"How many stars are there in the sky? No mortal who has ever stood atop the mortal plane has ever counted them all, because for ever planet there are millions of them out there waiting to fill the night skies. Are they beacons of hope, or callers of destruction? Each of their purposes are mysterious, but yet you can't help but be intoxicated by their beauty as you look up at them. Heh…I'm getting off-track here, aren't I? You didn't come here asking for a lecture on the beauty of the stars, but at the same time this story relates to the possibilities bound to those very celestial phenomena and the multiple timelines of which they intertwine with. After all, the fragile human mind is always drawn to one ideal when they read a story, and that is 'What-if'?"

"What-if the hero made this decision sooner? What if the villain realized his mistake and acted against it? What-if the hot-blooded leader did not meet his fated end? There are far too many possibilities to think about, and covering each one is impossible, for with all the options come differing orders of which they can be spoken in. It is a daunting task, and not all of us can be gifted or cursed with immortality. So to you, my fellow viewer, I will share with you one tale, one that has been spoken of before but a possibility from it that has yet to be seen. It'll be one of the simpler branches to cover, for all it requires is one shift in the continuum for things to unfold…Now lay back, and close your eyes to imagine the events as the words are spoken melodiously into your eardrums…"

Clash of the Elements What-If Scenario (Part 1):

Demise Under the Stars

The end was drawing closer for planet Plit. The urgency was felt in the air as the boy Joe Dark, who took in the power and spirit of the Dark King into his body, was preparing an attack that would surely mark the end of his long-desired target of malice, the new Elemental Overlord Alex Whiter. The reasons for his grudge were unknown to all but himself, but he cared little about revealing them as he stood in the air with his body surging with the true essence of darkness. He was actually unaware of what his efforts would lead to, but since the end result would net him what he wanted nothing else mattered.

The heroes who fought valiantly against him, from the famed Mario Bros. to the esteemed Commander of the M.S.I. Alpha, the queen of the cosmos Rosalina and the former Overlord's best trained warriors the Genesis Samurais had either fallen or died in battle. The boy Alex Whiter was without his subconscious, shattered from an illusion cast by Joe Dark. He laid on the roof of the temple without hope, without feeling, without anything but his blanked eyes and the spirits that rest inside his body that are working to put together the broken parts of his broken subconscious.

There was only one group of beings who were working to fix what is Plit's darkest hour. The venerable Star Spirits, seven celestial entities who exist far above the world in the confines of their sanctuary, forever guarding the most sacred object the Star Rod, which binds the hopes and dreams of the world together into energy for its preservation. At the moment, with the help of their herald who goes by the earthly name of Geno because of the doll he once inhabited, they have pled to the panicked citizens down below to share their dreams so they can power-up the Star Rod and use its energies to revitalize the Elemental Overlord before their planet is destroyed.

With this short recap of events, we have reached the point where time has diverged. In this branch of the continuum there was quite a fewer amount of people convinced that this unknown child could be their savior, and even more that believed that even if he succeeded he would eventually lead to their destruction due to the immaturity that came with his age. As such, the Star Spirits had an insufficient amount of energy gathered in the Star Rod, and as the twinkling lights that represented the wishes of the populace started to fade Eldstar closed his eyelids in disappointment as he releases a scoff past his bushy mustache.

"We failed…You tried your hardest my son, but the populace has no faith in someone they know nothing about." He says, subjecting himself to despair as his voice drips with regret. The pinkish star with the orange ribbon named Misstar turns to her elderly compatriot and says in a tone that has a bit of hope residing in it, "Still, our efforts were not in vain. With the energy we have acquired we will be able to carry everyone except the Dark King and the Elemental Overlord off this planet, migrating them to a new, inhabitable one while the two of them perish in the ensuing explosion."

"Is this truly the right thing to do though?" The pale-purple star with the glasses named Skolar says with an eyebrow raised in suspicion. "We have already earned enough of the higher-ups' ire for going this far in our interference, ending the cycle of the two deities they created to keep the balance of light and darkness intact would certainly end in our demise." "I don't care what they think!" Eldstar bluntly replies. "Losing two people, no matter their importance, is worth it to keep billions alive. After all, who is to say that the Dark King's rampage will end with Plit? We have witnessed once the boy being possessed by his vengeful spirit, and it is only a matter of time before it could happen again."

After giving his reasoning the Star Spirits start to debate over their next course of action while they still have time to do so, while Geno stays away from their attention and wracks his spiritual mind in hopes of coming up with something, ANYTHING that could still be used to save all of his comrades and slay the Dark King. He reaches into the deepest recesses of his memories, struggling to draw something up as the noises around him are slowly silenced. Then he recalls when he attacked Joe Dark before with his Geno Beam, and how his body was gravely injured from the strike in spite of it being non-lethal to other creatures and humans.

