Hello, noble reader. I’m here to tell you the story of how Mario saved the world for probably the zillionth time. But he saved the world nonetheless, and the adventure as a whole was fairly exciting. On your toes yet? Good, you should be. Now grab a snack and get comfy, as I tell you the story of…
Paper Mario: The Twin Crystals
There are some jobs that simply must be done. Whether you like it or not, it’s your responsibility to make sure they get done. Things such as protecting the peace, doing your chores, or delivering the mail. The latter was the job of Toad Town’s prime mailman, Parakarry. Flying through the air, looking for the recipient to his mail, was his goal in life, and he did it quite well, save for the occasional letters he lost.
This time he managed to get the letter to the proper location, as he flapped down into the trees to Mario’s humble abode. He lowered himself, his feet lifted only a few inches from the ground, and placed the letter in the mailbox. “Mail call!” the Paratroopa yelled, flying off to deliver his next set of mail.
Luigi, the less popular Mario Brother, stepped outside of the Pipe House to check the mail. Luigi had a hard time telling Mario directly, but he’d always dreamt of going on his own adventures. Recently, he’d gotten his share of adventure in the Waffle Kingdom, and had even become more famous with his book series. But the popularity of the series had long since died off, and he was waiting for more adventure.
Luigi opened the mailbox and pulled out a set of letters. Sorting through them he started back into the house.
“Oh, look at this.” he said to his brother. “We can save 50 coins or more at Goomper’s Furniture Supply.”
Mario responded only with the lift of his hand, but Luigi somehow understood what he meant quite clearly.
“You sure?” he asked. “I’m keeping this… You’re probably just missing out on a good deal,” Luigi said, stashing away the ad. “All right, what else is here? Hmm? Oh Mario, there’s a letter for you here… Do we know a Celos?”
Mario took the letter from Luigi and immediately opened the envelope. The letter inside was shredded in several places, and often Mario had to stop and squint to read the text.
You probably have never heard of me, but I’ve most certainly heard of you. Being the hero you are, I was hoping you’d have a chance to help us out. You see, the world is in grave peril! I suppose I’ll have to explain this to you from the beginning…
Since prehistoric ages, there have been two crystals which regulate the balance between good and evil, the light crystal and the dark crystal, simply enough. We’re not sure what happened, but somehow the light crystal has been smashed into seven pieces! We could easily put it back together, but it seems they’ve been stolen overnight… I need you to come here and help us retrieve them.
You may find me in the city of Lunaton. I’ll admit, it’s a good distance away, in lands foreign to your own… But if you can help us out, we will repay you greatly. I assure you that your finest sailors have heard of us, and should know where to find us. I’ve included a sea chart if needed.
I do hope you will help us. The world depends on it.
Luigi scratched his head. “Oh… Well, it looks like my big brother’s going out on another big adventure, huh?”
Mario approved by simply nodding his head.
“Fine, fine…” Luigi said. “But you know, I think I may provide a great deal of help. I’ve been working out, and it’s been rather boring being cooped up at home… And… Mario?” Luigi looked around, but Mario had already left. Sighing, Luigi pulled out a small book and began to write.
Today my brother went out on ANOTHER adventure without me…
Far above the Mushroom Kingdom was a ship of massive proportions. The skies around it were some of the worst one could imagine, either by sheer coincidence or by a madman’s evil presence.
A large Clubba stepped towards the edge of his doomship, peering down through the blackened layers of cloud below. A few Koopatrols roamed around behind him, carrying out various activities. The Clubba grinned, having intentions known only to himself.
“The time is near…” he said to himself.
Bowser’s castle. One of the foulest, most awful places imaginable. Built on a sea of lava by some of the world’s evilest Koopas to ever exist… Well, it’s not really all that terrible, but still, it’s not a good place.
The King of Koopas was currently sitting on his throne, hand on chin, and bored out of his mind. He eyed the pair of guards ready to strike down anyone who would attack, in spite of Bowser’s much greater strength. They didn’t seem very attentive, as it was getting late in the afternoon. They appeared ready for their shift to end.
Bowser sighed and got off his throne, walking towards the exit. The nearest guard stepped up to him. “My lord, may I ask where you’re going?”
He was answered with fire breath, as Bowser proceeded to find something to keep him entertained.
Kammy Koopa, Bowser’s right-hand hag and current head of the Magikoopas, was sitting in the royal library, flipping through the latest issue of Koopa Magazine. She wasn’t doing anything particularly interesting, but she was entertained nonetheless.
