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 (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky

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PostSubject: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:41 pm

"Red. Someone is in the house with us."

The little girl announced it calmly, without bothering to stop stirring the door-to-door salesman soup cooking in her giant cauldron. A few minutes more, and then she would deal with it.

Her familiar didn't say anything, but paid a bit more attention to the footsteps echoing through the mansion. He easily picked out the solid-sounding ones, made by a living creature, from the hollow ones that were made by ghosts.

Ashley sighed and reluctantly cast away the oversized wooden spoon. Hopping off the stool she stood on, she put the fire out with a nearby pot of water specifically for that purpose. "The soup will get cold," she complained as she lidded the cauldron, "but whatever's in the house has to be dealt with."

For the unlucky being wandering the halls, that meant death. For no living thing entered - or left - Ashley's mansion without her leave to do so.

The scuffing of shoes wasn't coming from any of the rooms that were cleaned and made livable. That meant it was in the winding maze of decrepit hallways deeper into the mansion. Pitch-dark and ghost-infested, they were easy to get lost in.

Not for Ashley, of course.

As she stepped into the first of the untouched rooms, she took a lantern off its hook in the wall and flicked it on. It burned with a will-o'-the-wisp fire. In its blue light, with her bunny doll tucked under one arm, she looked just like the ghost of a dead child.

Just out of the lantern's glow, Red followed her, pitchfork at the ready. Their tactic relied on the victim being too preoccupied with the "ghost" to notice the pitchfork poised to go straight through its neck. Only a few got away, and only because they let it happen, so that the populace's fear of the mansion remained.

In the maze, the footsteps were easier to locate. Nearly right above their heads, a little forward, the thing in the mansion walked haltingly, as if it were looking for something... or it was frightened. Keeping silent so as not to let the thing know it wasn't alone, they advanced through the ancient maze, following it by its tell-tale walk.

Unfortunately for them, the thing was squirrely. By the time they got to the second floor, it was on the third. As soon as they got there, it somehow was on the first floor. And when they returned there, the thing was on the roof. About fifteen minutes passed like this.

Ashley briefly considered giving up, until she heard the thing's footsteps coming toward her. They were in the hallways right next to each other. When she stopped walking, so did the thing. She paused, waiting for it to start moving again.

Instead, the thing knocked on the wall. It knew someone was there. Knowing there was no purpose in trying to hide her presence anymore, Ashley knocked the same pattern back.

Knock-knock-knock. Knock-knock-knock. Knock-knock. Knock. Knock-knock. Knock. Shave and a haircut. Two bits.

The thing paused. Then it started a frentic pattern of knocking, one with a slight pause between some of the knocks. It was trying to communicate through morse code; a language that, unfortunately, Ashley hadn't even heard of. Nonetheless, she didn't interrupt in case she could figure out what it meant.

While she and Red were preoccupied with that, a ghostly claw reached out of the darkness for her leg. As if it changed its mind, the claw instead caught Red's tail and began to drag him off. When the little demon realized what was happening, the ghost clamped its other claw over his mouth and vanished without a trace, taking him with it.

Meanwhile, the thing had given up on knocking and started down the hall again. Ashley followed it. "Strange. Red, what do you think of-- Red?" Sweeping the lantern in front of her, she saw that he wasn't with her anymore.

She wasn't worried. She figured he'd just gotten lost during the wild goose chase. And since there wasn't anything lurking in the halls that Red couldn't handle, it wasn't worth losing track of the thing over. She could handle it herself.

The stealthy game of cat-and-mouse went on for a few minutes more as she waited for the right opportunity to cross paths. It presented itself when the parallel halls they were going down were joined by a door. But like before, when she stopped at the door, so did the thing.

The doorknob turned. Near-reflexively, she grabbed the handle and kept the door from opening. After a few yanks, the thing again gave up and turned the corner into the next hall. Letting a minute pass, she opened the door as far as it could go without squeaking and bonelessly slipped past it. In the hall, something echoed that wasn't steps, indistinct but sounding like a voice. A beam of light, like from a flashlight, swept across a wall and vanished just as quickly.

For some reason, Ashley suddenly felt a chill, as if there was something extremely dangerous lurking in the mansion. The feeling said that it wasn't the thing she was following, but that made no sense. What else could it possibly be?

Walking in time with the thing to mask her steps, she turned the corner. The thing had its back to her, pointing its flashlight forward. Even in the poor light, she could see that the thing was a man; a green-clad man, whistling nervously, with a red vacuum cleaner strapped to his back.

She recognized him instantly. Luigi! And here I thought it was something dangerous.

Something of two years ago, there was a mixing up of mansions. The two first met in a total misunderstanding; Ashley thought Luigi had invaded her mansion, and vice versa. The answer of whose mansion it really was is stranger than fiction, but what's really weird came out of the chance encounter. It seemed to defy the very fabric of nature, but the cowardly plumber and the scary little girl became fast friends.

Unfortunately, half the basis of that quickly-laid friendship sat in them not knowing each other very well. Not knowing better, she went up to him silently and tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, Lui-"

She was cut short as, with a shriek, Luigi wheeled on her and struck her square in the nose with his flashlight. The hall went dark as her lantern flickered out and the flashlight fell out of his hand and rolled into the corner. Readying the Poltergust, Luigi snatched up the flashlight and shone it on her. When it registered in his head who it was, he calmed instantly. "Ashley!" he squeaked in relief. "And here I thought it-a was something dangerous."

With a river of blood from her broken nose flowing freely down the side of her face, she thought, Well, I guess we both thought right.

"I'm-a sorry, Ashley," he apologized as he helped her up, "but you know what I told you when-a we first met. You can't-a sneak up behind me like that, because I will get scared and do that."

She calmly rearranged the shattered cartilage. Most people wouldn't survive hitting her like that, even accidentally, but she couldn't bring herself to be mad at the goofy man for long. "Eh, whatever. So, what brings you to Diamond City, Luigi? Did someone... call you?" she chuckled.

Luigi wasn't impressed by the subtle joke. "No. I came here to visit you."

"Two years over which we've barely kept in touch, and suddenly you decide to visit?"

"Hey, I sent you letters. Lots-a them. You never wrote back."

"My bad. Mailmen don't go near this house."

"Gee, I can't imagine why," Luigi answered sarcastically, glancing out the window at the dead trees shrouded in mist.

"Still weird that you waited two years to come by."

