The first thing Elsa noticed upon awaking was how much her head hurt! Never had she remembered ever having a headache this bad, of course it was currently hard for her to remember anything with her head throbbing like this! She kept her eyes closed while she tried to summon some ice to dull the pain, but to her surprise she was too weak to even form a snowflake, her muscles like warm jelly! That was when she noticed how warm it was, had she perhaps fallen asleep beside the fireplace? She immediately discounted that thought, as one of the servants would either have gotten her up and off to bed, or would have notified her parents so that they could. As she put her hands beneath her to try and leverage herself up, other sensations came to her, such as how hard and smooth the ground was beneath her, a residual moisture even now drying up upon it. In contrast was how rough the dress that she was currently wearing, to the point that it felt itchy where it came in contact with her skin.
When her headache started to die down to a dull throb, Elsa tried to force her eyes open as memories started to come back to her: The strange visitor named Julian, her parents' miraculous return, Julian's summoning his friends to protect her kingdom from the paranoid Duke, his parting gift to her during his heartbreaking farewell, then finally her heading off to bed when she'd felt the savage blow to the head!
As she finally blinked the blurriness out of her eyes, the full horror of her situation was made clear: she was in a cage! Barely tall enough for her to kneel in, had she the strength to do so, it appeared to be entirely made of metal, from the floor to the bars and ceiling. Judging by the gentle swaying motion she was experiencing, and the occasional tongue of flame she saw leap past the bottom of her cell, Elsa guessed that it must be hanging over a roaring fire!
Elsa's heart began to race as she started to imagine that she'd been kidnapped by savages who planned to cook her either as a sacrifice to their gods or to eat themselves. However, She soon discounted that as unlikely even though the fear she was feeling remained. For one thing, how could any savages have managed to get past her guards, let alone carry her past them again? In addition, neither the cage nor the room were the workmanship of such a people. From what she could see, the paneling appeared to be all wood with a large window giving her a spectacular view of the sea. Before it was situated a most extravagant desk and what looked like the perch for some sort of medium-sized bird. And while it might have simply been her lingering headache, Elsa could swear that the walls were not perfectly perpendicular but rather sloped, and that the ocean's horizon was not level but rather swaying gently back and forth.
As Elsa came to the conclusion that she was in the cabin of a ship, possibly even the Captain's own, she heard a gruff voice off to her left saying, "Ah, you're finally awake, your Highness! I am glad! I was beginning to fear that the men had been too rough in 'inviting' you onboard, then I would have had to kill the idiot responsible. You are much more useful while still breathing, you see."
As she turned to follow the sound of the voice, her head throbbing with the movement, she saw a grizzled man sitting in a chair near her cage. He was dressed in the style that she'd heard that some sailors from the Caribbean wore and had a large black hat resting on his head.
"Where…?" Elsa tried to ask, her parched throat grating painfully on the sound.
"You be on board the Jolly Roger miss," the man answered her, "My name is Black Adder, and I be the Captain of this magnificent ship and crew."
Elsa was sure that she'd never heard of the name Black Adder, but the name of the ship seemed uncomfortably familiar to her. Then it came to her how the flag used by certain groups was referred to as a Jolly Roger, but surely someone from that group would not go so far as to extend that name to their ship! Before she could stop herself, Elsa heard herself croak, "Pirates?"
"Please, miss, we prefer to think of ourselves as 'freelance entrepreneurs', seeking our fortunes on the high seas," Black Adder corrected. When he saw her cracked lips unconsciously smacking as she struggled to form words, he picked up a glass of water that had been set upon the floor beside him and offered it to her, saying, "Here, this should help. I'm afraid it's a mite warm, couldn't be helped, but it should cool your throat and wet your whistle."
As she took the glass from him, she could not help but think that he wasn't kidding about it being warm; the water seemed to be only a few degrees cooler than the cell she was in. However, it did indeed helped soothe the fires raging in her throat. While she gulped down the glass, the Captain added, "I apologize about your….'accommodations', miss, but we had heard about how talented your Majesty was, and we could not risk your leaving our company before you and I had a chance to parlay. Of course, if I had known you were going to sleep this long I might not have had the boys bother going to such lengths."
Elsa was confused by this. She had heard of one of the old pirate laws that they called "parlay", in which a rival or a potential victim may request to speak with the captain, and that one may not be harmed until said parlay is done. However, why would the captain himself want to request a parlay with her, especially considering that she was already kidnapped and apparently powerless to effect an escape?
