Opposition Finally Emerging
Jack headed down to Eliza's room, passing by a maid carrying a laundry basket. He noticed through a quick glance that it was filled with bed linens and Eliza's nightgown. Upon entering her bedroom quietly, he noticed she was now wearing a new, pink nightgown, Elsa sitting on the edge of her bed as Alice cleaned her hands in the bathroom.
"I'll send a servant up with some breakfast and some medicine to help with the discomfort." Elsa smiled.
"Thank you, miss Elsa." Eliza smiled. She looked to Jack as he entered, Elsa rising to give him a small nod.
"Don't worry, she's alright now." She said.
"I appreciate your help, Elsa." Alice said as she walked up to them, smiling lightly. Jack concurred lightly, but frowned a bit when he noticed Alice seemed exhausted, circles under her eyes.
Elsa politely excused herself, Jack going over to sit by Eliza. "Hey, kiddo… how are you feeling? You okay?"
Eliza nodded. "Better…" She said quietly. "Alice said I'm not going to die."
"Well that's good…" Jack said, glancing over at Alice for a moment before hugging Eliza gently. "Just remember that she and I are going to take good care of you, okay? We won't let anything happen to you."
"Okay." She said, looking up at him as he leaned back a bit.
"Alice and I are going to get something to eat, okay? We'll come check on you in a little while, just get some rest." Jack said, gently taking Alice's hand and leading her out of the bedroom. He left her door open a crack, but rather than head downstairs, he pulled her over to the side to talk. "Alice, what happened?"
"Well… Eliza's… she…" Alice huffed, shaking her head as she leaned in to whisper to Jack. He grimaced a bit, curling his lip.
"Ouch… no wonder she was scared. I guess she'll be okay now that she knows that it's normal." Jack said.
"It also explains why she's been so worn down and irritable lately." Alice said.
Jack sighed. "Alice… there's something else I wanted to talk to you about."
"Yes?" Alice asked, rubbing her face.
"You think I don't see it, but I do. Your nightmares are wearing YOU down." Jack said.
"I'll be fine." Alice replied. "Come, let's get a spot to eat." She was about to turn around when Jack held her arm steady, Alice sighing with frustration.
"Alice, why can't you just talk to me about it? You go to Pitch and tell him but not me?" Jack asked.
Alice gritted her teeth. "… I told him not to say anything to you-"
"I love you." Jack started. "And it kills me that… that you can't trust me with something like this." Jack let go of her arm, shaking his head as he was now about to turn away.
"It isn't that, Jack. Don't you know by now that I trust you with my life?" Alice said.
"Then why can't you just tell me what these nightmares are about?" He asked.
"Because you are burdened enough. I don't want to cause you more stress than what you're already under." She replied.
"Supporting and helping you get through something traumatic is not a burden, Alice." Jack said, turning back to take her hands in his. "Whatever it is… you can tell me."
Alice bit her lip, resolving to simply hug Jack to her. She closed her eyes a bit, exhaling slowly. "I'm afraid… that she will take all my loved ones from me."
"… who…?" Jack asked. Before Alice could answer, he suddenly heard shouting from down the hallway.
"Look, I'm sorry Sandy, but I can't do this anymore! Everyone else may be able to get over their histories with him easily but I can't, okay? I just can't!" Tooth cried, fluttering into her and Sandy's guest bedroom and slamming the door. Sandy could be seen heaving a sigh, letting his head hang outside her door.
Jack and Alice glanced at each other, slowly approaching the dream guardian as he ran a hand through his hair.
"Well, someone's been trifled with this morning..." Alice said.
"Wanna talk about it?" Jack asked.
Sandy exhaled sharply, pointing to the door where Tooth was, before forming a sand picture of Pitch over his head and giving it a thumbs down.
"So she still has a great aversion for Pitch?" Alice asked, and Sandy responded with a nod.
Jack pursed his lip. "I can see her not wanting to be buddy buddies with him, I don't plan on doing that either... he's been a jerk in the past, but I think he's really trying to-"
Sandy waved his hands, shaking his head, pointing to the door as he heard Tooth approaching it from inside. She opened it, taking a deep breath as she wiped her eyes. She noticed Jack and Alice standing near the door, sighing with embarrassment. "I- I'm sorry for my outburst..." She started. She appeared a bit stressed, Jack approaching her as she took Sandy's hand.
Alice hooked her arm around Jack's, and he gasped a bit when he heard her voice in his mind.
'Jack, let them work things out among themselves.'
