Moving Towards Negativity
The Queen nodded in approval, observing Turbo's improved fighting skills as he sliced, clawed, and ran down her card guards in practice. They had been working closely for some time now, the Queen having become more and more intrigued by his mannerisms and his way of speaking. She was well aware he was from a time beyond hers, and began to understand that there was an opportunity to learn more from him for this reason, as much as what she could teach him would prove valuable. When he finished off the last card guard, she approached him slowly, tapping her chin for a moment before smirking.
"I believe you are now well prepared for combat." She said after a small pause.
"Jeez, finally! I've been working my rear end off here!" Turbo said, some cybugs clicking as they scurried towards him. "Rosie, get me a milkshake, code knows I need it!"
The Queen rolled her eyes playfully then. "Indeed, I am quite impressed by your progress." She took a step closer. "Your hunger for power is finally paying off."
"It'll pay off when I wring the code from that little glitch's throat and I win every trophy in the universe, queenie." Turbo said. "Speaking of which, I could really go for a drive right now… I miss that, just going out for a spin like there wasn't a care in the world." He glanced over at the Queen then, smirking when he had a sudden idea. "Say… you've never been in a car, have you?"
The Queen raised a brow. "I cannot say that I have… we do not have these motorized contraptions in England, it is unknown to the time I am derived from."
"Yeah well, time to get with the twentieth century, lady! How about I take you for a drive?" Turbo asked.
The Queen stared at him with a hint of bewilderment. "Excuse me?"
"No excuse for ya, queenie! Come on, we've been doing all work and no play. We could use a break, don't you think?" Turbo said.
The Queen narrowed her eyes warily, glancing over to see the others working, practicing… and she still had that root to analyze. She could not deny, however, that Turbo had a point, and she could not deny her weariness. She exhaled slowly, giving him a nod. "Very well, we shall do a short turn about the mountain but that is all. And preferably the western end, if those within the forest witness us out an about, they may decide to launch an attack."
"You know, you worry too much, queenie… you've gotta learn to live a little!" Turbo said, moving towards one of the vehicles that had been melded and constructed by himself and the cybugs, with the card guards and Maharaja's minions helping with some of the labor. With his cybug form, it was quite big, and despite its unique configurations, it was still a bit awkward to maneuver; but Turbo was an expert, and he was able to overcome those small obstacles. He motioned his head to the Queen, reaching over to unlock and open the door. "Step on in! Plenty of room."
The Queen nodded, taking a seat as Turbo reached over to pull her door closed. He revved the engine, smirking at her as she rolled her eyes at him, unamused by his narcissistic antics. He drove up and over the peak of the concave, the Queen gripping the side of the car as they sped down.
"Do you seek to have us both prematurely expire?!" The Queen screeched.
"Hey, relax! You're in the hands of an expert! Just enjoy the ride!" Turbo laughed, spinning the wheel as he kicked up dirt and dust behind them.
As time went on, the Queen became less anxious, beginning to enjoy the cool breeze blowing through her short hair and comforting her exposed skin. The sensation was soothing, at one point allowing herself to relax to the point where she rested her head back, closing her eyes. Turbo noticed this when he finally was relieved by the lack of her screaming and shouting, smiling lightly as he realized he was enjoying herself because SHE was enjoying herself. After all the toiling, the working, the fighting, he knew they both needed this. Since he had met the Queen, not once did he ever witness her not being tense, constantly vigilant and alert, persevering, pushing and pushing. For the first time since he had jumped into this maddening world head first, he was seeing the Queen let down her guard, let herself go.
He smirked to himself; he still had that charm, he thought.
Turbo began to feel an inkling of that glory he used to know in the old days; back in the beginning when kids would flock to his game in droves to pour in their quarters; more quarters meant more trophies for him, and he basked in the spotlight of his fame. All of that changed of course, when another game was plugged in; he dared not even say the name lest it made his blood boil. He never thought he could be outshined by anyone, and the fact that he had been made him the angriest of all.
In this moment however, he felt like he was on top of the world. He looked out into the horizon, not a single individual in sight. Yes, this space belonged to just the two of them in this moment, this was his road to dominate. It was not just the space between two lines, it was wherever he chose to go. The taste of this freedom was sweet, and he was going to savor every last bit of it.
What he didn't realize, that right beside him, the Queen liked the taste of freedom as well.
In this moment, free from responsibility, duty, unfulfilled tasks, she felt as light as air. She never thought she would ever come to enjoy fresh air in her lungs, having been so accustomed to dank, putrid air for her entire existence. She cracked her eyes open to glance over at Turbo, smirking lightly as he cried out into the night from his enjoyment. She couldn't deny that his personality was beginning to rub off on her, that she was beginning to secretly enjoy that he wasn't stiff, standoffish, hard like she was.
