Episode 10: The Puppet Master
Days 18-20

"Why'd you do that for?" bellows Link, not only shocked but greatly angry at Yoshi, who winces before his wrath.

"It wouldn't have been fair to nominate Krystal, since I really don't have an actual explanation for evicting her--Toad would've stopped me, and even if he didn't, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself having pulled a cheap move like that."

"Do you know what you've done?!" cries Link.  "You've possibly cost all three of us the game!  That's not just ruining yourself, but me and Zelda, too!  I can't believe you!"

"Sorry," replies Yoshi, feeling a bit heated himself, "but I won't go to every length to win."

"Then maybe you have an alliance with the wrong person," snarles back Link, very disappointed, "because I will."


"It's perfect," laughs Fox, speaking to the camera the next day.  "I've gotten wind of some very helpful news that may help me stick around even longer, or--dare I dream it--get my own neck off the chopping block."

He leans close, a wry smirk on his face.

"Sounds like Yoshi and Link are at each other's throats over Yoshi's choice to nominate DK instead of Krystal yesterday.  That's just perfect news for me, because perhaps I can sway one of them into helping me, and get control of the whole game in a single swoop.  At this point, I've successfully gotten some grip on Ganondorf and Bowser.  I'll have to keep my eye on Ganondorf still, though--I know that he wants to win bad enough that he'll do whatever it takes, but by the same token, he knows that taking me out will be essential to his victory at some point.  When that time comes, I'll have to be the first to take action."


Inside the gaming lounge, just before noon, Ganondorf sits back in a chair as Bowser plays (and loses at repeatedly) Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

"Man.  I'm HORRIBLE as Mario..." growls Bowser, throwing down his controller.  "Maybe if he wasn't such a chunky little doughboy, he could WIN some of these races..."

"We have two options," says Ganondorf, abruptly.

"Yeah, I can change characters or change the car, and see if that helps," responds Bowser, scratching his chin as he thinks.

"No, I mean about this game here we're in," growls Ganondorf.

"Oh....what are these options, then?"

"We have to get rid of our enemies," says Ganondorf, holding up two fingers.  "That's either Fox-"

He puts down one of his fingers.

"-or Link."

"Um, do you really think it's such a good idea to be going after Fox already, after we just got through joining up with him?  I mean, as soon as he's gone, we could be toast!"

"That's true, but the longer he sticks around, the harder it'll be for either one of us to beat him," points out Ganondorf, smartly.  "We have to take him out early enough that he can't make it to the end.  Fight fire with fire, they say--he's exploited us enough, so we need to make use of him in return."

"So what are we supposed to do, then?" asks Bowser.

"Wait and see," answers Ganondorf, after a moment of thinking.  "Depending on what happens at the challenge today, that decision might be made for us.  We'll know where to vote when the time comes..."

"I'd say the Camera Room," offers Bowser, trying to be helpful.


As noon hits, Toad enters the house with a new pair of keys.

"Please follow me," he says, leading the group upstairs.  "Your newest room will be on the second floor."

"Oooo, the SECOND floor!" cries Bowser, getting excited at being a story higher than normal.

"Welcome to your new room," says Toad, unlocking the door.  "The Gallery."

The group shuffles into a long room filled with paintings and models of various things--a life-size Goomba stands in one corner, and pictures of Mario, Zelda, and Metroid characters line the walls.

"Wow...these are so life-like!" breathes Zelda, reaching out at a portrait of Lon Lon Ranch.

"You'll have plenty of time to admire the art," says Toad.  "For now, let's get to the challenge."

He points at small tiles on the floor, which the group notices for the first time.

"Here's the object of the game," says Toad.  "One by one, you'll each take a tile and stand on it.  When everyone has chosen a tile, I'll instruct you to flip it over--anyone with an X on the tile will be eliminated.  Those with an O will be safe and move on to the next round.  Understand?"

The concept is simple, so even Bowser has no questions to ask.

"Great.  I have already decided the order, and can assure you that it's been randomly chosen.  Zelda, you're up first."

Zelda looks at all the tiles.  She thinks carefully and decides that the tile least likely to be an X has been placed in the first column, on the far end.  She stands on it.

"Ganondorf, choose a tile."

Ganondorf steps confidently out onto a tile in the center and waits.

"Yoshi.  Krystal.  Bowser.  Fox.   Link."

Captain Falcon is the last left, and he doesn't appear to see any tiles he would like to stand on.  Shrugging, he takes the closest tile and awaits his orders.;

"Okay, everyone has a tile.  Now, all at once, everybody turn your tiles.  Do it now."

