Chapter One: Casting and Demon

by Victar (

"In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"
- Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring

GPS LOG: Rogueport Underground, East Side
Year 20XX, Day %5
11:28 p.m.


LUIGI: H-hello. Helloooo? You're switched on now, right?

I think I've figured out how to work you, my Exit- Existennial- my Existerrestrial - my new secret diary. It's a good thing you can record my voice, because it's too dark to write anything down here. Or up there. Or anywhere.

It's been five days since the sky went black.

I'm scared. I-I don't know what went wrong.

The whole world is dark now. It's so thick I can barely see unless I use my flashlight. Monsters roam the streets everywhere - not ordinary bad guys like King Bowser's Troopas, but really horrible things, g-g-ghosts made of fire and bloodsucking vampire bats! They all say they serve someone called the Shadow Queen. That everyone has to serve the Shadow Queen or be turned to stone. Whenever anyone says no, no I won't serve her, th-they're attacked or turned into a statue. But the ones who agree to serve the Shadow Queen - they - I-I don't know if they're zombies or what, their eyes space out and they talk in an empty drone, they just shuffle around with no direction, always muttering things like "Serve the Queen..."

Rogueport isn't a city of thieves anymore. It's a city of... of mindless, stumbling... aaaagh!

[hard swallow]

The monsters tried to make Toadsworth and Daisy and me serve the Shadow Queen. Daisy's bodyguards fought them, and Daisy too - I didn't know she could fight! The last time I saw her use her Heart Shield power, it was in kart races we competed in for fun! I fought also; I grit my teeth and swung my hammer and summoned a Thunder Zap! But it wasn't enough - there were too many, they were too strong - they pulled Daisy's protectors into the shadows, and then they reached for Daisy and me. I grabbed my Poltergust 3000 and turned it on full blast, in reverse; it blew them back for a minute, then one of them smashed it-!

I ran away. Grabbed Daisy's hand and pulled her with me, fast as I could go. She was so unhappy, she didn't want to leave her loyal servants, even though it was too late for them. I think Toadsworth ran in a different direction, but I don't know what happened to him. Maybe he got away? I hope so. I really hope so.

We ran and ran, and tried to escape to the Waffle Kingdom border; it's only a couple warps away from Rogueport. But it - it was-

Everything there was turned to stone.

Everything. Even the pipe we came out of, even the grass was tiny sharp bits of stone. The friends I made in the Waffle Kingdom, the ones who helped me save Princess Eclair, they're all-

[long pause]

Princess Eclair... she... she's turned to stone too, isn't she? She must be; she loved the Waffle Kingdom, she wouldn't have run away from her home even if it was falling under a curse. We gotta change her back somehow-!

I know Princess Peach has the power to change stone people back to normal. Long ago, King Bowser used an evil curse to turn the Toads of the Mushroom Kingdom into stones, bricks, and horsehair plants; Mario and me had to rescue Peach so she could put things right. What happened to Peach? Mario should have saved her by now.

I asked Daisy if she could work magic like her cousin once did, and turn Princess Eclair back to normal. And the Waffle Kingdom too, of course. I asked, and it was like Daisy couldn't hear me. So I asked again, can't you help Princess Eclair? I asked, and I asked-

"I don't have that power!" Daisy yelled. "I can't heal, I can't cure, I can't - Peach is the one who loves the whole world so much she can lighten anyone's heart - even soften stone - I just can't do it!"

Daisy almost never yells. Not like she's mad. Not at me, anyway. She used to be so cheery.

I don't know what to do. We backtracked to Rogueport, and we've been hiding in the ruins of the ancient city underneath Rogueport ever since. Hiding and waiting for Mario to put things right.

I'm pretty good at hiding. When Mario and me were little, he could hardly ever find me in hide-and-go-seek. Daisy's not as good at hiding as me, and the bright yellow dress doesn't help, but I taught her and she learns fast. I knew that if we could hide and wait long enough, Mario would defeat the demon behind all of this and everything would be okay again.

But it's been five days now...

There's no place we can go. The darkness spread so far, so fast - after seeing what happened to the Waffle Kingdom, Daisy and me tried to use you, my secret diary, to talk to people in other kingdoms. The Mushroom Kingdom, the Nimbus Kingdom, the Beanbean Kingdom, Jungle Land, Isle Delfino, even Sarasaland...

...they're all covered in shadow.

Sarasaland is - it used to be a sunny place, full of flowers and flower people. Without the sun, the flowers can't bloom, the flower people can't live there. And there's something horrible about this shadow that blots out the sky, it turns plants brown and sickly. Daisy's kingdom is an empty wasteland now. All the flower people have run away or been turned to stone or worse.

I think learning that shocked Daisy really, really bad. She's doesn't talk about it, she's barely talked to me at all for days. And the last news we could get was that even the mighty King Bowser had been turned to stone, his strongest warriors were all running away, running from the monsters or giving up to serve the Shadow Queen, and then... and then we could no longer reach anyone, anywhere. I'm so scared; there's nobody left to talk to.