And in secret, she was beginning to like this new experience.
When Turbo finally slowed to a stop, he took in a deep breath, glancing over at her.
"Hey… want to give it a try?" He asked after a few moments of silence.
The Queen was taken off guard by this question, widening her eyes for a moment. "And what would I gain by learning how to control this… mechanical instrument?"
"Always have to be so uptight…" Turbo sighed, getting out of the car. "Move over, rover." He went around to the other side, climbing in on the passenger's side as the Queen slid over into the driver's seat, all while shooting him a look. "You know what your problem is? You're too narrow-minded."
"Am I, now?" The Queen asked, glaring at him.
"You only see the road, what's right in front of you. You don't see anything BEYOND that. You know what I see? I see the crowd cheering me on all around me… I see the home stretch to the finish line. I see my other racers, most time in my rearview mirror eating my dust… and I see that beautiful trophy waiting for my hands to take it." He sighed blissfully. "You're just blah blah blah, do this now, do that now, all work and never just enjoying the atmosphere… the wind blowing on your face, the thrill of it all… you save it all to the end. Why wait? Why not enjoy yourself now?" Turbo asked.
"Because it isn't a productive use of my time." The Queen replied. "Just as this isn't a productive use of my time."
"But you liked it, didn't you?" Turbo smirked when she didn't answer right away. "Come on, you can't deny that I've still got it. Trust me, queenie, at my prime, everyone wanted a piece of this. There wasn't a day I didn't come back home with one of those kissy marks on my cheek or something."
The Queen widened her eyes in alarm. "Are you implying that this is some sort of courting ritual?!"
"Wait, what? No! It's- okay. You really need to stop taking everything so seriously." Turbo shook his head. "Let me just teach you this already… code knows it would do you some good to get you out and about some of the time."
"Oh, very well, if you insist…" The Queen hissed. "Instruct me quickly so that I may attend to more important matters."
"Okay, okay… neurotic broad…" He muttered the last part of that statement. "… so first, you have to start the car up by pressing that button there. Simple enough, right? Now, put your… well, put pressure on the break there, gently… with your foot or tentacle or whatever… and then you have to switch the gears here." Turbo explained to her what each gear was, knowing the Queen was not a stupid… whatever she was. She was a quick learner, too. "Okay, so just press down on the gas petal- woah!" The car lurched forward, surprising both he and the Queen as her breathing quickened. "… GENTLY." Turbo emphasized.
"This accursed contraption…" The Queen hissed. She bit her lip as she gripped the wheel, doing as he told her, but tried to jerk the wheel back and forth to get the car to turn.
"No no, you actually TURN it. Like this." Turbo corrected her, reaching over to put his hands on hers to show her. She blinked, stiffening a bit at the contact but maintained well on her own once it was broken.
"Ah… almost like the wheel of a ship…" She breathed, nodding slowly as she began to drive a bit better.
"Yeah, a ship, whatever… look, you're doing fine already, you see?" Turbo asked. "You had been such a big baby about it and look at you now. Maybe you'll be almost as good as I am someday." He smirked.
The Queen didn't answer right away, focusing on just getting the hang of this whole driving thing now that she was somewhat into it. After some time, she knew what to do, and it came easier to her. The ride became less jerky, her turns smoother, smirking to herself. "I could imagine myself now… colliding into Alice or Elsa with this piece of machinery would more than likely be fatal."
"You catch on quick; I have to say that, queenie. Now we can both make our glitches road kill." He laughed, sighing lightly when the Queen slowed to a stop. "Now, don't you feel much better after a nice relaxing ride than cooping yourself up all day with nonstop work?"
"I'm not going to entertain that question." The Queen said, rolling her eyes as Turbo chuckled.
"I'll take that as a yes." Turbo said quietly to himself.
The Queen made her way back into the mountain, stopping when she reached her area to take the bottle containing the root Hans had found into her hand. She undid the cork, slitting her wrist and biting her lip as she allowed some of her blood to drip into the bottle. She placed the cork back on, closing her eyes as she allowed her blood to settle around the plant inside. Clasping the bottle in her hand, she began to see in her mind the source of the plant; she could feel its growth back in the forest, how it was nursed daily… but by what? The question, the Queen realized, soon became whom, not what; she closed her eyes tighter, concentrating deeper as the source of the growth was revealed.
