“That which is Mole-ish, must Sabotage. That which is clueless… must go home,” said a Monty Mole, sporting a black tie and hat. He stood in front of a great sunset on a sandy beach. “Last night, we lost Lakitu Spine. Now we are down to seven contestants, 6 competing to win the grand prize. One question remains unanswered. Who is… the Mole?”
Name: Clubba Snorr
Homeland: Gutsy Gulch
Name: Koops Pettle
Homeland: Petal Meadows
Job: Law Student
Name: Toad Fungi
Homeland: Toad Town
Name: Kammy Koopa
Homeland: Dark Land
Job: Retired Architect
Name: Koopatrol Shells
Homeland: Dark Land
Job: Security Guard
Name: Wrinkly Kong
Homeland: DK Island
Job: Retired Teacher
Name: Chuck Chargin
Homeland: Donut Plains
Job: Minor-League Football Player
The Monty Mole continued. “It is morning on the island known as Yoshi’s Tropical Island. The players will wake up shortly,” he said, reaching into his pocket. He quickly pulled out an air horn, which he then sounded. “PACK UP!” he screamed. “WE’RE LEAVING IN A HALF AN HOUR!”
“What IS that awful noise!” said Kammy, toppling out of her hammock.
“Probably Fred, just finding a way to wake us up,” said Wrinkly, slipping her shows on.
***Wrinkly: We are down to seven! I am so pleased that I was able to make it this far. It just shows that age doesn’t necessarily matter.
***Kammy: What? You think I should feel surprised that I’m still here?! I’m the great Kammy Koopa! I shall win this competition for sure! You’d better believe it…
“I swear I’m going to kill Fred,” grumbled Chuck as he got dressed.
“Hey, just be glad you get to stay around for a couple more days,” said Koopatrol. “That’s how I feel after every execution.”
“Pfft, I wouldn’t go home anyways,” said Chuck, brushing his teeth. Koopatrol eyed him suspiciously.
***Chuck: I’ve been taught to have confidence no matter what happens. Sure, I know that I could go home at any minute, but I don’t want others to know that I think that! It’s called intimidation. Look it up.
***Koopatrol: I’ve been very paranoid about the identity of the Mole recently. Now that we’re down to seven, there’s a one in seven chance that I’m going home tomorrow night. Scratch that; a one in six chance.
Clubba stuffed her clothes into her bag, looking around the empty cabin.
***Clubba: I found it pretty hard to sleep last night. I mean, besides from the terrible conditions that the bungalow is in, I just felt so alone without Lakitu here. We had become such close friends! (Sigh) Is it too late to make an alliance with anyone else?
Koops and Toad were the first out of the bungalows and sat down at the table, helping themselves to breakfast.
***Koops: You don’t know how happy I am to still be here! When I looked around on that first day, I saw how everyone else was doing so well and I didn’t think I would last until the second episode. Luckily for me, I was wrong! Let’s just see how I can do from here.
***Toad: Down to seven… I don’t really know what you want me to say… I’m not shocked that I made it, but I wasn’t 100% sure that I was staying…
Fred sat at the front of table, holding yet another newspaper. Soon, the other competitors came and sat around the table. Fred grinned.
“It’s nice to see you all up so early!” he chuckled, looking at the tired expressions on everyone’s faces. “Are you all ready for breakfast?”
“Of course we are!” whined Kammy, “I’m starving!” Suddenly the Super Mario Brothers theme flew through the players’ ears again.
“One second,” said Fred, reaching into his pocket. He took out a sleek black cell phone, which he put to his ear. “Yeah… uh-huh… Ok, we’re ready.”. He closed the device and shoved it back into his pocket. “Sorry guys,” he said, looking around the table, “but our plane is here. I guess breakfast will have to wait.” Everyone at the table groaned. “Well,” continued Fred, “let's go catch our flight!”
The players had arrived back at the airport and found their usual private plane sitting on the runway. The players carefully boarded the plane and took their seats. After sitting around for a couple minutes, the plane picked up off of the ground and carried the players away from the island.
“So,” said Chuck, who was sitting next to Koops and Koopatrol, “did you guys come up with a plan yet?” He let the words seep into the other players, who stared at him displaying annoyed grimaces.
“Wait wait WAIT,” said Koopatrol, agitated, “Didn’t you say earlier we didn’t need a plan?”
“Don’t remember saying that,” said Chuck, pretending to think, “but you guys have to have a plan, so what is it?”
“Um…” stuttered Koops
***Koops: Being in a coalition with Chuck can really make you want to pull your hair out-er… metaphorically that is. He’s just a tad too… sure of himself…
“We don’t really have one yet,” said Koopatrol, in a monotonic voice. “I guess it slipped our minds.”
“Perfectly fine,” said Chuck, grabbing a soda from the cart passing by their seats. “I’ll give you guys until the end of the plane ride to think of one.” He took a sip from the soda, tossed it aside, and closed his eyes.
***Koopatrol: To be honest, I don’t know how long this coalition will last. I can’t speak for Koops, but Chuck is driving me absolutely crazy! I don’t know why I even started an alliance with him in the first place! What to do, what to do…
“I’d love a glass of water, please,” said Wrinkly to the Koopa Troopa pushing the beverage cart down the desolate isles of the private plane. He poured the glass and handed it to the elderly monkey.
“Give me a glass of tonic water, and make it snappy,” said Kammy, lacking energy. The Koopa handed her the drink.
“Something the matter?” Wrinkly asked her sympathetically.
“Why of course not!” said Kammy, immediately raising her head, “I’m just tired, that’s all!”
“If you insist,” said Wrinkly, taking a small sip of her beverage. She slowly shifted in her seat. “Say, Kammy?”
“What,” Kammy said indifferently.
“I’m almost positive we’ve been acting in such a way, but I’m afraid we haven’t made it official. Would you like to be in a coalition with me?”
***Kammy: How DARE she suggest such a thing! I’m the great and powerful Kammy Koopa! I need no such coalitions to win this game! Someone like ME doesn’t need that kind of help! I can master this game all on my own!
“I see no harm,” said Kammy, rubbing the back of her neck, “I don’t know why not… How about it?”
***Kammy: Well, I did feel REALLY bad for Wrinkly, and thought she deserved a better shot at the money. So I aligned myself with her to make her feel better. GOT IT?!
“Just a coffee,” said Toad with his face buried behind the day’s newspapers.
“I’ll take a Sprite,” said Clubba. The Koopa handling the beverage cart met these two orders and disappeared. Toad and Clubba sat down next to each other, but only due to the fact that Clubba followed him intently upon their arrival on the plane. She stared over at Toad every now and then to subtlety catch his attention. After this had gone on for quite some time, Toad sighed and put down his newspaper.
“Is there something that you need?” he asked, crossly.
“Nothing, nothing,” said Clubba, pretending not to care in the slightest. Toad picked his newspaper back up and began to read once again.
***Clubba: I’ve decided that to win this game, I’ll need to find another coalition partner. I mean, the reason Bow went home is because she didn’t have one. Well, I know she technically sent herself home, but still! It seems that every player except Toad is taken, so he’ll have to do. I’m not going to lose this game JUST because my old partner went home.
“Hey, Toad?” Clubba asked.
“What?” he asked, not looking up from his paper.
“How’s the game going?”
“Feeling good about the executions?”
“Look,” said Toad, cutting her short, “If you’re here to interrogate me about my suspects, Wrinkly beat you to it. I’m done with that nonsense.”
“Don’t be silly!” she laughed falsely, “I just want to get to know you better. Is that such a crime?”
“YES!” he screamed suddenly. The sudden dynamic change forced Clubba to spring up from her seat. She remained quiet for the remainder of the plane ride.
The plane slowly came to a halt and the players slowly dismounted. What they saw was pretty spectacular: They had landed in the middle of a huge desert. Well, not exactly a desert. In fact, not really a desert at all. It was more like a town situated at the bottom of a large cliff set in rugged terrain. A salty air once again filled the player’s nostrils, but it was a completely different aroma than the one that had appeared before the players in their previous location. Looking around, they saw dozens of small wooden buildings, and a large railroad encircling the whole city. Fred was the last off the plane.
“Welcome to Western Land!” he said, enthusiastically. “This old mining town was built by settlers roughly half a century ago. While it hasn’t expanded or evolved much since then, it is still quite a decent place. This would normally be the time to tell you to explore, or to go on a short walk to some destination, but it is already time for us to begin our next challenge!”
“Really,” said Chuck, annoyed, “you’re not even going to give us a chance to settle in?” Fred ignored him.
“Now, today’s mission is called ‘Deaf, Dumb, and Blind’,” continued Fred. “You may be pleased to know that you each have a family member or friend here!”
“NO WAY!” said Koopatrol, with his eyes bolted open.
“You heard me correctly,” said Fred. “Each and every one of you has a loved one here. However, they are all currently hiding around town, under strict instruction to stay where they are and remain silent. Your goal is to find them.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard,” said Clubba, smiling, “I mean, we all know what our loved ones look like, and this is a pretty small town as far as I can see.”
“Ah,” said Fred, “But you won’t be looking for your own loved one. Each player is assigned to look for someone else’s loved one. That means, you guys will have to guess about their appearances.
“Ok,” said Chuck annoyed, “now this just sounds impossible.”
“Do not fret!” said Fred, “There will be hidden clues around the town to help you locate them. For each loved one found, 7,000 dollars will be added to the pot. Oh, and if a loved one isn’t found before the game’s 2-hour time limit is up, then they will be sent back to where they came from and will not stay with you guys. Oh, and one last thing.” Fred stepped back on the plane for a moment and came back out bearing seven pairs of earmuffs and pieces of cloth. “You guys will be wearing these earmuffs and these cloths around your mouth, so communication should be futile.”
“Isn’t that a bit overkill?”asked Clubba. Fred ignored her.
“Now, here are the assignments: Clubba, you will be searching for Toad’s girlfriend, Toadette.”
Toad’s eyes widened. “Toadette’s here?” he mumbled to himself.
“Toad, you’re searching for Wrinkly’s husband, Cranky Kong.” continued Fred. “Wrinkly, you’ll be searching for Chuck’s sister, Charlotte Chargin. Chuck, you’ll be finding Koopatrol’s girlfriend, Koopatraci. Koopatrol, you’ll be looking for Koops’s dad, Koopley. Koops, you will search for Kammy’s husband, Kamek. And lastly, Kammy will search for Clubba’s best friend Magikoopa.”
***Koops: Was this a high-stakes challenge or what! I mean, I definitely want to see my dad, and I’m sure everyone else wants to see their relatives, too! Would the mole really sabotage at a time like this? The game can be stressful, and seeing family or a friend can make it that much easier.
“Your challenge,” said Fred, “begins NOW!”
Immediately the 7 players ran off in completely different directions, all hoping that their missions would be a success.
2 hours remain
Koopatrol peered into an old barn, and, to his dismay, didn’t see anyone.
***Koopatrol: Boy, was this challenge a doozy. The only leads I’m going by are one, I’m looking for a Koopa; and two, the Koopa probably looks like Koops. I’m at least hoping that Chuck can find Traci. If I don’t get to see her…
Koopatrol was about to leave, when he froze in his tracks. Something had caught his eye. He moved around to the side of the barn, and saw a piece of paper stuck to it by a push pin. He quickly read the note.
***Looking for Koopley? Here’s a hint: In Temples, Every Man Stops Hanging Onto Prayers
Koopatrol looked at this with confusion. Wanting to express his confusion verbally, he was disappointed by the cloth hiding his mouth. Unable to speak, he thought to himself.
Clubba wondered by a row of buildings, peering though each of the windows to see if she could find anyone who even resembled a Toad. Unable to find anyone, she sighed. She got many weird looks from residents of the old town.
