Disclaimer: I don't own Mario, but I do own the plot, the various OCs in this story, as well as some of the liberties I've taken with Nintendo's existing characters.

Author's Notes: This is the sequel to Super Koopas and the second in the Super Koopa trilogy; if anyone's new to this series, start with the prequel, The Queen of the Koopas. And for those of you familiar with my work, many I'm sure will be happy to learn that I've broken this story up into numerous smaller chapters instead of a few mega-chapters like with the rest of my stories. That being said, please read, review and enjoy.

Rated T for violence, blood, gore, sexual themes (nothing explicit), swearing (in moderation), and character death.

Super Koopa Land

By Dark Land standards it was a sunny day: the trees cast shadows and if you squinted you could barely make out where the blanketing gray clouds hid the sun. It was nearing the end of the dry season, and soon the sky would be filled with black storm clouds bringing lightning, rain and in these cool northern regions, hail. But the occasional onslaught of marble-sized ice balls were but a small blemish on what would otherwise be considered the nicest locale in all the Koopa Kingdom: in the south, the erupting volcanoes of the fire season ensured the sky was darker than during the deepest northern thunderstorm. They got the same amount of rain as the north in the wet season, and even more cloud cover in the summer, since it wasn't just the rain shadow effect condensing the arctic air flowing south through the region, but the heat from the exposed lava pools.

But in the north, the volcanoes were long extinct, and aside from the sheer coastal cliffs of the east and the war-torn battlefields of the western Sarasaland-Koopa Kingdom border, the mountains were covered in trees, and life was peaceful.

It was Saturday, and the children were frolicking all across The Village, free from the bonds of school and rain. But not all the kids celebrated under the "sun": one solitary girl had forgone the playground and was picking her way through the deepest undergrowth in the forest that surrounded the town. She moved silently, not because she was worried about being followed, but because it was fun.

Eventually she exited the foliage and found herself on a well-worn path. Smiling, she turned and skipped down the path, humming to herself as she went. She was a Dragon-Koopa, and as such, she sported a spiked green shell, mustard-yellow body and facial scales, a cream yellow belly and matching snout, and little white claws on her fingers and toes. If she had it her way, the girl would let her talons grow, but her mother insisted on clipping them. Still, it could be worse: she could file off their points too, and deprive her daughter of her most useful tools.

Turning the final bend of the path, the child came upon a large rounded bolder fronted by a small clearing. Grinning, she hopped up onto the rock and took in the majestic view it offered. The girl had found this spot ages ago on one of her expeditions around The Village, and it had instantly become her favorite haunt. Being situated on the edge of a steep hill ensured that no trees blocked the boulder from the open air, and the kid had a clear view of the valley below, and the plateau beyond it, upon which sat The Factory.

Years ago it had been a Koopa Fortress, but had long since been converted to a munitions plant and was now the primary source of inanimate Bob-Ombs, Bullet Bills, and every other explosive projectile the Koopas used against their enemies. The girl's parents worked in the massive building, and being twice the size of most Koopa species, they were given all the heavy-lifting jobs and whatnot; then they would drag themselves home in the evening complaining about their wretched lives while their only child listened and nodded.

"We're royalty!" they'd say. "We're above this!"

"It's only because of Morton Koopa we're stuck here."

"The Koopas were better off divided anyway, just look at those wretched Koopa Troopas!"

"If only Morton's son had been killed too! The world's better off without that bad blood."

"They can't treat us like this!"

"We're above this!"

The words echoed in the child's head as she gazed at The Factory, the rolling hills behind it, and the peaceful valley separating her from its walls. But it was just business as usual in her life, and unbothered by the memories, she continued humming and looked away from the view, focusing instead on the little pool at the foot of the boulder. The water was perfectly still, and the girl's reflection was crystal-clear: her large eyes took up most of her face, her irises were red and her eyelashes clumped together into minute triangles. The sides of her head were bare of horns, though two small fangs stuck out of the corners of her mouth.

