Everything You Want

By D'nel the ex-Mage

Author's Note: This story is based off "Love Is Acceptance" by Karma Koopa. If you have yet to read that story, I suggest you do so. NOW! Go, I don't want to see you back here until you've read it!

No, seriously, it's a great story, Karma is a wonderful writer, and you won't understand any of this if you don't read her story first. If you do, then you'll at least understand half of this story. So go read it (and vote for it, darn you!) ~grin~

You might also want to read my bio, I get sick of describing myself in my stories.


A hole opened up in the fabric of space and a large shape fell through it, to flop unceremoniously to the ground. It picked itself up and dusted off its robe, grunting and cursing under its breath. Adjusting its glasses so that it could see straight, it looked about the new world it was in.

"Hmm, writing in third person? That's odd... I must not have plot rights to this one..."

The draconic being pulled back a sleeve and pointed towards the horizon, working some magic.

Suddenly, an ominous rumbling could be heard from the distance as dark clouds approached, sending flashes of lightning sparking between them. A huge shape loomed beneath them, dark as midnight, radiating an evil presence and power like none ever felt before.

"Oooh, a plot twist! I guess I do have story rights, just not in full. Hmm, wonder why..."

D'nel the ex-Mage chuckled to himself and released his hold on the plot, letting everything slowly shrink back to the way it was.

"Now, to find out where I am exactly..."

He turned around this way and that, but he had landed in such a position that there was quite a bit of flat land around him, with only a few hills here and there, but not much else. Following a funny suspicion, he looked up. Above him were floating blocks with question marks on them, and solid-looking clouds.

"Ahh, only one place with those... I've hit the Mushroom Kingdom!"

Chuckling to himself, he reached into his pocket and removed Raptor Man's cybernetically enhanced eyepiece, affixing it to his right eye and scanning the horizon.

"Hmm, castle off that way... Either Mushroom or Koopa, can't tell... Doesn't really matter to me which."

Removing the implant and placing it back into his pocket, he shuffled off towards the castle, chuckling all the way.

"I wonder whom I shall meet this time..."


"Oh, Kooooookyyyyyyy!"

Kooky von Koopa groaned audibly.

"I have something for you, don'tcha wanna come see what?"

The blue-haired Koopaling attempted to drown out the overly-sweet falsetto voice by cranking up an electric drill by his side that he wasn't using and feigning complete deafness. Neither helped as he felt two arms wind around his neck and a heavy body climb onto his shell.

"Go away, I'm busy!"

"Oh, you always say that!" Karma Koopa mock-giggled. "Aren't you even interested in what I brought for you?"


Karma chuckled loudly over of the sound of the drill.

"Fine, then I'll just have to eat this whoooole batch of chocolate chocolate chunk cookies your mom just made aaaaall by myself! I'm going to be soooo sick!"

There was a crunching sound, then a chewing sound and Karma mmmmmed in his ear.

Kooky's eyebrow twitched and his mouth watered. There was nothing more irresistable to a chocoholic like him than Clawdia Koopa's chocolate chocolate chunk cookies... Fresh!

Karma took her sweet time in getting out of Kooky's room, making loud chomping and mmming sounds, torturing him with every second she took to leave. But he wasn't about to let HER see him crack over cookies, no siree. He was just gonna wait until she got herself out that door, and then...

She was gone!

Quickly, Kooky hopped out of his chair and raced out the doorway, passing Karma, who was sitting just outside his door, ready to mall along the way.

Meanwhile, Clawdia had noticed that some of her Koopalings had been missing for awhile. Her maernal insticnts told her that something was wrong, and she began to worry. Finally she went out in front of the castle, and was relieved to see Hop standing at the foot of the drawbridge, staring off into space.

"Oh, Iggy, I was getting worried, I couldn't find you! Where have you been?"

Hop did not acknowledge her presence, but instead kept looking at nothing. Clawdia noticed that he was shivering and went to look closer at him. She was shocked to find that he wasn't wearing his glasses; they were smashed at his feet. His lips were moving, but she couldn't hear any sound coming from them.

"Iggy... Hop? What's wrong?"

Hop turned his head slowly to look at his mother, large tears in his eyes.

"Lemmy's gone," he whispered. "He's gone..."


D'nel used the time between scenes to shuffle all the way to the castle.

"Ah, Koopa Castle it is. Wonder what that racket is..."

He could hear quite the furor as he approached the castle. Loud bellowing could be heard from inside, even through the thick stone walls, occasionally punctuated by soft weeping. Goombas and Koopa Troopas and all sorts of other underlings were scrambling in and out and around the castle, searching high and low for something and occasionally knocking heads.

D'nel grinned silently to himself, still wondering what was up. He waddled over to the main gate, stepping on a Goomba and kicking Troopa shells out of his way, until he finally encountered resistance in the form of two huge Sledge Brothers guarding the entrance of the castle.

"HALT!" they bellowed in unison. "No one enters!"

D'nel waved his hand and the Sledge Brother' eyes glazed over. They stepped to the side and D'nel entered the castle. Then, stopping halfway in, with a half-smile on his face and an idea in his head, he turned around and went back out, to the end of the drawbridge, then turned around once more and shuffled back up the drawbridge to the castle entrance.

"HALT!" the guards bellowed simultaneously once more. "No one enters!"

D'nel waved his hand again.

"These are not the droids you're looking for."

Once again, the Sledge Brothers went into zombie mode and stepped aside. D'nel walked into the castle once more, laughing uproariously.

"I always wanted to do that!"

He saw Magikoopas making hurried rounds about the castle, gathering reports from troops and taking them to another, slightly larger Magikoopa in a blue cloak.

"Hmm," Kamek mused, pushing his glasses farther up on his nose. "This is not good... No, no, this will never do..."

He whirled on the nearest Magikoopa behind him.

"Get those lazy slobs to work!" he screeched, his nasal, whiny voice causing D'nel to pull out some Plotmuffs to protect his ears. "King Koopa will not be pleased until we find his son! Now move it, double-time! Or I'll move your lazy shells for you!"

Removing the Plotmuffs after the cacophony that was Kamek yelling had ceded, D'nel turned on his shades and sidled up to Kamek, putting an arm around him.

"Kamek, old bean! How's kicks?"

Kamek looked disdainfully at the creature behind him.

"Whoever and whatever you are, would you kindly go away? I'm busy."

"Oh, nonsense! Hey, just between one magical reptile to another, y'mind cluein' me to what's goin' on around here? I'd be much obliged."

Kamek sighed.

"If I tell you, will you GO AWAY?"


"Fine," Kamek replied, wiping his glasses on the sleeve of his cloak. "If you must know... And don't spread this around..."

"You have my word as an Elder God of the Duel Plane."

