"What are your final words, Dark King?"

Inside of a citadel resting on the plains of a desert, a figure in a bulky black suit of armor is kneeling on the ground, chained to a seven-circle rune seal by hundreds of holy ropes. Another man stands before him, a plethora of mages holding torches standing in rows behind him. He has a sword at the other man's neck, his eyes not visible under the shadows of the night sky. The man in the armor lifts his head up and grins from ear to ear, fangs being revealed in the center of his teeth as he looks up at his executor.

"You have me bound to these ropes as you prepare to extract my soul and seal it away…But in the end you are only sealing one card out of four. You got the King, but the other three still linger, wandering this world under my orders so they can revive me when the time is right and extinguish your legacy…Elemental Overlord." "…Is that so?" The other man calmly replies to the Dark King's grim omen. "It will be. You know the higher-ups won't accept my disappearance for too long, and the evil they will create to fill my void…Hehehe, you don't want to know." A follower of the Elemental Overlord appears behind his master, kneeling on the ground to bow in his presence.

"Sir, we have sealed away the Dark King's second-in-command like you requested." The Overlord turns his head around and looks at his follower, one eye glancing back over at the overly calm Dark King as he continues to grin. "Take a scouting group and look around the planet, there may be some remnants of his army wandering around that will need to either be sealed or killed." "Yes sir!" The follower promptly responds, nodding his head slightly as he vanishes in a puff of fire. The Dark King bursts into a fit of laughter, which is aimed at the Elemental Overlord for his naivety. "Overlord, you are wasting your time…That is, the little time you have left in this realm." He states with a frenzied look in his eyes.

"They'll be allowed to accomplish what they wish to do, and there is nothing you can do to stop them. After all, you've already done enough to interfere with the balance between light and dark…Get involved with one more planet, and not even your own soul will be spared from their wrath. It matters little…One day, someway; somehow, you will once again endure the wrath of my judgment. All you are doing is stalling that inevitability…" The Elemental Overlord presses the tip of his blade against the Dark King's neck, making certain that he doesn't break a blood vessel in the process. "There may be nothing that I can do, but something will be done about your followers on this planet, rest assured. I've allowed you enough words Dark King…If you may…" The man nudges his head up towards a robed figure standing behind the man clad in black. She takes her hands and wraps them around his head, pulling it back as far as she can while the Overlord retracts his blade slightly to compensate for the increased length of the guilty party's neck. The robed woman begins a chant, and before the job is done the Dark King's laughter echoes throughout the nearly barren citadel…

Cut to the present, where the green-skinned witch that goes by the name of Cackletta is busy reminiscing about the Dark King's final moments in an unknown realm. She is overlooking a dark, hazy view screen that allows her to peer into the mortal world, the hood of her cloak covering her head as her thin, wrinkly fingers are stretched out in front of her. Her attention focused on the household of the Mario Bros., her wicked mind is putting together the final pieces of her master plan, a plan that she has waited many, many years to execute. The day to unleash hell upon Plit was about to arrive, and before she turns around her trusted aide Fawful walks up behind her and chuckles gleefully to himself.

"I am in the act of having that which I have clearly described as chortles! Mistress Cackletta, I can sense that you are feeling the emotion that can clearly be seen as happiness. May I perform the act of inquiring as to what is up?" The witch walks forward and waves her hand to seal the view screen behind her, laying one of her hands down onto her colleague's shoulder and sending a shiver down his puny spine. "I'm going to make the final preparations. Tell Smithy that it is time for him to play his role in our plan, and don't come back until Dimentio is alerted of the news as well." With her order given in an excited tone, the witch opens a portal of darkness in front of her and slips through it to vanish from sight, the little green man opening his mouth up wide to chuckle once more before sealing it with a grin and scurrying across the pitch black realm to the destination his mistress assigned him to go to. Yes, little did the people of Plit know, today was the start of the longest twenty-four hours the planet had ever known…

Clash of the Elements Part 2: Judgment of the Dark King

Chapter 1: A Normal, Peaceful Beginning

It is a bright sunny day in the land of the Mushroom Kingdom. Then again, a majority of the time the weather is like that around there, so it really comes as no surprise that today would be like the rest of them. There is a lone house far away from the main city of Toad Town where the planet's most renowned heroes, the Mario Bros., live. But as of now they aren't around, having gone to town to collect any supplies they need for the coming weeks. This leaves another person alone inside the house to tend to his own business.

