The Koopa Troop
wordcount: 6,769 (+8 (+6 from last)(for Bowser and Kamek only))
Bowser: Level 12 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (213/120)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (89/120)
Kamek: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (88/120)
Rika: Level 7 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (85/70)
Location: The Under - Home of Tears
Central hub: Smash City Alcamoth
Limsa Lominscuttle Town
After they’d set up the auction Bowser and Kamek ended up with some time on their hands. The kids were still off on an adventure, one that the mage was quietly following the progress of using a wisp scout, so they had time. As part of that supervision, Kamek was aware of the help wanted board, and had something of an idea of what they might be able to get up to till they got back.
Or rather what they should do.
”I do believe the absence of a helper might be our fault, given we have taken possession of a man who might very well have filled that role” the mage told his king, still under the impression Jesse had said man in her possession, and perhaps making a rather baseless (maybe even egocentric) assumption given the size of the city. Heedless of these things however, he still suggest that ”Perhaps we should help them out?”
”I dunno…” the king said as he peered at the the notice board ”I am pretty scary looking after all”
”Only to your enemies, to your people you are a reassuring pillar of strength I assure you” Kamek replied, having not exactly expected that to be his king’s objection, even if it made sense in hindsight, but finding a counter to it with relative ease.
He got a grunt of response, which he knew to interpret as a wordless thanks, and then an agreement in the form of ”You know what, I’ve done enough fighting and dealing with weird complex auction houses stuff, I think I deserve to do something easy with the rest of the day, yeah?”
”Or .. maybe not easy, but different” he corrected himself, knowing full well that kids could be quite the handful. Either way, with that decided, they set off to find the orphanage to see if they could help out some kids have a fulfilling evening.
The two ultimately found their destination near the northernmost part of the Collection, on one of the islands directly adjacent to the one with the bridge that connected this district to Fountain Central. Standing on higher elevation than the surrounding islands, the building stood out like a sore thumb against the Home of Tears’ typical architectural style, with gray stone brick and rusty-colored metal rather than interlocking blue shells and silvery wrought iron. Warm light streamed through its windows down on a rather forlorn, rain-battered yard with meager vestiges of long-ruined playground equipment. Compared to the much bigger bridge nearby, the one leading to the Orphanage seemed both far less traveled and well-kept. After splashing over that path’s loose cobbles and perilous potholes the Koopas climbed up some steps and made their way to the front door, where a couple loud thinks of the heavy metal knocker announced their presence.
Instantly they heard a chorus of excited shouts, the voices of at least a dozen children. From behind the door the sounds were muffled, but they could still make out a frenzy of running feet. It soon gave way to the slower, louder thump-thump=thump of heavy footfalls. A moment later, the door unlocked, then swung open. In front of Bowser and Kamek stood what looked like a huge stuffed toy, at least five feet in height and barrel-shaped, with polyester stuffing poking from the spot where its right arm might have once been. Primarily pink in color, it featured a lime-green heart on its chest, a halo, and cross-shaped eyes just above a big zipper that resembled a crude, somewhat menacing mouth. In fact, its entire appearance -though outwardly cute and huggable- exuded a creepy undertone, particularly given its size. By looking a little closer, the two visitors could also see a dozen pairs of eyes locked onto them, some wary, some shining with excitement, and all belonging to the children of the orphanage as their peered out from doorways, behind corners, and around furniture. They could see an orange critter, a young kobold with a fluffy tail, a masked goblin kid, a tiny Zora girl with her plush fish toy, a pair of child spectrobes, a whole quartet of Kaka Kittens, and more. Every one of these kids seemed to be hoping beyond hope that today would be their lucky day. Trying to ignore their excited whispers, the mascot-looking creature took up a little sign from a table beside the door and held it up for the visitors to see. It read: ‘Hello and welcome. How can I help you today?’
