Break into the Castle
When everyone finally reached the edge of the woods, they look out to an open field with a stone wall just up ahead, and a castle peeking out of the wall.
"There it is," Merida said while gesturing to the kingdom. "My home."
"Looks nice and homely," Rapunzel comments. Though this wasn't quite what she was expecting. In her time, the castle was huge with about seven towers surrounding it. But this seemed rather small and dusty. But different times, different castles.
"Let's go," Merida said as she charges ahead, not waiting for anyone.
Jack rolled his eyes as he races to catch up with Rapunzel just trailing behind him.
Hiccup gently rubs Toothless's head before he steps out. "Sorry bud," he whispers. "You have to stay there."
Toothless groans as he looks at his friend confused.
"We're too in the open now," Hiccup explains as he backs away from the forest. "It will be better if it's just is for now. If we need you, we'll call." With that he runs with a limp to catch up to the others, leaving Toothless alone on the edge of the woods.
The group followed Merida through the royal field, checking everywhere to see if any guards were around. They soon came to an area full of tents and really big logs.
"What is this place?" Rapunzel asks Merida.
"This is where the games were held," she answers. "You know… the games that determined who I was going to marry."
Hiccup looked to his left to see three big targets in the field. All of them had two arrows on them, but they had one arrow in the bullseye. One target actually had two arrows in the centre, but one of the arrows was split in the middle to give way fro the other.
"The games you won," Hiccup said to Merida.
"Yes," she said. But the memory of that day filled her mind again. In her opinion, she went along with the rules and traditions, and her mother scolding her for it. That memory made her frustration level rise a bit. "I just don't know why they were so upset with that. I followed the rules, I won the games. Does that mean anything to them?"
"I guess not," Rapunzel answers, though she kinda regrets saying that as it seems to upset Merida more.
"I mean, why should I just give up everything I want in life, for a man? Doesn't my mom know that those idiots are not for me? None of them can do what I do. How am I supposed to play this damsel persona when I can defend a kingdom on my own? I'm braver, stronger and smarter then these so call men."
Hiccup surely sympathizes with her, but worries she might be exaggerated a bit. "Let's meet these suitors of yours, and then we'll judge them."
Jack flies ahead to meet Merida at the front and makes her stop. "Listen," he said. "I know you're angry at these suitors and your mom, but you also have to remember that Pitch might be here. He might do something that might everyone here. You want to prove you're strong to these men, defend your kingdom against Pitch. Don't put all your anger towards the people you want to protect. Instead, use that to help your determination to help. You can hopefully make things up with your mom, but as for now your kingdom will need you, at the same time, we'll find your stone."
Merida smirks at him, "wow, you are good. Ever think of having a career as a motivational speaker." She passes him and continues on her path to the kingdom.
"I thought that was good," Rapunzel comments to Jack's speech.
"It was worth a try," he said shaking his head. "I was trying to help her focus."
"I think she is focused," Hiccup said catching up to them. "But there's something else too."
"What?" Rapunzel asks.
"Just the feeling that her family might be in danger," he answers. "She won't admit it, but I bet she's deeply worried."
"Are you lot coming!" Merida calls out to them.
They all race to join her at the wall. She knocks a number of stone, trying to get a sense what's behind the wall. Sure enough, she heard a familiar neigh on the other side.
"Oh angus," she whispers with relief, "it's good to hear you." She then turned to the group behind her. "On the other side are the royal stables. Then it's a quick way to the castle."
"That's great," Rapunzel said happy.
"So how do we get in?" Hiccup asked while placing a hand on the wall to study it. "Is there like a secret entrance or something."
"Not that I know of," Merida shrugs. "However, there is another way."
"Where?" Hiccup asks.
Merida smiles as she walks over to Jack and whispers in his ear.
Jack backed away and looked at her with surprise. "Are you sure?"
Merida nods her head determined.
Jack shrugs and grabs Merida by the waist. She grabs on to him by putting her arms around his neck. He then lifts her up and flies her over to the other side of the wall. They made sure there were no guards around before dropping Merida to the ground, on a cart of hay and straw.
He then flies back over and picks up Rapunzel the same way. Once she was safely over, he returns to get Hiccup. Though it felt really awkward, Jack flies Hiccup to the other side and to the others.
As Merida watch her friends have sadly made it, she ran to the stables and saw her black horse neighing for her.