It was at this time that Bowser slammed open the library doors, effectively crushing the pair of guards watching it. “Kammy!” he roared. “What have you been doing in here?”
The old witch hopped out of her chair. “Why, I’m looking through magazines. Did you know that Swee T. and Duss T. are getting together? Ah, how I love celebrity hookups.”
“Yes, that’s great,” Bowser mumbled. “Kammy, why is it that I own an entire kingdom, am feared by everyone, and have a thousand soldiers ready to take a bullet… and yet I’ve got nothing to occupy myself?”
“Which kingdom do you own now?”
Bowser scratched his head. “Um… the… well… Okay, I don’t exactly own a kingdom, but I own an empire. But it doesn’t matter.”
“And most people seem to look at you indifferently… I mean, until they see you in person, they don’t seem to care.”
“Yes, that’s great. Now please answer my question.”
Kammy rubbed her chin. “And come to think of it, most of our soldiers are pretty much weaklings…”
“GWAR!” Bowser roared. “Is it that hard for you to simply reply to me?”
“Reply to what now?”
“WHY AM I SO BORED!?”
Kammy chuckled. “Why, that’s an easy one, my lord. I read this article about the origins of boredom. See, when you’re not doing anything, your cerebellum-”
“Never mind…” Bowser sighed. “I’m unsure what made me want to ask a fool like yourself.” Bowser began to stamp his feet on the ground, causing one of the magazines to fall to his feet. “Hmm? What’s this? Mighty dark crystal… great power… It’s said to be… KAMMY, where’s the rest of this article?”
“Huh? Oh, I think I cut out something on the other side. Should be in this pile here,” Kammy said, motioning to the massive pile of magazine clippings on the table.
Bowser’s jaw dropped. “How many of those have you cut out?!”
“About as many as I found interesting.”
“Kammy, it doesn’t take much to entertain you, does it?”
“Not really, my lord.”
Bowser slapped his face, then began to look through the hundreds of magazine clippings lieing on the table. He sorted for five hours straight, as Kammy continued to add to the pile. Bowser rubbed his eyes and looked out the window. “Ack! What time is it?”
Kammy looked at a watch strapped to her wrist. “Why, it’s 1 AM. Why do you ask?”
“Argh… Kammy, find me that article by morning. I’m heading off to bed,” Bowser said, walking off to his quarters.
Bowser’s eyes opened as the first traces of sunlight shone through the window. The king hopped out of his royal bed and stretched his royal arms. “Well…” he said to himself, “I hope Kammy has that article.” Bowser marched through his halls back into the royal library, only to find Kammy fast asleep at the same spot.
“Kammy! Wake up, you lazy bum!” Bowser roared.
The old Magikoopa wiped her eyes and observed her surroundings. “Why, good morning, my lord,” she greeted happily.
“Yes, good morning and such. Do you have that article yet?”
“Article?” Kammy rubbed her chin. “Oh, well, I forgot about that.”
“GYAR!” Bowser yelled, stomping the floor and causing Kammy to plummet to the ground. A magazine clipping slipped out of her hands to Bowser’s feet.
“What’s this? Yes! It’s that article!” Bowser cheered.
Kammy got up and began to dust herself off. “Oh yes, I was holding that the whole time. I was gonna show it to you later.”
Bowser’s jaw dropped. “So I sorted through all those magazine clippings all last night for NOTHING?!”
“Looks that way, my lord,” Kammy replied.
“GYAR!” Bowser roared, torching Kammy to a blackened crisp.
“Well,” Kammy started, “with concern for my physical well-being, I suggest you read the article.”
Bowser looked at the article.
There have recently been rumors flying around that a dark crystal is slowly taking over our world. Scientists believe this is nothing more than an urban legend, but some residents have noticed wild mood swings in friends and neighbors. Scientists respond by saying they’re crazy. In addition, there are pieces of another crystal scattered throughout the world. The whereabouts are unknown as of right now, and they probably won’t be bothered with. Though the crystal would be very powerful, it probably doesn’t exist.
By, Kooparin Koopa
“Aha!” Bowser cheered. “Kammy, do you know what this means? If we found this crystal, nobody could stop us!”
“You’re right, my lord,” Kammy answered. “We should start finding it immediately.
Bowser stepped into a wardrobe, closed the doors, and immediately crashed out in his Clown Copter. “Inform the troops that nobody is to disturb me while I’m gone!” he said, flying off through the window.
“Okay, one minute,” Kammy answered, clipping out another article.
