Chapter 12: The Wrath of the Trap Master
“I don’t understand…” Mario said aloud.
All of the heroes with the exception of Geno were completely at a loss for knowing what the task at hand was supposed to be. Mario looked over at the hooded figure playing the organ, he didn’t even acknowledge that they were there. Mario got a creepy feeling from both the ominous figure and the haunting song that was being played. The song gave him a feeling like a thousand moths had just scattered all over the room and were swarming all around him. Mario shivered at the thought. After several minutes Mario couldn’t take it anymore and then without warning he started walking straight up to the source of the chilling melody. Mario was still walking when he realized that the room was much longer than it seemed...
“Don’t say that this is another never ending room…” Mario said, grumbling.
“Wait up!” Mallow called to Mario.
Mario paused and stopped in his tracks so his friends could catch up with him. Mario started tapping his foot out of boredom when he noticed that the tile he stepped on slightly sank.
“Curious…” Mario thought aloud and then he decided to press it down farther. It kept sinking until it reached its limit. “Hmm… I wonder if Geno can expla-” Mario suddenly noticed a sword that was soaring straight for his head! Mario quickly jumped to the side, but not without getting a long gash along the side of his left cheek and neck.
“Mari-” Before Mallow finished his call he saw the big sword and dove down to the ground. Unfortunately poor Yoshi didn’t see it coming and it impaled his arm. Yoshi screeched in pain as Mallow and Geno rushed over for assistance.
“I-a get it…” Mario told himself. “We just-a have reach the end of the room… without dieing…”
Mario looked back over at the hooded person playing the organ and once again heard an extremely sharp note. Mario knew what was going to happen… or at least partially.
“I gotta dodge the-a swords when he hits sharps!” Mario stated, but to Mario’s surprise (and almost his death) Mario saw a section of the ceiling shoot down at him, almost crushing him flat. “I guess I-a also better avoid those tiles,” Mario said, panting. “I-a better go back and get the others.” Mario started off his journey back in a trot, when another section of the ceiling collapsed. Mario shouted in surprise and started running. Mario was making progress when three swords flew at him. “Yikes!” Mario said, immediately taking cover. “Oh no…” Mario said looking down at a pressed tile under his elbow. “For the love of-” Mario’s complaint was stopped by spikes that shot up out of the ground. “Owowowowowowowo!” Mario shouted in pain. Once again Mario was close to death but he managed to jump up before they reached his body. Mario didn’t get away completely clean though, he had many deep cuts in his forearms. “This-a place is an accident waiting to happen! First swords, then a crushing ceiling, now ground spikes, what’s next?!” Mario asked in frustration.
“They got this place booby trapped!” Mallow exclaimed.
“Whatever gave you that idea?” Geno asked sarcastically.
“Are you all right, Yoshi?” Mallow asked worriedly and at the same time ignoring Geno’s comment.
“Yoshi think so…” Yoshi replied with gritted teeth. “I just hope Mario get back safe…”
“Okay…” Mario said, panting. “You can-a do this.” Mario then took a deep breath and started to run in order to get to the other side. Mario was getting close when arrows shot out of the wall and sunk into Mario’s sides. Mario grunted in pain and staggered back up to his feet. He looked at his sides and saw blood gushing from the arrow wounds. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Mario screamed in fury. Then without warning Mario full out sprinted at breakneck speeds in attempt to get to the other side.
“I think Mario’s finally lost it…” Mallow said in response to Mario’s spaz attack.
“You got that right…” Geno replied.
So far Mario was doing pretty well in avoiding switches and traps, but it was only a matter of time before he got one. Mario abruptly stopped when he saw holes in a section of the walls. The walls immediately shot poisonous darts across to the other wall.
“Phew…” Mario said, relieved. “At least I didn’t get hit by anything poisonous…” Mario then continued his sprint, but another section of the ceiling came down and managed to scrape Mario’s right heel. “WHY ME?!” Mario asked, screaming in pain. Mario then ripped a piece of cloth from his short and wrapped it around his heel. “Almost there…” Mario grumbled. Mario continued to walk until two streams of flames shot down at him and burnt part of his face and the front of his body. Mario stood still for a few minutes, his eye twitching uncontrollably.