"See, that's-a the thing..." He kicked the floor shyly. "I was too scared to because-a there are ghosts here. I really, really can't-a stand ghosts, ya know. But just the other day I was-a telling myself, 'That's-a no reason not to visit your friend, Luigi.' But then the people here started telling a lot of horror stories about your mansion and that everyone who goes near it dies. So then I thought about turning back, but I was already here. But then when I went in, you weren't there, and ghosts were all over the place screaming, and I got lost, and then I hit you with my flashlight because I thought you were a ghost. So, now we're here, and your nose is bleeding."

"Huh. Did you know your accent goes away when you ramble?"

"Oh. Sorry."

She reached over and patted his arm amiably. "Don't-a worry. I'm-a just giving you a hard-a time-a."

"Yes-a, you are."

She picked up her lantern and went to flick it back on, then wisely decided against that. "Well, let's get out of here. My door-to-door salesman soup is probably stone-cold by now."

"...Door-to-door salesman soup?" Luigi asked, already knowing the answer.

"Uh..." she floundered. "It's... just a name, that's all. Because it's the slop they eat while they travel."

I doubt that, but I don't wanna know the truth. "Okay."

"It'll take a while to reheat it, but you should stick around and have some with us. It'd be nice to have some dinner company."

"Us?"

"Yeah, Red and--" She paused for a second. "Oh, that's right. He's lost."

"Red, Red..." he pondered. "He's-a that little thing that-a follows you around, right? I kinda wondered where he went."

"Well, we'll have to find him before we go. Come on, then."

"Wait- How will-a we do that?"

She didn't answer right away. In the total silence, footsteps echoed. One set sounded more solid than the others, and it was uneven, tripping over itself. "We'll find him the same way I found you," she said finally, starting off down the hall. "I already know where he is."

"Really?" Luigi asked as he followed. "Wow, you really are-a magic!" He didn't realize there was a trick to it.

As they went on, however, he did notice the various sounds echoing in the mansion. There was the creaking of the house settling, the many sets of footsteps, and the thing that struck him most when he first entered the abode: the screaming of ghosts.

"I didn't do anything! I was just walking by! Please, I just want to go home!"

"I- it wasn't my idea! The guys, they dared me to do it!"

"Look, it's fine if you're not interested in the encyclopedia set! There's no need to get extreme about it!"

As several other cries, begging for mercy or calling for help, filled this particular hall they just went down, an awful thought entered Luigi's head. "Ashley..." he asked. "What are all-a these voices?"

Once again she paused. She knew Luigi was skittish, and she could tell from that that if he really knew about her, he would find her the scariest thing he had ever met, worse than any ghost. That was why he didn't know much about her, because she wouldn't tell him; but it looked as if he was on the verge of figuring it out himself.

But there was no reason to let it all out at once. Time to stall. "Well, most of these were already here when I got here..."

"And-a the others?"

"Well..." She turned around and put on the most innocent look she could muster. "You're worried about becoming like them, is that it? Don't worry. I don't do that to my friends."

The total opposite of what she intended, this actually scared Luigi even more than if she had just flatly told him the truth. It made her look all the more heartless and cold-blooded, laying out at once her true self to him. And she was in fact worse than any ghost; yet since he had half-figured it out already, the revelation managed not to be so frightening as to send him running for the hills.

"Yes, I... I'm-a not worried about that," he replied calmly, trying not to show the instinctive fear he was pushing back. "I just didn't expect-a you to be so... cold, is all. I've-a never known someone like that before, you see."

How about yourself? she resisted saying. It surprised her that the thought came to her head, but it had a good point. Still, what did the darkness in Luigi's subconscious have to do with anything?

All thoughts were interrupted as another ghost screamed; but this one was different from all the others. It wasn't a scream, but a roar. A roar that Ashley had heard before, that froze her blood, that brought just one of several painful memories she'd futilely tried to suppress right to the surface.

Now she was the one trying to hide her fear. "Wow... that one... is new..."

"It sounded like a dragon," he observed absent-mindedly. "I know that sounds weird, but-"

"A... dragon..." More memories were flooding, sending her heart racing, her hair turning white in that illogical way it does when her blood pressure shoots up.

"Ashley? What's wrong?" he asked as if it wasn't unusual. He didn't know her well enough to know that if something was scaring her, it was dire.

At the end of the flood, there came denial. Denial and a need to make certain. In one motion, she wheeled, flicked on her lantern and raced down the hall, turning the corner sharply.

"Hey!" Luigi ran after her, flicking his flashlight off so he could follow the blue glow from her lantern. "Don't-a leave me here!"

All through the run, he remained mere inches away from losing the light and getting lost. At the end, the light cut out, an open door in its place. He stepped in, and there was a graveyard: one that stretched for what looked like miles into the forest, housing hundreds of graves - a few of which looked recent.

In one spot, a will-o'-the-wisp burned subtly. There, he found Ashley standing in front of one of the gravestones. "Luigi..." she said so quietly he almost didn't hear her. "I didn't... say anything... because... I didn't want... to believe it... but..."

She stepped aside. The area around the grave wasn't just disturbed; it looked like it had been ransacked by a giant, raging animal. Ground had been moved, the tombstone had been knocked over, and several surrounding tombstones had all been shoved out of place.

Luigi came up to the grave. The tombstone read: "Here lies Winky, beloved familiar. He shall sorely be missed."
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:51 pm

Great story. I like it.
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:06 pm

"Winky?" Luigi snorted in disbelief. "A goldfish? That's-a what you were scared of?"

Ashley took a seat on an upturned flower box. "Winky wasn't a goldfish, Luigi."

He took off the Poltergust and used it as a seat. "I figured as-a much."

She didn't speak for awhile, trying to muster the strength to tell Luigi what he needed to know. As he waited, it surprised him what a difference there was in her demeanor. He remembered how stoic and imposing she'd been when they first met, and the thin guise of friendliness and innocence she'd worn no more than five minutes ago. But now... here she sat looking like the scared child she was right now, rocking back and forth, holding her stuffed bunny tightly, and staring straight at the ground.

She reminded Luigi of himself.

"I've never told anyone much about myself," she began, "besides Red, of course. For a few reasons. One being that they could use it against me, which I learned the hard way once, and another being that they don't really need to know it. It's not their business. But as for you, Luigi, I held back mostly because I didn't want to scare you. Even though we really just met, I trust you. I feel like I could tell you anything and know my secrets are in safe hands." She looked up at him with severity. "I'm counting on that. Luigi, promise me you'll never repeat the things I'm about to tell you."

