Hey everyone, this is a new bonus chapter for The Mysterious Maroon! It's the original first chapter, which I still find enjoyable even though I ended up replacing it with one I thought was better for the whole story, as of 5/25/20. If you've already read the story prior to that date, I suggest you check out the new beginning to see what it offers.

Night. When the sun lowers down, and the moon rises into the darkened skies, all sorts of dreaded evils arise. However, such nighttime evils were relatively uncommon in the quaint little town of Echo Creek. This town was a peaceful one, although strange occurrences of the magical variety would occur on a weekly basis, due to a city resident who was...how you say, "not of this world."

However, during this night, an ominous evil was lurking. Down in Echo Creek's downtown sector, an engineering firm had just been plundered by an uncouth and dastardly group of bandits! This trio of thieves, wearing black ski masks to hide their vile and violent visages, hurriedly raced to their getaway vehicle: A sinister black van piloted by a man wearing a red mask that covered all of his face sans his eyes.

"HURRY UP!" The escape driver shouted with corrosive vitriol.

"We're coming!" One of the bank robbers clucked, as he tosses his bag of loot into the car. The three men clambered into the van as fast as they could. When they were all inside, the red-masked driver shifted the gears and began to speed off...

"SCORE! We'll be rich once that Cobalt guy sees what we brought him!" One of the robbers excitedly shouted. The thieves all cackled, as they started to make their escape. Crimes like these were very rare in Echo Creek, but when they happened, they were indeed devastating...

However, those treacherous thieves weren't out of the woods yet. Watching from the top of tower above was a figure most mysterious: This enigmatic character wore an attire fitting for a vigilante: First was his intimidating headgear, which covered his whole head; A metal helmet painted red, with glowing purple eyes and two metallic, horn-like structures on the sides, where his ears would be. Two black, mechanical bracelets rested on his wrists.

His vest was black, as were his gloves, belt and boots: The spandex uniform he wore under these accessories were the same shade of red as his helmet. Last was his mighty cape, with a black exterior, and an underside that was a shade of light grey. This riddle of a man's true name was unknown, but the masked crusader's title was Maroon.

As his cape swayed in the brisk autumn wind, Maroon watched in disapproval as the robbers drove off. "Foolish of them to think they could escape," the vigilante thought to himself. All of a sudden, Maroon leapt off the tower, but his fall turned into flight, thanks to two jet-boosters mounted on the sides of his thighs. These flight devices carried him through the skies like a wraith, whose vengeance would befall the robbers below...

The thief in the van's co-pilot seat was the first to notice the vigilante giving chase to their throng. "Boss, look!" He gestured to the driver, who averted his eyes to the rear-view mirror.

"What is THAT?" The driver cried, having never seen anything like Maroon before. The driver floored the gas pedal, and the van started to fly down the road in an effort to escape Maroon.

However, Maroon had a counter for their efforts. He turned off his jets, and landed on the top of a nearby building. He extended out his left arm, and the mechanical bracelet on it rotated, revealing a wrist-mounted energy blaster. Maroon snapped his fingers, firing a blast of glowing red energy at the van, and it hit the vehicle's tire, popping it. The vehicle skidded to a halt, just outside the Echo Creek Bridge.

"CRAP!" The red-masked driver shouted.

"Who did that?" One of the robbers in the backseat questioned.

"I dunno, but he looks like trouble! Ready your weapons!" The lead robber mandated. Each robber grabbed their arms from the van: The red-masked ringleader pulled a pistol. His subordinates reached in the trunk for a crowbar, a baseball bat, and a sledgehammer, respectively.

The four men huddled around each other with their weapons in hand, anticipating conflict. Like a frightening spirit, Maroon descended upon the thieves, landing softly thanks to his thigh-mounted rocket-boosters.

"Who are you?" The bat-wielding thief asked, with a tinge of fear in his voice.

"The name's Maroon." replied their foe. His voice was deep, with a slight metallic ring to it. This intimidating sound was produced by a voice filter inside of his crimson helmet.

"Listen, Maroon, you better back off, or else!" The red-masked man shouted.

"I was hoping you'd say that." Maroon spoke, as he snapped his fingers. This activated a pair of foot-long blades that came out from his bracelets: These wrist-mounted devices were just full of surprises.

"ATTACK!" The red-masked ruffian ordered. The men yelled and charged Maroon, brandishing their blunt weapons.

The man with the bat attacked first, but Maroon cut through his wooden weapon with his wrist-blade, kicked him in the thigh, and incapacitated him with a swift chop to the neck.