In unison, the group turns the tile beneath himself or herself.  Out of eight selected tiles, three are X's.

"Ah, nuts," grumbles Ganondorf, dropping his tile in irritation.

"Darn," says Yoshi, laying his tile down also.

"Well, should've seen THAT one coming..." mumbles Captain Falcon, genuinely confused that he has selected an X and is, as always, out of the game early on.

"Fox, Link, Zelda, Krystal, and Bowser are left," says Toad, as the others step away and their tiles are removed from the field.  "Krystal, you'll be selecting first."

Krystal plants foot cautiously on a tile, then sets down her other foot there as well.


Link walks one direction, then turns and sees a better tile.  He steps on that one instead.


Fox skips between several tiles to the far side of the room and stands on one of those tiles.


Bowser stamps towards one tile, then spies a better one and tramples his way towards it instead.  Another catches his eye, but before he can reach it, he sees a better one further away.

"Just pick a tile, Bowser..." grumbles Toad, as Bowser scrambles around the room, each time finding a better tile than his previous pick.

"Don't rush me, Squirt," growls Bowser, finally ending up back at the first one he visited.  He plants a massive foot on it.

"Okay, Zelda, pick a tile."

Zelda moves to the far end of the room, then picks the tile on a corner.

"When I give the order....  Ready, andddd.......FLIP!"

Everyone turns their tiles.  Link has chosen an X, but everyone else's tiles are O's.

"Sorry, Link, but you're out of the game," says Toad, as Link takes his tile and exits the playing field.  "The rest of you, toss your tiles out of the playing area--Fox, your'e up first."

Again, the four traverse into the field of tiles, which has continually grown smaller.  After several moments, all four have selected a tile and are nervously awaiting judgement.


The first tile flips: an X.

"'re out of the game."

"That's bull," she growls, dropping her tile then rethinking her statement as Toad glares at her.  "I mean, that's bologna."

The next tile flips.  It, like the last, shows an X.

"Curses!" hisses Fox, stepping out of the field and dropping his tile on the floor.

"You two, reveal," commands Toad, and Bowser and Zelda show their tiles.  Both have O's.

"It's down to two," says Toad, rather amused that Bowser has been so successful.  "Time to choose another tile."

Zelda looks around the room carefully and her eyes fall upon her next choice.  Bowser reads her glance, however, and stomps over to take the tile for himself immediately.

"Hey!" she blurts, a bit annoyed as the Koopa King gloats.

"Finders keepers, losers WEEPERS!" he roars, as Zelda walks to a different tile.

"Here we go......reveal your tile!"

Two tiles flip.  One an X, and one an O.  The latter belongs to Bowser.

"That was MY tile, too!" thinks Zelda, as she drops her tile, an X, and walks back to Link and Yoshi, as Bowser jumps up and down screaming.

"I WIN I WIN I WIN I WIN!" the turtle roars, as Ganondorf runs up to give him a knuckleheaded-headbutt.

"A fitting for a couple of guys with butts for heads," grumbles Fox.

"I'll see you all tomorrow for voting," says Toad, as Bowser puts on the Power Bracelets.  "Until then, ado."


"I can't believe Bowser took my tile!" growls Zelda, left alone in the Gallery with Link and Yoshi later that night.  "I KNEW that one was an O, but he beat me to it!"

"Stuff happens, don't worry about it," says Link, grumpily.

"Do you think he'll take one of us out tomorrow?" asks Zelda, a bit worried.

"It's possible," says Yoshi, also somewhat depressed.  "But, Ganondorf also has a grudge against Fox, so it's possible he'll take him down instead and do some of our dirty work."

"Yeah, well, news flash for you, Yosh: he isn't especially fond of ME, either!" snaps Link, feeling miserable.  "I'd say chances are 1:1 between us."

"Something will turn up, don't worry," says Yoshi, although he does not say it with much enthusiasm.


It isn't long after everyone has gone to bed that Captain Falcon cannot sleep.  He rubs his eyes, checks his clock, then stumbles out of bed and down the hall to the kitchen.  Ganondorf and Bowser are watching their own doorway, and quickly creep into the kitchen behind him.

"Good evening, Falcon," says Ganondorf, startling the captain as he attempts to make himself a cup of coffee.

As he whips around in surprise, he spills it all over the floor.

"Oh........just you," he mumbles, a strange cross between half-awake and ghastly fearful.  "Just making myself some coffee..."

He goes to take a drink, and finds that there's nothing in his cup anymore.

"Uh......a little weak, I think," he murmurs, setting the cup down on the table beside him.  "I'll make some more."

"We just saw you coming down here, and we felt know.......talking," says Ganondorf.

