Trolls: Dårlig and Feige
Chapter 1: The Threads of the Beginning
(cue to the opening of a rusted storybook with only black silhouette drawings and an odd pair of needled hands sewing something up)
Since life was created, happiness was something everyone desired. But while it's commonly know that happiness is on the inside, hardly anyone knows where it came from. The Troll gemstones.
The Troll gemstones, as they were commonly called, were harvesting containers of energy that when harvested brought happiness and a long life. Originally, they were large as mountains, but then they were turned into tiny seeds that dispersed throughout the universe, thus spreading happiness to everyone. And from the heart connecting those happy links rooted the most Troll gemstones, and from those gemstones grew the Troll Tree, where the Trolls, the new harvesters of happiness, were born. As symbol of the impact they had, whenever a female Troll was born, she came with a small fragment of a Troll gemstone implanted on her navel.
But, what few people know is that the Troll gemstones attracted more greedy troubles than they did to happy times. Granted, almost everyone knows the story of how the Bergens ate Trolls for happiness, but what they didn't know was that not long after the Trolls were captured and Bergen Town was founded, there was another species after happiness... to say the least.
That species... is an evil one. They are commonly known as Aracdames. Those female humanoid spiders of broken porcelain and metal were monsters who, for survival or pleasure, feasted on the flesh and souls of any child they encountered, but their beastly natures worsened when they discovered the existence of the Troll gemstones. They discovered that by removing the Troll gemstones from the places they were held, happiness easily disappeared, and children from those areas would be affected with such unhappy boredom, the Aracdames could lure them into their webs with more ease by using guaranteed happiness as a bait.
The Aracdames began this habit of stealing Troll gemstones and destroying them, causing the ever-happy universe to experience a despairing boredom that led at least a quarter of its population to die in the hands of the Aracdames. But the worst of all was the one they nicknamed the Beldam. Like her kind, she hunted children for survival, but unlike the rest of her kind, she had the habit of luring bored children in by pretending to be the perfected version of their mother and trapping them forever thanks to the abused happiness she offered them.
But what her kind wasn't aware of was that the Beldam actually grew bored of constantly luring and trapping, so she sought a way to gain herself immortality. After doing some thorough research, she discovered that she could gain immortality if she devoured the heart of a virgin who consumed twelve Troll gemstones in any means possible.
Luckily, before she could even act, the Aracdames were attacked. Angered by the deaths caused by those beasts, authorities had summoned a bounty hunter to kill them all. He was an expert at his work, skilled at knives, and currently the keeper of the Trolls. He was the royal Bergen Chef, but the Aracdames called him 'The Assassin.'
Eventually, he killed them all, with the last to die being the Beldam and her swearing that eventually she'll get her immortality and vengeance on the Assassin and whatever legacy he built. Since nobody knew the Troll gemstones' part in it, the Assassin was thanked for his bravery, and in return, all foreigners promised to never intervene with the Bergens' 'business' with the Trolls. As for the gemstones, they went on, camouflaged in the mist of the half-gray, half-colorful world we live in.
The metal hands stopped their sewing and hung up something on the ceiling the same way you'd hang someone. The objects looked like button-eyed dolls of a Bergen and a Troll. A strange laughter echoed in the room as the two dolls were revealed to be part of million other dolls gathered together to make the words...
TROLLS: DÅRLIG AND FEIGE
Right after the events of TROLLS: GLADIOLA TROLLKONGE
Dårlig popped his eyes open. It was a miracle, he wasn't dreaming. He was really in the PENGUINS INC van transporting the riders to Villainapolis. His unbearable life as a kitchen wretch, harassed and abused by his own mother, was finally gone. True, he'd still have the scars, but at least he wouldn't live through them again.
He lifted his head up. One of the members of PENGUINS INC, the correspondence that managed to arrange their immigration and settlement in Villainapolis, offered him a cup of steaming tea. "It's caffeinated," he said.
"Thank you." Dårlig accepted the cup. "And thank you again for arranging this."
"Anytime," the driver spoke up from his seat.
