This is a very old fanfiction of mine (well...from earlier this year) that's finally getting to see the light of day. It's not the best thing I've ever all honesty, I mostly just did it for my own enjoyment...but, it's going to be several chapters long. I just have to type them up. Let me know what you think of it in the meantime.

It's sort of a "what if" story...and I suppose Illusion can be considered the prequel. So, if you liked Illusion, you'll probably like this, too.

Happy Christmas Eve, all. Please read and review.

Fire, Water, War

A Super Mario World fanfiction by Bagatelle

Chapter One

Ten years post the fall of Bowser's Neon Castle, the Mushroom Kingdom, as well as much of Dinosaur Land, had been living in general peace and harmony. Bowser, crushed and humiliated by his defeat, became a recluse after his tragic loss, and he and the seven Koopalings retired miserably to a life underground in the once-again forbidden Valley of Bowser. As the years passed, too fraught with shame to re-attempt a kidnapping of Princess Toadstool, Bowser became old and frail from a lack of exercise and exposure to the outside world, and shortly before the first decade's anniversary of the fall of the Koopa Kingdom, he passed the crown down to his eldest son, Ludwig Von Koopa, the former ruler of the Twin Bridges area of Dinosaur Land.

As his father slowly deteriorated, Ludwig, the new king, took full control of the Koopa Troop, and, along with his fellow brutish brothers, Morton and Roy, and his only sister, Wendy, he plotted a re-invasion of the Mushroom Kingdom, as well as the then semi-free-range territories of Dinosaur Land. Through Morton's vicious and rigorous training program, the Koopa Troop had grown strong and bloodthirsty, and with Roy's guidance, Ludwig was confident in a victory once an attack was launched. Wendy, serving as further brains alongside Ludwig, had commanded Monty Moles and other lower-ranking Koopa troops to infiltrate the Mushroom Kingdom, in order to monitor the fungi peoples' awareness that an attack was looming in the near future.

Iggy had spent the recent years much as his father had: a genius recluse, he had locked himself in the basement of the castle, slowly developing deadly technology for the Koopas to utilize against the princess and her beautiful kingdom. Under the close supervision of Wendy and Ludwig, the devices were tested in extreme secret, waiting afterward only for the day upon which they would be used against the Mushroom Kingdom.

Lemmy and Larry had grown much quieter than they had been before: they were concerned and tense all the time, and no one else had been able to decipher what was bothering them so terribly. They spent their days out of the paths of their manic brothers and sister, helping, yet not helping to arrange the attack, and staying mostly silent. Larry tended to his father daily, as the youngest, and it seemed that Bowser was well aware of what Lemmy and his brother were up to, though he said nothing to Ludwig or to anyone else about it.

On the day that the problems began, the Koopa Troop was drawing dangerously close to the day of their attack. It was at that point in time that the powers of the Super Mario Brothers came back into play, thereby threatening the very future of the entire Koopa Empire in more ways than one.

Roy paced anxiously around Wendy's vast bedroom, his brow furrowed, his claws tightly pinching and rubbing at his temple. His sister watched him closely, her blue eyes bored, half-lidded, irritated. He looked closely at her from behind his sunglasses.

"…Yer sure?" he asked, his voice a low, quiet growl. "Dey killed 'im…yer positive?"

"They told me that they did," Wendy sneered, looking down at her claws half-interestedly. "And then they told me that they chucked his body in the lake. I believe them…they're crazy bastards. And I'm sure the little idiot deserved it, anyway, so what does it matter?"

Roy growled and swore under his breath, clawing at his scaly lips nervously. "…Did ya tell Ludwig…?" he asked, disregarding her rather stupid question.

"Not yet," Wendy replied stiffly. "He's gonna be pissed about it, I think, and I'm really not in the mood to deal with that right now."

"Da Mushroom Kingdom suits're gonna find out soon enough," Roy grumbled, shaking his head. "It'd be better if Ludwig didn't find out about it from dem before he hears about it from us. Ugh…dey'll be all over us…dey'll know it was Goombas dat killed 'im. Wendy…we gotta find dat body and get rid of it in da Valley."

Wendy looked absolutely appalled. "What?!" she demanded. "Are you completely insane?! It'll be even more suspicious if somebody sees two Goombas dragging a mangled Toad out of the lake! I think it's best not to chance it, and to just let the guy float along until he gets to the ocean. I mean…it's not like they're gonna look for him in the lake. They're not so morbid."

