Even though my outburst was short, it was very effective. I felt better and I had to compose myself quickly as Luma began to cry out of fear. Despite the thought of my brother in danger, I had to be strong for him. I held the little guy close to my chest, and was swaying back and forth. I was sitting on the side of one of the two beds in the spare bedroom Peasley got for us. Due to my strong objection, I wouldn't allow Daisy to have her own room; I didn't want to risk losing her. We bickered back and forth like an old couple, but my reasoning won, and she took the other bed on the other side of the room in a huff. A couple of minutes passed, and Daisy was rearranging things in the room, giving it a more 'home' feeling for her. Peasley was sitting in a chair across from me, his eyes cast towards the ground, in deep thought.
As Luma's cries softened, he asked if I could sing for him. I stopped swaying and looked at him. His little beady eyes were filled with tears. I shook my head, telling him that Mama doesn't sing, but hums. He asked for that, so I hummed the lullaby my mother used to sing to Mario and me when we were younger. Daisy stopped moving things, and leaned against the door frame, listening. Peasley looked up at me. Luma finally fell fast asleep in my arms, and I ended the song. I took off my hat, set Luma in it and set both on them on a pillow. I kissed his little head and turned out the big light. The only light in the room now was a few candles on the desk and end table as well as the moonlight through the window. I rested my hand on top of the little guy, and he purred in his sleep, knowing that his Mama was there with him.
I don't really know why my eyes were watering up; I didn't notice until I watched a tear fall on my hand that Luma was holding. I closed my eyes, allowing my tears to flow, and tilted my head down as I sent a silent prayer to whoever would hear me out. I prayed for strength to get through the trials that lie ahead and for a better world for my Luma to grow up in.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up, and Daisy brushed my tears away. She held my hand, and said that I didn't have to worry; that she would take care of Luma if I fall to something terrible. I nodded, thanking her.
"You two need to know something," Peasley whispered, "…it will help me if you knew."
I faced him, and noticed that there were tears of his own.
"Crying is my job." I spoke lightly. He smiled, trying to suppress a laugh, "What is it that you want us to know?"
"How soft do I have to talk to not wake him up?"
"Don't worry about him."
Peasley took a deep breath; it was shaky as he tried to calm himself down. "I had no intention of attacking you two when I brought out that…thing. I'm sorry for that."
Daisy and I nodded, accepting his apology and telling him to continue. He pulled out a photo from his pocket and handed it to us. The photo was of the younger Princess Shroob, laughing in the crazy way that she used to years ago. The memory crept through me, and I tried to shrug it off. At the bottom of the photo, in very fine print, was writing. Unfortunately it was not in our language, so Daisy and I had no any idea what it said.
"We translated what she wrote." Peasley continued. "It reads: 'She will return'. We have no idea who 'she' is, and we don't want to know. I know you mentioned that you and Mario fought her, but we believe we know how she got back." He handed us another photo. "Do you know him?"
My gut dropped a thousand miles as I saw that sickening grin. I refused to hold the photo when Daisy handed it to me, so she returned it to Peasley.
"As you know, Luigi, we had quite a bit of trouble with him the last time we met."
"I had more trouble with him just last month." I mumbled trying not to get sick with fear.
"He was with the Shroob Princess when they came this morning. He was the translator."
"I bet it was still confusing." Daisy added a hint of fear within her voice.
Peasley nodded, "Anyways, she had this strong speech, saying that her goal was to conquer both the Kingdoms and use its inhabitants as slaves. As far as I can tell, they have a good hold of the Mushroom Kingdom; I'm sure the citizens have fallen by now."
"But Mario…" I whispered feeling dizzy.
"Luigi," we made eye contact, "there were too many for him to handle. He was easily outnumbered." He paused, waiting for me to retort. I took in a sharp breath to start it, but he continued, "In the Princess's speech, she explained how she overwhelmed him."
I fell silent. The pain in my gut told me the worst.
"Peach…" Daisy whispered.
Peasley nodded, "She threatened her life if Mario didn't surrendered. He submitted, knowing deep in his heart that he didn't fail. He managed to warn us of the few escapees before he fell victim. Unfortunately, they heard him, too. So they set off on a mad chase for them. Rumor has it that the other Princess escaped in a flash of light."
I managed to snicker even though I felt sick. I closed my eyes, but it made my head hurt worse and my gut twist and turn into the pit of misery that was growing within me. I didn't know I was swaying until Peasley had to hold me still. I breathed slowly, trying whatever I could to get the feeling to go away.
"Put on a mask." Daisy cautioned. "Luma's awake."
Luma got in between Peasley and me. He looked into my eyes, and knew something was amiss. He nuzzled in the crook of my neck.
"Mama smart." He cooed. "Mama figure this out, Luma knows."
The sick feeling started to die out as Luma comforted me. He talked to me in his little voice, saying how Mama knows right, and that Mama will fix everything just like last time.
"Luma." The little guy turned his attention to Peasley. "Could you do me a favor?" he nodded. "Out there is the garden. Could you fly out there, and find the prettiest rose for Mama?"
The little guy zoomed off, saying he would. Peasley faced us. I didn't notice that his hands were trembling until Daisy reached out and held them.
"I must apologize, Luigi, for not being myself lately. There is one more thing that I need to say. I sent Luma out so he wouldn't hear."
"You better say it fast." I responded lightly, "Luma doesn't take long when it comes to flowers; he knows his Mama too well."
"I don't want to go into too much detail; it is still too hard for me to bear. After Princess Shroob left, she snapped her…claws, I guess you would call them that, and that red thing burst through the doors. He wreaked havoc throughout the castle in a fury. I tried to stop him, but it was no use. He was sent to assassinate my mother. She was gravely wounded in the attack." As he continued talking, I held him. He began to sob in my arms, "There was nothing I could do; no one can save her now. The wounds are too deep to just be healed. It is too late. She is suffering. I'm to succeed her as King, but I cannot take the Kingdom yet; not when they are out and about. I just can't do it. How am I to be the hero of my home when I cannot even save my own mother?"
I held him as the rest of his words were lost in his sobs. Luma flew back in, carrying three roses. He set them down by Daisy, and tapped Peasley on the shoulder.
"Mr. Princely Bean Man," Peasley laughed as he faced Luma, "Luma thinks Queenie wants to see him. Bring Mama, Flower and roses. Queenie not doing well, Luma knows. Queenie crying; wants Prince. When Mama cries, Mama wants Luma. So, Queenie wants Prince. Go."
Peasley stood up, and gently pushed Luma aside. He flew to me, and sat on my shoulder.
"If you wish to see her, I'm sure she would allow it. I think she would want to, since you are the ones who killed the thing that tried to kill her."
Daisy grabbed the roses and put them in a small vase. I stood up, with Luma still on my shoulder. All three of us went down the hallway. The guards saluted Peasley as we passed. Once we got to the Queen's door, he knocked lightly. He told us to wait, and went inside. A couple of minutes later, he called out to us, saying that we could enter.