Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever (Redux)
Epilogue: 'The Friend'
Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo
The rocky terrain escalated its maze like tendencies so that even the star who inhabited the land lost his bearing in the chase. He darted where two rock structures formed a v shaped dead end. He spun around with a growl. "Stay back, blokes! I'm innocent!" The black star's face twisted in malice and the hairs of his goatee curled into a dangerous spiral. As the spotlight blared on him from the combined torches of Eldstar and a half dozen star warriors, the cracked volcanic soil rumbled from the rabid bouncing of the beast held back in the distance by another gaggle of the battlers. Obsidian pebbles steadily pour down the hills of the mountainous spot and then there was a crash as the unseen animal smashed completely through the rock wall. Dark Ztar coughed violently from the onslaught of dust. "Bloodly 'ell!"
"There is no point in pretending, Zach." Eldstar cleared his throat, prompting the star warrior to his left to clear the air with a palm branch. "The veil is lifted permanently." The great star remained taxed by the mad dash from Dark Ztar's castle and vexed by the time wasted. He purposed a proper courtly session to illuminate last few weeks he and the other Star Spirits were frozen in time, but someone sent the subpoena to the wrong address in the Dark Realm! So now.. Eldstar was somehow in the middle of harms way, his bad hip be darned.
"Hm? S'explain the charges, mate." Dark Ztar smirked.
Eldstar's left eye twitched, then he sighed. "You collaborated with another adversary of mine on Earth."
"She buggered about with me as well! I've nothing to do with 'er anymore!"
"And by my grace so. I know the maniacal schemes between you two would be longer than all of the scrolls the temple could hold! Eons ago Miss Doomella Belstar attempted mass extermination of the galaxy. As punishment she was transformed by me into an inanimate object and banished to Earth, kaput in the grasp of 99.9% of mortals. I sometimes made that mistake in earlier days," the great star admitted sheepishly to the star warriors accompanying him that were many millenniums younger. They remained as stoic as marble busts to the news, excellently trained. "As improbable the chance someone had innate abilities. 'special powers', to awaken its mystical properties leading to my opportunistic cousin (you) associating with Miss Doomella in Sarasaland. Now I presume your memory is jogged."
Dark Ztar shrugged and relaxed in a way that infuriated everyone. "You know I have a life, mate. Was just getting a bit ov ol' fresh air when I hear the lass making ruckus. She was knocked up two decades ago she said. Erm- I mean 'woken up' for you younger folk. I just had to get her free from the owner of bell and- blimey! I'd finally have a lass on the arm, unlike you! Smooth ain't I?"
"As you were when Muskular put you in a choke hold you couldn't escape?" Eldstar teased flatly.
"Shut up! I forgot an extra bit. Doomella was in the backyard of that brown haired princess. So I used her subjects excavate. Here's the doozy, she didn't tell me she had a bit ov business to take care of. She need to kill off everyone responsible for reviving her. Full of beans but arse over tit and rubbish at it. I heard some of 'em escaped her wrath like.. five whole times! Plus, she'd failed centuries before and the ancient bloke wrote a book about it. I was miffed. I left home to the Dark Realm and watched tv again, completely minding my business and most definitely not planning more mischief in the future so you can let this bloke go. I promise!"
Eldstar appeared to think intensely. "Well, since you promise-"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" the other stars blared, breaking their monk like character for the first time.
Eldstar grew a smile. "I was just checking if you all were awake back there!" He spun back to the dark star who was starting to shutter. "Now, Zach. I've dealt with your partner in crime, but I have a something else in mind for you. Like pets?"
Eldstar whistled and an earthquake began. Spires of rock fell in the wake of the approaching objects bouncing and prowling. Dark Ztar caught a glimpse of yellow, blue, and red, the color of the Underchomp, three monsters of fire and steel. He would know, they were natives of his own Realm and he was far away from the Piccolo flute at his house to calm them.
"How interesting," Eldstar thought over the manic screaming from his relative trying to climb up the rock walls while the chomps barked beneath. "If famished enough, the Underchomp while bite through solid rock. I should make note of that when ever I revise 'Ex spatio obiecti specialem Lexicon' again. I'll probably shed the gratuitous Latin as well."
..Life is this string, material tightly wound, taught, knotted periodically, and stretching as far away forever...
