@Legacy;: Ah, thanks a lot! That really means a lot to me, you know? It tells me I've improved a lot since the original draft of this fic. ^^
@Legacy;: Ah, thanks a lot! That really means a lot to me, you know? It tells me I've improved a lot since the original draft of this fic. ^^
Here you are--one review of Episode 1, at least (but will add in Episodes 2 and 3 on request)
First, as a fellow Mario fan, I have long wondered what it would have been like if Luigi went on an adventure all his own (the story he tells in Paper Mario 2 could itself be a game) That said, you do very well capturing the camaraderie between the Bros., Peach, and Yoshi (another "aw" moment was the reference to Super Mario World: Yoshi's Island)
I also loved Peach's (presumably many) ways to escape the castle--and I was very curious to know if Toad was freaking out about Peach being gone.
Overall, I'm intrigued as to how this heartwarming scene is going to be shattered once Bowser shows up (and if Bowser Jr. makes an appearance)
Ah, thanks a bunch, LT. :)
The early chapters of this fic are pretty old, so I was hoping they wouldn't be that bad compared to what I've written more recently. lol
And I think you'll be pleased with how chapter 2 plays out. ;)
Ugh, it's been NINE months since I last updated this? Good god, I hate having let that happen. -_-
But I have a new chapter at last! And it's hopefully enjoyable. ^^ There's a Dragonball Z Kai reference near the end too, to Piccolo. You should know it when you see it if you're a DBZ Kai fan. lol
Oh, and there's a reference to Fire Emblem: Awakening too, specifically one of Basilio's critical attack quotes. If you've played through the game, you'll probably know it when you see it. XD
Chapter 15: Inside the Volcano
Moshi led Luigi down a twisting and gradually sloping path as they ventured closer and closer to the volcano. The volcano itself soon proved to be much larger and higher than it had originally appeared, and Luigi could now tell that rescuing all of the Yoshis as well as finding the fourth Battle Star before Kamek had his way with the island wouldn't be an easy task. Especially since neither Luigi nor Moshi had any idea how long they had before the volcano erupted. They could only hope that fate and time would be on their side and that they would find a way to save the island. Suddenly, however, as the pair approached the first sloping path up the volcano, the ground rumbled beneath them.
"Whoa… We need to hurry," Luigi pointed out. "Kamek isn't giving us a lot of time before this mountain goes boom."
"Yeah, but luckily for us, there are some quick routes that we use to get up the volcano that he doesn't know about," Moshi replied. "I'll show you."
"Alright then. I just hope it's quick enough."
"Honestly, if it isn't, then Kamek works really fast. You'll see what I mean later."
"Well, if you say so."
With that, the two continued up the path and onto the volcano. Around the next corner, however, Luigi found the two were faced with a dead end. The path ended in a wall of rock, the top rising higher than Moshi could ever jump. The wall next to it was lined with a large and round light blue fruit. Luigi could've probably jumped to the top of the cliff if he used his Super Jump, but he needed Moshi for this mission, as only he knew the area well at all. But exactly how was the blue Yoshi planning to bypass this cliff?
"Uh, Moshi, are you sure we went the right way?" Luigi inquired, arching an eyebrow.
"Absolutely. See that fruit growing up there? That's our key to climbing this mountain quickly. Watch."
Before Luigi could reply, however, Moshi extended his long tongue and gobbled the fruit down. Suddenly, the Yoshi's dark blue color became more of a sky blue and he inflated like a balloon until his body was roughly three times its normal size. He gradually rose higher into the air, with a very surprised Luigi hanging on tight, until both landed safely on top of the cliff.
"See? I told you!" Moshi spoke up happily. "That fruit is called a Blimp Fruit. You can see why."
"Yeah. Not exactly what I expected, but it works," Luigi replied. "I see the first cave entrance up ahead. We should check inside for the Yoshis."
At that, the two quickly proceeded into the cave, hoping that the nearest imprisoned Yoshi wasn't far away. When they arrived at the first chamber of the volcano's interior, Luigi wasn't surprised to see streams of lava flowing through various holes and cracks in the rocky walls. However, there were also small, rock-like creatures enveloped in flames hovering near them. They were accompanied by a few red-shelled Koopas. Moshi shuddered as his eyes scanned their surroundings.
"Yikes… I should've known. The volcano's been infested w-with enemies too," he uttered shakily.
"Hey, this is no time to be chicken! I have a star to find and this island is in trouble! And we're the only ones that can save it and the Yoshis."
"Y-Yeah, but I didn't expect it to be this bad. Still, you're right, I've got to pull myself together here."
"Glad to hear it. And what's worse, everyone's sunk if Kamek manages to destroy this place before I can find that Battle Star. I need it! I need the power of them all!"
"Yes, of course…" Moshi agreed, arching an eyebrow. "But if you'll pardon my asking, is something wrong? You seem different from the last time I saw you. And I don't like this change. In fact, you're starting to sound like you care more about getting that star than you do saving this island and my brethren."
"What? No! Of course not! I-I mean, I do care about getting the star, but I care just as much about rescuing everyone! That's why I'm looking for the stars in the first place. To save the Mushroom Kingdom and finally be recognized a hero in my own right! And without my spotlight hog of a brother getting in the way!"
"…Right. Are you sure you aren't just jealous and craving more attention after being in Mario's shadow for so long? Because I think this power is starting to mess with your mind."
Luigi let out a chuckle before responding.
"Don't be ridiculous," he countered. "You act like I'm turning into some power-hungry madman bent on taking over the world or something. If anything, I'm trying to do the opposite."
Maybe not that exactly, but I still can't quite agree, Moshi thought with a sigh.
"Well, if you say so," the blue Yoshi replied. "But I'm curious about these Battle Stars. I'd like to know more about them and why you need them so bad."
"Alright. I learned of them from Toadsworth back in Toad Town," Luigi explained and then told Moshi of the story on the Star Tablet.
"I see. It sounds like they really are the only way to stop Bowser this time. But let me give you some advice. Such power comes with a lot of responsibility. If you aren't careful and forget that responsibility, it'll only control you, instead of you controlling it."
"Yeah, I get it. I think I see another Yoshi egg on the other side of this area. In that cage over there."
"So it is," Moshi observed when he peered closer at the object Luigi was looking at. "A yellow speckled egg. I think I can bust the cage open with a little fire power. I just need to gobble up one of those red Koopas."
With that, the two proceeded further through, avoiding the floating lava rock creatures and making their way to the nearest red Koopa. After Moshi scooped it up with his tongue, he held onto it until he was within striking range of the cage. Once he and Luigi approached it, the blue Yoshi let loose three balls of flames upon the cage. They melted and broke through the metal nearly instantly, allowing Luigi to dismount from Moshi's back and use his hammer once again. A yellow Yoshi emerged from the egg's remains.
"Ah! Moshi! And Luigi too! Thank goodness you both are here!" he cried in relief. "I thought I was doomed."
"Yeah, I thought the same, until Luigi found me," Moshi agreed. "He came at the right time. Do you know where everyone else is being held?"
"Not exactly, I'm afraid, but I do know that they're all in the volcano somewhere and that Kamek even put a few of the others near the summit. I think the higher you go, the more of us you'll find. Kamek scattered everyone to make it more difficult for anyone to save all of us."
"That figures. Kamek himself is probably up there too. And that must mean—"
"The source of this whole situation is at the summit," Luigi finished. "I have a hunch that something else I'm looking for is there too."
"Bingo," Moshi replied. "There's just one little problem…"
"What now?" Luigi wondered in irritation.
"I've, well…never been up there before."
"…What?! I thought you said you knew this mountain!"
"Not all of it! Nobody here has had any good reason to go that close to the mountain crater! It can be dangerous, there's nothing of value, and I'm really afraid of heights."
"…Are you serious? A Yoshi that uses blue Koopa shells and Blimp Fruit and can jump even higher than the Yoshi that Bowser kidnapped is afraid of heights?!"
"I don't go that high with those! I don't normally even use them much!"
"Oh for the love of… Whatever, arguing is only going to waste more time. Let's just go."
"Fine by me."
"Heh, you two are quite the duo," the yellow Yoshi commented with a snicker.
"Oh shut up," Moshi retorted. "Just get down from here safely."
With that, the three went their separate ways, the yellow Yoshi heading in the opposite direction of Luigi and Moshi to go outside. Luigi and Moshi themselves, meanwhile, headed towards another tunnel nearby. It led them back outside, where more rocky cliffs and Blimp Fruit awaited them. After the two scaled two more cliffs using the fruit, they came upon another cave entrance, which would hopefully lead to another captured Yoshi. Luigi also hoped he'd find out what Moshi meant when he said they would be able to get up the mountain very fast, as the Blimp Fruit was a start, but it was hardly a quick method of travel. Still, no matter how the pair got to the volcano's summit, they had to do it before Kamek's magic would cause it to erupt.
Inside the next cave, however, Luigi and Moshi found themselves faced with a large river of lava. There didn't appear to be any ground on the other side either. The river merely snaked around a corner. Luigi scratched the back of his head in confusion, as he couldn't imagine at all how he and Moshi would get past this.
"Ah, finally," Moshi spoke up, a smile on his face.
"What do you mean? We'll get burned to a crisp if we touch that lava," Luigi pointed out.
"Not if I use one of those," Moshi replied and pointed to their left. Growing near the rocky wall was what appeared to be a large red pepper.
"Another sort of power up you Yoshis use?"
"Yep. Just watch. But hang onto your hat!"
With that, Moshi approached the pepper and gobbled it up as quickly as he had the Blimp Fruit. Suddenly, he turned a bright glowing red and zoomed off down the lava river faster than a speeding Bullet Bill.
"WHOAAA!" Luigi hollered, gritting his teeth and hanging tightly onto his hat just as Moshi had warned. But he had been right. He was moving so quickly and his body had grown so hot that the lava could no longer hurt him and they couldn't sink into it.
"HOT YOSHI COMING THROUGH!" Moshi shouted happily as they passed and ran over more of the floating fire rock creatures.
Mere moments later, the two finally came to a screeching halt on some solid ground. However, Moshi had been moving so fast that he couldn't stop before running smack into the wall and sending Luigi flying off of his back. Luckily, the plumber didn't fall anywhere near the lava.
"Ow…" Luigi groaned as he got up.
"Ugh…" Moshi uttered. "See, I told you we'd be able to move fast."
"Yeah, but you need to work on your braking."
"Heh, sorry about that…"
"Well, what was that anyway?" Luigi wondered as he remounted Moshi.
"A Dash Pepper," Moshi replied. "If we need some extra speed, one of those will do the trick."
"So I noticed. Well, let's press on."
With that, the two continued down the path ahead, avoiding or defeating the red-shelled Koopas along the way. Luigi and Moshi didn't go very far, however, when they came upon a high ledge overlooking the rest of the area. Atop it sat another cage, and inside was a red speckled egg much like the yellow speckled one from earlier. Unfortunately, the ledge was too high for even Moshi to reach by jumping alone and there was no Blimp Fruit growing nearby.
"Ugh, there isn't anything I can do here," Moshi groaned in frustration.
"Hmm… I think I can do this," Luigi replied. "If you jump and I leap off your back, I should be able to get up there."
"Oh, that should work! But how will you open the cage?"
"These Battle Stars give me super strength that could probably rival Bowser's if he didn't have star power of his own. I can bend the bars."
"Wow. It's worth a shot then."
With that, Moshi leaped as high as he could go. Luigi then jumped off of him, and thankfully, his jump elevated him high enough to land safely on top of the ledge. The plumber approached the cage afterward and grasped two of the bars. Luigi pulled at them with all his might and they gradually began to bend. Bet you could never do this, Mario, Luigi thought to himself as he bent both bars far enough for him to slip through and grab the egg. He carefully carried it through the opening he had created and jumped back down from the ledge. Luigi ended up landing on his behind instead of his feet, but at least he had cushioned the egg and prevented the Yoshi inside from being hurt.
"Owww…" the plumber moaned as he stood up again.
"Now that's what I call an egg-cellent landing," Moshi joked.
"Oh shut it."
Luigi then wielded his hammer once again to free the Yoshi from its prison, shattering the egg to pieces just as he had the last one. A red Yoshi hopped out, relieved to finally have freedom again.
"Ah, Moshi! Luigi! Thank you so much for rescuing me! I was getting hot and bored inside that egg!" he said.
"I can imagine," Moshi replied. "You should get off the volcano quickly, it—"
Moshi was cut off by another rumbling of the earth. However, it was slightly fiercer than the first time.
"Yikes!" the red Yoshi cried.
"Argh! We need to move faster!" Luigi commented in frustration.
"You said it! I'm getting down from here! But please be careful!"
With that, the red Yoshi darted off, almost as if he had just eaten a Dash Pepper. Though, he would have to in order to cross the river of lava anyway.
As Luigi and Moshi continued, they eventually came to a fork in their path. The right tunnel led them to a dead end that contained an imprisoned light blue speckled Yoshi egg. After this Yoshi was set free, the other tunnel led Luigi and Moshi back outside. Along the way, they met more red Koopas and flaming rock creatures and also ran into large, round monsters with spikes that constantly tailed the pair. Their bodies were colored red and yellow and looked blazing hot. However, fireballs from Moshi using a red Koopa shell somehow destroyed them with ease.
