Chapter 4: Bar Fight
It just doesn't make any sense, it didn't look like this when I first put it on display. I was looking at the bastard sword I had shown those guards, and it looked different. I didn't understand it, sure it's happened before, but never with a finished piece. "Is that a new blade?" I turned to see Ithilagar standing next to me with his front paws on the edge of the table to balance himself.
I shook my head, "No, that's the problem."
He looked confused, "What do you mean?"
I held the blade up, "This used to be a titanium bastard sword. I was showing it to those guards before they tried to arrest me. When they attacks I used it to defend myself, then when that wasn't scaring them off I got annoyed and covered the sword with flames hoping that would work. And it did, but when the flames went out, this sword was left in its place."
"So you're saying your flames changed the sword?" Ithilagar asked and I nodded.
"Yes and after a couple of tests a saw that it wasn't just the look that changed. I think what it's made of changed."
Ithilagar look surprised, "What do you mean?"
"I mean I think I created a new metal. One that's thinner, stronger, and somehow sharper than any I've previously seen." I explained, "My fire can turn anything made from titanium and change it to dark metal."
Ithilagar looked up at me, "I thought-"
"That it only happened with bars and ore? Yes so did I until this happened." While I was traveling I 'found' a bar of titanium and since I didn't have an oven I tried to use my flames to melt it so I could see if it would work and it sort of worked, I put the hot piece of metal in some water and waited for it to cool and when it did; it looked different. It went from silver to a shiny dark grey with pulsing veins of blood red. I decided to dark it 'dark metal' because of its dark appearance.
"Interesting," Ithilagar commented, "So what are you going to do with this newly found knowledge?"
I shrugged, "Can't go selling it to the public. I can't bring too much attention to myself." I put the sword on a nearby rack in the forge, "Anyway I told Kristoff I would meet him in a nearby tavern to discuss what I have to do as the best man." Saying no more I left the wolf alone, but I heard Ithilagar say something to himself.
"I wonder what happened to those guards you took down?" The wolf asked to no one I particular.
I chuckled, "Most likely reporting to Queen Elsa and she probably doesn't believe them." I turned to the wolf, "Why don't you come with me to the tavern in case I run into some trouble."
Ithilagar looked at me, "In case? Zander you're always getting into trouble. I would know I did travel with you for two years."
"Hey you got into more trouble than I did. Remember what happened in November?" I asked
"I thought the cave was abandoned." Ithilagar said, "You can't blame me for messing up. I was tired and needed a place to sleep, my senses were a little clouded."
I rolled my eyes, "Oh yeah it was comforting when we found that place filled with bear cubs." It was true, a few Novembers ago Ithilagar found a cave he thought was save enough to sleep in. when we went in we found a couple of bear cubs. Knowing what this meant we tried to get out of there, only to find mama bear returning home to get the wrong idea. Let me tell you me and Ithilagar have never gotten so much exercise in our lives.
"Hey running from mama bear got us used to running through the wilderness." He reasoned.
I rolled my eyes, but I smiled, "Come on let's go." Me and Ithilagar walked out the door.
I was currently hearing reports from the guards. For some reason they still haven't found the guy who lit that building on fire, but it's been the only fire since then so maybe he isn't that big of a danger, "Your majesty?" Kia asked bringing me out of my thoughts. "We have a group of guards who say they know who set the building on fire."
"They weren't able to catch him?" I asked. Kia shook his head and I sighed, "Well might as well send them in." When I saw the appearance of the guards I knew this would be an interesting story.
"-and then he knocked us out with the hilt of his blade and when we woke up we were in an alleyway." The guard captain finished and I was looking at him in disbelief.
"So let me get this straight." I started, "You found the criminal, who happens to be the new blacksmith in town, and tried to apprehend him, but before you got the chance to take him out. He grabbed one of his own swords and used it to defend himself, and while fighting he was telling you that you wouldn't tell anybody about him. When you refused he caused the blade to burst into flames and scared you into agreeing to his deal and then he knocked you out and you woke up in an alleyway."
"Yes that's right." The captain said.
I sighed, "Captain I think you may have had a little too much to drink yesterday." They looked at me baffled.
