Chapter 4: The End of the World

A/N: This chapter will be a bit of a gorefest. There will be plenty of blood and guts to go around, so bare with me folks!

Disclaimer: I don't own Mario or The Walking Dead.

"Mario, I hope you can hear me wherever you are. Everyone thinks I'm off for coming out here to talk to you but it always comforts me. It just feels like you're not too far away. Things are getting worse as each day passes. Supplies are running dangerously low while tensions are rising high. Oh Mario, all everyone does now is argue. It's like a rift is coming between our friends. Nothing like this would happen if you were here. I'm not naive enough to know that we can't survive here for much longer. What are we going to do Mario? I'm trying so hard to remain strong but it's almost pointless to keep…," Peach's trailed off as she started to cry.

"Peach?" a familiar voice called out.

Oh hi Daisy," Peach sniffled.

"I'm sorry to interrupt you but I just came to let you know that dinner is ready or what's left of it. Freaking Wario burnt it. That's the last damn time I trust that idiot to do anything!" Daisy ranted.

"It's ok Daisy. I'm sure it's not too bad. I'll be along, just give me a few minutes."

"You know it's not healthy that you keep doing this. You're really freaking everyone out. He's gone Peach. I know it's hard but sooner or later you're going to have to move on. Mario would want you to go on with your life."

"I'm fine Daisy! Just give me a minute, ok?"

Daisy sighed.

"Uhh, Daisy come quick! He's at it again!" Yoshi shouted from a distance.

"I swear if Luigi doesn't kill him then I surely will!" Daisy shouted in frustration as she ran to join the others.

"Mario, please give me some kind of sign on what to do…please Mario…" Peach's voice trailed off as if she was walking further and further away.

"Peach…" Mario muttered. He opened his eyes slowly. It took his eyes a few minutes to adjust to his surroundings. He was in a bedroom but it was too dark to see much of anything. He noticed a single candle illuminated a soft glow on the nightstand to his right.

"Geez, that was the worst nightmare of my life. Even worse than the time I had to defeat Wart in Sub Con. Glad that's all over with," he smiled as he closed his eyes.

"DAD! HE'S AWAKE!" a voice screamed out.

Mario's eyes bulged open.

"Who said that!? Mario asked as he immediately sat up in his bed. He began looking around the room more closely. Something was attached to his left arm.

"What the hell? This is not my room! Where am I? What is this thing attached to my arm? I demand to know what the hell is going on around here!"

"Relax, try not to move around too much or you'll rip out your IV," said a familiar voice at the doorway.

Mario turned towards the doorway. It was Rowf and Rhuff, the two doogans that run the badge shop in Toad Town.

"Rowf? Rhuff? What are you guys doing here?"

"We should be asking you the same thing," Rowf said as he unhooked Mario's IV. "Good thing we found you when we did or you would have been a goner."

"What happened?"

"Rhuff and I were on our way to the railroad station when we found you passed out from dehydration. Your ankle looked pretty bad too so we took you to Tayce T's house for medical supplies. She used to volunteer at the hospital in her spare time ya know."

"How long have I been out?" Mario asked softly.

"You've been unconscious for three days."

Mario pushed his covers aside to look at his ankle. He noticed it was covered in white bandages.

"I changed the bandages out this morning. It should be fine for you to walk now," Rhuff said meekly.

"I'm just glad you didn't get bit or scratched, but I'm even more amazed to see you alive!" Rowf added.

"Yeah, Mario, you were pronounced dead!" Rhuff exclaimed.

"Dead? I was only in the hospital for a couple of days," said Mario in disbelief.

"Um, Mario, you've been gone for a long time. I mean a LONG time," Rowf emphasized.

Mario's eyes widened in shock.

"That's impossible! I was just at Peach's party a few days ago."

"Dad, I don't think he knows," Rhuff said to his dad.

"Knows about what?"

BANG!

A loud noise was heard right outside the house.

Rhuff dove under the bed and whimpered in fear. Mario leaped up out of the bed in a fighting stance.

