Other Fan Fiction ❯ Don't Break the Ice ( Chapter 4 )

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CHAPTER 4: Don’t Break the Ice

« Oh no, » Ariel muttered.

She’d managed to contain the trident’s power through sheer force
of will. It no longer fed the storm, but still it raged with anger.
Try as she might, she could not take the squall back. Maybe it
would fizzle out, given enough time.

With the briefest flash, a ship appeared.

« What are they doing out here? » she said to herself. An unlucky
ship caught in the storm she caused. « This is all my fault–I have
to help them. »

She dove under, where she didn’t have to fight against the
beating crests. The ship’s bulging wooden belly thrummed like a
whale, heaving up and down.

Ariel emerged from the waves. Shrieking winds tickled her ear.
Maybe she could use the trident somehow.

She pointed it at the boat. As soon as it began its harmonic
thrumming, tiny crackles of electricity danced toward the three
tines. She yanked it back into the water. She couldn’t risk doing
more damage.

Waves and wind tossed her about as she watched the boat. The
sailors seemed capable enough, she’d been on enough boats to know.
Their courage kept control. Some kind of chubby white animal ran by
on stubby legs. What was that? Some kind of weird dog?

« The main mast! » someone shouted.

Ariel saw it. They hadn’t lowered the main sail in time. The
winds had created a giant crack snaking halfway up. She ducked
under the water to avoid its thundering fall.

Bubbles gushed everywhere, fogging her vision. She swam closer
to the bow. No one would be there–they would be worrying about the
rudder. As she rose, her head banged against something hard.

An iceberg? Here? Where did this come from? There were no
glaciers in this part of the world. It wasn’t even the right
season. Did the trident make this too?

Ariel breached the surface in time to see a sight that chilled
her to the bone. The iceberg and the ship headed straight toward
each other. No time to even blast it with the trident.

The great mountainous ice chunk stabbed into the breast of the
ship. The figurehead crashed into the water. Water burst out the
fissure, as if it were the ship’s lifeblood.

A sailor fell over the side, screaming as he hit the water.
Ariel dove down and grabbed hold of him. Struggling, she lifted his
heft back over the waves.

They were lowering a lifeboat. A heavy crew of sailors stood
crowded together while two others worked the winches.

« Captain’s still down below! » one of them yelled above the
maelstrom.

« I’ll get him, » shouted a female voice.

The sailor turned to the unseen figure. « No! Queen Elsa! You
have to get on the lifeboat. »

« This is my fault! » she shouted.

« No! My queen! »

Her fault? Who would think that? She was the one who’d wielded
the trident so poorly. If men were still under the decks, it was
her responsibility to get them out, not anyone else’s.

She whispered into the semi-conscious sailor’s ear. « Head west.
There’s a trade route there. Someone will pick you up. » She dove
under and pushed the man towards his friends. They picked him up,
never seeing her.

Ariel swam to the front of the ship. The iceberg had wedged
itself so hard into the ship’s gut the broken planks looked like
teeth drawing it in. Ariel darted around the mass, but could not
find a way inside. The trident couldn’t pry apart the ice and her
thin arms couldn’t push herself in.

But she could see in. The iceberg had crashed into a cargo bay.
Only two feet of space separated the ceiling from the rising water.
A man flailed his arms, his foot caught in a trap of split
wood.

The woman descended the stairs into the dark hull. She had
bright white hair and looked a little older than Ariel.

« Queen Elsa! » the man gurgled. « Get out of here! Save
yourself! »

« Grab my hand. » She anchored herself to the banister with one
arm and stretched as far as she could with the other. It wasn’t
enough.

« I can’t! My foot’s caught. »

Elsa dove in. Swimming blind, she felt for the captain’s leg and
reached it. Bracing herself on the hull, she yanked his foot out of
the trap.

The captain swam free and slogged to the stairs. Queen Elsa rose
out, gasping for air, and banged her head against the ceiling. The
water line had risen another foot.

« Elsa! Quickly! » The captain waved his arm, beckoning her.