Falling silent for a moment, the kid ran a hand through her blue hair, messing it up from a perfectly brushed mane to a shaggy row of spikes that made it look like she sported a raggedy fin from her forehead to the base of her shell. She liked it better this way, and she didn't care if her mother yelled at her for it, or if she got in trouble for coming home covered in dirt, or whatever else her mother felt like scolding her over. She preferred herself this way, and that was all that mattered.

After all, it's not like there was anyone other than her parents that would benefit her looking "nice" – she had no friends, and even adults resented her for her parents. Life was unfair, and that's why, alone in the woods, Bowselta Parakay was at her happiest. Or at least, she thought she was alone. Unbenounced to Bowselta, a young Hammer Bro. was crouched behind a bush just up the path from the boulder. Like her, he was a bit unorthodox: he hated wearing his helmet, and as he watched her through the leaves, it lay beside him, leaving his red-haired skull bare to the clouds above.

Had Bowselta known he was there, she would have flipped, so he was forced to watch in silence. He would rather have joined her on her rock, but that was out of the question, and he was the main reason for that. But all thoughts of regret were soon banished from the Hammer Bros.' mind as Bowselta squatted back on her haunches, and succumbing to the happiness bubbling inside her, burst into song:

"Magic mirror on the wall,"

Her voice was high and pure, the boy knew it was thanks to her young age: she was only seven.

"Tell me what I want most of all."

He was twelve, they were in the same class, though: the school administrators accelerated Bowselta through the earlier grades because by age three she had already grown taller than her teachers, and the other children were worried they'd be eaten.

"In another world, in another time."

Which was totally outrageous. They should have taught those little idiots that Bowselta wasn't a monster, but instead they uprooted her and punished her. Fortunately she was smart enough to keep up with the preteens, but it still made the Hammer Bro. sick.

"Show me what's always been mine…"

Bowselta finished her song. It was the one she had been humming before. But now she fell silent and smiled contentedly into the distance. The Hammer Bro. loved seeing her happy; he never did in school, or after school, or-

"Nice find Boss," hissed a voice behind the Hammer Bro.

"So this is where she runs off to?" sneered a yellow-shelled Paratroopa landing beside the Hammer Bro.

"What are you doing?" gasped the Hammer Bro.

"Don't worry Boss, we'll take it from here," grinned a green-shelled Koopa Troopa, picking up the Hammer Bros.' discarded helmet and plunking it onto his own skull as he pushed through the bush into the clearing followed by the Paratroopa.

Bowselta had heard the intruders at the Koopa Troopa's first words, and was already on her feet by the time they emerged from the forest. "What are you doing here? Worms!" she demanded, her eyes flashing dangerously.

"Nice singing, Princess!" sneered the Paratroopa.

"Yeah, it reminds me of a dying parrot," grinned the Koopa Troopa.

"Shut up!" ordered Bowselta shrilly. She knew he was lying, but she was still embarrassed about being overheard.

The Hammer Bro. was conflicted: he didn't want to face Bowselta, but he couldn't turn his back on his cronies – Dennis and Gary would never let him live it down…

"Mark!" hissed Bowselta as the Hammer Bro. stepped into the clearing. "I should've known it was you."

"I dunno," he shrugged. "Any old idiot could've followed those trails of yours – haven't you ever heard of something called stealth?" Actually, the hills around The Village were riddled with runs, most of them made by animals and only used by Bowselta, and not one of the trails leading to her boulder were at all easy to find or follow. Mark was sure the only reason his sidekicks had found the place was by following him: unlike Bowselta, who left not a single twig broken in her wake, the Hammer Bro. plodded through the forest leaving a trail of destruction clear as day.

Not that he'd let her learn anything about it. "So what was that tune anyway? Does your mother sing it while she does you hair? Or just when she goes curtain shopping?"

"You're one to talk," growled Bowselta, matching Mark's caustic remarks with her own. "Your mom got you new hammers what? Two months ago? Sterling silver, aren't they? With clawed ends and everything?"