***Clubba: I’m just going to go ahead and guess that the villagers down in Western Land don’t often see people who were wearing what we were. I would explain it to them, but the looks on their faces are so funny I don’t want to spoil it. And, you know, I’m physically incapable of it.
The row of buildings ended up transforming into a curve of buildings, which ended in a particularly long building displaying a sign that read “Cranky Station” and a clock that was frozen on the time 9:00. Clubba took note of the phenomenon and took time to reflect over it.
Toad wandered a particularly desolate street of the normally rambunctious town, and noticed that the majority of the buildings had no signs up. “This must be a residential area,” he thought to himself, trying to deduce where a cantankerous simian old grouch could be located. He walked down the road and noticed that not a single one of these buildings were commercial. He kicked a pebble across the dirt path and noted a small building with an exterior packed with crowds of pedestrians. As he neared the building, he could clearly make out the words “Koopa Bank”. Not knowing what other options he had, he swiftly entered the bank.
Chuck marched around the mining town with bravado, his arrogant eyes roaming over the crowds of residents, searching for a Koopa with confidence. Quite some distance from the areas of the town littered with buildings, he strode across the rugged terrain of the outskirts of the town. Having no luck with locating anything, he deciding to slightly avert his attention from the crowds and onto the inanimate objects, searching for hints.
Koops looked nervously around the area, seeing if anyone resembling Kammy was present.
***Koops: To be honest, I’ve actually met Kamek before. Well, I’ve seen Kamek before, but close enough. I was at some party with Mario and he showed up uninvited and captured Princess Peach. I believe I got a good look at him, though…
He took a couple steps back and leaned carefully against the dusty cliffside. Trying to figure out his location, he observed his surroundings. To his right: a peculiar, barrel-shaped structure displaying the words “Milk Bar”. To his left: a poorly constructed metal building, which appeared to be made out of loose scraps. Peeking his interest, he decided to take a peek inside of the bar.
Wrinkly picked up a map from a wooden information stand stationed just on the exterior of a train station. She carefully studied it and then her surroundings. Using the chart, she deduced that she was currently standing in South Town. Looking around, she observed that the train station was the only building around her. Other than the station, the only things in her presence was a crowded performance stage, an abandoned horse and buggy, a couple of askew barrels, a discarded wheel, and an Indian camping ground, complete with wigwams, totem poles, and a crackling fire. Observing the map a bit more carefully, she noticed something a bit peculiar. A strange watermark existed in the bottom left corner of the map. Looking at it a bit more carefully, she noticed that the sign was a bit familiar: an axe with the letters “WLM” carved into it. Under that were the letters K O O P A T R A C I, all in capital letters.
***Wrinkly: WLM… WLM… I know I’ve seen this before, but where? I just needed a second to think.
Kammy turned the corner and immediately bumped into someone. Both she and the other person fell to the ground. “Watch where you’re going!” she tried to say, yet found herself unable to do. She made eye contact with the other person and realized that the person was in fact Clubba. Not exactly knowing what to do, the two regained their balance and got up from the dusty road. Still uncertain, the two weakly waved to each other and went on their separate ways.
***Clubba: Eer, quite awkward if you ask me. We couldn’t really say or hear anything so… there’s really nothing we could’ve done. It’s really hard for this to be a team game, you know?
Kammy brushed the dust off of her hat and looked around, searching for anyone who looked like a Magikoopa. She turned at 360 degrees a couple of times, but stopped when her eyes met a lone figure in a nearby graveyard. Moderately curious, she stepped towards the cemetery.
Koopatrol rounded a corner and his eyes met a tall structure sporting a bell in its highest tower. A tan sign outside displayed the words “Western Land Church”.
***Koopatrol: Honestly, I was only going on one lead, which was that the note talked about prayers and temples. This is the only religious building in the whole of Western Land, so I guess it’ll be my first stop.
Slowly, he entered the building and saw quite a lot of people. However: none of the people he saw even resembled a Koopa. He decided to search through each and every room.
Toad walked into the flooded bank and tried to get a good look around the place. “If anyone is hidden anywhere in this town,” he thought to himself, “it’ll be here.” Slowly shifting his way through the crowds, he saw a silhouette of a lone person standing against the wall on the far side of the room. Curious and suspicious, he slowly made his way over to the lone figure. As he slowly neared the figure, the person in question became more and more familiar. Now excited, he pushed his way through the last remaining people. As he got a great view of the person, his eyes lit up. His eyes focused on the figures hanging purple hair. “Toadette!” he tried to say, yet found himself unable to do so. She smiled and moved her lips, yet it was inaudible to Toad. He pointed at the earmuffs suffocating his ears, and Toadette nodded.
Toad froze for a second, quickly trying to remember who was in search of Toadette. Unable to remember, he slowly walked out of the building, first waving to Toadette. “See you soon,” he thought, “I hope…”
To Koops’s dismay, the milk bar was a relatively rowdy place. Koopas bearing cowboy hats banged their hands on a wooden counter, intently watching a horse race displayed on a shabby TV in the corner of the wooden interior. Koops looked around the room uncomfortably, looking for any of the people that were supposed to be located. To his disappointment, no one of the sort could be found. As he turned around to head out, he was surprised to see the bartender, a Wiggler wearing a fine beige hat, motion for him to come closer. Not really knowing what to do, he decided to walk up to the bartender. Once he made it to the counter, the bartender handed him a feather, showing off shades of white and blue. The bartender then proceeded to hand him a slip of paper displaying the name “Magikoopa”. Koops gave him an awkward thumbs up, and quickly exited the bar. He opened the chest and, to his dismay, found it empty. He sighed as he pondered over his next move.
***Koops: Not only was this challenge high stakes, but it was really hard! If you found a clue, you only had a one in seven shot that it would help you! If only I tried to remember who was looking for who…
Wrinkly sat on the bench of the stage, still trying to jumpstart her hippocampus. As she continued to think, she found it difficult to concentrate due to all of the flashing lights at the performance stage to her left. Very curious about the excitement, she decided to see what could be occurring. As she was about to get up, her sight was immediately blocked by a stream of light. Frightened, she watched the light slow down and turn into a beautiful locomotive.
***Wrinkly: I must say, I am a huge fan of trains. I had completely forgotten about my previous destination once my eyes met the glorious beast.
She walked up to the train, where a Shy Guy stood, selling tickets to board. He stared at her peculiarly and pointed at a sign next to him.
Western Land Tracks
Tickets: 4 coins
West Station-Bank#1, Wiggler Dairy Farms, Western Land Mines
North Station-Church, Graveyard, Charlotte
Wrinkly read the sign carefully, and jumped in excitement when she noticed Charlotte’s name. She was about to take out four coins when she realized something else about the sign: Western Land Mines. She looked back at her map and had a revelation.
***Wrinkly: Western Land Mines! WLM! The pix axe! It all makes sense! Oh, pardon me for yelling, but it was exciting! First, however, I would have to travel to North Station, as it was my goal to locate Charlotte, for Chuck.
Wrinkly handed the Shy Guy four coins and hopped aboard the locomotive.
Still in the dark, Chuck aimlessly wandered around the western side of Western Land. The land was bare, and he was surprised to see a train station and bank all of the way out here. He stepped up to the station’s platform, no longer featuring a jump in his step. He looked around and saw the train in the distance, speedily arriving. He impatiently tapped his foot as the train approached and slowed down. Once at a halt, the doors opened and a Shy Guy popped out. Chuck walked up to him and he pointed to the sign. Chuck’s eyes met the amount of coins, and he tossed them to the Shy Guy, the coins falling at the conductor’s feet. Angry, the Shy Guy pushed Chuck onto the train and waited a bit more for passengers. Chuck looked around the train’s single passenger car, disappointed in its small amount of seats. He noticed only one was open, but the person next to it caught his eye more. He sat down next to her.
“Hello, Chuck!” Wrinkly attempted to say, unable to get used to being unable to speak. Her eyes lit up. Remembering that Chuck was the one locating Koopatraci, she quickly handed him the town map and pointed at the boarded up mine. She then pointed to the door. Chuck, trying to understand what was going on, paused for a second, then decided to dismount from the train. As he walked over to the door, the Shy Guy jumped aboard and closed the door. As he walked over to the engine room, Chuck jogged up to him. He pointed at the train’s door, and brought his hands up in a pleading position. The Shy Guy contemplated for a second, but then recognized the football player’s face. He shook his head and walked up to the engine.
In a huff, Chuck moved to sit back in his seat, but found it taken by a pink Bob-omb. As the train began to move, he leaned against the wall. Grumbling to himself, he lost his balance and lost hold of the newly acquired map. The map fluttered out the window, leaving Chuck an angry shade of red.
“Mmmff!” mumbled Koops as a piece of paper flew into his face. He peeled it off and watched a train fly by off into the distance. His eyes scanned the paper and he discovered it was a map. He looked at his feather, hoping the map would allow him to find Magikoopa, even if she wasn’t his to find. His eyes peered over the slip of paper, hoping to discover who would be looking for the witch.
Slowly, Kammy entered the graveyard. The lone figure ignored her, or so she thought. As she neared, she noticed that the figure didn’t stand in front of a tombstone like she thought, but rather just a pot of flowers. Curious to why someone who wasn’t mourning would stand in a graveyard, she drew nearer and nearer. Once she reached the figure, she noticed who it was.
“Ugh! You’re useless to me!” she thought, staring into the eyes of Cranky Kong. She stormed out of the graveyard as Cranky stared at her strangely.
Clubba stared at a group of fenced in cows as she walked through the town. Still turning the Cranky hint in her mind, she came across a bank titled Koopa Bank. “Weird,” she thought to herself, “I could’ve sworn I saw this building on the other side of town…” She was about to push open the door, but then she noticed a sign in front of the building. It read, “Toadette is in the other.” Clubba lit up when she saw this. Not only was this the person she was seeking, but the hint was so blatantly obvious even a child could understand it. Quickly, she made her way to the other side of town.
Trying to put Toadette out of his mind, Toad tried to think where the producers might’ve put Cranky Kong. Frustrated, he looked around. He must’ve been in the southeast corner of the town, because all he could see was sand, sand, and more sand. He noticed a strange, fenced-in area, which he knew was from the parties that Mario and his friends had held here. He turned around and noticed a large stage, crowds of people flooding around it. How much he hoped to find Clubba so he could tell her about Toadette. Thinking it would be the best place to find someone, he walked up to the stage.
Disappointed, Koopatrol stepped out of the church and sat down on the front steps. He pulled the sticky note out of his pocket and reread the clue.
***Koopatrol: Well, after wasting a half an hour barking up the wrong tree, I decided that the clue must’ve been some sort of word puzzle. The question is: how will I decipher this thing?
Koopatrol reviewed the words over and over in his head, trying to observe these words in any way possible.
All of a sudden, the train stopped. It wasn’t a moderate slow down either, it was a sudden halt. The sudden speed change caused Chuck to topple to the floor. Wrinkly looked upon him with sympathy. After being stranded for a while, the train started heading in the opposite direction. Extremely perplexed, Wrinkly and Chuck shrugged as the train continued in reverse.
With his face buried in the town map, Koops accidentally bumped into someone. “Oops, s-sorry,” he tried to say, but it just turned into “Mmmfs. Mmmh.” He put the map away and his eyes met Kammy’s. She was about to complain, but then caught herself. Koops showed her the slip of paper displaying Magikoopa’s name, hoping Kammy had seen her. Instead, Kammy took the slip of paper and pointed to herself. Kind of understanding, Koops handed her the feather. Kammy stared at it with baffled eyes. The two continued walking in different directions.
