Chapter 1: Meet the Survivors
His heartbeat was going haywire, his breathing loud and inconsistent, he didn’t dare move. Everyone else there was cowering in fear as well- although there was nothing there, something terrible WAS coming. They were petrified, distressed, and confused. They didn’t want to be there and did not deserve to be. Unfortunately, they could do nothing about it.
Four individuals stood, tears of fright swelling up around their cheeks. Scotty Gamboli, a short, stout, and tough- but nice- Goomba was kneeling behind a large block. Katie Yonto, a Koopa-Yoshi hybrid, had pinned herself behind a blossoming bush, its leaves sadly charred by oncoming flames. Harry Slamsworth, an average-built, single father Hammer Brother was lying down in a mud-splattered trench. Last, but not least, ‘Guy’ a slim Fly Guy, was hiding, comforting Katie.
They were all innocent civilians on a trip from Rogueport, on a holiday to visit Bowser’s Castle. It was at the unfortunate hour of 8 AM when disaster struck.
They were calmly strolling through 1-1 Park when a sudden yell came. Those three horrifying words were still ringing in their heads. ‘MARIO AND LUIGI!’ The two ‘heroic’ plumbers would spare nobody in their path. They could not tell if you were an innocent or an enemy, and honestly they didn’t care. Katie held back a scream as she heard thundering footsteps coming closer. Fireballs hurtled through the air like the apocalypse had begun, and for those unlucky four, it felt like it had.
A large, slim shadow was cast over the trench where they were hiding. It must have been the lesser known Brother, Luigi. He may have been weaker, but he was faster and more cunning. The eyes of the group widened in terror; they kept silent as they overheard a brief conversation that felt like it lasted for years. “Hey Mario! Quick!” Luigi shouted, stuttering slightly.
“I’m-a coming, I’m-a coming! Don’t worry!” Mario replied, out of breath. They could tell by the shadows, they were crouching down, talking in ‘secrecy’.
“Mario, I think we’d better go in this trench,” Luigi whispered.
“Why?” Mario said back.
“Oh right- for protection, you idiot, why else?”
The fireballs kept coming even when they were kneeling down… strange. This didn’t matter though, all that mattered now was the overall-covered leg clambering into the trench. Katie could hold it no more, and let out an ear-piercing screech. “ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!”
Mario and Luigi hopped in even quicker now, with bewildered looks. “What the?! Oh no! ARRRRR!” Luigi exclaimed.
Both Mario, Luigi and the foursome screamed at each other… for a good minute, but then Mario shouted, “HEY! QUIET-A FOR A MINUTE!” Everyone shut up obediently. “What are-a you guys hiding from?” Mario asked curiously.
Harry couldn’t quite say the words, so he just nervously pointed at the plumber duo.
“Oh… I thought you were hiding from- actually-a, never mind. Can we-a share this place? We-a really need to stay down,” Mario pleaded.
“O-o-okay. Will you promise not to hurt us?” Guy stammered.
“Of-a course. We would-a never hurt innocents.” Some faint groans were heard.
“All right then…” they all agreed reluctantly.
After getting used to each other being around, Scotty looked up and made an odd expression. “Why are there fireballs still going?” Scotty noticed that the Mario Brothers never had a Fire Flower on them. “So… what’s making them?” he asked.
“That’s the thing we’re running from… It’s Bowser!”
The group smirked a little. “What? Pffft. Come on, I hate to admit it but you guys have kicked that guy’s butt more times than Scotty has eaten Muffin-Mushrooms.” Katie sniggered.
“Hey, shut up!” Scotty said playfully.
“No… No, you-a don’t understand.” Luigi cut in sternly.
“He’s… different. He seems more powerful, faster, and a whole lot more smart. He may even be able to pass kindergarten now!” Mario said, half serious, half joking. “All-a jokes aside though, he’s unstoppable now. Well we-a can’t stop him, anyway. I’m-a guessing you guys don’t want to-a have a shot either?” The group shook their heads rapidly. Mario chuckled and nodded. “I can’t-a blame you. Still, what will we-a do? We can’t go back out-a there and eventually he’ll-a find us.”
Stuck for an idea, the group grumbled and scratched their heads. They were just as scared as before now. “Why don’t we just make a break for it? Most of you are really quick runners, and Guy here can help any slowpoke get out by flying. Good plan?” Harry pondered.