The two of them glanced at each other, clearly a little put off by the strange creature, but seeing the children they remembered why they were here, and why they were needed. Well, mostly remembered, as Bowser immediately floundered on one of the details when he began by asking ”Hey there, we’re looking for a .. for a uh”
”Dr. Natasha” Kamek supplied helpfully
”Right. We’re looking for a Dr. Natasha? We’re here to help out for the evening” he concluded.
After a brief moment spent looking between the two, the mascot creature nodded, then gently beckoned the two to follow it inside the orphanage. It led the way down the hall, plodding slowly past the staring children who shrunk away as Bowser drew near by slid out of their hiding spots to follow at a respectful distance. Though a little let down by the news that the Koopas had come to help care for them rather than adopt, the kids seemed happy nonetheless to have someone there to see them. A few seconds later, the caravan arrived at the orphanage's main common room. It was full of couches and beanbags arranged around a TV and dim fireplace, with a few well-used toys here and there, carefully collected into bins to keep the place presentable. Corkboards and chalkboards took the place of paintings, covered with the denizen's scribbled drawings and misspelled letters. A staircase led up to the orphanage's other floors, and a red door stood next to it, labeled 'Natasha's Office' by a big crayon sign above the doorframe. This was where the pink monster headed.
"They're gonna talk to the boss!"
"Aw, how come we never get to see Miss Nat?"
"They're so lucky! Who are they?"
"Do-do-do you think they're gonna adopt one of us?"
"No, dummy, didn't you hear them say they're just helping?"
"Hey, that's still good, you meanie!"
As the other kids whispered and jostled, the nervous little goblin reached up and bravely tugged Bowser's hand. "Um, mister?" He asked, shaking a little as he turned his mask upward to look at the looming giant. "Miss Nat never comes out of her office, so…when you see her, can you give her a hug for us? Please?"
Once the mascot led the visitors into the office, they found themselves in an empty room. There were no windows or other doors, and only a couple articles of furniture. After they entered, the mascot slowly closed the door behind them, then with a click, locked it shut. Without a word, it circles around toward the desk, turned to face them, and then dissolved into a burst of static.
In the creature's place stood a beautiful human woman, with pink eyes, turquoise hair in a ponytail with loose strands across her face, and a mole by her lips. She wore a white dress of a curious style, with several vials of a green liquid worn almost like accessories, and a teddy bear hanging from her waist. Though not that old all things considered, she possessed a distinct motherly air, and her eyes and smile were both gentle and kind. She carefully pulled her headphones off and placed them along with her cassette player on the desk.
"Please forgive my deception," she began, her voice soft. "The poor darlings of this orphanage are all monsters who've lost their parents to humans. I fear the sight of one would upset them. So I rely on this to assume forms that are more comfortable for them. Like Mascotoy, which you saw. The kids name them, they call me 'Stuffy' when I'm in that form." She smiled, giving a light, chirping laugh. "And Burnie, when I'm Spitzfyre. Oh, but forgive me, I always end up babbling. I'm Natasha." She clasped her hands together. "Doctor by day, caretaker by night. Knowing what I am and what I'm doing, are you two still willing to help?"
”Even in a city of monsters, humans still are everywhere it seems” Kamek commented, intending it mostly as a joke, though he did also think it was an odd state of affairs, what with their own world containing only slightly more than a cities worth.
”That is to say, that won’t be a problem Doctor, right?” he then clarified, before glancing at Bowser. The king, for his part had his brow furrowed, and was deep in thought, before coming to a conclusion entirely unrelated to the matter at hand, but which was an answer to it all on its own anyway.
”You probably get a bunch while in disguise, but the kid did ask so” he said, as he stepped forwards and offered her the hug he’d been requested to give her for all her hard work.
“Oh, goodness!” Too tired from a long day’s work to exclaim with any real sense of alarm, Natasha found herself swept up in a titanic embrace. Though wary and on edge at first, she realized what was going on, and relaxed somewhat in Bowser’s strong, albeit comfortable arms. She even found it in herself to squeeze back a little. Once the two stepped apart a moment later, she didn’t even pause to fix her hair, but flashed the two Koopas an appreciative smile.
