• 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 2: Party Crashers

Chapter 2

Party Crashers

The hour had grown late, and all was well at the Grand Galloping Gala. Mario had spent the night telling his new friends about his adventures, and was in the middle of the story where he battled a fuzzipede in the belly of a whale when Peach pulled him away to dance.

The two citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom twirled about the room among the ponies who trotted around one another in rhythm with the music. A few Mushroom nobles were present as well. A few toads were dotted here and there, waltzing across the dance floor. Two koopas displayed impressive ballroom prowess. A pair of very dapper bob-omb nobles skittered and bumped against one another. Those two, everyone else avoided.

Through it all, Mario and Peach didn't bother to notice any of them. Even when a few of the other guests watched to see how their visiting royalty fared on the dance floor, they only had eyes for one another. Peach, however, noticed something at the far end of the room.

There, far from any of the other dancers, the Mushroom princess saw Luigi and Fluttershy dancing with one another.

"It seems like your brother has fared well after all," Peach said as Mario twirled her.

When Mario looked in the direction Peach indicated, he saw his younger twin dancing with Fluttershy as if he hadn't a care in the world.

"Funny thing: that guy's always had a way of getting girls without trying. And when he does try, he messes up, and they always run away screaming," Mario said as he dipped Peach.

"Did he even try when he met Daisy?" Peach giggled.

"Does this sound like he's trying to attract a woman: Daisy says 'hi,' and my brother answers 'Umma! Hi-uh! HI!?'"

"Oh, goodness. Daisy was right. He really is a the cutest little thing there is."

"Hey, don't you go giving him googly eyes. Remember who it is who always remembers your birthday and pulls you away from all that boring royal stuff."

"And I'm very grateful for it," Peach said before she kissed Mario. "I know that Daisy is too for having Luigi to take her away from her responsibilities as a ruler."

"I think all those competitions she goes to help too," Mario said as he whisked Peach in a different direction.

They both jumped slightly when they saw the two skittering bob-ombs getting uncomfortably close to a candle stand. Knowing there would only be trouble if either one of them had a lit flame drop on them, Mario and Peach both grabbed the stand and danced in a different direction far from the two.

"It's so unfortunate that she does that. This isn’t the first time Luigi’s been left without a date," Peach said as they both twirled around the other dancers, careful not to bump anyone with the candles.

"He'll do fine on his own. Look at him over there. That mare can't keep her hooves off him," Mario answered as he and Peach placed the candle stand in a much more sensible spot near the door.

"Well, they certainly do look happy. I only wish that Lulu and Tia had somebody like you or your brother for themselves," Peach said.

"I'm sure they do something to have fun. Who knows? Maybe this party's their way of unwinding. And whatever happens here, if everything goes well, or the it gets crashed by some guy they didn’t invite, I bet they're just glad there's a change in their schedule,” Mario answered, as he started twirling himself and Peach across the floor.

Over in the distant corner, Luigi and Fluttershy danced away as the pegasus asked question after question about the adventures in the Waffle Kingdom. Some of the details, she found slightly scarier than how they were described in the book. Especially when she heard how Luigi dressed in a bridal gown to lure out and defeat Hizza.

During their conversation, a tiny pair of hooves was at work create a more enchanting setting.

First, without either of them noticing, nearby candles were strategically snuffed out to create better lighting. Once the candles were out, the busy filly had to hid under a nearby table when the two dancers started waltzing closer to her.

When she peeked out from her hiding spot, Apple Bloom saw Fluttershy and Luigi dancing away from her direction. Now that she was safe from being seen, the filly started looking around to see what else she could do to create a more romantic mood.

The colors of the tapestries didn't quite give off a romantic feel. The blue and gold was more regal, if anything else. Unless Apple Bloom wanted them to feel noble and heroic, she was going to have to do something about those tapestries.

Stealthily crawling out from under the table, the filly pressed herself against the wall. The gold-colored moldings around the base helped her to blend in almost seamlessly. Her entire being was nearly invisible, save for her red mane and tail, and her big, pink bow.

Neither Luigi nor Fluttershy noticed, as they simply continued their conversation.

“--So next, Torque says he needs a stabilizer for the fifty-thousand megaton rocket launcher he’s going to put on the kart. Otherwise, I’m going to fly backwards every time I shoot the darn thing!” Luigi said.

Apple Bloom stopped briefly to hear some of the details. However, she knew she couldn't linger. The filly crept along, and flipped the first tapestry around to find it to be a warmer red and purple color. That would do nicely for a romantic atmosphere.

The filly continued to flip the tapestries around until she filled the area with the more romantic color, but it still wasn't enough.

Looking around, she saw flowers, but they were practically hidden on the high shelf they were on. That would have to be rectified.

Apple Bloom slowly scuttled along the wall to the area just beneath the shelf. Try as she did to jump up, the flowers remained far out of her reach.

She knew she couldn't give up. The flowers would be the finishing touch that would surely complete the setting. The filly looked around for a way to get up there, but found nothing in the ballroom. Fortunately, she found the answer outside.

The trees beyond a window were swaying in the breeze. A breeze that surely looked strong enough to suit the needs of a filly on a mission.

Quickly, Apple Bloom scurried against the wall, and opened the window when she reached it. Indeed, the breeze was strong. So much so that it blew her across the room, sending her drifting on the wind until she slapped flat against the wall. Fortunately for her, she ended up above the shelf she needed to be on.

Once Apple Bloom landed, the wind that blew slowed to a waft that created a gentle movement in all the props she had set up so far. Everything was going better than she had expected.

Slowly, she nudged the flowers to the edge where they could be seen. In fact, she nudged them too far, and sent the whole vase tumbling over the edge of the shelf.

Both Fluttershy and Luigi were soaked through by the sudden deluge upon them, spritzed lightly by the flowers that came with it.

"Oh my goodness! Are you alright?" Fluttershy asked.

The yellow pegasus tried to dry Luigi off with her dress, only to find it just as soaked as the rest of herself.

"Don't worry. I've worn these overalls to go swimming before. But your dress! It's ruined!" Luigi said.

Fluttershy looked to her dress, and saw that it was now becoming warped, faded and blotched.

"Oh no! I spent so long picking this out!" Fluttershy said as tears filled her eyes.

"Whoah! Whoah! Whoah! Take it easy! I'll reimburse you!" Luigi offered.

"It's not that. I picked it for you! I wanted to look my best when I met you today!" Fluttershy turned bright red when she realized how what she said sounded.

"That's uh...That's kind of nice to hear actually," Luigi said, not sure how to let Fluttershy down. "But, you know--"

"No! No! I didn't mean it like that! I mean--I already know about you and Princess Daisy,” Fluttershy explained.

From her perch on the shelf, Apple Bloom's ears pricked up when she heard the mention of another woman.

"Oh," was all Luigi said. He was relieved to hear that her intentions were pure, but he still had a question to ask, "So, what did you want the dress for?"

"I, uh...um..." Now Fluttershy was at a loss for words.

Try as she did, she couldn't think of a comfortable way to tell Luigi that when she heard the news about him arriving, she felt ecstatic about being able to meet him. How ever since she played Luigi's Mansion, she had seen much of herself in the plumber, and felt as if despite their common timid (some might say cowardly) disposition, they were both capable of so much. How even if it meant doing something like saving the ponies loved from the spirit world, she felt like she could do it in spite of herself. And all because of the courage Luigi displayed in his adventures.

"Um..." Still, no words came to the pegasus. "What happened...after you got that rocket launcher for Torque?"

Luigi was a tad confused that Fluttershy would get off track like that, but he obliged her anyway.

While the two continued their talk, Apple Bloom groaned when she realized that the effort for a matchmaker cutie mark was in vain. And she groaned again when she saw she was now trapped up on the high shelf.

On the central landing of the t-shaped stairway, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna joyfully watched over the partygoers. This year was especially joyous for them, for how well their friend from the Mushroom Kingdom was received by the Equestrians.

No doubt about it, they were going to have bring Peach and the Mario Brothers to the next Grand Galloping Gala. With all the happy guests, and the merriment that always filled their hearts, and was subsequently passed on to others they met, it was difficult to imagine any future day that could seem dark.

