Elsa looked out across the ocean, watching as birds flew close over the sea in a large flock, moving in sync, their wings beating rhythmically in the cool sea air, the pressure from each flap making waves in the salty blue below them. They called out to one another, always staying together in their flock, encouraging those who fell behind, correcting those who flew in the wrong direction.
Elsa sighed as her eyes landed on the largest bird, who seemed to be leading the group, and she couldn't help but be reminded of the task she had at hand; to 'shepherd' her men safely to the Southern Isles, and to keep as many of them safe from harm as possible.
All while finding her husband and niece, and then continuing to take over the castle, or at least surround it, to force its inhabitants to surrender and stop the war.
She wasn't quite sure how long the task would take, and though she hoped all of the Southern Isles' men were off at war with Corona, she knew that it would not be the case. Compared to the Southern Isles, Corona had next to no men to fight for them. They weren't weak at all, rather that the Southern Isles was just a lot stronger.
Though they had one of the strongest navies, Elsa still worried about how successful her men heading off to Corona would be. She knew that some of the Southern Isles' men had already landed and had gone ashore, slowly making their way to the castle, no doubt destroying everything - and everyone - in their path.
Arendelle's navy was strong, but what use would they be if there were no enemy ships still at sea? If it was the case that they had already all landed, then all Elsa's men could do would be to fire upon, and perhaps blow up the docked vessels, and then hope that the Southern Isles' men would just flee before they became stranded.
The waves crashed against the edge of the boat, sea spraying at Elsa's face, refreshing her, and she squinted as the sun slowly peeped over the horizon, the soft rays dancing across the great expanse of water, signalling the beginning of a new day.
Elsa dearly hoped that today would be a promising day, but she couldn't help but feel nervous, as if something bad was happening.
Then again, everything seemed off recently.
Something terrible was coming.
Rapunzel rushed from the castle, her long, blonde hair trailing behind her, waves of silk flying through the air. She slipped as she hurried down the steps to the villages, calling loudly for Maximus to come and help her.
"Rapunzel!" Eugene Fitzherbert's voice rang out through the air, almost completely drowned out by the sound of canons and guns exploding not far away. "Rapunzel, please come back!"
He sprinted down the steps, jumping across two, three, at a time to catch her up, and grabbed her hand to stop her from continuing on. "Come on, 'Punzel, please!" He cried, his eyes pleading with hers, but the newly appointed Queen just pulled her hand away roughly, and turned around, refusing to face him.
"No, Eugene!" She snapped, "I will not let my people just die down there!"
The Prince looked mortified, as he groaned. "But Rapunzel! You'll get yourself killed if you go down there!"
"Listen, Eugene!" She shouted, and jumped as a canon blast exploded nearby, nearly falling backwards. "I am going down there to help who I can. If there are men and women down there who are hurt, I am going to heal them! I'm the Queen now, so it's my responsibility." She folded her arms. "Either you're coming with me to help, or I'm going alone. It doesn't make much difference, whichever you choose- I'm not staying here a second more!"
Eugene sighed. "But, Rapunzel... I don't want you getting hurt! And now especially... "
Rapunzel's expression softened slightly, and she finally turned back to face him, slipping her hand in his. "Look, Eugene. I'm not going to let my people suffer if there's anything I can do to help, even if that is only reducing their suffering. But I promise you, I'll be okay." She placed his hand on her stomach. "And so will our baby."
Eugene sighed, but Rapunzel could tell she'd gotten through to him as he let go of her hand. Nodding, he looked out over their kingdom, and his eyes focused on the line of ships surrounding the main port.
Rapunzel followed her husband's gaze, looking out over the sea.
"Do you think Arendelle are sending any ships to help us?" She asked, her voice betraying her desperation. "We just... need help. The Southern Isles are too strong - we're too small to face them."
Eugene sighed, and if the situation hadn't been so serious, Rapunzel would have picked up on the fact that this was probably the longest time the man had remained serious for, without cracking a joke, or teasing her.
"I hope so." He said, as he took his wife's soft hand, and together the pair rushed down to the villages below, in the hope of saving who they could from the attacks.
They needed help soon, before the whole kingdom fell under the Southern Isles' control.
Mia sat quietly as she ate her breakfast quickly, purposely keeping her gaze away from Ayla and Hans, focusing on her bowl of porridge, concentrating on not spilling any of the food off of her spoon.
As soon as she'd eaten her meal, she quickly excused herself, and rushed outside, where she found the Queen sat out in the cold winter sun, embroidering a cloth contentedly. She glanced up as the young girl advanced, and smiled at her warmly, beckoning her over, glancing around first.
Slowly, Mia crept over, careful to keep a little distance between her and the woman, eyeing her cautiously. The Queen smiled sympathetically at her, offering her hand slowly as one would to an animal, as if she moved too quickly the little princess would be frightened away.
"Don't worry, little one." She said, softly, and smiled as Mia rested her palm gently in hers, testing to see if she was safe, if she would hurt her. "You've never really seen me before, have you?"
Mia slowly shook her head, a little unsure of the Queen's intentions, as she spun in her chair to face the child properly. "Don't worry - I won't hurt you." She softly squeezed Mia's hand, and to her surprise, the child actually returned the gesture, coming to trust her.
Something in the back of Mia's mind told her to be careful, that to trust anyone was dangerous, but she was just so lonely, and she didn't want to be on her own anymore.
"I'm not actually meant to be talking to you, but you seem lonely. Are you not?"
Mia looked at the Queen sadly. "I miss Mama, Papa." She said quietly, "Auntie and Uncle, too." The young princess began to sob at the thought of her family, at the thought of how alone she felt here.
The Queen looked shocked for a minute, and softly patted Mia's head, pulling her slightly closer to her. "Oh, hush, hush, Sweetie." She cooed, "Don't worry. I'm not meant to talk to you, because my husband and my sons don't want me to, but if you ever want to talk, come and find me."
Mia smiled slightly, and feeling reassured, the promise of someone to actually be nice to her, to listen to her, made her trust the woman. Walking a little closer, she nestled her head in the Queen's side, and closed her eyes, still sobbing. The woman softly stroked Mia's cheek, and the young girl sighed into the show of affection.
"Shush, little one." She whispered to the overwhelmed child. "I must go now, but if you want to see me again, I'll be in my personal drawing room. It's the room with the door which is decorated with red roses, on the third floor." She softly placed a kiss upon Mia's head, and the young Princess felt loved, for the first time in a long while. "I look forward to seeing you again, Sweetie."
Mia backed away as the Queen left with her embroidery cloth inside, and she felt her heart soar slightly. For a moment, just a moment, she forgot all her sadness, sorrows and fears.
For just a moment, she was a normal child again.
Hans nodded at Ayla, grinning in an excited way which suggested he was thoroughly looking forward to his revenge.
"Yes, Ayla." He affirmed. "I do believe that it is time to take another step in our plan. Send a message to the captain of the army; we're heading to Arendelle today."
Ayla grinned, her eyes glinting. "You're so cold hearted, Hans." She said, "Taking advantage of Arendelle when they're weak..." She paused, and took a step towards him, smirking devilishly, and she traced a path up his chest with her fingers, taking little steps in a teasing manner. "I like that." She reached up slightly and, taking Hans by surprise in the darkness, kissed his cheek lightly, seductively.
"Night, Princey." She said, feeling very pleased with herself, and she quickly walked out of the room before Hans could process what was going on.