Disclaimer: You know the drill, and if you don't, don't worry, you'll learn it soon enough.
Author's Note: I've regrettably never played Super Mario Galaxy so Kamella's character might be a bit off. Therefore, any criticism in that area (or any other area) would be appreciated.
It was an old castle, and until a few days earlier, it had been abandoned and crumbling. But a few skilled Magikoopas had remedied that, for today was the first time in over thirty years that the spell-casting Koopas had stood apart form the throng. Today, the Magikoopa clan had been reformed, and the castle was the natural setting for such a reunion. Before King Morton Koopa had united the various Koopa tribes into one Kingdom, the Magripa family had dwelt in this castle, ruling their Magikoopa subjects with an iron fist. However, after the unification of the Koopas, the Magikoopas had dispersed across Dark Land, sharing their magic with the other Koopan species. The Magripas, however, left the new Kingdom. Hoping to find somewhere new to rule they had sailed away in a grand ship with some other Dragon-Koopas, never to be seen or heard from again.
Bowser didn't care about any of this. The only reason he was in the drafty old castle was because Ludwig and Wendy wanted to be a part of the Magikoopa meeting. They stood out from the wizards and witches like sore thumbs, but their advanced knowledge of magic and their eagerness to learn new spells made it easy for the Magikoopas to accept them. Besides, they were the great-great-grandchildren of Alastor Magripa, the most celebrated of the Magikoopas' Kings: it was an honor for the Koopa wizards to teach them.
Kammy Koopa knew this, and happily watched Ludwig and Wendy amaze Magikoopa after Magikoopa with their spells and charms. "I taught her that one," she hissed to her companion, watching Wendy blow a flying kiss to a young Magikoopa, instantly paralyzing him.
"I know," sighed Kamek. "You've already told me that, what, five times today?"
"It's not my fault Wendy's a flirt!" chuckled Kammy. "Though I have to say, I was no better at her age! Mweh heh heh!"
"Please, don't make me sick," growled Kamek, rolling his eyes at his twin sister's vaguely lewd comment.
"Oh lighten up!" grinned Kammy. "You're just jealous because you spent all your time learning magic and not enough time socializing! I clearly remember telling you time and time again that my friend Celene would go out with you in a second, but noooo! You had studying to do!"
"And it shows," came a sneering tone from behind the two Magikoopas.
Kammy whirled around to see Kamella Koopa striding up to the pair. Like Kammy, she preferred her own style of clothing, and sported a dark purple robe with fancy red edging and a matching hat whose point extended high into the air. Around her neck, Kamella wore a lace necklace, its red jewel resting on her chest, not unlike the gem imbedded in Princess Peach's dress. As if that wasn't enough, the middle-aged Magikoopa was wearing black lipstick, and carried a wand whose jewel was cut (instead of being round) and stuck out from its base. Kamella wasn't young, but she wasn't old either, and her robes were made to fit her figure, instead of dragging behind her as they did for every other Magikoopa. As a result, she still turned heads as she walked by.
"Kamella," said Kammy flatly. "It's been a while."
"It has," said Kamella. "Ever since you ran off to advise Prince Bowser Koopa, or should I say King Bowser Koopa."
"The change is hardly recent, I would have thought you would have caught on by now," said Kammy snidely.
Kamella grinned sarcastically. "Tisk! Tisk! Kammy, you haven't even introduced me to your bother and already you've jumped to insults." She turned to Kamek and stuck out her hand. "Kamella Koopa, and let me just say it is an honor to meet the Kamek Koopa."
"The pleasure's all mine," responded Kamek, shaking Kamella's hand. He would have kissed it for extra suavity had Kammy not looked so murderous.
Kamella smiled. "You're too kind. After all I've heard about you! And not just about your services to Kings Morton and Bowser Koopa."
"Yes, your childhood escapades are legendary back home. Perhaps you might swing through the village on your way back south?"
"I'm afraid that won't be possible," said Kammy curtly. "We're travelling with the Royals after all, and I'm sure that once the little ones get tired, His Boredness will insist we leave immediately."
"Yes," sighed Kamek. "He's not enjoying the reunion, I'm afraid."
