A/N-Hello all, and welcome to what happens when you dig around in your old documents, my old and new fanfiction titled I walk the Line! This is pretty much a prequel to the Mario series that's part movie, part 64, part SMB, all MoD.
I did most of this about a year ago on a whim, and then found it again and decided to fix it up since… my document of Strings for the SSB forum was in another castle- er, computer. This is finished; I am not now nor shall I have any interest in continuing it. Please do not crucify me.
I hope you enjoy! Remember, as the disclaimer: I own nothing, I regret nothing. I let them forget nothing.
My life has been turned upside down.
I should start from Brooklyn.
Ah, Brooklyn. Home sweet home. Some might consider it a crazy dump, but being someone who has been in Harlem before; I'd say there's no other place I'd rather be. I woke up in my 7th story apartment in the heart of Brooklyn, the building I lived in deteriorating yet lovely. The alarm clock, my least favorite technological device, buzzed noisily next to me. I unplugged it from the wall, resisting the urge to throw it out of the window, as it would probably hit some poor unsuspecting passerby like my broken TV did when I threw IT out the window. I went into the bathroom, looked at myself, and saw that as usual, I was a mess. My hair looked more matted than a tortured poodle, and I really needed to shave. Ah, well, I'll just put my work hat on. I brushed my teeth, shaved, and left. After all, I wasn't the only one who lived here.
I got my overalls on and then knocked on my brother's door. I heard a loud groan and an enormous yawn as he opened the door. "Mario," he whined. "Must you always wake me up this early?"
"New York Traffic." I replied. "I don't want to be late again, we had a whole line of people outside when we were late yesterday, remember?"
"Ugh," he sighed. "How can I forget? I was afraid they'd pull out tomatoes and start pelting us with them."
I raised an eyebrow as I threw him his work clothes. "Here you go, Luigi." I said.
He groaned again. "Do we have to wear these? We look like a friggin streetlight walking down the road."
I laughed. Luigi, my brother. What an interesting person. He's so unlike me, ironically. While I see myself as mostly a happy person, pretty brave, and in the mirror short, fat and not exactly attractive; Luigi is a little depressing sometimes, quite the coward, but on the outside, tall, thin and apparently attractive, to the frequent women that dine here with him. A side note here-I myself haven't been on a date in a few years.
10 minutes later found us outside in front of our beat-up Ford Van. I tossed the keys to Luigi. "You drive this time." Big mistake. 1 hour later found us in front of our plumbing shop, fender-less and missing a hubcap. I punched him in the arm and said "You're paying for that, just so you know."
"Mama Mia." He replied. Ah, that was the Italian in us, and we were more than proud to show it off. I popped the cassette out, got the boom box out of the back of the van, and went into our little shop. "No line this time, Mario." Luigi pointed out.
I nodded. "We're…" I checked my watch. 8:51 Am. "… a whopping 9 minutes early! High five, Luigi. That's a new record!" I said, grinning ear-to-ear in a mixture of humor and happiness as Luigi responded with an eye-roll. "Oh, come on, Luigi!" I threw my hands, boom box and all, into the air in a gesture of hopelessness. "You have no sense of humor!"
"Thank you." He replied sarcastically.
Upon entering the shop, I popped in the cassette. Good ol' Johnny Cash. What, you thought because I was Italian that I listened to Italian Music? How racist, I am disappointed. Next thing you'll be hearing is that I add "-a" to every word in my sentence. Fools. As a matter of fact, I Walk the Line happened to be my favorite song. Man, don't get me singing. I sound like a horse being tortured.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, the beautiful lady who walked into my shop.
Seriously, she looked like a princess. Her blonde, rather messy hair was shielded in a parasol that she must have gotten off of Madison Avenue, as well as the dress. Man, her dress. The emerald in the center was eye-catching, and the pink shades looked as if they were made of silk. But her face intrigued me, I mean; I read confusion and wonder all over it.
Watch me make a good first impression.
"Oh, hello. You must be Luigi's date, eh?" I asked.
"Who is this 'Luigi?'" she replied, as if I asked her how to fix a sink.