"You're just jealous 'cause our families aren't stupid with money," leered Gary the Koopa Troopa. "For us, it's not a choice between leather boots or lunch."

"Is it true your parents bought you a box of cereal for your birthday? Because, if I recall that was the first time in months we didn't catch you sniffing 'round the garbage at recess."

"I'd rather sniff garbage than hang around you three!" spat Bowselta, but Mark could see through the bravado. He knew Bowselta's parents wasteful habits bugged her, he knew she learned to make due without lunch long ago.

"We keep you off the playground for your own good," he countered. "Those claws would wreck the place, and don't get me started on that shell."

The other two boys cackled. They were the school bullies – Mark's parents owned The Factory, so everyone knew better than to cross him, and Gary and Dennis' families were well-off too. But instead of being snooty rich kids, they took to abusing their power, and their favorite victim was Bowselta. The teachers usually tried to steer clear of addressing issues related to Mark's bullying, but with Bowselta, they didn't have to. Mark's mother nursed a grudge against Clymnestra Parakay, so when she was first informed that her son was terrorizing the littlest Dragon-Koopa, she was downright proud. She spoke of how Mark was "putting the brat in her place", and told the teachers to ignore any more incidents. And as Mrs. Mallet was the overseer of The Village, the teachers had no choice but to comply.

"Yeah? Don't get me started on that hat-hair!" scoffed Bowselta.

"Ooohh, nobody insults the boss' hair!" stammered Gary.

"Yeah, you're just asking for a beating!" menaced Dennis, pounding a fist into his other hand.

"I'd like to see you try," sneered Bowselta, crouching as if she would pounce on the Koopas below.

"Oh, like you're gonna fight. Remember what happened when you threatened to take us on last time?" recalled Mark.

"The teachers phoned home, and your parents were soooo mad," continued Dennis.

"They didn't like their perfect little princess dealing with the 'commoners' in the dirt and the muck," finished Gary.

"They're stupid," said Bowselta simply. "And besides, there's no teachers to save you this time."

"Save us? From what? You, Princess?" said Mark mockingly.

"Oh, you're gonna pay for that!"

"For what, Princess?" grinned Dennis.

"Cut it out!"

"Now now, that's not how a lady should behave, Your Highness," smriked Gary.

"Yeah, you're being a bad little Princess!"

"What will mother think?"

"That her little princess is a royal pain in the a-"

"Shut up!" shrieked Bowselta. She knew getting mad only fed the bullies, but she hated being called a princess. She wasn't a princess – her family wasn't royalty anymore, if they only accepted that she wouldn't be berated like this. She hated it. She hated them! All of them! "For the last time, don't call me 'Prin-"

"BOOM!" a monstrous explosion rocked the valley below; even the trees around the startled children shook. Bowselta spun around and her breath caught in her throat. Across the valley, The Factory was smoking, something had obviously exploded inside and as Bowselta watched in horror, more orange fireballs burst through the walls. And with a final, echoing blast, the entire thing was engulfed in fire and blocked from view by acrid smoke and flying dust.

"Oh Koopa!" breathed Mark, having jumped onto the bolder beside Bowselta.

"Our folks…" whimpered Dennis, hovering behind the pair.

At that, Bowselta's mind snapped back to reality, and without a word she turned and leapt off the boulder, hitting the ground running. Mark instantly followed her ignoring Gary (who was stuck at the base of the boulder, unable to jump high enough to clear it) and his questions of "What's going on? What did you see? What happened?" as he plunged into the forest path behind the Dragon-Koopa. Within seconds she had veered off the path into a narrow run through the forest; Mark followed, holding his arms up against the whipping branches and trying his best to keep up with Bowselta, knowing full well that if he lost her, he'd be lost himself.