Toad waded through the crowds of people, trying to figure out the source of the commotion. As he neared, he realized that a band was performing on the stage. Looking around, he noticed one person on the stage not playing an instrument or moving their mouth. Suspicious, Toad climbed aboard the stage, much to the protest of many spectators. He walked up to the cloaked figure and pulled their hood down. Under it was an old Magikoopa, slightly resembling Kammy. Assuming this was Kamek and not Clubba’s friend Magikoopa, he climbed off the stage, in a new pursuit for Clubba, Cranky, and now Koops.
The church’s bell struck so loudly at the hour change that Koopatrol could hear it the slightest bit from behind his earmuffs. Being the first thing he had heard for an hour, he jumped. He looked behind him and checked the clock: only one hour remained. Still shuffling through thought, Koopatrol thought it over and over, trying to figure out what the note could’ve possibly meant. Going over it again, he realized something curious: every letter was capitalized. He thought about this for a second, thinking if it had significance or if it was merely a typo. “Maybe,” he thought, “Just maybe…” he looked at the capitol letters and put them together in his head. I… T… E... M… he stopped as he reached the word item and his face lit up. He continued. S… H… O… P…
“MMMH!” he exclaimed, gathering a few stares from the people surrounding him. From his spot on the stairs in front of the church, he could see the town’s item shop in plain sight. He sprinted towards it.
Clubba reached the second Koopa Bank, pushed open the front doors, and stepped inside. The bank was much less crowded than it was before, only a few people currently existed in the building. From across the room, Clubba could locate a Mushroom creature leaning against a wall. She swiftly walked up to her, almost positive that this was Toadette. She grabbed her by the wrist. The mushroom didn’t resist, so Clubba assumed this was the right one. They marched out of the small bank and Clubba tried to recall the location of the airport.
The train pulled back in a halt at the west station. Confused, both Wrinkly and Chuck exited the train. Chuck immediately sprinted towards the mine entrance, but Wrinkly loitered for a bit watching the Shy Guy, who once again dismounted from the train. This time however, he hung a sign on the door, reading “Out of order. Not in use for a couple hours.” Wrinkly stared at the sign, understanding that it meant she would have to walk, which would take quite a bit more time. She started her hike in a light jog.
Chuck reached the mine entrance, and immediately noticed that it had been boarded up. A lone mine cart sat on a track leading into the mine. Trying to think of a way to get it, Chuck hatched an idea, noting a tool shed almost immediately to his left. He decided to take a look inside.
No longer following the feather clue, Koops now was unable to think of what he should do next. His face no longer buried into the map, he studied his surroundings, trying to notice any clue possible. He leaned against the cliffside for a second, thinking of his next move. Suddenly something caught his eye. Etched into the cliff in rather large penmanship on his right was a sentence. “Kamek is South of North and East of South” it read, leaving Koops in complete confusion. He decided to look over the map again.
Kammy carefully studied the feather she was handed, trying to see if she could notice anything about it. Completely clueless, she achieved greater levels of frustration as the time passed. She slowly wandered around the small town, hoping to suddenly generate an epiphany. Agitated, she slammed down on a bench on the exterior of the Milk Bar. Stumped, she stared at the feather, trying to notice any particular patterns among it. However, none could be found. It was just a simple feather. Shoving it in her pocket, she took out the note accompanying it. Nothing resided on the slip besides the name Magikoopa. She crossed her arms and tried her hardest to think.
***Kammy: A feather?! Really?! What an insult to clues everywhere! I mean, it was downright impossible! Even a savvy young gal like me couldn’t figure it out!
Chuck exited from the old shack, now possessing a silver saw. He trotted back over to the mine entrance and started mindlessly hacking away at the wooden barriers. As he cut through the wood, he noticed that the planks didn’t fall to the ground when cut through. Wondering about this phenomenon, he observed the wood a bit more carefully. He smacked his forehead.
***Chuck: Saw, Chuck? Really? C’mon! You’re better than that! You should’ve gone for the saw!
Still caressing the saw in his left hand, he speeded back towards the shed. He carefully opened the door. Suddenly he felt a hand on the back of his shoulder. Startled, his hand dropped the saw as he turned around, finding himself face to face with a Koopa Troopa wearing a sheriff’s badge. Chuck attempted to sigh as the officer escorted him to his office.
Koopatrol sprinted into the item shop, looking around for a Koopa who must’ve been at least in his 40s. To his luck, other than the shop keeper, only one Koopa stood inside of the shop. Koopatrol ran up to him and motioned for the Koopa to follow him. The Koopa did so.
Gasping for air, Wrinkly reached the northern train station. She took a seat on a desolate bench adjacent to the station. After her brief rest, she looked around the platform, trying to notice any Koopa Troopa. Unlike Koopatrol, Wrinkly was able to spot quite the abundance of Koopas surrounding her. This obviously being the more populated station, she kindly maneuvered through crowds in search for a Koopa who most likely was the relative of Chuck. Looking around, she noticed quite a handful of female Koopas: a Koopa wearing a ballerina tutu, a Koopa contently listening to an mp3 player, a dapper Koopa wearing a business suit, and a Koopa wearing a light brown fedora resting against the side of the platform. Considering all of these, Wrinkly spotted a Koopa with Chuck’s exact hair color wearing a football jersey. Smiling, she walked up to the Koopa and motioned for her to follow her. Hesitantly, the Koopa gave in and the two started walking towards the airport.
Clubba had returned to the plane and found Fred sitting at the head of a long wooden table. Slightly wondering if it was the same one they had used on Yoshi’s Tropical Island, she walked up to the host, who removed her earmuffs and cloth.
“Thank god,” she panted. “Not talking can be pretty difficult. SO, did I find the right person?”
“I’m afraid you won’t know until everybody’s back,” said Fred, shaking his head. He then pointed at the Toad. “You, would you please step onto the plane?” The Toad nodded and boarded the plane.
“So… now what?” asked Clubba, confused.
“Just take a seat at the table,” said Fred, motioning towards one of the seats. Clubba sat down at the opposing side of the table, tapping her fingers against its wooden surface.
Koops inhaled deeply and rested against the fence of an enclosed area. Realizing his time, he had sprinted the whole length of the town.
***Koops: I was pretty sure that my clue meant for me to travel to the very southeast corner of the town, since southeast is south of north and east of south. One problem, however, it was completely deserted. However, I DID notice a populated area not too far away…
Briskly, Koops marched up to the crowded stage, wondering why so many people would be in this area. Looking closely he did see a couple on the stage, but he couldn’t make out who- or what- they were. He continued on his way, until he saw a familiar figure.
Toad’s eyes met Koops and they immediately ran up to each other. Toad animatedly pointed his arms to the direction of the stage. Taking this as an important clue, Koops did a slight salute to Toad as he sprinted away. Toad walked out of the area, still wondering if he would be reunited with his girlfriend.
As the sheriff escorted him through the town, Chuck worked out his testimony. Once he had a decent one, he remembered: he was incapable of speaking. Distraught, he looked around him, wondering what to do. He realized the risks but decided on one thing: escape was the way to go. When the sheriff wasn’t looking, Chuck made a quick dash away. Now wondering why the old sheriff had not restrained him in some sort of way, he just figured it was because the town was so small, so probably not a huge amount of troublemakers. Wondering if the sheriff had even noticed his escape, he trotted back to scene of his offense, this time grabbing a hammer. Quickly, he sprinted back to the mine and started pulling out all of the nails.
“What a challenge, Fred,” said Koopatrol, as his earmuffs and cloth were removed. As the slightly old Koopa who Koopatrol located stepped onto the plane, Koopatrol dropped down into an empty seat. Koopatrol was about to mention something about the challenge, when all of a sudden, a loud speaker came on.
“Attention,” it called, “we have a rogue first time offender loose in the town. Offense: Attempted robbery. If you see a Koopa Troopa wearing a blue football helmet, please notify the sheriff immediately.”
Fred looked at the other players, filled with a bit of guilt. He smiled as he looked around at the other players.
“Well,” urged Clubba, “aren’t you going to do something?”
“Maybe I should,” said Fred, contemplating the idea. “I’ll see how things play out first.”
Almost immediately after this, Koops and the Magikoopa he had found came running in. He quickly ran over to the table. Fred instructed the old Magikoopa to board the plane, as he undid Koops’s equipment. Koops smiled, still not speaking, and sat down at the table.
“Don’t you have anything to say?” Koopatrol asked curiously.
“Not in particular,” said Koops, smiling. “I got used to the whole not-talking thing.”
Kammy direly studied the feather, extremely distraught. “Maybe,” she thought, “maybe I could show it to people, and they could motion something for me.” Really not having any other options, she decided to go through with her plan. She stood around some sort of Goomba-shaped building, waiting for someone to ask to wonder about. Once she saw someone, she walked up to the person, recognizing them immediately. Thinking of the time, she urgently pointed at the nearby graveyard. The person smiled as they headed off in that direction.
Toad sprinted as fast as he could, acknowledging his shortage on time. Once he had arrived at the graveyard, he noticed a curious police line surrounding a metal shed adjacent from the cemetery. Trying not to let his mind wonder, he ran to the only living organism in the graveyard, and excitedly grabbed them by the wrist. The person, a monkey, resisted, refusing to go any faster than a light jog. Toad sighed as he pulled the simian along.
15 minutes remain
Wrinkly and the Koopa accompanying her stepped up to the table. Fred immediately dismissed the Koopa to the plane and removed the earmuffs from Wrinkly, who was slightly disappointed.
“Why so glum?” Koopatrol asked, noticing her countenance.
“Oh,” she said, “I was just kind of hoping for Toad to be here, but that doesn’t mean he’ll never be here.”
Chuck grabbed the Koopa that was in the mine by the wrist and the two began sprinting. Chuck smiled, hoping that the challenge would come out a success. Not long after the sprint had commenced, Chuck looked behind, and realized that he was being chased by the sheriff himself. Picking up the pace, he charged as fast as he could.
Toad stopped in his tracks and scratched his head gently: he had forgotten where the airport was located. Now panicked, he quickly looked around the town, looking for any notification of its existence. He ran through the streets anxiously, looking for signs of any sort.
A Shy Guy shook his head as he walked away from Kammy. Kammy frowned, as she realized that had been the 10th person she had asked. She crossed her arms and looked at her watch. Not happy with the display, she sank to the ground, upset and agitated.
Chuck was sure that the sheriff was calling out to him, due to the amount of people turning in his directions, yet he couldn’t stop. He turned a corner and saw the airport in the near distance. He started to run, however, and a couple more officers stepped a couple of yards in front of Chuck. He crossed his fingers and courageously charged through them.
Toad searched through the streets, still unable to locate the airport. At this point, another crowd of people caught his eye. He moved towards the commotion and saw two sheriffs and a familiar face. He started to watch, extremely perplexed about what was going on. Realizing that Chuck was dragging a Koopa along, he knew that Chuck must’ve been on his way to the airport. Watching from the crowd, he pleaded that Chuck would be able to make it through.
Kammy realized the street she was on was completely desolate. Upset, she stopped in her spot on the dusty road, looking around for any signs of life. Unable to find any, she trudged around the empty streets, unable to complete her mission.
The gruff officers stood ready to catch the Charging Koopa. Toad watched intently, excitingly waiting for Chuck to make his move. Chuck appeared as though he would make a simple charge between the two officers, but then made a tricky roundabout and avoided the two. The officers, partially in shock, stared at each other, considering their next moves. Once Toad saw Chuck running, he immediately started in pursuit after him, both hoping to make it to the airport.
Kammy mournfully walked up to the table and sat down without speaking a word. Fred motioned for her to get back up so he could take off the equipment, but Kammy ignored him. Eventually he walked over to the old Magikoopa and forcefully removed the earmuffs and cloth. Suddenly Clubba jumped.