"Wait a second!" Geno suddenly breaks his concentration and blurts out to grab the Star Spirit's attention. The seven celestial beings freeze in place and turns their bodies to hear their herald out. "What is it Geno?" Eldstar asks. Floating his body over to the center altar, Geno speaks to the others and says, "Isn't our star energy considered a weakness to beings of darkness?" He asked his suspicions as a question so he can get some confirmation, and as the seven beings float with their eyes widened in shock they exchange looks with each other, as if this thought never once popped into their heads.

"…How foolish were we to forget such a crucial, deciding factor?" Skolar notes with his glasses nudged upward. "Egregiously so, my dear friend…" Eldstar replies as he closes his eyelids and continues to hear Geno out. "Alright, so my theory has been proven true. Then here is what we need to do." With a curving of his body through the air he moves above the Star Rod. "We need to unload all of the Star Rod's energy into a concentrated beam aimed directly at the Dark King. That'll destroy him for good, right?" "It should….Yes, I actually have full faith that your plan should work." Eldstar says, his hopes for an absolute resolution returning to him thanks to Geno's confidently spoken idea. "Then we need to act quickly. I can feel the darkness of the boy's presence growing ever stronger…"

Back at the temple, Joe Dark slips his tongue through his lips and swirls them around blissfully. The time of his foe's destruction was almost at hand, and the tantalizing sensation passing through his mind got him feeling aroused by the mere delight he found in these thoughts. "My victory will be at hand…At least they will be avenged…" The cube starts pulsating like an overloaded star, the waves of energy lashing against the sphere the Dark King is trapped in waiting to be freed. "Yes…Now is the time." With the sphere dispelled with a thought, Joe Dark starts to pull the cube up above his head, streams of energy magnetizing the condensed form to the tips of his fingers as it spins around and changes shape into that of miniature vortex.

As the rotation picks up and draws in more darkness to increases its own size, the energy expands downward and wraps itself around Joe Dark's arm, the excess being released as bolts of lightning that smite random parts of the temple and the ground below, incinerating through everything without effort. Finally the energy hardens into a protective, demonic looking shell, but this is only a temporary effect since the time for the attack's unleashing is dawning ever closer. "Farewell Whiter…" Joe Dark says with his head held back and a deep breath going through his frenzied grin. "It was fun while it lasted." With his eyes widening in overzealous glee, the Dark King is ready to end the struggle once and for all.

But as he finished readying his arm, he feels something coming his way. The sudden shiver buried into his spine causes him to jerk his head up after a brief pause. He widens his eyes in absolute disbelief as a concentrate beam of raw starlight comes hurtling downward in the form of an ever intertwining spiral at a speed that the Dark King quickly realized he would be incapable of getting out of the way of. As the pure white light burned their image into his pupils, he scowls in a frightened manner and widens his eyes, raising his blackened arm up towards it to attack it with the beam meant to crush his true target.

However, it was far too late for him to counter what was coming at him. The energy melded together into a pillar-like form only a couple inches away from Joe Dark and the ensuing dispersion of starlight completely engulfs him. Inside the light of the beam the Dark King could feel his very essence being torn apart bit by bit by the energy, and his regenerative abilities struggled to keep up with the damage being caused. His right arm was burned right off in a blaze of bright yellow flames thanks to the amount of darkness he had gathered, while every other part of his skin peeled off into flakes and turned into nothingness as they descended away from his body.

As he held his left arm out while it lasted, he tried to draw forth his sword, but the moment he went to swing it it was immediately destroyed, shattering into fragments that burn off before his fearstruck eyes. His victory was so close that it angered him to the core that he was suddenly going to be robbed of the sweet splendor of his success. But he wasn't going to let it end like this. Even as his limbs fade away he keeps gritting his teeth and using all of his might and focus in order to bear through everything the heavens were sending his way. So long as Whiter remained unconscious, he would be able to kill him even he had to use his teeth to get the job done.

As the burning sensation incapacitates his nervous system, the left side of the Dark King's face starts to melt away. First the skin turns into a liquid-like substance, oozing off to the side and revealing the flesh and bone underneath one piece at a time. As the skin begins to boil and the vision in his eye becomes distorted thanks to the boiling of the eyeball, he hears a deep, dreadful voice calling out to him from within the sanctity of his mind, "It seems you have failed, such a shame, but that's what you get for your arrogance…" It was the spirit of the original Dark King, who appeared as a pure black phantom behind him with his vacant, blood red smile brimming out of his vessel's sight.

