Personal Collections Mario and Bowser FF2

Mario and Bower: Frenemies Forever 2

Bowser Wins (Chapter 8)

Disclaimer: Mario belongs to, yes me! No, just kidding.

Authors note: A spoiler in the title? Or is it? Mild language. Kind of.

"It's all done so I'll just mosey on out.." The janitor stood while leaning slightly on the broom in his hand without a hint of fatigue. One would never know the koopa paratroopa had been working straight from this afternoon to now fixing things in the hospital, the doors, wobbly furniture, squeaky chairs, and a computer security breach..

"Very well, Mr. Koopa. Give our regards to the South hospital." Doctor Professor Koopa held open his office door but stopped him just before he left. "We know it was your brother who infiltrated us this morning as part of that 'MKDCU' gang."

Probabilly kept his face unemotional. "I reckon so.."

Doctor Professor studied him for a second. "Just letting you know. If you see him, we didn't appreciate it." He went one way from the office and Probabilly another.

Work had been slow in the hospital for a while with all of his staff suddenly becoming sluggish or forgetful, even Nass who could zip through any rush instead meddling obsessively or reorganizing her data sheets to what was actually a detriment to productivity. With the top staff in that shape the doctor's experiments planned had to be canceled. He eventually nailed it down to one event, the admission of that semi-famous toad gossip writer. He entered Mitch's room under the guise of standard procedure, clipboard under his arm and first darting to the monitors but paying no attention to the results. Instead the doctor stooped down to his ear. "Try something. I know you can."

Mitch's body remained motionless.

Doctor Professor grabbed the loose power cord to the breathing machine. Regrettably, for him, Mitch had been off of that for hours now. Reaching into the closet, he found a spare pillow and returned to the bedside holding it with a smirk. "Don't want to talk? I guess this won't inconvenience you much..."

"Eldstar, Grambi, and whoever else help me!" Kylie Koopa was huddled down halfway into her shell enduring the reckless driving and the traffic they were cutting through at high speed. The Aston (Martin) Mushroom ran up and scrapped onto the corner of the sidewalk. They'd sped from the Press to the hospital. Jelectro got out of the car and left the driver's door wide open.

"Speedy, hold up!"

Jelectro glanced over his shoulder while busily checking his pockets. "I have urgent 'intern' stuff to do! You drive manual mon ami? Take my car and dispose of it, please. It's classified after all."

She scooted into his seat. "What's why you terrorize my workmates, act like a wacko, and bring me here? To cover for you?"

"Well, you get your scoop too." He shrugged before scurrying off. In the lobby the visible staff were waiting around lazily, all of them as if they had no work to do. Jelectro knew why and where he needed to go. Even Nass at the front desk was too lethargic to react as he sprinted right pass her.

Doctor Professor was pressing hard on with the pillow over the toad for what felt like forever when someone banged on the door. "Code blue!" the voice said.

"What, again?!" Doctor Professor kicked the pillow under the bed with a groan before waltzing over to open the door. He got snatched out and Jelectro held the doctor's collar tight, slamming him into the wall on the opposite side.

"I am Detective Bond and you are under arrest for conspiracy and attempted murder. Hands up!"

Doctor Professor raised his arms. "That can't be right!"

"Tais-toi! There was never a Giant Land hospital on that phone that- what?"

"I don't know!" the doctor cried.

"-I'll finish. That called you to hold the patients without care for fourteen hours. Why?" The noki knocked him against the wall again, gripping tighter.

"Eh..please.. I have family!"

"No confession? Fine. In this fake deal the delay would allow them to get credit for discovering that the disease is actually- Aww! What was that?"

In a flash the doctor's face contorted into a self satisfied half smile. "There sure are a lot of you magikoopa like freaks out here, heh heh heh. My, what is the odds of meeting two in a day, boy? I'll help you out since you can't steal it from my brain. They have the Mushroom Flu which brings me back to the old days when I could still visit the bayou before they polluted it up. I ran a butchers shop on the side. You fish?"

Jelectro let go and stepped back, loading his weapon. "Enough! Whether you know it or not a Bowser affiliate created the hoax! You get nothing."

"Correction. The money was never the point, it was punishing my dear 'Sweet Pea', that's Peach for ever kicking me out of the castle in favor of those putrid incapable toad followers she started collecting," he explained with calculated tranquility. "Yeah keep doing aiming that thing everywhere, child. Mushroom Flu works quick so what you do to me will not-" Doctor Professor was cut off by the intercom screeching with static and screams coming through. Then a clear voice said-

"SOS! Theodore, g-get down here!"

Before they could react from around the hall came a stampede of tall and burly royal mushroom guards, the kind typically only associated with remote locations like where Peach's father stayed out of town, and they were showing no signs of stopping.

"I'm a detective! Wait!"

The crowd of guards swallowed Jelectro anyway while Doctor Professor got a break and dashed back into Mitch's room, locking the door. Cornered, he took a deep breath and then hurled himself out of the window to escape. His frail body and shards of glass plopped down in the bushes landscaping the hospital. There were trucks from the guards all outside and even a helicopter in the sky shining down a blinding beam that swept across the lot in search. He limped away and into the darkness creeping over the land...

"Boo Diddley? Is that you?" 'Z' moved across the park's green grass with a sly smile across his visage. "Weren't you that loser we all beat up at family reunions?"

"He looks like trouble. Let's go." Yoshi was the only one to heed his own advice, the others not even acknowledging him. Boo left Luigi's side and was already floating up to meet the other boo.

"Don't you work for Bowser now, Zoo?" Booigi the Second asked him, face to face. The sky darkened and cast a gloomy hue on the park.

"What if I do? Get outta my way, dweeb."

"I don't think so," Booigi hissed in Zoo's ear, snatching his arm as well. "In fact, why don't you go back to your pathetic waste land of a home in World 8?"

Luigi tried to wedge between the two. "Alright cut it out!" Zoo slung the plumber aside.

"Luigi?" Booigi gasped, becoming their old self for a flash before they spun back in Zoo's direction and swung with all the fury they could muster. The dark boo's body flew backwards and into the bushes again. Zoo lunged out of the foliage to tackle Booigi with a roar. Both tumbled around on the ground slapping and biting and right across Yoshi's feet.

"Stop it! Hey! Stop!" Yoshi repeated as they fought.

Luigi recovered as thunder boomed and some rain to sprinkle down. People around them, sun bathers, or those walking in the park saw this and hurriedly ran for cover. Boo, now with a black eye, tossed Zoo away and held an object in their hand triumphantly, a green Bowser racket!

"This was Mario's racket!" Booigi said. "AND I recognize your voice from this morning! You threatened me at the hospital."

Zoo stood up and burst out in wild laughter, making Luigi and Boo glance at each other for a second in confusion.. "Hehehe tell me what else?"

"-Well since we're in a better mood now," Yoshi interjected, "know that we didn't want to start anything in the first place. We were just taking a shortcut to the clinic."

Zoo turned to Yoshi. "You don't say? Thanks."

Yoshi felt his stomach churn for some reason. "Uh, why?"

"Because that's where Mario is, right?" Zoo explained slowly to watch Yoshi's reaction. "And the princess… and even Bowser. You contacted him without telling Luigi before you entered the park. You also know that Peach is going to shut down the hospital!"

Luigi tore his eyes away from the dark boo to Yoshi. "You knew all of that?! Why didn't you tell me?"

"Well- I didn't want to excite you too much with you know, everything else and-"

"-Excite me too much? Why wouldn't I be able to handle it? I'm a Mario brother!"

"I didn't mean it like that, Luigi!"

"-Oh you didn't!?" Luigi snapped back, arms folded. "Like you know everything, old man!"

Palm to his forehead, something clicked in Yoshi's brain and his feelings flooded out everywhere, terrible and ugly like the storm approaching. "Maybe in fact I do! See, this is why I needed to follow you around so you don't screw something up every five minutes like we're doing now! You aren't some hotshot and face it, you wouldn't have even gotten this far without me!" His hand raced to cover his mouth.

"See ya." As perfectly planned, Zoo slipped away.

Before Yoshi could apologize or even attempt to explain, Booigi tackled him down. He shielded his face as he was hurled into the mud.

"If you're just so good, bug off from us." Luigi dismissively walked away without turning back, focused on where Zoo had fled to the other end of the park and through the gates. He ignored the dinosaur's cries as they grew fainter with distance. In his pockets was an item for drastic measures, a fire flower. One bite of it and power surged through him, an internal inferno. He would show Yoshi. He would show Mario. He would show anyone else who ever doubted him. Booigi appeared on his side with a whoosh, dragging that racket. Both followed Zoo down the sidewalk as the rain shower became a down pour, then gained on him through dark narrow alley, Luigi's feet splashing in frequent puddles.

"Stop right there!"

Zoo spun around, giving his stalkers a double take. "What the-?! You're still bothering me? Yeah I admit it, okay? I tricked the hospital on the phone when I saw you this morning at the Mushroom Press because I couldn't have you finding out about how everyone got sick with the Mushroom Flu before Ludwig got into town."

"Little punk," Booigi growled.

"Yeah, whatever." Zoo pulled from out of nowhere a can of Fungus Up. "This is how I did it by the way. I think I got a good sales pitch too: This drink springs up over night. It also attracts idiots who read the Toad Town message boards. Hehehehe! Catch poindexter."

He pitched it hard to Booigi who caught it automatically. "No thank you."

"Yeah, enough chitchat Bowser scum. Of course my brother wouldn't be able to see the big koopa behind it all. What made you rat yourself out? Getting your teeth knocked in by my pal? How does it feel to be the 'nerd' now?" Luigi teased.

Zoo traded his annoyance for amusement. "You always were my favorite Mario bro. I almost hate to do this."

Both of their eyebrows raised when they saw Zoo reaching for a pale yellow little bell.


The two walls of the alley rumbled as the ground shook. Both ran out into the street where the businesses and restaurants around including Club 64 were doing the same. The street lights flicked off and power lines snapped. Mushroom citizens ran for cover under cars, trees, or deteriorating structures as a vision appeared in the sky of the same bell but much bigger and more transparent. The rang itself making a deep drone noise then holographic musical notes fell from it to the ground, landing like heavy objects. Everything around was pelted and Luigi and Boo were forced back in the alley.

"We gotta go! Come on!" Luigi tugged Booigi just for his hand to slip away as the boo stayed in place.

"Don't tell me what to do!" Booigi yelled back.

"Boo?! You're not making sense! Come back!" Luigi reached out for his friend to get shoved back to the ground.

"It's Booigi the Second! And I can do stuff now so again stop telling me what to do!" Boo swung at a power box and utterly destroyed it. Reduced to scrap metal, sparks flew in the sky while Boo laughed manically. They turned around but the plumber wasn't impressed, instead pure white, horrified, and slowly backing up before running away and leaving the little boo on the sidewalk alone.


Larry kept rocking to his MP3 player at max volume. The red shiny 'BATES by Dr. Greg' noise canceling headphones he'd stole from Roy couldn't even comfort him. Leaning against the wall, he wondered if he could just pull that fire alarm installed on the lower deck of the airship. That tactic had worked for school on occasion and then they all could just go home and life could be stable again. He was going for it when a rainbow haired koopaling popped up in his way.

"Larry. Stop being a jerk." Lemmy smiled and wagged a finger.

"What do you care? You're twenty-two so leave for the circus already like you've cock-teased forever."

"Language! I will eventually. Anyway we have to make this plan work, remember the disaster at Ludwig's eighteenth birthday? If you guys would just get onboard it would be fun!"

Larry snorted at his older brother. "Whatever. We're 'on board' whether we like it or not." He yanked the alarm anyway but the handle broke off and tacked on to his paw with some sort of sticky glue. "What the flip?!"

"I disabled it while you weren't looking!"

Larry tried to punch him and missed, striking the hard wall instead. He yelped and held his fist as rain began to patter on the upper decks and the ship swayed in the winds.

"These graphics are amazing!" Iggy bent all the way over the airship's railing wearing some virtual-reality goggles strapped to his face. They were already approaching the Mushroom Kingdom.

The doomship sunk farther into the clouds so that land rolled past below them. They spotted Goomba Village with it's little wooden homes, Koopa Village full of weaklings from their perspective, Flower Fields where Wendy begged to visit for a bouquet, the Mushroom Mall with no one really there, and finally Toad Town where the rain got heavier.

"Everyone, quiet. I'm listening to WMUSH." Ludwig tuned into the radio app with his eyes closed.

"~BZZRT. Kingdom wide alert! Princess Peach calls for emergency evacuation of Mushroom Kingdom Hospital for suspected conspiracy involving dozens sick from the Mushroom Flu-"

His eyes snapped open.

"-Citizens advised to stay indoors due to isolated earthquakes and storms! Stay tuned!~"

Ludwig crushed the 'radio' with his foot and punted if off the ship. But that wasn't a radio, that was his phone he was listening to. The ran over to the edge in time to see it become a falling speck. "Ahhhhh!"

"You got no friends anyway, heh. You'll git over it," Roy sneered.

Ludwig spun back towards his siblings. "First of all who says I desire mindless social contact?" He cleared his throat. "Secondly the word is out on our plans! Keep heading to the Peach Castle."

Kamek nodded, the one driving the airship at a steady cruising speed over town, obscured by foggy conditions.

"You do remember where she lives, uh right?" Iggy whispered to Kamek. "Cause you're heading the wrong way."

Kamek adjusted his glasses with a displaced look. "You mean we aren't in town to shop for wearable blankets?"

Ludwig spun the wheel around making the airship bank left very hard. Now they were on the path towards Royal Raceway and a moment later they stumbled upon Peach's antiquated castle except to everyone's astonishment floating in the sky on a dark opaque disk. A single light was on on an upper floor where Peach's bedroom was with a silhouette of someone in the closed curtains. Ludwig pulled the airship to the side.

"Scared to go? So what they put da old shack on stilts? I ain't impressed!" Roy cracked his knuckles loudly.

"Ooh! Ooh! I am ready, qualified, and eager to invade too!" Morton begged on his knees with a sudden bout of confidence he always got only when Roy showed off.

"Looks like I can test out my totally awesome mecha." Iggy bounced with excitement while beside him was a modified mechakoopa he controlled with the virtual reality headset strapped to his face.

Reluctantly Ludwig nodded. He test fired a cannon ball which bounced off the black disk, proving that it was tangible when the projectile bounced off with a thud. While still having an odd feeling about it he sent his two brothers and Iggy's toy forward. In they disappeared behind its doors.


Some amount of time later, Ludwig's day dreaming came to a halt when Lemmy tapped his shoulder. "What is it?"

Lemmy kept his eyes to the ground. "I kind of called King Dad again. Wait, before you get mad he's still in town and he's with Peach!"

Stunned, Ludwig craned back towards the princess's abode. "This who is in.."

The castle's doors were nearly knocked off the hinges by Roy charging out with a brown capped toad tucked under his arm like a foot ball. The mechakoopa was right behind him and Morton stumbling along. Frantically they hurled themselves over the rails and back aboard the airship nearly running over Larry.

"Hey, freaking watch it!" the teen exclaimed.

Roy panted heavily with his hands on his knees. Behind his shades his eyes were dilated and wide open, but to everyone else he just seemed like he'd came from a winning Koopaball game. The toad, Toadsworth dropped from his grasp and was too dazed to have a reaction. Morton flopped down like a dead cheep cheep on the ship's deck, right under the rigging, his sweat making him about as wet as a cheep cheep as well. Wendy rolled him on his back with her foot revealing second youngest's glazed over and slobbering look.

Ludwig went straight to Iggy. He was at edge of the guard rails giggling while crouched down. "You were recording live with that mechakoopa, correct?… Iggy!…" Ludwig began to feel a pit deep within. "Iggy are you with us?"

Iggy faced him stiltedly, like a machine in need of oil. "Hehhehehehehehehehe."

Ludwig ripped off Iggy's goggles but everything was normal.. By Iggy standards that was..

"Hiii Luddy, er.. what are we yelling about? Whoa!"

Ludwig grabbed and shook him. "What events did you witness in there?!" Lemmy, Larry, and Wendy crowded around to hear.

"Beautiful girls interested in me, limited edition figurines on sale, and and.. my therapist telling me I'm not crazy..."

Ludwig let him go, beaming despite the situation. "Change of plan. Larry, escort Roy, Morton, and Iggy and our hostage downstairs until they recover from their mania."

"Aww man! Wait… we can go home?" Larry asked optimistically.

"Absolutely not. Where was Vater, Lemmy?"

Lemmy gave a start at the sudden attention. "The Toadley Clinic. He was in the middle of a conference or something but-"

"Then we shall go. Kamek?" Ludwig woke the magikoopa out of the snoring he was doing. "Take us there!"

"You say Kammy's taking me on a hot date?!" Kamek babbled, snapping awake. "Sure, you brat!"


"Technology is ridiculous. Y'all are gonna tell me next that you can speak to someone across the planet in real time!" Bowser remarked as he tapped the blanked out computer monitor with a sharp claw, nearly ruining it and incurring an equally sharp bill.

The Skype call with several doctors in a Special World Hospital conference room got disconnected while a shady goomba called Dr. Goom went out to get someone called Dr. Toad. It turned out Bowser just stepped on the Ethernet cord at some point. It was plugged back and the connection resumed. Mario sat in a chair backwards while politely listening to the jargon and confabulation the remote doctors were doing. He tried to keep anxious thoughts down as his attention occasionally returned to the sick patients in the room still on the beds. The gloomy atmosphere was enhanced by the lights being dimmed to see the screen better.

Peach sat in a chair properly besides the plumber. "Daddy called me back. He sent an entire squadron there and they said it was successful except they didn't find Dr. Professor Koopa." She sighed. "I think daddy's sending them to another hospital down south near Mt. Rugged that I know isn't corrupt."

"-I knew never spring cleaning the office would pay off, so this is our proposal," Dr. Toad told the screen, gaining Mario and Peach's attention again. He was monotone speaking and very young adult looking toad with a red cap, not who they expected to be the president of such a place. "I have some old case files on the Mushroom Flu. Where are your patients now?"

"Are some here? Yes they are. Are some elsewhere? That too," Dr. Toadley answered inches away from the monitor.

"Excellent. Unfortunately Dr. Mario was the authority on Mushroom Flu and he's not with us anymore. Still, we'll give it all we got," Dr. Toad said with a shy but earnest smile. The transmission was cut again shortly after, not due to Bowser stepping on a cord again, but rather Dr. Toadley's satellite suffering attenuation. They heard a little thunder in the distance and then it all made sense. Really it was almost a miracle they'd stayed connected as long as they had.

"You heard that kid, Peach. We got this." Mario gently held her hand as she kept staring at the blank screen. "What's wrong?"

"..Oh!" She turned to him with a flush. "Just the toads from the castle were supposed to get here by now so I think I'll check outside."

"Don't worry too much now. They can take care of themselves," Mario replied more offhanded than he meant. He quickly apologized, flipping the chair the correct way so that he would lean back in it with his legs crossed. Dr. Toadley's minesweeper game, beeping computers, and Bowser getting attacked by Birdley was going on in the background. "But they are mostly adults and you do get a little tired of them, right?"


"I mean, they're not going to work in your castle forever. Best they learn the simple stuff." He found her suddenly missing from his side.

How dare Mario go there again, she thought. Her toads were not mere employees to her, well they were on paper and legally since the regime change that put her in office, but still. Peach was outside with her parasol where the rain shower beat down heavily and her toads were nowhere to be found at the bus stop. She noticed Emery still manning Bowser's Koopa copter after all this time and without shelter which dissipated the petty irritation bubbling. After all the princess couldn't let her suffer, baddie or not.

"Here you go." Peach tilted it over Emery's head. "Dear, you should come inside before you catch a cold."

"Well thanks," Emery almost chuckled, not sure how to react. "But I've been through worse."

"-Why did you join Bowser?" Peach knew she shouldn't pry but the question had already slipped and reassuringly Emery didn't seem offended.

"Because… It's not personal with you or anything. I just didn't see myself falling in line with the other toads for the rest of my life and it's kind of ironic because my mom Nass was from Dark Land and was always complaining about it and wanting to move to the Mushroom Kingdom. For me. That was when she cared. Never mind. I dunno how to explain it. I know I sound weird right now but I'm okay with that. Plus Bowser hired me on the spot."

Peach nodded, thankful for that bit of honesty even if it made her feel guilty for assuming there could be no valid reason to side with Bowser. In the end of the day though, people were people and it wasn't black and white like that. At least she hoped.. What was that part at the end about her mother caring? Peach was about to speak again-

"There you are!" Zoo randomly ran up to both women. "I've been all over the place looking for you!"

"And you are?" Peach stepped back.

Zoo leaned on the koopa copter, smiling oddly at the princess. "Just a guy. It don't matter anyway, chick. They're here. Also, you're hot this close. I've only seen you on posters before."

Everyone heard that familiar drone of a koopa airship approaching and fast. It's exact location wasn't obvious until it emerged from the low hanging clouds, but when it did the two hundred foot long vessel was impossible to miss swooping down with the anchor swinging their way. Bowser and Mario bolted out the doors to see the ship.

"Attention our lovely and dear princess!" Ludwig's voice rang from above through an intercom like system. "Us, the Koopa Troop take full responsibility for the tragedies of today, the sudden illness of your friends and mushroom citizens, AND the event affecting your castle right now!"

"You guys did that?!" Mario shouted.

"Yeah, you did?" Bowser added, scratching his head.

"Correct and here is the proof, we have your Toadsworth!" The sound of the old mushroom being shoved around before the mic was heard before Peach begged them to stop.

"What do you want?" she plead.

"We request for Mario to surrender and for you to kindly step onboard, princess. It's quite nice here with a space heater and certainly more dry than your current predicament! The weather will be even nicer in Dark Land!… Except on Tuesdays..."

"If you work for Bowser and I can tell you do, this is when we sneak on board," Zoo told Emery down low. Undetectable in the chaos they climbed up the chain from the anchor. Emery always kind of wanted to do this, just not in a storm and at the suggestion of a sleazy dark boo. A gentle hand from Wendy confusingly let her on. Z waited for his turn.

"Get your tail up here, garbage man!" Larry instead grabbed him and pulled him up rough, making him flop face first on the hard and splintery airship flooring.

"Never!" Mario replied to Ludwig back on the ground. "And you knew about this all day, Bowser?"

Bowser turned to him speechless. Was this what he wanted? The princess right besides him, trembling, vulnerable.. But- What was the 'but'? He didn't know.

"Bowser?" Mario repeated with an edge.

Bowser's gaze panned from Peach to the plumber and they held the look for a moment that felt much longer. "Plumber breath? There's something on your face….This!" Bowser punched Mario, knocking him all the way back through the Toadley Clinic's doors with a great crash. Peach screamed as he scooped her up in one quick motion and grabbed the chain, climbing up while the airship increased it's altitude.

"Mariooooooooo!" Peach called as loud as she could.

Mario untangled himself from the chairs he'd rolled into and shook off the sharp glass to dash out. He saw the anchor and chain rising, catching it barely with a triple jump. He vigorously climbed higher ignoring the minor bleeding from cuts all over, the straining of his muscles holding on, and the numerous times he slipped from rain. He could hear his princess's voice above and that pushed him harder than ever. He was almost over the edge of the airship when Ludwig's dark face appeared over with a scowl, hair flowing in the wind.

"No you do not, Mario. I have waited FIVE YEARS for this and I swear to Eldstar you will not impede on my mission! My destiny! Curses you!" He raised up his scepter but before using it a clap of thunder sent a bolt from the sky. With a spectacular and eye searing flash both koopaling and plumber were sent flying, Ludwig back into the rigging of the ship and Mario off completely to plunge below and fall a great distance.

It was over.

With Mario out, Bowser wins.

...To be continued!

Created: 6/3/19, 6/6, 6/8, 6/9, 6/10, 6/12, 6/14, 6/16

7/4, 7/7, 7/29, 7/30, 8/3, 8/4, 8/29, 8/30, 9/4

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2

A speciest and nationalistic concept (Chapter 9)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author notes: Shifting into the next gear...

At last after a torturous hour or more, Peach could perceive her surroundings as a flickering overhead light made up its mind and remained switched on. Tied securely to a thick wooden support beam in the bowels of the doomship it was pitch black until then. The other being, her fellow company just a few feet away made her recant nearly all the dark devastating thoughts that were whirling in her brain during the ride from the Mushroom Kingdom to Dark Land she didn't ask for. Trusted and dear Toadsworth tied to a pole in like manner was seemingly okay if unconscious or exhausted. She didn't even see a bruise or out of place clothing article on the man, quite a miracle stashed among unmanned cannons, stacks of ammo, discarded shopping bags, trash, and the occasional mouser. Peach suppressed a shiver and took a deep breath as desperation crawled back into the corners of her mind. Being kidnapped by Bowser there was always a twist to his schemes that she could see immediately. This scheme's spiral she could not however see the end of yet- Not even close, and that was terrifying as the creaks and squeaks moans of the tired old airship putting in the skies and its engines roaring in demented rhythm.

Soon natural light spread onto her from an open hatch and fresher air blew down.

"How's it going? We're almost home so uh.. brace yourself!" Lemmy smiled amiably from the upper deck.

Peach gave the koopaling a mildly indignant stare in return as she felt the ship tilting down, getting shakier the lower they went. She'd surprised herself just then losing her temper so early in the 'game'. Normally she remained either stoic or played up the damsel in distress role while in Bowser's clutches. In her mind that just made the ordeal be over with sooner. Shortly the ship landed violently and forces sent loose ammo careening all around with many close calls. When things has calmed down a shopping bag from 'Tirade-N-Trade' landed completely over Peach's head and she could do nothing about it. Some petit yet calloused hands untied her a moment later.

"Stop being so gentle, Lemmy. LET'S GO!" Ludwig's voice barked from above, barely audible along with the stomping feet of the crew departing the ship.

"Sorry.." Lemmy said coyly and then snickered to himself.

Peach, blinded but at least gently just as Ludwig didn't wish for, was lead out the ship from one horrid location to another. The air smelt like ash and brimstone that would burn the nostrils of most, but not her. She was prodded across dry cracked soil and then stone and then through the entrance of Bowser castle with the fleet of the ship. The tall metal doors shut behind her with a slam that echoed.

"Send the princess to the deluxe holding room!" Bowser commanded nearly in her ear, close on the left. They marched up some red carpeted halls. She really wished they'd remove her what was her blindfold essentially. Not that it impeded her getting around because of familiarity with Bowser's Castle...

"And what of your upcoming matrimony?" Ludwig inquired on Peach's opposite side.

"I'm thinking 'bout it. It's all together in my head. The piranha plant bouquets, the white suit and tie- oh and lava!"

"Always the lava, is it Vater?" Ludwig replied airily. "What of her considerations? Human's don't usually like molten rock. What if perhaps we hire a professional for once? I know someone out of town. Actually erm, several! Speaking of something out of town-"

Bowser tore his gaze from the princess to his eldest son. "Listen, I know we're all feeling good 'cause of our success tonight but this is the first time I've heard your input on this kind of thing. Huh?"

"..Nothing," Ludwig trailed off.

Peach was lead away and Bowser and the others from the airship dispersed into their usual areas in the castle. Roy, Morton, and Iggy were conscious enough to enter on their own two feet but got sluggish upon the first room in Bowser's Castle, a torch lit hallway with a high ceiling. Zoo was then tasked to drag them to their rooms and hostage Toadsworth to the dungeons.

"Old man, come the crap on!" Zoo pushed Toadsworth onto the carpet.

Toadsworth stumbled forward then turned his head, his blank beady eyes peering into the dark boo'ss. "Ring it..." were the first words he'd said in hours.

"Yeah, dat's it. Ring your bell," Roy mumbled.

"What he said! Words! A synonym. Another to that!" Morton piped up in a robotic fashion.

Iggy kept giggling while hugging himself, his blue eyes dilated.

Thoroughly freaking out, Zoo felt a pain in his stomach. He found the nearest guard, a koopatrol stationed in the next corridor. Standing off to the side under an archway he was speaking to Emery, that new toad girl mook of theirs that King Bowser hired on the spot or some crap in Toad Town. Zoo didn't make the recruitment rules nor care..

"-Yeah ha ha, just uh, take it I guess. I don't need this old thing. I'm a shut in anyways." The Koopatrol handed her a Dark Land travel pass in a plastic bag. These let citizens use the kingdom's transport services whether bus, train, or economically getting shot out of a cannon. "You're getting a room downtown for the night?"

After a second's hesitation Emery accepted the pass with a blush over her features. "Thanks. Uh huh, gonna find something in Neo Bowser City."

"Close haha?"

"We'll seeee!" she sang. "Now I'll leave you alone. I'll make it up to you I promise okay? See ya."

The koopatrol kept grinning stupidly as she left down the hall. Zoo zoned in right behind her. "Bro! Hey help me out!" he yelled, making the guard drop his spear in a klutzy manner.

"Zoo? What are you doing here late?"

"Don't play retarded, Tanner! Remember? We were texting about what I was gonna do today all last night! I was with King Bowser kids 'cause I won that raffle a while to help with the Mushroom Flu scheme. Duuude I could do whatever I wanted most of the flipping time!" Zoo explained, his dark features lightening up from excitement. "Now stop flirting with that basic toad brat. Like that'll work out when she finds out you're always thinking about that weird super crown thing... Like now."

Tanner swiftly retrieved the spear before some other guard could rat him out speaking with the castle's janitor. A thought flashed in his head that his telepathic friend may have done something sinister as he was often unfortunately and impulsively inclined. "Shhh! I just forgot. Busy day. I wish I won and got to visit Toad Town where the sun actually shines.. I have permanent tan lines from this helmet and not the good kind.. Hey. You didn't do something, like, messed up right? All alone for hours? With no supervision?"

"Hahahaha... Forget about it, bro." Zoo felt a little bad to lie to his only friend. But only a little. Said raffle from last week was a 'Humanitarian' effort by Ludwig to give staff of the castle more fresh air. Zoo rarely won stuff so he decided he would be a winner this time. Before announcements were he made tracked down the original winner after reading their mind while in the mess hall, followed them home, hid the body by morning, and clocked in normally for his janitorial shift to await the announcement of the new winner. Zoo Sue Diddley! Zoo pat Tanner on the shoulder. "-I'm not going to get you in trouble this time bro. Just help me move these guys back there so I can clock out and snore in my freaking bed and probably wet it in the night because I have issues and refuse to take my medications!"

"Whoa okay! Didn't need to know!" Tanner laughed. He peeked around to make sure other's weren't patrolling. "You got any souvenirs from Toad Town?"

"Here. This is supposed to be real fancy." Zoo winked, handing him a Lexus emblem taken from a certain car crash earlier.

Soon Tanner was impressively supporting Roy and Morton on each side and Iggy on his back, hauling them while Zoo was dragging around Toadsworth to the dungeons. Zoo had gotten into a lot more trouble today than he usually had a chance too, but that was his past. His future would be counting sheep.


Larry was on his bed face down in a pile of old clothes, wrestling magazines, and leftover takeout boxes feeling queasy to his gut. His father wasn't holding the princess for games with that other important person in his life, Mario like usual. Instead rushing incoming wedding plans. Earlier Kammy hogging up space in the hallways mentioned something that Larry couldn't shake off. Of if Bowser was to have more children..

"Larry, could you bring the laptop to my room?" Ludwig texted him. Larry pulled himself out of bed and obeyed without thinking about it. That's how he knew he was frazzled when he didn't care who's grubby hands were on his laptop. All of the Koopalings shared a floor in the castle and Ludwig's was at the very end with a carved antique door and an iron cast knocker that had no place indoors but was allowed for the Koopa Troop general.

"Thank you. I'm examining the contents of a hard drive and Iggy likes to encrypt data so it might take a moment," Ludwig explained with a touch of drowsiness after accepting. Beyond him Larry could see the mechakoopa on Ludwig's neat and tidy bed. "I must know what happened and then shop for a tuxedo. Time waits for no koopa.."

Ludwig opened the laptop on his bed only for it to close down on this fingers. "Ouch! Blöder Dell X-piece of…" he muttered, adjusting the broken hinge. He connected a cable to the mechakoopa to examine the raw footage. Rife with digital artifacts the video followed his brothers inside the castle then got black. He adjusted brightness to no avail so he leaned in closely and strained his eyes, not noticing the black particles escaping from the screen and congregating in the room surrounding his work desk, bookshelves of literature, musical instruments, and his large trophy wall with a single badge of honor missing...

Larry stood outside the bedroom door that was slammed in his face moments before, that last utterance of his big brother repeating over and over within. Time. He had none lose.. He bolted upstairs and rung the bell outside Peach's cell. The special room was in a spire of the castle with a window and a furnished vintage inspired but kitschy interior Kamek insisted they let Kammy decorate years ago.