"Whatever. Anyway, two of King Bowser's sons have gone missing since this morning, with no trace."

"You don't say!" D'nel said, with mock surprise.

"I do. Lemmy was last seen by his brother Iggy, who still refuses to say what happened. He seems to be in shock. And after that, Roy was found to have disappeared from his room."

"Hmm, now... Interesting... And no trace at all of anything? No clues?"

"Not a one."

"Terribly interesting... Well, thanks a lot, ol' thingummy. Seeya 'round!"

D'nel shuffled off deeper into the castle and Kamek shook his head sadly and muttered.

"Thingummy... Just who does he think he is?"


"Why don't you just stop it? He's obviously not going to tell you anything!"

"Why don't you just shut yer yap, ya little half-breed!" Bowser growled, slapping Iggy once more to try and snap him out of his current stupored state.

Karma growled, King Koopa's words stinging her ears. She finally got enough gumption to grab hold of Bowser's arm and bite his hand.

"Ow!" Bowser yelled, tossing Karma to the floor and sucking on his hand where she bit him.

"Why'd you do that?" he asked, whining.

"Because," Karma replied in a huff, standing and brushing herself off in the midst of a group of very shocked Koopalings, "if you weren't so busy knocking your son around and bellowing like an idiot, you'd notice the fact that your wife is in hysterics, your other kids are scared, and nothing you're doing is helping to find Bully or Hip!"

At the mention of their names, Clawdia, who had been sitting quietly on the couch with tears running down her scaly cheeks, began crying once more. Bowser looked helplessly from his wife to Karma to Hop and back to Clawdia once more, then sat down on the other end of the couch with a sigh, still holding his finger in his mouth.


"I'm right, huh?" Karma said with a smirk.

Bowser snorted, then diverted his attention to trying to comfort his sobbing mate.

Big Mouth jumped as a claw tapped his shoulder.

"Hey, you! Why d'you hafta go sneaking up silently on unsuspecting innocent Koopalings like that, huh? You coulda scared the heck, the snot, and the livin' daylights outta me! You coulda..."

D'nel clamped a hand over Big Mouth's mouth.

"Does he ever shut up?"

"No," was the resounding answer.

"Thought not." The dragon removed his hand, leaving a piece of Plot Tape to keep the verbose Koopaling silent. "So, what's been going on, kiddies?"

Karma sighed and looked at Kooky.

"Don't you know anything?"

"Only that two of your brothers are missing."

"They're not MY brothers," she snapped, crossing her arms.

"Oh, terribly sorry," D'nel replied, bowing. "D'nel the ex-Mage, and you would be?"

Karma returned his profferred claw with an incredulous look.

"Karma Koopa."

"And you're not related to them?" He motioned to the Koopalings.

Karma tsked at him. "You really don't know anything, do you?"

"Actually, I'm just playing dumb so you'll reveal the plot," D'nel grinned.

"That's obvious," Karma replied acidicly. "Well, if you must know, Mister ex-Whatever, my last name just HAPPENS to be Koopa. Just randomly, okay? And I'm here because I'm kinda... betrothed to this dork." She elbowed Kooky. "Not that I'm terribly pleased with that arrangement."

"Oh, you Met him, that's right."

"How do you know about that?" Karma asked, staring at him.

D'nel replied by grinning enigmatically.

"As much as I enjoy talking about your love life, do you have any ideas on what happened to the missing Koopalings?"

"None whatsoever," Bowser replied slowly, getting up from the couch where he was sitting, then pointed to Hop. "And he knows something, but he won't tell us."

"Can't tell you, you mean," D'nel said, shuffling over to Hop and inspecting him. "He's in a state of complete mental shock. Wow, I wonder just what got him. I could find out, if you like..."

"By all means, do!" Bowser replied. "But I tell ya now, you won't get anything outta him."

"Hmph... We'll see about that."

D'nel grabbed a stool and sat Hop on it, then sat back into his own black leather reclining rolling chair that had not been there previously, and pondered.

"All right, what exactly do I need.? Hmm, Julian's Mind Probe should work..."

So saying, he grabbed Hop's head and locked eyes with him for a moment. Then they both gave a quick shudder, and D'nel recoiled and cried out.

"Agh! Mental shock it is! What was that thing?"

"What? What thing?" everyone except Big Mouth replied earnestly.

"That... Big... And, ooh... Dark..."

"Make sense!" Kootie Pie commanded.

"I'll do more than that," D'nel said, shaking his head. "Channel Holos: Hologram!"

He extended his hand, and a large image suddenly replaced one wall of the room. It showed Hip and Hop playing outside the castle. Hip was telling bad jokes and trying to get his twin to laugh, when all of a sudden a dark shadow blocked out the sun, freezing both Koopalings in place. A mammoth shape loomed above them, and suddenly, Hip was gone, and Hop was standing, frozen where his mother found him, his glasses broken and Hip's deflated ball floating downstream in the moat.

"But what happened?" Bowser demanded. "That doesn't explain a whole lot!"

"No, it doesn't," D'nel said, scratching his head. "Hop's emotions are in utter chaos, and this is all I could get from him. Most likely, it's all he can remember. A sort of mechanism to keep him from dealing with what really happened." He shrugged and turned to go.

"Wait, that's it?" Karma shouted. "You're just leaving us with that?"

"I'm sorry," D'nel replied, not turning back to look at her. "That's all I can do. You'll have to go it alone from here."

He walked out of the room, then vanished from sight.

"Great," Bowser fumed. "This is just great. Who is that guy, anyway?"

Karma shrugged. "Thought you knew him."

"I have no clue. Kooky?"

Kooky shook his head.

"Rrrrrrg... This is insane!"

"I think," Clawdia said suddenly, surprising everyone, "that we should find that ball. Lemmy is never without at least one ball. And no one has found it yet. It may very well be a clue."

"Right!" Bowser barked. "Kamek!"

The Magikoopa materialized in the doorway.

"Yes, my Liege?"

"Have the troops search the moat! Dredge the whole thing up if need be! Do it now!"

"Yes, Sire."

Kamek disappeared, a rather bemused look on his face.

"That'll work for sure," Bowser grinned, crossing his arms over his chest. "Glad I thought of it!"


Further into the day, there had been no trace found of Hip's deflated ball.

"This is getting us nowhere," Bowser grumbled during a silent family dinner. "What good is that ball going to do us? Is it going to have a note on it telling us where to find them?"

He brought his fist down on the table and cracked a corner of it off, then continued eating his soup.

"Glad you thought of it, huh?" Karma remarked, grinning, but quickly fell silent at King Koopa's baleful glare.

Soon after, a timid Koopa Troopa popped his head into the door.