"Oh Angus," she said as she hugs her horse's neck, feeling his mane fall down to her shoulder. "It's good to see you again."
"So this is your horse?" Rapunzel asks her.
"Yes," Merida answers. Angus saw the strangers around him and thought they could be dangerous. So he went on his back legs to try to push them away.
"Angus!" Merida quietly yells as she tries to steady him. "Whoa boy! It's ok, it's ok. They're my friends."
Hearing Merida's voice calmed him down a bit, making him go back to all four hoofs and shaking his head a bit.
Merida caught his wet mouth with her hand while the other strokes his forehead. "There's a good horse," she said.
Hiccup looked at the horse, seeing a tiny resemble to his Night fury friend. He then saw a bucket full of carrots nearby and grabbed one. He moved forward towards the horse as gently as he can. "You hungry? Wanna eat?"
Angus looked at the boy and, without a second thought, chimps at the carrot.
"Strong teeth he's got," Jack comments. That made Baby tooth perk up and flies to the horse's teeth.
"That's a good horse," Rapunzel said while she went to the side and rub his back.
Seeing Rapunzel with Angus made Merida remembers the horse in her time, and what she made him do.
"I've gotta try something," Merida said while signalling everyone else to back away. She then focused on her horse, "Angus, sit," she commands.
But the horse just stood there, really confused.
"Oh, well," Merida said, not hiding any disappointment.
"I guess it only worked on Maximus," Rapunzel said, getting what Merida was trying to do.
"With that out of the way, should we make our way to the castle," Hiccup suggests.
"Oh, right." Merida almost forgot why she was here. After saying a quick goodbye to Angus, she leads everyone to the kitchen entrance to the castle. Baby tooth quickly hid in Jack's pouch, the flutter of her wings made him giggle a bit.
"Sometimes the staff has to go out and get fresh food from the farmers," Merida explains. "So they have their own way in and out." She slightly opens the door to see no one was in the kitchen. She thought that was a little weird. Normally there's at least someone here to cook.
Merida opens the door more to let herself and her friends in. They all look around at the space, and the counters and stoves.
"This is a big kitchen," Hiccup comments.
"It's quite nice," Rapunzel said out loud.
As everyone looks around, they hear some shouting down a hallway and in another room.
"That can't be good," Merida said to held as she goes to the hall and listen in.
Everyone rushes to join her, hugging onto the wall and poking their heads out, looking down a hallway to a lite room at the end.
"What's down there?" Rapunzel asks Merida.
"The throne room," Merida answers as she tries to figure out what's happening. Maybe the lords are taking their anger out on her father for her behaviour. Maybe they're preparing for war? Or they could be fighting to pass the time, for fun. As much as she hopes that was the answer, it probably isn't the reason.
But what was weird about this was she can hear something else in there, but the men were so loud she can't really hear it. She leans in and attempts to move forward to get a better view, but she was stopped by Jack.
"Hang on," he said to her. "You can't just go waltzing in without a plan. If they see you, then this can go downhill very fast."
She won't admit it out loud, but he was right. If anyone spots her, they would force her to marriage, and all those ridiculous traditions. And what of her friends, what would they do to them.
But she can't sit in the kitchen doing nothing, "they what do you propose we do?"
Jack puts his finger to his chin, trying to think of any ideas.
Then Hiccup spots a bunch of spare aprons and wimples on hooks. "I've got an idea," he said as he runs and grabs a set. He puts the apron on and leaves the wimple off.
"Ta-da!" He said gesturing to himself.
The others look at him as if he was crazy.
"You look ridiculous," Merida said unimpressed.
"Just go with me on this one," Hiccup said wrapping an apron around Rapunzel's waist and a wimple on her head. He even shoves a lot of her braid in there to make her hair look shorter.
Hiccup then explains his idea. "We go in as if we'll the wait staff, asset the situation and then think of a plan."
As much as Merida hates the idea of wearing a wimple again, Hiccup's plan was better than any she could come up with. She grabs an apron warp in around her waist. She then grabs a wimple and stuff a lot of her hair into it, making the wimple look bigger than her head. But then she wonders if anyone would recognize her face, after all these clans really want her to marry their lords' sons. So she went to the oven and scooped up some soot and made her face all messy. Once she was done, she hands a apron to Jack.
"Heh, no way I'm wearing this," he said as he throws it on the floor. "Besides, no will see me anyway."