"Yo. I'm coming in, princess." Larry composed himself noticing he was jittery, and then pushed the door open. Peach was seated legs curled in the wicker chair near the window watching the purple dusk sky, the setting sun obscured behind the perpetual Dark Land cloud coverage. The vanity and bed set still had thick layers of dust meaning she hadn't got comfortable yet. "I, uh, I just wanted to tell you-"

Peach remained fixed outdoors. He imagined with a steely gaze too. "I know Bowser is planning a wedding. Is Toadsworth well in the dungeons? He's sensitive to mold and cold food."

Surprisingly that took some of the edge out of the teenage koopaling. Little did they know apparently, the entire castle had a cold and moldy food problem. "He's fine. So I'm here actually because I was gonna like, r-rescue you?" That was foreign to roll off of Larry's tongue, yet so furtively invigorating. "-Cause I can't let dad marry you and have- oh Eldstar no! More kids!"

She twisted his way and shuddered. "What?"

"I'm gonna pull a Mario. I ain't gotta license- I mean I did but it got taken way when I ran over Bowser's toe during a drag race. I can't fight the best- though I did break a kids nose at school once with brass knuckles. And I can't strategize, well I can if I cheating off homework, but that's different. Basically I ain't got an idea of how to do it but I'll make it happen. I'm getting you out of here."

Peach nodded quickly at his words, delighted and overwhelmed at the same time. She had an early ticket out of here. Maybe. Hidden in a pocket- her dress indeed had one no one really knew about- was her cellphone that escaped confiscation because she was hardly known to use it. It was even fully charged from lack of use during the day. "If I was to call help, would anyone in this castle know? Would that help your plan? Or hurt it?" she sputter.

Larry paused with a vacant awkward expression. It set in that he'd just outwardly defected, not just from the powerful Mushroom World organization of the Koopa Troop, but also from his own fresh and blood family. He realized labeling himself a rebel as a persona and grumbling in his mind and being one in real life an actually doing something was a different ball game weighting heavily on his shoulders. And he wasn't much of a lifter... "Sorry.. spaced out Peach. Can I call you that? I wont tell nobody about your phone. I gotta get to bed before I get caught and grounded so we'll figure stuff out tomorrow."

"Thank you, I really mean it."

Larry stopped at the door with a flush. He could have sworn she was smiling a bit. "..Yeah. You're welcome." Outside the door he nearly had a heart attack being rushed by his sister Wendy. She was fitted in pink robe and with a bonnet ready for bed but instead up in his grill instead.

"Lil brat, let's get to daddy's throne room. Now!" She dragged him away.

"Lay off, ugly. Why?"

"I don't know? Why did it take me forever to find you up here?"

"I was gonna prank the princess by ringing the doorbell and then bailing. That's why!"

She sighed, pinching his ear. "Everyone knows about your problematic pranking stunt Youtube channel so you'd never gotten away with it. Just march or else!"

Larry quickened his pace downstairs.


"Luddy, wake up! King Dad wanted to talk to us all."

Slumped over his desk, Ludwig lifted his face from the laptop it was buried in. Imprints from the keyboard and crust from drooling marred his face. His eyes burned badly, or rather it was the five pointed star shape burning under his eyelids causing the discomfort. One Lemmy split to three as he tried to focus, mumbling in agreement to whatever was being asked of him from his closest brother.

"What is the pressing matter Vater?" Refreshed as much as two minutes could do for him, Ludwig stationed himself closest to Bowser at his throne. His siblings minus Junior who was still at camp lined up behind him, even Roy, Morton, and Iggy who became normal as the night hours rolled by but with no recollection of the Peach's Castle events. Wordlessly the Koopalings took note that their father had reverted to his ill-tempered and jaded self who hadn't had enough coffee. A foot of the Koopa King stomped the ground, jolting everything in the room.

"I need answers now, Ludwig! Explain how your scheme today worked since it was just SO good you needed it to be secret."

"Ah hem. It started with Sam and Slam, friends of Iggy who are usually video-game collectors but also own a shipping truck company- Excuse me no. It started when virus samples were found in some old lab archives. You may recall the Mushroom Flu from two decades ago. Then we found some vintage cans of Fungus Up for us to taint with a Mushroom Flu virus," Ludwig explained with an unusual lack of grace. "Iggy's acquaintances then shipped them into town. Finally the winning minion of my new program, Zoo, was sent into Toad Town distribute the sodas and deliver some to Toad and Daisy, high profile victims. There are extra cans in our basement."

Bowser kept shaking his head. "Then?!" he snapped. "How does that crazy thing with Peach's Castle happen?"

Ludwig knew what this was all really about and he gulped. "I must humbly admit that I nor my siblings orchestrated that part. We stumbled upon the phenomenon in search of Peach in the city and I thought to feign responsibility you know as a bargaining uh chip. I am the best negotiator."

The Koopalings collectively agreed with Ludwig. It was one of those situations they all knew they were in hot water if they didn't start kissing tail.

"SHUT UP EVERYONE SHUT UP! Alright, you have ZERO clue? Listen to this then."

Bowser summoned to the door a lakitu with balaclava, riding a darkened stealthy cloud. His intense eyes scanned the room before he entered, making the Koopalings clam up. "Sentry #11 reporting. This info got relayed across the six kingdoms in between us and the Mushroom Kingdom, boss. The leaked Toad Town news report for Saturday morning will be 'Princess kidnapped, Bowser's agent wreak havoc on city by suspending her castle in sky, displacing her toads, and attacking historic buildings downtown.' We got an image taken by a bystander repossessed by our Koopa Troop scouts." The lakitu retrieved from his shell a photo that Bowser had already seen but was new to the Koopalings. It showed a crystalline bell shape in the sky with musical notes raining down, not unlike what rained from the platform that held Peach's Castle in the sky.

Ludwig faced away, hand resting on his chin. "You are implying our worker did this?"

"Sounds like it," Bowser answered, crossing one leg over the other. "It said an AGENT of mine, not you brats. So speak up!"

Ludwig felt the life return to him. "Yes Vater. Zoo the steward, even if I don't even remember picking him, did his job well. All of the disorder in Toad Town contributed to our success today. And the look on that plumber's face when he was craning his neck towards our airship? Priceless!"

Bowser sighed and did slow clap.

"-Oh boss! I forgot to mention that the person that met our scouts at the rendezvous tonight was that Toad Town reporter, Kylie Koopa," the sentry spoke up, gaining a curious tone in his voice. "She ran the scouts off and hinted that she'd reveal the dark boo involvement. What do you say about that?"

"If the princess is with us now their threats don't mean nothin'. You can go Sentry. Actually. All of ya. Get!"

Everyone trickled out of the room except Ludwig who lagged behind as if leaving but quickly shut the door and left himself in the room with Bowser. He spun around intrepidly. "Vater. One thing. I did not conceal my plan to be witty or to prove a point as I might usually do. I had a grander purpose."

Bowser eyed him skeptically then got up from the throne and tucked the newspaper he'd been reading under his arm. "Really now?" He causally walked out, forcing Ludwig to trail behind him.

"-I hoped the scheme would allow me to achieve the 'Honorary Mega-Villain' badge. Do you think so? Should I submit the case to the judges out of town?"

Bowser shrugged dismissively which Ludwig hated to admit hurt a bit. "You know I don't care about the opinions of those magikoopa Villain Council weirdos and I don't know why you do either. If you weren't a good general I'd have fired you already. But go on. Get your badge. Just hope that Zoo guy doesn't want to speak up about how all of that really destructive stuff was really his work and not yours. Cause he'll be the one earning it then. Ha!"

Ludwig nearly felt the floor give way beneath him. His work and not yours?

HIS work and NOT yours?!


"Don't linger you two!" Ludwig called back to the others, lifting the hood from his messy blue hair. The torch light he was holding cast his shadow on the side of a hut. He with Lemmy and Iggy were tiptoeing around the village near the castle while everyone else were in bed. Lemmy wasn't fooled by him sneaking around and insisted he follow while Iggy was intentionally brought along for some useful night vision gadgets. It helped that all three had night owl tendencies for their own reasons, music composition, science projects/ videogames, or gym practice. Ludwig carried under his arm something from his personal library, 'Ex spatio obiecti specialem lexicon' which he'd studied into the early hours. He knocked on the shabby door of a particular shack on an isolated path near a forest. Wind howled in the barren trees as he kept beating the door.

"Kind of creepy but this would be an epic place for an anime battle," Iggy mentioned out of the blue. "Or maybe a spot where the world ends!"

"Iggy, quit that please," Ludwig said.

"Maybe our guy's sleep," Lemmy advised over Ludwig's left shoulder.

"Just a little longer my trusted adjutants. I shan't give up," he replied more to reassure himself than them. Squeezing his eyes shut, Ludwig still had that afterimage of a dark star, even with each blink and beneath his bonhomie and the forced smiles it was getting annoying. He couldn't remember whatever footage he saw on the laptop screen that did this to him. When he again checked the laptop it had just died forever.

A lamp behind a blanket drooped over the window cut on and the door swung open. "Listen you crazy neighbors I gotta get up and work everyday so if you try to knock one more time!-" Zoo froze with a deer in headlights expression. "...I mean come in I guess?"

Smiling politely his rulers shed the night vision gear, dropped the torches, and entered the small space. Zoo's cabin was one room with an old beige couch that let out to a bed, a rusty electric stove in the corner, and some pins and other objects and junk for juggling in the opposite corner.

"Greetings. I know the hour is late but we're are only here to verify exactly what you did yesterday," Ludwig said. "It is.. urgent because Bowser now requires field reports and we missed your witness statements before."

Zoo felt the spotlight on him again. He couldn't tell what they were thinking because his contacts weren't in and he saw thoughts as floating words. He was in the dark too. He was tardy on the power bill sometimes. "That. Okay so I scribbled 'free' where the sodas were dropped off then I got pretend hired at the newspaper press so I could learn about the tennis game and then I went there-"

"-Excuse me, but what of your actions pertaining to Peach's castle floating in the sky?"

Iggy nodded. "Because it was super cool to look at before I blanked out I guess. Like when Koopau fought the Super Plumbers in the fourth dimension on that raised platform.."

Zoo pointed to a little wooden box with the juggling pile. Inside was the small yellow translucent bell with a warm but pale glow to it. "So I lost this thing for a long time but it showed up again recently. I took it with me and crazy stuff just kept on happening! You don't think I'm tripping do you? Just don't take it out the-"

Lemmy tried to touch it, granting the reward of a horrible zap to his claw, even scorching it black. "Youch!"

"Yeeeeah. That'll happen bro. I got used to it back in the day."

Heart skipping a beat, Ludwig opened his book to a page he'd marked. "Gesundheit! That is the 'Doom Reverb' as I suspected! It says here that this possessive object is in particular a physical manifestation of a dark star cast to the Earth by the guardians of the pure hearted."

"You believe that?" Lemmy shared glances from Ludwig to the bell in the box. The athlete wasn't into flashing things that weren't gold medals but he had to admit it seemed special somehow. "You used to be so staunch about that stuff being a.. whatever big words you used."

"A 'speciest and nationalistic concept' which I felt then and do believe still in a way considering that no one is ever indoctrinated to believe that the Star Spirits, Guardians, whatever you want to call them protect us Koopa races, but instead the blissful toads of the world. The undeserving and ungrateful little...regardless that debate is not the same as the one of whether they actually exist and affect the world around us. My official opinion, worldly and secular Kingly Law tradition aside, is that they certainly do and I'm usually right. You know it. I am no Philistine!"

Lemmy playfully rolled his eyes. "So humble.."

"I could have told you that aliens, wishes, stars, and the Fang-Fairy are real, just saying," Iggy added. He got dope slapped.

"And you also think that attractive females want to date you Iggy.." Ludwig shrugged.

Iggy stood up to him defensively. "And? They do! Wendy told me it's just that my fedora makes them shy but they secretly want me and if I keep sending them letters they'll confess any minute."

"Iggy, chill," Lemmy added.

Ludwig nodded. "-Okay, we are wasting our dear janitor's time are we not? Bring it closer."

"Yeah, whatever." Zoo let Ludwig peer into the box with the Doom Reverb. The moment it was in his palms his eyes felt heavy and he had to resist or else he'd be looking at that inverse burned in star on the other side of his eyelids. A mental war went on, his agency phasing away. But.. Ludwig was never one to allow a landside.

"Are you alright?" Lemmy asked while brother's head kept tilting downwards.

He blinked a few times, box right hand and book in left. "Fine fine. I'll continue to read the passage. This object.. holds reality threatening power… power of what the Dark Star chooses to manifest depends… on the times the item is.. used. Ownership can.. pass on through physical possession or.. DEATH. Wow. Ah hem, and the owner holding some… psionic power to link.. to the bell and the cosmos increases strength…. Exponentially..."

The eyelids closed at last, the calmness of sleep absent. Ludwig felt a pressure from inside out while his brain clouded with a thick fog. He could feel himself drifting farther away with nothing he could do about it. He separated from his body all together.

The three other people in the room had stopped paying attention to the reading for one reason on another. Lemmy couldn't keep his focus off of some vintage circus equipment Zoo owned for some reason. A rolled up banner spelled out 'The Juggling Diddley'. Lemmy kept up with vintage circus performers and there was something odd about the story of that Donut Plains native juggler that kept nagging at him. Iggy was checking a status of an RPG character on his phone. Zoo became sidetracked by that as well, as Tanner played a game like it and he'd been wanting to get into it if he could ever keep a smartphone for more than a month without breaking it.

"I've been meaning to ask how you are our castle's best poker player that even beat that computer A.I. I designed one time to play perfectly. Luddy deduced you have some sort of super power. Is that it?" Iggy mumbled.

"Me? No way bro!" Zoo denied more loudly than he meant. His brief apprehension was unneeded because Ludwig was sleeping while standing. For a moment.

Ludwig's vivid blue eyes opened and he shut the box close to him against his cloak, dropping his book. "As your Prince I command you to give this item to me! Your bell is now mine!"

Zoo was dazed for a second. "W-what? Noooo way! That's like a heirloom and I ain't got much. Do I look freaking rich? I bet you just want all the credit from earlier!"

'Oh typical entitled Luddy,' Lemmy thought. He pulled back forcefully on his brother's stiff shoulders, inwardly guilty he'd zoned out of whatever lead up this this egotistic outburst from Ludwig. "Luddy. Cut this out. Don't be a jerk," he told him in his so called 'serious' tone.

Ludwig in turn knocked Lemmy into the stove corner to clash against pots and pans. When Ludwig turned his head Zoo had snatched the box back.

"Try me sucker!" The boo escaped the house, phasing through Ludwig and the walls.

Ludwig charged out while Lemmy climbed away from the pile of cookware with a pan on his head. "Iggy! After Luddy! Son of a biscuit! Something was off with his eyes and I didn't see it at first. He's gone crazy like you guys did earlier!"

"Oh snap!" Iggy slapped his forehead.

The 'twin' brothers (though no one had considered them such for a long time now) sprinted out together. In the moonlight Ludwig was on the prowl after Zoo through a forest path of rough terrain and piranha plants and nippers waiting. It all lead to a clearance leading to a cliff and at the bottom of the long drop was barren land with brambles. Hunched over Ludwig approached the boo who peered over the edge. Zoo misread a sign and missed the path that would have lead eventually into Neo Bowser City. Instead he was at a dead end.

Jaw clinched, Ludwig pulled from his pocket a bright orange Zapper and loaded it. Zoo gulped just as the others caught up.

"Luddy! Stooooooooop!" Lemmy plead, rolling his ball as fast as he could uphill.

"Don't make me use this!" Iggy revealed from his shell a dangerous replica firearm from the anime show 'Cowboy BoomBoom'.

Lemmy gasped. "Iggy!"

"Don't worry. This isn't the one that can totally kill you with real laser action, it's the toy version...Darn that means it's useless. Crap!" Iggy tossed it aside, slapping his head again.

Ludwig ignored them as he began to take aim. With a start, Zoo brought the bell from it's box and held it up as his last warning.

"Listen bro. Don't make me do this. I will ring this thing as hard as I can and something's gonna do down! Try me!"

Ludwig's eyebrows raised in wonderment as he kept moving forward. "Yes. I want you to! Ring it!"

Lemmy and Iggy attempted to tackle Ludwig down but Iggy was a slim and Lemmy not sizable in comparison. In the mad tussle they struggled to keep him pinned or prevent one right hand with the zapper from doing what it wanted. A shot was fired, grazing the skin of Zoo's arm. He rung in a panic, filling the air with the hollow sounds of the bell. Still in the process of shaking the noisemaker frantically, the bell hologram materialized in the sky. It dropped, not music notes, but an giant murky colored star that fell flat on top of the dark boo and crushed him. The star then flipped upright again and rose into the sky, blocking the moon.


Ludwig felt a severe headache as he returned to himself. "OWW! Get out of my bed! Out out out out!...Where am I?"

Lemmy and Iggy mitigated the tugging, staring agape at what had just spawned.

A wind storm to knock them all off the hill and back into the forest. Hurricane like gales increased in intensity and spread to cover all of the land.

Mario always wondered what his next thought would be when he finally met his match. Would it end in death? Or something worse? What would be the next sight upon realization that he'd failed? The next smells? The next sensation? The next sounds?

He pondered because it was banjos and he really didn't expect banjos. Dueling ones!

"Dang it, Jr. You beating the poor geetar done woke him up!"

"Don't tell me what to do, partner!" The playing of the fast paced folk melody continued outside the door.

Mario was in a ranch styled little room painted a light salmon color. The air was fresh and the morning sun cast warm rays though the open window which was also near a mounted wagon wheel on the wall. Across from the bed he laid in was a little rocking chair on a cowhide rug. The music stopped. He sprung up when he saw the familiar yet not face of Jr. Troopa peeking in.

"Howdy. Glad you recovered," his odd little acquaintance greeted. Jr. Troopa was no longer the little kid he'd quarrel with but now a stretched out and lanky teenager with some messy brown hair under a cowboy hat that replaced his old egg shell. And that was weird. Well, not really. Reminders of mortality did that to Mario. He reacted the same when he found his one string of grey hair.

"How did I get here?"

"A search party found ya, those real obsessive Super Mario Maker fans I think. So rooin tootin I had to beat em off of ya really to get ya rested up and yer business in order."

Mario wondered where Jr. Troopa's southern drawl came from. It clicked that he was in one of the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital South's facilities, the sister hospital to their Toad Town version and located not far from Mt. Rugged, but something else was at play here.. He pulled himself out of bed to suffer pain shooting in his legs, arms, and back, topped off with a bit of vertigo.

"Did I fall from a building?" Mario sat on the edge and watched his feet dangle down, doubles and triples in his vision.

"From Bowser's airship I heard. You're still looking rough. Vick! Get em some grub!" Jr. Troopa called out the door with some sudden authority. He turned back to Mario. "Did I tell you I'm head nurse here even though it's only been a few months? Talk about quick promo-"

A ptooie plant with a red spotted handkerchief around his neck inched in the doorway. "All right.. and since he's up I'll tell em all to skip the 'hillbilly hail'."

"Hillbilly hail?" several voices from outside the room shouted.

Jr. Troopa spun around with shielding arms. "Fellas! Hoooooooold up!"

In barged a bunch of cowboys and ranchers holding huge metal buckets full of ice and water. It was dumped all over Mario's head, shocking him right out of the bed and into the hallways to shiver curled up.

"What is wrong with you guys?!"

"Just a tradition down here. Sorry partner!" Jr. Troopa's red sneakers stopped inches from his face but there was something else coming up in Mario's line of sight. Something worse.

"Visitor for Mario!" An intercom voice said. Right around the corner came his brother Luigi who did a double take at his drenched brother in his underwear only.


"I just got 'hillbilly hailed'!" Mario cried desperately.


Luigi's cup of tea simmered untouched while Mario's was but a few drops left. Outside the emptied out saloon Mario could see the red and jagged shaped Mt. Rugged on one side and agricultural mushroom farms on the other. He had on fresh clothes and felt cozy on the outside at least.

"The toads are in Hotel Mario."

"I've got nothing to do with that place. Baddies run it under my name for some reason."

"It's temporary."


"Yeah." Luigi finally took his sip in a rather unnatural manner.

"Anything else to tell me? Important?"

Luigi paused and then some life returned to him. "Peach made a call before Dark Land's lines went down. Basically she's safe for now but we need to rescue her quick."

Mario reached into his pockets and his phone was still there and operational as evidenced by his lock screen image of Peach on a cruise ship greeting him. He'd need to give Jr. Troopa credit for not dry cleaning it with his overalls by accident.. "I didn't get her message!"

"Because she didn't 'call' exactly," the younger brother explained with air quotations. "It's technical stuff but she's pinging her location just with the usual delay between crappy outdated kingdom cell towers-"

"-Giving credit where it's due they didn't even have that when we arrived here."

"Don't remind me bro. Also something else. We got this guy now." Luigi spun around.

The western styled doors opened and inside radiantly strode a toad adventurer with a headlamp strapped around his head, smiling widely. "Ready for adventure!"


Note: If you didn't get the Dell thing, Think about this. It's called a Dell XPS. Now get it?

Created: 6/10/19, 6/11, 6/12, 6/14, 6/16, 6/17, 6/19, 6/23, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27, 6/30,

edit: 7/12, 7/27, 7/28, 8/3, 8/4, 8/25, 8/26, 9/1, 9/11


Mario and Bowser Frenemies Forever 2

Typical Saturday Morning (Chapter 10)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.

Author note: The set up begins...

There was yelling, jesting, off-key singing, seat cushion springs creaking from children bouncing, and spit-balls flying in the school bus returning from Bowser Badlands, a swampy outdoorsy and more remote area of World 8 where the official Koopa Scouts campsite was stationed. One such kid present was special, the prince of Dark Land. Pinned to Bowser Junior's uniform forming a colorful mosaic were all the merit badges earned because he was simply the most skilled, the most disciplined, and the King's son- but not exactly in that order. Regardless he was content to mostly be like any other scout, not really old enough yet to be more than a typical spoiled child. The bus screeched to a halt and the game system he'd been glued to flew out his little paws, sliding under the seat in front of him.

"Oooh free 3DS with Smash Brothers in it and DLC and Bayonetta's skimpy outfit!" a scout a few seats ahead screeched.

"Gimme that! Hey!" Junior warned, beating his fist hard against the seat from behind.

"Kids, for the love of... Just settle down," the buzzy beetle bus driver moaned as they kept driving over an unusual amount bricks and debris in the road.

The boomerang bro Scoutmaster seated in the bench behind the driver spun around towards the scouts getting more riled up by the second, serene as he always was. "Kids stay in your seats alright? And look at that! Guess there were some storms while we were away. Remember what we learned about weather?"

"The rain clouds get angry and then dance around in a circle!" a spiny scout answered.

"Thaaaat's right! It's called a tornado. Oh and here's.." The Scoutmaster's smile faded. "..Here's Scout Junior's stop coming up."

After some hesitation Junior stepped off the bus with oversized backpack strapped on. He was then left in the dust. The tyke could see for miles around because just about everything was knocked flat. His home for all he'd known in the last six years, Bowser's Castle was desolated with its roof even ripped from it. All of the lava was drained from the moat and displaced into puddles in the front lawn. The family's old airship was lying flat on its side but still intact. Wandering around he found everyone's possessions scattered about and then some of his family haggardly standing around at a makeshift camp site in the backyard. Bowser still wore a sleeping cap and had large bags under his eyes, waddling around to face his son.

"Junior?" he sputtered, rubbing his eyes in a dazed fashion. "Was everything safe coming back?"

Junior sprint ahead cling to his father who came to at the physical contact. "What happened daddy?"

"Junior!? You're safe. Thank you whoever's up there. Listen son, I woke up like this. Me and everyone else!" He pointed to his king sized bed reduced to a pile of burning rubble in one of the lava pools. "Plus Ludwig, Lemmy, and Iggy are missing. All of my koopa troop too or maybe they ran away! Gah! I'm losing my mind!"

Larry dragged from a hole torn in the castle a chest of items. "You're welcome folks. Pfft making me do all the-"

Almost everyone gathered to salvage junk, Kammy a portable fan that gently stir air around her face, Kamek had a wearable blanket that was promptly worn, Morton found his prized half finished thesaurus he was working on, Roy got a suspicious little bag, and finally Wendy dug in. A second later she kicked the chest away with a pout.

"This is just CDs, energy drinks, and video games! And not even my Princess Parlor ones! Daddy! He's making me mad! I didn't get to do my face this morning. I woke up on top of a cannon ball. My back hurts! My-"

Bowser covered his ears, grimacing. "Shut up shut up shut up! Where's Peach? She's supposed to be in my sight all of the time!"

"I'm over here Bowser." Stoically Peach walked up, her foot attached to a chain attached to Toadsworth attached to a weighty black ball. "First I get kidnapped then an apocalypse happens! We didn't even get married this time to start it!"

"Gee I wonder what terrible little thing will happen when you do tie the knot again, ee hee hee," Kammy wondered.


"Know what daddy? I learned survival skills in camp!" Junior snatched from some rubble old lab test tubes clearly marked 'toxic'. "See, we use these to collect rain water." He held his 3DS. "And the Street Pass feature will tell others where we are if they have a 3DS!" He picked up a bottle of beer dislodged from a cooler. "And this alcohol will keep us warm!"

"Hooooold it. I'm not sure about that." Bowser gently removed the beverage and stored it for 'safe keeping' in his shell and sighed. "Okay. We gotta do something instead of standing around. Kamek, can ya fly up and look around? I see that broom is only half on fire.."

"Yeah yeah..." Kamek flew up to scout the perimeter of the castle, taking his time. He returned to Bowser. "I know the roofs gone but the walls look strong so maybe we can repair-"

There were cracking noises then the left wall of Bowser's castle fell over against the adjacent one causing a domino effect to ruin the entire structure. A great dust storm covered everyone and then the landscape truly was leveled then…


Under a red sky the party took a desert trek across the Dark Land grounds on the way to Neo Bowser City. They traveled through a village and found displaced land owners standing, if able, in the midst of everything he'd owned. They eyed the royal family with disdain the moment they were in sight and said nary a word.

"I almost feel bad for these people," Toadsworth whispered, sticking close to the Princess. "Well, not really Bowser but certainly folks just happening to take up residence here."

Peach nodded to his words without really hearing. She felt lightheaded as she was sure everyone- even Bowser felt, but for different reasons. What could this natural disaster mean for her secret deal with Larry? The two hadn't a chance to rendezvous for obvious reasons. Should she even worry about that now? Would he be willing to do this serious thing for her? And she was only thinking of herself. Larry would be a defector of his own kind and she might have to shield him from retaliation somehow, not that she would be opposed to a koopa ally in her kingdom. Her stricter and old fashioned toad contemporaries on the other hand..

A call dragged her out of her thoughts.

"Vater! Over here!" A haggard and disheveled Ludwig blocked the path with his arms stretched outward. "We must not travel this way! Might I suggest immediate retreat?" he requested. Lemmy and Iggy revealed where they were hiding from under a pile of rubble, powdery and dusty and they held a tattered thick book and a pocket watch respectively, begging more questions from everyone.

"I'm glad you're alright but what is going on? Why were you missing all night?!" Bowser couldn't help but to yell over everyone else's chatter.

"It is quite a story Vater! We just wanted a witness report on my scheme and then- Well at some point I lost consciousness and then-" Ludwig's face went pale when a huge group taking up the entire road marched their way, an eclectic group of goombas, koopas, and other baddies holding bats and planks of wood.

"We're aware of your ploy to drive out the poor and disadvantaged of the land!" a goomba girl with purple hair and some facial piercings screamed through a megaphone.

"And force us to live in your communist corrupt Neo Bowser City instead! We the 'Dark Land Anti-Monarchy' won't stand for it anymore!" added a boomerang bro with a trench coat and trilby.

"No! No! No!" their Anti-Ma group chanted.

Bowser nearly staggered backwards. "Now what is this? And what the heck is 'communist' anyway?"

Wendy keep her head down and arms crossed. "Daddy I-I know these people," she said nearly inaudibly. "Raven, Jim and some of the others? I started the 'Anti-Ma' in eighth grade when I was just listening to people on the internet instead of reading actual books and getting my history major-" Bowser cut her off by growling and the sound of his blood boiling. Everyone indeed remembered that phase of hers when she wanted to stick it to the Man, the Man being her father and brothers and just being an annoying ironically privileged brat in general. "Alright alright daddy. I'm like not a rebel anymore for sure! I promise! I'll just 'cancel' myself then!" To her surprise that wasn't enough to dodge the leers of her brothers.

"Dat 'PC' culture of yours is balls," Roy grumbled.

Morton jumped in. "Terrible. Unsatisfactory! Bullocks!… I mean bollucks!" All of the Koopalings agreed with the budding English writer, which in turn made the Anti-Mas match volume and win due to numbers.

"GAH! ENOUGH! None of us did nothing to cause this ya wierdos!" Bowser declared. "Why would I demolish my own castle? So stop complaining, stop giving those crazy looks, and if you're smart try to get out of here with us!"

"Oh, put a sock in it!" A pokey rebel launched a sharp spike ball that missed Bowser by inches. Then the group collectively rushed with their weapons drawn.

Everyone did an 180 and ran from where they came, even Peach and Toadsworth. Bowser and company kept running until they were sprinting through grass instead of red soil. The sky got bluer and the air clearer and soon they were in a sunny field, a mushroom house and a river in the distance. Roy craned his neck towards the largest stone structure visible that reached into the clouds. He knew exactly where they were. They had been driven out to the bordering fifth known mushroom world, Sky Land!


"Hey… Dude. Dude! Wake up!… Jelectro?"

The noki leaned up from his side on the hard floor. Over night he couldn't sleep except during the last hour it seemed. The air was cold and there there thick iron bars in his face. With a burst of energy he sprung up to cling to them. A prision. Outside his barred window was a white court house like building with some high rises of various brick colors in the backdrop. Poshley Heights!

"Listen, I know you don't wanna work with someone like me and I wish it hadn't gone like it did, but I need you back here dude. Where are you exactly?"

"Working on it," Jelectro replied to Mitch's voice, gritting his teeth and trying to ignore the sting. His personal belongings were confiscated, his glasses, the Press's telephone he risked so much to obtain with proof of the hospital conspiracy, and the noki's ear plugs. Placebo or not, they helped him tackle the discordant voices of all living things in a radius around him funneling to him telepathically. The cacophony was too thick for him to pick anything out of it. What a great start for a day he thought with sarcasm quickly redacted when he picked up a coherent thought from someone in the building. On the prision's the menu his was favorite dish despite cannibalistic implications, 'escargot'!


"I had to respond when I heard of this situation from, you know, those blaring news sources. They are so quick with information these days. Speaking of which, were your injuries severe? Golly!" Captain Toad examined the fresh scrapes and bruises revealed by Mario's sleeves being rolled up in the hot weather. The plumber also had a slight limp The three were on their way from the care facilities, passing by prairies and expansive ranches to head to the southern hospital. Agents sent by Peach's father were there waiting for them as well. "The inflammation's identical to what happened to Bank Toad."

Luigi gave him a blank look.

"That's why the rest of the brigade aren't with me, Mr. Luigi. During our last treasure hunt, Bank Toad slipped off of a cliff!"

Mario bumped into someone. A murmuring crowd stood in the lot outside the doors of the two story western styled edifice. He tried to see around tall cowboy hats.

"Watch and learn, partners!" Jr. Troopa came along from the side proudly showing off. Instead of using his staff or wings or his ability to grow a spike, he did some sort of a rope trick. The hospital door was slightly ajar and so he sent the rope in and caught something big and heavy. "I got em'!" What ever spectacle he was going for fell flat when out came a group of teeth clattering toad guards, the very elite force that was supposed to be protecting everyone.

"Save us!" the burly mushroom men squealed.

A parakoopa janitor named Probabilly, broom in hand, leisurely exited the hospital and kindly propped open the door for what sounded like a charging stampede. The Mushroom Flu patients in gowns spilled out, red eyed and babbling endlessly about anything and everything from significant others, to day plans (from the previous day presumably) to the weather, repelling everyone in a panic.

"You never signed my hat, Legendary Captain!" a green capped toad screamed heading towards Luigi. The plumber leap high in the air and on a wagon to escape.

"No more homework!" A little bob-omb tackled Jr. Troopa down. The guards tied up by Jr. Troopa were powerless during the rampage.

Captain Toad hung on a clothes line feet dangling to avoid conflict, unperturbed. "Typical Saturday morning for me..."

