A/N: And so it ends. While I'll still be writing oneshots, Shakespeare adaptations and maybe even the occasional game novelization, this is the last story in my main fanon series – or at least the last one for now. Call me crazy, but I still have dreams of actually getting some stuff published for real – stuff that starts long before The Queen of the Koopas and continues on past Super Koopa World. That being said, there might be a couple things here and there that I've left up to the imagination, but for the most part, I did try to tie up all the loose threads, so if I've missed something, by all means, point it out!
Thank you so much to everyone who stuck with the series this whole way, especially if you were unfortunate enough to be reading in real time and had to suffer through my horrendous updating delays… I hope this last stretch was worth the wait, and to everyone, I hope that I managed to end the series on a high note. I have never felt more pressure to get it right than I have for these last few chapters, and I sincerely hope it turned out okay.
And with that, I leave you to the final pages of the Super Koopa series. Thank you once again, now please, read, review, and most importantly of all, enjoy.
"I thought that was you hiding up here," said Kammy, skimming across the ceiling of the Mushroom Kingdom Castle's main hall to where her brother floated. "You and Their Forgivingnesses may still not be best friends but you're allowed to be part of the group, you know."
"I know," snorted Kamek. "But the acoustics are better up here."
"Yeah, right. And since when did you care so much about acoustics?" scoffed Kammy as she gingerly stepped onto the nearest chandelier. It wasn't sturdy as Koopan light fixtures, but it would hold her weight, and with a wave of the arm, her broomstick disappeared back into her Hammerspace.
"It's the new anthem of the Koopa Kingdom – I want to hear it at its best."
"Not with them playing," laughed Kammy, settling herself on the chandelier and looking down at the Koopalings performing the piece. Ludwig and Wendy were the only ones who had really taken to music, but Bowser and Bowselta had still insisted on all eight kids getting trained on at least one instrument – for occasions just like this. A Koopan anthem, performed by the Koopa royal family and written by their own Koopa heir (with some input from top Sarasaland and Mushroomian composers – Ludwig didn't need the help, but it was the gesture that counted). They might not have been a symphony, but Bowser and Bowselta were proud to sit and watch them perform, and the other onlookers seemed to be enjoying it as well.
Peach was there, naturally, as were Mario, Luigi, Daisy, and a number of other dignitaries. Emerald, now an official attaché to the crown Koopas, also sat in with Crystal, and Spiky Tom had even taken a break from supervising the reconstruction of the main Koopa Castle for the special unveiling of the anthem. Not that he was needed this late in the process – it had been nearly two months since the humans had gone, and the Koopa's home was nearly complete, although Kammy heard at least a couple of the kids were hoping to came back out to the Mushroom Kingdom before long.
Kammy was more interested in the Koopalings than the spectators, however. Ludwig stood at the front of the group with his violin, letting Iggy take over the role of piano player this time. Morton also knew how to play both piano and the keyboard, but Bowselta had opted for natural music only, and so he worked a massive tuba-like brass instrument instead, putting his lungs to good use and threatening to drown out the other players at times with his gusto. The only other wind instrument was Larry's flute – or more specifically, Bowselta's, since she had loaned him her flute for the special occasion, but the Koopaling was almost too nervous to put it to good use, and struggled to keep his breaths strong and steady. The other Koopalings' instruments were more contemporary than strictly orchestral, with Roy hammering out the beat on a sprawling drumset in the back, and Lemmy and Junior both playing guitars near the front. Wendy could play guitar too, as well as flute, but today, she was the lead singer, and with her pipes, she didn't even need a microphone as she stood next to Ludwig and belted out his anthem.
The old witch smiled as she listened to the words. A shortened version of the song was going to be the main anthem, but the full thing was pretty long – there was a lot of history and a lot of geography to cover. It made for an interesting song – and catchy too. "Well, I suppose I'm not being fair – they're not so bad."
Kammy looked sideways at him. "Course, I'm sure you'd like it even if they were a hoard of screeching Fuzzies, am I right?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh come on, you wanted the Koopas to rule the world just as much as they did – and now they are! It's been two months and everything's running smoothly. The Stars haven't rained retribution down upon us, the Meteor's securely guarded back in Dark Land, all traces of the Portal are gone..." Kammy shook her head, scarcely believing the Koopa's good fortunes after so many years of disappointment. "The people are peaceful, Mario's behaving himself, the new government system has been set up without a hitch – and now we've got an anthem to seal the deal!"
"First of all, an anthem does not make the nation. And second of all, they don't rule the world – they've got a quarter, at best."
"Psh," snorted Kammy, "you're just saying that because you don't want to admit you were wrong."
"Wrong? Wrong about what?"
"Your vision – from all those years ago? Of the powerful Koopa ruling the world?"
"Yes, of course I know that vision, you don't need to remind me."
"Well, don't you see? It's come true after all. Your initial guess that it was Morton was wrong, but your dismissal of the vision was wrong too – it wasn't a trick, it was real – and it was of Bowser!"
"No it wasn't," said Kamek.
Kammy growled in frustration. "Come on, Kamek, I thought you were on His Prognosticatedness's side again."
"Then why won't you accept that he's the great and powerful Koopa from your visions?"
"Because he's not."
"Why?" demanded Kammy, and then a thought to her. "Is it Bowselta?"
"What? The vision? Hell no," snorted Kamek, earning a reproachful glare from Kammy. "I may not have it in for her anymore but she still got me killed and exiled to a volcano for nine years," he said defensively. "Ya don't forgive and forget someone for that quite so easily."