The apparitional image was visible all over Star Hill. The band had a bounce to it, a rhythm.
..The flexibility is on purpose. So be it anymore rigid the slightest shift of order and- disaster! Thus, there was a knot of Causality. A fail safe, reality can wrap over itself and continue onwards..
"Thanks. It makes sense. Eldstar must have hired you to invent Time for a reason."
"Ah, well thank you back," Millennium Star replied. "Now I will stick to my part of the deal. The greater ones are still busy so forgive that I'm your only method of executing this sort of thing. I've heard my travel is 'rough'."
The human chuckled. "At this point any more trouble for us will seem like child's play."
"Ho ho! Then if that fancies you, later check out a difficult new planet near the Comic Observatory. It's called "Doom Star Galaxy"."
After sixty-four intense volleys back and forth over the net, the green tennis ball was sliced unhindered beyond two left feet. It continued to roll on the puffy cloud floor of the Overthere while Mario stared blankly. He then held his face in defeat while his rival guffawed, no longer The Enemy but The Friend- albeit one you wanted to sucker punch pretty often. He'd keep it civil though for now. Their acre of heavenly land was mildly congested. Anyone losing their lives directly at the 'hand' or lightning bolt of the dark star ended up in the Overthere and the alternate timeline on Earth that might have rewritten their deaths was ineffective. They were completely incongruent with native angel like citizens, but diversity was always good!
"My score is still twenty more than yours, koopa." Mario pulled the white robe back up onto his shoulder, glancing towards their score keeper for verification. The young koopa troopa with distinctive tan lines from constantly wearing armor stood quickly.
"Mario, erm, sir. I ran out of room but I'll fix it." Tanner as he was, viciously scrubbed the black board covered with chalky scoring streaks. With that Mario called it off. It was dinner time anyway.
"You quit? Grrrrr! Fight me!" The Koopa King stomped into the dampening clouds, ruffling up his sweaty toga.
"-We've been going at it for a day straight, aren't you tired?" Mario argued. "The tennis game I mean," he clarified with a flush. "Besides, no sequels. That's your own quote."
Bowser sizzled out with a deep breath. "Hey you're right plumber. We only have… forever! Ha!" They split apart for a bit but then-
"I bethought it wast a most wondrous game while it did last, big bro!"
Mario felt his heart stop and the racket slipped from his fingers as Luigi was the first to rush towards him across the clouds. Just as he remembered, tall and weathered but with a with kindness and youth in his eyes, and super prepared for a trip with a bulky backpack strapped to him like a heavy shell.
The younger brother dropped the bag embraced him warmly, ruffling Mario's fluffy styled hair at the same time. "What's up?"
Mario remained speechless when Peach wrapped around him as well with tears streaming down her face. She had on her best pink dress. "Mario dear, why did I ever pack on heels- but oh who cares? How are you?"
"Over the moon cause I didn't think I'd see any of you again!" Mario gently pulled away to speak. "I mean anytime soon, since the warp pipe system is incomplete. I thought I was going to have to wait until I patched it all up for you guys to visit. How'd you do it?"
"With a loooong cloud staircase, old friend." Yoshi had just caught up with a wide, the widest even, smile fighting against the visible exhaustion.
"To put it in perspective, we started after a big breakfast!" Luigi added. "I was prepared though." He unzipped the bag and a hoard of empty water bottles clashed together and spilled out. "Bro, this is awesome. The fact that.. you're still with us and-" He patted a tear away. "I'm just happy is all," he sniffed. "I love you."
"Me too!" Yoshi couldn't help but to wrap his arms around an ex-plumber.
"Oh yes-" Peach giggled, surprisingly holding herself together more than the men. "You know it's true for all of us. I suppose I can wait for my turn to smother Mario. The stars know I did that enough when be was alive!"
Everyone laughed heartily for a moment.
"What did i miss?"
"They survived the quantum mechanics of a deranged koopaling's death machine," Yoshi explained, pulling away from Mario. "I guess me too except I'm one of the unfortunate ones who's memory has some holes in it. No matter. They can explain that long story."
Luigi and Peach shared a knowing uncomfortable glance. Luigi spoke first. "Yoshi since you run fast, can you find Mario a drink? My bro is sweating over here."
