The Crystal Keepers

By Pyro Guy

The Crystal Keepers were planning their next assault on Kastle Koopa. Now that they knew who the keeper was, they had to be very delicate in making sure they captured him alive. Swaps was not present with the rest.

Paradox: So, the question is, who should go to capture him? Any volunteers? Popple? Drystone?

Drystone: Well, I'm really not the right person to send.

Kamek: Ahem. I believe we know that drastic measures are required. The Koopalings always beat us.

Popple: You're insane, see.

Bonnie: Actually, that may just work.

Paradox: I suppose that we have no choice.

Just then, Swaps comes in. He is surprised to see that they are having a meeting without him.

Swaps: Hey, why are you all here and I missed something didn't I but then again you guys wouldn't have a meeting without me would you and actually you might but then again... I lost my train of thought.

Paradox: Swaps, we just took a vote. You are to extract him from the castle.

Drystone: We didn't- Ow!

Kamek: Shhh. Yes, you know which one it is, right?

Swaps: What? Yeah of course I know and oh boy oh boy I won't let you down you'll see I'll have him here by tomorrow and I just realized that I need minions.

Kamek: Here.

Kamek turns a block in the corner into a trio of Microgoombas that he directs toward Swaps.

Microgoombas: What can we do for you?

Swaps: Oh great come on little fellas we're going Koopaling-hunting.

They rush out of the room. Bonnie turns to the others.

Bonnie: Who expects this to go smoothly?

None of them answer.

Bonnie: All in favor of a backup plan?

Others: I.

Back at Kastle Koopa, things are as hectic as ever. Kammy and Jagger are still out looking for Jr. Bowser has fallen into a depression with Jr. still missing and Kamek, his most loyal minion, having betrayed him. All of the Koopalings are on edge, but have agreed to talk over what they know in the lounge.

Ludwig: So, it just threw you aside then?

Lemmy: Yes. For the umpteenth time. That golem just threw me to the side and charged at Iggy and Larry.

Ludwig: Well, Kamek would have sent it after the keeper, so that means it isn't you. I can also cross myself off the list since I wasn't there. Kamek must know who it is, or he wouldn't have revealed himself.

Wendy: So what? We still can't figure out which one of those two it is.

Larry: Why even bother trying?

Ludwig: Because the sooner we figure this out, the sooner we can stop the keepers, rescue Jr, and get King Dad to snap out of it! We have no other choice!

Roy: So what? None of us even like that little twerp.

Ludwig: That isn't important!

Morton: I just want my revenge, comeuppance, vengeance, payback on Bonnie!

Wendy: Yeah.

Lemmy: We have to figure this out now!

Roy: Shut up.

Ludwig: Fine then. We'll figure it out ourselves. Come on, guys.

He and Lemmy storm off while Roy, Morton, and Wendy head off in other directions. Iggy and Larry just sit there awkwardly.

Iggy: So, it's one of us, huh?

Larry: Yup. Now what are we going to do? They're mad at each other for no reason. These keepers are tearing us apart. Not that we were ever that close.

Iggy: Psychological effects, I suppose. Everyone is so scared that the stress is causing all of us to react oddly.

Larry: So it's up to us when the next keeper shows?

Iggy: Basically.

Meanwhile, Swaps and his Microgoombas have already infiltrated the castle. Swaps is now a Koopatrol and the Goombas are hiding in his shell. He walks down an empty hall, morphs into Wendy, and walks off again.

Swaps: I love being a Tanoomba.

He comes upon Roy in the gym.

Swaps: Hey there Roy you wouldn’t happen to know where everybody else is would you cause I really need to talk with them for reasons and stuff.

Roy: Wendy, we literally just left them in the lounge. You're losing it now, Sis.
Swaps: Thanks!
He dashes out of the room. A minute later, the real Wendy stomps in.
Wendy: Roy! Did you steal my mirror?!
Roy: Didn't you just leave?
Wendy: What? Just answer me!
Roy: No. I didn't take your stupid mirror.
She runs off and Roy is confused. But as usual, he stops caring after a few minutes.
Meanwhile, Swaps is looking for the lounge. He has no idea how to navigate the castle and found Roy through pure luck. He changes into Lemmy as he hears a clicking noise, and someone rounds the corner.

Wendy: Lemmy! Did you steal my mirror?
Swaps: What? Uh, no. Bye!
He runs for it.
Microgoomba 1 (from Swaps’s shell): Why are you so nervous, Swaps? This is going just fine.

