Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser Koopa, Wendy Koopa, etc. ©Nintendo. This fanfic, story elements and such are © me, The Mushroom Scribe!
Please don't read these stories out of order. It will definately defeat the purpose, and it will spoil everything. The best part of part I is the surprise factor, and by reading this first, you will ruin it for yourself.
That aside, I hope you enjoy this second installment of Mysterious Scent. If you were wondering about the title, you probably know what it means by now. If not... go back and read part I! Actually, I was going to call this story "Wendy's Story," but that would've spoiled it as well.
I know some of you think Wendy is ugly and so on, but I drew a little picture to help change your mind. Syd put it up on his NES site. You can see it here
Oh, and you should check out this Hindi singer called Daler Mehndi. He's really good, and he inspires me. He also kinda looks like Mario, especially in his video "Tunak Tunak" (actually in that video he looks like four Marios, but you'll see what I mean). Check them out: here
Mario burst into the throne room, his cheeks red, eyes flaring. He stormed straight up to the startled Princess Toadstool and spoke before she could get a word out.
"Why is she still down there?!"
She was surprised at the intensity in his voice, and didn't answer right away. This seemed to make Mario angrier. "WELL?!" he shouted.
"Why?" she answered, almost frightened. "She's the enemy. I don't see w-"
"So, you decided to ignore my report," Mario said, not much calmer. "Can't you see that it's not her fault? Koopa trained his kids to hate like him. She defected! Can't you respect that?"
Peach was stung by some of that. She knew how to be a good monarch. She had been taught this for her entire life. She knew all about infiltrators, wolves in sheep's clothing; people who would pretend to befriend, then back-stab in the end. But Mario didn't seem to know that, though she knew he did. Something was clouding his judgement.
"Mario," she asked slowly, "are you alright?"
Mario just stood and looked at her. "What?"
"You don't seem to be thinking too clearly," she responded. "You would usually be as skeptical as I am now."
Mario shook his head. "You didn't hear her story, the way her voice shook when she told it, the sadness in her eyes. The creepy chameleon smacked his own kids around! She was just helping with his conquest to please him."
"I know all that, Mario, but how much of it is true, if any? You're taking her story at face value, and that's dangerous, especially when dealing with a Koopa."
"Koopa, Koopa. Who cares? I remember all those terrible things she's done, and the more I think about them, the more I realize she's right. I remember little things. Remember the time Koopa tried to take over Earth with his pendant?"
"Yes..." Mario was referring to the pendant that allowed King Bowser to use the Mario Brothers' power-ups. He had wreaked havok as Fire/Racoon Bowser, as well as several other forms. She shuddered, remembering him stomping around in the Karubi Shoe.
"The kids were cruising around in the Doomship. Roy was steering... or was it Ludwig? Well, the rest were firing cannons at Luigi and me as we flew around it in our Tanooki suits. I flew past a cannon I hadn't noticed, and I spotted it in time to hear the fuse burning down. I knew I was a goner.
"Then it tilted down, and fired harmlessly past my feet by a yard or so. I looked into the ship, and saw Wendy standing behind the cannon. She was just staring at me, eyes half-closed with relief. I now realize she must have seen me notice her, for she jumped, then started cursing, for her brothers' benefit." He paused a second. "You know, I never even thought about it when it happened. I just thought she couldn't believe she missed. But it was too easy a shot."
The Princess started to think he may be right. Before this, she had had no intention of ever believing Wendy O. Koopa could be on their side. But with more evidence, it actually seemed possible, though still highly unlikely. She didn't say this, though.
"Mario, that could've been an accident. We know nothing about her, and what we do isn't good."
"No, YOU don't know anything about her," Mario corrected, miffed. "I know a lot... more than I wanted to."
"Granted, she has told you quite a story-"
"I can't believe this! You would turn her away because of her family!"
"No, I didn't say-"
"I thought I knew you, Princess. I thought-"
"Let me finish!" she shouted. "I'm not going to execute her! All I'm saying is that I'm not sure we can trust her." She sighed. "Alright. She can be released into your custody. If she can be trusted, she'll prove it. If not, it'll be enough rope that she'll hang herself."
Mario looked at her, a thankful smile spreading across his face. "I knew you'd understand, Peach. You won't regret it, either."
"That remains to be seen," she said. "I still don't know if you're right, but I trust you. I know you wouldn't go this far out on a limb if you didn't really believe it." She looked closely at him. "Are you sure you're okay, Mario? You're acting very strangely about this."
