Plumber Premier (Part 4)
Mario steps through the sewers under Brooklyn, New York. "Come on out, turtles. I know you're-a down here somewhere." He drags his hand against the side of the sewer pipes, making a mental note to himself on where he's been. For over a while now, he has followed his 'pipe sense' through a part of the sewage system he feels shouldn't exist.
"Hm, that feels funny…" A strange tingling feeling vibrates through every fiber in his body. Not much, but just barely noticeable. And this tingling gives split-second relief to his already aching body. "I just hope my body is-a ready…" A splash comes from down the pipe behind him. He turns around, and sees nothing in the gloom. A river of water passively streams to his right. Suddenly, swaths of Shellcreepers break the surface of the water.
"Mama mia! Too many!" cries Mario as he starts running down the sewers. The Shellcreepers swim close behind him. Some manage to climb onto the walkway and pursue him on foot. Mario tries to make quick turns to escape them, but with every other turn he makes, more Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers block his way and he's forced down another path. "Sheesh, this chase feels familiar! Come on, Luigi…" But after a quick glance, he remembers that his brother isn't at his side.
Finally, a dim light appears at the end of his path. "I've-a got to get out of the way! Or I'm-a crab's meat!" As he gets closer to the light, the tingling in his body grows. The pain in his foot begins to numb a bit, and his legs become more responsive. When his eyes narrow toward the light at the end, he begins to see that it leads to a vertical chamber, with a deep bottom below. "Well, now or never, I'll need all the luck and strength I've-a got!" He picks up speed. Now, only the Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers of a variant color can keep up with him. He runs faster and faster.
Mario nears the entrance into the vertical chamber faster than expected. He briefly eyes one of the horizontal pipes crisscrossing the chamber. "And…nowhoooooaaahh!" At that moment, Mario uses all his momentum and leg power to jump upwards toward the pipe he was aiming to grab. But to his surprise, he greatly overshoots it, flying much higher and farther into the air than expected. Screaming and flailing, he crashes into another horizontal pipe. After getting the wind knocked out of him, he half-consciously holds on to it and waits a few moments to regain his senses.
Mario looks back toward the tunnel he leaped from below, and besides a few Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers who fall off the edge, most of them huddle at the entranceway, slightly confused. Mario slowly sits up. "That…wow…I never jumped like that before. I wonder why…" Suddenly a familiar buzzing sound comes from overhead, and Mario sees a large group of Fighter Flies come down upon him. "Geez, not now!" Mario carefully stands up and balances himself rather decently. When he looks back up, he sees the Fighter Flies hopping down from pipe to pipe that crisscrosses through the chamber. As each fly creature lunges at the plumber, Mario spins, dashes, and leaps out of the way of each individual attempt at his well-being.
After the whole swarm passes him, he looks down and prepares for the Fighter Flies to come flying back up. Strangely enough though, the Fighter Flies, no matter how hard they try, struggle to flap their wings hard enough to come back up. Instead, they leap further and further downward. "That's…convenient?" As Mario stands there momentarily pondering his turn of good fortune, he turns to notice the Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers have finally noticed him, and turn back through the pipe they came from. "Oh no, better get moving before they catch up again!"
So Mario leaps from pipe to pipe to another sewer tunnel, and runs his way through the dim. While he can barely see his way through the sewers, and the pipes feel 'out-of-place', he can still use his 'pipe sense' to feel his way through. Soon, he crosses a bridge over a small chamber, lit by bright torches bolted to the wall. The sudden light briefly blinds the plumber, and he accidently runs into a Fighter Fly resting in the middle of his way. The fly leaps with a yelp, and drops all the coins he was lying on.
"You idiot!" screamed the Fighter Fly in a high pitch, "A thousand stings to you if you can't watch where you're going!" He flies in circles, then spots the tripped up plumber. He recomposes his outburst, adjusts his glasses, and makes a wide grin. "Well, well, well! Isn't this a little treat." Mario scoots back as the Fighter Fly inches closer and closer, grinning profusely under his glasses. "The others would most certainly love to meat you! Perhaps I should drag you to their hideout for them to feast upon your chubby innards!"