Roy glared at her in frustration. "…Just tell Ludwig, and do what he says'll be best," he murmured. She snorted and crossed her legs.

"You aren't my superior," she snapped matter-of-factly, and it almost seemed like she should have said but I'm yours afterward. "…And neither is that knuckle-headed brother of ours: Koopa King or not. I only take orders from Daddy. Screw what Ludwig thinks."

Roy's eyes narrowed behind his sunglasses. "I like Ludwig bein' King of da Koopas about as much as you do, but Dad chose 'im ta take his place," he said angrily. "We gotta listen ta what he wants. He's smart. Da army's never been dis strong, before. If we follow through for 'im, King Dad's gonna be proud of us beyond what we've ever dreamed."

Wendy folded her arms across her chest, her blue eyes sharp and glacial. She didn't say anything, and Roy knew that she was pouting. He was right, though. And all that Wendy wanted was for their father to be proud of her. She would work with Ludwig if it meant getting that, no matter how humiliating it was for her in the meantime. She and Roy stared at each other for a few more seconds, sizing each other up, and Roy grunted under his breath. "I need ta go talk ta Lemmy. You gonna take care o'dis?"

"For cryin' out loud," Wendy murmured, and it let Roy know that she was definitely not going to. He nodded briefly and turned, treading heavily on the stone floor as he left his sister's still-pink bedroom. As the door closed behind him, he heard something smash against the wall, and he scowled a toothy, crooked scowl to himself. Wendy was never, ever going to change.

…The Neon Castle had been rebuilt in the years following Mario and Luigi's attack. It was by no means the same as before, but to Roy and his siblings, it was still home. Roy knew every passageway, every booby trap and fake door. He could navigate it with his eyes closed, and he did essentially this as he made his way to Larry's room, where Lemmy was sure to be, as usual. Roy's head swam with anxious thoughts. As soon as that Toad was discovered to be missing…there would be Yoshis and Mushroom officials swarming everywhere. That was by no means a good thing. Formerly abandoned zones would be flooded with search parties, and there would be nowhere to train in secret anymore. They might even come into the Valley, despite the taboo against it. Roy ground his teeth as his claws closed around the handle of Larry's bedroom door. He could take Toads on, no problem…but…

He let himself into his youngest brother's room. Larry was used to Roy barging in, so he usually left the door unlocked to make things easier for his sibling. The blue-haired youngest looked up from the Bob-omb he was tinkering with on his bed, his brow cocking as Roy's eyes scanned the room from behind his dark glasses. There was Lemmy, leaning casually against the foot of Larry's bed. He perked up when he heard the door slam against the stone wall.

"Roy," Lemmy said, in his weird, high-pitched voice. "…S'matter?" Roy gave Lemmy a look, and the blindfold covering his brother's lazy eyes scrunched on his face. Lemmy was totally blind because of it, but he could always sense when something was wrong. He had been like that since he had been caught under a Thwomp all those years ago…maybe half-retarded, and his left eye had been rendered useless, but he had weird psychic moments like that all the time. Since the Mario Brothers had fought him ten years ago, his right eye was just as useless, and Lemmy was essentially blind, even without the blindfold. Larry murmured under his breath, in that bizarre clicking, glowing language he spoke (that everyone had thought, at first, that he had made up), and Lemmy turned his head toward Larry, who was frowning.

"Some of da Goombas killed a Toad dis morning," Roy said. "We need ta find da body. Dey chucked it in Donut Lake, and if da Mushroom Kingdom drones find it, we're dead. We gotta find it and burn it, or somethin'."

Lemmy appeared to think for a moment. "…They're gonna 'spect us, anyways. Don't matter."

"Better dey 'spect dan know fer sure," Roy growled. Larry dropped the Bob-omb and looked thoughtfully at Lemmy, who appeared to stare back. Roy grunted. "Wendy ain't gonna do her job. You guys gotta go find it."

Larry hissed softly, and Lemmy tensed. "…Larry wants to know what Ludwig says," Lemmy said. Roy clenched his teeth.

"I dunno…but my guess is dat he'll probably want it outta da way!" Roy snarled. "Can't anybody just take orders from me anymore?! I'm third-in-command, in case ya haven't noticed!"

