Personal Collections Mario and Bowser FF2

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

A Modest Proposal (Chapter 16)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author note (2022): Edited to tie it all in and reflect some initial ideas about the event sequence

Yellow orbs hovered in the sky. Luigi rubbed his eyes and yawned- there were street lamps strolling by. The cozy interior and smooth ride of the station wagon finally lulled him somewhat, how he found a miracle after all the events following Daisy's chat with the 'general'. Everyone managed to track down Mario. The older brother paced in the town square over and over, white smoke pillowing all the while from the small fire at the rental homes and ranchers with buckets of water frantically racing there. Yoshi had to shake him a million times to get words out of him. Then Mario blurted out some seemingly random orders for everyone to immediately take. All Luigi could do was follow his and hope that extra Herb Tea he'd forced his brother to drink would have him more like himself when he returned. After all, in the morning they


to rescue Peach!

"Hey Stan, don't miss our driveway in the dark. The porch light got blown out by a Bowser goon two weeks ago."

"Hmm." The toad pulled onto the curb in front of the Mario Bros home.

Luigi exited. "You're welcome to come in," he yelled back. At least to get out the cold. He had asked him at the last minute to take him here. Luigi then heard the car cut off as he went inside. Immediately he tripped over a weight set left by Mario in the dark, stumbled over a table that still had old pizza boxes on it, bumped the dresser full of videogames, and backed into the light switch. It cut on. He let out a deep breath as his gaze fell upon a picture frame on the TV stand. The tattered photo was from one of their first Mario Parties, whichever one had the giant birthday cake with a piranha plant infestation. All the friends were there, him, his brother, Toad, Yoshi, even some bad guys like Bowser. His smile waned. It just wasn't fair to have old happy memories soured by the recent stuff. In a rare moment between them, the princess expressed a similar sentiment, unwilling however to fully elaborate. Peach insisted the 'stars always guided and assisted' with such feelings. Maybe it worked for her but he was on the fence about that.. The floorboards squeaked as the toad stepped in. He shed the mopey exterior just in time.

"This way Stan."

"Do you think my methods are uncharacteristic of a hero?"

Luigi was a little taken back but kept leading him through the house and through to the back yard. "No! Why?" He frowned a little more. "What did you do wrong? Aside from.. you know."

The Captain gently shut the back door behind him. "That is only the start of it, Luigi. What are we doing again?"

"Checking this short cut I guess." Luigi approached pipe #3.

He stood next to him. "Ah, yes of course. But as I was saying, I was under the assumption that justice was justice and I know that I am on the right side, so what does the execution matter? However when I 'interrogated' that Koopaling he seemed appalled at my behavior..."

Luigi exampled the rusty lever. They hadn't used this one in a while, mostly because they hated water levels and would not touch World 3 usually. "Ludwig sounds overly righteous for a



"Don't be that dismissive! There is some warrant to such a conversation. When I am traveling with Brigade we are always meeting new types of peoples. I would be a rotting mushroom if I denied that we get away with some of our escapades simply because we are toads."

Luigi looked up at him and back down, chuckling. "Stan, I'm one of only a dozen humans in this entire world that I know of. I'm not one to discuss this topic with you. Just get down here and help me."

With their combined effort the lever screeched and reluctantly swung to the left, opening the valve. Right after there was an intense rumble in the ground. On reflex Luigi closed the latch over the opening and weighted it down with his body. While just enough to keep the water from erupting like a geyser, it continually flowed into the yard from open rivet holes.

"Switch with me, Luigi!"

The plumber sprung off just as the toad dove on top of the hatch, swapping places with him. Luigi told him to wait only a sec. He scrambled back inside to the basement. He needed the plunger, a snorkel, a water proof flashlight, and finally the wrench. He was returning his pocket buzzed rapidly:

'Where is my map? -Mario'

'Where is the backpack? -Mario'

'Nvm. Don't tell anyone I asked 'CB'. It's nothing. Don't worry about it. -Mario'

Luigi froze, reading the messages his fingers trembled. He breathed heavily. While his brother sent him off he obviously didn't know he was borrowing Buckenberry's phone. Luigi was paranoid about emergencies and didn't want to be without one. Why was Mario attempting to ask his number one fanboy all that? Where was he going? Luigi growled audibly. He dropped his bundle of plumbing the equipment at Captain Toad's water logged boots. "I don't know what's Mario thinking about but I have to track him down. Think you can fix this yourself?" he begged. "Just tighten the bolt here and here."

Captain Toad nodded. "Take my keys, Luigi."

"No, we have bike I can take. But thanks for the offer, Stan. Ugh!"

Luigi walked the obnoxiously loud Mach Bike from their garage onto the street, wishing he still had Dr. Richard Sr.'s finely preserved war bike instead of that junk. He cranked it up roughly and tore down the Toad Town streets until they transitioned into South Toad Town streets and finally dirt Southern Mushroom Kingdom trails. Instinctively he had the feeling he should follow the roads leading out of the Southern Mushroom Kingdom. He coasted down the narrow dirt trail under the moonlight. It began to incline, the path running into some of the Mt. Rugged area. Everything illuminated by the headlamp was just rusty red- and then blue.

"What's up, bro?" Luigi cut his brother off sharply with the bike, then revealed the text messages.

His older speechlessly stared with dull eyes.

Luigi killed the engine and stepped off, letting the bike clank onto the rocky soil. "Found all your supplies? What about the snacks? Can't go on an adventure without it!...Where the heck are you going alone?"

Mario gradually came out of his daze, blinking over and over. "I MUST be at Desert Land by sunrise."

"M-Mario, please slow down," Luigi plead, anger fizzled and instead beginning to freak out over his alien tone. "We can travel in the morning when we're rested and-"

Mario revealed a shoe box with s glowing pink light source inside. "I-I- Luigi I.. look... we can't slow... the others...the Dark Star is getting... it's gonna return... it's gonna take away... it will take a-away..."

"Take away what? Peach? Well of course duh we all worry about her...R-right?" Luigi's featured darkened over the errant thought that came to mind. The nagging thing in the back of his mind since the conception of this adventure bubbling up relentlessly. "Or is it...


?" he hissed. He snatched his brother's arm. "Yeah, that makes sense after all we've learned. Y-you tried to send me and the others away to sneak off? We knew Peach might be in trouble but only when we learn that Bowser is that you go crazy. You. Are. Obsessed. Whatever you're trying to do now has something to do with you and Bowser doesn't it?"

Tucking the box under his arm and hanging his head, Mario emitted the smallest sound. "Mmhmm."

Luigi stepped a few steps away slowly and then screamed fiercely out into the open. His anguished voice bounced off the rocky mountain walls.

Their life was supposed to center around the princess, the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom and the one they'd pledged to always protect. But no, and he'd known deep down since the time they arrived in the Mushroom Kingdom and had their first romp against their Darklandian enemies. Since the time Mario privately requested for Peach to not teasingly kiss him in public, exacerbating rumors from citizens that adored the romantic suggestion. Since the time Mario admitted he wanted deeper connection with someone and it not be based off gratitude that he was their hero, but couldn't articulate who exactly that might be..

"It's because I put my paws on that thing in the box. Words can't describe it. I don't know what to, wait, I cannot do anything now except

what I must

. Am I speaking in riddles? It did that to me too," Mario said, now lucid. He scratched head and rolled his shoulders, standing upright again as if losing track of the last few moments.

Luigi spun back to him, tearing up. "..W-which is?"



," he whispered. "But, wait, I can 'beat' the system I think," he added enigmatically. Some of the gleam returned to his eyes. "I think..

if I take you with me

... we can make this okay. Yes...that's it. Brother...please do this..."

"M-Mario.." he sobbed bitterly.

Mario took both arms of his. "Luigi.. if you love me...It will be okay,


will make it okay..."


The shiny and hand painted die cast models hanging from Jr. Troopa's office ceiling hung over a koopaling's head. Of special interest was the Koopa Doomship, Sky Pop, Koopa Clown Car, and Odyssey peacefully suspended in close proximity that would never occur with the real versions. There were also myriads of marshal arts awards hung around the work space, oh and a mecha! Last, was the writing desk with his journals and a bulky old computer. With that, Ludwig had scanned the entire room. He glanced back at the locked door. "Curses!" he exclaimed for the tenth time. No need for spirits to sink, he stood no chance in the earlier altercation anyway, not with that blue toad obeying any and every word from that plumber. It began with that 'special object'. It was no dark star but it still held an unknown influence, tapped into by an unauthorized user. Mario. The Lexicon glaringly omitted what those effects could be, explaining somewhat why held that Doom Reverb and kickstarted this nightmare. Actually no, that was just him being selfish and careless. He dropped Secretary Vick's hand written, impressively, manual to the Mecha-Yoshi back into the magazine rack and lifted himself from the La-Z-Boy as carefully. Avoiding movements gave him debilitating pain was like traversing a minefield.

"Mecha-Yoshi, please activate," he commanded the robotic assistant in the corner. A Mecha-Yoshi with sharp teeth and dim red glowing eyes did nothing.

Ludwig thought for a moment. "Ah hem. Mecha-Yoshi, giddy up partner!" With the click the robotic dinosaur's gears churned. Its wheels extended, claws unsheathed, and red eyes gleamed brightly. "Now slice 'n dice that sucker!" he drawled, cheekily keeping in character.

Shhhh! With a shrill zap, the mecha's lasers scorched an opening in the wooden door. Fanning the smoke, Ludwig inched his way out, thick cowhide wrapped around his body and a brown ten gallon enveloping his head. He stomped out a few embers to discourage another fire. Via a walkie talkie procured from Junior's room, someone tried to arson the Southern rental condos, specifically the one Mario was staying in. That logically meant a curtain backstabbing plumber wouldn't be there anymore. The office was very close to the Southern Hospital, a skip and a hop away as they'd say, and many were to and fro on the streets, purportedly relatives of those cured this night of Mushroom Flu. It would sure be unfortunate to get recognized as the one who infected them!

He slipped into to the high grass behind the office. Cicada like insects screeched without let up from the foliage, surrounding him like an invading army. On the other side was another quieter row of buildings. Outside a westering shack labeled 'The pot', he spotted Toad standing there tapping his foot. There was a huge backpack on him, recognized as Mario's signature travel pack.

Ludwig devised his strategy instantly. Problem was, he was going to feel icky over it... He got his phone and tapped away, flushing at his ineptitude with an on screen keyboard. Regardless he got it done and hit 'send'.

A few seconds later, Toad with a distressed look began walking down the sidewalk without taking off the backpack. Ludwig let out a long sigh louder than meaning to, because Toad turned his head and locked eyes with him. The koopaling tensed then, knowing he was unable to run.

"Homeboy!" Toad darted across to him. "What was that about? I know that's you. You pretended to be Larry Koopa pretending to be Mario pretending to want me to drop backpack on the ground via Facebook messager!"

Ludwig checked his screen again with a shrug. He was given the impression this sort of thing was anonymous by the tales Roy told with his 'dms'. Apparently not. As for using Larry's account, that's what everyone in the family did, the only of them not flagged and deactivated by trolls. "Toad, believe me as difficult it may be for you. Mario has abandoned us I am afraid and that bag, yes I'm grasping here, might hold a clue."

"Ha ha, no way! Mario's just right in there!" Toad chuckled.

"With the lights off?"

Toad ran back to the outhouse and kicked open the door. It was empty. He hesitantly dropped the pack to the ground. It was full of gear for an adventure, some powerups, a map, and snacks. "Mario told me he was gonna be stuck in there for a while. Like he got sick or somethin' and it was pretty believable. So I was waiting which is awkward but the castle only has three bathrooms so I'm used to it. And then I thought it'd be nice to grab his bag and air the smoke out of it. Didya hear-"

"Yes yes, the fire, please continue!"

"-I did get a weird feeling seeing what he'd packed.." Toad dug his shoe into the ground, nervously. "But then I 'd be a snooper so I patiently waited. I dunno, I was going with the flow, feeling a little sick still from the cure but fighting it. I figured, Weegee or Yosh woulda done somethin' if strange was going on?"

Ludwig shook his head. "Never assume your brethren will do what should be done in your place." As a Koopa Kollege survivor where they killed each other, literately, for the best education, this koopaling knew of the bystander effect well. "But to carry on, we should both be aware of Mario Mario's likely course of action. The jewel he touched has communicated some instruction, not to his brain, but his


. For personal experience he will not be able to wage war against it. You cannot prevail. It becomes an axion such as, well, the fact that Mario wears red, or... we kidnap princesses."

"R-really? T-that's how it w-works?"

"I've explained this before, Toad! Don't get too excited."

"No homeboy," The castle advisor rubbed his arms together. "Chills. Let's tell Yosh. He's in town and could sniff Mario out. Weegee got sent all the way home though and we can't call him."

Ludwig slapped his face. "Let us bustle then! If Mario Mario continues to trot along with that unauthorized special object, it may transfigure. What is more it is connected to the princess who is in the clutches of my father, whom we have not had status of since Water Land, and is also being stalked by an different special object. I shudder to fathom the possibilities if they meet!"

Toad gulped as he lead Ludwig to where Yoshi was last seen. All the while someone invisible watched on, too frightened to announce their presence but even more so to resist following them.


A block over at the Southern Hospital major cleanup occurred, staff weaving around those picking up their sick relatives. Thankfully most side effects from the cure was mild, but those coming out of their Mushroom Flu comas still had elevated heart rates at learning that the Kingdom was under Bowser attack and Peach was missing. Jr. Troopa and his staff attempted placate them. It would be fine because Mario was going to rescue her next morning. Some grateful Mushroomites wanted to thank the hero, but Junior had to come up with some sort of excuse. He was surely too busy and tired. That sent another wave of panic on them.

"Junior, you done stirred em up now!" a patooie plant hollered from behind the 'desk', actually three Chuckola Cola barrels lined up.

Jr. Troopa pulled him into his face by the handkerchief around his neck. "Vick, you try wranglin' with patients souped on cough syrup n, well warm soup!"

"Darn tootin.."

Junior eyed the crowds moving about again with a grimace. "Worse yet partner, I can't get over them vandals tryin' ta burn down the specific condo we rented to Mario. Maybe that's why he's gone. I declare that suspicious!"

"Like that beeping light on yer butt?"

Junior dug into his back pocket where there was a beeper. "Just my office security going off. Prolly false alarm as usual, those dern alley cats.." He noticed someone authoritative walking from the left wing and into the saloon dress in a pressed all black suit, among the sea of others. "Ca ya back us up, officer fella?"

The man in black twisted their way slightly with a sour exhausted look. His steps slowed enough for someone to slightly overtake him. A little yoshi girl, still in a gown and with a medical wrist band was holding his hand. Besides her was a short noki in similar wear as the man in black, face hidden behind dark sun glasses, even at night! Jr. Troopa then felt he was intruding on that poor family and pretended he didn't say anything.

Soon the Super Spy HQ agents were out of that mad house, stealthily vanishing into the night and to where their vehicle was hidden off from civilians. "What was Charles calling about, mon ami?" asked Jelectro on the way.

Agent N shared a careful glance a his roommate as they went off road completely, behind the buildings and shacks. "Spy Guy paranoid about the 'energy levels' he detected in town. Thinks we should cancel our squads trip to this year's Star Festival."

"Ooooh!" went Ashley, N's niece, walking in between them.

Jelectro smiled warmly to her then somewhat teasingly to N. "That one that is only supposed to occur every 100 yrs, mon ami?

The yoshi agent gave him a sly glance in return. "Nothing in Toad Town makes sense and," he lowered his voice. "Charles will be Charles..Psst! We weren't identified back there. You can cut it out."

Something rattled in the bush they were just walking past, a shy guy camouflaged in black and green, leaves and brush glued to his tactical outfit. "Ah hem.." He followed, grumbling as he dragged his gear and avoided the noki in general.

"-But we should consider skipping it," N picked back up in a whisper. "Any cadet that takes on this Bowser shuffle case comes up empty and that's unlike us. Agent 999 was caught and released at Camp Bowser. Agent M seemed confident but he's not updated status since reporting at Poshley Heights this morning. I think Agent Toad had some idea but half the time I think that kid just wants chances to drive our company cars and boats and planes. Even you weren't successful, Bond."

"Ah. But I did not take on this Bowser case!" Jelectro turned to N's niece. "I cut my vacation short because of this one, oui l'amour? He face flattened and he exhaled deeply at what was ahead.

"How very sweet, dude. Knew you had a heart."

Agent N and Spy Guy gasped, Ashley standing in confusion. In the hidden clearing where they kept the car, there was a toad in a wheelchair with a Sarasaland Princess besides him. The toad wore winkled office clothes and Daisy had a thick throw wrapped around her.

Agent N automatically stepped up, shielding the others and particularly his niece. "You! How did you sneak past the proximity-"

"Don't worry 'bout it Jeremy. Charles, put that dart gun away too. We're unarmed. Now hear her out."

"What he said," added Daisy, feeling then uneasy about this plan or what he'd walked into just now. She was dizzily running around town after the fire and found a Snifit Patrol station. By then the fire had be extinguished and she didn't know where anyone was anymore. Walking back alone and freezing she stumbled across that toad journalist. 'Follow me. I know what you're thinking' he told her in a way that might have seemed like a pickup line but there was something in his tone that drew her closer. He said he knew some people that could fly her home before the morning sun rose. Now she couldn't resist that.

"Can't you umm, take me home? Like, there's kinda an emergency at my castle, like a hostile takeover thing and I just heard you have rockets and that can blast off at 160,495 mph and umm," Daisy rambled.

Agent N and Spy Guy exploded, "That's classified!" among other things while Daisy stared at them, regretting this.

Mitch was suddenly yanking around to the other side of the car. The back of his wheelchair slammed against the trunk of which he made no reaction to.

"You will harass me no more!" Jelectro said.

"Hide the car better next time."

Jelectro huffed with some restraint. "Mr. Mitch, I am a trained agent. I can and will hurt you."

"The half of me I still have feeling in you mean. Haha. Nice family you got there."

"Mon ami!" the noki groaned, more exasperated than enraged. "You behave like this at a time like now? So much indignation covered up by a mountain of smarm."

"Do ya want me to look as bad as I feel?"

The noki crossed his arms. "

Tu es triste.

You are a proud grade-a bastard, and I do not use that phase lightly. "

"...Yes. I am." The green toad cleared his throat. "That's the real reason I lead Princess Daisy here, dude. To speak to ya. First of all I'm sorry."

Noki glanced over to the others still arguing and back. "..What?"

"Really. I realize now how big this problem is now and how stressed you must of been with all this going on. I got carried away on this case. It's just that when I met ya for the first time I was like 'oh' and I don't mean like, 'you're gorgeous', I mean you are, but- I mean here's someone else with a rare power but he doesn't use it?"

"Yes?" the noki questioned, getting irritated again. "And at the press I saw your research on others like us. People have many natural talents, maybe they are less fantastical, but regardless no one is obligated to put on a circus act, mon ami. This has been the root of our consistent scuffling, has it not? How ironic you cannot see outside yourself! It does not seem you like to actually


to people so you prefer to read their thoughts? Eh? -Even though we both know that when we engage in such voyeurism we are only picking up flat emotionless words and phrases from their brain, not even in their voice! A fringe of what they may actually feel or experience, but that's good enough for Mr. Mitch!"

The toad's fist slammed against his arm rest. "Maybe I don't talk to people because

I don't like people."

He fizzled somewhat. "Or at least not most. Why do you talk like that? Why do you really hate us?"

Jelectro paused then leaned into his ear. "Remember many years ago 'Hot Foot' and his wife 'Pokey' causing those 'psychic induced suicides' at a tropical wood foundry as the papers reported?"


"I was adopted by non-nokis, far from Noki Bay. The only Isle Delfino species in a concrete jungle. I was different. I was a freak, especially when I learned I could...

All because the perpetrators were my parents."

He leaned away again, words becoming a sneer. "So imagine being me. Unable to look into the mirror without seeing them all over again."

Mitch's black beady eyes sparkled. "Jelectro, I'm not messing with ya now when I say you ARE a gentleman. You never must of read me dude, the entire time. I knew your past and I get it. I remember like yesterday. That incident was my first report back in sixth grade. It was supposed to be about super powers being hereditary but it was actually the first time in my miserable life I knew that there were people like me. I got laughed out of a classroom but it didn't matter. I became a different 'Mitch'. I was a bookish weirdo but by reading enough, by honing my skills enough, by researching others enough. I learned how to 'work' some of those I used to envy or despise," he said cryptically. "So that's what endeared you to me, seeing where you were now... I wouldn't be here without you."

"Oh.." the noki murmur diffidently.

"So we were both dealt a rough card but I guess our coping methods differed. Your 'try to assimilate as normal and help people' tactic sure sounded a lot better than my 'rise to the top by stealing other's secrets and profiting'. I should have went with that. So yes I'm a jerk, but you're a good guy after and I'm sorry I ruined that last few days for ya."

"I still think you are crazy."

Mitch burst out laughing.

"-So it is settled then, princess," Agent N announced, his niece contently perched his shoulders. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood now when Jelectro quickly checked on them.

"N, that makes total sense," Spy Guy agreed.

"What does, mon ami?"

"You missed the entire thing," Daisy said, casually leaning even on the side door. "They're gonna take me home with your top secret technology or whatever but only with Mario's approval."

"Good. Dismiss this heckler." Jelectro nudged his head towards Mitch forlorn at the back.

He wheeled himself around. "I'll go on my own but, heckler says, Mario is missing."


A large jagged lump of sand marred the smooth shore where the waves of Water Land rolled onto the yellow sands of Desert Land. The tail end of the mound wiggled, revealing long clawed toes. The opposite end agitated until something resembling a head lifted up. A wave washed away mud to reveal a large confused koopa. On his knees Bowser coughed violently as tide reached his chin. He stood and took a few wobbly steps forward, reaching dryer grittier sand and where grass and trees grew. He smacked into a one which pelted him with coconuts. Fleeing the trees Bowser entered a natural cave carved in the mountains that cut off the beach from the rest of the land. In pure blackness his foot splashed in a stream of water, then he heard screeching from blood sucking swoopers around the corner. He blindly rushed through, banging against the stalactites until he emerged from the mountains to the dunes of Desert Land.

Bowser collapsed flat on the ground.



...OOO, and on his voice echoed.

"Boss!" Sentry 11 materialized near him. "We were scouting for you, difficult 'cause the good mooks quit and no one listens to me.. actually about everyone quit if they managed to wash up. Want a report?" he ventured bluntly.

Bowser glared at the sentry so bleakly the lakitu gulped. Regardless Sentry 11 tallied it up as if he couldn't help it.

"Well it's about twenty Koopa Troop boss, including your family."

Faint steam rose from Bowser's forehead. If the stars were actually trying to prevent his union with the princess, they'd have to try harder. A strip of sandstone formed a path that traveled between two obelisks with hieroglyph inscriptions. Flaming torches lit the perimeter of a large golden pyramid with an open passageway. It was from there that Bowser's children emerged from to surround him, drenched wet and chattering.

Moments earlier:

"Alright. You're ex-communicated alright, but, but please-"

Bowser Junior clung around Bowser's neck. "Daddddy!" the six year old sobbed.

"I calculated King Dad would wash up around this shore, so now we're just missing unnamed koopa numbers 45 through 500," Iggy spoke up. "..Has anyone seen Kamek and Kammy?"

Bowser scrambled to his feet, resulting in his youngest son swinging around. "THEY'RE MISSING? WHAT?! WHY ARE WE JUST STANDING AROUND THEN?"

Lemmy rose his hand. He'd begged and begged for his siblings to forget everything that happened on Bowser Island because he'd explain it all if he was given a little more time. Of course, there was no forgetting at this point or ever again likely, but at least they could avoid the cacophony of confusion over why their lives are upside down now. "Because we had to guard the princess, King Dad."

In the pyramid Bowser found no pure gold walls or chests from ancient Kings, instead cheap hanging rafters, industrial lights, fresh sharply chiseled stone, buckets of paint in the corner, and a passageway blocked with a white fabric sheet spray painted 'out of order'. The floor plan was completely open with only tape marking where walls would go. Peach and Toadsworth he found huddling in the corner, trying to have the maximum distance possible from Bowser meeting them halfway.

"You stay right here until I find gramps and old hag. Okay? Stay right here!"

After no response he inched closer and then Peach sprung forth like a frightened viper. "You don't even have an army anymore Bowser so I dare you, yes I dare you to make me do anything!" She slapped Bowser across his face like she had nothing to lose. She was quickly reminded she did when her hand bounced off with a thud.

Once the shock was out of his system, Bowser bent to her level, baring his teeth and grabbing her dainty little wrist. "So you think you can take me now? Don't play stupid games, Hotness. That's what I expect from Mario!" He let her go in an unbothered way, at least outwardly. "Hmm, yeah we better make new wedding plans. Excited?" He wished he was when he shot the trembling mess of a princess a grin over his shoulder. Bowser felt like a caricature of himself at this point, but too late. If he just kept trying to brute force his will it would HAVE to happen at some point. Said so right in Kingly Law, the Darklandian equivalent, sorta, of the Mushroom Kingdom's infamous star worship.

"-Listen pops, that's it!" Larry ambushed him outside the pyramid, where it was cold despite being desert. "I stuck around with that canoe at Water Land to save your tails and what I get? For y'all to just ignore me again, even when we almost died for real this time. I didn't want to do this dad, 'cause it feels like something a nerd would do, but I impeach you!"

