Chapter 14: Decisions
Zander had been gone for a few days, and from the minute he left through those gates I was worried about him. My duties as queen kept me a little busy, but when they were done I would train with Xant to take my mind off of it. Xant summoned a manikin made out of his dragon magic. I generated the ice between my hands before launching it at the manikin. The manikin's chest was frosted over and there was a spike that had slightly entered it.
"Very good," Xant said, "but you're still holding back." He said, "Someone who can send an entire kingdom into an eternal winter, make ice monsters, and an entire palace made entirely out of ice in a little more than 24 hours should be able to do more."
I sighed, "You should know why." I said.
He nodded, "You're timid when it comes to hurting people with your powers." He said and he started to rub his beard. The looked deep in thought, probably to figure out what he should do to train me.
Before I could question whether he had anything there was a knock at the door, "Queen Elsa?" it was Kai.
"Come in Kai," I said and he opened the door and stepped inside.
"Sorry to interrupt, but I'm sure you'd like to know that Lord Smith is back." Kai said and I lit up.
"Zander's back." I said and he nodded and I pretty much rushed out of the room. Was this how Anna felt when we reopened our gates on my Coronation Day?
I chuckled seeing the queen leave the room, "I don't think I've ever seen so much love in one person before." I said quietly to myself. Wait a minute, love. There's a slight possibility that… yes it might just work.
I walked inside the castle doors and was greeted by Anna, who was now showing signs that she was pregnant with her slight baby bump, "Zander," she said excitedly before giving me a hug, "I'm so glad you're back."
I returned the hug, "Good to be back," Anna must've of traced something in my voice because she was quick to break the hug, which was something Anna wasn't one to do, especially when it came to my warm hugs.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
I sighed, "Southern Isle troops were hiding in the village and there was a raid." I explained to her and Anna looked worried, "Don't worry we were able to stop them, but Ithilagar was killed in the battle." Anna gasped and I heard another gasp. I turned to see Elsa standing not too far away. She ran towards me and gave me a comforting hug.
"I'm so sorry Zander," she said in a sad voice as I wrapped my arms around my girlfriend. I wanted to say something, but the words wouldn't come out; only tears. I felt my walls breaking and the emotions I was trying to hold back came flooding out in a flood and I found myself crying.
It broke my heart to see Zander like this, he always seemed strong and proud, he just seemed so vulnerable in this state. After a few minutes he pulled away from my embrace his fire orange eyes slightly bloodshot, "Sorry about that." He apologized.
"You're fine," I said, he looked down at the floor before meeting my eyes again.
"The Southern Isles almost took you and Anna from me, now they've taken Ithilagar," he said and tucked a loose strand of loos hair behind my ear, "I'm making you a promise Elsa, the Southern Isles won't harm you in any way as long as I'm alive. The Southern Isles are making a grave mistake by fighting fire with fire." He said before walking away. I was flattered and scared by his promise, with what I was planning I wasn't sure what lengths he would go to fulfill his promise.
I was kneeling in front of the grave that marked where they buried Ithilagar. The funeral had already ended, but I had no idea how long I had been here. "I'm not going to let you die in vain, when the war comes… they'll realize the mistake they made." I said putting a hand against the ground in front of his grave marker, then I felt something, I focused on it. it felt magical, and sense I could sense it, it must've been fire magic. I focused and lifted it with my power.
The ground before to shift and something rose out of the ground. I picked it up, it was a slightly flat oval and perfectly smooth crystal the color of flames. I examined the crystal and saw a rune on it. it was the rune for 'wolf'. This was Ithilagar's essence, what the sorcerer used to create Ithilagar. He told me about it when he was still alive.
"Lord Zander," a voice said behind me, it was Gerda.
I stood up putting the crystal in my pocket, "What is it Gerda?" I asked.
"I cleaned up that little girl you brought, she's been sleeping for a while and I think she may be close to waking up." I stood up, I wanted to be there when she woke up. I laughed inwardly, she really was starting to grow on me.
I walked up to the door to Emma's room, it was partially opened a crack so I just pushed it open even more. Emma was actually awake, she was in front of a mirror looking at herself. Her black hair was no longer messy and tangled and it actually went to her lower back, maybe even her hips, there was a black headband in her hair holding some of it back. She was wearing a blue dress with dark blue trim that I think used to be Elsa's when she was young, she was even wearing little white gloves on her hands.(A.N. Look up the dress Elsa was wearing when she was young during Do You Want To Build A Snowman.)
