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My vacation in Rogueport is going wonderfully! Toadsworth and I have gone scuba diving, toured local businesses, sampled the cuisine, and took a cruise! (I even convinced Toadsworth to go spend some money at the local casino!)
But, now to the purpose of this letter: the other day, I met a mysterious, hooded person in the town square, selling a variety of strange items. Her selection grabbed my attention, but I felt no desire to actually purchase anything. When I approached her market, she explained that these artifacts were supposedly from a city that stood right where Rogueport is, only thousands of years ago! Apparently, legend has it that a great calamity befell the town which, in a single night, was completely destroyed. Anyway, after I told her I was only window shopping, she produced the most adorable little box from beneath her cloak, and told me that it was enchanted, and that it could only be opened by someone of pure heart. After demonstrating that the lid wouldn’t budge, she said I could keep whatever was inside if I managed to open the box. Imagine my astonishment when I lifted the lid with perfect ease, and discovered a strange treasure map inside! After admiring the map, I looked up only to find that the strange woman and her entire shop had mysteriously vanished!
I asked Toadsworth if we could hunt for the treasure, but he flat-out refused… but I’m sure he’d consent if you came along!
Enclosed with this letter is the treasure map I wrote about. Since you have it, you MUST come!
Looking forward to seeing you,
Princess Peach Toadstool
Stealthfully, the Paratroopa eyes his target from his hidden location in the nearby bushes. The home of Mario and Luigi, the infamous Mario Brothers. But, that isn't his target; his target is three feet to the left: their mailbox. He creeps slowly out from behind the bush. Nothing happens. He stalks forward, glancing about himself apprehensively. Soon, he reaches the mailbox, and his eyes dart quickly to the front window of the house. Nothing. Reaching into his bag, he removes a small yellow envelope, and silently slips it into the box. Satisfied he hadn't been spied, he takes a deep breath, holds it for a moment, and shouts his victory cry.
Parakarry: MAIL CA-
His victory celebration is cut short by a well-thrown tomato from behind the staircase.
Parakarry: I need a better job.
As he flies away, Mario emerges from behind the stairs, chuckling.
Mario: I love doing that.
He goes to the mailbox, grabs the letter, then heads inside to wait for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? to come on.
Luigi: I'm thinking you might need a hobby, Mario.
Mario: That IS my hobby.
Luigi: *sigh* Anyway, I need to run to the store to pick up a mango. I'll be back in about twenty minutes.
Mario: Yeah, sure, whatever.
Luigi leaves. Mario, with nothing better to do, picks up his brother's new Mailbox SP and begins fiddling with it. His attention is quickly ripped from the device, as the television suddenly switches to Miss T, Toad Town's most famous reporter.
Miss T: We're reporting live from Rogueport Square with late-breaking news. En route to her vacation, Princess Toadstool has gone missing, and is presumed kidnapped. I repeat, the princess has probably been kidnapped.
Miss T: While there were no witnesses, it is strongly believed that Bowser, the nefarious Koopa King, may be responsible for the supposed kidnapping. The local police have been dispatched to investigate, but there aren't any police officers, so it really is a moot point. Anyway, we will give you live, nonstop coverage of events as they progress.
Mario switches stations, to watch his program on another channel, but gets more coverage. He tries again, but to no avail. His panic mounting, he begins flipping through channels frantically, but all of them are covering the story.
Mario jumps to his feet and begins pacing back and forth.
Mario: Okay, so every channel is covering Peach's kidnapping. As such, I can't watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire? until the coverage ends. So, the fastest way to end the coverage is to...
Mario stops pacing, and shakes his fist at the roof.
Mario: CURSE YOU, AUTHOR!
Mario darts out the door, heading for the harbor, slipping Luigi's Mailbox SP into his pocket next to the envelope.
Miss T: We're now reporting live from Rogueport Harbor, as there have been reports that Mario Mario, savior of the Mushroom Kingdom, is currently en route to our location, in hopes of rescuing Toadstool. Wait... yes, there's his ship now, pulling in! And the crowd is ecstatic!
