ACT 17: MIDNIGHT STRIKE
Dark Paratroopa suddenly jumped up from his bed. Something didn’t feel quite right. Something was up, but what? Of course he didn’t know, but somehow something was telling him Dark Master was up to something. Letting his senses direct him to the scene, he teleported.
His senses took him to the top of the castle, on the roof of the highest tower. He looked all around. Why his senses took him up here, he had no idea. Looking out across the valley, he had to admit, this was a very nice view. He could see the entire valley, as the castle was perched atop a high hill. He could see the entire dark half of the valley, as well as the light half, lit under the moonlight, and the large hill in the center of the valley where the altar sat.
He suddenly focused his eyes on the altar. Looking closely, he could see a gigantic, shaded figure. Dark Paratroopa jumped. There was, of course, only one person in the entire valley of such an immense size. What’s HE doing over there? he thought. There was only one way to find out. He teleported.
At the altar, Dark Master had assembled hundreds of his troops and was speaking to them all. “Listen up, you all!” he said. “This is serious. After today, we’re suddenly back down to zero Power Gems.”
The troops, surprised, began chattering among themselves.
As the troops chattered, Dark Paratroopa materialized down at the bottom of the hill. He quickly hid behind a tree. Of course, he blended pretty well into the darkness, but he didn’t want to take the chance of being spotted.
“You might ask, ‘why?’” said Dark Master. “Well, two words: Dark. Paratroopa!” The troops began chattering again, but in an even more surprised tone.
Behind the tree, Dark Paratroopa jumped. Dark Master knew, exactly what he had feared. Now what could he do?
“For that reason, I’m sending you all out on a special assignment. As you may’ve guessed, yes, I’m sending you to find the Power Gems…
“But, it’s also a little more than that. Of course, when I gain control of the life source of the valley, the treasure, I will be extremely powerful. However, even with that much power, I still wouldn’t be able to spread my darkness. I need two vessels… I need… Ultraviolet and Shadow Flame.”
Dark Paratroopa jumped again. No… he thought. Sparkle and the big red Koopa…
“Are my orders clear?” Dark Master said. All the Troops nodded. “Good,” Dark Master finished. “Half of you will go to Shine Guy’s location. That is where you’ll mostly likely find the white Yoshi… The other half will go to the location of that fiery-haired Koopa. Now go, and do not fail me!” The Troops nodded, then teleported.
Dark Master stood still after watching his minions go. After a few moments, he teleported.
Dark Paratroopa thought to himself. Who should he warn first? Shine Guy, along with the rest of the party, knew the power of the Darks, and could most likely defend Sparkle and their four Gems easily. The red Koopa, however, despite having been with the Darks for two days, was likely to be more clueless, especially considering how stubborn he was.
Still, he might as well warn Shine Guy first. Dark Paratroopa teleported.
Shine Guy suddenly jumped up. He quickly looked around. While sleeping, he had suddenly developed a strange sense of trouble. He glanced at everyone else, who were all fast asleep. Mario was talking in his sleep about delicious Italian foods; Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Wario, Waluigi, and Woshi were all snoring; and Diddy, K.K., and Sparkle were too sound asleep.
“You all! Wake up!” Shine Guy cried. Everyone remained asleep. “Everyone!” he hollered, this time louder. Still, no one was awakened by his yells. Shine Guy finally lost patience.
Everyone jumped, startled by the Shyster’s outburst. Everyone turned sharply to him. “Hey! Take it easy!” Woshi snapped.
“What’s-a the big idea?!” Wario growled. “I was having the greatest dream about puppy dogs!” Upon hearing this, everyone just stared at him. Wario nervously scratched the back of his neck while blushing.
“… What’s wrong, Shine?” Sparkle asked, taking her eyes off Wario.
“… I sense trouble,” Shine Guy replied, also taking his eyes off Wario.
Everyone gasped. “What kind of trouble?” Yoshi asked. “… Oh wait… Don’t tell me. I know…”
“What?” K.K. asked nervously. “W-what’re you guys talking about?”
Immediately after he spoke, they all heard a strange noise. They turned to see a hoard a Dark Troopers! They all gasped, then watched as more and more Dark Troopers continued to appear by the dozen until they were completely surrounded.
“… Well… that answers my question…” K.K. said, shivering.
“More of these purple guys?!” Woshi said, scratching his head. “Where do these guys come on?”
“Me! That’s where!” said a booming voice, coming out of nowhere. Everyone looked around for the source of the voice. Mario, Yoshi, and Donkey were somewhat shaken, Diddy and K.K. hugged each other in fear, Waluigi and Woshi simply froze, Wario tried to keep his tough face though his legs shook, Sparkle kept her teeth and fists clenched, and Shine Guy kept a serious visage, showing no fear, as he knew who the voice was.
“… Eh… Who said that?” Waluigi asked.
“Hey!” Mario yelled. “Wherever you are, show-a yourself!”
“As you wish!” he voice replied sinisterly. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Then, the leader himself appeared, floating overhead before landing behind his troops. The humongous Magikoopa stared down upon his comparatively small enemies, some showing no fear, most showing much fear.
“Holy… cow…” Woshi said slowly as Waluigi hid behind him.
“That… not… good…” Donkey squeaked as Diddy and K.K. began to whimper.
“Wow… wow… and wow…” Yoshi said, eyes wide.
Mario, after taking a good look at the Magikoopa, turned to Shine Guy. “Dark Master, I’m guessing…”
“Yes…” Shine Guy said, his eyes glued to Dark Master.
Wario, being the showoff he was, tried to show himself to be braver than the rest. “Ha!” he said. “He doesn’t look that tough!”
