Luigi groaned a few times, then he tried to open his eyes, but he couldn't have them move—his body was sluggish to respond.
"Wh-Where am I…?" he mumbled.
There was a light yet tomboyish voice calling on to him.
Luigi started; the voice sounded somehow familiar. "Who are you?" He strained his eyes to see a lady-like figure among the fluff of the clouds.
The figure made a giggling sound.
Luigi scratched the back of his head and made a disgruntled face. The giggle only leaned even closer to the person in Luigi's assumptions.
He cleared his throat and blinked hard before he said her name.
"Princess Daisy, is that you?"
The figure moved then; it moved closer until it emerged fully out of the clouds and confirmed Luigi's guess.
"Yes, Luigi," Princess Daisy answered, giving him more confirmation than he needed at the moment of the daze. "It's me, Daisy."
Luigi felt like his head whirled. "A-what are you doing here, Daisy?"
Princess Daisy laughed. "What's wrong, green guy? What's wrong with me being here? It's, what? Too 'dangerous' for me?"
"Uh…no, I…didn't mean that, Daisy…."
"So what's wrong, then?"
"It's just—just…a-weird to see you here. Because, well…Hey, where's Yoshi?"
"That's one too many questions, Luigi—I'm sure Yoshi is fine where he is right now. So, why don't we head to the Mushroom Kingdom Castle? Princess Peach promised a cake just for you. You've done such a good job giving all the effort for rescuing Mario—and now you deserve a truckload of thanks for all that. Now, come—everyone's waiting for their hero."
Luigi swallowed convulsively upon the thought of his brother under Bowser's clutches and choked out, "A-but—but Mario—"
"Mario has finally broken free, Luigi."
"H-how was he able to break free? Bowser really got him good—he couldn't escape…."
"Luigi, let's get to the Mushroom Kingdom," Princess Daisy insisted.
Luigi was confused, yet he did little nothing but flounder and did as she said.
Luigi looked around, and was shocked to see that all the white and fluff from World Seven was gone, and replaced with the familiar surroundings of the Mushroom Kingdom. Not far off, there was the Mushroom Kingdom Castle.
"Im…possible…?" he choked.
Princess Daisy shoved him gently on the back. "Hey, don't just stand there—Princess Peach, Mario and all the others are waiting—Yoshi, too."
Luigi's eyes widened. "Yoshi?!"
"Yeah, he's waiting among the many others there in the Castle."
"Um…okay, let's a-go."
Luigi didn't say any more along the way as he walked with Princess Daisy to the Mushroom Kingdom Castle. Though, at times, his mind would dwell upon Yoshi, and it would make him all the more eager to get to the Castle faster. After all, Yoshi had been with him; surely Yoshi would understand the absurdity of the situation going on right now.
The two arrived in front of the Castle. Then, strangely as if the people inside could sense their arrival, the doors opened, allowing them to enter.
"Welcome back and thanks for saving us, Luigi!"
It was hard for Luigi to confirm that he was really in the Castle, since he was practically surrounded by Toads. He could hardly move around where he was standing right now. He had a feeling Daisy couldn't, too—
Hold on, where was Daisy, anyway?!
"Daisy?" He looked around for Princess Daisy, only to see a multitude of Toads surrounding him.
"Everyone, please let Luigi through," Princess Peach said from behind the Toads in front of him.
In immediate response to her words, the Toads moved to the sides to give way to the green plumber. Luigi walked forward right away—all while feeling strangely kingly—then saw his brother, Princess Daisy, Princess Peach, Toadsworth and—he gasped—Yoshi waiting for him in the end of the Toad horde.
"Thanks for saving us, Luigi," Princess Peach said.
"It was very brave of you to battle your way to save us, Luigi," Mario said, walking forward to give Luigi a pat on the back.
"I was shocked to hear the news about everyone in Peach Castle being abducted by Bowser and his minions, but it was a good thing you and Yoshi managed to get them good and save us all! Most especially you, Luigi! You're our hero!" Princess Daisy giggled.
Luigi blushed. The whole "Luigi is our hero" thing still hasn't sunk itself in on Luigi yet.
"We did a good job," Yoshi said. "Everyone's safe, and it's all thanks to you."
Luigi shook his head a bit. "You were there, too."
"True—but if it weren't for your sleuthing skills, we would never have known where to start."
"Gosh, it was only a few good guesses and suggestions."
"Oh, don't be so darn humble, Luigi. For once, stop fussing and enjoy being the hero. That's what you've always wanted, right?"
"Uh…" Luigi blushed from the memory. "A-yeah…?"
"Then let's celebrate! Seriously, Luigi," Yoshi laughed, "everyone's safe, and Bowser and his minions are goners! Just listen!"
All Luigi could practically hear was the never-ending chorus of "Luigi is our hero."
The thinner Mario Brother kept silent for a while, then said, "Okay, let's go eat that cake!"
Mario, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy and Yoshi all laughed. Even Toadsworth.
"Well, come one, everyone," Princess Peach announced. "Let's go eat the cake in celebration of our hero!"
Luigi followed Princess Peach, as with all the others. But despite his excitement, he had the strangest feeling that there was something really wrong with everything going on around the place.
It was then that he noticed something odd on Yoshi's back.
"Hey, Yoshi," Luigi asked hesitantly, afraid that the green dinosaur might be offended. "A-what's with the hump on your back? It a-should be red, right? But…why eez it black?"
Yoshi shrugged. "Do you always notice even the most unimportant things?"
Luigi jumped, embarrassed that he'd even asked that question, then mumbled, "Um, sorry. Silly me…."
The Hero's Welcome Party was fun and, for Luigi, everything he'd ever dreamed. Everyone couldn't (and wouldn't) stop raving about him, and there were times when he felt like he could get tired from answering the endless rounds of questions from eager Toads, but he just decided that he might as well get used to it. After all, Mario dealt with things like that.
Soon after a while, Princess Peach looked at the clock hanging on the wall and announced, "Everyone, it's time to give Luigi the Hero's Sandwich!"
Everyone made cheering noises of agreement as a handful of Toads moved out of the table to head to the kitchen to retrieve the Hero's Sandwich. It only took them two minutes; they came back with a sandwich that seemed twice the length of Yoshi's tongue.
As soon as the sandwich was set in front of Luigi, everyone looked at him expectantly.
"Bite, Luigi, bite!" a Toad urged. Everyone else made the same urging tone.
"Ah, okay," Luigi said, lifting the sandwich from the plate as he began to open his mouth to take the first bite. From the corner of his eye, he still saw the black hump on Yoshi's back—still feeling confused that it should've been red; as was the color of most Yoshis' humps—then decided that it shouldn't really matter.
Luigi was about to take the bite on his Hero's Sandwich, when…
"Hold it, Luigi! Don't take a bite on that sandwich!"