A STEP CLOSER
Fingle hurried home from his late night meeting with the Princess, for he was late for his scheduled report to Bowser. Stumbling over his stone walkway, he threw open the door, and before lighting the house, he quickly drew all of the curtains. The only illumination to be seen was a pale blue glow that shone from a small, flat, polished piece of black stone that Kamek had given him, sitting upon a desk. Fingle took the seeing stone up into his hands and poured water mixed with a magical concoction upon the black rock, and Bowser's image slowly appeared, as if through a fog.
"You're late," barked Bowser.
Fingle breathlessly replied, "Forgive me, Lord. My being late is actually to your benefit."
Bowser, too intrigued by Fingle's news, checked his anger. He raised an eyebrow and leaned back in his throne. "How so?"
"Well, I have just received a promotion from Princess Peach herself. It seems she appreciates my hard work in her service, so she promoted me to a Senior Adviser to the Throne. As such, I am now granted access to information that I was not privy to before."
Trying to hide his excitement, Bowser said, "Such as?"
"Such as the locations of our hidden armories. Not only do these contain what weapons we have in defense against you that Peach has recently acquired, but they also contain all of the Stars that Mario uses for invincibility!"
"This is good news, Fingle. Is that all?" Bowser asked.
"No, my Lord. Among other things, I also know the schedules of people of royalty in other kingdoms as it concerns our own."
Bowser sat up in his throne, and asked, "Like Princess Daisy?"
"Yes. Her and many others."
"Bowser leaned back again into his throne and smiled. "Excellent. Just excellent." He paused for a second, then went on, "Fingle, do you know where Daisy is at the moment?"
Happy to please his master, Fingle replied, "Yes. In fact, her and Yoshi are coming here in four days for a visit with the Princess."
Bowser began to laugh, "Daisy and Yoshi. Not only do I have plans for Daisy, but Yoshi! Now I can capture that little green rat and do with him as I please for all he has done to me."
Not knowing what to say, Fingle simply replied, "Yes, my Lord."
With a pleasure smitten face, Bowser said, "Fingle, report back to me as soon as you can about Daisy and Yoshi, and then report back to me at this time tomorrow concerning the locations of the armories with the Stars. Those must be taken out if I am to have complete victory."
"It shall be as you wish."
"You shall be greatly rewarded for this Fingle," Bowser promised.
"Thank you, my Lord," replied a proud Fingle.
Tired of pleasantries, Bowser decided to end the conversation, "Remember, as soon as possible about Daisy and Yoshi."
With that, Bowser's image faded away into the haze upon the black stone and his face was gone.
Fingle sat alone again in the dark, pondering his chosen course.
Three days came and went, and Fingle was in his first high profile meeting with the Princess and others, when, an official burst through the doors and exclaimed, "Princess Daisy and Yoshi have been abducted!"
A gasp went up in the room.
Standing from her seat, Peach demanded, "Who did this? Was it Bowser?!"
Dismayed, the official replied, "We don't know. There was no sign of him or any of his followers. The guards that were escorting them say the only thing that they saw was a blinding light and clouds of billowing smoke. A voice issued from the clouds and said, 'No more shall my will be contested as I live! Soon you and all your kind shall bow before me!' Amidst the confusion, they lost contact with Daisy and Yoshi. They said that once the light was gone and the smoke cleared, they were gone."
"Oh, this is terrible," cried Peach. She stood silent for a moment, and then said, "Quickly, send out our forces through all of the Kingdom in search of them." Sitting down and regaining her composure, she turned to her advisers. "What do you think we should do? Fingle, what would a fresh mind such as yours have to say about this? Where should we concentrate our efforts?"
Fingle's eyes became wide as beads of sweat accumulated on his forehead. He felt as if her asking was saying that she knew of his collaborations with Bowser. "Princess, I don't see any reason to suspect Bowser. He and his land have been quiet for some time now. And beside the fact, this isn't your typical Bowser attack. He didn't leave a trail of evidence like he usually does, nor any of his minions behind. I say, we shouldn't put Bowser out of our minds, but we use our resources to look elsewhere."
Much to Fingle's relief and surprise, the other members of Peaches council concurred.
"Then it is agreed. Councilmen, get to it."
As the members of the meeting separated to be about their new task, Peach approached Fingle privately. Laying a delicate hand on his shoulder she said, "Oh Fingle, I'm so sorry this had to happen before the banquet in honor of your promotion. I hope it doesn't put a dampener on the festival."
"Thank you Princess," the toad responded. "But, perhaps it will be a good thing. After all, Mario and Luigi will be there. We all know what a big help they've been in the past, maybe they'll have some ideas for us."
Peach looked down at the floor and nodded, "Yes, I hope so."