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Saturday, September 26, 1992, 1:30 PM
Once again, Mario and his brother, Luigi, had saved Princess Peach Toadstool from the wicked Bowser Koopa and his underhanded Koopalings. This time, the evil family had conquered the peaceful Dinosaur Land, which was unknown to the rest of the Mushroom World. Unknown, that is, until Mario and Luigi returned home with the Princess and with Yoshi, a small dinosaur whom they had befriended. Normally, Bowser's magic protected all his monsters, all his mini-bosses, all seven of his Koopalings, and himself, and sent them all back to Dark Land, which was on the far side of the Mushroom World and hidden within a dimensional wall. Ordinarily, it sent them all back unharmed, except for a few sore spots. This time, it worked almost exactly as it was supposed to. His entire army, his children, and he were returned to the Dark Land Castle, and his entire army and his children were unharmed. However, the last Mechakoopa that Luigi had tossed up to clobber Bowser had hit him in the head and caused a serious, life-threatening cerebral injury, disrupting that part of his magic that would keep him unharmed as he teleported back home. Now, as he was bedridden with his injury, his Magikoopas attempted to use both magic and scientific medicine to cure him. Finally, Kamek, the head Magikoopa, came outside the room, where Ludwig von Koopa and Larry Koopa, Bowser's oldest Koopalings, were waiting. "Prince Ludwig and Prince Larry," he said, appropriately pronouncing the W in Ludwig's name with a V sound, "King Bowser should recover fully from the injury that the Mario Brothers dealt him. However, he will be inactive for a few weeks." "Thank you, Kamek." Ludwig said. "Please, continue your work." "As you wish, Your Highness." The blue-robed Koopa sorcerer returned to the evil King's room. Larry was enraged at the events that had transpired. "This time, those damned Mario Brothers have gone too far!" "I agree whole-heartedly." Ludwig said. "What say we go with the plan Dad conceived once we'd conquered Dino Land?" The term "Dino Land" was a much-used substitute for the term "Dinosaur Land", and the syllable "Di" was pronounced the same in both words. Larry grinned wickedly. "Rescuing Mother Brain from the Baseball World cellar?" "Yes." "Absolutely!" Suddenly, alarms burst to life throughout the castle. "Intruder alert!" Roy Koopa's thunderous baritone voice boomed over the intercom. "Plumb-scum have penetrated the perimeter!" "What?!" Ludwig screamed. "How in the Six Hells of Koopos did Mario and Luigi find this place?!" "Dad's magic was impaired after the Marios beat him." Larry said. "Maybe that enabled Princess Toadstool's scanners to find us through our dimensional cloaking!" "Damn it! To the tactical room! All seven of us shall attack together; maybe then we can subdue the pasta lovers!"
In the living room of the N Team's new house in Megaland, Lana lay taking a nap on the couch. She was awakened by someone softly and gently stroking her back, and she knew exactly who was doing it. "Ooh, that feels good, Kevin." she moaned. Kevin smiled at her. "Thank you, Lana." She turned around and sat up, and he sat down to her right. They kissed for a moment, hugging each other tenderly. "So, how are you feeling?" "Still a little aching from my fall during our trip, but I'm fine." she said. "But that ski trip in the Megaland Mountains did us both some good, I think." "Yeah." he agreed. They were interrupted by Kid Icarus' voice. "Princessicus!" he called over the intercom with excitement. "Please come to the comm-room!" Lana sighed as she and Kevin released each other. "I'd love to hug you forever, Kevin." she said. "Me, too." Kevin said, smiling kindly. "But let's go." They got up and went to the Communications room.
