Mia gasped quietly as she was shocked awake from her sleep by two very familiar pairs of piercing blue and green eyes, this time just a reflection of them on the silver blade of a sword. As she curled into a smaller ball under her little bush, she could swear she still heard the slash the weapon made as it cut sharply through the still air, and in between the prickled spikes of the bush, she could still see those horrifyingly cold eyes staring back at her.
She shivered, but not from the frigid chill of the night air, as it never bothered her. She felt the spikes brush against her already torn-up young skin, and she winced again as she pressed her body closer to the ground, so that she could just see under the bottom of the bush. She felt tears leak from her eyes - barely a few months ago, her life was great, without a care, and now she was running from a bunch of psychotic royals.
It was still dark outside, so Mia figured that she couldn't have been asleep for long, meaning that she had to stay here longer, something which she did not relish in the slightest - had she not been through enough pain already?
She sighed, and there was a longing in the sound, a desperate plea for freedom. She'd had enough now, she just wanted to go home, to go somewhere she would be appreciated and, more significantly, loved. Hans and Ayla may have acted like they cared for her, but she wasn't so sure anymore.
She just didn't understand.
Peering out from under the bush, Mia could just make out the shape of a large dog coming towards her, black against the dark night sky, and she had to squint to make the hound out. She felt her heart begin to beat faster as it came closer, until she could make out that it had it's nose to the ground, sniffing...
She scrambled backwards, breathing heavily. At home, Seier had always been able to sniff her out for her parents when she was hiding, and she had no doubt that this hound was doing the exact same thing, although she didn't understand how it could smell her - she couldn't identify other people by smelling them, and yet other animals seemed able to.
That could mean only one thing... This dog was tracking her, and that meant he must have been sent to do so.
She'd been caught.
She gasped as the dog's muzzle appeared under the bottom of the bush, and she tried, without success, to wriggle away as the hound took her dress in its teeth and dragged her out. She cried as she felt her whole body get torn to pieces by the spikes as she was roughly pulled from her hiding place, and when she looked up, she felt her breath catch in her throat.
Her legs flailed as she managed to land a kick on the hound's nose, and the dog yelped loudly, dropping Mia as he jumped back, before beginning to growl darkly, angered now. The Princess backed up, and she had to force herself to look at the man before her.
Hans, standing there in front of her, his arms folded and his expression furious, with piercing green eyes, filled with a cold hatred that Mia had only ever noticed in her dreams. She couldn't believe she'd never realised it before, but now she did, she finally understood her nightmares were not just bad dreams, but a warning.
Screaming loudly, she scrambled backwards, and the hound snarled as he pounced on her, encouraged into action by her sudden movements, and she let out an agonized yell of pain as the dog's teeth latched onto the bottom of her dress, it's teeth scraping down her ankle, pulling off a whole chunk of skin with it, leaving it hanging off of her foot. Blood quickly began to rise to the surface, and it soon began to flow down her foot in a warm, sticky flow, and she felt the tears running down her cheeks like a waterfall.
"Get off!" She yelled between tears, and reached forward to slap the dog away, the pain in her ankle horrible.
Placing her hand on the dog's nose as she tried to push the hound off, she felt her fingers cool over, and from her palm a small snowflake materialized, melting on the wet nose. The mutt paused for a second, and let go of Mia's ankle, making her cry out in both pain and relief.
Hans snarled as his dog stopped trying to get Mia, and simply sat there, looking around panting, blinking comically, and looking rather stupid. The hound yelped as he was roughly shoved away, and Hans began to walk towards Mia, scowling.
"I thought you were more sensible than to run away, Mia." He snapped, his voice cold and sharp, cutting like a sword. "Now look what's happened."
He gestured to Mia's bleeding ankle, and she whined in pain and fear again as she scrambled backwards. She desperately tried to bring forth another snowflake, but she couldn't seem to get her magic to obey her commands.
Hans' expression softened now, and he smiled at her in a sickly sweet way. "Come on, Sweetie. Let's get back to the castle, and we can get the doctor to help you. I'm sorry for shouting, I was just worried."