“Thank you both. I’m so grateful.” She turned to her cassette player and began to switch the tape out. “Well, you’ll get a chance to help right away! I was just about to get started on dinner for everyone. We usually do a big soup to make the most out of what little we have, and give everyone the chance to pitch in. One of my monster forms helps out a lot.” After putting in a tape labeled ‘Cookie (Coaldron)’ with a handful of food-based stickers plastered all over it, she donned the cassette player. “I’ll head over to the kitchen. After you say hi to everyone, please come and join me. Try and make sure everyone feels included. Oh, but look out for the little troublemakers–Skull Kid and Peeper. They might try to play pranks. I’m still working on a way to do lessons, since none of my monsters can talk, so after dinner it’s usually playtime. But on the off chance you have anything to teach or stories to tell, please feel free. I hope you’ll try to get to know everyone, and help them out however you can. We’ll meet up again like this later on to go over the bedtime routine. Sound good?”
”Sounds like a plan” Kamek agreed, before glancing to the side upon hearing the chime of a bell, and seeing the mountain of scales that was his king had become a fair bit fluffier, as Bowser had turned himself into Meowser.
”Some of them seemed a little nervous around me, so I thought maybe this would help?” he said, scratching himself behind his head self consciously as he did so
”It can’t hurt, I’m sure” Kamek replied naturally, before saying that ”I have a bit of experience with teaching children, so I can see what I can come up with on that front”
After receiving confirmation, Natasha unlocked the door, pressed play on her cassette player, and transformed into a tall ceramic figure with a cauldron body. Hobbling from side to side on her stubby little legs, she exited the office room and headed for the kitchen. Immediately everyone set up a cheer, all pretenses of propriety dropped as everything turned to anticipatory chaos. Already the Koopas could begin to get a grasp of everyone’s personalities; the four super-energetic Kaka Kittens were always at the forefront, while the fluffy-tailed koboldling always hung toward the back in complete silence. The Zora was timid and often left behind, but sweet, while the cyclopean alien kid was an annoying loudmouth, never far from a mischievous woodland sprite. As eager as everyone was for dinner, they seemed even more interested in Bowser and Kamek, crowding around them and pushing one another around with all their voices going at once. Possibly due to Natasha being unable to talk as a monster, it seemed like the children here could use some discipline. It was time for the volunteers to introduce themselves.
”Alright children, settle down for just a moment” Kamek requested, sticking close to his king to avoid getting crowded too badly, before introducing them both.
”My name is Kamek, and I’m something of a wizard, while this now fluffy fellow is Bowser” the king gave a wave and a ”Howdy” the pair of them having agreed to not make any mention of the King’s royalty so as to keep things simple ”We will be taking care of you while your usual minder sees to preparing dinner”
”Now then, now that you know our names, how about we go around the room so we can learn who all of you are?”
”Mmm, and how about we start with you” Bowser suggested, pointing out one of the excitable Kittens so as to not leave them impatient, or startle the shyer ones,but fully intending to work though everyone.
As one might expect, the kittens introduced themselves in a cacophony of high-pitched voices laden with verbal tics, each trying to one-up and be heard over the others. Though it took some doing, the Koopas managed to assign each a name after a few moments: the one with the green bow was Cali-Kaka, Feisty-Kaka had the blue, Fluffy-Kaka had the orange, and Spotty-Kaka had the pink. The two troublemakers were quick to introduce themselves, the cyclops as Peepers and the hat-wearing flute player as Skull Kid, evidently thick as thieves. Up next was Small, the energetic orange critter. After introducing himself as Ugu, the young goblin also introduced the kobold as Ga Bu, since the little guy didn’t seem inclined to speak for himself. Tentatively the Zora introduced herself as Finley, after which the two spectrobes announced themselves as Zen and, confusingly, Zora. The two snickering Subling siblings gave their names as Pitch and Dark, though Skull Kid immediately whispered to Kamek that their names were actually Bailey and Jenny. That just left the timid Bakomon, with its entire body covered in cardboard, and Badogai the Baddinyan, who did his very best to look like a delinquent while speaking only a little more crassly than usual.
