Chapter 5: Aura of Evil
“So you’re saying Luigi’s greedy or evil?” Mario asked skeptically.
“No, I said it most easily affects the greedy and evil,” Mallow responded.
“Did Umbra say whether or not there was a way to neutralize the effects?” Mario asked in hope, but in truth he already knew the answer…
“I’m afraid not…” Mallow responded gloomily. “But that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist,” Mallow said once he saw Mario’s face.
“What is that?!” Peach interrupted suddenly.
“Huh?” Mario asked, looking in the direction Peach was.
“Look at Star Hill…” Yoshi said, mesmerized by the magical knoll.
Mario looked at Star Hill and instantly saw what Peach and Yoshi were talking about. A redish black aura was emanating from the summit of Star Hill. It made quite a contrast compared to the black night sky. The aura had its own kind of mysterious beauty to it, but the feeling you got from looking at it was nothing short of foreboding.
“That must be why Geno told me not to go to the summit…” Mario spoke in thought. Then the meeting with the Star Spirits triggered back into his memory.
“Guys, I have to go now!” Mario said in a rushed tone.
“Wait Mario, where you going?” Mallow asked.
“I have to see Geno and the Star Spirits,” Mario replied.
“Then… I’ll come with you,” Mallow said in response.
“Are you sure? It might be dangerous,” Mario spoke.
“Mario, together we faced Smithy in the search for the Stars, this can’t be any more dangerous than that. Plus I get to see Geno again,” Mallow argued.
“I guess…” Mario mumbled.
“I come too!” Yoshi suddenly spoke.
“And-” Peach tried to say but was cut off by Toadsworth.
“I am sorry, my lady, but we must be getting back to the castle. I’m sure your father is worried sick! Plus we must not burden Master Mario,” Toadsworth said, grabbing Peach’s hand in order to guide her back home.
“But…” Peach protested.
“No Peach, he’s-a right,” Mario concurred. “We’ll tell you everything when we-a get back,” Mario assured.
“Oh all right,” Peach agreed reluctantly.
And with that Peach and Toadsworth turned around in the direction Mushroom Kingdom Castle.
“Let’s go,” Mario spoke.
“Let’s,” Mallow replied.
Little did the three know that they were being followed, and little did Peach and Toadsworth know that they were walking right into a trap…
At Mushroom Kingdom Castle everything had an eerie silence as two flag bearers were completing the finishing touch to a new order…
“What a day, huh?” one of the flag bearers asked.
“Yeah, no kidding…” the other responded. “What I can’t believe is that we did it so easily. They never even saw it coming, they were completely blindsided!”
“Well Mushroomers never did have the greatest soldiers,” the first flag bearer said in explanation.
“This is true,” the second one responded in agreement. “I suppose all of the towns people have been rounded up by now.”
“Yeah, first the king and now the people,” the first one said. “I have to say, our whole operation is running really smoothly. Not even King Koopa and any of his plans went by this slyly.”
“Then again, he has more of the physical approach to evil, I would say…” the first one declared.
“Indeed,” the second agreed. “Ah, there it is,” the second flagman announced.
“All right, let’s get this over with.”
Then with much effort the pair pulled down the Mushroom Kingdom Flag and hoisted up the emblem of the X-Nauts…
About an hour after leaving, the three heroes were now nearing the mystical hillside of Star Hill. Here the aura was much more vivid and set an ambience of terror.
“What is with that glow?” Mallow wondered aloud. “It seems so evil… I don’t know why, I mean it’s just a glow, right?”
“No, Mallow, I was thinking the same thing,” Mario affirmed.
“So where’s Geno?” Yoshi inquired.
“He should be here…” Mario muttered.
Mallow started to search when he started going farther up the hill.
“Wait!” Mario warned. “Don’t go to the summit.”
“Why?” Mallow asked.
“I think that’s where the aura’s coming from, plus Geno told me not to go up there…” Mario responded.
“O-okay,” Mallow stuttered.
“Mario!” called a voice that belonged to none other than Geno.
“Geno!” Mallow cried happily.
“Mallow... Yoshi?!” Geno asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you again,” Mallow replied.
“Mario was supposed to come alone,” Geno stated.
“Well I’ve decided that wherever Mario goes, I go,” Mallow persisted.
“Me too,” Yoshi said strongly.
Geno sighed. “This meeting is confidential and only Mario is allowed to attend.”
“C’mon Geno, just like old times…” Mallow pleaded.
Geno paused and looked in the direction of Star Haven. “I’ll see what I can do…”
“Thanks, Geno,” Mallow said with a grin.
And with that Geno evaporated into thin air.
“I wonder what they say…” Yoshi pondered.
