After taking a hot bath, or at least it was hot until she got in and unknowingly cooled it down to near freezing, she remade her ice dress, grabbed a bite to each, and went to get a horse ready to take her to the outskirts of Arendelle.
But at the back of the cabin where Eowan told her a horse would be waiting, she found James taking care of a caramel colored horse lying outside of the stables. He had changed from his pajamas, which he didn’t have time to take off because of Anna’s training, into a semi-loose fitting pair of pants, and a dark blue shirt.
“Where’d you get the horse?” Elsa asked. James jumped slightly at the sound of her voice, making Elsa smirk slightly.
“He was one of the Riders’ horses, Eowan killed its rider, so I took it in.” James explained as he turned around. “Looking forward to your date?”
“D-date? What are you talking about?” Elsa asked, confused. Apparently her confusion was shown on her face, because James chuckled slightly.
“Yes, your date with the Emperor. Are you looking forward to it?” James asked again with a sly smile.
“First off, it’s not a date. Because I would never agree to go on a date willingly with him. And second even if it was a date, I would be dreading it until I got there, despise it during, and regret it afterwards.” Elsa said firmly, raising an eyebrow to challenge James to say otherwise.
“Whatever you say Elsa, I was just saying since you’re meeting him alone, at night, no guards and no friends.” James said, chipping away slowly at Elsa’s confidence.
James stood up and went into the stable, and came back with a brown horse with a few black spots on its sides. “Your horse, your majesty.” James presented with a sarcastic bow. “But if I may make a suggestion about your steed.” James then placed a hand in the horse’s side and from his hand, a wave rippled across the horse, wherever it went the fur turned pure white.
Elsa laughed slightly once the horse finished changing colors and a saddle appeared on it decorated with small snowflake designs. “I like it, where did you learn that trick?”
“Well, the trolls only taught me how to tap into the natural magic in all living things. From there I made up a few tricks and developed some skills.” James said. Then he helped Elsa up onto the horse without messing up her dress. “Good luck Elsa, I hope you’re right.”
Elsa gave James a warm smile, and he returned it. They held there for a second or two longer than they should have, and they realized that so they broke away blushing. After regaining their composure they managed to look back at each other.
“Alright, I’m off. Hey, when I get back can we talk?” Elsa asked.
James’ smile wavered slightly, it was kind of an ominous question even though she didn’t mean to make it so. “Sure. Whatever you want snowflake.”
And with a final smile Elsa rode off towards Arendelle. On the ride she transformed her ice dress, which had been called inappropriate before, into something more conservative; longer sleeves that covered up her shoulders, sealed up the slit, and made it a bit looser to it wasn’t as skin tight. Just in case James was right.
Then she started thinking about what she was going to talk to James about. She felt that things got awkward a bit too often between them, which is why she had asked to talk to him, but she wasn’t quite sure what she was going to say. Anna was right, the Emperor was technically her first serious relationship, ignoring the required week long “trial period” for every suitor that the council shoved in her face, so she had never done something like this before.
Unfortunately, Elsa couldn’t figure out anything to say or even figure out where she wanted the conversation to go. And before she could even start to think of a plan of action she arrived at the place the Emperor had told her to go to. And as soon as she saw the set up the bottom of her stomach dropped, hard.
The place was actually a large circular clearing in the forest. There was a medium sized, round table with a nice white table cloth spread across it. The table was set for two, there was a vase with a single rose in it, and there were two candles on the table. A few feet away from the table was a fire pit with a fire slowly crackling inside. And the Emperor standing behind one of the chairs pulled up at the table in a set of nice formal robes. His beard and medium length hair was well groomed, and he had an obviously fake smile on.
It’s official, Elsa thought, I hate it when James is right. And when the Emperor gestured to the chair across from him, she begrudgingly took it with a fake smile that she didn’t put much effort into.
“Glad you could join me tonight, Queen Elsa. Hopefully I can get you to come to your senses about that Primordial.” He said, with an air of false superiority. With a single sentence he had managed to drive Elsa mad in the worst way possible.
