Chapter 3: Of Glitz and Two-Part Chapters, Part 1
Grodus: I'm highly displeased with the results from the Bloggly Woods excavation, Crump.
Crump: Like I said, it's that stupid witch's fault. If she hadn't thrown a grenade in the middle of the path, I might have-
Grodus: Yes, yes. I've heard it all before. Anyway, I'm putting you on a new assignment.
Crump: Which is...?
Grodus: Follow Mario. If the opportunity presents itself, kill him, and anyone who tries to stop you.
Crump: Got it, sir!
Crump salutes, then leaves. An Elite enters.
PhD: Sir Grodus, mission successful. We've captured Mr. Luigi Mario, and have him currently locked up in the storage shed.
Grodus: Very good. Send him to the prisoner's quarters.
PhD: Sir, if I may be so bold, I'd like to make a suggestion.
Grodus: Very well.
PhD: Sir Grodus, have a brownie.
He produces a tray of brownies, many of which have already been eaten. Grodus takes one and takes a bite.
Grodus: Why, this brownie... IT'S DELICIOUS! A SCRUMPTIOUS TASTE SENSATION! X-Naut! Who cooked these brownies?
PhD: The prisoner Luigi, sir.
Grodus: Bring him here.
A short while later, Luigi is standing before Grodus, with an escort of two X-Nauts.
Grodus: You are the brother of Mario, correct?
Luigi nods, terror filling his eyes.
Grodus: Excellent. I will give you two options: you may either join the X-Naut army as head chef, or be executed.
Luigi: Uh... I'll take the job.
Grodus: YES! And I simply MUST have that brownie recipe!
Luigi: Oh, sure. You just use a normal brownie recipe, but add some vanilla-
Grodus: VANILLA! GENIUS! Why didn't I think of that?
Computer Room, X-Naut Fortress
Peach: You wanted to see me... er... What should I call you?
Tec-XX: Tec should suffice.
Peach: Okay, Tec. Did the Email I sent get received?
Tec: ... No.
Tec: My Email client is routed through Hotmail, and your recipient is a Gmail user.
Peach: And your point?
Tec: The two clients are at war, and don't receive each other's Emails. Do you have an alternative Email address you could send to?
Peach: No... wait. Yes, I do! Could you forward the Email I typed to firstname.lastname@example.org?
Tec: ... Email sent. Now, teach me more of love.
Peach: Well, love is... Hm. How do you describe love?
Tec: Perhaps the use of a simile?
Peach: ... Okay. Love is like Gmail.
Tec: Go on.
Peach: Well, Gmail is safe, reliable, secure, and, most importantly, infinite. It's the same with love.
Tec: Love is incompatible with Hotmail?
Peach: ... I guess you could say that.
Tec: I must think about this further. Please return to your room.
Peach: Okay. But if this Email doesn't get through, we're done. Understand?
Tec: ... Please return to your room.
Peach turns and stalks out of the room.
Tec: Goodnight, Princess Peach.
Bowser: Bwahahahaha! Now that I have an inflatable Peach doll, everyone will think I kidnapped her!
Kammy: Yes, but we have no idea where Mario went.
Bowser: It doesn't matter! I'm in a good mood, so let's take a break.
Kammy: A... break, sir?
Bowser: Yeah! Let's head to that Glitzville place and watch the fights!
Kammy: ... Are you sure? I mean, Mario-
Bowser: Forget Mario! I want to have some fun!
Bowser and Kammy leave the store, and head back to the copter. However, they find themselves accosted by a Koopa.
Koops: Excuse me, but are you looking for... Mario?
Koops: Well, I was, kind of, sort of wondering if... if...
Bowser: If what?
Koops: *cough* Please?
Random Audience Member: Wait a minute... That was just copy-and-pasted from the Hooktail Castle chapter!
Machine gun fire is heard.
Author: Any other complaints?
Author: Good. Carry on.
Kammy: Right... Anyway, do you know who you're talking to, kid?
Koops ... No.
Bowser: I'M BOWSER! THE FEROCIOUS, EVIL, AND INCREDIBLY AWESOME KOOPA KING!
Koops: ... Nope, never heard of you. But... can I have a ride? Until you find Mario?
Bowser: Forget it! I'm not a taxi.
Kammy: Sir, if I might speak with you privately for a moment.
They step aside.
Kammy: Now sir, in the event we come across Mario, this Koopa may be of use.
Bowser: Go on.
Kammy: It's obvious he knows Mario somehow. We could use him as bait in a trap, or to lure Mario out of hiding, or, if we convince him, we could even use him as a double agent.
Bowser: That's the sort of thing that I hired you for!
Kammy: Thank you, sir.
Bowser climbs into his copter.
Bowser: Get in, kid.
Koops: YES! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANK-
Kammy: Shut it.
Bowser: We're off for Glitzville!
Bowser: Shut up.
