Rebirth of a Star
Chapter Eight: Have an Ice Day
"Lemmy! Come in, Lemmy! Do you read me?" A fuzzy image with rainbow hair called out.
"Oh! Hey, Iggy!" Lemmy smiled as he peered at the viewscreen, waving his claw.
"Lemmy! It's an emer-gen-cy-? What's that on your claw?" Iggy peered at the little piece of cloth and yarn that was covering his twin brother's claw.
"Oh, this?" Lemmy asked, pointing to the claw in question. "It's a-"
"Never mind, not important." Iggy interrupted, "The girl's on her way, so you better motivate your troops."
"But the Warp Pipe's in my castle… so we'll just wait for her here."
"Whatever. Oh! And King Dad says you've gotta' quit playing with dolls, or else it's the lava pit for ya'. Iggy out!" And with that said Iggy's image blinked out.
"But it's a sock puppet!" Lemmy corrected his brother, even though Iggy was no longer there.
"Oh! It's cold!" Mary whimpered, wrapping her arms around her. She had hardly been in Iced Land for more than ten minutes and already she was sick of it.
Her eyes watered as a freezing blast of wind stung her face. She was up to her knees in snow, wearing a hat, vest, a t-shirt and jeans. She was hardly dressed for this kind of weather.
Just as she thought it couldn't get any worse a little white flake drifted from the sky and landed on her nose… followed by another and another until, combined with the freezing wind, it created a nasty blizzard, and she couldn't see anything.
It was all she could do to keep herself from collapsing in the snow… She tried to light a fire in her hand but the wind and snow soon put it out, and when she tried to shelter it, she could almost feel her inner fire snuffing out, trying to maintain the small flame…
Just as she felt like giving up, her right foot sunk into the snow up to her waist; the snow promptly giving away to reveal a hole, which she also promptly fell in.
She landed less than gracefully; her injured body was barely capable of handling the rough landing and she let out a loud, high pitched yelp of pain that echoed inside the cave.
The heroine looked around the cave cautiously… But nothing popped out at her; no enemies… no nothing… Just her misty breath; though it was considerably warmer down here…
She started the fire in her palm, so glad for the warmth. She'd always hated winter. Snow and cold were her worst enemies, though the ice was nice on her ankle…
She looked around again now that she had a better light source… This wasn't just a cave, it was a tunnel! She pulled out her map to inspect it and see if the tunnel led to the castle and the Warp Pipe to the Pipe Maze
Much to her surprise the tunnel was on the map and led directly to her goal… And if it was mapped, why wasn't there any soldiers out patrolling? Biting her lip she decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
It was starting to get unnerving though; she'd been walking for hours with no sign of a single enemy, or anything. Just the icy tunnel walls that had absolutely no twists or turns or anything…
She hesitated to rest; it was cold, and the enemy could be just ahead, but she knew if she continued to work her ankle like this, it would never recover properly. With a sigh, she collapsed against the wall, arching an eyebrow as she felt something etched into the ice at her back.
She turned to look at the wall, and realized what she had fallen against… writing. The wall had something written on it! Maybe it was a clue! She held her flame aloft so she could read the etched words better.
"It's been a long time since the days I was a plumber back in Brooklyn, back when things were simple, downright monotonous, actually. Then, on a routine day of managing the sewers, strange monsters began to show up… And trying to find out where those monsters came from… we ended up here.
"We arrived to a world in chaos, and, being the good people that we are, we decided to help in any way we could. Along the way we met a lot of folks, even a princess or two… But no matter what we did, Bowser was always on the move, always ruining our hard earned peace.
"I'm a lot of things, but a killer just isn't one of them, besides, the guy has kids. I don't even know why I'm writing this… Maybe just so someday, someone'll know what me n' my bro have been through.
She blinked, she only heard of Mario the hero… She hadn't really thought of him as a normal person before all this happened to him too. And she had no idea that he had a brother…
It was kinda scary, actually, to know that even the hero had his doubts and troubles, but then the more she thought about it, the less scary it became. She was a hero now, and she had her doubts and troubles too. Everybody did.
Now all she had to worry about was surviving these challenges, and facing Bowser at the end of it… She'd never really considered that she'd get that far before, but now she was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel… Both literally and figuratively, as a light approached her.
She felt along the smooth walls, looking for a crevice she could slip in to hide. Unfortunately for her, there was none, so she resigned herself to battle, lighting up her fingertips.
As the light continued to approach, she could make out the shape of a Koopaling, riding atop what appeared to be a ball, carrying a lantern… He didn't seem to be looking hard or paying a lot of attention to his surroundings. He seemed to be arguing with himself about something.
Maybe if she extinguished her flames she could just walk right past him, and he wouldn't even notice her… Taking a deep breath, she extinguished her flames and watched as the Koopaling's gaze fell on her.
"…but why would Shira do that? That play made no sense…" And just like that the ball-riding Koopaling wandered right past her. After she couldn't hear the Koopaling anymore, she slid along the path he had come from.
She had to restrain a cheer when she caught sight of a pipe up ahead, relieved that she hadn't even needed to fight anything. If the last one was this easy, she had nothing to worry about.
She ran eagerly to the pipe, leaping up to dive in… And was promptly hit from behind, not by a scorching spell or a blast of fire, but by a large ball with a star on it. The force of the ball sent her flying, landing face first on the icy floor, unable to catch herself from the shock.
"Nice try!" Lemmy was so proud of himself for managing to keep her from jumping down the pipe… Though now he had another problem… An angry heroine…
She had gotten up off the floor and was now scowling at him, looking supremely annoyed. Then with a battle cry she started to charge towards him, at least until she lost her balance on the ice and fell flat on her face again.
He giggled, he couldn't help it. And the next thing he knew he was in a fit of laughter while she once again got to her feet, "Shut up!" She huffed, folding her arms, "I hate the cold."
That's when that ball from earlier, which had been ricocheting around the room, hit her in the back of the head and she went down again, "Ow!"
"If I knew it was gonna be this fun, I'd have come and found you earlier!" Lemmy giggled, rolling along towards her while she rolled onto her back, pulling her knees to her chest as he continued to approach.
When he got close enough her legs shot out, kicking the ball out from under the Koopaling, and he collapsed on top of her. At least he was small and light, as she struggled to flip him onto his back.
Meanwhile, his focus was on not being overturned and he was grabbing at anything that he could to keep him from being moved, his claws grasping at something papery before she managed to kick him off, "Who's laughing now!"
As she scrambled into the pipe, he looked at what his claws had gotten hooked on, and grinned, "Me."
"No, she got away," Lemmy confessed with a shrug.
"Lemmy…" Iggy sighed with a frown, "You've got to learn to take this stuff more seriously!"
"It wasn't a total loss though, I managed to snag this from her," The clown grinned holding up the piece of paper he'd managed to grab off of her.
"What is it? A grocery list?" Iggy rolled his eyes as Lemmy unfolded the piece of paper.
"Nope! It's her map! She's going into the Pipe Maze without a map!" Lemmy winked, while Iggy perked up immediately with a very toothy grin.