Finally Mario was knocked back into the wagon. It tilted over and his brother and the Captain came down with him. Once they got out of the pile of tangled fabric and wooden pieces, everything got quiet. Too quiet. The coma walk period cooled off and the sick were completely unconscious all over the ground.


"Anything else darling?" Birdo stepped up to the bed with something steaming and appetizing in a bowl. Yoshi had stayed in bed late but was now more lazy than tired. He checked the bandage on his nose. A little tender, but nothing to keep him in all day. He'd need to do something eventually. The hero in him couldn't take a sick day if he tried. He wasn't sure if that was sad or not.

"Nah. I've been through worse," he answered his fiancé at last.

The pink dinosaur sat on the edge of his hammock and rose the spoon to his mouth. Enjoying the apple cider, Yoshi relaxed among the native sounds of birds, other dinos outside the treehouse, and even his companion Poochy out in the yard below before a notification chime went off. The spoon froze.

"I'll check just in case." Yoshi tossed the covers to check his phone, the irritated glare from Birdo unseen. "Whoa! I gotta head over Mario's to help out. That was a group text from Luigi. Did you hear that Peach-"

Birdo tugged on his arm, holding him close. "What about them? Are you really going to abandon me again?"

"Not for long." Yoshi tried to remove her hand but it didn't budge. He then chucked to himself darkly. "Listen to me honey. You know it's my responsibility too when things go wrong, especially with Bowser! Remember him? Big scary koopa guy?"

Birdo sighed and faced away from him, cross a leg over the other. "How could I forget? That's my point... You bring their issues from the Mushroom Kingdom here, hundreds of miles away to Dinosaur land. For what? Like those plumbers need you every. Single. Time!"

Yoshi stopped smiling. "...It's not every time is it? No. It's not. I think. Well I do hang out with them a ton no no!"

"I'm just saying dear," she started, facing him again. Yoshi noticed her diamond ring catching the sunlight, sparkling brightly. He made sure it did before he saved up so many dinosaur coins to buy it for her. "-that WE were going to starting something here, right? We were even looking at cabins nicer than this tree house of yours for when we finally... Oh forget it. Forget it all if this is what we're going to be now. A long distance! You just don't care!" she exclaimed with a tear rolling down.

Not wasting a second Yoshi pulled her close comfortingly. "No no no no no no don't say things like that. I'm sorry just.. just..." Birdo kept listening to his fervent mumblings in her ear as she embraced the dino back. Of course after a moment her irritated look returned, again unseen by him...


"-Actually I did use cowboy boots once in one of Ludwig's forced ballets. He was kind of weird when he was younger. Are we done now?"

"I'm still better than you," Jr. Troopa replied, waving the plumber on. "Yep. I'd wreck ya."

Mario rolled his eyes. "I forfeit. You're better at me at square dancing. Can we move on?" Tired of swatting away flies and muggy heat, he stood up to finalize the impromptu barn house meeting. In there were also a dozen of some curious things lined up in open stable doors, some sort of cyborg yoshi on roller wheels with a saddles, silver painted with sharp claws and red eyes. Each had a short antenna on their heads. Mario inquired what were those and why they weren't used earlier. He was told by Vick that they would have been up and running but his phone was a Mario Galaxy Note 7 and blew up in the heat that morning. So.. that was a thing. Anyway the plans were to keep the patients here in the Southern hospital, lock doors to contain them, and don't cause any trouble while he and his team take care of business.

To catch up on the rest of his crew some transport waited for Mario, a station wagon and not the all-terrain 4x4 he expected from an adventurer like Captain Toad. When he got inside Luigi was waiting. They went to 'Hotel Mario' with neon flickering lights putting the natural sun to shame as their car approached the litter filled and oily parking lot, not having improved a bit since the nineties. Mario left the car to limp in using a cane he'd acquired while his brother followed. Inside the lobby had old cracked paint and plastic palm trees lining the faded carpet leading to the desk maned by a goomba in an over sized tie. There were colorful and blaring slot machines lining the walls trying to grab their attention.

"Aye! Mario and Luigi!" the clerk greeted like he knew them. He didn't. "Interested in a stay? Or our other services?"

The brothers split and Mario approached alone.

Goomba eyes shifted from left to right. "..Jump Man, you're looking rough. I got an import from Rogueport and it'll fix you right up."

Luigi poked his head into the recreation room attached and was shocked. The toads of Peach's castle were all at long tables with game boards and empty plates of food from breakfast. A mini ninja with a mic read off the numbers robotically and the toads were very into it. He cleared his throat loudly.

"We were just trying to raise money to fix Peach's castle!" Toadette hid her board under the table too late.

"I repent!" Buckenberry tossed his board aside dramatically, red paper dots flung into the air. "Take me with you Luigi!"

"Stay!" Toadette snapped at him like a pet trainer.

"How's Gold?" Luigi noticed the yellow toad in their adventures with his head down on the table resting. It was bandaged up, but 'Ala-Gold' gave a thumbs up so it was time begrudgingly to move on.

"They're okay in there, just 'gaming'. Of course I'd be the one to do your work again," Luigi whispered down the back of Mario when they met back in the lobby. Mario was still at the desk and in fact the goomba was still spouting out details of some product as they were leaving.

"Don't start anything little brother, I'd just had to turn down twenty offers for 'essential mushroom oils' that are supposed to cure everything."

"Don't start what?" Luigi replied icily, contrasting the heat wave they walked into outside. "You invited Bowser to the club leading to this in the first place. Meanwhile I was out there busting my tail tracking down Zoo Diddley all for it to mean nothing because Bowser won! Plus today we haven't heard from Boo or Yoshi!"

Mario stopped walking but didn't face back. "How is that my fault?! Bowser found me when I was finding Peach who shouldn't have ran off! And those other two-"

"Blame everyone but yourself. You have an attachment to that monster so just face it!"

Kylie Koopa ran up the sidewalk waving for them. "Sup, fellas! Did I interrupt? No? Good. Bowser's goons last night tried to give me the shake down, would ya believe? I snapped a photo and they stole it. But I have backups, I always do, and backups of my backup-"

"Kylie, we're busy."

"Right," Luigi added. His phone began going off and he fumbled around, then Mario's did the same then Kylie's. Everyone checked their either email or text message.

"Re: Dr. Toadley: Toad and Daisy just discharged themselves by coma walking?" Mario read out loud.

"And they're causing a ruckus alright!" Kylie added. "My boss Steve just messaged that he's currently trapped in his car with Toad and Daisy jumping on top of it! I'll follow you guys!"

A remote push button fob revved up a silver Aston Mushroom car parked on the sidewalk. She made no effort to explain where it came from or the numerous scratches and dents on it from some altercation. Not finding it worth it to shoo her off at this point, all of them sped to the Mushroom Press where there was a scene in the four lane wide streets. There were three toads in all, including their Toad plus Daisy and a yoshi girl all over the place diverting traffic away. Toad and Daisy stood on top of a car swinging around two broken street signs left and right, like for an imaginary tennis game using Steve the Bullet bill as the ball.

"Ahhhhhhhhh!" the reporter wailed as Captain Toad drove past very gingerly to the annoyance of the Mario bros and Kylie tailgating.

Mario hopped out the moving car and rolled hard. Toad and Daisy took one glace at him and jumped off the car to make him the next ball. It was like their scheduled rematch was right now as Mario got whacked by the aluminum stop and yield signs. Luigi dashed out to wrestle away the sign from Daisy but she put up a tug-o-war match with him.

"Enough.. digging up my backyard.. dawg!" Daisy grunt with some super strength to match.

"Daisy it's me snap out of iiiiiit!" Luigi yelled, struggling while Mario retrained Toad.

"Nothing gets between me and my free pizza!" Toad cried, squirming out of Mario's grasp.

Kylie dropped next to her boss on the sidewalk. "Steve! You stayed up for sixty-four hours once when we were short staffed, brother. You can't give up now!"

"Just write your story," he told her softly. "And take this." Wadded up in his pocket were some scrap papers.

Luigi got kicked by the princess, falling on his back. Daisy rose the sign up above like a wild crazy woman and slammed down, but something snatched it right out of her palms. She swung empty air at Luigi and lost her balance, careening right on top of him. 'Booigi the Second' appeared in the spot almost like a vision, holding the sign while smiling slyly. They then pried Toad off of Mario and everything was looking up before Booigi forgot about the other three patients. The two toads and yoshi girl pulled the cover off a fire hydrant, drenching the street and sending their small bodies up into the air, eventually landing them on the roofs of the shops lining the road. From there the frenzied state resumed, the patients flinging down bricks, air ducts, and more from the rooftops and down on any pedestrians and the parked cars. Car alarms went off and realizing they'd made things worse, Booigi disappeared.

Captain Toad then decided to take care of a problem no one knew about yet. The station wagon cruising around made an abrupt U-turn to strike two pedestrians on the sidewalk with black trench coats on. They were launched right on Steve's car, smashing out the windows with a mighty clash just as the Captain meant with his adroit little plan. Their identities were revealed as a fire and hammer bro, spies of the Koopa Troop, and they moaned in pain while the all patients dropped unconscious again, the coma walking timing out. Luigi pulled up from the ground with the princess in a sleeping state on his lap. He'd not mind this in any other circumstance..

Soon they were back at the Toadley Clinic where the escapees originated and the decision was made to relocate them south. The intern thanked them repeatedly while Dr. Toadley remained silent and only nodded. The place was torn up to sheds and the intern apologized for that too. Toadley's work station was being held up by stacks of books and his laptop was currently on fire. The beds were in shambles and magazines were on the floors. Windows were covered in tape. Mario shook the doctors hand and almost left before he spoke up.

"Ah. Did I forget to tell you something? Yes I did. Some Special World Hospital colleges are personally coming HERE!"

Mario whipped around. "Here? With Koopa Troop SPIES infiltrating the city?" He marched right out to Luigi, the Captain, and Kylie waiting. "Change of plans. We can't all go after Bowser because those doctors are returning and of course the koopa's goons will want to sabotage them."

"That does make sense, Mr. Mario." Captain Toad's glance lingered on Luigi. "Perhaps someone should stick behind. My car can reach up to sixty."

"Why? The speed limit in the city is way less."

Luigi gave a start, facing Mario. "You're not going to rescue Peach?"

Mario pulled his brother aside, away from prying eyes. "I feel like that time I was molded into a pinball shape and launched into Bowser's Castle. If I go out now I doubt I'll be able to stomp a single goomba."

"So you think I can do this without you.."

"You're right about yesterday, okay? I guess I get too focused on the big picture sometimes and by the big picture I mean-"


"Yeah.." Silence lasted for a second but it felt longer.

"Well, I got your back, bro." Luigi felt much of his bitterness ebb away, compelled to step up even if he didn't expect a 'thank you' for it later. That was just life. So they rejoined the others and gave a quick rundown.

"Hello?.." Mario chuckled at the extreme reaction he got on the other end of the phone call, Bowser going wild and such. Kylie was giving him a quick ride back down south. "We have to keep up our ritual! Just a reminder: you might wanna tie up any loose ends you have real soon."

"I don't have time to chat with hairy faced freaks like you!" Bowser had lots of noise in the background like a wind tunnel with ugly chants of 'row row row' added to it. "Gotta wedding to plan and I'm gonna invite a lot of people, even if it ain't in the location I expected to be in. Not you though!"

Mario wondered what he meant by that. "Will you invite your spies in the city? Hopefully not because they aren't in any shape to travel now!"

"YEAH PLUMBER!? Don't matter, it's all coming together anyway. Here's a preview." In the background he could hear Peach in distress from something before the line cut. How dare he! Mario angrily tossed his phone out the window but hadn't noticed the car had stopped and they were back down South. The phone landed in a watering basin for moo moos and he had to fish it out.

Finally alone, Kylie sat in the car and checked those notes. It was Steve's latest story based on foreign nations. Sarasaland, formed of four vast and great lands were ruled by four generals and the princess Daisy. With Daisy in town that would make four in charge currently, so why did Steve's report count five currant leaders?


"Because we paid a good amount for the convenience a while back." Luigi exited from the passenger seat and went to the front door of his house.

"But I can go up to-"

"Yeah, I know, sixty. Hold on."

Captain Toad held on tightly to the steering wheel in a rigid anxious state until Luigi came back out with his bag of power-ups and motioned him to come to the backyard. There were the seven pipes erected in the grass, each labeled 'Warp Zone'.

"Some people decorate with bird baths, or plants, or swings. We have a way to get places so we can save the day once a week," Luigi explained. "What do you think, Stan?"

"Interesting. And it's Captain Toad," he corrected quickly. Luigi only knew his real name because they shared a night school class years ago. Since then he'd determined he'd never be 'Stan Luke Toad' again, just The Captain. He wasn't sure why he was so subservient to this Mario Brother so far. He was a brigade leader, yet thinking it over again he wasn't exactly adept in the ways of war against Bowser so perhaps he could learn something. Plus he might find treasure maybe.

They took the dark path to World 8. Tumbling out of the exit pipe they found a barren wasteland on the other side. Luigi noticed the drooping and crumbling head that formed Bowser's Castle entrance. That was the only part still standing. In the distance a chant of 'No no no!' echoed. Ever farther than that it seemed like a village was wiped clean by some event. They ran up the castle to find a very fresh and crisp torn out notebook page nailed to a broken column of stone.

"Hello, greetings, salutations, dear visitor! We, the family of King Bowser Koopa, the ex-masters of the land and (we hope) your liege rulers have officially left the land forever! Indefinitely! Permanently! We are now stationed in World 5 Sky Land so if you are a stranded forlorn soldier please report there soon, quickly, expediently! We could utilize you for a certainty!"

-Your prince, Morton Koopa Jr.

(With different penmanship) -Also me, the para-goomba that risked my life sending this message back and fighting off those freakazoid Anti-Monarchy creeps. I deserve some recognition here don't I? My name is.. Paragoomba. Sweet name right?"

Then the words faded off. Puzzled, Luigi backpedaled into the Captain.

Captain Toad was stooped down at some large clawed footprints etched into expansive swirl patterns in the soil. "Golly. There was a tornado, but something is rather unnatural about it. Regardless it caused the exodus obviously." He stood up straight and shrugged.


A delivery truck fresh off of the boat that transported it there left deep tire marks through Sirena beach until it reached Hotel Delfino and took up three parking spots. Two sumo bros stepped inside, one dressed like a sci-fi character with a neon green katana and the other in a highly detailed dragon costume. Naturally large by species, these two were ever wider and less athletic than usual making the desk clerk pianta do a double take.

"Brahs! The Dungeons and Koopas-Con was last week! You missed it."

"Aaaactually we are here because we know about the hotttt babes week coming up, hehe.." the first brother, Sam, spoke after sliding up his thick eye glasses.

The clerk in turn slid up his. It was weird how that was contagious, like yawning. "Sooo how long you want your stay? You have your papers, brah?"

"I do," piped up Slam, the younger more nasally sounding brother/dragon. He handed some over and they were most certainly not legible. "Forgive we. The darkness encroached us whilst smuggled on that boat."

"And it stank too!" Sam added.

They got their room booked way at the top floor. Entire elevators were hogged and many bellhops hauled lots of their prized memorabilia for their extended stay. The brothers relished in the fact that they, typically the mules of Bowser whenever he remembered that they owned shipping trucks, escaped the windstorms that stirred up if the rumors were true. They would stay here with all the money they'd saved up by scalping vintage videogames forever and still play with friends online. (It wasn't like they got outside anyway). They ordered everything on the menu from room service and went to their vices, Sam was on a console game and Slam playing a table top game against himself. The window light got dimmer so Sam peered outdoors. People scattered down below on the beach like ants while an unidentified object blocked the light from the sun.

"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE!" the thunder seemed to speak.

The palm trees bent and twisted and dust from sand blew in the air as hurricane like forces came from the clear sky. The building rumbled, knocking over Slam's plastic character figures on the board. The power cut and others screamed in the halls. A tidal wave almost as tall as the hotel sped their way and crashed against the building sweeping the hotel away. It wouldn't take long for the news to spread: Disaster at paradise.

To be continued!

Created: 6/17/19, 6/18 , 6/19, 6/20, 6/23, 6/24, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27, 6/30, 7/7, 7/9

Edits: 7/19, 7/22, 7/28, 7/29, 7/30, 7/31, 8/3, 8/21, 8/25, 8/29, 8/30, 8/31, 9/13, 9/23


Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

Property of Bowser (Chapter 11)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo.

Author note: This chapter was in dire need of edits. Much belated fixes ahead...

"Let's GO! Get out there! DO SOMETHING!" Bowser commanded.

Scampering around the green hills, koopa troopas frightened all toads taking residence out, allowing the Troop to secure an entire region of Sky Land to plunder. Many resources would be needed starting from scratch so they worked quickly. Aerially the winged baddies soared in clusters to reconnoiter the land. Satisfied with the group- and it truly was more than he expected, of soldiers smart enough to read the sign posted on his castle's crumbling front doors, Bowser returned to the spiraling landmark tower. It rose into another portion of the kingdom he was yet to grace with his presence. Bowser climbed inside a puny airship for a solo trip with only himself and this thoughts of how all his troubles were Mario's fault. Somehow it always came back to that plumber, like a part of Mario was always with him. -A part Bowser would like to rip out and obliterate with fire..

Still shuddering, Tanner lowered the basket of ice flowers and speed flowers, now scorched flowers. He guessed it was his fault for talking to Bowser while he was clearly in a reverie. "If you don't like these, sorry sir!"

"Forget the stupid decorations. Since you're here, all status?" Bowser growled. Sulking on his throne salvaged from his old castle and in one of the most isolated parts of the tower he could find, he was sure his minions would get the picture. Apparently not.

"Most never showed up because they 'went south' boss," reported Sentry 11, significantly less menacing in broad daylight. "But this is a big kingdom and you got a thousand tallied."

Bowser stomped his foot repeatedly. The brick began to crumble. "Go back to where you need to be. NOW!" And they left.

On the tower's roof top that stopped just short of the puffy white clouds realm, the royal honorary Koopa Troop were hanging out for fresh air.

"So our janitor Zoo is dead? Perished? Deceased?"

"Yeah, Morton and angry mobs came around by morning blaming us," Lemmy explained. All he needed was a flashlight to shine under his face and a thunder effect to add the cherry on top of that haunting tale. "Aaaand we...well we had to hide and just didn't see the rest." The rainbow haired koopaling paused and fidgeted in place, unable to fix his gaze on anyone in particular. Without a formal meeting, he Ludwig and Iggy silently agreed to not speak about anything. It wasn't just to not look bad, at least they assured themselves. Ludwig for instance insisted something 'bizarre' happened, additional descriptors uncharacteristically escaping him, while viewing video capture on Larry's laptop. Footage from Iggy rather, who had no recollection of what he'd recorded from Peach's floating castle. Lemmy had nothing to do with anything, too occupied all of yesterday making sure their other siblings cooperated with Ludwig's scheme. It seemed all to easy to detach himself, somewhat, from the predicament. All connected to Zoo and his weird item they saw fleetingly before disaster. Problem was, he was gone.

After the mummering happening finally registered, "Listen guys! I know it's crazy as a cracker, but it'll be alright," Lemmy concluded with a weak smile.

Roy pretended to not listen. He kept waving formations for the paratroopas above to perform advance maneuvers. He was to invade the castle with a squad Bowser selected for him, just as he begged for. It embarrassingly took five minutes for him to realize they were spelling out the name of his last ex girlfriend and so he yelled at them the rest of the time. Junior was leaning on his elbows airily looking down from the tower and watching little Bowser mooks below move around like insects. To the six year old they'd be returning home anytime soon. This was like an extension of Koopa Scouts, practically the same thing! The constant moving around, sleeping outside, people screaming, frequent injuries, and leadership mismanagement to the extent the kindergartener could understand. He didn't know what the big deal was. Wondering how scouting skills could help, he tipped toed off 'secretly'.

Wendy let her little brother live his adventure hero fantasies, ignoring his departure. She half listened to Lemmy while leisurely rolled on her stomach, blue eyes glued to her phone and manicured, though it wouldn't last now that they were homeless, fingers flicking often. Anxious she was still in the hot bench over alluding to be associated with the group that kicked her family out of their own kingdom, she'd been busy with something. After scrolling around she found it and got up. "Look at this, it's all over Facebook now that we left Dark Land due to a Bowser Bomb gone wrong! Well we all know that's FAKE NEWS so I'm going to report all of their accounts!" she blared. That got Morton, Roy, and Lemmy to turn and stare at her dumbfoundedly.

Ludwig, trying to be invisible before that point, felt the pit in his stomach threaten to become a black hole. He inched away from the situation, at least as much as he could on that tower. He was going to go mad over what went wrong last night. He needed


for a reality check and reluctant to admit it there was someone he could always count on for clarity, even if a few coarse words would often get thrown into the mix.

"Larry, could you assist me?" Ludwig discreetly approached Larry, another anti-social one at the moment. The fifteen year old was listening to music then on the floor. Ludwig directed him to a moisture faded page of his

'Ex spatio obiecti specialem Lexicon'


Larry slung the headphones off with a flash of fear. "W-what did I do?"

"Oh, nothing. I desire to hear your thoughts on this."

He sighed vexingly. "Stars: Stars are celestial beings, a 'higher authority' to aid the Mushroom Kingdom-" Larry shoved the book back into Ludwig's chest. "I know this junk already. Why a theology project now? You sneak out last night and now you want to pick on me?"

"-Excuse me?"

"We all know you know what the flip is really going-" He sighed out again and faced the tiled floor, eyes clinched. "Whatever you know doesn't freaking matter because obviously we can't fix it. We're homeless.."

Ludwig leaned down. "Do not say that! This is our home now, General Larry. Chin up."

"Don't call me that," he snapped back. Larry pulled himself up. "Why did you shove your nerd book in my face anyway?"

"...I was just


too much as inclined, little brother," he answered with some intrigue masked by reservation. "But are you actually studious regarding stars? Most koopas would not be, unless you are a wierdo, like me," Ludwig ventured. Roy and Wendy picked up the conversation then and locked eyes with Larry, a snort of disapproval soon following.

Larry's gaze whipped from them to his eldest brother again. "Me?! No way! -Say that again and I'll slap ya! ...I just heard about that star stuff through the grape vine. I ain't one of them hippy toad appeasin' lame koopas. Alright?"

Ludwig shrugged. He'd ran out of stalling time and gotten nowhere. Now was the time to catch his ride for the badge he'd rightfully earned with the successful Mushroom Flu plot. All of this, whatever this situation was unfolding to be, would be for naught if he did not. Peach was still in their possession so he did it. He won? Why was it a question?

He was about to head for the stairway when he realized that's where Iggy had set up his 'lab'. The watch salvaged from Zoo's home was disassembled on the descending stone steps, as haphazard as expected, multicolored wires outstretched and resembling a sort of monster sprawled and dying. Probably. In fact he wasn't sure how such circuitry fit in the pocket watch in the first place.

"-Luddy, sorry! Here." Iggy suddenly some of the wires away to clear the leftmost side.

"Not, that Iggy... Those other events. You lost all of your projects in the castle. I am sorry."

"...What happened back home was pretty messed up," Iggy replied in a less squeaky and more naturalistic tone of voice. He paused his work. Behind those thick glasses, there was a twinkle in his eye. "But, what did you really do wrong? I don't mean in hindsight, I mean, what could we have done right? I can't get Lemmy's wrist watch out of my head... but never mind for now."

Ludwig pondered, leaning on the stairwell wall. The watch Lemmy likes to drawn on his wrist as a joke, what did it mean? It was unclear as the direction of the junk dangerously scattered on the steps. "Well, I know better than to attempt to predict you Iggy, so I must thank you for the encouragement. I think. I've decided to leave and register for my badge out of town. I'm about to tell Vater now."

"Oh, cool. Go ahead to Poshley Heights or whatever! It'll be alright in the end."

Ludwig pat him on the shoulder with a chuckle. "We will see." He stood up with renewed zeal. He would take a quick train and return just in time for his father's wedding, hopefully with new valor.


A short figure with a large scarlet scarf wrapped around them tightly inched their way over a hill. The young koopatrol stationed at the north boarder felt on edge spotting the intruder drawing closer to the newly erected gate. He readied his spear, the first line of defense for the new 'Dark' Land, Sky Land. Tanner almost regretted volunteering for the perilous duty. It was spontaneously because he needed some distraction from the recent avalanche of problems aching his heart. On top of the pile he hated to admit was losing his friend Zoo. The dark boo's house was reported destroyed and his friend never missed a day of work. Plus he was telepathic for crying out loud, closeted or not. He would not have missed the mental 'pinging' his friend would have surely sent if lost or hurt somewhere. So it was pretty conclusive.. Second on the pile was whatever happened to his latest friend, that new new toad girl minion. They occasionally had a Mushroom Kingdomite cross over to the Dark Land side, but they were usually enemy species feeling neglected in that toad world. This was was different- and familiar. Familiar?

"-What's up?"

"Halt! This kingdom belongs to King Bowser Koopa!" Tanner announced, or sputtered rather because he'd day dreamed again.

The person, a woman it seemed, stopped abruptly. "I know. I read the sign on the castle." She cocked her head to the side at him. "Oh, duh. Hold on.." She removed a part of the scarf forming a hood. "Tanner, it's me dummy!"

Tanner slung the spear away. "Emery! You're okay!" They run up and clung to each other instantly.

Bowser's one-thousand and first soldier squeezed him harder. "So glad to be here! Yeah I shoulda said something earlier 'cause you totally was gonna stab me and I would have been my fault and I would have felt stupid bleeding to death but whatever! Neo Bowser City has these weird dorks taking over so it took forever to get here. Eventually I borrowed this car."

"Oh my God. Emery, like I'd stab you. Maybe Z- well, my other friend when he pissed me off but not you," he regrettably pulled away some, blushing madly under his iron helmet. "Pro tip for the new guy, let's focus before we get reported. Uh.. where's the car?" Tanner scanned around.

A wide bodied black colored limousine was stuck in a low hanging cloud down the hill. His herculean strength plus her lesser but earnest effort eventually pushed it up and over the other side for it to roll freely and crash into the gate and then keep on going, making others wonder where the in the world it came from. Tanner held his breath until Emery burst into laughter. Soon he joined her, fears draining. Some of them at least.


Yoshi was outside in the high grass playing with Poochy and occasionally waving to neighboring yoshis going about business. No real conversation, he didn't really know them like that. He tossed back and forth the stick with his pet to wind down from that last argument. Birdo could be overbearing but her motivations made perfect sense after he stopped being fussy. He should just stop to enjoy life sometimes. He wasn't getting any younger.

"Isn't that right, boy?" Yoshi's friend licked his face and barked happily. "Poochy! Stop! Ha!"

When Yoshi returned 'the misses' was out. How she snuck around him he didn't know. Funny, he never grilled her for disappearing.. A bit deviously he let the dog in since typically his fiancée hated that. They were going to have to reach a consensus on that issue if they were really going to tie the knot, among other petty ways they'd get on each other's nerves. Yoshi knew he wasn't always the best fiancé. He'd need to fix that maybe with another expensive gift even better than his last one to her, her iPhone. Then she'd come around like usual when things got heated. Speaking of which he noticed she'd left her device on the counter and its screen was on from a missed notification. Picking it up he caught some of the national news on the lock screen.

"Bowser taking over Sky Land and abandoning ruined Dark Land? Isle Delfino hit by typhoon? Mario still missing in action?" The phone slipped from his hand while he scampered around looking for things to leave with, a hat, passes, snacks.. Poochy barked and snarled at the door before circling around. The front door was opened and Birdo stepped in, her attention darting to her phone on the floor unlocked.

"Yoshi!" She scooped it up with a scowl. Her fiancée's prints were all over it she noticed.

Yoshi's head popped up from the drawer. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop honey, but that's besides the point now. I HAVE to go." He weaved around her before she had a chance to put up an excuse. He grabbed his hat from the rack and his bag. It was too light. Yoshi froze with a foot out the door.

"Can't leave Yoshi's Island without a passport, T. Yoshisaur."

Facing out the door, he rolled his eyes. "I'm coming back, soon this time I promise."

"The one-hundredth empty one."

He resisted the urge to sigh. If someone wanted to tally, how many times had he explained to her how it works when you are a protector of the Mushroom Kingdom? "When I leave like this, it's not to hurt you. It's just to take care of important stuff."

"Stuff more important for me, dear? I get it," she replied in monotone.

Yoshi faced her again. "No! But I can't ignore it regardless, baby. This timing is- awful I know- but bad guys are unpredictable. It's just gonna happen like that some times."

Birdo kept puffing with her arms folded tightly, as if ready to blow. "I understand Mario's business is your business but, it's just not fair to me! Look at it from my perspective. The other girls? When their heroes leave they have support, they have each other over in that Kingdom. You think that Princess Peach ever has to pine for Mario's attention? But when you leave, and it's not just for the big things you know it. You just want to hang out with that Mario for fun sometimes, and I'm just stuck here alone. I don't have friends like that. You are just stringing me along for arm candy. Do you really like me?" the pink dino screamed in an eruption of tears.

Her words slapped him. Her glare sliced through him. Yoshi felt like he was about to stagger backwards. Poochy barked protectively behind his heels. He shook some sense back into himself. "Of course I like you honey! We're getting married! ..Right? You're over reacting aren't you?"

"When then?" she shot back. "What was the date planned?"

"Soon, honey. Soon." He didn't like the complex frustration brewing in him then. There wasn't one really, just the concept of it needing to happen. It was what you were supposed to settle and do. Yoshi had gotten old enough, using up his younger years to help an even younger Mario. He hated when she failed to be.. understanding with him. As if he hadn't address most of those issues. It wasn't his fault she didn't gel with the princesses or toadettes, or want move to the Mushroom Kingdom together, and she was always complaining about Mario while putting on a friendly face when they actually met. That was especially irksome. "...So, where was that pass though?" he asked, ushering the dog into a bedroom for more peace.

Birdo creeped up to him then with a look he couldn't discern. "Guess what, you aren't getting it." After cornering him against the bedroom door a second longer she walked off again and sat on the bed one leg over the other, seemingly unbothered.

"We will go over ALL of this when I'm back. I'm serious. I'll get you something nice too. You know I'd buy an entire island for you if I could." He began to reach for her.

Birdo dodged his hand by shifting over on the bed. She refused to face him. "Lies lies lies again! But then here's a gift, a tiny little bandage to heal of the bleeding open gashes in my heart! You're never leaving again!"

"Calm down, baby! The pass isn't a big deal, it's just a dumb rule thing. I.. I don't know what else to say. I'm just sorry." In a split decision he spun for the door again, dropping the passless travel bag to the floor, but keeping the hat. "It's just a walk," he said exasperatedly.

"Like I believe a word for your mouth, T. Yoshisaur. You were a liar from the start and your charm as a celebrity had me fooled. You list your residence as the Mushroom Kingdom to evade taxes, you sneak your dog inside and think I don't know, and you lie to your girlfriend about marriage! Who does that? Worse yet, you lie- to yourself! I'm telling the village leader about everything you do and then we'll see if you care about dumb rules!"

Yoshi nearly gave himself whiplash looking back. She was on the phone as dreaded and calling the resident village leader. He stumbled out the treehouse and down the ladder into his yard. The coast around was clear. If Birdo riled up the leader there could soon be a herd of fifty or more fellow dinos after him. Most of his neighbors were young and insular, literally. Being Mario's pal or another other credentials of his relating to the Mushroom Kingdom would do little to protect him. He could loose it all, his treehouse, his dog. He needed help quick. Help like- Mario! A mile through the forest he found a train passing through at a crossing and flutter jumped into a musty car, landing in a pile of hay. He spat out the twigs and examined his surroundings, old props and banners saying 'Emerald Circus'. It must have been an off season, the cars were packed with trampolines and props but not staff. He went into what he thought was the most vacant car until he brushed up against something, or someone.

"I guess Mario sent you to hunt me down and stomp my face, Yoshi?"

Still shocked, Yoshi plopped down next to the plain clothed koopa. "No you creep. I'm.. running from my own bride." He grit his teeth.

"Know that feeling. I'm married to trouble." Doctor Professor Koopa smiled at him. He kept holding his shoulder and had stubble spotting the corners of his face, but was otherwise just as Friday. "Aren't you gonna ask what am I doing in here?"

"No," Yoshi answered honestly.

Doctor Professor attempted to shrug a shoulder, but winched instead. "Might as well. They say Sarasaland is a modern kingdom with a booming medical field.."

"Eldstar," Yoshi put his palm to his face. "So you and your crew can reek havoc there?"

"Save some of that indignation. The rest of the crew got caught I heard. Oh, but then get riled up again, because they'll find a way. I mean, we found a way from the pits we came from into the most prestigious sparkly clean health facility of those bigot toads and even ran the princess out. We can do anything."

