Chapter 14: Legendary

An hour after the doubles match concluded, the P.A. Announcer cried, "Ladies and gentlemen... This is the main event! This tournament has been sponsored by Mario Star and the Dubno Company. Now... It is time... For the singles championship match... For the Star Cup!"

"We are now ready to introduce our players. First to enter the court is a high-octane boy who loves nothing more than tennis. This kid has split-second reflexes and can cause trouble when his muscles snap into motion before his mind. He is youthful and lacking in experience, but eagerly attends his daily tennis practice without fail. This practice and reflexes translated well, and we shall see what he can deliver in the Star Cup final. Please welcome, the Little King of Pluckiness, Hugo!"

Hugo appeared on the court and happily waved to the crowd. "It's my chance to shine..." Hugo thought as he walked to his side of the court, "I hope Emily wishes me well..."

"Next to appear on the court is everyone's favourite hero! He's everything from a tennis player to a kart racer, but he began as a plumber. As a tennis player, he is on a 39-singles match winning streak, heading into this year's Star Cup final! Please give a round of applause for... The defending champion of the Star Cup for 3 years running, the legendary Mario!"

A short man with the unmistakeable red cap and a red shirt under blue overalls waved to the crowd as they applauded and cheered for who they called 'The Hero of the Mushroom Kingdom'. They know his reputation for saving Princess Peach from Bowser and his Koopa Troopa brigade.

Mario took off his red cap and bowed to the crowd, who was on their feet for their hero. He then placed his cap back on and walked to the other side of the court.

The P.A. Announcer cried, "Now for the umpire of this match, he is a heavyweight in the circle of tennis umpires. He may look friendly, but once he sits in the umpire's chair, his stern gaze misses NOTHING that happens on the court. His calls are given so much credence that few athletes ever question them. Here he is everyone, please give a round of applause to... Xavier!"

A old man with silver hair and a blue suit walked over and climbed up to the umpire's chair. He introduced himself, saying "My name is Xavier and I will be your umpire today."

The P.A. Announcer said, "Just a reminder that the championship match is a 3-set and 2-game match. Whoever wins 2 out of the 3 sets first wins the match and the Star Cup! Now, let the match begin!"

Xavier looked at both competitors. He looked at Mario, and asked "Mario, are you ready?"

Mario nodded to signify that they are both ready.

Xavier then looked at Hugo, and asked "Hugo, are you ready?"

"OK! Let's begin!" Hugo cried,

Xavier took out a coin. "Should this coin read heads, Hugo will serve to start the match. Should this coin read tails, Mario will serve to start the match." He tossed up the coin. Once it dropped, he cried, "Heads."

He tossed a pair of tennis balls to Hugo. "Hugo," Xavier said, "Please begin service."

"Here we go!" Hugo cried, "I wish you the best of luck, Mario."

Mario nodded, with a short smile on his face.

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Mario rushed forward and hit another topspin shot. Hugo countered with an overhead smash shot. Mario stood his ground and hit a volley. As he rushed close to the net, he saw Hugo hit another overhead smash shot. Mario reached for the ball, but he missed. "Yes!" Hugo cried as he pumped his left fist

"15-Love." Xavier called

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. Hugo hit a volley to send the ball back to Mario. Both competitors traded their shots. Finally, Mario hit a topspin shot high enough for Hugo to hit an overhead smash. Mario dove for the ball, but it was unnecessary as it sailed... "Out." Xavier called as the ball went slightly out of bounds. A red bomb with legs exploded to confirm the call.

"Aww!" Hugo cried as he tilted his head back

"15-All." Xavier called and then gave Hugo two more tennis balls

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley of his own. Mario hit another topspin shot that sent the ball high. Hugo hit the ball with another overhead smash to send it past Mario. "See that?" Hugo cried,

"30-15." Xavier called

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with another topspin shot. Hugo hit another overhead smash. Mario countered with a volley which sent the ball high. Hugo hit another overhead smash. Mario unnecessarily dove for the ball as it was... "Out." Xavier called as the ball just went out of bounds. A red bomb exploded to confirm the call.

"No!" Hugo cried,

"30-All." Xavier called as he gave two more tennis balls to Hugo

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with another topspin shot. This time, Hugo hit the ball with a slice shot. They traded their respective shots. Hugo, as the ball was coming to him, hit a volley. They both engaged in a long rally which saw Mario close to the net.

