CHAPTER II: Kamek
I tapped my foot impatiently as I listened to Bowser go on and on about Princess Peach. He had said that he had important things for me to do after I banished Mario to a distant galaxy, but so far he hadn't come up with a single thing for me to do! Princess Peach, who had fainted as soon as Bowser stole her from her castle, was recovering in Wendy's bedroom. Bowser had talked for hours about how beautiful she was and about their future "wedding plans". I saw no point in standing here listening to Bowser when I could be fighting Mario at Kamella's side.
I couldn't stop thinking about her. I remembered seeing her for the first time. She was so different from all the other women I had met before, especially Kammy. I loved Kamella Koopa, she was my heart's only desire. Being separated from her was like trying to separate the limbs from a body. It was painful... especially knowing that she was fighting Mario... possibly at this very moment.
Kammy took my hand and looked at me with questioning eyes. Kammy knew me very well. She could always tell when I was troubled. We had known each other for twenty years and had become best friends through good times and bad. I smiled at her faintly.
Just then, the door opened with a loud crack. A small Magikoopa stood in the entrance. "I have news from the Ghostly Galaxy and the Space Junk Galaxy, King Koopa," the Magikoopa stated formally.
Bowser was brought out of his Princess Peach stupor and replied, "Oh? That was quick. Well, what happened?"
"Mario has already been to both galaxies. He defeated Kamella and Tarantox at Space Junk and he has already made his to the Ghostly Galaxy. Tarantox is dead. I guess Mario was just too much for him," the Magikoopa updated, shaking his head gravely.
My heart stopped beating. Tarantox, the gigantic, impenetrable spider was... dead? How in the world had Mario beaten Tarantox?
"That is bad news!" Bowser growled angrily. "Tarantox was a great addition to my army... I will just have to hope that Bouldergeist will defeat Mario in the Ghostly Galaxy. Kamek, where exactly did you banish Mario to?"
I couldn't move my lips from shock, and just stared at Bowser.
"Kamek? What's wrong with you? You're turning pale as a ghost!" Bowser commented.
Ignoring Bowser, I turned to the Magikoopa at the door and said in a shaky voice, "And w-what about K-Kamella? Is she also d-d-dead?" My voice broke.
"I found her collapsed on the floor of the airships. No, she's not dead... not yet anyway. I brought her back to the castle with me. She's currently in her room, I told Wendy to take care of her," the Magikoopa replied. "King Koopa, may I go now? I have many pressing matters to attend to."
"Huh?" Bowser asked, confused. "Oh yeah, you're dismissed." Bowser looked at me closely, then added, "You can go to if you want, Kamek. You really don't look so good."
I nodded and silently followed the Magikoopa out the door, leaving Bowser with Kammy to continue to dwell on Princess Peach. I blamed myself for letting Kamella fight on the airships. I had known better, Mario was powerful... even though he was just a plumber. I needed to see Kamella now, I needed to hold her, comfort her, tell her that everything would be okay. While racing up the corridors as quickly as I could, I thought about how lucky I was that Kamella wasn't dead. Truthfully, I would have guessed that Tarantox would have stood a better chance against Mario than Kamella would.
I reached Kamella's bedroom and flung the door open, panting slightly. Wendy, who was bending over Kamella's bed, turned and glared at me, "Can't you at least knock?! This isn't exactly the best time for you to be here... Kamella's in a lot of pain."
I tried to move around Wendy so I could see Kamella. "Oh, sorry. Can't I talk to her?"
Wendy's perfectly glossed red lips turned down in a scowl. "Let me ask her." Turning to Kamella she asked, "Kamek's here to see you. Do you want to talk to him now or do you want him to go away for now?" I heard a faint noise from the bed, then Wendy turned to me and said, "Okay, fine, she wants to see you. But don't tire her out and don't stay too long!" And with that said, Wendy turned and marched out the open door, her stiletto high heels clicking behind her.
I rushed over to Kamella's bed. She was propped up on several pillows. She had a large gash on her neck and her arm stuck out at an awkward angle.
"Oh, Kamella, how could I have ever let you fight on the airships?" I blamed myself, taking her hand, which was freezing cold. To my shock, tears started to stream down Kamella's cheeks. I panicked. "What's wrong? Are you in pain?"
She shook her head and then whispered between sobs, "Oh K-Kamek, how c-could I? I-I f-failed... I failed m-myself, Bowser, and y-y-you... I w-wanted to prove to you that I c-could beat Mario. But n-no, I failed. I'm such a miserable excuse of a Magikoopa... Why even K-Kammy's better than me! I w-wish I could just die now and not have to face all this humiliation!" With all that said, she started to sob harder.
