Everyone gasped in shock at the small figure before them, the one who glared back at them with cold eyes. Could it be? It was impossible! Who would ever have suspected this one? All along The Prankster had been hiding among them under the guise of innocent looks, innocent questions and beautiful music.
It can't be." GB Link whispered in shock. The Allstars blinked a few times to be sure they weren't just seeing things.
I knew you were a worthless, no-good elf-brat!" DK snarled. Advance Link grinned and held up an arm so his hand was above him. A flash of light erupted from him and he was out of The Prankster's robe and back in his own Kokiri tunic. "It was you all along!"
Surprise, surprise." Link murmured and laughed, "All those tricks I played were so much fun! And your pathetic traps couldn't stop me!"
How could you do this to us?!" Candy cried, "And where's Tiny?!" Link shrugged and looked down at the computer on his right arm.
How should I know? She keeps showing up to take a picture of me, but Zelda's Lullaby always puts her to sleep. Good thing I've been taking lessons from Allstar Link and Nayru." he replied, "Hmm, two minutes and sixty-five seconds to critical status." He glared at Mario. "And how did you figure out who I was? I had everyone else stumped, but you figured me out. Far too late, of course, but still...."
Things were beginning to come together after DK talked about you a bit." Mario answered, "The red stain was the first clue. It wasn't blood or paint, right? Well, the only other liquid it could be was red potion, and only Links can use red potion. Then there was the blur Peach talked about. Someone had to move fast and be small. Neither Sonic nor Shadow could be The Prankster, because, although they are fast, they didn't know where the Master Control was. Allstar Link, on the other hand, does know."
He talked about it while he was training me. He told me all he knew about it, but he didn't tell me his access code." Advance Link confirmed, nodding his head.
Only you and Allstar Link can be small and fast. Him with the Bunny Hood, and you with your Pegasus Seeds. But Allstar Link stayed adult by pulling the Master Key from the Keystone and leaving them like that. He can't use the Bunny Hood as an adult. You can use your seeds anytime." Mario went on, "The chairs being moved around; you can't reach the keys, so you pushed them around to stand on them. The metal piece came from your Magnetic Gloves."
I used the gloves' polarity to push the magnetic blades away from me so I could get past that defense. The Pegasus Seeds let me be fast enough to outrun the ceiling drop." Link revealed with a grin, "The blades chipped at my gloves. I didn't notice it until the next morning."
The code you stole from DK because you and Allstar Link never really liked him."
That was easy. I just listened for his keystrokes and memorized the sounds. Later, I used Allstar Link's number pad to recreate the code and wrote down the numbers and letter. I didn't have to be close to DK to get it, I was standing on the other side of the Kongs' living room and still heard it."
But you lost the code, which was written with the letters slanting left...."
I'm left-handed. Big whoop."
So you recreated the code as music and memorized that. I heard the sounds of music on the tape you didn't burn. The tapes you melted with Ember Seeds on your slingshot!"
I was in a rush that night. I had homework to finish up so I wasn't paying that much attention to the sounds around me."
The bits of nuts are from a seed you threw in to test the wall trap, and your Power Bracelet item lets you be strong enough to carry the Master Emerald!"
Never leave home without those two items, bracelet and seeds."
You fit past the Emerald of course, because you are small and thin. And we didn't hear sounds of you on the tape since you're so quiet."
I'm an elf, what can I say? I'm supposed to be small. And if I make noise, I won't be able to hear things so well." Link said with a grin.
Two minutes thirty-six seconds to critical status." the computers announced over the speaker system.
The pranks you played on the Allstars are still a mystery to me, though."
I'll explain those." Link replied, "My Like Like Ring turned me into a Like Like. I wandered around in Luigi's room, dripping slime. I hacked in using DK's code and tricking the computer into thinking I was DK visiting. My Scent Seeds took care of Peach, I never liked Donkey Kong, so bleaching him was a pleasure. And I know about what Allstar Link did with your clothes, so I just added a twist to his prank."
But all you did was scribble a drawing and put it on his door. You didn't actually do anything to him." Peach pointed out, miffed. Link nodded.
He's my friend. I look up to him. A drawing is good enough and it won't hurt him that much." Link replied.
But erasing his Triforce did." GB Link snarled.
You were able to take the Master Sword from the stone. Only Allstar Link can pull it out, or so we thought. We had forgotten about your jointed games." Mario continued darkly. Link laughed.
Right! In each Oracle game on its own, I can only use normal swords. But, connect the games through the password system, and the Master Sword becomes mine to hold as well as Allstar Link's! You had the thing reprogrammed to be held by him and me!" he declared.
The sword's hilt was on the left when you stuck it in the walls...."
