Stealthy Ninja Mario
This story is a novelization of a cartoon series that I've been working on for Newgrounds. This first chapter is meant to parallel the first full-length cartoon I've ever made - Stealthy Ninja Mario, Episode 0. If you'd like to find my cartoon, you may do so on Newgrounds, but be warned that my first one (and only finished one) is a sprite cartoon, and a pretty crappy one at that.
Prologue (this post)
Chapter 1: Enter Vaati! (this post)
Chapter 2: A Link to the Future
Chapter 3: Showdown at Hyrule Castle
The Mushroom Kingdom was in danger. The danger was incalculably terrifying, and anyone who might have heard about it would have been in a panic the very moment the words entered his ears.
However, such words never came to the citizens of the Mushroom kingdom – not until it was too late. There was, in fact, one person who was aware of the danger before it happened, but even he was powerless to stop the drastic turn of events that was about to unfold in his world.
Peaceful, unsuspecting, and unaware, the Mushroom Kingdom slept the night away as the danger readied itself to wreak havoc. Finally, the time had come, and tragedy struck.
Chapter 1 – Enter Vaati!
It was late night at Toadstool Castle, and although most of the inhabitants and staff would normally be asleep, there was actually much activity and excitement about the place. It was the night before Mario Mario's birthday, and Princess Toadstool had been conspiring with Luigi, his brother, to set in motion a grand event – a wondrous surprise birthday party to greet Mario into the following morning.
"But are you sure he won't wake up?" the princess urged Luigi, laughing in exasperation as a troop of toads accidentally knocked over a stack of empty crates in the royal supply room, sending thunderous reverberations cascading through the halls. She wrung her hands in dismay and glanced anxiously in the direction of the Mario brothers' sleeping quarters. "With all the racket we're making, we might as well summon a stampeding herd of Reznor outside his bedroom door!"
Luigi laughed and shook his head. "I've got it covered," he chuckled, tapping his nose and winking smartly at her. "My brother may be quick on his feet and alert as a hawk when he's awake, especially when there's pasta around..." He paused as he saw one of the royal chefs wheel by large dishes of uncooked ravioli and canoli on a cart toward the kitchen. "Er... but when it comes to sleep, he's like a log. Roll him over, poke him in the ribs, or pull his mustache if you like. It won't rouse him. Until he's had his eight hours, he's one hard nut to crack. But just the same," he added with a grin, "I've stuffed a bit of cotton in his ears just to be safe. He'll sleep like a baby until we're ready for him. I guarantee it, Princess."
"You've thought of everything, Luigi," Princess Toadstool - or "Peach," as Mario and Luigi affectionately called her - cried, hugging him and laughing gaily. "Mario will love it! And he'll never see it coming! Come on! His present is in the throne room. I want to show it to you!" Seizing his hand, she rushed him out of the dining room like a frilly, pink dervish.
When Princess Toadstool was excited about something, she could really move. Luigi always liked that about her, but then again, he liked nearly everything about her and these people, strange and foreign as they might seem to a simple plumber from Brooklyn like himself. It had been several years since he and Mario had accidentally stumbled upon a warp pipe that transported them to this fantastical world, with its exotic beauty and dangerous monsters. Since then, he and Mario had served the citizens of this kingdom faithfully and happily, without giving much thought to going back home to Brooklyn. This might have seemed odd to other people, especially considering how many tight situations and near-misses with death that the pair of plumbers had had since they arrived on that fateful day. Just the same, Mario and Luigi loved this place, and they hadn't even needed to say out loud to each other that it was their real home – more so than Brooklyn had ever been.
They had both felt a great deal of love and sympathy for the beautiful and somewhat impetuous Princess Toadstool, and they had readily agreed to save her time and again from all sorts of baddies and nasties that surfaced in this world on occasion. Being the sole ruler in a world of strange powers and forces that even the wisest denizens didn't know in entirety was a dangerous job, and there was always one more dangerous person or creature vying for power. The people were peace-loving and in most cases, defenseless. Yet, their beloved princess was the glue that bound them all together, and she gave them a strength that was both unexplainable and wonderful. Even the most timid of the toadstools would readily lay down his life for that of his princess. It was a marvel to both Mario and Luigi sometimes that she even existed here at all. For all the oddity and strangeness that existed here, she seemed to stick out the most. She was unlike any of the other people, and not just in appearance. She could soothe an angered heart with a touch, and she could heal fatigue and hopelessness with but a laugh. There was something almost supernatural about it, and it seemed only natural that she should be put in such an important role in the toadstools' society. They almost seemed to worship her, and in keeping her in her place of power, they were also able to keep her the safest. For all the times that she had been kidnapped though, the brothers would never have noticed this intriguing facet of her position.