"You don't believe us?" the older guard asked and I nodded, "But it did happen, how could you think we would make up a story like that?"
"Because you woke up in an alley having no memory how you got there, you each woke up with a big headache, and your uniforms and you reek of tavern drinks." I explained. "Plus, you're telling me that there's another person in Arendelle that has powers like me. Doesn't that seem a little farfetched to you?"
The young guard looked at his superior, "You have to admit she has a point."
"Will that be all Captain?" I asked, "If not I have a new assignment for you to pass on to the other guards." The waited for orders, "Make sure the city is secure for the upcoming wedding of my sister."
"But what about the fire-starter?" the young guard asked.
"Obviously since you haven't been able to catch him for this long and there hasn't been another fire since then. He doesn't mean any more harm or probably left the city. Now I would prefer that the guards spent their time on something more important."
The captain bowed, "Yes your majesty. It will be done." he turned around to leave and was almost out the door.
"And Captain." He turned around, "Freshen yourself up first I doubt you would want to have the people of Arendelle seeing you like this." Seeing him nod dismissed them and they walked out of the room.
"Elsa!" Anna ran into the room, "Hi."
I giggled, "Hi Anna, is there something you need?"
"Yes, I'm looking for Kristoff, but I can't find him anywhere!" she exclaimed.
"Anna I'm sure he's fine." I said to reassure her. Then Olaf came into the room.
"Hey guys!" he said in his cheerful voice.
"Hey Olaf, have you seen Kristoff?" Anna asked.
"Yeah, he said he had to meet with his best man to talk to him about planning and stuff." Olaf said.
I was confused, "Who's Kristoff's best man?"
Anna smiled, "You'll see, just remember you have to dance with him at the reception."
I half folded my arms and rested my head in my unfolded hand, "Is this another attempt at getting me a boyfriend?" In the past Anna has 'attempted' to get me a boyfriend.
"Maybe." Anna said with a smirk, "But enough about that, we have serious work to do." Without waiting for me to respond she grabbed my arm and almost dragged me out of the room, and that was when I knew I was in for a long day with my sister.
I did a spit take and the glogg I was drinking flew across the table, "I HAVE TO WHAT!" I yelled which caused a few people to stare at me.
Kristoff looked surprised at my outburst, "It's tradition for the best man to give a toast and say a small speech at the reception." I was currently in a tavern talking to Kristoff on my duties as the best man, and the most recent one he told me was utterly horrifying.
"I can't do that." I said anxiety obvious in my voice.
"Oh sure you can it won't be that bad. I'm sure there won't be that many people at the reception." Kristoff said trying his best to reassure me.
I looked at Kristoff with my brows furrowed, "Kristoff, has there ever been a royal wedding reception where it wasn't popular?" Kristoff gave me a look that he had a point, "Also, this is the wedding of one of the royals of Arendelle. This wedding is going to be the biggest event of the year!"
Kristoff looked nervous, "Maybe you do have enough reason to be worried."
I rolled my eyes, "Gee thanks for the amazing pep-talk Kristoff." I said sarcastically.
"Hey I'm not exactly the most social person either." Kristoff defended.
"Well I'm pretty sure you've had some experience since you're dating the princess. I spent most of my life away from large crowds." I retorted, "I literally have no experience with large groups of people."
Kristoff sighed, "Well… you can always just imagine you're only talking to me and Anna." Kristoff smiled, "Maybe you can just imagine you're talking to Elsa." Oh great here we go again. "After all she would want her sister's wedding to be a great one."
"You're never going to let this go are you." I asked.
"Hey I'm sure Elsa would like you, and since you already like her-"
"I don't like her." I stated, "Can we change the subject please?" I felt Ithilagar smiling under the table listening to the conversation. The door opened and out of curiosity I looked to see who had come in. it was the three guards from a few days ago.
"I can't believe she didn't believe us!" the captain said as he walked in, "The next time I see that boy I'm gonna-"
"Sir." The young guard said to get his attention.
"What?!" he said in an annoyed tone. The young guard made a head gesture at my direction and I turned away as the captain looked toward me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the captain smile when he saw me. He chuckled silently, "We got him." He said to his 'henchmen'.