Held by a left-handed master...."
And my secret tape was burned...."
I hear better than Pikachu, so I was able to pick it up that time."
And you attacked DK's games the most and hardly touched the Zelda games!"
I never liked him, and I'm a little partial to Zelda games." Link murmured, "I think it's obvious as to why."
Only a Link would have those qualities! You used a boomerang! A Link item! You could outrun Sonic with those Pegasus Seeds! An Oracle series item!" Mario cried, "And the pit! Your Switchhook could cross it! That's why you took the Jiggy and left it on the side of the pit you wanted to get to!"
I threw the Jiggy across with my Power Bracelet on, hooked it and switched places with it. The Jiggy was at the beginning of the pit, and I was on the other side. When I returned, I hooked it again. We switched places, me on the side of the pit where I started and the Jiggy on the side closest to the Master Control." Link explained, "Switcheroo comes in handy."
One minute, eighty seconds to critical status." the computers went on.
And Tiny said you kept playing the same five note song over and over, a song that didn't make sense!" Candy exclaimed.
That's the musical version of DK's code. I had to keep playing it or I would forget the sounds completely." Link agreed.
What I can't understand is why you were doing all this." Mario finished, "Why, Link? Why are you so determined to destroy us? To kill Allstar Link?" Advance Link looked angry.
I did it to spare him from utter humiliation!" he declared hotly, "He told me how you treated him as a rookie, and I swore I'd get you all back for it! Then one day, a voice came to me and told me that the best way to get you to stop what you were planning was to ruin your games and make you all look stupid, too!"
What do you mean, what we were planning? What does Allstar Link have to do with your pranks?" Peach yelled.
I saw the designs for the new Zelda game on GameCube! You were going to convert Allstar Link into that tiny cartoon! He'd look like something out of a really bad Japanese comic book!" Link shouted back, "I was going to make sure that never happened! If he dies now, you can never make him into that ugly little thing!"
But that doesn't give you the right to do this to our games!" GB Link yelled, "That's how Nintendo works! We come up with new things, no matter how bizarre or ugly-looking, and we see how the Players like it. When Allstar Link was first introduced, Players thought he was strange and weird-looking because he didn't look like me and the other Links, but they grew to like him and accepted him! That's why we put his design into you! Now we're going to make another new Link and who knows? Maybe the Players will love him as much as they love us and you blonde Links!"
They liked him and us because of our looks! If you diminish his looks to that puny little character, you'll lose the Players!" Advance Link argued.
Looks don't matter! Not anymore! It was the gameplay that made the Players love him. He brought them great games and the Players loved him for that!" GB Link snapped. The little elf glaring at them was crying, angry tears running down his face.
The voice told me that I could make you change your minds by threatening the system. I could make you change the design in exchange for saving Nintendo." he growled between sobs.
We can't change the program design. It's too late." Luigi told him.
One minute, thirty seconds to critical status." the computers reported.
Then Nintendo's going up in flames! I won't give you the passwords to the Zelda program or the Master Computer!" Link snapped and held onto the knapsack's straps tightly. "We'll all go down the way we are."
You don't have to do this! There is another way!" Mario suddenly shouted. Everyone looked at him. "We'll delay Zelda's launch." he said calmly.
What good will that do him?! Link will still look ugly!" Advance Link snapped. Mario shook his head.
Not necessarily. I have an idea. Crazy, but it might work out. Link will still be upgraded, but only to the Smash Brothers Sequel design. He keeps his normal looks from the Ocarina and Majora's Mask games, but he'll be enhanced. If we delay the Zelda game until sometime next year, it will give us time to build a second Link and have him take on the design for the game." Mario decided, "We'll have two GC Links, Allstar Link and the WindWaker Link. Will you stop the meltdown if we did that instead?" Link looked at him warily, blinking back tears.
Make another Link to take the looks?" he echoed. Mario nodded. The elf thought about it and finally spoke softly. "Can I help train him?" he asked in a hesitant voice.
Both you and Allstar Link can train him together. He'll be the third blonde Link." Mario agreed with a nod. Link thought about it some more and sniffed, then rubbed his tears away.
Okay." he sighed in defeat, "The password to Zelda's program is...." he shot GB Link a venomous look, "'traitor'."
Ninety seconds to critical status." the computers continued to keep them up to date.
And the Master Computer?" Mario pressed him. Advance Link swallowed.
The password to that system is...." he was about to say when a sudden clap of thunder sounded in the area. A huge hand dropped down behind Advance Link, who looked up and back in surprise.
Supreme Tournament!" a voice laughed and the hand wiggled its fingers at the group. "As in the tournament all of you will be participating in! Come, Nintendo Fighters! Come back to the Realm of Neutrality and face me! Our plans for you aren't done yet!"
