Opposing Forces Advancing
Meanwhile, at Hans' command, the card guards had managed to subdue and bound Anna, Kristoff, Hiccup, Merida, Rapunzel and Eugene; there were just too many to fight on their own, and Hans had also proven quite difficult to handle. As they struggled against their binds, Hans touched down, propping his flying card against the wall before approaching them. He chuckled lowly, dusting his hands off.
"Well, well, isn't this a familiar situation you're in, Anna? Only this time, it isn't ice you have to worry about…" He said, extending his hand to conjure a low flame, the glow illuminating Anna's face.
"Stay away from her!" Kristoff shouted, grunting as he tried to free his hands.
"Hm, you're not really in a position to be telling me what to do, are you? Oh, right, you NEVER were, you peasant mongrel." Hans laughed.
"Takes one to know one…" Hiccup growled, narrowing his eyes.
Hans glanced over at the Viking, looking him up and down. "Now you, I haven't seen before… you obviously don't know who you're talking to. I am a prince of the Southern Isles, so I advise you show me some respect."
Hiccup forced a laugh. "Well here's some news for you, bud, I'm the CHIEF of my tribe. I outdo you on that one."
Hans grimaced; he did not like being talked back to. "Well then, how about this… would you like to know how much I care?" He asked before punching Hiccup right in the gut, the Viking wincing from the painful impact.
Merida's eyes became crazed, thrashing in her binds. "If ye do that again, I'll slice that smile right off your proud mug, ye foul brute!" She shouted, gritting her teeth as her breathing quickened.
Hans looked over at her, glancing between the two of them as he laughed. "Oh… is this your girlfriend? Nearly got me with one of her arrows, if I recall correctly." He glanced down at Hiccup's fake leg, grinning darkly. "Now, it must be tough to deal with your little…" He nonchalantly kicked at it before walking over to Merida. "I've seen some rather heartwarming things that couples share in my years… matching rings, matching outfits… I don't think you're doing him justice. What was your name?"
"Eat m' rump, that's what it is, you-" Merida was cut off when Hans slapped her hard across her face, enraging Hiccup as he struggled against his binds. Merida slowly looked up at Hans with pure rage in her expression, her lip beginning to bleed as she inhaled deeply, spitting at Hans. He chuckled, taking a handkerchief and wiping her spit off of him.
"My, you are a savage one… no surprise, you both obviously come from provinces where civilized behaviors aren't a part of your culture." Hans shrugged. "So… this shouldn't come as too horrible to you." Hans took out a knife, chuckling lowly. "Now, it's not fair that, if you really love each other, that mister objectionable chief here has to limp around with a peg leg and you don't. If you don't bleed to death, perhaps you can have something to match like all of the other couples out there I mentioned."
As he neared Merida, who struggled as he pushed her dress up to where her knees were, the others gasped and cried out, Hiccup's eyes widened with horror.
"NO! Leave her alone, don't hurt her!" Hiccup cried.
Hans stopped his action, looking over at Hiccup. "Ah… not so confident anymore, are you?" Hans smirked, pressing the blade against Merida's skin. She winced as he left a deep cut, swiping it across her leg just above her knee in one quick motion.
"You monster!" Eugene struggled. "Just do what you have to and let us be!"
"Now here's someone with a bit of rationale; unfortunately, I like to stick around and socialize, it's a bad habit of mine… some people just make it so easy though…" As he walked back over to Anna, they all glared at him as he strode past them, and he crouched down before the bound princess. "You know, my memory may be a bit fuzzy, but… that last time I met you here, there was something you wanted desperately, something you needed so badly from me… oh, yes, I remember now…" He laughed, Kristoff trying to yank his feet out of the ropes binding him to his chair. "… I wasn't very willing to grant your request last time… but I'm feeling a bit generous, so I'll make it up to you now."
Kristoff never felt more enraged in his life, the group of them disgusted as Hans leaned in, forcing a kiss on Anna's lips. The princess whimpered, shutting her eyes as she tried to turn her head away from him. This agony lasted for nearly another minute before Hans finally let up, smirking triumphantly.
"You are a disgusting pig!" Anna screamed, humiliated by the foul act.
"Oh, I know you won't admit it, Anna… but I know you want me over that rancid clown any day." He said, motioning to Kristoff. "Now, all of you just sit tight…" He chuckled at his own joke. "… I'm just going to take my own little tour of what will be my future kingdom. No queens, no princesses… just me; Hans, King of Arendelle!"
He relished in all of the group's angered expressions as he took his leave, leaving them to remain hostage until help hopefully arrived. Merida breathed heavily, blood dripping down her leg and pooling on the ground around her feet.
