Cascore's Note: Yes, I'm still alive everyone! I'm so, SO sorry for taking so long to post an update. Not only did I hit a huge bout of writer's block that lasted for quite some time, but I've been very busy with being in college and plays that are put on there, and, on top of that, I haven't had an Internet connection from my apartment for the past half year. x.x But anyway, I hope this chapter is worth the long wait. Reading it over, I feel like it's a lot different from the others, and I don't know if that's for better or worse. Either way, I truly hope you enjoy it. As for the next chapter, I've already started it, but no more making promises about exactly when I'll be making an update. It'll just come along as it does. I will finish this story though, sooner or later, haha. But enough gabbing. Enjoy the read!


Chapter 25: "Taking Action"

"Sarasa...what are you doing?"

Prince Peasley stood alone on the balcony behind his bedroom. The morning set before him was absolutely beautiful. It had rained again the previous night, and now a light mist hung in the air, veiling the blend of popping autumn colors amongst the trees ever so slightly and shrouding the grounds in a sort of attractive mystery. It was the time of morning that Peasley loved to just rest and observe in order to begin his day and organize his thoughts. However, he simply could not enjoy it. Not while learning of what was taking place in his neighboring kingdoms.

The castle received bimonthly reports regarding the affairs of Sarasaland, the Mushroom Kingdom, and the Darklands. On this morning, Peasley was the first to pick up and comb over the papers, for his mother and Lady Lima had busied themselves with addressing a plumbing problem in the basement of the castle. Typically, and thankfully, these reports had little to impart and basically informed that all three kingdoms were calm and peaceful. And if there ever was a negative report, it usually concerned the Darklands, but the kingdom never posed a real threat to the serenity of the other three nations. And that's why it was all the more shocking when Peasley received reports from both the Mushroom Kingdom and Sarasaland that were lengthier than usual, and anything but positive.

Peasley couldn't help but sigh and shake his head multiple times as he read through the news. What was Sarasa thinking? Sending in a convoy of Nokobons to forcibly detain the princess and an innocent young man... Peasley didn't know if Sarasa ordered them to resort to violence if necessary, but did he honestly believe he could get away with something like that without attracting any attention? And now, because of his decision to bring Daisy back, the people of the Mushroom Kingdom were ready to wage war and Sarasaland was already beginning to turn against its own king? How in the world did Sarasa manage to cause this much civil unrest in one fell swoop, and over the course of a single day? It was astonishing to think about just how quickly everything changed in the two previously peaceful kingdoms.

Now, Peasley had to decide how best to handle the situation himself. At an outset, it would seem that the rising turmoil had little, if nothing at all, to do with him or the Beanbean Kingdom, but he had the insight to realize that he was a fairly big part of why there was a problem. The reports went into immense detail concerning Princess Daisy and this commoner boy, Luigi, and their relationship with one another. It would appear that Daisy harbored deep, intimate feelings for Luigi, and, as a result, Sarasa found the boy to be a threat to his ultimate goal: ensuring that his daughter married Prince Peasley. And so, to prevent the possibility of the relationship between the two growing even stronger, he retrieved both of them and proceeded to send Luigi to the castle dungeon, declaring him a threat to Sarasaland and keeping him captive until he was to be returned to the Mushroom Kingdom.

As he read this, Peasley couldn't help but wonder why Sarasa couldn't just take Daisy alone. What was the purpose of stealing away Luigi if all Sarasa wanted to do was separate Daisy from the boy? It was a perplexing question to say the least... Peasley would have to ask the king himself when he arrived in Sarasaland.

Waluigi stared out of a window in the living room of Toadster's home. The dreary morning didn't do much for his already sour mood.

What the hell did John plan to do? It had already been an hour and still, the only thing to have even been decided upon was getting medicine for the Lakitu they found on the road. And that didn't seem to do the woman much good, for she still laid there in her bed motionless and never talked.

