A/N: This chapter is a combination of the Prologue and the first chapter. This is the beginning of the Flower Cup chapter in the Love Tennis Saga.

Chapter 1: New Faces, Fiery Egos

One week ago, the Love Tennis Club were invited over to the Mushroom Kingdom to compete in a series of tournaments. From there followed a series of issues that some of the members were facing as well as the matches themselves.

The movie actor-turned-tennis star, named Colin, was facing a problem. He felt that nobody from the Mushroom Kingdom recognized him at all, despite being famous on Earth. Luckily, a female Toad, named Toadette, asked for his autograph. He gave it to her and felt happy that he has at least one fan that adores him.

Despite the one-sided defeat to Princess Peach, his fanbase grew exponentially. Of course, this was much to the annoyance of Fong, Sam and later on, Rolf. Rolf, out of everyone in the Love Tennis Club, spoke out about Colin's obssession about his fanbase. Colin would shut him up about it. Rolf eventually accepted Colin's love for his fans, because it was something that Colin liked.

Toshi, the Famed Sensei of Lawn Tennis, was practicing his racket swings like a samurai before his match with Yoshi. But, when he inadvertently sliced a falling cherry blossom from a cherry tree, his mind started to become clouded with doubt. He was not sure if he will do good against Yoshi the next day.

He would lose to Yoshi, but everything he felt from his mind before then would be erased. He spoke to both Hugo and Troy about his distractions during the match. He then opened up on how much strong he grew since the days he still resided at Shiranui Castle.

Lately, though... Toshi was seen interacting with the Elegant Countess of Tennis, Amorette. One day, she was being rude to a waiter Toad at the resort's buffet restaurant. So much so that he grew angry at her. He told a Toad, who is an elite tennis player of his kind. The Toad grew angry at Amorette as well.

Amorette defeated Toad in her quarterfinal match, but she felt unsatisfied and unhappy. She felt that way after Toad had said that he will never forgive her for what she had done to his waiter friend. She eventually apologized to the Toad waiter and gave him a Victor Mushroom as a gift. The waiter Toad forgave Amorette and he became friends with her.

Amorette played her semifinal match against Princess Peach and was subsequently defeated. She felt sad for a bit, but after a trip to the hilltop filled with cherry trees, she was happy as a clam. The Toad that played Amorette apologized to her for his angry behaviour. She forgave him and they both talked. Toad believed that Amorette and Toshi were meant to be. At first, Amorette brushed it off, but eventually, especially in the Mushroom Cup final, she grew to be much more fond of Toshi.

Lani, the Bright-eyed Tropical Princess, headed into the Mushroom Cup as the youngest competitor to enter the tournament. She was also undergoing her tribe's traditional tennis trials to ascend the throne. She went through four of them, with only one failure, heading in to what is to be her final trial: Winning the Mushroom Cup.

She went through a hard-fought first match against Paratroopa and defeated him. She became friendly to him after the match finished. He was happy that he made a new friend.

Lani met JJ and caught up on things. He believes that Lani will win the Mushroom Cup. At the same time, Lani grew fond of JJ's cheerfulness. Lani never had friends outside her tribe and the Love Tennis Club, so it was good to see that the friendship is bonding between them.

Lani, in her semi-final match, defeated Yoshi. He was sad at first, but because of Lani's infectious cheerfulness, the green dinosaur became happy and let her ride on him.

Just like Toshi, Lani started to have doubts. She was worried that she may not like her new place as Queen of Laguna Island. Likewise, she may have endure another trial. She opened up to Emily, Bridget and Princess Peach. The girls reassured Lani that everything will be fine and she will make a good queen.

That became reality when Lani defeated Peach in the final and won the Mushroom Cup, becoming the youngest champion to win the title. The trophy she had won is proof enough that she is worthy of the throne upon her return home.

Suzuki and Gloria were a mismatch to begin with. Gloria did not like Suzuki's silly antics on the court. Despite their 'strange' relationship, they soundly defeated the team of Yoshi and Baby Mario and the team of Daisy and Birdo in their first two matches.