“Now that would take quite a bit. Because I know you’re wrong about him.” Elsa returned civilly. And when a waiter came out of the forest with a tray holding wine, she poured it for herself and sent it back before the Emperor could pour himself some, just to spite him.
“Then I’ll just have to try harder. But it doesn’t really matter; he’ll show his true nature eventually.” He said smugly as another server came and set out a nice dinner typical for a Norwegian date. The only difference was that Elsa neither wanted nor accepted that date.
Elsa didn’t answer him, and instead she started on her meal. She didn’t want to give him any satisfaction, but she actually was hungry. The Emperor started eating but his fork slipped out of his hand quite spectacularly and flew right in to the center of the fire.
Elsa laughed, she couldn’t help herself. Technically she could coat her hand in frost and go get it for him, but she took every chance for revenge, even if it’s just a small one. The emperor looked flustered but regained his composure quickly, like all royals do, and used his spoon and knife the cut up and eat his food instead of his fork. He then stabbed his knife down to pick up his meat, but apparently he got a little overzealous and the knife went straight through his food, shattered his plate and stabbed down into the table a good inch and a half.
Once again, Elsa burst out laughing not at all like a queen should. The Emperor tugged on the handle a few times, unsuccessfully trying to dislodge the knife out of the table. Elsa continued to laugh for another few minutes until she finally managed to grab hold of her sanity and calm herself down.
“Ah no matter, it’s not like I care if this food goes to waste I have years of food available at my disposure.” The Emperor said smugly, taking what was left of his food and plate and tossed it in the fire.
Elsa was confused at this; Arendelle thrived under her watch for the last two years but there had never been enough food for years to just be spared like that. Of course there wasn’t a famine or anything, everybody got a little more food than they needed whenever they wanted, and Elsa and Anna had been able to host feasts and balls frequently but they never wasted any food, any they didn’t eat they saved for later. “What? How? There’s nowhere near that much food in the castle, and no other country would trade with the Southern Isles and Weaseltown at war with us.”
The Emperor laughed, it was a dark, menacing laugh full of contempt. “That’s actually quite simple, Elsa. I simply took what was mine in the first place. I had the guards take all the food in Arendelle, it’s being gathered just outside of the village gates. It’ll be used as a stockpile in case there is unexpected violence, but it’ll mostly be used as a peace offering to the Southern Isles and Weaseltown.”
“But Arendelle will starve! How could you just take everyone’s food?!” Elsa exclaimed. What the Emperor had done horrified her, never in a million years would she have even thought someone would ever do that to anyone, let alone to his own people.
The Emperor just sat there smiling. The silence stretched on, Elsa stared at him hoping for a response, but he just sat there looking sinister. The thick brush and leaves to Elsa’s right rustled harder and longer than usual. Both people sitting at the table turned and watched the disturbance. Elsa was confused while the Emperor’s smile just got bigger.
“Alright shades, enough waiting around. Grab our unwanted guest.” The Emperor commanded to no one.
Just as he said the command, it seemed like darkness all around Elsa rushed towards the disturbance in the trees and gathered in a tight circle. There was a scream that belonged to a girl, and the darkness came back in a large sphere. When the sphere came within 20 feet of the pair, it stopped and split in two.
The two halves convulsed and took the form of very large, very deformed humanoid shapes. Their hands looked more like claws than actual hands, their faces weren’t very detailed but were elongated like a canine. They looked identical, literally nothing but their location was different. In between them, they were holding a confused and frightened Anna. Elsa’s stomach dropped harder and fear started eating at her heart and mind, causing the temperature to drop and frost to spread across the table.
“The queen too.” The Emperor added. And once again the darkness converged, but this time underneath Elsa. Then the puddle of darkness shot up behind her, and picked her up out of her seat. Another monster formed with two large arms wrapped around her and her arms, holding her off the ground and keeping her from moving and somehow keeping her from using her magic.
The Emperor stood up and walked over to Anna. “Tell me, where is the Primordial?”