With a little bit of annoyance, the group did finally agree. They could hear a faint roaring in the distance and stomping coming towards them. “Okay… On my mark… Three… Two… HOLY!” A great inferno of smoking fire jetted just in front of the group and left a simmering crater.
“Was that the signal?” Scotty said.
“YES! NOW GO, GO, GO!” Harry boomed.
The party sprinted, bounced, and flew off in a hurry. Ducking and weaving behind wrecked scenery, debris, and blocks, the team were running out of energy. “Where-a are we actually-a going?!” Luigi puffed.
“Uhrm… Bowser’s castle?” Katie suggested.
“NO! That’s where Bowser will go first!” Guy snapped.
“I don’t really see any other way though… We can’t go back and it IS only two miles away.”
Guy sighed angrily
and the group anxiously set off to the fortress of the Koopa King
Chapter 2: Defend your castle
They were finally there, wheezing heavily and limping, but they were there. They forgot Mario and Luigi were with them though. “OH MY SWEET KOOPA LORD! IT’S MARIO AND FREAKING LUIGI!” a Koopa guard yelled.
“Freaking?” Luigi muttered.
“DON’T STAND THERE, GET THEM! THEY HAVE HOSTAGES TOO, TRY TO AVOID ‘EM!” another distant voice rang out.
A whole barrage of Bullet Bills, Bob-ombs and Boos blasted towards the group. Mario pushed the group aside and hopped up on a Bullet Bill. Bending his legs, he leapt onto a Boo, seized a Bob-omb, hopped up, and lobbed it at the ghostly foe, destroying it and sending Mario flying up towards a tower.
Down below, the group was simply gaping in awe, unaware of the great armada of pain flying towards them. Luigi sighed quickly and ordered, “MOVE!!!” The group was back to reality. They split up hastily and hid behind trees, towers, and statues. The Bullet Bills and Bob-ombs missed, although they skimmed some of the protection for the group. However, the Boos were still going on strong and were scouting for Luigi. One Boo with a padded helmet went over to Katie and whispered cautiously, “Come with me, ma’am, we can save you from this green loser.”
Katie was simply sitting in shock, her eye twitching. “G-g-g-ghost!” She pointed rudely.
The Boo had a rather bored expression now. “Yes, I’m a ghost, now come with me or I’ll have to use my ‘ghostly powers’.” He rolled his eyes. “Seriously, co- ARRRRR!” Luigi had landed on his head. Luigi grinned half-heartedly then spun the Boo at the other group of ghosts. They snarled at the Green Thunder and all came together…
“Whoopsie…” Luigi said.
The annoyed Poltergeists formed together to create a massive Boo, a Boolossus as they were called. Boos did not often do this as it drained their energy and they could only hold this form for a while. This was a very special occasion; they had Luigi right where they wanted. “Say your prayers, plumber-boy,” the Big Boo laughed.
Luigi ran off screaming like a woman, and quickly grabbed Katie’s hand. Boolossus stalked Luigi merely a meter or two behind him. Without warning, Luigi tripped on a rock and fell to the floor with a loud thud. Dazed, he tried to get up but he had really landed hard. The world was spinning around him, his vision blurred. “Finally, time to finish you off.”
The Boolossus got ready to rip apart Luigi, limb to limb. Before it could though, Scotty grappled onto its back, confusing it. “Huh?! Get off! We’re trying to save you, moron!”
“Nay, you oversized marshmallow! You won’t hurt one hair on that wee Weegee’s head, ya see? Nobody in our group gets left behind!” Scotty yapped. Luigi would have felt very happy about this statement, but right now he was struggling to keep himself from losing consciousness.
“WHAT?! You’re helping them? TREASON! Then we’ll have to just kill all of you mites!” The burly Boo spun round, lobbing Scotty off, Scotty landed on the top of Bowser’s castle just where Mario was.
“SCOTTY!” Katie screamed. Her eyes glared at the substantial spook and she growled. “You’re going to regret that!” She picked up Luigi and gently hid him behind a bush. Without a thought she leapt over to the Boo and kicked it.
Boolossus had a smirk on its broad face. “Is that it?” It swatted her away with its whispy tail. Katie crashed against a tree, the force causing her shoulder horrible agony. Harry saw this and grabbed her and sat her up against the tree. “What are you doing? You’ll get yourself killed!”
