A Sweetie Dreamland

by Lucar


Chapter 59: Volcano Valley, Part 1

"Volcano Valley. There are many things to say about this island, and listen well, because they are all important. First of all, there was a war on this island long ago, and remains of this war, especially war machines, can still be found a little everywhere in this island. Some of them can be obstacles, but others can be useful to our quest.

However, this war caused a nasty side effect on the island: it became home to many supernatural beings, and I'm not just talking about ghosts. Yes, there will be a haunted mansion, but prepare yourself too to walk through giant cemeteries full of zombies."

Sweetie Belle gulps. "Zombies as in the kind that turn us into zombies if they bite us?"

"No thankfully. The only thing dangerous about them is that they will want to eat your brain."

"So, haunted mansion and cemeteries full of zombies. There's more?" asks Dedede.

Daroach nods. "Close to the center of the island, Space Oohroos built a base."

"Space Oohroos?" asks Sweetie Belle. "Seriously?"

"I know, this sound stupid, and yet, that's the truth. In the Popopo Islands grow the best bananas, and so, Oohroos from space came to take them, building their base somewhere they know that nobody would normally bother them thanks to the zombies and ghosts. Only, in their greed, they also took some of the medals, so we will have to take one of their spaceships to go into space and take them back."

"So, volcanoes, war machines, ghosts, zombies, alien monkeys... Something tells me that that's not all," says Sweetie Belle.
"Yes, there is one last thing. You see, with the ash expulsed from the volcanoes, the sun is constantly covered, creating by the way the perfect ambience for the ghosts and zombies. Because of this, the Skull Gang turned this island into a stronghold. The Skullys built a tower that they use as their HQ, and the Skullseer, their leader, has been spotted floating around. Finally, Necrodeus turned a greedy pig into a giant monster with his dark powers, and now, the pig calls himself the Skullord, the commander of the Skullys invading the island. If we defeat the Skullord, the Skullys patrolling the sky will go away, and Necrodeus will be forced to come back, giving us the perfect occasion to go fight him."

"This sure is a lot for just one island," comments Dedede. He then smirks. "But nothing we aren't used to. Well, it's the first time that we will fight zombies, but it's not that different from the hostiles creatures that we fight all the time."

"Uh... Does the Mumbies, or mummies in general, count as zombie-like enemies?" asks Sweetie Belle.

"Mmh? I didn't think about them..."

Daroach then continues speaking. "So, the island will be like this: near the edges, it will be a normal volcanic area without anything special. The parts with ghosts and zombies will be more inside the island and go all the way to near the center. The haunted mansion is halfway between the coast and the center, and so is the den of Skullseer. The tower of the Skullys is closer to the center, and the base of the Space Oohroos is at the opposite side. Skullord is at the center, however, to reach it, there is only one way, and the area where it starts has been sealed. There are two switches that we will have to press to destroy the seal. One is at the top of the tower, and the other is near the base, so it's probable that Necrodeus controls the Oohroos too."

"So, we first explore the edge of the island, then the cemetery until we find that haunted mansion and Skullseer's den. Once done, we go climb the tower and invade the base of the Oohroos to press the switches. We take the occasion to use one of their spaceship to go wherever they took the medals in space, then come back to go to the unsealed area to reach the center of the island and fight Skullord," resumes Sweetie Belle. "I'm right?"

He nods. "Exactly."

"We reached Volcano Valley, boss!" suddenly shouts Doc.

"Good."


As planned, they exit the airship at the edge of the island, immediately following Daroach's instructions to find the medals. Not surprising from a volcanic island, they have to traverse many rivers and lakes of lava, often using bridges. Surprisingly however, there are also water ponds, much to Dedede's joy in this heat. It's so hot that even the trees look like fire!

Speaking of lava, smaller versions of the lava guy in Neo Star come in their way, only to be turned into stone by Sweetie projecting water from her horn before they are smashed into pieces by Dedede. It's also thanks to the use of water and ice that they can traverse some of the lava, solidifying some of it to create a path.

At that moment, they are forced to separate into two groups, one of them with five Kirbys, Dedede, and Daroach, going straight forward through a path with lava rising and sinking periodically, finding a medal in a chest, while the other, with the five remaining Kirbys and Sweetie Belle, has to go down beyond metal blocks through a tunnel before reaching an area with a Skull Key above a big lake of lava, leading to the slaughter of a bunch of Skullys.