Immediately Dark Master blasted a deadly beam from his fingertip. Wario gasped and jumped backward, with the beam hitting the ground inches in front of him. Wario breathed heavily, then slowly looked up at Dark Master.
“Fool,” Dark Master spoke coldly. “Things don’t always appear the way they seem…” He stopped when he realized he’d basically just said “I seem weak”. “… That didn’t come out right… As I was saying, just hand over what I want, and maybe I won’t have to do anything… nasty…”
“Do your worst,” said Shine Guy. “But we will not let you have these Gems!”
“The Gems…” Dark Master said, “are not all I want!” He shot a look at Sparkle, making her flinch.
Everyone looked at each other. “… What more would you want?” Yoshi asked.
Dark Master simply smirked evilly. He held his finger forward, pointing at Sparkle. He then rotated his finger, and a large, shaded bubble appeared around Sparkle. The Yoshi shrieked, and everyone else gasped as the bubble encased her. Sparkle struggled to free herself, but to no avail. “Shine Guy!” he cried, surprised and scared.
Shine Guy’s mouth hung open in shock as he stared at his friend in the dark bubble, hopeless of getting out. He then shot an extremely furious look at Dark Master. “Why?!” he yelled. “What do you want her for?!”
“You’ll see very soon, my wretched little foe!” he said, as he watched Sparkle frantically struggling to escape the bubble, but having no success. Dark Master laughed. “You might as well stop trying. You won’t be getting out of there!” He then turned to his troops. “And now, my minions, destroy these fools, while I fetch my other guest! Oh, and I’ll just be taking these!” Using his finger again, he forced the four Gems out of Mario’s pockets. Mario struggled to keep them in, but Dark Master’s force was too strong. The Gems lifted out of his pocket and floated up into Dark Master’s palm! Everyone gasped.
“Well, what do you know?” Dark Master said with a slight chuckle. “The three Gems Dark Paratroopa took from me, and the Blue Gem as an added bonus!” He looked at Shine Guy. “I’d destroy you all myself, but I have business elsewhere to take care of. Farewell, and when you see me again, I’ll just be ruling my world!” Dark Master then teleported with the Gems and Sparkle.
“Sparkle!” Shine Guy cried, and was then tackled by a Dark Koopa Troopa. The Koopa was immediately struck with a lightning bolt, and fell over dead. Shine Guy knew where the lightning came from. He looked up to see Dark Paratroopa, who had just arrived on the scene.
“Oh right… Now you get here!” Yoshi said.
Dark Paratroopa looked around and gasped. He gasped in shock, as Sparkle was absent. “… He beat me to her, didn’t he…?” he said.
Shine Guy didn’t answer. “I’m sure she’s all right…” Paratroopa said reassuringly.
“… I know she is all right…” said Shine Guy. “… At least… for now…”
“Uh… guys?” K.K. spoke. Everyone turned to him. “Sorry to interrupt, but what about these guys?” He pointed at the surrounding Dark Troops, who all grew impatient, beginning to advance closer to them.
“Leave them all to me,” Dark Paratroopa said. “You guys have a problem to take care of in another location.”
Everyone looked strangely at him. “Are you crazy?!” Woshi said. “You can’t fight all these guys by yourself!”
“Of-a course he can’t!” Wario said. “He’s not—”
“Shut up, Wario!” Mario snapped. Wario grumbled under his breath and folded his arms.
“Look,” Dark Paratroopa explained, “you guys have to go now! Dark Master’s probably going after the other Power Gems, since he’s seemingly taken your Gems because I can’t sense them.”
“Well, the Orange, Purple, Yellow, Pink, and Red Gems are-a definitely at Bowser’s Castle, but we still don’t know where the Green Gem is…”
Dark Paratroopa shook his head. Since this arguing wouldn’t get them anywhere fast, he’d have to use force. Thankfully, not brute force. He held his hands up, focusing on the party, who then found themselves surrounded by a glowing ring in the ground.
“Hey! What this?” Diddy asked, slightly startled.
“You shouldn’t have any trouble finding the Green Gem,” said Dark Paratroopa. “Oh… and until I get there, make sure Dark Master doesn’t kidnap the flame-haired Koopa. Goodbye!”
“Wha-” Mario tried to speak, but they were teleported before he could say a word.
“If you’re finally through,” said a Dark Trooper (Goomba), “are you ready to die?!”
“Dark Master doesn’t let traitors like you live!” said another (Hammer Brother).
“He’ll be very pleased when we bring you his dead carcass!” (Lakitu)
Dark Paratroopa looked around as the Troops began to close in on him. Though greatly outnumbered, he knew exactly how to handle each type of Troop. “… Hm… Four-hundred to one…” Dark Paratroopa said calmly. “… I like those odds. All right then. Let’s brawl!”
And the fight was on.
All was quiet at Bowser’s Keep. The Koopalings had all gone to sleep, and the guards were alert and patrolling the halls.
However, there was a bit of discussion going on in the throne room, as Bowser, Kamek, Blaze, and Kammy were still awake and going over things. Bowser sat on his throne, holding the backpack of Gems, while Blaze leaned against the left wall, and the Magikoopas stood on the long rug going down the center of the room.
“Well…” Bowser said, gazing at the newly collected Gems, “I have to say, this is an impressive job, you two!”
Kammy, despite the compliment, was not happy with the outcome of this. “Who cares?!” he fumed. “Thanks to Blaze, my broomstick is completely ashes!”
Blaze shrugged. “You should’ve taken care of it better,” he snorted. “It was your broom after all. And why are you suddenly blaming me for this? Yoshi’s the one who made it fly into the fire.”
