Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

Arcane Gang Symbol (Chapter 12)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author note: Small fixes


"Stardust, Black apple, bros flower, ice flower, cake mix, carrot, cobalt shard, coconut bomb, mango, dayzee syrup, dayzee tear.." Luigi stopped to adjust his reading glasses, not yet halfway down the list unfolding around his feet, around Mario's two left feet, over Captain Toad's head, out of the door..

"The list would be shorter if we had Dr. Mario's documentation from when he handled this issue in Dark Land," Dr. Toad explained, simply a red toad in a doctors coat. His stone like disposition and dry monotone commanded respect and implied seniority compared to his associates.

Right then a X-naut doctor slipped off of the rounded edge of tube standing as high as the ceiling and plummeted into a bale of hay, sending it up in the air.

"Morris! Careful!" warned the hammer brother in a tie-dye colored coat, Dr. Topper. Meanwhile Dr. Goom, a shady goomba, was off in the corner with eyes glued to a white board, seeming to ignore the antics on purpose.

"What's that crazy contraption for anyway?" Luigi asked.

"To infuse the cure I think that x-naut guy was saying." Mario pulled his brother side to a quiet corner. "About those old notes? Don't ask how I know but Bowser has it somewhere stashed with his other treasured items. I bet his family still has it with them and if you could find it-"

The barn doors opened wide with Jr. Troopa standing in the middle. "Cavalry's here and ready 'cause of my training!" Outside were Peach's toads, a few of the southern nurses and staff volunteering, Dr. Toadley's intern representing him, and least expectantly to Mario's request post on the Toad Town message boards, former MK East staff member Dave the pilot.

The boom boom whipped off his sunglasses stylishly. "I really like to fly helicopters. Just let me know where to go and I'll do it. Ka-pow!"

Mario clasped his hands together. "Perfect!"

Luigi silently stood back and his brother get the attention, when in the corner of his eye he noticed a familiar yet foreign face from the farthest reaches of the group. Their eyes locked and the person bolted.

"Buddy! Wait!" Luigi chased the boo into the middle of empty farmland until he had to give up. He slung his hat to the ground in defeat. One his way back he found something in the dirt, the green Bowser racket Mario once borrowed tossed aside, paint chipped and handle wraps frayed.

Later, "How did you get this?" Mario seized the racket in recognition, then in a sudden fit prepared to destroy it by snapping it over his knee.

"Bro, chill out!" Luigi lunged for it back and held it over his head so Mario couldn't reach.

"...Yeah you're right. I just don't want old memories being brought up," Mario admitted. "Well, you came back just in time."

Dr. Goom continued the painfully dragging lecture, detailing every tidbit of the densely scribbled on white board. "The key components for reversing the gastronomic disease Mushroom Flu are the stardust powdering agent, the dayzee tears, cobalt shard crystal, and black apple juice along with mystery component X-"

"Which my brother will snag for us all," Mario cut in.

Had Luigi not been so stunned he'd slapped Mario or ran away again. Maybe both. If it wasn't a hole being stared in him from the crowd it was a weak frown implying 'how could the younger brother possibly do this?' or an eyebrow cocked quizzically. Then he tuned them out and could only notice Mario smiling wide at him, picture perfect. Not smarmily or to flatter, but earnest, he could tell, and perhaps coolly. As in 'I know you got this, even if they don't know that', Luigi could hear him thinking almost. He had to do this job now, not just to stifle doubters of his heroic capabilities but to not let Mario, and others of course, down.

A bus fetched the toads and brought them back to Peach's Castle to estimate the damage and search the garden for dayzee tears while they were a it. There was some talk that they'd take residence again, but Toadette the self proclaimed castle junior manager highly doubted the home of their kidnapped princess would be peachy. Stone riddled with cracks, the once stunningly beautiful building was sunk down in a dozen feet of water spurting from exposed pipes. The moat no longer lined up and required a small jump to cross which everyone eagerly did. In fact, Toadette was left in the dust with Alagold.

"Like, come on people! Take turns!" she vented.