As the pair climbed higher and higher on the volcano using the Blimp Fruit and Dash Pepper, they began to locate trapped Yoshis faster and the cave chambers grew smaller. This meant that they were nearing the summit. However, the periodic earthen trembles also grew stronger and closer together. Luigi and Moshi had nearly fallen off of the mountain a couple times because of them, causing Moshi to be severely shaken up due to his fear of heights. Fortunately, Luigi managed to calm him down quickly. They soon found, however, that the enemies also gradually grew in numbers, hinting that Kamek was doing all he could to stop the pair.
But neither Luigi nor Moshi were giving up, as the island and its inhabitants were still in grave danger. And Luigi needed to find the fourth Battle Star. The fate of his friends and the entire Mushroom Kingdom depended on their success. Moshi still wondered about the noticeable change in Luigi's attitude since the last time he'd seen him and hoped that it wouldn't affect his chances of saving everyone. If he continued to have the mindset of being better than Mario and getting the spotlight, someone would need to talk some sense into him and quickly.
"Ah, finally! We're almost there!" Luigi pointed out after the final Yoshi was rescued and the pair began traversing a staircase of rock.
"Yeah, the summit should be right at the top of these stairs," Moshi agreed. "We can't possibly be able to climb much higher. At least I hope we don't have to."
Luigi merely rolled his eyes as the two drew nearer to their destination. And as they had surmised, the staircase led them to the enormous volcano summit. It was a round, open area with a circular pool of lava in the center. All Moshi and Luigi had to stand on, however, was a fairly thin strip of rock surrounding the lava. If they had to battle Kamek there, it would not be easy. The two soon looked up to find the wicked Magikoopa himself hovering on his broomstick and waving his wand above the lava.
"Kamek! Hold it right there!" Luigi shouted angrily.
Kamek turned around to find the clad-green plumber mounted atop Moshi's back. Moshi himself yelped and began to tremble.
"Well, well, if it isn't Luigi again!" he replied with a cackle. "And I see you managed to team up with one of those Yoshis I captured. I must commend you both for making it all the way up here so fast."
"I-It wasn't hard!" Moshi countered in a shaky voice. "I know things about this volcano that y-you don't!"
"Oh, well woop-dee-doo for you! Too bad this is the last place you'll ever see! I was about to finally make this volcano erupt, but I now know how I can destroy you both and speed up this island's destruction at the same time!"
"Eeeep!" Moshi yelped again, trembling even more.
"Calm down, we can take whatever he throws at us!" Luigi commented.
"Then let's see how you handle Magmoopa!" Kamek replied and aimed his wand at the center of the lava pool. A large beam of colorful magic sparkles shot out of the wand and struck the lava.
"Bye! Hahaha!" Kamek cackled and flew off. Suddenly, the volcano shook violently, causing Moshi and Luigi to fall flat on the rock in seconds. The lava splashed as a large figure began to rise out of it. The figure turned out to be a giant Koopa-shaped creature with a shell made of hard rock. The shell had a pattern of cracks running all over it, inside of which flowed more lava. The Koopa's skin was red-orange and oozed flames and magma. The creature breathed a stream of fire as it roared deafeningly.
"AAAIEE!" Moshi cried, his eyes bulging at the sight of Magmoopa.
"Will you get ahold of yourself?!" Luigi retorted, returning to his feet. "We can't start panicking now!"
"I know, I know, sorry…" Moshi uttered, standing up and allowing Luigi to mount him once more. "I-I've just…never s-seen such a terrifying monster before!"
"Neither have I, but we have to destroy it if we're going to save this island! Otherwise, this thing will cause it to explode!"
Moshi then took a deep breath and gradually calmed down.
"Right. Then let's do this."
"That's more like it. Now to figure out exactly how we're supposed to beat the monster…"
Suddenly, Magmoopa roared again and spit balls of fire in Moshi and Luigi's direction.
"Whoa!" Luigi blurted as the two quickly dashed out of the way.
"Oh man…" Moshi uttered. Seconds later, however, his eyes found a familiar red pepper growing nearby. There were a couple in the lava as well.
"H-Hey!" he cried. "There are Dash Peppers in here. They're growing like crazy too! Probably because it's the hottest part of the volcano."
"You're right, they are. But how can we use them against this boiling hot terror?" Luigi wondered.
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!" Moshi replied as the two evaded yet another blast of flames from Magmoopa. "Or at least I'm trying to!"
As the pair began to circle the summit while dodging Magmoopa's attacks, the creature decided to change up its strategy somewhat. It summoned a group of normal-sized Koopa, some of which had red shells. Surprisingly, the rest had green shells.
"Eeeek! This thing can summon regular Koopas!" Moshi blurted, startled out of his wits. "I would say I should spit them at Magmoopa, but the red ones wouldn't hurt him because they produce fireballs and he's much too hot for a green one to do anything."
"Yeah, you're right. Still, they're our only weapons besides my hammer, which would get fried faster than an egg if I used it. Hmm…" Luigi contemplated.
Luigi had just as much trouble thinking as Moshi did due to Magmoopa constantly attacking them and summoning more Koopas. He soon noticed, however, that the lava swayed a little in the direction he and Moshi were going as Magmoopa adjusted its position to keep facing them. A light bulb soon lit up in the clad-green plumber's mind.
"Hold on! I think I know what to do! Remember how you could run across lava by using those peppers?" Luigi spoke up.
"Yeah," Moshi replied. "…Oh! I get it! We'll run in a circle on the lava and make Magmoopa dizzy so it'll fall over and maybe cause itself to cool down some! Then I can spit green Koopa shells at it!"
"Exactly! It's worth a shot."
With that, Moshi gobbled up a Dash Pepper and zoomed across the lava. He picked up more of them as he and Luigi continued to circle Magmoopa, causing the lava to flow with them fast enough to rotate the creature itself. Within seconds, Magmoopa became extremely dizzy, just as Luigi had predicted, and it collapsed onto the rock. Its body grayed a little and smoke rose from its skin. Moshi quickly scooped up a green Koopa and launched it right at Magmoopa's head. As the pair had hoped, the creature was damaged by the blow and roared in pain.
"Yes! Take that, you overgrown pile of rock!" Luigi shouted.
"Yeah! We've got it now!" Moshi cheered.
With that, Luigi and Moshi made an attempt to repeat their tactic and strike Magmoopa again. However, it wasn't easy due to how quickly it launched its flames and fireballs and how large they were. Magmoopa was now angry over being hurt as well, causing it to be more aggressive with its attacks. Whenever it summoned a few green Koopas, however, Moshi and Luigi quickly rushed to the nearest Dash Pepper and snagged it up just in time. Now able to fight back again, Magmoopa soon found itself dazed and collapsed onto the rock a second time.
After being hit with another green Koopa shell and a third one later, however, the fiery colossal Koopa roared loudly in rage. Not only did it breath twice as much fire and spit twice as many fireballs, but it soon began to violently splash the lava with its red-hot clawed hands in an attempt to reduce Luigi and Moshi to ashes in seconds.
"WAAAAH!" Moshi yelped as he repeated leaped from side to side to evade the flying molten rock and keep it from touching himself or Luigi.
"H-Hey! Moshi, control yourself! Remember our strategy!" Luigi replied. In truth, though, he was actually rather frightened at this point too. His body trembled slightly as another blob of lava barely missed him. But with just a little more effort, hopefully, Magmoopa would be defeated.
"Well, one more hit better finish this beast! I can't take this much longer!" Moshi blubbered.
On the flipside, the Magmoopa also summoned more regular Koopas than before, and when they appeared, Luigi and Moshi gradually made their way to a Dash Pepper one more time. Just when Moshi was about to gobble it up, however, a stream of lava brushed his arm.
"AAAOWW!" the blue Yoshi yelped in deep pain as he watched his blue skin turn a deep, dark purple.
"Moshi! Don't worry, you're alright! Just eat that pepper! It might be our last chance!" Luigi encouraged. "Please! You can do it!"
"But it hurts so bad… Oww…"
"I know, but you can take it! The fate of the island and the whole Mushroom Kingdom is in your hands! Or, is it your tongue? Oh whatever, you get the idea! Just eat the Dash Pepper and do it NOW!"
"Okay, okay! I'll try…"
With that, Moshi gobbled up the Dash Pepper as fast as he could and sped across the lava once more. The cold air being generated from his high speed caused his burn to sting even more, but Moshi adamantly attempted to ignore it as Magmoopa gradually became dazed again. Tears began to fly from Moshi's eyes as the pain grew near unbearable, but seconds later, Magmoopa finally fell back onto the rock. And one more Koopa shell proved to be the last. Magmoopa roared wildly in pain as it thrashed about and slowly sank into the depths of its lava pool. The lava itself also soon began to recede slowly.
Moments later, a regular red-shelled Koopa climbed out of the summit, slightly dazed. Luigi dismounted from Moshi's back and approached it as he produced his hammer. When it finally shook itself back to reality, the Koopa froze when it saw Luigi deviously staring at it with his hammer raised.
"Bye!" he said and swung the hammer into the creature's shell so hard that it was sent flying into the sky and away from the mountain.
Luigi then rejoined Moshi and the two watched as the volcano calmed down and returned to the state that it had originally been in. Yoshi's Island was finally safe once again, thanks to a multitude of teamwork. A smile formed on Moshi's face as he stared at his and Luigi's success.
"I did it…" the blue Yoshi uttered. "Owww… I did it!"
"Yes, you did!" Luigi agreed happily. "I told you you could tough it out."
"Yeah, you sure did, didn't you? But I don't know if I deserve a lot of credit."
"What? Of course you do! You were the real hero here, Moshi. You were the one that used those Dash Peppers and spit those green shells."
"I know, but I wouldn't have been able to do all that without your encouragement! And you came up with that strategy in the first place."
"That's true, but it takes real courage to actually go out there and do it. Trust me, I had to learn that myself when I started on this quest."
"Ah, well… Thank you, Luigi. We do make a good team though, if I do say so myself!"
"Now that I can agree on, partner."
"Yes, partners we are! …Oww!"
Moshi clutched his burned arm again after cheering.
"Yikes, that arm is looking worse than before," Luigi noticed. "You sit down for a while. I still need to get that Battle Star, but I'll find it as fast as I can."
"A-Alright. I just hope I can hold out until then. …Hey! Hold on, there's a cave opening down there above the lava! It must have been underneath all of it when it was almost overflowing!"
Luigi then peered in the direction Moshi was pointing at. Sure enough, there was a small cave entrance sitting inside the summit where the lava had previously risen.
"That star must be in there then! It wasn't anywhere in those caves and tunnels throughout the mountain. I'll be right back."
Moshi nodded as Luigi carefully made his way down to the cave entrance. He then quickly entered it and just as he suspected, he was met with a glow like that of the other Battle Stars he carried. Only this one had a tint of orange. Luigi approached the glow and found the bright orange fourth Battle Star sitting atop a small pedestal of rock. Being literally inside the volcano's summit, it surely would have been lost forever if the mountain had successfully erupted as violently as Kamek had intended.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Luigi added the star to his collection and quickly exited the cave. He climbed out of the lava crater and made his way back to Moshi, who was still cradling his wounded arm and sitting against the rocky summit wall.
"Okay, I got the star!" Luigi announced. "Let's get you out of here now. It's a long way back down the mountain."
"Aw man… I wish I knew a shortcut. A really short shortcut…"
"I bet, but I'm sure most, if not all of the monsters are gone now."
"Hey, Hey! Luigi!" a familiar female voice cut Moshi off. Luigi jumped as it reached his ears and looked around to find where it was coming from. However, there was no one in sight except for himself and Moshi. The sound of a large propeller soon echoed as well, and Luigi looked up to find none other than Daisy piloting what appeared to be a flower-shaped helicopter. The white petals above were the propeller, and the stem and leaves made up the rest of it. The leaf in front held Daisy and the contraption's controls. The leaf behind held a large seat for passengers.
"What the—? Daisy?!" Luigi replied, shaking his head.
"That's right! In the flesh!" the brunette princess replied with a smile and lowered her flower copter.
"How did you know where to find me?!" Luigi inquired as loudly as he could when Daisy was near the ground. She wouldn't hear him over the sound of the propeller otherwise.
"It's a long story!" Daisy admitted. "But it looks like your Yoshi friend there is hurt badly! Get him on here and we'll bring him to a more comfortable place on the island!"
"Oh, right! We should hurry, his burn is pretty bad!" Luigi replied as he helped Moshi onto the passenger seat and then buckled himself in.
"Don't worry, my Heli-Flower can get us anywhere in minutes! Hang on!"
With that, Daisy steered the Heli-Flower back into the sky and set a course away from the volcano. Luigi was relieved that he and Moshi didn't have to make their way down to the base on foot. He had no clue at all where Daisy had gotten her bizarre flying machine, and he would be sure to ask her later, but it definitely was saving him a lot of time and energy. And once Moshi was treated, he would rejoin Wario and Waluigi out at sea to search for Battle Star number five. If the brothers hadn't already found it, that is. And if they had, that would only make the situation better still.