The crowbar-wielder swung with rage three times, but Maroon parried each hit with his blades, and swept his legs, knocking him to the cold, hard ground.

The last to attack was the sledgehammer goon, who swung his hammer with all his might, but missed and shattered the concrete. Maroon returned the favor with an abrupt headbutt from his metal helm, knocking his foe unconscious. This trio of troublemakers was no match for the skilled vigilante.

Unfortunately, the red-masked fiend had Maroon in a compromising position: He pointed his pistol right at the hero's heart, and his finger grazed the trigger. "Not a move!" he snarled with fury.

Maroon froze: His next move would have to be a very important one to survive. "I'll kill you, you son of a-" The ringleader robber shrieked, when he heard the shrill cry of a feminine voice in the distance.

"NARWHAL BLAST!"

All of a sudden, the gun-toting fiend was hit by a live narwhal, and was knocked off the bridge; He fell into the ice-cold river below. Maroon looked out to the direction of the shot, to see the aforementioned Echo Creek-ian that was not of this world: Star Butterfly, Princess of Mewni...

"Who's the girl?" The bat-wielder inquired, bewildered by the supernatural teen.

"I don't know, but let's GET HER!" The hammer-man roared. The three men got back up and charged her, but with a simple shout of "HONEYBEE TORNADO SWARM!" and a blast from her magic wand, a cyclone of angry bees swarmed the men and stung them with prejudice. The three men hooted and hollered in pain.

"Let's get out of here!" The crowbar-wielder cried, as the men leapt into the river below to escape the bees.

As Star celebrated her victory, Maroon analyzed her, feeling quite intrigued. Star quickly took note of the mysterious masked man standing fifteen feet away from her.

"Hey, who are you?" Star questioned, curious of the strange fellow.

Maroon regained his composure and turned to face the Mewman royal. "The name's Maroon." He replied in a bass voice, as he dramatically swished his cape.

"My name is Star Butterfly, I'm a magical princess from another dimension!" Star chipperly introduced herself, while summoning a rainbow from her wand.

"Thank you for your help, Star." Maroon replied, as he walked towards the thieves' van. Star was still very interested in Maroon: After all, this was the first she had ever heard of him.

"Are you some kind of knight?" She asked. Maroon did not reply, as he was busy searching the van. He pulled out one of the looters' bags, and inspected it.

Inside the sack were some mechanical components used in engineering works. Maroon was confused by this; Why would robbers steal these situationally useless things, rather than cash or precious jewels?

While Maroon was contemplating the robbers' motives, Star had waited long enough. She walked up behind Maroon, and called out to him. "Hey, I'm talking to you!" Star exclaimed.

"I'm sorry, but this is very important." Maroon explained, without even turning around to face her.

"What are you doing?" Star asked the vigilante, as she stepped in closer to him.

"I'm figuring out why the robbers stole these parts; It's my duty. When night falls, I protect this city from the forces of evil." The vigilante told the princess in a theatrical tone.

"So you ARE a knight!" Star clucked.

"In a way, yes, I am." Maroon agreed.

"That is SO COOL!" Star exclaimed giddily. Now that the scene was safe, the cops would soon be arriving. As sirens wailed in the distance, Maroon realized it was time to leave.

The masked vigilante started to walk away, when Star called out to ask him a question.

"Where are you going?" The princess inquired.

"My work here is done." Maroon curtly answered, as he turned to face the girl one last time.

"See you around, Butterfly." The helmeted hero spoke, as he snapped his fingers. At the sound of his snap, two smoke bombs were ignited; Behind the guise of the murky smokescreen, all Star could hear were his jet-boosters taking off. When the smoke cleared, the vigilante was out of sight.

"Woah..." Star cooed, fascinated by the enigmatic warrior. As she saw a few police cars drive up to the scene, she knew it was time for her to leave as well. The Mewman princess pulled out her magic dimensional scissors, and tore a portal back into her room to settle down for the night...

The reason I prefer the new beginning to this old one is for several reasons:

First off, it introduces Star before Maroon, establishing the main character before the mysterious masked hero central to the plot, giving him a sense of mystery.

Second, it introduces Cobalt Watch and Commander Cobalt earlier, establishing them as a threat and adding to the mystery of Commander Cobalt's identity.

Lastly, it gives Star and Maroon more time to talk to each other, and establishes Maroon as someone who is friendly to her.

Still, this old relic of an opening is pretty alright by my standards...