Mario wasn't sure how to take this. "I feel fine. Especially now that you said she's free."
"That's what I'm talking about," she said, her brow knitting. "What happened between you two in Pipe Maze?"
"You read my report, didn't you? She told me her story, they I chased her down, and we ran away from Koopa and into Toad."
She looked at him. She had an idea, but decided to put it off. "Nevermind. Wendy is free to go." She reached over to the table next to the throne and picked up a paper. "Take this to Bruno and he'll know what to do," she said, writing on it with a quill pen. Then she signed it and handed it to Mario. "Remember, if she does anything... illegal, it's on your head."
Mario didn't appreciate her deep distrust, but simply said, "I know. Thanks again!" With that, he whirled and ran out.
"You can't see it at all," she said, suddenly very tired. "Maybe you will soon."
Our favorite plumber (sorry, Luigi) arrived at Fort Fungitraz with the signed note in hand. It was a towering fortress of dark grey rock, with sharply contrasting mushroom-rooved towers. They had been added to make it look less like Koopa's castle.
As he came to the front gate, a burly toadstool (although still shorter than Mario) stepped out to block his path. He was carrying a spear.
"Halt!" he said in a deep voice. "Who goes there?"
"Cut it out, Bruno," he said, smiling. "Take a look at this."
Bruno took the paper from Mario's outstretched hand and read it over. "Well, this looks to be fine," he said, handing it back. "Go on ahead."
"Say, why are they lettin' her go? She ain't been nothin' but trouble ever since we known her."
Mario looked at him and shrugged. "She's had a change of heart."
Mario walked down the dank hallway, past many empty cells, until he reached the huge, metal door that led to the maximum security area. He felt terrible that Wendy had to be kept in solitary confinement, but he knew her past. He just hoped everyone could see her for who she was, and not what she had done.
This hall was white, and instead of barred doors, there were solid doors with viewing slots in them, so the wardens could look in on the prisoners. He wasn't sure which one she was in, until he saw Toad sitting on a stool in front of one of them, nodding off.
"Toad," Mario said.
"Hmm?" Toad murmured, almost falling out of his chair. He looked up and saw Mario. "Oh, hey. What's up, plumber dude?"
"This," Mario said, handing him the letter.
Toad read it over, and his jaw almost fell off. "What?! Is she insane?"
"No, I am. I'm the one who got her released."
Toad looked at him skeptically. "This ain't like you, man. Why would you vouch for a known felon like this?"
"Just open the cell, Toad."
Toad took off his mushroom cap and scratched his head, then opened the door.
The inside was lit by a single bulb hanging high above the floor, casting it's dim amber light downward in a circle. There was a bench attached to the far wall. Seated on it was Wendy.
She was still wearing the cloak, pulled back up over her head. He could now see she was wearing black boots, and that her leather gloves were the same color. She had definitely dressed for stealth.
When the door shut behind him, she said softly, "It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to."
"No, it didn't," he began. "But you're free to go, now."
She looked up at him, and he could see she hadn't had a pleasant stay. Her deep blue eyes had bags under them, and her cheekbones were more pronounced from lack of food. He could see her face was tear-streaked, and her eyes were bleary and bloodshot. Her red lipstick was gone, and her lips were a light shade of pink.
It took him a moment to answer. It would be quite some time before he would completely trust the Mushroom Kindom's legal system. "Yes, I talked to the Princess, and she let you off. It looks like I'm your parole officer."
She stood shakily, and moved toward him. Her lip quivered, and she blinked back tears. "Th-thank you, Mario." She grasped his hand. "I... I don't deserve..."
"No, Wendy," he replied, holding her hand between his. "You don't deserve this prison. All those things weren't your fault. I just hope the rest of the village can see that."
"Yeah." She looked back up at him. "But... where do I go? Do I just move into a mushroom hut down the street?"
"I dunno," he replied. "I guess. You may need some furniture..." He looked at her cloak. "Some clothes..."
"I know. I sorta wish I could go back and get my wardrobe, but I couldn't stand to set foot in that castle again." She looked away. "Ever."
"It's gonna be all right now."
Mario and Wendy rushed into the hut, soaking wet. She shut the door as he put down the packages.
"It's pouring swimming pools at a time out there," he said, wringing out his cap.
