M: Things about to get dicey.

Paper Mario:

Peach's Small Adventure:

Prolong Part 3:

The Red Devil

Peach found herself holding her breath as the figure looms over the small store, daring not to move. She knew, without even getting a good look at him, that this was the guy who was terrorizing the people of this village.

I didn't realize it was going to be so big, Peach thought, suddenly doubtfully about her abilities to help this village after all.

The figure walked past the store, and the small princess exhaled. She walked up to the front of the store, and look out the window, watching the figure walk through town. She noticed that any and every toad that saw this figure, dropped what they were working on, and beginning following it.

"What's happening?" Peach asked curiously, looking at the Lee family.

Craftsman-Lee sighed deeply, and walked up to the front door. "This is the time when Red-Vil comes to the village, asking something of us."

"When we don't do as he says, he gets very upset," Toad-Lee said, continuing where his father left off.

Peach frowned as her looked between the father and son. She noticed that their eyes had become heavy and their voice deep with sadness. She suddenly remembered that Toad-Lee has said that he had lost someone before. Did this Red-Vil have something to with it?

The mini ruler was brought out of thoughts when she heard a door opening. She looked towards the door, and saw father and son leaving, causing her to frown. She started to follow, but was stopped by Craftsman-Lee.

"It might be better if you stay here, young princess. We don't want Red-Vil to get suspicious if he sees someone new," the older toad said cautiously.

Peach frowned at this. While she did see the logical behind the elder's words, she was determined to help this village. She wasn't just going to sit around, while she can get some insight on the person who was causing this village pain. She narrowed her eyes in determination, and looked the craftsman straight in the eyes.

"I really am grateful for all you have done," the princess said, her voice firm. "And I want to help, so please let me come with you?"

Craftsman-Lee let out a small sigh. He knew, from the look in her eyes that the princess wasn't going to take no got an answer. Plus the only way he could stop her was to lock her up. So with a heavy sigh, the older toad nodded.

"…Just don't draw to much attention to yourself. Ok?"

Peach smiled and nodded. She then put up her hood, and tucked her hair in the hood, before following the two toads. After a short walked, the trio found themselves in the town square. Everyone from the town was there, standing in front of a big platform. The shrunken blonde felt a little uncomfortable as she joined the crowd with her guides. It was eerily quiet, the near opposite of the lively town she entered a few minutes ago. In fact, after looking around, she noticed that all the toads were nervous some were even close to hyperventilating.

Suddenly the princess's attention was draw to the front of the crowd when she heard horns going off. She turned her eyes to the front and nearly gasped as the figure from before appeared on the platform. Red-Vil most have been over 12 feet tall, (to her at least), covered head to toe in a suit of armor. The armor, strangely, was shaped like a frog, and was mostly red. The only thing that stood out about the suit was a small orb, stacking out from the chest, glowing gold.

The small princess frowned as she looked at the person who was no doubt using her image as a figurehead to terrorize these poor villagers. She would admit that his size and armor made him look menacing, but otherwise, he didn't look all that tuff. Then again, she knows from personal experience that looks are misleading.

The crowd suddenly got quiet, well, quieter, as Red-Vil began talking.

"My dear toads of Toad-Craft village," the frog-like creature said loudly, speaking with a southern accent. "It time for you, once more, to replay me for my serves as your fateful guardian. For, without me to protect you the forces of the vale tyrant Peach, who knows what would have been fallen you"

Peach frown as she heard her name was called. Red-Vil put a lot of menace behind his voice when he use her name, like he was making her out be some of evil and vale person who cared nothing about the people that she ruled.

He's making me sound just as bad as Bowser, Peach thought, feeling a bit angry.

"So, I ask you, grateful people of the village that I protect, what have you found for me today?" the sound of Red-Vil's voice brought Peach out of her thoughts, and she looked at the frog-like creature.

The mini ruler watched as two toad stepped forward, both twitching nervously. She frowned when she noticed that they were holding hands, making her think that they were some sort of couple. Her frown deepens slightly when she noticed that the man was holding onto his lover's hand tightly.

