Peach hugged her pink sweater closer to her body as another cool breeze whipped up, dark leaves flying past her, some catching in her blond hair. She watched as her friends get out of the car, everyone's faces lit up in excitement. Peach shared a smile with her best friend Daisy and wished she could feel the way she felt.
` She was not excited, rather Peach was yearning to return to the castle-to the thick pink sheets of her canopy bed and a large mug of hot tea on her nightstand. The Princess preferred the warmth of spring and summer to the chilling touch of autumn and winter. The change of seasons rarely gave pleasure to her, unless of course it was a lovely snowy day, snow falling like soft crystal, but even then she dreamed of sunshine and warm earth beneath her feet.
"I'm so excited, aren't you Peachy?" Daisy laughed, "This is going to be awesome!" Daisy's eyes flashed with anticipation, her short brunette hair fluffing up around her shoulders in the wind.
Peach gave her friend a small smile and watched as Luigi, the last one to leave the car, shuts the door and tighten his green scarf around his neck, "Okay lets head out guys."
The group of friends started through the gates and down a hill towards the lights below. The attraction was new and was a celebration of autumn. There were many things that one could do here, Peach had read the brochure after Daisy had brought it over the night before, talking loudly in excitement, her face aglow. Daisy was very outgoing and loved having fun, so of course a new attraction always lured in the brunette.
Mario seemed to notice Peach's detachment and gave her a curious look, "How are you feeling Princess? Are you cold?"
Peach blushed slightly, feeling everyone's eyes on her now, "Oh! No, but thank you Mario for asking, I'm fine." She gave everyone a smile and they continued down the hill onto even ground.
A goomba child ran by screaming happily, a few others in pursuit. Peach looked around with wide eyes. There were many people here, all of them seeming to enjoy themselves. To their far left was a towering barn where lots of autumn colored lights were strung up around it like Christmas decorations, people rushing in and out of it, some with candied apples in their hands. She also noticed a few games set up far off. What really caught her attention was the huge corn maze to her right.
"Wow." Daisy stepped up to the sign, her friends close behind. The sign was a dull white, an old looking wood, but the paint was bright in colors of black and orange, Halloween colors. It read: The Maze of Screams.
Peach came up behind her friend and read the sign, a frown on her face. Another thing that the princess did not like was being scared. This was one attraction that she didn't want to take part in. Peach began to step away from the sign and towards the light of the barn, when Daisy grabbed her arm.
"Where are you going? Don't you want to try it out?" Daisy grinned at Peach, who just shook her head in return.
"No Daisy, I would much rather sit down somewhere. I…I don't like mazes."
Daisy raised an eyebrow, "Have you ever even been in one Peachy?"
Peach sighed, "No, but…"
"No!" Daisy said, "You are going in with me." The girl's eyes brightened and Peach felt uncomfortable. The last time Daisy's eyes lit up like that, she had been pulled onto a roller coaster. The girl was very stubborn and in the end, always seemed to get what she wanted.
But I don't want to go, Peach thought, frowning at the large sign, a jack-o-lantern sitting on the ground under it giving her a mocking smile.
"Lets go get some hot cocoa first." Luigi suggested. "I'm getting the chills over here."
Daisy made a pouty face and the group followed the green clad plumber, Peach feeling a little relieved. She walked with Daisy, the other girl glancing at her for only a second, no words were spoken, but Peach could tell by the look in her eyes and that grin, that this was not over yet.
Why didn't I stay at home? Peach wondered, biting her lip softly. She thought about that question for a second then felt a blush warm her face. Of course she knew why…she had came because, well, he was here.
Peach looked up ahead at Mario, his back to her, some short strands of his soft brown hair showing under his cap, moving slightly in the wind. Yes, it was the thought of him that had persuaded her to go, though Daisy's insistence had also helped.
The princess broke out of her musing when Daisy grabbed her hand, surprising her. "I smell something yummy! Let's go Peach!"
The food was very good. Everyone sat at one of the long tables within the barn, the whole place alive with chatter. There were many people here, but luckily the lines had moved fast.
Daisy took a sip from a plastic cup, steam flowing steadily out of it, warmth combating the still existent chill in the air. Peach took a small drink of her tea, glancing around her at the bustling crowds of people, a table of toads laughing heartily at a nearby table. She was starting to feel a bit more relaxed and felt a smile on her face. Everyone's happiness was very addicting to her, she could feel their emotions wrap around her like a soft blanket, warm and enticing.
"We are so heading into that maze soon! I'm so excited, it will be a blast!"
"I don't know Daisy, it looked sort of…well, scary?" Luigi said.
Daisy made a face at him, "Oh come one Lou! It will be fun, don't be a baby." She smiled at him, "I'll protect you."
Mario gave his brother a humorous glance and Luigi rolled his eyes, "I'm not scared! It's just…well…."
There was a moment of silence, and then everyone began laughing. Luigi gave them an annoyed look but couldn't help smiling himself.
"Hey! Mario, guys!" Everyone looked in surprise, and Mario smiled.
