After an unknown amount of hours walking through the uneven and harsh forest, Elsa’s feet were killing her even with the proper shoes on. The guys were still marching on with a steady rhythm, none of them faltering for a second. They obviously didn’t want to show that they were getting tired, although she couldn’t tell if James was getting tired. Apparently, he had run from where the Emperor had taken Anna all the way back to Arendelle, which was quite a long way, and he didn’t even look winded. However; Repunzel looked pretty exhausted, but none of the men noticed.
Elsa decided to stand up before one of them passed out. “Hey James, can we stop for a second?”
James looked over at her and Repunzel, guilt flashed across his face. “Oh, I’m sorry. We can stop here.”
The group stopped in a little clearing to rest. Kristoff and Eowan adjusted their weapons and sat down, leaning their backs against trees. Eugene and Repunzel also sat down, Eugene putting an arm around his wife. Elsa and James sat down across from the rest of them, James wrapped his arm around her and she snuggled up closer to his chest.
The group sat around in a loose circle, letting their legs take a break and enjoying each other’s company. While the silence stretched on, there was a sudden sound of feet stepping on leaves from every direction. Within two seconds, all the men were up and drawing their weapons. The guys formed a circle, Repunzel in the middle and Eugene stood back slightly, out of the group he was the least trained for combat. Elsa stood next to James, hands outstretched in a defensive gesture.
From behind trees, masked men emerged carrying daggers. One of them made the mistake of making a blind dash towards the group. James was the first one to react, since he had Elsa’s range and superior reflexes.
James shifted his right foot, which was in front, and a blue glow spread out over the ground from his foot. When the glow reached the masked man’s foot, the ground beneath the man suddenly gave out and he found himself in a hole that fit him perfectly, not leaving him room to crawl himself out. The other men slowly came to a stop a few arms lengths away, now wary of the group.
“Stop!” A voice sounded from behind Elsa. She turned and saw the man from the jail cell, the one whose kid was taken. “These people are here to help us!”
“Are you sure Tyman? I know at least two of them were the ones that attacked us in Arendelle.” One of the masked men asked.
“And my nose still hurts from that blonde hitting me in the nose with his sword!” Another yelled.
“He’s also the one that is showing us the way to our kids!” Tyman yelled back.
James stood back up from his fighting position and the man stuck in the ground popped back out. He took a step forward and lowered his sword. “I see my explosive worked. I’m glad it didn’t kill you.”
“Wait, was that a possibility?” Tyman said, his voice wavering slightly.
“Don’t worry about it.” James said with a smirk. “So have you guys found the ship.”
“Yeah,” Tyman said. “It’s just through those trees there.” Tyman pointed towards a cluster of trees to his left.
The two groups put away their weapons warily, and walked through the trees together. Past the trees was a drop at least two hundred feet down. At the base of the cliff was the ocean. And anchored just below them was a large ship flying the Weseltown flag. It had three masts and at least three levels with ten cannons, a new innovation for the time. Another smaller ship was sailing away, with less gold embellishments, Elsa assumed it was the one that James had tracked. Elsa had never seen a cannon, she had heard about their creation but didn’t see the need for such a weapon, she was regretting not having some made at the moment.
The two groups crouched low along the cliff edge, observing the sailors walking about the main deck. There didn’t seem to be an easy way on board without getting in to head on fight. A group of sailors disembarked on a row boat and started rowing a little way down the bottom edge of the cliff, towards a small beach a ways away from the ship.
“So what’s the plan?” Tyman asked James, who was crouched next to Elsa.
“You see that group of sailors?” James asked, pointing to the small rowboat. “I say we take them out and use their uniforms to sneak on board.”
“Don’t you think they’ll notice when strangers show up with their friend’s uniforms?” Eowan asked, with all the venom he could muster.
“For sure. Which is why someone will have to create a distraction once the uniforms are secure.” James said, with reserve Elsa thought Eowan didn’t deserve. She was losing faith in Kristoff’s relative.
“So what’s the distraction?” Eugene asked, spinning his frying pan in his hand.
“Leave that to me. Elsa, you’ll have to be one of the people who gets in the ship to freeze any iron chains.” James said, turning to Elsa with a questioning eyebrow raised.
“O-on the ship?” Elsa squeaked, embarrassingly.
“I promise nothing is going to happen on that ship.” James promised. She didn’t want to go, but she trusted James enough to go regardless, plus Anna was on that ship, Elsa had to save her. Elsa nodded in agreement.
Eugene, Repunzel, Kristoff, Eowan, Elsa, Tyman and his men all went off to ambush the sailors while James stayed back on the ledge. After following a path down the cliff to the beach, Elsa and her friends hid behind the tree line and waited for the soldiers to land.
