Tao was used to waking up to the sound of fighting, but when she woke up that evening she awoke to the sound of gun fire and cavalry horses. She opened her eyes and was astonished by the battle taking place between small toy soldiers and mice.
"Charge!" called one soldier, obviously the general. The mice in retaliated and catapults, Tao had been so focused on their battle it wasn't until she heard a sound of something crashing to the ground it was then that her attention what looked like an extremely oversized fat rat about to charge with a candle as the javelin at what looked like trumpet? Wait there were wood legs sticking out from under it, before Tao knew what see was doing, she had took off her slipper and thrown it at the charging mouse, causing him to stumble and light himself on fire. He cried out in pain, catching the attention of everyone battling. mMny of the mice rushed to his side to put him out. A mouse wearing what Tao only guess was a mini sorcerer's hat turn towards Tao.
"How dare you interfere with the Mouse King!"
"I'm…I'm sorry but he had no right!" Tao said defiantly putting her slipper back on.
"You must think you're so tough because you're so much larger than us. Well how about you come down to our size!" Before Tao could blink, she felt a small zap in her chest.
"Ow, what the?" Slowly she felt herself get closer to the ground. "What…what did you do?" she turned and realized she was a little shorter than the sorcery mouse.
"Let's see what you can do now?" The mouse laughed.
"Sorcerer! Let's go we'll deal with the nutcracker another time!" A soldier mouse yelled lifting the mouse king above his head with many others.
"This isn't over miss." The sorcerer call out as he ran through a newly made portal.
What in the world just happened? Was all Tao could think before she remembered the poor soldier stuck under the trumpet, she turned to see a few of them trying to separate the two.
"You guys pull the trumpet I'll pull him." Rushing over to aid. The two sides pulled constantly for a few minutes. "Alright on my count, one, two, Three!" With the last pull the soldier was freed, unfortunately both he and Tao stumbled to the ground. "Ow."
"Are you alright?" Tao looked up to the soldier and looked straight into his baby blue eyes. Even though he was made of wood he looked about the same age as her, he had shaggy black hair painted under his hat. She felt her cheeks flush as she shyly nodded. The soldier got up and held out a hand. "I guess, I need to thank you for helping me out of the trumpet."
"Not to mention, saving you from the mouse king." One of the soldiers said, sliding her gun onto her shoulder, her waist length blonde hair was tied back. Another soldier with fiery red hair and green eyes slid to a stop beside her.
"Yea, dude, she totally saved your butt. The mouse king was gonna set you on fire." Quickly the blonde smacked him upside the head.
"Ever hear of subtle?" The Blonde soldier sighed. The black haired soldier turned back to her and chuckled, a very familiar chuckle that Tao could not place.
"I guess I owe you a second thank you, please tell me, who do I have to thank?" He bowed down and kissed her hand. Flushing once again, Tao answered him.
"Umm it's Tao. Umm if I may ask what your names are?" The two soldiers both came to attention and saluted her.
"Wallace, Head of the Tree Guard."
"Artemis, Head shooter of the Calvary." The three turned to the soldier that looked a bit different from the other soldiers now that Tao could compare them, while Artemis and Wally looked like toy soldiers Hayato would have played with, the black haired one looked more like a nutcracker. This would explain what the mice had been talking about.
"I actually don't know my name, all I remember is the Sugar Plum Fairy sent me for help but the mouse king followed me. "
"I'd say there's more to it, they really seem to be after your head. They were calling you the nutcracker." Tao explained.
"Well I guess we'll call you Nutcracker for now, you said someone sent you for help?" Wally asked. The nutcracker had been lost and thought then jumped at Wally's voice."
"Yes, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the mouse king has taken over Toyland and his sorcerer has hidden the royal family away somewhere. I was sent to find help and looks like I found it, if you three are willing to help me?" He pleaded.
"Course you can count on us." Wally saluted quickly followed by Artemis. The three looked to Tao who sighed. "I'm…I'm in, I gotta get that sorcerer to change me back." Looking up at the extremely oversized tree.