Before Jack could say anything, she dragged him along to head downstairs. At the bottom, he pulled her over to the side. "H- How did you do that?! How long have you-"
"Since I became a guardian, I believe..." Alice replied. "You're the first I've... tried it on."
"Oh... thanks, I guess..." Jack chuckled. "But Alice... Tooth's been kind of distant since we got here, and this is probably why. Shouldn't we do something about it?"
"I told you already, let them handle it." Alice replied.
As they headed to the dining hall, Jack looked at Alice suspiciously. "Wait... do you... know something?"
"Not quite." She replied.
"What does that mean?" Jack asked.
"It means I have an inkling from what I can see, but I'm not going to pry. All I know is that she has a strong dislike for Pitch, and it stems far beyond either of us." Alice said.
"Man..." Jack rubbed the back of his neck. "I feel like even though I'm a guardian and I've been around for a few hundred years, I'm still so new to the game..."
"I have a feeling that a few hundred years may seem like a long time to us, but for the guardians and Pitch, it's not very long at all. Besides, being around for a long while doesn't mean you still have much to learn. We both do, Jack. There is still so much left uncovered, so much to be discovered." Alice said.
They entered the dining hall then, Bunny already there, he and Merida wolfing their food down as Eugene stared on with pure bewilderment and Rapunzel giggled behind her hand. Elsa and Pitch had already eaten, and Anna and Kristoff had not even woken up yet. Jack and Alice sat down, both thanking the servant politely when they were served.
"Hey Bunny, where's North?" Jack asked.
"Oh, um-" Bunny held up a finger, swallowing a mouthful of waffles. "He's out by the stables. Elsa helped cool them off a bit earlier, they aren't too used to the warmer weather."
"Hiccup's out helping him; he just came back from getting some fresh air with Toothless." Merida chimed in. "Believe me, the lad needs it… he's been running around like a madman back in Berk for weeks now." She said as she drank from her goblet.
Out in the stables, Hiccup was helping North tend to his reindeer while Sven and Toothless frolicked and pranced about in the background. North pat Dasher gently, glancing over as Hiccup seemed uneasy about something. "Everything alright, Hiccup?" He asked.
"Yeah..." He replied, rubbing the back of his head. "Just a little nervous about all this wedding stuff. I mean, I'm really happy Merida is excited, I don't think either one of us expected that... but I just don't want to disappoint her."
"Long ago, when I married my dear Jessica... I didn't have very much, for I was an orphan who was raised in a small toy shop. I was not wealthy, not very brass at the time... I called upon the woodland animals and we were wed there. It was not lavish or extravagant, but she was happy. She was happy..." He smiled sadly. "That's all that matters, Hiccup. I know you're working very hard on the arrangements, but if you are both happy, there is no worrying. The love is there... I can feel it in my gut." He nodded, chuckling lightly as Hiccup smiled lightly.
"I guess that's true... she has been telling me to take it down a notch... I was just so afraid to mess up that I got too engrossed in all the little details." Hiccup said.
Some of the others soon came out towards the stables, having finished up their breakfast; Alice and Jack, Bunny, Merida, Rapunzel and Eugene. Pitch and Elsa decided to stay inside, Elsa having some things to do, and Pitch not quite comfortable enough to spend time with the others without her. Alice looked around, nodding to herself.
"I must admit, this place is certainly worth boasting about." She said. "Perhaps we can all take a turn around the market place later, I would like to see what it has to offer."
"Oh that reminds me... I brought a few things from Corona, I have some things that you may like, Alice." Rapunzel smiled.
"Is that so? I very much appreciate that, unfortunately I was only able to bring some pastries I made with Eliza…" Alice said.
"Anna told me all about you, Alice… and the guardians also. I really do hope you can visit there someday, I'd love to have you." Rapunzel said.
"Just as long as you don't bring any anthropomorphic, or… otherworldly animal species… or super human whatever…" Eugene said.
"Says the guy who was healed by magical hair…" Rapunzel smirked.
Eugene heaved a sigh. "Yeah well, I freaked out over that, so you don't think I'm going to freak out over-"
Just then, the door behind them burst open, Pitch appearing in the doorway, and he seemed less than pleased about something. "North, is this YOUR oversized rodent?"
"Hey hey hey! Watch what you say around me, you bloke!" Bunny exclaimed and crossed his arms.
Just then, Phil shoved past Pitch, speaking in his Yeti language. Taking Eugene off guard, he whirled around, screaming loudly. Phil then screamed back in a high pitched tone. The two went back and forth, Rapunzel staring between the two of them flatly before putting a hand n her husband's mouth.
