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A Broken Leg and Some Tomato Soup

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The Shy Guy crumples to the ground, before reforming in shape like a sort of accordion. It groans in its mind, Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. It moves a leg cautiously, slowly placing its foot on the ground. Pain quivered through its body and it yelped a bit. More than a mark, it chided itself. 

The cause of this incident, a large Italian plumber known as Mario (though the Shy Guy can’t identify what an Italian or a plumber is). He looks down at the clump of robe, mask, and shoe sorrowfully. “Ah,” he sighs sadly, “I’m-a sorry.”

Suddenly, the Shy Guy felt itself being tugged along by a stronger force, and looks up to see Mario holding him carefully in both arms, not unlike one would cradle an infant. The Shy Guy made confused noises, to which Mario chuckles. “Ah, don’tcha worry your little-a head,” he whispers quietly, “I’ma just make you something to help. Sorry for hurting ya.”

He places the Shy Guy gently down in the soft, moss-like grass of an opening in the forest. The plumber sighs, looking at his surroundings as he plays with his cap. He wanders into the forest and returns with a couple logs, each a mixture of brown and orange, swirled perfectly in the center as if they were a swiss cake roll. He plops them down on the ground, and carefully guides the Shy Guy to one of them. He sits it down and smiles, “Now, lemme start a fire.”

Before it knew it, the portly plumber had assembled a pile of sticks and a circle of (admittedly insufficiently sized) rocks. The plumber smiles and nods proudly, before grabbing a sack he had on his person. Shy Guy didn’t even notice it until now, but there it was: it was essentially a backpack, brown and fairly well-used. Mario opens it and begins fishing around, finally stopping and pulling out a fire flower. 

Shy Guy shrinks back instinctively, but Mario laughs understandingly. “Ah, no-a worries,” he says good-naturedly, “I’ma just starting up a fire!” He then eats it gingerly, and forces out a fireball that alights the pile of sticks. He winces as he does this, evidently still getting used to the ability to generate literal balls of flame from his hands. After it’s all done, he smiles and laughs at his own wincing, and sighs as he sits down on his stump. He goes back into his backpack, and pulls out a cannister.

Shy Guy is beginning to be warmed by the gently crackling flames, and Mario laughs as he pulls out a whole frying pan from his bag. “Between-a you and me, Luigi is the one who-a can cook. I’m just on-a reheat duty,” he explains with a chuckle as he opens the cannister, and pours some liquid into it. Holding the pan over the flame, he begins shuffling it around over the fire, humming to himself. “Ever had tomato soup before?” he asks the red-cloaked enemy.

It hadn’t, but it also couldn’t speak English. As such, it shook its head and said no in its own language: “Wee-woh.” To this, Mario laughs, “Ah, then you’re in for a treat. Luigi, he can-a make a mean tomato soup!” He sighs happily, sniffing the still-reheating soup as silence fills the air, minus the crackling of flames.

“Ah,” Mario says in the middle of the comfortable silence. “Luigi doesn’t know-a that this is why ‘I’ drink so much soup,” he explains with a laugh. “Ah, I mean, I-a do, but you fellas need it more.” Finally, he sniffs it and deems it done. He places it down on his stump as he gets up quickly. “I just-a need to add some stuff, and get you a bowl!” he explains, ruffling the Shy Guy’s hood. He then scurries off to the woods.

Shy Guy had, this whole time, sat there in quiet contemplation. Its main thought being What a nice man, caring for his “enemy” like that . Shy Guy had never been social, so it had never heard of Mario the Soup-Bringer, but it didn’t particularly mind this new revelation, either. This whole experience had been incredibly pleasant and cozy, just sitting by the fire with a nice and pleasant stranger, listening to him talk about his brother or his home or the Princess. And, upon finishing this quiet meditation, Mario returned with an Acorn power-up and a Tanooki leaf. “Ah, don’t-a worry, neither of these are for me!” he laughs, recalling the Shy Guy’s aversion to the fire flower from earlier. He places the leaf carefully into the red soup, and then hollows out the acorn, just leaving the cap of it. “This is-a your bowl!” he explained, dropping the lid into the Shy Guy’s almost nonexistent lap. He then went over to the sauce pan, and began pouring the tomato soup into the lid. “The leaf was-a for flavor. Normally, Luigi-a uses basil, but I don’t-a think I could-a find it, even if I knew what it looked like!” he jokes, himself grabbing an acorn lid from inside his bag.

The soup tastes fantastic, the warmth spreading through the Shy Guy’s body and leaving it comfy. It couldn’t stop itself from giggling from the lovely taste, and Mario smiles proudly. “Told ya it’s-a the greatest!”

The two finish the soup as the fire slowly dies, the flames dulling and licking at the blackened sticks in smaller and smaller arcs until finally, all that remains is a near-invisible, twisting pillar of smoke, thin and sweet-smelling. Suddenly, the new night air seems cold and rejuvenating. “Ay,” Mario says to the Shy Guy, “how’s that-a leg?”

Slowly, carefully, the Shy Guy moves its foot to the grassy floor, standing on it quietly. It takes one step, then two, then five. It waves happily, releasing a happy “Wee-wooh, wee-wooh!” as its arms flap excitedly. Mario just laughs and claps, patting the red-robed creature on the back good-naturedly. “Think you can-a head home now?”

A pause, and then a nod. Mario smiles, beginning to return his belongings into his bag. “Ah, then I’ll-a see ya later on, little fellow. Have a good night.”