"No, no, no, Kamella!" I said angrily. "Mario's defeated me several times, Kamella, and he even killed Tarantox. Don't worry; Bowser will give you another chance. And Kamella, I NEVER, EVER want to her you say any of that stuff again! I love you, Kamella, I couldn't survive without you! Promise me, you'll NEVER say that again!"
Kamella looked up at me, streaks of black mascara running down her cheeks. "But how c-could you still want me, Kamek? I'm not powerful like you think, I'm weak. Weaker than Kammy... And I'm ugly... Look at me! Even K-Kammy's prettier. I know she l-loves you, Kamek. You don't have to pretend that you like me more than h-her..."
I looked at Kamella's tear streaked face peering up at me. She just didn't get it! "Kamella, just because Mario beat you once does not mean you are weak. You are much more powerful than Kammy. Didn't you have a duel with her the other day and win?! And Kammy is definitely not prettier than you. Kammy is old, Kamella... She doesn't look nearly as hot as you do. Kammy is a good friend of mine, yes, I have known her for years. But Kamella, I don't love her, I just like her as a friend," I explained to her angrily.
"Really?" Kamella's lip stopped trembling. "Are you being truthful, Kamek?"
I sighed heavily. "Yes, Kamella, I am telling you the truth! I love you!" Then I bent close to her and kissed her lightly on her lips, trying to prove my point. "I've never kissed Kammy before," I added.
Kamella cracked a small smile. "Thanks for putting up with me. I just get so angry..."
"It's okay," I reassured her. "It's just part of who you are. Anyway, promise me you aren't thinking about dieing anymore, okay?"
"Okay," Kamella agreed.
She attempted to get out of bed, but started to fall as soon as she was on her feet. I caught her quickly in my arms and kissed her once more on her mouth before setting her carefully back on the bed, "Try to get some sleep, Kamella. It will make you recover faster."
She nodded, "Okay... Will you stay until I fall asleep?"
Not even three minutes later, Kamella's
eyes shut and her breathing slowed in sleep. I gazed at her face
as she slept. She was so beautiful. Not wanting to disturb
her, I quietly left the room.
CHAPTER III: Kamella
I woke up with a groan. Pain shot upward from my shoulder. Then I remembered my fight with Mario. It had been so embarrassing. I really should've been able to beat Mario. I had failed Bowser miserably. But at least Kamek said he still loved me. I knew he meant it, too. I had to see Kamek now... I needed comfort. Struggling out of the twisted sheets on the bed, I hobbled slowly over to the door. I was feeling much better than yesterday actually. Magikoopas heal much faster than most other creatures. While I was making my way down the twisted corridors, I ran into Hammer Bro.
"Hey Kamella!" he said, slowing down to walk downstairs with me. "Wow... What happened to you?"
"Umm... well... Mario beat me on the Airship Armada," I said slowly. Sometimes it was just better to tell the truth, even if it was humiliating.
Hammer Bro stared at my injured arm. "Well at least you're alive! Anyway, I was just going to have breakfast, do you want to come with me?" I hesitated, wanting to see Kamek but not wanting to hurt Hammer Bro's feelings. He smiled at me, then added, "Everyone eats together at 9:00 AM. The other Magikoopas and Dry Bones should be there too."
"Oh. Okay then," I agreed. I followed Hammer Bro through several more rooms before we came to a large dining room. There were several big tables meant to serve up to twenty people, and little tables set up for two. A large counter was placed at one end of the room. All kinds of food was neatly placed on top of it. There were scrumptious waffles, juicy pieces of bacon and sausage, glistening pieces of fruit, and all kinds of pretty pastries. I licked my lips hungrily.
"Haven't you been here before?" Hammer Bro asked me in astonishment.
"No," I replied, "nobody ever told me there was a dining room. Am I allowed to eat any of that stuff?" I queried, pointing at the food that was making my mouth water.
"Of course!" Hammer Bro smiled. "Dig in!"
As I walked over to the platters containing the delectable food, I scanned the room for Kamek. My heart sank... I couldn't find him. Hammer Bro must have noticed the disappointed look on my face because he asked with concern, "Are you looking for someone, Kamella?" I shook my head, attempting a small smile. Hammer Bro took a plate from a stack at the end of the counter and then handed me one. He dished a large portion of delicious-looking scrambled eggs on his plate, then took a few pieces of lightly burned toast. I placed a rather large blueberry muffin on my platter and then poured myself a small cup of chamomile tea.
"Is that all you're eating?" Hammer Bro asked, eyeing my muffin. I nodded. He shrugged, then led me to a table set for two. I sat down on a comfy burgundy cushion and spread my snow-white napkin on my lap.
"Is breakfast always so nice here?" I asked Hammer Bro, who was already stuffing his mouth full with scrambled eggs.