"Honestly, for someone who was a rogue warrior, you are scared of EVERYTHING!" She exclaimed.
"Well, I'm supposing he isn't used to this sort of company, am I right lad?" Merida laughed, walking over to pat Phil's arm. "Phil! Long time no see!"
He gave her a small wave before approaching North, speaking to him in gibberish and waving his hands around. North's expression became very serious, furrowing his brows deeply.
"What is it, North?" Jack asked.
The Christmas guardian was silent for a few moments, before placing his hand on Jack's shoulder. "Gather the other guardians, we will have to return another time." He said before turning, walking over to the stables to get the reindeer ready.
"W- Wait a minute, what's going on here?" Bunny asked. "I deserve a vacation, we are not going to-"
"There has been a security breach at the workshop. We must waste no time!" North said.
At this, Alice's breath hitched, slowly turning back to look towards the door, her eyes widening when she saw Pitch avert his gaze. Without hesitation, she whirled around, approaching Hiccup. "Eliza is asleep upstairs, third door on the left from the stairs. You watch over her and keep her safe, understand?"
Hiccup nodded, Merida approaching them. "Don't worry, the little lass will be safe."
When North got the sleigh ready, all of the guardians gathered outside and were caught up to speed. Tooth exhaled deeply, sitting next to Sandy in the back.
"I'm just happy we're getting away from..." She sighed lightly.
"Can't we bring Elsa with us?" Wick pouted.
"Will you all stop complaining for one moment!" Alice snapped, feeling very tense. "We're not going back because someone left their bloomers at home, there has been a threat laid upon us, do any of you know what that means?!"
"Alice, okay, just... calm down, everything is going to be okay." Jack tried to console her, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze. They all set off, quickly making their way back to the workshop. Upon arrival, the elves and Yeti made way for them, Phil hopping out of the sleigh and explaining everything. North nodded, understanding and turning to the others.
"Is everyone alright?" Tooth asked.
"Yes. According to Phil, no one was harmed and nothing was damaged. Also, almost everything is intact and left the way it was." North said.
"Yay! Can we go back to Arendelle now?" Wick beamed.
"So if everything checks out, what the bloody hell is the big deal that we had to come all the way back here for?" Bunny threw his hands up.
"Use those big ears of yours and listen!" North exclaimed. "I said ALMOST everything. Come. All of you, come!"
They all followed North and Phil, the Yeti pointing inside one of the storage rooms. Upon entering, North immediately spotted something; or rather, a lack of something. "There. One of my boxes is missing." He said, approaching one corner of the room.
"What was in the box, North?" Jack asked.
"... snow globes. Whomever entered here took the box and must have left." North turned to Phil. "Everything has been searched? And there was no obvious source of entry? Hm... very suspicious." He turned to the guardians. "Wick, Tooth. You both stay here with me. I need someone with the ability to fight and I need someone with quick eyes and movement to help me remain vigilant here."
"And what of the rest of us?" Alice asked.
"Remain in Arendelle. Stay with Eliza, you will all be safer there." North said. "We must figure out who did this and what their motive is."
Alice gave a firm nod, glancing over at Jack for a moment.
"I'll bring us back so I can let the others know." Bunny said before sighing, rolling his eyes. "Bloody hell you two, will you get a room?"
Sandy broke his kiss with Tooth to shoot Bunny a look, before turning back to give her one last kiss.
"I love you, Sandy… don't worry, I'll be fine here." Tooth smiled, lightly petting his hair.
As they all made their way through the rabbit hole, Alice narrowed her eyes as she glanced over at Jack.
'We have much to discuss when we return to Arendelle.' She said to him mentally, making Jack blink in surprise and look over at her.
"... It's going to take me some time to get used to that..." He said.
Lurking beneath the surface in a dark, dank chasm, barely any light made its way into the hollow space as the only sounds that could be heard was that of slithering, only broken by the sound of something being tossed nonchalantly and the sound of its clattering echoing throughout the cavern walls. In the low light, it was revealed to be a wooden box, its lid landing next to it moments later. Something emerged from the shadows then, large hands concealing something away in them. The creature seemed to climb up the wall effortlessly, finding a small nook to place the items into. It then took one into its hand, touching back down onto one of the cavern platform's cold, hard surface to look upon the transparent sphere. A pair of red and green swirled eyes, like envy and rage battling for dominance, bore down upon it, a wide, sharp tooth grin extending in temporary satisfaction, at the very least.