A light green Yoshi walked towards their table, a dark green scarf patterned with small Yoshi eggs around his neck. He took a seat by Mario, "Hey everyone, enjoying Fall Fest?"
Daisy nodded, "Yup, we're going to head into the maze after we're finished up eating."
Peach nibbled on an apple feeling a prickle of discomfort at her friend's words. She didn't know why she was so against going into the maze, was she just scared? It was a Halloween themed maze after all, not just a regular maze. And Peach disliked frightening things; she had never once viewed a scary movie.
"The maze? I'm heading in their with a friend later." Yoshi said.
"How about we head in together?" Daisy suggested, "We can face the horrors of the maze as a team." She laughed.
Peach glanced at Mario, trying to read his expression. After all Mario went through to keep her and the Mushroom Kingdom safe he was probably not scared at the prospect of heading into the maze at all, but she was hoping to see some sort of reaction from him that said: no, lets do something else.
"Sounds like a plan." Mario shared a smile with Luigi and Peach felt her heart sink. Of course he wasn't a mind reader, he couldn't feel how against going into the maze she was. Maybe she was just being childish about the whole thing. After all it was only a maze, just a few people dressed up to scare others for entertainment. There wasn't any real danger, right?
Peach finished up her drink and noticed that everyone was watching her. She then realized everyone else had already finished up and were waiting for her.
The group stood up, Peach last to do so. Daisy buttoned up her sweater and started for the door, everyone following after, Peach at the end of the line.
Outside out of the warm building everyone felt chills as the cold air touched them again, Peach immediately wishing they could just go back inside to stay.
The line was found immediately, stretching far before one would reach the gates into the maze. The group took their place at the end of the line, everyone talking excitedly about what awaited them once inside.
Suddenly Yoshi stepped out of the line, "I'll be right back, I have to find my friend." He ran off after everyone promised to save his spot in line.
Daisy began chatting with Luigi about something and Peach looked at Mario who smiled. She was unsure of what to say at first but soon Mario started a conversation and Peach began talking as well. Soon she felt a smile on her face and felt her uneasiness go away.
"I'm back." Yoshi stepped back into line. A silvery blue Yoshi held his hand; she wore a soft blue green scarf around her neck and had some darker blue spots on her face, which Peach found cute, appearing to look like freckles on a human face.
"This is Linea." Yoshi introduced his friend.
The Yoshi smiled, "It is nice to meet all of you."
"Hey Linea, I'm Daisy." Daisy smiled.
"Hello, I'm Peach."
Linea said hello to everyone then looked ahead at the line, "Wow we have quite a ways to go before we're there, huh."
Daisy sighed, "Yes sadly. This is going to take forever."
"The line has moved." Mario pointed out, "We're half way to the gates now."
Peach looked ahead and noticed Mario was right, the line was definitely moving. She heard screams suddenly up ahead and flinched.
"You alright Peach?" Mario asked her, looking concerned.
Everyone else gave Peach a questioning gaze as well.
"I, I'm just fine." Peach forced a smile though inside she was full of dread. The idea of going into this maze terrified her. And soon they would be at the gates and heading into the corn.
Time passed quickly after everyone began talking again and soon they had reached the gates. Peach gazed up at the metal spires atop the gate and felt her heart flutter in her chest. They had arrived, it was time.
Peach decides to voice her fears of the maze and try to keep from entering
Peach remains silent and follows her friends into the maze.
The koopa at the gate looked them over, a bored expression on his face, and held out a hand, "Tickets please."
Daisy quickly handed them over, giving Peach a glance and a smile, "This is going to be a awesome."
Peach just nodded, her heart fluttering in her chest. There was nothing wrong here, but why did she feel as if there was? The maze was just that, a maze. Only people dressed up as monsters ran around in there, there was no danger.
Or was there?
Suddenly there is a beeping noise and everyone looks at Linea who is flipping open her phone, "Hello? Oh, hi Dad."
"Keep the line moving please." The koopa at the gate said grouchily.
Linea looked at them, "Guys, I'm sorry. I have to take this."
Yoshi frowned for only a second then gave his friend a bright smile, "I'll step out with you Lin."
"Yoshi, are you sure? Don't you-"
He placed a hand on Linea's shoulder and the Yoshi flushed, "Yes Linea, I'm sure."
Daisy grinned at Peach who smiled back. They watched the couple disappear through the line and head for the barn in the distance.
Congrats! For now Yoshi and his friend are safe! :D But be careful in the future, they may be introduced again ;)
"Ahem." They all looked at the koopa manning the gate and everyone blinked.
"Sorry." Daisy laughed, "We're heading in now."
She grabbed onto Peach's arm and pulled her forward, the girl taken by surprise, and having no choice but to be led into the darkness of the maze, into the corn.
Peach still tried and successfully stopped, and Daisy halted with her, "What's wrong Peach. Seriously, you have been acting weird all night."
"I…well." Peach reddened slightly, "I apologize Daisy, I don't want to ruin your fun…I'm just…well, afraid I suppose."
Mario's gloved hand was on the pink princess's shoulder and she shivered slightly at his touch, though he only took it as her being cold and wrapped his scarf around her neck, "Don't worry Princess, we will walk through as a group."