“I… hate… MY LIFE!” Mario shouted in frustration.
Mario proceeded after several moments of a major tantrum and almost walked into a wall that caved in from the sides in order to smash him.
“Woah!” Mario exclaimed. “That was a close shave!”
After a few more steps Mario finally made it back, in more or less one piece. “HALLELUJAH!” Mario shouted in ecstasy.
“Glad you made it back!” Mallow said with a warm smile.
“So am I,” Mario replied in relief. “Is Yoshi all right?”
“Me fine…” Yoshi replied nodding.
“That’s-a good,” Mario said, once again finding relief.
“I don’t mean to bug anybody but we do have to go back… You know that, right?” Geno inquired.
At this moment Mario had feelings that were equivilent to someone crashing his party.
“I-H-A-T-E-M-Y-L-I-F-E,” Mario said in response to Geno’s comment.
“Before anyone does anything… why don’t we just strategize like smart individuals instead of being reckless and just rushing in there...” Geno suggested.
“Sounds good to me!” Mallow said happily.
“Okay,” Yoshi said.
Mario grumbled for a second or two but finally agreed.
“Okay, does anyone have-a any suggestions?” Mario asked.
“Let me try something…” Mallow said, rubbing his hands together.
The other three looked upon Mallow as he uttered a spell. “Shocker!” Mallow yelled. Mallow apparently aimed it for the hooded figure playing the organ, but to no avail… there seemed to be a barrier protecting it.
“It WAS a good plan…” Geno said. “But apparently we have to cross without getting too wounded.”
“Well Yoshi’s fast…” Mario said in a suggestive tone.
“What you want me to do?” Yoshi asked curiously.
“Well you are fast so you could-a carry someone and I guess the rest of us would have to manage…” Mario replied in thought.
“I’ll be fine on my own,” Geno said confidently. “After all, I do know all about the trials.”
“Okay, so either me or Mario gets a ride,” Mallow said. “I vote Mario gets a ride because he already took a lot of damage from getting back here.”
“You-a got that right!” Mario grunted as he pulled an arrow from his side. “OW!”
“All right, let’s get a move on.” Geno urged.
“O-okay…” Mallow said, warily taking the first step.
With some difficulty Mario got on Yoshi and the group was ready to depart into the long and dangerous death trap.
“Have you gained weight?” Yoshi asked, staggering from the amount of weight on his back.
“Oh, you’re-a funny one!” Mario snapped with sarcasm.
Mario, Yoshi, and Mallow looked over at Geno, who was walking across the ground with no trouble at all.
“You make it look so easy!” Mario said in an annoyed tone. “Wait… couldn’t we-a just follow you?”
“The traps don’t work on me…” Geno replied.
In response, Mario’s face became red, but he managed to keep calm. “Okay Yoshi, whenever you’re-a ready,” Mario said, looking ahead at the long path ahead of them.
Yoshi nodded and then started running across the long and dangerous room, Mario bound to his back. “We go through harder stuff than this before!” Yoshi said with confidence. Mario simply nodded in agreement as they continued down the path.
Mallow was running at top speed and he seemed to be doing well against the flying swords, but that still didn’t mean he could handle everything else…
“AHHHHHHHHHH!” Mallow shrieked as a part of the ceiling came down and crushed his hand. Mallow started to choke up tears and then he began crying up a storm… quite literally…
“Oh great!” Yoshi said angrily. “Rain make it hard to see!”
Yoshi couldn’t be more correct as a stream of flames caught them blindsighted. Mario moaned in pain as the fire passed, Yoshi gritted his teeth after every step due to the fact that his sides were burned and Mario’s pants leg would occasionally rub on it.
“Mallow!” Mario called. “You have to stop crying! It’s only making everything worse!”