“Kammy,” she said, distraught, “where… Where is Magikoopa?” Kammy ignored her, still wallowing in self pity.
“You mean…” Clubba said slowly, “you didn’t FIND her?!”
“Wait,” said Koopatrol, taking the attention away from the upset Kammy and furious Clubba, “I think I see someone.”
Chuck ran up to the old wooden table, panting. Following him were Toad and the elderly Magikoopa. Fred quickly removed the earmuffs and cloth off of the two of them. The Magikoopa and the Koopa both boarded the plane. As Koops and Chuck sat down at the table, the sheriff showed up on the scene, anger obviously displayed on his face. “YOU,” he said, pointing to Chuck, “ARE UNDER ARREST”.
“Hold it,” said Fred, standing up. “Excuse me, Officer, but this is a gameshow, and Chuck here was just playing in one of the missions. He’s not from here and didn’t know that doing whatever he did was illegal.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that it WAS illegal!” huffed the sheriff.
“Fine,” sighed Fred, “fine. What do we owe?”
“5,000 coins,” the sheriff said, matter-o-factly. Fred reached into his wallet and handed the sheriff a check. Satisfied, the sheriff walked away.
“Well, that was eventful,” said Fred, clapping his hands together. “Now, shall we board the plane as well?”
The players stepped aboard the plane, unable to locate any of the previously located people. “Where are the others?” Koops asked, hoping to be reunited with his father.
“Oh, they’re in the cockpit,” said Fred, “they’ll be here soon. Suddenly the plane took off, slowly leaving Western Land behind. “Alight,” Fred continued, “let’s move on. Clubba you were supposed to find Toadette, am I right?”
“That’s right,” she said, “and I did!”
“You positive?” asked Fred, cautiously. “All right then, let’s take a look.” Fred stepped behind the door leading to the cockpit and brought out the person Clubba had found. “Toad,” he asked, “is this Toadette?”
“Yes it is,” said Toad, smiling. Toadette ran over to join the quiet Mushroom. “I missed you!” he whispered.
“All right!” said Fred. “Now you, Koopatrol. You were supposed to find…”
“I was supposed to find Koopley,” he said. The door slowly opened and an old Koopa bearing a brown beard stepped out.
“DAD!” Koops cried, running over to greet his dad.
“Koops!” his father said warmheartedly. “You don’t know how much I’ve missed you!”
“Next is you, Koops,” said Fred. “You found Kamek, yes?”
“Uh-huh,” said Koops, sitting down next to his father. Once again the door slowly creaked open, this time revealing a Magikoopa sporting a blue robe.
“That’s him all right,” said Kammy, slightly leaving her bad mood behind. Kamek walked over to his wife, and the two sat down together.
“So far so good!” said Fred, smiling. “Now, Wrinkly, you were supposed to find Chuck’s sister, Charlotte, right?”
“I believe so,” she said, tapping her fingers together. The door opened once again, revealing the Koopa in the football jersey.
“Well?” said Fred.
“No,” said Chuck, quietly.
“What?!” exclaimed Wrinkly. “That’s NOT her?! She just screams you!”
“It’s not her,” grumbled Chuck, hiding his eyes to disguise his disappointment. “My sister isn’t a football fan. She’s a fan of ballet. Just because we’re siblings doesn’t mean we’re identical.”
***Chuck: Me? Upset? Pfft, yeah right. Like I would be upset… I mean, it’s only my sister, right?
“Shall we continue?” said Fred, feeling slightly sympathetic for the football player. “Kammy, you were supposed to retrieve Clubba’s friend, Magikoopa, right?”
“Spare me from the humiliation,” said Kammy, pulling her hat over her eyes. The door opened, this time, however, revealing no one. Clubba’s eyes slightly leaked, as she rested her head on her left hand.
***Clubba: Well, of course I was disappointed, wouldn’t that be natural? I just wish that she could’ve been found…
“Continuing on,” said Fred, “Chuck, you were supposed to find Koopatraci. How did you fare?”
“I found her all right,” said Chuck, distractedly staring blankly out the window. “I don’t know who else would be standing in the middle of a mine entrance.” The doors open, revealing the Koopa that Chuck had recently found.
“You found her!” said Koopatrol, slightly trying to hide his excitement for the sake of Chuck and Clubba. Koopatraci walked over to Koopatrol and the two sat happily next to each other.
“Last one is Toad,” said Fred. “Toad, you were looking for Cranky, am I right?”
“Uh-huh,” he mumbled. The door opened for a final time, this time revealing an elder monkey.
“Cranky,” said Wrinkly, smiling. “What a pleasure it is to see you.”
“Man,” said Cranky, scratching his ear. “That puny Mushroom fellow took so long to find me; I could’ve done this challenge in ten seconds flat!”
“You haven’t changed a bit,” said Wrinkly, unable to lose the grin upon her face.
“Well,” said Fred, “another mission completed. 5 out of 7 of the people were found, so that’s 35,000 coins! Not too shabby!” The players started to cheer; even Clubba and Chuck seemed remotely content. “Hold it for a second,” said Fred. “I am going to have to subtract 5,000 coins out of that, for Chuck broke the law. I think that’s deserving of a penalty, even if it wasn’t a stated rule of the mission.
“Whatever,” Chuck grumbled.
“That’s still 30,000 coins, though!” Fred said, still enthusiastic.
“Can I at least know what the feather clue meant?” said Kammy, filling a silence. “I won’t be able to sleep without knowing what it meant.
“Oh,” said Fred, “that particular feather you received was the feather symbolizing a local Indian tribe. If you had ever seen the site, you probably could’ve put two and two together.”
“I’m also kinda curious about my clue,” said Koops. “I mean, I thought it pointed to the southeast corner of town, but that was wrong. I actually found Kamek due to luck.”
“Well,” said Fred, “if you draw a vertical line through the northern train station and a horizontal line through the southern station, you’d find that the points intersected at the performance stage. The intersection would be exactly south of the north station and east of the south station.” Koops pondered these words.
“Well,” said Fred, “we’ll be landing soon, but not for long. We just need to drop off the poor Koopa mistaken for Chuck’s sister.
Slowly, the plane pulled onto the ground, and everyone dismounted in the middle of a fairly large city, the complete opposite of the previous town they had visited. Koopas roamed the gentle streets of the elite town. “This is Koopa’s Tycoon Town,” said Fred, looking around. “We’ll leave soon, but first, let’s have lunch! You guys must be starving. I know I am…”
After a short walk down an avenue, the players had arrived at a nice looking restaurant titled “The Soup Pot”. The players huddled inside. Fred walked up to the maître de. “Reservation for 15, please.” The maitre de, a young-looking Koopa Troopa, led the group to a rather large rectangular table.
“Thank god,” said Chuck, quietly. “I am so tired of island food.” The players laughed, agreeing with the football player’s comment. After a while the waiter came over. After speaking at length about their seafood special, he took their orders and dashed away. Fred smiled as his eyes went from conversation to conversation, slightly nostalgic to the fallen players, since their number including the loved ones was once again 12.
“It’s a shame we’re not staying here,” said Koops, his eyes peering through a brochure, “it says here that this town has the most amazing hotels in the whole party world.”
“I know,” said Koopatrol, “so far I’ve had the S.S. Galley and a half-built bungalow. I need a comfortable place for a change.”
“Sounds like you’ve had it rough,” said Koopatraci, holding hands with her boyfriend.
“That doesn’t sound that bad!” said Cranky. “In fact, if I was younger, I could’ve won that money and I’d been the mole at the same time!”
“Isn’t that kind of impossible?” Koops said quietly to the Simian elder, yet his words went unnoticed.
“I’m just glad I could have Koopatraci here,” said Koopatrol, moving closer to his girlfriend. Chuck rolled his eyes at the two.
***Chuck: In fact, I think it’s a good thing that my sister isn’t here! It would just mean more distractions away from the true goal: to win the grand prize. I have something over the rest of the players: focus.
***Clubba: Gee, was this a lousy time for a sudden need of a new coalition. I mean, everyone is so distracted by a family member or friend, that it’ll be impossible to get to know anyone! Except… no. No, I will NOT go there.
They were soon given their meals, which they ate quickly. Departing from the restaurant, the players and their loved ones stood on the street corner waiting for instruction from Fred, who had stepped off for a moment.
“I could just imagine him abandoning us here,” mumbled Toad, staring at his watch.
“All right guys,” said Chuck, mocking the host with a ridiculous voice, “Your next mission is to find your way to the next destination without use of the plane, or any other transportation.” Chuck received a few giggles.
“What if this actually IS our next mission?” questioned Clubba, leaning against a street post, thinking to herself.
“I cannot say that our next mission is here,” said Fred, suddenly appearing from behind a corner. The players stared at him with confusion. “Sorry for my absence,” he said, “I was just checking on the plane, which is not here, by the way.”
“What would be the reason?” Wrinkly asked.
“The plane is en route back to Western Land, to drop off the person we ‘kidnapped’. So, we’ll be taking a bus to our next destination, as it isn’t too far away.”
The players took yet another short walk to reach a simple bus station. As soon as the next bus pulled in, the players boarded. The bus having a moderate amount of people, there was just enough space for everyone to sit with their loved one, and Fred could have a seat. This also meant, however, that the two lonely players would be forced to double up. Clubba looked at the seat where Chuck currently sat, and reluctantly sat down. She opened her back pack, pulled out a blue book, and began to read. Chuck grimaced out the window, holding a slight grudge against Wrinkly. Ignoring each other’s presences, the two sat the whole bus ride in silence, while the rest aimlessly chatted away with their friends and family.
The bus ride ended sooner than the players had expected. They pulled over on the side of a desolate road. A metal fence travelled along the road, dilapidated and covered in thick rust. Looking beyond the ancient fence, you could see a gigantic space. Clarifying what kind of space would be difficult. A park in some ways, a town in another. Walking through a gap in the fence, its existence caused by a gory-looking car crash, the players looked around. The bus slowly drove away and Fred walked up and joined the players.
“Velcome to Horror Land!” he chanted in a spooky false Transylvanian accent. Clubba rolled her eyes as the host continued. “So,” said Fred, “this area was cut out of thick woods to serve as home for a small population that… enjoy privacy. So, it’s one o’ clock now, and you’ll have some free time to explore. At 6:00, we’ll be meeting for dinner at a big mansion at the north side of the park, just behind the pumpkin patch. It’ll also be where you’ll be staying for dinner. If you want, the producers and I can take your luggage there for you.”
“You PROMISE not to hide it this time?” asked Koopatrol, half joking, half serious.
“No promises,” said Fred, slowly picking up the suitcases of Wrinkly and Cranky. He smiled as he continued down the path.
“Is he, uh, ALWAYS like that?” Toadette asked. Toad nodded his head quietly.
“So, what do we do now?” asked Kamek, looking around.
“We could explore,” said Koopatrol, stepping up onto the hood of a mustard-yellow crashed car. I mean, I’m sure none of us have been here before.”
“Except for, you know,” said Toad, “me.” Once again Kammy felt a surge of guilt from the occurrence of the last episode. She shuffled her feet.
“Well,” grumbled Chuck, kicking a small stone, “I’m gonna go find some food.”
“But we just ate,” said Koops as Chuck wondered off. He shrugged and turned back to the group. Clubba stared around and, being the odd one out, quickly followed the football player.
“I’ve never seen so many gravestones in one place that’s not a graveyard,” laughed Toadette, looking around. She, Toad, Wrinkly, Kammy, Kamek, and Cranky walked down a dark path where gravestones had been toppled over in a domino effect. Toad shuffled his feet and looked around. He looked around at all of the gravestones and sighed. Toadette walked up to him and held his hand. Wrinkly watched the two and could’ve sworn she saw a tear fly down Toad’s cheek.
