uakari: (Fuckery)
[personal profile] uakari
Title: Super Kuro 64
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Chock full of molestation and FAIL
Summary: Oh god, I can't even...
Notes: This was done for the [livejournal.com profile] kuroxfai remix challenge. [livejournal.com profile] fieldofclover...I am so sorry XD I remixed her fic On Time, Of the First Hour is Free, in which Kurogane is a plumber, Doumeki is his assistant, and Fay is a bored housewife. Some how...uh, Super Mario and Legal Drug got involved and things just devolved from there.
Blame: belongs entirely to [livejournal.com profile] konnichipuu


“Is this a fucking joke?”

Kurogane stared at the…kid (he supposed, it was hard to tell when it was still mostly covered in a burlap sack, with only his mushroom-hatted head peeking out for reference) he’d just spent the better part of the afternoon battling through legions of deformed toads, turtles and anthropomorphized projectiles; leaping over pools of lava; squeezing his way through disgustingly unkempt pipes (that there was something alive inside of…something that had a disturbing penchant for nibbling his bum); and generally regretting his decision to ever become a plumber in the first place, to rescue. A kid that would be drawing a lot less of his ire if it had less in the way of mushroom hats and mismatched eyes and more in the way of a tiara and princess-y good looks.

Hell, he would have settled just for the tiara at this point.

“Sorry,” the kid coughed and wriggled free from the sack, “But, ah,” he swallowed thickly as Kurogane loomed threateningly over him, “Your princess is another castle.”

“Oi,” Kurogane barked over his shoulder at Doumeki, his generally reliable, if exceedingly stolid apprentice, “Gimme my sword.”

“You don’t have a sword,” Doumeki informed him, cocking an eyebrow, “You could jump on him.”

“What do you mean I don’t have a sword?” Kurogane roared and rounded on his apprentice,

“How am I supposed to vanquish the evil?”

Doumeki shrugged, “Jumping on them seems to be working pretty well.”

“Excuse me-”

You jump on him, then,” Kurogane grumbled, “I’m going to look for a way out of here. And a sword.” He headed over toward the nearest wall – made of slippery blue brick and scaling high above his head without any visible crevice large enough for a hand- or foot-hold. If he had a sword, he could easily slash some, but-

“Excuse m- Ooof! What are you doing, you idiot?

Kurogane chanced a glance back over his shoulder at his apprentice. Doumeki, it seemed, had indeed attempted to jump on the annoying messenger, but to no avail. It was still there, glaring angrily and flailing like a cat dropped in a well. This was troublesome – all of their other enemies had disappeared almost immediately upon squishing, or at least had the good sense to drop their shells and scuttle away like the defeated refuse they were. This was clearly a new and terrifying enemy…

Still, Kurogane had no idea why it appeared that his apprentice had decided that groping it was the next best option.

“Get off of it,” he snarled, “Before it eats you. It took us three tries to make it through this dungeon – do you really want to go through a fourth?” If only he had a sword…

“I’m not an enemy!” the kid insisted, wriggling his way out from beneath Doumeki, “And get your filthy hands out of there!”

Kurogane grimaced a bit as one of Doumeki’s hands was wrenched out from beneath the kid’s tunic – what the hell was he doing, anyway? He shook the thought away and sneered, “What are you then?”

“I’m Wata- HANDS!” Wata-hands paused to deliver a sharp kick to Doumeki’s gut, “Watanuki. I’m just a messenger and we all know that you don’t molest the messenger.” He seethed quietly for a moment before continuing. “Ok, maybe molest the messenger a little bit,” he sighed when Doumeki released his grip altogether, “What was I saying? Right – the princess is in another castle. I don’t know which one, before you ask, so you’re just going to have to continue your journey. But-”

“Goddamit,” Kurogane growled. It had taken all day just to get this far and while the thought of sticking something sharp and pointy into the mutant inhabitants of this world held a certain appeal, he really didn’t fancy the idea of crawling back through more horrendously clogged pipes to get to them and he sure as hell didn’t feel the need to debase himself further by jumping on them, of all things (he was already going to have to spend the evening picking his boots free of squashed mushroom-thing and god only knew what else). He didn’t even know why he was so hellbent on rescuing this damned princess anyway (as a general rule, damsels in distress didn’t really ping high on his radar of “important things to do”) – it just seemed like the sort of thing that needed to be done – and done with the suave pinache of tube-diving and swash-buckling that only a plumber could provide.

“BUT-” Watanuki continued, balling up his fists and twisting his face into a grotesque caricature, “I have a message for you. From the princess,” he fished out a wax-sealed scroll from his pocket and thrust it toward Kurogane, who took it with no small amount of mistrust.


My dearest Kuro-hero,

No doubt you have been terribly busy stomping on the cute woodland critters in your search for me, but Fei Wang Bowser has decided that this particular castle is much too stuffy with all of its pits of lava and flame-throwing statues and has moved us on to bigger and better things while you meander lost in the wilderness. (All of his pets have turned to skeletons and he’s frightfully upset about the whole thing…it’s for the best, really.) I’ve enclosed a charm for you to use against the many enemies you are bound to face in your quest. I’m sorry it’s not the big, manly sword that you’ve probably been hoping for, but Watanuki can’t be trusted with sharp objects (the poor dear has already put one eye out, you know!). Still, I pray you will find it useful.

