Monday, 16 April 2012

Obscurus Lupa The Sagacious Saga: Commentary Part 2


Chapter 5

Even though that Lord Electriceye fellow had their TARDIS, Lupa and Phelous had no idea where he had disappeared to. They did, however, notice a number of giants fleeing toward a giant mountain in the middle of Raus Island, which seemed like as good a place as any to go.

But due to certain magical effects, both of them were similarly giant-sized. This allowed them to get to the base of the mountain fairly quickly; though Lupa still retained the power to fly, their increased sizes and some sort of magical invocation of the square-cube law made Phelous a lot heavier. She could still fly while carrying him, but it was a lot slower.

To their surprise, there was a town at the base of the mountain; even more surprising was the fact that the people and buildings in it were scaled to the same size as the giants. In fact, there were several giant corpses lying outside the town, and a number of bechainmailed guards with bloody halberds.

"Halt!" one of the guards said. He pointed his bloody halberd at Lupa. "Who are you?"

"We're, uh, looking for Lord Electriceye. We have an important meeting with him." Lupa said.

"Nothing suspicious about that. Welcome to Hemel!" The guard beckoned them in, then went back to wiping his halberd off as they passed through.

"You know, this particular progression of events is reminding me of something." Phelous commented.

"Of what?" Lupa asked.

"Well, I'd like to say 'a crappy fanfic', but it's something else. I can't quite put my finger on it."

As they walked through the town, they noticed something on the very top of the mountain. It seemed to be much, much taller than the tower on the coast, but they couldn't quite tell exactly how high up it went. So they stopped at one of the supermarkets in town to purchase supplies (they looted the giants for gold coins).

"So what exactly is that tower on the mountain?" Lupa asked the cashier as they checked out.

"Huh? I guess you're not from around here." the cashier said. "That's the Sky Tower that leads to the Sky Empress' castle. Even in the old days, it was pretty heavily guarded, but barely anyone's been let in it since the war broke out."

"Thanks for the exposition." Phelous said as he handed the coins over. They'd bought enough food and water to last them a while, and thanks to their hammerspace pockets, storage wasn't a problem. And with exposition in tow, they figured that the Sky Tower was as good a place to go as any.

But as they headed to the edge of town, another gate with more guards.

"Sorry, the Sky Tower's off-limits." the guard said.

"But we have important business with the Sky Empress." Lupa explained.

"We haven't been informed of any visitors to the Sky Castle."

Phelous stepped in. "Supposedly, there's aliens disguising themselves as humans about. We have important information for the Empress Herself, and we can't risk it being intercepted."

"Is that so?" the guard said.

"Yeah, they were supposed to be headed to Malus Tower for interrogation." another guard piped up. "In fact, you two look a bit suspicious. What if you're the aliens?"

"Uh..." Lupa stammered.

"ALIENS!" The second guard swung his halberd, but Lupa broke the shaft with a well-placed strike. Phelous picked up the other guard and flung him into the gates.

"Hey Phelous, have we actually killed any humans yet?" Lupa asked as she nerve-pinched a guard.

"Uh, we might've indirectly killed those marines. And there was all of those ninjas from Olympics, and Demon Hitler, and Mark Sevi I think?"

"Silly Phelous! Ninjas aren't people. And I'm pretty sure Mark Sevi was just some sort of projection or something. And... Demon Hitler? Really? You're going to count Demon Hitler as a human? And you killed the author of this thing!"

"It was in self-defense. But why do you care anyways?"

"Eh, just curious." Lupa grabbed the last guard and knocked him out with some chloroform that she totally had before shut up. "I guess those giants might count, but I'm writing them off as monsters."

With all of the guards unconscious, they opened the gates. There was a well-worn stone path that wrapped around the mountain, up to the Sky Tower on the peak; but they could see several watchtowers built along the path. There was no way they'd make it up that path without alerting the guards to their presence.

"You can still fly, right?" Phelous asked.

"Yeah, but if I carry you, we'll move too slow."

"True, but what if I ride Sparklypoo?" He motioned his head to the Master Ball on Lupa's belt.

"Nah, that's a terrible idea." Lupa said. "Hmm... But wait! What if you-"

"DON'T." Phelous growled.

"Aww, I was just kidding. Go, Sparklypoo!"

Lupa released Sparklypoo, who was both his standard size (making him only slightly larger than the supersized Phelous and Lupa) and still injured from the fight with the giants. Lupa gave him a couple of Super Potions, but it didn't restore it to full health, and they didn't have the time to rest and recover.

But it was enough. Phelous climbed on Sparklypoo's back and kicked it in the... lower jaw, causing it to flip the fuck out and run right up the mountain. The watchtowers were immediately alerted to the giant man riding an evil monstrosity, but Sparklypoo blasted everything in sight with Hyper Beams, reducing them to rubble. Lupa simply followed in Sparklypoo's footsteps.

Before they knew it, they were in front of the Sky Tower. There were two entrances side by side - one was scaled for their current size, one was for their normal size. Naturally, they couldn't fit in the smaller one, so they went through the larger one; Lupa called Sparklypoo back, and they stepped through the gate...

...only to be greeted by another gate, of the same size. They stepped through that too, to reach the interior of the tower, which was a glorified spiral staircase around a huge central pillar. A huge one, yeah, but not much more.

"Looks like we're back at our normal size again." Phelous commented. He pointed out a secondary entrance, which was the same size as the main door they'd entered from.

"Or we could still be big." Lupa said.

"Yeah I guess."