"…chubby?!" retorts Mario, a bit annoyed in the face of danger.
The Fighter Fly flies a pace back. "But fortunately for you, I'm a forgiving type…perhaps." He flies over the small chamber. "You see, I'm not interested in the tyrant's conquest. I merely want the riches of the lands!"
"What tyrant? And…you talk?!"
The Fighter Fly ignores him. "Those coins you so carelessly punted over the edge are all I got."
Mario looks over the edge of the bridge, and sees a few large, glittering coins. "There not too far down. You still fly a lot better than your kind a minute ago. Why can't you just scoop them up yourself? I'm-a kind of busy…"
The Fighter Fly zips up close to Mario's face. "A thousand furies to you, unless you zip that mustachioed lip of yours! First of all, the physics of this world is abundantly different from the one I came from. So enjoy the handicap while we're under the influence of my world's physics! Second, I may be the best flyer of my species, but I don't know if I'll be able to have the strength to fly back up if I go down to get my coins. Third…" a smug grin reappears on his face, "it'll be more fun to have your success hanging in the balance."
"So, what? You want me to simply get your coins for you? But what's-a in it for me, if I do this favor for you?"
The Fighter Fly started fuming. "You…a thousand kabooms to you…you are the one who made me drop them! You…" he stops to ponder for a bit. Then he gets an idea. "Ah, ok. You want a deal? Fine. If you ain't satisfied with getting my coins and I don't tell a soul, then how about this: you get me my coins in twenty seconds, and I'll tell you how to get to my hideout."
Mario looks stunned. "You…You'd really do that, against your own kind?"
"They ain't my kind if I'm running away." He says quickly. "But you'd better be more concerned about what'll happen to you if you don't get my coins in twenty seconds." He leans forward, grinning. "So…do we have a deal?"
Mario adjusts his cap and clenches his fists. "Deal."
"Good. Your time starts now."
"Wait, what? Can't I get a second look?"
Mario runs off the edge and takes a mid-air glance at the area he has to cover. He lands on the ground, slightly shaken up by the impact.
He quickly eyes the first coin a few meters off to his left, and runs after it.
"Oh..." Just as he's about to nab it, he is awestruck by how it is levitating mere centimeters off the ground, and it rotates in a rhythmic movement. It's also nearly the size of his own hand.
Mario snaps out of his amazement, grabs the coin, and looks around the area again, eyeing the other glinting nine coins.
He quickly runs around the base of the chamber, grabbing two more coins.
He jumps up to a ledge, where two coins are close together.
He jumps up onto a pipeline jutting out of the side, and falls back down a bit lower, so that he can grab two more coins.
Mario has to jump over and under various pipelines, and he spots one more coin hovering over a gap. He jumps toward it…
…and misses! But by quickly turning his body so as to push his legs off a wall, he rebounds back to the coin.
He runs toward one of the last two coins near the top of the chamber, knowing that the other is on the opposite end. He catches up to the coin, hovering just in front of an open pipe.
He looks back, figuring he has no chance to reach to the other side where the last coin is. He also notices that it, too, is hovering just in front of a pipe opening.
"Screw it!" He lunges head-first into the nearer pipe opening
"You must see it's hopeless now," hopped the Fighter Fly with glee, "with just one second left, you…"
Suddenly, Mario appears out of the other pipe opening, and quickly dives toward the coin, clasping it tight in his left hand while holding the other nine under his right arm. "I…got 'em!" he gasps. As he exhaustingly leaps back up to the bridge, the Fighter Fly looks at him in awe, then quickly recomposes himself and gives a big shrug.
"Well, I didn't know how perfect that was going to get, but I bet that exercise extended your life by a few years. A test of skill to say the least."
