School puts me in a huge Mario mood like you would not believe.

Just to let you, the reader, know...when I say this fic is "Super Mario World based", I mean that whatever happened in that game is all of the material that I drew from for this fic. Meaning...in this fic, we are to assume that this is the first time that the Koopalings invaded any place. Super Mario Bros. 3, in that sense, either didn't happen, or happened in a parallel universe. Underhanded, I know, but it's done for the sake of simplicity.

Also...there are plenty of good writers here...why do so few people write about the Koopalings?! If you ask me, they're some of the most fun and dynamic characters. The groundwork was laid by the cartoons...but if you like to stick to game-canon, you've just got that much more white space to create on! Why is it that in most Koopaling fics, they're always portrayed in the same ways?? Why must Ludwig talk with a German accent?! Why must Roy be heartless and cold?! Why must Iggy and Morton always be left out of the spotlight?! It makes me sad. So I'm going to start typing up my longer fanfiction (action-packed with Koopalings to the brim for sure) and posting it here soon just for the sake of my own sanity. I want to see some diversity here. I have nothing against those other fics, but diversity is the spice of life.

Also this fic is implying some affection which may be offensive to some people. I'm sorry about that.


Illusion

A Super Mario World fanfiction by Bagatelle

He was the strongest. The biggest, the baddest, the meanest.

But did that mean, also, that he had to be the one with the fewest emotions? It seemed unlikely that any of Bowser's children would ever become infatuated with anyone, but when it happened to him, of all of them, it scared him so much that, instead of letting his father know, he chose to hide it behind a mask of more intense rage and violence. It was easy. Even before it had happened, he was well-known for the fact that he regularly pummeled his siblings, spoke foully of the Mario Brothers, and tortured Goombas. Bowser was proud of him.

For that reason, Roy was given the Forest of Illusion.

…Roy had always been less favored than Ludwig, the eldest of the seven Koopalings, for obvious reasons: Ludwig, being the first-born son of Bowser, was automatically destined to succeed Bowser as the Koopa King. Ludwig had already developed far beyond his other siblings, even though he was barely a year Lemmy's senior: barely eighteen years old, he could breathe fire, and once he bit down on something, nothing could get him to let go of it. Wendy also got the long end of the stick. She was the only girl, and the only Koopa Princess: meaning, the only one of the seven of them that could actually produce further generations of Koopas. She was Roy's twin, but she had hatched first, and, Roy felt—but would never say aloud—she had always been first in everything that the two of them had ever competed in against each other…at least, in their father's eyes.

Lemmy, the second-oldest, had been out of the spotlight since his unfortunate happenings with a Thwomp in his earliest years (which had caused significant damage to both his brain and his eyesight). After Lemmy were Wendy and Roy…then, the middle child, Morton—the oddball of the bunch, who looked barely anything like his siblings, and seemed to have no truly defining talent aside from his ability to talk people to death. Then Iggy, the second-youngest…he was smart, but he seemed to know his place at the bottom of the food chain. And finally Larry, who had always been…different from the rest of his siblings. From birth, he had been close to Lemmy, even in his mentally unstable state, and Larry also seemed incapable of true speech: he spoke in a strange, primitive language of growls and hisses and grunts, which only Lemmy seemed to fully understand. Other than that, Larry was normal…but he and his four other siblings seemed doomed to second place, so long as Ludwig and Wendy were the apples of their father's eye.

…At his post outside of the Forest of Illusion, overlooking Chocolate Island (where Wendy was ruling with an iron fist, or so he had heard), Roy experienced life outside of the Valley for the first time. The blue skies, the soft breeze, the cool water. His fort had been built to resemble the Neon Castle that he called home, but he spent much of his time outside, at least at first…patrolling the Forest and indulging in long naps on the lakeshore near the blue Switch Palace. He liked the feel of water, and of soft sand beneath his claws, he realized. And, being alone in such a beautiful place, for the first time in his life, Roy Koopa found himself thinking that he was actually happy.

Then, one day, in the distance, an explosion told him that something was wrong. Some terrible thing had broken his delusion of joy. He looked over his domain and saw, with a sickening sense of foreboding, that Ludwig's castle had been destroyed by the oncoming force of Mario and Luigi: something he had never even dreamed that he would be expected to face. Nonetheless, his pride as a Koopa urged him to call all of his troops to their battle stations, and his fortress was locked down until a week or so later, when the two plumbers had somehow managed to find their way through the Forest and found themselves on Roy's doorstep.

Mario had taken Ludwig out. So Luigi went into Roy's fort alone.