Dang it. I thought. Not only is she not Luigi's date, I just made a horrible first impression. "My bad," I stammered, nervous all of a sudden. "He's my brother. He dates a lot of people. It's a shame, not really working out with any of them."
"I heard that." Was heard a ways away in the back room.
"Brothers," I sighed. She giggled a little bit, giving me a sense of accomplishment. "So what you need? Sink clogged up? Need some tools?"
She looked perplexed, as if I was speaking a foreign language. "I'm afraid I am unfamiliar with your world."
I raised an eyebrow but thought nothing of it. "Yeah, New York can seem like a whole different world sometimes. Anyway, you lost?"
She thought a minute. "Uhm, yes, I am. I am looking for your streets named Broadway, 7th and 44th."
I smiled. Everyone knows where that is. "You mean Times Square?"
She lit up. "Yes, the Center of Telling Time!"
I raised my eyebrow again. "You're not from around here, are you?"
She shook her head. "I am from… away, far, far away."
I nodded. "Have fun in New York City."
She looked at me and asked "Can you take me to it? I'm not used to traveling alone."
I nodded. This was New York City, after all. "Sure, I guess. I'll see if Luigi is up to running the shop."
I went to the back room and told Luigi "I'll be back in a few. I'm taking a lady to Times Square."
He looked up from the magazine he was reading instead of doing actual work. "Who are you and what on earth have you done with Mario?"
I rolled my eyes and left the back room. I looked at the woman and said "By the way, I'm Mario."
"Peach," she replied. "Thanks for everything."
"No problem, Peach." I replied, getting into the Ford Van, making sure to snag my Johnny Cash tape along the way. She looked at the van and asked "Am I supposed to ride in this? How do I get in?"
I raised my eyebrow yet again. "You haven't been in a car before?" I am sure she would have responded if she were not so busy trying to get in, yanking on the door handle so hard I was afraid she'd pull it off. I walked over, not so sure what I had gotten myself into, and said "Here, You press the button, and then pull." I showed her by performing the action myself.
She replied with an unthinkable "Wow, complicated."
I waited until she was out of sight, and slapped myself in the forehead. "Okay, Times Square, next stop. Buckle up and enjoy the ride."
"How do I do this 'buckle up' you speak of?" Peach asked me.
I slammed my head onto the car horn. What was she, an alien? And what the hell had I gotten myself into?
Another hour later, we arrived. I found a parking spot, paid the large fare, and led her unsteadily across the horrendous intersection to the main Square. My god, she was scared silly, grabbing onto her parasol and running so fast it was a struggle to stay in front of her.
When we approached, she told me "Thank you, you're a good person." Those six words made it worth all the weirdness and effort I just went through. "Now I shall be heading home."
I raised an eyebrow, almost involuntary at this point. "You live here?"
"Not exactly." She replied and took a deep breath. "You're not going to believe this, but… The portal back to my dimension is at this 'Times Square'."
I gasped. "You really meant it when you said you're not from this world, didn't you?"
She nodded. "I live in the Mushroom Kingdom, a different dimension."
I fell onto a bench. "Oh my god. Sorry, just give me a minute. I have to, you know, take it all in. I just, I can't believe it."
She sat next to me. "I had a feeling, so I am going to do what no one else has done before. I will show you my Kingdom."
"Yes," she replied. "I am the princess and ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. Princess Peach Toadstool."
I swear to God, I nearly fainted. "So, let me get this all straight. You're the princess of a hidden land in the fourth dimension which no one knows exists?"
She nodded, as if it was simple as opening a car door. For me, at least. "Ready to go?"
"Just a minute." I said, before yelling out "OH MY GOD! OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! Okay," I take a few deep breaths, still feeling mentally unstable. "I'm done."
She laughed. "You are certainly taking this news well."
I sighed. "Anyway, I…guess I can't wait to see this Kingdom of yours. You know, revolutionary discoveries and all that. How do we get there?"
"Simple." She told me. "We just jump into the moving painting." And with that, she took my hand, and then took a superhuman leap up 75 feet into the advertisement screen, me screaming all the way, and right when we seemed sure to crash and break every bone in our bodies, we passed through the screen and the giant Coca-Cola bottle displayed on it like a flimsy curtain.