Interesting concept, to say the least. I'm only up to chapter 2 so far, but now I intend to read the rest of it through.
On the first two chapters, I really like how you wrote the characters' interactions with each other. It seemed perfectly in line with the games. I almost felt like this could be the intro for a new Super Mario game featuring Luigi.
The only issue, and really this is more of a personal pet-peeve than anything, is the occasional over-description of certain things. For example:
That could probably be condensed into one single sentence. Though most of the time the descriptions are important, in the future I'd try to avoid over-describing certain things.Quote:
Mario, Peach, and Yoshi watched as the green-clad plumber jumped onto the tree’s trunk and began climbing up to the lowest branch while at the same time being careful his white gloves wouldn’t get caught to the wood. Even though he knew his brother was probably light enough to sit upon a branch from this large tree, Mario soon followed anyway, just to see what Luigi would get out of viewing the meadow from a higher elevation.
Regardless of my own personal preferences, this is very well written and enjoyable. Like I said, I intend to read the rest of it in the future. Chapter's 1 and 2 get a 4/5 from me. :D
@GastlyGibus;: Over-description? There isn't nearly as much description here as there is in my Zelda and Fire Emblem fics, so you probably want to stay away from them. xP The way I do description is just my style, and you're the first person that's ever had any complaints about it. People did sometimes say I made things too wordy, but I think that's a little different. Besides, making that long thing one sentence would be WAY too long of a sentence. So I don't understand exactly what you mean here. o_O
I'm glad you're enjoying this story so far though, thank you so much! ^^
Long time, no see, everyone! But I'm back, and with a new chapter to boot. ^^
Chapter 16: Wario and Waluigi's Discovery
Once they were airborne and away from the volcano, Luigi was once again tempted to ask Daisy to explain herself. However, he knew that Moshi's injury came first, and he was grateful Daisy had shown up when she did. It would have taken a great deal more time to travel back down the mountain on foot, as with Moshi's burn, he wouldn't have been in any shape to use more Blimp Fruits and Dash Peppers. Not to mention that Wario and Waluigi likely would get impatient from waiting so long for Luigi to return. He wouldn't have blamed them despite that he had told them to be at the shore with the boat when he rejoined them. Anyone would get bored waiting for so much time. Thankfully, however, it didn't take long for the other Yoshis to come in view, all waiting together in another large clearing.
"Ah! Daisy, down there!" Luigi instructed, pointing to the group.
"I see them! Hang on!" Daisy replied and prepared to land the Heli-Flower. She then gradually had it descend towards the clearing containing the Yoshi tribe.
As soon as the machine touched the ground, Luigi immediately unbuckled himself and Moshi and aided the blue Yoshi in stepping off. Daisy followed and introduced herself to the rest of the Yoshis. They were grateful for her aid in rescuing their heroes.
"We got so worried when we saw a heap of lava fly out of the top of the volcano!" a red Yoshi continued. "What the heck happened up there?"
"Kamek had let a huge monster make its home in the summit," Luigi explained. "It hit Moshi with a small bit of lava as we were battling it."
"Yeah… It was terrifying!" Moshi added. "Ow…"
"Oh my! Don't worry about a thing, Moshi! Some of us will go get that plant we use for burns!" a light blue Yoshi offered.
"Ah, yes. Thank you…"
With that, the light blue Yoshi and two other Yoshis left the group to seek out the aforementioned herbal plant.
"Wow, I must say, the Yoshis are pretty intelligent," Daisy commented. "Not that I expected them to be stupid or anything, of course."
"Yeah, they are pretty sophisticated for a dinosaur tribe," Luigi agreed. "Now, Daisy, can you please explain to me where you got this flower copter and how you knew where I was? I'm very grateful, but I'm also quite confused."
Luigi scratched the back of his head as he spoke his words.
"Oh, right, I almost forgot," Daisy replied. "I do need to tell you, don't I? Haha, the Toads and I built it while you were gone. I figured all the traveling you've been doing and with the limited time that you have has been a real burden. I decided to help you get around better by getting you some new transportation!"
"I see. That really is a big help, but only leave when everyone is absolutely sure the town will be safe while you're away, alright?"
"Well, of course. I'm not that reckless. Now as for how I knew where you were, you had mentioned before that you were headed to Yoshi's Island, and you'd been gone an awfully long time. So after the copter was finished and tested and all, I flew it out here and noticed the weird stuff happening on the volcano. I figured you had to be up there."
"Oh, I see. That makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up. And for rescuing Moshi and I."
"No problem! I'm glad I could do it! Although, I noticed something odd on my way here. I saw this boat on the water, with two weird looking guys in it. One was tall and skinny and wearing a purple shirt and dark blue overalls. The other was short, fat, and wearing purple overalls and yellow shirt. They had hats like yours and Mario's, only in the same colors as their shirts. Are they the rivals Mario told me about awhile back?"
"Ah, yeah. Wario and Waluigi, two brothers who really love getting on our nerves. They're not really villains, though. In fact, they can be pretty helpful at times when you convince them the right way. They're the reason I got back here because I found my own boat smashed to pieces. But these two can be real bullies sometimes, I swear. Good thing I managed to, well, intimidate them with my strength."
"Heh, I see. Mario sorta said the same thing. Glad they're not working for Bowser."
"Yeah, though I doubt they'd ever do that unless Bowser was paying them a big fat allowance for it. They hate him just as much as the rest of us do right now, truth be told."
"Oh, then that's a relief. Well, I should get back to town. Do you need me to take you there too?"
"Thanks, but I'm going to stick around for a little longer and then rejoin the Wario brothers. I need to go back to sea because there should be another star there. If those brothers didn't find it first, that is. I kind of told them to keep an eye out for it."
"Oh, alright, then good luck with that! But before I go, take this."
Daisy then handed Luigi a small flower-shaped remote with a single button in the center.
"Press that to call me if you ever need another lift! It's also a tracking device, so I'll be able to find you in no time at all and take you anywhere in the kingdom that you've already explored. I'd fly you to other places, but we could get totally lost."
"Alright, that might be a big help if I find I need to return to town in the middle of a journey. Thanks so much, Daisy."
"Not a problem, my friend! Just be careful, you hear me?"
"Haha, of course."
With that, the two bid their goodbyes and Daisy took to the air once more in the Heli-Flower. Luigi then went to ensure that Moshi would be well taken care of. He watched as a few Yoshis gathered herbs and leaves, probably to mix a medicine to treat their injured friend's burn. One Yoshi pulled up a large palm leaf while the others placed their ingredients on it. The herbs and smaller leaves were ground down with a rock and stick and then mixed with another leaf full of ocean water.
"We use a mixture of these herbs to treat burns," Moshi explained. "Since we live by a volcano, such an injury is well known to us."
"Even though it's not very active?" Luigi wondered.
"Well, sometimes the occasional eruptions are so sudden that Yoshis going for a stroll don't have enough time to get to safety. And bits of lava spewing from the top and dropping all the way down to the foohills is common in these eruptions. They've even started fires."
"Oh, I see. Well, it looks like you're in good hands, so I'm going to move on. I still have three more stars to find."
"Yeah, I'll be fine. As you just said, you have more important things to worry about. But one last thing before you go."
"Remember that egg you found me in?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
Moshi smiled before replying.
"Well, you may see it again in the future."
"…Wait a minute, you mean you can egg-warp?! I thought only the Yoshi Bowser took hostage could do that!"
"Nope! I learned to do it too in case he becomes unavailable for whatever reason. Two other Yoshis are also learning it, but haven't yet perfected it. It's the most difficult trick we have, which is why so few of us can use it."
"Oh. I hadn't any idea. That'll be helpful, so if I see your blue speckled egg, I can break it to call upon you should I need you again."
"Exactly! And these eggs won't be a cursed trap, so you won't need your hammer to break them. Well, see you around!"
Luigi bid his goodbye and headed back towards the island's coastline. He didn't get very far, however, before realizing that he'd been gone so long that he had forgotten exactly where he left Wario and Waluigi. Ah, I'm an idiot! Luigi chastised in his mind. I knew I should've picked a better meeting place! With no choice but to hunt the brothers down, Luigi continued traveling towards the nearest beach. With Kamek's spell on the volcano broken, many of the monsters that had lurked in the area before were gone, though some stragglers still remained. This was likely either because Bowser was still in control of the Grand Battle Star or Kamek's magic hadn't yet worn off entirely. The Magikoopa wasn't defeated, so he could still have his power affect island's wellbeing.
After fending off the remaining enemies and reaching the sandy beach ahead, Luigi scanned the waters and sand for the Wario brothers, hoping to find their boat ashore quickly. He had told them to be on shore when he returned; he just hoped that they didn't get impatient and disappear. Otherwise, Luigi would have to call Daisy back and she probably had just arrived at the Mushroom Kingdom castle. And he didn't like the idea of turning that trip into a waste.
Finally, after traveling the beaches for what must've been at least half an hour, Luigi spotted the boat belonging to the Wario brothers, as well as Wario and Waluigi themselves. However, for an unknown reason, the two were shivering as if they had seen King Boo face to face. The boat looked empty as well aside from some of the brothers' scuba diving gear, indicating that they likely hadn't found anything on their hunt. Luigi quickly approached them to find out.
"Hey, what are you two shaking for?" he inquired, arching an eyebrow. "I'm only going to beat you to a pulp if you get me mad."
"Ah! Luigi!" Wario replied, almost jumping. "What a relief! You're not gonna believe what happened out in the water!"
"Yeah, something major is going on down there!" Waluigi added.
"We couldn't find a single bit of treasure because of it!" Wario continued.
"Oh? Explain," Luigi commented, quite curious about what the brothers encountered.
"Y-Yeah, we didn't find any stars, sadly…" Wario began. "But we did find something else that might interest you! It was a giant sunken ship a-and with a submarine attached!"
"That's right, we went over to it right away because sunken ships always have treasure!" Waluigi said. "But then this monster came out of a nearby cave!"
"A monster?" Luigi wondered, confused again.
"Yeah, it was like an octopus or something, but ten times as big!" Wario described. "It tried to eat us and it managed to get my scuba tank! I almost drowned because of it!"
"It was either an octopus or a squid, that's for sure," Waluigi agreed. "We're not going back down there, that thing is way too scary!"
"Sounds like a kraken, a mythological sea creature said to attack ships and their crews," Luigi replied. "It resembles a massive octopus or squid."
"Th-Then that's what it was!" Wario confirmed. "Honest! And your star might be in that ship!"
Luigi merely let a lopsided smile cross his features and chuckled.
"I swear, if Bowser wasn't causing so much trouble, I'd say your story is completely ridiculous," he remarked. "But at this point, I'm willing to follow any possible leads, so I'll check it out. Just take me back out to sea. Besides, something had to have happened to your scuba tank."
"Oh, yes sir!" Wario obeyed.
With that, the three boarded the boat once more and started up the engine. Luigi decided that if this kraken the brothers mentioned liked eating scuba gear, he'd be best off not taking the remaining tank in the boat. He and Mario figured out ways to remain underwater for long periods of time anyway. They used bubbles that would spawn from holes in the rock and coral reefs to get air and taught themselves to hold their breath for a sizeable amount of time. It was obviously riskier than resorting to scuba gear, but Luigi hardly had a choice. The brothers halted the boat somewhere northwest of Yoshi's Island and northeast of the mainland.
"I-It's somewhere around here, I think…" Wario stammered. "I bet Bowser is in cahoots with that beast!"
"He probably does have something to do with this, yes," Luigi agreed.
"W-We'd give you a hand, b-but we're so scared and just don't have any idea what we could do!" Waluigi said.
"Without the missing scuba gear, you're right, there isn't much you can do. But if I find something, be ready up here. Otherwise, don't even think about leaving."
"O-Of course!" Wario agreed.
"But. If this so-called kraken surfaces while I'm gone, one of you grab the remaining scuba tank and find me. The other will keep it busy by letting it chase him until I get there."
"W-W-What?!" Waluigi blurted. "Are you serious?!"
"Does this look not serious to you?!" Luigi retorted, getting in the brothers' faces with a glare.
"Wah! Okay, okay! We'll do our best!" Wario promised.
"Thank you. But before I go, is there anything else you can tell me about this kraken or the cave it came from?"
"Well, it happened so fast, so we don't remember a whole lot…" Wario admitted. "But it definitely tried to squeeze us to death with those tentacles! It smashed my scuba tank like it was a twig!"
"Yeah, I saw it with my own eyes!" Waluigi seconded. "And we only got a glimpse of the cave, but it almost looked like it was under the ship and submarine. I-It's hard to explain."
"Huh. Well, at least I know what to keep an eye out for. Thanks. I'm off now."
With that, Luigi stepped onto the edge of the boat.
"Sigh… Here goes nothing."
