PRIDE IS BEFORE A CRASH
For months Mario, Daisy and Yoshi were pursued throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. Aided by various strangers, and betrayed by others on Bowser's payroll; times were tough for the three. Both Mario and Daisy pined for their loves in Bowser's grip. Their minds in anguish every day not knowing whether or not their mates hell was worse than their own. Yet still they plotted on, determined to save their loved ones.
If only they could get close to Bowser.
All was well between Bowser and his new throne queen, Peach. The mind controlling magic seemed to have worked this time, and permanently. The Mushroom Kingdom was transformed into the main territory of the Koopa Empire outside of Bowser's own Dark Land. Everywhere stone structures and edifices of solid marble when up to Bowser's glory, and that of his family. The flags, standards and symbols of the Empire stood everywhere. A stark contrast of red, black and white when hung against cool grey marble.
Together, the Emperor and his faithful Empress ruled all of what used to be the Mushroom Kingdom in single minded strength, unity and power. No one dare defy them.
That is, until...
"Mario! Daisy!" Shouted a local in who's house they had taken up lodging. "It has been announced that Bowser has ordered all non-essential personnel to attend his grand Imperial Triumphal Parade in the Imperial City."
Mario raised his eyebrow, "So, why is this such exciting news?"
"Because," their host replied, "if everyone is going, there will be nearly 150,000 citizens attending. You can easily slip in amongst the crowd with yourselves disguised and try to rescue Peach and Luigi."
"Now that is something to get excited about," said Daisy, "When is it?"
"In two weeks."
Horns rang out, cymbals clashed and drums rolled as the Imperial Triumphal Parade got under way. Tens of thousands were gathered to the right and to the left of a long and straight pathway that led to a grand stairway of one hundred steps. Atop sat Bowser's majestic throne, flanked by symbols of state, monolithic pillars with the tops crowned with bowls of fire, and the Eagle of State, larger than life, above his throne. Immediately behind the stairway, stood the face of the temple where Bowser commanded that all should worship unto his glory. To the right and to the left stood buildings of equal height and make, yet smaller than the temple; the Halls of Administrative Judgment and Punishment.
As the music sounded, the audience roared in applause and cheer. Some for fear, and those, citizens of the Dark Land, nearer in front, for joy.
The parade avenue was adorned with columns to the right and left toped with golden images of the royal family. Rose petals and confetti began to rain down from the great marbled buildings on both sides of the cheering throng. And with this, the golden chariot of Bowser and his Queen began its ride forward down the avenue. Bowser's heart was proud, as his inflated chest and outstretched arm with scepter in hand plainly showed. Peach, by his side, waved and blew kisses, evidently enjoying this as much as her King.
Behind followed his children. Each in their own chariot, preceded by a standard bearer. Ludwig, the most majestically dressed, was the first, as he was the heir to the throne. Behind each of his children was a long line of former high officials, bound and fettered to each other, and plunder that each had captured during their attack upon the once great Mushroom Kingdom.
The Koopa family long desired to be worshiped and adored as gods, and finally, their time had come.
Bowser reached the bottom of the grand stairway. His standard bearer lead them up the sweeping staircase. Bowser took Peach's hand and escorted her up. Once atop, he waited for his children to reach the bottom of the staircase, where they remained. He glanced down at his children with a look of approval and pride for his progeny, and then pounding his closed fist over his heart and raising his arm, he gave the Imperial Salute.
"Hail!" His mighty voice roared.
The crowd three times responded so loudly that it felt as if their thunderous voices would shake the marble structures into dust, "Hail! Hail! Hail!"
The music started again, and his eight children ascended the stairs to their father. They took their stations. Four to the right of their King, and four to the left.
A few steps down from the throne, a square cut could be seen that encompassed a small part of a few stairs. The stairs within this cut slowly dropped, moved aside, and in its place a marble podium arose. Bowser descended to it and began his speech.
Somehow, and with all the luck in the world, Mario, Daisy, and Luigi made it through the gauntlet of Koopatrol into the bowels of the building of Administrative Punishment. The three had ducked and woven their way through, trying to find the holding cell in that building, for they knew that Bowser intended to present Luigi for execution in front of the teeming masses.
They found where he was. So close and yet so far away. His cell was guarded by a horde of Koopatrol. They fell back and came upon a large supply of bob-ombs not far from the holding cell.
Mario nodded, "Perfect. Just one of these will be enough to take out some of the guards and stun the rest."
Mario wound it, and rolled it into the chamber of the holding cell with a cry intended for Luigi to hear and conceal himself, "It's-a me! Mario!"
Panic ensued and in the commotion the explosive was kicked out of the room and down the stairwell, past the three and straight to the bottom, resting adjacent to the supply room full of bob-ombs. Wasting no time, the three would-be rescuers fled down another passage that opened up into the stairwell. The last sound they heard was the shouts and clanging armor of the Koopatrol as they pursued them, and then...
The Great Demon King Koopa, Lord Bowser, stood under the sun and continued in his proud and moving speech. His Queen, his children and indeed, the very surroundings all flashed with a spellbinding brilliance of gold, silver, and the most precious of stones. They seemed to be as gods standing above lesser mortals.
The awe-inspiring moment was shattered by two explosions. One small, and an instant later, one massive. Upon the right side of Bowser throne, the face of the hall of Punishment was shorn off and blasted outward. Molten fire screamed forth and overcame the grey cloud of dust that preceded it. Two massive stone columns behind the staircase toppled and fell upon the koopa children. The crowd became a frenzy of trampling beasts letting out their shrieks of terror. The Kings eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open as his children disappeared from sight.
All were laying upon the ground, save Bowser, from the concussion of the blast. Some began to stand themselves up, in a daze, ears ringing, barely able to comprehend their surroundings. Bowser ran a few steps forward to his buried children, but paused for the obstruction of dust that still hung in the air. His eyes darted back and forth, waiting for the first hazy silhouette of one of his children, when at long last, the smoke finally cleared.
Two of his children were picking themselves up. Veiled in robes of blood, but alive. He noticed the other two, laying nearly on top of each other, motionless.
One was face up. Bowser grabbed his shoulders and shook. "Lemmy! Lemmy! Lemmy wake up!" He wouldn't respond to his father's voice.
The other, clinging to life like the last snow flake in winters thaw, rolled himself over. "Father," whispered Bowser Junior.
"Junior," Bowser's shaking voice replied.
"Father I have failed you. I'm not strong enough to..."
Bowser cut him off, "No, no." He put his hand on his sons face, "No son of mine is not strong enough."
Junior smiled and clasped his father's hand on his face and closed his eyes. His son's grip weakened and failed. The crowd was still in a panic, but Bowser heard nothing. He cradled his two lost sons in his arms and bent over them in such painful agony that he felt as if his heart would leave him that moment.