My first Smash Brothers story. I so do not own any of these characters. Hope you enjoy...

Chapter 1: The Announcement

The courtyard of Princess Zelda's castle was shady and pleasant, decorated with fountains, shrubs, stone seats and tall, leafy trees.

Today, Zelda herself was taking a stroll through the grassy grounds, and several guards of the castle looked on from their stations with interest as the tall, blonde girl walked past their view, talking politely to the elf-like man next to her.

"…so glad you could come," she was saying to her friend, who was of course Link, the Hero of Time.

"Well, I wouldn't want to miss whatever big announcement Master Hand has planned for all of us," Link said, smiling slightly. "And since he decided to use your castle to gather all of the competitors, I didn't even have far to travel."

Zelda nodded, enjoying the afternoon's fine weather and the lazy mood of the day. She too had been surprised when Master Hand had suddenly asked her to lend the use of her castle to all the competitors for a day, but she had been happy to help out. Plus, it was a nice change to her usual schedule.

A movement near one of the large fountains caught her eye suddenly, and she turned her head to see Young Link balancing precariously up on the rounded ledge of the fountain, trying to walk carefully around the water.

Link noticed his younger self as well, and groaned loudly.

"Careful, Link! You'll fall!" He called out, only seconds before he and the princess heard the high-pitched cry, followed by a loud splash.

Zelda and Link hurried over to the fountain, where a guard with a beard was pulling the coughing and spluttering boy out of the water by the back of his shirt.

"Are you the guardian of this boy?" The soldier asked gruffly, holding out Young Link to his older existence.

"Well…technically I am that boy, but I have to take care of him too. Um, don't ask how that's possible-the bending of time and all that is difficult to explain, you know?" Link said sheepishly to the soldier, who looked like he wished he hadn't asked.

The soldier turned to Zelda, and bowed slightly.

"Princess, my men and I are having a tough time keeping your…guests…under control. Squad A has just returned from the difficult job of getting Donkey Kong down from swinging on the expensive chandeliers, while Squad C had to put out a fire caused by Bowser-apparently he was in the kitchen, going through the food of the castle, when he digested something that disagreed with him, and the next thing we know, the whole place is aflame!" The soldier complained, his bushy beard quivering with indignation.

Princess Zelda looked amused to Link, but she managed to keep a straight face.
"I'm sorry, Captain Steiner. Master Hand has said that his announcement shouldn't take long, and then I suppose everyone will leave shortly after. I thank you for all your hard work today." She said formally.

Steiner bowed, looking relieved, and then hurried off to resume his tasks.

Zelda and Link helped Young Link over to a stone bench, and then Zelda asked one of her assistants (they were always hovering near-by) to fetch a towel for the dripping boy.

"What do you think Master Hand's announcement will be?" Link asked Zelda.

He already had a fairly good inkling of what it was going to be, but wanted to hear the princess' opinion.

"Surely it will be that he has decided to put a stop to the tournament for good," Zelda said, stifling a yawn.

Link nodded. "That's what I thought, too."

Young Link sat up straight on the bench, his eyes wide. "What? There won't be any more tournaments?" He cried, aghast.

Zelda shook her head. "Probably not. No-one wants to compete any more."
"I do!" Young Link protested.

"We all know you do, but most of the other fighters are sick of the games." Link told the boy. "Most of us have better things to do, and no-one cares about winning trophies now."

"That sucks!" Young Link fumed, crossing his arms. "I hope that's not going to be the announcement."

"We'll see," Zelda said gently, but she gave Link a look that told him to get ready for Young Link's disappointment later on.

As an assistant ran back to the group, holding out a towel for Zelda, Link snuck a look at the princess.

Her beauty still stunned him, and he had fallen in love with her from the first day they had met, all those years ago, in the same castle he now stood in. She just seemed so perfect to him, but at the same time she could laugh and joke with him naturally, and sometimes she confessed to him her secret fears.

Over the years, he and Zelda had grown very close, and were good friends.

And yet…Link wanted to be more then friends, but Zelda had never really shown any interest in him. Then again, she didn't really show much interest in any males, much to Link's relief; but the fact that he couldn't voice his strong feelings to her frustrated him greatly.