Gloria felt unhappy when she saw Daisy cry after their match. Suzuki knew he was mistreated by Gloria, but never openly admitted it... Until he saw Gloria at the balcony of her hotel room. Gloria eventually apologized for the way she acted and vowed to work well with Suzuki in their finals match.

Their opponent is the team of Boo and Wario. Their potshots at Gloria's face made her irate that she almost lost her temper. Despite that near outburst, Suzuki and Gloria won the match and the Mushroom Cup.

Now, it is time for the Flower Cup, and five more entrants are itching to step up. Who will take home the title on the clay court?

The Love Tennis Club crowded around the tournament board in the Tennis Village courtyard. Soon, the tournament board turned on like a TV. There were gasps, cheers and groans.

Troy, Bridget, Fong and Sam stepped forward to find their names as contenders in Singles play for the Flower Cup.

Troy spoke first. "Well... I get to take on that tall skinny man in purple! Well... I'll cream him and the rest of the competition!"

"He has a name, you know..." Hugo said, in a odd expression, "And it is Waluigi."

"Whatever." Troy said, in his usual cocky tone, "I'll still cream him!"

"Another princess?" Colin cried in shock, referring to Princess Daisy "You're so lucky to face her, Bridget! I really wish you well in that match!"

"Thanks, Colin!" Bridget cried, happily "I'll do my best out there!"

Fong looked up and said, "I have to face the baby version of Mario?" He paused and then said, "Well... He should not be a problem for me. If anything, I shall make him smile."

Sam looked up and said, "Well... If it isn't Mario's younger brother... Luigi, isn't it? This should be a very interesting match."

The Helghast soldier stood there until he heard a quacking noise. He looked down to see a little guy in red, wearing blue shoes and a white mask.

"What do you want?" The Helghast soldier barked

The little guy made a quacking noise. "You want me to look at the board?" The Helghast soldier yelled, "Fine..."

He looked up to find his figure alongside the little guy, whose name is simply 'Shy Guy'. He noticed his first opponent is the team of Luigi and Princess Daisy. He looked at his newfound partner and said, "Yes... We will conquer the Flower Cup... FOR HELGHAN!"

"Well, then..." Zeta said, "Those who will not take part on the Flower Cup, don't fret. The Star Cup will unfold and the rest of us will take part. In the meantime, why don't you have fun while you're here in the Tennis Village?"

Everyone cheered.

Troy walked out of the Bowser Stage attraction. He smirked as he walked around. "Well done, Troy!" A Toad passerby said, "You really took it to Yoshi!"

"Heh. It was nothing." Troy replied, in his typical cocky attitude, "If this Waluigi is anything like that little green dingo there, it'll be an easy match for me to win!"

"To tell you the truth, I love your attitude. You talk the talk and you back your words up on the court. I like that." The Toad replied, "But I should caution you that Waluigi is a natural-born cheater, and he will do ANYTHING to try to make everything in his favor. I think you should watch your back."

"Hmph." Troy said, "That tall skinny bloke can't touch me! I've got my own back to rely on!"

"Well... OK." The Toad said, "Just make sure you don't hurt yourself. I'll see you in tomorrow's match." He waved goodbye and he went on his way.

Troy continued to march along, until... He tripped and fell on his stomach! He angrily got up and cried, "Wha-? Who did that? Who dared to try and trip me?"

"Wah, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Someone cried and stepped out of the hedge. It was the 'tall skinny bloke' that Toad warned Troy about. "That-a look on your face is-a pricelesssss! It-a never getsssa old!"

"I'm not afraid of you, Waluigi!" Troy retorted, "I could cream you anytime!"

"Huh?" Waluigi grunted angrily, "What? You-a looking to lose tomorrow?"

"You never seen me in action!" Troy remarked, "I'll make you pay for what you did to me just now! And I know just how to do it!"

Waluigi growled and cried, "I'll-a make you eat those words! I don't-a care if you-a guest here... I'll-a make you suffer!"