Mario’s boat sailed forth into the vast ocean, set for the city of Lunaton. The sailors seemed to have pretty decent knowledge of the city, and were more than willing to help Mario reach it. Mario looked into the sky at the setting sun, unsure of the perils that lie before him.
And so the adventure begins…
Prologue: Learning the Legend
Mario’s ship had traveled all through the night, and the plumber had managed to get in a good night’s rest. When the sun had finally risen on the traveling hero, the sailors were preparing to disembark. Mario woke up, rubbed his eyes, and looked into the sea. What he saw left him astounded.
It was a beautiful city, resembling something straight from the days of ancient Rome. Everything about it seemed so perfectly designed, and at the head of it all was a massive clock tower. The sunlight reflected off of it and lit up the entire city, making it shine brightly.
One of the sailors laughed. “The beauty of this city never fails to astound me…” As he said this, Mario noticed a peculiar figure eyeing their boat from atop the great clock. But as soon as he lay his eyes on it, it hopped off. The sailors had failed to notice, as they were too busy pulling into the port.
“Now then,” one of the sailors began. “If you use this pass, it should get you a free night at the inn here. And I’ve left you with two Mushrooms… You… You DO know how to use Mushrooms, right?”
Mario nodded his head. Using a Mushroom was as simple as taking it and holding it over his head, recovering 10 HP.
The sailor chuckled. “Yes, I’m sure it was pretty dumb of me to ask such a skilled hero like you. Well then, I guess this is goodbye for now. Farewell, Mario, and best of luck to ya!”
Mario hopped onto the dock and gazed at the beautiful city before him. The residents were of mixed races, and all dressed either casually or formally. A Koopa stepped up to him, eyed him up and down, and spoke.
“So, you must be that Mario lad, eh?” he said, still eyeing Mario. “We were expecting you… I’m here to show you around the city. Wouldn’t want you getting lost, now would we?”
Mario nodded and began to follow him.
“This here is the dock, of course,” he began. “Marvelous, isn’t it? Sometimes people will just come out here to gaze at the evening sunset… Quite beautiful, it is.” He began to move on, Mario close behind.
Around them was the center of the great city, with two paths east and west, and the entrance to the clock tower to the north. It was decorated with a few trees and a massive fountain. “This would be your main area. Most of the activity in this city goes on here, and you can find just about anyone to converse with. From here, you can reach practically ANY part of the city.”
As he continued on, Mario’s eye caught a figure hiding next to a chimney. Again, it ran off as he looked at it. The Koopa didn’t seem to notice, as he began to move on to the west side of town. Mario quickly ran after him.
“Here is where all our trading happens. You can find a load of traders here, so this is the best place to find rare and exotic items. There’s a bit of a creek that runs right through here, and a simple raft ride can take you out of the city. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can do as you please. Oh, and over there is the entrance to our sewer system… I’m not quite sure why anyone would go there, but some folks have found it useful at times.” He shrugged, moving back to the central area of the city.
Mario looked up at the clock tower once again. The Koopa seemed to catch him doing so. “Oh, I almost forgot! That tower is the centerpiece of our beautiful city… See, it reflects both the sunlight and the moonlight, letting it shine 24/7. Such a marvelous monument… Nobody’s certain exactly how it works or who made it, but it doesn’t matter really… Sometimes you just need to sit back and take in beauty…” He walked into the east area of the city.
“Here you’ll find the residence. Houses everywhere ya look and a gateway to Sunrise Hill. On top of that hill is a pretty famous library… If you know of a book, they probably have it archived. It’s pretty amazing, really. Even if you’re not into books, it can be useful to go up there and see what you can find. Oh yes, I almost forgot that the shop and inn are both here. Both have pretty good prices, so you won’t have to worry about money too much.” He began walking back to the central area.
Before Mario turned to follow, he noticed the same shady figure looking at him from an ally. And once again, it disappeared as soon as he looked at it. He wondered for a bit, then went to follow the Koopa.
“Well,” he began, “that’s about it… If you need anything, just come talk to me.”
Mario then remembered Celos, and raised his fist.
“What’s that?” the Koopa asked. “Celos? Hmm… Can’t say I’ve heard of him. You may wanna look around, there are some mysterious folk around here…” he finished.
Mario thought about this, and decided to search for Celos. Before he left, his eye caught the same shady figure around the east wall. This time, it jumped over the wall. Mario started towards it, but decided the city was much too big. He could get lost fairly easily.