But, that day would come sooner than they thought, when Luna happened to glance upward.

"Tia, what is that?" the lunar princess asked.

"Don't tell me you're unhappy with the shape you clipped the chandelier," Celestia said when she saw her sister was pointing toward the ceiling.

"Not that. Through the skylight,” Luna clarified.

Now looking in the correct spot, Celestia could see something in the distance. When she squinted, she could see that it was another airship. One with a shape that was clearly from the Mushroom Kingdom. But, why was it coming to the castle? And why was it moving so fast?

From the airship, both sisters saw something like a tiny, golden speck fly off of it, as if one of the passengers aboard had suddenly taken flight. And it was speeding toward them faster than the airship could move. It flew so fast, there was no time to make out the exact form of the intruder when he suddenly crashed through the skylight and into the ballroom.

Screams, gasps and yelps ensued from the sudden crash.

Guests all cleared away from where the intruder landed.

Mario stood protectively before Peach, ready to protect her from what was sure to be an attempted kidnapping.

"Aw, jeez! I knew something like this would happen," Mario said.

The panicking gradually quieted, and the intruder stood still. All but his eyes, which slowly panned across the room, as though he were observing all that was around him.

For all appearances, the one who had crashed through the ceiling was some kind of dragon. Though he was unlike any dragon any of the guests had ever seen. He was no taller than an alicorn, and his body was shaped even shaped like one's, save for his clawed feet and reptilian tail. To any observer, it was as if he was some kind of draconian parody of an alicorn, or a fearsome mix of the two.

"Get a good look, ponies, toads and assorted Mushroomers! The new king of Equestria has arrived," the intruder said as he spread his wings imposingly, catching and reflecting any light there was to add a shine to his golden body.

The ire and the will of the Royal Sisters to protect their little ponies spiked. Upon hearing the golden dragon’s announcement, the lunar and solar princesses both flew from the landing on the stairs to face the intruder.

"Who are you to be so presumptuous that you would disturb the peace and announce yourself king!?" Celestia angrily spat.

The intruder turned to face the diarchs.

Both sisters noticed how the stranger looked at them. First, he looked surprised, as if he knew he had made a mistake by trespassing in the castle. In the next moment, he smirked warmly at them both.

"Celestia! Luna! How long has it been? You two have really grown up since the last time I saw you," the stranger said..

"Do not speak as if you know us!" Luna said, growing angrier at his conceit.

The moment she finished speaking, Luna noticed the dragon’s face change again. As if he were somehow let down by her response, rather than frightened, taken aback, or anything she would have expected.

"Ah, well. I didn't expect you to remember me, since you were only about this big the last time we saw each other," the stranger answered as he placed his claw just below his chest.

"How or why you know us is of no importance! You are intruding on royal property! Leave now, or face banishment from the kingdom!" Celestia growled.

She and her sister became even more irritated when they heard the stranger chuckling at them.

"Heh heh heh. If only it was ever that easy. Just think what a breeze life'd be if all your problems could be solved by asking anyone that gets in your face to leave. Sad truth is that life's a real pain, and nothing ever goes the way we want it to. So, instead of doing my first idea, and asking you little fillies to let me in that throne room, I'm going to have to do this."

When the stranger finished speaking, he spread his wings wider and sent a towering column of golden light through the ceiling.

As if by some signal, all Tartarus broke loose when the skylights and windows all shattered at once when a platoon of intruders broke into the ballroom.

One look, and Mario, Luigi and Peach all recognized them as members of the Koopa Troop. And if the Koopa Troop was there, they knew Bowser was sure to be involved.

The Royal Sisters both flared their own horns, summoning the royal guards into the room.

Wasting no time, Mario drew his hammer and rushed into the fray while the room flooded with armed ponies.

Across the room, Luigi had to psyche himself up as the battle unfolded. Once adequately prepared, he drew his weapon from his belt, and started forward.

“Wait! Where are you going?” Fluttershy said.

“I-I got some work to do! Get somewhere safe!” Luigi answered, before he ran into battle.

Fluttershy didn’t know what to do. With Luigi gone and with her friends at the other side of the room, there was no way for her to be protected. All she could do now was cower in the corner, and hope none of the intruders came for her.

"Fluttershy! Up here," a voice called.

Looking up, Fluttershy saw Apple Bloom sitting on a high shelf. How the filly got there, she didn't bother to wonder. Quickly flapping her wings, the timid pegasus flew up to the shelf, safe out of harm’s way.

In the thick of the battle, Applejack bucked away a paratroopa that had Peach cornered. Once it was taken care of, the princess and the farmpony rushed to rejoin Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Rarity nearby.

There would be no way the Bearers would sit this out. Their kingdom was under attack, and they had a responsibility to do something about it.

Twilight magically flared her horn, and turned to face the battle.

"Alright, girls! Spread out and try to push them back! Princess Peach, keep Spike safe for me!" Twilight said.

"What!? But, I--" Spike protested.

"And try to help more guests on your way!" Twilight interrupted.

"Yes! I'll try to bring whoever I can!" Peach answered, as she took Spike’s claw in her hand.

Twilight, Applejack, Dash, Pinkie and Rarity all rushed into battle, ready to take on the forces of the Koopa Troop.

After the five mares left, Peach was ready to guide Spike and any others she encountered to safety.

"Stay close to me, Spike!" Peach said, firmly holding the dragon's hand as they rushed to the exit.

Evacuating was easier said than done. For anypony who couldn't fly or teleport, the exit was blocked by stampeding guests and charging members of the Koopa Troop.

Over and under the princess and the dragon dodged the battle, as they made their way to the exit.

When they reached the front door, they found it was blocked by a pair of golden thwomps, which Applejack was trying to furiously buck through.

Despite the challenges that awaited him, Spike knew that no good would come from simply waiting at the door.

Peach felt the dragon’s claw wrench free of her hand. When she turned to stop him, she quickly lost sight of him, like a single card shuffled into a deck. Keeping to the responsibility Twilight had trusted her with, the Mushroom Princess ran back into the thick of battle to retrieve Spike.

Mario entered battle, ready to take on whatever forces the Koopa Troop sent his way.

He whacked away two goombas that were in his way, when he was suddenly attacked from behind.

When the plumber turned to face his attacker, he found a koopa with a golden shell had struck him from behind.

The koopa whirled in his shell, before taking his place across from Mario.

This was it. The first one-on-one battle at the beginning of the adventure. Mario knew the drill by now. He had been struck with a first strike, and had to suffer extra damage for it. Now, it was his turn to attack.

The plumber mentally went over the options for his next action.

The metallic look of the shell made Mario think his foe had a defensive advantage. Such a thing would usually call for a blow from his hammer. Then again, jumping was usually the most effective tactic against a koopa. However, he felt like the impact of the koopa's attack had done quite some damage to him, and he may need an item to heal himself. But, he debated whether or not he should heal himself just then, since he only had a few mushrooms, or after he toppled the koopa with a jump. That usually worked, but then again, if he--

"Aw, to heck with all this waitin' around!" the koopa shouted. He receded into his own shell and spun around for an attack. "Here I come, fat boy!"

Mario yelped when he saw the golden shell come whirling toward him.

"Wait a second! This isn't right," he thought, after he stopped spinning from the attack's impact. He didn't have time to think anymore, when the koopa came spinning back to knock him off his feet from behind.

"WAAAAAAAAH," Mario yelled as he went spinning through the air, before landing on his face.

In no time at all, the koopa came spinning back.

Mario barely managed to jump over his assailant.

As the koopa passed beneath him, Mario could see that this gold-shelled koopa was moving much faster and turning much sharper than any other koopa he fought. If he had to guess, it had something to do with its new shell.

Gripping his hammer, Mario waited for his opponent to come back to him.

When the koopa was close enough, he let loose a swing that sent sent his opponent sailing across the room.

After crashing through a number of guests and allies alike, the koopa came to a halt when he was stopped by one of his sturdier cohorts. A chargin' chuck in gold pads and a helmet.