Mallow looked across the downpour and saw Mario and Yoshi struggling. “Well they didn’t just have their hand crushed…” Mallow said bitterly.
“Hey kid, get up and stop whining!” a random voice said gruffly.
Mallow looked up in confusion. “U-Umbra?!” Mallow asked looking all around.
“If you quit then all is lost, so you better get up and keep going! I don’t have time for quitters, so maybe you should go back and moap in your room! That is unless you’re going to stop crying, get up, and keep going!”
Mallow soon realized that he was just hearing things from the past. He remembered these words from when he and Umbra used to train with each other. Mallow suddenly felt heartened as he started running. “I won’t let you down, Umbra!” Mallow said with determination. Mallow stopped crying and also stemmed the flow of the raging rain storm.
“Looks like he’s-a all better now…” Mario said, looking at the leftover puddles of water.
Yoshi was about to agree when they noticed holes in the walls.
“DUCK!” Mario screamed.
Yoshi did as he was told and dived down with all due force as fleets of arrows shot through the air.
“That was close…” Yoshi said out of breath.
Yoshi didn’t have any time to catch his breath though. At that very second the walls were smashing together in order to crush them.
“RUN!” Mario shouted in panic.
“Believe me, I don’t need any encouragement on that one!” Yoshi said, running with his full strength.
Yoshi was doing a good job keeping away from the walls, but random spikes shot up in front of him. Caught off guard, Yoshi ran into them. Yoshi screamed with tears of agony erupting from his eyes.
“YOSHI!” Mario yelled in worry for his fallen comrade. Then Mario saw swords heading right for them…
Chapter 13: Sibling Rivalry
The Koopalings were all scared for Bowser, especially after hearing the commotion upstairs. “He went looking for Wart… and what if he found him?” was the question that was racing through all the Koopalings’ minds as they were rushing up the stairs. All of the Koopalings knew that Wart was indeed powerful, but what made them tremble the most was his sudden change of heart… almost as if he was possessed by an evil force far beyond Wart’s power…
The Koopalings reached the top of the stairs, Lemmy was the first to raise his wand and rush into the hallway. “King Dad!” Lemmy shouted out through the hallway.
The other Koopa Kids then showed up alongside Lemmy.
“Where could they be?” Susan asked, trembling. “WHAT’S HAPPENED TO EVERYONE?!” Susan cried out dramatically.
The Koopalings suddenly paused, they listened to sounds that were no doubt from a battle. They started to follow their ears. Then they heard a roar. At this point the Koopalings were running to the sound when they came upon the closed door of the throne room…
“Kammy...” Kamek said worriedly, “I sense that Lord Bowser is in grave danger…”
Kammy looked over at Kamek and nodded. She then closed her eyes and concentrated hard.
Lord Bowser… where are you…? What is your status?
Kammy stopped concentrating. “I feel the fading shadow…” Kammy said grimly.
“Yes… but… what IN THE WORLD is the fading shadow?” Kamek asked, spazzing.
“It’s the omen of a fading life force… an energy slowly wearing down to nothingness…”
Kamek gasped. “We must find Lord Bowser immediately!” Kamek said panicking. “I feel his energy coming from the throne room!”
“We must hurry!” Kammy said, hastily running toward the throne room with her robe billowing in the ominous wind…
“The door von’t budge!” Ludwig said, slamming all of his body weight against the door.
“If Ludwig’s body weight can’t break it, we’re done for!” Wendy said hopelessly.
“No… there is another…” Iggy spoke silently.
“Duh… who?” Roy asked stupidly.
“Well I guess not everyone can be observant…” Lemmy replied sighing.
“Okay Roy,” Larry said, taking a deep breath. “I want you to demoslish the big red door…”
“Big red, where?” Roy said looking around. “If there ain’t no Clifford then at least give me the gum!”
“Vat in the name of DAD are you talking about?!” Ludwif asked, cocking his eyebrow.