"I know," she replied. Her cloak was sagging from waterweight. "Good thing we were clothes shopping, 'cause I need to change now." She picked up a bag and headed for the bathroom.
Mario moved to the fireplace and opened the flue. They definitely needed to warm up.
As he lit a fire, he thought about the day. Since her release yesterday, they had found her a house, bought a bed and a chair (to start), and gone to the department store. She wanted to hurry, so she had simply looked at a few things and thrown them in the cart. She would have time for fashion after she was all moved in.
He also thought about the stares she had received. Even under her dark mantle, the mushroom people knew who she was. They might never trust her, but they could at least have the decency to not gawk. He even heard a couple fungi whispering as she passed, but when he looked at them, they left fairly quickly.
Mario looked up. Wendy was still in her bathroom.
"Damn zipper... I always had a... Troopa do this, but... Grr!"
"Need some help?"
"No, I... there. I got it now. Well, it's a little dressy, but it's dry." The door opened and she stepped out.
She was wearing a glittering blue spaghetti strap dress, with matching high heels and bow. She looked very fetching, but he was concentrating on two other things, things that surprised him.
"Wendy, what happened to your shell?"
She looked at him like he was wearing a dunce cap. "Well, I certainly didn't want to creep along through Pipe Maze with that big lunky thing." Her brow knitted. "You knew Koopas can take their shells off, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but I only thought about Troopas, since they're all I'd ever seen shell-less." He had stomped many a Koopa Troopa, shooting some careening out of their shells.
"That's another thing I wish I could go get from the castle. As cumbersome and bulky as it is, it's... mine, and it is kinda cozy inside." She walked over to him. "Is there something else?"
"I... don't remember you having... hair."
She ran a clawed hand through it absentmindedly. He had somehow failed to notice her light orange hair; how he had missed it, he would never know. It was shoulder length, and the soft locks were limp from the rain.
"Really? That's weird... I've had hair since my sixteenth birthday. Most Koopa girls have theirs by their fifteenth, but I was a late bloomer."
Mario was taken aback. "You're sixteen?"
She laughed. "Seventeen now, and my birthday's only a few weeks away. Wow, I guess I haven't told you much about myself, have I?"
He had always thought of Wendy as being around nine. She probably was when Bowser had first sent his kids after him and his brother... about eight years ago. He couldn't believe it had been that long. He had been in his twenties when this all began, and was now in his thirties. He hadn't told anyone his birthday, and so he hadn't paid it much attention, since he never got any parties. Luigi would just hand him a gift and say, "Happy thirtieth, Mario (or whatever birthday it was)," and that was it. He simply had been so busy with everything he hadn't bothered to notice that the Koopas were growing up.
As was Wendy. She was now a beautiful young woman (for a reptile), and no longer looked or acted like the stereotypical spoiled brat. Looking back on the past week, he didn't know how he could have thought she was still a little girl; she had acted so mature. Actually, she had acted even more mature than seventeen. He contributed that to her childhood; that kind of experience would make anyone grow up faster.
"What do you think?"
He started and looked at her. "About what?"
Wendy looked annoyed. "Should I buy a clock next?"
He realized he had been so deep in his thoughts he hadn't even noticed she was asking him a question. "Sorry. Yeah, clocks are... good," he finished lamely.
She sighed. "You don't really care, do you?" She looked into the fire burning in the hearthe. "I don't either, but I should probably get one. You have a watch, right?"
"What time is it?"
"Wow! We've been talking for almost an hour."
Mario hadn't looked at his watch since they had left the department store, but that seemed about right. "I'd probably better go home and go to bed... I'm so tired."
She looked out the window. "In this weather? You'll get struck by lightning or something. Just stay here 'till it lets up."
He turned to the door and opened it. The rain was still coming down hard, though it was the light flashing in the sky that made him agree to wait.
He sat down on the floor in front of the fire to dry off. "Thanks. I just didn't know if you wanted to go to bed or not, and didn't want to keep you up." He took off his gloves and rubbed his hands together. "Nothing like a warm fire when you're soaked to the bone."
Wendy was coming back from the bathroom with her cloak. "Yeah. My old room had a fireplace, too." She hung it from the edge of the mantle, and it began to drip. Then she sat down in the chair. "Oh, that feels good. As much as I love getting new stuff, I really don't like shopping for them all day." She kicked her heels off and rubbed her sore feet.
