"Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land." - J.R.R Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring

A cold wind blows that night, even inside the castle. No matter how hard Vergil tries, how much he trembles alone in that room under his sheets of silk, it will not let up. He tosses and turns; he watches the candles until they sputter and die; and he curses the world. He curses the emperor, he curses his brother, he curses his father (but never his mother), he curses the queen and the things he knows that he should not feel for a mere human. And he curses himself once the anger has passed, for he dares not cling to it as he once did.

No one has escaped the demon king before, he thinks to himself. Perhaps it's fitting that a Son of Sparda should be the first. But where do I go from here? Even his power could not stand against Dante... He cannot say how he knows, but he does: Mundus is gone.

He yearns to stand at the window and look at the night sky. Even in the depths of his loneliness and anger, his regret and his blind impotent rage, the stars have always provided some measure of comfort. He wonders if he could ever be strong enough to fly through the vast abyss of space, to soar amongst the stars until he found new worlds, with new forms and ways of life undreamed of by the fairest or foulest minds alike. What use is there in planning for the future? he realizes. I can hardly even stand.

The thought of one weakness leads him to another. Why does that woman, that...Elsa, bother me so? I don't even know her. Only what she is, what she looks like, what she smells like... He pounds a fist against his leg savagely. Useless! He takes slow deep breaths to calm himself. Keep it together. You are a Son of Sparda. You will not let some foolish slip of a girl distract you.

Distract me from what? he asks suddenly. My search for power is over. If I go back, I will be doomed to walk the same path again.

There are other ways to achieve power. Your father could love; why can't you?

Love? Vergil grits his teeth. What does love have to do with this? I don't even know her!

Who can say what love will do if they have not felt it?

He smirks. Very trite. The angry smile fades slowly as he wonders. Was he right? My loudmouthed braggart of a brother...is he really stronger than me? There is no answer. Vergil loses himself in voiceless thoughts until the light starts to rise. I've been a fool, he decides at length. When she returns, I will make amends.

IF she returns...

The hours pass in silence. He searches within for the strength of his father. Yet the more he looks, the harder it is to concentrate. The sounds of the castle coming to life all around him and the blood rushing through his ears are like thunder to his restless spirit. When he re-emerges for the fifth time, he thinks of giving in to his anger and letting that do the work. Instead, he breathes in deep again, letting the sounds wash over him rather than fighting for his peace of mind. Down, down, down he goes into the center of himself. With each passing moment, he feels a trickle of life enter his body again. At first he revels in it, but the joy threatens to take him up with it, so he lets it go.

It is something deeper than sleep, more active, yet it forces him to be passive as well. He seeks out the fibers of his former self and they seek him out as well, clamoring for his attention. He struggles to keep his mind empty, sardonically aware of the inherent paradox. I search for nothingness, but my search is still something.

At length, he opens his eyes and his mind, and returns to himself. The room appears exactly as he had left it. There is still no trace of the queen. Despite his renewed strength, he can't help but feel as if something is missing. There is more work to be done. I will speak to her when I am whole. he thinks.

Wait, another part of him says. There is nothing to gain by being impatient.

But there is nothing to lose.

Nothing except your self-respect. You would seek her out? A mere human? Why does she matter to you? Retrieve your power and be rid of her and this Arendelle.

The old me died in the Demon Realm. I will not make the same mistakes again.

The conversation rages on throughout the day. Would it comfort him, do you think, to know that the queen was waging a similar battle with herself at that very moment? But comfort is still ahead, through hardship and friendship alike.