So the plumber took a good look around the place. First, there was the clock tower. Its diameter was surely the size of a football field, and it seemed to tower endlessly into the sky. The clock at the top shined bright, making sure that nobody needed to ask for the time.
Around the clock tower were various residents and one or two houses. They were quite obviously of higher class than those he’d seen in East Lunaton, as most of these were decorated fancily and contained at least three stories.
The fountain was in the form of a Koopa, Lil’ Mouser, and Goomba standing around a large clock face engraved with a crescent symbol. These seemed to be the founders of the great city, and the clock seemed to be its symbol.
In the distant background there appeared to be a series of aquaducts leading in and out of the city. The fountain suggested their efficiency, and the plumber guessed that they provided a nearly infinite amount of water.
He then felt it was time to move west.
There were merchants all around, trading various items at a quick pace. They didn’t seem to have any kind of difficulty bargaining, so it was immediately apparent that they knew their math.
There was a small spot where rafts and yachts coming into the city gathered. Though it appeared to be full, it was somehow organized, and none of the foreign traders seemed to worry about them at all.
Additionally, there was a second river running out of the city. Somehow, they had managed to build a structure to control the currents of the river and split it into two, creating a naval freeway.
The traders were all sorts of different races, from Goombas to Mushroomers to Clefts to Lil’ Mousers. In fact, any race you could think of would probly be found in that area. Yet there seemed to be no racial issues; everyone traded with each other as though they were all equal in every way.
The buildings consisted of a target game, a lottery, and a casino. Anything else seemed to be more residential areas, not of very high class. Near the back of these buildings was a gateway, and the area behind appeared to get more arid from the looks of it.
Mario had seen all he needed to see and headed back east.
And east once more.
As mentioned by the Koopa, most of the area was taken up by houses. There were a few residents wandering around outside, going about their lives. There also appeared to be some guards around, obviously protecting the place.
The shop and inn sat at the far northeast corner of the area, next door to each other. The area around was heavily flowered, yet had plenty of space to walk on. It appeared to be very organized.
The houses and residents themselves appeared to be middle class. There wasn’t anything that made them look particularly rich or poor, and most of them seemed content.
A thought had occurred to Mario… The letter he received was in ruin, and yet the city was so lively and in perfect condition…
Then yet again, Mario spotted the shadowy figure that had been following him. The figure was sitting on top of a roof, and after a few seconds, it jumped into the chimney of the house. Mario walked between some houses, looking for the one belonging to the mysterious man. The house he had jumped in had its lights on, and the only visible entrance was through the chimney.
Mario searched for some way up there. He caught sight of some stairs, which were built for one of the houses, but reached up to a large pillar. Mario climbed them, managed to hop on the pillar, and stood on the rooftops. He found the house he was looking for and made his way to the chimney, and, without hesitation, jumped into it.
He landed with a thud in a small house. Despite its small size, it was nicely furnished, but a pile of books sitting on the desk threw off the sense of cleanliness. The figure Mario had been chasing sat on a chair, watching the plumber.
“I knew you’d come,” he began. “As you’ve probably guessed by now, I am Celos.” He was dressed in majestic black robes, with a jewel-incrusted turban on his head. His face was not visible, other than two bright yellow eyes piercing the blackness. He resembled one of the Shamans, but was obviously not of the same race. “I’m glad you came, most heroes would ignore such a request. As you’ve read in my letter, the light crystal has been shattered, leaving the dark crystal to take over.”
Mario scratched his chin, then lifted his arm to speak.
“What?” Celos asked. “The location of the dark crystal? I’m sorry, my friend, but that’s information I couldn’t give out to anybody. Hero or not, it’s very secret.” He stood up and lit a fire. “Oh, and in case you were wondering, there’s a secret entrance. Just pull the torch outside to reveal the door.” He lifted a teacup and filled it with hot herbal tea. “Yes, well, I’m sure you’re ready to get started finding those crystal pieces, eh?”
Mario nodded his head in affirmation.
“Well, we’ll have to do some background research first. There are a few books that I’ll be needing before the search. First, I’ll need Ancient Runes, which should give some information on our crystals. Next, I’ll need History of Legendary Artifacts, which may provide some information on where they came from, and perhaps help us figure out where they went. Finally, I’ll need The Worldly Balance, which, fortunately for us, is a book all about our elusive crystal pieces. I’d recommend searching in that library on Sunrise Hill first. I’m sure they have plenty of information for you.”
Mario nodded his head, leaving through a door that wasn’t visible from the outside. He made his way to the gate and spoke with one of the guards.
