Pan Post 153 takes place in Seattle where most Americans are not to be found. Only a gaggle of wizards, from The Toiletium, can be seen scuttling along the streets in their wizard clothes. They're led by Archmario and his long term friend, who was made vice-leader of the group despite having no magical talents, Vice-Archluigi. With them is also Hannah Van Der Hoes, who is commonly known as Princess Plum because people kept trying to call her by various fruit names until she chose one. She once worked for Madame Nymph Witching Company before she joined The Toiletium as potions teacher. They come across some looters and Plum uses her magical toilet brush to smack one of them into the sky. Archmario's robes changes to white as he uses a fireball on a looter. He wasn't expecting the looter to set on fire and he rushes over in panic. Vice-Archluigi has the presence of mind to put the man out with a bucket of water. Archamrio casts a silence spell on the last looter before Plum smacks him into the sky, which Archmario thinks is too much and talking the man down would have been better. Toad urges them on. Toad has pituitary dwarfism and was born in Sudan but raised in England where he would make journeys to Stonehenge and improve his connection to aether. They find a drainpipe and use their magic to turn it green. Then they use Taliesin's spell to make it useful; it becomes a tiny portal able to send them around the city to the various portals they'd set up. They decide to celebrate with pizza but Luigi forgot his wallet, as usual. He shouts up the drainpipe for Taliesin to throw his wallet through, which appears a moment later.
It's a rainy day in Seattle and the few Americans who aren't asleep are roaming the streets looting shops or preparing for the coming apocalypse in deep bunkers. However there is one very peculiar gaggle of people scuttling about in a huddled group. They are evidently attempting to appear incognito and, in their attempts, are all the more conspicuous and suspicious.
They whisper to each other. Loudly.
Archmario: "Did someone step on my toe? Guys, I'm wearing my best curly-toed slippers!"
Vice-Archluigi: "Well maybe you shouldn't be wearing your nice, new slippers while on an important mission!?"
Archmario: "But they're silky soft!"
Vice-Archluigi: "And you're wearing them in the rain. They'll be ruined."
Archmario: "I'm sure there's a spell to fix them."
Princess Plum: "And I bet you filed those slippers under expenses, didn't you?"
Archmario: "I'm a wizard! We should all be wearing wizardy clothes now!"
Princess Plum: "That doesn't mean you should be claiming it in your expenses! Pay for it yourself, not with student funds. ******."
Archmario shakes his head with pity.
Archmario: "This is a wizard hat. Not an ass."
Vice-Archluigi: "You really are an ******."
The gaggle of wizards, numbering around ten and all standing shoulder-to-shoulder on a street that could easily accommodate them separately, continue to scuttle along as they bicker petulantly. Standards of wizardry have certain fallen in recent times.
Archmario, to emphasise his position, has even stitched a large red 'M' onto his crooked 'wizard hat' and the Vice-Archluigi has done the same, only a big green 'L'. Only Luigi has dyslexia and wound up writing an 'I' on it instead. He has gone as wizardly as he could manage; green robes and even a big blue cloak on top of that robe. The cloak's collars are so large that they'd impair his peripheral vision. His own wizard hat is not of the same crooked variety as the Archmario but instead is perfectly pointed up firmly and has no brim, like a big cone sat on his short, brown hair. He had grown a big bushy beard to complete the look but a fire spell gone awry burnt most of it away and left him with an unfortunate "porn 'tache". He was granted the role of being the vice-president of the Toiletium by his old school friend, Mario Miyamoto, despite having zero magical knowledge or talent. His first venture into magic, two days ago, was to conjure himself a pepperoni pizza but wound up with a green pizza with kitten meat.
Luckily Taliesin, one of the original members of The Magium that still survives, was able to bring the kittens back to life and donate them to a local cat lady. Even though the cat lady was asleep but he was sure she wouldn't mind whenever she does wake up.
Princess Plum: "This is the spot!"
She glances around the street with her back straight and neck craned - as though nobody would wonder what the Hell she's up to. She has a little, round and youthful face despite being over twenty years old. The price of that is being IDed all the time when she goes to bars. Her real name is actually Hannah Van Der Hoes and the youngest princess of The Netherlands but for some inexplicable reason people kept trying to call her some random fruit whenever they see her. In the end she decided to take control of the situation and just choose a bloody fruit herself instead of being named anything from banana to grapefruit. She settled on Plum. Her instinct was to choose Peach but peaches are a metaphor for a vagina and she doesn't want to be known as Princess Pussy all her life.
