Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever (Redux)

Go-Karting With Bowser (Chapter 1)

Author note: *edited* Fits the quality of the rest of the story better.


Zoom! A mushroom powered racer takes the ramp. Thousands of feet up, their cart soars in the sky, creating a picture perfect sweep of their silhouette across the moon. Screech! The racer in eighth overshoots a tight curve. Sparks fly from the metal rails separating them from death. The racer directly behind, not so fortunate, is flung off the edge. On the opposite side of the track, the first place racer has their moment of peace shattered when the second placer relentlessly fires heat seeking red shells.~

A Mario Kart kicked off the recreation weekend, for the uninitiated, a long running and profitable extravaganza the famous plumber hosted. Groups of heroes, villains, and everyone in-between had a chance to compete fiercely on streets, dirt tracks, underwater, through sand, snow, and whatever Cheese Land was supposed to be, to vouch for prizes. Recently among Mario and co, there'd been a lull in activity, so he wanted to set the mood by starting them on the infamous Rainbow Road. Fit for a Special Cup circuit, the track was a vivid and colorful ribbon-like band, perpetually suspended in the stratosphere. Only the occasional rail and Lakitu's diligence separated the racers from certain doom. For Mario frontrunning however, the soundtrack from hidden boomboxes was crystal clear, almost making the race leisurely- Not exactly what he was going for.

"Finally I caught up with ya, moustache!" Followed by the nagging alarm of red shells, that was more like it, the plumber thought.

Though those projectiles couldn't handle the tight twists of the anti-gravity section, King Bowser Koopa could. Mario watched from the mirrors his rival's red eyes boring into the back of his head, and how his claws were about to snap the steering wheel in half. Bowser's lean pipe frame kart was riddled with dents and scrapes marring the orange paint, no doubt from fighting his way up from his seventh starting position. Mario had to wonder if that was in response to him borrowing his neighbor's Bullet Blaster cart and being dumb enough to inform Bowser of that during a totally innocent phone conversation. In exchange for the bulk Bowser could terrify most racers with, sans Donkey Kong possibly, he could actually recover from obstacles and catch up, superbly in that moment, side by side with Mario and smirking.

"You're slacking!" he teased.

Mario rolled his eyes. His foot had fallen asleep is all, and- the shooting stars distracted him! ..Indeed that's why via his map, all those blips representing the rest of the crew were right on him.

"This'll wake you up."

After Bowser slapped a bob-omb in his face, Mario had to swerve for a trick ramp. Exhilarating as they were on a joy ride, time trial specializing racers resisted temptation for a reason. He landed a few microseconds behind, the bouncy rubber tires wasting more time before an item box section. Mario grumbled over the single banana. Thankfully Bowser was a combination of arrogant as always but narrower, driving right in-between the boxes. Ha, he laughed, now in the position where he saw Bowser eyeing him in the mirrors. Mario used some quick mini turbos as they traversed through a zero gravity loop, descended down a spiral, outwitted a blue shell twice, and crossed the finish line to start the final lap. Just as the music sped up-

"Woohoo!"

From golden mushrooms, Toad zoomed past Mario and Bowser's stunned faces, traveling far until he spun out on stray bananas. A green dinosaur, a remarkably fine racer to be the only participant that didn't grow up around karts, took a mushroom-less shortcut to insert himself in the top three slots. Mario and him made a pact to not abuse each other too much during games, but when his oldest and best friend had that sort of gleam in his eyes, he had to watch out regardless. He shot triple green shells to force Mario and Bowser to separate, but Yoshi wouldn't get further, someone barreling beyond him while encapsulated by a bullet-bill. With a smoky poof Bowser Junior emerged. Mario checked the map. That one item had propelled Junior from eleventh to third, leaving him sandwiched between Bowsers!

The red plumber audibly huffed through his nose. His only way out of this might be whoever that was on the radar, a thundercloud victim weaving around Koopa, who was typically a local jogger, Toadette of Peach castle, Luigi his brother, Donkey Kong a rare VIP guest, and Birdo all the way from across the globe, to hone in on.. him specifically?! Toad was nuts, or feigned it enough to make even his stomach sink a bit.

Mario spun out 360 degrees and bang against a fake music playing asteroid as his chaotic friend was zapped by the item, taking out Junior as collateral. After the red plumber recovered, boosting with the ejected mushroom on the road, he was in arms reach of Bowser and for a few moments, it was only them again.

"Phew!" Bowser went first, surprising him.

"What?"

"Good riddance. Those losers were stealing the spotlight when these events are all about us and OUR rivalry!"

Well.. yes and no, Mario corrected inwardly. Of course that could be clarified later. He was mini-turboing, the closest to 'snaking' allowed in this tournament to cut barrierless corners and overtake the Koopa King. Gill T. next door might complain about the worn tires, again that could be dealt with later. His hairs were rising under his long sleeves, so anxious and close to the finish line.

Thunder crackled, now he needed to beat the rain too! Hm.. Except there should be none of that in space.

ZAP! Rainbow road was shrouded by a flash that could be seen into the heavens.

...

"Lightning Strike? Y/N?"

The Great Eldstar replied yes from his pager, one of several ways he relayed information from the Mushroom World below.

"Wow!"

The Great star dropped to his white marble floors, hastily closing his door half way.

"Can I change my bet?" chimed a star kid at work today, Twink.

"Too late. Misstar will most likely let it go instead of bereaving you of your allowance, but you should know better. Karting is volatile," Klevar warned.

He watched the pair stroll past his doorway. At least that added context. Some racer well versed in the stars really wanted to win..

