Negaverse Plumbing

An Addendum to the Crystal Weaver Saga

(Also an Utterly Pointless Crossover)

© 1999 by E. Liddell


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Author's Notes:

Just be warned, before reading this, that there are *reasons* why I normally don't write humor...

And the moral of this story is: Never think about characters from the Crystal Weaver Saga when woken at six AM by unspecified sounds outside...

Sailor Moon is, of course, the property of Naoko Takeuchi and a bunch of other people. Super Mario Brothers belongs to Nintendo, and I mistake me not. I have no idea who owns Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it sure as heck ain't me.

I do love feedback, people! Email eliddell@despammed.com.


Approximately a year before the Dark Moon War...

I know you've heard all the stories, and probably seen the TV show and played the game, but it didn't happen that way, really. I can't believe how those people screwed the whole thing up. I should never have sold them the rights.

Anyway, it *really* all started at the Negaverse immigration offices. It figured that they were upstairs. Just my luck. Took me almost twenty minutes to climb to the second floor, and by that time, I'd forgotten the directions that the youma at the front desk had given me. She was a nice girl, really, despite being purple with orange stripes... But anyway, I had to limp along the hall checking the doors to all the rooms that weren't locked. Most of 'em were empty. About midway down, I opened one and got glared and hissed at by a youma. Well, heck, how was I supposed to know it was the washroom? It wasn't like they had a sign on the door or anything. Anyway, I closed the door quickly and backed away. Hopefully, by the time she got her pants pulled up, I'd be out of her range.

Two more doors down, I finally hit on what looked like the right one. Or at least, the guy sitting behind the desk was human- looking, wearing General's greys, and didn't seem too hostile. He was a little guy, with short, dark hair, and the trim on his uniform was... maroon, I guess. Some dark, reddish color, anyway.

"Yes?" He didn't say any more than that, like I said, that didn't seem too hostile to me. And anyway, I was six inches taller and a heck of a lot heavier than he was. He didn't scare me, no matter what they said about his kind.

"I want to join the Negaverse," I said.

Well, his eyebrows jumped straight up when he heard that.

"Sit down, Mister..." He waved a hand in the direction of the chair on my side of the desk. I took it, gratefully. My hip was aching something fierce.

"Mario Breckinridge," I said. "Pleased to meet you."

Well, he didn't give me his name, which I thought at the time was kind of rude, but it turned out that that was just the way Negaverse Generals are. Wasn't until two weeks later that I found out he was named Pyrope.

"Pardon me, Mr. Breckinridge, but most of the would-be immigrants we get are suicidal, desperate, criminals, or just plain strange. You don't look like you fit into any of those categories. So..." He let the words trail off suggestively again.

Well, I may not be the greatest brain in the history of the planet, but I'm not completely stupid, either. I could see what he was getting at. "Why m'I here, you mean? Well, see, it's this leg of mine. I fell when I was a kid and busted up the thighbone and part of my pelvis, and it didn't heal quite right. I've been limping ever since, and it's been getting worse just lately. I heard tell that you guys' magic could heal it up all right and proper, but you don't ever work with outsiders 'less they pay you, and I just ain't got that kind of money. I'm a tradesman, not a doctor or a lawyer. So I figured that the only way I'd get you to fix it was to join up."

"And you'd rather be a healthy monster than a half-crippled human. Yes, I see." Pyrope was frowning, which I took it wasn't a good sign. "Mr. Breckinridge, we only accept recruits from among those who will, to put it bluntly, be of some use to us. You're too far past your prime to train as a warrior unless becoming a youma does some pretty incredible stuff to your body, and you have no magical potential I can see. Unless you have some skill we can use, we can't take you. I'm sorry."

I shrugged. "'Way I see it, this Negaverse place of yours must have some plumbing..."

"You're a plumber?" Suddenly, the undersized General was all smiles. "Well, in that case..."

He sent a youma with me to help collect what little of my stuff would be of use in the Negaverse, and then had me over on the other side so fast that I thought my head was gonna spin. About all I wanted to bring was the turtles, anyway. My wife's turtles, God rest her soul. She'd named them all after dead Italian guys: Leonardo, Rafael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. My wife had this thing 'bout the Old Country. Me, I'm only half Italian, so I don't care much for it.

Actually, it shoulda been Donatell*a*, as it turned out. Yup, my fourth turtle was a girl, and she'd laid a perfectly good egg one fine day. That was after my wife died, so I got to name the little guy myself. Called him "Bowser". Seemed like a good idea at the time...

Anyway, for the first month or so, it was just me and the turtles. And my roommate. Kid named Jeff. He'd been born in the Negaverse -- his mom was one of the youma captains, and his dad was her human lover. He was about nine or ten years old, I guess. Nice enough kid, if you were willing to ignore the blue skin and the horns. They'd paired me up with him so that he could show me around.

