The lands of the Mushroom World felt peaceful, for once. Bowser had retreated back to his land after the last bitter defeat, taking his Koopa Troop with him. This left the Mushroom Kingdom to some more peaceful times, despite Bowser's recent attempt to overthrow the place. The sky was blue, dotted only by a few happy clouds drifting in the subtle breeze. Flowers had begun to rebloom in the warm spring air.
Peach stood at the castle entrance, watching her toad people bustle about on the busy streets nearby. They had busied themselves with rebuilding the toad houses which had gotten crushed in the most recent siege by Bowser. Peach had generously funded the rebuilding projects, paying for all materials and supplies needed so that no toad would go without a house. She certainly couldn't have any of her people homeless. Several yoshi had arrived to help with the heavy lifting, and even some native koopa troopas had shown up to help with the effort.
The last few months felt a bit lonely, despite all the company and rebuilding. Mario and Luigi had left the castle to help rebuild other parts of the Kingdom, and Daisy had returned to Sarasaland to take care of business on her end. Her only companion who remained was a single Luma who stayed by her side.
"Peach! PEEEAAAACH!" The words echoed across the courtyard. Peach looked up to see Daisy running up the walkway pulling her dress and several layers of petticoats up with her hands so she wouldn't trip in the process. Unlike Peach, Daisy tended to not act very lady like, running like a maniac in her formal dress and heels.
"It's so good to see you, Daisy!" Peach exclaimed, clapping her hands together excitedly and delicately. It had been lonely without her excitable friend around. True, Peach had been busy with the restoration of Toad Town, but it was always nice to have her companion to keep her company. It kept things from getting too lonely or sad.
Daisy reached Peach and pulled off her glove, holding out her hand proudly. On her ring finger was a new ring, somewhat masculine, featuring an engraved vine-like pattern with yellow diamonds embedded into engraved flowers. The ring suited Daisy's tomboyish nature, being rather smooth so she could wear it all the time and not ruin it playing sports or gardening. "Tada!"
"Oh my!" Peach exclaimed, taking Daisy's hand to get a better look. "That's gorgeous!" Daisy wasn't the type to wear rings, so this certainly had to be something special and important. "Did Luigi finally propose?" It was the only logical conclusion, though Luigi was far too reserved and shy to do something like that. Perhaps Mario had encouraged him to do it. The two did deserve to be together and finally be happy.
"Ha!" Daisy laughed loudly. "He didn't propose. I did." She proudly placed her other hand on her hip. It was a triumph in her book. She wasn't really the traditional type, waiting for Luigi to propose. She took the initiative and did it herself. Luigi had no hesitation in accepting the proposal. He wanted to be with her as much as she with him. He simply couldn't put it into words, so Daisy did it for him.
Peach placed a hand over her mouth to delicately laugh. How typical this was of Daisy. She really should've expected it. "That's wonderful!" Either way, she was happy her best friend was getting married. She would finally find happiness and companionship. "We must celebrate!"
"You bet!" Daisy agreed. She really didn't need an excuse for partying, but this time, it felt more like it had to happen than something to keep from getting bored. She felt a sudden tugging on her skirt, then looked down to see Toadette pulling on her.
"Can I see? I want to see your ring!" Toadette requested. She wasn't the only one who'd come to see what the commotion was all about. Many of the toads and even several yoshi had begun to gather around. Even a few koopa had come over.
Daisy withdrew her hand from Peach's admiring grip and knelt down, offering her hand for Toadette to see. Toadette admired it, as did several others who began crowding around her to get a good view.
"Oh it's so beautiful, princess!" Toadette exclaimed. "I want one too!"
"Oh who to invite for the celebration," Peach continued their earlier conversation, placing a thoughtful finger on her cheek. "Certainly all our close friends and everyone we know."
"No bad guys!" Daisy added sharply. She didn't want anything or anyone interfering.
"Bowser is most certainly not invited," Peach affirmed with a sage nod. After his last stint, she didn't particularly want to see him. He'd caused enough trouble already, trashing the place and leaving many homeless. She wouldn't have all their noble efforts be undone so quickly.
"Well 'course not him," Daisy agreed. "I'm talking about those Wa's. That Waluigi really creeps me out. Remember how awkward it was the first time we met at one of Mario's Parties?"
Waluigi had an odd way of looking at people, staring seemingly at something or perhaps nothing at all. The way he could unhinge his jaw and those stringly limbs of his were unsettling at best. Daisy was pretty sure he had a thing for her, not that anyone could confirm or deny this. Waluigi had a strange tendency to talk in third person with that irritating arrogance. He never really spoke emotions or anything deep, and only seemed to talk about bob-ombs and cheating.
There was also this odd rivalry the two had with the Mario brothers. Daisy didn't want either Wario or Waluigi stirring up trouble and ruining the party. She'd have to kick them out herself. Literally. Even if she had to do it in her wedding dress and high heels.
"Mario usually invites them," Peach added, tapping her cheek again. What did he see in them? True, Wario had helped before, but he had a bad tendency to torment Toad. Waluigi was the oddball, but he usually stuck with Wario as if they were brothers. Mario was just too generous and forgiving, reaching out to even their enemies for a friendly game or race. Then again, Peach was too, often forgiving indiscretions for the sake of camaraderie.
