Age of Shadow

By Jack Goomba

Chapter 8

“Ooh! Aah!” crooned Luigi as he stared out the blimp window. It was truly a magnificent sight; the majesty of Plit’s skies unfurled before them in an endless see of clouds- it was as if the gods were rolling out a welcome carpet for our heroes.

Just then, a speck grew upon Luigi’s window. It grew larger and larger until Luigi began to whelp like an excited three-year-old. “There it is! There it is! Glitzville!”
Ever since being told that they would need to travel to Glitzville, Luigi had been as giddy as a schoolgirl; after all, Mario had made it sound so cool. The red plumber himself was rather excited as well. Not only would he be able to reclaim his title, but he’d be able to greet his friend, Gonzales Jr. Tim didn’t seem overly amused, but aren’t all hooded enigmas that way?

And so, with the Mario Brothers and Tim’s new leg of the journey about to unfold, the world seemed at a standstill.


“Ooh! Aah!” crooned Luigi as he stared blankly at a map of Glitzville. He didn’t necessarily need one; the place was hardly a mile wide. In Luigi’s opinion, it made the experience more authentic. While both Brothers were intent on sightseeing, Tim took it upon himself to drag the plumbers in.

Tim pushed his way through the guards, demanded to be let into Jolene’s office, and plopped the Brothers plus himself in chairs before the Glitz Pit’s owner.

Although Jolene found the scene quite odd, she began to speak. “Why if it isn’t the Great Gonzales and his brother,” she looked behind him at Tim, “and uh… that other guy. How’s it been?”

Mario was about to open his mouth and have a nice long chat about his dull life since the Glitz Pit, but Tim intervened. “We’d like to sign back up for the tournament, and fight right away.”

Jolene at this point was quite confused. She asked of Mario, “Gonzales, who is this man?”

Mario looked back at the hooded figure and replied, “This is my new friend… Tim. He’s going to fight with us.”

Jolene showed a bright smile. “Good, I was hoping you’d come back and fight some day. Gonzales Jr. is pretty popular, but we don’t get nearly as much publicity as we did when you were around.”

Jolene shuffled some papers on her desk. “Well, I’d hate to have to have you go through all the ranks again,” said Jolene to Mario, “so how about I’ll do this. You’ll face the top three, beginning with Rawk Hawk, then Gonzales, and lastly, Prince Mush.”

Mario nodded in agreement, and Jolene called in a guard to escort them to the Major League locker room.


Jolene tapped on her microphone for a couple seconds, and yelled out to the audience, “Welcome to the Glitz Pit!” She was met by waves of cheer and merriment. “Today, we have a very special match lined up. Our own former champion, the Great Gonzales, has returned to the ring, and is ready for action!” Mario, along with Luigi and Tim, came through the blue entrance on the left.

Jolene smiled as the room echoed with cheers the likes of which had never been heard at the Pit. “And their challenger, the other former champion, Rawk Hawk!”

With that, the gold bird entered opposite our heroes, greeted by formidable, but still less cheers.

The two opponents faced each other silently for what seemed like hours, until the Rawk spoke up. “Remember me, Mario? Yeah, I bet you do! Well, I’ve been training for this day, the day when I finally beat you! FEEL THE RAWK, MARIO!”

The red plumber simply yawned, and took a fighting stance with a devilish grin. He thrust out his arm, flattened his fingers, and brought them slowly up and down in a “bring it on” motion.

Jolene spat into the mike, “Folks, that looks like a challenge! Let’s get ready to BRAWL!”

The cheers erupted, a bell sounded, and Rawk Hawk disappeared.

“Where’d he go?” said a puzzled Luigi, looking all about the arena, save behind himself. The opponent tapped Mario on the shoulder; just as the heroic plumber turned around, the Rawk delivered a bone shattering punch to the face. Mario flew backwards, unconscious.
“Any bright ideas, Tim?” stuttered Luigi.

“Not yet. Just wait a sec.”

Rawk Hawk crossed one arm across his chest, and stuck his other arm in the air with his finger pointing up.

“Yeah, feel the power of the Rawk! I just RAAAAWKED Mario!”

Tim seemed to stare on at Rawk Hawk until there was an uncomfortable silence on the battlefield. Finally, Tim shattered the quiet.

“Well, are you going to waste my time with pointless gloating, or waste my time with your pathetic excuse for fighting? Your choice. Either way, I have much better things I could be doing.”

The golden hawk clenched his fists. “I suggest you shut up, little man, or you’ll be… toasted RAWK MEAT!”

With that, the finger up in the air began to charge itself with electricity. The current ran down his arm into his other hand until he had two orbs of pure lightning in his grasp.

“RAWK THUNDER!” he screeched.

