Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2
'Power shots were cheap anyway' (Chapter Three)
Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.
Luigi settled in the nosebleed section with his friend, where he liked it. The hike there was never fun but there was always room for personal space.
"What were you going by again?"
"Booigi the second because there's already a 'Booigi' out there. But it's super cool to see you again, hehe. I just live in Forever Forest now East of Toad Town."
"I'm going to have to visit." Even if that place is terrifying, Luigi added in his mind. A moment later his attention drifted towards the field way below for a shock. Mario had a Bowser racket! "Hey, that's not right!" he blurt out. He stood up to get zero attention so he sat back down. "Sometimes I don't know why I sit up here."
"I know why. Because I'm a loser," Boo said matter of factly.
"Me too. Thanks for the reminder."
The crowd around them cut the conversation short with roaring laughter.
Luigi squinted his eyes. "What happened?"
Boo in turn covered theirs. "I think the umpire hit Mario with a ball!"
Luigi didn't want to admit it but that served him right.
The sun beat down on everyone, thousands of eyes were watching, including radio and news reporters, and the game was on. Mario swung towards Toad who sprint to return the ball. Bowser intercepted at the net and hit hard in Daisy's direction. The ball was almost past Daisy when she did a back-flip into the its path and hit it backhand. It then flew straight between the gap of Mario and Bowser and neither could reach despite the effort.
"Love-15." Lakitu announced.
Mario was left scratching his head at that one.
"Don't know either, plumber boy. Let's just win."
Mario served again towards Toad who curved the ball around Bowser at the net. Mario sliced the ball in front of Daisy. She delivered a nasty topspin straight down the line. Bowser did a mad dash towards center and returned it too hard so it shot out of bounds.
Mario hit lightly towards Daisy. She shot back towards Mario who returned it center. Toad sprung ahead and then the ball was flying back to Mario before he could prepare. In one blink it was gone.
Mario couldn't believe how the points were adding up. Every move he made was now calculated against their unpredictable rivals. Thing was, he'd need to be a super computer process it all when he was a cheap Game&Watch at most. They were collectively faster, coordinated without looking, and hard hitting. He avoid aiming towards either Toad or Daisy directly and let Bowser get aggressive up front. After several volleys Bowser did an illegal power shot sending the ball like a bullet bill past Daisy. She did a last ditch back-flip and lobbed the ball in the air, far enough to make a tiny shadow on the ground.
Bowser followed the shadow. "I got it! I got it!"
The shadow moved over Mario's head. "I'll get it!"
Bowser pushed Mario aside. "You'll screw it up, stupid. Move!"
Mario shoved back. "I was already here!"
"You heard me, grrrr!"
"Adsdfdsf sdf sdfsd!"
They turned their heads to the other side of the net where Toad was making those strange noises and Daisy was doing a handstand for no reason. The ball bounced right between Mario and Bowser. Both swung and the two iron rackets clung against each other spectacularly. Mario was bounced back while Bowser's racket escaped his claws and flung into the crowds.
"Game, Daisy and Toad," Lakitu announced. He ducked as cabbages and rotten cheese originating from the Koopa Troop affiliates in the crowd soar over his head. Peach was uneventfully in the other umpire chair. She disapproved of what was happening on Lakitu's side but she was more concerned with the winning team. Daisy was now spinning on her head like a break dance move, gaining more and more uncontrollable speed. Toad stood in one place shaking violently while still speaking those nonsensical words.
Peach hopped down from her seat. "Oh my, call the medics!"
"Just in time because I quit!" Lakitu fled as medics flooded the field. Some attended to Daisy after she finally collapsed like a spin-top that's run out of steam while others attempted to stabilize Toad. Reporters and civilians were also joining the crowd even though they were certainly not authorized to.
"We need space people!" shout one magikoopa nurse checking Daisy's pulse.
"Could have used a pause after 'space'," remarked his Kong ER assistant. Just then however, they spotted whom they thought was Tatanga the Space Alien in the crowds, so they began to pack up and evacuate Toad and Daisy out of the tennis court before any baddie got any ideas.
Bowser was like a bump on a log until seeing Toad and Daisy leave on cots woke him up. He followed the last of the medical staff. "How dare those losers bail now! Hey! Yeah you!"
