Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2
No courage, nerves, or pronouns (Chapter 7)
Disclaimer: Mario=Nintendo Me=still not much
Author note: This is back. As of the last edit date at the bottom here I've nearly completed this entire thing so expect for frequent uploads. Check my profile for other updates.
Mario dropped the wrench. It landed with a soft sounding clink on tiled floors in need of a good mopping and full of boot prints. The water was drained and he could lean up straight again away from under the cabinets and take a breather.
"Great job saving us from killing our selves, you know like usual," said the blue toad observing closely the job. Buckenberry known for volunteering for NSMB was always breathing down his neck unless Luigi was with him to shoo him away.
The tool slipped again, great. "What do you want, Cool Blue?"
"Luigi called the castle. Mr. Toad and Princess Daisy have the Mushroom Flu. Mario? Mario, wait!"
Mario tumbled out of those cabinets and out of the kitchen looking for Peach. Many toads were cleaning up wet floors and furniture but the woman he sought wasn't one of them. "Mr. Toadsworth, have you seen the princess?" he asked, spotting the old mushroom gazing out the open doors.
Toadsworth tapped his cane with a downward face. "I tried to stop her, Master Mario. She wanted to revisit that hospital of doom for round two and I would have accompanied her but dear me, I am too traumatized by that accident that happened around here-"
"She didn't even take her car?" Mario checked outside with mixture of irritation and concern. Peach's pink Birthday Girl kart was untouched in the castle lot. He slapped his forehead and sprinted away from the castle with no explanation given.
Toadsworth watched and waited and waited some more, eyelids drooping lower. He asked some one else to guard the door while he left to make some hot tea for concentration. Unfortunately no one did, the typical leniency in the castle. Later someone rapped on the door and the toads always paid attention to that in expectation of the pizza guy or a gift from one of the princess's admirers that they'd get to dig into first. Or something from Amazon.
"Hey. What's up?" The dark boo smiled grotesquely with jagged teeth flashing while he squinted at the castle's address posted up in a bold but regal font. There wasn't an obvious way he'd arrived, no car or taxi or anything.
"OOOOO-k.. You don't have pizza, or a Prime shipment so.." Thomas replied with the same excitement he had when doing science homework, so none. He tried to shut the door, but the visitor held it open with some surprising strength.
"Listen to this. I got a rare thing." The boo presented with his other hand a can of soda that was dented but unopened, Fungus Up.
"Uhhhh whatever..." Thomas groaned, letting him in flippantly.
"Thanks bro. Peach collects memorabilia doesn't she? And Mario's here too right?" The dark boo brushed past him into lobby, his expression flattening impressively when his gaze raised at the ceiling. "...They ain't here."
"Excuse me, we didn't order anything so who are you?" Toadette appeared in the dark boo's way when he lowered his head.
"He collects stuff… maybe..." Thomas shrugged as their visitor began to slip out the castle.
"Stop that guy! He's totally suspicious!" Toadette yelled like a siren.
Buckenberry came out of nowhere and hurled himself towards the stranger. In a ball both tumbled right out the door and flat onto the stone moat. The boo then punched the blue toad in the face before knocking him off.
"Piss off," the boo spat, dragging himself up.
Buckenberry ignored the busted lip and jumped up to charge again. The boo raised his arm and something invisible 'hit' Buckenberry. His world spun like a vortex so he missed striking anyone at all, instead launching himself over the railing to splash into the clear water below. Peach's toads weren't obsequious, or the best at jumping in platform games, or the best at cleaning, but they could do a thing or two in numbers. Stirred by the efforts of the blue toad, Toadette, Thomas, a toad who ran the castle's visitor podium, Yellow Toad known also as Alagold, the gardener with a hoe, a cook with a metal pan, and more poured from the doors. The dark boo ran for it. He dragged a bike hidden off the side with him trying to crank it up when he realized someone was helping him roll it. He whipped around to face Alagold.
"Sweeet, ride brah! What's your name?"
"Bro, I say 'bro'. Not you, bro!"
"Your name is 'Brah'?" Alagold's eye began to twitch as he detected an item, his special gift he used a lot in NSMB. He reached into a compartment on the bike and took out a Dark Land identification. "No, your name is Z-"
"Gimme that back!" 'Z' yelled in his face.
He raised an arm again and sent an intangible biology tampering wave slicing through Alagold. Instantly he seized up before stiffly collapsing on the road while Z moved on, not allowed to celebrate that victory because Thomas's tossed spear nearly impaled him while the others threw rocks that pelted him relentlessly. The motorbike wasn't willing to go more than a single mile per hour. The few toads became a monstrous regiment close to overtaking Z. He dropped his motorbike all together and nerves getting the best of the young boo, he did something drastic.