Yoshi breathed in and then out heavily, ignoring that bait and facing the koopa. "I didn't need more on my plate but, since


placed me here...I really shouldn't let you get a clean getaway. You may have been a friend the princess once, but not anymore."

Dr. Prof. Koopa clicked his tongue. "Funny there's a line to cross to become the dreaded 'bad guy' and now all you can think of is what they program you 'heroes' to. I know I may have inconvenienced a few Mushroom Flu patients yesterday but if I told you that I was doing my job like any other for years? What if I told you decades ago I even saved untold lives partnering with Dr. Mario when we wiped Mushroom Flu out of Dark Land? Wanna know how it got there in the first place?"

Yoshi could compare himself to a bear being poked, and not the ones that would ride the tricycles this car held. "Don't deflect," he growled.

"I'm not. You don't get it, boy. Which registers more on the scale of good and evil? You might change your mind if I tell you something. Something about the flu and, pertinent to you, of how heroes and villains



Yoshi scowled. "Who do you think you are? Tell me then. I dare you!"

The doctor smiled again with a twinkle in his eye. "As you know I was known as Dr. Koopa to Peach as a little girl. I got shafted by her father. Kicked to the curb. Over paranoia. I quickly became Prof. Koopa to a young adult Bowser, obtaining all sorts of free reign to press science further. Things were booming in Dark Land. The army was growing, there was a large city to be built nearby. Then the Mushroom Flu broke out. Ah. What a coincidence. Progress hit a brick wall until, well, you know about the old good doctor's deeds. There is a rumor to this day that they tried to kill Dark Land's budding kingdom off back then. Who would be so heartless to attack a koopa king with one son and a pregnant wife with their second? The new one's name was gonna be Lemmy-"

Yoshi felt a jolt. "They would never if that's what you're-"

"Perhaps you don't really know your Mushroom Kingdom friends well! What I am saying is as real as you are green. And red apparently-"

Yoshi shot up and noticed his hands shaking.. He stepped away and lashed out by kicking a bike across the room. "No! They wouldn't try to brutally kill off the koopas if that's where you're going! They wouldn't!" He closed back in. " I saw the news, you were in a conspiracy with a Bowser baddie. You backstabbed Peach the other day. I'm sure such a 'smart' person only gets fired from two great gigs for a reason. You're credibility is shot so I don't care if you swear it's real

this time


Was there an echo in the room?

Doctor Professor leisurely directed his attention out the window while high brown grass scrolled by. With a bump, the train began to cross a bridge over water. "As someone that's worked on


sides, one person's good is another's evil and who's right? Who tells you, the stars?"

It was a feeling in the heart to know you are doing what's right. But how do you explain such to someone without one, like the doctor at his feet. Furthermore how to explain when he'd been missing that feeling for a while. "You just know it."

The koopa did a creepy little laugh. "So predictable," he said perspicaciously. "Do you ever catch Mario eyeing younger, fitter dinosaurs?"

Yoshi grabbed the koopa doctor and dragged him up to his level. "You're saying a lot of dumb things for someone with so many medical degrees. My friends may die because of Bowser- and the role you played! And your attitude...You abated us Friday so if our sick friends don't make it-"

"What will you do? Kill me?" the doctor struggled to answer with his collar snatched tight. He managed to smirk regardless. "It was never personal, at least not to you Yoshi. But ..I will admit, if worse comes to worse, and it will, there's no cure, that's what some of you mushroom bastards deserve and I wouldn't take it back!"

Yoshi gawked, then shoved the doctor halfway across the cabin. Hay and dust clouded the air. Yoshi tripped on the bike he'd kicked. Getting up something blunt whacked him in the back, an iron bike lock from the wicked doctor. They struggled over it, Yoshi thought he felt a liquid running down the back of his head but ignored it. Their fight went back against the window. Outside the open window were deep gravel filled pits. Yoshi grappled with the frailer slightly older koopa and pried away the weapon, then raised him up again. He felt so light, or maybe it was adrenaline. Yoshi had his wedged between him and the open drop. This squirming repeat offender was caught at last. "Cut it out, or you'll fall if you lean to far. Though, I wouldn't cry over it," Yoshi grumbled at last. "Now what's so funny?"

"Nothing much," the koopa replied, dropping his frivolous tone and sounding neutral if calculating. "Just thinking 'bout my dear 'Sweat Pea', that's Peach. About how she's doing with that Bowser guy all helpless and such. Her castle and the secrets it held crumbling to the ground purportedly. Her toads stranded. No where to run from problems. Her pretty face can't keep her image spotless anymore. It was really all about her now that I think about it. I guess I was obsessed, heh, in a different way than her usual admirers. The rest of you are just collateral and you will be too Yoshi once you're too old to be of any help. We all know it's coming."

Yoshi just let the breeze hit him, saying nothing. It his emotions were a tank, in that moment it was empty. The doctor stopped struggling, yet did not resist his firm grasp as they stood off.

"Listen, tell you what," Doctor Professor said, the mockery returning in his horse shaky voice, "Let's see how ballsy you are. I'm worse than


in your mind right now. I don't plan on changing what I do best for the foreseeable future,

and I do hear they are still lax in what experiments they allow in other Kingdoms.

Oh, and If I'm just so irredeemable really do something about it! I don't mean deferring to your precious Mario, I mean YOU do something!"

Yoshi made his move and a second later his supporting hands were empty. He quickly looked out the window in time to see a faded green shell spinning as it rolled down the gravel pits. He must of- Did he just consciously- Time seemed to slow as he saw the doctor accidentally dislodge his shell enough to suffer a direct head smack against the rock. Limp body continued rolling out of view. The train moved on the flatter land and did not let up. Yoshi slid away from the window. The rest of the trip was quiet for him. After all, the tank was still on E.


A bowl of edible land snails was dropped on the table before the noki seated alone, thinking about whatever to keep his mind busy, nursery rhymes like 'Une Souris Verte' to that dog he and Agent N were going to adopt back home. High barbed iron fences caged him in with the others, hooligans and gangs, during lunch break outside, the sounds of plastic utensils scraping against like trays filling the air. There was a single south and north guard stationed and three barriers separating him from a Poshley Heights shopping center with a food cart and all. He questioned the entertainment value of this for tourists in town.

"To think, something worse than hospital food.." Jelectro picked up from the next table over. Nass, a shy guy, another toad, and a whomp from Mushroom Kingdom Hospital East huddled together at one table. He stood to join them as friendly as he could, watching them stare. In return, he saw in them his key out.

"Madam, thank you for those directions to the information station," he said to the elder toad, '(Mariam?)' as he'd just bothered to learn.

Her face sparkled in recognition. "Dearie! How-?!"

"Tourist, remember? I kid. Still planning that getaway to Sarasaland?"

The whomp, Dr. Terrace, sized him up and down. "You're the extra that was dragged here. He ain't one of us."

"One of you? You are all from Dark Land, and I not," Jelectro declared.

Nass continued leaning on her elbow. Her black hair was limp and oily and she would be unrecognizable if not for her designer prescription glasses. "Theodore, Doctor Professor, told you right? I don't get why when he doesn't even tell me info sometimes," she said with hints of bitterness. Of course to the noki it was more than a hint. Immediately he knew it all and wished he didn't!

"That's rough for someone always doing those 'personal' favors for him," piped Azul, the blue shy guy. On Nass's behalf, Mariam punched the young man much bigger than her rather, and unfittingly for an eighty year old.

"I am not here to socialize. I can get us all out of here if you listen," Jelectro explained under his breath. "You Miss Mariam, escort me out while disguised as a guard. The rest will fall into place. I know you can, because you are not a toad at all!"

With a poof so quick only those at the table could perceive it, the toad became a being covered with white bed sheet like clothe. Yellow frightened eyes and a tuft of red hair were the only distinguishing features. "H-how did you? I just wanted better job opportunities twenty five years ago and being a toad old lady gave me that!"

Nass, Azul, and Dr. Terrace were astonished for only a moment, then it was back to moping. Nothing excited them, they really were from Dark Land.

"Are we all in agreement?" Jelectro received only grunts. He guessed they would just have to see it to believe it. Mariam became a toad guard at the detective's lead, quickly enough to avoid suspicion and walked together to the gate early.

"What's wrong with the runt?" The guard barked, right hand on a radio for backup.

"I'm sick," Jelectro answered feebly. The noki drooped over and puked right on the concrete and inches away from the guards shiny black boots. The guard reeled back along with the other two closest guards.

"Get him out of here!"

Jelectro and Mariam ran through the first gate and in the little clearance. Ahead next gate was even taller than the rest with more guards. "I didn't know you were unwell, dearie," the duplighost whispered with some concern.

"I wasn't at first. It's just a bio-manipulation, disgusting but it works," Jelectro explained, already putting the next phase into action and directing his attention to the guards manning the office next to the doors out. It had been a while since he'd done the next trick he was about to do.

"-It's Zip Toad!" a guard on lookout squealed. Guards rushed out the office and unchained the second lock to line up against the most outer fence as the celebrity strolled by. They did this so abruptly they left the doors to the office wide open, allowing Jelectro to slip in and see the rows of steel lockers with confiscated items. He told Mariam to stay with the other guards and pretend to care so they did so.

"Autograph? Please?" the warden, huddled with many others, asked Zip T.

The blond toad celebrity lingering around the food cart stopped and pointed to his self. "Me? Lost my pen when I outran all five of 'em MKABC or whatever health inspectors last week," he explained in a unusual raspy tone. "Especially the big ol' goomba Richard. He was crazy. Have sometin' else for y'all! Grilled straight from my trailer home!" He grabbed a 'Boggles Dogs' from the cart, extra stuffed with cheese and offered it to no takers. Shrugging he helped himself only to make many of the guards watch him fall over and choke due to eating too quickly.

"Whoa! Somebody do something! Even if I wouldn't eat his disgusting food he's my idol!" one said.

"I don't know CPR. Any doctors in the house?"

"Over there!" Mariam spoke up, pointing to the MK East doctors back in the eating court.

"We can't let inmates.. oh whatever! Open the gates and let them!" the senior warden ordered.

The staff got shoved away from their tables out the gates to aid the blonde super star sprawled out on the sidewalk turning blue all the while. Disorientated but aware of civic duty they surrounded him just as a flash went off. 'Zip T.' coughed and miraculously a grubby clubba in a rain beater appeared in his place.

"Oh!" Nass exclaimed, piecing it all. "Someone created a sort of illusion or ruse on this young man. Go!"

"Thanks but sorry!" Apologetically Mariam ran ahead with the doctors onto the clubba's food truck. The guards realized the break and spilled out of the jail building in vain as the truck sped down the finely cut brick road. Jelectro was brushed aside and ignored in the drama, all according plan. So it seemed that guy he'd rather not think about, Mitch was right. Use the gifts Eldstar gives you.


Mere minutes after Roy's army of one-hundred stormed the clouds above, his soldiers were kicking out remaining mushroom retainers and lastly the king, an old man still in slippers, this part of the kingdom blindsided by the invasion. Two hammer bros dragged the King to Roy's crusty feet.

"Remember when I promised to return years back? I was telling da truth! Now I run dis joint!" the koopaling laughed. Roy relaxed on the plush red throne in the exquisite gold and checkerboard halls in peace for all of five minutes before someone barged in.

"Great job, Roy. Everyone GO GO GO!" Bowser ushered in as many minions as could be packed inside, busily stepping all over Roy's toes with supplies in hand and banners. Shortly they forced him off and on to those polished floors he was just admiring.

Bowser continued, "This castle's gonna be the wedding hall. Hey, no I want fruit punch there! You! Drop the ice sculpture here! Kamek, you're holding the ruler upside down.."

Disgruntled, Roy stomped out into the clouds and down to the tower. What to do. There was a hole in him yet again, and not like when he was trying to sneakily fast for a weigh in at school. Just to be busy with


he considered DMing random girls despite trying to get his ex back for a month straight now, or sneaking peeks at Peach who was getting fitted for her dress in a locked room of the tower despite her not being his type. He knew he was desperate.


"You like to swim right?" Wendy showed off a sleeveless flowing dress that was also flowing with water from the hose and sprinkler attachment. It was a beach inspired, blue as the ocean with real starfish!

"You don't like it? Our dear Clawdia wore this one anniversary, you know!" Kammy lectured nostalgically.

Peach politely declined, forced to be seated on a stool. At least with the time it took to present each outfit, she had time to think. It was nothing super strategic about escaping admittingly, just happy comforting thoughts. So in other words, Mario. Kammy next presented something very vintage and regal and white with a crinoline many times her width. Peach estimated it might be her style in oh, about fifty more years when she was also a great great granny.

"...I'm telling!" Bowser Junior snickered right outside the door they were in.

Larry, crouched down at the keyhole jumped, nearly wetting himself. "Shhh!" He twisted around a few times to check for others. "It ain't what you think! I gotta stop this!"

"Daddy's wedding?"

Larry poked Junior's chest right between his badges. "That's right! If dad marries it's gonna suck for all of us. Us runts gotta, you know, cooperate in this thing."

Junior snapped his childish fingers. "Like that thing people do after their married?"

Larry went blank before his face wrinkled up. "COOPERATE not 'consummate', you dirty little!... Whatever, shorty. It's good that you're here 'cause I just thought of something… NO not that!"

The next dress was an avant-garde piece by a foreign koopa, featuring six arm holes, two trains, and a waste line suspended by suspenders, detailed by flashing jewels and the pattern of a funeral home's curtains. Peach's saving grace, the door clicked open and in came Bowser Junior smiling cheekily.

"King Dad wanted to take some early pictures with the bride." The six year old reached out his arm for Peach so adorable like she almost didn't resist.

"Actually, that's more time for us to make it perfect!" Wendy dragged her little brother out with Peach. "But get her back here soon enough, okay brat?"

Junior stuck his tongue out in return, leading Peach to the bottom of the tower. Questioning Troop watched them but refrained from impeding. On the ground they found a limousine waiting. Larry rolled down the automatic window all cool like with a chauffeur hat on and all. Toadsworth was already in the back and 'transferring him to the mines' was the excuse Larry used to procure him.

Peach became quietly ecstatic, taking back the attitude she had with Junior. While trying to not look too comfortable she got in the passenger seat with Junior crawling into the middle between them. She thanked both profusely. There were other matters to discuss if a koopaling, or two, really managed to rescue her but she brushed it aside for then. Toadsworth had a concern or two or three about Larry's help, but again she silenced it. There was a time and place, after all the land was beautiful and vibrant if one ignored Bowser dumping it up. Larry cruised away from the tower and they were turning heads where ever they rolled in the grass, as there were no streets built yet just pure lush fields. Larry increased speed as he drove by a new fortress build site. Morton handled the blue prints with his remarkable speed reading. One glance and he'd memorized all the details from the size of a bolt to the slab of concrete needed. Lemmy's lazy eye gave him double vision frequently so it made the best choice, but it also meant he spotted two copies of Larry plainly escaping with the princess for triple the heart rate increase and quadruple the urgency to stop it.

"Catch that car!" Lemmy blared.

Zealously their builders including the monty mole controlling the crane abandoned the site to give chase. A huge block of stone swung around and into the wall newly constructed with a crash. The wall adjacent disconnected and mounted on it were the Bowser family chests, heirlooms and treasures. Morton dove forward just as the wall leaned down and caught it so that it didn't crack open the centuries old keepsakes.

"Run ahead! Expediently! Godspeed!" Morton strained under the weight as Lemmy rolled across steep hills becoming larger and more arduous as they went. Larry repeating 'oh crap oh crap oh crap' kept on and Peach held the coat rack to stabilize, fearing how they'd make it all the way across the kingdom with the mob behind them and the car struggling with the incline. Peach didn't know about motors much but she feared that backfire every five seconds wasn't a good sign.

...Meanwhile Bowser had the castle's throne room decorated with tables and arrangements about 109 percent there. That meant- the Koopa king counted on his claws, only forty-three percent thingys to go before he'd be happy. They installed an ice sculpture of himself and a lava fountain across from each other. Shortly a table clothe caught fire.

"Ahhg! Why didn't I see that coming?!" Bowser exclaimed.

"On it!" Tanner hurled himself on the flames to snuff it out.

Bowser gave a thumbs up. "Great! You always were the best."

Tanner smiled back despite the pain.

"Who's gonna make me this?" Bowser waved around the scrap of paper with his measurements. Fangirl? Are you a qualified seamstress for the King of Dark- I mean Sky Land?" Bowser addressed the toad girl who rose her hand.

"Nope, but I watched a Youtube video once!" Emery held up pins and yarn.

The work kept going until it started getting darker outside unnaturally early. Bowser called all his children up and the princess to see the work so far. While waiting things got more strange, as bad weather rolled in. Eventually the wind could be heard howling through the walls. Bowser stepped outdoors to find everything shady and darkened. All wind but no precipitation. He craned his neck to see an object that wasn't clouds blocking out the sun. "The heck is with this place?!"

Right then Roy and Wendy came running up from the tower that lead to the cloud realm, sending up poofs with every frantic step. "Daddy! Daddy! That brat Junior didn't bring Peach back!" Wendy screamed.

"And that lil punk Larry took the our new car!" Roy said.

Bowser whipped their way just as a thunder like voice came out of the sky. It seemed like mumbling from a giant. Wind roaring, Bowser and everything around were swept right off of their feet. He only caught, "...CANNOT ESCAPE!"

...Back on the ground, Larry continued to flee from the horde as the weather, explicitly wind but so thick it was like a mist, aggravated until he could hardly see. Bowser Junior dropped a banana peel through the sunroof which slipped up Lemmy and caused a small pile up. They burst through a wooden boarder to some adjacent kingdom. Peach was terrified but hopeful. But mostly her eyes were closed. Toadsworth in the bench seats noticed someone's brandy in the drawer of the limo. He took a sip, then two, then three and suddenly this was a run ride! Now they were reaching forest with no accompanying path for the car. That didn't stop Larry though, he'd never win backwoods drag races if he paid attention to 'safety'. What stopped him instead was an object causing the limousine bump off of something, hydroplane and then get wedged in a tree tilted upwards. The car shook violently for a minute in the mist and then it was over as they only caught a fringe of whatever terrible storm happened. The area around them brightened up quickly. The land was as flat and barren as Dark Land. All of Bowser's minion's work was ruined, the fortress crumbled, the tower was damaged heavily, and in the skies above the castle had taken a brunt of the hit and only the foundation was left in the clouds. Bowser himself was still flailing in the sky. He curled up defensively until he landed somewhere in Giant Land's forest...

"Larry, what were you doing? This is the most jerk thing you've ever.. Jerked!… I didn't mean it like that! Ugh!" Red faced, Lemmy yanked opened the door on the drivers side. The car was still between two willow trees and all four passengers were fine, aside from their underwear. The surviving members of Bowser's forces surrounded them.

"You will be going with us to find King Dad," Lemmy told them very stern like. Wendy, Roy, and even Morton were there and not happy.

"That's right, shrimp! March!" Roy kicked Larry into the forest. Peach and Toadsworth were detained and the surviving army marched on. They found Bowser easily by first finding his random junk. He'd lost his phone which was now dead, the tie he was getting fitted with, and an extra sign saying 'this land

property of Bowser

', like a treasure map all leading to a clearance with a small crater marking his spot.

"WHY WERE YOU IN A CAR WITH OUR CAPTIVES DRIVING AWAY?!" Bowser bellowed the moment he came to.

Larry sat on his butt before an explanation that came natural to him slipped out. "I was trying to be a pimp?"

Bowser held his aching head. "Report!" he groaned.

"Sire we lost everything," a koopa troopa reported.

Then Bowser spotted a part of what was going to be his new tuxedo flowing freely in the wind. Something rung over and over in his mind, the weird talking or voice in the clouds. No he had to have imagined it, so back to square one. Of course… they were already in a fresh new world to pillage…


Luigi and Captain Toad were stopped outside the warp pipes in the back of the Mario bros house. The plans, after some bickering, were to go to Sky Land like Morton's note suggested until Mario texted Luigi urgently. Instead they returned to Southern Mushroom Kingdom. The younger brother gawked at the blacked out helicopter that had landed in someone's unfortunate prairie, moo moos grazing around it. A particular barn seemed like a ufo spectacle, a green glow radiating through the windows and in between the wood paneling.

Luigi approached it after a gulp. Inside, an X-naut PhD was adjusting a large green tube while four other doctors were crowded at a table. The three other doctors were a normal toad, a hammer bro, and a goomba with Mario who spun around when Luigi came in.

"Bro? Perfect. We need all of this stuff for the cure." Mario handed over a list. Luigi held it up and it unfolded many times until it touched the floor. There had to have been nearly a hundred or more ingredients on it...

To be continued.

Created: 6/26/19, 6/27, 6/29, 6/30, 7/1, 7/4, 7/5, 7/7

Edit: 7/26, 7/31, 8/4, 8/30, 8/31, 9/1, 9/13, 9/18, 9/24


Fixed and much better reflecting my current writing style. 1/6/22

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

Arcane Gang Symbol (Chapter 12)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author note: Small fixes

"Stardust, Black apple, bros flower, ice flower, cake mix, carrot, cobalt shard, coconut bomb, mango, dayzee syrup, dayzee tear.." Luigi stopped to adjust his reading glasses, not yet halfway down the list unfolding around his feet, around Mario's two left feet, over Captain Toad's head, out of the door..

"The list would be shorter if we had Dr. Mario's documentation from when he handled this issue in Dark Land," Dr. Toad explained, simply a red toad in a doctors coat. His stone like disposition and dry monotone commanded respect and implied seniority compared to his associates.

Right then a X-naut doctor slipped off of the rounded edge of tube standing as high as the ceiling and plummeted into a bale of hay, sending it up in the air.

"Morris! Careful!" warned the hammer brother in a tie-dye colored coat, Dr. Topper. Meanwhile Dr. Goom, a shady goomba, was off in the corner with eyes glued to a white board, seeming to ignore the antics on purpose.

"What's that crazy contraption for anyway?" Luigi asked.

"To infuse the cure I think that x-naut guy was saying." Mario pulled his brother side to a quiet corner. "About those old notes? Don't ask how I know but Bowser has it somewhere stashed with his other treasured items. I bet his family still has it with them and if you could find it-"

The barn doors opened wide with Jr. Troopa standing in the middle. "Cavalry's here and ready 'cause of my training!" Outside were Peach's toads, a few of the southern nurses and staff volunteering, Dr. Toadley's intern representing him, and least expectantly to Mario's request post on the Toad Town message boards, former MK East staff member Dave the pilot.

The boom boom whipped off his sunglasses stylishly. "I really like to fly helicopters. Just let me know where to go and I'll do it. Ka-pow!"

Mario clasped his hands together. "Perfect!"

Luigi silently stood back and his brother get the attention, when in the corner of his eye he noticed a familiar yet foreign face from the farthest reaches of the group. Their eyes locked and the person bolted.

"Buddy! Wait!" Luigi chased the boo into the middle of empty farmland until he had to give up. He slung his hat to the ground in defeat. One his way back he found something in the dirt, the green Bowser racket Mario once borrowed tossed aside, paint chipped and handle wraps frayed.

Later, "How did you get this?" Mario seized the racket in recognition, then in a sudden fit prepared to destroy it by snapping it over his knee.

"Bro, chill out!" Luigi lunged for it back and held it over his head so Mario couldn't reach.

"...Yeah you're right. I just don't want old memories being brought up," Mario admitted. "Well, you came back just in time."

Dr. Goom continued the painfully dragging lecture, detailing every tidbit of the densely scribbled on white board. "The key components for reversing the gastronomic disease Mushroom Flu are the stardust powdering agent, the dayzee tears, cobalt shard crystal, and black apple juice along with mystery component X-"

"Which my brother will snag for us all," Mario cut in.

Had Luigi not been so stunned he'd slapped Mario or ran away again. Maybe both. If it wasn't a hole being stared in him from the crowd it was a weak frown implying 'how could the younger brother possibly do this?' or an eyebrow cocked quizzically. Then he tuned them out and could only notice Mario smiling wide at him, picture perfect. Not smarmily or to flatter, but earnest, he could tell, and perhaps coolly. As in 'I know you got this, even if they don't know that', Luigi could hear him thinking almost. He had to do this job now, not just to stifle doubters of his heroic capabilities but to not let


, and others of course, down.

A bus fetched the toads and brought them back to Peach's Castle to estimate the damage and search the garden for dayzee tears while they were a it. There was some talk that they'd take residence again, but Toadette the self proclaimed castle junior manager highly doubted the home of their kidnapped princess would be peachy. Stone riddled with cracks, the once stunningly beautiful building was sunk down in a dozen feet of water spurting from exposed pipes. The moat no longer lined up and required a small jump to cross which everyone eagerly did. In fact, Toadette was left in the dust with Alagold.

"Like, come on people! Take turns!" she vented.

"Let's pick up that item while we're here," Alagold said, stumbling aside her. The twitching he did when his item detecting skills went off was subdued, but present.

She made the hop inside and splashed in puddles filled with crunching items, tiles that had fallen from the ceiling and vases shattered. "What again?"

"The one from the stars, brah. Send Mario and folks Peach's jewel.."

Unsettled she took the hint, remembering she was authorized to enter the princess's bedroom on the highest floors. The princess owned gifts said to hold the powers of the stars she knew from Mushroom College studies and word of mouth, albeit always in a hushed fashion. Under Peach's bed inside a shoe box like Alagold tipped her on was the most beautiful stone she'd ever seen. Irregular shaped, it was a light pink color that glowed in the dark room. She felt like she stared for hours.


At Club 64, Kylie Koopa cracked her fingers and began to jot her outline, settled in her favorite spot next the long fish tank that always got her in a productive mood. The tank was drained today however and consequently issues sprang up before she was done with her header. Her story was old news and now the local gossip was that Bowser jumped ship to Sky Land. It was moments like these when she really missed Mitch. Her ex and rival always stayed on top of every happening everywhere. She had one lead to get some info from, his so called intern who ditched her. A dry cleaning receipt due today was folded up in back seat of the Aston Mushroom the noki left behind, signed 'Jeremy N' at the bottom. There was some kind of connection obviously and even an amateur sleuth could figure where to go next. Toad Town had one dry cleaners.


Luigi and Captain Toad hit the warp pipe zone for Sky Land. When they landed on the other side signs of Koopa Troop activity were as subtle as a giant barking chain-chomp next to their ear. Under a smoke filled haze the mushroom homes were lifeless husks. There were discarded spears, spiny eggs, Bowser flags on fire, and a half constructed fortress. Decidedly Luigi suggested they split up in the ghost town. Captain Toad's attention was drawn to a whimpering noise in the charred remains of a toad house. He tip toed inside to find a buzzy beetle flipped on its back and squashed some heavy stones and tarmac.

"D-d-ark..." the small creature whispered, a red streak running from his mouth. "...s-s-sta- ar..."

The Captain crouched down. "What?" He wondered what that was about as he saw their gaze glassing over. With little trepidation, he snatched a heavy pointed rock and put them out of their misery. Besides that event, he found neither life nor treasure anywhere after venturing into other nearby decaying buildings.

Luigi dropped to his knees in tears once they met at the rendezvous. The Captain was betting on how long a breakdown like this would take to happen..

"We completely missed them! Tower's empty and the Sky Castle's gone. I just don't get it!"

"Don't get what, Mr. Luigi?"

"That Bowser could do this! What if we can't catch up and can't find his notes? What if our friends don't make it?! What if


doesn't? What if-?"

Captain Toad pat his shoulder. "I get it. On my crew's last visit to the Jade Jungle caverns for an archaeological haul, I meet the most wonderful woman. So adventurous, so spirited, lovely on the eyes, oh- and speaking of caverns.."

Luigi tilted his head up, eyebrows furrowing. "Where are you going with this?"

"Ah right-" Captain Toad focused again. "I had a severe disagreement with Bank Toad about whether it was appropriate to snap her pictures. Think Mushroom Geographic stuff. It wasn't, and that's how he 'slipped' off of that cliff..."

Luigi stood up, confounded. "Captain.."

The toad stepped back again. "Listen, if something is holding you back, you best to shake it off. Just telling you as an acquaintance I suppose. Bowser would rip any of us limb from limb to get to who


loves, the princess. It's vital you match his energy.."

Luigi pondered, glancing around him one more time before resting his gaze again on the toad. "-Let's go then. Also.. I don't want to be on your bad side ever."

"Wise choice."

Luigi thought he caught a genuine smile from The Captain.


Mario patrolled for baddie activity where dusty red roads met black paved highway, along the South to Toad Town boarder. He found no additional signs of other enemy spies which prodded a round of applause from witnessing town folk, yes inwardly disappointed Mario. Toadette confirmed over phone that they successfully foraged the dayzee tears. The flaky seeming Dave proved him wrong by flying his helicopter all the way to the Beanbean Kingdom for the stardust and returning with the powdery substance coating him and his vehicle. Dr. Toadley called an old friend Prof E. Gadd inquiring of cobalt stars. Fifteen minutes later the professor had Parakarry send over a bag of shards he was freely gave up as surplus.

"Hmm, what about the black apples that only grow in the Overthere?" Mario thought out loud. He walked into something going on ahead of him, a southerner at the gate meeting up with a sizable truck.

"Howdy Mr. Hero." Probabilly shook Mario's hand. "This is that help I called."

"Yep. Dat's in our scope."

Mario snapped towards to the monty mole outside a truck he'd missed. "What is?"

"The apples! We've health inspected the Overthere before, it's just matter of attaching our cloud-traction tires," the snifit Sebastian said, still seated in the MKDCU's truck. "Hey is my old classmate Emery really working for Bowser now?"

Mario was suddenly lifted off his feet and cradled by a tall wiggler with an iron like grip. "Whoa! What are you doing?"

Unmoved, Wiggletron sat Mario down again. "Patient's health is at acceptable levels.." he droned. "He could stomp two-hundred goombas in his state."

"Watch it!" Richard, a mega goomba inside the truck, made a face.

"My apologizes," Wiggs muttered, flushing.

"If you guys wanna that's super. No, we're not paying you though, sorry," Mario had to add.

"Sounds like a deal. This one's on the house just for you," the final squad member Parabilly, twin to Probabilly except with a clean shaved head, said from the passenger seat of the truck. Soon the MKDCU truck sped off again, kicking up red dust in its wake.

Mario's nerves calmed for flicker, but then the usual again. Being a shaken can of soda, hopefully not Fungus Up though, ready to pop. Sitting around at the hub or base and giving orders instead of being in the center of things was as unnatural for him it would be to wear green all the time, or yellow, or purple. No offense to lovers of those colors! So yet again he was anxious to become occupied with something. He decided to get out of the hot sun. Back inside the southern hospital Mario heard disturbing banging on the doors from the sick coma walking patents locked in rooms. The toad guards that belonged to the Mushroom King had left them abruptly and could offer no help. To drown it out Mario tuned into a station reporting Bowser activity on a transistor radio. Soon Buckenberry rushed inside, excitably jumping up and down.

"A Toad Town spy contacted ME! Yeah, me when I claimed to be your secretary! I hope you're not mad I fibbed about-"

"-What's the report?"

"Bowser's left Sky Land for Giant Land now."

Mario dragged the toad across the table and into his face. "My phone's still charging in the recovery facility across the field. Room 02. Call my brother. NOW!"

Jr. Troopa came up next with an ugly look. "I don't trust Drew," he said spontaneously.


"Dr. Toad. Never mind, it's silly." The teenager softened and hung up his cowboy hat, once again resembling the kid Mario remembered. "Guess what else?"

Mario shot up at the sight of his dinosaur friend. His green skin seemed to be covered in dust. "Finally! Heh, girlfriend kept you in all day?" The plumber feared that was an ill timed joke by the look on the dino's face.

"Remember Dr. Prof. Koopa?"

Mario hesitantly inched closer. "Why? You have word on him?"

Yoshi nodded slowly. "He was trying to escape the kingdom. I don't think he ever will again." He plopped down on a diner bench.

"That's one good thing out of this then.." Mario trailed off before he said something to further sour the delicate situation. "Well I'm glad to see you made the trip anyway!" He smiled and sat down across him. "I guess it was a bad fight? With Birdo, not old doctor creep I mean."

Yoshi continued to stare at or rather through his menu. "Yeah."

Mario reached over and held Yoshi's forearm gently. "I'm sorry to hear. This time, right when we get Peach back, I'll send you off for a much needed vacation away from us crazy folk. You and-"

Yoshi brought his head up suddenly. "No need. Mario, she was right. At some point during the last few years I stopped being honest about what I want, or how I feel, or anything really, and that was unfair to her. So now I'm here. Doing what I truly want to do with


.. or those that I want to rather.."


