In the magical land known as the Mushroom Kingdom, a fair princess ruled over the happy populace. Life was good for all, be it valiant knights in the castle or the humble farmers and workers who made the day to day life in the kingdom go on. Coins were plentiful for all, and the largest concern for most people was deciding what they should eat for dinner.
One on seemingly ordinary day, a pair of humble brothers found themselves standing outside the massive iron wrought castle gates. The two were carpenters and plumbers, and were renown as the best at their trade in all of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The brothers looked strikingly similar, aside from their heights. Each had a thick mustache under their round noses. Mario was short and stocky, while Luigi was tall and lanky. The both dressed in blue overalls, Mario wearing a red shirt and Luigi in a green one. Luigi was carrying a heavy toolbox, while Mario had a plunger slung over his shoulder.
"Wowzer Mario! Wouldya lookit that? We've made it to the big time, this time!" The taller and young brother, Luigi, was beaming as he the two walked over the expansive wooden bridge in front of the castle. Their feet clipped and clopped on the wood as they approached.
"Hey Luigi! Would-a you cool it with the slack-jawed staring? You want these fancy castle folks to think-a we're just country bumpkins?" The older and shorter brother, Mario, shook his head. He wanted to make a good impression on the castle staff, in the hopes of getting further jobs.
Luigi just laughed and clapped his brother around his shoulder. "I think you're-a forgetting, Mario, we ARE country bumpkins!"
Though he was on edge, Mario cracked a small smile that was mostly hidden beneath his bushy mustache. "Yeah, yeah... but do we have to broadcast it to-a the whole world?"
The two reached the tall doors to the castle and with a grin and a gulp shared between them, they knocked on the door. Luigi fidgeted with his hat, while Mario felt a bit of sweat on his palms. They were nervous for good reason. The castle was a place few commoners ever got to see.
The door opened, and a short, heavyset knight was on the other side. He wore a full suit of armor, including the helmet – and his sword was in his hand! Luigi gulped and jumped back behind his older brother, while Mario went a bit white in the face.
"Uhh... hi... we're-a the plumbers..." Mario stammered, intimidated by this knight and the glimmering sword in his hand. He watched as the knight's fingers clenched around the iron handle of his sword.
The knight paused, and then growled a response in a gruff voice. "Plumbers? No... you're obviously spies, come to kidnap the Princess!"
Luigi shrieked a bit and Mario became ever paler. "W-Whoa, now! We're-a just plumbers! See, I have a plunger!" Mario held up the plunger, but the knight stepped forward.
"Nay, you're clearly spies of the Koopas! It's the dungeon for you both!" The knight raised his sword high above his head and Mario and Luigi were both frozen in shock and horror. It seemed the two were about to be destroyed – when suddenly the knight began to laugh in a gruff manner. "Gwa he he he ha! You should see your faces!"
The frightened Mario Brothers blinked, neither having taken a breath since the knight raised his sword. The armored warrior in front of them flipped up his helmet and revealed himself to the two. Immediately Luigi let out a shaky sigh of relief, while Mario's face flushed with rage.
"Yooou!" Mario suddenly went from scared to angry. "Wario, you almost gave-a me a heart attack-a!"
Wario laughed, clutching his belly with both hands and throwing his head back. "You two are such dorks! Gwa he he ha... did you forget it was me who got you this job? I'm allowed to mess with you! Gwa he he ha..."
Luigi was still shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. Mario simply shook his head, feeling anger still bubbling up in his stomach. Wario had always played cruel jokes on the two plumbers, and loved to revel in the fact he was Captain of the Knights of Pluto.
Still chuckling, Wario wiped away a tear of mirth. "Gwa he he ha... look, the toilet is on the fourth floor. Third room from the stairs on your right, can't miss it... gwa he he ha... don't bother the castle staff or I really WILL toss you in the dungeons!"
Mario shook his head and tugged on his brother's arm. "Come on, Luigi, let's-a go get-a to work."
As the two plumbers stomped away towards the stairs, Wario was still in a light chuckle of amusement. The knight turned to close the front door, but as he did, a small figure slipped in through the crack in the door. Much shorter than a man, the creature's body was hidden away beneath a blue robe and a oversized wizard's hat.
"... Today is the day." The figure whispered, his voice as inaudible as the wind. "Is everything ready?"
Wario's laughter ceased and his face turned pale and deathly serious. He quickly looked over his shoulders, making sure no one was around to see him conversing with the small figure in the blue robe and hat.
"Shhh! Yes, everything is ready, now get out of here! If anyone sees me talking to you..."