Trying to ignore the ruckus outside, Toadsworth blew over the hot ceramic cup of Herb Tea while seated on a recliner. He was up stairs in his room, his sanctuary at times. Before taking the first sip, a terrible rumble shook the cup out of his hand and all over his lap. He yelp as his shelves rattled and many heavy books were jostled. The entire castle vibrated like a rocket ready for lift off. He sprung up and managed to a window. Outside was only pure black abyss that Toadsworth peered into. A vision was forced upon him, that of a single five pointed object hanging above barren flattened land. He screamed until he felt his lungs giving out.
Boo heard their name being called desperately when Luigi and Yoshi poked their heads into Club Gamecube, Club 64's competitor established in 2001. They wanted to respond but.. didn't. Boo slapped themselves in the forehead again. "Why can't you just do something, Boo? Why?" When not pathetically tagging along with someone more important all they had was a lame part time job at a diner in Forever Forest, a Youtube channel no one watched but their mother, no courage, nerves, or pronouns. Not all of that was bad but still they were fully convinced they were useless.
"Give a round of applause for Dolphin!" the manager said on stage, introducing a comedian. The lights went dim as some people were loudly entering the restaurant.
"I just want a Chuckola cola, the Japanese version. Mom never let me do this."
"I ain't her am I so you'll get it! Waiter?! We need service!"
Boo peered over a banister that separated the dining area from the front to see Bowser and a toad girl at the take out desk. Emery got her beverage after Bowser showing his id card for her, and they left. Two minutes later, tugged along into action by some part of themselves unknown, Boo was zipping between alleys following the slow but steady Clown Car in the air. Boo weaved through more people on sidewalks and narrowly avoided traffic on streets.
In the air, Emery belched. "Awesome! Uh, what to do with-"
"Toss the bottle over the side. It ain't littering, it's a custom where I'm from."
Boo then watched as something glistening in the sky fell over the edge and whacked them in their forehead. The little boo collapsed in the middle of Toad Town park.
A silver Aston Mushroom continued its steady pace towards Peach's Castle, each mile tense for the noki driver within. Would the koopa passenger stop staring at him? If Kylie Koopa made the mistake of leaning over him the right way, easily due to his height, she might catch a glimpse of what was behind his sunglasses and he couldn't have that.
"Can you read this?" he asked, handing her Mitch's file to direct her attention away.
Kylie opened it up in her lap. "An old case study on ancient artifacts. You interested in something specific?"
"Something capable of a 'chime'?"
"That narrows it down… Off topic but can I ask you something?"
"I know species names are a hit these days but how did you end up being called Jelectro when you're a noki?"
Before he could answer he slammed the breaks at spotting displaced toads on the road resulting in papers flying all over the car. Just across the bridge of Royal Raceway Peach's Castle suspended a few hundred meters in the sky on top of a pure black and flatly textured disc. Faintly yellow hologram like musical notes drizzled underneath like a rain shower. Thy collectively jumped went someone banged driver's window. It was Buckenberry still soggy and wet. Jelectro rolled it down.
"Finally someone drives down this road! Get Mario's help!"
Kylie Koopa jumped out of the car. "What the crap?! Where's the princess?"
"She's not in," Toadette explained quietly. The shock was still setting in her and others stranded about.
"But Mr. Toadsworth was inside when that freak with the bell did this. He screwed up Gold too!" Cool Blue warned, referring to someone a little farther back laying face down in the grass.
Jelectro investigated the yellow toad. Special training taking over, Jelectro lifted a closed eyelid to discover Alagold's clouded over irises. With a start he bolted back to his car and in the drivers seat, hyperventilating at the realization that the person he was after was like Mitch, like himself!
"Bond! Or Jelectro, whatever you call yourself! Check this out!"
He craned his neck that way but remain planted in the car. Kylie was snapping pictures of an old bike, now serious and acute. "You know something real strange? I've saw this bike parked at the Mushroom Press this morning. Yeah I'm sure it was. Someone give me the straight dope on this guy."
"A thug. A dark boo. A young adult. Some scars. Squinted all the time. 'Z'," the toads all answered.
Kylie let the camera dangle freely around her neck. "...What was that last one again?"
