It had already been several months since the Shadow Queen reduced the nefarious Grodus to a bouncing head, and it had already been over a year since the Mario Bros. defeated the Beanbean Kingdom's resident witch, Cackletta. Though the plumbing pair thought they would never again encounter one of these robust foes, let me assure you that they were wrong.
In Oho Ocean, the X-Naut Battleship floated above the waters, wandering...
"Hmm, I grow tired of this pointless searching. We've been looking for a method to revitalize my body ever since that unfaithful day, and still nothing! I think it's time we concentrate on finding a new base instead. We can then work out a plan to get my body back. This ocean bores me. Crump, turn this ship at once!"
"Roger that, sir," replied Grodus's right hand man.
"Hmm... Hold that thought. Out there in the distance... What is that?" Grodus asked.
"Looks like some sunken castle of sorts... Probably nothing too interesting," Crump replied.
"I don't care if you think it's interesting. Direct the ship towards there at once!" demanded Grodus.
"Uh, roger that, sir."
The ship was immediately headed towards the sunken castle. Little did the X-Nauts know that this castle was actually Bowser's flying fortress, where Mario and Luigi had defeated the evil witch, Cackletta. Most of the castle remained sunken beneath the waters, but its head was still sticking out.
"Hmm... Something is familiar about this castle..." said Grodus. "But never mind that. We shall begin investigating this castle at once!"
Two Elite X-Nauts, accompanied by a lesser X-Naut garbed in a blue uniform, carried Grodus into the castle's throne room, which appeared to be the only room that wasn't underwater.
"Hmm... I wonder if a few volts fell out of Grodus's head..." Lord Crump began pondering. "I mean really, there's no way we can turn this sunken castle into our new base, but whatever, I guess." He got off the ship and went inside the castle.
The interior was horribly trashed. The floors were filthy. Spider webs covered the walls, and the throne was lying on the ground.
"Hmm... I guess this place is rather dilapidated. I suppose this won't do. Very well then, let's leave," Grodus ordered.
As the X-Nauts prepared to leave, a disembodied maniacal laugh could be heard in that exact same room.
"Eya ha ha ha ha ha! I haven't received any visistors in a long time. Who are you, hmm?" asked the disembodied voice.
"My name is Grodus, supreme leader of the X-Nauts. Now, reveal yourself at once!" Grodus demanded.
A purple myst shrouded the room. A pair of glowing eyes could be seen. Soon, the spirit of the Beanbean Kingdom's resident witch could be seen, standing before Grodus and his comrades.
"My name is Cackletta, the most powerful witch to ever be born in the Beanbean Kingdom. Well, at least I was, until those dreaded Mario Bros. took away my life..."
"Wha-wha-what?!" Grodus asked in shock. "M-Mario?"
"You've heard of him?" Cackletta asked.
"He meddled with my affairs once," replied Grodus.
"I see... Well, he too foiled my plans once, and now, look at me..." Cackletta said in sorrow.
"Well, I guess that makes me thankful for at least having my head left. Well, I doubt my comrades will feel comfortable with you haunting this place, so we'll be leaving now..."
"Hold on!" Cackletta demanded as she disappeared and reappeared right in front of Grodus and the X-Naut carrying him.
"We both have a lot in common... We've lost something very dear to us, and we both seek to conquer the world... Perhaps you and I should team up..." Cackletta suggested.
"I don't make alliances that easily. Why would I ever want to team up with you?" asked Grodus.
"Because I know how you can get your body back," Cackletta replied.
"What-What-What?! Speak up!' Grodus demanded.
"Here in the Beanbean Kingdom is a sacred object known as the Beanstar. This sacred abject has the ability to grant wishes. If we were to obtain it, we could get our bodies back, and carry out our desires to rule the world," she explained.
"Hmm... Sounds intriguing..." Grodus began to think.
"Woah, woah, woah! Hold the phone! Grodus, you don't really trust that dead crone, do you?" asked Lord Crump.