With that, he launched the lightning, one at Tim and one at Luigi. By some freak fluke, Luigi manage to dodge while Tim took the brunt of the attack. The crowd cheered deafeningly as Luigi raised his hands in the Richard Nixon, “Victory Hand Gesture”.

As for Tim, he picked himself up, his black cloak heavily charred, although you wouldn’t have noticed, seeing as the black ashes couldn’t be seen on the cloak of the same color.

“So, bright ideas now?” muttered Luigi, still relishing in the crowd’s applause.

“Yeah, yeah, I got one,” said Tim, withdrawing a bright red water balloon out of his cloak and handing it to Luigi. “I’m sure you’ll know when to use it.”

With that, Tim launched himself at Rawk Hawk, knife drawn. They became engaged in a dance of sorts; when Tim launched an attack, the Rawk would dodge or sidestep, and vice-versa. Finally, the enemy began to charge that thunder attack again; if you had seen Tim’s face, you would have seen a triumphant grin spread across it.

Tim pretended to trip, so his back was on the ground. The Rawk took this time to pin him down, with the thunder high above his head. “Time to feel the RAW-”

Luigi hurled the water balloon at the assailant’s body; soon, the electric current began traveling along the streams of liquid, singing Rawk Hawk as it went.

The charred bird fell to the arena floor, defeated.

The crowd erupted into a torrent of cheers. Luigi held his own and his unconscious brother’s arm up, while Tim brushed himself off. Jolene rushed onto the stage,

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winners!”


A few hours and a few aspirins later, Mario was back on his feat and raring to go.

“That was a cheep shot, you know I could have taken Rawk single-handedly!” pleaded Mario to a gloating Luigi,

“Yeah, sure, Bro. Say, how’s your completely and utterly defeated face? Need me to give you more painkillers?”

As the Brothers bickered, however, Tim was registering another fight with Jolene.

“It looks like your next fight is with Mario’s old partner, Gonzales Jr,” she said. “Now, here at the Glitz Pit, we love to appease the fans, and I have a feeling what the fans want…”

“Go on,” Tim said, knowing what the outcome of this would be.

“I want only Mario to fight Gonzales.”

Mario stopped his blind fury to say, “What?!”

“Try to get too ruffed up, Bro,” said Luigi, smiling slyly.


Jolene stepped into the arena to announce the next battle.

“A year ago, these two titans conquered the Glitz Pit together, in hopes of saving the world!” she yelled. “But now, one day only, it’s the master vs. the apprentice, champion vs. champion, it’s Super Mario vs. The Great Gonzales Jr!”

The crowd erupted with the force of a volcano as Mario and Gonzales stepped into the ring. By now, Gonzales had completely grown out of his shell, and he was just about taller than Mario (not including the now frighteningly tall hair).

“How’s it been Gonzal- er, Mario?”

Mario replied with a smile. “Heh, I’ve been good, you?”

“Oh, pretty ready.”

“Wait, wah-?”

Gonzales gave Mario a wallop in the stomach, followed by a sweep kick; while Mario was in the air, Gonzales delivered a vicious kick that sent him back into the air. While up there, Mario grabbed onto the lighting fixtures and looked down at his enemy below, thinking of a strategy.

“Clever Mario, very clever,” Gonzales said, grinning. “I’d expect nothing less from my good ol’ partner!”

With that, the Yoshi tossed a series of three eggs at the plumber, sending him plummeting to the arena floor. It was then when Gonzales took an opportunity to repeatedly ground pound the red-garbed Italian until he was thoroughly bruised.

The Yoshi opponent halted his assault to allow Mario to get up. This was a nice little ego boost for Gonzales, but a fatal mistake. It allowed Mario time to reach into his pack, and draw out a Fire Flower. Using it, he opened a torrent of flames upon his former ally.

He tried to fight back against the flames, but to no avail. Finally, to his relief, the flames stopped, leaving a thick blanket of smoke around the arena.

“Oh, I know this maneuver,” Gonzales said. “You’re gonna tap me on the shoulder, and knock me out, right? Ha, it’ll never wor-”

Mario launched himself full force from in front of his opponent, and socked him in the face. He followed that attack up with a savage kick to the stomach and one last fist assault on the face. The Yoshi fell to the ground, unconscious.


“Excellent work, Mario, truly excellent,” the smiling Jolene said. “And I suppose you’re now ready to face Prince Mush?”

Mario nodded in agreement. “Yeah, lets-a go!”

A frown spread upon Jolene’s face. “Well, I apologize, Mario, but I’m afraid you won’t be fighting.”

“What?!” he protested.

“Well, the crowd seems to have taken a liking to your brother Luigi over there. He’s going to have to take this one solo.”

Chapter 9

“Hurry, Kari, we must make haste!”