Bowser's eyebrows rose. "That's your next scheme? Pulling out the law books? Well it's baloney!"

Wendy flushed deep red. "He


do that, not that I'd ever daddy, but he can try to impeach especially since we're considered, like, travelers and don't rule a kingdom anymore and the usual monarchy rules don't apply!"

"Whoa, wait!" Lemmy waved his hand in the air. "King Dad, can we have an emergency meeting?"

Bowser again had a flash of some sort of shock. "Uh, sure. Everyone listen to him then!" he ordered.

The last two days? What waste of opportunity Lemmy thought. Someone who still asked for permission to potty was promoted to Dark Land military commander but he did nothing really of value with that new power, not even throw a surprise dance party because he could. He had to get himself together. He couldn't go back on what he'd promised when his life was flashing before his eyes in that Water Land storm. He had a

modest proposal

, and not the one a literary major like Morton might think about at the suggestion.

Actually maybe it was a little like the satirical kind..

"King Dad and everyone else," Lemmy announced from on top of the stairway to the pyramid, "Our dedication to the central purpose of the Koopa Troop, that is disrupting the Mushroom Kingdom, is cool and honorable and stuff. We've persisted through a boatload of crap but we're still here and we still have Peach. We rule! Too bad we lost everything, but not for long." The twenty-two year old noted the only mooks that weren't family remaining, Sentry 11, Tanner, Whomp #5, Johnson, Emery. This was key information and maybe he could tailor his next move to that. "So I request we find Kamek and Kammy and then I'll tell you my secret idea that will solve all our problems!"

"I like it." Bowser nodded, attracted to the idea of instant success. The search was on again with Bowser's intimidating presence driving it. He'd stay outside the pyramid and receive reports, so they'd better be good ones!

Meanwhile…The smell of stale wet paint mixed with the sour odor of despair. Peach felt so many emotions at once, she felt physically weighted down by it. Why did it have to be so brutal between her and Bowser? It was time, yes, to drop that weight off of her for once and for all..

"-What would the King say, dear?"

Peach blinked again as Toadsworth came into focus in front of a snack machine.

"Your father, the King," the old mushroom continued, inserting into the machine the single golden coin that had survived his pockets. It spat out expired gum instead of the bottled water he wished for. "If he knew these monsters were so integrated here, leading to situations like this!"

"Stop." Peach replied more prickly than she meant. Her brain caught up and determined it useless to debate certain things with her well meaning but sometimes narrow minded elder. Besides, she had to collect herself for other events on the horizon. She was sure there would be many to come.

Bowser attempted to remain put while the search went on, but by the fourth report that there were no traces of the magikoopas he was about ready to gun to the shore himself.

"Alright, that's it!" Bowser announced to himself. "To get it done, you gotta do it yourself!"

Bowser wandered around and realized that maybe he wasn't much better at this search and rescue thing. He found himself creeping deeper into Desert Land. The landscape transitioned with the smoothness of a pokey's back, decidedly urban and developed. He bypassed gourd plants with pickets supporting them and empty patches of dirt expansion, then a wheeled trailer from a construction company, 'Authentic Restorations and Replicas inc.' There was a newly built sphinx, the entrance of the upcoming ancient civilization replica park as the flashing billboard stated.

Bowser hummed, ripping a promotional poster off a wall and rolling it up to look at later. He knew a thing or two about replicas, having countless versions of his castle recreated for Mario Karts and other events.. like tennis. Ugh! Thinking of MARIO made his mood crumble to the ground quicker than his castles normally did. His teeth grit together..

When he returned he found Peach outside the pyramid doorway waiting for him. The Koopa King froze. "Hotness? What's wrong? Aside from the obvious..."

Peach wrecked her brain on how she'd ever bring the matter up to her nemesis. She'd came up with something but upon the time to say it, what she prepared didn't begin to cover it. She took a deep breath. "I do not feel the animosity between us stems from a genuine place. Remember the first Mushroom Flu many years ago?"

"What about it?" Bowser replied, masking his queasy feeling. Even his current predicament, his life falling apart in the span of a few days was somehow easier to accept than those dark times. "Spit it out! What's the deal?"

Peach pat away the tears beginning to fall. "It came upon me that in all of the time we have been in each others company, far too long to be honest but I digress, I've have never made that matter clear to you. You took responsibility for poisoning those belonging to me- so it's only honest that I take responsibility for- "

"Princess!" Toadsworth startled both. Apparently he'd escaped via the 'emergency exit' just in time to see party arriving from the mountains.

Bowser bent to Peach's level. "We'll talk this out later. Okay? Go back inside, you and your grandpa."

He shoved both of them out of view as the group met up with him.

"I hate this new alarm clock! It makes me feel like my feet are moving!" Kamek protested as he was walked along with Roy and Morton on each side of him.

Kammy, though being supported by Wendy was still able to whack him with her new cane, a stiff palm branch since the original was lost at sea. "It's not an alarm clock! We're being walked!"

"I'm stoked you guys were found safe," spoke Lemmy in the lead.

Bowser grinned proudly. "Gramps and old hag! Got tired of being seafood finally I see. Well Johnson, get them warmed by the fire. Tanner, see if there's an outhouse around here. Emery? Get me a Lichen Cola. The rest of ya gather around so Lemmy can tell us whatever great idea he has."

Lemmy smiled back. It was

show time

as he'd say on the circus stage. First he'd need his SPOTLIGHT so his trick could be seen from all angles. A light was found by Whomp #5 who aimed it between two obelisks, the 'stage'. Lemmy's ball survived the shipwreck and he rolled with it perfectly in the middle of the towers.

Five seconds in Bowser was tapping his foot. He received the Lichen Cola and popped it open, already tuning out.

Lemmy cleared his throat. He was supposed to use this time to reveal the long and the short of it, going back to Friday even, but the quick thinker developed right then a better trick that would ensure a standing ovation. "What does a kingdom need?.. That's rhetorical, Morton. It needs land which we don't have and subjects which we've lost. Marrying Peach would make her kingdom King Dad's, her assets his, her subjects his, her castle his. Plus you, King Dad, like her obviously. If that happens however, there won't be a credits screen and it's all over. We'd never have peace. Ever. There's the Mushroom Kingdom's allies and Mario. Oh no! But what if you could replace Peach's role in this with someone else? Someone that would pretty much just make everyone give up? You'd get the kingdom and maybe more! And you still like this person too? I'd say just as much as Peach in a way," he chuckled darkly.

Uninterested, Bowser took one last gulp of the canned soda.

"So my proposal is this: Replace Peach with…. Mario! Mario can't crash your wedding if it's with Mario. Right? The world would just implode and then anything is yours. We win!" Lemmy bowed. "Annnnd that's it. APPLAUSE!"

The audience did so without registering what they had just heard or were celebrating. Bowser however spat a tremendous stream of soda as the can slipped from his hand and his knees gave way. He screamed.

To be continued..

Created: 8/1/19, 8/4, 8/8 - 8/15, 8/18, 8/19, 8/20, 8/21, 8/22, 8/23, 8/25, 8/26, 8/31, 9/2, 9/14, 9/15, 9/16, 9/18, 9/23, 10/7, 10/8, 10/9, 10/10, 13, 15, 10/21, 10/22, 10/27, 10/28, 10/30, 10/31

Edited: 6/13, 6/14/20

Edit again!: 1/1/21

A new slew of fixes. Tired yet? 5/29/21

2022 Stuff, and it's a lot: 1/11/22

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

The New Mario and Bowser (Chapter 17)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author note: Edited to reflect previous edits!

Mario was in the black heart of the eighth known mushroom world, tackling the last gauntlet between him and the princess in the clutches of the wicked 'Bowser Koopa'. Whipped thoroughly into shape by perils endured and challenges never imagined, he was the first person brave- or stupid enough to cross the drawbridge over lava. It rocked and creaked with every step but Bowser was at the other end and there was no turning back. A fireball rolled down the narrow path. Mario jumped over it just as hammers of dull steel rained down and pelted the fragile walkway. Bowser launched himself into the air before Mario could slam the axe he acquired into The Enemy's forehead. Mario slid out of the way instead and when Bowser landed the bridge buckled in the middle and Mario stumbled backwards. The Enemy…could not win now! This gave Mario a new less violent but more interesting idea. Just a moment later, when he struck the bridge with the axe and the whole thing went down, the look on Bowser's face was priceless-

"Mario, why are you smiling so much?"

Both brothers stopped at the apex of a five story tall sand dune, others ahead resembling pale blue glaciers in the moonlight. Everything was quiet as it had been since they stealthily set out on the adventure. They had spotted what were ostensibly other travelers a considerable distance away but never close enough to see a face or discern a species. There were no signs or land marks. The only thing certain were fresh foot prints down hill- Their own, wrapping around to complete the circle they'd went in.

"How about we stop following this broken compass," Mario chuckled dryly, shoving the navigational 'aid' into his pocket. Away from town he was no longer a crude facsimile of himself. "Thanks again for coming along on my suicide mission."

"Don't joke like that." Luigi nudged him playfully. "But when this is all over, we have some discussing to do."

Mario sat down and got serious again. "I know. For now let's just hit the reset button." He munched on one of the triangle sandwiches Luigi had packed for the trip and utilized all his cellphone's single signal bar for a GPS signal. Also bobbing along to a 'Generation Z' mp3 he'd forgotten he'd downloaded, he made another far scan of their surroundings. Faintly he could see some light on the edge of the horizon.

Mario sprang back up, brushing the crumbs from his mustache. "If I run us in another circle I'll allow you to punch me."

Luigi smiled weakly. "I'm holding you to that."


Victor Patooie, secretary of the Southern Hospital was in his office space, a large barn that belonged to him and housed all his equipment and technological inventions from the Mecha-Yoshis to the 'ten-gallon hat disguiser' idea that he abandoned once he got too anxious of legal action by Bonneters. Someone was knocking over the Walker Texas Koopa reruns he had playing. The patooie slid open his metal door. "What in tarnation-?" Jelectro had him pinned against his own rusty steel walls in a split second.

"Shhhhhh, mon ami. Where is Ludwig being held?"

"Hold on, partner! My stems are delicate! Junior, Troopa I mean, let 'em stay in his office down yonder. Easy there!"

"Merci." Jelectro let him go.


Boo held surprising artistic talent Ludwig noted, though he was not aware that Boo actually harnessed those skills to impress Luigi one day. Boo had polished and retouched all of Jr. Troopa's collectables and found a plank of wood to plug up the Mecha-Yoshi blast sight under Ludwig's supervision. That favor for someone legitimately unable to do so on their own Boo didn't mind, at least enough to not complain audibly. Irritation however festered when Ludwig began to think of other chores: Going out to find some paper to write on, then again to get pen, then again because that pen was out of ink, then again because he wanted to write in black and not blue. Trying to find him a musical instrument to practice on: then complaining because the folk instrument Boo found was tuned into G instead of C, again because the C tuned instrument had a broken string, then again because he became bored of that one. Fetching a warm blanket: A warmer one. But not that warm! Finding some more pants: another pair because the size is wrong, another pair because the color was drab, another pair because it would be nice to have a spare. Then Ludwig decided a hot shower would be nice-

"C-can I take a break?" Boo squeaked, drenched in sweat from constant moving.

Ludwig rose up from his extremely comfortable spot in the recliner. "Of course for an ally."

Boo blushed at hearing that. It felt like the nicest thing anyone had told them in a while.

Then someone knocked on the door before Kylie Koopa gently pushed it open. "Sup koopaling fella. I know it's late but-" Her eyes wandered over to Boo and opened like she'd hit a lottery. It was the mystery koopa crook killer with the power of Eldstar at the word. "TriggerHappy McBoo? The scoop's just in! We found 'em! Where's Jr. Troopa and the hounds when you need 'em?"

Boo turned white and died all over again. "Ky- ky-kyly I-I!" they babbled, backing themselves into the furthest corner of the small office.

At the same time someone else arrived, Jelectro. He sprinted up at the commotion, only wanting to get a look at the koopaling stated to be around in the area as that was something he never got to do otherwise with his typical missions far away from normal Mushroomy territories. The detective stumbled instead on a wanted criminal.

Ludwig decisively sprung up from his seating and reached for Boo's arm. "I can help you." He kept trying but Boo remained stiff and petrified.

"Bond! Brother, I'm glad you're here. Bust em like I know you can," Kylie shouted down Jelectro's back, not so subtly using him as a shield between her and Ludwig and Boo.

Jelectro hovered his hand over his pistol. He wouldn't have blindly gotten into this situation if he utilized a certain ability of his. The obvious lesson here had bludgeoned the noki enough. If he took a peek into what ever Boo was thinking he could possibly deescalate this stand off.

Jelectro focused on the little boo. Behind his dark sunglasses his eyes clouded over as he heard, not Boo's voice but a deeper guttural one of an alter ego-


Jelectro snapped out of it in time to witness a dull ray of light circling on the tip of Boo's fingers. He lowered his shades down his nose a little. Actually that was a blinding bright ray of lightning and it was heading right his way.

As Jelectro and Kylie were hurled out of the small office by the blast, Ludwig fanned away the smoke. Something vise like clamped on his arm.

"Actually I can help YOU buddy. Heh heh heh. You're coming with me. HA HA HA HA HA!" Booigi the Second cackled before whisking Ludwig away.


"I DON'T LIKE HIM LIKE THAT!…. OR AT ALL! I HATE MARIO! COME BACK!" Bowser screamed at the backs of minions leaving him. They were preparing to hike out of the park and away forever, once loyal to Bowser before hearing Lemmy's proposal that pushed frenemy relations too far.

"Wait guys," Lemmy said. Unlike Bowser this made them pause. He continued. "One last thing before you turn in your two weeks notice I guess. I'm sorry I'm part of the reason why you all have nothing anymore... Including Zoo, Tanner. I know you two were close and you're one of our best soldiers and I hate to tell you this but, he died.. right before the first storm."

"What? No. No!" Tanner gasped. The koopatrol numbly away walked deeper into the desert.

Emery, bright red, covered her mouth at Lemmy before following Tanner. A nondescript but more mature Koopa Troopa, Johnson gave Lemmy a sort of pitying glance and then shrugged and followed them as well. That left Whomp #5 like a stick in the mud, at least until he joined the rest. With that Bowser was officially out of mooks it seemed.

"Were you TRYING to disband us Lemmy? You were!" Bowser sharply accused. "I'm not that stupid, son. Now I get it. You were all against me all along! Everyone group up so I can tell you this right now and I will not stutter. It don't matter. Nothing does! I don't care if you're the reason everything goes wrong either via some stupid star curse or whatever the heck you call it. We still have the princess and she will be mine!" This caused a roar among everyone left.

"Father, you have gone mad!" Morton exclaimed. For the first time ever others agreed with him.

Iggy paused a second. "Dad. .. I totally betrayed you too even though you called me a role model. Doesn't that stun you enough to give me enough time to fix the one part of my invention that broke when the whirlpool-"

"Just fix da thing already!" Roy screamed in Iggy's ear. The oddball genius woozily stumbled into the spotlight which fell with a loud clang.

That was unexpected! -The message Bowser received, especially in present times. A hammer brother passed to him a pink paper from Peach's Castle, more specifically from a messenger from a messenger from a messenger from whoever Peach got to write her letters, possibly her secretary Toad due to frequently bad grammar and spelling. (Rumors were arising that some of the greatest minds in all of the eight continental kingdoms were directing the building of mysterious metal structures and poles that would somehow eliminate the need to use letters all of the time. Bowser thought that too far out to believe.) Peach's distinctive and delicate tissue paper like stock was an invitation from Mario asking for him to participate in a demilitarized, except for the strong hint what weaponized shells and bananas would be involved, recreational kart race. For fun.

"...Sounds great!" Bowser stated, popping out of that day dream. Coming to, everyone had shifted positions and an unknown amount of time was blotted out of his memory. The only constant was that everyone was 




"-I knew you'd agree to all I just said dearie. Even the thing about more grandkids. You can't give up after everything we've been through, your nastiness. We raised you better. Just ignore those brats of yours. These new hip koopas just don't know how to run a kingdom anymore," Kammy said, the short magikoopa materializing at his side. "Go on to the pyramid and spill your heart to Peach! It's not too late for her to say yes! Oh, and if she doesn't. Make it a yes!" she added deviously.

Lemmy clawed his fingers through his hair. "King Dad, please, PLEASE, I request for you to remember Kingly Law! We're family and a family alone can't make a Kingdom and without a kingdom you can't marry Peach for political alliance so what's the use?!"

"BECAUSE I JUST WANT TO! I've put my five-hundred- think that's a high number.. percent into this and I ain't giving up! Forget rules in that stupid book! I wish I never made Kamek drill it in your heads. Just hit the dang reset button." Bowser faced Kammy for support.

"Reset button, dearie?"

Bowser flushed. "It means start over, er, what loser did I borrow that phrase from? Oh whatever."

"Report time. Not counting your family you have one mook boss," replied Sentry 11 from his hiding spot at the high vantage point of the obelisk. He dropped his binoculars. "Me. I'm your last guy! I-I'm honored!" the lakitu beamed. "Path the princess is clear, boss!"

Lemmy muttered a bad, but still PG, word under his breath. There was no way he was going to get that guy to quit so it was plan 



as he'd definitely expended everything else at this point. He whispered something in Bowser Junior's ear, which made the six-year old very excited suddenly, then had him stand by a little longer. "King Dad, I-if we keep going like this a disaster is going to happen again!" Lemmy wailed desperately as Bowser ignored him. He thought.

Bowser, already in pieces, discovered that it was possible for his very being to shatter into bits as fine as the sand of the desert. He whipped around to glare at everyone that had cornered him against the pyramid entrance. Bowser wanted to just pulverize them. How dare they try again and again to twist his hand. He was Bowser! He made the rules and it was just their job to agree with everything he said. Then they would be okay... But what if they 



one day? What if he had lost them in the shipwreck? Bowser had no army, no kingdom, no servants to loose anymore, just his family. If the Dark Star wanted more blood what was left to take from him but them? His balled fists relaxed and his ugly expression had melted into a blank stare. His chest tightened. He realized the strange feeling. Anxiety-

"Kamek? W-what?" Bowser snapped when his aged father figure was the first one to approach him up the steps.

"Lord Bowser, I only had a tip for you. It'll cheer you up." Kamek reached into his pocket. "Drop that deranged psycho look! Girls hate that." He tossed an 'as seen on TV' bottle of womanizing spray at Bowser.

If Iggy wasn't still trying to repair the Wacky Watch he'd had fainted. "Someone stole my prototype!"

Bowser held round bottle, feeling those rational thoughts from just seconds ago dissolve like they were never there. The Princess, his prize was just. Right. There. Then go for it idiot, Bowser thought.

Wendy missed that exchange because she was stuck in the back at the bottom of the stairs, usually a reason for her to scream something about misogyny but not this time. The strife in the family was more important and also expected, as discussed in depth with her used to be Adolescent Anti-Monarchy club. They'd gather in mom's basements or dorms or public parks, young and rebellious but intellectual Dark Land citizens known for peering into history books, diaries, and newspapers to study the pattern of successes and failures of societies ruled by leaders with absolute power. Like monarchies. The little group of losers and outcasts, including Wendy depreciated as the only distaff Koopaling, uncovered the corruption deeply ingrained in their culture for centuries and vowed to fix it someday.

Wendy wasn't ready then- taking those pearls of understanding and casting them away, at least to outsiders, after turning seventeen this year. She couldn't hang with gangs directly against her own legacy. It's not like she'd lead in a monarchy-free utopia. Now, though they were on the brink of the end of a monarchy, and it just needed one push. The guilt of betrayal stung, yet her passion for her was she believed in was stronger. She could see it as clear as it had already happened- a brighter future with no princess chasing.

"Daddy! Waaaaaaaaait!" Her soprano was covered up by the chaos. She needed a platform. Who better than her younger brother besides her?

Morton hardly noticed Wendy climbing on his back. The teen was stuck like a broken tape on what he'd learned from month ago, starting when he added to his collection a book called 'IV'. In exchange of three months pay from his part time job at his high-school's library, the sixteen year old was able to devour the diary of an ancient explorer Zheng Koopa, regurgitate it, then digested it again. The writing was on the wall, as unmistakable as a Neo Bowser City billboard- and those things could blind even monty moles. They had to escape the Dark Star.

"Everyone should listen to me! For real this time!" Morton charged forward, slinging Wendy along and knocking everyone aside to race inside the pyramid.

Back at the pyramid: "Where is she? Ahhhhhh! S-she's gone!" Bowser sputtered, now smelling irresistible from a female perspective. He belligerently shook Toadsworth for some explanation, flinging the stale gum from his teeth. The pyramid was empty with only the retired chancellor waiting as decoy. Trembling, he couldn't tear his eyes from Peach's escape method, not even when Wendy and Morton essentially rammed into him and bounced off. The drink machine had been slid to the side to reveal an 'emergency' emergency exit, a hole torn into the wall..

Bowser slowly spun back to the doorway where his youngest son fought his way to the front. "Daddy," Junior began all innocent like. Smiling wide as his fat cheeks allowed he seemed happier than he'd ever. "Sooo I think I'm the king now? Coooooool! Can we get ice-cream or something? Will I get a gold toilet like you had? Will I get a party?"

Bowser stared at his son like he'd grown another head. "I...what?"

"King Dad, I'm sorry," Lemmy began shakily. "To keep trying the same thing over and over doesn't make sense anymore. You know I'm here because Luddy couldn't be and he always told me to think about what's 



as a commander. That might mean admitting defeat sometimes. So as uh, Dark Land temporary Military Commander in Luddy's place I.." he gulped, not even able to face Bowser anymore. "I impeach you on 

insanity clause

. Does everyone else agree?"

Instantly all of the Koopalings shouted yes, drowning out any input from the magikoopas or the lone sentry lakitu.

Bowser gave his second oldest in particular a look of rage, anguish, betrayal, and surprise all at once. What he did not do contrasting what everyone expected, was blow up like a bomb. In a flash he seemed unfamiliar suddenly, like a stranger in their father's body. "And so now Junior is the King of Dark Land instead of me. Cause I'm crazy? Ha. Ha! Oh my freaking..." He held his bumpy scaled forehead. "Hold on a sec.." On edge everyone cleared aside for Bowser to descend the pyramid steps. His expression was completely empty and they didn't know what might unfold.

Bowser kept his stoic walk going a few yards away on the ground before pausing. Lemmy could hear only his heart beating, agonizing on if he'd made the right call.

"I am crazy actually!" Bowser remarked with a smile. "So good call everyone. In fact, I'm just crazy enough- TO DO THIS! SENTRY, LET'S GO!" Bowser sprinted quicker than they had ever seen across the sand, his sentry hovering above him. The others could not have caught him if they wanted to because they became the stunned expressionless ones.


With everything on her, including her crown and phone she'd slipped back from Bowser when he wasn't looking- thank goodness his shell had protected it from water- Princess Peach took on a new Egyptian custom and was catching on like an expert, running like the Nile out of wicked Bowser's grasp. She overtook Whomp #5 without looking back.

"The princess!"

She then overtook the ex Koopa Troop members moving at normal speeds.

"Ohmygosh. It's the princess!" Emery turned to Tanner.

"I don't care!" he replied to her alarm.

Peach panted heavily, unexpectedly icy desert wind colliding with her face. She thought she was forming a bunion from running in heels but she deserved it she felt. She stopped under the stone arches of some ruins and called for help. Blast it! She pitied what was once a cute little flip phone as it was barely holding on. Finally she got a call through to the Mushroom Kingdom's emergency number. She thanked the stars as it slipped from her grip. Falling on its back she read 'Property of Bowser' stamped on. Anger flared up before the princess could rein it back. Crack! It was in pieces under her heel...


"Okay, sooo this is the spot right?" Toad asked Yoshi. They'd been waiting for half and hour at water tower where any minute Mario and Luigi would show up and they'd all go out to rescue Peach from Bowser. He dropped his backpack. "If they're this late, let me run to the bathroom I guess."

Yoshi nodded. He was leaning back in a fold out chair. He once had a bag of snacks for the trip but in waiting the dinosaur had devoured those already, making him sluggish and sleepier. He thought he was imagining someone tall and slender bustling his way.

"Straight up! This is wild dawg!" Daisy hung onto a support beam. "They're missing!"

Yoshi stumbled to his feet, flipping his chair and kicking his bowl in the process. "Who?"

"Mario and Luigi! They aren't anywhere in town and they ain't home either," the princess explained rapidly, her breath making a cloud in the cool weather. "I think they left y'all. Was that planned?"

Yoshi sighed. "Who has a way to call them? Scratch that, just Mario. I forgot Luigi's phone melted. We need to blow it up with texts, calls, voice messages, and those angry emojis things I don't know how to use, and I mean it! How dare he do this to me?" he ranted.

Daisy laughed, not sensing the urgency. "Dawg, I can't help you. I just got my first computer last year."

Yoshi shot her an annoyed look, though it was more upset at himself. "I'm serious. I left my fiancé for, well, to be with- No, let me rephrase. Mario and 'this life', if you want to put that way, of adventures is all I have, so of course I wanted to go! Besides, he promised and I hate when he changes at the last moment like this."