He is Alex Whiter, the 12-year old boy who with the help of the Mario Bros., five other heroes, the rest of the planet and his own determination, managed to make his way to the top of the Origin Temple and claim the Elemental Overlord's powers for himself. Three months ago when this event happened he also succeeded in slaying the one who had gained the power of the former Overlord's polar opposite, the Dark King. But in the process of doing so the temple was obliterated, leaving little left of the man's legacy save for the powers that the boy now wielded and the former outer guardian of the Nature Castle, the once wolf now Crayzee Dayzee known as Driad.

Two months after that battle, Alex was thrust into another one against the lord of Subspace, who went by the fitting name of Tabuu. Though at first he and the herald of Star Haven Geno spent time defending the holy sanctuary of the Star Spirits from the charge of the Subspace Army, the young Overlord eventually made his way into the realm and fought the man in single combat. After learning of Tabuu's reasonable grudge against the strange being called the Master Hand, Alex took it upon himself to carry the burden of that grudge, allowing the lord of Subspace to finally pass on and removing the realm from existence forever. In the span of time since then the boy has managed to keep the truth about Tabuu a secret from all but one other person. But save for that, nothing has happened to disturb this period of peace that the period is going through.

Even Bowser, the fearsome Koopa King of Dark Land, has minimized the amount of times that he goes and kidnaps Peach. Some say that his ego has been bruised because of the fact that he has had to help his long-time nemesis TWICE recently; others say that he fears retaliation from the reborn Overlord if he ends up going too far in his goals. Either way, the only appearances he has made as of recent days is during the usual sports events and kart races that the kingdom holds, where he discards his antagonistic behavior and plays fair in hopes of beating Mario to impress the lovely Princess Peach.

Anyways, now that all that has been said, it is time to check up on the young Alex Whiter, as he is seen sitting on a couch drinking Goombaberry juice out of a humble ruby goblet that Mallow had gotten for him on his birthday just a week ago. He has the T.V. on in front of him, the screen showing the weather reports for the various locales on the planet. He is wearing his usual clothes, right down to the socks and shoes. The black leather glove of his that was specifically designed by the resident scientist E. Gadd is still on him, and will continue to be there until the day he dies. Though this wouldn't exactly be a pleasant through for most, the boy never once lingers on that fact and continues to keep his attitude as cheery as he can whenever an enemy isn't threatening the sanctity of the world.

"Sunny with a chance of clouds on Saturday…Huh, the barometric pressure in the atmosphere says otherwise." He says in a sarcastic tone, flaunting his knowledge to the weather reporter who obviously cannot hear him. "Oh wow, Yoshi's Island is going to have a rare temperature of 75 degrees next Monday? I haven't been there yet; maybe I should fly over there and check it out…" After taking another sip of his rather sweet drink, Alex places the goblet on the glass portion of the table and picks up the nearby remote, lifting it up and pressing down on the power button with his thumb to shut the T.V. off. He then places it back down and stands up, his arms outstretched above him as he lets out a light yawn.

When this is done he smacks his lips together, turning towards the doorway and moving away from the couch before he leans one arm against the underside of the other's elbow and rests the palm of it against the bottom of his chin, his head tilted to the left as a curious look gleams in his eyes. "What should I do today? E. Gadd is off at the Science Expo in the Beanbean Kingdom to show off the Stargadd, so I can't go check out the ruins of the Origin Temple…Mallow is talking to Peach, and since he has some royal duties to take care of afterwards he won't be able to spend any time with us at the house…I seriously doubt Alpha and Gemini require my company, even if I did know how to reach them…And Geno, well, I really can't consider him an option considering it's not his time of the month to visit. I guess I could head into town and try to find Mario and Luigi, or Driad if I'm lucky enough. Yeah, I think I'll do that!"

