Monday, October 14, 2013

The Pipe

A friend of mine saw this shirt, and commented that it needed a fiction based on it. I wanted a short diversion, so I obliged. Enjoy. ;P

  It has been three years since the Princess vanished for the last time. Nobody thought it could actually happen. For countless years Bowser had come to kidnap the Princess, and the Brothers would rescue her. It was a strange routine, but it was life in the Mushroom Kingdom. Why argue against what worked. Besides, she’d long ago ceased to be anything more than a figurehead. It’s not like she ever participated in any of the Castle Courts… Tennis and Basketball aside.

  At first, the toad were afraid. What would become of them? Sure, she was only an icon, but her presence had kept the Koopa King from launching an actual attack against them. With the Princess to distract him, the toad could more or less go about their lives as they wished. Bowser very rarely came beyond the Mid-Lands, and the people there were used to the constant struggle for possession of their lands. But now…

  Eventually the fear gave way to apprehension, which then became unease, before finally settling into a nice light discomfort. At least, for a little while. It turned out that the Princess wasn’t the only one to disappear. Reports came in from the Mid-Lands that King Koopa hadn’t been seen in quite some time. This wouldn’t have been too remarkable on its own, as he occasionally launched off to set up some elaborate scheme that would distract him and the Princess for a blissful few months. But with the princess already gone, no word from the Brothers, and rumor coming out of the Badlands saying things were quiet over there as well… Unease began to creep back in.

  And then the horrors began. Koopa’s Kids were found strangled by piranha plants. The whole lot of them, as if someone had just shown up and began stringing them up over the walls of Bowser’s Keep like some sort of sick decoration. Shortly after that Kammy and Kamek bobbed up from the bottom of the Great Lakes in Mid-Land. Nobody had seen them for some time, but the word was… they were going on about Peach coming back for them when they disappeared.

  King Koopa eventually turned up. He and Mario were found lying together in his chambers looking as if they’d just fallen asleep there. No marks on either one of them, but their faces were frozen in mirror masks of terror. It was then that the Badlands began clearing out. A mass exodus, and all the while people carrying on about the lady of the pipes, or something like that. The stories were unclear. All anyone knew for sure was, there was something dark in the Badlands, and nobody knew what to do about it.

  Then just as things seemed to be at their worst, Luigi turned up, alive. The story he brought was unbelievable.  Princess Peach had been hidden in Pipe Land this time…. Only the Mario Brothers caught up with Bowser in the Badlands, and thoroughly trounced him there. After that they went to the Pipe Lands hoping to find the Princess… but eventually had to return to Bowser’s Keep to drag him out there to help them. Nobody could find her… and then both the Koopa King and Mario went missing. One morning Luigi woke up and they just weren’t there.

  He’d heard the stories about the Koopa Kids, and of Kammy and Kamek, but he didn’t know what was happening. When he learned that his brother and Bowser had turned up he was distraught, but set out to figure out what was causing all this. That was the last anyone heard from him.

  Time passed without any further horrors. Life began settling down, and people had even begun to move back to the Badlands. The going story was that Luigi had succeeded in stopping whatever it was that was happening, but had either been killed in the process, or had left to mourn in peace. Nobody knew what to make of the crazy ‘Lady of the Pipes’ story, but in the end, it didn’t really matter.


  The Chancellor was tired. It had been another long day in the courts, and again the people were talking about choosing another ruler… as if that would help anything. No matter how they tried to explain the minimal impact the Princess’s disappearance actually had on the political system, Every little hiccup was blamed on her departure.

  Coming into his chambers, he was surprised to find a rather gaunt looking toad standing in the center of his room staring down at the floor. In his hand he held a dirty looking letter closed in the pink stationary that Peach had been fond of. Who would bring my mail here? he wondered before asking, “What is the meaning of this?”

  Looking up with a hallow expression that caused the Chancellor to take a step back, the toad intoned, “Here is a letter… from the Princess,” as he raised the envelope towards him.

  Uncomfortable as the young toad made him, the Chancellor stepped forward to take the letter, “Ummm… thank you for this. You can leave now,” he wasn’t sure what it was, but the starved looking toad gave him the chills.

  Waiting until the interloper had walked down the hall, he locked his door and looked at the envelope. It hadn’t been sealed, so even if it somehow had in fact been written by the Princess, which he doubted, there was no telling whether or not it had been tampered with. He almost didn’t open it, but he’d never been accused of a lack of curiosity, so he flipped the letter open and pulled the grimy sheet out.

  If you see any ghosts, be careful. They will give chase using Goomba’s shoe. The White Block contains magic powers. Be careful, the thief escaped. The creatures trapped in the ice will come to life. Please come to the castle, I baked a cake for you. I am well, hidden in the darkness at the end of the world.
                Princess Toadstool

  Standing there in horror, he let the letter fall from his hand. The Archives… Nobody had access to those… the boy! He ran into the hall, and down the corridor he’d seen him take. At the other end of the hall, he stumbled into one of the guard.

“Where did he go?!” he shouted without preamble.


“The boy! He just came this way, where is he now?” he snapped back.

“Sir, there hasn’t been anyone besides you and the watch in these halls for hours. Is everything okay?”

“I…” he didn’t know what to say, somehow the kid had snuck by, “I’m fine. Just keep your eyes open, and let me know if someone turns up who shouldn’t be here.”

“But of course sir,” the guard saluted, wearing a confused expression.

  Turning, he walked back to his room and stopped in the doorway. Sitting there in the center of his room was a warp pipe. He’d heard they could be summoned, that apparently the Koopa had the secret… but no toad had ever managed it. If this was here….

  Seven Moons… a voice he almost recognized came floating out from the pipe. Low, and whispered, with an edge that carried the promise of death as plainly as if it had spoken the threat aloud. Too scared to move, he could no more than watch as the pipe slowly lowered itself into the floor leaving no trace that it had ever been there. The words hung, if not in the air, then heavily on his psyche. This… this cannot be…


  The chancellor was found one morning hanging out the window of the keep’s highest tower. Days before his death he’d been heard mumbling apologies to the Princess, and going on about a secret archive that should have never been opened. The only thing out of place in his belongings was a strange grubby looking letter in the Princess’s stationary. In respect of his privacy, the letter was stored away with the rest of his personal artifacts to be delivered to his next of kin.