The PENGUINS INC van wasn't like any Dårlig had seen in his life. The driver's area, he couldn't see thanks to the titanium wall, but the back was quite luxurious. Leather seats, carpeted floor, and both sides of the van serving as either a mini computer lab for Genny Kowalski, the main nerd of the PENGUINS INC, or a tiny kitchen for Secret Private, the 'chick' of the group as the driver Rookie Skipper put it.
Dårlig turned his head and found his favorite person in the world sitting next to him. Feige was still going through an awed state about her new condition. After all, she had spent most of her life in a small size where Dårlig grew the comfortable habit of carrying her on his shoulders. Now she was matching him in size.
"I still can't believe I'm not dreaming..." Her eyes kept staring at her new hands. "I'm tall now."
Dårlig smiled at her. "At least the Feige I know hasn't changed." He took her hand and crossed his fingers with hers. Feige returned the happy smile to him. The warmth that their connection shared was quite beautiful. To think that these two friends, a Bergen and a Troll, grew up together to the point that they developed romantic feelings for one another. In the past, it just seemed impossible. How could two people of different sizes and species join together? Today marked the change.
"Oh, this is so exciting!" Genny stacked a bunch of papers and clipped them into a folder. "We've dealt with so many diverse immigrations to Villainapolis, but never any that involved a Bergen. Or a Troll. Together! And the Troll matching the Bergen size!"
"Easy there, Gen. They aren't your new lab rats!" Rookie warned. Dårlig and Feige held hands tightly.
"Which brings us to the point, how will we be settled in Villainapolis?" Dårlig asked.
"Not too hard enough," Secret spoke up in his authentic British accent. "We've managed to pull through a few strings so that you two could be nicely settled and have some jobs until you're permanently settled."
"Permanently settled?" Feige frowned.
"Immigrants have it easy in Villainapolis," Genny explained. "You're being placed for now in a friendly neighborhood apartment and in jobs where you gain minimal wage. Hopefully by the end of the year and the occasional additional six months, you've decided to find yourself a permanent place to settle in Villainapolis and a full-time career. Apartment, where going there first, and for jobs, we managed to find you two in the Villainapolis Mall. Dårlig will work as a cook in the mall's noodle shop while Feige works in the Evil Fashionista Store."
"For how much?" Dårlig asked.
"Hang on." Genny pulled out an abacus and started playing with the beads. "Convert the American dollar from Baltimore to the equivalent of blights, the Villainapolis currency... 40 blights an hour for the equivalence of 12 dollars."
"And with the two of us doing separate jobs, we'd be doubling everything!" Feige cupped Dårlig's cheeks, causing his skin to tingle. "Dårlig, this is even better than back when we were at Mr. Darwin's!"
"That is something," he agreed.
"And best part? The government pays for everything until you decide to permanently settle or if you have finally enlarged your bank account to support yourselves!" Secret pointed out.
Dårlig grinned. "Even better!"
"OK, troops!" Rookie parked the van rather abruptly, they shifted on their seats. Secret got some tea spilling onto his blue coat, Genny got her perfectly stacked papers flying onto her face, and Feige accidently landed on top of Dårlig, making the Bergen blush a bit when the tip of their noses touched. "We're here!"
"Splendid..." Genny grumbled. She popped the doors open and got out. The light blinded them for a while, but eventually Dårlig and Feige had no problem getting out. They gasped the moment they stepped out of the van.
The city of Villainapolis was dominating. From the hill the neighborhood they were in was located, the skyscrapers, clock towers, and various buildings from old-fashioned to modern stood beautifully in a gradient of purple while the afternoon sun illuminated over the blue. Despite the purple gradient, the city did have some stains of other colors. For instance, the neighborhood they were in, a place they learned later was called 'Foreigners Hill', was made of nice red bricked and white wooden row houses, each with a purple mailbox. They all faced this green roundabout full of picnic tables and a platform in case the neighborhood held a party.