The young Magikoopa apprentice, garbed in green robes with black highlights, followed her aged master through the various halls and corridors of what was ancient Rogueport.

“Our allies have little time!”

Kari hurried along as her master requested, and dug through the bag at her side.

“Master, tell me, what are these for again?” she said, holding up the Diamond Star.

“Kari, you had a hand in making them, why do you need another explanation?”

He stared into the inquisitive eyes of his young pupil and sighed. “The other mages have created the door, now these Crystal Stars must act as the key.”

Kari nodded in understanding as the pair walked into the main square of the town. The area was completely decimated, save for a few Magikoopa warriors trying to battle the vicious Shadow Queen into the door they had created. Although their force was mighty, and their magic mightier, they were being swatted down like flies under the force of the mighty darkness.

“Quick, child, the Stars, the Stars!” Kari’s master pleaded as he engaged the Shadow Queen with a sword concealed under his crimson robes.

Kari did as she was told, and dumped the Stars out of her pack. Rather than hitting the ground, however, they began to float around her in a circle.

“Go back to the shadows, beast!” she screamed as the Stars flashed and rotated faster and faster. A beam shot from the Stars that pushed the queen back, deeper into the door. However, as she clung to the door, she had one last thing to say.

“Fools… I may have been defeated, but nothing can stop my reign upon this world! Rise, my pet!”

A creature seemed to sprout forth from out of the queen’s chest, one of vile proportions. It seemed almost humanoid in shape, but it had the long neck, head, wings, and tail of a fire-breathing dragon. A dark flash emanated from its clawed hand, and a huge purple sword appeared in it. It gave a deafening roar as it brought its weapon down upon Kari’s master, killing him.

“Nooo!” she sobbed at his side.

The Shadow Beast gnashed its teeth threateningly as it reared its sword back for a killing stroke against Kari. She, however, had other plans.

“Earth Tremor!” she yelled in the din, pointing her wand to the ground. All of a sudden, the ground began to shake with the force of a powerful earthquake. The demon was knocked off its feet, and its gigantic body fell upon the already destroyed city.

However, it flew back up, diving at Kari for the next attack. The young mage quickly dived for her master’s sword in an attempt to parry and-

“Wah?” Beldam said as she awoke. “That was a peculiar dream…”

Beldam proceeded in whacking Doopliss and Marilyn awake.

“Guh?” the confused Siren said.

“Wake up, everyone. The next Star is near Keelhaul Key, we need to get moving!”

And with that, the Sirens and Doopliss continued on their journey.

Chapter 10

With heavy heart and low morale, the Koopa Troop walked away from Grass Land. At any rate, however, Jack felt himself compelled to check Ludwig’s tracker for the next Star.

“I still can’t believe those guys duped us out of our Star,” whined Lemmy.

“I know! They cheated!”

Jack sighed and said, “Ok, boys, the next Crystal Star is in Toad Town; the Diamond Star, if I’m correct.”

Iggy and Lemmy, however, had other plans.

“Can’t we sit down and rest?” moaned Iggy.

“I’m tired of this quest, it’s no fun!” complained Lemmy.

“Look, guys,” Jack interrupted, “your dad sent us on a mission, and if we don’t complete it, it’s my job and your free time for the next seven months, okay? So those guys had a cheep shot; well, when we see ‘em again, we’ll just have to use the rotten tactics that make the Koopa Klan what it is, right?”

The two twins grinned and said, “Yeah, we’ll ruff ‘em up, Koopa style!”

Just then, a menacing, and rather annoying laugh emanated from the bushes behind them. It was a sort of hacking cough/laugh sounding like, “Gack ack ack ack…”

The trio wheeled around to come face to face with the notorious Lord Crump and Sir Grodus… sort of. Grodus’s head had been suspended on the tip of a broomstick with taped-on twigs to serve as arms.

“I couldn’t help overhearing your predicament,” he said. “Perhaps we can help each other out…”

Lemmy didn’t quite trust this new face. “Say, who are you, and what do you want with the Crystal Stars?”

In order to have a say in the matter, Iggy added, “Yeah!”

Crump spoke up this time. “The name’s Cr-”

Grodus interrupted. “Cronelius, that’s his name, and my name is Sir Gary!”

Jack put a suspicious look on his face, “Wait a second… his name isn’t Cronelius!”

Grodus hesitated. “Well, what do you mean?”

“Well,” the Goomba replied, “you said CROnelius; I’m thinking its CORnelius, no?”

The robot gave a sigh of relief. “Heh, yes, just a bit of mispronunciation. Anyway, back to business. I don’t want the Crystal Stars, but I can help you get them. You see, I recently lost my body in a… freak hiking accident, and my assistant Cornelius here knows where I can get one.”