He dove into the water and made no hesitation to begin swimming deeper. The good thing was, Wario and Waluigi had led Luigi right to an area with a lot of rocks and coral reefs, so air bubble holes were hardly difficult to find. He didn't have to swim very far, however, before he noticed something quite out of the ordinary, yet familiar. It was a gray mushroom whose top was more pointed than that of other mushrooms Luigi had encountered. It also had two white eye shapes inside a black blotch on the front. The green-clad plumber had never seen this mushroom before, but he had a strong hunch he knew what it was. You have got to be kidding me, he thought. Oh well, hopefully it'll be useful for something.
With that, Luigi grabbed the mushroom and gobbled it down. Suddenly, his hat turned gray and became pointy while the rest of his body was encased in a grayish green outfit with stubby tentacles. His arms were inside larger tentacles. All that could be seen was his face.
"Sigh… I knew it," Luigi commented, looking at his rather embarrassing new garb. "A Blooper Suit."
It was true. Luigi was now dressed like a gray squid-like creature called a Blooper. They tended to be quite the annoyance to Mario and Luigi when they had to go under water, particularly when they would suddenly jolt themselves in their direction in an attempt to spear them with their pointy heads. Just seconds after he spoke, however, Luigi came to a startling realization.
"Wait a minute! I can breathe! Heh, this just got a lot easier."
Luigi then continued on his exploration, and soon found that he could move even more swiftly than before through the water.
"Ho ho! I can swim as fast as that motorboat! I bet I know how to attack with this thing too!"
With that, Luigi turned his attention to some red fish known as Cheep Cheeps nearby. He aimed the pointy head of his suit at them and zoomed through the water once more. Just as he figured, he was able to bash them hard enough to destroy them.
"Yahoo!" Luigi hollered happily as he repeated this on other enemies. However, he soon came upon puffer fish enemies and Bloopers themselves. The Bloopers, this time, did not harm him, as they likely thought Luigi was one of their own. But the puffer fish repeatedly produced and withdrew their sharp spikes. After thinking a moment, Luigi remembered that Bloopers were also able to squirt black ink. He had a feeling his would be coming out of an awkward location if he could do the same, but Luigi had no choice but to try it on these tough enemies.
"I better never have to do this in front of my friends," the plumber mumbled in embarrassment and aimed at one of the puffer fish. As he squeezed his tentacles, the black ink went flying out, just as he predicted. It blinded the fish, causing it to withdraw its spikes yet again so Luigi could literally strike head on.
Luigi was surprised how long it was taking him to find the ship and submarine the Wario brothers had spoken of. How hard could it really be to spot such a thing? Wherever they were, Luigi hoped he'd find more Blooper Mushrooms inside or nearby in case he lost his current suit. Finally, after what must have been at least ten more minutes of swimming, Luigi arrived at a large open space at the bottom of the sea, surrounded by a lot more rock and coral. Near the center was the remains of a massive white cruise ship. Many holes had been created on the outside, suggesting that it had to have been hit by large objects, such as torpedoes. However, the boat also looked rather old and not quite as advanced as ships of the current time period. And as Wario and Waluigi said, a submarine was attached to it as well. It, too, had torpedo-size holes on the outside.
"Whoa…" Luigi uttered, his eyes widening at the sight before him. "Those brothers weren't joking. I'd better move quietly so I don't alert the kraken."
With that, Luigi swam closer to the ship. Upon further inspection, he noticed that something was familiar about it. He definitely hadn't seen the ship before, but the holes in it and the sub made him wonder if he knew it from somewhere.
"Wait…" he paused a few moments later. "I think I know what ship this is!"
The plumber then quickly, but quietly began circling the vessel, in hopes he could still find the name of it painted somewhere on it. And as luck would have it, he found several letters on the hull, which consisted of M, A, J, S, T, C, and various letters from the word "mushroom." Luigi's eyes widened upon figuring out what it originally read.
"I knew it! This is the Majestic Mushroom! I once read that it sank over two hundred years ago and its remains were never found! Ugh, I can't believe I have to credit those Wario Brothers for finding it…"
Luigi grumbled at the unappealing idea of Wario and Waluigi's names appearing in a history book. He was interrupted seconds later, however, by an unfamiliar voice.
"That is correct, good sir."
"YAAAH!" Luigi blurted, turning around to see a translucent figure before him. It was in the shape of a man around his height. He had dark blonde hair and wore an orange formal outfit that consisted of golden fabricated shoulder pads and orange dress shoes. Upon his head was a gold crown similar to Peach's, only it had blue and red jewels instead of light blue and pink. His ghostly body caused the color to be partially faded, however.
"Oh, my apologies. I did not mean to frighten you," the man went on. "Please forgive me."
"Wh-Who are you?" Luigi uttered, hoping this wasn't some hostile ghost that escaped from one of Professor E. Gadd's paintings.
"Ah, pardon me for not introducing myself. My name is Apricot. I am an ancestor of your Princess Peach and was a prince of the Mushroom Kingdom…" the man replied and then turned to depressingly gaze upon the Majestic Mushroom. "Before I died in the battle that sank this poor ship."
I've finally introduced a new power up! It's the Blooper Mushroom, which grants Luigi use of the Blooper Suit. It's based on the enemy of the same name, a squid-like creature called a Blooper. The Blooper Suit lets Luigi breathe under water, swim really fast, perform a head-dash attack, and squirt black ink from his...erm...tentacles. It's not REALLY supposed to come out of his butt lol.
And we've got a new character! The restless spirit of Prince Apricot, an ancestor of Princess Peach. His name is a fruit that's very similar to a peach, so it should be obvious why I picked it. ;P We'll learn more about him next chapter.
EDIT: I've now put the list of major characters in the OP in spoiler tags.
It's been awhile, hasn't it? I've got a new chapter at last though. ^^
Chapter 17: The Majestic Mushroom
Luigi simply remained silent and blinked upon hearing Apricot's words. The prince continued before he could respond.
"Even now, after so many years, the memory still haunts me on occasion."
"Whoa. Time out," Luigi finally replied. "I'm very confused here. You say you're the ghost of one of Peach's ancestors, and you certainly look it, so I believe you on that account. But I still have a lot of questions. Like why in blazes would a cruise ship be sailing in the middle of a combat zone? And why was it targeted? And why was this submarine with it? And why was there even a battle in the first place?"
"I understand, don't worry. And I can tell you the full story," Apricot replied. "Centuries ago, a three way war erupted between the races of the Mushroom Kingdom. The Toads, the Yoshis, and the Koopas all fought against each other, anger and hatred in their hearts."
Luigi was now even more in shock than he was before.
"…You must be joking. The Toads and Yoshis are really good friends now. The Koopas still cause us trouble every now and then though."
"True, but I'm afraid that back in my day, they were all enemies. The war began when quarrels over resources, land, water, and other such necessities escalated too far. The Koopas invaded the Toads first, and later the Toads attacked the Yoshis with the belief that they convinced the Koopas to declare war. The Yoshis and Koopas are both reptilian races, so the Toads easily assumed that they decided to work together. The Yoshis were outraged at this and pressed to defend themselves."
"Indeed. I was surprised that the Yoshis put up any fight at all. They've always been peace-loving creatures that hated fighting, after all. But I suppose they had no choice. I did not want to harm them, but I could not rule out the idea that they were allied with the Koopas. I ordered some of the Toad soldiers to investigate the Yoshis, but the situation grew hostile faster than I could've ever imagined. The battle was soon taken to the sea because of the island the Yoshis called home and no one wanted to end up destroying the entire kingdom."
"Makes sense. So where exactly does this ship and submarine come in?"
"I'm getting to that. I wanted to try forging a peace with the Yoshis and then put an end to the Koopas' ridiculous rampage, so I decided to take a ship and another group of soldiers out to Yoshi's Island. But in order not to draw attention from the Koopas, we decided to use one of our cruise ships. Of course, these ships were not designed for battle, so they could not be used to defend ourselves. That is why we attached the submarine below, as it was a war vehicle and would only be used as a last resort."
Apricot continued his story and explained that the cruise ship would sail around the main area of combat so it would simply appear to be another boat cruise for tourists. However, a Koopa airship that had been blasted out of the sky landed near the ship and its fleeing crew climbed aboard to take over. They soon discovered Apricot and his men, as well as their plan to turn all of the Yoshis against them. The Koopas rallied a few more of their airships and pursued the Majestic Mushroom relentlessly.
"My men insisted that I take one of the lifeboats and try to flee unnoticed, but I felt that doing so would be little different from abandoning all of the people aboard the vessel," Apricot went on. "I also didn't believe it would have been easier than it sounded. So I went with my men to board the submarine, only to find that the Koopas were also using the undersea vehicles. We were soon surrounded by airships and submarines, and our doom was nigh. They fired torpedoes and bullet bills and within seconds, the Majestic Mushroom disappeared beneath the waves. Our submarine managed to take out another submarine and airship, but it wasn't enough. And…well, here I am."
"But… But the peace was forged with the Yoshis, right?" Luigi inquired. "Like I said, we're friends now!"
"Actually, yes. The one good thing to come out of this was that peace. My world went black for a while after I perished, but once I awoke as a wandering spirit, I saw the Yoshis pulling some of my soldiers to safety on their island. There were a few survivors of the wreckage, but they had to report that their prince had been lost despite that he wished to forge a peace. The Yoshis decided that the Koopas had gone too far between attacking a defenseless cruise ship and murdering the prince without a care in the world. The Toads thanked them for their help and thus they allied with one another to defeat the Koopas and end the war at last."
"I see… So your death kind of started it all."
"Indeed. I only wish I could have prevented a war from starting at all."
"I bet, but some things are just beyond even a royal's control."
"That is true. But I'm glad that I could at least make a difference."
"Me too. This also explains why the Koopas are still rather hostile today. The bitterness from the defeat runs in their veins, including Bowser's."
"They must not like talking about it either, because it's never been mentioned in any of our conflicts."
"I wouldn't be surprised."
"So, how is it that you can communicate with the living? Or is it only certain individuals with special abilities?"
"Actually, I am not sure. Perhaps it's one of those special abilities that you mention."
Apricot then eyed Luigi's garb further, finally taking note of the oddity of the Blooper Suit.
"By the way, I must say. You have an interesting taste in diving suits," he said.
"Huh? Oh, this is one of many power ups my brother and I are able to use," Luigi explained. "This one is modeled after a sea creature called a Blooper."
"Oh, I see. I've never heard of such a thing before. They must have been discovered after my time."
"Probably. Oh! My name's Luigi, by the way. I apologize for not introducing myself earlier. I got carried away with my confusion."
"Luigi? I thought something about you was familiar. You're one of the famous Mario Brothers. Word about you two has spread so far, it's even reached me down here."
"Tch…" Luigi grumbled. "More like Mario is the famous brother. I'm always left in the dust."
"Well, it's still an honor to meet you and it's good to know that someone is keeping the Koopas in check. So, if you wish to explore this ship, I can help you. I know it like the back of my hand."
"Oh, thanks. And that would be most appreciated. I'm pressed for time. I'll explain along the way."
"I have one more question though. I found out—"
"Ah! Apricot, there you are!" a squeaky feminine voice interrupted. Luigi and Apricot turned to see a Cheep-Cheep swimming towards them. However, this one wasn't like the other Cheep-Cheeps Luigi had seen. It was colored pink instead of the normal red, eyelashes protruded from its eyes, and the fin on its head was curled. It had to be a female.
"Apricot, I was afraid something happened!" the Cheep-Cheep cried.
"Ah, Chee-Chee. Don't worry, I'm fine," Apricot replied with a smile. "Nothing here can harm me anyway. I'm a ghost, remember?"
"Oh yeah! I always forget that. Who's your new friend?"
"Oh, this is Luigi, one of the Mario Brothers we've heard so much about. Luigi, this is my friend, Chee-Chee."
"Squeeee! I've always wanted to meet you or Mario! You two are my heroes!" Chee-Chee blurted ecstatically.
"Er…" Luigi uttered, his mouth dropping in surprise. "Did I miss something here? Cheep-Cheeps are normally our enemies."
"Oh, not me! I'm one of the good fish in this sea!" Chee-Chee replied. "You just don't see many of them because all the bad fish like scaring us off! But not me, I'm brave!"
"That you are, my friend," Apricot agreed. "Especially considering the beast that recently made its home here."
"I was about to ask if you knew about a kraken-like monster that was living here," Luigi pointed out. "I recently found out about it myself."
Here, Apricot paused for a moment. His eyes diverted away.
"Is something wrong?" Luigi wondered.
"Well… The truth is, even though it cannot harm me due to my spiritual form, the monster still frightens me. I don't know where it came from, but it appeared here recently and scared away all of the peaceful creatures that once inhabited the Majestic Mushroom's remains. I fear that it will eventually destroy the rest of my beloved ship and then move on to terrorize the entire sea and any fishermen that happen to be on the water."
"Yeah! It scares me too, but Apricot and I want to find a way to get rid of it!" Chee-Chee added.
"That too," Apricot agreed.
"Then maybe we can work together. I might be strong enough to destroy it, but I may also need help. I'm looking for something that it's possibly guarding as well," Luigi explained. "That's why I would like to explore the ship and the submarine. It could be anywhere around here."