"I-I-I'm sorry, Red-Vil, but we haven't found what you're looking for," the male toad said nervously.

Red-Vil looked down at the two toads, and Peach noticed his full attention was on the young female. Her lover noticed this, and with a quick motion, brought the scared female close to him, arms around her shoulders. The shrunken blonde may not be able to see his face, but she got the feeling that the toad-like creature wasn't happy with the news, and was planning something terrible.

This made Peach just a bit madder.

"What do you mean you found nothing?" Red-Vil said, keeping his voice even. "I protect you from that tyrant Peach, who dares to rule the upper world with TWO iron fists and when she learn about your defenseless village, she sent her forces, just so she could make herself feel even bigger then she's already is!"

Peach felt her anger rise again. Red-Vil was painting a nasty picture of her, and using it to frighten these poor villagers into being his personal labor force. And to make matter worse was that this tactic was working. She didn't care that her image was being used in such a way, she cared that these poor soul were being used in such a way.

If there was something I could do, Peach thought, determined once more to help out.

Before she could move, however, she felt someone grabbed onto her left hand. She looked to her left, and saw Craftsman-Lee, giving a warning glare.

"Don't do anything reckless," the older toad advised in a harsh whisper. "Trust me on this, you can't beat him."

Peach frowned as she looked at the frog-like creature, a bitter taste in her mouth. She wanted nothing more then to leap up there, and show these scared villagers that the one to fear is their so-called protector. And yet, she couldn't will herself to take action, the stare that the older Lee gave her fresh in her mind.

"Please, sir, we don't know what we're looking for," the male toad said, holding his lover tighter.

"I'm sorry, but that excuse wouldn't work this time," Red-Vil said, sounding cold. "I'm afraid you'll need to be punished. Remember, I'm doing this for your own good."

A hidden compartment opened under Red-Vil's chest with a small noise. Suddenly, an object shot out from the compartment, quicker then eye could follow, and grabbed the female. Her lover tried to hold her firmly as the object, revealed to be a claw of some kind, begin pulling. Unfortunately, the claw proved to be stronger, and the young male couldn't hold onto his lover, loosing his grip in mere seconds. The two screamed out their lovers' name as the female toad was taken into the armor, the compartment closing seconds after the toad entered into the shadows. The male toad fell to his knees, sobbing loudly.

Peach gasped, but not due to the fact that she just witnessed an in innocent toad taken by force. She gasped because all that happened and no one in the village lifted a finger to help. It was all so…discouraging, to say the least.

"…Now, my fateful toads, I will return tomorrow. How I proceed is all up to you," Red-Vil said calmly, and then walked away.

The villagers of Toad-craft village, and one disguised princess, watched as the giant frog-like creature walked away. The crowd broke apart a moment later, small, nervous whispers being exchanged. Peach watch them go, confusion written all over her face. She felt a tuck on her shirt sleeve and turned to look at Craftsman-Lee. She saw that the looked on his face was different, nearly devoid of any emotions.

"If you want to know everything, comes to my store, and I will explain why is useless fighting him," the craftsman said, his voice cold.

He then began walking back to his store. Peach frowned as she looked at Toad-Lee, hoping for some insight. To her surprise, the teenage toad was just as clueless. She looked back at the retreating form of the elder toad, suddenly feeling uneasy. Still, she followed him, hoping to find someway to hope these poor souls.


"…Fountain? I don't see any fountain, you stupid plumber," Bowser said harshly.

Mario frowned lightly as she looked at the old, broken fountain in a semi-clearing, feeling that there was something important about it. The mismatch pair had entered into the Lost Forest nearly 20 minutes ago, searching for the princess. The forest, however, prove to be worthy of it name. The two didn't have a clue where to start, and Bowser, unwilling to let Mario lead, had force Mario to follow him.

This was a decision that Mario had come to regret quickly. As it turns out, Bowser had zero sense of direction. He had gotten lost more times then Mario cared to count. Luckily he had thought ahead, and has been marking the area with a numbering system, so they wouldn't get lost. Unfortunately, this system had quickly turned against him, as they had passed by many numbers that Mario had made, giving him a small headache.