He suppressed a sigh. Oh well. He would hear the announcement, and then take Young Link back to their home, and he supposed he would then move on to his next adventure.

Zelda had instructed her assistant, a young, nervous-looking female, to dry Young Link's head with the towel, but the boy protested that he could do it himself, and was struggling to free himself from under the towel. Zelda laughed as the assistant tried heroically to dry Young Link, and Link had to chuckle to himself.

He suddenly became aware that he was being watched, and he glanced over to see the shadowy face of a short person spying on him from behind a tree.

The figure gave a yelp, and took off across the grounds before Link could get a good look at it.

It was obvious to him however that it had been Mario, just from glancing at the person's silhouette and mustache. Link took another look at the tree the person had run off from, and gave a short chuckle-he had even left a couple of coins behind in his wake.

What kind of game is Mario playing? He wondered to himself.

On the other side of the castle, in a pleasantly-decorated guest room, Mario sat at a white table with his brother Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Peach.

The four of them were playing a card game to pass the time-they had started off playing "Snap", but quickly stopped after Donkey Kong had gotten over-excited, and had squashed Luigi's poor hand under his giant palm.

"Do you have a seven?" Luigi asked Mario hopefully, and Mario shook his head.

Peach heaved a sigh, looking at her cards idly.
"I feel very bored…"She commented, and Mario nodded.

"Hopefully we'll be called together soon. I wouldn't mind going back home and eating some bananas," Donkey Kong said wistfully.

"What, you tired of swinging on all the castle's chandeliers?" Luigi joked, still feeling quite sore about his hurt hand.

Mario and Peach laughed, while Donkey Kong only glared at the skinny plumber.

"We're just going to be told that there won't be any more tournaments," Mario said. "Even I'm getting a bit sick of them-Link usually wins, anyway."

The rest of the table nodded in agreement.

"Still, it's a bit of a shame, isn't it? I think I'll miss the opportunity of us all coming together like this," Peach said.

Mario thought he would miss it as well, but he also knew when to move on. Realizing that it was his turn, he asked Donkey Kong if he had any nines, and the ape snorted and handed him a card resentfully.

Mario reached out a hand to take the card, but before he could grab it, it slipped out of D.K's hand and fell to the table.

Before Mario could scoop it up, the card suddenly sprang up and began walking across the table top slowly.

Everyone seated at the table stared in disbelief at the moving card, and then Peach let out a scream.

"What is it?" She shrieked. "Mario, do something!"

Without thinking, Mario knocked the card off of the table. It fluttered away to the ground, but something else landed next to it; a small, mechanical spider equipped with a lens, which must have somehow been hiding under the card in D.K's hand.

The plumber watched open-mouthed as the machine-spider hurried across the floor, began walking up a wall, reached the open window, and leaped out into the air.

"O-kaaay," Luigi said slowly. "Either the castle's security had a major budget increase, or…or I don't know."

"Well, someone was spying on us!" Peach declared, looking shocked.

"Who would use that type of technology?" Mario asked.

"Samus might," Luigi suggested. "Though I haven't seen her use anything like that particular thing before."

"I don't think Samus would do something like that to us, her friends," Peach pointed out. "Bowser and Ganondorf might, but they wouldn't have access to that type of technology."

"All this thinking is hurting my head," Donkey Kong complained, but was ignored.

The door to the room suddenly opened, and Link strolled in, making a bee-line for Mario.

"There you are," he complained, looking flustered. "It took me ages to track you down! Now, what were you doing spying on the princess, Young Link and I in the courtyard?"

Mario stared up at the green-clad man. "Wha? I don't know what you're talking about."

"I saw you. Behind a tree." Link said, patiently.

"Was this sometime ago?" Peach asked Link. "Because Mario's been playing cards with us for maybe an hour now."

Link gaped at her, and then shrugged. "Really. Oh well, it must have been Doctor Mario, I suppose."

"I…don't think so. Doctor Mario's been busy going through the castle's Library ever since he arrived." Peach said.

Link scratched his head, looking uneasy. "Well, I saw someone that looked like Mario. Normally, I wouldn't care, but…I don't know, I just feel like something's going on here."

"Something is going on," Mario told Link. "We just discovered this weird…spider-thing spying on us."

