• Published 1st Sep 2016
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Paper Mario: Brotherhood is Harmony - wingdingaling

Mario and co. are ready for a relaxing vacation with Peach's royal friends in Equestria. Little do they know that something so innocent will inevitable lead to their next big adventure.

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Chapter 1: Gallantly Gallivanting to the Grand Galloping Gala

Chapter 1

Gallantly Gallivanting to the Grand Galloping Gala

On a mountain overlooking Equestria, the city of Canterlot was perched. At the Canterlot airport, balloons and blimps drifted about in the late afternoon sky, carrying passengers to and away from the shimmering city.

On the ground below, six mares, three fillies and a baby dragon eagerly awaited the arrival of one airship in particular.

Each one swayed in the wind as the gusts atop the mountain shook their papery forms. Some were excited for the arrival of the airship from a foreign land. Others wished they had spent the time waiting indoors to avoid the tempest. But, the excitement of meeting the famous Mario Bros. was enough to keep them outdoors. At least, for most of them.

A sudden gust blew, which made the fillies flap in the wind, and nearly took Apple Bloom off her hooves.

"How come we gotta be here fer the Mushroom royalty," Apple Bloom asked as she took shelter near her older sister.

"Ya said ya wanted to come to Canterlot with me. So here ya are," Applejack answered, as her edges quivered in the breeze.

"Yeah, but me an' my friends wanted to come here to get in some crusadin' fer our cutie marks."

"We never have any luck at home, so Canterlot might be where we finally get them," Sweetie Belle added.

"Instead, we're out here about to get blown off the mountain," Scootaloo finished.

"We shouldn't be miserable because of the weather. It's just the way things are on high mountaintops like this," Fluttershy said, as she hid, partially folded, beneath her sturdier friends. A sudden gust blew past them all. “EEP!!”.

Barely audible through the gusts of wind were the sounds of Rainbow Dash mashing the buttons on her 3DS. Through a mixture of concentration and frustration, she flapped and darted through the air over her friends.

"It's not so bad up here, Scoots," Dash said. "Just think: in a few minutes, the Mushroom blimp's gonna land. And you and me can meet the Mario Brothers!"

"The Mario Brothers are coming!? Why didn't you say that in the first place?" Scootaloo said, as her face suddenly lit up.

"I was gonna. But, all you did was shoot off about crusading in Canterlot," Dash said.

Flying proved unwise for her. A sudden gust made her spin and turn through the air, keeping her from calculating her in-game jump just precisely right. When Dash stopped spinning, she found herself faced with the dreaded ‘game over’ screen.

“Aw! I would have got past that chain chomp, if it weren’t so windy up here!” Dash said, as she folded up her system and placed it in her item pocket.

Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes at Dash’s antics, and magically conjured a scroll before herself. Held within her magical pink aura, the scroll was unaffected by the wind around her.

The librarian’s eyes passed across the surface of the scroll she held. Having been requested by Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to receive the guests, Twilight had to make sure her welcoming speech was exactly the way she wanted it. Each word was carefully chosen to convey her warmth and welcoming of the foreign royalty. Every paragraph was written to convey the full depth of the hospitality they would receive. And it was not thanks to Spike.

“Are you still reading that stupid thing?” Spike asked.

“It’s not stupid. It’s my welcoming speech for Princess Peach,” Twilight tersely said.

“I don’t why you bothered with that thing. It’s just going to put the princess to sleep. All you need is a quick hoofshake, a ‘hello,’ and a pleasant offer of your hospitality,” Spike dismissively said.

“You haven’t been around royalty for as long as me. You don’t know how strict these royal meetings can be,” Twilight answered, not taking her eyes away from her scroll.

“I’ve been around royals just as long as you have. And I know for a fact that Princess Luna and Princess Celestia won’t care about how much you prepared for this. As long as you’re nice to their friend, they’ll be happy. I swear, it’s like you haven’t learned scrap about friends or friendship.”

“Spike--” Twilight said, through her clenched teeth, “--I don’t need you talking down to me anymore. Ever.”

“Yeah, yeah. I remember our arrangement after the gala,” Spike answered.

Both Twilight and Spike turned away from one another, unwilling to carry on their conversation.

When Rarity was finished touching up her makeup with a compact kit, she glanced over and saw Twilight with her scroll.