Finally, Hugo hit a topspin which sailed over the leaping Mario. "40-30." Xavier called,

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Mario hit another topspin shot. Hugo hit a slice shot to send the ball back to Mario. Mario, who was rushing to the net, volleyed the ball to Hugo. Hugo feinted, but then hit another overhead smash. Mario dove for the ball, but he missed. "How's that?" Hugo cried as he pumped both fists.

"Game to Hugo." Xavier called,


"Change sides." Xavier called as both competitors switched sides. He then gave a pair of tennis balls to Mario.

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the top of the net, and landed well outside the left service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as the red bomb with legs exploded behind Hugo.

Mario simply shook his head. He tossed the second tennis ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Hugo hit another backhanded slice shot. Mario hit another forehand topspin shot. Hugo countered with his topspin shot. Mario hit his topspin shot. Hugo hit a volley that just eluded Mario. "Love-15." Xavier called as he gave Mario two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the net. "Fault." Xavier called,

Mario shook his head once more. He tossed the second tennis ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Hugo hit another backhanded slice shot. Both competitors traded slice shots. Mario hit a slice shot as he rushed close to the net. Hugo hit a topspin shot that the ball sailed well over Mario's head. "Love-30." Xavier called as he gave Mario two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Both competitors traded slice shots. Mario hit the ball with his well-timed topspin shot. Both competitors engaged in a long rally.

"Hugo is easily wearing Mario out." Colin said, "But my question is... Is it a good idea now?"

"Mario's spirit will likely be awakened as the match goes on." Toshi said, "Hugo has to watch out for it."

Finally, Mario hit the ball high enough for Hugo to hit an overhead smash. The young boy did so. Mario dove for the ball and missed. "Love-40." Xavier called,

"Come on, Hugo!" Lani cried, "You can win this set!"

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced just inside the right service zone and it was powerful enough that Hugo couldn't do anything. "Whoo-hoo!" Mario cheered as he raised his racket in the air

"There it is." Toshi said, "It has awakened. Mario will definitely give Hugo the match of his life."

"15-40." Xavier called and then gave Mario two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Hugo then hit a volley. Both competitors traded slice shots. Mario then hit a topspin shot, but it fooled Hugo well enough to get the ball past the young boy. "Oh yeah!" Mario cheered,

"30-40." Xavier called,

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone, and once again, it eluded Hugo. "Deuce." Xavier called as he tossed two more tennis balls to Mario

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a backhanded slice stroke. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Hugo hit a volley. Both competitors traded their respective shots for a while. Finally, Mario hit a shot that made the ball sail high. Hugo hit an overhead smash that made the ball zoom down the sideline. "Advantage to Hugo." Xavier called,

"Come on, Hugo!" Colin cried, "You can claim this set!"

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the net and landed well outside the right service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as a red bomb with legs behind Hugo exploded

Mario shook his head as he received two more tennis balls from Xavier. He tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Both competitors traded slice shots. Mario then hit a hard topspin shot. Hugo hit a hard volley. Mario rushed to hit the ball, but he was too late as it was past him.

"Game & Set to Hugo." Xavier called,


"Whew..." Hugo thought, "That was a fun set. I'm glad everyone from the Love Tennis Club is watching."

He stood up, turned around and looked at all the faces that he knows. He saw Troy, Bridget, Colin, Amorette, Toshi, Lani, Fong, Sam, Rolf, Zeta, Suzuki, Gloria and the Helghast soldier.

Just then, he noticed something. "Wait..." He thought, "Where's Emily? Why isn't she here? Could something have happened to her?"

He then shook his head. He then thought, "Why should I be worried? As soon as I defeat Mario, I will claim the Star Cup and make our club one worth joining again."

"I promised Emily that, too..." Hugo continued in his thought, "Wherever you are, I just hope you can make it to watch me win this thing."


After the ten minute break, both competitors stepped back on the court. Xavier climbed back up on the umpire's chair. When he sat down, Xavier tossed to Hugo a pair of tennis balls.

"Please begin service." Xavier began, "We will start the second set."

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Mario hit a topspin shot back to Hugo. Hugo swung his racket, but he missed. "Love-15." Xavier called,

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot that sent the ball high. Hugo hit a volley. Mario hit a slice shot as he rushed to the net. A rally began between the two.

"Oh dear..." Amorette said, "Mario's been going to the net too often."

"Well, he is a well-balanced fighter." Toshi said, "Although he's just down one set, he doesn't show any weaknesses."

