Chapter One, continued...
Mario and Kooprie managed to squeeze themselves through the window of Koopwind Keep, unnoticed by Koopwind or his guards. The two flipped over to their normal selves and observed the keep.
The room they were in was long, with two doors on each side. The one to the west obviously led towards the draw bridge and the front gate, where the mass of guards were fighting. The door to the east was unguarded, and a small staircase was set before them. Far above their heads was a large stone catwalk stretching across the room, quite inaccessible at the time.
There were four windows in the room, each one shining a little bit of light. The floor was decorated with a large red carpet, stretching from the main entrance to the east door. Along the walls were banners with the Koopwind insignia, a flame with a shell in it, decorated with a fancy “KW”.
“Well,” Kooprie began, “it seems the coast is clear. We did it! They have no clue we’re in here! I suggest we hurry up, there’s no telling how long Koopol’s gonna be able to hold those guys off.”
Mario nodded in confirmation, going up the steps and proceeding through the double doors.
This room was just a long hallway, still decorated with the banners seen before. The difference was that there were a few guards roaming about, discussing what was happening.
“Hmm,” Kooprie thought out loud. “I guess it’s not wise to send every last one of your troops into battle. Koopwind must’ve been anticipating something like this… or just being cautious. Mario, there’s no way around it. We’ll have to take out these guards.”
Mario snuck up to the guards, each with their backs turned, and let his hammer fly into them.
The first Koopa instantly grabbed onto his throbbing head in pain, the other two gasping and preparing for battle. Kooprie instantly leapt into her shell and shot plain through all Koopas.
The first fell back and was no more.
The other two pulled out Bob-ombs and began to wind them up. Mario gasped and ran for cover, but both had already thrown their weapons. Mario was sent flying into the wall from the explosions that emitted from the bombs.
Kooprie stomped up to one of the Koopas and gave him a swift punch right in the face, knocking him to the ground unconscious. The other turned around, just in time to be kicked onto his back.
Mario finished things off by throwing his hammer onto the poor Koopa’s head, defeating him.
“Hmph,” Kooprie said. “They’re armed with bombs… that’s bad. We’ll have to be more careful.”
Mario, rubbing his head, noticed a large key that one of the Koopas had dropped. He grabbed it, then immediately proceeded to the end of the hall. The door came with a large padlock. Putting two and two together, Mario fit the key into the lock and opened the door.
The next room was more complex than the previous one. There were two platforms suspended by rope, within jumping distance from each other. In front of one was a blue switch, and the room towered above them.
The plumber smacked the switch with his hammer, and the two platforms rose out of his reach. After a few seconds, they fell back to the ground with a thud.
“I think I see…” Kooprie said, thinking. “Mario, stand on the platform with the switch in front of it.”
Mario obeyed, and stepped onto the platform. It seemed rather sturdy, despite being made of wood.
Kooprie entered her shell, spun around at lightning-speed, and shot herself into the switch. Both platforms rose again, this time carrying the two. They stopped at the same point, and there was another switch on a small section carved into the wall. Kooprie instantly shot herself at it again, raising the platforms further.
This time, there was no switch, but a large block was directly above their platform. Moving up any more would certainly spell their doom. Mario glanced around, noticing another switch across from the other platform. He leapt across, Kooprie following. The latter shot this switch, raising both platforms. The one across from them pressed firmly against the block, and was replaced by another just like it.
This time, there was another block above them, and the switch was by their platform. Kooprie thought about it. “We’ll have to jump as soon as I hit it,” she explained.
Mario nodded his head.
Kooprie shot at this switch like the others, signaling Mario to leap across platforms as they both rose. Again, the platform pressed itself against the block and was replaced. The switch, this time, was on their side, but the next block was directly above them. There would be no time to move after the switch was hit.
Kooprie rubbed her chin, then snapped her fingers. “I got it! Mario, dive onto the other platform.” She shot in the direction opposite the switch, somehow staying firmly in mid-air. Mario leapt across the platforms, safe from the block. The Koopa released her hold and shot across into the switch, raising both platforms again.
This time, the other platform wasn’t replaced. Instead, the platform they were on met with some stairs. The two climbed them, reaching the highest point of the room. There was a similar catwalk to the one before which lead west. The double doors on the other side, however, were protected by a padlock. Instead, Mario and Kooprie had to move further east, through another set of double doors.
This time there were stairs leading downward, lit only by torches. The two, hesitating, began down them. The path seemed to get slightly darker the deeper they went, and bits of mold began to appear on the walls and roof. The door at the end was a single wooden door. The plumber opened it and stepped inside the room.
There were jail cells here, quite obviously the dungeon. “Mario!” a voice cried out from one of the cells. Both looked over and saw the Koopa who had been imprisoned for lying to Koopwind. “Thank goodness you’re here! All the guards suddenly ran out of here… I’m guessing the revolt has started.”
Kooprie nodded her head. “They’re fighting outside right now. We’ve decided to go and fight Koopwind ourselves. Without him, the guards have nothing to fight for, and they’ll be helpless!”