Love and Kisses,
The Princess

PS: Please bring some aloe, as all this fire and brimstone is hell on my complexion.



Kurogane crumpled the letter in his fist.

What kind of garbage was this? Was she taunting him? Well, if that was the case, he was more than happy to march his ass right back home and go back to rigging shower fixtures off the mains-

“Here.” Watanuki held another hand out toward him.

Kurogane’s lip pulled back. “What is it?”

“A charm,” Watanuki said, and opened his palm to reveal a (surprisingly clean, if disembodied) eyeball. Its brown iris stared blankly up at Kurogane, who politely recoiled. “Just take it,” Watanuki insisted, and pried open one of Kurogane’s clenched fists to deposit the “charm.” “It will help you battle enemies.”

Kurogane balked. “How?”

Watanuki shrugged, “Smashing it against your forehead seems to work for most of them, so I can’t imagine this one is much different.”

“…”

“Anyway,” Watanuki said, carefully eying Doumeki as he slid past him, “Good luck and all that. I’m getting out of here before all the excitement gets to be too much.” And with that, he bounced back the way Kurogane and Doumeki had come.

Which was odd, because Kurogane was fairly certain they had chopped that bridge down.

Kurogane stared at the eyeball in his hand and sighed. It sure as hell wasn’t charming, no matter what the kid said. Still, if it was useful, it was useful, and he stuffed it into his battered red overalls. He motioned to Doumeki, “Let’s get out of here.”

Doumeki nodded and headed back the way Watanuki had left. And then fell rather obnoxiously onto his ass as he hit an unseen barrier.

“What now?” Kurogane demanded.

“It,” Doumeki pressed his hands against the unseen force, “It’s like a wall or something. I can’t move.”

“Don’t be an idiot. That Wata-hoosie kid just bounced right through there!” he stomped forward and swiped at the general area in front of Doumeki. His knuckles connected with something and left his arm wavering as the force recoiled up to his shoulder. “What. The. Hell.” This was ridiculous. What kind of stupid laws of physics applied here, anyway? He did the only thing he could think of at the moment, which was to march over to the brick wall opposite the invisible force field and punch it as hard as he could.

He supposed he ought to have been surprised when the brick shattered to reveal a spotted egg which leapt out from the wall, but this was already shaping up to be a very strange day.

The egg slid slowly across the floor to stop at his feet. With a loud kerthawk, it split open to reveal a small, white bunny…thing.

Kurogane stared.

The small, white bunny…thing stared back. For a moment, anyway. When it became clear that neither of them was going to make a move, it squawked indignantly, “Feed Mokona!”

Kuogane raised his foot to stomp on the beast. It responded appropriately with a shriek and bounded up to sit on his shoulder. “Hey!” Kurogane swiped at its ears, but missed as it bounced to his other shoulder, “You little-”

“Feed Mokona!” it chirped again and hopped up to rest on his head. Kurogane scowled as it shifted onto its stomach to peer down at him over the edge of his eyebrow ridges. “Mokona is a friend! See? You’re not dying! And Mokona is the only thing that can get you out of this dungeon! Mokona is very useful!”

Kurogane exhaled through his teeth and glared back at the thing dangling from his forehead. It was true enough, he supposed – he wasn’t dying – but that didn’t mean he wanted this…thing hanging around with them. Worse, Doumeki was looking vaguely entertained, which was always a bad thing. “I have nothing to feed you,” he spat, aiming for diplomacy and only failing in tone, “Get the hell off my head and bounce back to wherever you came from. I’ve got enough-”

He shut up abruptly as the thing smacked a wet, sloppy kiss on his brow, “Silly Kuro-rin, how are you going to get out of here without my help?”

“It’s got a point,” Doumeki mumbled, running his hand across the brick Mokona’s egg had exploded out of.

“It’s Kurogane,” he insisted, “And how are you going to get us out of here?”

Mokona grinned back at him. “Like this!” and with this its mouth opened wide, and Kurogane was sent careening into a deep pool of nothingness.




When he hit solid ground again, Kurogane was much relieved to find himself out of the dungeon. He was less relieved to find Mokona still squatting on his forehead, but grateful enough to be out in the open air once again to stop him swiping at it. “Neat trick,” he muttered and brushed himself off.

The area they had landed in was much different from the one they had just left. Instead of rolling hills interrupted by the occasional pipe or brick stack leading up to the dungeon, they now sat perched on top of a suspended platform (Suspended from what was anyone’s guess – for all Kurogane could tell, it appeared to be hanging from rods nailed into…the sky? Whatever, it was probably better not to ask…) high above the ground – so high, in fact, that there didn’t appear be any ground in sight.

“Where the hell are we?”

“In World 2-1,” Mokona chirped, and bounded back down to his shoulder.

Kurogane’s eyes crossed briefly. What kind of stupid…no. He grit his teeth and forced the flash of irritation back down with only a moderate accompanying twitch of his eyebrows. The way today was shaping up, he was likely to find himself smack in the middle of Chocolate Gumdrop Fairy-pants Forest If he complained too vociferously about this country’s complete lack of imagination in toponymy. Besides which… “The princess is around here?”