“I just wanted to save Scotty…” she groaned.
“… Scotty? What happened?” Harry asked.
“He was hit all the way up there… He could be dead.”
Harry felt horrible, and let go of Katie. “You hide here.” He dashed over to where Guy was hiding and tapped his shoulder. “Come on, we’re going to beat that Big Boo thing.”
“Okay…” Guy said hesitantly.
Meanwhile, back on the top of the castle Mario glanced over to the unconscious Scotty. “Oh-a great…” he groaned. He picked up Scotty while dodging a whole horde of Bullet Bills. He climbed up one of the towers, skillfully balancing Scotty. The Koopa guard in the tower was unaware of the portly plumber behind him; he was shooting at the others below. Mario quietly placed Scotty down in the tower and seized the Koopa’s neck. He murmured in the troop’s ear, “You climb down and say-a nothing and I’ll let you-a live.” His eyes were locked onto the Koopa’s. The guard nodded, stiff with fear, and clambered down the ladder.
Mario gripped onto the cannon and looked at the confusing controls. “Uh…” He pressed a big blue button, not knowing what would happen. It shot out a massive purple Bob-omb, which hurtled down to the ground close to the Big Boo. The rest of the guards finally noticed that Mario was in the tower. One guard signaled to his comrade to blast down the structure Mario and his Goomba friend were in. They both grinned slyly. Mario looked around and his eyes widened. “Uh oh…” A strong group of ten Bullet Bills hit the tower. Three hit the bottom of it, four hit the middle, and the rest hit the top where Mario was. Before he was knocked off, he gripped onto Scotty’s foot. Screeching for help, Mario hurtled down to the ground, but luckily Guy caught him, getting weighted down a little.
Mario hopped down, sitting Scotty behind the tree next to Katie, and thanked Guy. He saw that the Boos had disbanded, a lot of them defeated by the blast from the bomb. The remaining few retreated back into the castle, but it wasn’t over yet.
Faintly but definitely the group could all- except for Scotty, of course- hear a creaking sound. They looked up and saw the tower the plumber and Goomba duo had been in was breaking! The great construction collapsed abruptly to the floor, creating a makeshift stairway to the top of Bowser’s castle. “Yahoo!” Luigi and Mario exclaimed in unison.
Another sound could be heard though. It was fire. Bowser had caught up! Oh no! The crew climbed up the broken tower to the top, flames and explosions just behind them. The tower couldn’t take it much longer. Just as the party got to the top, the tower crumbled, leaving a massive pile of debris, rubble, and lazily rising smoke. Bowser stomped the ground in frustration, slightly awkwardly. The little army ignored him and charged up the towers, chucking out the guards to avoid danger.
The remaining guard was simply standing there, slack-jawed and shocked. “If I were-a you I would-a get out of this-a place now,” Luigi suggested. The Koopa nodded, a blank look on his face, and carefully made his way down the passage on the roof into the castle and out the door.
evilly and walked in the castle, locking the door behind him. He was obviously
waiting for them to come in and then to turn them into a surprise barbeque.
Scotty woke up, breathing heavily and said, “Did I miss anything?”
Chapter 3: Breaking Habits
Once the group had explained a lot to Scotty, hoping he’d understand somehow, they started to plan how to get in. There was a roof entrance- for emergencies, presumably- but that would make it extremely easy to be spotted. The door was locked, and that was the predictable way. After a long discussion, Guy shouted out, “Guys… wasn’t the point that we were hiding from Bowser? We didn’t come to raid his castle!”
“Oh yeah…” Harry mumbled, slightly embarrassed.
“Hey! You-a guys were nearly-a killed by that jerk and his minions! Do you want-a that to happen again? We’re going to teach-a that lousy turtle soup on legs a lesson!” Mario demanded.
The party nodded in agreement, though reluctantly. “Well we-a still can’t think of a way in without getting roasted…” Luigi sighed.
“I have a plan…” Katie announced proudly. ..
The gang went back to the ruins of 1-1 Park. It was depressing. Sickening black smoke spewed from massive charred craters, and the grass had burnt away or darkened to an odd vomit color. They paced around the once beautiful place, feeling guilty they couldn’t have done more to help. Goomba, Toad, Koopa, Monty Mole, and Bean corpses were strewn across the area. They had to keep focused though; this wasn’t a funeral, they could come back to pay their respects later.