Kid Icarus was waiting at the door. "Princess, it's...it's Toadstoolicus!" "Princess Peach Toadstool?!" Lana cried in excitement, her eyes widening. "We haven't heard from her since the First Videoland War started, when her father broke the Mushroom World off from the rest of Videoland to keep Mother Brain and Bowser Koopa from collaborating!" She ran into the room and over to Kid Icarus' comm-station. "Peach! I haven't seen you in ages!" "I'm glad to see you, too, Lana." Peach Toadstool said, her excitement at seeing her old friend overshadowed by great concern. Lana recognized this and forced herself to calm down. "What's wrong?" "Mario and Luigi, the brothers who saved the Mushroom Kingdom just before we broke away, just clobbered Bowser, saving me and Dinosaur Land, one of the lands in the Mushroom World. They must have injured him, because my equipment at my castle here could plot Bowser's course straight to Dark Land!" "Dark Land! That's the Koopas' kingdom, hidden within a dimensional sphere on the Mushroom World that keeps others from finding the place." "Mario and Luigi went to Dark Land to apprehend Bowser and his family. I haven't heard back from them in quite a while. I fear that...that...Ludwig must have captured them!" She began crying. "I'm so worried, Lana! I love Mario, and Luigi's a nice guy, too. Please, could you send the N Team?" "Belay that request!" a gleeful tenor voice shouted from Toadstool's right. Toadstool turned to her right. "Yaaah! Ludwig von Koopa and Larry!" Ludwig, the owner of the tenor voice, came into view and looked at the N Team. "Well, if it's not Princess Lana of Videoland! This is quite an honor. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Prince Ludwig von Bowser Koopa, heir to the Throne of the Koopa Kingdom...and presently Ruler of the Mushroom World! Ha, ha! The other six Koopalings and I have subdued the Mario Brothers with our combined strength. Now, we shall rescue Mother Brain from the Baseball World Cellar. Bwah, ha, ha!" "Haven't you heard?" Lana asked snidely. "Mother Brain is dead." Ludwig's face slowly became a terrible frown. "What? How?" he asked slowly. Kevin stepped up to the screen. "My title is Captain N. My name, Kevin Keene. I am the primary culprit, though I had help from my friends." "So, that silly prophecy actually came true after all." Ludwig remarked with disgust. "No matter! This only means that I shall have to take Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo, and then conquer Videoland with the assistance of my devious siblings." "How will you manage that?" Lana asked. "Toadstool's father has made travel between the Mushroom World and the rest of Videoland impossible by hiding the Mushroom World within a no-way dimensional sphere, and only he can undo the magic." "Think so? Then watch your instruments!" He took a scepter in his left hand. "O powerful scepter in my left hand, restore Mushroom World to Videoland!" Mega Man was at another station. "Princess, look! Mushroom World is reappearing on the map of worlds in Videoland!" "What?!" Lana demanded, walking over to his station. She gasped. "How did you do that?!" she asked Ludwig. "Powerful Koopa magic." Ludwig replied coolly. "And now that the Mushroom World is out of its isolational sphere and back in the universal continuum that contains Videoland, you'd better watch out! Bwah, ha, ha, ha!" His insane laughter echoed through the room even after he had cut the transmission. Kevin's eyes widened. "This is not good." he said. "Thank you, O Great Master Of Understatement!" Lana snapped sarcastically. "Kid Icarus, alert all video worlds that the Dark Koopas will most likely start trying to invade." "Yes, Your Highnicus." Kid Icarus said, and returned to his comm-station. "How are we going to mega deal with this, Princess?" Mega Man inquired. "The Koopas are even more powerful than Mother Brain!" "I know that." Lana said, then sighed. "Kevin, why don't you, Mike, Mega Man, and I go to Princess Toadstool's castle to investigate?" "Sounds like a plan, Lana." Kevin said. He, Mega Man, and Lana left the room.
Kevin, Mike, Mega Man, and Lana emerged from a pipe warp near Princess Toadstool's castle. "Mega whoa!" Mega Man exclaimed when he emerged. "Sorry about that." Lana apologized. "Warps are pipes in the Mushroom World, rather than blue circular fields." "I mega see." "This place looks much too quiet." the Game Master said. Everyone readied their weapons. "Be on the lookout for all kinds of creepy Koopa monsters." Kevin warned. They proceeded cautiously to the main door, where they entered. They thoroughly explored the castle, but they found absolutely no one...until they entered the Throne room. A small Mushroom Retainer was hiding behind the throne. "Go away, you bad Koopa creeps!" he shouted loudly in a high voice. "I'm not a Koopa!" Lana called. "I'm Princess Lana! I'm here to help!" The retainer turned cautiously towards her. "P-P-Princess Lana!" he cried gratefully. He ran over to her with nervous excitement. "Toad! What happened here?!" "Ludwig and Larry overran the castle with an army just as Princess Peach started to call you! I was able to hide, but they took everyone else prisoner and took them off to Dark Land!" "You mean they didn't even post guards?" Kevin asked incredulously. "Nope. Not one." "Are there any power-ups here?" Lana asked. "Larry had those carted off, too. Oh, please, help us, Princess! No one here can stand up to the Koopas except for Mario and Luigi, and Ludwig and Larry are proving to be even worse than Bowser!" "Calm down, Toad." Lana said soothingly. "We'll help. Can you take us to the Communications room?" "Yeah." Toad said. He led the four N Team members to the room.