The Mario brothers meanwhile had quickly climbed several sets of spiraling stairs to reach the fourth floor. They both seemed a bit winded from the hike up, but as they approached the bathroom Mario elbowed his younger brother in the ribs.
"Owowowowowow!" Luigi complained. "What was-a that for?"
"Quit with the heavy breathing!" Mario replied, trying to keep his voice down. "You sound-a like a pervert on-a the phone with a pretty girl!"
Luigi's nose and cheeks turned a bright pink and he began to stammer. "I-I can't-a help it! I'm out-a of breath-a!"
The two brothers had almost made it to the end of the hall when Luigi gasped and stopped, staring at a gigantic painting on the wall. It was a portrait of the late King standing atop the castle, waving the Mushroom flag. The portrait looked nothing like the small Mushroom King – the man in the picture was at least eight feet tall and built like a professional bodybuilder. The portrait was framed in what looked like gold.
"Mama mia! Look-a at this, Mario! What a great painting... and that-a frame is-a nice too!" Luigi seemed highly impressed by the sight, practically beaming.
Mario shrugged his shoulders as he too shifted his focus to the painting. "Eh, I suppose it's-a nice and all... but I wonder how-a many coins they-a wasted on a painting no one outside of the castle will ever even see?"
The taller brother shook his head, sadly. "Mario... you just-a don't get art."
"But just-a look at it Luigi! That-a looks nothing like-a the king did! Is that-a supposed to be a muscle or a house?" Mario scratched his head, having whipped off his hat for a moment. The two likely would have continued their debate on the painting, if not for what was said next.
"Well, I think that was the artist's way of trying to get a big tip from the king."
Mario and Luigi both nodded for a brief moment until they realized the feminine voice belonged to neither of them. When the two brothers discovered someone else was in the hall with them, they both jumped and turned around.
"Gah! Don't-a sneak up on a fella like-a that!" Mario shouted instinctively. Luigi was halfway through nodding in agreement when he realized who his brother had just yelled at.
A very pretty blonde woman in a puffy pink dress was standing a few feet back from them. She wore long white gloves up to her elbows, and atop her head was a simple but recognizable golden crown.
"M-M-M-Mario..." Luigi's entire body seemed to turn into jello as he began to quiver. "T-T-Tell-a m-me you d-d-didn't-a j-j-just yell at-a the p-p-princess!"
Mario's nose became entirely red, but the rest of his face turned as white as paper. The plumber was standing dumbstruck, unable to think of a single thing to say. He was now face to face with the royal ruler of the entire Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Toadstool!
"Te-he!" Peach giggled into her hand. That reaction caught the plumbers off guard, and they both fell deeper into a state of shock and confusion.
"P-Princess T-Toadstool! I didn't-a mean-a any offense!" Mario finally found his missing voice and managed to apologize to the woman who could easily have them both beheaded.
Peach let a small smirk linger on her face. These two plumbers were awfully funny, and she was enjoying their discomfort. Yet the princess knew it was unbecoming of a princess to have too much fun at the expense of her subjects.
"It's quite alright, no offense was done. Besides..." She allowed a cheeky grin to fill her face. "Daddy never idid/i like that painting. He said looking at it made him feel out of shape." Peach giggled once more.
Finally the plumber brothers were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Luigi was still so shaky he had to steady himself on the wall. Mario meanwhile was absently twisting his cap in his hands.
"You two do not have to look so nervous, you know." Peach noted, seeing the two seemed incredibly uncomfortable around her. "A girl might think you did not wish to speak to her."
"N-N-N-No!" Luigi shook his head furiously, and then quickly waved his arms in panic. "I m-m-m-mean, y-yes! I m-m-mean... uhh... Marioooo!"
While the younger but taller brother was flailing about in a panic (which made the princess giggle once more), his older but shorter brother just shook his head.
"Hey, Luigi! Didn't-a I tell-a you earlier not to look-a like a country bumpkin in front-a the people in-a the castle?" Mario shook his head, now enjoying a small laugh at his brother's expense.
"Y-Y-You n-never mentioned a P-Princess-a!" Luigi stammered.
Peach giggled once more and stepped forward, shaking her head slightly to the two brothers. "So tell me, what brings you to the castle this day?"
Mario had tried to play it cool, but suddenly his face fell a bit and a pink twinge crept across his nose and cheeks. "Oh... well-a... we're here-a to, uh... fix-a the toilet."
No matter how hard he tried to act cool, Mario found it impossible to make his purpose for visiting the castle sound interesting. The plumber rubbed the back of his neck, weakly trying his best to laugh. The chuckle that came out only made things more awkward than silence would have.
