Hello, everyone. This story's prologue was pretty popular, so now I'm here to bring you the next installment! Thank you so much for waiting patiently. This took so long because I had to rewrite this chapter after finishing it (I didn't like how it came out the first time) and I've been busy with college. I hope this is worth the wait!
Special thanks to SpaceDimentio for proofreading for me and giving me advice.
It had been five years since the Light Prognosticus came true. Plenty of things had changed in that time, but a lot had stayed the same as well. Mario was still the most famous hero of the Mushroom Kingdom; however, he had a rapport with a group who were once a dangerous threat to the world. This group was none other than Count Bleck and his three loyal minions. Everyone thought their leader had disappeared for good, but once he unexpectedly returned with his love, the group came back together again.
They had their own lives and jobs outside of the group, but no amount of time and distance could change the fact that they were a family.
When people learned of the rapport Mario had with them, they were shocked. However, they were even more so when they learned that his brother, Luigi, trusted them to the point of leaving his three-year old daughter in their care. What was he thinking, leaving his child with those evil villains? It saddened Luigi to know that they thought this way. If only they could see how much they had changed, how friendly, kind, and compassionate they could be.
Even with the toads' judgment hanging over him like a dark cloud, Luigi brought his daughter over that day. At Castle Bleck, a certain butterfly Pixl watched over the young girl. She sang a lullaby to her sweetly, one that she remembered from her own childhood.
"Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all"
The girl giggled while Tippi sang the rest of the song. She had a mess of curly brown hair and large sapphire eyes. Today, she wore an orange shirt and blue overalls, both of which were splattered with paint. The toddler stood from her crib and beamed at Tippi. "Sing it again, Tippi!"
Tippi laughed. "Okay, Lia. If you insist." She started to sing again, only this time, Lia sang with her. The Pixl was glad that the man in green trusted them; she simply adored the young princess. It was difficult looking after a child sometimes, but the hardest part was saying goodbye at the end of every visit.
As if on cue, O'Chunks walked in. "'Ello, Tippi. Luigi's 'ere."
Tippi sighed internally, but on the outside, she maintained a happy spirit. "Hi, O'Chunks. Thanks for telling me. I'll get her ready."
O'Chunks peered into the cradle, where Lia was looking up at them. He grinned. "And 'ow do yeh do, lassie?"
"Good!" Lia said with a smile.
The former warrior chuckled. "She be such a wee thing."
"But she's getting bigger every day," Tippi replied.
"Aye. She'll be rulin' Sarasaland in no time."
Tippi turned her attention to the toddler. "Lia, your daddy's here!"
Lia gasped before her face broke into a wide grin. "Daddy!"
With that, O'Chunks took Lia to the front door and Tippi followed. There, they came across Luigi, who was talking with Mimi. The latter had a cold bottle of milk ready for Lia. "So, how's Daisy doing?" Mimi asked.
"Oh, she's doing fine," Luigi replied. "Sometimes, I worry about her though. She has so much on her plate right now: ruling a kingdom, raising our daughter, and having another baby! But she's been so tough through it all."
The spider smirked. "I bet she's been giving you hell lately."
"Well, she has her bad days, but what can you expect? She is human." That was when the man in green noticed the group approaching them. He smiled and waved. "Oh! Hello, everybody!"
"Luigi! It be good teh see yeh, lad," O'Chunks greeted.
"It's good to see you too, O'Chunks." He turned his attention to his daughter. "Hello, my little princess!"
"Hi, Daddy!" Lia greeted. Luigi took the girl in his arms and kissed her on the nose, making her giggle some more.
Frowning, Mimi placed her hands on her hips. "Hey! Aren't you forgetting someone, little missy?"
The young princess shook her head. "No, Auntie Mimi."
She smiled and patted the three-year-old on the head. "Good. Now, here. Thought I'd give you something for the road," she said, handing her the bottle of milk.
"Dank-oo!" Lia took the milk gratefully and began drinking the bottle.
Luigi stroked her hair with a small smile. "Thanks again for taking care of her for me. I'd ask Mario, but he was busy today. It's not easy being the kingdom's most famous hero and most popular plumber, you know."
"Oh, it's no problem at all!" Tippi said. "She was an angel, like always."
"Brin' her back any time!" O'Chunks agreed.
The man in green chuckled. "Will do! I'm glad that you guys love her as much as I do." For a moment, however, his smile faltered. He looked around the room, as if searching for something. Or someone. "Say, where's the Count and Nastasia?"
Lia took a break from drinking milk. "Yeah. Where is them?"
"They're out running errands," Mimi replied.
Luigi frowned. "Aw, that's too bad. I was hoping to say goodbye to them, but we really gotta get going. Say goodbye, Lia!"
The girl waved. "Buh-bye!"
Once the man in green left with his daughter, the group returned to their devices. However, as Tippi left, a thought crossed her mind. I've loved taking care of Lia lately. She's made me re-think a lot of things. I hope Blumiere gets home soon.
