It took the effort of several Mushroomers to carry Roy's unconscious body into the castle dungeon. Luigi watched contentedly as he stood beside his brother, who was still slightly dazed after the skirmish with the overweight Koopaling. The plumber clad in red was not smiling, however, and stared stonily at his brother.
"Who's watching the girl?" Mario asked, though he already knew how his brother would respond.
Luigi looked slightly startled by the question. "Well... uh... no one is, um, watching her. Right now that is..." The lanky plumber smiled nervously. "You shouldn't worry, Bro. She isn't going anywhere fast."
"That's not really what I'm concerned about," Mario told his younger sibling.
Luigi tilted his head slightly. "Nothing's going to happen to her, bro. You're being a little paranoid. I mean, no one except us knows she even exists."
"I wouldn't be too sure about that..." Mario mumbled.
"What are you talking about, Bro?" Luigi asked.
Mario sighed. "I suppose I should tell you."
"Tell me what?"
"You know that dream I told you about yesterday morning?" Mario asked. Luigi nodded. "It has to do with that. It's kind of hard to explain... but basically, the dream foretold the coming of the girl."
Luigi frowned. "Are you sure? That seems pretty weird, Bro."
"Yes, I'm sure," Mario clarified. "That's not all, though. The girl that appeared is somehow linked to this terrible thing happening in a far away land."
"What terrible thing?" Luigi asked.
"It's these things called Elemental Gems," Mario replied. "They're supposed to be really powerful. Some wacko tried to force them together or something and they blew up."
Luigi gave Mario a skeptical look. "And how does that relate to the girl?"
"It's hard to explain..." Mario answered.
"I don't know, Bro," Luigi said. "This story is pretty weird, I mean, REALLY weird. It isn't normal, Bro. Are you sure you're not, like... sick, or something.
"I'M NOT SICK!" Mario yelled. "I had a dream, okay? It really happened, all right?"
Luigi shook his head. "We should get back to the house."
"Why don't you believe me?!" Mario shouted.
"I don't know whether I believe you or not, Bro," Luigi said. "But one thing's for sure: we should get back to the house. You said it yourself, we need to watch out for the girl."
The plumber clad in red opened his mouth to protest, then thought better of it. "Fine, you're right. Let's go."
Luigi smiled, and lead the way as the two Brothers entered the warp pipe that would take them to their humble abode. Mario gazed up at the sky as he walked, admiring the weather for the first time today. He thought it best, even with all the crazy stuff that was happening, to remain clam. No one ever solved anything by freaking out, he told himself. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he did as he entered the house.
"SHE'S NOT HERE!!!" Mario bellowed, causing Luigi to jump so high he almost hit the ceiling. The lanky plumber swore under his breath, and scurried over to join Mario in the room where the girl had been laying just a few minutes ago.
"NOT GOING ANYWHERE, HUH?!" Mario yelled, shooting his brother an angry scowl.
"As if it's my fault!" Luigi retorted.
"Yeah, it is!" Mario shouted.
"I'm sure you would've rather died at the hands of Roy Koopa, then?" Luigi asked, folding his arms.
"I could've taken him!" Mario spat. "I didn't need your help!" The plumber's stomach lurched. He knew this was a lie.
"Fine, Bro," Luigi said. "Think what you want, but we're wasting time!"
"Wasting time?" Mario repeated. "How so? She's probably MILES from here! She's not supposed to know anything, Bro! Who knows what could happen to her!"
"Not supposed to KNOW anything?!" Luigi shouted. "Oh, let my guess. This is another part of the crackpot dream-"
"IT WAS REAL!!!" Mario bellowed at the top of his lungs. Spit flew from the enraged plumber's mouth, and Luigi shielded himself. The room was silent for a moment, the only sound that could be heard was Mario's heavy breathing.
"She ate the food," Luigi pointed out quietly. Mario turned his head to see where Luigi was indicating, and sure enough, he saw an empty plate and drained water glass.
"Great," Mario said bitterly.
Luigi sighed. "Look, Bro. If you don't want to look for her, then what do you propose we do?"
Mario thought for a moment. "Nothing!" he finally said. "We'll do nothing. If she dies, then so be it."
"Bro..." Luigi whimpered. "What's wrong with you? You whig out once you see that the girl is gone, then you don't want to do anything about it. What about your dream? What about those... Elemental Thingys?"
"I thought you didn't believe me about that?" Mario said, glancing toward his sibling.
Luigi shrugged. "If you think it happened, then I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise."