"Let's pick up that item while we're here," Alagold said, stumbling aside her. The twitching he did when his item detecting skills went off was subdued, but present.

She made the hop inside and splashed in puddles filled with crunching items, tiles that had fallen from the ceiling and vases shattered. "What again?"

"The one from the stars, brah. Send Mario and folks Peach's jewel.."

Unsettled she took the hint, remembering she was authorized to enter the princess's bedroom on the highest floors. The princess owned gifts said to hold the powers of the stars she knew from Mushroom College studies and word of mouth, albeit always in a hushed fashion. Under Peach's bed inside a shoe box like Alagold tipped her on was the most beautiful stone she'd ever seen. Irregular shaped, it was a light pink color that glowed in the dark room. She felt like she stared for hours.

...

At Club 64, Kylie Koopa cracked her fingers and began to jot her outline, settled in her favorite spot next the long fish tank that always got her in a productive mood. The tank was drained today however and consequently issues sprang up before she was done with her header. Her story was old news and now the local gossip was that Bowser jumped ship to Sky Land. It was moments like these when she really missed Mitch. Her ex and rival always stayed on top of every happening everywhere. She had one lead to get some info from, his so called intern who ditched her. A dry cleaning receipt due today was folded up in back seat of the Aston Mushroom the noki left behind, signed 'Jeremy N' at the bottom. There was some kind of connection obviously and even an amateur sleuth could figure where to go next. Toad Town had one dry cleaners.

...

Luigi and Captain Toad hit the warp pipe zone for Sky Land. When they landed on the other side signs of Koopa Troop activity were as subtle as a giant barking chain-chomp next to their ear. Under a smoke filled haze the mushroom homes were lifeless husks. There were discarded spears, spiny eggs, Bowser flags on fire, and a half constructed fortress. Decidedly Luigi suggested they split up in the ghost town. Captain Toad's attention was drawn to a whimpering noise in the charred remains of a toad house. He tip toed inside to find a buzzy beetle flipped on its back and squashed some heavy stones and tarmac.

"D-d-ark..." the small creature whispered, a red streak running from his mouth. "...s-s-sta- ar..."

The Captain crouched down. "What?" He wondered what that was about as he saw their gaze glassing over. With little trepidation, he snatched a heavy pointed rock and put them out of their misery. Besides that event, he found neither life nor treasure anywhere after venturing into other nearby decaying buildings.

Luigi dropped to his knees in tears once they met at the rendezvous. The Captain was betting on how long a breakdown like this would take to happen..

"We completely missed them! Tower's empty and the Sky Castle's gone. I just don't get it!"

"Don't get what, Mr. Luigi?"

"That Bowser could do this! What if we can't catch up and can't find his notes? What if our friends don't make it?! What if Daisy doesn't? What if-?"

Captain Toad pat his shoulder. "I get it. On my crew's last visit to the Jade Jungle caverns for an archaeological haul, I meet the most wonderful woman. So adventurous, so spirited, lovely on the eyes, oh- and speaking of caverns.."

Luigi tilted his head up, eyebrows furrowing. "Where are you going with this?"

"Ah right-" Captain Toad focused again. "I had a severe disagreement with Bank Toad about whether it was appropriate to snap her pictures. Think Mushroom Geographic stuff. It wasn't, and that's how he 'slipped' off of that cliff..."

Luigi stood up, confounded. "Captain.."

The toad stepped back again. "Listen, if something is holding you back, you best to shake it off. Just telling you as an acquaintance I suppose. Bowser would rip any of us limb from limb to get to who he loves, the princess. It's vital you match his energy.."

Luigi pondered, glancing around him one more time before resting his gaze again on the toad. "-Let's go then. Also.. I don't want to be on your bad side ever."

"Wise choice."

Luigi thought he caught a genuine smile from The Captain.

...

Mario patrolled for baddie activity where dusty red roads met black paved highway, along the South to Toad Town boarder. He found no additional signs of other enemy spies which prodded a round of applause from witnessing town folk, yes inwardly disappointed Mario. Toadette confirmed over phone that they successfully foraged the dayzee tears. The flaky seeming Dave proved him wrong by flying his helicopter all the way to the Beanbean Kingdom for the stardust and returning with the powdery substance coating him and his vehicle. Dr. Toadley called an old friend Prof E. Gadd inquiring of cobalt stars. Fifteen minutes later the professor had Parakarry send over a bag of shards he was freely gave up as surplus.