The Koopa nodded. “Yes, that’s a good plan… Look, I’m sorry we never listened to you before. It’s just that… this whole thing is so crazy…”
“Don’t worry,” Kooprie said calmly. “Everything will turn out all right. We all knew this moment was coming since the Koopwind family first took over…”
The Koopa shook his head. “I wouldn’t say that… The first Koopwind was so generous… but each of his descendants have been far more cruel. And this one’s the worst… Well, times have changed, and it’s happening whether we like it or not.”
Kooprie nodded her head. “Things will be better after this is all over.”
“Now, I can’t escape from here… I’m afraid there’s little I can do for you right now,” the Koopa explained. “However, I did manage to swipe this off of one of those guards.” The Koopa handed Mario a key. “I was hoping it’d be the key to this cell, but no such luck… It’d probably be best not to escape until this is all over anyway. I wouldn’t get far with all those guards piled at the gate.”
“When Koopwind is nothing but a horrible memory, we’ll get you out of here,” Kooprie said. “We’ll be back!”
“Good luck!” the Koopa said, smiling.
Mario and Kooprie left the room once again, feeling a bit sorry for leaving the Koopa alone. They both knew well that he’d be okay once the Keep was taken over.
Again, Mario and Kooprie were in the platform room. They crossed the catwalk this time and fitted the key into the padlock, instantly unlocking it.
They were in another hallway, quite obviously above the one they had crossed before. This time, there were no guards in their way, so it was a silent walk. The double doors at the end of the hall weren’t locked, so Mario easily opened them and proceeded.
They were once again in the room they’d started in, this time on the catwalk high above. Mario glanced over the side and became uneasy. Kooprie eyed him. “Mario! Get it together!” she snapped.
The plumber instantly shook his head.
“We can’t mess up now, Mario,” Kooprie said. “We’ve gotten too far to mess up.”
Mario nodded, crossing the catwalk with no real problems. There was a metal set of the double doors at the end, and Mario opened them with caution.
The sunlight lit up both of their eyes, forcing them to squint. They were just above the main entrance, as the sounds of brutal fighting emitted from just below. After their eyes finally adjusted, they noticed a catapult in front of them, the one Koopwind had used to fight them back before.
There was no Koopwind around, as he had obviously retreated from the heat of battle. Mario stepped up to the catapult, ready to fire a boulder onto the enemy troops. Kooprie instantly pulled him back as he reached for a rock.
“You fool!” she whispered intensely. “If they know we’re up here, we’re goners!”
Mario considered this, nodding his head, brushing himself off, and looking back towards where they'd come from.
A symmetric pair of stairs wrapped around the door from which they came, both of which met at a steadily rising path. Mario ascended the left one, Kooprie behind him. Both marched up the path, feeling slight ear pressure from the change in elevation. The Keep seemed to be built into the edge of the valley, causing it to rise up and allowing for tunneling into the valley itself.
There was another large part of the Keep waiting in front of them, bigger than the one they stood on. Mario braced himself and pulled open the doors.
The area they were in now was much more formal than the previous one. It appeared to be a dining hall, with tables set up fancily, chandeliers hanging high above, and a king’s table at the front, where the most important Koopas sat. This was obviously where banquets were held.
Kooprie bit her lip. “I’ve never known of this place… They live in such wonderful conditions and leave us in poverty… Those monsters! Koopwind MUST be stopped at all costs!”
Though the banquet hall was fabulous, there seemed to be no obvious way to move on. Each of the tables was covered in a white cloth and decorated with fancy candles. The king’s table had Koopwind’s emblem embedded in the cloth, and a fabulous golden plate sat in front of it.
There were suits of armor around the room, built in the shape of Koopas. But the most peculiar were the two on opposite sides of the king’s table, each holding a blue switch. Mario stepped up to one of them and took a look at it. The plumber pounded on it with his hammer, but to no avail. The switch popped right back up, and nothing happened.
“Hmm…” Kooprie thought. “Maybe both switches need to be hit at the same time? Mario, I’ll hold on over here. You walk over to the other.” Kooprie wound herself up and shot in the direction opposite the switch, remaining firmly in that spot. Mario obeyed and stepped over to the other switch, watching the Koopa.
As Kooprie began to go flying back into the switch, Mario hit the one in front of him with his hammer. The two switches disappeared, causing a chandelier to lower in front of them. The two walked up to it.
“This must be a secret pathway…” Kooprie explained. “The average guards only get access to the building below and this hall… The upper ranks and Koopwind himself must know about this. Come on, Mario.” She hopped on top of the chandelier, Mario after her.
The moment they jumped on, the chandelier began to rise back to the roof. Each of the chandeliers were jumping-distance apart, and seemed to lead off to another hallway at the southeast corner of the room. Mario and Kooprie hopped over towards it, taking special caution not to plummet to their deaths below.