Before she could give voice to her question, however, Elsa had glanced down and was shocked by what she was wearing. The beautiful gown that she had herself given form to had been replaced by a dress that looked as if it had been clumsily sewn from a cloth sack, much like the kind that potatoes or rice might be kept in.
"Ah, yes, the dress," the Captain continued as he saw that she had noticed it, "I feel that I must apologize about that too. You see, when the boys had set the temperature in your room, the dress you had on just melted right off of you, as if it were made of nothing more than ice and snow. Then again, given what I'd heard about you, I would suspect that was exactly the case. When it became apparent that your dignity was in danger, I forced my men to leave the cabin and didn't permit any of them to return save for my new cabin boy, whom I'd sent to fashion for you some coverings out of what we had. We're a little light on ladies' fashion a the moment, you see, having unloaded our haul at Tortuga mere weeks ago."
Elsa's heart skipped a beat as she remembered her pendant and her hand jumped up to where it had rested over her heart. To her great relief, it was still there.
"Yes, your shiny," the Captain acknowledged, "Quite a few of the boys had their eyes on that pretty thing around your neck, but I told them no. We had already took you from home and stripped you of your dignity, the least we men could do is leave you with that trinket."
Elsa felt herself blushing furiously and began to grow angry as she imagined all those leering eyes upon her as she laid there unconscious, her dress disappearing. She didn't know how much had remained of her original dress when she'd first transformed it with her powers, but judging by how much of her now felt itchy in her newest garment, there hadn't been much left.
Her blood rising, Elsa looked the captain in the eyes as she said, "Now listen, I have no idea why you possibly would want to speak with me, as I'm merely the victim in this case, and if you were looking to collect a ransom then all you'd need to do is send a letter to the palace…"
"Ah, I see where you're going with this," the Captain interrupted, "Rest assured, your Highness, we did not grab you for a mere ransom. We're actually after a much greater prize."
Elsa refused to be deterred as she countered, "I think that you underestimate my worth to my kingdom, Captain!"
"No, your Highness," the Captain countered back at her, "I think that it is you who underestimate your value to us. Perfectly understandable, I suppose, given that you don't yet know of the prize we're seeking."
"The tale begins with our stashing our latest haul in the caverns of our little island. Apparently the town that we raided took issue with our appearance, as they sent an entire fleet after us that tracked us down there. As we had been caught completely unawares, I had taken refuge down in those catacombs while my crew took flight in our ship to keep it from being sunk by those bootlickers. I guess most of the fleet chased after them, leaving only one ship of men to try and drag me from my sanctuary. Of course, most of those clumsy fools fell victim to my many traps, leaving only one man standing guard on his ship, who apparently felt it better to blow said ship to Davey Jones with him onboard rather than let the likes of me take charge of it."
"So there I was, stranded: no ship, no crew, not even any enemies I could torture. Were in not for the small stash of non-perishables we had stowed there, in addition to the natural bounty of the Island, I imagine I would not be here to tell ye my tale. As the days turned to weeks and began to blur together, I begun to think that the fleet had done my ship in, or that my crew had believed the same fate befell me, when they had finally returned with such a tale I had thought they driven to madness."
"They told me of a most wondrous island, one that wasn't on any charts, and that the fleet that had pursued them was supposedly unable to find. Once there, they had encountered such strange and wondrous creatures that they had begun to think themselves mad, and as I listened to them I was inclined to believe that they were right. My boatswain, James, who had at the time been named Captain in my absence, had encountered one of the natives of that island. Apparently she had done something wrong that had angered the other natives, so James had taken pity upon her and offered her his friendship, even going so far as to let her take charge of my men as if she were their new Captain. Of course, none of them could understand what she was saying in her strange language, but she was a clever little thing and communicated well enough through drawn pictures and hand gestures. In exchange, she gave them access to her people's greatest treasure! Finer than the softest sand, this fantastic dust would've given my men the ability to be the most powerful…er, 'entrepreneurs of the sea' in recorded history. Unfortunately, the other natives had found about it and convinced her to help them take it back from James and my boys. Of course the men did their best to defend what they had earned, but the natives' bag of tricks and that little one's treachery proved to be too much, and so my men had to leave practically empty handed."
"At first I did not believe their tale and was ready to have the lot of them flogged, but then James had demonstrated with a tiny bit of the dust that had gotten trapped in his pocket. I could not believe my eyes as the flail begun to defy gravity. I decided then that we had to go back to reclaim that treasure, but we needed to prepare beforehand as getting it would not be as easy as before."
"That is a fascinating tale," Elsa scoffed, "but I don't see what it has to do with why I'm here."