“You know… the big red dog… or maybe… the cinnamon gum, YES THE CINNAMON GUM!” Roy said, drooling.
“Okay, now we're definitely done for,” Wendy spoke, slapping her forehead.
“We can’t give up hope now!” Susan said, scolding all of her cousins. “We have to think of something…”
“Like vat?” Ludwig asked in frustration.
Susan seemed to tense up, when she suddenly released a pale magical blast from her wand and blasted it against the door. The other Koopalings looked up at their cousin and then one by one, they pulled out their wands and started blasting the door, each blast holding a different hue.
“It’s not working!” Lemmy shouted through the loud sounds of the energy. “We need more power!”
Then from nowhere two streams of light flew into the door, making it explode. Smoke came from where the door used to be. The Koopalings looked up in awe.
“Kamek, Kammy!” Wendy cried happily.
All of the Koopa kids looked over at the robed Magikoopas with their wand pointed directly at where the door used to stand.
“Come on!” Kammy said hurriedly. “We haven’t much time!”
The Koopalings walked in, gasping in horror as they saw a completely ransacked throne room. The wonderful tapestries were torn up, the wall had deep scratch marks, the walls had black scorch marks along the sides, and the throne was knocked on its side and was snapped in two. Susan screamed, for she saw the sight of Bowser, huddled up in a mass in the right hand corner.
“UNCLE BOWSER!” Susan screamed as she ran up to him. “I’m so sorry… I-I don’t know what came over Daddy…”
The other Koopalings ran over beside their father followed by the two Magikoopas.
“King Dad…” Wendy said softly.
“Stand back!” Kammy ordered as she pointed her wand at Bowser’s forehead. The wand sparkled in a wondrous purple light and then Bowser started glowing the exact same color. Bowser then started floating up in the air. At first glance it looked like he was having a seizure with the vigorous shaking, but then he stopped as he descended down to the ground. Bowser slowly opened his eyes and looked around.
“WART!” Bowser snarled. “WHERE DID HE GO?!”
Then a stream of bubbly drool started dripping on Wendy’s shoulder. “GROSS!” she yelled, vigorously wiping it off of her. Then Wendy stopped dead, just realizing what this meant. Wendy swallowed in fear as she slowly looked up above her. She screamed in terror as she saw a mentally sick-looking Wart looking down at them from the ceiling. Wart roared and dropped down, creating a massive ground shake, causing all of the Koopas to fly off the floor.
Susan looked up at her father. He was drooling like crazy while his eyes twitched uncontrollably as his head was constantly jerking to the right. “Daddy…” Susan said softly.
Wart made a bellowing sound, much like a roaring wind against a cave. “Y-you… give me… DEATHBRINGER!”
Susan screamed as Wart started charging with full force at her, but Bowser intervened and rammed Wart against the wall with his shoulder. “All right, Wart!” Bowser snorted. “I don’t know how you found out about Dad and his history with the Deathbringer, but either way it’s mine, SO BACK OFF!”
Wart looked up and started shaking almost like a seizure. “DEATHBRINGER IS MINE AND ONLY MINE! STAY AWAY FROM IT, YOU SNIVELING WORM!”
“What has happened to Wart?” Bowser thought aloud. “How did he know about Deathbringer…? And why does he pursue it hungrily…?”
Wart started shaking more powerfully. “It CaLLs To Me IT wAnTs Me tO HaVe It! NoThIng ShaLL StAnD IN OuR WAY!” Wart then lunged at Bowser and breathed a stream of bubbles at the Koopa King.
Bowser retaliated by breathing fire and popping all of the opposing bubbles. The fire was about to proceed to engulf Wart, but he took in a gigantic breath and blew it with the force of hurricane wind. This power extinguished the flames and knocked Bowser back against the wall, leaving many cracks.
“W-where did h-he get such… power…?” Bowser asked, struggling to get up.