Right now, everyone besides Lakilulu and Waluigi was gathered around the dining room table, having some breakfast. Nobody seemed to realize that they were pretty hungry after the overnight expedition and figured filling themselves up would help give them energy and get ideas going. Whatever. What they were doing was nothing more than continuing to waste time. If they waited around very much longer, chances were they would never be able to get into the castle. Especially with that crowd growing in front of the main gate to the place.

"Hey, Waluigi, come and have some food," Mona said, having gotten from the table to invite the boy over. "Toadster made some really good-"

"I'm not hungry." Without another word, Waluigi headed down the nearby hallway and into the bedroom where the Lakitu woman was rested. Mona watched him and heard him close the door behind himself. She let out a small sigh before turning back and rejoining everyone else at the table.

In actuality, Waluigi meant to head for the bathroom, not the bedroom, but it was all the same to him. He just wanted to get away from that group of people eating away time out there, find some place to be in silence and think. If they weren't going to take any time to make an actual plan, he would come up with one himself.

He took a seat by the door. The floating cloud next to the Lakitu's bed didn't acknowledge his presence, still staring at its owner. Waluigi looked at it for a moment, then at the woman in the bed. After a moment, he stood back up and looked out the room's window, granting him a view of the castle gate once again.

"Is someone in here?" Lakilulu whispered. Waluigi looked at her over his shoulder, then back out the window.

"Yeah," he answered.

"I heard earlier...if I remember correctly, someone was...talking about getting into the castle?"

Waluigi's eyes widened slightly and he turned back around to face Lakilulu. He stepped closer to her. "Yeah. What about it?"

"What business do you have...in the castle?"

Waluigi paused for a moment. He had a couple reasons to break into the castle, but he didn't know exactly what affiliation this woman had with the place. It was merely a matter of choosing the correct answer. "We're here to get the princess and her boyfriend out of the castle."

The Lakitu suddenly tried to move, but fell motionless immediately.

"I know a secret passage that leads to the...underground dungeon of the castle." Waluigi came up to her bed side, waiting for her to divulge more details. The Lakitu took a moment to breathe though. Talking felt like the most difficult thing she ever had to do. "Just outside the gate...on the east side, there is a pond. On the edge of the pond nearest the gate, there is a runoff of water...and behind it is a small passage hidden behind a thin wall." She paused again, taking another moment to catch her breath. Waluigi waited patiently for her to continue. "The passage leads to a cave...in which there is a trap door. Take that door, and you will find another path leading to...the castle dungeon. The commoner boy is in there...as well as the prince of Sarasaland. Please...help them both. They have done nothing wrong. The princess is on the third floor of the castle... Her's is the only room in the west wing on that floor. Get her out of there, please... I realize I am placing a lot of trust in you, but, I beg you...do what I could not. Help them."

With that, Lakilulu began to breathe roughly for a few seconds before she finally calmed and went back to rest peacefully. Meanwhile, Waluigi chose not to waste anymore time. Immediately, he was out of the room and making his way for the front door.

Everyone at the dining room table heard the door open and close very quickly, and Mona was the first to get up and go see what happened. Obviously, nobody had come in, but as she looked out the window and discovered Waluigi walking toward the castle, she couldn't help but wonder what he was getting up to. She swiftly opened up the front door and called after him.

"Waluigi! Waluigi!"

He didn't stop or look back. Mona stepped out, closed the door behind herself, and rushed after him. She ran up to his side and kept up with his swift walk.

"What are you doing?"

"Going to the castle," Waluigi answered. Mona shot a glance at the palace, then looked back at Waluigi.

"You know how to get in?"

"Yes."

"Then, wait!" She grabbed his arm and tried to get him to stop, but he shook off her hand and kept going. Mona sighed and continued to walk with him. "Let's go get everyone else. We can't just go in there by ourselves."

"You're not coming with me."

"What? Why not?"

"Do you really think four people are going to be able to get into the castle and walk around without a problem? And I already know where I need to go. I don't need you around to slow me down."

"But I want to go with you."

"No." Waluigi suddenly stopped walking, causing Mona to jar to a halt herself. "Go back to the house."

"But-"

"Go."