They made it to the hallway in one piece, thankfully. Unlike the hallways before it, this one was decorated with portraits, candles, and scarlet carpeting. Kooprie looked in amazement. “Wow… Koopwind must really see us in different classes. I’m guessing this is how the upper class lives… It makes me sick!”
They continued down the hallway, finding a pair of golden double doors. They both had the Koopwind insignia carved into them.
Inside the next room was a large library, almost as large as Sunrise. It was more of a long path, and occasionally had to rise via some small stairs. Apparently, the valley still rose upward beneath the Keep.
There were a couple of guards with their faces in books, and one guard fast asleep. Mario looked at a Koopa reading a book by Herringway, The Mayor Murder. He had a large key dangling from his waist, and didn’t seem to notice anything. Mario took note of this and snuck past the guards, none of which seemed to even notice his presence.
There was another pair of double doors at the end of the library, securely locked by another padlock. Mario needed the key the Koopa had without him noticing, so he took a good look around.
There were two bookcases fairly close to each other, meeting with another pair to form a square of open area between them. The distance between the two was just big enough for Mario to flip through, which is exactly what he did. Flipping to his side once again, he managed through the crack.
Fortunately, there were about eight books missing from the bottom shelf of the bookcase to his left, right next to where the Koopa with the key was reading. Kooprie took a look at this, got the idea, and began to wind herself up.
In a quick launch, Kooprie managed to get the key and return safely behind the bookcases with Mario.
“Hey! We gotta go serve our shift outside of Koopwind’s tower,” a guard told him, interrupting his reading. “Let’s get moving. You got your key?”
The guard set his book down, reaching for his waist. To his shock and surprise, there was no key. “What?! It’s not here!” he yelled. “Someone must’ve stolen it!”
The other guard sighed, shaking his head. “Can’t you protect a key once without it getting lost somewhere? It shouldn’t be a big deal…”
“But… but it was here just a second ago!”
“You must’ve dropped it somewhere, you clumsy oaf. Get off your bum and search for it.”
The guards in the room now put away their books and began to search far and wide for the key. Kooprie watched them. “Mario, this isn’t good,” she whispered. “We can’t let them see us, but we need to somehow get over to that door.”
Mario lifted his arm.
“Hmm… Well, we could wait to see what happens. It can’t take too long.”
Surely enough, the guards got annoyed and met up in the center of the room.
“Well, it’s not here,” the first said, scratching his head. “How could you lose track of something so valuable?”
“I don’t know, I could’ve sworn it was on my belt when I picked up my book…” the guard who had lost his key said.
“Well Koopwind’s gonna have ALL our shells if it doesn’t turn up,” another guard said bitterly. “Keys don’t grow on trees, ya know.”
“Or do they?” another guard broke in, getting some strange looks from his companions.
“Sure,” the first guard said again. “Now, we’ve searched every nook and cranny of this library, correct?”
All the Koopas nodded.
“Could it be in a book?” one of the Koopas said.
“I doubt it… Are we absolutely SURE we’ve checked everywhere?” the first Koopa said again.
“Well… there’s that one spot there,” one of the Koopas said, pointing to the area Mario and Kooprie were hiding behind. “I’m not sure how it would get there, but it’s worth a look.”
“Yes, let’s push aside one of those bookcases.”
Kooprie let out a light gasp. “Mario! They’re going to find us! What do we do?!”
Mario swung his hammer.
“You’re right… We could probably take them, and they can’t let anyone know we’re here if they’re stuck in this room. We just have to make sure they don’t get their hands on the key,” Kooprie explained, getting prepared to fight.
Two of the Koopas grabbed hold of a bookcase and began to drag it aside, revealing Mario and Kooprie. All of the guards jumped back in fear, but immediately drew their weapons.
Upper Class Guards
One of the guards stopped. “Intruders!” he began. “In the Keep! Oh, they’re going to find out about this!” He ran back towards the hallway swiftly, and made it back to the banquet hall. Unfortunately for him, he had forgotten one important little thing: They were about three stories higher. And so he instantly met his doom as he fell down, right onto one of the fancy tables.
The other Koopas shook their heads. “Well, we’ll have to destroy you right here. It’s three against two, after all,” one of them said, getting ready to fight. The first one got into his shell within a split second and was instantly flying towards Mario. The plumber quickly ducked out of the way, nearly getting his head taken off by the attack.
Kooprie growled, withdrawing into her shell. But by the time she was spinning, she was knocked back into the wall by one of the guards. She bounced around the room, knocking over several books and tables. After finally managing to stop and regain balance, Kooprie leapt over another shell flying towards her.
These guys weren’t ordinary guards; they were fast. VERY fast! Kooprie barely had time to jump out of the way as the same Koopa flew towards her.
Mario, meanwhile, was trying to figure out how to approach this. The Koopas were too fast to hit manually. He thought about this, but was stopped as one of the guards knocked him against the wall. Before he had time to get up, a second shell rammed into him again, forcing him to feed on a Mushroom.