The Penguin Cops, as the correspondence were called, led Dårlig and Feige inside the house labeled #667 and up to the upper apartment. The duo were beyond emotional when they entered their studio-sized apartment. Everything was at least a foot bigger than the cramped environment they once lived in. Feige looked excitement at the two bedrooms, knowing that one of them would finally serve as her personal space. Dårlig, in the meantime, rubbed his fingers on the smooth surface that belonged to the small, but perfect kitchen. Now it was all his.
He couldn't believe the dream was happening.
"I call dibs on this room!" Feige shouted. Right when Dårlig passed the room, he saw Feige cuddling the bed with eagerness while Genny reminded her that it wasn't a marshmallow. A grin appeared on his face.
He opened the door to his new room. The white walls welcomed him as he put down the only bag he had brought along on the bed. The room wasn't any bigger, but it was more comfortable than the attic he slept in. At least he had a large window with blinds that gave him the hill's view of the city.
One by one, he took out the items he had brought with him: a few clothes, white shirts for sleeping, a quilt made of fabric scraps, and a framed picture. The last one was probably the only thing he treasured the most. It was the very first thing that Feige drew for him when she learned to scrapbook at the age of five. For Christmas, she had made this card featuring her and Dårlig flying off into the night sky on a giant bumblebee leaving behind a rainbow trail. The words 'BEST FRIEND IN THE UNIVERSE' rose in bright blue letters. Dårlig looked happily at the picture and settled it on the nightstand.
"Everyone settled in?" Rookie shouted.
"Pretty much." Feige shrugged when they gathered in the living room.
"Good. Rita, Secret, and I need to go deal with the upcoming immigrations coming from Eviladelphia."
"How long will you be gone?" Genny asked.
"As long as it takes to fill up the papers," Rookie said, "but we'll need to take the van. Are you sure you won't have any trouble with the Bergen and the Troll?"
"Of course not." Genny high-fived her team. "I'll see you in a month."
The three teens nodded and made their way out, leaving Genny with Dårlig and Feige. "So how about we head to the mall? We can grab lunch there and I can introduce you to your new employers.
"Sounds good," Dårlig said.
"Great." They started making their way down after Dårlig succeeded in closing the door with his keys. But before they could open the door leading outside, Genny pulled her arm out to block them and keep them from stepping a foot further. The moment she thought it was safe, she let them pass and step back into the outside afternoon... right when a random passerby and some fold with a black pearl necklace separated each other, with the black pearl individual ditching out as fast as he could.
"What was that about?" Dårlig asked.
"Black market crooks." Genny shook her head in distaste. "A good proportion of the Villainapolis economy is in a crutch thanks to those twisted robbers, con artists, and counterfeit merchants. They can be recognized with their black pearled jewelry. Never by anything from them unless you're desperate or you can't find what you want in the normal markets!"
"If those crooks are so bad to the economy, why not just have the cops arrest them?" Dårlig asked. They walked down the sidewalk, smelling the fresh scents of planted narcissus flowers until they reached a spot where people were boarding a tramway.
"Simple," she said. "Their main goal, surprisingly, is to make sure that no outside force harms Villainapolis, so they could care less if we had local parasites. Don't forget. This is a town of villains."
The Villainapolis Mall looked like any mall they had seen in magazines and TV broadcasts back in the human world, only it was made of pure white marble and glass and rose to the height of the Baltimore baseball stadium. Dårlig and Feige followed Genny out of the tramway and paused a bit when Genny looked in confusion at the police cars gathered around the entrance. Customers were seen complaining as large, buff men in fur coats and clubs escorted them out.
"What's up with the Mongolians?" Dårlig asked.
"The Hun Elites. They're the Head Executive Police of Villainapolis. They only come when things get particularly nasty," Genny said. "Follow me cautiously."
They nodded and slowly followed her as they approached the area were the customers were huddling the most to get a better view of what was going on. Genny led the duo through the crowd until she found a boy leaning by one of the main pillars for space. He looked like he could be of Dårlig's age, but his purple skin , grey Mohawk hair, and pointed ears were far smoother and saturated than those of a Bergen. He had straight white teeth, a muscular human physique, and wore a black leather jacket over purple pants and lots of conch themed accessories from his neck to his sneakers.