Kamella heard the bitter edge to his words. "Perhaps someone should ask for a demonstration of his famed 'black magic'. He did set a curse across all of the Mushroom Kingdom, did he not?"
"Technically we all did," said Kamek, inclining his head towards Kammy.
Kamella pretended to miss that. "Did you? That's impressive. I also heard about your venture on Vibe Island – with the giantization. Is it true you were able to control the Gloom Vibe?"
"To some extent yes, I was able to tap into the vibe, but as I didn't have the Vibe Scepter I didn't have full control…" said Kamek.
"Oh, you're being modest! It's an incredible feat! As are your breakthroughs in aging potions!"
"Well, I have to admit that accomplishment is quite rewarding," smiled Kamek, Kamella was quite a charmer.
"I'll say," she grinned. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were my age!"
"That's not saying much," scoffed Kammy.
"It's better than you, Granny," snapped Kamella. "Maybe you should give your brother's potion a swig or five."
"Maybe you should try the antidote – then you might just grow up!" sneered Kammy.
Kamella grinned, she loved provoking Kammy. "Ever the stick in the mud, eh Kam? You haven't changed a bit."
"Nor have you," growled Kammy. "You were always a snot-nosed little brat."
"And you were always a crabby old teacher jealous of the fact that her brother ran away and became successful while she stayed at home and taught schoolchildren."
"Taught you, you mean," hissed Kammy. She had been one of the most skilled Magikoopas in her village, and as a result, she was given the brightest young wizards and witches to tutor. One of her first students had been Kamella Koopa.
Kamella hated Kammy. She felt like the older Magikoopa had dragged her down with stagnant lessons and pointless spells. Kamella tried time and time again to switch tutors, but her parents refused. When she finally finished Kammy's lessons the old witch had told her she was just like Kamek. Kammy meant it as an insult, since Kamek had been a real hothead as a kid; Kamella, however, took it as a compliment. But as they say, it's the thought that counts, and Kamella was looking forward to getting her revenge.
"'Taught' isn't the word I'd use," she sneered.
Kammy's eyes narrowed. Around them, all other conversations had died down, and the crowd of Magikoopas was avidly watching the exchange.
Suddenly Kamella laughed, her voice ringing through the silent hall. She stopped and sneered at Kammy. "All those days wasted on your rambling 'lessons'… makes me feel sorry for your current students, or should I say 'victims'."
Ludwig and Wendy looked at each other. Kammy had been tutoring them and the other Koopalings for years, and her lessons were often dull. But they had learned a lot; most of what they had been showcasing that day had been a result of Kammy's teachings. They wanted nothing more than to put Kamella in her place, but this was Kammy's fight. They wanted her to win, and that would only happen if she did it on her own. She needed to slay her own dragons – or in this case, her own witch.
"And what are you doing Kamella? I haven't heard anything about your accomplishments. If you have any, that is," retorted Kammy.
Kamella face darkened: Kammy had a point. "I've been training, I've had to make up for the time lost on you, you see."
"I can imagine," said Kammy, her face twisted into an ironic grin. "You always had a problem about handing in assignments on time."
Kamella wasn't fazed. "You may think that just because you're the big fat Chief Advisor of the King of the Koopas you're better than the rest of us! It's time for you to face the facts: no one's celebrating you, they're laughing at you. First it was the Star Rod thing, then the Crystal Star fiasco! You had Bowser tromping to-and-fro across the Mushroom Kingdom and for what? Nothing!"
"At least I'm doing something," snapped Kammy.
"Yeah, losing!" spat Kamella. "It's no wonder Bowser dumped you, you're hopeless!"
"He didn't dump me!" gasped Kammy.
"Then why is Kamek doing everything these days?" asked Kamella, looking over her shoulder at Kammy's twin, who had backed up amongst the other spectators.
"Because His Sensibleness wants me to teach his children. Kamek's specialty, on the other hand, is waging war," explained Kammy.
"In other words, the king replaced you with someone better," said Kamella.
