The next day, Mario and Luigi went to E. Gadd’s lab to see how production was going. If they were going to take out the Koopas, they were going to need something more powerful than the Ultra Scope since Larry had stolen Elvin’s only copy.
“Not to worry, boys,” said Elvin to the Mario Bros. “Production of these new Scope guns should be completed soon.”
“Good,” said Mario. “Those Koopas have really flipped for some reason…”
“What is this new Scope gun called?” Luigi mused. “The Mega Scope?”
“… Woah… What a lucky guess…”
Later, Mario and Luigi went back to their house. They were thinking hard about this. The Koopa Troop was already a familiar enemy to them, but they seemed to be acting as heartless as the X-Nauts or the Shroobs. What was going on here?
“I really don’t get it…” Mario said. “Exactly why is the Koopa Troop doing this? It really isn’t like Bowser to bomb Princess Peach’s castle… Something isn’t right here…”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Luigi. “It’s strange… Say, what about El Koopa de Blaze? What’s he up to right now?”
“I don’t know… I don’t think we’ve heard much about him since he and Bowser set that Clubba’s house on fire…”
Suddenly, they both heard a thud from outside the front door. Mario and Luigi looked at each other. Luigi then went to answer the door. When he opened the door, he looked left and right, but saw no one. Then he looked down at something large and red. Luigi stood stiff and shocked for a second before running back into the house to Mario.
“Speaking of El Koopa de Blaze,” said Luigi, “he’s lying on our front porch!”
Mario stared blankly, then ran down to the open front door. There was Blaze, lying on the front porch! He seemed to be badly hurt.
“WOAH!!!” cried Mario. “What’s HE doing here?!”
“… Guys…” Blaze whispered. “I… need yer… help…”
“I don’t know…” said Mario “Should we help him…? He looks hurt… bad…”
“Careful,” said Luigi. “He could be trying to trick us… In fact, his bruises might even be fake…”
“Well… Let’s see…” Mario put his hand directly on a bruise on Blaze’s arm. Blaze groaned and winced. Mario looked at him, then at Luigi.
“He’s definitely not pretending,” said Mario. “I can tell the difference between a fake groan and a real groan… To add, it looks like something fell on him…”
“Well what do we do with him? Do we take him to Peach or do we get him back to good health now?”
“… Hmm… He needs urgent medical assistance… Let’s help him now… Besides, as heroes—”
“I know, I know…”
Mario bent down and spoke to Blaze.
“We’ll help you for now,” Mario whispered. “But afterwards, we’re going straight to Princess Peach’s castle…”
Blaze was sitting in a chair with a blanket wrapped around him (although the spikes on his shell tore through the blanket). Mario gave him some water, then Blaze told them everything he knew. He told them about how Flubba had framed him from the start, how Flubba nearly blew him and Bowser up, how Flubba had bombed Peach’s castle with Larry’s airship cannons, about the fight with the 8-Bits that ended with horrific results, and that Flubba was working for Wart.
“So… you’re… not really an ‘El Koopa de Blaze’ after all?” Luigi asked.
“Nope…” said Blaze. “And I don’t have any other way to put this whole thing… so if you dudes don’t believe me, then you can just take me to Princess Peach now…”
Mario and Luigi looked at each other, then at Blaze. Blaze held his breath, not knowing if the Mario Bros. were going to believe him or not.
“I believe you,” said Mario. Blaze’s eyes widened.
“Really?!” he said. “Even after they said on the news that you were eventually going to launch an assault on the Koopas?”
“Yes,” said Mario. “At first I simply thought you Koopas were just blowing things up for no apparent reason, but recently, I’ve begun to think not. Bowser has always been kidnapping Peach, and for him to suddenly order his troops to bomb her castle is… is… well… wrong, to put it in a single word…”
“I agree,” said Luigi.
“And besides,” added Mario, “I’ve been starting to think that the Clubba… Flubba, I think you said he was… Anyway, I’ve been starting to think that his cries on the news were fake…”
“That’s good…” said Blaze. “’Cause they were… But anyway, does that mean you guys are gonna help me get the Koopas back from Wart?”
“Yes,” said Mario. “But we’ll still have to tell Princess Peach about this…”
“How about getting more help?” said Blaze. “We’re gonna need it. Wart’s army has bazookas.”