"You alright, little fella?" the chuck asked he flipped the koopa to his feet.

"Yeah. This new equipment works great. Except for being a bit dizzy, I hardly felt that last hit," the koopa answered.

"Sounds like yer rarin' to go, bud! Come on! Let's flatten this pudgy plumber," the chuck said as he readied a position for a devastating tackle.

In response, the koopa started spinning wildly in his shell toward Mario.

Mario first jumped over the koopa shell, then laid flat to avoid the charging of the chuck.

Both opponents passed harmlessly, and Mario twisted himself upright, swinging his hammer at the chargin’ chuck.

The chuck shrugged off each blow under its padding. Even for a chargin’ chuck, Mario could see this opponent was resilient.

The koopa came spinning back, and Mario jumped over his attack.

He landed, and had to deflect the chargin’ chuck’s punches with his hammer.

The power of each punch nearly made Mario crumple under them. But, he had to fight back. Not only for Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom, but for Equestria.

Mario ducked under the chuck’s right hook.

The koopa came spinning back.

Mario twisted his body and swung his hammer, knocking the koopa away once more.

The chargin’ chuck sucker-punched Mario from behind, and punted Mario with a kick that would shatter a goal post.

Mario flew through the air, and crashed into a column. After a moment of hanging plastered on the wall, he drifted to the ground.

The chuck came charging back.

Mario jumped out of his way.

The pillar the chuck hit was torn out of the ground.

The koopa came back.

Mario jumped to avoid it.

The koopa jumped, and crashed into Mario in midair.

Mario dropped from the air. From the ground, he saw the chargin’ chuck swinging the column it broke down on him.

The plumber rolled his body out of the way, and got to his feet.

The chuck slowly wound up for another swing.

Taking advantage of the slow wind up, Mario rushed in and swung his hammer over and over.

The chuck swung, and Mario ducked out of the way.

In the moments after the chuck attacked, Mario saw his opponent’s golden padding was minimally damaged.

He attacked the chuck with his hammer again, and dodged another slow swing.

There was still barely any damage done. The sinking feeling that he would lose gripped the plumber.

"You gotta work on your swing, porky! Like this!" the chuck said as he wound up the pillar he held for a home run hit.

Mario braced for the devastating blow, hoping to minimize the damage to himself if he couldn’t dodge.

Help came when the pillar was enveloped in a pink aura and quickly folded into a five-pointed star.

When the koopa came spinning back, he was knocked away by a rainbow-colored streak.

With the chuck disarmed, Mario swept his hammer at his opponent’s legs.

The chuck landed on his back, and Mario swung his hammer again, sending the chargin’ chuck spinning away.

Now that he was not accosted, Mario turned to face his savior: Twilight Sparkle.

"Are you alright, Mario?" Twilight asked.

"I think so. But, these guys--" Mario said, wondering how they had changed so.

Dash came back and hovered next to Mario.

"Are they usually this tough?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"No. Usually a troopa takes a few hits, and that's that! These guys are something else entirely!" Mario answered.

"How are they different?" Twilight asked.

"Except for their new gold gear, nothing's changed,” the plumber said.

Clarity struck when Mario finally said that out loud. Something had to be done about their new golden armor.

Thinking of how would have to wait. The chargin’ chuck Mario knocked away had come back. He picked up the column Twilight had folded into a star, and threw it with all his might at the librarian and plumber.

Mario and Twilight ducked, and the folded column tore deep into the cardboard wall.

First move, Twilight tried to magically remove the chuck’s golden armor.

For a moment, the chargin’ chuck’s armor glowed pink, but the aura was quickly dispersed.

Twilight was shocked. Whatever their armor was, it was more than simply gold foil.

The chargin’ chuck rushed toward her.

The gentle approach hadn’t worked, so Twilight decided a more forceful one was needed.

Concentrating her magic, she fired three bolts of magic at the chuck’s chest.

Without stopping, the chuck swatted away two bolts. The third hit home, but didn’t slow the chuck’s charge one bit.

Mario jumped on the chuck’s head. When he rebounded, he turned midair and swung his hammer at the chuck.

The koopa came spinning back. He hopped and flipped through the air as Dash swooped and looped for her attacks.

Dash stomped, kicked and dove at her opponent. As fast as she was, the koopa was able to keep up with her.

She kicked the koopa way to give herself some space from her opponent.

In less than a second, the koopa came spinning back.

Dash looped upward to avoid being hit. Midair, she saw Mario and Twilight double-teaming the larger chargin’ chuck.

The koopa came back for another attack.

Dash caught her opponent’s shell in her hooves, tossed him into the air, and bucked him toward the chargin’ chuck.

Like standing timber, the chuck fell over backwards, squashing his ally beneath him.

The chuck reached under his back, and pulled the koopa out from beneath himself..

Mario and Dash jumped into the air, ready to stomp their opponents. Their feet landed on the ground, when their targets rolled to either side.

On one side, the chargin’ chuck readied to tackle. On the other side, the koopa spun in his shell.

Both opponents charged, ready to crush Mario and Dash between them.

Twilight cast a teleportation spell, and surrounded her friends in her aura.

Mario and Dash were smashed together by their opponents, just as Twilight teleported them to safety.

The chuck and the koopa impacted one another at full speed, and fell over dazed.

When Dash and Mario reappeared, they too were knocked dizzy from the attack they sustained.

“Oh no! Sorry! I was trying to help!” Twilight quickly apologized.

“Help quicker next time!” Dash groaned, as she and Mario stood up.

"I'm just not familiar with species like this! Just give me some time to calculate their movement speeds, and I can do better next time!" Twilight said.

There would be no time for that. The chuck and koopa were lucid again, and resumed their charge.

The chuck and koopa were almost upon their opponents, when a purple projectile flew in like a rocket and headbonked the koopa. It bounced off and bonked the chuck next.

Under the force of the hit, the chargin’ chuck compressed slightly, and was knocked away.

The projectile landed on the ground, and Mario, Dash, and especially Twilight were surprised to see what it was.

“Spike!” Twilight exclaimed. “What are you still doing here? I told you to go!”

“Not when I can still help, Twilight!” Spike said.

“I don’t need your help! Now, leave!”

“Like Tartarus you don’t! I know what you think of me! That little Spike can’t do anything without big sister Twilight around! You of all ponies need help to fight these guys!”

“I of all ponies!?” Twilight fumed.

“Yeah! I saw what happened just now! All that time you spent thinking about when to cast your teleportation spell! Somepony’s game is going to end, because of you!” Spike shouted.

“Spike, get out! Now!” Twilight growled, as she flared her horn to teleport Spike away.

Spike reached up and tightly gripped Twilight’s horn, stopping the spell.

“Even if I was going to listen to you, I couldn’t! Not with the doors blocked by those giant gold bricks!” the dragon said, pointing to the door.

To her regret, Twilight saw Spike was right. Even if she could teleport ponies and objects with her magic, there was no way that she would be able to get them all at once. And teleporting them one by one would take too long.

Twilight could see Applejack was still bucking the golden thwomps, but it didn’t do any good. No more effective were the unicorn guards firing their magic at them.

As much as she hated to admit it, Spike’s thick, jagged scales seemed to be the most effective thing against this golden armor so far. Between herself, Mario and Dash, only Spike seemed to make them stagger.

Once again, the chuck and the koopa came back for another attack.

“Launch me at that chargin’ chuck!” Spike said, as he lowered his head.

Mario’s mind clicked, and he swung his hammer at Spike’s back, sending the baby dragon flying headfirst into the chuck.

“Mario!” Twilight said.

“He’s got the only idea!” Mario rebutted.

“I was working on one!”

While Twilight was working on her idea, Dash went into action. She swooped around and caught Spike.

"Mario! Catch," Dash yelled, as she tossed Spike back.

Mario swung his hammer at the flying dragon, and Spike sent toward the koopa.

The koopa was hit hard, and went spinning away once again.

Dash swooped and caught Spike again. Same as before, she threw him toward Mario.

Mario batted Spike at the chargin’ chuck, whose helmet was spun backwards by the impact.

