The wisps made a long line that went deport and deeper into the woods. The blue light moved any darkness away and allowed the group behind them to see further up. Merida was at the front, being cautious of whatever may be up ahead. Jack followed behind with baby tooth hidden away in his pouch. Rapunzel walked right beside Elinor, making sure she was doing fine. Toothless and Hiccup picked up the end, making sure they're not being followed by Pitch or any other kind of magic.
Everything was going smoothly, until Elinor groaned while holding her stomach.
"Are you alright?" Rapunzel asks while holding her paw.
Elinor looked at her, with eyes that were sad and sick.
"I think the queen needs a rest," Rapunzel said to everyone.
As Elinor tries to sit down on a very large rock, everyone rushed to her side with worried faces, except for Merida.
"We can't rest," she said firm, "we have to keep going."
"Your mother just needs a minute Merida," Jack argued. "She needs to rest."
"We don't have time for a rest," Merida nearly shouts. "In case you've forgotten, we have until sunrise tomorrow to break the witch's curse."
"We know," Rapunzel said, "your mother just-"
"Just what?" Merida yells with her impatience building.
Hiccup got a sense that this is argument is only going to get worst and will waste a lot of time. He rushes to Merida to get this under control. "Take it easy Merida," he said in a calming tone. "Let your mom rest for five minutes, and then we will go again. And look, the wisps aren't going anywhere. They will lead us to where we need to go, but for now let's take a breather and gather our strength for the journey on."
In Merida's eyes, she was fighting the urge to yell at him, but in her head she knew he had a point. "Fine," she said. "Five minutes."
To try to ease some tension, Merida and Hiccup said on another rock just little ways away from Elinor and the others. Merida looked down the path to the wisps, seeing that they are still there.
Hiccup looked at her, getting a sense of discomfort and uneasiness. He could guess from what's been happening, Merida is taking all her world's problems and wants to fix them herself. But he has to be sure.
"Are you ok?" He asks.
"I'm fine," Merida said as she tries to shove him off. "I'm not the one who got turned into a bear."
"Yeah," Hiccup said. "But you don't seem fine at all. But that's something I can expect. Your kingdom is in danger, your mother is cursed, and we still have our quest to defeat Pitch. This is defiantly not your day."
"This is not what I wanted," Merida said, mostly to herself but loud enough for Hiccup to hear. "When I wanted to run away, I wanted to change my fate. But now I changed my family's date. I didn't want any of them to suffer for my decision."
"But you are the future queen here," Hiccup said to her. "And I totally get what's it like with that kind of pressure of that. But every choice we make in life is bound to have consequences. We have to make those kinds of choices, but not when we're angry. I mean, you remember what I did when I was angry, and what Rapunzel did when she was hurt. We nearly destroyed what was dear to us. Now I guess it's your turn to learn from this."
"I know," Merida said, but not feeling any better. "But I... I don't know how. I know I sort of started this whole mess when I left. That's why I need to fix this, to change my mum back. I have to."
"But not alone," Hiccup said grabbing on to her hand. "We're here for you too. We'll make it work."
As if to prove Hiccup's point, Toothless came crawling in and poke his head between them. They giggled as they patted the dragon's head. Merida smiles at Hiccup, silently thanking him for talking with her.
Elinor looked at her daughter with Hiccup, and became a little jealous. Merida was never really this opened to her, or willing to talk to her like that. She would always try to run away from her and not really pay attention to her lessons. What did these people have that Elinor doesn't, and how can she get Merida to behave like that with her?
Jack and Rapunzel made their own idle chat, so that they won't get in the way of Merida and Hiccup. "I wonder how North and the others are doing," Rapunzel said.
"Really busy probably," Jack told her. "I know it's close to Christmas, and they have to be careful of the other guardians."
"The ones Pitch turned," Rapunzel said.
Jack sighs as he nods his head. Then thoughts came to him about how they are going to fix that. Maybe by finding all the stones, but where could his be? And when they find them, how are they going to use them to stop Pitch? Jack was filled with so many questions that had no answers.
Rapunzel got a sense of what Jack might fear, and wanted to offer a glimmer of hope. "Maybe my hair could turn them back, like they did with Hiccup."