***Wrinkly: Well, excuse my manners, but I’ve never been so intrigued in my life! What is this enigma we called Toad?
“C’mon!” said Kammy, who continued to walk down the dirt path. “Shake a leg! We aren’t getting anywhere from standing around!” The group continued to walk.
“What a nice statue,” said Koops, studying a grand Boo statue.
“I don’t like it,” said Koopatrol, rubbing his chin. “It’s too eerie.”
“This whole place is eerie!” said Koopatraci, waving her arms around. “I don’t know what you would expect!”
“I must say,” said Koopley, “this place is fascinating. Do you guys always go to these neat places?”
“Yeah,” said Koopatrol, “MOST of them were pretty neat.”
The four were aimlessly exploring the opposite side of town, as the contestants and their loved ones had decided it would be better if they traveled in two groups.
“So,” said Koopatrol, examining a broken down clock tower, “who do you think’s the Mole?”
“Honestly,” Koops said, kicking a stone, “I dunno. I mean, it’s hard to tell based off of the last challenge. I mean, we were all so separate, if I had to give any suspicions based off of it, it would just have to be either Kammy or Wrinkly. Even still, it’s not very reasonable to accuse them.”
“Hm,” thought Koopatrol, “that makes sense.”
“SO we should probably start thinking about that plan…”
“Wait,” said Koopatrol, holding his arm out. “You don’t mean you’re actually SERIOUSLY going to come up with a plan for Chuck. You’re ACTUALLY going to do what he just nagged us to do?”
“What?!” yelled Koops, exasperated. “No no no! I meant a plan for us!”
“You mean,” said Koopatrol, “a plan AGAINST Chuck?” Koops nodded his head. “Ooh!” said Koopatraci, excited. “This sounds interesting!”
***Koopatrol: Chuck has been under everyone’s skin long enough. Yeah, I know I should feel kinda bad for him, for he doesn’t have anyone here for him, but Clubba has had the right idea all along!
“All right,” said Koopatrol, “from this moment forward, Chuck is no longer part of the Koopa alliance!”
“Cool!” said Koops, “So, uh… now what do we do?”
“We need a plan to get Chuck out of here!” said Koopatrol, rubbing his hands together.
Chuck sat quietly at the bar of a small restaurant named “Witch’s Brew”.
“Another pint,” he grumbled to the peculiar-looking bartender. The bartender filled up a glass and handed it to the disgruntled Koopa. The doors flew open and Clubba sat down on the seat adjacent to Chuck.
“And what are YOU doing here?” he said, angrily. He took a quick drink.
“I have nowhere else to go,” said Clubba. She turned to the bartender. “I’ll just have a water please.”
“You couldn’t go anywhere else?” grumbled Chuck.
“I guess I could,” she said. “I mean, trust me; you’re the last person on the earth I’d want to be in the same building with. But… I guess I’m just kinda lonely, and I assumed even a tyrant like you gets lonely.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” mumbled Chuck, taking another large swig. “Getting lonely is something I don’t do.”
“So, why are you drowning your sorrows in alcohol?” Chuck, about to take another drink, stared at his glass, and put it back on the table. He slid it partially down the counter.
“All right,” said Chuck, “I guess I kinda wish I could see my sister.
“AHA!” Clubba screamed suddenly. People at various tables angrily turned their heads. “Sorry,” Clubba apologized quietly. She turned back to Chuck. “I KNEW you had some sensitivity under that thick skin!”
“What are you going to do,” said Chuck, “brag about it? Just because I miss my sister? I’m handsome, smart, and strong. Just because I miss my sister doesn’t make me any less cool.”
“Yeah,” laughed Clubba, “you’re all of THOSE things. But whatever. You shouldn’t be as afraid to show it. It’s perfectly normal.”
“Yeah,” said Chuck, “but loneliness is a weakness. I’ve got a reputation to keep. I don’t want people to think I’m a sap.”
“People wouldn’t think that! Honestly, your ‘reputation’ could get much worse.”
“And what do you mean by THAT?” Chuck grumbled angrily.
“Nothing, nothing,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You see, you know what your problem is?” Chuck sat, silently. “You’re too shallow. You need to be less arrogant.”
“Who are you calling arrogant?” Chuck growled. “It’s not arrogance if you really are as good as you say.”
“There it is,” said Clubba, clapping her hands.
“All right, maybe I’ll admit I’m just the slightest, tiniest bit arrogant,” said Chuck. “Now what? You know, you’ve got a fair amount of confidence yourself. One could almost say-”
“I am not arrogant!” Clubba said abruptly. “Don’t even try it!”
“Ok,” said Chuck, “sheesh. You’re a bit defensive.”
“Sorry, sorry,” she said, taking a drink of water. “I guess it’s my nature. I guess everyone has their flaws, right?”
“Almost everyone,” whispered Chuck. Clubba didn’t hear him.
“So,” Clubba asked, still slightly sympathetic. “How’s the game going for you?”
“Excellent,” said Chuck, indifferent. “I know all of my next moves and feel pretty confident on whom I think the Mole is. What about you?”
“Pretty good,” she said. “I’m slightly suspecting Toad, but I think Wrinkly’s pretty liable for suspicion as well.”
“It’s pretty reasonable to suspect those too,” said Chuck. “I mean, they’ve screwed up the game for us a lot.”
***Clubba: What? NO WAY! In a Coalition with CHUCK?! Who do you think I am? I would never stoop that low! …seriously! I just felt sympathetic! That’s all! …Ok! Maybe a small one! Geeze, just leave me alone!
Six o’ clock came quickly, or at least it felt speedy. The players gathered around the door of the large mansion. Slowly, the doors creaked open and Fred stood in the doorway, now wearing a tuxedo.
“Good evening,” he said, baring a smile. “Players, this is where you’ll be staying for the next two nights. Family and Friends, I’m afraid you’ll be staying at a hotel a bit down the path. You also won’t be joining us for dinner.”
“Aww,” said Koopatraci. “What are we going to eat?”
Fred reached into his pocket and pulled out a check. He scribbled down some words and numbers. “Here’s a 200-coin check. This should probably be able to pay for the dinner of 5 people.
“Nice!” said Toadette, taking the check from the host’s hand. The 5 slowly walked away, trying to locate a restaurant. Fred motioned for the rest of the players to enter. Standing on a beige carpet, the players looked around the magnificent foyer. Doorways opened up into many directions, and spider webs hung from the high ceiling. The top right corner of the room owned a twisted staircase.
“This 3-story mansion is the property of Mr. Big Boo,” said Fred, standing in front of the contestants. “He has been kind enough to invite us to a nice dinner party here at his manor. He’s also allowing you guys to stay the night, as I informed you earlier. Go up and find your rooms. It shouldn’t be too difficult, since your names are displayed on the bedroom doors. On your bed lay your luggage. I believe that the letter you received before the show even began instructed you to bring a set of formal clothes. I’d like for you to change into those. Your host will call when it’s dinner.”
The players slowly walked up the spiral staircase, curious about what would come next, and already feeling lonely without their loved ones. The top of the staircase brought three different doors. Two led into hallways, which would then lead off into the rooms of the players. The other one was the room of their still unseen host, Big Boo.
Clubba gazed into the lanky mirror placed on the back of the door. Her crimson red dress draped down to the floor, subtly displaying a sparkle. Uneasily, she sat down on her bed, and carefully opened her notebook.
***Clubba: Honestly, it’s rare to catch me in such a formal dress. I only use this thing for weddings and other parties that I rarely attend. But the dress is the least of my worries right now. The game is really overwhelming right now.
Just next door, Koops nervously adjusted his red bowtie. Upon his torso, a black suit hid a white button down. His feet contained in loafers, he paced the room, wondering when dinner would commence.
***Koops: I don’t know why, but I feel that the stress of the game is particularly palpable right now. I don’t know why, though. I mean, it’s down to seven. It’s not like some epic determining round now… who knows. All I can say is, I really hope I’ll be able to make it through.
On the other side of Koops’s room, Wrinkly sat in a basket chair, sporting a subtle pale green dress. Quietly, she closed her eyes and interlocked her fingers.
***Wrinkly: Oh dear, I believe that the atmosphere of this mansion, nay, this whole park, has captured every contestant in a notably dreary mood. What kind of damper would this impress on our game?
Across the hall, Chuck tightened his striped necktie and smiled into the mirror. His navy blue sports jacket covered a sky blue button down shirt. He strode to his suitcase and picked out his pair of dress shoes and slipped them on.
***Chuck: All right, I will admit… I was a bit upset about my sister not being here. But, I’m over that. No longer sentimental, I am. And that thing with Clubba? She caught me in a weak state. My real allegiance is with Koopatrol and Koops.
Toad’s outfit, strikingly similar to Koops (though with a blue bowtie as opposed to a red one) rest already completely upon his body. Quietly, he stared blankly at his suitcase, gazing at a torn photograph.
***Toad: Boy, how glad am I that Toadette’s here. Being without someone you love is challenging, and I won’t say it’s an experience I haven’t been through before this show. Whatever, I guess…
Koopatrol wore a tuxedo, and was in the process of filling the desolate drawers of a dresser with some of his garments. His hefty armor lay askew across the ground. Rubbing his chin, He contemplated the happenings of the game.
***Koopatrol: All right, once again out of my armor. It’s a good thing we’re inside this time. Well, I mean, there is an unnerving draft… This is going to be a hard place to sleep…
Kammy’s dark navy dress stretched lengthily over her blue high heels, as she clomped around the room. She wiped her spectacles and rubbed her forehead.
***Kammy: I don’t know what’s gotten everyone so stressed out! Is it the family thing? It’s probably the family thing. Anyways, to make a long story short, everyone’s been acting weird ever since we’ve arrived in Horror Land. It’s strange…
All of a sudden, Kammy heard a bell ring. Suddenly she felt a chill topple down her spine. “Dinner,” a ghostly voice whispered in her ear. She looked around, saw no one, and quickly sped out of the room. Apparently, everyone had heard the voice, as the two hallways were now flooded with the contestants. Slowly, they made their ways back down the spiral staircase. Fred remained standing in the center of the grand foyer. He pointed to a wooden door.
“Dining room’s just on the other side,” he announced, smirking. Slowly, he and the other players walked through the doorway. Entering the room, the players noted a dining room table that nearly stretched the whole length of the room. Covered by a white tablecloth, it bore plates, silverware, and 2 unlit candelabras. 4 chairs sat on each side of the long table, and one especially tall one sat at the head. The lengthy table made it possible for the chairs to be spread out by quite a margin, making conversation quite difficult with the person on the opposite side.
Uneasily, the players took their seats. Fred took the remaining one next to Toad and the eight waited patiently for their dinner host to appear. Appear he did. Right out of thin air, a grand Boo appeared sitting at the previously unoccupied seat. Looking at the players’ terrified expressions, he let out a small chortle.
“Did I frighten you with my grand entrance?” he said, continuing to laugh.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Fred, “this is our host for the night, Big Boo.”
“Welcome to my mansion,” he said, half-friendly. He turned to Fred, who was sitting right next to him. “I remember you telling me there was a Boo here when we arranged for you to stay here…” Big Boo mumbled quietly.
“Ah, there was,” said Fred, talking with a louder volume than the ghost, “but she has already left.” Big Boo stared blankly for a moment.