"That's what you said on Berk," Merida points out with her hands on her hips.
"I'll stay close to the ceiling," Jack said. "I doubt anyone will look up."
"We have a balcony in the throne room," Merida informs him. "Some is bound to see you."
"Fine," he grumbles as he picks up the apron and ties it to his waist.
"Maybe it is a bad idea if he wears it," Rapunzel says out loud. "What if he can't be seen and people only see a floating apron. They would think the castle is haunted."
"She's right," Jack playfully said as he removes the apron and dropping it on the floor.
"Fine," Merida said, giving up on Jack. "Just stay on the ground just in case." She and Hiccup then began to walk down the hallway.
"Thanks," Jack whispers to Rapunzel
"No problem," she said as she and Jack ran to join the others.
As they got closer to the throne room, the shouting got louder and louder. But it wasn't shouts of anger, they sound like they were shouting in tune. Merida notices something else was in the background of the men. Music.
"What?" She whispers to herself as she listens in to what the men was shouting too.
"Mor'du! Mor'du! Mor'du, Mor'du!
You're ancient as the highlands and just as unforgiving too."
The group finally made it to the doorway to the throne room and looked inside. They saw a great big man with a green kilt and a red beard, singing in front of three sections of men. One group were full of muscular men with greenish brown kilts, another set had light green kilts, and the last group all had red kilts on. All around the throne room were figures of bears or anything related to bears, from fur hanging down to a life size stuff bear in the corner.
As everyone looks around the room, Merida was confused. Surely they know that she's been gone for a number of days, almost a week. Did they miss her? Did they even send search parties for her? Did her family even cared that she was gone? What is going on?
"Mor'du! Mor'du! Mor'du, Mor'du!" The men cry out.
"Now the time has come for all of us to slaughter you."
Merida finally mustered the courage to look at her father, seeing him as happy as a babe with a toy. She was sure he would've missed her. So why was he singing.
She snapped back a looked at her friends. Even they weren't too sure what was going on, or what to do. But they were concern for her, ready to help her if she needed it.
"Are you ok?" Rapunzel asks her.
"I'm fine," she said with no emotion.
"Do you need to go back and-" Jack began.
"I said I'm fine," Merida snaps before backing away. "We should head upstairs; see what we can see from up there. Maybe then I can figure out what's going on."
Leaving no room for her friends to talk her out, she walks into the room and makes her way to the stairs. But before she got too close, she looked up to see her mother at the top of the stairs, coming down.
Panic took her and she veered away and hid herself in the crowd.
"Great," Hiccup sarcastically whispers before he tries to meet Merida.
Seeing no choice, Rapunzel also walks in, but hangs to the side of the room, near the giant bear. Jack on the other hand stayed where he was, using the shadows to hide him.
The king notices his wife walking down to meet the men. "My lovely lass," he said with a smile. All the men and the music stopped to bow to the queen.
Merida spots her mother, and became very worried, fearful for if she or her friends get caught. She then sees the three lords from the nearby kindly dons approach her mum and bow to her.
"My queen," Lord Dingwall said.
"How are you?" Lord Macintosh asks her.
"You majesty," Lord MacGuffin.
"My lords," Elinor gestures to them. "I would like to thank you all for your patience. You have my deepest gratitude."
They all thank the queen as the king makes his way to his wife. "How is she Elinor?" He asks with worry.
'She?' Merida thought. They might be talking about Maudie. Probably not. But then who? Who are they talking about?
"She is perfectly fine," the queen assures her husband. "She's just sleeping right now. She's been through a lot with all that's happened. You know how thieves can be. Thankfully that man returned her safe and sound."
Hearing her mother, just made Merida even more confused.
"Where is this rescuer?" The King asks. "I would like to thank him personally."
"He said he would've been honoured, but he couldn't accept our good grace," Elinor said. "I tried to reason with him, but he wouldn't take yes for an answer. But the important thing is that she's home and safe." Elinor then turns to the lords. "And as soon as she wakes up, you will have your answer, presently."
"You hear that lads!" Ferguson shouts to the men, "Our princess has returned!"
The men in the area cheer with glee. The music started up again in a joyful tune. Merida however was not in a celebrating mood. She's the princess, and yet they believed that she's here. If wasn't for the fact that she's in hiding, she would've screamed. Her friends were just as confused as she was.
