Chapter 5: Great Scott, Marty!
Dark, twisted memories still fluttering in the back of their minds, the bunch kept trodding on. Feet and heads aching, mouths dry and throats wheezy, they were going to be flipping well glad when they got to Peach’s Castle. At the moment they were in Toad Town, the naïve Toads nervous of seeing Koopas, Goombas, and Fly Guys in their settlement. They couldn’t be blamed though; they always got the worst of the attacks from Bowser. Well unknown to them, it seemed Bowser had gone… for now.
Anyhow, the group finally arrived at Peach’s Castle, no matter how many blisters they had now. The guards at the door bared their spears aggressively; Guy jumped back a bit, and Harry held his arm in front of Katie. Mario confidently told the Toad guards, “They’re with-a me… including the lanky green guy.” He chuckled a bit. Luigi looked away, gritting his teeth, his eyes a tad misty. “Oh-a come on, Luigi! It was-a only a joke, no need to get your-a overalls in a twist! Yeesh…” Luigi mimicked him under his voice; Katie giggled a bit and walked forward. The Toad Guards stepped aside loyally, smiled respectively, and held out their hands in a welcoming fashion.
As the group strolled down the winding halls of Peach’s Castle, they were all amazed at how beautiful the place looked- well except for Mario and Luigi, obviously, they were used to it. Lengthy velvet rugs were placed neatly across the floor, barely a speck of dust touching their surface. Shining, sparkling chandeliers balanced gracefully above… Polished oak furniture was arranged into a lovely pattern, like this place was an amazingly good-looking maze. Scotty’s jaw was wide open in amazement. “Wow, if this ain’t swanky, I surely don’t know what is!”
Harry nodded slowly and said, “What he said, but making sense.”
Eventually after a long walk through the many halls and rooms of the always redesigned castle, they got to the throne room. Standing at the throne were Princess Peach, Professor E.Gadd, and an unknown person who looked a tad like the professor. Surrounding them were mumbling Toads staring curiously at the party. “Yeah, what’re you looking at, ya fungi-faced freaks?” Scotty mocked. “Oh wait…”
They kept walking on and then stopped. Slowly, Peach got off her throne, sniffling every few seconds. Mario and Luigi looked at each other, eyebrows raised, perplexed. Peach got to Mario and tears started to roll down her rosy cheeks. “I was so worried Mario… Don’t ever do that again!” She sobbed, barely making eye contact with him.
“Hey, what-a about-” Luigi started. Mario glared at him sternly. “Oh… Sorry,” Luigi spluttered.
Mario looked away from Luigi, back to Peach. “I’m-a sorry, Princess. But uh… off the subject, how-a did you know what-a happened?” Mario asked.
“Well when you say you’re going out for a coffee, take several hours, and come back with loads of bruises, cuts, and… these… things, I think I have the right to be a tad worried about you,” the princess replied, wiping away the tears.
Mario nodded. “I’ll-a try to be-a more careful next-a time.”
Peach grinned wearily and her tone of voice changed. “Well, all right. Anyway, I’ve got somebody to introduce you to.” The unknown figure stepped forward and smiled politely. “Mario, Luigi. This is the professor’s cousin, Gradey Scott. He’s just came back from his research trip to the Beanbean Kingdom. Apparently he’s discovered a strange sub-species of these purpley things...” Peach giggled. “To be honest, I have no idea. Ask him yourself.”
Scott went over to shake Mario and Luigi’s hands. “Pleased to meet y’all, I’m sure,” he said, a southern twang in his accent. “Well it looks like you two have some introducing to do yourself!” Scott asserted.
“Okey dokey! Well this is-” Luigi beamed. Mario butted in.
“Scotty the Goomba. This is Harry the Hammer Bro. Over here is Katie, a Yoshi-Koopa hybrid… well-a from my understanding-a, anyway. And up there is Guy! They’re tourists from Rogueport, but it-a seems they got a bit lost. So we’ve-a helped them out.”
After many shaking of hands and small-talk, E.Gadd spoke up. “Well I’m glad we all know who’s who now,” he chuckled, “but I believe you had some very interesting results from your trip, Scott…”
All eyes went in Gradey Scott’s direction, curious of what he was going to say. “Ah, yes. Thanks for bringin’ that up. Anyhow! On my trip to the Beanbean Kingdom, as Peach said earlier, I saw a strange sub-species of purple creatures. However, after some thinking I have come to believe it is not a species, it is rather… a virus, or something else that alters these creatures. An even more interesting thing is that barely any of the purple creatures were native to Beanbean or Mushroom Kingdom territory. Strange… disturbing… foreign creatures. I had to keep my distance. I’d keep an eye out if you see any they look very dangerous,” he concluded.
“Did you bring any evidence? Samples, perhaps?” E.Gadd inquired.
