"Elsa?" Came a quiet voice from outside the door, and though the Queen reeled back quickly when she first heard the person, she quickly relaxed when she came to realise it was just her sister. "Can I come in?"
"Oh, uh, yes, of course... Just give me a minute." Elsa said, distractedly, as she looked at the bright purple bruise upon her cheek with horror, and she hurried to fetch a face flannel, cooling it with her powers and pressing it to her face, sighing at the relieving chill. "Okay, come in."
Slowly, the door opened, and Anna came in hesitantly. "Hi, Elsa. Are you okay?" She gasped, however, when she saw the flannel pressed against her sister's cheek, and quickly rushed over, gently prying the material away from her sister's cheek, and her eyes widened, shining with worry, when she saw the dark mark. Elsa's eyes fell, her gaze turning away from Anna so that she couldn't see her reaction. "Elsa...? What happened, Elsa?"
Elsa shook her head softly. "Nothing. It's nothing. I just... ah, fell out of bed and landed on my cheek."
Anna raised her eyebrows unconvinced, and once she'd pressed the cold material back on the bruise, she folded her arms. "That's not true, is it, Elsa?" She said, and though she said it questioningly, she needn't have - she already knew the answer. Taking her sister's hand, she gently pulled her to the edge of the bed, and sat down, noticing the way Elsa seemed to be glancing at the bed a little nervously. "What's going on, Elsa? You know you can tell me anything, right? I'm your sister... whatever it is, I won't judge you."
Elsa laid her hands in her lap, nervously, and she looked in the opposite direction to Anna. "Can we at least... go somewhere else?" The Queen said, stalling slightly, trying to delay the inevitable. One way or another, she knew she would have to tell her sister eventually - the Princess was always able to wheedle information out of people.
Anna frowned. "Why?"
"Just... just because!" Elsa finished lamely, and Anna sighed.
"Where do you suggest we'd go, then?" She asked, and the Queen sighed sadly.
"My... my ice palace, perhaps?" She suggested, "Just... I don't want to stay here."
Anna looked heartbroken, and as she nodded, she took her sister's hand gently, trying to comfort her, though for what reason she didn't know for sure. Elsa gently squeezed her hand back in return, grateful for the kind action. After helping Elsa to apply some make-up to her injury, knowing how quickly rumours would spread around Arendelle, the pair made their way to the stables, fetching their respective horses and quickly mounting them.
"Sh-shall we go, then?" Elsa asked, and Anna looked a little unsure.
"I don't know... I haven't been up to your palace since, well, you froze my heart. I'm just a little nervous, I guess." She laughed softly, "Why don't we get Odd to come too? Maybe not Kristoff... I mean, you're friends, but... yeah. Do you want me to get one of the guards or the castle staff to go and find him, and get him to come with us?"
"No!" Elsa blurted, shocking her sister at the sudden outburst, and she placed her hand over her mouth. "Sorry... No, I don't think we should."
Anna frowned, but she nodded anyway, and pushed her mare into a trot, with Elsa quickly following her lead behind her, but she was careful to remain at least a few metres behind. The journey was quiet, and though the younger Princess tried to make conversation a few times, her sister was in no mood to talk; despite her best efforts, Anna was completely unable to get much more out of Elsa other than a few quite remarks, nothing of detail, nor anything which could be expanded upon in a discussion.
Eventually, after a long, rather arduous journey up the mountain, the pair reached the towering castle of ice, by which time, the morning light had gone, and the sun had begun it's slow descent in the sky, making the palace appear to glow a warm, comforting shade of light orange. Elsa looked at her creation a little unsurely, and sighed as she watched her sister tying up Misty to the icy stairs. Slowly, Elsa did the same, but her heart was not really in it; all the while, her brain was in turmoil, and her heart was beating ten to the dozen in fear. She had no idea how to tell her sister what had happened - she didn't even know where to start.
Avoiding Marshmallow, who was busy making his own little snowmen around the castle, the two sisters entered through the large entrance doors, and Elsa led her sister to one of the rooms leading off from the main one, where she fashioned herself and Anna a chair to sit upon.
"So, Elsa..." Anna whispered, "Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
"On this day, we now proclaim you Queen of the Trolls, and protector of the Valley of the Living rock. By accepting this ceremonial cape, you accept the position offered unto you until the day the next true heir comes to the valley."
