"YEOUCH!" Bowser yelled as Clawdia applied disinfectant to his wounds.
"Oh, be a big boy," Clawdia said. "Those Mario Bros. really socked it to you this time, didn't they?"
Bowser growled as the stinging liquid seared his wounds. "Gosh, that stuff hurts!" Clawdia began wrapping bandages around his arm. "Ow! Not so tight!" Bowser yelled. "As if being beaten up by the Mario Bros. wasn't enough, I come home to an overly vivacious wife. OWWW!!!"
"To us!" Mario yelled, holding up his glass of orange soda. He and his brother were having a pasta feast to celebrate their latest victory over the Koopa Troop. Yoshi had already eaten, and was asleep on a mat on the floor. "Man, this pasta's good!" Mario said as he dug into his pile of noodles and sauce.
"Mm-hm," Luigi said, his mouth full.
Suddenly, Yoshi perked up. "What's-a the matter, Yoshi?" Mario asked.
Yoshi placed his ear to the floor and listened. He heard a faint thumping sound. "Yoshi hear something in ground," he said.
"Ah, it's-a probably just a bug," Mario said.
"Uh uh," Yoshi replied. "Bigger."
"Probably a mouse," Luigi added.
"Yoshi no know," Yoshi replied, standing up. "Yoshi better get going."
"Are you-a sure you don't-a want any pasta?" Mario asked.
"Nah," Yoshi said, walking out the door.
A young Koopa Troopa stuck his shovel into the ground and scooped up dirt. He tossed the dirt aside and kept digging. The sun was blazing overhead as the Koopa continued to dig. On his head, he wore a brown hard hat with the emblem of "Kolorado Excavations, Inc."
He was part of a team of diggers working under Kolorado, the famous Koopa archaeologist and explorer. He was searching for an ancient temple, called the Mushtemple Ruins. Legend had it that there was some kind of power source deep underground in that temple.
Suddenly, the Koopa struck something hard. He scooped away the dirt and sand to reveal a crumbling rock face. He continued shoveling until a whole wall was in sight. "Proffessor Kolorado!" he yelled.
Bowser rubbed hard on his bandaged arm. "I can't even reach the itch under all these bandages," Bowser whined as he began to look over the reports from his troops in the field. Some reports from the commander of the Toad Town Tunnels sector were very interesting. He wrote that some of his troops had seen things in the shadows. Bowser just dismissed them as hallucinations. However, one of the Gloombas working in that sector had gone missing. Bowser decided to ignore it unless anything more serious occurred. He doubted that it was anything to worry about.
Gloombert sat down on an old pile of bricks. "Yikes!" He quickly got up when he felt the cold water. "Man, I can't find any place to sit that isn't soaked with sewer water!" He and his partner Gloombie were part of the troop from Toad Town Tunnels, the sewer system that runs under Toad Town. They usually split up from the main group to eat lunch together. They sat down next to their lantern and began eating their sandwiches.
"Man, I hate these tunnels," Gloombert complained. "They're so cold and wet and dark!"
"Quit complaining," Gloombie said.
Suddenly, Gloombert heard a noise. He looked into the darkness that filled the tunnels. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move. He quickly turned around and got his spiked hat ready. All of a sudden, he heard a scream. He looked around to see Gloombie being dragged into the shadows. The last thing he remembered was seeing glowing red eyes.
"Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Kingdom News Network," the news anchorman said. "I'm Ted Koopell, your host for this evening. Tonight's top news story: The great Koopa archaeologist Proffessor Kolorado has done it again! This time, he's unearthed the legendary Mushtemple Ruins, just north of Toad Town. We now go live to our reporter in the field, Gwen T. Gwen?"