"Hmm, what about the black apples that only grow in the Overthere?" Mario thought out loud. He walked into something going on ahead of him, a southerner at the gate meeting up with a sizable truck.

"Howdy Mr. Hero." Probabilly shook Mario's hand. "This is that help I called."

"Yep. Dat's in our scope."

Mario snapped towards to the monty mole outside a truck he'd missed. "What is?"

"The apples! We've health inspected the Overthere before, it's just matter of attaching our cloud-traction tires," the snifit Sebastian said, still seated in the MKDCU's truck. "Hey is my old classmate Emery really working for Bowser now?"

Mario was suddenly lifted off his feet and cradled by a tall wiggler with an iron like grip. "Whoa! What are you doing?"

Unmoved, Wiggletron sat Mario down again. "Patient's health is at acceptable levels.." he droned. "He could stomp two-hundred goombas in his state."

"Watch it!" Richard, a mega goomba inside the truck, made a face.

"My apologizes," Wiggs muttered, flushing.

"If you guys wanna that's super. No, we're not paying you though, sorry," Mario had to add.

"Sounds like a deal. This one's on the house just for you," the final squad member Parabilly, twin to Probabilly except with a clean shaved head, said from the passenger seat of the truck. Soon the MKDCU truck sped off again, kicking up red dust in its wake.

Mario's nerves calmed for flicker, but then the usual again. Being a shaken can of soda, hopefully not Fungus Up though, ready to pop. Sitting around at the hub or base and giving orders instead of being in the center of things was as unnatural for him it would be to wear green all the time, or yellow, or purple. No offense to lovers of those colors! So yet again he was anxious to become occupied with something. He decided to get out of the hot sun. Back inside the southern hospital Mario heard disturbing banging on the doors from the sick coma walking patents locked in rooms. The toad guards that belonged to the Mushroom King had left them abruptly and could offer no help. To drown it out Mario tuned into a station reporting Bowser activity on a transistor radio. Soon Buckenberry rushed inside, excitably jumping up and down.

"A Toad Town spy contacted ME! Yeah, me when I claimed to be your secretary! I hope you're not mad I fibbed about-"

"-What's the report?"

"Bowser's left Sky Land for Giant Land now."

Mario dragged the toad across the table and into his face. "My phone's still charging in the recovery facility across the field. Room 02. Call my brother. NOW!"

Jr. Troopa came up next with an ugly look. "I don't trust Drew," he said spontaneously.

"Who?"

"Dr. Toad. Never mind, it's silly." The teenager softened and hung up his cowboy hat, once again resembling the kid Mario remembered. "Guess what else?"

Mario shot up at the sight of his dinosaur friend. His green skin seemed to be covered in dust. "Finally! Heh, girlfriend kept you in all day?" The plumber feared that was an ill timed joke by the look on the dino's face.

"Remember Dr. Prof. Koopa?"

Mario hesitantly inched closer. "Why? You have word on him?"

Yoshi nodded slowly. "He was trying to escape the kingdom. I don't think he ever will again." He plopped down on a diner bench.

"That's one good thing out of this then.." Mario trailed off before he said something to further sour the delicate situation. "Well I'm glad to see you made the trip anyway!" He smiled and sat down across him. "I guess it was a bad fight? With Birdo, not old doctor creep I mean."

Yoshi continued to stare at or rather through his menu. "Yeah."

Mario reached over and held Yoshi's forearm gently. "I'm sorry to hear. This time, right when we get Peach back, I'll send you off for a much needed vacation away from us crazy folk. You and-"

Yoshi brought his head up suddenly. "No need. Mario, she was right. At some point during the last few years I stopped being honest about what I want, or how I feel, or anything really, and that was unfair to her. So now I'm here. Doing what I truly want to do with who.. or those that I want to rather.."