"Yes... this shall assist me greatly." The creature said to herself. "After all these months of exhausting myself, attempting to find everything there is to know... I have finally concluded what I must do. I have rested long enough. I must rebuild my queendom..." She held up the object, revealed to be a snow globe, looking deeply into its spherical form. "I require certain... prospective roles to be filled which I had garnered in the past in order to restore my empire. All enemies of my enemy, all my loyal allies!" She clenched her fist. "I must find them in this world since I have been ousted from the world I came from... the world I intend to destroy." She hissed, seeming to speak to the object as if it were another person. "Only then shall I have the means necessary to arise once more. Luckily, I am prepared for such a situation..." The Queen produced a single hair, one left somewhere in the cavern by none other than Elsa. "In a single thread, a single fragment left behind, I can find all that I need. If there are any who oppose her, reveal them to me." She narrowed her eyes, tilting her head when she looked upon a handsome young man carrying out some grueling chores. "Hm... now why would someone with such an air about him be performing such laborious tasks...?" She pondered aloud. She closed her eyes as her hand closed around the hair in its palm, concentrating deeply. She saw into the memories concerning the young man as if through Elsa's eyes... him standing next to Anna asking to be wed, speaking to Elsa in the prison cell, seeing him in the middle of a blizzard telling her that her sister was dead. She raised a brow, smirking lightly. "Ah... I love a man who seems to be a gentleman but truly has an ulterior motive... and I know exactly which role would suit him best."
The Queen nodded to herself, shaking the snow globe and casting it. When a portal formed, she entered into it, intending to begin her recruiting in that moment. When she arrived at her destination, she narrowed her eyes as she hid away in a corner, retracting her tentacles under and up into her dress. Her eyes scanned the area until she spotted whom she was looking for, smirking lightly. Making sure no one was around, she stepped into the light, making her way over to a young man who seemed to be unloading bales of hay off of a cart, carrying them into stables. He grunted as he placed another down, turning to take another when he stopped, noticing the Queen approaching him. furrowing a brow, he glanced around as he became slightly alarmed.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?" He asked.
"There is no need to fear me, young man." She held one of her large hands up, and he took a step back in response.
"What are you? Where do you come from?" He asked.
"Calm yourself dear boy, all your questions shall be answered so long as you give me opportunity." The Queen replied. "You may call me the Queen of Hearts, it is the name granted upon myself. I used a method of travel beyond your ability, but you shall come to know it in time. I am a creature knows the workings of the heart and flesh, I can manipulate the heart and I have become more proficient in doing the same with the mind. I come from a land not a part of this tangible world, fabricated by my greatest foe whom I seek to destroy." She tilted her head, smirking as she found herself intrigued by the young man. "I have answered your questions, now it is your turn to answer mine. What is your name?"
He cleared his throat, not believing any of this could be happening... a part of him was quite unsettled by the randomness of the situation and the Queen's form. "My name is Hans... I am a prince of this land."
"Certainly doesn't seem like it... from the looks of it." The Queen replied. "However, I can change that. I know very little of you Hans, but I do know that we share a common enemy. I know we are in our current ill conditions because of this common enemy. I am here... to offer my assistance to you in exchange with yours for mine."
Hans narrowed his eyes warily. "Why should I trust you? What do you know of me, how do you know this of me...?"
"Give me your hand... I shall prove my ability to you. Go on, extend it." The Queen said.
A part of Hans wondered if he should call for assistance, if he was in any true danger. Another part of him was becoming fascinated by this creature; he sensed that she was an ambitious creature, a quality he also retained. He decided to be bold, extending his hand slowly. The Queen smirked, taking it. She quickly left a small puncture mark in his hand when she bit it, it happened so fast, like a flash of lightening, that Hans gasped, reeling back as the Queen was already looking into his thoughts and memories. Hans was about to cry out when the Queen opened her eyes, her pupils shrinking.
"You are the thirteenth child and the last in line for your throne. This province is called the Southern Isles, and you recently failed in your attempt to usurp the Queen of a neighboring kingdom... Arendelle." She said, and Hans was shocked when she told him all of this.
"How... how did you-"
"I can see everything in a single drop of blood... a single strand of hair..." She held up the pale blonde strand, smirking lightly.
"Does that... belong to Queen Elsa?" Hans asked quietly.
"You're quite smart, Hans... you are correct. I know that she was the one thing standing in your way to taking what you want. In several ways I can say so for myself as well." She took a step forward, raising a brow. "Now you seem to know how to fight... not a savage warrior but certainly a worthy opponent in battle. However, that won't be enough if you want to gain revenge."
"Revenge?" Hans asked.