“Well, if you hadn’t started the fire in the first place, my broom wouldn’t have gotten burned!”
“Hey! Starting fires is what I do! Next time, stay out of the way, or you might lose your wand next!”
Bowser and Kamek simply looked at each other, dumbfounded, as Blaze and Kammy argued.
“Next time, you shouldn’t be so reckless!” Kammy snapped back.
“Take a chill pill already. It was just a stupid broom. Why not just use the one in the kitchen?”
Just a stupid broom? Kammy was instantly filled with rage. It was her broom, her magical broom. A witch just isn’t a witch without her magic flying broom, and he had the nerve to insult it? “It… was… NOT JUST A STUPID BROOM!!! And are you kidding? The broom in the kitchen isn’t even enchanted! Besides, it’s Clawdia’s for sweeping!”
“Then just enchant it yourself, magical witch!” Blaze laughed. “And I’m sure Clawdia wouldn’t mind. She can just use Kamek’s…”
“Wha… Leave me out of this!” Kamek yelled.
Blaze simply waved Kamek off and turned back to Kammy. “And anyway, Haggie, why not show a little gratitude? If not for me, you’d have been pot-roast!”
“Hmph…” said Kammy. “Right… Thanks… But Bowser’s still the only one who calls me Haggie, got it?!”
Bowser chuckled. “In that case, as of today, Blaze now has permission to call you Haggie!”
“HA! Haggie!” Blaze said with a snarl. Kamek covered his mouth to hold back a laugh. Kammy simply folded her arms crossly, flashing a threatening look at Blaze, who simply smiled sweetly.
Bowser had enjoyed the moment, but was now ready to move to more serious matters. “Now that that’s settled,” he began, “on with the important stuff! Now Blaze, how many of these… Power Gems… did you say there were?”
“Right, so these four you stole, along with these two…” Bowser held up the Green and Red Gems. “That’s six…” He placed them in the backpack. “So there’s four left…”
“You’re good with math!” Blaze teased, then flinched slightly as Bowser shot him a look. Blaze smiled nervously and continued. “Aaaanyway, I think that… Dark guy has three of them, and I really don’t know what happened to the last one… but if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Mario has it…”
Bowser pounded his fists on his throne arms, making the others jump a little. “Mario…” Bowser said through grit teeth, thinking very vicious and violent thoughts at the mention of the Italian plumber.
“Speaking of Mario…” said Kammy, “might you think he’s on his way here right now for our Gems?”
“Duh…” said Blaze, rolling his eyes. “But it depends on if that Shy Guy friend of his leads him and his party here next…”
“Then we must be on our toes,” said Kamek. “Not only because of Mario, but Princess Peach’s rescue party could be on their way, too.”
“Who? Mario?” Blaze asked. “He doesn’t even know we have the princess…”
“No… He doesn’t…” Bowser said. “But someone else does…”
The rescue party was indeed just outside the castle gate, which the guards had carelessly left wide open. It had taken the plumber-in-green and the mail-carrier Paratroopa the entire day to reach the Keep, and they had finally made it. Now came the time to completely their mission: save the princess from the evil King Koopa.
“All-a right, Parakarry,” said Luigi, “this is it. Princess Peach awaits our rescue. It’s time to do this and do this-a right!”
“Right,” said Parakarry, agreeing, and at the same time, emphasizing the last word Luigi had said. “Let’s rock!” The two casually entered the castle grounds.
Parakarry looked back at the wide open gate, then turned to Luigi. “Bowser has some very careless guards…” he remarked.
“And that’s-a just one of the many reasons we always beat him…” Luigi chuckled.
“Okay… Slowly… Slowly…” Princess Peach whispered to herself as she snuck down the halls of the castle. Thanks to a careless guard accidentally leaving her door unlocked and falling asleep on the job, Peach was able to escape the room. The halls of the Keep were eerily quiet, exactly what she had hoped for, as it indicated that there were no guards nearby, save for a Koopatrol, fast asleep, sitting against the wall next to a large, sinister-looking statue of Bowser. Peach’s slow stroll slowed even more to a crawl as she tried to sneak past the sleeping guard.
She suddenly stopped, when she thought she heard footsteps. She gasped, then ducked behind the statue. She peered from behind it to see a Koopaling, Larry, walking down the hall in a purple robe. The Koopaling felt thirsty, and was heading to the kitchen for a drink of water. Peach covered her head as Larry neared the statue. Just as Larry came nearer to the statue, he accidentally stepped on the Koopatrol’s metal shoe.
“OW!” The Koopatrol jumped up, snapped out of his sleep, and held his fists up at Larry. “Come on, Mario! Put up your dukes!” When the Koopatrol finally realized he was awake, and that Larry was standing before him and not Mario, he looked away in embarrassment. “Uh… Master Larry…” he greeted.
Larry sighed and shook his head. “You know,” he said to the guard, “sometimes I wonder what kind of crazy dreams you guards have… while you’re falling asleep on duty… You’re lucky I don’t tell Dad…”
“Well…” the Koopatrol said, pausing to think of a good excuse, “Hey, we guards need our sleep, too… to be alert for the day ahead…
Larry wasn’t buying it. “You’re probably the best bluffer I’ve ever seen…” he said, rolling his eyes. The guard developed an anime sweatdrop. Larry went on criticizing him. “And I can’t believe how lazy and unobservant some of you guys are. It really surprises me how you never noticed Peach behind this statue!”
Peach shrieked and ran away, lifting the front of her dress to avoid tripping on it.