"We'll go if Ludwig says so," Lemmy sighed, leaning his head back against the bed. Roy stared, in almost absolute disbelief. Where was his authority?! This was a very crucial situation: one that could mean the life or death of the Koopa empire…! Larry grunted. "…Roy…if you see Morton," Lemmy said, "…tell 'im Iggy's lookin' for'm."

Roy glared. "I ain't no messenger!" he snapped, turning and storming from the room. What fools they were! If they wouldn't do it…he felt a vein bulge in his neck. He would have to find the body himself and dispose of it. How disgraceful…doing a Goomba's work. But the Goombas would only obey Morton…and although Morton usually had some small degree of sense in his head, he was likely to agree with the others and be hesitant until he knew Ludwig's opinion on the matter. Roy's fists clenched at his sides.

Iggy would have to lend him the Clown Car.

Outside of the Valley of Bowser, Roy had to admit, Dinosaur Land was quite startlingly beautiful. The sky was shining a clear, nearly impossible shade of blue, the water clean and transparent, and the leaves and grass shimmered like emeralds in the sun. The earth was rich and deep, almost black beneath grass, unlike the gray, sandy dirt of the Valley. Fruit grew, here, and animals thrived. He navigated the Forest of Illusion, and he couldn't help but to enjoy the sights that he remembered dimly from all those years ago, when he had once been in charge of this area. He never saw anything like this when he was cooped up at home.

It was a long way to the lake that the Goombas had apparently tossed the Toad into, and Roy had to be sure to stay low and move fast, so as not to be seen. It was quite difficult, as the Clown Car was very conspicuous: both brightly-colored and noisy. Roy glanced half-consciously at the crater in the Twin Bridges mountainside as he flew past it, perhaps remembering the ordeal that his family had faced a decade ago.

His mind froze when he realized what he was seeing. Would…they…come back, he wondered? Would they lead the troops of the Mushroom Kingdom? There was sure to be a resistance…led by only the most powerful people…Roy was ashamed when he shuddered. If there was anything in the world that he was afraid of, it was letting his father down again by losing in war to them a second time. He hadn't faced them in ten years, though. And humans aged faster than Koopas did.…But would that be enough? Would the Super Mario Brothers really be super no more…?

The great lake of Donut Plains was as calm and beautiful as the rest of the water of Dinosaur Land, though the sun seemed to shine with more passion upon the ground surrounding it. Roy skirted over the surface of the lake and dunked his massive paws greedily into it, cupping them and bringing sugar-sweet water to his cracked lips. Water so clean was a delicacy to a Koopaling. Unfettered by the thought of the dead Toad that was most likely sunk to the bottom of the lake, Roy drew more water to his tongue and drank it thirstily, basking in the beauty of the land. Morton had been blessed, in every sense, when their father had sent him to invade Donut Plains. A place more the opposite of the Valley could not have existed anywhere.

Roy pulled back, and the Clown Car slowed, sputtering as he maneuvered it into the sanctity of a small clearing in the trees beside the lake. He hopped out of the vehicle and raised one scaly hand to his brow, further shielding himself from the sun. Donut River was in the distance, flowing merrily into the lake. He swore under his breath. Wendy was an idiot…the river wouldn't carry the body to the ocean…! His lips pulled back over his teeth in anger. Roy took his sunglasses off irritably and, after scanning the shore of the lake and seeing nothing, he dove in with surprising grace.

The water was cool and comforting to Roy's cracked and dry skin. He swam expertly, scanning the waters with keen eyes for spots of alien white and red. Fish swam unnoticed around Roy as he dove deeper, the pressure aching in his temples. He tensed his jaw and squinted, looking through the darker water until he saw sand at the bottom. Water weeds and bigger fish swayed mindlessly in the gentle current. There was no sign of a Toad anywhere, though. His lungs choked once, and he let out a few bubbles through his nose. He had to find the Toad. The Mario Brothers would be scouring the lake, Roy knew, no matter what Wendy thought. They would be the first to suspect an attack by the Koopa army, and they wouldn't rest until they found evidence. Roy's skull ached as he touched the bottom of the lake, digging his feet into wet sand that kicked up clouds around him when he turned. More bubbles dribbled out of his nose, and there, out closer to the mouth of the river (he could see it nearer to the surface of the lake), was a mushroom-spotted hat. His prey had been spotted.