...

A giant para-beetle was leisurely flying in the sky when she noticed a distinct pattern of flattened forest. It started from one direction then made a huge circle. The winged koopa returned to the village to warn the others, evading detection.

"I wish I'd tagged with Luddy." Wendy pouted for the one-hundredth time. "Even his nerd talk beats this. I could be getting a pedicure, sipping fine sparkling beverages, having a hot dinner.." Her heel got stuck in another viscous mud puddle, leaving her with a bare foot. "Daddy! I can't walk anymore with one shoe!"

Bowser yanked the old map he and his army were using away from Kamek with ferocious growl. "IT WAS UPSIDE DOWN THE ENTIRE TIME!" He spun around to the rest of his forces. His battalion had diminished so that he could actually see all of them at once and even the hairs of their heads, if they had any, standing up.

"I NEED A REPORT! A REPORT RIGHT NOW!"

Sentry 11 answered, "There are about five-hundred of us lost in this forest, boss."

"GAHH!" Bowser kept stomping the ground over and over. "Forget this kingdom's castle! We find the nearest civilization, take it over, and I marry the princess!"

"Bowser," Peach plead, advancing towards him as much as she could with the chain around her leg. "You have to stop! Entire kingdoms don't get uprooted twice in a row!"

"What is your point, princess?"

"YOU are the common denominator..." Bowser's soldiers standing back watched and listened closely. "What of that voice your heard in the sky? Perhaps the stars are punishing you!"

"HOLD IT!" Bowser bent to her level with a growl. "Your fairy tales and wishes and whatever aren't true! There are no stupid stars doing stupid crap for us like you and your stupid toads like to stupid believe! Don't bring up the Star Rod either because.. that's different!"

"But-" she tried to counter.

Bowser turned around. "Shut up Hotness. Now what?"

Lemmy and the other koopalings that had been sent ahead reappeared from around giant tree trunks. "King Dad! We found a village!"

"But it don't got no electricity," Roy added sourly.

"Noooooo!" Wendy wailed.

"We go. MARCH!" Bowser's army invaded the village where small cabins were the size of large homes to them and nicer homes the size of mansions. The Giant Land natives were larger than even his biggest hammer bros, but in Bowser's favor there were few living in the rural neighborhood and whomever they encountered chose to run instead of fight. Effectively they partitioned an area with a dozen homes and structures as property of Bowser.

The Koopa King fixed his attention on what seemed to be a frequently used storehouse with a large spacious interior. "Somebody, move that tractor out of the way. No not you Larry, you're still triple grounded."

Somehow Tanner got to be the lackey to climb in despite never touching such a thing before, not even a normal car. Inside it to him was like a rust covered but advanced alien spaceship. He pulled levers until engine roared to life and the tractor's humongous threaded wheels rolled backwards. "Oh, I'm doing something!… Sir? Wait I can't stop it!"

Bowser was busy scoping the place out while the koopatrol kept rolling backwards and away. Now with the storehouse empty, he had soldiers get to work creating provisions from scratch using the natural materials around. Any baddie with arms and even some without relayed planks of wood down a line of assembly. Rocky wrenches handled bolts, thwomps, bob-ombs, and blasts from magikoopas knocked down trees and hammer bro hammers were repurposed to be… hammers..

"Oh dear! We cannot get married in there!" Peach poked her head inside to see the work. "I am allergic to barley, and hay, and bundles of seeds!.. And carpentry!"

The sweat on Bowser's forehead sizzled. "Hold on, Hotness. I thought Mario was a carpenter once? Whatever, bring Toadsworth up here."

Peach hadn't seen her old man since the failed escape and wondered why he swayed in his steps while Emery dragged him to the storehouse. She was sort of the elder toad's keeper now. Bowser asked him about Peach being allergic to anything.

"Of course not, *hic*" Toadsworth replied right away. "Is that a dance stage? I am the best at the waltz. Watch me!" The mushroom did a few steps and did tripped on his own toes, inebriated.

Peach covered her face and blushed while Bowser grinned toothily. The marriage was on again. Bursting with excitement, the Koopa King couldn't help himself. He called and left a 'cute' little message for his favorite plumber...