"Yup." Daisy said, and latched on to Luigi who blushed faintly, "We will walk into this maze together. No problems whatsoever, just relax and lets all have fun."
"You're right." Peach looked up to smile at her friends, "I'm ready now."
The maze was dark, the corn stalks on both sides as solid as brick walls. Peach heard a terrified scream and felt her heart start up again. She held herself firm, though, and kept walking forward into the maze, in a comfortable place in the middle, surrounded by friends.
Everything was going smoothly until the first one came out.
Peach screamed as a hooded figure popped out from her left.
"Run!" Daisy screamed and they all went dashing to their right, down another path, the corn brushing against their clothes as they ran.
Soon both sides assaulted them and they ran forward everyone screaming in surprise and excitement. After awhile these pursuers lost interest and they were on a quiet path again.
"This is so cool." Daisy whispered excitedly, "What do you think Lou?"
Luigi's mustache was quivering a bit but he nodded. Mario just gazed ahead, in a relaxed pose. Peach wasn't even sure if he had screamed once so far. The thought made her feel more at peace, she had her hero with her. Nothing could go wrong. But the girl didn't see that it would…very soon.
He walked along side the road, his hands in his pockets. The toad had been traveling a mile back home from the casino. He had taken in some good cash but now it would seem that his luck had ran out. His car had blown a tire and now the toad was walking down a rural highway, the cool breeze whipping against his jacket.
I'll get help soon; he thought hopefully, can't be too far now. Yep.
The moon up above, full and bright, was soon wrapped in dark clouds. The toad walked alongside an empty long field before heading up hill.
When he reached the very top he looked down the hilly road to spot something.
"Lights." He smiled feeling relief flood him. He could hear voices and see lights not far away. Below him was also a massive cornfield. The toad walked along side it, the road to his right silent and empty.
The silence was starting to weigh on him so the toad began to whistle. He did this for a while and he walked. After a few minutes he stopped. He had heard something.
He glanced to his left at the tall stalks of corn and frowned. It was a rustling noise; maybe an animal was foraging in there? He wasn't sure, but he just ignored it, and began walking again.
Soon voices could be heard clearer and he smiled. Almost there! He heard a rustling noise again and turned to look at the corn again, still smiling. The toad lost that smile pretty quickly when the rustling noise grew, something heading his way.
He gasped and stepped backwards and felt himself trip. He toppled into the ditch his feet up in the air, the rustling gaining speed. The toad tried to right himself, his little hands digging into the ground, trying to gain his feet.
The rustling then stopped and he paused, his gaze still on the ground, still as stone. Then, ever so slowly he looked up.
The group had been running through the maze when they heard something that stopped them in their tracks, Luigi running into his brother with a cry of surprise.
A blood-curdling scream sounded off somewhere, the noise bouncing off the walls of corn and circling them like a tornado. Peach felt chills rush down her back and without thinking about it, grabbed onto Mario's gloved hand.
"What the heck was that?" Daisy looked puzzled, "That sounded more…real?"
"Pain." Mario murmured, "Like the person was being hurt, it was not an excited scream."
"What does that mean?" Peach asked, "Should we leave? Or is it just part of the maze?"
Suddenly a figure popped out in front of them and everyone but Mario screamed, Luigi popping five feet off the ground. They all groaned in unison when they looked at the toad in front of him.
He looked really freaked out, his body quivering, "T-thank goodness, there are more of you. I thought I was a-alone."
"Are you alright?" Peach asked him.
"Princess, d-did you hear the scream?"
Daisy and Peach shared a look then they both nodded, "Yes." Daisy said, "We all heard it."
"M-my group, we split up after being chased by the people in the maze." The toad explained, "I can't find them now, and I f-found…."
"What did you find?" Mario asked.
The toad held out his hand they all eyed the object with wide eyes.
"You got to be kidding me." Daisy said with disbelief, "That's…."
"Blood." Mario finished, his eyes narrowed.
"W-what? Oh no." Luigi groaned.
Peach stared at the little toad scarf, the pink heart pattern crimson half through with what looked to be blood. She felt sick when she smelled it, oh my gosh it was blood. She didn't have to be close to it to smell that stench. She felt herself step backwards clumsily, dizzy with anxiety. Peach felt a hand steady her from falling, and gave Mario and thankful smile.
"Okay, that's seriously creepy." Daisy commented, looking uncomfortable.
The toad then burst into tears and Peach felt herself move to wrap her arms around him. She couldn't just watch him cry his eyes out without trying to help; it wasn't in her nature to sit aside.
Suddenly there was a rustling noise and everyone froze, the toad falling silent. They listened but it was gone.
"What the heck was that?" Daisy questioned, unease in her voice.
The rustling began and came at a straight arc towards them; everyone panicked and stepped backwards just as an axe sliced down between them.
"EEEK!" Daisy screamed falling backwards onto Luigi who fell to the ground, Mario just kicked forward at the figure standing before them in black robes, and watched the stranger fall to the ground himself.
"Hey!" The axe guy yelled.
Everyone looked on in confusion, that voice…
Mario frowned and pulled back the mysterious figures hood, it was no other than: Wario.