"Even if you can't get him to, my friend should be able to reverse it. I'm sure of it." Pulling out a small pearl. "This will get us to her palace. Ready?" The three nodded as he dropped the pearl there came a bright flash then nothing.
(Time Skip brought to you by a Partiage in a Pear tree)
"Ms. Tao, Ms. Tao please wake up." Tao felt someone gently shaking her awake. Her eyes fluttered opened.
"I'd give that way of travel maybe a three." Rubbing her head. Then there came that familiar chuckle once again followed by.
"I'm very sorry, I did not know the effects that kind of travel might have on a human."
"It's alright, Nutcracker. Really, I'm no worse for the…wear." Finally taking in her new surroundings, the purple crystal castle gleamed brightly. "It's beautiful.." The Nutcracker chuckled again.
"You'll have to tell her. Come on, the inside is even better."
At one time, the inside may have been gorgeous, but now shattered remains of furniture lay scattered across the ground. The Nutcracker leaned down to pick up a shard of glass.
"They must have come and captured her after she sent me through the portal…" He said, sounding on the brink of tears, if that was possible. As Tao went to comfort him, she saw a shadow slowly growing over him.
"Nutcracker! Look out!" Pulling out of the way. She found herself on top of him.
"You really must stop saving my life, Ms. Tao. I am racking up quite the debt to you." He said with a smile. They're attention was drawn back to where they once were by the sounds of shots coming from Artemis's gun. There standing tall was yet another soldier who looked a bit like the Nutcracker with his blue eyes and and jet black hair but he seemed to have a completely different air to himself then the Nutcracker; this boy was this guy angry.
"Where is she?!" He yelled before lunging at Artemis and Wally who both lept out of the way.
"Where's who? Dude!? We have no idea who your talking about?" Wally yelled, only earning him the soul attention of the soldier.
"Don't lie, I know you took Plum, now give her back!" Lunging at Wally once more, who just manage to evade the hit. Tao who finally realized what was going on, jumped out from her hiding spot. Quickly catching the attention of the raging soldier. Who rushed at her.
"We aren't the ones who took her, we came here to see her, but now we see she needs our help. Please let's work together we'll help you get her back." Tao rushed from her mouth. Her eyes were shut tight, opening one she saw he had stopped right in front of her. His eyes filled with concern.
"Yes, where do you think they took her?"
"The only place they take anyone they capture; the palace. After his majesty disappeared, the Mouse King took over the palace." The four looked to one another, knowing they would have to face the mouse king and his sorcerer in order to save toyland. That would not be pleasant.
(This time Skip is brought to you by two turtle doves)
As the team trudge their way to the palace with their new friend Conner, it was obvious that the Mouse king had started the destruction of Toyland: trees lay across the road, building smashed.
"This is awful; why is the Mouse King doing this?" Tao asked extremely put out.
"He wants to remake Toyland in his own image." Connor explained. "There was a feud between the father of the current king and the Mouse Queen, where which The Mouse Queen sent an assassin after them, killing the king and queen in front of prince now King of Toyland, during the Mouse Queen's sentencing someone who still remains unknown dropped a statue on her, her son became the Mouse king and promised he would rule Toyland if it was the last thing he did."
"So who does the royal family consist of now?" Tao asked as the Nutcracker helped her over a fallen tree.
"The Royal family consists of His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen and his Royal Highness the Prince. The last any of them were seen was the attack on the castle, then all of a sudden the Mouse King shows up with his Majesty crown on his head and even the Sugar Plum Fairy couldn't find them." Conner continued to explain until they came to a very old looking bridge, that could likely fall apart if too much weight was on it.
"I'll go first if it can support my weight, you all should be fine." Conner suggested, not waiting for anyone's response he stepped on.
Most of group had made it across, the Nutcraker had vanished and then reappeared not two seconds later beside Conner on the other side. Followed shortly by Artemis. Tao had convinced Wally to go ahead of her, now she deeply regretted it. When Wally had made it half way across the bridge, the ropes began to snap. His feet barely crunched down on the snow when the ropes tore apart. Leaving one thin tight rope for Tao to walk across.