"Why, it has everything to do with it," the Captain explained, "You see, during his time on that island, James had learned that the natives are a mite sensitive to the cold. If you were to lead the way, then the natives wouldn't be able to do much to stop us from reclaiming the treasure, and we could send you back home that much sooner."
And there it was, the full ugly truth of it. She hadn't been grabbed because they wanted a ransom for her, she'd been kidnapped because of her powers, because they wanted her to use them against other living beings. Elsa did not for one instant truly believe the Captain's version of the story, that his men were the wronged parties, and even if it was true the thought of deliberately using her powers against others in anything other than self-defense sickened her. "No. No way, forget it!" Elsa said as she shook her head frantically, her eyes wide and filled with horror, "I won't do it!"
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that," the Captain said regretfully, briefly lifting his hat to scratch the hair underneath it, "and so too, I believe, would your sister be."
Elsa's heart stuttered and stopped with fright as she breathed, "Anna!"
"Yeah, she had been asking for you quite a bit, that is when she wasn't trying to beat the stuffing out of any of my men who dared to come to close of where she'd been chained up at," the Captain continued, "Quite the spitfire, that one. Now I don't like to have to resort to threats, as I find that rather unrefined, but I'm sure that you would like to see your sister again, and not just her head."
With that, what strength she had been regaining was gone, and her hand that had been close to grasping the pendant and summoning Julian here instead fell into her lap as she said, "Alright then, you win. I'll help you."
"Ah, that's my girl! I knew that we could be reasonable here!" the Captain said amiably as he reached through the bars and patted her hand, and Elsa couldn't even find the strength to shy away from the repulsive touch. They then both heard a knock at the door and a nasally voice spoke through it saying, "Captain? The lookout wanted me to report that the island is now in sight."
"Very good, tell the men I'll be right there, Smee," the Captain answered back, then he turned to Elsa and said, "That was the cabin boy I'd told you about. I have to go now to begin making preparations, but I'll have the men come by later on to lower the temperature in your room, so that you can begin to get your strength back for this operation. You aren't going to cause any trouble when they do, are you?"
Elsa could only bring herself to shake her head no. Satisfied, the Captain smiled at her as he left the room. When she could not hear him anymore, Elsa lowered her face into her hands and began to sob as she reflected on the events of her life; she nearly killed her sister twice, had lost her parents, then her kingdom had gotten invaded just as she got her parents back, and now she and her sister had been kidnapped by pirates and are facing death at their hands if she does not use her powers to help them steal a treasure that might make them unstoppable. Elsa decided right then and there that if they got through this, then she was done. She would ask her parents to either take back the crown or pass it on down to Anna, she didn't care either way as long as it wasn't her; Arendelle didn't need a cursed Queen such as her. It seemed to Elsa that, even with her in full control of her powers, that they seemed destined to do nothing but bring pain and misery to those around her.
Elsewhere, Tinkerbell is showing her best friend Terrance her latest invention that she had made for him: a special cup that quickly and evenly distributes pixie dust over a wide area when the crank on the side of the handle is turned. As Terrance examined the device, Tink couldn't help but think of the question that her newly-discovered sister Periwinkle had asked her last year: whether or not Terrance was her "boyfriend". Even now Tinkerbell did not know how to answer that question. Up until then she'd merely thought of him as her best friend, but she could not deny that she enjoyed his company in a way that was different than how she liked to hang out with her other friends like Fawn and Rosetta, and even different than how she liked her other male friends and fellow tinkers Clank and Bobble.
Tink could also not deny that she greatly wanted to impress him with her cleverness and tinker talent, even more so than any other fairy in Pixie Hollow, and that she often got flustered when an invention did not work out as planned when she's demonstrating it to him. She had not thought much of these quirks in her personality, nor about how Terrance often differed to her about things, or even about the way that she felt badly after she lost her cool (as she has been known to do) and wound up in a fight with him about anything. Now Perri had Tink thinking that her friendship with him might possibly be something more, yet she could never find the moment or the courage to talk to him about it.
Thankfully, the pixie dust spreader did not jam, fall apart, or even make a big mess like Tink feared it might, but instead worked just as she had designed it to. Of course, she had to give some credit to her newest friend Zarina, a dustkeeper fairy like Terrance who liked experimenting as much as Tink, and whose input had proven invaluable during this project. However, before Tink could find out what Terrance's opinion was on this newest invention, an unexpected visitor suddenly flew in through the door, her appearance acting like a cold wind putting a damper on the occasion.