A giant para-beetle was leisurely flying in the sky when she noticed a distinct pattern of flattened forest. It started from one direction then made a huge circle. The winged koopa returned to the village to warn the others, evading detection.

"I wish I'd tagged with Luddy." Wendy pouted for the one-hundredth time. "Even his nerd talk beats this. I could be getting a pedicure, sipping fine sparkling beverages, having a hot dinner.." Her heel got stuck in another viscous mud puddle, leaving her with a bare foot. "Daddy! I can't walk anymore with one shoe!"

Bowser yanked the old map he and his army were using away from Kamek with ferocious growl. "IT WAS UPSIDE DOWN THE ENTIRE TIME!" He spun around to the rest of his forces. His battalion had diminished so that he could actually see all of them at once and even the hairs of their heads, if they had any, standing up.


Sentry 11 answered, "There are about five-hundred of us lost in this forest, boss."

"GAHH!" Bowser kept stomping the ground over and over. "Forget this kingdom's castle! We find the nearest civilization, take it over, and I marry the princess!"

"Bowser," Peach plead, advancing towards him as much as she could with the chain around her leg. "You have to stop! Entire kingdoms don't get uprooted twice in a row!"

"What is your point, princess?"

"YOU are the common denominator..." Bowser's soldiers standing back watched and listened closely. "What of that voice your heard in the sky? Perhaps the stars are punishing you!"

"HOLD IT!" Bowser bent to her level with a growl. "Your fairy tales and wishes and whatever aren't true! There are no stupid stars doing stupid crap for us like you and your stupid toads like to stupid believe! Don't bring up the Star Rod either because.. that's different!"

"But-" she tried to counter.

Bowser turned around. "Shut up Hotness. Now what?"

Lemmy and the other koopalings that had been sent ahead reappeared from around giant tree trunks. "King Dad! We found a village!"

"But it don't got no electricity," Roy added sourly.

"Noooooo!" Wendy wailed.

"We go. MARCH!" Bowser's army invaded the village where small cabins were the size of large homes to them and nicer homes the size of mansions. The Giant Land natives were larger than even his biggest hammer bros, but in Bowser's favor there were few living in the rural neighborhood and whomever they encountered chose to run instead of fight. Effectively they partitioned an area with a dozen homes and structures as property of Bowser.

The Koopa King fixed his attention on what seemed to be a frequently used storehouse with a large spacious interior. "Somebody, move that tractor out of the way. No not you Larry, you're still triple grounded."

Somehow Tanner got to be the lackey to climb in despite never touching such a thing before, not even a normal car. Inside it to him was like a rust covered but advanced alien spaceship. He pulled levers until engine roared to life and the tractor's humongous threaded wheels rolled backwards. "Oh, I'm doing something!… Sir? Wait I can't stop it!"

Bowser was busy scoping the place out while the koopatrol kept rolling backwards and away. Now with the storehouse empty, he had soldiers get to work creating provisions from scratch using the natural materials around. Any baddie with arms and even some without relayed planks of wood down a line of assembly. Rocky wrenches handled bolts, thwomps, bob-ombs, and blasts from magikoopas knocked down trees and hammer bro hammers were repurposed to be… hammers..

"Oh dear! We cannot get married in there!" Peach poked her head inside to see the work. "I am allergic to barley, and hay, and bundles of seeds!.. And carpentry!"

The sweat on Bowser's forehead sizzled. "Hold on, Hotness. I thought Mario was a carpenter once? Whatever, bring Toadsworth up here."

Peach hadn't seen her old man since the failed escape and wondered why he swayed in his steps while Emery dragged him to the storehouse. She was sort of the elder toad's keeper now. Bowser asked him about Peach being allergic to anything.

"Of course not, *hic*" Toadsworth replied right away. "Is that a dance stage? I am the best at the waltz. Watch me!" The mushroom did a few steps and did tripped on his own toes, inebriated.

Peach covered her face and blushed while Bowser grinned toothily. The marriage was on again. Bursting with excitement, the Koopa King couldn't help himself. He called and left a 'cute' little message for his favorite plumber...


Taking up a VIP space, Kylie Koopa hung outside the Toad Town Cleaners in a limbo, watching their steam machine press white dress shirts from the clear windows. Captivated by the inner workings of the mundane operation, she didn't see at first someone pulling up in the spot a lane across, a blacked out later model sports car. An orange yoshi in a dark suit exited and paused before her Aston Mushroom with a peculiar look. He did a sort of hand sign involving one index finger on the right hand raised and an 'o' symbol on the left hand directed to someone in the tall hedges. Either he was reminding the bushes what the number ten looked like or it was an

arcane gang symbol

. Either way Kylie hopped out quickly.

"Sorry! Is this your spot-" Kylie noticed a prick in her shoulder, the tail end of a little dart. She felt dizzy and then blacked out...

Next Kylie felt the warmth of a bright light on her face. Cracking her eyes open blinded her. She shielded her face while noticing two figures near her.

"N, she's waking up."

"You don't say, Spy Guy," a matter of fact voice replied.

The green shy guy with camouflaging leaves on his head cut off the overhead lamp. Kylie was on her back atop pastel colored tiled floors with carnival music in the background.

"Is this a joke, brother?" she groaned, leaning up.

"If stealing Agent 0064's car while he was missing was a joke, then yes," replied Agent N, the yoshi in the suit from before.

She blinked again. "Hold on, you're the Toad Town spies and- I'm in your base!" Location: Shy Guy's Toy Box as evidenced by the indoor train tracks and fun miniature locomotive inspired props hanging from strings. The secret hide out was right under her nose the entire time, she realized embarrassingly. Judging by their house manners however, it was probably best she didn't just drop in to say hello before. "You protect Toad Town citizens right? Well I'm a proud one and where were your agents when the Bowser freaks got the jump on me last night? If I didn't know kung fu to fight em off-"

"Busy. Don't get it confused sister, we aren't a super hero group or a rescue option for the clueless, we just happen to be interested in Bowser at the moment," N replied sassily. "The only reason you're still alive right now is because you're on our approved ally list."

Kylie raised her hands in acquiesce. "Alright, I just wanted to find Mitch Toad and your noki detective was the last to see him!"

His heavy eyebrows tilted further down. "Jelectro Bond? Why did you have his car?"

"He told me to dispose of it before he kidnapped and ditched me. He flew into that MK East hospital. Anyway I thought why let the car waste? Feels good to not use the bus for once. Why was your receipt in his backseat?" she couldn't resist adding.

"Because it's actually OUR car," the yoshi replied. "And stop making me document myself- or dox, whatever the kids say these days."

"Too late, Agent N.. or Jeremy Ninten." Kylie's hands sprung up again when Spy Guy aimed a poison dart gun her way. "No trouble, just the truth!"

"Well good for you. You've been unconscious for hours and in fact, here is your noki." Agent N stepped aside, letting her see newly freed jailbird Jelectro stepping up in a surreal moment. Missing his sunglasses she could see clearly his round tanned face and beady but cloudy eyes. He wore a numbered orange jumpsuit and still held her office's stolen landline under his arm.

Jelectro sneezed and dropped the phone with a clack. "I know what you want and I don't like it, mon ami!"

Agent N gave Jelectro a look Kylie couldn't discern, then diverted his attention idly to a radar screen, arms folded. "First of all, what's that heap of junk?"

"Proof that the staff of MK East were part of Bowser's conspiracy, or his minion's conspiracy rather. Hm? Hm? I cut my vacation short, et cette attitude amour?" Jelectro slung his arm around the yoshi while the radar was but a bright glow before them. Spy Guy notably excused himself from the room. "They may or may not be currently fleeing to Sarasaland now."

"Duly noted," N muttered. He turned to the noki sharply. "Now help


find whoever else you dragged into our company's business. That's final."

Kylie grinned when Jelectro's nose wrinkled at her. Later, said nose was starting to run when he clicked his seat belt on angrily. "I think I'm catching a cold," he grumbled to the koopa reporter he hurried along into the car belligerently. They sped along on the streets again using N's black vehicle. "...Now what? Save that face madam, I'm only doing this so that I don't have to sleep on the couch tonight."

"You catch an attitude with that cold?" Kylie's intentionally uncomfortable gaze bore into him, but he never reacted. Finally she blurted out, "What ever happened to that 'ol Mitch?"

"He got hit by a bus." And that cut that conversation short.

Jelectro stopped the car at MK East, a shell of what it was just yesterday with only the first floor open, few patients, and fewer staff with the newly crumbling infrastructure. Kylie left Jelectro behind to sprint in. She saw a green spotted toad in the front waiting area, as if she was perfectly anticipated. Wheelchair bound, a thick blanket on his lap is where many sympathy cards lay.

"Kylie, late to the 'scoop' as always, babe," he laughed. "Our whole press found me and sent me stuff- except Jessie. Wonder why.."

Kylie wrapped her arms around him. "I'm going to punch that noki."

"Why? Ouch! Watch my broken.. everything. Anyway it's not my 'intern's' fault. Zoo followed you to the tennis stadium but I intervened. Once he was off your tail he must of followed me and then I was on the road and-"

"What?" She pulled back.

"But Zoo's dead now anyway." Mitch paused reflectively. "Nah, not what you're thinking. I


I could do that sometimes though. Heh. But something offed him Friday night I'm sure. Every living thing gives off energy I can feel... Floosh, and his is gone-" He sensed Jelectro walking through the automatic doors. "

Sure, show up only after Kylie drags you in. If you aren't man enough to help just walk right back out, French Boy."

Jelectro stopped three steps in and perceivably tensed up.

"No apology for sending me here right before those guards stormed in and tossed me in jail? I lost an entire day! Quel Salaud!"

He cleared his throat and relaxed. "Bonjour. Are you well?" he spoke out loud.

Mitch with some difficulty showed no outward reaction. "Fine just fine."

Flushing, Kylie glanced between them. Something had went down with the two men, the tension near tangible in the air. That, and men in general were just not as subtle as they thought.. "Lemme cut to the chase. So I'm here Mitch because Steve is on the mends and gave me a recent riddle I can't quite crack. Since you specialize in getting the scoop outside of Toad Town, what's your take on why Sarasaland got a replacement leader all a sudden? Who is taking Daisy's place unannounced?"

"Babe, I'd figure it out but A: still waiting on that insurance claim. B-"

Kylie sighed. "There you go sittin' pretty like I knew you would. You know what happened last time! I'm still banned from Chinese restaurants! What's your real excuse?"

"This." Mitch calmly removed the covers and let them fall to the side. His legs were so tightly wrapped in bandages and gauze they hardly recognized the stumps as such.


As the sun set in Giant Land, the excitement of the Koopa Troop rose to dizzying levels with the imminent union of Bowser and Peach. Minutes before the planned marriage, two koopalings with a lost sense of time scurried around where ever a handheld WiFi-analyzer took them, even if it lead to a certain fortified cabin at the very edge of Bowser's territory. 'Richard Goomba Sr. MD' was on an old sign tacked to the high barbwire fence and one of the lower windows of the cabin had a blue glow coming from it.

"Here?" Wendy nervously played with the strings of her yellow sundress. She knew they were time crunched cutting so close to her own dad's wedding but she just had to catch up on some friend's social media walls and start some drama, especially since some of them were the same ones kicking them out of Dark Land this morning. She prodded her brother in a black tie for an answer.

"Oooh! I'm picking up wireless internet waves, microwaves, gamma-waves, infrared waves, light waves, somebody doing the wave- all in there! Some party." Iggy checked a watch with a sheepish look. "Also we have like ten minutes."

"Ouch! Well I took typing classes. I can cuss out at least a few friends in my cliques with the time we got left.." Wendy and her brother climbed through a gap in the fence. The weeds in the yard were at waist levels and the stairs creaked when they approached the front door. She knocked while polka music blasted inside. Then it stopped.

"WHO'S KNOCKING ON MY DOOR?" a voice bellowed. The door swung open and a mega goomba with a dark face, bushy down turned eyebrows, bloodshot eyes, and a black goatee filled up the entire doorway. "GOSH DARN KOOPAS BETTER GET OFF MY PROPERTY!"

Screaming, Iggy and Wendy ran for their lives. The goomba grabbed his hunters cap and started chasing them all through the forest.

In the storehouse, Bowser had every one who could fit as an audience. Some baddies even hung out in the rafters to watch the union to take place. Bowser only wore a black cape and Peach her usual attire as she was dragged down the aisle. The floors were littered with fire flowers Bowser Junior chose for some reason. Junior was best man. Morton, Roy, and Lemmy were the other groomsman, all in a line on the little stage hastily created with blocks. They never planned for Ludwig to be away but Lemmy held his brother's violin to represent the military commander and Roy was videotaping the whole thing for his return. Larry and Toadsworth were seated in the audience with no input. Last, Kammy was the only bridesmaid because Wendy hadn't showed up yet. She stood with a tissue constantly patting her makeup heavy face.

"Does anyone have any objections?" Kamek asked.

"I say!" Toadsworth firmly stood up.

"You don't count."

"I do… have an objection," Peach spoke up.

"Nice try, but no," Bowser chuckled. He thought of something according to custom which also reminded him that he hardly knew Mushroom King, Peach's father even though he was well known to be alive still somewhere out there. When Bowser first started to kidnap her, he was missing from the castle without explanation. "I think I'm suppose to formally ask your pops for your hand or something. Not that I care about what he thinks! But I wonder what he'd say.."

"He- It would be a no obviously," Peach fumbled to answer.

Bowser shrugged. "Just asking. Maybe we'd get along!"

Peach begged inwardly for the conversation topic to change. Her wish was granted as Kamek returned to his book, Koopa Kingly Law XXI.

"Place your hand please," Kamek said. Bowser placed his right hand on it and his left on Peach's so that she'd have no choice but to place hers too. "Do you take Princess Peach Toadstool as your wife?"

"Yes!" Bowser answered.

"And do you take King Bowser Koopa as your husband?"

Peach clinched her eyes shut. Stars, please save her she repeated inside.

"Daddy! Heeeeeelp!" Wendy screeched, running in with her brother and expelling attention from the stage.

Richard Sr. knocked the doors down. "IS THIS A KOOPA CONVENTION? I KNEW IT!" he screamed with a mouth rivaling Bowser's.

Bowser let go of the book. "Who are you?!"

"Richard Sr. MD. I used to be a village leader and now I walk out of my door and your brats are trying to steal my internet and you koopas are driving out my neighbors and stealing my storehouse and moving my tractor and my barley and my hay and my seeds!?"

"… W-WHAT?"

"YOU HEARD ME! You promised to never invade Giant Land again!"

Kamek calmly recollected himself. "I have been with Lord Bowser forever and I remember no such pact."

Richard Sr. marched up to his face. "I remember you, nerd. Class of 195X. Now you're his butler?"

Kamek scoffed. "Me? I run the castle practically! Plus I wooed all the magikoopa chicks and my wand was the best!"

Everyone in the room except Kammy reeled in disgust. Peach took that opportunity to inch backwards, then to the right, then to the left a little, then took a step off the platform. Immediately the groomsmen blocked her way and besides that, she was on film.

Bowser swallowed his own vomit. "YOU'RE ALL RUINING MY WEDDING!" He stomped the ground and a foot went through the weak platform, creating sparks which hit a fire flower and ignited the stage. Everything went red!


Wendy sat down on a dead log, amber hues flickering across her visage while the lingering flames from the storehouse danced several yards away. It was near midnight.

Lemmy skipped over and sat beside his younger sister. He Ludwig's violin in his lap. "I guess we'd better delete that wedding footage so Luddy doesn't see it and yell about how we can't do anything right without him," he jest.

She turned and faced him, unexpectedly serious. "Hip. I know Peach is NOT a reliable source of information and is totally problematic or whatever but... Is it really a coincidence that we're destroying everything we touch all a sudden?"

Despite fire so close, he got a chill. "Wend, what's going on isn't normal at all!" Lemmy cradled the violin closer. Temporarily taking Ludwig's role as commander, he had so much responsibility he'd almost forgotten he was a part of the incident involving Ludwig and Zoo, and Iggy, or his footage on the laptop, or however it really went. Now Ludwig was unavailable, and Iggy? He couldn't get time alone with him, being required to manage the Koopa Troop under scrutiny usually, and besides that Iggy gave off a silent treatment vibe, at least when not engrossed with that dumb watch thing. Reflexively Lemmy checked his wrist watch then to be disheartened that he'd sweated the drawing off from yesterday. Now he'd never know how many zeroes of minutes and seconds he been sitting on that log stalling out his sister and suffocating from the vacuum in the air he'd created with his own diffidence.

"Boo!" went Bowser Junior, rambunctiously emerging from some tall grass behind their shells.

"Junior, please excuse us for a second," Lemmy said. "We need to talk about grown up stuff."

"But but daddy said to tell you all he's putting the wedding off 'a good minute'. Wanna know something? I decorated with the fire flowers, hehehe! And that explosion was coool! Just as I was told it would be!"

Lemmy sighed and stood up, about to shoo him away before it hit him. "Wait. You! What?! That's not funny. Unless..." The circus performer felt his stomach drop again. They were now dealing with two defectors in the royal household.


Mario had a blank expression upon the fruit being placed in his lap. There were a basket of them. "You guys really went thought all that trouble! I don't know what to say.."

"Doth not sayeth aught, we art just doing our job." Parabilly tipped his straw hat before blinking twice.

Sebastian gave a start. "We linger'd in the Overthere too long!" The rest of the MKDCU glanced at each other in confusion.

"Whatev'r. Alloweth's receiveth out of hither. MKDCU out!" Jimmy announced with a yawn.

Mario bolted cross county, literally, in the middle of the night. He barged into the science barn to show the Special World doctors the items. Their work so far was hectic with equipment sprawled everywhere and papers scattered. He dumped it all on the only clear table as the doctors crowded around.

"Wonderful Mario. We'll work through the night doing what we can-"

"We will?" Prof X-Naut protested.

"Yes. We. Will!" Dr. Toad grumbled. "But we will need Dr. Mario's old notes detailing the last thing. Is your brother still working on that?"


"Hello? Oh hey bro...Yeah... everything is okay...going to camp in Giant Land with The Captain...yeah he did that a couple of times...I have bug repellant..." Luigi continued conversing over the line. Mario's call to him stretched to an hour before they knew it, taking turns combing over every detail they'd missed in their very different adventures today. Luigi seemed especially concerned hearing about Yoshi, considering him one of the most grounded people he knew, not withstanding a few understandable outbursts here or there. Mario admitted he could see signs of trouble in paradise. No one knew he'd been privy to one of Yoshi's and Birdo's augments when Yoshi forgot to hang up on a call. Mario just never felt he knew how to interject, being terrible with his words, at least in sensitive situations . Luigi stated his arms were about to give out then, as he'd been clinging on a phone tower for better reception the entire time. "So that's it then, big bro. Bowser better watch out tomorrow. No mercy."

Mario laid back on his ranch bed down South, just like how the day started. Jr. Troopa allowed him to rent the room. He'd rather be among the sea of countrified mostly strangers than home and uncannily alone. Not particularly tired he stared at the ceiling fan until he remembered he had an old message to check. It was from this evening today. His heart skipped a beat.


Mario, I'm looking at my wedding venue right now. You cannot stop me this time. Bha ha ha ha. Just. Give. Up!


To be continued...

Created: 7/1 – 7/3/19, 7/4, 7/7, 7/9, 7/19, 7/21, 7/26, 7/29, 7/31, 8/4, 8/21, 8/31, 9/1, 9/13, 9/15, 9/18, 9/23, 9/24, 9/27


Fixed maybe? I hope. 5/21/21

Nah, apparently not. Or maybe. Mostly edits to reflect previous edits. 1/7/22

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

Brutality and complexity (Chapter 13)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to… (see bottom for spoilers!)

Author note: Edited now to properly reflect the chapter title. Enjoy.

Ludwig felt rejuvenated for the first time in the last twenty-four hours. Spending the afternoon in stiff economic class benches did nothing to take away from it. He was not one to penny pinch on the regular or ever if given the option, but he had little recourse when he'd left his wallet and the credit cards inside in the ruins of Bowser's Castle. He wondered if in Sky Land his father had taken over and claimed the kingdom's castle nestled gently in the cloudy aerial landscape by now. Wonder grew into worry and worry towered and became fear and then fear toppled over into crushing dread... With that he'd successfully drained away all of the tranquility he'd built up over the train ride. Ludwig knew he was adept at sabotaging himself out of happiness but he was really out doing it this time.

Ludwig rose his head from the travel pillow as a yawn escaped him. Get a grip, the general reminded himself. He was traveling to Poshley Heights to meet the revered 'Villain Council' by way of the Excess Express. Now get excited already! -The way his brother Lemmy, his secretary, might chime over his shoulder in his uniquely half irritating half adorable way. He took an sip from his sparkling beverage in the cup holder. They were reaching more upper scale territory he noted. The ride was getting smoother. Indeed he had reason to be ecstatic. This honor that would have obviously been his years ago if 'Super Mario Maker' had not ruined his life that fateful day. Curses to Mario and that 'undo' button shattering the dreams of his perfect castle level... Soon Ludwig spotted out the window a marble water fountain embedded among rows of neatly trimmed green grass and vibrant genetically altered purple fire flowers. He was at his destination and he couldn't wait to shed the Phantom of the Opera like disguise he'd used to keep out of the public eye. At least it worked well, repelling other passengers and causing the attendant to stare at him strangely.

Perhaps they weren't so judgmental, instead perplexed at last passenger exiting the locomotive with their arms full. Ludwig was trying to be generous for the family with the bags of goods, so stuffed it towered above his tied back blue hair. Swaying back and forth and vision hindered by the mask on his face, his foot caught a high spot on the brick road and he dropped and busted what would have been Wendy's sparkling water. Ludwig caught his reflection in the sizzling mess and scowled, feeling absurd. That was why he did not 'do' generous. Disguise free, the remainder of the time before his special appointment he spent on himself. He explored beautiful multistory Victorian buildings, the stores, the inns, the clubs. Oddly he never spot buses or taxis. Some posh walker would spot a koopaling in their midst occasionally but the zapper he carried with him would seal their lips in a hurry. He discovered a humble library tucked away from the touristy areas. His attention was caught by the 'EX' on a book jutting out a corner shelf but it was no 'Ex spatio obiecti specialem'. It was a cheesy book on exes. He chuckled dryly and then drifted into dejectedness. Nothing a jog couldn't fix.

Sprinting in overhead sun, Ludwig was starting to perspire as he crossed a stone bridge leading to a granite polished city building. His moment had arrived. He weaved between various flag poles erected. Some toad officers allowed him into the empty halls of the building where each step of his echoed.

"This way Commander Ludwig Von Koopa. We apologize for the promised banquet being canceled. What was going to be our food truck was reportedly hijacked by the team of doctors that used to work at that Mushroom Kingdom hospital. The one the princess use to own."

"That is no issue." Ludwig ignored his stomach rumbling, the small meal from the train thoroughly worked off while running all over town to clear his mind.

"The Council is impressed that your forces have the princess apprehended even with your restructuring situation," the magikoopa continued, leading Ludwig up some spiraling hardwood stairs. He turned his head with a smirk. The koopaling tensed but his guide moved the light conversation along, eventually escorting him to the top floor where there was only one large imposing door ahead. "Usually those Marios would have made a move by now."

"They are likely occupied with the Mushroom Flu problem. All according to plan," Ludwig replied. He shook the guide's hand and that was that, so he entered on his own. The eerily featureless wood panel room was medium sized with a high ceiling but no furniture. In the middle stood the Villain Counsel, magikoopas in robes of red, blue, green, and white. They spontaneously clapped when he entered.

The koopaling flushed. "..I don't suppose I was expected to have an acceptance speech, was I?"

"No not at all," they assured him. A magikoopa with a long grey goatee approached with a box containing a gold badge with a detailed engraving of a skull and crossbones, aventurine accents in the backdrop and a ruby in the eyes of the skull. 'Mega in ultimum exitium villian' was etched underneath. The thing Ludwig sought for the last five years was now in his grasp.

And he felt...

His cursed brain was at it again. At a time he should feel triumphant and proud a question was burning through his chest. One he might finally be able to get to the bottom of due to being at a specific place at a specific time.

Ludwig glanced back up at the counsel before he could talk himself out of it. "Thank you. Very much. May I ask, does so-and-so permit visitors?"

The group of elders paused with some suspicion. "You can find him at..."


Ludwig's snout was carpet burned, royally so. The sting took away from the throb radiating from the back of his head. He resisted glaring at the guard that bludgeoned him after his opening statement of 'We have your daughter so answer my questions right now' was.. the wrong one. Ludwig rose to his knees and remained there to conceal anymore hint of fiendishness in his demeanor.

"Let me try again. I am aware I am the son of your daughter's kidnapper but I am not here to pester you. I only have a question." Ludwig then bowed respectfully, wary of the spears aimed at his back by guards. Everyone knew The Mushroom King lived out of town in Poshley Heights, but no one including himself knew that the precise location was not in a castle but a lavishly furnished albeit hidden inn. Very curious. "A certain person worked for Bowser Castle when I was just a small child. Though few records show this, I can testify that he worked closely with the philanthropist Dr. Mario to alleviate my people from the first outbreak of Mushroom Flu. Eventually he went on his way, but I recently found that he worked in your castle before coming to us. Why did you fire Dr. Theodore V. Koopa?"

The Mushroom King, a hefty human with a dyed black beard, spotted mushroom hat, and red robe sat lazily in a cushioned chair listening, strikingly calm in the face of an adversary until the end. The mentioning of Dr. Professor made his face harden and after a long moment he answered, "Dr. Koopa was the best in his field, very meticulous and quick. Well spoken. Learned." He paused with a flicker of dread. "But soon I could notice insidiousness flashing in his keen gaze before his manner returned to the state of which I allowed him in my castle among my household, a jovial and talented individual who happened to be a koopa. He was even a wonderful cook! But soon enough, my suspicions were proven about ways of



Ludwig slowly rose up. "So what did he do exactly?"

The king sized him up steely. "Is this much undeserved attention inadequate for you?" He sighed. "The young doctor bedazzled many with the heinous proposal that he could prove the link between toads and humans. I caught a glimpse of his upcoming vile experiments and knew I had to protect my family from him or


of his sort. Away he went!"

Ludwig grinned, impishly seizing the opportunity to draw out what was now so obvious beneath the King's clean pious surface. "Of course, King. I shudder to conceal the defects in Dr. Prof. Koopa's character, however I can't help but to also be very appalled that you subtly attribute such atrocities to his koopa nature and not his isolated wickedness. Think of life from an 'enemy species' perspective. We were only allowed full integration in the Mushroom Kingdom a few decades ago, and in some of the more remote Mushroom territories it is still said that those retched monstrous koopas will kidnap you in your sleep or some such other crime. How does that make us feel?"

"Koopa," the King said sharply.

Ludwig stood up straight. "-Free willed adult toads who thank the stars that they're 'good' people so-called entertaining, yes, their young children with


tales that deface us! -And we are expected to be tolerate with it lest we, well not


as I am not a citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom and would not wish to be, but you get my point, be labeled as one of the 'bad' koopas. My point is, we have a life of

brutality and complexity

, forced to choose between our dying Old World Koopa Kingdom ways or assimilating into the hypocritical 'I see no species' moment and your Mushroom citizen's customs are major component of it. Now imagine the irony of I, a commander for Bowser, advocating the fact that not all koopas and koopa species are soldiers of Bowser and do not deserve to be treated as such and that you and the toads should not be allowed to mask their prejudice under their nationalism!"

"Koopa! Get out of my sight!" The King interjected violently, resembling a venomous snake ready to strike despite what his slothful exterior usually conveyed. Six guards closed in on the Koopaling who bit his tongue.

Ludwig steadied himself. "My apologizes! One final question, pertaining to the tale tales mentioned before. You see in Dark Land we actually have a similar urban legend. They say that the real reason the Koopa Kingdom at the time fell ill with Mushroom Flu was because... your toads poisoned us."

That created a cacophony so great, Ludwig wasn't sure if a bomb had gone off or not. He'd later rationalize something like such may have been a better escape strategy and wouldn't have concluded with being on the losing side of whatever happened, blacking out for a moment then waking up tangled in his own jacket on the scorching sidewalk of the secret passage the Villain Council tipped him on. He crawled onto his feet and dusted himself off, the aching sensation all over eerily similar to when he tried once and only once to crowd surf during one of his concerts. Adrenaline still pumped through him from the raw emotion he was able to spout and before a powerful political rival at that... So that nagging feeling was correct. Peach's family had secrets. Normally he would think of devious ways that could be leveraged in the future when he was back with the Koopa Troop, but just then the Mega Villain badge sprung to mind instead as he brushed against it in his pocket while wandering in the streets. He'd forgotten about it. It was all that consumed him forever it seemed and, less than an hour after obtaining it, he'd forgotten...

He'd consider the ramifications of such after he stopped wandering around.

Trying to find a point of reference in the surprisingly massive city, Ludwig noticed he had unchecked messages on his phone, his backup one rather, since the first was lost somewhere in Toad Town.. It was a roaming one way message from a tower labeled 'WW63195x'


BZZT-Hey. This this on? Listen, you koopas will get enough of taking over my land and stepping on my property. I can't wait 'till you're gone. My shed that your father used as a marriage hall burned down and you are ALL playing for it! FYI I'm doing this favor for ya, firing up my old radio tower that sucks up all the electricity because some brat, Larry I think, paid me gold coins. Think it was supposed to be secret. Now his message to you, punk: something big attacked Sky Land and your shipping truck slaves got washed away at Isle Delfino. Bowser is now in Giant Land, my home, where they DON'T belong!"

The message terminated.

Ludwig's head was spinning still when he found the library again. He lunged in for local newspaper up front and emitted a loud exclamation skimming the topic of Sky Land being victim of that 'Bowser Bomb gone wrong'. The editors noted that that explanation was starting to seem less accurate when Isle Delfino reported the same unnatural sky phenomenon and yet had no weapon sightings. This occurred all yesterday for a greater shock to Ludwig. On autopilot he found a cab waiting the library's curb and got inside the late model sedan. "Take me to the Mushroom Kingdom!" he ordered, and it drove off, the koopaling never recalling that Poshley Heights wasn't supposed to have a taxi service.


Secretary Ming of the Chai Kingdom, a short roketon scurried on foot to the backside of Daisy's castle, now home of a two-hundred foot deep trench excavated by servants in a mad treasure rush. Daisy's dozens of hired hands, paid workers and not volunteers as Sarsaland had no toads to be toady, kept digging in a perpetual motion, not responding to Ming's calls. If he needed proof they'd gone insane, he had it. He would normally request help from the other generals, Yura, Roar, and Tao, but since their temporary replacement 'General Sǐwáng' entered the scene he couldn't get them to do anything but drool, sometimes literally.

Accustomed to being ignored he returned to Daisy's castle and his office when someone knocking on the front bamboo doors forced him back to the front. Eagerly he swung it open and there were three haggard looked individuals, a whomp, a toad, and a shy guy.

"Nǐmén hǎo?"

"Why you just standing there? You need doctors don't you?" Dr. Terrace spoke up.

"MKDCU?! No!" Ming shook his head, flashbacks of that time Daisy only had the mildest sinus infection playing in his mind. That group flipped the entire castle upside down.

Nass T. nudged the whomp to shut him up. "I'm nurse Nass Toad, head nurse of Isle Falsa and this is my crew. We are not invasive- unless we need to be. You've never heard of it? Here's our representative."

A fourth person revealed themselves from the side and it was a Sarasaland boarder officer that smelled about as bad as the other three. "Daisy approved of us- I mean them some time ago."

"Ah. Go go. But not there!" Ming dragged them all inside and away from an ajar door he'd only then noticed. Officially hiring additional help was perhaps the most authoritative thing he'd been allowed to do in a while. He could continue the trend by being extra responsible and figuring out who meddled with that door.

Inside that room Ming could see a red led clock on the wall blinking '00:00'. He flipped a switch, illuminating the storage room with Daisy's still new vanity that didn't match the color of her room, a present box from the Crystal King, and a punching bag, also a dusty key rack labeled 'Weapon Storage' with the sliding card key missing. Ming kept the keys to the actual switches for their artillery so why would only the card be missing?


Mario sprung out of bed at the sound of banjos, not wanting to be ice bucketed. "I'm awake!" He sighed in relief and then dropped back under the covers for a few more minutes of rest, unsure when he'd ever dozed off. Thank Eldstar it was only the radio alarm this time.

Soon a group gathered at the barn to meet the doctors. The lab was somewhat cleaned up from last night to be presentable and demonstrative. Tables were filled with test tubes on racks, a green liquid bubbling fiercely with in. The capsule what occupied the back left corner of the barn had grown a posy of red and yellow wires since yesterday, looking ever more completed yet dangerous. The white boards were etched on from top to bottom in various formulas and notes in various handwriting.