"Coffee?" asks Captain Falcon, over his shoulder.

"Nothing like it," responds Ganondorf, opening a cupboard and snatching a mug.  "Hey, Fatso--wanna cup?"

"Dish it up," replies Bowser, as Ganondorf tosses him a mug.  He misses, and it shatters on the floor.

Ganondorf sighs and takes another mug, then delibrately walks over and plants it in Bowser's big clumsy hands.

"Is that better?" he asks, sarcastically, and Bowser sticks his tongue out immediately.  "In particular, Captain Falcon, we want to talk to you about alliances."

"Alliances?" asks Captain Falcon, as if it sounds foreign to him.  "What do you mean?"

"You know, alliances!" grumbles Ganondorf, walking up beside Captain Falcon, who is busy making coffee.  "Teamwork?  Union?  Scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours?"

"Oh, right, marriage," answers Captain Falcon, cheerfully, having finally figured out what Ganondorf is talking about...or not.

Ganondorf slaps a big green hand over his face and drags it down his nose, stretching his eye lids out in annoyance.

"No, no, my friend, I think you're a bit mistaken.  That has NOTHING to do with what I'm talking about!"

Captain Falcon blinks, confused.

"Well, then what are we talking about?"

"ALLIANCES!  IN THIS GAME!" bellows Ganondorf, feeling his blood pressure rising.  "FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE ONE WITH NIMROD HERE!"

He motions behind him at Bowser, who has fallen asleep with his face on the burner of a stove, one of his hands planted firmly on the oven switch, just waiting to accidentally turn on the burner.


" mean, like, we vote the same?" asks Captain Falcon, confused.

"YES!   Um.......accept you do it intentionally," says Ganondorf, puzzling himself over exactly what an alliance is.

"Oh...well, I don't try to vote the same as Fox, actually," says Captain Falcon.

"Really?" asks Ganondorf, after a beat. 

This is some news that might be handy for his own game.

"No, Fox and I don't really work together very well," continues Captain Falcon, gesturing with his hands as he talks.  "I mean, we hung out early on, but when it comes to voting, you know, he tells me to vote one way, but I vote completely on what's good for me.  I don't have anything against the elf or the dinosaur or the princess, or what have you, but in those scenerios, it benefits me to vote for one of them instead of someone else."

Behind him, his "coffee" bursts into flames, and he gasps as he whips around at the sound of it igniting.

"My coffee!  Again!" he cries, grabbing a fire extinguisher and spraying the can of coffee like crazy.

Ganondorf watches on in dull amusement, somewhat lost in thought by Captain Falcon's sheer inability to do anything right.  Having filled the coffee cup up entirely with foam, as well as most of the counter, Captain Falcon turns back to Ganondorf gingerly.

"A little strong, I think," he mumbles.  "Would....a glass of milk do?"

"I'm not very thirsty, actually," says Ganondorf, rousing the purpose of his conversation again.  "Oh, right.  Alliances!  What I'm here for is to talk to you about maybe joining an alliance with myself and Bowser."

Captain Falcon gives Ganondorf a questioning glance, and he steps closer to explain.

"You see, I think Fox is a big threat to other people winning this game...people like you and me.  Therefore, I think we should be merging to take people like him and Link out.  How far ahead do you think in this game?"

"Um.....I'm not sure what's for breakfast tomorrow morning..." mumbles Falcon.

"Ah.  See, if you and I are going to succeed and get to the end, we need to do a lot of careful planning," says Ganondorf.  "Fox is clever, and he's probably used your votes to eliminate a lot of people that we could have sided with.  We have to band together strong against him, or he'll pin us down and eliminate each one of us."

Ganondorf steps back away from Captain Falcon.

"" is all that the captain can think of to say, as he stares blankly at Ganondorf.

"Time for me and Stupid to go to bed," says Ganondorf, smacking a sleepy Bowser awake.  "Keep that in mind and come talk to us in private sometime about our...plans....okay?"


At 11:41 the next morning, exactly nineteen minutes before voting is to take place, the power suddenly flickers and dies out.  Quickly, all residents accumulate together in the parlor, a sense of frenzy circulating.

"It's those pesky ghosts again!" growls Krystal.

"If we don't get the power back on by the time voting comes, the camera won't be working!" complains Bowser.  "How's everyone supposed to hear all the rotten things I wanna say?"

"Link, could you be a lamb and go see if you could restore the power really quickly?" asks Zelda, in her most lovely voice.

Link lets out a sigh, but shrugs and heads to the basement stairwell to go see what the problem is.

