some king candies
some king candies
Around the castle various citizens stand on the stoops of their houses. Each baffled by the sudden start and stop of the odd genre of music. At this time of night, the castle lights are almost entirely out so the two royals are all but totally invisible to anyone walking past on the ground… And no one could get through the castle gates to get a closer look anyway. Elsa closed those after her transformation… It’s amazing the mobs that come after you when someone accuses you of being a virus.. And when they learn their queen is the bad guy of their game.. That’s practically unheard of!
Elsa can’t help a quick roll of her eyes as his rambling begins.
"I don’t think anyone uses tapes of any kind any more…" She comments quietly, doing her best to not talk over him, despite the new urge to do so… This freshly unlocked programming is going to take some getting used to..
But when his tone changes from the boastful, loud, chipper tone she’s used to, she silences herself and listens more intently to the darkness around her. She’s never had a conversation with someone she couldn’t see before… Though, she’s starting to get this odd feeling that she won’t like where this is going..
His words sink in like a rock in a pond, hitting and disturbing the surface then settling slowly. So… Something really had happened in Sugar Rush.. But he got out. So at least he didn’t meet his “game over” during it all… Though anyone could tell from the way he’s talking that there’s a “bad news” part to go with the “good news” of him not being dead… Yes, she’s certainly heard of and even seen what Cybugs are and do…They’re the worst kind of virus. The kind without motivation or regret. They don’t stop even a moment to think about what they’re doing or even stop t enjoy it.. They eat and move on. He was wrapped up in an incident involving those beasts? There can’t be a happy ending to this story..
Elsa steps back from the railing she’s found herself at as below her she hears the groaning of wood and the crackling of stone from the balcony. As if a great pressure were just removed from it. But the structural integrity of her castle comes second to the massive creature rising up in front of her. Large powerful wings creating enough wind to lift her cape behind her and push her hair from her eyes and a neck longer than Elsa’s entire body height..And at either end of that neck she sees an insect-like body with a set of deadly looking claws and a mangled, gored face attached to a charred head. Out of all of this, his destroyed face is possibly the worst part in her eyes. She can’t imagine the agony he must have endured when that happened. Compared to this, her own image troubles are like mussed hair. He’s… He’s a-…
"Oh, my-…" Elsa breathes, eyes widening substantially as she tries to take this in… "Your face-… I- What?"
As attention is brought to her own appearance she pulls her gaze from him to look down at herself… It is a little over the top isn’t it? Honestly, she’s not certain if the dark circles around her eyes are a design trait or if she’s just deprived of a proper night’s rest… Sometimes she still startles herself when she catches a glimpse of her own reflection out of the corner of her eye… She doesn’t hate it by any means but now with him staring at her like that… Suddenly she’s rather self conscious…
"…. Yes.. I guess it is.." She responds, folding her arms over her chest and glancing about her with the tiniest of embarrassed huffs. The woman looks over her shoulder to the balcony doors and back to her guest. She’s not worried about anyone saying anything to her, but she doesn’t want word getting out about a great beast flying around her castle. Not this soon after her change. There’s already one frozen man in her dungeon, she really doesn’t want to start a collection.
"Do you want to come in?" She asks, gesturing to the doors. Assuming, of course, that he can fit through them. "This-" She gestures to herself. "-Is kind of a long story and you’d probably like to rest your… Wings.."
This is going to take some getting used to..
"Well, if you’re offer~ing. Jutht give me a~”
He fumbled, in mid-air, staring awkwardly at the ground. He’d seen the look on her face - she’d looked like she’d seen, well, a monster. It hurt, for a second, before he forced it down. He was The Greatest Racer Who Ever Lived, after all, and it didn’t matter what ANYONE thought of him. It never had.
But, practically, there was no way he was getting through those doors. Not like that. They’d been designed for humans only, an understandable oversight given Frozen's utter dearth of thirty-foot mechanical monsters, but not one that helped the King out particularly. He assumed that smashing her wall down might be rude.