“Greetings, your majesty,” Grodus said with a dark laugh.
“Just because you threw me in my own dungeon doesn’t mean I’ll tell you where the Starmen are!” King Toadstool said acidly.
“Temper, temper,” Grodus taunted.
“Calm down, sir,” the Chancellor pleaded. “I suggest we wait for Master Mario.”
“Mario?” Grodus asked instantly. “W-what did you say about Mario?”
“Of course you know who Master Mario is?” the Chancellor asked.
“Of course I do!” Grodus barked. “But who says he will rescue you?”
“He always does,” King Toadstool said. “Just a matter of time…”
“That nuisance is still here?!” Grodus inquired with frustration.
“Yes, he hasn’t left and he will be here to stomp you any minute just like he did last time!” the Chancellor said with a smirk.
“Ha!” Grodus scoffed. “Mario didn’t stomp me, my own plan di-” Grodus caught himself. “THAT’S NOT THE POINT!”
Both King Toadstool and the Chancellor laughed mockingly.
“THAT’S THE LAST STRAW!” Grodus bellowed. “Your Mario won’t be around long enough to save you now!”
“Whatever are you talking about?” King Toadstool asked skeptically.
“Meet Judas,” Grodus spoke with a sinister sneer.
At the call of the name the dungeon entrance opened and a tall figure walked in.
“Welcome, Judas,” Grodus beckoned.
King Toadstool and the Chancellor gasped at the sight of this so-called Judas.
He was covered in futuristic cybernetic armor, gloves, and boots. He had a black visor. His armor was a tealish white and he had many gadgets and gizmos all around his body. His voice was not his real one because he had voice masking technology. None of his real body was apparent and it seemed he wanted his real identity a well kept secret.
“Meet Judas,” Grodus said darkly. “He’s a mercenary and he’s the number one-ranked soldier on Plit.”
“What do you ask of me?” Judas asked.
“Well, Judas, your assignment has been changed,” Grodus said. “You new assignment is to terminate Mario.”
About twenty minutes passed since Geno had told Mario and party to wait. During this time tension was high and suspense built up greatly on what Geno’s answer would be. About three minutes later Geno appeared in front of them.
“The Star Spirits said it is up to Mario, after all it will be his quest,” Geno said, answering all of the questions before they would start to fly.
“ALL RIGHT!” Mallow cheered.
“I knew it,” Yoshi said happily.
“Wait… what quest?” Mario asked, starting to get suspicious.
“That is for you to find out,” Geno replied mysteriously. “Now grab a hold of me and I will warp us to Star Haven to see the Star Spirits.”
“Okay…” Mario said, unsure.
“Don’t worry, Mario, we by your side.” Yoshi reminded.
“Yeah… thanks, Yoshi,” Mario responded nodding.
“Next stop, Star Haven!” Geno announced.
Mario looked around as things started
going black and white, then the shapes of their surroundings started to
distort and then he saw himself at the doors of Star Haven.
Chapter 6: The Cryptic Cavern
Not too far from Mario’s previous location was the Star Hill Summit, and on it was Bowser and his two magical lackeys.
“No use for an evil aura if we don’t know what it does…” Bowser said in annoyance.
“Remember, my lord, we only came here to check it out, not to fully understand it…” Kammy Koopa said, trying to keep Bowser’s morale up.
“Well now what?” Bowser asked in a bored sort of way.
“Well now I suggest we head back to the castle, Kamek and I will continue to research this aura further,” Kammy spoke.
“Well Kammy will anyways…” Kamek interjected. “I on the other hand will get the potato chips and catch up on what I missed on my favorite show.”
Bowser started creating fire in his mouth in order to “motivate” Kamek.
“Not working,” Kamek said with attitude. “You don’t scare me.”
Bowser then charged at Kamek with a roar of pure fury.
“OKAY! OKAY! I’M SCARED, I’LL DO WHATEVER YOU ASK, JUST DON’T HURT ME!” Kamek whined.
“That’s what I thought you said.” Bowser growled.
“W-what is that?” Wendy asked in awe.
“It’s the Koopa Klan Insignia,” Ludwig answered. “But vat does it all mean?”
“I don’t see what you guys are all curious about,” Morton said stupidly.
Everyone in the room except Roy had a disbelieving look on their face directed towards Morton. Roy just looked equally stupid.
“Well whatever, it’s Hello Kitty time…” Morton said, taking out a coloring book and some crayons.
“You are perhaps the most idiotic, loserish, and most retarded Koopa I know,” Iggy hissed at Morton.
“Can’t exactly argue with that,” Lemmy agreed.