Daisy laughed again. "I didn't know all that! Dedicated sidekick, huh? Yeah, I forgot you babysit him a long time ago. No wonder you're missing him so soon."

"Stop. It." He began to listen closely. "Hear that?"

"That was the toilet being stopped up, homeboy," Toad said, joining them again. "Wasn't me I swear. What's going on?"

"No no." Yoshi kept listening. "Something else. Quiet!" There was an alarm going off, from the direction of the Southern Mushroom Kingdom Hospital.


A notebook paper taped on the wall said: 'Cleanin' in progress. Come back soon, hear?'

Booigi ripped it off, balled it up, and ate it. They burped loudly. It was easily the least disgusting thing in the kitchen the boo had raided. Hospital food simply sucked.

"I told you nothing is fresh here. The microwave is our head chef," said Laki, the noki nurse Booigi had suspended from the spinning ceiling fan.


Hmmm, maybe I should put you on the menu, heh heh heh

." Booigi licked their lips.

The nurse strikingly remained calm before the psycho, though he was getting a bit dizzy by now. "You wouldn't like me I promise you, bud. Hey, there's something really tasty mounted on the wall of that hallway over there! It's the one with Jr. Troopa's name on the plaque."

Booigi eyed him skeptically but outside the kitchen the hall was lined with many knickknacks, photos of who they presumed to be staff and more. A large fish caught their eye, one Jr. Troopa won an award for fishing once, and it WAS mouth watering.

A few rooms away, Ludwig enjoyed his upgrade of scenery in the control room of the hospital. No one would think to look for him here and the cozy recliner- perhaps the one thousandth La-Z-boy down South lying around- was just perfect for the moment. The wall was lined with switches and blinking lights, also a sophisticated camera system displaying rooms of that building and a few other places around the South, the pub, a farm, a storehouse, and a random hottub, all vacated but equally suggesting things Ludwig didn't care to know. The VHS tapes lying around were labeled, 'Vick' so that narrowed it down. A note next to one stated that they needed to contact someone regarding Daisy. Something about requesting her health records. Plainly was the code to contact them on a kingdom to kingdom protocol.

Ludwig felt curious so he tried it on the satellite recover. His exact aim at the moment he didn't know but it just felt right. He'd eavesdropped about a situation at Daisy's Castle. Something that was uncovered curiously at the same time her servants went delirious. The time frame also corresponded with an event that happened to the dark boo that used to be their janitor, Zoo and he was still cripplingly guilty of bloodguilt for-

"Thank you for calling Daisy's Castle," a female answered eventually.

The koopaling cleared his throat, trying to focus once more. "Inform whoever it may concern that it is Prince Ludwig Von Koopa." The line cut, loud static stabbing the koopaling's eardrums. He winced while he waited.


Ludwig's claws dug into the arm rests in excitement. That tone, combined with other clues he had.. "Are you the Dark Star's 'buddy' as Luigi put it? I do not have all the facts I admit, but I will be brief. Your power is scant and impotent compared to Eldstar and you should give up!"


"Ludwig Von Koopa. I see your receptionist is quite lousy at her job because I shared my credentials, but never mind. I created you but my temporary allies very soon will end you!"


"...Are we still in contact?"


"Because it happened! Zoo Diddley revived the other dark star from the Doom Reverb before he perished! Enough talk. Just know that I am rooting for your destruction. Why are you in Sarasaland anyway? Is someone there also cursed by you?"


"The other is a 'she'?" Ludwig repeated incredulously. "What is going on really?"

With some embarrassment it went, "I HAVE SAID ENOUGH, YOU BUGGER. NO MORE PRANK CALLS."

Ludwig caught a whiff of smoke and rose to his feet, away from the violently sparking radio. An alarm sounded and the video screens began to fizzle out. "I continue to be the reigning king at wrecking everything I touch.."

Ludwig moved too quick and agitated his wounds all over again. He winched and leaned against the wall for support. He wasn't far from the staircase going down but the elevator seemed more attractive and closer. He dashed in and rode it down. The door slid open and he found himself face to face with Jr. Troopa in a baggy night gown.

"Partner!" the teenager gasped. "You ruined my office and now I bet you've ruined my hospital!"

"Just doing what I'm best at." Ludwig was as apologetic as he was willing to do anything to escape. The prisons here weren't pleasant and the mouse problem was the least of it. He slipped past the head nurse and ran down the hall into what was the front lobby. The doors were chained from the outside. Jr. Troopa was making a fuss in the distance and getting closer. Ludwig launched himself through the window and rolled outside over the glass shards and into someone waiting for him.

Booigi sighed deeply. "I could have just phased you out of there idiot, but you-"

A jangle began to play, 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' and it seemed to resonate from Booigi's stomach.

There was a talking fish inside of them.

General Siwang put out his pipe while General Tao, Roar, and Yura stood behind him, their shoulders side by side at vastly different heights creating a treacherous staircase. Perfectly still and eyes glassed over, a touch of saliva dripping on the corners of their mouths, especially from Roar, they allowed the new general to reign free at complex controls capable of destroying a nation. Siwang hit a red blinking switch, sending a high speed blip on the radar screaming over the ocean before disappearing too far to hear the impact. He climbed out of the weapons bunker and into the open, leaving the native leaders in their suspended state for something more stimulating. If he was at his residing place galaxies away he'd be enjoying his entertainment system, sitcoms tapped from Earth's antennas, keeping a close eye on his 'neighbors' on the other side, and his favorite, influencing multifarious colonies to maim and murder each other over pathetic mortal issues. But he was here and not in the Dark Realm for a reason.

He'd carved out a spot in his life for someone special if only she'd hurry her games along. The general played with his ornate lighter, taking in the morning Sarasaland heat and thinking about a dumb little thing a mortal said to him repeatedly. He had to get it straightened out. The sun was rising behind the thick blanket of smoke in the sky which congregated and swirled around above him to rumble threateningly. The group of explorers working on a sphinx a mile away hid in their tents while natives fled to huts as Siwang fearlessly turned upwards in the windstorm.

"Love, if I did not hear some rubbish a few minutes ago! Here is what this lowlife Koopaling said..."

Minutes passed and the storm kept raging as the 'far reaching' story was carefully explained. Heated replies were given during which the bombshell koopa's fists balled tighter by the moment. Eventually-

"That's bollocks, utterly despicable! And you lied! All of this time and the pathetic creatures are still alive? You are quite horrible at the 'I must murder everyone who conceived me' thingaroo."

"…!" the storm replied spitefully.

"Yes, me and Eldstar are cousins! What's that to you? Ta ta. We're through. Over!"

Furious and face knotted up grotesquely, General Siwang's body particularized and broke down. The bombshell koopa was no more!

The storm reached tornado strengths before dying abruptly, the clouds reversing their course. A dark influence over the territory of Daisy's Castle was lifted. A minute later General Roar, the only general sober enough to find his way out of the bunker, found a pile of official clothing in the sand. The lion like creature found no familiar scent. Having a splitting headache he stumbled along in loose recently stirred sand before he reached the lip of the excavation site behind Daisy's Castle. He tumbled down. The workers in the pit would have assisted and more, what stories the nyololin, goombos, and pionpi and could share of the horrors of working for weeks straight brainwashed, but regardless they were rendered useless by exhaustion.

The Mario bros trucked on in sand filled boots as they reached somewhere. They passed under torch lit arches, the entrance of Dry Dry Outpost. The village tents and shops usually piled with sellers and patrons were closed up, a ghost town of clay buildings until they found someone crawling the streets as lost as them.

"Just my figgin-!" the young rugged goomba grumbled, retreating around the shop at the corner.

Mario and his brother followed in time to see the baddie take another turn down a narrow alley. They followed all the turns until they were exiting out the other side of the outpost. Back in the vast desert there was a single palm tree with an oasis and a fire lit with a hammer brother, lakitu, buzzy beetle, and a raven hugged up around it. The hammer brother in particular face palmed.

"Way to go ol' Rholand. We ask ye of one thing and you bring those Mario blokes to us!" Koopfred accused.

Rholand glared. "You kept crying for a warm blanket so I tried to get one. Okay?"

Mario discreetly acknowledged the signs that they were Bowser affiliated but refrained from seeming too intense too soon. "Felt like a good time for a camp fire? What's up?"

"We arn't important, but I'll tell you anyway. That mulish goomba is Rholand, the buzzy lass is Annie, the other lakitu lass is Lakimay, the ugly boid is Gus and I'm Koopfred. I was with Bowser for the least time before this effin' week. Blah! Know I was a foreigner in Neo Bowser city? Place's pretty diverse these days. I just wanted a good job-"

Mario nodded. "Right. But that's not where I was getting at-"

Koopfred returned to warming himself as the others were. "Like I said, arn't important now. Bowser's done for."

"Done for?" Luigi spoke up. "Doesn't he still have Peach?" He waited for an answer. "At least tell us where he might be!"

The group simultaneously pointed East. After the Mario bros distanced themselves so that the fire at the oasis was but a little flicker, Mario slowed down and checked his personal item bag. He retrieved the Jewel of the Stars, sparkling in the box

Luigi's heart skipped a beat. "Mario! Only Peach-"

He held one hand up to silence him. "I know. I'm not going to 



it. I'm not going to even touch it again. But you really should."

"Enough of that. Why should I? There's something you're still holding back from me and I'm getting ticked off."

Mario closed up the box and tucked it under his arm. "I just want you to be prepared no matter what happens- Ow!" Mario went as Luigi got his free punch in anyway, right in his shoulder.

"Mario..." Luigi frowned at him.

Mario looked at him funny and gestured under his own nose. "Luigi, you got something.."

Luigi looked ahead dumbly, reaching for his face when Mario suddenly made him slap himself.

"Ha! Payback!" Mario snorted. "By the way, what did you pack in your bag? You haven't opened it yet."

Luigi let a smile creep back on him. "A telescope stand. You were supposed to bring the telescope. Dumbo."

...On the other side of the desert was a rat race. Bowser had never hustled so hard down what was eventually to be a paved street in pursuit of a phantom in the wind. He never thought his life easy in any way until he was where he was now, bereaved of his minions.

"We're still hot on it Boss!" Sentry 11's cloud soared high up for visuals. The markings of feet in the sand could not match any flat footed member of the Koopa Troop.

Bowser followed the princess's prints to the middle of nowhere. There was just sand and the cold, and sand and the moonlight and more sand. Wait. On no, he realized. The terrain was covering over itself and the prints were disappearing. Bowser stopped and caught his breath, dropping to his knees. Was Peach suffering like he was? He hoped somehow Mario's was double. He was startled by dark specks in the sand originating from the tears rolling down his old face. Wheezing, he tried to hold the rest back while others caught up. So much hate. He didn't want Peach anymore. Not worth it. He hated her. No he didn't. He hated Mario. Not entirely it either. He hated himself, manifesting as a pain deep in his bones.

"Boss, see this," Sentry 11 reported from ahead. He dropped something in front of Bowser, Peach's phone but cracked up like it had been stomped.

"...Why so destructive? This is a waste you know and this could have been recycled or something. I hate it." The room was in shambles but the perpetrator was proud of the various items, boards, props, and fabrics littering the backstage, most torn or beaten, some even burnt. On some one could recognize the words 'Mario Party'.

Bowser leaned against the door frame playing around on a green fancy gadget. Younger then his hair was vibrantly red and he was more in shape if top heavy, less enervated, kind of handsome. "You are too kind, moustache. We'll get brand new ones for the Mario Party sequel so stop complaining, cause people like seeing you and your idiot friends play minigames for stars. By the way. Here's my number. I just got it so don't blow it up alright? Get a stupid piece of paper out and write it down."…

"King Dad! I mean, Dad! I mean- Oh nooooooo..."

Bowser heard Lemmy's squeaky voice and felt the sensation of being shaken hard and tugged in several directions by several hands. The figures around him danced in and out of the scope of his blurry vision. He would finally listen to his son and give up.


Booigi hacked up the talking fish toy and smashed it to pieces. Only then was that song dissonantly upbeat not playing wherever they went.

"It was a catchy tune you must admit," Ludwig said. He peered out of the barn windows where they hid. It was precisely the same one the Special World Doctors were using hours ago. Almost of the equipment had been vacated. He turned back around to Booigi pacing around agitatedly. "Ah hem. Thank you for everything so far. The commotion certainly took my mind off of the darker times I've experienced, but now I am unhappy to inform you that I see flashlights over the hill."

Booigi paused and returned to pacing. "They come here, they'll regret it. No more being pushed around. No more.."

Ludwig knew he'd better get out of the fight that was sure to come. Glancing around, bales of hay lined the side walls and the back wall held plows and farm equipment and something the Special World Hospital doctors were too lazy to haul. He knew what to do.

Yoshi and Toad were the quickest and the first to reach the gate. There was a heavy bolt over it. Jr. Troopa remembered someone needed to grab a bolt cutter and left them. Daisy waited until he was out of earshot and then karate kicked the entire section of the gate down. 'Well that works too' Yoshi remarked. If he caught TriggerHappy McBoo and recaptured Ludwig that might impress Mario, he just had to make sure it was him getting the credit for it and not the tagalongs. Not Daisy, not Jr. Koopa, not Jelectro, not Kylie and especially not Toad. Juvenile and one sided as he knew it was, Toad had just then became his rival for Mario's attention. He wasn't sure what made that switch flip, but like usual lately he didn't know himself very well. Once the bad guys were captured Mario would never leave him out again he felt. Yoshi would probably seek therapy too for his rapid onset imposter syndrome..

Yoshi ignored what Jelectro was warning about just then and sprinted across the field to the barn. He boldly barged in with with bravest face. His brain only processed a white light before he felt the worst sensation he'd ever, like his body was turning inside out. He went numb and the view changed to that of the ceiling as he couldn't get up. He'd been blasted by the power of Eldstar..

Yoshi watched what happened play out like a movie. Daisy was next in with Toad judging by their legs whizzing past his snout. They seemed to pull some kind of improvised weapon off of the wall. There was a scream of agony followed by another. Yoshi squeezed his eyes shut when a molten hot piece of metal bounced right over him. Toad limply was the next object to fly over his head. Daisy tumbled on the ground violently by his side and groaned in pain. Click click click, went a camera. A bolt flew over and destroyed the door frame, making Kylie shriek and fall backwards. The next person Yoshi saw he didn't recognize except that he was the detective working with them for the last few minutes. The noki appeared in the spot torn by the blast and carried no weapon, instead he tilt his glasses down slightly. His eyes were completely white.

(Boo, why do you do this? Why do you join the dark side?) Jelectro channeled through.

Booigi growled furiously and teleported to him. Before he could move, the boo snatched him and began to squeeze the life out of him. (What's the point?)

(Mon ami, you must stop being this other violent person! This is not you.)

Booigi crushed him harder. (Something takes over me and- I just get so angry. Boo a loser. Booigi is.. can do anything. I'm powerful. That's all I ever wanted.)

Yoshi could not understand the staring contest they seemed to be having, but if it gave him more time to regain control that was just as well. He would already wiggle his tail and his fingers..

(Is that really all you ever wanted?)

(Power is the best. No one has to like you then.)

(That is it then. You want to be liked. But you are if you'd listen and not run away.)

(But.. but...)

(Mon ami, being yourself is the most powerful thing you can do. I have humbly just learned that myself. Now ah... Enough.)

Yoshi watched the noki go limp in Booigi's grasp and used that as the time to spring back into action. The little boo would have no time to react to the swift kick Yoshi gave them. Their body was launched to the opposite side of the barn and through the large roll up door even. Yoshi followed to the back yard of the barn where Boo was dizzily climbing out of a hay stack.

That wasn't the most worrying thing he saw..

"Do you think all wishes to Eldstar come true?"

Luigi ignored his brother's question as they climbed up the next sand hill. They'd brought water so they hadn't passed out yet, but it also meant it was time for another bathroom break of his, awkward when there was no privacy. Luigi had Mario close his eyes and turn around, bringing him to times past of them exploring in the forest as long as they could before parents yelled at them.

He jumped as he heard Mario rushing over so excited he was bouncing around. "I got an alert from Snifit Patrol. Peach reached the hotline and he traced her location. She's waiting among ruins!"

"Dry Dry Ruins?"

"Ding! We have a winner!"

"I follow all of your adventures bro, even the ones I'm not on. Isn't that place hidden-"

"No, I uncovered it during said adventure. I thought you followed along."

"You go on so many who can keep up perfectly?"

"Speaking of which, what's the hold up?" Mario impatiently stopped, turned around, then quickly faced away. "Oops!"

"Oops you're right," the younger brother muttered unhumorously, still in the middle of that 'leak'. "I drink water regularly, unlike you.."

They soon ran in a slightly different direction, Mario guided by instincts he always had revisiting locations and a pulse stone app. In short time a large structure was in sight. He dashed inside the great ancient temple, lit at the entrance with eternally glowing orange lamps. When Luigi hit the steps, Mario was back out arm in arm with the Princess. Tears of joy mixed with other heavier emotions ran down from both. Luigi might have felt jealous in the past at a time like this but due to 'revelations' on this current adventure, he just couldn't..

"I'm sorry I let this happen-" Mario whispered to Peach.

"Mario, I'm sorry more..." they went on an on.

Luigi checked their six to find someone rolling his way in the dark. They were short, had tall hair and was a koopa. While Mario and Peach were occupied Luigi cautiously met the person. They were entirely pale, not a hint of fight in them, though this person in particular tended to never have that, even in the heat of their typical Castle and Fortress battles.

"Mr. Luigi, Mr. Mario, Dad has a final request to see the princess.." Lemmy announced.

Mario lifted his head up from the princess's shoulder, baffled. "First of all, No! Secondly, a 




"I will do it," Peach replied resoundingly.

Mario spun from Lemmy to her then to his brother then to the completely black sky, jaw dropped...

To be continued!

Author's note: This is sort of a jumping off point for the weirdness. It'll get.. stranger. The title of this chapter was a lot more significant in an earlier draft of this chapter but I rewrote things at the very end and still loved the ominous title. Yeah, it'll be significant in the next chapter. Stay tuned.

Created: 8/18/19, 8/20, 8/21, 8/22, 8/23, 8/25, 8/26, 8/27, 8/28, 8/29, 9/2, 9/3, 9/4, 9/11

9/12, 9/13, 9/15, 9/16, 9/18, 9/23, 10/9, 11/3, 11/4, 11/6, 11/7, 11/9, 11/10, 11/12, 11/13, 11/14

Edited: 4/28/20, 6/22

Again: 1/1/21

Different, yet not. (No seriously not) 6/24/21

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

The New Mario and Bowser, part 2 (Chapter 18)

Disclaimer: Mario and co. belong to Nintendo.

Author note: Edited to reflect previous edits

"You're not serious are you?"

Peach slowly nodded, patting away the stream of tears. "I need to see Bowser. I owe him an explanation for something."

Mario held his arm out for her. "Let's go," he said tersely.

"Super! We were, uh, kind of holding Toadsworth hostage if you didn't comply.." Lemmy lead them a few dunes away, not even a mile. Everything was silent all along and Luigi was in the rear with bated breath. He was the last to spot Bowser laid face down in the sand while his family stood around eerily quiet as well, though the look on their faces did the talking for them. Toadsworth unrestrained promptly united with Mario and company as soon as they were in sight. Peach embraced him back but her eyes lingered on Bowser's motionless form, stepping closer.

"As I was trying to explain Bowser, Ludwig may have revived the Mushroom Flu but.. the twisted old rumors are true. I'm afraid to inform you it was originally born in a lab in the Mushroom Kingdom and carefully planted in your territory as a tool to force the Koopa Kingdom into submission."

Mario blinked twice. "-Peach?"

"Mario, let me finish. You might wonder why my father would conspire such and evil plot against the koopa race. I didn't understand then but I do now. For your sake Mario, I'll admit they were driven out at one point and I regrettably let it happen. This event however was too far even for me back then, tainted by hateful ideas. I used blackmail. Yes, if I didn't become the princess in charge much earlier than usual I would ruin father's reputation forever by revealing this devastating matter. It was so unprecedented for a lone princess to rule so young like that. To think I was- and still am to this day looked up do for that 'brave' responsibility. If only they knew.." She tilted her head down and covered half shamefully as Toadsworth detached from her.

"Preposterous!" he grumbled. "I've been in the Kingdom's service for so long I saw you in the nappies, princess. That is a slap in the face to the King AND your late mother. The reason- the laws- I don't agree with all the King did wasn't that simple.." He sighed, reddened in the face and seeming guilty. "You understand don't you all?"

Luigi only shook his head.

Lemmy spun towards his family and found blank and confused faces. "Is what I'm hearing true?"

"There totally wasn't anything about the origins in Ludwig's case notes on Mushroom Flu." Iggy shrugged.

Kamek's gaze was fixed in a seemingly random direction. "Of course. That information isn't even a matter of public Mushroom Kingdom history. Not anymore at least. Lord Bowser and I back then regarded it as a freak pandemic in Dark Land. We always thought that rumor couldn't be true."

Mario took a deep breath. "Hate to say this, but, it's over now. Sorry you went though that but we need to get Peach home."

Bowser, lifeless until that point, opened his eyes rested them on Mario. Their gaze locked on for what felt like years. "Moustache, not so fast. Get over here."

Mario stepped up to him, arms crossed and boots at Bowser's snout. He waited for a prolonged moment he was sure Bowser was doing on purpose. "I'll humor you. This is still a surrender right?"

"Yeah I surrender, but I wanna be straight with you on something. Lay it all out. Give ya the truth for once."

Mario's head tilted to the side. "I find that hard to believe."

"You'd better. You aren't just any dumb plumber to me. No, I think about how much I can't stand you everyday. I use a poster of you as a dartboard. I enter your name as the computer rival in my kid's video-games. I thought about custom ordering a floor mat with your face on it. You're that other name I mumble in my sleep occasionl-alright all of the time. Aside from Peach. Quit that stupid smiling, I'm not done roasting you! I will reveal to you, only you what's gonna be my new job." Then he whispered. "I think I'll be a chef in a grill steak house..."

Mario let out the breath he'd been holding and laughed almost. "That? Go for it. You go through a lot you know. You deserve to be happy about something I.. guess," he admitted with a flush. He was stared down by Luigi and everyone else with dubiety.

Bowser then rose on his elbows, lively all of a sudden. "Stop hating. Oh, last thing. Fix your dumb hat."

Mario checked it as suggested. The cap he'd had as long as he'd remembered covered his unwashed brown hair just fine. The next thing he felt was something clamp tightly around his left ankle. Then- his heart skipped a beat.

"Got ya, moustache!"

Mario was flailed in the air by Bowser in a circle before he let go, launching him ten feet away. Mario earned a mouthful of sand and a chipped tooth when he landed face first. Who didn't love a fight at the end of an adventure? Exhilarated he faced around and zoned in on the flare in 'The Enemy's' eyes. Red met blue. The twisted frenemy feeling was euphoric, every moment of it. Lemmy or someone, Mario wasn't really paying attention, wailed about a 'Kingly Law' being violated as Bowser charged his way like a bullet bill. Mario grabbed Bowser by the horns before he got gored and together they stumbled all the way back until a palm tree stopped them, Mario wedging between Bowser and the tree. The plumber used all of the strength he had to prevent being impaled while maintaining eye contact the entire time.

"This is it Mario, no sequels! IT'S GONNA END HERE!"

"You had me going!" Mario flashed a pained smile.

Bowser punched at him, the strike missing and making the upper half of the tree crack in half and tether. "Your fault, pipes-for-brains. Like I ever give up! I'm insulted, I thought we were closer than that! Er, forget it."

The trunk snapped in half and the leaves went everywhere, covering Bowser as Mario rolled away. The plumber sprung up as the foliage erupted into Bowser's flames. "I know you never quit," Mario said to himself. "That's what I've always liked best about you.."

Luigi leaned up, unaware until that moment that he'd been knocked down in the commotion that followed. Bowser's league had everything happening obscured behind their bulky shells. Peach's cupped over her face. A slash at the plumber's face drew blood and in return a barefisted punch aimed at Bowser's mug knocked out a sharp tooth. The chaotic tumble, rough and unchoreographed galvanized all to keep up yet paralyzed them from intervening. Mario dodged another flame blast hot enough to melt the sand. With that they had a platform now for the fight, a glassy reflective one.

"Get him daddy! Get him!" Junior screeched, fists enthusiastically jutting in the air and unsure of what side was supposed to be on as the new king.

Peach felt the air grow colder. She twisted around to witness the stars black out hauntingly behind them. The miles of desert became darker. "Luigi!" She yanked him back and he tripped backward over her toes. "That thing is back and it still wants Bowser!" she cried.

Luigi shot up to retrieve the shoe box they'd carefully transported to the desert. His gloved fingers didn't prevent the painful zap from the spark. As he winced the jewel slipped from his grasp. Peach bent her body towards it and stared blankly. With so many trinkets she should have recognized The Jewel of the Stars, yet her feelings for it were like not unlike for her unpopular items in the back of her closet, IE. anything not pink. She didn't have a clue what to do with it.

"Careful Peach. As you just saw, messing with it can go about as smooth as alcohol and painkillers," Luigi told her very frankly.

Peach looked up at him, lips slightly parted as thunder cracked in the skies. It got louder as her hair blew. Luigi's too, then he felt sick. He'd been touching that jewel for too long.