"Maybe," Jack said unsure. Pitch's magic is stronger than before, and he's got new tricks up his sleeve. Who knows what can happen. If Pitch had the power to turn a mortal into a bear, what else is he capable of? As much as Jack doesn't want to think about that, he probably can guess much worst.
"We won't know until we try," Rapunzel said while putting an arm around his. "I'm sure we can figure out a way to save everyone. Who knows, maybe you'll go home and celebrate Christmas with your friend...Jason was it?"
"Jamie," Jack giggled at the thought of that kid. That would truly make his Christmas to see him safe and sound. He then remembered a moment before he had to take off on this quest and laughed to himself.
Rapunzel heard him and became kinda confused, "what?"
"Nothing really," Jack replied, "just something I said before I left him. He was asking me about things people said were make believe and asked me if they were real. Like Cupid, Bigfoot, the New Year baby, those kinds of things. When he asked me about dragons, I wasn't too sure. When I asked North and Bunny, they laughed and told me they were myth."
"Not really now," Rapunzel said with a smile.
"I wonder if I can burrow Toothless and show him to Jamie," Jack said to Rapunzel. "Maybe have him chase Bunny around."
Rapunzel snorted with laughter while trying to keep it in. But Jacks laughter broke hers and they chuckle while holding on to their guts.
Once they were done, they took a few deep breaths before speaking again.
"I think that will truly make his Christmas," Jack said.
"I think seeing you would be a bigger gift," Rapunzel said with a sweet smile.
As Jack was about to say something else, everyone heard a faint cry from the wisps. As they cry, they started to disappear one by one.
"What?" Merida said while jumping of her rock in shock. As she did, all the wisps that were there are gone.
"What's happening?" Hiccup asks before an arrow shot past him and Merida. The arrow hit a tree just little ways away.
"What the?" Rapunzel asks as she, Jack and Elinor run to meet the others.
"What happened?" Jack asks them.
"We're under attack," Merida said readying her bow.
Everyone immediately was on high alert, trying to pick out where the arrow came from. But the forest's trees and bushes can hide anything.
Suddenly, Toothless sniffed the air and got a very unfamiliar sent. He growled at a spot off in the distance.
"You got something bud?" Hiccup asks.
To confirm, Toothless shot a plasma blast at a bush of in the distance. Three boys managed to escape before the bush was on fire.
When they rose into everyone's view, Merida's brow narrowed at who was there.
"MacGuffin, Macintosh, and Dingwall!" She yelled. "I can't believe it."
The boys all had bows and arrows in their hands, and different emotions when they looked at everyone. MacGuffin was a little timid but stood his ground. Dingwall was dazed from the blast and nearly fell over. But the young Macintosh stood proud and full of confidence.
"Don't worry milady," he said while aiming his arrow at the group. As soon as he got his target, he released the arrow.
"Duck!" Jack cries out.
Everyone didn't really need to suck though, the arrow hit a tree just ahead and off to the side of the group.
"What do you think you're doing?!" Merida screams.
"We're here to rescue you," the young Dingwall yells out.
"I don't need to be rescued!" Merida said lowering her bow.
"Don't be ridiculous," young Macintosh said. "A princess like you shouldn't be out here with strangers."
"These are my friends," Merida declared while gesturing to them. "If you go anywhere near them you'll answer to me!"
The lord's sons were surprised that she said that. But then the young Macintosh puffed out his chest. "Your mother warned us you'd be under some sort of spell; no doubt they put you up to this."
"What?" Merida shouts in disbelief.
"Why else you be near a bear and a...a...demon with wings," he continued.
Toothless really didn't like that comment and prepares himself to blast that boy into the next country. But Hiccup puts his hand on the dragon's nose and steadies him. "Easy Toothless, easy."
"I'm not under any spell," Merida said to the young lords to be, "I just need to break the curse that's befallen this kingdom."
The Macintosh son looked at Merida confused. " fit are ye spiking aboot " He said.
Everyone looked at him with confusion.
"What did he say?" Rapunzel asks out loud.
"He said, what are you talking about?" Jack said.
Everyone but the lords' sons looked at him as if he was crazy.
"What?" Jack shrugs, "I know almost every language."
Merida rolled her eyes and focuses back to the boys. "A dark spell has infiltrated our kingdom, poisoning it from the inside. We need to stop it before it's too late."