We appeared on the other side in a beautiful, hilly countryside… or at least, 75 feet above it. I screamed again until Peach opened up her parasol and we floated gently down to the ground.
"I have to say, you scare much too easily." She told me.
"…this comes as a shock to you? You just jumped 75 feet in the air into something I presumed solid, and then I fell 8 stories into a land I never knew existed! Of course I'm scared!"
She giggled. "Anyway, welcome to my castle, and to Mushroom Kingdom."
I looked around. Mushroom Kingdom. This was one crazy dimension.
Giant Caterpillars roamed distant hills, trees reached unspeakable heights and the clouds all had faces on them. And the kingdom's namesake, Mushrooms, were either as small as normal mushrooms, about as large as a house-wait, one of them over there was actually being used as a house; go figure- and then there were some that were absolutely huge. They were about the size of the trees here, and I could see creatures walking on them that… I don't even know how to describe them.
It was really remarkable. So what did I say?
"I bet you guys don't like vegetarians here, right?"
She chuckled with the awkwardness of I-don't-know-what-the-hell-you-mean in her voice.
I rethought my manner of conversation. "But this is… wow. It's remarkable. Nothing like I've ever seen before."
This time Princess Peach laughed for real and said "The funny thing is, that was my thought pattern when I first set foot into your world."
"So…" I asked "Why am I here, Princess?"
"Please, call me Peach."
"Okay, Peach, why am I here?"
"What do you mean, why are you here?"
"…you don't just pull a random plumber off the street of my dimension into your secret dimension for the fun of it," I explained.
Peach sighed and said "Well, you have a solid point there. Come inside?"
Pop quiz. When a gorgeous, charming woman invites you into her home, what do you say?
Okay, now when a gorgeous, charming princess of another dimension invites you into her castle, what do you say?
…personally neither of the two has ever happened to me so I just shrugged and walked in after her. We walked over the moat, which was filled 5 or 6 feet deep with water and little fish, and through the doors.
The inside was a sight to behold. The walls were painted bottom to top in a more cartoon-esque version of what the outside looked like. The blue paint accented the clouds with eyes, the hills have eyes (…that's a really cool sounding name…) and there was a painting of the sun on the ceiling. I stared at it for a few seconds; it's really magnificent.
"Oh!" Peach pulls my head back down to the ground. "Don't stare at that for too long."
It took me a few seconds to really hear what she has to say, because I'm trying to get my focus off of her gentle hands on my cheek. I snapped to and said "Oh? Oh yeah, sorry. This is so unlike me…"
"It's been a long day. I understand."
"Thanks, ma'am." I let her believe I'm talking about the multi-dimensional trip taking its toll on me as she walked through the castle. I look around the walls where I see some other creatures, a bit humanlike in their form, walking around the area. They look human, except they have mushrooms twice the size of their face as heads. Mushroom seems to be the name of the game here. I would have liked to know why they're wearing diapers, though, but oh well.
I let them go for now as Peach opened a door on the right side, which leads to a hallway. I followed her down this hallway until we get to the end, where Peach pulled out a key from her pocket. This would seem normal, but not in the magical Mushroom Kingdom where the key's the size of my head.
"Big key." I said in less surprise than other things that I've seen here.
"To make sure we never lose it."
She opened the door and we were back outside again, but in a large, sealed off patio area where there's two small ponds, a large statue of a star, some loose planters, and a table where a brown, mustached mushroom man sat; an older version of the ones I saw in the main hall.
Now I really wonder what the hell is going on.
"Have a seat, sir," the mushroom man told me cordially, with an accent I probably didn't recognize for obvious reasons. I complied and find a cup awaiting me there. I looked at Peach meaningfully and she explained with a small giggle "It's tea."
"Odd to find one thing our dimensions share," I quipped, but took a sip nonetheless.
"Oh, there's many things our dimensions share, young man, but that is a story for another time," the mushroom man explained to me.
Peach gave him a look I couldn't identify and said "Indeed. Anyway, to business."
"Whoa whoa whoa! Hold up!" I put my hands up in the air in an attempt to but brakes on this conversation. "You can't just say 'to business' when I barely have an idea why the hell I'm here in the first place!"
