Hans scowled, as he heard the screams of his mother reverberating off of the walls. Some deep, deep part of him, hidden beneath years of hatred and frustration, ached for his mother, made him want to go to her rescue, but in the end he didn't.
It's her own fault, He reasoned with himself, as he scowled more, She should never have talked to the little Princess. We warned her not to, but she did not listen - she should have obeyed father. Though it pains me to say so, he is the king, and holds the most power, sadly more than I do. As such, Mother should have done as he asked. She deserves her punishment.
Walking down the corridors for a while, Hans' expression remained unchanged as he strutted through the castle, without any purpose, something which had always frustrated him. Not doing anything was a sign of laziness, and in turn, a sign of weakness, in his eyes, and he did not want to appear weak - he was a Prince of the Southern Isles, and he had to be respected, had to be given the consideration of others which he deserved.
Reaching the doors to the courtyard, Hans pushed them open and wandered outside lazily, feeling the cool blast of early evening air hit him with such force, it felt as if he'd just run into a brick wall.
Or been punched by a Princess.
He clenched his fists, scowling, and he bared his teeth in anger at the memory, remembering with a clarity fueled by hatred the moment the girl he'd tried to marry knocked him off of the boat. How humiliating - not only had he ended up soaking wet for the second time during his visit to Arendelle, he had a girl - not even a woman, which would still have hurt his pride more than anyone could imagine - to thank for it.
Shaking off the horrid memory, he smiled as he thought of little Mia. Oh, how distraught Princess Anna, and her husband, that stupid ice harvester, must be at the loss of their baby daughter - though he did feel a little bad that he'd had to steal the child from her family, when she had no connection to Hans' misfortune at all, minus her heritage, if it made the two sadder, he wasn't all too bothered by it.
Pausing for a moment, he frowned, unsure of what to do as he felt his frustration begin to build up again, and he quickly called for one of the nearby servants to fetch his horse, deciding that a good, fast ride through the mountains would do him some good, and hopefully distract him. He tapped his foot impatiently as he waited, sighing as he looked up at the darkening night sky. He pondered whether to take guards with him or not, but quickly decided against the idea - they'd take too long to get to him, and if he wasn't quick it would be much too dark to ride at all. It wasn't as if he was really in danger of an attack from the people, either - they admired him, for certain, but they feared him at the same time, and none were stupid enough to dare attack him. Maybe he wasn't incredibly strong, but he was smart, and more importantly, he was a Prince.
He had power, whereas they didn't. All it would take was one word from him, and they'd be dead.
So, he was safe. He'd definitely take a lamp with him, though - it wouldn't do to get lost in the dead of night.
Mounting his horse, he sat still for a moment, and then pushed his horse quickly into a gallop, heading towards the mountains for a long, hopefully tiring ride, which would exhaust his mind and leave him numb to all the angers and frustration in his life.
Elsa watched as her fleet drew ever closer to the kingdom of the Southern Isles, partially hidden by the black night sky, and the dim light of the new moon. She felt her hands tremble a bit in fear, in nervous anticipation, and a thin layer of sweat had settled in droplets upon her palms.
Taking a deep breath, trying to calm herself, she looked at the calendar on her wall and sighed - today was the new moon, meaning that it was a Sunday. More significantly, it was Sunday 25th - Christmas Day, and she was missing it for this.
Walking over to where Odd was sleeping quietly, no longer unconscious, but just exhausted, she sat down on the edge and slowly made a holly wreath on the bed post, smiling slightly at her work, distracted from her worries for just a moment. One precious, delightful second, which was over much too soon.
She wondered what Anna was doing now. Had she and Kristoff exchanged Christmas gifts, eaten a massive roast lunch with turkey or goose, or had they done something else? Had they, perhaps, done nothing at all, too sad without the rest of their family there to celebrate the occasion?
Sighing, she rose from the mattress, and, with one last glance at Odd to make sure that he was still okay, she began to make her way to the door.