...His older brother shakes him, screaming at his body slumping off the couch limply. How could he not, his reoccurring nightmares are reality. Another day after day after day of dread and anxiety and fear... So he chooses to not wake up that morning. His brother stops forcing him on adventures until some time later when something changes. Luigi begins to venture out on his own. The older brother never questions it.

…Peach is woken up early to meet a new guest and quickly dressed by her servants. A proper little pink dress with ribbons is fitted over her hair, messy until as a brush runs down it a dozen times. The five year old is taken down red carpeted steps next. Her uncomfortable black shoes tap the marble floors on the way to the front of the castle where a toad doctor she's never seen before awaits besides her father, the Mushroom King. The doctor has a purple cap and a black moustache. He pays respects while her father awaits a curtsy. Instead Peach asks what happened to Doctor Koopa, the previous doctor she took fancy to. They could talk about anything she could imagine to ask. Why was there something odd about the castle's paintings? How did blocks float? Why did they take issue with the Koopa Kingdom for no reason? Her lack of action deemed disrespectful, she gets a light rebuke and no explanation and later an indirect punishment that hurts her more than any harsh words can. The castle's library is found to be locked from that point on. Peach decidedly stops questioning. After all, if the simplest things don't have a reason what is the point?

...She is rescued again from Bowser and it's routine except for her hero for the day, the younger brother of the usual one. The stranger cradles her and carries her out of the crumbling Fortress. In the grassy field she sees sun setting and shouts joyously as he does. He is young physically yet matured by troubles in his past. He's sweet, his altruism unmistakable and Peach feels relaxed. He poses questions. Their exchanges flow freely, cordial and professional. Flirtation if any is surface level only, the precedent in their relationship from then on. Inevitably the more famous hero comes up. He explains that his brother's obsession stirs him into action. She begs for him to clarify. He stops speaking as a shooting star from East to West stretches across the sky frighteningly low it appears. He pulls her closer protectively when it returns, wrapping around the Earth for the second time. Then it stops before them and drops! They both fall backwards as the purple glow draws near. It burns their vision the closer it gets before the message comes through:

'~Do you know what that was? That was the get...before you die~'


"Why do you have that?" Yoshi demanded, taking a fighting stance.

"No closer, lizard," Ludwig held a dangerous looking wire that sprouted from the ground in one hand and behind him was a left behind infusion chamber that cured the sick earlier, with the appearance of some other kind of beast now that it was flipped horizontally. There were rocket like thrusters underneath. It seemed that's what the chamber always was, only modified later to have a more 'medical' purpose.

"You try something and I dare you!" Yoshi spat back.

Ludwig dared and plugged the wire into a panel on the chapter. Smoke poured out of it, dusting over the entire yard. There wasn't enough power. He coughed when Yoshi grabbed him and swung him aside, very effectively given his poor shape.

"Now I got you-"

"But not me." Boo rose, hovering ball of lightning at their finger tips. They shot it at Yoshi who ducked in time. The bolt clanged against the steel machine invented by Prof. X-Naut and it did not hold, the rivets popped out of place and the engine falling out. It became smothering heap of junk.

"No! You thwarted my escape!" Ludwig exclaimed nastily. "Curses, you darn dirty hero! How dare you double cross me and pretend to be my ally and scope out my plans and my hiding spots just to exemplify right now that you were on their side in actuality!"

Booigi, now Boo again stood nervously. "T-that's what I was doing?"

Yoshi slapped Ludwig across the face again for good measure, and then stood up again. "You were? If you were pretending to be a bad guy to trap Ludwig you are way over doing it Boo. WAY too hardcore. Beating us up wasn't necessary either, you know that right?"

Boo nodded. That's when they came to terms with... being chaotic neutral.

Hero and villain continued their skirmish, a swing of the tail here, a round kick there, a fire ball and a jet stream, unaware of what was developing. Disturbed, everyone scattered with no where to hide as the stars blacked out. They wanted to grab the rivals apart but nothing worked and Peach and Luigi remained on their backs and motionless, a hand clasped to each other. The clouds cried for blood and sonic waves beat down on the landscape. The countless dunes were toppled over by vicious quaking became a sand tsunami with a force strong enough to pull anyone down from the greatest to the least.

In the midst of the pandemonium something resembling intelligible voice forced itself upon any conscious enough to listen. "BOWSER! I MUST REWARD MY EMANCIPATOR AND ALL CONNECTED AND I MUST FINISH THIS NOW. WIPE THAT LOOK OFF OF YOUR FACE. I DON'T MAKE THE RULES."

Bowser, encased in sand up to his neck, picked his jaw up. Sand was falling from the sky like rain heavily and he knew this was bad even for someone as resilient as him. He only wished for two things then: to be embraced by someone he cared about and to beat Mario. Those wishes not only came true but blended disgustingly. Somewhat. Hate and love, so far apart on the spectrum for the person rushing to him, they'd met on the other side.

Human hands materialized around his spiked collar with a firm grip. "Ready? In 1, 2, 3- GO!"

Bowser was pulled upwards with a force nearly taking his head. "M-Mario?! I'm glad to see you! No I'm not! I mean- What the heck are you doing?"

"Whaddya think? I already dug up-" Mario proceeded to list off each person he'd found, a very strong tug following each name. He succeeded in bringing the top of Bowser's shoulder above ground for all of two seconds. It rained Earth that would soon make the koopa a head in the sand again. Bowser's eyelids were puffed up and red and he coughed, ingesting sand every moment. So weathered, so fatigued, so winded, it was gravely clear. Not even Mario could save him.

"Mario.. Mario! Just stop! STOP!" Bowser slumped down. "It's over. No tricks. Just leave me here before you get buried alive too."

Mario felt the wind knocked out of him harder than the fight they'd just had- or any fight- ever did to him. "...Bowser." He dropped down and embraced the rival, cautiously at first then he squeezed tighter, closer, taking in everything, the good and bad. "Don't say that. Ever. I'm supposed to pack this adventure up without you? You mean you're not gonna be the boss at the end of my next game?! We're not going to idly make threats over the phone while I'm on my couch as Koopra plays in the background and you're in your throne room with the door locked 'cause you're insecure about your minions hearing you? W-we're not gonna..?" he trailed off, feeling bassy rumble from Bowser's voice against his chest as he replied.

"That's how it is.." Bowser said in a bitterly. "Ain't you happy that I'll be out of your hair now?...You'll have Peach all for yourself. You want me dead. You finally freaking win, Mr. hero. Admit it."

Mario jolted somewhat. "I can't imagine you not being around. If you still doubt it.. I..." He debated what to reveal, perspicaciously knowing something coming ahead. "I chose this. I chose you. Listen, I will never leave you. Like you I'll never give up." Mario suddenly turned upwards at the sky in a very reserved way. "You heard me, Dark Star punk?!"

Mario shouting to the heavens? Bowser could never imagine himself that bold. Not at a time like this, so beaten down by life. At that moment, more than any of the many climatic fights they'd had over the decades, Mario seemed 'super' to Bowser. It was a weird feeling. He was bad, Mario was good. No room for compassion. This didn't compute, not the situation, not the fluttering in his stomach. He was often inclined to shy away from what he did not understand, but this was different. It was pleasant for once. This was the kind of thing he'd always wanted. Why did it have to take this long?

"THAT IS ENOUGH. QUITE ENOUGH. CUT IT OUT. YOU ARE MAKING ME SICK," the dark star boomed, hidden beside the frightful vortex in the sky.

Peach and Luigi rose up from their backs, out of the trance. The glow from the jewel in Peach's lap poured over them and restored sensibility. Disrupting Peach's inspired mission, her elbows begin to buckle, but Luigi's larger hands wrapped around hers and together they rose the jewel upwards. The clouds clashed as the invisible killer coiled up in preparation for its final attack. A black lightning bolt darted from the center to the storm's eye to the Earth as the blazing jewel rose above Luigi and Peach's temples, releasing white gleaming beam as wide as the area. It blasted into the sky, ripping a hole through the tempest. The only sound next was the thump of their heartbeats.


"Arr! We'd be off this island if we just ate Noki already. He messes everything up-"

BOOM! A star warrior fell onto a shaggy carpet, ears ringing. The television set blew up randomly a second ago. His eyes felt like they had meteor rock in them, his muscles were stiff, he'd made a deep imprint the couch, and he had a shaggy beard, all of this despite not having a physical manifestation at the moment. Geno as they called him in human terms, stumbled out of his home and onto the asteroid his docked airship on. Nebula 9 stretched above with purple ambient rays made silvery by the energy glimmer of his new visitor, a star that crashed into and snapped his electric pole. There went the TV series he'd gotten subscribed to recently, extremely addictive hits like 'Honeyhive Galaxy's Got Talent' and 'The Pianta Syndicate'.

Geno approached the small black colored star. She had white eyes and a bowler hat crooked innocently enough, yet dazed as he was he knew that something had blasted her into this dimension and it was his duty to investigate. Her very ancient looking shoulder bag frayed from the impact and strolled across the metallic rocky crystals that were the yard were her belongings, pearls from 200 AD, make up, and a wooden cigar box marked 'Zack'.

"How did you get here?"

Eyeing him up and down equally she laughed him off. "And who are you to instigate? Go back to watching reruns, loser!" She was blocked by a bubble around her, a force field. Spinning around to face Geno again with eyes flashing in anger she found him holding a glowing star rod.

"Instead Eldstar and the others will be hearing about your kind meddling in the Light World." Confidently Geno was already sending a message to the Star Temple. "Hello? This is (heart)(musicnote)!?. Wait, I'm speaking to voicemail?"

The message played out loud and clear but the Star Guardians were too busy enjoying season seventy of 'Noki's Island'. All seven were present and the curious black box Klevar installed a year prior had their attention. Cooped up in the den they were gratified in an empty and meaningless but self sustaining way that could last indefinitely.

All the while, the shield holding the dark star in developed faint cracks. A single star rod could only do so much. In acquiescence Geno got a hold of another friend for backup, a bit less reliable...


Back on Earth an area three football fields large had its topography turned upside down, dunes sheered down, dinosaur bones unearthed, and landmarks erased. Curious ones from Dry Dry Outpost stepped into another world upon investigation. There were mounds in the sand shaped vaguely like bodies and a scaly arm reached out of the ground and grabbed Rholand's leg. The goomba screamed and kicked as Wendy O. emerged from the spot, revealing herself to the ex-Koopa Troop members from the oasis that were curious over the great commotion.

"Oww, I'm alive!" she wailed back, coughing.

One by one people rose from the sand. There were the Koopalings, Kamek, Kammy, Sentry 11, Toadsworth, Peach, and lastly Luigi in what became a frenzy.

The younger brother's head seared from the headache so much he could hardly stand. "Where's Mario?!" he bellowed, interrupting the chatter from others when they realized that the more famous plumber and Bowser for that matter were unaccounted for. They searched around with woozy steps while the sentry zipped around in the sky, his cloud surviving the storm.

"Hey Boss! We found you.." reported Sentry 11 over an deep impression in the ground. He peered down it with his binoculars. "Oh.. Boss.. Y-you're dead.." he trailed off, binoculars falling out of his grasp.

Luigi and Lemmy dropped down the trench and uncovered the scorched ground around Mario and Bowser like their lives depended on it. They couldn't believe that lakitu at least, until they noticed neither hero or villain moving. Numbly Lemmy and Luigi faced each other, the deepest void residing in both of them. Both would have rather it been them to be honest.


"Kidnapping princesses is not all we did. The Koopa Troop initially helped with Neo Bowser City and you know how that changed the economy. Really most transgressive values come from us, specifically integration of friendly and enemy species. In short, things will be fine." Ludwig replied from the stage to a Toad Town representative snapping photos. It was the tenth question, predicted and rehearsed for in the one hour he'd had to prepare. The Koopaling jittered from the obscene amounts of coffee he'd guzzled. He hadn't slept since he was officially released from Southern Mushroom Kingdom custody.

"Is our princess really safe just because Bowser's dead?" someone interjected.

Ludwig gazed about trying to pinpoint the voice in the bereaved crowd of Mario's memorial service. It was an packed outside event in the Toad Town Park, the gloom contrasted with a sunny and beautiful sky. "The Princess is safe. The Troop's values have shifted, but I disagree when you state Vater, King Bowser I mean, is dead. He's not really. 'No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone's life is only the core of their actual existence.' So… Vater, excuse me Bowser, my father is not really gone. Vielen Dank." The once hardened Koopa Troop prince quickly excused himself from the platform and slipped behind the curtain before the tear had a chance to trickle.

The meeting kept going all morning, technically the same day and less than eight hours after the early morning incident. There were speeches given in Mario's honor, a few songs played all from the popular levels, and lots of sorrow.

Luigi meanwhile made breakfast after his lukewarm shower. It was mildly burnt, the way Mario would have done it. The death of his brother hadn't seemed real until he woke up. Maybe Luigi could have been quicker here or there, maybe it didn't matter. He knew what Mario saw when he touched the jewel. Did that mean Mario meant all along to- Luigi didn't let himself go there. He remained alone and cut off from the world, especially since his cellphone was still broken. But.. maybe he should start using Mario's cell now. He grabbed it off the nightstand in a surreal moment. That's what he'd want, the older brother hated electronic waste. He noted how perfectly repaired the World 3 warp pipe was in the backyard, bringing back memories he'd rather forget so left his and his brother's home to walk around Toad Town in plain clothes, black slacks and a white short sleeved shirt to clear his mind. Without Mario too much was carved out of his heart and he was a shell meandering about.

He reached a random Toad Town bench on a quiet block and tiredly sat on it.

"Do you know what that was?"

Luigi snapped back awake, having fallen asleep. "-What you see before you die?"

Ludwig stood well dressed with little hint of his poor shape yesterday. "If they get out of hand. You should see the political rallies in Dark Land. No actually I meant that Mario's memorial from the princess was clearly a peace proposal. I accept, I certainly don't want to kidnap your princess. She's not my type."

Luigi rose up. "You're getting away with walking down Toad Town streets," he said clinically. "We are living in different times now aren't we?"

"Indeed." The Koopaling offered a hand so they shook. It oddly assured Luigi in a way. "We are the new Mario and Bowser once things settle. Hear me, you have my deepest sympathies. Your brother gave me the hardest fights in castles and fortresses, along with you of course. He was a fearless leader and hero and I can respect that, even from the opposite side."

Luigi paused, shyly keeping focus on his boots. "Same for your dad. I never thought he was, like, a monster or anything. He was really determined to do what he set his life on and a lot of people can learn from that. He never gave up. Ever." He lifted his head. "That's where you got your determination from and I can see you'll be a good, uh, friend? Enemy?"


"Yeah that. What are you going to do now if you aren't interested in Peach?"

That seemed to catch Ludwig off guard, then he returned the grin if mischievously. "Executing my most daring plan, if you dare to learn about it."

Luigi's eyebrow raised.

There was a giant doomship planted square in a moo moo field near Southern Mushroom Kingdom but still in Toad Town. Undisturbed from the work they'd done all morning, the massive tragedy kept locals shut in their homes. Luigi got a bad feeling right away as there were several miles it seemed worth of tubing running from some suspiciously important looking sewer lines running into a black boxy object installed next to the airship. Luigi was so stunned he walked right into a pasturing moo moo and the cow won, bouncing the plumber backwards.

"I told Roy cow tipping was fake," remarked Iggy, going down a check list. Luigi watched another koopaling roll extra tubing supply into open fold up door behind the airship. Others were missing except Junior running around playing with a toy airship and making the buzzing noises with his mouth.

"Luigi, have your heard of the 'flutter effect'?" Ludwig asked, grabbing his attention. "The most seemingly unimportant thing can change life dramatically? Oh you didn't? Well it's flawed. The death of our beloved was orchestrated clearly by a higher power, the Dark Star and so we will undo it utterly. I will not except anything less."

Luigi felt a pit in his stomach. Something about the sparkle in the prince's blue eyes.. "How."

"If something unorthodox started this affair something equally as unconventional should fix it." Beaming as bright as the sun Ludwig marched before one of many random shapes cut very cleanly and intricately in the high grass.

"The heck? What is this? I'll save you time. Quit whatever you're doing!"

"Luigi Mario? Dare you speak authoritatively?" Ludwig had his back against a large black mysterious object. The thing gave off a hum and Luigi could feel the tickle of electricity on his exposed arms. "The plan will commence regardless of your opinion. Deal with it, plumber."

Luigi met eye to eye with the koopaling. "Guess what? I want you to try!" He roughly grabbed Ludwig by the collar of his fancy blue blazer, also aggravating a sore spot by the way he winched.

Ludwig smirked regardless. "You are the Mario and I am the Bowser after all!"

To be continued!

Author note: Uh, yeah. Not so over is it?

Created: 8/29/19, 8/30, 9/2, 9/4, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11, 9/12, 9/13, 9/15, 9/16, 9/17, 9/18, 9/22, 9/23 -Rewritten from this point on. 11/15/19, 11/17, 11/19, 11/20, 11/22, 11/24, 11/26

Edit: 4/29/20, 6/23

Again: 1/1/21

Regarding Ludwig's quote, 'sauce' below:

"No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone's life is only the core of their actual existence." ― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever Redux

Luigi's Awesomely Ambivalent Allegory (Chapter 19)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.

Author note: *See bottom notes* The ensemble meets Twilight Zone!

The realms afar had no choir for the great fallen hero. Everything was quiet for the star warrior planted firmly in place to guard the dark star in her entrapment. With no response to his distress call yet, Geno was trapped also in a way, stuck in an uncomfortable stalemate because she was shrewd enough to not enlighten him in any way regarding her purpose.

"Getting tired?" she purred.

A loud and staticky but benign pop went off behind Geno, the five hundredth and twenty-seventh phantasm to try to catch him off guard. He'd counted. "Cease that, please." Next he thought was the five hundredth and twenty-eighth as his shadow grew from a new light source. Her tricks were getting better, he thought. This time he could feel the heat and smell the embers-

WHAM! The celestial bodies above became white streaks across the sky while the planetoid was jettisoned out of orbit. It careened into the neighboring Good Egg galaxy and bounced around like a ping pong ball before finally resting into a slow spin near Pear planet. Geno lifted furniture and scraps of debris off him. There was a deep fissure in the land taking half of his house down with it. TV? Gone. Precious jar of frog coins? Gone. Geno was conscious enough to spot the object responsible for the impact. See! Alive, glowing, radiant! The Millennium Star then swooped down like a pidgit beside Geno to land with a frightening thud.

"Ho-ho-ho, I rushed here when I received your message. Is Eld really absent?"

Geno quickly shook himself awake. "Y-yeah I'm not sure what's going on but thanks for just showing up buddy! Help me find where.. she went!" He gestured in the general area where the bubble used to be.


With a distorted cackle, a ripple of dark mater rolled over the jagged boulders and pebbles on the edge of the fissure and rose into the atmosphere to escape. Millennium Star sent a beam of light but the two forces missed completely and then proceeded to blast part some other unfortunate planet miles away.

"I'll handle the crafty she-devil. You check on Great Eld." Mill. Star flailed into action and Geno respected the older star's orders, heading to the Star Temple.

Luigi parked the Mach bike farther than usual and flinched at seeing Peach's neat hedges flattened by a large tractor and other big company trucks. He didn't recognize any faces to the toads wandering around with florescent hard hats so he weaved around them, including the contractors inspecting where there the stone moat was chopped in half. He made the seven foot leap to the other side uneventfully, almost like the good old days, until he feet splashed in the water flowing from under the door. He rushed in with the mat key and discovered a water stream from the stairs to the mezzanine to the check-board tiles and an inch up on his boots. He could even hear the clanging of the leaking pipes. He knew two days ago Friday the castle crashed down from the sky, but there seemed to be zero restoration progress indoors. The lights were out and trash littered the floor. Peach's stained-glass portrait from the balcony was even shattered and the pieces crunched under his feet.

Now that was sacrilege.

"Is anyone home?"

The second floor's door was gently pushed open by Peach. Hair down, she wore an unanticipated light grey simple dress with matching rubber rain boots. "Everyone else left me alone here, just join them."

Luigi slowly met her on the stairs. "What? What happened? Where are your toads?"

"There was a great fit all morning! I confessed to ALL of the toads about my mistake and that went quite.. unwell. But worse Toadsworth went deranged. That was it, I broke him, Luigi! He wanted nothing to do with the castle and the toads followed his course of leave, even secretary Toad Toad."

Luigi pulled her in close embrace. He felt gentle tremors from her as she wepted into his shoulder. "The Koopalings are still in town trying to cause trouble, that's why I'm here. I mean, who else will stop it? If you're not up for an epilogue to an adventure no one asked for, I don't blame you." They pulled apart a little so that he held her arms.

Peach's expression eased. "You just sounded like your brother." She squeezed his hands tighter with a weak smile. "I think.. I want to help."

Toad Town had nothing going on, at least down town, with stale air. Everything including the Post Office was closed and they didn't even pass a Mushroom Bus. Luigi spotted in the corners of his vision the periodic mementos of his brother posted up as banners on buildings, "In Memory Of.." ect. His hands were quivering on the handle bars and feeling the panic attack coming on, he look for an excuse for a short break. He found one. Outside the Toadley Clinic the doctor's assistant was dragging a lab table to the sidewalk's edge.

"Will I move out of town? Yes I will," Dr. Toadley explained to Luigi and Peach, arms tucked into the thick fur lined coat he wore. Birdley was perched on his left shoulder placidly.

"Prof. E. Gadd offered a small workshop in Boo Woods," his assistant added in a succinct but cordial way. "The square footage would not accommodate the doctor's outdated- ah hem- vintage instruments. (Thank goodness!)" Constantly moving until that point, she dropped her hot pink colored bags next to the compact little car with a psychedelic custom paint job. "Oh, and sorry about Mario," she tacked on, blushing. "Umm. He was really cool and- I was in the fan club when I still studied in college. For a bit, those people were nuts. Anyway great guy. We'll miss him."

The many acres of flat territory south of Toad Town but before the official southern boarder and into more desert like conditions was an area was known as 'Area 64'. In the past Shroobs landed there according to legend. Luigi stopped next to the big object covered in black tarp with the thick wires. When Peach stepped close strings of her hair stood up on their own. She decidedly did not peek under the cover.

Luigi scanned around. It was so flat he could see for miles. Miles with zero Koopa activity. "We missed them."

"No no. We still have the airship dear, and Ludwig stows notes there assuming Junior doesn't doodle on the backs and loses them, or if Larry hasn't hid them to sabotage his plans. In that case we need to check the bathroom also, in the medicine cabinet. Iggy's cell phone should be simple to discover for clues, not that he's politically inclined, but he adores science and methodical nature of schemes and he lets his phone drain to seven percent before he panics and keeps it glued to the charger. Wendy's room might be worth checking out because I know she's secretly interested in her brother's plans and will xerox papers and blueprints... Luigi?" Tapping her rain boot impatiently, Peach stood at the airship's inner hatch. "Shall we enter? -And, don't look at me like I should not know those things. I have spent a percentage of my life I don't want to calculate as Bowser's captive."

They made their way in. A wave of dust and must burned Luigi's nostrils while Peach was unbothered. The squeaks of their shoes went along with the squeaks of the mouser infestation. Luigi followed Peach wind through all sorts of things he never knew was in an airship, like laundry room. They went up creaky spiral steps to the captain's quarters. Peach zoned to Iggy's phone on the charger and swiped the passcode. With a flush sat it back down gently and shook her head. Luigi went the table of darkened cast steel. There were maps of territories rolled out and kept flat with rocks along with a feather pen fossilized in place. Dark Land must have looked very different before he and Mario entered the Mushroom World. Half of the kingdom was just swamp land at some point. The drawer under the table was empty. The pushed in ragged antique chair had the imprint to suggest that it was Bowser's but it was pale with dust also, untouched.

"Ludwig must be keeping all of the plans on himself personally," Luigi admitted.

They went back out to see something coming from Toad Town. The silver patrol car had its flashers and siren on, contrasting with its leisurely cruise off road and into the field with them. It stopped and Yoshi got out from the passenger door, wearing a pressed army green ranger hat and a belt.

There was a flash of strong emotion on his face before everything flattened. "You aren't authorized to be here."

"Yoshi, we were- Ludwig is trying to-"

The driver's side window rolled down, revealing Captain Toad. "We're aware of strange activity Mr. Luigi."

"Stan? You're a cop too?"

"It's Captain Toad."

The spark of familiarity was missing, like he didn't know Stan any more. That wasn't right and the princess beside him picked up on it as well.

Peach's fingers curled into Luigi's as Yoshi with some reservation, fiddled with the objects on his belt. Standard issue for law enforcement there was a flashlight, a radio, and handcuffs!

"Heeeey!" Yoshi called as Peach and Luigi sprinted to the Mach Bike to escape down the road. Dust was kicked in his face and the hat blown off his noggin as a car also zoomed past him, The Captain in the cruiser for a chase. Yoshi sighed in annoyance as the vehicle became a smaller object in the distance. He was certain he and the toad both agreed that Yoshi would call the orders. Right after Mario's memorial swore to be Toad Town's defender against the Bowser 2.0s of the world, especially with Peach in hiding and Luigi who was missing. The Captain with his odd demeanor suddenly wedged into Yoshi's plans at the last minute. Now Yoshi was alone with doom ship, the object under the tarp, and no backup.