This all changed, however when they came upon an old fountain. Mario had looked around, and found some light footprints, matching that of Princess Peach's shoe type. Unfortunately, when he showed the fountain to Bowser, the Koppa King didn't see the object. The red plumber had tried and failed to get his rival to see reason. So, he gave up, taking one last look around the fountain. He found more footprints, but not enough to get a general direction of where the princess went. So he marked a nearby tree with a "12", and hurried after Bowser.

"If you didn't waste my time with your silly painting, I could have found the princess by now," Bowser said, scowling angrily as Mario joined him.

The red plumber was silent as he walked past his rival, looking for more signs of the princess. Bowser didn't like this, and quickly caught up to him, rudely shoving the plumber behind him. Mario scowled lightly but followed his rival needlessly. After a near ten minutes search, Bowser let out an angry roar.

"Why haven't I found the princess yet?" the Koppa roar angrily.

Mario took a few steps back as the angry Bowser began pacing, rumbling to himself about something that the plumber couldn't understand. He let out a faint sigh and began looking around, trying to find signs of the princess. There was a sudden rustle, drawing Mario's attention. He looked to his right, and noticed a small bush, which was the source of the noise. He got closer, hoping this was the break he has been looking for.

Suddenly, a hammer come flying out from the bush, and Mario, adding quickly, darted to the right. While he dodged the attack, the hammer, unfortunately, hit Bowser in the right shoulder. While the blow wasn't powerful enough to cause serious harm, it did get Bowser's attention. He blinked once and looked in the direction where the hammer came from. He growl angrily when he saw Mario and thought he threw the hammer. Before he could attack, however, another hammer was thrown from the bush, and hit Bowser square in the eye. He let out a small cry as he fell onto his back. Gasping lightly, Mario took out his hammer and readied himself as two familiar figures emerged from the shadows.

"Well, well, look what we have hear, Green Destruction," Red-O said in a refined English voice.

"Indeed, Red Oblation," Green-D said in the same refined voice as his friend.

Mario studied the Hammer brothers that he defeated a short while ago noticing something different about them. The most noticeable was that they were no longer speaking in their accents. They also were now gray and with pale red shells. Finally, they eyes were glowing red, giving them quite the menacing look. They looked like the troop that Mario had encountered at Browser's lair.

Speaking of Bowser, he had recovered from the sneak attack, jumped to his feet, and growled when he laid eyes on his real attackers. "GAAHH! Is everyone in my army against me?"

Red-O just chuckled lightly, "Please, old boy, you're entire army could be conspiring against you, and you, with your limited intelligence would never have been aware of it until it was far to late to do anything."

This comment sent the Koppa King into a mad rage, and with a mighty roar charged at the two hammer brother. The brothers stood their ground, and Green-D threw his hammer. Red-O followed suit be jumping up, and threw his hammer. Mario watched, with a curious eye, as Red-O's hammer stroke his partner's in such a way, that the two hammer became interlocked and the continued onto to the Koppa King. Bowser, unable to stop, was hit in the chest, and knocked to the ground, gasping for air.

Mario watched as Red-O caught both hammers, and gave his brother's hammer back to him. He couldn't help but notice that these were trained in similar fashion to those Koppa Troopa that they fought not to long ago. He tightened his grip on his hammer and was about to attack when Red-O spoke.

"Now, before you do anything rash, old boy, I believe you might be interested in what we have here."

The red plumber watched as Green-D returned to the bush that the hammer brothers came from pulled someone out from it. Mario gasped as he saw Luigi, tied and gagged. Green-D returned to his partner and trained his hammer at the top of the green plumber's head.

"Now, be a gentleman, and throw down that hammer, if you don't want any harm to befall your brother, that is," Red-O said in a smug tone.

Mario growled lowly but did as he was told and dropped the hammer. Red-O grinned and got closer, getting between the plumber and his weapon of choice.

"Good show, old bean," the red hammer brother said mockingly. "Now, did you haven't to seen any sort of fountain on your travels around these woods?"