“My rock…” Roy said in shock. “My rock disappeared. I WANNA SEE SOME PUNISHMENT!”
“It’s just a rock…” Larry responded in a mumble.
“I’LL GIVE YOU A ROCK!” Roy yelled. “A ROCK-HARD FIST!”
“AHHHHHH!” Larry cried.
“Poor Larry…” Wendy said sympathetically.
“Don’t just stand there! DO SOMETHING!” Larry screamed.
“Hey, I sympathized for you,” Wendy said. “Now helping you is pushing your luck.”
“I hate you…” Larry squealed before he got hit smack dab in the right eye by a charging fist.
“Well dat takes care of his attitude,” Roy said, brandishing his fist.
“Oh Captain Jigsaw McKitty, I love you,” Morton said to one of the pictures he was coloring in.
“Weirdo…” Iggy replied.
“By DAD, THAT’S IT!” Ludwig shouted excitedly.
“You just screamed in my ear!” Lemmy cried.
“Sorry…” Ludwig apologized.
“You’re darn right you’re sorry!” Lemmy barked.
“Okay okay, geez!” Ludwig responded.
“Wait Ludwig, what did you get?” Wendy asked in curious excitement.
“He got gas,” Morton said, fanning away an odor from himself.
“Sorry, that was me…” Roy said, flushing with embarrassment.
“What did you eat?!” Lemmy asked, covering his nose.
“A five-week-old tuna sandwich, a tire, and some expired milk. Why do you ask?” Roy asked.
“No comment…” Lemmy said flatly.
“CAN I TELL YOU WHAT I REALISED NOW?” Ludwig spazzed.
“No,” Morton automatically spoke.
Ludwig walked over to Morton and shut his mouth and closed his eyes with duct tape.
“This stuff is so useful, even for the most unexpected of things,” Ludwig said, smirking. “Anyways, I realized that this whole thing is like a puzzle. I figured it out when Morton said jigsaw.”
“Morton actually said something useful?” Lemmy asked in disbelief.
“Yup,” Ludwig said, smiling.
“IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!” Lemmy shouted. “Quickly! You grab the emergency escape pods and I’ll get the lifetime supply of food.”
“Pull yourself together!” Iggy said, shaking Lemmy.
“Oh, Iggy,” Lemmy said faintly. “I had the craziest dream that Morton actually babbled about something smart. Say it ain’t so!”
“It’s so,” Iggy replied.
“Well you’re a morale booster,” Lemmy said sarcastically.
“Guys!” Wendy hissed. “Let Ludwig speak!”
“Thank you!” Ludwig praised.
“Just tell me what you discovered and we’ll call it even.”
“Very vell…” Ludwig said, pausing before he spoke. It’s like a puzzle. This cove is hiding something and ve’ve gone one step into finding the secret…”
“What did we do?” Wendy questioned.
“Vell Roy sat on that rock and that insignia appeared. That must mean that the next step has something to do with that insignia…”
“Ugh… My lord, could you stop your infernal singing?” Kamek asked in agony.
“Never!” Bowser hissed. “And just for that I’m gonna sing all the way home.”
“NOOOOO!” Kamek groaned.
Kammy looked over at Kamek with a huge grin.
“I despise you,” Kamek briefly responded. “You and your fancy earmuffs.”
“Oh ho ho?” Bowser asked, looking at Kammy. “Take off the earmuffs because we’re all gonna hear my wonderful voice.”
“I hate you…” Kammy said acidly to Kamek.
Kamek then chuckled.
“Ohhh… The propeller on the copter goes ‘round and ‘round, ‘round and ‘round, ‘round and ‘round. The propeller on the copter goes ‘round and ‘round…”
“What in the name of DAD could this insignia have to do with anything?” Ludwig asked in frustration.
“I bet it has something to do with the mirror,” Wendy stated.
“W-why didn’t I think of that before?” Ludwig said, scolding himself.
“Because you’re not as special as I am,” Wendy replied.
“Weirdo…” Iggy spoke again.
“What could we do with a mirror though?” Ludwig asked, oblivious to Wendy’s comment.
“Well a mirror only does one thing…” Lemmy said. “And that’s reflect stuff.”
“He does have a point…” Ludwig said, thinking about Lemmy’s statement.
“What do we reflect though?” Wendy asked, seeing a flaw.
At this point Morton got free from the duct tape. “I can see again! The light is so beautiful!”
“Weirdo…” Iggy replied.
“Do you ever stop?” Lemmy asked in an irritated tone.
“Light?” Ludwig asked with a light bulb flashing over his head. “THAT’S IT!”
“You screamed in my ear again!” Lemmy said angrily.