I hadn't been all that happy about the thought of turning green, or purple, or whatever, but like Pyrope had said, better a monster than a cripple. I ended up a lot luckier than some of the people I saw, let me tell you. One guy who got there a few days after me grew an extra pair of arms his first week there, and said it hurt like hell. Me? Well, it first it looked like nothing was happening to me at all, 'cept that my tailbone was a bit sore. And I itched a lot. But my skin didn't change color, and I didn't grow fangs or horns or claws or anything. Jeff said it was downright weird, and the youma healer I was seeing about my hip was getting worried for a while.

Then I noticed that the hair was growing back over my bald spot, gradual-like, so no one else had picked up on it. And my chest was getting hairier, too. Heck, turned out that I was growing an entire coat of fur! And then I woke up one morning to discover that the little lump I'd noticed on my backside the night before had grown into a full-fledged tail! I remember looking in the mirror and thinking that I looked like I was wearing a raccoon costume, or something.

That was the morning that the turtles got loose. I hadn't been paying 'em much attention, y'see, 'cept to feed them every now and again, and when I went in to check 'em that afternoon, the terrarium was on its side on the floor and the turtles were roaming around the room, as happy as you please. Or four of 'em were. I couldn't seem to find Bowser. The little guy had just up and disappeared. And there was something weird about the other four. I hadn't thought that turtles' legs were supposed to bend that way. And then one of 'em looked up at me and said, "Mama!" clear as you please. Well, I was tickled pink. Surprised, too, but that was okay. Jeff had warned me that something weird might happen to those turtles. The Negaverse is a strange place.

They grew pretty durned quickly after that. Now, some things I want to say right away. I do *not* look like a rat, and I didn't teach them all that martial arts stuff. That was Jeff's mom, Zantisa, who was just thrilled to get some new recruits. And like I said before, Donny's a *girl*. The TV show got that wrong big time. Oh, and we weren't living in a sewer, though one does come into this story eventually. And I don't know where they got that Shredder guy.

Well, anyway, while Jeff's mom was working with the turtles, I found out why the Negaverse needed a plumber so bad. Seems like pipes were decaying down there if you looked at 'em cross-eyed, water and sewage pipes both. Normally, they used some native mushroom stuff to make pipes out of, but they'd tried plastic and copper and all sorts of stuff, and it hadn't made a bit of difference. The pipes still fell apart. In fact, it almost looked like some of the bigger ones had been busted apart from the inside.

Like I said, the Negaverse is a weird place.

Well, I figured at first that it had to be something in the water, but I sent some samples back to the Earth Realm to be tested and they came back clean. Actually, better than clean -- lab report said that the water was closer to pure than anything non-distilled that you'd expect to find on Earth proper. So that meant that something was deliberately messing with the pipes, and it was my job to find out what.

I did warn you that a sewer was going to come into this eventually, didn't I? Well, when I didn't find anything further up, I decided to look over the water reclamation areas. I took the turtles with me, because the sewers were all down pretty deep on the lower levels, and there's all sorts of stuff there that you don't want to run into alone. I mean, where New York has alligators in the sewers, the Negaverse has giant carnivorous plants and corrosive slug things the size of busses and... Well, you get the picture. So there were the five of us, walking along a narrow ledge and trying not to breathe too deeply, when we saw those little wet footprints.

Leo bent down for a closer look. "Whoa, dudes! Check this! Looks like rats or something."

I rolled my eyes. The four of them really had been spending too much time with Jeff.

"Can't be rats," I said. "Rats that lived down here would end up growing into something like you guys."

"You've got a point there. Think we should follow them?" That was Rafe.

I shrugged. "Why not? At least it's something to check."

Well, we followed the little wet footprints. We knew they had to be fresh. Even in that humidity, they wouldn't have taken more than a few hours to dry out. Anyway, they led us to what should have been one of the treatment plants. Except that someone had been screwing with the spells there. Not something that I could fix -- I'm pretty well worthless when it comes to magic -- but at least I knew, now, what one of the problems was. The water going out was being charged with magical energy that was weakening the smaller pipes. Which led to the question of what was doing it. I mean, it wasn't something that could have happened by itself, okay? Someone had to be doing it deliberately.

I looked up when I heard a scurrying sound. Something small and two-legged was running across a ledge near the top of the tunnel we were in. One of the turtles -- I think it was Donny -- threw a rock and knocked the little thing down.

Well, it looked a bit like a mushroom, but I'd never seen a mushroom with legs and eyes before. It shook its, uh, cap, glared at us, and made a little meeping sound. Then it screamed, and when it did that, the five of us had to cover our ears. You ever seen one of those things where a singer uses her voice to shatter a wineglass? Well, that's what it sounded like.