"Ummm... King Bowser?"

"WHAT IS IT?" Bowser roared, not realizing his own volume until he noticed his family had jumped out of their seats.

The Troopa in question had popped immediately into his shell, and didn't peek back out until silence had reigned for a few minutes. He looked timidly at Bowser, then cleared his throat and held out a deflated green ball with a yellow star on it.

"Sire, w-we found this in the drainage d-ditch from the m-moat. You-you wanted to see it?"

Suddenly, he was scared back into his shell as the Koopa family gathered around to look at the ball. Almost ironically, there was, in hasty, black script, a note written on the flaccid rubber, which Kooky read aloud.

"I have what you want, will you give me what I need?"

"Who signed it?" Bowser asked, frantic.

Kooky began to answer, but was interrupted.

"There is no signature."

All seven Koopas turned to look at D'nel the ex-Mage, waddling out of a doorway on the opposite side of the dining room.

"How did you get in here?" Bowser demanded.

"That's not important. I have some valuable news to you that I just realized, in that most of this is my fault."

"WHAT?" In a flash, Bowser was holding the struggling dragon by the scruff of his cloak. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't pound you right now!"

"Because if you do, I won't be able to tell you what I know."

There was a tense moment, and then D'nel was lowered carefully back to the ground.

"Talk, dragon," Bowser growled.

"Well, I can tell you why Lemmy was taken first, for one thing: it's because he's an Author."

He got a strange look from his audience. He pulled the A out of his words and showed it to them, receiving even more strange looks.

"That's Author with a capital A, mind you. Not that he writes stories, but that he's an Author, and so am I. There's only room for a limited number here, and he was unimportant to the plot. Grub?"

D'nel held up a wriggling worm in front of Bowser's face, which contorted in disgust.

"Agh! No!"

D'nel shrugged and threw the grub over his shoulder, where it was summarily caught and eaten by the cat, who made quite a fuss before turning strange colors and going outside to vomit.

"Suit yourself. Anyway, that's why he was first. The second thing I have to tell you is that this is my fault. Whatever is taking your children is the plot twist I created when I first came here, though I thought I had removed it, I'm just not certain what it is. Stale toast?"

Again, D'nel held up a piece of stale toast in front of Bowser, who knocked it away before growling at him.

"Grrrr, would you stop that?"

D'nel shrugged.

"Suit yourself."

"Now what's all this about a..." He frowned in thought, stopping midsentence. His head nearly began smoking as he tried to make sense of what D'nel had said. "Huh?"

"I wouldn't expect you to understand, it's Author stuff. Just know that I'm going to try and help you stop this thing, whatever it is..."

A rat came out and ate the stale toast in the corner. Apparently, it was moldy, too, and the mold reacted strangely with the rat, which metamorphosed into a scrawny white mushroom person with shades. D'nel picked him up by the back of his collar and held him up for Bowser to see.


"Aaaagh, leggo!" Grub yelled.

D'nel set him down and he scooted out the door, screaming all the way.

"He'll be useful later... Anyway, where was I? My memory is terrible, you know... Oh, that's right, I have one more piece of information for you."

"At least it's not another piece of stale toast," Kooky whispered to Kootie Pie.

"Morton has been captured as well."

All eyes turned to him in shock.

"He excused himself from the table earlier, didn't he? Well, in that span of time, he was captured, just careless-as-you-please. I mean, haven't you noticed that the castle is a lot quieter?" He grinned, but the joke was lost on everyone.

"Why?" Clawdia wailed, burying her face in her apron. "Why can't they just tell us what they want instead of taking my babies?"

"I assure you, ma'am, they've not been harmed..." D'nel said quickly. "But until we know what he wants... Well, we'll just have to see. Hopefully, it will be soon."

He turned around and left then, and the cat passed him on the way back in, tongue hanging out, but feeling much better for the oddly-colored stain he'd left in the flower bed.


And so it continued over the next few days.

Cheatsie was the next to go.

Each day, the family's dinner was quieter and smaller.

Clawdia disappeared one day, as she was working in the kitchen. No one noticed because she'd been so silent for so long as it was. Kooky found out when he went to ask her when dinner was going to be ready that night.

Bowser was becoming lethargic. He hadn't the stamina to cope with this and bark orders. The Koopa Kingdom was falling into disarray, and troops were deserting.

"My, if this scene isn't reminiscent of another story I wrote," D'nel remarked.

"What is it with you?" Bowser asked, rolling over in his recliner and not even bothering to get angry. "Why can't you leave me alone?"

"I'm here for the story, that's all. I apologize for making you go through this to get it."

"What's the use? My kids are gone, my wife is gone..."

"Not all of your kids. You've still got Kooky, Hop, Kooty Pie and Karma."

Bowser snorted.

"Like that's any help. She's not even my kid anyway."

"Have you been drinking?"

"'Course not. Got nothin' to drink."

"Just like you have nothing to eat, hmm? I noticed you're losing weight. It's not healthy, you know."

"You're telling me... I don't know how to cook."

"Well, I'm not here to nursemaid a bunch of starving Koopas. Do you still have that ball?"

Bowser sat slowly up and looked the dragon in the eye.


"Well, I had a thought... Did you check the INSIDE for any clues?"

"The inside!" Bowser laughed, half-heartedly. "Why would I check the inside?"

"Let's put it this way: any being that can snatch Koopalings and full-grown Koopas from their homes without anyone noticing can write on the inside of a deflated ball, no problem."

"That's so crazy!"

Bowser stood up from the chair he had been sitting in for two days straight, his joints popping under the strain. His oversized shell hung noticeably looser from his diminishing frame. With some effort, he shuffled across the ground over to a chest and opened it, pulling out the deflated rubber ball and tossing it to D'nel, upon whose snout it landed. He removed it with a snort and used a claw to open it up.

"I was right... There's something in here."

"Let me see," Bowser said, tiredly.

D'nel handed the ball back to him as a series of clanks were heard coming down the stairs.

"What in the...?" D'nel lifted his glasses to make sure he wasn't dreaming as he saw Kootie Pie, grunting with strain under a number of bulging cuitcases.

"Kootie Pie...?" Bowser said, his voice filled with genuine fatherly devotion. "What are you doing?"

"I'm leaving," she replied plainly. "I'm not going to just sit in here and wait to get taken who-knows-where! I'm going out, and I'm going to fight this thing, whatever it is! So BRING IT ON!" She waved a short sword she had found somewhere to emphasize her point.

Bowser sighed heavily and sat back down in his chair, watching a TV that had been off for hours.

"You realize that by leaving, you're more likely to be captured?" D'nel in formed her. "Your brother was taken outside, after all."