"He's putting me to better use with the Koopalings than against Mario," protested Kammy. But inside, she wasn't so sure. It was true, Kamek was more adept at fighting – he always was, but Kammy wasn't that bad. Then there was the fact that Bowser doesn't actually think things through that much; he wouldn't have considered the fact that Kammy had teaching experience when he stuck her with the Koopalings. In all likelihood, he had replaced her.
Kammy hid these thoughts deep within her mind, lest Kamella caught onto them. But the old Magikoopa had underestimated her opponent, and Kamella sensed her inner doubt. The younger witch knew an Achilles Heel when she saw one, and she fed on Kammy's weakness like a Jungle Fuzzy. "If you're so sure of your skills, then prove it! Fight me, here and now!"
"What?" gasped Kammy, taken aback by the suggestion. But the Magikoopas around her were stirring; some were nodding and grinning, and others were already hustling backwards to give the two witches more room.
Kammy looked beyond Kamella for some sign from Kamek. Kamella had come pretty close to insulting the Koopa Throne, and Kammy knew how sensitive Kamek was about that. But Kamella had worked her magic on Kamek (not literally), and as he backed away he simply shrugged at his sister.
"Okay," said Kamella. "It'll be an old-fashioned duel, in honor of the reunion! So anything goes except deadly spells and potions!"
"Agreed," said Kammy, though she knew full well that Kamella didn't need nor care about her opinion on the matter.
"Ready, hag?" jeered Kamella.
"You better hope not!" responded Kammy confidently. Kamella was good, but Kammy knew for a fact that she was better. She smiled in anticipation and held her wand aloft. "Someone say go!"
"Go!" shrieked Kamella, blasting a fireball at Kammy, who deflected it with the standard tri-shape spell. She then sent another charm spinning towards Kamella. The Magikoppa blasted it with her own tri-shape spell before sending a lighting bolt speeding towards Kammy from the tip of her wand. Kammy sent her own electric attack flying, blasting through Kamella's and sending her sprawling backwards.
Kamella growled as she pulled herself to her feet, wincing at the minor burns caused by the lighting. She couldn't believe Kammy had overpowered her attack, but that wouldn't happen again.
Kammy watched as Kamella cast a spell on herself; she had upped her attack power. "That's cheap," muttered Kammy under her breath. Usually Magikoopa's upped their attack or defense against other species but stuck to their natural powers in duels, thereby making sure the winner was actually better. But Kammy didn't mind: Kamella had always cut corners in her education, and it didn't matter if she did so now. Kammy was one of the most powerful beings in the Koopa Kingdom – no matter how much Kamella 'cheated', she would still lose.
Having finished her spell, Kamella sent another fireball hurtling at Kammy. The increased attack power was obvious, but thinking quickly, Kammy levitated a loose stone from the floor to block the attack. The fireball obliterated the block, and Kammy used the cloud of dust as cover for her next attack. She sent another tri-shape spell through the dust, and a surprised cry told the old witch she had hit her mark. But the dust was starting to settle; soon Kamella would be back on her feet and Kammy didn't have much time.
She waved her wand over the ground in front of her, lifting another loose brick from the floor. With a flick of her wand, Kammy sent the block skywards, and as it sped away from her, she fired another spell. The hex hit the brick and turned it into a Koopa Troopa clone which immediately ducked into its grey shell and dived down towards Kamella. Unfortunately for Kammy, Kamella saw the projectile long before it was anywhere close to her. She stuck out her wand and manipulated the clone, forcing it to miss her, curving around her body and skidding across the ground towards Kammy.
While the dust was nearly gone, Kammy wasn't as young as she used to be and wasn't able to dodge. She was sent flying, landing hard of the floor and scrambling to her feet as the shell changed directions and prepared to make another run at the old Magikoopa. She summoned her broomstick and pulled her feet off the ground, feeling the 'whoosh' of air as the shell shot beneath the toes of her shoes.
Kammy swung her leg over the broom and pulled herself up into the air, all the while sending a flurry of tri-shapes cascading towards Kamella. As the Magikoopa was forced to block the onslaught with a lighting bolt, she failed to notice the spinning shell speeding towards her. With a 'Crash!' Kamella was on her back, the tri-shape spells exploding around her. "Ahh!" cried Kamella, more in anger than pain as she shielded herself with an invisibility spell.