"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" he screamed out.

"Shhhhh it's ok, one of them just ran into a nearby dumpster," Rowf assured as he looked out the window.

Mario walked over to the window and peaked behind the curtain.

Several of those mutant dry bones were wandering around the street.

"Oh great! Not those things again," Mario groaned as he backed away from the window.

"Don't worry. This place is well barricaded besides those dark bones don't even know we're here."

"The what?"

"Dark Bones. That's what the Mushroom Labs calls them. Should be called Death Bones if you ask me" said Rowf as he still looked out the window.

"I knew those weren't ordinary dry bones," said Mario. "Where did these things come from? Who's controlling them? Where is everyone?"

Rowf turned to face Mario.

"Wow, you really don't know what's going on around here. We'll discuss this over dinner," Rowf said as he motioned for Mario to follow him down the stairs.

Mario and Rhuff followed him down the stairs until they reached Tayce T's kitchen.

The whole room was illuminated with candles. Mario's stomach growled loudly as he caught whiff of the most delicious scent coming from the dinner table.

"You woke up on a special night. We're having shroom steak, mashed potatoes, and healthy salad," Rowf said as he took a seat at the table.

"Yay!" Rhuff exclaimed as he took a seat next to his father.

Mario took a seat across from Rowf and began to help himself to a plate of steaming shroom steak.

"This looks so good! I can't even remember the last time I had shroom steak."

"Yeah, it's a rare delicacy these days," Rowf said as he began to cut into his steak. "It's also the last of the food in the freezer."

Mario spit out his Chuckola Cola at that last comment.

"Don't worry! Rhuff and I have packed plenty of supplies to get us though for the next couple of weeks. Please, enjoy your meal! You need it to help replenish your strength," Rowf said as he took a bite of his steak.

"So, where is Tayce T?" Mario asked as he stuffed his mouth full of mashed potatoes. He was inhaling his food like a starving animal.

"She died in her sleep around the time you were admitted to the hospital," Rhuff said as he took a bite of his salad.

"That's terrible," Mario said softly. He remembered all the times Tayce T would invite him and Luigi over for dinner. She reminded them so much of their grandmother back in Brooklyn. So kind hearted and loving…

"She was lucky if you think about it, she died quick and peaceful right before all this shit happened," Rowf said as he stabbed his knife into the steak.

Rhuff dropped his fork. Mario stopped stuffing his face to look up at Rowf.

"Rowf, tell me everything that happened. When did it all begin?" Mario asked gently.

"It's hard to say. Everything happened so quickly. There were reports of people going missing or found ripped to pieces. The Traveling Sisters Three were the first victims found."

"Yes, I remember seeing that in the news before my accident," Mario recalled.

"Yes, well to start with everyone just assumed it was some rabid animal attack until those damned things were finally spotted around the BeanBean Kingdom. A few of the residents managed to survive an attack; Prince Peasley was among them. They were rushed to the hospital with a fever over 110 and rising. Within 24 hours they all died from a mysterious virus. They weren't the only ones. Anyone who managed to get bit or scratched had only 24 hours to live. It was unlike anything ever seen before! It only took a couple of hours until the whole Kingdom was overrun. Then chaos just spread like wildfire. First, the BeanBean Kingdom, followed by the Waffle Kingdom, then Sarasaland fell, and it just went down hill from there."

Mario swallowed hard.

"Mushroom Labs were doing all they could to learn as much about these things and how to stop them."

"And?" Mario encouraged.

"They learned that these things were 10 times stronger and faster than the average dry bones beside the fact they carry a hyper virus that cannot be cured. It was nothing of this world. Those dark bones were created to seek out and destroy."

"So, who created them?"

"Nobody knows. These things just randomly showed up one day and took over. They're unstoppable! I even remember when they first showed up in the Mushroom Kingdom…"

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*Flashback*

The streets of Toad Town were packed wall to wall with koopas, toads, goombas, and shy guys making their way to the port. Several fights had already broken out in the middle of the street. Gun shots could be heard off in the distance. A couple of helicopters had flown over heading towards Mushroom City.