“Ah, Twilight. Can’t go anywhere without your reading material, can you,” Rarity gently teased.

“This is more than just reading material. It’s a speech I’ve prepared for the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom,” Twilight explained.

“But, what about the Mario Brothers? Did you include them in your speech?” Pinkie asked.

“Um…” Twilight said, as she went over her scroll. “No. But, that’s just because I just now learned the princess was going to have company with her.”

“You gotta have the Mario Bros. in your welcome speech. You can’t think about the Mushroom Kingdom without thinking of them first,” Dash said.

“Alright. Fine,” Twilight said, summoning a quill for herself to use. “Can anypony tell me about them? Or who they even are?”

A wave of shock was felt by Twilight from all of her friends.

"What!?" Said Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Scootaloo all at once.

"Did you seriously ask that!?" Pinkie said.

"Twilight, you just reached a new level of nerd! Don't you play any video games!?" Dash added.

"Of course she doesn't," Spike answered, "I keep asking her if we can buy a system, but she always tells me there's no academic value in video games."

"No academic value!?" Pinkie shouted, "Video games are one of the highest points of academics! It's like reading a book, but you can control the characters!"

"It's nothing like reading a book. A book has written passages that describe the feelings and inner workings of each character and situation, delivering a proper sense of empathy to the reader. That doesn't happen in video games," Twilight rebutted.

"See what I have to deal with all day?" Spike said. "Just once, I'd like a break from reading textbooks in my spare time. Even a few bits to visit the arcade would be nice. But, no. I have to spend my allowance on educational garbage."

"Education isn't garbage!" Twilight scolded the dragon.

"Well, if you played any video games, you might know who the Mario Brothers are," Spike answered.

"Land sakes, Twi. I don't play games neither, an' even I heard of 'em," Applejack chimed in.

"As have I, though I've never played their games," Rarity said. "Supposedly, they're experts when it comes to adventuring. From travelling to outer space, stopping an alien invasion, and even rescuing the world of dreams, they've done it all. And all through their quests, they drop everything to rescue their fair maiden no matter how many times she falls into peril."

"You sure you never played their games," Dash asked.

"I am," Rarity said astutely, "However, I am a great admirer of Princess Peach. For even when she is abducted by who or whatever, she retains her ladylike poise and grace, like a true noble."

"It sounds like Princess Peach could use a few self-defense lessons," Sweetie Belle deadpanned.

"Seriously. Anypony who gets kidnapped that much could stand to learn some karate," Scootaloo said.

"Maybe when she arrives, you can show her where she can learn," Fluttershy said as she pointed to the sky from beneath Twilight.

Everypony looked to see an airship approaching. The dainty pink color of the cardboard, along with the delicate gold paper that decorate it clued them all in as to who was arriving.

The Mushroom airship drifted through the skies, and landed on the ground with a gentle thud. The landing resulted in a burst of air which made the Equestrians flap in the breeze.

This was it. The visitors from the Mushroom Kingdom had arrived. Everypony waited in anticipation as the staircase unfolded. First the two sides appeared, then the steps sprang forward to fill the empty space between the two.

As soon as the steps appeared, their inertia sent a screaming, green figure forth from their creases. The figure landed on the ground, bouncing up and down like a squeezed accordion.

"Mama mia...That's some kind of rough trip," Luigi said as he swayed in the wind, adding to the motion of his bounce.

"He's here!!" Scootaloo shouted

She, Dash and Pinkie rushed forward to greet their guest. Excitedly, the three ponies pushed Luigi down and started smoothing out his wrinkles, all in spite of the plumber’s protests. When they were done, they were somewhat surprised by their find.

"Hey! What the hay is this? This isn't Mario! It's some guy in a green Mario outfit,”Pinkie asked when she and the others finished smoothing out the arriving guest.

"Pinkie, that's Luigi. You know, the other Mario brother," Dash explained.

Luigi grumbled indignantly from the glib introduction. It seemed like no matter what, he was always the ‘other’ brother.

"Oh yeah. This is the one whose adventures we never hear about," Scootaloo said.

"Hello! Luigi's Mansion?" Luigi called from the ground below.

"I don't think I played that one,” Dash said

"Me neither,” Scootaloo added.

"And a nopey-dopey for me,” Pinkie finished.

"Well, this trip's off to a good start," Luigi grumbled as he flipped himself upright and dusted off his overalls.