Three steps down, and the door suddenly closes behind him.  The sound of a latch locking the door from the other sound echoes down the stairs, and Link knows instantly that he's been tricked.

"OPEN THE DOOR!" he snarles, running to it and grabbing the handle.  "HEY!  OPEN THIS!"

He steps back and runs into the door, but, being made of solid, heavy wood and ornate metal trimmings, it refuses to budge.


"Oh, dear.  Why hasn't Link returned yet?" worries Zelda, as the clock in the corner reads 12:01.  "It's voting time, but he hasn't yet come back!"

"Well, it looks like we'll have to go on without him, then," says Fox, after looking around for a brief moment.

"WHAT?!" blurts Zelda, standing up angrily.  "You can't just start without him!  The rules say that voting can't take place until all members are present!"

"Yes, but the rules also CLEARLY state that a member must give advance warning if they'll be late or unable to attend voting.  Link never told us he'd be back or to wait, so we aren't bound by the rule requiring us to wait for him."

Zelda's cheeks flash a fiery red, but she settles herself on the sofa and folds her arms.  Fox grins victoriously and waves a hand to Bowser.

"Please, take it away."

"Heh-heh!  Thanks!" leers Bowser, who then quickly points a finger and growls, "Oh, and don't think you're getting off the chopping block now, either, Scrawny!"

Fox shrugs.

"My first nominee is.....LINK!" bellows Bowser.

"NO!" cries Zelda, standing again.  "You can't nominate him!  He isn't even here!"

"Gee, what a shame," sneers Fox.  "Sounds like I shouldn't have come to the last EIGHT voting sessions or so, if that's the case..."

"Maybe you shouldn't have!" snaps Zelda.

"Link is being nominated because A) it shows poor participation to be absent from voting without warning, B) he's a real grouch in the morning, and C) he creates tension and conflict with *cough* certain other residents present."

"But that's not HIS fault," protests Zelda, flashing an angry glance at Fox.  " least not the grouchy-in-the-morning thing..."

"SILENCE!" roars Bowser, "OR SO HELP ME I'LL.....uh.......SIT ON YOU!"

The room goes silent, and Bowser's face melts into a look of disappointment.

"  Uh, my second nomination is Fox, because he's a lier, a sneak, a traitor, and is more interested in saving his own stinking furry hide than helping us at all."

Fox shrugs off the attacks casually.

"Now, you've heard my reasons!  It's time to vote!" commands Bowser, standing to begin.

"STOP!" roars a voice, causing every head to turn.

Link, exhausted-looking and ragged, staggers into the room, an arm out with a single finger pointing at Fox with every step he takes.  Fox's eyes squint down and he edges backwards in his seat ever so slightly.

"LINK!" cries Zelda, running to him and hugging him tightly.  Link's arm does not lower, nor does his glare shift away.

"FOX is responsible for my absence!" Link declares, as Zelda steps away.  "HE was the one who shut off the power, then HE slammed the door behind me and latched it shut when I went into the basement to investigate.  I've been trapped down there since twenty minutes ago!"

"That's ludacris!" snarles Fox, standing quickly to defend himself.  "I might be as slimey as Bowser says I am, but I'd never stoop so low!  How do you know it didn't just swing shut by its self?"

"It was latched!" retorts Link, stepping ever closer to Fox, as if he might just strike him across the face.

"Then how'd you escape, answer me that!" sneers Bowser, hoping to get some real action going.

"You see these boots?!" snarles Link, lifting a foot and pointing at it for everyone to see.  "These boots smashed against that door twenty-seven times in a row until it cracked in half!  THAT'S how I got out!"

"If Fox shut off the power, why didn't you bother to turn it back on?" growls Krystal.

"Because Fox didn't simply shut it off.  The lines have been CUT."

There's an extremely sharp silence suddenly.  No one dares to breathe.

"Is all this true, Fox?" growls Yoshi, as if he is fully waiting for a chance to destroy Fox himself, right after Link is finished.

Fox doesn't even blink.

"Not a word of it is true," he responds.  "None of it.  Link completely made that whole story up.  I've never dream of doing something that outrageous!  I certainly hope nobody believes Link's lies, because I would never go to such an extreme.  Link knows he can get away with telling such fairy tales like that, because he has a clean reputation with everyone here, as far as previous records.  But me....everyone has been told a lie or two by me, and you've caught me; what's the point of lying anymore?  I have no use for lying at this point in the game, so I might as well tell the truth from here on out.  I did not close that door on Link, or cut the power, or anything else in his story.  He has my complete and utter pity, but I assure everyone here, including him, that Link is sadly mistaken."