She observed her form, looking deeper into her past as the shaky, blurred visions continued to move in reverse. She seemed to reside in the forest of her own creation alone, the forest shrinking more and more until she was seen interacting with Pitch and another young girl, perplexing the Queen. She then saw the guardians in a battle from long ago; Emily saving North in the final battle against Maharaja and his forces, speaking to Sandy and agreeing to use her winds to help him just that once. She saw her ascend into the sky, having been trapped in a star that had plunged into the Earth as it was guided by Sandy. Things began to move backwards at a faster pace then; her banishment by Typhan after she destroyed an innocent ship in a blind fury, how she grew up under his care, how she was taken in after something apparently traumatic. She then saw the now small child living in a palace of marble, nurtured by a woman with hair as light as moonbeams... a man approached her, regarding her as his precious emerald as he spun her around in his arms. The Queen's eyes snapped open, gasping for air as the bottle dropped from her hands, glass shattering as blood leaked out, the small portion of vine no longer writhing within its glass container. As it lay motionless, the Queen shook her head slowly.
"No… it cannot be… she cannot be his… daughter…" The Queen breathed, gritting her teeth then as she cried out, slamming her fists down as she gripped the edge of the flat rock she used as a table in that particular spot. She hissed to herself, her expression darkening considerably. "Oh, she shall be destroyed… but I must execute this carefully… oh, so carefully, yes…" She muttered, turning to sit upon the rock as the broken glass and blood rested on the ground beneath her feet.
There was much scheming to be done.
Eliza giggled as she and Gustav headed into town, the young boy telling her more stories of his Viking adventures. They had just finished up another morning of dragon riding. Eliza had improved her skills considerably, she and Gustav having bonded and become close friends in the process. However, Gustav also had garnered a bit of an audience from the children from town, a flock of them meeting the young Viking each day to hear his stories. It was a pleasant change for Gustav, going from no one giving him a second thought and blowing him off back in Berk to being nothing short of a celebrity in Arendelle. There was no denying that he basked in the attention, but also began to see that the children weren't exactly happy that he spent a lot of time with Eliza. They would rather he spent that time showing off more tricks on his dragon, entertaining them with his display of fighting skills and tales from his village than spending his time solely on Eliza. Gustav felt torn; he had come to like Eliza, and the same could be said for her towards him, but he also liked the new friends he had made of the children in town.
He also remembered he had made a promise to Hiccup… and as he noticed, her condition had improved from their growing closeness.
Evening was setting in, and with all that had been going on and everyone's tensions had been running high, Rapunzel had an idea to put together a small festival. It would be small enough to avoid compromising security, but would hopefully still boost everyone's morale.
Once they entered the castle, Eliza went to her bedroom, opening her wardrobe to look for a nice dress to wear for that evening. As she did so, she heard a knock at the door, glancing back to see Anna in the doorway.
"May I come in?" She asked.
"… you may." Eliza replied, turning back to look through her wardrobe. Anna sighed lightly as she sat at the edge of her bed, looking over at the teenaged girl.
"Eliza… I know you're still a bit upset at all of us… but I just want you to know that we all love you… the guardians included." Anna said.
"… then why do I believe that you feel differently?" Eliza asked.
"Because there's a lot going on right now… it's hard for us to keep you, this kingdom, safe and running smoothly, and focus on your feelings. It isn't that we don't care… we do." Anna said.
Eliza turned around fully then, looking at Anna for a moment before slowly going over to sit next to her. Anna hugged her shoulders with one arm, sighing lightly.
"I want things to go back to the way they were. Olaf and Wick and I would play each afternoon. I was able to do different activities with everyone, have fun. I feel like no one pays me any attention anymore. I'm just afraid to be sent away again." Eliza said.
"None of us will ever do that. We love you here." Anna replied. "By the way… were you looking for a dress to wear? The one you have on looks nice."
Eliza made a face, looking down at the white garment she was wearing. "It's far too plain. I want something very pretty."
Anna thought for a moment, giggling then. "I think Gustav will be happy with anything you decide to wear."
Eliza gasped, whirling around then. "What do you know?"
"I know when someone likes someone else… you two have been joined at the hip lately!" Anna smiled warmly when Eliza covered her face. "There's no need to be embarrassed… it's perfectly okay to like Gustav. He's been nice to you, right?"
Eliza nodded. "I don't want anyone else to know… this is all new to me."
"I know… and don't worry about it. We're all here if you need to talk about it. Hiccup may even be able to give you some extra tips." Anna giggled lightly.
"Thank you…" She frowned lightly then. "Alice and Jack always knew the pest way to solve a problem or figure out something new…"
Anna frowned also. "Eliza… they'll be back before you know it. I'm sure they miss you very much, and the other guardians too."