...

A miniaturized Mario came too, afterimages blotting out all but the peripherals of his vision. He bolted from the checkpoint, bumping into Bowser, plopped right in front of him from Lakitu. Who's side was he on? Bowser bared his sharp white teeth, smug to be in front. When a confetti cannon went off near the finish line that was quickly replaced with a scowl.

Jaw hanging, Mario spun to the large display. First place was...

"Oh, thank you dear!" Princess Peach accepted the gold medal from Mario, suited for racing and pristine, unlike the rest of the scorched racers..

Without the typical audience, he figured he'd be the awards presenter too. If he'd placed he could have made up a skit for it, pretended to not know where the person in his own slot was. Alas not today. He helped Peach down first, then Toad, the second place spot quite high up for him. The lowest third place position was unoccupied and he knew why. Post race, the eleven racers concluded their gathering in the garage, scattering quickly. Most of them lived a considerable distance away, and the bigger event that would have live spectators was tomorrow. Sliding shut and locking up the metal doors of the garage, Mario was eager to get home himself. Though he did like to win, it was less about his abysmal placement and more about why he was such a mess.

"Get over 'ere!" Bowser ambushed Mario as he pocketed the key. "Where is it?"

Mario faced his rival on the rocky Star Road landscape. "Oh you mean this?" He untucked the bronze medal from within his shirt.

"Well? You gonna hand it over?

Mario swung the ribbon around his finger. "No. You forgot to introduce someone."

Bowser Jr. waved from behind his father's leg, who shrugged. "Do I need to? Gimme!" He snatched the bronze anyway.

"Sorta! Also, ouch." Mario held his fingers almost yanked off. "Really needed to occupy that empty trophy shelf of yours, didn't you? Will he be at the tennis game?"

Suddenly Bowser gave the koopa kid a few coins to run over to the snack machines, which he eagerly did. They were close by, illuminated by one amber lamp above. "No, and I'm not even gonna bother. Now, tell me plumber. What's your issue with Junior?"

Mario supervised with Bowser for a moment. ".. It has zero to do with the tyke. Ever since you sent him to Koopa Scouts instead of having your kooky grandpa, no offense- Kamek watch him, his behavior is almost normal."

"Great!" he beamed.

"Almost. I guess that, besides my sports being dangerous for a six year old, him tagging along with us adds another layer of danger."

Bowser faced Mario vexingly, the medal swinging from his neck. "Wait. So we have this Peace Pact thing. You stop blowing up my castles and no adventures means we can only call a lot instead of hang out. So now we get a chance and.. you act all insecure?"

Mario flushed. As Junior returned with sugary Morel Moxie and questionably dated chips, he puffed up for show. "No way, Koopa. Just keep your distance.. And your eyes off the princess!" he tacked on.

"Yeah right, bwahahaha!" Bowser winked as a dark object loomed overhead, his airship ride out.

Without a proper good-bye, they never really did that, Mario slipped away for his own snack. He was so late already, he didn't want to annoy his roommate and brother by rummaging in the kitchen at midnight. He pressed the half busted button for FungusUp and nothing happened. Out of stock. When he settled for some Jelly Candy next, he realized the entire thing was busted, unlike the adjacent one Junior went for. Blocking out commotion around him, the loud horn of the airship drifting off course, and Bowser screaming at the operators, he scoped it out. If he could carry this home he could fix it. It would be any more complicated than repairing his Mach Bike-

"Move!" screeched the onboard intercom.

Swaying on the port side, the doomship was going down. Mario backflipped as the machines and part of the garage was smashed into by the heavy anchor, the plumber landing on the steep edge of the floating island, tumbling off and splatting on the Rainbow Road below. He thought he was in the clear until, rolling on his back, he saw the stern of the ship backing into him. It missed that time, breaking the rainbow road. He'd always wondered if it would shatter like glass. It did, with him on it.

...

Keep your friends close, enemies closer. To Mario that seemed natural, too much so, and no matter how many catastrophes spawned from such, like whatever that was, he never saw himself changing it.

After a two hour visit to the Star Road ER, the fishing line burn from Lakitu's timely rescue not that bad afterall, Mario was discharged. He left with a mega-vitamin prescription in hand he'd likely not pick up, (he didn't trust that distant Dr. Mario relative) and was stopped by a traumatized looking nurse handing him a scratchy letter.

To Mario only (OR ELSE): This is 'You know who'. Yeah I think we hit something! You! Whoops! Was it that obvious I was training new minions with the airships? I'll make it up to you. How? I'll be your tennis partner tomorrow! Genius right? We can trash those other losers and the money I win can fix whatever. Or I'll just keep it. Anyway I changed the forms and everything already by [the word 'threatening' is scratched out] 'explaining' the situation to Lakitu. Get ready!

PS. This isn't a ploy to expand my totally not empty trophy case or anything..

Mario folded the letter up, blanching. Now he'd really have some explaining to do. His tennis partner was supposed to be Luigi!


To be continued...

2022/3 update: Hello everyone, while this shares the story ID of another 'Redux' I wrote around 2019-21, this is a new story now. The original is on my website, see profile. Keep in mind that for the first few chapters of this story, you will at the bottom see references to the old Redux/Frenemies Forever 2, primarily with the cited dates. Please ignore those.

Completed (for my reference): 5/16/19, 5/17, 5/26/19, 6/2, 6/4, 6/10

Edit: 6/20/19, 6/23, 7/1

Revise: 1/12/22, 1/13

Edit: 11/12/23