"She's all we got right now, and thus I'm willing to take this chance. Witch, er, Cackletta, you've got my word. Now, where do we find this Beanstar?" Grodus asked.
"It's kept in Beanbean Castle. But it's not that easy, I'm afraid... Right now, the Beanstar is in a deep slumber, with a pure and noble voice being the only thing able to awake it. The only person with such a voice is Peach, princess of the Mushroom Kingdom," Cackletta explained.
"Princess Peach? Oh, not her again... But if it's the only way, we shall abduct her at once!" said Grodus.
"No," said Cackletta. "I've already tried that. It failed miserably. However, while I remained in this castle, I devised a way that cannot fail. But to my misfortune, I am unable to leave this dreaded castle. I could disintegrate in the sunlight, which is why I've remained here. However, this castle can fly. If repaired, it can take us to the Mushroom Kingdom. Perhaps you and your crew can take care of this task?" she asked.
"It shouldn't be much trouble. You there! Troy!" Grodus called as he turned towards the blue-garbed X-Naut. "Tell the others to disembark the ship immediately! We must repair this sunken castle, at once!"
"Um, yes, Mr. Grodus, sir..." he replied as he left the room in cowardice.
"Excellent... Now, if you'll excuse me, I must inform my accomplice about this. I will meet with you later," said Cackletta as she dissapeared.
"Hmm... At last, I will have my body back. Then I will be able to carry on my plans for world conquest! Gack ack ack ack ack!"
Later, in the Mushroom Kingdom...
Everyone's favorite mustachioed duo
resided in Toad Town, painting their house. It was a bright summer, and
it seemed as though nothing could go wrong. No one had attacked the Mushroom
Kingdom in a while, so no one was expecting an attack. But, not everything
was as it seemed, because at that very moment,
Grodus and Cackletta were preparing to stage an attack against the Mushroom Kingdom. The loud sound of cannons could be heard from a distance. The X-Nautshad repaired Bowser's flying fortress, and they were attacking Toad Town.
The sound of screaming Toads caught Mario and Luigi's attention, so they immediately dropped their paintbrushes, and headed towards Toad Town Square in order to get a glimpse of what was going on.
"Hey, isn't that..." started Luigi.
"Bowser's flying castle!" finished Mario.
"But, didn't that thing explode back when we defeated Cackletta in the Beanbean Kingdom?" Luigi asked.
"It did," Mario replied. "Something's wrong, and the princess could be in danger. Let's-a go!" said Mario.
"Right!" Luigi replied.
In Princess Peach's Castle...
All of the Toads were lying on the ground, unconscious. They had all been wasted by the X-Nauts. Two of the Elite X-Nauts were holding Princess Peach against a wall.
"What are you doing? Let me go!" Peach demanded.
"Just stop it, Princess! There is nothing you can do. But worry not, as you will not be harmed. Now, release the spirit!"
"Um, yes, sir..." replied Troy, who was holding Cackletta in a case, protecting her from the sun rays. He opened the case and released her spirit, which promptly went to inhabit Peach's body.
"Long time, no see, princess..." said Cackletta.
"You! I thought Mario and Luigi defeated you for good!" Peach replied.
"That's what they tought. Now..." Cackletta headed toward Peach's head. Soon, the fair maiden found herself possesed by the evil witch herself.
"Eya ha ha ha! Ah, yes. How good it feels to have a body again, but I shouldn't get too attached to it. It's only under a temporary basis. Now, we must make our way back to the Beanbean Kingdom for part two of our plan."
"Yes. Come on, X-Nauts! Let's go!" Grodus commanded.
Cackletta, now in Peach's body, climbed onboard Bowser's castle, with furious purple thunder striking in her path. Troy, who was startled by the thunder, hid behind one of the curtains, quaking in fear. Nobody noticed him, so they all went onboard Bowser's castle, leaving him behind.