“What? You don’t believe it?”
“We do!” Mario said. “I remember us and Larry and Lemmy Koopa fighting Wart with a bazooka one day. It was when we were helping them destroy Fawful.”
(Note: If you don’t know what Mario is talking about, then read the first page of Quest for Vengeance.)
“… Okay! Hang on!” said Luigi. “Let’s just go to Peach’s castle already! We’re wasting time! For all we know, the Koopas could be dead already!”
“But what if someone recognizes me before we get there?” asked Blaze.
“Look, we’ll just make it look like we captured you. You should be okay…”
At Wart’s castle, Wart and Flubba were joyously watching as some Shy Guys were whipping Bowser, Clawdia, Kamek, and the Koopalings (minus Larry).
“This is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time!” Wart laughed. “You’ve done a fine job, Flubba! I’m starting to consider making you my right-hand man…”
“Don’t mention it, King!” said Flubba. “I’m here to cause pain!”
“Wait just a -OW…!!!- minute…” said Bowser as the Shy Guy whipped him. “When did you start -OW…!!!- working for Wart?! OW!!!”
“… I’m glad you asked,” said Flubba. “Shall we tell them?”
“Yes! Let’s!” said Wart. “It all started after I was held hostage by this fool named King Big Bones, who was defeated by Mario and some Parakoopa. After I finally got back to my castle, I began to think of a way to rid myself of you. I had still not gotten over what two of your sons had done to me as well as my son.”
“You mean Nick?! OW!!!” asked Lemmy as he was being whipped.
“Of course Nick! Now let finish!!! Anyway, I decided to go to the Mushroom World and see what I could find.”
“And that’s where he met ME!” chimed in Flubba.
“After he tried to steal my crown and necklace,” Wart continued, “I began to notice the way he handles things. He showed me his collection of loot. I was pretty impressed. Then I offered him a deal he just couldn’t pass up… If he could find a way to put you Koopas in jeopardy so I could capture you all, I’d give him 3,000 coins from my treasury and a spot in the 8-Bit Club. He accepted. Flubba, your turn…”
“That’s right, I accepted the offer!” said Flubba. “I began looking around for days to find something to help me out. Then I met Blaze. He had nothing I could steal, so I talked with him for a while. Then Blaze made his mistake… He told me he had once known the King of the Koopas. I thought this might be the chance, but since he also said that he hadn’t seen you in years, I got so mad inside and, deciding that he wouldn’t be of any use to me, I framed him for no good reason, which didn’t bother me. I’m a very unreasonable guy! Anyway, I began searching around again, but no avail, until you and Blaze broke into my house.”
“And you almost blew us up!” Bowser interrupted. “OW!!!”
“Actually,” said Flubba, “I intended for there to be time Bob-ombs in that room instead of regulars, and tied you both up in weak ropes to give you and him enough time to get out. I was trying to make it seem like I was the only one involved in this. Sure, my house got wrecked, but it was worth it, as I was able to make it seem like you and Blaze... pardon the expression… brought the house down. HEHEHEHE!!! And as an added bonus, I even fired Bullet Bills at Princess Peach’s castle from the airship!”
“I know- OW!!!” said Bowser. “We saw that -OW!!!- on the airship’s security camera- OW!!!”
“… Oh…” said Flubba. “Well whatever! It was enough to get you all so worried about what the Mushroom Kingdom was gonna do, that King Wart here was able to launch a successful assault on your castle with no trouble. And so here we are!”
“Well… OW!!! I must admit… that was pretty clever- OW!!! But what did you do with Blaze?!” Bowser asked. “TELL ME!!! OW!!!”
“Your little friend is finished!” said Wart. “We caused the ceiling to crash down on top of him!”
Bowser became so shocked he couldn’t speak.
“Well… How long are you gonna hold us?!” asked Wendy. *whip* “OUCH!!!”
“We’re not going to hold you!” said Wart. “We’re going to HANG you!!!”
The Koopas all gasped.
Mario, Luigi, and Blaze had finally made it to Princess Peach’s castle. They entered the castle and directed Blaze to the meeting room. They stopped outside the room.
“Okay,” said Mario. “I don’t think they’re quite ready for you yet…”
“Big surprise…” muttered Blaze.