“Well, no-”

Kurogane craned his neck around to stare down the ball of fluff shamelessly taking up space on his shoulder. He grinned ferally, “Then why did you bring us here, you stupid albino goomba, and not to where she is?”

“Because that would be cheating!” Mokona insisted and crossed its arms defiantly, “And everyone knows that if you want to cheat, you need to find a warp whistle, not a Mokona.”

Kurogane grabbed Mokona by the ears and gave it a good shake over the edge of the platform. “Then you are just a useless piece of-”

“Noooo,” it squealed frantically, “Mokona is useful! Mokona can do all sorts of things!”

“Except the one thing that we need,” Kurogane growled and gave it another good jostle, “Start enumerating, fuzz ball, or you’re going to be the first of us to find the 2-1 ground.”

“Mokona grows big and can shoot flames! And Mokona can take you places – even if I can’t decide where you land! Mokona sings! Mokona dances! Mokona eats bad guys! And and and Mokona can spit swords – 64-bit swords!”

Kurogane stopped the jostling to cock an eyebrow back at it, “Really?”

Mokona stopped wiggling in his grasp and smiled nervously, “…yes?”

“Alright,” Kurogane pulled his arm back, “Let’s have it, then.”

“You have to feed Mokona first!” Mokona insisted, “I can’t do anything if I’m small.”

Kurogane’s nose pulled back and an exasperated sigh forced its way between his lips. He let go Mokona’s ears, sending it to land with a quiet plop on the platform, where it immediately shook out the ringing in its head. “Useless,” he muttered. Still, if this is what it was going to take to get a sword around these parts… And a 64-bit sword sounded like it would be a worthwhile thing to have, at any rate. “Fine,” he grumbled, “What am I supposed to feed you?”

“Anything!” Mokona chirped, “Bad guys and apples and coins and even power-up mushrooms, if you’ve got any to spare.”

“What the hell is a power-up mushroom?”

Mokona balked back at him. “…how have you gotten this far without any?”

Kurogane sneered back at it, “Skill.

“And restarts,” Doumeki added.

“Just skill.” Kurogane growled and stared daggers back at his apprentice. No one needed to know about the restarts. No one. Not ever. And certainly not this little meat-bun-looking thing. “Now what is this mushroom?”

“Right!” Mokona bounced back to Kurogane’s shoulder, “Go hit that brick over there.”

Kurogane contemplated pointing out that they were surrounded by a greater than average number of bricks on this platform and demanding that it be less vague in its choice of words, but decided to spare himself the headache of actually have to converse with it further. With a subtle roll of his eyes, he stomped across the platform toward one of the more obviously painted bricks and smashed his knuckles against its question-mark-flashing surface. Sure enough, a white-spotted mushroom with a red cap came tumbling out and shuffled its way across the platform, smiling obnoxiously back at Kurogane the entire while.

“Don’t just let it get away!” Mokona scolded, “You have to catch it!”

Kurogane glanced between Mokona and the slowly meandering mushroom for a long second. He didn’t really want anything to do with a mushroom that was fully capable of moving on its own, but he suspected that Mokona would be unable to grasp how truly terrifying the concept of an unrooted and freely mobile agent of decay (doubly so one that appeared to be smiling) was. Doumeki was also not likely to be of use in explaining it, as his instinct upon stumbling across new and horrifying plant life seemed to be first to lick it, then to spend half an hour pondering how best to slip it into Kurogane’s breakfast to test its digestibility (not out of any real malice, Kurogane knew – his constitution was vastly more able to process…exotic compounds than Doumeki’s. Still, while he was willing to concede that temporary stomach discomfort, or even a morning spent inthe toiletdisposed was probably preferable to his apprentice keeling over dead, he wasn’t necessarily looking forward to a repeat performance.). He sighed and stomped off to grab the damned thing before it went tumbling off the platform. “What now?”

“You eat it,” Mokona said, voice very serious, “You can take more damage that way.”

“Don’t need it,” Kurogane insisted and thrust the mushroom up toward the little beast on his shoulder, “You eat it.”

“You need it more than Mokona does!” it squealed and pushed the mushroom back toward Kurogane’s face, “The next part coming up is very hard and Mokona doesn’t want to have to restart just because you were too stubborn to eat the power-up!”

“Why you little-” Kurogane moved to smash the mushroom against the little irritant’s face, but grossly underestimated just how agile a ball of fluff with only stocky appendages to speak of could be. The ensuing scuffle ended with him nearly tipping over the edge of the platform as an increasingly frustrated Mokona jammed the mushroom between his tightly pursed lips.

“…Well?” he demanded after a few moments had passed with no major upsets to either the balance of the universe or Kurogane’s general sense of well-being.

“Hmm,” Mokona frowned, “Are you sure you haven’t had any already?”

“Of course I haven’t,” Kurogane barked, then decided that he didn’t like the confusion winding its way across its face and snapped back to attention, “Why? Something wrong?”

“You were supposed to get bigger,” Mokona explained, “But you didn’t, so that must mean…”

“Mean what?” Kurogane snarled. It was obvious that he was already the biggest and the best (just over six and a half feet and built of solid muscle, thank you very much) and didn’t need any performance enhancing mushrooms. But that didn’t make the meat-bun’s half finished thoughts any less annoying.

“Nothing~!” Mokona laughed and rolled onto her back. Kurogane huffed and motioned for Doumeki to get up. They’d been wasting too much time here anyway.