She has bright blonde hair that's partially covered by a hooded cloak that is so big and baggy that she looks like a little girl wearing her mother's clothes. She, unlike Luigi, was actually a fairly proficient mage before she was inducted into The Toiletium elite. From a young age she had joined the Madame Nymph Witching Company and learnt all of the spells a commercial witch required. This was mostly the kind of wizarding that involved love potions, money potions and luck potions above all else. She got pretty good at potions and so now her role at The Toiletium is just that. Teaching potions. And as a former Ms Nymph witch she comes complete with a broomstick. Not one of those old-fashioned wooden affairs but a modern, sleek broom of... cheap blue plastic and a soft flathead of bristles.
Looters: "Oi! You lot of weirdoes! Give us ya cash!"
Vice-Archluigi: "Uh oh. Spaghettioes!"
Archmario: "Buncha goombas! Let's deal with them first!"
Princess Plum jumps straight into action before anyone else could even get their game face correct. To be fair most of them would spend years trying to get proper game faces that wouldn't look like they were constipated, but you get the point.
The kitchen brush might not look like much but, as a witch's broom, it has a heck of a lot of enchantments on the damned thing. She swings it into the gut of a looter and he blasts off with a loud ping. He strikes the nearby wall with such a force that it crumbles and he bounces off of it, twirling off into the sky. The other looters didn't notice any of that, not being ones to look up to admire the sky during a robbery, else they might have quit while they were ahead.
As Archmario conjures a fireball, his robes actually change colour to become largely white with some red for good measure. He fireball expels from his hand with an unusual plop sound and promptly falls straight to the floor.
The ball of flame, however, ricochets against the pavement and zooms straight into the chest of one of the dastardly looters. Archmario half expected the man to just fall over or, in some mind-bending fashion, fall off the face of the planet. Instead, as reality works, the man is set, screaming, on fire and the good-natured Mario Miyamoto is slapped with horror. He runs over to the burning and flailing man wringing his hands.
Archmario: "Ohmigodi'msosorry! Ohmigodi'msosorry! Ohmigodi'msosorry!!"
Vice-Archluigi performs the greatest of magical feats to save the day.
He grabs a nearby bucket of water and throws it onto the burning bloke.
The other wizards clap at the vice-president's wondrous skill.
Looter: "You set my pal on fire, you son-of-a-bi--"
Archmario, without thinking, casts a silence spell on the man to stop his profanity. The man is still shouting but entirely mute. The wizards stare at him, enjoying the surreality of it, until the man himself realises he's unable to make any kind of sound. He sticks his tongue out experimentally but it doesn't help. He points a finger at Mario and starts to silently scream at him.
Archmario: "You know, perhaps you should consider counselling. All of this spent up rage, all of this shouting, it's very bad for your health. You could get cancer of the throat the way you shout all the time."
The looter clamps a surprised hand to his throat.
Archmario: "It's true! I read it in a book."
Vice-Archluigi: "The 'Screaming Causes Cancer' book?"
Archmario: "Something like that."
Vice-Archluigi: "Was the writer called 'Imakecrapup Allthetime?'"
Archmario: "... is that a Dutch name or something?"
Princess Plum: "Or something."
Casually she swings her broom and sends the remaining man flying over the nearest skyscraper. She plants it on her shoulder but finds herself greeted with a disapproving frown from the Archmario.
Archmario: "Was there any need for that, young lady?"
Princess Plum: "I'm older than you, you know?"
Archmario: "He was coming round! Just a bit more talking to and he could have been a reformed man. A nice cup of tea and some ravioli and he'd be telling us the names of his kids. Violence doesn't solve everything, you know?"
Princess Plum: "Maybe. But it definitely solves most things!"
Toad: "Can we get on with this urgent mission now? My turban is starting to itch."
They look down at Toad. He is a young man with pituitary dwarfism who was born as Tha'labah Tayyib Thayer Thaqib El Taj Al Tali Tamir Tariq which annoys everyone else, including the parents that gave him this insanely long name. Instead people call him Toad. Born in Sudan and raised as Muslim he spent most of his life in southern England where he picked up his perfect received pronunciation accent to compliment his naturally deep voice. He learnt basic wizardry from his uncle, who had been at The Magium before he was killed during its destruction, and had made regular pilgrimages to Stonehenge (along with all the New Age wiccans smoking weed), which enhanced his natural connection to aether. When his invitation to join The Toiletium came in he was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity. He wears a large white turban, less because of his cultural heritage and more for the distinctive 'Mediterranean wizard' look. He has a long blue duster coat (long for a dwarf at least) with a large collar and a lot of unnecessary belts on the front of it. He waggles his pipe wrench at Archmario, which serves as Toad's wand as well as for wrenching pipes.
