes a Maxi Tomato out from his cloth and gives it to Sweetie Belle. "Here. This will heal you, and fill you until the banquet of tonight."
"A banquet?" asks Sweetie while eating the tomato.
"Of course! To celebrate your victory over that dark thing and saving me! Even if you had Kirby's help, you still proved that you have become quite the fighter, and that you possess great potential like I thought! I have heard some stories from my soldiers, I had a hard time believing them. Can you really use Kirby's abilities when he is on your back? When I fought you, I remember you just had a change of color."
"It's totally true! He had his stone ability, and when he jumped on my back, my whole body became stone! And when he took the fire ability, I could shoot fireballs from my horn! As for the sword... I think it gave me more courage, because I had less problems taking risks to make sure that Kirby could use his sword and to pass the areas as quickly as possible."
"Mmhmmh!" Dedede nods with a hand under his chin. "And do you think... you could use them without having Kirby on your back?"
At this, Sweetie rubs her head, thinking. "Maybe? With my magic, I suppose I could. But at my current level, I'm not sure. Shooting fireballs is more difficult than just shooting beams of raw magic, but I remember how it felt, so I could try to reproduce it. But there are some things like covering my body in stone or in needles that will really take a long time to learn, and others where I will need to train with a weapon, like the sword and the parasol."
"As long as you try, it's all I ask."
"Speaking of weapon, king Dedede..." She looks at the floor. "It has already been two times since my arrival that Popstar has been put in danger, and the second time, I have been forced to fight. Who know if it may happen again in the future?"
"I think I see where you are going. You think that another evil being will pop out, and you may end up having to fight again, so you want to train with a real weapon? And not just to copy Kirby?"
Sweetie stares at the floor in silence for a few seconds, before she looks at the king and answers "Yes."
"Alright then, let's go to one of the armories so you can choose. But first, let's take off those bandages, you don't need them anymore. And give me back my finery. As much as it looks good on you, it's too big."
"King Dedede?" suddenly says Sweetie Belle in their way. "I have just thought about it, but what happened after I fell asleep?"
"Nothing much. We all got back in the castle, Kirby took his Warp Star and has gone back to his house to rest, the three animals have returned to their islands, and the blue blob... I'm not sure where he has gone. Of course, they made sure to say goodbye to you, even if you were sleeping. And everything came back to normal," Dedede answers. He then opens a door leading to a room full of weapons. "Here we are. Now choose your weapon. Take anything you want, whatever better fit your style."
Sweetie enters the room and looks at all the weapons around her. There are swords, spears, parasols, hammers, bows, flails, and many others. It will be hard to choose.
She already knows she will not take a hammer of a flail, too heavy. She takes instead a bow with an arrow, but quickly dismisses them, she already has her beams. She then takes a sword in her magic and starts to swing it around, only to knock off an axe of its support, almost slicing Dedede in two.
"Eek! W-watch out what you are doing!"
"Sorry!" She puts back the sword, and sees another weapon on a table at the corner: a whip. She thinks for a moment before taking it in her magic, levitating the weapon before taking it in her hoof by the handle. No, this will not do. She takes it back in her magic, the light only around the handle rather than all over the whip. She tries to crack it, but yeah... She needs training, like for all those weapons. But then, she expands the light of her magic all over the whip, and before long, she manipulates it around her, doing waves in the air as if it is a snake. She gets it up, down, then makes it do some loops around her body, then wraps its extremity around the handle of a sword, taking it briefly before putting it back with a big smile.
"You know it's not how you use a whip, right?"
"I know, but look what I can do with it thanks to my magic! I can feel it, once I have trained to use it, this will be the best! I can already see all the things that I will be able to do to fight my enemies with it! Like, I would crack it, but then I would use my magic to wrap it around them and trap them! Or even steal their weapons from their hands!"
Dedede rubs his chin with his fingers, smiling. "Yes! I see it! You would become a real little terror with this weapon coupled to your magic! So, you take it?"