Vidia had never been the most friendly member of Tink's circle of friends. In fact, for a while it seemed that Vidia' s cold and biting personality, her disdain of the tinker fairies' ability as a "true talent", and her jealousy over the fact that Tink's potential with her talent had shined brighter than Vida's with her own, seemed destined to make her and Tink bitter enemies. All that changed one summer when Vidia, trying to teach Tink a lesson about how dangerous her curious nature was, inadvertently got Tink "captured" by the human girl Elizabeth Griffins and led Tink's friends in an effort to rescue her. During the course of that rescue, Vidia herself got captured by Lizzie's scientist father while saving Tink from the same fate, and Tink led her friends to help Lizzie stop her father from turning Vidia over to his colleagues to be treated as a specimen.
Since that day, she and Vidia had a friendship of sorts. Vidia was still rather biting and sarcastic, and she apparently still didn't think much of the tinkers' "talent" (a fact that showed itself to still be relevant when Vidia had temporarily became a tinker fairy following the interruption of the Four Seasons Festival), but Tink could tell that Vidia cares in her own unique way. Despite this, Tink could not think of a single reason why Vidia would come and seek her out, unless Tink had done something wrong that needed fixing (and she swears that she hadn't….recently.)
Before Tink could decide how she wanted to ask Vidia why she came here, Vidia said hurriedly in a frantic tone that made her sound out-of-breath, "Tink….the pirates….they're back!"
With those words Vidia made Tink recall the previous time the pirates in question had appeared, and how they had nearly brought disaster to Pixie Hollow. Without another word Tink flew past Vidia out the door, with Vidia and Terrance following closely behind. It wasn't long before they were joined by Tink's other friends: Iridessa, Fawn, Rosetta, Silvermist, and Zarina.
"We came as soon as we heard!" Sil said as she joined them, not sounding her usual cool and collected self.
"Why on earth did they come back?" Fawn asked frantically.
"Yeah, didn't those ol' boys get enuff humiliation the last time we sent them packin'?" Rose added.
"Well, whatever the reason, I'm gonna make James and his men regret that they ever even thought of returning to Neverland!" Zarina said angrily, grinding her hand into her palm.
Zarina's tone brought Tinkerbell up short, and all her friends stopped with her as Tink said, "Uh, Zarina, I think that it would be best of you went back to Queen Clarion and…"
"What!?" Zarina interrupted, looking taken-aback and sounding insecure, "Tink, don't you trust me?"
Tink knew what she was referring to: during the Four Seasons Festival, it was Zarina who had helped the pirates steal the blue pixie dust (upon which all fairy life depends) when they'd taken her in (after she'd run away when one of her experiments went wrong) and supposedly made her their Captain. It was only later that they'd learned that James the "cabin boy" had lied to Zarina about their friendship, that he'd been serving as the pirates' captain all along, and that they'd only been using her to get their hands on the dust.
No, without a doubt Tink didn't believe that she'd betray them to the pirates again. However, rather than telling her the real reason she didn't want Zarina along for the investigation, Tink said instead, "Of course I trust you, Zarina, which is why we need you to go back to Queen Clarion and warn her that the pirates are here, and to stay with her to make sure that she and the Pixie Dust Tree stay safe. If the pirates are after the pixie dust again, then those two are sure to be their primary targets. Meanwhile. I'm going to take the others to snoop around their ship, to see if we can find out exactly what their plans are this time."
"I…I'm sorry, Tink," Zarina said abashedly, "You're right, I don't know what I was thinking."
"It's all right, I do understand," Tink assured her as she placed a hand on her shoulder, "but we have to go into this thing with both eyes open. We can't always rely on being lucky. So make sure that the Queen stays safe and we'll let you know what we learned when we get back. Then we can make sure that James pays together."
"Of course, thank you!" Zarina said gratefully, then she flew off quickly towards the giant tree.
Once Zarina was out of earshot, Dess said quietly to Tink, "Don't you trust Zarina?"
Tink looked her friend in the eyes as she confessed, "I trust her to not make the same mistakes as before, but I'm afraid that her anger over James's betrayal may be clouding her judgment, which is not the best state of mind to have upon entering a stealthy infiltration mission."
"You're right, Tink," Vidia said wryly, "One hothead in our group is more than enough on this mission!"
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" Tink said defensively, quite aware of what Vidia meant. However, Vidia flew off laughing rather than answering, and Tink and the others followed her out to where the Jolly Roger was anchored.
As Tink and the others caught up to her, Vidia waved them over to the large window set in the ship's aft side as she whispered loudly, "Guys, come take a look at this!"