"Alright. I haven't seen anything unusual around here recently besides that monster, but I never really searched either, so we'll take you through."
"Yeah, I know this ship well too, thanks to Prince Apricot!" Chee-Chee seconded.
"Great! But let's not draw attention to ourselves yet. If I can find what I'm looking for before that beast finds us, I'll stand a better chance of beating it," Luigi continued.
"Got it," Apricot replied. "Now follow us."
Luigi nodded, and with that, the ghostly prince and Chee-Chee led Luigi inside the ship's remains. The nearest torpedo hole led to the basement, where Luigi saw the remains of metal stairs, small gray pipes, and the ship's engine. Luigi was surprised he could even tell the engine apart from everything else since it was smashed into at least a few pieces. Cheep-Cheeps and Bloopers swam nearby too, prompting Luigi to fend them off. Chee-Chee also turned out to be a fighter and managed to tackle her enemy brethren hard enough to destroy them.
"Wow, I'm impressed," Luigi complimented.
"Thanks, Luigi! That means so much coming from you!" Chee-Chee cried happily. "I do my best so none of these traitors bothers his highness."
"Heh, indeed you do," Apricot replied with a small chuckle. "And I'm grateful. But it's sad what's become of the ship remains. Peaceful sea creatures used to make their homes around here. Now only enemies lurk about."
"Yeah," Luigi agreed. "Bowser's goons scared everything off alright. As long as I'm here though, we can get past them."
"I don't doubt it, but just be careful. The enemies grow more numerous as we travel farther inside," Apricot warned.
"Alright, thanks for the warning."
With that, Apricot and Chee-Chee led Luigi up to the ship's next level, where the cabins and halls were. Some of the rooms had been blocked by fallen ship debris, but Luigi was able to blast through it easily with his charge attack. However, all the group found was the remains of furniture and doors. Beds, dressers, mirrors, and a manner of other objects were strewn about and some rooms were even missing their doors entirely. Bedding and curtains were ripped to shreds as well.
"The Koopas invaded the ship before they sunk it. They wanted to make sure all the Toads were dead, and they wanted to collect anything of value," Apricot said. "It's a miracle that they didn't get my crown."
"Really?" Luigi wondered. "I'd have thought that that would be the most valuable thing on the boat."
"I thought so too. But I went down with the submarine before they found me. So my crown ended up buried somewhere in the sea bed along with my bones. I suspect that there was some sort of miscommunication between the Koopas on board and their airships and submarines, as some of their own allies died when the ship went down as well. But of course, it didn't matter. They still managed to defeat me, just as they wanted. They must have decided that searching the wreckage for my crown was a waste of time."
I can't believe I'm saying this, but now I'm glad that the kraken monster scared off the Wario brothers, Luigi thought. They'd have swiped Apricot's crown in an instant.
"So, what exactly are you looking for? Chee-Chee and I can probably be of more help if we knew more about it," Apricot pointed out.
"Yeah, I'm really curious!" Chee-Chee seconded.
"Good point," Luigi replied. He then produced his green Battle Star.
"One of these," he continued. "Only, it's probably a different color."
Apricot and Chee-Chee's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.
"I-It can't be… Is that…?" Apricot uttered.
"Oh wow, it must be!" Chee-Chee cried. "One of the seven Battle Stars!"
Luigi merely blinked in surprise.
"You know about them?"
"We do," Apricot confirmed. "I read about the legend some time before the war began. I had wanted to seek the stars out myself, but never found the opportunity. But…if you're able to use their power, then…"
"That's right. I'm the hero they chose to grant their power to," Luigi finished. "I learned this on Mount Shroom. A hidden chamber at the top of the mountain held a stone tablet that described the legend in great detail."
"I see… How many do you have?"
"Right now? Four."
It was Apricot's turn to blink.
"Wow… You've been sorely underestimated as a hero then."
"You don't know the half of it…"
Luigi described his quest further to his new friends and told of how he was previously trapped in Mario's shadow. He also told of how he desired nothing more than the power of the stars so he could escape that fate and be his own hero.
"With all of them, I can do things that even Mario would probably never be able to do," Luigi finished. "I'll never have to live in his shadow again. Enemies of the Mushroom Kingdom will fear me."
"I agree, but… Mario, Princess Peach, and your friend Yoshi, all captured?" Apricot replied, astonished to no end.
"Yeah. Bowser has them all locked up somewhere far away. I have a special connection with Mario that allows me to sense where he is. And right now, it's…faint. I'm the only one left that can do anything about this."
"Oh my… The situation is worse than I expected…"
"Me too!" Chee-Chee added. "Bowser is so cruel!"
"Indeed. But Luigi, why did he leave you free?" Apricot wondered.
At this, Luigi chuckled.
"Funny you should ask. He thought I would do nothing but run and hide in cowardice."
"Well, he was sure wrong," Apricot commented.
"You got that right. I used to be a bit of a coward, but that behavior is ancient history now."
"It sure is! You're so brave!" Chee-Chee complimented.
"Also, it sounds like there's some sort of conflict between you and Mario," Apricot pointed out. "Did you two quarrel over some issues or something?"
"Ha, it's more like I have an issue with him," Luigi scoffed. "He never acknowledges how much I do for him. I doubt he'll ever understand how I feel though. He's always too busy taking all the credit."
"I see. I do understand what you're saying. But maybe you just need to ask him this. Would he have gotten where he is without you?"
"…I highly doubt it. But that's a good point. I'll ask him. I can't guarantee that it will work, though."
"Of course. What matters is that you try."
"Right. Oh, and by the way. I discovered that there are actually eight Battle Stars."
"Well, if you count the Grand Battle Star, then that's true."
"Yeah, anyone that knows the legend knows that," Chee-Chee seconded.
"No, I mean eight not counting that one," Luigi replied. "It seems that only seven were seen falling towards the planet along with the Grand Battle Star, but the Star Tablet on Mount Shroom shows me holding eight smaller stars above my head, each the same size."
"…Really? This is most intriguing," Apricot commented.
"Yeah, very mysterious!" Chee-Chee agreed. "I wonder where that eighth star is?"
"Nobody knows. Not even the person that showed me the legend and gave me the map to the other seven has any idea," Luigi admitted. "But once this is all over and Bowser is finished, I'll search for it. I'm too pressed for time to look for it before then. But it can only make me stronger once I do."
"I see…" Apricot commented. "Well, let's press on. There's still more of the ship to see."
"You don't have to tell me twice."
With that, the trio continued through the ship, looking in every possible location for Luigi's next Battle Star. Apricot and Chee-Chee led him to the captain's cabin, the galley, the dining hall, the show auditorium, and more. Luigi wasn't surprised to see the refrigerator and cupboards in the galley bare. Any food that had been there had likely either rotted away over time or got eaten by sea life. Pieces of the tables, chairs, and curtains floated about in the water inside the dining hall and auditorium. A rickety old wooden ship's wheel was all that remained in the captain's cabin aside from scattered bits of furniture. Unfortunately, none of the other rooms contained the star or any hints to its whereabouts either, despite having been heavily guarded by more sea enemies. In fact, there wasn't even anything that could be called treasure. Even if the kraken monster didn't exist, the Wario brothers would've come away disappointed anyway, it seemed.
"Ugh," Luigi uttered in annoyance. "We have to search the submarine next."
"Of course," Apricot replied. "If the star is there, we should be able to get to it without alerting the monster."
"There's only one route down there now, however. Large amounts of debris and coral reefs block other potential paths."
"That's fine with me, as long as we can reach it."
Apricot and Chee-Chee then brought Luigi through another section of the basement, then through a tunnel of coral and debris, just as Apricot and described. A torpedo hole entrance into the submarine was ahead. It wasn't as large as the ship, but it still held plenty of places for a Battle Star to be hidden. The control room was the first stop, then the passenger area, the supply room, and engine room.
A lot of the buttons and knobs in the control room were broken and rusted, and the leather seats torn. Some of the seats in the passenger area were missing or torn as well. Fewer enemies made their homes in the submarine than in the ship, but they were still as annoying as ever, even though Chee-Chee helped hold them off. Unfortunately, the engine room didn't warrant a single clue either. The rusted old machine was just that.
"This is getting frustrating," Luigi uttered.
"I know… The only place around here left to look…is that monster's cave," Apricot pointed out with a shudder.
"Yeah! I'm even afraid of it. But if you need help defeating it, I'll do my best, Luigi!" Chee-Chee promised.
"Thanks. I probably will need some aid if we alert it before I find the star. But let's go quietly."
With that, Apricot and Chee-Chee led Luigi to another hole in the roof of the submarine. It took them back out into the open water and right in front of an oversized cave entrance. Luigi's eyes widened as he gazed upon how massive it was. In fact, it was so big that Bowser's personal airship could've probably fit into it. Luigi shook his head in astonishment.
"Well… H-Here it is," Apricot spoke up, gulping.
"M-Mama mia!" Luigi blurted. "This thing is enormous!"
"This is nothing compared to what lurks inside…" Apricot replied. "Trust me."
"Yeah," Chee-Chee agreed. "Th-This thing is really scary."
"Well, we won't find the star sitting here," Luigi said. "Let's go. And remember to stay quiet."
Both Apricot and Chee-Chee nodded. But before the trio could move even a few feet, the area around them trembled for a few seconds.
"…Oh no," Luigi uttered.
Suddenly, three enormous blue tentacles shot out from inside the cave, one of which barely missed Luigi and Chee-Chee. They would pass right through Apricot's body since he was a spirit.
"Yipe!" Chee-Chee cried, staying close to him and Luigi. Five more tentacles soon followed the first three, and a near-deafening roar echoed from inside the cave. Each tentacle had small spikes on the ends, showing that this creature was dangerous enough without its entire body exposed.
"Mama mia!" Luigi blurted as he and Chee-Chee were almost blown backward by the creature's breath. It didn't take long for the rest of the beast to reveal itself as its main body gradually emerged from its resting place. It had angry, glowing red eyes and patches of what appeared to be rock dotted the top of its slightly pointed head.
"I t-told you this beast was frightening!" Apricot blurted.
"You weren't kidding!" Luigi replied. "I don't think even I could do much damage to it without finding a weak point!"
"Then we b-better start looking for one!" Chee-Chee insisted as the monster swung its tentacles at its adversaries again.
"Yeah, and fast," Luigi agreed. "Apricot, since it can't hurt you, I need you to help me out with that. Chee-Chee, do you think you can distract the creature?"
"I can try. Thankfully, I can swim fast enough to dodge its tentacles!" Chee-Chee obliged.
"Good, that's all you have to do."
"Alright! By the way, I was thinking. Kroctopus. That's a fitting name for it! It is like both a kraken and an octopus."
"Fine, let's just kill this thing before it kills us!"
With that, Apricot followed Luigi as the two scanned Kroctopus's body for any potential weak areas. Chee-Chee taunted and distracted the monster, and as she had said, she was definitely quick enough to avoid being hit by its long tentacles. However, she would run out of energy if Luigi and Apricot took too long finding a way to damage it. What's more, Kroctopus didn't focus all his attention on Chee-Chee. He still aimed at Luigi and Apricot once in a while as well. Unfortunately, all the pair could find was a tough scaly body full of suction cupped tentacles. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary that could've been a weak point.
"Ugh!" Luigi blurted in irritation. "It doesn't seem to have a weak point! Think, Luigi, think!"
"Well, we have to do something soon, or else both you and Chee-Chee will become its lunch!" Apricot pointed out. "And I doubt attacking its nasty organs would be appealing."
"I know… Wait, that's it!" Luigi realized. "Apricot, you're a genius!"
Apricot shook his head.
"If we can't harm it from the outside, then we have to go inside and attack its heart!"
"…You can't be serious."
"I am! Trust me, it should work! Though I don't know how I'm going to get in there with all of these tentacles in the way."
"That is a problem…"
Suddenly, one of Kroctopus's tentacles rose up behind Luigi. Luigi was too busy thinking to notice, however, and Apricot suddenly gaped in fear.
"LUIGI, LOOK OUT!"
Apricot, without even remembering that he was a ghost, soared right through Luigi and then right into the tentacle. The tentacle protruded from Apricot's body, but it stopped in its trail just inches away from Luigi's head.
"Wha…?!" Luigi blurted.
"Hey! I think I stopped it!" Apricot blurted. "I don't know how I had forgotten that I'm only a spirit, but I really wanted to get you out of the way somehow. Still, I seem to have taken control of the beast's tentacle!"
"…Hey, yeah! I can see it trying to pull away from you. You must be able to go into other beings and possess them!" Luigi realized. "Do you think you can go into the monster's head and force his mouth open for me?"
"Well, I can try. I don't know how well I'll do though."
"Just try. …But wait, is it possible that you might feel pain?"
"It doesn't matter. I'd sacrifice myself to stop this beast any day. It's caused too much damage around here as it is. It destroys homes, steals food, and other terrible things. Besides, I've been dead for over two hundred years. I can't be killed any more than I already have been."
"True. I'm counting on you then."