"Hey, Sean," Genny spoke to him. "What's going on?"
"Freak burglary in the mall's jewelry shop... Or kidnapping. Point is, somebody reported to the Huns that after the place suddenly closed up an hour after opening and reopened five seconds later, all the products and the vendor went missing," he said gruffly. "Everyone's being evacuated and they're closing the mall until the investigations are over."
"Shit!" Genny cussed. "I was supposed to bring these two to their new jobs right here at the mall!"
Sean turned his head to look at the duo. They both gave him small greeting waves at them. His jaw dropped and he blinked his eyes before rubbing them and he looked back at them. "A Bergen... and a Troll? Together?"
"I'm Feige, nice to meet you." Feige shook the hand of this still befuddled Sean. She then went to hug Dårlig's arm. "And this is my guy, Dårlig."
"Sup?" He said casually.
Sean still had his jaw dropped. He pointed a finger that kept changing from Dårlig to Feige. "Wow... I mean" He pulled away his finger. "Since when do Bergens date Trolls without, you know..."
"Eating them?" Feige filled for them.
"Let's just say it's a seventeen years thing and I had a rotten childhood," Dårlig shrugged. He wasn't really enjoying how Sean, though hiding it, looked like their relationship was freaking him out as if it was a taboo thing.
"Well, welcome to Villainapolis." Sean gave a small thumbs-up, though he still looked a bit nervously at Dårlig, making the latter scowl. The guy was just tall enough to match him thanks to the Mohawk, but why was he terrified?
"Great, now how am I going to find jobs for you two?" Genny pulled her abacus and played with the beads. "My cousins and I had to pull two-months worth of strings and connections to get you these jobs and with Rookie, Rita, and Secret off to Eviladelphia..."
"They need jobs?" Sean said. "Because I think I can offer a loophole. My girlfriend Ingwer just got an opportunity to be an herbalist-on-the-go. She'll be too busy, her mom needs a new pair hands for the bakery and Ingwer will need somebody to substitute her in babysitting." He turned to Dårlig and Feige. "Any of you know how to cook?"
"He does." Feige tilted her head at Dårlig.
"Jolly, a Bergen cook." A sour tone came out of Sean's lips. "Oh well, I suppose it can work out with Ingwer's mom. And Feige, you think you can handle the babysitting? I must warn you in advance, most of Ingwer's babysitting revolves around her taking care of my eight sisters and eight female cousins. My mom and aunt pay her big time just for dealing with those monsters."
"Now, Sean, just because you and your cousin Mordred are the only guys in your family doesn't mean the girls are pure evil." Genny snorted.
Sean scowled. "Clearly you've never been inside my house."
"And Dårlig and I had to deal with insufferable humans, so I guess I can handle sixteen little demons," Feige said firmly. "When can I start?"
She's so brave, Dårlig thought in pride.
"Just to your luck, my mom and my aunt have to go to a poker party tomorrow, if that works for you."
"Sean, if you weren't such a dork in general, I'd have thanked you," Genny sighed.
"Eh." He shrugged. "So, who's ready to go to my girlfriend's bakery?"
They got off another tramway and walked down Vice Avenue, a rather busy street with people going off to work or shopping at the local stores or going to the local hangout places.
"So outside from being the scullery maid of your house, you sell squid ink?" Dårlig asked Sean. He still couldn't get over the fact that Sean gave him the disgusted look.
"Cecaelia ink, pal, not squid. Squid ink, that's stuff you can easily purchase at the Pirate Cove Market just by the bay. Very cheap and frequently used for eastern dishes," Sean said clearly. "Cecaelia ink is by far every exotic and purer in black substance. Unless you know a half human, half octopus creature that gladly squirts out the stuff in bottles and sell it, it's hard to purchase it. Most black market crooks make tons of money by tricking desperate customers into buying a bottle from them."