“Sorry, cuz. No samples, but I do have some photos. Gimme a sec.” He fumbled around in his pockets for a couple of seconds, then proudly raised some photographs into the air. The group all took one to examine and all were amazed. One of the pictures showed a massive creature with tentacles, glowing green eyes, and a gaping, fang-filled mouth. Another showed a beast that looked like a cross between a mammoth, a Goomba, and a shark. A different one showed a huge group of purple, spider-like beasts crawling towards a village.
“Wow… spooky,” Katie chirped. Harry nodded.
Scott held out his hand to collect the pictures, and said, “Well, like I said, watch out if you do see any. Don’t worry though. I think we’re due a celebration for your safe return! So please do tell us what happened while you were gone.”
Peach walked off. “I’ll just get the chefs to bake us some treats! Be right back!”
Mario looked back at Scott. “Well-a, we were going to the coffee shop at the Toad Town mall, when suddenly Bowser appeared… He looked very strange though, in a way he kind of resembled those purple creatures… Anyway, we tried to fight him, but he was too powerful so we ran for ages. Eventually we found somewhere to hide and met up with these guys.” Mario pointed over to the group of tourists. “We went to Bowser’s castle...” Mario went on about his adventure. He told him about the giant frog and Bowser spewing out strange goop as he simply stood there. Scott was very intrigued by this tale.
When Mario stopped, Scott remarked, “A giant purple frog? Bowser just standing there? Hm… This is all very odd. I think tomorrow we must investigate Bowser’s castle.” Mario nodded readily, while Luigi and the rest of the group just coughed awkwardly and looked away.
“Dinner’s ready!” Peach shouted.
“Woo-hoo!” Luigi bounced up.
The party and the two professors went over to the dining hall and sat down eagerly. Harry turned to Katie, blushing. “You’re looking real nice tonight…”
“Oh, um… Thanks,” she replied, moving on to say, “I just thought, you told me on the trip here you were a single parent. Who’s looking after your son?”
Harry’s eyes widened and his jaw collapsed. “… I… I left him at the nursery on the ship. I promised I’d pick him up after I’d unpacked at the hotel. Then the fireballs came and we ran… Oh dear lord…” Harry covered his eyes and groaned. “What am I going to do… He could be kidnapped! Or lost! Or… or… dead… Ugh! I AM SUCH AN IDIOT!”
Katie looked at him, worried. “Don’t worry, tomorow I’ll help you find him.” She pecked him quickly on the cheek and smiled.
“O-o-okay…” Harry fainted.
As the sun set, the feast was finished and all of the castle-dwellers went to their allocated rooms. Mario and Luigi shared one room, Scotty and Guy shared another, and finally Katie and Harry shared one too. “You’d better not snore, or else one of us is sleeping outside, bub,” Guy snapped.
“Oh, well boo-dy-hoo, you little cry guy! If ah snore you’ll take it, all right?” Scotty barked back.
“Well, I have a propeller jammed into my head, it could easily be jammed into the other side of you, so I’d be careful.”
Scotty rolled his eyes and snickered. “G’night, Guy.”
Meanwhile in Mario’s room, Luigi tossed and turned, his head filled with nightmares. He mumbled and tremored, shaking himself out of bed and landing with a loud thud.
“Hey, keep it-a down, Luigi! I’m-a trying to get some-a sleep here!” Mario grumbled.
Luigi sighed. “I’m-a sorry.” He got back to bed, aching and miserable.
“Good night, Luigi,” Mario said, closing his eyes again.
“… Yeah…. Goodnight,” Luigi replied.
Chapter 6: KSI
It was 7 AM at the Minion Training Establishment. Bowser’s family had luckily been on a walk at the time the castle collapsed. After discovering their home had been demolished, a nearby minion suggested that they come to the Minion Training Establishment close to the castle, only a few miles away. They accepted, and so there they were. The Koopalings were still mourning over Bowser’s irregular death. Clawdia had simply got on with her life, occasionally just going to her room for half an hour or so, coming out with bloodshot eyes and a sunken face. The pets, to be honest, really didn’t like or care about Bowser so they didn’t pay attention to the matter. The Koopalings (Bowser Jr. particularly), on the other hand, were still very depressed and wanted to find the root of this- find the killer and avenge their father’s death.
Roy beat his fist in the palm of his other hand and growled, “I bet it was that Mario, it was! I’ll beat the livin’ Shrooms out of that sucker! Let’s just get ‘im now!”
Ludwig Von Koopa shook his head wearily. “Nein, nein, nein. My brothers… um… und sister,” Wendy huffed, annoyed, “if eet isn’t Mario, we will be letting ze real killer get away, ja? It vould be nice eef ve could keel ze Mario and ze green mustached human in succession, but zat will have to wait if they are not the suspects.”
