The complete fan-fiction work Exploration Through the Skies.

Prologue: The Tale of a Koopa King

Chapter 1: The Princess's Surprise

Mario was enjoying his vacation. Atop a river of marinara sauce, he ripped a piece off of his pizza pie raft, dipped it into the river and took a nice bite. Just delicious! All was peaceful in this world of Italian food. Mario was getting very sick of wasting his time fighting crime, and it was about time he got some time off. Not a sound could be heard from around him, and he sat for a minute...

"Mail call! Mail call!"

Mario awoke from his dream lifted his head from his bed. That damned mailtroopa, always waking him up at the best parts! Well apparently, there was some mail to be picked up, and after he had showered, changed and brushed his teeth, Mario groggily strolled outside to pick up what had been left.

Mario opened his mailbox to find a pleasant surprise--two letters, from some of his favorite people! Kolorado, the Koopa explorer, had left a small note almost falling out of its not-so-tightly-sealed envelope, and Mario was greatly intrigued. But the other letter came as a priority--a pink, sparkling envelope that could be from none other than Princess Peach. Sure enough, Mario opened it to find this message, written in Peach's lovely handwriting:

Dear Mario,
I have a surprise for you! Come to the castle as soon as you can, and I'll be ready to show you! See you soon!
~Yours truly, Princess Peach

With that, Mario lost all of his interest in Kolorado's note; the Princess was his priority, and this sounded very exciting. Mario jumped into his warp pipe to Toad Town, heading off to the castle, just imagining what the surprise could be.

When Mario arrived, he was dying to simply burst in to discover his surprise, but as a gentleman he knew it would be polite to knock. He knocked on the castle doors, but they did not open. He knocked continuously for about five minutes, but no one arrived. He then tried to open it up himself, but it was tightly locked up. Fortunately, Mario was quite familiar with the castle and knew of an entrance through the moat.

Mario dove in, swam below the bridge leading to the entrance, and unlocked the door leading to the basement. He swam inside and stood up. After drying off a bit, he looked around to find quite the unusual site: the plumber Toads that were usually working in the basement were nowhere to be found! Maybe they were hiding for some sort of surprise party for Mario. Either way, Mario was ready to go upstairs. It was about time he got this surprise.

As Mario dashed to the top floor, he took great suspicion in the fact that absolutely no Toads were to be found anywhere, but it was very likely they were just hiding for his surprise. He eventually arrived at the princess's door and knocked, as he had done at the castle entrance. He recognized her sweet voice:

"Oh, Mario! Finally you have arrived." Her voice became a bit softer and suggestive. "Would you like to see your surprise from your special princess?"

Mario was ready for anything. Overcome with lust, he burst into the door without thinking at all--only to find Bowser, floating around in his Clown Copter around all of the castle's Toads locked up in animal cages!

"Gwahahahaha!" laughed Bowser maniacally.

"Oh, no!" gasped Mario, but he quickly braced himself for a fight.

Mario leaped up to head-stomp Bowser, but noticed in midair that Bowser was wearing a bowling ball-styled helmet. Mario landed on the helmet, but before he slipped off, he grabbed onto one of Bowser's recently polished horns, and ripped it right off as he fell. Now Bowser was a bit confused where Mario had disappeared to and was rotating in his Copter, and didn't spot Mario falling off, so Mario was able to slip the horn into his back pocket; a nice trophy to keep in his room, whether or not it grew back for Bowser (it was bound to in a week or two). Bowser suddenly began to scream in pain, and it was no doubt to him that Mario had done something to him.

"SPLITTING HEADACHE!" he roared, and reached up to feel the top his helmet, and noticed one of his horns was gone. He noticed Mario laughing on the floor, and turned a deep shade of red.

"YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS, MARIO!" Bowser yelled, but Mario was still laughing.

Bowser extended his Clown Copter's arm, and grabbed Mario with its claw.

"Nononononononono!" Mario pleaded, but it was too late.

"Good-bye, Mario!" said Bowser. Mario glared at him, speechless, and spotted a gleaming ring on his finger. That's a new one, he thought, disgusted in Bowser's showoff style. Bowser sent Mario out the window, then threw him at least a mile west. Mario fell back to sleep in midair, too mad at himself to think about what was to happen.