Rowf and Rhuff were right outside their little badge shop packing up what little supplies they had left.

"Rhuff and I had been packing. Many had already fled Toad Town and more were scrambling to get out. The Dark Bones had been spotted in Mushroom City. The Mushroom Army had already fallen to these creatures just a few hours prior. Of course, the kingdom had long fallen under anarchy anyway. Everyone rebelled. Crime level rose. Gangs took over. The Koopa Brothers especially were the worst. Riots and murders were becoming more rampant. Nobody could stop the madness. It truly was the end of the world. Only, Merlon tried to be the voice of reason…"

"Dad, hurry up! We're gonna miss the ferry to Rogueport!" Rhuff called out.

"Alright, I think that's everything. Let's go," Rowf said as he walked out of the shop with Rhuff right by his side.

A loud Silent Hill-esque siren filled the air as the two doogans walked alongside the crowd towards the port. (A/N: Am I the only person who thinks that emergency sirens sound like something right out of Silent Hill?)

"Citizens of Toad Town, We must work together if we are to protect our world and defeat our enemy! Please, hear me out our survival depends on it!" Merlon called out as he stood atop the post office.

"Yeah, then how come you haven't gotten off your mystical ass and saved us?" a voice from the crowd yelled out.

"Yeah Merlon, if your so damn powerful then why don't you just destroy these things before they destroy all of us!" another angry voice called out.

The crowd was now screaming out in approval.

"I've already told you! I have tried everything I can possibly do. My powers are no match against this supernatural force. This is dark magic out of any realm that I've ever known."

"Bullshit!"

"You SUCK Merlon!"

"I hope a dark bones tears into you next!"

The crowd was now beyond pissed off screaming out profanity and chanting out death threats for Merlon.

"Come on Rhuff, let's get out of here before it gets any worse," Rowf said as him and Rhuff tried to push through the angry mob.

"I'M BEGGING ALL OF YOU PLEASE LISTEN TO ME!" Merlon screamed out. "I KNOW HOW TO END ALL OF THIS!"

The mob grew silent. Rowf and Rhuff even stopped walking towards the port to listen.

"The ancients spoke to me in a dream," Merlon began. "Only the Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, and Sapphire together can withstand the Black Onyx. They must…"

"WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?" a voice boomed out from the crowd interrupting Merlon.

"We're tired of your stupid riddles!"

The crowd was out of control. They were screaming and throwing objects at Merlon. Merlon kept his posture and still continued to reason with them.

"I'm still trying to make sense of it. That was all that was told to me! The four must meet in the land of the midnight sun in the room of symmetric light."

The crowd was out of control at this point until a gunshot was heard.

Merlon gripped his chest as he fell from the rooftop. He landed face down on the street. Blood seeped through his purple cloak. Someone had shot him in the heart. The crowd cheered over this barbaric death. Several of the residents were even taking turns stomping on his body.

Rowf covered Rhuff's eyes as he stood in awestruck of what just happened.

"OH MY GOD! THE DARK BONES ARE HERE! EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"

An ear piercing scream seized the mini celebration. Everyone turned to their left to see that a pack of dark bones had made it into Toad Town.

What erupted next was nothing short of absolute chaos; the crowd had scattered into every direction as the dark bones leaped into the center. Rowf and Rhuff tried to run but were separated as the crowd pushed and fought to get out of the way.

Rowf lost his balance and fell to the ground. He reached for the ankle of a shy guy for support. The shy guy turned and kicked Rowf in the face causing him to let go of the ankle.

The dark bones wasted no time in taking over the town. They easily jumped from victim to victim leaving behind a trail of body parts and blood. More dark bones were starting to come into the town.

"RHUFF! WHERE ARE YOU!?" Rowf tried to scream out as he was being trampled over.

He watched as a bloody Shy Guy cried out in pain until another Dark Bones bit into the back of his neck. Some of his blood even sprayed in Rowf's face.