"Here it is." Toad said. Mega Man and Kevin scanned the room for clues. "Man," Kevin said, "Ludwig sure doesn't leave much physical evidence that something's wrong." "Bowser at least does that." Toad said. "But Ludwig's a strategist, as well as a scientist and a musician. He is, in fact, skilled in many areas of study. He's brilliant and meticulous." "Great." Lana said with a sigh. Mega Man picked up something. "Here's a mega long hair. Do you recognize it, Toad?" He showed the hair to the small Mushroomian. "Yes." Toad said. "It belongs to Ludwig." "That's about the only evidence I can see. Let's see what's on the computer." Mega Man went over to the computer and tapped a key, but a shock came out and sent him screaming into the wall behind him. "Mega Man!" Kevin cried, concerned. Mega Man got up. "I'm all right. I just got a shock, that's all." Ludwig's face appeared on the computer screen. "Well, well, I see that you have found the Princess' communications facility." the oldest of the Koopalings said with disgusting suavity. "What have you done with everyone?!" Kevin demanded. "Why, I brought them to my father's exclusive digs in Dark Land. Don't bother trying to find the coordinates for Dark Land that Toadstool's computer amassed; like all computer users concerned with hard drive space, I always remember to empty the trash bin when I delete files! Ha, ha!" Mike was infuriated by the evil turtle. "Kevin and I are going to come over and kick your butt straight to Garbage World, Ludwig von Koopa!" he snapped. "Ha, ha! You amuse me, Mr. Vincent! Princess Lana, you can make things quite easy on all of us. Just submit to me now and save your pitiful N Team from facing the power of Koopa the hard way." "Dream on, Koopa brat!" Lana snapped. "Oh, come, now, my dear. It would be a real time-saver for all of us." "I said dream on! That means 'no way'!" "All right, Princess. I really was willing to spare the N Team, but I see that I have no choice, since you're unwilling to be reasonable. Now, I just get to let my siblings and myself have fun when we conquer Videoland! Bwah, ha, ha, ha!" His despicable laughter continued to echo through the room even after the computer had shut off. "Why, that crazy turtle!" the Princess exclaimed. "Don't worry." Kevin said. "The N Team can handle any threat. Let's get back home to Megaland." He turned to Toad. "Wanna come with us?" "Sure." Toad said. "I hate to be technical, but you haven't been introduced to me." "Oh, I'm sorry." Lana said. "This is Kevin Keene, whose title is Captain N; this is Mike Vincent; and this is Mega Man, originally a robot created by the scientist, Dr. Right, but now a cyborg." "And I'm Toad, Chief Retainer of Her Highness' Court and one of her best friends. I stayed behind to try to reach you at the Palace, Princess." "You mustn't have heard, then." Lana said softly. "Toad, the Palace of Power is gone." "W-what?" Toad asked, nearly in shock. "How?" "I had to destroy it to keep Dr. Wily from conquering Videoland. Don't worry, though; no one died, fortunately, except for his army of robots. It's a really long story." "Thank goodness no one was killed. Well, I guess we'd better go." "Yeah." Kevin agreed. The Game Master led the way out and through the warp from which they had come.
Roy laughed lightly. "Heh! Your laugh is sounding more and more like Dad's, big bro." the bully Koopaling said. "Thanks." Ludwig said. "Now, open a warp to the Palace of Power, Iggy. I want to get into their computer archives." Iggy was the youngest Koopaling. "Uh, Ludwig, I don't believe that that course of action will be feasible." Iggy reported nervously. Ludwig turned to him. "And why not, Iggy?" "Maybe because it's no longer there." "It's no longer there?" Ludwig popped up from his chair in the middle of the castle's War room and went over to Iggy's computer station. He read the results. "What in the Hell of Rotten Luck? It looks like Princess Lana destroyed her own palace - and the rest of that world along with it! Oh, wait." He read some more data. "Looks like Wily tried to invade the Palace of Power with an army of robots. So, she had no choice. It looks like no humans perished, though; she must have ordered an evacuation, or the people decided to evacuate. So, where is the N Team staying now?" Larry's eyes widened as some readings appeared on his computer. "Megaland!" he exclaimed. "So, that is where Toadstool's message was going. When we were at her castle, I examined the path of her message, and my computer tells me that it was going directly to Megaland." "I see. In that case, how about we go pay a little visit on our old friend, Dr. Wily? Heh, heh! Let's go, Larry. Roy, as the third-oldest Koopaling, you're in charge until we get back." "Roger that, Ludwig." Roy said.