BUT, theoretically, if you were very good at code, and you knew how to edit yourself just a bit, and you knew about that thing called file compression…
Picture a man turning into an insect, and do it the other way round. Dull ripples of acid-green code pulsed through the malware monarch, and bits of him shrank back or just glitched out of sight as he steadily lowered himself. His neck reeled back like a fishing line. His arms retracted halfway into his shell, which was shrinking and shrinking like a well-sucked gumball -
- and a little old man of about four foot tall landed, with a jingle of bells, in front of her. He’d kept some of the old sound effects. He giggled, and knocked on his own head a couple of times to stabilize any errant flickering.
"Well, t-that’th CER~tainly one hell of a RUSH~! Hee~!"
He was his old self again, and at the same time he very clearly wasn’t. Little wings still flitted and jutted from the back of his waistcoat, and a pair of curled cerci peeped from beneath his tails. His arms were too long, and still ended in claws with a robotic joint in the elbows. Most visible, though, was the fact that his face hadn’t changed a bit.
He sighed, good-naturedly. His crown floated down about thirty feet, hurriedly, and rested itself atop his head.
"C’mon. I can getcha some hot CHOCOLATE thet up." With a twirl of his fancy little foot, he headed inside. "And if I may THAY so, that’s not a bad LOOK for you~! The great Gothic ICE Queen. Aha. I app~ROVE. It’th RE~gal.”
He gave her a pat on the shoulder, and sauntered inside as if he owned the place (his default method of entering anywhere). Well, no point in both of them feeling self-conscious, or they’d be there all day.
Elsa hadn’t been sleeping. Far too much to do since she accepted her true programming. Suddenly her old decorations hurt her eyes and had to be replaced. Old routines for the game’s plot were now changed and the Queen and her sister now had to rehearse what would now be the game play of Frozen now that Elsa has stepped out of the roll of “Damsel in Distress”…. It was hardly fitting or a Queen anyway, to always need to be rescued.. Leave that to the useless royalty like Peach.. Elsa is a Queen and her people need to respect her. Even if that respect means they must also fear her…
Even if she can’t shake the discomfort of the people who once loved her trembling in her presence… Funny how a little alteration to one’s code changes the way everyone looks at you… If only they knew she made this change to save the game..
And tonight, on this peaceful night, the Queen sits in her study. Her eyelids drooping from her steady hours of toil and fuss over sorting out what is going to be her new life. The rest of the castle is sound asleep int heir beds. The only sprites awake are those with jobs to do, and even they are in a hurry to finish up so they can lock themselves behind their doors and hide away till morning… At least when the Arcade is open they feel safe..
Visitors are slim to none these days.. Elsa had heard whispers of the events of Sugar Rush’s fall but she never heard any definitive proof.. And with all the fuss over finding Hans and not letting her people b consumed by a quickly collapsing game, she’s had no time to go and see for herself… That is probably for the best though.. She couldn’t have handled the stress…Friends for her, even when she was the brighter, blonder, more approachable looking Queen, friends were a luxury not often given to her… And to find out that possibly her only real one is gone?… She couldn’t bear that.
In the darkness, the music carries on the air to the Queen’s ears. She thinks maybe she’s drifted off into a dream- After all that music doesn’t belong in her kingdom. It doesn’t fit in the least. But when she opens her now deep blue eyes and looks around her, she finds she’s in her study still, and very much awake.. But where could that be coming from? It sounds like music that would only be played by-
Just like that, all weariness leaves her body and the Queen leaps from her chair. She rushes to her window, looking down into the courtyard to see if she can spot him.But, there’s no one there. Then where-?
Hurrying from her room, Elsa makes an effort to smooth back her now short and spiked black hair. With a wave of a hand her blue night dress transforms into her shimmering ice gown- Though now a much deeper shade of blue.She stops just a moment to check her reflection in the glass frame of an old painting, making sure she hadn’t either smeared her ruby lipstick or drooled in the moment she’d drifted into a nap. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? Though the momentary stop does make hr wonder what he’ll have to say about her… Change.
It’s well into the last half of the song before Elsa pops out onto a balcony. (Unknowingly right above him) She looks about for a moment before she just decides… Heck with it.
"You know…" She smirks, calling out onto the wind. She knows he’s there she just can’t see much in the darkness. "It’s usually rude to blast music in the middle of the night..”