Roy bolted out of his anchoring place and sped toward the dead Toad, his head beginning to spin. He could make it there and back to the surface without drowning, though. He knew. His claws scraped against rock, and he dug his fist into the Toad's torn vest, barely glancing at the deep, open bite wounds on the boy's belly: wounds that were still leaking blood. Pressing hard into the rock face, Roy kicked off and shot toward the surface of the lake.

He gasped only for a moment once he broke the barrier, gathering himself and pulling his rather heavy dead-weight charge with him toward the shore that he had embarked from. He would take the body with him back in the Clown Car, he thought vaguely, and incinerate it once he returned to the castle. Things would be taken care of. His father would be proud of him for taking responsibility…!

The dirt on the shore soaked up water from Roy's feet. Shivering and shaking, trying not to allow his teeth to chatter, Roy glanced around quickly to see if he had any company, then carefully hid his companion in the shade of a large boulder. Climbing the boulder somewhat irritably, he crawled out of his wet shell and settled his damp, cold body on the warm surface of the rock. He could take a few moments to warm up, he thought half-consciously, breathing deep the smell of moss on the rock. There was no moss in the Valley, he thought. Only dead cacti and cave mushrooms. It was a nice, unfamiliar smell. Sweet, almost.

The sun was glorious, here. He stretched and basked in it, feeling his blood absorbing heat. And it was so warm that he felt the urge to fall asleep. How long had it been, he wondered, since he had slept in sunshine? Since he had been warm when dozing off? He couldn't remember. But…and his teeth clenched at that…he had to get back to the Neon Castle. Every second that he was out, exposed like this, increased the odds that someone unwelcome would come across him. He dragged his claws over the boulder and arched his back into the light, breathing angry breaths out hard through his nose. Why did those Mushroom freaks deserve to enjoy this beauty every day, he thought malevolently, while he and his siblings toiled in the cold darkness of the Valley?! They didn't, was the answer. They didn't deserve any of it.

Which was why Ludwig was waiting for the most opportune moment to attack. They couldn't afford to let Dinosaur Land slip through their fingers again. The Valley had no resources to speak of, and there was no way that any further generations of Koopas could survive there. They needed to spread out, and if the Mushroom Kingdom didn't like that, then there would be a war. None of the Koopalings had a problem with fighting. They'd been doing it their whole lives. Roy frowned bitterly as he slid back into his shell. The only problem with that was…his siblings' shared fear of the Mario Brothers. Would they be able to fight them, at all, when the moment came? Or would they all fall miserably before the brothers' power, as they had ten years ago…?

Roy stood atop the boulder and pressed his sunglasses into his face, growling and swearing under his breath. He absolutely despised thinking about this, but it was all that he seemed to do, lately. Remember his horrible, shameful defeat. He, the strongest of all the Koopalings. He slid down from the rock and snatched the Toad up roughly from the dirt, slinging him over his shoulder and marching angrily over to the clearing where he had abandoned the Clown Car. Wendy and Lemmy would be getting one hell of an earful when—

He stopped and his fist clenched tighter around the vest of the Toad. His beady eyes scoured the shrubbery around him, searching for the source of the noise. The foliage rustled again and he took an offensive stance, not dropping his charge. He bared his teeth and flexed, his heard thudding in his chest. "…Come on, then," he snarled. "I'm ready…" Roy's eyes widened when a round, green snout and huge, stupid eyes poked out of the bushes. The Yoshi gaped at him, and he faltered, startled.

"…Koopaling," it murmured, its bulging eyes fixated on the limp corpse in Roy's fist. "…Koopaling kill Toad! Oh, Yoshi run…!" Just as quickly as it had appeared, the Yoshi's head disappeared into the bushes, and it was gone. Roy, no longer dazed, leapt forward a moment later and dove out of the clearing after the Yoshi. It was nowhere to be found, already speeding off to the Mushroom Kingdom to report what it had seen.

Roy's eyes bugged in his head, and he tossed the Toad into the Clown Car, scratching, frustrated, at his lips. He was in so deep, now…he had to tell Ludwig that he had been seen. But there would be Hell to pay. Not that he was afraid of Ludwig or anything, but…Roy snarled and took off in the Clown Car. For now, the important thing was burning the evidence.

Who would believe a stupid Yoshi crying "murder!", anyway?!