Mario and Bower: Frenemies Forever 2
Bowser Wins (Chapter 8)
Disclaimer: Mario belongs to, yes me! No, just kidding.
Authors note: A spoiler in the title? Or is it? Mild language. Kind of.
"It's all done so I'll just mosey on out.." The janitor stood while leaning slightly on the broom in his hand without a hint of fatigue. One would never know the koopa paratroopa had been working straight from this afternoon to now fixing things in the hospital, the doors, wobbly furniture, squeaky chairs, and a computer security breach..
"Very well, Mr. Koopa. Give our regards to the South hospital." Doctor Professor Koopa held open his office door but stopped him just before he left. "We know it was your brother who infiltrated us this morning as part of that 'MKDCU' gang."
Probabilly kept his face unemotional. "I reckon so.."
Doctor Professor studied him for a second. "Just letting you know. If you see him, we didn't appreciate it." He went one way from the office and Probabilly another.
Work had been slow in the hospital for a while with all of his staff suddenly becoming sluggish or forgetful, even Nass who could zip through any rush instead meddling obsessively or reorganizing her data sheets to what was actually a detriment to productivity. With the top staff in that shape the doctor's experiments planned had to be canceled. He eventually nailed it down to one event, the admission of that semi-famous toad gossip writer. He entered Mitch's room under the guise of standard procedure, clipboard under his arm and first darting to the monitors but paying no attention to the results. Instead the doctor stooped down to his ear. "Try something. I know you can."
Mitch's body remained motionless.
Doctor Professor grabbed the loose power cord to the breathing machine. Regrettably, for him, Mitch had been off of that for hours now. Reaching into the closet, he found a spare pillow and returned to the bedside holding it with a smirk. "Don't want to talk? I guess this won't inconvenience you much..."
"Eldstar, Grambi, and whoever else help me!" Kylie Koopa was huddled down halfway into her shell enduring the reckless driving and the traffic they were cutting through at high speed. The Aston (Martin) Mushroom ran up and scrapped onto the corner of the sidewalk. They'd sped from the Press to the hospital. Jelectro got out of the car and left the driver's door wide open.
"Speedy, hold up!"
Jelectro glanced over his shoulder while busily checking his pockets. "I have urgent 'intern' stuff to do! You drive manual mon ami? Take my car and dispose of it, please. It's classified after all."
She scooted into his seat. "What's why you terrorize my workmates, act like a wacko, and bring me here? To cover for you?"
"Well, you get your scoop too." He shrugged before scurrying off. In the lobby the visible staff were waiting around lazily, all of them as if they had no work to do. Jelectro knew why and where he needed to go. Even Nass at the front desk was too lethargic to react as he sprinted right pass her.
Doctor Professor was pressing hard on with the pillow over the toad for what felt like forever when someone banged on the door. "Code blue!" the voice said.
"What, again?!" Doctor Professor kicked the pillow under the bed with a groan before waltzing over to open the door. He got snatched out and Jelectro held the doctor's collar tight, slamming him into the wall on the opposite side.
"I am Detective Bond and you are under arrest for conspiracy and attempted murder. Hands up!"
Doctor Professor raised his arms. "That can't be right!"
"Tais-toi! There was never a Giant Land hospital on that phone that- what?"
"I don't know!" the doctor cried.
"-I'll finish. That called you to hold the patients without care for fourteen hours. Why?" The noki knocked him against the wall again, gripping tighter.
"Eh..please.. I have family!"
"No confession? Fine. In this fake deal the delay would allow them to get credit for discovering that the disease is actually- Aww! What was that?"
In a flash the doctor's face contorted into a self satisfied half smile. "There sure are a lot of you magikoopa like freaks out here, heh heh heh. My, what is the odds of meeting two in a day, boy? I'll help you out since you can't steal it from my brain. They have the Mushroom Flu which brings me back to the old days when I could still visit the bayou before they polluted it up. I ran a butchers shop on the side. You fish?"
Jelectro let go and stepped back, loading his weapon. "Enough! Whether you know it or not a Bowser affiliate created the hoax! You get nothing."