Mario dropped the stack of coins right in front of him. The Fighter Fly quickly zooms up to keep it contained on the spot. Mario still tries to catch his breath from the workout. "Alright, Fighter Fly…"
"Actually, my name's Flighter Fly" he says as he glares at Mario for dropping the coins so hastily.
Mario rolls his eyes. "Whatever. I did this mini-game for you, so how about you hold your end of the bargain?"
"Yeah…the deal…" Flighter Fly mulls over his coins for a bit. "My brother's going to hate me for this…" he mumbles. "Alright, fine. While I don't have a map, you'll probably follow the general directions I give. And they're simple, so simple! You're going to have to backtrack a bit, and then head in the northeast direction." A huge smile reappears on his face as he flies onto his coin pile. "And a thousand plagues to you if you tell a soul about me!"
"If you're-a misleading me, then I will not hold your secret for very long." And with that, Mario walked back out of the chamber and into the sewer system once more.
"Did you hear that, Lord Bowser?" says a Koopa Troopa next to the Koopa King, looking behind him where Captain Toad passed out. Fortunately, Toad had fallen backwards and just out of sight behind the sharp curve of the valley.
"Must be the sound of success, Private!" laughed the Koopa King.
Toad slowly gains consciousness, and sits up, rubbing his head. "Ooooh…wha?" Toad stands up, leaning against the valley wall with one hand, and using his stick in his other hand for further support. "Man, I had the strangest dream" he mumbled, "And I saw the Koopa King…but that can't be. Nobody's seen the heir to the Koopas since the Mushroom War. Why…" Toad looks around the corner, and he nearly yelps, had he not covered his mouth with his hand.
He sees a huge, dragonish Koopa and a regular, green-shelled Koopa Troopa standing in the middle of an enclosed, circular field, surrounded by the walls of the valley. Many other Koopas and Paratroopas wander about, chatting or carrying materials. Fortunately, all of them either have their backs turned to Toad, or are just plain busy. Most of their attention is placed on a large, open pipe sticking out of the valley wall on the other side of the field.
Toad takes in the unwavering sight of the Koopa King himself: hulking mass, fiery red mane-like hair, sharped horns and claws and shell, spiky collars on his neck and arms, and a snout right above his huge mouth. Even though he is many meters away, his presence is still almost unbearable for Toad to endure. Toad also notices that the Koopa Troopa next to him is twirling a small rod between his fingers in his right hand, occasionally clicking a button on it that caused any sort of small, conceivable weapon to pop out, and then back in again.
Suddenly, some commotion can be heard from the pipe. Then a weird, metal contraption gets pushed out by some Shellcreepers. Then another metal machine, and another. The Shellcreepers push the metal contraptions over to one side of the field, and then walk back into the pipe.
"A nice haul once again" chuckles Bowser. "I wonder what world that came from."
"Another world?" Toad gasps.
"With so many worlds at your fingertips," says Private Koopa, "imagine what great 'toys' we can play with!"
"You got that right!" says Bowser.
"M-m-many worlds?!" trembles Toad.
Bowser turns to Private Koopa. "Well, I'm a busy boss. So many armies to make, and so many kingdoms to nab. And you're gonna be busy, too. You better not forget that under-cover mission I've got for you."
Koopa slightly sweat-drops as he gives off a small laugh. "Of course. I've got tabs on that kingdom you were interested in…investing."
"And those past nuisances?"
"Shellkripper no longer bullies, King Mousta is decimated with the Dry Dry Kingdom, Tanuk the Tanooki has struck his last trick, Mutha Blubba is a mere spirit in the wind, Sensei Hex has much to mull over, Bonetail is kept in check, and your biggest rival Juggernaut Bro…banished."
Bowser roars with pleasure. "Very impressive! Keep that up, and I won't have to keep tabs on you anymore than I already do."
"Thank you, boss" Private Koopa says half-gratefully, half-flatly.