The mushroom man regarded Peach with a confused but somewhat knowing glare, causing the princess to put a hand to her forehead and say "What, Toadsworth? I was going to get to that."
"Ah, then. Looks like I'll have to explain." The mushroom man, whom I now know to be Toadsworth, cracked his small knuckles and began to speak, and I knew that there was something up.
"For years and years now, I forget how many, the Mushroom Kingdom has been at war within itself. Or what's left of it, most of the original kingdom has been split into several different kingdoms for centuries now, but that's beside the point! The Koopa species has been leading attacks against us for years now, trying to get us to crumble. Their leader, Bowser, wants to take this kingdom over as his own, for reasons unknown to-"
"Don't give him that tale, Toadsworth; you and I both know the truth," Peach gave Toadsworth an icy glare as she took over for him. "Bowser's been leading attacks on us for years because our species has treated theirs unfairly. I get it, I've tried to reason with them but we've angered them to a point of no return and he is not content with anything less than my whole kingdom. And that is something that I cannot allow no matter what my previous generation did to them."
"Ah… yes, anyway, to continue off of what the Princess has explained," Toadsworth took over, "Hostilities are getting to an unmanageable level, and we are starting to fear for the Princess' safety. What we are looking for is a personal guardian for her, to make sure she can be kept safe until tensions die down."
They opened the floor to me, but I had no words formed on my tongue. It took me thirty seconds of concerned looks to come up with "There's so much wrong with this plan."
"What makes you say that?" Peach asked me innocently.
"You crossed over dimensions… for a bodyguard?"
"Ah! Let me explain, sir!" Toadsworth interrupted me, "For reasons we haven't been able to completely understand, humans have a much better physical state in this dimension than its current residents. Why, I remember the first person we tried to get in here jumped six times his height- granted, he was trying to esc-"
"You brought in other humans?" I asked in bewilderment.
"We… just went with the ones who didn't shrug me off completely when I talked to them about this," was Peach's embarrassed reply.
"Oh my God… you people can't be serious. You just kept… bringing in humans until you find ones that haven't lost their minds?" I'm beyond stunned by now.
"They all ended up escaping to their own dimension. I just figured anyone who heard from them would think they were somewhat insane," she explained.
"Oh! Oh exactly! Makes sense to me!" I threw my hands in the air. "They're the insane ones, not the ones who… bring in random people from other dimensions to bodyguard their ruler, like you don't already have millions of citizens!"
Toadsworth slammed a small fist onto the table. "Have I not already told you that your kind has amazing abi-"
"I heard about the amazing abilities!" I shouted. "Look, lady, I'd love to be your bodyguard, but… not if it involves inter-dimensional living! My god… this is just too much… I'm in over my head… you guys gotta get me out of here."
That's when I heard it. A marching sound, of thousands of feet hitting ground at the same time. I turned to the others and simply said "God no."
Peach gasped and Toadsworth clamored to his small feet, yelling "Assemble all of our soldiers!"
"Our soldiers! They can't fight this large of an army!"
"Do we have another choice?"
I just decided to hightail it out of there. I ran through the hallway and into the main hall, and that's where it's going down. 4 foot tall walking turtles (the Koopa species the two were mentioning?) were starting to siege the castle, taking out things essential like food and clothing to things less so, like paintings and jewels. The mushroom men were in the middle of the ruckus, either being subdued or trying to stop them. One of them went so far as to snatch a painting of a snowcapped mountain out of a Koopa's hands. The response he got was a deadly claw of one of the Koopas to his head, and he slumped to the ground. Then… he vanished, and there was nothing more to speak of on the subject.
Part of me wanted to help the mushroom men out but the rest of me just focused on getting the hell outta Dodge and then pretending that this was all a dream. Hell, maybe I was going to wake up off of a drug high or something. After I ran outside, I looked up to what I hoped was the portal back to Earth; a stained-glass painting of the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom herself. If I remembered correctly, that was where we had come out of when we first got here. Praying to God that Toadsworth was right, I prepared to leap when I heard a powerful thud. Then another. I just had to turn around to see what it was. And see I did.
