"Me? A villain?" scowled Hans. "Sure, if you consider doing everything it takes to change your fate, 'villainy'."

He sat up straighter, his posture perfect as only a royal upbringing could achieve. "All I tried to do was find a kingdom of my own to rule. With as little bloodshed as possible."

"I have twelve older brothers. Twelve. No chance of inheriting the throne there, eh? And two weak women are a lot easier to – dispose of – than twelve brutes."

"And they conveniently went swanning off a the drop of the hat too! The Queen frolicking away into the mountains, freezing everything in sight, and her little sister practically handing the throne to me on a silver platter."

Hans straightened the lapels of his grubby jacket. "Even a saint would have been tempted. And I don't profess to be a saint."

"I would be a good king, you know. Oh, don't look at me like that. I'm not bragging. When you have twelve Neanderthals for older brothers, you need to find a way to survive somehow. No one's going to look out for you. No one's going to bandage your knee and kiss it all better when you fall down," he said with a twisted sneer.

"Me, I've got the brains and the cunning of the family. That's what counts when you're ruling a kingdom; you've got to out-politick and outthink everyone else. Your ministers, the nobles, any rival kings. They just want a piece of your pie. You've got to keep your cards close to your chest, and always have a trump card up your sleeve – and another for good measure."

He scratched idly at the growth of stubble on his chin. "Mind you, imprisonment is just too kind. Queen Elsa should have cut off my head in a twinkling. And sending me back to the Southern Isles to the tender mercies of my brothers? Oh ho ho. Sending a naughty boy back to Mummy to be spanked." His eyes glittered with malice. "You find it amusing too, don't you? – yes, quite right."

Hans stood up and began to pace in his cramped cell. "On hindsight, I should have taken my own advice. Ach, what a fool! Writing little Anna off for dead far too early. I should have seen it to the end. Watched the light die from her eyes. But I was too eager." He clenched his fists. "I could practically feel the throne in my grasp. Careless!"

"Who knew a half-dead girl, all but frozen to death, could still escape from a locked room, make her way through a blizzard, and stop me from finishing Elsa off? It shouldn't have been possible!" He touched his tender nose and winced. "And she packs quite a punch too. A blow to my pride? Yes indeed, my friend."

Scowling, he sat back down. "But no matter. This particular adventure is over. When I get back home, my brothers will ignore me, as always. A perfunctory slap on the wrist to satisfy Arendelle and I'll be at liberty." He smiled indulgently at the rat seated on its haunches by his boot. "And then we'll part company. Not that you haven't been a perfectly charming companion, but I prefer someone of the human female variety. Noble too."

He laughed and moved his foot, sending the rat scurrying away with a squeak. Hans' brow furrowed as a thought entered his mind. "But what next? Should I go forth and found my own kingdom?"

He laughed nastily. "No – sounds like too much work. I have heard that the princess of Dunbroch has come of age…"