Chapter 2 – A Princess's Envy

Mario had been in Bowser's dungeons before, but this time was different. The traps, whips, restraints and other cruel devices had taken on a very different meaning now that Mario knew Bowser's true feelings about him.

Mario's head had cleared a little as he was carried into the dungeon. As Bowser carried him deeper into the cavernous room he said, "Bowser, before we go any further I must insist that you let Princess Peach go. She served her purpose in luring me here, so let her be free."

"Oh, Mario," sighed Bowser. "I can't say no to anything you ask of me." Bowser pulled a lever which made a trapdoor in the floor open and a cage rise up from it. "Although we could make her watch if you'd like…"

Princess Peach's hands were chained to the cage. Her dress had been dirtied and torn, but she was still very beautiful. And despite being imprisoned by the most dangerous creature in the Mushroom Kingdom, she looked more bored than scared.

"It's about time you showed up, big boy," she crooned. "I've been looking forward to giving you a—wait, what's he doing here?"

Mario gulped. "It's not what it looks like, Princess! I'm still here to rescue you, I swear!"

"I wasn't talking to you, Mario," said Peach. "What's he doing here, Bowser?" she nodded her head at Mario.

"What are you talking about?" asked Bowser and Mario at once.

"I was hoping to get some alone time you with, King Koopa," said Peach. "So much for that plan, I guess." She sighed and looked sad.

"Alone time? With me?" Bowser looked confused.

"Obviously! Why do you think I keep letting you kidnap me? My guards could easily defeat you if I wanted them to, even though you are very big and strong and muscular…"

Mario gasped. "So all these times I've rescued you, you never once actually wanted my help?"

"Of course not! What would I want with a fat plumber?"

"Don't talk to Mario like that!" roared Bowser. "Just for that, I'm not letting you go! Ever!"

"And I'm not rescuing you," said Mario. "Bowser here appreciates me for who I am."

"And I'm about to show you just how much I appreciate you!" shouted Bowser. "Hey Princess, you're about to find out what you're missing!"

Princess Peach sighed. The men in her life never did anything right.