That trust meant a lot more than Luigi could ever know. This was her most well-kept secret that she was about to hand to him, the one thing she hid religiously from everyone save only her familiar, and now the plumber. Had it been anyone else, even under the circumstances, she'd never tell them. The mere fact that she could possibly be vulnerable... If it ever got out, it would ruin her.

Luigi wasn't the type to tell secrets anyway, but the look in her eyes told him just how important it was, and gave a hint of just how much she trusted him with this. He put one hand over his heart and raised the other. "I promise, Ashley."

"Good man." She drew one last deep breath to compose herself. "My story, or at least this part of it, began just two years before we met, when I was only eight. I was a prodigy among witches, to have successfully carved my niche in the world so young, when others took years just to get their footing. I would say by luck, but it was chance that led me to Diamond City and this mansion. By eight, I had everything a great witch possesses; except a familar.

I would give anything to have found Red right away, but I wasn't that fortunate. I had to go through several animal companions before him, none of which came close to working out. Most I ended up making stews out of; one got away and now he's my coworker at WarioWare, Inc., which is really awkward. But I digress.

The last familiar I had before Red was a dragon. He- think of the dragon from Metroid; Ridley is his name. How do I know these things? 9-Volt," she muttered. "In any case, without the wings, that's Winky. And after him, I was fully prepared to go my whole life with no familiar at all.

When I found Winky, I thought he was The One. To have a dragon of medieval lore, the terror of towns, as a familiar, I thought I'd found the best in all the world. And he took a liking to me too, it seemed. But there were two things my eight-year-old mind didn't realize.

The best familiar isn't the kind that's like a guard dog for an estate. It doesn't matter whether it's big or small, ferocious or docile. What matters is..." She paused a moment. "How to put this... There has to be a bond... A kind of love, that kind that's inexplicable, but unbreakable. That transcends everything. That would make both of you give anything for the other. It..."

Luigi thought of his bond with Mario. "I know exactly what-a you're talking about."

She nodded. "I didn't know that at the time. And even if I had, there was no way I could have known the second thing: that Winky didn't have the capacity to love anyone.

Things went well for about a week. And then I did something. To this day, I still have no idea what. But whatever it was, it got him mad. And out of nowhere..."

She stared blindly into the distance, through everything, at nothing at all. "Ashley?" Luigi asked. After a minute with no reply, he got up and waved his hand in front of her eyes. "Hello?"

Without shifting her gaze, she caught his hand by the wrist. "Luigi, have you seen a cat hunt a mouse?"

"Uhh..."

"Have you seen it toy with its prey, seen it wound the poor creature as the chase goes on, seen it catch it and let it run off, and let it think it can get away," she continued, her grip slowly tightening until he couldn't feel his hand, her voice slowly rising in pitch until it became a scream, "and on and on like that, torturing it before the kill just for the fun of it!"

"Ashley!" he yelled, wrenching his arm out of her grip. "Snap out of it!"

Just like that, she calmed, her eyes slowly coming out of the dead stare. "That... is exactly... what he did... to me..." She kept her breathing even, her voice steady. "It's... the only reason... I lived... through it... He let me."

Instead of returning to the Poltergust, Luigi sat next to her on the flower box. She shut her eyes and just breathed for a bit. "When I felt... his claws at my back... this close... to paralyzing me... I thought... he was going... to kill me. He could have... but he didn't. I ran, but... there was nowhere to run... nowhere to hide... and he knew that. For five days... No, I can't..." She sighed, rubbing a spot on her side that had sported a terrible gash all those years ago. "It's too painful. All the open, bleeding cuts, I can feel them as if they were fresh. The adrenaline that kept me running, and the sheer exhuastion that threatened to make me drop at any second..."

With that, she began to fall over. Luigi caught her by the arm, holding her steady until she came to. "Yes, I can't even think about it without that happening," she went on, sounding tired. "Five days, with barely any sleep. At the end of it, I collapsed. I just couldn't run anymore. And he just stood there, waiting to see if I got back up. When he knew that I was all but dead, that's when he went to finish the job. I remember how it felt like everything was going in slow-motion: the crickets chirping, my heart beating, his claw coming towards me, everything. And at that moment... A miracle..."

Luigi heard the next part with disbelief. "The Hubble Telescope?"

"Maybe not. But it was a satellite. Out of the cosmos it came, and crushed him under its weight. I couldn't believe what I saw, but once it sunk in, I was so relieved that all I could do was sleep." She relaxed a bit. "It may sound strange, but I don't think it was just a fortunate accident. For some reason, I've always thought there was some modern-day knight behind it, slaying a dragon with an unorthodox sword. How ridiculous is that?"

"I think it's-a definitely possible."

"There's no way of telling." She tensed again. "When I woke up, part of me knew it wasn't over. I buried Winky somehow, wrote those lies on his tombstone, paid my respects every year, whatever I thought would keep his ghost at rest." She glanced over the ruined grave. "Not once did it occur to me that he might come back just because he wanted to. And now that he's here... What can we possibly do?"

Luigi got up. "You said-a you think a knight killed Winky with a satellite as a sword. Well..." Deftly, he swept up the Poltergust and put it on. Replacing his Italian accent with an English one, he bowed and volunteered "If I may, madonna, I shall do the same with the beast's spirit. Hundreds of ghouls I hath captured before; and 'twould be an honor if thou wouldst taketh me and my mighty sword Poltergust into thine service."

She chuckled at the spectacle and played along. "Nay, good Green Knight of the Night, I would be the one honored, if thou were to shlep up the rogish raptor plaguing my estate."

"Good marm," he replied, readying the cleaner and starting back toward the mansion. "Then let us away."

She set aside the humor. "Question is, where? I don't know him well enough to guess..."
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:07 pm

They permeated the darkness of the mansion when they stepped in, flashlight ahead, lantern aglow. "This is where-a we heard him roar," Luigi said, his Italian accent returning. "Maybe he's-a still in here?"

"This is bad."

"What?"

"It's quiet. It's never quiet in here."

It took a second, but he realized it too. All the usual echoes were gone; except for one, coming from the foyer. It was a growl, mounting to a full-out snarl, which stopped abruptly. A beat passed and then a shrill, frightened squeak pierced the silence; and then nothing at all.

"What was-" Luigi began, before he noticed the blue light dashing off again. "Oh no, not again! Wait for me!" This time he fell behind, and had to follow the steps left in the layer of dust on the floor. "Quit-a running off like that!" he chided once he reached the foyer.