Mario climbs out of the boat, amidst wild fanfare.
Miss T: Mr. Mario, if I could ask a few questions. Firstly, where is your brother, Luigi?
Mario grabs her microphone and tosses it into the ocean.
Mario: Can't talk, have to save a television program.
He darts off, heading for Rogueport Square. As he passes, he barely notices a scene breaking out just behind the loading docks.
Goombella: I'll never tell you anything, you creep!
Crump: Buh huh huh huh huh! Unfortunately for you, Grodus thinks you WILL talk. And I'm going to make sure you do! X-NAUTS!
Two X-Naut soldiers run up to him. Crump looks around in confusion, then back to the two soldiers.
Crump: Wha- whe- Where are the others?!
Soldier 1: Sorry, Lord Crump, dude, sir. The others kind of, maybe, sort of...
Crump: Sort of WHAT?!
Soldier 2: I think he's trying to say they heard Zip T. was doing a concert next week, and went to buy tickets.
Crump: Well, they'd better buy me some, then! Buh huh huh. Now, little Miss Goomba...
He turns around, only to find that she's no longer there.
Crump: Ooooh, Grodus is NOT going to like this.
Meanwhile, at Rogueport Inn...
Toadsworth: Master Mario! How good to see you, especially in these dire times!
Mario: Why weren't you watching her?! I'd be watching my television program if it wasn't for you!
Toadsworth: I tried, I tried. But you know how she is, always with her head in the clouds. This time, she had some old scrap of paper. She said it was a treasure map, and that she wanted to go look for the treasure, but I insisted we have a chaperone if we went through with it, so she sent the map to Luigi, but I guess she got impatient and went on without telling me! Oh, my imaginings are wrought with the terrors she could be facing!
Mario wasn't paying attention to Toadsworth to hear his lamenting, however. He is busy opening his brother's mail.
Mario: This map?
Toadsworth: YES! Wait... wasn't that letter written to Luigi?
Toadsworth: Well, as a government worker, I'm forced to write you up for infringing on the privacy of another.
Mario: Okay, I underst- HEY! WHAT'S THAT BEHIND YOU?!
He turns to look where Mario is pointing, but sees only the inn's beds. He turns around to find Mario gone.
Toadsworth: Oh, poppycock.
Safely away from Toadsworth, Mario is sitting under the gallows in Rogueport Square, looking over the map.
Mario: Well, this is pointless. I have a scrap of paper with pictures on it.
Goombella is walking through the square, when she spies the map.
Goombella: Holy carp! That map! Where did you get that map?!
Goombella: That map is the fabled Magical Map! It's said that if it's brought to the Thousand-Year Door, it will reveal the location of a Crystal Star!
Mario: Wait wait wait wait wait. Thousand-Year Door?
Goombella: It's complicated. I should have Professor Frankly tell you about it. He knows way more than I do about it. Who are you, anyway?
Mario: Name's Mario.
Goombella: ... Never heard of you. My name's Goombella.
They arrive at Frankly's house.
Goombella: PROFESSOR! I FOUND IT! I FOUND THE M-
Frankly: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! They might be watching.
Frankly: They have spies everywhere, even some of the trees are on their side...
Mario begins edging toward the door.
Goombella: WHO'S spies?!
Frankly: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Over there!
Goombella looks where Frankly indicated. All she sees is a wall, and a very nervous-looking Mario with his hand on the doorknob.
Goombella: It's just a wall, Professor!
Frankly: ... You mean you can't see them? In front of their monitors, watching our every move?
Goombella: What are you talking about? It's just you, me, and Mario here.
Frankly gives one last, apprehensive look toward the wall, then shakes his head.
Frankly: I've got to get some medication. Anyway, what was that, Goombella? You found the map, did you?
Goombella: Yep! This Mario guy here had it!
Frankly: What Mario guy?
Goombella: This one!
She turns to where Mario had been standing, to find the door hanging open.
Goombella: ... I'll be right back, Professor.
Frankly: I'll be right here.
He glances nervously at the wall again.