...

Taking up a VIP space, Kylie Koopa hung outside the Toad Town Cleaners in a limbo, watching their steam machine press white dress shirts from the clear windows. Captivated by the inner workings of the mundane operation, she didn't see at first someone pulling up in the spot a lane across, a blacked out later model sports car. An orange yoshi in a dark suit exited and paused before her Aston Mushroom with a peculiar look. He did a sort of hand sign involving one index finger on the right hand raised and an 'o' symbol on the left hand directed to someone in the tall hedges. Either he was reminding the bushes what the number ten looked like or it was an arcane gang symbol. Either way Kylie hopped out quickly.

"Sorry! Is this your spot-" Kylie noticed a prick in her shoulder, the tail end of a little dart. She felt dizzy and then blacked out...

Next Kylie felt the warmth of a bright light on her face. Cracking her eyes open blinded her. She shielded her face while noticing two figures near her.

"N, she's waking up."

"You don't say, Spy Guy," a matter of fact voice replied.

The green shy guy with camouflaging leaves on his head cut off the overhead lamp. Kylie was on her back atop pastel colored tiled floors with carnival music in the background.

"Is this a joke, brother?" she groaned, leaning up.

"If stealing Agent 0064's car while he was missing was a joke, then yes," replied Agent N, the yoshi in the suit from before.

She blinked again. "Hold on, you're the Toad Town spies and- I'm in your base!" Location: Shy Guy's Toy Box as evidenced by the indoor train tracks and fun miniature locomotive inspired props hanging from strings. The secret hide out was right under her nose the entire time, she realized embarrassingly. Judging by their house manners however, it was probably best she didn't just drop in to say hello before. "You protect Toad Town citizens right? Well I'm a proud one and where were your agents when the Bowser freaks got the jump on me last night? If I didn't know kung fu to fight em off-"

"Busy. Don't get it confused sister, we aren't a super hero group or a rescue option for the clueless, we just happen to be interested in Bowser at the moment," N replied sassily. "The only reason you're still alive right now is because you're on our approved ally list."

Kylie raised her hands in acquiesce. "Alright, I just wanted to find Mitch Toad and your noki detective was the last to see him!"

His heavy eyebrows tilted further down. "Jelectro Bond? Why did you have his car?"

"He told me to dispose of it before he kidnapped and ditched me. He flew into that MK East hospital. Anyway I thought why let the car waste? Feels good to not use the bus for once. Why was your receipt in his backseat?" she couldn't resist adding.

"Because it's actually OUR car," the yoshi replied. "And stop making me document myself- or dox, whatever the kids say these days."

"Too late, Agent N.. or Jeremy Ninten." Kylie's hands sprung up again when Spy Guy aimed a poison dart gun her way. "No trouble, just the truth!"

"Well good for you. You've been unconscious for hours and in fact, here is your noki." Agent N stepped aside, letting her see newly freed jailbird Jelectro stepping up in a surreal moment. Missing his sunglasses she could see clearly his round tanned face and beady but cloudy eyes. He wore a numbered orange jumpsuit and still held her office's stolen landline under his arm.

Jelectro sneezed and dropped the phone with a clack. "I know what you want and I don't like it, mon ami!"

Agent N gave Jelectro a look Kylie couldn't discern, then diverted his attention idly to a radar screen, arms folded. "First of all, what's that heap of junk?"

"Proof that the staff of MK East were part of Bowser's conspiracy, or his minion's conspiracy rather. Hm? Hm? I cut my vacation short, et cette attitude amour?" Jelectro slung his arm around the yoshi while the radar was but a bright glow before them. Spy Guy notably excused himself from the room. "They may or may not be currently fleeing to Sarasaland now."

"Duly noted," N muttered. He turned to the noki sharply. "Now help her find whoever else you dragged into our company's business. That's final."

Kylie grinned when Jelectro's nose wrinkled at her. Later, said nose was starting to run when he clicked his seat belt on angrily. "I think I'm catching a cold," he grumbled to the koopa reporter he hurried along into the car belligerently. They sped along on the streets again using N's black vehicle. "...Now what? Save that face madam, I'm only doing this so that I don't have to sleep on the couch tonight."

