Bowser and Kammy unfroze a bit later after Grodus had gotten away. "Darn it!" Bowser shouted. "Where did he go?"
"I believe he used a time spell on us, my Lord," Kammy answered.
"Darn it darn it darn it! I hate him..." Bowser muttered.
"He got your Crystal Star too..."
"I'm sorry..." Kammy said, leaving the room to check on the status of the rest of the castle.
Bowser saw Ludwig and Roy knocked out on the floor nearby. He had no real response to this and simply ordered some Koopatrols to carry them off to their rooms. He then sat in his throne, grinning slightly. "At the very least, that was rather entertaining. It is now quite clear Grodus cannot defeat me in combat, so he's out for the Crystal Stars. He wants to try and send the Shadow Queen after me, it seems. Ha, I've heard about her. Mario defeated the Shadow Queen. Well, I defeated Mario. I suppose that means by default I can beat the Shadow Queen as well. Grodus is a fool. He'll never win. Bwahaha!"
Meanwhile Kammy arrived where Larry, Morton, Wendy, and Jack were located, Larry already semi-conscious.
"Are you all right, Master Larry?" Kammy asked.
Larry quickly jumped up and ran into his room. "My Crystal Star! It's gone! Noo! Now I'll never be king!"
By this time, Morton and Wendy were also starting to wake up. "KING?!" the two of them shouted in unison.
"I was gonna help you become king?!" Wendy screamed, "No way. I'd rather have Ludwig be king!"
"Shut up!" Larry yelled back, and then said much more quietly, "You don't have to worry. I gave up on trying to collect the Stars."
By now, Jack was also up. "Why give up? Keep trying."
"Well, I heard that once someone collects all seven, they rule the world."
"That's all the more reason to have at least one. Come on," Jack urged.
Kammy flew off, seeing as though everyone in the immediate area was okay.
"Eh, all right... I'll keep looking, I guess. Even if it means just keeping one," Larry decided.
"Let's go find Regal... I know Wendy won't be helping."
"That right!" Wendy declared, walking off, Morton following, being surprisingly silent.
Regal was with Lemmy and Iggy, after they had beaten the X-Naut army. Kammy approached the three of them, asking if they were okay.
"Okay? I'm great!" Lemmy stated. "That was the most fun I've had in a long time."
"You said it," Iggy agreed. "I enjoyed beating upon that army."
"It was... interesting," Regal added, walking off to look for Jack and Larry.
"Well, good job," Kammy commended. "I'm going to make sure no damage was done to the castle." With that Kammy left Lemmy and Iggy.
Grodus was staring at all seven Crystal Stars on their pedestools in his room, very happy with himself. "Ah... The day has finally come. I have all seven Crystal Stars, and Mario is dead. No one knows what I'm truly planning. It's perfect..."
He was alone. Pura and Crump were elsewhere, as were the remainder of the X-Naut army.
Pura was pacing back and forth in front of the army. In all, there were only seventeen troops left, hardly making it an army anymore. Pura stopped walking. "Only seventeen left? Grodus is disappointed. You hardly got past any of Bowser's troops."
The captain spoke up. "Lady Umbron, I'm sorry. I had the army retreat because a hybrid was taking out our troops with no difficulty whatsoever."
"A hybrid? Ha. And this hybrid's name?"
"I think it was Delrin Yoshun," Slice answered.
"I am amused at this pretend hybrid, but-"
"He's not pretend!" an X-Naut shouted.
This X-Naut was blasted with a shadow ball, and knocked to the ground, unlikely to get back up. "Do not interrupt me," Pura said coldly, then continued, "As I was saying, the remaining sixteen of you shall now go through intense training so we don't have a repeat of what happened at Castle Koopa."
"Yes, Lady Pura," the whole said in unison.
"Uh, yes?" the large X-Naut responded.
"Show these buffoons how to fight, though you're not too great at it yourself," Pura commanded.
Crump saluted and divebombed an Elite X-Naut near him, who didn't even fall down.
"Uh, fall down," Crump whispered to the Elite.
"Okie-dokie," the Elite said, falling onto his back.
Pura slapped her forehead. "Pathetic..." She walked out of the room.
