The Crystal Keepers

By Pyro Guy

Swaps: Hey, Popple you wouldn't actually throw that down here would you I  think that it would be really really bad and you're insane but I probably should have noticed that when you ended every sentence with see, see.

Swaps and Popple were still in a stalemate with Larry and Roy. Popple had not yet let loose the smartbomb in his hands, but it was only a matter of time.

Popple: Shut up, see, Rookie.

Swaps: I'm not your rookie.

Larry: Any ideas, Roy?

Roy: Uhhhhhh...

Larry looked around for an out. He was in a bad position. If Ludwig were there then he could teleport them to safety. But he wasn't.

Popple: What are you worried about, Swaps? You turn into me and we can both just pass through the rubble, see. Easy win.

Swaps: Oh yeah that's a good idea Popple I'm really glad that you came up with that and these two canít teleport can they?

Roy: Any bright ideas, Bro?

Larry reached into his shell. Popple had gone through his things when he'd been captured, but he'd left this. It was a rusty whistle, like for dogs. Except this called for something else. He blew on it, hoping against all reason that the right person would hear his call.

Swaps (now as Popple): What are you doing and what's with that whistle and why doesn't it make any noise is it broken?

Popple: Let's not find out, see.

He threw the bomb right at them. Roy dove to catch it. He succeeded.

Roy: Ha! Look who's got the bomb now!

Larry: Careful, Roy. Is that a fuse?

Roy flipped the smartbomb over to reveal a hidden fuse.

Roy: Whoa!

He threw it back at Popple, who phased right through the wall as Swaps followed him. The bomb went off and the ceiling came crashing down. Both Koopas thought that they were done for. Roy was finally afraid for once. He thought he was dead when the light suddenly cut out. Then he realized that the floor was wet.

Roy: What the?

Larry: Looks like he heard my whistle.

Roy: Who? Wait, this isn't-

Larry: Yup! Okay Petey! You can spit us out now!

Petey Piranha, always at Larry's call, had tunneled down and eaten them to protect the two princes from the falling ceiling. Now he spit them out, slightly away from the pile of debris.

Roy: He heard your plant whistle?

Larry: It was a wild hope, but I guess it paid off.

Petey: GLARBARHG!

Larry: He says that he went looking for me on his own when I got captured. Thanks, Petey!

Petey: GLARB!

Roy: Hate to break this up, but where did they go?

Popple and Swaps phased back in through the wall.

Popple: They're still alive! Let's get 'em, see.

Petey: ALEGRHDAJ!

Swaps: Ahhhh! I think that I have giant Goomba-eating plant phobia because he is really scaring me and where did he even come from?

Larry: That's for us to know and for you to not find out! Sick him, Petey!

Swaps: SOUL ROU-AGHHH!

Petey tackled him and started spewing goop everywhere. Swaps looked finished but suddenly exhaled a burst of flames. Petey's goop caught fore instantly.

Petey: GLARB!

Swaps had morphed into Bowser and utilized his fire breath. Petey fell back and dove underground, too injured to help any more. Swaps laughed as he changed back to normal.

Swaps: Whoa that was a close one wasn't it Popple hahahahahaha!

Larry: Bombs away!

Swaps: Wha? Ooof!

Larry shelled into Swaps and Roy charged Popple. Larry had grabbed Swaps's tail and the Tanoomba was frantically vibrating as he tried to escape.

Larry: That crazy speed was your second power this whole time, wasn't it?

Swaps: Yah so what I'm stuck and oh I know what to do!

He turned into a Bob-omb. Larry panicked and threw him towards Popple. Popple just sat there while it blew up, he was used to explosions. Roy ducked into his shell to avoid the blast.

Roy: Watch it, Larry!

Larry: Sorry, aiming for Popple.

Popple: Well bombs won't beat me, see. Now let's see what's in my bag.

Popple reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out... a pineapple.

Popple: It'll do, see.

He swung it at Roy, who ducked under and punched Popple in the face. He then proceeded to put Popple into a headlock and try to strangle him. Popple phased through his arms and pulled out a hammer that he then hit Roy with.

Larry was having trouble against Swaps, who had changed into Mario. Swaps was now using his extreme speeds to slam Larry on the head and was literally bouncing off the walls. Larry managed to trip him and he crashed into a wall. Larry then spat out a fireball at Swaps's back. He followed this up with a barrage of wand blasts. He then went in for a ground pound and knocked the Tanoomba unconscious. He reverted back to his true form.