They hadn’t gotten very far when the first enemies decided to show themselves. They were of the winged, anthropomorphic projectile variety, but were much harder to predict than their slower moving predecessors. This was fine by Kurogane, as World 2-1 hadn’t been providing him with much of a challenge up to this point (the suspended platforms may have looked intimidating, but they had been thus far securely mounted with only minimal space between consecutive landings).

He changed his opinion as the flurry of the blasted things became a swarm and the swarm grew to a full-on frenzy.

“How are we supposed to get through this?” Kurogane shouted back at Mokona, who was busily swallowing down as many of the smirking bullets as its mouth could stretch to fit. He landed with a clop atop the back of one and was sent careening skyward into the path of another (which he barely managed to avoid) for his efforts. From the corner of his eye, he could see Doumeki rolling to dodge a steady stream of the little bastards heading his way. They weren’t going to be able to hold out for very much longer at this rate.

“Try using the Super Syaoran Suit the princess gave you!” Mokona squawked between mouthfuls, “The eyeball charm!”

Kurogane grit his teeth and thumbed the eyeball through the material of his pocket, cursing once again his complete and utter lack of a sword. What the hell. It couldn’t actually make the situation worse, could it? He pulled the charm free with a grunt and smashed it against his forehead.

A disturbingly loud pop sounded as it collided with his brow and Kurogane closed his eyes quickly as whatever jelly-like substance filled the thing began a slow trickle down his face. Magic, he reminded himself, magic, magic, MAGIC.

It had better have been fucking magic.

Keeping one’s eyes closed in the face of a legion of fast moving (and apparently angry)projectiles was not a particularly wise strategy for someone who’s immediate goals included staying alive (and avoiding the dreaded restart) and so Kurogane forced his open once again, ignoring the slow drip of goo down the sides of his nose.

He had to wonder if he was already dead.

At the very least, he appeared to be having an out of body experience. That was the only explanation he could fathom for opening his eyes to stare back into his own face.

He was pissed off from the looks of things, too.

Kurogane quickly patted his own face to assure himself that he was, in fact, not dead, but merely staring a down a double of himself. He felt real enough. Still… “Who the hell is this mook?” he demanded.

“Shut your mouth and move, you pathetic excuse for a hero,” his double shouted back and surged forward to knock a few more of the angry bullets out of their path. Kurogane resisted the urge to punch himself in the face (no one talked to him that way, dammit), partly because he wondered if it would adversely affect him, but mostly because they seemed to be making a bit more progress now that there were four of them actively plowing a way through this mess. He made a note to whomp the bastard good later, however, and bollocks to any unforeseen consequences. He’d be happier nursing a black eye given to himself than taking one of these lamentably ill-guided bits ammunition to the chest and finding himself having to do the whole thing over again.

Probably.

No, heading forward was the only option.

Several minutes and creatively painful contortions of his back later, Kurogane could just barely make out the silhouette of a flagstaff on the horizon. Finally. In mere seconds he would rip the flag off its post, shimmy down the pole, and present it as payment for their swift and immediate exit from this godforsaken death trap. He couldn’t get there fast enough.

He had only just ricocheted off the back end of the final fluttering bullet when it dawn on him that his double was, in fact, several steps ahead of himself and clearly aiming to take the flag as his own.

That bastard.

Kurogane lurched forward with a fierce battle cry, stretching as far as he could in a vain effort to grasp the pole first, but it was all for naught. His double ripped the flag free with a flourish and bounded off into the building at its base without so much as a word to his companions. Kurogane leapt from the pole to chase the bastard down.

This was not going to end well.




BAM

Kurogane landed with as much grace as he could muster, dusted himself off, and leapt once again.

BAM

“Why won’t you die?”

“Kuro-puu,” Mokona yelled, “You can’t kill yourself just by jumping on your head!”

“That’s not me!” Kurogane bellowed and poised himself for another leap.

“But it is! The Super Syaoran Suit makes a clone of whoever uses it! He’s you and you’re him!”

“There is no way in hell this weakling is me,” Kurogane’s double spat, “He doesn’t even have a sword!”

“You don’t have a sword, either, dumbass.”

“Well, I would if you had one, you worthless, head-bouncing excuse for a samurai!”

Just for that, Kurogane launched himself onto the double’s head one more time. To hell with killing it, his goal was now violent maiming by any means necessary. ”I’m a plumber, goddamit!”

The double smirked. “What do you do, plunge the heart of darkness? Roto-root the demons from the souls of men? “

Doumeki coughed, “Roto-rooters are cool.”

“Shut up.” Both Kuroganes rounded on their apprentice, who backed slowly away.

“Why are we even looking for this princess, anyway?” the double demanded, “I could have sworn princes were more our thing.”

“PRINCESSES NEED SAVING!” Kurogane roared, though it really pained him to admit he’d been thinking the same thing himself. He rounded back on Mokona, “What do I have to do to get rid of this guy?”

“You used the charm,” Mokona said simply, “If you want him to go away, you just have to use a different one.”

Kurogane blinked, “Why didn’t you say so to begin with?”

“Because watching Kuro-puu and Kuro-too beating the crap out of each ot-”

Kurogane’s fist came down on Mokona’s head. “Just shut up,” he grumbled and stalked off down the road.