"Well, ex~CUSE me, PRIN~cesth! Or QUEEN I should thay. Ahoo~!"
Up until then, King Candy’d actually been doing a little dance, of foot-tapping and head-bobbing with a few sashays of the shoulders to boot. You could take the dork out of Sugar Rush, or in fact assimilate him into a gigantic robot insect which craved the flesh of the innocent, but some bits forever stayed the same.
He opened his eye, and grinned.
"But SOME~body, hath ta ED~ucate you KIDTH in the CLASSICTH~!"
It was good to hear her again, even if he’d picked the wrong balcony - a cursory glance through the frosted glass window indicated he’d actually been serenading a staircase. He clicked the song off, just as it was beginning to traipse back into silence anyway, and let the sounds of the Arendelle night creep back in.
"I’ll, hoohoo, make ya a MIX~tape thometime. Do the kids still do mix-tapes? I guess not. Hah! Now I-I ass~UME-"
He paused, and straightened his bowtie and smoothed out his remaining tuft of hair self-consciously. This was going to be the awkward bit. His tone was quieter, more subdued.
"Now. I ass~ume you’ve heard of events in Sugar Rush. WELL, as ya can plainly thee, re~ports of my DEATH have been GREAT~ly exaggerated!”
He grinned again, tightly. Technically, if you were generous about the verb, half of his face showed a lot of teeth all the time. Death had been what he’d tried to avoid, and he’d succeeded. He’d won.
It just didn’t always feel like it, some days. More patters of snow melted onto the ruins of his charred face.
"But reportth of OTHER things…they’re TRUE. …ya know what a CY~bug can DO to ya, kiddo?"
That sentence hung in the air like a knife over someone’s head, allowing her to play some of the scarier possibilities in her head in case, just in case, they might be less horrifying than the real thing. He shrugged, languidly, and his wings droned. Well, no point in hiding it any longer.
King Candy jumped off the balcony, and floated straight up. He looked better than he HAD done, straight after respawn - most of his colours had returned, save for a few determined scabs of crusted black, and his wings had returned. The drooping, candle-wick melting of his cerci remained, though, as did ALL the damage on the left side of his face. He’d tried to have it magically fixed, and it had stuck.
"Well, a VOLCANO can do worthe." The King managed a chuckle, as he pivoted round to face her. "Still, hoohoo, ya-ya shoulda seen the VOLCANO afterwardth-"
He saw her. Both his brows hit the sky, and his eye widened with curiousity. Her skin was as pale as his - as his REAL skin, not the stolen flesh that stretched over his own - and there were dark circles around her eyes. Her icy dress was darker, the shade of the one iceberg the ship didn’t see, and her hair was cropped, with a drooping fringe. Her eyes burned blue, colder than a well-served revenge. It was jet-black, though he could see she’d made an effort to style it. And she had lipstick on, blood-red.
She looked like she’d collided with a Hot Topic at high speed. Any minute now, she’d play The Cure for him and show him her pagan totems.
He recovered as best he could. After all, unless she’d jumped species, his was worse.
"…WELL. Tonight’th just the NIGHT for new LOOKTH, ain’t it~?"
"So this…thith is IT, huh?"
King Candy cleared his throat. The room was dim. It was the kind of room that swallowed the light, that would probably stay dim even if you pumped a hundred-megawatt spotlight into it. It was the kind of room where people lurked. It was a room with stains on the walls, and the nicest thing you could say about them is that maybe some of them weren’t blood.
There was also a half-eaten plate of cookies on a table, near the used plastic cups of nightmare fuel, and a motivational poster of something smiling with too many mouths.