Soon the shower of spells ended, which was fortunate for Kamella as her shielding spell wasn't very good and she blinked back into visibility mere moments after she had cast the enchantment. Floating above her adversary, Kammy noticed the failed spell. "Didn't I always tell you to practice defensive spells? Power alone won't win fights!"
Kamella was fuming and sent a fireball roaring across the ground, blasting the Koopa Clone to bits before it could attack her again. She then summoned her own broom and took off after Kammy. She had been working on levitating spells recently, but today she wanted speed – she wanted to knock Kammy out of the sky.
Kammy sent a spell hurtling at Kamella, who did a barrel roll to dodge while sending her own hex at Kammy. The older Magikoopa also dodged and sped off through the air, Kamella turned to follow, only to be met with a blast of lighting. She veered to the side and sent a pair of fireballs towards Kammy, forcing her to zig-zag and lose speed. Now's my chance, thought Kamella, urging her broom forward, she was seconds from striking Kammy when the old witch pulled her broom up, stalling in the air as Kamella whipped underneath. "What?" she hissed between her teeth, turning her head to see Kammy had dropped back down and was hot on her heels. Kammy sent spell after spell at Kamella, who countered them with some curses she shot over her shoulder.
Soon the chase broke off and the two were flying every which way. Spells cracked through the air, but the Magikoopa castle had been built to endure magic, and the walls and ceiling absorbed the errant enchantments that struck them without leaving a mark. The floor would do the same, however no spells reached it, as the crowd of Magikoopas easily nullified any spells shot down towards them by the dueling witches. Soon Kamella dropped down and skirted over the heads of these spectators, figuring the movement beneath her would confuse Kammy.
Unfortunately for Kamella, her midnight purple robes set her apart from the grey, white and bright blue, red, yellow and green Magikoopas beneath her. Koopa witches and wizards of all ages and races watched Kammy circle high above, sending the occasional spell to keep Kamella on her toes. Kammy searched, but found it hard to pick Kamek out in the crowd as Kamella zoomed this way and that. Kammy remembered how Kamek had tried out a new look on Vibe Island, she had hoped he would keep it – then she could find him as easily as he could find her. But Kamek wasn't overly social, unlike Kammy he disliked standing out in the crowd; he preferred to look like everyone else…
Kammy's eyes suddenly opened wide; that was it! She usually didn't use this charm, but it was the only way she'd beat Kamella. Summoning up magic that had lain dormant for years, Kammy cast her spell. Below her, Kamella watched Kammy's wand movements. What is she up to? wondered the younger witch, gripping her broom in preparation for a quick getaway. Suddenly, Kammy's wand tip let out a blast of light, and when the Kamella opened her eyes, the air above her was filled with Kammies! They weren't clones, as they were flying in and out of each other and obviously weren't tangible, but then what were they? However, Kamella barely had time to ponder the mystery as the Kammies started diving towards her, mere moments after their appearance.
The Magikoopas beneath Kammy gasped and hurriedly shuffled away, but Kamella didn't move; instead she started blasting every mirage that came her way. The figments disappeared as the spells sailed through the hoard but it seems like there were infinite amounts of them. Some started washing over Kamella, chilling her to the bone but doing no harm. This made Kamella mad, and she cried in anger, sending out a cascade of spells, fireballs and lighting every which way. Then without warning something solid struck Kamella. She felt the sting of a bamboo trunk ramming into her ribs and then a robed body smashed against her side, sending her sprawling off her broom.
Kamella landed in a heap as Kammy swooped up into the air, her optical illusion dissolving around her. The old Magikoopa turned her broom around and peered down at Kamella, a triumphant grin on her face. "Had enough?"
Now it was Kamella's turn to grin: that was another thing she disliked about Kammy – she was too soft sometimes. Magikoopa duels only ended when one contestant was knocked out, killed or otherwise rendered unable to fight anymore. Kammy shouldn't be giving Kamella the opportunity to forfeit, and this unwise act of mercy would cost her. Kamella pushed herself onto her hands and knees and glared up at Kammy. "Never!" she spat and slammed the pointed end of her wand into the ground.
