Chapter 4: Pirate Pandemic, Part 1 - Conspiracy!
Vexxan had managed to reach the Yoshi’s Island port, but not before the last ferry had left. He was way too late now, and for all he knew that Tabias person could have taken the fastest ferry to Rogueport by now. In frustration, Vex kicked the dirt, but then his spite stopped when he saw a large black sail, with an emblem displaying a crimson blade crossing what looked like a rifle.
Vex grinned. Though he did not usually like working with pirates, he had to resort to hiring them. He had the money, provided he spent it wisely, which he did. Pirates were the best option now, if he was to track down Tabias. He walked over to the ship, which was guarded by a pair of Koopa pirates, both with red polka-dotted bandannas and black shells.
“Ar,” one of them growled in a thick cockney accent, “we’ve got a ‘customer’.”
“What?” the other one bewilderedly questioned. “We’ve got a Yoshi for a customer?”
“Ar,” the first pirate turned towards Vex. “What ye’ be doin’ ‘ere, one-eyed landlubber?” he asked Vex.
“I need passage to Rogueport,” Vex answered calmly, “so bring me to your captain, and I’ll make arrangements with him.”
“Ar! Come wit’ me, lad!” the first one said, walking onto the boarding ramp and aboard the pirate vessel, Vex following. They walked up through what looked like a gun deck, with many Bullet Bill Launchers lined up in rows along both sides of the ship; they then moved up a deck to a party room, with beer kegs lined up in rows on both sides of the ship; then they reached the top deck, where there were Koopa Pirates working extensively, either swabbing the decks or doing some other business involving sea-faring work.
The pirate led Vex across the deck and into what looked like a door to a cabin made of ornately carved wood, and in the shape of a sword criss-crossing a rifle. The pirate opened it.
“Well, here ye’ go, landlubber,” he said, “the captain’s ready to do business with ye’.” He gestured to a welcoming point as he got out of the way of the doorway, allowing Vex to walk in, his greaves making pounding sounds on the hard wood as he walked in. In front of him was a desk, with a large leather chair turned towards a large window.
“Welcome,” a voice said from behind the chair, a British accent stressing it. “I see you, the Yoshi bloke, have some kind of reason to bother me?” The chair swiveled around, revealing a Koopa with a large pirate’s hat, a black 17th-century admiral’s coat, and an eye patch over the right eye. He had long black hair, don’t ask why, hanging from his hat.
“You’re the captain, I presume.” Vex guessed, obviously pointing out the obvious.
“Not just any captain, Chap,” the pirate-pretending-to-be-an-admiral boomed, “I am captain Alrec Ulraic Degaulle the Fifth, captain of the Crimson Steel pirates!”
“Riiight,” Vex growled, not caring, “now about that passage to Rogueport…”
“Oh right, Chap,” Alrec grumbled. “We can give you a passage for a cheap price, provided we also get to raid something on the way.”
Vex was going to object to the deal, but after realizing that he could possibly catch up to Tabias with these guys, he changed his mind.
“How about you find the ferry that recently left, and find a certain person?” Vex said.
“Who’s this person you’re talking about?”
“A human, by the name of Tabias.”
In Bowser’s throne room, there was a sudden gust of wind, and then the doors to the throne room swung open, vibrating across half the castle. From there floated in Aevirith, after previously ridding himself of that clod who had been following him, and having a little run in with Mario. He now had another dealing to conduct, only with the King of Koopas.
He floated down to Bowser’s throne, only to find him on the throne chair in front of a gigantic plasma screen TV. He groaned out of annoyance to see his “client” was watching a footie game while there was important work to be done.
“So, Bowser,” Aevirith growled, “what of our bargain we had promised to negotiate?”
Bowser growled in distaste before turning to Aevirith. “What bargain again?”
“You know; we’ll deal with Mario, and provide your army with the equipment and weapons to bowl over the Mushroom Kingdom,” Aevirith stated in his more assertive, diplomatic, and charismatic tone, “provided you…” he paused, unsheathing the brimstone blade he kept so dearly under his robes, and with one slash destroyed Bowser’s TV with inhuman strength and speed, “…get off your butt and provide us with the last marker below your castle, and your Crystal Star.”
“Why exactly?” Bowser questioned. “I do remember the rest of that deal, but I don’t remember having to hand over my Crystal Star…”
“Silence, Koopa!” Aevirith retorted, aggravated. “I want the Crystal Star, and the marker first!”