Princess Toadstool giggled with excitement as she pulled Luigi into the dimly-lit throne room and let go of his hand. She bade him follow her up to her throne, and he did so, amused by her child-like playfulness and inability to keep a secret. It was just one more endearing quality about her. He loved her; it was one of the main things that kept him in this place. His love, however, wasn't the same as the love he knew his brother felt for her. Luigi saw the princess as one would see a precocious, loving baby sister. He felt a constant urge to shield her from all harm, and keep her happy and carefree forever. He knew that his brother felt differently about her, but although it made him a little concerned, he had chosen not to let it bother him. Mario had fallen for Peach almost immediately, but he was always nothing less than a perfect gentleman with her. He had confided in Luigi on several occasions that being around her was a blissful agony. He didn't dare make the first move, lest she be repulsed and drive them away. He instead spent his days praying that she'd develop similar feelings for him, and that she would somehow find a way to act on them. Luigi had always told him the same thing – that although being cast out of this place would probably devastate them both, it was wrong of him to hide his feelings from the princess. But Mario was petrified, and he couldn't be swayed. In the end, Luigi had taken a position of indifferent understanding. He would just watch and let happen what may. His brother may have been older, but in Luigi's honest opinion, he really wasn't the wiser of the two.
"Where is his gift?" Luigi asked the princess as he looked around and failed to see any flamboyantly decorated boxes – something he would have expected from her. "I don't see any presents in here."
"It's here," she replied, ducking behind her throne and lifting a small, oblong, jeweled box and bringing it over to him. "Go ahead," she prompted him, shyly handing him the box. "Open it."
Luigi did as she asked, and he found a pair of very expensive-looking boots inside. He removed one of them and studied it, noticing that although it didn't seem all that different from the kinds of boots that he and his brother usually wore, it seemed to be made of something stronger than leather, something more pliable, and smooth to the touch like velvet. He fingered the lip of the boot and pressed down on the toe, noticing that it did not give like the leather ones, and didn't seem as pliable as the lip and the sides seemed. The seams were clearly visible, and although they appeared somewhat uneven in places, it was apparent that they had been sewn with great care. He turned it over, and he noticed a mark on the heel. It was a simple crown with three prongs, each containing a stone-like mark within it. It reminded Luigi at once of the crown that Peach wore.
"They look very comfortable," he commented, noticing that she was staring expectantly and almost anxiously for his opinion. "And they definitely look stronger than the stuff we've got now. Where did you get them?"
"I made them," she replied, after a shy, almost embarrassed flushing of her cheeks. "I asked for the most skilled shoe cobblers in my lands to visit me, and I paid them handsomely to teach me how to make shoes. Mario is always stomping on things with tough hides, so I wanted his feet to be well-protected. I didn't want anyone else to make them, though," she added with an apologetic laugh. "It just wasn't the same. This way I can truly say they came from me. And I have the marks to prove it." She removed one of her elbow-length satin gloves and showed her hand to Luigi. Nearly every finger was bruised and nicked with needle marks. She wasn't accustomed to handicraft at all, and it must have taken her a good deal of time and effort to learn how to make shoes. Luigi was more than just impressed. He was dumbfounded.
He gaped at her hand in silence, and then stared down at the shoe in his hand. Was this the action of someone who was simply grateful for the services that he and his brother provided her? It couldn't be. There had to be more to it than that. But would Mario see it that way? What if it really wasn't that at all, and the princess was just excessively grateful? What if Mario thought there was more to it than there really was? These and a million other questions raced through Luigi's brain, and his prolonged silence was making them both rather uncomfortable. Princess Toadstool re-gloved her hand, and she cast her eyes aside, her face very red indeed.
"I'm sure they're not what you'd expect from royalty," she said stiffly, obviously thinking that he was disappointed with the gift, "but a lot of thought and care went into this gift. I hope Mario likes them. But if he doesn't, I'm not sure what to say to him about it..." Her voice trailed off, and her lips began to tremble.
"No, no, that's not it at all!" Luigi exclaimed, mortified by his own tactlessness. "I was just so impressed that you'd go to such lengths for us! You shouldn't trouble yourself so much for Mario and me. Mario will love these, Peach. You have my honest word on that. He'll treasure them!"
