Anna's head jerked up quickly as she heard the distinctive, tell-tale creaking which indicated that the door was being opened, and her fingers curled into the fabric of her duvet, anxious, hungry for information. She could feel the mattress of the bed sagging as Kristoff, who had gotten over his case of hypothermia just the day before, with help from Rapunzel, came beside her, just as eager and desperate as she, and his eyes were virtually pleading the maid for good news.
Heidi stopped slowly beside the door, hiding partially behind the mahogany so that only half of her body could be seen, as she peeked around to look at the couple. She hung her head, shaking it slowly, and Anna let out a sob, as her eyes dropped to stare at the ground, her plaited pigtails dangling in the air. Kristoff, too, was distraught, as he wrapped his arms around Anna and pulled her closer.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, Sir. The soldiers have searched all over the kingdom for Mia; they've combed every single forest in which she could have reached, but to no avail. I can hold my breath for two minutes, and I've searched the sea bed, as far as I can go, but there is still no sign of her." She took a deep breath, as she carefully wiped a tear from her eye. The fifteen year old girl looked so solemn, so mature, and the grief shone in her eyes just as much as it did in Anna, Kristoff and Elsa's. No doubt, she was remembering her own deceased child.
Anna took a shaky breath, as she clutched Kristoff's arm to support herself. "Are you sure there's now where else to look?"
Heidi shook her head, and a small lock of hair fell out from her bun. "Not that I know of, Ma'am." She said in response, "There are some navy boats searching the seas for her, trying to see if she's been captured again before she drowned, or perhaps she was taken off of the boat with the sailors when it sunk. Still... It may be a whlie yet before we hear back. They have a large area to cover."
Anna hung her head, and Kristoff sighed, fighting the tears. Mia hardly ever cried - to him, it felt like showing her respect, by following in her example. Even if he should be setting the example for her.
Heidi watched the distraught couple for a few more awkward, silent seconds, and sighed. "If you'd like, Ma'am, Sir, I can search the forest once more? Perhaps I might have a little more luck?"
Anna and Kristoff didn't look reassured, but the Princess smiled a weak, wobbly smile all the same.
"Thank you, Heidi." She said, "I'd appreciate that."
The maid curtsied, and then silently left the room, leaving the two mourning, terrified parents in their reflective, concerned solitude again.
Anna's eyes slowly trailed the walls, until they came to a rest at the windows, where a gentle layer of frost was forming, slowly, crystal by crystal. A fresh round of tears threatened to fall, and she closed her eyes, sobbing silent, dry cries.
I know you're out there, Mia... Just let me find you.
She squinted her eyes open again, and a single snowflake blew upwards on the wind. It was a large snowflake, and Anna instantly recognised it as Elsa's.
"Please... stop..." Elsa whispered, as gentle snowflakes continued to fall around the room. Things were not nearly as bad as they had been in the past, but now, she was terrified and unable to control her powers completely. A large snowflake drifted out of the window gently, flying around in the breeze outside, before it blew out of sight.
Elsa couldn't help it, as she remembered Mia's capture, a week ago, and a sob wracked her body, as she wrapped her arms around her stomach, trying to comfort herself.
Eventually, the tears stopped, and Elsa ran her hands over her hair gently, stretching them behind her as she began to make her way to the door. The handle froze over with ice instantly, but she tried to ignore it, to block it out.
Conceal, don't feel. She thought, out of instinct, but the phrase only made anger bubble up in her chest, rather than sorrow, and did nothing to thaw the slight blue ice clinging desperately on the ceiling, nor did it warm the room, which had decreased in temperature significantly.
After what seemed like years, the Queen found who she was looking for - Kai - and went nervously over to him, coughing slightly to get his attention. The man startled for a second, but he quickly got over the initial shock.
"Has there been any news on the whereabouts of Princess Mia?" Elsa asked, cautiously, but she didn't need to wait for Kai's response, for his features clearly read, 'No'. She muttered, "Thanks anyway," And then quickly ran past him, sobbing again, leaving the man in a state of confusion at what had happened.
Soon, there were no tears left for Elsa to cry, and so, her body heaved with dry sobs as she progressed through the corridors, eventually finding herself in the castle courtyard, where the wind blowing slightly, and her dress blew about in the breeze.
The sky was dark with clouds, and it was clear there would be a storm soon. Elsa turned to return inside, never being much of a fan of storms, especially after her Winter, five years ago. Quickly, she turned back around when she noticed something glinting in the cold sunlight, and spun to see Odd, dressed in his royal uniform, the light bouncing off of his single medal, which hung proudly on his chest. He was walking out of the stables with Brandy Shot, his dun-coloured stallion, in tow, and looked momentarily shocked when he saw Elsa standing, staring at him.
The Queen glared at him, as she stormed over, her eyes freely displaying her anger.
"Where are you going!" She snapped, crossing her arms, and Odd tried not to sigh in annoyance.
"Elsa..." He began, but he silenced himself when his wife held up her hand, her posture telling Odd that she wasn't in the mood for arguing.
"Odd, it's not safe. I've already asked you not to go. You can't just go... running out there. Someone might be waiting for you, and I've already lost Mia this week; I don't want to lose you too! "
Odd frowned. "I'm a grown man, Elsa." He said, a trace of annoyance creeping into his voice. "I can make my own decisions, and I can look after myself. You forget that I have done since I was thirteen."