Rowf screamed out as he tried to move away but was knocked down by another random toad running for its life.

He could only witness the terror as he remained on the ground.

The streets were pilling up with bloody corpses at every turn.

One koopa had his eyes scratched out and was withering in agony on the street. Next to his body was a dead goomba with a huge claw mark across its torso.

A headless toad's body was still shaking violently adjacent to Minh T's garden.

Minh T cried as she stood before her headless lover's body. She begged for mercy as two Dark Bones pinned her down and began sinking their teeth into her wrists. She let out a final cry of pain before succumbing to her death.

A small group of four goombas ran to an alley way hoping to hide out. Three Dark Bones spotted them in the distance and followed after them. The goombas kept running until they reached a dead end. They turned around to face the oncoming dark bones. All the group could do was scream and flinch as their bodies were being torn into.

"DAD? DAD?" Rhuff cried out as he managed to pull his way out of the panicking crowd into the alley way.

He covered his mouth in fear as he watched as one of the dark bones ripped the head off of a goomba. The other goombas' were still being mutilated as their blood and guts were slung all over the walls.

Rhuff backed away slowly and turned to leave the alley way as quietly as possible. As he was about to leave the alley way; he noticed a dark figure leaned off to the side.

"Dad?"

The figure turned around. It was a dark bones with fresh blood still dripping from its mouth.

Rhuff screamed and moved out of the way dodging an oncoming attack.

He took off running towards the port. He knew that his best chance of survival and finding his dad would be there.

He stooped right in front of Tayce T's house as he witnessed Russ T getting his torso ripped in half by another dark bones. His blood splattered on Rhuff as the toad's intestines were spilling on the street.

"SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!"

Rowf heard his son's cry and with sudden force managed to crawl his way out of the street.

He was about to get up when he noticed a dark bones just a few feet away from him. He curled himself into the fetal position as it jumped over him to a nearby male koopa.

The koopa screamed as the dark bones dug its claws into the back of his head. The koopa turned over and tried to push the dark bones off of him. Unfortunately, the vile creature was too strong and easily forced its claw into his throat.

Rowf pulled himself up and took off running down the western part of town.

He saw the silhouette of a female koopa in a white dress leaned up against a street lamp pole.

"Excuse me, miss! Have you seen my son?" Rowf asked as he placed his hand on her shoulder.

She turned around. Rowf yelped as he noticed that her lower jaw had been ripped off. She clawed at him frantically as blood oozed onto her white dress.

He backed away from her. A dark bones had sprung from the left alley way to jump Rowf, who had fled just such a moment that the surprise attack missed him—and got a shy guy, pinning him on the sidewalk.

Rhuff was now being chased by two dark bones. He knew he couldn't outrun them for too much longer. He saw a tree beside Tayce T's house and rushed towards it. He leaped up and climbed up on to a high branch. Rhuff clung to the high branch for dear life as the dark bones started ramming into the tree out of rage.

Rhuff heard a crack in the branch. The tree wouldn't be able to support him for very much longer.

"DAD! WHERE ARE YOU?"

Rowf stopped and turned to see his son trapped in a tree surrounded by the two dark bones.

He looked around in vain for any kind of weapon. The only thing nearby was a fallen trash can. Rowf seized the trash lid.

The tree finally snapped in half causing Rhuff to land face down on to the ground.

"No!" Rowf screamed as he hurled the trash lid like a Frisbee at the dark bones. The lid managed to knock of their heads off in the process.

Rowf rushed over to help his son up while the headless dark bones were occupied with pulling themselves back together.

"Are you alright?" He asked looking over his son for any bites or claw marks.

"I'm fine," the young doogan replied as he embraced his father in a quick hug.

"C'mon! We gotta get to the ferry," Rowf said as he grabbed Rhuff's right hand.

The two doogans ran as fast as they could to the port.

The last ferry was leaving the port as soon as Rowf and Rhuff made it to the docks.

"Noooo! Stop! Wait!" Rowf screamed out along with hundreds of other desperate toads, koopas and goombas.