Tooth hummed lightly to herself, breaking every few moments to give directions to her fairies. Many were already out and about, some lifting the secret trap door to retrieve tooth boxes to place teeth in and then replace them. North remained at his post at the bottom of the stairs within the tower, while Wick was still posted outside. His eyes widened lightly after concentrating for several moments, beaming as he levitated with excitement. He floated up to where Tooth was, giggling with excitement.
"Tooth! Tooth, look!" Wick cried happily.
"Huh, what is it? Is everything alright?" She asked, becoming alert.
Wick held his hands out, grinning widely as he opened them to reveal a s'more. He extended his hands a bit more when Tooth blinked in surprise.
"Try it…" He urged, squeaking a bit as he was barely able to contain his excitement. Deciding to entertain him for now, Tooth took the small treat in her hands, taking a bite. Her eyes lit up then, nodding slowly.
"Wick, this is… it's great!" She dabbed her mouth upon finishing it. "Well, all your hard work has finally paid off!"
"YES!" He shouted, surprising her and some of the fairies as he whirled around in a circle, cheering triumphantly. "I finally got control of my powers, just like Jack said! Boy, I can't wait to tell him!"
"Rimsky-Korsikov! What is all this noise up here?! We are supposed to be keeping low profile, not making whole world hear us!" North exclaimed.
"Sorry North, but I made a s'more! A good one, not one that was a hunk of coal, like you said my ones before were, so I'm really, really happy!" Wick beamed.
"Focus, Wick! We still have a job to do! Now go back outside and watch for any trespassers! We must protect Tooth!" North shouted.
"Oh, okay… but just making sure you know I did it, North! I'm going to be a super duper superb guardian now!" Wick smiled proudly, North sighing a bit as he made his way back outside.
Tooth glanced over at him, flossing her teeth as she smiled gently. "Norf… you haf to give him credid… all of hish optimishum ish keeping our morale up." She discarded the floss then, lifting her lip to inspect her teeth in the mirror. "He's great with the fairies… who knew they loved scary stories until he came around?"
"Still, Tooth, this is very dangerous time. We must be vigilant for anyone who comes here." North warned. "We cannot put anything past Queen or Maharaja."
Outside, Wick giggled to himself, propping his scythe up against the outer wall of the tower. "I can't wait to show everybody… this is going to be great! I'm going to finally be a good enough guardian to-" His thought was cut off when he heard a sound in the distance, perking up as he tilted his head. When he heard the sound again and realized it was someone screaming, he gasped lightly, grabbing his scythe and soaring towards the noise. A bit further down the stream, he saw movement, gasping when he touched down to help the individual into an upright position. "E- Eliza?!" He cried, gasping as he hugged her close to him. "Wh- What are you doing here? What happened to you?"
Eliza coughed wheezily, whimpering lightly as she looked up at him with a tear stained face. "W- Wick… the Queen, she… she kidnapped me… I managed to escape, but she hurt me badly…"
Wick frowned deeply, trying to fumble his scythe and scoop her up. "Here, let me take you to the tower, North and Tooth will be able to help!"
"N- No, Wick, it hurts too much… please, stay here with me for just a short while, just until some of the pain subsides…" Eliza whimpered.
"Okay…" Wick nodded, sitting beside the young girl. He smiled sadly, letting her rest her head against his shoulder. "I miss when we played pirates… that Queen… I'll get her back for hurting you."
Eliza sat up a bit, looking at Wick. "Well… we can play a new game now, if you want…" She said quietly.
"Really? Are you sure you can while you're hurt? What's the name of it?" Wick asked.
"Oh, I won't be playing… it doesn't really have a name. It's quite simple, really. You just see how long you can hold your breath underwater." Eliza said.
Wick blinked a bit, giggling. "Eliza, you know I hate the water-"
In a split second, Wick was yanked back, hoisted up as several hands grabbed him. Two monkey minions had come out of hiding, one kicking away Wick's staff as he tried to grab it.
"Tüüniig ezlen!" One of the monkey minions shouted.
"Eliza! Eliza run-" Wick began to shout, his sentence cut off as they dunked his head into the stream. After several moments, they let up on him a bit, gasping when he saw Eliza standing before him, using the stream's water to wipe her face, arms and legs. The bruising and gashes she supposedly had washed right off, having been a farce the entire time. As she wiped off the makeup, Wick's brows twisted in absolute confusion.
"Hold him here until we've collected what we came for." Eliza said, her eyes burning into Wick's.