From inside the blimp came the eagerly awaited passengers. Princess Peach stepped into the open doorway, and was shortly followed by Mario, who offered his arm once more to his lady.

"There he is," Pinkie shouted loudly, before she, Dash and Scootaloo ran and knocked Luigi down again.

Down the steps of the blimp came Princess Peach and Mario. When they reached the ground, they found themselves surrounded by three excitable ponies.

"Hi! I'm Scootaloo! Can I go with you on your next adventure to get my cutie mark?"

"I sent you guys a letter a few days ago! Did you read it yet?"

"Mario! Mario! It's me! Pinkie Pie! I send you all those mushroom cupcakes and fireflower sauce!"

"You send all those?" Mario asked. The plumber was surprised, to say the least. He and Luigi had thought for months that they were sent by a whole cavalcade of fans.

"You gotta read my fan mail, Mario! It's better than everypony else's," Dash insisted, wanting to know whether or not her voice was being heard.

"I still have your letter here," Luigi said as he pulled it out of his pocket.

Dash wasn't listening. She was too busy fawning over Mario.

As her friends greeted and praised the new arrivals, Twilight stepped forth to greet the visiting royalty, just as the Royal Sisters requested of her.

“Ahem,” Twilight gently began.

Once the attention was on her, Twilight magically retrieved her scroll to read her welcoming speech.

“On behalf of the Equestrian royalty: Princess Celestia and Princess Luna--” Twilight began, before she paused suddenly.

Had she been paying attention earlier, she would have noticed Spike switching out the scroll with the speech she wrote for the scroll with the speech the baby dragon had written for her.

The librarian glanced to Spike for an eighth of a second. Just long enough to see him smirking.

Of all the things that could have gone wrong, her speech being sabotaged was the worst. Still, in order to keep up her appearances for the visitors, Twilight decided to continue reading. In the half-second since she paused, she coughed to cover up her near faux pas.

“--*cough* Excuse me. On behalf of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, I, Twilight Sparkle, hereby welcome you to our fair country,” Twilight finished.

The scroll magically disappeared. Twilight had to refrain from magically crumpling Spike up and throwing him away.

“Why thank you, Twilight Sparkle, for that lovely speech,” Peach giggled, greeting her hostess with a pleasant curtsy.

“Hmf,” Spike smugly chortled, loud enough for only Twilight to hear.

Twilight wanted nothing more than to fold Spike up and mail him to another kingdom. But, that would never do in front of the guests.

“It’s lovely to meet you all, but where are Celestia and Luna? I thought they were going to greet me at the airport,” Peach said.

"They're busy at the castle putting together the party plans I left them," Pinkie said. "Normally, I'd do everything myself, but I didn't want to miss meeting the globe-trotting, space-travelling, time-hopping, demon-slaying, goomba-stomping, super-awesome-in-every-way Mario brothers!"

"Thanks, Pinkie. It’s always nice to meet a fan," Mario said.

"Yeah, but I'm the bigger fan," Dash interjected. "I played all your games, read all your books, and watched all your movies. Even the ones unreleased in Equestria!"

"Can you tell us about when you purified the Chaos Heart and saved the universe," Scootaloo asked.

"Well, no. A lot of the stuff you see in the games is pretty overblown compared to what actually happened. But, yeah. I can tell you about when that happened,” Mario said.

"Tell them about the haunted mansion first," Luigi said.

"The what? I don't remember a haunted mansion," Mario answered.

"I know. You only remember the victories. But, not when you got trapped in the spirit world, and little Luigi had save his older bro."

"Quit telling lies, Luigi. You're setting a bad example for the kids."

"You just don't want Peach to hear how scared you were. 'Get me outta here,'" Luigi said as he mimicked Mario trying to break through the barrier between worlds.

“Avrei potuto gestire quei fantasmi se volessi!” Mario said.

“Non avevi l'attrezzatura per combattere fantasmi!” Luigi rebutted.

“Tutto ciò di cui ho bisogno è un martello! Poi tu vieni con un aspirapolvere sulla schiena, come se fossi un bidello! Hai disonorato tutto ciò che significa essere un idraulico con quella cosa!” Mario fumed.

“Why I oughta--!”

Both brothers raised their fists to clobber each other.

"Boys!" Peach admonished.

Mario and Luigi both froze mid-swing.

