So, here’s part 2. I probably still have two parts left to write to finish the story, but hey, it’s something I’ll feel proud of.
Elsa couldn’t hide in the dungeons. Not with her sister on the lookout for her.
“Leave! Get out of here!” Elsa yelled at the guards and workers below. Already she could hear the shouts and calls from above as Anya called out for her. The shouts of staff joined in with hers, causing more fear and panic, and by connection, more ice and snow where there ought not to be ice and snow.
“She’s down here.” A guard shouted from the doorway. “Princess, what’s going on?”
“Nothing!” It came out louder than she had intended and bombarded ten feet around her with ice and snow.
“We’re under attack.” The other guards shouted to the group above.
Elsa paused down the long hallway. “Who’s attacking?”
The guards stared at her in shock.
Elsa’s shoulders fell. “Oh.” She rounded from the crowd and sprinted to the end of the hallway, where light beamed in from a small window. With a shoving motion, stairs of ice formed up to the window and into the wall of stones, bursting the foundation of the window out from under it.
Anya followed her sister. It wasn’t especially hard. The trail ranged from icy footprints to whole rooms engulfed in ice. Whoever attacked Elsa must have been powerful, and must still be pursuing her.
“Where did he go?” Anya burst into the dungeon.
“Who?” The guards turned back to the younger princess.
“The person who’s chasing my sister.” Anya pointed to the ice that crawled up the wall. “The enchanter who’s causing this.”
“Elsa did this.” The captain of the guards said slowly.
“Are you blind? My sister has never done anything like this.”
The captain of the guard smacked his forehead. “You’re right, Your Highness. Princess Elsa has no magic.” He spat the lines like he had read them from a book. “Pursue the villain, men.” He turned and pointed past Anya. “We’ll find whoever’s behind this.”
‘Whoever’s behind this’ was making her way through the square in front of the castle. Fear pulsed through her with each heartbeat, leaving a carpet of ice behind her. Elsa snatched a headscarf from a vendor and covered her face before disappearing back into the crowd.
Then came the sounds of the guards. The sound of them came closer, but this was familiar. This was a drill that her father and run at least a dozen times a dozen days in a dozen ways. Elsa knew how to handle this. Letting out a slow, deep breath, Elsa leaned against a wall until she could feel individual heartbeats against her chest. There were four- no, five pairs of boots coming through the crowd. She arranged the scarf on her head to hide the blonde braid that cascaded down her back. They weren’t even proceeding in her direction.
Elsa had to leave Arrendale, and slipping out during a search like this would be nothing. She had conquered this fear when she was only a child.
“Elsa?” Anya voice broke Elsa’s concentration. She called again, but no one stirred except out of the way of the soldiers.
The thought of Anya finding her now sent panic through Elsa. She didn’t even know her magic was at work until the people around her started screaming and backing away. That in turn sent the soldiers her direction. Her mind honed in on the problem she knew she could solve. With a stomp, she sent ice across the cobblestones and just up the ankles of the soldiers. With them in place the citizens wouldn’t bother with her out of fear, and Elsa could pass through.
“Elsa, come back!” Anya shouted.
“I have to leave.” Elsa yelled without looking back. She pushed herself to a run toward the city gates.
“But I still need you. Elsa, please!” Anya broke into a run after her sister.
“Let it go!” Elsa screamed. “Just let it go, Anya.” She covered the bridge in front of her in ice, slick as oil, and leaped over the length of the bridge into a roll that sent her under a passing carriage. Another slick of ice slid her through to the other side of the carriage and out of the closing doors of Arrendale.
Elsa had never been outside the gates by herself, but she knew how to handle the unknown. The tightness in her chest diminished with each step she took. This unknown in front of her, the forest with the encroaching night, the howls of a pack of wolves, it was all a comfort to her. She felt for the dagger at her hip and slashed a slit up to her knee so she could move better through the woods. Then tore the petticoats from under her dress and let them fall where they may.