Not much later, Grodus walked in the room to see Crump forcing the army to do jumping jacks. "Crump, what are you doing?"
"I'm getting these bums in shape," was the response.
"Wonderful," Grodus said, and then asked, "Where is Pura?"
"Right here," Pura said, walking out.
"Oh yeah, who's good?" Crump asked no one in paticular.
"Good, you're here... Now that we have all seven Crystal Stars, we're ready to initiate our plan."
"I'm already fully prepared," Pura informed.
"Good," Grodus grinned slightly. "Crump, bring along the X-Nauts."
Upon further thought, Grodus changed his mind. "Actually, don't bring them. They won't be needed here."
"Uh, you guys can go," Crump told the army.
Grodus stopped the X-Nauts as they started to leave. "No they can't. They still have training to do."
A few X-Nauts groaned.
"Silence!" Grodus ordered. He turned to Pura. "To the Thousand-Year Door," he said, walking off.
"So, what do we do for our training?" an X-Naut asked Lord Crump.
"Hmm... Do push ups," Crump told them and then started following Grodus and Pura out of the X-Naut Base.
"I saw them down here..." Silver told Thumbs, both of them walking around in the old ruins of Rogueport.
"How long ago was that?"
"A few hours."
"Well, I would assume they're gone," Thumbs informed.
"Yeah, but where did they go? It was like they vanished..."
"Hmm..." Thumbs thought for a moment. "Maybe they used... this door."
Silver looked inside to see a bunch of Spanias. "Nah, it's just those cardboard things."
While Silver was looking inside, Grodus, Pura, and Crump walked out of one the buildings and away from Silver and Thumbs.
Thumbs noticed. "Hey, Silv."
"I saw them. They went that way." Thumbs pointed.
"Follow them! Quick!" Silver dashed off in the direction Thumbs pointed to.
However, they had already reached the Thousand-Year Door. The door had already lightened up with the color of each of the seven Crystal Stars. It was already banging loudly and a few cracks had appeared in it.
"Finally..." Grodus whispered to himself. "The world shall be mine..."
With one final loud bang, the door flung itself open. Pura wasted no time in walking in. Crump was a bit skeptical, however.
"Do I have to go in? It looks kinda spooky."
Grodus whacked him with his staff. "Get in there!"
"Fine, fine." Crump walked in with Grodus following. The door creaked shut behind them.
Only a few seconds later, Silver and Thumbs entered the room. "Where'd they go?"
"Maybe they went in the Pit of 100 Trials," Thumbs suggested.
"I doubt it. Maybe they went in there," Silver said, looking at the Thousand-Year Door.
"Nah, they couldn't have. They'd need the sev..." Thumbs stopped in mid-sentence, "... en Crystal Stars."
"This seems quite easy so far," Pura claimed, blasting an attacking Swoopula out of the air.
"Some of the creatures in here could pose quite a threat," Grodus warned.
"Well I expect they're a more difficult challenge than this," Pura hoped, extinguishing a Phantom Ember as she continued down the path of the Palace of Shadows.
As they reached the next room, Crump took the lead. After he took a few steps, some spikes popped out and he jumped back. "Woah!"
"Shouldn't be too hard to pass," Pura said, taking to the air and frying a Swoopula not too far away. However, when she got too high, some more spikes popped out from the ceiling. She barely avoided thme and quickly landed. "Hmm..."
"Follow me," Grodus ordered. "I've been through here before."
Pura and Crump complied, carefully following Grodus as he manuevered around all the spike traps and entered the next room.
"I still don't see anything too difficult," Pura complained, still walking. Though, while she was complaining, a hiding Chain Chomp lunged at her from her left. She tried to dodge, but she was still bit on her side, leaving a decent-sized wound which was, at the moment, bleeding.
Before Pura could perform some sort of retaliation, Crump intervened, tossing what he called an "X-Bomb" at the Chomp, but it really was just a mine with an X on it. It connected with the Chomp's head and immediately exploded, shooting pain throughout the entire Chomp, causing it to whimper and bounce away from them as far as its chain would allow it.
"Thanks... I guess," Pura said, bandaging her wound with a piece of her cloak.
