Elsa awoke with a start, and felt her heart drop from her chest when she realised Odd was still not back. Though she would not admit it, she had secretly hoped that he would have come back during the night, and that when she awoke, he would be laying next to her in bed.
Clearly, it wasn't the case.
The Queen sighed, as she got up slowly and went over to her intricately decorated vanity, braiding her hair in its usual style, though she put little effort into it. Her mind was occupied by other, more pressing matters - Odd's disappearance, and Mia's capture.
She paused for a moment, as her blue eyes trailed across the walls of her room, eventually coming to land on a portrait of her and Odd, and a small tear leaked from the corner of her eye.
Wiping the tear from her cheek, she stood up, and lazily waved her hand, so that a dress materialised on her body. It was a simple dress, shapeless and plain, representing her mood.
Sadly, she stood up again, and made her way over to her mirror, glancing at herself. Turning to the side, she focused on her stomach, and ran her hand over it, frowning, as she noticed the way the small curve was beginning to be quite noticeable. Waving her hand, she loosened the dress so that it was slightly more flowing, concealing the tiny bump that was growing larger with each passing day.
Elsa sighed, as she placed her head in her hands and tried to stop her legs from shaking. She hadn't been expecting this, and certainly wasn't prepared - especially now that Odd was missing, and Mia was gone.
Oh, God, She thought to herself, and her spirits plummeted even more. I can't even tell her. It'd destroy her, what with Mia...
Elsa paused for a moment, and then collapsed on the floor in a heap, sobbing wildly, rocking back and forth. She was confused, her thoughts rocketing wildly, out of control, in her brain, leaving her feeling stressed, confused, scared, and sad all at once.
A knock sounded on the door, and Anna's sad, quiet voice came floating through the door.
"Elsa?" She asked, "I know you're in there - please come out. Kristoff's gone out to look for Odd, and I'm feeling lonely."
Elsa sat up, but made no attempt to move over to the door.
"Elsa? Please, just let me in..." Anna paused for a moment, to take a breath, and Elsa knew just what was coming next. "We only have each other, it's just you and me... What are we gonna do?"
Elsa heard the slight thud of Anna's head gently resting upon the door. "Please..."
The Queen took a deep breath, and stood up slowly. She carefully made her way over to the door, and rested her palm on the door handle, feeling it freeze up under her grip.
Come on, Elsa. She thought to herself. It's only Anna.
She paused, hanging her head.
That's the problem. It's Anna.
Taking one final, deep breath, she turned the handle, and pulled the door open quickly before she could think twice about it. Anna stared at her, and frowned.
"Are you okay, Elsa?" She said, as her eyes lingered over Elsa's red eyes and blotchy cheeks. "Have you been crying?"
Elsa tried to smile, pretty certain that she had failed to do so convincingly. Anna's reaction proved her suspicions.
"Don't try to hide things from me, Elsa." She said, her voice a whisper. "You know how badly that's been before. You can trust me, you know."
Elsa sighed. "I'm fine, Anna. I just don't want to hurt you."
"So, you're not fine." Anna shot back, and Elsa was slightly shocked for a moment at how perceptive her sister was being. She paused, not quite sure what to say, and Anna frowned, as she looked over the Queen's shoulder and noticed the room behind her.
"Oh, Elsa..." She whispered, as she witnessed the snowflakes, hanging suspended in midair, and the completely frozen walls. Elsa quickly noticed what her sister was looking at, and murmured under her breath in fear, as she stepped backwards, a little worried.
Anna placed her hand on her sister's shoulder, and reached behind her to close Elsa's door. "Come on," She said gently, and her hand made its way down to her sister's, locking their fingers together, as she squeezed gently, reassuringly. "Let's get a hot chocolate, and then we need to talk. Okay?"
Elsa nodded slightly, and she let go of her sister's hand as she slowly followed her down the corridors, to one of Anna's favourite rooms; the large, comfortable lounge, which, at this time in the morning, was always bright from the sunlight.
The sisters sat down on one of the large, plush sofas, and Anna looked directly at her sibling.
"Elsa, please, tell me. What is it?" She said, softly, although her eyes were shining with tears. She had lost her daughter, and she was scared to lose her sister, as well. "You know you can tell me anything?"
Elsa looked at Anna directly, and shook her head as she looked down, mumbling under her breath. The Princess frowned.
"Elsa?" She asked, and her sister looked up at her, as her fingers gently touched her stomach, an act which Anna seemed to miss.
"It doesn't matter, Anna..." She whispered, and Anna frowned, before glaring at her, angrily. "Please... I'll tell you when the time is right. And the time isn't right now."
Anna folded her arms. "You can't keep everything to yourself, Elsa. You don't have to keep your distance-"
"Shut up! Shut up!" She yelled, her eyes widening slightly at the outburst, and she lowered her voice slightly, in more control of herself. "Please, just... leave me be."
There was a slightly awkward silence, as Elsa looked away from her sister, and her hands came to rest in her lap, before she stood up slowly, patting down her dress gently.
"Excuse me," She said, quietly. "I need to go to the bathroom."
Anna nodded slightly, in a somber mood, upset by the fact that her sister didn't seem to trust her, that she would not reveal her secret, and at her sudden outburst. She watched as Elsa left the room, and the gears in her head began to turn, as things began to finally begin to fit together in her mind.
