Mario and Bowser Frenemies Forever 2

'In which there is a mystery' (Chapter Four)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.


Kylie Koopa circled in red ink a particular spot on her huge roll out map of Toad Town where the tennis stadium was. It was about three cubicles long and the entire hallway wide.

"Don't mind me Steve," she mentioned, letting the tie wearing bullet bill by. Steve the Bullet Bill ran the press and kept it speedy with a respectable 150 wpm, but only on a specific typewriter. He hid in his office before Kylie could remember to ask him something. She decided to just visit the stadium and find clues on her own. How would she get past security? She she had one idea..

"Hey, wanna go back to the stadium with me? I'll let you snap the pictures!"

Susie gave a start, spinning away from the issued office computer and phone. "You want to what? I can't!"

No matter, Kylie thought, she could always get her scoop even working alone. However, something stopped her at the door, a mental prick. She rolled her eyes hard, the only person that could do that to her was not surprisingly also a 'prick'.

"Whaddya want, Mitch?" She forcibly swiveled Mitch's chair around to face her.

"I need to speak to you, babe. That new guy down there-"

"Susie? Pffft. It takes real levels of douche to talk trash about someone who hasn't even worked here for a day. Worry about yourself, greeney."

"I don't think you understand," he whispered. "Be careful at the stadium. That's.. all."

Kylie left. Meanwhile Mitch kept watch over Susie's space until the lunch bell rang. Everyone working made their way out in one big hungry group but when the dust settled, Susie was missing!

...

Many miles away most were blissfully unaware of Toad Town and more concerned about making sure their sunscreen was up to par against the intense rays of the tropical sun. Outside of Sirena Beach's Hotel Delfino, tourists were spread everywhere outdoors under umbrellas or on beach rugs to have a great time. No one paid attention to the dark blue shelled noki passing them by on the trail to the hotel. The most average tourist imaginable, he dark sunglasses and a red loose fitting Hawaiian shirt. He greeted the desk clerk inside with a crisp and pressed uniform.

The pianta quickly glanced over and stamp his documents. "Cool, no one ever has this crap filled out legibly. That's why I gots these, brah!" He pointed out the thick glasses on his nose. "Yours are neat too. Anyway, you're approved Mr. Jelectro. Take this card key."

"Merci." Jelectro went up the many stairs to his standard single bed room all the way at the top. It had all of the usual furnishings and a great view of the beach outside the window. Only something was off… The noki corrected the slightly crooked watercolor painting showing off Noki Bay. Very alluring, if only he'd ever visited before. They didn't have that sort of thing where he came from! He opened his suitcase up on the bed. He had flowery shirts of all colors, a wet suit, a wallet with a badge, and a silenced handgun.

He phone vibrated and he anwsered. "Agent 0064, status?"

"I am here safely. You?"

"Not good," Agent N, the voice on the other line said.

"Okay? What has happened so soon?" Jelectro replied with a more casual but alarmed change of tone.

"I got a niece sick back in the Mushroom Kingdom along with a string of others. HQ is still getting details. I don't mean to ruin your vacation though. You did just assist with a counter-terrorist operation a week ago so you deserve peace."

The line disconnected before enemy spies could trace the call. The noki thought it over while watching the beach and those on it from his vantage point with keen interest. He concluded that a week was plenty of time to rest as long as five hundred steps to the top floor weren't involved, that and he really wished the grounds keepers would stop picturing some of the beach goers without clothes.

"Brah with the sunglasses, leaving already?" the desk pianta asked the panting tourist returning with their luggage ready to go.

...

Five people reentered the hospital from the back which lead to the kitchen. At around lunch time now, the cooks were busily preparing meals for staff, patients, and guests.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but don't mind Bowser," Peach told the head chef, a toad with a brown twirly moustache and a tall white hat. He nodded but by now others who saw Bowser stomp inside started chain reaction of screaming, pots clanging, white flour clouding the air, and eggs cracking to the floor.

The chef clap two pans together for a louder clang. "Ze princess has spoken! Come, come!" He motioned the rest inside.

Mario, Luigi and Yoshi followed on the Koopa King's heels but Peach blocked the way out, staring pensively through the little round window and into the seating area that was steadily filling up. "Bad timing," she remarked. "There is no way we're getting Bowser through there without a mass hysteria."

Bowser gave out a haughty laugh. "That's your dumb toad subject's faults. Mine down home wouldn't bat an eye at something scary, strange, suspicious-"

"Gee that explains a lot," Yoshi cut in.