“The library? Why yes, you may pass,” one of the guards said, opening the gate for Mario.
Mario stepped out of the city to a grassy path. There were various trees scattered around, and the singing of birds filled the air. Mario proceeded towards the large building that sat on the summit, knowing that it was the library Celos and the Koopa had spoken of. Unfortunately, the path wasn’t all clear, as a Goomba stepped in front of him. Mario was startled at the sudden appearance and fell on his rear.
“Hehehe…” the Goomba laughed at him. “Such a weakling… I can tell just by looking at you!” he taunted, ramming himself into Mario and triggering a battle.
Mario eyed his opponent. Long story short, it was fairly pathetic. He didn’t really stand much of a losing chance, seeing as how Goombas were generally the weakest creatures in ANY kingdom. With that in mind, Mario slammed his hammer on the poor creature, instantly putting an end to the battle.
The Goomba dropped very few coins, but Mario picked them up nonetheless. He continued down the path, taking in the scent of the flowers surrounding him. His path was blocked off by another Goomba, unfortunately, who immediately engaged the plumber.
Again, the Goomba remained a pathetic, helpless foe, but this time it was accompanied by a second Goomba. Mario didn’t see this as a huge problem, as he smashed one of the Goombas, instantly defeating it. The second Goomba, however, used this time to give Mario a good headbonk. Though it hit him full force, Mario barely felt any pain. He rubbed his head, which was slightly bruised, then proceeded to smash the remaining enemy.
Mario kept moving on, taking notice of a yellow block. Upon hitting it, a Honey Syrup popped out. Mario grabbed the item and continued on his way.
It didn’t take much longer for him to reach his desired location, the library. Its large oak doors stood before him, and he was ready to go inside. He grabbed the handle and entered.
Mario stood before several massive aisles of books, all of which seemed to reach into the heavens. He was certain that the library wasn’t this large from the outside… There were dozens of tables scattered about, each with guests sitting at them, either researching or reading a piece of literature. Mario walked up to the librarian’s desk and looked over to see if anyone was there.
He was greeted by a small Goomba wearing a green hat and keeping a pencil on the spot where his ear would be. “One moment, one moment…” He said, sorting some files. After a few seconds, he looked up at the plumber, then instantly fell back. “I don’t believe it! Am I seeing things?!” He stared in awe as Mario stood before him. “I never thought I’d actually look at the famous Mario! Wow!”
Mario lifted his arm to speak.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so rude… It’s just… WOW! You’re so famous, and… It’s such an honor to speak with you.”
Mario lifted his arm.
“Right, right…” the Goomba said. “I truly must apologize… I’ve done a lot of research on you and all your adventures. Wait… Are you on an adventure right now?! Wow! That must be exciting! Geez, I wish I could go on adventures like you do… I’m Goombriam, by the way… I sort of work here part-time. Mainly I just like all the books, but there is some money involved. Oh right, I’m sure there’s something you’re here for.”
Mario nodded his hand in affirmation, following it with the raising of his fist.
“Oh yes, those first two books I can find no problem,” Goombriam said, hopping off to retrieve them. The plumber was still impressed at the sheer size of the library, but was even more impressed at Goombriam, who had immediately returned with both books. “Now, the third book… The Worldly Balance… see, there’s supposedly only one copy made, and we don’t seem to have it.”
Mario’s jaw dropped.
“However…” Goombriam continued, “the writer was said to have lived in Lunaton… Perhaps someone there still has it…”
A mustachioed Goomba entered the room and hopped up on the stool Goombriam was using previously. “Who’s zis, boy?” he asked his assistant. “Looks like some kinda plumber…”
“He is, Boss… He’s Mario, famous hero of the Mushroom Kingdom!” Goombriam announced proudly.
“Never heard of ‘em…” the old Goomba said. “You work too much, ya know that? Don’t you kids have better things to be doin’ nowadays?”
Goombriam shook his head. “I like it here, Boss… And Mario here is busy going on another adventure.”
Goombriam’s boss eyed Mario, then looked to the Goomba. “Adventure, eh? All by his lonesome? Why, that’s crazy! Goombriam, why aren’t YOU going on an adventure with this guy?”
Goombriam blushed. “You know I can’t do that… I have a job, and I’m sure Mario wouldn’t want me…”
“Nonsense!” the Goomba broke in. “Mario, was it? Wouldn’t you take a fine young Goomba like this one with you on your… eh… adventure?”
Mario nodded his head.
“But…” Goombriam muttered, “don’t you need me here?”
