*This is a parody, Nintendo. I'm pretty sure you're cool enough not to sue, but I'm not taking chances. I don't own the characters or elements of the Kirby games. Also, the Dokapon Kingdom game isn't mine, so don't sue me either, Atlus!

I followed Yoshino through the hall, stopping at a door marked with a seven. "So this is the place?" I asked. She said nothing, but nodded in response. She was actually pretty quiet after the run in with the masked jerk. "It stinks," I grunted as she opened the door.

"Who's there?" a voice growled. "If you're with those delinquents, you can just scram!" There were Cola-Poka cans everywhere. An irate sounding guy in a putrid, filthy apartment littered with aluminum cans. Yeah, this seems perfectly safe.

"Um, it's me again," Yoshino answered quietly. "We have another request."

"Huh?" The man who lived in the apartment rushed to the door. He stayed behind the door for the most part, so all I could see of him was his face. His very angry face. "Oh, you. Let me guess, more mundane tasks?" his eyes focused on me and narrowed. "Who's this punk? You're boyfriend?" I'll ki- I'll banish Doug.

"No, he's the Chosen One. I was hoping you would teach him how to use his abilities as a Gamer," Yoshino explained.

"Him? He's our last hope?" He kept his gaze on me. "I weep for my country."

"I'm glad someone agrees with me," I retorted.

"Heh heh!" The obviously-not-a-drunkard laughed at my remark, momentarily losing his scowl. "And he's a comedian! This just gets better and better." He slammed the door shut, leaving the two of us alone in the hall.

"Um, that went well..." I sneered. "So much for actually standing a chance in this kooky world."

"I'm sorry, Game-san. I was hoping he would have agreed to help," Yoshino sighed.

"Who said I wouldn't help you?" the man spoke up as he threw open his door, sloppily dressed in rather outdated traditional Japanese clothing. He was balding, with just a bit of black hair tied up in the back. He looked actually somewhat like an old-world samurai. "If this kid's the Master Gamer, he needs all the help he can get!"

"Oh, that works," I said in relief. "I thought I'd have to do something drastic like beat you at a game or something before you'd agree."

"That's not a bad suggestion, kid." I have no one but myself to blame. And Doug. You know what? It's entirely his fault. "After all, it would be a good first lesson. Go ahead and pick your game."

"My game?" Huh, let's see... Should I challenge him to a Simon game? Nah, he doesn't seem as dumb as Kyubei. He's pretty old, so maybe he won't be all that good at a video game. "How about..." But which one? "I got it! Kirby Air Ride! It's a simple racing game." If he's anything like my old man when it comes to that game, he'll be flailing around for a long time trying to figure out how to play.

"Oh, that game. It's one of my favorites." Stink. "Air Ride, Top Ride, or perhaps City Trial?"

"...City Trial, I guess." This is gonna be bad, isn't it? At least this mode will let me prepare in some manner.

"Of course, that game is best played with four players. It'd hardly be a challenge if it were just one on one. If we included Yoshino, however, we'd still be short one." The old man turned to Yoshino. "You don't mind joining in, do you?"

"Oh, well..." Yoshino started to fidget. "I don't think I'd-"

"Chapter four! Yoshino's Radical Ride!" Doug shouted as he crashed through a nearby wall. Glad it wasn't me this time.

"...And you are?" the man asked, barely fazed by Doug's stupidity.

"This guy is the writer of this whole mess. His name is Doug," I answered.

"Wait! I'm not a hero! Why am I part of this game?" Yoshino complained.

"It'd be a bit bland with just two competitors, right?" Doug reasoned. "Also, your name is in the chapter, so…" Yeah, he's got no good reason. "Anyway, let's get this game started. Gomer, will you do the honors? I'm not going to do it for you this time."

"Come on! How do you expect me to warp reality?"

"I'll tell you," the old man offered. "You have to will the power to the shape you desire. It may help to say something; give your desire an audible form."

Oh, for pity's sake. "Are you suggesting I strike a goofy pose and spout off cheesy lines?"