Timing was key in the plan - if they waited too long, they'd be detected, and killed if they weren't careful. It was important to strike at just the right moment, so that they could make an impact on the kingdom before they could fully comprehend what was happening, so that they could destroy their defenses before the people could react.
Slowly, Elsa blew out the only lit candle in the room, which hung next to the exit, and she carefully closed the door so as to not awake Odd. Placing her palm on the wood, she let it rest for a minute, as if she could stick it there and not have to leave, before she closed her eyes, let out a breath, and slowly pulled away.
She didn't want to know how close they were, really. After all, there was so much truth in the old saying, ignorance is bliss, and Elsa only wished she could keep that ignorance for as long as possible.
Mia whimpered quietly to herself as she lay in a ball under a small, evergreen bush on the edge of one of the many villages which could be found in the Southern Isles. She'd always found happiness when she looked out of her window at the villages, because they reminded her of home, and after hearing the screams of the Queen, home felt like the haven it had been before she'd been kidnapped. She didn't believe what she'd been told about being punished by her family any more, but she was still so confused about everything.
"Please... Take me home..." She whispered to no one in particular, "I just want go home..."
She curled up in a tighter ball, wincing as the prickly spikes of the bush scratched her bare skin painfully. She was only wearing a thin dress, because she didn't need winter clothes, due to the fact that she didn't feel the cold; as a result, her soft skin was torn to pieces, and she felt a tear escape her eye. She'd felt so much worse pain in her short life, but that didn't mean she was immune to suffering.
She so wished she could get out from under the bush, but she knew that she couldn't. She was exhausted from running away from the castle, and now that it was dark, she couldn't keep going, because she'd get lost or hurt, possibly much more seriously than she was now.
Digging her fingers into the dirt below her, she began to dig, trying to make a hole in which she could lie in, so that she'd be further away from the spikes. She felt the bush scratch her skin again as she moved, and more tears fell with a splash upon the ground as she scraped it away, desperate for relief.
Finally, her arms bloody from scrapes and tired from the manual labour, she gave up, and watched the stars twinkling in the night sky through gaps in the leaves.
Please... She begged silently in her mind, Please help me...
Odd's eyes opened slowly, and he felt his head swim for a minute in dizziness. The world seemed to go out of focus for a minute, and he had to rub his eyes and squint them to make it return to normal.
He felt exhausted, and each of his limbs seemed to be filled with lead, and he had to heave on his legs to get them to slide out from under the covers to rest on the floor. Groaning, he placed his hands behind him and pushed up with his limited strength, managing to stand up on just the second attempt, although he did wobble a bit, and fell over soon after, coming to a rest as his arm smashed against the wall.
Pushing himself up, wincing at the fresh, throbbing pain in his shoulder, he forced himself away from the side of the cabin and stumbled towards the door on the other end of the room, feeling foolish at his lack of co-ordination.
His mind was fuzzy, as if his body wasn't quite with it yet, and he could tell he was not truly awake yet. Though he could feel something trying to sneak to the front of his brain, something important and new which he couldn't help but feel he should remember, he couldn't quite place his finger on what it was. It was a frustrating thing, and he couldn't stand the feeling of being so helpless that he couldn't even keep a record of his own memories.
Pausing by the set of drawers, Odd rested his hand on the top to steady himself as he felt his legs wobbling, and he took a few breaths, annoyed at his lack of control. Closing his eyes, he felt his mind ache again from the memory which was pressing against his brain, and he softly pounded against the dresser in his frustration, soon after which he felt something soft land on his foot.
Opening his eyes, he glanced down, and was surprised to see a small ball of wool laying next to it. Bending down, taking care not to fall over in doing so, he picked it up, and placed it back on top of the drawers where it had fallen from, before he noticed that someone - probably Elsa, considering it must have been her suite, from the size of it - seemed to have been using it.
Shrugging it off, Odd slowly made his way over to the door, and just as he placed his hand on the handle, something caught his eye, and he turned around to look over to the small shelf near the door, on his right. Walking over to it unsteadily, he squinted a little on his way, but when he reached it, he had to place his hand quickly upon the wall to steady himself.