"You really think so?" she asked him, her countenance brightening immediately. "You're not just trying to make me feel better?"
"Definitely not," he replied emphatically. He placed the boot inside the box and closed it carefully before handing it to her. "I know my brother; he'll be so flattered he'll probably never take them off."
"Oh, I'm so glad!" Peach laughed gaily, prancing back to her throne and placing the box back in its hiding place. "I wanted to give them to him in private, after the party was over. You wouldn't mind, would you?"
Luigi smiled. "Not at all. I think Mario would like that too. Just let me know if you need help with anything."
"You're so good to him," she sighed, walking up to him and taking his hand in hers. "And to me. I just can't imagine life here in the Mushroom Kingdom without you two, Luigi. I love the toadstools more than anything, but all the time I was growing up, I always felt so out of place. They treat me with such kindness, but I always feel so unlike them in every way. It made me sad, as though I had been put in a place where I didn't belong, and that the people were only trying their best to make me feel welcome all the time. But with you two here, I feel more as though I'm not alone."
Luigi chuckled and scratched the back of his head. "We'll stay as long as we're welcome," he laughed. "Mario and I are of the same mind on this. We love it here."
"What a touching scene," came a voice from over their heads. "Did I interrupt a tender moment, Princess Toadstool?"
"Who's there?" Peach gasped, giving a start. She stared wildly around them, trying to locate the source of the disembodied voice. "Show yourself!"
Or you could just go away if you want to! Luigi felt himself thinking as he began to tremble. Maybe it was a ghost!
"How rude of me. Allow me to introduce myself," the voice laughed, the mirth in his voice both dark and sinister. Luigi and Peach saw a strange, black portal of some sort open up above her throne, and a man materialized in the center of it. The portal dissipated with an electrical crackling sound, and they gaped at the man it left behind. He was dressed in rich finery – his dark purple cape swished around him as he hovered in the air above them; his pantaloons and sandals were of a bright, glaring red; his skin was pale violet, and his hair was only two or three shades darker; his cap was the same color as his cloak, and it was rimmed with a gold circlet embracing a fiery red jewel. The jewel seemed to flash as he spoke, and one got the impression that it contained a great deal of power in its depths.
"I am Vaati," he continued, giving them both a gracious bow as he remained hovering in place above them, "master sorcerer, brilliant conjuror, and inescapable conqueror, at your service."
"I don't care who you say you are! You can't just barge in here and scare the p-princess like that!" Luigi retorted, trying not to shake so much. "Don't you know how to knock on a door?"
"Luigi, I don't like this," Princess Toadstool implored him, grabbing him by his arm and tugging at it. "This man is powerful – much too powerful for us to handle alone. I can sense it! We must flee!"
"Oh, I can't have that," Vaati laughed, holding up one hand. A brilliant blue ball of energy began to envelop it. "You see, I came here to find you, your highness. You're coming with me, and that's all there is to it."
"The hell she is!" Luigi snarled, forgetting his fear for a moment as the intention of this Vaati had now been revealed to him. He struggled to free his arm from Peach's desperate yanking and pulling, and he pointed his other arm at Vaati. "Over my dead body, you jerk!"
"That can be arranged," Vaati laughed, hurling the ball of energy at Luigi. What happened next took only seconds, but it changed everything. Princess Toadstool, in a desperate effort to shield Luigi from the attack, flung herself in the path of the oncoming projectile. Luigi, sensing at once what she was up to, grabbed her around the middle and flung her aside. Vaati's blast caught him dead center in the chest, and he had no time to even gasp a breath before the spell was complete. He fell to the ground, and before he had made contact with the floor his entire body had been transformed into a stone statue, his terrified expression captured timelessly on his cold, hard face.
"Luigi!" Princess Toadstool screamed, scrambling to her feet and leaping to her friend's side. "No, Luigi! Snap out of it! What... what have you done to him?!" she shrieked at Vaati, her eyes blazing with fury and grief. "Change him back at once!"
"How delightful!" Vaati laughed at her in reply. "Truly, it was a remarkable bit of folly, wasn't it, princess? The man might have dodged it, had you not forced him to save you instead. It was you yourself who sealed his doom! What a delicious turn of events! And here I assumed that your vassal would at least offer me a minute or two of diversionary combat, but you've both defeated him and delivered yourself to me as pretty as you please, in a single fell stroke!"