"Of course. Although, this creature is very strong. I doubt I can maintain control for very long. So you'll have to move quickly."
"I'll do my best."
"Hey! Can you guys please hurry up?!" Chee-Chee shouted from nearby as she was still evading flying tentacles.
"Don't worry, we have a plan!" Luigi replied. "Apricot, go now!"
Apricot then soared through the water and soon disappeared inside Kroctopus's head. As he and Luigi suspected, Apricot was able to force the beast to stop attacking and open its mouth. Its tentacles were now spread wide for Luigi to swim right by and up into the beast's body. He swam as fast as possible so he could get in as many blows as he could before Apricot was forced back out. Thankfully, Kroctopus's heart wasn't hard to find. Luigi approached it without hesitation and repeatedly launched his pointy Blooper head into it. Kroctopus could only bellow in pain from blow after blow.
After a few moments, however, Luigi suddenly felt Kroctopus's body tremble and himself being shot back into the water. Apricot had lost control after all and was sent sprawling as well.
"See, I told you!" Apricot blurted when he spotted Luigi again.
"Don't worry, you did fine! We just need to keep this up until that thing dies!" Luigi replied.
"That was so clever though!" Chee-Chee complimented. "We can win for sure!"
"We should," Luigi agreed.
Apricot had been dazed for a few moments due to having been thrown out of Kroctopus's head, but was eventually able to take control of the creature a second time to allow Luigi to deliver more painful strikes. This was certainly causing the monster to take damage, but Kroctopus had a tough heart and strong mind. Apricot could never maintain control for more than half a minute and so far, none of Luigi's blows destroyed the creature. This was definitely the strongest monster he'd ever faced, even more powerful than a normal strength Bowser, most likely. And the toughest battle he'd ever gotten into.
When Luigi was given an opportunity to deliver a third set of strikes, however, the unexpected happened. After Luigi attacked, Kroctopus grew angrier than ever. Luigi flew into a sea rock upon being spit out and Apricot was sent into such a spiraling soar that he did not move even after slowing down. Luigi's eyes widened as the ghost prince remained floating there in the water, motionless. Chee-Chee squealed fearfully when she saw her friend.
"Oh no! Prince Apricot! I was afraid something like this would happen!"
"B-But he's already dead!" Luigi pointed out.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean he can't be knocked out. Even as a ghost, he still has a mind and ghostly brain. I'm sorry, Luigi, but I have to watch over his highness and keep him from floating away! The currents can be unpredictable! You'll have to finish this on your own!"
"Errrgh! This is terrific," Luigi grumbled angrily. "Apricot's out cold, Chee-Chee's unavailable, and I'm fresh out of ideas."
For now, all Luigi could do was avoid getting flattened by Kroctopus's tentacles. He still protected his mouth extremely well, making it difficult for Luigi to find a way in again. Chee-Chee, meanwhile, swam circles around Apricot's ghostly body to keep him in place until he woke. Her movements provided little currents that would prevent him from floating off. Keep in one place… Luigi repeated in his mind. Aha! He then swam upwards, prompting Kroctopus's tentacles to follow. Once he was above the monster's head, Luigi swam in all different directions, luring the tentacles into a tangled mess. It wasn't long before they were in a giant knot which Kroctopus had a hard time undoing. His tentacles were stuck in one spot above his head and his mouth was open once again as a result.
"You're done!" Luigi shouted as he darted back inside Kroctopus's body and aimed for his heart one last time. Several more blows turned out to be enough to do the trick. Kroctopus bellowed even louder than before as his heart burst into guts and slime. The rest of his body began to tremble, and Luigi quickly tried to scramble out. Unfortunately, he didn't make it and Kroctopus's entire body soon exploded just as his heart had. His tentacles sunk towards the ocean floor and the gooey, slimey masses that were once part of his head followed. However, Luigi did not immediately emerge from any of them.
"Oh no! Luigi!" Chee-Chee hollered, pausing and almost forgetting about Apricot, who was still unconscious.
The remains of Kroctopus's head soon settled at the top of the creature's cave. Chee-Chee felt tears build up in her eyes when the mass began to stir. Luigi's hand soon rose out if it, and the rest of him followed moments later. He was covered in giant octopus guts, but he made it out alive.
"Ugggh! Disgusting!" Luigi opined as he shook himself off. The ocean water easily cleaned him up.
"Luigi, you're alive!" Chee-Chee cheered.
"Of course. It was like gelatin. Nowhere near strong enough to crush me."
"Oh yeah! Heh."
Luigi then swam up to the Cheep-Cheep, who was still at Apricot's side.
"Apricot still hasn't woken up?"
"Ugh. But he has to. Like he said, he's already dead, so he can't die again… Can he?"
"I don't know. I've heard of ghosts being sent to the afterlife so they can finally rest peacefully, but not this way…"
"Hmm… Well, if this is the last time we'll see him, then he was a big help today. And he gave up his time as a ghost to save the sea from that monster."
Chee-Chee couldn't prevent herself from tearing up.
"I have to keep looking for that fifth star though. So I guess I'll see you around for now," Luigi continued.
"Right. See you…"
Luigi then swam back down to the cave. It was the only place left in the area that he thought would likely hold the next Battle Star. Just as he approached, Luigi spotted something that he was sure hadn't been there before. A faint glow was coming from the back of the cave. The impact from Kroctopus's remains falling upon it must have jolted some cracks open. This was quite fortunate, as not even Luigi would've been strong enough to bust through a cave as big as this one was. But now, his fifth Battle Star was practically in his hands. Heh heh… Five down, two to go. Nobody can stop me.
Hrm, is Apricot going to be alright? We'll find out next time! In some stories, ghosts depart to the afterlife to go into an eternal slumber once their purpose in the world of the living has been fulfilled. Who knows if Apricot's has been...
We've also met another new character, Chee-Chee the Cheep-Cheep! Sometimes there are characters in Mario games that come from enemy tribes, but are actually allies, such as Goombella the Goomba and Bow the Boo. I went with a Cheep-Cheep for this story. :)
I enjoyed this. Welcome back, Kelleo! Good story so far, and your characters are very well handled and have some depth to them. One suggestion I'd give is to perhaps expound on what's happening outside of the dialog with more description. The majority of the text is just back and forth dialog, which is fine, but try to mix it up in future chapters. Overall, though, very nice work!
Ah, thanks, Legacy! Yeah, I figured the description thing was still a problem. I do want to fix that, but sometimes I just can't think of what words to use in place of dialogue. >_<
Finally, I've finished the next chapter! I just had so much trouble finishing it after the whole thing was practically writing itself. >_< But here we are, and we learn Apricot's fate...as well as some more interesting tidbits about him later on.
Chapter 18: The Green Thunder
Without hesitation, Luigi swam towards the back side of the cave, the glow protruding from it growing brighter as he neared it. As he had suspected, the area was very cracked, and Luigi could even peer inside them to spot the shape of a light blue colored star. A wide grin encompassing his features, Luigi quickly struck the cracks with a Super Punch, as he didn't want to take any chances of Kroctopus's defeat attracting unwanted attention. Thankfully, Luigi was so strong at this point that one punch broke right through the rock with little effort. Once again, he immediately swam over to his prize. Luigi then took the shining star from its rocky pedestal and added it to his collection. And even now, he could feel his power growing further from it.
"Heh… As long as all the trouble I'm going through pays off like this, I don't care what I have to do anymore," he uttered to himself. "A Battle Star is worth it."
Obviously, there were actually some things Luigi wouldn't do if it meant obtaining one of the stars, but he highly doubted he would ever have to resort to such acts. As he was about to leave the cave and be on his way, however, Luigi spotted something else reflecting sparkles of light. When he gazed upon the source of this light, his mouth dropped open. Lying on the rock in front of the pedestal upon which the star sat was none other than Apricot's crown. It was painted with splotches of rust and tarnish and the red and blue jewels on it had a few scratches here and there, but it was the same two hundred-year-old crown that was worn by the deceased prince himself.
"Mama mia…" Luigi uttered. "How did that get here?! Apricot has to see this! …If he wakes up, that is. Argh!"
Hoping for the best, Luigi picked the crown up and swam out of the cave as quickly as he could. He didn't get far, however, before running right smack into Chee-Chee head first.
"Oof!" both cried as they were sent sprawling backwards. When Luigi regained his senses, he did a double-take when seeing Apricot himself behind the pink Cheep-Cheep, awake and fully alert.
"Chee-Chee!" Luigi blurted. "And Apricot! You're awake!"
"…Luigi, where did you find my crown?!" Apricot replied, noticing the valuable artifact in Luigi's hands.
"Oh, it was right where the Battle Star was, inside that beast's cave," Luigi replied. "I'm glad to see you awake! I wanted to show it to you."
"Huh, that's rather strange… And I'm kind of surprised I woke up myself. I thought I would finally be going to the afterlife as soon as that monster was destroyed."
"I was thinking the same," Chee-Chee agreed. "And worrying about how much I would miss you."
"You're such a good friend, Chee-Chee," Apricot said with a smile. "But indeed, I did my part in protecting my ship and helping Luigi find that star."
"True, you did," Luigi replied. "But I guess you still have more unfinished business."
"That must be the case. Maybe… Maybe I have to remain here and continue guarding and watching over this area. I've discovered that I can possess other creatures and use their abilities. It would be useful in fighting off any trespassers that intend to do harm."
Luigi then couldn't help but picture Apricot taking control of one of the Wario brothers' bodies. He vainly suppressed a large chuckle at the amusing imagery.
"You know, you're probably right," he agreed. "And if your help is needed in the future again, you'll be here."
"And I won't have to miss you after all!" Chee-Chee happily proclaimed.
"Heh, that's all very true!" Apricot agreed.
"Oh, but what do you want me to do with your crown?" Luigi wondered. "I don't really want to leave it here, as I would hate for it to wind up in the wrong hands."
"Hm, don't worry, you can keep it at the castle and display it there. This way, more can learn of my story and why war is a terrible thing to allow to happen."
"Ah, that's a good idea. Thank you."
"Of course, my friend. But, ah…do your best to take good care of it during your trip back home, please?"
"Oh, I will."
Though how I will ever keep it hidden from those Wario brothers, I don't know… Luigi pondered in his mind.
"Glad to hear it. I guess this is goodbye for now then," Apricot continued.
"Yeah. I have to get back to town. I've been gone for quite a while, so the others might be worried about me. And of course, I have to deliver your crown to the castle."
"Right! Well, I'll see you the next time you or Mario need my assistance."
"Hopefully! See you both!"
"Bye, Luigi!" Chee-Chee added.
Luigi waved goodbye as he made for the surface. He wanted to get out of the Blooper Suit anyway as well, as he was getting rather tired of being in it. He also needed to find some way to hide Apricot's crown from the Wario brothers, or they would surely try to swipe it and sell it off. And now, Luigi had an idea of what to do, but he needed to get rid of that Blooper Suit first.
Luigi then swam along the surface of the water and looked around for the Wario brothers' boat. He had ended up traveling rather far from it, so it took quite a while to find it, but he eventually saw the boat sitting on the water, not moving at all.
"Good, I'm glad those two are still there," Luigi said to himself.
Now all that was left was getting out of the Blooper Suit. Fortunately, Luigi had a thought on how to do so. Most of the past power-ups that he and Mario had used would disappear whenever they touched water. Since the Blooper Suit was specifically meant for the water, perhaps doing the opposite would work. Luigi then swam back downwards a few feet and turned around to face the surface again. He took off as fast as he could afterwards, heading back for the surface once again. As a result, he made a leap right into the air and out of the water. Just as he suspected, the Blooper Suit disappeared moments later, leaving him back in his usual overalls, shirt, and hat.
"Yes! Finally!" he blurted happily as he came back down into the water Blooper Suit-free. "I sure hope I won't need that thing again anytime soon."
As Luigi now sat at the surface of the water, he looked at Apricot's crown.
"Sigh… I hope you won't mind this, Apricot… But I gotta hide this thing from the Wario brothers and there's only one way I can do that, I think."
With that, Luigi removed his hat and placed the crown on his head. He then put his hat back, hoping that it would fit over the crown without any problem. Thankfully, it did well enough for the small bumps the crown created on top to hardly be noticeable.
"There we go. Now to get back to the boat and finally get out of the water!"
Luigi made no hesitation to make way for the boat, as he was practically dying to return to dry land after a long search in the ocean. Not to mention that being wet was making him cold. He also took care not to let his hat and the crown fall off of his head as he did so. As he approached the boat, it didn't take long for Luigi to make his presence known to the Wario brothers.
"Hey! I'm back!" he called.
Wario and Waluigi turned around to see Luigi climbing back into the boat at last.
"About time…" Wario uttered under his breath. "Uh, I mean, great! I guess you found that star you were looking for?"
"Yes, yes, and is that monster gone too?" Waluigi replied, a hopeful smile on his face.
"I did," Luigi replied. "And yes, the monster is dead. I destroyed it. All of it took longer than I expected though, so I guess I'm sorry for making you wait so long. Now we go back to shore so I can return to town."