"You catch an attitude with that cold?" Kylie's intentionally uncomfortable gaze bore into him, but he never reacted. Finally she blurted out, "What ever happened to that 'ol Mitch?"

"He got hit by a bus." And that cut that conversation short.

Jelectro stopped the car at MK East, a shell of what it was just yesterday with only the first floor open, few patients, and fewer staff with the newly crumbling infrastructure. Kylie left Jelectro behind to sprint in. She saw a green spotted toad in the front waiting area, as if she was perfectly anticipated. Wheelchair bound, a thick blanket on his lap is where many sympathy cards lay.

"Kylie, late to the 'scoop' as always, babe," he laughed. "Our whole press found me and sent me stuff- except Jessie. Wonder why.."

Kylie wrapped her arms around him. "I'm going to punch that noki."

"Why? Ouch! Watch my broken.. everything. Anyway it's not my 'intern's' fault. Zoo followed you to the tennis stadium but I intervened. Once he was off your tail he must of followed me and then I was on the road and-"

"What?" She pulled back.

"But Zoo's dead now anyway." Mitch paused reflectively. "Nah, not what you're thinking. I wish I could do that sometimes though. Heh. But something offed him Friday night I'm sure. Every living thing gives off energy I can feel... Floosh, and his is gone-" He sensed Jelectro walking through the automatic doors. "Sure, show up only after Kylie drags you in. If you aren't man enough to help just walk right back out, French Boy."

Jelectro stopped three steps in and perceivably tensed up. "No apology for sending me here right before those guards stormed in and tossed me in jail? I lost an entire day! Quel Salaud!" He cleared his throat and relaxed. "Bonjour. Are you well?" he spoke out loud.

Mitch with some difficulty showed no outward reaction. "Fine just fine."

Flushing, Kylie glanced between them. Something had went down with the two men, the tension near tangible in the air. That, and men in general were just not as subtle as they thought.. "Lemme cut to the chase. So I'm here Mitch because Steve is on the mends and gave me a recent riddle I can't quite crack. Since you specialize in getting the scoop outside of Toad Town, what's your take on why Sarasaland got a replacement leader all a sudden? Who is taking Daisy's place unannounced?"

"Babe, I'd figure it out but A: still waiting on that insurance claim. B-"

Kylie sighed. "There you go sittin' pretty like I knew you would. You know what happened last time! I'm still banned from Chinese restaurants! What's your real excuse?"

"This." Mitch calmly removed the covers and let them fall to the side. His legs were so tightly wrapped in bandages and gauze they hardly recognized the stumps as such.

...

As the sun set in Giant Land, the excitement of the Koopa Troop rose to dizzying levels with the imminent union of Bowser and Peach. Minutes before the planned marriage, two koopalings with a lost sense of time scurried around where ever a handheld WiFi-analyzer took them, even if it lead to a certain fortified cabin at the very edge of Bowser's territory. 'Richard Goomba Sr. MD' was on an old sign tacked to the high barbwire fence and one of the lower windows of the cabin had a blue glow coming from it.

"Here?" Wendy nervously played with the strings of her yellow sundress. She knew they were time crunched cutting so close to her own dad's wedding but she just had to catch up on some friend's social media walls and start some drama, especially since some of them were the same ones kicking them out of Dark Land this morning. She prodded her brother in a black tie for an answer.

"Oooh! I'm picking up wireless internet waves, microwaves, gamma-waves, infrared waves, light waves, somebody doing the wave- all in there! Some party." Iggy checked a watch with a sheepish look. "Also we have like ten minutes."

"Ouch! Well I took typing classes. I can cuss out at least a few friends in my cliques with the time we got left.." Wendy and her brother climbed through a gap in the fence. The weeds in the yard were at waist levels and the stairs creaked when they approached the front door. She knocked while polka music blasted inside. Then it stopped.