"Ugh! You jerk face!" Daisy scowled, reaching her feet, and helping up her boyfriend.
Wario, grinned, his mustache curling upwards mischievously, "Wimps, its almost Halloween, its not illegal to have a little fun."
Peach just frowned, placing a hand on her heart to try and steady its beat. It was a disappointment that Mario was related to this man. Hopefully their kids would not look anything like-Peach blushed at the thought and shook her head to clear away the images. Why on earth would she think of something like that?
"I'm gonna sock you one if you don't get moving NOW. You could have killed us! What moron runs around attacking people with AXES?" Daisy growled, waving her first at him.
"Tch, whatever." He held up the axe, "It's plastic." Wario grinned widely at everyone, meeting Mario's glare with an especially big smile, "See ya later losers."
They all watched as he slipped away into the corn. They listened to the rustling until it disappeared.
"What an ass." Daisy mumbled, giving the toad an apologetic look, "I'm sorry about him."
The toad nodded a little shaky still, but able to speak, "C-can you help me find my friends? My girlfriend's name is Marni; I'm also looking for my brother Dan. Marni is wearing a pink outfit, blond hair. Dan is wearing a blue long shirt and a brown scarf. Both have orange spots, like mine. Please? I can't do this alone, I-I'm scared."
"Okay sure, should we split up?" Daisy turned to look at the group, and Peach felt ice cold. In scary movies, splitting up was always a horrible idea.
"What do you think Mario?" Luigi looked at his brother.
"We shouldn't separate, it's far too dangerous for that." Mario turned to face Peach who was gazing about them fearfully, "Princess I'm getting you and the others out of here."
Peach's eyes widened in disbelief, "Most certainty not!" She argued, "We have to help this poor toad."
"Peach is right." Daisy said nodding, "We should help, it would be wrong to just leave."
"We can leave for help?" Luigi pointed out but was hushed by a sharp glare by Daisy, "…Never mind."
Mario sighed and pulled his cap off to scratch his head, "Fine but let's try and stay together."
Daisy beamed, "No prob!"
Luigi moaned a silent, mama mia as they started through the corn. The toad, who revealed his name to be Miles, was near the front behind Mario while the girls brought up the end, Peach glancing back behind her every second nervously.
Mario I know you can find them and put an end to this madness, Peach thought, I believe in you.
She just hoped they could get this over with as fast as possible, she was starting to get chills up and down her back, most of them from the cold air, the others from rising fear.
I must be brave, she told herself, I will do this for my friends.
"Don't worry Lou," Daisy wrapped her arm around Luigi suddenly and gave him a teasing smile, "I'll keep the big bad monsters away."
Luigi pushed her away gently and sighed, "Daisy, I'm sure I'll be just fine-"
"EEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Luigi ran forward suddenly knocking straight into the toad who cried out in surprise as he fell on his face.
There was a moment of chaos as everyone began to panic, Miles screaming without pause after being pressed to the ground by Luigi, unsure of what was happening and if the green thing holding him down was actually a crazy killer guy. Daisy was in a sort of battle stance and Peach was hugging herself, eyes closed tight.
"Calm down!" Mario yelled suddenly and there was silence. Everyone listened for a moment but heard nothing.
"It was probably just a branch breaking or something." Mario suggested, "Let's keep moving."
Luigi stood up pulling up a dazed toad and they followed Mario again, Peach trying to stick as close to the group as possible after a while Luigi noticed her discomfort and moved to the back with her.
"Thank you." Peach told the green brother with a smile.
"You're welcome Princess." Luigi smiled back.
Minutes passed and everyone began to feel like an hour had went by already. There was no other toads or bloodied belongings in sight.
"I'm actually kind of bored." Luigi said suddenly.
"Don't jinx us." Daisy sighed as they started down a new row.
Suddenly there was a noise like someone was running through the corn and everyone froze. Daisy quickly looked around, wishing to arm herself and finding nothing. Mario moved in front of the group, facing the oncoming figure, the corn parted and…
"Hey guys!" A voice said cheerfully.
"YOSHI?" Everyone yelled in disbelief.
"Oh come on!" Daisy grumbled, "Really?"
Don't kill me! D: I'm sorry! Haha, I gave it some thought and since the 'safe' option was picked then a 'survivor' had to be reintroduced! O.O Gasp, that means Yoshi is no longer out of the game, be careful yoshi fans! One wrong move and he may be our first non OC victim! Now back to the story…. ;)
"I decided to come in after you." Yoshi said cheerfully, "I had to give Linea a ride home, her little brother was causing some trouble."
"Great timing." Luigi mumbled.
Yoshi was a pretty intuitive guy so he knew something was going on pretty quickly, "What's up?"
"My girlfriend and older brother, Mario and his friends are helping me find them." Miles said.
"They didn't close this thing down?" Daisy wondered aloud.
Yoshi shook his head, "No, they were still doing the fest and everything, people are still buying tickets to get in here."
"What?" Mario said. "Didn't anyone hear the screams?"
Yoshi gave them an odd look, "Isn't there supposed to be screaming in a thrill maze?"