Swaps: I haven't been on a mission in a while. The others are still mad about that incident with Drystone and the Blarrg. Haha. Good times and wait, what was I saying?
He hears another noise in the hall but this time it is just a guard. He quickly walks on, looking for the lounge. There, Iggy and Larry are in the middle of hatching a plan.
Larry: So, when the next keeper shows up, we just catch him or her for interrogation.
Iggy: And once we know who the keeper is, we can figure out how to beat them with our own powers!
Larry: What do you think we can do?
Iggy: Should we try something out? Umm, HE-YA!
He kicks the table, effectively stubbing his toe.
Iggy: Youch! Still I don’t have any strength...
Larry: Well...
He jumps up, fluttering his arms and legs like Yoshi. Then he falls over.

Larry: Nope. How does Ludwig do that?
Just then Swaps comes in, still disguised as Lemmy.

Swaps: Hey guys! I need you to come with me real quick so that we can talk but it has to be in some place that's private for umm reasons.
Iggy: You're suddenly talkative.
Swaps: Well, just come on.
He leads them off to a random room. Luckily for him, it is empty. He turns and locks the door, then turns back to the two Koopas.

Swaps: Okay. Well, how do I say this?
Iggy: What? Did you figure it out?
Swaps: Sort of.
Elsewhere, Ludwig is arguing with Lemmy when Wendy walks into his lab.
Wendy: Did you take my mirror, Ludwig? Oh. There it is. Lemmy! You knew where it was! Why didn't you tell me earlier?

Lemmy: What are you talking about?
Ludwig: He has been with me this whole time.
Wendy: But I just saw him in the hall. Who was that then?
The three of them all come to the realization at the same time.
Ludwig: Oh no.
With Larry and Iggy, things are still awkward.

Swaps: Well um...
Iggy: Just spit it out!
Swaps: Okay okay you broke me I'll tell you everything I'm not really Lemmy *changes back to normal* I'm actually Swaps the Tanoomba and I'm another keeper and Kamek told me to come for you because you're the keeper and that's it! Attack, my minions!

The Microgoombas stare at him, as do Iggy and Larry.
Swaps: Oh dang it. Why do I always screw up?!
Larry: Um, well, prepare to die, foul keeper! Where are you keeping Jr?

Swaps suddenly morphs into a cross between Bowser, Super Dimentio, Elder Princess Shroob, and Grodus.
Iggy: Let him vent, Larry!

Larry jumps back as Swaps returns to normal.
Swaps: They always treat me like I'm inferior and it's all because I screwed up and accidentally made Drystone almost get mauled by that Blarrg and now they think that I'm stupid because I can't control my powers and why why why?!

Larry: So, which of us is the keeper?
Iggy: I know your pain, dude.
Swaps: Really? Thanks. I feel better now. Which means I have to attack you. And the keeper is... NO! I forgot! I really am stupid! WAHHHH!
Iggy: Should we attack him?
Larry: I don't know.
Meanwhile, Ludwig, Lemmy, and Wendy run into the lounge.
Wendy: Where are they? We've checked all over the place.
Lemmy: What if we're too late?
Ludwig: Both of you shut up! I'll use yet another of my inventions.
He pulls a sonar/GBA-like device out of his outrageously large hair.

Ludwig: This will track Larry's DNA. I made it so that he wouldn't be able to spy on me.
Lemmy: Well, what does it say?

Ludwig: Um, this way.
They run off.
Back with Swaps, Larry, and Iggy...
Swaps: I'm over it now so now it's time to fight ‘cause I remember who it is.

Larry: Finally!
He immediately spits a fireball at Swaps, who jumps over it and, with surprising speed for a Goomba-variation, tail-sweeps both of them and they fall over.
Iggy: Whoah! He's really fast!
Larry: Shrink him then!
Iggy fires a blast from his wand and shrinks Swaps, but he just grows back.
Swaps: Why would that work on a shapeshifter?
Larry: Fail.
Iggy: Shut up!
Swaps turns into a Chomp and charges at them. They roll aside and he turns back, but dashes behind them at ridiculous speeds, headbutting Larry.
Larry: Agg! Okay, speed is definitely one of his powers.
Iggy: HA!
He grabs Swaps by the tail and pulls him off the ground. Swaps turns into a Thwimp, then a Chomp, then a Blooper, and finally back to himself.
Swaps: Dang it my tail doesn't go away and I completely forgot about that why why why?!
Iggy: Shut up already. Now who's the keeper and where is Jr?
Microgoombas: Don't forget about us, Boss!
Iggy: What the-
Swaps glows and everyone's soul comes out of their bodies and goes into someone else's. He stops glowing.