Enthusiastically stating his intentions for today, Alex rushes out the front door and doesn't waste any time in leaping off the edge of the porch and sustaining flight so he can rocket off to Toad Town. Even though logically it would've been faster for him to take the pipe nearby, he did this so he can once again patrol over the kingdom and see how everything has been going lately. There turned out to be little purpose in taking the long path, as everything is back to normal after the last two attacks, but in all fairness Tabuu's attack caused surprisingly little damage to the world so there really wasn't much to deal with after that. "Oh well, at least it's nice to see the citizens' nice smiling faces as I fly overhead…" The boy thinks to himself as he waves down to a few Toad kids who are merrily playing in a park.

After a few more minutes Alex finally arrives in Toad Town, landing down in the center of town with such force that a cloud of dust is lifted up and startles the Toads who up until then were just minding their own business. But when it settles and they see the boy standing there harmlessly, they chatter among each other before getting back to what they were doing. One Toad passes in front of the befuddled young Overlord and whispers to him "You always got to make an entrance like that?" In a deadpan tone before continuing on his way without so much as a glance back. Alex scratches the side of his head while wondering what the fungi meant by that, but stops thinking about that almost instantly as he then begins to wonder where Driad and the Mario Bros. are at.

"Mario and Luigi said they were heading to the shopping district today, so it should be easy to find them. Driad said he was going to train somewhere, but the exact location was not mentioned…" Obviously, there was only one place in town that one could go to get some practice fighting, and since it was the closest and most easily accessible location Alex decided that he would head there first to see how the living flower is handling himself. Strolling across the smooth ground, the boy holds his arms calmly behind his head as a humorous thought pops into his head. "Hehehe…It would be funny if they are already back home wondering where I'm at. It did take me ten minutes to get over here at the rate I flew after all."

When Alex finally reaches the side of town where the dojo is at, he hears some loud noises coming from there. The door to the place is looking ready to break open, either from someone being battered against it or because there is a lot of fighting going on inside that the commotion is causing tons of wind to be blown around. Wanting to investigate the cause of this, the boy runs up the staircase and places his hand on the doorknob to twist and pull it open. When he gets inside, a sharp leaf almost cleaves his head right off of his shoulders. "Whoa!" He exclaims in surprise, his eyes widening momentarily before he takes a look at the fight that is currently going on.

On one side of the room is a Toad wearing a bright yellow robe as a powerful golden aura radiates from his body. His flowing, curved beard is a different color than usual thanks to the aura, and his body floats slightly off the ground while both of his fists are held out beside his body. His opponent is a Crayzee Dayzee wearing a small set of samurai armor made out of wood. He wields a small, rose colored katana held tightly in his right vine hand, though the tip of the blade is resting on the ground and the warrior looks exhausted. Of course, the elderly Toad is also showing signs of wearing down, but he has been trained to not let his opponents know of his weakness.

But with the young Overlord's arrival the flower warrior known as Driad turns his head to the left and gets a happy grin on his face, only for the Toad's left eye to gleam before he charges forward and strikes the flower in the face with a burning uppercut. Alex hadn't even blinked in the time it took for the man to reach the other side of the room. The Toad then stays suspended in mid-air and vanishes until he is behind Driad, a powerful sound similar to that of a sonic boom ruptures the air as an x-crossed shockwave emerges from the flower warrior. This is followed up by three more instances of the Toad appearing back and forth and shockwaves emerging before he lands on the ground and calmly folds his arms into his sleeves, a star-shaped explosion appearing in the sky and knocking the Crayzee Dayzee onto the ground and turning him back into his original form.