“You’re too late, he’s already gone.” Anna spat at him, regaining her fiery personality after getting over her confusion.
“He wouldn’t, by any chance, have gone towards Arendelle to liberate the food I’ve taken?” The Emperor asked smugly. Anna looked shocked but didn’t say anything. “I assume from your silence that I guessed correctly. And if that is the case, then your ‘friend’ has fallen right into my trap. When he reaches the stockpile, he’ll be facing an army.
“But you two don’t have to worry about that, not anymore. Since you, Anna, can’t take on anyone using magic, you’ll be taken to the ship as a prisoner. But you Elsa, you have power, and the Primordial would never hurt you. So that means you’re my second attack.”
The Emperor then turned back to Elsa and walked towards her with a sinister smile. The shades holding Anna started walking away, when she tried to scream one of them covered her mouth with its clawed hand. The Emperor nodded to the shade that held Elsa. The shade took its right hand off, still holding her with the left, and placed a claw on her heart. Pain shot through her chest, and darkness started creeping in from the sides of her vision. And before long, the darkness took over and she passed into unconsciousness.
I couldn’t believe the Emperor just took all of Arendelle’s food. But I could spin it another way. I could let a single shipment of food go to Weaseltown, and that way I could track it to the Crown Ship to find those children, they had waited long enough.
I did hope Anna was okay, but she was the one who insisted on me going to save the food while she kept an eye on Elsa. I hadn’t wasted much energy on messing with the Emperor while he ate, again, so I sprinted through the woods with all my energy. And with my long legs, it wasn’t long until I arrived at the edge of the woods looking down on a heavily fortified encampment on Arendelle’s wall right next to a river leading to the ocean.
A smaller ship was sitting in the water next to a dock being loaded up with crates and bags of food. There were of course, giant stacks of food crates being carried into a pile near the gates that led in to Arendelle which were currently closed. And even from where I was I could hear the people yelling and screaming from the other side of the gates.
Thankfully it was night time and the clouds were blocking out the moon, which means I could get close, maybe even in, to before anyone noticed I didn’t belong there. The problem was that my hair was amazingly white, which could be noticed from a mile away, normally I wore a hood to counteract that but I had left my hooded jacket and robes back at the cabin. That and the guards back at the castle had taken my awesome blue sword so I was weaponless.
I smiled ironically; winging it was always my specialty. I started walking towards the camp at a brisk pace. I didn’t put an invisibility spell up, mostly because I wanted the citizens of Arendelle to at least have the possibility of seeing me fighting for them, even if I didn’t succeed.
So far so good I thought as I got closer and closer to the camp without anyone noticing. I stopped once I got within 100 feet, I held my right palm up at my side and poured a little magic into a spell I created in my mind. A perfect blue sphere of magic formed an inch above my hand, and what looked like a blue hurricane spun in furiously inside. I smirked, those men had no idea what was about to hit them.
I chucked the ball towards the center of the camp. I heard a small crack, meaning the fragile outer shell I had made worked perfectly. I waited for a few seconds, and nothing happened. I frowned, something should be happening. I took another step, but before my foot touched down there was a huge explosion of blue fire where the orb landed, and the pressure wave knocked me down.
Ow. That…was…unexpected. I moaned in my head, picking myself up off the ground. Horns started sounding all over the camp and all over the walls, men started running around, trying to put out the now furiously burning fire and were running towards me weapons drawn. Go time then.
I finally got up as the first soldier came at me with a spear. He jabbed at my stomach but I spun around and grabbed it with my left hand. I was able to pry the spear out of his hands and swing it around, nailing the second soldier in the forehead, and coming back to do the same with the first soldier. Then I switched hands and chucked the spear at the third and forth, it managed to snag the loose cloth on both of their uniforms and pin them to the ground.
I started running towards the main camp, every so often a group of guards would come up to try to stop me but they would all go down relatively quickly. When I got into the camp, I hopped up onto some crates and proceeded to jump from box to box to avoid getting in anymore fights on my way to the gates to Arendelle.
