The 'Shroom:Issue 205/Palette Swap

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Director's Notes

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Shroom2017 FunkyK38.png

The 'Shroom is back! Welcome to the April issue!

How did you all like Princess Peach Showtime? I really enjoyed the game. It's not perfect, I found that some of the levels could be a little longer to flesh out the featured transformation better (mermaid in specific), but the game is absolutely charming, the music was fun and well-themed around the theater aesthetic, and the graphics were really lovely. I'm glad we got a little spin-off featuring Princess Peach, and I hope they do it again someday, maybe even make more spin-offs with other Mario characters.

In this issue, our venerable Director makes an appearance with a new Random Image of the Month, and we are also starting a new story by Flygon64 (talk), Monokuma, Public Instigator. If you like the new stories, and you'd like to try writing one of your own, you can send it in on the forum and you can see it published in The 'Shroom!

Happy reading!


Section of the Month

You all came out in droves last month to vote for Section of the Month, and the results are now in! In a landslide victory, winstein (talk) takes first place with The ? Panel. In second is our guest writer of last month, Natalie J., with Free To Be Ourselves, and in third is Waluigi Time (talk) and Waluigi Time Comic. Thank you for voting, everyone, and please keep it up!

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st The ? Panel 33 57.89% winstein (talk)
2nd Free To Be Ourselves 12 21.05% Natalie J.
3rd Waluigi Time Comic 11 19.30% Waluigi Time (talk) and MightyMario (talk)

Art, music, and stories

Random Image of the Month

Written by: Shoey (talk)

Hello, and welcome to Random Image of the Month, a periodically-appearing voluntary section where I (or anybody else) looks at oddball images from the Mario series. After a nice long hiatus, I'm back with another obscure image you've probably never heard of! This month, we take a look at one of the Kellogg's stickers which were probably given away in boxes of Frosted Flakes in the UK. For those of you (meaning all of you) who don't know, these stickers were made as part of a partnership between Kellogg's and Nintendo of UK. Each sticker promoted a different Game Boy game, except for one that's just Mario and Tony the Tiger hanging out. Presumably, these were found in cereal boxes, but I'm not sure because the wiki doesn't have that information!

Anyways, the sticker I've chosen to look at is one that promotes Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. The reason I've picked this one is twofold! The first reason is something I'll cover in the next paragraph. The second reason is because it's one of the few pieces of official merchandise that features my beloved Tatanga, the best non-Bowser Mario villain! Please Nintendo, bring him back! it is all I want and I've been a very good noodle this year!

A nearly rectangular sticker, taller than it is wide. Taking up the majority of the picture is a blue-and-black space background, with some yellow spike designs arising from the bottom left and top right and sticking towards the center. Mario, in a spacesuit, floats in the foreground, while Tatanga, here depicted as a green, goblin-like alien, can be seen in a futuristic red spacecraft behind Mario. Above them both are logos for Kellogg's Frosties, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, and the Nintendo Game Boy.

Okay, so, first question… Why does Mario's spacesuit have big robot nipples? What purpose do these nipples serve? Are they supposed to be, like, dials or something? They don't look like dials; they look like just regular bolts. And if they are dials, what do they control? Is it… like… oxygen? Is that something that needs to be controlled? I'm not really sure about this spacesuit design, guys, and it's mostly because of the fact that they decided to give the suit giant nipples, which just makes me uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable, this Mario design is looking a little rough! The hat's fine, and so is the mustache. Really, the face itself is fine, if a little low-quality, but, I mean, it's a sticker in a breakfast cereal, so how high quality does it need to be? But look at the neck! it is so blobby and big. It looks like Mario's helmet has sprung a leak and that the vacuum of space leaking in has caused Mario's neck to expand like a balloon! Seriously, the bottom half of his head is puffing up like a puffer fish. Mario needs to get back to his ship and decompress, because it looks like the effects of space are really hammering the lower half of his face!

But while Mario might look a little rough, the things going on with Tatanga are just criminal. Look at that model! Look at what Kellogg's has done to my poor boy! He's not a cute little imp-like alien man anymore! He looks like a booger goblin! Seriously, he looks awful! They didn't even get his color right! Sure, yeah, I know these games didn't have color, but it's not like there wasn't artwork of Tatanga to reference. Because there is! And Tatanga is purple! A very threatening purple! Everything about this model is wrong and derpy! I mean, look at those teeth. Those aren't the threatening teeth of an alien who kidnaps princesses! Those are the dull fangs of a level one goblin found at the start of an RPG!

Look how unsophisticated that ship looks. Tatanga is supposed to be a terrifying space invader who apparently was hired by Wario (because obviously Wario can talk to and hire aliens), but this spaceship apparently has a steering wheel. But everybody knows that big hi-tech sci-fi spaceships use levers and knobs! It's just basic science!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't like this sticker! This is a bad depiction of everyone's 7th favorite Mario villain, Tatanga. Couple that with Mario's weird robot nipples and, I don't know, guys, but I don't think I'd buy my kids the game this sticker is promoting!

Waluigi Time Comic

Drawn by: Waluigi Time (talk)


The ? Panel

Drawn by: winstein (talk)

Q Panel 16 - Dichotomy of the Elements.png
Title: Fire

{Mario, in his fire power-up form where he has red overalls and white shirt and cap, holds a fireball on his left hand}

{Wario frantically runs amok with a panicked expression, with fire burning behind his back}

Title: Ice

{Mario, in his ice power-up form where he has red overalls and light-blue shirt and cap, holds two ice balls while skating}

{Wario is encased in ice, frozen in place}

Title: Bubble

{Mario, in his bubble power-up form where he has red overalls and pink shirt and cap, gracefully blows bubbles, while his left hand is held slightly beneath his mouth and his right hand behind his back}

{Wario is trapped in a bubble, with tears coming out of his eyes}

Title: Invisibility

{Mario, in his invisibility form where he is translucent, phases through a wall with a Boo on it. He is sneaking while raising a finger to encourage silence}

{Wario is currently invisible, and he is holding a red key. He is struggling to open the red chest with the key, attempting to stab the chest with the key}

Title: Electric

{Mario, in his electrical form akin to capturing an electric pole, is speeding through the electric lines}

{Wario gets electrocuted, with crosses in his eyes}

Bonus Panel
Q Panel 16-2 - Dichotomy of the Elements Bonus.png


{Wario, being worn out by the various reactions and gotten all dirty from them, topples in front of Mario}

{Mario hops in surprise as Wario falls on impact}

{Wario raises his head and looks towards Mario with a tired look, Mario looking at him in awe}

Wario: Can I come over to your games?

Shmaluigi, Private Investigator

Written by: Waluigi Time (talk)


Lock and Key: Part 1

Today, my investigations were taking me to Mushroom Hills, a small neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, after a fellow living there hired me to look into a lost key. Further details were still pending, but it seemed pretty mundane to me. Not that I was complaining, mind you. Then again, the amount of times things started out normal for me and then spiraled from there... If I had a Star Coin, you know? As I made the trip there, I couldn't help but note the overcast skies. Not my first choice of weather, but it was suitably moody for detective work, I suppose.

I drove into the neighborhood, or what was left of it, anyway. It seemed more like a demolition site than a neighborhood, with nearly every house I saw being in some stage of being torn down or just gone completely. Getting through here was a nightmare with all of the crews frantically running around. Who would've thought it would be worse driving here than in the city? Finally, I pulled up to my client's house, pretty much the only building left standing, though I could tell it needed a little work. Still, it was as if there was a protective bubble around it. Despite everything else going on, it seemed like business as usual here.