"You... you vile, wicked monster!" she screamed, her face twisted with hatred, grief, and anger. "You will pay dearly for this!" For a moment, Vaati saw something flicker in her eyes. It was only a brief glimmer – a small spark of power – but it was enough. Quick as a flash, he shot his arms forward and sent a potent beam of dark magic straight at her. It caught her exactly as he had aimed it, and with a strangled scream, she fell to the ground, having fallen into his dark enchantment of unwaking slumber.
"I'm certain you wouldn't have struck me dead with one blow, but there's no sense in tempting fate, is there?" Vaati laughed at her, focusing his magic on her limp form and raising her off the floor and up towards him. "Shall we go, then? I've still two more royal powers to collect, and my impatience won't allow me to tarry! Immortality will be mine!" He laughed a long, cruel laugh, and as he opened a portal behind them, Toad ran into the room.
"What in the world?" he cried. "Princess! What are you doing with her? Give her back this instant!" He leapt into the air to save her, but he was too late. With a sneer, Vaati curled an arm around her middle, and he leapt back into the portal, just as Toad reached them. The portal closed, and Toad fell to the floor with a squeak.
"No... no!" he cried. "Princess! What's happened this time?" Then he noticed the statue of Luigi lying prone on the floor, a look of terror etched uncannily on its face. "This... is unbelievable," he gasped. "Mario! Mario, wake up!" He dashed from the room to go wake up the only one whom he thought could be a match for this confusing and terrifying situation.
Within minutes, Mario and Toad had shut themselves into the throne room, and they were trying to make heads and tails out of the tableau in front of them. They had told no one what Toad had seen; Mario wanted to find out for himself exactly what had happened first. All the same, a kind of panicky unrest had settled almost immediately upon the toadstools in the castle, as though their happiness had just been stripped away from them. They all knew that feeling very well. Their princess was gone!
"And you say he just vanished, in a black hole above her throne?" Mario asked Toad, frowning in disbelief as the small toadstool recounted his vision to Mario. Toad nodded, bowing his head in sorrow.
"I couldn't do anything to save her," he sniffed. "That man just took her. I've never seen anything like it. Not even Bowser has the power to spirit someone away like that. If he had, he wouldn't have had to stage such large-scale battles to storm the castle. This is something beyond my realm of understanding, Mario."
"Mine too," Mario sighed. "Luigi... I wish you could tell me what happened... and how... how you came to be like this." He fought hard to keep tears from welling up in his eyes as he gazed at the painful sight of his stricken brother. "I can't believe this is happening. It's always been the two of us. I can't believe he's actually gone."
"He's not really. Not yet, anyway," came a voice behind them. They spun around to see a tall, wrinkled old toadstool standing behind them. "I can revive him, but it will take some time. The magic that was used on him is very potent indeed."
"Elder Toad!" Toad cried, his face lighting up at once. "You've come to help!"
"I have," the old toadstool replied. "Toad, if you would, leave me alone with Mario for a bit. The people need calming down, and I need to ask you to give everyone word of what's happened. Tell them that our princess has been taken by a very powerful enemy, but Mario is going to bring her back."
"I will!" Toad replied, running to the door as fast as his stubby legs would carry him. "Leave it to me! Good luck, Mario!" He slammed the door shut behind him, and he raced down the hall to ring the announcement bell in the tower.
"Now then, let's get started," the old one began, studying Mario after stealing a quick glance at Luigi. "I suspect you have some questions, and I'll do my best to answer them, but we must be quick; Vaati will not wait for me to fill you in on all the details."
"What just... I mean... who are... who are you?" Mario stuttered, too confused to concentrate on any one question for long. "And who is Vaati? Is that the name of the one who did this to my brother and took Peach away?"
"I am the Elder Toad," the old toadstool replied. "I am called that because of all the toadstools, I am the oldest and wisest. I know more about existence than even you do, I would wager. I rarely venture out of my dwelling outside the palace, but I can't remain a recluse today – not after what has transpired. That will suffice for now. As for Vaati, yes, he is the enemy you seek. He is the one who did all this, and I fear his purpose has placed not only Peach in grave danger, but all the rest of us as well."
"What does he want with her?" Mario continued. "And how did he just appear and vanish like he did?"
"He wants to use her, along with two other people of great power, to create the ultimate magical spell – one which will grant him immortality, eternal youth, and an unlimited supply of magical power. It's the golden fleece of sorcery, and up until now, no one has been able to uncover its secret. But Vaati has, and it is a dark, wicked bit of magic, to say the least. It will cost the lives of all three of his prisoners, most likely, to fuel such a spell. But that will only be the beginning. What he intends to do after that, will most likely be to conquer all realms of existence. You see, Mario, the Mushroom Kingdom exists in what is known as a realm – a plane of existence. There are many of these realms, all of which can be thought of as sheets of paper in a book. If you lift one of the sheets, you can see the next one. It is also possible, if you know the right magic, to 'lift' one realm away and travel to another, with a relatively simple spell. When Vaati learned this spell, it may very well have doomed us all. And that answers your second question. When he disappeared, he had transported himself and our princess into another realm."