Elinor and Fergus looked down at the men full of joy and pride. But then Elinor whispers into her husband's ear. "We still need to be careful, just in case those thieves decide to strike here."
"Don't worry my darling," Fergus said hugging her close, "we'll post guards all around the area. But as for tonight, we'll celebrate. Though I would like see my wee lass, just to put my heart to ease."
"I don't think that's a good idea dear," Elinor assisted. "She needs her rest right now."
Fergus smiles as he leans in to give his wife a kiss, but Elinor pushed him away. "Not tonight dear," she said. "I just...I… I would be better when our daughter is awake." She then makes her way back up the stairs. "I'm gonna make sure she's fine and taken care of, you go back to avenging your leg."
Fergus gave off a hearty laugh as he watches his wife go upstairs. "You heard her men!" He shouts as he turns around to the men. He then spots the bear statue and got an idea.
"You!" He points to the person nearest to the statue.
Rapunzel looked around, hoping that he was talking about someone else. "Me?"
"Bring that to the centre!" Fergus commands. "I need to practise my shot."
Rapunzel gulps as she tries to pick up the statue. But it was pretty heavy for one person to lift. "Someone, help," she pleads.
A bunch of men came over and push her out of the way and to the floor as they easily lift the thing.
"Never send a girl to do a man's work," one of them tease her.
Rapunzel felt disgusted as she dusts off her apron. "What's their deal?" She angry asks as she storms off to find her friends.
Jack came out of hiding and went straight to her. He saw what those men did to her and was angry at them. As soon as they drop the statue in front of the throne, he sent out a tiny stream of ice and made the steps to the throne a little slippery. Slippery enough to make all three men fall, land hard on their butts, and be embarrassed with everyone around them laughing.
Hiccup manages to find Merida and got her attention. "You ok?" He asks.
"I'll be better once I find out what's going on," she answers him.
"Hey! You two!"
Both of them turn around to see the Macintosh lord looking at them. Hiccup and Merida held their breath, ready for him to turn them in.
"Go grab two ales, me and my boy are thirsty!" He commands them.
Suddenly the MacGuffin lord stepped forward. "No! Got get whisky for me and my son."
"They'll be too busy getting scot for me!" The Dingwall lord shouts.
Soon enough, the three lords started to argue amongst themselves. Merida and Hiccup took the opportunity to move away from them.
"That was close," Merida admits.
"Yeah," Hiccup said looking back at the lords. But he eyed the Macintosh lord, getting an odd feeling about him. He turns back to Merida. "Gotta say, that one lord sounded almost..."
"...like the blacksmith in your home," Merida finishes for him. "I know, I got that weird feeling too when I met him."
"That's time travel for you," Hiccup shrugs. The total awkwardness of the moment made both of them to giggle a bit.
Together, they made their way to the stairs and met the others. The raced up the stairs and to the balcony. They sank down and only poke their heads to view everyone below them cheer as the King throws an axe at the bear's head.
"Ooh," Rapunzel winces, "I hate to be a bear around here."
"Mor'du! Mor'du! Mor'du, Mor'du!" The crowd below them cheer.
"The legend spreads from fire tae fire, of the Devil that we slew.
Mor'du! Mor'du! Mor'du, Mor'du!
Now the time has come for all the clans to slaughter you!"
"Mor'du?" Hiccup asks Merida to elaborate.
"A Demon bear," Merida answers. "A long time ago, it chomped my dad's leg clean off. Now he's almost obsessed to find him and kill him."
"Ah," Jack said. "A classic Mobey Dick this guy."
"Mobey...Dick?" Merida asks while raising an eyebrow.
Jack slams his head to the balcony, groaning that they don't get another of his references.
"So this guy is obsessed with killing a bear," Hiccup said. "Why does that sound like my dad?"
"My dad isn't like that," Merida said. "He doesn't take teams of men to their death in search of the bear. He just goes out so often and just hunts bears around the border. Hoping Mor'du will return."
"Can we skip the bear talk," Rapunzel said, hoping to go off the topic of killing. "Which of those men are supposed to be your suitors?"
Merida pokes her head up and points at a table that had three young boys around it. "There, that pathetic looking bunch right there."
Rapunzel, Hiccup and Jack look down to see the boys. The MacGuffin one was really big, almost like Fishlegs, except he was speaking in a complete different language. The Macintosh looked really vain, flipping his hair and making sure his kilt was on straight. The last one, the Dingwall, well...he looked like a klutz and a dork.