The old Goomba laughed heartily. “Goombriam, we could do just fine here without you. I mean, it’s great havin’ the help and all, but someone your age needs to get out more and have a little excitement!”
“I guess… Mario… Would you take me with you?” Goombriam asked, hopefully.
Mario answered by nodding.
“Awesome! Thanks a bunch! You won’t regret it a minute!” the young Goomba cheered, hopping up and down. “I’ll try to help you as much as I can! Like, I can tell you about where you are, and I can tell you about enemies, and I have a mean Headbonk!”
Goombriam has joined your party!
The old Goomba laughed again. “Yes, yes, you can do all of those things. Now I think it’s time for you kids to run along.”
“Right,” Goombriam confirmed. “Mario, we should look for that book. Come on!”
The pair left the great library, Goombriam skipping happily.
The pair continued to walk down the hill, ready to get back to the city. Goombriam observed their surroundings. “Beautiful place, eh? This hill has actually been here since Lunaton was first created, and the library was built shortly after. Amazing how it still retains its charm, isn’t it?”
Their path was soon interrupted by a Spiked Goomba and Paragoomba.
Goombriam gulped. “Mario, these guys aren’t your average Goombas. You see the spike on that one’s head? Jump on that and it hurts! And that flying Goomba is untouchable when you try to use your hammer.”
Mario looked at the pair of foes before them.
“What’re you lookin’ at, punk?” the Spiked Goomba said angrily. “I think we oughta teach these punks a lesson,” he said to his partner as they charged into Mario and Goombriam.
Mario stopped to think about how to handle this. He could hammer the Spiked Goomba or jump on the Paragoomba. Goombriam could only Headbonk the Paragoomba. Therefore, Goombriam would have to go for the Paragoomba and Mario the Spiked Goomba.
Mario pulled out his hammer and did in the Spiked Goomba in a single blow. The Paragoomba looked at this and growled.
Goombriam quickly finished things off with a skilled Headbonk to the winged foe, bringing him down and causing him to fall in defeat.
Mario watched as the pair of Goombas disappeared, leaving behind a few coins. Goombriam was jumping in excitement. “Woah, did you see that?! We were awesome!”
Mario nodded, and they continued back to town.
“All righty…” Goombriam began, scanning the area as best he could. “If the book is here… someone’s probably hiding it. You know, this is supposedly a very powerful book. People have fought over it for generations, but it’s supposedly never been seen outside of Lunaton’s walls. Strange, isn’t it?”
Mario nodded his head.
“Yes… Well, we need some sort of lead as to where the book is. It’s no use to just stand around and make guesses. Is there anyone who could help you out?”
Mario lifted his arm.
“Celos? Hmm… All right, let’s go see him,” Goombriam replied, waiting for Mario’s guidance.
Mario took the same path to Celos’ house, but this time pulled on a torch by the window. This peeled away a piece of paper covering up a door, which Mario used to enter.
“So you’re back already,” Celos greeted. “Do you have the books?”
Mario handed over the first two books obediently.
“That third book…” Goombriam began. “It’s very elusive… all legendary and sacred and such. Celos, sir, do you know anything about it that would help us find it?”
Celos looked at the Goomba. “Well, you might be interested to know that my ancestors kept a secret trading business in the sewers. I’m sure I can trust you with this, Mario… I’ve heard that the book has more than once crossed our trades. Perhaps someone still has it down there.”
“Thank you,” Goombriam said. “That should help us out. Come on, Mario.”
Mario stepped out of the house, remembering where the sewers were located. He proceeded west.
And continued west.
Mario walked over to the pipe the Koopa before had told him led into the sewers. He prepared to enter, when Goombriam spoke up.
“Wait a second,” he said. “You sure we’re ready to go in there? It could be rather dangerous…”
Mario nodded his head and entered the sewers, knowing with three Mushrooms and a Honey Syrup he should have no real problems.
The pair immediately landed on the wet stone floor, as the murky sewer water flowed around their platform. Goombriam observed his surroundings. There were a couple of platforms, the second of which had a door leading further into the sewers.
“Ugh, I don’t like this place,” Goombriam spoke up. “Just looking around makes me start to feel sick. Let’s find that book and get out of here!”
Mario hopped onto the second platform and entered the next room. Some gunk hung from the ceiling, and the background was loaded with pipes. They were on a catwalk suspended above the water, which was just as murky as before.
Goombriam shook his head. “Such a beautiful city, yet just below it is a disgusting dungeon… Yeesh, this place reeks.”
