A few days went by and Peach hadn’t still managed to find Mario.
Every day was like the one before: a Goomba came into her room in the morning in order to wake her up and bring her breakfast, which she ate totally alone. Then the same Goomba came back and took her to the bathroom, where she was allowed to have some privacy. Once she had cleaned herself, she was leaded to Bowser’s Throne Room and forced to stay with him and his kids the rest of the morning.
After lunch, however, King Koopa would let her go to any part of the castle – except for the West Wing, which remained watched by many minions. Peach was curious about what Bowser hid there, for she was sure it had something to do with her plumber friend, but she couldn’t think of a way of getting in there.
So she simply wandered through the castle, thinking of everything that had leaded her to be there in that moment, and she usually ended up in her room. Seeing there was no library and considering she hated the castle she was forced to live in, Peach thought the best thing she could do after going over almost the whole place was going back to her bedroom.
Only that she didn’t just sit there and wait for something to happen.
She had started working on something. She had never taken the time to find out what she was good at, but now that she was having some free time, she had discovered she was actually quite good at drawing.
And she had found out when trying to draw a map of the castle.
Nobody had realized so far, since she had hidden under her mattress the map she had been working on. She had started with the ground floor: the hall, the kitchen, the stairs and the entrance to the dungeons were all there. Then Peach had drawn the first floor, which was mostly occupied by the Throne Room, and she had continued with the rest of the floors, most of which were mostly full of bedrooms, including Bowser’s kids’ rooms and her own.
But there was a place she was especially interested in: Ludwig’s laboratory.
It was located in the very same corridor as her bedroom, but still, there was a big problem: it was part of the forbidden wing.
Of course, that was the only part of the huge castle Peach had not been able to draw a map of, since she hadn’t been allowed to go in there. It was frustrating, but fair at the same time.
On the one hand, it was Bowser’s castle – he had the right to decide what places his guests could or couldn’t visit, since it was his house.
On the other hand, Peach was no guest there – she was a prisoner.
And prisoners tried to escape from their captors.
Besides, she needed to find Mario. She knew the hero could have escaped himself already, unless Koopa and his kids were doing something terrible to stop him from trying to run away.
Peach believed Mario had become Ludwig’s laboratory animal. The princess had had the chance to meet the blue-haired kid and she could tell he was a weird turtle-boy. He and his brother Larry seemed to have the worst ideas to hurt people and gain both power and money – she could actually swear she feared them both more than Bowser himself.
Hence, this could mean Ludwig was playing some of his terrible tricks and ideas on Mario. Peach couldn’t even bear the simple fact of thinking about what could happen to her dearest plumber.
She had to be the one to rescue him this time. He had always been there for her, and she could not let him down now that he couldn’t save himself.
The princess had been thinking of something she could do in order to gain her access into Ludwig’s laboratory. After trying to sneak in on her own and being caught every single time, she had given up – sort of.
She knew she could still find a way, and it would be through Ludwig himself.
That day, the fifth since she had arrived into the castle, she went with the Goomba to the Throne Room and thanked him with a smile for taking her there. The Goomba blushed, and she couldn’t help but think if what Bowser’s minions needed was simply some recognition and kindness.
Keeping her purpose in mind, Peach entered the Throne Room and walked towards the throne King Koopa had put beside his own, so she could have a great sit next to him – not bigger than his own throne, but a throne after all.
The princess didn’t even look at the kids, who, as usual, were playing noisily, fighting with each other and trying to get some attention from their dad. Peach just walked among them and sat in her throne, next to Bowser, who was looking at her with admiration. She didn’t look him back.
“How are you today, my dear princess?” he asked.
“Fine, thanks,” she answered politely. “My king, I’ve been thinking of something.”
“Really?” Bowser looked surprised. He surely hadn’t expected Peach calling him ‘my king’. “And what is it, sweetheart?”
“Well, since I’m going to have to live here forever with you and your children,” she began, “I would like to get to know them better. I’m very interested in Wendy’s beauty secrets – she looks so pretty every day! And I’d really like to know what Morton would like to talk about.”