"Me neither, but that 'Cool Tools' place was tempting me, anyway." He pulled out a pair of pliers. "These are gonna be rusty."
"Sorry, I shouldn't've kept you out in this so long. We didn't need all this today."
"Don't worry about it. I need new ones anyway." He set them on the floor. "Tomorrow I have to go to a meeting with the royal council. I don't know what it's about, but we might get done in time to buy some more furniture."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I should be letting my guest sit here!" She started to stand up.
"No, the lady should have the seat." He waved downward. "I'm fine."
"But... well, I guess we're at a courtesy stalemate." She sat back down. "Thanks."
"Oh, it's your place." He looked out the window. "Well, it looks like it's letting up, and I'm beat. I should go now while I can still stand." He grabbed his gloves and pliers and stood up.
"So soon?" she replied, rising as well. She was much shorter without shoes on. "I'm pretty tired, too. I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yep." He looked at her soft orange hair again, now dry. "It's pretty."
"Nothing. Goodnight, Wendy."
"The village needs this new amusement park. It's been pretty mundane around here, lately. I've been flat out bored for the past couple weeks."
Mario, Peach, Luigi, and Toad were seated around a rather large round table, capable of seating twenty comfortably. Toad was the one speaking. He had to sit on a phone book to actually see over the table, but his opinion was still highly valued. "This place is as dull as dishwater. We need some entertainment before we all go nuts!"
"Yes, Mr. Kinopio," Peach said. She was addressing him by his seldom-known last name. "I have heard several citizens complain of lack of activities in our village. But we simply don't have the funds to make something so huge."
"Yeah, but what if we got some area merchants to sponsor? They put up ads in their shops, we put up ads for their stores in the amusement park, maybe even let 'em open up gift shops in it. In exchange, they help pay for the park. It'll work!"
"I'm inclined to agree with Toad," Luigi said. "It's not as bad around here as he says, but a park would definitely make this town more fun. I've found myself bored on many an afternoon, as well, and I think this could be just the thing."
"I'm still not sure we could pull it off..."
"What if I got some signatures of store-owners that would want to get in on this?" Toad pressed. "Then would you put up the royal cash for it? And hey, you would make your money back eventually, and then some."
The Princess leaned back in her chair, finger aside her chin. "Well... I'm still not sure about it. It would take a lot of money to invest in it. What do you think, Mario?" No answer. "Mario?"
Mario was looking out the window, supporting his head with his arm. He just didn't seem halfway interested at all, or even listening. He usually took part in these meetings with a lot of vigor, and she had a sneaking suspicion he would be in favor of the park. She was very curious by now. She motioned to a guard, whom walked over to him and tapped his shoulder.
"Huh, what? Yes!"
She folded her arms. "Yes, what?"
"Yes, whatever you... said." He guiltily looked down.
"Mario, what's up, man?" Toad asked. "You aren't even in the same village as us."
He gave a sigh. "I'm sorry, guys, I was just thinking about-"
"About Wendy?" Luigi looked at him with a sly smile on his face.
"Yeah," he said, confused. "How'd you know that?"
"Please, Mario," the Princess said, rolling her eyes. "You've been with her exclusively for the past two days."
"Yeah," Toad put in. "We don't need a crystal ball to figure that one out."
"Well, she's getting settled in," he replied defiantly. "I don't exactly see you guys jumping at the chance to help."
"Help?" Luigi said. "You're practically doing it for her."
"Hey, I don't see what the problem is. I'm the only friend she has right now in the whole world. Do you think it would really be right not to?"
"Helping is fine, but you seem joined at the hip with her," Peach replied. "You've been neglecting your duties."
Mario had a blank look on his face. "I have?"
"Remember... the basement..."
Mario struck himself in the head. "Mama mia! I'm sorry, Peach! I was scheduled to fix that leak yesterday, wasn't I?"
"Yes, you were," she said, folding her arms again. "Please do that today."
"Tu sei ignorante," Luigi murmured.
"What?" Mario said.
"You know," Peach continued, "there's a couple feet of water down there now. I suggest you take your Frog Suit or something."
"Okay, I will."
"Now, what do you think of Toad's idea for the amusement park?"
He thought a moment. "Oh, yeah. He told me about that last week. It's a great idea. It would give people something to do. Wendy would like it."
They all groaned. "Meeting ajourned," Peach said, standing up. "I need some Earl Grey."
The Mysterious Scent part I
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