Mario intercepted him. "Because they totally chose to have a medical emergency right now in a game they were easily winning? Even you aren't that stupid."
Smoke threatened to pour from Bowser's nostrils. "Shut up!" But otherwise he stood back from the commotion, waiting impatiently with his arms crossed.
Luigi watched as Mario and Bowser lost the first set. Crowds stood up and blocked the view of what was happening for a moment and poking his head around them, Luigi saw medics on the field. He thought he'd imagined it but it was all too real.
Boo jumped out of their seat. "We'd better get out of here!"
Luigi joined them. "Uh huh! But how?"
Boo grabbed his hand, startling Luigi. His vision went dark for a second or two then he was right outside the mostly vacant courtyard standing on the ground. They'd phased completely though the building astonishingly.
"Thanks, buddy!... Umm, we can let go now."
Boo let go slowly, flushing. "Sorry, hehe. What do you think happened?"
"Something fishy so lets make a special stop. I never get to do anything with Mario around, but since he isn't.." He fumbled on his phone to message Mario as people began to spill out of the stadium.
"Let's?" Boo squeak. "You want to work with me?"
Luigi put the phone away. "Why not? I've always wanted a sidekick. Remember when we were the 'Scare Pair' in Mario Party 6? Instead of collecting stars let's collect.. bad guys!"
Boo rushed forward and joined their hands to his to form the official handshake of the bestest unlikeliest friendship.
Peach called security and left with Toad and Daisy, taking advantage of these strange new air medical helicopters. Mario got mixed up in the crowd before someone flagged him down, a familiar face in the sea of many confused people still zipping around the stadium.
"Mario, I have enough for the bus. Come on," said his dinosaur friend. Yoshi strolled along side him, studying his confused expression. "Oh right. Your brother texted you that he's taking your bike for an emergency but I think he mass sent it by mistake. I'm flattered that I'm in his 'favs' list I guess."
"Emergency? Well thanks for having this all planed out so soon. I hope he's alright."
"He didn't make the text sound urgent. I'm more concerned about you."
"Huh?" Mario replied dismissively. "I feel fine and I'll buy you lunch if you get over it! Are we even now?" Mario smiled.
The seemingly endless but not actually bus ride dulled the mind of one passenger in particular. Mario had two types of daydreams: those involving food, the good ones, and ones involving his heroic duties in a town and among people that counted on him the most. Those were the even better ones. He could blast down battleships, topple tanks, flatten fortress, even go toe to toe with a dragon koopa beast, but he was still the linchpin. He could never forget that. What if he found himself up against something bigger than him?
Who would his friends rely on then?
Then the packed Mushroom Bus swung around another curve.
"You always were rough transport," Mario jest to Yoshi on his right.
"Was Bowser suspicious at any point today?" Yoshi asked more bluntly than Mario expected. "When did he arrive with his Mushroom Kingdom pass? Strange sights or smells?"
Caught off guard he thought about it. "Nothing out of the ordinary except how he smelled which was.. good! The cologne was probably 'Fleur de la mère koopa'. It's popular in Dark Land when koopas are trying to attract- Er. No, I'm sure that's not a clue." In the process of explaining that, being scrutinized made him sweaty. Or maybe it was just the bus's air condition being broken..
The bus arrived at Mushroom Kingdom Hospital, a flat roofed three story building made of whitewashed stone on the Eastern side of Toad Town. There was the center and then a left and right wing. A tall mushroom flag was atop the roof which also was the spot for their airlift services. Mario and Yoshi went inside where the waiting room was already full of people. After saying 'excuse me' a lot, they approached the reception office where the head nurse named 'Nass T.' was stationed. While glued to her computer screen, her mouse darted around the mouse pad frequently, clicking every five seconds.
"Hello? Are Toad and Daisy in a room by now?"
"Room 444," she droned, never bothering to look up.
In another side of town, Luigi and Boo continued to ride the Mach bike. It had a compartment on the side for passengers that Luigi typically occupied, but now he was the driver and he finally knew what it was like to be in control, while adhering to the speed limit of course. Still, he felt like a rebel, wild and free even if in a very small way.
Boo pointed to an item shop. "I know that place. Some bullies beat me up over there this one time!"