Elsa wiped the wet out of her eyes. Without warning, a rope
snapped, toppling a shelf of barrels and crates. The debris
barricaded the way to the exit.

« Elsa! » the captain shouted.

Elsa took a deep breath and tried to swim forward. As soon as
she hit a barrel, she veered off course and ran into a wall. With
the remaining four inches of space, she took what she perceived to
be her last breath. She dove down again and swam like an eel,
wasting precious energy to stay in one place.

Ariel scrambled again to get in. If she didn’t, that girl was
going to drown. But the ice wouldn’t budge. She jammed the trident
in-between the iceberg and the ship, figuring she’d done enough
damage already, and blasted. Shards of ice and wood burst out,
leaving a new hole.

Elsa pressed against the boxes above her head, thinking they
were the ceiling. Each second that passed, she flailed more, time
running out.

The two saw each other. Elsa gasped. The last remnants of her
air escaped in tiny bubbles. A second later, her eyes rolled up in
her head and she passed out.

Ariel dragged her out the same way she came in. When they
emerged, the lifeboat was gone. Maybe the ship had drifted out of
position while they were down there. Maybe they had sailed off.

A gigantic wave surged toward them and the ship. Ariel tried to
swim away, but the wall of water dragged them into its swell. It
descended, tossing them end over end. Ariel managed to keep her
hold on the girl, but when she reached the surface, the ship was
overturned. No going back to it now.

Elsa coughed. She was still alive, but still unconscious.
Trident in hand and Elsa in the other, Ariel began swimming for the
nearest shoreline. Even as the storm deteriorated behind her, the
water seemed colder than normal.


Anna watched the Freya sail until it fell below the
horizon. By that time, the morning had passed. She stayed on a
bench, watching the water undulate in natural rhythm.

Gerda came to check on her once. « Princess Anna, do you need
anything? »

« No, thank you. I’m fine. »

« Queen Elsa had a meeting this morning with the royal
glassmakers. I suppose… in her absence… you were meant to
attend. »

« Is that now? » She gathered up her skirts. « That’s right. I
guess I am the queen regent. »

« No, ma’am. The meeting was half an hour ago. Right now, you’re
free. »

« Oh. Then I suppose I’ll just sit here until the next thing,
then? »

« I suppose. There is a document that the lord of Themocles was
waiting for, but… It’s not an emergency. » Gerda walked back to
the castle.

The truth was, Anna didn’t know what to do with herself. If she
went back, she’d be wandering the castle, talking to the walls. And
she had spent so many years doing that. The years of lonely horse
rides and picnics by the sea were supposed to be past. She had Elsa
back now. She had Kristoff. And Sven and Olaf and all the people of
Arendelle.

So she surveyed the sea, like a captain’s widow. If there were
any meetings she was supposed to attend, no one told her. No one
bothered her. Nothing happened.

Until a ship appeared on the horizon.

Anna stood up. It was a schooner, like the Freya. She
expected it to turn towards one of the merchant docks, but it kept
sailing towards the castle.

It wasn’t an Arendelle ship, the colors were wrong. Then the
purple and yellow flag of Corona flapping form the crow’s nest
breached the horizon.

Why would they send a ship here? Especially when Elsa had just
gone to them. It was too much of a coincidence.

Corona had a standing invitation to dock in the royal harbor.
Anna stood on tip toes as dock workers scampered about. They caught
the ropes as thick as tree trunks and wound them around pylons.

« What ho! A passenger wishes to disembark, » a man above called
out.

Everyone on deck stared at her. She was the highest authority
here–she had to give the order.

« Oh. Oh… oh! Yes, yes, please! By all means, embark! »

The sailors on the boat lowered the ramp with a heave. A woman
with blond hair poked her head out.

« Anna? »

Anna scrunched her eyebrows.