"It looks like it will support your weight!" Wally yelled back to her, earning a slap to the back of his head. Curtesy of Artemis. Tao wasn't afraid of heights. No the idea of walking across this rope wasn't what scared her. It was the idea of the distant to the dark bottom with no end.
Tao took a deep breath, she could do this. She would take it nice and slow. Gently gliding her way across she kept her focus on the people in front of her, telling her to not look down and that she was almost there. Though when their expressions turned, she took the chance to look back over her shoulder. See what she saw she wished she hadn't she saw Mouse soldiers closing in on them, she felt her chest tighten, she felt the rope swaying beneath her feet. She was gonna fall.
"Tao!" She turn back to the voice, it was the Nutcracker! "Tao, focus on me and only me. Your almost there come on." Slowly following the guide of his voice glided the rest of the way to them, wrapping in Nutcracker's embrace, quivering as he stroked her hair. "It's alright Tao, you made it, your safe." Tao could barely hear him over the sound of the mouse trying to decide who had to walk across first. In one swift motion, Tao removed the Nutcracker's sword from it's sheath and sliced the rope.
"Come on, let's get out of here." Wally yelled racing once again toward the palace, followed closely by the others.
(Time Skip brought to you by Egg Nog!)
Looking at the palace from their hidden spot on the tree line, this was going to be...difficult.
"So anyone got a plan?" Wally asked.
"Smash our way in and save Plum." Conner said moving to the edge of the treeline next to Artemis.
"Anyone have a real plan?" Artemis sighed. Everyone look toward where the Nutcracker once stood to see a vacant spot.
"Man, I hate it when he does that."
"Does what?" The Nutcracker asked appearing behind him. Both Artemis and Tao covered Wally's mouth before he could yelp. "There's a secret enterance, follow me." Quickly following before he could disappear again the group followed him to a wall. Before anyone could object he simply step start into the wall. It was then that Tao realized it was an optical illusion.
"Nutcracker, how did you know about this?" Tao asked quickly following him in. He gave a look that made her think he was straining his memory trying to remember. "It's alright, maybe you used to work for the King and that's why the sugar plum fairy trusted you to go get help?" She said trying to ease the stress. It seem to work as he gave her a gentle smile that made his eyes glisen.
"Maybe we should split up, just in case?" Suggested Wally. The others agreed, Tao and the Nutcracker agreed to try and find the main hall while Artemis, Conner and Wally looked for the dungeon and the prisoners.
Only five minutes after seperating did Tao think it was a bad idea. The nutcracker had rounded a corner but before Tao could turn it, he wiped right past her and screamed, "Wrong Way!" Quickly turning tail and chasing after him, she didn't need to turn to know they were now on the run from mouse soldiers.
"Not a chance!" Tao yelled!
"This guy is not whelm not whelm at all." The nutcracker cackled.
Tao ran face first into the nutcracker and before she could question why she realized he was facing down a half a dozen or so swords. Both raised their hands above their heads and were being lead somewhere. Tao hoped the others were fairing better.
Tao couldn't figure out if the two of them had really good luck or really bad luck. The good thing was they found the Main Hall, unfortunately they were being lead in by mouse soldiers towards the mouse king.
"Well, well, well if it isn't the Nutcracker." Turning to him then turn his sight to Tao with glare. "And your the little brat that burnt my tail!" Tao glared right back.
"And your the rat who shrunk me." The stare contest went on for a moment or two until the nutcracker intervened.
"Enough of this, where is the Royal Family and the Sugar Plum fairy?" The mouse King laughed as the guards restrained the Nutcracker.
"The Royal family is exactly where I need them to be to keep an eye on them." Smiling maniaclly. "As for the Sugar Plum Fairy, she's right here." To the left of the throne stood a small stool with a glass vase, inside the vase was a small green fairy, her skin was green while her hair was a shade or two dark then Wally's. She looked at them with pleading eyes.
"Plum!" The Nutcracker yelled as he attempted to aid her only to be held back by more soldiers.
"Enough guards, take her away and start the fire for him, I wanna see how a nutcracker burns!" The Mouse King exclaimed. Tao began to pull at the soldiers pulled her away from him.