The two teams regroup at the end of those two paths before they have to separate again, the first team going straight forward where they have to enter a cavern full of dangerous enemies looking like giant blocks trying to crush them by rolling on them, one of them leaving a medal after being destroyed, while team two use a cannon to go up to a path with a few trees that Sweetie has to water to make them grow and obtain a medal from one of them.


"Trees don't grow that fast!" shouts Applejack.

"In this world, they do," retorts Pinkie.


They regroup again, and find a fifth medal after watering and plucking a plant in the ceiling of a small cavern before passing a door.

Later, Daroach leads them through another door, and they appear in front of cannon that shoots them up through many metal blocks before they are stopped by a ceiling. As they drop, the Kirbys fall inside a pink angry looking tank followed by Sweetie Belle, only for her to get stuck, while Dedede and Daroach fall beside it, Dedede being as big as the tank.

"What?" asks Sweetie Belle in confusion before looking down, frowning. "Oh come on!" She puts her hooves beside her on the surface of the tank before pulling to free herself, without success.

"Bwahahaha! Seems like someone lets herself go with the food of the resort!"

"Shut up! It's not me who is too big, it's this tank that is too small! This entrance is barely big enough to let the Kirbys pass! And they are barely half my size!" She turns to Daroach. "Is this one of the war machines left after the war? Was one of the factions composed of ants?"

Daroach snickers. "No, not ants. Just small people. Probably originating of Sandy Canyon. Try to find a way to get out once we reach the end of this path. Until then, why don't you play the commander of the tank and shout to the Kirbys when they can fire and where?"

She groans. "Fine! Stop laughing Dedede!"

At this, the tank starts its advance, Sweetie Belle shooting things like "A little to the left! A little up! Fire! Now more up! Fire!" to help the Kirbys in the tank. Each time the tank fires, it actually shoots one of the Kirbys as a projectile, then the Kirby reenter the tank by the cannon.

They quickly find a first medal after destroying a stone star block, then they have to destroy a bomb block, which has for effect not only to destroy the wall blocking the way, but also the floor under the wheels of the tank, making the tank drop a few feet and giving quite the scare to the filly, to the amusement of Dedede and Daroach.

After this small moment of panic, they reach a place where they have to choose either continuing forward, or opening a trap in the floor to make them drop. In one way like in the other, Daroach says that there are medals. Under his advice, Sweetie lets the tank pass on the trap, forcing her to lower herself to not hit her head on the low ceiling, before Dedede opens it by hitting the switch just above. Once the trap opened, Dedede and Daroach jump in the hole, going the second path and leaving Sweetie and the Kirbys to find the medals in the first one.

They find one by destroying another stone star block after climbing a few slopes just before reuniting with Dedede and Daroach, the two of them showing that they have found another medal. Now together again, they continue after destroying a wall of star blocks without destroying the bomb blocks in the floor as told by Daroach, only to reach a small passageway barely big enough for the tank, which means that there is not enough place for Sweetie. To help her, Dedede enters the passageway and starts hitting the ceiling with his hammer, giving all his strength to break it so there is enough place for the filly. Thanking him, they pass, and they now have to destroy a few flying mechanised bombs before finding a rainbow medal that has been trapped in a spheric thing with four green switches.

After that, they reach another small passageway a little longer than the previous one, forcing Dedede to work hard with his hammer so Sweetie can pass, the filly helping him with Giga Force Blasts. they then go down a slope becoming more and more steep, leading to the tak gaining more and more speed. The slope ends in a ramp which help the tank jump above a hole. In the middle of the jump, Sweetie shoots a beam at a bomb block above, freeing another medal for them. They are quickly joined by Daroach and Dedede, who have been left behind with the tank going too fast.

After a couple of minutes of advancing without anything happening anymore, they suddenly hear something rolling and approaching from behind. Sweetie Belle turns her head to see what it is, only for them to become wide.

"Kirby! Turn the tank! Quick!"

While the tank still moves forward, the turret turns around to face the thing chasing them. The thing is a giant tank-like machine with a conveyor belt on the front, on which move many cannons, and at the sides, they can see eight eyes, from top to bottom two blues, two greens, two yellows, and two reds, and they are clearly looking at them. The toothy grin painted under the red eyes, similar to Kabula's, doesn't help their case. Behind the eyes are also six smokestacks.

She deadpans. "Of course... 'Hey! They are using a tank! Let's use a bigger tank! With more cannons!' Genius!"

"The Quadgun, a powerful war machine..." says Daroach. "Its only weakness are its eyes."