Goombella: Professor Frankly! We found the second Crystal Star, and-
Goombella and Mario barge into Frankly's house, only to find Frankly absent, and two Piantas wearing suits and sunglasses.
Pianta 1: Dere's da two rubes da boss mentioned!
Mario: ... For some reason, I don't think they're friends of the professor...
A short while later, Mario and Goombella are being held at gunpoint in the office of Don Pianta. Frankly is tied up and gagged in the corner.
Don Pianta: Now, I'm sure you're wonderin' why you're here.
Mario: The thought had crossed my mind.
Don Pianta: Well, you see, I run dis town. As such, I have a say in everythin' that happens. Even treasure hunts. Now, as I understand it, you're searchin' for da treasure in da underground, right?
Don Pianta: Now, here's da way I see it: dat treasure is under MY town. So, dat treasure belongs to ME. Get it?
Goombella: NO! That treasure belongs to whoever gets there first!
Don Pianta gives a slight nod, and one of his associates clubs Goombella with the butt of his gun, knocking her out.
Mario: ... Well, I'm open to discussion.
Don Pianta: Now, since you're searchin' for my treasure, I obviously get to keep the vast majority, and you get, say, 10 percent for a finder's fee.
Mario: ... Oookaaay.
Don Pianta: Plus, since you'll obviously be needing da protection of my "associates", those expenses will be covered by, say, an additional 10 percent of da treasure. Get it?
Mario: Uh, I really don't think we'll be needing your protection, so let's just stick with the 90/10 deal, okay?
Don Pianta: I dunno. Da streets of dis town are pretty dangerous, what wid pickpockets and all.
Don Pianta makes a slight gesture, and one of his associates removes Mario's wallet.
Mario: On second thought, I'd be delighted to enlist your valuable services.
Don Pianta: Den it's settled.
With that, Don Pianta unties Frankly and shoves him over to Mario's group.
Don Pianta: Now, old man, where's da next Crystal Star?
Mario hands Frankly the map.
Frankly: ... Glitzville. Definitely Glitzville.
Don Pianta: Glitzville, eh? Well, it just so happens I have a free pass for da blimp to Glitzville.
Mario: Then fork it over.
Don Pianta: Hold up. We never discussed expenses in our negotiations, eh? Now, da way I see it, you need da tickets, and you ain't got a way to pay for 'em. But, I'm a reasonable man, and I'm sure we can arrange a deal. You know, I scratch your back, you scratch mine.
Frankly: What sort of deal?
Don Pianta: One of my young "associates", Frankie, did somethin' that was... inexcusable. I need you to make 'im dissapear, if you catch my drift.
Frankly: What exactly did he do?
Don Pianta: ... He went against the family.
Mario: So you want me to track down this Frank guy and... kill him?
Don Pianta: But be sure to make it look like an accident.
Frankly: And Goombella?
Don Pianta: She'll be stayin' wid us for the time being. Let's just say, if you screw dis up, her luck'll turn terrible.
Mario: Riiiight. Well, I'm off to do a contract killing. Be right back.
Mario leaves, with Frankly close behind.
Frankly: We can't go around killing people! That's, that's-
Mario: That's the fastest way to get a ticket. Let's go.
Frankly: But, what about the witnesses?
Mario: What witnesses?
Frankly: You know... them...
Mario: Them? What them?
Frankly: The... audience.
Frankly: They're watching our every move, using their monitors and their web browsers...
Mario: ... Have you been taking your medication?
Frankly: I'M NOT MAD, I TELL YOU! THEY SEE EVERYTHING! THEY HEAR EVERYTHING! OUR DEEPEST, DARKEST SECRETS BECOME THEIRS TO TELL! WE CANNOT CONTROL THEM! WE CANNOT STOP THEM! THEY READ OUR EVERY WORD!
Frankly breaks down sobbing. By this point, a crowd has gathered around to see what's going on. Suddenly, Mario spies Frankie among the crowd.
Frankie: Uh oh.
Frankie takes off running toward the docks, with Mario in hot pursuit.
Francesca: Oh, Frankie! Did you find out when the boat arrives?
Frankie: Not a good time, sweetie.
He grabs her and they run to the end of the pier. Cornered, they turn around to see Mario advancing slowly toward them, hammer at the ready.
Frankie: I'm sure Don Pianta sent you, and I can explain everything-
Mario: No explaining. I need a blimp ticket, and you're how I'm going to get one!
Mario raises his hammer to strike, when suddenly-
Toadsworth: MASTER MARIO!
Mario turns around quickly, doing his best to hide the hammer behind his back.
Mario: Toadsworth! What are you doing here?
Toadsworth: I just barely caught up with you! Anyway, I just received contact from Princess Peach! She's alive!
Mario: Well, where is she?
Toadsworth: That's the disappointing part. She doesn't know. All she knows is that she's being held by a an organization calling itself the X-Nauts.
Mario: And that helps me how?
Toadsworth: ... I honestly don't know. Anyway, who's this lovely couple you're with?
Mario: Them, oh, they're nobody.