Mario stepped forward. "I'll stay here and watch Bowser then."

Luigi unfavorably glanced Bowser's and Mario's way. "I need to find Boo. Mario? I gotta admit, I was late meeting you here because I hired a reporter to get more information." He hoped to vex his brother a little and it worked, Mario's eyebrows not moving but the corners of his mouth shifting downwards to reveal his feelings.

"We'll deal with that later," Mario replied stiffly.

"I'll go with you to find Boo," Yoshi said, also to dissipate the tension. Thankfully Bowser was situation blind as always.

"Ya'll suck at planning but I'll hang out here for now!" Bowser announced, his butt seated on a table meant for food preparation and about to break it at that.

Peach went through the entire building on a linear path to visit Nass up front, passing by and through many sterile and brightly lit halls and feeling off. It was maybe even a little creepy. "Where is the Doctor Professor?" she asked.

Nass folded up freshly printed data sheets to add to many others meticulously organized in trays. "Wait at his office."

Peach power walked to his office. 'Dr. Prof. Koopa' was printed in white bold letters on the door of the room in which there was a mystery, but not the professor because the lights were out. "How wonderful.." She groaned, resisting the urge to childishly huff and puff.

"Don't they know I gotta bad leg? I don't care about the weight limit, I'm taking this," mumbled a whomp at the end of the hall, suited in a wrinkled white doctor's coat and trudging to the elevator.

Peach found herself going that direction, ignoring the voice in the back of her mind to just be a docile princess for once. The things you do for friends, she repeated, sprinting up steps to the third floor where she thought the doctor might be heading and where she knew were more offices. She got there and cautiously strolling down the seemingly deserted area, one room labeled 'Board room #6' stuck out because the lights were actually on. Then out from the door spilled an elderly toad woman, the whomp from before, a blue shy guy, a first responder, several junior assistants, and last Doctor Professor Koopa, slipping something into his pocket. She froze in place when everyone faced her equally surprised except for her old childhood doctor who wore a weak smile. With zero subtlety everyone but Doctor Professor distanced themselves or pretended to be busy doing other things, even whistling when they clearly didn't know how.

"Princess! What a fine young lady you are now. What do you need?"

Peach cocked an eyebrow subconsciously. "I didn't mean to.. interrupt anything but honestly I have so many questions!"

"You're worried about your friends I know. While the specialty tests cannot be rushed, don't you worry. Everyone will be fine 'Sweet Pea'." He gently put a hand on her shoulder.

Peach was almost mollified by that warm grandfatherly tone, but there was still that slightest chill to his touch. "Could we please at least see Toad and Daisy?"

Doctor Professor scanned a handheld pda. "In fifteen minutes. Is that alright? Good girl."

Peach walked away satisfied she'd gotten the upper hand. Maybe. While sanctioned under her name she regrettably had little clue of the inner workings of such a large place. Peach took the stairs again while the elevator door open and a nurse rushed out arms flailing. The toad girl resembling a shorter version of Nass T. tackled the koopa doctor and both collapsed.

"Sorry sorry," she pulled him up roughly. "I'm Emery T., roof top emergency services dudette. Did I miss the big vote?"

Doctor Professor slap away the girl's hands. "Your ballot wouldn't have counted anyway so get your butt to the cafeteria and away from here!"

A pipe above rattled, the main water line leading below. That was because someone was flushing over and over to make noise and deter a certain dinosaur from sticking around.

Back on ground level, Yoshi tapped on the stall door anyway. "Boo, I know you are in there. Luigi and I searched all over. He's getting worried." Yoshi heard Boo sniffing a lot. He leaned up against the door. "What's wrong?" he asked with a gentler tone.

"...Y-you wouldn't understand.. They never do."

"Boo. How old are you?.. Twenty-five you say? I was even younger than you when Yoshi's Island had its first disaster. Do you know some old friends of mine didn't make it through that horrific journey to stop Kamek?"

"..."

"I know. But I'd be messed up if I internalized everything I've ever been through. You don't need to do that to yourself either."

The stall door unlocked and crept open with one beady eye looking out. "But I feel like everyday something bad happens to me. Or I see things I can't deal with. I want to change it. I want to change myself- but I can't!"

Yoshi was about to speak when someone entered the restroom with a joyous shout. "Buddy! How'd I missed you here?" Before Boo could do much else, they were swallowed up by Luigi's hug. "Are you alright?" he asked, still squeezing.

"Yeah," Boo answered in an obviously phony way. Yoshi noticed and decided to not press it for now.

