"Most of us regard good luck as our right, and bad luck as a betrayal of that right." — William Feather
Disclaimer: I don't own Mario.
Words in italics indicate thoughts.
A Dry Bones saluted the Koopaling at the top of the tower and started to give his progress report, "We're in trouble, sir! Half of Ice Land has fallen to Mario! He's right outside the fort! We're gonna try to hold him off!"
Hearing those words, Lemmy ran his clawed hand across his rainbow mohawk in desperation, before signalling the Dry Bones to return to his post.
He'd known that this was coming.
Mario had always trounced Bowser's forces, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to rescue Princess Peach. He got every secret exit, every Power Star, everything. He would leave no Koopa or Goomba un-stomped until Dark Land became a miserable wreck. Again.
And yet despite everything, Lemmy had hoped, no, prayed in vain that perhaps the icy terrain of Ice Land would be able to halt the plumber just this once so he wouldn't get trounced on by Mario painfully for the third time.
Alas, despite all his prayers, it looked like the Stars weren't on his side. The Koopaling had ended up receiving news through word of mouth that the Toads from Princess Peach's castle had blasted new powerups to aid the plumber, and one of those powerups was the Penguin Suit, which would nullify any challenge the slippery slopes and icy climate could have posed to Mario the moment he acquired it.
Knowing the Stars and their utter disdain for the Koopa Troop, chances were that ? Blocks containing Penguin Suits would probably be all over this frigid world, just because the Stars were trolls.
Lemmy sighed, using his feet to roll the ball he was on towards the centre of the icy arena. He was so not looking forward to another encounter with Mario.
The first time they'd met was many years ago. Back then, Bowser had been in his prime, feared by all of the Mushroom Kingdom unlike the joke he had ended up becoming in recent years. That year, Bowser had decided to pull a grand scheme that would forever be remembered in the Mushroom Kingdom history books. All seven Koopalings were to seize control of different portions of the Mushroom World by stealing the Magic Scepters of the Kings.
As almost everyone today now knew, it was all a trick. The Koopalings were meant to be a diversion so that Bowser could kidnap Peach from right under Mario's nose. Lemmy had been assigned to Ice Land, and he had waited aboard his airship for the plumber.
Contrary to what he had been promised by Bowser, the mission wasn't actually fun at all. Sure, taking the scepter and transforming the King was fun, but waiting for Mario on the airship took forever. He'd caught a cold by the time Mario came and gave him a painful pounding.
The second time they had met didn't fare much better. After snatching Yoshi Eggs from Dinosaur Land, Bowser had set him up in Vanilla Dome. THAT little encounter had ended with him falling head-first into lava after one taunt too many from a hide-and-seek game via a maze of pipes.
To add insult to injury, the plumber had even destroyed his castle with a hammer afterwards, leaving him for dead. He'd been cooped up in a hospital for third-degree burns for months after that. It'd taken him and the rest of the Koopalings many years to recover from their injuries at Dinosaur Land.
This led to present day — their newest Peach kidnapping attempt, and what is soon to be their third encounter.
It was back to basics for this one. After years of overly convoluted plans that involved Grand Stars, Star Spirits, and the creation of a new galaxy, Bowser had decided to go back to basics with his newest Peach kidnapping scheme. The Koopa Troop had planned on it being a surprise, and it certainly worked. No one had expected the cake to be a lie, of course. They jumped the princess and scurried her away to an airship, whisking her away to Bowser's home turf before Mario could even utter a "mama-mia" in protest.
They had definitely caught Mario off guard, but he had recovered from his shock faster than the time it took to microwave a plate of frozen spaghetti. Judging by how quickly Mario had taken out Larry and retook Grass Land, the surprise factor of the plan quickly went out of the window. To make matters worse, he thrashed Desert Land and its native Pokey population almost as quickly.
And now he was rapidly on his way to Lemmy.