Grodus was already all the way down the hall, so Crump and Pura had to hurry to catch up. The next room they entered was very different from the rest. There was a door on the other side as usual, but there was also a building in the center of the room with a set of rivers flowing around it.
"So... where do we go?" Crump wondered.
"Straight," Grodus answered. "Mario already took care of the puzzles involved here."
They went straight, and as soon as they entered the next room, they were attacked by multiple Dark Wizzerds. However, they were easily disposed of my Grodus's lightning attack. The three continued on.
Thumbs and Silver entered the Thousand-Year Door and quickly noticed the path of destruction created by Grodus, Pura, and to a lesser extent, Crump. They could see dead Swoopulas laying on the ground and unconscious Dry Bones, as well as Bombshell Bills and Bombshell Bill Blasters that appeared to have exploded recently.
"Yeah, they've been here," Silver said, his voice somewhat cold as he dashed forward.
Thumbs followed, but he wasn't quite as determined as Silver to pursue Grodus and the others. "This seems to be getting really dangerous. Even moreso than Cortez. Is it really worth that Crystal Star?"
"I'm not doing it for the Crystal Star," Silver quickly responded, "I'm doing it for adventure, training, and for a decent challenge. It's obvious these guys are tough, but if we beat them, we can prove we're even tougher."
"Yeah, that's true. All right then."
They both continued through, getting to a room that was relatively quiet and empty save for one Dark Bones. Thumbs wasted no time in chucking an Ice Spiny at it. It quickly woke up and Dry Bones piled into the room from all over.
"... Smooth move," Silver said, slicing through several Dry Bones with both of his swords.
Thumbs ignored that and flew directly after the Dark Bones, this time heaving a Fire Spiny at it. It struck and the Dark Bones flinched for a second before chucking a blue bone at Thumbs, who swerved out of the way. The blue-shelled Lakitu threw yet another Spiny, this one a golden Light Spiny. The Dark Bones was struck and it fell, being a bit weak to light attacks. The Dry Bones Silver hadn't already taken care of began to flee. Grodus, Pura, and Crump had been able to avoid this trap thanks to Grodus freezing the Dark Bones before it awoke.
"That was pretty easy," Thumbs noted, flying into the next room, most certain Silver would follow.
After passing by a few more traps, Grodus and Crump were on the other side of a spike pit near a door, with Pura still climbing across over the pit with a pipe coming out of the ceiling. As soon as Pura made it across, they entered the door, walked through the room, downed another Chain Chomp, and walked through another door to find themselves in a very long hallway high above the ground, the door barely in sight on the other side of the hall.
"We'll have to fly across," Grodus informed, lifting his staff so he could levitate across. Pura picked up Crump and flew after him.
The next room they entered was well-lit, several chandeliers being on the roof. They walked through that room without a concern. The room following that appeared to be a throne room, having a small stairway and a throne at the end of the room. None of the three seemed distracted by their surroundings as Grodus walked up to the throne and pushed it over, revealing a passageway behind it. He entered with Crump and Pura following. Inside there was a dark stairway, lit by only a few candles here and there. None of them minded that, walking down the stairway, and entering one final room. This room was rather small, with lit candles everywhere. There was also a carpet leading from the door to a coffin in the middle of the room...
"We're here," Grodus said, grinning. He calmly walked to the coffin. "Pura, come here."
Pura walked forward, Crump staying at the door. "All right, let's do this."
Grodus nodded and raised his staff into the air, and the coffin opened.
"All right, let's get those Crystal Stars!" Larry shouted, running off after exiting Castle Koopa. Regal and Jack, who were nearby, covered their ears as Larry ran off, but soon followed. They were abruptly stopped by an earthquake.
"What was that?" Jack asked.
"I'm unsure, chap..." Regal responded.
The shaking of the earthquake continued.
Silver and Thumbs were currently battling a pair of Chain Chomps when they too were stopped by shaking. Even the Chomps froze in place.
"Wow, what caused that?" asked Thumbs.
"It sounded very close by..." Silver noted.
Elsewhere a pink spoonbill named Siro could be seen driving in a milk truck when the shaking occured. It caused the milk truck to crash, Siro falling out of it.