Once again Ludwig was oblivious to any comments as he put two and two together.
“That narrow ray of light… We use the mirror to reflect it… and then shine it ON THE INSIGNIA!” Ludwig shouted in glee.
“Does anyone care about my poor ears?” Lemmy asked in rage.
“Weirdo…” Iggy responded flatly.
After about thirty-six minutes of torturous singing Bowser became silent as he and the two Koopa mages approached the castle of the notorious Koopa Klan.
“It’s about time,” Kamek groaned.
“We’ll start the research right away, my lord,” Kammy said, flying ahead.
“C’mon, m’lord...” Kamek begged. “Just thirty minutes…”
“No!” Bowser said, refusing Kamek’s request. “Your shows are as bad as Roy’s moldy sweat socks, and trust me, that’s quite a statement!”
“Very well…” Kamek groaned.
“Coming, Kamek?” Kammy inquired.
“Unfortunately yes…” Kamek replied with great displeasure.
“Don’t make me get the waffle iron out there!” Kammy threatened.
“Okay, okay! I’m coming!” Kamek hissed.
“If ve position it like so…” Ludwig said, positioning the mirror at an angle aiming at the insignia.
“Will it work?” Wendy asked.
“Ve shall see…” Ludwig responded as he pushed the mirror into position.
At that very instance the ray of light shot from the mirror to the insignia.
“Oh my DAD…” Lemmy said breathlessly.
Then the insignia started glowing, then it just disappeared.
“Now what?” Iggy asked, looking up at Ludwig.
“I don’t know… I mean, what else is there?” Ludwog asked.
Then another tremor came through the cove.
“AHHHHH!” all of the Koopalings screamed.
Bowser had resumed watching his soaps upstairs when the ground started vigorously shaking.
“WHAT IN TARNATION?!” Bowser asked aloud as he fell from the couch.
“Lord Bowser!” Kammy’s voice called from down the hall.
“Yo Kammy, what’s going on?” Bowser asked in confusion.
“I actually have no idea, sir…” Kammy spoke.
“B-but you’re supposed to know all the stuff I don’t… I mean you’re like the brains and I’m the brawn and Kamek’s just Kamek… but that’s not the point. KAMMY, YOU’RE MESSING WITH THE GROUP DYNAMICS, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW STUFF!”
“Lord Bowser!” Kamek came running in and panting. “Everyone’s in an uproar and they all want an explanation.”
“Give me a few moments too recuperate, THEN tell me,” Bowser snapped.
“This is ridiculous…” Kamek said. “Are you done, sir?”
“No, just a moment… Okay, now tell me,” Bowser said.
“Lord Bowser, everyone’s in an uproar and they want an explanation!” Kamek cried.
“Okay,” Bowser responded.
“What’s okay?” Kamek asked, starting to get impatient.
“You tell them,” Bowser responded.
“BUT I DON’T KNOW!” Kamek spazzed.
“NEITHER DO I!” Bowser bellowed.
“Wait, what’s happening in the middle of the room?” Lemmy asked in awe.
And indeed something was happening in the middle of the room. A large secret passage opened and all of the water started draining into it.
“W-what’s happening?” Iggy asked in a girly scream.
“Weirdo…” Lemmy said, grinning.
“Oh, you’re funny!” Iggy said sarcastically.
Once the water was almost done draining the sand started pouring into it as well. Sand continued pouring until a stairway solely made of sand appeared leading into the darkness of the newly revealed secret passage. The water finished draining into the passage and the Koopalings said nothing for several moments.
“That vas… amazing…” Ludwig commented in a low and slow voice.
All the Koopalings just looked down the dark corridor and knew that now they should get Bowser’s assistance…
Meanwhile in the Koopa Kastle, Bowser had managed to calm all of the minions down, or at least threatened them to calm down, and order was slowly being restored in the castle. Bowser was just about to grab the remote for the TV when Lemmy barged into the room.
“King Dad!” Lemmy called in excitement.
“Lemmy, can’t it wait?” Bowser asked groaning.
“No we have something important to show you in the dungeon!” Lemmy replied jumping up and down.
“Oh, all right…” King Koopa grunted as he got up from the couch. “Okay, take me there.”
Lemmy grinned excitedly as he led his dad down to the dungeon.
About ten minutes later…
“Here it is,” Lemmy announced.
When Bowser came through the passage and saw the cove he stopped in his tracks, absolutely stunned.
“W-what is this place?!” Bowser asked, dumbstruck.
No one responded as they all just looked down into the depths of blackness.
“This is unreal…” Iggy stated.
Bowser said nothing as he mindlessly began to descend the steps of sand. The other Koopalings followed and pondered what was in store for them…