I knocked on the door, and shortly after it was opened by a Clubba.

"Shmaluigi, private investigator. We spoke on the phone," I said.

"Oh yeah, yeah. The name's Bubba. Come on in," he said, ushering me inside the house. It was a quaint little place with a lived-in look, but not too shabby overall. Mr. Bubba didn't seem to care much for decorating, though.

"You said something about a missing key, care to provide any more details?" I asked.

"There's not much to tell, really. I got up this morning and... poof!"

Not off to the best of starts. "Well, what did it unlock?"

"A secret compartment in the wall. I keep my safe combination in there."

"Okay, so you've got a key to a compartment with the safe combination inside... Is anything missing from either of those places?"

"I wouldn't know. I don't have the key, so I can't get the combination."

"Uh huh... Well, do you have any idea who might want to steal it?"

"I'll tell you who, it's that no-good Dooglas Cain! That demolition crew of his has been tearing up this whole neighborhood so he can build some big newfangled whatsit or something. He's been trying to get me to sell but I won't do it! My grandpa built this house with his own two hands, you know. He must be trying to get into my safe so he can just steal the deed!"

That was a start at least, although it wouldn't be the first time someone incorrectly blamed someone else that they had beef with for their own misfortunes. No matter, the truth would be uncovered in due time.

"Mind if Shmaluigi takes a look around the place?"

"Of course, look at whatever you want."

"Oh, and where's that secret compartment?"

"Here, I'll show you," Mr. Bubba said, leading me into another room to a picture on the wall. It was just about the only piece of decoration in the whole house, and it looked like the picture was just the placeholder that the seller puts in the frame. Way to be inconspicuous.

I first examined the frame, taking note of the dust that had accumulated on it. It appeared to have been undisturbed for a while, so I figured that whoever took the key must not have accessed the compartment yet. Next, I pulled the frame off of the wall and examined the compartment itself, finding no obvious signs of tampering. I noted the size of the keyhole, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd seen a comically large key around here. Everything seemed in order with the safe as well. That trend continued to all the doors and windows - all of them were locked up tight with no signs of a break-in whatsoever.

"Mr. Bubba, did you lock your doors and windows last night?" I asked.

"Of course, especially with all those homewreckers running around!"

"Well, it doesn't look like anyone broke in. If you didn't forget, then it was either someone you let in, or you just... misplaced it."

"No, I know it was him!" Mr. Bubba exclaimed. "They could've used their tools to get in without making it look like they got in, or something! Go interrogate him, you'll see!"

"Alright, if it makes you feel better..."

I had my doubts that Mr. Cain was responsible for the disappearing act, but I might as well see what's up with him. I wouldn't be a good private investigator if I dismissed potential leads out of hand, after all.

Tracking down Mr. Cain took me back towards the city to a little office building. The front office was pretty standard, a few spots for seating and last year's magazines. A Goombrat sat at the front desk, taking notice of me as I entered.

"Is Mr. Cain in?" I asked.

"Yes, he is. May I ask what this is about?"

"The name's Shmaluigi, private investigator. Just a few simple questions, that's all."

He picked up the phone to call into the office. "Sir, there's a Shmaluigi, private investigator here to ask you some questions. Mhm, okay. I'll tell him. Mr. Cain will see you now, just head right through that door."


I went through the door and entered what I presumed to be Mr. Cain's office. It was small and quite clean. Mr. Cain sat behind a desk in the middle of the room, with a large window to his back, light filtering in through the blinds. A few filing cabinets lined the wall next to him. With moodier lighting, this place wouldn't be unfitting for a small-time mafia boss.

"So, you must be Mr. Cain," I said.

"That would be me, Mr. Shmaluigi. How can I be of help?" he replied.

Something about this Doogan rubbed me the wrong way. He was a rather slick character, looking real smooth in that pinstripe suit of his. The kind that makes you not want to trust them because you really know you shouldn't, you know? Or maybe I was just jumping to conclusions.

"You're in charge of the development in the Mushroom Hills neighborhood, correct?"

"That I am! I'm thinking it'll be a great site for a new shopping complex. Oh, that reminds me, I need to give Mr. White another call. Tesco's been itching to get into the New Wikisburg market..."

"So you should be familiar with a Mr. Bubba living there, then."

"Oh, yes," he said, his expression visibly souring a bit, but I could tell he was trying to hold back. "He's... stubborn."

"Care to elaborate on that?"

"I'm sure you've noticed if you've met him, but he's not exactly leaving. I've offered him a very generous amount for his property several times, but he still refuses to sell to me. I don't really want to have to build around him, that's going to decrease the value you know."

"Uh huh... Were you aware that he's had an important key stolen from him?"

"Has he? That's a shame."

"He says it's to protect the deed to the property."

"Oh, I get it. He wanted to pin the blame on me and sent you here to check up on it, right?"

"That's pretty much the story so far."

"Well, I can assure you that I have no involvement. You're welcome to take a look around the office if you'd like, though. The only keys you'll find here are for my personal property."

"Much obliged, Mr. Cain."

I took him up on the offer and did a quick search of the room and the front office. Sure enough, all that came up was what Mr. Cain claimed to be his personal set on a keychain, and unless he cared enough to hide a stolen key in plain sight by manipulating its size, none of them were anywhere near large enough to fit the keyhole in Mr. Bubba's house.

"Well, everything seems clear here. Sorry to bother you," I said as I wrapped things up.

"Not at all. You know, you might want to check with the demolition crew. They're the ones down there all the time, and they're just contractors that I hired for the job, so I can't say I've ran any checks on them or anything."

"Not a bad thought. Which one's the foreman?"

"Eggbert Plante. You can't miss him, he's a giant eggplant. Speaking of which, if you don't have any more questions for me, it's about time for me and my secretary to head to lunch."

"Oh, yes, of course. That's all for now."

"Fantastic. Good luck then, PI," he said as I turned and left.

After leaving Mr. Cain's office, I drove back to Mushroom Hills to speak to this Plante character. I probably would've started there first if Mr. Bubba didn't have an axe to grind, and I wondered how much extra that was costing me in gas... I'd have to factor that into my bill later. Anyway, I parked in Mr. Bubba's driveway to stay out of the way of the demolition crew. The last thing I wanted was to come back to a hammer accidentally tossed through my windshield, or something. I haven't even had it that long!

I spotted Mr. Plante across the road and began to cross, only to be nearly flattened by a Forkun barreling through. Always look both ways before crossing the street, kids.


"Sorry..." I replied sheepishly, although I doubt my apology was heard between the cacophony of the demolition and how far the Forkun had already sped away.

Thankfully, I managed to cross the street without further incident and approached the foreman.

"Are you Mr. Plante?" I asked.

"Yeah, I am, what's it to ya?" he replied, turning in my direction. He didn't seem to be in much of a conversational mood.

"Shmaluigi, private investigator. There's a few questions Shmaluigi would like to ask you."

"Well make it quick, I don't got all day."

"Were you aware that Mr. Bubba over there had a key stolen from him?"

"Nope. Sucks to be him."

"Have you noticed any of your crew behaving suspiciously?"

"Course not. What kinda key are we even talkin' about here, anyway? Don't tell me the guy's got a sportscar."

"No, it was to protect the deed to the house."

"Okay Shroomlock, tell me why any of my guys would wanna live in a neighborhood we're tearin' down as we speak."

"Not like that. Mr. Cain's been eyeing the property. Perhaps one of your crew was trying to impress him or working under direct orders."

"Look buddy, we're already makin' a bundle off this job. I can tell ya that we ain't gonna be breakin' and enterin' just so we can get the contract on one measly extra house, and we don't give two hoots about what Poochy in his fancy little office wants to do with this place. This is strictly a demo job, ya got it?"