"That's besides the point." Daisy snapped, "Something is going on here and we have some missing toads. I don't want to stand here and chat I want to get this rescue mission over with so I can go to bed…and I think I'm getting a cold." The brunette sniffled unhappily.
Luigi gently placed a hand on the Daisy's shoulder while Yoshi began talking quickly with Mario.
After explaining the situation to his Yoshi friend the group began to move again, unaware that they were being watched.
"What are they doing here?" The one who spoke peered through the corn stalks where he was hiding, careful to not move too much, or else the corn would rustle alerting the group to their presence.
"I dunno, I guess they are here for the same reason we are."
"What great timing, hehe." Another voice piped up, "Let's put some fear into em."
"Vats so great about this place anyvays? Just corn and dirt."
"Umm guys…they are moving again."
"Let's follow them!"
"Ugh! I shouldn't have worn these heels."
"Vhat dolt vears heels to a corn maze?
The gang moved down a long path when they heard a rustling noise. Everyone paused and listened. The rustling continued and there was an odd dragging noise, then…
There were screams of surprise as a figure dropped to the ground in front of them, falling straight out of the corn.
"You?" Daisy blinked.
Wario groaned and lifted himself onto a knee, one arm wrapped around his stomach.
"What's wrong?" Luigi asked just as Wario stumbled back to the ground, Mario reached out to grab him and help haul him onto his feet and stepped back in surprise.
"Mario?" Peach asked aloud, worried when Mario stared down at his hand in surprise.
He turned to face them and everyone saw a dark liquid in the moon light.
Mario moved to grab onto Wario's arm to help him up again but was roughly pushed back.
"I don't need your help." Wario growled an arm wrapped around himself as he stood.
"We should just leave you here." Daisy retorted. "You don't deserve any help from us."
Peach sighed, "Wario please let us help you." She stepped forward, "How badly are you hurt?"
"What exactly happened?" Yoshi asked curiously.
Everyone gave Wario an expectant look and he grumbled, "Nothing. I just stumbled onto my axe running through the corn, just the edge."
Peach looked at Mario, "We have to get out of here soon, he needs a doctor."
Mario nodded in agreement but gave Wario a suspicious glance, which the man met with a smirk. Soon everyone was moving again, Wario sticking to the front of the pack, trying to prove that he was just fine on his own. Peach felt her heart pick up beat every time he stumbled, just to relieve her by righting himself the next moment.
When they reached another bend in the corn the wind suddenly picked up and there was rustling all around them. Everyone kept silent, eyes flashing around warily.
Daisy heard a new rustling noise after the wind died down and quickly turned to see something rush at her, "GUYS!"
She fell back with an 'oomph' as the small figure dashed into her. Everyone ran to her and were startled to see a small yellow Yoshi sitting on her chest looking confused.
Daisy blinked at the child whose nose was only a few inches from her face, "Oh…hello."
The Yoshi sniffed and wiped a tear off his cheek, sitting up, "I'm sorry."
Luigi helped up Daisy and the Yoshi was picked up gently by Peach and sat down on the ground where he looked up at her with wide eyes, "Princess!" The child squeaked, "I'm so so sorry! I shouldn't have snuck in, it was scary…I learned my lesson! Next time I'll wait till I'm older! Promise!"
Everyone smiled at the child Yoshi except for Wario who stood off to the side looking irritable.
Yoshi bent down to smile at the child, "Hi, what's your name?"
The child grinned back, "I'm Pip!"
"Nice to meet you Pip." Peach said softly, "Now, where did you come from, what direction I mean, do you remember?"
Pip looked down at his feet, "I…I don't know, I was running bunches. I got scared and ran a lot, jus now stopped."
"Well," Daisy said, "We can start in the direction he came from, that's better than nothing."
"What about Marni? And my brother?" Miles gave them all a frustrated look "Doesn't anyone care?"
Daisy felt shame and glanced towards the toad, "I'm sorry."
Peach stepped beside Daisy, "We should move quickly."
"Maybe we can get out of the maze and contact the authorities?" Luigi suggested.
"Heh, so the great Mario is backing out, going to follow greenie with his tail tucked?" Wario snickered, "Some hero."
The two brothers glared at him but didn't say anything. Peach gave Mario a small smile.
"Okay let's keep moving." Daisy said, "I'm getting tired of standing here."
"Hey Pip." Yoshi said to the child, "How about I carry you here on out? You look a little tired."
Pip looked thoughtful then nodded, "Kay, jus don't drop me."
The group moved forward through the maze once again, uncertain as always of what lay ahead.
She leaned against the side of the barn wall, her brown hair flaring up around her neck, looking around her, bored. The human woman hugged her leather jacket to herself the wind growing colder every moment.
I'm just so smart, she thought angrily, wearing a dress to this stupid festival, what was I thinking?
The girl kept one hand on her jacket and reached down an arm to try and pull down her short red skirt.
"Why hello Pauline." A smooth voice said suddenly.
She quickly looked up and made a disgusted noise, "Oh joy, it's you."
"I know, I know. Happy to see me as always." The tall thin man gave her a wide smile under his pointed mustache.