She didn't hear him at all. Instead, she was focused on something on the ground, rubbing it with her hand. "Luigi, we have to find Winky right now!" she told him.

"Why?"

She held up her hand, which had some strange orange fluid on it. "Because he has Red!"

"How do you-a know?"

Irritated, she reached up and slapped the fluid onto his nose. "This is Red's blood! There's a trail of it, you see?" She gestured to the line of orange on the floor, leading out the slightly open front door. "We don't have much time. Red won't last nearly as long as I did." She ran out the door. "So come on already!"

Struck first by the unhygienity of what just happened, he wiped his nose off with a nearby tissue. Flicking his flashlight back on, he followed the orange trail out into the night. The line led deep into the forest that surrounded the mansion, and got thinner as it went. At the end where it vanished, he found Ashley, frozen in mid-step. Without budging, she made a small noise, as if trying to speak: "Lu- Lui- Lui- -igi- Lu-igi-"

When he came closer, he saw what it was that stopped her. In front of the trees just ahead, over a short drop, there was a clearing, and in that clearing, there was a ghost: the ghost of a monstrous dragon, slashing at something on the ground.

"There he is," she said, her voice back. "Winky. And down there... Red. He's on his last legs."

Luigi went up to the drop. Just as Ashley said, there was Red, splotched with orange and covered in slashes. He leaned on his pitchfork awkwardly, using it to walk, and when he tripped, Luigi could see why: the worst injury was on his leg, the fur interrupted by a patch where flesh had nearly been stripped from bone. From this, Luigi got a sense of just how bad those fateful five days had been for Ashley.

"I'm going down there," she told him, "and when I tell you, I want you to go after Winky, got it?" Before he could reply, she went over the drop. A bad memory came, and she stayed there for a minute, torn between her fear of Winky and her love for Red. As maudlin as it may sound, love won out.

Winky raised a mighty claw, poised to spear the unfortunate little demon right through his heart. Desperately, Red tried to drag himself away, but it was hopeless. If only he could see Ashley one last time...

The dragon struck.

And when he lifted his hand, Red was gone.

"Hey, you!" a voice yelled defiantly. Winky lifted his head in its direction, and there stood Ashley, Red dangling from one of her pigtails. She made a motion as if brushing the dragon off. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

At that, Winky bared his teeth in a condescending, feral grin at her. It wiped away her facade of bravery, and suddenly she was eight years old again, her back torn and bleeding, looking at that very smile. "Need I remind you," she squeaked, "that I am nowhere near your size..."

Luigi slid down the drop, but all he could do was look on as the ghost dragon shifted his murderous intent to his former master. As Ashley tumbled helplessly out of the way, Luigi could tell she had no control over the situation. With his years as a scaredy cat, he'd learned how to function even when he was scared stiff; and she clearly didn't have that kind of experience.

But the girl could run. Fueled by fear, she dodged Winky's blows deftly, managing to raise it to an art form; a roll here, a sidestep there, a high jump over a swung tail (in which, Luigi noticed, she used his trademark bicycle kick), and on and on in a harmonious ballet, a dangerous dance. The plumber watched in awe, applauding every move in his head.

But at one point, one of the dragon's blows connected, sending her sprawling across the clearing. It all happened in one moment, as Winky seized his chance, Luigi stepped forward, and Red tried futilely to rouse his master.

The dragon struck, and when he lifted his hand...

Out from under the girl came, still alive, hale with the fact that she was. She made a mad dash for the green plumber, Red clinging to her hair for dear life. "Now, Luigi!" she shrieked as she dove into the hedge next to him.

Winky would have none of it, and he reached for the hedge. Luigi valiantly jumped in the way, swatting the dragon's claw with the Poltergust's hose. "You wanna play rough?!" he snarled. "Okay! Then say hello to my li'l frien'!"

From the relative safety of the hedge, Ashley and Red could hear Winky struggle as Luigi set to work catching him. Luigi screamed, and Ashley couldn't take it anymore. She hugged her bunny and started muttering: "Happy place. Happy place. Wolves howling... owls hooting... will-o'-the-wisps burning... skeletons dancing..."

Red was scared out of his wits. He'd never seen this side of Ashley before. When she'd told him about Winky, she'd understandably looked frail, but this... All through his time with her, he'd always thought she wasn't afraid of anything, not anymore. And so to see her like this, to see the effect her ex-familiar still had on her, was even scarier than Winky himself.

The only worse thing was knowing there was nothing he could do about anything right now.

There was a pop, and suddenly the noises outside the hedge stopped. The witch and her demon looked to each other, and carefully peeked out of the shrub. Luigi stood alone in the clearing, bleeding from an open cut on his arm, but otherwise unharmed. He waved to the pair, smiling triumphantly. "It's-a okay!" he reassured them. "I got him!"

The same feeling in Ashley's mind that came to her when Winky died and in the mansion before she found Luigi tugged at the back of her mind. In front, however, she was so relieved that she didn't give it a thought. She and Red came out of the hedge and went up to the ghost hunter. "Luigi, I..." she tried to say, losing her voice in the joy. "I don't know how to thank-"

Just then, something burst out of the Poltergust, shoving Luigi to the ground with its force. Before it even clicked in her head to run, Ashley was already a yard away. "I knew it!" she yelled behind her. "It was too easy!"

Winky, filled with rage, lashed out at the green plumber. By impulse, he backflipped off the ground just before the dragon cut him in two. He snatched Red up by the tail, threw him onto his back, and dashed off after Ashley.

In two minutes, he caught up to her. He took notice of how she was running: slumped forward, chest heaving, almost running on all fours, reaching forward as if digging through the air. That was no way to flee from death. A few miles, and she'd be too tired to run anymore. He knew from his years of running away.

"Spine straight! Lean back!" he barked. "Knees up! Elbows bent! Breathe evenly!"

Mechanically, without the commands even registering in her head, she did as he said. And so they ran for dearest life, hearts pounding, adrenaline rushing, gliding through the forest as if walking on air, as if death would come immediately if they ever slowed down.

They'd put considerable distance between themselves and Winky when they reached the heart of Diamond City. The exertion they'd put into running caught up with them, and they stopped to get their wind back next to a building.

Ashley peeked around the corner to make sure Winky wasn't about, and then, in both the physical and figurative sense, she turned on Luigi. "This is all your fault!" she accused him.

"What?" he asked, dumbfounded. "How is this-a my fault?"

"If you hadn't come to visit, I would be home right now eating door-to-door salesman soup! Instead, you came and I had to find you, and Winky came back from the dead, and every living thing in this city will be dead by sunrise, and my soup is stone cold..." She cried silently in her fury. "And it's all because of you!"