Finally, Hugo hit a topspin shot that sailed over the leaping Mario. "15-All." Xavier called as he gave Hugo two more tennis balls

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario hit a hard, but high topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Mario hit another topspin shot. Hugo hit another volley that made the ball go past Mario. "30-15." Xavier called,

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Once again, Mario returned it with a high, but hard topspin shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Both competitors traded topspin shots. Hugo attempted a volley, but it didn't have enough power to go over the net. "What?" Hugo cried,

"30-All." Xavier called as he tossed two more tennis balls to Hugo

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario hit another topspin return shot. Both competitors traded volleys, although Mario's sailed high up. Hugo hit a volley, but it hit the... "Net." Xavier called

"No!" Hugo cried as he panted

"30-40." Xavier called,

"You can do it, Mario!" One of the Toads cried, "You can break that kid's serve!"

Hugo tossed a ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with another topspin shot. Hugo countered with another volley. Both competitors traded their respective shots. Mario feinted an overhead smash, and went for a slice shot! The ball sailed past a diving Hugo.

"Game to Mario." Xavier called,


"Change sides." Xavier called as both competitors switched sides. He then gave a pair of tennis balls to Mario.

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the top of the net and bounced well outside the left service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as the red bomb behind Hugo exploded

Mario simply shook his head. He tossed the second tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo hit it with a volley. Mario then hit the ball with a straight and hard topspin that eluded Hugo. "15-Love." Xavier called and gave Mario two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the top of the net and bounced well outside the right service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as the red bomb behind Hugo exploded.

Mario shook his head as two more bombs appeared behind Hugo. Mario tossed the second tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Both competitors traded their shots. Hugo hit the ball with a topspin shot. Mario hit a topspin shot of his own. Hugo hit a slice shot to get the ball to Mario. Mario hit a hard topspin shot as he rushed close to the net. Hugo attempted a volley, but the ball was high enough for Mario to hit a well-timed overhead smash. The ball zoomed past Hugo. "30-15." Xavier called as he gave Mario two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the top of the net and bounced well outside the left service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as the red bomb behind Hugo exploded

Mario shook his head once more. He tossed the second tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Hugo decided to hit the ball with a volley. A long rally engaged between the two. Finally, Mario hit the ball high up. Hugo hit the ball with an overhead smash. Mario dove for the ball, but he missed. "30-15." Xavier called as he tossed a pair of tennis balls towards Mario

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario hit a topspin shot. Hugo countered with a topspin shot of his own. Mario hit another topspin shot. Hugo countered with a slice shot. Mario hit a slice shot of his own. Hugo attempted a volley. Mario hit a straight topspin shot that made the ball go past Hugo. "40-15." Xavier called,

"You can do it, Mario!" A Toad cried from the stands, "You can win this set!"

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone, down the middle and zoomed past Hugo.

"Game & Set to Mario." Xavier called,


"What happened to me?" Hugo thought to himself, "I'm not doing so good... I know Emily is not here, but I KNOW she will come!"

He then looked at the Love Tennis Club members and thought, "I know that I have friends watching me win this thing. But, I know I'm not gonna quit on them! I'm gonna give it my all!"

Mario looked at Hugo. He is not sure what he is thinking, but he knows that he will have a real exciting match and one that this legendary hero will remember for a very long time. He knows that, win or lose, this may be the greatest tennis match he has ever played...


After the ten minute break, both competitors stepped back on the court. Xavier climbed back up on the umpire's chair. When he sat down, Xavier tossed to Hugo a pair of tennis balls.

"Please begin service." Xavier began, "We will start the third and final set."

Hugo tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with a slice shot. Hugo countered with a volley. Mario hit the ball with a topspin shot. Both competitors traded volleys and topspin shots. When Mario's shot sailed high, Hugo attempted an overhead smash. But the shot was countered by a volley from Mario as he approached the net. A pair of shots later, Hugo hit a high enough topspin shot that sailed past a diving Mario. "15-Love." Xavier called,

Hugo tossed a tennis ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot. He ran to the net once more.

"Mario is net playing a bit too much." Hugo thought as he kept hitting volleys and topspin shots, "I know this is my strength, but so far, I'm doing all right out of my comfort zone..."

Hugo hit a topspin shot that sailed over Mario's head. "30-Love." Xavier called and gave two more tennis balls

Hugo tossed one up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Mario returned it with a high topspin shot. Both competitors traded volleys and topspin shots. Mario rushed to the net to try and trap Hugo.

"I see through that again!" Hugo thought and hit a topspin shot that eluded Mario.

"40-Love." Xavier called,

Hugo tossed a tennis ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Mario returned it with a topspin shot.