The Koopaling knew the drill. Fight Mario and hopefully win. If he lost, distract Mario when he's dancing his victory pose, escape quickly to the castle and wait for Kamek's instructions there.
Until he fell there too and Mario headed off to the beaches of Water Land and eventually after all the Koopalings were down, beat Bowser yet again.
Some things never changed.
It was almost like their first meeting. Once again he was in Ice Land and once again a plumber was after him. Déjà vu. Nostalgic, wasn't it? He almost laughed in pity for himself. Looks like him being beaten within an inch of his life was going to be an inevitability. The Koopaling wasn't looking forward to that in the slightest.
And right on cue, the heavy red double-doors of the tower slowly swung open, revealing…
"M-Mario!" Lemmy yelped, gripping his new Magic Scepter firmly. He'd known that he was coming, but seeing Mario again in the flesh was in different story. He almost froze in fear at the sight, his veins as cold as the icy arena.
The plumber ignored Lemmy's cry of fear, silently walking across a narrow bridge which collapsed right after he'd reached the centre. He glanced around, observing his surroundings. A circular arena, coated with a slippery layer of ice. Just beyond that, a bottomless pit. No tricks, no Kamek. Mario grinned, furling his mustache. This was going to be easy.
"So!" he started, his harsh tone making Lemmy jump three feet in the air before he landed back on his yellow ball, "We meet again."
Lemmy gazed at him warily, his eyes tired and resigned as he observed his opponent. Of course Mario was wearing the Penguin Suit. Why did he even expect otherwise? As if any of the tower's traps managed to faze the great Mario. Realising he was fighting a losing battle, the Koopaling immediately made an attempt to bargain his way out in a way that would lead to the least amount of head injuries.
"H-H-Hi…" he stuttered a reply at the confident plumber, "I don't suppose you can let me go?"
Mario looked surprised at his request for just a moment. He remembered Lemmy — of the seven Koopalings, he was probably one of the meekest. In a sense, it made sense that he would go the coward's route and try to avoid an unwinnable battle.
Of course, it was probably a trick. That and Mario didn't intend to let anyone from the Koopa Troop get away when he taught them a lesson. He took one step forward before saying his deductions. "You can't a-trick me, I a-know how this a-works! Every world has a-tower and a-castle. If I a-let you go, you'll run off to Kamek at the castle!"
"Look," Lemmy twiddled his claws together helplessly, trying to avoid the piercing look Mario was giving him. "I don't really wanna fight you… I mean, we all know how this will end. So please? Just let me go?"
"Hmmm…" Mario scratched at his mustache unconsciously, considering the idea. It was true that he was almost certainly going to win this, so perhaps…
Nah. No way was he passing this chance up.
Mario gave his response by suddenly breaking out into a run and jumping high into the air. Before the Koopaling even realised what had happened, he landed right onto Lemmy's head, causing him to retract into his yellow shell with a yelp of pain.
Mercy to any member of Bowser's Koopa Troop was for chumps. His battle to get Peach back from the tyrannical Koopa King was war, and unfortunately in war there were always casualties.
Lemmy didn't quite see it that way. After haphazardly spinning around the arena, he only extended his body out of his shell after he was certain that Mario was safely out of the way.
"That was a cheap shot! No fair!" he whined as he jumped back atop his trusty ball. "Also, that hurt a ton, you lousy plumber!" He rubbed his head, wincing at the inflicted bump from Mario's stomp to prove his point.
"All's fair in love and war," Mario mumbled before he suddenly jerked forward and landed on his stomach. With his Penguin Suit, he started sliding towards Lemmy's new position with his belly.
Lemmy would have chuckled at the sight of Mario being below his eye level when he was sliding and the sheer absurdity of the fact that a plumber was sliding as gracefully as a ballerina, except that it was Mario and all his antics, although cool and awesome for the Mushroom Kingdom side, signified much pain for the Koopa side.
As Mario slid closer, Lemmy waved the scepter in his arm menacingly. "S-Stay where you are! Or else you'll know true pain!"