"Correction. The money was never the point, it was punishing my dear 'Sweet Pea', that's Peach for ever kicking me out of the castle in favor of those putrid incapable toad followers she started collecting," he explained with calculated tranquility. "Yeah keep doing aiming that thing everywhere, child. Mushroom Flu works quick so what you do to me will not-" Doctor Professor was cut off by the intercom screeching with static and screams coming through. Then a clear voice said-
"SOS! Theodore, g-get down here!"
Before they could react from around the hall came a stampede of tall and burly royal mushroom guards, the kind typically only associated with remote locations like where Peach's father stayed out of town, and they were showing no signs of stopping.
"I'm a detective! Wait!"
The crowd of guards swallowed Jelectro anyway while Doctor Professor got a break and dashed back into Mitch's room, locking the door. Cornered, he took a deep breath and then hurled himself out of the window to escape. His frail body and shards of glass plopped down in the bushes landscaping the hospital. There were trucks from the guards all outside and even a helicopter in the sky shining down a blinding beam that swept across the lot in search. He limped away and into the darkness creeping over the land...
"Boo Diddley? Is that you?" 'Z' moved across the park's green grass with a sly smile across his visage. "Weren't you that loser we all beat up at family reunions?"
"He looks like trouble. Let's go." Yoshi was the only one to heed his own advice, the others not even acknowledging him. Boo left Luigi's side and was already floating up to meet the other boo.
"Don't you work for Bowser now, Zoo?" Booigi the Second asked him, face to face. The sky darkened and cast a gloomy hue on the park.
"What if I do? Get outta my way, dweeb."
"I don't think so," Booigi hissed in Zoo's ear, snatching his arm as well. "In fact, why don't you go back to your pathetic waste land of a home in World 8?"
Luigi tried to wedge between the two. "Alright cut it out!" Zoo slung the plumber aside.
"Luigi?" Booigi gasped, becoming their old self for a flash before they spun back in Zoo's direction and swung with all the fury they could muster. The dark boo's body flew backwards and into the bushes again. Zoo lunged out of the foliage to tackle Booigi with a roar. Both tumbled around on the ground slapping and biting and right across Yoshi's feet.
"Stop it! Hey! Stop!" Yoshi repeated as they fought.
Luigi recovered as thunder boomed and some rain to sprinkle down. People around them, sun bathers, or those walking in the park saw this and hurriedly ran for cover. Boo, now with a black eye, tossed Zoo away and held an object in their hand triumphantly, a green Bowser racket!
"This was Mario's racket!" Booigi said. "AND I recognize your voice from this morning! You threatened me at the hospital."
Zoo stood up and burst out in wild laughter, making Luigi and Boo glance at each other for a second in confusion.. "Hehehe tell me what else?"
"-Well since we're in a better mood now," Yoshi interjected, "know that we didn't want to start anything in the first place. We were just taking a shortcut to the clinic."
Zoo turned to Yoshi. "You don't say? Thanks."
Yoshi felt his stomach churn for some reason. "Uh, why?"
"Because that's where Mario is, right?" Zoo explained slowly to watch Yoshi's reaction. "And the princess… and even Bowser. You contacted him without telling Luigi before you entered the park. You also know that Peach is going to shut down the hospital!"
Luigi tore his eyes away from the dark boo to Yoshi. "You knew all of that?! Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well- I didn't want to excite you too much with you know, everything else and-"
"-Excite me too much? Why wouldn't I be able to handle it? I'm a Mario brother!"
"I didn't mean it like that, Luigi!"
"-Oh you didn't!?" Luigi snapped back, arms folded. "Like you know everything, old man!"
Palm to his forehead, something clicked in Yoshi's brain and his feelings flooded out everywhere, terrible and ugly like the storm approaching. "Maybe in fact I do! See, this is why I needed to follow you around so you don't screw something up every five minutes like we're doing now! You aren't some hotshot and face it, you wouldn't have even gotten this far without me!" His hand raced to cover his mouth.
"See ya." As perfectly planned, Zoo slipped away.
Before Yoshi could apologize or even attempt to explain, Booigi tackled him down. He shielded his face as he was hurled into the mud.