I didn't care for Mr. Plante's hostility, and I certainly wasn't going to strike any of them off my suspects list just yet, but at the same time, the logic tracked. I'd have to investigate further, and maybe now that I did some digging into Mr. Bubba's scapegoat, he'd have some other possible leads in mind.

"That's... fair enough. No further questions for now."

By then I had already lost Mr. Plante's attention as his focus apparently turned to some improper demolition techniques. "'Ey, 'EY! WHADDAYA THINK YOU'RE DOIN' YA IDIOT? STOP THAT!"

As he ran off to go attend to whatever that was, I returned to Mr. Bubba's house to try and get more leads out of him, taking extra care not to be the victim of an accident this time.

"Well Mr. Bubba, Shmaluigi's checked things out and it doesn't seem like Mr. Cain was responsible. Not definitively, anyway," I told him.

"No, it has to be him... Maybe you just didn't investigate hard enough?"

"Look, you can't just blame people you don't like for everything that goes wrong. Unfortunately. Um, are there any other possible leads you can think of? Has anyone been around here?"

"Well," Mr. Bubba began before cutting himself off. "No, no."

"What? Anything would be helpful at this point."

"Bumphrey was here yesterday. But he's my friend, he would never do this!"

"Unfortunately, it's often the person you least suspect. Where does he live? That'll either help us get to the bottom of this, or clear him."

"He lives about 20 minutes from here," Mr. Bubba explained as he began to write on a piece of paper. "This is his address. Just be nice to him, okay?"

"As long as he doesn't start anything..."

My car's workout continued along the drive to Mr. Bumphrey's house. This neighborhood seemed much nicer than Mr. Bubba's - what was left of it, anyway. Nothing too special, but I didn't expect this one to be marked for demolition by a hungry real estate developer anytime soon. I pulled up to the address that Mr. Bubba gave me and knocked on the door. As it opened, I was greeted by the face of a Bumpty.

"Shmaluigi, private investigator. Mind answering a few questions?"

"Oh, um, sure. Come in."

"Shmaluigi's on an investigation for your friend Mr. Bubba," I said, following him into the house. "He says he lost a very important key."

"Really? I just saw him there when I was visiting Bubba yesterday."

Wait a minute... Him?

To be continued...

Hello! It's me again, back from my little hiatus. Thanks for reading the beginning of the next story arc, and uh, I don't have much else to say this month, so... see you next time!

Sport Report: The Movie

Written by: ClawgripFan9001

World 2: Frolicking Through The Forests - Part 1

Meanwhile, back at General Zellon's castle, General Zellon was still gloating in front of Mario and Luigi's cage as the brothers looked at each other and back at General Zellon. "Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! The Mushroom World is doomed with me around to menace them at every possibility! That foolish Bowser cannot hold a candle to me when it comes to military brilliance!" General Zellon boasted to Mario and Luigi, who ultimately remained unimpressed with the general's boasting.

"You really think you're a brilliant military mind? Mamma mia, you're such a boring guy, you could make a whole documentary about naval warfare dry!" Mario told General Zellon with a bored look on his face as he folded his arms in front of his chest.

"I have to agree with Mario on this one. You're not exactly the most interesting military warlord that the Mushroom World has to offer. Even Bowser was more interesting when it came to warfare." Luigi chimed in.

"Ah, what would you know, you pipsqueak plumbers?! All you've been doing for years is sliding through plumbing and jumping over turtle shells! You have no idea what true military brilliance is!" General Zellon firmly told the two of them before their argument was interrupted by Johann running in.

"Father, we have another problem!" Johann told his father as he proceeded to inform him of Phillip's defeat at the hand of ClawgripFan9001 and Company and their progress into the Dark Lands.

"What?! Phillip was bested in combat by that overgrown Sidestepper reporter and his posse?!" General Zellon asked in anger.

"Yes, and now they are on their way to that land with the moonlit forests!" Johann replied to him.

"The land with the moonlit forests? That would be Shriek Forest." General Zellon informed him.

"What are we going to do to prevent the heroes from advancing further into our Dark Lands and freeing the remainder of the captured heroes, father?" Johann asked his father with a concerned look on his face.

"I should have an easy enough solution to take care of this problem, Johann. I shall send your second youngest sibling and his troops to dispatch the heroes." General Zellon assured him before taking out his communication device again and calling his second youngest son. "Wilhelm, I need your services, son!"

Immediately afterward, General Zellon's second youngest son, Wilhelm Richard Zellon flew into the room and landed in front of his father and older brother. Like his father and older brother, Wilhelm was a hippopotamus/pterosaur hybrid, having scruffy-looking blond hair and purple eyes while wearing a commander uniform like Johann.

"I came as fast as I could, father. What is it you need my services for?" Wilhelm asked his father as he bowed before him in respect.

"A posse of heroes is on their way to Shriek Forest to free the heroes being held captive out there. Take your troops, deploy to Shriek Forest and take out the heroes before they can reach our next stronghold!" General Zellon explained to Wilhelm.

Wilhelm nodded in understanding, bowing before his father once more. "I shall not fail, father!" He responded before flying out of the room to deal with the problem at hand.

"Wow! Wilhelm really knows how to be genteel in the palace while being hard as steel out on the battlefield!" Johann remarked, being impressed by his younger brother's mannerisms.

"That I could not have said better myself, Johann. If there is anyone I can count on to deal with a threat to our current military campaign, Wilhelm is the commander to go to." General Zellon chimed in with a smile.

Meanwhile, ClawgripFan9001 and Company had left Phillip's castle at Dreary Moors and were currently driving towards Shriek Forest in a car they had hijacked off of General Zellon's forces. Funky Kong was driving the car, with ClawgripFan9001 in the passenger seat and the rest of the party being in the back of the car.

The Lakitu cameraman was currently filming ClawgripFan9001 as he was reporting live once more. "Ahoy, faithful viewers! It be ClawgripFan9001 once again, 'ere ta give ye an update on our progress through General Zellon's Dark Lands! We managed ta defeat the first o' General Zellon's commandin' officers an' free the first batch o' captured heroes from their clutches! We now be on our way ta General Zellon's next stronghold where we be believin' 'im ta be 'oldin' the next batch o' heroes captive! Be sure ta stay tuned fer more updates on our adventures through the Dark Lands!" ClawgripFan9001 spoke into the camera before turning back towards the road, his eyes widening as he saw a field of thorny plants appear over the horizon.

"Curse me cutlasses! Everyone, take cover!" ClawgripFan9001 shouted as everyone took cover, after which Funky Kong drove straight through the field of thorny plants, which proceeded to wreck the car they were driving as it came to a standstill after the group had driven out of the field. The group then proceeded to get out of the wrecked car.

"Oh no, the car broke down from driving through that field of thorny plants!" Winston exclaimed in dismay.

"Sorry, guys! There wasn't any other way around that field, so I had no choice but to drive straight through it…" Funky Kong admitted as he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

"Yar, it be okay, matey! We'll just continue our journey through the Dark Lands on foot! That's usually 'ow Mario an' Company would travel durin' their journeys as well! Now let's get goin', fer the fate o' our heroes an' the Mushroom World Games be dependin' on it!" ClawgripFan9001 replied as he took the lead as the heroes proceeded to start marching through Shriek Forest.

After walking through Shriek Forest for a while, ClawgripFan9001 and Company were ambushed by a pair of Rex-like dinosaurs, which were named Tyranos. "Stay right where you are, heroes! Commander Wilhelm Richard Zellon says that your kind isn't allowed around these parts, so this is where your journey ends!" One of the Tyranos firmly told ClawgripFan9001 and Company.

