Chapter Two: Out and About

Vanellope pointed up at the sign near the Sugar Rush entrance. On this side, it read To Game Central Station – When Can We See You Again? "Like it? I had some of the NPCs put that up today," she commented.

"Well," remarked Ralph, "here we are." He gestured towards the portal. "The invisible wall that, for fifteen years, has marked the very edge of your existence. But for no longer. Now, it marks the beginning-"

"Coming, Stinky?" Glancing down, Ralph noticed that his little buddy wasn't at his side anymore; in fact, she had already passed through the barrier and was sticking her tongue out at Ralph.

"What, you didn't like my dramatic monologue?"

"It's just an invisible wall, Ralph," retorted Vanellope, trying to hold back a giggle and failing. Once she recomposed herself, Vanellope skipped off towards the bustling station, with Ralph close behind. Getting close to the light at the other end of the tunnel, the President suddenly stopped.

"Ugh, I can't see anything over these people," she groaned. Without a word, Ralph lifted her up, gently placing her on his shoulder.

"Is that better, Your Shortness?" Ralph looked up to see Vanellope nodding in agreement (and rolling her eyes at him).

For the first time in her 15 years of existence, Vanellope Von Schweetz was able to behold the splendor and majesty of Game Central Station for herself. Characters of every size and every type milling about; there must be thousands of them. Across from her and Ralph, a long row of portals just like the one they had exited from, with another long row behind them, and she knew that an entire world lay hidden behind each one. Ralph paused, allowing the little girl to take everything in. "Wow," was all she could manage to say.

Finally, Ralph decided to move once again, stepping towards the congregated group, but that was when Surge Protector materialized in front of them.

"Name?"

"I just told you-" started Ralph.

"No, not you, Ralph, the little one," interrupted Surge. Vanellope waved at him.

"Vanellope! Vanellope Von Schweetz," she said enthusiastically.

"And what game are you from?"

"Sugar Rush!" Vanellope pointed at the glowing sign behind her. "Gah-doy."

"Well excuuuuuuuuuse me, I've never seen you before," drawled Surge.

"It's...a long story," interjected Ralph, "but I shouldn't really keep royalty waiting." Vanellope drew the big guy's attention and scowled at him. Ralph merely grinned in response. "Look, come find me when I'm heading back home, and I'll be glad to explain." And I know he will, Ralph thought.

"Okay, proceed," said Surge, dematerializing back to his watch post. That's exactly what Ralph and Vanellope did, joining the group congregated farther in – the Pac-Man ghosts, a few Toads, Zombie and M. Bison from the Bad-Anon meeting, and a small number of assorted NPCs.

"Ralph, it's good to see you're okay after...what happened last night," said Clyde. "And who do you have here with you?"

"I'm President Vanellope Von Schweetz from Sugar Rush! And...you are?" Ralph glanced at Vanellope in shock – she didn't know about Pac-Man? And then he remembered that she actually wouldn't, as this was her first time outside of Sugar Rush. Ralph quickly withdrew his glare.

"Clyde, from Pac-Man, and these are my colleagues Inky, Blinky, and Pinky," he responded, gesturing towards his fellow ghosts in the process. "Nice to meet you."

Ralph continued to converse with the other characters, but his friend's patience ran out much more quickly.

"This is sooooo boring!" whined Vanellope. Noticing this, Ralph quickly excused himself from his conversations.

"Sorry guys, the Princess demands my presence," explained Ralph.

"Ralph, would you cut it with the Princess talk? I told you, I'm a President now!" she retorted.

"And I told you that I don't care," replied Ralph with a smirk, causing his buddy to stick her tongue out at him. Noticing something on the schedule board, he picked Vanellope up and took off running towards the portal to Tapper's. Setting the girl down in an empty seat, Ralph climbed around the train, plopping down next to her.

"Say, Ralph," started Vanellope, "why do all of the other games have trains and mine doesn't?"

"I can't say for sure," he replied, "I never really gave Sugar Rush a second thought until that spaceship decided I should. I would guess, though, that the...er...previous ruler had it taken out to discourage people from visiting."

"Then you need to get Felix over here to fix it!"

"There isn't anything there to fix, kid," responded Ralph. "It'll need to be a new one." Suddenly struck by inspiration, Ralph smiled and continued. "And I know just the people you should talk to about that. Remind me to tell you if I forget."


