Elsa was woken up by the ringing of wedding bells. They were just the right pitch to get on Elsa's nerves, she wondered if Julius had made it like that. But she remembered that before her coronation ceremony, they had rung the same bells. The worst part was that they would ring the bells right up until the beginning of the ceremony.
Elsa dragged herself out of bed and shuffled over to her newly made dress. She took the time to put it on and smooth it out to make sure it looked just like it should. She was checking herself out in the mirror when a knock on the door sounded (would people just leave me alone?!). Gerda's voice could be heard through the door. "Queen Elsa, are you awake?"
"I'm awake, you can come in Gerda." Elsa called back.
Gerda came into the room and looked Elsa's dress up and down. "Wow, Elsa... you're beautiful."
Elsa blushed, not being one for compliments. "Thank you. I hope Anna likes her dress. Julius said Delores was making her dress."
"Oh yes, Delores made a fine dress for your sister. And a suit for Mr. Kristoff so he wouldn't have to get married in his furs. But she'll be wearing a spare dress for your wedding, since she's your maid of honor."
"Of course." Elsa said.
She smoothed out her dress once again. Where is James? Why hasn't anything happened? Shouldn't I have been able to tell something has changed? When's he going to make his move? She thought to herself furiously. She was getting angry again, James should really do something before the wedding concludes, weddings were sacred to every kingdom around the world and if it was allowed to finish it would be final.
Elsa was pulled away from her thoughts by Gerda. "Your Majesty, is everything alright?"
"No," Elsa sighed. "I don't want to do this. I know James will do something, and if I don't play along it might get messed up. But I'm getting tired of waiting."
"I know you don't want to do this." Gerda said. "But if you trust James you've got to go ahead with this. I know I do."
"I do." Elsa replied. Then frowned in thought. "Gerda, have you noticed Julius is acting weird?"
"He seems, different." Elsa explained. "He changed the wedding plans and isn't quite so... evil."
"He hasn't really talked to me much." She said. "Mostly just left me to myself."
Interesting. Elsa thought to herself. "If you would allow me, I'd like to fix your hair up." Gerda said.
Elsa nodded with a smile and sat at her desk chair, turning so she could continue facing her mirror. Gerda calmly brushed Elsa's hair out while Elsa calmly put on her usual makeup. She braided her hair and put it up in the back, much like she had it during her coronation. That's fitting, back to being stuck again. Elsa thought to herself.
As grumpy as she felt, she did have to admit that she looked really good. The dress accented her skin tone and made her blue eyes shine. She looked perfect. She just thought it was a shame that this would all be wasted on that scumbag Julius. She stood up and gave one last twirl, admiring the way the dress swished and swirled around her.
"I think you're ready." Gerda said, stepping back and looking over the woman she had raised since her parents had died five years ago. "You look perfect."
"Thanks Gerda." Elsa said. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a second. When she opened them again she had placed her tranquil queenly mask on. "Let's get this over with."
The two women walked out of the room. The guards around her door escorted her through and out of the castle. They entered the carriage and rode towards the castle. On the way, Elsa closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She was getting nervous, if there was ever a time for James to rescue her, in the carriage would be best. But he never came. The worst interruption of the carriage ride was a slight bump in the road.
They arrived at the church unmolested. Gerda looked at Elsa sadly while Elsa took a deep breath and readied herself to face the public. She created a simple veil of ice on her as she waited. One of the driving guards opened the door for her and stepped to the side to let her out. Gerda went out first, and Elsa glided after her into a roaring applause.
A red carpet ran from the carriage to the church's front doors. Ropes had been set up on either side of the rug, the ropes held back huge crowds of Arendelle's people who had gathered on either side. They were anxiously craning their necks to get a good look at their beloved queen. People cheered and called out to her, complimenting her and a few desperate men asking her to marry them even though there was no chance of that happening whatsoever.
Elsa calmly walked down the carpet, past the thunderous roar of the crowds, and into the church. The entry hall of the church wasn't much. It was small but with a high ceiling. There were wooden benches pushed against the far wall. Multiple pictures of great kings and queens, reaching back all the way to when Arendelle was just a newborn kingdom. The large double oak doors that led into the chapel were closed, which allowed time for Elsa to recollect herself. She still had trouble with huge crowds like that.
Elsa stopped and breathed for a moment. James, it's now or never, please help me. Gerda handed Elsa a bouquet of flowers, a mix of blue and white. "Are you ready Elsa?" Gerda asked.
"I don't know." She answered truthfully. "Where is he?"
"Elsa, you've trusted him so far. You can either go in there and trust he knows what he's doing, or you can try to run in which case Julius' guards will stop you or worse, hurt Anna."
"You're right. Of course you're right." Elsa said. "I just can't stand the idea of being close to that jerk."
"Have faith," Gerda reassured. Then she gestured to Elsa's faithful old butler Kai to come over.
"Kai," Gerda said to him. "Are you ready to lead her down the aisle?"
"Of course," he replied. "I've been waiting for this since you came of age."