Spike bounced back to Mario, who batted the dragon into the koopa once more.

The koopa retreated into his shell to avoid the attack.

Spike crumpled himself up, so that he fit right inside the front opening of the shell.

"Hey! Get out, you little punk," the koopa yelled.

The golden shell jumped and flipped wildly about, as the sounds of a struggle could be heard within.

As Spike and the koopa struggled within the shell, the chargin’ chuck came back blindly swinging his fists.

Mario ducked under a swing, and struck the back of the chuck’s knees.

Dash swooped in and clipped the chuck’s shoulder, making the large opponent spin so hard that he was now facing the right way inside his helmet.

Inside the golden koopa shell, green flames burst from every opening. The koopa was sent flying out the back end, and Spike out the front. Right toward the chargin’ chuck’s face.

The dragon impacted so hard, he sent the chuck flying backwards into a wall. The cardboard wall tore under the force, and knocked the chuck unconscious.

Spike bounced back to the empty koopa shell, but was caught by Dash before he knocked it away.

“That was awesome! This is exactly how I pictured fighting with Mario" Dash yelled as she tossed Spike in the air and flew a victory loop.

Mario caught Spike before he landed, and held the dragon.

“Glad he could help,” Spike deadpanned.

For Twilight, Spike had done his part, and now it was time for him to go.

Before she could do anything, a boomerang bro tossed his new golden boomerangs at them all.

Dash and Twilight both escaped harm, and continued fighting the new attacker.

With Spike in his hands,Mario jumped aside and unintentionally landed on top of the empty koopa shell.

Spike shouted as Mario weaved his way between all of the guests on his shell. As they plowed through the crowd, Mario swung his hammer at any member of the Koopa Troop he could.

After entering battle, Luigi thought he may have been in over his head. Within the first few seconds of combat, the formerly familiar opponents were quickly overwhelming the plumber.

Typically, two goombas and a shy guy would be nothing to a fighter of his caliber. But, two goombas and a shy guy with golden gear were proving more than he could handle.

One after another, the goombas tried to headbonk him in rapid succession, while the shy guy loosed a series of acrobatic kicks.

Luigi was only just able to block them all. When he countered, his blows bounced off their respective golden mask and helmets.

Now, it was his opponent’s turn.

The goomba headbonked him.

The spiked goomba headbonked him.

Finally, the shy guy jumped high and kicked Luigi in the chin.

The shy guy landed in front of Luigi, while his goomba allies dashed to the plumber’s sides.

Luigi blocked the goomba to his right.

The spiked Goomba attacked Luigi in the back.

The shy guy attacked with a flying kick.

Luigi dodged by falling on his back.

The spiked goomba took the opportunity to piledrive Luigi’s stomach

The plumber was left only a moment to groan over is beating, before his three opponents lifted him up.

“Ready? All together guys!” the goomba said.

“Why’s he so heavy!?’ the shy guy strained.

“Seriously! How’s a guy this fat jump so high?” the goomba replied.

“Quit whining, and throw him before I crumple!” the spike goomba said.

The three diminutive attackers all picked Luigi up and threw him across the floor.

The plumber barely had time to shout as he landed on the buffet table. The first thing he did was land face first on a platter of fruit.

"Get a load of this! Get a spit and a bonfire, and we can roast this pig," the goomba said, indicating the apple stuck in Luigi's mouth.

As his opponent laughed, Luigi took the apple from his mouth and hurled it at the guffawing goomba. The apple hit the goomba directly in the eye, making him recoil and giving him a black eye.

“Oh, you are gonna get it now!” the goomba growled.

The goomba with the shiner hopped on top of the shy guy’s head, and the spiked goomba jumped on the goomba’s head.

The stack of enemies attacked with a series of coordinated strikes. Too quick for Luigi to block.

With every blow, Luigi was pushed back. He lost his balance and slipped when he stepped on a plate of shroom steak.

As he laid on his back, the plumber saw a slice of strawberry shortcake fly over him and strike the shy guy in the face.

"And have some key lime on the side!" a voice shouted.

Luigi rolled off the table, and watched as Pinkie Pie rushed in, throwing whatever she could pick up from the buffet at the three opponents.

Behind her, Rarity was magically tossing plates of hors d’oeuvres at the goombas and shy guy.

In the end, all the mares did was momentarily distract them all.

The goomba charged at Pinkie, blocking the projectile pastries with his golden helmet.

The way Pinkie screamed told Luigi she was no fighter. The plumber jumped on the table to assist her.

When he dashed to intercept the goomba, he tripped on a plate of bruschetta.

The goomba jumped to headbonk Pinkie, but instead of hitting her, he hit the falling plumber.

Luigi was flipped backwards, while the goomba bounced back to his feet. Upon landing the goomba was bombarded with magically thrown tiny souffles.

“Thanks, Green Mario!” Pinkie said, as she flipped Luigi to his feet.

There was no time for the plumber to correct her, when the three attackers stacked up for another attack.

Thinking quickly, Luigi stomped his foot on a silver-foiled platter with the shroom steak on it. He caught the platter, and used it to deflect the goomba’s next attack.

The spiked goomba attacked next.

Luigi caught the falling shroom steak, and threw the platter itself into the spiked goomba’s face, knocking him back.

The shy guy attacked Luigi next, while his goomba allies attacked Pinkie and Rarity.

Luigi attacked with both his weapon and the shroom steak he caught.

The nimble shy guy around Luigi’s blows, kicking the plumber between every dodged attack.

Luigi dodged backwards, and kicked whatever entree was at his feet at the shy guy.

The shy guy caught each plate and stacked them on his head. When Luigi started slowing down, the shy guy threw the bottom most plate back at the plumber.

Luigi batted plate after plate away, until he was struck by a plate of exquisite hay in his face.

He countered by throwing more plates at the shy guy.

The shy guy continued stacking the projectile plates on his head.

Luigi started throwing so fast that the shy guy was having trouble keeping up. And it became more trouble when the stack kept growing higher.

Their battle moved to the end of the table, over by the dessert cart where Pinkie and Rarity were fighting the goombas.

Rarity glanced over and saw the teetering shy guy. She magically stuffed a plate of cupcakes into the spiked goomba’s mouth to deter his attack, and threw more plates at the shy guy.

The shy guy caught the plates Rarity threw and stacked them on his head to throw at Luigi.

Luigi threw his shroom steak at the shy guy’s face.

The shy guy threw his stack of plates into the air, and caught the shroom steak.

“Ha ha!!” the shy guy victoriously shouted.

The victorious feeling ended when every plate he held came crashing down on him.

“Aw...And I just polished this mask,” he moaned as he wiped off his golden mask.

And it became worse when Luigi kicked a bowl of raspberry sauce in the shy guy’s face.

That was it. The shy guy angrily wiped the sauce from his eyes and glared at Luigi.

“Give me the raspberry, will you?” the shy guy said. “That does it!! You’re salami, fat boy!!”

A shadow overtook the shy guy. When he looked up, he saw a large cake held in a shimmering, blue aura hovering over him. Before he could yelp, the cake came crashing down on him, putting him out of commision.

Pinkie yelped as the spiked goomba came flying toward her. She quickly ate a platter of cupcakes and used the platter to deflect the goomba.

Luigi shouted when he saw the spike goomba go flying toward a plate of cannoli. He dove forward and pulled the cannoli from harm’s way.

The spiked goomba landed on the table as Luigi slid past, landing so his spiked helmet stuck into the table.

The goomba came headbonking toward the plumber.

Luigi ducked under the attack, keeping his cannoli safe. He had to jump over a platter thrown by Pinkie at the goomba.

“Sorry!” Pinkie said.

“Yah-ha!!” Luigi answered, as he ducked beneath several plates thrown by Rarity.

“Oh dear! Terribly sorry!” Rarity said.

Luigi held his cannoli in one hand as he tried to fight the goomba with his weapon in the other.

The spiked goomba dislodged his helmet from the table and attacked Luigi from behind.

Just as the two goombas were about to double team the plumber, Mario and Spike came in on their golden shell.