As Tink went over to look into the Captain's cabin along with the others, the first thought that went through Tink's head was that the pirates had captured a winter fairy, ripped off her wings, and stuffed her into a cage that hung over a cage by a chain over an open fire, for that's what the sobbing young woman appeared like to her. However, as Tink compared the cage to its surroundings, Tink figured that she must be human as she was much too large to be a fairy of either type. Still, even with her limited exposure to humans, Tink could not get over the initial notion that she was somehow one of them, for she had never known any human that young to have hair that white.
"Who is she?" Sil asked her friends.
"What is she" added Fawn.
"Well, apparently she's no fashionista," Rose criticized, "I mean, would y'all look at that dress she's wearing!"
"Rose!" Dess chided her, "I don't think that she dressed herself in that! Obviously the pirates stuffed her in that frock when they grabbed her!"
"Oh! Of course!" Rose said as she chuckled, sounding both embarrassed and abashed, "I knew that."
"Well, whoever she is, she's apparently in trouble," Tink said as she took charge, "so I say that we save any debates over who and what she is for until after we get her out of here. Agreed?" When the others nodded their agreement, Tink reached her arm in through the crack in the window sill to unlatch the hook holding it closed, then the others helped her pull the window open enough for them all to slip inside.
Apparently the young woman must have either heard something or felt the shift in temperature, for as Vidia followed the last of them in the young woman lifted her tear streaked face as she called out, "Who's there?"
"Hi," Tink called out, "Sorry if we startled you. My name is Tinkerbell, this here is Iridessa, and over here…."
Tink trailed off as the young woman's face clouded over in confusion. "Tink, I don't think she understands us," Dess said as she stated the obvious, "She must be a human, despite her….wintery appearance."
"Of course," Tink said in realization, then she turned back to the girl as she said with a fair amount of gesturing, "I know you might not understand what I'm saying, but we are going to get you out of here." Then, over to her friends, Tink said, "Sil, could you get this fire out while I work on this lock?"
"On it," Sil acknowledged as she turned back towards the window.
While it was apparent that the girl could not understand what Tink and her friends were saying, it soon became apparent through their actions what their intent was. However, her response was the last one that Tink or the others would have ever expected.
"Wait, stop!" the girl cried out so suddenly and loudly that Tink had lost her grip on the tumbler and would have fallen into the fire if the girl hadn't reached through the bars to catch her. Sil, on the other had, had lost her grip in the glob of seawater floating above her, which had fallen directly on her and got her so soaked that she ended up falling to the floor, her wings too wet to let her fly.
The girl glanced fearfully at the door, then when nobody came through she lowered her voice to a whisper and said, "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you. Are you guys okay?" When both Tink and Sil nodded yes, the girl continued, "Thank goodness. Listen, I guess you guys are fairies, and that can understand me even tough I can't understand you, and I get that you're trying to rescue me for whatever reason, but you can't. Please?"
"What?" Tink said in astonishment, "Why not?"
"The pirates, you see," the girl continued, "they didn't just grab me but my younger sister as well…"
"Your sister!?" Tink yelped as she fluttered back in surprise.
"…and if I don't stay here and do as they say, then they're going to kill her!" the girl continued, her voice breaking on the last word as she dissolved into sobs.
"No!" Sil cried out.
"Those monsters!" Fawn growled angrily.
"Oh my, hon," Rose said in concern, "This 'ere's quite the pickle!"
"I'll say!" Vidia agreed as she turned to Tink and asked, "How do you think we should proceed..?" Vidia trailed off as she saw that Tink's face had turned a shade of red that she had never seen before, even when Tink had been at her angriest.
"Tink?" Vidia said in concern just as Tink raced out the window, yelling, "EveryoneStayWithHerI'llBeRightBack!"
"Tink!" Vidia called out to her, but Tink had flown past the side of the window and vanished from sight.
"Yep!" Terrance commented casually, as if this was something he'd been expecting, "There she goes!"
Vidia growled in frustration, then she turned to the others and said, "Terrance, could you help Sil get her wings dried while she makes sure the girl gets plenty of fresh water? The fire should help them dry faster." When they both nod in agreement, Vidia turned to the rest and continued, "The rest of you keep out of sight in case anyone else comes in. I'm going to reign in our tinker before she gets us all discovered and captured." Then Vidia flew out the window as well.
At first Vidia was hopeful that Tink had went straight to Pixie Hollow in order to get some more help, but when she saw no sign of her Vidia turned her attention back to the ship where she spotted Tink zipping from porthole to porthole. Vidia caught up to Tink just as she was about to look into the last porthole on the starboard side.