"Oh, a pose!" the man shouted, "I had forgotten to mention that. Yes, a pose can help draw out your power. I've found that a skyward point works well for me." Of course it does.

(")

"Okay, let's get this over with." Hoo, boy. Time to shame myself. I took a step forward and reached for the sky. "Catch a falling star from the sky," I brought my hand down and formed a fist, "and ride it back, even further than the sky. Air Ride!" I feel really sad for some reason. At that point, I opened my hand and held it in front of me, as if I was stopping a punch. To my utter shock, a ball of light appeared out of my hand, growing rapidly until I had to shield my eyes. When I opened them again, I felt a lot shorter, and my hand- "A-A-My hands! They're gone!"

"Calm down, sissy boy!" I turned to see what looked like a purple Kirby looking right at me. "I'm surprised. This is far beyond the ability of a regular Rookie Gamer." It sounded like the old man.

"Game-san!" Yoshino's voice cried out. When she showed up, however, she looked like a light-blue Kirby. "This is- is amazing! You did all this?"

"I-I guess?" How are they okay with this? I glanced down at the red stubs that were my arms. Red Kirby, obviously. "So where's Doug?"

"Right here," Doug announced as he dropped down from the sky. He was a yellow Kirby, but unlike the others, his eyebrows were in such a way that made it look like he was scowling. "What's wrong with you?"

"Oh, you mean these?" Doug asked, 'pointing' at his eyes. "You're doing the same thing, Gomer. Remember, we are American Kirbys." Of course. Another stupid localization gag. "Anyway, City Trial. Let's get ready to go." Four tiny stars fell from the sky near us. Well, small under normal circumstances; as we are now, we can sit on them with ease. Once we all climbed on the stars, a green light appeared. "GO!" With little warning, my star took off. I held on for dear life as boxes and items fell from the sky.

"Whoa!" I crashed headlong into a blue box, breaking it open and taking the boosts in it. So far, I've got a lot of speed enhancements. After a few minutes of box breaking, I was beginning to look for a better star. "Hmm…" I decided to pause for a moment and see what the others were doing.

"Hahahaha!" Doug cackled as he jumped on to a purple star. Offense oriented, eh?

The old guy started ramming red boxes. I chuckled at the attempts, but stopped when I saw what was in the box. The purple guy grabbed the piece, causing it to transform his star into one of the Legendary Machines. "D-Dragoon?" Okay, break over. I jumped onto my star and sped away. "I need to find the Hydra if I want to stand a chance." I thought aloud.

"Hydra?" a voice behind me asked, startling me into screeching to a halt. It was Yoshino, not on a star at all.

"What are you doing? Where's your star?" Yoshino didn't say anything, instead pointing at Doug, who was holding one of those spiky Gordos and laughing like a fiend. "Ah. Right."

"Now what do I do?" Yoshino asked. "I've never played this game before."

"Never played-" You have got to be kidding me. "Look for another star and jump on. There's one right over there," I said as I pointed at a warp star "Why did he attack you, anyway?"

"I don't know. Maybe he wanted these?" Yoshino reasoned as she held up two large, green horns. No way.

"Yoshino, please give me those," I begged. "I doubt I have a chance without them."

"Hey, hey, hey!" Doug shouted as he shot toward us. "Give me the Hydra parts!" Behind him, I saw the last piece of the Hydra. Of course.

"Yoshino, go find a star and help me get that thing away from Doug," I ordered. "It's my best chance of winning this."

"Right." Yoshino sped off to find a star, but Doug Began to pursue.

"Hey!" I shouted as I rushed the dark star. "Drop that Hydra piece!" With no other options readily available, I just decided to ram him. Doug got dangerously close to Yoshino as she jumped onto a warp star, but I managed to knock him off course and caused him to drop the Hydra piece. "Alright!"

"I got it, Game-san!" What?

"No, Yoshino!" It was too late. Yoshino grabbed the Hydra piece, forming the completed Hydra machine. As if to mock me, the time ran out shortly after she finished the machine. "Oh, just great."

