Onward and Upward 1-1
"Ishnail the former terror of Rogueport was unconscious and twitching, the remains of Eastside where smoldering, and behind her the applause was becoming more enthused. Things had gone spectacularly, for a mostly improvised plan. Now all she had to do was capitalize on this success. A tap on the shoulder brought her back from her thoughts.
"Pardon my interruption. Hate to be a bother but, if I may, could I inquire as to why you destroyed my house?" The speaker wore a long blue rope, their eyes glowed from under the deep hood. A positively amazing bushy mustache that hung halfway to the cobblestones. "I… foresaw great change coming, but the spirits are persnickety of late. Probably vague on purpose you know, but is not the path of life one of vagueness?"
"Oh. I… I'm sorry about..." Bowsette was taken off guard.
"Yet even so we seek out the truth, for this is the condition by which all must purpose themselves. Seeking but rarely finding, looking but not seeing! Witnessing without belief!" He continued as if he hadn't talked over her. Pity about the professor's house though. Lots of brilliant ramblings lost. But if we may circle back to the original question, regardless of the answer, for I am a ever a student of life!"
"That was a lot to take in with the events thusly. It had been a very interesting seven or so hours, and apparently it wasn't over yet. "I apologize about your home. I've been improvising a lot lately. It's still new for me." Bowsette replied somewhat in confusion.
"Not having such a good go at it, eh? Not that you asked for a critique, yet critique we do, whenever we experience the world with our senses, wouldn't you say? Or wouldn't you? I'm curious. My name is Merlon by the way… I'm a wizard you know."
"Bowsette didn't begin to know how to reply to that. Half her mind was trying to sort out that stream of consciousness ramble. The other half was weighing the cost of saving face here after inadvertently wreaking a wizards house. Tangling with magic users was bad more often than not. "About your house, I can pay to have it rebuilt..."
"Houseboat!" Merlon nodded as if suddenly remembering something. "Bobbery the old salt. Got himself a houseboat. Probably hoping some storm or sea beast will make it sink and him with it." He nodded again. "Er, about this one though." He nudged Ishnail with his shoe. "Curious about this business you know. Not that I'm complaining. Bad egg sort, you know? Could have happened to someone nicer I'd say."
"Um, so about your house…" Bowsette tried again.
"Merlon you raggedy old soothsayer, are you going to talk this one deaf? Peeka interjected. "She offered to pay for your house. Besides, losing some property is a small price to pay for the peace we can have now." The blue Boo wrapped her ghostly hands around Bowsette's arm, and tugged her away from the crowded scene and the babbling wizard. "Besides, there's people who's need to see you is much more pressing." Bowsette was aware of eyes watching her from the shadows and even the rooftops as she was led through the plaza to the Westside for the second time today.
Boss Frankie Pianta's office was plush and air conditioned to a chilly degree, featuring portraits of various island locations- Blooper Bay, Lavalava Island. Sherbert Island, Sunset Beach and others Bowsette didn't immediately recognize. Maybe he missed the island life. Maybe he just liked collecting pictures. Frankie himself was your typical stocky Pianta, dressed in a white suit jacket, tie and sunglasses that somehow didn't clash with the traditional leaf skirt. His two bodyguards were dressed similar but in black jackets.
"Ah good day miss. Don Frankie, pleased to meet you." His handshake was surprisingly gentle for his large hands. "Welcome to my humble port town. I apologize for any... inconveniences... you suffered from those dirty street vermin."
"I'm a pretty capable girl, so I handled it." Bowsette replied as she took a seat across from the desk. "I had actually hoped to get more of an understanding on the situation, maybe meet with your organization and come to an understanding first but…." Bowsette waggled her hand in the air. "Things happened."
"S'posin' that is true, what concern is that of you? Iffin' you don't mind me asking. You some type of wandering hero or some such?"
"Yes and no... ish? I'm building a reputation, collecting pieces of the big pie, and if I can make people happy in the process- why not?" Bowsette smiled.
"Ha! You' here ta' take over my place? You can have it." Frankie sounded serious. Bowsette thought again about the pictures lining his walls. Mayber her initial impressions weren't so off the mark. "Lotta stress. Little pay off."
"You misunderstand, Frankie. I'm taking the whole pie. From here to Toad Turnpike. From Star Road to the Underground Grrrols and everything in-between. But I don't see any need to micromanage every hamlet and region and sub-kingdom. You and your organization can keep this place in shape, and I won't interfere in your business. In fact, I could help expand your horizons with my connections."