"They don't." Eliza cut her off, turning a bit away from her.
Anna furrowed her brows with confusion. "How could you say that, of course they do… they probably want nothing more than to be here with you-"
"They DON'T, Anna." Eliza said a bit more forcefully, going back to her wardrobe to search through it. "I'm sorry, I need some privacy to change…"
Anna sighed lightly, nodding. "Alright… let one of us know if you need anything." She said before regretfully getting up and leaving the room, closing the door gently behind her.
Eliza exhaled slowly, glancing at the closed door sadly for a moment before returning her focus to her wardrobe. As she was searching, she accidentally knocked down one hanger, bending down to retrieve it when she grazed her hand against a box. She blinked, placing the hanger aside to take the box into her hands and open it. She gasped lightly, a smile growing in her features as she found the answer to her small dilemma.
Outside, Gustav groaned as Hiccup attempted to fix him up a bit, even giving him a more formal Viking helmet to wear. "Come on Hiccup, this is stupid! Why can't I just wear my regular clothes?"
"Because this is a festival, Gustav… everyone is making an effort to look a bit more dressed up tonight. Good thing this isn't a ball, or else you would REALLY be in a sour mood right now." Hiccup chuckled.
"What's a ball?" Gustav raised a brow.
"After our time." Hiccup replied, Jack's recurring joke having rubbed off on him as he bent down to rummage through a few things. "Are you going to meet up with Eliza?"
"Yeah… some of the other kids too. They really like me, Hiccup." Gustav said.
"I'm glad." Hiccup smiled. "Look, Gustav… I know things were rough in the beginning, and you didn't always get fair treatment on Berk… but none of meant anything malicious by it. It's tough keeping track of everything and getting things done and then concentrate on you, too."
"Yeah, yeah…" Gustav rolled his eyes. "You just couldn't see the amazing potential I had."
"Someone doesn't like to flatter themselves…" Hiccup snickered as he spoke sarcastically. "Alright, you're all set. Go out and have some fun."
"Finally!" Gustav exclaimed, heading outside.
"And stay out of trouble, or I'm sending Merida after you!" Hiccup shouted after him, smirking lightly afterwards as he watched the young boy run off. "To think I was as reckless as him once…"
As Gustav met up with some of the town children, the festival began to get underway; music sounded, people began to dance in the street, kiosks sold food and trinkets, people socialized and laughed, children played and ran through the streets. It was a clear evening too, the air cool and comfortable as stars began to dot the darkening sky. As Gustav spent time with the town children, he glanced around a bit before chuckling lowly.
"I snuck this out, so you can't let any adults see!" He said to all of them, biting his lip for a moment as he produced a small hatchet he had brought with him from home. The children's eyes widened as they gasped in awe.
"Wow, is that a real blade?" One asked.
"It's amazing! That could slice bread with one strike!" Another exclaimed.
Gustav laughed. "This could slice a lot more than just bread… here, let's go to the grassy area over there and I can try it out on a couple things to show you-"
The young Viking turned at the sound of the voice, squinting his eyes a bit before he saw someone approaching him. He did not recognize who it was at first, but when he realized who it was, his brows raised in surprise.
"Eliza?" He finally answered, the other children groaning in disappointment, some crossing their arms.
As she approached him, Gustav cleared his throat when he saw that Eliza was wearing a wine red velvet dress, matching shoes and jewelry, and her hair was in an up do with ruby colored pins. His spine stiffened, his eyes crossing to follow her fingers as she reached over to brush some hair out of his face.
"You look quite handsome tonight, Gustav." She said, smiling lightly. "Will you dance with me?"
Gustav bit his lip, nodding. "Definitely… I- I mean y- yeah, sure… you go ahead, I'll catch up with you!" When Eliza went towards the center of the courtyard, he glanced back at the other children. "Just a couple, to make her happy, okay? I'll come back afterwards." He said before dashing after Eliza. "Hey… where did you get all of this stuff? Did you borrow it?"
Eliza pondered for a moment. "It was a gift… from a friend, of sorts." She smiled, taking his hand. "Come on!" She led him to where others were dancing, giggling as she joined in step with the others. Gustav was no dancer, but he soon got the hang of it, sometimes the two even doing their own dancing. It was simply about having fun, and they got more into it as they laughed, Eliza giggling when he bumped into her at one point. After dancing through a few more songs, they decided to take a rest. They went over to the docks, sitting down and letting their legs hang over the side to look up at the stars.
"It's such a lovely night." Eliza said, breathing in the fresh air.
"Yeah…" Gustav replied, glancing over at her. "Hey, Eliza?"