Several of them had even started jumping in the ocean.

"What are we gonna do now?" Rhuff asked.

Before Rowf could answer the dark bones were storming into the port.

"This way!" Rowf directed as he grabbed Rhuff and headed down an opposite pathway back into Toad Town.

The doogans noticed a group of koopas run into a brown house. Rowf and Rhuff tried to follow them but the door was slammed shut in their faces. Rowf tried to open the door but it was locked.

"Please, let us in!" Rowf begged as he banged his fists on the door.

"Over here!" a female toad from next door called out to them.

Rowf and Rhuff followed her into the yellow house that once held the Shy Guy Toy Box.

"Thanks Miss," Rowf panted as him and Rhuff collapsed on the floor. Their heartbeats were racing so fast it was a wonder they didn't black out.

"Damnit Chanterelle! Quit opening that door before one of those creatures from hell gets in here," a voice yelled out.

"Sorry Chuck, but I just couldn't let them hurt anyone else," she replied.

"Wow! Chuck Quizmo, Vanna T, and Chanterelle, the pop diva," Rhuff said in excitement as he quickly noticed who all was in the room. Another figure was also in the room. This person stood off to himself in the corner away from the others. He was known as Chet Rippo, the town's infamous shady dealer.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance," Quizmo said politely.

Vanna T was shaking uncontrollably but gave a small smile nonetheless.

"Thank you for helping us out back there," Rowf said to Chanterelle.

Chanterelle smiled and nodded at him.

The cries and screams outside could still be heard within the house. Each scream made Vanna T tense up even more.

Rowf glanced out a nearby window. Right outside the house a dark bones had just sunk its teeth into the head of a helpless toad. The toad cried out for help as his blood spilled out onto the street.

Another dark bones jumped up to the window causing Rowf, Chanterelle, Vanna T and Rhuff to scream out in surprise. Rowf drew back the curtains to hide everyone from outside view. It was too late. Loud bangs were heard outside the door. The dark bones knew they were in there.

"We have to find a way out of here now!" Chanterelle screamed.

"We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!" Vanna T screamed out as she ran around in circles.

"Calm the fuck down Vanna!" screamed Quizmo.

"Don't you dare tell me to calm down you stupid bastard! We're trapped like fucking rats!"

"Well, screaming and crying will not get us out of her you dumb bitch!"

"Well asshole, barking orders won't help us either!"

"Hell of a lot better than listening to you! You're only good for standing around and looking pretty. You're nothing but a worthless slut!"

"Fuck you Quizmo! Nobody likes you or your dumbass game show. I'm glad the damn thing got cancelled. You suck ass as a host!"

Quizmo then slapped Vanna T hard across the cheek making her fall to the ground. Vanna began to weep.

Rhuff was now sobbing as Rowf hugged him tight for comfort.

"Everyone calm down! There has to be another way out," said Rowf.

"Yes! Please we have to work together. Merlon said it would be the only way to defeat our enemy," Chanterelle said as she helped Vanna T up off the floor.

A sinister laugh was heard in the corner of the room. Everyone turned their attention to Chet.

"And what exactly is so funny you fucking freak of nature?" Quizmo spat at him.

"You actually believed that senile old fart? Ha! If a wizard could not stop the dark bones what makes you think someone else can?" Chet said smartly.

"Merlon's predications are never wrong! He said there was a way and I have faith," replied Chanterelle.

"What all that babble about a Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, and Diamond? So treasure hunting will save the world? If you believe that shit then you're an even dumber bitch than this slut over here," he said as he gestured towards Vanna T, who was still sobbing.

"Merlon can only translate his dreams into riddles. I believe the four precious stones have to be a metaphor of some kind."

"Yeah, that we're all screwed. Trust me there is nothing to stop this madness. We should all embrace it as it consumes us all. Every beginning has an end just like Merlon. Just accept the fact that your all gonna die a horrible, slow, painful death," he said as he smirked at Rhuff.

Rhuff clung to his father in fear.