"Oh yeah he is." Yoshi sniffed Mario's sweat on himself. "I'll find him something real quick. Eww!" Yoshi began walking away from the trio and then smiled. He actually quite enjoyed the scent.
Luigi turned back to his brother seriously. "Mario, Peach and I eventually touched that jewel. We know what it does it you and what it makes you see...You saw this coming didn't you?"
Mario's smile waned.
"And you determined dear Mario, that if Bowser was not going to live you did not wish to either," Peach continued.
Mario eyes shot to his sandled feet. "I-"
"But you also knew that you loved and trusted everyone around you and that we'd have everything we needed to go on without you because you had trained us that way over the years with your leadership," Luigi added.
Mario's gaze snapped back upwards at them.
"And carefully, thoughtfully, you knew we would be safe anyway with Bowser here occupied with you and his decedents free thinkers with their own motivations that do not evolve tyranny. -At least to my kingdom."
"Yeah.." Mario replied after a while. "That's the long and short of it." A soda, his favorite Moral Moxie materialized in his hand, courtesy of Yoshi.
"Well?" the dino asked. "Are you okay?"
It sprung to mind what Mario needed to do. He pocked the drink ans opened his arms wide. "Everyone, group hug. Come on. Somethings are going to be different now but others don't need to be. It's kind of advanced but you can have me around anytime you need, just go to Star Hill.." His lip began to quiver. "I'm sorry about every thing it took to get it his point. I love all of you."
Peach was still holding on to him intensely, long after the men let go. Finally she let Mario breathe again, sheepishly. "What? I promise to be patient for my turn."
This caused another roar of laughter.
Even after all of this, Bowser witnessing those two hug up made him feel some kind of way. There was zero reason to since well, he got to spend all day with him and not her. At least he had literally forever to work on that flaw. He was already making progress on his temper, though Mario didn't mind that one much-
"Daddy!" Junior screamed, running for his poppa. Some visitors specially for him were now on his side of the tennis court. Contrasting Luigi's group, they were comfortable as they'd taken an Airship up the portal, yet taken just as long to arrive due to letting Kamek drive and not Kammy.
"Son!" Bowser was knocked onto his back. A part of him assumed his own kind would be unwilling to see him.
Larry shooed Junior aside so he could stare down his dad face to face. The fifteen year old had a 'tell off' speech memorized, but in that moment heavy feelings floated away like the clouds hills they stood in. It was hard to hate the dead.
"I'm proud of you son no matter what," Bowser said before the he could start. "Spill it."
"Dad, I'm- I'm gonna grow up and go abroad and play for the world and do what I want and not be a general or whatever," Larry mumbled sadly. "That's.. most of what I was gonna tell ya."
"Then live your life." Bowser got up and scanned the concerned faces of Junior, Larry, Ludwig, Lemmy, Roy, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Kamek and Kammy. Whether it was from him being in their presence again or seeing him in a toga and with a wreath around his horns, he flashed a grin. "All of ya. I played dumb and I knew most of you all wanted to do somethin' else. Junior open that pet shop and drive your tank with lasers. Ludwig, travel with that loud band I can't stand and build that castle in Austria. Wherever the heck that is. Lemmy go and join that circus that's been trying to requite ya for years. Roy, it's okay to be a general and a Koopaball player too. I don't even care about the weekend parties ya want. Iggy, you have so much crap you've invented you deserve to be the next Bullet Bill Gates. Make bank already. Wendy, you should study what ya want. You can even be like president or somethin'. Throw whatever Kingly Law that states otherwise in the dump. Morton, go ahead and write your twelfth book. I was keeping up. Kammy, you hoarding as seen on TV stuff IS useful. Oh and the coupons you clip do add up, keep doing it. Last, Kamek. Old man, you did your best with a brat lIke me. What what else?"
"Yes, Lord Bowser?" The old magikoopa adjusted his glasses.
Bowser held up the a small perfume bottle with a pale liquid inside, Iggy's prototype 'womanizing spray'. "This passed over to the other side with me so thanks and that was a good tip back in Desert Land. The nimbi chicks love it. Plumber breath even says it smells great, better than that old cologne I threw on that he liked."
He family gawked at him anew. Bowser turned bleached white. He quickly launched the bottle to his fourth oldest son. "-Uh what I meant to say was go get rich off it it already," he recovered. The family sighed in relief.
