The next day, Celestia, Luna, Peach, and all their guests were seated in the main conference room, discussing the Mareshroom Beach situation. Twilight was incredibly attentive, having offered to take the official record of the meeting, though all the other non-princesses’ interest varied, from the polite focus of Mario and Fluttershy to the near comatose states of Rainbow Dash and Luigi.
“We’d certainly like to put more money into expanding the airport in Mareshroom Beach, or even build more throughout the kingdom,” Celestia explained. “But Equestrians typically don’t rely on machines like airplanes for traveling and shipping by air, especially seeing as approximately one third of the population is capable of flight naturally.”
“I do see your point, Celestia,” Peach said. “But the flight from Equestria to the Mushroom Kingdom is somewhat long. What few pegasi have travelled there have noted on how tiring the journey was. If you were to expand the airport, you could receive many more shipments from not only us, but from several other regions as well. And travel between the two kingdoms would be more feasible for Equestrians and Mushroom Kingdom citizens alike.”
“We see your logic,” Luna said, “But our currency doesn’t stretch quite as far as it used to. To pursue such projects would require us to increase our taxes in Equestria greatly, and our subjects would not care for that very much.”
“What if the Mushroom Kingdom were to contribute some funds to the project?” Peach suggested. “Our economists in the Mushroom Kingdom have calculated that the predicted gains from increased trade would be well worth such an investment.”
“That seems like a reasonable proposal…” Celestia considered. “Of course, I wouldn’t feel right if you were to completely fund it by yourself. We would contribute our own money to the project as well-“
Suddenly, the doors burst open, and a member of the royal guard came rushing in, frantically. “Princess Celestia! Princess Luna! It’s an emergency!”
Celestia rose, a concerned expression on her face. “Captain, what’s going on?”
“It’s an invasion, your highness!” The guard said. “An entire fleet of airships suddenly appeared at Canterlot’s border, and they’re getting closer to the castle with each passing minute!”
“Sound the alert!” Celestia said. “The invading forces must not breach the castle! Seal off all entrances, get all guards to their positions!”
“Yes, your highness!” The guard said. He quickly rushed back out, the door shutting behind him and magically sealing. Celestia turned to the other attendants, who were all standing at the ready, save for Fluttershy and Luigi, who seem to have vanished.
“Everyone remain calm,” Celestia said. “You are currently standing in the safest room in this castle. There is virtually no chance that whoever’s attacking will get in-“
Suddenly, the doors were reduced to splinters as an earth shaking slam impacted the other side. Standing amidst the rubble was a hulking beast, with a vicious spiked shell, gigantic scaled arms, and a sneer that practically radiated heat.
“So, you thought you could hide in this castle forever, Peach?” The brute snarled. “Ha! Nobody can hide from me when I’m gunning for them!”
“Bowser!” Peach said. “What is the meaning of this?! Kidnapping me on Mushroom Kingdom soil is one thing, but an invasion?! You’ve gone too far this time!”
“Hah! Says you!” Bowser said. “Besides, who’s gonna stop me?”
In answer to this question, Mario leapt forward, landing right in front of Bowser, poised to fight.
“Mario! Oh man, you really wanna pick a fight with me today?!” Bowser said with a chortle. “Bring it on! After I’m done wiping the floor with you, I’ll take Peach, AND those two horse princesses too!”
“He’s not the only one you’ve gotta worry about, buddy!” Dash shouted, readying herself to dart over to Bowser. However, she was held back by Applejack grabbing onto her tail.
“Hold on there, sugarcube!” Applejack said. “This guy looks like he means business; we’d better leave this to the professional.”
“Applejack is right, Rainbow,” Twilight agreed. “I’ve read a lot about Mario in my book, and he’s beaten this Bowser countless times. I’m sure he can handle this.”
Mario spun on the spot and gave a reassuring thumbs up. He then turned back toward the invading King Koopa and leapt forward, kicking off the fight.
The battle was afoot, Mario standing across from Bowser. However, before things commenced, Twilight stepped up to Mario’s side.
“Be careful Mario,” she said. “I know you’ve fought him before, and I’m sure you can handle him now, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the fundamentals. I’ve read up on some basic combat routines, do you want me to refresh your memory?”
Mario shook his head, and Twilight nodded. “Okay, sorry, I should’ve known better. You’re the professional here. Go get him!”
Twilight stepped back, and Mario leapt forward, planting his feet directly on Bowser’s noggin. He jumped back to his original position, and Twilight stepped forward again. “Great job! Remember, with a bit of timing, you can really dish out some damage! I read all about it in ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Timed Hits’-“
“Hey! Egghead! Outta the way!” Bowser shouted. Twilight suddenly zipped backward, and Bowser stepped forward, releasing a puff of flame. Mario got scorched, and Bowser moved back to avoid retaliation. At this Twilight stepped forward once again.
