Parakarry's voice eagerly called out through the morning air.
He flapped his wings before landing, stretching out his arms and wings before reaching into his mailbag. He opened the mailbox outside the manor before him, whistling as he dug through his bag for the mail meant for this house.
He craned his neck, turning up to look at the green manor situated just up a small hill, a stone path leading to the front door. The quaint manor was certainly not the most extravagant of living spaces, but it was suitable. There was a well maintained garden gracing the front lawn, flowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes displayed upon the path.
Parakarry wiped the sweat off his brow, readying himself to fly off again when a voice called out.
"Good morning, Parakarry!"
Parakarry stopped, turning.
The owner of the manor appeared, rushing down the stone path to greet the Paratroopa with a smile on his face. The brunette's hair was messy, his mustache uncombed as visible dark circles became apparent under his bright blue eyes. He had most likely just crawled out of bed.
"Ah, Luigi! Good to see you're chipper today." Parakarry grinned, watching as Luigi rushed up to the fence lining the yard, leaning against it.
"How're you doing today, Parakarry?"
"I'm doing quite well. A bit frazzled, but quite well."
"A lot of stuff to deliver today, huh?"
"That's not even the half of it." Parakarry chuckled. "The post office has been chaos since this morning. Postmaster said there was this little toad girl running around the office asking the rest of the employees about something. She'd been there since we opened. Totally threw him for a loop."
"Do you know who she was?"
"No idea. The Postmaster thinks she was handing out fliers for something, I don't know. He was already ordering me to get my tail out here, I didn't have time to ask."
"Oh, well, you're right on schedule, I'd say." Luigi laughed.
"I'd like to think I'm getting much better at delivering the mail on time." Parakarry chuckled, slightly embarrassed. "If you happen to find anything in your mail is missing, that's probably my fault… But, I'll be sure to drop anything I missed off later, once I finish my route for today."
"Well, don't work too hard. Can I get you anything before you head off, Parakarry? I could get you a drink or something…"
"Oh, no. I'm in fine shape. Just have a long day ahead of me. There's been a lot more letters coming in recently, which I hypothesize has something to do with that get-together the princess has been planning."
"It's only a meeting, Parakarry. I don't think it's that exciting." Luigi smiled. "No one's gonna be sending letters out to their grandparents about some king or prince coming to the Mushroom Kingdom to discuss economics with the princess."
"Well, Toad Town gets excited over the littlest things, you know. Whether that be royalty figures getting together for, say… a ball, or a meeting, or a conference, or even for… tea time, really!"
"They're just gonna be talking about trade negotiations and stuff like that. It's all boring."
"Oh, right, I'm sorry. I forgot you knew so much about the princess's business ever since you and that prince got hitched… Your Highness." Parakarry sneered, bowing playfully. "You're going to be at the meeting anyway, don't even know why I brought it up."
"I'm not really royalty, Parakarry." Luigi crossed his arms, a faint blush on his face as he turned, exhaling. "I'm just the prince consort."
"Sureee… whatever you say." Parakarry shrugged. "Just don't come crying to me if you ever get kidnapped by Bowser or anything. If his knack for capturing royalty keeps up, that is."
Luigi chuckled. "Then you'll have to team up with Mario again to rescue me, I suppose."
"I guess so." Parakarry flapped his wings, turning away from Luigi with a hearty laugh. "I really should be on my way, though, friend. I still have so many letters to deliver, and there are so many impatient homeowners out there. A postman's job is never done, after all!"
"I understand." Luigi stepped back, smiling. "Be safe out there."
And with that, Parakarry flew off. Luigi waved goodbye to him, watching the postman until he disappeared from view into the cloudy sky in the distance.
Luigi stretched before pushing open the fence's wooden gate, retrieving his mail and sifting through it. He yawned, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes as the sun continued to creep up over the hillside.
The mail mostly consisted of bills and scam letters from Waluigi, but a postcard from Mario made him smile, a warm feeling now in his chest. It was nice to think that his brother still had time to send him things, despite how busy he must be, traveling the world with his newfound cap companion and whatnot.
Luigi walked back into his manor groggily, dropping off the mail on the kitchen counter before walking to the bathroom to freshen up.
His pet, Polterpup, followed him curiously, leaping up against his owner's legs to try and get his attention. Luigi smiled, laughing and promising the ghostly pup playtime later. He still had something to do today, after all.