“Shame,” he said, slowly. He shook his head. “Anyways, let’s cut to the chase. Dinner is served!” Suddenly two cyan ghosts carrying trays came out of the wall, resulting in a couple players jumping in their seats. The two ghosts placed plates for all of the 9 sitting around the table. “Bon appetite” one said, smirking, as they floated back within the walls. Slightly unnerved, they players picked up their forks and began to dig into the entrees placed at their disposer. Big Boo, unable to digest, casually watched the players.
The players shoveled their steaks down quickly, inaudible, give or take a few gulps and chewing noises. “So,” said Koopatrol to Big Boo, trying to break the silence, “how long have you lived here in Horror Land?”
“Well,” said Big Boo, “I used to live in a different mansion on the other side of the country, but it didn’t really suit me. Actually, I’m the founder of Horror Land, to tell you the truth. I had this area cleared out for me. And pretty soon, some others moved in as well.”
“Interesting,” said Koopatrol, scooping up a spoonful of peas.
“But I am more interested in this game of yours,” said Big Boo, interlocking his fingers. “Tell me what it’s all about.”
As Clubba, Chuck, Kammy, Wrinkly, and Toad explained the rules of the game for Big Boo, Koopatrol looked to the far side of the table, where Chuck sat, out of whispering earshot. Slowly he turned to Koops.
“You know what we have to do?’ he whispered, making sure the volume was high enough to be heard by Koops, yet quiet enough so it would go unnoticed by the rest of the contestants.
“Umm,” Koops stuttered quietly, “not really.”
“Well,” whispered Koopatrol, “I have a plan.”
“Shoot,” said Koops.
“We lead Chuck to believe that the Mole is one of us, so he’ll bomb the quiz and leave.”
***Koops: Honestly, I don’t really know why Koopatrol wants Chuck gone so badly. I mean, he’s annoying; sure, he’s rude, vile… I’m getting of- topic here. Anyways, he’s just another contestant. And I just find this overreaction… peculiar...
“So who’s it gonna be?” question Koops.
“You?” asked Koopatrol. Koops jumped a bit.
“N-no!” said Koops at a normal volume. Nervously, he looked around the table. He had caught a bit of unwanted attention. After receiving a few peculiar grimaces, the players returned to their previous discourse. “I couldn’t do it,” whispered Koops, “I’m an awful actor. I-I couldn’t pull something off like that. You’d be a bit better at it, I think.”
“Perhaps,” said Koopatrol, rubbing his chin. “Ok, fine. We’ll go with me.”
“Wait…” said Koops, slowly. “How are we going to make him think you’re the mole?”
“Easy,” said Koopatrol, “I’ll just sabotage the next challenge a bit when he’s around. And you can tell him how suspicious you are of me later. It’s a simple plot, really.”
“A-all right,” said Koops, “seems fair enough.”
“Awesome,” whispered Koopatrol. “Let’s get back in that conversation.”
Koops and Koopatrol rejoined the conversation to find out that it had evolved into several smaller conversations between players. After a few more minutes, the two transparent servers rejoined the players in the dining room to collect the remains of meals left by the guests. Once they left, they quickly returned with a plethora of delectable desserts. Tall cakes with elegant frosting lined the tables. Instructed to help themselves, the players took slices rather large in size and started eating.
“Delicious,” Chuck said, mouth full. He looked around the room and found almost everyone else eating in a similar matter. The cakes disappeared from the table in minutes, leaving silver plates covered in crumbs on the table.
“A rather nice meal, if I do say so myself,” said Fred, kindly.
“Can I interest any of you in a cup of coffee?” asked Big Boo. The offer was declined. As Fred opened his mouth to speak, suddenly the lights in the room flicked off.
“Um, what just happened?” asked Koops in a slight state of alarm.
“The lights just went out, genius,” said Clubba, rolling her eyes.
“I know that!” said Koops, defending himself. “But why?”
“Power outage,” said Big Boo. “Happens all the time. Just wait a few seconds and they’ll turn back on.” As the players sat, two consecutive sounds were heard: a pft sound was heard first, followed by the toppling of a chair.
“What was that?!” asked Koopatrol, slightly freaking out. Suddenly the previously dark room refilled with light. Before the players could be relieved, they saw a terrifying sight: Fred’s body lay limp on his chair, which had fallen backwards.
“OH MY GOD!” screamed Clubba. “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! HE’S DEAD!” Every player held a completely terrified countenance.
“Not dead,” said Big Boo, calmly, “but unconscious. And one of you did it. Do not fret; however, this is all part of your next mission. I believe Fred told me it was called ‘Holmes for the Holidays’.” Big Boo picked up a number of note cards that were askew on the table since the beginning of the meal. “Your mission will involve a bit of detective work. Your goal is to find out whodunit. One of you is responsible for the ‘death’ of Fred. If the players who aren’t killers locate the lone culprit before midnight, then the group wins 29,000 dollars.”
“Why such a random number?” asked Chuck, rolling his eyes.
“I don’t know! I don’t make the rules!” snapped Big Boo. “However, if the killer manages ‘kill’ every remaining contestant, then they shall win an exemption. If the clock strikes midnight and the culprit hasn’t been found AND the killer hasn’t killed off everyone, then the game ends in a loss for everyone. Oh, by the way. To determine the killer, every remaining player besides the alleged killer must be in the same room and at least one other person has to agree with the accusation. Once the accusation is made and someone backs them up, if they are right, then the challenge is won. If not, however… both the accuser and the person supporting the accusation… shall ‘die’.” Big Boo paused for a second.
Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong…
“That’s the grandfather clock,” said Big Boo, as if not to alarm anyone. “That means it is 7 o’ clock. Your challenge… begins! Have fun… I’ll be watching.” Big Boo vanished within the air of the room. The players wore faces mixed with confusion and horror.
“Well, now what?” asked Kammy, agitated.
“Well,” said Wrinkly, “we could split up. After all, we won’t locate the killer just by sitting here.”
“Unless, of course, they just admit it outright,” said Koopatrol, looking around the room. The players sat quiet for a moment, waiting for someone to come outright as the killer. To the true players’ dismay, no one spoke up. “So much for that approach,” mumbled Koopatrol.
“Well,” said Clubba, “let’s go with Wrinkly’s plan.” Slowly and cautiously, the players got up from their seats and left the room from the two possible entrances.
Kammy, Wrinkly, and Toad ended up in a rather average kitchen. Toad stood there for a moment before returning to the dining room.
“Well that was a bit peculiar,” said Wrinkly.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Kammy, fiddling with a whisk. “Why are we splitting up again?”
“Elementary,” said Wrinkly, “the more separated we are, the more the chance the killer has to, erm... ‘kill’ us.” Kammy stared at her blankly.
“And why exactly would we want that?” asked Kammy.
“Because we’re never going to find out the killer if no one dies.” said Wrinkly. “When someone dies, we can base it off of that.”
“All right,” said Kammy, a bit unnerved. Kammy proceeded into the next room as Wrinkly lingered in the kitchen.
Chuck, Clubba, Koopatrol, and Koops traveled back through the original foyer and rested for a moment.
“So are we going to stick together,” Koops asked, nervously looking around. He closed his eyes for a moment, and found the other three filing out of the different doors.
“Guys?” he said, nervously, but they ignored him. Panicking, he stood there for a moment, and the other three escaped from his grasp. Not knowing what to do, he quickly sprinted up the spiral staircase. He reached the second floor, yet found no one.
Taking the spiral staircase up another floor, Koopatrol found himself standing in what appeared to be the attic. He also found himself staring at three different doors. One he found led to a bathroom, which he promptly used. As the door on the right was locked, he took the one on the opposite wall.
Clubba stood in the library and crossed her arms. She looked around the room, not entirely certain what her search was for, namely, what this split up was for. She pondered if the split up was to help the killer when she heard a crash coming from the next room over. Quickly she sped through another door, which led to a room that appeared to be a gallery. Portraits hung from the walls and marble statues controlled the floor. Clubba marveled at the beautiful statues, each one appeared to be uniquely structures. All but one, which lay chipped on the ground. Standing guiltily next to it was Chuck. “What did you-” Clubba started to exclaim.
“Shhhhh,” said Chuck, in a slight panic. He picked the crippled statue up off of the ground and replaced it back on its pedestal. “All better,” he said nervously. Clubba eyeballed him and sighed.
“Whatever,” she said, sighing. The two walked into the room adjacent to the library.
Kammy slowly opened a door and found herself in a grand wine cellar. What could’ve been thousands of bottles of wine rested along the walls. “Wow,” Kammy chuckled to herself, “what a selection.”
“I know, right?” said Wrinkly, joining her in the room. “I was wondering how Big Boo acquired such a delicate wine for our meal.”
Kammy paused for a second. “You know what?” she said. “This is stupid.”
“What is?” Wrinkly asked genuinely.
“This whole splitting up thing. What are we accomplishing?” whined Kammy.
“I believe I already told you?” said Wrinkly. “To fish out the killer.” Kammy was about to rebut her, when a scream was heard from upstairs.
“GUYS!” bellowed Koops. “COME HERE!”
“And that might be a bite,” said Wrinkly, apparently sticking with her fishing analogy.
Koops stood frightened in the Dining Room, as the rest of the players filed in through the two doors. “Back where we started,” mumbled Chuck.
“Why are we here?” Kammy blatantly whined. Unable to find his voice, Koops pointed to the spot where Fred had fainted.
“So?” said Chuck. “That’s old news, Koops.”
Koops suddenly found his voice. “Th-that’s not Fred,” he stuttered. “Look closer.”
“TOAD!” screeched Clubba, examining the body. She was correct. The body of Toad had taken the place of Fred’s body.
“Oh my!” cried Wrinkly, exasperated. She bent down over the body.
“Then where could Fred be?” Koopatrol asked.
“That’s not important right now,” said Clubba. “We have to find out whodunit!”
“Well, does anyone have any alibis?” Chuck asked.
“We don’t even know when he died,” said Wrinkly. “I think all of us were alone at least at one point in time.”
“Peculiar,” said Clubba, “you’d think that Toad would’ve at least screamed before he died.
“Maybe he was caught by surprise,” suggested Koopatrol.
“Or maybe,” said Clubba, “he-”
Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong…
“Yikes,” said Koops, “that hour went by FAST!”
“Great,” mumbled Kammy, “now we’re looking for a mole AND a killer.”
“I have to go to the bathroom,” said Kammy, scratching her back as she left the room. Chuck looked around the room.
“I think I have to go to,” he said, departing out the door.
“Um,” said Koops, “do we trust him?”
“I’m going to go keep tabs on him,” said Koopatrol, “just in case.” He followed Chuck out of the room.
“Do we trust HIM?” asked Koops, looking around again. Koops quickly looked around the room and followed after Koopatrol. Wrinkly and Clubba stood in the room until Wrinkly finally left through the kitchen doors.
Koopatrol and Chuck furtively followed Chuck up the stairs to the second floor.
“OK,” said Koopatrol, “Kammy went to the first floor bathroom. I think he’s clean.
“So now what do we do?” asked Koops.
***Koopatrol: Gee, what a challenge. We basically have no instruction. It’ll be a miracle if we’re all alive in an hour.
“We could interrogate people,” suggested Koops.
“Not a bad idea...” wondered Koopatrol. Suddenly he looked Koops in the eye. “Say, Koops? How did you happen to come across Toad?” Koops jumped.
“You’re not suggesting that I killed Toad, are you?” asked Koops, mortified.
“It could’ve been any of us,” said Koopatrol. “I’m just making sure it’s not you. So where did you go after we split up?”
“I just went up to the second floor, looked in all of the rooms, accidentally bumped into Big Boo (a terrifying experience if I do say so myself), and I heard some sort of crash so I came back down. I knew it couldn’t have been the sound of someone’s death, but I was still curious. I wondered around the first floor a bit. When I looked in the dining room, I found the body.”
