Our story begins in the early history of the Mushroom Kingdom, predating the Mario era by about 3,000 years. Back then it wasn’t called the Mushroom Kingdom, it only being a small settlement of Toads at the time. The area back then was uncharted, and people weren’t very familiar with the surrounding terrain.
There did, however, exist a very advanced society- for the time, anyway- located on and around Mt. Rugged. The civilization was comprised of a predominantly large Shy Guy population. There were, however, some Mousers and Toads among them. Most importantly, there were the Koopa elite. The Koopas were of mostly “noble” birth, and held most positions of power in the kingdom. The Koopas decided the laws of the city without much, if any, opinion from the other groups.
There was one Koopa who ruled over the city from inside his large mansion in the nearby Forever Woods. He was the single leading Koopa of the purest blood. He was known as Tutankoopa, and his word was the law of the land of Kairo. He was the god of the world, he told his people, and so they worshipped him. He had no proof that this was true, but he had so much power, who could argue with him? He could ask that they paint the entire city red, and his people would do just that. Tutankoopa had been ruling for over 15 years, ever since he was 3. He became the ruler after his father died, and his father before that. He was fairly fit, stood up straight, and had a feeling of power that emanated from him. He wore a variety of beautiful and intricate shells, but his favorite remained a plain, gold shell.
The young king grew restless. Despite his ever-growing wealth, he wanted more. He didn’t want to have a life that he would remember when he became old; he wanted to have a life that the world would remember when it got old. He always talked with his advisors when he had a problem. There was Koople, his military commander; Konneticut, his political advisor; and his Counsel of the Sky, which possessed spiritual connections with the celestial objects. There were the Moon Sage, the Plit Sage, and the Sun Sage.
Konneticut was a Koopa of average stature and middle age, and he had a moderate light blue shell; that is to say, it wasn’t very fancy. He had known Tutankoopa since he was born, having been a minor assistant to his father. He had learned much about the politics of Kairo while growing up. He had always been close to Tutankoopa, serving as his caretaker after his father passed. He always tried to lead him in what he felt was the right direction to make him a responsible king.
Koople was much younger than Konneticut and had less experience and knowledge of the complexities of the politics in Kairo. However, Tutankoopa still held him in very high esteem, having been good friends when they were children. Koople was only one year older than the king. He was also very burly. He sported an extravagant red shell that fit perfectly with his ego. Rather than opt to pursue knowledge, he chose to continue improving on his natural athletic ability. Eventually he joined Kairo’s armed forces and moved up to the highest rank of commander. Koople was the most influential character in the city after Tutankoopa.
Tutankoopa: Gentlemen, I have a problem that I seek advice on.
Plit Sage: How may we assist you, my liege?
Konneticut: Perhaps you require another tour over the cliffs of the mountain?
Tutankoopa: No, nothing like that. What I desire is to be well known throughout the world.
Moon Sage: But you are, my Lord! Everyone in the kingdom will forever remember your name, Tutankoopa the II!
Tutankoopa: Yes, but will the next generation of children remember my name? Will they remember my name over the countless other kings that have ruled over this land? What I wish is to accomplish a feat so great that history will beg to have me written down in its annals!
There was a long, thoughtful pause in the room. Finally, the Moon Sage spoke up.
Sun Sage: Sire, your great great grandfather Koopus the Splendid is famed for building the mansion we are living in now. With a building that rivals the greatness of this most royal abode, you will surely not be forgotten.
Plit Sage: Indeed, the reign of Koopus was not a forgettable one.
Koople: Where would we build a building of that size? I can’t think of a place like that in the kingdom…
Konneticut: The cost of building a structure that large is far greater than what this kingdom can afford. The idea should be scrapped altogether!
Tutankoopa: As much as the idea appeals to me, Konneticut has a point.
Moon Sage: Nonsense! If the city applied its resources, the citizens could surely construct this magnificent building.
Sun Sage: With the Koopas directing the Shy Guys, Toads, and Mousers the project could be arranged to be started within the month!
Koople: Think of the fame that you would get from the people!
Tutankoopa: You’re right! Such an achievement is easily within my grasp!
Konneticut: No, it is not. There is not enough gold in the kingdom to pay the workers to construct this building and carry out their regular chores at the same time.
Tutankoopa: Bah! Again with the kindness to the peasantry! I will not be denied my entry into the history books just because some peasants have to work a little extra.
Konneticut: The lower classes are already growing restless. They feel that, as a god, you should be able to offer them more luxury. This abusive proclamation may cause a backlash from the peasant class.
Koople: And should such an uprising occur, my exceptionally trained battalions will stomp on the rioters!
Konneticut: An unnecessary risk that should not be taken! The idea of this enormous building is rubbish!
Koople: Are you questioning the strength of my troops?