"Can't the buyers tell if it's fake?"
"Not really. That's how the crooks manage to play. Either they do get the stuff and charge highly for its authenticity, or they just get some gunk and use black food coloring. It's happened frequently where I lose cash on my ink vending because rumors go around that somebody else got swindled with fake or real them that cost them every cash in their wallet."
"I do find it hard to believe that the police don't bother arresting them," Feige admitted. "Back in Baltimore, we nearly got arrested for trying to contact a drug dealer." Genny gave her a shocked look. "Dårlig was going through Bergen puberty, his mother refused to give him medication."
"That makes sense," Genny said.
"Well, now that you mention it, the police does interfere if black market crooks or any buyer gets involved in D.A.P." Sean walked ahead of them as the pedestrian light turned to white.
"D.A.P?" Dårlig asked.
"Drugs and poisons. Murder is forbidden in Villainapolis and any drug that's not registered by any healing center or pharmacy or even apothecary will not be tolerated. Break that rule and you get imprisoned for at least half of your remaining life span, so unless you want to go to jail and wait until you're... Ah, here we are!"
They got inside a simple-looking orange bakery called 'The Brewing Cupcake'. The moment they opened the door, causing the doorbell to ring, they stepped inside a gingerbread wonderland. While the walls were made of dried paint and wooden beams, the paint was colored to appear and smell like lemon zest, the beams were dried chocolate sticks, and the carpeted floor looked like a herd of hairy chocolate chip cookies. The glass displays of all the breads, buddings, cakes, cupcakes, and so many more made Dårlig's mouth water. Even though he had spent years working in a restaurant's kitchen, he was always denied a piece of sugar, making it tantalizing to the point that he had to use uneaten dessert leftovers to make himself a birthday cake.
Sean walked over to the counter and pressed the bell. A woman pushed the door leading to the kitchen and stepped. She looked like a normal middle-aged human woman with burning red on her skin, but her mass of brown hair was messy and had pieces of candy stuck in it. Her blue shirt's sleeves were rolled over, revealing her rather bony hands, and she wore a white apron on top of her orange skirt. Purple eyes gleamed below her glasses.
"Why, Sean! How is my favorite daughter's boyfriend?" She asked.
"Mrs. Hexe, Ingwer is your only child and thus your only favorite!" Sean joked. He and Mrs. Hexe laughed their heads off until Sean went back to the topic. "Mrs. Hexe, I know you have a lot on your plate right now with Ingwer gone, but Genny here has two new immigrants whose new jobs got held back because the mall's closed..."
"The jewelry shop incident?" Mrs. Hexe guessed.
"You've heard?" Genny widened her eyes.
"Ingwer texted to me about it. Rather surprising. I know the jewelry shop owner because he always comes here every morning to grab a cup of coffee and one of my cinnamon rolls before going to work. He did look unusually unhappy today..."
"Unhappy as in he was having a bad or unhappy as in his life was hell?" Feige asked.
"Probably both. I do hope he's OK. Ingwer said he disappeared mysteriously."
"Along with every single jewel he sold." Genny shook her head. "And because of that, they're closing down the mall until the investigation is over. Problem is, it means that these two won't be able to start working until who knows when." She pointed at Dårlig and Feige. "Sean said Ingwer became an herbalist-on-the-go, so he suggested that Dårlig fill in for Ingwer's shifts at the bakery while Feige does the babysitting."
Mrs. Hexe leaned over the counter. She straightened her glasses in order to have a good view of what she was dealing. "A Bergen in my kitchen... Well, I suppose we can work this out. After all, this is temporary."
Seriously, what do they have against me? Dårlig thought before asking: "When may I start?"
"I suppose you could start tomorrow morning. Wednesdays are far busier than Tuesdays, so I'll definetly need help in the kitchens. Perhaps you could start at 7am?"
"Thank you very much," he said with a nod.
And Mrs. Hexe had been generous, she gave them free macaroons to feast on.