Mario just continued sliding closer, chuckling at the Koopaling's hopeless attempts to get him to relent. Didn't Bowser's troops ever understand? He'll only give up when Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom were safe and sound.
Lemmy grimaced at Mario's cocky indifference. It hit him that if he didn't do something quick, he'll have yet another bump on his head. Realising he had no choice but to fight after all, he swung the scepter at Mario's direction repeatedly, materialising yellow bouncy balls at Mario to force him back.
Mario's eyes shone with excitement as the balls bounced closer towards him. Finally, things were getting interesting. The situation caused a faint memory to come back to him. It looked like Lemmy was using the same strategy he'd used the first time they met on the airship above Ice Land all those years ago. Back then, Lemmy had tried to materialise circus balls with his scepter to use them as a distraction, before attempting to charge Mario by rolling on his own ball.
He didn't use rings of death — for the better, Mario despised the bouncing rings Wendy had, ground pounds, or other weird tricks. Mario had ended up trouncing the Koopaling soundly, a much needed relief after the chaos that was Roy, one world before. That "circus act" that Lemmy called a strategy was so simple to beat that he had to admit that there was probably some planning error Bowser had made, since that was the easiest battle with any of the Koopalings he'd fought except for Larry.
Mario grinned savagely. If Lemmy had resorted to using the same tactics as he did in the Ice Land airship battle, then the Koopaling had just made a big mistake. If it truly was the same battle strategy as all those years ago…
He cancelled his slide, somersaulting back onto his feet before leaping into the air. He caught Lemmy smiling out of the corner of his eye as the bouncy projectile was almost upon him.
"Yippee! I got you now!" Lemmy exclaimed in delight, performing a handstand on the ball he was standing on to celebrate his quick thinking. Mario would now be pushed back by the barrage of balls he had just launched at him. There was nowhere Mario could run. The bouncing balls would push him to the bottomless pit that surrounded the arena on the other end.
Just out of sight, Mario gave a snort of laughter. "Don't a-proclaim your victory just yet! I a-just remembered something! Your circus balls are a-bouncy!"
"Huh? Wha—" Lemmy started, before he froze, staring at Mario's action…
He just jumped right on top of the ball I sent! B-B-But… that's not fair! He was supposed to be propelled back!
Worse still, Mario continued to jump on a second one, propelling himself skyward using the rebound, causing him to land on a third, and then a fourth, and then… oh.
He realised far too late where that train of thought led.
"Yeep," Lemmy managed to stutter a meek protest for help before Mario's boot landed onto his head again. "Argh!" he cried in pain as he withdrew back into his shell.
Mario landed back down on the ice, eyeing the haphazardly spinning yellow shell. It looked like this was going to be a cut-and-dry fight. He hadn't even lost his Penguin Suit from taking any damage.
Right as the shell passed over him, he suddenly prepared a Ground Pound, waiting for the… what?! He winced as his bottom landed on the hard ice floor instead of what he thought would be a Koopa head.
Lemmy hadn't come out of the shell when he had anticipated him to!
It was one of the oldest tricks in the books. He had learned it from the Boom-Boom battle — there was a certain period of time where a Koopaling or one of Bowser's higher ranked guards ended up invulnerable after taking a hit. This normally worked to the Koopa's advantage, but if you could guess when they'd drop their defence to make an attack, then Mario could hit them with a Jump or a Ground Pound before they can even retaliate, leaving them vulnerable and predictable, effectively stunlocking their actions for the rest of the fight.
It had gotten him out of multiple pinches before, so why didn't it work this time?
"Yoo-hoo! I'm over here!" came a taunting, teasing shout. Mario glanced over to see Lemmy, up and about on the other side of the arena.
Jumping pastas! That sneaky Koopa! He expected me to be a-waiting at this end, so he made one extra pass when he spun his shell around the arena so that he would be at the opposite end, safe from my Ground Pound sneak attack!