« It’s me. Rapunzel. »

« Rapunzel… it is you! » Anna squealed and hugged her cousin.
« What are you doing here? What…. what happened to your hair? »

The last time they had seen each other, Rapunzel was brunette
with short frizzy hair that reminded her of a teddy bear. Now a
thick blonde trail followed her. She knew fashions were different
in Corona, but this…

Rapunzel tussled with a strand. « That’s part of the reason I’m
here. It’s a long story. I don’t… it’s kind of a secret, » she
whispered.

Anna zipped her lip. « Say no more. It looks good on you though.
Are you having more fun? »

« What? »

Rapunzel took a step and slid on some wayward ice. « Whoa! What’s
with this? Did something happen with Elsa again? Did she-« 

« It’s not Elsa. » Anna said. « Let’s get to the castle. I’ll tell
you on the way. »

Rapunzel took her valise in one hand and a bunched-up ball of
hair in the other. They waddled like penguins down the street. Anna
stopped at a street corner while a horse and cart walked by. The
horse’s shoes had been fitted with spikes, making it walk like the
ground was made of glue.

People huddled around fire pits in the streets. Sweet sweepers
hacked at the ice in the roads with picks. Rapunzel cringed at the
dejected look in their eyes. Another year of devastated harvest and
commerce. She’d be dejected too.

« I think you’re right. Something about this is different than
last year, » Rapunzel said.

« Right. Last year was snow and cold covering everything. This
was an ice storm that lasted the entire night. And I was with Elsa
the whole time. She didn’t lift a finger. I mean, to make it. Not
to help. I mean, she did help. As much as she could. But it wasn’t
her magic, so she couldn’t undo it. »

« I get it, » Rapunzel said. « Then where is she? »

« She’s- » Anna stood straight up, her eyes widened, and her arms
stretched to her sides.

« What? » Rapunzel asked. « Is it my hair? »

Anna pointed. « Th- th- th- th- th- there’s a bug. On your
shoulder. »

Rapunzel looked at her shoulder. « Oh, that’s Pascal. He’s not a
bug, he’s a lizard. »

« You keep a lizard in your hair? » Anna asked.

« Well, he’s my friend. We go everywhere together. And he can do
this. » She held him up to an icicle. Pascal’s skin rippled and
turned frosty blue.

« He can turn into ice? » Anna asked.

« No, it’s just the color. Haven’t you ever seen a chameleon
before? »

Anna peered at him. Pascal slicked his spikes back.

« I guess he is kinda cute. Can he turn into any color? » Anna
shuffled her feet. « We should take him to the gallery. See what
kind of colors he can change into. »

« You have a gallery? With paintings? » Rapunzel’s eyes
brightened.

« Lots of paintings. Wanna see? »

Rapunzel and Pascal nodded excitedly. As soon as they reached
the other side of the street, Rapunzel’s head yanked back. Her legs
flew into the air. Someone crossing the street had stepped on her
hair.

« Whoops, » Anna said. She began pulling the wayward tresses back,
looping it around her arm like a cord. The people around Rapunzel
were staring.

« Are you okay? » Anna asked.

« Yeah. » Rapunzel rubbed her rump. « I think my idea of staying
inconspicuous just backfired. »

« Hmm, » Anna muttered. « Maybe our first stop should be the royal
hairdresser. »


The Royal Hairdresser lay in the corner of the castle’s barbery,
her tongue hanging out and panting. Rapunzel twirled in the mirror,
examining the barber’s work. Her long, thick braid, decorated with
white, purple, and yellow flowers, looked exactly like she had
described it. It still looked unusual because of its size, but it
fit in nicely with Arendelle’s fashions. Plus she could walk
without tripping again.

« I love it. Thank you so much. »

« You’re… welcome… princess… » she gasped. She held up her
crooked fingers and whimpered.

Anna and Rapunzel headed down the hall to the gallery. Pascal
poked his head out of the braid to look around, then snuggled back
in.

« So where was I? Once she heard about something that could stop
ice, she jumped on it like a dog on a bone. Or me on a brownie.
Have you ever heard of anything like pyramite in Corona? »

Rapunzel shrugged. « I’m still learning about my country. I
suppose it could be there. And even if it isn’t, my parents will
stop the whole kingdom to help her. »

Anna took hold of the double doors by each handle and swung them
open. Rapunzel’s eyes quivered at the sight. So many beautiful
colors, resonating swirls of muted olive-greens, bold violets, new
combinations of crackled pewter and powdery coal.