"How many of these realms are there?" Mario asked him.
"Countless. At least millions, I'd say," the Elder Toad replied. "No one knows for sure – not even Vaati, no doubt. He could go from one to another for all eternity and conquer them all at his leisure."
"That's terrible!" Mario gasped. "How will we know where to go to find him?"
"As to that, I have a bit of insider information. Vaati may be a gifted sorcerer, but he's impatient. The places he intends to grace with his vile presence are all relatively close together, in realm travel terms, that is. I know exactly where he intends to go to capture his other two powers, and that will give us one edge, at least."
"How do you know that?"
"Even if I had time to tell you, I probably wouldn't," the Elder Toad laughed. "It wouldn't make sense to you even if I did. But for now, let's forget that. Time is of the essence. If you want to challenge Vaati, you'll need a way to fight him. His magic is all but impenetrable, and he has many ways of defending himself, most of which I cannot counter. But we do have a secret weapon here in the Mushroom Kingdom that none but me has known about, until now. I think it's time to use it. I want you to take this, Mario."
He handed Mario what appeared to be a scabbard, which contained a sword. It was a very common-looking, unremarkable scabbard, and Mario held it out in front of him, very much nonplussed.
"Er... a sword?" Mario asked him. "You're going to have me fight a sorcerer with this shabby-looking sword? But I don't even know how to fight with a sword!"
"This is no ordinary sword," the Elder Toad replied, smiling in faint amusement. "I've imbued this sword with the most powerful magic I have, along with ancient teachings long-forgotten in most of our race. It is the most incredible power-up item in the entire kingdom. It will transform you more dramatically than any other."
"Power-up?" Mario replied dubiously, holding up the scabbard and scrutinizing it. "You mean like a super mushroom or a fire flower?"
"Exactly. You may not be aware of this, but those items are imbued with magic themselves. They are natural manifestations of the magic that exists in our kingdom, and since the ancients created them long ago, they have flourished and sprouted up regularly in the wilds and habitations alike. This object is no different in origin than the first power-ups created by the ancients. The only difference is that when they created theirs, they allowed nature to nurture their creations and set them free. I've created only one, and it is meant for one purpose – to create a permanent, powerful transformation, the magnitude of which should be enough to handle any danger I could think of. I don't know if it'll be enough to face Vaati, but it's the most I can give you, and I think you'll use it well. The moment you draw the sword from its sheath, you'll be transformed into Ninja Mario, and you'll know all the secret ninjutsu and techniques of our race. Not only will you be able to 'fight with a sword,' but you'll also be a master of ninjutsu techniques. You'll know how to blend with the darkness and creep up on your enemies with all the stealth and care of a ghost."
"That's amazing!" Mario gasped. "All that's inside this sword? And... and you say the change is permanent?" he asked, frowning suddenly as what that meant hit him all at once. "Does that mean that, once I go through with it, I can never go back?"
"Unfortunately, yes," the Elder Toad replied. "With one exception. The sword holds the key to your transformation. If the sword should break, you'll go back to normal. But if the sword should break... well, we won't worry about that now. Let's just say that it would be bad to break the sword. You would remain Ninja Mario for a good long while; that's certain enough."
Mario sighed. "If Luigi wasn't even able to put a dent in this guy, I might just need some kind of power-up to succeed. I'll do it," he decided, staring resolutely at the sword and setting his jaw. "I have to. I won't take any chances with Peach. I have to get her back."
"I'm glad to hear it," the Elder Toad sighed. "Let's not waste time. Draw the sword, and let the transformation begin."
Mario nodded, and he stepped back a few paces. Gripping the sword by its hilt, he grasped the scabbard and tensed his muscles. In a quick motion, he slid off the scabbard and flung it aside. The white, tempered blade immediately began to glow, and within seconds, Mario could feel its power pulsing and actually physically causing the blade to quiver in his hand. He held it up in front of him and stared at it in wonder, and slowly but surely, he began to feel an odd sensation of awareness creep over him. His senses had begun to heighten; he could see things more clearly, hear things more clearly, and taste and smell and touch just as acutely as his other heightened senses. It was as though his alertness and clarity had all been raised to an almost superhuman level. He felt as though he could hear the very trees sigh if he chose to.