Luigi did just enough to appear suitable before heading back out the door, walking down the path towards Toad Town. He had been up since early morning only because he wanted to get to Tayce T.'s kitchen before it got too crowded, and morning was his best bet. He didn't exactly like being out alone at night, and Grambi forbid some poor soul try to go to the bakery in the afternoon. Luigi cringed at the thought.
All he needed was to pick up some ingredients for a few recipes he'd gotten as gifts from Peach for his birthday. While he was relatively good at cooking, he didn't know a whole lot about making pastries. That was the princess's specialty, not his. Luigi usually stuck to making various spaghetti dishes. But, most of the recipes given to him were for cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and the like, so he'd have to get a few ingredients from Tayce T. if he hoped on ever finishing even one of the recipes.
Not that he minded waking up early anyway. Early morning walks were always so beautiful. The creatures were starting to stir, and the sun was just starting to rise. He breathed slowly, taking in all the sights until he made his way into Toad Town.
Toads were congregating outside, walking in and out of stores and talking amongst themselves. Luigi's presence didn't faze them, not like if Mario was there. But, Luigi was fine with that. He didn't like being randomly talked to and swarmed anyway. The toads still waved and said hello as he passed though, Luigi politely greeting them in return.
He eventually made it into Tayce T.'s kitchen, the little cook glancing up at Luigi as he entered. A faint smile graced her face as he walked in. She was already moving to reach into a cupboard to retrieve his items before he could even request anything of her.
"Ah, Luigi, welcome in! I've been preparing what you ordered. Just allow me to clarify…" She hummed, putting a bag out on the counter. "You just wanted the cake mix and a honey shroom, right?"
Luigi nodded, handing over the sufficient amount of coins for her as he smiled. "Grazie."
She took the payment hesitantly, exhaling. "It's always so nice to see such a happy face, Luigi. I take it your morning has been lovely?"
"Yep! Actually, I was planning on making something sweet tonight for my hus-" Luigi paused upon noticing Tayce T.'s sunken features. Her gaze wasn't focused on Luigi, instead staring forward with dull eyes. She looked… sad. "A-Are you alright, Ms. Tayce?"
"W-What? Oh, yes. My apologies!" Tayce T. flinched and held her hands together, nodding. "I've just been thinking about… oh, there was this incident this morning and… I don't know. I'm sure it'll be alright. I'm fine." She offered a weak smile.
Luigi ventured further. "You're… sure?"
"Most certainly, Luigi."
"Do you want to talk-"
"Hey!" Another toad's voice cut in, Luigi flipping around to make eye contact with a very agitated customer, who was tapping their foot impatiently on the floor. "Some of us also want to buy stuff!"
"O-Oh, I'm sorry, I-"
Tayce T. reached at Luigi's hand, handing him his bag of ingredients. She smiled. "Take care, Luigi. I trust I'll see you again soon?"
"Oh, y-yeah!" Luigi attempted before being curtly shoved aside by the other toad.
Tayce T. looked at the customer disapprovingly before softening her expression, Luigi looking back at her. She glanced away before waving goodbye as Luigi made his way out the door.
Luigi sighed, cradling the bag of ingredients in his arms as he started back toward home. The walk back was peaceful, the young brunette catching small bits of conversation as the toads spoke to one another, talking about the day ahead.
"-and you haven't seen him at all?"
The fragments of a conversation caught his attention.
He turned a corner, noticing a bright pink figure with her back turned to him, talking to a green-capped, mustached toad with glasses on his face. He was looking over a piece of paper, rubbing at his chin.
"…Nope. Can't say I have. I wish you the best of luck in finding 'im though."
The pink figure stared down at the ground defeatedly as the green toad walked away, only perking her head up when she heard her name called.
Luigi approached with a smile on his face, but froze, his breath hitching as Toadette turned to face him. Her expression was pale and positively mortified, clutching staggering amounts of paper in her arms like a vice.
"Toadette, a-are you okay?"
"Have you seen Toad?!"
The question caught him off guard.
"N-No… I haven't. What's wrong?"
Toadette wiped at the tears forming in her eyes, whimpering as she tried to compose herself. "T-Toad… Toad, he… I don't know where he is, Luigi!"
Luigi felt his chest stiffen. "What?"