Link looked blank. "Spider-thing?"

"A mechanical spider," Peach said. "It escaped out the window."

Link looked thoughtful. "I wonder if any of this has anything to do with Master Hand. I suppose we'll find out soon enough."

In the main hall of the castle, Marth and Roy sat at the foot of a staircase, catching their breath.
They had been sparring next to the castle's massive double-doors until just a moment ago, when a bearded, stressed-looking soldier had appeared out of no-where and had told them to stop making such a racket.

"Great, now I'm even more bored," Roy complained, while watching Yoshi gallop past them with an excited Pikachu on its back, chattering to itself.

"It was mostly your fault we got told off," Marth pointed out. "You're the one that knocked over all those suits of armor."

Roy rolled his eyes; the sunlight that entered the room from windows situated high up the walls catching his red hair and turned it gold.

"They were stacked up like dominoes!" He complained. "If I hadn't have bumped into them, someone else would have."

Marth chuckled, and then fell silent.

"…Hey Marth. You don't want to stop fighting, do you?" Roy asked, quietly.

"What, you mean in the tournament? No, of course not. I'm ready to take down Link finally, come the next tournament." Marth said.

Rod nodded, looking satisfied. "That's good to hear. Because, ah…I've been hearing rumors that Master Hand wants to pull the plug."

Marth frowned. "Yeah, me too. Let's just hope that's not the case."

"I think there would be a lot less pressure on the guy, er, thing, whatever, if he had not started televising the fights." Roy complained.

"Hell yeah. Remember all the meetings we had to go to?" Marth chuckled, and put on a voice mimicking Master Hand's: "Marth, what are you doing? The audience is falling asleep out there! Ratings are down fifty percent!"

Roy laughed loudly, but stopped as a shadow fell on him, as someone stood behind him.

"E-excuse me," said a timid, female voice. "Is this where all the fighters are supposed to gather?"

As night fell, all the fighters sat in a large room of the castle, where plenty of chairs had been laid out in rows, in front of a stage. The room was noisy with the voices of all twenty-five competitors, as they chatted amongst themselves while waiting for Master Hand to show up.

In the front row, Link sat with Zelda and Young Link, and the swordsman was surprised to feel how nervous he felt. He still wasn't sure what he would do with himself after he no longer had to compete in the tournament.

Next to him, he felt Zelda's hand squeeze his, in a show of support. His heart beat a little faster.

At the back of the room, standing up because he found most chairs to be uncomfortable, Bowser groaned and clutched at his stomach. He still didn't know what had been in that cake he ate, but one thing he did know was that he would never insult Peach's cooking again.

"Oh, hurry it up!" He roared to the room. "Some of us have more throwing up to do!"

"Yeah, bring on Master Hand!" Marth cried, and the whole room started to chant for Master Hand to come out.

Sitting in the center of the seats, Mario impatiently waited. He just wanted the announcement to be made, and he also hoped to find out just what was going on around the castle.

Finally, the curtains on top of the stage parted, and Master Hand emerged.
"About time!" Fox yelled.

To everyone's surprise however, Crazy Hand also emerged onto the stage.

Everyone knew about Master Hand's "brother", of course, but he rarely attended meetings or formal occasions, being slightly…well, crazy.

"Okay, okay, pipe down!" Master Hand commanded.

The room immediately hushed. No-one could say for sure just how Master Hand spoke, but at the same time they also didn't give it much thought.

"Since you all seem to be so impatient this evening, I should probably get straight to the announcement." Master Hand grumbled.

Someone yelled "Whoo!" and was quickly shushed.

Master Hand appeared to take a deep breath, before continuing: "As you know, ratings for Super Smash Bros. Melee are at an all-time low."

Roy quietly groaned, and whispered to his friend, "I knew we would get the 'ratings speech'!"

"Not that I can blame people for switching off," Master Hand said. "The whole thing's getting a bit old, as I'm sure some of you in this room can even feel."

Everyone in the room seemed to stop breathing, as they all waiting in anticipation.

This is it, Mario thought. It's been cancelled.

"So, a while back I decided to do something drastic, something I'm sure a lot of you might not like. Still, it can't be helped. As of tomorrow, I plan to cut down the numbers of fighters in this room that competes in the tournament drastically." Master Hand revealed.