Luigi began to feel offended. "So you think Winky wouldn't have come back if I hadn't come-a to visit? You think-a he wouldn't have hunted you down anyway, whether I came-a by or not?"

"He might have, but I don't see you making yourself useful!"

"Oh, really? And what-a do you expect-a me to do?"

"Fix that hunk of junk on your back! Find out how Winky managed to get out of it and fix it!"

"I don't-a know how to do that!"

"You should! It's your profession!"

This struck one of his nerves. "Oh yes, Ashley! As a plumber, I ought to know how to fix the Poltergust! Pipes and ghost-hunting equipment are exactly the same thing!"

The tension thickened the air as they wavered on the brink of an all-out fight.

And then, they calmed down.

"Ashley," Luigi broke the silence. "Let's-a not fight like this. In the short time we've-a known each other, we've-a always been such-a good friends. This-a is the worst possible time for all-a that to change."

She nodded. "You're right. If we turn on each other now, things will only get worse." She glanced behind the building again. "There's more than one way to kill a ghost. There's got to be something we can still do."

Luigi silently pondered the possibilities. He turned each one over in his head, but all the solutions seemed to be out of reach, impossible, or just plain movie-style deus-ex-machinery. Meanwhile, Ashley had developed a terrible headache from all the stress, and she couldn't think of anything. But she felt like she had to do something useful, whatever it was.

Then she thought of Red. And her heart jumped.

She turned to Luigi to say they'd forgotten him, but relaxed when she saw him hanging from the broken Poltergust. "Red. Let me see your leg."

He let go of the machine, wincing as his torn limb hit the ground. She took it in her hands, rubbing the area around it gently. "This is bad, but you got lucky. It'll heal well." Looking over the plants growing nearby, she plucked one of the leaves of one and wrapped it around the injury.

Red watched her take off her neckerchief and tie it like a bandage around his leg in disbelief. He'd had worse wounds before, and when he'd complained, she'd called him weak and told him to walk it off. Never had she took the time to use medicinal magic on them, like she was now. Nothing at all was right with the world tonight.

Luigi also watched her as she patted the leg with a muttered chant, and told her familiar that his leg would be healed by sunrise. Was this really the same girl, Luigi wondered, who had a horrible reputation in this city? Was she the same girl who made soups out of hapless travelling salesmen? The same girl who had been all but ready to kill him when they'd first met?

He turned around and took stock of the building they were hiding behind, which sported a large W. An idea sprung in his head that made some of the ghost-killing ideas not so implausible. "Ashley," he began, "there are-a two scientists working for-a WarioWare, Inc., right? Maybe one of them-a could help us?"

She was ready to answer no, because she hated the idea of asking one of those madpeople for aid. But then, this was Winky they were talking about. They needed all the help they could get, whoever it came from. "He could," she replied, "but we are not going to like asking for his help."
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:11 pm

Doctor John Kilroy Crygor was his name, synonymous with dementia to the residents of Diamond City. A creepy little pillbug of a man, packed away like a recluse on an island just off the city's coast. He was a staple of WarioWare, Inc., injecting a bit more insanity into a company that, quite frankly, was plenty crazy without him. But the Doc, even with one-hundred five years under his belt, was determined not to go anywhere.

Even though one could not shake an unease around him (for the Doc had recently gone from embodying creepy to redefining the word), one could count on him for any problem that science could solve. If you broke your GBA by throwing it, er, accidentally (yeah, let's go with that), he wouldn't just fix it, he would invent WarioWare: Twisted with it. If you lost a leg or an arm, he had a perfectly functional prosthetic replacement; in fact, he was 50% prostheses already.

So if you had a broken vacuum cleaner, surely it would be child's play for the Doc to repair it, right?

If he could be bothered, yes.

But tonight, he could not be bothered.

Ashley knelt on one knee like a knight on the cold tile floor in front of the Doc, the broken Poltergust lying between them. The pose had seemed fitting at first for some reason, but now she felt like an idiot, sitting like this and enduring the Doc's derisive laughter at the explanation of their troubles. She turned her head to Luigi and mouthed: "I told you we wouldn't like asking him for help."

Luigi nodded in agreement, although his reason was different. The plumber felt a growing discomfort in the old doctor's spandex-wearing presence. "What about the other scientist?" he asked, hopeful that they could just leave.

"She's his granddaughter," was the reply. "We'll get the exact same deal."

"It's got to be better than this."

"I don't know where she lives."

"Okay."

Meanwhile, the doctor's howling had shrunk to a giddy chuckle. He took a minute to get his wind back, and stood up. "Well, well, well, does my mechanical eye deceive me?" he asked rhetorically. "Could this really be the wicked witch of Diamond City and the eternal understudy, come to ask moi for assistance catching a ghost?"

"Yes," Ashley replied grudgingly.

"I thought that the great Ashley's magic was so supreme, and that science, like religion, is ruining the planet, and how on Earth have I not self-destructed yet?"

"I say a lot of things," she said quickly. "Isn't that right, Red? Luigi?" The pair had to think about it for a second, but they eventually nodded.

The Doc nudged the Poltergust with his foot. "And so, you've come here asking me to fix this here vacuum cleaner. Now really? Just buy a new one. Bissel is a good brand."

"It's not a vacuum, it's a ghost-hunting device!"

"Well, it sure looks like an ordinary vacuum to me."

"It's not. Another psycho like you made it."

"Who, exactly?"

"His-a name is E. Gadd," Luigi answered.

The doctor's mocking demeanor went away at hearing that name. "Did you say E. Gadd? As in, Professor Elvin Gadd?"

"Yes-a."

The doctor kneeled in front of the Poltergust, looking the machine over with a sudden interest. He examined it carefully, like an paleontologist poring over the bones of a newly-discovered dinosaur species. "Yes," he said after a long time, "this is definitely Elvin's work."

"You know-a him?"

"Know him! Young man, years before you were born, Elvin and I were the Lewis and Clark of science! And yet... Since he moved to the Mushroom Kingdom, I haven't seen him in ages..." He looked up. "I've actually been meaning to get in touch with Elvin for a while now. It looks like you three have just given me the best excuse to do it. Not that I would need an excuse, but I'll call Elvin right away." He got up and went into the next room, forgetting that there was in fact a phone on the table next to his chair.

"Luigi..." Ashley asked.

"Yes-a?"

"Why am I still sitting on the floor like this?"