All of a sudden, the tunnel was full of hundreds of little mushroom guys. Or thousands. Maybe even millions. And they were all squeaking, "Goomba! Goomba!" at the top of their little voices. Well, I didn't really want to hurt any of 'em, but I didn't want to die smothered under a pile of little mushroom critters, either. So I started stomping on 'em. The Negaverse is full of mushrooms, after all. No one would miss these.

Well, I tried to work my way forward through the mass. The goombas, or whatever you want to call 'em, that were coming up behind were bigger than the first batch. It got to the point where I had to jump up so that I could squish 'em. The turtles couldn't keep up, not with all the critters hanging off their shells, and I left 'em behind pretty quickly.

Well, after a while, I ran out of goombas, since they were all still mindlessly running forward to fight the turtles. But I kept following their backtrail. It wasn't all that hard. The tunnel was wall-to-wall little wet footprints. Finally, I got to this big room with a cage in it.

Inside the cage was a youma girl -- pretty little thing, with light blue skin and blonde hair. She looked like she was about fifteen. Yeah, that's right, a youma. Not a princess. The guys who made the game made up the princess. And she never fell in love with me. Anyway, she was just a kid, and I was a fiftysomething. How old am I now? Well, that would be telling...

She wasn't alone, though. There was someone else standing beside the cage. A big green someone, with a shell. I knew right away who it was.

"Bowser! Hey, kid, I thought you were gone forever! What's with the girl?" I took a step toward him, then stopped. Bowser didn't look at all friendly.

"So you're the one who gave me that name." He glared at me. "What was the goddamned idea, pal? I'm a turtle, not a dog! Geez, why didn't you just name me 'Cretin' or something? It'd be easier to deal with!"

"I didn't think it'd be such a big deal," I said. "Sorry."

"Yeah, well, 'Sorry' just isn't good enough! Now, Dad, I know you're a loving, family kind of guy and you wouldn't like to see this little lady hurt..." He waved one stumpy hand in the direction of the cage.

"What do you want?" I asked, thinking that kids these days just don't have any respect for their elders.

Bowser made a face that I think was supposed to be a smile. "You're going to help me subvert the Negaverse's plumbing. The goombas had done some work on that before I even got here, but they're not terribly bright. They lack leadership. That's why they need us."

"So what're we supposed to do with the plumbing once we've got control of it?" I'd never been asked to be trapped in the Negaverse's subbasement with a crazy youma turtle, but I figured that I should probably play along until Rafe, Leo, Mike and Donny got there.

"Isn't it obvious?" Bowser tried to make a sweeping gesture, but his arms were too stubby to pull it off very well. "We'll bring the Generals -- yes, even King Malachite himself! -- to their knees. When there's no drinking water or hot showers left, the other youma will join us in our revolt! We will rule--"

"--the sewers," I said with a snort, "if we even manage to keep them. There ain't no hot showers now, thanks to you and your little mushroom pals, and the youma don't much seem to care. You're just being plain silly, boy."

Well, that had to be the first time that I'd ever seen a turtle turn red. Wasn't the last, though. When he found out that he and Donny were going to have another egg, Leo turned the most attractive shade of--

Oh, yeah, right. Bowser. He grabbed me by the shoulders and lifted me up off the ground. I got him in the knee with my tail. It's a pretty substantial thing, that tail. Old Bowser, he dropped me and started hopping around on one foot, screaming things that fathers just didn't teach their little boys, not when I was a kid. I decided I'd have to turn him over my knee and paddle him good, later on.

Anyway, Donny and Mike and Rafe and Leo got there about them and helped me truss up Bowser. Donny wasn't too happy with her kid either, and she took this staff-thing that one of 'em was carrying around and paddled him but good, so it turned out I didn't have to. Then we had to get the youma kid out of the cage. Turned out that it wasn't locked. She and Bowser had been in it together the whole time. 'S a good thing that she was smart enough to see that she couldn't take all five of us. She 'ventually ended up as Bowser's mate, and as far as I know, they're happy together.

Rewarded by King Malachite? Are you *kidding* me? Far as I know, my report never got past General Cuprite, who runs the custodial staff. I just got a pat on the back and another job. You know how it is.

'Fact, I have to be careful to stay away from Lord Zoisite, even now. Y'see, it seems that he was the one who had to go down there and fix all the water treatment filters, and he hates sewers even more than most. There're a whole bunch of stories about that, but the only thing that anyone's certain about is that something happened to him while Beryl was still running the whole shebang. Seems it had to do with rats. Anyway, he's still got it in for me and the turtles, big time.

Migod, is that him over there? Quick, fellas, cover for me. I have to go out the back way *right now*, or he'll be roasting me on a spit for supper tonight...

The End


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