Mario snarled. "Whatever. It's someone else's problem now. It wasn't even my problem to begin with. So there." Mario reached for the door.
"Where are you going?" Luigi asked.
"A..." Mario looked back at his brother. "I'm... I'm going for a walk." The plumber clad in red slammed the door behind him, leaving a very puzzled Luigi.
The sky had darkened before Mario returned to the house. The tired plumber slowly entered the house, walking right by Luigi into the bedroom, where he flopped onto his bed. Without bothering to undress, Mario quickly fell into a deep sleep.
Mario was walking up a spiral staircase. Torches were hung on the wall, providing the only known light. Had he been here before? He didn't know. All he knew was to keep climbing. The darkness was closing in. It was gaining speed. Mario increased his pace.
It kept going faster. Mario tried to keep ahead of it. Each time it met with a torch, it swallowed the light out of it. The darkness increased its pace even more. Mario broke into a run. Adrenaline took over, but Mario was still full of fear.
He was barely ahead of the darkness. He needed to be. If the darkness caught him, who knows what would happen? The staircase seemed everlasting, and Mario began to grow tired. The plumber was overcome with fatigue. He tripped over a stair, and slammed hard on to the ground.
Why hadn't the darkness taken him yet? Why had it stopped? He looked up to see a bright, blinding light. It was blocking the darkness! None of the vile wrath could pass the light, it was frozen. But the light began to fade. Mario began to grow fearful once again. The light was going away. It was leaving him. Leaving... leaving... leaving... leaving... leaving...
A sudden high-pitched screech echoed in the plumber's head. The waves of sound seemed to churn frantically in Mario's skull.
The air was bitter and cold. Toad Town was dark and silent; the source of light came from the moon, which glowed eerily in the cloudless sky. None of the townsfolk were out and about on this cold night, most were nestle warmly in their beds, their minds cluttered with dreams and simple pleasures.
The girl in white plodded along slowly, her arms hugged close to her body, the nippy air freezing her breath as she exhaled. The girl was full of fear. She had no recognition of where she was, the town seemed like a constant shadow. There was nothing she could do but keep moving. But how could she? It wouldn't belong now before her body temperature would dip too low and she would no longer be able to stay conscious.
It wasn't long now. Time seemed to creep in slow motion as the cold overtook her. The girl fell to her knees and let out a tiny whimper. She needed help. But no one was there. There was no help. All was lost. Lost in the dark. Lost in the cold. She let out another deep breath and fell forward, her torso slamming against the cold cement.
A soft voice whispered in her ear. "What are you doing all alone in the cold, little girl?" The girl could do nothing. She was frozen to the ground. None of her muscles seemed to respond. "You do not seem to be dead," the voice continued. "You are breathing. But why are you here? And who are you? Is there a reason you cannot answer me?"
The voice paused. "So you cannot answer. Very well. It is most unfortunate to see such a young and beautiful girl such as yourself alone in the cold like this... even for those with the blackest hearts. Yes..." The voice paused again. "Someone comes... I'll leave for now, my dear. But when the time comes we will meet again. Yes..."
Several hours later, the girl in white slowly opened her eyes, only for her pupils to be stung by a bright light. Though her vision was blurring, she made out a white mask with two large eyeholes. She blinked several times, then realized that she was no longer numb. Her body was covered by layers of blankets and her head was rested on a soft pillow.
"So you finally decided to wake up?" a voice that seemed to exist just inches away said. "That's good. That's good. That means you definitely aren't dead." The girl's vision was getting clearer and clearer, and she was able to feel more and more.
She leaned up, rubbing her eyes. She seemed to be in a small room. A fire was crackling in the corner of the room, and she saw a tall bookshelf to her left. To her right was what appeared to be a tiny kitchen equipped with a small sink and a stove. On the counter rested an intimidating pile of dirty plates and bowls.
"Good morning," the voice said, and the girl turned to see where the voice was coming from. Standing near the side of her bed was a Shy Guy. His mask was somewhat dirty, as was his Shyster robe, which was of a yellow color. Splotches of grease and dirt covered the Shyster as he grinned up up at her. "I have some canned soup, are you interested?"
The girl's stomach growled loudly as if to answer the Shy Guy's question. "Yes, please," the girl said thankfully. The Shy Guy saluted and waddled over to the mini-kitchen, where he dug through the cupboards to locate a can.
"Welcome to my humble abode," the Shy Guy said as he looked. "Yeah, I know it's small."
"No, no," the girl responded quickly. "It's perfect. I love it."