"I don't know."

"Well, now I'm stopping." She got up, but almost toppled over. "I... stood up too fast, that's all," she said, sensing her friend's worry. Luigi didn't buy that, and he was prepared to act as a human cane if she needed. But she got her footing well enough.

The doctor returned from the other room. "Elvin will be here right away."

"How long will that take?" Ashley asked.

There came a knock on the front door. "As I said," the Doc replied.

Ashley stumbled over to the door, even though her headache was slowly worsening to a migraine and walking was speeding the process. It wasn't to try to keep Luigi from worrying about her, so much as trying not to reveal her frailty to the doctor. The fact that she couldn't handle what was going on was a bad enough thing for him to know. She was determined not to let him see just to what extent it was so.

When she answered the persistent knock, she found a tall, orange-haired woman in a fur coat standing there. The woman looked her over with drunken, uncomprehending eyes. Then she coughed and walked off, saying "Yep. I knew it. I'm too tired to ask right now. Never mind. Good night, Penny."

Ashley returned to the living room. "I suppose that was not Elvin," the doctor pointed out the obvious.

Just then, a mysterious, unidentifiable noise came from somewhere in the laboratory. The four paused for a minute, during which the noise continued. After another minute, the doctor and Luigi, Red hanging from the latter's back, went to find its source. Ashley stayed for a while, half-frozen in another memory, but she soon recovered and went after them.

The sound, which revealed itself to be bubbling, was coming from the bathroom. "I just told him to-- Mike!" the Doc called out. "Mike! Where are you? Ooh, that irresponsible son of mine! Why did I ever build him?" He turned to Luigi. "You. You're a plumber. Unclog that drain."

"What? Why should-a I?"

"Because I said so. Isn't that reason enough for you?"

Luigi felt appalled and insulted, but he could tell there was no arguing with this man. He grudgingly rolled up his sleeves and went in the bathroom. Mere seconds later, he ran out of the room and hid behind Ashley. "M-m-monster!" he stuttered like a scared five-year-old.

Out of the bathroom came not a monster, but a little man in a scuba suit. He removed his mask, smiled brightly with his one tooth and, in a jolly voice more fitting for a varsity football team member than an old professor, said "John! Long time, no see, eh?!"

At this, the Doc roared with laughter. "Elvin, you silly goose! You had Green-Man here wetting his overalls!"

"Is that so?" He glanced at the plumber, who hadn't yet come out from behind his friend. "Well, I've never expected anything less from Luigi!"

During this exchange between old college buddies, Ashley turned to Luigi. "Monster, huh?" she asked with barely suppressed, derisive humor.

"Please-a don't," he whined.

"So," E. Gadd addressed Ashley, "you're Luigi's friend that I have heard so little about. Ashley, is it?" He extended his hand. "Professor Elvin Gadd. Nice to meet you."

Still herself, she wore a look of cold indifference.

The professor withdrew his hand. "Strong, silent type, I see. Perfect complement to Luigi. I hear the warranty finally expired on the Poltergust?" he joked, now addressing Luigi.

Luigi stepped up, standing twice as tall as Ashley. It made him look all the more ridiculous for having hid behind such a comparatively tiny girl. "That's-a right," he replied. "There's a really big, really bad ghost out-a in the city. I caught it, but then it-a broke out of the Poltergust. I have-a no clue how it-a happened."

E. Gadd nodded. "I'll have a look at it. I'm sure I'll be able to figure out what went wrong."

The small party made their way back to the living room. Elvin and John went in front, chattering casually, catching up on all their lost time. In back, Luigi was aware of a weight on his arm. When he looked, Ashley was using him as a cane. She walked on her left leg awkwardly, as if it had been twisted at the knee.

"Did you hurt-a your leg?" he asked quietly, careful not to draw attention.

"Yes," she replied. "Four years ago."

He nodded. "I understand how-a the pain can still feel real."

"It is real."

By the time they reached the living room, her leg had healed for the time being, and she stood by herself in a corner. Meanwhile, E. Gadd examined the Poltergust. He shook his head. "If I'm right about what happened, this isn't good. John, your workshop?"

The Doc gestured to a door. "Third door down, to the left."

"Thank you." He took the machine and left the room. No more than five minutes later, he returned. "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that only the capacitor, which holds the ghosts, was broken, and I fixed it easily."

"And-a the bad news?" Luigi asked.

"The bad news is, it broke because the ghost was too large and powerful to be contained. The Poltergust will be no help against this spirit."

Ashley whined a bit in the corner, lucky that the scientists thought her despairing moan to be Luigi's. As for the plumber, he took the Poltergust anyway and put it back on his back. Red found it to be a relief; it was easier to sit on the vacuum cleaner than dangle from Luigi's suspenders.

"But there's another way, right?" Luigi stated in the form of a question, mostly to reassure who the groan had really come from.

"Yes," E. Gadd replied, "and I know just the one. As we know, ghosts can't stand the light. The beam of a little flashlight is enough to momentarily stun one, and direct sunlight, or otherwise any intense light, would eliminate them on contact. Now, the ghost in the city won't stick around when the sun comes up..."

And it'll be too late by then, anyway, Ashley added in her mind.

"...and we won't be able to restrain it until then, or even at all. Which is why we need a strong artifical light source to shine on the ghost when it has nowhere to run or hide." He grinned and waited for someone to ask where they would get such a thing. But no one did. Disappointed, he proceeded to answer the unasked question. "John, do you still have that giant flashlight we built?"

The Doc shrugged. "Don't know why I kept it. It's taking up a ton of space, and we were drunk and it only seemed like a good idea when we built it."

"Well, it's a good idea now."
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:13 pm

The flashlight was larger than life. When the scientists showed the unlikely trio the fruit of their drunken efforts, it did not impress... until it dawned on them that what they were looking at was not an observatory telescope, but a gigantic flashlight.

How they managed to get the torch out of the doctor's basement and to the mainland, they might never figure out. But they did, and not a moment too soon. Winky had reached the city and just begun to wreak destruction when they got there.

"This is the plan," E. Gadd began. "The flashlight will need the electricity of an entire city to run, so here at the power plant, John and I will work on hooking it up to the main power. Meanwhile, you will keep the ghost occupied and contain the damage as best you can. Once we've finished the task on our end, we'll cut the power to the city, aim the flashlight, and shine its light on the ghost, which should exterminate it immediately. Any questions?"

Luigi shook his head and saluted. "We'll do our best."

"What do you mean, 'we'?" Ashley asked him. "I'm staying right here."