"If you're just so good, bug off from us." Luigi dismissively walked away without turning back, focused on where Zoo had fled to the other end of the park and through the gates. He ignored the dinosaur's cries as they grew fainter with distance. In his pockets was an item for drastic measures, a fire flower. One bite of it and power surged through him, an internal inferno. He would show Yoshi. He would show Mario. He would show anyone else who ever doubted him. Booigi appeared on his side with a whoosh, dragging that racket. Both followed Zoo down the sidewalk as the rain shower became a down pour, then gained on him through dark narrow alley, Luigi's feet splashing in frequent puddles.
"Stop right there!"
Zoo spun around, giving his stalkers a double take. "What the-?! You're still bothering me? Yeah I admit it, okay? I tricked the hospital on the phone when I saw you this morning at the Mushroom Press because I couldn't have you finding out about how everyone got sick with the Mushroom Flu before Ludwig got into town."
"Little punk," Booigi growled.
"Yeah, whatever." Zoo pulled from out of nowhere a can of Fungus Up. "This is how I did it by the way. I think I got a good sales pitch too: This drink springs up over night. It also attracts idiots who read the Toad Town message boards. Hehehehe! Catch poindexter."
He pitched it hard to Booigi who caught it automatically. "No thank you."
"Yeah, enough chitchat Bowser scum. Of course my brother wouldn't be able to see the big koopa behind it all. What made you rat yourself out? Getting your teeth knocked in by my pal? How does it feel to be the 'nerd' now?" Luigi teased.
Zoo traded his annoyance for amusement. "You always were my favorite Mario bro. I almost hate to do this."
Both of their eyebrows raised when they saw Zoo reaching for a pale yellow little bell.
The two walls of the alley rumbled as the ground shook. Both ran out into the street where the businesses and restaurants around including Club 64 were doing the same. The street lights flicked off and power lines snapped. Mushroom citizens ran for cover under cars, trees, or deteriorating structures as a vision appeared in the sky of the same bell but much bigger and more transparent. The rang itself making a deep drone noise then holographic musical notes fell from it to the ground, landing like heavy objects. Everything around was pelted and Luigi and Boo were forced back in the alley.
"We gotta go! Come on!" Luigi tugged Booigi just for his hand to slip away as the boo stayed in place.
"Don't tell me what to do!" Booigi yelled back.
"Boo?! You're not making sense! Come back!" Luigi reached out for his friend to get shoved back to the ground.
"It's Booigi the Second! And I can do stuff now so again stop telling me what to do!" Boo swung at a power box and utterly destroyed it. Reduced to scrap metal, sparks flew in the sky while Boo laughed manically. They turned around but the plumber wasn't impressed, instead pure white, horrified, and slowly backing up before running away and leaving the little boo on the sidewalk alone.
Larry kept rocking to his MP3 player at max volume. The red shiny 'BATES by Dr. Greg' noise canceling headphones he'd stole from Roy couldn't even comfort him. Leaning against the wall, he wondered if he could just pull that fire alarm installed on the lower deck of the airship. That tactic had worked for school on occasion and then they all could just go home and life could be stable again. He was going for it when a rainbow haired koopaling popped up in his way.
"Larry. Stop being a jerk." Lemmy smiled and wagged a finger.
"What do you care? You're twenty-two so leave for the circus already like you've cock-teased forever."
"Language! I will eventually. Anyway we have to make this plan work, remember the disaster at Ludwig's eighteenth birthday? If you guys would just get onboard it would be fun!"
Larry snorted at his older brother. "Whatever. We're 'on board' whether we like it or not." He yanked the alarm anyway but the handle broke off and tacked on to his paw with some sort of sticky glue. "What the flip?!"
"I disabled it while you weren't looking!"
Larry tried to punch him and missed, striking the hard wall instead. He yelped and held his fist as rain began to patter on the upper decks and the ship swayed in the winds.
"These graphics are amazing!" Iggy bent all the way over the airship's railing wearing some virtual-reality goggles strapped to his face. They were already approaching the Mushroom Kingdom.