For his first move, he jumped and knocked the goomba into a wall.

The goomba drifted to the floor, and saw Mario jumping down on him. After the plumber landed and bounced away, Spike followed by jumping from Mario’s grip and headbonking the goomba. Both goomba and dragon crumpled slightly from the blow. Only Spike smoothed out afterward.

The dragon bounced up and was caught by Mario.

"Nice hit, paisan," the plumber said.

"...Aaaall this bonking's making me kinda woozy..." Spike said in a daze.

Through his slightly spinning vision, the dragon saw Rarity battling the spiked goomba. Not about to knock himself dizzier, he grabbed the dessert cart and slammed it into Rarity’s attacker.

The spiked goomba pushed the cart away and dove for Spike.

Mario intercepted with a blow from his hammer, and sent the spiked goomba spinning away. Finally, the spiked assailant was out when Luigi finished him off with a blow to the face.

"Thanks, bro," Mario said, before he noticed Luigi's weapon. "You brought the wrench? What happened to your hammer?"

"I never had a hammer. You own the only one," Luigi answered.

"Oh, yeah," Mario said. He noticed what else Luigi had, "Is that cannoli?"

"You bet it is. Split the plate?" Luigi offered.

"Is Peach gonna get kidnapped in a minute or two," Mario said grimly as he reached for the cannoli, knowing full well the drill he was about to follow.

Before Mario could take the offered pastries, the two goombas dove for them.

The brothers stepped back from each other, allowing the goombas to pass between them.

This was becoming a problem. Never before were goombas so strong or resilient.

Luigi tossed the plate of cannoli to Mario as he jumped over the goomba’s headbonk.

Mario passed the plate to Luigi to swing his hammer at the spiked goomba.

Luigi nearly dropped the plate when he ducked under an attack.

He was caught by Pinkie, who steadied the plate and countered with a pie to the goomba’s face.

Luigi had to toss the plate in the air when the goomba came flying back.

Mario jumped and caught the plate, before striking back at the spiked goomba.

Rarity magically grabbed two silver-foiled platters, and harried the spiked goomba with them.

Both brothers reached the top of their game while keeping their cannoli safe. And with the help of their Equestrian friends, the scuffle was going more smoothly than expected.

Spike started bouncing between the two goombas. Every three or so hits, he bounced back to the Mario Bros., who knocked him back with their weapons to keep his momentum going.

Finally, Spike bounced upward off of the goomba. Mario and Luigi followed suit, and jumped high over the dessert carts Pinkie and Rarity were pushing.

The mares smashed the two goombas between the carts, surely taking them out of the fight at last.

"Did you see that?! I just helped Mario win a fight! MARIO!!!," Pinkie shouted.

Luigi and Spike grumbled when they were not credited for the help.

"You guys are great! Where were any of you when I was looking for the Royal Stickers," Mario asked.

Luigi looked double glum, as he recalled not being involved in that either. But, his sulking ended abruptly when the shy guy from before came bursting out of the cake, armed with a pair of large serving forks.

He charged recklessly, but this time his opponents were ready for him.

Luigi slammed his wrench atop the shy guy’s head. Mario slammed his hammer atop his brother’s wrench. Finally, Spike rocketed down atop Mario’s hammer.

Were his face visible, the shy guy’s eyes would have been seen rolling in his head. Finally, he passed out cold.

Spike hopped to the ground. Mario and Luigi held their weapons to their sides and huffed after their victory. But, there was more work to do.

"Leave the guy. Take the cannoli," Mario said as he, Luigi and Spike left behind their fallen opponent. But, not before the brothers split the plate of cannoli and put them in their item pockets.

After Spike had disappeared, Princess Peach had rushed back into the crowd to rescue the young dragon. She had been given a responsibility to look after him, and dreaded the thought of letting down Twilight. Worst still, she dreaded what would happen to Spike if she didn't find him in time.

"Spike! Spike, where are you!?" Peach shouted.

Things were looking grim. Peach knew that Mario and Luigi would have no trouble handling any member of the Koopa Troop, but the royal guards were getting shredded. In the back of her mind, she felt as if there may be a chance they would fail.

Through the crowd, she thought that she could see the purple form of the dragon, and rushed toward him.

The closer she came, she saw it was something small and purple hiding beneath an overturned serving tray, hiding from the assault of a diving paratroopa. The very same paratroopa that had harassed Peach earlier.

Peach rushed to the aid of the hiding dragon, and started by paying back the paratroopa for the trouble it caused her.

When she was close enough, she drew her parasol from her item pocket and swung hard at the paratroopa’s face.

The flying koopa was knocked away, and Peach was able to lift the fallen tray.

“It’s alright. He’s gone,” the Mushroom Princess said, as she lifted the tray. She was surprised to find not Spike beneath it, but two frightened fillies.

“Is the door open yet?” the quivering Sweetie Belle asked.

While Peach was disappointed to not find Spike, she was at once relieved to have found the younger siblings of her new friends.

“No. Those thwomps are still blocking it. Come with me. There might still be a safe place somewhere,” Peach said as she helped the fillies to their hooves.

She had spoken too soon.

The paratoopa came back for a dive bomb attack that narrowly missed Peach, but clipped her shoulder. He swerved back to resume his attack on the three.

From the shelf where she was perched, Apple Bloom could see the paratroopa attacking her friends. For as scared as she was by the invaders, she couldn't sit idly by while her friends were in danger.

The filly started crawling over the side of the shelf.

“Apple Bloom! No! It’s too dangerous down there!” Fluttershy protested.

Apple Bloom didn’t listen. She dropped from the shelf, and landed hard on the floor with an impact that made her edges quiver. After shaking the pain from her papery body, she charged toward her friends.

Peach protected Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo by huddling them beneath her parasol.

When Apple Bloom was near enough, she jumped on top of Peach’s parasol and leapt to intercept the paratroopa.

Both crashed to the ground, and the paratroopa only saw a pink bow, before he was bucked in the face by a pair of tiny, yellow hooves.

The paratroopa was only pushed backwards slightly, and saw his new attacker was nothing but a small filly. Not about to be defeated by a filly, he took to the air, retracted into his shell and took aim at his young opponent.

Peach tried to step in to protect Apple Bloom, but she was too late.

Apple Bloom was struck by the flying golden shell, and was carried across the room.

Both the filly and her attack slammed into a wall by the musician’s platform. Apple Bloom fell to the floor, and landed on the instruments the fleeing musicians left behind.

With a satisfied huff, the paratroopa turned to fly away.

“Where ya goin’, pigeon?” Apple Bloom called.

The paratroopa turned around and saw the filly get back to her hooves.

“Lookin’ fer more foals to pick on? Ya think yer some kinda hawk, don’t ya? But, yer just a big chicken!” Apple Bloom said.

The paratroopa wouldn’t stand for the insult, and readied to attack once more.

Apple Bloom shielded herself with a timpani drum, which was knocked out of her hooves. She tried to defend herself with a violin.

The paratroopa broke through the instrument and knocked the filly over.

Apple Bloom knew she needed to find a new way to fight. She had seen her brother and sister apple bucking, and had been practicing her bucking technique in case she ever did get her cutie mark for anything apple related. But, her buck was still weak and would do no good against the stronger, more skilled paratroopa.

The filly dodged her opponent’s next attack and used a harp to create a barrier between herself and the paratroopa.

The paratroopa tried to swerve around to attack.

Apple Bloom spun the harp and kept to the opposite side. And she did the same every time the paratroopa made a move.

The paratroopa attempted a diving kick.

Apple Bloom spun the harp and smacked the paratroopa aside.

The paratroopa came flying for another attack.

Apple Bloom spun the harp so that her opponent’s feet caught in the instrument’s strings. With the paratroopa incapacitate, she picked up the broken violin and struck him with it.

The paratroopa shook himself free, and topped the harp on top of Apple Bloom. With the filly pinned he was able to crash down on top of her.

When the paratroopa flew up for another attack, Apple Bloom wriggled out from beneath the harp. A new tactic was needed.

Nearby, there was an upright bass and a piano. Those would have to do.