Luigi stared at her in shock. "Excuse us for a moment," he asked the scientists as he grabbed her by the arm and drug her out of earshot. "What do you mean, you're-a staying right here?!"

She wrenched her arm out of his grip. "You heard me. I'm not going out there to die."

"We won't die."

"You of all people should understand my fear, Luigi."

"I do, more than anyone. But I stand up-a to my fears when I have-a to."

She looked away.

"Ashley. You have to do this."

"I won't."

"You can handle it. You had-a no problem earlier."

"That was different. That was for Red. Now there's no reason for me to have to put my life on the line like that ever again."

"There is."

"What would that be, hmm? Name it."

He knelt down to be at eye level with her. "Ashley. Winky is-a the only thing you're afraid of, isn't he?"

"Of course."

"The only thing. And if you don't-a stand up to him now, take the only chance-a you have left, your only fear will own you for the rest-a of your life. It will be the only thing you couldn't conquer, because you will never be able to in all-a the rest of your time on this planet. Nothing in all the world that Winky could-a do to you would be worse-a than that."

"That sounds strangely familiar."

"Well-a, the basic idea came from this show I watch. But it-a still holds true."

She considered what he'd said. And the more she did, the more she saw the wisdom of his words. She realized that all these four years, she had carried the burden of her fear of Winky. Always in the back of her head, there had been that worry. The feeling she had when the dragon died had never left her; she had just learned to ignore it.

If she didn't take a stand now when there was no one but herself to do it for, then in a way, she would always be that eight-year-old girl, running and hiding from something it was impossible to run or hide from. She would always be wounded and helpless.

Why, she would be an even bigger coward than Luigi! And that would just be downright shameful!

"You're right," she said after a long while. "I'm not going to run away. Not this time. If you, of all people, can handle this, so can I."

"That's-a the spirit! There's Ashley!" He stood up. "Lucky thing. For a second, I thought I'd-a be the courageous one for a change. Even I can't imagine that."

They returned to the flashlight. "Okay, we're... ready... now..." Luigi slowed as he noticed the scientists' grim expressions. They had been watching Winky's rampage.

E. Gadd nodded in recognition of his statement. "Then off to the city with you, without a moment to spare."

They began the trek to the danger on the other side of the city. When he looked over, Luigi noticed that Ashley was trudging as if she were walking down Death Row. Maybe she was, but a stupid idea to lighten the mood came into Luigi's head. "Hey, Ashley?" he acted on it without really thinking. "Y' know, I literally have a devil on my back."

She didn't look up. "Your heart's in the right place, but nothing seems funny when you're on your way to the stake."

"Don't-a say things like that! We'll live!"

Says you, she thought.

They stopped close by to the ghost dragon, taking cover behind a building and trying to psych themselves into going out there.

"Luigi?" she asked quietly.

"Yes-a?"

"Have you noticed how silent it is here? Diamond City is almost never like this. Do you think anyone has noticed the dragon wrecking the place?"

Just then, a crazed dark-haired woman, dressed in flowing priest's robes and wearing a cross, ran up with a book in hand. "Repent, sinners! The end is nigh! It is the dragon as foretold in Revelations!" She screeched to a halt in front of them with her back to them. "There is still time! Accept Jesus Christ as your saviour and be rescued!" She wheeled and smacked them both with her Bible in one motion. Then she sped off, babbling "'And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great...'"

"Yeah, they've noticed," Ashley answered her own question, rubbing the side of her head.

Mere seconds afterward, the building behind them fell. Winky towered over them, snarling.

"He sees us," Luigi whined.

"You think?!" Ashley replied.

They split paths just as Winky brought a claw down where they stood. It took all they had to keep from running away outright; what they were supposed to do was keep the damage to the city and its residents to a minimum. Like a pair of frightened but determined sheepdogs herding a huge ram, they circled the dragon, trying to keep his attention on them.

Luigi was half-focused on what he was doing while keeping an eye on Ashley. Remembering her earlier brush with demise, he mostly wanted to see her "death dance", as he called it, and try to pick up on how to do it himself. But something was wrong. Her moves lacked the panicked fluidity they'd had earlier. Before, it was dodging; now it was reacting in the nick of time.

Luigi could tell what was different between then and now. She was too conscious of what she was doing, instead of acting on instinct. She was trying to be brave, trying not to let her fear take over her like before, and in that was unwittingly hampering herself.

Unfortunately, Winky had also realized that. He too was dumbfounded by the magnificent way she had cheated death at his claws earlier, but he saw that now, the power had left her. He seized his chances, starting in on the next swipe before the previous one was done. And if you watched him, you could see he was having fun with it, making it into a little game.

Luigi was helpless. He tried his best to get Winky to focus on him, but the dragon ignored him beyond occasionally smacking him with his tail. Meanwhile, the endless dodging was beginning to take its toll on Ashley. The new wounds coupled with the vivid memory of the old ones were pushing her well beyond her physical limit.

"Why did I ever let you talk me into this?!" she screamed at Luigi.


At the other end of town, the scientists weren't having much luck either.

E. Gadd tried futilely to push the giant flashlight into position. "John? How goes the wiring?" he asked.

"It's going nowhere fast," came the Doc's reply. "Wires are crossed over wires and hooked into the wrong voltage. Some of the things start with one color and end with another that looks like it belongs to a different wire. There's a dining fork in here too," he added, throwing the wayward utensil away. "It's as if the whole thing was designed by a five-year-old with a degree in advanced baloney."

"I'm not getting any progress either. Here, let me have a look at the wires. You take over the torch."

The two switched places. The doctor, with the hidden strength lying in his prostheses, shoved the torch in place with little effort. "Flashlight's ready," he announced.

After a few minutes, E. Gadd announced "I've got it hooked up to the generator."

The Doc came over. "No way. That fast?"

"It was actually quite simple," the professor replied. "You see, the awful way everything is connected is actually a brilliant fail-safe to make sure that if one fuse blows, the power doesn't go out for the entire city. With that in mind, I just had to hook up each wire and route them all into a single wire."

"And the fork?"

"Grounds everything."

The Doc slapped his forehead. "Of course! It's all so obvious now!" He looked out to the other side of the city. "You'll have to tell me how you figured it out that quickly later. As for now, there's no time to waste."


The doctor had no idea how true his statement was. Ashley was dangling at the end of her rope, wavering between consciousness and unconsciousness. Luigi had managed to get Winky's attention, so she rested on the side of a building, watching the man cheat death. Was it a good idea to have followed his advice and stand up against her only fear? It was too soon to tell.