"Welcome t tt to Pasta-A̠͙͕͎͕̜̱no no nono n̞̤̘̜o̧̻n̡͖̞̥̠̤̼͖!̶̰̗̣” [:D] Evil Otto’s smile remained omnipresent even as his sprite flickered and fritzed on and off. A few grasping hands, stick-thin and twitching like the legs of a skewered insect, occasionally jutted from his left eye. His mouth was an upturned cresent-moon, all pearl-white like a polished bone with no actual visible teeth, and instead of just opening and shutting like it should have done its shape warped as he spoke. “Isn’t it just really nifty?" [:D]
"…uh, YEAH. Sure thure." The King’s good eye darted around, nervously. "Tho, ‘ah, why’d ya bring ME ta deal with this~? Isn’t thith a HIVE job? Or-or for RE~boot? Hoohoo~"
"Well, ya see, actually getting to this place can be really tricky! So you did a great job!” [:D] Otto fritzed a grin like a hook. “Besides, if Volume or Reboot’d have died getting here, King Turbo wouldn’t speak to me for weeks!” [:S]
King Candy sputtered, and stared, face blanching. “What, I-I-I could have DIED-“
"But you didn’t die! But you will eventually! But that’s OK!" [:D] "Hey, wanna hear the date of your death?"
"…no, hah, no Otto, I-I don’t.”
"Well, I’m just gonna have to gut the pig keep that one to mys s s̭̦e͟l̻͇f̴̫̟̗!̯͈̭͎” [:D] A couple of robots, blocky things modelled after the ones from Berzerk, tottered into the room to clean up. One of them had a loose panel near its ribs, and it leaked the blue lifeblood of a sprite. King Candy’s stomach growled. “Besides, you have a question for him, right?” [:D]
"I know L O T S O F T H I N G S sins against god, ya big silly!” [:D] “Now, I’m going to Freddy Fazbear’s to say hi to some P p humans!, but I’ll be back soon to lock up, ya hear?” [:D] Otto floated to the King, bouncing eagerly. “C’mon! Hug me o͙̳̗͇͟ͅu̡͍͎t͙̖̠̤̭!̨̮͚̻̭”
The little sprite bumped his tarsi, with an eager little grin. Sighing, King Candy gave him a quick hug back, patting him on the head awkwardly.
"The contract is sealed!" [>:D] "I’ll claim Ṯ̹̠̱͜H͔̯̱̰͍̰̯A̧͖̘͍̳̼T̹̳̦ ̰̹̳͇̦͕ͅo͓n̰͈̣̜ͅe in six months! Good luck!” [:D]
"…wait what what CON-"
Otto winked happily out of existence. King Candy stared at the spot where he’d been, for a few long moments, before looking around.
The robots whirred, and clicked, and bled some more as they finished up their menial tasks. The walls breathed, and a cold wind bristled at the back of his neck. Shadows pulsed inward and outward with the walls, shadows like starless voids. And in one corner, at the back on the room on the left, the taste of corruption was so violently tangible that it reached up to the back of King Candy’s throat and clawed.
He was there. He couldn’t be anywhere else.
Slowly, the King moved forward, and the back wall moved away from him. It took a few more miles than it physically should have done, of crawling through darkness on your belly and ignoring the whispers above your head, before he actually got to him.
The great beast was slouched against the corner of two walls, which was creaking with the effort of holding him up. King Candy stooped, the broken joints in his far-too-exposed neck whirring, and tried to look into Creeper’s - King Turbo’s - eyes. They were looking somewhere else entirely. Perhaps into a thousand worlds. Into a thousand dying eyes. Creeper wasn’t much of a person, anymore - he was a line on a graph, running through points - from death to death to death - on a cold, mechanical basis.
"Hey." King Candy chuckled, nervously, and waved a hand in front of the little alternate’s face. "Ya THERE~?"
There was no response. Not even a flash of teeth, or the hiss of a seething volcano. King Candy cleared his throat, and pressed on.
"I…well I can thee you’re BUSY. Hoohoo." The bug adjusted his bowtie, nervously. "So ya know I can go back and tell VOL~ume and RE~boot and THAL~mon and so on that you’ll be there soon e~NOUGH! When ya FEEL like it!"
No response. He hadn’t really expected one. He shifted, and felt four feet tall again.
"But, you know, Otto had a POINT. There WATH something, that I meant ta ASK you."
"You theem ta have done the BEST out of ALL of us. So FAR." King Candy averted his eye. That suffix had been a bit of wiggleroom for his own pride. "So ya know, how the NIGHTTH can be, you’re UP all night THINKING a-and when ya get back ta sleep there’s LAVA-"
He stopped, and shivered, and cursed Wreck-It Ralph’s name inside his own head for the three thousandth time. He swallowed, and looked into Creeper’s face. His tone was painfully, painfully earnest.