Joe Dark was puzzled. He had sealed the Dark King's influence away so he could regain control of his own body, but now he emerged and spoke to him without any concern. "How dare you speak to me you shadow of the past!" The boy thinks out loud to the black spirit, who chuckles maniacally in a subdued fashion. "You are in no position to bark child. You are dying, and with the fragment of my power you currently wield you will never leave to fulfill your goal." "Bastard…How did you even break free of my hold?" "Foolish child…All it took was for you to break your concentration, and I have returned to claim what is rightfully mine!" "No! I refuse to let a shadow like you attempt to accomplish what you already failed to do before…You are going to burn in Hell with my death like the demon you are!" "You…Aren't allowed to make that decision, boy." As the demonic voice echoes through the slowly decaying mind of Joe Dark, the spirit sinks back into what remains of the body and makes quick work of the fragments of the boy's own soul by devouring it in one bite. With his possession now absolute, the remaining eye of the body becomes pitch black, darkness pouring out of it as the lips curl into a fanged smirk.

From outside the luminous pillar, the essence of darkness begins to seep out through all sides. As the ominous winds are sucked through the cracks made by the being inside, the ground far below rumbles madly in fear. Lightning cracks down from the skies, thunder erupting out as loud as fireworks as the striking bolts rupture the trees and surface of the planet below the clouds. As the star energy continues to pour down the pillar starts to widen, wrapping around the rim of a spherical object and splitting apart into smaller sections until a grim, black and purple bubble of pure darkness is visible behind them. The fog-like shadows are scattered about the perimeter, hiding the figure of the Dark King behind's its menacing layer.

All that can truly be seen is the eerie pale red glow surrounding the blade of his sword, and with a quick yet mighty swing the barrier around the Dark King shatters without question. With this blow darkness is unleashed all about, pushing away the remaining star energy and leaving him without anymore harm. With his possessed body now returned to its true splendor, the ruler of darkness snaps his left fingers callously and condenses the darkness in the air around his head. He tries to form the helmet he once wielded, but finds that doing so is a task he cannot accomplish at the time being. So for now he chooses to accept the ghastly form of his facial protection and peers through the rims surrounding his eyes with a blood-red glow seeping from the pupils. As the curved horns atop the helmet sway back and forth, the Dark King stares down at his current target.

He cared not for the destruction he was causing to the planet just by existence. All the instability and fear mattered little to a man dead-set on one goal. He stared at the unconscious body of the new Elemental Overlord, laughing lightly at his weakness as he quickly teleports over to his location and dispels his sword. Having witnessed things from within, he already knew that the boy's sub-consciousness was destroyed, and at that level there was no mortal way for him to recover. He was completely at his mercy, and though he wanted to destroy him with as much force as he could muster, the Dark King didn't want to take the risk of another outside source interfering with his own long sought out vengeance.

Kneeling down and picking the boy up by the collar of his shirt, the figure raises him up with his right hand and a menacing smirk peering through his darkness shrouded face. With the young Alex Whiter limping about like a rag-doll, the Dark King brought the child in closer to him and let go, sprawling his fingers out so his mystical powers can keep the effects of gravity away from him as he continues to draw him in range. When the time finally came for his moment of glory, the Dark King quickly thrusts his right arm back out, wrapping his fingers as tightly around the neck of the young Overlord as he possibly could. He wasted no time in using all of his strength to squeeze the boy's neck, redness filling up in his lifeless face as blood rushes up through the veins in the neck.

In an act of heartless slaughter, the Dark King successfully causes Alex's head to burst, the rain of blood, flesh and bone splattering all across the ground that surrounds the two figures. As more blood gushes out through the hole in the neck as streams, the monarch of darkness widens his eyes in ecstasy and with a poke of his tongue through the lips he tastes the gory reward of his victory that had plastered itself onto his face. With one last smirk he lets go of the boy's corpse, which tries to reach the ground only for it to be completely disintegrated by a casual cone-shaped blast of violet, dark energy emerging from the Dark King's left palm.

The ground in front of him is also destroyed in the ensuing blast, but besides that no other harm has been done to the structure. With his target now eliminated the menacing man of black waits for the dust of his attack to settle before he looks out at the other unconscious bodies lying around him. He had all the time in the world to pick them off one by one, but in this particular moment his gaze is fixated onto the body of a middle-aged, portly man in a gold shirt and white overalls. It was the famous hero of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, who had managed to retain his consciousness and witnessed in horror all the events that unfolded before him with his eyes widened in stunned disbelief.

His mouth was quivering while open, his pupils having shrunk to the size of pinholes from the utter fear that had gripped his mind. Even if he had only known the boy for a week, he was saddened immensely by his cruel fate, along with the creeping realization that everyone on the planet would suffer the same fate as him in due time. But through this revelation Mario regains his composure, his determined expression returning as he weakly attempts to lift his body up off the ground. With his back still hurting from the earlier confrontation with Joe Dark, the effort takes him approximately fifteen seconds before he is leaned over but still on both of his feet. He holds his right hand out, staring defiantly at the surprised Dark King as he cares little about how outclassed he is against this foe.