Princess Toadstool started to open her mouth, but suddenly at the far end of the hallway a door slammed hard enough to shake the walls, and rattle the unrealistic portrait of the King.
"Yiyayi... who goes around-a slamming stuff so loud-a?" Luigi gulped for a moment. He had not expected that sort of behavior at the Mushroom Castle.
Peach apparently agreed, suddenly placing her hands on her hips. "Hmph! I do not know, but it is most unacceptable! I shall certainly have to have a word with whoever did that!"
Loud footsteps echoed in the hallway, and soon a bulky knight in armor appeared. Mario and Luigi both looked surprised, and Peach gasped and covered her mouth for a moment.
"Sir Wario!" Peach was astonished that the Captain of her Knights would behave so rudely. "Please tell me you have a good reason for slamming the door like that! It is most unbecoming a Knight..."
Wario slowly lifted the hinge on his helmet, revealing his face. A strange look was bubbling in his eyes, and the rest of his face seemed stone-like. He did not immediately answer, instead he stood silently staring at the Princess and the two plumbers. Then, a smile cracked on his face.
"Yes, I do have a good reason, Princess... you see... I am no longer satisfied as lowly Captain of your Guard... and soon I shall the King of the Mushroom Land! Gwa he he ha!"
Luigi tilted his head, and Mario felt a cold shiver up his spine. Yet both brothers knew this was not their place, and so they remained quiet. Peach, for her part, took a step closer to the Knight Captain and raised one eyebrow.
"Saying such a thing is borderline treason, Sir Wario... if this is a joke-" Her threat was cut short as Wario drew his glimmering silver sword, which caused her to fall completely silent other than a gasp of shock.
Wario grinned. "No joke, Peach... now, come along with me... we're going on a little trip! Gwa he he ha!" Wario started advancing menacingly towards the Princess.
Mario panicked. He was just a simple plumber and carpenter, but at this moment he was being called to do something fantastic. He could not simply cower in the corner shaking, he had to stand up and defend his Kingdom! The Princess had been good to the Mushroom people, and while Mario was scared, he had to do something!
He humped forward, swinging his plunger at Wario! "Alright you-a miserable meatball, just-a stand back-a or I'll-a knock all of your teeth out!"
Wario looked towards the plumber and jumped forward, smashing Mario in the side of his face with the blunt edge of his glimmering sword! Mario slammed into the wall, his nose now bleeding.
"M-M-M-Mario!" Luigi cried out in fright and horror, but he was too afraid to move and attack. The taller brother took a deep breath and cleared his mind, trying to summon up all of his hidden strength and the depths of his bravery.
"AiyiyiyiyiyiYI!" Luigi yelled out, charging at Wario and flinging his arms, trying to rapidly slap-punch the round knight. Wario sidestepped the second plumber brother and kicked him in the back as he passed, knocking Luigi down to the ground.
Princess Toadstool screamed out for her guards, but Wario grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her up onto his shoulder! As Peach tried to punch at Wario's back, the squat soldier laughed in his gruff manner and ran for the stairs, brandishing his sword as he went!
Nearly an hour had passed since Wario betrayed his station and kidnapped the Princess. The castle, and all of the Mushroom Kingdom, was caught in an uproar. An elderly toad with a thick white mustache, named Toadsworth, had summoned an emergency meeting in the throne room.
"... This is completely unacceptable!" Toadsworth cried out in concern. He had called on the entire squadron of castle knights, as well as the two witnesses, Mario and Luigi. The two plumbers were standing in the back, both having fallen silent.
Toadsworth was pacing back and forth in front of the empty throne. He occasionally looked over to the rows of toad knights on either side of the wall. They all looked nervous, some sweating and others shifting uncomfortably. Toadsworth knew that none of these toads had the skills or the valor to survive the dangerous journey.
"... No, no! This will not do... the finest knight in the Kingdom has kidnapped the Princess... and I do not know if we have anyone who could defeat Sir Wario! Oh woe is me..."
Mario jumped up out of his seat. He was acting on instinct. He could hardly believe it as he stepped forward, or the words suddenly coming out of his mouth. "Listen, I'll save-a the Princess! I... I know I screwed up-a with Wario before; but I want-a to save her!"
Toadsworth blinked and tilted his head. "Hmm... well... if you're brave enough to go, I appreciate that but... I do not think you would have much of a chance! Still... if you are determined-"
"I am!" Mario added. He looked shocked even as he spoke – and Luigi looked horrified. The taller brother had gone completely white in the face and his legs were nosily shaking and snapping together.
