Zelda and Peach left the locker room after a few games of tennis that had pushed them both to their limits. They had showered and had the “just worked out” feeling in their limbs but clean clothes and no more sweat and it was that buzz that fit people talk about.
“Let’s get something to eat!” said Peach, and as she said it Zelda realized she was famished. She clasped her hands and nodded under her hoodie. Peach flapped her hand in the air to her driver. “YOOOOHOOOO!” and blew him a kiss. The man hopped in place and pulled the car to the princesses with a speed that Zelda thought was almost unsafe. Peach thanked the driver and then turned to Zelda to make a face like 🤪
Peach guided them to “a place I know you’re gonna love, Zel”. It was an upscale pizza and sushi place called “ROLL/DISC”, and Peach greeted the chef and introduced Zelda and asked for “a wonderful time for my friend”, which led to an increasingly ostentatious array of fish, truffle pizza rolls, and pancetta onigiri. Peach laughed loudly as each dish appeared but stopped laughing fast when the waiters left, and was drinking in a way that Zelda noticed.
Peach said, “It’s just so great to have a princess day, just you and me, Zel, don’t you think?”
“Yes, it’s been a lovely day, a calm respite from the day-to-day.”
“UGH tell me about it!” Peach cackled and smirked. “I tell you some days I just don’t even wanna deal with the Kingdom, you know what I mean.” Peach drained her cup, and Zelda gave her a confused look. “…?”
Peach explained, “Oh you know, it’s just sometimes the common folk can be so dumb, you just wanna leave them to their bullshit, it’s just nice to talk to someone with THOUGHTS, someone who READS, who can enjoy fine things!” Peach held up a piece of sashimi and downed it in a bite.
Zelda smiled politely, but sadly. “I don’t really think of the Hylians like that. Their struggles are my struggles. They are whose trust I hope to earn, along with that of the goddess Hylia.”
Peach sneered at her. “Zellllll you don’t have to hold the line with me. I know how it is. You can’t tell me that you’re “hoping to earn the trust” of Beedle? of Kilton!?”
Zelda smiled thoughtfully. “I do hope for the best for them. If I can make the roads safe for small business owners like them it will benefit the Hylian economy. For Beedle to find every bug he’s looking for, to help every person he meets, that would be a great thing.”
Peach snorted to herself and covered her mouth with her mimosa. “Fucking joke” she mutters.
A few uncomfortable minutes went by with Peach giggling for the waiter each time he brought more dishes before returning to her brooding and drinking.
Zelda started, “Peach-”
“Sometimes,” Peach said, her head down, looking at her plate. “Sometimes I wait for Bowser to capture me.” She laughed to herself and rubbed her eyes. “Ugh it’s so ridiculous, that idiot Bowser couldn’t abduct me if he tried. You practically have to help him do it.”
Zelda was confused, but could tell that her friend needed her in this moment. “Peach, do you wanna go somewhere private to talk?”
“These fucking proles don’t care, Zel.” Peach waved her hand at the people around them, who were taking pictures from out of earshot.
“Peach you mustn't speak of your subjects in such a-”
“Zel we’re in NYC, not Hyrule, not the Mushroom Kingdom, this is fine.” She slumped forward in her seat. “I try, Zel, I try. I try to help them. I used to try harder. Maybe I could do more. I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW! I try to help them but the people of the Mushroom kingdom are just…they can’t be helped. I can barely get them to wipe their own asses let alone make a transportation infrastructure.”
Zelda reached her hand to touch Peach’s. Peach sat bolt upright. “I WANT TO HELP THEM!? But I feel like I can’t make headway. It’s so fucking strange to come back from tennis or a smash tourney, and everyone is so interesting and smart, and there’s so much royalty that no one cares, and it’s just nice. Like you can talk to Samus, you can work with her on something. Greninja is a really interesting guy! And then I go back to Mushroom Kingdom and it just feels like a boondock. We barely have running water. I feel like I have to slow down so much just to make any progress. I see Fox and Falco, and they do such interesting work, and neither one has a degree! Like, more power to them, but I have degrees in biomed and biochem, and I’m spending all day just trying to be kind to some mushroom person who accidentally sat on their paper airplane and has been crying about it for 34 days. I feel like I get stupider when I go home.”
Zelda did her best to purse her eyebrows, to really show Peach that she was listening. She wanted to offer her a drink but there was only booze at the table.
“So sometimes…” Peach started up again. “Sometimes I’m happy when Bowser shows up. I could take him down myself, but it gives me a place to be that’s not the castle. It gets me away from the people for a while until Mario or the other one can do his thing.”
“Luigi.” said Zelda.
“Whatever. The people like their hero, and sometimes I think the endless narrative of a lost princess and a brave working-class warrior does more for their quality of life than any of my biomed or infrastructure projects ever could.”
“That’s not true, Princess Peach,” said Zelda. “The people know the work you do, they see how you struggle for them. You have their love. This nihilism will serve neither you nor them.”
“I dunno Zel,” Peach picked at the caviar on her plate with a very small fork. “The polling numbers I get are showing me that investments in marketing are doing far more, coin-for-coin, for the self-assessed happiness of the kingdom than my last education or healthcare project did. I mean, I can help them get healthier, but that health doesn’t make them feel happier, even if it is better for them. Sometimes I don’t feel like a leader or a princess, I just sorta feel like a servant.”
Zelda frowned. “…You are a servant. A servant to your people.”
Peach gave her an “are you serious?” face.
Zelda continued, “I didn’t choose my role. The goddess Hylia spoke directly to me to inform me of my calling in life, a calling that is undeniable. That’s what “vocation” means, it’s a calling from a higher power.”
Peach finished her glass and wished that Daisy was here. Daisy would understand, and usually had at least a little coke. Zelda was thinking the same thing.