"Yes, Ted," the reporter replied. "There is a lot of activity buzzing around the site of Proffessor Kolorado's latest discovery. Hundreds of reporters, archaeologists, and bystanders have come to see this amazing display of ancient culture and determined archaeological progress. Behind me stand these amazing ruins, full of mystery." The camera zoomed in and showed an image of a blue-shelled Koopa brushing away dust from a wall of the temple. "The enthusiastic workers are still searching for more information on who built this temple, and why. Perhaps we'll find the answer soon. Reporting live, this is Gwen T. Back to you, Ted."
The blue-shelled Koopa eagerly brushed away all the sand and dust from the walls of the ruins. Wiping his hands on his bright red scarf, Kooper looked over his progress. Behind him, Prof. Kolorado was surveying the work. He stepped over to Kooper. "Doing a fine job, lad," he said. "Keep up the good work."
"You bet I will," Kooper replied excitedly. "Ooh, I can't wait to go inside!"
"Well," Kolorado said, "we haven't yet figured out how to get the entrance opened. Perhaps you could go lend my researchers a hand..."
"Yippee!" Kooper yelled, running off. Kolorado laughed and went back to surveying the progress.
Bowser Koopa sat hunched over his computer. There were more reports of disappearances from Toad Town Tunnels. 'Could it be a prank?' Bowser thought. 'Or maybe those crazy Bloopers?' Well, whatever it was, it was losing him troops. And that had to stop.
Twister Darkster took off his sunglasses to try and see in the darkness of the Toad Town Tunnels. "Why do I even wear these things?" he grumbled as he felt his way through the narrow passages.
Twister was the commander-in-chief of the tunnels unit, and leader of the Dark Koopa squadron. He was also the best at using the Dark Koopas' specialty attack: the paralyzing shell spin. Right now, he just wanted to sit somewhere nice and quiet.
His comrades and underlings had been holding a meeting to discuss what to do about the disappearances. The only things they could think of was that it was either an elaborate hoax, or the Bloopers.
Sometimes the Bloopers liked to scare away Bowser's minions, and other times they stayed to themselves. During the time right before the disappearances, the Bloopers had been unusually quiet. One of the spiked Gloombas in the group had suggested that they had been planning for this. After several more minutes, the entire group had started arguing. Twister had gotten sick of it, and was now looking for a place to clear his head.
After a few minutes of wandering through various passageways and tunnels, Twister came to an old pile of boxes that he liked to sit and relax on. He plopped down and sighed. Being the commander of an entire squadron of minions was usually quite fun, but now it was chaos. Twister pulled out a bottle of Super Soda to quench his thirst.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move. He looked into the shadows and saw nothing. Must've been water dripping, he thought to himself. But he saw something move again, this time closer. He stood up and got ready to fight.
Then he saw something else. Right in front of him, piercing through the darkness, were two bright, red, glowing eyes. Twister tried desperately not to faint.
It saw something. It was shivering in the darkness up ahead. The thing was small, but had some kind of bony armor. Yet, it looked like easy prey.
Twister shivered and quaked under the hot glare of the thing up ahead. It looked ready to pounce at any second. Twister began to prepare for his shell spin attack.
The prey was moving now. It seemed to be withdrawing itself into its armor. It stood ready for the attack.
Twister zoomed forward. He struck the whatever-it-was with full force. However, the attack glanced right off. The creature seemed to have some kind of armor plating. Twister decided to use his paralyzing attack. It had no effect. The predator was immune to all of Twister's attacks!
It was undamaged by the prey's assaults. The creature decided that this was the time to strike. It raised its arm and struck.
"Yow!" Twister jumped out of the way as a large, metal hand pierced through the shadows. The three-clawed hand barely missed Twister. It raised its claws again.
The prey was fast. But the creature prepared to attack again. This time, it would be the end for the prey. But what was that? It sensed something else moving in the darkness. Something much bigger than it or the prey.
Twister screamed as the claw prepared to strike again. But he heard a sound. Something else was moving towards him. It swooped down out of the darkness and struck the attacker. It was a Blooper! The tentacled creature floated back around, charging up for the next attack. Twister had never been happier to see a Blooper.