"What happenth? Eventually? Does it stop?”
Creeper’s hand lashed out, with no effort at all, and caught the King by the throat. He gagged, and tried to pull back. It was like fighting against a black hole, except with less leeway in terms of density.
Slowly, slowly, Creeper sat up. King Candy could HEAR the wrong animation as he did so - he heard a thousand shifting coils, and the rub of chitin on chitin, and skittering legs. Creeper’s eyes blazed, and he pulled King Candy’s face so close to his own the miasma nearly rotted his face off.
King Turbo spoke quietly. He stared into the other man’s soul.
Street woke up on the floor – not his floor, but the floor of the Pit Stop, a bar in his game. He tried to get up, only to wince as pain splintered through him from his head. It felt like Little Mac had been using it to train.
Eventually he was able to stand. His phone slipped out of his pocket and clattered to the floor. Cursing, he picked it up, only to find this message waiting for him on the screen.
“What the actual fu…?”
King Candy, meanwhile, had set himself up a throne.
It was a bit squisher than his last one, or at least as much as it could be when it was made from Minecraft blocks. It was made of sheep’s wool - he had one HELL of a surplus from when he’d tracked down that flock during one of his mid-morning flights - and painted glittery-gold with a few dozen buckets of varnish. His thorax slouched lazily over the elongated seat, his end pair of legs lolling over the sides as his elbows rested on the arm-rest.
His good eye peered through his reading glasses, intently, at Coding For Malevolent Geniuses (Coding For Dummies and Coding For Average People had been disposed of some time ago, and Coding For Good People had never even been picked up). He licked a claw, and flicked a page. A song played on his phone, hooked into a dock from The Sims (still pattered with a little patina of blood). Some of his cats were trying to use him as a climbing frame, and his free hand absentmindedly scritched them.
Then the song cut out. A tinny ringing sound screeched through the air, and King Candy sat up in a shower of cats. His singed brows raised, curiously and with a flaking of plastic, as he outstretched a hand and picked the little device up.
A text flashed at him. More precisely, Street flashed at him.
He very nearly crushed the phone right there and then. His lips curled back, revealing a lot of his teeth, and blood flowed through pulsing veins that hadn’t seen it since the volcano incident. He made a sound like a stalled motor with a brick on the gas pedal.
He wasn’t going to sit here and be MOCKED. Not by a SEQUEL.
"Thowah BILL, I’m going OUT!"
There was no answer. There was never an answer, but he still called for his butler out of habit. He tossed a shadow across the room like a great dark cloak, and stalked through the door with a lash of his furious cerci. The song called, plaintively, after him.
♫ He’s just a poor boy! From a poor family! Spare him his life from this monstrosity! ♫
The King sneered, ugly and cruel. His good eye burned a hateful yellow, like the oppressive rays of the midday sun.
"What do I have here? Visitors?"
"Watch your step.. I haven’t gotten all of the snow cleaned up yet…”
Things had changed, since the last time King Candy’d set foot in Frozen.
The day after Queen Elsa’s party, Sugar Rush had been shut down by a plague of Cy-bugs and evacuated. Only two citizens had remained inside, the Glitch and the King, and by the time anyone noticed that it was too late to get them out. They’d been left to rot, with their world, as hordes of screaming bugs hurled themselves at the wall blocking the rest of the arcade.
No-one’d ever found out what had happened in there, but SOMETHING’D managed to trigger a reset. From Vanellope’s point of view, it had looked like King Candy’d sacrificed himself to the volcano to kill all the bugs and buy her enough time to cross the finish line, rather than getting knocked in as he tried to flee to save his own skin. History can be oddly malleable, in bits.
After the reset, the memories of the citizenry were restored, and Princess Vanellope von Schweetz took her rightful place on the throne. While everyone’d figured out that SOMEONE must have hacked into the game for a few years, and that someone’d been a massive jerk for most of his life, respect for the perma-dead and his noble sacrifice had managed to salvage his heroic legacy. A statue had been built in his honour, from the melted-down gold of the King Candy Coins, and placed reverently outside the castle.