"You brought that on yourself, and you hated her way before that too," argued the old witch. "And don't change the subject."
Kamek rolled his eyes. "Alright, fine, you were right – I was too hasty to give up on the vision, but it's not Bowser, and it's not Bowselta either."
"Let me finish," growled the ghost. "Like I said before, they don't rule the world. Now, my vision was of the world itself in the hand of a Koopa – but the planet wasn't spinning, so I only saw the one half, and in the strictest of interpretations, I suppose we could ignore the Waffle Kingdom's hemisphere. But even when you only consider our half of the planet, we're only halfway there."
"So far," Kammy couldn't resist the urge to cut in. "Bowser and Bowselta are going to wait and let the people cool off for a bit, but you know that won't last. Your ol' buddy Travali did a number to the Alligator Archipelago – a lot of the feudal tribes were almost wiped out, and as soon as they regroup, the Kremlings are gonna use that as an opportunity to spread even further and solidify their grip on those water. There's no way Their Caliphatenesses are going to let that happen – even Ludwig agrees that as soon as the Kremlings make their move, we will too. Hopefully there will be enough time for the dust to settle first, but even if the land is dragged into more fighting sooner than later, besting pirates is a pretty safe campaign."
"Yes, I know that plan – I may not have been hanging out with you all this time but I wasn't hiding under a rock, you know – I keep up to date. But even if all the independent nations of the Alligator Archipelago join us after we save their asses, that's still not everything."
"Jewelry Land's a pushover – they know we could smush 'em, and as soon as Their Ingressivenesses come knocking, they'll leap at the chance to join us peacefully."
"Yes, but if Their Highnesses act too soon, they'll look like greedy tyrants again and then we'll have a revolution on our hands."
"Worst case scenario," said Kammy with a dismissive wave of her hand.
"Yes, but one thing I will say about Bowselta is that she is very cautious when it comes to crossing these sorts of lines," said Kamek. "She's going to wait quite a while before putting the squeeze on Jewelry Land, and the Beanbean Kingdom will take even longer to acquire. Jewelry Land may take a lot of pride in their magic gemstones, but that's nothing compared to the Beans and their unique little corner of the world. Lemme tell ya, it took forever for the average Bean to even accept Little Fungitown – when faced with amalgamation with an entire continent of non-Beanish cultures and species, those little xenophobes might just be stupid enough to try and fight back."
"Their Diplomaticnesses know that," interrupted Kammy. "And you said so yourself – Her Canniness knows better than to go making us the bad guys again, but it won't come to that. I'm sure you heard the rumours, y'know, that King Peasley isn't, ahhh… interested, shall we say, in reproducing? At least, not with any lady Beans…"
"Kammy, I spent every vacation I ever had in that country – trust me, those aren't rumours, they're facts."
"Then you know the dynasty is on its way out – and they're going to need something to replace it with. As long as we ensure them that their unique heritage will be respected and preserved, they should take us up on the offer."
"Yes, but think about it – Peasley's only in his 40s: it'll be decades before he's ready to start talking to us about inheriting his country."
"So, Bowser and Bowselta don't have decades," hissed Kamek. Kammy opened her mouth to protest, but her brother hurried onward. "Don't try to deny it – it's plain to see just by looking at her that Bowselta's years are numbered."
"The Marks don't spread that quickly," Kammy interjected. "The only reason her initial Mark of the Dead spread so much recently was because they were on the run from the humans, burning pure energy instead of food and water, and then there was all the fighting, and then-"
"And then combining the Meteor – which should have finished her off, but Bowser intervened, and he must have given it a lot of energy for it to have spared her at all."
"He's a Near Immortal, he could afford it."
"No, he couldn't," said Kamek. "Near Immortals may be born with incredible amounts of energy, but if you look through the history books, that just means they throw it away so much faster than normal Dragon-Koopas. Alistor Magrippa died when he was forty-three, and frankly, after all the energy Bowser's poured into fighting Mario, after all those deaths and revivals… I'm surprised he lived this long."
"Don't you start with that disparaging-"
"It's not disparaging – if anything, it's a testament to how powerful he really is."
"And yet you still say he's not the Koopa from your vision."
Kamek sighed. "Look… Even if Bowser and Bowselta cut their power consumption right down to the bare minimum – and with their taste for violent confrontations, they won't – I give them… ten, eleven years – if they're lucky. They'll secure the Alligator Archipelago well before that, and they'll probably use their dying days to bring Jewelry Land into the fold – market it as a last hurrah, one last good deed towards unity, what have you."
Kammy nodded. "Her Machiavellianness's last swan song might not have turned out as planned, but that doesn't mean she won't use the same strategy again: who would deny a dying woman her last gift to her loved ones?"
"Exactly," said Kamek. "But that'll be it, and it'll be up to those loved ones to finish the job and get the Beanbean Kingdom to join us – and only then will my vision come true."
"Wait, so you're saying…"
The ghost nodded, a grin spreading across his face over the revelation he was sharing with his sister. "It may have been Bowser's dream, and it may have been Bowselta's schemes that made it possible, but they're not the ones who will rule the world – they will." He turned and looked down at the crowd below him as he finished, and Kammy followed his gaze. The song was rising to a crescendo, and the two Magikoopas, one living and one dead, watched as the grandchildren of both King Morton and Queen Koopa filled the castle with a wave of music. Kamek waited until the sound had subsided, and as the last note faded, he finished his thought, his eyes still locked on the lead figure below. "Yes… I have no doubt in my mind – the Koopa I saw in my vision… was Ludwig."
All that came after was applause.