The Blooper hovered over the attacker and released a huge spurt of ink. The creature let out a horrifying screech and looked up at the Blooper. All of a sudden, a huge ball of energy began to develop on the creature's back. A powerful beam of energy shot forth towards the Blooper. It barely managed to dodge the shot as it tore an enormous hole in the ceiling. The Blooper swooped back down and struck the creature on the head. It let out another growl and scampered into the darkness.
Meanwhile, Twister had gotten the whole thing on tape. It was a good thing he always carried a camera in his shell. Some of his troops had heard the commotion and hurried over, but by the time they got there, both the attacker and the Blooper were gone.
Bowser was excited when he received the video footage from the assault on Twister. "So," Bowser said, "it wasn't the Bloopers."
Several of Bowser's high-ranking officials, along with Twister and Bowser's Koopalings, crowded around Bowser's viewscreen as it played the footage of the attack.
After watching the video, Bowser thought for a moment. The creature was obviously mechanical, and it had a very powerful energy weapon. "Does anyone in the Mushroom Kingdom have that kind of technology?" Bowser asked.
"Only me," a mysterious voice said. Ludwig von Koopa squeezed through the crowd of troops. "But of course, I would never use my inventions against my own father."
"Well," Bowser said, "it couldn't have been the Mario Bros. That only leaves... Nah, it couldn't be him."
Meanwhile, a mysterious figure watched his monitor closely. On it was a map of the Toad Town Tunnels. "Excellent," he whispered. "Soon, my new army will be big enough to strike."
Suddenly, a bumbling Goomba wearing a golden spiked hat and a much-too-large army uniform stumbled into the room. "Sir, I've got those reports you wanted."
"It's about time," the evil figure growled. He grabbed the papers the Goomba was carrying. "Oh," the Goomba said, "and here's your sandwich."
Kooper held two artifacts in his hands. On one of them was some ancient writing, and on the other was a series of images. Kooper turned them around and stuck them together, and then put them next to some other fragments. "Just like a puzzle," he said. He grabbed his bottle of Diet Dr. Fungus and walked over to where the entrance to the Mushtemple Ruins should've been. He looked over the series of images and hieroglyphics and saw that he only needed two more pieces of the puzzle.
Suddenly, one of Kooper's assistants shouted out, "I found something!" Kooper ran over and saw that he had found the last two pieces. He took them over to where the others were and assembled them in order. He had finished a codex of the ancient language. This was the key to understanding how to read the ancient writing.
After reading over some of the ancient words and symbols, Kooper became used to reading the writing of the ancients. Now that he was fluent in translating, he began to try to figure out how to open the entrance of the temple ruins.
News spread fast of Kooper's ability to read the Mushtemple language. As Proffessor Kolorado was preparing to do some errands, two strange-looking green Goombas wearing trench coats walked up to the entrance of the excavation site. "Vwhere is ze one who speaks ze language?" one of them asked.
Kolorado thought about this for a moment, then realized what they were talking about. "Oh, you mean Kooper? He's over there."
The two Goombas scuttled over to where Kooper was trying to figure out how to open up the temple. "Can I help you gentlemen?" Kooper asked when he saw the strange Goombas coming towards him.
"I believe so," one of them replied. "Supposedly, you are able to translate ze language. Vwe vill see if you are ze right person."
"What do you mean?" Kooper asked.
"Vell," the Goomba replied, "if you can open zis temple, you vill have our trust."
Kooper shrugged and went back to work. He read over the symbols on the temple entrance. They said that in order for him to get inside, he must find a specific key that was the right size for a hole that was right below the writing. Thinking fast, Kooper took out his screwdriver and saw that it was just the right size. He stuck it in and the door opened.
"Very clever," one of the Goombas said. "Now let us proceed." They walked inside the temple.