Kooprie noticed this and ran to a bookcase next to the two Koopas who were laughing at Mario’s predicament. She began to push on it, forcing it down onto them. One of the Koopas screamed and shot himself out of the way just in time. The other, however, was crushed under the weight of several volumes of Encyclopedia Shroomannica.
There were two guards left now, both just as quick as before. They sent themselves flying into Mario, who jumped out of the way. The two shells collided, sending them flying in opposite directions. The first hit the locked door, but the other was sent flying back down the hall, thanks to the previous Koopa leaving the doors wide open. He managed to get out of his shell just as he hit the edge of the hall, forcing himself to balance for his life. He looked at the banquet hall below, let out a yelp, and fell back to his death.
There was a single guard left, and he was beginning to sweat. He glanced left and right, seeing no escape. With a loud battle cry, he shot himself into Kooprie yet again.
This time, Mario had managed to pulled out his hammer and slam it down on the unfortunate Koopa just as he was about to knock Kooprie back. His shell smashed into pieces, leaving him naked and exposed. This left him dizzy, and it wasn’t long before he tripped over a fallen bookcase, unconscious.
Mario observed the mess they had made, wiped a sweat off of his forehead, and crossed over to the locked doors. The key fit perfectly, knocking off the padlock and allowing both to proceed.
They were outside again, but this time around what appeared to be houses. This was where the upper class guards made their home, but all four of them had been defeated. The area was quite empty.
Mario noticed a large stone staircase-bridge leading up into a large tower. It seemed to be the end of the road, and he guessed that that was where he’d find Koopwind. He marched across the bridge, the wind pressing against his face and mustache.
Finally, he met a wooden pair of double doors, with a large padlock decorated to look like Koopwind’s ugly mug.
“Darn it,” Kooprie said. “We’re going to need a key. Mario, let’s search this place.”
Mario walked back down the stairs, looking at the guards’ homes. They seemed fairly formal and well-kept, with a little garden sitting in the center of them. Kooprie opened one of the doors and peeked inside. There were all the necessities, and more. A large dining table, a china cabinet, a sink, a bathroom, and refrigerator. She shook her head, walking inside.
Mario opened up another door, seeing a similar sight. But there was a chest sitting by the window with a plaque embedded in it.
EMERGENCY KEY: Guard at ALL costs!
The plumber opened the chest and pulled out a large key, decorated with the Koopwind insignia. He guessed this was what he was looking for, as he started back outside to meet with Kooprie.
She came back, red in the face. “Why is he doing this to us? Why do his top guards get everything and leave us with next to nothing?”
There was a brief moment of silence.
Mario lifted his arm, showing Kooprie the key he’d found.
“Yes, that’s it,” she said. “That’ll get us in… Mario… Thanks for helping us. We’ve come so far, there’s no turning back now. It’s time to put an end to Koopwind’s reign once and for all! We’re about to fight for all the Koopas in Kooplin, and all those fighting for control right now. Hopefully we’ll both prevail, and everything will turn out good… If we keep this in our mind, I’m sure we can come out in the end.”
Mario nodded his head.
“This is the final stretch… Let’s go.”
Mario began up the bridge once again, the wind even stronger than last time. He stood before the door of the greedy king who had caused such trouble for the Koopas and who had cared for nothing but himself, but more importantly, he owned the Crystal Piece Mario was looking for.
He slowly fit the key into the lock, turning it and causing it to fall off. The door was unlocked. The time had arrived. Mario threw open the door.
“What’s this?” Koopwind questioned, turning to the door. Mario and Kooprie stood before him, ready to fight. “Ah, I should’ve expected this… No worries, you’re one second too late.”
“What do you mean?” Kooprie asked, puzzled.
Koopwind snickered. “I’ve got just what I need to take care of you pests.” As soon as the words left his mouth, a large stone statue of Koopwind landed in front of them. “Meet Koopstone! You won’t stand a chance against this baby, so you might as well start praying now.”
“Bring it on, you greedy freak!” Kooprie yelled in anger.
Koopwind laughed, pulling open the shell of his creation. He climbed inside, locked it, and began controlling the thing. Kooprie and Mario just stood in awe as the statue before them pounded its fists together. “Game over,” Koopwind laughed.
“Erm…” Kooprie muttered. “This doesn’t look good.”
The Koopstone’s left arm began to rotate, then slammed down into the floor towards Kooprie and Mario. The two broke out of their shock and ducked out of the way as the building shook from the impact. Koopstone did this once again, planting Mario into the ground.
“MARIO!” Kooprie cried out, running towards the plumber.
“HA!” Koopwind laughed. “I love it when a battle goes the way I planned! Don’t worry, kiddo, you won’t have to live through it much longer.”
Kooprie grabbed Mario by the hat and plucked him out of the ground. The plumber got up and dusted himself off.
“Oh, oh, and just wait until you see this!” Koopwind laughed, the Koopstone retreating into its shell. The massive stone shell before them began to wind up twice as fast as an average Koopa, then sent itself right in Mario’s direction. The plumber yelled and jumped out of the way as the impact from the wall caused everything to shake once again.