Lupa picked up Phelous, and they flew around the spiral staircase, avoiding all of the various traps that had been placed there. Sure enough, Lupa had no difficulty flying while carrying Phelous, which meant that they were normal size.

After what seemed like an eternity, they finally reached a ladder at the end of the winding staircase. They climbed up, onto a small platform suspended in midair. There were a number of floating platforms and lifts leading to a huge floating castle, which would normally demand some crazy-ass jump skills - but Lupa could fly, rendering them moot. They flew right to the castle, which was lavishy-decorated and, you know, floating in the sky.

The castle itself was sized to their normal height, and to their surprise, there weren't any generic guards outside of the gates. As they approached, the gate opened by itself, inviting them in - but just like any good villainous place, the gates shut as they walked inside.

The castle was completely empty - there wasn't even a token show of resistance. A red carpet led them to the throne room, where two figures waited - Lord Electriceye, and a blond woman in a frilly pink dress.

"Yes, I expected you to come here." Lord Electriceye said. "My Ladyship, I would suggest you retreat."

"I will do no such thing." The Sky Empress got up off her throne. "Tell me, who are you?"

"I'm Allison Pregler, aka Obscurus Lupa. We've come here to reclaim an item that this guy stole from us."

"And I'm Phelous, the not-so-comic relief companion."

"I see." The Sky Empress turned to Lord Electriceye. "What did you steal from these two, that they would murder their way through my territory to reclaim it?"

"My Ladyship, I recovered an object that would help us greatly against the threat of the Pax Terra. It originally belonged to these two, but I believe our use for it is more noble."

"I see." She turned back to Lupa and Phelous. "And what of the stories I've heard of your destruction of the monsters sealed within amber?"

"Yeah, we killed a few of those too."

"Ah!" Lord Electriceye frowned. "I do not know how Your Ladyship came to know this..."

"I am rather disappointed that you would withhold information from me, Fraser. But regardless... I have a proposition for you two.

"It is believed by our people that the world of Mykodia was created by two gods - a god of earth, who shaped the land, and a god of heaven, who breathed life into it. Our ancestors gave most of their worship to the heavenly god, neglecting the earthly god that gave them their forms. Naturally, the earth god was not pleased. He created an army of automatons and waged war against the god of heaven, but he was defeated and captured.

"But even the god of heaven could not kill another god. Instead, he cut the earth god's body into six pieces. Their bodies were sealed within amber, to sleep for eternity... but it was foretold that defectors from heaven would come one day and unseal the pieces of the god, reforming it and spelling doom for the land."

"Well, that was entirely unneeded exposition." Phelous commented. "So you want us to kill these pieces of a god, and in return, we get the TARDIS back?"

"I believe it would be beneficial for the both of us. I believe that we can make peace with the Pax Terra, without resorting to extreme measures." The Sky Empress cast a knowing glance at Lord Electriceye as she said that.

"But..." Electriceye was furious. "I have continually told you, Your Ladyship, that the Pax Terra will not compromise. They are coming to Mykodia with war in mind, and they will not stop until we are under their thumb or lie in ashes."

"Wait a minute..." Phelous furrowed his brow, which changed into a pained grimace as he realized exactly where he was. "Mykodia? As in... mushroom?"

"Correct. I am Peach Toadstool III, Sky Empress of the Mushroom Kingdom of the world of Mykodia."

"God damnit!" Phelous yelled. "Grass, desert, water, giant, sky! It's Super Mario Bros 3! It's goddamn Super Mario Bros 3!"

"Please ignore him, Your Ladyship." Lupa did a respectful bow. "If I may ask, what exactly is the Pax Terra?"

"An alternate Earth that subjugated your own." Electriceye said. "In their timeline, various factors led them to become a united one world government by the year 1963. Then, one of them got the bright idea to spread their enlightenment to other worlds... starting with other Earths. Including your own.

"I'm from that alternate Earth. I came here to warn you fools about them, but you evidently think that they can be negotiated with." Electriceye ripped off one of his gauntlets, exposing a maple leaf tattooed on his right palm. "In your world, I'm known as Fraser of Awesome Video Games. In my world, I'm a member of the resistance to the Pax Terra. I tore out my own eye to gain the power of the lightning eye, and it will not go to waste! I'll defend your world, Sky Empress, because I'm the only one who can!"

Electriceye flipped his eyepatch up, unleashing the power of his lightning upon the Empress. But unlike her more mainstream counterpart (in case you didn't get it with the references to sealed gods and Sky Empresses, this is an alternate Mushroom Kingdom to the one in SMB3), Empress Peach conjured a powerful barrier, negating the lightning.

Lupa intervened with a flying kick, but Electriceye grabbed her leg and broke it in three places. He threw her uselessly to the side, while keeping his deadly gaze upon Peach. Phelous countered with his own eye lasers, but Electriceye was immune to them; Phelous rushed him too, but Electriceye quickly dispatched him.

"Ha! In my world, Phelan, you're one of the resistance's greatest fighters. I'm sure he'll get a laugh when I tell him how weak you are!"

"You know, the evil alternate Earth thing is a bit played out, don't you think?" Phelous said.

"Shut up!" Electriceye dropped his assault on Peach, and walked over to Phelous, grabbing him by the neck. "You think you're so clever with all your meta bullshit. But let's see how well your lampshades hang when I crush your windpipe!"

"No!"

Lupa flew at Electriceye, kicking him with her good leg. She distracted him long enough to release his grip on Phelous, but he instead grabbed her and started electrocuting her.

"Yes, the famous Obscurus Lupa who won the Olympics and saved the universe twice over! And you meet your end from a lowly soldier like me."