When they landed on the beach, Elsa stealthily froze the water around them and kept them from leaving. When the sailors where distracted by the sudden drop in water temperature, the rest of the group charged out and quickly knocked the sailors out, making sure no blood got on the green uniforms.
The men quickly started changing into the uniforms on the beach while the two women changed into theirs behind some trees for privacy. It didn’t take long for everybody to get set up in their disguises, and be rowing back towards the Weseltown Crown Ship.
“Where is that distraction?” Eowan asked agrily as the group approached the hull of the ship.
As if right on cue, a loudly whistling sound screeched out and a blue ball of fire smashed into the deck of the ship. However, after it hit, nothing seemed to happen. From what Elsa had heard, James’s fire balls exploded, but there was no such explosion from the ship.
The group looked around in confusion before starting to climb up the side of the ship. Once on the top deck, Elsa saw what James’s distraction was, and it made her stomach drop. Standing in the center of a large ring of sailors and soldiers, stood James, holding his sword casually at his side.
“Listen up,” he boomed. “Release the children and the princess immediately or I’ll sink this ship and everyone on it to the bottom of the sea!”
Elsa knew James wouldn’t actually sink the ship that would be counter-productive. But he managed to say it with such confidence that for a second, Elsa actually feared that he might do it. The group quickly snuck around the ship and ducked in the ship before anyone could notice them.
As soon as they were in, and they closed a large wooden grate over them, the sounds of combat broke out above them. And a wounded soldier fell on top of the grate, writhing in pain. Before Elsa had the chance to become sick at the sight of the man’s pain, she was dragged further down into the ship by her friends.
Each level was abandoned and deserted. James had somehow managed to lure every soldier to the top deck. Elsa worried about that, no doubt James was a great fighter, but eventually he’d be overrun. She pushed those thoughts away as she navigated through numerous cannons and ammunition.
Eventually the group made its way down to the brig. There were three cells in a row on either side. Five of them held numerous kids all huddled together in the remains of what used to be street clothes or night clothes. Elsa quickly froze the locks and the men slammed their weapons on the lock, shattering them. The kids rushed their respective parents and embraced them with tears of joy and relief.
At the last cell on the left side was were Elsa and her friends found Anna. She was lying on her side, facing away from the cell door, curled up in a fetal position. Her hair was even messier and dirtier than when she woke up. Her usual green dress was torn in various places, revealing bruises, cuts, and burns. Her feet were bear and there were evident burn marks on her heals.
Before Elsa even had a chance to freeze the lock, Kristoff simply grabbed the cell bars and pried the bars apart in a feat of inhuman strength. Barely fazed by the amazing feat, both Elsa and Kristoff rushed through the newly made hole and over to Anna.
Elsa tried to heal the burns by cooling them off, but the ice seemed to irritate her skin more than the burns. Kristoff pulled her head into his lap and he knelt beside her.
Anna groaned and then said in a voice barely more than a whisper, “Kristoff, they – they tried to b-burn me. B-but it d-didn’t work. You – you and Elsa have to stay away.” She turned one of her palms face up and in her palm a small flame sputtered into existence. “I’ll burn you.”
Elsa didn’t know how to feel. She had barely managed to learn how to control her powers, she had no idea how she was ever going to help Anna control hers without someone getting seriously hurt. But she was also excited because now she and Anna had something in common; control over magic.
Elsa’s mental debate over whether or not to be happy or not was cut short by the sound of victory from above. Soldiers cheering, shouting, and stamping their feet alerted the group that James had finally fallen, their time was running out.
“We’re not leaving you Anna,” Elsa said, determined not to let her sister go through what she did.
“You have to, or else you’ll get burned.” Anna pleaded, fear showing in her eyes.
“Well tough luck, neither of us are going anywhere. And you can’t summon an ice golem to kick us out.” Kristoff said with a smirk. Before Anna could say anything in response, Kristoff picked her up bridal style and carried her out of the cell followed by Elsa.
“What do we do now?” Tyman asked Elsa. His son was clinging on to his leg and staring wide-eyed at Elsa.
“We have to help James. He’s probably already thought of an escape plan.” Elsa said, starting to make her way back to the wooden stairs to the upper levels.
“So you’re saying we’ll have to fight our way out then?” A random one of Tyman’s men asked.
“If we want out of this ship, yes.” Tyman said. “And if James needs help, we’re honor-bound to help him. He helped save our kids, now we have to start paying him back.”
It took a second but soon enough, all the men were nodding in agreement, drawing their swords and telling their kids to be safe. Kristoff told Elsa, “I’m going to stay down here, try to keep Anna from burning the ship down and try to get her some medicine.”