The doomship sunk farther into the clouds so that land rolled past below them. They spotted Goomba Village with it's little wooden homes, Koopa Village full of weaklings from their perspective, Flower Fields where Wendy begged to visit for a bouquet, the Mushroom Mall with no one really there, and finally Toad Town where the rain got heavier.
"Everyone, quiet. I'm listening to WMUSH." Ludwig tuned into the radio app with his eyes closed.
"~BZZRT. Kingdom wide alert! Princess Peach calls for emergency evacuation of Mushroom Kingdom Hospital for suspected conspiracy involving dozens sick from the Mushroom Flu-"
His eyes snapped open.
"-Citizens advised to stay indoors due to isolated earthquakes and storms! Stay tuned!~"
Ludwig crushed the 'radio' with his foot and punted if off the ship. But that wasn't a radio, that was his phone he was listening to. The ran over to the edge in time to see it become a falling speck. "Ahhhhh!"
"You got no friends anyway, heh. You'll git over it," Roy sneered.
Ludwig spun back towards his siblings. "First of all who says I desire mindless social contact?" He cleared his throat. "Secondly the word is out on our plans! Keep heading to the Peach Castle."
Kamek nodded, the one driving the airship at a steady cruising speed over town, obscured by foggy conditions.
"You do remember where she lives, uh right?" Iggy whispered to Kamek. "Cause you're heading the wrong way."
Kamek adjusted his glasses with a displaced look. "You mean we aren't in town to shop for wearable blankets?"
Ludwig spun the wheel around making the airship bank left very hard. Now they were on the path towards Royal Raceway and a moment later they stumbled upon Peach's antiquated castle except to everyone's astonishment floating in the sky on a dark opaque disk. A single light was on on an upper floor where Peach's bedroom was with a silhouette of someone in the closed curtains. Ludwig pulled the airship to the side.
"Scared to go? So what they put da old shack on stilts? I ain't impressed!" Roy cracked his knuckles loudly.
"Ooh! Ooh! I am ready, qualified, and eager to invade too!" Morton begged on his knees with a sudden bout of confidence he always got only when Roy showed off.
"Looks like I can test out my totally awesome mecha." Iggy bounced with excitement while beside him was a modified mechakoopa he controlled with the virtual reality headset strapped to his face.
Reluctantly Ludwig nodded. He test fired a cannon ball which bounced off the black disk, proving that it was tangible when the projectile bounced off with a thud. While still having an odd feeling about it he sent his two brothers and Iggy's toy forward. In they disappeared behind its doors.
Some amount of time later, Ludwig's day dreaming came to a halt when Lemmy tapped his shoulder. "What is it?"
Lemmy kept his eyes to the ground. "I kind of called King Dad again. Wait, before you get mad he's still in town and he's with Peach!"
Stunned, Ludwig craned back towards the princess's abode. "This who is in.."
The castle's doors were nearly knocked off the hinges by Roy charging out with a brown capped toad tucked under his arm like a foot ball. The mechakoopa was right behind him and Morton stumbling along. Frantically they hurled themselves over the rails and back aboard the airship nearly running over Larry.
"Hey, freaking watch it!" the teen exclaimed.
Roy panted heavily with his hands on his knees. Behind his shades his eyes were dilated and wide open, but to everyone else he just seemed like he'd came from a winning Koopaball game. The toad, Toadsworth dropped from his grasp and was too dazed to have a reaction. Morton flopped down like a dead cheep cheep on the ship's deck, right under the rigging, his sweat making him about as wet as a cheep cheep as well. Wendy rolled him on his back with her foot revealing second youngest's glazed over and slobbering look.
Ludwig went straight to Iggy. He was at edge of the guard rails giggling while crouched down. "You were recording live with that mechakoopa, correct?… Iggy!…" Ludwig began to feel a pit deep within. "Iggy are you with us?"
Iggy faced him stiltedly, like a machine in need of oil. "Hehhehehehehehehehe."
Ludwig ripped off Iggy's goggles but everything was normal.. By Iggy standards that was..
"Hiii Luddy, er.. what are we yelling about? Whoa!"
Ludwig grabbed and shook him. "What events did you witness in there?!" Lemmy, Larry, and Wendy crowded around to hear.