There was a silent moment as both Toadsworth and the entire Toad Brigade of knights looked at the short, stout plumber. He did not have the traditional look of a warrior, but on his face was a stern expression, and behind his eyes Toadsworth could see a burning passion.
"... Okay... in that case, we will supply you both with swords and wish you luck!" Toadsworth called.
Luigi's shaking suddenly ceased and he stood up straight, his jaw falling open. "D-D-Did you say... both?"
Mario grabbed his brother by the arm and nodded to Toadsworth. "Thank-a you! I promise we'll save-a the Princess! Come on, Luigi!"
As the older brother dragged his frightened sibling out of the room, Toadsworth uttered the smallest of sighs. "... Well, I don't think we can count on them... say, give that Link fellow a ring! Perhaps he can help us out on this one!"
The Mario Brothers had always been simple plumbers and carpenters. Nothing exciting ever seemed to happen to the two. The high point of their Saturday night usually involving fixing a broken drain, or building a shelf. Now, the two exchanged nervous glances. Neither could afford armor, and the closest they had ever come to combat before was swatting flies.
Yet now both brothers had swords. Mario had one strapped to his waist, while Luigi had one over his back. While they had no idea how to properly handle the blades, their quest was a noble one – to save their beloved monarch from a dangerous man with a twisted mustache.
"M-Mario... do you really think-a we can deal with Wario? I mean, he's-a knight! He has-a been for years!" Luigi was as nervous as he ever was, his neck sweating as his followed his brother down an old dirt road towards the large forest just outside of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The older and shorter brother shook his head. "Luigi... I'm-a scared as I've-a ever been... Wario, he's-a real warrior... and we're... well, not." Mario admitted, confirming Luigi's worst fears.
He stopped and turned, looking up at his frightened brother. "Still, we're gonna save-a the Princess, okay? We have-a to! So just believe!"
Luigi sighed, slumping his shoulders. "I-I do believe-a you... but I also know we're not-a exactly the best-a men for-a the job..."
Mario shook his head once more. "Don't-a believe in you! Believe-a in the me who believes in-a you! Now let's-a go!"
The older brother turned and ran into the woods; Luigi taking a deep breath and charging after Mario, hoping to keep up with him. The two descended into the dark depths of the woods. The tall trees and their foliage blocked out most of the sun, keeping the forest in a state of perpetual darkness.
Luigi looked afraid, and Mario was sweating a bit, but trying to keep calm for his brother's sake. The two had taken to walking slower than they should have, their eyes constantly darting out to the sides, keeping sight for any sign of movement.
"M-Mario...?" Luigi stammered. "Is-a it true that a vicious monster lives in this forest? A demon beast that eats your very soul?"
Mario shook his head. "Don't-a be silly, Luigi! There's-a no such thing as soul-eating beasts!"
As the elder brother tried to comfort his younger sibling, a horrific noise filled every inch of the woods. It was a high-pitched wailing sound. The two brothers gasped and jumped close together, now both shaking as they listened to the strange sounds.
"W-What was that?" Luigi stammered.
"I'm-a guessing the wind-a!" Mario gulped, hopeful that he was right.
A second, more horrible wailing sound echoed under the treetops. This time, the sound was followed by a much softer noise. Mario suddenly stepped away from his brother as he heard the second noise... he wrinkled up his face in confusion.
"That... That-a sounds like... something is-a in pain..." Mario trailed off, now less worried for himself, and more concerned for whatever was making the frightening cry in the forest.
Luigi then stopped his shaking and stammering and stared at his brother, transfixed by his words. While it was true that Luigi was afraid of most situations such as this, he was a gentle soul and hated the idea of anything being in tremendous pain.
"... We should-a help, Mario." Luigi clenched his fist, his voice steadying out. His brother nodded, and the two dashed off through a patch of bushes and vines to find the source of the pained cries.
In a small grassy clearing surrounded by tall trees, the plumbers found their answer. A strange reptile creature was trapped beneath a large steel cage. It stood on two legs, and wore sneakers and a saddle. The creature was some sort of green dinosaur with a round snout and large eyes filled with sadness.
"Mario!" Luigi ran towards the steel cage without even thinking. His brother gasped and quickly followed after him, grabbing him around the neck to keep him from reaching the bars of the steel cage.
The strange dinosaur inside jumped back at the sight of them and gave a startled cry. It looked terrified at the sight of the two and was sniffing the air warily. Luigi wrestled his way out of Mario's grip, one of his eyebrows raised.