"We're guests in this kingdom. And I expect you to create a good impression on my friends at the palace. So, put your squabbling aside and follow us to the palace. I'm sure everyone is anticipating our arrival," Peach said.

"Yes ma'am," Mario said as he lowered his fist.

"Whipped," Luigi whispered, loud enough for only Mario to hear.

"Wallflower," Mario whispered back.

"I'm sure that we're all eager to go to the palace," Rarity chimed in, "Shall we away?"

"That would be delightful," Peach answered.

"Great. Everypony this way," Twilight said, "For those of you who don't know, we're going--"

"Up the hill, take a right turn, head past the haberdashery, keep walking until the intersection past Donut Joe's, through the town square, then a straight walk to the palace," Peach finished.

"Uh, yeah. That's exactly it. How'd you know," Twilight asked.

"I've been here before, but only to celebrate my friends' birthdays," Peach answered. "In fact, one day, Celestia and I took Luna to Belle of the Ball's Dress Shop, and she ended up buying me this dress."

"I knew that looked familiar," Rarity said, "I saw that very dress in the display window once, and I created a whole new line of clothes in a week!"

"You must have a wonderful creative spirit to do something like that. Maybe, you can do it again when you see me dancing in this,” Peach said.


Once again, Luigi sulked when he heard mention of dancing at the gala.

Unknown to the slumping plumber, someone else had timidly sidled up beside him.

"Um, excuse me," came a meek voice to Luigi's side.

Luigi jumped when he saw a yellow pegasus pony he hadn't noticed before.

"I'm sorry! Did I scare you!?" Fluttershy apologized, after flinching violently.

"N-No! I, uh..." Luigi took a second to compose himself, "I just didn't see you there. My name's Luigi, in case you didn't know."

"I did...And I'm Fluttershy. It's very nice to meet you. And, for what it's worth, I really enjoyed Luigi's Mansion. Even if it was a little scary," she said as she partially hid behind her mane.

"You played that?" Luigi said.

"Mm-hm. I also read the Super Luigi books," Fluttershy said, now averting her gaze as her cheeks reddened slightly.

"Yer the Luigi from Super Luigi," said another voice that made Luigi jump.

Luigi felt a little silly when he found the voice belonged to a young filly with a big, pink bow. She had been walking with her friends, but the mention of Super Luigi immediately drew her attention.

"Me an' my sister read those books all the time. Did ya really knock out a two-headed snake on yer own, or is it like what yer brother said about his adventures?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Well... less so," Luigi answered.

No matter how better known his brother was, it was always nice for Luigi to hear that he had his share of fans.

Walking through Canterlot, all manner of ponies stopped what they were doing to gaze in awe at the Mushroom Kingdom celebrities. However, they noticed there were not only ponies in the streets. All manner of Mushroom Kingdom immigrants were there as well. Koopas, goombas, doogans, craws, bob-ombs, and toads of all colors were seen.

Soon,they were upon the castle, ready to greet the Equestrian royalty.

In the royal ballroom, Princess Luna darted busily about the marbled floor.

"We must be ready! Everything must be perfect," the luna princess said as she excitedly ran about the room, adjusting whole sections of it with her magic.

The napkins that were laid out had all been folded into ornate shapes. But, when the lunar princess saw that one was crimped, they all had to be folded in a different shape.

First like pyramids, then like cranes, then like the royal seal. Not one of them was simple or welcoming enough to their guests, so she tried the next idea: flowers. That would do.

Princess Luna looked to the table, and thought it looked as if it took up too much space. With a quick blast of magic from her horn, the whole thing was rearranged like a great set of tangrams. Now that the table was arranged arranged in the shape of a stunning alicorn.

As she looked over the table, Luna realized that such a shape would not be accommodating to their guests. She frantically changed it to a shape that would better suit the visitors. Now, they were arranged in a shape like a mushroom.

But, that would alienate any of the Equestrians present.

Luna’s mind raced for a compromise, and she found one. Using her magic once more, the tangram table was arranged into the shape of a gleaming star.

Satisfied with her work, Luna was about to move on. Until she saw that the blue color of the flowers in the vases on the table did not complement the shape of the star.

She magically pulled a tab at the bottom of each vase, and made a new kind of flower pop up. This new flower had a golden yellow color that gave a feeling of the star's actual color. It was then that Luna knew that was the color to pick.