"Alright, the eyes, nothing new here."

The battle begins, the Kirbys, with Sweetie's help, shooting at the eyes of the Quadgun while the Quadgun shoots back cannon after cannon as they move down on the conveyor belt. Daroach destroys the projectiles with his bombs, and Dedede hits the red eyes with his hammer, leaving Sweetie and the Kirbys to deal with the six others. While giving the instructions to the Kirbys, Sweetie Belle also attacks with her own bombs from the Bomb ability, and before long one of the blue eyes is destroyed by the Kirbys, followed by one of the yellow ones by Sweetie's bombs. Dedede is able to destroy the first red one and starts attacking the other, and Daroach starts attacking the cannons. One by one, cannons and eyes are destroyed, until nothing remains, and the Quadgun explodes, leaving only the wheels and freeing a door on them, just in time because the tank has been about to charge into a wall.

"Note for everyone. Bigger is not better," concludes Sweetie.

"It still tends to help," replies Dedede.

"Now, how do I get out of this tank? I'm still stuck!"

"You wait a week or two without eating anything?" proposes Dedede with a snicker, only to take an explosive ball on the face, blackening it. "Eh. Worth it."

"Poyo!" they then hear, and one of the Kirbys gets out of the tank by the cannon before walking on it to get in front of Sweetie Belle. "Poyo poyo! Poyo Poyo! Poyo!" As he says that, he makes the sign of something getting smaller before pointing at Sweetie Belle.

"You mean I can become smaller?"

He nods.

"One of your abilities?"

He nods again.

"Alright... Let's see..." She closes her eyes, focusing in the power in her corresponding to Kirby's heart. She feels one by one the abilities in it, until... "I think that I found it." And indeed, the next instant, she becomes smaller, a little smaller than the current Kirbys, about as big as a newborn foal, her clothes shrinking with her, before she falls in the tank. Still small, she flies out of it, followed by the other Kirbys.

"So you have an ability to shrink yourself?" she says with a more high pitched, squeaky voice. "This could be useful to pass by small passageways, or to not get spotted by big enemies. I'm sure that I could do the same with my magic. Maybe I could even become giant!"

"I thought you said 'bigger is not better'?" says Dedede.

"But like you said, 'it still tends to help'." At this, she returns to her normal size.

"Becoming smaller and bigger at will is one of my dreams," says Daroach. "It would make infiltrating easier, and I could reach some treasures inaccessible."

"I'm sure that Doc could build a machine to do that."

"He has been working on it, but so far, it has only ended in failures."

The discussion ended there, they pass the door on the remains of the Quadgun, and eventually reach another area a little closer to the center of the island. Here, they find themselves walking on a stone bridge above a sea of spikes, and suddenly, walls of stone come from the ground at both sides of the bridge, trapping them. Then, boulders are expulsed from the volcano at the center of the island toward them. Quickly, Sweetie gives the Wing ability to all the Kirbys, and they fly around the wall blocking the way, escaping the boulders, only for more boulders to be expulsed toward them, following them.

"That's not a coincidence!" shouts Dedede. "Something is throwing those boulders at us!"

"It's Skullord!" confirms Daroach.

"He can target us here all the way from the center of the island?!" asks Sweetie in surprise, which Daroach confirms.

So they run, Daroach at the head, sometimes having to destroy the boulders about to fall on them. After destroying some star blocks in the way, they find a hidden door that leads them to a group of metal blocks that are destroyed to find a rainbow medal, before they pass another door that gets them back to the previous area, where they quickly enter another door.

In the section that follows, they walk on a platform trapped between two walls, and it starts to rise. Sweetie quickly gives the Bomb ability to all the Kirbys, and they all start to destroy the many falling boulders, finding, to their surprise, a medal in one of them just before the platform reaches the top.

They pass a door, and after it, Skullord seems to have enough, because he throws a giant boulder threatening to crush all of them in one go. They could easily escape it, but Sweetie, the Kirbys, and Daroach have a feeling that they must destroy it. After hitting it many times, they are successful, and a medal drops from the remains of the boulder. With the medal in their possession, they rapidly run away before more boulders start to rain, and they pass a door, transporting them elsewhere in the island.

"I think that we are done with the edge of the island," informs then Daroach.

"So time to go to the cemetery?" asks Sweetie Belle.

He nods.