“Interesting… Interesting…” said Koopatrol.
“And what about you?” Koops asked, a bit suspicious. “What’s your story?”
“I just hung out in the attic for a while. There’s a pretty nice TV up there. I came down when I heard your ear-piercing scream.” Koops blushed a bit.
“Sorry about that,” he said, smiling.
“C’mon,” said Koopatrol, “let’s go find more people.”
Chuck walked back down the stairs leading to the first floor, and reentered the dining room, where he found Clubba on her knees in front of Toad.
“What are you doing?” Chuck asked, calmly.
“Nothing, nothing,” she said, standing up. Suddenly she remembered something and narrowed her eyes.
“So, Chuck,” she asked, casually, “went to the bathroom, huh?”
“Yeah…” Chuck answered slowly, not really sure where Clubba was going.
“Interesting…” Clubba scribbled something down. “By the way, just curious, how did you knock that statue down?”
“Oh,” said Chuck, crossing his arms, “I just was in deep thought about who the killer was. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention; usually I’m speedy AND agile. I just walked into it. It’s a good thing it didn’t completely break.”
“Wait…” said Clubba, “are you telling me it DIDN’T break?”
“You heard me right,” he said. “It was a bit crippled but that’s all. I’m sure Big Boo has enough money to get it repaired.”
“Yeah,” said Clubba, now distracted. She stood frozen for a couple moments.
Chuck looked around the room. “I’m just gonna…” he started as he quickly departed through the foyer.
Wrinkly walked through the shadowy boiler room, an area she would’ve already visited if not for Koops’s interruption. Looking at the peculiarly shaped contraptions and pipes, she walked through another door on her left and found herself in a room bare of anything but a strange-looking contraption dominating the center of the room.
“Generator Room,” she chuckled to herself, “charming.” Deciding between pursuing the next door and returning back, she stood still for a moment. She tried opening the door, found it was locked, and went back via the path that had got her there.
Kammy opened the door to the bathroom and looked around. Not locating anyone, she strolled around the parlor for a bit, eventually sitting down on a couch resting against a mustard yellow wall. Ruminating her next move, she rested her chin on her fist. Suddenly the door creaked open.
“Oh,” said Kammy, addressing the being that had just entered the room. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.” Kammy paused for a moment, staring at the being straight in the eyes. Holding a discolored cloth, it moved towards Kammy.
“HELP!” she cried desperately. “IT’S-” It was too late. Before she could finish, the cloth was over her mouth and the poison had entered Kammy’s system. She fell to the couch as the figure heard 4 people rushing to the room. The figure quickly left out of the nearest door.
Koops, Koopatrol, and Clubba entered through the Foyer, and Chuck and Wrinkly entered through the Ballroom.
“It looks like the killer has two on us now,” said Wrinkly, slightly petrified.
“Well,” said Koops, “at least we approximately know when the killer struck,”
Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong…
“I swear that clock is off,” mumbled Clubba.
“I can testify for Koops,” said Koopatrol, “we were both in the attic at the time.” Koops nodded, but then shook his head
“Wait…” said Koops. “No… at the time, you had gone to the bathroom… We were both alone…”
“Oh, man,” said Koopatrol, shocked. His eyes narrowed. “And from the bathroom, I heard footsteps leading downstairs!” Koops jumped.
“N-no! He’s framing me!” he babbled.
“I am NOT!” said Koopatrol. “I’m just telling you what I heard!”
“CALM DOWN!” screamed Clubba. “We won’t figure this out by arguing! Let’s just roam around a bit more! I’m sure we can figure this out.”
“All right,” said Chuck skeptically. Clubba pointed at him.
“YOU stay here for a moment,” she said sternly.
“And let you kill me?” he chortled. “No way.” Clubba glared at him.
“ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT!” he screamed, aggravated. Koopatrol, Koops, and Wrinkly left as the two stayed put.
“So,” she asked, “where were you at the time of the crime?”
“I was in the billiards room,” he said, “just messing around with the cues.”
“Hmm,” she said. “And did you see anyone else?”
“On my way to the Parlor, I saw Wrinkly, loitering around in the Ballroom. A bit suspicious if you ask me.”
“Could you hear where the killer went?”
“Nah. Heard no footsteps. Honestly, I didn’t even hear any doors. Now tell me, where were YOU at the time of the crime?”
“Same place I was when you left the Dining Room,” she said. “Now if you excuse me, I have some more people to talk with.”
Koopatrol and Koops sat in the dining room, eyeing each other suspiciously.
***Koopatrol: A game about trust within a game about trust… How amusing…
Koopatrol was about to speak when Clubba burst through the doors. “You guys were in the attic, correct?” she said, puffing.
“I was,” said Koopatrol, he lowered his voice. “Don’t know about this one, though.”
“Hey!” said Koops, quietly.
“Well,” said Clubba, “see anything suspicious?”
“Not really…” said Koops. “I just came straight downstairs when I heard screaming. Koopatrol was delayed a bit because he was in the bathroom. But, of course, he could’ve just locked the door and left…” Before anything else was said, Clubba bolted out of the room. Koopatrol shrugged.
Wrinkly walked down the stairs leading to the second floor as Clubba sprinted up the ones leading to the third floor. Seeing Chuck, she walked up to him.
“Say, Chuck,” said Wrinkly, “I just thought of something. I just realized the possibility of… multiple killers. Do you think it’s possible?”
“Well…” said Chuck, thinking. Clubba sprinted down the stairs again, this time returning to the first floor.
“Well,” said Wrinkly, “what if Koopatrol and Koops were in it together? They become each other’s alibis in ways, it’s the perfect setup!”
“Hmm,” pondered Chuck.
[i]Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong…
“GUYS!” Clubba called. “COME QUICK!”
Clubba stood alone in the foyer, as the other four piled in.
“Who died?” Koops asked frantically.
“No one, but I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve gathered you here. I have this whole case wrapped up.” She smiled confidently, watching the facial expressions of the players. “You see, the murderer is quite clear to me, but before I reveal them, let’s go back to the beginning. Toad. He died first.”
“No dip, genius,” mumbled Chuck. Clubba glared at him.
“ANYWAYS, Toad died, and Fred’s body mysteriously disappeared. Toad was alone, yes, but why would the killer want to kill so soon? It was early into the night, which would make it even harder to get away with. It’s because Toad was smart: He was examining the body for clues.
“Why didn’t I think of that?” Wrinkly mumbled politely.
“The killer saw this and was worried. So they took Toad out and hid Fred’s body so it couldn’t be examined any longer. Also, we didn’t hear Toad scream like we heard Kammy. Rather peculiar if you ask me… well I did hear something. A crash. As I ran into the next room, I just assumed it was the statue that Chuck ran into. However, he told me it didn’t break, so it wouldn’t have made a crashing noise. The crash was actually the dropping of a vase. I found its shards stuffed away in a dining room cupboard. It must’ve been dropped when the killer ‘killed’ Toad. So anyways, I took Toad’s idea and I examined his body. I found no marks whatsoever. This was peculiar. However, I was still kind of in the blue with this mystery. Until Kammy’s death, that is. Kammy had to have died the same way, no marks found as well. However, after smelling her breath, I realized: They had both been poisoned. It was nothing in their drinks, however.” Clubba pulled a cloth out of her pocket. “This was found at the scene of the crime. Traces of a sleeping poison are on it. Kammy was found on a couch against the wall. Seem peculiar, huh?”
“No,” said Chuck, “it doesn’t.”
“Well,” said Clubba, “it means she couldn’t have been caught by surprise. She trusted the person who killed her.” Wrinkly stared blankly. “Now,” said Clubba, “I knew it couldn’t be Koopatrol, for when I checked upstairs, the bathroom door was open, which means his alibi with Koops checked out. Also, Koops’s alibi checked out as well. He couldn’t have left the upstairs. Chuck couldn’t have committed this crime; he was in the gallery when Toad must’ve died.”
Clubba turned to Wrinkly. “That leaves one,” said Clubba smiling. Wrinkly turned pale.
“H-h-honestly,” she said, “I didn’t!”
“Back to the issue of trust,” continued Clubba. “Kammy trusted whoever killed her. However, she would know that anyone in this game could be a killer. ANYONE in this GAME. She wouldn’t dare suspect someone in charge.”
“You’re not suggesting…” started Koopatrol.
“Chuck told me he heard no footsteps. No doors open. I’m proposing the killer is… Big Boo! Who will back me up?”
The room went silent. Too afraid to offer up their life to back up the accusation, the players stood frozen. “Really, guys?!” exclaimed Clubba.
“It’s a bit… out there,” said Wrinkly.
“Think about it,” Clubba begged. “It couldn’t work any other way!”
“I dunno,” said Koopatrol. “I mean… the alibis just don’t stand up that well…”
“Come on, guys,” Clubba pleaded. “Please…” The silence in the room persisted, and Clubba stared around at her fellow detectives. Receiving no backup, she hung her head. Right when she was about to step out, Chuck stepped forward.
“I’ll do it,” he said, quietly. “I mean, it’s very much possible. I can’t really see it being anyone else… This does seem pretty logical.”
“All right,” said Koopatrol, “so now what?”
“[i]Well done[/,” a voice emitted from the walls. Suddenly Big Boo faded into the room. “Kudos to Clubba. I’m still amazed at how she pieced it together. The 29,000, goes into the pot. And an exemption goes to Clubba for figuring it out.”
“YES!” cheered the 5 players.
“Wait,” said Chuck, “what about all of that stuff about the killer getting an exemption?”
“That was just made up to make it more authentic,” said Big Boo, smiling. “Now get some sleep. The others will come to their senses in the morning.” Taking this piece of advice, the 5 remaining players awkwardly traveled up the stairs, still slightly confused about the actions that had transpired that night.
[i]Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong… Gong…
The clamor of the obnoxious grandfather clock sounded, interrupting Clubba’s sleep. She arose from her bed and groggily trudged down the grand spiral staircase. As she opened the door to the Dining room, she noted that she was the first to arrive. She took her seat and waited for the rest to arrive. Soon, enough, Koopatrol, Koops, Chuck, and Wrinkly entered the room, closely followed by Kammy, Toad, and Fred.
“You know,” said Fred, rubbing the back of his head as he entered the room, “you didn’t have to leave my unconscious body in the basement.”
“Hey,” said Big Boo, assuming his position at the head of the table, “I needed your body to disappear, alright?”
“Hey Fred,” said Chuck, taking his place at the far end of the table, “why are there twice as many seats as last night?”
“Oh,” said Fred, “I almost forgot to tell you. Your loved ones will be joining us for breakfast.”
“Awesome!” said Koopatrol. Suddenly the two serving ghosts returned, baring two platters with beautiful glazed hams and potato hash. Soon, the players could hear the front door open. Toadette, Koopatraci, Kamek, Cranky, and Koopley entered the room.
“Hey guys,” exclaimed Toadette. “How was your night?”
“Hectic,” mumbled Toad as he rested his head on the table.
“Well it couldn’t be as bad as the night we spent in the hotel!” whined Cranky. “The towels were scratchy, the showers had low water pressure, and the mattresses were lumpy! Back in my day, hotels were s’posed to be nicer than your houses!”
“Um…” said Kamek, sitting down next to Kammy, “it wasn’t THAT bad.”
“I rather enjoyed it,” said Koopley, smiling. “This place sure has a great atmosphere.”
All the seats at the table now occupied, the dining commenced. Not much talking went on as the food was consumed.
“So,” said Fred, returning his fork to his plate, “you guys made 29,000 last night. That’s pretty good.”
“Mh-Hmm!” said Chuck, still shoveling food into his mouth.