"What are you-a doing?" Luigi was upset.
"Mama-mia, Luigi! Are-a you nuts? You don't-a even know-a what that thing is! It could-a be the monster that eats-a your soul!" Mario scolded his brother. It amazed him that Luigi could be afraid of creatures dwelling in the forest and simultaneously be the first to want to help the caged dinosaur.
"I-I don't eat people's souls!" The dinosaur suddenly shouted loudly.
Mario and Luigi both screamed out in surprise as the dinosaur spoke to them. The brothers jumped back away from the cage, and ended up holding one another in their arms. The two were not the bravest of men, and talking dinosaurs were a rare sight in the life of a plumber.
"You can talk-a?" Luigi slowly broke away from his brother and looked at the cage.
"Of course I can!" The dinosaur crossed his small arms. He looked offended by the suggestion that his speech was in any way strange. "I'm Yoshi... I'm a Yoshi."
Mario blinked, tilting his head to the side. "Yeah, you don't have-a to repeat yourself."
"No... I mean my name is Yoshi... and I'm called a yoshi." The dinosaur attempted to clarify himself, but it was lost on the brothers. They exchanged puzzled glances, and Yoshi gave a sigh as he rested his head against the bars of his cage. "N-Nevermind... will you please let me go from this cage?"
Luigi nodded and made to move for the lock on the cage, but once more Mario stopped him, getting between his brother and the caged dinosaur. "Listen, it's-a not that I don't-a want to help... but why are-a you in this cage?"
The older plumber was a bit suspicious about letting a dinosaur in a cage out simply because it asked them too. After all, Wario was someone who Mario had known for years, and he had betrayed his station and his Kingdom... Mario's trust was at an all time low.
Yoshi let out a sad sigh, poking his round snout at the edge of the cage. His large eyes began to swell with tears. "Please, mister... I've been stuck in here for so long... a really mean creature put me in here... he thought I was the beast of the forest..."
Mario and Luigi exchanged worried glances, and Yoshi quickly shook his head from side to side. "I'm not! I'm just a simple yoshi named Yoshi... the beast of the forest is a totally different creature! I just came here to pick mushrooms for some mushroom stew..."
Rubbing his chin, Mario slowly began to nod his head. "Okay then... I guess-a we should let-a you out then!"
The dinosaur's face lit up and his eyes became large and full of renewed vigor. Mario reached forward and started fiddling with the lock. Luigi moved to help him, and after a few moments of struggling, the two were successful in popping the steel door open with a long swing. The two plumbers took a step back, and the dinosaur inside cautiously stepped out of the cage, looking at the two for a long moment.
Then he grinned and jumped forward, licking Mario's face. "Thank you! Thank you so much!"
Mario wiped the dinosaur spit from his cheek. "Ah, no problem-o!"
Yoshi shook his head furiously. "No! You saved my life... please, can I repay you two somehow?" The creature seemed eager, his eyes still wide.
Mario paused, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well... now that-a you mention it... could-a you help us find someone?"
Realizing what his brother was getting at, Luigi jumped in and recounted their tale. He told them of Princess Toadstool's kidnapping, and of how they had come to track down Wario in the forest. Yoshi gasped and covered his snout as he heard the tale.
"Well... I think I can help." Yoshi responded to the two excitedly. "I know of a place in the woods... its a pretty big stone building! If they went somewhere in the forest, I bet it was there!"
Luigi grinned and Mario looked impressed. The two nodded, and set off to follow the dinosaur. It was a surprisingly short trip. Yoshi led them down a narrow pathway on a hill, and through some tall trees until at last they reached a clearing on the edge of the great forest.
The building Yoshi spoke of was only one story, but it was constructed like a castle. The walls were high, and the only entrance was a large red steel door. Ivy clung to the outside of the castle on the walls, but none grew on the door – as if someone had recently opened it.
Behind the castle was cavern in a hillside. The moment Yoshi got closer to the building, he abruptly stopped and pointed out the cave to the plumber brothers. "Whatever you do, stay away from there... remember that monster you thought I was?"
Luigi's face immediately paled and he began to shake once more, his knees clanging together. "T-The beast that eats-a souls? THAT is-a its cave!"
Sighing, Mario shook his head. "Doesn't matter! We have-a to check this building for-a the Princess! Now come on-a, Luigi..."
The elder plumber stomped forward, puffing out his chest and putting on his bravest face. Mario was not a fearless man – and in truth he was terrified of what he could find on the other side of the big red door – but he knew that he had to do this anyway.