Nobody except you, my secret diary.

We're running low on food. There's no place left to get more, the Shadow Queen's servants robbed and destroyed all the stores. We're hiding in the wreckage of an underground store in Rogueport now. The monsters came close but they didn't see us, and we heard them talking to each other - I heard them laughing that-

-I can't say it! It's too horrible, no, it's impossible, Mario would never-!

[whispered] They say Mario serves the Shadow Queen!

[slightly louder] No, no, no, it can't be true! Mario must be - must be delayed somehow. We just have to hide and wait a little longer... we just have to...

PRINCESS DAISY: [distantly] Why are you talking into that thing? I thought you said it couldn't contact anyone anymore.

L: [nervous swallow] It's - it's just something to do while we wait for Mario to put things right.


D: Mario... Mario won't put things right. He chose to serve the Shadow Queen.

L: No way.

D: You heard the monsters say it.

L: My brother would never do such a thing! Never!

D: Luigi, I've been having dreams. Nightmares. I dream about Peach... I can barely remember any of it, but it's like I can feel her crying inside, crying for Mario. She's trying so hard not to give up, praying for Mario to help her, but Mario can't help her-

L: No, no!

D: -because he said he would serve-

L: Don't say it again!


L: Maybe - maybe the monsters weren't talking about the real Mario. Maybe they meant a fake Mario, I know there are things who can make themselves look like him. My brother, my real brother would never, never-!

D: Okay.

[longer pause]

D: [tentatively] Luigi... haven't you told me about a couple times when Mario was in over his head?

L: Uhhh...?

D: You've had to rescue him before, I know you have. Maybe he needs our help now.

L: Huh... I... well...

D: We have to do something. We have to.

L: Do what?

[short pause]

D: I've been thinking about that.

I know there's a fortune teller underneath Rogueport. Someone who can predict the path heroes have to take. You once told me that you had to visit her when you got stuck trying to figure out-

L: Huh? You mean, Merluvlee?

D: Yes. Yes, that's the name.

L: Daisy... we're...

D: I bet she can tell us what to do!

L: ...we're in her store right now.

D: She can- what?

L: I had the same idea as you. I wanted to ask her where Mario is, how he's doing. But I guess... I guess the monsters got here long before we did. If she got away from them, I don't think she's coming back.

D: [determined] I know Merluvlee belongs to a mystic tribe. If we can't find her, we'll have to find another of her tribe instead. Come on.

L: But it's not safe out there.

D: Get up. You're the one who knows Rogueport. You must know where others of her tribe live. I need you to show me the way.

L: Daisy, I mean it, it's really dangerous, d-don't you want to give Mario a few more days-

D: You'll risk your life for Princess Eclair, but you won't stand up long enough to escort me around a ruined city? What am I to you, Princess second-class?

L: Ummm...

D: And Mario - I know he's resourceful, but he never let things get this bad before. He must be in trouble! Are you going to abandon your own brother in his hour of need?

L: Actually, this is his hour of midnight snacking.

D: That reminds me; we're almost out of food. Would you rather wait until we're starving to set out?

L: Uhhh...

D: Or are you volunteering to fight monsters for their food?

L: Aaah-! Sssh! Not so loud!


L: O-okey-dokey Daisy. I-I guess you're right, we should at least try... for Mario's sake... I-I'm sure he doesn't need our help but- okay. Merluvlee's twin sister lives pretty close to here. I think.

GPS LOG: Rogueport Underground, East Side
Year 20XX, Day %5
11:54 p.m.


PRINCESS DAISY: Okay, keep that recorder switched on. We may have to go over her prophecy word for word, later.

LUIGI: Wow. Merlee's house is - is - it isn't even touched! And it looks like she's inside!

D: "Merlee" - she's the charmer who used to cast powerful battle hexes on you, isn't she?

L: Well, yeah. When I could afford to pay for it.

D: I wonder how she keeps the monsters at bay. This place is secluded, but hardly invisible.

L: Do you think she'd let us hide with her?

D: That's not what we're here for, remember?




L: Daisy! Daisy are you okay?

D: ...aaaaaah... ow.

MERLEE: [muffled] Who does that be?
Knocking on my door
Heedless of my wards
What nature of fool is she?

L: Merlee? It's me, Luigi, remember? I used to buy magic protection from you.

M: Money no longer interests me
Look around and you will see
All the stores and stalls are gone
There is nothing to spend it on.

[Daisy wheezes]

L: P-please let us in, I think Daisy's hurt-!

M: You know nothing of pain
'Til you see your race slain
Misery crushes me to the bone
All my kin are turned to stone.

I am the last
And soon I too shall pass
My curses protect me
But an empty belly they shan't feed.

D: ...urrgh... I'm okay Luigi... ow. Ouch. Ow.