Later in the night
Dårlig was having a hard time falling asleep. He wasn't quite sure what was keeping him. His first theory was that the bed felt too marshmallowy than his old attic rough mattress, the softness was distracting. Or his second theory, he felt dizzy about his day.
The job finding was challenging, but at least they had a start. Then they had gone around to see if they could purchase any supplies for the apartment: food for the kitchen, soaps and medical aid for the bathroom, brooms and sponges for the kitchen closet, additional clothes for their rooms, and whatever artistic crafting tools Feige could have that could make the apartment feel homely.
As Dårlig sat by the window, unable to sleep but admiring the view of Villainapolis under the sleeping spell, he tried to process everything that happened. For one, his dream was accomplished. He and Feige were rid of their parents once and for all and now they could start the free life they wanted. But for another, he still had to remember that his original murder plan failed, which led to matricide. At least he was better off here than with the Trolls. But what was it that Sean seemed to have against Dårlig being a Bergen?
A knock came on the door. Judging by its peculiar four-beat tone, he knew who was behind it. "Feige?" He called out. "The door's unlocked."
The door quietly pushed in and the female Troll came in, holding on tightly to her orange pajamas. "Dårlig... I can't sleep," she said.
He held out his arm, inviting her in. "Welcome to the club then."
She didn't hesitate and walked over to sit next to him. It was one of their habits when they grew up together. As children, Feige would have frequent nightmares that related to Troll fears from being stomped on or worse, getting eaten by the Bergen who was her only best friend. Whenever those nightmares came, the young Dårlig had the habit of occasionally opening his eyes in the middle of the night and seeing the small thing snuggling on his big hand.
This time was rather different. Evidently, they weren't immediately adapting to their newfound luxury. At they least their habit didn't die... if you include the fact that Feige was now big enough for Dårlig to put his arm over her shoulders for protection.
"Rather strange day, isn't it?" She said.
"Strange in what way?" He asked while staring at the window.
Feige noticed the tone in his voice. "Dårlig, you're thinking about how Sean and Mrs. Hexe reacted, aren't you?"
"Feige, I need to double-check," he spoke unsurely and looked at her. "Am I a freak or some sort of monster?"
The Troll bit her lip and examined him as if she were trying to think. "Let me see... healthy skin, straight teeth, a particular body color palette..." That last comment made him chuckle. "Good hygiene... Not much difference. I mean, you're practically me... Except, you know, you're a bit chubby!" She playfully poked him on the stomach.
"Hey! Not fair!" He laughed.
"What? You eat more than me!" She giggled.
"That was back when I held you on my shoulder!" He protested.
"And Dr. Feige therefore concludes your medical transcripts: there is absolutely nothing wrong with you." She smiled and cupped Dårlig's cheeks in her hands, making him feel like he could get used to this. "Look, people just need time to know the real you. I'm sure that you're going to do so well, the others will change their opinions on you."
"Thanks, Feige," he sighed. "But I don't know what bugs me more: being insulted or being insulted for being what I am."
"A Bergen." He said. "The way Abyss and Mrs. Hexe reacted when they saw me? They acted like the problem was with my species rather than my personality. Granted, I don't care much about other Bergens, but I wonder what made them targets of such racism."
"Dårlig, we've seen racism and other forms of discrimination for years. Have you ever noticed how your mom behaved around my dad and me?" Feige frowned.
"Thanks for reminding me," he sulked. He didn't need the memories of his mother, the Bergen Chef, bullying him throughout his childhood, trying to encourage him into eating Feige because 'that is the only thing Trolls and Bergens can find with each other', and other childhood traumas. He especially didn't need the reminder of the matricide back in Bergen Town.
"Try not to think too much about it, OK?" Feige hugged him by the waist and rested her head on his chest. "Tomorrow will be the start of everything. You'll start working at the bakery and me with babysitting. By working together, our future will be established."
Dårlig smiled at her and ran his fingers through her hair. "You're right. I'm probably overreacting."
They stayed there, cuddled up, and finally fell asleep, joining the rest of the neighborhood in a peaceful slumber under the moonlight, while the alley rats went out to play.