Luigi vs. Shadow

Luigi

Shadow

Luigi: Mario’s brother fights in the Toad’s Castle arena again, this time to save it from the forces of evil! …I mean, Sonic’s gang. He’s up against Shadow the Hedgehog… can he win?

Shadow the Hedgehog: The so-called “Ultimate Life-Form”, known for his powers of “Chaos Control”, his fierce fighting ability, and overuse of swear words. Will this be just another easy-win?

Luigi sits in the Castle conference room with a bemused look as Toad hangs up the phone and turns to him and Smashmatt.

Toad: So it is arranged. It’s been years, hasn’t it?

Smashmatt: I can’t believe we finally broke through all that red tape.

Toad: I know. It’s been a nightmare working with those Sonic people. I think we should stick to beating the crap out of a friendlier sort from now on.

Smashmatt: Have you seen the stadium lately?

Toad: No, how has it held up?

Smashmatt: A bit weathered, I’d say. We probably shouldn’t have built it out of sandstone, but hey, it was cheap and that place is ginormous.

Toad: Yeah, it’d have cost piles of coins to lay bricks.

***

It’s midday but Wario is fast asleep on his couch, TV blaring as he snores. The news comes on, and the anchor is excited.

Anchor: We’re momentarily interrupting your constant stream of death and destruction to give a rare bit of good news. We have it on good authority that the next Character Battle match has finally been arranged, and will be this Saturday night!

Wario groans and opens his eyes. He could sleep through an air raid (and has) but anything remotely related to money could raise him from the dead. He stands up and brushes a layer of crumbs from his chest. The couch remains sagged behind him as he walks to the phone and dials.

Wario: Goomby, friend, I just heard the news. What are the numbers?

Goomby: Shadow’s favored 3:1.

Wario: Execellent. Put all of our coins on Luigi. I’ll take care of it.

Wario hangs up and thinks for a moment. Though he’s sure Shadow could be bought, it’d eat too deeply into his profits. Much better to be more… proactive.

***

It’s the night of the match and the stadium is filling, somewhat. The bottommost rows at least. Toad takes his seat in the announcer’s box and Luigi and Shadow step out to face each other.

Toad: Welcome all, back to the De–Character Battle Stadium!

Toad: Tonight we have a long awaited match between Luigi and Shadow, let it begin!

The opponents start circling and glaring. A murmur of anticipation flows through the crowd.

Nightmare: This should be an excellent battle!

Goombachi: To be honest, I’d forgotten this place existed.

Luigi starts at Shadow, flinging fists, but a quick dodge sends him sprawling on his face. Shadow gets too good whacks in before Luigi can assume a crouched defensive position and eventually get back to his feet. They meet and continue to grapple.

As cheers and boos ring out from the crowd, Wario slowly slides below the surface of the stadium pulling a large drill behind him and thinking aloud.

Wario: The surface is weak enough already. One drill in the right place and it’ll be all over.

He got out a tiny periscope and forced it up through the sandstone.

Luigi has Shadow pinned for a second but is thrown off as he breaks free. Recovering, Luigi prepares for a Super Jump.

Wario: Now is the time!

He shifts the drill up and carefully weakens the area below Shadow’s feet.

Luigi launches himself and Shadow assumes a defensive crouch intended to reverse the force of the jump. Luigi lands and the sandstone beneath cracks with a thunderous boom that echoes around the stadium. They both fall through as the entire stadium begins to shake.

Toad: Earthquake! Match delayed on count of an earth–

He’s cut off as the announcer’s box topples from its sandstone supports and crashes into the rumble. The small crowd rushes from the stadium as it dissolves into a large pile of sand.

***

Several days later Toad in a full body cast motors his electric wheelchair into the conference room.

Toad: So, Luigi and Shadow have both agreed that the match can be officially deemed a stalemate.

Smashmatt: Too bad. I was hoping for a rematch. I’m sure Wario will be relieved. That imbecile had a chest of coins on Luigi. He really needs to get out more. Don’t tell Luigi I said that, by the way.

Deep below the ruins of the stadium, Wario still drills along, inch by inch, making his slow escape. It’s been 98 hours since he’s seen a coin, and he doesn’t know how much longer he could bare the separation.