The filly ran to the bass. It was too heavy for her to use for much else than a shield against the paratroopa’s dive bomb attack.

She shifted her body beneath the instrument, tilting it to block attacks from all directions. Until she hear the bass crack under the last blow.

One look to the grand piano, and Apple Bloom got an idea for a last ditch effort.

The paratroopa dove for another attack.

Apple Bloom bent her knees and tilted the bass to the direction of the piano.

There was a loud crack as the bass broke, but her tactic had worked.

The paratroopa bounced off of the large instrument, and flew into the open top of the piano.

Apple Bloom threw a tambourine at the support that held the lid open. The support was knocked over, and the heavy lid went crashing down on the paratroopa’s head, closing him up inside the piano.

It was an impressive victory to the filly. Never before had Apple Bloom taken on and defeated an opponent like the kind her sister fought. Even though she was little, and her bucking wasn’t up to par, she felt like she could take on anything that came her way then.

“RUFF-RUFF!!” came a loud bark from the direction of the piano.

Apple Bloom looked to the direction of the noise, and saw the piano torn apart by a huge mouth full of giant, sharp, golden fangs.

The filly watched as the paratroopa flew out of the torn piano, and fled the scene. When she looked back to the instrument, she saw what the fangs were attached to.

There, staring her down was a creature with a round, black body, and a long chain that reached far behind it. Apple Bloom looked into its bulging, black eyes and saw how it was staring hungrily at her.

Paint drained from Apple Bloom’s face, making her color pale as she took a trembling step backwards.

“RUFF-RUFF!!” the creature said again, before it lunged for the filly.

Any courage she had left her, and Apple Bloom hastily ran away. The filly ran through the crowds of the guests, royal guards and the Koopa Troop trying to lose her pursuer.

It was no use. She could hear the sound of it bounding behind her. Its paper chain rattled loudly with every move it made. Worst of all was the way it kept barking at her over the sounds of the battle all around. Scarier still was how each bark was louder than the last.

Bob-ombs joined the battle, and combusted with glittering golden explosions all around.

Apple Bloom picked one up and threw it into the open mouth of the chomping monster behind her.

The fanged creature chomped hard on the bob-omb, closing its mouth around it. There was an explosion contained within its mouth, and the creature started coughing loudly. It was stunned just long enough for Applejack to rush in and buck the monster away.

“Apple Bloom!” Applejack said, as she rushed to her sister.

“Apple Bloom!” Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo shouted, as they arrived with Peach.

“Oh, thank goodness! I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you! Are you hurt?” Peach hyperventilated.

“I ain’t hurt. Just a bit…” Apple Bloom said, before trailing off. Even though the filly was only bruised and scraped, she had been terrified of the chomping creature she had just encountered. All the more reason to leave. “Can we get out yet?”

“No. Them blockheads’re still blockin’ the doors. Magic’s no good, an’ I can’t break ‘em with my strongest buckin’!” Applejack said.

“There has to be a way out! We can’t stay in here!” Scootaloo said.

Before anything else was said, something zoomed over their heads. Something that zoomed over the crowd, right toward the Royal Sisters.

For Celestia and Luna, their battle with the golden stranger was hard fought. Whoever he was, he was more skilled than either one of them in physical combat. And any magic they tried simply deflected or absorbed by his golden body.

Though their focus was on fighting the dragon, each Royal Sister tried saving their little ponies by teleporting them from the palace. But, each time they tried, they were interrupted by the swing of the golden dragon’s tail, or a slash of his claws.

The dragon glowed golden, and his mouth seeped with golden embers.

Both sisters fired their magic at him, only for it to deflect off.

The stranger opened his mouth and spewed forth a golden fireball.

Celestia conjured a barrier of sunlit cellophane around herself and her sister. Before now, nothing could ever pass through an alicorn’s barrier. When the stranger’s fireball struck, the barrier melted open and singed into nothingness.

The Royal Sisters both took to the air when another fireball was sent their way.

The golden dragon flew into the air after them.

Celestia tried another magical attack.

The stranger absorbed the attack and struck Celestia’s face with his palm.

Luna tried to swoop in and strike with her hooves.

The stranger spun around and struck Luna with his wings.

The golden dragon was proving more than a challenge for the alicorns. And it became all the worse when the dragon was joined in his battle.

Luna tried to attack again, and was struck from behind by a powerful blast.

The lunar princess fell to the ground, and saw an ancient koopa flying on a broomstick as fast as Rainbow Dash.

Luna had no time to react as the hag swooped low and clubbed her in the face with her magic wand.

"I got this one, your gloriousness!" Kammy Koopa yelled to her new lord.

"That's great, old timer! Keep it up, and these two are out for the count!" the stranger answered.

The alicorns would not stand for such impetuousness. There was too much riding on their battle for them to fail.

Celestia flapped her wings and rocketed toward the golden stranger. She was no fighter, and her magic was useless. Still, she had to fight for the sake of her little ponies.

Luna too fought valiantly against the hag on the broom. She fired magical blasts from her horn at her opponent. Each of her attacks was knocked aside by the hag’s golden wand.

Kammy Koopa zoomed in and blasted Luna backwards with her magic.

Above, Celestia was knocked out of the air and landed hard on the ground.

Luna tripped over her fallen sister.

The hag and the stranger landed on either side of the alicorns.

The Royal Sisters hopped to their hooves and stood at one another’s side, facing their respective opponents.

Luna charged to buck Kammy Koopa.

The hag fired twice at the lunar princess.

Luna dodged both attacks and took to the air to swipe with her wing.

Kammy jumped over Luna’s wing attack and landed on her broom.

Celestia fired her magic at the stranger.

The golden dragon batted her attacks away with his wings. His mouth began to kindle with golden embers again.

Celestia tried another barrier, only for it to be singed away again.

The hag and the stranger both attacked at once. Their attacks knocked the sisters back side to side.

The alicorns glanced over their shoulders at one another. They knew their magic was all but useless against the two. But, perhaps with one surprise attack they could end the fight once and for all.

The hag and the stranger charged.

The Royal Sisters pivoted on their front hooves around their opponents. Their bodies curled around, and they spun to face their respective attackers.

Flaring their magic, they casted the most powerful banishment spell they knew.

Kammy Koopa held her golden wand before herself.

The golden dragon shielded himself with his wings.

The two alicorns focused their magic into a more powerful blast. Their opponents began to falter under the power.

In a burst of light, Celestia and Luna knew that they had succeeded. Their hearts sank when they saw otherwise.

Kammy Koopa floated on her broom, and adjusted her hat. Across from her, the golden dragon glared contemptuously at the Equestrian princesses.

“Try to banish me, will you?” he growled. “Well, this oughta fix your wagon!”

The stranger’s body glowed with a golden light, and embers seeped out of his mouth.

Both sisters had seen him use magic. They knew that while powerful, he was not skilled. For the look of things, he was now vulnerable to attack as he conjured up his spell.

Before either alicorn could take action, they were suddenly immobilized.

Kammy Koopa had cast her magic to conjure a set of golden paper clips, which clasped over the sisters’ hooves. Next, she summoned golden tape to hold their wings to their bodies.

Celestia tried one last desperate attempt to fire her magic at the golden dragon. It was the same as before when the dragon batted it away with his wing.

"You cannot banish us! We have seen your magic, and you do not possess that power!" Luna shouted as she struggled against her restraints.

"Ha ha ha! You got me," the stranger laughed heartily, "I'm not much of a mage, but you don't live for a few thousand years without learning a few tricks. Let me show you what I'm talking about!"

He opened his mouth, and inside, a glimmering, golden fireball formed. In one terrifying second, it spewed from his mouth and engulfed the princesses in a golden bubble of flames.

Light filled the room. Twilight looked to the source, and saw the silhouettes of the alicorn princesses within a ball of fire.

"Princess Celestia!" the librarian shouted as she rushed to her mentor's aid.

Though the fire didn't burn them, or cause them any pain at all, the Royal Sisters could feel something far worse than any pain they ever felt: the very magic in their bodies was being drained from them.