After that, though, everyone more or less stampeded to the kitchen. Coaldron-Natasha had already filled her basin with water from the sink and was in the process of boiling it, turning it into a delicious broth. Using monster power, it seemed, was an affordable alternative to electric power. At one end of the kitchen lay the door to the pantry, with a crayon sign on it that read ‘Don’t steal! We only have enough to go around if everyone shares!’, but the pantry door lay ajar. Inside, the shelves were almost bare. There was a little bread, a few packets of noodles, a half-empty bag of croutons, some garlic, lentils, carrot, celery, onion, and a few herbs and spices. In the fridge was some meat, mostly chicken but a little beef, as well as cheese. Unfortunately, there were also crumbs on the floor. Someone had already been in here, but for now none of the kids said anything. They began storming the pantry to seize whatever they could to tear up into morsels and throw into tonight’s soup. Some of them, naturally, would just try to eat whatever they got hands on, or start food fights by throwing whatever they didn’t like at other kids they disliked about as much. Voiceless and full of soup, Coaldron-Natasha would struggle to try and oversee everything on her own.
”Oh dear” Kamek commented very generally on the whole situation, while Bowser muttered that he ”Woulda brought food as well if I knew this was gonna be an issue” before doing his best to carefully wade into the mob without stepping on anyone, and act as something of a wedge to try and break up any food fights on his way to blocking the pantry so he could do the food hauling himself.
Kamek meanwhile took to the air atop his broomstick to get an overview of the mob, and then summoned a few hoovering toadies who could drop down, pick up a problem child to either deposit them in a seat or distract them via flying them around the room.
While most of the kids tried helping as best they could, they needed direction to prevent messes and actually accomplish anything. The Kaka Kittens in particular were enthusiastically trying to tackle cooking tasks that their big mitts made tricky, while the Spectrobes didn’t even have hands to help with. Naturally, nobody wanted to set the table, or even get out the utensils and bowls people would need. A few like Ga Bu and Finley just remained passively at a distance, not contributing. Among them were Skull Kid, Peeper, and Baddinyan. After whispering together for a few moments, they split up, and the troublemakers began to cause a ruckus. Peeper tried to take charge of the situation, bossing the other kids around with his loud, nasally voice, while Skull Kid added to the general uproar by playing his flute. While they caused a distraction, Baddinyan snuck around to the shelves and began climbing to get at the cookie jar.
”Oh dear, oh no” Kamek stammered in a little panic, as he tried to direct his minions to put out fires to little success while pinching his forehead. Then the king readjusted how he was thinking about this, and switched tactics and mindsets to that of a boss of mooks.
”Aright, listen up squirts, we’re going to have some order, so you can get fed sooner” the king said with a voice that commanded armies, before reaching a hand over and plucking Baddinyan from their shelf creeping and telling them mre parentally ”and eating sooner means desert sooner” before setting them down.
”Right then. Cali, Feisty, Fluffy, Spotty bowls and plates” he ordered the Kaka kittens, given those were big and more easily handel-able. ”Ugu, Ga Bu, and Finley, help with the food, Dark, Bakomon and Pitch cutlery” because they had more dexterous hands ”Zen and Zora, get the chairs in order” because they were all over and that could be done via handless pushing.
Next ”Peeper, direct traffic and tell me if anyone is goofing off” because it was a less disruptive way of him indulging his desire for power, and someone needed to stop the kids running back and forth from running into each other, ”Baddinyan make sure no one is trying to have dessert or uncooked food before dinner” because who better than a thief to catch, and finally ”Skull kid, give us a marching tune” for some musical accompaniment.