MacGuffin and Dingwall looked at her, not sure if they should believe her or not. But Macintosh flipped his hair and rolled his eyes. "If the kingdom is in danger, then why are you out here? You should be telling the guards and letting us big, strong, cunning men defend the kingdom, not a weak, helpless lass like you."
"Excuse me," Rapunzel said, taking offence to that statement.
"Have you all forgotten in the games," Merida said as she fires an arrow at the one in the tree behind her. Without any effort, her arrow split that arrow right in two. "I can handle myself."
"So you can shoot an arrow big deal," Macintosh said as he drops his bow and grabs his sword. "But a real man can handle any weapon." Not wanting to be left out, the other young lords dropped their bows and got their swords out.
"Better go and find a real man then," Merida taunts.
Young Dingwall steps out, shaking his sword out of nerves. "We are real men, your majesty." His nerves carried in his voice, making it sound weak and pathetic. "We will defend you against these ruffians."
"What did you call us?" Rapunzel said utterly shock. "You know I've met some real ruffians and thugs, and they're really nice people."
MacGuffin spoke again to the group, but his words made no sense. " ah ah'll save ye fae yer kidneapers."
"He said that he will save you from us, your kidnappers," Jack translate for him.
"I was not kidnapped!" Merida screams as she couldn't take that anymore. "I ran away!"
"Why would you run away?" Young Dingwall asked mostly out of curiosity.
"Because I didn't want my life to be over! I didn't want to get married!" Merida yells at the boys. "I never asked for any of you to compete for my hand; that was my mother's doing. So I won the game and my own hand, and still no one listened to me. What choice did I had?"
"You think I have a choice?" Dingwall shouts, not letting his nerves block him. "My father forced me to come here, not letting me have my say in the matter."
"What?" Merida gasped almost in surprised.
Elinor's eyes widen too, not knowing this.
"Same goes for me!" Young Macintosh shouts. "With plenty of woman falling for me, do you think I like having to wed one that is as out spoken and as rude as you!"
" me too ah didn t like tae be forced tae marry," young MacGuffin said.
"He agrees that he doesn't like this either," Jack said in his place.
"Wait," Merida said trying to understand. "None of you truly want to marry me."
All three boys in their own way shook their heads, no.
Elinor look at this with a revaluation. None of the young generation wanted to go through the games and marriage. But all of them were being forced by her and the lords. Could she have been too strict with tradition that she couldn't see that everyone was miserable. Merida clearly was upset and wanted to do anything and everything to get out of it. If Elinor wasn't so govern with pride and anger, she could've, no should've done something about it. Now her kingdom is on the verge of war because of her decision.
"So if you don't want my hand, then why are you out here?" Merida asks.
"Special mission from the queen," young Macintosh said while twirling his sword. "Whoever brings you home gets your hand and the crown. And then this silly feud is over and we can put you in your proper place."
"So that's all you care about," Merida said getting angry. "A stupid crown on your head. Not weather our clans go to war or not."
"That will end when you come home," Young Dingwall said as some shakiness comes back into his voice.
" aifter yon oor dads ah'll ease up an won t heid-bummer us aroon anymore," young MacGuffin said.
Jack rolls his eyes as he translated, "after that our dads will ease up and won't boss us around anymore."
"Seriously," Hiccup said eyeing the queen. "These are the guys you want your daughter to spend her life with?"
At first Elinor wanted to answer yes, but now after hearing them she's got second thoughts about that.
"Enough of this talk," Macintosh shouts as he points his sword at Merida. "It's obvious that you will not listen to us, so we are going to have to take you by force."
"Go ahead and try," Merida said with a growl in her voice.
"Merida, I'm not sure that was a good idea," Hiccup said eyeing her.
"I can handle it," Merida said to him. "They've seen what I can do with a bow, do they really want to test me with a sword."
"Umm Merida, you don't have a sword," Rapunzel points out.
Realizing she's right, Merida silently curses herself. She then looks to Jack, hoping he can use some ice magic to give her a sword.
"Don't look at me," Jack said to her, "there's no way I'm gonna use my ice powers here. They would just say everyone is a witch and we'll get in deep trouble."
"Alright," Merida sighs at this situation. She's gonna have to rely on her own skill to defend everyone.
"Now then princess," Macintosh said while poising with the sword. "Are we going to take you back the easy way, or the hard way?"