"Aw, thanks," the Shyster said warmly as he grabbed a soup can. "My name is Mecha Guy, by the way. I'm a traveling mechanic." Mecha Guy rummaged around for a can opener, which he found a few seconds later. He clamped it to the can and began to slice it open.
"I'm Aid," the girl said. (The correct pronunciation is Ah-EEd.) "And I'm really really grateful for your help, truly. If you hadn't come along... well, let's just say it wouldn't have been pretty." Aid was gripped by an icy jolt as she remembered the whispering voice.
"It's the least I could do," Mecha Guy said, pouring the soup in a small pot and starting the stove up. "However, if you don't mind me asking, what were you doing out on a night like that?"
"To be perfectly honest," Aid answered, "I'm not quite sure myself."
"You don't know, huh?" Mecha Guy said. "That could be a problem, I imagine." An awkward silence followed, and the only noise that could be heard was the cracking of the fire. "Right. Well... regardless of your motives, it wasn't the greatest night to take a midnight stroll. In all the years I've visited Toad Towns, it's never been this cold." Aid continued to stay silent. The magic user seemed to be more interested in her surroundings then the conversation, her beautiful sapphire eyes flittering about.
The soup Mecha Guy had put on the stove began to bubble violently, and a good deal of steam rose steadily. The Shyster quickly hobbled over to the kitchen area, where he poured the liquid into a new bowl. He fetched a fork from the drawer and slid it into the simmering stew. Mecha Guy handed the heated bowl over to his bedridden guest, who took it graciously.
"Thanks," the sorceress said as she began to slurp the soup down with gusto.
"So..." Mecha Guy said somewhat residentially, making the attempt to continue conversation. "Are you from... around?"
"I guess," Aid answered, not looking up from her food.
"You guess, huh?" The Shyster said, doing his best to field another strange answer. "Have you been living here for long?"
"All my life... I think," Aid replied.
"And how long is that?"
"A couple days."
The Shyster blinked. "Heh, yeah. Good one. You've lived here all your life, but you've only lived here for a couple days. That's good, that's good. That's funny. Yeah..."
Aid had finished her soup and placed the empty bowl aside. "What, is that weird?"
Mecha Guy blinked again. "You're joking, right?"
"Why would I be joking?"
The Shy Guy mechanic whistled softly. "So you're telling me you've only been alive for couple days?"
Mecha Guy pressed his lips together behind his mask. "You guess again, huh? You sure seem to guess-" The Shyster paused mid-speech as he gazed over toward the bed. Aid was sleeping peacefully, her chest rising and falling slowly and rhythmically. "Okay. All right. Now you've fallen asleep. Great." Mecha Guy watched the fire for a moment then shook his head. "I think I need some fresh air."
"So good of you to come," Ludwig announced, addressing his five remaining siblings. The six Koopa Kids were gathered in the castle's front lobby to see Morton off as he prepared for his departure for Toad Town. "Are you ready, Morton?"
"Oh yes, elder sibling!" Morton exclaimed. "I'm very ready! As ready as I'll ever be! The readiest I'll ever be, in fact! Wait, did I say that already? I did, but it was more or less a different phrase-"
"It's a yes or no question!" Lemmy shouted, interrupting his rambling brother.
"Then off you go!" Ludwig said hurriedly. "There's a Koopa Copter waiting for you just outside! Have fun, and good luck!" Morton nodded and headed for the door.
"Wait, where's your weapon?" Wendy asked.
"Why'd you ask a question?!" Larry shouted.
"I've prepared ahead of time!" Morton exclaimed, ignoring his plant-loving brother. "It's installed right into the chopper! Isn't that cool? Isn't that neat? Aren't you jealous? I would be, if I were-"
"JUST GO!!!" everyone else shouted in unison. The second youngest Koopaling sighed, and slowly opened the door and headed out the castle. As the door slammed, Ludwig looked toward his siblings once more.
"Just like last time, my camera device will follow Morton, if anyone's keen on watching. Oh, and I installed a microphone to the camera device so Morton can talk to you guys!" The Koopalings groaned, and Ludwig chuckled. "Only joking, only joking. Well, good day to you all." Once again, all the Koopa Kids headed out of the lobby except for Lemmy, who reached into his shell and pulled out a two-liter soda and a jumbo popcorn. The rainbow-haired Koopa Kid lay down lazily on the couch and peered toward the monitor, sticking a large handful of popcorn in his mouth.
Mecha Guy sighed contentedly as he emerged from the house of a Toad Town resident carrying a large, bright red toolbox. He plodded slowly down the street, barely holding his heavy toolbox off the ground while the sun beat down on him.