"Well, well," The old guy laughed as he noticed the competition. "This is interesting. Let's see what the challenge is going to be." A screen appeared in the air, with words beginning to form. "Drag Race." A straight shot. Welp, I'm doomed.

"Let's get this over with." The four of us lined up for the race. Doug grinned like a perpetually scowling moron, the old guy closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and Yoshino looked incredibly flustered. "What's wrong with you?" I asked Yoshino.

"I- I don't know what I'm doing," Yoshino answered. "I think the machine's broken!"

"Go!" Doug shouted as he and the samurai sped off. Yoshino wasn't moving at all.

"Oh, boy," I turned around and stopped by the girl. "You have to charge it."

"How?" Yoshino asked. I would face palm if my arm was long enough.

"Lean forward on your star. You can see a gauge there, right?" Yoshino nodded. "Okay, when it fills all the way up, pull back." There's no way I can win now. "Is it ready?"

"Just about. I'm sorry that I made you stop."

"Bah, I wouldn't have stood a chance anyway. I can't compete with the old guy's Dragoon. I'm going on ahead."

"It's ready!" Yoshino let the Hydra go, and immediately sounded like she regretted it. "Kyaaaah!"

"Whoa." That thing goes way faster than I thought. She already was on the horizon. Not long after, I heard Doug bellow in pain. "Heh heh heh." I deliberately slowed down as I neared Doug, dazed and disoriented with a destroyed dark star. Once I reached the finish line. Yoshino had a strange look on her face, and the old samurai guy was laughing. "Yeah, yeah. Don't rub this victory in my face, you grumpy coot."

"I came in second, boy!" The man laughed. "I slowed down a bit to watch you kids, but by the time I got moving again, she was already leaving me in the dust."

"I won?" Yoshino gasped. "Wow…"

"Yeah, so now what? I lost, so are you going to refuse to train me now?" All around us, the world began to revert, and in a flash, we were back to normal.

(")

"Actually, I think I'll train you after all," the man responded. "See, there's more to games than just winning. It also matters how you play. Am I wrong?"

"No," I answered, thinking about that Mask punk. "You aren't wrong."

"Let me tell you something," the man said as he pointed to Yoshino, "For years, none of us could even hope to get her to play a game. If we did have her join, she refused to even try. You not only got her to play, she won."

"That's a bit ridiculous," I responded. "So none of you could get her to play, and I manage to do it without trying?"

"Well, I never thought I stood a chance when it comes to games." Yoshino looked away and sighed. "I always figured that if I played games, the people who banished my parents would come after me, too. But after seeing you beat that Basilisk, I started to feel a little more hopeful. Maybe, once you save Japan, I can play games again without fear."

"Oh, well, that's good, I guess?" Was she really so depressed? Looking at her now, I don't think I can believe that.

"Well, whatever the reason, my decision stands; I'll be willing to train both of you in the ways of gaming. Just remember; your enemies won't sit idly by while you gain power. They may send someone to weaken you, or even banish you outright. When you're here, that won't be much of a problem, but be careful when wandering around out there."

"I understand, Sensei." Yoshino said with a bow.

"Got it, old man," I nodded.

There was an audible screech as the man turned and glared at me. Whoops, I said that one out loud. Oh well, I gotta own up to it now. "Old man? How old do you think I am?"

"Eh, 53?" I guessed. His scowl deepened. "52?"

"I'm 37!" He shouted.

"Tell that to your receding hairline, Baldy." I countered. "And besides, in this kind of story, anyone over the age of 25 is considered an old man mentor type."

"Just get going, kids!" Baldy grunted, clearly fed up with me. "If that old man starts worrying about his only granddaughter, again, he'll nag my ears off!"

"Thank you so much!" Yoshino said as she ran to the front door. I quickly followed behind, not wanting to be left alone in this bizarre place. Once we were both outside, she turned to me, a large smile on her face. "Game-san! Isn't this great? Now that you have someone to teach you, you will become the Master Gamer for sure!"

"Or you might," I grunted. "He's training you too, you know."

"I don't think I can. That win back there was a fluke. It must have been" Yoshino turned away and sighed. Self-esteem. You need some. "If you didn't help me, I'd have come in last place for- Game-san!" Yoshino pointed at something behind me, and when I turned, I saw a familiar jerk by the door.