“This is too easy!” Koopwind laughed again. “You guys are fun to toy with, I think we may have a pretty good time!”
“Mario, this isn’t working,” Kooprie whispered. “We can’t just sit here taking blows over and over again. We’ll be toast!”
Mario rubbed his chin.
“What’s this? Too scared to fight back?” Koopwind taunted once more. “Well, in that case, I’ll just have to destroy you easily.”
The Koopstone’s great maw opened up, exposing a small cannon. Mario and Kooprie both screamed, diving out of the way as a blast from it nearly put an end to them.
Mario got an idea.
The Koopstone aimed its armed beak towards the plumber, shooting out another blast. But before it hit him, he sent his hammer flying into it, launching it back to Koopwind. He let out a yelp as the mouth-cannon was obliterated and the Koopstone fell to its shell.
“Nice going, Mario!” Kooprie cheered, winding up in her shell and flinging herself into the fallen Koopstone. It seemed to give way much easier than it should, as it left a huge impact and made Koopwind scream.
Mario continued off of this, grabbing his hammer, jumping up over the Koopwind, and smashing its underbelly from above.
The Koopstone’s arms covered its cracked underbelly as it managed to stand itself up. “You are such PESTS!” Koopwind yelled out in anger. “Not to worry, I’ll dispose of you right now. Hehehehe…”
Koopol observed the situation. The troops were still continuing to fight over the bridge, and the town Koopas had nearly prevailed. However, the guards seemed to refuse to give in. If they kept going on like this, there’d never be a victory.
It was then that he grabbed a rock and chucked it across the moat and into the skull of one of the guards. The guard immediately fell back, unconscious. The Koopa smiled, removing the pot from his head he was using as a makeshift helmet and filling it with stones. As soon as it was filled to the brim, he flung it back and sent a barrage of rocks flying into the enemy. Most of the guards fell back, being smacked with stones. The remaining guards pulling back on the bridge couldn’t bear the weight, as they were pulled down with the bridge.
The Koopas brought out makeshift weapons and charged onto the mass of guards. Two of them opened up the main entrance, and they all scrambled inside.
“After them!” Koopol yelled. But as the Koopa army began to march into the Keep, the guards slammed the doors shut and barred them together.
“Don’t give in,” Koopol told his troops. “We’ll have to break down this door.”
The guards finally began to feel safe, until they heard a loud mass of pounding on the door.
The Koopstone stamped its massive foot on the ground, dropping debris from the roof above. The two heroes dived out of the way in fear.
“Now then,” Koopwind began, “what seems to be the trouble, Miss Kooprie? Do we really need to have this quarrel?”
“Can it, Scrooge,” Kooprie responded, growling slightly.
“My my, you sure are feisty. Look, some people are fit to live in poor conditions to make sure other people stay happy. Understand?”
“Oh please,” Kooprie scoffed. “You know none of us want to live in such poverty, but you don’t care as long as you get money and comfort. So while we’re doing all the work for you, you’ve been sitting here spoiling yourself and your guards.”
Koopwind shook his head from inside his massive statue. “It’s impossible to make you understand…”
The battle was interrupted by a loud pounding on the door. The three turned towards it as a wounded guard managed to crawl into the tower, coughing loudly. “My lord… We’re in danger. The army… it’s…”
“Hold your tongue, boy,” Koopwind scoffed. “I’ll not have intrusions while I’m getting rid of these two. And how did you find your way up here?”
The guard coughed a bit more, making a long, hard attempt to stay alive. “Please… we need help…”
“You’ll get none from me,” Koopwind growled, launching the Koopstone’s left fist into the poor guard, knocking him dead. “Hmph. How could he have the nerve to enter my tower without my permission? Everything I say goes, and you do NOTHING without my permission!”
“Except this,” Kooprie said, grinning, as Mario swept his hammer across the Koopstone’s mighty legs. The massive statue lost its balance and fell back to the ground, letting out an earth-shattering quake.
“Sieze the moment, Mario!” Kooprie called out, winding into her shell.
Mario gripped his hammer and began to lift it back, intending to smash apart the great body of stone.
“Oh, you think you’re so clever,” Koopwind scoffed angrily. “Well try this on for size!” The jets on the feet of the Koopstone immediately activated, launching it away from Mario and Kooprie and allowing it to manage onto its legs.
“Uh oh,” Kooprie said, stepping back. “This doesn’t look too good…”
“Keep holding, men!” one of the guards cried out as the massive army attempted to hold the great door shut. “We can’t let them get in these walls!”
Despite their efforts, the door was soon pierced with sharpened logs, suggested by Koopol. The guards began to back off from the door with fears of getting their feeble hands stabbed, letting the Koopas push it open.
Most of the guards immediately began running back further into the Keep, too scared to fight the massive Koopa revolution. The few guards that remained didn’t last long, as the Koopas’ weapons knocked them to the ground, leaving them to be trampled.