"The weather here is so spazzy," Mecha Guy muttered to himself as he tried to wipe his brow, stopping seconds later as he remembered that he was wearing mask. "But no matter, just one more job and I'm outta here! This climate is driving me nutso..."
Without noticing, the Shyster clad in yellow had slammed into someone else who had been walking in a different direction. The Shy Guy had been knocked to the ground; whoever he had run into has substantially larger. He looked a saw the worried face of Mario. Another figure, taller then the first, walked quickly to Mario's side and gazed down at the fallen Shyster.
"Watch where you're going, Bro!" Luigi scolded, offering a hand to Mecha Guy. The Shy Guy took and hoisted his feet.
"No, no," Mecha Guy said. "It's my fault. I wasn't watching where I was... Say, aren't you the Mario Bros?"
"That's us," Luigi replied. "But we're kind of in a hurry. We're looking for someone." Mario shot his brother a filthy glare. "Halfheartedly," the plumber in green added.
"Looking for someone?" Mecha Guy repeated, dusting himself off. Luigi found this procedure pointless as the Shyster's robe was already covered in smudges or oil and grease.
"Yeah," Luigi answered. "It's a girl. She's about yay tall." The plumber in green made a motion with his gloved hand that showed the girl was up to his neck. "She's got long blond hair, and she's wearing a hooded robe."
Mecha Guy blinked. "Wait, a girl with long blonde hair wearing a white robe? I-" The Shyster clad in green was stopped by a shrieking Mushroomer and a loud whirling sound. The group of three looked up to Morton Koopa Jr. riding in Koopa Copter, wearing a devious smile.
"Another Koopaling attack!" Mario yelped. Morton had heard the shout and turned the chopper so that he was facing his adversary.
"The Mario Bros?" Morton said. "Already? Well that's no fun! I was planning to torture some pathetic Toadstools before they showed up, but no matter."
"You won't be able to torture anybody!" Luigi yelled heroically.
"And who was planning on stopping me? You?" Morton laughed. "Fat chance, buddy, because I'm about to reintroduce you to an old friend! A supped up version of an old friend, to be precise!"
"That would mean it's a new friend," Mecha Guy pointed out.
"Shut up up, you nobody!" Morton roared. "As I was saying, prepare to meet your doom at the hands of my greatest creation! Behold!" The talkative Koopa whipped out a large, complex-looking remote and pressed a large red button. The Koopa Copter began to shake, and a large hatch on the side of the chopper slid open. Slowly, a large mechanical beast began to hover out of the new opening.
"Oh no!" Luigi yelped. "Not that! Oh please, not that!"
"Oh yes!" Morton laughed madly. "You do remember how I used to rule over Desert Land, yes? Of course you do! Well, out of all the baddies that roamed the desert world, THIS was my favorite!"
The floating machine came into full view, and everyone gasped. The mechanical monster was round in shape, and yellow in color. Dozens of orange spikes protruded out of the monster's mechanical body. Finally, the round machine had two angry-looking eyes and a mouth that frowned savagely at the onlookers below.
"Meet the Angry Sun... 2.0!!!"
"My greatest fear!" Luigi whined, covering his head with his lurpy arms.
"Oh, stop sniveling," Mario snapped, cracking his knuckles. "Let's demolish this hunk of junk quickly and continue our search!
"I thought you didn't WANT to look..." Luigi muttered.
"People change their mind, okay?!" Mario snapped. While the Marios were squabbling, Morton had entered a command on his remote, and the Angry Sun 2.0's eyes glowed madly. The beastly monster then rocketed toward the Marios at a tremendous pace. Mecha Guy, who seemed to be the only one who noticed the assault, stepped to the side and watched as both Mario and Luigi were hammered by the swooping machine. Both Marios were knocked painfully into the side of house, causing the entire building to shake.
"NOW look what you've done!" Mario shouted.
"What I'VE done?! Clearly, this is your fault!" Luigi shouted back.
"MY fault?!" Mario yelled. "How is it MY fault?!"
"SHUT UP!" Mecha Guy roared, causing both Bros. to look in his direct. "I thought you idiots were heroes! Get off your butts and put a stop to that crazy machine before it blows up the entire town!"
"It's too late for that, my yellow friend," Morton said as he pushed another series of buttons. "Now prepare to fry, Mario Ninnies!" The Angry Sun 2.0's eyes began to glow again, and two narrow, superheated lasers shot toward the pair of plumbers. Mecha Guy smacked himself in the face and shook his head as the lasers hit dead-on and sent the startled Brothers high into the air with a huge explosion. Mario and Luigi both slammed into the ground seconds later, unconscious and heavily burned.