“Oi,” Doumeki jogged to keep up with him, “Where are we going?”

Kurogane smiled maniacally, “To find another charm, of course.”

“Oh.”

“Oh, indeed.”

“Hey!” the double shouted after them, “You can’t get rid of me that easily! I’ll find the charm first and then you’ll be the one to disappear!”

Kurogane balked as the double when flying past them at high speed. “Oi, manjuu,” he grunted, “Is that actually possible?”

Mokona shrugged and cowered away from the glare this produced. “Maybe…? I think there’s a shop up this way we can stop at – we can find out there!”

Goddamit. Kurogane picked up the pace.




“I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying,” the shopkeeper – an unassuming middle aged man in wire spectacles and sporting one of those new-fangled, asymmetric hairstyles that Kurogane loathed so much – blinked at them from across the counter, “Maybe if you tried speaking one at a time-”

“This bastard’s got to go!” both Kuroganes shouted in unison, then stomped their feet and glared at one another, “Shut up! Stop saying everything that I do!” They wheeled back around to the shopkeeper in exasperation, “GIVE ME A DIFFERENT CHARM!”

“I…see,” the shopkeeper refocused his attention on Mokona, “So all he needs is a different charm?” He raised his eyebrow as if to fill in the missing and then you’ll promise to go away and not bother me of the good patrons of my shop ever again?

“Right!” Mokona bounced up on the countertop, “Please, Kakei, you must have something, right?”

Kakei screwed up his face in thought, “Well, I might…” He tapped at his chin and stared at the pair of Kuroganes, “I’ll go check the back – just make sure they don’t…break anything. Or wake him up,” he nodded toward a large, snoring man with his feet resting on the counter. Mokona chirped an affirmative.

The shopkeeper returned a few minutes later with three chests, which he arranged on the counter. “Okay, you can take your pick from these. Each one has a charm inside.”

“What charm is in which?” Kurogane demanded.

Kakei stared blankly back at him, “I haven’t the slightest…”

“Kuro-puu, just pick one!”

“Fine,” both Kuroganes shouted again, “That one!” By some miracle, they were, in fact, not pointing at the same chest. Not that this little break in unison seemed to please either of them at that moment. They glared and shifted their aim toward different boxes, “THAT ONE!

Doumeki stepped in between them and lifted the lid from the only chest that didn’t have an angry finger jabbed toward it. “It’s a…” he stared back at the shopkeeper, “What is it?”

Kakei peered over the open lid, pointedly ignoring the loud protests (and stomping, and general huffiness) from both Kuroganes. “Ah,” he said with a grin, “It’s a Tanuki Suit. Very rare. And very useful. Would you like to…?” he gestured to Doumeki, “Since you were the one who picked it, after all.”

Doumeki seemed to consider this for second, until he was nearly knocked to the floor by the bickering Kuroganes. He sighed and shook his long-suffering head, griping the Tanuki charm tightly in his fist before smashing it as hard as he was able against the nearest Kurogane’s forehead.

There was a lound, earth-rending screech as the fabric of space and time seemed to twist and spin about the Kuroganes, distorting and pulling at them until finally they settled into one being. Kakei raised an eyebrow. “Better?”

Kurogane considered this for a moment, then turned to glare at Doumeki. “How the hell did you know which one was the real me?”

Doumeki looked shifty. In the end, he managed only a small shrug in answer.

“It’s not you, you big idiot, it’s me!” Kurogane clapped his hands over his mouth. That couldn’t have just been…could it? His eyes crossed as he fought with some unseen power to maintain a properly angry expression.

Kakei waved this away, “That’s just residual effects. Should wear off after a bit. More importantly, how do you like your new suit?”

Kurogane straightened and and tilted his head for a better view of his arms and torso. He was…furry. Not that this was an altogether bad thing, mind you, but now that he realized it, it was also rather warm as well. Stiflingly so, in fact. Oh well, it was still probably better than having to escort that body-thieving double around for the rest of this journey.

“I can hear you, you know,” he blurted and immediately clapped his hands back over his mouth until the urge to shout and stomp and punch himself in the face repeatedly subsided. He glared back at Kakei, “Just how long is that supposed to last?”

“Just a little while,” Kakei assured him, and set about poking at and appraising the new suit. Kurogane, unused to having strangers fiddling about with his garments, took a step backward.

And immediately fell over, writhing in pain as his knees knocked again something ridiculously large and oversensitive between his legs.

“Yes, you’re going to have to watch those,” Kakei said, matter-of-factly, as he helped Kurogane back to his feet, “It can be a bit difficult to adjust your stance, so make sure you get some practice in before you go dashing into danger.”

Kurogane cringed. Adjust his stance? Watch those? Then, did that mean that these things were actually…? “What the hell kind of suit is this?” he bellowed.

“I told you,” Kakei grinned, “It’s a Tanuki suit. What did you expect it to look like?”

Kurogane growled, low and rough. What the hell had he been expecting? Certainly not something so…anatomically correct (or incorrect, as all current evidence indicated), that was for damned sure. What on earth good were these…these…over-sized bags of sin production for anything? All they really seemed to be doing was impeding his ability to walk, run, and jump. He didn’t even want to think about what they were going to do to his aerodynamics…

“Now,” Kakei continued, completely impervious to Kurogane’s brooding, “Your attacks in this suit are somewhat limited. You can’t just go jumping around on top of enemies with this one, for, uh, practical reasons,” he raised a hand to quell Kurogane’s protests, “But I think you’ll find the benefits outweigh the limitations. For attacks, you simply pick up your, er, funbags there and WHAP the closest enemy in the face with them.”