After some time, they eventually enter a tunnel that they have to climb while fighting a bunch of flying pig-like creatures with a skull on their head and blowing air strong enough to push them back from their snout. They take a cannon propulsing them up through metal block, and they landed at the surface, finally discovering cemetery, spotting in the background a fortified wall, and beyond it, a dark tower with purple smoke circling it and with windows at the top forming an angry face. Two protrusion at the side also form curved horns. As Daroach has said, the sky is totally covered in ashes, plunging the area in an eternal darkness.

"Seems like a fun place," comments Dedede. "Number one place where I will pass my next vacation."

Daroach sighs. "I hate cemeteries."

Sweetie Belle looks at him in confusion. "Why?"

Daroach covers his eyes with his hat. "Have you ever heard stories about people discovering a tomb with great treasures, taking everything, only for the people to die one by one in mysterious circumstances in the following days?"

Sweetie Belle gets shivers. "Yeah, around campfires, while telling horror stories with my friends. It's a classic."

He nods. "You know that from horror stories... But sometimes, horror stories are true. You know that I consider the Squeaks as my family?" he asks her before answering. "Because they actually ARE my family, not by blood, but by bond, because when I was young, they were there for me. There are two reasons why I avoid cemeteries. I don't steal from the dead, and they remember me... of them. Don't steal from a cemetery, or you may end up in one. That's the best advice that I can give. Trust in my experience."

"Oh..." She looks at him in sadness before hugging him, only for him to teleport a few feet away.

"Let's just go."

She sighs before nodding. She then looks at the tower. "Is that the tower of the Skullys?"

"Yes. And if you feel that it is watching you, it's probably because it IS watching you. Just don't mind it for now."

Dedede sighs. "Yeah... So much fun..."

They break a few star blocks to enter a tunnel, only to see a purple cloud-like being with an evil face coming toward them with an off-key whining sound that send chills on their backs.

"Don't touch that thing!" Daroach quickly warns the other. "Let's just move back until it goes away."

As they do so, Sweetie asks "What happens if we touch it?"

"They are named Banishback. Yes, there are more than one. If we touch them, they banish us back at the previous door. It doesn't harm us, but it is really annoying. We don't want to climb this tunnel again."

Once the Banishback disappears through the ceiling, they more through the tunnel before getting out of it. From there, they encounter more of them, along with floating helmets with a spear named Helmees, clearly haunted by ghosts, and spiders. On the way, they find a Skull Key, meaning a new slaughter of Skullys. Not surprising with them being close to their tower.

Not long after, after passing two giant Banishbacks, they pass a door, and in the next area, they have to choose between two paths again one going forward through a door, and another going down through metal blocks. So like the first time, they separate into the two same teams.

Team Sweetie Belle pass by the door, leading to a pass with pulleys, Sweetie using Metal on them to quickly open the way, and they have to fight their first zombies, which are actually Beambons, living beans with a bulbous body, two leaves on it, and orange feet, zombified, with a sickly green color for the body, tattered leaves, red eyes, stitched mouth, and purple feet. At least, the stitched mouth means that they can't bite them, or even try to eat their brain. They find a Jumbo Candy, and thanks to it, they have no problems advancing, even pulverising the Banishbacks touching them. Sweetie takes a chest that has been hidden behind star blocks, and they find the key not long after between two walls of stone blocks each with a bomb block. A new medal in their possession, they pass the door that follows.

Team Dedede-Daroach pass by the metal block, and they have to pass through a section full of murky water with many Banishbacks suddenly appearing in the way before disappearing, forcing them to be cautious. They reach a big shell containing a medal before entering a vertical room, the entrance closing behind them. Two giant Banishbacks then appear below them, forcing them to quickly swing up through many blocks before pushing a large block at the top to get out, having to deal with a few spiders tossing spiky balls while pushing it. After some time pushing it, they pass a door.

The two team reunite just before passing another door that leads them to another part of the cemetery. They avoid some weird black carnivorous plant trying to eat them from under a small bridge, punch it to make it go back down with a whimper, and continue, seeing that this part of the cemetery is in the middle of a dark forest that would pass the Everfree Forest for an enchanted forest. At least in the Everfree Forest, the trees have leaves. But here, not only the trees have absolutely no leaves as if they are dead, the branches looking like claws, but they also have faces looking as if they are moaning in despair or in pain. The ground is totally devoid of vegetation and is cracked everywhere like in a desert.

And there are Skullys everywhere!

"Out of our way, Skull-Faces!" shouts Dedede before swinging his hammer above him, hitting three Skullys strongly enough to break their skulls.