“Get her! GET HER!!!” Larry ordered. He pursued the princess, and the guard followed, only after accidentally running into the statue and knocking it over. The statue hit the ground with a loud “BANG” and shattered into many pieces.
The guard caught up with Larry, who began criticizing him again. “Lazy, unobservant, and… clumsy…” he finished. “You’re really lucky I don’t tell Dad!” The two continued to pursue the princess. “Come back here!”
In the throne room, Bowser, Blaze, and the Magikoopas all froze upon hearing the crash. They all looked at each other. “… You all hear something?” Bowser asked. The others nodded. They looked at each other again, then quickly rushed out of the throne room.
Wham! Luigi and Parakarry easily knocked out the front door guards after entering the castle. “Heh… Bowser seriously needs to get some newer and more competent guards…”
“And that’s only one of-a his problems,” Luigi laughed. “Now… where’s-a the princess?”
“Well,” said Parakarry, “the first place I’d look is in the dungeon…”
“No way. Knowing Bowser’s love for her, he’d never leave her in such a dank place…”
Suddenly, they heard yells echoing through the halls. They looked at each other. “… Something tells me we’ll-a find her at the source of those yells…”
“Let’s go then! It’s sounds like she needs help, and fast!”
The two rushed away, following the echo of the yells.
“Stop! Wait! Get back here!” Larry yelled to the Princess. The Koopaling and guard were beginning to gain on her. Peach ran as fast as she could, which was difficult for her while trying to keep her grip on her dress, which was starting to slip from her hands.
Finally, she lost her grip, and tripped forward on her dress, landing hard on the floor. She struggled to get up, but when she was to her knees, she noticed a huge pair of orange feet with large, pointed toenails in front of her. On the right were two pairs of reddish-brown shoes, slightly covered by the bottoms of blue and purple robes. On the left was a pair of dark red feet, also with large pointed toenails.
“Kinda late for a little stroll, isn’t it?” said a voice. She slowly looked up to see Bowser, Blaze, and Magikoopas Kamek and Kammy standing over her. “Top of the night to you, Peachie!” Bowser said sweetly.
Peach quickly jumped to her feet and backed up, stopping abruptly after accidentally backing into Larry. “Ah ah ah!” said Larry, waving his finger. “You’re going nowhere!”
Bowser looked at Larry. “… Uh… what’re you doing up so late?”
“Just going to get a drink of water…” Larry said, shrugging. “And then she showed up.”
“Heh. Nice job chasing her down!” Blaze commented, giving Larry a double thumbs up.
“Let her go!” called a voice behind Bowser. They whipped around, and there were Luigi and Parakarry, who were furious. “Just let her go!” said Luigi. “And we promise to-a let you keep your shells!”
“Threatening words from a threatening foe…” Blaze said sarcastically.
“You want the princess?” Kamek taunted. “You’ll have to deal with us first!”
Larry turned to the guard. “You!” he said. “Escort her back to her room!”
The guard nodded, although his idea of escorting was picking up the princess and carrying her. “Hey! Let go!” Peach cried. “Put me down! LUIGI!!!”
“Hey! Come back here!” Parakarry yelled. They were about to pursue when Bowser, Blaze, Larry, and the Magikoopas blocked their way. “Oh no you won’t!” said Kammy.
“You’ve done this several times already!” Bowser roared. “And it’s NOT gonna happen again!”
“Come on, Bowser!” Luigi retorted. “Logic should tell you that if we beat you last time, we’ll-a just do it again!”
“Well this time’s gonna be different!” Bowser snapped.
“We’ll-a just see about that!”
“Yes!” said Larry. “Brawl time!”
They were just about to fight, when they all heard a sudden “BOOM”. They all jumped upon hearing the noise. “… What was that?” asked Kamek.
“Crud…” said Blaze. “I hope that’s not Donkey Kong busting down the front door…”
“… Donkey Kong?” Bowser asked. “What about that hairy ape?”
“… He’s… with Mario…”
“Wha… WHAT?!” Bowser was shocked. Mario was enough trouble already, but Donkey Kong was even worse. “I’d sure like to know how Mario got him to join…”
“What was that, anyway?” Parakarry asked as he suddenly heard fast-paced footsteps coming from behind him. They all looked to see a Goomba running up to them.
The Goomba panted heavily and frantically. When he finally caught his breath, he spoke. “King Koopa! We’re under attack!”
“What?!” Bowser said, shocked yet again.
“Don’t tell me you guys brought the Mushroom Army with you!” Blaze yelled at Luigi and Parakarry.
“We didn’t!” said Luigi. “Though we should’ve…”
“Who’s attacking?! Bowser asked.
“Army unknown!” the Goomba replied.
“At least give us a description!” Kammy said.
“They’re… they’re all purple!”
Blaze jumped. All purple? He knew just the army to match that description. “All purple?! Dark Master! Bowser! Where’s the backpack?!” he asked.
“Uh… On my throne?” Bowser said, though not very sure. “Why?”
Immediately Blaze rushed away. “They’re after the Gems!” he shouted as he rounded a corner.
Bowser quickly turned to the others. “Kamek! Kammy! Assemble all troops and prepare for battle! Larry! Get your siblings up! Princess…! Princess?” Bowser scratched his head as Peach came back. “… How did you…?”
“If you must know,” explained Peach, “I yanked your guard’s metal mask off and slapped him silly.”
Larry shook his head in disgust. “Lazy, unobservant, clumsy, and incompetent…” he muttered.
“JUST GO!” Bowser ordered Larry and the Magikoopas, who nodded and ran off. Bowser, too, rushed off to manage the army.
Peach looked at Luigi and Parakarry. “… What’s going on?” she asked.