The spirited young Koopol ripped one of the Koopwind flags off of the wall and set it aflame with a torch. The Koopas around him cheered and continued to push the guards down into the hallway.
“Hurry up!” one of the guards cried out, signaling two guards carrying Bill Blasters. “There’s no time!”
The massive army of guards immediately hid behind the twin guns, leaving the Koopas directly in front of them. They gasped, diving to the ground, as a mass of Bullet Bills shot out from the cannons and lit the room with explosions.
“Keep moving,” Koopol managed to say, crawling towards the cannons on his belly. The other Koopas soon began to follow suit, knowing that they could be blown to bits at any given minute.
The guards dragged out a crate of Bob-ombs, grinning. Their leader grabbed one, lighting it and tossing it over their launchers. The Koopas screamed as a huge explosion sounded from the other side.
Though injured, the Koopas continued to press on. Soon, they were hit with a barrage of Bob-ombs. They were utterly helpless, until one bright Koopa caught a bomb and flung it back from whence it came.
The guards, caught off guard, dove out of the way of the explosion. Unfortunately for them, the bomb that was thrown back had landed right next to their crate of Bob-ombs. In a wonderful display of fireworks and fire in general, the guards were sent flying to all sides of the room.
The cannons, which had been placed almost directly next to the crate, were beginning to malfunction, but still launching out missiles at a slower rate. The guards used this time to make their way up the platform room, making sure to bring a few extra bombs with them.
The Koopas managed to squeeze past the launchers, only to get attacked by falling bombs.
“Resist it, men!” Koopol yelled furiously. “Don't let this attack get to you!”
The mighty Koopstone still seemed unstoppable. It managed to counter everything Mario or Kooprie threw at it without any problems, and its only known weak spot was almost impossible to attack.
“I'll give you one last chance,” Koopwind laughed. “You can drop the attack right now and I'll let you go with a strict warning (and some mild punishment...). There can always be a peaceful solution, Miss Kooprie.”
“That may be,” Kooprie replied. “But we've come too far to just back off.”
The Koopstone let out a mighty roar, sending Kooprie and Mario to their feet. “This is your FINAL warning, you little brat!” Koopwind yelled furiously. “You either leave now or I'll destroy your entire village!”
Kooprie roared with a greater anger, eyes red with fury. “You have ruined our lives, King. You've ruined everything. You've ruined EVERYTHING!”
The Koopa withdrew into her shell and flung herself directly into the chest of the Koopstone, a trail of flames behind her. With a loud crash, she shot out of its shell, letting large pieces of stone fall to the ground.
The mighty statue began to twitch violently. With a scream from the Koopa inside, the Koopstone fell to the ground, ruined. Koopwind climbed from its ruins, glaring angrily at Kooprie. “I should’ve seen that coming, you rat,” he scolded angrily. “I’ve worked on this thing for years, and THIS is what it’s reduced to?!”
“It’s nothing compared to what you’ve done to our village,” Kooprie responded coldly. “You’ve had this day coming for years, Koopwind.”
Koopwind stood up, brushed himself off, and eyed his two opponents. “So, you think this is over,” he began. “Far from it, I’m afraid.” The king lifted his arms, and in a burst of light, was surrounded by a fiery aura. “No no, my friends. Far, FAR from over.”
Koopwind immediately revealed a staff, which zapped Mario and Kooprie with twin bolts of lightning. Both fell to the ground with a yelp. Mario couldn’t find the energy to lift himself off of the ground, but his partner managed to rise onto her knees.
“I have just one thing to ask you...” she said, gasping for breath.
“And what might that be?” Koopwind replied.
“Why?” he laughed. “Well... er... I... YOU INSOLENT BRAT!” He zapped Kooprie with another bolt of lightning. “I AM STILL YOUR KING, AND YOU WILL NOT TALK TO ME THAT WAY!”
“You don’t know, do you?” Kooprie said, weakened.
“Of COURSE I know! I just have no desire to tell someone like you!”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Kooprie said.
The group of guards that remained retreated through the library, the Koopas hopping chandeliers close behind. “Sir, we can’t run forever!” one of them yelled to their chosen leader.
“Erm... let’s regroup at Koopwind’s Tower. With him, we should be unstoppable!”
The guards began to retreat in that particular direction, with the Koopas still hot on their trail.
“It’s over for you, girl,” Koopwind growled, pointing his staff directly at Kooprie. “You’ve been quite the pest!”
Mario managed to get up, setting himself in the fighting pose.
“What’s this then?” Koopwind laughed. “You STILL wish to fight me? Haven’t I shown you enough of my power?”
Koopwind zapped Mario yet again, sending him right back to the ground.
It was at that moment that the doors swung open, a few guards running inside.
“My lord, help us!” one of the guards pleaded. “They’re unstoppable!”
“What?!” Koopwind shouted, looking at the army of Koopas that stood just outside. “You fools! You bring them to ME?! What were you thinking?!”
“Time’s up, Koopwind,” Koopol growled, the entire army marching slowly towards him.