"Why is it that every time I get a chill down my back, you show your face." Pauline said dryly, hugging herself again as a strong breeze whipped up.
"I give you chills?" He grinned, "I must be a real lady killer then, does that mean you'll go out with me?"
She wrinkled her nose, "No, what gave you that idea?"
He played with the point of his mustache and moved a bit closer, "You can't deny your feelings for me."
"Eww." Pauline snorted and reached into her pocket. She pulled out a case of cigarettes, and slipped one out. She lit it and blew out a long stream of smoke, "Just leave me alone Wally."
His eyes narrowed and he straightened his hat out, "Fine, your just old news anyways."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Pauline snapped.
He turned to grin wickedly at her, "Mario left you, how does that make you feel sweet heart? Dumped for a Princess."
"That's all she has going for her." Pauline said coldly. "Damn ditz."
Waluigi gave her an amused look, "Getting jealous are we?"
"Why don't you jump from a very high place? The world might actually be better then." Pauline snarled. It was certainly a cold place for her now; she had been out of a job for a while. After Mario left her behind, dominos seem to roll, and she had lost her job as a reporter and now there was only a run down apartment to her name. Damned weather not helping; It was getting colder every moment.
"I could treat you well ya know." Waluigi continued. "I'd never leave my girl behind." He made a move like he was going to wrap an arm around her but she quickly stepped aside, tossing a cigarette to the ground and stomping it under her boot.
"Back off or I'll mace you, you're nothing but a creeper!" Pauline told him angrily.
"Well maybe I am." He growled. "It sure beats being a hoe like you."
Her face reddened and she screamed out an insult but he was already retreating, slipping into the corn nearby with a cackle.
"We've been walking for a long time." Daisy sighed. "I'm so tired, I wonder what time it is."
Peach gave her friend a small smile, "I thought you were supposed to be the athletic one?"
Daisy rolled her eyes, "You play sports too."
Up ahead in the group Wario was getting more impatient, "This is stupid, why am I wasting my time with you morons anyway?" He stopped suddenly and turned around, meeting Mario's glare with one of his own.
"You are unpleasant as always." Daisy snapped. "Why don't you just go off on your own, like the anti social jerk you are."
"Daisy." Peach said softly, looking from her to Wario sadly. Why couldn't he try to get along…just this once?
Wario just shook his head and looked from Daisy to Mario, a look of disgust on his face, "I'm hanging out with a bunch of losers."
Daisy opened her mouth to say something but shook her head, "You're not even worth it." She mumbled.
They were currently in a wider path, almost a small clearing in the corn, two more paths leading north and east of them. Wario picked neither and just moved towards the corn up ahead, wanting rather to pave his own path.
There was rustling; no one seemed to notice but Pip who was looking wide-eyed after Wario. That noise, was someone coming this way?
At the exact moment Wario stepped forward to enter the corn, someone else stepped out, and the axe they carried sharp edge forward, was now imbedded in his stomach. The man screamed in pain and stumbled backwards, eyes bugged out. He fell back blood spreading across his shirt. The cloaked figure stepped forward and raised his axe. Nobody stayed to see where he buried it.
Everyone screamed and there was chaos as they all moved for the east entrance. Mario grabbed onto Peach's hand and pulled her behind him, Luigi doing the same for Daisy who seemed to be able to drag him faster.
"What the hell?" Daisy yelled as they ran.
"He…was right there…then he." Peach sobbed.
Pip was also crying, trying to burrow his little head under Yoshi's arm, "I don't wanna die!"
Yoshi tried to comfort the child as he ran but even he was too distracted by fear to do much.
There was a crazy killer with an axe out there and most likely he was in pursuit of them. The question on everyone's mind was this: Will we ever get out of here alive?
"I hate this!" Daisy plopped down onto the ground, tears of frustration rolling down her cheeks, "We've been running for a long time and we're still stuck in this stupid corn!"
Luigi took a seat next to Daisy and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, "It can't last forever, we're all going to get out of here, and I won't let anyone hurt you."
"This day sucks!" Daisy wailed, "This was supposed to be fun! Now we're stuck in a freaking corn maze with a psycho."
Mario watched as his brother tried to comfort the Princess and turned to look at Peach who was standing with Yoshi, "Peach are you okay?"
She looked blank for a moment, as if she had been thinking about something then nodded, "I-I'm alright Mario." She looked up at the moon up above, the heads of the corn stalks waving softly in the wind, "I'm just a bit shaken up, that's all."
The red clad plumber wrapped an arm around her, "If you're cold I can give you my jacket."
Peach shook her head, her blond curls bouncing around her shoulders, eyes sorrowful, "No. I'm fine."
Poor Wario, Peach thought sadly. It wasn't fair. He may have been a little rough around the edges but inside he had to have been a good person!
"We have to keep moving Mario." Luigi leaped to his feet, "That mad man could be following us."
"Of course he is." Daisy said bitterly as she stood, "Ever see a horror film? This is so messed up but count on it to be accurate, this psycho probably researches everything so his twisted plans go exactly the way he wants. Fucked up bastard."