Elsa nodded. She made a few swirling gestures and her previous outfit reformed around her, replacing the horrible green uniform. With the addition of a dark purple chest plate and the knife was changed to an ice blade. In a mass of green and flashing iron, the group charged up the stairs and on to the main deck screaming and swinging.
Ten soldiers fell before they even realized that they were being attacked. And another ten before they figured out who was who and where they were attacking. The soldiers were separated in two and each group was surrounded quickly. On the raised portion of the deck where the wheel was, James took advantage of the confusion and shoved one of the guards overboard. Then decked another in the jaw, rolled to his right and picked up his blue sword.
Twelve minutes. Twelve minutes was how long the battle lasted. After recovering from their confusion, the soldiers started fighting back to back, and with their formal training they stood a chance against the strategically advantaged attackers. No one was uninjured, even Elsa received a slash across her right arm and a cut on her left thigh.
The battle was finally ended when James managed to dangle the Duke of Weseltown by his foot on the rigging of a mast. He had lost his sword again, and was instead holding a bow and arrow, aiming at the Duke, commanding everyone to stop fighting or else he’d ‘nail the Duke to the mast the old fashioned way’.
Reluctantly, the soldiers dropped their weapons and were tied up by Tyman’s men. Everyone started to relax as Kristoff walked up the wooden stairs, still carrying Anna in his arms. “Sooo is it over?” He asked.
James limped down to the rest of the group. He had a busted lip, a few cuts on either cheek. His clothes were torn in various spots, and he had a pretty deep cut on his right leg. “Yeah, I think it is.”
That’s when Elsa learned never to tempt fate. Just as James finished his sentence, cannon fire was heard followed by huge explosions on the cliff side. Children screamed underneath Elsa’s feet, and the adults tried to take cover from the falling stone. Elsa managed to make an ice shield to stop the falling rocks, and James created a rush of air to push the rocks away.
Looking out towards the ocean, at least twelve ships were rapidly sailing their way. Each armed with dozens of cannons above and below deck. “Kristoff! Can you pilot a ship?!” Elsa could hear James shout over the children’s screams. Kristoff nodded in agreement.
James took Anna in his arms and started making his way to the stair below deck. He stopped by Tyman and shouted, “If any of your men know how to sail a ship, get them moving NOW!” And he continued below deck.
Kristoff sprinted to the wheel and started to maneuver the ship around in to the wind. Tyman shouted at his men who then started to run around the deck, tying and untying knots and hoisting sails. The ship lurched into motion in the general direction of Arendelle, the ships behind the continuing to fire on them, tearing holes in the sails and knocking small holes in the deck. Thunder boomed from a massive, pitch black thunderstorm that was rapidly building and approaching them from behind.
Panic seized Elsa, she dropped to her knees and found it hard to breathe. Everything started going by in slow motion and an intense ringing started up in her ears. Her heart sped up and started beating erratically. She started getting tunnel vision until an incredibly warm hand grabbed her shoulder and spun her around to face James.
Worry showed in his eyes as her helped her to her feet and wrapped his arms around her comfortingly. He shimmied her over to a mast and moved her hands around it. He told her to hold on to it, the ship started rocking and listing horribly in the increasingly violent waves. He ran to the back of the ship and started deflecting cannon shots and keeping the wind moving forward as much as he could. The occasional bright blue flash and sound of distant explosions led Elsa to believe that James was firing back at the ships.
The thunderstorm finally reached them, buffeting them with wind, rain, and waves. Lightning cracked above them and thunder boomed. The dark clouds blocking out the sun, turning day into night, engulfing them in deep darkness.
James rushed back to Elsa and wrapped and arm around her, and she turned around and buried her face in his chest, trying to hold back tears of fear. James raised his sword just as a bolt of lightning came streaking down. The blade absorbed and defused the bolt, protecting her and James from electrocution.
James staggered, nearly falling over and taking Elsa down with him. She had to hold him up to keep him from face-planting on the deck. He tried to lean only a little weight on Elsa, but it turned out to be quite a lot, she could barely hold him up. The bolt seemed to have drained him of what magic he had and all of his physical strength.
The black clouds seemed to laugh, a human sounding laugh that was entirely too frightening. If it was possible, James paled even more, his pupils dilating and his breathe sped up in fear. And although Elsa had never been that as scared as she was in her life, she got even more scared as she realized the Primordial Lognath was personally attacking the ship.
“Elsa, I might be able to keep him away for a little bit, but I need more power.” James said, trying to stand. He was having difficulty due to exhaustion and the newly soaking surface of the deck.