The Mario Bros. gasped in amazement at the size of the gigantic hole in the ground. Below, they could see the cavernous passageways of Toad Town Tunnels. Toad Town officials had called them over quickly when they discovered the gargantuan hole. Fortunately, it was in an open grass field, and not near any homes or buildings.
The Mario Bros. decided to go down into it and see what was doing this damage. They carefully lowered themselves down with some ropes. Turning on their flashlights, they descended into the darkness.
Kooper stared in awe at the amazing entranceway inside the Mushtemple Ruins. It may have been ruined, but it was awesome. The two little Goombas scurried in behind him and waited. "Vell," one said, "vat now?"
Kooper looked around. "Uh, the writings say to go this way." The threesome followed the long corridors deep into the temple's inner passageways. Kooper led the way, following the instructions on the walls. "Ook kadeh teem booki," Kooper read. "Three west, then descend."
"Man," one of the Goombas said, "zis is taking a long time."
"Good thing I brought my slurpee," the other replied.
Mario carefully tiptoed through the narrow passageway, with Luigi walking behind him. "Man, these-a tunnels really go far," Mario whispered.
"Aah!" Luigi yelled. "Bugs!"
"Sh!" Mario whispered.
They came to an opening that had clearly been blasted. They crawled through and came to a tunnel full of rushing sewer water. They stepped into the shallow water and trudged on.
Suddenly, Mario heard something. He stopped, and Luigi bumped into him. "Ouch! Watch it!" Mario whispered.
"Sorry," Luigi said. "Hey, what's-a that sound?" They could barely hear a faint thumping sound. "That must've been-a what Yoshi heard," Luigi said.
As they walked farther, the thumping got louder. But it wasn't thumping. It was the sound of faraway marching. And it continued to get louder. Mario saw the shadows of several people slowly getting closer. Suddenly, around the corner stepped: Bowser!
Bowser and a small escort unit of Koopatrols and Magikoopas, plus Ludwig, were headed for Mario and Luigi. "Hey," Mario said, "what are-a you doing here?"
"Mario!" Bowser growled. The Koopatrols and Magikoopas prepared for battle. "Wait," Bowser said. "If we fight here, we'll destroy ourselves. Besides, we must give them a chance to explain."
"Well," Luigi said, "we entered through the enormous hole that was blasted in these tunnels, and now we're trying to figure out what caused this."
"So," Bowser said, "you're here for the same reason as us. In that case, I suggest we team up. Whatever did that damage had to have a very powerful energy weapon." Mario and Luigi thought about this and decided it was better than trying to battle it out in a narrow sewer passageway.
"Ooh..." the three explorers said when they reached the treasure vault of the temple ruins. "Wow, look at all that gold!" Kooper exclaimed.
Kooper decided that the gold could wait. Right now, they had to focus on finding the secret power source. Unfortunately, they came to a dead end. "Maybe we took ze wrong path," one of the Goombas said.
"I don't think so," Kooper said. "It should have been right here." In front of them was a bare wall, with no writing whatsoever. "Let's retrace our steps and check," Kooper sighed.
The Mario Bros. and the Koopa gang slowly crept along in the darkness. "Man," Luigi said, "I shouldn't have worn my good pants." Bowser was continuously picking pieces of sewage from between his toes.
Suddenly, they heard another marching sound. This time, it sounded like many more people. They soon saw light emanating from one of the tunnels. They followed the path until they saw what was in front of them.
They were all in a vent at the top of a large wall. Below them, they could see hundreds, no, thousands of robot warriors. They all looked the same, and were three feet tall and catlike in shape. Yet they also had tough armor plating and hardened alloy claws. And on the backs of every one were impressive-looking energy cannons. They appeared to be in some kind of underground stadium, with a small stage in front. At the stage was a large podium.
"This looks like some kind of army," Bowser whispered. Some of the robots below were steadily marching into position, forming an audience around the stage.
A mysterious figure stepped onto the stage and walked behind the podium. Unfortunately, he was too far away and, when behind the podium, was unrecognizable. He cleared his throat and began speaking.