Just then, a Magikoopa comes flying down into the valley, landing next to Bowser. "Your rueliness: your troops believe they found the perfect site for your castle, and they'd like your utmost opinion."
"About time, Kamek! And it better be good. I'd hate to wait a week longer for that. And I have the Mushroom Kingdom to pay a visit to soon." Bowser devilishly grins at the mention of the kingdom, making Toad shake uncontrollably in his hiding spot.
"M-m-mushroom K-kingdom, next?!" Toad squeaks.
"Of course, Lord Bowser" says Kamek, "Any other requests you need done?"
"Yes." Bowser says, "Take Private Koopa to the Jewelry Kingdom, after you drop me off at the site. Oh, and get a hot plate of meat ready. All this surveying works up an appetite."
"One tenderloin meal coming up, your scarfiness." Kamek beckons a couple of Amazing Flyin' Hammer Bros to prepare their flying blocks for Bowser and Private Koopa's transportation.
Bowser turns toward his Koopa Troopas, still busy with the metal contraptions, as he is slowly lifted into the air by the blocks. "And you blokes down there; make sure you get those weapons pushed aside and covered! We're going to have to make room for more tomorrow. Be sure to come back before I do that afternoon!"
Kamek leads the Amazing Flyin' Hammer Bros carrying Bowser and Private Koopa up and out of the valley. The Koopa Troopas groan as they start lugging metal parts around the area. Meanwhile, Toad looks away from the site, and tries to process everything he just heard.
"The princess has got to know! The Koopa King himself was here! He's coming to our kingdom soon! I must report to…" Toad snaps out of his train of thoughts and grows highly alert. "General Toad! I gotta run back, fast! Oh, I hope he's still alright…and not too mad at me."
Mario briskly walks through the sewer line he was directed to follow. Even with the few twists and turns, his 'pipe sense' keeps his inner compass aligned. Finally, both his eyes and gut feeling detect a brightly lit chamber ahead.
"Finally!" he cheers, "I hope there are-a still a few turtles and flies waiting around for me to kick out!"
He rushes into the brick chamber, and it is a sight to behold. Unlike the dank and grimy parts elsewhere in the sewers, this large chamber is surprisingly clean. Water rushes smoothly around the perimeter of the cylindrical room, like a moat. Blue, rubber bricks crisscross along the walls and across the room, giving the impression of floor levels. Torches align between the 'floors' of bricks. In contrast with the human-sized brick sewers Mario was crossing through, two, smaller green pipes lay on their side on opposite ends of the chamber, on level ground.
The biggest feature in the chamber is a blown-out hole in a section of the chamber's walls. While it isn't lit properly, Mario does spot four Shellcreepers who happen to crawl out of it. The turtles quickly notice the plumber, and charge at him.
"Oh good!" Mario grins, "A little demonstration." He jumps over the first three that attack him, but puts his leg in front of the last one, at the last second. The straggling Shellcreeper trips over the plumbers shoe, and falls over on its back. Mario swiftly kicks the shell, and sends it spinning into the streaming water. Unfortunately for the Shellcreeper, the current is too strong for it to paddle to safety. Fortunately for Mario, it gets swept into a drain hole.
The three remaining Shellcreepers are surprised by how sudden their comrade got flushed away, but quickly point their angry beady eyes at their red-clad adversary. "Come on, Shellcreepers," jeers Mario, "let's-a see what you got!" Then they charge at each other.
"Hold it!" shouts a voice high above. "To me."
Mario and the Shellcreepers stop in their place. As the turtle creatures turn back and enter one of the small green pipes, the plumber turns his head up to see who the new guy is. It ends up being a Fighter Fly; a jagged, red one with a white mask.
"You talk?" gasps Mario
"What's the matter, little man?" sneers the red fly, "Never seen a talking fly before?
Mario grows a little red in the face at the word 'little'. "Um, anyway, who are-a you supposed to be dressed up as?"