The dinosaur approached the tarp, braving the ticklish feeling over his green skin. He yanked it off bracing himself. The machine resembled a punch card computer, twice as tall as him and five times as wide with spinning wheels visible from slits near the top. Plastic panels wrapped around the metal was salmon colored and directly opposite of the tubing he could see where something would connect with a massive power plug. Yoshi made his mental notes and then continued on to his next task of securing the area from bystanders. If he just kept busy...Rumor said, something big was imminent.

Luigi's bike veered through a narrow gap in between two old country fences, barging in someone's backyard and disturbing their chickens. Clucks and caws and cuckoos ensued as they embraced the Southern territory with open arms filled with feathers, Mt. Rugged poking up from the horizon in the distance. Luigi was subconsciously guided towards the southern hospital, the only landmark he knew. He banged on the locked door of the ranch styled western building. Peach joined him with delicate fists replicating the rapping.

"Be patient, y'hear?" Probabilly snapped before he saw who they were. His face softened but he said nothing. The parakoopa janitor stepped up onto the porch with a heavy bundle of keys in hand. Just when inserting the key-

Jr. Troopa's pale face peeked through the shutters on the door before they shut tightly. "Don't grant 'em in Bill! I just can't help no one today.. T-too painful. I should of been nicer to Mario! I'm sorry! I should of!" he cried from the other side.

Probabilly glanced back at the plumber and princess in both sympathy and in confirmation that he had to obey and couldn't do them a favor.

"Now what?" Luigi begged as they were back in the middle of the South's dirt streets.

Acutely Peach spotted a dark open barn sure to be filled with tools and blunt objects and saws. "We go there and defend ourselves."

Luigi's jaw dropped momentarily. "Peach. Wow. Okay, let's do this."

They scurried across the plot to there, tripping over some of the Mecha-Yoshis lined up against the wall, deactivated but still sporting red glowing eyes. Countless mechanical parts from vehicles, computers, farm equipment, and radios were in rusty piles all through the loosely organized room.

"Bother some other vermin...Junior. It's my break time." someone slurred. Only Vick's tall ten-gallon hat was visible from the gamery computer chair turned backwards.

The patooie plant's multi-monitor setup displayed a plethora of sitcoms and television programs, curiously some galactic only channels as well. Jolly Roger Bay Watch was the biggest screen and despite both hating that show, Luigi and Peach felt a strange near hypnotic effect drawing them in. That was broken however when they heard a car pull up outside. They scampered behind metal oil drums as Captain Toad invited himself in. Finally able to see him completely, he was dressed like a little ranger with a valiant fixed expression. Their hearts thumped with greater intensity when his lamp went on full blast and swept the cluttered barn's interior. It was then when Peach's fingers walked over to a heavy spanner, she guessed, in the dark. She grabbed it then-

"Identify!" Mecha-Yoshi #7 blared very loudly. Peach dropped the weapon, Vick fell out of his computer chair and The Captain got a single glance at it before the robotic dino tail smacked him. The toad was knocked against the other side of the shed. The Mecha-Yoshi sniffed the air with a childlike twist of its neck then unleashed a pink expandable tongue on the toad. It uttered an electronically distorted "YOSHI!" as he was swallowed whole. Luigi crawled from around their hiding place. Peach was instantly tugging on him and leading out.

"I'll handle this y'all," was the half awake drawl of Vick as they were leaving.

Outside they had a new getaway option with the key in the ignition ready to go.

...Yoshi completed this blockage across the street that went from Toad Town to Area 64, hay bales no car could cross unless extremely determined. Finally he saw The Captain returning with their expensive rented patrol car. It was about time. Yoshi leaned down into the tinted window as it rolled down and- Wham! Luigi punched him and he flew backwards seeing stars. Next he knew he was staring at the sky and then an angry princess.

"Explain dear friend why you chased us from here!" Peach yelled before she caught herself. Flushing mildy, she continued in a more normal tone, "Do not forget who I am. I expect answers."

Yoshi sighed deeply. "What is there to explain? Don't you know?" It seemed she didn't so the dinosaur's lips pursed. "..Well you'd know if you showed up at Mario's memorial."

"I was present...incognito." She stepped back. "I could not sit through the entire thing."

The dinosaur leaned up from his back. "..Point is, you missed what we all agreed on at the very end. Someone had to take the mantle of hero of your Kingdom, if you even still care."

Luigi opened the door and got out. "Of course she cares!"

Yoshi turned to his general direction. "Where were you when all of your brother's best friends were bawling their eyes out this morning? Because I was there, same way I was for h-him- I was for-!" He wiped his eyes, still trained on the plumber's boots. "Luigi.. Where were you? I needed you! You know I loved Mario," he squeaked.

"I know." Luigi gently closed the car door and approached, wrapping his arms around Yoshi. "I know," he repeated, voice wavering. "Without Mario I don't know my up from my down but look at me! I'm here anyway and we can't- Like you said we can't stop. We can't let Ludwig's next crazy scheme work. Okay?"

Yoshi nodded, face red. He became composed just as quickly as he cracked apart. "Okay. What do you think of that?"

Luigi then, peering over Yoshi's shoulder, noted the machine that Yoshi had uncovered earlier. It was familiar except something was blocking full recognition from his mind. He raised an eyebrow at the princess which flipped a switch for her.

Peach cupped her hands over her mouth. "Why would the koopas revive the Timulator?!"

After moping around in a rocking chair and delaying as long as he could, Jr. Troopa would have to stop feeling bad about himself and fulfill his role as head nurse. He knew Mario's tragedy couldn't be an excuse no matter how devastated he was. The fresh out of high-school koopa just hated he had to face that adult reality in this way, regarding someone so instrumental in his life. He dragged his feet to his secretary's hideout with some caution. Unlike Piranha Plant leaves, his feet were susceptible to spare nails haphazardly left on the shop floor. Tripping over a Mecha-Yoshi's disembodied head in the middle of the shop, he gasped. He dashed to the nearest switch to light up the shop. The robotic torso had the abdomen area busted open from the inside, colorful wires hanging out like spaghetti. Jr. Troopa made another mad dash to the computer chair when he almost slipped in a semi clear liquid.


He yanked the chair around his way. His buddy Vick was slumped back into the seat motionlessly with his green vine like neck half severed and his tongue dangling out of his mouth. His green sap pooled on the floor, chair and desk. Next to the monitors still displaying sitcoms was someone's rugged travel backpack. A note tacked on it stated in neat hand writing:

'Didn't want it to weigh me down.. -The Captain.'

"Guys. Something at six o' clock!" Yoshi dove down into the grass.

Approaching opposite of the bunkers leading to Toad Town were the entire catalog of Bowser baddies in military file, koopas, hammer bros, goombas, dry bones, boos, thwomps, and more. Luigi ordered for her to get out dodge, anticipating a battle. Peach retreated into the doomship, hiding in a secret closet and watched through the crack in the door. To her horror, the airship was their destination. She watched as Bowser's desk became covered with thorny native Dark Land flowers in a form of a memorial service.

Back outside, a different wave was approaching from Toad Town, all dressed a particular way. Having destroyed the Toad Town message board's servers since that morning, this group a few hundred members strong planned to raid Area 64 and uncover the truth. A Dark Land air cruiser parked before them confirmed their conspiracy theories to the point of starting a frenzy. Luigi realized that their presence was all but invisible to both parties so he used the uproar of the cult like group to take some action against the dangerous machine. Mind splitting into many directions, he kept it simple. He went for the cord.

"Don't do that Luigi Mario. Those lines aren't isolated and electricity hurts."

Luigi goofily reeled back into Ludwig. "Where were you?"

The Koopaling had tucked under his arm a miniature plastic four stringed guitar with a sticker attached stating '4000 tickets'. His siblings had carnival bags with them with candies, Wendy held a stuffed dino rhino, and Junior a cotton candy tower, Lemmy a new ball. "Good question. Biding time until the Mario fanatics and the old Koopa Troop met in this location. It is the art of obfuscation, Luigi Mario. Where would we be without Larry's dazzling fireworks and shapes in the grass catching the attention of Toad Town?" Ludwig's eyes twinkled at Luigi's bewilderment. "You didn't take the time to examine the more spectacular geometric entities a mile down? Like the N64 logo?"

"I busted my butt getting 'em right!" Larry remarked.

"They're beautiful," Luigi replied impatiently. "How else did you arrange all this?"

"Iggy discovered how weak the infrastructure was in the city so with our manufactured spectacles combined with the major news of our beloved ones perishing, the onslaught of activity would make the web overload. Try to log on to the message boards. 404. No news of anything in town!"

"Nothing was happening in town for real."

"Exactly. The perception of a lack of eventfulness ensured uneventfulness. With that lethargic state of townspeople, we worked unhindered for hours. Not even any reporters doing their 'snooping' thing."

Luigi's fists balled up against eight koopas. "Don't think that because it's just me now, you can do whatever you want. You got this far, but now it ends." The plumber shocked the whole family by flinging his boot against the machine. Clang! And a dent was created in the metal.

"Noooo, Luigi-sama don't!" Iggy flung himself in front of Luigi's toes and wrapped his body around his legs. "It took Twenty-four straight hours- totally more difficult than how I got into college early at twelve to get us here! I even worked overtime to fix the backup Wacky Watch before breakfast. The super sensitive quartz crystals will help take three of us to last Friday May 17 2019 and you can't just... Oops I think I wasn't supposed to reveal that!"

Luigi tried and failed to shake him off his toes. "What did I just hear?" He sputtered as Morton and Roy together hauled a cramped looking capsule into place at Ludwig's direction. It was silver like a pod with a large glass front and connected to the Timulator's plug. Now the puzzle was coming together.

"Listen Luigi," Larry spoke up. "Iggy, stop making a fool of yourself. Anyway plumber, we ain't or at least I ain't your enemy anymore. You need to let this scheme or whatever work. We may can fix stuff, just you see aight?"

Lemmy kept digging his foot in the ground anxiously like he was in his own world. He slipped on a comically large and bright gaudy helmet, the kind one might wear to get shot out of a cannon in a circus and entered the pod.

Junior kept swinging his toy airship in the air, occupied with some imaginary bomb raid. "When will daddy get back from his vacation in the sky?" he asked suddenly.

Wendy and Larry flushed, their expression begging Luigi to not explain what really happen to their dad. And that was the last piece of the puzzle Luigi needed to understand what was going on. Now the problem was that the situation was escalating exponentially.

Inside the airship: Tanner was the last to leave his contribution on Bowser's desk, ice flowers from Sky Land. "I swear I'm not mad at you Bowser, wherever you are right now. Not even your failed love life Princess Peach, who I know is hiding back there. Hi Peach."

Dazzled, Peach ignominiously stepped out from hiding and before the pungent mound of flora on the old desk. Tanner's helmet was removed and she noticed only then how young he looked.

"I'm sorry you lost your King," she felt compelled to say.

"Don't feel compelled to say that."

"How do you keep-" she started.

"-Have some respect for Boss, you quitin' punk," Sentry 11 growled from out of sight.

Peach didn't know where that creep stowed himself nor wanted to. There was a disturbance outside then. She wiped away the smudges on a cloudy port window and felt her knees buckle- it was Mario! And Mario again... Myriads of effigies. She staggered out of the ship just in time for a group of the Mario Fan Club to swallow her up and dump her at the front lines of the screaming match with the Bowser baddies on premise. The Koopa Troop assumed that the Mario Fans were attempting to dececrate the last remaining Doomship, while the Mario fans assumed the Koopa Troop had some sort of conspiracy going on. Without of signature pink dress no one gave her a second glance. She desperately crowd surfed over them until strong hands carried her away from the commotion.

"Peach, there you are!"

"Luigi, I feel faint!"

"You think?!" he replied, hurrying her along despite her protests. "They fixed the Timulator somehow. Come on!"

He dragged her in time in time to see the glass hatch of the pod closed down. Iggy, Lemmy, and Ludwig were inside and each had a zone to cover inside the Timulator pod. Lemmy's was the wheel, Iggy had a punch panel, and Ludwig had a florescent little radar screen. The others were farther away and low to the ground except for Junior.

"Ten, nine, uhhhhh what's next.." Bowser Junior counted down, hand hovering over a button. The older siblings were behind him taking cover in a hastily dug trench.

"Stop right there Junior!" Luigi ordered.

"Threeeleventwenty-fourone! Blast off!" Bowser Junior smacked a big red button. Timulator emitted a shrill zap noise and everyone smelt burnt grass. Ludwig nearly burst a vessel as someone forgot to plug the darn capsule in.

The glass hatch of the pod opened with swoosh from the pressurized air. "This will surely make me pass out from agony, so keep off the throttle until one of you can toss by body in the pod. Understood?" the commander announced. Luigi grabbed his arm inches away from the plug. Ludwig shrugged and used his opposite appendage to reach for the humming buzzing power line. Instantly Luigi let go or he was going to be part of the super-charged circuits.

"You're crazy!" Luigi exclaimed.

Ludwig flashed him a sly smile. "Accurate take, Luigi Mario. Now-" He connected the plugs. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Luigi and the others were knocked backwards while the Timulator v.2 roared to life so climatically it finally attracted the attention of the Mario Fan club and the Koopa Troop. They stood and watched in awe then went back to fighting, the rivalry of the two groups almost matching those they worshiped. With so much power a swirling portal was ripped into the Earth. The pod's open hatch was ripped away and sucked into the portal. Underneath the roar of the passage into the unknown, Lemmy and Iggy screamed their heads off, their restraints the only thing holding them in from the forces.

Flat on his back Luigi craned his neck up from the short distance away he'd been tossed. Like they were in the eye of a storm, a thick swirling haze surrounded the immediate area he was in around the Timulator. He strained to see a figure, the princess standing upright despite it all and gliding towards the portal. He called her desperately but he couldn't even hear himself.

Ludwig's muscles were locked up, almost incapable of anything but continuing to feed power into the machine with the wires in his hands. Almost. "AAAAAHHHH SSOOOMMEEOOONNEE STOOOPPP HEERRRRR!" he said as the portal hungrily devoured the princess, snatching her right out of their world.

Luigi sprung into the pod with Lemmy and Iggy, taking Ludwig's spot. "After her!"

"Luigi! Get out of that! Call everything off!" someone said. With a bright beam, Yoshi cut through the fog and entered the vortex. The dinosaur froze, jaw dropped at that portal. Captain Toad was just then at his side. Without his backpack the toad made an acrobatic leap over the portal, bounced off of the pod exterior and landed at the rear of the Timulator near the electronics-

"Ludwig, you are aware I never let a crook get away." Captain Toad then slung his pickaxe like a tomahawk.

Ludwig tilted his neck down at the blade impaling his lower chest. Dark red blood dripped from the puncture to the ground. In all of his research he regretted not studying mortality and just how quickly it slipped away more in depth. As his claws grew numb and his skin colder, Ludwig hallucinated 'Vater' alive and proud standing beside him telling him to handle it how he would. How would Bowser do it? By screwing it up- on purpose. With his limited movement Ludwig misaligned the two plugs to create a catastrophic short. Thousands of decibels made Timulator go up in thick smoke as it ejected the pod and the three currently in it into the portal. The gateway satisfied, it collapsed on itself and 'borrowed' a little piece of reality with it.

Luigi, Lemmy, and Iggy's pod soared through the solar system for thousands of miles without any shielding. The positive g-forces affected Luigi the hardest as he was not in any restraints. Shortly before the first impact he blacked out. They collided with a dusty purple planetoid in a cube shape and then an orange planet the shape of a convex icosahedron. The wheel in Lemmy's hands broke loose and patch panels showered Iggy. Another larger impact with an asteroid made Iggy's face bang into the thick cathode tube of the radar, knocking him unconscious as he lacked a helmet like Lemmy. Lemmy squeezed his eyes shut from the dark five pointed shape hanging in space they were traveling uncontrollably towards. The astronomical entity was completely blotted out, darker than blackness around it, and its points stretched out farther than observable. Just under the sound of his heart, Lemmy heard a bang and then he felt their pod break up. He thought yesterday would be the last time he wished for death. He was wrong.

Kylie Koopa slammed down the landline and sprung out of her cubicle. The 'curfew' should have been over by now and the news had to get out, her knowledge like a dam ready to burst but held back by the doors of the Mushroom Press being locked. She knocked vexingly on the glass while glaring at her boss on the other side on the sidewalk. He looked vacant and the pupils of his eyes had an unusual shape. "Steve, this ain't funny!"

With no response, her left eyelid twitched, as upset at him as she was herself. If she'd not foolishly listened Snifit Patrol and went home, promised nothing else exciting was going to happen that night, she would not have missed the arrival of the princess back into the Kingdom and the announcement of Mario passing. What a shock in her system. Could she remain unemotional enough to even write about it? Today was entirely different world where the Toad Town message boards were down and it felt like everyone including Steve was replaced with a look-a-like. She took a deep breath and went back to the paper press where she'd been filing away at the lock on the backdoor. Doing this on and off again her arm ached but she was jazzed when the heavy detached padlock finally fell into her lap. She pressed the door open quietly and checked the back lot of the press for anyone. She had a dupe key to Steve's old newscaster truck and sped off on empty streets to Peach's Castle.

"Nope. Left with the green one an hour ago," a contractor told her. Tall and homely under his hard hat, he was definitely not a sprightly castle toad. "The others before even that."

Kylie cranked the window all the way down. "You talking about her toads, brother? Think the message boards will be up soon?"

He shrugged. She tried Hotel Mario for the toads. The goomba at the counter after offering star quartz bracelets informed her that no toads were staying there. Gee whiz, she thought, she was a reporter and not a detective. Then she snapped her fingers. Shy Guy's toy box, or rather the unmarked house in East Toad Town containing the portal there was locked up. That went nowhere. One last option. She heard the distant horn of K64 traveling on the train tracks and had to wait for it to pass to get to Pleasant Path. Nothing was going right! Finally she was free to race to Mitch's condo.

"Use my mat key," he communicated.

Kylie kicked his mat over for it. Everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom need to stop being so predicable with that trick. It could lead to theft, she thought.

"-Something close enough. They tore the place up for info but didn't hurt me. Well, the pink boo wanted to, sick freak playing it off like it's an interrogation technique..."

Kylie felt her stomach flip. Her co-worker's home was rummaged and his nice things, odd trinkets collected from distant kingdoms, signed photos from celebrities, dining room set, and designer clothes were tossed around like a tornado. With some slight discoloration on his exposed skin hinting at a fight despite the story he'd just told, Mitch leaned against the back of his couch.

"Mitch. Gosh, brother.." she grimaced. "What else."

"And they took my wheelchair," he mumbled.

"Ablest little.. Let's go." Kylie swung the keys on her finger. "Oh snap. This means I have to carry around your sorry butt.."

'Pinks, reds, blues, greens, and purples. See! There you go! Ho-ho-ho'

~No. NO! My call resonated already. Your antics only drag the inevitable, sweetheart..~

The dark and light cosmic entities warred again.

Luigi eyes snapped open. His head ached fiercely. There were sparkles all around before he blinked again and discovered himself on a lumpy bed inside a dim one roomed cabin. He tossed off the covers to find the arm of a snoring person slung around his torso. He shrieked, sending Iggy out the bed with a thump on the wooden floors.

Lemmy barged through the door and buzzed about the room like he knew the place. He removed helmet and made it clink on the wooden boards. "Oh my gosh I'm alive!.. Oww I landed on the roof but- Okay. Okay. Focus. We missed our past selves so come on!" told them frantically.

Iggy hopped up and fixed his crooked glasses. "Hahahaha yep, this is Zoo Diddley's house! Hahaha there's the junk in the corner Luddy knocked you into. Hahaha- uh hey, h-he didn't make it did he? Actually, I can't remember the last five minutes so it doesn't have to count I guess! Bazinga!"

Luigi grabbed his arm before he slipped out. There was only one clear thought in his head. "The princess went through the portal! The princess!"

"Luigi.." She was outside the cabin against the side wall. It was pitch black in the Dark Land village but she was pure white with bruises on her arms and cuts into the dress. "You saved me? Why?" She slumped into Luigi, losing consciousness.

On the mission, neither noticing at the moment that something had went wrong already, Lemmy lead Iggy through the woods on way to the incline and cliff's edge. They leaped through one more sticky bush to the other side where another set to brothers, an Iggy and a Lemmy were pining down Past Ludwig. Zoo Diddley was at the apex of the cliff on the brink of ringing the Doom Reverb bell. Almost exactly as they remembered last Friday night.

"Everyone STOP! We're from the future and have to keep Zoo from dying tonight!" Lemmy waved his arms and bounced around to their deceased custodian's attention. Stupefied, the dark boo let the bell slip and roll downhill and straight to Ludwig's clawing hands like drawn with a magnet.

Ludwig cradled the bell close to his chest, eyes gleaming in the night. The other Lemmy and Iggy spun around: Their eye sockets were hollowed out and black and their hair was stringy and washed out. The skin was extremely dry, fossilized, and riddled with micro cracks.

Lemmy gaped. "W-whats wrong with us?! Them! Whatever?!"

Instantaneously Iggy fired off his 'toy' gun with real laser action. Past Iggy had no reaction to the hole in his arm from that very real laser, dragging his feet towards their counterparts with Past Lemmy on his heels. The present versions backpedaled into the forest again, stumbling over vines and bushes. before Lemmy felt his shell smack the back of a tree.

"I should have completed my 'eyes in the back of your head' project," Iggy thought out loud. In the distance Ludwig was cackling but that was typical, less typical was murmurous doppelgangers closing in.

Lemmy took a big gulp. His mind raced, then he flicked with his fingers a little rock at Past Lemmy. This was actually a circus illusion he was working on, he would precisely aim at balloons to burst them 'miraculously' by just pointing. Pop! The rubber bouncy ball of the doppelganger burst, sending the monster falling face first. That made Iggy get tackled by 'Iggy' and unfortunately it was not the Iggy Lemmy wanted winning.

"Mmmm mm mmm MMM!" Iggy said, being strangled by Past Iggy. The monster seized over him when more cracks rippled through his skin. The monster's grip loosened and Iggy rolled away as the husk of Past Iggy and Lemmy broke down into a chunky mush of skin flakes and black goo.

"Gross!" Lemmy exclaimed.

"You're welcome!" Zoo Diddley sang, stopping his death ray with maniacal smirk.

"Nooooo my subjects!" Ludwig caught up and dove down at the ugly puddle, scooping up some of the gooey whatever and letting it ooze between his scaly fingers.

"Triple gross!" Lemmy gagged a little.

Zoo decked Ludwig, knocking him out. "That fixes that, bro. Now it's your freakin' turn, because I quit and you won't tell me to do anything anymore and take my crap and make me get up for early shifts at-!"

"Hold position, soldier!" Lemmy commanded in his manliest voice.

As drilled into him, Zoo automatically paused while they bailed. Then he felt stupid. "Oh how the heck did I fall for that?!" The dark boo stalked them, anything their height like bushes with green top resembling their hair mixing him up and slowing him down with his low vision. He shot his death ray at who he thought was them but wasn't . Ooh, satisfying none the less.

The Anti-Monarchy member's eyes rolled back and he collapsed as part of his brain drizzled out of his nose. His brethren didn't notice. "Down with monarchies!" they chanted, exhilarated by their activism. The goombas, koopas, monty moles, buzzy beetles and other Dark Land were dispersed in the forest as they'd been heading to Bowser's Castle before commotion, a strange thunder in the sky even though it was clear, brought them there instead.

Meanwhile, Luigi sat with his back against the wall of Zoo's home, hugging himself in the cold of the night. He shivered feeling very hurt, physically and emotionally. "Why would you ask that? Why would I not follow you here?"

Peach inched closer so that their shoulder's brushed. "Because... I suppose a part of me believe the koopaling's idea that we could fix something from the past. I know that's foolish and we're likely to just make things worse meddling around. That's why Mario damaged the Timulator beyond repair. -We thought."

"Peach, you don't need an excuse for that part. I would have followed you no matter what. I don't care what your toad brats- excuse my language- think about you. This isn't about duty," he stressed, voice breaking. "I meant why did you think I wanted to throw you away? I don't have much anymore, don't make me lose you too!"

"I'm sorry." She reached up to cover her face when his hands stopped her gingerly.

"Peach, listen. If you weren't the kind, loyal kind of friend worth risking it for, I would have never saved you now. I would have never saved you the first time from that fortress way back. Get it?"

"Yes. Yes! I remember almost like yesterday when we first met. There was a shooting star in the sky." She rose her head. "Like that one!"

One star in the sky was brighter than the rest, twinkling purple. The longer they stared the more they could hear a faint whisper.

"Over here! Ho-ho-ho.." the star spoke, like the voice came from inside them. "Get away. Get away!"

Then something fell out of a tree a few houses down, followed by the unmistakable sound of something expensive shattering. Luigi and Peach's attention was torn that way.


The bashed up Timulator pod was surrounded by the mob. Neither needed to be technologically inclined to know it wasn't usable any more. Together hand in hand, they fled before the youngers could spot them down a path towards 'Neo Bowser City'.

It was a raining more heavily in the heart of Neo Bowser City during the inauguration of the new mayor at Bowser Stadium, a grand stone coliseum surrounded by a lava pool in classic Badland tradition. These occurred at night to prevent mobs, but it didn't work this time. A stout koopa troopa with a leisure suit on that dragged the ground had a scantily clad pom pom in a bright pink top and short shorts, his 'assistant', clutching his shoulder for photos. A couple were snapped, audience mostly dispersing from the deteriorating weather. Mayor Koton was in the office for many years, exalted by Kamek so long ago that the magikoopa had likely forgotten. Spending the first half of his life thwimp #75 in Bowser's Castle and the other as the Mayor in high rises and court houses gave him a unique he felt perspective. He handed over the key to the city with his invisible arms.