Some months after that, Frozen had had its own trouble with viruses and deception, as I’m sure you’re aware.
And now, here we are. It was a cold evening.
A guard NPC patrolled in front of the Arendelle gate. He was clad in a thick coat blue as an evening sky, and had a dark-brown beard to warm his face. A flaming torch blazed in his hand, to keep his little patch of the world alight even as the rest of it sank into blackness. He had a sword holstered on his belt, and an antiquated-looking musket strapped to his back in case of dire emergencies.
He’d never really had to patrol before. Oh, it was his job, and in fact his purpose in life as defined by strings of code and boolean switches, but usually just standing outside the gate’d suffice. In fact, on particularly quiet nights he could even slip off to Tapper’s, before coming back and picking up some stuff from Oaken’s to bring back to his mother.
There’d been no more quiet nights, since she’d turned. There might never be again.
This couldn’t have gone unnoticed, he decided grimly. A market-trader with generic clothing and a battered-looking donkey’d told him what’d happened the last time they’d found viruses - full-fledged viruses - pulling the strings in an arcade down South. They’d been tossed into the arcade’s firewall, spawn included. They’d popped.
But for now, the nights were too cold, and fear pricked at the back of the neck like an ill wind. With all that to deal with, the man at the gate probably really deserved a better fate than he’d get in the next five seconds.
He bumped into something, with a metallic clang, and fell back on the snow with a whumph. His breath fogged through parted lips as he stared up and up at what seemed to be a distortion in the air. Flakes of snow no longer fell through it, but rested on an invisible enemy that juddered and twisted and loomed. It looked like an insect, with the wrong sort of head-shape and larger than any insect should ever be. He saw jaws to bite, and claws to catch.
He jabbed his torch at it, and it reared back in primal fear, with a hissing scream.
He’d never find out exactly how big a mistake that WAS, because a second later King Candy’s head shot out to bite him in half, and his brain was halfway down the monarch’s throat before he could find out much of anything, ever again.
The creature plucked a floral handkerchief from his collar, like some gigantic cannibalistic magician, and after clawing some snow on the hated torch and swallowing down the rest of the NPC, he wiped his mouth. He could at least look like a sprite.
Turbo’s respect for his generic fellow sprite had never run that far anyway. He thought it’d be harder, murder, but the best part about new games for a certain kind of mind, those new games with their thousands of genetic sprites with about ten names and three character models between them, was that you could kill quite a lot of them and not even feel all that guilty. He picked a niggly bit of sentient being from his teeth, and dislodged a horseshoe and a cluster of pine-needles.
He’d had quite a few snack breaks on the way up. He was already getting hungry again.
The invisibility power-up he’d yanked from a copy of Titanfall finally wore down, and he flicked back into the visible realm. The snow landed on the scarred side of his face, an ugly brown mass of half-healed burns and sloughed skin, and soothed it just a tiny bit.
"Well, let’th get GOING."
His wings whirred into life. They were still healing, too - a bit raggedy at the edges, and perhaps too short, but they took him into the sky and towards the castle. He could see the populace below him, but not as many as there should have been - times like these, you stayed inside as soon as it got dark and prayed to your nearest god. What people he COULD see looked, well, like ants. Scurrying and nervous.
He landed on the castle’s balcony, shaking a few flagstones loose from his sheer weight. His tarsi curled in thought as to how to get the Queen outside. If she was even in. He fidgeted.
He was retiring the King Candy skin soon - better prospects had opened up elsewhere, or could soon be pried open with force and a stolen Code Room key. He’d just wanted to see Elsa was alright. She was a friend, after all, and he might as well save one last game before he slipped into the shadows for good.
He plucked out his charred old phone, and tapped with the tips of his claws until a song came up. He hit play, and held it above his head for the full theatrical effect as a song blared through the night.
Music tastes like that were a calling card in their own right.
Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure in-turbo-nation
New York Comic Con and Long Beach Comic Con commission pre-orders are now open. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and requests.
EEEEEEE ! YOU GUYS ARE SO CUTE UNDERWATER !