“No.”

“Or,” Kakei raised his voice a step, “If that doesn’t sound appealing, simply drop into a crouch and you’ll be transformed into a statue – completely immune to any sort of enemy attack for a short period of time.”

“Cowardly,” Kurogane snapped, “Gimme a different charm.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” Kakei trilled, “One box per visit is the rule.”

Bullshit,” Kurogane seethed through clenched teeth, “I’ll give this one back.”

“I’m afraid I don’t accept returns. Especially not with that suit – it’s a bit difficult to, ah, wash.”

“What do you want, money?” Kurogane wasn’t sure he had any, but surely Mokona had eaten some of those damned annoying coins that seemed to float in the air everywhere.

“No, no,” Kakei chuckled, “I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. Now, you really shouldn’t be so upset. The suit is very flattering – you just need to adjust to a wider stance-” He ducked in to tug at the side of Kurogane’s knee, fruitlessly trying to budge it a bit more laterally-

This was a mistake. Kurogane was normally quite proud of his ability to remain calm in the face of danger, but the coupling of foreign hands in too-familiar places and the rampant embarrassment and other surging…emotions this suit was brining out in him (“giddy” and “libidinous” were decidedly not part of his normal repertoire) destroyed any semblance of calm he was fighting to maintain. He did the first thing that sprang to his over-anxious mind, which was to lift the more abnormally sized part of the suit up and slap the shopkeeper across the face with it.

Kakei hissed quietly to himself and rubbed at his cheek from his newly occupied space on the floor. “Goodness,” he muttered, “Just how many of those mushrooms have you had?

“Hah?” This definitely was not the response Kurogane had been expecting, even if it did save him having to lower himself to asking forgiveness. “Mushrooms?”

“Yes,” Kakei said, fixing him with a stern look, “The red and white ones. Make you bigger, bulkier. Harder, faster, stronger. Those mushrooms.

Kurogane scratched his head. What the hell did that have to do with anything? “Just the one,” he said finally.

“Really,” Kakei droned with the air of someone who didn’t believe a word being spoke to him, “Because you, my dear sir, are displaying classic symptoms of shroom-rage.”

“Shroom-rage?”

“Not to mention,” Kakei continued, poking a bony index finger into Kurogane’s exaggerated anatomy hard enough to produce a flinch, “These are about two sizes smaller than usual. I didn’t want to say anything for fear of insulting your manhood, as it were, but lord knows that for all those mushrooms bulk the rest of you up, they go quite out of their way to shrink your-”

“That’s enough!” Kurogane bellowed. Who did this jerk think he was, anyway? Everything was quite normally sized as far as he was concerned (as sure as hell not even remotely in the neighborhood of “too small” at the moment). And as far as he was concerned, no one else should ever be concerned about that - EVER. “Is that all?”

“Hmm,” Kakei hummed to himself as he struggled back to his feet, “Well, usually it would be. But I’m worried about your well-being here, so…” he tapped at his chin and sighed, “Perhaps this really isn’t the best suit for you.”

Kurogane could not remember a statement that he had ever agreed with more. Still, he kept quiet as Kakei continued.

“Understand, I’m breaking a lot of rules here by doing this. Don’t expect something like this ever again,” he puttered around the backside of the counter, rifling through drawers and cupboards, “I suppose it’s my fault anyway… Ah.” He produced a large, shiny feather with a pink insignia scrawled across the front of it and passed it across the counter. “Try this Sakura Feather, instead,” he said quietly, “It shouldn’t have any sort of interaction with the mushrooms and its powers should keep you from having to exert yourself too much more…”

Kurogane eyed the feather, wary of yet another magical item, but eager to get out of this ridiculous Tanuki suit. He growled before snatching it off the counter and smashing it – as was now becoming standard operating procedure – against his forehead. He felt immediately lighter and was spared any further goop-dripping or earth-shattering – not a bad start for this charm.

“Oooh, Kuro-puu!” Mokona giggled, “So sparkly!”

Kurogane narrowed his eyes as he caught a glimpse of his hand. Sure enough, the albino goomba was right – his skin was positively radiant. He sighed and stomped toward the door, waving his thanks behind him. He supposed he ought to have been more upset, but he was too happy to be rid of excess bodies and body parts to complain-

-Too much.




This, Kurogane decided as he peeled the umpteenth overly-amorous koopa-squatty-thing from his leg, was the cruelest joke fate had ever played on him. He chucked the whining little bugger toward a pipe, where it ricocheted back to the ground and immediately started back on its course toward his knees. His very attractive, apparently, knees. It had been bad enough when all of the little creatures in this world had been hell-bent on killing him. Now that they seemed intent on loving him to death, he almost wished they’d get around to the actual “death” part.

Stupid Sakura Feather.