Left and right the track twisted; it was a wonder Mark didn't trip on the roots underfoot, or lose his balance against the downward slope. Finally, it leveled off and the going got somewhat easier: the track straightened out and now it was a straight sprinting race. Mark even chanced a look up through the trees, catching a glimpse of billowing blackness through the branches. He wondered if Bowselta wasn't leading him back to The Village after all…

With a yelp, Mark was wrenched from his thoughts: his foot had finally caught something and he was sent sprawling onto the ground. His face was smeared with foul-smelling muck, but he didn't have time to wipe it clean as he pulled himself out of the mud and stared running again. Bowselta wasn't even in sight, having disappeared around a bend up ahead, but the trees appeared to be thinning. Mark figured he should still be able to see her.

He turned the corner and skidded to a surprised halt: he was at the forest's edge, and across a small gap rose a sheer cliff, the top of which was too high to see, but what was there was obvious. Or rather, what used to be there: Mark could easily see that this was the spot where The Factory once stood, since it was now the source of the clouds of dust and smoke filling the skies and blocking what little light had filtered through before.

Mark lowered his gaze from the darkness above and scanned the area for Bowselta, soon locating her halfway up the cliff. "Bowselta!" he called, running to the base of the wall, amazed she had climbed so high so fast.


Bowselta ignored Mark. The blood was pounding in her ears and she was beyond caring about the height. The danger didn't matter to her: all she cared about was reaching the top and seeing what awaited her. Deftly, she clambered hand over hand up the vertical wall, her little claws proving invaluable assets as she clutched at the narrow ledges and groves in the rock's face. A weaker species would have scraped their fingers raw doing what she was doing, and a lesser being would have run out of energy long ago, but the adrenaline and Dragon-Koopa magic was flooding Bowselta's blood, and she was slowed only by the decreasing amount of sturdy hand-holds.


Adrenaline coursed through Mark's veins too, and whipping out his sterling silver hammers, he began to climb, using their toothed ends as ice-picks, smashing his way up the cliff. He was halfway up the precipice himself when his cronies finally appeared on the scene.

"We made it! And you said we were lost!" smiled Gary.

"Look!" Dennis was pointing to Mark.

"Boss! C'mon, man, we gotta follow him!" The excitable Koopa Troopa rushed across the clearing and leapt onto the cliff, scrambling up as fast as he could and falling back to the ground within moments. "Ack! Help me up, here!"

Dennis rolled his eyes and took his friends' hand, heaving him to his feet. But when he tried to release his grip, Gary refused to let go. "Uh-uh, I said you gotta help me up."


Meanwhile, Mark had almost caught up to Bowselta, who was having a lot of difficulty scaling the last couple metres of cliff. She looked over her shoulder at the approaching Hammer Bro.; their eyes locked for a moment, but then she turned away and reached for another grip. Mark sighed and slammed his hammer into the wall with renewed vigor. The two children reached the edge of the cliff at the same time, and hanging with their arms stretched out in front of their faces, they stared at the scene before them.

The Factory had totally been leveled. Figures moved about, obscured by the dust that filled the air and threw everything into a muffled twilight. Only the very edge of the rubble could be seen, but judging by the shadows in the gloom, it piled high farther in from the cliff. All the fires were out and only wisps of smoke permeated the dust cloud. Neither child could believe their eyes – they could barely believe this was reality at all.

Bowselta was the first to look away, frowning into the ground before heaving her body over the edge and making for the ruins.

"Bowselta! Wait!" cried Mark, reaching out to grab her and nearly falling off the cliff in the process. He clutched wildly at the ground and struggled to pull himself up, though this was hindered by his long plastron. The fact that Bowselta's belly scales were soft and not solid had been one of the things he had mocked her about in public – now he shamefully remembered why. Envy was not becoming on a young Koopa.

Finally he rolled onto solid ground, and pushing himself to his feet he started after Bowselta, who was now nothing more than a shadow in the dusty gloom. "Hold on there, kid," rumbled a worker holding out an arm to block Mark. "That rubble's unstable: there could be a collapse, and we don't want anyone else to die."

"But, Bowselta, she just went in there!" protested Mark, struggling against the old Fire Bro.

"Bowselta… you mean the little dragon?" asked the worker.