Boo was hesitant for a moment. "...Yeah?"
Luigi nodded instead of judging. "Oh, me too! Toddlers can be fierce, more so than adults!"
They stopped at the Mushroom Press, a small building that provided the town's newspapers and offices for many local reporters and journalists. Luigi parked off the sidewalk and squeezed off the thick helmet to find Boo shaking beside him.
"C-can I wait outside?"
"It'll be alright," Luigi assured.
Boo faced the door for a moment, biting their tongue. "Okay. I'll do it.."
The press had an open floor plan with office cubicles being the only thing forming little rooms and hallways. On their left was the nicer ones, with gold plaques, file cabinets, and an overall professional aura. On the right had less reporters, ostensibly the 'fresh on the block' folks with a few folders to their name if that. Boo heard the clacking of the keyboards, the scribbling of the pens, and the shuffling of the papers then bolted back out the doors.
"Are they okay?" the desk clerk asked.
Luigi spun around. "Uh, I'll have to check. Before I go, was Kylie Koopa in? She's a friend of Mario-"
"Right here!" A female koopa with a pink shell and green hat stumbled out of a nearby cubicle, sending paper everywhere. Others around her eyed her exasperatedly. "You gotta 'scoop' for me?!"
Luigi quickly explained what happened during the game because he didn't trust his brother to not screw something up. He was about to excuse himself when she reached out and grabbed him.
"Don't bail yet, brother! I can't believe such a promising game went south. Susie Que over there interviewed Mario before the game. Let's see, are they back yet? Yoohoo!" A green capped toad in a suit, 'Mitch Toad' according to his fancy name plate, had a cubical across from hers. He pulled his chair out into the hallway and observed, his thick black eyebrows down turned.
"Why don't you just relocate to the amateur side already, babe?" the toad asked in a mocking yet unexpectedly deep tone.
Kylie chucked a huge pink eraser at him which created a shouting match. Caught in the middle Luigi blew a whistle. Everyone stopped abruptly.
Outside, Boo paced around and around on the sidewalk slapping themselves repeatedly in the forehead. "Uggghhh. Boo, you're so stupid! Can you be brave for once? Okay. 1..2..3.."
Boo was startled by a dark boo with blonde stringy and obvious wig floating up all of a sudden. Boo knew them vaguely, a boo cousin!
"Laugh or else, buddy," the dark boo spoke gruffly but jokingly.
"This guy giving you trouble?" Luigi said as soon as the door swung open.
"The Luigi? Neat. Wait. Oh crap!..." the dark boo brushed past the plumber to head inside. Luigi shut the door quick suppressing a shiver.
"I'm sorry, Luigi! I freaked out," Boo explained, emotions flooding forth. "I just- I just heard-"
Luigi grabbed his helmet again. "Don't worry about it. I don't know how some people function! Eek!"
Mario knocked on room 444 before stepping in.
"Visiting hours are-" The doctor leaned up from stooping over where Toad and Daisy lay in the wheeled beds. "Ah hem. I am Doctor Professor Koopa. Why don't you wait outside?" he asked very politely. His tone was wispy.
Yoshi stood in the doorway. "Who again, if you don't mind?"
"You haven't heard of me? I've served your princess for many years in the castle! Ask her!"
"You? A koopa doctor?" Mario almost laughed at the absurdity.
"Don't be speciest," Yoshi said under his breath, gently nudging Mario back.
Mario obliged and walked back out with Yoshi. "I didn't mean it like that. Why aren't they checking vitals? All I had was a bruise yesterday after the race and I was hooked up to a million computers."
The dinosaur shrugged. "Let's just let them do their job for a moment."
With a smile Mario adjusted his cap. "Perfect idea."
Yoshi eyed him skeptically. "You actually agree?"
"Of course, it's not like I'm Dr. Mario.." From where they stood Mario could see the crowded lobby full of Toad Town citizens. What was Bowser doing right now? Before thinking about it too hard, he saw Luigi walking inside.
Mario waved him over. "What took so long? Why did you have to take the bike?"
"I walked outside and saw that it had a flat tire and went to fix it. Also this is Boo. They were at seated next to me during the game." Luigi subtly tapped his friend, prompting them to speak.
"Hi guys, hehe.." Boo waved awkwardly.