Mario returned to his dream from earlier that morning. He floated upon his pizza raft, and was approaching an island inhabited by jumbo garlic shrimp. He landed ashore, and was about to stuff one into his mouth, when suddenly...THUNK! Mario landed in a forest clearing and woke up. And at the he best part again, too! This area seemed a bit familiar to Mario, and sure enough, he spotted a familiar face nearby. Goombaria, the friendly female Goomba, was picking flowers just feet away, and turned around to spot her Italian friend, lying on the ground.

"Mario!" she exclaimed, running over to help him up. "Is Bowser at it again?" Mario got up and explained what had just occurred.

"So you're telling me," said Goombaria, "that Bowser perfectly disguised his voice to sound like Princess Peach?"

"Yes!" stressed Mario. Goombaria frowned. She had been reading up a lot on magic while she studied to become a mushroom grower, and this was sounding very fishy.

"Mario," she said, "there's only one way I know of that would allow this power of disguise. Was Bowser wearing a big ring, by chance?"

"Why, a-yes," replied Mario. "It was-a very big, a big-a green emerald gem sticking out-a." Goombaria's jaw dropped in shock.

"MARIO!" she exclaimed. "Bowser stole that ring from Boo's Mansion!! That's not an average disguise Bowser's got--he can turn into anything he wants with enough energy! You need to get that ring away from him as soon as you can!!"

Mario gasped, but it was nothing he didn't suspect. He knew that he was about to go get that ring back, but alone?

"Goombaria, will-a you come and-a help me?" asked Mario, but Goombaria declined. Too bad, but Mario was sure he could get the job done without too much trouble. He also still had Bowser's horn, which could come in handy. Mario took a quick rest in the Toad's House, the two said their good-byes, and then Mario was off. But to where? Not the castle; Boo's Mansion, of course!

Chapter 2: Trouble at Boo's Mansion

"WHAT?!" shouted Lady Bow in anger. "MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER'S RING, STOLEN?!! Someone is up to no good! You can turn into anything with that ring! And there's no doubt in my mind that whoever's got it isn't using it correctly!"

"I'm so sorry, madam, but there was nothing I could do!" wailed Bootler. Bootler was under some heavy stress due to everything that had been happening within Boo's Mansion, and being yelled at by his master didn't help. "By the time I had entered the room, the thief had transformed into King Boo, and I myself had quite the scare!"

"This is a disaster!" yelled Lady Bow, who was on the edge of a tantrum. The two were interrupted by a series of heavy knocks on the door. "Oh, who is it now?" growled Bow.

"I've got it," said Bootler, not in the mood for more complaints. He opened it, and was knocked over by a one-ghost stampede by a small blue Boo wearing a Sarasaland Sluggers baseball cap.

"Lady! Lady!" yelled the panting Boo.

"Not now, Booddy," groaned Bow.

"No, it's urgent! It's about your ring!!"

"Then go ahead, but I don't know if anything you have to say will mean anything."

"Well, I was pulling my usual Wednesday 7 A. M. scare on the folks of Toad Town, but no one seemed to be home. I went in Princess Peach's room because she's always a fun one, but when I arrived, I saw all the Toads of Toad Town and the castle locked up in cages! The princess didn't seem to care much at all, and said a few things to Mario, who was outside the door, and when Mario bursted in, 'Peach' turned into Bowser and began to fight with Mario!" Lady Bow was appalled.

"Of all the troublemakers to have my ring in the Mushroom Kingdom, BOWSER?! Thanks for letting me know, Booddy."

"The pleasure was all mine, madam," said Booddy sweetly. "Am I going to move up in rank?"

"No! No go wash my dishes!!" yelled Lady Bow, and Booddy hurried off. Bow turned to Bootler. "You! Go get my ring back!" she demanded, and Bootler hastily hurried off.

Bootler was back in less than an hour.

"Did you get the ring back?" excitedly asked Bow.

"Why of course, madam!" said Bootler, snickering. Lady Bow looked at him suspiciously, then gasped.

"You're not Bootler! You're Bowser!!" she screamed.

"You're smarter than I thought, Lady Bow," said a transforming Bowser, "but that's not going to save you." With that, Bowser transformed into a gigantic Bob-ulk and began to self-detonate himself multiple times, causing heavy damage all over the mansion! Booddy was able to escape, and he knew that he needed to get help immediately.

To be continued...

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