"E- Eliza, what's happening? Why are you helping them?!" Wick cried out, struggling against the monkey minions.
She bent down, meeting him face to face. "Because they are helping me." She replied with a lack of emotion, standing upright and shoving her foot hard into his shoulder, making the Halloween guardian wince before walking away from him. Gasping, he saw that she, along with Maharaja and his army, were emerging from the trees, bushes, and the enclaves of the surrounding rock walls which kept the tower isolated.
"North! North, they're coming-" Wick tried to shout out towards the tower, but was stopped when the monkey minions holding him captive dunked his head into the stream again to silence him.
In the tower, Tooth gathered a few fairies to give them instructions of where to collect the next few teeth. As they were about to fly out the tower window, they reeled back when several monkey minions appeared, screeching as they climbed in to swipe at the fairies. Tooth gasped at the sudden intrusion, her fairies swarming around them and giving her a chance to flee down the stairs. She screamed for North, the Christmas guardian growling as he unsheathed his swords. More monkey minions entered through the window, climbing up the outer walls of the tower and dashing down the stairs to pursue Tooth. As she did her best to evade them, North cried out as he fought off the minions.
"Wick! Where is Wick?!" He shouted angrily.
"He could be in trouble out there, North!" Tooth cried, gasping as she narrowly missed a spear being thrown at her.
As some minions tried to hit North with their clubs and spears, North easily sliced through the wooden weapons, elbowing and kicking them down. Those with swords tried as they might, swinging, lunging, coming down upon him, but North was more experienced than all of them, easily taking many of them down by himself.
When one larger and stronger than the minions hopped down to combat with North, he found that attaining victory was not so easy.
North gritted his teeth as Maharaja himself clashed swords with him, staring darkly as they dueled. Maharaja whirled around, blocking North's attack from behind before rolling forward, whirling around as he blocked another attack over his head. He shoved North forward with his foot as he hopped back to a standing position, emitting a battle cry as he lunged forward, Tooth screaming as she thought she impaled her friend's head into the wall.
"NORTH!" Tooth shrieked.
"Do not worry, only got hat! A much liked hat, may I add!" North shouted, glaring at Maharaja as he jabbed his sword forward, piercing through Maharaja's armor. He cheered triumphantly, thinking he had managed to overcome the hulking man-beast.
However, North's smile soon faded as Maharaja chuckled lowly, revealing he was wearing another layer of protective armor underneath. He grunted, yanking North's sword out and tossing it to one of his nearby minions.
"Ta khyalbar, bükh tsag üyeiin khamgiin aguu anchin namaig yalakh gej boddog?!" Maharaja laughed heartily.
"You are no great hunter, you are a murderer!" North shouted. "You shall be punished for what you have done!"
Maharaja scoffed. "Zörüüd khün tany yalagdal khüleen!" He shouted before punching North's stomach hard, the Christmas guardian falling to his knees as Maharaja hoisted him up, holding a blade against his neck." Tooth cried out, still trying to evade the minions' attacks. "Toothiana! Shine geriin ni minii jad deer kholbogdson olokh bolno End minii , esvel tany naiz ööriigöö khuraalga!"
Tooth bit her lip, her heart pounding with a moment of indecision; she swallowed thickly, furrowing her brows deeply. "Maharaja… if I give myself up, you will let him live?"
"Tiim ee ... bi ter ööriin ügiin utgand yag tokhirch ömnö ter ni ta naryn ükhliin medekh ni khüsej baina." Maharaja replied.
Tooth sighed shakily, nodding as she shut her eyes tightly. She lowered herself to the ground, allowing the minions to bind her hands and legs. Her fairies swarmed in a panicked frenzy as they watched their queen become prisoner to the Monkey King. Maharaja laughed wickedly, shoving North to the side as he approached her. Bending down upon one knee, he sneered in her face as they forced Tooth's head to be held upright.
"My friends will come for me…" Tooth said, narrowing her eyes.
"Ted ta ali khediin amidralyn tani khuurai olokh bolno. Etsest ni khelekhed, minii khulgailsan aldar ba khün törölkhtnii tölöö tölbör nadad khiine." Maharaja said, grinning maliciously as he raised one of his swords to behead her. As he was about to bring the blade down, the sound of small footsteps at the top of the stairs were heard.
"Do not take her life just yet!"
North and Tooth looked to the source of the voice, horrified when they saw Eliza slowly, one by one, descending down the steps.
"Ene ni nadad shagnalyg avakhaar shaardakh tsag Kherev!" Maharaja shouted angrily.