« These are amazing. I’ve got to come in here some time and
sketch these. Do you have paints at the castle? » Rapunzel
asked.

« I’m sure we do, if no one left them outside, » Anna grinned.

Rapunzel stopped in front of one. The portrait depicted a girl
with a salmon spring dress kicking off her shoes as she swung from
a gnarled tree. « This one looks familiar, » she said.

« When I was little and Elsa wouldn’t play with me, I got so
bored I started talking to the pictures. That’s Lord and Lady
Peppadew. »

Anna pointed at an elegant man and woman bowing to each other at
a party. The woman had a floor-length white skirt in Spanish style
and the man wore a decorated military uniform.

Anna said, « They’re meeting for the first time. She’s a peasant
disguised as a woman of distinguished heritage and he’s the moody
son of a general who’d rather write plays. Those people laying
down, having a picnic, are Hubert Cumberdale and Marjory
Stewart-Baxter. Oh, and over here… »

Anna skipped to a picture of a group of people hunched in
discussion. « This is the council of Science and Stars. And they are
all amazed that I have just created this! »

She held up an imaginary flask. « A new magic potion which gives
people horse voices or makes feet never stop dancing or a black
ooze that turns spaghetti invisible. And all the people are looking
around like ‘mm, yes, yes, I see, very interesting, what uses could
this have’? »

Rapunzel giggled. « You had a lot of time on your hands. »

« Yeah, it was… kinda lonely. Elsa was so scared of her power
she didn’t want to be close to anyone. Least of all me, because she
loved me so much. That’s why I’m so confused why she took off. She
just, whoop, got on a boat and left. Was it something I
did? »

« I think she did the right thing. It was a dangerous situation,
ready to collapse. Let’s not worry about her right now. She’s doing
what she thinks is best for the kingdom. We should do our best from
where we are. »

« Right, » Anna said with enthusiasm. « And we’re doing… what
now? »

« Find out what’s causing the ice. If there’s a source, we can
stop it once and for all. »

« Great… so where is that source? »

Rapunzel sighed. « I don’t know. Do you have any ideas? »

« Not a clue. Maybe it’s magic? The ice should be melting away by
now. Maybe it’s an evil witch. »

« If it’s a person behind this, what do they stand to gain by
turning Arendelle into an icy wasteland? People don’t do things for
no reason. Either satisfaction or revenge or the crown. »

« Elsa’s the only person I know with the power to create giant
ice storms. »

Rapunzel touched her hair. Winter returns to Arendelle, stronger
than before. Her magic hair returns, stronger than before. Could
the two have anything to do with each other?

Anna yawned. « Maybe we could pick this up tomorrow. My brain is
all pffsht. You know? »

Rapunzel nodded. « Let’s go around town tomorrow and ask people
if they saw anything. »

« Yes! Maybe there’s an eyewitness. I’ll get you some shoes with
ice spikes. Don’t leave home without them, » Anna chirped.

The door to the gallery opened. Servant Kai held up a tied
bundle of papers.

« Princess Anna. We really need you to take care of this.
By tonight. »

« What is it? »

« The new year’s budgetary guidelines. These are the final
revisions that need to be signed off on. »

« Isn’t the queen supposed to do that? » Anna asked.

« You are the queen, » Kai said. « The acting one. »

« Oh, that’s right, I am. » Anna giggled. « And I was gone all day,
wasn’t I? »

« Yes. This needs to be approved so it can get to the council
administrators by tomorrow. Without it, no one will be able to form
their financial proposals. And without those, no one’s going to
send off their mercantile ships. Nothing would come in or out of
the kingdom. Hundreds of people will be out of work. »

Anna took the folder from his sweating hands. « What am I
supposed to do? »

« You need to examine each bill and compare it to the previous.
Make sure the classifications for each proposal match. Each
expenditure needs to be approved… »

Her smile dropped to a droll grimace as she paged through the
documents. Each leaflet held a cryptic puzzle of words and
numbers.