She must've seen me in the reflection of the mirror because she turned around smiling brightly, "Mr. Zander," she said excitedly and she ran forward and gave me a hug.
"Hi Emma," I said getting down on one knee to look her in the eye, "I trust you've been well taken care of."
She nodded, "Yeah everyone's been so nice, and this castle is so big." She said, and a growling was heard. Emma blushed, "But I am a little hungry." She said blushing a little.
I chuckled, "Well let's get you some food then, besides there's a couple of people I want to introduce you to." I said before turning around. And walking out of the room with Emma following me.
I could still barely find my way around this place, but I was able to find my way to the kitchens, "Ah General Zander, what can I help you with?" a servant said seeing me come in.
"Well, I found this little girl in the town I defended yesterday and now that he's been cleaned up and gotten some rest she's a little hungry." I said, "Do you have anything you can spare?"
"Well, there is one thing," the servant said before waking to a cupboard and pulling out something wrapped in a golden wrapper, "From the Princess's private stash, she think we don't know where it is, but we do." He handed the chocolate bar to Emma, "This should hold you over until the next meal."
"Thank you sir," she said with a slight curtsy. It was quite adorable really.
"C'mon Emma, there's someone I want you to meet." I said walking towards the door.
"Who?" Emma said catching up to me, unwrapping her chocolate.
I looked down at how she bite into the bar, "Someone who love's chocolate just as much as you do." I said.
"Kristoff I'm fine," I said, he was being really protective of me now that I was pregnant, "the baby just kicked." This baby wasn't due for a few more months, but Kristoff was acting like I could go into labor any second.
"I just worry that's all," he said.
Mama laughed slightly, "I can only imagine what the teen years are gonna be like for you two." Zander's mom Lydia, who I was very surprised to meet, nodded in agreement.
"Zander was quite a handful when in his teen years," she said, "you should've seen him when he was 15-"
"Mom if you're telling the story I think you are, please don't." we turned to see Zander in the doorway.
"Hi Zander," I said giving him a slight wave.
"Princess, now as much as I'm happy to see all of you there's someone I want you to meet." He said, stepping to the side and I was surprised to see a little girl standing behind him, "This is Emma, she an orphan from the town me and my men defended from that raid." He said, "Emma I'd like you to meet Princess Anna and her husband Kristoff Bjorgman." He said.
The girl looked a little shy as she stepped forward, "Your highness," she said with a slight curtsy. There was a half-eaten bar of chocolate in her hand and there were chocolate smudges on her face.
"Aw aren't you adorable." I couldn't help but saying, she blushed slightly.
"I am?" she asked. I nodded, "Thank you your highness." She said in a happy voice.
I giggled, "Please call me Anna," I said, I looked at the chocolate in her hand, "Do you like chocolate?"
She nodded, "I love chocolate," she said and everyone was smiling, her cheerfulness was contagious… like mine. "I just wanna stuff my face with it whenever I have it."
Kristoff raised an eyebrow, "If it weren't for the black hair I would've guessed that Anna found the Fountain of Youth somehow." Everyone laughed.
Everyone loved Emma, which wasn't surprising. Emma wasn't an easy person to hate, but there was one thing that kept biting at my consciousness. Why was Emma wearing gloves? After seeing the way her in the alley I knew it wasn't because she didn't want her hands to be dirty, so what was the reason? "Emma," she turned at the sound of my voice, "come with me, there's still one or two people you should meet." She still needed to meet Elsa, and I think I know where to find her.
I sighed, I couldn't focus on this paperwork, I was finishing the orders for the equipment for our armies and also sending requests to our allies to end reinforcements, "I need a break," I said silently to myself.
There was a knock at the door, "Elsa it's me Zander," I heard my boyfriend say before he opened the door and walked in, "I hope I'm not interrupting."
"Oh no you're fine, your timing couldn't be any more perfect." I said meaning every word.
He gave me a warm smile, "Good, because I have something to tell you," he said catching my attention, "while I was securing things in the town and fighting of the Southern Isles, Ithilagar asked me to do something and I decided to take something home." He said before turning to the doorway, "You can come in now." I looked to the doorway and didn't expect a little girl to come into view.
"Hi," she said waving slightly.