"I must commend you for your steadfast iron will, plumber. But why do you even bother? I am a deity, and in comparison to me your planet is but an ant, and in furthering that comparison you are but a gnat to it. By raising your body, you have simply asked for a more suffering demise." The malicious being says to the hero, his left hand extended arrogantly as his eyes brim with some respect for his foe. Mario cocks one eyebrow upward and turns his head to glare at the Dark King with one eye, his next sentence having already been thought up without hesitation. "You just can't expect me to be subservient after you slaughtered one of my friends." He says in calm defiance.

"Really now? You are so willing to call that weak child a friend when you only knew him for but a week? If there was one thing my host body had a point on, is that you and your allies were far too protective of the boy, fostering him without a single thought as to the follies he may have committed." The Dark King withdraws his hands to the side of his body, calling back his sword into his right one before glaring at the plumber with his flaring eyes. "And what would you know about him? Nothing, that's what, because the only way for you to learn about others is to feed off of their emotions and memories. You are a monster who has lost all sense of empathy, and you wish to completely disregard the consequences of your actions to continue your senseless destruction of all around you."

With Mario's brutal yet subdued rebuttal, the Dark King actually flinches in surprise over the fact that his attempt to break the mortal defying him had failed. "Like your baseless accusations mean anything to me. I have broken the young Overlord that you had sought to protect, so your purpose in this world is now over with, and your last stand is just a prelude to the carnage that I shall scatter across the universe." With his echoing declaration, the lord of darkness brandishes his sword out slowly and waits for the plumber to show fear, but is once again surprised and agitated by the fact that the man still glares at him in a manner that was disturbingly similar to the glare Alex Whiter had given his spiritual body not long ago.

"You…No matter how many times he dies, no matter how many times my eyes divert from his figure, that disapproving glare of his is always looking straight at me, making me feel like a child deprived of his emotions and bravery…" The Dark King starts muttering angrily to himself, words spoken that are interpreted as incoherent gibberish by Mario as he prepares to fight against the point he had previously brought to his attention. "Alex's existence was never the only thing driving me, and even with his death my desire to avenge him isn't the only motivation I have to continue onward with. I could go on for hours, citing every last reason as to why I'm defying you despite the differences between our power, but you wouldn't listen to a single one of them. So now, I'm going to let my fists do the talking, and the one blow I will attempt to strike you with will say enough for everyone on this planet!"

With nothing else left to say Mario charges forth, his footsteps being presented through the eyes of the Dark King as a slow, almost snail-like approach. As a being of a higher order, he perceived the speed and strength of his enemies quite differently from all others below him, and without much of a care the malicious being of darkness raised his sword above his head, the glowing afterimages of his blade existing for only a second in the eyes of his foe as he prepares to swing it down to execute him in one fell swoop.

But as Mario got closer, his body started to move faster through the eyes of the Dark King, as he starts to see an aura of golden fire slowly flare up around him, most of it concentrating around his held back right fist as a magnificent glow starts to reach his eyes. At first the Dark King makes nothing of this, but as he swings his sword out in an arc to cleave the plumber he is taken aback when his left hand thrusts out and blocks the slash with only his palm. This effort is then followed up by Mario laying his hand against the dull side of the blade and using it to vault himself slightly into the air, at which point he is not far above the Dark King's face. Without hesitation, Mario swings his tightly clenched fist out with all of his renewed strength and strikes a mighty blow right into the side of the lord of darkness' head.

With his fist planted firmly into the skin, the plumber finds himself suspended in mid-air as the Dark King is forcibly spun around three times as his body is flipped around and launched through the roof, tearing up chunks of the ceiling before he slams straight into the side of the wall on the other side of the temple. The ensuing cloud of dust that rises is visible from the edge of the roof, and Mario lands on the ground with one fist planted on the floor as his other hand is held out beside his leaning body. Golden fire is radiating around his body like an aura, and the plumber feels a tingling sensation of rising anticipation coursing through his skin and spinal cord.

The Dark King quickly recovers from the blow dealt to him, unleashing the full power of his aura to obliterate the area surrounding him within a 100-foot radius. The spherical projection of his darkness pulsates for ten seconds before it collapses back into the owner, who floats past the descending wreckage and moves back towards his opponent, hovering in the air with the right side of his face burned off from the blow. However, his regenerative powers allow him to heal the damage without effort, and as he tightly clenches his fists as they are held out beside his body he begins to increase the pressure surrounding his very form.

Rocks are pulled up from all around and gravitate towards him, disintegrating upon making contact with his overwhelming aura. Environmental damage isn't the Dark King's intention though, for he was hoping to drag in the unconscious bodies and corpses lying around him, only for none of them to budge even an inch, much to his chagrin. "How can this be? You are but a mortal, you should not be able to lay even a finger on my face. The laws of the universe were not designed to work in such ways, unless…No, it can't be." As the malicious being begins to raise his voice out of contempt for Mario's successful strike, he begins to think about all possibilities, and the most likely one forces him to give pause and widen his eyes, looking down at the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom as something begins to emerge from his back.

