Not too far from where the embattled plumbers were making their stand, entrenched behind the many crates needed to supply his army, was the first of many forts established by the mighty King Koopa. It was small, no more than four walls and a crenulated roof, but for what it was being used, it was completely functional.
Many strange creatures surrounded the structure, nothing like anything either of the plumbers, or the denizens of this world, had ever seen. They poured from the mouth of a green pipe, one that was very similar to that which the brothers had earlier passed through, except that this had two openings.
The first, which was parallel to the ground, belched out a continuous stream of small reptilian creatures. Only slightly larger than the Goombas which they were sharing ground with, they walked slowly on four cleft hooves. Their skins bore earthy tones varying in degree from muddy brown, to algae green, and they were covered in fine scales. Upon their backs, they wore a bone like shell for protection. As is a turtle’s, the shell’s exterior appeared to be divided into several small plates. The shape of the plates, much like the creature’s color, also varied in size and in shape. Some were rounded squares, while with others, the number of edges were anywhere between five and eight.
Their skin slowly oozed a pale green liquid, some more than others, suggesting it to be their body’s mechanism for keeping cool. From their almond-shaped eyes ran a thick colorless mucus which gave off a strong, foul odor. Flies surrounded the heads of some, happily drinking from the stinky nectar.
As they stepped onto soft ground for the first time, most fell immediately to all fours, advancing menacingly upon the foreign land as if they intended to trample it out of existence. Others rose upon their hind legs, pausing only to gather a helmet and weapon from a nearby crate. Unlike those that walked on all fours, these more advanced soldiers of the Koopa army wore less bulky shells on their back. Their legs were also more muscular, and at the end of their arms were three short fingers.
The second exit from the pipe spat smaller creatures into the air. Some were miniature versions of the soldier Koopas, only they had no shell on their back at all. These creatures burst into the air riding on what first appeared to be small, white clouds, over which they glared with thickly bespeckled eyes. Closer inspection, from any who dared, proved this a fatal misconception.
They rode on a rare breed of six winged Snow Moth, creatures that were bred to extinction in the wild, now existing only in mindless servitude to their masters. Once known as the Faerie Moth, these creatures derived their new name from the thick white powder they emitted while in flight. Not only does this protect their delicate bodies from the wear of their rider, but it also camouflaged them within the guise of a cloud.
Standing just inside the door to the fort, their leader watched his coming army through furrowed brow. Unlike his soldier cousins, he towered over those around him. Where the Koopa army resembled a more advanced form of turtle, he was the bastard child of dinosaur. He stood on thick, heavily muscled legs that complimented the rest of his similarly built frame. Unlike the soldiers, a long tail protruded from beneath his shell, which also differed in that sharp spikes jutted from it in all directions. His scales are the color of coal, a darkness interrupted only by a white war stripe painted from the crown of his head, to just beneath his waist.
“My Lord Morton, sir? We have prepared the girl as you have ordered, sir.”
He slowly turned and regarded this world’s poor excuse for intelligent life with a deep sense of disdain. The creature stood barely over two and a half feet in height and wore very little on its body to cover its flabby shame. Brown leather wraps covered its feet, which, he had to admit, had its practical use. Unlike his soldiers, this creature could move with great speed when it wanted to! Covering its genitals was a white cloth that for the life of him, he knew not how it stayed clean. A light blue vest hung loosely around its middle, and on its head was a red and white spotted mushroom cap.
“Very well, Toad,” he breathed in exasperation. “Be sure she’s ready for our King when he arrives.”
“Yes My Lord. As you wish, my Lord.”
As Toad vanished once more into the fort’s interior, he turned to watch as his army continued to grow.