"Then let's test it on the boxing ring! With it, you will become my champion!"
Dedede puts a Kirby dummy on the boxing ring, in front of Sweetie. "There! First, I want to see your magic in action. Shoot this dummy with one of your beams."
"Okay!" shouts back Sweetie before firing a beam at the dummy, making it fall on its back.
"Good! Good!" Dedede claps his hands. "I wonder what kind of other attacks you will develop in the future with your magic."
"Well, if I can use my magic to do like when Kirby was on my back, then I could shoot fireballs, ice balls, lightning, blades-like projectiles, turn my fur into needles or into stone, create bombs, or at least something that explode. I don't know about the parasol though, there was one popping out of my horn, but I don't know if I would be able to do the same thing. There is also the broom ability but I don't know what I would do with it. Of course, this is just thinking with Kirby's abilities. You should see all that Twilight can do with her magic, like teleport, transform objects, animate objects, use shields... She even created butterfly wings so my sister could fly, even if it was temporary. And... erh... There was the 'Smarty Pants incident', where she cursed a doll leading the whole town to try to get it, as if that doll was the most important thing in the world and we had to take it for us and us alone. That day was crazy."
"I see. We will forget that curse and try to teach you the rest, especially that transformation spell. If you could turn your whip into whatever you want, like other weapons, then the possibilities in battles would be almost infinite. I don't think even Kirby would be able to learn all you could do and win thanks to it. And teleport..." He take a big breath. "Teleportation would be a huge addition. Thanks to it, you would become even more imprevisible. And I can't even start to think of all the possibilities that could happen thanks to that animation spell."
"But those are really advanced spells, it would take years of training before I have enough magic and enough control to use them! The only one that I can think of right now is the shield."
"Then we will start with the shield. Having a defensive move would leave you less vulnerable. But first, let's start your training with your weapon. Start to use it on the dummy, I will bring more."
"Okay!" As Dedede exits the ring, Sweetie Belle use her magic to bring the dummy back on its feet. She then looks at her whip. "Mmh... Let's see..."
Sweetie Belle and Dedede are in their way to the banquet room, the filly drained and slightly injured.
Sweetie has trained for two whole hours, trying to learn to use the whip, and later, the shield spell. In the later case, it has consisted of Dedede throwing dummies at her, and she had to make a shield appear to stop them. The injuries are proof that the dummies have won this battle, but they will not win this war! But now, it's time to start the banquet, and with having eaten just a Maxi Tomato since she awakened, and after such a workout, she is starving.
Dedede opens the door, leading to a huge room with no less than five tables of banquet full of foods of all kind, the Waddle Dees and other members of Dedede's army already around them eating with gusto, talking to each other in a big hubbub of laughter and discussions.
Everything stops when they enter, everyone looking at them, or more likely, at her. Knowing she has hurt a good part of them in her journey, it's no wonder. Despite that, she can still hear someone eating. When she turns toward the origin of the sound, her jaw almost hits the floor.
Here, at one of the tables, is none other than Kirby eating plates after plates of foods.
Dedede sees him too, and after a small silence due to shock, he yells "Kirby?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!"
"Poyo?" Kirby says at hearing this, and turn around to see them. At seeing her, he smiles and waves at her. "Poyo!"
"Hey!" she waves back.
A Waddle Doo comes beside Dedede, bowing. "I'm sorry my king, he invited himself and we didn't dare to stop him."
"Grrr... The nerve!"
"Well, he helped save you and fight Dark Matter," says Sweetie Belle. "I think he deserves to be there too."
"Good point..." He takes a big breath. "Alright, he can participate in the banquet. But it's only because I owe him one!"
"Thank you king Dedede!"
The penguin looks at Kirby with a 'I'm watching you' stare, before going at another table to eat. Sweetie follows him, hops on a chair beside him, and starts to eat too, until she is joined by a Waddle Dee.