"Oh, that's good to hear! And of course, of course!" Wario obliged. "Then, after you leave, you can take it from there on your own?"
"Yeah, yeah, once I get out, you two can do whatever," Luigi confirmed. "Just stay out of my way. But. If I end up needing your help again, you better be where I can find you."
"Ah, yes, that's no problem!"
"Good. Off we go!"
Wario then started up the boat so it could take off back towards the mainland. Luigi hung onto his hat and the crown, though it wasn't easy with the wind from the fast speed making him even colder than he already was. And thankfully, neither of the brothers noticed him hanging on even harder than he normally did. Along the way, Luigi recalled the remaining two locations on his list that contained Battle Stars. One was in a swamp and the other was in a desert. These had to refer to the Fungi Swamp in the southeast and the Dry-Dry Desert to the far southwest. Both were warm places that honestly sounded rather appealing after a long, cold swim, so choosing which to go to wasn't easy. Luigi would have to decide later once he took care of business in town.
When the boat touched the shoreline some time later, Luigi took no time jumping out and enjoying walking around on dry land again.
"Finally, dry land! Warm, dry land! No more water for a long time!" Luigi praised.
"Oh, um…" Wario spoke up. "You didn't happen to see any treasure on that sunken ship, did you?"
"Or near it, maybe?" Waluigi added.
"Oh, well, there was a lot of stuff down there, but I'm not really sure how valuable any of it is. You might want to go down there and decide for yourself," Luigi replied, a smile donning his features. He'd love for these two to get a scare from Apricot. He was a ghost, after all.
"Ah, sounds great! Thanks! See ya!" Wario replied. He and Waluigi then made no hesitation to go back out to sea.
"Good, I need you two to go away for a while," Luigi said to himself, patting the crown under his hat. He then quickly rushed down the nearest path that would take him to Toad Town and the castle. Along the way, Luigi realized he could've called Daisy to pick him up in the Heli-Flower instead of using the Wario brothers again, but then decided that she was better off not meeting those brutes. And at this point, he was close to town, so there was little reason to call her then.
This was a path Luigi was quite familiar with, so he reached Toad Town fairly quickly. Relieved to be in civilization again after his trek through Yoshi's Island and then the sea, Luigi didn't neglect to return the greetings the Toads gave him. It'd been awhile since he was there last, so the Toads were equally relieved to see him in one piece. Furthermore, it also appeared that the town hadn't seen any trouble from Bowser's minions while he was gone, perhaps due to setbacks Luigi had caused them. Of course, this didn't mean that they wouldn't still come back in the future, so Luigi remained wary.
When he reached the castle doors, Luigi quickly entered after telling the guards out front that he had an important delivery and message for Toadsworth. Fortunately, Toadsworth himself was right there in the main hall waiting for him, alongside Daisy, Toad, and Toadette.
"Oh! Master Luigi, you've returned again at last!" he greeted. "We were beginning to worry about you, you were gone so long."
"Ah, yeah, sorry about that," Luigi replied, approaching the group. "But I'm in one piece."
"Well, you should've called me up to come get you or something!" Daisy protested. "We haven't seen you for nearly an entire day!"
"I know. But…ah, you don't really want to meet the Wario brothers," Luigi insisted. "Trust me."
"Oh yeah, you were with them, weren't you? Maybe you're right, given what I've heard of those two."
"Yeah, Princess Daisy, those two are nothing but trouble, almost as troublesome as Bowser!" Toad put in.
"They get on everybody's nerves!" Toadette added. "And they're so greedy!"
"Well, I'll take your word for it then," Daisy decided.
"They definitely aren't to be messed with unless you can overpower them like Mario and Luigi can," Toadsworth seconded. "So, Luigi, what about your progress so far? Did you manage to find any more of the Battle Stars?"
"Ah, as a matter of fact, I have five of them now," Luigi confirmed proudly.
"Oh, that's excellent! That leaves only two more and then the fight can be taken to Bowser himself!"
"That's the plan! For now, that is. I could very well end up having to search for the eighth star as well."
For a moment, everyone stared at the green-clad plumber, their eyes bulging wide.
"Eighth? You mean there's another one we didn't know about?" Toadsworth finally spoke up.
At this, Luigi couldn't help but arch an eyebrow.
"Wait, I never mentioned that before?"
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Yeah, this is the first I'm hearing of it," Daisy added.
"Us too," Toad and Toadette put in at the same time.
"Oh… Er…sorry. Again," Luigi apologized. "But yeah, the Star Tablet on Mount Shroom depicted me holding eight stars above my head, not seven. The bad news is, nobody has any idea where the eighth one could be. It wasn't seen falling towards the planet like the others."
"Oh my… That is very strange," Toadsworth commented. "I wish we could investigate this intriguing mystery, but with Master Mario, Princess Peach, and Yoshi all still in Bowser's clutches, time is of the essence."
"Indeed. But mark my words, as soon as that's all taken care of, I'm going to search for that eighth star," Luigi proclaimed, raising a determined fist. "It would only add to my growing strength! And it's mine alone to use!"
"What? This power is absolutely incredible! Why, if I had known I was destined to wield these stars and only I could tap into their might, I would've sought them out a long time ago! Already, I can easily shatter massive boulders and single-handedly destroy huge monsters. Just imagine what I'll be capable of with all eight Battle Stars! Nothing would dare threaten the Mushroom Kingdom again! And I would finally escape Mario's shadow!"
"Erm, Luigi, are you feeling alright?" Toadsworth wondered confusedly.
"Huh? Of course! I've never felt better! For so long, I've been trapped in that cage of darkness, unable to get out because all the attention my brother got would keep me locked in there. But now, I'm free, and Mario will step aside so a new hotshot can take his place. And he'll be the one stuck in the cage! …Heh, Bowser probably even has him in one already! Haha!"
"Luigi! What are you saying?!" Daisy retorted, shocked to hear his words. "Don't you remember what we talked about before you went to the forest?"
"Yeah. And believe me you, I'll still talk to Mario about this. I have plenty of things I'd like to say to him."
"Well, I'm sorry, but I don't think I like your attitude."
"I'm rather concerned myself…" Toadsworth added. Toad and Toadette merely responded with intimidated expressions.
"Hey, you guys don't need to be worried!" Luigi insisted. "With the power I have at my fingertips, villains and criminals alike will fall to me one by one! …No, not only that, they'll fear me! Heh, heh."
"…Ahem, well I guess keeping the kingdom safe is what matters," Toadsworth agreed.
"Indeed. …Oh! I nearly forgot. I also have something for the castle. It's very valuable and important. It wasn't easy hiding it from the Wario brothers, but I did."
"Really? What is it?"
"This. It might look familiar to you and the Toads."
As he spoke, Luigi lifted his cap and reached under it to produce Apricot's old crown. Daisy and the Toads practically leaped backwards when they gasped in utter shock.
"Luigi! Is that…an ancient Mushroom Kingdom crown?!" Toadsworth finally spoke up. "Where did you find it?!"
"It is. I hate to admit to it, but the Wario brothers wound up making a historic discovery. You all have heard of the famous cruise ship that sank two hundred years ago, the Majestic Mushroom, haven't you?"
"W-What? You mean its remains have been found?"
"That's right. Wario and Waluigi found it, but were chased off by a kraken-like monster that was likely one of Bowser's minions. I destroyed the beast, but while I was looking for the fifth Battle Star down there, I had a very surprising encounter."
"How do you mean?" Toad wondered.
"This crown belonged to Prince Apricot, the royal who was killed in the war that left the ship at the bottom of the ocean. I discovered that his spirit roams the ship's remains."
Luigi continued his story by describing how he had met Apricot and learned of his relation to Peach. Toadsworth and the others listened with interest and amazement as Luigi recounted how he'd learned the story of the war from Apricot and was requested by the prince himself to bring the crown to the castle.
"Apricot asked for it to be displayed here, so others can know how he felt about what had occurred and how war is such a terrible thing," the plumber finished.
"I see…" Toadsworth commented, barely able to get the words out. "Apricot was a very honorable ruler according to the old texts, and it's even said that his death played a major part in ending the war at last."
"That's what he told me," Luigi confirmed. "But while I had heard of the Majestic Mushroom, I never knew a single thing about this war until I met Apricot's spirit. I doubt Mario knows as well. Why did I never hear of such an event before?"
"Well, to put it simply, nobody who has knowledge of it really likes talking about it," Toadsworth explained. "It was indeed a terrible and tragic event, even though it did lead to our friendship with the Yoshis. Losing our prince as a result of the fighting was a terrible blow to many of the kingdom's citizens. Despite that we won the war together with the Yoshis, the kingdom was left in despair for many years to come. Before the fighting moved to the water, many buildings and foliage were destroyed, including homes and shops. And then we were left without a ruler, as Apricot's daughter was too young to inherit the throne, and his wife had become too broken by his death."
"Oh my…" Daisy commented, a tear forming in her eye. "That poor girl and her mother…"
"Wait, Apricot had a family?" Luigi said. "He never mentioned that to me."
"He did. Princess Nectarine took the throne when she came of age, though having lost her father while she was so young and having to lead a post-war Mushroom Kingdom was not easy for her. It still took some more time for things to finally return to the way they had been before the war. As for Apricot's wife, her name was Tulip, and it's said that when she learned of her husband's death, she cried until she could cry no more, and couldn't barely eat or sleep for many months. As they say though, time heals, and Nectarine and Tulip eventually helped each other to cope and heal with the rest of the kingdom."
"Wow… Maybe Apricot left all of this out because it was too upsetting for him to recount," Luigi deduced. "I can certainly see this being the case, knowing him. He hardly smiled, and he always sounded troubled."
"I see. That's understandable. He loved his family dearly, and was thrilled when Tulip agreed to marry him. She had come all the way from Sarasaland and its royal family, and she and Apricot had grown close fast after they met. Both kingdoms were only joyful to see them marry as a sign of their longtime friendship. Apricot likely much despaired over having left his family without him."
"Huh?!" both Luigi and Daisy blurted at the same time.
"Whoa! Easy there, you don't need to yell! What's the matter?" Toadsworth wondered, wincing upon the shouting.
"Did you just say that one of my ancestors married into that family?!" Daisy replied, her eyes still bulging wide.
"You mean you never knew?"
"No, not at all! Why didn't Peach ever tell me this?" Daisy wondered, a big smile forming on her face. "This means we're related! How cool is that?!"
"Oh my… I'm not sure. She might not know either then. Though how that is possible with all of the history lessons she's had, I can't figure out."
"Huh, well, I'll ask her once Luigi brings her and the others back. This is too amazing not to talk about!"
"I agree," Luigi added. "I'd like to know what she says as well."
"I'm curious too!" Toadette seconded. "Oh, but you have to go find the other two stars first, don't you?"
"Yeah. I do have a rough idea of where both of them are too."
"Ah, that's good," Toadsworth said. "Where will you be headed next, then?"
"Well, either the Fungi Swamp or the Dry-Dry Desert. Those are the only two places left that I've heard have Battle Stars."
"I see. Well, in that case, I recommend that you visit the swamp first. The Dry-Dry Desert is a dangerous and unforgiving place due to its large size and high temperatures. And undoubtedly, Bowser has sent minions there too. I feel that if you go in with six stars rather than five, you'll be better prepared for it. Plus, the swamp is closer to here."
"Good points. The swamp is my next destination then."
"Great! You can leave displaying Apricot's crown to me. I'll find a good place for it in his memory, I promise."
"Thanks. He'll like that."
"I'm sure! It's getting dark now though, you should probably go get some rest and then set out for the Fungi Swamp tomorrow."
"Right, good idea. Seeking more power is only more fun if I'm not tired. Ha ha! I'll see you later then!"
Daisy merely sighed as Luigi took his leave of the castle, still chuckling as he closed the doors. Toadsworth could only shake his head, knowing full well that Luigi was headed down the wrong path with the mindset he had shown them. He couldn't blame Luigi for feeling underappreciated and ignored after not getting any recognition for helping Mario in his many quests, but if Luigi continued to let those thoughts take over his mind, the results could not possibly be favorable.
"I fear we have another problem on our hands," Toadsworth spoke up moments later.
"I know! That Luigi isn't thinking of anything other than topping Mario," Daisy agreed. "He says he wants to protect the kingdom, but really all he cares about now is becoming the famous one and leaving Mario high and dry. Why is he doing this?"
"Well, as much as it pains me to admit it, Mario and the rest of us are partially to blame. Not even I had realized that Luigi's been going through years of being ignored or forgotten after he helped save the kingdom or Princess Peach. It only hit me when you told me about the conversation you had with him before he left for the forest. All of us, including Mario, were wrong to not give him proper thanks for his efforts. These feelings of constantly being left in the dark and gaining the power he's obtained have driven Luigi to become what he is now. And I fear that if we don't do something to set him straight again, the consequences could be disastrous."
"W-What?" Toad stammered. "Why?"
"Yeah. You're not saying Luigi's becoming a villain, are you?!" Toadette gasped.
"Toadette, that's just silly," Daisy countered. "…I think."