"Uh... Wait for me! Oh no... What am I supposed to do now?"
Back at the Beanbean Kingdom...
Grodus and Cackletta were hiding in some bushes in front of Beanbean Castle.
"How are we supposed to penetrate their security?" Grodus asked.
"Easy. All I have to do is pass as Princess Peach. I am in her body, after all," replied Cackletta.
"But what about me?" asked Grodus.
"Hmm... I think I got it!" Cackletta picked up Grodus's head, and wore it like some sort of eccentric hat.
"I must say, I feel rather uncomfortable, but whatever. Let's get that Beanstar already!" Grodus demanded impatiently.
Cackletta walked towards the guards.
"Excuse me men, it is I, Princess Peach, of the Mushroom Kingdom. May I please pass? I, um, I... I wish to speak to Queen Bean! Political stuff, you probably won't understand." She walked towards the entrance, but the guards blocked her way with their spears.
"Hold on!" yelled one of the guards. "Princess Peach didn't wear that goofy hat!"
"Hey!" Grodus yelled.
"Hey, that hat just talked!" said the startled guard.
"Oh, why yes. They're the latest fashion back at the Mushroom Kingdom. Now, may I pass?" She asked.
"Ok, I guess," said the guard as he and the other guard moved out of the way.
Cackletta and Grodus walked right in. They went towards one of the castle's retainers.
"Excuse me there. Queen Bean has requested that I be taken to the Beanstar. Can you please escort me there?" asked Cackletta.
"Sure, I guess. Follow me!' he exclaimed as he unwittingly led them towards the Beanstar. Once there...
"Ha! Fool!" Cackletta raised her arms and a furious lightning bolt came crashing down, knocking out the poor retainer. "Now, there it is! The Beanstar!"
"Wow, not exactly what I expected, but whatever. Wake it up already," Grodus demanded.
"Ahem..." Cackletta cleared her throat. "Laaaaaaaaa..."
The Beanstar was awaken. The laser barrier around it suddenly dissapeared. The Beanstar opened its slumbering eyes, ready to grant wishes.
"Now, Beanstar, give us our bodies back!" they both demanded simultaneously. The Beanstar closed its eyes and nodded. Cackletta left Peach's body, which fell on the ground unconscious. The Beanstar zapped both Cackletta's spirit and Grodus's head. In just a second, the two villains had promttly recieved their bodies.
"Yes... Finally! Cackletta's reign of terror can begin! Eya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
"And I, Grodus, shall rule the world! Gack ack ack ack ack ack!"
"Hey, wait a minute?! We both wanna conquer the world?!" they said simultaneously.
Mario and Luigi hurried over to Princess Peach's castle, but it was already far too late, as Princess Peach had already been taken away by the vile hands of Cackletta and Grodus. The Brothers walked into the castle, and went to Peach's throne room, but she was nowhere to be seen. They saw the Toads lying on the ground, moaning, so they went towards the nearest one for information.
"What... happened here?" Mario said as he helped the Toad stand up.
"It... all... went too... fast. Bowser's castle came flying in... and... suddenly... Peach was gone... She was taken by..." The Toad lost consciousness before he could finish the sentence. Mario and Luigi never suspected that the culprit could be either Cackletta or Grodus, they suspected none but Bowser. Mario tightend up his grip. He marched away from the throne room, and left the castle. Luigi, however, stood behind.
At his house, Mario packed his Ultra Hammer and put on his Ultra Boots. He was ready to fight Bowser and get back Peach, not knowing that Bowser was not the culprit. Mario assumed that Bowser's flying castle would be parked at the usual spot, so he headed there. He was surprised to see that the castle there was not the flying castle, but he walked in anyway.
The castle was surprisingly quiet. No Koopalings were frolicking around causing mischief or anything. Mario slowly walked up the stairs. Bowser had had many castles, but Mario had never explored this one, so he was a bit unfamiliar with the place. He reached a corridor with seven doors and promptly began to check them, hoping to find Bowser.