Peach's shoes or high heels, dry ones that was, clacked rapidly as she stomp down the sidewalk, arms swinging in rhythm. She'd had enough of… everything! Secrets, lies, plumbers, and koopas who constantly inserted themselves into her life despite a so-called Peace Pact between kingdoms, like now. She spotted the Koopa copter hovering her way and quickened her pace when something else approached, a taxi speeding down the street. Peach instinctively dove into the nearest dark alley as the cab pulled over to the side of the road to let someone rush out the back seat.
"Princess, don't you know how dangerous that was with weirdos and such after you? Just look at that! At least have your cellphone on," lectured Mario.
Peach stepped out of the alley. Now grimy feeling, her dress got splattered with some dirt. "I knew what I was doing, my dear Mario," she responded icily. Both turned their heads at the rabid toad girl holding a lit bob-omb running their way.
"Diiiiiie princess!" screamed the girl.
Mario stared at her vacantly before letting his foot out so that she tripped over his toes and completely overshot Peach. The girl rolled on the sidewalk and the bomb even farther away in front of a building.
"That was weird."
"Yeah, for once you're right plumber boy," growled Bowser from the lowering Koopa Clown copter. "Anyway, I spotted Peach wandering around but then my new mook had to mess it up.."
"Sorry Bowser..." Emery mumbled from the pavement. The bomb went off and shattered some windows of the post office.
"Is everyone alright?!" wailed Parakarry, bursting out those doors. He saw Emery on the ground and sighed in relief. "Stop trying to be a terrorist. You aren't good at it," he remarked bluntly.
"You know this traitor?" Peach asked.
Mario's ex partner nodded. "She works at the hospital and is always posting these Bowser propaganda fliers in the mail. I still send them out of course, a postman can't be biased and this is a DMZ so.. That's life!" Smiling, he closed the door shut.
"How ridiculous that a Toad Town citizen work with Bowser." 'The enemy' Mario meant, pointing the koopa out.
"It's a free kingdom, mustache. Lay off! Besides you partner with me, how's that different?"
Emery peeled her face up from the asphalt. "Ouch. Clearly I'm not wasted like I thought cause I totally felt that. Are we still going to the clinic?"
Mario snapped his fingers. "That's perfect 'little traitor girl'!"
"I have a name!"
"Whatever. That's where we need to go for real results, not that other hospital," Mario said.
"So what? You idiots hitch a ride with me? Yeah right!" Bowser howled at that joke. He lowered his head and Mario was giving him that look again.
"They have the Mushroom Flu."
A jolt went through Bowser's system. "...Get in. NOW!"
Everyone squeezed in his koopa copter including Peach who was very uncomfortable so close to Bowser and his deranged sidekick. Well, as long as she was even closer to Mario it could be tolerable. She didn't want to admit it but she did sort of need him and she knew it was mutual no matter how many times they annoyed each other. Soaring a short distance over the villa. anyone on the ground scattered like ants at the sight of the koopa aircraft.
"Alright now everyone except fangirl get out quick! Go go!" Bowser forced Mario and Peach out after landing before the clinic. "Watch the clown car."
"Yes sir!" Emery saluted.
The intern inside screamed when they came in, making her chair flip. "B-Bowser?! Birdley, get him!"
A white bird perched on a hanging cage swooped down at Bowser, smacking in his face and making a poof of feathers fly.
"Bowser's with us," Peach explained foreignly. "Doctor please?"
The intern pointed backwards. She went through the double doors and located her friends right away on the cots, also the bizarrely green skin.
Dr. Toadley spun away from the computer. "Quiz time. Is Mushroom Flu a localized virus? Yes it is."
Peach tore her gaze away. "Localized? From where?"
Bowser barged in, feathers stuck to him everywhere and still spitting some out. "Nice. I swallowed one… Anyway they can't have the Mushroom Flu 'cause people only get that in Dark Land! Lots of us are allergic to mushrooms there."
Mario walked in last. "Didn't you both confirm Doctor Professor worked in Dark Land? He would have known this."
"Yeah he should have known I guess." Bowser's arms crossed and his red eyes focused on nothing as his mind took a bus ride to nowhere in particular.
Peach yanked Mario her way, knowing her anger was misdirected but not attempting to relax. "I knew that advanced testing was just an excuse to waste our precious time!"
"I know that too! How did they deal with this in Dark Land, Bowser?"
Bowser glared back at the plumber. "Your clone Dr. Mario dealt with it way back. DO I LOOK LIKE A DOCTOR?! But that Doctor Professor Koopa was working in my castle at the time so he should of known what was going since this morning if this purple lunatic right here could figure it out in minutes! Stop looking at me like that! Your hospital is what's messed up right now so shut it down!"