« Can’t this wait until Elsa comes back? » Anna asked. « Do I have
to spend the rest of the night reading this tiny type? Figuring out
costs and funds and quantities? »

« If it’s not delivered by tomorrow, we’ll have to start draining
the treasury. And if we do that, all confidence in our economy will
drop. We just can’t afford that, in light of last year’s snow and
now this. Arendelle could go bankrupt. »

Anna groaned. Rapunzel leaned over her shoulder, reading, which
gave her an idea.

« Well, um… how about Rapunzel takes care of it? »

« Ma’am? » Kai looked confused. « Is that wise? You’re the queen
regent. »

« She’s my cousin. So that makes her the queen regent-regent,
right? Or something like that. »

« I don’t think that’s a thing, » Kai said. « But I suppose it’s
not illegal. »

« Rapunzel, please? » Anna gritted her teeth and pressed her hands
together.

Rapunzel’s eyes dashed back and forth along each line. « I guess
I can take a look? »

« Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. » Anna hugged Rapunzel’s
shoulders and jumped up and down. « Come on. We can do it in the
royal dining room. I’ll have the chefs cook us up something snacky.
Have you ever heard of a chocolate soufflé? The chef of the
French ambassador made one for us and it. Is. Incredible. »

Anna led Rapunzel out of the gallery by hand, leaving Kai
behind.


Elsa woke herself up with a coughing fit. It heralded a bucket
of saliva-imbued water puked onto the rocks.

When done purging, she lifted herself up, shielding her eyes
from the cloudless sky. She was on a rocky shoal island. Waves
crashed against the rocky outcroppings, surrounding it with white
froth. Behind her was a small cave, only deep enough to get out of
the sun. Seagulls perched on the cave’s roof, oblivious to their
guest.

The last thing she remembered was going below deck to save the
captain. She thought she succeeded. But how did she get here?

As her eyes adjusted, something moved behind one of the larger
crags. An arm.

« You! You there! » Elsa called.

The arm shirked back. Elsa stood and approached. Whoever was
there struggled to stay hidden. « I see you. Are you the one that
saved me? »

A young girl poked her head out. Elsa stopped.

« Yes, » she meekly said. She looked younger than Anna, with
voluminous hair as red as a tropical plant. Still half in the sea,
she emerged from behind the rock wearing nothing but a bandeau of
two purple scallop shells.

« Thank you… so much. My name’s Elsa. »

« I’m Ariel. I’m sorry I couldn’t pull you further. I got too
tired. But the coast is right there. » She pointed to the beach
about a mile away. A fisherman’s village sat in the hazy ocean
mist. Maybe Ariel was a native, hence the skimpy clothing.

Elsa remembered. « What about the ship? Did everyone make it
off? »

« I think so. They all got into the lifeboats from what I saw.
But the seas were too rough to get to them. The tri-… the storm
took a while to subside. »

Elsa sat down and combed through her dry hair. Sand came away,
embedded in her fingernails, when she scratched her scalp. « Where
are we? »

« I’m not sure. » Ariel looked around, as if she were surveying
the coastline for the first time. « I was just making sure you were
all right before I left. If a boat came by I was going to try and
flag it down. Is there someone I can send a message to? To tell
them you’re all right? »

« Before you left? You don’t live around here? »

« No, I’m from… somewhere else. It’s fine. I can get home all
right. »

« Without a boat? That would be quite a swim. »

« I’m a good swimmer. Don’t worry about me. »

« Wait… I saw you… » Gauzy memories began to come back. Elsa
pointed at Ariel. « I saw you in the ocean. You were floating next
to the boat. »

Ariel held her breath.

« Were you a stowaway? » Elsa asked.

« No, not exactly. »

A freak wave surged behind Ariel. She recoiled as pellets of
spray collided with her face. Her mermaid tail flicked up.