Wart suddenly flipped up in the air and was about to throw all of his body weight into an aerial kick, but Bowser sidestepped it and as Wart crashed down Bowser charged into Wart head on, knocking him feet in the air before crashing back down.
Wart got back up and glared with a demonic demeanor. Wart bellowed furiously and then he grabbed an extremely sharp piece of metal debris from the floor. Wart chuckled as he pointed it directly at Bowser’s heart. Bowser looked up at the weapon and then without warning ran to where the throne used to stand so proudly. Then Bowser grabbed a short, heavy sword with a curved blade displayed on a plaque. “Dad’s Koopa Kutlass…” Bowser muttered, looking at the blade. Bowser looked upon the sword and knew the last time it felt battle was in his father’s hands… Bowser felt heartened for a moment and then charged at Wart with great speed.
Wart was caught off guard and the metal piece was cut in half. Stunned, Wart was unprepared and Bowser held the Koopa Kutlass to Wart’s throat. “Give up Brother, I really don’t wanna hurt you!”
“ThE oNly OnE ThaT WiLL bE HurT is YoU!” Wart hissed and belched bubbles with breakneck force, sending Bowser tumbling back against the wall, causing him to dropping the fabled Koopa sword. Wart then charged up at Bowser at ramming speed, but Bowser countered it…
“WHIRLING FORTRESS!” Bowser yelled, swirling inside his thick shell as Wart came down. Wart came down strong, but he ended up getting cut in many different places by Bowser’s spikes.
Blood trickled all over Wart’s body. Wart roared in fury and started swirling in circles at alarming speeds. Wart spun and then he disappeared.
“Huh?” Bowser asked, looking around furiously. “Where’d he-” Wart slammed into Bowser at breakneck speeds and flung him through the wall.
“IT iS MiNe!” Wart bellowed. Wart then walked up to Bowser’s injured body. “NoW… NO ONE WILL GET IN MY WAY!”
Wart started charging up bubbles in his mouth… but they looked intensified with the touch of evil…
“GooDByE BroThEr!” Wart said, laughing
maniacally. Wart was about to release the evil energy when a rainbow-colored
blast broke through his shoulder. Wart looked at his wound as blood spilled
out, he put his hand up to it and collapsed…
Chapter 14: Umbra’s Return
“NO!” Peach screamed in terror. “Please… don’t hurt him…” Peach plead, starting to sob.
“Well, well, well…” Judas spoke. “Looks like someone’s ready to start talking.”
Peach looked at the scene in horror. She didn’t want to rat out Mario… but she couldn’t bear the sorrow of Toadsworth being killed. “He’s in… Bowser’s Castle…”
Judas merely started laughing. “Nice try, Princess, but you’re a terrible liar.” Peach gasped as Judas aimed his wrist gun at Toadsworth’s head. “Remember, Princess, I offered you a way out, but now when you think of this Mushroomer, you’ll remember his death was on your shoulders and that you could have prevented it!”
Peach looked up at Toadsworth then at Judas and began weeping.
“You’re weak, Princess, I don’t see how anyone would rely on you for a ruler. You always need Mario to get you out of your own troubles… pathetic! Once I kill this senile old fool, I’ll bring you to Grodus and see what he’ll want done with you, but I assure you, if it were up to me you would be dead right here on the spot! One that can’t handle their own problems is better dead…”
Peach was stunned. She had never been told Mario solved all of her problems for her… Mmybe… she thought to herself, she was useless…
“Any last words?” Judas asked the old Mushroomer.
Toadsworth opened his mouth, but no words came. His heart felt like it was about to explode. Cold sweat dripped down his face as Judas spoke.
“Very well… enjoy oblivion without any comforts,” Judas said mockingly as he pulled the trigger…
Peach heard the shots and then started crying in an unbelievably guilty sorrow.
“Don’t lament quite yet…” a gruff voice said sharply.
Peach looked up and saw what looked like a Nimbian. Peach listened to his words and her eyes looked at Toadsworth… except he was still struggling. “TOADSWORTH!” Peach cried happily.