Mona simply stood there for a moment looking up at Waluigi. She went to say something, but immediately closed her mouth. She knew she wouldn't be able to change his mind. She looked at the ground for a moment, then back at Waluigi. She suddenly gave him a hug and simply held on to him for a moment. Waluigi stared at her, and she released a little in order to look up at him.

"Don't get yourself caught, okay?" she said with a slightly shaky voice and a chuckle. Waluigi remained silent as Mona fully released him and took a step back, smiling. "Please, be careful. I'll be waiting for you."

Mona headed back for the house. Waluigi looked after her for a while, until she opened up the door and looked back. He suddenly turned around and continued on his way to the pond. Behind him, Mona smiled and closed the door, leaving everything up to her bro.

Waluigi emerged from beneath the surface of the pond, right behind the water drop-off that Lakilulu described to him. It wasn't the most pleasant thing in the world to be soaking in pond water on a relatively cold morning, and he hoped the woman was telling him the truth about the secret passage. It wasn't easy making getting into the pond look inconspicuous.

With his hat in one hand to keep it from floating away, he used to other to hold himself in place against the wall and proceeded to pound his hat hand against the rock. Sure enough, the sound it produced led Waluigi to believe that it was hollow on the other side, and that that portion of the wall wasn't even actual rock. He hit the wall a little harder and a bit of the material chipped away. He hit it a few more times and, eventually, a tiny hole was poked through to the other side. He could feel an icy cold air flowing out of the miniscule opening that sent a chill down his spine, but it was proof that there was, indeed, something beyond that wall.

He put his hat back on and held himself in place with his newly freed hand, considering it was starting to hurt after hitting the wall so much. He began to pound on it with the other hand, managing to slowly chip away more and more of the material. After a while, he managed to make a hole just big enough to fit his hand through. This made the process faster, for pulling away the rock-like material was much easier than punching it in.

It wasn't long before he found himself beginning to claw at actual rock all around the circle. Lakilulu hadn't lied when she said the pathway was a small one, but it was big enough to fit Waluigi's skinny body.

Trying his best to ignore the cold of the crawl space, Waluigi pulled himself up out of the water and into the pathway. After roughly a minute of pushing himself along the ground through almost complete darkness, he could feel the space around him open up. He tried his best to control his shivering as he stood up in the cave and stepped out of the way of the hole. The only source of light he could hope to get came from the outside, and that barely illuminated even a portion of the cave. Thankfully, though, it did allow him to pinpoint the trapdoor he was told about. It was right in the center of the room.

Waluigi went to the door and grabbed one hand on to the metal loop used to open it. He tested the weight of the door by starting off with a light tug, then putting a bit of effort behind his pull. When the door didn't budge, he used both hands and put all his strength into opening the door. After a while of straining, it felt like the trapdoor wasn't going to give way, but a dull grinding sound filled the air, and the door finally slid out of its slot in the ground. Having loosened it up, Waluigi granted himself a quick break before grabbing on to the ring again and pulling. The door came up much more easily this time, and he managed to swing it all the way open, dropping it on its top side and leaving the hole open for him to enter.

He peered into the new path and had to take a moment to will himself into entering. Down there was pitch black darkness. Who knew exactly what could be waiting for him?

Waluigi walked around the hole until he discovered a ladder in it carved into the rock wall. He sat down above the ladder, letting his feet hang in the hole below. He took another minute to just stare into the dark depths and asked himself if he should really go through with the plan. What were the chances that he'd even be successful? He was about to basically invade a castle and attempt to escape with three other people in tow, if he went ahead and freed the prince of Sarasaland like Lakilulu asked him to. But why was he about to do this? He had no obligation to any of those people. It wasn't his duty to help any of them. He didn't have to do any of this.

No, no. He had to go through with this. He couldn't start thinking otherwise now. This wasn't for himself. This wasn't for the princess or her boyfriend or the prince of Sarasaland. This wasn't for Wario or John or Sarasaland or the Mushroom Kingdom. This was for Mona. This was for his sister. And it was for her that he finally forced himself to climb down into that hole, into the darkness that normally petrified him from head to toe. But as long as he kept the smile he knew he would see on her face once this was all over in his mind, he managed to press onward. He couldn't think of how improbable this whole operation was. All he could do was focus on trying his best to apply his sneaking skills to traversing the castle. He would see this through. He had to.