"Yar, ye won't be stoppin' us from advancin' into the Dark Lands an' freein' the remainder o' the captured heroes, ye overgrown reptiles! An' we certainly won't be bossed 'round by the likes o' ye! Now step aside, we've got work ta do!" ClawgripFan9001 fired back as he pointed at the Tyranos with a scowl on his face.

"So that's the way you wanna play it, eh? Well, if you want to advance into the Dark Lands that bad, then beat us in a sports event. If you dumb video game heroes win, you get to pass. But if we win, you're getting back on whatever transport you took to get to the Dark Lands and getting the heck out of here. Does that sound like a fair deal to you?" The other Tyrano offered the heroes, who all proceeded to look at each other before looking back at the Tyranos and nodded, accepting their challenge.

"Aye, ye got yerself a deal, laddie. Let's 'ead o'er ta the event location, posthaste!" ClawgripFan9001 replied as everyone proceeded to beam away to the location of the event, which happened to be Canoe Sprint 1000m. The heroes, as well as the Tyranos, were all seated in their respective canoe.

"In Canoe Red, ClawgripFan9001 and Winston! In Canoe Blue, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong! In Canoe Yellow, Dixie Kong and Funky Kong! And in Canoe Green, Ty Ranosaur and Si Ranosaur!" An announcer spoke as the respective teams proceeded to wave to the crowd. "On your marks…Get set…GO!" The announcer spoke again as the starting shot was heard and all four teams went paddling forward.

All four teams did their very best to keep themselves from finishing in last place, but eventually, it was ClawgripFan9001 and Winston who finished in first place, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in second, Dixie Kong and Funky Kong in third, and the Tyranos in dead last. The Tyranos proceeded to vanish into a puff of smoke upon crossing the finish line in last place, after which the heroes were beamed back to Shriek Forest.

"Heh, heh! That oughta teach those dinobrains a lesson about trying to stall our progress!" Funky Kong spoke with a grin as he flashed a thumbs up.

"Yar, har, har! Ye can say that again, Funky, me boy! An' look at that! Those dinobrains dropped a bunch o' bananas!" ClawgripFan9001 pointed out as there was a pile of bananas where the Tyranos used to be.

"Man, I'm hungry after that rowing! Let's have a snack while we continue on our way, alright?" Donkey Kong suggested with a grin as the group proceeded to pick up the bananas and began to eat them while they walked through Shriek Forest.

And that's it for Part 1 of the second chapter of my reporter persona's adventure to save the Annual Mushroom World Games! And in case you were wondering, all of General Zellon's children/commanding officers are going to be named after either composers or musicians. Given that the Zellonlings are General Zellon's equivalent to the Koopalings, and the Koopalings were named after composers and musicians themselves, it'd only make sense for me to name the Zellonlings after composers and musicians as well. In addition, I want to thank you guys for liking Sport Report: The Movie enough to give it a shout-out in Poochy's Picks in Issue 204. It makes me happy that people are enjoying what I'm writing here in Palette Swap, and that encourages me to continue writing this section. I hope to see you guys again next month as ClawgripFan9001 and Company continue their trek through Shriek Forest!

Monokuma, Public Instigator

Written by: Flygon64 (talk)
Art by: Waluigi Time (talk)



Was, is, will. What was, what is, what will… What will? What will happen. What won't. That's the future, but why can I use such "certain" language. Uncertainty, a weakness, I'd say at least. Your red is not my red, everyone looks through different lenses trying to abstract what they can. Alas, a singular human mind, a single lens, can't even begin to grasp the full picture of everything that is, was, and will be.

One can't view every bit of a tower from just the front. One must look at it from the back and its sides, from outside and inside too. If it had the time, if it could actually accept these facts, it could finally, truly, fully, perceive the objective truths of this little world. But tunnel vision is such a nasty nasty thing for you folks. Furthermore, you dorks would literally need all the time in the world to even understand half of it.

And you people have…? Typically, a bit more than a hundred years up in this place? What a hopeless group, puhuhu. Well, at least some of you have some understanding of it but there are massive gaps. So, y'know, you've got discourse and discord, definition and distinction, conflation and irritation… Subjectivity and uncertainty! So why am I so certain?

I'm analytical, I'm knowledgeable, I'm powerful, I'm inhuman, I'm adorable~♡, I'm dreadful… I'm the mastermind Monokuma! Paradoxical much like reality, you want nothing to do with me, you want everything to do with me, whatever the hell buddy!

How do I know these words have an audience besides me? I'm speaking and putting them out. I act, I show, I hide, I'm everything an ideal actor is! I make my own scripts, I'm the awful creepy-cute principal of the prestigious Hope's Peak Academy! Wahahahahahaha!!! You've been totally sold on me, right?

Gosh, my life, they should make like an anime or a video game about it or something, it's nuts. It hasn't been anything surprising really, it's just… I've been planning this "Killing Game" for about forever and now it's begun and it's so despairful. I couldn't be happier with it. It's taking place at that school I mentioned before.

Hope's Peak, a Japanese private school of hyper talented youngsters. Oh, most of them aren't the types really skilled in finishing worthless busywork, nah. I'm talking about all kinds of talents, baseball, martial arts, cooking, fashion, gaming, fanfic writing, anything. Every student has to be the very best at what they do, that's why they call them Ultimates. And they've got to be the perfect little lab rats for the people studying their talents, whether they like it or not.

The students of this academy were gonna be the nation's hope, the world's hope, the ones that would steer us towards a bright future, not anymore. Those sorry fifteen will have to murder one another if they ever hope to leave the now fortified and petrifying halls of the same school that supposedly fated them for beautiful tomorrows.

Fate is what you make of it, I say, sail towards the one you want, but be wary of the waves that can push you off-course or the cannonfire that wants to take you down. This expansive ocean is mine. The unpredictability of a raging sea, I yearn for it… but my plans are so hopelessly perfect… At least I can give my new students such joy. Really I want to give them a gift I cannot enjoy myself… Is that, uh, believable at all?

Intuition is such a curse, everything is so predictable. Life is the journey, death is the destination. A boring straight forward trip to a predictable conclusion, that's a life with no conflict. A life never to be remembered or retold for it wasn't a story but just a chain of things that happened. Tragic in hindsight but the person who lived that life wouldn't be able to appreciate that wouldn't they? Is this my life? How depressing…

Nahhhhhh, that's a load of crap 'cuz I got despair on my side! My journey is one fueled by tragic ends. I'm here to appreciate these horrible moments, the ones we enable, it's the best thing you can do! I'll continue to analyze them, view every bit of them, from the front and behind, from their sides, inside and out. Then in the end, by my end, nobody will feel anything but Ultimate Despair… But I've still got a trip ahead of me to that final destination.

Oh but of course! What is an adventure without the friends you're forced to make to get your way? A single human mind can't understand everything on its own, you remember? That's why he's so lucky to have such a great grizzly sensei by his side! I'd like to introduce you to someone. He's powerful, he's knowledgeable, he's empty, he's nearly inhuman, he's so dull… He's the Ultimate Hope, Izuru Kamukura!

The subject of Hope's Peak's horrible human experiments and studies on talent, he's the husk of a boy who's long since been forgotten to time. His purpose in life is what you make of it, he's your hope. His range of skills are as honed and varied as his peers, equal or even exceeding their natural talents. Yet his character hardly matches the eccentric ones he's surrounded by on a daily basis. He has no aspirations of his own, he's the ideal guinea pig. He's joined my side to do what he was made for, study.