"Hey Sweetie, good job for yesterday."
"Mmh?" She turn to the Waddle Dee and recognize him. "Oh hey! Thanks!"
"You are welcome. And don't worry about everyone, they have no hard feeling about you beating them up. They actually admire you for what you have done."
"Really? That's a relief. I thought that they were now mad at me, or scared of me. Speaking of, why did you run away?"
"Urm... Sorry, but seeing you having Kirby's ability, and knowing how things can get out of proportion with you, I thought I would die if I fought you."
"Oh come on! You are exaggerating! I would have just punched you on the head like all the other!"
"Yeah... I didn't want to test it. Remember when we sent you plumbering? You flooded half the castle! And must I remember you the 'Fatal Cutie Incident'?"
Sweetie blushes at being reminded of that and pouts. "But I killed nobody!"
"Yeah, by some miracle. But some of them ended up in a coma." He laughs. "Between you, Kirby, and the friends that joined your group, half our beds were full."
"At least it was fun to watch." says Broom Sunglasses from her other side, eating a plate of fruits.
"Good to know..." says Sweetie, deadpanning at him while eating an apple pie made from Whispy's apples.
"Continue this way, and you will live more and more to the name 'Fatal Cutie'." He then looks directly at her and chuckles. "Through, if you continue to eat like that, we will have to call you 'Fatal Gut-" Blam He is interrupted by a cream pie hitting his face, crashing him on the floor. This makes Waddle Dee laugh, arms on his belly.
"Sometime, I wonder if he has a death wish," says Cape Knight, coming from behind.
"I wonder too," says Sweetie Belle, staring at the Hatter on the floor with anger while blushing. After a few seconds, she turns to Cape Knight. "How are you?"
"Fine. Fine. Kirby eating me has done nothing, don't worry."
Sweetie nods, then says "Thank you, for helping me."
"I just did the right thing. You are the king's best hope, and I want to do everything I can to help you reach his expectations, even if I have to be hard with you. At least, I think I can stop calling you 'Rookie'. You don't get out of an adventure like this one alive and still being called like this. You have gained much experience."
"Yeah... All those traps, and those battles against Dedede's lieutenants. And Dark Matter. I almost died, more than once. I now understand better what my sister has lived through. And now, I'm not even scared anymore of using a weapon. I'm actually starting training with one."
"Really?" shouts Waddle Dee.
"Yes. A whip."
"A whip, mmh?" says Cape Knight, rubbing his chin. "We don't have any whip users in our army, but I could give you some advices in how to use it, if you want."
"I would love it. I have trained a moment with it, but I still have a hard time hitting the dummies."
"Yes, the whip is not an easy weapon, but it can be really useful, as well in a battle than outside. If you end up in another adventure, it will become your best friend. Just watch out the enemies using close quarter combat. I think you should learn some martial art or something, so you cover every possibilities."
"I'm learning to use magical shields if it can help."
"It can. But relying in your magic too much is a bad idea. It's not for nothing that the king trains you to use your hooves alongside your magic."
"I understand. But I still want to get better in magic, it's the reason I ended up here after all."
"I never said not to learn your magic, but to not focus in it."
"King Dedede!" suddenly yells a Waddle Dee coming beside the king. "I have a bad news!"
"What is it? I hope it's not another evil being trying to conquer Dreamland!"
"No! Worse!" The Waddle Dee then points at Kirby. "You are about to lose your title of King Eater!"
"WHAAT!!!" screams Dedede, his head becoming red. He starts to run toward the puffball, rolling up his sleeves. "I will not let it pass! KIRBY!!!"
At his shout, Kirby stops eating and turns toward him. "Poyo?"
Dedede puts his face before Kirby's. "So you think you can beat me at being the best eater of Popstar?"
"Then you ask for it! Kirby!" He points a finger toward the puffball. "I challenge you in a Gourmet Race!"
Then Sweetie says "Wh-what?"