"My warriors," he began, "today, we prepare to take this weak nation, the Mushroom Kingdom, and place it under our rule. This should be an easy task. The Mushroomers are weak. You have no need to fear them. So, when I give the signal, you will strike, and take out all of the opposition. Take no prisoners! This is war. Win it!" With that, a large pipe opened and the robot drones began marching into it.
The Mario Bros. looked at the Koopas. "There are only two people I know of who can speak that loud without a microphone," Bowser said. "Morton, but of course it wasn't him, and... Bowser 52589."
"But I thought-a we destroyed his-a army?" Mario said.
"We did," Bowser said. "But it appears he has a whole new kind of army. And he's going to take over the Mushroom Kingdom."
Ludwig stepped forth. "Do not fear, for I have anticipated this move ever since the robots have been kidnapping our troops. I have already equipped the Mushroomers with the proper defenses." Mario and Luigi smiled.
However, it wasn't time to laugh now. When the Marios and Koopas turned around, they saw that one of the robot drones had overheard them. With a loud screech, it leapt forward. The drone barely missed, but prepared to strike again. The good guys quickly ran back the way they came, but stopped when they saw that more drones had already blocked that exit. "This way," Bowser yelled. They turned right and followed a long corridor. Suddenly, their feet fell out from under them. It was a vertical shaft! Just when it seemed like they were falling forever, they all felt the pang of cold water on their faces. They had landed in a puddle of sludge where all of the sewer water drained out. And best of all, they weren't in those infernal tunnels anymore!
Bowser grimaced as the bright sunlight hit his eyes after being in darkness for so long. "Where are we?" he asked. All around them, they could see miles of sand in every direction.
"YOU WHAT?!" Princess Peach yelled. "How could you accept a 'gift' from the Koopas? It's obviously a trap."
Toad nervously stared at the floor. "Well, they said it was a defense."
"Against what?" Peach said. "The queen of Switzerland? The Koopas wouldn't give us a defense against themselves."
"That's not what they said," Toad stammered. "They said it was protection against a new threat."
Peach sighed. "And just where is this new 'threat'?"
"Right outside the window," Toad pointed out. Peach turned and saw a huge swarm of robot drones heading straight for Toad Town.
"Go get the defense mechanism," Peach said flatly.
Bowser 52589 popped open a soda and eagerly watched his computer screen. His drone army was rapidly approaching Toad Town. Nothing could go wrong now.
Suddenly, Lt. Goober burst through the doors. "Sir!"
"This had better be important," Bowser 52589 growled.
"It is, sir!" Goober replied, "The Mario Bros. and Bowser have been spotted in the ventilation shaft."
"WHAT?!" Bowser 52589 yelled. "Stop them at once!"
Goober nervously eyed the floor. "Well, sir, they, uh, kind of... escaped."
Bowser 52589 roared in anger. "Get out of here! I won't stand for failure! We will win this war, Bowser or no Bowser!"
Tayce T. hummed as she carried her groceries back to her shop. She stopped when she heard a sound on the horizon. She looked and could barely see the approaching army. She hurried to get inside.
Meanwhile, a young Toad boy was walking home from school. He, too, saw the approaching army. "Cool," he said.
The drones reached the edge of Toad Town and stopped. By now, the entire town had seen the robots. They stood outside, staring at the strange machines. Suddenly, one by one, the drones began to charge. Balls of light formed on the cannons on their backs, and huge energy beams shot forth. Houses burned. Buildings crumbled. People screamed as their possessions were vaporized in the onslaught.
Speakers throughout the town warned everyone of the danger. "Attention! Attention! The city is under attack! Please evacuate the city using the path to the east and head for Koopa Village. Leave your possessions behind and run for your lives! Oh, and have a nice day."
The drone could tell that the enemies had been here. Sludgy footprints from the puddle of pollution in front of it led into the desert. It went back to the command ship to report.