However, the shape of the star conflicted with the round shape of the chandelier above.

Luna rectified the problem by magically folding its edges and clipping a few parts here and there.

When it was unfolded, it became a many pointed decoration that matched nicely with the table arrangement. Finally, Luna was finished.

Then again, now that she looked at it, the color of the flowers was nearly the same as the chandelier above.

So much of the same color would seem overwhelming to the atmosphere of the party, and Luna pulled the tabs on the vases to revert them to the original blue color. While the color was just as nice, it took away from the visual appeal of the table.

Princess Luna ended up rapidly switching back and forth between the two colors, unable to decide on which to use. Her eyes narrowed and her forehead became slightly soggy with perspiration. One color, and only one could be chosen. But, which?

Princess Celestia walked in from the next room, and caught her sister frantically switching between colors. She giggled shortly at the sight of Luna’s intense concentration. She walked to her sister’s side to help alleviate her trouble.

“Having a bit of a dilemma, are we, Lulu?" Celestia asked, as she stepped next to her sister.

"The arrangement must be perfect! The atmosphere must accommodate! The flowers, Tia! The flowers!" Luna practically wailed.

"Fret not, sister," Celestia said, as she made the flowers pop up to blue, "Princess Peach has always been the understanding sort. You know full well that she will appreciate anything we prepare."

"I suppose so,” Luna sighed. “But, this is the first time she is coming to a formal occasion. And tonight she is bringing the heroes of her kingdom. Heroes who are almost as well known as our own Bearers of Harmony. And I want them to be received as such.”

Luna changed to flowers to yellow.

"They aren't so different from Twilight and her friends," Celestia chuckled as she changed the flowers to blue, "Just as Twilight is a librarian, and Applejack is a farmer, Mario and Luigi are humble plumbers. I'm sure that they will appreciate anything no matter how grand or simple."

"Oh my! Plumbers! And they are renowned as world saviors?"

Luna changed the flowers to yellow.

"Indeed they are."

Celestia changed the flowers to blue.

"I suppose it only goes to show that you never know where the greatest of heroes may come from," Luna said as she turned the flowers back to yellow.

Before the conversation could go on, one of the castle staff approached the royal sisters.

"Excuse me, Princesses," the pony interjected, "I'm here to announce the arrival of the Mushroom royalty."

"They're here!" both sisters said excitedly at once.

They both ran from the room, but not until Luna used one last bit of magic to change the flowers to blue. Then back to yellow.

Rather than teleporting to greet their guests, the Royal Sisters chose the more personable option of simply running. However quickly they tried to run, Luna was constantly distracted by minor details she felt needed to be changed. When she lingered on straightening a doily, her sister had to forcefully pull her away from it.

They reached the castle foyer just as the front doors opened to reveal the Bearers of Harmony leading the visitors from the Mushroom Kingdom.

"Oh, you're here," Twilight said, not expecting such a prompt arrival from the royal sisters. However, since they were there, she decided to take the initiative to present the guests. "Princess Celestia, Princess Luna; from the Mushroom Kingdom--"

"Peachy!!" both sisters squealed as they ran forward to hug their friend.

"Lulu! Tia," Peach greeted as she hugged the alicorns back.

Not one of the onlookers had ever seen such behavior from their respective royalty. In fact, none of them previously knew of the relationship between them at all. That is, except for Mario.

"It's so good to see you again!" Peach gushed.

"How long has it been? We haven't seen you in ages!" Luna said as she nuzzled Peach's face.

"Only a month. Remember, we had the slumber party with Peach and her friend from Sarasaland," Celestia explained.

"But that was so long ago! We must do it more often! And you must show me the hoof polish you used on me! I'd love nothing more than to have worn if for tonight," Luna said.

It was a side of the royalty that none of the others had seen before. Some were surprised.

Mario was not, having seen Peach with her other friends before.

Luigi was most surprised to hear that Daisy had visited the Equestrian royalty before. Something that she had never told him about.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders all giggled at the sight, having heard all their lives that the Royal Sisters were the apex of dignity and refinement. And here they were acting like teenagers.

Spike, however, wretched at the idea of such a girlish gathering as a slumber party with hoof polishing. He tried not to imagine what other girly things went on there.

"Don't worry, paisan. You get used to it when you’re older," Mario said to the tiny dragon.