Mario narrowed his brow at the question. He didn't like where this was going. Still, he didn't have much of choice, with his brother's life on the line. He gesture for the Hammer brothers to follow him and he began walking in the direction of the fountain he saw earlier. Red-O and Green-D began to follow the plumber, casually stepping past Bowser.

Suddenly, the Koppa King leapt to his feet, and with a quick tail swipe, knocking Red-O to the ground. Mario used this to own end, and dashed for the other brother, knocking him back with a flying kick. He then hurried up and untied Luigi. The taller plumber sighs in relief and thanked his brother.

The reunion was short lived, however, as the plumbers heard small battles cry and looked behind them. The hammer brother had recovered, and regrouped, and had fallen back to a safe distance. Bowser, still mad, charged, roaring as fire fell from the corners of his mouth. The Hammer brothers, for their part, remain calm, preparing for their next attack.

Green-D took of a vial of red liquid and pooled it over his hammer. He threw the hammer, and it began spinning in an unnatural way, tearing up the ground as it traveled towards the Koppa king. Red-O jumped up, and threw his hammer at his partner's hammer. This cause Green-D's hammer to fly up, and strike Brower right under the chin. The Koppa King fell and didn't get back up. The hammer flew back into the hands of Green-D as the hammer brothers walked up to the unconscious Bowser. Red-O took his hammer back and looked down at king.

"Our lord was indeed right," Red-O said smugly. "The supposed King of the Koppas is nothing more then a giant buffoon who relies on nothing but power."

"Indeed so, brother," Green-D replied and brought his hammer close to Bowser's head. "It would be easy to permanently rid our lord of his biggest roadblock, wouldn't you say?"

Red-O nodded his agreement and raised his hammer alongside his brother, ready to finish off Bowser once and for all. Suddenly, both were knocked away from the Koppa King. The Hammer brothers looked up, and saw the Mario brothers, ready for a fight. Mario has also gotten his hammer back and looked ready to use it.

"Well, my brother, looks like we overlooked a minor annoyance," Red-O said calmly.

"Indeed, brother," Green-D replied calmly. "Shall we use technique 12 to correct that little oversight?"

Red-O grinned at his brother, and together, the two jumped high into the air. Luigi watched this, becoming a bit panicky, while Mario also watch, a determine expression to his face. He may not know what this technique 12 is, but he wasn't going to let them use it, not after everyone he had witness from them.

The red plumber jumped up, following the hammer brothers closely. The brothers, unprepared for this sudden move, hastily threw their hammers. Mario was able to knock the hammers out of his way as he continued onto the hammer brothers. The brothers were once again caught off guard by the sudden move, and wasn't able to do anything when the red plumber manage to hit both of them.

"Luigi!" Mario shouted, to get his brother's attention and pointed to falling hammers.

The green plumber saw the hammers, and knew what his brother had in mind. He hesitant for only a second, and ran for the hammers, grabbing one with a show of skills. He then ran for the hammer brothers, ready to take them on.

The Hammer Brothers were able to recovered and land on their feet. Before they could act, however, Luigi rushed in, and knocked Green-D away from his brother. Red-O scowl slightly and was about to attack Luigi, only to have Mario land right in front of him. The red hammer brother was barely able to bring out his extra hammer and block a strike from the other red hammer wielder.

"…I underestimate you," Red-O replied, a bit of anger in his voice. "Something I don't plan to do again."

He then broke his hammer free, and tried to attack Mario. The Mushroom Kingdom's savior jumped on the hammer brother's head, causing him to loose his hammer. He then came down behind the Koppa and swing his hammer against his opponent's shell, sending him flying into a nearby tree. Red-O groaned lightly as fell into unconscious.

Mario let out a light sigh as he put his hammer away, glad that it was over. He suddenly heard his brother's familiar cry and without a second thought hurried to him.

Luigi, unfortunately, wasn't doing as good as his brother, and his opponent was fair more skilled then his first thought. He found himself slowly backed into a corner from Green-D's continuous assault. He suddenly cried out when he tripped over something, knocking the wind out of him. He looked up and saw his opponent readying the next blow. Luigi close his eyes, letting out another scream.