"That was pathetic!" Morton yelled. "I was expecting more from those two..."
"Join the club," Mecha Guy agreed bitterly. "It looks like I'll have to stop you."
Morton laughed. "You? YOU?! You're a puny Shy Guy! You won't stand a chance against my high-powered and totally invincible Angry Sun 2.0!"
"Try me!" Mecha Guy challenged.
"Fine!" Morton roared, plugging in another command via remote control. The machine's angry eyes glowed once and again, and the same pair of lasers that had fried the Mario Brothers blasted down toward Mecha Guy. Thinking quickly, he snatched up his toolbox and swung it in the path of the laser beams, which were reflected harmlessly off the surface of the red-colored steel. The lasers shot back toward the Koopa Copter, and Morton barely dodged with a last second evasive maneuver. The Koopaling growled as he gazed back down toward his tiny opponent.
"Not bad, Shyster. But let's see how you deal with THIS!" Morton punched several more buttons and grinned as his mechanical creation's eyes began to glow once again. This time though, the pointy spikes that covered the Angry Sun 2.0's surface shot out into the air and began to fly toward the startled Shy Guy. "I call it the Angry Sun 2.0 Homing Ray Missile Barrage!" the Koopaling declared as the missiles flew closer to their target.
Mecha Guy gulped, and retrieved a sturdy-looking screwdriver out of his tool box before dashing toward the nearest house. He grinned slightly as he observed a large window on the first floor, and as he neared the home, he hurled his screwdriver forcefully at the glass window, which shattered as the tool blasted through it. The Shyster clad in yellow dove through the now open window and landed painfully on a group of glass shards which rested on a hard tile floor. Ignoring his wounds, Mecha Guy quickly slid under the nearest table, which, to Mecha Guy's delight, seemed relatively sturdy.
As Mecha Guy waited under his shelter, an old Mushroomer wheezed into the room, looking wide-eyed at the broken window. "Well I'll be the son of a Fuzzy!" the old coot yelled in a raspy voice. "If you wanted to get into my house, all you had to do was-" The aged Mushroomer was interrupted by the sound of several large explosions. The building shook violently as the missiles crashed into it and large chunks of the house began to fall. Mecha Guy's spot under the table protected him from most of the falling rumble, but the old Toad Town resident wasn't so lucky. The home was barely standing after the last explosive had slammed into the exterior. Mecha Guy shot out from his hiding spot and bolted for the door as the entire building began to collapse. The Shy Guy had just dove from the house seconds before it had completely fallen.
"That was close..." Mecha Guy muttered to himself as he got to his feet.
"WHAT?!" Morton cried in disbelief. "How did you SURVIVE that?!"
"Is that a rhetorical question?" Mecha Guy asked. "Or do you really want me to tell you?"
"Shut up!" Morton roared. "Nobody likes a wise guy, Shy Guy! Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, about to clobber you, and it seems like it'll have to be done the old fashioned way!" Morton entered another command, and the mechanical menace swooped quickly down toward the Shyster clad in yellow.
Mecha Guy had anticipated this, and leaped into the air just before the Angry Sun 2.0 had reached ground level. The nimble Shy Guy landed roughly on top of the now spikeless machine, and grabbed a steady hold on the metal monster.
"GAH!" Morton bellowed. "You will not ride my perfect machine like a common Yoshi!" Morton stabbed madly at his remote and the Angry Sun 2.0 rose high into the air. With another series of button-pushing madness, the Angry Sun remake began to shake and sway in the air, making an attempt to buck the Shyster off. Mecha Guy held on with all his might, but after a few gnarly twists and turns, the Shyster began to lose his grip. Seconds before the Shy Guy wouldn't be able to hold any longer, the Angry Sun 2.0 halted its spastic actions.
"This isn't going anywhere!" Morton yelled. "So I'll just have my Angry Sun 2.0 float you over here so I can swat you off personally!" Morton pushed another series of buttons, and the mechanical sun slowly hovered over the Koopa Copter. Morton smiled as the hovering machine was now just feet away from his chopper. "Let's end this!"
"Indeed," Mecha Guy agreed, taking the Koopaling by surprise as he jumped swiftly towards him, landing a hard kick on the Koopa's large head. The Shyster quickly shoved the startled and now barely conscious Morton off the side of the chopper, snatching the Koopaling's remote from him as he fell. Mecha Guy heard a loud and painful thud several seconds later and smiled deviously. He examined the remote, and found a button marked Self-Destruct.