"It'd be nice to get away from it once in a while. But, the only way I get to do that is when Twilight and her friends leave on some adventure. Mostly, it's just to solve some friendship issue around town. And that just leaves me rearranging books!" Spike said.

"You just need to spend some time with your guy friends is all," Mario answered.

"About that,"Spike said hesitantly, "I don't really have any."

"Not one? Not even a brother?"


"Sheesh. That's some kind of tough luck," Mario said.

During their walk to the castle, Mario and Spike had talked at length about his adventures, along with his other admirers in the group. However, no matter how big a fan that Rainbow Dash said she was, she seemed like she was trying to compare who had the more interesting adventure.

Spike, on the other hand, had asked more questions about what adventuring was like, how each situation felt, and how Mario and his friends came up with a solution to every challenge. It was this kind of insight that made him see a kind of spark in the dragon that made Mario believe that he would very well one day be able make his mark as a hero like himself. Until then, the kid would be doomed to dusting off shelves and stamping books.

Mario was about to offer his consolation to Spike, until he was suddenly pulled away by Peach, and presented before the Equestrian royalty.

"And this must be the famous Mario," Celestia said. "Peach has told us so much about you."

"Is it true that you defeated The Shadow Queen all by yourself?" Luna said next.

"Come on, a demon that comes out every thousand years? Of course I had help from a bunch of my friends," Mario answered.

"And your brother, I presume?"

"Nope. He wasn't with me for that one. I think he was at home the whole time."

A dark cloud hung over Luigi's head. Had Mario forgotten how the two met in Rogueport to swap progress on their respective journeys? Did he even read Super Luigi at all? Whatever Luigi was feeling, he could only describe it as a bzzzap in his overalls. And the way that he saw Peach hanging on Mario's arm and kiss his cheek made him remember that he was without anyone to dance.

"Um...Luigi," came a quiet voice again.

Once again, Luigi jumped when he was snapped out of his thoughts, but calmed quickly when he saw it to only be Fluttershy once more.

"Princess Peach came here with Mario, didn't she," the pegasus asked.

Luigi only answered with grumble and a slow nod.

"Oh! Well...I saw that you didn't come with anypony." Fluttershy hid behind her mane when she saw Luigi's face change to a frown. "I just thought that if you were here alone...If it's alright...maybe you'd dance with me...?"

Luigi was surprised enough to hear that he had a fan in Equestria, let alone two fans. Fluttershy and Apple Bloom both talked at length about how they would have handled it if it was their brother who was trapped in the spirit world.

Apple Bloom had said that she would have had no hesitation to run into a ghost-filled mansion to rescue her brother, no matter how great the danger.

Fluttershy thought she might have done so too, but would have avoided any of the ghosts at all costs rather than face them head on. Still, if worse did come to worse, she admitted that she would rush through the mansion to find her brother.

Before Luigi could answer Fluttershy’s request, he felt himself pulled down lower by several tiny hooves.

"I think ya should go for it," Apple Bloom said to Luigi.

"Yeah. It's not every day that she asks somepony to dance. And there are a lot of stallions back home who'd love the chance," Sweetie Belle advised.

"You'd have to be really stupid to pass it up," Scootaloo said.

"Well, uh..." Luigi didn't know quite how to answer. What would happen if Daisy found out he danced with another woman? Then again, she was a fan, and all he would be doing was obliging her wishes. "I guess it would be alright..."

"Really?" Fluttershy said suddenly as her eyes lit up with a glittering sparkle. "Thank you! Thank you! I spent all day picking out what I would wear when you came!" Realizing how she had just reacted, she suddenly hid behind her mane again. "I mean, it's very nice of you to do this for your fans."

Luigi only chuckled nervously at the compliment.

"Got this one in the bag," Apple Bloom said to her friends.

"Yup. With a bit more encouragement, we can get our matchmaker cutie marks by tomorrow," Sweetie Belle said.

"Oh my! Look at the time! The gala will begin in less than an hour!" Celestia said suddenly, "Come along quickly! We must all prepare!"

"But what about the tour? I'm sure Mario and Luigi would--" Peach never got to finish her sentence as she was pulled away by two pairs of royal hooves.

"There is no time! There is still so much to do! Manes must be combed! Gowns must be put on! Adjustments must be made! Why are we all still standing here!? We must hurry!" Princess Luna said as she neatly stacked every one of the visitors and teleported them all and herself to the dressing room.