With a gulp, Luigi turned to looked at Yoshi. "Thanks for-a your help..."
The dinosaur nodded, and shifted his weight from foot to foot. "Just repaying you guys for saving me... um... so, I don't really want to go in there... I don't do good inside places like that... but I'll wait here for you, and if you find your Princess, I'll let her ride on my back!"
Luigi patted the dinosaur on the snout and smiled at him. "Thanks-a Yoshi!" The younger plumber could stall no longer, and he headed into the castle to follow his brother.
When Luigi entered the castle, he gasped at the sight. The main hallway was littered with massive statues of a frightening beast. The creature depicted in the statues resembled a turtle, but with gigantic spikes protruding from the shell, and the monster's head. Luigi trembled, hoping that these were just the product of a sculpture's imagination.
"Back-a here!" Mario was hiding behind one of the statues, and waved Luigi over. The taller brother crouched down next to his brother, and the two poked their heads out from behind the statue. In the middle of the room, there were several odd creatures milling about.
The creatures were short, round and brown. They resembled mushrooms and had no hands, but large feet. There eyes were large – and so were their teeth, which stuck out of their mouths.
"What-a the heck are those?" Luigi whispered.
"They're-a Goombas!" Mario replied, also speaking silently. "They're-a monsters that live in this-a forest... but I don't-a think they're very smart-a."
Luigi gulped once more. His legs felt like jelly. "M-Mario... I suppose now is-a when... we fight?"
Mario paused, clasping his brother's shoulder and looking him square in the eyes. "Luigi... I know you're-a scared... so am I... but this is-a for the Princess-a! It's-a for our entire Kingdom! We have-a to save her!"
The younger brother paused, and the color started to return to his face. He slowly nodded his head. "O-Okay... you're-a right..."
Mario grinned beneath his bushy mustache. "Then let's-a go!"
The brother drew their swords and jumped from behind the statue of the dragon-turtle. The nearest Goomba hoped up and down, growling at the sight – but Mario plunged his sword into the small beast and cut it down. It was the first time Mario had ever done something like that, but he had no time to reflect on the situation.
Two more Goombas charged at Mario. He stabbed one in the mouth, but the other jumped up and tried to bite him! Mario jumped back, and ended up landing atop another Goomba – stomping it with his jump.
"Whoa!" Mario was shocked to see that he had defeated one of the monsters simply by jumping on it.
"AIYIYIYIYIIIIEEE!" Luigi screamed out in pain, running and flailing his arms; one of the Goombas had bitten him on the butt. The younger brother ran wildly and ended up crashing into the wall – and crushing the Goomba against the bricks. "That was... aieeee..."
Slashing and slicing, Mario cut down the remaining Goombas with his sword. He glanced around the room checking for any more, and as he did he spotted a door on the far wall. Mario grinned and waved to his brother.
"Luigi! Come on-a! I bet the Princess-a is back-a there!"
The younger plumber rubbed his sore rump and started to follow his brother. Just then, he noticed something glinting silver coming from above and gasped, yelling out for his brother to watch out. Mario twisted around just in time, as the squat, armored knight landed on the ground with a massive thud.
The ground shook.
"Gwa he he ha!" Wario cried out, slashing his glimmering silver sword at Mario. The plumber tried to block the blade, but Wario's strike was strong and sent Mario's sword flying from his hand and across the room.
"Gwa he he ha! Did you think you had any chance?" Wario growled, smacking Mario in the side of the head with the blunt edge of the sword. "I've always been better than you! Your whole life! You're just a dumb plumber... I'm a freakin' knight!"
Mario tried to get crawl back to his feet, but Wario kicked him in the side, sending the plumber doubling-over and clutching his side in pain. Luigi looked on, too horrified to do anything, frozen by fright.
"Wario... why-a did you... betray-a your post?" Mario looked up at the knight with anger in his eyes.
"Gwa he he ha!" Wario laughed once more, kicking Mario closer to one of the walls. "I'm tired of being a nobody! The King never respected me, and neither does that dumb Princess! He he ha... but now, I'll hand the Princess over to the Koopa King, and he'll reward me with magic! Gwa he he ha... then I'll rule the Mushroom Kingdom!"
Wario reached down to a small pouch on his belt and pulled out a small, black orb. It had two round white eyes and small feet. Wario began to wind up the device, and Mario gasped when he realized what it was.
"Is that-a..." Mario gasped, fighting for the strength to stand.
"Bob-omb? Yes..." Wario growled, and he set the small, mechanical bomb down on the ground. It began walking towards Mario, who had scooted up against the wall by this point. Wario took a few steps back, grinning obscenely.