"Make no mistake," Merida said easing her bow with a knife arrow in place. "I am not going back with any of you."
The boys yell as they charge at her with swords raised high. Merida stood her ground as she prepares to fire an arrow. But at the last second, she drops to the floor.
"Toothless fire!" She yells.
Toothless obeyed and fires a plasma blast high to the trees. It cut through a number of branches, making them fall on top of the boys.
"Nice shot," Merda said as she rose up. She looks back at Toothless, he smiles back with his gummy smile.
It wasn't long until the boys were back on their feet and charged right to Merida. Hiccup, Jack, Rapunzel and Toothless surrounded her, putting a defensive wall between the boys and her.
"What are you doing? She asks them.
"Protecting you," Jack said.
"That's what friends do," Rapunzel added.
Everyone watch as the boys raised their swords and ran towards them, ready to strike.
Suddenly they stop as Elinor roars at them. She then jumps in front of the grown and roars very angry at them.
The lords' sons looked at her with fear as they took a number of steps back.
Elinor went on all fours and growled at the boys, expressing a primal anger.
"Umm, nice bear," Young Dingwall said full of fear.
Elinor roared as she tries to slash the young lords away. The boys got a pretty good hint from that and ran away screaming.
Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief as they settled down.
"Way to go mama bear," Jack joked as Merida pushes her way past him.
"That was amazing mum," Merida said with happiness as she race to her.
But when Merida touched her mother's fur, she heard an angry growl. Elinor turned her head towards Merida, with her eyes black as coal. She continued to growl at Merida, scaring her and the group behind her.
"Mum?" Merida said quietly. "Is that you?"
In a split moment, Elinor roared at her daughter and raised a claw, preparing to slash her.
As Merida screams in fear, Elinor stopped, her eyes returning to normal. She looked at her raised paw, not knowing what she was about to do. Immediately she got on her hind legs and became scared and nervous.
"Mum," Merida asked again. "Are you...ok?"
Elinor nods her head, but her eyes didn't look ok.
"Merida!" Hiccup cried as he and the others joined Merida by her side. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine," Merida said to him. She then looked at her mother still frightened. "But mum, you've...you changed."
Elinor gave a look of confusion, wanting to know what just happened.
"Yeah, I saw it too," Jack said while leaning on his staff. "It was like you were a bear on the inside."
That realization hit Elinor hard. She wasn't completely there at the time, it was like being alone in the dark and your senses were sensitive.
"You didn't recognize any of us," Rapunzel said with worry, "you chased away those boys and nearly hurt Merida."
That thought really made Elinor scared. There was no way she would ever want to hurt her child. She groans with shame as she sinks to sit on the ground.
Merida knew she couldn't blame her mother; she was touch by a curse. She knows she would never want to hurt her. To try to make her feel better, Merida hand grips around on of Elinor's claws.
"Don't worry mum," she said. "I'll be ok."
Elinor groans and moans, not wanting to hurt her and became scared of what might happen.
But Merida held firm and looks at her mother in the eyes. "I know," she said, trying to use what her mother taught her to help ease her mother. "I know you're tired, you don't understand, and you're afraid. But we'll get through this. We just need to keep our heads."
Suddenly, the faint cries came back and everyone looked behind them. The wisps returned and forged a path that led deeper into the woods.
"They'll show us the way," Merida said with a smile.
Being touched by her worded Elinor pulled Merida in for a great bear hug. Merida returned the hug with one of her own, feeling the warm fur of her mother.
The others watch as they see a good mother daughter moment take place. Soon everyone was feeling better and took off again.
"You saw what?!" Fergus yells.
The royal guards managed to catch the clans' heirs outside, screaming their heads off. However the reception they've received coming back was not a pleasant one. Every member of every clan stood near the walls of the throne room and made an imitating circle around the boys. Their fathers and the king stood near the throne, and looked at the boys very crossed.
"I told you my lord, we saw your daughter with the kidnappers," young Macintosh said.
"And why didn't you bring her back?" His father asked with a hint of disappointment.
"Well...sir..." Young Dingwall said while his whole body shook in fear. "She...she didn't really...want to come back...sir."
Fergus scratch his chin, wondering why his little lass didn't want to come home.
" she wis wi a boodie wi wings an a bear," young MacGuffin said very quickly.
