Luigi sighed as he walked into the door. He could only think of Yoshi, his green dinosaur friend, back there. He thought of how brave he was, to put himself in between him and Kamek’s shot. Not just brave, utterly selfless—sacrificing in the place of a friend had always been considered a core act of nobility. He wondered idly what would have happened if his pal hadn’t done that….
Luigi shook his head. No, that wouldn’t have happened, he argued with himself. Yoshi gave me this chance; he knew that I’d have to face Bowser, he knew that it would have to be me who would face him in the end.
The green plumber looked around. The place was mainly a familiar red and gray, with the torches and pillars. For some strange reason, it reminded him of the boss levels of every notable Super Mario game—where taking Bowser down would be as easy as getting around him and pushing the switch to drop him off at the lava…
He sighed. If only it could be as easy…
Luigi’s train of thought was cut off short when he heard the familiar deep (and smug) voice.
“Bowser…,” Luigi muttered, not bothering to look up. It was painfully obvious who it was, anyway. And besides—they had just defeated his right-hand man. Who else could he have possibly sent out?
“Funny—I would’ve thought I’d be expecting the cavalry you oafs brought in with you to deal with my minions. But I guess my underlings were too much for your ‘reinforcements’ to handle? Guess I shouldn’t be too shocked that I’d only have to deal with you and your—Oh wait, that’s right!” Bowser threw his head back and guffawed. “Your steed’s back there, wussing out of a fight!”
Luigi seethed. As if the mean cracks and insults Kamek had for Yoshi weren’t enough…
“Let’s just a-get this over with, Bowser,” Luigi said through clenched teeth; he still hadn’t bothered looking up to see Bowser in the eye the entire time. “You took my brother and practically everyone in Peach Castle, made Birdo and everyone else in Yoshi’s Island go all their way and fight for the sake of letting us get to you and get your lazy ass kicked, and now you even went so far as to force Yoshi out of the fight?” He could feel his hands, which he hadn’t noticed until now were clenched into fists, trembling. He struggled to stay in control; Yoshi had practically taught him to put it together back there when Kamek had gone insane.
“Well, that’s their decision, and frankly, I couldn’t give a million shits what it cost them.” Bowser’s tone was blunt, and uncaring. Part of Luigi wondered how he was able to still keep up with the conversation.
Luigi finally looked up. Bowser had his arms folded across his chest, his expression as smug as his tone earlier; he was only a few inches away from his throne, and a few feet away from him. The thin Mario brother gulped—after all they had been through, why did it suddenly feel as if everything happened so fast?
“Well…?” Bowser taunted, cracking his knuckles. “It’s just you and me—let’s see who’ll get out of this with his ass whooped. Don’t be surprised, though, if it’s you.”
Luigi raised both his fists defensively, tensing. “Here we go,” he muttered.
It all happened too fast—almost as fast as it was back between Yoshi and Kamek when the latter tried to shoot the plumber.
Luigi felt the floor carpet, which he had been standing on, now beneath his body. He now saw the ceiling instead of Bowser and the end of the hall a while back. He wasn’t sure if the blow was meant to hurt—he had only been numb.
He struggled to get up, but then now he felt himself crash onto the wall behind him—all he saw was a blur of motion as he had been flung across the hall. Even that, too, he wondered if that was supposed to hurt—he had barely felt a thing. Was the numbness he had felt back with Yoshi slowly creeping to him?
Bowser stifled a yawn. “Gee, this gets boring. Now I’m surprised Kamek didn’t finish you off. What had you guys done that made my right-hand homeboy tick off and get all batshit insane with you two? Right now I barely even have to try!”
The Koopa King grabbed Luigi by the shirt. “And I guess this is the end, then? Even if I let you try to land a blow at me, it wouldn’t be much, so there’s no point anyway.” His expression continued to drip boredom. “I’d spare you and throw you off in the dungeon as well, but you have become far too much of a nuisance for me to just let you off like that.”
Luigi made a weak attempt to struggle out of Bowser’s grip, which the latter ignored.
“Your number is up, Green ‘Stache,” Bowser laughed boisterously. “I guess one flame would be enough to put you out. Don’t worry—this will only hurt…a lot.”
The green plumber continued to kick and strain. He had to admit that it was virtually useless—there was nothing he could do that would free him from Bowser’s grip. Unless….He saw an opportunity to get away, but it wasn’t without the risk.
He saw the flame begin to ignite inside Bowser’s mouth. “Time to say goodbye, piece of shit.”
Luigi tried to swing back and forth, hoping he could reach it higher. He swung and swung…
All of a sudden Bowser felt in his mouth not the flames he had been about to spout out, but the soles of the green plumber’s shoes.
“What the fuck—?” Bowser growled in a muffled voice.
Bowser’s shock was just sufficient enough to release his grip on Luigi, dropping him free.
As Luigi quickly got up, Bowser spat out the dirt that had gotten into his mouth, courtesy of the former’s shoes.
“That’s what you get for all the insults,” Luigi said.
Bowser looked mildly irritated. Wow, had he been taking anger management lessons now? Luigi thought, surprised the Koopa King’s temper hadn’t blazed like it would have.
Instead of a barrage of more swear words and profanity, he laughed, making Luigi jump in shock.
“So now I can somehow see why Kamek failed to take you out,” he said in between howls of laughter. “Looks like child’s play is over for me, then.”
Then he looked at the plumber with an expression that suddenly made the latter wary.
“So you want to face this battle to the end? Fine—let’s play it that way.”
And he strode closer to Luigi.