“Ouch, that’s gotta hurt!” Twilight said. “Sorry if I distracted you. If you like, I could tell you how to avoid his attacks! I noticed a key gap in his attack that you can use to avoid taking damage!”
Mario shook his head again, and Twilight nodded. “Right, you’re the pro here; I’ll leave you to it.”
“Hey! Yappy! Beat it! This is between me and Mario!” Bowser shouted at Twilight again, causing her to back off once again. Once Twilight was clear, Mario and Bowser traded blows, Mario jumping on Bowser’s head and Bowser spraying fire everywhere. As the fight went on, Bowser seemed to be looking worse and worse for wear. After a while, he seemed to be down for the count.
“Humph. As usual, Mario managed to beat you, Bowser,” Peach said as Bowser fell to the ground weary from the fight. “Now why don’t you get out of here before you get pummeled further?”
Bowser merely groaned on the floor. As the five ponies moved forward to drag Bowser away, a voice echoed throughout the room.
“Well, this is turning out to be a huge disappointment.”
Mario and Peach looked confused, though all the ponies in the room seemed to freeze at the voice.
“No…” Celestia said. “It can’t be…”
“Hello, Celestia, how are you?” The voice said again. “You know, you’d think you’d learn not to keep me out in public like that after the last little mishap.”
“Discord!” Twilight shouted. “Show yourself right now!”
The voice laughed, and its owner, Discord, materialised, floating just above the fallen Koopa King. “Oh, hello Twilight Sparkle! Fancy seeing you and your friends here!” Bowser groaned again, and Discord looked down again. “Oh really now, is a little head trauma really all it takes to keep you down?” He snapped his fingers, and Bowser suddenly opened his eyes, and straightened right back up.
“Haha! I feel great!” Bowser shouted.
“Of course you do,” Discord said. “And, a word of advice, invest in a helmet. For now, though, let’s wrap things up here.” Discord snapped his fingers, and Mario’s shoes suddenly stuck to the floor with a loud squelching sound. As he struggled to free himself, Discord snapped again, and the three Princesses were suddenly rendered immobile, save for their heads. Celestia’s and Luna’s horns disappeared as well. With a third snap, Twilight, Applejack, Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie were all sealed under some sort of glass dome.
“You’ll never get away with this, you two!” Celestia shouted.
“Oh, come now, Celestia, you’re not going to start with that, now are you?” Discord said, tweaking Celestia’s nose. “Come one, just take your defeat graciously, and-“
“TOO MANY WORDS!” Bowser shouted. He stomped forward, and scooped up the three princesses. “Let’s get this show on the road, okay!”
“Alright, alright,” Discord said. “Go ahead and ruin my fun…” Discord snapped his fingers again, and he, Bowser, Celestia, Luna, and Peach disappeared in a flash of light. The dome surrounding the ponies disappeared, and Mario fell over as his shoes were un-stuck from the floor.
“My word!” Rarity exclaimed. “Can you really believe the nerve of that brute? Just barging in like that?”
“Well, it doesn’t matter now,” Twilight said, helping Mario up. All that matters is that the princesses have been kidnapped.”
“Well, what’re we gonna do?” Applejack said. “There’s no tellin’ where Discord took the princesses!”
At that, a note suddenly appeared out of thin air. Twilight ran forward and grabbed it, and began reading aloud.
“’Dear pesky ponies,” Twilight began. “’Bowser and I have taken over Equestria and the Mushroom Kingdom! The princesses are now permanent guests at Bowser’s Castle! I dare you to get them if you can!’” She lowered the note, and looked over to her friends. “We’ve gotta find the princesses!”
“And you’ve gotta help us!” Pinkie said, running over to Mario.
Everyone paused for a moment, and some sort of whimpering noise was coming from somewhere in the room. “Hey, what’s that sound?” Dash said. Mario walked over and lifted the table covering, and they found Luigi and Fluttershy holding each other, shaking under the table. They both snapped out of it as they noticed everyone looking at them, and they climbed out.
“W-w-what happened?” Fluttershy stammered.
“Celestia, Luna, and Peach were just kidnapped!” Dash exclaimed. Luigi gasped, and Fluttershy looked alarmed.
“Oh my…” Fluttershy said. “What are we going to do?”
“Well, first off,” Twilight said. “We’re going to go to Ponyville and retrieve the Elements of Harmony. If we want to stop Discord, that’ll be our only chance.”
“Why would they be in Ponyville?” Dash said. “Isn’t that where they were last time?”
“That’s right,” Twilight answered.
“Why the hay would he hide ‘em there again?” Applejack said. “That don’t make a lick o’ sense!”
“Exactly,” Twilight said. “That’s why it’d be the best place to start. This is Discord we’re dealing with; not making sense is what he’s all about.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for?” Pinkie said, bouncing up and down, “Let’s get going!”
Mario jumped a couple time, shouting “Wahoo!”, and Luigi rushed over behind him. Mario, Luigi, and the six ponies stepped through the ruined door, and made their way out of the castle doors, kicking off their adventure.