"Do you want to deliver ze koopasta?" the chef asked, poking Bowser with a rolling pin. The Koopa King had now waited about ten minutes in the kitchen forcing everyone to work around him. Now it was time to put out the food into the eating area and serve.

"DO I LOOK LIKE I WANT TO WORK HERE?" Bowser bellowed.

"Well, we might learn something out there. I'm sure there's a hair net your size." Mario picked up the large salad bin. "Besides, workers of the kitchen get their meals free!" he mentioned as he left.

Bowser's eyes opened wide. "Actually I mean- Get me a hair net now!" he growled to the chef.

...

A teenage koopaling with a blue mohawk yank off his headphones, springing up from the couch in the den of Bowser's Castle. "Hey, quit them downloads! You're making the internet connection too dang slow!" he yelled at the ocean princess koopaling on the floor stomach down playing the Playstation 4 a few feet away from the wide screen tv.

"Hold on Larry, gosh!" Wendy replied. "I'm trying to get my account set up."

"Can't you use Iggy's like you always do?"

"Now way. I have to download my personal games right now on my own account- Plus, I have privileges to use the tv and you don't!"

Larry groaned and moaned, and made whatever prepubescent and unimpressive growling noises he could to show his disdain. "Sooooo lame!" Wendy's phone and videogame privileges were rarely revoked unlike with her brethren so Larry was stuck with Kamek's dusty laptop where the plastic would start to melt if he played solitaire too long and the hinges were loose so it was constantly snapping down on his fingers.

His phone made a noise, then Wendy's. "Attention! All koopalings meet in 'the room', now!" the text said, sent to all of the koopalings at once.

"Nope!" Larry shut it off.

"Now you sound smart, sugar!" Wendy's bejeweled phone sat aside, she proceeded to download 'Princess Parlor 7'.

"Wonderful for some of us to be here," Ludwig said as he sat on top an upside down mop bucket. The single light bulb above among cobwebs flickered as it always did. 'The room' was a broom closet the Koopalings used for secret meetings. The secret room used to be in a better more convenient place that didn't have a bad smell, like the kitchen, but that wasn't very secret of course. Cramped up with him in tight space were Roy, Lemmy, and Morton.

"I got koopaball practice today. Make it quick."

"I am not to be rushed!"

Roy shot up and gave his eldest brother a noogie, completely ruining his styled hair.

"Stop it stop it!" Ludwig pushed him away.

"But I need the time. I'm starting a book club, you know? I've been talking online and these people are really going to fund my Kickstarter for the eight hundredth edition of the 'Bestest, Most Superior, Most Exquisite Thesaurus Ever' with me as the writer, author, and wordsmith!" Morton explained in one breath.

"What are we even doing again?" Lemmy asked, twirling a broom handle between his fingers.

"We are here because of the plan!"

Morton snapped his fingers like he caught on. "...I…I… Oh no, I lost it. Can I have a hint?"

Ludwig sighed heavily. "Take a guess. Wait, do not. You might spread some of your stupid. Vater does not know at this moment what our plans are because that is how surprises work," he explained like teaching a kindergarten class.

Lemmy raised one hand while in the other was a cellphone with different colored buttons and a pink plastic shell. "So this means I can't text King Dad to tell him I broke another speed gymnastics record?"

"Lemmy, your phone is merely an effigy. You just turned twenty-two last month. I thought Vater was going to get you a real cellular phone?"

Lemmy revealed a real one that had a huge touch screen and was super expensive. The plastic wrap was still on it. "He did give me this one but it's boring. So can I text Dad or not? I'm still not getting the rules."

Ludwig felt his face get hot but he wasn't going to hurt anyone. Yet. "Call Vater then but be discreet!"

"Okay!" Lemmy happily pressed the speed dial for Bowser but only after he peeled that protective plastic off, savoring the moment. Maybe that was how they got people to buy new phones every year. It was just that satisfying to peel that new plastic!

...

Mario scooped up and served salad to various people in the open while Bowser was cooped up in a window out of direct view serving scoops of green peas to everyone who passed him with a tray. The Koopa King kept an eye on that pesky plumber a short distance away. His goofy movements were amusing to see along with that dumb smile he flashed at every visitor. Bowser had to admit it was slightly infectious but why he didn't know..

Bowser gave the next person, a toad girl, two giant helpings of peas. "I'm feeling generous. Get your vitamins in. Ha!"

Emery T. glanced up from her tray. "But hate peas uh, Bowser… BOWSER?!"