His subject? Despair. How perfect for me! I almost grew bored until I remembered him, now I have a new exciting direction to take. What's next now is so clear… We'll be taking a school field trip to fully understand dread, to a familiar city… No, not Philadelphia, I decided against that, I heard the bars were crappy. New Wikisburg, now that place has some pubs, and there's a specific one that I have in mind… Our first stop…

Sordid and disreputable, shady as they come, "Despair Pub". In the darkness of the world around him stands a young man. Tall, silent, clad in a black suit and tie, with pitch black long and messy hair that reaches to the end of his back. His silhouette is hardly visible in the night. Then he hears the sounds of someone behind him, always behind him, metaphorically, beneath him. Almost as if he's an automaton, he turns his head at an incredible speed and stares down at the follower, his red eyes piercing through the air between them.

His gaze is returned by a glaring red jagged streak of an eye, the only light in the void. The light illuminates the figure's face, black and white, divided in the center, a permanent grin plastered on its right beneath the bolt of red. Seeing that expression reminded him who was following who. On his snow white side lays a fittingly blank cold expression, a black dot eye above the slightly open mouth of its white snout.

To the unfamiliar the look would seem a little dopey, maybe even a little cute, but this young man knows better, past the mascot bear robot facade was a deceiver, a planner. Studying, he's familiar with it, he's doing it right now, he's done it before and will continue to. It was what he was taught, and just now I know a thought crossed his mind. He and I are similar.

"You could think of us like nature & nurture…" I say aloud.

"Izuru and Monokuma, Ultimate Hope and Ultimate Despair, skill and talent."

"Man, such a dynamic" I snicker to myself.

"How boring." he utters as he turns his attention back to the bar.

"What do you think all those words achieved? Let's accomplish the goal, that's all that matters." he says further as he walks towards the entrance.

"God, nobody likes a utilitarian…" I grumble as I put my paws to my hips.

Izuru swings open the door as we both step in. A delightfully dreadful atmosphere sinks in, there's an amazingly atrocious scent of smoke, sounds of crass conversation come from every corner.

"There's not a single human in here." Kamukura remarks.

I look up at him as I say "I might concur."

All around all I see are species I've never encountered before, yellow turtle-like bipedal creatures, shiitake mushroom lookin' things with furrowed brows, cacti with faces…

"What a load of weirdos…" I whisper to my student.

He ignores me and sets the attention of his scary crimson eyes towards a nearby table, he walks towards it as his ridiculously long hair follows behind. I can sense all the patrons staring, I glance at their faces, some seem a bit befuddled and some intimidated or some wonderful combo of the two. I catch up with Izuru and take a seat with him.

"Oi teddy, ya need sumthin' to sit on?" A turtley thing asks.

"No." I answer bluntly as I look up at her under the table.

"There's a lot of gum underneath this thing, from so many different decades too, you should make this a museum exhibit."

Suddenly Kamukura grabs the bottom of my stool and raises it nearly out of the ground with great force. The others at the table look at both of us open eyed.

Now at eye level with them a brown mushroom thing exclaims, "W-Who are you?"

"Izuru Kamukura." he answers.

The turtle-oid questions "Who's the bear?"

I answer "Monokuma!"

"N-New faces?" The shiitake says to himself "What a first impression…" the mushroom fellow mutters under his breath.

The shelled lady gives a smirk to Izuru.

"You don't care." she's taken aback.

"What are ya exactly Rapunzel? Some sorta psychic?" she asks.

"He just has really good intuition." I answer.

"Yeah, well yeah I could care less about the high schooler deal I suppose. Nobody going here is much of a law follower."

"Uh just don't drink or sumthin' kiddo. Save yourself the trouble and save yourself the cash." She says as she slams her fist against the table laughing as Kamukura blankly stares.

"Cuz you're gonna need it if ya wanna join this poker game." We both get handed some cards.

"So, Monokuma, what's up with ya? Are ya his pet or something?"

What???!!! "I'm his teacher!!" I shout a little too loudly.

"Concerning." The mushroomy thingy remarks.

"Whatever, I'll spectate, go gamble, it's good for you." I put down my cards, I look behind me, a few people are watching us.

"Gary Goom, Ease Zoo Roo or whatever, and me Kam Koops… Just the three of us? Perfect." she laughs.

The lady states the rules "Five draw poker, the winner takes every last bit of cash the losers have.". She stares down Izuru. The gaze is returned by him. The table is silent.

"You aren't gonna run along?" "This is a professional game , what money do you even have?"

I laugh, "If there's one thing that hasn't changed since those days, it's the weight of his wallets."

"Those days, how mysterious…" Goom whispers to himself.

Suddenly an idea sparks, it bursts into flame, brighter than a thousan-- No! quintillion suns! I lean over to quietly speak into my student's ear.

"If you want to understand hopelessness you'll play this game."

"This is what we're looking for." I lean away from him and let the pieces click one after another like clockwork.

"So ya ARE gonna play?"

"Yes." Izuru replies.

"What are ya Kam? Some sorta idiot?" I add.

"No, she just has really bad intuition." Gary answers.

Kam gives everyone the stink eye "Well, I'll debunk that claim soon enough."

"You, shuffle this other deck." Koops hands me it and I do as I'm asked.

"Ya cards are dealt. Ya get 50 chips each, ya can't bet more than ten chips. Kuma's the banker and dealer."

"I give you the stuff you need to succumb to your vice! Just like the real deals."

I glance around the table. Gary has a frown, perhaps in self-reflection, Kam still seems a little peeved, from the insults or about the hand? Izuru has the same blank expression as always.

Kam bets five chips, taking a glimpse at her opponents faces.

"Have you two ever heard of Celestia Ludenberg?" I ask Izuru's foes.

Attempting to keep his poker face, Gary replies "The queen of lies, she was a rising star in the gambling industry. Hmmph, it's sad."

Gary calls the bet with five chips of his own. Nearby the pub's TV is turned on,

Small businesses are shutting down as Joja Corporation expands, and poverty rates skyrocket." Says the news reporter.

Raise." Izuru places ten chips.

"Super High School Level-- Ultimate--Whatever Gambler, one of those Hope's Peak kids all the way out in ol' JPN." Kam says monotonically as she continues to observe her enemies.

"It's wild how word of the girl spread all the way here so fast, what a celebrity, even in this modern age it takes forever for any news that far away from home to get to here. But a long time ago conversation about her and any of those other teens slowly died out."

"Joja Corporation Stock grows exponentially. Monopoly concerns rise, New Wikisburg citizens are worried for their livelihoods." the news reporter continues.

Kam stares down Izuru, her eyes begin to twitch. No matter how hard she looks she finds no hint of emotion. There's a dead silence.

"Y'know I come from there, I've studied a lot about her. You're lucky I'm not playing! Puhuhuhu! Aha, but really she's a very entertaining person, or maybe I should say character… you can never tell the facade from what's underneath with her type. She has this saying about adaptability." I say hardly cutting through the tension but breaking through the quietness.

"Crimes rate increases in New Wikisburg, families unable to put food on tables sway towards illegal and other dubious activities in dire times." Says the person on the TV.

Gary loses his poker face as he furrows his brow. "Why don't people just watch sports?".

I continue on "Lacking the skills to adapt is to lack the skills to survive. Intellect and strength don't matter. Something like that."

Kam calls Izuru's bet with ten chips of her own.

I contemplate on those words "I mean how do you adapt without intellect or strength? Problems like that are what hyper focusing on only the goal gets you. But there's truth in her mindset I feel. I think survival is a disgusting thing when you really have to look at it."

