"Daisy…calm down."

Her fists hit the metal door with a giant "X" on it. This sucked, as if getting kidnapped wasn't bad enough.

"I—I CAN'T," she shouted, throwing her crown to the side. She banged on the door some more until her hands began to hurt.


Peach sat on the metal bed, a single sheet beneath her. She straightened her dress and her crown, watching Daisy's rolling around on the floor until it fell flat against itself like a gold coin.


She gave the door a final punch, hearing her knuckles crack. Finally, she'd given up. Huffing for air, she stared at the door, expecting it to open, but knowing it never would. Not until someone, anyone would come and rescue them.

She sighed, shutting her eyes tightly, her fists still clenched. Yelling was useless, but not helpless. That's how she felt, helpless. Every time a princess got kidnapped around here, Mario and maybe Luigi would have to come rescue her. Daisy hated that thought more than anything: depending on someone to save her.

Daisy fell to her knees, feeling the concrete scrape against her knees. Her arms caught her from falling, but now she stared at the floor, watching the tears wet the backs of her hands.

"It'll be okay," Princess Peach said. "We just have to wait for Mario—"

"I hate this," Daisy whispered, bending over further. She looked behind her to see Peach, neatly groomed and taking the comfortable position as a lady in waiting.

"I hate this," she said again, flipped over. She could care less about the dress she was wearing. She had plenty more of them. Her eyes caught a glimpse of her crown.

"I hate…being a princess."

"Daisy! Don't say that, someone has to rule over the land with some sense!"

"And do you think we have that? Do you think you have it? I don't. Not while I have to sit in a cell because I've been kidnapped. If I can't save myself, how am I supposed to protect my people?" Daisy snapped.

Peach remained silent, knowing there was nothing she could do to calm Daisy down. Not after what happened here. It was not Bowser who had kidnapped them. Had that been the case, maybe Daisy wouldn't be putting up such a fuss right now.

It was those X-Nauts. They have come to cause trouble for Rougeport and Peach was just visiting the island to see Goombella and Koops and Vivian and everyone Mario had met along his last journey. Suddenly, she remembered TEC and how he helped her send messages to Mario. But, it was likely that TEC did not exist, at least not anymore. He'd sacrificed his hard drives to help her get out of here last time.

"I told you about TEC right?" Peach asked. Daisy looked up from her tears.

"Yes, I remember. That weird story about the computer that fell in love with you right?"

"Yeah," she sighed. "If he were here, he'd surely help us. Maybe there's another computer."

"If so, it's probably programmed not to like you," Daisy said.

"True, but they weren't expecting to capture you," Peach said. The other princess looked up at Peach.

"Why would a computer even bother, Peach? I've probably already annoyed him, or her, IT," Daisy said. Her temper was starting to calm, but Peach didn't like that the two of them were stuck in a room as stuffy as this one.

It looked like the last one she'd been in, but now that there were two princesses in here, it was getting a little crowded. There was only one bed to start, but maybe the bathroom wouldn't be so bad… She was drifting off now.

"Peach, you need to be honest with me," Daisy said, looking her straight in the eyes.

"What is it Daisy?"

"Do you…ever regret being chosen as Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom?" Daisy asked. Peach shook her head instantly.

"Never, I like running the kingdom, when I'm around. Toadsworth is good advisor and guardian to me," Peach replied.

"Even though you know that someday, you will have to become a queen?" Daisy asked.

"A queen? Daisy, what on earth are you talking about?"

"You mean you don't know?" Daisy asked. "After you turn a certain age, a princess can no longer be just a princess. She'll have to marry and have children. That's becoming a queen. There's more responsibilities and, well depending on the kingdom, you're no longer the most valuable piece on the chessboard."

"Daisy, do not talk such nonsense!" Peach exclaimed. "What we have is enough."

"This can't go on forever Peach," Daisy said, looking aside. "To be honest, I've thought about resigning."

"Daisy!" she exclaimed. "You're giving up on your people now, not saving them!"

"I'm thinking of them, Peach. I'm not sure I can do this," Daisy said. "If this is how easy I am to capture, then I cannot even defend my future king, whoever the hell that is."

"Oh it's not all bad," a voice came from inside the cell. Peach and Daisy looked around, but there was no one in sight. Daisy was already offended that someone had been listening in on the conversation.

"I could tell you what happened to me…" She appeared from the floor under the bed as a shadow. Her hair was long and bright pink; perfectly straight. Her hat reminded Daisy of a witch, and her body was purple. She didn't even have feet!

"Vivian!" Peach exclaimed, greeting the Siren with a hug.

"Princess Peach," Vivian replied, returning the hug. The Siren let go.

"I know how you feel Daisy," Vivian said. "My sisters used to be nice to me but they turned into horrible bullies against me. I switched from the X-Naut side to Mario's when he lost his name. I didn't know it was him, but knowing someone could be so kind to me…that was enough."

"What does that have to do with me?" Daisy asked.

"I felt trapped, kind of like this, and Mario rescued me, hypothetically," she explained. "But my point is, everyone I thought loved me, they couldn't have. Everything was against me, I was alone."

Daisy looked at the Siren, waiting for her to finish her story.

"I watched as Mario defeated my sisters, leaving me alone again. I know you feel trapped Daisy, but you're not. There's always a choice you have, a move you can make…" Vivian said, looking around and grabbing something from the metal locker.

"Easy for you to say," Daisy said. "You know how to get out of here. Basically, you're rescuing me."

"I cannot take you into the shadows as I could Mario," Vivian explained. "I do not have the power anymore. We need another way out."

"What are you doing?" Daisy asked, sitting up. Vivian gave her a metal crowbar and a pick.

"I'm going to keep watch, and you're going to pry this door off," Vivian said. "You don't like my plan, then think of one yourself."

"Vivian," Peach asked. "Where's Mario?"

Vivian glanced back at her, but Daisy was quick to act, shoving the bar into the door already and trying to manipulate it to her advantage. The Siren said nothing because there was nothing to say.

The 1,000-year door was not the threat this time; neither were the Crystal Stars. This time, everything was about money. The Pinta Casino was practically taking over the town. Even for a bunch of rouges, this was their home. This was as close of a safe haven that could ever exist for them. Even Twilight Town was getting involved. If things kept up, the Pintas would own the entire area! And the rouges, the Twilight folk, the Koopas, the Goombas, none of them were having that.

"Come on Peach," Daisy said. "Check the bathroom and see if they left us anything good."

Daisy had hope now. Hope that she wasn't completely worthless, that she wasn't just going to sit and rot in this prison cell on some unknown island in the middle of who knows where. She couldn't give up now.

No, if she gave up, who would become queen in her place? Who would sit here and take Peach's princess attitude? Only she could do that.

"Dear future husband," she told herself. "There's a few things you're gonna need to know…"