Crump continued, “Yeah, the thing is that the er… body store is heavily guarded, and we need you guys to help us get in.”

“And so,” Grodus began to finish, “if you help me buy a new body at this body store, I will lend you every resource at my army’s er, hiking club’s disposal. Deal?”

Iggy thought it over. “Guys, I don’t really trust this Sir Gary,” he whispered.

“Yeah, but he’s the only help we got,” replied Jack, “and we need all the help we can get.”

“Lead the way, Sir Gary,” Lemmy shouted.


The X-Nauts led the group to some hidden island facility. They were blindfolded from the minute they climbed aboard the airship (that’s what they assumed it was) because Cornelius had told them that there were secret club activities going on. This, of course, meant that there were countless X-Nauts running around plotting world domination and whatnot, but what the trio didn’t know couldn’t hurt them.

When they finally landed, they were shepherded off, the ship took back off, and the Koopas were un-blindfolded.

“Say, where in the world are we?” inquired Jack.

“That’s not important,” replied Crump. “What is, is getting inside to get that body. Buh huh, body store…”

“So uh… any ideas?” asked Grodus of the group.

The door to the facility was solid, reinforced steel, nothing that a Koopa could break down. But a Goomba wielding unlikely skills in earth magic could manage.

“Just step back,” Jack said suavely.

With that, the Goomba raised his sword, and tons of boulders were jarred loose out of the ground. With another wave of his weapon, the stones were hurled at the door, each one critically denting it until the barrier flew off its reinforced hinges. Jack led the group in, smiling slyly.

The place was bland to say the least; everything down to the lighting fixtures was stainless steel. The group wasn’t there for sightseeing anyway, so it didn’t matter in the slightest.

“If this is a body store, than where are all the bodies?” asked Lemmy blankly.

“Just wait and see,” said the pseudo Sir Gary on Crump’s shoulder.

Suddenly, as Jack walked, he heard the clang of softly beating metal. As he looked down, he saw that he had stepped across a rope tied to a series of tin cans, quite possibly the saddest security system known to man and some species of primates. You wouldn’t think that such a system would work, but sure enough, tons of Mushroomer security guards poured in from other halls.

“Halt, in the name of the law!” one said, cocking his fully automatic Bullet Bill machine gun. “This is private property!”

The trio smirked as they got in position to dodge heavy gunfire. Jack, who was in the middle of the three, jumped upward, Iggy jumped left, and Lemmy jumped er- rolled right. Jack dived down upon the hoard, now opening fire sword forward; by hitting the ground, he was able to send a shockwave that immobilized many of the assailants. Lemmy took it upon himself to whack everyone and everything with his heavy ball, and Iggy was putting the hurt on the guards with his vicious claws.

With their outstanding teamwork, the job was over in minutes, on which occasion Iggy and Lemmy gave each other high-fives.

“Excellent, how very excellent,” crooned Grodus.

The party then continued to follow the hall until they reached another door with a fingerprint and retina scanner. Iggy tested himself just for fun.

“ACCESS DENIED,” said the door in a slightly feminine voice.

Iggy and Lemmy smirked at each other as they let out a devastating jet of flames at the door, completely melting it. They entered the door to now find themselves on a staircase, which they preceded to go down, which would be common in such situations.

“Yes, we are very close now,” Grodus muttered.

Finally, they came to a room that wasn’t lighted; Crump flipped on a switch, and the room illuminated to reveal a bowl on top of a tall stainless steel box. The box itself said “PLACE HEAD HERE”, with a red arrow pointing toward the bowl.

Crump didn’t hesitate, and detached his master’s head from the broom only to put it back on the bowl. As soon as he did so, the box made sounds of machinery from within.

“Yes, yes, this is it! I can feel my new body!” yelled Grodus in evil glee.

After a few minutes, the box split in two to let out a cloud of steam shrouding Grodus’s body.

“It’s… it’s…” he stuttered. “Wait, it’s General Grievous’s body! That android guy from Star Wars Episode III! We are so getting sued!”

“That’s been taken care of, Sir Gary,” replied Crump. “The lawyers won’t be a problem.

Meanwhile, in a secret thoroughly locked bomb shelter in the most hidden nook in the Swiss Alps, George Lucas’s various lawyers lay bound and gagged.

“They needed to get rid of them, because if not, we’d be double sued,” continued Crump.

“Why is that?” said Grodus, trying out his new, illegal body.

“Because of our newly developed X-Sabers.”

Grodus’s lackey tossed him four steel hilts, which he was able to catch because he had just discovered the ability to separate his arms (that and his new amazing reflexes.) He pressed a red button on each, and out of each hilt came a fluorescent blue blade.

“Excellent… GACK ACK ACK ACK!”

To Be Continued...

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