The Koopa Kids nodded reluctantly, looking down at their feet. “So should we go find Papa’s body?” Bowser Jr. squeaked.
Ludwig grinned and exclaimed, “Excactly! Ve must get to ze ruins of ze castle, post haste, my siblings!”
Lemmy rolled over on his ball, closer to Ludwig. “Hey, heydy hey! But Mum, y’know, Clawdia… didn’t want us to leave the… um…y’know, camp! Let alone the like… uh… room!”
Ludwig nodded, thoughtfully and scratched his chin. He really needed to cut his claws. “Hm… yes. Vell, ve shall just have to sneak out. If any of you vould not like to come, don’t. I’m not forcing you.” Ludwig looked around the room at the faces. They looked very unwilling. “It’s just if you don’t care about Dad, and would just like to let ze killer get away Scot free…”
Roy stepped forward, shaking a tad. “All right, I’m in.”
Lemmy and Iggy followed behind. “Me too!”
Bowser Jr. hopped from his bed in front of his siblings. “Yeah!”
Ludwig beamed, then looked back at his other relatives. “Any more volunteers? … No? All right, zen we shall leave at once. Ve shall take ze Clown Copter. Now let’s go, shall ve?”
Ludwig and his helpers went out the door, determined. A few seconds later, Ludwig popped his head back in the room. “If any of you dare tell Mum or any of the minions vhat ve are doing, zen you’ll be joining Dad!” He then zoomed off, slamming the door behind him.
“What a nice chap,” Larry muttered to
himself, as he went back to sleep.
It was 7 AM at Peach’s Castle. The gloomy sky had brightened, the miniscule stars shying away from the bulky sun. It had become a cheery orange, as if it was going to rain orange juice any moment. Most of the inhabitants of the castle were still sleeping in their comfy beds- except for two, Katie and Harry. Well actually three, Scotty couldn’t get a wink because of Guy’s snoring. That’s beside the point though.
In Katie and Harry’s room, the duo were getting dressed while conversing about what they were going to do. “Are you sure you want to do this with me? It could be dangerous…” Harry asked compassionately.
Katie nodded and simpered, “Of course I do. It’s not fair to lose anyone in your family.” She looked at the ground and cleared her throat.
Harry gently pat her on the back. “Thanks, you’re a great girl.”
Katie laughed quietly. “All right, don’t overdo it. Now, come on, let’s go.”
Harry stealthily wedged a hammer into the wall outside. He hopped onto it, then wedged in another hammer a little lower. He kept doing this until he had created a make-shift ladder. “Nice,” Katie complimented, clearly impressed.
The partners descended down the hammer ladder and jogged sneakily around Toad Town, avoiding being seen. They ran through the now charred 1-1 Park, past Boom Boom’s fortress, over the rocky terrain of Grumble Volcano, and dead center through Amazee Dayzee fields until they got to Plack Beach, where their cruiseship had arrived. Oddly and conveniently, it was still there. “That’s strange… It should have left 6 PM yesterday… That was ages ago!” Harry pondered.
“Well let’s stop looking at the outside, and let’s have a peek at the inside,” Katie said, gesturing for him to come in. Both of them walked in, very confused and worried. Although it seemed nobody was on the ship, there were dark red stains on the deck. Floorboards were scattered around, some jutting out at irregular angles. It was obvious something had been there, something very powerful and violent, from the looks of it too.
They kept walking on investigating the whole thing. They had been searching and searching, when suddenly Harry swore he heard a faint wailing noise. “Hey Katie… I think I heard something. It could be my son!” Harry dashed towards the source of the sound. He sprinted down hundreds of steps and across hundreds of floorboards until he got to the single door containing the sound. It was a lot louder now, and sounded very different up close. It was rather unnerving, Harry wasn’t sure he wanted to open the door. “Son?” Harry clasped the door-knob and slowly turned it round.
“Oh god…” he muttered to himself. He looked round the room, left and right. There were cobwebs, dark red stains on the walls and floor, more bedraggled floorboards, and some dropped buffet cuisine. There were no living creatures though. He sighed, depressed and relieved at the same time.
Slowly turning round, the noise got louder. Harry raised a curious eyebrow. “Um… Hello?” It could be a Boo… Maybe it’s hiding from something, Harry thought. He looked round several times, still seeing nothing. He grunted, disappointed. Then, quick as a flash, something dark and oozing seized his face. “ARRRRRRRRRRGH!” he shrieked in pain and shock. “KPHTEEEEEE!” he yelled, now muffled.
Katie heard the cry of distress and zoomed down to the door. Her pupils shrunk, her throat went dry, and her eye began to twitch at the sheer disturbing sight in front of her. “…O… Oh my God.” were the only words that could come out of her mouth.
To Be Continued...
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