“Well,” said Fred, standing up from his seat, “I have to leave now. Just remember to be back here by 6:00 tonight, where we’ll have dinner and the quiz. That is all.” With that said Fred pushed in his chair and left through the door leading to the foyer.
“I think I’m about done, too,” said Toad, getting up as well. He slowly dawdled out of the room.
“Wait for me!” exclaimed Toadette as she quickly followed him. They left the room and headed for the petit neighborhood.
“Not much left to do here,” said, Chuck, retiring his fork. He got up and gruffly departed from the room. The remaining players gradually followed him out of the room.
“This place is MUCH better during the day,” said Koopatraci as she, Koopatrol, Koops, and Koopley wandered around the town.
“It’s a bit less frightening,” said Koops, rubbing his forehead. “So yes, I guess I agree.”
“So,” said Koopatrol, rubbing his hands together, “we’d better get started in deceiving Chuck.”
“Right,” said Koops, thinking. “Uuuuuh… I could tell him that you did a bunch of suspicious things during the challenge.”
“Like what?” asked Koopatrol, peering into what appeared to be an abandoned building.
“Um…” stuttered Koops, “I’m not sure. Like how about I saw you trying to get people to think that anyone but Big Boo was the murderer?”
“Wait, what?” asked Koopatrol, slightly confused.
“Like,” said Koops, “we’ll pretend that you knew Big Boo was the killer the whole time, and you were trying to get other people to think otherwise.”
“That could work…” said Koopatrol, rubbing the back of his neck. “You want to go find Chuck?”
“Sure,” said Koops.
“Just try to make it seem like you’re accidentally bumping into him instead of seeking him out tell him something.”
With that, Koops trotted away from his Koopatrol, Koopatraci, and his father.
Wrinkly, Kamek, Kammy, and Cranky wondered through a rather eerie pumpkin patch, attempting to pass the time until the looming execution.
“So,” Kamek asked, curiously, “what is your game plan, guys?”
“Pardon?” asked Wrinkly, blinking.
“You know,” said Kamek, “what are you going to do on this next quiz?”
“That’s a good question,” said Wrinkly, rubbing her chin. “I myself am not certain about the identity of the mole. We should probably undergo some analys-”
“I’m going with Koops,” said Kammy, cutting Wrinkly short.
“Any particular reason?” inquired Wrinkly.
“Gut feeling,” said Kammy. “My instincts are always correct!”
“Erm, if you insist,” said Wrinkly, slightly trailing off. The four continued bustling through the patch.
Toad and Toadette stood in front of a still pond, watching their own reflections. Toadette stared at Toad. “How’s the game?” she asked quietly.
“Good,” mumbled Toad, refusing to make eye contact.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” Toadette pressed on.
“Uh-huh,” said Toad, staring into his own reflection.
“Have you gotten your mind off of-”
“Yes!” said an agitated Toad. “I don’t want to talk about it, ok?”
Toadette stared quietly into the distance, grabbing Toad’s left hand. The two stood in silence for quite a hefty amount of time.
“What are your thoughts?” Chuck asked casually as the two sat back at the “Witch’s Brew”.
“Not sure,” said Clubba, taking a sip of her water. “Haven’t really been thinking about it because of, you know… my exemption.” She smiled at Chuck, who displayed a frustrated grimace.
“Shut it,” said Chuck, who drank a club soda. “Oh well, I’ve got this next quiz in the bag.”
“Really now,” said Clubba. “Who’s your prime suspect?”
“Can’t share it with you,” said Chuck, “otherwise you’d finally be on the right track.”
“Is that so?” asked Clubba in a condescending voice.
“C’mon,” said Chuck, “let’s get out of here.”
The two left their seats at the bar and headed out the distorted door. As soon as they stepped onto the street, a figure immediately crashed into them.
“Oh,” said Koops, “my apologies, I’m-” Koops stared into the eyes of the person he ran into. “Chuck!” said Koops. He opened his mouth, about to talk. “Can you give us a sec, Clubba?”
“Sure, sure,” said Clubba, dawdling off through the trees.
“Chuck,” said Koops, “it’s Koopatrol! It’s Koopatrol!”
“What?” asked Chuck, staring at Koops with blatant confusion.
“Well,” said Koops, “I was just walking around the area with him, and he kept acting REALLY suspicious. I walked away for a bit, and from the distance I saw… I saw him talking into an ear piece. I didn’t catch many words, but the one sentence I did head was, “…Made an alliance with two contestants… I don’t think they’ll figure it out… no, I haven’t sabotaged much.” Chuck stood with his mouth gape.
***Koops: Ok, so maybe that wasn’t the EXACT plan, but I think it’ll do the trick.
“You’re kidding,” he said, dumbstruck. He shook his head. “You’re just figuring this out? I’ve known since the first episode that it was him!”
“Really?” asked Koops. “Then why did you form an alliance with him?”
“To get information,” said Chuck, smugly.
“Well, ok,” said Koops, backing away. Koops walked off again and Chuck went to find Clubba.
Six o’ clock came quickly, bringing an eerie, star=filled sky with it. The players and their loved ones filed in through the doors of the great manor, eventually coming to the Dining room.
“Ah,” said Big Boo, who resided in his seat at the head of the table. “Thank you all for joining me for this wonderful meal. Don’t worry. I won’t kill you guys this time.” He let out a chortle while the rest of the players stared restlessly at each other. “Anyways, dinner is served.” The same procedure that had happened with the two previous meals occurred again, as the ghosts brought out magnificent plates of halibut. The players dined, all cautious about the upcoming execution. A variety of anxious chatter arose quickly.
“Did you do it?” Koopatrol whispered to Koops.
“Yeah. Well, actually I told him I saw you talking to a producer on an ear piece.”
“Close enough,” said Koopatrol, shrugging. “Now all I have to do is pretend that I’m the Mole.” Their secret conversation ended as the group returned to one large conversation.
“So,” said Fred, “who feels confident about tonight’s execution?”
“As always,” said Chuck, crossing his arms.
“Well, I guess it’s not a surprise that I am,” said Clubba, laughing. She got mixed views from her co-contestants.
“I’m pretty sure I got this one in the bag,” said Koopatrol, “There’s no way it’s me tonight.
“Really now,” said Koops, “why’s that?”
“You know…” said Koopatrol, trailing off.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” mumbled Toad, standing up from his seat.
“Just go through the door to the Foyer, then take a right to the parlor, then go straight ahead,” said Fred, in-between bites of his meal. Toad departed from the room, leaving the rest of the players behind. Wrinkly, who sat next to Toadette, twitched in her seat.
“So,” Wrinkly said to Toadette, “Toad’s awfully quiet.”
“Tell me about it,” said Kammy. “It’s like he’s just ignoring the whole world! It’s so disrespectful!”
“Oh, come on,” said Toadette. “Don’t blame the poor guy.”
“Yes, I’m aware,” said Wrinkly, “he told me he’s been that way since his birth.” Toadette stared at her, puzzled.
“Where’d you hear that?” she asked. “When I met Toad a year and a half ago, he was always carefree and jolly, like the rest of the Toads.”
“He… lied to me?” said Wrinkly, drifting off into thought.
“Well, you can’t really blame him. I mean, he’s been this way ever since-”
Right as Toadette was about to complete her sentence, the foyer door opened once again, and Toad trotted back to his seat.
“Well,” said Fred, “I believe this is a good time to get the execution underway. The laptop is set up in the Library, just across the Foyer. Who would like to go first?”
Question 1: Is the Mole Male or
Question 2: During Breakfast yesterday
morning, starting from me and going counter clockwise, how many seats was
the Mole away from Fred?”
***Koops: They are really going all out with the questions now. Let’s just hope our plan works.
Question 3: Did the Mole get to
be with their loved one today and yesterday?
***Clubba: I don’t feel sorry for myself. I know I wanted to see my friend, but I feel like I’ve been more focused than the rest of the players for these past two days. And now, I’m safe tonight!
Question 4: In ‘Dead Dumb and
Blind’, did the Mole add money to the pot?
***Chuck: While I am still partially mad at Wrinkly, I can completely see the mistake she made. I mean, it was a smart assumption, but, you know… I still find it a bit suspicious that she didn’t even consider the possibility of it being ANYBODY else
***Koopatrol: Is our plan futile? Could Chuck actually be the Mole? I mean, even though he does the challenges correctly, he always seems to have a way to prevent us from getting money. It’s smart, putting on a stupid act…
Question 5: In ‘Deaf Dumb and
Blind’ where was the Mole’s loved one located?
*In an abandoned Mine
*In the Koops Bank
*In a Graveyard
*At a train station
*At an Item Shop
*On a stage
*On Native property.
***Wrinkly: As much as I hate to say it, Kammy is the one with the biggest failure in our first mission. She couldn’t put two and two together for her hint and wasn’t close to completing her objective.
Question 6: Whose loved one did
the Mole look for?
***Kammy: So I made a mistake! So what? Everyone does! Just because this was high stakes doesn’t mean that everyone has to dwell on it!
Question 7: Was the Mole ‘killed’
in ‘Holmes for the Holidays’?
***Wrinkly: It was quite remarkable how Clubba managed to piece the puzzle together so finely. However, one can’t help but be a bit suspicious. Was she just trying to make herself look less likely to be the Mole to us? Who knows but her?
Question 8: What is the name of
the Mole’s loved one?
Question 9: Has the Mole won an
exemption up to date?
***Toad: I can honestly say that I’m nervous tonight. Let’s see what plays out.
Question 10: Who is the Mole?
The players now sat in the musty attic of the Mansion, where Koops and Koopatrol had just been the previous night. A wide TV spread across an entire wall, a wire protruded, connecting the Plasma screen to Fred’s sleek laptop.
“The execution will begin immediately, the person who scored the lowest on the quiz will be sent home immediately. But tonight… we have a tie. Whichever of the two took the quiz in a faster time will be sent home… Would anyone like to start us off?” As usual, Fred received no response. “I see… Koops, let’s start with you…”
K O O P S
Koops relaxed as he saw the green screen. “Wrinkly,” said Fred, continuing.
W R I N K L Y
Wrinkly nodded her head, and relax her head on the palm of her hand. “Kammy.”
K A M M Y
Kammy’s position barely changed as she apathetically stared at the screen. “Chuck.”
C H U C K
Chuck leapt from his seat. “WHAT?” he exclaimed, furious. “But h-h-how?! I was sure it was…”
“Chuck, if you’ll follow me,” said Fred, leading the fallen player down the spiral staircase.
“Well,” said Koopatrol, “he’s finally gone.”
“I didn’t hate the chap,” said Wrinkly, “but I’m rather relieved it wasn’t anyone else.”
“Well, I bet you’re happy,” Kammy mumbled to Clubba. Clubba stared for a second.
“I’m actually going to miss him,” she said, not making eye contact with anyone.
“WHAT?!” said Koopatrol, slightly amazed. “I thought you hated this guy!”
“Well,” said Clubba, twiddling her thumbs, “we kind of became friends near the end. And now…”
Fred led Chuck through the double door of the mansion, where a limousine waited for the fallen player.
“Got to admit,” said Chuck, “it’s a bummer to be eliminated.”
“I would expect so.,” said Fred. “Will you miss the game?”
“A bit,” said Chuck. “I guess my cocky attitude couldn’t carry me to the end.” Chuck laughed as he scornfully stepped into the sleek limo, which drove away on the spot. Fred stared as the limo disappeared into the distance, leaving only six left in play.
And another player is gone. Just the results of the poll on my page:
Chuck and Toad come in first with 2 votes each.
Lakitu, Clubba, Koopatrol, Koops, Wrinkly, and Kammy all tie for second with one vote each. There will be a new poll on the site really soon.
To Be Continued...
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