Bowser grumbled grudgingly before getting up from his throne chair and walking to a secret door behind the chair, Aevirith floating after. The door opened, revealing a dank, dark corridor covered in shadows. The two made their way through, coming to a large steel-plated vault with a strange locking mechanism the size of an elephant.
“Well? Do you know the combination, Bowser?” Aevirith demanded hastily.
“Actually, I forgot it…and it’s immune to pretty much everything, as it was built by my son, and it didn’t explode upon first use-”
“Hold your tongue.” Aevirith growled, putting his hands onto the steel surface of the vault door. It felt quite cold, like the steel it was forged from. He then floated back and unsheathed his sword.
“It needs to be hit with the correct
push…” he hissed, as his blade suddenly glowed bright-red, and then formed
into a staff; the handle elongated itself and its blade retracted to what
looked like a spear point, while the hit formed two sharp ends that protruded
forward into horn-like blades. “The Warp Staff is just that key…” he hissed,
jamming the staff into the steel. It rippled through it, making it seem
more like water than steel, and then tore a hole in the door, rippling
the entire structure, and the stone around it…
The rippling was felt by Ludwig Koopa, who was right in the middle of an experiment when the sudden distortion in reality burst his beakers and caused a chain of explosions, rocking his entire lab to the point where it was almost toppling into dust. However, it stood stable after the set of explosions.
As for Ludwig, most of his hair was burned off in the initial explosion, but he was all too used to it, having every single invention of his blow up in some way. He, with a bit more frustration now that this was the fifteenth test that had gone wrong today, marched his way down to Bowser’s throne room.
He arrived to find no throne chair there,
but a long dark corridor ahead, with no lighting except for a lit-up archway
through the darkness, where Ludwig’s vault door used to be. Oh no,
he thought. For all he knew, some of Bowser’s most valuable treasures,
as well as historical reminders from ages when King Morton Sr. ruled Bowser’s
old kingdom, could have been stolen. If anyone tampered with such materials,
let alone go through Bowser’s old stash of photo albums, then the Koopa
Klan would be the laughing stock of Plit. Ludwig had no choice but to try
to stop them, but not alone; he immediately headed upstairs to his brothers’
Back inside the vault, Bowser and Aevirith continued down a long spiral staircase. However, there was some doubt in Aevierith’s mind.
“What exactly do you keep in this ‘vault’?” he asked curiously.
“Just some dusty photo albums and simple memorial items and stuff,” Bowser responded lazily, increasing his pace suspiciously.
Somehow, Aevirith had a slight interest in Plit, which is why he had come in the first place; he often wondered how it exactly linked itself to Earth, and in turn other worlds as well. It was something, on the other hand, secondary next to his goal for power, which drowned many other desires he had in his life.
He immediately snapped from his daydream when Bowser finally opened the final door at the bottom of the staircase. Aevirith beheld a large chamber with boxes of stuff- from the looks of it, old videocassettes and magazines. However, there was what looked like a pedestal, with a glowing object in the shape of a star.
“At last!” Aevirith hissed with as much enthusiasm as a kid in a candy store had. “The next piece of the sequence is in my grasp!” He floated past Bowser and started to feel the shape with his hands, then grabbed it from the pedestal. He turned his hooded head to Bowser.
“Where’s the marker?” he growled inquisitively. “I must find it, you simpleminded Koopa!” He glared at Bowser even more deeply, waiting impatiently for an answer from the King of the Koopas.
“It’s under this floor somewhere,” Bowser
quickly answered, pointing to the ground. Interested, Aevirith looked down,
and jammed his newly formed staff into the floor, once again rippling reality;
only this time to melt into the ground and towards what he hoped was the
Back in the upper floors of Castle Koopa, Ludwig hastily made his way upstairs, until he felt something, that ripple in reality once more. It seemed something was awfully strange- also, what he learned about the space-time continuum had worried him much, as these sudden changes in reality could be an omen for some even worse calamity.
He finally came upon Lemmy’s room, and knocked on the door. There was no answer, only a muffled moan. With that, Ludwig turned around, only to find the stairway he came through was completely blocked off by some mass of muscular red material; it pulsed constantly with life, very unnatural life.
“Zis is zomevwhat vishy here,” Ludwig
grumbled to himself, thinking that the castle had been put under some curse
to stop him from investigating the vault.
Below the main chamber of the vault, Aevirith found himself in a hidden chamber lit by torches; there were all sorts of scriptures on the walls- things reading “abandon all hope ye’ who enter here, mortal”, or “thy soul is dust”. These were nonsense, as the marker itself was soon to be found.