"Hah, I hope she doesn't come outta there! We'd be rid of the whole family in one fell swoop," scoffed a Koopa Troopa, appearing out of the clouds.

"How can you say that?" gasped Mark.

"Every clouds gotta have a silver lining," shrugged the Fire Bro. "Even this one." He indicated to the flying sand all around them. Mark felt that familiar sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"Now, you gotta go back to town, you're mother will be worried sick," said the Koopa Troopa, recognizing Mark. He looked beyond the young Hammer Bro. "You guys too."

Mark turned to see Dennis fluttering over the edge of the cliff holding Gary. Once he was over the brim of the cliff he dropped his charge and crashed to the ground in an exhausted heap. Any other day it would have been funny, but on the plateau, no one laughed.


All Bowselta could hear was her breathing; all she could feel was her thumping heart and the sharp rubble beneath her feet. She could barely see through the flying dust, and her lungs were starting to burn because of the pollution. She had no idea where she was going or what she was planning to do. Dragon-Koopas are tough, she told herself. If anyone made it through, it's them. Without warning, a board she stepped on splintered, sending her sliding into a small pit in the rubble. She rolled to a stop and ducked into her shell as gravel and other debris showered down on her back.

She slid her head and limbs back into the open air, a quick inspection found that she wasn't hurt, so she picked her way back out of the hole and continued stumbling through the gloom. If Bowser Koopa survived a building collapse as an egg, my full-grown parents can too, she insisted. They HAVE to. Bowselta tripped on an exposed loop of wire, the rocks bit into her knees as she coughed from the dust in the air. She wasn't this klutzy normally – the adrenaline was wearing off and leaving her weak and shaky.

She opened her watering eyes; there was another small depression in the wreckage right ahead of where she had fallen. Crawling over to it on all fours, she looked down: the bottom of the hole looked like it was nothing more than a pit of small rocks and pebbles. She didn't really know why, but she lowered herself down and plunged her claws into the rubble. Shoveling it out of her way she dug deeper and deeper. Her hand contacted a large block of concrete and she pulled with all her might, ripping the hole wide. Black sand rewarded her efforts. Something wasn't right. She considered leaving right now, but an unusual feeling inside her compelled her to once more plunge her claws into the silt.

This time, Bowselta didn't bother shoveling, but merely poked blindly through the sand, catching something on her claws. She curved her fingers around the thing, feeling cool glass slide into her palm. Curiously, she pulled her arm out of the sand, and stared in wonder at the blue Paratroopa shell charm in her fist. "It's one of a kind," echoed Clymnestra's voice. "It was passed down at least three generations." Bowselta yanked on the leather strap, expecting it to catch. "It's worth more than this house." But instead, it came free; the loop no longer around a neck. "Too bad it's not that pretty." Her mother's neck. "And the strap's absolutely horrid." In one horrific moment, Bowselta realized why. "I guess we can't have everything." All at once the smells of blood and death flooded Bowselta's nostrils. "No matter how much we deserve it." And even as she scrambled away from the pit she could still feel the unnatural sand on her skin. "Life's just unfair that way." Clutching onto all she had left of her parents, Bowselta Parakay fell onto all fours once more, and was violently ill.


Blearily, she remembered staggering out of the ruins, enduring the stares and disappointed mutterings of the workers charged with the futile task of searching for survivors. Bowselta knew they wouldn't find any, but she didn't bother saying anything as she walked down the path leading down to The Village. The wind had blown much of the dust cloud into town, making the darkened windows of now-vacant houses all the more depressing. Here and there, groups of mourners huddled, most of them women and children. Bowselta passed them all by; all she wanted was solitude.

In the distance she could hear someone speaking through a megaphone. She couldn't make out the words, and she didn't care. But as she neared her destination, the voice grew louder, and when she finally turned the last bend, she found a crowd of people gathered outside her house. Finally snapping out of the shock of her sudden orphaning, Bowselta's mind now filled with confusion and fear, and she jogged the last leg of her journey home.