"It was an honor to but now the time has come to pass the baton. Soo… Have fun," Mayor Koton said laconically. He saw the young new guy's future already. He was going to either die or become literally Bowser.

Koton hopped away into the crowd of older conservative Dark Land residents that were steadily being replaced with a new set of onlookers, decidedly younger residents who eyed the authority figures closely for the correct buzz words. One got too close-

"Get outta here," the new major snapped. The new mayor's assistant smacked the protester with a huge gaudy 'Douchy and Cabana' purse and he was sent back into the crowd. "Alight, folks." The new mayor tapped the microphone which squealed. "We have enough problems in town so cause any more." The 'speech' was not eloquent, filled with grievances about how the cops stopped him too much coming from night clubs and that speed limits were dumb, as the New Mayor was not a politician, but a guy rich enough to bribe Koton out. He concluded, "And you don't like it. I'll just complain to King Bowser!" He watched the sudden change of faces from the crowd.


The new major backed away from the angry mob with his girl. They sprinted out of the stadium and into the streets where the black limousine waited. They drove off down Neo Bowser City's traitorous and damp highways. New Mayor headed southbound to tattle, obviously to Bowser, but anyone above him would do, like two of Dark Land's princes running down the street. He told the driver to pull over and let them in.

"Thank you thank you thank you tell your dad we're running from these weird lunatics with megaphones this is my first day you gotta help me!" New Mayor cried out the open car door.

Lemmy climbed in, followed by Iggy. "We're running from bad guys too!" The limo took off again with an unwilling jerk. "But- do I know you?"

"I'm the new mayor!" New Mayor told him. He smiled friendly but it rung no bells to Lemmy.

"Never mind, I guess I didn't pay attention to politics in the past week. Stop, we know these guys!"

They stopped and let in Luigi and Peach, inexplicably in the city already.

"How did you-" Lemmy started.

Luigi and Peach shared a glance, unable to explain it without sounding like they'd sustained some head injury- which they probably had, but they did not want to look that way.

"Well anyway, our mission is sorta complete!" Lemmy beamed. "Zoo didn't die tonight so the dark star should not be born or whatever. Too bad we didn't get his bell though."

"I could have followed you all and gave Zoo the 'ol plumber whack." Luigi chopped in the air for effect.

Peach eased a little more into the quilted plush seating. "As long as we can make it, you know, back safely. I fear your original travel method is.. inoperable."

Iggy continually wound up the Wacky Watch, his back against the mini bar. "We totally planned around that and I'm holding our back up."

Peach listened to some familiar squeaks from the vehicle bouncing around a steep hill. A realization burst upon her, it was the exact limo Larry tried to rescue her with in Sky Land. The last thing she wanted to fathom was the time paradox they were tethering on.

"-This thing is bullet proof right?" New Mayor pat the sweat off his forehead.

Lemmy wondered where they were going because it wasn't route to Bowser's Castle anymore. The car began to get banged around by rough terrain. He pulled back the shutters into the driver's cab and tapped the glass. "Driver?"

"EVERYTHING IS GOING AS PLANNED SIR!" The Boom-Boom turned to the side with a crooked smile. His pupils were an irregular starry shape.

Lemmy whipped around. "Everyone jump out!"

Luigi leap up and bang his head on the car's ceiling. "What?"

Lemmy pushed him and Peach out with Iggy hurling himself behind them. Faces planted against dirt and grass as they rolled around. Lemmy recovered just in time to see the limo careen off the same cliff they chased Zoo Diddley up. Five seconds later the heard the crash against the brambles. A little bit of smoke rose and lingered in the air just atop the hill.

Luigi recognized what had almost happened and kneeled down, fighting off nausea.

"It's too early lose all of your fluids bro, but thanks for dropping back in my neighborhood." Creeping up on them, Zoo licked his lips sadistically.

A Channel 64 news truck screeched to a stop at the bus stop where a person waited. Kylie recognized them as Boo and let them in, reminding them that the buses weren't running. She wasn't happy about the TriggerHappy McBoo saga entirely, but there were just so many other things to worry about. Plus It was great to see familiar faces, even in a bad way.

"Town hall." Mitch muttered. He was deep in his own thoughts but also bit of others, and someone was feeling vindictive as they sat in the back set anxiously gripping that green Bowser tennis racket..

The City hall in Toad Town Square was underdeveloped, understandably when Peach Castle was always around until now. Strange sibilance drew Kylie out of the car alone into the open court. It had a defunct fountain in the middle and elevated platforms left, right, and forward of that point. There dozens of toads, more specifically the amount of toads Peach had employed, on the raised portion forming a loose circle. Some were bowed with their heads lowered like a prayer circle others sitting around in despair. Kylie then backed up, feeling it was too insensitive even for her to just drop in and start prying for answers.

"Join if you want." Toad stepped from around a hedge, his usual luster gone.

"Brother, I'll be brief. I know it's a bad time but why did you abandon the princess at the castle?"

"Long story. Toadsworth had a dream that the castle was going to get screwed up again, homegirl, like really bad. We believed him. We're both Mushroom Gen X here so you remember the early days, just him Peach and the King in that place. If Toadsworth thinks somethings gonna happen it's gonna."

Kylie's heart sunk. "I get you brother, but.. the princess missing."

Toad became white as a sheet. He whipped around to check quickly if Toadette and some others noticed where he was. "Got room for me?"

Through Toad Town Kylie and the crew searched again, eventually heading south where they were stopped by hay bales in the road too high to plow through. They'd have to go on foot, which for Mitch meant staying put in the car.

"It's fine, dudes." He lied.

Kylie, Toad, and Boo entered the fields of Area 64 where the sky was foggy and everything was very quiet.

"Keep up, peeps. If we make it to the other side, Jr. Troopa will hook us up with some answers for sure." She pouted at Boo and Toad trailing slowly. "I said, keep up!"

They walked in silence.

"Help! Assist please! Aid me!" called a voice in the distance.

"Where am I?"


"HEALLLP!" and on started suddenly, from places they could not see through the mist. Something was zapped and the air became warm. Lightning had just struck somewhere close enough to raise all of their hair.

Kylie's nerves were shattered and she fled with Toad, sending a mental message for Mitch to pick up. Knowing each other so well for so long, they had that trick down pack.

Back in Toad Town, Mitch slid over to the drivers seat when he remembered. His legs didn't work! He sent that mental message back to Kylie. Back in the mist Kylie took a short breather with Toad. They'd lost their bearings. Actually Kylie was convinced the area around them decided to change. A winding path here now curved there, a curve there was now a bend here. Never trust Area 64. She checked her back. They'd lost Boo too!

Or so they thought. Boo branched off, seeing just fine in the fog. Mario impersonators and Koopa Troop members wandered until they were either hit by a force of lighting in the atmosphere choosing at random or hunted down by someone with a blunt object. Boo discovered a crater in the ground and the remains of a doomship. That got them worried, more so seeing The Captain walking over to a corpse. The toad curiously dug into the blood-stained blazer of the koopaling and retrieved a cellphone, wiping it off on his shirt to unlock it.

"~THANK YOU~" The message on Ludwig's phone said from an unknown sender.

A tear fell on his screen, his own as a flicker of the real him, Stan emerged only for a second.

"Keep crying, punk," growled Boo as Booigi the Second. They forcibly turned Captain Toad around to face him.

"Good sir, these are tears of joy." Captain Toad replied civilly. There was something wrong with his beady little eyes…

To be cont.

Author note: I swear every time I try make this better it gets longer. That being said, it's fine now!

Older version of this chapter created: 8/29/19, 8/30, 9/2, 9/4, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11, 9/12, 9/13, 9/15, 9/16, 9/17, 9/18, 9/22, 9/23

Modern around: 12/1, 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7, 12/8, 12/9, 12/10, 12/11

Edit: 4/30/20, 5/1

Again: 1/1/21, 1/28/21

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever Redux

Luigi's Awesomely Ambivalent Allegory, part 2 (Chapter 20)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.

Author note: *Newly edited* Time travel is always popping open a can of worms, so let's have some fun with it!

In Sarasaland merchants and civilians of all social status busily took to the streets trading and purchasing to make up time lost during yesterday's wave of storms. (The purchase of of stress relieving balls sky rocketed.) Princess Daisy pulled a warm coat on, her private jet surprisingly chilly. General Ming informed her there was an emergency happening at home. She feared independently funded researchers wanted to uncover some ancient untamed part of Sarasaland and disturb the peace. Equally dreadful, their fine printed licensing agreements gave her a headache. She hoped her friends would understand considering she had no opportunity to inform anyone, only send a heartfelt card to Luigi and Peach. To them it might seem like she just vanished and she hated that it, but the last castle visitor she took lightly of course brainwashed everyone in her household and unearthed the Dark Star!

The first thing Daisy noticed was that her castle's empty visiting room wasn't empty. A middle aged toad woman was stationed at a desk where there was a phone and files laying around.

"You were the gal on the phone! You know that thing almost hurt someone when it melted to heck!"

Nass T.'s block of papers slipped from her neatly trimmed fingers. "Oh my! By the way, your secretary said code#7."

Daisy sighed, annoyed. She never needed a receptionist. (Granted no one ever called her either except Luigi.) With no time to fix that now she obeyed the code, meaning to meet at Chai's weapon bunker.

In the underground basement sized room, green vector screens displaying topography of the land spanned the length of the wall. Ming wore a neck cast but rushed to Daisy anyway before she was off the ladder down. Every calamitous switch was active from yesterday which Daisy was able to deactivate briskly.

"Think I missed anything?"

Ming nodded. "The one already in the air!"

Daisy whipped back at the screens, pressing her face against the glass at the blip she'd missed, a missile over the area of Birabuto. She gripped the control wheel to direct the radar. "Uh- uh- I'll just land it in the ocean- Oh Gods!" The slightest lean made the flying explosive dip down and almost level a heavily populated village completely. A bead of sweat rolled off her forehead. "Just a little touchy! Get me a chair!" she screamed. "This might take a moment!"

It was a plumber's instinct, a visceral feeling the danger wasn't over that let Luigi know they weren't done with Zoo. He charged forward and pressed the dark boo's arms down.

"Freakin' dweeb!" Zoo glared, his eye twitched, and Luigi's chest tightened and the strength was drained out of him.

Iggy suddenly took his place holding Zoo. "Halt, Diddley-san! According to our abandonment rule, you are still employed by Bowser until tomorrow at 12 pm so I order you to give us the bell!"

Zoo half smiled. "Nice try but I don't care, bro. Remember YOU and Lemmy just tried to kill me over it. Bowser got a rule on that?"

"But you're traveling around with THE Dark Star! We've totally just had this super huge and epic adventure over it in the future like the character Bell in Koopa Ball Z when the Super Plumbers were fighting a villain hidden among them the entire time disguised as Goomba-chan's bottle of foot ointment!"

With a look of 'which one of us is supposed to be the lunatic' Zoo smacked Iggy in the jaw so that he could get up finally, fingers tingling in anticipation.

"Forget dad's rules, you don't work for us if that makes you happy okay?" Lemmy sputtered. "You saw that there were two versions of us before. We're trying to keep you from dying for the future's sake. I promise!"

Zoo's eyes narrowed. "Riiiiight. More like keep me alive 'cause how else you gonna steal THE ONLY THING THAT'S EVER CAME BACK TO ME!"

Lemmy couldn't even scream as he collapsed. The circus performer curled up, tortured from head to toe by the death ray splitting his molecules.

The princess jumped forward. "Zoo! Read my mind!" In her panic she remembered a requisite of special objects, a venture but astoundingly a hit:

To Zoo squiggly words formed above Peach's head, half invisible and fading in and out.


If not boo he would have been swept off of his feet. The bell, Zoo's gift from Lou Diddley his father, that happened to be burglarized over a decade ago, the one that miraculously reappeared under his pillow two weeks ago, the one he'd abused too much the previous day due to circumstances he didn't ask for, the one that encouraged his inveterate trouble making with faint whispers? THAT one was now 'fed up' with him?

While Zoo swayed Iggy's Ultra Hand (licensed by Nintendo) seized the Doom Reverb. Everyone ran for their lives into the forest while a sparkling orange flare soared over the trees signaling the Anti-Monarchy group. Their members wandered about with flashlights in the dense vegetation. Iggy, split from others, caught an eerie sensation of being watched- like that time Ludwig had put a key logger on his gaming PC. The tall koopaling continued trampling around and ducking under low branches until a vine tripped him up. He rolled on to his back in time to witness an object float towards him.

"I still want it back. I won't do nothing bad, alright? Please. PLEASE," the voice whimpered pathetically. Zoo crept a little closer and a moon beam hit his face, revealing his actual evil expression.

Iggy shook his head and brought the bell closer. "Noooo!"

"Fine then! Game over, bro!" Zoo charged for him when there was a popping noise. The dark boo jolted and bringing his stubby arm closer he saw the tip, his 'fingers' blown clean off. He screamed.

"This way Iggy! As we know Wendy's colleges The Anti-Monarchy Adolescent Faction and I state their ridiculous full name to disgrace them further, would never find this passageway with their lack of experience outdoors and away from internet." Ludwig scooped his brother up and to his feet, slinging him around over rocks and plants and thick tree trunks with an orange zapper holstered on his hip. They arrived at the lip of a metal hatch behind an old stump. A ladder lead down to an iron tube with blue lights that traveled forward a few paces then made a turn into the unknown. They stood at the bottom and caught their breath.

"I am not prone to mental lapses, but all I remember is us attempting to find Zoo's place of residence," Ludwig continued. "And now here we are being chased by internet mobs. Whatever has the world come to?"

Iggy couldn't answer, feeling faint. Glancing at Past Ludwig in the light made an eidetic image flash in his mind. He witnessed the glint of a pickaxe spinning and impaling his brother before they time traveled!

"What?" Ludwig shook him out of it, making the Nintendo toy and the bell inch slightly out of Iggy's pocket. A familiar crazed look stretched across Ludwig's visage. "Iggy, I command you to have that over!"

Iggy dodged from his grasp. "How about totally not? It's too much to explain Luddy-sama!"

He fled deeper down the metal tube as a bad stench, even for someone who forgot to shower often, struck his nostrils. Water climbed up to his knees and after another bend there was a metal grate. Holding his breath, the eighteen year old skillfully used his multi-tool to pop it off and get out of the sewers into a square area with thin ventilation slits carved in stone walls. He was then in Bowser Castle, Dark Land's most famous pimple on the landscape. He flicked through somber red carpeted hallways like a beached cheep-cheep and paused in a four way junction before going to the front door. The castle had an intercom Ludwig once irritatingly used to arrange family meetings. Since everyone, even mooks with no hands or fingers, had a cellphone in present times it was caked in cobwebs. On that note, Iggy texted Lemmy where ever he was to come to the front of the castle; it was a good thing he'd charged it in the airship.

"Everyone up up up! Fire! Pizza delivery! Koopa-Scouts cookies! Mario is around here! Bowser's giving you a raise!" the intercom blared.

The castle floors rumbled. Before Iggy could move a muscle the sea of koopas, and goombas, dry bones, hammer bros, and other baddies in pajamas swallowed him rushing to the designated meeting spot outside and carping about whatever they understood. Once the dust cleared Iggy found himself butt on the carpet with a sprang ankle. He wished he'd thought that through a little more as someone in a blazer was strolling towards him.

"Oh, this sucks!" Iggy groaned.

Outside: The 'Anti-Ma' gang pursued Luigi, Peach, and Lemmy out of the forest into the waste land that constituted Bowser's front yard and the lone road called Dark Drive. The grumbling Koopa Troop was waiting for them.

"Babe, let's get out of here!" The boomerang bro in a trilby begged Raven, the goth like Goomba girl beside him. The Anti-Ma were intimidated by the numbers and backed away. Bested, some Koopa Troop members even chased them off.

The Koopa King, red spotted sleeping cap bouncing around with each stomp, broke off from his minions alone. His family for the most part were still tucked in bed due to disabling the intercom in their bedrooms ages ago. He'd be with them if Kamek, half naked, hadn't banged his door down. "What the heck was that about, why was Wendy's brat college friends here, why is Green Mario here, Kamek why don't you have pants, and why are there two Peaches?!"

Peach gasped catching sight of the blonde in the crowd obscured by a whomp. The minion waddled aside to reveal a husk in a pink frilly dress matching the Princess's normal attire. The monster's face hosting an insidious smirk, long claws unsheathed through its white gloves. 'Peach' sprung over the heads of a dozen Koopa Troop forcing the real Peach to throw herself down and scuff up her elbows, missing the attack by a hair. Before Luigi could react, it was Bowser who apprehended Past Peach in his claws. The monster flailed its equally razor sharp claws, scratching deeply into Bowser's thick scales. With a growl he slung the monster ten meters away and blasted super heated fire in that direction. All that was left was a burning fabric of the dress and chunky black and flammable ooze.

Bowser panted for a moment before glancing over his shoulder at the wide eyed onlookers. "Erm.. who thinks we're still dreaming?"

All of his soldiers rose their hands, trickling back inside the castle.

Kamek turned to Bowser. "Lord Bowser, the reality is that the real princess was already outside the castle!"

Bowser snapped awake again. "Hey that's right! Grrrrrr!"

"King Dad! We- well- he- she..." Lemmy gave up trying to explain and just hugged his father, coincidentally making him miss what was happening while Bowser soldiers retreat in the castle. Ludwig and Iggy were fighting over the Doom Reverb on the downed draw bridge. Ludwig held wooden handle and Iggy the bronze and yellow bell in a back and forth tug-o-war fashion.

"Iggy, I only want to research its acoustic properties!" Ludwig dragged Iggy around and around, eventually to the edge with the chasm of the emptied moat below.

"Luddy! Physics!" Iggy screeched, hanging down and it was a long way.


Whooosh! An image of a dark star half the size of Bowser castle materialized in the night sky. A surge of wind clashed about from all directions and doors were blown off their hinges as Luigi and crew were swept off their feet.


Another heavenly voice, the now hidden twinkling purple star countered, "Get up!"

Luigi and Peach roused on jagged scorched rock, the bottom of Bowser Castle's moat, too in shock to notice any sustained injuries at the moment. There was a huge debris wall before them. Above dust and dirt steadily sprinkled above to slowly bury them alive. What would Mario tell them if he could? 'Luigi, don't stand there. Use the hammer on your tool belt!' 'Peach, don't be afraid to get your dress dirty. It's machine-washable for a reason.' 'How do I manage a kart race, a Mario Party, a baseball game, a picnic with the princess, and a scheduled toilet repair at Russ T.'s place? You prioritize, Luigi!'

Nearby on the other side was Lemmy pulling the bricks off of Iggy. "Hop, I'm sorry it got to this.." Iggy slowly opened his palm holding the wacky watch with a cracked crystal. "I thought I could be clever with an invention to fix.. I should have stepped up sooner.."

"Stop, stop!" Lemmy cried, removing the last brick from his brother. "We've made it this far. Remember what Luddy used to say to keep us moving? Something about gears.."

Ludwig then revealed himself from the shadows with a limp in his step yet his face was brilliant and his eyes piercing. "'There is no reverse gear in a Doomship for a reason.' Truer words have never been spoken, not even by great old scholars such as Goomelda the 'wisest of female goombas', though interestingly it seems here that your issue is that you did not go backwards enough. Whatever is going on, you likely failed because you tried to insert yourself into the middle of it. The forces above are strong, more so than five thousand Bowser bombs. Think, Lemmy. What started it? Was it really the bell ringing on this date or-"

Lemmy paused. "Your scheme that included Zoo in the first place?"

"Exactly. My copy of Dr. Mario's notes was the impetus of it all and that was thirteen days ago during early morning at this location."

Something dawned on Lemmy. "How did you know we time traveled? Then, you need to know-"

Ludwig hooked his arm around him, shushing him. "If you are about to reveal something mortifying, you should not. I do not wish to hear that I will never complete my backlog of Koopa Troopa projects, make any more music, or eventually build in castle in Austria. I wish to not hear it! Besides! Look at me, Lemmy. It will not matter, because you will succeed!"

Then the debris wall crumbled revealing Luigi and Peach, the princess even took the lead plowing through the dirt pile to reach the koopa's voices.

"What are we waiting for?" Luigi fussed. Above the dark star wailed, quaking the ground to make the largest object yet fall. A koopa tank was about to tumble down into the moat on top of them. It was time to use the watch Lemmy knew, granted it was nothing like the kind he tended to scribble on his wrist. A second away from being crushed, the there was shrill springing noise and the world went white.

'I want tuna for today, I want a sandwich too, so let me get a loaf of bread and send off another message. Now I've 'enjoyed' the Koopa delicacy of toe fungus and peanut butter but it tastes like.. (unintelligible).. even to me. Least I can scrape the peanut butter off and it is not too bad for this grizzled man who once spent months in a remote Shy Guy village. Not bad at all, my taste has been burnt out many stale coconuts ago. I wonder how my nephews are doing at three month about now. They are not in this world I must remind myself, but I have a hunch, call me crazy, a left over from my yellow fever delirium, but I am sure they will get to know what a wonderful land this is in the future. Maybe then it won't be so hard to make ends meet. Oh, let me count what I have again. Last week's pay only fifty coins, but this is the recession. Ah, I'm realizing this is the last page of my notebook and yet I'm still wasting space now! Okay for the record: Items used for Megavitamin X: Sulfate, salicylate, and koopa scute.'

The thin book with a worn spine and cream colored pages was gently closed. Ludwig yawned, ending his cozy marathon of reading while the stars twinkled in his big recliner like chair in the corner of his bedroom. It took twenty pages to get there, but he had much patience and time with Mario's stream of activities keeping everyone in a buzz. On May 17 2019, a week and a half away, there would be a tennis match according to Mario's Facebook wall. Ludwig hated that he had to login to glean such info. He estimated that very scrupulous and detestable corporation was already selling his personal info by now. Good thing it was Larry's account anyway.

He stretched his arms and legs and brushed the bethmännchen crumbs from his lap, aware of the urgency that would be needed to qualify for his coveted Mega-Villain Badge. His scheme was on!… After a bathroom break. Just as the toilet set lid was raised he was startled by a bang muffled by thick stone walls. He darted to his bedroom window facing front. The moat being temporarily drained of lava and shrouding the castle in darkness encouraged much mischief with residents of the castle coming and going from Neo Bowser City. Grumbling he wondered if another drunk dry bones had ran their koopa tanks down the trench again as he marched downstairs. Halfway there he was knocked down, his snout in pain.

"So ein Mist!" Ludwig glared, leaning up again. "Lemmy, I never thought you would resort to the escapades as Larry and Roy and Morton and even Wendy that one time Milli Vanilli had a concert!"

Lemmy grabbed Ludwig by the slightly too snug fitting red robe. "Where the heck are your notes?"

"...Say again?" The military commander did a double take as he witnessed two humans, a woman with a man close behind strutting up the steps past his head.

"Come on, Iggy!" For the first time ever, Lemmy and Iggy bested their eldest brother physically from sheer willpower. They forced him back up to his room where Luigi and Peach was, Ludwig only then identifying the pair in plain clothes. They already had the notebook he'd left on his study desk, Dr. Mario's archived notebook.

"This is it!" It trembled in Luigi's hands. The last page was exactly what he skimmed over in Giant Land yesterday, or in the future rather. At the pinnacle of his journey, what would he do to rid this? His eyes wandered around Ludwig's neat room, the impressive trophy wall, around the piano in the corner, around the excessive dozen of yearly calendars with many dates marked, around the bed that hadn't been touched all night, and finally the open bathroom door...

"Luigi Mario, please!" Ludwig plead desperately. "I only found that in the castle's oldest most water logged treasury chest! It was seconds away from being recycled!"

The plumber dunked the entire notebook down the toilet, which was golden even, with extreme prejudice, thus ending Luigi's awesomely ambivalent allegory. The lesson learned? Always do spring cleaning. Or something.

Peach shrieked in excitement. "Thank the stars!"

"Curses!" Ludwig glared at his brothers. "You are 'trusted adjutants' no more!"

Lemmy couldn't help but to grin stupidly at the irony. "Fair enough."

Everyone froze when they heard heavy shuffling feet outdoors. The commotion had gotten someone up and it was time to scatter. What Ludwig saw next he'd never forget as the four others warped, vanished, from his room with technology he didn't think probable. First Ludwig lay in bed wondering if the entire episode was a trick of sleep deprivation, but the bruise on the back and front of his head was real. With that the genius had a new plan.


Mankind always marveled at shooting stars but few stopped to consider what it was like for them traveling through space and sweeping across the galaxy in a most crude, uncomfortable, and relatively sluggish pace. Geno's top speed might have been up to 160,000 mph, but the spaceship he used to have could topple that record in seconds. He saw ahead among asteroids and planets a coliseum enclosed by the silver gem like pillars of millennia and suspended in the middle of space by a sapphire platform. One of the sparkly entrance doors was ajar. The star warrior's civic duty too deeply entrenched to shake, he had to make sure something wasn't wrong. After the Star Temple, this was the second most important location around. A holographic scroll on the door stated in bold font: 'The galaxy courthouse is closed at this moment. Thanketh thee.'