Elsa’s eyes widened. It was only for a second, but there was no
mistaking the fish tail where legs should have been.

« You’re a… a… mermaid. »

Ariel rubbed the back of her head. « Catfish’s out of the bag, I
guess. » She hoisted herself onto the rock, bringing her green-blue
tail with. « Could we keep it a secret? Just between us? I know
that-« 

« You wrecked my ship! »

Ariel paused. « What? »

Elsa pointed her finger. « You capsized the ship. That’s what
mermaids do, lure sailors to their doom. I saw you floating by
before it sank. You led us into the storm. »

« No! It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t mean to-« 

Elsa reared back both hands and blasted out ice. Ariel twisted
away, falling back into the ocean. Frost covered the rock behind
her.

Elsa edged to the stone shore, searching for her. But cloud and
froth obscured her view.

« You’re not escaping, » Elsa said.

She swept her hand across the shore, enclosing it within a wall
of opaque white ice. It was too tall to jump over and sank heavy
into the ocean floor. Elsa knew it worked because the red-haired
head popped up at its edge.

« What are you doing? » she asked.

« Getting my revenge, » Elsa said. She sent an icicle sailing
through the air. The mermaid dodged out of the way.

« Stop it. Right now. » Ariel held up her trident as a display of
force.

Elsa knew myths of a ruler of the sea that wielded a trident.
But that was a god-like, muscular man, not a nymph like this.

« You think your little fork scares me? » Elsa wound up an icy
snowball and threw it at her.

Ariel swung the trident to bat it away. The projectile
disintegrated, but bits of ice pelted her face. Out of anger, Ariel
shot a lightning bolt at Elsa’s feet.

The yellow blast cracked in front of her, scattering sharp
pebbles. Elsa scampered backwards, landing on her rear.

Ariel swam up to shore, flipped down, and flapped her tail. A
gush of salty water and sand splashed Elsa in the face.

She turned away, wiping her eyes as fast as possible.

Ariel returned to the wall and shot her trident at it. Elsa
smirked. Not only did the little twerp not understand it was magic
ice, but it was made as dense as cast iron.

Elsa gathered power in her hands and summoned it. Spikes of ice
stabbed out of the wall. They grew towards Ariel, but she dove
underwater before they hit, disappearing into the murky
blackness.

« You’re not going anywhere, » Elsa said. She wandered back and
forth, searching the tide pool for any movement.

Ariel lay at the bottom, clutching the trident to her chest. She
didn’t want to hurt anyone, but Elsa wasn’t giving her much choice.
Maybe if she could distract her she would calm down.

Huge hunks of jagged ice began falling all around her. She
dodged the raining depth charges, backing against the wall.

There was a small crack near the foundation where the ice met
the sea floor. Ariel stabbed her trident inside and fired. Bright
light streamed out of the crack, then shivered up the center. The
ice wall split apart, and a chunk of wall fell back into the water,
on the other side.

As Elsa dropped her mines in random places, there was a
thunderous shattering. The ice wall grew a gigantic crack in its
middle. Its two sides sagged away, but stayed upright. Did that
little mermaid do-

Before she could rebuild the wall, Ariel leapt out of the water,
graceful as a dolphin. She pointed the trident and a bright flash
of light shot out. Elsa turned away, temporarily blinded. Ariel
landed in the water and turned to face Elsa. She gasped.

Elsa’s eyes had turned bright white, like the palest arctic
snow. She gritted her teeth and growled like a raging shark.

Stunned, Ariel didn’t react in time to Elsa’s blast. The trident
flew out of her hands and embedded in a nearby rock. A mound of
snow boosted her out of the water. She toppled down the slope and
landed on a slick ice platform. The water covering her warm body
fused to the ice, sticking her like a rat in a glue trap. Every
pull tugged at her skin.

Elsa stepped forward. She stood over Ariel, eyes blazing with
white hatred. A blue-white sparkling aura surrounded her fist.

« This is for my parents, » she said.

Anchor to the Past
Moment in the Sun