Larry (as Swaps): Let go of me!
Microgoomba (as Iggy): Let me think... No.
Swaps (as Microgoomba): Nice job- Ow!
Iggy (as Larry): Bizarre. But take that!
Iggy violently stomps on Swaps until Ludwig breaks down the door.
Ludwig: There they are!
The same thing happens, except now with Ludwig, Lemmy, and Wendy as well.
Wendy (as Iggy): What just happened? Oh my DAD! Why am I Iggy?
Swaps (as himself): Haha! How do you like that power I know you like it don't ya don't ya.
Microgoomba 1 (as Larry): Now we win.
Microgoomba 2 (as Wendy): Yeah!
Microgoomba 3 (as Ludwig): Suckers.
Iggy (as Lemmy): What do you-
He gets hit over the head by Microgoomba 3 and passes out.
Ludwig (as Microgoomba 2): Oh no.
Swaps: This is what the others are mad at me for because I once switched Drystone with that Blarrg and then the Blarrg charged him and almost burned Drystone up and that would have ruined everything. Now come on guys. Oh right. SMALLER SOUL ROULETTE!
Wendy: Great! I'm myself again-
Microgoomba 3: I like doing that.
Larry: I hate being a Microgoomba. Change us back now!
Microgoomba 1: No. Now come here.
He throws Larry into his shell.
Swaps: Great now you come with me and you two can squash the Koopa Kids so yeah bye!
He and the Microgoomba in Iggy's body run off and leave the castle. They run right by Kammy, who by dumb luck came in to see what is happening to the others.

Ludwig: Kammy! Help! I'm Ludwig! Those are imposters!
Kammy: Huh? Reversicus magicus!
Everyone there is now in their correct bodies. Lemmy grabs the two Microgoombas left behind.
Lemmy: You two are going to sing for us. Kammy, we'll explain later. Just go make us some truth serum.
Kammy: Okiedokie.
She leaves. Just then, Popple sticks his head out of the wall.
Popple: (under his breath) Why are five of them together? I guess I'll have too wait a bit, see. Wait, are those Swaps's Microgoombas?
He goes back into the wall as the five siblings walk off.
At the Keepers' HQ, Swaps returns with Larry and his body.
Swaps: Well, how did I do? This is him, right?
Bonnie: I expected you to completely fail.
Swaps: You're mean. WAHHHH!
Paradox: He has his issues. And he almost did it right.
Kamek: We need to be careful, the Koopalings will come for him.
Paradox: I'm prepared for that. Hehehe.
As he says that, Kammy's spell activates and Larry and the Microgoomba switch back.
Larry: Finally, now where are you, Swaps? And Kamek? And Bonnie? And Drystone? Uh oh.
Paradox: Hello Koopa. I'm afraid you will be taking residence here with us for a bit.
Larry: Wait, who are you? And does that make me the keeper?
Bonnie: No. Swaps is known to mess up. Things just seem to work right for him.
Paradox: I am Paradox, the leader of the keepers. And we still cannot allow you to leave.
Larry: Where's Jr?
Paradox: You are not in a position to question us. Now will you come quietly, or do we have to lock you up ourselves?
Larry turns and runs out of the room. Thirty seconds later, he runs back in.
Larry: What the…? How did I get back here? I ran in a straight line!
Paradox: I said that you couldn't leave, did I not?
Larry: What are you?
He runs back out, but again returns, except this time Popple is behind him.
Larry: But I just passed you! What's going on here?
Paradox: Enough of this. Popple?
Popple: Gladly, see.
Larry: Keep that mask away from me- Ack!
Paradox trips him with his cane as Popple throws the mask on Larry's head.
Popple: There. Now should I go back? They were all in one place and I didn't like my odds, see.
Swaps: I can get it right this time i swear i swear i swear!
Paradox: No. Now, they will come to us. Kamek, I want a warning once they are in the area. Popple, keep him out of the way for now. Bonnie, keep Jr. locked up. Swaps, I have a job not even you can mess up.
Swaps: Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Drystone: He gets two missions in a row! What do I do then?

Paradox: You just be prepared. You were in the worst shape after your mission. You should just heal up.

He walks away, leaving Kamek, Popple, Bonnie, Swaps, and Drystone to ponder this.

To Be Continued...

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