"Vater, we accept," Ludwig started softly, one eyebrow raised. "But you adored the Koopa Troop. Would you truthfully be at peace if we choose to stray from such?"
Bowser's forearm swept across his face to knock away the last of the sweat from the game, and that flash of vulnerability with it. "Wait, I got a final order as your old King and Father. All I want now is for all of you to be happy, whether it's following the KT way or not. All of the head butting in the past was my problem, not yours. I don't want you to end up how I did. Got it? And send a post card too." He faced Ludwig in particular.
"Yes Vater, but-" Ludwig paused. "Respectfully I request you address that order to the King."
Bowser's mouth hung for a second as Lemmy stepped forward and sat the crown he'd bashfully held in his paws until then atop his rainbow hair.
"I'm uh, yeah." Lemmy sniffed. "The King. I guess?"
"Don't guess, son. Ha! Flaunt it!" Bowser exclaimed more happily than he thought he'd ever. Of all of the eight! King Lemmy. Actually he could see it. The Koopa Troop's downfall wasn't lack of power, or fear, or influence. (Again Bowser's new thinking skills coming in. Fifty or so years late..) It was lack of perspective and sensitivity of the changing world around them. Who was better? Junior might have looked the part most and loved destruction, and Ludwig the most superior brain and strongedt fanaticism for the cause, and he was sure any of the others would pull their weight if need be but Lemmy.. He had lightning fast outside thinking and modesty.. and proposals.
But don't ever mix the last two again!
Tanner sucked up a ton of air and blew the white dust from the board which had gradually migrated to him. Clean, he dropped the eraser, satisfied in the way hard work always did to him. Too bad military time didn't count in the Overthere and it'd been longer than he imagined. The tennis court was abandoned featuring no Mario or Bowser, none of the other dark star victims from the Troop he'd had distant comradery with while living, and not even the cordial yet uptight nimbi. Solitude he was used to, typically standing guard for some door or gate or bridge or the last slice of pizza in most desperate times.
Oh well. Work was never really wasted, even if the benefit would be for another day. That was his own motto and not one from boot camp. There was a Turkish bath near which he'd never heard of before, but it was a thing to do and everyone always spoke about it in a hush so-
"Don't bro. You'll see something and get scarred for your everlasting life!" an unmistakably low dryish voice called.
Before Tanner was halfway down the cloud hills, he whipped around and choked up at the sight of two people.
"Stop crying." Zoo punched him in his stomach with his left arm as his right was slightly amputated. Tanner brushed it off, hardly feeling it. The sight of the dark boo with thick rimmed glasses tickled him.
"You have glasses, dude!" Tanner exclaimed as someone else, a toad girl hugged him tightly. "And- oh my God. A girl just touched me! Gee whiz!"
Emery batted her lashes. "You know i love a guy who would take a lightning strike for me."
"I did that?"
Emery laughed a little forcefully. "Uh, no. But I'd like to think you would have.."
"Nah, bro," Zoo snorted.
Emery huffed at the dark boo. "Enough, stubby. T, I'm so happy you're not gone forever!" She went back to hugging Tanner and the more she did the more Zoo's face knotted up.
He snapped and growled, while also blushing, "You greedy toad broad! Let me touch em, already. I've known him longer than you, bro. I know his family, favorite movies, games, food-"
Emery made a face at him. "Jealous much?"
"Guys guys..'" Tanner plead, bright red, redder than his horrible tan lines. "You don't have to fight! Let's all hang out and sneak into somewhere we shouldn't. Like we would have if.. we had the chance. Alright?"
"Alright!" they joyously replied in union.
"Bowser. I even missed you- Oh come here!"
The final reunion, Peach crossed over to give the unsuspecting koopa an hug. There was nary a hint of disgust and she reached her delicate fingers around Bowser's toga, pulling her ex-kidnapper close. Rifts between her Mario and Bowser were gone and the trio would never bicker again. Almost. It was more than a mere truce between past rivals. Everyone had a reason to be a little sad but conversely everyone had a reason to be truly happy. Thus bestowed with a new feeling of peace and contentment, it felt worth it.
Author note: See the supplementary materials on my website (see profile) so get some more information on what would have happened there.
Created: 2/11/20, 3/1/20, 3/3, 3/4, 3/20, 3/21, 3/22