"I am Frighter Fly. You must be that red guy all my troops have been buzzing about recently. And I must say, you're one to talk. What are you dressed up for anyway? A lumbering convention?"
"I'm a plumber. It's-a my job to clean out pipes and drains filled with scums like you! And my, what an original name, for a leader of turtles, crabs, and flies, I presume?"
"You could say that. I prefer the term 'daring explorer' better. I lead my kind, and other outcast species, to where no other has dared to go."
"More like conqueror! Why the heck would you go up there and trash my city?"
"Trash it? I believe your ammunition from your infantry and tanks, fired by your people are doing way more damage to your city than my soldiers are. Heck, I thought you'd find it grateful that we're cleaning your messes for you." Even when Mario can't see his face, he can still feel his stare through the mask.
"What are-a you up to?" Mario starts to beam with strife. "I didn't come crawling all the way down here just to catch a quick chat with the lord of the flies. I came down here, because it's-a my business; my plumbing business. You came up there and threatened the lives of many good people up there. I care about my friends and…my brother most of all. I must protect him and make sure he lives in a peaceful place he prefers. And you are-a not welcome here if all you cause is-a chaos! So take your buddies and buzz off!"
"A worthy speech indeed." Frighter Fly claps his claws, which Mario just notices are claws. "But we've been promised too nicely by a usurper. He needs things that your world's got." At that moment, the three Shellcreepers crawl out of two small green pipes at the top 'floor' where Frighter Fly is perched. Each of them carries a POW block on their back. "Now, I'd suggest you turn around, as many more of my comrades are coming this way. We will outnumber you; we will outmatch you; and this little 'game' of yours, will be over. So, what will it be, hero?"
Mario tightens his fists. "Let's-a go! I'm-a ready to give you all the old Brooklyn one-two!"
"Then you shall be our first intended casualty. Everyone, attack at will!
And with that, two of the three Shellcreepers drop their POW blocks seconds apart from each other at Mario. Mario jumps into the air to dodge the first one, setting off an earth-shaking thud, while the second one lands just as he plants his feet on the ground. He falls over backwards. But he quickly springs back up and leaps up to the first level of bricks. As they get closer and closer to each other, one of the Shellcreepers manages to get one level away from Mario.
"Ha! I still remember how this works!" Without hesitation, Mario jumps up and punches the blue bricks the Shellcreeper is walking on. The surprised turtle flips over and gets stuck on its back, while Mario keeps moving up to his level. "Hm, my hand doesn't hurt as much as the last time I did this." Shrugging aside the lack of pain, he rushes over and kicks the helpless Shellcreeper into the streaming water below. Mario repeats the same process with the second Shellcreeper, who tries to chuck a POW block at him.
However, the remaining Shellcreeper catches up to Mario on the same floor, and quickly flings the POW block over to him.
"Oh no you don't!" Without thinking, Mario leaps at the incoming block, and punches it. It flattens, and an even more rumbling boom erupts from it. While the plumber himself stays relatively unfazed, the Shellcreeper gets flung up a bit and turned over, Frighter Fly drops his mask, and the opening where the water comes from starts to crack open wider, flooding more water into the chamber. The water level only rises about a couple of feet, but that's enough to cover the entire ground floor in water. Mario kicks over the Shellcreeper and watches as it and the mask float away downstream. Mario looks up toward Frighter Fly, and his jaw drops. Staring down at him is the blood-red face of a rugged fly, with sharp teeth and black, void-like eyes.
"How dare you!" screeches Frighter Fly, "You flooded our major pathway into and out of this world! Now we can't bring the tanks and jets back until we fix this mess." Just then, more Shellcreepers, Sidesteppers, and Fighter Flies spill out of the green pipes above. "Your luck is up now, jump-man! The cavalry has arrived, and you will pay for our delay! Attack, my comrades, for the Koopa King's wishes!" And with that, the Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers charge down, while the Fighter Flies hop their way gradually.