"So where are they?" Luigi continued. "Is it bad?"
Mario lead the way retracing their steps but this time they got stopped by a nurse long before reaching the right room.
"No one past this point!" The shy guy nurse in blue robe held his stubby arms out.
Mario sized him up but remain cordial. "That must be a mistake. We were just back here."
The nurse shook his head smugly. "Sorry. Princess's orders! She's at the outside tables right now with a guest. Oops! I mean she's in a secure location. Don't go there, or else!"
"Or- or else?" Boo repeated, jittering all over.
While Boo sit it out, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi rushed to the emptied out eating area around the back of the hospital to get a surprise. In the center Princess Peach was at a table having a quiet chat with someone else very dear to Mario's heart, just in another way he supposed.
"Mario!" Peach greeted, trying to not blush. "We were just discussing old times with someone we both happened to know. The person was at my castle when I was a little girl and then he moved out."
Luigi rushed to the middle of the table. "That's nice and all but Princess, but Bowser is within thirty feet of the you! Get him!"
"Hold it, hold it," said Bowser seated across from Peach, legs crossed. He had no pastry like her, instead a bi-folded Dark Land newspaper, easily distinguishable by the yellow tinged crusty look. "I'm just sticking it out to see if those idiots will be well enough for a rematch. She mentioned that professor guy and I remembered that he was a mad scientist at my castle before I fired 'em. We couldn't talk about it in the open. You mushroom freaks would lose it. Does that make you feel better?" Bowser bared his fangs in that smile but not a smile expression. Luigi felt silly for the overreaction but collectively they were all a bit flustered.
Peach scoot off the bench with a pout. "The staff here are always twisting my directions."
"Please twist my direction! Ha!"
Yoshi tossed an egg at Bowser on behalf of everyone. "Are we supposed to believe that you're going to wait around outside?"
Bowser growled and the heat from his face made the egg fry right away. "OF COURSE I AM! What else am I gonna do?"
Luigi began to recount a list. "Terrorize everyone around you, steal stuff, send your army here, try something with the princess, eat all of the food..." He dropped his hands. "I'm just saying, It's all been downhill since that power shot of yours during the game."
"Gah! Why bring that up? Power shots were cheap anyway. I wouldn't of needed it to win."
Peach shushed Bowser and strangely he listened. "This is getting off topic. We can check out this issue with the management, but in the meantime we cannot exactly leave you out here alone," she said, slowly gravitating Mario's way and into his arms. He held her stiffly as his eyes narrowed and his moustache twitched.
"Bowser. Why don't you stick with us then?"
Eyebrows all around raised at that but the hero's mind was made up. The closer to 'the enemy' the better.
Boo hid in the bathroom following that panic attack and stayed for several minutes. "Stupid stupid stupid.." they started again. Squeaks of shoes travel past the door and then stopped.
"Yes sixty at this point. Why?.."
Someone else mumbled something.
"Well, I just got the call and so we will do things different today- Hold on we have a code blue on floor three. You answer my calls only while I'm gone and if it is who I told you about just now, put on hold and tell Nass."
"Yes sir. I won't leave here. Even for lunch..."
A minute later. "Lunch break! Guess I'm leaving," the same voice as the last said.
The bathroom door slowly crept open. No one was in the halls, including the nurse. Boo wondered if they should sneak around and not feel useless, but the thought of the consequences shattered that fantasy. Then a phone vibrated on the medical cart. Boo stared at it for five seconds before something deep inside pushed them to pick it up.
"This is Giant Land Hospital, bro. I just called my bank and the funds will totally be on your way tomorrow. You're gonna do what we agreed now, right?" Beeps and blips of a computer game was in the background along with some clacking of a typewriter.
"But that doesn't.. sound right," Boo thought out loud.
"… Transfer me to your bosses please," the person on the line hissed. "If you try something funny, believe me pal, I can find you and make your brain leak out of your skull into a puddle on the ground!"
With a loud shriek Boo dropped the phone and didn't remember much else after.
To be continued…
Author note: This is the last chapter that resembles the old story. I go in some new directions from here.
Completed: 5/13- 5/18, 5/26/19, 5/31/19, edit 6/2, 6/3, 6/4, 6/6, 6/10