Popple had Roy on the ropes. Another knock to the head and that would be it. Then something hit him on the back of the head, giving Roy the opportunity to hit him with a Roy Special.

Popple: Aughhhh...

He passed out as Roy looked over at Larry, who had taken his tennis racket from Popple's bag.

Larry: Come on, let's go.

???: Wait up!

They turned to see Wendy and Morton coming from a hole in the wall. It had been made by Swaps's explosion.

Wendy: We're hurt, so help us out, will you?

Roy: Coming, Sis.

Elsewhere...

Lemmy was still rolling down a hall until he came to the room with the chains. He saw Paradox watching the fight between Ludwig and the golem on a crystal ball.

Paradox: Hello. Please hold on a moment. I'd like to see this.

Lemmy: No way!

He shot a fireball at Paradox, but it was extinguished once it came within two feet of him.

Lemmy: Huh?

Paradox: Don't bother. Care to watch? This could be the last you see of your brother.

Lemmy rolled over cautiously and took a peek. He saw that Paradox was right: the golem was invincible, he'd learned that the hard way. Ludwig could only last for so long.

Ludwig: Where is he? Whoa!

Lemmy could only watch as Ludwig took a punch and a stomp from the golem before sliding away. Lemmy was horrified. Ludwig was just barely dodging. And worst of all, he was slowing down. Lemmy could see Kamek hiding around a corner, but there was nothing he could do.

Lemmy: Ludwig! Behind that wall!

Paradox: He can't hear you over this, you know.

Lemmy: Who are you?! And where are my brothers?!

Paradox: After this, please.

Lemmy: Grr.

Ludwig was doomed. At least, that's what Kamek thought, until Ludwig started teleporting.

Ludwig: I know you're here, Kamek! Eureka!

He shot a fireball at the ceiling. The light it gave off illuminated the room he was in and he saw Kamek's shadow. He immediately teleported over and grabbed at Kamek's wand.
Startled, Kamek jumped and his golem fell apart.

Kamek: Give me that back, you ungrateful little child!

Ludwig instead snapped the wand in half.

Ludwig: No.

Kamek: All of us have two powers, boy. Now for my second!

He looked at Ludwig and then ducked a punch before kneeing the prince in the stomach and stepping back.

Ludwig: Hmmph. Taste lightning.

He fired lightning, but Kamek was already out of the way and used a weak finger spell to shoot his own electricity at Ludwig.

Ludwig: How? You would have to know where I was aiming to dodge that. Wait... you're reading my mind.

Kamek: You always were a smart one. Now how can you beat me?

Ludwig: I was working on a teleporter for everyone when all of this started, I can still remember the exact blueprints...

He trailed off as Kamek read his mind.

Kamek: Hmm, what? A schematic?

Ludwig lashed out with his fist and caught Kamek off-guard.

Ludwig: Sorry, just thinking about my old inventions. I hope my thoughts donít fill up your mind.

Kamek: You little- Augh!

Ludwig: Goodbye, Kamek.

He unleashed a scattershot blast from his wand that enveloped Kamek in blue flames. He turned and walked off in the direction that Lemmy had gone. He didn't look back.

Paradox: Impressive.

He watched as the crystal went dark. It was only a matter of time now. He was the only remaining keeper. His thoughts turned to the Koopa across from him.

Lemmy: Hah! Now Ludwig's coming. How will you deal with both of us?

Paradox: One by one.

He thrust his cane at Lemmy, who ducked, knowing the charge that the diamond carried. Lemmy kicked his ball at Paradox, but it veered to the side.

Lemmy: What the?!

Paradox: The reason I am to be feared. Not for my cane, puppets, voices, or teleportation. But my true keeper power. Ask yourself this,Lemmy. If I took the power of the Cystal Sars, then why would I go into a thousand-ear sleep and give up twelve powers? Answer. Because they are too unstable for one person to handle. Or at least they were. My very presence warps reality,Koopa. Merely hitting me is an accomplishment.

Lemmy: Then why didn't you just come for us yourself, if youíre so powerful?

Paradox: Do you realize how much magical energy has accumulated at your castle over the years? Between you, Kamek, your siblings, and everything else? If I ever came too close then the imbalance would rip the fabric of space apart. Reality would cease to exist and the world would be plunged into chaos. Not controlled chaos though. Not the good kind.

Lemmy: What do you mean?

Paradox: How do you think we planned to takeover? Once all seven keepers were in the same place, space and time would mould themselves for us. My power exerts influence over a small area. Together it would cover Plit and we could control the distortion. But Swaps had to be late getting back, so there were only six of us. Iggy didn't need to comply, he just needed to be here!