"Elsa, this is Emma," Zander said, "Emma this is Queen Elsa." The little girl ice blue eyes widened.
"Your highness," she said giving a curtsy. I smiled and walked over to her.
"There's no need for that," I said then I noticed the gloves on her hands, "why are you wearing gloves? Isn't it a little warm for that?" I reached for the gloves and she shied away bringing her hands to her chest. "Is something wrong?" I asked concerned.
"Nothing… I just need them on." She said a little quietly. Zander eyed her with the same concern I did.
He kneeled next to her, "Emma, are you hiding something?" she started to shake her head, but she stopped. Then she nodded looking down in shame. "Hey," Zander said lifting her chin with his hand, "whatever you're hiding, you shouldn't have to with me, or Elsa." He said and I smiled, he almost looked like a father comforting his daughter.
She was silent, but she nodded, "Okay, but don't freak out." She said and she slowly and hesitantly took off her gloves. She dropped the gloves and started to rub her hands together there was a slight glow before she pulled her hands apart. Floating in between her hands was an ice blue flame. She made the flame grow illuminating her face with the ice blue glow.
Zander's orange eyes widened, my eyes did too. Emma put the flame out and looked up at us, Zander was the first to come out of his daze, "Why would we freak out after seeing that?" he asked before lifting his hand and setting it on fire. Emma's eyes widened and she looked Zander in the eye, he smiled, "When we can do something similar." Emma looked at me and I gave her a smile and lighted my own hand and creating snowflakes and letting them swirl around my hand.
"Wow," Emma said, "that is so cool. I can't believe I'm not the only one. All this time I thought I was alone. It's just…" she said before laughing and wrapping her arms around Zander. After a few seconds she let go of him and ran over to me and gave me a surprise hug. I returned the hug. I looked up and saw Zander smile warmly at me.
"Go on, play with her." He mouthed before walking out of the room.
I smiled and pulled out of the hug, "Hey Emma," I said, "do you wanna build a snowman?" I asked, she smiled brightly, just like Anna would.
I'm positive that I'm going to go through with this now, I just had to find Kai.
I found him several minutes later, "Kai," I said when I caught up to him.
"Ah Lord Smith, what can I help you with." He asked.
"Did you look up what I asked you too?" I asked.
He nodded, "Yes, you have all the required traits. You just need to fulfill the required paperwork, and for the girl you want to adopt, you'll need her consent." I nodded.
"Can you get me the paperwork?" I asked and he nodded. "Then get me it as soon as you can."
"Right away sir," he said, I turned around, "One more thing, the council wanted me to inform that they require the money for the equipment and weapons by the end of today." He said and I nodded.
"Very well," I said, "I'll set out immediately. If anybody asks where I am tell them I've gone out and will be back before nightfall. Kai nodded and I walked down the hall.
I was adding bags of various sizes to Shadowmere's saddle and attached them to it so they wouldn't fall off, they weighed nothing now, but after my stop they would be a lot heavier, I climbed into the saddle, "Okay girl let's go," I said nudging Shadowmere with my heels and she took off.
Shadowmere was a very fast horse, we arrived at my fortress in only an hour. I got off Shadowmere, grabbed the bags and walked inside my fortress.
It took several trips, but I was able to grab what I think was more than enough for the shipments, I even had a spare bag, but something caught my eye. It was a pile of bones and scales, I walked forward, I sensed a deep magic inside them. These were dragon scales and bones, most likely trophies of dragons Xant had defeated in the past, perhaps I could use some of them.
I tied the last bag to Shadowmere and climbed on, Shadowmere gave me a look, "Don't worry girl, the weight will be gone as soon as we get to Arendelle." You said before whipping her reins and Shadowmere moved forward, not as fast as before, but still a good speed.
I was having a lot of fun with Emma in the room I created a winter wonderland in. Olaf joined us and he was having just as much fan as we were. I watched as Emma chased Olaf around the room throwing snowballs at him.
"There is a magic inside her," I turned around and saw Xant in the doorway, "Like Zander's, but also like yours." He said then turned to me, "It's time for your training." He said. I didn't want to leave Emma, but I nodded.
"Who are you?" a voice said behind me, it was Emma.
Xant smiled down at her, "I am Xant, but I guess you can consider me Zander's father."