"THIS IS THE WORST CAMEO EVER!" Siro screamed.
But that's irrevelent.
"I have to tell you," Pura warned, "The Orb of Darkness drains a lot out of me when I use it."
"I don't care," Grodus remarked, "just do it when the Shadow Queen comes out."
"Fine," Pura muttered.
Soon enough a purple demon emerged from the coffin, having large hands and what looked like a crown on top of her head. The Shadow Queen eyed Grodus. "You again. Heheheh..."
"NOW!" Grodus shouted to Pura.
Pura complied and began charging the Orb of Darkness.
"I guess your first de-heading wasn't eno- Huh? Something's draining my power." The Shadow Queen looked down and saw Pura charging the Orb. "Fool! Stop that this instant!"
Pura upped the power.
"That's it!" The Shadow Queen prepared to fire a purple lightning bolt at Pura, but Pura quickly dodged it and continued charging, upping its power again.
"I feel weird..." Crump commented, unaware his energy was being drained too.
The Shadow Queen raised a hand to smack Pura, but before she could follow through with the attack, Pura increased the power of the attack once again. Now it was so powerful, it sucked the Shadow Queen right in it.
"Hahaha! YES!" Grodus quickly fired a green beam from his staff at the Orb. When it hit, all the energy inside of it froze in place. Pura stopped charging the Orb of Darkness and fell to her knees, panting. "YES! I did it! The Shadow Queen is under my control now!" Grodus cheered.
"Your control?" Pura asked between heavy breaths. "You mean our control. You would not have captured the Shadow Queen if it was not for me."
Pura was met with a blow to the face with Grodus's staff, knocking her on her back. "You fail to realize," Grodus began, "that now that I have the Shadow Queen, you are no longer of use to me."
"Fool," Grodus continued. "Did you really think I liked you or cared about you? Ha. Ridiculous. I was just interested in your power and that little orb trick you do. Beyond that, you are worthless to me." Grodus fired a lightning bolt at Pura, who quickly jumped to her feet to avoid it.
"Interested in my power, huh?" Pura asked him. "If you were studying my power as closely as you should have been, you would have realized I surprassed you. That's right, I'm stronger than you, Grodus..."
"What? Ha, yeah right. Nothing more than a bluff. You're still nothing compared to me. NOTHING!"
Crump, who was watching, was confused. "Um, who do I route for?"
"Oh really? Try me," Pura challenged.
"That's fine with me." Grodus waved his staff and a greenish beam came barreling towards Pura. Pura dodged, and it blasted a candlestick, it falling between Grodus and Pura, the now-purple flame fizzing out. Pura retaliated with a dark beam, which Grodus stopped in its tracks with a wave of his staff. Before he could do anything further with it, he was blasted with a shadow ball, and the dark beam collapsed to the floor like some sort of liquid. Seeing Grodus momentarily stunned, Pura lunged at him, Sword of Odiumi formed in her hands. Grodus lifted his staff in front of him just in time to block the shot. Pura kept pushing the staff and sword towards him though, with him pushing them back.
"Crump! Attack her!" Grodus ordered.
"Don't even try it," warned Pura. "In fact, you should attack Grodus."
"Don't even think about it, Crump. Attack the Yoshi."
Crump looked back and forth as this continued. "Uh... what do I do?"
"Look, I can't handle this pressure, so I'm gonna leave now, okay? Bye." And with that, Crump ran off screaming.
"Idiot..." Grodus and Pura muttered simultaniously.
Seeing Pura slightly distracted, Grodus whipped his staff to his left while Pura stumbled forward. He then bashed her in the head with the staff, knocking her backwards. Grodus swung again, knocking her against a wall, where she fell to a sitting position. He began charging a spell. "So Pura... any last words?" Grodus asked.
"Yeah..." Pura responded, "I just wanted to repeat something you said before..."
"Yoshis ARE unpredictable." With that Pura, used a tactic she had never used before, and would probably never use again: She threw a purple-spotted egg at Grodus.
"Augh!" Grodus was momentarily blinded by this, the egg shell all over his face.
Pura, taking advantage of this, quickly jumped up and ran towards the orb keeping the Shadow Queen captive. "Looks like I'm freeing someone."