Suddenly, the object that Luigi trip up shot up, unknowingly punching Green-D right in the face. The green hammer brother was sent flying straight into a tree, taking him out of the game. Luigi blinked as he looked at Brower, the object that he tripped over, yawn slightly, and scratched his shell. He lazily looked around, and then turned his attention to the green plumber. Luigi began to panic, thinking that the Koppa King would attack him. Bowser just groans and walked away. Luigi sighed with relief and got up as Mario came up to him.

Within a few minutes, the unlikely group had round up the two hammer brothers, and disarmed them. And now all they had to do was waited for the HB come around. Once they were fully awake Brower began grilling them for answers.

"Now, tell me who's planning to overthrow me?" the lizard-like creature asked angrily.

Red-O just laughed right in Bowser face, and that made the Koppa king madder. Fortunately, Mario got between his rival and their prisoners before anything could happen. The Mushroom Kingdom's savoir looked at his imposter, throwing threatening glares. Red-O just ignored the glare and looked behind the plumber the best his could, a cocky grin growing on his face.

"For all you know, your wickedness, your entire kingdom could be plotting your downfall even as we speak. But your ever shrinking brain wouldn't be even able to consider such possibility until you're attacked," the red hammer brother said mockingly.

The rouge Koppa closely watched Browser's face. His grown widen as he saw that his words had cause the reaction that he was hoping for. Brower was clearly angrier then he was a moment ago, flames were coming from his mouth.

"…For that matter, how do you know that anyone in your kingdom has ever been truly on your side? If I were you, I will stay by the plumbers' side. At least with them, there's no fear of a double cross," Red-O said smugly.

Well, that was it for Browser. He let out an angry roar and made a mad rush at the traitors, forcefully pushing Mario out of the way. With one mighty swing of his claw, sent both hammer brothers into a tree. Unfortunately, that was enough to activate the enchantment on the H-brothers, and they began to dissolve into the ground.

"Thank you, your wickedness," Red-O said in mock gratitude. "And just for a little tease, let just say the one whom planning your downfall is someone in the family."

Soon after, the enchantment finished and the two hammer brothers were gone, leaving over their words behind. Mario looked at his archenemies, curious to know if he knew anything. Browser, however, just shrugged, and then turned to leave. Luigi joined his brother and together, the Mario brothers looked at each other with concern.

"…Move it, you stupid plumbers! We don't have all year to waste! Bowser called rudely.

The Mario brothers looked at Bowser quickly before looking at each other, concern and doubt written clearly on their faces. Both knew that something was up, and rather they like it or not, Bowser was in the middle of it. But at the moment, that would have to be put on hold, as finding Princess Peach comes first. So the two hurried after their reluctant ally, ready to begin the search anew.


"…Pa, what are you saying?" Toad-Lee asked in shock.

Peach was also shocked, but hid it better then her new friend. After Craftsman-Lee had taken them back to his shop, he then told them about a dark secret that he had kept from his son.

The older Toad nodded, and shamefully looked away. "Yes son, it's just as I told you. I help to create the armor Red-Vil wears now?"

"But why, pa?" the younger toad in a mix of shock and confusion.

Craftsman-Lee sighed and turned so his back was facing his son, and the mini princess. He closed his eyes, and let out another sigh before speaking. His voice was soft, but still hearable.

"Two years ago, Red-Vil came to this village, and secretly gathered up the best craftsmen in village. He wanted us to make a suit of armor out of Gold Silk-Beetle crystals, the rarest of all silk-beetle crystals. We naturally refused, but he wouldn't just take no for an answer, and forced us our hands by kidnapping our loved ones."

The elder toad suddenly became quiet, lost in the memory of that terrible day. He could still remember the cries of friends' loved ones as they were taken away. He still recalled his wife pleading with Red-Vil to spare their son. He closed his eyes as he remembered the look on his lover's face as she was taken away.

He let out another sigh, and turned to face his son, eyes half open. When he spoke next, he voice have become filled with grief.

