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When they arrived at a dark, empty classroom, Gloria tossed Mumble into the room so hard that he nearly lost his balance.

"Oh, I cannot believe this! I should have known this would happen! I should have known!" Gloria said angrily as she stormed past Mumble.

"Gloria, I ca-

"I thought you were my friend!"

"I know, and I am, but that was before all th- Oh, Guin, this is so messed up."

"I warned you about her, Mumble. And did you listen...NO! YOU DID'NT!"

"Look, you're mad at me. I get that. I'm an idiot. A screw-up. Look, Gloria, you can take this out on me. Be angry at me, but leave Chrysta out of it!"

"She's what you're worried about? Her. The fox. She could have killed both of us and she's who you're worried about? Not me. Your best friend. The best friend you almost killed!"

"She was just trying to protect me from Cliff. She'd never hurt anyone, I swear."

"SHE'S A MINDLESS KILLING MACHINE, MUMBLE! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET THAT THROUGH YOUR THICK HEAD!"

"Your little trick with the picture wasn't much of a help either, you know! She just wanted to have a normal life, but because of you, there's a bounty on her head for violent assault."

"When was the last time you looked at your arm, Mumble. You see the scratch? Do you see the blood gushing out of it? You know who did that to you? She did! Little Miss Foxy is the reason you're bleeding right now!"

"I can't believe this. There's just no sympathy with you, is there, Gloria. You just can't look past your own jealousy can you? You can't for once think of anyone other than yourself."

"Oh, don't play that game with me, Mister Mumble. Yeah, remember that? Remember when I saved your life when you were the last egg to hatch?"

Hearing Gloria call him that made Mumble think back to the day he hatched from his egg.

FLASHBACK

Memphis watched over his egg, which had not shown any sign of life. Then, his friend Maurice came up with his daughter Gloria, who looked at the lifeless object curiously.

"Memphis. Is everything alright?" Maurice asked.

"Oh, I don't know. I can't hear anything" was Memphis' answer.

Gloria looked at the egg, and tapped it with her beak.

"Is it empty?" she asked.

"Er, honey" Maurice said.

"Can I have it?"

"Gloria!" Maurice snapped under his breath.

"It's okay, Maurice" Memphis said, heartbroken for his loss.

Gloria tapped the egg a few more times, until finally a small nose could be heard from inside.

Suddenly, a foot broke out of the eggshell, surprising all three of them.

"Whoa, there's his little foot right there! And there's his other one!" Memphis said as the egg continued to break open.

When the second foot popped out, the egg began to clumsily walk away, trying not to fall over in the process. Gloria followed the egg as it quickly moved about.

"Come back here, Mr Mumble" Gloria called.

Finally, the egg slipped down a slope and crashed to the floor, revealing a small, fluffy penguin on the ground. This penguin was not like a normal baby Emperor Penguin. Unlike the brown eyes that the others had, this one had bright blue eyes instead.

"Mumble. Mumble. He he" Gloria sang happily to herself, happy to meet her new best friend.

FLASHFORWARD(ever so slightly)

Mumble finally stopped thinking about that day and continued with "Look, Gloria. That was a long time ago."

"What happened to you, Mumble. What happened to my best friend. What happened to the guy who used to stand by me no matter what I did. Wh-

"I grew up! Maybe it's time you did the same!"

Gloria was heartbroken by what Mumble had just said. However, she managed to fight back tears and said "fine. You want grown up. I'll give you grown up. I'm gonna find your little friend Carly-

"Chrysta."

"Whatever. I'm gonna find her. And when I do, I'm going to get a razor sharp icicle."

"No."

"Then I'm gonna cut her stomach open."

"No, please, don't".

"I'm gonna rip out every organ she has starting with her liver."

"You can't do this."

"Then I'm gonna take that icicle."

"No."

"Then I'm gonna gut her. Kill her. Slowly. Painfully. In every way I know she fears."

"Gloria, don't."

"And then I'll split her skull!"

"NO!"

"And that is a promise. See you round, Mumble."

When Gloria was leaving the room, Mumble chased her and grabbed her by the arm, saying "Gloria, please, leave Chrysta alone!" before being tossed aside and thrown to the floor.

"I don't take orders from twitchy idiots like you! I'm done trying to help you. So goodbye. Happy Feet."

Gloria then slammed the door behind her, leaving Mumble alone in the classroom. Alone, and heartbroken, he tucked himself into a ball and cried quietly.

Just then, the door opened, and Johnny stepped into the room. He saw Mumble weeping and sat next to the troubled penguin.

"So" Mumble said, wiping his eyes. "I guess you heard."

"Every word, boy, every word."

After a brief silence, Johnny said "well, this is a mess, isn't it? I mean, you've lost Chrysta, you've lost Gloria and from the looks of it you've lost your self-respect."

"I didn't lose that last part. I just never had it" Mumble answered.

"Yeah, well, you have a problem, Mumble?"

"Oh my Guin, what is it about you an problems, Johnny. Okay, I know I have a problem. I've always had a problem. I can't sing. I've done everything I can to fix it but I just can't."

"Mumble, your lack of a singing voice and your "Happy Feet" are what make you you, alright. The problem was never about you being you, it was about trying to change you."

Mumble looked at Johnny before putting his head in his hands.

"Mumble, you're the only one who can talk some sense into Chrysta."

"Oh yeah, too bad no one knows where she is!"

Just then, Winter came into the room, followed by Barry and Fantine.

"Johnny, we've located Chrysta heading off into the north glaciers" Winter reported.

"But Gloria's not far behind her" Barry added.

"Don't worry" said Johnny. "I know a short cut. Mumble, you coming with?"

"Well, you said I was the only one who could talk some sense into Chrysta so, sure, why not?"

And with that, the five friends set off to the north glaciers in their race against time.


Next chapter: Mumble gets hurt

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