”Everyone got that? Good, then let’s get to it!” he declared, leaving himself and Kamek as overarching supervisors. Right away the Kaka sisters hopped to it, racing to see who could set most places. Ga Bu did not want to help with preparing the ingredients for the stew, but he also didn’t resist when Ugu and Finley tried to coax him into it. Even Natasha helped as much as she could, gentle nudging things -and kids- into place. Pitch and Dark combed the kitchen, collecting every last spoon they could find and passing them to Bako to hold; once they had enough, a jet of steam from Natasha pointed them in the direction of the sink, and the Sublings started washing spoons that Bako then took to the table. Peeper kept bossing and pushing his peers around, and Baddinyan abused his appointment as Cookie Guardian to sneakily help himself, but on the whole the motley crew’s efforts turned a lot more focused and productive. All the while, Skull Kid’s lively playing permeated the whole place, channeled into something constructive rather than denied.
Kamek face-palmed at the decision to put a thief as a guard, but otherwise was rather impressed with his king’s handy work, while the king himself grinned self-assuredly.
Bit by bit the Coaldron filled with ingredients, boiling and simmering until the broth turned a rich greenish-brown, full of vegetables and strips of meat. Knowing the next step, everyone grabbed a bowl from the table and lined up in front of Natasha, jostling for position. She poured out bowlfuls of soup for everyone, including her new helpers. While the bigger kids might need more sustenance, any perceived sign of favoritism would cause issues, so she did her best to dole out equal portions.
All too soon the Coaldron was empty, and as the kids returned to the table to eat Natasha tottered off toward her office. Once hidden within she changed again, and a few moments later returned as a Spitzfyre. Her arrival provoked a chorus of cheers and delighted squeals among most of the children, even the cats, some of whom even left their dinners to rush the goggle-wearing dog down and stroke her fluffy fur. “It’s Burnie,” Finley explained for Kamek and Bowser. “Once we all finish our food, it’s time to play!” She then dug in, supping her soup as fast as she could, and the rest more or less did the same. Burnie sat by the table and waited patiently for everyone to finish.
Bowser, unsurprisingly, finished first given the size disparity, but having seen the state of their larder he did not complain (though his stomach certainly did), while Kamek slowly worked his way through the soup with a speed befitting his age, which at least took the pressure off of any of the slower kids with whom their impatient peers might take issue of their own pace.
“Where are you guys from?” Zen piped up after a few moments. The fiery little monkey’s eyes were wide with curiosity. “Never seen monsters like you before!”
Zora curled up by his bowl with his legs tucked underneath him, looking like a fluffy ball of wool. “Oh, they’ve gotta be from outside! What’s it like out there?”
“Yeah, tell us! Tell us, tell us!” the Kittens chimed in.
”Well, I mean that depends on what bit of the outside you wanna hear about, because we’ve been around a bit. If you just mean outside the city, well then … we’ve been to where the rain comes from” Bowser said, deciding that was maybe a good place to start
”It’s this huuuuge lake inside a massive cavern, and it's got these ancient trees going from these little sand banks alllll the way up to the ceiling. We had to climb down one and it took ages”
”But we’ve also been outside too,” he added, before emphasizing ”I mean really outside, above ground, under the blue sky. Been to a few places on this donut of a world. There’s Alcamoth, which we’re calling home at the moment, which is a city that floats. In the air. Very, uh, white, and with big domes. It’s in this place called the Land of Adventure, that apparently changes every week. New landscape, new creatures, new everything.”
The King wasn’t it had to be said, the best wielder of descriptive language, but he was happy enough to answer questions, and did try his best, even if it was unlikely he could paint a picture with words that could really convey what it was like beyond to these kids who had likely never seen anything beyond their rainy city. At least, not that they remembered anyway.
It was a thought along those lines that gave Kamek pause for thought, the mage wondering, if this world really had existed for far longer than they thought, then where, there children who had been born into it? Perhaps even ones who were children of more than one world. And if so, what would happen to them, if they managed to set everything back to the way it was.
It was a concerning thought, but one blissfully absent from Bowser’s mind as he tried to explain what things were like outside, as well as going and talking about the many strange and wonderful kingdoms that had existed back in their universe.