Mario and Luigi bounced up and bashed two Question Mark Blocks with their fists. The Brothers swiped their power-ups before they could slip away. Mario had a Fire Flower, a common but deadly power-up, while Luigi had the Raccoon Leaf, a slightly rarer and more interesting power-up.
They returned, anxious, to the sleeping stone colossus known as Bowser’s Castle. Mario and Luigi prepared, getting in position. Katie counted silently, making lip movements and pulling down her fingers one by one. Three… two… one…
Mario shot out a blazing sphere of flames at the door and Luigi twirled violently towards the wooden barricade, smashing splinters apart from it. They kept doing this for a while until they heard someone coming; they all fled behind the castle, except for Guy. He was spying deviously from above. A pale yellow head popped out of the broken door, a Boomerang Bro guard. “Hey, somebody broke the door!” Guy could make out what he said.
A Koopa Troopa, a Whomp, and a Big Lantern Ghost rushed to their companion, scouting for the suspects. “Hey, let’s get some more guys and search for the jerks who did this! Do they realize we have to pay for this?” Guy couldn’t make out anymore.
A whole army of minions marched out the broken door, searching for their targets. Guy glided down and whispered to his friends. “Come on, I’ll get all of you up to the roof,” he assured them. The troops were long away from the door now; they wouldn’t be likely to see them. They’re certainly persistent; I’ll give them that, thought Harry.
Guy flew the entire group up and was a little tired after Mario, but he’d done it. Luigi yanked at the metal lock system on top; it was stuck! The rusty metal cylinder must have gotten wedged into the lock after being held still for so many years. Luigi kicked, punched, twirled, and even bit at it but it didn’t move an inch. Mario smiled smugly at Luigi, his brother looked back glaring, smiling back sarcastically. “Well Mister Smart Guy, you open that door!” Luigi ordered.
“Okey dokey. Stand-a back!” Mario grinned confidentially and held back his hand. A few moments later a roaring crackle of light and heat came forth from his hand and burnt down the door, as well as melted the lock. Mario patted Luigi on the back. “Don’t-a quit your day job, Bro,” he chuckled. Luigi rolled his eyes, clenched his fists, and held back his anger. He would have been madder if the plan hadn’t worked, so there was a plus.
The lot of them leapt down through the door, not thinking of how far the fall would be. “If I were-a you I’d-a bend your knees!” Mario said to Scotty.
“I DON’T HAVE KNEES!”
“Oh… Well, try-a not to die then!” the plumber suggested back, a little guilty. Scotty looked back wide-eyed, then turned away, praying for dear life.
Luckily they landed in a good spot! Mario and Luigi simply landed professionally, used to long falls. Guy obviously flew down, Scotty landed on top of Luigi, giving them both a bit of a headache. Harry landed on a sleeping Goomba, unfortunately crushing the poor fellow, and Katie was caught in the out-stretched arms of Harry. She smiled at him gratefully. “Thanks, that was sweet of you.” Harry blushed and grinned cheesily.
Scotty pretended to puke, and shuddered. “Come on, yer soft pansies, let’s go get that lard-filled laddy Bow-”
The ground started to shake and Luigi started whimpering and looking around for the source of it. Thump. It was louder. Thump. They could see it now. THUMP. A few slabs of rock bounced off in different directions, some plopping into the lava, some hanging luckily to the edge. A towering shadow loomed over the party.
“-ser,” Scotty finished quickly, scared half to death. They looked up and saw Bowser, who looked more terrifying then ever before.
The mighty Koopa King roared threatingfuly. Katie, Luigi, and Scotty hopped back in fear. Normally Bowser was a little intimidating to those who had never seen him right up close, but now even Mario was shivering a little. This Bowser was different… he had a very blank but disturbing stare. His scales were darker, his teeth plaque-covered and sharp as razors. His muscles had broadened, the wristbands tightened around his flesh, ready to burst if Bowser got any bigger. His hair was now a flaming orange, more messed up and disorganized, bristles sticking out at random points. He now looked more like a freakish mythological beast than just a big turtle that’s an enemy of a fat plumber.