"What makes you so confident about our fate?" Chanterelle asked.

"Because I know the secret Heh heh heh," Chet replied with a creepy smile.

"Don't listen to him. That creepy loser just wants attention," Quizmo said.

"It's true. I resurrected him back from the dead in exchange for blood. That's what fuels them. It's live, fresh blood," Chet said creepily.

Rhuff gasped.

"But don't worry it's not the dead that you need to fear," Chet said with a wink.

"Shut the fuck you jacked up weirdo!" Quizmo screamed out.

The banging at the door grew louder as the door started to splinter.

"Hurry! We have to find a way out!" Rowf exclaimed.

"There is no where out. There's nowhere to run or hide. Your all gonna get hunted down like the pathetic livestock you are! He will make sure that you all die!" Chet said.

"I WANNA GET OUT OF HERE!" Vanna T wailed.

"I said shut the fuck up!" Quizmo lashed out.

"You know who caused all this? Who is it?" Chanterelle asked.

"I'll never tell," Chet sung out in a taunting voice.

"That's it! I'm gonna kick your ass freak show!" Quizmo yelled out as he lunged for Chet.

Chet pulled a revolver out his pocket and shot Quizmo in the forehead before he could react.

Blood splattered all over the walls.

Vanna T, Chanterelle and Rhuff screamed out in horror as Quizmo's body hit the floor. His lifeless eyes gazed up at the ceiling while his blood gushed out all over the floor.

Vanna T was hyperventilating. Some of Quizmo's blood had gotten on her dress.

Chet was laughing like a madman.

"I think I enjoyed killing Quizmo more than I did killing Merlon."

"It's gonna be alright…It's gonna be alight," Rowf whispered as he hugged his son tight.

"You're a monster!" Vanna T yelled out in between sobs.

"Welcome to the dawning of a new era," Chet replied as he unlocked the door.

Don't do it!" Rowf yelled out. Too late, the door was thrust open by a pack of dark bones.

Chet continued to laugh like a madman as he was being torn to shreds.

Vanna T was screaming and started clawing at the back wall until a door pushed open.

Nobody questioned the secret door in the wall as they quickly rushed into the next room.

Rowf and Chanterelle both held the door shut to keep the dark bones from coming in. Vanna T and Rhuff quickly scanned the vacant room for an exit. The only thing in the room was an old mattress.

"THERE'S NO WAY OUT! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" Vanna T sobbed out.

"What about those windows?" Rhuff said as he pointed to three windows towards to the back of the room.

"You three get to the windows, I'll hold them off," Rowf grunted as he pushed the door back with all his might.

"But they are way too high!" Vanna T whined.

"You can't hold them off by yourself!" Chanterelle protested.

"Dad! No, I'm not leaving without you," Rhuff began to cry.

The growls of the dark bones were started to echo through the wall. More of them were starting to try to push through the door. It was getting harder by the minute to keep the door shut.

"Look, we're wasting time. Vanna, use the mattress to boost yourself up, Chanterelle, I'll bide enough time for you guys to get to safety, and Rhuff, I'll be right behind you. NOW GO!" He ordered.

The three didn't argue as they raced over to their respective window. Vanna T jumped on to mattress to reach the window ledge to the right. Rhuff ran and jumped as high as he could to the middle ledge, while Chanterelle threw her shoe into the window on the left. As soon as the glass broke, she reached up on the ledge to pull herself up. Chanterelle, was a quite tall for a toad, so she had no problem pulling herself up onto the ledge. Rhuff was now sitting on his ledge. He managed to kick his window open.

As soon as Rhuff went out the window, Rowf ran as fast as he could and leaped up to the middle ledge. The door burst open as the dark bones quickly filed into that room. Rowf was already through the window and back outside with Rhuff and Chanterelle.

"Where's Vanna T?" Rhuff asked.

"HELP! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE!" Vanna T screamed out.

Rowf ran around to her window outside. He climbed on top a trash can to look inside. He could see her through the glass struggling to keep her balance on the ledge.