But his words made no sense to anyone, except his father.
"Are you serious son?" He asks in surprise.
The young lord responds by nodding his head.
"Spit it out!" The King shouts. "What did he say?!"
"He said that your daughter was with a bear and a demon with wings."
The room became silent, letting the information sink into their skulls.
Then all the clans' men broke out into laughter. Their voices ran through the halls, creating an echo effect.
But Fergus wasn't in a laughing mood. "SHUT IT!" He yells. Soon every man was quiet. He turned to the MacGuffin son while eyes his father. "It is disrespectful to tell stories like that, even more if it includes my daughter."
"He's not lying sir," the young Dingwall screams. "We saw them, your daughter with the bear. And she was commanding it like a pet."
"Don't be ridiculous," the king said in a mean way. "My daughter would never go with a bear."
"Are you calling my son a liar?" Lord Dingwall nearly shouts at the King.
"Then you should've taught him not to say lies," The King reacts in a dark tone.
But we saw it," the young Macintosh said to the king without any restraint. "She was with those strangers and resisted us. She was even prepared to fight us, sending that bear to kill us."
"The nerve of that girl," Lord Macintosh growled. "She is stupid as a pig and crazy as a-"
"Don't you dare say anything against my daughter!" Fergus threatened the lord.
"It's because of your daughter that my son was nearly killed," the lord argued back.
"And mine!" Lord MacGuffin agreed.
"Mine too," Lord Dingwall said with an ugly tone. "If it wasn't for her disrespect, we wouldn't be in this situation."
"Keep your mouth shut. If anyone else disrespects her will loose their tongue," the King threatens.
"She disrespected us!" Lord MacGuffin yells.
"All because she refused the tradition and my son!" Lord Dingwall said.
"Well, anyone would refuse your son," Lord Macintosh said. "He looks like a goblin."
"At least he's not a egotistical moron." Dingwall said with a smirk.
Soon, lord Macintosh pinched that smirk right off Dingwall's face. Dingwall retaliate by tackling down Macintosh right on top of MacGuffin.
Soon a huge fight began between the lords and the King. All the men yell with angry voices and raised fists. They even stared fighting with their different kilt neighbour and the throne room became a war room.
Pitch looked over the balcony, marvelling at the scene below. Everything was going better than he expected. Merida and the queen were away, and the kingdom is on the verge of destroying itself. It's only a matter of time before the final push towards war.
"I do love the seeing men fight over trivial things," he said to himself. As much as he hates using the queen's voice and figure, he has to keep this charade to complete his plan.
But then, he felt something. Something making his heart beat faster than normal, as if it's happy. He knows it can't be the war that this kingdom just began; it must be something in his time. Maybe it's the sand man's magic combining with his own magic.
No, that's not it.
He only felt this way before when he turned the Tooth fairy and Bunnymund to his side.
Could this mean what he thinks it means?
To be sure absolutely sure, Pitch made a small portal to see Tooth on the other side. It didn't take words to wonder what Pitch is asking. Tooth already had a good idea of what he wants to know.
"It is done my lord," she said.
Excitement filled Pitch's heart as he closes the portal. The feeling of victory was within his grasp. But those children might be problematic. But they are so busy dealing with this world's problems that they aren't thinking of his ultimate plan.
"Once I'm finished here, the guardians will be finished," he said to himself. "And there is no one that will stop me."
From behind a corner, the triplets watch Pitch with concern. They hope whatever he's done, their sister will fix it.
The wisp trail leads everyone through some really thick fog. The lush green forest was replaced with hard stones and dead trees. Everyone slowed down and looked around alert. The area was almost too quiet to be natural. But never the less, the group continues to follow the wisps.
As the fog starts to clear and the last wisp disappears into thin air, everyone got a look around at where they are. But the place was less inviting then they hoped. There wasn't a once of greenery anywhere, there was only bare stones and cold iron. Merida widens her eyes seeing a black gate with a symbol of two axes clashing each other. She remembers she saw that same symbol on the coin of the witch's cottage.
"Well," Hiccup said as everyone past through the gate. "This looks pleasant."
"I was thinking the opposite," Rapunzel said while stroking her hair for comfort.
As they walk, they found a set of stone stairs that leads up a rocky hill. On the steep rocks, spears were poking up and broken swords and shields were scatter among the debris.