From the splitting spread of golden fire materializes the shape of a pair of wings, which appear one feather at a time at a rapid pace until they have been summoned in their full glory. As they flap slowly, they extend out to their maximum length, which prove in total to be twice as wide as the plumber's height. The bright red-orange glow of the feathers is similar to the light radiating from the surface of the sun, and the vibrant pattern of colors transmits to Mario's clothing, changing the yellow fabric while leaving the white intact. The flames that remain from the wings flow down to the plumber's neck, wrapping around until a scarf with a solar-like design is solidified and set close to the skin. The tail end of the cloth flaps without restraint, the torn up edge having no physical form, instead choosing to flail about like a newly lit flame.

As Mario raises his body, he begins to float up off the ground, his hands resting precariously in the air as he rises above the Dark King and tilts his head downward to stare at him with his glowing, amber eyes. Though his appearance had changed greatly, he was still the same pure-hearted hero of the Mushroom Kingdom through and through, but he was now being assisted by another force that the malicious being of darkness had assumed he had finally extinguished. In his glowing, ethereal form appeared the Elemental Overlord behind Mario, his non-existent eyes glaring at the desolate gaze of his counterpart with a feeling of contempt that he has felt many times before.

"How are you still alive? You should've been banished to oblivion after I destroyed your host, and yet here you are, impeding me through the body of another! You are defying your agreement with the higher-ups Overlord, you are overstepping your bounds in a way that will bring this very planet down no matter who wins this battle!" As the Dark King lashes out verbally at the spirit floating behind his opponent, the Overlord and Mario keep their cool, the bright orb pulsating with holy energy as the being prepares a response. "You have already broken the natural order of things by interfering where you are no longer needed. The boy was intended to live far longer than this day, and now that the streams of fate have diverted in a new direction you have given me no choice but to end you."

"You would end me?" The Dark King bursts into jolly laughter, which is rather disturbing when mixed in with his grim yet deep tone of voice. Once he has stopped he looks back up at the Overlord and says to him with his left arm held out, "Then you are no better than I am if you are going to use the body of your new successor to accomplish your task." Though he brought a good point up, Mario is the one who quickly replies to it by saying, "The Overlord isn't going to take over my body. You started this fight with me, and I'm going to be the one to end it." With his confident demeanor staying firm in the face of his opponent's demonic gaze, Mario clenches his fists tightly and ignites them both with piercing, golden flames.

But as the plumber floated in mid-air, he recalled the message the Elemental Overlord had delivered to him as he had become one with his body. "I'm sorry for the sudden intrusion Mario, but the circumstances have changed far beyond my control, leaving this as my only solution. I have brought the souls of the Genesis Samurais here with me, along with the souls of the Inner Guardians to increase your power to a point that you should be able to match the Dark King and kill him. I know the time was brief, but Alex did leave one message for you and the others before his soul departed to the afterlife…"

Turning his head to the side so the Dark King cannot see the tear trickling from his left eye, Mario holds his arms out in raring to go into battle as the remainder of the message echoes within his head, "'I want to thank you immensely for everything you had done for me…I wanted so badly to prove that I could handle myself, protect you all as repayment for the times you defended me, but it seems as though I have proven myself to be unworthy of the mantle of the Elemental Overlord…Mario, you are more than deserving of having his powers, for you have always been its protector, and people will always trust you to not mis-use the powers you have been granted…Honestly, it is for the best that things have turned out this way…Cause I always was a boy that was unimportant to anyone's life but my own…"

"Darn it Alex…" Mario mumbles to himself, regretting the fact that he didn't recognize the boy's insecurity issues before he had perished and in turn lamenting that now he would never see him again. But with all of this anger stemming from his regret, he knew exactly who to unleash it all out on. Before he charged forward, the Elemental Overlord said one last thing to his new successor. "Now hear me out…You need to take out the Dark King as quickly as possible, but to do that you'll have to strike him with an attack that overwhelms his regenerative factor. Fight him for now while I explain what you must do…"

The plumber charges forward, swiftly striking the befuddled Dark King with three punches to the chest, his arms gliding through the air in separate arcs that leave trails of golden flames. As the lord of darkness takes these blows thanks to his armor, he hears a sizzling noise coming from his chest and looks down to notice that holes have burned through his defenses thanks to a combination of the fire and starlight surrounding the plumber's fists. As he recovers and swings his sword out in retaliation, Mario uses his newfound speed to duck the blade and glide behind his opponent, preparing a fireball in his right hand as the Dark King quickly spins around to counterattack.