"Mamma-mia!" cries Mario, briefly stunned at the sheer number of enemies. He brushes his worries aside. "I can't give up now. If I run, I'll just disappoint Luigi in how cowardly I am. I have to show him that bravery and sheer will and drive can conquer all!" And he leaps into the fray!
Mario quickly knocks over many of the oncoming enemies. Although unlike Shellcreepers, the Sidesteppers take two hits from underneath to trip them up. And even more annoying than that are the Fighter Flies, who hop like crazy in order to keep away from the plumber's uppercuts. In due time, the huge number of enemies prove too much for Mario to keep at bay, and he is forced to leap over many to dodge their attacks, or occasionally misses a few of each kind he did manage to knock over. These lucky victims soon change color; purple Shellcreepers, blue Sidesteppers, and blue Fighter Flies come back upright and run after Mario with more gusto.
Frighter Fly watches the plumber with seething delight. "Gonna have to quicken things up a bit." He hops over to a blue tank on his level. "Hope the red man likes a cold war!" He takes a hose attached to it, and sprays the bricks he's standing on with nitroglycerin.
Mario feels a slight chill in the room, and looks up. "Hey, fly boy, you and your troops got cold feet yet?"
"You think you're so cool, do you punning-man? Well, say hello to my Freezie friends!"
Drops begin to form out of the icy bricks, and the drops turn into Freezies. These stalagmite-like ice creatures slide along the floor, down toward the plumber. Mario tries to jump his way toward them, and does manage to break apart one of them by punching right below it. However, one Freezie manages to get to Mario's level, and melts into the brick, turning it into ice. Mario slips and falls down to the level below, where a blue Sidestepper gleefully waited for him to fall on his pincer. Mario yelps in pain at the pinch, falling further down.
The Freezies each pick a spot of bricks to stop and melt into. Now over half of the floors get covered with ice. Some of the enemies take the opportunity to vibrate furiously, and change color. The ones that already changed color turn into red Shellcreepers, magenta Sidesteppers, and orange Fighter Flies. Now one of the orange Fighter Flies reaches a half-dazed Mario in one leap, and tackles him, sending him down again. A green Shellcreeper takes its opportunity and bites Mario. The plumber screams in pain as he feels his wounds bleeding under his clothes.
"Give it up, hero!" jeers Frighter Fly, "I see that you endure more than most your kind most likely would, but even you have limits on your life."
Mario tries to get up, but the icy floor he lies on is just too slippery for his bruised body to get a grip on. "I…never give up! I'll still find a way…"
"In that condition? One more major blow…" Right on cue, a few of his troops gather next to the plumber, and with one push, Mario is sent falling off the edge, toward the water below.
"Oh, mama mia!" he says as he flails his arms up above his head.
"…and it's game over for you!"
As the shallow water reaches closer and closer, all Mario can think about is Luigi. "I'm-a so sorry, bro!" he says, shedding a few tears as he accepts his inevitable end…
"No, Marioooooooo!" shouts a familiar voice. Through the main entrance, Luigi comes flailing in, holding two POW blocks in his hands and two hammers in his belt loops. He quickly throws one of the blocks onto the ground, toppling many of the enemies onto their backs. Luigi leaps sideways and catches his brother just before he hits the watery ground.
"…Luigi?" mutters a dazed Mario.
"I got you bro!" says Luigi, tears welling up in his eyes.
"You came? Oh, Weegee, you came! How?"
"I can never allow myself to lose you that easily! It was just a matter of guts, frisking the enemy, and following my 'pipe sense' to find you in the belly of the beast!"
Luigi helps Mario up to his feet. "But, you were right. I never should have rushed in like that. This problem became much bigger than I ever thought it could."
"And it's way worse! Those critters are taking our weapons and using them for some bigger scheme."
"I know. I never saw this coming. And you were right about me; I just…I just got so wrapped up in my craving for an adventure, that I used the excuse that I was-a doing it to save you…when I should have been saving you by your side." Mario splashes the water in a fit of shame.