About half an hour later, Tippi got her wish. Count Bleck returned home with Nastasia in tow. The butterfly Pixl had to resist flying over to him right away; he was listening to Nastasia at the moment.
"O'Chunks has been trying to impress me," Nastasia explained. "You know, fancy dinners. Expensive gifts. The works." With a sigh, she muttered, "I don't know what I'm going to do with him."
Nastasia and O'Chunks had been dating for a few weeks now. Although he had liked her for a long time, the assistant was reluctant to give him a chance at first. For the past five years, she had been tending to a broken heart after Count Bleck rejected her affections. However, now that she had finally agreed to go out with him, O'Chunks was determined to keep her at his side.
"He's trying to show that he loves you, Nastasia," Count Bleck said gently.
"I know," she muttered. "And I really appreciate it, but at the same time, I feel overwhelmed. I don't want him to spend all his money on me."
Tippi flew over to them. As much as she didn't want to interrupt, she had to speak with her husband. "Having relationship troubles?"
The two of them glanced her way. Count Bleck lit up the moment he saw her. Meanwhile, Nastasia grinned shyly. "Hi, Timpani. I wouldn't say it's a problem for both of us. Just me."
"Well, just tell him what you told Blumiere. That you appreciate it, but at the same time, it's too much. I'm sure he'll understand," she suggested.
"Yeah. I think you're right. After all, the problem will only get worse if I ignore it," Turning to her companion, Nastasia said, "Count, I'm going to go talk to O'Chunks if that's okay."
"That's fine. Good luck." As soon as she left, Count Bleck turned his attention to his wife. "Hello, Timpani. I take it Luigi has already taken Lia home?"
"Yes, he has," Tippi replied. "I enjoyed looking after her, as usual. She's fun to have around."
His smile grew. "Just think. Soon, we'll have another child to care for."
Tippi thought about how Daisy was pregnant with a second child. "You're right," she agreed. "So much has happened in such a short amount of time. Can you believe how long it's been since the Light Prognosticus came true?"
"Hardly," he replied. "And yet our five-year anniversary is just around the corner!"
"Five years..." the butterfly Pixl mused. After so many years of not knowing her true identity and being separated from the love of her life, her wedding day had almost made up for all of her suffering. There was still so much time lost, time that she could have spent with him. Still, she couldn't complain. The five years that followed had been the happiest she had ever known. She had a loving husband, amazing friends, a beautiful home...
And yet...It still felt like something was missing.
"Timpani? Are you alright?" Count Bleck was watching her with concern.
She nodded. "Yes. There's just something I want to talk to you about."
"What is it?"
"Well, I wanted to talk somewhere a little more...private."
That was all she had to say. She didn't need to provide any more details; he already knew what she wanted. "Oh, I see. Is there any particular reason you wanted to talk there, my dear?"
"Not really," the Pixl replied. He gave her a look that said 'Really?' Laughing, she added, "Well, for one thing, I don't want anyone eavesdropping. You know how the others can be sometimes."
He nodded, accepting this answer. "Alright, then. Come, Timpani." She flew to his side and landed on his shoulder. Extending his cloak, Count Bleck whispered, "Hold on." With that, they vanished.
In an instant, Count Bleck and Tippi were in their special place, somewhere meant for just the two of them. They stood on a luscious green hill with a strong oak tree, an ancient village and castle in the distance. The sun was shining and a gentle breeze passed by. Birds chirped in the distance. The whole world was at peace.
This was their home dimension. They both thought it was gone forever; however, once their love restored the Purity Heart, it restored this dimension in turn. The couple couldn't be more thankful for this. After all, as much as they had settled into their new roles, they still needed a place where they were no longer Count Bleck and Tippi, but rather Blumiere and Timpani once more.
Tippi, or rather Timpani, took a deep breath. She floated away from her husband's shoulder. "I've missed this place. It feels like we haven't been here in forever."
"A lot has happened since then," Count Bleck, now Blumiere, remarked. He spoke in a softer tone of voice, as if in a peaceful daze.
"True," Timpani said. She hesitated before asking, "Blumiere, do you mind if I...?"
He smiled. "Go ahead, my dear. Although, you don't need my permission."
"I know. I just wanted to be sure it was alright with you," With that, she changed into her true form.
At first, when Timpani discovered that she could be human again in this dimension, she had mixed feelings. She had spent so long being a Pixl that her original body felt foreign to her. However, at the same time, it only fit to be who she originally was here. Oddly enough, she only had small bursts of control of what form she took in other dimensions. Here, she could be human for however long she wanted.
Timpani stretched and took a breath. In this form, she had long blonde hair and large gray eyes. She wore a cotton blue dress and a familiar rainbow bow in her hair that her mother gave her long ago. She let out a relaxed sigh. "Ah, this feels good."
Blumiere looked her up and down. He blushed as he did so, his cheeks a deep purple color. Finally, he grinned. "You're just as beautiful as the day we met."