"Hold on Vanna!" Rowf called out as he punched the glass with all his strength. The glass shattered to a million pieces.

Rowf reached his paw out for Vanna to grab a hold of. As soon as Vanna grabbed a hold of his paw, a sharp pain was sent through her left leg. She screamed out bloody murder as a dark bones had sunk its teeth into her flesh and was attempting to pull her back into the room.

"NO! PLEASE!" Vanna T cried out. Despite Vanna being injured, Rowf still held on to her hand as he tried to pull her through the window. He pulled back as far as he could but ended up losing his balance on the trash can. Rowf fell backwards as Vanna was jerked into the house. She released one last ear splitting scream. Rowf stared mortified at the house as if he was in some kind of trance. His right fist was throbbing. He looked at it absent-mindly as he noticed it was bleeding with a few shards of glass stuck in his knuckles.

"Quickly, this way!" Chanterelle said as she grabbed Rowf and Rhuff's arms. She lead the two down a back ally way.

"We need to get out of Toad Town!" Rowf said.

"We can't! All of the exits are blocked. There has to be somewhere safe we can hide out for now," Chanterelle said.

"What about our underground hurricane shelter at the badge shop?" Rhuff asked.

"Good idea! Lead the way!" Chanterelle said.

The trio continued down the alley way stepping over many corpses in the process. Most of the dark bones were gathered in the main streets of Toad Town.

"Our badge shop is right over there!" Rowf pointed ahead. "We are going to have to make a run for it!"

"It's now or never!" Chanterelle said as she took off out of the alley onto the main street. Rowf and Rhuff quickly followed behind her.

They reached the entrance of the badge shop. Rowf wasted no time in opening up the underground hatch.

"Down here!" Rowf shouted.

Rhuff was the first one down the hatch. Chanterelle was right behind him until a dark bones leaped out of the corner.

"Chanterelle! Behind…"

As soon as Chanterelle turned around she was tackled by an unsuspecting dark bones that had followed them out of the alley way.

The creature bit down on her left check ripping out a huge amount of flesh. It began to claw at her throat.

Rowf was frozen in fear as he watched the gruesome sight right outside his shop.

Chanterelle managed to look up at him.

"Go," she replied weakly with her last breath as she coughed up blood.

"Dad! C'mon!" Rhuff yelled as he pulled him down into the hatch closing the door behind him.

Rowf stood in silence while Rhuff wept in his arms.

"And we stayed down in that shelter for 2 weeks. Luckily, we had some food stashed away to last us for a while. We waited until the town grew silent before we dared to come up. Every day we would hide in the shadows, avoiding gangs and dark bones, just trying to savage for what little food we could find."

*End of flashback*

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Mario's face was pale. He could not believe what Rowf was telling him.

"The only reason, we even stayed here was in hopes that another ferry would come back to Toad Town," Rowf sighed. "It never did nor will it ever. That's why we're leaving for Mt. Rugged in the morning. We were planning on leaving three days ago but when we saw you injured, we couldn't just leave you."

Mario sat in silence, he had lost his appetite.

The trio sat in awkward silence for several minutes.

Mario was still trying to take everything in. He wanted to say something but what was there to say?

"Well, its getting late," Rowf said breaking the silence at last. "Mario, you can have the master bedroom upstairs. Rhuff and I will stay down here."

Mario stared down on the floor in a deep trance.

"Mario, are you gonna be alright?" Rowf asked gently.

"Are my friends still alive?" he asked softly still looking down.

Rowf did not know exactly how to answer this question.

"We'll talk more about it in the morning, but for now I suggest you get some rest," Rowf said as he got up to clean the kitchen table.

Mario nodded as he made his way back upstairs into the bedroom. He walked over towards the window. He looked down on to the street. Lots of dark bones were still patrolling the streets aimlessly.

The once peaceful town filled with cheerful toads was nothing but a shadow of a distant memory.

EOC.

Ugh! This chapter was a real pain to write. I was planning to add more but noticed I was already at the 19 page mark and decided to stop here XD.