Imagine a turtle, okay? Now imagine a turtle with spikes all down its back. Now imagine it twice the size of you. Now imagine that it had claws longer than your hair. Good, good. Now imagine it charging straight for you.
Before I could even comprehend that this turtle with spikes down its back twice the size of me with claws longer than my hair was charging straight for me, it had already knocked me to the ground. I managed to stay conscious but I skidded all the way to the door. The menacing creature, with a blazing red tuft of hair, two sharp bull horns and teeth sharp enough to slice through metal, regarded me coolly with a voice gravelly and nonchalant, as if the fact that he was destroying a castle was just another day at the office. "Today certainly wasn't a good day to meddle in other people's dimensions, was it, human?"
"I didn't even know why I was brought here in the first place!" I responded desperately.
"All the same," the turtle continued, "It won't do us any good to send you back to your own. You know too much and all that."
There were a million things I should have said, but all that came out was "Who are you?"
He sighed, a sigh of one who has inconveniently missed the bus. "I suppose, since you won't make it out of here alive." I gasp but he continues. "I am Bowser, King of the Koopas. And you, my friend, are dead." He finished with an amazing swipe of the claw to my face, and the last thing I remembered was a shrill scream piercing the air before…
…I woke up.
Oh! Thank God above! This was all a dream! I laugh to myself as I lean to get up and roll out of bed. I rolled over…
…and fell onto solid ground. I jumped to, absolutely startled. Taking in my surroundings, I could tell that I still was not out of this dimension… and this wasn't all a dream. It took all of my strength not to whimper as I witnessed the gargantuan mushrooms and faced clouds in the distance for a second time.
I looked above me and ten feet in the air is whatever I had come into consciousness on, a floating series of wooden boxes, about five square feet each. Above that one was a singular box, with a question mark on it. Two of the set of five also had question marks on them.
When I looked to my right I saw a path, a straight path, occasionally cut off by giant pipes, and in the distance, a castle. Not a castle like Peach's, more like a small residence with a large flagpole by it. That seemed like as good a place as any to start.
But before I could, I noticed a large creature coming for me. Not Bowser's size, but about four feet tall, shaped like-you guessed it- a giant mushroom. I still found it wisest to jump anyway. I leapt…
…fifteen feet into the air, above the set of five boxes. Not as high as Toadsworth had bragged, but still amazing nonetheless. I coordinated my landing onto the mushroom creature and squish him. But instead of blood and guts spraying everywhere, he just… vanishes.
And then I'm assaulted with a barrage of memories. From not too long ago, but they seemed so distant. Walking through the intersection to Times Square, jumping through the Coca-Cola sign, screaming as Peach opened the parasol with a giggle, looking at the kingdom for the first time. The painting of the sun on top of her ceiling. The meeting with Peach and that crotchety Toadsworth. Walking out in utter bewilderment, and then-
-the Koopas raiding. The painting of the snowcapped mountain. The mushroom man being clawed to death. Bowser nonchalantly getting ready to murder me.
The terrified scream.
I piece it all together. I was left for dead here. Who knows how long I've been out. But… Peach. She could be locked in a cage somewhere. She could be in the clutches of the evil so-called King as we speak. If she's even alive.
She relied on me for protection, and I failed her before I even started. And I could go on and on about "Not my dimension- not my problem," but the truth was, I liked her. She was quaint, charming, honest, and absolutely beautiful. And she saw something in me. I don't know what, but… she saw something in me.
I don't know much about this dimension, and I just want to get home, but I owe it to her to at least save her from King Bowser before I get back home. Depending on the time/space continuum, Luigi would probably be a bit worried, but he'd most likely just shrug it off and get back to reading his magazine.
So I punch one of the ? boxes, and out comes a mushroom. Shocking. I pick it up as it rolls towards me, and take a bite. As I swallow, I feel energy coursing through me and then I know. I know I can do this.
The mushroom works like in Wonderland, and I grow to twice the height I was before. I take a large leap over the pipe and as a start to the adventure, I find it fit to repeat my favorite song lyric as I go along.
Because you're mine… I walk the line.