"A-About a week ago, I went out of the house to go hang out with Birdetta, and I left Toad home alone. When I got back later that night, he wasn't there. And I-I don't know where he would've gone, because I was only out for a few hours and-d he didn't tell me he was going anywhere, and he would've told me if he did, and he didn't leave a note or an-anything a-and I-!"
"Hey, hey…" Luigi, despite his own growing anxiety, tried to comfort Toadette. "Slow down."
"I tried to j-just wait it out to see if he'd come home, but he still isn't back! I wanted to take matters into my own hands, because I don't know if h-he ran away, or if he got lost, or worse, but I-I couldn't stand to just sit there while my brother was still missing, so I-I made these…"
She paused, sniffling and reaching towards the bundle of papers in her arms. She handed one over to Luigi, Luigi's face noticeably paling as he examined the page.
It was a missing poster, the words alarmingly bolded with a photograph of Toad plastered on it, information lining the bottom.
"I tried getting these hung up all over town, the post office, the club, the boardwalk, the kitchen… b-but… no one has seen h-him so far, and I-I…" Toadette released a sob, nearly falling into Luigi's arms.
"Toadette…" Luigi tried to reach a hand out to comfort her, but she shrunk back.
"I-I guess I'm probably just o-overreacting… he… he's old enough to do what he wants… I-I just," she hiccuped between sobs. "I wish he would've told me where he was going! I-I just want him to be okay. B-But, if he doesn't want to be f-found, then…" She shook her head. "If he doesn't turn up s-soon, I'm going to go out and find him myself…! I-I have to know if my brother is okay!"
"Th-That sounds dangerous." Luigi squeaked out. "I-I can look with you, and I'm sure Peasley wouldn't object to joining us… You shouldn't go alone."
"Hopefully it won't come to that." Toadette concluded with a sigh, turning away as she rubbed at her eyes. "Just… keep an eye out for him, please. If you hear from him, let me know."
"R-Right. Of course."
Luigi didn't have time to say anything else before Toadette promptly rushed off, approaching another couple of toads, handing them each the posters. Luigi turned to continue back home, despite now feeling a heavy sensation swelling deep within his chest.
An ominous feeling of dread loomed over him as he walked back to the manor.
Luigi's walk back was mostly silent, aside from the occasional heavy sigh or nervous hum.
The thoughts of worry produced by the single haunting image of one of his friends on a missing poster made his stomach twist. He tried to steady his breathing and think rationally as he approached his house, sighing. As he passed the fence gate outside the manor and approached the door up the stone path, however, he paused.
There was an envelope placed on the doorknob, delicately balanced atop it.
Confused, he shifted his holding on the bag of ingredients and picked up the note, flipping it over to see if there was any information on it. All that was printed on the envelope was a picture of a star, colored in a violet ink.
Perhaps Parakarry had left one of his letters in the post office after all.
He pushed open the door, putting the cake mix and honey shroom away before carefully tearing open the mysterious envelope. With cautious fingers, he removed a sheet of paper from within and began to read what was neatly printed upon it.
It's been awhile, hasn't it? Far too long, I'd say. How long has it been? It was quite hard to keep track of time down there, I'm afraid.
I've been really busy, you see. It's taken me ever so long to send you this letter.
They tried their hardest, their very hardest, to contain me. And I admire their amusing attempts. But, I'm quite the persistent person, like a spider weaving its web over and over on a rainy day.
To think, life works in mysterious ways. It's quite funny, really, how our pasts catch up to us.
You and I have plenty in common. You may hate to admit it, but it's true. You and I are much closer than you'd like to think. Haven't you felt lonesome without me? I'm apart of you, after all.
May I indulge you in a secret?
You ruined me, Luigi.
Your weakness brought about my downfall. It led me to a horrific afterlife of endless torment. I endured so much suffering. Loneliness and eternal solitude consumed my days.
But, now, I've escaped from that treacherous prison known as death. And, as I had plenty of time to ponder, I know exactly what I want now.
I want to see you suffer, just as I had.
I'm going to make your life a living nightmare. All who you know and love, will be guaranteed a long and painful demise at my hands.
You ruined my chance at happiness and I'm only returning the favor.
I want nothing more than to see you break as you are forced to watch your life crumble apart.
I've spent so much time preparing for this, you see.
I shan't spoil the surprise. Not yet. Nor will I reveal my identity. I want you to experience every moment of this spectacle for yourself.
It will be quite a show.
I'll see you again soon, Luigi. I'm much closer than you'd like to think.
~ ✦ ~'