"We've compiled it the way Dr. Mario would have. I totally met him one time and he loved my work," Professor X-naut boasted smugly.

"He was such a great guy to help the old Koopa Kingdom back then. What does he do now aside from the Smash brothers thing?" Dr. Topper wondered out loud.

"Why do you need to know?" Jr. Troopa countered.

"It doesn't matter, associates. All of our work will mean nothing if don't have his notes.." Dr. Toad crossed his arms, the most gaunt of the doctors.

Meanwhile there was some whispering from the back of the pack. There were a slew of uninvited attempting to take peeks in the barn, precisely where Yoshi was chaperoning. A bumpty in a lumpy wintry coat and a lined fur hat waddled out the doors while writing something down on a yellow legal pad. Yoshi kept on his heels, hunching down to blend in with the green corn stalks. The bumpty froze skittishly after stalk was snapped.

"Stop!" the dino yelled. He scared away the goonies nearby. The bumpty ran and five steps later was smacked in the back of the head with a spotted yoshi egg, making him eat a mouthful of soil.

Shortly after, "Why were you listening in on us, huh, baddie?" Mario planted himself face to face with the shivering penguin chained to the wall of the old western prison cell. The entire village seemingly gathered around at their wall of Koopa Troop spies, the bumpty and the two koopas held since yesterday. Shy Guy ranchers riding ostros were tutting to and fro spreading the news like a wildfire.

"This was on him." Yoshi shook the jacket and a plethora of little things flung out of it, keys, sticks of gum, coins, breath mints, a suspicious radio, and notes.

One of the papers being scattered around brushed Buckenberry's shoe. The young helper of Mario caught it. "Let me get Toadette." Toadette had been moving back and forth from here to Peach's castle with the other toads all morning to manage their clean up effort. She texted him back instantly saying it's Koopanese and that it was a rough translation of the science formulas from the white boards. Buckenberry relayed that info, sending a shock wave through the crowd. Professor X-naut broke from the crowd to lock the doors on the barn with a heavy old bolt.

"I knew those blasted computers would do it one day!" the x-naut exclaimed wildly.

Dr. Toad groaned, "Morris, he didn't use a computer to steal our notes! Just his eyes."

Dr. Goom added, "And if we actually used the PCs as I proposed to contain our notes, this wouldn't have happened."

"You know darn well one of us would have flushed a flash drive down the toilet, or done something else to screw it up!" Dr. Topper teased.

"Momma mia!" Mario exclaimed. "Focus everyone. We'll just put he bad guys in the- Hey are you listening?"

"-We got a spot on Mt. Rugged where there's this big 'ol overhang and we dangle criminals over the canyon and whack'em with sticks," Vick said, one of many hospital staff lingering around for drama. "The kids used to be all over it like 'lemme whack 'em pard!' Think that'll work?"

"I remember that." Jr. Troopa nodded. "But, nah. Too much set up. I mean I could totally lift those iron bars if I had to but it's been a long day. Yep. I'm definitely didn't sprang something the other day because I didn't have a spotter for my dumbbell set. No siree!"

"Blast you, Junior," the patooie plant shot back. "We can use the Mecha-yoshis then, pard. They ain't gonna glitch I promise."

"We ain't saying nothing!" The hammer bro Bowser spy said.

"We don't know nothing either!" the other added.

A small white boo with a black ten gallon hat and a red bandanna over their mouth appeared on the scene with a cool 'whoosh' effect. Mario, forgotten about by then, saw trouble a mile away. The boo's expression was passive but something about them silenced everyone they crossed. Soon all eyes were on the boo diddly.

"Watch this," they said, low gritty like. "You wanna see someone talk? I can make them." The boo spun to the prisoners and back again to the crowd, gaining a smirk that twisted into something more cruel. "By the power of Eldstar!"

With a clap of thunder out of place for the sunny sky, a bolt of lightning came down and struck the spies with a bright flash. Spectators uncovered their faces. All three were burnt badly, the bird without a protective shell taking the brunt of it and turning completely crisp. Witnesses gawked before it became rousing praise around the morbid sight, half out of wonder, half of fear.

The spectacle became more intense when the two koopa spies had barely survived after all. Desperately they scurried through the crowd and into the prairies. Vick whistled and engines revved up from a stable nearby. Cyborg dinosaurs knocked the doors down with their squeaky wheels and tracked the trail of the escapees. Mario heard a shrill zapping noise. Wheat stalks began to fly up from an isolated spot in the field, then another. Lasers were being shot, fires were starting, people were panicking, ranchers were carrying water buckets and everything became chaotic in the rural square.


TriggerHappy McBoo,

we need to talk," Mario said, calmly tapping the fiend from behind.

The boo diddly spun to him, nodded once and vanished.


A blanket of dew covered the ground and insects buzzed. The air was clear and new grass sprout under the ashes of Bowser's storehouse fiasco from last night. Warm rays were broken up by the canopy while Peach planted herself in the fragmented light. She had this solitude because of an emergency family meeting being held off somewhere. At this point, she dropped pretending to be imperturbable and she didn't want Toadsworth to see her so unprincess like. She was longing for Mario now. Despite her being the native and him the foreigner, it was he that anchored her, so lost in her own world before. Furthermore she was plain frustrated, witnessing Bowser's forces botch the execution everything from the sleeping routines to the bathroom situation made her want to scream. She would have if far enough away from camp. She returned before that creepy Sentry #11 watchdog could rat on her and sat at the camp fire indignantly. She almost discreetly made a call to her father, no one seeming to realize she clearly had a working cellphone with battery, to let him know she was okay. Eventually she decided against. Something had changed from two days ago when she so eagerly extended her affairs to him for support. Now it felt like she needed to get though a problem on her own for once.

Deep lines in his face, Bowser plopped down on a stump, far enough he thought for privacy with the family. "A bunch of ya'll wanted to discuss some things, so let's do it."

"Larry and Junior are both trying to sabotage your plans," Lemmy tattled. "Together even!" He felt he was almost becoming Ludwig, a nightmarish realization, and he would have to get on a trampoline some time and dance to techno to gain his old jive again.

"I know. Larry is grounded forever. What else?"

"Junior doesn't get a punishment?!" Larry blared.

Bowser sheepishly spun to him in the far rear. "Oooh yeah him too. Got thrown off for a second. Junior rarely misbehaves. Next?"

"I got something to say. King Dad, I'm getting annoyed that you don't let me do nothing!" Roy said. "Dis kingdom or any of 'em coulda been in the bag if you'd lend me half da army!"

"How are you gonna do that when I don't even have enough minions to keep the outhouse's toilet tissue stocked? Huh?" Bowser barked back. "What did you really have to ask?"

Roy paused for a long time before leaning back against a tree 'cooly' and turning his head. "Nothin'..."

Morton closed shut the diary his face was buried in moments before. "May I mention that I have a startling discovery like when I found Junior's missing pet chomp by reading every morning newspaper for a week until that one koopa reported Mr. Chomper as lost? Zheng Koopa was a quizzical author and explorer and his life parallels ours. Remember when I was in the book club that was down the block, not to the left where someone stole my wallet, but to the right where I found a one-hundred coin bill? Long story short, I received this book and would you know, the exact terrors of Zheng are our own? He was stalked relentlessly, King Dad and us too! What tragedy, calamity, disaster will happen next? An earthquake? A bomb?-!"

"Morton!" Bowser shook him out of the daze. "Last I checked we ain't him so it's fine! This isn't the first natural disaster and we're not the first kingdom relocate a few times either! Those mythical old stories don't make sense, so get your freaking heads on straight!" He stooped to one of his sons in particular. "I haven't had any trouble out of you the whole time now that I think about it. He's now y'all's role model."

Iggy kept tinkering with his watch project. Progressing ever closer to competition, no one knowing what that might entail but Iggy himself, the wires from it were tamed and the watch face could open to reveal circuitry. It would almost seem he was detached from reality utterly but he did a quick thumbs up letting them know that he was only slightly detached, his normal.

Lemmy rose his hand. "King Dad, I agree! He shows the true Koopa Troop spirit, resilience, fearlessness, and he loves being mean!" He glanced over to his 'twin' who did not even acknowledge the comment.

Wendy had a stank face him that became into a cute little pout when Bowser turned his head. Lemmy wanted reprimand her for being unctuous but was cut off- "Me too daddy, don't I? I got everyone flagged for the fake articles. And and- oh let's forget about rebuilding here and just move over to Water Land. Peach might warm up to it since it's not filled with disgusting bugs and crazy people and etc," the koopaling princess explained, nervously playing around with her gold bracelets.

Bowser stood up from Iggy. "That's… not stupid!"

"But daddy! I don't want more brothers and sisters!" Junior whined, stomping his feet in miniature imitation of his father.

Bowser picked up and cradled the six year old. "Aww, that's all you're worried about? Don't son! (Anytime soon at least..) Okay? Now we know the plans so let's get back!"

Larry watched them leave. He miserably kicked a rock so hard his foot stung. The oblong pebble skipped across Iggy's feet, the older brother ignoring such.

Larry sat next to him on the fallen log and sighed. "Iggy. Do you want dad to marry Peach?... Bro, listen to me!" Larry waved a hand in his face. "If you're now out here ballin' as they flippin' role model or whatever like that makes you an enemy to me now 'cause they ain't getting married not on my watch! Ya feel me?"

Iggy turned to him. "Would a gearmo and a X-Yux ever go on a date?"

"...I can't control that?"

"Correct. You can't control things in life sometimes."

One by one droplets rolled off of Larry's cheeks and pattered on the woody forest floor, all of the tears he'd held in since yesterday and frankly even longer. He shook trying to hold them back in vain. "Dude! Shut up! This could mean my future right now and.. and no one gets it!" He sighed heavily. "Ya probably think I'm just trying to be an annoying brat but it's not like that! I actually want dad and all of us really to be happy for once. Dad thinks he wants Peach. I've really spoken to her now and she's actually cool, but they wouldn't be a match. I think dad like, just likes the ideal of having her, you know? And all of us are conditioned to be yes men to dad's stupid plans so that this thing never ends. We could really be doing something other than kidnapping princesses. I paid attention in school. There's no real reason why we need to do that. It ain't medieval times.." He turned to his brother. "Like, Iggster, don't you wanna be rich? The amazing junk you build all the time could do that. All we do in the Troop is break it cause we're stupid or leave it forgotten in the basement because it doesn't destroy plumbers good enough. And personally I wanna be a.. forget it. I missed my chance wasting time pretending to be something I'm not!" He squeezed his eyes shut. "It's all freaking stupid! I'll be stuck here forever as a loser!" Larry was jolted by someone patting him on the shell.

"You didn't let me finish Larry-chan," Iggy said soothingly as he could. "As the anime Cowboy BoomBoom teaches, if the universe doesn't want something to happen, you punch the universe in the face. -Okay maybe that is not perfectly applicable but I have translated all scientific principles from that totally realistic fan favorite show that was appropriate to my project, and some not appropriate, but this invention when completed might prove if since the universe is really really old, to put it in laymen's terms, it may or may not be malleable by minuscule entities like us. Such will be definitively determined if I prevent what happened on the hill Friday!" he declared, voice steadily raising to a exuberant shout.

Larry sniffled his nose and nodding to whatever that babble was, Iggy's energy contagious. "Now you really got me tripping. What are you talking about? In English!"

Iggy's wide smile waned. "...You confided in me so let me be 'straight' with you as you'd put it." He sat the invention back into his lap and paused with foreign sobriety. "Two nights ago..." he abridged the tale of Friday, "and long story short, Zoo had an item that a Dark Star spawned from. It attacked that night and it only logically makes sense it attacked Sam and Slam and us again at Sky Land. I guess King Dad shuffling us around like Morton's broken iPod is good actually because we can dodge it if we're quick enough. I know we totally can't keep running forever, like a season of a great series.. Sorry sorry," Iggy went, catching himself. "So I'm going to try to fix that night."

Larry picked his jaw off the ground as it set in. Anguishing, and he then buried his face in his palms. "Even if we have to move around we could have went over this crap back home! We could be traveling around in an organized fashion, not this hot steam'n mess!"

Iggy quickly draped his arm around him. "It's okay. Reason with me, I was not sure about the attack pattern until now and I'm close to completion so it may not matter! Even if I knew immediately at the outset when we had our full Troop, imagine the chaos. It's like opposite day with us sometimes, we would have killed each other infighting before the dark star did it. One of the top Dark Land professors once said advancement is a slow process and the direction not clear until it smacks you in the face. Or maybe Kammy said that when she forgot her glasses.. Anyway, you can't go from zero to 160,495."

Larry said after a pause, "A car that fast would be pimpin'." He smiled at his genius older brother cheekily. "But I get it. I guess it's easy to mouth off 'bout what we coulda shoulda in hindsight so don't get too twisted over it." Larry got off the log and crossed his arms. "And thank you for being real with me. I, I really appreciate that. Do I want to know where that oddly specific number came from?"

"The theoretical max velocity of my rocket prototype I was working on before our castle combusted irreparably. It would have impressed all of the attractive females and Lemmy had already promised to test it for me with that giant circus helmet he has.." Immediately that name sparked something them both. Iggy regretted it.

Larry began to look peeved all over. "Uhg, I wish that


heard what I said. That dude will bend over backwards twice to not offend anyone and yet he was there with you and Luddy and ain't said crap? Freaking circus loving dweeb keeping his lips sealed to look good..."

Iggy flushed. His reservations with Lemmy manifested not in any direction confrontation, not his style anyway, but by him ignoring Lemmy. He was actually surprised none of the family noticed their distance when they'd be stuck to the hip every typical weekend. No one was really themselves lately, explaining the phenomenon. He just hoped Lemmy didn't become the clown in the family in a different way than intended.


Back in the village forces surrounded a solder under suspension of espionage. After Bowser pushed through the crowd he approached Thwomp #3, apparently an imposter caught by Sentry 11. The lakitu handed over an electronic messenger from the thwomp, undoubtedly well used recently.

Bowser growled while pocketing the device in his shell. "Be honest and things might be a little less painful, spy. How much did you spill to Mario aligned idiots? Did you get into our treasury chests?"

The thwomp resisted the urge to shudder. Upon closer inspection he was much to aged to have been a legitimate hire. "I don't work for Mario and I wasn't interested in your tacky junk treasures." His tone was guttural with an unanticipated Mushroomy accent. "I wanted dirt on


and it's been relayed already ages ago. The world knows you're stinking up Giant Land. You freaks do what you want now!"

Sentry 11 flashed a crooked grin, missing a few teeth on the sides. "Hey Boss, let me handle this one. I use to be a hitman before I joined the troop and there's a.. special technique I haven't gotten to do in much too long." He rubbed his hands together.

"Great. Get lost with the traitor. The rest of us got new plans-"

"Oh and I found this too, Boss. The princess was using this thinking we were too dumb to see her." The next object the sentry presented was pink with rhinestones, Peach's cell.

The princess on the outskirts of the wicked gathering felt the ground give way under her.

Bowser gawked at the glittery phone before pocketing it as well. "How did this go on for so darn long? Kamek? I thought you could detect sneaky stuff? Eyes in the back of your head, or third eye or however you said it?!"

"Lord Bowser, that was me in my prime and in our comfortable castle with all of my books and scrolls and helpful sticky notes on how to do my rites. Now I'm doing well if I can keep my specs from fogging up. Besides," the magikoopa replied with mild offense, "I had to leave behind my scepter back at the castle. Without it I'm-"

"-Yeah yeah. Forget I asked ya, gramps." Bowser waved him off in irritation. He would leave Camp Bowser as is for now while moving his personal fleet, princess included, to the tropical paradise of Water Land as his daughter suggested. She was rarely one to get so involved lately but he didn't think it over too hard. Change was good and things could only go up from there.


Ludwig played around with the weighty Mega Villain badge in his paws during the lengthy taxi ride. At first it began to pall him and now it in fact spawned contempt. Everything leading to this moment now was of questionable worth and finally Ludwig was brave enough to not force himself out of that state of mind. A bump in the road made it fall from his loose grip and bounce under the seat in front of him. He shed his jacket so he could stretch and blindly reaching for it, eluding the crumbs and dust caked down there, he brushed against something black and spherical, a bob-omb. Reluctantly Ludwig ignored the implications of his cabbie, a stubbly faced but mundane red boo having that. The sooner they got to the Mushroom Kingdom the better. Then he could stealthily use one of their warp pipes to get to Giant Land and.. he wasn't sure.

"-Tell me something, Prince. How did you invent that tornado thing that flipped Dark Land upside down?" the driver asked, curiously eyeing Ludwig from the rear view. He lowered the volume on the talk radio station.

Ludwig felt a wave of heat in his face, scrambling for the least incriminating explanation. "Don't let the rumors mislead you. It was not a projection or a subordinate of mine, though I venture it was perhaps sentient, but what happened was real and out of our control. Very much so."

"I hope that badge was worth this big ol' mess! Sucks even your workers Sam and Slam payed the price too."

Ludwig tuned it out that as a long river running along the road sparked something in him.. "...Please, stop the vehicle!"

They skid to a stop on the road's shoulder. Ludwig rushed out and ran to the water's edge, launching the forsaken Mega Villain pin as hard as he could. In slow motion it sunk into the water and disappeared. Everything about him in that instant felt lighter, like the noose around his neck loosened he could breathe again. Taking just another moment to collect himself he leisurely returned to the car, fiddled with the greasy tattered backseat belt, avoided the suspicious stain in the seat- and glanced upwards to find his very own engraved orange NES zapper aimed eye level.

"Nice heat you're packing buddy! I like how you can really feel the weight. Solid trigger too."

Ludwig took a deep breath. "I fail to understand why you choose now to rob me. I do not possess much. Not anymore!"

"You got


for me, hehe. Plus river's convenient for your body. Now GET OUT!"

Ludwig slid out and trudged towards the grass shore, arms raised. Instantaneously the red boo was at his back.

"Now what did your janitor have to do with the first storm?! How did he win your competition? How is Bowser controlling it?" the boo snarled down his neck. "Speak up!"

Ludwig wasn't sure he was more dazzled by the robbery in broad daylight or the assailant's insistence on that other matter. "Easy I beg of you! You lack perspective, the underling Zoo didn't mean to- We didn't- Okay, it was all a mistake! It was all a mistake and it is my fault and I would have fixed it possibly if-" The koopaling's eyebrows lowered. "-If you didn't ruin my day further. How are you privy to these facts?"

"Ha ha ha. Bout that. I've been tracking your scaly behind since you left Sky Land. Anyway, there's a few hundred miles of water here and it'll be hard to find aaaalll your pieces scattered about!-"

"You are despicable!"

"Thank you." The boo bowed. "Last words?" he laughed.

Nearly at the water's edge already, Ludwig dared to turn his head at the boo. Seeing him so clearly now he was underwhelming. Just a middle aged and slightly sloven if unhinged red boo. "May I get acquainted with you before the end? Name?"

"What?.. Oh it's Trevor." The boo pressed the zapper into his back.

"You look like a Trevor."

"Ha ha. That's what my parents said. Know what else they said I looked like? A problem. Know where we're going with this? I get you're stalling for your life because they all do that," Trevor continued clinically. "-And it makes sense. I find much delight in getting to know the victim now that I think about it. Makes the souvenirs in the back of my freezer more memorable..."

Ludwig struggled keep his poker face. "..So my question was who do you like better? Mario or- who's that green one?"

"Green Mario."

"That's not quite right."

"Aren't they both Mario?"

Ludwig took another breath before his trembling became too noticeable. "What is the full name of Mario's brother?" he pressed gently.

"Just messing with ya. He's my fav. Mario's brother is Luigi..Mario!"

A loud violin chime startled the boo, originating from Ludwig's phone. The koopaling activated the voice assistant when he first got out of the car and catching the term 'Luigi Mario' it did what phones did best, at least according to Ludwig. Make annoying noises at the worst of times. Ludwig brought his elbow down on the boo's head and flung him in the water. Ludwig bolted back to the car to find the keys missing. He jumped back out and began to trace the ground for them, getting blindsided by a hard punch. Ludwig's head smacked backwards on the pavement.

"Geh zum Teufel," he groaned. He knocked Trevor off and shot a fire ball his way. The boo turned invisible and reappeared on the other side of him. Ludwig kicked him against the car and something clicked loudly. The wheels began to roll on the car, like the brakes where shot the entire time. It gained speed quicker than they could chase it down the steep hill and bounced off the curb, careening into the water. It splashed and sunk quickly.

They both stopped in the middle of the street, Trevor in particular panting heavily. "That was a company car, idiot! I am so fired, man."

Ludwig turned to him in disbelief, cursed, and then punched him straight in the face. "Listen carefully scoundrel! I do not care! I must prevent a super powered being from taking away everything and everyone I love and I'm running out of time due to people like you! Piss off!"

The boo got off the asphalt, rubbing his eye placidly. "First of all, nice hit. Secondly, we know buddy. This was just my signature interrogation technique. Don't tell anybody but I'm actually Agent M of Super Spy HQ in Toad Town. We were trying to make sense of what's going on with you and your family and I was doing better than any other agent until whatever just happened. That wasn't scripted! Now we have a long ways into town. Drats. I hate freaking walkin.." he trailed off.

Ludwig felt a dizzy sensation watching the boo float down the street. It was just too much, but by Eldstar's will he had to go on. He had to, he repeated to himself, if only to mend what he'd so callously shattered two days ago.


Down South any and all enemy species dwelling in or around the shanty town and even north into Toad Town were briefly under suspicion of being a secret spy. Old prejudges threatened to ferment but there was no real basis for paranoia many concluded. Crop fires were extinguished, robotic yoshis were locked back up, a certain patooie nurse was reprimanded again, and everything calmed down. Mario closed in on the boo in the ten gallon, waiting until the best time to confront them. They were hiding on an abandoned ranch tossing axes into an old rotting fence for practice.

The plumber approached with extra caution. He'd met up with Yoshi about this and what they discussed completely changed his direction. "Excuse me. Hi. It's me Mario. Just wanted to talk to you."

Booigi slowly spun around, face flat yet still giving off that chilling sensation like before.

"So.. Aren't you Boo? Boo Diddley? Before I sent Luigi off he was worried sick over you and he'd be glad to know you're okay. If you'd calm down and head back with us at the-"

"It's Booigi the Second and I'm fine here." Booigi tossed an axe and struck the bullseye perfectly. "What did you think of my performance before?"

"It was something alright, but you know that's not our style. Luigi would agree."

Booigi was about to toss another axe when they froze, weapon in the air. "Gaaah! Shut up! I do everything for him!"

"Fine! Fine!" Mario fled the scene before he got zapped or impelled. He returned to the Southern Hospital where Yoshi waited under the shade of its porch. Mario leading him back out onto the streets explained, "I located the guy with the hat and scarf! You were right, it was Boo all along."

They continued to the sorta creepy trail leading to Booigi's hideout. It was away from the shanty town or hospital or any cabins and thus away from any sources of help. Mario shook his head when they got there, and hesitated to step on it again, as if it was a booby trap rigged to go. "We can't have a loose cannon like that. They had the crowds mesmerized at first then wild next. It was crazy, like a



"I agree but at least the Bowser spies aren't an issue anymore."

"Only because TriggerHappy McBoo


that Bowser crook."

"So that's an issue?"

Mario whipped his way and stared at him. "...Yoshi, yes, yes it is! First I'm forced by an injury to sit around in hillbilly county managing groups of others like I have some boring office job and now I can't even keep everyone organized and safe 'cause of killers like that!"

Melting into the ground almost, Yoshi said, "I'd know about that, wouldn't I?"

Mario softened, regretting his blunt tone as usual. "It was different for you. Besides when I say killer I don't mean literally anyone. I mean... Forget it."

Yoshi sighed. "Right, sorry to be a drag. After everything that happened just yesterday I'm still, you know..."

Yoshi found himself in Mario's embrace, the only thing so far he discovered that could break up the dark cloud within him. "And I'm here to help with anything you need." Mario then slyly added, "Now let's pay Triggerhappy a visit. With body armor this time."


Mario was running late. Kylie Koopa wore a trench in the ground pacing under the local water tower. Sometimes she'd enter the spy car that brought her in the rustic territory for some air conditioning. Mr. Jelectro waiting in the drivers seat did not say a word to her. She supposed the noki was indeed exiled to the couch last night. What a bump on a log. By contrast she could nearly burst like a bulky bob-omb from excitement. She dashed to meet her guest half way.

"Mario great to see ya. When I first got in town why was there a mob of folks carrying torches and pitchforks and scythes?! I know a lot of the locals are farmers but.. So anyway we got Sarasaland on the line brother, from Daisy Castle. I worked with some Toad Town spies to do something special and who else deserves the honor than Mario!"

Flabbergasted, Mario took the receiver from her. He didn't attempt to explain why he had bruises all over from some recent altercation with a curtain ten gallon hat wearer. He could make out General Yura, Roar, and Tao in the background.

"Hello? It's me, Mario."


Mario froze, eyes darting between Kylie who mirrored his expression, to the unreadable noki and not getting the announcement he wished for that this was some sort of joke from either. "Who is this? And how did you mistake my number for Bowsers?!" he demanded the beeping disconnected tone.

One possible explanation came to him quickly. He lost an old cell phone of his years ago in enemy territory and some of its data got leaked, including his address book. For a little while there was some mix up because he had Bowser's number saved under his own name as a crazy idea to keep his friends from knowing when he was calling his rival. Well he shouldn't feel too bad. Bowser told him once he had Mario saved under 'Buttercup' to throw off his family. Now that was a dumb idea, and also a strange tangent just then...

To be continued..

(spoilers) Disclaimer: Annnnnnd the answer is…. Nintendo! Did you guess right?

Created: 7/4/19, 7/6, 7/9, 7/10, 7/22, 7/25, 7/28, 7/29, 7/31, 8/4, 8/21, 9/1, 9/2, 9/13, 9/15, 9/18, 9/24, 9/29

Edit: 12/28, 12/29/20

Finally finally fixed I promise, gosh!: 5/19/21

Uh minor stuff: 1/7/22

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

Rambo Mario (Chapter 14)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belongs to Nintendo.

Captain Toad reached around blindly before he found the lantern switch. Its orange glow exacerbated his dull headache. That was probably the best he could hope for after yesterday's events with Luigi. Speaking of that plumber, he was quite a partner and he'd leave it at that, uncannily good at following maps a consistent amount of degrees off, redolent of someone too comfortable with improperly calibrated compasses. He noticed Luigi's empty green sleeping bag besides him. The toad unzipped his red sleeping bag and slowly crawled out, covered in day old cuts and bruises. His bandage wrapped feet had stopped bleeding which was great, their adventure was long from over. It was foggy in the south western quadrant of Giant Land, nothing above but white. Everything felt more uncharted than usual without the brigade The Captain was accustomed to, more perilous in the face of obstacles and trials. Giant Land had no lack of such.

A twig snapped. The Captain paused his set up of the camp as something rustled in the bushes. He scanned around pickaxe in hand before something yanked the tool from his palms.

"Gotcha." Materializing behind him, Luigi dangled the pickaxe from a handmade green vine lasso. A bandanna of blue denim was wrapped around his forehead and he was topless, only sporting some spare pants he'd brought along, tucked into his hiking boots. "You have to stay vigilant!" he advised cheekily. ".. Not a morning person?"

Captain Toad's countenance became even more flat and dead like a Mummy-me. He jabbed a stick into some meat on a plate he'd prepared and held it over the fire bouncing in his humble little firepit. "I suppose so, Mr. Luigi."

Luigi sat opposite side of the fire crisscross style. "We're better off than you think. All Mario and I use to have were rocks to sleep on. Rocks! Well, you slept into the afternoon and we need to move on. How much longer is that Tayce T. impersonation gonna take?"

"Until this thing I killed yesterday isn't raw."

Luigi watched the flames jump around and gave himself the time to rest from training all morning. He'd dread the pressure of living up to Mario's work in any other situation but this adventure felt different for reasons he couldn't discern. Maybe it was the high stakes, but he really had to give it his all. "Hurry up already. You know I ate something raw a few minutes ago!" Luigi subtly puffed out his hairless chest.

"Don't do that. You might get sick," The Captain droned.

"I was talking about berries you spoilsport!"

On the hunt for Bowser they continued. Hidden piranha plants clamped onto their legs while they avoided suspicious huts nestled among the forest on the way to for the river ahead, the body of water flowing through the kingdom of Giant Land. Luigi and Captain Toad hauled a small raft of logs they spent the night on to the river bank and took the plunge. They were violently pulled a five miles down by unpredictable rapids. They became drenched hanging on for dear life and avoiding Boss Bass. Quickly they approached a tall dam of rocks and were going to crash.

"Abandon ship!" Luigi let go to dip in the river while the raft was torn apart by the boulders. He rose and paddled, looking around. "Stan? STAN?" Heart in his throat, he spotted the Captain atop the dam and rushed to his aid, tossing rocks aside to uncover the toad from the pile, then shaking him.

He regurgitated a stream of water. "Mr. Luigi..thank you... But it's..Captain Toad.." he gasped. "And what is-?"

He lifted up from an old thwomp camouflaged underneath him. Their two black eyes fluttered, coming to. Branded on a spike was a faded Bowser emblem reminding Luigi of a temporary tattoo. It took them a dozen tugs to eject the stone baddie from the rubble and get him on the muddy shore line.

"Thanks," the thwomp grunted, groggily righting himself. He saw the duo and looked at them funny. "Lemme take you two to Bowser's camp right now!"

Still shaking the water out his ear, Captain Toad mirrored the expression. "Excuse me?"

"You coming or what?" The thwomp rose in the air a short distance and slammed back down, 'walking' deeper into the forest.

Soon they followed the path of thwomp sized intentions in the ground heading north and close the boundary line of something guarded by a barb fence and cameras. A bright spot light aimed around in an erratic pattern. Eventually Luigi had to 'go', just missing the opportunity in the water. He trailed behind to finish business, then sprint to catch up. One step on the main path again and Luigi wandered past a laser, causing an alarm to sound.

"For the last time get away from my house and stop stepping on my property and stealing my land and peeing in my plants!" The house rumbled as someone charged down stairs and then out of the doors with massive earth quaking steps.

Having nowhere to run, Luigi braced himself and got ready for the medic bill. "I'm here for the princess and not Bowserrrrrr!"

The goomba skid to a stop a foot away from him. A switch flipped he became a flat faced yet brilliant looking mushroom, believably responsible for the impressive array of electronic surveillance and satellite dishes in the middle of nowhere. "I see you are indeed a hero with such outerwear. Like an action star! I would know my guest, I incessantly watch reruns of the old classics. Please excuse my spectacle before, the oppressive Koopa Troop are utterly detestable to me!"

Shivering, Luigi peeked through the crack in his fingers. "Umm. Who are you?"

"Richard Goomba Sr. PhD and not the one that visited Mushroom Kingdom hospital East, that was my son with the MKDCU. Is there anything you need my guest?"

Luigi observed that the doctor's yard was like a jungle in itself, high grass and curious antiques spread about. Something caught his eye. "Well.."

A deranged shirtless man on a vintage chunk of steel, a WW63 era motorbike with an engine roaring like it was born yesterday, burst into camp making enemies squawk and flee. All they had against him where slingshots at best as he rode by jousting them with a heavy duty plunger, also an WW63 antique. He was

Rambo Mario

, not leaving a single baddie standing without a face full of decades old toilet water.

A hammer brother stumbled out of the outhouse. "That's Luigi! Get backup!" Captain Toad then swung down from the tree above knocked him out. The toad had been waiting for Luigi to show up, imagining the delay was bad berries.

All of the foes at the camp's gate defeated, Luigi revved up the bike before the astonished toad Captain. "Pick your jaw up and hop on!"


"...That's how you lose fingers, trying to peep into boss' treasures while I'm in charge." A long jagged edged knife lay beside him as a silent warning. The actual chests were tucked away deep in the room, in a 'safe' place and away from the inquirers.

"B-but we're running out of toilet paper! Please please please please-" the koopa subordinate continued endlessly.

He paused, taking a deep breath that made his listeners on edge. "Open it then. Keep bothering me and I'll-"

"Be my guest, Sentry," the third person in the cabin snapped. "Tell me. What is your real job?"

"-Terrorizing you all!" The lakitu suddenly stabbed the wooden table before him with the blade, making the koopa and magikoopa jump. "Now scram! I claimed this cabin because someone left a pedicure kit in here and I'm gonna use it gosh darn it!"

The koopa and a magikoopa stumbled out of the deepest cabin in Camp Bowser, near the storehouse that burnt.