"Time to play out my strength!" Hugo thought, referring to his net play

He rushed to the net and hit a fast volley. Mario returned the ball with a hard topspin shot. Hugo delivered a fast overhead smash shot that made the ball zoom past Mario.

"Game to Hugo." Xavier called,


"Change sides." Xavier called as both competitors switched sides. He then gave a pair of tennis balls to Mario.

Mario tossed one up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Both competitors traded their respective shots. After a pair of overhead smashes were stopped by Mario, Hugo hit a hard topspin cross-court shot to send the ball past Mario. "Love-15." Xavier called,

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario countered with a topspin shot. Both competitors traded their respective shots. Hugo hit a quick volley. Mario countered with one of his own.

When Hugo saw the ball high and coming towards him, he thought "Mine!"

Hugo then hit a cross-court overhead smash shot to send the ball zooming past Mario. "Love-30." Xavier called and gave the plumber two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the net. "Fault." Xavier called

Mario simply shook his head. He tossed the second tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Mario and Hugo went into a rally that had topspin shots and volleys. Finally, Mario feinted an overhead smash and went for a topspin shot that eluded Hugo. "15-30." Xavier called and gave the plumber in red two more tennis balls

Mario tossed one up and smacked it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the right service zone. Hugo returned the ball with a slice shot. Mario and Hugo traded topspin shots and volleys. Mario then hit a slice shot. But Hugo hit a quick volley that made the ball go by Mario. "15-40." Xavier called

The crowd clapped briefly and in a rhythm. Hugo knew it means something. He looked around the stadium. His facial expression is that as if someone experienced waterfalls for the first time. He thought, "This is it... I can beat the legendary Mario, win the Star Cup and... Become one of the best tennis players of all time... This is my promise, Emily... I can do this!"

He looked up and said, "Championship Point."

Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball hit the top of the net and bounced well outside the left service zone. "Fault." Xavier called as the red bomb with legs exploded behind Hugo.

Xavier then gave Mario two more tennis balls. Mario tossed a tennis ball up and smashed it with his racket. The ball bounced inside the left service zone. Hugo returned it with a slice shot. Both competitors traded topspin shots. Mario then hit a slice shot. Hugo and Mario hit volleys and topspin shots respectively.

Then, as a topspin shot came right to Hugo, he thought, "Time to end this!"

He delivered an overhead smash. The ball whizzed by Mario. The crowd erupted like a volcano.

"Game, Set & Match to Hugo." Xavier called

"All right! How's that?" Hugo cried as he jumped up and pointed his racket at Mario. Mario, on the other hand, cried as he placed his hands on his head, stumbled back and fell on his bottom.

He said sadly, "Oh, Mario..." He continued to shake his head.

Hugo walked to the center of the court and laid his hands out. Mario saw this and he stood up and walked over to the center of the court. Hugo began to speak, saying "Thank you, Mario... For giving me the match of my life. I'm gonna say that you're the best opponent I have faced for a long time. So... I'm really happy that we had such a good match. Let's play again sometime."

At first, Mario seemed taken aback by Hugo's words. But he looked at the young boy's eyes. He could tell that Hugo really means what he said. Mario then nodded and shook Hugo's hand. They then waved their arms to the cheering and clapping crowd.


Shortly afterwards, a trophy was being presented on the court. It was a gold trophy with a blue border with silver stars near the rim. The handles also had silver stars on it.

Hugo looked at the trophy. He thought, "I can't believe it! A real champion's trophy... It's even better than the one at the Central Phoenix tournament!"

He raised the trophy up with a big smile on his face! The young boy has grown... From being a co-founder of the Love Tennis Club to a Mushroom Kingdom tournament champion. He has put his heart out on the tournament, gave it his all, and it paid big dividends. The Little King of Pluckiness, Hugo, is the Star Cup champion!

He got everyone from the Love Tennis Club to come down. He hugged everyone and thanked them for the support he got for the tournament. He even hugged Lani and shook hands with Troy, his fellow champions from the previous Mushroom Kingdom tournaments.

Soon after, he noticed something. Emily is NOT with the group after all. He then went to Zeta. He asked, "Zeta, what happened? Why didn't Emily show up?"

Zeta knew about what Miranda told him. She then cleared her throat, opened her mouth and then...

Darkness crept up on the stadium. Then, there was faint laughter. Everyone in the stadium heard the faint laughter. And then there was a booming "Bwah, hah, hah, hah!"

And then... Hugo looked up in the sky. He gasped at who he saw, floating on his round Clown Car with a helicopter motor at the bottom.

"Bowser?" Hugo cried,