"Hey Kristoff, I'm going to go get a refill I'll be right back." I pretended not to see them as I walked to the counter where I hailed the bartender, "Can I get a refill on my glogg?"
"It'll cost you for a refill." The bartender told me. I reached into the pouch attached to my belt. I was about to put the coins on the counter when someone beat me to it.
"The next round's on me, would you mind getting me a mug too?" I turned and found the captain standing right next to me. When the bartender returned with the mugs the captain spoke "It's Zander isn't it?" I nodded, "Why don't we have a seat?" Not wanting to make a scene, at least not yet, I followed him to a table his cronies standing next to it. I sat down and looked across the table at the three of them.
"Well if it isn't the three stooges, Captain, Rookie and Gramps." I said and each of them cringed and the humorous tone in my voice, "I trust your report to the queen went well?" I knew I should stop, but I just couldn't resist. Captain looked annoyed, but he quickly changed his expression, "Not so well I take it. Well what do I owe the pleasure?" I took a drink of my glogg.
"We want you to come with us so we can prove that we did meet you and it wasn't just a drunk hallucination. You made us make complete fools of ourselves." Gramps grumbled.
I chuckled and raised my mug to my mouth again, "You don't need me for that."
Gramps growled and Captain held up a hand, "Look Zander, we don't want any trouble. If you would just come with us-"
I slammed my mug on the table, "I thought I told you quite clearly I'm not going anywhere." I looked over at Rookie, "What about you Rookie? I doubt you want to repeat history." Rookie was obviously afraid of what I might do, which is why he probably wouldn't say anything. He proved me wrong on the last bit.
"I-I-I' he started, "I mean we just want to t-turn you in so Arendelle can fully be safe for the wedding." Rookie stuttered.
I nodded, "Yes the wedding of our beloved Princess Anna and the Ice Master."
Captain looked shocked, "How did you know?" he asked his voice looked as shocked as his face.
I smirked, "I didn't." That was a lie, but they didn't know that, "I was bluffing. I'm sure weddings happen a lot, but I'm sure the guards of Arendelle wouldn't make sure the city was safe for a wedding unless the wedding was for a very important person, a royal possibly, and unless Queen Elsa has a boyfriend that I don't know about. The wedding must be for her sister Princess Anna, which must mean that her boyfriend the Ice Master must have popped the question."
Gramps looked more impressed than shocked, "If we weren't trying to arrest this guy I'd recommend he'd become a guard. He could be a very valuable resource."
Captain shook him off, "I don't care if he can figure out my morning routine just by looking at my face!"
Wanting to have a bit of fun I started to say, "Judging from the look of your slightly damp hair I would say you've taken a wash within the past hour and judging by the smell of your breath I would say you had a quick snack; possibly a muffin." Captain was baffled, "Also I take it you're living with your girlfriend?" he opened his mouth and I continued, "You have a lipstick smudge on your cheek and around your mouth with means you had a little moment with a special girl and because you're not wearing a ring on your finger I take it you're not married." He blushed, "You know I also make jewelry so if you're thinking about asking her a special question come on by my forge."
"Just shut up." Captain grumbled.
Now I know Gramps was impressed. Rookie looked skeptical, "Hey Rookie what are you 16?" I asked, now I had his attention, "New to the force, two weeks?" his jaw dropped, "The uniform looks new and with those bags under your eyes I assume you're still not used to waking up early for roll call." I looked closely at him, "Just coming out of puberty, you've got a little bit of acne and judging by the scar on your chin I'm guessing you learned how to shave recently and pushed the razor a little too hard."
"Will you just SHUT UP!" Captain said his voice rising. Sensing his anger, my brain started to absorb it and it started to make me angry. Knowing what was about to happen I grabbed my mug right before Captain flipped the table over and unsheathed his sword, "Enough of your games! You're coming with us even if we have to drag your dead body the whole way to the castle!" Now I know Captain was making a scene and I could feel the eyes of everyone looking at me. I finished off whatever drink was left in the mug before throwing it to the side and ducking as the sword swung at my neck and lodged itself into a nearby column of wood.
The sword may have cut some of my hair, but other than that it did nothing to me. As I ducked the blade I jumped to the side and when I rolled to me feet I put two fingers to my lips and whistled. Ithilagar perked up and ran toward me. In two bounding leaps he was right next to me and both of us were staring at the three guards, "Glad you brought me along?" he asked quietly with a smirk.