Eventually, she cut the dress at the knees so the snow wouldn’t bog her down. This snow wasn’t her doing. It couldn’t be. How could she be responsible for this when she never felt more confident? There was nothing, not a thing, in these woods that frightened her. Or would ever frighten her.
She looked over her shoulder at the city she had once called home. Lights had come to life all over the kingdom. It looked warm and inviting. It looked like it would burn her if she ever set foot in there again. The whole kingdom would be looking for her; A kingdom with armies and bounty hunters, and-
“And I’m Hans. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to meet you, Anya.” A gentleman with thick, preened sideburns bowed and brushed his lips against Anya’s hand. “My men and my bodyguards are at your disposal.”
“Thank you, Sir. You do your kingdom a courtesy.” Anya looked down at the ground.
“Anything we can do to help a potential ally in need. I’m sure your sister must feel lost and confused.” Hans returned his hands behind his back. “I remember my father taking me on a hunting trip and I had gotten separated. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.”
The ambassador from the neighboring kingdom looked straight ahead as the two of them walked down a corridor from the war room, where resources had been pooled to find the lost princess. Hans had been the first to coordinate efforts between all of the ambassadors and royalty who had been in attendance. With his charisma, there were more men at arms available than were needed for patrols, search parties, and missing person posters. Just his presence put Anya’s mind at ease.
“Is there anything I can do for you?” Hans asked, turning his head slightly to study the expression of Princess Anya. “I understand that the affairs of a kingdom can take a toll on people, and you’re far to pretty to be so worried.”
“Thanks. But, I don’t know.” Anya did know. He could hold her hand, share a sandwich with her, do everything he could to not make her feel so miserable. His voice was warm, his eyes were kind, and it was a comfort to her right now, knowing that she wasn’t dealing with this situation on her own.
“Here, I think I know something.” Hans took her by the hand and escorted her to a porch overlooking the kingdom and the forest beyond. The view was magnificent. Every twinkling lantern and every flickering candle stood guard against the cold and the dark.
Anya let out a sigh, letting her elbows rest against the railing.
“What is that white spot in the distance?” Hans pointed to what looked like a cloud growing in the depths of the forest.
“It’s that enchanter that’s chasing my sister!” Anya nearly fell over the railing trying to see it clearly.
“You there!” Hans shouted to a guard below. “Get a team together. Head north by northeast. Follow the ice. Do it now. Princess Elsa is being pursued by an enchanter.”
The guard obeyed and disappeared into the castle.
“Don’t worry.” Hans gripped Anya by her shoulders. “We’ll find your sister. We will do everything we can to ensure her safety.”
Then Anya felt herself in his embrace. It was more than warm, and more than soothing.
The ice continued to grow around Elsa, not that she could notice. Wolves had encircled her. Two wolves lay dead at her feet, and both arms were covered in blood up to the elbow. An injured animal paced behind her and two more growled from the front. Elsa growled in reply.
The wolf behind her lunged. In a single movement, Elsa stepped one foot in front of the other, swinging her dagger around her and behind, catching the knife in its chest and unfortunately, its teeth around her arm. She sucked in a breath and refused to scream. Her father had taught her better.
Before the two other wolves could strike, Elsa summoned spikes of ice just below their feet. The impaled animals never had time to struggle. Another stab with the knife ended any resistance the last wolf had.
Elsa roared into the night with both hands above her head in triumph.
“You think you scare me?” She goaded the defeated wolf pack. “You think any of this could scare me? I had bested you before I was twelve.” With the grace of a ballerina and the precision of a surgeon she sliced a strip from what remained of her dress and tied a tight bandage above the bite.
“You don’t bother me.” Elsa turned her knife on the wolf pelts. “This forest doesn’t bother me.” She dug her hands deep and pulled the fur from a wolf at her feet. “Not even the cold bothers me. I am queen here.”