He chewed and swallowed quickly, then answered, "Oh yeah! Blooper does the cooking around here. He does a phenomenal job!"
I took a small bite of my blueberry muffin... It was scrumptious.
"So what do you guys do around here when you're not off fighting?" I asked Hammer Bro to make conversation.
"We do all kinds of stuff! Well, every morning at 10:00 AM a duel is issued between two random people. Yesterday it was Dark Bones versus Boomerang Bro. Lemmy is in charge of picking the two participants. He usually comes in here at 9:30 to announce the duel partners. Most everyone watches the duels. Do you want to watch it with me today?" Hammer Bro asked me hopefully.
I opened my mouth to reply, but before I could speak, a loud crash sounded and I was suddenly drenched with water. Kammy stood smirking behind me, "Oh, sorry. I just slipped and broke my water glass... My leg isn't very steady right now."
I remembered breaking Kammy's leg, but now I felt no pity for her. "How dare you? This robe is supposed to be dry-cleaned only!!" I hated being wet and now I was chilled to the bone.
Kammy smiled at me, then whispered in my ear. "You think that this is all I'm going to do to you, Kamella Koopa? Well you are wrong! I will have my revenge, weakling, you just wait and see!" Kammy smiled evilly, than disappeared with a flourish of her wand. I sat shivering in my chair, my blood boiling at Kammy. Just than I felt two warm arms embrace me. I turned to find myself face to face with Kamek. My anger melted away in an instant.
"Wow, I can't believe you're out of bed already! You recovered fast!" Kamek smiled at me warmly, then kissed my lips quickly. I starting blushing furiously and stole a gaze at Hammer Bro. He watched Kamek embrace me with narrowed eyes, but smiled at me when I caught his eye.
"Actually, I was trying to find you," I told Kamek. "But I ran into Hammer Bro and he brought me here. The food is great!"
"Come sit by me," Kamek said, taking my hand. I hesitated, thinking about how rude it would be to leave Hammer Bro sitting by himself.
"It's okay, go sit with Kamek if you want," Hammer Bro said, trying to mask his disappointment.
"Okay... Well I'll see you at the duel later then," I promised him before Kamek pulled me to a solitary table in a small corner of the gigantic room.
Kamek pulled a chair out for me. "We can have some privacy now! Why are you all wet?"
"Kammy tripped and spilled her glass of water all over me," I replied resentfully.
"Kammy must be getting old and clumsy!" Kamek said, shaking his head. "Anyway, how are you feeling?"
"Not too bad," I told him.
Just then all the chit chat in the dining room ceased and silence fell. I glanced around to see what had caused the silence. For the first time, I noticed a little podium at one end of the room. Lemmy Koopa, who was standing on the podium, cleared his throat, then said, "Good morning, folks! I am here to announce the duel partners for the duel today! It's going to be Kamek versus Kammy! There will be a whole lot of Magikoopa magic today. Oh, I decided to change one part of the duel. Each person, Kammy and Kamek that is, will be allowed to bring a partner to help them with the duel. See you at 10:00!"
Lemmy grinned broadly as the crowd applauded. "Oh, one more thing," Lemmy added as he stepped off of the podium, "Wendy has an announcement to make." Lemmy nodded towards Wendy as she took his place on the podium.
"Hello everyone!" Wendy smiled broadly, "I have an important announcement to make! I am scheduling a masquerade for this Saturday night at 8:00. It will be held in the ball room, of course. Everyone is invited. Just make sure you bring a mask. I have a lot of work to do before Saturday, so if anyone would like to help me with the decorations, the help would be appreciated!"
Silence followed... I started to feel bad for Wendy so I raised my hand. "I'll help."
Wendy grinned at me. "Thanks, Kamella! At least someone appreciates all I do around here!"
Kamek glanced at me. "Are you sure you want to help out, Kamella? You don't have to, you know."
"I know," I replied. "So can I be your partner for the duel?"
Kamek eyed me warily, "Are you sure you want to, Kamella? I'd love to have you as a partner, but are you sure your arm is okay?"
I glanced at my broken arm, which was sticking out at a strange angle, "I'll be fine."
Kamek hesitated, "Well... I guess. I'll go tell Lemmy that you'll be my partner. I'll be right back."
Kamek vanished and reappeared by Lemmy on the other side of the room. The instant he left, a figure materialized exactly where Kamek had been sitting a minute ago… It was Kammy. She smiled a sickly sweet smile at me. "Good luck on the duel, weakling. Win if you want... but remember I'll beat you soon... Just wait!"
My heart seemed to stop. Kammy had planned her revenge... and this time it would not be something small like spilling water on me. It would change my life.. forever.