There was a heavy silence, and then the room exploded as everyone tried to talk at once.

"What?" Mario shouted. "That's it?"

"I don't want to fight in this tournament anymore, and now you're saying you're cutting people out anyway?" Someone else yelled.

"We all thought you were going to say that you're canceling the tournament!" Mew-Two cried.

"That would have been better!" Link shouted. "It's just going to be even duller, fighting with less people!"

Master Hand stood motionless, listening to the outcry, and then finally he yelled for silence.

"Don't you want to know why I'm cutting down the number of fighters?" He asked.
When no-one responded, he went on regardless. "I have decided that, from now on, we need new fighters! New challengers. And so, to start with, I have invited three of the new fighters here today. Will you come out, please?" This last part was addressed to back-stage.

Stunned silence met the three new fighters, as they walked out on to the stage.

In the audience, Marth chuckled and dug his elbow into Roy's side. The two had enjoyed waiting for the announcement that there will be new fighters, for they had found out just before the meeting that that was the case, from one of the new competitors herself.

Link gaped up at the stage, his eyes on the first, and shortest, fighter. Dressed in yellow and purple, he recognized Wario instantly, as he had became quite famous recently. His mind went back to the courtyard-it must have been Wario who had been spying on him!
Wario was grinning into the audience, looking smug. Link turned in his seat and saw that Mario was staring at Wario with a horrified expression.
Link couldn't blame Mario-after all, Wario represented yet another enemy for Mario.

He turned back to the stage, now ready to look at the other two new fighters. One was a woman dressed in black that he did not recognize, while the other was-

His stomach leaped. Surely there must be some mistake! He thought.

The girl in the middle smiled down at him nervously and gave him a small wave. The girl was dressed in white and had long, red hair. It was Malon, the farm girl!

He turned to look at Zelda, and saw that she too was staring in shock at the girl.

Behind Link, Mario felt like sobbing. Not Wario! He thought. It was bad enough having Bowser constantly around.
Sitting next to him, Luigi tugged at his arm. "Mario!" He hissed. "Stop looking at Wario, and check out the girl to the right! She must have been the one that used the mechanical bug!"

Mario tore his eyes from Wario, and glanced at the woman. She was wearing some strange, black and blue outfit, had short, red hair, and was gazing coolly into the audience.
"I don't recognize her," Mario whispered.

Master Hand looked smug. Or, as smug as a glove with no expression can look.

"That's right!" He gloated. "Let's see what this does for the ratings! I present to you the first of the new fighters: Wario, Malon, and Joanna Dark!"

For anyone who does not know, Joanna Dark is from the game Perfect Dark, on the Nintendo 64.
Also, naming that guard "Steiner" might have been kind of lazy of me, but I wanted to pay tribute to the character from Final Fantasy IX.

Okay, going to explain the story and stuff now. For those of you who know my writing style, you'd know that I tend to write a lot. This was an attemptto not write as much as I would still came in at around 3,000 words though. Doh!
When I edited this, I was all "must...describe...more...stuff!" but I resisted the urge to. So this story might flow faster than my other ones.

Oh yeah, I gotta say that this story was inspired by BabyGurl's and Rynada's Smash Brothers stories, which are fun to read.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to write a Smash Bros. story, and I eventually settled on the idea of adding some new characters to the line-up. But, I wanted it to be slightly realistic. You know, not have characters from, say, Street Fighter, an anime, or some other random game (though Final Fantasy characters would be nice, heh). So all the characters I'm going to use will be from Nintendo games-even Joanna Dark, as the first game was on the 64. Sneaky. ;)
I think a new Smash Brothers has been announced for the Revolution, so I also wanted to include some characters that pretty much have to be in the next game. Wario is one of them: I mean, how can he not be in the next Smash Bros? He would actually be a fairly interesting character, too.
Sadly, Malon probably won't be in the next Smash Bros game. :p I just wanted to include her because she's a good character.

This chapter just sets up the story, and further chapters will expand on everything. This fic is going to be mostly light-hearted, but will also have some romance, some action, and lots of humor.

Well, if you read this, let me know what you think!