The first door had vines sticking out of it. Bowser wasn't much of a plant person, but Mario walked in anyway. Once inside, he found the youngest of Bowser's offspring, Larry, who was watering his plants at the moment. Larry heard the door, so he turned back and saw Mario.
"Mario?! What are you doing here?" Larry asked, feeling a bit annoyed by his presence.
"Um, just looking for your pop. I'll be leaving now..." Large, thick vines blocked Marios way as he tried to leave Larry's room.
"No way! King Dad doesn't want to see you right now!" Larry said quite angrily. "Piranha Plants, after him!"
Three Piranha Plants popped out of the ground, startling Mario, but he quickly backflipped and threw fireballs at them. Upon impact. the plants hastily started running around the room in pain. Mario smirked at Larry upon seeing this.
"Grr..." Larry picked up his magic wand and ran towards Mario, but Mario jumped and stomped Larry on the head, knocking him out. "Ugh..." moaned the fallen Larry.
Mario ignored him and left his room, and went to check the other doors. The next door had a lot of sheets glued to it. They all had long, if pointless, speeches. Mario ignored them and walked straight in.
Morton, as usual, was practicing his speeches, but he heard the door and turned back to see Mario.
"Mario! Why are you here? Por que estas aqui?" he asked as he widened his mouth to produce a series of sound waves. Mario quite easily dodged them and leapt towards Morton.
"Gulp." Morton became startled, and soon, he was scared like a duck. Mario smashed him into the wall with his hammer and defeated him.
"Oww..." he yelped.
Mario left and went on to the next room, where the door was decorated with a lifesaver. Nonetheless, Mario walked in.
In her room, Wendy was applying make up, while stashing some chocolate bars in her drawer. Mario sighed.
"Wrong door... again..."
"Huh?" Wendy turned back.
"Here we go..." said Mario.
"Don't you know it's rude to walk into someone's room without knocking?" She threw away her chair and conjured some candy rings with her wand, which started to constrict Mario. Mario, however, broke free of these, and tried to leave.
"Heeya!" Wendy leapt towards Mario and attempted to smash him with her wand, but Mario easily countered this with a firball. Burnt, Wendy fell down, and Mario left her room. He proceeded to check the remaining rooms.
"Oh, I hope I'm lucky this time..." He touched the door handle and it was surprisingly cold. He opened it to find the twins, Iggy and Lemmy. Lemmy was playing around with his Freeze Gun, so the entire room was enveloped in ice. Iggy was just sitting in a corner, shivering.
"All right! A new target!" Lemmy exclaimed as he aimed the Freeze Gun at Mario. Mario quickly shot a fireball at the gun, melting the ice stored inside of it.
"Uh oh," said Lemmy.
Mario brought out his hammer and batted Lemmy towards Iggy, knocking them both out.
"*sigh* When will this end?" he asked to himself.
He advanced to the next room. This one had a door filled with punch marks. In it was Roy. Roy saw Mario and gave him a sinister laugh.
"Oh boy..." said Mario.
Now, back with Cackletta and Grodus...
"Hmm... This poses as a rather big problem, seeing as only one of us can rule the world..." said Cackletta. "But maybe, we can both rule over it. You and I, together..."
"The last time I tried to make an alliance with an evil witch, I ended up as a head, so no to your proposition," Grodus replied.
"I assure you, I am a most powerful witch, and I have no means to betray you," said Cackletta.
"Hmm... You're gonna have to show me your power first. You and I will have a duel right here, right now!"
"Very well then... Though it's been a while since I last used my magic..." Cackletta suddenly duplicated herself into dozens of copies, which surrounded Grodus.
"Very clever, but you'll have to do better than that!" With his scepter, Grodus summoned lightning and struck all of the dopplegangers, as well as the original.