"…rewards its loyal workers, all contracts will be adhered to and family taken care of…" droned Mrs. Mallet into her headphone. She was a nondescript Hammer Bro., set apart only by the pink handbag she carried over her shoulder and the matching lipstick on her beak. "…We will stand together in the face of tragedy…"

Bowselta had no time for that tripe, and as she elbowed her way through the crowd, she called out to Mrs. Mallet: "What are you doing here?"

"I am telling these people what will be done for them. We have all lost loved ones, but I will not let our community fall," this last part was aimed at the masses, so Bowselta brought attention to herself once more.

"But why are you doing that here?"

"Because, as I said before, contracts will be upheld, and while most of these good people signed up for accident insurance (and will be supported)…" Mrs. Mallet's sickly-sweet smile worried Bowselta, and with her next words she confirmed what the child suspected. "…Your parents did not."

"How does that matter to them?" Demanded Bowselta jerking her head at the people behind her. In times of adversity, her piercing insight shone through the brightest.

Mrs. Mallet laughed. To Bowselta, the sound was cruel and jarring, but to the surrounding masses, it was music to their ears. "We have lost so much, and I am obligated to bring what little joy to light as possible. You parents are – were – not popular, little dragon."

Bowselta glared at her tormentor, but didn't dignify her with an answer.

"Your family's been nothing but a drain on out resources. They were lazy workers and unpleasant neighbours-"

"Here here!" called a spectator. Bowselta thought she recognized the voice as old Mr. Krup, but she didn't dare look away from Mrs. Mallet to check.

The Hammer Bro. grinned at the support. "So it is with pleasure that I inform you that your parents never actually paid off this house. Most families do as soon as they can to avoid these sorts of liabilities, but your parents seemed to prefer white picket fences over home-equity," she cast a disapproving eye on the lavish garden fronting the house. "Therefore, everything inside it – everything they owned – now belongs to The Factory."

"That's a load of garbage," snapped Bowselta, advancing on Mrs. Mallet.

"Read the contract, you little witch," she hissed, backing up slightly. "Though you'll be happy to know The Factory doesn't deal in slavery, so you are free to go. In fact, I insist you leave. Now."

Bowselta couldn't believe what she was hearing. Around her the crowd was shouting encouragement to Mrs. Mallet and shouting at Bowselta to do as she was told. This isn't happening, she told herself. It's just a dream

"Oh, and I'll take that before you go," added Mrs. Mallet, reaching forward and snatching the leather strap of the Charm clutched in Bowselta's left hand.

"What! No!" cried Bowselta, pulling back on the trinket with both claws as Mrs. Mallet followed suit.

"It's mine!" shouted the Hammer Bro. wildly. Her husband had been killed in the building collapse, so she was technically the sole owner of The Factory. The charm would undoubtedly fetch a high price on the market, and with the factory itself destroyed, Mrs. Mallet knew she needed all the coins she could get.

"Let go!" yelled Bowselta. To her, the charm was priceless.

"You let go, someone help me! Take care of this brat!"

Out of the corner of her eye, Bowselta saw two figures detach themselves from the crowd. She knew she couldn't win a three-on-one fight – she never did against Mark and his posse and they were smaller than her. The figures were nearing. Mrs. Mallet's grin swam in front of Bowselta's face. "No!" screamed the child, and in desperation she swiped her claw at her opponent. She felt the talons contact flesh, and with a scream, Mrs. Mallet released the charm, using her hands to cover her beak instead. Bowselta was flung backwards and rolled onto her feet as soon as her rear hit the dirt road.

She flung herself at the crowd, pushing everyone between her and the open road out of her way. Behind the retreating Dragon-Koopa Mrs. Mallet ripped her hands from her bloody face and pointed, her features livid with rage. "GET HER!"