"No!" Lupa struggled against Electriceye, but he tightened his grip on her throat.

"Yes!"

"No..." With her last bit of strength, Lupa reached down to her belt and activated her Master Ball. Fortunately, the throne room was large enough for Sparklypoo to manifest in its full glory, but it was still wounded from the giants and the mountain climb.

"See, Your Ladyship? These two are the defectors from heaven in your stupid legend! They only seek to dominate the power of the earth god, not destroy it!" Electriceye turned his gaze on Sparklypoo, who took major damage from the lightning. Peach tried intervening, but Electriceye's rage only intensified his lightning, overwhelming her barrier and knocking her out with a massive shock.

"And now, you die." Electriceye reached for the sword attached to his back. He let go of Lupa, dropping her on the ground; he dramatically raised his sword...

but he was interrrupted by a gust of wind. He looked back, and saw the wounded Sparklypoo inhaling as hard as it could in its wounded state. Electriceye stood his ground, but Lupa was sucked into the monster's maw.

And then, a transformation took place. Sparklypoo's body was enveloped in an aura of dark wind, which gradually shrunk into a humanoid form. The figure stood up, throwing off its cloak of shadow; it was a fifteen-foot-tall Lupa, with literally flaming hair, wearing armor made of Sparklypoo's red-black scales. She was more muscular, and was wielding a ten-foot-long black sword with golden triangles and patterns of five rings engraved along the length of the blade.

"Fraser, huh?" Lupa Demise chuckled. "I'll make sure to tell my world's Fraser how stereotypically villainous you were when I get back to my Earth."

Lupa rose her sword, and a bolt of lightning shot through the Sky Castle's roof, electrifying her sword. Electriceye tried gazing at her, but her sword easily conducted and absorbed the lightning. With her off hand, Lupa fired a burst of red energy at Electriceye, causing him to fall to his knees.

Lupa swung her sword in a huge vertical arc, throwing a crescent of red energy mixed with lightning at him. The sheer voltage of the attack overrode Electriceye's resistance, severely wounding him.

"Ghh..." Electriceye snapped his fingers, and he teleported away.

Lupa de-fused from Sparklypoo, and she recalled it into its ball.

"Are you okay?" She ran over to Phelous first.

"Yeah..." Phelous said while rubbing his neck. "What about her?"

"I... I'm fine." Peach got to her feet. "I was foolish to trust him. He appeared to me and revealed that most of the senators of the Mushroom Kingdom were Pax Terra sleeper agents... and they initiated a coup on me the next day. I gave him nearly unlimited power to do what he needed to do to prevent the Pax Terra's invasion, but he turned my empire into a paranoid police state. I..."

"At least he didn't kidnap you." Phelous said. "Speaking of which, what happened to Bowser in this universe?"

"Bowser? I'm unfamiliar with the name."

"You know, big turtle guy, red hair, breathes fire, kidnaps you for a living..."

"Hmm, you must mean the Great Demon King. Our greatest knight slew him many years ago, but his base still lies deep within the earth."

"Gee, I wonder who your 'greatest knight' is." Lupa said sarcastically.

"So he'll probably be in the Dark World." Phelous said. "Uh, how do we get there?"

"The only entrance we ever found to the Demon King's realm was through the Hidden Jungle, which lies deep underneath the North Pole. My castle is capable of transporting you there, and I will provide you with the necessary supplies... unfortunately, I cannot spare any of my soldiers."

"Yeah, sounds about right." Phelous said. "Still... Super Mario Bros 3..."

Chapter 6

"By the way, do you have a problem with us using one of your monsters to defeat Electriceye?"

Lupa and Phelous, both dressed in heavy winter gear, stood in the throne room of the Sky Empress Peach's flying castle. It never occured to them to ask why she was the empress of a kingdom, but they figured it was just one of those fanfic things that didn't occur to the writer until after he wrote it.

"You have already killed three of the earth god's pieces." Peach said. "Even if he were resurrected at this point, it would be in an incomplete form that we could handle. And since you've succeeded in dominating its power, I don't think that will happen."

"Well, okay then. But we're also really sorry about killing a bunch of your soldiers."

"Don't worry about it."

The gates of the castle opened, and a frigid wind blasted forth. Beneath the castle was a snowy tundra that stretched out forever in every direction; the only notable features were a few wrecked airships half-embedded in the snow.

"We managed to map out the Ice Cap and the Hidden Jungle during our campaign against the Great Demon King." Peach handed them some maps. "Good luck."

"Yeah, that pretty much confirms it." Phelous looked at the map, which looked exactly like the overworlds of Worlds 6 and 7 from SMB3. "But thanks, Your Queenness or whatever."

Lupa and Phelous jumped from the Sky Castle, diving through the air and landing on the deck of one of the broken airships. After picking themselves up, they started heading east, into the featureless tundra...

"At least we still have deus ex machina powers backing us up." Phelous said as they trudged through the snow. "Seriously, what was up with that Lupa Demise shit?"

"I dunno." Lupa shrugged. "When it ate me, it tried to drain my power, but I just took control of it, and things happened."

"What a great explanation. But of course, now that you've used it once, it'll be completely ineffective against Goatee Fraser when we see him again."

"Yeah, I knew he was evil as soon as I saw that goatee." Lupa said. "And what's with the shit about these monsters being pieces of an evil god? That's completely out of place in a Mario world."

"Oh, but it's Mykodia, not the Mushroom Kingdom." Phelous said sarcastically. "So obviously evil gods and evil alternate Earths are totally awesome!"