Lemmy: Well too bad. It's over now that Kamek is dead.

Paradox: Is that what you think? That makes it easier. Over the years I've grown more stable. I can handle all the powers together now. I never told Drystone of his final ability. He was the strongest of us all. He thought his stone shot and his magic were two separate powers. But now that he's been destroyed I have been able to absorb it.

Lemmy: You-you wanted us to win, all their powers get released when they die! Well I won't let you!

He pulled out an Ice Flower and started to make a snowball. But Paradox warped up and snatched the flower away. His gloves hands glowed and the flower withered. He dropped it.

Paradox: Not quite. Just the one. His last power was the ability to steal them from others. I can now use that Ice Flower endlessly. And I shall absorb the other powers later on. Then I will takeover on my own. But tell me, what powers can you provide me before I kill you?

Lemmy backed away. He was scared. If Paradox could just take their powers, then he was in serious trouble.

Paradox: Don't bother running. My power creates a space lock on this room. Anyone who runs in comes out the wrong way, and if you leave you'll just walk back in here. Hehehehe. I'm invincible Lemmy. No one can stop me.

Lemmy pulls out his Freeze Gun and fires. Paradox pulls his cape around to block the laser. Ice forms, but it melts away just as quickly. Paradox shoots a lightning bolt at Lemmy. He dodges but is hit by a snowball.

Lemmy: You're going to use a snowball to beat me?

Paradox: Actually, I'm going to use a distraction. Look up.

Lemmy looks up to see the cage containing Iggy and Jr. They are both awake now.

Iggy: Lemmy! Be careful!

Jr: Get us outta here!

The chains above suddenly shoot out at Lemmy, who just barely rolls out of the way. Paradox sticks his cane into the ground like a lever and pulls it. Gravity in the room shifts as Lemmy is thrown against the wall. The chains fly towards him and he gets buried by them on the wall. Paradox walks over, completely unaffected by the gravity change.

Paradox: So easy to defeat, how did my associates have trouble with you Koopas?

Lemmy: I'm not that easy! And who are you?!

Paradox: I lived a thousand years ago, my real name is meaningless. As is the rest of my past.

Lemmy: Then why are you wearing a mask?

Paradox: Side effects. My distortion destroyed my face. I wear this as a favor to the rest of the world. I'm horribly grotesque underneath it. That's all irrelevant though. This is that part where I take your powers, kill you, and move on to your siblings up in the cage.

Bowser Jr. watched with Iggy.

Jr: Any ideas to help him?

Iggy: Just one. You have strong fire breath, right?

Jr. shot a fireball at Paradox. It hit him on the back and threw off his hold on reality long enough for Lemmy to escape from the chains and hop onto his ball.

Paradox: Insufferable pest. You die first, brat!

He saw Lemmy holding his Freeze Gun.

Paradox: Time to turn up the heat.

The room suddenly warmed up about fifteen degrees, causing the Freeze Gun to shut down.

Lemmy: No! It burns!

Paradox: What was that? Warm it up? Well, if you insist.

The temperature jumped again. Paradox was changing anything to give himself an edge in the fight.

Iggy: Behind you!

Lemmy: Wha-argh!

Paradox (with Iggy's voice): Oops, my bad. I meant in front of you.

Lemmy: No fair.

Paradox (normal voice): Too bad. Just surrender. You can't possibly win. You will eventually tire. Even now, gravity tugs on you, slowing you down ever so little with each movement. I, on the other hand, won't tire.

Lemmy: How can I beat him, if he changes reality every time I find an option? So hot in here. Huh-huh-huh...

He was panting already. He used his ball to absorb another lightning bolt. This could only last for so long.

The rest of his family was together now. They were just outside the room and could hear the fighting. Unfortunately, every time one of them ran in, they would just come back out. Paradox wasn't letting them interfere.

Ludwig: Something is very wrong here.

Larry: It's like when I tried to escape.

Wendy: Now what do we do?

Roy: There must be a way in.

Morton: We need to think, meditate, ponder about this problem, enigma, mystery, conundrum.

Iggy was having no better luck. How could be help his brother now? He was trapped like a rat and didn't even have his wand. He felt a bit odd, and suddenly burst out laughing.

Iggy: WAWAWAWAHHH!

Jr: Iggy! Why are you laughing?

Lemmy: Iggy! Not the time!