"Why would the wisps lead us here?" Merida asked out loud, hoping someone would have an answer.
But the only sound was the wind, and Elinor's moan.
Seeing no other option, everyone began to climb the stairs up. Everyone except for Toothless, there was no way he was going to make it up there with his giant wings. So Hiccup offered to fly Toothless to the top, but Merida had a different idea.
"Maybe it would be better if he stays down here," she said. "Just so Pitch can't interfere here."
Toothless hates the idea of being left out, especially if his best friend is in danger. But seeing that he is out number on this, he grumbles and takes a guard position at the bottom of the stairs.
Everyone then continues to make their way to the top, though Elinor had a few stumbles due to her giant body and paws.
As she walked, Merida took a couple of views down the hill, and saw more destruction then before. She spotted boat pieces everywhere and skeletons of men. It made her almost shake with fear, but she pressed on to her target.
"Hey, look," Rapunzel said pointing to the top. Up there was a ruined wall of a tower that was overlooking a grey lake below the cliff side. Stones were scattered everywhere and atmosphere was dead.
"I don't like this place," Rapunzel said with a little shiver in her voice. Elinor groaned in agreement.
"Kinda reminds me of Dol Guldur," Jack said.
"Where in the world is that," Hiccup asked out of curiosity.
"It's a lord of the rings thing," Jack quickly said, forgetting they don't understand his references, "you wouldn't get it."
"Well, who ever lived here has been gone for a long, long tiiIIMMMMEEEEE!" Merida screams as she took a step ahead of her. The floor gave way, making her fall through it and tumble into a cold dark room.
"Merida!" Everyone cried as hey rush to the hole. They looked down to see Merida a little dazed but fine.
Elinor groans to the daughter, hoping she's not injured in any away.
Merida heard and looked up to see everyone worried about her. "I'm fine!" She calls out. She then quickly scans the room to see where she ended up. But it isn't pleasant at all, full of cold stones and bones. But the thing that caught her eyes were four broken thrones at the side of the room.
"I think I'm in a throne room," She calls out to everyone.
"Well, let's think of getting you out of there," Hiccup said to her.
Merida heard him, but something about those thrones caught her eye, something out of place. "Just a second," she said, "I need to see something." With that she walks away from the light and to the thrones.
"Oh come on," Hiccup said while rolling his eyes. He looks over at Elinor, who became very concern. She moans to Merida in hopes she would come back to them.
"Don't worry," Jack said, "I'll get her." With that he jumps down the hole and gently floats to the ground.
Elinor nearly rubs her eyes seeing that, not believing that the kid could fly. But after what's been happening, nothing should surprise her anymore.
Jack raced to Merida and grabs her arm. "Come on, your mother is worried."
"Just a sec," Merida said, "look at this." She looks at the biggest throne at the end; it was covered with claw marks.
"I'm guessing someone or something didn't like the Kings here," Jack said to her.
Merida nods in agreement, but then her eyes spot something else. Curiosity got her again to get a better look at it. It was a stone tablet with four men on it. But it was broken clean off almost making two separate tablets. One with three young man and the other with one giant man with scratch marks all over it.
"What is this?" Merida asks out loud.
Jack leaned in closer to the tablets, studying the men. "They seem to have a resemblance to each other. Almost like their brothers."
"I think your right," Merida said looking at the oldest one. Then things started to click in her mind, about this place and who those men are. "I think I know this place. I think we are in the castle of the four princes."
"What?" Jack looked at her confused.
Hiccup, Elinor and Rapunzel try their best to listen in without falling in, but they don't want to risk all of them getting trap.
Merida then runs her hand along the broken edge of the stone tablet, sensing something disturbing. It felt like the stone was broken by force and not by nature, like someone wanted to divide these brothers.
"It's been split," Merida deduced, "almost like the tapestry." She thought back to when she ripped that tapestry between her and her mother, just like this brother and his family.
Fear took Merida, having her replay that memory in her mind. She stumbles back while holding her head.
"Merida?" Jack said looking at her, "what is it? What's wrong?"
"The spell," she gasps while sweat drips off her face. "The witch said it happened before to a prince."
"What are you talking about?" He asks while holding on to her. Everyone else tries to be quite to hear Merida.