"Beautiful girls interested in me, limited edition figurines on sale, and and.. my therapist telling me I'm not crazy..."
Ludwig let him go, beaming despite the situation. "Change of plan. Larry, escort Roy, Morton, and Iggy and our hostage downstairs until they recover from their mania."
"Aww man! Wait… we can go home?" Larry asked optimistically.
"Absolutely not. Where was Vater, Lemmy?"
Lemmy gave a start at the sudden attention. "The Toadley Clinic. He was in the middle of a conference or something but-"
"Then we shall go. Kamek?" Ludwig woke the magikoopa out of the snoring he was doing. "Take us there!"
"You say Kammy's taking me on a hot date?!" Kamek babbled, snapping awake. "Sure, you brat!"
"Technology is ridiculous. Y'all are gonna tell me next that you can speak to someone across the planet in real time!" Bowser remarked as he tapped the blanked out computer monitor with a sharp claw, nearly ruining it and incurring an equally sharp bill.
The Skype call with several doctors in a Special World Hospital conference room got disconnected while a shady goomba called Dr. Goom went out to get someone called Dr. Toad. It turned out Bowser just stepped on the Ethernet cord at some point. It was plugged back and the connection resumed. Mario sat in a chair backwards while politely listening to the jargon and confabulation the remote doctors were doing. He tried to keep anxious thoughts down as his attention occasionally returned to the sick patients in the room still on the beds. The gloomy atmosphere was enhanced by the lights being dimmed to see the screen better.
Peach sat in a chair properly besides the plumber. "Daddy called me back. He sent an entire squadron there and they said it was successful except they didn't find Dr. Professor Koopa." She sighed. "I think daddy's sending them to another hospital down south near Mt. Rugged that I know isn't corrupt."
"-I knew never spring cleaning the office would pay off, so this is our proposal," Dr. Toad told the screen, gaining Mario and Peach's attention again. He was monotone speaking and very young adult looking toad with a red cap, not who they expected to be the president of such a place. "I have some old case files on the Mushroom Flu. Where are your patients now?"
"Are some here? Yes they are. Are some elsewhere? That too," Dr. Toadley answered inches away from the monitor.
"Excellent. Unfortunately Dr. Mario was the authority on Mushroom Flu and he's not with us anymore. Still, we'll give it all we got," Dr. Toad said with a shy but earnest smile. The transmission was cut again shortly after, not due to Bowser stepping on a cord again, but rather Dr. Toadley's satellite suffering attenuation. They heard a little thunder in the distance and then it all made sense. Really it was almost a miracle they'd stayed connected as long as they had.
"You heard that kid, Peach. We got this." Mario gently held her hand as she kept staring at the blank screen. "What's wrong?"
"..Oh!" She turned to him with a flush. "Just the toads from the castle were supposed to get here by now so I think I'll check outside."
"Don't worry too much now. They can take care of themselves," Mario replied more offhanded than he meant. He quickly apologized, flipping the chair the correct way so that he would lean back in it with his legs crossed. Dr. Toadley's minesweeper game, beeping computers, and Bowser getting attacked by Birdley was going on in the background. "But they are mostly adults and you do get a little tired of them, right?"
"I mean, they're not going to work in your castle forever. Best they learn the simple stuff." He found her suddenly missing from his side.
How dare Mario go there again, she thought. Her toads were not mere employees to her, well they were on paper and legally since the regime change that put her in office, but still. Peach was outside with her parasol where the rain shower beat down heavily and her toads were nowhere to be found at the bus stop. She noticed Emery still manning Bowser's Koopa copter after all this time and without shelter which dissipated the petty irritation bubbling. After all the princess couldn't let her suffer, baddie or not.
"Here you go." Peach tilted it over Emery's head. "Dear, you should come inside before you catch a cold."
"Well thanks," Emery almost chuckled, not sure how to react. "But I've been through worse."
"-Why did you join Bowser?" Peach knew she shouldn't pry but the question had already slipped and reassuringly Emery didn't seem offended.