"Convenient," Mecha Guy chuckled, pressing the button. He then turned and saw that the Angry Sun 2.0 was just feet from the chopper. He yelped and grabbed the chopper's controls, hurriedly slamming the acceleration. The Koopa Copter sped away just in time as the eyes of the Angry Sun 2.0 glowed for one last time. Mecha Guy covered his face as the mechanical beast erupted into flame.
"NO!!!" Morton moaned loudly. "MY BEAUTIFUL CREATION!!! RUINED!!!"
"I swear I've heard that line used before..." Mecha Guy muttered. "Wait, how is that idiot still conscious? He fell, like, thirty feet!"
"STUPID SHYSTER!!!" Morton cried. "WHY DON'T YOU COME DOWN HERE SO I CAN THRASH YOU FOR BLOWING UP MY MASTERPIECE?!"
"Aw, shut up!" Mecha Guy yelled, beaning the Koopaling in the back of the head with the remote, which knocked the Koopa to the ground and caused him to slip into unconsciousness.
Mecha Guy quickly activated the Koopa Copter's landing gear and rested the chopper gently on the cement street. The Shyster hopped out and slowly made his way over to the fallen Brothers. When he arrived, Mario had just awoken and was holding his head and looking down at his charred overalls in disgust. He turned and noticed Mecha Guy.
"What happened?" the dazed plumber asked.
"I took care of him," Mecha Guy explained.
"Wait, YOU took care of him?" Mario inquired.
"Yup," Mecha Guy responded.
"That's embarrassing..." Mario moaned. "Where is that fool of a Koopa now?"
Mecha Guy looked over his shoulder. "Being escorted to the dungeons, it appears." A swarm of Toad Town guards had hoisted the fallen Koopa up and was carrying him toward the castle. Luigi had awakened now, and stared at Mecha Guy.
"We won. Now shut up," Mario hissed. "Anyway," the plumber continued, facing Mecha Guy. "We need to continue our search for the girl, so unless you have further information-"
"I do!" Mecha Guy cried, interrupting the plumber. "She's at my house! Just follow me!" Mecha Guy began walking quickly down the road.
"Wait up!" Mario yelled, as he got up and dusted himself off. "Why is she at your house? You didn't kidnap her, did you?"
"No, I didn't kidnap her..." Mecha replied in an annoyed tone.
"I found her on the street last night," Mecha Guy explained. "She was freezing to death! By the way, how do you two relate anyway?"
"That's none of your business!" Mario snapped.
"Fine," Mecha Guy said bitterly. "But could you at least tell me why she's so darn spacey?"
Mario sighed. "That would take a lot of explaining, and at this point, I'm not really keen on repeating it again." Mecha Guy mearly grumbled as he continued to advance toward his Toad Town home. After a few more minutes of travel, Mecha Guy stopped at a small building on the outskirts of Toad Town.
"We're here," the Shy Guy guy said coldly, opening the door. Mario rushed into the small house, and his gaze fell upon Aid. She was was sitting up in Mecha Guy's bed, resting up against a pillow.
"Who's this guy?" Aid asked the Shyster.
Mecha performed his trademark blink, and turned to Mario. "What are you trying to pull? I thought you said you knew her!"
"I do!" Mario said loudly. "Well, sorta."
Aid starred at Mario. "I've never seen you before... Wait. Yeah, yeah I have."
"You have?" Mario asked.
Aid nodded. "You're the one who owned that house I was resting in before, weren't you? I saw a picture of you near the bed I was resting in."
"She was resting at your house too?" Mecha Guy asked.
"Hush!" Mario hissed. "Yeah, that's me. And boy am I glad you speak English and actually sort of understand what's going on."
"Why wouldn't I speak English?" Aid questioned.
"Long story," Mario clarified.
Mecha Guy folded his arms. "Then why don't you tell it so we can find out what in the world is going on?"
"You don't need to concern yourself with this matter!" Mario told Mecha Guy. "Why don't you take a little walk or something?"
"I have the right to know what's going on!" Mecha Guy shouted. "I saved her life!"
"What difference does it make?" Mario asked. "I'm doing this for your own good. Trust me, you don't want to become involved with this!"
"Just let him stay," Aid said. "What harm would it do?"