Merida tries to gather herself to talk, but fear was gripping her like a knife. "The witch, she said the prince asked her for the strength of ten men. To change his fate. He changed...he became..."
Suddenly a low growl came from the darkness, a bear growl. But it can't be the queen, she's not that menacing when she growls. Merida and Jack looked to the source of the growl, and saw two bright red eyes shinny in the blackness. Soon, a horrid bear face came out of the shadows, it's jaw appeared to be unhinge and scratches ran deep in its head, even one went over its eye. The fur was a mess and wild, creating a hunted look on the bear. Spear handles seemed to be locked on the bear's back, stuck in place. Only one word describes this bear, monster. But Merida knew it by a different name.
"Mor'du," she shrieked in fear.
Mor'du stood on his hind legs, making him almost as tall as the room, and roared at Merida and Jack.
Elinor roared too from above, mostly to tell the bear to stay away from her daughter.
But he didn't, and lunges at them. Merida rolled out of the way, while Jack flew away from the bear. Seeing no choice, Merida quickly fires an arrow at the bear, hoping to hit him in the eye. But the arrow pierced his neck instead, sinking deep in his tissue. But he didn't even flinch in pain, instead he charged to Merida with the intent to kill.
Seeing this, Jack quickly made Mor'du's path very slippery with ice, making him slip and slide and tumble past Merida and into the thrones.
"We are getting out of here!" He yells as he picks up Merida and flies off towards the others.
But Mor'du quickly got back up and raised his paw to them. His claw snagged on Merida's dress and pulled her down.
"Omf," She said as she hits the floor. She quickly turned her body to see Mor'du's ugly face roaring at her. If the claws and teeth don't kill her, the bear's breath will.
Rapunzel and Hiccup knew that had to do something to help, but they don't know how to do it without getting trap down there. Seeing no other way, they grabbed some small bear by stones and threw them down at the angry bear.
Mor'du didn't let that stop him, not when he has his pray so close. But Jack wouldn't let this bear eat his friend. So he shot his ice from his staff and made the bear back off, away from Merida.
Merida took her chance and ran to a beam that can help her reach the others. Elinor saw her daughter and reached her paw out to try to get to her daughter. With one big jump, Merida managed to grab on to her paw and gripped her fur tight.
Elinor pulled her up and away from the hole, with Jack flying up right behind her. But Mor'du head bursts through the hole too, roaring at the people around him. Jack race to shoot some ice from his staff again, but Mor'du swatted him like a fly, knocking him into a wall. As he falls to the ground, he lets go of his staff and it rolled away from him.
Rapunzel screamed as she and Hiccup backed away from the bear. Merida took the chance and shot another arrow at him, but it bounced off his head like a rubber ball. Elinor went behind a stack of rocks, and tries to push it towards Mor'du, but she's not used to combat and just gently pushes it to no effect.
Mor'du pushes himself up to them, trying to claw at them to pull them in. Jack shakes his head from the dizziness and looks in horror as his friends are in danger. As he reaches down, he ends up grasping at air.
"Oh no," he said in a panic, looking around for his staff. But it was nowhere near him. He tries to look for it but the bear's growl caught his attention. He sees it getting closer to his friends, nearly inches away from shredding them. He clinches his fist, feeling useless to do anything without his staff.
But then suddenly as he slams his fists on the ground, a stream of ice slide its way from his fist to the edge of the hole. It made Mor'du loos his grip and slip hard on the floor.
Before Jack could even think what just happened, another roar is sounded, from above. Everyone looked up to see Toothless jumping his way over the rocks and onto the ruined castle. When he was fully perched, he shot a number of plasma blasts at the bear. But Mor'du took them like nothing.
Elinor kept pushing to try to make the stones fall, but they aren't budging. Rapunzel saw Elinor struggling and yells at her. "You're a bear now! You're super strong now!"
Elinor took that as she pushes even more on the stones. With a little more effort, the stones tumble over and crashed on to Mor'du. With help from the icy ledge, Mor'du fell back into the hole.
Wasting no time at all, Merida grabbed onto Elinor as she charges away from the third castle. Toothless took the hint and jumps down so Hiccup could get on. Hiccup nods to Rapunzel to get on toothless too. As she follows him, her foot touches Jack's staff. She picks it up and carries it with her as she jumps on Toothless.