She smiled and dared to look at Bowser. He seemed to be about to cry because of joy, and Peach couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. She shouldn’t – she was a prisoner and she intended to escape. Still, she was aware that those kids were not the ones to blame – King Koopa was. At the same time, however, he showed true affection and care towards the koopalings, and Peach didn’t think it would be fair to use them as her way out of the castle.
After all, she thought, Bowser was a father who adored his children.
On the other hand, she could always try and win peace for her kingdom. If his kids liked her, their opinion could make King Koopa change his mind about Mario, the Mushroom Kingdom and the Earth. It was as easy as getting along well!
Peach had always seen it clear, but her captor had a different vision of the issue.
Well, even if this proved the pure and perfect Princess Peach was not as pure and perfect as everybody seemed to think, she would still try to kill two birds with one stone. Perhaps those kids, just like Bowser’s minions, only needed some kindness in their lives in order to be better turtle-people. Perhaps she could make them change their mind and win their hearts.
Perhaps she could do the right thing and, instead of escaping, she’d be released.
The problem was Mario. She wasn’t going to leave him behind, and neither Bowser nor the koopalings would change their minds on him easily. She would have to work hard and, maybe, the children would eventually support and defend her in front of King Koopa.
“What do you think?” she asked, going back to present.
“I think you’ve had the best idea since you arrived,” Bowser claimed, and turned to his children. “Kids! Pay attention.” The koopalings immediately stopped playing with each other and listened to their father’s words. The king gave a quick look at Peach before continuing.
“From now on, you will all spend some time with your mother. You’ll have to obey her or respond to me! Understood?”
“Yes, dad,” they answered, although none of them seemed pleased.
“Please, my king, don’t be so rude,” Peach interceded, smiling. “They’re kids, after all. They need to have their own space and time to play, and I can’t really wait to get to know them.”
The children seemed a bit relieved after hearing those words and Bowser just stared at the princess with pride and joy.
“You’re right, my queen. I bet they want to meet you as well,” he said, and she smiled back at him. He decided to go farther and held her hands in his. “My dear princess, I’m so happy you’ve finally accepted your role into my family! We’re going to be absolutely happy in here, you’ll see. Is there anything I can do for you? I would bring you the moon if you asked for it!”
Peach blinked, taken unaware, and managed to smile again.
“I-I’m flattered, my king,” she said. “I know you would, and I thank you for your offer. There’s actually one little thing I would like to do now that I’m going to become queen...”
“What is it? Do you want the moon?”
“No, it’s not that.” When was he going to stop talking of the moon? “I... Well, I don’t really like that everything’s black and red in here, including my room. I respect that you decorate your home the way you choose, but... may I have the choice to decorate my bedroom in pink?”
“Why, of course!” Bowser answered, looking surprised. “Is that really everything you want me to do for you?”
“Yes, my king,” Peach nodded. “Nothing else could make me happier.”
“Your wish is my command,” King Koopa said as he took a bow.
“Are you really going to listen to her, king dad?” Wendy asked, unbelieving.
“Don’t you like pink, Wendy?” Peach asked her back. “I believe it suits you.”
“Oh... really?” The Koopa girl hadn’t seen that coming. “W-well, I do like it, but...”
“I bet your room looks amazing!” the princess went on. “I would love to see it!”
“Of course! I love pink!”
“Then come and see it!” Wendy said, excited, as she ran towards the throne to grab Peach’s hand. “I love pink as well!”
The two princesses spent the rest of the day together. Bowser’s daughter seemed to be happy to have someone whom she could share her interests with, and Peach was pleased to listen to her and to chat with her. After all, it was true that they both loved pink, and Wendy had a whole closet full of pink dresses and knots. Peach was surprised to admit to herself she had actually had a great time.
The next morning, the princess went to look for the koopalings again and she listened to whatever Morton wished to say as she witnessed Lemmy’s games with his ball. She managed to pay attention to both kids, and Wendy came in and painted her nails as they chatted. Some of the other koopalings shyly came closer to Princess Peach as the day went by.
And Bowser was sitting next to the princess, looking at her in astonishment.
Peach sighed. Those were going to be some hard days.