“Why are you all so sad? I’m not dead, you know!” a familiar voice spoke. Mallow opened his eyes; a tiny star with a face floated above the doll.
“Don’t be sad now,” the star said as he flew around and gently touched each of their hands. “I’ll always be your friend, and I’ll watch over all of you forever. I promise.”
The star circled around them one last time before flying away after the Star Pieces. Despite what he had said, Mallow was certain he saw tears streaking down the star’s face as he flew away.
Just like with the Chapter 6 illustration, I originally intended to do a big battle scene featuring everyone, but I just couldn't get it right, so I tried this instead. I like it, and consider it something of a representation of how we never see Mallow or Geno again. Truth be told the ending gets to me every time, and it's largely for this reason (that and the music).
“Hmmph. I don’t need you three to help with repairs,” Bowser said after a few moments.
“Er, what?” Mario said.
“You heard me! I got enough bumbling troops without you three getting in the way as well. Hah, looks like my ride is nearly here!”
Mallow looked and saw Bowser’s famous clown copter coming this way. At first it looked like it was on some sort of autopilot, but then Mallow saw seven heads poking over the rim.
“They sure got a lot of nerve coming to get me themselves! As soon as they land-”
“Yes, we know. Come on, let’s get going,” Mario picked up the Geno doll and started down the path leading away from Bowser’s Keep with Toadstool and Mallow.
“How come you’re coming with us, Mallow?” Toadstool asked. “Aren’t you going to wait there for the royal bus?”
“Well, I need to go to Tadpole Pond first. I have to see Grandpa, and get my things before going home,” Mallow explained.
“We can walk together then,” Mario said. “I need to go to Rose Town and return this to Gaz. I just hope he’s…accepting about the whole thing.”
“I’ll pass on that, if you don’t mind,” Toadstool said yawning. “I’m so exhausted after all that! This time I really am going to go upstairs and lay down!”
“I’ll come by later in the afternoon, or maybe tomorrow. Once the chancellor finds out we stopped Smithy and repaired the Star Road I’m sure he’ll want to plan a big public holiday,” Mario said. When they reached the front gate of the Mushroom Kingdom town Mallow stopped Toadstool before she could head up to her castle.
“I really want to thank you not only for your help, but for being an amazing princess. You set the bar really high, and I hope someday I can live up to your example as a prince!” Mallow said.
“But you already do! Just keep being yourself and everything will be fine. Goodbye, Mallow,” Toadstool bent down and hugged him. “Tell your parents I’ll send a letter soon so we can arrange a formal alliance between our kingdoms!”
“I will!” Mallow waved goodbye before turning to Mario.
“Hey, Mario, I have an idea before we get going again. Do you happen have any Frog Coins?”
“Yeah, there were some in that sack Booster gave us. Why?” Mallow told Mario what he had in mind; Mario smiled. “That’s a great idea!”
After a quick stop in the Mushroom Kingdom shop once again with Mario down to Tadpole Pond. When they reached the pipe to Kero Sewers they ignored it, taking the long down. Just before they reached Tadpole Pond Mallow stopped Mario as well.
“Mario, I want to thank you, too,” Mallow said. “I’ve gotten braver and more confidant searching for the Star Pieces, and learned to do things I didn’t even know I could do. Before I left Tadpole Pond if you told me I was a prince I’d have felt completely unfit for the task. But now, I know I can do it.”
“Take care, Mallow,” Mario shook his hand. “Someday, somewhere, I’m sure we’ll meet again.”
Mallow watched Mario head down Rose Way for a few moments before turning and heading towards the pond. When Mallow got to the break in the trees he could see Frogfucius sitting at the table with some cricket tea.
“Grandpa!” Mallow exclaimed and swam to the island. “We got the Star Pieces and found my family! I come from Nimbus Land; my parents are the king and queen!”
“You, what?! Mallow, in ten years I never once guessed you’re a prince! Congratulations on finding your family and stopping Smithy! But if you’ve found your family, what are you doing back here?” Frogfucius asked.
“I had to tell you, of course! And, well, if I’m going to live in Nimbus Land I want to take my things with me, if that’s okay,” Mallow said.
“Of course it is! By the way, perhaps you can clear something up for me,” Frogfucius said as Mallow started gathering his belongings.
“What is it?”
“A woman from the sky landed on Booster’s Tower with a large bird yesterday, and has agreed to marry Booster. Do you know anything about that?” Mallow started to laugh. Frogfucius tilted his head.
“That’s…oh wow! Valentina was trying to take over Nimbus Land, but flew away with Dodo after I stopped her. What she did was unforgivable, but with Booster, well, maybe she can change for the better!”