“This is it, right?” he growled at Mokona, who still had not had the courtesy to either grow larger or produce him the promised 64-but sword. (It had sung and dance quite a bit, though, so Kurogane had to admit it wasn’t a complete liar.) This was the fourth dungeon they had found themselves in this afternoon and all of them had ended the same way – with that stupid little mushroom-hatted kid bouncing out of a sack and announcing that the princess was in a different goddamned castle and Kurogane having to physically restrain his idiot apprentice before someone got the right idea and called the cops on him for being such a raging exhibitionist.

“I…I’m not sure,” Mokona said very quietly, “Check the sack?”

Kurogane grit his teeth and undid the tie. He was already cursing by the time the red and white spotted hat peeked out the top.

“I’m, um, sorry, but your princess is-”

Kurogane didn’t even wait for the kid to finish before tossing him bodily at Doumeki (who looked incredibly pleased by this turn of events) and storming off to put his fist through the nearest wall.

“There’s another note for you,” Watanuki called after him.

“Burn it.”

“I think you’ll want to read this one,” Watanuki insisted and pried Doumeki’s hands away from his belt. He waved the letter above his head until Kurogane stomped back over to snatch it.


Dearest Kuro-rinta,

I’m sure this is going to displease you, but Fei Wang Bowser decided that this castle was also not a suitable home for his legions of turtle-pets either. (It’s his taste in décor, but there’s just no reasoning with the man. At least he assures me that this next one has the lava pits limited to the lower floors only…) Anyway, I’m getting quite bored of moving house every hour or so, so I am enclosing a warp whistle that you can use to come directly to me. Make good use of it, as I am now in desperate need of that aloe (and big, strong hands to apply it).

Love and kisses,
The Princess

PS: Could you be a little more gentle with Watanuki? I know your temper is infamous, but the last time you returned him, he was covered with bruises from neck to chest and seemed to be nursing a paddled back-end too. He’s just a messenger, you know.



Kurogane held the warp whistle up for closer inspection. So this was it, huh? The fabled cheat that would take him anywhere he wished to go? It looked more like a rusty toy someone had snatched from a game of cops and robbers, but what the hell did he know. He was just a plumber, after all. And really, really sick of having his leg humped.

He raised the whistle to his lips.

“WAIT!” The force of Mokona’s cry caught him off guard, and the rusty bit of metal parading as an instrument slipped from his fingers-

-and landed directly in Mokona’s mouth. Mokona, seemingly as surprised as Kurogane by this, tweeted a few times as it worked the whistle down its gullet and finished the whole production off with a loud belch that rattled even the sturdy brick wall of the chamber.

“Uh oh…” Mokona mumbled as a second rumbling began in its belly.

“Spit it out!” Kurogane shouted. This could not possibly be happening. He had plowed through this entire world to find this goddamned princess and now that he was so close, this blasted koopa-bait manjuu was just going to up and eat his ticket there? He didn’t even have a sword – he didn’t have anything! Oh hell no. He gripped Mokona about the middle – really intending more to shake the trinket lose than throttle the little beast, but it didn’t need to know that just now – and lifted it from his shoulder.

Something was wrong. He could have sworn it was no bigger than an actual meat bun only seconds before, but now his fingers barely stretched around it. And it appeared to be getting bigger by the second, expanding out of his grasp and bouncing into a corner of the chamber where it continued to grow.

Kurogane was struck by the realization that he might actually get a sword out of this mess, now that it was getting bigger (which was clearly not the best outcome, but still a welcome second), but his excitement was quickly quashed by the rapidness of Mokona’s inflation. If someone didn’t do something, it was going to overtake the room in size very quickly and they were all going to be either suffocated by its bulk and smashed into teeny, tiny pixels – neither of which was a welcome thought. He scoured the area for an exit – but finding none, he decided the best way to leave was to follow their old stand-by and have Mokona “escort” them out…

He wondered if he could climb to the fuzz ball’s mouth before being crushed. Somehow he doubted it. And then there was the question of Doumeki; Kurogane wasn’t sure he would be in any fit state to climb at the moment. This was bad. He was about to be crushed into a million little pixels by a stupid manjuu and he was never going to be able to find the princess or deliver the aloe he’d promised and everything was so horrible he didn’t even want to contemplate it. A hero shouldn’t be giving up like this – a hero should be searching for a way out, searching for a miracle-

And there it was, opening into the wall opposite him like a green, glowing path of virtue. A lovely, lovely water pipe – and just big enough to fit inside! He shouted back to Doumeki to hurry up and get his ass over here, but as he had feared, Doumeki was in no fit state to do much of anything at the moment. Poor bastard. At least he would die a happy death…or possibly be granted a restart.

Kurogane dove head-first into the pipe.




The air was heaving, pulsing as Kurogane dragged himself into the open once again. He swore quietly as he pulled himself free of the confines of the pipe and plucked a…what the hell was this, anyway? A piranha? A plant? A piranha plant? At any rate, at least now he knew what had been nibbling his bum, even if it now seemed more intent on kissing it. He tossed the little bugger over his shoulder and looked skyward to where the atmospheric turbulence seemed to be coming from.

This was the dumbest boss he’d seen yet.

For one, it was the same little butt-chinned troll he’d defeated in several dungeons already. Didn’t the creep ever learn? Or maybe he had learned, as he’d constructed a new and…well, “terrifying” was not the correct word to describe the flying monstrosity he had built and was now hovering in over Kurogane’s head. “Hilariously misguided,” perhaps. It looked like nothing so much as a giant, hovering, clown face. Clowns were not scary. Especially when given chins to match their creators. When were people going to understand this? Kurogane sighed as the man he had to assume was Fei Wang Koopa began to speak.