Mama-mia! How did he know that I would be a-ready to Ground Pound him the moment he stuck his head out?!
Caught up in his anger at one of his most priced tactics being foiled by the most unlikely of foes, he broke out into a run in the Koopaling's direction.
Too bad it ain't going to be enough to a-save him… I'll end this Koopaling right now!
Lemmy watched him approach, flinching at the sight of the relentlessly approaching plumber. He prepared to launch another barrage of circus balls, when…
"Yeargh!" A splitting headache caused him to clutch his skull with his free arm. That previous hit must have hurt him more than he had originally thought.
Seeing Lemmy distracted, Mario smirked and went in for the kill, jumping into the air in an arc that would end with Lemmy getting stomped. It's the end for you, you a-rotten Koopa!
Lemmy could only look helplessly at the airborne Mario with his good eye. That migraine had cost him everything… now he had no time at all to launch his circus ball barrage at Mario.
No, no! It couldn't end like this, he told himself, wrenching his free arm away from his head, seeing the headache as a hindrance that he refused to be affected by — which it was.
He was going to at least try. Lemmy began waving his scepter in a circular motion to prepare the spell. His only shot now was to launch a circus ball to knock Mario back before the plumber could make it to him. It was all or nothing, if Mario landed this hit, he'd be out cold for sure.
"Yahhhh!" Lemmy brought his scepter down in a swinging arc to materialize a circus ball.
At that exact moment, Mario hit the circus ball, but not in the way either of them expected.
Lemmy had expected the circus ball to hit Mario's face, and the force of that would have bounced him away from his fragile head. But since Mario was in the air instead, Mario had landed on the top of the ball Lemmy had just materialised.
Mario, on the other hand, had expected to hit Lemmy, but Lemmy had materialised the circus ball on top of his head the second Mario was about to land on him. The timing couldn't be more coincidental. As a result, Mario's shoes impacted the bouncy ball instead of Lemmy's rainbow head.
"Ehhhh?" both Koopa and human yelled in surprise at the circumstances for just a split second, at least until physics and reality ensued.
The plumber then bounced off the circus ball, overshooting his target and sending him careening towards the pit that was behind Lemmy. Dazed at what had just happened, he didn't manage to recover until he had fallen below the icy arena.
Panicking, he aimed his foot for the vertical wall, letting the friction slow his descent. Then, he used his momentum to kick himself in the opposite direction, trying to get back up to the arena with his trusty Wall Jump.
Unfortunately for him, things weren't going to go his way. When Lemmy peered down and saw Mario trying to wall jump out of the cavern, he snickered and pointed the scepter down at Mario. When Mario saw the scepter out of the corner of his vision as he continued to jump, he broke out into a cold sweat. "No…" he cursed, realising what the Koopaling was planning to do, "Don't a-do it!"
Lemmy replied cheekily, "Sorry, but we're the bad guys! We're supposed to be mean!" He followed his words up by casting his magic and making a circus ball bounce down the pit Mario was trying to jump desperately out of.
"Wahhhhhhhhh!" Mario screamed as the ball hit his head, causing him to lose his momentum mid-jump. The bouncy ball was the nail in the coffin, ruining his sense of direction and killing his momentum. He couldn't wall jump since the ball continued to bounce atop him and force him down. He could only yell in fury and desperation as gravity took ahold and caused him to plunge down the pit.
Ten seconds later, Lemmy involuntarily winced when he heard an audible thud coming from the bottom of the tower.
That HAD to have hurt.
Bringing a radio transceiver to his mouth, he sent a transmission to the nearest Ice Bros. patrolling Ice Land to investigate. Meanwhile, he continued to rub his head, trying to get over the dizziness. Was the dizziness from Mario's impact on his head? Or was he dizzy with pride and elation at somehow managing to… beat Mario?
"Bzzzt…" The transceiver cracked to life as the Ice Bros. issued a response. "Sir! We found Mario! He is exactly where you said he is! A-And… he's injured! I think he broke his leg, sir!" the voice grew more and more excited by the second.