“Apparently the place is under attack,” Luigi replied. “Let’s-a just get of here before we get caught in the crossfire.” They hurried away to find the exit.
Outside, the Dark Troops had destroyed the front door to the castle and were charging in. High above, Dark Master hovered, watching the attack. Ah yes… he thought. It won’t be long now! Four Gems and one vessel down, six Gems and one vessel to go! Then… my destiny!
MINIBOSS!!!: Dark Troops
Dark Paratroopa shell-slammed an airborne Lakitu, knocking him off his cloud. He popped back out and landed, drilling his shoe spikes on a Goomba as he did. He then punched back a Hammer Brother, then teleported behind a Boo, blasting him with lightning. He then hovered upward again and, gathering up a large lightning orb in his hands, dove back down, slamming his lightning orb into the ground and creating a thundershock, instantly defeating a hoard of Darks. He kicked a Paragoomba down, then blasted bolts from both hands to knock down the segments of two Pokeys.
Lakitus above him began to drop Spinies endlessly around him. Dark Paratroopa retreated into his shell and electrified himself, with his shell surrounded by electric sparks. He slammed into every Spiny, knocking them away and defeating them with ease. He then winged upwards, still in his electrified shell, and knocked down every Lakitu. Upon defeating the last Lakitu, he landed back on the ground and popped back out, immediately blasting away a hoard of charging Sledge Brothers. He spotted a boomerang coming towards him out of the corner of his eye. He ducked to miss it, then blasted the Boomerang Brother it belonged to. The boomerang returned to that spot afterward, hitting a Swooper square in the face.
A Koopa Troopa jumped him from behind and wrapped his hands around Dark Paratroopa’s neck, attempting to choke him. Dark Paratroopa wheezed, but simply reached back and gave the Koopa a shock. The Koopa quickly jumped off. Dark Paratroopa hovered up as two Sledge Brothers charged at him from opposite directions, allowing them to slam head-on into each other. Dark Paratroopa punched a Paragoomba out of the air. The Paragoomba landed on the Koopa whom Dark Paratroopa had just shocked. He then swooped downward into another hoard of Troops. He kicked back a Goomba, and blasted a bolt of lightning at a Koopatrol, electrocuting him through his metal gear. More Troops surrounded him, but he retreated into his shell and darted into the enemies, hitting them and ricocheting off them into other enemies and knocking them out.
Dark Paratroopa popped back out of his shell and faced the Troops, giving them a finger gesture. “Come on, you idiots!” he taunted. “You call yourselves Dark Master’s trusted army? You’re all nothing but a bunch of weak, incompetent sissies!”
The Troops did not appreciate this remark. They angrily charged at Dark Paratroopa from every direction. Dark Paratroopa laughed and simply hovered upward, allowing the Troops to slam into each other. Dark Paratroopa dove again, with ten-thousand volts in his electrified fists. He dive-bombed the Troops, wiping out several of them. The angry Troops still alive charged at the Paratroopa, who, with his fists still electrified, began spinning rapidly with his fists extended to his sides, knocking away every Troop who came into contact with him.
When Paratroopa finally stopped spinning, he noticed there were still quite a few Troops left. “Nice try!” said one (Paragoomba). “But not nice enough!”
“Even if you do win this fight,” said another (Hammer Brother), “Dark Master’s still going to crack you like an egg!”
“It’s… over!” (Koopa Troopa)
Dark Paratroopa stared at his foes calmly, then chuckled. “Oh… It’s gonna be over all right!” he said. “For Dark Master!” He retreated into his shell and began spinning. As he did, he gathered up a huge amount of electricity. The Troops began to back up. The spinning winged shell glowed with sparks. With a huge amount of static collected, Dark Paratroopa let it go, sending it in all directions and wiping out all the Troops with one big attack.
Dark Paratroopa popped out, gazing around at all the Troops lying motionless on the ground. “Hm… That was quick… That was easy… That was pathetic…” he said. “And now, Dark Master, it’s time you and I had a little chat!” He teleported.
Mario and the Party had just arrived on the scene. They looked ahead. There was the dark and sinister structure that was Bowser’s Keep in the distance. At this, Mario put his hands to his head. “Wait…” he said. “So… the Koopas had-a the Green Gem this whole time?!”
“Looks that way…” said Yoshi. “Pretty hard to believe, huh?”
“Also frustrating!” said Mario. “It was-a here the whole time!”
K.K. looked ahead at the castle, then turned to Woshi. “Hey, Wosh…” he said. “Remember what happened last time we were here?”
Woshi turned sharply to K.K. “Please… don’t remind me…” he groaned. “I hope his royal chubbiness doesn’t still remember…”
“What we wait for?!” Donkey said. “We go get Gems before Dark guy show up!”
Waluigi stared forward, when he thought he saw something strange. He squinted to see clearly. Then, he saw it: a huge Dark object floating in the air just above the castle. He jumped when he was sure what it was. “Eh… Isn’t that… Dark King… or whatever?” he asked, pointing ahead at the flying object.
Everyone looked ahead. Upon seeing the floating dark object, they jumped, especially Shine Guy. “Oh… NO! Dark Master! We must get over there NOW!” Shine Guy quickly ran ahead, Mario and Yoshi ran after, Donkey and Diddy followed, Wario and Waluigi came after, and K.K. started off behind the group. Woshi, slightly nervous, hesitated, then brought up the rear.
Luigi, Parakarry, and Peach slowly backed up as the Dark Soldiers came nearer and nearer to them. “Just stay out of our way!” said one (Goomba). “And we promise not to hurt you!”
