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The Floro Caverns are a vast cave system which serves as the setting of Chapters 5-3 and 5-4 in Super Paper Mario. It is the home of the Floro Sapiens, who use it to mine gems for their king, who resides in a palace deep in the caves. Mario, Princess Peach and Bowser meet the Pixl named Dottie here.
Chapter 5-3: A Crag in the Dark
After repelling O'Chunks, Mario and Co. followed the Floro Sapiens underground...
The first area of the level is mostly empty, save for some Hard Blocks and a ? Block containing a Super Shroom. Soon, the heroes come across a Cragnon named Flint Cragley, who is filming an adventure show in the caverns. After brainstorming several title ideas for the episode, Cragley notices the heroes and asks them what they are underground for. He then explains that his camera crew is lost in the caverns and he needs them to continue. He tells the heroes to keep an eye out.
Down a Warp Pipe, there is a room with a locked door, several pipes, and some Buzzy Beetles and Spike Tops. All of the pipes are unusable except the farthest one. Through the pipe is an area full of Buzzy Beetles, Spike Tops, Spanias, Piranha Plants, Putrid Piranhas and Floro Sapiens. There are also many Brick Blocks and ? Blocks. About halfway through the area is a door. Nearby, there is a block with a ladder that leads to a Coin Heaven-like area, which is also a shortcut through some of the area. Through the door is a track which can be ridden in a minecart. At the end of the track is a pipe that leads to a seemingly empty room, revealed to be filled with Floro Cragniens in 3-D. By flipping during the cart ride, though, the player can take a deviating track that leads to a door. Through the door is a room with many Floro Sapiens and Cragniens, as well as a Zombie Shroom. In a small alocove, the heroes find Hornfels, Flint Cragley's boomer, who returns to Flint when the heroes tell him where he is. They then return to the main area of the caverns.
At the end of the room is a Trampoline to clear a tower of blocks and a Yellow Block covering a door. Through the door is another minecart track, this one more elaborate, with many loops and jumps. After the cart ride is an area with some Floro Cragniens. A Zombie Shroom and a Spania card can be found here. Through a path of Hard Blocks, some of which are actually Brick Blocks, as seen in 3-D, the player will reach a crossways, a room with several Floro Cragniens below and an area where Monzo is found above. Monzo is Flint Cragley's cameraman, who also goes back to his boss.
The heroes, too, go back to Flint, who demands a key from his crew. However, they claim that Flint took the key, fearing the crew would lose it. He denies this, but finds the key in his pocket. As he is afraid of what lies ahead, Flint gives the heroes the key, allowing them to unlock the door seen before. Beyond the door is another cart ride, followed by an enemy infested area with a Mega Star. The final door is hidden behind a Yellow Block and leads to the Star Block.
Chapter 5-4: The Menace of King Croacus
"You want REAL danger?! How about my duel with the foul Rainbowzilla?!"
The heroes continue on with Flint Cragley and crew until they reach what appears to be the Floro Sapien capital. Flint and his crew move ahead to continue filming, while the heroes continue their mission to find the Pure Heart. After passing a Putrid Piranha and some Floro Sapiens, they go through a hall and come across a room with what appears to be a scanner. A Floro Cragnien stands under the scanner and it searches its head. It then allows him to pass. The heroes, however, cannot pass. Heading back down the hall, there is an area with a tiny pipe, three ? Blocks, one containing a Mushroom and the other a Zombie Shroom. There is also a Warp Pipe leading further underground.
In the next area, there is a Save Block next to a white door, leading to an area with another door that will not open without a Card Key. To the right is a pipe spawning Floro Sapiens and, to the far right, a locked door. In 3-D, Mario finds a hidden area with two Floro Cragniens and a large button. The button will only activate using the combined weight of a hero and an enemy, which can be held by Thoreau. The button reveals a pipe, leading to a room with a door on the right and a pipe on the left. The door leads to a room with two Reversya Cursyas, a pipe in the center and a door on the right. The door leads to a room with three Spike Tops and a pipe on the right, which leads to a room with a Blomeba and writing on the wall reading "Behind the Skull", according to Tippi. The door to the left leads to a room with two Heavy Cursyas, a pipe in the center and another door on the left, leading to a room with two Spanias. This room has a drawing of a skull on the wall, which releases a key when Fleep is used on it.
The key unlocks the previously mentioned locked door. There the heroes find the Pixl Dottie, who is hiding with a Cragnon named Gabbro. Gabbro is initially afraid of the heroes, but Dottie convinces him that they are benevolent. She then tells Gabbro that they must part ways, as he needs to return home and she needs to join the heroes. She is able to shrink the heroes to fit into small spaces. This allows them to enter a small hallway in the room through the white door and collect a card key to enter the Processing Center, where Cragnons are outfitted with brainwashing Floro Sprouts. By hitting a giant ! Switch with Thudley, the heroes free the Floro Cragniens, but must use Hard Blocks to avoid stomping the Cragniens and reach a pipe. (Oddly, a Cursya is present in the Processing Center).
Through the pipe, the heroes encounter O'Chunks and Dimentio. Dimentio warps everyone to Dimension D and reveals a Floro Sprout on O'Chunks's head, which he has used to brainwash the warrior and rename him "O'Cabbage". Dimentio teleports away and leaved his creation to fight the heroes. O'Cabbage is much faster than normal and is also more unpredictable. However, he is still defeated and the sprout falls off his head, dead. Not remembering anything, O'Chunks prepares to fight his enemies, but leaves after hearing his stomach growl. The heroes take the dead Floro Sprout, able to wear it without being brainwashed. After they leave, Dimentio appears and muses about how powerful the heroes have become.
By wearing the Floro Sprout, the heroes are able to bypass the scanner at the beginning of the level and enter King Croacus IV's palace. The palace is decorated with much gold and jewels, as well as paintings of the four rulers of the Flora Kingdom. Several Floro Sapiens guard this area. Beneath each painting is a cracked floor that can be destroyed by Boomer to access a small pit. Each pit contains a switch block that changes colors when hit, alternating between blue, red, black and white. There is a Floro Cragnien and an Ultra Shroom in the first pit, nothing aside from the switch block in the second pit, a Floro Cragnien in the third pit, and a Save Block in the fourth pit. By matching the switches' colors to the colors of their respective paintings, the heroes reveal a door, leading to King Croacus himself.
King Croacus initially believes the heroes to be some of his slaves, but soon realizes that they are intruders. Switching to a battle form, he attacks them. They defeat him and he begins to wilt. The Floro Sapiens enter and mourn their king. They explain to the heroes the it was the Cragnons who (accidentally) started the war by polluting the water with trash. Drinking it drove King Croacus and the Floro Sapiens mad. Flint Cragley hears this and claims that he knew all along, promising to tell the Cragnons. Recognizing the heroes for who they are, the Floro Sapiens hand over the indigo Pure Heart, grateful for peace.
"Men of true grit witness live what others can only see through crag-vision."
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