Bowser quickly scoot back farther in that window to hide his face. "Uh oh."

"No no no." Emery leaned in, even though it was holding up the line. "I'm like your biggest fan!"

"You? A fan?"

Emery raised her hidden gold Bowser brooch necklace that was tucked into her shirt. "See? Only you can save this hospital."

Someone tapped her shoulder. "Excuse me ma'am-"

"Go around me then!" she barked at the nurse behind her. "-But anyway something strange is going on. A bunch of people, including Toad and Daisy haven't gotten treatment since they got here! We've never done that plus I missed an important meeting so I don't know who to complain to! I know you're the best Bowser, can you help?"

"Slow down," Bowser said as he got a call on his busted up flip phone. He saw it was from home so he shoved the oversized serving spoon to the server besides him.

"I cannot sssserve your peassss and my fried mushroomsss at the sssame time," the fire snake complained. "I have no handsssssss!"

"Shut up. Hey, this is Bowser… Lemmy?"

"Hi King Dad," Lemmy greeted, bouncing down the castle's hallway with Ludwig following and trying to listen in.

"Keep it down!" Ludwig repeated. "And do not reveal-"

"I'm just calling because you didn't finish your tennis game and we were gonna inva- ack! Mmm mm mm!..."

Ludwig kept his arm around Lemmy's face. "Give me the phone. Hello, Vater?... Enjoying the city? I heard about the game canceling... Tough, correct?... Take your time. Kammy went shopping to purchase you some items you enjoy like-" He held the phone away to whisper in Lemmy's ear. "What does Vater like, aside from princesses?"

Lemmy, still being strangled shrugged at first but then remembered something. He motioned with two fingers someone running then jumping high over another object represented by this fist. Ludwig stared at that blankly, clearly not getting the picture.

"-Anyway whatever she will procure you'll enjoy once you get here at a time later than now," Ludwig continued.

Bowser stayed silent before exploding, "You talk too much! I ain't leaving anyway until either someone kicks me out or I find out what's wrong with my tennis rivals!" Bowser had by now walked outside around back with the tables again for privacy. "Now don't bother me again!"

Ludwig dropped his brother and tapped his foot. "You are prohibited from external communication until further notice. Understood?"

Lemmy bounced right back up without a scratch. "Yeah whatever. And why did you miss my clue? That other thing King Dad likes?"

"And what would that be?"

Lemmy spun his ball on one finger and rolled his eyes like it was a dumb question. "It's Mario, duh. The only other thing he's always thinking about..."

Bowser returned to his spot. He couldn't find weird toad fangirl and the crowd thinned out. Mildly irritated he ripped off the hair net and found a little note near his station with a number scribbled on it.

"Zat ist it for now!" the chef declared, hanging up his hat. "Good job."

"Yeah, especially since we didn't have many patient meals to prepare," said a hammer bro washing dishes.

"Let's meet around the side this time," Mario said to Bowser, surprising him. "Peach texted with some news."

Bowser tried to play it cool and obeyed. They walked outside and around to the side of the hospital where the Starman lane ran past it and everything was normal enough. Peach stood inconspicuously under a tree with her parasol up and as the hero and villain joined her Yoshi, Luigi, and Boo strolled up as well.

"Thanks for meeting me here, everyone. I spoke to the doctor and he had a perfectly reasonable explanation," Peach explained with an edge in her tone that hinted she really believed other wise.

"I'd love to hear it Peach," Mario said.

"They are running 'special' tests. We can walk in and visit right now… though," she paused with one hand on her chin. "Bowser is still an issue."

To their surprise Bowser didn't fuss. "Then I'll just stay outside 'Hotness'. Moustache, text me when you're in the room and I'll meet there and listen from the window outside. I'm good at stalking people from windows ya see."

"Ah hem. I do hope you practice that skill only at home," Peach said wryly. "Anyway we should get going. I don't like anything about this place."

Like a squadron Mario sent the five including Boo back through the front lobby and down that hall all over again. The blue shy guy sipping on a canned soft drink said nothing as they walked pass. Boo took one lingering glance backwards but kept on moving as they rushed forward to that room 444. Finally they made it and Mario stopped before the door.

"Alright. Finally some answers, right? Let's-a go!"


To be Continued….

Author note: Well, things are becoming interesting aren't they?

Created: 5/18/19 – 5/21, 5/26, 5/31 edit 6/2, 6/3, 6/5, 6/7, 6/10, 7/1, 7/9

Page breaks 8/11/20