"WHO'S KNOCKING ON MY DOOR?" a voice bellowed. The door swung open and a mega goomba with a dark face, bushy down turned eyebrows, bloodshot eyes, and a black goatee filled up the entire doorway. "GOSH DARN KOOPAS BETTER GET OFF MY PROPERTY!"

Screaming, Iggy and Wendy ran for their lives. The goomba grabbed his hunters cap and started chasing them all through the forest.

In the storehouse, Bowser had every one who could fit as an audience. Some baddies even hung out in the rafters to watch the union to take place. Bowser only wore a black cape and Peach her usual attire as she was dragged down the aisle. The floors were littered with fire flowers Bowser Junior chose for some reason. Junior was best man. Morton, Roy, and Lemmy were the other groomsman, all in a line on the little stage hastily created with blocks. They never planned for Ludwig to be away but Lemmy held his brother's violin to represent the military commander and Roy was videotaping the whole thing for his return. Larry and Toadsworth were seated in the audience with no input. Last, Kammy was the only bridesmaid because Wendy hadn't showed up yet. She stood with a tissue constantly patting her makeup heavy face.

"Does anyone have any objections?" Kamek asked.

"I say!" Toadsworth firmly stood up.

"You don't count."

"I do… have an objection," Peach spoke up.

"Nice try, but no," Bowser chuckled. He thought of something according to custom which also reminded him that he hardly knew Mushroom King, Peach's father even though he was well known to be alive still somewhere out there. When Bowser first started to kidnap her, he was missing from the castle without explanation. "I think I'm suppose to formally ask your pops for your hand or something. Not that I care about what he thinks! But I wonder what he'd say.."

"He- It would be a no obviously," Peach fumbled to answer.

Bowser shrugged. "Just asking. Maybe we'd get along!"

Peach begged inwardly for the conversation topic to change. Her wish was granted as Kamek returned to his book, Koopa Kingly Law XXI.

"Place your hand please," Kamek said. Bowser placed his right hand on it and his left on Peach's so that she'd have no choice but to place hers too. "Do you take Princess Peach Toadstool as your wife?"

"Yes!" Bowser answered.

"And do you take King Bowser Koopa as your husband?"

Peach clinched her eyes shut. Stars, please save her she repeated inside.

"Daddy! Heeeeeelp!" Wendy screeched, running in with her brother and expelling attention from the stage.

Richard Sr. knocked the doors down. "IS THIS A KOOPA CONVENTION? I KNEW IT!" he screamed with a mouth rivaling Bowser's.

Bowser let go of the book. "Who are you?!"

"Richard Sr. MD. I used to be a village leader and now I walk out of my door and your brats are trying to steal my internet and you koopas are driving out my neighbors and stealing my storehouse and moving my tractor and my barley and my hay and my seeds!?"

"… W-WHAT?"

"YOU HEARD ME! You promised to never invade Giant Land again!"

Kamek calmly recollected himself. "I have been with Lord Bowser forever and I remember no such pact."

Richard Sr. marched up to his face. "I remember you, nerd. Class of 195X. Now you're his butler?"

Kamek scoffed. "Me? I run the castle practically! Plus I wooed all the magikoopa chicks and my wand was the best!"

Everyone in the room except Kammy reeled in disgust. Peach took that opportunity to inch backwards, then to the right, then to the left a little, then took a step off the platform. Immediately the groomsmen blocked her way and besides that, she was on film.

Bowser swallowed his own vomit. "YOU'RE ALL RUINING MY WEDDING!" He stomped the ground and a foot went through the weak platform, creating sparks which hit a fire flower and ignited the stage. Everything went red!

...

Wendy sat down on a dead log, amber hues flickering across her visage while the lingering flames from the storehouse danced several yards away. It was near midnight.

Lemmy skipped over and sat beside his younger sister. He Ludwig's violin in his lap. "I guess we'd better delete that wedding footage so Luddy doesn't see it and yell about how we can't do anything right without him," he jest.

She turned and faced him, unexpectedly serious. "Hip. I know Peach is NOT a reliable source of information and is totally problematic or whatever but... Is it really a coincidence that we're destroying everything we touch all a sudden?"