The woman felt her cheeks grow hot before she burst out laughing. "Be serious, Blumiere."
"I couldn't be more serious, my dear," he said smoothly, pulling a strand of hair behind her ear. Next, he planted a quick kiss on the cheek. For a moment, Timpani forgot the reason she came here; she felt like a young woman in love again.
"So, what is it that you wished to discuss?"
That simple question caused her anxieties to return. She felt a wave of dread wash over her. Looking down, she chewed her bottom lip. "Well...I've been thinking. You know how much I've enjoyed taking care of Lia?"
"Of course. You're so good with her."
"Well, she's made me realize something. You see, the truth is..." she sighed, deciding to get straight to the point. "I want to be a mother."
Timpani cringed. "Are you...upset?"
Silence. That was not a good sign. Oh no. This was a foolish idea. What was she thinking? Now, he was angry at her and-
Her eyes widened. Looking up, Timpani saw her husband's face. There was no anger or malice, only shock.
"I'm just surprised is all," Blumiere continued. "How long have you been considering this?"
"A few months, at least," the human replied with a shy smile. "I was just afraid to mention it. I've actually wanted to be a mother for a very long time, but I hadn't thought of it until Lia came along. Still, I wasn't sure how you were going to react..."
The blue-skinned man chuckled. Taking her hands into his, he said, "My dear, there's no need to be afraid of me. I will support you in whatever it is you seek." Looking away, he added quietly, "So long as it's not...destructive."
With these words, she felt a weight lift off of her shoulders. A relieved smile spread across her face. "So...You're actually okay with this?"
He nodded. "I've had similar thoughts in the past."
"Yes, a long time ago. I had three younger siblings back then. I loved taking care of them, so I wanted to have many children one day." Suddenly, his expression darkened. Lowering his voice, he added, "But then I lost you and nothing else mattered..."
The woman frowned. He was getting better every day, but sometimes, he still had his dark moods. She hesitated before gently stroking his cheek. "Hey. It's alright. I'm here now."
The man took a deep breath. Opening his eyes, he smiled softly. "I know."
Timpani smiled and held Blumiere close, taking in his scent of old books and chamomile. She felt the gentle breeze pass by, making her long hair flow with the wind. She listened to the birds chirping in the distance. The human was calm until she realized a fatal flaw in her plan. She stepped back to look at him. "There...might be problem though."
"What is it?" he asked, tilting his head slightly.
"Is it even possible? For the two of us to...You know..."
"It's rare for a human and my kind to breed, but it does happen. Dimentio was a half-blood."
She frowned the mention of that name. "Is that right?" she asked, more curtly than she intended. Yes, it was true. She knew that because when she was Tippi, his information had flooded her senses without her even thinking about it. Still, she didn't want to think of the one who hurt Mario and his friends.
"I apologize. I know you don't like to talk about him," Blumiere said softly.
Timpani sighed. "No, don't apologize. It's been five years, after all. I should be able to handle it."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded. Time to change the subject. After a moment of hesitation, Timpani spoke up again. "Still, even if it is possible, it's going to be very difficult for me to carry a child full-term. This is the only place where I can stay human indefinitely, but I don't want to just stay here for nine months."
Blumiere stroked his chin. "Hmm...That is a major problem."
"Well...we can always adopt, can't we?" Timpani asked, glancing back up at him.
He considered this notion for a moment. However, as he did so, his expression changed. His eyes glazed over as he stared into the distance. "Yes, I suppose that is an option…"
Timpani furrowed her brows. Concern written across her face, she asked, "Blumiere? Are you okay?"
"I'm alright. Just deep in thought."
She frowned. He always tried to keep his suffering from others so they wouldn't worry, but he was a terrible liar. Taking his gloved hands in hers, she looked into his eyes with a pleading expression. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"
The man closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I know it was five years ago and you always tell me that the past is in the past...But I did so much evil as Count Bleck..."
Timpani cringed. "Blumiere..."
"I would never want to hurt you nor our child in the same way..."
The human sighed. Gently, she cupped his face in her hands and wiped the tears from his cheeks. Softly, she said, "You've changed since then, my love."
He let out a sorrowful sigh before opening his eyes. "I know. We both have." He lifted Timpani's chin and kissed her on the mouth. The kiss was warm and soft, just like him. When they pulled apart, he took a deep breath. "I shall consider it. Until then, we need to return to the castle. The others will start wondering where we are."
"You're right. Let's go." Appearing by his side, Timpani added, "And Blumiere?"
She rested her head on his shoulder. "I love you."
His eyes widened and his cheeks grew hot once more. Chuckling, he replied, "And I love you, my darling Timpani."
And that was the first official chapter. I worked really hard on this one, so let me know what you think! Constructive criticism is welcome.
EDIT from 5/8/20: Aged Lia up a year because she sounded a bit too talkative for 2.