By the time night fell in Canterlot, the whole of the city's nobility had entered the castle. A who's who of upper crust society was present, but what drew the most attention of any guest was the visiting princess from the Mushroom Kingdom.

The best impressions were made by all of the guests on the foreign royalty, who felt as if she were surrounded by her own subjects for the way they made her feel so welcomed. In turn, she regaled them all with her sincere and friendly nature, which the Equestrians found was not unlike their own royalty.

Far from that humdrum, droll gathering, a much more boisterous get together was taking place by the buffet table.

Mario and Luigi enraptured their company from before with stories of their own adventures. Luigi only had the one story about the haunted mansion, but Mario went on and on about his own perils and plights.

These were in turn met with stories shared by the Bearers of Harmony and the Cutie Mark Crusaders about their own adventures and mishaps. More exciting than that, the Equestrians shared that their adventures were soon to be made into an animated series, hopefully akin to the popularity of Mario and Luigi's games.

In addition to the louder, more jolly atmosphere of their gathering, another difference was that Mario and Luigi remained dressed in their typical blue overalls and shirts, having been told this was how the public would expect them to look. They had been given the choice to wear something more formal, but they decided to wear what they were more comfortable with. Also, in the back of their minds, they anticipated something to go wrong. Then again, they were far from the Mushroom Kingdom.

"So, then what happened after the shy guys took all that stuff?" Spike asked.

"Ugh! Get this guy a console Twilight!" Dash said, before she filled in the details. "So, get this: they had to catch all they shy guys and find where they're coming from. Like, the shy guys were coming from somewhere in Toad Town, but nopony knew where! It was like they just came out of thin air!"

"Then they found a dusty old house where they saw a shy guy open a secret door that led to a toy box full of reeeaally cool toys," Scootaloo said.

"Wait: the shy guys all lived in a toy box? Aren't they my size? Even if they folded up, how’d they all fit?" Spike asked.

"Because, it was a magic toy box, where they shrank down really itsy-bitsy to fit inside! And it was full of giant-sized building blocks and jack-in-the-boxes that popped up and made them fly up in the air like a trampoline!" Pinkie answered.

"Was your brother with you for this part?" Spike asked.

He had been asking that during previous parts of the story, and wondered why these guys were always grouped as the Mario Bros, even though it sounded like Luigi sat out on a lot of the fun.

"Nope. He was at home for the whole thing. In fact, before I went to the Shy Guy Toy Box, I went to our house and found Luigi chasing a shy guy around the yard! He was all sweating and huffing and puffing, and then he passed out cold. So I had to catch it myself," Mario said.

"It seems like you spend a lot of time at the house during these things," Twilight said to Luigi, "Did you have something else you had to do?"

"Well...no," Luigi said.

"Nothin'? Ya didn't even run after yer brother while he was hammer-buckin' guys left an' right?" Applejack asked.

"Applejack, please. I'm sure there was something that had to be done when his brother was away," Rarity suggested, certain there was some reason Luigi sat the adventure out.

"Well...no," Luigi repeated.

"There was seriously nothing you could do while you were home either? Not even look for ways you could help your brother on his next adventure?" Sweetie Belle asked.




"Jeez. And Spike feels bad for always being left behind," Scootaloo said under her breath.

"Who cares that Luigi didn't want to go? Let's hear more about the toy box," Dash said.

"Rainbow Dash, you already played the game enough to know how it happened better than Mario," Twilight said.

"Yeah. But, I want to hear it straight from the horse's mouth."

The conversation about the trials in the toy box continued, while Luigi stayed back. Having heard the story countless times, he knew exactly what happened. Only this time, he did not want to contribute to it.

"Um...Luigi?" said a voice to his side.

Luigi didn't jump this time, having gotten used to it by now. He looked to his side to find Fluttershy again.

"If it's alright, I'd like to hear about what happened in the Waffle Kingdom...If it’s alright, I mean," she said quietly.

Luigi sighed briefly. Sure, he didn't have as many fans as his brother, but that didn't mean he had to let down this one because of his foul mood.

"Sure," he answered.

Fluttershy giggled quietly, and led him away from the others where they could dance in private. There, they could talk about the incidents with the Marvelous Compass and the Chestnut King.