"Oh, no, Luigi doesn't appear to be taking that drastic of a path. Not exactly, anyway," Toadsworth continued. "But he is no longer acting like a real hero. He says he wants all villains and criminals to fear him and for Mario to be ignored and forgotten. This means he'll do whatever it takes to intimidate and frighten anyone he thinks is an enemy to himself or the kingdom. He even sounds like he'll go so far as to kill them. What he doesn't realize is that not only will he cause the true enemies to become afraid of him with this mindset, the good people of our kingdom will fear him too. They won't see him as a hero, they'll see him as a bully that will crush anyone that gets him angry. Did you see the look in his eyes when he was telling us about how he wanted to replace Mario? I couldn't help but shudder at it myself. It was…more than serious."
"I sure noticed!" Toad agreed. "It was like…a stare of death."
"My thoughts exactly!" Toadette seconded. "It was scary."
"That look was pretty intimidating," Daisy added. "Sigh…"
"Indeed," Toadsworth went on. "Luigi is only letting his better judgement grow clouded and misguided. And if Bowser notices, he could use that to his advantage and prey on Luigi's weaknesses. We can only hope that someone can successfully talk some sense back into him… Or we may be doomed."
As the evening drew on, Luigi had returned to his and Mario's home to get some rest. He hadn't gotten any sleep in over a day, so he found himself out before his head even hit his pillow. Luigi hadn't cared if he was really that exhausted, however, as he would wake up fully energized and ready to hit the road again. That is, if nothing disturbed him during the night. Although, if anything did, they would very likely regret it later.
When dawn broke the next morning, Luigi wasn't hesitant to jump out of bed as soon as his eyes fluttered open. It was a new day, and that meant more adventure awaited him. He dashed outside and immediately started for the nearest path leading to the southeast. Luigi had not been to the swamp in a long time, so his memory on how to get there was somewhat fuzzy, but he at least had a rough idea. He wasn't looking forward to wading through mud and low water and likely ending up smelling worse than when he'd fallen into that trash heap in the forest, but he knew it would be worth it if he could walk out with another Battle Star.
Luigi could tell when he was close to the swamp when he began to pick up the foul odors from it. The tall trees and watery, moist ground were soon in view and straight ahead as well. As Luigi approached, however, the smell coming from the area grew so bad that he had to hold his nose.
"Ugh, why did one of the stars have to pick this place to land in?" he wondered in a comically distorted voice.
"I don't know, but it doesn't matter, 'cause you're not going to reach it!" an annoyingly familiar voice suddenly interrupted.
Before Luigi could take another step forward, Bowser Jr. leaped out from behind some nearby bushes, nearly startling the plumber to the point of stumbling over.
"Oh no…" Luigi groaned in irritation.
"Hey, don't leave me hanging!" a second, equally annoying voice stepped in. Kamek then made himself known, hovering in the air on his broom.
Luigi's expression turned into a glare as he growled and clenched his fists.
"What do you clowns want now?!" he snapped.
"Ha, what do you think, you mushroom munching moron?" Bowser Jr. retorted. "If we keep letting you get in my dad's way, he's going to be more than mad!"
At this, Luigi couldn't help but burst out laughing. It was Kamek and Bowser Jr's turn to answer with glares.
"Seriously? I already crushed you both before. What makes you think you can beat me now?"
"Why you—!" Bowser Jr. snapped. "For your information, we have some new tricks to show you! Kamek, you know what to do!"
"And I'm delighted to do it!" Kamek replied and raised his wand.
At this, Luigi braced himself for a wicked spell that he suspected would leave him at some sort of disadvantage. To his surprise, however, Kamek didn't aim his wand at him, but rather at Bowser Jr. Luigi shook his head as the Magikoopa's blast of magic struck its target and Bowser Jr. stood there, perfectly willing to take it. In the next few seconds, Bowser Jr. glowed eerie colors, and his body began to grow. It expanded until it was more than three times his normal size while the spikes on his shell grew along with him. The horns on his head and the claws on his fingers did as well. His face was distorted into a more angry and monstrous expression.
"What the—?!" Luigi gasped, taking a couple steps backward.
"Heh, heh, looks like you two have a playdate! I'll leave you to it!" Kamek spoke up. "See you later!"
With that, he flew off without another thought. Bowser Jr. then cackled, his voice now deeper and louder to match his new form.
"How do you like the new me?" he said. "Impressed? You may now call me…GIGA BOWSER JR.!"
"…Oh boy," Luigi uttered.
He had suspected that his quest would only going to get more challenging as he pressed on, but Luigi had never expected that he would be facing a monstrosity such as this so soon after his battle with Kroctopus deep in the ocean. As he looked up upon Bowser Jr.'s threatening new form, Luigi could only take a wary battle stance.
"Pah! This doesn't scare me!" he retorted. "I can still take you down! I've found four more Battle Stars since we last met!"
"Oh, is that all? Ah well, this should still be fun! Hee hee hee!" Bowser Jr. cackled.
"What?! You'll regret that, you oversized turtle!"
His anger at near boiling point, Luigi wasn't hesitant to rush towards Giga Bowser Jr. and leap as high into the air as he could. He allowed his fist to grow to its maximum size and drew it back. However, as Luigi attempted to strike Bowser Jr. in the head, the Koopa quickly withdrew into his spiked shell. As a result, Luigi's fist ended up going right into the shell itself, in a space between the spikes. And it was harder than a rock.
"YEEOOOOWWW!" Luigi bellowed as he fell backwards onto the ground, clutching his sore hand. "Son of a fruitcake!"
Bowser Jr. merely snickered at the plumber's misfortune. Luigi returned to his feet, not letting go of his hand. I should've known, he thought in irritation. It's going to take a lot of brains to figure this one out. I don't see any power-ups anywhere and my hammer won't do anything with those spikes there.
"Ha ha ha! Is that all you've got?" Bowser Jr. spat.
Luigi growled, not sure how to respond at first without embarrassing himself. A moment later, however, a devious grin crossed his features. There was one thing he could try.
"You know what?" Luigi said. "Nope! Catch me if you can, sucker!"
With that, Luigi suddenly darted past Bowser Jr.'s massive Giga form and made for the interior of the swamp. If there was nothing he could do to attack Giga Bowser Jr. in this area, Luigi would just have to literally look for an answer. It was possible that he could find a power-up or weapon of some sort somewhere in the swamp's depths. For now, however, he could only have Bowser Jr. follow him.
"HEY'!" the young Koopa blurted in annoyance and gave chase, just as Luigi expected. "You're playing the coward again?!"
"Ha, in your dreams! I'm making you play a little game with me. If you want to stop me, you have to catch me first!" Luigi explained as he continued running. Luckily for him, even though Mario had the advantage of strength, Luigi possessed more speed. Bowser Jr.'s current large, bulky form couldn't possibly keep up with him. Bowser Jr. only growled in response as he continued the chase.
Luigi was glad he had thought of this idea, as there were two possible outcomes from it that he would be very satisfied with. He could find a way to defeat Giga Bowser Jr. or he could discover the sixth Battle Star while the brute was chasing him through the swamp. Either way, he wouldn't walk away with nothing. Luigi snickered as he kept his eyes peeled for anything he could possibly use to deal damage. The only thing that irritated him was the swampy water getting deeper and the land getting wetter and muddier along the way. Having to wade through water or mud slowed him down a lot. Thankfully, the same held true for Bowser Jr., so Luigi didn't have to worry about him catching up quickly. Still, the plumber wasn't getting anywhere fast this way. He was only glad that he wasn't running into any other enemies. Perhaps Bowser Jr. was scaring them off.
This keeps up for long though, and I'm going to need to soak in a tub for hours, Luigi thought as he found his legs gradually being covered with fresh mud and grass. And throw my clothes in a washing machine for the same amount of time.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before matters only got worse. As Luigi waded through more water and mud and went deeper into the swamp, a large ball of flames suddenly flew right past him and into the water. It had come within mere inches of setting his hat aflame.
"Whoa!" Luigi yelped. Bowser Jr. didn't stop there, of course. He wasn't having any luck in catching up to the plumber, so he repeatedly spit the same fireballs in an attempt to hit him from afar.
"Crud!" Luigi opined in annoyance. "I've got to do something soon!"
Again, all that came out of Bowser Jr.'s big mouth was a cocky chuckle. Luigi picked up his pace as much as he could, and scanned his surroundings even faster than before. There had to be something around that he could use to get this big brat out of his hat! Of course, it wasn't easy to concentrate on finding anything while side-stepping fireballs at the same time. Even so, Luigi was far from giving up. He was determined to come out of this alive and with another Battle Star.
It didn't seem very long, however, before the plumber suddenly found his foot crashing into a large tree root, causing him to stumble over it.
Luigi went crashing into the muddy water below as a result. It was so deep that one could barely see the green of his shirt or the blue of his overalls. He growled angrily as he was about to scramble to his feet, only to find yet another fireball aiming right for him.
"YIKE!" Luigi yelped as he rolled out of the way. He could swear that the fireball had come within a hair of striking him.
Just as the plumber rose to his knees, however, something sitting between a pair of nearby trees caught his eye. It looked a lot like a Fire Flower, but its coloring was different. Instead of being a bright orange on the outside, it was a dark blue, with its center remaining yellow. Luigi made no hesitation to scramble for it, as it had to be another undiscovered power-up. Its strong resemblance to the Fire Flower couldn't be a coincidence. Luigi was taking a gamble due to having absolutely no idea what power this flower held, but he had no choice.
"Whatever this thing does, it better work!" he uttered as he plucked the flower from the ground.
Within an instant, the flower's power revealed itself. Without warning, it sent sparks of electricity surrounding Luigi's body, and he was enveloped in a bright, sizzling glow. In fact, the glow had appeared so suddenly that Bowser Jr. was startled into a halt. When it vanished another second later, Luigi's newest appearance was unveiled. His overalls had become a darkened green while his shirt and hat were now a golden color. Small electrical sparks repeatedly erupted from his hands and feet.
"…Mama mia," was all Luigi could say for a moment or two, after which a wide smile painted his face. "This adventure just gets better and better."
"What the—?!" Bowser Jr. gasped, unable to produce anymore words.
Luigi looked down at the flowing water at his feet, then back up at Bowser Jr., a devious grin continued to cross his features.
"Ah, yes, water conducts electricity, doesn't it?" he said rhetorically. "Hey, Bowser Jr.! If you're shocked now, I can't wait to see how you handle this!"
Without hesitation, Luigi drew back his fist, allowing it to grow in preparation for a Super Punch. Only this time, the plumber's new electrical power built up inside his fist in the process as well. As soon as his fist reached its maximum size, Luigi drove it into the water as hard as he could. Just as he had expected, a blast of electricity was sent flying through the water at blazing speed. Bowser Jr. had no chance of avoiding it as the electrical shock struck his body.
"YEEAOWOWOWOWOWOW!" the Koopa bellowed repeatedly as the electricity continued to drain from Luigi's fist. As soon as it was over, Bowser Jr. stood frozen like a statue as he collapsed into the muddy water. A second later, he gradually returned to his normal size.
"Only one blow?" Luigi commented and began to approach the Koopa. "Heh, now this is a power-up."
Bowser Jr. didn't even attempt to get up before Luigi grabbed him by his tail. He did become alert as soon as the plumber touched him, however, his eyes now wide with fear.
"Oh, by the way, I have a message for Kamek and Bowser," Luigi said, staring at Bowser Jr. with devious scorn in his eyes. "I hope they like their Koopas extra crispy!"
With that, Luigi sent another electric shock through Bowser Jr.'s body as he lifted the Koopa up and began swinging him around in circles. He was launched into the sky as hard as Luigi could throw him seconds later. The plumber could only stand there and happily listen to Bowser Jr.'s cry fade away.
"Good riddance," he said afterward. Luigi then gazed upon his fists and feet, which were still sparking with electricity. It seemed that as long as he held onto this electrical power-up, they would remain that way. The flower he picked up gave him this power, so he fittingly dubbed it the Thunder Flower. Mario would surely be interested in trying it out for himself, but Luigi scoffed at the idea of allowing it.
"Mario can keep his little fireballs," he decided. "Lightning is my kind of power!"
Luigi then turned his attention to a few trees nearby. He was curious about exactly what he was capable of with electricity now in his arsenal. Without any more hesitation, he aimed for the nearest tree. From his hand, he fired a bolt of lightning massively fast and nothing to sneeze at in size. The tree had its trunk cut right through and set aflame as it fell to the muddy ground. The moisture soon put out the flames, though that was what Luigi was intending. He had no reason to burn down the entire swamp, after all. He repeated this with two more trees, both of which fell in seconds just like the first one.
"Incredible…!" Luigi commented, his expression turning more devious than it ever had been before. "And I didn't even use Luigi Cyclone. Heh heh… Mario, say goodbye to your glory. There's a new protector of this land. And his name is Luigi, the GREEN THUNDER!!"
I've finally introduced the third and final new power-up. :D My favorite one too, the Thunder Flower! I couldn't resist referencing the death stare...lol. I also liked the idea of adding more depth to Apricot. ^^