Link's eyes roar with fire, and he takes a very menacing step towards Fox, raising a fist.  He draws it back, then slowly changes his mind and lowers it before shuffling back to a seat beside Zelda, never once taking his eyes off Fox.

"Well.  I'm having a MARVELOUS time!" bellows Bowser, in glee.  "Let's vote now!  I'll go first!"

Bowser enters the Camera Room.  He writes a name, but all that can be heard from outside the Camera Room is his hysterical fits of laughter.

Resident after resident cast votes before Link enters the Camera Room, burning with hatred as he scrawls Fox's name out on his paper.

"Fox--you've told your last lie," he snarles, "and, this time, it's gonna cost you.  You're going down...TODAY."

Fox is the last resident to go cast his vote, and he takes an unholy pleasure in writing out Link's name.

"Sorry to take our feud to such a high level, chum," sneers Fox, "but you stand in a bad position--between me and the million.  So it's time to cure this problem, and THIS is how it's done."

The vote is deposited and Fox leaves the room.  It is not long before Toad emerges from the Camera Room with the votes, ready to expel the next player.  One way or another, a lot of people are going to be angry after the final vote is read.

"I'll now read the votes," says Toad, taking the first and displaying it to the group.  "Fox."

No one dares make comment, smile, or frown--there is too much at stake, and too many votes remaining to make any assumptions.

"The second vote," says Toad, flipping it over, "is for Link."

Fox glances across the room at Link, and there's an almost-visible laser beam zapping between them.

"The third vote," reads Toad, "is for Link."


"Fourth vote: Fox.  We're tied at 2 votes a piece, and there's four votes left.  The fifth for Link."

Zelda shudders.  Link, however, is not at all fearful--he is resolved that, even if he leaves today, enough proof has been brought against Fox to curse him from the million.

"The sixth vote is also for Link," says Toad.

He flips the next--and it is for Fox.

"I'll read the last vote," he says, picking it up and opening for himself only.

A deep breath.  Everyone waits.  Someone is due to be evicted, and presumably, this is the deciding vote.

The name on the vote is Fox.

"We have ourselves a dead tie, four votes each," says Toad.  "We could have a revote, but I believe that would be a useless attempt to solve this--would anyone change the vote they made originally?"

No one nods.  Everyone is very set on whom they selected for eviction.  Toad smiles.

"Fair enough," he says.  "In that case, we'll settle this with a short challenge."

Link flashes a glare at Fox--he has never been more determined to win any challenge.  Fox does not blink.

"Here's the way this will work," says Toad.  "You will both take turns naming a single staff member who has worked at Yoshi Stadium.  *IF* you say the last staffer, then we'll move on to a different question.  If you say a name that was NOT a staff member, then it's game over.  You have fifteen seconds to think of a name.  Fox had the last vote, so he will start.  GO."

"Pirate Yoshi," says Fox, calmly.

"Fierce Deity," growls Link.

There's a brief pause before Fox responds, "Bomber Link."

"Young Link," snaps back Link.

"Chunky Smee," says Fox, quickly.

Link hesitates.

"Five seconds left!" says Toad.

"Lord Zoma," blurts Link.

"Doink the Clown," utters Fox.

"Bonkerz Conkerz," retorts Link.

There's a pause.  Ten seconds pass and Fox seems stripped of words.


"Metaknight!" spits Fox, before Toad can finish the countdown.

Link's mind races.  Seconds pass, and yet, he cannot think of a name.

"Have we said everyone?" he asks, as ten seconds approach.

"Not yet," says Toad, and Link panicks.  "You have five seconds."

Link's eyes widen, but he cannot possibly come up with a single name.

Fox's face broadens into a wide grin--he knows Link is in trouble.


"Slow Joe Crow."

Link breathes a sigh of relief, but Fox only widens his smirk.  Toad lowers his head.

"I'm sorry, Link...Slow Joe Crow has never been a staffer on Yoshi Stadium."

Link's eyes fall as he tastes defeat at last.  He takes his bags and heads for the door.

"'s Game Over for you."

On the Next Episode of Nintendo Big Brother...
A giant twist might even the sides when Toad takes the game in a new direction!  The unforeseen change might split apart friends, conjoin rivals, and even eliminate the safe and secure the probable victims--but, only one thing is for sure, every member of the house will have a lot to accomplish to restore where they stand in the game!  Plus, the truth will come out concerning Link's plight in the basement--were the wires cut?  Who was responsible for Link's downfall?  Will the members adapt to the big twist positively, or will they find themselves standing on unstable ground?  Which of the seven remaining will be the last left standing?  All will be revealed in the next episode!
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