Paradox: He can't help it. Being surrounded by so much crystal energy makes you go loopy. It's how we all learned to use our powers. Things just click when you laugh for some reason. Oh no.

Lemmy: What?

Paradox: If he's learning to use his powers... I'll deal with you later!

He threw Lemmy on to the floor, which turned into a quicksand-like substance that Lemmy quickly got stuck in.

Lemmy: What is this stuff?

Paradox warped into Iggy's cage.

Paradox: Come here, you.

Iggy: WAHAHAWAWAH!

Suddenly a portal opened beneath Iggy and Jr. They fell through and appeared next to Lemmy.

Jr: What?

Iggy: WAHAWawah! Did I lose it there?

Paradox: Portals, huh? So that's his first skill. No matter, it will only help him for so long.

He warped out of the cage, but Iggy tackled him instantly. Iggy was thrown back by a gravity shift before dissolving into sand.

Paradox: A sand clone?

Iggy: That's my power, all right! WAHAHAHA!

Iggy created another pair of clones that charged Paradox. They were both electrocuted and destroyed before they could reach him.

Jr: Yeah, Iggy! Wait, I wanna help. Give me a portal to my paintbrush!

Iggy: Kay!

He opened a portal and the magical brush fell out of it. He also spawned another clone.
Paradox ducked under a glob of paint and scattered the sands of the clone.

Paradox: Where are you getting the sand?

Iggy: We're underground, aren't we? Itís everywhere! WAHAHAHA!

Another five clones charged. Paradox started to warp but tripped in a puddle of Jr's paint. The clones jumped on him. Two of them were stabbed by his cane and another was thrown off. But two of the clones grabbed onto his arms as Jr created a paint-lasso that he then used to steal the cane.

Paradox: Get off of me! Distortion!

The two clones were shattered by an invisible force. Paradox then opened fire with an array of ice balls, but Jr. threw paint in the way to stop them. More Iggy clones came. There were too many of them and Paradox started to get overwhelmed.

Iggy: I want in on this action!

He opened up a portal to his backpack. He grabbed onto it and pressed a secret button as it opened and unfolded. It eventually became Iggy's Blooper mech!

Iggy: Portable edition! Wahahahah!

He hopped in and slammed Paradox with a tentacle.

Paradox: Glargh!

The clones were destroyed as well. But they started reforming, now with Blooper mechs of their own.

Iggy: Get him!

Paradox was getting pummeled by the Bloopers. Normally he would have had no issue with this fight, but now that he was in a cyclone of metal tentacles, he couldn't concentrate, he couldn't switch reality to help himself. Eventually the mechs had him pinned down. He couldn't even reach his cape to warp to safety.

The other Koopalings ran in, now that the space lock was broken. The bonds holding Lemmy also changed back into the normal floor.

Lemmy: I'm free!

Jr: Come on, Iggy! Finish him off!

Wendy: Where did all those robots come from?

Lemmy: Iggy figured out his powers!

Larry: Good! Now let's see Paradox destroyed.

Ludwig: End this, Iggy!

Iggy: Kay!

He looked at the control panel and pressed the most destructive button: Self-Destruct! All of his clones followed suit. The real Iggy hopped out and ran to his family.

Iggy: Let's get out of here.

He opened a portal to where the Wiggler was waiting and they all jumped through.

Paradox: No! This can't be happening! I can't lose to this scum! Just one chance!

Mechs: Four! Three! Two!

Paradox: It's too late.

Mechs: One! Self-destruct go!

The Koopalings outside heard the explosion and looked down at the smoke in the tunnels. They caved in and they knew that it was over.

Wiggler: You got them!

Iggy: All in a day's work.

Larry: It's over. All that's left is to get home.

Ludwig: Wiggler, good luck rebuilding your farm. Siblings, back to the doomship. I have one last thing to attend to.

Just then, the bushes rustled. A pair of Sockops came out with Kammy.

Sockop 1: We found out who she is.

Sockop 2: We don't want any trouble. We just thought she was with the guy who attacked our king.

Sockop 1: You can have her.

Ludwig: I retract my previous statement.

Wendy: She's alive!

And so the nine Koopas went back to the ship and flew home. They had spent all night in the maze of tunnels, so Bowser thought they had all been taken. Needless to say he was overjoyed to see them return.

A few days later, troops were sent out on an excavation mission to the farm. All of the keepers were buried. Except for Paradox. They never found him, but it was assumed that he had been incinerated by the blast. For now, the Koopas could relax. The threat of the Crystal Keepers was over. For now.

The End

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