"Hmm... Not bad..." said Cackletta. Then, a blackhole appeared beneath Grodus, and he fell right through it. Another blackhole then opened on the celing, and Grodus came tumbling down from it, with the force of gravity pulling him down against the ground.
"Uhh... Not... bad... but..." Four Grodus-Xs appeared. They surrounded Grodus to create a forcefield and negate the power of the gravity. "Your attacks cannot harm me now, witch."
"Maybe not you, but they can harm your little satelites..." Cackletta shattered herself into a swarm of bats which came after the Grodus-Xs, defeating them and breaking the forcefield.
"Hmm..." As Grodus began to think, he shot ice rays at the bats to freeze them. Then, he produced a heat wave to scorch them, but this also made the ice thaw.
The bats gathered to form Cackletta again. "I've gotta hand it to you, your magic is strong..." Cackletta said, exhausted.
"Hmm... I must admit it as well, your magic is impressive..." Grodus replied.
"Perhaps we should call this stalemate?" Cackletta asked.
"Hmm... All right... I can't assure you this partnership you want will last forever, though... And it probably won't," Grodus explained.
"We shall leave those matters for later. For now, let's take the Beanstar before we're spotted. Oh, but before I forget..." Cackletta sent some sort of current towards Peach's head. The fallen princess woke up and got up. However, she appeared to be in some sort of trance. "Princess Peach is now my mind slave, and I will proceed to use her and her voice for wishes from the Beanstar. Now... bring back the life of my accomplice!"
Once again, the Beanstar nodded and granted Cackletta's wish. The ghost of Cackletta's accomplice, Fawful, appeared and was zapped by the Beanstar, and thus brought back to life.
"O, Great Cackletta. I am glad to see that your body has been returned to you. And thank you for resurecting the body of mine," he said as he bowed down before Cackletta.
"Well now that all is ready, let's leave this place."
Grodus and Fawful moved towards Cackletta, and Cackletta made Peach come to her. In a poof of purple smoke, the villainous trio plus Princess Peach dissapeared, as Cackletta and Grodus laughed maniacally.
Meanwhile at Bowser's Castle...
Roy was lying on the ground, restrained and with a punching bag stuffed in his mouth. Mario had made short work of him and gone on to the final room. Bowser's oldest son, Ludwig, was here.
"Ah, so you're responsible for the racket I've been hearing... You've disturbed the process of my inventing... So you'll be punished!" said Ludwig as he pushed a button on his remote control. Four Mechakoopas came down from the ceiling, and they all went towards Mario. Though it seemed like he had his hands full, the Miraculous Mario pulled out his hammer and smashed them all.
"Still using your hammer? You're so predictable..." said Ludwig as he faced away, knowing he was gonna get beat. Mario smashed him away with his hammer and left.
"Hmm... I've already checked all seven rooms in this corridor, but I didn't find Bowser. He must be up there," he said as he faced yet another staircase. He climbed the staircase to find a rather large door. This was, with no clue, Bower's room. But when Mario entered, he found something rather unexpected. Bowser was ill and lying in a bed, all covered in tissues. Kammy, Bowser's faithful servant, was feeding him some soup. Thinking it was some sort of trick, Mario jumped in to attack Bowser.
"Gwhar! Even when I'm sick..." said Bowser.
"Come on, where is she?" asked Mario.
"Who?" Bowser asked.
"You know. Peach?" Mario replied.
"Can't you see I'm too sick to kidnap her today? Go away, will ya? I'm trying to enjoy my soup... Hey wait a minute, are you saying that the princess is missing?" Bowser asked.
"No. Not missing. Kidnapped," Mario replied.
"WHAT?!" Bowser asked angrily as he got up. "Don't tell me she was kidnapped by some other bad guy again! Kidnapping her is MY job! I'm sick of these bad guys stealing my spotlight! I'm ending this for good!" he said, enraged. "Kammy, take care of the kids. Mario, you and I are getting the princess back. Come on!" Bowser grabbed Mario and took him to his airship.
To Be Continued...
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