They both growled fiercely. The way they looked at each other shows that they developed a rivalry and as such, they truly hate each other. Waluigi hates Luigi just as much as Wario hates Mario, but when he makes new rivalries, he and the other person develop that deep sense of hatred for one another. One can look at the intensity in both males' eyes and see that they really loathe and dispise one another.

"But-a not here." Waluigi said, unconventionally lowering his anger, "We'll settle thisss tomorrow!"

"Hmph." Troy retorted, "Now, you're speaking my language."

They both headed off in different directions.

Meanwhile, at the resort pool, Bridget was in her blue swimsuit taking in the sun while lying down on a long chair. "Ahh..." She said to herself, "The sun feels good! It can really perk me up..."

"It can?" Someone asked, breaking Bridget out of her trance

She looked up to see a Toad. "Oh... Hello there." Bridget greeted,

"Good afternoon, Bridget." The Toad replied, "I could not help but overhear you speak. But, does the sun really makes you feel good?"

"Oh yeah!" Bridget cried, in her typical cheerful tone, "It really dries up my sweat because I work out. I'm not just a tennis player, but I am also a cheerleader."

"Oh, wow." Toad replied, "That is amazing! You must be so active! Have any your kind's men fallen for you?"

"No." Bridget answered, "Truth is, I never really fell in love with anyone at Jocksford University."

"Why?" Toad asked,

"I'm so busy all the time, with tennis and cheerleading practice." Bridget said, "I never get a chance to settle down."

"I see." Toad replied, "Well... The perfect guy will come for you soon enough. Just give it time."

Bridget pondered for a bit and then said, "OK. Hopefully that time will come..."

Little did she know that another airplane is making its way towards the Mushroom Kingdom and it had the initials "J.U."...

Meanwhile, at the cherry tree fields west of the resort, Fong is practicing some Tai Chi, an ancient martial art devoted to soft flowing movements of the body. He was practicing his actual movements on the court before his match against Baby Mario.

A young woman with red sticks in her short black hair and wearing a white shirt and a purple skirt approached Fong. "Good afternoon, sir." She said and politely bowed, "My name is Momoko. I'm looking for Toshi. Is he around?"

Fong stopped moving and got back to his standing stance. He turned to see Momoko and said, "No. I have not seen him."

Momoko sighed sadly, but her expression quickly changed when she felt wind. "Toshi is usually by himself in places like this." She said, reminiscing "Whenever he needs to be alone at Shiranui Castle, this is the kind of place he likes to go to reflect and to clear his mind."

"I can relate." Fong replied, "That feeling is mutual, like two neighbouring lilypads in a quiet pond. Back at my dojo, the Tianlongshan Dojo, whenever I feel that I need a break from training, I usually take a hike in the mountains to have nature sooth me. I miss those days."

"My name is Master Fong of the Tianlongshan Dojo." He introduced and bowed, "It is an honour to meet you. If I see Toshi, I will let him know that you're here in the resort."

"Thank you very much, Master Fong." Momoko replied, "I really would like to see him. I wish you well in tomorrow's match against Baby Mario."

"Thank you." Fong replied,

Meanwhile, at a spa in the upper echleons of the resort, Sam is relaxing in a spa. She was also watching a repeat of a match on TV between Mario and Luigi.

"Impressive." Sam spoke of Luigi, "His reach is quite good. He may not have the footwork of his older brother, but he's something..."

After an half-an-hour spent in the spa, watching the entire match as a whole, Sam exited the spa and changed back into her usual business attire. She then walked over to an open space, looking over the resort and said to herself, "Father... If you are watching me, I pray that I will go far and win the Flower Cup. I say that not just for the sake of the Dubno Company, but I also say that for the sake of the Miller name."

Sam then decided to head to an area of the resort and make a reservation for her, Zeta and Amorette to eat at an a la carte restaurant for the next day.

Upon receiving the reservation ticket, Sam said, "Well... This a la carte place seems like it's the real deal... After my match is over, I will find out for myself how good the food is..."