"The Queen said you may capture her and return her to the mountain, but you may not spill her blood until that of Alice and Elsa are spilled first." Eliza said, Maharaja glaring at her for a moment before glancing at his minions.
"Tüüniig garch shiljüülj tushaasan yosoor uuland tüüniig batalgaajuulakh." Maharaja said to them, the minions nodding firmly before one walked up to Tooth, holding a club. He reared his hand back, striking Tooth harshly against her head and knocking her out.
As they all made their way out of the tower, Eliza slowly turned to North, still in absolute shock of her betrayal. "Consider yourself lucky that I have allowed you and Wick to be spared. Hinder our actions, and you will not be granted with such mercy again." With that, she turned on her heel, following Maharaja out of the tower and was helped down by the minions. In a flash, they all disappeared, leaving not a trace of their destruction.
Wick's head was bowed, hugging himself as he sat on his knees. If he had the ability to produce tears, they would be streaming down his face now. He held his hat within his shaking hands, his branch like thumbs tracing over a small patch sewn onto his hat; it had been done so several months ago by Eliza herself. The girl he had seen was her spitting image, but he no longer recognized who she was, her mind and heart twisted by the Queen's influence. He jumped when someone approached him, getting to his feet when he saw North standing to his left.
"N- North! I… I tried to… they held my head under the water and I couldn't…" Wick closed his hollow eyes, bowing his head. "There's… something wrong with Eliza…"
"I know." North spoke barely above a whisper, opening his own hand to reveal one of Tooth's feathers resting on his palm. "We must return to the workshop. This is worse than I ever could have imagined."
Bunny paced around, rubbing his hands together as he heaved a sigh. Jack, who was crouching in a tree, had been watching him for nearly an hour with bewilderment. The only time he saw his friend this nervous is when Easter was around the corner or when they had to travel by North's sleigh. Being he was in neither situation, Jack snickered and shook his head, hopping off the tree to touch down on the ground, approaching him.
"Hey, Bunny? I think I know where the inspiration from the Energizer Bunny came from now." Jack said, laughing a bit.
"Sod off, Jack, I'm stressing out here!" Bunny snapped.
"Come on, can't you at least talk about it?" Jack asked. "I may not be ALL ears like you, but I can still hear you out- woah!"
Bunny took Jack's hand, dragging him a bit away from the encampment. As the ice guardian protested, Bunny finally let up when they were far enough to be out of earshot from the rest of the group. He turned slowly, biting his lips as he wrung his hands together.
"I don't know what to do, mate." He started quietly.
"Um… about what, exactly?" Jack asked.
"Look, Jack… Emily, she… she showed me something today… something very precious to her. She kind of speaks in riddles sometimes, but I understood very clearly what she was trying to get across to me." Bunny answered.
Jack tilted his head, amused. "Bunny, you two are friends now, everyone knows it. There's nothing wrong with that, there's no reason why you should be freaking out if she just wants to show you around her forest and-"
"She LOVES me, Jack." He interrupted, exhaling sharply as he began to pace around again. "I don't know what to do… I- I mean, I barely knew anything about her from all of this, I would have never even considered being FRIENDLY with her before this whole ordeal, I saw her as nothing more than a bloody mad woman… but, apparently, I must have a thing for mad women, because the other thing, I'm sorry to say, I'm still trying to get over Alice, and now Emily is throwing all this stuff at me at once, and it's becoming too much for me to handle, and I feel like I'm gonna-"
"Okay, okay, will you take a breather and calm down for two seconds?" Jack asked, holding his hands up. "I've noticed the two of you, and I've also noticed that Emily has been less… moody since you two have been spending time together. This doesn't have to be serious, just keep having fun and just showing her you care. You do… care, right?"
"I do… she's really gotten under my fur, and I don't know exactly when that all started and it's making my head spin! This is no ordinary Sheila, Jack, this is Emily Jane, Emily Jane for crying out loud! I may as well try to ask Medusa out on a date!" Bunny exclaimed.
"Come on Bunny, that's not cool…" Jack frowned.
"I know it isn't! And the thing is, I… since I've been getting to know her, I… I'm really starting to like her, mate. I'm really starting to like her a lot." Bunny said.
"Great! So what in the hell is the problem?" Jack chuckled.
"She's Emily Jane, Jack. Emily Jane PITCHINER. She's Pitch's daughter. The daughter of the sorry bloke who's been my enemy for as long as I can remember, the daughter of the same monster that wiped out my entire species!" Bunny cried, plopping down on a log and hanging his head. "I don't know if this is right. I don't know… if it's possible for me to love her. She's still very impulsive, Jack. She can go from zero to one hundred in a second, she can flip the switch at any time."