After a few seconds of climbing, Waluigi touched down on solid ground. He held a hand to the wall in front of him, took a deep breath, and began to edge along the rock until he had an adjacent wall to guide him. He then turned around and began to walk forward, completely blind in the darkness. Eventually, he closed his eyes as he pressed forward. Somehow, it seemed to help calm his nerves.

It took a few minutes of very slow walking for Waluigi to find another wall impeding his path. He opened his eyes, though it was to no avail, for he saw nothing more than he could see with his eyes closed. Undeterred, he began to feel the wall, and, like the area in the rock behind the water drop-off, it was obvious that the obstruction was not made of real rock, and it was warm to the touch. He had to be just on the other side of the dungeon.

Now it was a matter of discovering how to get through. Hitting the wall let Waluigi know that it was rather thick, and Lakilulu never did tell him how to open it. He didn't know if he had to look for some kind of switch or just try to push it open. Figuring it would be an easier test, though, Waluigi began to push on the edge of the wall. It didn't budge at all.

Waluigi gave himself a break and caught his breath. He closed his eyes again to calm himself down; being stuck in that darkness when he knew the exit was right in front of him started to make him panic. He told himself that he would begin to search for a switch of some sort when he was sure he could do it calmly, and not in a frantic desperation.

Once he was okay, he started to feel around with his hands and feet. The rock, for the most part, felt quite flat and uniform. He hoped that, if a switch did exist, it wouldn't conform to its surroundings.

He felt all along the artificial wall and the floor underneath it. Nothing about the area was odd in any way. By the time he reached the opposite wall from the one he used to guide himself though, he quickly discovered an irregularity. Just a few feet back into the hallway, he felt something like a carving on the wall. The very moment he found it, he pressed against it, and it sank into the wall and produced a clicking noise. He became excited, certain that the wall would open for him now, but no such luck. Pressing the carving didn't do a thing.

Waluigi couldn't help but begin to panic a little when this happened. He was certain that finding a button would be the key to opening that wall. He removed his finger from the carving and was set on finding something else when the button clicked again and rose back to its previous state with Waluigi's finger. It then fell to the ground the second Waluigi dropped his hand back to his side. Curious, Waluigi poked inside the dent once again, and, to his surprise, found a second button behind it. He pushed it. But, again, nothing happened.

What the hell? What did he have to do? Was pressing one button and hitting a hidden button behind it not enough? Well, obviously it wasn't. Waluigi put his forehead in the palm of his hand, turned his back to the wall and sunk down to the floor. His heart was starting to race and his anxiety began to heighten. Even though he was certain there was nothing in the darkness besides himself, ideas of unknown and unseeable beings creeping up on him filled his mind. He just wanted to get out of there and find a bit of light, but he was becoming too frightened to even move. He began to curl himself up, protect himself from the invisible terrors of the darkness all around him. As he began to succumb to his panic, however, he felt the carving that fell out of the wall on his foot. By this point, he felt that the carving hiding that button was nothing more than a red herring, but he had to make himself do something, and he figured he could give it one last shot, however unlikely as it was that it would do anything.

He grabbed the circular carving and forced himself to stand back up. He quickly relocated the spot it previously occupied in the wall and tried to put it back. It wouldn't go back in completely though, and he twisted it around to try to make it fit. Eventually, it did sink back in comfortably, and Waluigi heard yet another click.

Suddenly, he could hear a series of gears turning in the wall behind the carving switch, and the ground began to tremble. The man-made wall suddenly split from the ceiling of the tunnel, sending a beam of light in that rushed across the top of the path. Waluigi had to shield his eyes as he looked at it to let them readjust. After the initial jerk starting the wall's descent into the ground, it moved down at a slow, smooth pace.