Once I made it to the gates I found that there was only one guard watching the gates. From my high up position, I hopped down on top of him; he braced my impact as well as got knocked out. I looked his weapon belt and saw something that made me grin; attached to his belt was a scabbard made of ice holding a double edged blue sword.
I took the scabbard and placed it on my belt. I walked over to the gate and raised my right hand towards the gate. I released a stream of magic that materialized as a beam of highly focused blue fire. The fire collided with the wooden gate like a battering ram, shards of wood went flying and a cloud of smoke billowed out of a newly made hole in the solid oak.
Suddenly, a huge flow of citizens rushed through the now nearly demolished gate. They created a crowd in the shape of a half moon in front of me, but they just stood there looking nervous. I was confused for a second before realizing that the last time a lot of people saw me, I forced an entire army to retreat then got forced out by an army myself. While it was a huge misunderstanding, from a different perspective it makes me out to look extraordinarily guilty.
I spread my arms and tried to speak louder than usual so everyone could hear me, “Citizens of Arendelle, come, take back what is yours. But you must let the ship at the dock leave. Hurt, but do not kill the remaining guards; they have been force to do this by the Emperor.”
It didn’t take a full second before the crowd erupted into cheers and rushed forwards. They gathered around the food crates and started knocking them over and using tools to crack them open, allowing food the pour from them. I watched over the crowd and smiled, the people where distributing food with smiles, an occasional guard would come up to the group but most of the times they surrendered and helped give out food.
I turned and watched as the ship very hurriedly sailed out to sea. I held out my right hand again, and a blue throwing knife was formed in my hand. I gave it a hard toss towards the ship; it sunk all the way down to the hilt into the ship’s stern. I searched out with my mind and could feel the presence of the dagger; now I could use it as a tracking device. Now that I could find the ship at anytime, I would be able to help those children. And with that taken care of, I only had one more stop to make.
Two hours later, I was standing in the hallway of the Arendelle Castle’s dungeon. There was a pile of unconscious guards behind me. I had knocked them out with a wave of magical knock-out gas, but before I had invisibly snuck into the castle by literally climbing the outer wall by hand. This infiltration had left my exhausted, especially after my attack on the food camp and then a jog all the way through the kingdom.
I stumbled through the hallway, using the hallway as a support following a path I remembered faintly. After another twenty minutes I finally found what I was looking for; a cell with a potential ally. Elsa’s attacker was still in the cell, although he looked thinner from only eating rations, lying on his bed probably asleep. I banged on the door of the cell, waking him up and causing him to jump up and fall off the bed.
“Good morning, I have some good news for you; I can help you get your kids back.” I put my right hand through the bars palm up, reaching deep into my last stores of magic and created a folded up piece of paper and a smaller version of the glass sphere I created earlier. “The sphere is an explosive, use it to escape and free your men to help us. The map will lead you to a ship that’s on its way to the Weaseltown Crown Ship. Wait for me and Elsa to arrive before you attack.”
“Thank you, thank you James. You are unbelievably kind. If you can help us rescue our children we will forever be in your debt.” The man said taking the sphere and map while kneeling down.
I was about to turn away but before I did I looked back and asked, “Hey, I never did catch your name.”
“Tyman, my name is Tyman.”
“I’ll see you in a few days, a ways away from the ship.” And with that I turned and left the dungeons.
I was walking through the town, back towards the forest and Eowan’s cabin. I saw children running through the streets laughing and snacking on pieces of chocolate. The adults where carrying boxes of food into their houses with big smiles on their faces. Every so often an adult or two would notice my walking down the street and would smile and offer the occasional thanks. I would just smile and nod at them.
Seeing all the happy people and smiling children made me realize that I had done something truly good. And the people saw what I had done, and they approved. Not only do the people not like the Emperor, but they now instead liked me. Maybe if I had them more, they would support me in putting Elsa back in power and tossing the Emperor out.
I smiled to myself as a neared the tree line of the forest. For the first time in a long time, I could actually relax for a bit. Everything is coming together.