"How is he?" Anna asked quietly, as she looked over at Arne, laying in one of the spare beds. He was much too small for it, and it almost looked like he'd soon sink into the mattress and disappear forever.
"The doctor said he'll be okay, but he's so thin, and we need to try and get him to eat something, which won't be easy when he's unconscious. Ida is going to bring up a hot bowl of soup, which he should swallow by reflex, hopefully, but he needs something more filling really. Soup is, after all, quite watery, so it won't really make him put on any weight. Still, I think it's the best we can do until he wakes up."
Anna considered this. "In theory, if we feed him a lot of soup, it should help, right?" Elsa shook her head.
"We can't even give him very much. He can't have eaten in quite a while, at least three or four days, I'd wager, if not more, meaning that his stomach will have shrunk, and he won't be able to actually eat much. If we feed him too much, that'll be just as bad."
Anna sighed. "I hope he gets well soon. It makes me sad to see him like this."
"Me too," Elsa agreed sadly, as she turned around to give the boy some privacy while he recovered.
"Elsa?" Anna said quietly, as she followed her sister out of the room. "You don't suppose that Arne might know anything about what happened to Mia, do you?"
Elsa looked unsure. "I don't know, Anna. He might, but I didn't see him... I don't know if he was there, and I don't really see how he could know anything if he wasn't."
Anna looked down, her shoulders falling, and Elsa felt a pang of sorrow flow through her veins. "Hey, hey! That doesn't mean he definitely doesn't know anything!" She reassured. "Just... please don't get your hopes up too high. I'd hate to see you getting hurt."
Anna shook her head. "I've already lost one of the most important people in my life. I'm already hurt; I don't think a little more pain will affect me all that much."
"Oh, Anna..." Elsa said, as she pulled her sister into a hug, and Anna sighed into the embrace, before stiffening for a moment, and drawing back.
"Elsa..." She said, and she gently placed her hand on her sister's stomach. Hey eyes were large and sad, and Elsa could swear she even saw the slightest amount of jealousy in them, and she quickly knew where this was going. Hastily, she took a step back, and tried to loosen her dress, but the damage was done.
"You're pregnant, aren't you?" Anna said, in a small, quiet voice, and Elsa's eyes darted everywhere, except for meeting her sister's. Her silence was enough of an answer for the Princess.
"Anna-" Elsa said, but the girl had turned away, and the Queen could hear her small, quiet sobs.
"Excuse me," She whispered, and then ran off in the opposite direction. Elsa stood, dumbfounded, and she buried her head in her hands. She wanted to run after her younger sister, wanted to try and offer her some sort of comfort, but really, how could she, when she, herself, was the reason Anna was so distressed.
Why was everything so confusing?
"Perfect," An old woman's sharp voice cracked through the air, slicing it like a whip. "Except for one thing..."
She paused for a moment, and walked over to the man. "The scars." She said, her voice now quiet, giving her a darker, more intimidating quality.
The man hissed, as the woman slashed the knife down the side of his face, across his eye, down to the corner of his mouth. He steeled himself as she struck again, and he made no sound as the blade sliced cleanly through his flesh. He clenched his fists for the last attack, and tightened his lips and eyes as he felt the thick, dark red blood flow into the corner of them.
"There," the woman said, and the man glared at her with his green eyes, his chocolate-brown hair falling partially over his face and covering some of the wounds. "You know what has to be done. Go."
The man was shocked for a moment, but then nodded, wincing at the throbbing pain in his face. "Certainly." He snarled back, but the injury made it hard to speak, and his word had a rather jagged, unclean quality to it.
The man stood up and left, placing his hand to his face, drawing it back to see, and finding it covered with his own blood.
By the time night had fallen, the temperature outside had fallen significantly, and Elsa was relieved that she'd found Arne when she had. No doubt he'd have frozen in the cold November air during the night otherwise.
Sullenly, Elsa stared out of the window of her bedroom, gently rubbing her very slight baby-bump, as she looked out towards the forest. She needed Odd back, and her sister needed Kristoff to return even more.
Out of the corner of her eyes, Elsa noticed something moving, and glanced downwards to see the two men hurriedly racing through the villages, back towards the magnificent castle, which stood as a landmark in the black night sky. The Queen gasped, and smiled with relief, as she rushed to her sister's room.
"Anna!" She cried out, but there was no reply. "Anna... Please, I know you're upset, but Kristoff and Odd are coming back."
There was a slight, pregnant pause, and Elsa sighed.
"Kristoff will be sad if you aren't there to meet him."
The Queen heard a slight shuffling from beyond the door, and waited for a few seconds. "I'll be down in a few minutes," came Anna's quiet reply, and Elsa sighed, as she turned, heading down to meet up with her husband, and her brother-in-law.
The man groaned to himself slightly, as he cantered along on Brandy Shot's back, trying to ignore the throbbing pain of his cheek.
"I bet that twinges a bit, Odd." Kristoff commented, and the man had to hold back a growl of annoyance.
"Really? Aren't you smart!" He snapped, and Kristoff was shocked. Odd quickly tried to correct himself. "Sorry. The pain's getting to my head. Ruddy eagle..."
Kristoff didn't look convinced. "Are you sure it was an eagle? I've seen eagle injuries before, and generally, they are more... rough. That's virtually a straight line."
Odd looked slightly put off at Kristoff's comment, but he nodded anyway. "Definitely an eagle." He said, and then looked away stiffly, as he entered the castle grounds.
"Oh my gosh, you're back!" Elsa cried out, as she pushed the doors open and ran out into the courtyard. "I'm so sorry, I- What happened to your face?"
"An eagle slashed him." Kristoff answered, knowing that it pained Odd to speak. Elsa gasped at his words, and quickly rushed over to help her husband down, shielding him as Brandy Shot snorted, attempting to bite the already injured man.
"The cuts must scare him," Kristoff commented, "He's been acting strangely the whole way back here."
"That's strange..." Elsa said, as she took a step back from the horse when a stable hand caught him. "Well, we'd better get to the doctor, Odd. Those cuts are really deep."
"You don't say," Odd commented, and Elsa frowned at his tone of voice.
"Anna's waiting for you inside, Kristoff." She said, her voice without a tone, expressionless. Kristoff nodded, following Elsa and Odd into the towering castle, and none saw the sly little fox, sneaking silently in behind them, unnoticed.