"Bah," Daisy dismissed the idea, making a rather unhappy waving motion with her hand. Besides, the two princesses could arrange the party and invite who they wanted. "I'd rather they didn't come. They'd probably try to steal the gifts or something dumb like that."
"I suppose," Peach added. It did make sense. They were driven by money and thievery. She could pay them off not to come if need be. It seemed a bit underhanded, but she wanted to see Daisy and Luigi happy, and if that's what it took, then so be it.
"Strike up a guest list, my lady!" Toadsworth announced. "I'll begin preparations!"
The week since the announcement went by so quickly. The toads had finished the restoration of the village and began quickly decorating the castle and the surrounding town, stringing up flower decorations and dozens of paper lanterns in the shapes of daisies and stars. While Daisy wasn't their princess, she meant a lot to Peach, which meant she was important to them too. And it was hard to pass up a good celebration anyway.
Friends from all over Mushroom world had shown up for the party. Mario and Luigi returned from their restorative efforts elsewhere in the kingdom, and even Rosalina had taken time out from her galactic voyage to attend.
Luigi had dressed up a bit for the occasion. He wore a dark blue bowtie over a green formal jacket and blue pants. It looked a bit silly, but Daisy found it cute, planting a large kiss on his cheek affectionately. He bashfully kicked at the floor, blushing.
The celebration began with copious amounts of food. A band played on the stage in the main ballroom, playing various happy tunes as attendees danced about. The troopa with the guitar was very good, carrying on a very chipper tune. Peach spotted Rosalina across the room, being a wallflower as she floated at the edge of the dance floor with a cup of punch. "Oh this won't do," Peach frowned.
Mario looked up at her. "Something wrong?"
"Rosalina," Peach pointed out. "She looks so lonely. Let's invite her to dance with us." Mario quickly agreed, nodding his head, and the two wove through the dancing couples towards Rosalina. Peach offered her hand to her, hoping she would accept the offer. "Dance with us?"
A slight smile crossed her lips as Rosalina placed her hand in Peach's. "Certainly." She didn't give the offer a second thought. Mario was one of her closest friends, and she'd quickly grown attached to Peach. Dancing with them felt only natural. She wasn't well versed in the art, but that didn't seem to matter. Just moving and having a good time felt like the only objective.
"Fore!" On the nearby Castle Grounds golf course, Wario attempted to put his ball out of another sand trap. The ball bounced upward, collided with the edge of the trap, then rolled back to where it had started.
"Wahaha!" Waluigi laughed. He'd crouched down, resting an elbow on one knee and a hand on his golf club as he crouched down to watch Wario's rather futile attempts at golfing.
"Like you could do better," Wario threw the golf club on the ground. Neither was particularly good at this game. They never were. Those blasted Mario brothers were so good at it, the skills they had, that form and prowess. Curse them for being so good.
"Ha!" Waluigi laughed again, standing up and taking a position beside his ball in an attempt to put. "Waluigi just cheats better." He pulled the club back then swung it forward, almost as if he were hitting a baseball at an odd angle. Sure enough, the ball took flight, though not quite in the direction he'd planned. A breeze picked up, pushing the ball square into the lake.
"WAAAH. I hate this game!" Waluigi shouted in frustration, throwing the club. If it hadn't been metal, he would've snapped the thing in half by now. Sudden cheering from the nearby castle caught his attention, drawing him away from his frustrated thoughts. "Wha?"
Wario managed to pull himself out of the sand trap then proceeded to beat the sand out of his hat furiously. "What is it?"
"They're having a party," Waluigi pointed out, "without us."
Wario's attention snapped to the castle. Sure enough, there was a party. Without them. So that was the origin of the festive music they'd been hearing all afternoon. "Feh, who needs them anyway?" he frowned, shoving his finger up his nose. The two had been invited to most of the events in the past few years, invited to everything from golfing to kart racing, but suddenly that wasn't the case. They'd been left out.
It was to be expected, really. The two were villains, there to cheat their way to the top and run away with first prize. Wario often wondered why Mario even bothered to invite the pair, but then he never thought much past that, often distracted by a new business venture. Waluigi never seemed to give it much thought, putting his mind more to skill-based training so he could win over his rival Luigi. How that coward kept beating him was beyond his comprehension.
"That's right!" Waluigi shouted, shaking his fist at the castle, baring his rather large set of teeth. "We're better off without them! Besides that storm will ruin their fun! Wahaha!"
"What storm?" Wario's attention moved to where Waluigi was pointing. Over the lake rolled a rather ominous collection of clouds. They weren't the ordinary clouds in the kingdom, bearing no faces whatsoever. They moved more like mist than clouds, wispy and lightweight as they began rolling over the end of the course's green, effectively masking the flag which marked the location of the hole.
The cloud wasn't very big, spanning spanning from one end of the green to the other. It couldn't have been more than 20 feet long. As one end rolled forward, the other end seemed to roll upwards, almost like the tracks of a tank. The cloud suddenly turned, moving upwards in a rather erratic fashion, then proceeded horizontally towards the castle.
"What is that?" Wario gaped at it. It certainly wasn't normal. That much he could tell. He considered for a moment this could be a new scheme created by Bowser's odd sense of black magic, but the koopa king was probably still back at his castle, licking his wounds.
No, this was something entirely different, something that sent a chill down Wario's spine.
Hello! Are you ready for a dark and twisted Super Mario story? I sure hope so.