“Maybe we won’t!” said another (Hammer Brother).
“What now?” Parakarry asked. “There’s way too many for us to handle at once!”
“I don’t know!” replied Luigi. “I don’t even know what in-a the world is going on here!”
“Let’s find another way!” Peach said. “C’mon!” They turned and ran in the opposite direction.
The Koopalings were at every part of the castle ordering their troops to fend off the Dark Troops, and joining in if things got too dangerous. In the north castle wing, Morton and his hoard of troops fought off a large collection of Darks. Morton was, of course, rambling with his orders.
“Stay on ‘em, keep attacking, and don’t lay off one bit because we don’t want them to get an upper hand because then they’d surely defeat us and that’d be terrible because then we’d all be dead and we don’t want that to happen so keep attacking and don’t you even think about laying off…” He continued on and on, making it hard for the troops to concentrate.
Wendy defended the south wing with her troops, giving her orders in very loud screams.
Iggy and his group were in the east wing, and Lemmy handled the west, both of them also holding off hoards of Darks.
Meanwhile, Larry, Roy, Bowser Junior, Ludwig, and Karma were on top of the castle. Roy commanded the aerial troops, while Larry, Junior, Ludwig, and Karma managed the Bullet Bill Blasters, ordering the Troops to load and fire.
“Release da Spinies!” Roy ordered.
“Fire! Fire, and doing it!” Larry yelled
“And don’t spare the ammo, either!!” BJ added. His yells abruptly ceased when he saw something that nearly scared him out of his shell. “… Oh… my… GOSH!!!”
Ludwig turned to his shaken brother. “Junior? Vhat is it?!”
“Guys! Look at the size of…” BJ pointed upward. The others gazed up to see the giant-sized Magikoopa in purple robes hovering above the castle. He suddenly looked down at them, making them jump. Larry, BJ, and Roy hugged each other in fear (yes, Roy can get scared), while Ludwig stood his ground in front of Karma.
Bowser and the Magikoopas watched from a high balcony on the castle, gazing up at the floating Dark Magikoopa. All three were stunned as they saw this. “… Now… that is huge…” Kamek remarked nervously.
“He looks as though he could destroy this castle with one blow!” added Kammy.
Bowser was the most stunned. He, of course, thought of himself as the biggest, baddest brute around, but he now seemed second rate when compared to Dark Master.
Suddenly, he remembered. Blaze had said they were after the Gems. He gasped when he remembered the backpack of Gems left on his throne, and Blaze had gone to the throne room… alone! “… Snap! I forgot about the Gems!” he yelled. “Stay on watch here!” He quickly stomped off running.
Blaze was in the throne room, grabbing the backpack off Bowser’s throne. He knew the Darks would come bursting through the door any moment, and had his mind set on keeping the Gems away from them at all costs. Of course, seeing that he was alone, he’d be greatly outnumbered. They want these? he thought. They’ll have to deal with ME first!
He jumped, when he suddenly heard bangs on the door. Blaze whipped around, facing the door. Here they come… Finally, the door swung open, slamming into the walls and damaging them slightly, as Bowser had never thought about doorstops. The Darks rushed in, but stopped when they saw Blaze. “… There… there he is!” said one of them (Koopatrol).
“Come with us!” another (Koopa Troopa) said to Blaze. “Dark Master needs you… Shadow Flame!”
Blaze was shocked. There was that not-so-creative name again. And what did they want him for? What was going on here? He could understand the Gems, but himself? Blaze scratched his head in confusion. “… Okay… I don’t know what’s up here… But if you want me, come and get me!”
The Troops charged at him. Blaze, too, charged right into the hoard of Darks, easily knocking them aside or trampling them. As the Troops surrounded him, they ran at him for direct attacks. Blaze jumped forward and lay a hard, heavy right-hand punch, square into a Koopa Troopa’s beak. He then caught a thrown hammer and swiftly threw it back at the Hammer Brother it belonged to, pegging him right between the eyes. As another hoard of Troops charged at him, Blaze inhaled, then released a large fireball, scorching the line of Troops very badly. Blaze trampled a Goomba accidentally, as he did not see him, and headbutt a Koopa Troopa in the stomach. He then grabbed another Hammer Brother and slammed him down on his knee. Blaze heard a few “cracks” as he did so. He then threw the badly injured Hammer Brother onto the floor, in the path of a charging Sledge Brother, who tripped over his comrade.
Dark Master hovered above the castle, staring downward at the roof. The completely oversized wizard saw through the roof, as if by x-ray, scanning all four wings of the castle for the Gems. Then, there they were, along with his second vessel, fighting back at about one-third of his Dark Troops. The other Troops were scattered around the castle. Noticing this, Dark Master prepared and sent a thought message to his Troops.
“Your targets are in the throne room. Go there now!”
Elsewhere in the castle, Luigi, Parakarry, and Peach were cornered by the Dark Troops as they backed them up all the away into a corner. The Troops were just about to attack them, when the stopped. They suddenly turned and ran in the opposite direction. Luigi, Parakarry, and Peach all looked at each other in confusion. “… What just happened?” Parakarry asked. “Why are they retreating?”
“And where are they going?” Peach added on to Parakarry’s question.
“I don’t know…” Luigi replied. “And I don’t really want to, but… let’s-a find out…”
“This is too weird…” Parakarry remarked as they took off after the Troops.