Judas looked over at Toadsworth and saw no mark. Confused, Judas looked over at the princess and then the Nimbian next to her. Then finally he understood… he'd missed his mark. The next thing Judas did was look at his wrist gun and then he saw a shuriken jammed into it…
“Very clever…” Judas said, tearing the ninja star from his gun. “And just who are you?”
Peach also glanced at the Nimbian. She'd never seen him before in her life… then a thought occurred to her. “He couldn’t be-”
“I am Umbra, a highly trained warrior in the way of the ninja and I have come down here to stop mad men like yourself!” Umbra spoke gruffly.
“So, another top tier warrior… sounds like fun!” Judas said.
“You’re Mallow’s-” Peach said, but was cut off.
“We don’t have time to talk now!” Umbra said, unsheathing his sword.
Peach nodded in agreement. She didn’t know how, but what she did know was that she would help in any way she could.
“Princess,” Judas spoke, “wait there while I kill the others!” Judas then clicked a part of his cybernetic suit. Peach and the others looked up in curiosity and then before they knew it, a robotic shell surrounded Judas. Then two gun arms and two legs formed from the robotic center and then a full fledged robot was standing before them. “This puts Magnus Von Grapple to shame, doesn’t it?” Judas asked, laughing darkly.
“Stand back, Princess,” Umbra instructed. “This is going to get very dangerous…”
“So…” Judas said from the cockpit of the robot. “Shall we begin?”
Umbra nodded, clenching his sword tight to his chest. “He may be the best known mercenary in Plit,” Umbra said to himself. “But he has yet to trifle with the unknown…”
“Sir Grodus!” Lord Crump said. “I bring important news!”
“Really…?” Grodus asked curiously.
“Would I lie to you?” Crump inquired.
“Well the last time you told me of something important, it ended up being about MASHED POTATO MONDAYS!” Sir Grodus said angrily.
“Are you saying mashed potatoes aren’t import-”
“WHAT IS THE IMPORTANT NEWS?!” Grodus asked spazzing out.
“Mashed potato hater…” Crump said under his breath.
Sir Grodus’s helmet then started to spark due to frustration.
“T-E-L-L-M-E!” Grodus stammered with his eyes twitching.
“Say you’re sorry to mashed up spuds… I MEAN COME ON, DON’T YOU FEEL ONE OUNCE OF PITY FOR THEM? THEY WERE MASHED FOR DAD’S SAKE!”
“I’M SORRY!” Grodus yelled.
“That’s much better!” Crump said with his thumbs up.
“You might want to tell me quickly… or I might have the temptation to kill you!” Grodus spoke sharply.
“cghsfvhuifjOFIJR!” Crump said hastily.
“Okay… Maybe slow it down a bit so I can actually understand it…” Grodus said, sighing.
“Oh! Why didn’t you say so?” Crump asked. “Okay, I went to interrogate that Toad and I brought him to THE ROOM in order to get him to talk…” Crump spoke.
“How did it work out?” Grodus inquired.
“Well…” Crump said, pulling Toad out from his pocket.
“Happy place, happy place, happy place, happy place, happy place!” Toad uttered, rocking back in forth as if he were in denial. Crump then put Toad back in his pocket.
“Apparently THE ROOM works well…” Grodus said.
“It works better than you know!” Crump spoke. “You see… through this interrogation we discovered that all of the Starmen lie in the many paintings of this castle! We began excavating immediately!”
Grodus looked at Crump as if Christmas had come early. “All of the Starmen… right here… in all of the paintings… GACK ACK ACK ACK ACK!”
“Buh buh buh huh huh huh huh huh!” Crump laughed.
“You still don’t get the privilege of laughing!” Grodus said, cutting short Crump’s pathetic laugh. “You are dismissed!”
“Yes, my lord!” Crump said, crossing his arms and leaving.
“Ha ha ha ha ha!” Grodus laughed evilly. “At long last… the Deathbringer will shortly be mine!”
To Be Continued...
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