Then came the knowledge. It was the most incredible sensation he had ever experienced. Memories came flooding into his mind – memories of training in savage woodlands and arid deserts and canyons. He somehow remembered learning a veritable list of techniques and strengths from an unknown source. It was odd because, although his common sense told him that he had never actually been to any such training sessions, the products were there just the same. He knew exactly how to disappear without a trace, to subdue his enemies subtly and quietly, and to use stealth and cover to aid his victory. It was all there, so clear and so simple, all in his head. He looked down at his hands, and it was then that he realized that his clothes had changed as well. He was no longer wearing his usual plumber's coveralls and cotton shirt. He wore instead a dark, form-fitting ninja gi, complete with face mask and hidden item compartments. The only things of his previous garments that remained were his gloves and his boots. The white gloves stood out in stark contrast to the darkness of the rest of his clothing, but for some reason, he was glad they were there. It helped to remind him that he hadn't quite lost himself completely.
The sword had disappeared from his hands, and it had retreated to the inside of the scabbard, which was now tied to his back. Mario reached up and grasped the sword hilt, and with a swift, liquid motion, he drew out the sword and performed a couple of quick thrusts and slices in the air, until he was satisfied that the blade was light, easy to handle, and nice and sharp, just as he liked it, although he couldn't remember why.
"Ninja Mario," the Elder Toad interrupted him, his voice relieved but impatient, "are you ready to begin your task?"
Mario sheathed his sword, and he nodded. "I'm ready. Just tell me what to do, and I'll chase him down through the very depths of Hell, if need be." He started then, because the voice he heard was not his own. He stared in surprise at the Elder Toad, who smiled at him in understanding.
"One of the by-products of the transformation," he explained. "Your voice has changed, it seems, but you are still Mario, no matter what you sound like. In any event, let's hope it doesn't come to chasing Vaati through the depths of Hell, as you claim. Now, first of all, take these. They will help you on your quest." The Elder Toad handed him a small knapsack, which Mario accepted and looped over the opposite shoulder from the one about which his sword was tethered. "In that you will find four more power-up items – a super mushroom, a fire flower, a power star, and a tanooki leaf. I'm afraid that they're all I could gather on such short notice. But they will help you, no doubt. Bear in mind that since your current transformation is permanent, using one of these will not make it go away. Rather, they will transform you into a combination of your ninja transformation and the transformation you would normally undergo. For example, the mushroom would make you grow, the tanooki leaf would let you fly, and the fire flower would give you fire power, etc. All of these abilities would be usable along with your ninja ones, so use them all to your advantage. Stealth and cunning are your masters now, and you would do well not to forget that, regardless of which power-up you choose to use."
"I won't," Mario replied. "What do I do now?"
"First, look at this. This is what your enemy looks like. He can change his appearance, but he is not wont to do so, as he is rather vain about his looks. Study it well." The Elder Toad gave Mario a small photograph of Vaati. How he had gotten the picture of the violet-skinned sorcerer, Mario didn't know, but he had a feeling that even if he asked him, the Elder Toad wouldn't tell him anyway. He studied it for a brief period, then handed it back.
"I'll keep my eyes open for him," he promised.
"Good. Then I'll transport you to your first destination. Vaati is heading for the realm of Hyrule next. He intends to take the royal power from Hyrule Castle – Princess Zelda. He cannot be allowed to succeed. If he does, it will be that much harder to keep him from his goal. Your mission is to stop him at all costs. Don't worry about getting him to tell you where he's keeping Peach. We can figure that out later, and it'll be much easier if he's dead. You have to kill him, Mario. There is no other way. As long as Vaati lives, he'll be a threat to every realm in existence, as well as our fair princess. If not for her sake, we must destroy him for the sake of all living things! And finally, make sure to keep your sword close-by. It will provide you with a direct link to me, and if you have need of my wisdom, you need only unsheathe the sword and ask."
"I understand," Mario replied, nodding gravely, "and I'm ready. No matter what happens, I will not lose!"
"Then I will send you forth, and may the gods watch over you. Momentus impendium... Hyrule!" the Elder Toad shouted, waving one of his hands in a strange, figure-eight motion.
All at once Mario could feel himself floating, and his vision became blurred. The echo of the Elder Toad's magical command rung in his ears as he was embraced by a cold, oppressive darkness. The adventure of Ninja Mario had begun!