Ugh, Bulda thought to herself, Why is it always so formal? Sheesh. Putting on a smile, and covering her frustration, she nodded, and two young trolls came forward with the mossy cape in their hands. Draping it over her, they bowed as they retreated away, and the trolls all around cheered as Bulda stepped up to a large, steaming bowl full of clear liquid, and slowly, as if it hurt her, she removed her fire crystal necklace. Taking a breath, she let it slip into the basin, and watched as the fluid began to change colour as it swirled around of it's own accord; the once transparent substance rapidly became red in colour, the same shade as roses, and the troll conducting the ceremony pulled the necklace back out once again. The crystals, once pink, were now bright yellow, and Bulda couldn't help but smile slightly as it was slipped around her neck.
"I now pronounce you Troll Queen Bulda, and bestow unto you the powers of our community."
The trolls watching the ceremony all grabbed hold of their crystals, as every necklace began to glow brightly, but by far the brightest was Bulda's, and for a moment, the sky was completely aglow with the trolls' combined powers. As the shine faded, the electric feel of the magic still rested in the air, and then the community broke out into great applause, as the new Queen waved her hands, lights playing happily in the sky as a result.
The atmosphere was excited and happy, but after a moment, the lights fell, and Bulda sighed as she looked at the large yellow rose bud, the only link which remained to Grand Pabbie.
I wish you were here to see me, Father, she thought, sadly, and as she did, the petals of the rose began to unfurl slightly. I wish you were here.
"What's going on? Please... I'm right here for you, Elsa." Anna pressed her, and the Queen whimpered a little, uncomfortably. "Has Odd done something to you? You were ever so... jumpy when I mentioned him earlier."
Elsa sighed, and Anna didn't need her to answer to know that her guess was true. "Y-yes..." Elsa whispered, quietly. "We were talking about the war with Corona, and what to do. I don't want to get Arendelle involved if all it will mean is our people all get killed, and as you know, we don't have a very strong army, only a strong navy." Anna nodded in agreement, urging her to continue, and Elsa let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. "Anyway, I told Odd this, and he got annoyed at me for not knowing, and he said... Well, he said I should be more worried about what happens to Rapunzel, not just because she's our cousin, but because she's royalty."
Anna frowned. "Woah, woah, woah." She said, "Wait a second. Odd said that you should help because Rapunzel's royal? Even if it means killing our own people?"
Elsa nodded. "I'm afraid so. He said that 'royalty are chosen by God', yada yada, and that we should be helping because of that. And if it was just me, then sure, but it's not. I mean, this is peoples lives; I'd be forcing them to go to war probably against their will, and I'd virtually be signing their death warrant! I just... I can't do that!"
Anna sighed. "Oh, Elsa..." She said, "That's a tough decision to make. But Odd should never have said those things. Still, that doesn't explain... why you're hurt, and jumpy, and stuff."
"Ugh," Elsa moaned, as she buried her head in her hands, shaking it a few times, trying to clear her head, and she felt her heart rate increase rapidly. "Well, I... I said I don't know what I'd do, but he w-wanted me to say yes. So... he hit me. Not really hard, but he still hit me. Then he asked again, and... and I said I don't know, again. And then he, he hit me again. And... and I was scared, and there was ice on the walls, and he noticed this, and... And... And..." Looking away from her sister, Elsa took a single breath, and, with no warning, she burst into tears, crying so hard she could feel the front of her dress getting soaked from them.
Anna gasped, and wrapped her arms around her older sister, and held her until her sobs ceased. Finally, the Queen sat up, and wiped her eye. "It seems everyone's crying now-a-days. It must be catching." She smiled weakly at her feeble little joke, and Anna forced a quiet, unsure laugh, although the joke wasn't even funny at all. Looking directly at her sister, she helped her wipe tears from the other eye, softly crooning under her breath to calm her, something she didn't even notice she was doing. It had always been the thing she had used to quiet Mia when she was sad, and it seemed to have the same soothing effect on Elsa.