Most of the kids listened with bated breath as Bowser filled their heads with fantastic images, painting a vivid picture of the skies and seas that underworlders like them could only have ever dreamed of. Even Natasha found herself entranced. Though she possessed distant memories of the crisp blue heavens and the feeling of cold wind on her face, it felt like a lifetime ago. These tales made her homesick, bringing her back to the childhood she herself spent in an orphanage underground before adoption by her overworld family. Losing the sky, the snow, the breeze, and the fresh air all over again hurt, but her heart went out to these poor children who hadn’t the slightest idea what they’d been missing all this time.
When the stories came to an end, playtime began. Interested as the kids had been, none of them had neglected their food, and when Burnie started barking and performing a play-boy the children stuffed in their last couple spoonfuls of lukewarm soup and raced to join in on the fun. In no time Ugu, Pitch, Dark, and Finley were all perched on the Spitzfyre’s back, riding her as she ran around in playful pursuit of the squealing Kaka Kittens, chased in turn by the young spectrobes and Baddinyan. In that fashion they ran all around the orphanage, through its halls, up and down its stairs, and around the common room. The Spitzfyre even consented to chase and fetch a thrown ball, humiliating as that must be for her. Skull Kid and Peeper went off to entertain themselves. When the kids were tired of exercise with Spitzfyre, they settled down in the main room to play with what few toys and games the orphanage possessed, but most of the focus lay on Bowser and Kamek. “C’mon, play with us!” the kittens chorused, hoping their new friends could offer them something fun and new.
”How about a magic trick” Kamek offered, which got a ”Huh,” from Bowser who had thought they’d be doing something else before the mage floated up and whispered a plan into his ear, which earned the mage an ”Oooooh” of understanding from his king, who then hurried to pop into the good doctors office to get his jacket.
While he did that part, Kamek asked ”Now then, could one of you get me a blanket, or a bedsheet, or something of the sort? I’ll need it for the trick. And neatly please, it will have to go back after after all”
The children were off like lightning, scattering in all directions to find and bring back the requested item. Within a minute several groups returned with blankets, working together to drag them along the ground. Small and Ugu ended up riding on a sheet pulled by the spectrobes, although once the Kaka Kittens saw that all four dropped their blanket in order to jump on it for a ride, leaving theirs stopped in its tracks. With Zen and Zora weighed down, Bako pulled ahead with a patched-up quilt thrown over her shoulder, and after reaching Kamek first she offered it to him. That left Pitch, Dark, and Finley in second and third place, though they all seemed too interested in the Magikoopa’s trick to really care. Spitzfyre-Natasha helped pulled the squealing kittens over on their blanket to join the group, and everyone crowded around to see Kamek work his magic.
All that excitement kept eyes conveniently off of Bowser, who shuffled back in just in time to help Kamek run a bit of sleight of hand combined with actual magic.
The children had seen the koopa float, of course, so but now he pulled out all the stops.
”Now, you might not know this, but today is a day of change, or so I have heard. When children both good and bad, get what they deserve.” the mage said with rhyme, as he crafted wisps out of magic to fill the room with glowing motes, and using the same magic he used to color shift his clone to change their hue as well, though that was all the effect it had.
”But that is jumping to the end of the story
And we’ll get back there soon, don’t you worry
Now this city of yours, did you know it once had a king?
his kindness and courage, the people would sing
Yet because of those both, he had to leave for reasons most dire
To tend to the cities roaring inner fire”
As the mage spoke, he made the wisps dance through the air, having them form together to form crude depictions of the tale he was spinning.
”And once he was gone, an imp crept on in
Nasty and rotten and rude as sin
Was he human or swine, or something even stranger?
All I can say, is that to tell him now would have been a great danger
For his tantrums where cruel and creepy
While his minions they were ever so sneaky
Yet the king, still gone one day made some friends
And to them he put the task of fulfilling some ends”
A small horde of colorful whips descended into the room from above, having snuck up into the ceiling while the kids where looking elsewhere
”they snuck down into the city, under cover of night
Ready and willing to fight the good fight
First they made a new ally, atop a great tower
And from him learned the secrets of their foe’s power
First they sniffed through the streets to find the pigs minions, who hid in the dark
And faced them in battle, though for them that was walk in the park
Then into his castle, they strode without fear
Knowing by the next day, all would have reason to cheer
Some went high, and others low
Ready to take part in a two part show”
The ‘fights’ as they were, were a combination of glorified pushing matches, yet by swooping to and fro, they wisps manage to make their conflicts rather dynamic.