They continued walking through the tundra, but they soon came across a deep lake with an island in the middle. The ruins of what looked like a castle stood upon the island, but the bridge had long since vanished into the depths.

"So that's the the third fortress, according to the map. The entrance to World 7 is in there somewhere." Phelous said, shaking his head. "God."

Lupa grabbed Phelous, and they flew over the lake to the fortress' main doors. The doors were frozen shut, forcing them to fly through a hole in the roof. Once inside, they made their way to the main floor, only to find something very interesting...

"God damn it!" A familiar-looking man was pointing a shotgun at a pack of ghosts. He pulled the trigger, firing some sort of magical ammo at the ghosts - it didn't injure them, but it did drive them off.

"Wait a minute." The roaring fire behind him cast him in silhouette, but Lupa seemed to recognize him when he turned around.

"Oh great, more of you Pax Terra douches." Nash pointed his gun at the two. "I didn't expect you to follow me all the way out to the fucking frigid bowels of Hell."

"Huh? No, we're not with the Pax Terra." Lupa said. "It's me, Allison! You know, Lupa from Channel Awesome?"

"Yeah, I know who you look like." Nash said. "We were filming the fourth-year anniversary when the Pax Terra invaded. I saw you die with my own two eyes. Barely half of us made it onto Comicron One, and you two weren't among them."

"But 8-Bit Mickey said that we were away when they invaded."

"So there's three alternate Earths in this story so far. What do you wanna bet that there'll be more introduced to patch up the other plot holes?" Phelous said.

"Okay, yeah, you're Phelous." Nash lowered his gun. "So why the hell are you here?"

Lupa gave Nash a brief overview of the events that had led them to this particular place at this particular time.

"Huh. Sounds like a crappy fanfic." Nash commented.

"I know!" Phelous shouted. "But anyways, why don't you come with us or something?"

"Where?"

"Well, there's a jungle underneath this castle... somehow. And beneath that is where the guy who has our TARDIS is hiding out... we hope." Phelous said. "You know, when you say it out loud, it's kind of fucking stupid that we came all the way out here on an assumption."

"Yeah, no kidding." Nash said. "But yeah, I guess I can come with you. I've explored this fort a few times, and there's a weird door in the basement that I can't get past."

"20 bucks says it's made out of amber!" Phelous said.

"No way I'm taking that bet." Lupa said.

After the requisite 'new party member' fanfare, Lupa, Phelous and Nash walked into the basement. Nash's boomstick (it was literally named that), which had unlimited holy-affinity ammo, drove off the ghosts that relentlessly assaulted them on the way down.

Sure enough, at the very bottom of the fortress was a door made of the same amber that had kept the other beasts imprisoned. However, the door had multiple deep cracks in it, and as soon as Lupa touched it, it shattered into hundreds of fragments.

"So, the monster this time... I'm gonna say a yeti." Lupa said.

"No, it's going to be a polar bear." Phelous said.

"King Ghidorah."

They both looked at Nash, confused by his seeming non-sequitir - until they saw the giant three-headed golden dragon frozen in a block of ice. Before they could question the logistics of freezing a dragon in ice, King Ghidorah opened all six of its eyes and easily broke through the ice, letting out a mighty roar.

But the foundations of the fortress had weakened over the years. As King Ghidorah spread its wings, the entire floor caved in, and they all fell into a bottomless pit.

Lupa woke up some time later. The first thing she noticed was that she wasn't dead; in fact, she felt completely fine, despite falling for god knows how long. The second thing she noticed was her surroundings; it looked like she was in a tropical jungle that had been flash-frozen. The sky was a dingy yellow color, even though they were ostensibly underground.

The third thing she noticed was an ear-splitting roar. King Ghidorah, which had taken to the sky, was doding red energy beams fired from below. It was returning the attacks with lightning fired from all three of its heads, but it seemed to be rather ineffective.

"Up, human!"

Lupa felt something prodding her in the back. She turned around to see an ugly-ass insect thing holding a stick.

"Huh, who're you?" Lupa asked.

"Silence, human! You're a prisoner of the Dhz tribe now!" the insect announced. It was speaking proper English, though with an unidentifiable accent.

"Hang on, I've seen you guys before! Yeah, I met GshRs or something in that desert place!" Lupa said. She pulled out the map to Agrippa they'd obtained so long ago, and handed it to the insect thing.

"Hmm." It studied the map for a moment. "Yes, this is Gsh handiwork. Very interesting. Who are you, human?"

"I'm here to pursue Lord Electriceye and kill kaiju." Lupa said, posing like a badass while doing so.

"Then perhaps you could deal with that?" The insect thing pointed to King Ghidorah.

"Yep!" Lupa jumped up and flew over to the giant dragon. One of its heads noticed her and fired a lightning beam her way, but she was able to get out of the way in time. Once she climbed on top of King Ghidorah, she noticed Sparklypoo wandering around in the frozen jungle below, taking occasional Hyper Beam potshots at the dragon.

"Hey!" Lupa yelled at Nash and Phelous, who were both hanging on to Sparklypoo's back for dear life. She crawled up Ghidorah's neck, dodging attacks by its other heads, and gouged out the eyes of one of its heads; while it was distracted, she flew over to Sparklypoo.

"What's going on?" she asked.

"We landed in this place with your Master Ball." Nash said. "We were looking for you when Ghidorah all-out attacked, and we didn't really have a choice but to distract it with this thing."

"Yeah, thanks for sharing your flight powers with us." Phelous said.

"Shut up, Phelous. Okay Sparklypoo, let's do it!"