Elsa sighed. "I know, Odd." She said, her tone a little softer, but then she felt the anger bubble up again, and she almost cried out in frustration as her emotions went haywire. Her voice was sharp as she snapped back, "But why do you need to go out there, anyway!"
Odd clenched his fists at the Queen, scowling. "Elsa, I've been trapped in the castle for a week, and I just need to get out. It's my job, for a start, remember? The one you assigned me?"
"One I can take away just as easily!"
Odd huffed. "Look, Elsa. Just because you're being paranoid, doesn't mean that I have to remain cooped up in the castle forever. I can't stay trapped, I need to be free." His eyes dropped to the floor sadly. "I thought you, of all people, would understand that."
Elsa felt a low growl emerge in the back of her throat. "This is pathetic, Odd! Just because you can't get your own way..."
"My own way!" Odd interrupted, "You're the one complaining that I won't do exactly what you want me to do!"
"Just because you can't get your own way," She repeated hotly, "Doesn't mean that you have to run off and have a tantrum! There's plenty to do here; I don't see why you need to go to the forests just for the sake of it."
"Is that so!" Odd yelled, "Well, I think you need to stop thinking about yourself all of the time!" He raised the pitch of his voice, so that his words were a mock imitation of Elsa's. "I don't want to lose you too, Odd!" He yelled, and glared as he jumped onto Brandy's back, fuming. "Maybe, stop thinking about what you want all the time, and perhaps you could just consider how crazy it makes me to be cooped up all of the time!"
Elsa's eyes widened, then they thinned again as she felt a new wave of anger pour over her. "If that's what you think, then fine!" She snapped, "Go off and be an idiot! After all, I shouldn't stop you just because I care about you and don't want you getting hurt. So, go! Go away, and have a nice time in the forests, as you risk your life and my sanity! I'll be fine!"
Odd huffed. "Fine, then!" He yelled back, "Have a nice afternoon, and don't miss me too much - if this is how it's going to be, then I'm not sure I really want to come back!"
Turning Brandy Shot around, Odd kicked his stallion on, as Elsa spun and stormed angrily back into the castle, running through the corridors, fuelled by her anger, until she reached her and Odd's bedroom, and collapsed on the bed, her emotions switching from rage to regret in an instant.
Elsa clutched the sheets in her hands tightly, as she cried into the duvet, eventually falling asleep, exhausted and heart broken.
Odd sighed with relief as he galloped through the forests, feeling free and happy. In his heart, the unease from his fight with Elsa was still present, but the exhilaration he felt completely overruled it.
He whooped with glee as he jumped over a fallen log, and, feeling Brandy's heavy breathing decided to rest for a while. Sitting down next to the stallion, he watched as a fox dragged a mouse into the bushes, and he felt a little for the creature; it was almost definitely doomed.
After a few minutes, he stood back up and got back onto his horse's back. Despite his anger at Elsa, he couldn't stay out here forever - his old home had finally fallen down, and he had no shelter from the wind that was beginning to swirl around him. He kicked Brandy into a gallop, and began to head back to the kingdom.
The crack of a whip sliced through the still, silent air of the cave, closely followed by the terrified, agonised cries of a young child.
Mia lay, sobbing loudly, on the cold, sharp, stony floor, as the belt cracked on her side again, and she screamed loudly at the fresh new pain on her side. Tears rolled freely down her cheeks, as she curled into a ball instinctively, and a man growled behind her.
The young princess whimpered in between her sobs as she heard loud footsteps coming in her direction, and a sharp cry escaped her cracked lips as she received a sharp kick in the side. Her attacked huffed, and kicked her once again for good measure, before turning and leaving the cave room, slamming a wooden door for good measure.
The young princess lay, curled up in a ball, moaning on the rocky ground, and she hid her head between her knees, wincing at the pain in her side. Laying flatter, she tried to make an icy light with her magic, although she was not at all surprised when she failed, her gloves stopping her from using her magic properly. The gloves reached all of the way up her arms, and were tied together tightly behind her neck, so that it was difficult to move her arms, and impossible to undo herself.
She knew that gloves had always concealed all of her aunt's powers, but her magic was stronger; though she could not use her magic properly, she could at least succeed in making the gloves glow.
With difficulty, Mia raised her arms as high above her head as she could, and then, straining her neck and moaning, she tried to look at her injuries. She winced when she saw the dark purple bruises, and sobbed as a fresh wave of pain wracked her body. Looking closer, she noticed blood trickling down her side from the center of the purple stain on her normally pale skin, and she lay her forehead on the ground in submission, as more sobs escaped her.
The pain was overwhelming, but over the last seven days, she'd grown used to the constant agony. She didn't know what she'd done to get herself punished like this, but she did know that she couldn't take much more of it.
Crying herself to sleep, she managed to catch a few hours of fitful rest, plagued with nightmares and fears, and she woke up shaking each time.
"Help, Mama, Papa..." She whispered, every time she awoke, quietly. "I sorry. Please, come and get me. I did wrong. I sorry..."
She's been saying the same thing repetitively over the past seven days. The only thing that had changed, was that she was beginning to believe her own words, beginning to believe her parents were punishing her for something she'd done wrong. Pain had been her life, and it had begun to control all reasonable thoughts in her brain, had changed memories to feed it's dastardly purpose : to make the child suffer.
What did I do? She sobbed as she fell back to sleep, only to be woken in fifteen minutes to the sharp snap of a whip on fresh skin.