"Hmph!" she huffed. "What do you know? He was only the FIRST one taken. Everyone else has been taken from inside, so obviously Lemmy just screwed up. Not surprising. Anyway, I'm not staying here! I'm taking my stuff!" She grunted again, hefting a bag that had slipped. "And leaving!"

So saying, she turned about and marched out the door.

"Let her go," D'nel said to Bowser, who paid no attention. "She's a lost cause now."

As D'nel watched Kootie Pie walk away from the castle, the sky began to darken, first casually, and then more vehemently as she got farther away. It began to rain, and the female Koopaling fumed as she searched her bags for an umbrella.

"Ah-hah!" she declared, finding one.

Then a flash of lightning lit up the sky so that D'nel had to shade his eyes. When it had faded, Kootie Pie was gone.

"Whoa!" D'nel cried. "That was intense!"

He ran out into the rain, his cloak changing blue to protect him from getting wet, and examined the ground where Kootie Pie had been standing. There was nothing there but a scorch mark.

"But her bags are gone, too... Meaning she was taken, not killed. Darn."

He turned his eyes skyward, shading them from the pouring rain.

"I'll figure you out, whoever you are... Oh, shoot, I need to get out of this. I'm acting too much like a main character as it is."

He hurried himself back into the dry castle, and remembered the ball once more. Picking it up, he took a careful look at the inside. All it said was "Ragnarok".

"What kind of name is... Hey, Bowser, I found out who..."

But there was no sign of the Koopa King.

"Whoa... Two in a row!"


"I'm sick of this! Kootie Pie had the right idea!"

Kooky was pacing back and forth in the dungeons, ranting as Hop sat huddled and shivering in the corner and Karma watched him, tapping her foot.

"Y'know, whining isn't going to do anything about it."

"Will you shut up already?" Kooky yelled.

"And whose idea was it to use the pipe shortcut to get into the dungeon anyway, hmm?"

"It was the best idea short of leaving."

"Oh, and now you want to leave. Well, that's just fine and dandy, Mr. I-Can't-Make-Up-My-Silly-Blue-Haired-Mind- for-Beans!"

The disaffected twin whimpered and wiped a tearful eye on his arm.

"You guys..." he said, speaking for the first time since his brother had vanished. "Fighting's not gonna help, either."

Kooky and Karma stared at him, more shocked at the fact that he was talking than at what he said.

"We need to find out what's going on..."

"And how d'you propose we do that, hmm?" Kooky sneered.

"I..." Hop choked on a sob. "I dunno..."

"Oh, leave him alone, Kooky," Karma berated. "He hasn't been any help at all, he's too darn scared."

"Well, don't you think I'm scared, as much as I hate to admit it?!" Kooky fumed. "I'm scared out of my shell here that something's going to happen to me and I'll die!" He stared at Karma, wide-eyed and panting.

The hybrid YoshiKoopa looked back at him, then sat down slowly.

"And as much as I hate to admit it to you," she said slowly, "I'm scared, too. I'm really scared, Kooky."

Kooky sat down next to her and put an arm around his Met. She instinctively leaned her head against him, just as D'nel burst through the far wall with a load of tunnelling equipment.

"There you are, I was wondering where you'd gotten to!"

Kooky and Karma both stood self-consciously bolt upright and separated.

"Oh, did I interrupt a moment?" D'nel chuckled, extricating himself from the large mass of machinery consisting of a large drill mounted to a chestplate with a clear eye shield, and two smaller drills positioned over D'nel's arms. "Sorry about that. You know I love to make an entrance. So, what's up?"

"We're waiting for the icy hand of doom to place it's final grip on us," Karma deadpanned.

"Oh, is that it? Well, at least I think I have a name to go with that hand. Ragnarok."

"Ragnarok?" Kooky said, looking at Karma strangely.

"Doesn't mean anything to me," she replied.

"Or me," Kooky said.

"Or me," Hop said softly.

"Well, that's just great. Here I am, thinking we've got it all figured out, and we're right back where we started, sans a few Koopas." He sat on the floor, deflated. "Poop."

"Now what?" Kooky asked, looking at Karma, who shrugged. "Hop?"

Kooky stared in horror as the place where his brother had been sitting was now vacant.

"What the..."

D'nel suddenly stood and pointed behind them.

"Look!" he gasped, losing points for terrible acting.

They all turned to face the corridor that ultimately led to the torture chambers. A shadowy figure floated around the corner. As it came into view, all saw that it was a ghost-like being, deep purple or black like a shadow, though it was somehow distinguishable from the shadows. It had no legs or real face but two scrawny arm-like appendages, and a face even darker than itself.

"I have what you want..." it echoed eerily, the hollow voice sounding from where its mouth should have been. "Do you have what I need?"

"Wait, wait, wait," D'nel said, stepping forward and shaking his head. "This can't be right. You CAN'T be Ragnarok! Where are the Koopalings? And Bowser, and Clawdia? Huh? Mister Darker-Than- the-Shadows-Speaking-In-a-Cheesy-Ghost- Voice?" He poked the apparition, and its arms drooped.

"Do you... have...?"

"Don't even start with me, pal," D'nel said, brushing off the ghost and turning his back on it. The thing slouched visibly, as if its feelings were hurt.

"All right!" the ex-Mage yelled. "Ragnarok, whoever you are, show yourself! None of this silly trying to scare us stuff!"

"Very perceptive, ex-Mage..." said a low voice that just radiated evilness.

"Oh, come on, this isn't the Blatantly Evil, God-Like Wizard we're talking about here..."

A rather squat figure in very sinister-looking battle armor stepped forward, its entire body obscured by the heavy plates of armor. It carried a very long two-handed broadsword.

"I am Ragnarok, son of Smithy the Great!" it bellowed.

"Well, that does sound like something I'd create," D'nel mused. "What about that moaning sack of low self-esteem in the corner there?"

"That is Wraith," Ragnarok intoned. "He is what allowed me to capture the Koopalings."

"Interesting... Well, you've got what they want, so what is it you need so much? I mean, since the villain just always has to reveal his plans to the good guys before the final climactic battle. I'm not one to go against tradition, or cliché."

Ragnarok shifted uneasily, not used to such stolid- and strange- opposition.

"There is a great power buried beneath this castle. I want it!"

"And this great power would be...?" D'nel asked, waving his hand for Ragnarok to continue.

Ragnarok swung his sword at D'nel, who dodged quickly, surprisingly agile for his bent frame, though he was quite surprised nonetheless.

"It is a suit of battle armor, with which I can control the fate of this planet!" Ragnarok said, lining up another swing. "It is called... The Guymelef!"

"Yesss! And the 'Vision of Escaflowne' reference makes it in!" D'nel cheered, before ducking another swordblow. "But this isn't my fight..."

