The Preliminaries, Part 2

Mush and Goombrawl watched along with the crowd as pairs of fighters took their turns entering the arena to battle. Not only were there a lot more fighters than they thought, there was a much wider variety. Mush had never even heard of some of the species who he saw fighting. After each fight, Grubba would return to the stage, declare the winner, and call up the next pair. He would hand each fighter a folded piece of paper, assumedly with their score written on it. As a group of chain chomps bounced happily, victorious over a trio of dull bones, Grubba scanned his list for the next pair of fighters.

"A'right folks, we've reached our halfway point! The next fight is… Rawk Hawk versus The Koopinator! Git up here!"

Mush sat up straighter in his seat, wanting to see what the bird could really do. As Rawk Hawk jumped onto the stage, a dark Koopatrol climbed up the other side. They stared each other down, neither saying a word.

"C'mon fellas, start this thing up! We don't want the crowd gettin' bored, do we?" Grubba grinned widely as he stepped down off the stage, turning to watch the two battle.

"Heh, your stupid armor won't stop me! Are you ready to be RAWKED?" Rawk Hawk called across to the Koopatrol, who was completely unphased.

"You talk too much." He said quietly. "We're here to fight, not talk." With that, he dove forward, pulled himself into his shell, and took off towards Rawk Hawk.

"Not gonna be that easy!" Rawk Hawk hopped up onto the ropes on the side of the ring, pulled them tight, and snapped them at the incoming turtle. The Koopinator curved sharply before he was hit and popped out of his shell, turning to look at the bird. He ducked down, and braced himself on the ground.

"What are you doing? Taking a break?" Rawk Hawk dove off the ropes at The Koopinator, kicking him back across the arena.

"Shouldn't have done that, fool." The Koopinator stood up, and dashed at Rawk Hawk at full speed, ducking his head at the last moment, and sending Rawk Hawk flying into the ropes.

"Argh! What the hell was that!" Rawk Hawk shouted. He held his hand on his stomach, then in front of his face. Blood dripped off from between his fingers, landing drop by drop on the floor. "You… You'll pay for that…" He shook the blood off his hand, and stepped away from the ropes. Regaining his stability, he ran at The Koopinator, who easily sidestepped. Rawk Hawk was prepared for it, and flipped backwards in front his opponent. He pulled back his leg and kicked The Koopinator square in the jaw, sending him flying to the edge of the arena. Before he could stand up, Rawk Hawk was already standing over him, scowling.

"Never. Make. Me. Bleed." He spat blood down off the edge of the arena, and kicked The Koopinator over the edge.

Grubba scribbled down a number on a piece of paper and slipped it into The Koopinator's shell. He then walked on stage and handed Rawk Hawk one. He pulled out his microphone and stepped to the center of the stage.

"The winner is… RAWK HAWK!" As Rawk Hawk climbed off the stage, smiling as he looked at his score, Grubba looked down at the list. "Next up on our list is the Magikoopa Masters versus the Pokey Triplets!" He stepped down as the fighters climbed onto the stage, then sat down on a crate off to the side of the stage.

Mush, however, wasn't interested in the next fight. He was instead watching Rawk Hawk as he walked away from the stage. Are we gonna have to fight that guy? he thought, turning to look at Goombrawl. He got stabbed straight in the gut and came back like it was nothing!

He continued watching for a few moments, before turning back to the fight. A group of Magikoopas was flinging spells at a trio of Pokeys. He stared up at the sky and drifted off into his thoughts…


He spun to face where he heard his name come from.

"Mush! Did you hear that? We're up!" Goombrawl had already hopped out of his chair and was waiting for Mush before climbing on stage. Mush stood up and joined him, and they both climbed into the stage. As Mush looked around, he spotted their opponents approaching the stage; two Koopas and a Paratroopa, all with yellow shells and black sunglasses. As they jumped onto the stage, Mush looked them over.

This is it… Our first and hopefully not last fight. Time to throw down!

"A'right fellas, you know the drill. Let's see some action!" Grubba climbed down from the stage, and stood watching the fight. He wanted to see what this scrawny little Toad and his Goomba pal could do.