After she'd relieved herself, Elsa was quick to decide that she couldn't return to Anna. Not just yet. She couldn't deal with all of the Princess' questions, not until Mia had been found - she knew it would sadden Anna to know the truth, although it was obvious that it wouldn't be long until she couldn't hide it anyway.
Taking a detour, Elsa made her way out to the the stables, where she found her newest gelding waiting patiently in his stall.
"Hey, Boy." The Queen greeted gently, as she stroked his nose softly, murmuring to him quietly. Retrieving her saddle, she quickly tacked him up, before leading him outside and jumping on.
"Let's go, Vin." She said, patting the bay's neck as she gently squeezed her heels into his side, encouraging him into a trot. Vin had a beautiful, smooth, flowing gait, meaning that, sat side-saddle as she was, the horse's movements were not too bouncy to be uncomfortable.
She knew she was being hypocritical, as she headed off towards the forests, but she needed to try and help Kristoff find Odd. He deserved to know the truth, after all, and she needed to tell someone, to get it off of her shoulders. She could see Odd being a little upset, perhaps even angry, maybe, but at least he'd react better than her sister would.
She took a deep breath, as she came to the end of the deserted village streets; people were still scared from the attack a week previously, and mostly tried to stay inside if they could afford to. She paused for a moment, and then kicked Vin on into a canter.
"Come on, Boy." She said, "Let's find Odd, and then we can go home."
"They captured the young Princess, you say?" Hans said, confirming, and Alec nodded slowly. The younger grinned evilly, happily. "How convenient. And, I am right in the fact that the girl has the same powers as her aunt, am I not?"
Alec nodded again. "You are indeed, Hans." He paused, thinking. "I'm not sure how true they are, but I've also heard rumours that she may have other powers, too."
This new information seemed to interest Hans. "That's good to hear," He commented, as he reached for his glass of water. "The girl could be useful, if only we can convince her to work on our side. The question is... how can you convince a two year old to go against her family?"
Alec paused, but then grinned. "The report from the soldiers reported that they've been beating the girl, so that she's too weak to use her powers against them. Supposedly she's very powerful - gloves may not be able to contain her magic for long, so they need to keep her weakened just in case."
Hans looked slightly annoyed as his brother rambled on. "What are you getting at, Brother?" He snapped, scowling.
"Patience." Alec snapped back, hotly. "Supposedly, some of the guards have over heard the child muttering to herself, and it sounds like she's confused. She thinks she's being punished for something by her parents, although she doesn't know what she's done wrong."
Hans grinned again. "Perfect." He said, "Send an order back to the soldiers who are keeping her, and tell them to keep doing exactly what they are now, but don't hurt her too much - we need the girl alive, but we also need her submissive for my plans concerning her to work out. Make sure to point out that the kid's only two - it won't take much to break her in, so to speak, but there will be a very fine line between doing so, and pushing her over the edge."
His cold eyes rested on his brother's. "That is essential. If it goes wrong, it'll be up to you to find a way to make up for it."
Alec cringed at the deeper meaning of those words; if Mia was damaged beyond repair, he would be the one who would have to pay the price.
He nodded to his brother, before leaving the room. Though he was older than Hans, the latter was ridiculously brilliant when it came to controlling people. Indeed, Alec knew he was but the youngest Prince's messenger, and though he was the one with freedom, not confined to a single room, as Hans was, he was still trapped. He couldn't do anything wrong - after all, even locked up as he was, the youngest Prince had unbelievable power, and Alec was simply a tool.
He was disposable, in his brother's eyes, and even if Alec was acting as if he was the one with the great plan for revenge, it was always Hans who held the keys for change. It wouldn't take much for him to find a new puppet, and when he did, Alec would be thrown away.
He knew what that meant.
He swallowed, as he rushed off to write the letter to send to the soldiers. He couldn't afford to get it wrong, that was for sure.
"Odd!" Elsa yelled, her voice barely sounding over the strong wind that was blowing that morning. She slowed Vin down as he began to go a little faster, cantering a little too quickly for comfort, and she scanned the forest for any sign of movement. "Odd! I'm sorry! Please, come back!"
Still, there was no sign of him anywhere, and a sob escaped her lips. "I need you..."
She slowed Vin down again to a trot, as she splashed through the cold water of a river, the droplets flying against her skin and refreshing her, but her heart was heavy as she searched.
As she passed a large, decayed tree, Vin began to snort nervously, and Elsa hopped off quickly, trying to find out what was wrong.
"Hey, hey," She said, soothingly. "What is it, Boy?"
Vin snorted, as he looked towards the tree, and Elsa walked around it, puzzled, holding tightly to the horse's reigns so that he wouldn't run away, and she gasped when she saw a massive hole in the base of the tree. It wasn't the hole she was reacting to, however, but rather the small, one-armed child laying in it, seemingly asleep, but it didn't take Elsa long to notice the pale colour of his skin.
"Oh, my..." She breathed, and she quickly grabbed the boy, showing him to Vin quickly so as to reassure him that the child was not a danger, and then she climbed back on, turning back to Arendelle and kicking Vin on.
Whether it was her motherly instincts kicking in, or simply the fact that the child was so small and helpless, Elsa knew she could not let the boy die. He was icy cold, and the Queen had no doubt that the cold November weather had chilled the boy to the bone. He was thin, too, and he'd clearly not eaten in a long time.
Though she was still desperate to find Odd, she knew she had to help Arne first. He'd die if she didn't.
And she'd never be able to live with herself if that happened.