Goom interjects " It's what must be done! And you do what've you got to do when it's all you can do! This is elementary you educator!"

Kam berates Gary "What a crappy poker face ya have. So bud what is it? Ya gonna call or ya gonna drop?".

Gary fails to regain his composure. "Puhuhu, I never said anything about it being wrong or right. A mosquito isn't evil for doing what it has to, but watching the little bloodsucker try to leech off others… It's kinda pathetic..."

"Ya gonna call or drop, Gary?!" The pendulum swings, the gears begin to turn, the near mechanical Izuru has finally fit all the pieces together. I overhear the news again,

The mushroom industry flourishes as the city faces despair."

Are the people cooking them or on them? Bwahaha, I'd be an amazing Dorkly writer!

With great frustration in his voice, Goom shouts "Call!". He pushes up 10 chips.

"...And all it takes is one swat. Deception and adaptability, for survival in a dire situation they tend to come together." I mutter.

The tension is so thick you can't cut it with a knife, you'd need a buster sword.

"Let's raise the betting limit, I'd say to about 50!" Gary exclaims.

"I didn't expect such gusto from ya. Surprising." Kam says with a smug tone in her voice whilst keeping up her neutral expression.

"I accept." Izuru monotonically answers.

Some of the other custome-- well we haven't bought anything so I guess I can't say that. Anyway, we've gotten an audience and it's growing and the sound of the bar is keeping up the pace. Kam nods as she attempts to discreetly examine Izuru for anything, anything at all.

"Guess I do too. Raise." Kam pushes up 20 chips.

Automatically "Raise." says Kamukura as he pushes up all 50 chips.

Goom lets out a "Call. I see through your facade sir." pushing forward those little round things.

"There is none." A blunt response from my student, a hard-hitting response that takes Gary aback.

"Except yours." Izuru clarifies.

I see Kam raise a brow and Goom clench his teeth. "A thoroughly boring amateur cheater's game." Kamukura flips his cards revealing a royal flush.

Spontaneously "Ya cheated! Ya teach pal's the dealer and–"

"You handed us the cards." And with those words of mine I saw the beautiful wonderful sight of sinking hearts.

"THIS is what we're looking for, Kamukura." The grin on my face reaches ear to ear.

"Your plan fell through." Izuru states simply.

"Flip your cards." he orders.

A looming, dreadful, inevitable fate that you can't run from… The mushroom and turtle begin to sweat as the crowd begins to close in. They have no other option, hahaha. They flip their cards, high cards, pffffft.

"You handed us the hand intended for one of you two." Kam slams her fist against the table with tears running down her cheeks as Izuru continues to blankly stare.

"Tell me sumthin' I don't know…" She mumbles.

"I deny. I'm informing the others of what you know." That's our Kamukura.

A circle of enraged patrons have circled in on the bloodsuckers.

"So that's it?! You dastardly duo, you scammed me out of my life savings!" A winged fish shouts flopping out of the crowd.

I can't hold it in anymore, I'm gonna lose the bear's voice-- I've got to cut the mic. Heh heh heh ahaHAHAHAHA!!! The utter despair of it all… Man, why do I have to be locked up in this place watching everything through this teddy. Ugh, more than ever I wish I was there in-person to witness it all…

"I'm gonna knock ya into your next life you schemin' punks!" A cactus with a mean look says.

"Next life" is this like a Buddhist bar? Well, you're not gonna be finding enlightenment in a place like that, yeah, no, that's not it. Is this some sort of Samsara fan club hangout spo--

"You better run on down to the closest Joja and stock up on some 1-Ups cuz you're getting a beating!" Shouts out a small man with a mushroom cap on his head.

Did I hear that right? 1-Ups?!

I put back on Monok--my mic and let out a "What?".

It's silenced out in the uproar. I look at Kamukura and he seems much more put together than me.

"1-Ups, how idiotic, this is an obvious simulation." I turn my head.

"A simulation?" What's this guy think is going on?

Izuru replies coldly, "The cartoon creatures, the blatant game mechanics, it's clear."

I shake my head ""That would be stupid! Why would I ever put you through something like that Izuru? This isn't some simulation...".

I lightly shake an angry floating squid thing in the mob.

"What?" It angrily spits out.

"Explain to me what this 1-Up thing is?" I ask.

It shakes its head "Boy, you're new here… They're these green mushroomy things, give you an extra life--"

"Like in a video game?" I interrupt.

"Yeah, like in the video games."

"Though there's also those like 3-Up moon things, three times the power. You can find'em at Joja Marts, like anything else nowadays."

It feels as if the world I've known is crumbling apart. The dead can come back, no matter what fate they suffered, no Just or Heroic system like in that old webcomic, all you have to do is go to the local supermarket. That info would've helped those poor kids in that game session a lot… That feeling of everything being over… it just means nothing. Nothing. Death is rendered just an inconvenience. Worthless, worthless, worthless… Boring.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

Only after you got caught, Gary. Keep crying a million rivers, it might entertain me… Why should I even care anymore…

"Have empathy? Have sympathy? PLEASE!!!"

Whatever, get beaten up into a pulp, hurry up, you already have virtual immortality… Any hopelessness is temporary…

"Please! Please! We hardly have any money to live! Our businesses are all failing! Please do any of you understand our plight?! Joja, it's ruined it all--"

Joja, Joja, Joja, it's the word on everyone's mouth huh?

Suddenly the bartender runs in, some yellow bipedal tortoise thing with a helmet. He breaks up the mob and puts out his arms, blocking our table from them.

"Break it up! I said get away! Calm down! Calm down." The mob is pacified, if only just by a little.

"Bar keep, we've been utterly scammed." says a voice from inside the crowd.

"That's Despair Pub." The keep remarks with a bit of snark.

"We're just trying to get by and have some drinks while we're at it? Yeah???" the turtle says with an open smile and eyebrows high.

The scowls of the angry faces of the patrons begrudgingly begin to lower.

"Let's sort it all out." With those words they all back up further.

The bartender turns their direction to the two cheaters.

"The dough has been spent." Says Kam.

"It's been spent." the keep affirms.

He lets out a sigh and continues on, "Look, tough times, I know it, you know it, I'm hardly keeping the lights on these days…" the looks of the scammed seem oddly remorseful.

Empathy is a powerful tool for crowd control it seems. Understanding IS key to manipulation. That and power, think of a massive corporation using test groups and other forms of analytics to gain capital…

Snooooooze-fest. I'm totally done, just in general, life and death are cheap, what's the point? I'm out… Oh yeah my student, he's been awfully quiet hasn't he? Maybe he's been having some sort of silent meltdown after hearing that whole "dying is just mildly annoying" tidbit, that'd be kinda funny. I turn to him and he's being distracted by the pub's boobtube. Boobs? Nah, no tubes either, just a television broadcasting news, unrelated to either of those topics.

"Supply & Demand Strike Again! 1-Up prices increase rapidly, igniting discourse over the sale of these dead reviving products." TV.

...A world where life isn't so invaluable, it has a very clear price tag. Heh heh, I was wrong, it's actually very expensive it seems. Ahahahaha, such an unimaginable dystopia, it's completely perfect. I could never have thought something like this up. Izuru stands up from his seat and he turns around to look around and when I look at his face I see--

A clear expression?! This situation is too surreal even for him?

"Did you already know about this method of revival before we came here?" With eyes widened, he steps closer and closer to me.

I can understand his befuddlement, really I can, maybe even this sense of rising anger I feel from him? I was more initially disappointed than anything about the fact but still y'know a bit similar. I didn't expect this despairful surprise present from the forces of reality at alI, such wonderful opportunities it has given me. I shake my head… up and down.