"His leg?" Lemmy blurted out.
"Yes!" The Ice Bro.'s tone on the line was as enthusiastic as a sports newscaster at the news. "He's distracted and howling in pain, clutching his leg! I don't think he can jump for a while! He doesn't have any powerups either! Praise the Stars, if we send a battalion to ambush him, Mario would be ours!"
Lemmy couldn't believe his ears. This had to be a joke. Was this really it? "Really?" he asked for confirmation.
"Yes! King Bowser's going to be delighted by the news! All we need is a go-ahead from you, sir!"
"Yep! Only one of the commanders is authorised to redirect troops away from their posts. If you give the green light, we could send every Hammer Bro. to your tower and capture him immediately!" the Ice Bro. exclaimed. His voice over the line sounded so excited that it was almost like he had received an early Christmas present. "Just say the word, sir!"
"U-U-Um… okay?" Lemmy manage to stutter out. He still couldn't believe what had happened. Had they actually managed to win?
"Got it! I'm calling in reinforcements now! Over!" The transceiver went dead as the Ice Bro. switched to a different channel, no doubt a military one to send the new orders that Lemmy had personally approved to the army chief.
The Koopaling almost felt bad for Princess Peach. No doubt she had expected her Mario to come like a knight in shining armour once again. Little did she expect that he had been beaten. Not even by Bowser, but by one of his commanders in what could best be described as an "epic fail".
Because that was all that he could really use to describe the situation. An epic fail.
Lemmy finally cracked a smile at the sheer absurdity of it all. It looked like this time, the great hero Mario wouldn't win.
Serves that meanie right too!
An hour later, he'd received the news. The ambush was a complete success. With his leg injury, Mario didn't stand a chance against the Hammer Bro. battalion that approached him. King Bowser had almost died laughing when the Hammer Bro. squad brought Mario in to Dark Land and explained exactly what had happened that led to the plumber's demise.
Lemmy ended up received praise from Bowser, as well as looks of disbelief and incredibility from his siblings that he, of all of them, had been the one to take down the pesky plumber once and for all. After the celebratory feast, Kamek sent him back to the Ice Land fortress just in case.
The old Magikoopa's foresight was astounding. As he'd predicted, the Toads eventually realised something was wrong and sent in Luigi, but the green-clothed plumber had been completely walled by the Ghost House outside Lemmy's fortress, refusing to get near it after being scared by the Boos relentlessly.
After news of that broke out, Bowser had ordered every Boo available to Ice Land. Lemmy could only chuckle at the sight of Boos flying everywhere, camouflaged by the white snow.
Eventually, the Mushroom Kingdom had no choice but to give in. Without Mario, there was nothing they could do. The Toads could only gaze helplessly as the King of the Koopas finally managed to raise his flag upon the Mushroom Kingdom castle.
On the day of the ceremony where Bowser was giving his takeover speech on stage, Lemmy took a chance and glanced over at the audience. The cross-eyed Koopaling had managed to glimpse Princess Peach in tears, like he had expected. Seeing her tears, he couldn't help but feel sorry that he'd been the one responsible. After all, no one had expected the Koopa King to actually win.
Lemmy turned away, unwilling to look at Peach any longer. What he was really looking for was…
He saw the plumber, leg in a cast and on a wheelchair, glaring back at the Koopaling. Upon seeing his cold, hard gaze, Lemmy averted his eyes — an incredibly easy thing to do since he had a lazy eye — and pretended he had never looked at Mario in the first place.
It was pitifully ironic, after all. If Mario had taken Lemmy up on his offer to spare him, this would never have happened. Lemmy couldn't tell whether the stare Mario had given him was of rage, or perhaps, shame. It didn't matter anyway. In the end, caught up in his rage and overconfidence, sheer bad luck caused him to lose everything.
