Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the wonderful world of Nintendo, video games, or the Mario universe.

Chapter One

It was another beautiful day, and Peach was going out into the countryside to have a picnic with Anna, the Magikoopa. She really did enjoy Anna's company, for she was usually cheerful and talkative, but not annoyingly so.

They had decided that morning that since the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and not a cloud was in sight, they would have a picnic. It would be a chance to sit back and relax, and a break from all the worries involved in running and protecting a kingdom.

And so they strolled out into the countryside, and found a lovely place under a tree where they could sit. There were flowers all over the place, birds were singing, butterflies were flitting about, and Peach was feeling guilty for not letting Toad come.

"He really does worry about me too much." Peach said. "I told him we would be fine, and to enjoy his day off. But you saw how unhappy he was."

"He takes his job seriously." Anna pointed out. "And it's more than just a job to him. He's known you for years."

"Practically all my life." Peach said.

"And he knows that Bowser is always trying to capture you when you least expect it." Anna added, though neither one of them needed reminding of that.

Peach frowned. "I know. But still, he deserves a day off once in a while, now doesn't he?"

"Of course." Anna agreed. "I told him I'd take care of you."

"What did he say?" Peach asked.

"He asked how." Anna replied with a laugh. "So I told him that I'd blast anybody who came after you."

"What'd he say to that?"

"He asked what I'd do if Kammy or Bowser himself came. And I said I transform myself to look like you, and while they thought I was you, you could escape. Then I'd just wait till they weren't looking, change back to normal, and slip off."

Peach laughed. "Glad you've thought this through."

Anna shrugged. "I hadn't until he asked me. Then I had to say something, and it seemed like it would work."

"You think so?"

"Maybe."

The two ate their picnic lunch, and stretched out upon the fresh green grass and lay looking up at the sky. Gradually they found themselves growing sleepy, and eventually drifted off to sleep.

Anna stood face to face with Kamek. He had changed since she had left, though it was nothing physical. He seemed more worn, and wearier, and the usually displayed lack of emotion was not as complete. Anna thought he looked slightly worried.

"Are you certain?" He asked her.

"Positive, sir." She answered, but her voice was not her own. "As we speak."

"And she wants both of them?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you know why?"

Anna felt herself hesitate. "She is angry that the Princess escaped before." She said at last.

"Exactly." Kamek replied.

"Then I should hurry." Anna said.

Kamek did not reply. He simply turned and left the room.

Anna turned and followed the Magikoopa out the door. She walked quickly through the halls of Koopa Castle, stealing through the shadows. She ducked into a room to avoid detection, and came face to face with a mirror.

She would have screamed if she had been able to. The reflection was that of a yellow-shelled Ninjakoopa.

"Anna?" Peach was shaking the Magikoopa gently. "Are you all right?"

Anna started awake. "What?" She seemed confused, which worried Peach.

"Are you okay?" Peach asked. "You were screaming. I think we both dozed off."

Anna sighed. "Just another dream."

Peach tensed. "About Kamek?" Anna nodded. "Last time you dreamt about him we ended up baby-sitting one of Bowser's children and he nearly roasted us for it." She was silent for a moment. "Do you think it's a warning?"

Anna shrugged. "Maybe." She frowned. "I just don't understand why this keeps happening. I never had any ability as a seer at all. This shouldn't be happening."

Peach frowned. "I don't know what to tell you. Maybe we should head back."

"Maybe." Said Anna.

The two quickly packed their things and headed back towards the castle.