Cracker Chronicle 1: Wishstone
Nick walked up to the temple. He smelled the air. Once. Twice. Thrice. He smelled tension. And fear. Now he was ready. He walked inside.
Meanwhile, Scott was rebuilding the Quazajet when his T.V. blared to life. It was set to come on at 10:00 AM so he could watch the news. He yawned, “Morning already,” He stopped in his tracks. The main story was about Nick! Apparently, he had not only stolen every last item on a luxury liner, but also an ancient Egyptian temple! Scott stormed away from his work, cursing Nick under his breath.
An NSK employee named Dylan had no idea how he got into an NSK conference room. Nick had told him he had been here many times, but that didn’t make it any less nerve-racking. As Dylan sat across from at least twenty people and the CEO of NSK, he struggled to remember why he was here. Nobody had bothered to tell him.
Nick’s day started out odd. First he was accused of stealing a fish bone, then Scott shoved him into an NSK building and a room where the CEO and Dylan were waiting.
“Ahem,” the CEO started, “As you all may know, Nick here has stolen a priceless artifact, the Wishstone.”
“Excuse me, but what is a Wishstone?” Dylan asked.
“And I stole a fish bone, not a Wishstone.” Nick added.
“If I may,” Scott said. The CEO nodded and he went on, “The Wishstone is an all-powerful artifact, said to have granted any wish, lost to the ages, until now. It WAS being shipped here, but was stolen from the ship it was hidden in. But what I don’t understand is why Nick, or whoever it is doing this, robbed the temple?”
“Yes, NSK Egypt Division has just sent us some recently discovered hieroglyphics explaining that the ancient Egyptians split the Wishstone into five pieces. Whoever did it probably thought the rest was at the temple,” said the CEO.
“So whoever gathers all the pieces…?” Nick began.
“…Will have their wish granted,” Scott finished.
“This is all fine and dandy, but why am I here?” inquired Dylan.
“Yes, I was just getting to that.” All of the heads in the room turned to the CEO. “As most of you know, NSK was started because of Nick and Scott here,”
“Of course,” Scott said, beaming with pride.
“I can’t stand them anymore! They’re worse than giving birth!”
“And you know this how?” Nick questioned.
“I quit! And I put Dylan in charge of this wretched NSK!”
The VP spoke up: “What about me?”
“Who are you again?”
“Scott, wait up!” Scott slowed down a bit so Nick could catch up. “I don’t understand. What’s our assignment?”
“I didn’t know either,” Scott replied, “so I swiped this.” He gave Nick some papers. “It explains our mission. We are to stop this thief from gathering the four other pieces of the Wishstone.”
“Where do we start?”
“‘A mountain hidden by a perpetual blizzard,’” Scott read, “Whatever that means,”
“Okay, let’s go!”
Nick ran off, leaving Scott behind yelling, “Wait, we don’t know where that is!”
A man in a purple costume surveyed his surroundings. The man looked quite ridiculous, but he didn’t care. His name was the Purple Wind.
“So I’m in some kind of stupid hole, eh?” He said to no one in particular.
His wand, Goodstyle, appeared and said, “I think this is the cave the Sphinx told us about, sir!”
“So the second Wishstone is in here somewhere?”
“I would believe so.”
“Great!” The Purple Wind ran deeper into the cave, Goodstyle following close behind.
“Heh, heh, heh,” said a very suspicious snowman lying in wait.
“AHA!” Nick shouted as he fell on top of the snowman.
A man who had hidden inside of the snowman stood up and asked, “Who are you?”
As Nick brushed himself off, he replied, “None of your business. Who are you?”
“Count Cannoli, to put it simply.”
“Cannoli, huh? Well, I’m Nick. Hold on, did you happen to see someone come by here?”
Nick and Cannoli looked up. Scott was slowly hovering down towards them. “He is the thief!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mister…?”
“Scott. My name is Scott. And you are the one the one that stole the first part of the Wishstone!”
Cannoli shook his head. “Me? Oh, no. That would be the Purple Wind.”
“Yes. He stole the Wishstone. Why does this concern you?”
Nick spoke up, “It’s because he framed me.”
Cannoli frowned, “I have no idea why he would do that. Come. He went this way,” Nick and Scott followed Cannoli as he led them farther into the cave.
“I found him!” exclaimed Count Cannoli, “I found the Purple Wind!” Nick and Scott gazed at the fat man garbed in purple standing in front of them.
Scott whispered in Nick’s ear, “Nick, isn’t that-”
“Wario!” Nick hollered, a bit louder than Scott had wanted.
“Huh? Oh, it’s you. Cannoli is bad enough, let alone you two. Why are you here?”
Scott rolled his eyes, “Do we have to say it again? By the way, why are you dressed like that?”
Wario puffed out his chest, “Why you ask? Because I am no longer Wario! Bah! I am the notorious thief, The Purple Wind! Ha! Silent but deadly!”
“Silent but…” Scott said, startled.
“You mean like…” Nick started to ask.
“Ugh!” Scott cried, “Why on Earth would you name yourself that?!”
“Never mind that.” Nick said, changing the subject. “Behind him, beyond that door is where the second Wishstone fragment must be hiding! Now, how do we get in?”
“About that…” Wario muttered, putting an emerald flamingo statue on a nearby pedestal. The door opened.
“How did you do that?” Cannoli whined, “You must be getting help!”
“Must look that way to you, Clueless Cannoli!” Wario laughed. He locked the door behind himself with Cannoli walking away mumbling about disrespectful immature thieves who name themselves after farts.
“Scott, what do we do now?”
The question was like an insult after meeting Wario again. Scott managed not to kill Nick, though.
“I think we should check the pyramid of the pharaoh that ruled when the Wishstone was made. Uh, Poobah, I think it was.”
“Let’s go, then!” Nick ran off. Scott stayed where he was. Nick came back. “It’s that way, isn’t it?” he said, pointing in the opposite direction.
Wario would never forget his first encounter with Nick. He never thought he could be put in a worse situation. He thought wrong. Carpaccio, a thief who, along with Wario and Cannoli, was trying to obtain all of the Wishstone, had just used a newly invented morphing technology to transform into a giant blue head. Then he ate Wario.
