Chapter Two: Anxieties
As they hiked, the Yoshi got more and more anxious to the upcoming trial. He knew he wasn't going to his death, but a part of him was afraid to just how he would be received by this King. Just because the Koopa Bros liked him, doesn't mean this king would. As if reading his mind, Red leaned over and whispered almost conspiratorially, "Try to relax. If I can be honest with you, Bowser isn't actually the horrible guy everyone says he is. He needs all the support he can get and he is surprisingly easy to please. Though he might say otherwise."
Red's words had the desired effect of cheering up the Yoshi. He felt himself slowly growing more and more calm as the walk turned into several hours. The long walk did not bore the Yoshi seeing as how Green and Yellow got into a mock argument about mushroom farming. Green wanted the mushrooms done one way and Yellow did not like the effort put into in today's mushroom growing market.
Eventually the two got into a fight and traded mock punches much to the amusement of Black, Red, and the Yoshi. "Guys settle down, I am sure Bowser will have an opinion that will settle this." This had absolutely no effect as the two who were fighting got into it. "Whoa settle down there kids, or I will make you settle down. This isn't cool, its childish, Sit down and shut up!"
This had the desired effect as Red had a temper and none of the arguing party wanted to be on the receiving end of his wrath. Turning back to the Yoshi who still looked amused, said, "Quickest way to end an argument is to use one's faults to their advantage. I am known for my temper you see, and these two knuckle heads know it."
They walked on in comfortable silence and the Yoshi thrived on the companion element of it. After a while they were still hiking in the forest, but they were slowing down as if the journey was coming to an end. "One thing about Bowser is he doesn't want his loyal subjects having to walk all the way to his castle. There are a number of hidden and totally secret passages into his lair. We are near one now."
They had stopped next to a completely ordinary bush. After hearing that there are many passages into Bowser's castle, the young Yoshi, tried to find anything even slightly out of the ordinary with the bush. There was nothing whatsoever to be found.
"Yeah, I know what you were trying to do there. It is a perfectly ordinary bush with nothing whatsoever wrong with it. That is until a faithful follower such as myself tells the hidden password. One, such as Mario might expect it to be something that Bowser likes, such as Princess Peach. After numerous defeats and many failures he had it changed to something that no one on earth or at least the Mushroom Kingdom would expect.
"Only a follower or servant can use it. Say Mario overhears us tell this bush the password and afterward runs up and says the code, nothing would happen. Bowser has a reputation to uphold so he plays dumb but he is actually kind of smart." Red walked up to the bush and looked around as if he actually needed to check his surroundings. "One other thing, look around now for points to memorize this spot. We need to hurry on through; the timer on this door is very quick and is not motion sensitive."
He paused as the Yoshi looked around trying to memorize anything that would help him find his way back. The surroundings were nothing special. He did not want to give up and therefore looked around some more. He looked around at the ground, rocks, and various other parts of the view that would give him some sort of clue. His gaze kept coming back to one tree in particular. He stared long and hard at this tree, studying the very soul of the tree itself. It was soon deduced that it was smaller by half an inch then the others. It also had various scratches and holes carved deep into the tree.
This was enough to be unique by a very small degree than the others. He turned back to Red and nodded. Red had been very patient as the Yoshi attempted to find something unique about the tree. Upon receiving the news, the red shelled Koopa turned back to the bush and whispered, (though still loud enough to be heard) "One Day..." Pause and everything. Instantly something miraculous happened.
The bush wiggled and danced and slowly little bits began to move this way and that. It also grew solid and where a bush once stood, a pipe now stood in its place. The Yoshi blinked as what was a flimsy bush not too long ago was now a solid and very real pipe.
"It's best not to focus on the impossibility of it all. Bowser does learn he just likes to fake it sometimes. Now please after you. When traveling by pipe for the first time, try to close your eyes and imagine it will all be over in a bit. It helps that way."
The Yoshi stared at all his new friends and then walked over to the pipe. When he was on it, he looked at the Bros in inquiry. It was Black who answered him. "This pipe only goes one way, so it is impossible for you to get lost. This is the fastest way to the castle besides walking or flying and since we are ground creatures and do not have the pleasure of wings we have to resort to pipes. We will not send you flying in another direction. Just keep your feet tucked in and everything will be just dandy."
With that small bit of encouragement the Yoshi crouched down and instantly his world became upside down. He had no idea what was down or up. He was flying or falling through space and seeming nothingness. His entire being felt like tiny bits of particles of himself was floating all over the place. It was very disorientating. Finally he materialized somewhere dank and dark. He fell off the pipe injuring his tail and every other part of himself.
Oh how he hated pipe travel. There had to be some other way of doing things. One that didn't feel so disorientating. Not much later Red followed by Black, Yellow and Green appeared. They didn't fall over, but Green looked slightly ill. "Never again, I hate traveling by pipe; it is such a waste of time."
Yellow went over to the grounded Yoshi and helped him up. "Follow us and we will take you to Bowser or someone else in charge." This was said by Green and the march to someone in charge resumed.
The castle that he had found himself was gorgeous and had an archaic look to it. It was also impossibly neat and organized. Nothing was out of place and it was very spacious. The Yoshi's own home before being abandoned had been totally smaller than this. He wondered where Bowser got the money to afford his own castle. He walked past twisting corridors that if he was on his own would have thrown him for direction. He would never have been able to find his way around the area on his own.
After a while, he began to wonder if the Koopa Bros were lost. They had been going on in maze-like corridors for quite a while now. Eventually the pace seemed to slow and eventually they met someone.
This someone was old and like the Koopa Bros was a Koopa. She was definitely a female Koopa and he blushed slightly at that dead giveaway. Red seemed to notice his uncomfortable mood and did something that was both help and turn off. He took the youngster off and the Koopa noticed them and immediately made it known.
"Red, why are you back early? Don't you know that his rancidness has specifically requested a search of recruits? Who is this?" She glared at the Yoshi, but then noticed his odd appearance and a smile began to appear on her face. "Is that a Yoshi?" The youngster couldn't resist getting down on one knee much to the amusement of this Koopa and the others. "He has manners, I will give him that. I am not royalty young one; I am only the humble servant of the King." The Yoshi refused to budge and the smile faded slightly.
"Where did you find him?" It was Red who answered. "He was huddled under a tree shivering. My guess is that he was abandoned because of his odd color and appearance. He wasn't taught to speak, but he is far from stupid and can understand a lot."
A rare look of concern came into the old Koopa's eyes. "You can call me Kammy Koopa, and as for your problem, we do not discriminate future troops. I sense a delicate and fragile mind in this one. No, we won't put you in the brainwashing course. I sense a strong sense of loyalty in this one."
Throughout this tirade, the Yoshi had refused to get up from the bow. Kammy nodded once, "You may rise, you definitely have a sense of respect about you. But I am not royalty officially. I always like being worshiped but I am not technically royalty. We need to give you a name. I can't just call you Yoshi. No that won't do at all.
"From this moment on, you will be known as Joheiner. Jo for short. We will also enroll you in the First Annual Bowser's School for Future Troops. I have never been wrong about anyone joining us. I can spot talent from a mile away. Bowser is currently away, but I know he will be psyched to meet you. I am busy right now but you will have a free day to get settled into your new home. I won't harass you about timing until you get used to the way things are done around here."
She walked away leaving Jo standing there feeling a sense of blind worship. Oh it was heaven on earth to receive kindness and not judgment for a change! He was going to learn how to speak properly and receive an education. As Red and the others led him to where he was to stay, he wondered if things could get any better.