At least the Toads didn't know that. They'd probably assumed that Mario had lost to Bowser. Only the top Koopas in the Koopa Troop knew that Lemmy had been the one solely responsible for Mario's downfall.
Lemmy put his claw to his chin, deep in thought, and decided to risk one more look back at the plumber. Catching Mario's darkened face, he realised one final thing.
Mario wasn't willing to accept defeat. The prideful look of defiance on his face said it all. He was willing to resist to the very end.
Judging by the fact that he was in a wheelchair, Lemmy was willing to bet that he would never jump again. But that didn't mean that he was done. The only thing he could give the former citizens of Toad Town was moral support. It was he could do, really.
He'd be a martyr. Someone who'd fought Bowser to the very end and refused to stop.
Lemmy began to fret. All his life he had been told that he was dumb, but even an idiot like him could see what this situation was going to lead to.
Civil unrest. Rebellion. And eventually, a revolution by the Toads to retake their homeland.
"Um, can I talk on the microphone?" The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.
Once he said that, he looked back at Mario and saw Mario's face, frozen with complete and utter terror. And Lemmy knew exactly why.
He had deduced earlier that no one on the Toad's side knew that Mario had been beaten by him, but after seeing Mario's terrified look, he worked out that chances were that neither Luigi nor Peach knew as well. Lemmy was willing to bet that he'd lied to them about the nature of his injury.
It was obvious why too. Mario will be the sole figurehead of the revolution when the Koopas take over. His name would be known by all the Toad rebels, and they would all fight under Mario's name. With such an aura of reverence, there was no way he was going to go out and say that bloomin' Lemmy Koopa was the one who did this to him.
So if he went out on stage and told them all that he'd been the one to defeat Mario, it would all be over. Mario would be seen as weak, and no one in their right mind would support him if he had been incapacitated by what many thought as the scrawniest of Bowser's underlings, and not even Bowser himself. The rebels' morale would be completely destroyed.
Basically, if he spoke, the revolution would be utterly crushed before it even started.
"Hey, Lemmy!" Lemmy blinked and awoke from his daze from Bowser's retort. "Did I just hear you say that you wanted to say something?" Bowser asked.
There was a scary silence as he pondered his answer.
"Nah, it was nothing," he eventually replied. Lemmy pretended not to notice Mario's sigh of relief as Bowser huffed and continued his speech.
For now, Lemmy decided that he would keep the secret of how a single circus ball ended up defeating the great saviour of the Mushroom Kingdom to himself. If any of the Toads somehow found out, that would be on them, he would have nothing to do with it.
It was better for them to believe that Mario went out with a bang rather than a whimper. Rather than stain his legacy with the truth, he would let the revolution begin, alas one built upon a lie. It was the very least that Lemmy could do, one final mercy to the fallen plumber.
But was it really a mercy when the ugly truth of the very foundations of Mario's future revolution was held in his claws like a loaded pistol? Lemmy sure didn't think so. Neither did Mario, judging by the look of despair he had seen from Mario when the plumber finally understood that Lemmy could destroy his last hope at any moment by simply announcing the real facts of what happened at the Ice Land Fortress.
As Bowser's speech concluded, no one noticed that one of Bowser's Koopalings left the parade with a cheeky, confident grin. Similarly, nobody observed that the great Mario, who had entered the speech defiant to the very end, had left the crowd on his wheelchair with a look of complete and utter defeat.
This story is based off an absolutely humiliating death I once had in New Super Mario Bros Wii, at the World 3 Tower Boss. The details are exactly the same — by sheer coincidence, Lemmy materialised a ball into existence just as I was about to land on him. Mario bounced on the ball instead of Lemmy's head and overshot to the bottomless pit on the right. Before I realised what insanely unlucky luck that was and even tried to wall-jump out, he materialised a second one down onto Mario's head and forced him down the pit.
Bam. Down one life, and a feeling of utter shame at dying to Lemmy in probably one of the most humiliating Mario deaths ever, except maybe dying on the first Goomba.
Just thought I'll share. :P