"Hey, you guys: look," Apple Bloom said, as she pointed to the dancing couple at an isolated edge of the room, "Let's go over there, an' see if we can't spark somethin' up."

"But, I want to hear what happens next," Sweetie Belle said.

"He's just getting to the best part! Where he beat up General Guy and the Shy Guy Army," Scootaloo added.

"Y'all already know what happened next! If ya wanna hear it, he can tell it again. But, who knows how long those two’re gonna be over there dancin'!"

"They'll still be there by the time Mario's finished. Just let us stay here and listen,” Sweetie Belle said.

Apple Bloom couldn't believe her friends. Were they not as serious about getting their cutie marks as she was? In any case, she was going to have to let them listen to their story while she got busy getting her matchmaker cutie mark.

In the skies above the land, a flotilla of airships flew through under the purple construction paper sky.

On the deck of Bower’s personal airship, the golden stranger glimmered in the light of the stars pasted in the sky above. His eyes were affixed solidly on the horizon beyond.

Next to him, Kammy Koopa stood, partly looking out for what was ahead, and partly wondering what her new leader was looking at.

"This is the place, right? The Equestrian border?" asked the golden stranger.

"It is indeed, your polished-ness," Kammy Koopa confirmed.

Both sat in relative silence, with only the whoosh of the wind, the hum of the engines, and the quiet clattering of the members of the Koopa Troop examining and testing their new equipment audible. Until Kammy Koopa let out a quiet grumble.

"Something on your mind, old timer?" the stranger asked.

"Nothing really. I'm just thinking that if you're our leader, shouldn't you know where the place you're invading is?" the hag wondered.

"That? Don't worry about it. It's just been a long time since I've been here. But, I'm sure it'll come rushing back to me when I find a landmark or something," the dragon answered.

"Exactly how long has it been since you've been here?" Kammy asked.

"I'm not going to lie to you: I'm no spring chicken myself. The last time I was here, guys like me were almost running the show. And I don't mind telling you: it was a heck of good time we had,” the stranger said, smiling slightly at the memory.

"Almost? Let me guess: some lowly nobody rose up and took you out of power?" Kammy asked, knowing that story all too well.

The stranger answered with only a brief snort, which sent golden embers bursting from his nose before they dissipated.

"I don't really feel like talking about that,” the dragon said.

The answer only created more questions for Kammy Koopa, but she decided not to pry as she and her new leader saw a grand sight in the distance.

"We're almost there," the stranger said as a smile crawled onto his face when he recognized the silhouette of Canterlot against the distant mountain.

Just as he said, the memories came rushing back to him. His days in Canterlot Palace and the friends he had there once all stood out clearly in his mind. And it was all within his grasp once more.

It would be only a matter of minutes when they reached the palace. And with the preparations he had laid out, he would not be stopped. Not by the Bearers of Harmony, and certainly not by the Mario Bros.

Author's Note:

Alright. So, that's the next update of the rewritten chapters. So far, I think it's going rather well.
This chapter wasn't changed quite as much as the prologue was. In this case, what was added was a bit of extra narration. The reason for that was to add some life and some flavor to the scenes.
However, something that doesn't seem very major is the interactions between Twilight and Spike. Before, it was gradually revealed that they were not on the best of terms before they came to Canterlot. Now, it's put on display for you guys to read about now. The reason for this is that it seemed like a smarter thing to do to establish that kind of relationship between them at the beginning, instead of have it play out and be reminisced by the characters over the course of chapters.
However, the full nature of their current tiff is still not going to be revealed in full yet. That would take away from the incentive to read on. Or, maybe not. I'm still learning things, even as I rewrite this story.
This time, I consulted a native Italian speaker for the Mario bros' argument. My grandmother and my mother. I thank them both for their contribution. There were only minor grammar errors before, but I grew up speaking English as my first language, so what are you going to do? Seriously, I'm asking.
Still, there will be no Fluttershy x Luigi pairing. While I hate to disappoint you readers, I just can't picture it working.
That game Dash is playing is still 'Super Mario 3D Land,' and I still recommend it, and 'Super Mario 3D World.' Here's hoping they port both games to the switch. That would be my dream game for next year.
In the end, the general structure and events of this chapter remained the same. The characters meet, and establish a connection with each other. Some new friendships are formed between them. And there's always the approaching doom and gloom that comes at the beginning of the 'Paper Mario' games.
Rock on and stay golden \m/