"Elsa... Please, tell me. What did he do to you. I know he did something more." Anna's voice was soft, and Elsa was so desperate to tell her sister everything, but she couldn't, and she shook her head, looking away. "He... he exploited you, didn't he?" She whispered, and the Queen's head shot up, panic in her eyes. She wanted Anna to know the truth, but at the same time, she didn't. "E-Elsa?"
Elsa looked away, and she mumbled something quietly under her breath, the tone in her voice saying quite clearly 'let's not talk about this'. Which pretty much confirmed Anna's suspicions.
When Elsa dared a glance at Anna, she was surprised to see the Princess' face was bright red with pure rage and hatred. "How could he? How could he!" She shouted, and beat her hand down on the icy chair, wincing as she did, but the fury in her eyes was still there, a deadly dagger, cold and lethal. "No! No! No! This is not right! No! He cannot do that! No!"
Elsa looked at her sister worriedly. "Please, Anna, calm down..." she said, quietly, as the twinges she'd been feeling before came back, and she winced slightly. The princess spun on her sister, and the way her eyes were shining dangerously suggested that such a request would not be received gently.
"Calm down! Calm down! You're my sister, and he.. That Monster! Ugh! How could he!" She took a moment to take a deep breath in. "Oh, if I get my hands on him... Ooh! And you're pregnant! That isn't right! He shouldn't... He... Oh, and to think I was the one to get you together!" Her eyes widened, and her anger quickly faded, and she began to sob as well. "Oh, my goodness! I'm so sorry, Elsa... This is all my fault..."
Elsa frowned at her sister, and she stood up and hugged the girl.
"Hey, hey, hey... This isn't your fault. It's mine. I married him." She buried her face in her sister's neck, as did the younger Princess. "But... well, I've been thinking, that Odd's been really out of character recently. Something's off. He's been acting strangely for weeks, the animals all hate him, when they used to adore him, and... I don't know, but he looks a bit different."
Anna raised her head. "Pardon?" She questioned, "What do you mean?"
Elsa took a deep breath. "What I mean is, his eyes appear smaller than I remember them, and they're a lot duller in colour too. They're normally really bright green, but now they're quite plain. Not to mention the new scars he has... I think he's hiding something. He said it was an eagle, but the doctor said it didn't look like an eagle injury."
Anna nodded. "Kristoff said that too." She added, but frowned. "Still, I don't get it. What are you trying to get at?"
Elsa took another breath. "Well... I think he... I think he's an intruder. Everything seems to not fit together with him, and just think - he started acting strangely when we had a fight! He went away, and it would have been easy for him to be captured and swapped with a fake Odd!"
Anna looked unconvinced. "I'm not sure, Elsa. That seems a little far fetched..."
Elsa sighed. "But... just think about it, Anna. He was trying to make me go to war with the Southern Isles! And he was saying how royalty are better than everyone else! He shouldn't think like that; he wasn't born into royalty, he was born as a, well, commoner, for lack of a better word!"
Anna considered this. "I guess Seier really was wary around him, and he'd know for sure, because, well, he's a wolf. And they can smell each person's different scent." She thought for a few more seconds. "I mean, it's not as if he was really trying hard to become royal when you married him; he married you because he loved you, not because you have status. So he obviously loved you then, and I don't see why he'd suddenly changed."
Suddenly, Anna's face went red, and Elsa could almost see steam coming from Anna's ears. "Ooh! That means... that means he... he... he... Urgh! We. Are. Going. Now!" Storming off, Elsa had to run to keep up with her sister, who honestly looked like she would kill someone. The Queen could only hope she wouldn't.
"What are you doing, Anna!" She yelled after her sister, as the girl mounted her horse and began off at a gallop down the mountain, something which could easily be hazardous on the sloping surface if Misty were to trip. Hurriedly, Elsa got onto her own gelding also, and rushed after, waiting for the girl's answer.
"I'm going to kill him!" She yelled, and though Elsa was (mostly) sure the Princess wouldn't actually kill him herself, she knew he was in for a rough time. Anna may have looked sweet, innocent and weak, but she definitely wasn't one to mess with. Especially with the ice Elsa had given her to use 'in an emergency'.
And though she felt slightly bad about it, a small smile crept up on her lips. You should never have messed with this family, she thought, and she urged her own gelding on quickly after Anna's mare.