Ever since the machine was installed back in 1983, Tapper's had been a favorite nighttime hangout for the Litwak's populace, and this night was no exception. Locating a pair of empty stools along one of the bars, Ralph helped Vanellope up onto one before plopping down on the other. Noticing their arrival, the bartender scooted over to them.

"Good evening, Wreck-It Ralph. What can I get you tonight?" Suddenly, he noticed the top of Vanellope's head peeking over the bar as well. "And how about you, miss?"

"Two root beers, please, and do you have anything taller for her to sit on?" asked Ralph, gesturing towards his little buddy.

Mr. Tapper walked around the bar and fiddled with Vanellope's stool, causing Ralph to lift her up as the stool extended to be almost as tall as the bar itself. Signaling for his guests to wait, he clipped over to the tap, quickly filled two glasses, dropped a straw in the latter one and expertly slid them to a stop in front of Ralph and a grinning Vanellope. Seeing a glass threatening to hit the floor a couple rows over, the bartender clipped away just as quickly as he had appeared.

Ralph quickly picked up his glass and began to down it, but Vanellope was not so lucky. Even with her newly-adjusted stool, she was still unable to reach her straw. Shrugging, she hopped up onto the bar with an exaggerated groan and began to drink her root beer – nothing was going to bring her down on this night.

Suddenly, Ralph heard a voice behind him. "Hey Ralph! Good to see you alright. You got girlfriend now?"

Taken aback by the question, the big man looked around, trying to figure out who Zangief was referring to, and then saw who he was looking at – Vanellope?! Ralph gestured towards his friend, causing the Russian to nod and confirm his guess.

"She's nine," stated Ralph.

"So?" asked Zangief.

Ralph wasted little time to respond to that. "NO, you moron," he shot back, slapping his oversized palm against his face. This drew a chuckle out of Vanellope, who finished sucking in root beer and turned towards the Russian. She immediately wished she hadn't. "EW! GROSS!" she shouted, quickly turning away and covering her eyes.

"And for the Creators' sake, could you put some clothes on?" deadpanned Ralph.

Zangief waved his arms, dismissing the complaint – after all, why did he have to change after 20 years? Turning back around, Vanellope noticed all of the characters sitting around at the various bars and asked Ralph who they all were.

"Well, we've got Bill and Lance from Contra," said Ralph, pointing to the various characters as he named them, "Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, and Amy Rose...Kenny Masters, Ryu and Blanka – they're from Street Fighter, Zangief's game...there's a few football players from NFL Blitz...and Phineas from Phineas and Ferb – well, one of them."

"As in, there's more than one?"

"Yep," affirmed Ralph. "If I recall right, there's two of him who are playable and others who are NPCs – said to be from different alternate dimensions of the game's universe. All nice, friendly people though – you and the other racers should go meet them." Ralph leaned in towards Vanellope and continued in a whisper. "Actually, you should invite them to come to Sugar Rush – I bet they'd have something cooked up for the entrance tunnel in 11 minutes flat!"

Having gone off on a tangent, Ralph had not mentioned the characters who next walked up to the merry twosome. "O&$%?" asked Q*Bert, flanked by his friends from his game.

"And there's Q*Bert and his crew," explained Ralph, raising his right hand in a salute to the group. Taking his cue, Vanellope turned and waved towards the arcade veterans.

"$#~&O."

"Is he trying to say something?" inquired Vanellope.

"He is." Anticipating the next question, he quickly continued. "But I don't know what he's saying." Vanellope buried her face in her hands, earning a dismissive eye roll from Ralph. "The Creators gave his game its own unique language – one that I wasn't programmed to know. Felix went and learned it a while back...but I never did. You know, I should probably get working on that."

"Yeah, for all you know, he could be calling you fat. And saying your breath stinks." Vanellope was going to continue, but Ralph shushed her and pointed at Q*Bert, who was nodding fervently to deny the allegations.

"Which it does," taunted the President with a huge smirk on her face. Ralph quickly spun his stool around – nearly kicking Coily accidentally in the process – lifted his gigantic right fist above his head, and slammed it down into his left hand. Nonetheless, Vanellope flinched herself right off of her stool, glitching into a safe landing on the ground nearby with a triumphant "Ta-da!" and a bow.

"Not bad," affirmed Ralph, now smiling as well as he lifted Vanellope back up onto her stool. The Q*Bert characters shuffled away, allowing the friends to return their attention to their root beers and each other – with everything having happened so fast over the past day, it was good to have a minute to settle down. They were interrupted from their conversation when Mr. Tapper sidled up across from them.

"So, Ralph, did you ever get your medal?"

End of Chapter