Mario and the party had just reached the castle. They rushed through the open gate, though Mario and Yoshi looked back at it. “… They left the gate open?” Yoshi asked, throwing his hand up. “Clumsy guards of his…”
Mario shrugged. “One of the many reasons he gets-a beaten so much…” he chuckled
“Oh geez…” Blaze noticed more and more Troops entering the throne room by the two or even four dozens. Now very greatly outnumbered, Blaze began to back up to the far end of the throne room. Not watching where he was going, he tripped backwards over the steps in front of Bowser’s throne. The Troops kept coming closer and closer. The throne room was completely full of them, with no room to move at all.
Blaze stood up from his fall. “… All right, guys…” Blaze said. “What’s going on? Why exactly am I suddenly your next target?”
Immediately after Blaze spoke, the roof cracked and opened up above him. Blaze was hit in the head by a piece of the ceiling. He yelled and fell to the floor again, his hands on his hand, with a mean headache. He slowly stood back up to his feet, still rubbing his head.
“Why?” said a booming voice. “You’ll find out soon enough… Shadow Flame!!”
There was that name again. Blaze looked upward at the source of the voice, Dark Master, peering in through the enormous hole in the ceiling. “Why can’t you just tell me now?”
“Because,” said Dark Master, “it’d be more fun if I showed you!”
“Whatever it is, I don’t want anything to do with it and you’re not going to make me come!”
“Don’t be so sure!” Dark Master pointed his finger down at Blaze, and, as he did with Sparkle, created a shaded bubble around him.
Seeing this, Blaze laughed. “Pfft! A bubble? Come on!” He jabbed his claw into the side of the bubble. “I’ll be out of this in a…” He paused when he noticed the bubble wouldn’t pop. He jabbed his claw again and again and again, then began punching it, yet the bubble remained intact. Blaze was shocked, then became even more surprised when the bubble began to leave the floor. He uncontrollably floated upward through the hole in the roof, then stopped in midair, right in front of Dark Master’s face. Blaze stared at the gigantic face, the huge, yellow eyes glaring sinisterly back at him. And I thought Bowser looked evil… he thought. Holy guacamole…
The six Power Gems rose out of the backpack, also floating up through the roof hole. They floated up to Dark Master, who grabbed them all in one hand. He grinned sinisterly. “Yes…” he said. “Finally, I have all the Power Gems!”
Blaze raised a brow. “Wait… All ten?” he asked. “You even have the other four?!”
“That’s what I just said…” Dark Master growled.
“Right… Well, at least tell me why you need me and what in the worldI have to do with this whole thing…”
“… I’ll make it short. You and Ultraviolet are my two most powerful monsters!”
“… Me and who? Okay… I’m totally confused…”
“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll see everything once we get back. You’ll see…” He looked down through the hole again. “Troops, return! I shall be back shortly!” The Troops all nodded and teleported.
Just as the Troops left, Bowser ran in. “What the…!” he gasped when he saw the debris lying on the ground and the hole in the roof. “My throne room!” He noticed the backpack lying in the rubble close to his throne, which was slightly damaged by the debris. Bowser stumbled through the debris to the backpack and picked it up. To his horror, the Gems were gone! Bowser was speechless. He threw the backpack down in frustration. Then he noticed something else; Blaze too was not present. “Blaze?!” he called. “Hey! Where are…” He stopped when he heard voices coming from above. He looked upward through the hole, and there was the giant Magikoopa he had seen earlier, and floating up next to him was a dark bubble. Looking closely, Bowser noticed there was something inside the bubble. Bowser squinted in order to see more clearly. When he finally knew what the object inside it was, his heart nearly stopped.
“Dad! Dad!” Lemmy’s voice was heard. The Koopalings (and Karma) rushed in, followed by the Magikoopas. “Dad! The Troops are retreating!”
“Woah!” Roy cried, looking at all the debris. “What da koop happened in here?”
They all stopped when they saw Bowser staring upward through the hole in the roof. “… D…Daddy?” Wendy said. “What’s…” They all stared upward through the hole, and when they saw what Bowser saw, they gasped.
Luigi, Parakarry, and Peach came in next, and a minute later, Shine Guy, Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Diddy, Wario, Waluigi, K.K, and Woshi. All stopped and stared upward through the hole, stunned at what they saw, Shine Guy in particular, when he noticed the six shiny objects in Dark Master’s hand. “… No… He has them… He has them all…”
Above the castle, the somewhat shaken Blaze was still trying to figure out everything. “You’re speaking in riddles, dude!” he yelled. “Just tell me the whole story already!”
“You obviously don’t know the meaning of You’ll see…” said Dark Master. “No matter. We leave now!”
“Woah there, partner!” said a voice. “You’re not going anywhere until I get some answers!” Dark Master looked ahead, and Blaze turned around, to see Dark Paratroopa. The Paratroopa, comparatively small to Blaze and incredibly small to Dark Master, was furious. He glared at Dark Master, his angry red eyes showing through his sunglasses.
“Ah… The traitor!” Dark Master “greeted”. “You do know what I do with traitors, right?”
“Not gonna happen!” Dark Paratroopa snapped.
“Well then…” Dark Master said. “What do you want to discuss?”
“Dark Master… you lied to me about my origin!”
Dark Master raised a brow, trying to look innocent. “Why… whatever do you mean? You were born to end Shine Guy’s generation, like your ances—”
“… Um… Your father?”
“I… HAD NO FATHER!!” Dark Paratroopa flew past Blaze and hovered in front of Dark Master’s face. “Liar!”
Dark Master grunted. There was no hiding it now. “You’re right… How did you…?”
“Look right down there…” Dark Paratroopa pointed downward through the hole at the white Shyster standing in the debris.
Dark Master looked, then nearly blew sky high. “… You finally know now… It’s true… I created you!” He paused. “And you turn on me, after all I did for you?!”