"He said if we make the suit, he would return our loved ones. None of us actually believed him, but are hands were tied, and we fulfilled the request. But, just as we thought, he didn't return our loves. Instead, he took my follow craftsmen."

Craftsman-Lee closed his eyes again, becoming lost in another painful memory. He still remembered faces of the terrified craftsmen as they were all scooped into the suit they had help to create. He then remembered how Red-Vil turned to him and spoke in a voice that sent shivers down his back.

"If you tell anyone about this, I will take your son."

Craftsman-Lee let out a heavy sigh and continues talking but kept his eyes closed. "I suspect that he didn't take me because having five of the best craftsmen disappear all at once would draw to much attention. Soon after that, the enforcers began attacking, and Red-Vil appeared, acting like a brave hero. I knew the truth, of course. I knew that the so-called savior wasn't who he said he was, I just couldn't tell anyone the truth."

And with that, the room fell into tense silence. The small ruler, with an unreadable face, looked at her young friend. Toad-Lee's face was alive with emotion. It was clear that he was working through some mixed feelings, probably aimed at his father. She looked at the craftsman, and saw that his eyes were still closed, but noticed that his head was tilled toward his son, like he was waiting for his son to say something. So she decided to something before things got to tense between the father and son.

"Ahem, can I ask something?" the mini ruler asked politely.

Craftsman-Lee looked at the shrunken blonde and nodded his eyes solemn. It almost broke the princess's heart to see one of her subjects looking so broken. Unfortunately, she didn't have time to feel any sympathy, not of she wanted to save these poor souls.

"…You said earlier that fighting Red-Vil was pointless, but I'm afraid I still don't understand," Peach said kindly.

Craftsman-Lee sighed heavily and looked at the floor. "Gold Silk-beetle crystal is the rarest and most powerful all of crystals. Anything made from it is nearly indestructible. Fighting him would be a waste of time and would likely end with your capture," the craftsman said solemnly.

The craftsman's words weren't lost on the mini ruler. She clearly heard him say that the armor was nearly indestructible, which meant there was a way around that suit after all.

"Pa…" Toad-Le said his voice somewhat cold. "You said nearly indestructible. Does that mean there's same way around that armor?"

Craftsman-Lee looked at his son, his eyes becoming heavier. It was clear that his son tone was affecting him and once more Peach had to stop herself from reaching out and trying to help settle things between the father and son. The elder told looked at the little princess, and Peach silent urged him to continue. Craftsman-Lee let out a faint sigh and then looked at his son.

"…As you know, son, Silk-Beetle crystal recharge itself after a period of non-use. But what you didn't know is that the higher level crystals need an outside source to remain powered. Without daily recharge, the suit would quickly weaken, and become useless," the craftsman said quietly.

That got the gears in Peach's head turning. If it was true, then all she needed to do was disable that power source. She then could the villager rid themselves of the true villain.

"Pa…if this is true, then why haven't you done anything to stop Red-Vil?" Toad-Lee asked suspiciously.

Peach looked at her friend, once more feeling sympathy for the young toad. It was clear from his tone he was mad at his father and his inaction. And that made the mini ruler's heart ache that much more. Unfortunately, she wasn't the only one who picked up on the angry toad's tone. Craftsman-Lee let out a heavy sigh and once more looked at the floor.

"You must believe me, son, I have thought about many times," he said solemnly. "I even asked for that witch's help when she stopped by our village that one time. But I couldn't run the risk being caught. I didn't want to leave you alone."

Toad-Lee looked away from his father as he left, unable to even be in the same room with the man at the moment. Peach could once more feel her heart ache, but kept herself together as she walked up to the craftsman and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Listen, I know you're hurting at the moment, but you said you have a way to stop Red-Vil, what is it?" Peach felt sick to her stomach. She didn't like anyone to be in pain, but she has realized that if she was going to truly help the village, she would need to put any personal feelings aside for the time being.

Craftsman-Lee sighed and took something out of his vest. He showed a small black pearl to the princess. Peach looked deeply into the pearl feeling familiar magic coming off of it.

