Princess Peach let out a gentle sigh as she waited in her dining chair. So far, the lunch had gone horribly: a random outburst in the middle, and Mario seeming like he constantly wanted to get away. She couldn't help but feel the need to take responsibility for everything.

Her fingers clutched the sapphire brooch she always pinned to her dress. A small smile formed as she continued treasuring it.

"You okay?"

"Huh?" Peach was startled as Daisy plopped herself in Mario's seat for a second. "Oh, no, I'm fine. Just...thinking."

Daisy smirked. "So, you actually do think? Never would have guessed." Peach rolled her eyes as Daisy laughed sarcastically.

"Seriously though. Everything okay?"

"Yeah...I don't know. I just...I just feel like I'm ruining this date. Practically every two seconds, Mario excuses himself politely and leaves the dining car. I don't know Daisy...I don't want to ruin this, even if it's just lunch."

Daisy tried smiling a little bit, but was unsuccessful. "Sorry, but I'm not really sure what advice to give. If anything, I feel like I should be the one asking YOU for tips on my date with Luigi this evening. You're the princess, for crying out loud! Everyone in the kingdom loves and respects you, ever since you were just a little girl. Don't think for a second that Mario's leaving has anything to do with you, because I'm positive it doesn't. You have...everything...great."

Peach appeared to brighten up a little bit as Daisy slumped in her chair. Her eyes noticed Peach's hands grasping her brooch. "Are you keeping that safe from salad stains or something?"

"Oh, no. I'm just thinking about something, that's all..." Peach stuttered, regaining control of reality again. Her cousin nodded and headed back to her room. Seeing that Mario still hadn't returned yet, Peach sighed and started retracking her flashback.

"Happy Birthday dear Peachie! Happy Birthday to you!"

Everybody cheered as the newly 5-year old Peach successfully blew out her candles. Her father beamed with pride at his little girl. He readjusted the crown on his head as he hugged his wife, the Queen of the Mushroom Kingdom.

"Look at how big she's getting! Imagine, she'll someday be the future queen!" A teardrop ran down the Queen's cheek, watching her young daughter filled with joy.

After all the guests left, Peach climbed into her daddy's lap by the fireplace, like she'd do every night. He would always tell her a story, causing her to drift out of consciousness. Then, he would carry her back upstairs, tuck her into bed, and kiss her on the forehead. Tonight was no different.

"I'm going to be all grown-up now that I'm five years-old!" Peach beamed, blushing as her father chuckled.

"You certainly are becoming such a big girl. Soon, I won't be able to hold you on my lap anymore."

"Tell me a story, daddy! Please?"

"No stories tonight I'm afraid."

"Aw...why not? Is something wrong?"

Her father placed her on the carpet gently before heading to the bookcase behind him. He pushed aside a dictionary and pulled out a small blue box. Peach squealed with joy as her father handed it to her.

"Happy birthday, sweetheart. Wear this all the time, even when you're all grown up, so you can remember me."

Peach unlocked the miniature compartment to discover a sapphire brooch, glistening in the fire's light. She was immediately captivated by it's precious gleaming. "It' you daddy..." She never finished her sentence, as she fell asleep. Her father scooped the young princess up into his arms as he tiptoed up the flight of stairs. He laid her down in the bed, kissed her on the cheek, and left.

"Good night, my princess. May you always be with me," he whispered, shutting off the light.

Something woke the birthday girl in the middle of the night. She thought she had heard it coming from down the hall. It sounded almost like a firework had gone off. Checking to see if the coast was clear, she sprang out of bed and snuck down the hallway. Something seemed...peculiar.


Peach crept closer and closer towards her father's bedroom. Everything was...silent. Suddenly, she heard something knock over, along with footsteps.


She reached the door. Unfortunately, the peephole was too high for her to peek through, but the door was cracked a little bit to reveal a figure in what seemed to be royal pajamas slumped over on the bed. She assumed it was her father, but she couldn't understand why he wasn't snoring like he typically did when he was asleep, or why his chest wasn't rising, or what the dark fluid spread across the sheets was. Peach popped the door open a little bit to see lightning strike outside the window. Heading straight for her father, she paused to see a hole in his temple.


Those were the last words she heard before something heavy knocked her over.

When she woke up, several Toads were surrounding her, taking photographs of the scene. Everyone in the castle was in a panic, shouting in horror and despair. Peach pulled herself together before tapping a policewoman on the shoulder.

"Where's my mommy?"

"I'm afraid she's not here right now. We don't exactly know where she is."

"Well, where's my daddy?"

A tear ran down the Toadette's cheek. "He's dead."


The princess recollected herself as Mario returned to the table. "Yes? Sorry, I was...just looking at the menu!" she fibbed. "The Cherry Shroom Pie looks delicious, doesn't it?" Mario smiled weakly as he sat back down in his chair. Neither one of them spoke for the rest of the meal. Both had way too much on their minds.

Darn short chapters! :P Gah, sorry, I wanted to make this one a lot longer, but I just couldn't find a good way to continue from there without starting a new one. Now that I think about it, this chapter would have been better had it been squeezed with the last one. Shucks.

On the bright side, I'm working on stories at a much quicker pace, so maybe another (longer, more extensive) update will come later this week. Anyways, I appreciate reviews! And let me know who you think the hostage-holder will be! That part could be just a few chapters away. O.O