Peach couldn't help gasping at Daisy's language but no one said anything, they just continued their trek through the corn. The flower princess's cursing was a little thing compared to the fact that there was an axe wielding mad man possibly on their trail.
The night seem to grow colder as they walked and Peach found her teeth chattering, arms wrapped around her front. She was startled when she felt a sudden weight on her shoulders; she quickly turned to see Mario wrapping his jacket around her.
"Thank you." Peach said softly and Mario nodded, quickly returning to the front of the group. The Princess bowed her head and took in his scent. She felt a smile form on her face and her cheeks lightly flushed, though no one noticed but the girl who could feel them warm.
As long as Mario is here I'll always feel safe, Peach told herself, I will be brave for him, I must have faith. Whatever evil is at work here, he will put a stop to it.
Pauline had long since wandered inside the barn, feeling a deep burning hatred for the man who had insulted her earlier.
Who does he think he is? She thought angrily. The bastard.
She scowled out loud and took a seat at a picnic table near the refreshment table, a table of toads nearby giving her a curious look.
The girl sat there for a long time feeling an urge to go after Waluigi and strangle him and at the same time feeling very sorry for herself.
Pauline bit her lip and brushed away a tear. It just wasn't fair. Mario and her had everything; they had planned so many things for their future. Of course, nothing good seemed to last, and Mario had disappeared a few months after she had finally won her dream job as a reporter.
With her boyfriend gone of course, Pauline didn't enjoy her success as much as she would have liked. Later though he had returned and told her of his adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. He begged her to come with him to the capitol so she could meet the Princess and his new friends but Pauline had gently objected and they had settled into the old times again.
When he returned to the Ape City however news investigators had pursued Mario from the Mushroom Capitol and they greedily dug into his personal life and latched onto Pauline. Her being the sweetheart of the great super Mario had been at the top of the news for a long time, which was until he had decided to leave her behind in pursuit of this new life as a hero.
"What are you saying?" Pauline had cried when he had told her his decision.
Mario couldn't meet her eyes, "I'm sorry Pauline, but I just want to move on, I don't have enough freedom here. I don't want to just settle down and start up our business and that be the end of it. I want adventure; I felt something inside me when I went on that journey after the Princess, it was like a calling."
"That's a load of shit and you know it!" Pauline snapped, "Your just leaving me for some blond chick, what is it Mario? Do I not appeal to you anymore? Develop a taste for bimbo Princess's?"
Mario's face had turned as red as his cap and he had yelled back at her in defense of a woman she didn't know and didn't want to know. Pauline had been too upset at the time to even hear everything that he had said. This fight went on for several minutes and ended when Pauline stormed out of the room, yelling insults over her shoulder.
Pauline sniffed and laid her head into her arms on the table, remembering the plans they had. The two had wanted to open up their own restaurant; it had been a shared dream until Mario had discovered a new one -that excluded her from the picture.
"What do I have now?" Pauline murmured. "Nothing."
She looked up at the people moving around her, many laughing with one another, a few kids running about playing. Everyone seemed to be having a good time but her. Go figure.
If only I could go back in time, she thought, and keep this madness from happening. What makes this Princess so special? What does she have that I don't have?
Pauline sat up in her seat, brushing back the hair that had fallen over her shoulder. She had come here hoping to find Mario, praying that somehow they would meet one another's eyes at a place like this and then he would realize that they were meant to be together. How did she even know he was going to be here? The ever-faithful Mushroom news anchors of course.
I'm pursuing a fantasy, Pauline thought sadly, after all, I'm nothing compared to a Princess.
The girl sat there for a long time before standing. She had decided that she was not leaving until she saw Mario, why waste a trip after all.
Now I just have to find him, Pauline thought as she left the barn and walked into the chilled autumn air.
"Do you think they're even alive?" Miles asked after awhile, his voice cracking.
Everyone stopped and eyes went to Mario, no one else knew how to respond.
Mario rested his hand on the Toad's cap, "Don't worry Miles, we're not giving up on them just yet."
The toad smiled but fear still shown in his eyes. What if they were too late?
The group began moving again everyone tense each time they turned a corner in the maze. Suddenly another powerful gust whipped at them and the corn stalks were rustling madly.
Daisy gasped as her hair flew into her face madly, waving her hands up to her face trying to block the wind. Soon it had settled down and they were trapped in an uncomfortable silence, they could hear nothing. This was so unsettling that the already cold air around them felt frigid, the moonlight up above shining bright down on them.
I feel like I'm in a spotlight, Peach thought, her heart pounding. She felt like eyes were on her, watching her every move.
She wasn't the only one who felt this way, everyone looked around quickly, eyes wide. Yoshi hugged Pip tighter to his chest, feeling the little guy shiver in fear.
Mario's eyes narrowed and he stepped away from the group, scanning the corn around them. The silence was like a single sound, it had its own voice and the pressure was up. No one said a word, because they were too afraid to speak, to break this eerie silence.
Soon the pressure had become too much and Daisy found herself humming a soft melody from her childhood.
There was, all a sudden, a thick rustling noise as something moved in the corn.