All seemed lost. The villainous intruder was seconds from victory. For the citizens of Equestria, It was always in those catastrophic moments that the best they could hope for happened. And it happened then.

Over the bubble of golden fire, another light shone. One that was glorious and regal as the rising sun. Within the light, six magical trinkets appeared.

Twilight ran to the foot of the stairs where the princesses had battled their opponents. Shortly after arriving, she was joined by her five friends: Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. Looking up, they all recognized what had come to their aid.

The light faded, and six glorious stickers levitated in the air. The Elements of Harmony had arrived.

The six elements magically floated from where they were, and stuck themselves around their respective Bearer’s neck. All but Twilight, whose tiara rested atop her head.

Now, the battle was surely won. With these Elements of Harmony, the six mares knew that the intruders were history.

The golden dragon turned around, and saw the six mares wielding the magical items. A devious smile crawled across his face at the sight.

Even though they were now more powerful than ever, Twilight and her friends felt a twinge of unease ripple through their bodies. Something about the stranger’s smile made them feel as if this was what he was waiting for. As if by calling for their salvation, they had instead beckoned their doom.

Six golden lights shone from the stranger. One one each of his claws, one on his forehead, and one on the tip of his impossibly long tail. From within each light, an object was seen.

What they were could not be seen through the blinding golden light. Afterward, they were swallowed by six shadows that flew from the source of each light. Six shadows of the darkest tissue paper that manifested themselves upright, as if they had switched places with whatever had cast them.

The Bearers of Harmony faltered at the sight. Now, the golden stranger was joined in his battle by more reinforcements. But, they would not back down. Not even Fluttershy shivered, even as the six shadows lunged toward her and the others.

Some tried to defend themselves. Others tried to fight back. But, the moment each of the shadows connected with the bearer they attacked, they enveloped each one.

The screams of the six mares joined with the screams of the frightened guests. It was over in a second, and the six shadows swept off of the mares.

Before them all, they saw the shadows had turned golden in color.

They braided themselves into one being. The one singular shadow rose up and flew through the broken skylight. High in the sky, they untangled from one another and dispersed into six different direction.

"What the hay just happened!?" Rainbow Dash shouted.

"Do I look different!? Did something happen to us!? Am I still Pinkie!?" Pinkie shouted.

"We're all fine! But, what was that he did!?" Applejack asked.

"Fluttershy! Your element!" Rarity gasped as she pointed to the necklace Fluttershy wore.

"Yours too!" Fluttershy said, making Rarity realized that her's had changed as well.

They all looked at each other's element, and where horrified to see that each one had turned to a useless stone, the very same way they were when they first found them in the Castle of the Two Sisters.

High on the landing of the T-shaped staircase, the golden dragon laughed heartily.

"What have you done?" Twilight shouted to the intruder.

"Just a little insurance is all. Never leave the house without it. At least, now I do," the stranger said. "Speaking of, I think it's about time I put you little ladies out to pasture."

Celestia and Luna gasped. They knew the stranger had no power to banish two alicorns, but he was surely masterful enough to banish six little ponies.

They could not escape their restraints. Their magic was draining rapidly. Once again, they would be powerless to stop a threat to their kingdom, and knew to trust the task to their most trusted friends.

Luna watched as her sister tried to channel magic to her horn as best she could.

“Help me with this!” Celestia said.

Luna added her own power to her sister’s spell.

Deep in the castle, on a bookshelf in another room, a simple, spiral-bound notebook began to fade. The weakened magic only made it fade in and out of being.

The Royal Sisters increased their effort, expending what they felt was the last of their magic.

In an instant, the bubble of golden fire disappeared, and a tiny black notebook appeared before the alicorns. With the last drop of magic in them, they had succeeded.

The object would do no good to them as they were. With luck, their friends would unlock its secrets.

Celestia took the book in her teeth, and wound up to throw it.

“Twilight!!” Celestia called, as she threw the book to her student.

Twilight magically caught the notebook. It was small enough to fit into one’s pocket, and the cover was made of simple black construction paper. She barely had time to wonder about its purpose, before she noticed the golden dragon swooping toward her.

The librarian quickly jumped back, and the stranger landed before her.

“Give me that book! Now!” the stranger demanded.

Twilight didn’t know its importance, but it had been entrusted to her by Princess Celestia. She answered by running away from the golden dragon, hoping to lose him in the crowd.

The golden dragon flapped his wings and took to the air. His eyes were locked firmly on Twilight, ready to swoop and attack the young unicorn. Golden embers seeped from his mouth, and he took aim.

Behind her, Twilight could hear the sounds of flames bursting forth and crackling on a solid surface. She could feel not the heat of fire, but the cold of it growing closer behind her.

It would all be over for her in seconds. As long as she held the book, she was in danger. As long as she were incinerated, or whatever would happen when the golden fire touched her, she knew the book would go with her. In a desperate move, she tossed the notebook to her nearest friend.

“Pinkie!!” Twilight called.

Pinkie bounced high, and caught the book in her teeth.

The party pony bounced left and right, as golden fireballs rained around her.

No matter where she went, the golden dragon was relentless.

The stranger swooped low to grab her in his claws.

Her Pinkie sense alerted her to the danger. There was no escape this time. She knew her game was coming to an end. But, she had to keep the notebook safe.

“Rarity!!” Pinkie shouted as she tossed the notebook.

No sooner had she relinquished the item, was she crumpled to the ground by the claws of the golden dragon.

Rarity magically caught the notebook, and watched in horror as the stranger opened his mouth, and engulfed Pinkie in golden flames. When the flames died, there was no trace of Pinkamena Diane Pie. No ashes. No cinders. No curling piece of her singed mane or tail.

The golden dragon shot his gaze to Rarity. She was the next to go.

“Applejack!!” Rarity shouted, as she magically tossed the notebook to the farmpony.

The golden dragon still flew to the fashionista, his mouth smoldering with golden embers.

Rarity magically plucked every jewel from her ensemble, and threw them at the approaching attacker.

Each jewel was overpowered by the golden fireball that spewed forth, and the fashionista was gone in the next instant.

Applejack caught the book, but had no time to grieve for her lost friend. The golden dragon had targeted her next.

The farmpony ran through the crowd. She leapt over tables. She slid between fighters. Nothing was going to stop her from avenging her friends.

As she ran, golden fireballs rained around her. Quite by accident, she bumped the two bob-omb nobles into the path of one projectile, setting their fuses sizzling.

Ahead of her, Applejack saw her sister. She knew now that if she ran any further, Apple Bloom would be in danger from the mad-dragon behind her. In that moment, she saved her sister the only way that she could.

“Fluttershy!!” Applejack yelled, as she threw the book to her timid friend.

“Applejack!” Apple Bloom shouted.

The filly tried to run to her sister, only to freeze when she saw her sister burst into golden fire.


Apple Bloom tried rushing to to her sister’s aid, but was held back by Peach, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. She watched, heartbroken as the flames subsided, and not a trace of Applejack was seen.

Fluttershy had taken to the air, hoping she could escape the pursuit of the golden dragon.

Luigi had just finished a battle with a buzzy beetle, when he saw Fluttershy being pursued. Not about to let his new friend suffer harm, he gave chase.

Fluttershy knew her game would not progress after that encounter. All the others had been defeated, and she knew she was next. For all she was worth, she felt ready to accept her game over.

“Fluttershy!!” called a voice.

Glancing downward, Fluttershy saw Luigi bravely chasing after her and the stranger. She remembered then the brave deeds timid Luigi had accomplished in the Waffle Kingdom and in the haunted mansion. And she saw now what he was braving for her. She knew then that she could never give up.

The timid pegasus flapped her wings faster. She weaved in and out of the columns that bordered the ballroom as they were burned behind her.

Ahead, there was a window that had been broken by the invaders. If she could make it, then she would have a chance to save everypony else. Just like Luigi.

Fluttershy gasped when she felt a sudden searing coldness just barely skim her back. The shock was so great that it sent her plummeting to the ground.

This was it for her game. Now, she was helpless at the claws of the swooping dragon.