Despite fire so close, he got a chill. "Wend, what's going on isn't normal at all!" Lemmy cradled the violin closer. Temporarily taking Ludwig's role as commander, he had so much responsibility he'd almost forgotten he was a part of the incident involving Ludwig and Zoo, and Iggy, or his footage on the laptop, or however it really went. Now Ludwig was unavailable, and Iggy? He couldn't get time alone with him, being required to manage the Koopa Troop under scrutiny usually, and besides that Iggy gave off a silent treatment vibe, at least when not engrossed with that dumb watch thing. Reflexively Lemmy checked his wrist watch then to be disheartened that he'd sweated the drawing off from yesterday. Now he'd never know how many zeroes of minutes and seconds he been sitting on that log stalling out his sister and suffocating from the vacuum in the air he'd created with his own diffidence.

"Boo!" went Bowser Junior, rambunctiously emerging from some tall grass behind their shells.

"Junior, please excuse us for a second," Lemmy said. "We need to talk about grown up stuff."

"But but daddy said to tell you all he's putting the wedding off 'a good minute'. Wanna know something? I decorated with the fire flowers, hehehe! And that explosion was coool! Just as I was told it would be!"

Lemmy sighed and stood up, about to shoo him away before it hit him. "Wait. You! What?! That's not funny. Unless..." The circus performer felt his stomach drop again. They were now dealing with two defectors in the royal household.

...

Mario had a blank expression upon the fruit being placed in his lap. There were a basket of them. "You guys really went thought all that trouble! I don't know what to say.."

"Doth not sayeth aught, we art just doing our job." Parabilly tipped his straw hat before blinking twice.

Sebastian gave a start. "We linger'd in the Overthere too long!" The rest of the MKDCU glanced at each other in confusion.

"Whatev'r. Alloweth's receiveth out of hither. MKDCU out!" Jimmy announced with a yawn.

Mario bolted cross county, literally, in the middle of the night. He barged into the science barn to show the Special World doctors the items. Their work so far was hectic with equipment sprawled everywhere and papers scattered. He dumped it all on the only clear table as the doctors crowded around.

"Wonderful Mario. We'll work through the night doing what we can-"

"We will?" Prof X-Naut protested.

"Yes. We. Will!" Dr. Toad grumbled. "But we will need Dr. Mario's old notes detailing the last thing. Is your brother still working on that?"

...

"Hello? Oh hey bro...Yeah... everything is okay...going to camp in Giant Land with The Captain...yeah he did that a couple of times...I have bug repellant..." Luigi continued conversing over the line. Mario's call to him stretched to an hour before they knew it, taking turns combing over every detail they'd missed in their very different adventures today. Luigi seemed especially concerned hearing about Yoshi, considering him one of the most grounded people he knew, not withstanding a few understandable outbursts here or there. Mario admitted he could see signs of trouble in paradise. No one knew he'd been privy to one of Yoshi's and Birdo's augments when Yoshi forgot to hang up on a call. Mario just never felt he knew how to interject, being terrible with his words, at least in sensitive situations . Luigi stated his arms were about to give out then, as he'd been clinging on a phone tower for better reception the entire time. "So that's it then, big bro. Bowser better watch out tomorrow. No mercy."

Mario laid back on his ranch bed down South, just like how the day started. Jr. Troopa allowed him to rent the room. He'd rather be among the sea of countrified mostly strangers than home and uncannily alone. Not particularly tired he stared at the ceiling fan until he remembered he had an old message to check. It was from this evening today. His heart skipped a beat.

"Mario, I'm looking at my wedding venue right now. You cannot stop me this time. Bha ha ha ha. Just. Give. Up!"


To be continued...

Created: 7/1 – 7/3/19, 7/4, 7/7, 7/9, 7/19, 7/21, 7/26, 7/29, 7/31, 8/4, 8/21, 8/31, 9/1, 9/13, 9/15, 9/18, 9/23, 9/24, 9/27

12/4/20

Fixed maybe? I hope. 5/21/21

Nah, apparently not. Or maybe. Mostly edits to reflect previous edits. 1/7/22