"M-M-Mario!" Luigi ran across the room, his feet finally unfrozen. He swung his sword like a golf club, smacking the bob-omb away from his brother and into the nearest wall of the building. There was a thunderous explosion and the wall was blasted open, sending large bricks and bits of debris all around the room.
"Thanks-a Luigi!" Mario grinned as his brother helped him back to his feet.
Suddenly, Luigi was smashed in the side as Wario threw his shoulder – and his considerable weight – into the taller plumber! Luigi ended up tumbling right out of the destroyed wall, pulling Mario along with him. The two brothers tumbled onto the ground and ended up in a pile, both groaning in pain.
Wario stepped out, brandishing his glimmering silver sword. He clenched his fist as he waddled closer to the two of them, ready to cleave the two in half!
"You guys have always pissed me off..." Wario grumbled. "And now, I'm going to cut you down and put you out of my misery once and for all!"
As Wario raised his blade, a green-spotted egg smashed into his face, knocking him back and stumbling onto his rump. Yoshi ran forward, putting himself between the Mario Brothers and the knight who sought their demise.
"Yoshi!" Mario called out. "I guess I owe-a you one, now!"
Yoshi's large eyes had narrowed and he flared his nostrils. "That's the guy! This guy is the jerk who caged me up..."
From where he landed, Wario stared at Yoshi, transfixed on the dinosaur. For the first time in their lives, the plumber brothers saw Wario looked frightened. His face had whitened and he was shivering and sweating.
"S-Stay away, monster!" Wario waved his sword randomly, trying to keep Yoshi at bay. "You're the monster that eats men's souls! Stay back!"
Suddenly the dinosaur started to shake and he exploded with anger, waving his small arms and jumping up and down. "I am not the monster! Why does everyone think I am? Yeah I eat stuff... but I just poop it out in an egg!"
A silence fell over the three humans, as none of them had any response. Mario and Luigi raised their eyebrows, while Wario slowly stood back up, still brandishing his sword. Slowly, a rather pompous expression crossed his face.
"So... you're not the monster, you say...? Then I guess I can kill you with them! Gwa he he ha!" Wario laughed, his fear being traded for the arrogance he so proudly displayed.
A bead of sweat rolled down Yoshi's head as he realized he had given up a chance at scaring Wario into standing down. He looked over to the plumber brothers and shot them an apologetic glance. By now, Mario and Luigi had gotten up and were standing on either side of Yoshi as the trio slowly backed away from Wario.
The treacherous knight was advancing, raising his sword above his head. "Gwa he he ha... I can't believe I was so scared... of course there isn't a monster that eats souls! Gwa he he ha!"
The situation was growing grim. Mario's sword was lost, and while Luigi was holding his, he had no experience with one and doubted he could defeat Wario. Yoshi decided to try his best and he shot his tongue forward in an attempt to make Wario's nightmares come true and eat the man!
Yoshi's sticky tongue bounced off Wario's breastplate. The knight briefly paused, but as he realized he was unharmed, he grinned even wider and started running towards the three.
"You can't beat me! You're all pathetic..." Wario grinned.
Yoshi frowned. This was the man who had imprisoned him inside a cage! He had apparently kidnapped the friend of the nice brothers who saved him... the dinosaur refused to lose at this moment. He reached beneath his saddle for a moment and handed a small feather to Mario.
"Take this! It's magic... with it maybe you can defeat him!" Yoshi pleaded with Mario.
"I can-a try!" Mario squeezed the feather in his hand, and suddenly smoke covered his body. When it cleared, Mario looked the same, save for the bright yellow cape around his neck.
Wario did not look impressed. "Gwa he he ha, you look groovy... but that won't save you!"
"Mario! Jump, the cape will make you incredible! I promise!" Yoshi called to the plumber.
Mario seemed unsure, but as Wario charged at him with his sword, Mario jumped into the air – and much to his surprise, he stayed in the air. While the plumber had always been unusually good at jumping for a man of his short stature and round belly, he was now doing something far more incredible than ever before.
He was flying.
"Whoa! I'm-a like-a superhero!" Mario was shocked – and Wario stared up at him at a loss for words.
"Yeah! You're-a like... uhh... oh, I know! You can be called-a Jumpman!" Luigi, who was a fan of comic books, instantly took the opportunity to give his brother a nickname.
Wario scoffed, spitting on the ground. "Pah! Jumpman indeed! You can fly around all you want, I'll run you through with my steel! Gwa he he ha!"