"Fine," Mario agreed. "But let's get to the point, shall we? First of all, Aid, that's your name right?" Aid nodded. "Aid here was created because of these objects called Elemental Gems. Basically, when these gems are gathered and put together in tight space, they freak out and cause some chaos. This is how you were formed, Aid. After this happened, Aid was blasted from wherever the gems were into the Mushroomer Kingdom, where I found her."
"Wait... what?" Mecha Guy interrupted. "You're joking, right? Even with all the magic in this world, your story is still extremely... shaky. How do you even know this happened?"
Mario gulped and decided not to tell Mecha Guy about his dream. "I just know, all right? You see, this is exactly why I didn't want to tell you this in the first place!"
Mecha Guy frowned. "Fine. Go on."
"Well anyway, the gems were scattered again, which is good. But what's not good is that whoever put them together in the first place is gonna try to do it again. I don't really know why, but that's evil people for you. Our job is to stop this guy from recollecting the gems."
Aid nodded. "Well, that makes sense, I guess."
Mecha Guy snorted. "Oh yeah. Definitely. The most sense I've heard out of anybody for a-"
"Cut the sarcasm!" Mario snapped. "Time is short. We have to start searching for these things right away!"
Mecha Guy sighed. "You're actually going to go through with this crazy idea?" Mario gave him a stern glare. "Right... Well, as crazy as your story sounds, it actually checks out."
Aid giggled. "See, I told you I was only a couple days old."
"There's one problem, though," Mecha Guy declared. "None of us have ANY idea whatsoever where these Elemental Gems might be."
"I can help you with that..." Mario and Mecha Guy jumped with surprise as a dark sounding voice came from behind them. Through the open doorway, the two Plitians saw a tough, burly-looking black-colored Yoshi. The dino was also wearing a dark pair of sunglasses, which added to his shady appearance. Mecha Guy moaned.
"I can't believe I left the door open..."
Mario starred at the Yoshi. "Did you overhear us?"
"I did, in fact," the Black Yoshi responded. "However, I think I can help you with your little problem."
"You can?" Mario asked disbelievingly.
"Sure!" the Yoshi grunted. "My name's Broshi, mind if I come in?"
"I'm Mecha Guy," the Shyster introduced. "And yes, you can come in." The small house seemed extremely cramped as the large dino squeezed in.
"And who are you?" Broshi asked, addressing Mario.
"I'm Mario," the plumber in red replied, not used to having to introduce himself.
"And this is...?" Broshi asked, motioning toward Aid.
"I'm Aid," the girl in white answered.
"Let's get to the point, shall we? How can you help?" Mario questioned the large Yoshi.
"I know where the Elemental Gems are," Broshi explained.
"Well?" Mecha Guy asked somewhat rudely.
"They exist on an entirely different continent," Broshi explained. "The continent where I was born, actually. It is the continent know as Plateaus. Plateaus is where the first life existed on Plit, which is why it is know as the continent of origin. On Plateaus exists seven different areas known as sectors. Each sector is home to one of the seven Elemental Gems."
"Plateaus, eh?" Mecha Guy said. "That's a long haul... We're gonna have to cross the Ogral Ocean, which is two-thousand miles across... at LEAST."
"Two-thousand miles?!" Mario moaned. "Are you sure there aren't any alternative routes, like a warp pipe or something?"
Mecha Guy snorted. "No warp pipe could travel that far. However..."
"However what?" Mario asked.
"We're gonna need an aircraft," Mecha Guy explained. "And I think I know how we can get one. Or sup one up, at the very least."
Mario stared confusedly at the Shy Guy. "Sup one up? What are you talking about?"
Mecha Guy grinned. "You'll see. In the meantime, I recommend you take care of anything that needs to be done before you take off. Bring any supplies you think that you'll need for the journey, and meet at the Toad Town front gate at..." Mecha Guy glanced at the clock that hung in his tiny house, "five. See you then." Mecha Guy quickly exited the house, leaving Mario in utter perplexity.
Mario spent the rest of the day running about and informing others of what was about to happen. He ran into Luigi soon after he left Mecha Guy's house and explained what was going on. The lanky plumber had agreed to accompany Mario on his quest and the two of them had headed off to the castle to explain their ventures to Peach and the others.
After a quick discussion, the Mario Bros. took off once again, ignoring the prying questions of Peach and company. The Marios returned to their home for a quick lunch and began to get their stuff and organized. The plumbers quickly prepared their packs, filling it with food, health items, and equipment. At a quarter after four, the Brothers left their house once again and headed for Toad Town.