Jack sighed, walking over and placing his staff down to sit next to his friend. "Bunny… though that all may be true, she still has feelings. She isn't evil, really… I think deep down she's still hurting from her past just like you do sometimes, and she is just trying to find happiness like we are. She just… isn't as outgoing as the rest of us are." As Bunny glanced over at him, Jack placed a hand on his shoulder. "And Bunny, just because she's Pitch's daughter, doesn't mean you should just push her away. I think you both want the same thing. If you really like her, then just do what your feelings tell you to."
"You know, Jack… for someone who's only a few hundred years old, you sure know a lot." Bunny smiled lightly, Jack chuckling a bit in response.
"Well, whatever gets you off of Alice's case, I'm for it." Jack laughed as Bunny nudged his arm. "Just saying."
"You're a good friend, mate. Better than I deserve sometimes." Bunny sighed. "You can't tell anyone, but… she wants to see me again tonight."
"Aww, is someone going to have a candlelit dinner waiting for you?" He snickered as he was nudged again. "Kidding, I'm kidding… look, I hope things work out. I'm happy for you, Bunny."
"Thanks, Jack." He smiled, smirking a bit then as he reached over, surprising Jack as he ruffled his hair, messing with him.
"Oh come on, I just fixed it up!" Jack cried, shaking his head as Bunny hopped to his feet.
"Stop being such a girl, frost bite!" Bunny laughed as he headed back towards camp.
In their little shelter, Sandy jolted awake, having been napping when a terrible vision suddenly came to him. He gasped for air, holding his head for a moment as he glanced around in a panic. He floated out of the shelter, catching sight of Alice. He dashed over to her, frantically telecommunicating to her.
Alice's eyes widened. "What? You envisioned Tooth wasting away?" She asked, narrowing her eyes. "Something is amiss."
As Bunny and Jack returned to camp, joking around with one another, they both ceased their antics when they noticed Alice's serious expression and Sandy's distressed one.
"Hey, what's going on?" Jack asked. "What's the matter?"
"Sandy has had a vision." Alice started. "It seems to be pointing towards terrible danger."
"Well, we know WE'RE going to be in danger, we're going up against that giant octopus." Bunny replied.
"Not for us, Bunnymund." Alice said. "For Tooth."
Both their faces fell a bit, looking to Sandy. "Sandy, she's with North and Wick. I saw that myself when I stopped by there a few weeks ago." Jack said.
"Jack, when the man of dreams is having a dreadful vision, it's not just something to disregard." Alice said.
"I understand that, but they don't even know where to find her." Jack said.
"It could be someone trying to mess with him… maybe the Queen is trying to psyche him out." Bunny suggested.
"Either way, it is a reason to be wary." Alice said. "I'm going to seek out Ralph, Pitch and Elsa. I think it would be wise to check in as to how they are progressing and if Pitch may be able to offer his assistance in this matter."
"Huh… never would have thought that the Nightmare King would ever help the Dream Man." Jack said, raising his brows. Sandy sighed in annoyance, rubbing his face as he was not at all looking forward to the interaction.
Meanwhile, Pitch chuckled a bit as he curled up with Elsa, gently petting her hair. Elsa exhaled slowly, her sapphire blue eyes looking up into his.
"Well, I'm certainly glad that it was resolved." Pitch whispered, kissing Elsa's forehead.
"Will you finally be nice to him now?" Elsa asked. "He took it really well… besides, you've been so nice to that sweet little Vanellope."
Pitch scoffed, chuckling a bit nervously. "Sweet? That little pest is far from sweet."
"I've seen how you've been with her… it's really touching. In a way, she reminds me of Anna when she was little; so full of curiosity, spirit, courage… even in the face of adversity. Elsa said.
"Perhaps you're right." Pitch chuckled. "Emily had a tendency of being a free spirit herself."
Just then, the curtain to their shelter opened, Alice poking her head in. "Glad to see the two of you are toiling in your labor."
"Glad to see we are decent, otherwise neither of us would be very pleased with this situation right now." Pitch said, huffing as he sat up. "What do you want now?"
"You know Pitch, this is not the time to decide to appear and disappear whenever you wish. For your information, I require your presence by Emily's throne." Alice said. "Please make haste." She said before turning and walking away.
Pitch groaned, glancing over at Elsa. "Well, our quality time together was nice while it lasted…" He rolled his eyes, getting to his feet to exit the shelter and follow Alice. Elsa chuckled lightly, shaking her head as she also decided to find some useful employment.