Grodus recovered, hearing this. "Pura! No! You'll destroy us all!"
"Too bad." Pura blasted the orb, shattering it and freeing the Shadow Queen.
"NOOO!" Grodus shouted, fleeing from the room.
"So, you're the Shadow Queen , huh?" Pura asked, glancing.
"Yes," the Queen responded, "and you just made the biggest mistake of your life."
"What?" Pura demanded. "I freed you. You owe me."
"I owe you nothing," the Shadow Queen said, sending pain all throughout Pura's body.
"Aaauuuggghhh..." Pura moaned as she continued being drained, slowly dropping to the floor.
"Pathetic..." taunted the Shadow Queen. "Now to take your soul..." The Queen formed her Dead Hands, which began to approach Pura.
When they were about to grab Pura, they were set on fire and fell through the floor. "Stop this, now," a voice said.
"Oh look, the traitor Shadow Siren," the Shadow Queen mused. "And why should I stop?"
"Because if you don't, I'll have to send you back into your eternal slumber again." By now it was clear this was Vivian talking. She was older now, but her looks didn't show it. The only major difference over the years was now she was much, much more powerful.
"I doubt that," the Shadow Queen retorted. "Last time it was eight on one. This time it's two on one, one of which is about to die anyway."
"Oh no, she won't die," Vivian said, casting a healing spell on Pura, who was pretty much unconscious on the ground.
"Not alone anyway," the Shadow Queen continued, firing a small purple bolt at Vivian. Vivian dodged and fired her Fiery Jinx at the Shadow Queen, it sucessfully hitting. "Augh!" the Queen shouted as she was set ablaze.
"M-Mas... ter... V-viv...ian..." Pura managed to let out as she watched the two fight as the healing began.
"It's quiet. Too quiet," Silver said, looking around in the throne room in the Palace of Shadows.
"Don't say that!" Thumbs shouted. "Now something's gonna happen!"
"Oh, really?" Silver asked.
A bunch of Phantom Embers swarmed the room.
"Ah, traitor, you're not very powerful, are you?" the Shadow Queen taunted Vivian, who was already panting. "I warned you were no match."
"I won't... let you win," Vivian said in between breaths.
"That's too ba- Augh!" the Shadow Queen was struck with a dark beam.
"Pura, you've healed. Good..."
"Yes, thank you, Master," Pura said, taking a slight bow before firing another beam at the Shadow Queen.
The Shadow Queen took the hit. "Oh, so you healed already? All the more enjoyment for me." She sent her Dead Hands after Pura. Vivian took this opportunity to blast the Shadow Queen with another Fiery Jinx. The Dead Hands were able to grab Pura after a few were blasted. They began to drag her underground. "That's one down!" the Queen exclaimed, ignoring the burns recieved from Vivian.
"Oh no you don't." Vivian blasted the Dead Hands with more flames and they let go of Pura, who was already charging an Orb of Darkness. Vivian and the Shadow Queen both appeared to be hurt by the energy drain.
"Darn it," Pura spat, stopping the attack. She was then hit with some lightning. "Augghh..."
"No, Pura, don't stop. If you have take us both out, so be it," Vivian told her.
Pura sighed and kept charging, creating cries of pain from both the Shadow Queen and Vivian.
"Don't... stop..." Vivian commanded.
Pura kept going. The ball was gigantic now. It had sucked the flames from the candlesticks around them, and some of them were tipping over. The Dead Hands were also gone by now, sucked into the Orb. Both Vivian and the Shadow Queen were fading.
"Go... ahead," the Shadow Queen. "Fire... it, take me... and your friend out... But you'll be... sorry..."
Pura managed a grin. "Bye bye, Shadow Queen." With that, she heaved the Orb at the Shadow Queen, defying the intention of letting it absorb the Queen. It created a huge explosion that filled the room. Vivian, out of instinct, grabbed Pura and pulled her underground with her, the last thing either of them hearing being the Shadow Queen's screams.
Silver and Thumbs heard the screams as they finished off the last of the Phantom Embers and quickly headed forward, running down the flight of stairs. They reached a door.
"It's coming from inside there," Silver informed.