"Nope!" Phelous jumped into Sparklypoo's open mouth, transforming into a much more bestial version of himself with flaming red hair and scale armor. Instead of a giant sword, Phemise wielded a huge scythe.

"Wait, what?" Nash wondered. "How the hell does that work?"

Phelous flew up to Ghidorah, deflecting its energy beams with his scythe. With a single swing, he cut off all three of its heads and both of its wings, instantly killing it. The lifeless body of the kaiju crashed down into the jungle, leaving a huge crater. Phelous returned to Nash and Lupa's position, and Lupa recalled Sparklypoo, returning Phelous to his standard form.

"Well, that was anticlimactic." Nash said. "And what the hell did you just do there?"

"I did something awesome." Phelous said, nodding his head. "Well, awesome in the eyes of the author, at least. Now let's go on to the next chapter and get this shit over with."

Chapter 7

"Conglaturation!"

The insect guys from last chapter met up with Lupa, Phelous and Nash as the latter were trudging through the jungle.

"Oh, you guys." Lupa said. "We took care of your dragon problem, so will you get us to the Dark World?"

"Yes, of course. Though it's rather odd... I don't understand how you could kill a god, when our own Heaven God was unable to kill him."

"We're just that good." Phelous said. "So what are you guys anyways?"

"I am DhzRho, leader of the Dhz tribe. We act as mediators between the Sky People above and the Earth People below... or, we used to. The Demon King's destruction has left us looking for another purpose in life."

"Yeah, that's all very interesting, but I don't remember fucking bug people in my Mario games." Phelous commented.

"I'm sorry?"

"Don't worry about him." Lupa said.

They started walking through the dense jungle, taking what appeared to be an intentional path cut through the foliage.

"So how exactly does this work?" Nash asked. "Is this world just built in layers?"

"That is correct." DhzRho said. "The Sky People live on the outermost layer, we live within the middle layer, and the Earth People live in the Dark World. Below that lies Lanayru, the inner sun that provides light and warmth to the lands that Eldin and Faron do not reach."

"That... doesn't begin to make sense." Nash shook his head. "But then again, I've seen worse."

"Wait a minute. Those suns are called..." Phelous facepalmed. "Now we're getting Zelda mixed up in this shit. That's just wonderful. What's next, the 'greatest knight' that killed Bowser is actually Captain Falcon wielding the Star Rod?"

"How about giant Aztec temples shaped like pipes?" Lupa said, pointing out said Aztec-esque temple on the horizon.

"...I'm not even going to acknowledge that."

"That is one of our Warp Temples. The Sky People built them for easy transport throughout the Hidden Jungle." DhzRho said. "We can use it to get to the entrance to the Dark World. Unfortunately, we are forbidden to step into the Dark World, so you are on your own after that."

"Whatever, that's fine." Phelous said dismissively.

The land around the Warp Temple was significantly more industrialized than the rest of the jungle; the trees had mostly been cleared, leaving a huge patch of desert, and giant sandstone bricks and green warp pipes were scattered all over the place. DhzRho exposited that the Sky People had originally intended to fully colonize the Hidden Jungle, but the long-standing war with the Great Demon King lead to a peace treaty that mostly left the Hidden Jungle intact.

"And what was the point of explaining any of that?" Phelous asked.

"It served as a segue into the next plot point." Lupa said. They were standing inside of the Warp Temple; the interior was hollow, with only a large green pipe inside. Lupa, Phelous and Nash all jumped onto the pipe, and they were sucked down into its depths...

A few minutes later, they ended up in the middle of the jungle; the ruins of the Warp Temple that had once stood there were strewn around the area. In the distance was another castle similar to the Sky Palace, overgrown with weeds and vines. The ruined Warp Temple and the castle were connected by a dirt path, but as soon as they stepped off of the warp pipe, the jungle itself seemed to stir...

"The jungle's alive." Lupa said. "It's watching us."

"Yep, I feel it too." Nash had his boomstick at the ready. He fired a shot into the thick foliage, and the jungle responded by attacking him with vines.

"Great idea!" Phelous said mockingly. He drove off some of the vines with his eye lasers, but they re-grew faster than he could kill them. Lupa ran toward the castle, into the clearing where she could summon Sparklypoo, but some vines snatched her and dragged her into the depths.

"Fuck!" Phelous cranked up the juice on his eye beams, but he was quickly running out of energy.

"Wait, I can stop this..." Nash said... something, and the earth beneath them began to shake. A number of gigantic skeletal figures rose from the dirt, and they proceeded to fire bursts of ultraheated air into the jungle, burning away large swaths of vegetation.

"Dry Bones?" Phelous wondered. Indeed, the skeletons looked like bipedal turtles, though if their undead remains were any indication, they were far more monstrous in life. One of the giant Dry Bones reached into an untouched patch of growth and pulled Lupa out; in response, an absolutely monstrous Pirahna Plant emerged from behind the castle and started taking pot-shots at them with enormous fireballs.

"Where did you get these guys?" Lupa asked.

"I dunno. The same place that you got your plot-convenience powers, I assume." Nash said, as he freed himself from the now-dead vegetation. "Okay, you uh, skeleton turtles. Go and kill that thing in the back there."

The Dry Bones army dutifully responded by digging up more of their comrades, then blindly charging into the jungle to kill the huge Pirahna. They lost more than half their numbers alone in the charge, but they kept on going without any regard to their safety.

"Is that thing the last piece of the earth god?" Lupa wondered.

"Probably not. It's obviously going to be Bowser." Phelous said.