“I’ll have none of this!” the king roared. “OBEY ME! I AM YOUR KING!!!” He shot a mass of lightning bolts onto the army, but it didn’t seem to phase them. “NO! BACK OFF!” He attacked once more, again with no effect. “NO! NOOOOO!!!”
The Koopa army attacked, taking out the remaining guards and finishing the dictator off once and for all.
Koopwind lay on the ground defeated, looking blankly into the roof. “It’s funny...” he began to speak. “Kooprie... you’re... right... I don’t know why we’ve been doing this to you...”
“It’s too late for apology,” Kooprie scoffed.
“Yes... you’re right...” Koopwind replied. “I could never make up for what I’ve done over all these years... But... Surely there’s something I could at least give you...”
Mario lifted his arm.
“The Crystal?” Koopwind questioned. “Well, it’s quite marvelous… It appeared in my tower not too long ago… It was going to be a family treasure... Not that it matters anymore. All right, you can have it...”
Mario began to step towards the fallen Koopa.
“Oh, and Kooprie...” he began. “...your mother would be proud of you.”
“Wh-what?” Kooprie gasped.
“You see...” Koopwind said between coughs, “this isn’t the first rebellion we’ve had... Twelve years ago, your mother led the Koopas to try and defeat me... They were unsuccessful, and we killed them all...”
“No!” Kooprie gasped in awe.
“Your parents wanted you to be safe... So your father took you away from this land during that time. That earthquake story was a cover up... covering the battle that had just occured. The Koopas that didn’t fight claimed that the others were killed by it... when it was me... It’s all my fault...”
A tear slid down Kooprie’s cheek. “So... all this time... it was you...”
“Indeed,” Koopwind responded. “My time is done... You’ve avenged her, Kooprie. Well done...”
The king’s eyes shut for the last time.
“I can’t believe it...” Kooprie began. “I never knew... How could I... It can’t be...” She stopped. “Mario... I think I need some time alone.”
The Koopa left the tower, tears in her eyes.
Goombriam quickly replaced her. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? She has so much respect for these Koopas... and her mother...”
There was a brief moment of silence before the Goomba spoke again.
“Well, I suppose it’s time to get the Crystal Piece, Mario.”
The plumber nodded, stepping towards the Crystal Koopwind had dropped before his death. For a brief moment, it floated over his head. Mario lifted his hands up, shooting light across the room.
Mario travelled to Koopwind Valley in
search of his first Crystal Piece. Mario managed to make his way to the
king and, with the help of the Koopas, put an end to his reign. Where will
Mario’s journey lead him next, and what of Kooprie?
Mushroom Kingdom Skies
Some distance away from Mario’s victory flew a mechanical clown machine, followed closely by a broomstick. Inside the Clown Copter sat the King of the Koopas, who was searching desperately for the Crystal. On the broomstick was his assistant, Kammy, who was helping him search desperately for the Crystal.
Bowser squinted his eyes as the strong winds attempted to dry his pupils. Kammy, being spectacled, had no problems with this.
“Kammy,” Bowser began, beginning to shiver from the cold. “Why are we traveling at this height?”
“Because we don’t want to be seen, my lord,” Kammy responded.
“Huh,” Bowser muttered. “Well, where are we going then?”
“I’m not sure,” Kammy said. “I’ve been following you the whole time.”
Bowser slapped his head, causing the Clown Copter to start flipping about. Kammy chuckled as the king managed to get control of the thing.
“Fear not, my lord. If you don’t know where to look, then I do,” Kammy announced proudly.
Bowser rubbed his head. “And where is that?”
National Mushroom Museum
“… You’ve got to be kidding me,” Bowser said, slapping his head.
“Is something wrong with this choice?” Kammy asked, puzzled. “It would make sense for a legendary artifact to be on display at a museum to me.”
“You BONEHEAD!” Bowser roared, causing the witch to fall to her back. “Why would you honestly think they’d keep something so powerful in such a place as THIS?!”
“Excuse me, sir,” came the voice of the Koopa serving as their tour guide. “Is there a problem?”
“Er,” Bowser said, trying to be polite. “No sir.”
Kammy giggled. “Relax, my lord. I got us an audio tour if it helps.”
Bowser stomped his foot on the ground. “Fine, fine… We’ll go on this tour, but we’re REALLY looking for the Crystal as soon as we’re done…”
“Whatever you say, my lord,” Kammy replied.
The pair followed the large group of tourists. Bowser glanced at many of the exhibits and yawned. Kammy, on the other hand, was writing down notes about how interesting they were.
“Wow, I never knew how interesting history could be,” Kammy said gleefully.
“Yeah, sure,” Bowser growled, bored out of his mind.
The tour guide stopped in front of another exhibit and began talking about it. Bowser sat on a chair to rest, but it immediately collapsed under his weight. The king rubbed his royal bum and looked over at the tour group.
“GYAH!” he yelled with glee. “The Crystal! That’s it!”