While Dedede deals with the Skullys with the help of two Cutter Kirbys, the others, under the instructions of Daroach, push a gravestone to reveal a cracked flour.

"Please, tell me we are not doing something that will get us cursed," pleads Sweetie Belle.

"Don't worry, it's not a real tomb. There is a cave hidden under it, with one of the medals."

At this, Daroach tosses a bomb on the cracked floor, blowing it to reveal a hole. Once Sweetie Belle calls Dedede and the two Kirbys, they all jump in it, entering a dark cave with a few candles to light it, but most of it is still plunged in darkness. So Sweetie Belle lights her horn with the light spell, and with her at the head of the group, they start exploring the cave, quickly finding the medal hidden in a cracked ceiling. After taking it, they exit the cave by taking the cannon that propulses them back at the surface, where the Skullys are waiting for them.

Forced to advance while fighting the Skullys, Daroach floats above a ledge and comes back with a giant purple Skull Key with sharp teeth.

"Wow! This key is scary!" says Sweetie Belle.

"It is the key to the den of Skullseer. This means that it must not be far. Prepare to fight a stronger opponent than those weak Skullys."

"Bah, we will just smash his skull like we did to all those Skullys," says Dedede with confidence. "Strong or not, against us, it will change nothing."

"Remember that he is the leader of the Skullys. He will probably use them to try to get us with their number."

"Their number is nothing against our power! They are just too easy to kill!"

They continue advancing, enter a tunnel where the Skullys don't follow them, pass more carnivorous plants, and find another Skull Key. After dealing with more Skullys -at this point, it's a wonder that there are still Skullys to fight them-, they exit the tunnel, and they now have to deal with living tombstone flying and trying to crush them before using a cannon shooting them through metal blocks in the floor.

With this, they exit the cemetery part and return to a more volcanic part with Beanbon mummies. After passing a door, they are in an elevator in a cavern where they have to turn a crank, raising the elevator. They quickly see that the lava here is also rising so they hurry, dealing with moles coming out of the walls to throw bombs at them, Beanbons mummies, and even Gordos, including a giant one that they barely avoid.

Once reaching the top, they press a few musical switches to get another medal, and take a cannon that brings them back in the cemetery. Another cannon later, and they are attacked again by the Skullys, including one holding a chest. Targeting this one in priority, which is surprisingly more resistant than the others, they take the chest before arriving in front of a big double door with a dark golden skull at the top and a big purple lock with finds sculpted on it, making it looks like someone's holding it from behind.

"Skullseer's den," says Daroach.

"Wait!" shouts Sweetie. "We should find the key to this chest first!"

"Already done," they hear Dedede say, the penguin pointing at the Kirbys, one of them holding the chest. "They went ahead and found it."

"Poyo!"

"Wonderful Kirby!"

Once the chest is opened, they use the big purple Skull Key to open the purple lock, and they pass the doors to Skullseer's den. This leads them to an area similar to the one they go each time that they find a Skull Key, and they are welcomed by a dark cackle, prompting them to look up to see the Skullseer himself floating. He is certainly the leader of the Skullys, because he actually looks like a bigger version of them, only he possesses red eyes, sharp fangs, and two big curved horns at the sides.

"Here he is," says Dedede. "Not that impressive. It will be fast."

With another dark cackle, Skullys appear around the Skullseer before they attack the group, only to be massacred like the weak and stupid grunts that they are. But the Skullseer continues to send more while remaining out of reach. Or so, he thinks. Letting the others deal with the Skullys, Sweetie Belle uses Wing to rapidly fly to him before she grabs him and slams him on the floor, cracking his skull. Before he has time to fly again, Dedede jumps and falls on him with all his weight to pin him down, and Sweetie Belle comes to grab him.

She giggled while looking at the cracked skull in her hooves. "To be, or not to be, that is the question. But for you, the answer is clear." She crushes the skull between her hooves, leaving a rainbow medal. "Not to be."

With this, the Skullys stop coming, and a door appear, signifying the end of the fight.

"Bwahaha! That's the end of the Skullseer! Told you! And soon, it will be Necrodeus' turn!" shouts proudly Dedede.

"Don't underestimate Necrodeus. With his staff, his powers have nothing to do with this weakling," warns Daroach.

Sweetie Belle giggles. "Daroach, remember that I half killed him just by myself despite his staff. What do you think his chances will be with all of us?"

He smirks. "Good point."

At this they pass the door.


...

"Did she just use Shake Spear?" asks Twilight.