"But of course... you don't have to play innocent with me, dear boy... I know that your heart holds many shadows. Those shadows are what your true self lurks in." The Queen took something into her hand, extending it and opening it to reveal a heart shaped tart.
"What is this?" Hans asked.
"With this, the shadows in your heart shall be illuminated. It shall be the fuel necessary to ignite the wrath within you. I see a great passion within you. Consume this, and allow it to bring your passions to fruition." The Queen said.
Hans stood up a bit straighter, taking a step closer. "If I were to help you... say if this was true... what would you give me for my assistance?"
The Queen shrugged. "Why, I would give you Arendelle, of course. Your own kingdom of your very own to rule."
Hans nodded a bit, raising his brows. "That is an extraordinary offer..." He nodded towards the tart. "All I have to do is eat that? How do I know it isn't poisoned?"
The Queen smirked. "How do you know you won't spend the rest of your days performing arduous, meaningless chores if you don't?"
Hans was still wondering where on Earth the Queen even came from; she was quite ominous and mysterious, and why she chose him to assist her was not yet entirely clear. He took the tart out of her hands, not hesitating to take a bite. He ate it in a matter of about a minute, licking his fingers. At first, nothing happened. Suddenly, when he noticed the Queen straighten up a bit, he felt a sudden onset of warmth envelop him, originating from his stomach. He felt the warmth spread outwards, feeling it all the way to his toes, his fingers, the top of his head. He looked down at his hands, gasping when he saw the one holding the pitch fork starting to steam a bit. The smell of burning wood hit him, and he realized then that the handle where he was holding it was burning. He watched in awe, his eyes widening as flames erupted from within the palm of his hand, but he felt no pain. Soon, the pitch fork was burned, casting the charred tool aside. He stared at his hands before looking upon the Queen in amazement as she nodded to herself.
"Now you have the means to properly assist me." She said, taking a snow globe into her hand, producing a small feather in the other as she twirled her fingers. "These orbs were not the only thing I took when I entered the workshop..." She said to herself before turning to Hans. "There is someone else I must seek out. I shall explain along the way. He shall be of great use to us in our efforts to destroying Elsa."
Hans nodded silently, still shocked and a bit overwhelmed by everything. A part of him wondered if this was some crazy dream, that the summer heat was causing him to hallucinate. When the Queen cast the snow globe, he followed her wordlessly through the portal hoping to seek some more sensible answers.
In the throne room, Alice had just finished telling Elsa, Anna and Pitch what had happened at the workshop.
"Well, at least I'm not the one causing North to run around like a senile psychopath this time..." Pitch rolled his eyes.
"No, you're not..." Alice said, raising her eyes to look up at him. "... but I have a strong, suspecting feeling that you DO know who is behind this."
Everyone's attention fell upon the two of them, some confused. "How would he know this?" Elsa asked.
"What did you discuss with Jack yesterday?" Alice asked, ignoring Elsa's question. "While I was attending to Eliza?"
Jack bit his lip, glancing over at Alice for a second before looking at Pitch. "What was said between us concerns only the two of us, so discussing that subject is not necessary." Pitch said.
"Really?" Alice put a hand on her hip, approaching him. "So it doesn't concern myself or Eliza in any fashion? Or anyone here, rather? And if anything happens to any of us as a result of your negligence, are you prepared to take responsibility for it?"
"I'm sorry, can you please explain to me why you think you can just come into my palace and accuse MY hus-" Elsa stopped herself, and everyone, including Pitch, looked at her with an ounce of shock. She cleared her throat, shaking her head. "... Alice, explain yourself."
"Very well. During Anna's after party, I requested Pitch to look into some nightmares I had been experiencing to determine if they were some sort of... of omen, or a vision. He told me not to be concerned. Yesterday, he spoke with Jack for quite some time... my intuition tells me it concerns the same subject. And now we have this mysterious entity that decided to take something from North's workshop; no one can figure out how they entered, who it was, or what their motive is. So, your highness, I'm sure you can now see my reasoning behind my suspicions." Alice said.
Pitch felt put on the spot, his spine tensing a bit. "Perhaps we can discuss any concerns you have in the drawing room-"
"We already did that. No more secrets." Alice said. "You are going to tell me now what you know of the Queen's condition."
Anna gasped lightly. "You don't mean that one who nearly killed Hiccup, do you?"
"The very same." Alice answered without looking at her. "I believe you know how unpleasant it is to make an enemy of me, Pitch... so I advise you speak the truth, starting now."
Pitch sighed, glancing around the room for a moment before nodding. "Yes. Yes, the Queen is still alive."