On display was a large crystal, which happened to have no relation to what Bowser had found. “This has to be it! What did I tell you, Kammy? You wanted to go home, you wanted to look somewhere else, but I just knew this was the right way!”
“You’re a genius, my lord,” Kammy complimented.
Bowser laughed evilly. “Out of my way, peons! This crystal is MINE!” The Koopa roared and jumped at the exhibit. He slammed his claw into the glass, but instantly fell back. “Yow! What’s this made of, diamond?!”
At that instant, a massive group of security officers surrounded Bowser. He snickered at them, preparing to brush them away with his fire breath. However, he fell to the ground instantly, being shot with a stun-gun.
In a few minutes, the king was tumbling out the museum’s front door. Kammy arrived on broomstick shortly after.
“Are you okay, sire?” she asked Bowser, who had just crashed into a wall and been struck to the head with a potted plant.
“Urgh,” Bowser grumbled, getting to his feet. “Kammy, you’re never picking where we search again.”
Bowser turned around to think. He opened his eyes, noticing a sapphire stone sitting on the ground. “Aha!” he shouted. “This has to be the real one! Surely I’ve been destined to find it!”
“Well done, sir!” Kammy cheered. “Nobody stands a chance against us now!”
Bowser laughed, hopping into his parked clown copter. “Come, Kammy! We have kingdoms to conquer!”
The Clown Copter’s bright eyes instantly opened as Bowser sped off to the skies, Kammy close behind.
A Koopa walked nearby where Bowser had previously been, holding a sack. Another came right behind him.
“You sure you dropped it around here?” he asked, scratching his head.
The other Koopa shrugged. “I guess not… Oh well, we’ve found plenty of geodes to add to our collection already.”
The two Koopas walked off.
Peach sat in her quarters of the Mushroom Castle, accompanied by a maid. She sat in front of the mirror, applying makeup and styling her hair just right.
“Hmm… Should I wear a purple bonnet? Or maybe a pink one…” Peach asked her assistant.
“I think pink looks better on you,” she replied happily.
Peach responded by placing the pink bonnet on her head, adjusting it to make it look better.
“You look beautiful, princess,” the maid complimented happily.
Peach smiled and thanked the maid, finally finished with her hair. She approached her dresser, intent on finding something to wear. Before she had time to grab the handle, there was a knock on the door. The princess opened it and Toadsworth stepped into her room.
“Salutations, my dear princess,” Toadsworth greeted.
“Toadsworth! What are you doing here?” Peach replied.
“Well…” the Mushroomer began, “I have a letter for you… It appears to be a cry for help, if I’m not mistaken.”
Peach took the letter and read.
Dear Princess Peach,
I’m sure it’s surprising for you getting a letter asking for help, but our kingdom is in dire peril and you’re the only one who can help! We’re getting desperate, and it seems you’re our only hope. We’ll explain it to you later… We can pick you up at Cascade Isle, if you’d be so kind as to help.
Like you’ve got anything better to do.
King Bradford III
PS: Please come alone, if possible.
Toadsworth eyed the letter suspiciously. “My dear… Wouldn’t you say there’s something a tad… eh… fishy about this letter?”
Peach stuffed away the letter. “Well, it’s a cry for help, and it’d be a nice change from being kidnapped weekly.”
“Well…” Toadsworth began. “If you insist, I’ll send four guards to accompany you.
“Two,” Peach insisted.
“Two?!” the Mushroomer exclaimed. “Princess, have you lost your marbles?!”
Peach chuckled. “Calm down, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. You’re too overprotective…”
Toadsworth shook his head. “I have such a bad feeling about this…”
With that, he left the room. Peach turned to her maid. “Could you watch the place while I’m gone?”
The maid nodded her head happily. “I’ll make it shine!”
“Thanks… You’re too kind to me,” Peach said, packing a small bag of her important things. “I’ll get back as soon as possible!” Peach left the room and requested two of the castle’s guards to accompany her.
And so Peach took the ferry to Crescent Island, a small desolate isle far east of Lavalava. The trip went rather well, and the three managed to spot some dolphins on the way.
Eventually, they got off at their destination, with the intent of having a picnic while they waited. One of the guards lay a blanket on the ground next to a sparkling waterfall, and the other began to unload the bag.
“Princess,” the first guard began. “You’re too kind to us.”
Peach smiled. “Well it’s better to have friends than workers.”
And so the three began to enjoy a light lunch of PB&J. They began chatting about daily life, the guards fascinated by Peach’s finer treatment. Peach looked up into the sky. “It’s nice to get away for a change…” she said. “I haven’t had a nice vacation since we went to Delfino.”
Before the guards could make a reply, a massive roaring noise was heard in the sky. They dropped their sandwiches at the sight of a massive doomship ripping through the clouds. At the front was a stone carving of a Clubba, heavily armed with cannons. A massive set of sails propelled it forward towards the three. The guards were frozen in fear as a claw fell from the structure. And for the third time that month, and probably the billionth in her life…
Peach had been kidnapped.
To Be Continued...
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