Chapter Three: Of Box and Codependency

by Victar (

GPS LOG: Underground Rogueport, East Side
Year 20XX, Day %8
5:54 p.m.


LUIGI: Hello, my secret diary. We're doing okey-dokey so far. I think. I hope.

We have to collect four black magic, soul-stealing boxes! S-such horrible things; does Daisy realize how bad they are? Th-they - they can turn a person into a g-g-ghost, and then they trap the g-ghost inside forever! Daisy p-promised me that wouldn't happen to us, I know I can trust her, but - but-

Why doesn't she understand how bad these boxes are?

She says we need their power to protect us from the Shadow Queen - I guess she's right, I don't know what else to do. Our map marked a warp pipe to Petal Meadows, that's where the first box was. It was in a giant castle!

The drawbridge was out, but I'm pretty good at jumping. I ran and jumped all the way across; I almost fell in the water, but I made it!

And Daisy - wow, she's incredible! She can jump long distances, too! Not the same as me, though. It wasn't a normal jump; it was like - like - she put her hands over her head, and floated through the air!

I can almost remember seeing Peach jump like that. A long time ago. Or was that a dream? I never knew Daisy had the same magic. She says she can't really fly though, just hover for a second.

Monsters prowled the castle; most of them had that zombie look, always saying "Serve the Queen..." in that mindless way. They could barely see in front of them, so we got around no problem.

Then we found the black box. Humongous! Big enough to swallow up a person, its greedy lid open - I could tell it was waiting, hungry to eat us-!

Daisy wasn't the tiniest bit afraid. My stomach knotted up, I begged her please don't touch that evil thing, but she just said "It won't take your soul unless you allow it. The Albaphoenix said so."

"You really trust that crazy bird!?" I shouted. "It said we can't save Mario or Peach - it says Mario has to - to - you know that's wrong! What if it's wrong about this, too? What if this is a trap? What if-"

"If this is a trap, then you're about to be left on your own. Good luck."

I said "Huh?" but Daisy didn't answer; she walked over to the evil black box, closed its lid, and picked it up.

Just like that.

The giant box instantly shrank to pocket size, soon as she tried to lift it. She tucked it away and said, "It's time to go," like she'd done nothing more than fetch the mail.

Leaving the castle wasn't hard. I think we sprung a trap meant to keep us behind bars, but I threw a hammer to hit the switch and we got out okey-dokey. The Queen's zombie servants couldn't get near us at all. They were mostly weak Koopas and Goombas and Dull Bones anyway, we probably could have handled them, but, well, I don't know. Was the box really keeping them away from us?

I guess the Albaphoenix was right about one thing. Maybe we do have to collect all four black boxes to have a chance.

Oh, and we got ambushed by a big, fire-breathing red dragon on the way back to Rogueport!

I knew how to handle that, though. I once read graffiti on a billboard in Rogueport; it said that if you meet a dragon in Petal Meadows, you should pretend to be a cricket. Now I don't know why that is, but I'll trust spray-painted advice more than anything that Albaphoenix said!

It was easy to pretend I'm a cricket. I'm already dressed in green; I just made a few cricket chirps, and guess what? It worked! The dragon became sick and dizzy; it was the perfect chance to grab Daisy's hand and run away really fast, back to the warp pipe. We're in the ruins underneath Rogueport now, taking a rest before we go after the next box-

PRINCESS DAISY: [from a distance] Luigi?

L: Oh, Daisy. You holding up okay?

D: Yes, I think so.

I didn't thank you earlier, did I? I'm sorry. Thank you so much for saving me. That dragon looked hungry, but you knew its weakness.

L: Aw, shucks. It was nothing.

D: Do I... depend on you too much?

L: Huh?

D: Or should I say... do Peach and I, and other rulers - do we all depend on Mario and you too much?

L: What do you mean?

D: For years now, whenever anyone threatened us - or almost any kingdom, anywhere - we've relied on Mario and you to fix things.

[slight cough] Mostly Mario. But when he was away, we expected you to guard the home front.

L: I guess so.

D: Is that right?

L: Huh?

D: "The world depends exclusively upon 'heroes' to maintain its delicate balance."

L: That's what the bird said. Why are you saying it?

D: Because it's... it's true. Isn't it?

When King Bowser attacks us - or his children wreak mischief - or when Tatanga kidnapped me - when Smithy's sentient weapons invaded from another dimension, or when that witch Cackletta tried to take over the Beanbean Kingdom... whenever terrible fiends threaten us...

...we don't protect ourselves very well, do we? Our soldiers, our spies, our diplomatic alliances, none of that saves us. It's always you two. Or heroes like you, or friends of yours along with you.

L: Is that bad?

D: Is that good?

But whether it's right or wrong, is anything else possible? The Albaphoenix said it was the way of our world, to use heroes...'re not even from here, are you? You used to live far away, in another world. Didn't you tell me about your native kingdom, once? It was the Land of Brooks.

L: Brooklyn? Oh, yeah.

D: What a strange name.

L: The Mushroom Kingdom is Mario's home now. Mine too. Even if we knew how to go back, Mario wouldn't leave Peach. I know he wouldn't. And Mario needs me to look after him. He's very brave, but he's not a very good cook. Or very neat.

D: The world you're from - is it the same as this one? Does it solve its problems by expecting heroes to rescue people?

L: Uhhh...


L: Brooklyn had lots of problems, yeah. Not like it was special, every city has problems. There were heroes I guess, brave people who tried to help, but some of the problems were so big...

...I don't know. There wasn't much Mario and me could do about any of it, we had our own problems. We had to work and work cleaning pests out of the sewers, so we could earn enough money to eat. I like it here better.

I don't get it, why are you asking me-?

D: It wasn't chance that you came to our world, was it?

L: Hmmm...

[short pause]

L: I think Mario heard Peach call for help. Or maybe he learned she was in trouble some other way, I don't know. He discovered the warp here - I don't think he went looking for it, he just found it in front of him and went in. I followed Mario, the warp closed after us, and that was that.

I was scared to be stuck in a strange land at first, but you know what? It's not just that Mario and me learned to like it here. We didn't have anyplace else to go. Our Brooklyn plumbing and pest control business wasn't doing too good, we couldn't even make the rent. Our bills came in bright red envelopes-

D: [quietly] Your home world didn't need you. But our world needed "heroes", so it summoned both of you here.

L: Uh, I guess so?

D: And we've been relying on you to defend us through crisis after crisis, ever since.

L: Uhh, I guess so. Why are you saying all these weird things?

D: Because the Albaphoenix told us-

L: That bird is stuffed full of Pidgit feathers.

D: He was right about the way our world uses "heroes". I'm wondering what else he was right about.