"I wouldn't be so sure. Mario killed Bowser in this world, and they were saying that they couldn't easily kill gods, right?" Nash said, reaching ever closer to an epiphany. "And I just manifested really odd zombie powers for no reason, just like you guys got random powers after killing the desert bird thing, right?"

"Well technically, Sparklypoo killed that bird." Lupa said.

"But you're its trainer or whatever, right? So what if it absorbed the, I don't know, divine essence from the bird and transferred it to you two, giving you random powers and the ability to combine with it?"

"Seems improbable, but it's probably right." Phelous said. "Seems like a pretty blatant retcon, though."

"Not at all! It totally fits into the nonsensical plot of this thing." Nash said. "But anyways, I've got some more Raise Dead spells to cast."

Nash invoked his zombie powers again, raising more Dry Bones. The giant Pirahna had long since been burnt to a crisp by the other Dry Bones, but more had risen up from the jungle to take their revenge. Lupa called down a lightning bolt on one of them somehow, then summoned Sparklypoo who Hyper Beam'd the giant Pirahnas.

Once the battle had been reduced to more manageable levels, the three of them snuck into the overgrown castle. Like the Warp Temples, the castle was almost entirely hollow. Unlike the Warp Temples, this castle didn't have a warp pipe - the floor had mostly collapsed, giving way to a pit into an almost literal Hell.

Oddly enough though, there was a woman floating above the pit. She slowly glided toward them, and they quickly realized who she was (or at least who she looked like):

"Of course it's the Lindsay Chick." Phelous said. "Let me guess, you're from the alternate universe where the Nazis won WWII and you're the ruler of East Antarctica."

"Why are you hurting the jungle?" NChick asked.

"Huh? Well it fucking attacked us!" Lupa said.

"Oh, I get it. You're a forest fairy or some shit like that." Phelous sighed. "Yeah, because you and Doug reviewed Ferngully, it totally makes sense."

"Shut up." NChick pointed her magic wand at Phelous, shooting three rings of energy at him. Phelous jumped up and easily dodged the slow-moving rings, and responded with a barrage of icicles.

"Ooh, more new powers as the plot demands!" Lupa said. Her feet crackled with electricity, and she delivered a flying Thunder Kick to NChick's jaw. The assault cut through NChick's skin, revealing its true form: a Swamp Thing-esque mass of shambling vegetation.

"STOP IT!" The Swamp Thing grew a few sizes and started summoning more NChick doppelgangers. A couple of giant Dry Bones came to Nash's aid and dealt with most of the clones, while Phelous summoned some of his doppelgangers from the Plane of Infinite Phelouses.

In the middle of the fray, Lupa used her newfound lightning fists and feet to stun the Swamp Thing into paralysis; she then amped up the voltage, lighting the Swamp Thing on fire. It was able to regenerate most of the damage, but the fire kept burning it away, keeping it in a constant state of pain.

"Which means I get fire, I guess." Nash pointed his finger at the Swamp Thing, and his entire fist burst into flames. "This hand of mine is... burning. Uh, fireball spam or something."

Nash let loose a barrage of explosive flaming spheres, dealing massive damage to anything and everything. The castle itself started to collapse around them, killing off most of the expendable clones. Lupa grabbed Phelous and Nash, and they flew into the pit to the Dark World.

But the Swamp Thing followed them in freefall. Its body shot out like tentacles, grabbing pieces of rubble from the collapsing castle above and throwing them downward; one hit Lupa in the back, causing her to drop her two companions.

"Damn, that's a long way down." Nash said, looking at the hellish landscape below. "Uh, Lupa? You gonna grab us?"

"Hold on a second!" Lupa destroyed a chunk of rubble with a lightning bolt from her hand, but the Swamp Thing just kept throwing more.

"ARRRRGH!" The Swamp Thing spawned more NChick copies and directed them at the falling trio.

"Trio, huh?" Phelous said, noting the phrasing of the sentence above him. "And we've randomly got elemental powers, so..."

"TRIPLE TECH: DELTA FORCE!"

Lupa, Phelous and Nash flew into a triangle formation and fired a triangle-shaped burst of multi-elemental energy upward. It completely annihilated the Swamp Thing and his NChick copies.

"Well that wasn't shoehorned in at all."

Lupa grabbed the other two, and they safely landed in the hellish landscape of the Dark World.

Chapter 8

Phelous grabbed his map of the Dark World.

"Yep, this is World 8 all right. Which means we get to swim through a lake of red water."

"Red water? Isn't it lava?"

"Well, Mario could swim through it without dying, so no, it's water."

The trio followed a rather sloppy-looking road forward. The ruins of guard towers and vehicles littered the road, alongside more skeletal corpses than could be counted. Oddly enough, there was some still-living vegetation along the road as well: though the battle had forever damaged the countryside, anything that could grow in the Dark World's soil was hardy enough to survive.

Sure enough, after around an hour of walking, they came across the shore of a red lake. Waiting for them was a fleet of wooden ships, crewed by the animated remains of the former Koopa Troop.

"Hold on, I've got this." Phelous said.

The red sea started to boil. A single Cheep Cheep leapt from the water, landing on the deck of one of the ships and flailing around uselessly. A second Cheep-Cheep did the exact same thing... but they were followed by thousands upon thousands of fish majestically jumping from the depths of the red water onto the ships. The literal skeleton crews threw as many of the fish off as they could, but several more replaced each one they threw.

Eventually, the sheer volume of fish dragged the ships into the depths. And once they went below the surface, they didn't come back up.

"Flying seafood special, bitches." Phelous did an awesome pose, and the background exploded behind him. Phelous then made an ice bridge across the red water, and they moved on.