The Toad dispels his aura, leaving him back in his red robe and grey beard as he leans his head forward and lets the effects of his age take hold on him again. He then turns around and pulls a green Ultra Shroom out of his sleeve to give to his beaten opponent. The mushroom turns into dust and sinks into the body of the flower, who absorbs the healing effects of it and revitalizes his energy. Driad then leaps to his feet and shakes his head, looking down and noticing that his impact with the floor has left a crater there. Worried about more retribution from "The Master" of the Dojo, he turns around and bows his head with his vines on his knees.

The man is benevolent though, and raises one hand to stop his actions. However, he has some words of advice to say to the flower warrior before their session is done for the day. "You almost had me this time young one. However, you can't keep allowing yourself to be distracted by the motions of those around you. As a swordsman, you have to keep a refined blade at all times. Doubt, hesitation, guilt, surprise…All those emotions do is dull it and lower your efficiency in battle. Either way, that will be all for today. You are dismissed." Driad thanks the Master for his advice after a moment of silence to take it all in, and he then rushes over to Alex with a grin on his face.

"I'll talk to you later Alex, I promised Mario and Luigi that I would make it to the shopping district right after I was done here! Kthnxbai!" After speedily making it past his friend and to the door, Driad opens it up, waves one vine out as he slips past it, and slams it shut as he heads out on his way. With a dumbfounded reaction, the boy only has enough time to raise one hand up in hesitation before the Master begins to walk over to the other side of the room and call out to him. "Young Overlord, stay for a moment, I wish to speak with you about something."

Responding to his request with a silent nod of the head, Alex turns around and walks over to the Master, who has sat down on a pillow and put himself in a meditative pose. He moves a hand away to pat down on one beside him, urging the boy to take a seat next to him as they prepare to talk. He complies to the wishes of the wise old Toad and does just that, folding his arms and legs to mimic the pose that he has taken, keeping only one eyelid open so he can see what the Master is doing. "Eyes shut child." The Toad promptly yet calmly states without a single bit of skin budging besides his mouth.

After Alex closes his opened eyelid, the Master takes a deep breath in and breathes out through his mouth. The young Overlord does the same. After ten seconds of serenity the Toad says something. "You are the one responsible for Driad, correct?" "In a way, yes." "Do not take this as an insult. I do not mind training the Crayzee Dayzee, but as one in tune with the elements don't you think that it is up to you to help him out?" "…It is true that I should be helping him out, but he has already expressed that he would like to gain the strength needed to protect me on his own. If I were to get involved in his training I would simply be staining his honor and disregarding his beliefs." "I see…And Alex, what about your own training?" "My own training?" The boy repeats as a way to expression his utter confusion at the question. "Umm…I haven't actually done any thing of the sort recently…" The expression of the Master crinkles slightly, his thoughts perturbed by that revelation.

"…I see. And just why is that?" "Well, it is mainly because I've been enjoying the peace as of recently. My birthday was last week a-" "So, it is arrogance." "Huh?" "You feel that just because you subdued two threats to the planet, that it gives you an excuse to not further you abilities as the Elemental Overlord and fool around like a mortal normally would, correct?" "…Ummm, well…It is not like I haven't had the time to-" "You have plenty of time to better yourself during a time of peace. You cannot allow your progress to stagnate, or you'll be letting more people down than just yourself. Remember, evil knows not of the definition of time. They will take any chance they got to destroy, torment, and kill whatever or whoever they wish, regardless of their attachments or dreams."

Clenching his right fist in anger over the fact that this senile Toad is trying to lecture him, the all-powerful Elemental Overlord, Alex gets up and starts to storm out towards the door, when the Master says one more thing without breaking his composure. "You would be wise to listen to an old man. I wouldn't be telling you these things unless I knew from experience. Before he exits the dojo, the boy takes a moment to calm himself down and turn towards the meditating Master with a half-hearted smile on his face. "No, you're right. I really should consider doing some training in the future. Thank you for your time, Master." After Alex has left the building, the Master releases a heavy sigh and opens his eyelids slightly, a dreary expression on his face as he worries about the fact that he knew that the boy wasn't serious in his "promise" about training. "Arrogant fool…" He murmurs in a surprisingly cold tone of voice.