"Let's just listen for now... Maybe it'll give us an advantage," Thumbs suggested.
Vivian finally went above ground along with Pura. "The Shadow Queen has been defeated once more," Vivian said. "But who ressurected her? And why?"
"Grodus... and me..." Pura answered.
"What?! You helped Grodus of all people? Pura, how could you?!" Vivian demanded. "I thought I taught you better."
"I'm sorry, Master Vivian," Pura apologized, "but Grodus offered me everything... and I took it."
"Were you aware he was just using you?"
"What are they talking about?" Thumbs asked.
"Quiet," Silver told him.
"I do now," Pura responded. "I am sorry..."
"Sorry doesn't cut it."
Pura lowered her head in shame.
"I will give you a chance to make up for it though," offered Vivian. "It will be the last thing I do as your trainer."
"Huh? What is it?"
"Bowser is still ruler. He must be dethroned for the world to be at peace once more," Vivian began. "I caught word that there is a Resistance in Toad Town planning to dethrone Bowser. You will go there and help them. I can't. I must stay here and make sure the Shadow Queen is never revived again. Understand?"
"Resistance?" Silver whispered to himself.
"Sounds kinda cool," Thumbs added.
"Good. Go there immediately," commanded Vivian.
"Uh oh, they're coming," Thumbs warned.
"Okay, let's go," Silver took off, Thumbs following.
Pura turned around. "Yes?"
"I will probably never see you again, so I think I'd better give you this now." Vivian tossed Pura a green pendant. "You know what these do, right?"
Pura nodded. "I know. You taught me how to make them, after all. I can communicate with whoever has this with my own pendant."
"Good. I want you to give this to a blue winged cat. You will meet this cat after you join the Resistance," Vivian said.
"What?!" Pura knew this was the same cat from her dreams.
"Do it. You'll thank me later."
"Yes, Master Vivian."
"You shall go now. Goodbye, Pura."
And so, Pura walked off, in search of the Resistance, and in search of a new life.
Oh, but what happened to everyone, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.
Larry's still searching for the Crystal Stars, unsuccessfully. He doesn't want to give up now, even though Jack and Regal eventually did, forcing him to search on his own.
After leaving Larry, Jack returned to his position as the head of the Goomba squadron. He would later attempt to thwart the Resistance.
After Regal left Larry, he actually joined the Resistance as a powerful ally after he found out who Bowser really was.
Thumbs joined the Resistance as well, where he would be threatened to death multiple times by Pura. They're just rivals now as opposed to them trying to boil each other in lava.
Silver joined the Resistance shortly after Thumbs. There he fell in love with Pura and vise-versa, but this relation only lasted a few months.
Bowser was finally defeated two years later after multiple battles with the Resistance. After that, he retired, giving Larry the throne, despite the fact Larry never did and never would find the Crystal Stars. As king, Larry basically continued where his father left off: trying and failing to takeover the Mushroom Kingdom.
After running for his life out of the Palace of Shadows, Grodus returned to his base on the moon, staying relatively quiet. However, he is plotting his revenge on Pura for ruining his plans, despite the fact it's more his own fault.
Lord Crump returned with Grodus, surprisingly keeping his position as right-hand man in Grodus's army despite his "cowardice". He did get a nasty bump from Grodus's staff though.
Captain Slice, Grodus's Elite X-Naut captain, also defected from Grodus's army to start his own army. He only has one recruit so far.
Vivian remains in the Palace of Shadows to this day, watching, making sure the Shadow Queen never returns. So far she has been successful.
Pura joined the Resistance as ordered. Upon the first day of joining, she saw a blue cat while she was training. The cat's name was Blue. The two soon became the best of friends, saving each other's lives almost on a daily basis. Blue was soon given the green pendant, Pura more than happy to give it to her. The two of them would become among the most powerful members of the Resistance, Pura eventually becoming the leader of it. But Grodus is still watching, assured he will get his revenge some day...
It is written that Grodus killed Pura five years later on her wedding day. However, Grodus was also presumably killed the same day by Pura's friends after they witnessed her death. Pura was revived, thanks to the Star Spirits. Whether or not Grodus is still alive is uncertain...
To Be Continued...
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