Painfully slowly, the strange new lord of the Koopa Kingdom was inspecting the group, as if he was picking a lamb to send to the slaughterhouse. He stomped forward at his own pace, not bothered at all by the presence of his mortal enemies and their accomplices. The atmosphere was so thick you could cut it with a Spiny. Suddenly, without warning Bowser looked up and howled violently, banging his head upwards insanely. A purple smoke flooded out and he started spewing great masses of purple goop around. This was the group’s cue to beat it out of there.
The posse rushed away from the oncoming dark, runny liquid that was dripping, splashing, and crashing in every direction with sickening splats. It seeped down the sides of the hard stone platforms and into the boiling lava below, subtlely mixing the colors of both dangerous liquids. Bowser had not moved an inch, yet the purple mess coming from within him was somehow coming towards them! It was as if it had a mind of its own…
“Mah goodness! What in the Pit of One Hundred Trials is that stuff?” Scotty shouted. The heavy breathing and confused looks of his partners was enough to know, they had no idea.
Laggardly the strange sludge started to slow down, eventually to a complete halt. It was very eerie. In a strange way, they all wanted it to start chasing them again. They kept moving away, but slower as to see what was going on. Bowser had stopped spitting out the putrid matter, and he too was witnessing the goo wondering what it would do. Now they were all really confused, including Bowser. What happened next, certainly raised a few eyebrows- as well as adrenaline levels.
Mario’s arm and hid behind him, his lip wobbling. All the mass of the liquid
came together… very slowly… very precisely… as if it had blueprints to
what it was going to do. Squelches, crunches, splats, and oozing noises
could be heard. Everyone was standing still, astounded and shocked by the
sight. The liquid had solidified. Dark color spread over it. An eardrum-shattering,
glass-smashing, booming croak came from the throat of the beast. A thundering,
dark, fifty-foot frog was standing there, its eyes a blaze of fury.
Chapter 4: Attack of the 50-ft. Amphibian
There it stood, its eyes glowing mysteriously, scouring into the very hearts of the group. A massive crown, the same color as its flesh, balanced atop its bulbous dark head. Its fists and teeth were tightly clenched, ready for violence and victory. The thing made no noise, but the loud beating of the party’s hearts and Luigi’s squeals were enough to make up for it. The monstrosity look a slow step forward, its foot coming down like a ton of bricks, the ground cracking underneath its weight.
All of a sudden a shrill, nasal shriek echoed through the room and Kamek flew in on a tattered and charred broom. “Nyeh! Mario?! Luigi?! … And who in the world are the rest of you?! Oh, never mind…” Kamek flung his head from side to side and started to sweat. “You have to get out of here now, it’s crazy back there! These… odd, purple creatures have taken over nearly all the castle and they’re absorbing the minions into themselves, or something like that, and- NYAARGH!” The massive frog whipped out its tongue and wrapped it round Kamek’s waist. “Run! Save yourselves! Nyeeeeeeeeergh!” The unnaturally-colored tongue flew back, purple saliva flying, and the beast swallowed loudly.
“I have a feeling that guy in the dress had a point,” Scotty squeaked out.
“RUN!” Katie screamed.
The group dashed away as the gargantuan frog stepped forward at its own pace. The crew could now see that the ‘purple creatures’ Kamek talked about were coming up behind them too, a lot faster than the first one . “Don’t-a worry! We’ll-a be able to make it, just keep running and we’ll-” The front door slammed open, showing a whole army of furious faces. “On second thought…”
“CHARGE!” A Boom Guy bellowed.
The battalion of baddies rushed towards the six unlucky souls, never stopping to look back. “Not even an army of your own can stop the Koopa Troop, fools!” a Boomerang Bro cackled.
Harry rolled his eyes and groaned. “GO! We can get past these pansies!” Scotty ordered. Mario nodded and signaled to jump over them.
“What?!” a Big Bully exclaimed. “Why are they heading towards u- Oh no.” Mario leapt from minion to minion, Scotty clinging onto his head. Harry and Luigi cautiously hopped behind them while Guy carried Katie out safely. Little did they know they’d have to do a lot more than jumping to get out of this mess.
The tremendous toad was now gaining on them. It had now started to stomp its way through the minions at the front of the formation. The strange purple creatures emerging from behind were now close too. That was the Koopa Troop’s problem now, though, the group was nearly out the door, the dimwitted enemies powerless to stop them. Until Mario slipped on a Chill Bully.