Wario was testing a disguise that Goodstyle had recommended. He was dressed as a fire-breathing dinosaur. “Goodstyle, remind me later to name these disguises,” Wario said as he belched more flames down Carpaccio’s throat.
“There it is!”
“Go on, collect your prize! You deserve it!”
Carpaccio listened to the conversation between the Purple Wind and Goodstyle. He had gone back to his usual human shape and was a bit depressed that he had lost his own fight. “Yes, I admit you are more powerful than me. I won’t make that mistake again. Next time I will utterly consume you, Purple Wind!”
“No, I keep you out. Find two medallions in this pyramid and I will consider letting you in.” With that, the giant head guarding the entrance to Poobah’s tomb fell back asleep.
“Scott, what are we going to do? Wario will be here any minute!” Nick said uncomfortably.
“That’s it! When Wario comes with the two medallions, we can sneak in after him!” Scott triumphantly announced.
“Are you sure that will work?”
Scott sighed. “Nick, something just isn’t right with this pyramid. Why is it buried in sand? Something abnormal – more than usual – is at work here.”
“Well look at the little man!” the giant head exclaimed as Wario strutted into the room with a medallion in each hand.
“It wasn’t that hard,” Wario said, half modestly.
“Brag all you want, just go in before I change my mind…” the head then resumed its eternal nap.
“Wait, Purple Wind!”
Wario turned to see Cannoli tiredly catching his breath in the doorway. “What do you want, Count Cockroach?”
“Go no further! I won’t allow it!”
“Who’s going to stop me?”
Neither of the fighting men noticed as Scott and Nick sneaked into Poobah’s tomb. The head snored peacefully. Wario stomped on Cannoli’s foot.
“Seen this before, Cannoli? You’re a bad rerun!” Wario laughed as he ran inside.
“This is impossible! He’s beating me at every turn!” muttered a defeated Count Cannoli.
“Losing your drive, Cannoli?”
“Huh? Who said that?”
“Ready to step up to the plate? Ready to take the bull by the horns?”
“Perhaps, yes, perhaps…”
“See, here’s the funny thing: that ‘chunka’ Wishstone isn’t here! If anyone can find it, it’s you, fatso!” the pharaoh Poobah said to Wario before opening a portal and shoving Wario in.
“Scott, did you get all that?”
“Yeah. Hey, Nick do you think-” Scott was about to say more when the portal heard them. Thinking they were supposed to go with Wario, it flew towards their hiding place and sucked up Nick and Scott.
“I never thought I would ever see one again!” Goodstyle exclaimed happily as he gazed at the majestic waterfall flowing in front of them. Wario was standing on a stone bridge over 200 meters high with Goodstyle hovering nearby.
“Bah! Nature is stupid! To much water, not enough treasure!” Wario said haughtily.
“Yes, I guess we have different perspectives on the subject. Why do you suppose this waterfall is in these ruins? Maybe something worth hiding behind it? Maybe some of that treasure you love so much?”
“Maybe the third chunka Wishstone! Let’s go!”
“AHA!” Nick screamed as he fell on top of Wario. Scott slowly floated towards the pair.
“I know I’ve seen this somewhere before,” Scott muttered as he landed and Nick and Wario untangled.
“Who might you two be?” Goodstyle asked accusingly.
“You don’t know? You really don’t know?” Nick exclaimed. “Does anyone know these days? You look like an old wand. You weren’t ever in Parliament or anything?” Goodstyle gave him a questioning look, so Nick continued, “Even the saddest of baddies tremble in fear at the mere mention of our names! We have defeated infinite evil! You should have fear driven into your heart deeper than-WHOA!” Nick tripped over a stone and went flailing over the edge towards the abyss below.
Scott, shaking his head, mumbled, “Yes, you should really be afraid of us,”
“Where am I?” Nick asked as he bolted awake.
A nearby nurse smiled at him. “An NSK hospital, sir. Please lay back down, sir, you’re very hurt,”
“Still on his mission, I think. Now, will you please lay back down? You took a pretty nasty fall, and-”
“Sorry, miss,” Nick interrupted, clearly not very sorry, “but I can’t let Scott get all of the glory on my mission. I have to go now!” Nick disappeared without a backwards glance.
“Ah! That is one huge flower!” Wario exclaimed.
“Look, sir! On top of the flower! It’s another piece of the Wishstone!” Goodstyle pointed out.
“About time that thing showed up!”
“Not so fast, Purple Loser!” Wario and Goodstyle looked up to see Scott jump from a ledge and landed on top of the ten foot wide flower. “I’ll take this,” he said, lifting the Wishstone above his head. Suddenly the flower closed on Scott. Angry muffled shouts resounded from inside the flower. Finally, the flower exploded.
“Stupid flower,” Scott muttered as he shook himself off. He again lifted the Wishstone above his head. “At least I still have thi-” Scott was interrupted by a green serpentine dragon flying past. It plucked the Wishstone right out of Scott’s hands and kept flying, seemingly unaware that it now held a lump of Wishstone.
“Bu – that’s not – why me?” Scott said, stunned and defeated.
The dragon landed at the bottom of a pool of lava. Its eyes, windows, opened to reveal Nick with the third Wishstone.
“The Quazajet will have to wait here,” he said to himself sadly before jumping out of the lava and running towards faraway Blowhole Castle.
“Feel that heat, smell that sulfur!” Wario said, annoyed, as he gazed down at the crater filled with lava.
“Just remember our truce will only last until one of us gets the Wishstone that the flying snake stole from us.”
“By us, you mean you. And by the way, snakes don’t have arms to reach down and-”
“I get it!” Scott shouted.
“Not one more step, kind sirs! I would be so sad if you burned your sweet bacon!”
Wario and Scott turned to see a woman in a red dress hurrying towards them. “Who the heck are you?” Wario asked impatiently.
“My name is unimportant. What is, however, is that you two are safe! No touring the volcano today! You mustn’t go!”
“Not go, lady?” Wario replied, “You five kinds of nuts? I’m going to do a lava belly flop!” Wario laughed as he ran off. Scott shook his head.
“He’s worse than Nick,” he turned to the woman again, “Don’t worry; I’m not going any farther.”
“Thank the stars!”
“Um, can you give me a tour of the, uh, safer areas, then?”
“Gladly,” She led him to a pool of lava on one side of the mountain. “Most people don’t know it, but this pool is one of the oldest in the world. Because the volcano has not erupted in quite some time, this pool is surprisingly clear and cool.”
“Amazing,” Scott said, not pointing out that she had all of her information wrong. Something in the lava caught his eye, and he stared at it until he figured out what it was (and his eyebrows were half-singed). “So Nick has not only fixed the Quazajet, but also stolen the Wishstone from right under my nose,” Scott said to himself, impressed.
Nick stopped for a break. He had been running for hours. He had long since passed through Blowhole Castle and could see his next destination, but wasn’t getting anywhere. “I’ve heard a legend about this: ‘Fear not the path of bridge that never ends, for just recite: Oyshan La9ine.’” He recited from memory. Suddenly each row of bricks in front of him lowered to form a staircase.
“Let’s speed this up. I’ve lost enough time as it is,” He pointed two fingers at the first two steps. A beam of energy shot out and melted the steps. It caused a gapping hole in the bridge, which he jumped into. Long after he had gone, the bridge slowly started to regenerate itself.
Wario stared at the giant castle in front of him. He didn’t know it, but the castle was Blowhole Castle, where Count Cannoli lived.
“Wait up, M’lord!”
Wario turned to see the woman from the volcano. “Oh, it’s you again. Who are you?” Wario said, confused.
“Dear me!” she gasped, “I never told you my name! As you can see, I’m sugar and rice and everything nice, plus sprinkles! I am Tiaramisu! It’s nice to make your acquaintance at long last!” She turned to the castle, “Certainly you aren’t thinking of going there, are you? I hope not; it’s rumored that the royal family shares their quarters with ghosts!”
Scott had never done this before. He was about to face the CEO empty handed. “Why me?” he asked himself as he walked inside.
Dylan briefly looked up from his work, “I’ll be with you in a moment. Where is Nick? Where’s the Wishstone?”
Scott cleared his throat, “Well, you see, Nick is still out doing, uh, field work, but he has one of the Wishstone. We’ve also found out the thief is Wario,”
“And the other four Wishstones? What of them?” Dylan sighed.
“Well, two are in Wario’s possession, and, uh, the last two haven’t been found yet.”
“You’re down one to two? Then what are you doing here? Go get the rest of the Wishstone!”
“Wario has made it past ____________ Peak and will soon make it to the castle.”
Count Cannoli said nothing. He was staring at the T.V. screen displaying static. Nick had long ago discovered he was being watched and destroyed Cannoli’s roaming camera. The adjacent T.V. showed Wario live running towards Blowhole Castle. Cannoli turned to leave.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Blowhole Castle,” Cannoli replied curtly. “I have some loose ends to tie up.”
“Why would you want to go there?” a new voice asked, “I was just there and it wasn’t an ideal vacation hotspot, I can tell you that.”
Cannoli turned to see Nick in the doorway, a part of the Wishstone in his hand. “What do you want?” Cannoli asked sharply.
“Jeez, I just wanted to give you the Wishstone, but if not…” Nick said mysteriously, his voice trailing off at the end.
“Cannoli!” the earlier voice said, “Who’s there? I heard him say something about the Wishstone!”
“Just someone who goes by the name of Nick,” Cannoli yelled over his shoulder.
“Nick? I know many Nicks! Be more specific!”
Nick cleared his throat and took a step forward. “I go by many names, but the most common is my code name, Nicholas Sven, or Nick for short.”
“Sven?” the voice said, dumbfounded. “I thought I would never see you face to face again!”
“Yeah, quite a few people say that before the memory swiping,” Nick said, annoyed. “Who are you? How do you remember me? And we aren’t exactly seeing each other face to face!”
“Sorry about that,” a camouflaged door opened and Carpaccio walked out. “My name is Carpaccio, but of course you already know that.”
“Carpo, is it really you?” Nick’s face broke out into a grin, “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize your voice,”
“That’s okay; I had my vocal chords surgically altered for that reason. But enough about that; what are you doing with the Wishstone?”
Nick’s face fell, “I’m trying to prevent Wario from getting it. He’s enough trouble on his own, and I think this might be worse.” He suddenly looked around. “Hey, where’d Cannoli go?”
Carpaccio shrugged, “I’ll tell you later. Go on,”
“I want you to protect this piece,” Nick said, gesturing to the tablet in his hand, “While I search for the other pieces.”
“That can be arranged. After all, I already hid a portion in my garden,”
“What? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because you would have asked me to guard it, even though I already am,”
“It’s about time you showed up!”
Scott winced at the sound of Wario’s voice.
“I’ve been running on this bridge for hours, but still no progress,” Wario admitted.
“Nick told me about something like this,” Scott said, rubbing his chin, “He said the only way to go anywhere,” he closed his eyes and strained to remember. Scott suddenly opened his eyes and looked to the sky. “Was to go up.”
“No problem,” Wario said, acting as if Scott’s behavior wasn’t at all odd, “This looks like a job for…hold on, the zipper’s stuck…got it, Wicked Wario!”
Scott fought back a giggling fit. Wario looked ridiculous in tights that were clearly too small for him, let alone the demon horns and bat wings. “No offence,” Scott said, even though he meant to offend Wario, “but I think you are way too fat to fly.”
Wario frowned and took off into the sky.
Scott chuckled, “‘If you want to get anywhere on the path that never ends,’” Scott said, quoting Nick, “‘go up. However, fear not the path of bridge that never ends, for if you want to go somewhere, just recite: Oyshan La9ine.’” At his words, the bricks ahead of Scott moved downward, forming a staircase. “I want to go down those steps, but Nick has already been through here, plus I have to prevent Wario from getting the rest of the Wishstone. Besides,” he said with a laugh, “if I follow these stairs, there’s a higher chance of me running into Nick.”
“This place is too complicated,” Wario complained, “It’s like a bug-infested Labyrinth,”
“That’s the point,” Scott reminded him, “Anyone who can make it through here practically deserves the Wishstone.” Scott suddenly laughed.
“What’s with you?”
“Nothing, it’s just that some places scream: ‘Make me into a video game!’”
Wario laughed with him.
“Heck, the entire scuffle for the Wishstone could be made into a video game.” Scott raised an eyebrow and looked at Wario, “What do you think?”
“I would call it: ‘The Purple Wind and the Race for the Wishstone!’”
Scott gave him an odd look, “Wario, you have to let that go. Everyone knows it’s you.”
“Name one person.”
“Uh, Car, Carploosh, uh, something like that,”
“Never mind, we’re here.” Wario gestured around them. They were in a dim room. In front of them stood a large pillar of glass in which was a part of the Wishstone.
“Don’t touch it,” Scott warned, “Something bad will happen.”
“Too bad,” Wario replied. He pulled back his arm and then smashed the pillar to pieces. “See? Brute strength conquers all. And stop looking so morrified, nothing bad happened.”
Scott shook his head, “First, I think you mean either ‘horrified’ or ‘mortified’, and second, I wouldn’t be so sure. Look.” He raised his hand and pointed behind Wario. Wario followed his gaze. Out of the shadows crawled a metallic lobster.
Wario grabbed the Wishstone and ran back to Scott’s side. The lobster released a high pitched shriek and after which a loud thud was heard. The door had slammed shut.
“Well,” Wario said halfheartedly, “At least things can’t get any worse.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Scott said sadly, “The sun’s going down,” After he had said this, Scott fell to his knees and cringed multiple times.
“Scott?” Wario asked, worried. “What does the sun have to do with anything?”
Scott began to gasp for breath, “I…werewolf,” he said in between gasps.
“Oh, now you tell me.”
“Where is he?” Cannoli said, starting to pace. “If the Purple Wind, no, Wario, is as strong as I think, he should have been here by now.”
Cannoli stopped pacing. He looked to the sky for a moment and then at the gate leading to The Path That Never Ends. “Maybe that Scott fellow betrayed him? Stole his Wishstone? Or something much worse?”
Scott slowly regained consciousness. He scanned his surroundings. The metallic lobster was off to one side of the room, hopelessly destroyed.
Maybe someday I can come back and fix that thing, he thought as he noticed Wario and Goodstyle talking while examining at the Wishstone.
“Look sir! There’s writing on this one too!”
Scott figuratively froze. If there was writing on the tablets that would explain how Wario was getting so far. That, and Scott had no idea there was writing on it in the first place.
“Well then, get reading! I can understand any of this nonsense writing!”
“‘Ca…mak…Re…mor…Sa…ne…ci…Half…ak…’” Goodstyle translated. Scott relaxed. The text must have been worn away with age.
The last of the werewolf stages were wearing off. There was a throbbing pain in his back. If Scott had to guess, he would say his right shoulder blade was broken. Worse, his left arm was torn open and splattered with blood. The wound was closing abnormally fast, (by human standards) but not painlessly. Scott noticed more blood on the claws of the lobster, but Wario seemed clean. Scott sighed and closed his eyes again. The battle was over, but somehow Wario was unscathed and he was not. There was something wrong with that image.
“Hey, furball!” Wario shouted at Scott, “If you’re dead, say ‘I have hair on my-’”
“Yeah, I’m okay, no need to finish that.” Scott interrupted. He groaned as he stood up. Almost immediately he noticed a limp in his right leg.
“I’m tired of waiting!” Count Cannoli yelled. “He should have been h-”
At that very moment, Scott and Wario walked through the gate.
“Heh, heh, heh, they have no idea I’m here,” he whispered. His voice rose to a shout, “You’re infuriating, Purple Wind, but you’ve gained my respect.” He flew towards the pair in his invention, the Mad Had MK 3. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” Cannoli laughed, “Greetings, my foul-mouthed rival, and how are you feeling, Scott?”
“Where are the remaining chunks of Wishstone?” Wario asked.
“Where indeed. I’ll tell you, for the wand.”
“Then your days of thieving are over now!”
Scott watched Wario and Cannoli go at it. Wario was under the disguise of Genius Wario, (Something Scott thought would never happen) and Cannoli was in his weird hat-shaped machine. “As soon as this fight is over,” Scott whispered to himself, “then I will take Wario’s Wishstone!”
“Mama Mia!” Cannoli screamed as his machine exploded.
“The Purple Wind strikes again! Silent but deadly!” Wario exclaimed.
“I have chased you to the ends of the Earth, and I still cannot defeat you!”
“Tell me what I want to know! The Wishstone, where is it?”
“You’ll be so surprised!”
“Where? Spit it out!”
“You fool! They’re right behind you!”
Shocked, Scott turned around. All he saw was the open gate.
“You fell for it! Both of you!” Cannoli shouted. Scott turned back around to see Cannoli running away as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.
“You crook!” Wario yelled after him.
“What a shame,” Scott said in a monotone voice.
“What’s gotten into you?” Wario scowled.
“Nothing, it’s just…”
“Just a sudden urge to kick your butt and take your Wishstone.”
“WHAT?” Wario exclaimed.
“Prepare to die!”
Carpaccio watched Wario and Scott fight on the monitor. “It’s about time Scott betrays him. Unfortunately, if the Purple Wind is victorious, he will know to search here. I must make precautions,” he said quietly.
Count Cannoli entered. He glanced at the screen for a moment but quickly turned back to Carpaccio. “I have succeeded in, er, stalling him,” Cannoli said.
“Good. Get the security robots ready. And while you’re at it, get some of them to build a wall over that door.”
“No, a stack of pickles. What do you think?” Carpaccio replied sternly.
“I-it’s just that,” Cannoli stuttered, “that a wall will take-”
“It doesn’t have to be made of gold! I need a strong barrier and nothing else! Got it?”
“I don’t believe it!” Scott said, astounded. “That man can’t do a pushup, but he can defeat me! Me!”
Scott watched Wario run in the direction Cannoli had gone off in. He could practically hear Cannoli’s voice saying, skeptically: “Welcome to my world.”
Dylan hung up the phone. That was Tim, Superintendent of Labzarynth, the huge NSK jail six hundred thousand kilometers below the Earth’s surface. Tim had called telling Dylan the well-being of the five hundred or so prisoners like he did every Wednesday. The news was always the same: everyone was miserable, the food was bad, and occasionally someone died. Dylan questioned the reports; no one ever escaped Labzarynth and lived.
Now that Dylan thought about it, it was taking Nick and Scott extremely long to gather the Wishstone. Yesterday when Scott had seen him, two Wishstone fragments were already in Wario’s grubby hands. How dramatically had things changed since then? Maybe he should check and see that everything was okay. He picked up the phone and started to dial Scott’s number, but stopped halfway through and hung up.
Scott was never a good person to talk to on the phone; he often took things the wrong way and the results could be disastrous. Plus the phone company canceled his cell phone. Dylan dialed Nick’s number.
“Hello?” said a somewhat irritable voice on the other end.
“This is Dylan, CEO of NSK,”
“What do you want?”
“Umm…I just wanted to check your progress,”
“My progress?” Nick said, annoyed. “Well, as far as I know, Wario could still have two of the Wishstone, lost them, found the one still missing piece, or stolen the final two from Carpaccio, or any combination of the-”
“Carpaccio? You mean the former NSK employee?”
“Nick, a former NSK employee is no better than an average human and-”
“And you’re no better than pond scum yourself.” Nick retorted wistfully. “And you interrupt me again, you’re getting a one-way trip to Hell.”
“Got it. Sorry to bother you.”
“You better be.”
And with that, Nick hung up.
“…and that’s how you slipped up? I can’t believe he’s almost here!”
Cannoli’s shock was clear upon his face. “But I shut off all the power, walled up the main path, and assembled an army of robots! He’s…he’s just unstoppable!”
There was a long pause.
“Listen, Cannoli. Your plan was a total dog. And that dog’s gone barking.”
“What do you mean?” Cannoli asked weakly.
Suddenly a huge explosion came from the newly built wall. The heavy structure fell and a familiar figure appeared from the smoke.
“Hah, ha, ha!” laughed Wario, “Once and for all, tell me where the remaining Wishstone is!”
“Hey, slick!” Carpaccio shouted, coughing smoke, “Think you’re up for more of the Wishstone? Then here it is!” Carpaccio pulled out a remote and pressed a button. A section of the floor opened up to form a perfect circle-shaped hole. A platform rose out of the hole with the Wishstone on top, like a cherry on a sundae.
“Well, look what got dug out of the trash!” Wario said menacingly, “It’s old Kerplooshio, or whoever,”
“Guy, you make me nuts,” said Carpaccio, “It’s Car-pac-cio! Say it!”
Goodstyle appeared. “So you two cads are working together? What an unholy alliance!”
Carpaccio pointed at the wand. “I’d call it a…strategic alliance. Though, I am about ready to call it off.” He turned to face Cannoli, “One of us…has been less than useful.” Carpaccio laughed and turned back to Wario. “So, Purple Wind? Or should I say, Wario?”
Wario’s eyes grew wide with alarm, “Y-you can’t prove-”
“Yes, I’ve studied you for quite some time and know you much better now. I’ve watched you’re every move since the volcano. An idiot like Cannoli might think that he and I could team up to take you out, but that would be a lethal mistake. We can’t beat you with strength alone.”
Goodstyle spoke again, “What a shady plan! Set traps, wear us down, and then ambush us!”
Carpaccio laughed again, “Essentially, that’s exactly it. But it didn’t work, did it?”
Wario growled, “So you’re just giving up?”
“Surrender?” Carpaccio, said, aghast, “That word ain’t in my vocab.” Carpaccio said with a frown. “It’s true I can’t beat you with sheer force,” he chucked, “but in a battle of speed, you lose every time, loser. So I tell you what. See those hallways?” Carpaccio pointed over his shoulder to two hallways stacked on top of each other, “They lead to a hazard-crammed course that leads back here. First one through the maze wins. Winner gets loser’s Wishstone. I’ll take the lower path, you run the upper one. Got it?” Without waiting for a response, Carpaccio ran for his passage.
“You jerk!” Wario yelled after him, “No head starts! Wait!”
Wario laughed as he held up his fourth Wishstone. Carpaccio gasped for air as he came up an elevator.
“Ugh, I even rigged it so he’d have a harder time,” Carpaccio said, panting, “and he still beat me!”
Goodstyle appeared and stared at the piece. “Hey, check it out. The writing’s still good on this one. Here, let me translate, sir: ‘All…all of…stones…sought…All pieces are collected…the wish…to…That is when…all of…wish…may be granted…’”
“What’s that mean?” Wario asked, scratching his head.
“It explains what happens when you reassemble the Wishstone, but sadly the key details are missing.”
“But I’ll still get my wish, right?”
“The legend written here, what we can see of it, seems to say that.”
“Carpo! No!” exclaimed a new voice. Wario, Goodstyle, Cannoli, and Carpaccio turned to see Nick jump through the ruined wall.
“I’m sorry, Nick,” Carpaccio said solemnly. “He won it fair and square.”
“You even have Nick on your side?” Goodstyle asked, flabbergasted.
“No, we’re just old friends,” Carpaccio said quietly.
“Carpo, I trusted you,” Nick said harshly, “I guess that turned out to be a deadly mistake.”
“Bah!” interrupted Wario, “You’re all a bunch of crybabies! Just give me the last Wishstone and I can have all the money in the world!”
“Y-you wanted to put the Wishstone back together for such a crass purpose?” Carpaccio said, surprised. He paused, then said, “This is too risky, as I suspected.” He ran out a nearby door.
“I’m coming with you!” Nick shouted as he followed.
“Cannoli!” Wario yelled, “Where’s he going?”
“He probably rushed off to get the final tablet!” Cannoli replied, gesturing to the door, “Hurry! Come with me!”
“Where’d you bring me, Cannoli? Are you playing tricks again?”
Wario and Cannoli were standing on an open bridge. The sun was starting to rise, and across the bridge was a hazy green blur.
“Carpaccio confided to me that he was going to his fantastical garden next.”
Wario looked doubtful. Cannoli noted this and went on, “No need to give me dirty looks. I’m done trying to trap you. You’ve shown that you are the better man.” His voice quivered, “I’ve resigned to my inferiority. Furthermore, you’ve shown me that you’re Goodstyle’s true master.” Cannoli’s voice then raised a pitch and was almost harsh. Wario thought it was something like a pep talk.
“Enough talking. You must stop Carpaccio and Nick before they ruin everything!”
Carpaccio smiled as he pried a scarlet gem out of the door leading to the Wishstone. He heard a faint click indicating that the door had been locked. He put the gem in the hands of a security robot standing to his side. “Hide this. And make sure the Purple Wind doesn’t get it.” The robot nodded and scuttled away.
“Hey, Carpaccio! I saw that! Give me that thing! The big red gem!”
Carpaccio inwardly scowled. “You’ve got a good eye, Wario, I’ll give you that. But I won’t give you the Crimson Gem. It’s the key to my garden’s secret. Farewell, Purple Wind! May you be lost in this garden forever!”
Nick gazed at the army sprawled below him. There was a variety of robots, Sigil Security employees, robots, and even more robots. Nick took a deep breath, and then ordered:
“Get Wario! Get Wario at all costs! Or the Purple Wind! Whoever he says he is! Just get him! At all costs!”
The army scattered. Nick sighed.
“A bunch of androids and security guards aren’t going to stop Wario,” he said to himself, “I doubt anything will. Except the surprise the Wishstone has in store for him,”
“Look, over there!”
Wario ran towards the final boulder. “I’ve finally found it! The last piece of the Wishstone!”
“Purple Wind! Stop right there!” came Carpaccio’s voice behind him. “Don’t go anywhere near that thing!”
Wario laughed, “Are you kidding? That tablet’s got my name all over it!” He stepped onto the Wishstone’s pedestal. Suddenly the Wishstone stopped glowing. “W-what the…”
As if by instinct, all of Wario’s tablets rose into the air and combined with the final rock.
“Now you’ve done it!” said Carpaccio accusingly, “The Wishstone is whole again…and it’s powering up!”
“Yeah!” Wario said, excited, “Time for my wish! Listen up, Wishstone! Give me treasure! All of it! Everything! NOW!”
There was a pause.
“Hey! What’s going on here? Nothing’s happening!”
“You fool!” Nick said, coming through the same door as Carpaccio. “The Wishstone isn’t a stone of wishing! It’s-”
A blinding flash of light cut him off. Then a slightly familiar voice sounded: “Marvelous! The moment has arrived after so very, very long!” The light faded. Tiaramisu giggled. Her dress was no longer red, but a teal-blue color. “Oh, my foolish and fumbling lord, I’m as free as a bird! I simply must thank you for releasing me! Or should I say, unleashing me! What a perfect gentleman you’ve been, helping me ever since you stole the first of the five from the boat!”
“You helped her?” Carpaccio asked, amazed, “That creature? But how did you reach out to him, Tiaramisu, you fowl harpy?”
“Fortunately, ____________ Peak is a nexus of dark power. It helped me…manifest. Though I was sealed in the Wishstone, I could still reach out to M’lord here!”
“You deceitful little-” Carpaccio started.
Wario interrupted him, “Will someone tell me what’s going on? Am I getting my money or not?”
“The Wishstone, that accursed rock,” Nick said in a sinister voice, “has sealed that she-fiend Tiaramisu for ages! But now-”
Tiaramisu waved her hand and a lightning bolt struck Nick and Carpaccio. Carpaccio fell unconscious, but Nick dropped to one knee and clenched his teeth. “Call a lady a monster, will you? You cad! They’re the fiends! Right, M’lord?” Another bolt struck them. This time, Nick fell to his hands and knees. He tried to clench his teeth again, but missed and bit his lip, drawing blood.
“Ugh,” Nick muttered weakly, “Stop,”
“Whee! I’m giddier than a queen rolling in caviar! M’lord, just for fun, let’s take a look at the writing on the Wishstone! I’m sure you’ve seen bits and pieces, but the story in whole is quite different!”
“What’s it say, Goodstyle? I don’t trust her.” Wario said, still confused.
“You don’t want to know. It’s too horrible.”
“Read it!” Wario replied angrily, “I want to know the truth!”
“Fine, let’s begin, then. Here is the whole story: ‘Behold! We cast our hopes with he who gathers the five Wishstone. Long ago, there lived a king consumed by the sickness of greed. This king was an evil man, and greatly desired a granted wish above all things. With proud heart, the king called forth a demon who agreed to grant his wish. But it came at a terrible price, for the demon asked him to starve his people. And thus the king agreed. But the king soon learned that demons are sly and his wish was honored not. The demon stole all that the king held dear, and crumbled his land to dust. The demon rampaged, the living perished, and the land became as a desert. The king’s pyramid sunk beneath the sand, but yet the king – a soulless, lifeless husk – lived on in his dead house. Eons passed ‘til hope appeared, and a man dared to cross the desert. This man talked softly, wooing the demon with his words. And when the demon’s guard was down, he changed its very form! The demon was sealed in stone, and the stone split in five. To those who dare to seek all of the Wishstone, take heed. If you can join all pieces five, then you must slay the reformed demon. If such is done, then the heartfelt wish of all the people shall be made real.’”
“So then the Wishstone-”
“If I may interrupt, M’lord, it was not a Wishstone at all!” Tiaramisu said, annoyed, “It certainly was not my wish to be sealed away for so many years!”
Nick stood up and looked to the sky in wonder, “So my worries are true. This Wishstone, and that one so long ago…”
“Yes, Nick, they are one in the same.” Tiaramisu said hastily. “So many greedy men have tried to collect the tablets. Of course, I welcomed their efforts. But every time someone, somewhere, got close to recollecting the whole thing, that Cannoli fellow and his irritating family always got in the way! And if it wasn’t the Cannoli clan, it was that meddling Sigil family! Both families, for ages, have kept the tablets from coming together. But this lovely ‘demon’ you see before you has finally made her comeback! And I owe it all to the Purple Wind! My dearest, darling, Wario!” She laughed heartily, “I’m famished! I could devour a thousand humans! How about an appetizer?”
Scott wandered about the garden. He was hopelessly lost. Scott sighed and sat down. “I’ll just be too late to save the day, I guess. If I had never broken my own truce, I would never be in this situation.”
Scott sighed again. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a security robot stop and stare at him. Without turning, Scott pulled a pistol from his belt and shot it at the machine. A dull thud followed as the automaton hit the ground. Scott smiled, but felt no joy. He sighed a third time, closed his eyes and stopped smiling.
He should be the one to stop Wario from getting the final Wishstone in one swift, heroic move. He should be the one to get a wish. He should be the one to save the day, not Nick.
Scott would have felt better if Nick and Scott had worked together mostly, but they had separated early on. There was no hope. Scott sighed yet again and purposefully let his upper body fall backwards to hit the ground. He listened to the sound of his head hitting the ground carefully.
Thud, thud, thud, for ages…
Scott made a face then put his ear to the ground.
This lovely demon you see before you has finally made her comeback! And I owe it all to the Purple Wind! My dearest, darling, Wario!
Scott smiled. His time had not come and gone. And better yet, by the sounds of it, Wario got the last of the Wishstone. Nick messed up. And the Wishstone had a demon inside. Wario messed up.
Scott won’t mess up.
Scott smashed the floor and fell through.
I could devour a thousand humans! How about an appetizer?
“Not today, demon!” Scott screamed. He crash-landed right into…Wario.
“Your timing was a little off, but otherwise, I give you a ten,” Nick said sarcastically.
“I was aiming for her.”
Meanwhile, Tiaramisu was speaking quietly to herself, “Who should I start with?” she held a shining sphere of light in her hand. She aimed at her victim of choice, and then fired. There was a bright flash of light.
And familiar laughter.
“Cannoli?” Wario said incredulously. Cannoli was in a small helicopter which had an extendable mechanical arm. The arm held up Carpaccio’s limp body, then recoiled towards the craft. When it was close enough, Cannoli loaded Carpaccio into the helicopter.
“I’ll take care of Carpaccio!” Cannoli shouted over the helicopter’s rotors, “You take care of her, Purple Wind!”
“Hey, wait! Where are you going?”
“Don’t worry, Wario. With your might and Goodstyle at your side, you’ll do fine,” Cannoli nodded somberly, and then flew the helicopter away, leaving Nick, Wario, and Scott with the demon.
“Wait! Don’t go!” Nick shouted after him, “We could use the help,”
“That Cannoli clan really ticks me off!” Tiaramisu screamed, “I’ll crush them all like cockroaches! But revenge on an empty stomach? I’ll snack on you three like candy bars first!”
“The final showdown!” Scott said heatedly, “Defeat her or lose your soul…forever!”
“Think you’re going to steal my soul? You don’t stand a chance!” Wario shouted.
“What’s all this talk about souls?” Nick asked, “She doesn’t eat souls. She’s not even a-”
“Enough!” Tiaramisu screamed. Two of the pieces of Wishstone appeared in Tiaramisu’s hands. They merged together to form a mask that appeared to be crying. She teleported them to a blue, cube shaped room. On one wall were five holes forming a pentagon. In the highest hole was Tiaramisu’s crying mask; the others held a hand, each holding a single blue orb. One of the orbs glowed red and then blasted a ball of energy at Scott, who easily dodged.
“Does she have a weak point?” Wario asked desperately.
“Not that I can see,” admitted Nick softly.
“Wait! That gives me an idea!” Wario said, pulling Goodstyle out of his pocket. “Goodstyle, Genius Wario! Now!” Goodstyle whirled around Wario rapidly. Wario’s purple outfit faded, replaced with a lab coat. Goggles emerged out of thin air and latched themselves onto Wario’s face. Goodstyle stopped spinning and vanished back into Wario’s pocket. “Hey, these glasses show that orb orange,” he said, pointing to the globe closest to Nick.
“A weak spot, maybe?” Nick mumbled as he pulled out a sword and slashed at the sphere Wario had pointed to. The orb fell to the floor and broke. Almost immediately, an ear-splitting scream shook the room. The mask above them started to cry, filling a fourth of the room with water. They repeated the sequence until there were no globes left, and the whole room was filled with water. Wario again pulled out Goodstyle, this time forming a mini-submarine around Wario and a pirate’s hat on his head.
Wario floated towards the weeping mask. He pressed a button and three torpedoes shot from the sub and exploded in Tiaramisu’s face. The she-demon screamed in pain. When the smoke cleared, Tiaramisu’s was hovering over them. A piece of the Wishstone materialized in front of her and transformed into a smirking mask.
“Nice job with the submarine,” Scott complimented, “Cool disguise. What do you call it?”
“Uh, I like everything but the name. The ‘Captain’ part is okay, but not the ‘Wario’ part. If you rename it, name it anything as long as it doesn’t have ‘Wario’ in it, okay?”
The next mask was a surprised face. Tiaramisu warped them high in the sky, while Wario disguised himself as Wicked Wario. Nick and Scott floated as casually as your average Tiaramisu was swerving around them as fast as they could blink.
“This is impossible. We need something that can hit everywhere at once!”
“Got it!” Wario yelled as he took out Goodstyle. “Goodstyle, change me into Sparky Wario! Wait, don’t! I need one of you two to hold me up so I don’t fall!”
“I guess that’s reasonable,” Nick said as he flew under Wario and held him up as he transformed into Sparky Wario, which consisted of spiky hair and a blue costume. “Hey, Scott! Help me! He’s heavy!”
“Can’t we just let him die? And if he lands on you, all the more better.”
“Okay, okay,” Scott helped Nick hold up the obese fat man.
Wario finished charging. He let loose thousands of lightning bolts in every direction. One bolt hit Tiaramisu and she screamed terribly.
They were warped to a room similar to the first, only the walls were bright orange. Further inspection revealed that the walls were on fire. The trio turned back to Tiaramisu, who had changed the final Wishstone into a mask with an angry red scowl.
The final mask broke. All of them were warped back to Carpaccio’s garden. Tiaramisu landed on the ground and struggled to maintain her balance, swaying slowly.