"You must think I'm-a weak brother. There's-a no way we can beat them…"
"Hey, bro! Listen. Never did a day go by where I thought you were nothing but weak. No. You are strong: strong-willed, strong-fitted, and strong-hearted. You were always there to carry my end of the burden when I wasn't strong enough, or brave enough, to solve our problems. And I love you for that. I have, and still will, follow you to the ends of the world." Luigi pulls out one of his hammers, and passes it to Mario. "So now that we're near the end, how about you show me that heroic leader I know my brother is?"
Mario slowly takes the hammer into his hand, checking the grip. He gives the hammer a good test swing. A smile slowly creeps under his mustache. He sheds a tear. "I…oh Luigi!" He reaches forward and gives his brother a huge hug.
The two step back. "Now, come on, bro. We're-a the Mario Brothers!"
"Oh yeah!" he chants.
"And we can do anythi…."
"Another color-happy lumber man?!" screams Frighter Fly up on the top level. The brothers look up to see all the enemies back on their feet and glaring down at them. "That's it! No more mister nice fly! Get them out! Get them both! Now!"
"I see he caught your sense of humor" Luigi whispers to his brother.
"Well, there's-a no turning back now. Time to kick off all these pests!" says Mario as he grips his hammer tightly. "Here we go!"
Mario and Lugi storm up to the first level, knocking enemies over from underneath. They take care to knock over certain enemies that were in a position that would block the others from proceeding further down. With a bunch of them trapped, Luigi flips them over as well, while Mario jumps onto their level, knocking them off the bricks in a frenzy. With each careful jump, kick, and hammer-swing, they send the enemies falling into the drink one by one in quick succession. Even the fastest of the bunch prove no match for the brothers' onslaught. Joys of laughter cry out from the plumbers hammering away at their work.
As they get closer and closer to the top, Frighter Fly gets increasingly worried.
"No, no, no! You ain't reaching the final level!" Frighter Fly starts to pick up some POW blocks, and hurls them at the brothers. The brothers merely jump out of the way, and sometimes hit them to their benefit.
Now at the third level from the top, Frighter Fly frantically throws block after block, making it a bit more difficult for the brothers to pass by the remaining red Shellcreeper, magenta Sidestepper, and orange Fighter Fly.
"Man, that leader of theirs looks hideous!" Luigi gasps in disgust.
Mario takes a moment to take in the situation. The Fighter Fly leaps from behind them on the upper level, while the Sidestepper runs in at them from the front on their level, and the Shellcreeper in parallel just above the crab.
As the wheels in Mario's head continue to turn, a smile grows larger and larger. "Hey, bro, how about we try that 'special combo'?"
Luigi stares at him for a moment, then he smiles, too. "Oh, you mean that one? I like your thinking!"
Mario leaps up, just as the Fighter Fly lands directly above him. Mario punches the brick above, sending the Fighter Fly toppling back. Luigi begins to charge forward, with Mario behind him. As Luigi swings his hammer back over his head to hit the Sidestepper, Mario quickly grabs hold of the head of the hammer. Luigi swings forward, sending Mario flying above him onto the level above, and into the Shellcreeper. Mario swings his own hammer at the last second to blindside the Shellcreeper, and the turtle falls all the way into the water. Luigi also makes quick work of the Sidestepper, hammering him off the edge.
"And you had that coming, too!" Luigi shouts below at the falling Sidestepper.
While Luigi goes to combat the Fighter Fly, Mario looks up to Frighter Fly, now a mere level away.
"This is unacceptable!" Frighter Fly bellows. "I ain't flying away from this! I wil not accept defeat!"
"Not so fun when the shoes on the other foot, is it?" says Mario.
The red plumber runs after Frighter Fly, punching the icy bricks above him. Frighter Fly hops and leaps every way he can, while ice drops begin dripping off, stinging Mario when he gets in contact with one on occasion.