Mario flew down, kicking Wario in the side of the head and sending him down with a tumble. Wario cried out and quickly jumped back to his feet – but Mario came crashing down, planting both of his boots into Wario's face! The chunky knight was once more smashed into the ground.
"Wahooo!" Mario jumped away, taking back to the air. He was soaring like a bird, buzzing around the clearing in the forest with a grin on his face.
Scrambling back to his feet, Wario rubbed a trickle of blood away from his bulbous nose. The stumpy knight was at a loss for words, unable to process Mario's getting the upper hand. However, Wario was as sneaky as he was mean, and as the high-flying plumber came down for another kick Wario spun around and slashed his sword!
Mario cried out as his cape was sliced down the middle and he crashed onto the ground. Wario quickly pounced, kicking the plumber in the ribs and using his boot to rolled Mario onto his back. The wicked knight raised his glimmering sword high above his head – but as he brought it down, Yoshi wrapped his tongue around Mario's leg and pulled him away from Wario!
Mario ended up lying in front of Yoshi and Luigi, while Wario stood on the other side. The knight roared in anger and started stomping towards them – but the roar had been a mistake. The loud noise awoke something slumbering in the nearby cave.
Slowly, something emerged from the cavern beside the small castle. It was short, round and completely pink. Waddling around on large feet, the creature seemed sleepy as it strolled right between the plumbers and their dinosaur pal and the knight who sought their demise.
"Wha...?" Wario tilted his head, spotting the bizarre pink puff ball.
Yoshi's eyes widened to the size of pumpkins and he jumped back behind Mario and Luigi. "T-T-That's the monster! The one people always confuse me for... that's the real monster that eats souls!"
The awkward silence once again descended on the group. Luigi and Wario had both been frightened of the legends, but upon seeing the pink creature that barely came up to Mario's waist, they both stared slack-jawed. The fight was forgotten for the sheer insanity of Yoshi's claims.
"That... is-a the monster?" Mario finally broke the silence.
"GWA HE HE HA! Oh... this is rich... Gwa he he ha... THAT? You expect me to believe that ting is the monster? Bah, begone you stupid puff!" Wario slashed his sword at the small creature. No one, save Yoshi, could have expected what would happen next.
The pink creature jumped back from Wario and frowned at him; then it opened its mouth so wide it encompassed most of the creature's body and began to suck in the air – several rocks and loose sticks on the ground flew into the creature's mouth – and much to his horror, Wario was drawn into the strange being's enormous mouth!
"W-W-Whaaaaat!" Mario and Luigi gasped in shock as Wario was eaten by the puff ball. The pink creature had doubled in size... then, it seemed to swallow, and returned to its ordinary small stature.
Luigi's eyes were now wider than Yoshi's. "D-Did Wario just-a... get... eaten?"
"... Hiiiiiiiiiiiii~!" The small pink puffball exclaimed, and then it burped – expelling Wario's glimmering, silver sword from its mouth. The creature swayed for a moment, and them waddled back into the cavern beside the castle.
For several long moments, the two plumber brothers and their dinosaur friend stood in mute surprise, watching the cavern for any sign of the fluff ball or Wario. It seemed inconceivable that such a powerful knight could be defeated in such a strange way, but the only remnant of Wario seemed to be the glimmering sword on the ground.
Mario cautiously approached the fallen sword and gingerly picked it up. He looked at the shining blade and then slid it into the sheathe where Mario's sword had once stayed. The plumber shook his head, and then waved to Luigi and Yoshi. "Okay you-a guys, no more slack-jawed staring like we're-a some country bumpkins! We need-a to get in that castle and save-a the Princess!"
"Oh boy! I never met a real Princess before!" Yoshi was excited as the group headed back through the exploded walls and into the small castle. Their eyes instantly moved to the door on the far wall. The last time Mario approached it, Wario had attacked... but this time as the group reached the door, there was nothing.
No Wario, no Goombas, and much to Luigi's relief, no turtle-dragon like the statues in the room. Mario grabbed the handle of the door and wrenched it open. The trio stepped inside and Mario beamed.
"Princess Toadstool, your plumbers are here to save you!"
The smiles on Mario and Luigi's faces suddenly vanished, replaced by looks of confusion. Yoshi tilted his head, and then nervously shifted.
"... No offense, but your princess isn't at all what I imagined."
In the middle of the room was a short man with a mushroom on his head. The small fellow was one of the Toads – the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom. He stepped towards the group and smiled.
"Ah... thank you for saving me! My name is Toad... I really appreciate you're help..."
The boy's face fell. "But... unfortunately, our princess is in another castle."