He suddenly traded places with Kooky and Karma.

"What are you doing?" Kooky yelled, jumping behind Ragnarok as the sword came within millimeters of giving him a haircut.

"If you're so powerful," Karma shouted, dodging to the side to avoid the same swing, "then why don't you fight him?"

D'nel held out his arms, and the drilling equipment began to reform on his body.

"It's a plot thing. Don't ask," he said. "Just keep him busy, I'm going to find the Guymelef, I'll be back in a few."

There was a horrendous screeching noise as the metal drill began to tunnel through the stone of the dungeon floor, and all present covered their ears. Ragnarok, who didn't have that luxury, dropped his sword and howled in pain, while the Wraith simply disappeared.

"Quick!" Karma shouted, after D'nel had vanished and Ragnarok's back was turned. "Grab his sword!"

Kooky dove for the sword, but was unable to lift it. Ragnarok chuckled and backhanded Kooky down the hallway, nearly knocking him into the hole D'nel had made. While Ragnarok's attention was put towards retrieving his sword, Karma jumped on his back and attempted removing his helmet, but found it fused to the rest of his armor.

Ragnarok laughed and grabbed her by the neck, pulling her off of himself and holding her out before him.

"So, little Yoshi, you think you can stop me?" he said darkly, as he began tightening his grip.

Kooky could feel the pain of his Met, and realized that, very soon, Karma was going to have the life squeezed out of her, and he would perish along with her.

Hauling himself to his feet and ignoring the blood trickling down the side of his mouth, he uttered a heroic "NOOOO!" and charged Ragnarok. The villain in question froze in shock as Kooky pulled in his head, arms, and legs, until there was just a large spiked shell flying at him. Kooky collided with Ragnarok, knocking him over and making him release Karma. The blue-haired Koopa stood triumphantly over Ragnarok, straddling his midsection, trying to keep him pinned.

Ragnarok moved his head and shifted a bit, getting over the initial blow. Kooky balled up his fist and slammed it against the side of Ragnarok's helmet, ignoring the pain inflicted on his own hand.

"You do NOT touch her!" he growled, as Ragnarok's head lolled to the side and he remained unmoving.

"You okay?" he asked, glancing at Karma, who had picked herself up off the floor after catching her breath.

"I'll live," she croaked, panting a bit more.

She staggered over to Ragnarok's limp form, pulled herself up straight, and then spat straight through the slit in his visor. There was a moment's pause, and then D'nel flopped out of the hole behind them, now devoid of drill.

"There's... no... Guymelef..." he panted.

Karma and Kooky looked at D'nel, then at each other, both times sharing the same inquisitive look.

Ragnarok groaned and stirred then, raising a gauntleted hand to his helmet. He paused, and then cried out, his voice no longer dark and menacing, but high-pitched and nasal.

"Aaagh! You spit in my eye! That's not fair!"

He pulled off his gauntlets, and then flipped his helmet back, revealing the face of a large frog, who went about trying to clean the saliva out of his eye.

Kooky was very surprised.

"Wart?! What are YOU doing here?"

"You know this guy?" Karma asked, stepping back a bit.

"Yeah... This is Wart. He's from the Dream World. What ARE you doing out here, anyway?"

Wart sniffled and cringed like a schoolboy about to be beaten by the local bully.

"You Koopas are so mean to me! Sub-Con is BORING! Mario beat me once a long time ago, and he hasn't been back since! There's nothing to do there!"

"I hope this isn't gonna be a waah-waah-I'm-so-misunderstood, become-friends-with-the-villain sob story ending," D'nel muttered.

"So what's with the whole 'Son-of-Smithy, mister evil guy in armor stealing Koopalings' bit?" Karma demanded, tapping her foot.

"And what about the Guymelef?" D'nel added, pulling himself to his feet and brushing off his cloak.

"I made that up," Wart sniffed. "I just needed to get rid of you. Who ever heard of a Guymelef anyway?"

D'nel rolled his eyes.

"For the rest of it, well... I just needed something to do. I thought that maybe with my warship I made and Wraith, I could empty the castle and take over the Koopa's Kingdom. The Son of Smithy part I made up, too, it sounded neat, like it'd scare you or something... I'm sick of you guys in the Wakened World always pushing me around. I'm real! Don't you think I need a Kingdom to conquer too?"

"Great," D'nel muttered, "it IS gonna be a sob-story ending."

"Well, that's no excuse," Kooky said. "We live here, you live there. It's not our fault your home stinks."

Wart whimpered again.

"So, where is Kooky's family?" Karma inquired. "What did you do with them?"

"Wraith was what helped me do that," Wart sighed. "He's like, a living shadow or something, and he can use himself as a portal to Sub-Con."

One of the shadows on the wall near D'nel suddenly shifted and formed into the Wraith.

"I have what you want..." it began hollowly.

"Can it," D'nel interrupted, and the Wraith shrank back again, feelings hurt.

"Let the nasty Koopas out, Wraith," Wart said, as if giving instructions to a small child. Kooky gave him a warning growl at the 'nasty' part, and Wart cringed.

The Wraith formed itself into a square portal, and soon all the Koopas and Koopalings, and even a few confused Magikoopas and Goombas, came wandering out.

"Where am I?" Bowser asked, scratching his head. "Last thing I remember was being in my chair..."

"We'll tell you later," D'nel interrupted. "We already went through a bunch of explanations, and it's boring."

Wart attempted getting up, and Kooky got off of him, then staggered and fell to the ground, finally feeling the pain of his wounds. Karma felt them, too, and rushed to his side.

"You gonna be all right?" she asked.

"I'll live," he chuckled, then coughed. "Agh, I hope..."

"You saved my life, much as I hate to admit it," she said quietly.

"Yeah, I hate admitting it, too."

"You don't really care, do you?"

"Of course not. I was just trying to make sure I didn't die because you got kakked."

"Of course. I'm trying to make sure of that, too."

"Can't you feel the love?" D'nel exclaimed, striking a cuddly pose and grinning. The two Koopas glared at him. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding."

D'nel waved his hand between Kooky and the reader's eye, and when it passed, Kooky was as good as new, and holding Karma in his arms.

"AGH!" they shouted, separating immediately.

"What the heck did you do?" Wart asked, puzzled.

"Just a little Plot Healing, which I just made up, with a healthy dose of transpositon." D'nel grinned. "Too bad it didn't work, dang."

"What the heck is your problem?" Karma yelled, glaring at D'nel.

D'nel grinned and shrugged.

"I'm just that kind of person. I'm a romantic at heart, though you won't see ME Meeting anyone." He winked at the two.

Some life finally returned to the scene as Hip and Hop reunited with a hug and Clawdia embraced her husband. Wart stood around, looking bemused, while the Koopalings all started heading back to whatever they'd been doing before they left.