Archmario: "Okay, okay! This seems like a good spot."
Toad: "Why is this a good spot? You lot decided this but I don't know why. I don't see anything special here."
Everyone, except Toad, points across the road. The bright neon sign above the restaurant reads 'Papa Johns'. Toad rolls his eyes. These wizards and their pizza obsession. He had wondered a few times if Archmario's aether affinity was actually fuelled by pizza.
Princess Plum: "Here's a good drain?"
Archmario: "This is too public to be coming out of drains. Everyone will think we're monsters coming out of the sewers."
Princess Plum: "I am not covering my beautiful cloak with a shell!"
Toad: "There's a drainpipe here."
In the nearest alley Toad is pointing to a narrow drainpipe. The wizards all huddle around it. A random Seattle guy walks by and stares at the crazies watching a drainpipe before he grows uncomfortable and decides he might be safer far, far away from them.
Archmario: "Okay. Has everyone got enough aether?"
A series of affirmations follows.
Archmario: "Pour your aether into me and think. Drainpipe."
Toad: "What? No! If you think of drainpipe you'll just make a drainpipe! It's already a bloody drainpipe!"
Archmario: "Huh? Oh right, yeah. Sorry. Think... warp pipe!"
Archmario conducts the spell, muttering low so that they wouldn't attract any attention - but a group of lunatics muttering at each other about drainpipes is probably going to draw more attention than a bunch of plumbers shouting at each other about drainpipes but none of our intrepid mages is especially good, as you've noticed, at this incognito business.
The drainpipe slowly turns green.
And that's it. They turned the drainpipe green. It doesn't look newer or shinier or special. It's just green.
The wizards all celebrate their feat of wonderful skill with handshakes and clapping of backs.
Archmario: "Okay, good job everyone. We deserve pizza as our reward!"
A lot of cheers.
Toad: "And the warp pipe?"
Archmario: "Oh right. Hold on. This is Taliesin's spell here."
He whips out a parchment of teleportation and begins to read out Taliesin's incantations to create a tiny portal inside the green drainpipe. This would connect to the network of tiny portals that they had created throughout the city of Seattle. The portals weren't very efficient, only able to send one person at a time and often to the wrong place, but it was a start. Once the spell was implemented Archmario wheezes with exhaustion.
Vice-Archluigi: "Taliesin's spells do tend to be really long-winded."
Archmario: "I know, right!? I need my inhaler."
Luigi helps Mario with his asthma inhaler.
Archmario: "We have most of the city's most important places in our reach, my fellow mages, and soon - the WORLD!"
A crack of lightning splits the sky.
There's a moment of confused silence.
Archmario drops his arms from his menacing pose.
Archmario: "What do you mean 'why'!?"
Toad: "Why do we want to make portals to the rest of the world? The Toiletium is where we need to focus right now. Things aren't like they used to be, you know?"
Archmario: "Well, I know that! But.... you know! We just... need to! I guess. Besides, haven't you ever wanted to be able to go to see Egypt? We'll be able to do that in an instant! I hate flying on planes. Crammed in like cattle--"
Vice-Archluigi: "And we can get a portal to Carlo's back home."
Mario's eyes light up.
Archmario: "Now that's an idea! Best pizza in the world. Honestly, you don't know what a pizza is until you try a Carlo's pizza in our hometown."
Everyone, except, Toad looks excited.
Archmario: "Yes, let's! Everyone brought their wallets this time? Luigi, I'm talking to you."
Vice-Archluigi: "Wouldn't you know it..."
Archmario: "No way, you freeloader! I'm not paying for you again. Remember your damned wallet."
He gets on all fours next to the drainpipe and calls into the spout.
Vice-Archluigi: "Taliesin, buddy-old-pal, throw my wallet through!"
A moment later a wallet flies out of the drainpipe and smacks Luigi in the moustache.
Princess Plum: "...stuffed crust..."
Everyone else repeats;
Wizards R Us Plumbing Company: "Stuffed cruuuust."