At the other shore of the lake was a half-finished Warp Temple. A convenient mountain range blocked the way forward, forcing them to take the pipe to the next area.

"The next one is the one with those fucking hand traps. I'm super excited to see how they get translated into this fic." Phelous said as they emerged on the other side of the mountains. But to their surprise, the warp led to the third area of the Dark World - the titular dark area.

"This is beginning to look like a job for Aquaman..." Nash commented. He created a pretty big fireball and threw it upward, illuminating the surrounding area.

The path before them was again littered with the ruins of battle. But as they trudged through the cold desert, they came across a city half-sunken in the sand: a city that, based on the architecture, was built by the Koopa Troop. The walls surrounding the city had fallen long ago, and the siege of the city by the Sky People had killed everyone in it.

At the center of the city was a still-intact castle, which looked like it had been hastily repaired. Lupa checked inside, and sure enough, a Warp Pipe had been built inside.

"So did we just sequence break?" Lupa asked.

"Who knows?" Phelous shrugged. "I'm still expecting those hand traps."

After their relatively short jaunt, they jumped into the pipe to go to the next area...

...which was Area 2, the one with the hand traps.

"God damnit."

But the setup was a bit different. As they walked forward, they came across a deep chasm with only a single rickety bridge spanning the gap - and they couldn't see the other end. Nash looked into the chasm, and saw a number of disembodied arms floating in the depths.

"Well then. That's frightening."

Immediately, several of the arms flew up at lightning speed. The arms, which were all several times bigger than any of the trio, swarmed around them and tried to drag them into the depths for some unknown purpose, but all three of them fended the arms off with their various abilities.

"Wonderful." Phelous said. "Lupa, just fly us over that bridge."

"Wuss." Lupa grabbed Nash and Phelous and they flew over the chasm, with the latter two blasting any hand traps that got near them.

"Why the hell are there a bunch of floating arms here anyways?" Nash asked.

"You know, they never really explained that in the game either." Phelous said. "They're just supposed to be scary or something."

"They're not really 'scary'. More like 'utterly wrong'."

They landed on the other side of the chasm, and the hand traps finally stopped attacking them. They continued onward, but rather than finding another castle or Warp Temple, they came across the mighty walls of the Castle Koopa itself.

Literally thousands of ruined vehicles sat at the castle gates. Not a single one of them was able to get into the castle, but then again, red shirts very rarely do anything of use. And Peach's tanks were as red as they came, both literally and figuratively.

Lupa flew alone to the top of the walls, only to be greeted by a fleet of airships. Unlike the navy they'd encoutered before, these ships were piloted by genuine Earth-born humans.

"GET HER!" A unified battle-cry was shouted by the entire fleet, and the ships all took aim. Lupa covered herself in a shield of electrical energy, which vaporized everything that merely got close to her - including the ships, as she pinballed between them.

But the fleet was immense, and she was running out of energy. She landed inside the castle, which was oddly enough a sort of oasis in the Dark World - there was a deep red river with all sorts of odd fish swimming around in it, and humongous mushrooms grew like trees. The castle itself was both extravagant and heavily fortified, with laser-spewing Bowser statues lining the various ledges.

Lupa summoned Sparklypoo, who busted down the gates with a Hyper Beam. Phelous and Nash ran inside and started blasting the airships above, only for a fleet of tanks to emerge from the castle doors.

"Wait, where the hell did they get all of that wood?" Nash wondered. But he had no time to ponder that question, as a shell from a nearby tank exploded near them.

Lupa combined with Sparklypoo, but her enhanced form was somewhat limited in area-of-effect attacks. She trashed a good number of the tanks with lightning-powered sword beams, but she was taking a lot of hits from the airships, which were rightly targeting her above her two allies.

"Ass-pull powers, don't fail me now!" Lupa tapped into her reserve of ass-pull power, which sure enough didn't fail her: Lupa transformed into a 500-foot-tall humanoid kaiju, though she became even more monstrous in the process. She gained horns, claws and leathery wings, and her scale armor became straight-up scales all across her body, arms and legs.

"Hell yeah!" Kaiju Lupa said. She reached up and trashed several airships with a single swipe of her claws, then fired electric eye beams at the tanks. The remaining airships tried to flee, but they were all swiftly felled by lightning, and the remaining tanks were all stomped.

Lupa de-fused from Sparklypoo and returned to her normal size. Sparklypoo took out most of the laser statues on the outside, and busted down the castle doors before Lupa recalled it.

Surprisingly, there were no human or Koopa soldiers in the halls of the castle - it seemed that all of them had been in either the airship or tank fleets. Another surprising thing was that the castle contained no magma pits - instead, they were regular old pits, through which they could see the inner sun of Mykodia.

"That's still bullshit." Nash said. "Inner sun my ass. This isn't a Jules Verne book."

Lupa grabbed Phelous and Nash and flew up the central area, which bypassed most of the trap-laden floors. At the very top of the shaft was a red door with spikes on it, which signified a boss. It opened for them, and they walked through.

"Greetings."

Waiting for them, on a throne made of clay, was Lord Electriceye. He was in the classic villainous slouch, while holding a magic wand. Behind him was the TARDIS, along with a huge statue of a very feral-looking turtle-dragon with red hair.

"Have you ever wondered why Bowser always wanted to kidnap Peach in the games?" Electriceye asked.

"I think he just wanted to marry her or something." Lupa said.

"In this universe, him and his subjects were trapped in this hellish world. When they discovered a literal paradise above, it was only natural that they would crave it. And then they found a world above that... a literal Heaven.