With his blade coming down like a guillotine, Mario is forced to screech to a half as it then passes harmlessly in front of his body. But as he continues to slow down he shifts his body to the side and increases his speed to move past the sword, flinging the fireball to his other hand and slamming it straight into the blade as he passes by it. The sudden thrust of golden fire collides with the darkened steel, swiftly breaking the blade in two with a loud crash as the pointed tip falls to the ground and becomes ignited by the flames left behind in Mario's wake. As the Dark King tries to restore what has been lost, he finds that the fire renders the process incapable of being performed, and the rest of his sword vanishes into oblivion only seconds later.

With his hands having nothing left to grasp, the Dark King spreads his fingers apart and quivers in subdued rage for a few seconds, gritting his teeth into an angered, fanged snarl as he tightly clenches his fists after the loss of his valued weapon. With Mario charging right at him with both of his fists held against the front of his wings, the lord of darkness wastes no time in stomping the ground violently with his right foot, causing pure black energy to erupt from below along with cracking the roof within a fifteen foot radius. While the rocks disintegrate from the Dark King's might, Mario accidentally charges into the darkness summoned before him and finds himself without vision even with the intensity of his glow.

Suddenly, without any warning, the plumber can feel his body being slammed straight in the gut, and he is quickly thrust from the darkness by the Dark King, whose shoulder is planted in his body as he charges through the air with the plumber currently wincing in pain. What follows is a vicious onslaught as midway through his flight the Dark King pulls his right arm back, the darkness behind him dragging swiftly into his fist and swirling around until it is unleashed right into Mario's face with a powerful right hook. The ensuing shockwave that is left behind in the air ruptures the ground below, a sound similar to a sonic boom resounding through the sky as the next punch is thrown out.

This one speeds up the plumber so he is then put a foot away from the Dark King. However, he is not out of his mercy, seeing as since he is still within arms' reach the lord of darkness is able to swing his arms out rapidly to bombard him with punches, each one strong enough to crack the ground below their bodies. Eventually a trail of destruction is left on the roof, and after grabbing Mario by the collar of his shirt the Dark King drags him close to his body and thrusts his fist out one more time after drawing in as much darkness as he can physically muster, the sheer force put into that blow creating a massive, orb-shaped release of dark energy that in turn thrusts the broken rocks into the air behind him, all of them suspended in place until gravity takes hold and drags them into the temple, where their quiet collisions with the floor are heard by none.

But with the Dark King's final blow Mario is able to recover thanks to the time the enraged being now has to spend recuperating from his own assault. As the plumber's body floats above the edge of the temple in front of the fading orb of darkness, he rubs the bottom of his chin with the top of his right glove, proceeding to nod his head afterwards and saying to the spirit of the original Overlord, "Alright…I got all that. Sorry for taking a few beatings, but I wanted to make sure that I was able to hear you out clearly." After Mario offers and apology the fallen deity, he quickly responds with, "That's quite alright…Though in all honesty, destroying the Dark King's momento wasn't exactly the wisest move. Of course, not like I expected you to know such a fact…"

As the spirit consigns to his minor folly, Mario pulls his right fist back and in a flash of light the golden flames are replaced with neon, rainbow-coated ones, which crawl up his arms and spread out until they are one-inch thick. Mario clenches the fingers against his palm tightly, landing on the ground and pulling his entire body back as he gives himself a moment to line up his next move. In the time it takes for him to plan things out the Dark King is able to gaze through the thinned darkness and sees the flames crackling in wait to strike him down. He recognizes them instantly, since they had once before been used to purge his spirit from his immortal body. They were mainly used by the original Overlord to threaten demons and other extra dimensional beings that simply refused to back down through any other methods, but now his new successor bore them on his arm, poised to kill him the moment they connect.

"This is how far you are willing to go Overlord? To annihilate me with the flames collected from the souls of God's apostles? Oh but wait…It is of no consequence to you as to what destroys me, because you aren't the one in control here, the hero of this planet is. Very well then…" The Dark King raises his body's right arm high above his face, bending his elbow so when he snaps his fingers they are resting above his scalp. In an instant his arm is shrouded with condensed darkness in a fashion similar to what Joe Dark's was like when he attempted his final attack. "Unlike the boy, I can summon up my strongest attack as if it was nothing…" He says in arrogance as he lowers his arms slightly so the glow of darkness adds a more menacing flare to the grin currently on his face.

"Now then…Let us see how your flames stand up to the power of the Seven Deadly Sins!" Though the bellowing of the Dark King's confident bravado is heard by Mario, the plumber is completely unaware of what the lord of darkness is planning to do. As the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom charges forth with his Phoenix wings folded inward to increase his velocity, the Dark King shifts his eyes to the right so he can gaze at the unconscious bodies of Mario's comrades. With a swift, callous lowering of the hand, the lord of darkness fires out all the energy in the form of a nightmarish torrent, the grueling screams of the undead echoing within its darkened confines as it tears up the ground while closing in to his targets.