Waluigi watched on as the room beyond slowly revealed itself. The room was awash in a warm glow, lit by torches, and he could see metal bars coming down from the ceiling on either side of the room. Once the wall was completely down, Waluigi stepped over it, and two pairs of eyes were staring at him. On the left, a slightly beaten middle-aged man, on the right, the kid he saw in the park on the day he and Wario tried to steal Princess Peach's purse. So, he was Princess Daisy's boyfriend. Go figure. It didn't matter though. Waluigi was finally in the castle dungeon, just like Lakilulu said he would be after following her instructions.

"Well, didn't expect to have a guest show up from the cave," Jeff commented as the wall began to go back up and Waluigi stepped further into the dungeon. Luigi's jaw nearly dropped off his face upon seeing the boy walk by.

"You, you're that guy who tried to steal Peach's purse!" Luigi exclaimed, stepping back in shock. "What are you doing here!"

"I'm here to get you guys and the princess out of here," Waluigi said, nonchalantly searching around the dungeon for a way to open up the cell doors.

"What!"

"Well, that's a very noble goal, buddy," Jeff complimented, cutting off Luigi, who seemed unable to believe reality at all at the moment. "So, how'd you find out about that secret passage?"

"A Lakitu woman my family," he paused for a moment, "my caretaker found on the road told me about it. She told me to break you two out, and that the princess is on the third floor in the west wing. We're going there after I get you out of here."

"A Lakitu woman on the road... When did she leave the castle?" Jeff asked himself.

"Why are you doing this?" Luigi said, clutching the bars and staring at Waluigi as the boy searched through a desk that rested next to Jeff's cell on the other side of a partition. "You were assaulting my friends back in Toad Town just a few days ago, and now you're suddenly here and trying to help us out? What the heck made you want to do that?"

"Will you shut up?" Waluigi commanded, making Luigi fall silent immediately. "It's not important why I want to help you."

The three of them could hear a couple guards talking at the top of the stairs leading to the dungeon. One asked the other if he heard talking coming from down the stairs and the other denied hearing anything. Regardless, the one who heard voices said he was going to check in on everything, telling the other to go ahead and join the forces ordered to man the front gate.

As the guard hurried down the stairs, Waluigi dashed to the wall next to the stairs and sidled up to it. Once the guard arrived on the scene a few seconds later, Waluigi jumped out behind him and held the man around the neck with his arm. The guard tried to shout, but his windpipe was completely cut off and Waluigi refused to let up on his hold. A matter of seconds later, the guard passed out, and Waluigi lowered him to the ground. Seeing that the guard had a large key ring at his waist, Waluigi lifted it and headed back to the cells.

"Impressive," Jeff said as the boy began to cycle through the keys, using each of them on the cell door lock in an attempt to find the correct one. "It's the key with the solid square on the end," Jeff told him. Only a few seconds later, Waluigi found the correct key and opened Jeff's door. Jeff stepped out with a smile on his face as Waluigi turned and freed Luigi from his prison. "Thanks, buddy. I owe you one."

Luigi wasn't quite so grateful for the help. Instead of giving any thanks, he immediately made for the stairs, ready and raring to get to Daisy.

"Whoa whoa whoa, hold on Luigi," Jeff called out, stopping Luigi before he jetted out of the dungeon. "Slow down a bit. We can't just go running out there."

"But we have to get to Daisy!"

"Calm down. I think sitting around in this place has made you a little too antsy. You're smarter than this, Luigi. You know that charging straight to her room isn't going to work."

Luigi stopped for a moment and pressed his back against the wall. He let Jeff's words sink in, and he made himself calm down. Jeff was right. If the three of them were going to get to Daisy, they needed to think up a plan of attack.

Luigi looked over at the unconscious guard and a light bulb seemed to click on in his head. "Well, what if one of us dressed up as that guard? That person could get by without being noticed and probably distract other guards from the two of us that aren't disguised."

"My thoughts exactly," Jeff said with a smile. He stepped over to the downed guard and evaluated his size. He seemed to be right about Jeff's height, though a little bit thicker. Regardless, Jeff figured he'd be able to slip on the uniform easily enough. And considering his history at the castle, he would be the best one to impersonate a royal guard.