Outside the dojo Alex can be seen marching across town towards the shopping district, a grumpy expression on his face as his head is lowered slightly. His once cheery mood having been soured by the words of the Master, the young Overlord alternates between the two as he tries to rationalize with himself about what was said to him. "Where does he get off giving me advice? I'm the Elemental Overlord. I have slain the Dark King, that makes me the strongest out there! But then again, he did sound concerned for my safety…Bah, who is he kidding, his senility has finally gotten to him! Of course, if I don't listen it could come to bite me in the ass later…GAH! THIS PISSES ME OFF!"

While the citizens give the boy worried and puzzled glances, he places his fingers in his hair and ruffles it around, lifting his head up high and letting out a low-pitched growl of annoyance at his current predicament. In his moment of non-attentiveness he ends up running into someone that just so happened to be walking in front of him. The polite side of his personality takes over almost instantly, and without even knowing who he ran into he frantically moves his hands around in front of his chest and utters apology after apology for his reckless, inattentive behavior.

In a lucky coincidence though, the person he ran to was one of the two that he was trying to look for in the first place. It brother of the famous hero of the Mushroom Kingdom who went by many names. "Greenie" "Man in Green" "That One Guy With Mario" are just a few on the long list, but those who respect his efforts to the world always call him by his real name, Luigi. The man in green turns around, in his hand is a bag filled with goodies such as Golden Leaves, Honey Syrups, Super Shrooms, Jammin' Jellies, and for some odd reason, a Coconut Bomb. When he realizes who he ran into, Alex lets out a laugh at the ridiculousness of his constant apologizing and nervously rubs the back of his head.

"Heehee…Oh, its just you Luigi. For a moment I thought I hit a stranger…" "Alex?" The man in green says out of surprise for his young comrade's sudden appearance. "What are you doing in town right now?" He then proceeds to ask. "I was bored and decided to come down and see how you, Mario, and Driad were doing. I caught up with Driad at the Dojo, but after his fight with the Master he ran off, saying that he was coming to find you both…Come to think about it, where is Mario?" As the boy looks around for any signs of the red-garbed plumber, Luigi lifts a hand up over his shoulder and points at the nearby Item Shop. "Driad wanted to know how currency worked, so Mario offered to show him firsthand. I'm just out here holding the supplies until they get out…Actually, I'm surprised that he didn't say anything about you when he arrived."

"He sounded pretty excited to me when he left the Dojo…Even though the Master pretty much kicked his butt twenty ways to Friday when I had arrived. I don't know, I guess he just forgot to mention it." "I suppose so…" Luigi says in a dull tone, not really caring either way since that issue isn't really important at the moment. "So Luigi…" Alex says after lowering his arm down beside his hip and slanting his body to the right. "Want to tell me why you have a Coconut Bomb in that bag of yours?" "Hmm?" The man in green mutters, not really paying attention to the young Overlord due to something else on his mind. It takes him pointing into the bag for Luigi to look at the contents and piece together just what he is getting at.

"Oh, that…I just bought it on a whim. Well, partially on a whim…I figured that maybe I could use it to make something explosive for dinner later on…" The man in green continued to look lost in thought. Alex knew what, or rather who, he was thinking about. It wasn't his business to be snoopy though, so he just kept a mischievous smile on his face to show that he knew. "Man, I'm telling you though, this streak of sunshine we've had lately is certainly relaxing…" Luigi says, embarrassingly turning his head up towards the sky and using his left hand so he can peer towards the sun. "Yeah, you got that right…" The young Overlord cheerfully replies, turning his head to do the same thing as the man in green.

It was certainly a peaceful day, but "The Calm Before the Storm" would be the proper thing to say about this scenario. As said in the beginning, the planet's longest twenty-four hours were about to begin soon enough. Unknown to the two heroes, a dimensional rift is opening up in the sky far away behind from their location, a curved piece of metal poking through it as it something begins to emerge…

Next Time: The Defenders of…Villainy