"… I'm glad we're friends."
"Me too." Eliza smiled. "See, Olaf is my friend also… but it's a bit different with us."
"Yeah well, I'm not a talking pile of snow for one." Gustav said, making Eliza giggle lightly. "You're pretty hard core, Eliza. You fly Fanghook really well, and… maybe one day you can ride a dragon of your own. We can dominate the skies together!" He said, hopping up and pumping his fist in the air.
"Thank you." Eliza smiled, sliding over a bit closer when Gustav sat back down. "I think you're the best Viking there is… after Hiccup of course."
"Really? I- I mean, of course I am! I'll even be BETTER than Hiccup someday!" Gustav said.
"Maybe…" Eliza looked down at her hands then, peeking at him from the corners of her eyes. "Hey, Gustav?"
"… there's another secret I need you to keep for me…" Eliza said, her voice quiet now.
Gustav raised a brow; he had to admit, the number of secrets between them already was in the dozens. It was a normal thing for them now, but somehow the way Eliza was behaving all of a sudden made him wonder if this was serious. "Sure, what is it?"
Eliza bit her lip for a moment, exhaling sharply. "Well… it's a special sort of secret… one that I can't really say."
"How am I supposed to know what it is, then?" Gustav chuckled lightly.
Eliza gulped, turning a bit more to face him. "Well… I think you should try closing your eyes. It will help."
Gustav snickered a bit, shrugging. "If you say so." He did as she asked. "I still don't see how this is going to help get the secret across, but-"
His sentence was cut short when Eliza leaned over, closing her eyes as well as she planted a small, lingering kiss on his cheek. The young Viking's eyes snapped open, widening a bit as he slowly looked over at her. Eliza smiled, a blush accenting both their cheeks as his fingertips lightly touched the spot where he had been kissed. A few moments of silence lapsed between them, Eliza finally breaking it.
"That was my first kiss." She said, smiling timidly.
In that moment, Gustav felt a swell of pride in his chest, turning a bit to face her more. "No, it wasn't."
"But of course it was, I never kissed a boy before until now." She said.
"Yeah, but that was just a cheek kiss. This is a real kiss." Gustav said, leaning in to plant his own small, but equally lingering kiss on her lips. When he broke it, Eliza felt her heart pounding in her chest, her smile widening until she was beaming. She giggled, hugging him close, Gustav hugging her back as he smiled gently. She leaned back after a few minutes to look at him, the moonlight casting a gentle glow upon them both. Her hands took his to hold, tilting her head up to kiss him a second time when their moment was abruptly halted.
"Eww! Is she trying to kiss him?" One child shouted, the small group of town children approaching the docks with a lantern.
"That's gross! I thought Vikings were tough, not all mushy and gushy!" Another shouted.
Eliza gasped lightly, jumping to her feet and marching over to them. "You don't belong here, this is private!"
"Just because you live in the castle doesn't mean you own Arendelle, Eliza!" One of the children responded. "Gustav is supposed to be showing us all this cool stuff and you keep hogging him up!"
"He and I are in love! Go find your own Viking!" Eliza shouted.
"I thought you were cool, Gustav!" Another child groaned. "Tonight was supposed to be exciting, with all your weapons and amazing dragon tricks!"
Gustav's heart skipped a beat, hopping to his feet. "W- Wait! I can still show you guys all of that! We're friends, right?"
"Well yeah, but how are you going to do all of that when you're 'in loooove…?'" The first child asked, the other children joining him in snickering.
One thing that Gustav did not appreciate was anyone taking a blow at his pride. He inhaled deeply, puffing out his chest as much as he could muster as he stood a bit taller. "I'm not in love; I don't know what you're talking about!"
As Eliza stopped what she was doing, furrowing her brows at him, the first child scoffed. "You must be, we saw you kissing her!"
"N- No, she was trying to kiss me… I… I don't want anything to do with it!" Gustav shouted, a tad bit unconvincingly.
"Gustav…" Eliza's voice cracked, tugging lightly on his arm. "Why are you lying to them? You gave me my first kiss…"
Gustav bit his lip, frowning as he glanced from the other children to her. "I think you should go home, Eliza… please."
"Yeah, go home!" One of the other children shouted as Gustav pried his hand away from hers regretfully.
Eliza's bottom lip began to tremble, staggering back before breaking into a run off the dock. Gustav winced lightly as he heard her sobbing in the distance, his heart sinking. Even as the other children praised him and pat his back, leading him to the spot they were going to meet up, it only made him feel worse. He realized he had made a mistake, but figured there would be nothing he could do at that moment to remedy it.