"Okay, if I can't punch you over from underneath…" Mario find an opening and leaps to the top level. "…then I guess I'll have to take you head on!"
Frighter Fly grabs hold of one last POW block. "Bring it, reddie!"
The two stare into each other's faces. Luigi finally knocks over the Fighter Fly, and looks up at the showdown between his red-clad brother and the red fly.
"Come on, bro!" says Luigi as he makes his way up.
Frighter Fly hops toward Mario. Mario bolts toward Frighter Fly. They charge closer and closer. Frigher Fly makes another strong leap.
"Ha, knew it!" Mario assures himself, and he leaps forward and swings his hammer where he timed Frighter Fly would land. But Frighter Fly simply beats his wings hard and stays a float, while Mario misses his mark.
"Ha, you missed!" Jeers Frighter Fly, and he chucks his POW block straight down. But Mario spins face-up mid-leap, and swings his hammer upwards. It connects with the POW block.
A huge, concussive blast erupts from the block. Luigi dives down for cover, and Mario stays unaffected. Unfortunately for Frighter Fly, the epicenter of the blast comes right in front of his face.
"Noooooooo!" he screams, as the badly battered Fighter Fly falls to the bottom of the chamber, and gets washed away down the sewer drain.
Mario and Luigi remain stunned for a few moments, in relative silence. Then Mario jumps down to Luigi, and gives a hand.
"We did it" says Mario quietly.
"We did it" says Luigi as he gets helped up.
"We did it!" they say simultaneously as they hug each other with delight. Outbursts of their laughter echo throughout the sewers.
Toad runs to the end of the valley, when General Toad and the other Toads are just about to enter it. Goombas and a lone Koopa Troopa lie unconscious around the battle site.
"Where have you been?!" shouts the general, furious to his boiling point. "Had a green shell not come by and plow through a line of Goombas, we would've never come back for you!"
"I'm sorry sir!" Toad says, dipping his head down and slightly shaking in place. "But I…"
"Why didn't you wait by the windmill like I told you to? That thing was blowing like crazy over here and blew our cover, literally! And it's so busted, that a windmill blade is blocking the door. We wasted our time trying to bust you out of there, thinking you were still trapped in there. When really, you were frolicking off who knows where!"
"So where did you run off to, captain, huh?! What was so important, that you had to drop everything and endanger the mission?"
"I…I…I saw the…the Koopa King!"
General Toad stands there stunned. The other Toads all frantically chatter to each other in fear.
"You…saw…the Koopa King?" the general says as calmly as he can.
"Y-yes, sir! And he's got plans, big plans, for the Mushroom Kingdom!"
The other Toad captains bicker more feverishly now.
General Toad walks up close to Toad, staring him straight in the eyes. "Let's go, soldiers. Mission's over. We're packing up and reporting back to the princess." He starts walking back, talking over his shoulder. "Our comrade Toad is going to have some major reporting to do!"
Mario and Luigi reach an exit of the sewers, leaning on each other for support. They can just see the outlining light from the manhole cover above them.
"Well, that was quite an adventure, wasn't it?" says Mario
"Sure was; nothing like it!" says Luigi. The two start climbing up a ladder to the surface. "You think we'll ever have more adventures like that again?"
Just as Luigi lifts off the manhole cover, a huge, cheering crowd surrounds them. The two are shocked with delight, as the people applaud. Pauline stands the closest to them, waving and blowing a kiss in Mario's direction. The two brothers grow a bit red with shy embarrassment.
"Three cheers for the Mario Brothers!" cries Pauline over the bustling crowd.
"Hurray!" shouts one.
"You go, Luigi!" says another
"You saved our city!"
They all swarm the brothers, lifting them high above their heads and parading them through Brooklyn, shouting, "Mario! Mario! Mario! Mario!" Mario and Luigi wave their hands out to the crowd, bright smiles all around.
"Yes, Weegee," says Mario, "I think we'll have many more adventures to come!"