I-I let out a scream like one you'd hear in a crappy slasher. My view is blinded by white light from above, yeah like hell I'm goin' there. Away from the garage sale light bulbs, down below, I'm greeted by eyes as red as hellfire, a glare that burns right through me like lava through something really flammable. Hands tightly around my neck like a simile simile--whatever!

"Elaborate, what are you planning to do with them?" he questions.

"Them, how vague and mysterious and intriguing." Says a voice from the reforming crowd around the table.

All attention is on us, heh, "Aah! Ruru!!! Ruru!! Contain the rage and direct it towards THE MAN's cage broski."

The Ultimate Hope is confused by my shouts long enough…

For the bar keeper to attempt to tackle him down!

Kamkura's movements are flawless as he weaves through his surroundings at the speed of sound like second nature. Blam, my face is introduced to the floor with a throw, leaving me in a teeny crater. Honestly the floor's a complete, uh, step-over, I can't lose my street cred looking towards its direction.

I push myself up and dust myself off and the bartender gets a complimentary choke hold from such a wonderful hollow gullible talent like Izuru himself.

"pLeASe bOy! Don't bring others into this mess… We all have enough problems as it is! I deceived you, I did--" I put the back of my paw to my forehead as I lean back dramatically, he puts down the bartender as he begins to put himself together.

"But this is an issue best solved privately between us, sir! We're no celebrities!" I say holding back laughter in-front of the growing audience.

I put my mitts together and look to the sky with a forlorn expression. "Livin' is tough! You know that, Izuru! Ya know?! C'mon!"

I hear a few mutters of agreement from the crowd.

"You and I, we both do what we NEED to do perfectly, man! But we get totally screwed over by THE MAN."

Kamkura gives me a stare that says "What?".

"C'mon, doing what you have to do to survive, there's nothing wrong about that right?" I give a faux pleading look to my student.

"You're pathetic." Izurupunzel stands up tall and looks down upon me in disgust.

Pathetic, yes! I'm doing such a good job.

The bartender gets up "Yeah, pathetic, pathetic, keep going! You're the KID who's throwing a fit where he doesn't belong!".

Izuru doesn't turn around, "You've already inserted yourself into a situation where you shouldn't be."

I can almost hear the fumes. "You pretentious-- It's a fight in my damn bar you moron!"

Wow, this guy won't let up for anyone, even if you pull some near instant-transmission nonsense on him. They're all so determined, even in the face of such hopelessness… It must be idiocy, perfect.

Izuru continues, "You have no talent in placating. Your talents lay in abusing others' vices, your only goal should be to instigate."

In the crowd of patrons I can see scowls and furious stares, they're pretty sick of this guy's attitude. Well, I think these two have a lot in common.

"Well, aren't you talented? You got some sort of superiority thing?" asks the bartender with snark. I don't think this teenager over here could ever consider that anything but a rhetorical question.

Kamukura ignores him and crouches and speaks in a hushed tone "What is your plan?"

I respond in a tone reminiscent of a character being apologized to in a really cheesy sitcom "Izuru…"

His voice slightly raises alongside his level of irritation, "What means are you attempting to use to accomplish the goal?"

I look at Izuru with a face of determination, "Yeah!".

The young man's voice raises further, irritation LV.99, he shouts "I will accomplish the goal by any means! Tell--"

I perform an acrobatic flip over him with style. The surrounding patrons stare with looks of confusion and surprise which has recently grown quite familiar.

"Rebellion! Get rid of way too overpriced food products! Overthrow the power! Change the world!" I chant with infectious conviction while pumping my fists.

Including the other people present, my words catch the interest of one of those cheating poker dorks. The turtle woman cuts me off,

"What are ya goin' on about?" She remarks.

Gary Goom adds, "That second last part sounds the most intriguing…" his stomach grumbles louder than a guardian tired of a child's antics.

Kamukura must have turned around, I can feel his eyes burning right through me again.

"What else could I mean?" I answer. "I'm sick of all this in-fighting!" It's getting a bit dull.

"Yeah buddy, I am too! Would've been over with if you two didn't keep it goin' with… Whatever the hell just happened now." The bartender agrees with immense annoyance, irritation LV.100!

I nod "Ugh, I know... We're sorry." I put my head down and a paw behind it as I let out a little sigh, ugh, this is something that a hoodie wearing student of mine would do sickeningly sincerely.

"Wow, what an apology!" he slowly claps with an extremely forced smile before giving me a very polite hand gesture.

"Small businesses are closing down one by one. Crime rates are increasing rapidly. People are stocking up on "lives" cuz they know their current ones are soon coming to an end." I reiterate the situation to the people, the one they already know so well, the hilarious, entertaining, dreadful scenario that's only gonna get worse!

"The people have less money on hand, yet the authority, they want MORE from us." I slam my fist into my open palm.

"They endanger our livelihoods, we do what we need to do to survive, we stock up on 1-Ups and they get dough."

I put a paw on my chest. "It's seemingly our only choice but then they increase the prices."

I cross my arms. "The authority is like a giant octopus hydra monster that wants all its tentacles in every pot, this is the kind of stuff old Industrial Revolution era artists used to make ridiculously unsubtle cartoons about."

I throw back my head and drop the delightfully awful conclusion, "The monstrous Joja Corporation has essentially ransomed our lives! It's become this city's Ultimate Authority!".

The face of the bartender in-front of me, once scowling, becomes a frown. The delightfully despairful expressions in-front of me go on for miles and miles. I hear bajillions of mutters along the lines of "What can we do about it?" and "Tell us something new… But when you put it like that…". I hear the steps of the person so far behind as he finally comes a little closer to me.

"Our plan?" he asks deceptively simply, the people look at us captivated.

I answer "We'll rebel! We'll give back the people their lives! We'll overthrow the Ultimate Authority! We'll change the world for the better!"

"With those four statements in mind we'll move forwards towards a brand new…" hopeless "tomorrow!"

The entire pub goes silent but then bursts out into cheers, people with fists in the air, hopeful looks… What a bunch of idiots.

Kamukura steps closer and closer "How are we gonna accomplish that?"

I shout out, "We'll gather up citizens of this city who believe in our cause!" I look at the audience and in response get lots of "Yeah!"'s and "I'm in!"'s.

"We'll all meet up at in-front of the local Joja Mart. We'll storm in through the entrance. Make a giant mess, pin down any employees and customers."

"Why the customers? They're just like us." asks Gary.

"Exactly. We don't want them to run away when they could be helping the cause. You can be gentle with them specifically." Gary nods and accepts that answer.

"Then I'll order some very important materials from a friend in JPN. Massive crates will come in, about as large as the mart itself"

The crowd lets out a lot of gasps and "You're kidding right?"s.

"Don't worry about that part, the crates will come with some extra help. It's all covered. All of you should stay inside the store."

The crowd calms down, some are still clearly curious about this "extra help".

"Then that's where construction will begin. My "extra help" will start fortifying the mart with the materials, it'll be made our group's base of operations.".

The bartender speaks up, "You must've been planning this for ages, why didn't you propose all this earlier? What was the deal with the fight?"

Questions, questions, questions, ugh shut up already. "Fair things to ask–"

I'm interrupted as Izuru steps in-front of me. "Yes, Monokuma spent a considerable amount of time planning this."

Did he catch on?

"He had deceived me by leaving out details, I was enraged, then we settled it. The end justifies the means."

Izuru continues monotonically, the bartender nods begrudgingly. The boy's that kind of Machiavellian huh? I bet he's fun at parties.