"Where is all my stuff?" Kootie Pie demanded of Wart, beating on his armor. "You took all my stuff!"

Wart screamed like a girl and pointed frantically to the Wraith, who shrugged in his ghostly manner, and opened his mouth wide, covering the female Koopaling with all fifty pounds or more of luggage she had been carrying when he took her.

"It looks like everything's going back to normal then," Kooky said quietly.

"Yeah, and I guess we have you to thank," Bowser said, turning to D'nel.

"Oh, no, not me!" D'nel said sincerely. "Kooky and Karma are the ones who defeated Wart. I did nothing."

"You're darn strange," Karma said, putting her hands on her hips.

"Why thank you, madame," D'nel replied, bowing. "But you do realize I had another reason for even writing this story..."

"There you go again with the story thing!" she interrupted, throwing her hands up in the air. "I do not understand you at all!"

D'nel grinned. "Again, that's as it should be." He opened a Plot Hole in the wall and motioned to it. "But please, come, we must all assemble for my grand finale."


And now, a Plot Summary by D'nel the ex-Mage:

"I want to make certain there is no confusion in this next part. You see, the Plot Hole is just as it sounds: I led everyone through one, and now we're all back on the main floor of the castle. I couldn't think of a good segue from dungeon to concert, so I just cheesed it. That's why it helps to be an Author.

"So, now, the scene is a multitude of Koopas, plumbers, princesses, Mushroom folk, and Yoshis assembled before a raised stage, upon which is myself, now wearing a totally wicked-looking electric guitar across my back. Oh, this thing's sweet: midnight blue with actual lightning streaking across it, double length neck, shaped basically like a battle axe.

"Okay, back to the story now. Just so you know, this next part really has no purpose in the story besides the very very end, but I needed some reason to call this story 'Everything You Want', now, didn't I?"


D'nel tapped twice on the microphone before him, and cleared his throat.

"Before we start, I need a few things, because I sort of don't have backup here. Roy, you'll do for drums."

Bully Koopa suddenly materialized behind D'nel, holding a pair of drumsticks and sitting behind a full drum set, colored black with red lights racing around the drum heads. He made a tenative beat on a snare drum, and was rewarded with a flash of red light from the drumhead.

"Dis is killa!" he proclaimed.

He proceeded to beat out a series of improvized drum riffs, each time creating a burst of colored light.

"Roy Koopa, ladies and gentlemen," D'nel said, and was rewarded with scattered lukewarm applause.

He caught sight of someone trying to sneak out the back door. In a trice, he had Plot Holed himself to that person's location, and picked up the scrawny white Mushroom by the scruff of his collar. Another trice, and both were back onstage.

"Ow, hey, leggo! I didn't do nothin'!" Grub squealed.

"Now, now, Grub, I need a keyboardist! Be a good little rat, now..."

He tossed Grub back into a seat in front of a duplex keyboard, patterned in the same lightning motif as D'nel's guitar. When Grub stood, he was also wearing a bass guitar, patterned with rocks. He touched one of the keys, and a note was played, along with a flashing light on the wall.

"Hit it!" D'nel yelled, removing his cloak to reveal his entire ten-foot serpentine body. He pulled the guitar around and fired off a few chords, simultaneously proclaiming, "It's time for Jammin' in the Mushroom Kingdom!"

Bully and Grub began playing as if they had rehearsed this all beforehand, and D'nel sang, his voice sounding better through ample use of his powers.

"So no one told you that was gonna be this way!
Your job's a joke, you're broke,
You're love life's keyed away!
It's like you're always stuck in second gear!
When it isn't been your day, your week, your month,
Or even your year!
"But, I'll be there for you! (When the rain starts to fall!)
I'll be there for you! (Like I've been there before!)
I'll be there for you! 'Cause you're there for me too!"

The crowd had actually started to liven up, until the song was cut short at the end by a disturbance in the back of the room. Someone was trying to shove his way up through the crowd, and was making quite a bit of noise.

"Excuse me, pardon me, coming through, hey, watch it! 'Scuse me, outta the way! Get lost!"

"What the heck?" D'nel said, shouldering his guitar and peering into the crowd. He could pick up a white hat and grey fur moving towards him.

"D'nel!" shouted a new voice. "D'nel the ex-Mage, you are NOT doing a concert without me!"

D'nel groaned, recognizing the voice of his only adversary.

"Take, how did you get in here?"

"I'm an Author too, you know!"

The voice's body was now visible: a rather tall, adolescent male grey-furred anthropomorphic wolf with the wings and tail of a raven. He had long hair and glasses, and wore loose black clothing, with a turquoise button-down shirt open over it. He pushed his way through the audience, and hauled himself up onstage, grunting.

"Take, what ARE you doing here?" D'nel asked, tapping his foot, and noting the agitation of the crowd.

"I'm here..." Doesn't-Take-Sides pulled himself onstage finally and brushed himself off, materializing a steely gray double-necked electric guitar that matched his eyes perfectly, and a headset mike. "...to lend some style to your dull act," he finished, tuning the guitar quickly, his voice being amplified across the auditorium.

He struck a chord, and then a melody, and D'nel joined in, though he scowled at the newcomer.

"And I don't need magic to enhance my voice, either," Take said, grinning at the dragon. He proved it when his high alto voice blended perfectly with the guitars for his first song.

"There's every good reason
For letting you go.
She's sneaky and smoked out,
And it's starting to show!
I never let you go!
I never let you go!
I never let you go!
I never let you turn around, our back on each other,
That's a good idea, break a promise to your mother!
Turn around, your back on each other, oo-oo!
You say that I've changed,
Well maybe I did.
But even if I've changed,
What's wrong with it?
I never let you go!
I never let you go!
I never let you go!
I never let you turn around, our back on each other,
That's a good idea, break a promise to your mother!
Turn around, your back on each other, oo-oo!"

The audience exploded into wild cheering, and Take bowed, smiling ear to ear. D'nel scowled once more.

"Stealing my show..."

Rather than get mad, D'nel decided to get even. The lights in the room dimmed to almost nothing, and a spotlight shone down over D'nel as he struck a few notes on his guitar, letting them echo across the now silent crowd. Take stood stock-still and his eyes got huge as he recognized the tune.

"Not that," he said.

D'nel grinned evilly.

"No, no... Not the duel from Reboot!"

"Hit it!" was D'nel's only response.

Bully responded immediately with a fast-paced drum loop. D'nel stepped towards Take, taunting him with a quick riff. Take responded in kind, and the crowd went wild as they dueled with guitars, improvising and trying to outdo each other. Sweat dripped from foreheads, fingers cramped, and smoke began to drift up from both guitars. Finally, with a mighty last high note, Take collapsed in a heap, leaving D'nel to grin triumphantly and recieve the applause.