"Tink!" Vidia whispered fiercely, "What are you doing!?"
"I'm trying to see if I can find either that girl's sister or that no-good, turncoat…" Tink finished as she looked into the porthole that she'd reached, "Ah, speak of the silver-tongued devil!"
Vidia looked through the porthole as well and, indeed, saw that James was in the room along with most of the pirates they'd seen before, in addition to some new faces.
When Vidia spotted Tink furiously trying to open the porthole, she tackled Tink and pinned her to the side of the ship. "Have you lost your mind!?" Vidia furiously whispered at Tink.
"I'm going to give that James a piece of my mind, and I'll make him tell me where the girl's sister is!" Tink whispered back at her.
"Like he'd understand anything you said anyway!" Vidia countered back, "Let's just listen, okay!? That'll get us information faster than you going and getting us busted!"
Tink grunted angrily as she conceded, "Fine!" Then they both put their ears to the ship and listened to the raucous laughter coming from inside.
As one of the only men joining in the laughter, James was sulking as one of the new faces amongst the crew, a slightly rotund man who was also not laughing but was still smiling as he approached James and said, "Aw, cheer up, Jimmy! I'm sure that the Captain will let you go on the next raid!"
"You don't understand, Smee, as you were just brought on by the Captain as the new cabin boy, but I was the Captain once!" James said back to him, "In fact it was thanks to me that the Captain had found this place to begin with, and I know this island better than anyone on board! I should be allowed to go!"
"You only served as a substitute Captain," one of the other pirates said back at him, "and a rather poor substitute at that! You're just lucky that the Captain had taken a shine to your idea of coming back here for that dust, and that he kept you on as his Boatswain instead of dumping you on some nowhere island. Preferably one infested with scorpions!"
As the laughter in the room grew louder than ever, Tink muttered, "So he wasn't even the real captain? Huh, figures! What had that sleazoid not lied about?"
"Tink! Shhh!" Vidia shushed her and they both began to listen again.
"Instead of ragging on me," James angrily exclaimed, "why don't you layabouts go and check on the other girl!?"
The laughter grew even louder as Smee asked, "What other girl?"
"The sister of the one the Captain is keeping toasty in his room!" James explained, apparently unaware of what all the laughing was about.
"And that, Jimmy, is why you ain't Captain no more!" another pirate responded, "There ain't no other girl!"
"What!?" James said in surprise, "You louts didn't grab her!?"
"Are you mad, James? The guards were all over the place by the time we got this one!" another pirate retorted, "Even if we could have gotten past them to grab the other bird, they would have sent every ship they had after us, chased us to the ends of the earth! By leaving them one bird in hand, we made sure that they had to waste time and men making sure that other one stayed safe, and what few ships they sent after us we lost easily! Anyway, we got the talented one, and so long as she thinks we got her sister she'll do whatever we say!"
"But as soon as she learns that we lied, then all bets go out the window and we'll be on the receiving end of her wrath!" James countered back
"Which is why she ain't finding out!" another pirate argued, "She does this one job for us, then we knock her out, chain her up, then send her down to Davy Jones!"
As the laughter resumed, Vidia saw by the reflection of the porthole that Tink's face was turning red again and reached out to grab Tink's arm before she could try to open the porthole again.
"Vidia!" Tink said in protest, "Didn't you just hear what those monsters said!?"
"I did!" Vidia confirmed, "Which is why we need to get back to the cabin and let the girl know so she'll let us get her out of here!"
Slowly Tink's face resumed its regular shade as she exhaled and said "You're right, Vidia, let's go!"
They then flew off back towards the aft of the ship. As a result, the did not see James look over at the porthole just moments after they left it, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
As Tink and Vidia got back to the cabin, they saw Terrance trying to fan Sil's wings dry while the girl was turning down a levitated globule of water, saying, "Thank you, but I've had plenty now. You guys should go, though, before the Captain gets back and does anything to hurt you!"
Vidia, who apparently could keep quiet any longer, burst into the room saying, "Guys, you won't believe this, but it turns out that James isn't the Captain of this ship after all! He had only been filling in for the real Captain while he was away!"
"Don't tell me that it really was Zarina after all!" exclaimed Terrance.
"I don't think so," Vidia replied, "The pirates referred to their Captain as a 'he' after all."
"But that's not what's important!" interrupted Tink, "The pirates had lied about having the girl's sister captive in order to gain her cooperation, and once she does whatever she'd promised to do they're going to kill her!"
"No!" Fawn exclaimed.
"We have to get her out of here!" added Dess.