Well, anyway, I guess I can assume he's still unaware. If he found out I didn't know of the "multiple lives" deal prior to today, what would his reaction be? I'd probably lose his interest and I can't let that happen. If I keep him thinking I'm a step ahead of him, he'll have no choice but to keep following from behind. Everything is falling into my hands but there's this sense of uncertainty in the back of my head, a weak spot... Finally this is thrilling!

"Tangents aside, once we've taken control of the mart we'll investigate every corner of it for anything useful. We'll get the store's big shot to contact the corporation's biggest shots and tell them they've got a delivery their way." I begin to wrap up.

Then I conclude, "My friend will be sending them over some of my "extra help" and from there we'll take over Joja Corporation and take it down and distribute its goods to the people." or perhaps the exact opposite…

My newly formed group cheers.

"We'll meet up tomorrow at dawn. Tell your friends what I told you today and invite them to join. Goodbye." I bow and take my leave as Izuru follows.

I swing open the doors and exit the misguidedly hopeful atmosphere, the cold winds blow by me, the city's light pollution has left only a pitch black above. In New Wikisburg there will never be stars to illuminate the night sky ever again. Let my false star shine brighter and brighter, let it go supernova and blast away everything you've known, and let the resulting black hole entrap and consume any bright light and any bright futures you thought you all had.

"Where are we going next?" plainly asks Kamukura.

"We should probably go to like a hotel or something." I answer.

"There we'll discuss what will actually go down…" We set off.

So we've found ourselves in the lobby of a luxurious five star hotel.

I walk up to the receptionist's desk and hop up and down to catch their attention.

I'm noticed "Oh, hello sir. Will you be spending the night?"

"Yeah, along with my completely uninteresting buddy"

She looks away from me and are met with the crimson eyes of Izuru.

"AaAHh! H-hello..." She slinks back a bit.

"Your names?" She asks

"Well his name's fittingly boring and average, uh it's Makoto, yeah." I lie.

Izuru seems peculiarly undisturbed by that egregious insult of a name.

"And my name's uh, Freddy. Have money." I throw wads of yen at her face.


"Well, here are your keys. Jerk..." I can sense her desire to show me that gesture the bar keeper gave me.

As we go to our rooms Kamukura pauses in thought.

"Do you even need a room?" He asks me.

"I mean it'd be weird if I didn't get one."

"You could've gotten only one, the bear doesn't need a bed." Izuru looks frustrated.

"Don't speak about me like I'm not here. I need a bed like any other living mammal, bears especially need sleep, ever heard of hibernation? I guess you're not the Ultimate Biologist." I say visibly offended.

"This argument has been worthless." Izuru walks away towards his room.

"Hey, the plan." I say as he's opening his door.

"Such a waste of space." Is he referring to the room or me? Two things can be true at the same time I guess …

I slide into the inside of his room, bumping against the rim of Kamukura's king sized bed. Putting my paws on this thing… It's so soft! I flip onto the bed and flop back, everything's the color of glimmering gold. This place really is luxurious, people would kill for a reservation here.
That'd be interesting, puhuhu.

I pick up a nearby brochure off a nearby table.

"Welcome to Joja's Perfect Hotel. Formerly known as "Goom's A-Okay Hotel", we've been running for years! We used to be pretty mediocre in all honesty. It was all cozy, humble, family-owned, and very low budget. The people who used to run this establishment would feed guests bananas donated by close friends. But when those friends of theirs hit hard times in turn, so did they. In those dire times for the family Joja swooped in like an angel from the heavens.--" more like a vulture.

"--Joja Corporation gave the poor family a hefty sum of money for this location and rebuilt it into what you now know. History made today! Now serving Jojanana Bites." Below the text are photos of large parties, filled with a bunch of old guys, they all look like they belong on the Wikipedia page for "Fat cat". Anyone here has to be loaded with dough. Don't ask me where I got mine or do if it'll make you feel worse. I bet some of those Joja folks spend a night here every now then for an undeserved vacation.

"Puhuhuhu." I laugh as a though--

I'm pushed off the other side of the bed and fall on my back, this was very gentle by Izuru standards.

"Do not retread old ground, I have your false plan memorized, detail the differences between it and your true intentions."

I put my paws behind my head, this kid. I do a couple of situps and then stand up. I walk over back to the other side of the room and pick up its phone. Dial, dial, dial. Ring, ring, and an answer.

"こんにちは?" A ["Hello?"] from a familiar voice.

"[Hi!]" I answer in a voice that the other person on the line might wish he wasn't familiar with. I've been told I sound like that blue cat robot without ears when talking in Japanese. Others say I sound like a certain mouse in English. It's a tough life being Monokuma…

The person on the other side goes silent for a brief moment.

["Do you have to keep up the bear schtick?"] He weirdly questions.

["What bear schtick? It's who I am y-y-you jerk!"] I bawl up and sniffle.

["Give me a break, where do you need them?"] I felt that eye roll.

["New Wikisburg, outside a place called Joja Mart tomorrow morning."] Put plainly and business-like.

["How much?"]

["Enough to stack higher than a really really really tall building."] I order, in two separate senses of the word.

He lets out an overkill sigh. As in it's the sigh he lets out when he thinks I'm being overkill. Which I'm not.

["A lot, understood."]

Beep, beep, beep.


Bajillions of stories have ended just like that. A Dead… Call. Twas hung up brutally it was.

And I feel something brutal might happen to me if I keep leaving a certain someone hanging.

"When the crates drop the facade will too. We'll make the mart an impenetrable fortress, an inescapable one. Besides a single method. A familiar, thrilling, chilling, killer's method! "

"Another game." He adds up fast.

"Nothing as big as the current one, y'know? It'll be kinda nostalgic for us actually, something like that certain little incident that made a really big fuss. Just for a few chuckles." Oh that "incident", I'm tellin' ya that's a very intriguing story, like the ones you can experience in Spike Chunsoft games.

"So am I to be trapped in as well? To do the same thing as last time?"

"Oh, what? Spectate and manage? Pfft, no worries, I got that front covered, I'll let you leave before shutdown. What I need is an investigator. It's just like the current game, I'm lacking that special ingredient, motives. I turn and shrug with my paws up.

I go on, "Honestly, I really just don't know enough about those people at the bar. They're just a bunch of randos! Probably with these big ol' intricate backstories I don't know about. I'm not really aware of these folks' daily lives like I was with the school council, y'know those guys in that "incident" that we're well aware of."

"I'm aware."

I move along, "Well, anyway, you need some dirt to dig some graves. You get me? Now all these people are rebels who were forced to rely on the, admittedly enjoyably, cold-hearted and cruel Joja Corp. I'd wager that they've definitely bought something from them. Corporations are notorious for being suspicious spies, well I need you to return the favor and be an inconspicuous one."

I clasp my paws in-front of my stomach and lean slightly downwards.

"Reminiscing sigh, just like old times. All the big shots in business have equally big and much smarter computers that can process loads of business relevant data. Sneak into Joja's corporate offices and locate info related to the New Wikisburg area. Then the bloody floodgates will open! You'll find a typically incomprehensible amount of leads but it'll be easy for you. With our analytical skills combined we'll find black mail in a jiffy."

Kamukura nods as he sits down on his bed. I chuckle to myself.

I laugh, "And now we wait."

Kamukura picks me up by the scruff of my neck, opens the door, throws me out, and slams the door and locks it shut.

And I sigh, "In separate rooms."

And that's the end of Part 1 of Monokuma & Izuru's tale! The story will continue in a brand new issue of the 'Shroom likely coming soon.

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