"Oh shut up." I shot back and Gramps and Rookie went to apprehend us. Rookie was unarmed, Gramps on the other hand started to draw his sword, "Which one do you want?" I asked him. Without responding to my question Ithilagar rushed forward and threw himself in front of Rookie's feet causing him to stumble forward and since Ithilagar was a little at an angle Rookie fell right into Gramps causing them both to fall down. When Gramps fell the sword slipped out of his grasp and slip across the floor and I stepped on it to stop it, "Okay you take both and I'll take Captain." I mumbled to myself as I kicked up the sword and caught it with my hand.
I turned just in time to see Captain pull his sword out of the wooden column. He turn toward me his eyes full of rage, and as a result; I felt it too, "You are so dead when I'm through with you you'll think hell is a paradise." He sneered at me, I'm happy we were in a tavern because I doubt parents would want their kids to hear this.
I smirked, "And what makes you think you'll be the one to beat me?" I looked over at Gramps and Rookie who were trying and failing to overpower Ithilagar, "It seems that your men can't even take down one wolf."
This must have been quite entertaining because most everybody was surrounding me, Ithilagar, and the guards and began to cheer. "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" I think I saw a few people placing bets on nearby table. As far as I could see, everyone was betting against me and Ithilagar. I may have been imagining things, but I think I saw Kristoff placing a bet, who the bet it was for I didn't see because Captain charged toward me. Sparks flew as our swords clashed, well it may have been small embers he was crossing blades with me.
The swords continued to clash until Captain caught me in a blade lock, "Felling a sense of déjà vu?" he asked.
I tried to push him back, but he had a very solid form. "No Gramps may have had a lot of experience, but his form is getting a little week. Possibly due for retirement soon?" I grunted and he started to push me back. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gramps was starting to pin Ithilagar down and Rookie was helping him.
Captain was following my gaze and smirked, "Looks like you're going to prison after all." I stared into his eyes and he stared back, "I look at you and wonder who your parents were." Calm down Zander you can't blow it, "But now I know they must have been weaklings if they raised someone like you." I snapped. My vision went red and my imaged flashed between Caption, the sorcerer, and my father.
Like someone threw gas on a small flame my rage erupted and Captain seemed to be surprised by something that happened to me with an amazing burst of strength I pushed Captain away and I turned to see Ithilagar had a change of appearance. His golden yellow eyes had changed to the same color as his blood red stripes. Ithilagar threw Gramps off his back with such force the old guard slammed into a wall and slumped unconscious to the floor. Ithilagar turned toward Rookie and pounced on him.
I turned towards Captain and smirked, "You were saying?" this time I charged forward and started to clash swords with much more force than earlier. After several harsh swings I knocked the sword out of Captain's hands and it lodged into a nearby wall. Now not holding a weapon Captain attempted to take me down by swinging his fists at my face. Dropping the sword I ducked and swept his legs out from under him.
Captain fell to the floor and I grabbed the collar of his uniform and easily picked him up and slammed on top of a nearby table causing it to break. His semiconscious body fell to the ground. I kneeled down and grabbed the chest of his uniform with two hands, "What are you?" Captain asked.
My angered expression didn't changed, "I'm Zander." I growled in a scratchy and demonic voice. I head-butted him and he fell to the floor fully unconscious. The anger faded as I stood up and I looked at Ithilagar to see he was standing over an unconscious Rookie. Ithilagar and I made eye contact before grinning to one another. We looked around at the utterly shocked crowd, it was silent for a moment and then there were cheers from the crowd. Ithilagar and I returned to an amazed Kristoff and I gave an amused smile, "I take it that performance was very entertaining."
"Entertaining?" He asked like I was joking, "I haven't seen something so utterly awesome since the Great Thaw! You know I was the only one that placed a bet on you and your wolf, I've gotten quite a bit of coin tonight thanks to you."
I chuckled at his reaction and at his success, "Yeah-" I stopped and my face went from amused to confused, "The Great Thaw?" I asked and I'm pretty sure Ithilagar would've asked too, but he wasn't supposed to talk in public.