Aevirith put his hands onto the floor
of the chamber, and began to smile fiendishly as he felt all the information
the marker had to offer about the eighth Crystal Star unveiled into his
Some distance away, at the channel between Yoshi’s Island and Rogueport, Vexxan Aurus, our good daemon-hunting Yoshi, relaxed on the deck of the boat he was taking across the sea. Normally, the trip would take an hour or two, but these pirates were taking their pretty time while they searched for Tabias’s new hijacked ferry. This, on the other hand, Vex could not tolerate for much longer, as he had urgent business other than hunting Tabias down and killing the human.
He got up from his sitting position on deck and walked up to Captain Alrec, who was inquisitively searching the seas ahead of him. He seemed to love looking through that telescope, or so Vex’s perception of Alrec’s stance told him. There was then a stir in his stance, and he got down from his “lookout” position.
“Well, it seems that ship knows we’re following it,” Alrec explained. “All we got to do is go faster.” He paced around angrily; the wind had proven to go against all plans of looting that vessel.
“Well?” Vex questioned. “How about we go to Rogueport directly, and then wait for Tabias there?”
“No, Chap. You see, I know that, knowing humans, he will try another route across land, as humans often like land and air rather than sea transport nowadays.”
“Yeah, but the only safe harbors to go to are Toad Town, which is relatively secure compared to Rogueport.”
“Point taken.” Alrec looked out at his crew, and then yelled, “You sea blokes, get to work!” He then turned to the ship’s driver, his first mate, and grumbled, “Set a direct course to Rogueport.”
With that, the ship veered in the direction
of Rogueport, abandoning its chase for the moment.
Chapter 5: Pirate Pandemic, Part 2 - More Confusion Anyone?
Vex looked out to see the very coast of the Mushroom Kingdom. It was relatively peaceful, but there was smoke coming from Rogueport. If anything, fire was always a bad thing in any case.
From the view of the ship’s helm, Vex spotted the very ferry that was used to provide passage to Rogueport. However, it seemed decked out with a pulsing hull and twisted set of cannons raining an inferno onto the docks of the harbor. Alrec seemed to notice this not as fast, but when he did he was shocked to see such a grand place being raised.
“Blimy!” he yelled. “That’s the nastiest piece of wood floating in water that met my eyes!”
Indeed he was right; it was now a piece of wood with nothing but bone and some sort of flesh-like layer covering many parts of the hull. It was also decked out with heavy cannon; one could tell as it was continually blasting structures in the harbor ruthlessly. It seemed to scream inhumanity every time it fired another volley of black fire.
“That’s where I come in,” Vex solemnly grumbled, “to prevent things like this from happening.”
“Well then, hop to it, lad!” Alrec roared, booting Vex out of the door of his helm. Vex soon found himself on the deck of the ship, and while it jerked forward towards Tabias’s hijacked ship he remained quite calm. If he were to die here, he would have no last regrets; he did it for the protection of Plit, especially against enemies like Tabias there.
The ship approached dangerously close, to a distance where the rest of the pirate crew quivered in fear and backed away as far as possible. While the chaos ensued on the crew, he walked over to a dropped grapple hook and picked it up; the crude wood device felt rough in the gauntlets, but was not very heavy at all.
He pointed to the enemy ship just as
it opened a volley of firebombs, and then fired. The grapple latched into
one of the cannons, right through its barrel, and started pulling Vex quickly
onboard. Once onboard he quickly ran through the blackened wood deck of
the ferry, and approached into the dark abyss inside the boat.
Meanwhile, on the way to Mushroom City’s northern outskirts, Mario had seen something quite peculiar he had not seen before. It seemed to poke out in the rock outcroppings, like a tall structure or buttress to something. Then it hit him, that might be his destination. He quickly dashed to the peculiar rock formation he’d spotted only to find a pair of spiraling buttresses carved out of the rock, almost hidden by the rest of it. Between the two towering structural devices was a gate of petrified wood.
He continued to walk to it until he came before a pair of massive gargoyle statues next to another large gate of petrified wood. The two statues shook before rising slightly and turning both their heads to Mario.
“What do you want?” they said autonomously in identical tone and voice. They glared at Mario with bright blue eyes.
“It’s-a-me, Mario…” Mario grumbled tiredly at the two statues. They turned to each other and nodded before turning back and nodding at Mario.
“The grandmaster was expecting you,” both of them said simultaneously once more, “you may pass.”
“You mean that It’s-a-me, Mario is the password in?”