”up in the tower, they fought a great battle
One in which the pig thought he would slaughter them like cattle
For control over time, that tyrant did wield
And against that power, there is no shield
Yet with their determination and brawn,
The heroes soldiered on
And with all the strength of a storm
They forced that pig to reveal his true form”
The whips dashed to and fro, the rainbow of warriors facing down a much larger purple foe.
”the battle after that it went on and on
But in the end the pig refused to sing a swan song
Down into the depths, that coward did flee
Yet deep down below, his fate he would see
For they heroes had known, of his little hide away
A place where the pig thought he could stay
Safe and snug, with ill gotten gains
Yet instead what he got was yet more pains
Together, at last they banished him from the lands
And so at last the king could know peace, in his exiled sands”
The large purple whip was ejected by the others, tossed through a window and into the rain, as had been the fate of all those defeated by the heroic wisps, before said heroes returned to bobbing around above the children’s heads as Kamek brought the tale to a close.
”Which brings us back to children getting what they are owed
And the point, dear children, of the story told
You see to steal from your people, that is something quite nasty
But to steal back from a thief, well, about that let's not be hasty
For that pig had taken treasures, oh yes he did
And down in the depths, was where they were hid
Gold and jewels, and yes, even toys
All taken away from good girls and boys
Yet rather than be used for what they were meant: play
These toys dear children where all locked away
And of these toys the heroes knew what should become
Because there were kids not at all like the pig who really deserved them”
”and do you know who those kids are?” Bowser asked, having made plenty of use of the distracting performance to slip some things under the bed sheet they had retrieved at the beginning.
”Well, how about we see?
What these heroes have brought for thee?”
Kamek asked, before, whipping a wand towards the little lump in the bedsheet, the ‘heroes’, the colorful whips, swooping towards it as he did so, and then spiraling around and around it as the lump grew and grew, larger and larger before their very eyes, before they all suddenly vanished up into the ceiling, leaving behind a great mass barely covered by the sheet.
”Go on” Bowser told the children, urging them to unwrap the gift from the ‘heroes’
For a few moments, everyone was silent. Their wonderment and amazement at Kamek’s incredible visual performance and accompanying verse had given way to bamboozled astonishment as he unveiled the hoard of loot. Even Natasha stared, her jaw dropped in bewildered surprise, her jaw practically on the other floor. To the denizens of this orphanage, this was nothing short of a miracle. Could it even be a dream? But when little Ga Bu stepped forward and took hold of a little doll, fashioned after a stocky stone titan, there could be no doubt. This incredible, unexpected windfall was one hundred percent real.
The kids all descended on the pile, shouting and laughing and cheering. Some took everything they could get their hands on, while others seized a favorite and held it tight. There were more than enough to go around–more than anyone could ever want or need. Action figures and sports equipment, toy weapons, board games, blocks and other buildables. It was like every Christmas they’d missed had all come at once. With her head Natasha beckoned Bowser and Kamek to share in the joy, and even she joined the romp. It wasn’t just the Koopas paying the children of the orphanage a visit; it was happiness and plenty themselves.