“Yeah… We need you to stay right here. We’ll tell you when to come in…”
Mario and Luigi entered the room, where Princess Peach was holding yet another meeting. She stopped talking when she saw the Mario Bros. walk in.
“Ah! Mario! Luigi!” she greeted. “You’re just in time!”
“Um… Princess?” said Luigi. “Before you continue with your meeting, we need to show you something… err… someone…”
“Oh…? And who might this someone be?”
The Mario Bros. looked at each other.
“I hope you’re ready for this…” said Mario. He exited the door, and came back in a second later… with Blaze! Everyone jumped.
“IT’S HIM!!!” Toad squeaked.
“Well well well!” said Peach. “Look who we have here…”
“Now listen!” said Mario. “Before you all get anywhere, he has something you all should know about…”
Wario ran up to Blaze angrily. “Is that so?!” he said. “Well start talkin’, or I’ll make you talk!!!”
Wario held his fist up in front of Blaze’s snout. Blaze narrowed his eyes.
“You sure you feel up to it?” he said calmly. Wario, for once, shivered, and wisely backed off.
“All right, El Koopa de Blaze, as you call yourself, “said Peach. “What is it you have to say?”
“First of all,” said Blaze, “please stop calling me that! You can call me Blaze; you can call me Ryan, my real name; but quit calling me El Koopa de Blaze! I never called myself that in the first place! I WAS FRAMED, DANG IT!!!”
Everyone stared at him.
“Woah… Calm down…” said Peach. “Now… What’s all this about you getting framed? Tell us the whole story…”
Blaze, again, explained the framing, the house fire, the castle bombing, and the assault.
“So… You’re saying that the Clubba is working for Wart?” asked Peach. “And that Wart was taken all the Koopas… and that the 8-Bits have bazookas?”
“Yeah,” said Blaze. “And I came here for help for that reason… and because I have no clue where Wart’s lair is…”
“We can tell you that,” said Luigi. “He resides in a land called Sub-con.”
“Sub-con…? Dude, what a weird name for a land…”
“Wait,” said Toad. “Can we be SURE El Koopa… err… sorry… Blaze is telling the truth?”
“Look at me!!!” Blaze snapped. “My fingers aren’t crossed, my toes aren’t crossed, my tail isn’t crossed… and besides, if I was lying right now, then I hope to be struck by—”
“Okay okay okay!!!” said Toad. “I get it…”
“Anyway, I’m asking for your help, so help me out here, will ya?! I know the Koopas are your enemies, but they’re my friends!!!”
“Chill,” said Mario. “Luigi and I will help you. Is there anyone else?”
Silence fell, then Yoshi walked forward.
“I’ll help too,” he said.
“How about Larry and Petey?” asked Peach.
“Hey. Not Petey,” said Toad. “His wing got shot…”
“Oh…” said Peach. “Well… Larry anyway…”
“He’ll do…” said Mario. “How about you, Wario? We might need your strength.” Wario glared, then hesitantly walked up to them.
“Fine…” he said. “But what’s in it for me?”
“Uh… 100 coins?”
“Make it 1,000!”
“Uh… Wario?” asked Waluigi. “Will the 1,000 coins be split between you and me… 50 50?”
“It’s settled!” said Mario. “Let’s get Larry, arm ourselves with Super Scopes, and be on our way.”
After finally getting out of the dungeon, Larry was talking to Petey.
“You sure you don’t need me to come?” Petey asked.
“Look, Petey,” said Larry, “you really need to let your wing recover. Besides, we can handle it… Thanks again for saving my life the other day.”
“Ah… Don’t mention it…”
“Come on, Petey,” said a Mushroom Guard. “The princess wants us to escort you to Grass Land.”
“Oh… Okay,” said Petey. “Hey Larry, tell King Bowser I said hey.”
“Okay,” said Larry. “See ya!”
The guards led Petey out of the castle gate.
“So Flubba has been working for Wart this whole time?” Larry asked.
“Yeah,” said Blaze.
“Well, if I know Wart, he would probably have the Koopas executed… He really hates us Koopas…”
“In that case,” said Mario, “we’ll have to hurry… Come on, guys.”
“Yeah!” said Wario. “Let’s kick some 8-Bit hiney!”
Wario locked his Super Scope with a click, and the Super Six (as I will call them) set off to save the Koopas.