After a few seconds, he reached forward, and picked up the small item - a single, knitted boot, the size of his palm.
"Yes. Me, the crew, and..." Odd's breath caught in his throat as he remembered what Elsa had said when he was last conscious.
Dropping the small baby boot, he gripped the side of the shelf, before he felt himself slide down the wall, to end up sitting on the wooden floor of the cabin.
A baby? Could it be?
He reached over, and picked up the little boot again, touching it warily as if it would dissolve at his touch, and he took a breath in, not quite believing what he had just remembered.
The loud blast of a canon sounded in the distance, and then a slight pause, before a small glow could be seen in the distance, and then, a massive fire engulfed the final ships left floating on the dark blue sea. The resounding cheer that followed was deafening, and canon fire announced the final victory of Corona, and the defeat of the Southern Isles.
Watching from her bedroom window, Rapunzel let out a squeal of delight as she heard the canon blasts from the distance, and as she saw Eugene entering from the private en suite, she almost pushed him to the floor as she bowled into him excitedly. It felt like years since the attack had begun, and yet it had not even been a few months. None the less, many people had been hurt, and despite Rapunzel's constant efforts to heal the wounded, many had still died trying to protect their families, or simply because they were in the way. Thankfully, she was hopeful that no more blood would be spilt now that the fighting was over.
"Hey, there, Blondie!" Eugene greeted, as he spun her around, making her laugh. "Did I just hear a celebratory canon fire?"
"Yep!" Rapunzel exclaimed happily, feeling incredibly elated. "It's over at last!"
Eugene grinned happily, and looked out of the window. "Well, then." He said, "I think we have a victory to formally announce!"
Rapunzel squealed again like a happy child, her emotions heightened tenfold because of her new pregnancy, and rushed out to the balcony. With the Southern Isles' men trapped in Corona, there was no way they could keep on fighting now, and they had to surrender, something met with great joy by the latter kingdom being attacked. No doubt the enemy soldiers would be hiding away somewhere by now, maybe trying to swim away from the kingdom before they could be attacked by angry villagers wanting revenge.
Rapunzel smiled as she reached the edge of the balcony and looked out over her kingdom. Things were beginning to look up.
Slowly standing up, using the wall for support, Odd placed the boot back on the shelf and closed his eyes, still trying to take in this new information. It wasn't that he didn't want a child, but rather that it was such a shock. Adding to that, he'd had such a disturbed childhood himself... what if he ended up like his own father!
Odd groaned slightly, and, feeling his legs wobbling again, he slowly began to make his way back over to the bed, knowing that he needed to sit down before he collapsed. He'd originally planned to go and find Elsa, to find out what was going on, but after finding the boot, and remembering his memory... He didn't quite feel up to it anymore. His legs were weak and his head was swimming with doubts, and he needed some time to think things through.
Sitting down, he rested his head against the pillow and slid slowly under the covers, thinking to himself, when the door opened slowly, and he peeked up. Lo and behold, there stood Elsa, in all her beauty... and with a nice, rounded stomach to seal the deal.
Elsa smiled at him, but when she noticed where he was looking, she glanced down, and then looked around nervously.
And Odd, upon seeing his wife, overcome with joy that she was safe, gave her the biggest grin he could. As she slowly sidled over, he sat up straighter, moving quickly enough to make his head swim, and as she sat down next to him, he leaned forward to pull her into a warm embrace. Sighing, Elsa rested her head contentedly upon his shoulder as she closed her eyes, so very happy to have him back, and unconsciously, Odd's hand traveled down her side to come to a rest upon her bump.
A small kick met his hand, and he smiled to himself as well, as he pulled his wife even closer to him, softly stroking her hair with his spare hand. Maybe he could deal with this after all.
Mia peeked out tearfully from under her bush, and in the distance, she could just about make out the shape of a boat. She wasn't sure if her eyes were playing tricks on her - maybe the tears made her sight worse - but whether it was there or not, she felt her spirits rise.
Somehow, she knew deep down that she'd be okay.