"So I saw that sad display in there," Mask chided as he lifted his mask. Pretentious punk. "You actually have some potential, but it's just going to waste on you."

"What?" I subconsciously balled my hand into a fist. "And what makes you so sure about that?"

"You were the last to cross the finish line, you stopped to help an opponent, it's no wonder you're just a Rookie. You should just lie down and let the real hero get things done." Mask pulled a pack of cards out of his pocket and grinned. "And that stupid line; 'Further than the sky'? Do you realize how stupid you sound?" And now I'm really angry for some reason. "You have promise, but I think I should just get rid of you now before you really start to become a problem."

"I can't let you do that, Hiro the Trickster," uttered an obnoxiously familiar voice. Doug began stumbling out of the wall he crashed through earlier, still dazed from Yoshino's epic rampage of accidental destruction. He shook his head to compose himself and looked right at Mask. "I'm not going to let you target Gomer or Yoshino until they have had proper training."

"And just what can you do to stop me? I'm a Champion gamer! There isn't a Gamer outside the Dimension of Perpetually Inadequate Lighting at my level!"

"Well, you aren't wrong," Gomer said as he pulled out a game controller, grinning all the while. "We'll play ourselves a little game; if you win, I'll not stop you from playing against either of them, but if I win, you only play against Gomer or Yoshino if one of them challenges you. If neither of us wins, then we play again until one of us does. Sound fair?"

"Fine by me. A nobody like you would make for a good warm up," Mask agreed. "I accept your game. What is it? Smash? Another Air Ride?"

"Dokapon Kingdom." Mask jumped back in surprise. "Something wrong?"

"You're crazy to think that I'd waste that much time on you! As a Champion Gamer, I refuse your challenge!"

"And as an Omega Gamer, I deny your refusal." Well, that's one way to pull rank.

"O-Omega Gamer?" Mask cried." You're making that up! That's not a real rank!"

"It is now," OP senses are going haywire over here.

"I'm calling Gary Stu," I added.

"I doubt I'll actually win, Gomer, because I won't even try," Doug said quietly, so Mask couldn't hear.

"What."

"You're the hero here. He's ultimately your responsibility. All I'm able to do is stall for time. I picked this game because every turn lasts a day. It may be years before it ends, and that's if I try to win." Doug changed into a magician's coat and hat. "If, no, WHEN he wins, he's going to get a lot of power. He'll nearly be a Master Gamer, if he does not become one right after beating me. Use this time I'm giving you to unleash your full potential."

"That's a terrible idea!" I barked back. "Why fight him at all if he's going to get that powerful?"

"Because I plan on dragging the game out so long that you should be more than a match for him when the time comes for you to fight him." Mask changed into a warrior's garb as the air around the two Gamers began to distort. "Now get out of here! This whole thing is pointless if you get caught up in the game world too!" Doug then turned to Mask. "I'm going to make you pay about what you said about Further than the Sky, Trickster!" The two charged at each other, then vanished as a mist enveloped them.

"Let's go, Game-san," Yoshino pleaded, "if we get engulfed in that mist, we'll be stuck in the game too."

"Right," I answered. Once we got a good distance away, I could see the mist dissipate, leaving the street empty.

"I can't believe Doug-san is going to be stuck in that game for so long. I hope he'll be okay."

"He's probably going to be fine," I answered. "He's just being dramatic. He says we'll have years to train for the whole world-saving thing."

"I hope you're right, Game-san," Yoshino said with a sigh. "It's getting late. We should hurry back to Grandpa's house." My stomach began to growl again and in a moment, her smile returned. "You haven't had any of Grandpa's cooking yet, have you, Game-san? He's the greatest chef I know of! Come on!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming." Stupid growling stomach gag! "Let's just get out of here before another punk shows up. I don't think I can take being ambushed a third time today." I quickly followed Yoshino back, pausing only for a moment to take one last look at where Doug and Mask disappeared. "Show off." I shook my head and walked away.