“H-hey! What’s that?!” Lakitu pointed up in the sky. Mallow looked up; the royal bus was making a landing approach over the pond.
“It’s my parents!” Mallow exclaimed. When the bus landed at the edge of the island Mallow rushed over to it. “Mom! Dad!”
“Mallow, thank the stars!” Queen Nimbus said as she got down from the royal bus. “You never returned from Bowser’s Keep last night and this morning the sword had vanished!”
“We went to the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Toadstool told us where she could find you,” King Nimbus said. “So, I take it this is the Frogfucius you said raised you?”
“Yeah, this is Grandpa! Grandpa, this is my mom and dad!”
“I gathered as such, young grasshopper. It’s truly a pleasure to meet you.” Frogfucius said.
“Thank you so much for taking in Mallow. From the bottom of our hearts we’ll always be grateful for what you did,” Queen Nimbus said.
“I only did the right thing. It would have been cruel to just let him float away with no one to care for him. Raising Mallow has been a pleasure,” Frogfucius said.
“Ready to head home now, Mallow?” King Nimbus asked.
“Y-yeah,” Mallow said, a lump forming in his throat. For all that he had wished to be with his parents again, and the joy at being reunited with them at long last, knowing that he was leaving Tadpole Pond, and Frogfucius, forever truly hurt. “Grandpa, I know I said I wasn’t gonna cry anymore but…right now it’s really, really hard,” Mallow shut his eyes tight as tears formed in them.
“Mallow, it’s at times like these when it’s always acceptable to cry,” Frogfucious said. Mallow opened his eyes and saw tears rolling down the old frog’s cheeks. Lip trembling, Mallow ran into his arms and a light downpour started to fall.
“I’ll never, ever, ever forget you, Grandpa,” Mallow said.
“And I won’t forget you, Mallow.”
“C-can I come back and visit sometime?”
“Of course! You are always welcome at Tadpole Pond, young grasshopper. But don’t dwell on this place too much; you need to enjoy living in your real home. Be brave, now,” Frogfucius said.
“I almost forgot,” Mallow wiped his eyes and pulled out a jar. “This is a going away present from me!”
“Cricket jam! How…? Thank you.”
“G-goodbye Grandpa. I’ll come visit soon!” Mallow waved before climbing aboard the royal bus with his parents as the clouds slowly parted again. As they took off into the air exhaustion finally hit Mallow and he dozed off as the royal bus headed for Nimbus Land.
“Citizens of Nimbus Land!” King Nimbus called out to the crowd gathered around the palace entrance. “Eleven years ago my wife and I became parents after wishing to have a child for several years. But hardly a year later tragedy struck, and our child was kidnapped. For years we wished to his return, and at long last, in our kingdom’s darkest hour our wish came true! This day has been coming for a long time. Introducing…Prince Mallow Nimbus!”
The crowd erupted in cheers as Mallow stepped forward and knelt before his parents. His father attached a new pink cape to his shoulders before placing a silver crown upon Mallow’s head.
“Mallow Nimbus, may you uphold our kingdom and rule fairly, kindly, and set a fine example to our people!”
Mallow stood up and looked out to the cheering crowd.
“I’ve only lived here a few days, so everything here is new to me. But I promise to live up to the name of my ancestors. I’m going to work hard, and do everything I can to protect Nimbus Land again if the need ever arise. My wish is for Nimbus Land to be prosperous and peaceful, and thanks to the efforts of my friends and I, I know this wish will come true!”
“Fellow citizens! And my king and queen!” Garro called out from the back of the crowd after disappearing for a moment to fetch a cart from his studio. “To celebrate the long awaited return of our prince may I present to you my latest piece; the Heroes of Nimbus Land!” Garro whipped away sheet covering the cart to reveal statues of the whole group, Mario and Toadstool, Bowser, Geno, and of course, Mallow.
“Oh, I say, well done, Garro!” King Nimbus called out to him as the crowd erupted in cheers again.
“You’ve outdone yourself again, Garro!” Queen Nimbus called out to him as well.
I think there’s something missing from all of this. Wait, I know! Mallow charged up and a rain shower began for a brief moment before the clouds parted to create a brilliant rainbow all around them. Feeling something was still missing Mallow charged up again and caused shooting stars to star falling, but unlike the ones he used on Smithy, these were completely harmless. King and Queen Nimbus stood beside him, and Prince Mallow Nimbus knew everything would be alright.
|Just a chick that probably plays too many Nintendo games (among other things). I've had this account since my teenage years, and I've improved (and matured!) a lot since 2003. Hope you enjoy what you see!|