If the attack connected without an equal or stronger force to stop it, it wouldn't just be Mario's friends that would be destroyed, but the rest of the planet as well. With great urgency felt from the fearful widening of his eyes, the plumber shifts his direction and lays his body only an inch above the ground, speeding towards the end of the beam and passing it within a couple of seconds. Once he is in front of the attack he slams the heels of his shoes against the ground to force himself to stop and he turns himself around, wasting no time in slamming his empowered fist into the brunt of the beam.

The rainbow flames burn right through every square inch of darkness almost instantaneously, the roar of a Phoenix being heard as they are fully consumed and erased from the air. In the aftermath of the attack Mario holds his still burning hand in front of his body and keeps his feet firmly placed on the ground. He is sweating, a result of pushing himself to pass the Dark King's ultimate technique before it struck, but he doesn't release a heavy breath of air from his mouth even though he has every reason to do so during this moment of relief. But once the time has passed, the Dark King prepares his arm to fire another beam, the effort proving to not be taxing on him in the slightest as he adjusts his aim to the left side of Mario's body.

Another torrent is fired off, and Mario quickly rushes towards it and smashes the back of his flaming hand against the front of the darkness onslaught to destroy it. It was clear what the Dark King was doing. With the frequency at which he was firing off those attacks, he would keep the plumber away from him while at the same time forcing him to run out of energy from the constant use of the spiritual flames. As he punched away attack after attack, Mario tried to come up with a solution to this conundrum before it was too late, only to harshly realize that there is nothing in his arsenal that can take down the Dark King while at the same time dealing with his attack. The silence of the Elemental Overlord's spirit didn't do anything to help matters either.

All the while the Dark King stood in the same place, firing his attacks off with an arrogant smile on his face as he felts his victory come closer. With the annihilation of the planet, there would be no host bodies for his counterpart to inhabit and thus transfer the elemental powers over to, and in time the "higher-ups" would deal with his spirit, leaving him free to destroy all as he pleased. But as he indulged in his glorious fantasies, something called out to him, a voice that he had thought he had already extinguished. "Hey Dark King! Why don't you stop beam spamming and fight like a gentleman?"

It was Alex Whiter, and though the echoes of his voice sounded off the Dark King still reacted to his taunt in surprise. Though his arm was still covered in black energy, he lowered it and shifted his head around, scanning the skies for any signs of the previous Overlord's spiritual body. But in the time he wastes looking for someone of no significance to him simply because of what they said, Mario recovers from destroying his last week and flares his right arm back up, clenching it into a fist and charging towards the Dark King while his guard is down. By the time the lord of darkness realizes that he might be hearing things, he turns his head around only for his head to lunge forward in pain as the plumber strikes through the gut portion of his armor with all of his strength.

With the shattered metal melting against his glove, Mario keeps pressing his knuckles until they are against the skin, the flames puncturing through and beginning to burn through the Dark King's entire being one piece of flesh at a time. As he begins to die he wonders once more what he could've heard, and after raising his right hand into the air as it gets ignited by the rainbow flames he hears another voice call out to him. "For the lord of darkness, you sure are a gullible buffoon…"

The true owner of this body had returned, his spirit residing in the depths of the Dark King's blackened heart in wait for the proper moment.

"Impossible…How could you…" "Hmm…How did it go before? I think what you said before was 'All it took was for you to break you concentration'. You made the foolish mistake of relishing in arrogance, and I emerged long enough to do a rather accurate impersonation of Whiter's voice to throw you off guard so Mario could finish you off." As Joe Dark makes a mockery out of the bewildered Dark King, the lord of darkness flails his head about to lock-on to the source of the voice, confusing Mario as he lifts his head up to wait for his opponent's demise. The flames had consumed half of the being's body, and as he snarls in pain he says to the boy's spirit, "Why did you even bother…I already killed the boy you were after, I did your job for you…You should be grateful you little brat!"

"Yes…You see, that's the thing. YOU did it, not me. Sure, you may have used my body to accomplish the task, but it was not through my mental commands that my arms did move. You robbed me of the satisfaction I long deserved, so now I'm going to return the favor and rob you of your chance at revenge against the Elemental Overlord, you pitiful shadow!" "How dare you!" The Dark King blurts out, enraged to the point that anymore would cause him to crack from sheer insanity. "Look…We may both be crazy, but that doesn't mean I haven't retained some standards as a mortal. I've peered into your soul just as you did mine, and after examining your reasons for wanting to eliminate your counterpart, I must admit that it just makes you look a HELL of a lot more pathetic…Not that that is really hard for you at this point."