Jeff accepted the role of the fake guard and stripped the sentry of his armor as swiftly as possible. Once the guard was down to his boxers, Waluigi and Luigi carried him into Luigi's previous cell while Jeff climbed into the garbs. The boys left the guard on the floor and locked the cell door behind themselves. By the time they rejoined Jeff, he was already half dressed.

"Man, this stuff is smelly," he said, a look of reluctance on his face as he slipped on the helmet that covered most of his head. "...And wet. I didn't really know how hot these uniforms must get. Poor guys are probably all sweating like crazy."

As Jeff forced himself into the armor, Luigi went over to the nearest wall and rested his head against it. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Third floor in the west wing. That's where Waluigi said Daisy's room was. Luigi had no idea where that was located exactly, but it sounded like a sizable distance, especially when he saw how large the parts of the castle he was able to see were. The three of them would really need to be on the same wave length if they even wanted to reach Daisy's room, let alone get her out of the castle. It was a tall order. But there was no doubt in his mind. He would do anything he could possibly do to help her. And one way to do that was to erase his feelings for this guy who suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Despite his crime in the past, Luigi and Jeff wouldn't even be out of their cells if it wasn't for his help. It was time to start over and give this guy a chance.

Luigi stood up straight and turned around to face Waluigi, who was standing next to the desk with his arms folded, waiting for Jeff to finish dressing up. "Thank you," Luigi said as genuinely as he could. Waluigi merely looked at him, then went back to waiting. "I'm sorry about the way I acted when I first saw you here. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't even have a chance to see Daisy right now." Waluigi continued to stay silent. Luigi almost felt as if the guy wasn't even paying attention to him. "By the way, my name's Luigi."

Luigi extended his arm to shake the boy's hand. Waluigi looked at him again, then down at the offered hand. "Waluigi." He went back to waiting.

Knowing that he wasn't going to get a shake out of his new acquaintance, Luigi dropped his arm back to his side. At the very least, he managed to get his name. That was something. "Nice to meet you."

"Ah, okay," Jeff said, having gotten himself fully dressed. He let out a bit of a disgusted grumble. "Man, this is the grossest thing I've had to wear in a while. Anyway, hand me those keys, would you?" Waluigi gave them up, and Jeff proceeded to reattach them to his waist piece. After that, he knelt down and picked up the spear the guard was holding, then stood at attention. "How do I look? Think any of the guards will recognize me?"

"I don't think anyone will know it's you," Luigi answered. "I wouldn't be able to tell at least."

"Great," Jeff said with a smile. "Alright then, I'll go upstairs first and see if anybody's around. If the coast is clear, I'll call you two up. Stay close to me and I'll try to take us down the fastest route up to Daisy's room. You both ready?"

Luigi and Waluigi nodded, and Jeff immediately turned to head upstairs. The boys watched him as he got to the ground floor and looked around. After a few seconds, he subtly gestured for them to come upstairs, and he began to walk off to the right as if he were on patrol. Luigi and Waluigi hurried up the stairs and poked around the corner to double check, then followed behind Jeff.

The false guard rounded the nearby corner and his heart jumped into his throat. Right there in front of him was another guard walking his way. "Stay back!" Jeff whispered to the boys, forcing them to jolt to a stop. Luigi rounded back the way they came and hid behind a suit of armor near the dungeon staircase while Waluigi pressed himself against the wall near Jeff.

"Status report?" the guard said.

"All clear this way," Jeff answered. The guard stepped closer and stopped a few feet away from Jeff.

"You believe all this?" the guard asked, taking the moment to get a little more comfortable. "We're gonna have the entire town at the gate before long. Toadstool needs to hurry up so we can get all this settled."

"No kidding."

Jeff kept the guard wrapped in the conversation for a while before the man decided it was time to get back to his post. Jeff turned around and walked back to the hallway Luigi and Waluigi were hiding in, pretended to get back to work himself. As Jeff passed him, Waluigi peered around the corner and spotted the guard. Quickly and quietly, he slinked out into the adjacent hallway and hurried up to the guard. Jeff turned around and tried to grab him, but was too slow. Luigi came out from behind the suit of armor and joined Jeff in watching Waluigi.