"Yeesh," Jack said sinking back down. "No wonder why you don't want to marry."
"Exactly," Merida agreed
"Now hang on," Hiccup said to the group. "We can't judge a book by its cover. Maybe there's more to them than meets the eye."
"When I need a lesson on appearances, I'll give you a call," Merida snaps. "Right now I just need to figure out what's going on. And there's only one person who can answer that, mum."
She rose up and sneaked down the upper hallway. Everyone else quickly followed behind her. As they walk, the noticed the maids were busy cleaning to notice them, but there were no guards around. Everyone figured that they were down celebrating with the rest of the men, while the women seemed to do all of the house work.
"Well, this seems a little...demeaning," Rapunzel said.
"Yeah," Hiccup agreed. "At least in my village some of the women are skilled fighters."
"Astrid for one," Jack said with a goofy face.
"Knock it off ice man," Hiccup comments.
"Will you three be quiet," Merida snaps. She then stops at an open door and peered inside. It was her mom and dad's bedroom, but it was completely dark, with everything neat and tidy.
Merida looked back to see Rapunzel got her head in the room next to the one she's in. Merida rushed back to see Rapunzel and the others walk into the study room. It was here Merida would do all her lessons with her mom and her mom would make all the tapestries that were hung on the walls.
Rapunzel went to the tapestry that was hanging near the fireplace. It had Merida's entire family on it, with a big slash between Merida and Elinor.
"This was so lovely," Rapunzel said lifting on side of the rip. "I bet with needle and thread I could fix it-"
"No," Merida said with little emotion.
All three of them looked at her confused. "It's really not the difficult," Rapunzel assisted, "I can-"
"I said no," Merida almost screams at her.
"Ok, ok," Rapunzel said, putting her hands up in defence.
"Why are you getting all worked up over a tapestry?" Jack asks.
"It was my mum's work," Merida said while trying to hold back her anger. "I don't really want anything to do with her. I mean...even after all this time that I've been gone, she's more concern of me getting married then me being safe."
"I'm sure she's very worried about you," Rapunzel said. "She just…has a hard time showing it."
"Yeah," Hiccup agreed. "Like my dad a bit."
"Then what was all that in the throne room?" Merida asks. "I don't know who they've got, but it sure isn't me. They could've at least properly check-"
"Then why don't we check," Jack suggests.
"Then what are we waiting for?" Merida before turning to the door. But as she turns, she saw someone at the door, actually three small people in the doorway.
They were three small boys who looked exactly the same, from their cute faces to their hair style. They looked around, then directly at Merida.
After a moment of silence, they ran over and gave Merida a giant hug around her legs.
Merida giggled as she lowers herself to hug her brothers. "Hamish, Hubert, Harris. I should've known you would recognize me in this." She removes her wimple, letting her hair to flow down and uses her sleeve to rub off the mess on her face.
The brothers became very happy to see their sister again. Then they notice the other people around the room.
"Oh," Merida said, almost forgetting that they haven't met yet. "These are my friends."
The boys look around at the strangers around them, but couldn't see Jack as they say hi to Hiccup and Rapunzel.
Merida quickly looks at Jack, feeling sorry for him. But then she turned to her other friends. "This is Rapunzel, and Hiccup."
The boys laugh at Hiccup's name. "You'd think I be use to this," he said under his breath.
Merida then presents her boys to them. "And these are my brothers. Hamish, Harris, and Hubert."
"They're so cute," Rapunzel said with her own cute eyes. She even kneeled down and pinched one of them on the cheek.
"Yeah," Merida said nodding her head. "But they can be Devils too." She then made them turn to her. "I'm very happy to see you boys safe, but you have to tell me what's happened here."
All three boys started talking at once, making their words sound like gibberish.
"Ok, one at a time," Merida said as calmly as she can.
Before the one in the middle was about to speak, all three of them gasp in horror. They hurried to hide behind either Hiccup or Rapunzel and shiver in fear.
"What?" Merida tries to ask her brothers, "What's wrong?"
That voice shook Merida's core. It sounded legal and caring at the same time. But it was a voice of someone she never wanted to see, not yet. But Merida turned around to a familiar person at the door, with a shocked look on her face.
Song of Mor'du from Brave