As the Dark King looks behind himself with frenzied eyes, the flames have crawled up to his neck. All he can imagine at this point is that Joe Dark's spirit is floating in the air with his arms folded in front of his chest and his head rearing back in maniacal laughter. "You want to kill him out of jealousy for what he has and had, while I want to serve righteous justice to the one who prevented my family's murderer from being found and executed, and I was perfectly fine with succumbing to insanity and rage for a while until my goal was accomplished…" "Impossible…Once you became the Dark King, you would've had to fulfill your role in the universe, killing others, spreading chaos, that was all part of the pact you chose to make by bonding with my spirit!"

"Oh? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I refuse to become a wretched example of a rage induced abomination like you did in your last days. Your death is almost here, so now we shall both be dragged to Hell for our sins, whether you like it or not!" With his last sentence, the Dark King realized that what he said was true. As he turns the remains of his head towards the Overlord's successor, he sees his glowing spirit once again glaring at him in contempt without saying a single word at him. As he squints his eyelids with a mixture of sadness and rage welling up inside him in his final moments, he mutters out, "Si-" only for him to be cut off with his true demise.

It was a swift battle, but for Mario it felt as though he had been in combat for an eternity. As he stood by himself with his fist extended into nothingness, he gazes up at the remnants of the rainbow flames and lets out a sigh of relief as he pulls his arm back and collapses onto his knees, planting his hands against the ground as the flames die down without a trace. The Overlord's spirit calls out to him, his tone expressing confusion "Curious…The flames haven't tried to take over…" To which Mario replies with a tired sounding "What?" as he turns his head to look at the glowing spirit floating behind him.

"Since what I'm referring to will not happen, it is nothing you need to concern yourself with…For now, tend to your allies…" As the Overlord's spirit retreats into Mario's body, the plumber reverts to his Star Spirit empowered appearance, and then turns back to his familiar red and blue garb. After that, he turns towards the unconscious bodies of his comrades. He had beaten the Dark King, the one responsible for control over the darkness side of balance in the universe, but at the cost of Alex and the Genesis Samurai's lives. As he walked towards his brother, Mario held one fist close to his heart and with a hopeful prayer to those fallen people he continued on his way.

However, as Mario started to relax over his victory, events were transpiring in Star Haven. The Star Spirits and Geno, having instigated the events that led to a massive shift in the space time continuum, have been forced into a council with the "higher-ups", where they've had to listen to their crimes being listed off along with reasons as to why their decisions were as bad as they were for the last five minutes. After everything was all said and done, the Star Spirits are left wide-eyed in shock as the "higher-ups" end their sentence with the most unexpected outcome, "For the defiance of God's will by initiating the shift that brought the Dark King of this timeline to his death, your planet shall be completely erased from existence."

The judgment was giving with stoicism in the being's voice, which is a great contrast from the outrage that Eldstar expresses to those speaking to him from above. "Preposterous! What gives you the right to eliminate this world? Are you telling me that the right move would've been to let the Dark King live as he pleased?" "No. The Dark King was supposed to have perished, but not in the way that it occurred in this timeline. The boy, Alex Whiter, was intended to live through these events, and he was to slay his foe. Had you chosen to have faith in the star energy you had gathered, things would've turned out alright had you directed it at the young Overlord. But you were arrogant, believing you could kill a being whose importance was far greater than you could ever hope to comprehend…"

"Silence your tongue higher-ups! How dare you even consider condemning a planet full of innocent people just because of our mista-" As Eldstar lashes out at the beings in absolute defiance, he along with the rest of the Star Spirits are thrust against the walls against their will, their bodies covered with a strange material as Geno's formless body is quickly sent into oblivion. "Your resistance matters not…A unanimous verdict was reached far before you even spoke with us. In the end though, you are all expendable as we seek out the true timeline of the universe. But don't worry, we won't be wiping out everyone…We have our own plans for the Mario of this parallel existence…Now then, it is time for you to never exist again…"

"And so the higher-ups made good on their decision, erasing the entirety of Plit and its inhabitants without any effort on their part. There were no warnings, no debris, nothing but the empty void of space and the sparkles of the faraway stars. It was like there was never any Plit to begin with, the outcomes of Mario and friend's adventures eventually becoming nothing more than a distant memory to the rest of this universe as the years passed by without care.

As for Mario himself, his memories, his consciousness, everything that made him who he was was erased by the higher-ups. And after making certain to lock away the Elemental Overlord's spirit's ability to interfere with the events of mortals and immortals, they forced Mario into his Phoenix form and sealed him away in a sun-like sphere in the center of where Plit once existed, freeing him only when an influx of darkness came that needed to be counteracted to restore balance.

Even though he was a puppet driven only by a desire of which he knew naught the origin of, as he slept in wait "Mario" was constantly plagued by what he assumed to be dreams. He remembered a man in green who looked similar to him, an angry, gigantic spike-shelled Koopa, and every time he saw the smiling face of a pink-dress wearing lass a tear trickled out of his eyes. But he was made immortal, and from then on until the heat death of this universe he would never again be reunited with those people that once greatly influenced his life…"

What-If 1.1: The End…