The room got silent, Mario reflected a lot of things he'd done all day, granted for only a few seconds, but enough to know it was time to try something new. Or old. "Let's forget our history for a moment."
Bowser's eyebrows rose a little. "..What?"
"I mean it."
"That's a heck of a lot to forget, mustache."
Mario held out his hand with an exasperated but wryly sigh. "Shut up and let's fix this together already."
The princess rolled her eyes. "Mario."
Bowser paused before squeezing Mario's hand hard. "Fine. We're both at a loss here anyway. After all, it's all about the tennis game and the gold medal!"
"Uh, not it isn't-"
"-Shuddup. Doc? What else you got to tell us?"
Toadley spun the computer monitor towards them with 1s and 0s flying in space. Jaws dropped. Of course Dr. Toadley jiggled the mouse and what was actually the screensaver faded away, revealing a plain webpage of patient entry forms Toadley procured by digging through insecure servers.
"What was the last beverage consumed? A soda, Fungus Up."
Mario nodded. "Kylie Koopa told Luigi that she found some cans outside Toad and Daisy's locker rooms." His head tilted slightly lower. "Eh, guess I shouldn't of been so harsh with him over hiring her.."
"Will I contact the Special World Hospital for advice? Yes I will." The toad doctor whistled and Birdley entered the backroom on cue.
Bowser dived flat to the floor, covering his head. "Keep that winged psycho away from me!"
Mario and Peach shuddered. The International Medical University of Special World was a remote and specialized research facility located beyond Star Road as the name suggested. Rumor had it that they took test subjects only for them to never see the light of day. Plus they were nerds... Peach approved anyway then decided to make use of her cellphone for once. She was a princess after all and maybe she had a bit of a bone to pick.
Luigi scanned his surroundings one last time in the search for his pal. He'd forgotten that he himself wasn't someone willing to go on Mario's adventures initially. It instead... he had to go through a lot to get him where he was now. He guessed that was why it ate him alive so much that he'd broken another. He and Yoshi traversed the Toad Town sidewalks not saying much. Things were so normal all around, bright evening sky, warm weather, and pedestrians on the streets. It made their problems seem so small and isolated in the grand scheme.
"I'm sorry." Yoshi hung his arm around him. "Earlier, back when we first infiltrated that wicked hospital I found Boo in the bathroom. I can tell he or she has, well, some issues."
"And I made them worse." Luigi kept his head down.
"Some people have to heal when they're ready.."
They crossed through the large park as a shortcut. Away from the many shade trees people were sun bathing in the open spots. Luigi and Yoshi tiptoed around them and wondered once or twice if some of those people were ever going to wake up with how relaxed comfortable they looked, including a little boo near an empty glass bottle.
Luigi rushed over and shook the boo. "Buddy! It's Luigi wake up!"
Boo's eyes fluttered open while reaching for the red bruise on their head. "...Where am I?" they asked in a very gritty voice.
Luigi helped them up. "Thank Eldstar you're alright! We lost you and it's my fault okay? If this is too intense for you we'll get you home."
Boo scanned the plumber up and down curiously. "But why would I want to go home? By the way, it's 'Booigi the second'."
"How did you hit your head?" Yoshi got a closer look at the knot then suspiciously picked up the glass Chuckola Cola bottle, dreading what he was about to ask. "..You weren't drinking were you?"
"No. I was tracking Bowser and.." Booigi's expression went blank. "I don't remember. The heck does it matter? Let's kick Bowser's butt for good!"
Luigi frowned again. "What are you saying?"
"Stop talking. I hear something." Booigi leered facing the more wooded area. Trees and foliage rustled as a dirty and tired looking dark boo approached...
...Kylie rushed back inside the press where many had went home by now, darting to the amateur side and the space of Susie Que. She brushed aside the news papers on their desk but nothing was left, only a small painting. It had a red backdrop that spiraled to a black splotch in the middle and was clearly hand done. The computer had on the screen just an internet browser on a flash games website.
"Did Susie ever return?" Kylie knocked on the door of Steve's office. A typewriter the bullet bill always used clacked away, audible through the closed door.
"Time clock says no," he grunted back.
Kylie spun back around as Jelectro was walking in. "You contact Mario with our office phone. His number is posted on the board. I gotta check something."
Jelectro found up the office phone tucked away in a semi-isolated spot where a five gallon water dispenser was. The beige note tacked to the wall said 'Call this for Mario, or this' with two numbers written. He chose the first and it picked up right away.