Boss Frankie leaned back in his chair, weighing her words. "You have my attention Ms, er-"
"Princess Bowsette." She smiled. "First we need to establish a stabilizing agent. A figure for people to get behind, and I assume you prefer to work under the curtain when possible."
"You would assume correctly. Might I take it you won't be staying in our friendly town?"
"Settling down doesn't fit the wandering hero image. Plus as I said, I have bigger pieces of pie to go after. Lets install a mayor, someone respectable that will play ball with you. I'd suggest Podley but I don't know all the locals." Bowsette replied.
"Or, Admiral Bobbery. He has a good standing in th' community. Might haffta play him a little light, then move in Podley next election." Frankie was warming to the idea.
"I'll leave the finer details to your capable hands. Now about the damages, apparently I destroyed a wizards house."
"Eh." Frankie waved it off. "We'll take care of the rebuilding, and maybe in return you can give us a leg in Shuffle City. Lean on Game Guy's trade." He smiled at the thought. Bowsette hoped for his sake Game Guy wasn't as ruthless as the snail had been. She didn't even know where Shuffle City landed on the map. At least it wasn't Wario City or Twilight City. Those were near the end of the spectrum in her rough timeline of takeover events. "How should we contact you on ya travels?"
"I'm between devices actually-" Frankie raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "I've been submerged in water twice and stripped of most of my possessions." She replied uncharacteristically defensive. Frankie snapped his fingers, and one of the bodyguards produced a communicator like a magic trick.
"Consider this a token of our appreciation." Frankie handed it to her. "I'm look'n forward to our future business." The meeting was over by unspoken agreement, and Bowsette made her exit. "You got her?" He asked his other bodyguard once she was gone.
"Check that, boss." He replied, handing over another communicator. A red dot representing the device move along a digital map of Rogueport.
"Good. Cause that dame is made 'uh crazy. I want some warning before she comes back this way."
"Think she'll do all that what she said?" The bodyguard asked
"Yeah." frankie said after a beat. "The crazy ones are capable of anything."
Rogueport Train Station
"Excuse me. Hello, yes you there, the one with the hair. Ms Explosion." The wizard Merlon called from behind her, getting an annoyed sigh from Bowsette. She had been hoping to slip away quietly from town. She wanted to make a big impression, but didn't want to answer a lot of curious questions about her history. It was going to be an awkward balancing act, and now she had something to throw her off.
"Might I have a moment of your time, or ten as the Excess Express is consistently late, or such as I have observed. I often sit and watch you know, ever a student of life. The spirits just a few ticks ago became very chatty. Quite conversational I must say, and say I must. They are very insistent that you are to ride but to fly." Merlon continued relentlessly. Bowsette wondered how he could talk so much without pausing for breath.
"Spirits? What spirits?"
"Oh, you know, spirits." Merlon gestured vaguely. "The sort you consult for this and that. Mostly that. Or rather that wizardly types consult. Psychics and such. Can't imagine it's too many common folk or it wouldn't be that novel!"
"Oh." Bowsette replied, becoming curious in spite of herself. "And I care about your spirits opinion why?"
"Because the spirits know all! Mostly- generally- on numerous occasions… They knooooooow! That's the important thing, and to ignore the sage advice of a wizard is to invite trouble into your lap. The next leg of your journey is not outward, but UPWARD!" The wizard threw his arms out over his head dramatically.
"Talk sense old man. I've had a rough…" She checked the communicator. "Twelve hours. Spill what you know and step off."
"Firstly, you must travel to Glitzville! There you will meet a wandering master. And second, we must travel together! My destiny has become intertwined with yours and henceforth we will-"
"Not gonna happen." Bowsette cut him off, turning back to face the rails.
"You must! You owe me for my house. Plus you're the most interesting person to come through here in ages. Your aura positively radiates with potential. I have to see what adventures you embark on. Also, ahem, future seeing wizard? Imagine the possibilities! I say imagine, because I can actually see them! With my wizardly powers!"
"Bowsette sighed outwardly. In her mind however, having a traveling companion might not be so bad. Especially if he really can tell the future. "Go pack or something. I need to make a call."
"A wizard collects only knowledge, and carries only wisdom. Also you blew up all my stuff if you could remember." Merlon replied, sounding a little peeved for the first time. "However I understand the need for privacy and shall grant you the space you require."
"Right. Sorry, again." Bowsette mumbled fiddling with the device Frankie had given her, trying to remember the Dark Lands area code. These last twelve hours had been the longest of her life and she needed a friendly face. Bowsette paused before she pushed the call button. Was she longing for the comfort of friends? Was she homesick? What was this crown doing to her? Shaking away these thoughts, she connected to whatever device Kammy used.