Koople proceeded to walk towards Konneticut menacingly before being restrained by the Moon and Plit Sages.
Tutankoopa: I’ve heard enough! Koople, you need to manage that temper of yours! Konneticut, you need to learn your place in this counsel! I hereby dismiss this meeting.
The Sun Sage walked Koople out of the room as Konneticut left through the doorway on the opposite side of the room. The Moon and Plit Sages remained with the king.
Moon Sage: Sire, what are your plans for the future?
Plit Sage: Think about other great kings, you could be one of them.
Tutankoopa felt slightly pressured; the decision he was about to make would ultimately change the fate of his kingdom forever. The information that was given to him by Konneticut left a lasting impression on him, but as Koople said, world-renowned fame was at stake.
Tutankoopa: I will tell the leading nobles… to start organizing the peasants into groups. They will be starting a large project very soon.
The grand Forever Mansion was located on the edge of the Forever Woods, just a few miles from the urban center around Mt. Rugged. The mansion was built only 150 years ago, by his great great grandfather. The building was aging, but workers had kept up maintenance of the mansion. There were two staircases in the building, one of which connected the first floor with the second floor while the other which connected the second with the third. The large bedroom on the third floor was where the king stayed.
Every day towards the end of the night, a grand dinner was held in a room on the ground floor. The Counsel would dine here, along with several members of the elite class. The king would sit at the head of the table, all of his subjects sitting in front of him, while they all feasted on delicious foods prepared by Toad chefs. They were the best that the city could provide, after all. Often the king would announce news of his plans for the city of Kairo at these feasts.
Tutankoopa: Attention, everyone! Before we end our day with this feast, I have news of a great project that our town will begin tomorrow. This project will affect the way the entire world will remember me, your king.
At this point there was some commotion in the room. There were whispers going around the room as the Koopas speculated what this project might be among themselves. The Sages and Koople, to the king’s right, already knew the decision that the king had made. Koople smirked in the direction of Konneticut, who was across from him, with a feeling of triumph. Konneticut simply turned away, seemingly unconcerned with Tutankoopa’s announcement.
Tutankoopa: Friends, let it be known now! I plan to build an immense palace, as homage to me, for my excellence at my position. The city will devote itself to the completion of this palace, and afterwards I shall reside in it. No more will we be subjugated to meeting in this tiny house! The structure that I am proposing will be fifty times the size of this!
The motivating speech spurred uproar and applause from the crowd. Everyone stood up and began praising the king with compliments.
Koopa with Jeweled-Shell: Our lord never ceases to amaze!
Azure-Shelled Koopa: Your fame will be everlasting!
Koople: A wise choice, Tut.
The cheers he was receiving gave Tutankoopa a great sense of pride. All of his subjects were approving of this decision. The Sages were lightly clapping and nodding approvingly, and Koople smiled and clapped loudly. However, as Tutankoopa turned to his left, he didn’t see his former caretaker, Konneticut. “He must have left to attend to another matter,” he told himself. He wouldn’t let this trivial matter worry him: there was a feast to be had and subjects that were awaiting him.
Tutankoopa: All right, everyone, settle down, now! Now, although I do not know the details of this project yet, I can assure you that my Counsel and I will run through it and tell you at the earliest possibility. Now please, everyone, enjoy your dinner!
Everyone sat down and began to eat their food. Koople turned to Tutankoopa.
Koople: That was a great speech, Tut. I think you got the whole room into this idea, now.
Tutankoopa: Yes… We should work out the details of the project tomorrow.
Koople: I am really proud of you for going through with this.
Tutankoopa: Yes, but… was it the right choice? Konneticut warned that-
Koople: Forget Konneticut! He didn’t even stay for the announcement. Come to mention it, where is that old bag?
Tutankoopa: I cannot say that I know.
Koople: It doesn’t matter. What you need to do is enjoy your dinner, get a good night’s sleep, and we’ll get this project started tomorrow!
Tutankoopa: I suppose you are right, Koople.
Koople: Tut, I KNOW I’m right, just listen to me and we’ll be great!
The dinner passed as usual, the Koopas leaving the mansion after dessert to go back to their homes, Koople included. The Sages went to their resting area near the temple at the top of Mt. Rugged. Tutankoopa remained alone in the dining hall, thinking, long after the last guest left. He remained there thinking about Konneticut, and why he’d left. “Does it even matter?” he thought. “I’ll just see him again tomorrow.”
He got up, climbed the first flight of stairs, and passed by the first room. It was Konneticut’s room, and after a quick peek inside, Tutankoopa saw that he was not there. Confused and worried, he continued up the stairs and into his own room, to wait for the next day’s meeting. He lay in his bed with his eyes open the entire night.
To Be Continued...
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