"See, this Bowser is a piece of the Earth God."

"Called it." Phelous interrupted.

"He was instinctively drawn to the outer world, so that he could find and reunite with his other five pieces. But he conquered everything he came across, which drew the ire of the Sky Empress... so he kidnapped her. They forced him back to this castle, and the knights of the Sky Empress sealed him in stone."

"Okay, and what about you?" Lupa asked.

"The Pax Terra came to this world by chance, and became rather interested in the legend of the Earth God. Imagine, an infinite army of mindlessly loyal soldiers. They infiltrated the Sky Empress' cabinet, which is where I come in. We plan on using the Earth God to crush the Pax Terra and release the worlds they've conquered."

"Yeah, that's not gonna backfire on you or anything." Phelous said. "And we don't really care. Give us the TARDIS and you can have Sparklypoo."

"Ha." Electriceye pointed his wand at Lupa. "I know what you plan on doing next. I've read The Sagacious Saga."

"...what?"

"In my universe, this fic has been completed. After you kill me by invoking your next random power, you're going to go mad and devastate the entire universe."

"That raises some interesting questions." Nash said. "So you know you're going to fail, but you keep acting all smug regardless?"

"Remember how I said I expected three of you at Malus Tower? In the version of the fic I read, Film Brain was traveling with you. And I certainly didn't expect you to fuse with The Imprisoned. Things have been playing out differently, which means I have a chance to win!"

Electriceye flipped up his eyepatch and channeled the lightning through the magic wand, creating a burst of energy that floored all three of them. He then pointed the wand at the petrified Bowser and fired three magic rings at it, breaking the stone and revealing a layer of amber underneath.

"Alright, Great Demon King! Show me what you got!"

The amber shattered.

"-RRRRRR huh?" Bowser, who looked a lot more like a demon in this incarnation, looked around confused. "What happened to that knight? Who're you?"

"These three contain the essence of the Earth God. Go ahead and absorb it from them." Electriceye handed the magic wand to Bowser.

"Huh? You're an agent of the Sky, aren't you?" Bowser turned the wand on Electriceye and fired; the latter blocked the rings with an electric shield.

"You dare? I unsealed you, and you would attack me?" Electriceye ran toward the TARDIS, but fell to the ground from another blast of Bowser's wand.

"Gwa ha! I don't owe you a thing!" Bowser walked over to Electriceye and tried to squash his head, but he rolled to the side at the last second.

Meanwhile, Lupa had recovered from the paralysis before Phelous and Nash. She closed her eyes and felt the pulse of a god's heart within her. It desired to be reunited with the five other parts of it within this room.

"Oh really, huh?" Lupa absorbed the Earth God's essence from Phelous and Nash. She fused with Sparklypoo, gaining its essence as well. She didn't shift into Demise, but retained her normal form, albeit with hair of golden flame and an aura of white energy.

"Huh?" Bowser stared at Lupa, transfixed by her radiance. "You... give me your power."

"Nope! EARTH POWER!" Lupa raised her arms, blasting Bowser and Electriceye with unrestrained divine energy. Electriceye was instantly vaporized, and his share of the Earth God's essence (that he drained from Malus Tower) transferred to Bowser.

"Gwa ha ha ha! I feel great!" Bowser opened his mouth and shot fireballs at Lupa, but she deflected the shots with her aura. She then transferred some of her own essence to Nash and Phelous, invigorating them.

"Why are we even fighting him? We have the TARDIS right here, let's just leave." Phelous said.

"Because... actually, that's a good point." Lupa paralyzed Bowser with a high-voltage shock. They all walked toward the TARDIS, but Bowser recovered from the shock and slashed Lupa in the chest.

"No! I won't let you leave!" Bowser jumped on Lupa and tore out her throat, absorbing the essence within her. Nash and Phelous combined their magic and blasted Bowser with a Reaction Bomb, but he easily shrugged it off.

"Oh crap." Nash tried jumping out of the way, but Bowser used his newfound speed to pounce on top of Nash and rip his head off. Phelous opened a portal to the Plane of Infinite Phelouses, and they all bum-rushed Bowser, but to no avail. Bowser took off one of Phelous' arms and drained the essence from it... completing all six parts of the broken Earth God.

"YES! I FEEL IT!" Bowser laughed as he was engulfed by a white aura. A bolt of pure energy rocketed upwards, through the roof of the castle and right through both the Hidden Jungle and Mykodia into outer space.

The bolt of energy kept right on going until it hit Eldin, the second smaller sun in the solar system. The essence of the Earth God sealed in Mykodia was but its consciousness: its actual body had been turned into the artifical second sun.

And now, they were reunited...

...which the Pax Terra was counting on.

An enormous ship, roughly the size of Neptune, came through a portal that opened up. The newly-reborn Earth God, taking the shape of a horse-like creature with a thousand arms, attacked the ship.

But the Pax Terra ship easily repelled the Earth God's assault, and responded with its own. It trapped the Earth God in a shield of pure darkness, which was anathema to the light-aligned Earth God; not only that, but the dark shield had some clever phlebotinum that only made it stronger as the Earth God tried to break it.

And, just as soon as the ship appeared, it vanished with its prize.

Laying at the bottom of the world was two dead people and Phelous, who was only barely clinging on to life.

"Fuck." Phelous crawled toward the TARDIS, and into the bigger-on-the-inside engine room. He tried programming the TARDIS to go back a few minute to avert this disaster, but he unfortunately expired before he was able to throw the switch.

Well, so much for that.

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