"Well, good luck with that," said Rose in dismay, "We've been talking to 'er ever since you two took off, and even though she seems to find our presence comforting, she doesn't seem to understand us any better now than she did when we first showed up 'ere."
"Leave that to me!" Tink offered, "I've had plenty of experience talking to Lizzie, I should be able to get this girl to understand." Then once she had made sure she had the girl's undivided attention, Tink gestured towards the girl, then lowered her left hand down till it was about chest high, as if her palm was resting on something rounded.
"My sister…" the girl guessed.
"Yes!" Tink confirmed, then she lowered herself until she was hovering in a prone position, as if she were asleep.
"…is dead!?" the girl exclaimed in dismay.
"No, no, no!" Tink said frantically as she sprung back up, waving her hands before her.
"Good job, Master!" Vidia said sarcastically, "You really must teach that to me sometime!"
"Shut up, Vidia!" Tink replied to her, "She's just keyed up about her sister, that's all. There must be a better way to get her to…got it!"
Tink the flew over to the Captain's desk. Then, after wrestling the log book open, Tink tore a blank page out of it, then tore a square section out of that page and began to fold it. When she flew back in front of the girl, Tink was wearing a paper sailor's hat that she'd made. She then placed one hand over her eye and made the meanest face she could manage.
"The pirates?" the girl guessed again.
Tink shook her head yes, then she hovered in the prone position again.
"…are sleeping?" she guessed.
"No," Tink said as she shook her head, then she resumed her prone position, while making sure that the girl could see that her eyes were open.
"…are lying down to sleep?" the girl amended.
Tink shook her head, then she slowly brought her two index fingers closer together, shortening the distance between them.
"…are lying down?" the girl amended again.
Tink repeated the shortening motion with her hands again.
"…are lying?" the girl tried again.
"Yes!" Tink confirmed with jubilation.
"The pirates lied about having my sister hostage?" the girl guessed.
"You got it!" Tink confirmed again.
The girl looked pensive again as she muttered to herself, "Of course the pirates lied! What did you expect, Elsa?" Then she turned back to Tink and asked, "But what of my sister? Do you know what had happened to her?"
Tink nodded yes, then went back over to the desk. After another moment spent tearing and folding, she then had given hats to most of the others. After handing her own hat to Terrance, he and Vidia were now wearing pirate hats, with Vidia glaring daggers at her, while Fawn, Dess and Rose were wearing hats that were more rounded and came to a peak. Only Tink and Sil were left not wearing a hat. Then Tink had Terrance sling her over his shoulder, and he and Vidia were chased across the desk by Rose, Fawn and Dess, away from Sil.
"I should make you walk the plank, Tink, making me a pirate!" Vidia growled at Tink, who giggled as she was unable to stay in character.
"So you're saying that the guards had chased the pirates away before the could grab my sister too?" the girl hazarded.
"That's it exactly!" Tink said proudly as she nodded, then to the others she added, "Isn't she smart?"
Then, as they watched, the girl underwent a change. It wasn't a physical transformation, more like something changed within her; Despair was replaced by hope, fear was replaced by courage, helplessness was replaced by determination. As she drew herself up as much as she could considering her small cell, the young woman assumed a bearing that, to Tink's eyes, appeared almost regal. "Okay fairies," the young woman asked in a voice that was stronger than her body apparently was, "get me out of here, please."
Tink and the others needed no further encouragement, as Tink went back to work on the lock while Sil and Vidia worked together to put out the fire; Sil by dousing it with water and Vidia by removing the air around the blaze. The flame was mere embers around the time that a loud click was heard and the cage door swung open. As the girl gingerly lowered herself down from the cage, Rose saw that she was barefoot and caused some shoots to sprout up from the planks in the floor and wrap themselves around the girl's feet, giving her what appeared to be a pair of green woven slippers.
As the girl wobbled and her legs threatened to give out from under her, Tink was afraid that she wouldn't be able to walk, let alone run. However, her strength seemed to return to her more and more with each tentative step she took. "Okay, girls, we need to try and find all of us a way out of here," Tink said as she flew over to where Sil was standing up on the desk, "Are your wings dry enough to fly yet, Sil?"
"I think so," Sil answered uncertainly as she tried to flutter up with only marginal success.
"Here," Tink said as she put Sil's arm around her shoulders, "let me help."