“O-okay. How do I get you more power?” Elsa asked, pulling him up while trying to keep him balanced at the same time.
“My magic comes from emotions. So all I need is a spike in emotion that’s not negative, because he feeds on negativity. With enough positive emotion, I might be able to get him away from the ship.”
“What do you want me to do?!” Elsa had to shout now to be heard over the howling of the wind.
James spoke softly but Elsa heard his words as if the wind wasn’t roaring and the waves weren’t crashing. “Don’t get mad.”
Before Elsa could understand what he meant by that, her thoughts were interrupted in probably the most pleasant way they had even been interrupted. James managed to stand up and lift his sword straight up towards the heart of the storm. He faced Elsa and with his left hand, he cupped her cheek and pulled her towards him. Elsa didn’t remember when it started, she just realized that he was kissing her.
Her eyes fluttered shut as she held on to him. The warm feeling that came from his touch wasn’t present, instead a series of images flashed through her head. All of them were images of her, standing in a warm glow with a smile on her lips. Occasionally the image of her would laugh. Elsa thought the images she saw of her were more beautiful than she actually was, and then she realized what the images were. She didn’t know how she knew, she just did, she knew that this was how James pictured her; the perfect picture of beauty.
Through her eyelids, harsh blue light shone through. Elsa could hear agonized screams from above her. The screams grew more and more distant as the blue light got brighter and brighter. When the screaming gradually came to a stop, the blue light dimmed and eventually blinked out, and James lowered his sword back down to his side.
Finally, Elsa and James broke apart for breath. Elsa leaned in and wrapped her arms around James, letting her head rest on his chest. He wrapped his free arm around her shoulder, keeping her close to him.
The ocean calmed down, and the ships that were pursuing them had somehow disappeared, thanks to James’ magic they had been sent off-course. James slowly spun them around, and leaned his back on the mast, slowly sliding down until the couple was sitting, still holding on to each other.
Tyman disappeared below decks, then returned holding Anna in his arms. He brought her over to Elsa, and laid her down in front of her. Elsa detangled herself from James for a couple of seconds to check on her sister, who had fallen asleep during the fight with Lognath. Once she made sure Anna was safe, Elsa went back to James and cuddled back up with him against the mast.
“Is there something different about her?” James asked, furrowing his brows in thought.
“Yeah. Whatever they did to her brought something out. She’s got powers over fire apparently.” Elsa said “Quite the twist when you think about it.”
“Not really. It wouldn’t really be fair if only you got magic. Magic is cool like that, sometimes it really does act kindly to families.” James said. “I’d imagine when Gran Pabbie repressed the magic in her memories; it repressed her magic as well. And only a trauma like getting captured would be able to shock it out of her.”
“Well when you put it like that…” Elsa said with a smirk.
“Still, the difference between your powers is interesting. I wonder how they’ll react to each other.” With that, Anna stirred and tried to sit up. She managed to sit up after a few tiring tries. She looked at Elsa and James with a smirk of her own.
“Ha,” she laughed weakly. “Looks like I was right about love again. That’s two Anna, zero Elsa.”
“What about Hans? I’m pretty sure that’s at least three for me.” Elsa said, to Anna’s great embarrassment.
“Why don’t you just go back to kissing?” Anna asked, huffing slightly, with her arms crossed. Elsa laughed and nuzzled closer to James.
After a few hours of sailing, one of Tyman’s men, who had been watching Kristoff, took the helm to let him be with Anna. He walked over to his soon to be bride and sat down, placing her head on his lap.
“So what’s our next move?” Kristoff asked James, breaking the blissful silence.
“We have to help Arendelle. Push the Emperor’s soldiers out.”
“And how will we do that?” Kristoff asked.
“We’ve got the queen and princess; the people will choose them over him.” James said, lightly rubbing Elsa’s arm with his hand. “And besides, not all of the guards will be willing to fight for him.”
Tyman walked up to James and Elsa, “Thank you, your highness and James. Without your help we would never had been able to save our children. We owe you our lives, if you call upon us we will answer, and we will never raid a caravan going to or from Arendelle, you have my word.”
Elsa smiled and nodded her head, James said, “You’re welcome Tyman. We’ll keep you in mind. Enjoy your kids, they’re safe for now.”
In response, Tyman bowed low to both Elsa and James before walking away to see his children. All across the deck, children and parents were being reunited with smiles on their faces. James rested his head on the top of Elsa’s.
For the rest of the trip back to Arendelle via ship, the couples, Eugene and Repunzel included, relaxed and simply enjoyed each other’s presence. For the time, no one worried about the enemies they would eventually have to face nor about Anna’s new powers of fire. They simply enjoyed the peace.