"Enough!" Came a voice from above. Tao looked up to see a tall African American with blonde buzz cut hair and silver eyes looking down on him but he was not alone, surrounding the upper layers were toys of every size and shape and all very mad. "We are the people of Toyland and we stand by the Nutcracker." There came a roar of cheers and then silence.
When the fighting broke out Tao lost track of everyone and instead chose to help the Sugar Plum fairy. Before she could lift the glass the SPF was trying to get her attention.
"Yes what is it?" She pointed to the other side of the throne where a snow globe lay. "Yes what of it?" Tao asked. The Sugar Plum fairy made a smashing movement. "You want me to destroy it?" She nodded. Racing to the other side, Tao quickly picked it up, she search the crowd and spotted the Nutcracker and mouse King in a heat sword fight, The mouse King raised his sword for the final blow.
"Mouse King!" Tao yelled. He turned to in rage but that subsided into terror when he saw her holding the snow globe.
"No, you foolish girl put that down!" He said, racing towards her.
"Your rein of Terror ends now!" Smashing it to the floor. Tao watched as snow rushed freely throughout the throne room. Creating two small tornados and one more enveloping the nutcracker, the three disappeared as quickly as they appeared, In there place stood a tall man with dark black hair and blue eyes and a tall lean woman with light blue eyes and long lush brown hair. The final tornado subsided and all began to envelope the Mouse King, dragging him away to his frozen prison.
"NNNOOOO!" He screamed with his last breath. As the the fog began to clear, only one person ran through Tao's mind.
"Nutcracker? Nutcracker! Where are you?" She was terrified he was sucked in to the tundra too until there came the ever gentle..
"Ms. Tao?" Tao turn to see the same beautiful blue eyes and black hair. "Nutcracker!" Wrapping her arms around his neck. She realized then he was human, feeling the skin and hair on the nap of his neck. "Nutcracker your..."
"Richard!" The pair turned to the couple who appeared out of no where.
"Mother, Father!" The boy raced over to his parents who wrapped him in a tight hug. Everyone in room was silent until the same blonde haired man exclaimed.
"The Royal family has returned to us!" Tao looked as everyone cheered. Artemis, Wally, Conner and the now free Sugar Plum fairy stood beside Tao as the Royal family came up to them.
"So your really the prince Huh?" Wally questioned. Richard smiled.
"Yes I remember now, when the Mouse King attacked, he sealed my parents on the snow globe. Plum snuck me away in order to protect me but she didn't know he had sent a curse after me, turning me into the nutcracker and making me forget who I was." His father a kind hand on his son's shoulder.
"And now that we have our kingdom back we must celebrate!" The crowd cheered.
(One Epic Ballet Dance number later)
Tao stood on the balcony over looking the kingdom it truly was beautiful, once the mouse King was destroyed by his own power, any damage done was reversed it seemed.
"Beautiful night, is it not?" Tao jumped at the voice.
"Nutcracker, I mean your highness." Curtsying as she spoke the latent half.
"Please, Richard is fine." He joined her in looking out on the land. "You wish to return home." It was not a question but a statement, Tao nodded sadly.
"Your Kingdom is beautiful, but now that there is peace I am need back home."
"Don't you ever wish, you could just let it be and just be happy?"
"Then why?" This put a smile on her face.
"Because destiny is a strange thing." It was then that Tao realized she was being enveloped in pink fog. "Wait I don't want to leave right now!"
"I'm afriad you must leave now lest your heart sway." Tao tried to reach out for him to no avail. She felt one of her slippers fall off but did not care.
"Will I ever see you again?" Then there came the eerie familiar chuckle.
"I would be very dis-traught if we did not, heavy on the dis." Wait Dis?
"Tao, Tao wake up." She felt someone gently shake her awake, looking up into her team mates faces.
"Oh hey guys. What's up?" Wally laughed at her.
"We leave to get snacks for the movies and you fell asleep." So it had all been a dream. She pressed her feet the stone floor only to hiss at how cold one of her feet were. Then came a cackle a eerie laugh that could made her spin around to the black hair blue eyed form, holding her missing slipper in his hand.