Immediately Kamella felt the power surge through her body and stood up, keeping her wand firmly in the ground as she started to grow. Kammy's eyes widened behind her glasses as Kamella grew taller and taller. This wasn't a normal growth spell – those occurred instantly in a poof of smoke, doubling a Magikoopa's size – but this, this was far different. In the crowd, Kamek gasped. This was the method by which he grew large on Vibe Island. By driving the end of the wand into the ground, the raw power of the Mushroom World could be channeled, increasing not only ones' size, but their attack, defense and practically everything else. Kammy didn't stand a chance.
She didn't think so, however, and sent a blast of magic at Kamella. The Magikoopa had taken a lot of damage already: one more hit should take her out. But the attack never hit its mark, and even if it had, it would not have done much anymore. The magic of the Mushroom World had healed Kamella as it made her giant; she was as good as new and it showed. She pulled her wand from the ground and sent a fireball hurtling towards her adversary. The attack burst through Kammy's spell and knocked the old witch from her broom. Kammy had barely hit the ground when Kamella summoned a giant Koopa shell from nowhere and sent it spinning towards her ex-tutor. Kammy heard it coming and spun around, sending a lightning bolt to try and smash the shell, but it didn't work. The shell was merely cracked and before Kammy could get to her feet, it ploughed over her.
Kammy struggled to keep from crying out as she was crushed the ground. Fortunately, her earlier spell had weakened the shell and it burst apart shortly after hitting her, rather than plowing straight over her. She started pushing herself to her knees when she was hit from behind by one of Kamella's fireballs. Kammy was sent flying forwards and tumbled into one of the spectators. But instead of hitting the coarse material of a Magikoopa robe, Kammy's face was smacked against the soft yet firm belly scales of a dragon.
The old Magikoopa staggered backwards, squinting through her cracked glasses as Bowser stared down at her. "Your Awakeness!" she cried. "I thought you were taking a nap in the observatory."
"I was, but I decided to see what all the Hullabaloo was about down here! Heh, it actually sounded like you stuffy old Magikoopas were finally doing something fun!" snorted Bowser, grinning at his own comment.
"Oh, we are," came Kamella's voice behind Kammy, who turned to see the witch shrinking back to her normal size as she continued to talk. "Kammy and I were having a duel."
"Oh really? I wish I had seen that!" said Bowser.
"How much did you see?" asked Kammy.
"Not much – besides you getting your clock cleaned, that is," said Bowser with a small laugh, before turning to Kamella. "Speaking of which, those were some pretty impressive moves."
"Thank you, Your Highness," bowed Kamella, making a point to emphasize the fact that she used a proper title to address Bowser, instead of a creative one that Kammy would have employed.
Kammy balled her hands into fists. The nerve of that Kamella!
Bowser however, didn't seem to care about the title, and waved off Kamella's gratitude. "I call it like it is. You're pretty powerful. And it just so happens I've got a takeover-scheme coming up that I think you would fit into perfectly! How do you feel about outer space?"
Kammy gasped. "What? You can't seriously be considering using her?"
Bowser shrugged. "Why not? She beat you – maybe she can beat Mario too."
"But-" stammered Kammy. "But you said I could try my hand at Mario again."
"Yeah well, that was then, this is now," said Bowser, not realizing the pain he was causing Kammy. "So what do you say? Uh-"
"Kamella Koopa," offered the smiling Magikoopa.
"Right, Kamella, I knew that," said Bowser, feigning confidence and causing both Kammy and Kamek to shake their heads in disbelief. "So anyway, do you want to go to space and help me mash Mario into mush?"
"I would be honored," said Kamella, bowing her head again.
"Great! You can come back with us right away. Let's get outta here kids, you too, you two," grinned Bowser, his last instruction directed to Kammy and Kamek. Then without a second thought, Bowser turned around and marched out of the room.
Kamella immediately started following her new master. "I guess it's a good thing I decided to bring all my stuff when I came here. I'd say it was luck, but that'd be a lie!" she hissed as she passed Kammy.