Roy found himself confused, at first, by how graceless and foolish Luigi was while navigating his way through the castle. Three times, at least, the green-clad plumber almost fell into the lava pit in the lobby of Roy's fort, and after that, the amount of times that he just narrowly avoided getting drilled through the brain with a ceiling spike even made Roy nervous. The way he jumped was impressive, though, Roy thought: it was truly a spectacle to behold, just as his father had said, the way the Mario Brothers could leap over traps so easily. Roy watched Luigi maneuver his way through the second part of his castle, mesmerized, so enthralled with how effortless the whole scenario was that it took a long minute for him to realize it when Luigi finally came, panting, to the red double doors that led into the final chamber in the castle.

Roy gathered his bearings and lost miserably.

Luigi had been much stronger than Roy had anticipated. And the fact that the Koopa Prince had still been spaced out, thinking of how intimidating and powerful his enemy's jumps were, hadn't helped him at all. He retreated back to the Neon Castle miserably, with a limp, a migraine, and broken sunglasses, and he took his punishment from his father and went back to his room silently, as all failures only deserved to do. There he knew he would wait for Mario and Luigi to confront his father, if Wendy didn't annihilate them, first. He ground his teeth at that thought and prayed that she wouldn't. If she succeeded so easily after his crushing defeat, Bowser would only think less of him. And that simply could not be allowed.

He was, after all, male. Even if Wendy had inherited some of the toughness genes that coursed through Roy's blood, she was still a female, and he felt he should've been the more powerful one of the two of them. Not just in muscle, but in strategy, as well.

Had his castle been too simple? Were his traps really so easy to avoid?

He found himself re-thinking the layout of his fortress, too little, too late. He thought of Luigi, perhaps feigning near-death moments just to psyche him out, and leave him defenseless for their battle. He thought of how the plumber had jumped, and a strong, gloved fist pounding into his scaly palm: intense gray-blue eyes, and three firm kicks to the head. An easy victory. Roy shuddered at the thought of that power. He wanted that. He wanted to invoke that sort of fear in his enemies. And as the days went by, he found himself staring out his tower window for long hours, waiting for the plumbers to parade into the Valley: Wendy, defeated, and the two brothers on their way to the Neon Castle, to put their skills to the test against King Bowser.

Roy was thrilled when his prayers were answered, and he witnessed yet again the majestic strength of the Mario Brothers. Mario seemed strong, as well—and he must have been, having defeated both Ludwig and Wendy—but Roy was much more enthralled by Luigi, whose typical clumsiness and cowardice made him all the more exciting. And anyway, Roy had only ever fought Luigi. He knew that power firsthand…had sampled the younger brother's abilities in combat. Each time Luigi stomped on a lesser Koopa's shell, Roy felt a dull emotion in the back of his mind: a memory of sorts of his own battle with the plumber. And he was thrilled. He wanted to fight Luigi again, he wanted to feel all of that energy so close to him again, channeled and fearsome and unbeatable.

But he couldn't. He could only admire it from afar, until Mario and Luigi finally reached Larry's castle, where Luigi went inside, and Roy was forced to go back to his quarters in the Neon Castle, unsatisfied.

…In the days leading up to the final assault on the Neon Castle, Roy thought often of Luigi's power, and the more that he thought of it, the more he wanted it for his own. He had always perceived himself to be stronger than everyone else around him (with the exception of Bowser, of course)…to be confronted with a skill such as this was almost beyond his comprehension. It boggled his mind. He wanted to be a part of it, to learn from it, to learn how to fight like that. He had been brought up to head into war with a certain mindset, but now, having been defeated…he was seeing how very flawed that mindset was. He would never win in battle if he carelessly threw his fists and gnashed his teeth. He had to learn to focus. That was what the Mario Brothers did. That was why they won.

Roy could never say any of this to his father. So he kept it all a secret: he watched privately from his room as Mario and Luigi made their way through the Neon Castle to the roof where Princess Toadstool was being kept by Bowser. He watched Luigi stomp on Chargin' Chucks and felt his heart quiver a little, each groan from Luigi's adversaries like another echo from his own past in his mind. And at last, the two brothers came to the double doors outside of the roof.

Roy was shocked when only Mario went in.

…Then, beyond the shock, he was furious. Luigi, the unstoppable force he had admired for so many long weeks, surely deserved a chance to fight King Bowser! It was only fair! It was only right! Roy boiled with rage and disappointment. He realized then, in the privacy of his own mind, that he had been longing to see Luigi take his father down…so that he could know that he was maybe not so worthless as his King Dad often made him feel. But he was being denied his wish. Because Mario had gone on to defeat the Koopa King, save the Princess, and become a hero.

Luigi just sat there. And in the slow minutes that passed before Mario found himself victorious over Bowser, Roy Koopa felt his heart break, and it was a long and terrible time before he ever really knew why.