"Twilight!!" Fluttershy yelled, as she threw the book to the unicorn

There was a burst of golden flames, and the timid pegasus was gone.

Luigi froze, shocked by the grief that he couldn't save his friend. But, he couldn't mourn as he had to stave off an attack from another opponent.

The stranger looked to Twilight, ready to dispose of her as he had the others.

"You son of a--" came Rainbow Dash's shout as she dive bombed the stranger.

The stranger recovered, and saw Dash swerving around for another attack.

Dash shouted valiantly as she rocketed toward the golden dragon, even as one of his fireballs rocketed toward her.

In a burst of gold, she was gone.

Now, Twilight was alone. There would be no more help from her friends as the golden dragon flew toward her. But, she knew there was somepony else she could rely on.

"MARIO!!!!" Twilight shouted, as she tossed the notebook.

From where they were, Mario and Spike heard the plumber’s name called.

Mario caught the book, and he and Spike watched as the golden dragon swooped upon Twilight.

The whole world tore apart for Spike, as he watched Twilight disappear in a shower of golden flames. His heart stopped in his chest, and his nerves all snapped at once. And his adrenaline spiked when the golden dragon flew toward him and Mario.

Spike fell aside as the plumber spun out of the way.

The stranger flew back, and spewed a golden fireball at Mario.

Mario jumped over the attack and swung his hammer when he landed.

The golden dragon dodged to a landing, and swung his claws at Mario.

The plumber ducked and swung his hammer.

His opponent dodged, and swung his tail.

Mario jumped and kicked at the dragon’s face.

The dragon’s mouth had been seeping with embers, which dispersed when he was kicked.

The stranger swung his claws at the hand Mario held the book in.

Mario recoiled his hand, and held the book next to his head.

The stranger stared Mario down, and glanced to the book.

The plumber realized what he held was important, and defiantly placed it in his item pocket.

Luigi rushed to his brother’s aid, holding his wrench and standing firmly on his shaking knees.

Spike ran to the stranger’s side, ready to pay him back for what he did to Twilight.

Apple Bloom rushed to his other side, planning to avenge Applejack.

The stranger glanced at them all. He bared his claws, spread his wings, and kindled his flames.

The four fighters readied to attack him all at once.

They moved together, when they all at once paused.

The bob-omb nobles from before skittered about between them all, as their fuses sizzled with golden sparks.

"Oh, mulch on a shingle!!" the stranger shouted.

He knew full well the power his magic had. When affecting a bob-omb’s explosion, it was devastating. When directly affecting a bob-omb’s entire being, it would have been a catastrophe. And there were two bob-ombs, whose sizzling fuses disappeared into their little, round bodies.

Peach saw the danger and opened her parasol, covering herself, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

"Mama--" Mario began.


"--MIIIAAAAAAA!!!!!!" Luigi finished.

Almost everyone who had not managed to escape was blown out of the castle. After the first explosion, a chain reaction was set off which made every other bob-omb blow up at once.

In time, the smoke and the dust settled. Those who were left in the castle were battered beyond function, with only a few exceptions.

The stranger was plastered on the wall, superimposed over a painting of Princess Celestia that was hanging above the staircase. He fell off, and landed flat on his face.

His entire body ached. And after using using his banishment spell so in so many successions, he was feeling terribly lightheaded. Even after the first time, he felt his whole body shake.

"Never again...Not ever again..." the stranger groaned.

The stranger looked over the ballroom, and saw what had become of his new palace. Everything was torn, charred and broken. And all around, his soldiers had been plastered, crumpled, torn, shredded, and generally beaten into pulp.

“This reign of terror’s off to a good start…” he muttered. He raised his head and called out. "Hey!...Old timer...Still kickin'?"

"I'm here, my lord...I'm not about to snuff out after you got me this spiffy new broom..." Kammy Koopa said as she flew in, hanging upside-down and swinging from her new broom by only one foot.

"Glad to hear it...But, we can't dilly-dally now...Mario's out there, and he's got that book..." the golden dragon said, as he shakily rose to his feet.

"With all respect, what's so important about that? We already won...Didn't we?" Kammy asked, as she tried to get back on her broom.

The golden dragon shook some debris from his wings.

"Yeah, we won...But we still need that book..." he said.

"Why?" Kammy wondered.

The stranger walked forward.

"Don't know... But--HWUP!!" His answer was cut off when his next step missed the first of the stairs, sending him tumbling down like a piece of litter. "--But, those ponies went to a lot of trouble to keep it away from me...And now, Mario has it...And if Mario has it, that's got to mean trouble for us,” the golden dragon finished.

"Well, that's how it always was for Lord Bowser," Kammy grumbled as she drifted down to the dragon’s side. "So, what do we do about him?"

The golden dragon stood up, and smoothed out his crumpled sides.

"We find him. We get rid of him. And we take that stupid book back. Maybe get rid of it too. I'll play it by ear,” he said.

"You will not succeed..." a weak voice said.

Nearby, barely clinging to consciousness, Celestia and Luna lay in a crumpled heap. Though the solar princess had just enough strength to raise her head.

"I have seen your kind come and pass these many millennia...and you have all been thwarted...Mario will find a way to defeat you...and the history books will look back upon you...and laugh when everypony learns you were defeated by a humble plumber," Celestia said before she rested her head.

The stranger sighed, as he looked over the injured princesses.

"Not this time, kiddo," the stranger said, before he turned to Kammy Koopa,"Get these two back to their room. They’re not going to be a problem in their condition. And bring me an ice pack for my head. I got a lump like a whacka bump."

"You got it, Your Achiness," was all Kammy Koopa said. The hag used her magic to lift the princesses up and carried them away to their room. "So, just because we're going there, where is your room," Kammy asked the sisters.

The stranger flopped on this haunches as he rubbed his aching head. After so many years, he had achieved victory. All he had to do now was make sure it stayed that way. And knowing that his friends were already out in the world, that would be plenty easy.

A cracking noise sounded above.

The stranger looked up, and saw a piece of the cardboard ceiling come crashing down on him.

Whether it was because he was caught unaware, or if he was too weak to move in time, the piece of ceiling landed on his head, and broke in two. The golden dragon’s eyes rolled in his head, and he passed out.

Author's Note:

So, that's that for this chapter rewrite. All and all, this chapter didn't change much. The only major thing that was altered in this one was there was some narration added to give the chapter a little bit more life to it, and to convey a bit more of a papery setting. In addition, some of the narration and dialogue was altered as well.
Additionally, the relationship between the villain and the Royal Sisters a bit more played up here. The reason was that I feel it's better to establish that in the beginning, rather than the next time we see them together.
As I said in the prologue, the action still is written in a way that does not conform with the video game format. However, it was changed just a little bit. In this way, it is now a little bit more streamlined, and doesn't have quite as many of the descriptive bells and whistles.
I know that there is the option to just describe the actions taken without the process of choosing them. But, it's a lot more fun to have the freedom to freely choose what actions the characters take, rather than stick to a rigid system of jump, hammer, item, etc.
One thing that I felt I did right the first time around was establish Apple Bloom's fear of chain chomps. That's still going to be a major point later in the story. (Although that point is going to have some changes to it as well. Won't say what just yet).
Some of you may have noticed that the koopa that fights Mario is much akin to the kamikaze koopas from Super Mario World. That was intentional, but the fact that this koopa can jump while spinning in his shell was my idea. I don't recall if certain koopas can do that already, but I know for a fact that kamikaze koopas can't, unless there's a ramp.
In case some of you may be wondering why the paratroopa that was attacking Apple Bloom didn't he just slip through the strings of the harp instead of getting caught in them, because he's made of paper like everyone else in this story. Simple: he didn't have the Paper Mode ability. And, unfortunately for him, he was not stationed in any surrounding area of Rogueport to find that skill.
That being said, there will be no paper techniques learned in this story. But, if the rewrites permit it, I can work something in.
And in the end, they still keep the cannoli. Because cannoli is one of my favorite pastries, next to eclairs and tiramisu. And the reference to 'The Godfather' remains, because it's one of my favorite movies.
With that, I wish you all to rock on \m/