“No!” both of the gargoyles roared. “We just want to make sure you can enter without desecrating this holy ground, human!”
The way the gargoyles stressed that last word disturbed Mario, as the gates swung open smoothly. Beyond was a darkness no one could see through- that is until the torches lit up suddenly. They revealed a thin entrance path of stone, one with ornate markings of things Mario had not seen before; there were crescent moons with spikes coming out on the outer side of the crescent, and there were stars with eight points instead of only five engraved on the ceiling.
From beyond the hallways there were noises of mechanical arms twitching, and pages flipping from the distance. Mario advanced in, finding the entrance to be the least scenic thing he had ever encountered in his lifetime- it was dull, with no plants or anything to make it look colorful. Maybe it’s their lack of good architecture, Mario joked to himself as he continued forward.
He soon came upon a large chamber, one with a very high ceiling, like one in a gothic cathedral a human might encounter in Salisbury, England, or Amsterdam, Netherlands. On one end was a large stained-glass window of Mario standing on Bowser with one foot on his head, and another on his gut- of course, Bowser was lying back-first on the ground in the depiction, and it seemed to depict a halo around Mario’s cap.
“What is with the halo?” Mario asked into the darkness, scratching his sideburns with confusion.
“It is Bowser’s first defeat, my lord,” a female voice answered back from the other side of the cathedral.
“Oh, you’re not quite as clever as sources perceive, are you?”
“I’m guessing not really.”
“I see then…”
There were sounds of footsteps, which then ended with the start of the same feminine voice.
“Guard Servitor seven?”
“Yes, milady?” a monotone mechanical voice answered.
“Hit Lord Mario with something to ‘put him in his happy place’ for now.”
With that, Mario felt a smack on the
back of his head before blacking out completely instantaneously.
Back near Rogueport, Vex found himself trudging through fleshy, knee-deep slime. The stuff did not bother him, but it was the etching suspicion that something would emerge and pull him further into it. However, his suspicion ended when he emerged from the slime at the end of the dark corridor; what disturbed him, on the other hand, was rather the lack thereof in decency in the vessel, as it was defiled beyond the mortal eye. There were mutations on the walls, like eyes or arms clawing at anyone who passed by. This sign of corruption was a sure sign Tabias was on this vessel.
He pressed forward into the darkness and towards Tabias. His efforts proved him right- he saw a door criss-crossed with two broadswords. The two blades did not budge despite Vex’s presence.
“Hm… There must be a key,” Vex decided. “Or, I could always try…”
He searched through his inner coat pocket to pull out a chain with a winged sword attached to the end. He raised the chain in front of the door and it shined brightly and lit the swords up in blue flame. Seconds later, they dissipated into dust. He put the chain away into his coat pocket.
He proceeded to enter the dark abyss of the ship’s helm. Once inside, he could see a faint figure holding a large glass of what looked like wine. Vex stepped closer to the figure and then stopped when the horned head turned.
“Ah, welcome, Plitian, to my glorious vessel,” the figure said leisurely. “How do you like what is here before thee?”
“It’s quite scenic…” Vex admitted, “but disappointing.” He drew his saber out and held it steadily in his left hand.
“So eager to throw your life away?” the figure said. “Then I’ll be glad to make it slowed for you.”
The figure pulled out the brimstone mace Tabias used and raised it high, still holding his wine in the other hand. He smashed his desk and then advanced toward Vex, making hard clanking noises as he moved. He then raised the weapon once more- it split into seven chains, each ending with a spiked ball- and swung it at Vex. It managed to miss by a hair, but the damage it did to the wood penetrated to the lower deck. Then came Vex’s attack. He leapt up as the figure retracted his chains, and then dodged the second attack, grabbing onto one of the chains as it retracted. This pulled him into close combat with the figure, thus allowing him to stab the figure in the slit on the helmet where one would see through. There was a pulsing beat on Vex’s sword for a minute before cold laughter began.
“I am not human, Vex,” it stated. “You cannot defeat that which does not exist in physical form, foolish daemon hunter.”
Then suddenly, Vex was forced back by an ethereal force, a powerful force that sent him careening out of the door and onto the deck. He got up to see the figure, now identified as Tabias in Vex’s head, leaping at him ruthlessly. The chains extended once more, but Vex rolled to the right this time and blocked a pair of the chains he didn’t dodge. He counterattacked, his saber crackling with blue lightning, at Tabias with fury, slicing one of the chains off and sending the flail head at Tabias. It knocked off Tabias’s helmet, revealing a wide gap of nothing.