Lengthy hallways warmly lit by the translucent stones that made them lead to the courtroom where sessions occurred. With capacity of hundreds of star beings it seemed even more enormous with rows of seats scrolling upwards unoccupied. Geno froze as an odd jingle chimed behind the judges platform. He pulled someone's new looking iPhone hidden in a drawer.

"Thank you (heart musicnote)!?, you found it!" Rosalina the space queen emerged from a backroom. "Of course it would be I with so many matters on my mind receiving a well intentioned gift from my children and losing it right away." The graceful princess met him sheepishly. Geno was struck however by her excellent appearance, long beautiful hair, dazzlingly vibrant blue clothing and mature beauty.

He tore his gaze away. "Miss Rosalina, glad to help and all but I gotta take flight right now. A dark star was doing something to Earth and Great Eld's wont pick up."

The platinum blonde flushed, bringing her decisive eyebrows downwards. "May I?" Her hand wrapped around the star warrior's, making his heart race. She revealed in her other hand that she had a star rod.

Geno found himself hanging on when Rosalina's Space Observatory soared to Star Temple. With her lumas all at school she had no discipline to lay off of full throttle and they were there in less than five minutes. Star Temple was another suspended in space structure, a golden colored mansion of humble size considering it contained the greatest star of all and his family of Star Guardians and associates.

Geno and Rosalina crossed the moat over sparkling blue liquid, likely not water exactly, to the front doors. It was bolted shut but from the outside uncharacteristically. Rosalina blasted the entire mechanism apart with her star rod and they were in. Now their steps echoed on golden tiled floors. Dust was everywhere as if cleaning hadn't commenced for some time. The abandoned aura made Geno's stomach sink in human terms at least as Rosalina overtook him. There were countless rooms to consider. Geno rushed inside of one and came out of a door on the opposite side of the hall.

Rosalina paused, her delicate hand resting on her chin. "(Heart) (musicnote)!?, let us not drive ourselves mad yet. Do you hear that?"

Geno trained his ear to the left. Some movie was playing. He tracked it down like a chomp hot on the sent of steak to the room at the farthest reaches. They burst into a den entertainment area and was blinded by a bright wide screen TV, stale air and sent of mildly burned popcorn assaulting as well. Kalmar, Klevar, Misstar, Muskular, Skolar, Mamar, and lastly Eldstar were seated vacantly watching the scene on TV were an unfunny actor was saving the world from bad pop culture references.

Geno spun around Eldstar, closest to the screen seated in an office like swivel hair. He was unresponsive like a dummy. All the while Geno felt his head spin and he wasn't sure why.

"This is giving me a headache!" Rosalina covered her ears. Inept at electronics she could only unplug the TV making the room go pitch black. Geno realized whatever almost inebriated him was caused by the television set.

Eldstar's eyes flickered and the dry throat of him and others created a chorus of coughing and barking from the stars. "(Heart)(musicnote)!? and Miss Rosey? Oh-Whatever happened? I am usually a bit stiff but-"

"What was wrong with your TV?"

"I got a message on my pager for a free cable package. The Y/N thing? I replied 'yes' as I always do."

Klevar cleared his throat and requested to see that pager, he the only one around with an inkling of computer savviness. "This is an old message," the brainy star explained. "How long have we been here?"

Skolar noticed this that his normal brown pencil moustache was a bush on his face. "Judging by the hair that flutters and dances across my lip as I speak, it has been a fortnight at the minimum."

"We have been watching TV for that long?" They all panicked. The sender of the message was Zachary A. Ztar, also known as Eldstar's rival the Dark Ztar himself.

Geno gasped. "He's attacking the Earth using some other star I encountered earlier!"

Eldstar hopped up which made a loud crack. He ignored it. "But it can not possibly be so! Why, I just spoke to him."

"Why ever would you communicate like that?" Rosalina wondered out loud. The other stars gave her a sympathetic look to suggest that the reasoning why was beyond them all, possibly literally.

Eldstar dialed a number on a rotary phone. He waited tapping a foot. In another realm where the ground was cracked and purple and jagged obsidian spires rose from the ground there was an onyx temple surrounded by a tall thorny fence. Seated on a couch before a larger screen TV was a black colored star with a goatee and monocle sipping tea. When the phone rung he nearly spit it on his lap. "Bloody fool. Who could this be?"

"Zach? Ah how is my cousin?"

"You?" the star sneered. "I go by 'Dark Ztar' now. What do you want?" The dark star, the other dark star rather, listened for a while before he features darkened even more so. Now he was infuriated. Season 90 of Noki's Island was set to 'pause'.


Mitch crawling around the block and making his palms and knee caps raw paid off. Steve the bullet bill's old van crossed the mist into Area 64, a broom handle the toad procured taking place of his legs to reach the pedals. It wasn't easy, the person responsible for the blockade doing a good job, jut the toad wanted in bad enough and he got it. At the cost of banging up the muffler. Oh well. He could hardly see, more so as his eyes clouded. A daze came over him as something about reality changing in that moment.

"Waaaahh!" Bowser Junior flopped on the windshield. "Th-the machine- Kaboom! And and h-he and she- and- and-!"

"Ahhhhh!…. Dude hop in!" Mitch stopped and pushed the door open.

"Help me find my brothers and sister! I left my teleporter at home!" the six year old whined.

"Before Bowser Castle was destroyed by the storm Saturday?"

Junior shook his head rapidly. "No no no. The castles okay, I left my Switch on Mario Odyssey this morning! I never cut my games or my TV off. Ever ever ever."

Mitch gave him an odd look. First the talk of the teleporter, which he assumed was made up, now this child was denying that Bowser's Castle was ever destroyed? He wondered if any of the craziness related to the machine in Area 64 he knew the koopas were in possession of, also the reason Super Spy HQ fruitlessly burst into his home. And where were they? Talk about an organization that claimed to have their toes dipped in everything.

"This looks like another one though." Junior poked at something jammed under the van's old cassette deck in place of what used to be the CD player. The face of it looked like a spectrum analyzer with two mismatched knobs on the outer sides. A lime green note, a specific style Mitch always used in his office stated in his own always somewhat downhill yet in excellent cursive handwriting:

'Steve, hit the right, set the distance, remember to check if something's in the way- please please, then hit the left. It's a prototype and I haven't finished my article next. Don't break it and don't give it to Kylie for her article first. -Thanks, dude.'

Mitch stared at the note like it was the Underchomp ready to drag him to Hades. The teleporter wasn't there when he entered Area 64, he was sure. He was broken out of his stupor by several of blood curdling screams from outside as a bolt struck the ground. The mist agitated and left behind only one body, a heap of smoking armor on a spot scorched into the grass. Junior abandoned the vehicle impulsively.

"Oh no! Mr. Tanner was cool, we'd play games sometime. He got 'pro-mo-ted' Koopatrol because my pet chain-chomp knocked him off the top of a fortress once and he didn't die!" Junior's childish hand retracted when his armor was hot as a stove stop, the notion that death was permanent yet to settle in fully.

"I know I ain't your pappy, but get your butt back over here!" Mitch hissed. "Now, explain this, uh 'teleporter'."

"I dunno Mister. Ours looks different. Luddy's is blue, not black and it has a red button. It does have that wavy thing though. I'm not allowed to touch it but it made someone go ZOOM! Really really really fast."

"I-I think it get it. Thanks," Mitch lied. His headache seared to badly, he couldn't attempt to read anyone's thoughts.

"Wait!" someone called. Something green came from the mist, Yoshi searching around. He saw the van and began running behind it. Mitch caught him in the rear view and slammed the breaks for the dinosaur.

"Listen stranger and Bowser Junior, we need to find Captain Toad. No time for questions!" Yoshi let himself in, scooting the toad and koopa child aside to drive himself. Mitch allowed this at least initially, since Mario's buddy actually possessed legs to press the pedals, but he was baffled again as Yoshi went for the teleporter. "Hopefully yours doesn't make so much fog," Yoshi remarked offhandedly. He spun the right knob it until the spectrum analyzer resembled a mountain peak, and punched the left inward. Bowser Junior did not exaggerate for once, they really went 'ZOOM!'

...Meanwhile Kylie and Toad and two others tagging along continued aimlessly through the mist until the koopa reporter glanced to her right and Toad was missing, her own pink shoes at the edge of a crevasse in the ground. "Gee whiz! You're alright?" she yelled to Toad who had rolled down partially. It went deeper, how much so hard to tell. "I'm seeing remnants of the airship that brought the Mario Fan Club here, amazing! Yet, somethings missing peeps. Obvious as a chain-chomp in a china shop."

"There was something else here," the koopa soldier tagging along, Johnson confirmed. "Probably from aliens."

"Or from remote secret government agents," a spike Mario fanatic added.

"Probably, likely, certainly, you are incorrect! Our secret government agents indeed work here, in fact their hideout is under Shy Guy's Toy Box. I wrote two books about it in eight grade, middle school." They turned and faced Morton Koopa panting. "The object missing is our Timulator but we should not try to find it. That's all part of the Dark Star's morbid, ruthless, waiting game." He reached for Kylie. "It covers, it shrouds, it conceals to execute stealthily."

While everyone else was staying back from Morton, Kylie gawked. "Say it ain't so, brother!"

Toad climbed out of the pit. "Hear that?" There was a faint hum of a machine in the distance, distorted somewhat.

"Hmm. I do. That might be the- Everyone duck!" Kylie dove down with Morton. They hit the grass as a bolt flew over their bodies, a white one instead of the black ones attacking people in the mist.

"Outta the way, gal. Where did he go?" a gritty voice growled. Booigi the Second appeared looking all around rapidly.

Kylie rubbed her head. "Who?" The spike screamed behind her. She whipped around, agape as the young Mario fan collapsed to the ground with a gash in his back. For only a flash she saw Captain Toad, hunched with a blood soaked pickaxe before he disappeared in the mist. He was the mist! She would never forget that look in his eyes.

"Ahh!" Morton jumped up. "He has stolen, looted, our secret technology of tele-! Wait.. what am I talking about?"

Kylie backed away from the body with wavering steps. "Mitch and I had Ludwig's new invention, the teleporter, on LOCK. I think. Now I'm wondering what I'm talkin about. The heck is a tele-"

"Keep your shells on! That's what Bowser always said," Johnson blurt, special training of the lowly koopa troopa taking over.

"He ain't the only one who can-" Booigi turned around. The Captain, the mist, reappeared again in a way reminiscent of teleportation. He fought with a large and strong koopa while another person was on the other side of him, pulling away at Captain Toad's arm with the pickaxe. The Captain gave a backhand slap to sent the weaker one, a toad girl, to the ground hard. He elbowed the larger man, Roy Koopa and with a grunt he collapsed, sunglasses cracking in two.

"Jerk move!" Roy spat.

"I'm only warming up," Captain Toad remarked airily. Instead of the usual stab attack, he rose his pickaxe in the air waiting. Not a second later there was the sound of thunder as a black bolt blitz from above.

"Nooooo!" Booigi roared.

With a blinding glare the lightning bounced off of the shiny metal and split in two halves for each victim. Another bang knocked even Captain Toad off his feet. The smoke cleared and Kylie blinked again. Both Roy and Emery were still living rapidly breathing bodies, the object stopping their demise the green Bowser racket blocking the shock for them. The pickaxe was toast, molten iron on the ground.

Booigi got up from the throw that took all the energy from them. "Ha. Ha… Hahahahahahaha!"

"Captain, you're a bad guy now!" Toad exclaimed in disbelief. He surprised everyone by slugging his look-alike effectively. Kylie was about to rush over, what an event! What a scoop! What a dumb thing to do that she was going to do anyway! -But she felt her phone vibrate.

"I'm back and alive!" Luigi mass texted everyone from Mario's old phone number.

Think was, Kylie couldn't remember why he would text her.

Author note: Next time.. The end!

To be continued…

Created: 9/13/19, 9/15, 9/22, 9/23

Rewrite: 12/10, 12/12, 12/15, 12/19, 12/23, 12/26, 12/28, 12/29, 12/30,

1/2/20 , 1/3, 1/7, 1/8, 1/9, 1/10, 1/12- 1/16

Edit: 1/28/21

Edited: 5/1/20, 1/2/21

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever (Redux)

Cause and Effect (Chapter 21)

Disclaimer: Mario and co. belong to Nintendo.

Author note: *Newly fixed up a bit*

Dr. Toadley's assistant deflated when she scanned in vain for a stereo system in the utilitarian vehicle. At least she found he interior clean, sterile and well.. vacuumed. She waited incessantly in the car of a kooky scientist, a different one rather, and her bottom was numb, wishing then that Dr. Toadley had room for her to accompany him hour ago. Nothing personal against Prof. E. Gadd, but she found his studies as interesting as terrifying. That extended even to his coffee making.

"Apologizes for the delay." The professor scampered out the clinic. "-Let's dismount this monitor and we're ready. Toadley texted at the last minute that he wants it packed."

"T-the sixty inch one that he promised me to leave in the building because it was way too large and we'd have no room for it in our new smaller office? That one?"

The old professor's smile waned. "Will that be a problem?"

Mary resisted making a face. "I would be happy to oblige.."

While they were hauling it out something loudly clunked down on the clinic's roof. The puff cloud above dissipated by the time Gadd climbed up the ladder up to check it out.

Not a moment later a person clung to him desperately. "Professor! Is it the nineteenth of May 2019?"

Gadd nodded agape. After giving his glasses a swipe across his white lab coat, the wreckage from a spacecraft pod and the four people that had survived were still present and not a trick of his old tired eyes.

A moment later, the professor leaned back on his car pensively. "Criminy, another time machine after that 'situation' with the Mushroom decree?" He remembered vividly his patented contribution to the temporal 'space race' against Dark Land culminating in everyone, even Bowser willingly deciding to scrap it all. Such a thing never occurred again until the recent ban on mach speed personal travel, also known as teleportation. The four he spoke to, Luigi, Peach, and two koopalings he got names mixed up of could only partially follow his careful explanations. Had the Mushroom Flu broken out? What happened to Ludwig? Why was the banner in memory of Mario, 1981- 2019 displayed on an office building across the street showing a date two weeks earlier that it should have been for his death? Was Peach's Castle still around? Bowser Castle? Was a pizza place nearby open?

"Easy everyone," Gadd chided mildly. "There has been no Mushroom Flu in decades. Ludwig's a vagabond according to radio. It's been busy times. Mario passed two weeks ago, condolences if- oh that happened in your timeline too.. The rest of your questions are too political for me to elaborate. It's all been since the teleportation accident-"

After their reaction the professor's tone took on less impersonal nature.

"-I'll slow down. Ludwig claimed his teleporter was inspired by dream or reverie of visitors 'appearing' in his home one night. Know that while the effect looks like what Dr. Professor Koopa did for Bowser in the 90's with his never replicated teleporting potion- If I wasn't banned from the Special World doctor's association I'd hinted to them that he obviously used ecto- oh never mind. Ludwig used hyper speed movement to make a subject 'teleport'. He had his sights on a Mega Villain award but then- two very famous people pushed it to the limit and competition got fierce. Hero and villain went too far and.. that's the tragically of Mario and Bowser.."

Iggy listened, slightly glazed over. "-What about the pizza place?"

"Seriously?" Lemmy frowned at his brother when he noticed wacky watch glowing green in his palms, like an eerie night vision feature in the day. The moon phase was set to a 'new moon' and the hands magnetically snapped to a certain direction like a compass. The rainbow haired koopaling and everyone else followed the direction down the street with their eyes.

"Club Gamecube's open," Gadd continued as if the odd thing hadn't occurred.

Unanimously Luigi and crew agreed to squeeze in Gadd's SUV. The pure white forest trekking machine fitted over sized tires, constructed of anti-boo fiberglass, and equipped with extra bright headlamps darted to the diner for Luigi's crew to grab a snack they didn't realize they were craving then the professor agreed to help them. Going several directions, sometimes backing on itself again he tracked wherever the Wacky Watch lead around town like a hound.

"It's Boo-Tracker model I'm working on sonny," Gadd touched on after Luigi had stared at the rainbow colored radar looking contraption mounted to the windshield enough. He screeched before a huge wall of mist where Toad Town and Area 64 met. It stretched as high as the sky and the watch pointed into the directly into it, prodding further investigation.

"Oh my God I want to get out of here! I'll do anything! I'll walk!" Dr. Toadley's assistant squealed, sandwiched between the koopalings in the backseat. She'd took off the headphones that kept her ignorant of everything only just then.

Luigi's eyes dilated as the unspeakable happened. A puffy cloud dropped to the ground street away from them like a rock, erupting into the splash they could see over the roofs of buildings. "Aww heck! The sky is falling!"

"Ooh, read that in the Timulator's original service manual," Iggy explained sheepishly. "Deterioration of the atmosphere is a side effect of changes to the time line. It's totally temporary I promise! Just stay indoors it warned!"

With a gasp Dr. Toadley's assistant clicked her seat belt back on. "Keep me in this car!"

"Onward we go!" the professor sang. The headlamps switched to high beams inside the mysterious subsection of the Mushroom Kingdom where the landscape transformed into rural farmland. Gadd knew there was something decidedly special going on, the real reason he so eagerly pushed back his plans for the day. He'd taken a peek at the Wacky Watch which was currently in Peach's palms at the moment due to bumps in the road knocking everyone around and was captivated by that 'dark' moon phase...

Less than a mile away.. A camera captured first hand the carnage of a mob chasing their target and cornering him where a high fence partitioned a plot of fire flowers from ice flowers. Before anyone could clobber him a Channel 64 news van teleported on the scene with a heavy plonk as it flattened dozens of flowers.

"Everyone back up!" Yoshi jumped out. Captain Toad, panting heavily in the spot he was cornered in, had two black eyes.

"GYAH!.. I mean- Mr. Yoshisaur, thank you for the backup! (Finally..)" Gathered around him Roy was ready sling fists, Booigi leering, Kylie who was not part of the vigilante crowd as she would insist just documenting, Toad, Morton and other bystanders caught red handed.

"Stop standin' round and pound em!" Roy lounged forward.

Yoshi tossed an egg at Roy. It cracked on his skull which stopped the nineteen year old in his tracks. "I said, back up! What's going on?"

Kylie put away her camera a little too late to escape Yoshi's attention. "Hold on brother, before you pull out your handcuffs know that Luigi's back!"

Yoshi's gaze bounced around. "From.. where?" The dinosaur just couldn't remember, rapid onset dino-dementia he feared and that was a terrible thought, but he couldn't focus on that then.

"Luigi accompanied, was whisked away with my brothers, siblings, collages, Lemmy and Iggy and the princess, the ruler of this land, and together went back to prevent an event. What event?-" Morton lectured, eyes closed and sporting that pompous look as always. He went silent unnaturally before he could warn that as he'd studied in travel guides by conspiracy theorists the 'curse of Area 64' had set in. Starting right...then!

Kylie was ready to continue the story when her own brain scrambled. All her learned memory techniques gone in an instant, an empty head on her on shoulders, the subject of Mario Maker and Mr. Eraser. Then she fainted.

Yoshi nearly dashed to her before a wave of lightheadedness hit him. "Someone else check on her!"

Koopa Scouts kicking in, Junior dove after Kylie straight from the car. "I've been trained for this!" Whatever that phrase meant the koopa child thought. When he was old enough to drive he wanted to drive a tank with laser guns, not a 'train'.

"Everybody I remember! The Captain was swingin' that pickaxe around like the Mushroom Slasher... and vanishing! .. I think?" Toad's face scrunched up, taking everything he had to scrape that memory up.

"And more! I guess I gotta be da smart one, huh," Roy growled. "Luddy and em, Iggy built da machine 'cause a few days ago our uh, butler, nah chef, nah. Someone died and they had ta stop it. Arrgh. Dats all I got." The buff koopaling shrugged as no one could explain what happened only a few hours ago. Yoshi gave up, noticing then that he was missing Captain Toad- and Booigi. His heart sunk again...

"GRRR GET BACK HERE GAAHH!" Booigi barked as they chased Captain Toad deeper into agricultural territory. The two had gotten a mile away from the others by now. Booigi could get close enough to smell him, to almost taste him, to imagine squeezing the life out of him before the toad squeezed through the barrier of Old McKoopa's farm and into Lil Oink Nepoleon plot of land, a field known for its grassy bowl shape.

Whack! Booigi became dazed then, smacking their face against a white marble pillar with micro blocks of words inscribed. It sprouted out of nowhere and when they craned their neck, it seemed to stretch infinitely upwards.

"Congratulations, you have reached the pillar of understanding.." it said softly. "Perceive my sayings."

Boo might have done it, a frequent reader books delivered to their home because public libraries caused social anxiety, but Boo? Who needed Boo? Booigi the Second disregarded it. Ahead in the field Captain Toad's back faced Booigi, crouching still where where he stopped observing a dented piece of machinery planted in a little crater from impact. Appearing to be a vintage hard disk there was a slit on the side where the substance creating the foggy landscape was seeping out.

Booigi froze, turning their head to the side before anger blazed anew. "Turn around!"

Slowly he obeyed. Captain Toad looked ghastly and his open palms crusted with dried blood, but the deranged nature was shed and the his black pupils lacked the unnatural starry nature from before. "Hold on! I don't know what I've become, what's happened, or where this came from, okay?!" The Captain ripped the teleportation module off of this chest where it was strapped. Booigi paid no mind, zoning in like a charging debull.

"By the power of Eldstar you're freaking dead!" Booigi punched him in the stomach so hard he coughed up blood. They glared deep into the toad's beady eyes and was about to crush his neck. Squeezing him extremely hard and fueled by all of the buried disappointment and bitterness Boo ever felt, they were so engulfed in those emotions they felt hot enough to melt. Now Booigi received a vision of tall decaying and abandoned building, the one where boo community meetings were held and Boo was brutally laughed out of the club by their own cousins. Now Boo, their normal self, appeared at the roof shivering, sticking to the middle until another darker boo poofed behind Boo and flung them off with a wicked laugh. Booigi watched their original self plummet to their death-

"Be careful with that!"

Booigi, drenched in sweat, returned to reality. Captain Toad slipped their grasp as Ludwig sprinted down after them unexpectedly. He had a worn light jacket and scarf flowing in the wind, more scraggly and gaunt than remembered. "I assume you're still allies, correct? Good! My prospects more dim than an goomba squadron. That is right, the battalion zapped our resources in half and we lost fifty lives. In addition I've tried everything to escape this zone! Good news: that sandwich you gave me yesterday, delicious now- Soldiers?" Ludwig reached out to Booigi and then The Captain. He gave both a blank stare. "You both look like crap," he remarked bluntly. "-But don't we all? Anyway, I fear reality has folded on itself and I attribute it to that 'Timulator memory deck' at your feet."

Captain Toad and Booigi saw the machine again in a new light. The toad backed up slowly, eyes opened wide. "I did this. I really did this.." he repeated breathlessly.

"Don't you dare.." Booigi glared. Suddenly they gunned after the toad again and Ludwig found himself all alone, aside from a note left from Booigi/Boo. It was checklist 'Notes from Morton' it detailed.

Ludwig scooped it up very curious of how that 'traitor' Morton would be in contact with approved ally Boo Diddly. A once over later he pinched between his brows. It was as his theory suggested. It mentioned angry mob, something about time travel, and 'Dark Star'.

"No such occurred in my timeline so- Ugh! My theory IS correct. I am in two realities at once. An alternate universe myself not only fixed but utilized a time machine," he thought out loud. He waved an arm agitating the mist for demonstration. "Why didn't it click before? This is not fog or my hair would be frizzy." The blue strands in fact were limp over the koopaling's shoulders. "It is space dust, which would not be surprising if we were under the attack of this 'Dark Star'."

Ludwig spitefully stomped the teleporter from Captain Toad, making it crunch under his feet. He was so upset he could explode. The civil war he was in, his father and Mario's recent passing that he was the blame for partially, the fact that his fifteen teleportation patents were illegally copied to create duplicates that disrespected the aforementioned tragedy.. All candidates of his ire, especially those heinous teleporter ripoffs that shared the inherent design flaw of going too fast and killing the user if solid objects blocked the path. The koopaling took notice of an increasingly bright light source then. The glow of high beams dazzled him so that him couldn't see the source until it was on top of him nearly. He knew alone any more.

Ludwig shielded his face. "Gesundheit! A rescue team! Or.. Verdammt, an ambush!" Either way he rose his arms in peace as the silhouettes of five people scrambled out.

"Luddy, you're still okay!" Lemmy beamed. He was the first to leave the car, a confidence he wasn't used to oozing from him.

Ludwig blinked twice. "You're back from the Moon so soon?"

Lemmy's wide smile faltered in confusion.

Ludwig's expression mirrored his younger brother. "Nevermind. I think.. I am referring to another you."

Then Luigi sprung forward to tackle both professor and princess down inches away from touching the machine.

"Luigi!" Peach contested. "I wasn't in a trance, we were lead here- to this... thing for a reason!" The tickle of energy in the air was unmistakable.

Ludwig woefully eyed Prof. Gadd. "Now you find yourself in my position. Does it please you now that in Sarasaland right now in some sweat shop, underage workers are are handling tedious little screws that look like Philips but are actually 'JIS B 1012' for their replicas of my teleporter prototype for coins a day all because you allowed the first leak of my blueprints?"