Just then a figure burst through the door and something swung down towards the desk, and Tink and Sil found themselves caught in a fishing net on a pole. As the figure twisted the net in his hand to close the opening, and he lifted it up to his face, Tink saw that it was James! A cruel smile playing upon his face, James said in a satisfied tone, "I thought I'd heard the tinkle of little fairy intruders! I'm almost sorry that other fairy did not come with you, I would have loved to have paid her back for the pain and humiliation her betrayal had caused me! At least, now, the Captain will have to…" James trailed off as he saw out of the corner of his eye that the cage that had held their prisoner was now empty, its fire out, its door wide open. Directing his full attention upon it, James asked in disbelief, "What in the name of…?"
Vidia took full advantage of James distraction by flying at full speed and ramming him in the abdomen with her shoulder, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to loosen his grip enough on the net to allow Tink and Sil to fly out of it. Just as they emerged, however, Tink saw a sight that caused her to freeze in astonishment, and judging by the looks on her friends' faces she wasn't alone in that.
The girl, who was now perched up by the open rear window, had a fierce look upon her face as she aimed both open palms at James and unleashed a blast of power at the floor that covered it entirely in ice. James, who'd still been hunched over from Vidia's attack, now found himself slipping and sliding as he tried to not fall.
"Girls!" Tink asked them in wide-eyed astonishment, "Are you seeing this?"
As they watched, the young woman had a snowball form in her hand, which she then hurled with enough force into James' face that his head flew backwards with the momentum and his feet flew forward out from under him, resulting in him landing hard upon his back.
"Seein', darlin'," Rose said in a dumbstruck tone, "Still workin' on belevin'!"
As the dazed James fought a losing battle to remain conscious, Elsa said to him in a firm and angry tone, "You can tell your Captain that the deal is off!" Then she leapt out of the window.
"No!" Tink screamed as she and the others flew over there, convinced that the last that they'd see of the girl was her sinking beneath the waves, her tired muscled unable to keep her afloat. Instead, they saw her unleash another blast of power that turned the surface of the water at the ship's aft to ice, a pile of snow cushioning her fall. Then she sprinted across towards the edge of the ice floe, the surface of the water turning to ice the instant her foot made contact.
"Maybe she really is a winter fairy!" a stunned Sil hypothesized.
As she heard the sounds of a commotion drawing ever nearer to the door, Tink said, "I don't know, but I suggest we follow her example! Come on!"
As they caught up to the girl, Tink and the others were panting and out of breath, and for all her displays of power the girl also looked ready to drop. However, no sooner did they reach the shore did Tink and the others hear the loud clanging of an alarm bell coming from the ship.
"Well," Rose said sardonically, "I guess those boys realize they don't have their prisoner no mo'!"
"We need to get her hidden in the jungle until she's strong enough to follow us into Pixie Hollow," Tink announced as she grabbed ahold of the girl and tried to guide her. However, as the others joined in to try and help, it became apparent the young woman wasn't done. As she raised her hands into the air, beads of sweat raising up on her forehead, a swirl of cold air surrounded her that caused Tink and her other warm fairy friends instinctively back away from her, then the watched as the ice bridge that had formed during her headlong flight across the water started to break up and dissolve into the air. All except for the portion by the ship, that is: that section grew and surrounded the ship even as it climbed up the sides, only stopping when it had enclosed the life rafts and extended the railing into a wall that was taller than the tallest man. Then she hit the sails with another blast of power that froze them in place. Finally, with an effort that seemed to be taking what little strength she had left, the woman summoned a huge arctic wind that turned the vessel away from Neverland , snapped the anchor from its chain, and sent the vessel to quickly recede over the horizon. Finally, when the ship was little more than a dot, the girl collapsed into unconsciousness.
"Is….Is she…?" Fawn stammered in concern.
Tink put her ear to the girl's chest, then she sighed and smiled as she said, "She's out cold, but I think that she's going to be all right."
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank goodness." Fawn said gratefully.
"That's a relief!" breathed Sil.
"Well, now that that's over, that brings us back to our original question;" interjected Dess, "Just who and what is she?"
"I don't know, but I know where to start," Tink said as she turned to Terrance, "Do you still have that thing I made for you?"
"Sure, Tink!" Terrance said as he unclipped the cup-device from his belt and handed it over to her. Then she held the cup out towards her friends as she said, "Okay everyone, we're going to need to pool together what little pixie dust we have left in order to make this work!"
As everyone poured their dust into Tink's cup, Vidia asked, "Just what is it that you're going to do?"
As Tink cranks the handle and covers her in a fine blanket of pixie dust, the girl begins to float as Tink explains, "We're going to get her over to Pixie Hollow and to Queen Clarion. If there's anybody who can help us find the answers we need, and who can get this girl the help she needs, it's her!"