July 9th, 10:00. All was quiet in the Mushroom Kingdom. Today was the mayor of Toad Town's birthday, and the entire town had wiped out after the frivolous partying. Only Mario was still awake, re-reading the same letter over and over. He had received it six hours ago, and though he ignored the closed envelope at first, it pulled at him with a hungering curiosity. He had read it at 6:00, and then again every hour. He had little else to do, as he was bedridden due to a miserable illness that had crept up on him a day ago. Luigi, nervous and embarrassed, politely reported that he would be going to the party, where, unbeknownst to him, he would stuff his face with cake and collapse on a rickety bench. And so it was, hours later, that Mario would be all alone in his house, reading a bizarre letter, and then hearing a slight creaking sound at his door.
Mario: Luigi? Is that you?
There was no answer, and Mario was starting to feel a nervous chill. The bedroom was around the edge of a short hallway that ended at the front door. If something was going to attack, Mario would have little warning. Mario climbed out of bed, stopping to lean himself against the bed's frame. Another creaking sound echoed down the hallway, and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of Mario's head. He would not normally have been so nervous, but the strange letter and his sickness were giving him a mild dementia that seemed to ensnare his head. Pushing off the side of the bed, Mario managed to stand up straight, but with his vision slowly throbbing, giving a slight spinning sensation.
Still nothing, yet-! Another creaking sound. Maybe it was Luigi, but...
Mario: If you're not Luigi, then you're trespassing, and this is-
A shot fired out of the darkness of the hallway, scorching Mario's shoulder and hitting his bed, enflaming it. Mario half-stumbled to the floor and crouched back against the side of the wall next to the door. Mario's mind quickly sped through the possibilities. Something that could use fire as a weapon...Bowser?! No... Bowser couldn't be so quiet.
Mario: Who are you? What do you want?
Still no vocal reply, but instead another fireball. It hit Luigi's bed this time, burning the fine green fabric on his bed.
Mario: You just burned silk! That's it! (Hope whoever it is doesn't have spikes...)
To the best of his sickened body’s ability, Mario rolled into the hallway and tackled whatever was out there. Reaching at the creature’s face, he found and pulled off a pair of glasses.
Mario: A Magikoopa! How did I not guess?
The Magikoopa fired off another fireball, right past Mario's head. The ceiling ignited, and the hallway was bathed with light. Able to see more clearly, Mario directed a thick punch to the Koopa's face, slamming its head back, as Mario crunched the glasses in his fist. Mario then quickly grabbed the wand and snapped it in two, throwing it back into the bedroom.
Mario grabbed the Magikoopa’s arms and slammed him onto the ground again.
Mario: Don't get angry at me, pal, I ain't the one breaking into other’s homes.
Magikoopa: Curse you!
Mario: If I were you, I would not be insulting this angry plumber. Now what are you doing here- did Bowser send you?
The Magikoopa spit in Mario's face.
Magikoopa: What do you think... pal?
In a continued example of surprising strength, Mario pulled himself and the Koopa off the ground, and threw the Magikoopa against the wall.
Mario: I'm not in the mood for sarcasm. Is Bowser after Peach again?
At this point, a small drip of blood was drooling out of the side of the Koopa's mouth.
Magikoopa: Gahh... Of course he's after Peach! He knows about the party today... All those fools in town are going to be knocked out from the drugged cake... You were supposed to as well...
Mario: Drugged cake?! You don't mess with cake... Grr, I've got to get to Peach...!
Mario dropped the Magikoopa and ran out of the now-flaming house. Drowsiness from his sickness was pounding at his head, causing an intense state of confusion. Randomly tearing through the woods, Mario was soon lost.
Mario: Agh... Toad Town... where was it...?
Wandering for another hour, Mario stumbled into a field of Fire Flowers in a predictably forest-clear area.
Mario: Fire Flowers...? Where am I? Agh... my head...
A splitting was invading his head. Mario sat down and tried to catch his breath. He was quickly interrupted by something leaping at his back. The Magikoopa had returned, and was now clawing at Mario's face, cutting his cheeks.
Magikoopa: You think I'm going to abandon my mission? You've got another thing comin', you Italian ba-
Mario uprooted a Fire Flower and burst raging fire into the Koopa's face. The Magikoopa got a final flaming slash in before falling to the ground in a fiery death. Mario's entire face was bleeding from scrapes at this point. Mario fell onto his back, gasping, a sudden rush of darkness suddenly approaching him.
Everything faded out of view.
... Total darkness.
Suddenly... a voice...
???: Ahh...! A new guest!
Mario slowly opened his eyes. His headache was gone, and he did not feel any bleeding. Mario looked down and saw that he was sitting in a blue chair, made out of some kind of fabric-
???: Welcome to the Velvet Room!
The figure speaking was a long-osed, balding man, with stark white hair, strangely bulging and bloodshot eyes, and strongly curved eyebrows.
???: My name is Igor. I am delighted to make your acquaintance.
Mario looked around the room. Igor was sitting in a blue chair, with a table in front of him. There was a black door on the right wall, and on the back wall a large window stretching up to an unknown ceiling. Outside was darkness and thunder.
Mario: Velvet... Room...?
Igor: This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter.
Mario: What...? So this is a dream?
Igor: Precisely, you are fast asleep in the real world as we speak. This visit of yours is merely a dream.
Mario: Well, what are you doing in my dreams...? And who are you? And what-
Igor: Now now. There will be time for answers later. What is important now is what you must know.
Igor spread a series of 21 cards seemingly out of the air onto the table. They are all facing downward, with a blue mask-like face on their backs.
Igor: In twenty-one days, a great calamity will befall your world. If the twenty-one days pass, your world will surely be broken.
Mario: Broken?! Twenty-one days?!
Igor: However... if you can gather the Major Arcana before then...
The 21 cards sorted into a single deck.
Igor: You have... a rather excellent chance of salvation.
Mario: Are you going to explain anything?
Igor: There are twenty-one Major Arcana... twenty-one people in your world that embody the spirit of a Card. If you can gather them at the appointed place...
Mario: The spirit of a Card?
Igor: The Major Arcana is a series of Cards that represent the soul and spirit. You must have all of them to save your world. Fortunately, your task will be somewhat easier than others... you will know who is an Arcana just by seeing them.
Mario: How do I know you're telling the truth? Besides, I've got to get to Peach before-
Igor: The Lovers have already been taken by The Devil. I'm afraid you'll have to track them down.
Mario: The-The what? Are you insane?
Igor: It is time for you to go. I have already taken up much of your time. It is morning in your world, and as I have said, The Lovers and The Devil are already gone. Goodbye.
Igor: Oh, take this. When you need to return...and I do mean, when you NEED to... you'll need to use this.
Igor handed Mario a small, blue Key.
Mario: What is this? A Velvet Key?
Igor: Exactly. Goodbye.
In the strangest awakening of his life, Mario suddenly found himself with his eyes wide open, bright sunlight glowing all around. He felt perfectly awake. His headache and bleeding were still gone... even in the real world. Reaching into his pocket, he found the Velvet Key... had it not been a dream?
Mario: ... I've got to find Luigi. And then we need to rescue Peach.
To Be Continued...
|If you would like to send some feedback
to the author of this submission, please complete this form.
What's your name?
What's your Email address?
How do you rate this submission?
Does this submission belong in Little
Would you like to see more from this author?
Comments and suggestions: