With Great Power, Comes great Irresponsiblity

The land is separated by war. Kingdoms against their fallen neighbor. Animosity and hatred runs hot and fierce beneath the rich culture and smiling faces, all at the Dark Land’s hand.

But is everything truly as it seems?

Is the terrifying ruler of the Dark Kingdom, and his collection of diverse and bizarre heirs truly at fault for the chaos? Or is it some other force at work under the toadstools and turtles?

The truth may well be found, but in the most unlikely of ways.

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I hummed a happy tune as I strolled through my kingdom. I came to a balcony and settled down to look out over my kingdom. Giant trees connected by intertwined branches spread out in the network that was the kingdom of Librara. I sighed happily. Each one of those massive trees was filled with the subjects of Librara, living books that contained all the knowledge in the world.

Who am I, I am Princess Loria. I care for the books of Librara. I make sure they are all happy and don’t get too disorganized. It’s very important to keep these books organized, they can be very snooty on which sections they are in. I have a special connection with books which makes me suited for this duty. I oversee the Toadstools that clean and care for the Booklings to make sure they are doing a good job. I also oversee re-shelving to make sure they don’t put the wrong books in the wrong places.

I rule Librara with the help of my sister, Princess Ivy. She cares for the trees that house the books. She keeps them healthy, well-watered, and free from any parasites that might come. She can mostly be found leaping through the branches like a ninja faerie or talking to the trees through her special connection with all tree-kind. She also oversees the Toads that harvest fruit from the trees.

There is also Prince Cyclone of the Galaxy Kingdom who is staying with us. We gave him the title of Minister of Mostly-Knowing, mostly because he has seen things my sister and I have only read about. He has the duty of writing an official report to send to Princess Peach every year. He also enforces law and order around here as Toads can get out of hand on occasion. He also helps us with the census of the villages and the annual tribute that we send to Princess Peach.

I gazed down at the soda water far below. The moon overhead had made it shine like silver. There was soda water all over Librara. The trees grew out of it, and the trees grew fruit to sustain us. I smiled up at the moon and stars. It is a good life that we live, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

Except, perhaps, a short vacation beyond our borders every once in a while.

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Ivy coughed, flopping very undignifiedly on the canopy bed. She let out a long breath, throwing an arm over her poison-green eyes.

“I can’t take any more of this Loria… all the courts are SUFFOCATING ME.”

She tugged at the sleeve of her dark grey and leaf green trimmed dress, blowing a section of her unruly black bangs out of her eyes.

“I really don’t wanna go to another royal party as long as I live.” She moaned. “High-Princess or not.”

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I turned to my unhappy sister.

“I agree, it was extremely boring. It’s a good thing her highness doesn’t visit more often. I don’t think I could eat another of those hors douvores if she offered me the entire Mushroom Kingdom to do it.”

I sighed. Her Most Royal Highness Princess Peach always meant well, but could be a more than a little annoying at times. I sat down on the sofa and muttered under my breath.

“If she had mentioned her wins at the races just one more time, I might have called an encyclopedia down on her head.”

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Ivy snorted, letting her hand fall off of her face.

“Oh my… not Webster.” She snickered. “Talk about throwing the book at someone.”

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I leaned back with a smile as I imagined the aforementioned Webster coming down on a surprised Princess.

“You have to admit, she did monopolize the conversation. You could hardly get a word in edgewise.”

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The strange princess of the green, sat up giggling, putting on her most princess Peach-like face.

“Oh, how I do love racing with Mario. He’s such welcome company over that fiendish Koopa King.” she said in a high falsetto, fluttering her eyes at the wall.

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I laughed softly at my sister’s impression.

“According to my statistics, she mentioned his name no less than thirty-seven times. It was getting to the point that if I ever met Mario, I might just drop him off the balcony so I never have to hear of him again.”

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Ivy snickered, shushing her sister.

“Quiet down Lo… Say that much louder and we’ll be kicked to the Dark Lands.” She sighed, stretching on the comfy blankets again. “Not that I’d complain or anything. But we got a kingdom and subjects to think about.”

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I sighed once more.

“Has anyone besides Peach or Mario ever been to the Dark Lands? All we get from the books and toads are warnings to never go there. There’s no real information such as what Bowser likes to do in his spare time or if he has trouble keeping all those children in line or why he adopted so many children in the first place or if they ever have parties that are actually interesting with no Royal bores.”

I went over to my own bed next to my sister’s and flopped down in my blue bookishly styled gown.

“I wonder if they ever have to wear uncomfortable clothes for important visitors.”

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Ivy scratched her side, right over the embroidered vines that trailed it’s grey surface.

“I bet not. Bower isn’t the guy to do stuffy and constricting from what I’ve heard.”

At that moment, a small red-shelled Spiny waddled into the room, his eyes blinking gout from under his protective shield. The green princess almost teleported to the small four legged creature, her eyes gleaming. The shelled being nodded his head, pulling out a cream colored note. Ivy snatched it up with a muttered thanks, unrolling the note and reading through the words with a smile.

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I hopped off of my bed and ran over to my sister.

“What does it say? Does it mean we can change out of these stuffy dresses?”

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Ivy snatched the note back, her eyes fiery.

“NO!” She snapped, then checked herself before replying again. “It’s… personal.”

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I shrugged. “If you insist, sister.”

“Should I ask why you are getting notes delivered via Spiny?”

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Ivy froze, her blood icing over in dread. She slowly clutched the note closer and tighter.

“Uh… n-no reason… at all… or anything.”

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I moved away and began to change into my everyday attire.

“You know, Spiny’s are only seen in the Dark Kingdom. The sight of one here would arouse suspicion if not alarm. Whatever is in that note must be very important to take such a risk.”

I emerged from my walk-in closet wearing a much more comfortable version of my bookish dress along with a much simpler tiara.

“You know you can trust me, sister. I won’t go to the High Princess over your little secret. I’m curious about the Dark Kingdom too and I’d love to learn more about it.”

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The princess of the green shot a look at the Spiny, who just looked at her will a curious and anxious look. She took a deep breath, before letting it out slowly.

"I uh…"She took another shuttering breath. “I’ve been corresponding with a… a certain person in the Koopa Kingdom. I’ve been asking some questions, and all…”

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I settled on my bed and began to run a brush through my reddish-blond hair. My blueish eyes took on a curious gleam.

“Would you mind telling me who it is?”

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Ivy toyed with the edging of her letter, biting her bottom lip as she fought with herself. She KNEW she could trust her sister with everything… but as the eldest, it was her duty to protect Loria. the moment stretched on for a short forever as the deviant princess continued to double back on her decisions. At last she gave a defeated sigh, clenching the paper again.

“I-its… I’ve been writing to Morton Koopa. He’s the castle paper-keeper, and is in charge of the library.”

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I leaned forward with a smile and rested my chin on my hands.

“Nothing about the Dark Kingdom mentions a library. Is it a good one?”

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