Daisy choked back a gasp and stepped back into Luigi who hugged her to him, his own heart beating in a fast beat that matched her own.
Mario stepped forward ready to meet their attacker, stepping protectively in front of the rest of the group.
Whoever or whatever it was surged through the corn towards them and everyone waited with bated breath, Peach feeling ready to bolt screaming hysterically into the corn.
Soon the noise was upon them and everyone tensed as a figure stepped/stumbled out of the corn.
The figure blinked at the toad that had spoken, "…Miles?"
"Marni!" The toad ran forward to embrace the female toad whose eyes were wet with tears, her expression one of great relief.
Everyone watched this reunion with smiles on their faces, Peach feeling tears fall down her face. Seeing them reunited made her feel warm inside, she was so happy for the toad.
Marni stepped back, "Oh Miles I was so worried!" She cried, "I've been looking everywhere for you."
Miles wiped a tear off his face, "Marni I was so afraid when I found your scarf, are you still bleeding?"
They exchanged looks of confusion. Mario glanced at Luigi who shrugged.
"My scarf?" Marni blinked, "Your brother, well, he was being goofy again and ran off with it. Have you run into him yet?"
Miles face turned pallid, "What? Dan…he…oh no!"
Peach's eyes widened and she looked at Mario who was already stepping forward, "Don't worry Miles, we can still find him."
Marni gave them all a confused look, "What's going on?"
"The blood..." Miles eyes were blank, an expression of shock.
Marni stepped back, "Blood?"
There was then a familiar noise, and it came from far off then grew in volume. The rustling noise had returned and something was heading their way…fast.
"Dan?" Miles said hopefully stepping towards the noise.
A blade rushed down towards him and the toad shrieked in fear, flying backwards into Marni who cried out in surprise. The two tumbled to the ground looking up in horror at the figure above them.
The cloaked person whose face was hidden in the darkness of the hood did not speak but raised his axe into the air, the thin blade long enough to cut into both toads at once.
He didn't get his chance though, Mario chose at that moment to throw himself at the mad man from the side. The figure acted quickly, almost with super human senses and turned to the side, catching Mario's forehead with the wood of his axe.
The plumber fell to the ground out cold and Luigi moved forward eyes wide in terror, "Mario no!"
"Mario!" Peach screamed.
The figure stood tall over the unconscious hero, the toads long since had escaped, currently hiding behind the Green plumber who looked ahead in horror. The cloaked person raised the blade of the axe, more than ready to extinguish the life of the man at his/her feet.
Suddenly Luigi found Pip being pushed into his arms and Yoshi raced forward with a war cry. Yoshi pushed into the figure who was sent careening backwards into the corn.
Luigi quickly handed Pip to Peach and ran forward to collect his brother. He quickly tossed him over his shoulder, grunting under the weight and looked to Yoshi, "Let's go! Hurry!"
Yoshi stepped away from the corn and towards the group, the figure suddenly rising up behind him.
"Yoshi!" Peach screamed as the axe came down.
The Yoshi turned quickly a second too late as the axe buried itself in his side. The creature let out a loud cry and fell to the ground, blood seeping between his fingers where he clutched the wound.
"No!" Daisy cried, "Yoshi!"
Pip screamed tears flying down his face and tried to bury himself in Peach's blouse, who was trying to hide him in her arms, tears dripping down her cheeks.
"Run!" Yoshi coughed loudly, "Get away while you still have a chance! Go!"
They looked one more time at their friend before running into the corn. Soon it was just the unknown figure standing over the wounded Yoshi, the wind whistling through the corn, a sad sound.
"Y-You won't get away with this." Yoshi cried, blood rushing through his fingers, his face up at the sky.
The figure did not speak but lifted up his axe to make one last blow.
"I-I'm sorry M-Mario." Yoshi whispered, his eyes slipping closed as the blade raced towards him.
Peach rocked Pip gently in her arms, his little head buried in her sweater, tears falling down her face as she gazed down at him. Yoshi was dead. It had been a shock for them all, after they had ran for a long time, they had all sat together, a few standing, too afraid to stay on the ground, every one of them waiting for Yoshi to come through the corn. That didn't happen.
"He's gone." Daisy said softly, almost in disbelief, "He isn't coming back."
"Shh, Daisy." Luigi hugged the girl, who began trembling, glancing at the yoshi in Peach's arms, hoping he hadn't heard.
"It's okay." Peach told him, "I think Pip is asleep." This was just too much for him. He's so young…and innocent.
"Whoever is doing this will pay." Luigi said angrily, "That child will never forget what he has seen."
"I know." Peach stroked Pip's head gently with her hand. The poor little thing was making small scared noises, even in his sleep.
Suddenly there was a moan.
"Mario?" Luigi bent down next to his brother, who was waking up. Everyone crowded around him, looking down at Mario with wide eyes.
"W-weegee?" Mario's eyes opened, and he gave them all a confused look. Luigi helped him to his feet, "What happened?"
He looked around at his friends, a frown on his face, "Where is Yoshi?"
Peach hugged Pip to her chest, tears blurring her vision. Poor Mario…
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