This is the quickest I've updated... I'm proud of myself! xD And it was even the most difficult chapter I've written so far..
Anyways, as always, I don't own these characters.
Enjoy. :3

"Are you ready? Do you really think you have what it takes?"
Ach... not this again.
"You're still so young! Are you ready?"
For you to know so much about me, you should know very well that I have been anticipating this day for some time.
"You're right. But you've never had to think about it by yourself."
I do my best work alone. Now, if you would kindly silence yourself, I must rest in peace.

What is it, you faceless imbecile?
"Just look at you! Overindulged! Selfish! Weak!"
"Nothing to say back? Ha! Oh, what a pathetic king you are going to be!"
Fick dich.
"Our pathetic king! Oh, poor Darkland! Our thirty-sixth ruler is pathetic!"
Genug! Show yourself!

Light quickly illuminated the room, forcing Ludwig to blink. But the space was not his normal bedroom. He found himself facing the throne. He knew it should be unoccupied, but instead, a large figure rested casually there. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he took in the features of the figure, from the feet up.
Cuts, scars, open wounds...blood was spattered on the large body, but it just sat as though nothing were wrong. The most disturbing feature, however, was not one of the marks on the body, but the face. Disfigured, snarky, and far too familiar. Those dark red eyes... they were prominent in some of Ludwig's earliest memories.

"Well, here I am," the voice was now matched to this figure. The horrid, mocking figure of his father's living corpse. "Really, son! Didn't you recognize your old man's voice?"

"Va... Vater... but..."

Ludwig staggered backwards in disbelief at the realization of just who had been haunting him the past few nights. Everything hit him at once. He wrapped his arms around his stomach, feeling as though he would vomit when the smell of blood and rotting flesh entered his nostrils. He was unable to keep from gagging as his father let out roaring laughter.

"Goddamn, boy! I was just giving you a hard time! But just look at you! You wuss!"

"Vater... how?"

Ludwig's body shook as the laughter grew louder, filling his good ear until it felt he would become entirely deaf. But no such luck. Instead, he was frozen. Tormented. Normally, he would be the last to show any sort of fear over this sort of thing, but this was beyond anything in his studies.
Nothing had prepared him for this sight. For this scent. For this pain.
He had been ridiculed by his father for years. Often he would return the disgust- it was a joke... Some bizarre bond between the two of them... But this?

"This is impossible! You are dead!"

"Well, aren't you the smart one?"

Ludwig shut his eyes tight, ridding himself of the visions.
How is this happening? You are dead! I confirmed that with Sir Kamek! Surely... Surely I have not died as well! That is impossible! Everything that's happening right now is impossible! This is some absurd dream... why can't I wake myself?
"Look at you! You can't even look at me now! How are you going to be king if you can't look at us who did it right?"
"Damn, I raised you better than this, son! But you're nothing but a wuss! Maybe if Junior or Roy had been born first..."
Vater... Genug.
"You had better not screw up what I've done for this place!"
...Vati... Bitte.
"Well, aren't you gonna say something back? You normally do, you smart-ass!"
Genug! You are not here! Go away! Leave me to rest, you imbecile!

At that, Ludwig opened his eyes again, thrusting his arm toward the face of this vission.
"Oh... ow..."
Or at least what he thought was his father. Blinking his eyes a couple times, he came to realize that he was sitting up in his own room, in his own bed. And he had just punched one of his younger brothers, causing him to fly into the wall.

Iggy whimpered loudly, rubbing his head as he tried to get back on his feet.
"Ah, Kooky... That really hurt, you meanie!"
"Are you okay?" Ludwig turned to his side, facing Lemmy. Instead of walking around the bed to reach the other side of the room and get to Iggy, the older twin attempted to crawl across the bed. "I'll get to you in a sec, Ig! This bed is big!"

Ludwig put his paw to his forehead, moaning a bit.
"Just what are the two of you doing in here?"

"We couldn't sleep," Lemmy stated as he stumbled over the mattress.
"So we came in here to see if we could sleep with you tonight," Iggy finished weakly, continuing to rub his now bruised head.

The oldest of the brothers fell back onto his pillow, watching from the corners of his eyes as Lemmy reached Iggy and poked at the spot on his head.
"Don't you think you're a little too old for something like that?"
"Um..." The twins looked at each other for a second, then toward their brother. At the same time they responded simply; "No."

Shaking his head slightly, Ludwig silently weighed the pros and cons.
I suppose having them here might allow me to sleep without having another of those nightmares... Besides... They are sure to be hurting now. Probably more than I am. I... I knew that he would die soon enough. But they probably never even imagined such a thing.

