Author's Notes: .......snore.......what? Oh, more notes....ah to heck with 'em! I don't need to stinkin' author's notes! I'll let your curiosity into my literature guide you. ^_^ Enjoy!


She finally got up and left when she felt hot tears stinging her eyes. Whether they were tears of rejection, worry, or anger, she wasn't sure. Only one thing was on her mind.

They were never late.

Perhaps Toad was right in pointing that out. When the Mario Brothers had an engagement, they rarely broke it off; if they had to, they always called ahead of time.

They were never late.

Perhaps they ran into something along the way; a citizen with a plumbing problem, or anything else for that matter. The plumbing heroes were always read to help anyone who needed it…but what if that "anyone" was really a Koopa kid in disguise? What if, instead of breaking up a local brawl, they were involved in one?

Perhaps these were tears of worry. For one hour she had waited and waited at the dinner party, milling around with guests and listening idly to noble person's conversations. Her eyes never met theirs, her eyes never heard their words. She was lost in another world, searching for the heroes of the Mushroom Kingdom. One hour, and no news. One hour, and no sign of them.

At first, she was anxious, waiting in anticipation for not only the best plumbers and heroes, but her dear friends to arrive. Then she grew angry. How dare they leave her without escorts, and embarrass her in the presence of esteem diplomats? Finally, Toad gently reminded her, "Tey are never late, your highness." Hearing those words filled Peach with worry. If they were never late, it could only mean one thing: they were in peril.

He didn't know why, but Luigi had a bad feeling from the moment he touched the doorknob to the house he shared with his brother.

After a good cry into her bed pillow, she took a deep breath and dialed their number. She had no time for impatient anxiety; the busy signal came on loud and clear in a matter of seconds. Busy signal? Perhaps they were home after all.

Putting on a light coat, she snuck out of the castle, avoiding the guests and walking silently through the night. Her eyes were dulled, she was lost in her thoughts. A busy signal meant someone was home…maybe even trying to call her.

The curtains were drawn, but the house was still visible through the ivory cotton, casting the rooms in a dark yellow light. Luigi looked around cautiously.


The house was silent, save for the newspapers on the floor that rustled under the oscillating fan. "Mario had better learn to clean up after himself," he muttered, closing the door behind him.

Blaming his brother was a better alternative to worry, and it came much easier for Luigi. Yet in a strange combination of disgruntled brotherly love, he decided to call Princess Peach, just in case.

"Leave it to him to go without me to the dinner party," he grumbled.

She stopped in her tracks halfway down the street, realizing how foolish and motherly she would feel to check up on her "charges" when she could have tried calling them a second time. If they were home, maybe they were finished with the phone…Then she reminded herself of the humiliation of not having the guests of honor at the dinner party, so she continued her journey. Putting on her best angry face, Peach marched up the steps of the Mario Brother's home and knocked.

He was halfway through dialing the number when he suddenly stopped. A few more seconds and he turned around, sensing he was being watched.

It was no more than a dim shadow on the wall, until the shadow began to take shape. Luigi stared in numb disbelief as the shadow slowly formed a replica of this brother; the receiver slipped from his limp hand and clunked to the floor.

Mario, or the murky resemblance of him, was stuck halfway through the wall and seemed desperate to be freed.


"Luigi! Help me!"

"Mario! Luigi! You had better have a good excuse for not showing up on time!"

No answer.

She knocked again, more hesistantly this time.


Hating to wait alone in the fading daylight, she turned the doorknob with a shaking hand. All anger, real or imaginary, was replaced with fear as she peeked inside and snapped on the lights.

Luigi realized something was not right when his gloved hand passed right through Mario's sooty one, and his brother began to smirk.

"Y-you're not Mario!" he accused in confusion.

Chuckling, the replica of Mario simply dissipated, and a misty, black shadow took his place.

Backing away in fear, Luigi tripped over just about everything in his path back to the telephone. He had barely made it back to his destination when he gasped, exhaling painfully, and sank to his knees, One last breathless sigh, and he collapsed on the floor in a heap.

To put it bluntly, the house was trashed. Lamps lay on the floor. Chairs were knocked askew or overturned, Some newspapers were scattered messily across the floor. Peach took in the sight, horror reflecting in her eyes. She found her voice.


No answer.



Nothing but a quiet, high pitched beeping in the corner.

Stepping over a lamp whose light bulb flashed erratically, Peach made her way to the sound. The pounding in her chest grew stronger at the sight of the telephone off the hook, the receiver dangling to the floor, stretching out the cord.

"Mario." Her voice was barely above a whisper. She whipped around suddenly and raced through the other rooms of the house.


Nothing. She checked the bedrooms.


No answer. She ran back to the front door.

"No…" Catching her breath, Peach gripped the door post with both hands. Everything inside her was shaking. She closed her eyes, trying to think clearly and block out the memory of the empty, ransacked house.

But the phone kept beeping.