“What?! Lied to me?! Used me?! I can’t believe I believed your lies all these years!” He abruptly stopped flapping, allowing himself to fall and land on Dark Master’s snout, digging his shoe spikes into his skin. Dark Master made a slight grunt upon feeling the spikes. Dark Paratroopa then bombarded Dark Master with a barrage of insults. “You… liar! You back-stabbing no good liar! You ugly… no good… two-faced… power-thirsty… .back-stabbing… LIAR!!!” He breathed hard, his fists clenched at his sides, his teeth grit, his left eye twitching. He then took a deep breath, possibly the biggest breath he had ever taken in his life. Then, he let out one final insult. “… You… miserable toad!”
Everyone gasped upon hearing this. While everyone else was in shock, Shine Guy simply watched proudly. Excellent, Paratroopa… he thought. Excellent!
Dark Master simply stared for a moment or two. After a moment of surprise, he gave Dark Paratroopa his sinister look. “You know… you are one of the most rebellious minions I ever…” He trailed off for a moment, then abruptly exhaled, blowing Dark Paratroopa off and back into his hover. “I’ll put it this way… You’re very… bold… But once I begin my reign as Dark Ruler of the world, I’m taking out the trash… and you’ll be the first to go… you and Shine Guy. So long, Dark Paratroopa!” He teleported, taking the six Gems and Blaze with him.
Dark Paratroopa breathed heavily still. I… I finally said it… I finally said it in his face… he thought, feeling pleased with himself. He flew downward through the roof hole and landed in the rubble among everyone else. “… Well…” he sighed. “Dark Master has all the Gems… and his two vessels…”
“Vessels?” Mario asked.
“Yes. Sparkle and… whoever that fiery-haired Koopa—”
“BLAZE!!!” Bowser corrected. Dark Paratroopa turned to him, throwing his hands up in a way that said “What’re you yelling at me for?”
Bowser groaned. He seemed angry, but underneath, slightly worried. He tried to say something, but couldn’t quite get it out of his mouth. Shine Guy came up to him. “I’m sorry if this is painful for you,” he said. “Believe me, I feel the same pain you feel…” He immediately thought of Sparkle.
Everyone turned to Bowser to see what he would say. Bowser wasn’t sure what to say. “… I… I don’t need your pity!”
Shine Guy knew that wasn’t what Bowser wanted to say. He could see through his worried feeling. Bowser simply sighed.
“Uh… Sorry to interrupt,” said Wendy, “but… we have a few questions…”
“Yeah, are we missing something here?” asked Larry
“What’s going on here?” asked Bowser Junior.
“Is there more to those Gems than meets the eye?” asked Lemmy.
“Who vas that rather… immensely-sized Magikoopa?” asked Ludwig.
“Why’d he kidnap Blaze?” asked Karma.
“What was dat Magikoopa talking about just now?” asked Roy
“Why are Mario Luigi Yoshi Donkey Kong Diddy Kong Wario Waluigi Parakarry a purple Paratroopa a white Shy Guy a yellow Koopa Troopa with green hair and a red Yoshi with blue hair all here?” asked Morton.
“And why does that red Yoshi look so familiar?” asked Iggy. Woshi hid behind K.K.
Dark Paratroopa turned to Shine Guy. “What now?” he said. “Do we tell the whole story?”
Shine Guy sighed. “It seems we must…”
They did. Shine Guy explained why the Gems were so important, the treasure that could be unlocked, and what could happen if that treasure was released in this current state. Then Dark Paratroopa explained to everyone Dark Master’s purpose for kidnapping Blaze and a white Yoshi. “And I’m afraid I can’t help you out on why that Yoshi looks familiar to you…” Dark Paratroopa said to Iggy.
“… So…” said Yoshi, “Dark Master’s gonna use Sparkle and Blaze for…”
“Yes…” replied Dark Paratroopa. “And that’s why we need to get over there now and stop this from happening.”
“In that case,” said Peach, “shouldn’t we leave now?”
“Yeah!” agreed Wario. “I want-a to kick that Dark guy’s butt!”
“Good luck kicking his butt…” Waluigi said sarcastically, while Wario kicked him, making him yell.
“Donkey ready!” said Donkey.
“Diddy ready, too!” said Diddy.
“Let’s do it!” said Parakarry.
“And let’s do it right!” said Woshi.
“Yeah!” said K.K, this time feeling a bit more confident than before.
Mario looked at Luigi and Yoshi. “You guys ready?” he asked.
“You know it, Bro!” replied Luigi.
“Yeah! Let’s go!” replied Yoshi.
Everyone then turned to the Koopas. “Well?” Mario asked. “How about you guys?”
Bowser thought for a moment, then turned to the Koopalings and the Magikoopas. “… Give me two good reasons why we should or shouldn’t help…” he said, his little way of saying “I’m not sure”.
The Koopalings, somewhat lazy to think of any good reasons, turned to the two wisecrackers Kamek and Kammy, who looked at each other, then turned back to them. “Well…” said Kammy, “for one thing, if… Dark Master… dominates the world, then that means you are… not…”
“That’s one thing…” said Bowser. “What’s another? … No… don’t tell me. I have one already…” He then thought of a certain flame-haired Koopa.
“I think I can guess-a what it is…” said Mario.
“Then let us go,” said Shine Guy. “We will finish Dark Master, and we will prevent the world from being corrupted by his darkness! Dark Paratroopa, if you please?”
“Way ahead of you…” Dark Paratroopa began to form a ring of teleportation just as he did before. As soon as the ring surrounded them all, Dark Paratroopa snapped his fingers, and they instantly vanished.