"Get over here," he smiled against himself.
"Ja. But you have to sleep. No staying awake and conversing."

The two giggled a bit as they stumbled over to the bed, jumping on it and crawling a bit until they found the most comfortable spots. For Iggy, it was right beside of Ludwig's left leg. He positioned himself with his back turned to his older brother, so that he could see traces of light from under the door. He grabbed a bundle of the large comforter and hugged it tight, then realized he still had his glasses on. He simply shook his head until they fell off of his face and into the floor, then he closed his eyes. For Lemmy, it was right at Ludwig's side, resting his arm and head on his older brother's stomach. He made no attempt to reserve any cover for himself, as he always preferred the cold.

Ludwig considered protesting their positions, but knew it would be no good. Iggy was already snoring. Lemmy was humming a lullaby, one that Ludwig recognized as being sung by Kammy Koopa, long before her senility, to him when he was a mere hatchling. He smiled a bit more, placing one paw on Lemmy's back and the other of Iggy's head. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad having them in his bed, as long as they were to stay asleep.

"Um... Kooky?"
He held back a groan of annoyance when Lemmy's voice rose. Instead, he just turned his head a bit, facing his younger brother, who was now staring wide-eyed back.
"Um... Are any of of going to see King Daddy again anytime soon?"
"What are you talking about? You do realize what we mean when we say that he is dead... Do you not?"
"The why do you ask?"
"Just curious... that is the right word, right?"
"...Good night, Lemuel," Ludwig responded, ending the conversation.

Ludwig fought against himself when he felt the urge to run his fingers through his brothers' hair and sing the old lullaby. He did, however, allow himself to hum a tune of his own. He heard Lemmy's own snoring combine with Iggy's as his vocal sonata continued, and swore to himself that the answer Lemmy's question was a solid 'Nein.'
...I still can not believe that in the morning I will become King Ludwig...
With that, he succumbed to some much-needed slumber.


"So, uh, Old Man... Is this the book you're looking for?"

Kamek turned his head to see which book had been presented to him. He squinted his eyes, but was still unable to read the letters printed on the cover. So he reached out his trembling arm and grazed over the braille with his sensitive claw.
"Cus...tom...s... of... co...ron...a...ti...ons..."
"Yeah, that's what it says," Larry confirmed, distancing himself a tiny bit from the old magikoopa. "So, is that the right one?"
"Yes... Thank you, young Princess Borine."
"It's Prince Larry..."

The young koopaling crossed his arms, realizing that his protest was worthless. He had been told time and time again that he greatly resembled his aunt. But not that much. Of course, with the way Kamek's mind had been slowly dissolving, he knew that the old man wouldn't understand. After all, this was the same man who had burst into his room twice in the night, first believing it to be a bathroom, and then later believing that it was the Castle Library.

After the second time, Larry decided it wasn't too safe to let Kamek wander alone, so he directed him to his destination. He then decided to help find the book in question. He watched as the magikoopa slowly made his way to one of the tables, opened the book, and ran his fingers over the first page.

"So, uh, do you need any help reading that?"
"No, your highness... I am quite fine."
"Then I guess I'm heading back to bed... okay?"
"Alright, Princess... Sleep well. Thank you for helping."
"Don't mention it."

Kamek turned his gaze over to Larry, who stopped half-way through the door.
"If only your brother could see you being so nice for a change... But don't worry... Your nephew will do well, I'm sure. He's a smart kid. Maybe I'll tell him what you've done tonight."
"Don't, for the love of god," Larry mumbled under his breath. "I have a reputation for not doing nice things like this. But I'm too tired to pull some full-on prank. I'm not going to do anything half-assed."

Rubbing his eyes, he walked out the door quickly to avoid any further conversation. The whole thing was just too weird, and he wanted to forget all about it. As he reached his room, he ran his claws through his hair, now down and reaching just above the middle of his back. He payed no mind to the piranha plants that had awoken and eyed him suspiciously as he flopped onto his bed.

He blocked out the thought of Wendy being the queen of another kingdom.
He blocked out the thought of King Dad being dead.
He blocked out the idea of Ludwig being the king of their home.
Drifting to sleep, he blocked out the fact that his family would never be the same.

I've noticed that this is my most popular work as far as favorites and watches go, and is by far my longest.. but it has the least amount of comments. =p Please, if you haven't yet, comment so I can know what you like or don't like about the story! And for the very few who have commented, it's greatly appreciated. :3