For a second, Hans' soft tone reassured Mia, and she was just about to crawl towards him, when she saw a flash of green in her mind again, and her own eyes widened in fear.
"No!" She yelled, and a beam of ice shot from her palm unintentionally, hitting one of Hans' fingers, but not causing much damage. He groaned in discomfort as the finger froze up, but the attack only served to fuel his anger.
"I've had enough!" He yelled, and reached for her, grabbing her wrist and pulling her up to a standing position. "You are coming with me back to the castle!"
Mia cried out as Hans began to drag her back to the castle, the weight of her body upon her injured ankle causing her great agony. The Prince simply tightened his grip on her wrist at her moans and complaints, pulling her more forcefully and harshly whispering to her to be quiet.
Mia squeezed her eyes shut as she struggle onwards, and tried to flex her fingers, hoping to create one of her special, mind controlling snowflakes, but without any success. She felt her pain double ten-fold as she was forced to follow behind the Prince, and the tears streaming down her face marked out a valley of sorrows and pain down the side of her cheeks.
Not long after, she felt her injured ankle give way, but Hans still did not falter, simply deciding to drag the poor child across the cold, stony floor, and her already battered skin was torn up even more. For Mia, the end of the day had often been a quiet, calming time, but now, the peace the evening had always brought was nowhere to be found.
I need you, Mama, She whispered in her mind, as the pain made her head swim, Save me, Papa...
A loud bang resounded in the distance, and Mia felt the grip on her wrist slacken off and disappear as she collapsed onto the floor in a dead faint, unconscious, the pain simple too much for her small body, which has seen so much horror, to cope with.
Elsa watched as the cannons began to fire relentlessly on the kingdom of the Southern Isles, and as her fleet drew near enough to shoot specific targets, she could hear the faint sound of terrified screams. It horrified her that she had to do this, but she knew there was nothing else that could be done - not only had they attacked Corona, no doubt killing many of Rapunzel's people in the process, but they had also kidnapped a royal Prince and Princess.
Something had to be done.
She looked out of the window, staring blankly ahead as she listened to the lapping of the waves, and Odd's steady breathing in his sleeping state.
"Your Majesty!" The Captain called from the doorway to her cabin. "The rowboat is ready to go."
For a moment, Elsa was confused, before she realised the meaning of his words- they were ready for her to go to the mainland, to find her niece. It hadn't been necessary for her to go, but she would have felt terrible if she didn't, feeling responsible for the recovery of the child. Besides, she didn't really trust anyone else with her sister's daughter, did not want to cause her any more pain after all she'd been through.
"Of course. I'm coming." She said, nodding her head as the Captain left to await her arrival outside. Softly taking Odd's hand in hers, she placed a soft kiss on the top of it before she felt him move, to rest his palm softly upon her cheek, tiredly.
"Wait," Odd said slowly, "I'll come with you..."
Elsa shook her head, as she pushed his hand away and smiled at him sadly. "We both know you haven't the strength for it, Odd." She said, her voice gentle. "I'll go get Mia, and then I'll be right back. I need you to stay here and help, if you can. You have a great talent with medicine, Odd - please, if you insist on helping, then stay here, and help treat anyone injured."
Odd bowed his head in resignation. "I lost you once... don't let it happen again? Please?"
Elsa softly kissed her fingers, and then touched them to his forehead.
"I promise." She whispered, and Odd moved his hand to rest on her stomach for just a second, and he smiled as he drifted back off to sleep. Elsa smiled, knowing that despite his state of fatigue he'd always do his best to help anyone who was sick. The doctor was talented, no doubt, but Odd understood pain and injuries from the lifestyle he had led before he met Elsa, and even without schooling, he had a way with helping wounds to heal.
He'd certainly made good progress on healing her broken heart.
She smiled as she thought of his reaction to her pregnancy, and as she left the room, she felt so much more confident about the task at hand.
She would rescue her niece, and she would bring her family back together.
Keep your head up, little Mia. Nothing lasts forever.