Mario and Luigi arrived at the front gate fifteen minutes before five, and saw Mecha Guy waiting for them with a smug smile on his face. "Behold," the Shyster said, motioning toward a large object that was covered by a tarp. Mecha Guy snapped his fingers, and a group of tired-looking Mushroomer mechanics pulled the tarp off, revealing a strange vehicle.
The vehicle looked like the product of a messy fusion between two Koopa Copters. The majority of the vehicle was indeed made up of two Koopa Copters, but the openings on each were sealed off and no longer accessible. Perched on top of the two fused choppers was what looked like a small control center that was covered by a semicircle of clear glass. In the middle of the small room was a comfortable looking armchair. There was a small opening behind the chair with the top of a ladder poking out.
The back of the craft was equipped with several large boosters, as well as more propellants. There were two large laser cannons equipped on each side of the symmetrical ship, and on the front of the craft the two smiling faces of the original Koopa Copters had been replaced by two oval masks and yellow writing that read The Mecha Chopper.
"Impressive, no?" Mecha Guy said as the two Brothers looked on in awe. "I was thrilled to hear that there were two Koopa Copters I could work with instead of just one. I hollowed out both of them and used most of the technical equipment for the control center there. Some of that machinery came from my stuff, too. It has turbo boosters in the back there that allow the vehicle to travel up to five-hundred miles an hour. Now, the only reason it can reach that speed when you're driving this puppy is because the vehicle will turn horizontally in the air so that it's less wind resistant. That's why the control room is facing upwards right now.
"Continuing on, the craft has two different compartments, one for storage and the other for sleeping and hanging out. If the pilot ever needs to sleep, you can set up the automatic autopilot if you want. This baby is also equipped with two Quantum Laser Cannons in case you run into any... trouble. Not bad for just six hours work, wouldn't you say? I couldn't have done it without those Mushroomer mechanics, they're quite the diligent bunch. Anyway, you have any questions?"
"Two," Mario answered. "First, how do we get in? And two, who's driving this thing?"
"It opens with this key, which, for your convenience, I have made two of." Mecha Guy showed Mario two small remote controls and handed one to him. "This button opens the hatch and this one closes it. When it closes it locks automatically." Mario pushed the first button and a hatch near the bottom of the ship slid open. He pushed the second one; the door slid shut.
"As for your second question, I have already trained your pilot for your mission to Plateaus," Mecha Guy explained.
"Who is it?" Luigi asked.
"Aid, of course," Mecha Guy said, and as if on cue, Aid popped up into the control center of the Mecha Chopper and waved at the Brothers.
"She's coming?" Mario questioned. "Why don't you just come and drive the darn thing?"
"I have to stay here," Mecha Guy informed. "Toad Town needs me to protect them from any further Koopaling atacks, because we have reason to believe more will be striking in the very near future. Also, Broshi will be coming for navigational purposes."
"Him too?" Luigi whined. "I think I'm going to be claustrophobic..."
"Weege," Mario said, looking at his brother. "I think you should stay, Bro. I think you'll be needed here in the kingdom."
"Ugh..." Luigi moaned. "Another adventure without me? I just can't stand it..."
"Sorry Bro," Mario said, patting his brother on the back.
"Something worries me, though," Mecha Guy said. "Although Broshi is necessary for the mission, I don't entirely trust him. It seemed like it was just too convenient for him to show up back there. It's very strange."
"Well, sometimes things just work out that way," Mario explained. "I think he'll be fine. Without him, we wouldn't even be on the right track."
"True, true," Mecha Guy agreed.
At a little after five, Mario, Aid, and Broshi stood outside the ship saying their final goodbyes. Peach and Toadsworth, along with several other Mushroomers, had come to see Mario and company off. Luigi stared sadly at the ground as his brother boarded the ship, and Mecha Guy smiled and waved as the company departed.
"Take good care of the ship!" the Shyster called. "And each other, too! That's probably more important!"
"Yeah, Bro," Luigi said halfheartedly. "Good luck."
"Indeed, Master Mario," Toadsworth said. "Have a safe trip!"
"Goodbye, Mario," Peach said. "The fate of Plit is in your hands, as usual, so may the stars be with you!" Mario took one last look at the farewell party, and nodded. He entered the ship, closing the sliding door behind him. After several seconds, Aid appeared in the control room once again. She pushed a few buttons and turned a lever, and the Mecha Chopper's many propellers began to fire up. The craft began to rise, and as Aid activated two of the smaller thrusters, the ship began to turn so that it faced horizontally in the air. Aid activated the main thrusters and the ship blasted off into the sky, disappearing into the horizon.