"What is he doing?" he asked. Jeff shook his head.

"I don't know."

They watched on silently as Waluigi reared up behind the guard and delivered a swift, precise chop to his neck. The guard immediately fell back and Waluigi caught him. He dragged the downed guard back over to the previous hallway and sat him up against the wall. He looked for a door aside from the one at the end of hall that led outside. He saw one next to the dungeon stairs and asked Jeff what was on the other side of it.

"A break room for the guards," he answered, shocked that Waluigi made such a risky move.

"Check to see if anyone's in there," Waluigi said. Deciding not to waste time asking questions, Jeff went ahead and entered the room. A few seconds passed by where Waluigi kept a lookout for anyone else, and Luigi simply stared at the unconscious guard, surprised at the sudden action.

Jeff popped his head back out of the room and summoned the boys to come over. Waluigi told Luigi to help him carry the guard. Luigi snapped out of his stunned state and nodded before grabbing the guard's feet and lifting him up. The two carted him off to the room and Jeff closed the door behind them. They dropped the guard off next to a circular table in the middle of the room.

Luigi went to ask what the heck Waluigi was thinking when Jeff suddenly said, "Another disguise?"

"Yeah," Waluigi answered. He turned to Luigi. "Get dressed. He's your size."

Luigi suddenly realized what was going on. He was against committing more violence than needed, but Waluigi had a completely logical reason for knocking out a second guard. It would be much easier to sneak around if Jeff wasn't the only person dressed as a guard. Now, Luigi could slip right under the castle staff's noses too, as long as he didn't act too suspicious.

Luigi worked quickly to disrobe the guard and dress himself in the armor. Jeff had to step in and help him with some pieces, but it didn't take very long for Luigi to join the royal ranks of the Sarasaland Castle Guards.

As Jeff gave Luigi a quick primer on how to behave like a guard, Waluigi picked up the unconscious man and stuffed him into one of the room's lockers. Once he was done with that, he turned back to the two masters of disguise.

"I'm done here," he said. Jeff and Luigi looked at him.

"Huh? What do you mean?" Luigi asked.

"You two can get to your princess without me," he explained. "There's no point in taking more people up there than you need."

"So, what are you gonna do, buddy?" Jeff said. Waluigi looked at the door leading back to the hallway.

"I need to figure out where to get some compensation."

Jeff laughed a bit and Luigi raised an eyebrow at Waluigi. Compensation?

Soon, Jeff started fidgeting through the keys attached to his uniform and eventually found the one he was looking for. He detached it from the ring and tossed it to Waluigi, who barely managed to catch it, not having expected Jeff to give it to him.

"Well, I did say I owed you one for helping us out, so there you go," Jeff said with a smile. "That key will help get you to the treasure room. You can take whatever you want if you manage to find it."

Without a word, Waluigi looked at Jeff for a moment, then went back to the door and opened it. After sticking his head out and checking to see if it was safe, he slid out of the room and disappeared into the hallway of the castle, off to fulfill another mission.

"You're just gonna let him steal from the treasure room?" Luigi asked.

"Why not?" Jeff answered. "It's just some money. And he really helped us here. I don't see why he shouldn't be given the chance to raid the treasure room for a while."

That situation felt so backwards to Luigi. Not too long ago, that same kid was committing a crime by trying to steal Peach's purse, and now Jeff was basically allowing him to steal as much as he wanted in order to return a favor. Luigi could only wonder why Waluigi would even bother to put his neck on the line even more than he already did just for a shot at getting some money though. Even though they didn't exactly have the best first meeting in the world, Luigi could tell that Waluigi wasn't a selfish type of person; that was made obvious when he went through so much trouble to free them and start them on their way to reaching Daisy. Exactly what was he doing all these things for?

"Do you think he'll get to the room?" Luigi asked. Jeff exited into the hallway and Luigi followed him, closing the door behind them.

"He might," Jeff answered. "If it's really important to him, he probably will. He obviously has some skills after all. But let's let him worry about that, okay? We've got a goal of our own right now. We have to deliver you up to Daisy."