M: Go now. Do not let yourself be seen
There is nothing for you here
All the world trembles with fear
Our champion Mario serves the Shadow Queen.

L: No! Not you too! Mario is a hero, he wouldn't ever-!

D: [cough] Lady Merlee. Let us in and we'll share our food with you.

L: Huh?

D: We're down to Dried Shrooms and a Turtley Leaf, but I do have a Chuckola Cola left. It's all yours. Open the door, please.

L: I didn't know you had a Chuckola Cola on you.

M: My heart despairs, but my throat is dry
So even though I know not why
You persist, you may come inside.
Do not attempt trickery
Or my curses and wizardry
Will blister your hides.

[door creak]

L: You know, I can't remember the last time I tasted Chuckola Cola. It's expensive. And you didn't think to share it with me?

D: Excuse me for being distracted by the end of the world.

M: Welcome, you both be.
Now feed me.

D: Here.

L: Daisy, are you sure this is a good idea?

D: If you know a better way to learn how to rescue Mario, I'm listening.

L: I-I think I'm going to regret this, but... okey-dokey.



M: If only this taste
Could bring a smile to my face.
"Learn how to rescue Mario" you say
But you have come to me in vain.

Divination is my vexation
Destiny is clouded to me
I cast curses and hexes
Else my name would not be Merlee.

D: Then think of this as new kind of hex. I know you have mystic powers.

M: Power aye, but skill nay
My tribe's magic comes from how we train
The names we take reflect our specialty
If I could see the future I would be a Merluvlee.

D: I don't care how untrained you are. We need you to do a reading for us. Please.

L: You're not going to take our food for nothing, are you? I wanted that Chuckola Cola.

M: Do not set your hopes too high
But since you have paid me, I will try.

From your Turtley Leaf
We will steep a Koopa Tea
And since thirst whets your teeth
You shall drink it, Luigi
What the cup reveals, we shall see.

L: Uhh... okey-dokey.

[long, uncomfortable quiet]

[tea kettle whistle]

M: It is done. Piping hot
Mind your 'stache
And do not drop it.

[Luigi slurps]


[teacup shattering]

M: The reading is underway
And it is safe to say
This fortune is not a good one
With panic and breakage, it is begun.

L: Aaaaahk-!

D: Are you all right?

L: [thickly] I fink I burned my mouf.

[rustle, clinking]

M: From the pieces and the leaf
Let us have the secrets
Of your destiny
Come on magic, work with me.


L: Ish it-?

D: Hush. Let her concentrate.

M: For both of you, I foresee one goal:
The end of your lives, the doom of your souls.
Do not ask for whom the casket closes
It shall claim you, and those you love most.

L: [gulp]

D: There has to be more to your reading than that.

M: I am indeed sorry
Nothing but darkness do I see
Upon this world eternal night falls
The Shadow Queen has conquered all.

Weakened was she when disturbed from her tomb
Mario could have averted our doom
With the Crystal Stars, and the people's prayers
Now 'tis too late for any to slay her
Her strength is too great, her power spread too far
Even if new heroes possessed the Stars
The nations are all in ruin
There is no one to cheer for you
Without an infective
Emotion collective
You're through.


D: I don't believe it. She was entombed once, a thousand years ago. There must be a way to seal her up again.

L: A-and help Mario, too!

M: Your leaf says no more.
The Game is Ove-

[wind whooshing]

L: Wh-what's going on?

D: Merlee, are you doing this?

L: Look, Daisy! Look!

M: This should not be-!
My magic cannot see
Visions on high

D: A mountaintop? Do either of you know where that is?

M: The Peak of 100 Puzzles that be
But this vision is not from me.

If you go there
You should beware
The fire-breathing monstrosity
That nests atop the Peak.

L: F-fuh-fuh-fire breathing monster?

M: The Albaphoenix is he
A great and terrible bird of fire
Legends tout his immortality
He burns himself upon a pyre
And rises from his ashes, eternally.

D: I guess we have to pay this Albaphoenix a visit. How do we reach him?

L: Look! It's changing!

M: I repeat, this is not my vision
It cannot be
I do not feel it course through me
This is not borne of my tea cup's fission.

L: Hey - I know that door. It's near Merluvlee's shop. It was locked the last time I tried it.

D: I wonder if it leads to a warp pipe.

[whooshing wind subsides]

D: Well, we know where to go now.

L: [gulp] Uh, D-Daisy, a-about that fire-breathing monster-

D: I'm hoping we can talk to it. If it really is immortal, then maybe it was around a thousand years ago, when the Shadow Queen was defeated. Maybe it knows something that can help us.

L: B-but-...

D: Let's find out. For Mario's sake. And for my cousin's.

L: ...okey-dokey.

M: I doubt that I have earned my fee
Deceived I think you may well be
But you seem determined to try...

I return the remnant paltry
Of your supplies.

D: Thank you, Merlee. Thank you for everything.

L: Bye-bye.