"Nice try!" Luigi knocked their heads together while Captain Toad kicked the door open again. They both caught the grizzled lakitu hitman gingerly filing his ugly curled nails.

Sentry 11 lifted his head up, only mildly alarmed. "A half naked Mario brother and a toad. Interesting."

They both charged him so he rolled backwards, knocking the pink foot tub containing nail files and bath salts in their way. As they climbed over the clutter, the lakitu nimbly sprung onto his cloud to attack with spiked balls. He went around the table, to them the size of a huge dinette set. Luigi ducked and used his lasso to knock away the spikes raining down. As his kind was known for, the lakitu got the slip out of the window. A second later, they heard a click on the door. Captain Toad rushed to it and tugged. Locked. He swung his pickaxe but it bounced off and created a thin spidery fracture through the steel.

Captain Toad groaned at first but then changed subject. "Since we are immobilized Mr. Luigi, where'd your motorbike come from?"

"A Mega Goomba recluse that's a retired doctor, has a skeleton of a human in his home, suspiciously next to the photo hung up of his ex wife, collects war memorabilia, has a pretty good stereo, and watches people take a leak in his garden.." Luigi knocked on wood to feel how dense the door was. "Ever sent off a flare before?"

...Leaning around a tall, old, and tired oak even older, taller, and more tired than him, the liberated thwomp was flabbergasted how quiet the camp became in mere minutes. Just last night he was cooped up with the Koopa Troop on night watch as so-called 'Thwomp #3', gambling for the prize of the peanut butter sandwiches someone snatched from Kammy's picnic basket like the rest of them, inwardly wishing Bowser went down in the fire at the store house. It'd had been easier that way, but espionage in Dark Land was never easy. He made his way past the unconscious koopa bodies until the ground shook. He gaped at a the old BeanBean battle tank rolling through the camp gates.

"Tally-hoooo!" Richard Sr. screeched. The tank spun and fired at an empty hut that exploded into flames higher than the canopy.

"Crazy loon!" the thwomp barked, picking himself up. "This is Agent 999 of Super Spy HQ, stop that! Stop that right now- hey!" The agent squeezed his eyes shut as another golden bullet bill whizzed over his head and exploded on a building.

"I'm on a koopa scum hunt. WHERE THEY AT?!" Richard went on belligerently.

...Some distance away, Luigi put his ear to the exterior wall, occasionally fanning the smoke leftover from their homemade chimney flare. "You hear something? Just want to be sure since that lit bob-omb you handed me without warning made my ears ring and-"

Captain Toad stifled a laugh as he 'strategically' chipped at the rotting chest they'd found in the corner next to the bathroom stall. "Do not interrupt Mr. Luigi. This is delicate, one wrong move and-" The axe handle snapped and the flat heavy blade smashed his toe. He cursed loudly.

Luigi darted from the wall to the opposite corner. "Sounds about right! Quick get over here!"

There was a huge bang at the wall being torn in two and falling flat, taking half of the roof with it and sending the mega sized bricks and logs in the sky. Once the dust cleared there was the cannon of the tank aiming at the opposite wall that remained standing. Luigi's back was against it and his chest rose up and down rapidly, teeth in his head clattering.

"T-there were no koopas here. It was us, doctor!"

The small circular hatch opened and Richard Sr. in a combat helmet emerged after a tight squeeze. The pipe fell out of his mouth. "My goodness! This is where they kept you captive?"

"Yes! Locked us in. Thanks for.. Oh snap!" Luigi saw a little pale arm sticking out under wreckage. He slung off what he could. The Captain was found on top of the wooden chest, shattered from the force of his body into a pile of gold coins, broken glass, and a wad of old notes. "Captain!"

"Call..Me..Stan.." The most important pieces slipped from Captain Toad's hand. There was an old map of Dark Land, Magikoopa rites, and a yellow writing tablet.

Luigi was just noticing Dr. Mario's signature on one of the papers when Agent 999, the thwomp they'd just rescued, barged through the door frame still standing somehow, eyes bloodshot. "You're all under arrest!"


"If you think the disasters follow you buddy, are you bringing it to Toad Town on purpose? You know I have family here. I take offense to that."

"-Well I-"

"Nah just kidding. They're all dead."

"Well I!-"

"Nah just kidding again. Ha ha. They moved last year. Ha ha..."

Ludwig then needed some fresh air, cranking the window to let the warm breeze flow through his hair. His company was not his ideal, but he was assisting him in traveling to Toad Town in their replacement ride, a large company truck. A part of Ludwig was content because despite the weighty matters on his plate the light was on the horizon. A sad flicker, but illumination regardless.

Ludwig spoke again, "-Agent, I never explained did I? I need cooperation from Mario and associates, as you informed me that Mario is still in town and he sent his brother in pursuit of my father in place of himself, so I need to pull an assembly together to tackle my mysterious foe collectively-" Ludwig paused while the owner of the vehicle they were 'borrowing' made a sound from the trunk. "Speaking of which, he can breathe back there, correct? I refuse to share a murder charge with you. I am not fully convinced you do not already have one, Agent!"

"..." Agent M began to giggle behind the wheel. Flying down the road they passed under a sign stating that the next exit was 'Starman Lane'.

"Never mind. Take... that road!... Then let's travel along so and so.."

The pink boo pulled off the exit and into Toad Town, driving along until they were a block away from the post office. They parked on the curb. "Here? You sure buddy?"

Ludwig exited the vehicle, lingering in the door. "I'm sure. Thank you for this favor you were under no obligation to do for poor me, but I'm not your buddy. Please, don't start," Ludwig nearly laughed. "Oh and can you perhaps wait for me?"

Toad Town was not demilitarized like Poshley Heights so he had a bullseye on his head the moment stepped away from the car and everyone could get a look at who he was. A koopa jogger with a bandage on the back of his head going down the sidewalk pointed at him and jumped on his phone. Rotten mushrooms spontaneously battered his head from out of thin air, or more specifically from the apartments above his head occupied by toads glaring at him from the windows. He dashed inside the post office. Parakarry was behind the desk dealing with high stacks of overfilled cabinets towering to the ceiling. A bulging satchel ready to go hung on a rack to his right.

"Rain, snow, sleet, you get it," he greeted, busily grabbing letters. "What do you need to send off?"

"My message to Mario: I, Prince Ludwig must meet with them urgently!"

The mail carrier gave a start when he rose his head and faced the koopaling for the first time. "..I'm really backed up. You will have to deliver that on your own, sir," he advised, trying to mask apprehension.

Ludwig put his claws to the desk and leaned forward. "Are you certain?" he pressed.

Parakarry pulled down a black mesh visor over the desk, closing up right in Ludwig's face. "I am indeed, sir!" With a mischievous smile, the mail carrier whisked himself out the office. Ludwig was forced to egress and discover that his 'buddy', the secret agent's vehicle had vanished, leaving only the oil puddle.

Ludwig muttered in German as someone was rushing him from down the block. The snifit in police uniform then revealed a taser. "...Oh, what is- bbbbbbppppptttttttttt!" the koopaling sputtered while electricity ripped through his entire body. His blue hair stood up, he wet himself, and seconds later he was out.


The yellow faded notebook was plopped on a table after the trophies and war conquest medallions were brushed aside, also the ashtray, the remote to the alarm system, and the other remote to the other alarm, the remote to the remote, and more clutter. Sadly this was the cleanest room belonging to the goomba doctor.


I want tuna for today, I want a sandwich too.

" Luigi read a little farther down Dr. Mario's stream of consciousness in written form. "

Last week's pay only fifty coins, but this is the recession… Items used for Megavitamin X: Sulfate, so and so.

.' That last one. The secret ingredient is koopa scales!"

"I could see that.." Richard Sr added. The mega goomba the checked under newspapers covering his windows in a paranoid fashion.

"Yep, they didn't have the technology back then to- Why am I speaking to you people?" the thwomp agent complained, tied up on the couch with extra thick extension cords. "I knew you were looking for that missing part for Mario and now you have it, so let me go!"

Luigi discreetly folded the note. "So you were pretending to work for Bowser to get it yourself?"

"Not exactly, I do this in general to keep HQ on top of the fool. Bowser has no records so no one ever notices an extra thwomp. Only got caught cause this new situation put the troop in closer quarters than usual."

"Mmmm mm mm?" asked Captain Toad, muffled by a suffocating but essential neck brace Luigi was kind enough to make for him. He'd never question the green plumber's abilities again, at least not outwardly..

"What about the storms, lil toad? HQ ain't cracked that code yet. To be honest I was offsite 'n I didn't see roofs peeling with my own eyes either. I just know it comes out of no where and includes lots of thunder."

"Hmm. So you're Agent 999 at your HQ, but who's Lieutenant Stone then?" Luigi held an ID they'd combed from the rock baddie.

"I am. That's my real title and even when I slip, the koopa's dumb as bricks. We're done? My butt itches and I want to go home."

Luigi checked his watch, remembering green pipes in Richard's backyard. "Doctor, thanks for the hospitality and the cool bike and the tank rescue and this weird bullet souvenir you say you pulled from your own heart in the war, but we're on an urgent mission and all and I noticed you had something we can use to get out of here quick..."


"Be on guard, pards. We were once delivered a barrel of Ukiki and I was the only guy that could keep the lid down," Jr. Troopa said to Mario and a few of his staff lined up against the South gate that split the territory from Toad Town. The teenager followed up with additional tall tales as they half paid attention, impatiently awaiting for a mystery crook to be handed over by the Toad Town justice enforcer

Snifit Patrol.

No one knew much of the masked vigilante's origin and were only told to keep an eye out for a silver futuristic car, precisely the one speeding closer down the dusty path. It missed their wide open gate and smashed through the sturdy closed one beside it.

"Dern it! I just fixed that!" Probabilly yelped.

Mario coughed from the red desert dust while the window rolled down. "Mario! I caught a good one this time!" the snifit inside the vehicle said. Mario's memory was jogged only then.

The plumber then shifted towards the dark tinted backseat window. "Is it that thing with people like Birdo again? It better not be!"

"No no no no no. I, yeah, I learnt my lesson! And the restroom thing too..."



Peekaboo badges aren't illegal either, even if you can kinda see people in their underwear with it!"

"Nooo! Ha ha. Just see! Drum roll pleeeease!"

The window rolled down and they gave a start at Ludwig von Koopa's dazed and slumped over figure.

"Ludwig?" Mario began, "Why aren't you with Bowser?"

He snapped awake. "Mario!? I mean, of course! Uh- I will explain and quickly: There is a 'dark star' we are quarry to,


being everyone involved in my Mushroom Flu plot that was fulfilled Friday. This includes even Sam and Slam, remember what happened to Hotel Delfino? Maybe not, the local news is congested and someone would rather hear a tawdry sales pitch than incline the ear to the pain and suffering of islanders thousands of miles away... So where 'we' go is marked to get attacked by catastrophic gale forces and I need your help to resolve this and save my family's lives. I'm alone because I decided to travel to Poshley Heights for an award, one that is in the company of cheep cheeps currently and I no longer care about such. I WILL fix my mistake. Whether I intended to or not it began with me and now it must end with me. Am I clear?"

Mario and Jr. Troopa continued to stare.

"Soooo, want me to bring him into town down here?" Snifit Patrol inquired.

Yoshi, the blue and yellow toads, and Toadette were at the checkers table for a team game out at a isolated area of the land, in the shade of the water tower and away from the bustling town square or Southern hospital. The game was Buckenberry and Toadette's red side verses Ala-Gold and Yoshi's black side. The dino was having much more fun an expected, and it took his mind off the stinging electric burns from confronting Booigi. Yoshi made random moves whenever it was his turn and judged if it was a good or not from their reactions. The thought it might be checkers they were playing, but then again they were stacking pieces up to five high and incorporating extra parts he didn't think belonged, like promotional figurines.

"Gold Fish!" Buckenberry said, shoving his Mini Peach against a Mini DK.

Toadette made a face. "Wrong game, Blue. Anyway Mr. Yoshi, what's wrong with living with us at the castle? I heard you're already searching for something down town?"

"I love helping you all restore it, its not that, but Peach will get rescued and might not want an old dinosaur around." Besides the place was half underwater currently, he thought, and these toads loved the party at night.

"I understand. Avoid Hotel Mario for sure! There's Melon Bugs all over the darn place and they don't care."

"Oh I will." Yoshi made another move. His side had more than theirs so that had to be good he guessed.

"Mr. Yoshi," she approached shyly, "If it's not intruding..."

Yoshi tore his gaze from the cluttered game board. "No, it isn't. We just broke up is all."

Buckenberry gasped. "Nooo way! The rumors are true? You must have choose wrong, cause no sane girl would dump you. You are a super popular hero and a friend of Mario and green? That's the second best color after red. You know that makes you a ten, right?"

Yoshi smiled uncomfortably. It was more like


chose wrong in him. His heart was with someone else and always was, even if he was obscuring that fact from himself. Now he wasn't entirely superficial like she had the impression, judging from how they'd spoken that morning to discuss splitting property. Maybe he didn't know her favorite color- not pink apparently, and take shots in the dark with his gifts to her- she preferred Android phones in actually, but he


pick up on the big details. She knew her priories of a stable life, she was introverted, she had a rare true grace, even when infuriated with a knuckled headed fiancé like him, she valued the small things like a beautiful view of the sunset over a home that was closer to a convenience store. Most importantly, she was content to make a guest appearance in a game or two of Mario's, but not ALL of the main series ones. She


a catch and someone out there was perfect for her. It just wasn't him.

That was quite a package for a bunch of toad kids, so he condensed it to, "Just make sure you are being honest with who you are and what you want."

"...Hear that brah?" Alagold, who seemed to listen the closest, asked the blue toad. "I saw your latest profile on LevelGrindr."

Buckenberry's eye twitched. "I'm all those things."

"Oooh, I'm looking at it now. It says you're six-two and 250lbs? -What, soaking wet and in heels?" Toadette laughed, scrolling on her phone.


"You know we love you," she teased, pinching his blushed cheekes.

Yoshi made a move on the board before Buckenberry could flip it in the air and ruin the game. Based on Toadette and Buckenberry's simultaneous groan, the dinosaur realized that he'd just won that very interesting game.

The noises they'd been hearing for some time got louder, pipes clanging. Yoshi craned his neck upwards at the water tower where the vibrations originated. They abandoned the game at the table and leaped out of the way as the tower emitted a deep gurgle. A spot on the ground got darker before a spout of water shot up high in the sky. It happened in another spot as they ran frantically towards the nearest help, which was a phone booth a block down caked in dust from lack of use.

Yoshi and all the toads crammed inside while geysers kept popping up. A notice stamped inside stated 'Need help? Holler at Mario here... Or here, pard,' with two numbers listed. One number was Peach's castle phone and one Mario's cell. Yoshi shoved a coin into the receiver and made his call. "Mario pick up! The pipe's gone bad!"

"Hello? Yoshi?" Luigi answered on the other end. Yoshi forgot that number also routed to a house phone of theirs for backup. "Cool timing, I just got here. What's going on again? Actually, listen, tell Mario the secret thing is koopa scales! Okay? Koopa-"

Yoshi couldn't catch the end, the old phone blared static in his ear. The call disconnected when a geyser erupted underneath them all, sending the booth up and away to the 'moon'- actually a nearby billboard advertising a Broadway adaptation of Super Mario Galaxy. It still hurt though.


Splash! Lemmy rose to the top of the water. "Geronimo!" he said after the fact. Deep in paradise, this was the Koopaling's fifth dunk in the water with a palm branch as his spring board.

Lounging in a beach chair planted on the largest cay, 'Bowser Island' now, the King Koopa stretched his arms. Roy was still out with what was left of his army and his other kids were doing whatever. He grew tired of reflecting on what to do. It gave him a headache. It was so much easier to not think, just do. Just doing meant things got done, and getting thing done was the point of life, right? Bowser turned to the princess to his left, chained to a identical beach chair. She gingerly pat her forehead with a white cloth. She'd liquified nearly as the tropical sun beamed down, yet she'd adamantly refused to change out of her long pink dress.

"What?" Peach replied to his gaze curtly.

"Getting uncomfortable? Want a fan or somethin'?"

"I could use less 'fans' if you are included in that."

Bowser gave a snort. "Cute. Anyway, we can't sit on our butts forever. I'm tired of swimming everywhere so let's start with some transport," he ventured. "Er, I heard there's a legendary canoe around. Ever considered like a love boat or something?"

Toadsworth's tiny hands squeezed the bars of his cage. "Don't pestering her, you mad man. Tut tut! Give her a break."

"Shuddup old man!" Bowser rose, fist balled.

Kamek under a palm tree was snoring in his snug wearable blanket. Subconsciously the magikoopa shut up.

"-I mean my future old man- forget it! Gahhh!"

Roy and the squad marched through the shallow blue water connecting the various islands raising their spoils: palms, paddle boards, small crates of supplies, and lastly the Water Land king's long green robe. Roy dropped it before his father, letting it gently fall into a bundle. "We ran 'em out so quick dey were just diving into da drink to get away. Then we chased 'em some more, beat em, etc. So, yeah.."

Bowser examined the garment with nods of approval. "That's


, son." He noticed Roy sticking around digging his feet into the sand. "So what's the problem? I gave you stuff to do like you wanted and now you're looking being a sourpuss yet again."

"..It's nothin'."

"Then act like it."

Lemmy swam backstrokes around Wendy who floated on a tube sipping lemonade and Morton silently tubing and reading a novel. He swam back to shore and idly dried off his body and long rainbow hair with a towel, lost in thought as some of the Troop marched around gathering resources from the island. He couldn't shake it or ignore it. He'd quickly developed a big brother instinct and it was going off. Maybe it was something else too. Guilt.

...On another Water Land cay a fifteen year old leaned against an empty ramshackled toad house. Larry watched rolling waves or fantasized about being in a speeding sports car, waiting for a call back. Iggy kept his company earlier before walking off with his ambitious watch invention thing. That fringe of hope his older brother had didn't totally convince him, but it was a dampener over the blaze inside of him. When this was all over they'd have to hang more. They had all the important shared interests: video-games, internet, hot girls, gadgets, fighting, and pranks-

"-BOO! Hehehe! What are you doing?!" Junior popped out of nowhere.

Heart racing, Larry shoved him back. "You little dweeb! Quit doing that!"

"Oww! You were gonna be a- what's that word? Re-bal, aren't you? I'm gonna tell!" the koopa child countered.

Larry squeezed his eyes shut, counting down from ten to calm down. He only made it to five. "Again just shut up you stupid brat! If only you knew who's really rebelling around here! Tell on me then! King Dad takes you to a retarded little beach now you're back on his side? Just GTFO. I never needed your help anyway!" He heard his screech voice amplified by the water around them. He had an epiphany.

Junior covered his mouth with a flush. "You're being so MEAN!" he squealed.

"I know. I'm sorry. Whatever. Don't piss me off then," Larry attempted to backtrack. Of course Junior wasn't the real problem here, just a repeater of family rhetoric. "Shh!" He picked up his cell as it rung with a simple bell noise. He was basic like that. "Hello Mushroom Caterers? Yeah put the order in for the wings, the ribs, the booze, everything. Bring it to Water Land, can't miss us. Gotcha baby. Bye."

Sentry 11 slowly rose over the horizon. His balaclava was missing, revealing a round and very pale middle aged lakitu face graced with a greying fuzzy little mustache. It was too late to hide for both koopa adolescents.

Instead he floated by. "Just wait till boss hears how Green Mario found the old base and I had to lock him in with our loot," he muttered. "The Kingdom's budget? Zero."

Larry slowly followed him, waddling though the shallow water connecting the kays. "Well that's what's credit cards for! You know bout that don't ya Junior?" he tackled on to humor his little brother, and also dissuade tattling on him for 'bad words'.

"Oh yes, I love those." Junior cheerily flashed his father's Master Plan card. Many expensive toys were snuck onto the platinum slab of plastic without Bowser noticing.

When they met back at base Bowser had decided to not cry over spilled Moo Moo milk and would make Water Land the new Dark Land. He directed a layout where a platform could go, a fortress, and more, before learning that his stuff was looted back at Giant Land and his army was halved yet again. The island shook like a volcano awakening and the flames from Bowser rivaled the heat of one.

"I knew it! Mario was practically next door and you thought I was overreacting!?" Bowser lashed out. "EVERYONE ASSEMBLE. NOW!" The tropical island got packed with every mook the Koopa King still had to his name. "We're having the wedding to night and NOTHING will stop it. NOTHING!"

The koopa paratroopa slowly approached the dark spider web filled corridor. He had a limp from an old injury but his stance was strong. The human plumber gave him a nod and then closed the door, sealing them in. A broken valve was just before them, gushing and flooding the room.

Then Mario turned the valve with light effort. Something rumbled before the water stopped. One eyebrow rose. "...That was easy." All of the plumbing jobs he'd taken on were. What was more concerning was how numerous they were, the backlog of work orders going back years.

Probabilly wrapped half a roll of thick duct tape around the dripping spot. "Usually is, Mr. Hero. If half the folks 'round here had a brain, I wouldn't have a job!"

Mario gave him handshake, pitying the single janitor of the entire region it seemed. Once out the corridor they received a round of applause.

Mario rushed to one of the tallest in the crowd, hugging him tight.

"Big bro, all these acres of outdoors and somehow I knew you'd be inside instead, fixing a toilet or something," Luigi teased. "You told Yoshi to call for me?"

"No. Thought he was with the toads. He stays at the castle now. But I've been busy. Someone apparently dropped their Mario Galaxy Note 7 cellphone down the city's main septic tank or- or something.. Who the heck would do that?" People began agreeing with the famous hero. Vick at that moment quietly escaped the utility home, whistling and hoping no one would notice. Mario shrugged. "Ah whatever. Mistakes happen."

...Eventually they spotted their friends twenty feet in the air, stranded on a Mario Galaxy billboard walkway. No one knew where a ladder was because they didn't use them down South ever, except maybe Probabilly who was on lunch break and without a phone. Mario personally searched until he found a ladder stored away in a barn two large prairies away. It seemed old and wobbly but it was 'reliable as they come, pard', he was assured. He thought they'd just said they'd


seen it before.. So the four standing and shivering in front of the colorful Broadway show graphic could be rescued at last. The plumber wanted to shoot up there himself, but was advised it was better to let them descend. He could see the impact impression on the billboard from the ground, cringing. Like a comet hit it, to fit the theme. Blue and Yellow Toad slid down the ladder daringly and Toadette hesitantly. She insisted she didn't have a heights problem afterwards. Last was Yoshi, missing a boot.

"Mario, it's all right. We're okay," Yoshi said with a smile. He latched on to him, ignoring the sweat Mario was drenched in from running all over the place. "You did what you do best. Thanks."

Luigi gracelessly walked up in the middle of their moment, got too close to Mario, then held his nose. "Umm.. whenever you're ready can we get on that koopa scale secret ingredient thing? And someone just told me Ludwig is locked up down here right now. What else did I miss?"


That's when Kylie Koopa gave up eavesdropping on Mario and crew from a secluded bundle of desert cacti and bushes that aggravated her allergies. The water tower area was her old hideout before the impromptu waterworks, now too soggy to be of use. As evening rolled over the South, there were little to no lamp posts for her to see her strictly handwritten notes, never getting big into the digital thing. 'Prince Ludwig visits Toad Town' was a head line cooked up as she checked her phone messages. She had a cryptic tip to meet someone in the moo moo field..

"Babe. Aren't ya happy to see me?"

Kylie almost turned around and left without a word but something in his tone convinced her otherwise. "I didn't need your help, Mitch."

"Any word on Sarasaland?"

She put a hand on her hip. "I was busy dealing with local stuff. But no."

"You needed my help," the toad chuckled. He rolled his wheelchair over the uneven terrain, dirt furrowed for future crops.

Kylie trailed him, carefully stepping over the trenches. "How'd ya even get here?!"

"Babe, it's 2019. Everything is wheelchair accessible now.."

"Mitch! That ain't what I-"

The toad stopped and smiled inexplicably. "Boo, there you are, bud."

At his prompt, a boo diddly appeared before them a rosy face, shivering in the air. "Uh, I knew Luigi was back and I wanted to see him but then.. I messed it all up earlier when I got mad and… D-don't tell Luigi I'm here! I'll figure something out!"

"I know you will. Now scram, kid."

Kylie blocked her ex's way before he could move on. "The heck is going on? 'TriggerHappy' is now another intern of yours?"

He shook his head seriously. "Nah. We're hitting our deadline and I need to do something dangerous, maybe impertinent, but it needs to be done 'cause I'm the only one who knows how deep we really are in this. As usual. I'll probably get hurt again too knowing my fortune lately."

She breathed out slowly and fixed her gaze off at the jagged silhouette of the hills. "And that's the problem, brother. When Jelectro was playing games with me I was madder than a red chomp, but then I found out it was all because you tried to protect me from that Zoo freak. That rocked me like Corona Mountain! I can't lose you after all we've been though! Even if we went our own way years ago, can't you see that we need to work together on this one? Whatever's going on is crazy brother, so let me


before you finally kill yourself! You aren't invincible. You aren't no starman!"

"You're right, babe," he started gently. "I'll share my 'scoop' with you. Just this time. Wheel me up to the top of Mt. Rugged and then you'll see exactly what my research topic has been." He tone eased into something darker, intoxicatingly alluring.

Kylie fought against the tear threatening to roll down her face, emotionally conflicted with him as routine. He still did this to her embarrassingly. "We'll see then." She flushed. "Five minutes at the top and by then you better catch me up or I'm dragging you back down."

Up the winding path they went under an orange red sky. After the trek and with the assistance of some elevators, they were at the flat top of the mountain, devoid of tourists for the hour, and could see the vast landscape below, only a few lights twinkling from the rural landscape.

"Happy?" She panted, leaning on a tall boulder. A visitor's sign on it stated '

Watch yer step, pard!


Mitch rolled a little farther towards the East with his eyes closed. Kylie could then feel energy in the air. He'd done such a thing to solve the mystery of the mystery boxes when they were still dating in college, but she didn't know his abilities were still


sharp. She dove down right away.


An invisible force knocked them both back, tumbling many times across brambles and pebbles. Kylie tucked in her shell could have taken a power nap she felt in the time it took to plummet into a little drainage pit at the bottom of the mountain. Adrenaline pumping she saw an outline in the dark of a wheelchair bent in half and a body sprawled face down next to it.

Mitch groaned when she eased him out the trench. "I'm o-okay, babe."

Kylie scanned him, chest thumping. Her hands were damp. "Mitch you're bleeding!"

"Like I said I'm okay." Kylie thought she saw him smirk. "Hardly felt it. Half of me is paralyzed anyway, remember babe?"

Then she rolled her eyes.


On the other side of the globe General Ming had done every unimportant activity he could to pass time. The missing card key would on intrude his thoughts once or twice while dusting Daisy's sports trophies or filing paper work, but it was never a priority until work was finished and he could evade it no longer. He decided to risk going outside and checking their weapons bunker a short walk from the castle. Immediately something sidetracked him, dark cloud like smoke right over an old crumbling temple. He'd never worshiped there and didn't think anyone had in a long time, yet someone had the audacity of burn something there and likely get him blamed? Not on his watch!

He marched up the stairs where moss and smooth stone intertwined and then in between cracked stone columns where there was the center roofless opening. He smelt no smoke and heard no crackling as he got closer to the swirling formation in sky.

Ming froze. General Sǐwáng was at the eye of the vortex above, a bombshell koopa with a monocle and a dark goatee in a Victorian suit. The rocketon had a few seconds to discern that this was an ambassador and that he was making a bad first impression before he was struck with a bolt of black lightning.

General Sǐwáng leisurely strolled up to the unconscious secretary of Daisy's with a ornate walking stick. "Jolly good. I was looking for this!" he said in a deep but posh and decidedly English tone. He pocked gladly the key to the missile launchers in the weapons bunker.


Ludwig had hummed Reprisal in A minor from start to finish for the second time, indicating he'd been locked up in Southern Mushroom Kingdom for hours given how long his piece was. Not being taken seriously made him seethe until the crack of light grew from the closed cell door. It was Mario.

"Turns out you're promoted, koopa! Come on!"

Ludwig was dragged outside and to a peculiar barn, the agricultural building glowing faintly green. Ludwig, despite his intellect, could not fathom any feasible reason why that would be so.

To be continued..

Created: 7/9/19, 7/10, 7/11, 7/12, 7/15, 7/17, 7/18, 7/22, 7/23, 7/26, 7/29, 7/31

8/1, 8/4, 8/22, 8/23, 9/1, 9/2, 9/15, 9/30, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3

Edited: 6/5/20

Again: 12/29/20

What again? 5/19/21, 5/20/21

I dunno 1/7/22, 1/9

Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2 (Redux)

The Missing Piece (Chapter 15)

Disclaimer: Mario and co belong to Nintendo

Author note: Revisions below.

"Mario Mario, I will tolerate your bullheadedness no longer!" Ludwig refused to budge just outside the barn door, the first time they'd stopped scuttling through the village. "Have you forgotten all I have said? Now the sun has nearly set. I regret pleading my case to you, for I could have ventured across two kingdoms by now!"

Mario placed one hand on the door handle. "Sure you would have, or maybe you would have been arrested immediately just like you were for being a subject of Bowser," he replied exasperatedly.

Ludwig seemed as though he was about to strangle him but wisely reconsidered at the last moment. "You. Do. Not. Get it! I would not deceive, the Mushroom Flu plot bringing us to this present moment involved no deception. I would not be so foolish as to detach myself from my family, my support, and tread weaponless if my hands were laced with nasty tricks. Everyone I care about is in grave danger here!"

"You poisoned sodas that innocent people drank and had your Zoo Diddley freak pulling pranks no one found funny."


that's not deception. That's called being a villain.. Besides, Zoo paid the price for his questionably comedic contributions undeservedly by the dark star that I spawned- essentially," Ludwig admitted, his voice missing the boom it normally had. A dark wave came over his features and his gaze frosted over. "-Plumber, I will beg no longer because you've forced my hand. Keep me imprisoned if you want. If the Dark Star targeted Sam and Slam thousands of miles away it will inevitably follow me right here! I will go down and so will you.

Mario settled one moment longer to rid himself of the palpitations that statement brought. No way he'd show weakness to a Bowser minion. "Let me go back for a second. I wasn't trying to be a douche, we had to tackle one issue at a time. I didn't realize all of that was going on with Bowser so I thought Peach would be okay until we took care of all of the sick people here literally dying before our eyes. You know, priorities."

The koopaling's eyebrows rose then dropped then settled in-between. "So you really cured it? How? I mean I am impressed but-"

"We had some smart folks from out of town people figure it out along with some notes from Dr. Mario. You might know about it. Luigi infiltrated your camp and beat your solders up! So, actually," he sighed deeply. "We need your koopa scales as the final ingredient and we're done. Then we'll cure the sick and while they're recovering think about that



Ludwig seemed to retreat within himself. "So ein Mist.. Very well."

The koopaling stepped inside where his nose was bluntly impacted by the smell of the barn turned mad laboratory. Typical for Special World doctors. Ludwig on occasion attended their workshops located near Star Road. As they refused repeatedly, even with enticement of ludicrous amounts of gold coins, to duplicate Dr. Prof. Koopa's teleportation potion Bowser made famous in Super Mario 64, his feelings were quite lukewarm and not just because of the over inflated travel costs. Only one narrow space didn't have buzzing equipment or chemical filled tables in the way.

Prof. X-Naut blocked his path. "Ludwig Von Koopa? Ha. I knew you were behind this with your unprecedented ability to reverse engineer virus samples for evil!"

Amused, Ludwig decked the smaller man then stepped right over the grumbling body, his least favorite to listen to during workshops. "I reverse engineered nothing this time, Morris. What I needed to do was plainly written out." The other two doctors, Dr. Topper and Dr. Goom he recognized in passing when he noticed them scribbling on whiteboards in the far corners. Last was Dr. Toad approaching from the opposite end of the corridor, wooden clipboard under his arm. Ludwig actually hit it off with him, well 'hit off' by his standards which meant they occasionally associated at some intellectual recreation space in neutral territory. No telecommunication however. He was.. not at that stage yet-

"We appreciate your cooperation, Ludwig," he said rather lively. "I will personally make sure you're much less uncomfortable than we keep our patients usually."

After a moments hesitation, Ludwig bent down to the toad and lowered his voice. "You must assist me, Drew. Well, first of all I've been meaning to tell you your last piece was splendid, I saw it at the art gallery last month-" He grabbed him. "But more presently I'm being held hostage!"

"You know that's exactly our style," Dr. Toad replied, easing out of his grasp. "Get the restraints!"

