The Astral Connection is a Super Mario Bros. fanfic by Cascate.
Mario, with his friends (and not friends) in tow, has been invited to give the last regards to Queen Platinia, the ruler of the distant Everbright Kingdom. Not even having the time to get comfortable, the castle where the funeral took place is stormed by a caped figure, a Warpid, who proceeds to trash the place and steal the queen's coffin like it's the most normal thing in the world.
This incident causes the famous plumber and Co. to be dragged into the various turmoils that have afflicted the kingdom as of late, oblivious into what mess they just got themseleves into.
Going through Hiatus right now, the story can be found here.
This fanfic contains examples of:
- 0% Approval Rate: Shineard has been shown for now as an overall decent person struggling to deal with a spectacularly crappy situation for both his personal life and his kingdom, yet you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who has something nice to say about him. The vast majority of the Everbrighters encountered so far considers him well past his prime and think he's too old to govern the reign efficiently.
- And I Must Scream: In chapter 15 it is revealed that the poor souls that get eaten by Munchearb melt inside his stomach and become obedient, mindless corpses, yet no so mindless that they don't feel the pain of being constantly on fire.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: The villains are many but they all have wildly different goals and already butted heads with each other, as well as with the heroes.
- Darker and Edgier: For a Mario fanfic, things are much more serious. The story starts on a freaking funeral and things only go downhill from there: Abusive Parents, relationships not being clear at a first glance or even positive for that matter, light swearing, physical violence and the gods of the setting have a plan that pretty much amounts to an Assimilation Plot. Lovely.
- Deal with the Devil: Or with the Gods in this case. Sure, you get some shiny new powers, but at the cost of having your mind gradually overwritten and your body twisted into something that barely resembles your original form. It's what's starting to happen to Reanoc and maybe Platinia was victim of this too if Incandescence isn't full of it.
- Ensemble Cast: Doesn't matter if it's hero or bad guy, from the Mushroom or Everbright Kingdom, everyone gets their time to shine. Although the members of Mario's group are still the overall protagonists.
- Fantastic Racism: Kamelissa has a very low opinion of Mushroomners, not even bothering to be subtle about it when her favourite target, Princess Peach, is within earshot.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Both Reanoc and Perturbantur are called this way by the narrative, presumably to emphasize how abnormal they are in relation to the setting.
- Knowledge Broker: An entire system of them. The Railway has "stations" scattered across the Everbright Kingdom with lots of juicy info ready to be sold for anyone interested. Often the Mushroomners had to resort to asking for their services to find the next stone.
- Mineral MacGuffin: Gathering the Glimmering Stones, according to Kamelissa, will recall the god of the summoner's choosing to shape Everbright and the rest of the world into what it believes to be the ideal one. Finding them is the means to the end for many of the antagonists.
- Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness: The antagonists have already come in many flavors despite the story having, for all intents and purposes, just started.
- Reanoc is the least antagonistic of the bunch, to the point that, when it confronted Mario and the others, it only attacked in self-defense after an already frustrated Bowser punched it on its noggin. Normally, its just minding its own business and taking care of its pet, Alexander. It helps that it wants to stop the much more detestable Munchearb.
- Le Port is a Well-Intentioned Extremist that sincerely believes Everbright needs new leadership and is willing to call forth one of the gods to achieve this. His Co-Dragons, Toadenise and Leanandy, while not without their flaws, are 100% loyal to the cause, True Companions to each other when push comes to shove and personable enough not to outright label them as bad people.
- Kamelissa is a snotty, condescending Insufferable Genius, but she seems to have a mutually good relationship with Pouch Guy at least. However, it's still too early to draw conclusions since we still don't know what was her Paranoia Gambit for.
- And at the bottom of the list there's Munchearb, the obnoxious, sadistic and shamelessly hypocritical Hate Sink. His actions paints him as someone who has no qualms making the day of anyone who crosses him just a little bit worse, all with a smile on his face.
- Tunnel Network: Certainruin Gallery is one that stretches underneath Everbright Kingdom, where most of the reign's unique fauna lives. It's so long that apparently there are points where no air passes through it.
- Verbal Tic: Whistley talks this way. This very simple way. Me sorry about that.
- Le Port has the habit to end his sentences with "hopefully".
- King Bob-omb talks like this, tic. It's really noticeable, toc.