"HELLO?" A pure black and particle like appendage jetted out from the speaker to wrap tightly around Jelectro's neck.
"Merde!" he squeaked, dropping the phone to the floor. No one around him had any reaction to the noisy struggle as he attempted to pry the hand away, getting knocked back into the water dispenser, toppling the stacks of paper cups and splashing himself and the floor. Just before the life was squeezed out of him he managed pry it from his windpipe. With a low rumble the dark matter phased away from his palms completely leaving everything normal except Jelectro on the floor in a pink tinged puddle of water and blood. Someone frantically pulled the blue faced noki back to his feet.
"Are you alright?" Jesse propped him up and began to remove his sunglasses before his arms shot out and stopped her.
"Yeah, I passed out because..where I come from.. we don't… have stuff like this.." Struggling with double vision, Jelectro grabbed a paper cup and dispensed some water in it before taking a little sip. "Ahhh…"
"But you're bleeding- well, alright.."
He snatched a wad of facial tissues applied quickly to his upper lip, and glanced at the phone with malice. "Just allergies. Petit bâtard…." he muttered. After a second he chuckled at his own insult to the phone, that very phrase directed at him growing up. He felt dizzy but serviceable, his mood not dampened a bit because it was already in the pits since Peach's Castle. He checked the posted up note again and, surprise, that first number was actually labeled as Peach Castle's number, while the second was Mario's cell phone. He called that.
"Hello? Why is the newspaper company calling right now?" Mario responded.
"Bonjour. I am an intern of a reporter and there was an incident at the princess's castle. Basically, her servants are homeless now."
The line went silent before Mario exclaimed, "How did I miss all of these notifications from your toads, Peach?! Look at this!" Then Mario's line disconnected.
There was something else, the office phone had a lot of relays to Mushroom Kingdom Hospital and exactly one call back with a message left hours ago. Jelectro snooped into that, playing the record out with low volume.
*Beep* "This is Nass Toad, head nurse and secretary of Dr. Prof. Koopa to Giant Land. Just calling off record to let you know that disguising your number as the Mushroom Press downtown has messed up all of my data sheets and I don't appreciate having to redo them. Please contact us back with your REAL number. Thank you."*Beep*
"Bond, does it take five minutes to operate a phone?! Come over here!" Kylie beckoned him while buried in her computer research. "Twelve years ago in Donut Plains there was a 'Zoo Diddley', the son of a popular at the time juggler. Zoo rung a very special object one day in the middle of an act and something really bad went down. Mitch heard of the story back then and it left an impression for a personal reason. Anyway, I'm positive Susie is Zoo but why pretend to be a reporter?" She spun her chair around and had a double take at how he looked. "Are you okay?"
Still holding the tissues to his face that were thoroughly bled through, Jelectro had the office phone under his arm. "Interesting."
"What? No, I'm asking you," she replied quizzically.
"Interesting because this morning right before you met 'Susie' for the first time a stand of the sodas appeared for 'free' in the park, a pallet's worth dropped off by a truck according to message boards. Who owns the largest truck company around? Koopas. If Susie is actually Zoo and has been confirmed to attack Peach's castle, could Zoo be associated with the koopas? If that is true would that not be a motivation to compromise the sodas that we know Toad and Daisy drank and the hospital holding those sick from that very thing?"
"Alright Batman," she chuckled, "You know I was getting to all that. Why did you yank our phone from the wall though?"
"Because I need to-" Jelectro felt a sting in this forehead and held it, trembling. "I have to go! Now!" He stepped away then stopped, facing Kylie again. "Actually, you need to come too!"
She sprung up from her seat galvanized by the panic in his tone. "Sure? You have to leave the phone though. Company policy and those pidgits in corporate are scary!"
"More than this?" Jelectro suddenly raised a silenced pistol from his pocket making anyone working scream and dive under tables and desks.
"I was kidding about the Batman thing, brother!" Kylie sputtered with her arms up. Stuck between him and her own cubical there was no where to run. "Now what the heck do you really want from us?"
"Est-ce que je ne parle pas anglais? I thought not, so let's go!" Jelectro hissed while grimacing from stabbing pain.
To be continued!
Completed: 6/2/19, 6/3, 6/4, 6/5, 6/7, 6/10, 6/13, 6/14, 6/27
Edited: 7/21, 7/30, 8/3, 8/4, 8/20, 8/29
6/17/20 (page breaks added)