"Why... the heck... do you... have... a concert... in... middle... of your story?" Take panted.

"It's just something fun to do," D'nel responded smugly. "Why do you think I wrote this, anyway? And don't you say anything more, Mister Third-Eye-Blind-Wannabe-With-the-Double-Necked-Guitar. Now be a good little backup musician and stop whining."

Take glared at him.

"This next song," D'nel said into the mike, "is dedicated to those two wonderful and lucky lovereptiles, Karma and Kooky Koopa, no relation. Hit it, Grub." He winked at Karma and Kooky, and Grub started a soft melody on his keyboard. Take picked up with the guitar, and D'nel began singing.

"Somewhere they're speaking,
It's already coming in.
Oh, and it's rising at the back of your mind.
You never could get it,
Unless you were fed it,
Now you're here, and you don't know why!
But under skinned knees, and the skid marks,
Past the places where you used to learn,
You howl and listen,
Listen and wait for the
Echoes of angels that won't return!
He's everything you want!
He's everything you need!
He's everything inside of you that you wish you could be!
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time!
But he means nothing to you, and you don't know why!"

The two 'lovereptiles' in question became very aware that they had been sitting quite close together while viewing the concert. They suddenly parted and attempted to ignore each other and everything else as the audience's attention was focused upon them. D'nel remained straight-faced as he sang, though he found the scene incredibly amusing. He increased their discomfort by moving down into the audience and singing directly to them.

"But you'll just sit tight! And watch it unwind!
It's only what you're asking for!
And you'll be just fine with all of your time!
It's only what you're waiting for!
Out of the island,
Into the highway,
Past the places where you might have turned,
You never did notice,
But you still hide away the
Anger of angels that won't return.
He's everything you want!
He's everything you need!
He's everything inside of you that you wish you could be!
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time!
But he means nothing to you, and you don't know why!
I am everything you want!
I am everything you need!
I am everything inside of you that you wish you could be!
I say all the right things
At exactly the right time!
But I mean nothing to you, and you don't know why!
And you don't know, why... Why?
And you don't know..."

There was much applause, and D'nel bowed deeply, saying as he did, "C'mon, not even a peck on the cheek?" Karma made a face and Kooky shook his head vehemently. "Geez, you guys are cold. Give a dragon a break here!"

He clambered back up onstage.

"All right, we're gonna finish off this concert with a nice light-fest which I'm sure you all know. Take it away, Take!"

The lights suddenly dimmed to a pale blue, and the band's clothing changed to black and white jumpsuits. Take's hair turned black with blond highlights, and he started singing as the keyboard lights danced patterns all across the auditorium.

"Yo, lissen up! Here's a story,
About a little guy that lives in a blue world!
And all day and all night, and everything he sees
Is just blue like him, inside and outside!
Blue his house, with a blue little window,
And a blue corvette,
And everything is blue for him!
And hisself, and everybody around,
'Cause he ain't got nobody to listen!"

D'nel picked up with the chorus, and he and Take switched off back and forth throughout the song. Bully stood up on his seat and got the crowd's hands waving in the air.

"I'm blue, da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di.
I'm blue, da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di,
Da ba dee! Da ba di,
Da ba dee, da ba di."
"I have a blue house with a blue window!
Blue is the color that often I wear!
Blue are the streets, and all the trees are, too!
I have a girlfriend, and she is so blue!
Blue are the people here that walk around,
Blue like my corvette, it's waitin' outside!
Blue are the words I say, and what I think!
Blue are the feelings that live inside me!"

As the song came to a close, Take continued the chorus while D'nel introduced and thanked the band members.

"Give it up, people! Bully Koopa!"

The crowd cheered and Bully made his best effort to look buff for them.

"Grub the rat!"

Grub grinned stupidly at the cheering audience.


Take nodded to D'nel and grinned.

"And I'm D'nel the ex-Mage! I wanna send special thanks out to my pal Kamek, King Bowser and Queen Clawdia for letting us use their house like this, and Karma Koopa for giving me a reason to waste my time writing Super Mario Brothers fanfiction! Good night, everyone!"

"Hold it!" Take yelled, and the music came to an abrupt halt. "Wait just a second, Mister Eiffel-65-Wannabe-With-the- Reject-Technomancers! Look, you can't just end this concert here!"

"What are you talking about?"

"A concert put on by the two of us? Think about it! It's just not a concert without you-know-what...!"

D'nel smacked his forehead.

"Argh, how could I be so stupid?"

Take grinned.

"Exactly my point."

D'nel ignored the insult and waved his arms again. The band's clothing changed once again, this time to yellow plastic suits with radiation symbols, and silver shades. D'nel's glasses were replaced with swimming goggles. Take grinned fiercely at him, and the song began, with D'nel singing the low parts and Take singing the high ones.

"Put down that chainsaw and listen to me!
It's time for us to join in the fight!
It's time to let your babies grow up to be cowboys!
It's time to let the bedbugs bite!
You better put all your eggs in one basket!
You better count your chickens before they hatch!
You better sell some wine before its time,
You better find yourself an itch to scratch!"
"You better squeeze all the Charmin you can,
While Mr. Whipple's not around!
Put your head in the microwave and give yourself a tan!"
"Talk with your mouth full!
Bite the hand that feeds you!
Bite off more than you can chew!
What can you do?
Dare to be stupid!
Take some wooden nickels!
Look for Mr. Goodbar!
Get your mojo working now!
I'll show you how!
You can dare to be stupid!
You can turn the other cheek!
You can just give up the ship!"
"You can eat a bunch of sushi,
Then forget to leave a tip!"
"Dare to be stupid!
Come on and dare to be stupid?
It's so easy to do!
We're all waiting for you!
Let's go!
"It's time to make a mountain out of a molehill,
So can I have a volunteer?
There's no more time for crying over spilled milk,
Now it's time for crying in your beer!
Settle down with a family, join the PTA!
Buy some sensible shoes and Chevrolet!
Then party till you're broke and they drag you away!
It's okay! You can dare to be stupid!
It's like spitting on a fish!
It's like barking up a tree!"
"It's like I said, ya gotta buy one if you wanna get one free!"
"Dare to be stupid! Yes!
Why don't you dare to be stupid?
It's so easy, so easy to do!
We're all waiting for you! Dare to be stupid!"
"Burn your candle at both ends,
Look a gift horse in the mouth!
Mashed potatoes can be your friends!"
"You can be a coffee achiever,
You can sit around the house and watch 'Leave It to Beaver'!
The future's up to you! So whatcha gonna do?
Dare to be stupid! Dare to be stupid!
What did I say? Dare to be stupid!
Tell me, what did I say? Dare to be stupid!"