Kai then offered her his arm. She placed her hand lightly on his arm and they made their way into the church. As soon as the doors swung open, the organs and pianos started playing the typical wedding song and the choir up above the center stage started singing. And everyone in the church stood up and bowed.
The rows of pews were crowded with people who lived and worked in Arendelle, not the high ranking allies of Julius. On the walls hung banners that bore the symbol of Arendelle, the crocus, some bore a blue snowflake on a purple background, and some were just solid green or purple, very Arendellian. However, under each one of the many banners stood a guard in full armor equipped with either a sword or a spear.
On the stage at the far end of the church stood Julius, Anna, and Kristoff. Kristoff was in a black suit with a red belt and red highlights, his blonde hair looked wetted down and in control as opposed to his usual messy hair style. Anna looked exactly like she did two years ago during Elsa's coronation, Delores must have run out of time to sew her a new dress to be Elsa's Maid of Honor.
In the center of the stage was Julius and the priest who would perform the wedding ceremony. He was the same bishop who had crowned Elsa and unwillingly crowned Julius, and he looked like he was living his own personal hell. Julius however, was smiling like he was a child in a candy store. He was wearing a plain black suit with a blue sash around his waist. His brown hair, with a handful of grey thrown in, was neatly made. He had even shaved off his beard. His face was angular and harsh, but something about the smile made it seem less so.
Elsa swept her eyes over the crowds, trying to find someone or something that would show Elsa what James was planning. She couldn't find anything. Not a single thing or person out of place that would give away James' plan. Kai let her arm go as she took her spot on the stage in front of Julius.
The bishop nodded and the music and singing stopped, the crowds sat back down in their seats. Once the church was dead silent, he began the ceremony. Elsa had never truly seen an Arendelle wedding. She had heard that they were quite touching. It was unfortunate that she couldn't pay much attention to it. In her head, she was screaming and shouting, desperately begging James in her head to do something to stop this.
Elsa was shaking slightly, not enough to notice by anyone, but she was shaking none the less. As the ceremony went on she could feel herself tensing up, her fight-or-flight reflexes screaming at her to run away, or freeze the bastard in front of her into a man sized popsicle.
In her building panic, her eyes darted back to the crowds, searching for something, anything to comfort her. And she found something. Sitting in the pews, slouched over to hide his height, newly brown hair still expertly messed up, was James. He was looking forward, towards Elsa and the stage, but there was something wrong about him.
His normally bright and intelligent eyes was dull and glazed over, not focusing on anything, as if his mind wasn't in the right place. His face was too relaxed, his usually very expressive face gave no sign of emotion or feeling. And he wasn't moving his body near enough to normally. Everyone else in the church couldn't help but fidget, disconcerted by the idea of their queen being forced to marry someone she obviously hated. But James barely moved at all, the only movement that could be seen was a very slow rise and fall of his chest that told her that he was still alive.
Elsa was shocked. James was literally sitting less than fifty yards away. And yet he wasn't doing anything to help her. He barely even seemed to recognize what was in front of him, or where he was. She stood stone still, holding her breath, anxiously awaiting something grand to happen.
She was interrupted by a light touch on her shoulder by the bishop. "Your Highness?" He said.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Do you take Julius Xavier to be your lawfully wedded husband?" He asked, the last part of the wedding ceremony.
She looked at Anna who stood next to her, she had a sad look on her face as she watched her older sister's future be destroyed. The she looked at Julius, who had her face fixed with the same gleeful smile on his face. Then she looked out over the crowd toward James. He still refused to move. He gave no sign what to do. It was as if he was totally indifferent to what was about to happen to her. Her heart shattered in her heart as she saw her newest love sit there and do nothing as she was forced to marry a monster.
She looked down at the floor, thankfully her veil hid the small tear that ran down her face. "I do." She finally said, heartbreak clear in her heart.
"Then I now pronounce you husband and wife." The bishop declared, "You may now kiss the bride." And he stepped back.
Julius lifted the veil from her head, revealing her face. She fixed him with the worst glare she had ever mustered, throwing as much hate and anger into it as she could. But none the less he leaned forward and placed a kiss on her uncooperative lips. She wouldn't participate in this, she didn't even close her eyes.
The crowd obligatorily stood and clapped for the new couple. James stood in the back, head slightly down to keep unseen, but he didn't clap. Julius led Elsa back down the aisle, and out of the church.
The crowd outside the church was a mixture of cheering citizens and people screaming their dislike at Julius. Julius, however, didn't seem effected. He just kept walking with a smug smile on his face, not looking at any of his new subjects.
A guard opened the carriage door, which had waited there the entire time, and she stepped up into it. Then Julius followed after her. She sat on the opposite side of him. Staring angrily out of the window, refusing to either look or talk to him. But he didn't seem to mind. He leaned back in his seat, a sly smile on his face as he looked out a window.
As they were heading back to the castle ballroom for the reception, Elsa could hear him say under his breath, "Phase two, finished. On to phase three."