“Would you like to do the honors, Nick?” Scott said mockingly.”
“Me? No, we couldn’t have done it without Wario.”
“I agree completely. Wario?”
“Fine,” Wario agreed, “Should I trip her, or kick her in the shins?”
“Gladly,” and with that, Wario charged at Tiaramisu, defeating the demon once and for all.
“The Purple Wind strikes yet again! Silent, deadly, and awesome!” Wario cheered heartily. “Now, you second-rate demon! Grant my wish!”
Nick and Scott smacked their foreheads.
“You trip a lady and you want me to grant your wish?” Tiaramisu exclaimed angrily, “Who’s the mean one now?”
The pedestal where the final Wishstone was held changed into a yawning hole. Tiaramisu jumped in it and it changed back to the pedestal.
“Come back here, coward!” Wario screamed after her, “Grant my wish!”
“It appears that the she-demon has fled to her dimension.” Goodstyle said, “Tiaramisu met her match, thanks to you! She has fled our world at long last! So…perhaps…after all these years, my job is finally done.” There was a flash of light. Where the wand had once been, there was now an old man in a green robe. “My real name is Cannoli. The very first of the Cannoli line. I was the one who tangled with that foul demon forever ago. It was I who sweet-talked her. And when I forced her into the Stone, things only got better, until she tried to break free. So I smashed the slate into five and scattered them all over the world. To continue to protect the world through the years, I became the wand, Goodstyle. I’ve helped the fates of so many. The Cannoli family. The Sigil family. They knew the pieces. I knew it all. Both families watched for ages, re-scattering the pieces when needed. However, in this generation, the inheritors of that title from both families never learned the legend their ancestors had passed down. Cannoli’s parents died when he was a young boy, and Carpaccio joined NSK. Meanwhile, I’ve waited for the one who could defeat Tiaramisu once and for all.”
“You pushed me into this?” Wario exclaimed, “What a jerk you are!”
“Yes, my friend, I led you here, knowing what you sought was wealth.”
“All this trouble for nothing?” Wario said angrily. He started to walk away.
“Wario, let me say-”
“Oh, shut it!”
“Please listen! The Cannoli clan is a family of world class thieves. You may have our entire collection of treasure that we’ve collected. It’s just a small way of thanking you for defeating that creature.”
Wario turned and ran back to Cannoli the First. “Really? No lies? I’m getting it all?”
“Absolutely. All yours.”
Wario grinned from ear to ear.
“Purple Wind, my friend, Wario! Let me grant your wish in my way! All the riches from around the world are yours at long last!”
“At last, all of the money in the world, they’re mine! All mine! I own it all!” Money was raining down upon Wario in boatloads. “Bring it on! My money! My riches! Rain down upon me! Hah, ha, ha! I’m filthy rich! Filthy! Now I own it all! All of the world’s greatest treasures are mine! Just how it should be!”
“I’m sorry, Wario, but we’re going to have to confiscate all that.” Nick said, taking a step forward.
“What! Why?” Wario exclaimed.
“Well, let’s say there’s a trillion dollars here.”
“You really think there’s that much?” Wario said greedily, looking at all the treasure.
Nick ignored this and went on, “Well, twenty-five billion will pay for all the stuff you broke. Another twenty-five for making sure people don’t know about you. Another for memory scans, and finally, twenty-five for…well, we just plain hate you.”
“No way! I’m not giving up my money!”
“It’s either that or you go back to Labzarynth.”
Wario looked hesitantly at his treasure. “Fine. You can have it. But I better have a clean slate!” Wario ran off without a backwards glance.
Scott walked up to Nick and gazed at all of the wealth piled in front of them. “Does NSK really need that stuff?”
Nick laughed, “I wish!”
Author’s note: To tell the truth, I really didn’t say ‘I wish’ at the end. Anyway, you might wonder why I didn’t write all of the battle with Tiaramisu. After all, I was there. It’s because the battle itself isn’t as important as the dialogue before the battle and the dialogue after the battle. (Plus, that tripping scene was priceless, so I had to add it anyway) As for anything else I skipped, I really didn’t think it contributed much to the story so I just left it out.
Epilogue (Written August 11th)
"...and then Wario got away."
It was two weeks later. Nick and Scott were in the NSK conference room from before. This time, however, it was just Nick, Scott, Dylan, and another NSK agent that was taking notes. Nick and Scott took turns retelling a alternate version of what had happened since they had discovered the theft of the Wishstone.
"I see," Dylan said, stroking his chin, "and what about Goodstyle?"
Nick's face burst into shock. He looked at Scott, who was equally shocked. "We lost sight of him. But I think it's safe to say that he's no longer in Wario's service."
"What about Cannoli and Carpaccio?"
"They will be protected for the rest of their lives by the classified NSKP agency which I am not allowed to tell you about."
"There's been something that's been bugging me. I know it's wrong for me to question your wisdom, but you did only find out about the Wishstone two weeks, three days, and six hours ago. But you seem like you know about pretty much everything we need to know about it. Can you elaborate?"
Nick sighed, "A long time ago, I angered Tiarimisu into coming into this universe. I got a man named Cannoli to get her to drop her guard, and as you know, she was sealed in stone. After that I wrote the story that Goodstyle read to Wario in the garden. I might have overexagurated things a bit."
Scott rolled his eyes, "A bit?"
"I see," Dylan said, sipping some tea. "One final note: how exactly did Wario get away?"
"We had to make sure Tiaramisu was gone for good. We weren't going to risk mass destruction over the... minor things Wario does. You know, compared to the mass destruction."
Questions? Comments? Construtive criticism? Non-members can comment too, so feel free to use that comment box below!
March 20th, 2011, Update:
Since completing this, I have taken down the main Cracker and left just my blog posts to explain it. However, in doing so, I have left this piece unexplained, so I will do so now...I know, great timing, isn't it? Anyway, almost anything that a real-life Wario does gets turned into a warped version of a video game. This instance is one of the few with me actually in it. The game is called Master of Disguise, and although it is a good game...I'M NOT IN IT. But still, there's some contravercy on the subject. Check out my blog posts: Nintendo vs. The Cracker for more insight.
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