“Wah wah wah! Woah!” Mario yelped as he tripped to the floor, flinging Scotty to the ground as well. Harry and Luigi screeched to a halt in shock and shouted for Guy to help. As if this wasn’t bad enough, another looming shadow was cast across the stone beneath them. Mario, Scotty, Harry, Luigi, and the rest of them looked up. It was Mecha Bowser: forty feet of pure steel power, installed with Bullet Bill Launchers, a flamethrower, cannons, massive flesh-ripping claws, and laser vision. The Koopa Troop must have thrown in nearly all of their funds to make a second one of these.
“Eep,” Scotty squeaked. A deafening metallic groan came from Mecha Bowser as it turned its head down to aim for Mario. Hastily, seeing an opportunity, some Paratroopas seized the portly plumber down and smiled devilisly. Some more Goombas, Pokeys, Dry Bones, and Charging Chucks held him and Scotty down too.
“Nice knowing you fellas.” Mario shut his eyes tightly, hearing the sound of a massive laser charging up. A loud clunk sounded and a blinding light, and a huge laser emitted from the mouth of this bionic beast. Before this could happen though, Luigi kicked the enemies out of the way and pushed Mario out of the way just in time. Luckilly the laser missed Scotty and ended up scorching some unlucky Paratroopas instead. A huge scorched spot was left from the impact. There was no time for talk though, Luigi helped Mario and Scotty up and they all ran on, skillfully dodging cannonballs, lasers, flames, and more, all hurtling towards them.
The Koopa Troop were out-numbered by these florescent freaks and their immense leader. They were getting crushed, sliced, boiled, and swallowed. They had killed an enemy or two by chance, but they seemed practically invincible. Some troops were smart enough to retreat from this great threat, but most kept fighting on nevertheless. Mecha Bowser had now acquired a larger target than Mario. It shot ten speedy missiles from its forearms, smoke billowing out from their behinds. The missiles seemed to barely move the overgrown frog one bit though, but just seemed to pass right through it…
Reinforcements were being called in to help. This was getting insane, the Koopa Troop would not let this madness takeover their beloved leader’s castle, no matter if he was dead or not. Doomships flooded in from above, tanks, helicopters, and mecha-spiders were grouping around too. More ammo drifted through the air, smashing the castle to bits. Bricks flew, floors crumbled, roofs fell in, pillars tumbled to their doom. Fighters from both sides were passing on…
The minions inside had decided to ignore them for now, their goal now to get rid of the amazingly large amphibian and its army. Some stragglers attempted feebly to attack the party now, but they were quickly done for. Tanks, doomships and more madly blasted away in all directions, destroying everything in sight. Hundreds of dark, smoking craters were popping up across the already dark and rocky land. The group stayed determined and just kept going on, maneuvering around corpses, projectiles, minions, and flames. This wasn’t a castle anymore, it was a battlefield. Soldiers were using fallen doomships as forts, smashed glass, and wreckage strewn about the place. Oddly, there no signs of blood though...
This didn’t matter though, what mattered was to get as far away as possible. After a solid sprint away, they collapsed breathless and aching behind a scorched tree and witnessed the war from a distance. They sat in silence, except for their heavy breaths and wheezes, as they saw it. They could see the castle wobbling, the structures weakened and nearly broken due to the careless aim of the fighters. The great citadel gave one final tremble and crashed down, dust piling above it, minions flying and corpses lying motionless. The survivors retreated; some just fell to their knees and sobbed. The purple menace had disappeared…
All of the party were now fully refreshed and breathing normally again. Fortunately, Luigi had brought some Chuckola Cola and 1-Up Mushrooms. They dusted themselves down, and smartened themselves up. Luigi piped up and said, “So, um-a... Where do we-a go now?”
Mario scratched his chin and thought. “We should-a probably go to-a Peach’s Castle. For-a one, to warn the princess; and two, because-a she’s probably kidnapped-a by now.” Mario said a little giggle at the end.
“Won’t the guards there, just try to kill us like back then?” Scotty asked.
“Don’t-a worry, we’ll tell them you’re good,” Luigi smiled. Nobody had any objections to this.
“Well, what are we waiting or? Let’s-a go!” Mario whooped.
The group set off for Peach’s Castle- watching their backs for any unfriendly visitors.