Francesca: I'm Francesca Pianta, and this is my fiancé, Frankie.
Mario: ... Wait, your last name is Pianta? And he's your fiancé?
Toadsworth: It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.
Frankie: Likewise. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe this guy was about to kill me.
Toadsworth: WHAT? Why, that's absurd! Master Mario wouldn't hurt an innocent such as yourself! Right, Mario?
Mario: Uh, right.
Frankie: Well, either way, we need to be going.
Toadsworth: Where to?
Frankie: Well, we were going to escape-
Francesca kicks him in the shin.
Frankie: Er, elope to the Mushroom Kingdom.
Toadsworth: Why, that's absolutely spot on! The royal jet just so happens to be at the airport, and I'm sure the princess wouldn't mind lending its use to a couple lovebirds such as yourselves!
Francesca: Oh, thank you! Thank you so very much!
Frankie: Lead the way!
Toadsworth, Frankie, and Francesca leave.
Mario: But, but, but...
A short while later, back in Don Pianta's office...
Don Pianta: Well?
Mario: It's safe to say Frankie isn't around anymore.
Don Pianta: When you say "isn't around", do you mean dead?
Mario: I mean he's disappeared.
Don Pianta: As in killed?
Mario: He's not going to be frequenting the Rogueport Inn anymore.
Don Pianta: As in...
Mario: He's up in the sky with the birdies.
Don Pianta: ... I don't trust you, Mr. Stache. If I find out you're pulling da wool over my eyes...
Don Pianta hands Mario the blimp pass.
Don Pianta: Now you and your Goomba girlfriend, outta my office.
Goombella's eyelids flutter open as she regains consciousness.
Goombella: Uh... What'd I miss?
One blimp ride later, they arrive in Glitzville.
Mario: Well, we're here.
Goombella: Wow, it's... small.
Mario: So, where do we start looking?
Goombella: Why not the overly-large building in the middle of the square?
They enter said building, and wander through a second set of double doors, leading to an arena.
Mario: Hey, look at that!
He points to the fighters in the arena, one of whom is wearing a belt.
Goombella: That belt has the Crystal Star on it!
Just then, the belt-wearer lands an uppercut on his opponent, knocking him out.
Announcer: AAAND THE WINNER, AND REMAINING CHAMPION OF THE GLITZ PITZ, IS RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWK HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWK! Tell me, Mr. Champion, how was that fight?
Rawk Hawk: That guy? Hah! A pushover! There ain't a fighter in the WORLD who can beat me!
Announcer: There you have it, folks! Will anyone EVER be able to beat the Rawk? Let's have a round of applause!
Mario: All right, we're going to enter this fighting competition thingie, and get that Star.
A bit later, Mario is standing in the announcer's office.
Announcer: Hey there! Name's Grubba. What can I do ya for?
Mario: Hi. Look, I'd like to sign up for this fighting... thing.
Grubba: Well lookie here! A new fighter! Just what we needed! We just lost another fighter to Rawk, and already another comes in to take 'is place! Small world after all, ain't it?
Mario: Well, where do I sign up?
Grubba: Tell you what, I'll just pull this contract out o' this 'ere drawer, and you can start right away in the Minor Leagues!
Grubba slaps a contract down in front of Mario. Mario reaches for the pen and begins to sign.
Goombella: Uh, Mario, shouldn't you read the contract first?
Mario: Bah. It's fine, not like anything bad could possibly happen, right?
Grubba: Heh heh, sure, sure. Anywho, I'll have Ms. Jolene take you to your locker room. Ms. Jolene!
Jolene enters the office.
Grubba: This 'ere boy, er... What's yer name?
Grubba: Naw. That ain't a fighter's name! How about... the GREAT GATSBY!
Jolene: Uh, sir. That's the name of a book.
Grubba: Er, right. The Great Goombario?
Grubba: Great Gonzo?
Jolene: We'd be sued.
Grubba: I've got it! From now on, you'll be... THE GREAT GONZALEZ!
Mario: ... That's the stupidest name I've heard in my life.
Grubba: Well, git used to it. Jolene, if you could take these two to the Minor League locker room, that'd be swell.
Jolene: Yes, sir.
Mario and Goombella follow Jolene down the hallway.
Jolene: Listen, and listen good. From now on, you'll be reporting directly to Mr. Grubba. What he says, goes. Fail to comply, and we'll be forced to use the termination clause in your contract.
Mario: Termination clause?
Jolene: You'll be paid after each fight. You're a salaried employee: the harder the opponent you fight, the more money you get. All tips go directly to Mr. Grubba.
They arrive at the Minor League Locker Room.
Jolene: Use this computer on the wall to set up fights. Good day, Mr. Gonzalez.
Goombella: I don't like the sound of that "termination clause" thing.
Mario: Well, at least things can't get any worse.
???: Well, look who's here!
Mario turns around and finds himself face-to-snout with Bowser.
Mario: I take that back. NOW things couldn't get any worse.