Some time later, Bowser and Kamek reconvened in Natasha’s office. When the woman turned back, her eyes were red, and her cheeks were wet with tears not of sadness, but of joy. “What…what could I possibly say? There’s nothing I could say that would even begin to express my gratitude,” she said, her brows curved upward. “A-and even less I can do to repay you.” One at a time she went to each Koopa and delivered a heartfelt hug. “But thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Seeing such joy on their face…” Sniffing, she composed herself, and put on a smile. “Well. It’s not much longer until bedtime. I’m sure everyone wants to play with their new toys until they topple over, but they’ll be there in the morning. We need to get everyone ready for bed. The kittens will probably zonk out and need to be carried. We’ll have to brush Small’s teeth, I guarantee it. He’ll have hidden the toothpaste…again…” Stifling a yawn, Natasha steadied herself against her desk. “I…whoooo...oh, forgive me. I’m so very tired.” She reached up to put her headset back on, only to place it back on the desk. “Please go ahead. I’ll be right behind you…just a second to put myself together…”
The two looked a little embarrassed by this heartfelt praise, with Bowser trying to brush it off like it was not such a big deal seeing as to him ”It just felt like the right thing to do, I guess?”
Then they stepped out to give the good doctor a moment or five to recover and saw about either hedging or transporting the children to bed, with Bowser doing much of the latter, the king making for an adorable sight with armfuls of kittens at one point in the process. A few of the others did need to be encouraged to leave the toys be and to head to bed, which was eventually achieved via suggesting they pick out a stuffed animal (or monster) to take with them, which saw Finley carrying a stuffed shark as large as they were with her to bed, among other cute displays of plushy selection and affection.
As that occurred, Kamek had some wisps sniff out the toothpaste for him, the motes, glowing softly with orange hues of sunset, eventually tracking it down to under Small’s own very own pillow.
When finally confronted, Small stared bug-eyed at the pink tube in the Koopa’s hand. “Uh oh, you found the toothpaste!?” He held up his hands placatingly, backing up against the bathroom wall as he jabbed one shaky finger into the air. “L-let’s get one thing clear! I can brush my teeth all by myself, okay?”
”Then I’m sure you can be a big boy and prove that to me then, yes? After all, a mouth of pearly white pointy teeth can look ever so fierce” the old koopa replied, trying the tactic that had gotten both Bowser and his son to take their dental hygiene properly.
In the end though, Small would not be talked into it. Moreover, this whole tooth-brushing ritual seemed to be a sort of game to him. He hopped around the bathroom like a march hare, avoiding the toothbrush like Kamek was ‘it’ in a game of tag. Ultimately, the Magikoopa had to get a little more hands-on. Once finally caught and brushed, Small struggled and spat, frothing at the mouth from the pink toothpaste foam, but before long his pearl whites were sparkling and he slunk off to bed with the last of his energy spent. Bowser and Kamek got the chance to tuck everyone in and say goodnight. It was all very cute, but they couldn’t help but notice two things: that Natasha wasn’t here helping, and that Ga Bu was missing.
When they went back downstairs, the two Koopas quickly found out why. The door to the doctor’s office was ajar, and inside they discovered a remarkable scene. After sitting down in her chair, Natasha had passed right out from exhaustion, and was now snoring softly. In her lap lay the missing Kobold with his toy, his little head laid on the woman’s chest as her arms wrapped instinctively around him. Both were sleeping peacefully.
After resisting the temptation to “awww” at the sight, the two stepped away, only for Kamek to return a few moments later, quietly drifting through the air and then laying a blanket over the pair so they would stay warm through the night time period. Then the two quietly saw themselves out of the orphanage, not at all concerned that they would not be able to receive the ‘repayment’ mentioned in the commissions board notice by doing this.
Bowser stretched and yawned wide once they were clear, it having been a tiring ending to an already tiring day ”I am beat. And still kinda hungry”
”Mmm, I agree, that was quite the task. Hopefully we’ve brightened up their world a little bit however” Kamek replied to his king, before noting that ”That said, our work is not quite done, as we have two final children that need to be put to bed”
”They’re good, right?” the king asked, having not had the mental energy while handling all the other kids to think about how the two of them were off on their own. He was sure that together, they’d be fine, but he worried a little still.
”They’ve been on their own little adventure, but I’m directing them back to us now” the mage informed his king, relieving him of his stress.
”Good, then let’s link up, grab some midnight snacks, and then hit the hay” the king commanded, to which Kamek agreed with a ”As you will it, sire” before the two headed back off into the rainy city’s streets once again.