“I see you have finally reached my keep! Took you long enough – I’m sure by now all of your precious little friends have been reduced to mere pixels and your princess has been lost to despair! Now, have a taste of my-”

”Shut up,” Kurogane snarled and dropped into combat stance (a sturdy half-crouch to give himself better leverage for the inevitable leap-of-salvation). “Just get on with it, will you?”

“Right, then! Have at you!” With a cackle, Fei Wang Bowser heaved a large, mechanical turtle over the edge of his flying machine.

Kurogane stared at the little tik-tok as it slowly shuffled its way toward him. Wind up toys? What an idiot… He sighed as it crept closer, readjusting its stance to latch around his leg and-

Good god, this really was the worst charm yet.

He snapped back to attention as the scent of alcohol and sulfur wafted through the air. And…ticking. There was definitely ticking… “What the hell is this thing?” he growled.

“Ahahaha,” Fei Wang Bowser laughed, “As you can see, your Super Sakura Feather will do nothing to save you here! You have sealed your own fate with your animal magnetism, you fool! Have some more!”

Kurogane snarled and tried in vain to dodge the onslaught of overly amorous mechanical time-bombs that rained down on him. Each of the little bastards followed the lead of the previous and latched onto his limbs, pinning him to the ground and thrashing against him in a disturbingly choreographed manner. If only that blasted albino goomba had given him a sword-

“Kurooooo-sama!”

“Huh?” Kurogane craned his neck away from the orgy of nuts and bolts pinning him into place to see a shadowy figure swooping in from on high. Had Doumeki managed to escape? No, his apprentice would never call him such a ridiculous nickname for fear of his own death. Who then?

Pink. Lace. Fluttering…

The princess?

No, this was just some dude in a dress.

“Who the hell are you?” Kurogane demanded as the stranger landed at his feet began expertly dismantling the mechanical turtles latched to his limbs.

“You don’t recognize your princess?”

”You’re not a princess!”

“And you’re not a plumber, but you don’t see me complaining, do you?” The “princess” leaned in with a feral grin as he removed the last of the tik-toks from Kurogane and tossed them over his shoulder.

“I am a plumber and this is-”

BOOM

“…the hell?” Kurogane coughed. The chain of explosions around them was magnificent – the bombs had been expertly timed and had now been redirected toward their master. Fei Wang Bowser screamed and cursed in agony as the explosions and shrapnel rocked his flying contraption.

The “princess” grinned. “My hero~”

“What the?” Kurogane growled and tried to dodge the “princess’s” kiss of gratitude. There was no escaping it, however, and he struggled to pull back for air. “This isn’t how this is supposed to go!”

“it’s only a game, Kuro-sama,” the “princess” grinned devilishly and slid a hand up his shirt, “You don’t have to get so- …Hey, do you hear sirens?”

“Hah?”




“I’m so sorry, officer,” Syaoran bowed repeatedly as his two very confused and inappropriately groping companions were ushered into the back room of the Green Drugstore. He was at a bit of a loss as to why Fay was dressed in a floofy pink gown (that looked disturbingly similar to something they had purchased for Sakura not too far back), and but the real nagging question was why Kurogane was covered in sewage. They had only been out to visit Watanuki's shop for the afternoon... “I have no idea what could have gotten into them. Thank you so much for bringing them back-”

“I have a pretty good idea of what got into them,” the officer sneered, holding up an empty plastic baggie, “Or at least what they put into themselves.”

Syaoran balked, “Officer, I’m very sorry, but I don’t think they would have-”

“Don’t worry too much about it son, they ate the lot of them before we could take any as evidence. And at any rate, the guy who called us in wasn’t interested in pressing charges.”

“Um, sir?”

“Very nice fellow,” the officer continued, stars dancing in his eyes, “Told me he would grant my wildest wishes if I just got them off his property and even called in my boss to get me a promotion right there on the spot.”

“Right…”

“They’re damned lucky too. Causing a hell of a commotion, they were. Mr. Watanuki would like to respectfully request that this,” he held out an old Nintendo controller by its cord, “Is disposed of, as it only encourages them and that this,” he dropped a very still Mokona into Syaoran’s palm, “Is not brought to his property under any circumstances, ever again.”

Syaoran clenched his fist reflexively. Mokona squeaked, though it sounded more like a rusty whistle to Syaoran’s ears.

“He also requested that you be informed that he is keeping the third party under his personal supervision and that they are not to be disturbed for at least twenty minutes, lest the wrath of hell be brought down upon you.”

“I’m so sorry, officer,” Syaoran repeated, “If there’s anything I can do-”

“Naw,” the officer smiled, much to Syaoran’s chagrin, “Just a game of hide-and-seek gone awry is what the official report says. Now, if you don’t mind, I have some furniture shopping for my new office to take care of.” He tipped his hat and turned away.

“Right,” Syaoran mumbled and closed the door behind him. He stared at the back counter of the drugstore, where the owner was busily sorting prescriptions into customers’ bottles and muttering to himself about “warning them not to take that many.” He grimaced.

Legal drugs, his ass.

January 2013

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