That's the voice who told me to do the pranks!" Advance Link exclaimed.
Is that Master Hand?!" Mario cried in horror. The hand wiggled some more. "It's impossible! You're dead!"
Believe what you want, Allstars! Now, come back to Neutrality and face me, or I'll take possession of your new games and use them to invade the Realm of Humanity!" the voice went on, laughing.
You can't do anything to us! You have no powers here in our world!" Luigi snapped.
Eighty seconds to critical status." the computers said.
I'll make sure you come! My new fighters are stealing characters as we speak. There! We have a few new hostages in our dungeons now! Come and get them, if you dare!" the voice laughed, "And just to be sure you really do come, I'll take my little puppet with me!" The hand grabbed Advance Link and slammed into the floor. Clouds of dust spread from the site as the elf cried in pain.
You can't do that! Stop it! Give them back to us!" Mario exclaimed as the dust cleared. The giant hand lifted from the floor towards a dark portal in the ceiling. Lying limply in its palm was Advance Link, eyes closed and one arm hanging out between two giant fingers as if reaching for the Allstars. The hand vanished into the portal, taking the little elf and several other Nintendo characters into a parallel dimension.
See you in Neutrality, Allstars!" the voice taunted, "That is, if you have the courage to face me there! Ha, ha, ha, ha!" The portal dropped a small device onto the floor. Then, just as suddenly as they appeared, the portal and voice were gone.
Seventy seconds to critical status." the computers reminded the Allstars. Nintendo was still in a dire situation.
Sonic! Get the codes to the computers and put them in! NOW!" Mario barked. The hedgehog jumped and raced away. In a few seconds, the alarms stopped.
Energy regulation systems reactivated. Nintendo Power Core stabilizing." the computers announced. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, then began to chatter about what had just happened. The halls were too crowded to talk, so they headed to the main area of the Nintendo base to continue. Game characters from different areas also attended, but there were some game characters missing such as N64 Jigglypuff from the Pokémon Stadium 2 game.
What do we do? We don't know how to get to the Realm of Neutrality!" DK exclaimed amid the chatter of people. Luigi held the device he had picked up out to his brother.
I bet this is a transporter of some kind. It's designed to attach to our transport portals. If we hook it up to one of them, I'm sure it'll make the portal go to the realm." he said. Mario nodded.
It will. Call that a gut feeling." he replied and looked to DK. "Donkey Kong, we're going to need the other fighters. The seven of us will go and fight this new mystery guy." he ordered.
Seven?" DK echoed.
Link's too weak to go with us. He should stay here." Mario clarified.
No, I'm not." Allstar Link suddenly said. The group looked down and saw him coming through the crowd to face them. "I'm a little out of it, but I can still fight. And this new threat kidnapped my trainee. I want him back. This is personal now." the elf growled darkly.
If he goes, then I go, too." N64 Zelda put in and gave Mario a look that dared him to tell her 'no'. Advance Zelda peeked around her.
If she goes, then I go, too." she declared. Peach demanded the same. Soon, various other characters began to announce their intentions of entering the contest. Mario called for order.
All right! I'll pick which characters will come with us to fight this new threat!" he declared, "Everyone, go to bed and we'll continue this in the morning! I'll have a decision on who goes by then!" The crowd began to clear away little by little as Mario spoke to the two Zeldas. "There can't be two Zeldas with us. The tournament won't accept doubles of one character. The last one didn't." he told them. Both were still determined to go.
Then I'll go as Sheik instead of myself and Advance Zelda will enter as herself!" N64 Zelda declared and looked at Allstar Link worriedly. "I can't let you go out there alone, Link. I'd go crazy with worrying over how you would be."
I don't want you to go, Zelda. What if you get taken down? You could wind up a brainwashed prisoner!" the elfin warrior exclaimed.
I can take care of myself. You go and get some rest. You can't fight if you look like you're about to become cross-eyed." she reprimanded him gently and led the fighter away. Mario watched them and the younger Zelda leave and turned to Final Sonic.
You'll be fighting with us, right?" he asked him. The hedgehog shook his head.
This guy wants Nintendo fighters. I'm Sega. He'll throw me out of the tournament. But while you guys are gone, I can help guard this base. I'll even call in a few other friends to help us out." Sonic replied and held out a hand to him, "Mario, Luigi, good luck. This fight not only feels serious, but it also feels necessary. Like, this is something that has to happen." he murmured.
Thanks for the luck." Mario replied, shaking his hand, "And something tells me you may be right about this." The two of them nodded grimly, then looked out at the distance, as if able to see some strange other world right where they stood.
The Master Tournament had been only the beginning....
End Part One