The whole N Team was now gathered in the Conference room. Lana was at the head of the table, and Kevin sat to her right. Kevin stood up. "Everyone, I'm afraid we're going to have another powerful group of villains to deal with, so soon after finally defeating Mother Brain. The evil Koopas have succeeded in kidnapping Princess Toadstool of the Mushroom Kingdom. In addition, Ludwig von Koopa, Bowser Koopa's number one son, has restored the Mushroom World to Videoland's universal continuum, dropping the dimensional cloaking that prevented warping to or from Mushroom World." "Oh, great!" Simon Belmont, the vain vampire hunter, wailed. "Well, that's not the half of it, Simon. Ludwig intends for his family to conquer all of Videoland. When Ludwig and his brother, Larry, invaded Princess Toadstool's castle, they erased the computer records that revealed where Dark Land is. Her computers garnered that information when Bowser last returned to Dark Land, which is also hidden by dimensional cloaking. That's why we asked Mega Man to set all the computers to log any warp activity between the Mushroom World and any other video world, in the hopes that we can find Dark Land and stop the Koopas. When the Koopas invaded, Toad, Princess Toadstool's Chief Retainer, managed to avoid capture. When Mega Man, Mike, Lana, and I went to the castle to investigate, we found him and brought him here. Right now, he's resting in a guest room, and - " An alarm sounded where Mega Man was sitting. "What's up, Mega Man?" Kevin asked. Mega Man was examining his readouts. "It looks like a warp's been opened between Dark Land and Dr. Wily's castle!" "What can you pick up, Mega Man?" the Princess of Videoland asked. "I'm not mega picking up any keys to actually finding Dark Land. I'll need to recalibrate,...and the warp's closing already. I'll get the recalibration done before they open any more warps, though." "All right, Mega Man." Kevin said. "Everyone, we have to keep alert. We don't know when these evil Koopa dudes are going to try to invade." "What should the rest of us do, Kevin?" Rick Walker asked. "Uh,...well, to tell you the truth, I haven't planned that far ahead, Rick." He thought for a moment. "I guess stay ready for a big fight, 'cause those Koopas can sure give one!"
Stewing in his lab, Dr. Wily was most displeased with his current lot. "That Princess has some nerve, destroying my army!" he seethed, trying to gather enough materials together to rebuild his robot army. "Well, I'll show her!" He was surprised when a warp opened, and he was even more surprised when Ludwig and Larry stepped out! "What the - Ludwig von Koopa and Larry!" "That's us." Ludwig said. "How did you get here?" Wily asked. "Isn't Mushroom World separated from the universal continuum containing all Videoland?" "It was earlier, but not anymore, thanks to my big bro here!" Larry told Wily. "His magic is more powerful than was that of the former King of the Mushroom World." "So, Wily," Ludwig said, "what happened to Mother Brain? Captain N told us that she'd been destroyed." "Oh, sadly yes." Wily said, faking sincere sadness. He knew the Koopas would not approve of his disloyalty towards Mother Brain. "I've heard that she was killed by Captain N, so I sent an army to capture him and his friends. That's when Princess Lana destroyed the Palace of Power; she thought I wanted the weapons that were there." Ludwig did not believe his act for a minute. He trusted his instincts more than he did Wily. "Oh, really?" he asked, pretending he was falling for it. "Well, now. We're here to prepare our conquest of Videoland, and we were going to offer assistance to Mother Brain. Oh, well. I note that your robot army is a bit depleted; did none of your robots get away before the Palace of Power exploded?" "None." "Well, that's truly a pity. However, if you're willing to help us Koopas, I'll help you rebuild your army." "Rebuild? How?" "I'll give you a machine into which you can insert your schematics. The reader of the device will use your drawing and have the matter alterer kick out as many robots as you want, based on the schematics in it at the time." Wily liked this idea. "Really?" "Verily and truly." "Well, then, count me in! Heh, heh!" "Good. Now, watch in awe!" He took his scepter in his left hand. "Magic scepter, most powerfully, give me a replicator for Dr. Wily!" His scepter shot out a ray, and a large replicator appeared in an empty corner of the lab. "Ooh! Impressive, Ludwig!" The mad scientist went to his computer and printed out the schematic he was working on. "I must see it in action!" He opened the sliding drawer marked "Reader" and inserted the sheet, then closed the drawer. He pressed the button marked "Replicate"; when a monitor asked how many he wanted, he keyed in the number "5". Then, five Bladers appeared in the replicator slot! "Ha, ha, ha! Yes! Thanks, Ludwig; I love this machine! With it, I can rebuild my entire army in hours!" "Get to it, then, and if you help us Koopas conquer Videoland, Megaland shall be yours." Ludwig said. "Certainly, Ludwig."
TO BE CONTINUED...