"The witch said that this pearl would naturalize the power source of Red-Vil's armor," Craftsman-Lee replied solemnly.

Peach held out her hands as Craftsman-Lee dropped the pearl into her palms. With a silent thank you, she pocketed the pearl and turned to leave. She stopped when the other toad spoke to her.

"…I know what's you're planning and I'm telling you it foolish. Red-Vil is probably back at his lair by now. You'll run the risk of being caught. Do you really want to take that risk?" the craftsman asked seriously.

With a light sigh, the shrunken blonde looked at the toad, her expression firm. "Yes. I told your son this before; I can't stand it when people are suffering. If I could, I would risk my very being to help someone in need," She said sincerely.

And with that, she left, leaving the elder toad with his shame and guilt.

Peach was surprise when she found Toad-Lee, standing outside of his family shop. She was even more surprise of what happen next.

"If you're going after Red-Vil, I want in," the young toad said his voice firm. "And before you say anything I want to say this; I know this forest better then anyone else. I even know where Red-Vil's lair is. Beside, even if you say no, I will just follow you without you're knowing."

Peach looked her friend directly in the eyes, and saw the determination in them. Truthfully, she didn't want to put her friend in any real danger, but realized the truth to his words. She was a stranger in an even stranger land. She could wonder around aimlessly for days on end and probably never find Red-Vil's lair.

So, with a reluctant sigh, the mini ruler gave in and nodded. Toad-Lee didn't give any sort of reaction; he just turned and began to walk. Peach began to follow him, only to stop when she felt a pair of eyes on her back. Turning around, she saw Craftsman-Lee, looking out his shop window. The elder toad had regret and guilt lining his face, and it made the princess's heart heavy with her own regret. She forced a smile onto her face, trying to tell the toad that everything was going to be okay, and then hurried after her friend.


True to his word, Toad-Lee had lead Peach to Red-Vil's lair. The villain-pretending-to-be-a-hero's lair was located in a large tree near Toad-craft Village, and was only a seven minute walk. Luck was also apparently with the two, as Red-Vil wasn't in at the moment, and there was no traps, making the two jobs that much easier.

Peach felt a bit disturb as she wonder the halls of the villain's lair. The inside wasn't what she was expecting. Instead of tree bark, she saw stone walls. It remained her strangely of Brower's many fortresses that she was kept prisoner in. In fact, the place looked so much like one of Brower's fortress, she found herself guiding Toad-Lee to center, where they found a throw with two orbs around it.

Peach got close to the throne, studying the orbs thoroughly. The orb on the right was filled with golden color energy swimming around peacefully. She turned her attention to the other orb and frown. The energy in this orb was a muddy brown, and appears to be more violet, bursting against the glass as it tired to break free. Peach frown deepen as she realized something.

"…Which one is the source of Red-Vil's armor?" she whispered under her breath.

She patted the pocket that held the pearl. Since she had only one, she couldn't afford to waste it, or the village would never be free. She began to panic as she looked between the two orbs, wondering which one she should choose.

If I choose wrong, then the village suffers because of it, the mini ruler thought worryingly.

"It the orb on the right," Toad-Lee said.

Startled, Peach looked at her friend, and this time, did see his eyes glowing. It clicked with the mini ruler at that moment. Toad-Lee process the silver-line slight, a rare gift that some toads are born with, allowing them to truth beneath lies and other things. She only ever had seen it in textbooks, and even doubt that it was real. Still, something in her heart told her to trust her friend.

She looked at the orb with the golden energy. Though she still had her doubts, she walked up to the orb. After a little investigation, she found a small led, and opened it, dropping the pearl in without a moment hesitation. She then watched as the energy turned pitch black for a moment and then returned it original color.

Peach walked up to her friend put a hand on his shoulder. "Now, I think we should go before-"

A sudden noise caught the mini ruler and her friend off guard, and they looked toward the hall. They saw a shadow rapidly approaching and it knew it meant only one thing. Red-Vil had returned, and with their only known exit blocked, they were trapped.


M: Well, another part close, and the big fighting coming next. Be sure to tone in for it.