The old Magikoopa was stunned. She knew this would happen all along? Kammy turned as her brother approached her. "She saw it? In her crystal ball?"
"How should I know?" shrugged Kamek. "But you're probably right."
Kammy hung her head morosely. It took all her energy to push herself to her feet; she wanted to heal herself, but she would have to wait until she wasn't surrounded by judgmental Magikoopas. Mere minutes ago she was glad they were there, but then she had lost, and now she wanted nothing more than to be alone.
Kammy straightened up, tapping her glasses with her wand to fix the cracks. Then with Kamek at her side, Kammy started to limp towards the door. The crowd parted to let the Chief Advisors through, and Ludwig and Wendy fell in step with them at the door.
"I thought you fought well," said Wendy as soon as the door closed behind them.
"Kamella fought better," murmured Kammy, struggling to keep her voice level.
"There's always someone better," said Kamek, before adding. "Except King Morton Koopa – he was the best."
Kammy would have laughed at the joke had she not felt so crummy. She was aching all over and felt so tired. She doubted she had enough energy to heal herself, so she didn't try. Instead, she merely sighed. "I've been replaced."
"Join zee club," said Ludwig bitterly. "Remember, you're not zee only vone not going into space."
"Oh, right," said Kammy. She felt worse then ever: how could she have forgotten the Koopalings' plight?
"Don't worry about it," shrugged Wendy. "We're old news. But Iggy has been whining about it more recently."
Kammy smiled a little – the Koopalings' shenanigans did tend to cheer her up.
Kamek looked at his twin sister. "Don't worry about it, Kammy. Remember how you replaced me for a while when Bowser first became king? He's fickle that way, but he'll come back to you soon enough, just like he did with me."
"You're just saying that," said Kammy bitterly.
"C'mon, we've known each other for ninety-two years, by now you should know that I don't bother making stuff up to make people feel better. I deal with facts, not fiction." With that, Kamek swung his wand over Kammy's hunched figure, immediately she felt stronger, and her limp disappeared.
"What'd you do that for?" gasped Kammy. It was true – she did know her brother quite well, and while telling her Bowser was fickle was something he'd do, wasting an enrgy-expensive healing spell on his sister wasn't.
Kamek smiled. "I got tired of you limping – you're making our family look bad."
"Liar," chuckled Kammy, shoving her brother playfully. "You never worried about our family's reputation, just yours."
"You were no better," snorted Kamek, grinning.
"I was so – and what are you laughing at?" demanded Kammy as Ludwig stifled a laugh.
"Oh nossing, just zee fact zat you two sound a bit like us," he grinned.
"What's that supposed to mean?" huffed Wendy.
"Vell, vee have zeese sort of arguments all zee time, I just sought Kammy and Kamek vould have outgrown zem-"
"Wait, what do you mean 'these kind of conversations'? We've never argued about making each other look bad," said Wendy.
"Yeah right," smirked Ludwig. "But I vas talking about zee overall bickering aspect-"
"Stop changing the subject, are you accusing me of accusing you or one of the others of making our family look bad?"
Ludwig ignored her question. "I'm not changing zee subject, you are."
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are."
"No I'm not!" Wendy was getting more and more animated as the conversation progressed.
"You see, zis is a perfect example of vat I've been saying: childish, trivial, bickering," said Ludwig observing his sister's temper.
"Ugh, I can't believe this – you're changing the subject again!"
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are!"
Kammy chuckled and listened to the two Koopalings squabble the rest of the way to where the Clown Car was parked. She ignored Kamella as they loaded up the helicopter, and all during the flight home. Kamek was right, she'd be back in Bowser's favour soon enough, and while her insides still burned over her loss to Kamella, she knew it wouldn't happen again. Kamella would lose to Mario, and then she'd storm off like whenever she had lost as a child. Then Bowser would go complaining to Kammy about his 'quitter' minions being the reason for his latest defeat at Mario's hands. And Kammy would listen to every word with a sympathetic ear, because she knew what it was like to lose a battle. Because she knew what it was like to be replaced.