"Oh yeah I forgot you've lived here for a month and a half." Kristoff said, "It's actually kind of the story on how me and Anna became a couple."
I gave an interested look, "Really? You think you have the time to tell me the story?"
"I'd like to, but I think Anna should tell you the story." He responded.
I raised an eyebrow, "What she tells it better?"
He shook his head, "No the story is mainly focused on her so it would be better if she told it."
I nodded, "Okay if there's any spare time at the reception I'll ask her if she can tell me the story."
Kristoff smirked, "If you're not too busy dancing with Elsa. You might be too memorized by her beauty to think about anything else." I slugged his arm.
"Know now he's right." I heard Ithilagar mumble. I kicked him under the table, not because it was annoying, but because he was right.
I looked down from where I was standing at the group of armed crossbowmen on the training area. The men were dressed in dark black leather, infused into the leather were plates of metal armor around his arms, legs, upper chest and their abs. Each of them were equipped with a two swords with the blades crossed on their backs there was a place where they could hold their crossbow at their side and a quiver filled with bolts at the other.
"These men are among the most skilled of my forces." My co-worker said next to me. "They never miss, and they're taught to obey one task and follow through with it to even the most extreme circumstances." He raised his voice, "Take aim," they all raised their crossbows and aimed, "Fire!" they all released and the bolts. Every single bolt landed in the dead center of the bull's-eye.
"Impressive," I said. "Are the two men you brought to the coronation-"
"The same men that tried to kill Elsa after you said no harm was to come to her? Yes, yes they are among my élite forces." He responded.
"What other skills to they have?" I asked, "I need to make sure I can trust your men can get this job done more effectively than mine."
"Of course my lord." He said and he turned to the men currently shooting, "They're trained to not feel fear, they can stare death in the face and laugh, there are several weapons they are trained to use so they are trained to fight with almost anything. There is only one drawback to them." I looked at him, "The only weakness they have is sorcery, but then again who doesn't have that weakness."
I got an angered expression, "That's the one thing I need to some an edge against."
"I apologize, but the only person that could give us an edge is another person with powers like Elsa." He reasoned.
I glared at him, if looks could kill my co-worker would be a pile of ash, "Don't say that name! It only opens up old wounds." I subconsciously rubbed the center of my face, "And brings back the pain."
"Sir!" I turned to see a servant running toward me. "The ship is ready for your departure."
"Thank you, how long will it take to sail to Arendelle?" I asked.
He shrugged, "Possibly a month or two at best, it is a cargo barge so it isn't the fastest ship."
I nodded, "If I'm going to do this I need to do this with as little detection as possible."
My co-worker held up a hand, "My lord about that," I turned to the short man, "You know Arendelle refuses to do any business with Wesselton, so why are we sending a cargo ship to Arendelle?"
I rolled my eyes, "It isn't a Wesselton ship. It's a Corona cargo barge that was stormed, taken over and now in my custody. Arendelle will think they're receiving trade from Corona, but when the ship docks we'll be hiding in the smuggler's hold in the cargo bay waiting for the signal to get out and sneak into the castle and kidnap the princess and the queen."
"Kidnap?" he asked, "Wouldn't it be easier to kill the queen, and why kidnap the princess too?"
"Elsa cares for Anna, if we get her. We can make Elsa do anything!" I started to explain, "We can't kill Elsa, at least not yet." I narrowed my eyes, "Revenge is sweet and I intend to savor every drop of its satisfying taste. I want to have a little 'fun' with the ice queen before we finish her. I don't want to only kill her. I want to break her to the point that she has no hope of having a will to live that she'll be begging me to kill her." The servant looked scared and I turned to him, "Why are you still here? Get to the docks and tell that I'll be there soon."
"Yes sir." He said and ran away.
"Prince Hans," I turned to him, "Are you sure you can do this?"
"Easy Duke, I almost accomplished it with Anna, but that was when I had the Eternal Winter to deal with, and I didn't expect certain things to happen." I explained.
"Well either way there won't be any surprises this time." The Duke of Wesselton said.
I nodded, "Yes, nothing will stand in our way this time." I began to walk toward the docks, "I can't allow my family or my country to know the truth."