Frankly: Right... here...
He starts rocking back and forth, mumbling to himself.
Mario: Thousand-Year Door... Thousand-Year Door... If I were a Thousand-Year Door, where would I be?
Goombella: There you are!
Goombella jumps out of a nearby pipe.
Mario: Is there something wrong with that Frankly guy?
Goombella: ... You know, I'm not sure. He was fine up until a few weeks ago. He said some Nintendo executive made him a deal, and ever since, he's been acting all paranoid.
Mario: Probably just a coincidence. So, where's this Thousand-Year Door thingy you mentioned?
Goombella: Follow me.
A short while later...
Mario: I imagined it would be more...
The duo is looking at a small wooden door with a large padlock on it. Inexplicably, this padlock had no unlocking mechanism.
Mario: So, how do you open it?
Goombella: Well, the legend Professor Frankly taught me said that the Thousand-Year Door will only open when the seven Crystal Stars are brought to the door. Specifically, this pedestal over here.
She leads him to a small pedestal sticking out of the ground. On a whim, Mario steps onto it. Suddenly, a little man with a bowler hat comes out of nowhere.
Man: Hello, I'm here to update your Magical Map. Could you hand it over, please?
Mario hands over the map, and the man begins frantically scribbling on it.
Goombella: Now, wait just a minute! I thought the map was supposed to update itself! That's why it's a Magical Map!
Man: It would, but the author blew this chapter's special effects budget on a ticket to a Zip T. concert. Heard it's supposed to be absolutely smashing.
The man hands the map back to Mario.
Man: Well, I'll see you around!
Goombella: ... That was odd.
Mario: When you've been through what I've been through, you get used to that sort of thing. Anywho, where's this place?
He hands the map to Goombella.
Goombella: Looks like a castle to the east of Rogueport. You know, there's supposed to be a castle somewhere near Petalburg, but...
Mario: But what?
Goombella: Naw, probably just a rumor. Anyway, I recall the professor once mentioning that there's a pipe to Petal Meadows somewhere around here. Petal Meadows is just a little ways away from Petalburg.
And so, the duo wander throughout the underground for quite some time...
Goombella: There's the pipe!
She points across a large body of water to a blue pipe.
Goombella: But, how do we cross the water?
Mario walks over to a white thing sticking out of the water.
Mario: Maybe this rope calls a ferry.
Mario tugs the 'rope' violently. Suddenly, with a shriek, the world's largest Blooper leaps out of the water!
Blooper: Blip bloop bloop!
Goombella: EEEEEEEEK! IT'S HUGE!
Mario: Um... I think it's angry.
A battle scene begins.
Goombella: We're on a stage! And there's people! They're watching us!
Mario: ... Watching us?
Goombella: Maybe it's some sort of a show?
Mario: WATCH OUT!
He grabs Goombella and dives out of the way as the Blooper bodyslams where they had been standing a moment ago.
The audience begins clapping and cheering.
Mario: Thank you, thank you!
Mario begins bowing. The Blooper watches Mario for a moment, and gets thoroughly confused.
Blooper: ... Okay. Could someone please tell me what's going on around here?
Goombella: You can talk?!
Blooper: Of course I can talk!
Mario: Well, may I ask why you're trying to kill us?
Blooper: You tugged on my tentacle. It hurt.
Goombella: That's it?
Blooper: And I wanted to make things more dramatic for the crowd, you understand.
Mario: Well, how do we get off this blasted stage, then?
They look around, and they're back in the Rogueport Underground.
Mario: I'm seriously getting freaked out now.
Blooper: Don't worry. You'll get used to it.
Goombella: Well, how about giving us a lift to that pipe over there?
Blooper: Sure, I don't see how that could be a problem.
The Blooper lifts Mario and Goombella over the pipe.
Blooper: You're very welcome! And watch what you're pulling next time.
He sinks back into the water. Mario and Goombella look at each other, shrug, then enter the pipe to Petal Meadows. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the underground...
Curse Chest: Hello, is anyone out there?
Crump: Yeah, why?