“Why did you take over Sugar Rush in the first place, Turbo?” Vanellope did not look accusing. The look in her hazel eyes only betrayed curiosity, a light level of fear, and a willingness to understand. This, which would have made most other characters more comfortable, just made Turbo squirm. Everyone else he had met before coming to Sugar Rush, and that was just a few as is, had always looked at him and spoken to him like he was some sort of criminal. That was why he'd been laying low for thirty years.
“Look, you wouldn't understand. You don't know what it's like to be the apple of every player's eye for years and then suddenly be kicked to the curb. You don't know how desperate it makes you. And then, as soon as you make some stupid, childish mistake, everybody treats you like you're a criminal, and you become an outcast. It felt like the best chance I had was to start over as another character.”
“You know, you always could've just asked.”
Turbo stared at her uncomprehendingly, so Vanellope just took a deep breath and started to explain again. “You didn't have to take over the game, make me a glitch, lock away all our memories. You could've just asked if you needed a job or a place to stay. I woulda brought you in.”
He blinked a couple of times before speaking in a more bitter, accusing tone. “You're only saying that because now you know the consequences, President.”
Vanellope shook her head like Turbo was the most naive person she knew, which infuriated him. This child had no idea. “Look, Helmet Head . . .” his scowl deepened when he heard her newfangled nickname for him. “Other characters might be like that but I never have been. You should've just asked for a job and a place to stay.”
This was quite the insight for Turbo. Why didn't I ever think of that? he asked himself. Because you're used to rejection. he answered himself without really thinking about it. After a moment, he realized that he was right.
“How about you stay in the castle a couple of days? Maybe your reputation can still be salvaged if we show you to other players one at a time . . .”
“. . . And maybe after a while we can program you into Sugar Rush and you can be an actual racer again. . .”
Not without completely altering my appearance so I fit in.
“. . . But you'll have to earn a lot of trust first.”
Oh, this is completely hopeless. Instead of actually voicing his literal opinion, however, he simply replied with “Sure, kid, whatever you say.”
Vanellope smiled and glitched into her standing position. “Well, I'd better get going in case a player unlocks a bonus level. See you after hours, Helmet Head!” she glitched and vanished.
I'm going to gain her trust and then reprogram the game again. Turbo plotted to himself silently. There's no way anything is going to stop me this time.