Mario crossed the catwalk, taking special care not to touch anything liquid. In a place like this, there’s no telling what it is.
The next room was slightly more complicated. There was a waterfall of sewage waste creating a bit of a river, but there was no way across. In fact, the only exit was a door beside the waterfall.
Goombriam observed. “Well, we can’t cross it for the time being. Might as well go in that door.”
Mario did as told and entered the door, into a room slightly tidier than the previous ones. There wasn’t gunk all over the place, though the roof was dripping a bit due to the river of water just above. Other than that, it seemed as though someone had been there before.
It was at that moment that Goombriam spotted a book on a crate. “Mario! Look! Do you think that’s the book?” he said, pointing out the book.
Mario approached it and wiped the dust off of the cover with his glove. The Worldly Balance. This was the book they’d been looking for!
Goombriam hopped in glee. “We did it! Now let’s get out of here! I feel dirty just being here…”
“Leave? With MY book?” came a voice from the doorway. Mario and Goombriam turned to see a gray Bumpty sporting a white headband. “I don’t think so, bub.”
“And who might you be?” Goombriam spoke up.
“I’m Boxy, toughest penguin in the land! My family has used this room for trade since we first came in from the mountains! And that is the book we bought over fifty years ago.”
Goombriam and Mario dropped jaws. “Well… can we have it?” Goombriam asked hopefully.
“NO, YOU TWIT!” Boxy yelled, causing Mario to fall on his back. “As long as I’m here, nobody leaves with the book.”
Mario lifted a hand.
“Save the world? Pfft! What kind of a fool do you think I am? If you can’t let me have the book, I’ll have to show you what I’m made of!”
The angered Bumpty eyed his opponents. “You don’t seem all that tough. I doubt I’ll even break a sweat against wimps like you!”
Goombriam’s face went red. “What did you just say?! We’re not wimps! We’ll show you! Let’s get him, Mario!”
Boxy began by charging madly towards the two. Both instantly jumped out of the way, sending Boxy flying towards the wall. But a simple wall kick set him back in the right direction. Goombriam turned around just in time to see two penguin wings grab hold of him and fling him across the room.
“WAUGH!” he yelped, slamming into the wall. After pulling himself together, he noticed Boxy chuckling at him.
“So pathetic… You might as well hand that book back over while you’re still in one piece!” He laughed again, but was cut short by a hammer slamming into his skull. “ARGH!” he screamed, rigorously rubbing the spot where Mario had attacked him. “That hurt, you jerk! Ooh, you’ve messed with the wrong man!”
Mario jumped out of the way of a flying kick, sending Boxy flying into the wall yet again. Only this time, he couldn’t turn himself around, and with a loud WHAM, the Bumpty fell to the ground.
Goombriam had taken this time to pull out a rather thick encyclopedia. It was a recently-updated edition, and included nearly every foe in the Mario Universe. He eyed the penguin and his book, back and forth, flipping through pages.
While the Goomba did his research, Mario and Boxy were busy trying to knock each other down. The latter was unleashing a barrage of swinging punches at the plumber, who was jumping back out of the way.
“You’re an annoying little freak,” Boxy said, trying several times to get a good attack on the plumber. “I’m not gonna lose to someone like you!”
Mario slipped up and fell to his back as an unexpected kick swept through his legs. Boxy grinned at his success and gripped the plumber’s left foot, spinning him around in the air and flinging him towards the Goomba.
Goombriam looked up from his book just in time to see a plumber flying right in his direction. With a yelp, he ducked out of the way, allowing Mario to slam into the wall. “Yikes! Mario, be careful!” he cried, trying to find his page.
Mario rubbed his head and looked once more at his opponent. Boxy was currently laughing yet again.
“Oh, this is entertaining,” he said, finally containing his laughter. “I could fling you guys into walls all day, it’s no strain on me.”
As Mario charged yet again towards his opponent, Goombriam found the page he had been looking for. Surprisingly, there was an entire article about Boxy, which included fairly detailed information. “Hey Mario, listen up!”
Boxy: A Bumpty with an insane attitude and enormous ego. He’s descended from a long line of merchants, and will do whatever it takes to protect his family’s treasures (especially if it means fighting!).
Though Boxy may appear to constantly remain unharmed, he can take on the greatest amount of damage and be cool about it. Even if he still acts cocky and confident, he may only take a few more shots before he goes down in defeat.
“You hear that, Mario?” Goombriam called out as the plumber grappled against their foe. “This guy won’t show any signs of taking damage, so we’ll just have to keep hitting him with all we’ve got!”
