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Of Courageous Intent

Chapter Text

I'll show you how it all begins…and not leave the rest to your imagination.

Prologue

  The sun was setting. The golden light reflected off of the train station's glistening surface, signifying the end of the day. Characters of all shapes and sizes were stepping up onto the platform. This was the Station – though, it didn't always have that name. Whether it was for a melee, or for a brawl, this particular train station was for the in-ordinary, for those who would come to this world in search of a good fight; or for those invited to one, at least. Two figures stood in the midst of all this; one, a man clad in green, the other a woman, adorned with ornate jewelry which added to the regal air she carried herself with. They looked at each other, the woman flashing a faint smile before they turned back to set foot onto the platform. Before they could, however, they heard someone shout out-

  "Link! A-Zelda!"

  They turned to see a small man of Italian descent dressed in red and blue overalls run up to them, his cheeks somewhat rosy due to the chilly evening breeze.

  "H-hello, Mario," Zelda greeted, having to look down at the man of smaller stature, "what is-?"

  Before she could continue, the small plumber reached into his pocket and held out what appeared to be two gold tokens, flashing the pair a broad smile.

  "Your fares," he explained as both Link and Zelda each grabbed one, "I-a forgot to mention, the train demands-a it…even for the departing."

  Zelda winced inwardly at the word of choice; departing made it sound grimmer than it should be.

  "Thank you," Link spoke, nodding his head in a gesture of thanks, his face ever stoic, "You always did look out for us."

  "A-come on now," Mario responded cheerfully, rubbing the back of his head, "it's-a really nothing…"

  The sun was almost set now, with the platform nearly empty save for the three of them. A low horn honk emitted from the front of the train; it was nearly time.

 Mario's cheerful demeanor faltered for a brief moment. He took his hat off, before saying "I'm-a sorry, I know you both already gave your answer but I just a-gotta ask again; are you-a sure about leaving? You've-a been with us for so long now, two tournaments in a row."

  "And we don't regret a single minute of it," Zelda prompted, "Not even the business with Tabuu…"

  Link gave her an odd look.

  "Well, perhaps not," Zelda half laughed, "…but even so. As much fun as this ride has been… I still have a kingdom to lead. I can't afford to keep going away like this; and Link also has his own affairs he has to tend to."

  Mario nodded understandably. He shifted his hat back onto his head before flashing a halfhearted smile to both of them. "Ah well. Can't-a blame a man for tryin." He performed a short bow for both of them. "It was a pleasure, keeping you at the Manor. Everyone'll miss-a you both dearly."

  Zelda smiled warmly, bowing curtly in return. She turned and made to leave, but was surprised to see Link was not following her. The green tunic-bearing swordsman went down on one knee so that he was at eye level with the smaller mascot.

  "I…I know I'm not the first Link to leave," he began, "and I know it's a bit tough finding newcomers to invite. I just wanted to apologize for this inconvenience we're bringing on you-"

  Mario interrupted Link's stern apology with a boisterous laugh, leaving the latter a little shocked. "Look at us a-both," he said, still half-chuckling to himself, "apologizin' and a-steppin over each others' words."

  Link grinned, understanding overcoming them both. They shook hands as the train horn honked one last time.

  "It's been a pleasure." Link stated. Zelda smiled.


  As Mario waved them both farewell, his thoughts went to a specific part of Link's statement: finding newcomers. He turned away from the platform, looking up at the Smash "Manor" itself in all its glory. He gazed wistfully at the enormous building, currently empty.

  "Some manor, eh?" a smooth baritone voice spoke. Mario turned to see a gloved hand, larger than life, floating in the air almost above him. "Remember when it was small enough to warrant a name like that?"

  Mario sighed warmly as he looked back at the home of Smash. "I remember a lot, Master Hand. How-a many years?"

  The plumber heard a small chuckle. "Even I have lost count, I'll admit," Master Hand replied, "but even so…"

  Mario stepped forward, surveying the work ahead of him in preparation of a new tournament, "How much more-a space you reckon we need? The assist trophy house will need-a expansion too for sure, and we need to get in a-touch with Pokemon Center for more pokemanz-"

  "-You really don't tire of this work, do you?" Master Hand interjected, turning curiously to the small mascot, "Smash season only just ended, and you're immediately ready to jump back into it. This gets bigger every tournament, with more and more of a workload. Even my back is aching just thinking about it…"

  "You don't-a have a back."

  "…Even so."

  Mario smiled inwardly, "It's a-never been work for me, Hand. And I'm always a-happy to help." The plumber shifted his hat's position again before cracking his knuckles.

  Only three more years until the next Smash tournament season began; he and Master Hand had a lot of work to do.