“I told you I don’t exist, daemon hunter!” he roared ferociously as he grabbed his helmet and fixed it back on. “You win for now, Vex, but I shall see to it that you don’t interfere again!”
With that, a powerful blow from the
mace sent Vex flying back onto the deck of Alrec’s ship. The ferry disappeared
Back at the cathedral, Mario awoke in a large library, one filled to the vast ceiling with many billions of volumes. He looked around in a couple directions before realizing something had clobbered him to bring him here. However, if they had further hostility, they would have killed him. At least it wasn’t Merlin again, Mario thought, recalling how Merlin often bored Mario to death with useless conversations about other nonsense besides what was needed.
“Welcome, my lord,” that same feminine voice said from the darkness. “This structure here is the grounds of the Order of the Archive.”
“Why didn’t those gargoyles in front tell me then?” Mario questioned. “They seemed like big jerks, really.”
“Yes, I know that they can be a little… impaired… with their actions.”
“I see, but what is this place really?”
“It is where we keep all record of every supernatural event that has come to Plit; how do you think lemmykoopa.com got so much Fun F-” The voice was interrupted when the fourth wall was broken, and the author smacked the voice’s source for it. And thus the fourth wall was fixed once more.
“Anyway,” the voice continued, “we keep all the records of Plitian events here, and tomes of bestiary and daemonolagy. This does include monsters on Plit, and some from beyond.”
Mario did not like the aspect of being dragged here for nothing “What does this have to do with me?”
“We have records of your… exploits here on Plit,” the voice replied calmly, “and your exploits on Earth, such as how you flawlessly defeated Donkey Kong.”
Indeed, Mario had defeated Donkey Kong at least once, not including those other times in certain arena matches. He thought no one on Plit would remember that event with Paulina and the controversy on Earth that soon followed.
“Tell me more of this institute,” Mario
Back at Bowser’s castle, Ludwig rushed around the same hall to Iggy’s room. However, as he opened the door, he saw only a large creature with four muscled arms and no eyes- it seemed to have many sets of teeth, and a maddening rage for flesh. Had some force possessed Iggy? Ludwig only had one way to find out: Lemmy’s Freeze Gun. However, Lemmy’s door was locked. So he made his way back to where he started, but found that the fleshy wall was no longer there.
“Vat is going on here?!” he questioned wildly. With that, Lemmy burst into the hallway riding his ball. He was, albeit conveniently, carrying his Freeze Gun and his wand in both hands.
“Whoobajoobawha?” he questioned randomly, looking from side to side. “Did you say something about Iggy being possessed by some evil monster?”
“Yes, and I believe he is trapped, not
completely possessed,” Ludwig answered. Just as he answered, there was
a violent shaking in the castle walls, knocking Lemmy off of his ball and
Ludwig onto his shell.
Below the Castle, Aevirith levitated the three Crystal Stars over the marker. He did not care whether or not he had all seven with him; all that mattered now was starting the ritual to gain the eighth with the three he had with him.
“Come on, dang you…” Aevirith growled
impatiently, “…don’t stop now, especially when I’m so close!” he pleaded.
The three Crystal Stars began to shine brightly, and then lower themselves,
melding into the marker; on two of the eight points, they sealed themselves
into slots on the ground that fit perfectly for them. Aevirith laughed
ominously. The circle was nearly complete; he now only needed the other
five, which his other brethren were busy retrieving. While he was waiting,
however, he thought he’d mess around with the castle. He jammed his hands
into the walls and began to watch the fun start.
Back at the higher levels, the walls started to shake more violently, and then from the floor burst a tentacle in front of Lemmy and Ludwig. The two Koopalings looked at the beast with surprise as it lashed at Lemmy, missing and smacking the wand out of his hand. In response, Lemmy shot a bolt from his Freeze Gun. The shot managed to rip through the monster and at the same time, shatter it into shards of cold ice.
Once the rest of the tentacle had retreated back into the ground, Lemmy turned to Ludwig with a suspiciously inquisitive attitude.
“Did you tweak this thing, Ludwig?” Lemmy growled. “Huh? Huh? HUH?!”
“Calm down, Lemmy, it’s not like it will explode or anything!”
“That’s what you said when you ‘purged my computer of that virus’ but then it exploded right when I was about to update my site!”
After that was said, another two tentacles burst from the floor and began to charge in the completely opposite direction. Then just as that happened, a door spontaneously appeared. Lemmy opened it only to find Iggy tied up, gagged, and looking at them
“Ok, now zis is messed up,” Ludwig grumbled.