I kneeled down next to her, "Emma I need to go," Emma looked disappointed, "don't worry Olaf will continue to play with you and I'll be back as soon as I can." She nodded before giving me a quick hug.
"Bye Mama," she said silently and my heart warmed hearing her say that. I returned the hug before walking after Xant.
I was walking down the halls and Elsa caught up to me, "You care deeply for her, just like Zander does." I pointed out, "She is a special girl, and a Fusion as well."
Elsa looked at me, "A what?"
"A fusion," I said, "Someone who has two forms of magic living inside them that are combined into one use of magic. Emma for example has the power of Cold Fire; ice in the form of flames. They're extremely rare, I didn't think I would ever see more than one in my lifetime." I said as we arrived at the room where I would usually train Elsa.
I opened the door and walked in with Elsa following, "We're going to try a little bit of a simulation here." I said forming an opponent with my magic, "a bit of an experiment." I said and Elsa walked forward.
I readied myself, I waited for Xant's construct to come at me, instead it walked away and towards something else. When I saw what it was my blood nearly turned to ice. It was Anna, she was tied up and looked scared with tears streaming down her cheeks. The construct unsheathed a sword and raised it over his head, "Say goodnight princess." The construct said.
"No!" I shouted and I threw my arm out just as his arm was going down. The was a bright flash of white light and a gust of cold air.
Then it all faded my eyes widened in shock, the construct was in the air and held up by an enormous spike of ice that was lighted it a few meters into the air after going right through his chest.
"It worked," Xant said behind, "that's how you can use your full potential." He said.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
He walked forward and examined the ice spike, "I created an illusion using the construct making it look like it was about to kill your sister." He said, "Turns out if you have a reason to use your full potential, to depend your loves ones for example you can achieve great things." he said, "You just need a reason, something worth fighting for… and it looks like we just found it." he said and turned towards me, "Now your training begins."
I gave the last sack of money to one of the servants that I had collect it, "Get this to the Royal Council and tell them it's for the war." They nodded and walked away with the bags. I looked up at the sky, it was getting dark. I walked back into the castle.
As I was walking through the halls I heard laughing and giggling coming from one of the rooms. I opened the door to see Emma and Olaf playing together, "Well what do we have here?" I asked with a smile.
Both of them looked at me, "Hi Zander," Olaf said, "We were just playing." He said and I looked at Emma who was starting to look tired.
"Well I'm sorry to break it up, but I think it's time Emma went to bed." I said.
"Aw, but I'm not…" Emma started to say but she had to stop so she could yawn, "not tired." I chuckled. And walked toward her.
"C'mon young lady," I said scooping her up into my arms, "let's get you to bed."
When I got Emma into her bed she was just about asleep, I pulled the covers over her, I started to walk away when I heard her soft and tired voice, "Goodnight… Papa," I stopped and looked back at her now sleeping form.
I smiled, "Goodnight Emma." I said softly before leaving her room.
Days turned into weeks and those weeks soon turned into a month. I was positive that I wanted to adopt Emma, but there was one problem. I kept chickening out every time I wanted to tell her the news. Every day she gave me more reason to want he to have her as my daughter, but I didn't know if she wanted me as a father.
I watched the soldiers in front of me standing in pairs dueling against each other. All of them had gotten better the longer they trained. Each of them showing more and more determination to get better and better. Summer was beginning to start so there were more and more hours of sunlight to train them and the hard work took their minds off the increasing heat, not that I noticed or anything.
"Enough," I called out and everyone stopped and turned to me each of them at attention, "Each of you are doing greatly, you're making Arendelle and myself very proud." I said to all of them, "The next few hours are for you to use them in any way you wish." I said and they didn't move, then they just went back to training. I looked at them with surprise.
Agdar stepped up next to me, "It seems that they want to continue training even though you've given them free time." I smiled looked at all of them.
"Keep an eye on them," I said, "I need some time to myself."
"It's about Emma isn't it?" he asked and I nodded, "You shouldn't have to worry about her saying no, I'm sure she think of you as her father already. She thinks of Elsa as her mother as well." I think I know where he's going with this, "I am curious on when you're going to ask my daughter the question everyone's waiting for you to ask her."
I sighed, "I'm waiting for the right time to ask her." I said, but I couldn't help but think to myself. What if I don't ask her before the war… and I don't make it through it?
When Emma asked me to braid her hair I just couldn't say no, "Do you think I'll look pretty?" she asked as I twisted her ebony locks.