"Because… It's not personal with you or anything. I just didn't see myself falling in line with the other toads for the rest of my life and it's kind of ironic because my mom Nass was from Dark Land and was always complaining about it and wanting to move to the Mushroom Kingdom. For me. That was when she cared. Never mind. I dunno how to explain it. I know I sound weird right now but I'm okay with that. Plus Bowser hired me on the spot."
Peach nodded, thankful for that bit of honesty even if it made her feel guilty for assuming there could be no valid reason to side with Bowser. In the end of the day though, people were people and it wasn't black and white like that. At least she hoped.. What was that part at the end about her mother caring? Peach was about to speak again-
"There you are!" Zoo randomly ran up to both women. "I've been all over the place looking for you!"
"And you are?" Peach stepped back.
Zoo leaned on the koopa copter, smiling oddly at the princess. "Just a guy. It don't matter anyway, chick. They're here. Also, you're hot this close. I've only seen you on posters before."
Everyone heard that familiar drone of a koopa airship approaching and fast. It's exact location wasn't obvious until it emerged from the low hanging clouds, but when it did the two hundred foot long vessel was impossible to miss swooping down with the anchor swinging their way. Bowser and Mario bolted out the doors to see the ship.
"Attention our lovely and dear princess!" Ludwig's voice rang from above through an intercom like system. "Us, the Koopa Troop take full responsibility for the tragedies of today, the sudden illness of your friends and mushroom citizens, AND the event affecting your castle right now!"
"You guys did that?!" Mario shouted.
"Yeah, you did?" Bowser added, scratching his head.
"Correct and here is the proof, we have your Toadsworth!" The sound of the old mushroom being shoved around before the mic was heard before Peach begged them to stop.
"What do you want?" she plead.
"We request for Mario to surrender and for you to kindly step onboard, princess. It's quite nice here with a space heater and certainly more dry than your current predicament! The weather will be even nicer in Dark Land!… Except on Tuesdays..."
"If you work for Bowser and I can tell you do, this is when we sneak on board," Zoo told Emery down low. Undetectable in the chaos they climbed up the chain from the anchor. Emery always kind of wanted to do this, just not in a storm and at the suggestion of a sleazy dark boo. A gentle hand from Wendy confusingly let her on. Z waited for his turn.
"Get your tail up here, garbage man!" Larry instead grabbed him and pulled him up rough, making him flop face first on the hard and splintery airship flooring.
"Never!" Mario replied to Ludwig back on the ground. "And you knew about this all day, Bowser?"
Bowser turned to him speechless. Was this what he wanted? The princess right besides him, trembling, vulnerable.. But- What was the 'but'? He didn't know.
"Bowser?" Mario repeated with an edge.
Bowser's gaze panned from Peach to the plumber and they held the look for a moment that felt much longer. "Plumber breath? There's something on your face….This!" Bowser punched Mario, knocking him all the way back through the Toadley Clinic's doors with a great crash. Peach screamed as he scooped her up in one quick motion and grabbed the chain, climbing up while the airship increased it's altitude.
"Mariooooooooo!" Peach called as loud as she could.
Mario untangled himself from the chairs he'd rolled into and shook off the sharp glass to dash out. He saw the anchor and chain rising, catching it barely with a triple jump. He vigorously climbed higher ignoring the minor bleeding from cuts all over, the straining of his muscles holding on, and the numerous times he slipped from rain. He could hear his princess's voice above and that pushed him harder than ever. He was almost over the edge of the airship when Ludwig's dark face appeared over with a scowl, hair flowing in the wind.
"No you do not, Mario. I have waited FIVE YEARS for this and I swear to Eldstar you will not impede on my mission! My destiny! Curses you!" He raised up his scepter but before using it a clap of thunder sent a bolt from the sky. With a spectacular and eye searing flash both koopaling and plumber were sent flying, Ludwig back into the rigging of the ship and Mario off completely to plunge below and fall a great distance.
It was over.
With Mario out, Bowser wins.
...To be continued!
Created: 6/3/19, 6/6, 6/8, 6/9, 6/10, 6/12, 6/14, 6/16
7/4, 7/7, 7/29, 7/30, 8/3, 8/4, 8/29, 8/30, 9/4