"..I apologize," Gadd said in a muffled voice from the grass his mouth. "I came to my senses!"

"Luddy why are you so hard up man?" Iggy asked, again leaning against the car for support of his ankle.

Ludwig took a deep breath. "Because none of you are from my timeline. I'll catch you up: I'm on the run. There is a large bounty me. Most of my own turned against me. Society is breaking down. Hundreds are dying daily from political confusion. I did not brush my teeth this morning. That's just some of the reasons I'm 'hard up'." He paused again. "We can't stay here. Many want my blood."

Lemmy fought against the natural tendency to shake like a leaf. Instead he balled his fists in determination. "I hate that we couldn't fix everything or keep dad from.. but it's not about making everything perfect anymore. I remember stuff another you told me and I'm not gonna forget it! We just have to do our best. Let's get out of here!"

Ludwig approached the younger brother gently. "You have never said truer words, little brother. Or at least my you hasnt. Oh you get what I mean. Help me destroy this space dust spewing memory module. It has by some event been endued to become a 'special object'."

"The Timulator explosion," Luigi, Lemmy, and Iggy said at once.

Mary screamed from inside the car, grabbing their attention. Two koopas were giving war cries in the distance, attracted by the light and charging at everyone.

"Caught ya, sucka!" Larry flung himself over a fence with war paint under his eyes and tattered red bandanna tied around his head. The usual mohawk was back into a pony tail and he brandished a koopatrol grade spear with lava hardened iron. It was thrown and everyone ducked to the ground where it planted deep and barely missed Ludwig.

Wendy trailed her little brother. She was very plain with no make up, only a spray painted pink army helmet and had an embroidered zapper hostler. Lemmy noticed right away because he'd fired it some time on the Dark Land range that it was the one Kammy gifted her one year as a horrible misunderstanding of what the kids were into.

"Under 'Kingly Law XXVYXCWYZ section 20' you are decommissioned as Dark Land general and deemed guilty for blowing up the castle and what happened to daddy." The ocean princess aimed the weapon. Everyone's arms rose.

Larry marched up to everyone smugly. He snatched the watch from Peach and made it rattle around. "What's this hunk of junk worth?"

"Don't!" the princess protested.

"Shuddup, yo!" Larry pulled out another spear and spun it around stylishly, savoring every moment. "What's gonna save y'all now? The po-po?"

"Exactly, young man. Freeze!" Ranger Yoshi strode on the scene with a strict professional and impassive demeanor, wearing a deputy hat and a gold badge on his chest. "First renegade teleporting then most conspiring with most wanted Ludwig Von Koopa and his-" the constable briefly observed. "Weather machine!"

Prof. Gadd quietly scolded himself for not shutting down his car's lights. It was acting like a beacon and more bodies were coming into focus drawn to it. Area 64's scale at first seemed impossibly vast but now those still alive were stumbling upon each other easily on accident.

Daringly, Luigi picked up the tape drive and whisked himself away in a blink of the eye. Roy was approaching, the 'New Roy' as he made no resistance to the switch, and he wanted pounce everyone without knowing why. "Get em!"

Wendy climbed on his back and fired shots into the giant cloud obscuring Luigi and crew. "Drats.."

Morton tried to keep up with large heavy steps. "Do not harm Luigi and company!" he started as new and old memories clashed in his skull. Another 'Morton' fought to take over, one that wanted to seize Ludwig. That same new timeline Morton also however knew a dire secret stringing the entire operation along. -If only he had an audience to reveal it to!

The surviving eclectic group of the Mario Fan Club realized who was in their midst sought to chase Ludwig. The Koopa Troop were as anti-teleportation as their family and while they had no memory suddenly of why they were in the Mushroom Kingdom in the first place, they yearned to kill the father of teleportation, unaware of its real origins, and any of his allies.

"Quick thinking, boy. The best thing to do sometimes is make like a boo and vanish!"

Luigi faintly made out Prof. Gadd giving an impressive hustle for his age. They left Napoleon's farm to the dirt roads again and then out into a paved road. Luigi escaped Area 64's fog wall with the tape drive cradled in his arms. The city however had transformed. More clouds had fallen, making everything wispier. The sun could not even be made out as any more than a dull glow and gathered at the street walk with him was Peach, Lemmy, and Ludwig only.

"Where's the rest?" Luigi gasped.

"Check again, plumber!" Ludwig peered back as high beams sliced through the mist and Gadd's van pulled up. The window rolled down and Iggy was driving with one leg propped up and Dr. Toadley's intern in the back hyperventilating.

"Have you guys played Grand Theft Auto?"

"Not a fan?" Luigi answered hesitantly, fearing the worst.

"Me neither. I'm more of an MMO player," Iggy concluded, bringing that thought nowhere.

"-We can put that machine the car?" Peach asked to get back to business. "If we drop it off Star Hill just north of my castle here's no way the poor thing will survive."

"Miss Petunia hitched a ride back there once. Yes, there is room," Gadd reassured.

"I approve of this course of action." Ludwig helped himself inside, swinging into a bucket seat with the coat rack. "Just hold your breaths. Space dust causes asthma and hives."

A u-turn was necessitated and performed quickly with pursuers leaving Area 64. (Un)fortunately for them Iggy was a maniac on the road. They busted through the gate out of the South and back into Toad Town. Luigi peeked out of the window to find someone holding the gate shut shut with unusual strength, thus locking out the majority of the Mario Fan Club. Luigi saw.

"Captain Toad?"

"Call me Stan, Luigi. Take this," Captain Toad tossed over a borrowed wrench that Luigi caught from the window.

But it was from their original timeline? Oh he didn't try to think about it. All that mattered was that he saw his friend again. On smoother roads the seven sped the crammed vehicle down urban streets of questionable visibility when they heard sirens. The flashing lights overtook them and they saw that it was a Channel 64 van.

Ranger Yoshi raced swerved along side them. "Stop the vehicle!"

Kylie rolled the back window down with an ice pack on her head. A green capped toad they didn't know (Mitch) was also back there. "My darn noggin's gone bad and I don't know why I'm saying this, but keep going, brother!"

Ranger Yoshi glared in the rear view. "Stay out of this, reporters."

"Slow down so I can snap a better photo, dude," Mitch yelled over the wind.

"Not falling for that."

Whoosh! Now a Boo was setting, or floating in the empty passenger seat next to the sheriff. Boo without the crutch of Booigi did what was apparently their new skill, cause chaos. Boo grabbed the wheel and sharply veered the news van over and off into the curb and into Toad Town park. Fighting over control, they ran through plants and bushes and trees and eventually ended up nose first into the water fountain.

Gadd's car passed cut through the square and started to head north of the city when they faced another a mixed bunch of Koopa Troop of all shapes and sizes lined across the four lane street in unison. There was a Dark Land desert storm tank in the rear forcing them divert at the intersection to a smaller back street.

"The Koopa Troop cooperating? Where did they get that from?" Ludwig lamented as the tank became hot on their trail. Lemmy was about to mention it was actually him, albeit in a different reality, that gave the entire army tranquility training last year. The tank fired and blew up a fire hydrant. The gushing water created a hint of quarter rainbow.

"Ohmygosh, that's totally cool and they're heading to the castle where I've never been there before! Wow, I want an autograph from Toadsworth and I want to see if the giant paintings are real!" someone said inside the tank. The hatch opened, revealing Emery who was chippy for just a moment before firing off waves of ammo at Gadd's car with murderous intent again. They swung around the corner and were back on Starman road.

"Blast them already!" Bowser Junior screeched, the commander responsible for the dozens road signs they'd knocked down.

The suv made a split down an alley between Club 64 and an item shop while the tank blasted down both buildings. The structures peeled like a banana, revealing the ruffled folk who were in both. Some toads were in the item shop but a group consisting of a monty mole, a mega goomba, a parakoopa, a wiggler, and a snifit were in the diner and very unhappy.

"Blowing up places to eat is a health violation. Get dat tank boys!" James 'Jimmy' M of the Mushroom Kingdom Disease Control Unit declared. The MKDCU mercilessly chased the Koopa Troop tank down.

Emery recognized her classmate Sebastian and got cold feet, not warning the koopa prince that he was running the tank off of the ramp to Royal Raceway and into the lake. They splashed in the water and frighteningly for them, the MKDCU chased them to the seabed where the hunt continued on among cheep cheeps and bloopers.

As Gadd's car escaped up the ramp of Royal Raceway drive, Peach saw her castle over the hill and noticed with a complex mix of horror and intrigue that it seemed exactly as it was in her timeline, even down to the crack down the moat and the same construction company that she'd selected at random from and dusty phone book. They drove along Peach's Castle and collectively shuddered. They were beaten there. Larry, Roy, Morton, and Wendy were in the yard while the construction company continued to work and ignore their presence. Roy dauntlessly stepped before the car and forced them to screech.

"Ha! We knew you'd try to hide at da castle, Luddy!" Roy growled, propping his foot on the van's grill.

"I am impressed you attempted to use your brain," Ludwig replied with a huff. "But..WRONG!"

"I don't think we should be ticking these guys off," Luigi groaned, "Considering-"

Morton ripped the door off of on the passenger side. "We have ravished your watch! Now relinquish, give up, hand over, the smoke machine that is currently burning, irritating, my eyes!" Roy ripped off the opposite door and then Wendy blasted one of the tires flat, sinking the car to the side.

"-That," Luigi sighed.

"Everyone out!" the furious female koopaling howled. Larry lifted the back door and got blasted with the space dust. He choked at first then relaxed, posture slumping. Being in the tight space with the dust and the resulting red eyes made Luigi and crew smell and look like galactic stoners from outer space.

"We surrender!" The intern looked to Prof. Gadd for support. "Right? We have real careers you know."

The professor smiled back. "Can I get one thing from the car? It's important, can't live without it."

"Like what?" Wendy aimed the zapper at his chest.

"My leak protection underwear," he replied stoically.

"Ugh! Go on before you start pissing all over the place!" Wendy kept her nose scrunched and zapper aimed as Gadd sidestepped Larry. He went out of view and the other six waited anxiously while Peach watched a shadow in an upper window of her castle, the only one not shattered. It had a round head like a toad. She stopped herself from being too excited or conspicuous. Her blue eyes darted to the closest person next to her, Lemmy. They shared the briefest glance but the koopaling caught on. Lemmy whistled loudly, startling his siblings and forcing everyone to cover their ears. Eye daggers from Wendy, Morton, Roy, and Larry impaled him. He could almost feel it literally.

"I do that when I'm nervous, you know that!" Lemmy sputtered.

"Since when?" Wendy, Roy, and Larry replied.

"Since- How did you beat us here?" Lemmy diverted cleverly. "Don't lie now. Too late, your eyelid is doing the twitchy thing Wendy!"

His sister clammed up worridly, a flash of the sister Lemmy remembered- at least when she knew she was in trouble. Wendy then yanked something from her shell with a red button green button and dial for distance. A teleporter. The shock on Ludwig's face surpassed all.

"Sister mine! How?"

Morton rose one finger, interpreting this moment for a reason only he knew to be the time to reveal his secret. "Ah ha. I remember! The manhunt for Ludwig is not because of the bob-omb strike on our castle but because Wendy was going to take credit for teleporting in the name of Koopa female contributions in sciences and technology as she felt she really gave Luddy the idea and she felt he got too much credit for group efforts in the Koopa Troop and with the money and fame she was going to buy Water Land, build a resort, build an army of vicious fashion warriors and occasionally appear on the Poshley Heights runway as the 'Mystique Queen Wendy O.' while the rest brothers of us do whatever we want because if it was ugly boy stuff she didn't care about it anyway!"


Luigi blinked. "What."

Wendy pat down stringy hairs that had sprung up on their own. "..Remember when I was snooping around old potions in the castle? I found the teleportation one and Luddy, you laughed me off because to you 'it was utter futility'. Then weeks later I was nice to you and made some special tea for concentration. Well, maybe I had an AP brewery class to study for too, but point is I did something nice."

Ludwig nodded, his expression begging for more clarification.

"Kammy taught me how, it's actually a memory tonic. The same one she gave to Kamek decades ago. Behind every great man is a.. Yeah. So with the help of her tonic he created the indestructible wands standard issue to magikoopas today. You'll never see her part in that in the books and that's a problem with the Koopa Kingdom. Those that deserve credit don't get it if their a girl. It's like a political pyramid scheme." She abruptly fired in the sky with no trigger discipline. "And I hate pyramids! And deserts, and dry weather- you get me."

"You make a point. Some of the Koopa Kingdom's ways are outdated, but is this really- how to say- the right time for revolution? All seven other continental Kingdoms turned on us after Vater's passing, you know that! I did bomb our castle, but it was to destroy the teleporters there. It was a critical, brutal, and complex decision. Moreso than I've ever made." Ludwig explained. Luigi and co remained deathly silent, soaking in the events of this new reality. "Sister mine, you are only seventeen and what's happening-"

"Is to big for me to understand, right Luddy? Is it really my age that's the issue? I've studied the same books as you," she hissed. "You just automatically assume I don't get it, you know it all!"

"Wendy," Iggy plead. "I don't think that. I'm tired of dragging assistants to the basement with me and I've asked you a million times to help out. We are the only Sony fans in the castle, we have to stick together."

"No, nerd breath," she replied.

"Wendy dear," Peach started in a mild but firm way, "is this really about untapped creativity that patriarchal koopa customs stifle? -Or do you just want selfish power?"

Wendy was still for a moment and then screeched, slamming the gun down to the ground. "Alright! Like we could really keep the Koopa Troop going without daddy! What will we do? Junior was next in line but he's a kid and we're just- I don't even know! We're rejects! We always were! Now daddy doesn't have to be miserable anymore while we suffer! Do we know what to do with ourselves? Roy?"

Roy spun from her to the others, dumbfounded.

"You Larry?"

The fifteen year old was too dizzy to reply.

She then pointed at her oldest brother. "And you were just gonna ride it out Luddy. The world against us and you run!"

"Correct." Ludwig lowered his head. "We have no King. We have nothing. Nichts."

Luigi opened his mouth to say something but couldn't, feeling punched.

This wasn't going right, Lemmy thought. The bleak mood was identical to the morning before they time traveled. He and his siblings aimless and waiting around to die of emptiness. He would never return to that dark place. Lemmy stepped forward. "Everyone, it doesn't have to be this way! We're not losers or cowards or failures or anything just cause dad's gone! We have to move forward. If Dark Land has no king at the moment then- I'm the King now!" He took a larger step closer and Wendy staggered back and fell on her butt.

"Hip is King?" she babbled. It seemed she'd have a change of face before she scowled and pressed a button on the teleporter she'd ripped off. The moody sky flashed.

Morton held his tongue, the first to spot the sentry teleporting on the scene with something hanging on. "Not even a time paradox would make me turn on you, princess!" Toad tussled in the sky with Sentry 11. Arguing over control hey swooped over everyone's heads, the construction workers, and into the open hole on the castle where Peach's mosaic was.

Wendy had another shock of her life as the ground shook. The doors of the castle opened wide and a gaggle of toads rushed out, hopping bravely over the broken moat and spreading out into the field. Buckenberry lead the way and everyone split into chaos. It was then that Prof. Gadd emerged from the van with what a cruder prototype F.L.U.D.D strapped to his back. He grabbed the Tape Drive and Dr. Toadley's intern and up he went in the sky with the jet stream, up and over the castle.

"Don't stand down! I said, Morton- No! Ahhg! You guys are DORKS! Come back here!" Wendy growled, the zapper getting stomped on dozens of times and unusable. Roy had five toads attacking him in unison and Morton got so mixed up his shell spun backwards.

"We're being trashed by talking mushrooms! Whoa maaaann!" Larry tripped out and scurried away.

The backyard of the castle had construction tools and pallets Luigi and Peach weaved through, following Gadd's trail in the sky over the hills where the sky darkened, the soil became purple and the twinkles of stars above tickled their ears. The location had a captivating feeling in the air, a vestige of star energy from a set of events so long ago. A third of the way up the winding path Luigi crossed Prof. Gadd and the intern just as they landed. The professor was bent to his knees, panting.

"I'll feel this one tomorrow!" Gadd tossed it over. "Take this boy. Make me proud!"

They went up to the cliffs edge where the sky was a deep purple and star bits sprinkled down like gentle rain. Luigi glanced over and the unfathomable drop, like the bottomless pits of legend where no light escaped and anything down there was doomed, prey of the dreaded Underchomp.

"Ready plumber?" Ludwig dropped down beside him, the first time he'd paid attention of who was on his heels aside from Peach. "Or shall we wait for the King?" he added with no sarcasm.

"Go!" Lemmy high pitched voice said from a distance back.

Luigi locked on to him quickly but earnestly. "Lemmy? Thanks for that let's roll."

Together Luigi and Ludwig slung the tape drive off the cliff so tenaciously they almost tossed themselves with it. Peach, Lemmy, and Iggy pulled them back as the black box vanished in the dark pit. They waited for a reaction so intensely they didn't hear the commotion and the clatter of others tearing up perfectly preserved landscape until Iggy rolled over to his back and slid up his glasses for a good view. "Whoa nelly!"

Everyone spun to spot Larry Koopa running for his life, tears running from him like sprinklers. The petrified teenager cling to Ludwig. He had his rebel bandanna torn off and all weapons long tossed.

"Man I'm sorry! Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry! I don't feel good anymore!"

"Larry!" Ludwig gasped.

"-Here take it back!" Larry retrieved from his shell the Wacky Watch and dropped like trash as the rest of the hoard arrived.

The toads who'd chased Larry chanted and Buckenberry and Alagold was in the forefront with a flashlight. "For Mario!" he added to the chant.

Larry hid behind everyone's feet. "I'm just a kid! Don't let them freaking kill meeeee!"

Luigi saw the fire, the spirit of Mario in the toads. He rose his voice trying to stop them but the locomotive was in motion at full speed.

Lemmy scooped up the watch and felt like all the stage spotlights in the world were shining on him at once. He'd better have a grand finale and he figured it out. He flung the glowing object as hard as he could over the ledge. The Earth shook and before the toad army could pulverize anyone a colossal beam of green light ascended up into the heavens with a tumultuous drone that sent dozens of bodies rolling down hill.


"Let us take a breather. No? Okay, carry on." Millennium Star's aside was enough distraction to halt the barrage of dark matter for a second. The dark star, Doomella as he knew because he knew everyone, was fierce, young and bored while Earth suffered from the leftovers of her influence. She was crafty too, in more places than one, which was not unheard of but unexpected from such a sweet little face. The war continued before a flash of green separated them.

"Why does this keep happeningggggg!" Doomella was launched across the atmosphere by the beam. People all around the planet observed a black shooting star make going round and round.

Celebration short lived, Millennium Star circled the Earth to catch up. If she got buried again from impact the entire ordeal would simply repeat in a hundred or so more years and he'd have to deal with it again. Those darn downsides of immortality.. During the seventh revolution the ancient star observed perspicaciously the numbers '4444 Chai' on the smooth but dull metal husk of a flying missile as it performed acrobatic maneuvers over the skies of Chai, Muda, Birabuto, and the East ocean.

...Back on Earth, Daisy's fingers scraped against the bottom of her bowl of snacks while the other hand was on the joystick controlling the missile. There was a blotted out portion of her memory obscuring how it launched in the first place but there was no time for her special meditation technique involving standing on her head. There was no safe place to take it down, not even the ocean with spring season bringing tourists on boats. A new blip whipped across the screens.

"Phone!" Ming popped up over her shoulder. He waited then added, "-It's Luigi!"

She snatched the phone. "Hello, this is indeed Luigi! Have you observed the object in the sky? It is the dark star! Ho ho- ahem. -If you happened to have an object under your skillful control to attack it, why, that would be convenient."

"First, did you get my card?" she asked worridly.

"Hmm? Uh.. Of course, my love."

"'My love', did you just call me that dawg?" Daisy flushed, amused and flustered at once. That was undoubtedly the green plumber's voice even if the inflections were unfamiliar. Regardless, the edge in her melted away. She mashed the controls harder making the missile chase at super sonic speeds out of Sarasaland territory and above the East Sea. Then- the screen was an empty grid. Daisy zoomed out the radar view and nearly flipped in her seat. She'd chased that object and created an explosion all the way in the Mushroom Kingdom...

"Success!" boomed Millennium Star with a thunderous voice. 500 tones of nuclear power shot Doomella deep into space, soaring before smacking against a dome shape. Her face slid down a window while luma children giggled from within the structure, then she fell to flat marble with circles engraved. There was a grassy area to the left, a velvet red carpet to the right, and shoes tapping in front of her, hidden behind a long teal gown.

"Well, what do we have here?" Rosalina waved a hand and summoned a dozen lumas to dance and gather around the dazed dark star. "(Heart music note)!?, how did you know the precise location to park the Observatory?"

Geno arrived from the opposite side. "I've been blasted from many planets before. I could calculate the trajectory in my sleep!"

"Wonderful!" The space queen cupped the star warrior's face and they blushed at each other while Doomella wailed in the background. Eldstar was behind schedule due to something that make his phone call to Geno a few moments ago be full of barking. Geno understood that Doomella would soon really wish she remained buried in Sarasaland.


Luigi woke up a minute after the blast with many others. While his body sent the signal of agony, inwardly he rattled too hard for any sensation. He staggered to his feet as something circular rose from the heart of Toad Town. A stainless steel fan larger than the hills rose into the mist and let out a loud click while a dramatic orchestra piece played. Ludwig recognized it, a piece from the daring Finnish Shy Guy named Bise in his ballet called "Brickfielder? I hardly know her! (Blow me away)". The motor roared, three blades rotated clockwise, and the whirlwind swept anything not bolted down away. A colossal storm, the space dust and fallen clouds in the atmosphere were blown into the ocean where he sun could scorch it away. The fan then peeled away as a 2-D object.


"Oh no! Our hard work!" whined a purple robed bandit, arms stretched out to catch some of the tattered pieces of the 'thing sticker' floating in the ether, the one he and Jelectro, Agent N, Spy Guy, Agent 999, Agent M, and Agent Toad spent the last nine hours unpeeling from the remote Decalburg.

"Return to base, agents." The yoshi spy captain gave a quick peek out of the secret warp pipe the agents were hiding in. "Yes, you too Trevor!" he added before the pink boo could slip away into the city. He watched each of them drag their feet in assuming they had feet, but stopped the short noki so that they were the last agents left in the open. He lowered his tone. "You still shook me out of bed at 4 AM and I want an explanation, Jelectro. Don't say it was for this. Fog is not an emergency."

"It was mon ami, trust me," Jelectro slung his arm around him. "Oh and payback for making sleep on the couch once in another reality."


...Star bits once exclusive to the hill sailed across Toad Town and surrounding, sprinkling every unsettled villager with a gentle calming and sparkly shower. The toads returned to the castle to find that a hunk of a Sarasaland missile had crushed the structure down to rubble. Returning also, Peach cupped her face in horror. She could not fathom the catastrophe until Toadsworth and his prophecy of her castle's demise, the reason the toads had abandoned her in the other timeline, rung in the back of her mind. She dropped to the ground and laughed madly.

Luigi walked aimlessly down the Royal Raceway away from the castle. He wasn't sure how he'd gotten there but with the adventure over the spark was gone. What remained was the wandering husk he was just the other day. The same one that missed his brother's memorial...

The green plumber dropped to his knees. "Mario. Just know. That I did it all for you..."



"I know, little bro. I knew you could without me. No one else could have done it better."

Luigi lifted his face as tears streamed down and looked upwards to the stars.


Author note: Epilogue time! Was this what you thought it'd be? Was it what I thought it'd be? No but I decided that this ambivalent conclusion as opposed to the saccharine one New Frenemy Adventure (and to a lesser extent the non-Redux Frenemies Forever) brought us is what really fit. Thanks for reading. If there's questions, it might be answered soon.

Created: 1/16/20, 1/19, 1/21, 1/22, 1/24, 1/25, 1/28, 1/31, 2/1, 2/2, 2/4, 2/5, 2/6, 2/8, 2/9

Edit: 3/2/20, 7/13/20

Again: 1/2/21

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 shudder. "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 and they didn't want to get 



riled up. By now they understood that 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. This meant they were completely incongruent with the 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 back on Earth 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 a mess. 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.

"Took forever. To put it in perspective we started after breakfast!" Luigi added. "I was prepared." 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 he was alive!"

Everyone laughed 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 tale."

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 drenched in sweat over here."

Yoshi could easy smell Mario's scent on himself. "Ah, yeah. I'll find him something real quick. Ha, ha." He began walking away from the trio. He didn't mind the smell one bit. He couldn't get enough of it actually.

Luigi turned back to his brother with a serious look. "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 sandaled 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 Morel 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 and opened his arms wide. "Everyone, group hug. Come on. Some things 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-

Actually not!

"Daddy!" Junior screamed, running for his poppa. 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 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, it didn't matter. "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 raising a brat like me. Know 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 



the Koopa Troop. Would you truthfully be at peace if we chose to stray from such?"

Bowser's forearm swept across his face to knock away the last of the perspiration 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 strongest 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 on Earth. 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 a 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) to get some more information on what would have happened there and just meta closing thoughts in general. Peace!

Created: 2/11/20, 3/1/20, 3/3, 3/4, 3/20, 3/21, 3/22

Edit: 1/2/21, 5/22/21