Suddenly, Winky turned to her after batting Luigi away. Before she could react, his claw shot out towards her. Two of the massive nails ended up on either side of her neck, mere half-inches away from puncturing it. She felt herself swallow, and then sunk into a heavy, restful darkness.

"Ashley!" Luigi cried out. As he watched Winky raise his hand to deliver his coup de grace, he reacted without knowing it. He whipped out the Poltergust's hose and ran on air towards her. When Winky brought down his claw, he flicked the vacuum on its highest setting. The dragon was only barely aware of the little girl sliding away as if drug by a string when his claw hit the ground.

This brilliant move did not lack consequences. "Luigi! That's my hair!" The two swayed in a tug-of-war, both trying to get her giant locks out of the vacuum. The problem resolved itself when the hose finally came off her head... taking a pigtail with it. The plumber burst into guffaws at the sight, despite himself. As for Ashley, she wordlessly took off her headpiece, threw half her remaining hair over the bald spot, and replaced it.

The pair didn't notice the claw that came seemingly out of nowhere until it knocked Luigi away. "...Ah! Luigi!" was all Ashley could think to say before all the lights in the city went out.

Everything went in slow-motion. She watched as Winky reared up with a savage growl, preparing to deliver what would truly be his final blow. She could have gotten out of the way. But she didn't. She stood there as his hand came toward her, and felt the tip of a nail begin to puncture her chest. Maybe she had just crossed the line from bravery into stupidity, but she was determined not to run away this time, even with what it would cost her.

And just at that final moment, when death was soon to come...

The scientists said, "Let there be light!"

And there was light, completely illuminating the city, a sudden turning of night into artifical day. With a yelp unbecoming such a ferocious creature, Winky disappeared in a puff of spectral smoke, never to return.

Luigi sat up before he fully recovered from that last blow. When his eyes ajusted to the darkness, he saw Ashley staring at the empty air where Winky had been. She walked forward, reaching a hand out to test the air. When she was sure he would not be coming back...

She pirouetted in the middle of the wreckage, laughing the giddy chuckle of an overjoyed eight-year-old. "Red! Luigi!" she called to them, stopping, unaware of the maroon-colored flower spreading over her dress. "He's gone! Winky's gone! Forever! He can't hurt me anymore! And the memories, they don't hurt either! Oh, you were right, Luigi! At last I'm free! After all these years... I'm finally..." She fell forward, collapsing on the ground.

Red leapt off Luigi's back and ran to her, ignoring the pain in his leg. Luigi came forward as well and knelt next to her body. Red nudged her desperately, not wanting to believe she would never get up again. And when that reality hit him, there was nothing to do but cry.

Luigi put his hand on her back, just under the neck. "I should never have told her..." he stopped in mid-sentence, paying attention to something he could feel under his hand. Then he took his hand away, smiling brightly. "Red! She's-a still alive! I felt her heartbeat!"

Red looked up to him, and then back to her. As he went to put his ear to her back, she snored softly.

"You see?" Luigi said. "She's just-a sleeping. I don't-a blame her, either. A little nap-a will do her wonders."
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:18 pm

At dawn, the city was back to its usual activity. The power main had been reconnected, so no one paid the sudden outage any mind. There were more important issues.

No one could figure out what had happened to cause the huge, smouldering crater at the edge of the city; but they certainly didn't believe Christine, the woman in priest robes running around hitting people with a Bible, when she'd told them a dragon had done it. They ignored her, and workers hired by the city wordlessly went to work repairing the damage.

At the other edge of the city, the five rested. Ashley had woken up, and she was back to her old dark self again.

"Well," she addressed the scientists, "we couldn't have gotten rid of Winky without that giant flashlight. So I suppose science is a little more useful than I thought." She got up and leisurely walked off, Red at her side.

"Well, Elvin," the doctor said after a short silence, "that's pretty much all the thanks we'll get from her. Let's work on getting our flashlight back where it belongs."

So they set to work on lugging the torch back to the Doc's basement, picking up on catching up again. "Have I told you about my granddaughter, Penny? She's a treasure. She's cute, smart, inquisitive... and she's even got the family madness, too."

"Really? I wish I could say the same things about my grandson, Ian. He's a very sensible and methodical young man."

"My condolences."

"Thank you kindly."

Luigi watched them go for a minute, and then he turned to follow Ashley. "All night I've-a had to run and follow her," he muttered to himself, albeit in good humor. "Wish for once she'd wait for me to catch up. But-a no. Nobody ever includes Luigi in anything."

He found the girl at the base of a hill that faced the sunrise. He noticed a sign next to it that read: "Tomorrow Hill - The hill where tomorrow rises". At seeing that sign, a song began in his head, a bright and hopeful one. But he had no idea where it came from, and he hadn't heard it before.

Ashley turned to face him. "Luigi. I've figured out how to thank you for all you've done this long night. Turn around."

He did as she said, wondering what she had in mind. Seconds later, she clasped her arms around his waist in a hug, the hug of a grateful twelve-year-old for a good friend. Then just as quickly, she let go.

When he turned back, she and her familiar were standing on the hill, watching the sunrise. Luigi joined them. "I don't usually do that," she told him, "but since we're all little kids here, I figured it was fitting."

"Ah, you didn't have-a to thank me," Luigi said humbly. "I just did what came naturally to me as a ghost hunter, Luigi Mario, and-a your friend."

"No, Luigi. You really did a lot for me. I was prepared to let this whole ordeal become someone else's problem and let them handle it, and never deal with Winky ever again. But you helped me through this. You helped me stand up to Winky and conquer my fear of him. And you were pretty much the only person who could do that. Really, Luigi. You're a hero and a true friend."

"And she really means that, y' know," a little voice chirped. "Ashley usually can't stand anyone. So you're something else."

The two glanced around in shock, looking for the source of the voice. "Down here," it said. They looked over at Red. "Don't look so surprised. You both know I can talk."

"Y-yeah, but-" Luigi stuttered. "You didn't say anything all night."

"It's true," Ashley added.

"Oh." Red thought for a minute. "Well, I just couldn't think of anything to say..."

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Female Number of posts : 13
Age : 28
Location : Craziest Terri Clark fan you'll ever meet.
Registration date : 2008-06-21

PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:21 pm

I like it, you're a great writer.
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PostSubject: Re: (WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky   

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(WarioWare, Inc./Luigi's Mansion) Here Lies the Great and Terrible Winky
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