Before Ludwig was tackled and tied to a table where horrors would unfold, he tossed his

Ex spatio obiecti specialem

book to Mario guarding the door. The book, stiff and moldy from being wet recently, smacked him in the face. Grumbling he picked it up. The book naturally partitioned in the middle where a page was dogeared. It held this passage:


Star beings mold the world with wonderful chaotic purpose or wonderfully without perceptible purpose. Dark Stars hold similar power and, aware of the greater forces, have been recorded as doing the same for their own sinister motivations..'

One island of a tropical hemisphere called Water Land glowed orange in the night from hundreds of burning palm branches, each individually engulfed in time for Bowser and Peach's wedding. The bride and groom stood on a sand mound altar with accessories of colorful flower necklaces and the remaining Koopa Troop were the audience on the beach. Peach faced her koopa tormentor and no one at all at the same time, so distressed she was in another world. This just couldn't be happening. Bowser had never gotten so far before, so close to


. She had nothing left but to keep wishing fervently for something, anything, to end the nightmare.

"Finally I can see!" Kamek received a silver electronic torch from Iggy. Its blue beam when switched on illuminated their entire vicinity awesomely, swallowing up the amber lighting and assaulting many eyeballs. Peach then had to add blindness to her current predicament.

"This device is splendid, Lord Bowser. Ah, I had a vision of something this amazing. -Or maybe it was an as seen on TV commercial-"

Bowser shielded his face with one hand. "-Old man, are you alright? Calm down, shine that stupid light the other way, and start the ceremony!"

Kamek jut the Kingly Law book out. "Do you take Princess Peach as your- Ah, I forgot something. Any objections? Speak now or forever hold your peace."

Steam shot out of Bowser's nose. "I don't care what any of you think!"

"I have objections anyway, you brute!"

Bowser's teeth grinded against each other, inclined to snatch Toadsworth right out of the audience and pulverize him.

Rather predictably old mushroom wasn't the only would be wedding crasher. Morton rose up, "King Dad, I must object! We cannot settle here! I know you attempted to abate me this morning but I can not let it go, drop it, or forget it. We should be using this time to get to the other side of the globe, vacate, leave the premises just like Zheng Koopa does in my book!"

Lemmy glanced over his siblings in disappointment. "Not again!"

Roy stood around at the end of the front row with the zombie like demeanor he'd had all day until then, when Morton's grating speech opened the floodgates. "Alright! I agree with 'em. I'm missing home real bad, okay? Why can't we just go back? I'm tired of running all over da place and I miss all my old Koopa Ball buddies in Dark Land. I left my gal back there! Here we have nothing and I'm sick of waitin' for whatever else is gonna go wrong!"

"AAAHHHHHGG!" Bowser growled.

"-Daddy, he's right. We should have set up somewhere else," Wendy cut in. "This is the blandest island and the pictures are going to be fug! Also it's late, it's hot, so yeah, like, let's reschedule. Maybe even, I dunno, go see if we can go back to Dark Land?"

Lemmy seated closest to her had a double take. Running his hand through his rainbow hair, he couldn't understand why she'd say that genuinely. He glanced backwards at the wedding crowd for confirmation. Had no one else caught 'Miss Perfect' Wendy actually disagreeing with her father?

"I caught that," Iggy said to Lemmy uncannily, the first words they'd shared since the morning after the 'incident'. He was seated a row behind his brother. Lemmy spun to him as he continued, "Lemmy I need to tell you something." Iggy scratched the back of his neck nervously as his brother became more bewildered and concerned. "Actually uh, I don't know how to put this but-"

"Why ARE we sitting around on our tails? We'll just be picked off like fly guys!" a large mook next to Iggy roared. A murmur of agreement came from around them, increasing in volume by the second. No one could hear their selves talk or think.

"YOU'RE ALL RUINING MY WEDDING! AGAIN! Is there really a reason why I should not marry Peach?! Right! There isn't!" In rapid stomp mode Bowser made torches fall and leveled the sand props.

"Bowser, you forgot about the most important objection!" Peach yelled over the commotion.

Bowser stopped and looked her in the eyes earnestly, shaking in irritation. "What what what?!" he cried.

"Mine. If you really care for me, you will know why." She boldly spun on her heels and walked to the shore alone, leaving a vacuum in the area. Bowser witnessed her strutting farther way, immobilized by some abhorrent part of him that was intent to remind that he would always be a loser, the third wheel between Peach and-

"Mario.." Bowser's bitter anger mellowed into deep sadness. He remained planted in that spot, facing where Peach left.

Lemmy instantly left Iggy to rush up to the foot of the altar. "King Dad, don't worry! Everyone is going to apologize and then we'll get Peach back!" he sputtered. He tugged on the closest sibling.

Wendy turned bleached white seeing Bowser crumbling up there. All that defiance from somewhere unknown drained away. "Oh we HAVE to make this up to daddy or we'll be ultra grounded. Come on then!"

Far enough on the shore to not be deafened by the Koopa Troop's cacophony, Peach noticed a speck on the horizon. Attracted by the torch Kamek had shining far up into the sky was an unmarked white boat. With an enticing scent it sailed to the the short island dock.

Sentry 11 lurking in the shadows lowered his binoculars. "Boss! Food catering's here!"

"Who wants those hot wings?!" A speaker announced from inside the motor craft. Dozens of the Koopa Troop stopped their screaming matches and frantically waded over to the boat. They brushed beyond Peach to where an unseen person loaded up their plates, hands, napkins, empty shells, whatever, with wings, drumsticks, ribs, and barbecue.

While the Koopalings were standing around trying to figure out where everyone had went, an ice cold blue can labeled '3 Moons' materialized in Bowser's hand.

"It's on the House. Chug it, dad!" Larry winked. The fools, they'd not even noticed him stroll up at least until then. Roy promptly put him in a painful neck lock.

Lemmy gave a start. "King Dad, read the label!"

Bowser crushed the empty can woozily. "Three.. MOONs! Duh!... Urp. Excuse me… 100% alcohol. 100% sugaarr...!" His children kept drifting away but in actuality he was wandering around and stumbled into Peach at the shore. All he made out in the dark was the red and blue of her flower necklace and so inebriated he couldn't bat away another loathsome facet of himself coming to surface. "...Marrrio?"

"Excuse me?" she exclaimed.

"..You're looking... hot!"

Peach side stepped when he lunged for a kiss. Bowser tumbled forward and off the pier into the water. Peach slung off her high heels and sprinted down the dock. She hurled herself onboard into the boat. The interior was filled of high-tech radars, radios, and mounted weapons. A young red capped toad dressed in all black at the controls spun his chair around. Without a word passing between them he took action. Their ship drifted away from Bowser Island as Peach remembered something missing, as essential as a hand or foot. Toadsworth! Despite very much buoyant she felt herself sinking down the deepest depths of the ocean. It was too late to return to the island!

On Bowser Island, Roy tossed his brother before the others like a rag doll. Larry rolled to a stop on the raised altar area, his back smashing against the sand podium. The Troop had dispersed due to their surprise visitor and they were the only ones hanging around the wedding spot. Larry spat out some blood as he crawled back up under the furious glares of his brothers and sister. "...Heck YEEEAHH, I PUNKED all y'all! You notice me now?!" he screamed, voice breaking. They could see the ship shrinking on the horizon.

Lemmy tiny fists balled and shook, his face flushed over. He rushed up to him, though he reached Larry's chin only. "LARRY! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?!"

"Because I've told you a million times and you don't freaking listen!" he screamed back into his face "I don't wanna be a Koopa Troop! Last month, after Mario came and beat us all up and we were aching and miserable, I'd flippin' had it with this crap. I was gonna puke if I had to sit around in World 1 and guard another fortress pretending I actually cared. My grades have been dropping from stress. Every professor notices and I can't tell them the real reason. I was gonna run away and live somewhere else under disguise or something and finish school and run an underground club- Don't ask me how that was supposed to flippin' work, I had to just get out of here!" He panted under their stunned silence. He felt lighter than air. A new wave came over him. "But then Ludwig had his latest new scheme. it seemed to be too much going on, so I thought I could pretend just a little longer. Now I don't need to do I? So, if you're expecting an apology I ain't got one. I'm


we just failed." He smirked then. "Welcome to my world."

"...Larry?" Wendy, Roy, and Morton exclaimed at once, even Junior if to fit in.

Lemmy wearily stepped back. "Everyone, stop! Stop!... Let's find King Dad and then Larry we'll.. talk about that."

"Lemmy-sama," Iggy spoke up quietly. "Maybe Larry-chan won't apologize, but as I was trying to communicate to you before my eardrum was ruptured, really I think you should."

Lemmy's eyebrows furrowed. "This is a bad time to joke around. What?"

Iggy rubbed his tired overly worked eyes behind his glasses. No more beating around the bush or some other distraction would be around the corner. He'd seen this situation before in too many TV shows. "Nevermind. Behold my!-" he reached into his pocket and presented in their faces a completed supped up gold pocket watch. It opened to flashing circuitry that gleamed in the night. "-Way Awesome Intelligent Futuristic Utility! Is it familiar, Lemmy-sama? It came from a place that was creepy but also an epic place for an anime battle. A place where we-"

"-Yo, excuse me but I can't get over the fact that you made a W.A.I.F.U!" Larry gave a snort.

"Oh gosh darn it Larry-chan," Iggy went in a sudden fit, "now you're the plot device that's gonna stall me out before I can explain to the rest of them that Lemmy, Ludwig and I knew what was going on the entire time and I've been building this invention to go back and reset that Friday night where it started and we released the Dark Star that's been attacking us!"

Wendy gasped, hurt in her eyes, then searing anger. Lemmy shrunk a few inches. Morton, unnaturally silent, was shaking his head with a look that seemed half pitying half someone else.

Roy snatched Lemmy by edge of his shell behind his neck, dangling him. "I knew somethin' bout this situation stunk extra bad. Any more secrets, pipsqueak? "

Lemmy gulped. "N-no, I kept getting swamped by all of my responsibilities. I would trying to think about it but it got harder to accept the deeper we got into this. And then King Dad just kept pushing us forward so... Yeah, I'm guilty. "

"Wrong answer!... I mean, right answer! I mean-GAH! Get crushed!"

Lemmy then decided, not! He shot his legs up against Roy's hard abs, and kicked do an acrobatic flip backwards out of his grasp. Lemmy continued flipping off the alter and landed on his ball arms raised and eyes closed, almost involuntarily shouting 'tada' for the perfect landing. But then he opened his eyes and squealed. Roy was barreling at him mach speed. He rolled away. Wendy entered the fray cussing him out and Morton was running along as well. Lemmy fled to the beaches where the Koopa Troop were lounging around obliviously. He called for help and zig zagging around the soldiers for his life. He was practically invisible to them. He wasn't a worthy substitute for Ludwig all along. Maybe he should have taken a hint from Larry.

Iggy stood at the X spot that marked where Kamek was to stand behind the podium. It was as good a spot ever for his hail mary test run. All of this drama was nothing for him really to worry about. It was his least favorite genre, after 'western' and 'hurt/comfort', wait, wrong application. But anyway due to two days straight of diligence he held now in his palms another time machine! He was officially 'OP'. He wound up the crown and let it go, bracing himself. Spring retention slung the hands backwards, stopping time in the island's proximity for ten seconds before it ran out of power. Time spun in in turbo mode to catch up. The disturbance created a wave of water crashing over the shore. Iggy took in a gulp of air while he could and thanked himself for making the watch water resistant.

By then Larry had snuck away to the other half of the island when two mooks emerged from behind some tropical vegetation and onto his path, a koopatrol and toad. They were joking and laughing and eyelashes were batting. Both shuddered at him.

Tanner then saluted rigidly. "Larry, sir! I was just showing a fellow soldier all of the Prankster Comets known to circle in this hemisphere, sir! And nothing else, sir!"

Not knowing what else to do, Emery copied what he did. "Yep. No, seriously!" She turned then the Tanner. "Wait, isn't he on the traitor list? Shouldn't we like, do something?"

Larry folded his arms and laughed. "Heh heh, from you toady? Miss I'mma quit Peach's hospital and then join Bowser?"

Emery frowned slightly, but kept saluting. "I was


, not the same thing. Besides, didn't betray the princess because I was ever really on her side."

Larry kept chuckling giddily. "Good point, toady. Guess I was never really on Bowser's either. Let's pretend we didn't see each other, 'aight?"

Larry kept on through shallow water and to the closest island where it was pitch black. This new independence was so fresh to him yet automatic. He was imagining somewhere cool he could live next as a refugee, like Neon Heights or Music Park. On reaching a new area he trampled fresh vegetation and island flowers. There was another dock with something waiting for him. Water Land's legendary canoe. He raced down and grabbed the edge, pinching himself. It was real. Climbing onboard he severed the rope keeping it tethered and drifted away, grabbing a set of oars get further into water. He paddled around for a while until he bumped something, his father's dazed body drifting around. He panicked until he saw his father breathing. He pulled Bowser's body on the legendary canoe and sighed. It was like Bowser still kept track of him, even unconsciously. A giant wave slammed the boat then, sweeping him right back towards Bowser Island, or what used to be. The land mass disappeared as if a hurricane hit it. Bodies flailed about everywhere, familiar ones. Larry snapped an oar in frustration. He just couldn't get away from these people!

"Help!" Lemmy yelped desperately from a few feet away. Some debris, an extra chain chomp chain caught his leg and was dragging him down.

Larry glared at him hard, breathing heavily. A second later he reached his arm out to help.


Mario caused such a stir in the area he had to confirm he didn't accidentally announce a new game. In spite of the hours growing later the South was hectic. He wondered if they'd be as enthused if they knew of the less than family friendly way it came to be, the countless translucent blue scales the doctors forcibly scrapped off of Ludwig's back. The screams of terror still echoed in his mind... Mario kept the unfortunate koopaling's involvement secret, even from his brother, explaining to others that he imported some at the last minute to stifle questioning. Now the work was complete and Sarasaland's young ruler was first to be cured. Daisy was laid into an invention designed to emit a vapor on the subject. Mario guarded the door again and only let a few in to watch this private and discreet event, yet he suspected Buckenberry of live-streaming it anyway...

"If this crazy thing launches into space or explodes, I'm gonna get you," Luigi threatened.

Prof. X-Naut calmed him with a thumbs up. There was a pop then a bang as the inside of the chamber clouded up. After a few agonizing seconds the doors were kicked open from the inside.

"Did you smoke bomb my bedroom? Again?" Daisy wailed, flinging on to Luigi, the nearest person, and rolling together to the ground.

"Daisy, yes you're okay!" He embraced her as Mario, Yoshi, Buckenberry, and Jr. Troopa gathered around.

"W-where am I? What happened to the tennis game?" the princess inquired.

Toad Toad was next, wheeled inside the chambers to get his steam treatment. Peach's loyal secretary stumbled right back out, fanning away the mist.

"Ha, ha, who burnt that pizza, homeboys? We won the game, right?"

More were cured one after the other. Those in coma like states would leave the machine walking and talking with no seriously ill effects other than losing track of the last three days.

"This is almost going


well.." Dr. Toad whispered to his crew. "Two days here and no health inspectors? We didn't even have the correct paper work so it would have been justified for once.."

"Drew, we've worked our butts off. Stop giving yourself grey hairs and celebrate." Dr. Topper pat him on the shoulder.

Dr. Goom in a rare moment nodded pleasantly for a shady goomba. "At last a favorable report might be obtained for our Special World Hospital."

"Ah you think? Even after that controversial surgery on Tubba Blubba?" Prof. X-Naut thought nostalgically.

"-Morris you were the one who screwed that up by swapping the wrong heart! And don't say that too loud!" Dr. Toad hissed.

"Hate to interrupt over there, but I think we're done doctors." Mario waved from the other side of the lab. All of the sick patients were taken care of and sent to the sea of spectators collecting their loved ones. The news was already on the Toad Town message boards. Mario then held up a select few, Luigi, Yoshi, Captain Toad, and fan Buckenberry (actually uninvited) to divert to a quiet corn field. Quickly he regretted that disserted location choice.

Luigi stepped forward. "Bro, what is going on? You've been weird since that package with the scales arrived.."

Mario shrugged. "There was something about that package."

"It got damaged in shipping? I told you to always pay the few coins more for insurance, especially the way Parakarry rushes," Yoshi lectured in jest.

A chuckle escaped the red plumber. "No no, not that. Yoshi! I'm serious! They came from Ludwig von Koopa. I took him out of jail and he has something to tell us about what's going on with Bowser. "

Mario whistled. Ludwig very slowly, movement hindered by the bandages all over his back, emerged from a row of the produce with a zombie like gait. His face was overly puffy due to anesthetics wearing off and eyes red. As he inched closer grimacing, Luigi, Yoshi, and Buckenberry had an expression as though he was the Underchomp seeking to take away all of their extra lives. The Captain on the other hand-

"Golly! A Koopaling!"

Ludwig muttered curses against Mario and scuttled back into the field. Deep in a mental fog from pain killers, the corn maze thwarted his mind utterly. He smacked against dead end after dead end. A light switched on and he could see his tall silhouette before his path. He spun to face the light.

Captain Toad then switched his headlamp on a lower setting. "What were you saying, sir?"

"Regarding what, little toad?"


Captain Toad

, and it's regarding your information on Bowser."

"That intel is for Mario."

"Fair, Mr. Koopa. What about your special objects lexicon then, the book you let Mr. Mario barrow? I had Hint Toad send me a complete PDF for my own enjoyment and I was reading it for the last hour."

Sobering up, Ludwig was intrigued of where this might go with the parvenu of Mario and company, but that meant showing his hand to someone he'd never met before. Still, the opportunity to converse with the only other person who had read his book was too strong for the koopaling to ignore. "Reluctantly, I will elucidate. My father is in danger of a threat called the Dark Star. Now that you have cured all those I afflicted with Mushroom Flu, we must communicate this to them and then hypnotize a way to mitigate its destructive and persistent force."

The Captain nodded. "But you know how already. It is in the very book we speak of."

The koopaling frowned. "Why do you speak as such? I have extracted all particulars from those beige crinkly pages. Surely you don't suggest I am a poor student!"

"I am afraid so, Mr. Koopa." He watched as The Captain fiddled with his tool belt. Ludwig then caught the moonlight glint off of a shiny blade. His mouth went dry as the toad added, "And don't call me Shirley."

"Captain!" Ludwig gasped, his tender shell smacked against the stalks. He was cornered.

"Let me quiz you. The star section of your book states this: 'Ownership [of a star endued item] can pass on through physical possession or..' What? What was the requirement?"

"I cannot recall," Ludwig mumbled defeatedly. He was


he knew it all. However despite the book being on him for days, the last time he'd actually read it was that Friday night. Some sort of subconscious trauma made him shy to thumb through it since. Regardless he found this situation reprehensible. After his 'selfless' sacrifice of his back scales he was still being treated like low life dirty Bowser mook by this toad pest. No one had to like him but he could,


be respected. Masking it under indifference, he was going to test him in return. To see if a Mushroomite raised under such speciest and nationalistic tyranny could grasp that truth. "I will say no more, little toad."

Something moved in a blur. Ludwig felt a painful sting on his left arm, accompanied by thin line of blood running down from the cut. His nostrils flared. "Cease this game already," he growled, clinching his arm. "-Eldstar, why do I keep meeting the insane ones?"

The Captain seemed shocked for a flash, the first piece of evidence he wasn't a sadistic toad shaped android. He then tried just as quickly to hide that under a neutral veil. "Perhaps I was in too jovial a mood." He strapped away the knife, trading it for his more signature pickaxe. "The answer was 'death'. Death was the alternate condition to rid oneself of any attachment, positive or negative, to the stars. Since, if I understand correctly, the owner of the Dark Star, or the item that spawned such is dead, that Dark Star has no attachment to any one and is thus in a position to be permanently conquered. This ends the cycle a dark star normally experiences, that of attaching itself to someone with a psionic link and influencing them for destruction until it is physically separated, typically by being buried deep somewhere underground."

"Where have I heard that before?" Ignoring his injuries, Ludwig grabbed him close. "This IS

the missing piece

! The steward, Zoo Diddley. I respected his privacy, but I always knew there was something about him that-"

"Break it up!" Mario shouted, shining a blinding light on them both. He was waving the other arm in the air like a maniac, but they could no longer hear the rest of what he said, voice buried by the obnoxious drone of a helicopter somewhere near.

...Just on the other side of the same field, "-Cut it out already," Dr. Toad groaned.

He and Jr. Troopa were entering the gates to the field that held the Special Hospital's ride. While Jr. Troopa disliking Dr. Drew Toad was no secret, the reason why was. Junior's colleagues assumed he had a good explanation but he knew himself he


. Junior typically had the endurance to annoy people indefinitely but this time he was drained. That's what he got for starting a bitter one-sided rivalry.

"Wake up, Junior," Dr. Toad stopped where there packed up supplies were held. Long propellers ahead were rapidly spinning up, flatting out corn in the maze and whipping about his oversized lab jacket. It became ear-splitting, so the toad doctor had to lean in towards his ear.

Snapping out of those thoughts, Jr. Troopa gave a curt nod and held on to his cowboy hat. "Yep, partner?"

"Ease it down some! You do an excellent job to be so young! I mean it! But stop being so clingy!"

Jr. Troopa blinked at him. "What?!"

"I mean it! Hey, sorry I denied your request the first time. I was going through things. I'll readd you if it makes you feel better!"

A smile grew on Jr's face before he could stop it. "Y-you will partner?!"

"Yeah! Soon as I'm back at my office computer... Assuming Morris hasn't unplugged the wireless routers again!. Okay, associate? Farwell!"

Jr. Troopa watched the helicopter take flight, shortly becoming invisible against a black sky speckled with stars. He fist pumped. He finally would have a instant messaging friend that was close to his age, in the medical field, and free of time wasting girlfriends! Not that he cared about- never mind.


"So, some 'historian' came to my castle one day and said he did free metal detecting crap. He picked up something in my backyard and I was like, yeah see what it is. That was a few weeks ago. Everyone I asked to help agreed at first but then like, dawg, they when treasure crazy over it, digging and digging!" Daisy explained, seated on the bed and hugged up in covers to suppress her constant chills, one of the milder side effects. She continued, "I felt so bad because they just went


. I thought they'd dig through the planet until they stopped at a tomb. It took dynamite to blast the sucker open and what was inside vanished out of thin air. It was hard to see before going poof but I think it was an old rusty bell.."

Mario nodded. "I think our toads saw that item in the hands of Zoo Diddley." He stood at the door while Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad gravitated towards the back wall where the cowhide rug and seating was. "It gets worse, a mystery general of yours thought my line was Bowser."

Daisy slapped her head lightly. "That's another crazy thang. He invited himself around but I couldn't deal it because the tennis game was coming up and-"

"-I know, I know," Mario repeated. "I screwed this all up by scheduling that tennis game without thinking. All I cared about was getting back at Bowser, making you collateral damage and I'm sorry. Finally though, we've solved this mystery and this mess will be over."

"Really?" Luigi raised one eyebrow.

"Yeah! We know what to do, thanks to this." He revealed the Ex Spatio Obiecti. "But as if I know what I'm talking about. Let me get someone so who does." He then surprised them by turning around to the window in the room and sided it up with a loud creek. Someone was standing outside they noticed then, covered in outerwear that obscured their features.

"Don't freak out this time. It's Ludwig. He's wearing that so people don't notice him."

Yoshi stared at the figure. "In a neon yellow poncho?"

"And why is he here roaming around here? You never got to that, Mario," Luigi added, defensively standing near Daisy.

"Attention!" Ludwig spoke at last. His poncho rustled as he slid close to the cracked window pane. "I know I am gaudy right now, don't rub it in. Anyway-" He explained everything he knew laconically but it still look quite some time, concluding, one finger raised with, "So we need to combat a powerful force with an equal one. Crygor's Law of Relevancy!"

"...Can you run that through me again?" Toad asked with a burned out look.

"NO!" everyone went.

Luigi wearily plopped down in the room's standard issue La-Z-Boy. "It is a lot to take in though."

"Take your time," Ludwig said flatly. "We only have very little of it left..."

Mario slipped on his shoes and grabbed a travel bag. "We have to go go go!"

Luigi watched him dash out. "Mario! He's going jackrabbit again," he told Yoshi and Toad.

Yoshi sighed. "Let's get him.." He left with Toad.

Luigi got up when he remembered Daisy. "Daisy, you'll be okay? I'm not sure what's about to happen right now honestly. I thought we were near the other side of the tunnel honestly."

The desert princess gave a start. "OH, did I zone out? Yeah. I just- I know I'm supposed to be recovering but I'm worrying about my staff and generals at the castle, and I'm outta minutes."

He returned to her side. "Here, call home." He eagerly handed her his phone.

"Weegee, you're the best. Just stick around. It'll be a sec." She hugged him and then dialed her castle's front desk phone. Both of them leaned over the bright screen while it rung. She didn't want her mind to go there, but being alone in the room for the moment was intimate in a way she hadn't felt with him in a while. She wasn't sure if the heat on her face was from that or her low-grade fever. "Hey, this is your Princess Daisy."

"Oh, princess!?" the unfamiliar lady on the other end exclaimed. "I'm Nass your new in house nurse and assistant."

Daisy rolled her eyes. One would think she left the doors of her castle wide open with how many unwanted guests it was attracting these days. Actually maybe she did do that sometimes- "Just let me speak to whoever's your superior..."


Daisy flushed angrily. "What the heck is this? Freakin' jerk! Get out of my castle! Where is Ming? I'll only trust him at this point. Straight up. In fact slick, I don't care how crappy I feel! I'm about to fix a flight home right now and kick you out personally. How 'bout that?"


Luigi's violently emitted a black mist from the speaker holes. They jumped off the bed as it sizzled and the plastic melted into a charred lump, burning through the mattress and down into the wood flooring. A fire alarm blared. Daisy clung to Luigi, wrapping her arms around his back and watched over his shoulder.

"Oh gods! Sorry Luigi did I hit a wrong button or?.. I hope your private pictures of tropical beaches were.. 'backed up in the clouds'? Whatever that means."

Luigi turned around and pulled her close, drawing them away from the mess. "I'm just glad you're okay. What if whatever this was is connected to that Dark Star? We have to find everyone.. And apologize to the room service."

They sprinted outside, both very disoriented of where anything was in this Southern park of the Mushroom Kingdom. They split up to see who would find a phone booth or source of help first. Luigi went to the left where eventually along the road was a golf kart inexplicably parked there. "Yo, Green! Where's Mario? I wasn't snooping or anything but me and that ol' Mitch and I found out-"

Luigi swung into passenger seat with Kylie Koopa "You can tell me the scoop later. Get a fire wagon! My phone blew up!"


Luigi gave the koopa a tired vexing look. "Not in popularity.."


Mario ducked under the hanging model airplanes in Jr. Troopa's private office. The head nurse healed up a mysterious cut on Ludwig here after they met in that corn field. Mario didn't know why, but Junior was in a mighty good mood and let him stay there, at least until Mario snuck him back out to talk with his friends. Mario approached the corner near Junior's computer where Ludwig had jot impressively for a few minutes. "Darn, it's in German." He flipped from page to page worriedly, comparing them to the Lexicon.

"Want me to get Toadette to translate it?" Buckenberry asked over his shoulder.

Mario jumped. "Cool Blue?! I thought you went back to the castle with the rest."

The young blue toad shrugged. "I was waiting for Yoshi cause he'll need a ride. So do ya? Wait, Mario that is in English, just neat cursive."

Mario pulled his hat down over his eyes some, blushing. "I knew that.. Then what does it say?"

He squint at it and then smiled apologetically. "Never mind. I still can't read it."

The Koopaling hobbled in at last, dropping that hideous poncho as he hit the door. He found amusing their buffoon like expressions sh he eased into Junior's La-Z-Boy. Again, those things littered the south.. "You would have never understood Mario fiends, it's in neat cursive German! There are star endued objects that can assist in the incorporeal warfare we find ourselves in, so cease disorganizing my journal please."

"Hey!" Buckenberry tugged on Mario. "Saturday when we were cleaning up the castle, Alagold told Toadette to salvage a jewel of Peach's. Today we put it in storage down here. That's totally it I mean it has star in the name, right? She studied this in college."

Ludwig spat out his hot tea. "We must possess that instantaneously!"

Mario visited a store building that had been rented to them, housing random things from the toads for convenience, clothes, valuables from the castle, some powerup items, the green Bowser racket Luigi added there, and more. Buckenberry pointed out the shoe box. They brought it back to Ludwig and together opened it up. It's light filled the dim little room and the pink hued diamond shaped gem had a magnetizing pull. Ludwig was leaning in, and then recoiled quickly, blue eyes sparking in some sudden realization.

"Plumber and little toad," he explained urgently. "We are not the 'owner' so it is important that we do not touch it." He watched them not react to his words, growing closer. With a shudder, he had to get up and stop them. The knocked back the blue toad but was too late for his greatest rival. "Mario!"

Mario's head snapped upwards. "What, Ludwig?" he asked, casually holding the gem.

Ludwig paused with bated breath. Maybe it didn't mean- Oh, never mind he corrected. It did, as Mario let the gem slip back into the box. The plumber's mouth hung open in horror.


The next wave hit the boat so hard Peach would have flipped out was she not already buried under all of the equipment that shook off their mounts and toppled over her. Agent Toad or Sonny as he casually introduced himself, fought to keep them on top of the waves. The down pour beat them down like a waterfall and she couldn't discern a direction they were trudging, only a light source behind thickened fog. Another splash shook her up again, bringing to the top of the pile a warp whistle. Immediately she tried to use such, but waterlogged it made no noise.

"Mayday!" Agent Toad yelled over the winds of the typhoon. He donned complete scuba gear in flash. "Mmm mm mm mm?" He lifted the snorkel up. "Sorry. Do you think you could swim to the nearest continent from here? No? I'll do what I can but uh I'm kind of new on the job and-"

There was another crash as the object following them with the light rammed them. Hull breached by the large canoe, the their spy boat fell apart in seconds. Peach grasped on to a paddle. It lifted her up and onboard to a sight worse than the storm.

"I found the princess!" Lemmy and a few others hurried to get the drenched and shivering princess and onboard. Iggy's flashlight was the only light in the night storm. In her extreme fatigue she couldn't make out any faces and fell unconscious.

"Row row row," koopas droned, a drilled in habit if they didn't want fire breathed on them, even doing so when their king wasn't actually conscious to force them to do anything. Bowser was just as motionless as Princess Peach as the legendary Water Land canoe rocked with the waves. None of the koopalings were making eye contact with each other and trying to stay alive remained a good excuse to not talk about much either.

Lemmy clambered to the edge of the bow. He caught one glimpse of land before getting pummeled by a wave with the force of K64 running late. He fell back into the puddle in the middle of the boat, continually growing in size as they took on more water. Facing upwards into the sky, Lemmy spotted with each flash of lightning a swirling vortex in the rain clouds. "Over there!"

Kamek nodded and directed a new course, clinging to the edge for support with his hood far down over his head. Suddenly Wendy O. the self proclaimed queen of the ocean tossed a sparkling gold ring in the water from the edge. For a moment the storm began to calm down, the waves moving more gently.

"Told you I had this under control," she murmured.

A steady but comparatively soothing rain pattered the boat. Larry grumbled something then. Toadsworth was next to him in the same position, but dissonantly relieved that the princess had survived shipwreck. Her wellbeing was all he hoped for anymore. Kammy leaned over the edge of the ship and mentioned seeing something just like time Bowser's shower got clogged. Lemmy got to the look out position again to investigate.


All one hundred of the Koopa Troop braced themselves as the strong outer currant listed the ship to its side, ejecting many into the water. The boat spun around until in the center of the eye it snapped in half. All remaining were dragged down by the tidal currents, unable to battle against it. Lemmy was a strong swimmer which he for once in his life hated. He witnessed himself become the last man above the water. He vowed if he survived he would never lie again. He never meant to hurt anyone and all he could wish for was a chance to fix this, as impossible as it seemed. The time came shortly when his strength ran out. He took deep breath and closed his eyes before the whirlpool devoured him.

"REWARD BESTOWED," boomed a satisfied voice from above.


To be continued..

Author note: No relation to Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever Epilogue 1: The missing piece

Created: 7/22, 7/23, 7/25, 7/26, 7/27, 7/28, 7/29, 7/31, 8/1, 8/11, 8/12, 8/13, 8/14, 8/25, 8/31, 9/2, 9/15, 9/18, 9/23, 10/2, 10/6, 10/7, 10/13

Edit: 12/30/20, 12/31

Just fixes mostly: 5/24/21. 5/25

2022 Revise changes and also 7777 words just so ya know: 1/9/22