Boxy blinked. “Who would honestly have the time to go through and organize all that information into a book? I mean, geez, I’m not even famous!” Boxy shouted out, unaware that Mario was picking him up until he noticed the ground leave his feet. “Wha- HEY! LET ME DOWN, YOU FREAK! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
And so the plumber grabbed his hammer and began to juggle Boxy around in the air. The penguin’s face got redder and redder as the plumber continued to gleefully play with him. Goombriam was on the ground laughing at the sight, which made Boxy even angrier.
“GAK- STOP- OW! THIS- GAH! RIGHT NOW!!!” he cried, finally landing to the ground with a thud. “Urgh… You freaks fight so cheaply…”
Mario grabbed the book they had been searching for and the two left Boxy behind.
“Argh… You’ll pay for this…” he said, unable to move.
“Very well done,” Celos complimented, taking the book from Mario. “If there was anyone who could get this book, it was you, and you’ve done a great job.”
“Trust me, it wasn’t easy,” Goombriam said, drinking his tea contently.
“I don’t imagine it to be,” Celos said. “Now, when we’re done here, I’ll need a night to search through these books.”
Goombriam finished his tea. “You’re right. Mario, we should stay at the inn.”
The plumber nodded, exiting Celos’ home and making his way to the inn.
The innkeeper seemed nice enough, and took Mario’s inn card happily. “Thank you, please enjoy your stay!” he said cheerfully.
The two went up to their room. Mario hopped onto the bed, and thin as paper, slid underneath the covers.
Goombriam woke early and start organizing the bit of stuff they had. Mario woke shortly after and the two returned to Celos’s house.
“I think I’ve managed to find the location of your first piece, Mario…” Celos said. “You see, when the Crystals are shattered, the pieces are scattered across the world. They don’t scatter completely at random, however. They’re lured to certain spots around the world. Any sudden change in power or odd happenings might have something to do with the Crystal Pieces. One of those areas is around the Koopwind Valley. You can probably find a path in this city somewhere. If you ask around, I’m sure someone knows.”
“Thanks, Celos,” Goombriam said. “We’ll get started right away.”
Mario left the house and observed the residents.
Goombriam spoke up. “Koopwind Valley, eh? I think there’s supposed to be a path from Lunaton to Koopwind. Perhaps someone around here knows about it…”
Mario remembered the Koopa who had toured him through the city.
“Koopwind?” the Koopa answered. “Yes, I came from Koopwind. Why do you need to know?”
“We’d like to get there... Do you know how?” Goombriam spoke up.
The Koopa glanced around him, then leaned in. “Yes, actually. You should try looking for a switch in those sewers. I warn you, you’ll have to take a bit of a ride through the water to get there… But you’ll be okay. Take my word for it. Getting back is much easier… There’ll be a path you can take only accessible from the Valley to here.”
Goombriam sighed. “Back into the sewers… Darn it…”
And so Mario proceeded west.
“Geez, of all places for a secret path to be hidden,” Goombriam complained. “The SEWERS. Blech!”
Mario ignored the Goomba and went on down into the sewers.
Hopping across the platform and into the next room was no problem for Mario. Goombriam, however, was hesitant, and nearly fell into the rancid sewage water.
The next room was the same catwalk from before, naturally. As Mario began to cross, Goombriam scuttled in behind. “Mario, wait a minute. We need to remember that we’re looking for a switch. Let’s look around a bit before rushing on forward.
The pair searched the room quite a bit, and it didn’t take long for Mario to notice a block blended in with the green of the pipes in the background. It’s painting was just perfect enough to make it seem invisible, making it impossible for anyone to see who had not known of its presence.
Without hesitating, Mario smacked the block. With a loud rumbling, the part of the catwalk they were on detached and fell into the murky waters below. Goombriam shook nervously as they floated above the water. “I have a bad feeling about this…”
Just as he spoke, three pipes jutted from the background and launched a massive blast of water at them, shooting them through a long winding water tunnel. Mario quite enjoyed the ride, but the same could not be said for Goombriam, who was hanging on for dear life.
It didn’t take too long for the pair to hit land. Mario casually stepped off, while Goombriam was flung against the wall with a thud. The catwalk they were on sank into the water, preparing for anyone else who may happen to find the switch.
The two walked through another tunnel. Both had to really focus to see in the torch-lit path… not that there was much to see. It wasn’t too long that they came across a doorway. As Mario pulled the handle, it opened with ease, exposing them to broad daylight.