At this point, D'nel and Take began motioning the crowd to sing along, which they did.

"It's all right!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"We can be stupid all night!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"C'mon and join the crowd!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"Shout it out loud!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"I can't hear you!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"I can't hear you!"
"Dare to be stupid!"
"I still can't hear you!"
"Okay, I can hear you now."

The crowd missed their cue by laughing and clapping, and the band finished out the song normally.

"Let's go! Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!
Dare to be stupid!"

"Thank you!" D'nel said to the crowd.

"Thank you, and good night!" Take added. "You're great!"

Take turned and walked out through a portal in the wall. The band broke up, the instruments returning silently to the nothingness they came from. The crowd began to file out of the hall, back to whatever they had been doing previously, chattering and laughing amongst themselves while D'nel appeared before various people to wrap up the plot.

"Kamek, old reptile! Put 'er there!"

D'nel laughed and smacked Kamek on the back. The Magikoopa surreptitiously adjusted his glasses and scowled.

"What is it about me that moves you to bother me so?"

"Nothing! Nothing at all!" He gave Kamek a much-unwanted noogie. "Just wanna make sure your life has enough chaos in it!"

"That's something I think I can do without."


D'nel turned to see Bowser and Clawdia coming towards him.

"You've helped us so much," the Queen said. "How can we ever repay you?"

"Oh, don't say that, I didn't do anything," D'nel said, a little embarrassed. "It was Kooky and Karma who really saved the day. Besides, if I'd never come here, you wouldn't have had anything to worry about, now, would you?"

"All the same, you did a lot," Bowser admitted. "So, uh, thanks."

He shook claws with D'nel, and then Clawdia embraced him in a huge hug.

"Gack! Can't... breathe!" D'nel wheezed as he struggled in her grip.

She set him down and giggled.

"Will we ever see you again?"

"Hopefully the answer is no," Kamek grumbled under his breath.

"Well, I can't really say... If I ever feel like coming back, I will. But I shall continue to write stories about this land, I guarantee."

"You're always welcome to stop by if you do return," Clawdia said, and Bowser interrupted her with a brusque, "Well, I guess we'd better get going, all of us. I'm sure we've all got other things to do."

D'nel bowed and took his leave of the Koopa King and Queen. He spied Wart in a corner, with the Wraith, and went over to them.

"So, you guys headed back to Sub-Con now?"

Wart sighed.

"Yeah... And don't worry, I'm not gonna try to conquer the Wakened World ever again. Everything I do just gets screwed up anyway."

"Hey, don't take on so," D'nel said, patting Wart on the back. "Here, I've got an idea..."

He held up Grub, who was once again struggling against his grip.

"Need a hero to fight? I got one right here!"

"What?" Grub squeaked. "I ain't no hero! Lemme go! Put me down!"

"Nonsense, you'll do fine!"

"Do you really mean it?" Wart asked, nearly weeping in happiness. "I'll have someone to fight? It won't be boring ever again?"

"Nope!" D'nel replied. Grub twisted around, whining continuously.

"Oh, wow! This is so great! How can I ever thank you?"

"Oh, don't worry about it. I caused enough trouble today, it's the least I can do. Here you go."

He held out the struggling Mushroom Person, and Wraith formed into a portal. Wart stepped through it, and then Grub was thrown in after him. Then the Wraith simply folded in upon itself, until it was gone, returning to the Dream World.

Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool walked by, looking bewildered.

"How-a did we get in-a here?" Mario wondered aloud.

"Why don't we attack the Koopas now?" Luigi asked.

"Because, nothing I do can adversely effect anything in a previously-set plot," D'nel said. "Now, you three run along back to Mushroom Castle, and I assure you you'll be fine."

The trio wandered out, still looking around with amazement.

D'nel felt a claw poke him in the back.

"Hey... Uh, we've got something to ask you."

D'nel turned around and saw Karma and Kooky standing behind him.

"Oh, it's you!" D'nel exclaimed, smiling. "What do you need? Just name it, it's yours."

"Well, uh," Kooky searched for words. "You're this really powerful wizard, right?"

"In a way, yes, I guess so."

"Is there any chance you could get rid of the whole Met thing for us?" Karma asked for the both of them.

D'nel chuckled.

"You sure? I find it quite fascinating."

"Please?" they begged in unison.

"Okay," D'nel said, clearing his throat. "First, stand slightly apart. I need to see the Plot Threads that bind you together."

Karma and Kooky did as told, standing in line with about a foot of space between them. D'nel bent down and squinted at the space between them. After a few moments, he spread his hands apart, revealing a series of glistening strands of some strange material running between the two Koopalings.

"There they are," he said plainly. "Boy, there are a lot. I can't guarantee success, but I'll try..."

He reached into his cloak and removed a large pair of scissors, made of the same substance as the Plot Threads. He put the Plot Scissors to the threads and squeezed their two halves together with all his might. Sweat beaded up on his brow, and there was a loud screeching noise of metal against metal. The few remaining people in the room cleared out suddenly, and Karma and Kooky plugged their ears.

The noise continued for a few brain-numbing moments, and then finally there was the sound of metal clattering against the stone floor.

But it wasn't the Plot Threads that broke: it was the scissors. D'nel stared at them in awe: they had been cut clean in half by the monofilament-like threads.

"Uhhh... Buhhhh..."

"What happened?" Karma demanded. "Did it work?"

"No... It didn't work," D'nel sighed, defeated. "I can't cut them because I didn't create them. That's the limitation to my powers: I can only affect what I have permission to. So I can't free you two. Sorry."

Kooky sighed.

"Well, that's just great! You mean I'm still stuck with her?"

"Stuck with me? How about me being stuck with you?"

"Can't you two just try getting along?" D'nel cut in. "I mean, you realize I was trying to make touching moments for the two of you to be in so that you'd get closer romantically, and not have to worry about being... uh, whatever they call you. Mets or whatever, but that's a different game."

"Phht!" Kooky snorted. "No way!"

"Not a chance, dragon boy," Karma laughed. "But it looks like we're still stuck."

"Yeah, well, you'll either figure a way out, or drive each other crazy. Hope you figure out which is your fate in time." D'nel bowed to them. "But now, I must be off. I hope your lives aren't too messed-up."

He shuffled away, humming "Everything You Want".

He walked slowly out the front door, humming to himself and thinking what what sequels he could write to this story.

"Looks like I may get stuck in Sub-Con now..."

The guards at the front gate stood at attention still, and let him pass with no trouble. With a mischeivous grin, he turned to look at them and pondered.

He turned back around, chuckling and shaking his head.


The End

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