Almost the entire crowd mobilized – eager to vent their sorrow and rage, even if the scapegoat was a frightened, orphaned, little girl. Within moments, the sky above Bowselta was filled with Paratroopas, shrieking and diving at the kid. She covered her head with her arms and ran zig-zags; but while she avoided her flying assailants, the land forces were fast approaching. Hammers whistled down through the air and fireballs bounced along the ground. Bowselta made a mad dash from the road into the abandoned schoolyard. Running as fast as she could across the field, Bowselta didn't dare look behind her and relied on instinct and hearing to try and avoid the projectiles. Fireball singed her shell, and the Paratroopas were now throwing rocks, which often hit their marks.

Bruised and bleeding, Bowselta dived under the chain-link fence surrounding the yard, tumbling head over heels down the hill beyond it before plunging into the forest. Hammers still rained through the trees and Bowselta tried her best to escape the hoard, but soon Koopa Troopas had followed her into the undergrowth and were crashing ever nearer through the bushes. She burst into one of her runs and sprinted away. The Koopa Troopas soon fell behind but the Paratroopas filled the sky, and Bowselta was soon forced into the brush once more. Now she was going uphill, all her years of learning to move silently through the forest paying off as the sky above her cleared of winged turtles.

She didn't dare stop and give them a chance to find her again.

Fifteen minutes later, she came to a clearing, collapsing on a moss-covered rock, gasping for breath and trying to get her racing heart to slow. After a moment, Bowselta picked herself up and crawled over to the edge of the plateau she had stumbled upon. The view was like that of her boulder but reversed: she was on one of the "background hills" as she had thought of them, looking down on The Village and its surroundings. The wind was blowing towards the town from Bowselta's position, so she could clearly make out The Factory cliff, and while the dust was still everywhere in the valley below, Bowselta could see the black rubble of the building on its cliff. Squinting at The Village, Bowselta could make out figures moving about – no doubt regrouping after the mob: establishing order, and reason once more.

Bowselta closed her eyes and turned from the scene as tears started streaming down her face. Alone at last and free to let it all out, she curled up into a ball and wailed and sobbed until she couldn't cry anymore. Her body quaked and her mind raced. "What will I do? Oh Koopa! What will I do?" she moaned, rocking back and forth. She was alone. How could she have ever thought solitude would be a good thing? No friends, no family, no food, no shelter. She was alone

She opened her fist and looked at the blue Paratroopa shell charm with puffy, red eyes. Some writing utensils and a scarf were all she carried in her shell – along with the charm, they were the only things she had in the world. She looked at her right hand, red blood glinted on her claws: Hammer Bro. blood, the first blood she had ever spilt.

Her stomach gave a monstrous growl. She immediately clutched it in pain; and all of a sudden, everything ached, stung or both. Her arms and legs were coated in scratches from the rubble and the chase; she was bruised from falling, and burnt from being shot in the back. Pain makes most children cry, but not Bowselta: it just made her angry. Those people had no right to chase her out of town like a monster. She had done nothing to them, and all her parents did was make stupid financial choices, and complain about their lot in life.

And who wouldn't have complained in their position? They used to be the King and Queen of the Paratroopas – they used to be rich and powerful, they had servants to do their work and enough wealth that they could afford to be stupid. If anyone else in that village had fallen from so high to so low they couldn't have done much better – Bowselta was sure of it. But why did it have to be us? She lamented.

"Life's just unfair that way." Bowselta knew her mother was far from being a philosopher, but the words gave her strength all the same. Gripping the charm tighter than ever, Bowselta Parakay hoisted herself onto her feet and faced The Village for the last time. "I'll show you," she called. "I'll show you all! You'll pay for what you've done to me, and you'll pay for what you've done to my family!"

The words dripped with hatred as Bowselta turned away. Revenge was a dish best served cold, they say, and Bowselta didn't mind waiting – but, sooner or later, she vowed that they would get theirs. They all would. Starting with Bowser Koopa. He lived but her parents died, and it was because of his father that they had fallen from grace in the first place. Yes, she would start there, and once she was Queen of the Koopas, she'd make the rest of them pay, and them, the blood would really start to flow.