"I'm definitely sure," I said. She was pretty for her age, I could only imagine what she'd look like when she's older.
"Aunt Anna?" she asked, she started calling me that some time ago and I didn't mind so let her keep calling me that.
"Yes?" I asked her.
"Does Zander love me enough to adopt me?" she asked. I stopped for a second, but then I continued.
"I think so, why? Do you want him to?" I asked her, I knew very well that Zander wanted to, he acted so much like a father to Emma it was a surprise that he wasn't.
"Yeah, I mean he's cared so much about me, I'd want to be able to call him my papa and be able to mean it." she said. I smiled and finished braiding her hair.
"All done," I said, "anything else you need?"
"I just have one more question." She asked, "Why aren't Zander and Elsa married?" she asked innocently.
I giggled and got up, "I don't know, but I'm sure Zander's thinking about it."
Emma smiled and put a hand on my baby bump, "Are you hoping for a girl or a boy?" she asked.
"Well I don't want to be disappointed when he or she gets here," she said, "but between you and me, if my baby is a girl I hope she ends up just like you." I said and Emma smiled widely.
I pounded the piece of titanium on the anvil in front of me. I picked it up and turned it over. I ran my hand over the bumpy metal. The metal was still hot so I focused on the heat and forced it to bend the metal and smooth out the bumps. The war was a only a few months away and the shipments of weapons and armor were coming in soon, but I wanted to wear one of my own works on the battlefield.
I put the finished piece of the manikin where the other pieces of armor were. I nodded at my handiwork and then proceeded to work on my next project, one that was a little more personal, and non-war related.
Using my power, creating what I wanted was fairly easy, and it allowed me to put more detail into it. I put what I had in my hand into a small box for safe keeping. I then grabbed a towel and wiped the sweat off my face and clean off my hands. I definitely needed a wash, I locked up my forge and started to make my way back to the castle.
I walked out of the washroom feeling fresh and clean. I got dressed and walked out of the room, where I saw a maid walking by, "Excuse me miss," I said catching her attention, "Do you know where Emma is?" I asked.
She nodded, "I believe Miss Emma in the throne room with Queen Elsa." I nodded my thanks and walked down the hall, I wasn't going to back out this time.
I walked into the room and sure enough Emma was with Elsa, I had no idea what they were talking about, but judging from the way Emma was smiling and the way Elsa was blushing. I was the subject of conversation. Emma was bouncing a cold flame in between her hands like a ball, "Zander," Emma said seeing me walk up, "Look at what I can do." She said throwing the flame back and forth.
I chuckled, "It's good to know that you're getting better." I said feeling slightly proud. "Actually Emma there's something I want to talk to you about."
Emma looked at me curiously and she put out the flame, "Am I in trouble?" she asked.
I shook my head, "No, you aren't in trouble." I said, "I just have something to discuss with you," I said, I waited for a bit before I think I knew how to say it, "Would you be okay with me adopting you?" I asked.
Emma's eyes widened, then after a few seconds of silence tears started to pool in her eyes, "Would I be okay?" she said before smiling widely, "I'd be much better than okay." She said before leaping up at me and I caught her as she hugged me tightly, "I love you Papa." She said and I smiled.
"Love you too Emma," I said and I looked up at Elsa, she was smiling as she walked toward us.
"Congratulations Zander, I'm sure you'll be a great father," she said and I frowned. Elsa's face fell, "Is something wrong?"
"No… well actually yes," I said putting Emma down, "If I'm going to adopt Emma I would prefer that she had a mother as well." I said reaching into my pocket.
Emma looked over at Elsa, "Can't Elsa be my mama?" she asked. I looked at her.
"You read my mind Emma," I said, "but perhaps we should make her your real adoptive mother." I said getting on one knee and holding the small box in my hand out, "Elsa… will you marry me?" I said opening the box revealing the ring inside.
Elsa gasped and looked at the ring, she was silent for a few seconds before she started to laugh and cry at the same time, "Yes, yes a million times yes." She said and I stood up and slipped the ring onto her finger.
I looked up into her eyes, "I want us to get married before the war started… just in case." I said and Elsa saw my reasoning and nodded before pulling me into a kiss.
Emma cheered a little, "Yay, I'm going to have a family again!" she said and Elsa and I broke our embrace before bringing Emma into a group hug.