Learning to Learn

By Annabella Koopa

Many years ago, Bowser was the great Koopa King.

But that was a long time ago. Rumors spread around the Mushroom Kingdom that Bowser had been murdered. Others said that he died of natural causes. A few said that he ran away to a different kingdom, while the rest said Bowser killed himself.

However it happened, when the following event occurred, Ludwig was King of the Koopas.

Dawn Flo Gefatch was home alone while her mother dated with Dawn’s to-be-stepfather, Dan.  As an only child with a single mom working three different jobs, Dawn was very secretive and shut out most communication with other people. She never answered the phone, had very few friends, and was the only nine-year-old in the U.S. without an Email address.

But she loved videogames.

Between Nintendo, Sega, and Namco, Dawn’s favorite was Nintendo, followed by Namco and Sega. Her favorite Nintendo character was Luigi, and her favorite game was Super Mario Bros. 3, a game still loved by many in 2050, which is the year that this story takes place.

Dawn was doing everything possible to pass time: play with her Siamese Dana, read her nature books, and play videogames. She had one or two of every videogame system imaginable. Her older teachers always wondered where she had found  a Nintendo Entertainment System in perfect condition. All that she ever said was, “I know a guy.”

And indeed she did. Her cousin’s older brother was friends with a man who was in a family business. This man and his family could fix any game or system. Dawn was his best customer.

Dawn was Fire Mario in Super Mario Bros. when she fell into the hole. The game over music played. “Drat,” she mumbled to herself.

Dawn turned the NES off and turned one of her GameCubes on. She put Luigi’s Mansion in and played a brand new file. She went through the introduction that she had seen dozens of times and decided to practice catching ghosts. She tried. Luigi turned to face Dawn, though she was trying to pause the game. Luigi turned the Poltergust 3000 on and sucked Dawn unexpectedly into the game.

And yet, Dawn did not end up in the haunted green Mansion that she knew so well. Instead, she found herself crouching in some bushes that were in front of a castle. The castle was in the style of New Super Mario Bros’ final castle. Muscular turtles with hammers paced in front of a moat. Hammer Brothers! she realized. Below the moat was a deep abyss filled with hot lava.

Dawn told herself not to look inside the castle. But curiosity banished the thought of not going inside. The redheaded girl stood up and walked into the open.

The Hammer Brothers stopped pacing as soon as they spotted Dawn. “Hey! C’mere.”

Dawn obeyed the Hammer Brothers and eagerly walked to the one who called her. “Yes?”

 “You are trespassing on Royal Koopa turf,” he informed Dawn. “I’m afraid that we must take you to see the King now.”

I’m gonna see Bowser! she thought.

Dawn was escorted to a throne room, where Ludwig sat, pondering… things. Next to him sat Karma.

Ludwig’s thoughts were broken when Karma gently nudged him in the arm. He looked at the Hammer Brothers and their prisoner. “Have you guys ever heard of knocking?!” he yelled.

 “I-I’m sorry, Your Ingeniousness,” stuttered one of the Hammer Bros. “It’s just that we found a trespasser outside.”

Ludwig studied Dawn. “State your name and business!” he ordered.

 “My name is Dawn Flo Gefatch,” she said. “I got sucked into a videogame.”

Ludwig chuckled. “Like I haven’t heard that one before. Send her to the dungeon!”

 “Yes, King Ludwig.” The Hammer Bros bowed, forcing Dawn to follow suit before they took her to the dungeon.

King Ludwig? she thought to herself. That’s Bowser’s oldest son! I wonder what happened to Bowser!

Dawn was forced into a dungeon cell, where she spent the rest of the night pondering and sleeping.

The next morning, Dawn woke with a start when she was yelled at. “It’s about time!” yelled her guard. “His Evilness is giving you a trial.”

Dawn was about to ask why, but her guard gave her a look that said don’t-bother-me-I’ve-had-a-bad-morning.

About an hour later, an evermore patient Dawn was escorted to a courtroom. When Judge Ludwig got there, he asked for the young girl’s history. Dawn talked about her lonely life, and described how videogames reached out to her.

It was when she admitted her knowledge of Mario’s life that Ludwig’s attention reached out and grabbed him. He listened intently as she claimed to know his strengths, weaknesses, and most embarrassing moments. She described in detail her hatred for Dan, and how she ended up at Koopa Kastle. She also said that Nintendo’s videogames had too much Bowser Jr. and not enough Koopalings, which was agreed with by all.

As Ludwig was the jury as well, he deemed her guilty and sentenced her to death. However, Ludwig had plans with the nine-year-old girl…

 “Dear,” Karma said after the trial was over, “she might be a human, but you don’t need to execute that poor girl.”

 “I know that,” Ludwig muttered. “She seems like a loyal Mario fan, and doesn’t seem likely to spill the beans about that dumb plumber.”

 “You’re not going to kill her?”

 “Nope. One way or another, I’ll convince her to speak.”

Read on!

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