Seeing this, Jack grabs on to Elinor's fur as she races away from the area. Toothless quickly followed suit trying to get away. They run and fly down the hill and into the mist. But navigation through the mist is very difficult, especially if you have to dodge dead trees and pointy rocks.
But at one point, Elinor, Merida and Jack looked back to see the others. Only to see Hiccup pointing ahead.
"Watch out!" He cries out.
Merida and the others look ahead to see that they're heading to a giant stone. But they were going too fast to fully stop. So they had no choice but to slam into the stone to stop.
Once they did, the mist clear in a instant, relieving the circle of stones around everyone.
"We're back here again?" Hiccup said as he settles Toothless down.
Rapunzel jumps off and runs to Jack, giving him back his staff. "Thanks," he said.
"No problem," she said.
Elinor purrs as she nuzzles Merida to her feet. But horror was still across her face. "This is bad. Very, very bad."
"Bad, is an understatement," Jack said to her. "Just what was with that back there? It's like you know that bear."
"Everyone knows that bear," Merida replied. "That was Mor'du, the demon bear that took my father's leg off."
"But it's not just that," Jack said shaking his head. "What about those thrones, and the template. You know about that."
Merida eyes her mother, not wishing to tell that story to her friends. She knows that story was mostly meant to teach her not to follow her own path, but it's kinda too late now. She thought it was just a legend, but this one seemed too real. Maybe there was a lesson to learn through all this.
Merida took a deep breathe before telling the story. "It's a story my mother keeps telling me. There was once an ancient kingdom that was ruled by faith and good King. When he grew old, he decided to divide his kingdom between his four sons. But the oldest, didn't really like it that way."
"I may be new to royal customs, but isn't the oldest supposed to rule," Rapunzel said with her arms cross.
"Yes," Merida agreed. "But I guess the king didn't see it that way. But the prince, as my mother would say it, forge his own path and the kingdom fell to ruin and war."
"I suppose your mother told you that so you wouldn't break tradition with the marriage," Hiccup can deduce.
"Yes," Merida said while looking away from her mother.
"But then, why is there a bear there?" Rapunzel asks.
"The witch said the spell happened before, to a prince," Merida said. "The oldest prince must've bribed her to give him that spell to rule over his brothers."
"Too bad it didn't work out like that," Jack said.
"All because he didn't want his rights taken away," Rapunzel said. "Almost like your freedom Merida. The queen was going to take that away from you."
Merida nods as she looks at her friends. But Elinor saw something else in Merida, shame. Elinor couldn't say it, but she felt terrible too. If she just listened to her daughter, this probably wouldn't have happened.
"Now we have to figure out how to break the spell," Merida said. "If we don't, mum can end up like Mor'du. A real bear, forever!"
"Yeah," Jack agreed, "we have to fix this."
"How?" Hiccup asked. "How are we supposed to 'mend the bond torn by pride'?"
Merida pounder on that too. That riddle played over her mind over and over. 'Mend the bond torn by pride'. She thought back to the throne room, trying to pick out any clues that can help. But then she thought back to that tablet with the brothers, how it was split between the oldest and the other three. It made her think back to the tapestry and the way it was ripped. It was exactly the same. Maybe that was the answer. 'Mend the bond torn by pride.' She ripped the tapestry when she was angry, severing the bond that held the hands were together. All she had to do is to fix it.
Yes, that could work.
"I've got it!" Merida cries out.
"Got what?" Jack asks her.
"Mend the bond torn by pride," Merida said to everyone. "The tapestry was torn because of our anger. All we have to do is to mend that bond, to fix it."
"Are you sure?" Hiccup said completely unsure.
"I'm positive," Merida said with a big smile. "We just have to get to the castle and fix the tapestry."
"One problem," Rapunzel said, "Actually a couple of problems. There's Pitch, who will be waiting for us. Your father, and the other lords. How are we going to deal with them?"
"We'll figure that out when we get there," Merida said.
"Shouldn't we come up with a plan?" Rapunzel said to an impatient Merida.
"What's the use of a plan? We make a plan; we get there, all hell break loose."
"She has a point," Jack said with a raised eyebrow.
"We need to hurry, time is running out," Merida said before leading everyone back to the castle.
Determination never left her eyes as her quest to save her mother and her kingdom.