Other Fan Fiction ❯ Trapped Under Ice ( Chapter 14 )

[ A - All Readers ]
CHAPTER 14: Trapped Under Ice

« Those are a lot of ships for two kingdoms, » Rapunzel said.

« And their allies, » Elsa said. « But the lead ship is the
Southern Isles’ bellwether. I can tell by the flag. »

« If he’s on that boat… » Anna wrung one mittened hand into her
other.

« What’s that? » Ariel pointed to the coast with her trident.

A lone skiff had broken out of the combined fleet and headed
towards the docks.

« Is it… attacking? » Ariel asked. « Just that one guy? »

« No, » Elsa said. « It’s a herald, come to discuss terms. »

The four of them watched in silence as the tiny boat shored up.
A man and two guards in black armor stepped onto the beach. Several
of Arendelle’s military was there to meet him. It looked like he
was holding a scroll.

« Tell him I shall meet him in the throne room. » Elsa spun, her
dress swishing behind her.

« Your highness, what if it’s a trap? » Kai asked. « You could send
your own envoy. »

« If someone’s going to declare war against Arendelle, I want to
hear it personally. Without a go-between mincing my words. »

Ariel, Anna, and Rapunzel followed Elsa to the throne room,
stunned by her sudden sense of command. In the throne room, a
crimson carpet led to a throne of red velvet in mahogany framing.
Guards distributed themselves on the beryl tile. In a few minutes,
the doors opened. Ariel twisted her trident in her hand, feeling
much like a bodyguard herself.

« Announcing Ludvig Boger, representative for the Southern
Isles, » Kai said.

The man walked into the room, followed by his two guards. He had
a snide, lizard-like face with squinty eyes and a tiny nose.

« Ahem, » Boger said, « That should be ‘Representative for the
combined forces of the Southern Isles and Weselton and their
allies, henceforth to be known as the Free and Royal Protectorate
of Nations’. »

Anna burst in. « How dare you come here with all your ships and
your navy. Who do you think you are? You can go back and tell Hans
and the Duke that-« 

Elsa placed her hand on Anna’s shoulder. To Boger, « What are you
here for? »

« I’ve come to deliver a message from the leaders of the F.R.P. I
guaranteed my commanders that the queen would hear it
word-for-word. » He opened up his scroll and coughed. « Whereupon it
becomes necessary to, as a result of unforeseen and unexplainable
circumstances, combine forces in foresight of mutual assistance and
cooperation, the Free and Royal Protectorate has formed to combat
and eliminate, or in the failure of elimination to contain, any
threats, risks, or menaces, that may not or should not be inclined
to any one single nation, fore wherewithal said threat may prove
untaskable by any particular-« 

« Does this sentence ever end? » Ariel asked.

« I have a feeling I know how it ends, » Elsa said through gritted
teeth. « Speak plainly, knave. »

« I’m getting to that, » Ludvig said. « In light of this new
alliance, the F.R.P. has identified Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, as
too great a potential menace to the established state of affairs.
And as such, to be removed from power in any form possible. The
F.R.P. recognizes a ruler of a nation that can defy forces of
nature creates an imbalance between nations such that surrounding
sovereignty is at imminent risk. »

« What’d he say? » Anna whispered to Elsa.

« They think I’m too dangerous, » Elsa said, « So they’ve come to
eliminate me. »

« What? » Anna screamed. « You can’t do that! »

Ludvig lowered his scroll. « The queen is a threat to herself,
the town, maybe the entire world. What’s to stop her from declaring
war against every kingdom around her. No one stands a chance
against such an empire. She could sink an entire fleet with some
well-placed icebergs. She can kill any man with a thrown
icicle. »

« She would never do that, » Anna said, fists clenched. « Just sail
back and leave us alone. »

« The Free and Royal Protectorate cannot stand by while Arendelle
sits victim to the whims of an emotional woman. The current state
of the kingdom proves it. It must be liberated before either your
townspeople are enslaved under your tyranny or killed by the
elements. The F.R.P. requests that Queen Elsa abdicates the throne
immediately. »

Elsa pursed her lips. Anna answered for her. « We will do no such
thing. »

« So be it. » Ludvig rolled up his scroll. « Unless you send a
negotiator to our flagship by sunset to negotiate a surrender, we
will consider your response as defiance and launch an initial
assault. »

Ludvig spun on his heel and exited the throne room. His
black-clad guards followed him out. Kai slammed the door on him
with an angry flourish.

Anna wrung her hands. « Why of all the… that no good son… You
would never do that, all those things he said. »

Elsa rested her elbow on chair’s arm, rubbing her forehead.
« They don’t care whether I would. The point is that I
could. »

« But- » Anna said.

« This is the last thing we need. Arendelle’s already
vulnerable, » Rapunzel said.

« We need to find out who’s doing this. Then we can make them
undo it all, » Ariel said.

« Oh, I know. Use your ice powers to freeze them in place, just
like last year, » Anna said. « Or you can build a barricade. Or sink
their ships. Or anchor them… »

« Isn’t that justifying why they’re here in the first place? »
Elsa asked.

A cold wind blew through the throne room.

« Even if I did, it wouldn’t stop them for long. I’m sure they’ve
got chisels or flaming cannonballs or fire arrows or something. Ice
can melt. Besides, I don’t want people to think I’m a tool for war.
More people would join them or try to exploit me. »

The throne room became deadly silent as everyone’s minds locked
up in thought. And the time constraints limited any other
solution.

« Corona would help, » Rapunzel said. « We just appointed a new
captain and he’s eager to prove himself. »

« If only we could get through, » Ariel said. « They’ve barricaded
the entire harbor. »

« And they’re ready to attack at even the slightest aggressive
action. We couldn’t even send one ship out. »

Rapunzel pointed to Ariel. « If we wait until after sunset, you
could- » She clamped a hand over her own mouth. « Never mind. »

Elsa looked at Ariel. Ariel returned the gaze with a slight nod,
saying without words it’s okay, she knows.

« You’d think between the three of us, we could come up with
something, » Ariel suggested.

Elsa perked up. « No, wait. That’s it! » Elsa checked the pendulum
clock. « Kai, what’s the fastest ship you can have ready by
sunset? »

Kai hummed, startled. « Er… I believe, actually… I think the
ship you brought in. »

« The Barefoot Maiden, » Rapunzel said.

« It’s the most recently moored. And the royal ships either need
resupply or are too large. They’d never be prepared in time. »

« Move it to the dock furthest down the fjord. Far enough that
they can’t see what we’re doing. »

« How big of a crew should I gather? » Kai asked.

« None. It’ll be only Rapunzel, Ariel, and I. »

Kai looked quizzically at Elsa. « Only you three? »

« Can you sail? » Anna asked.

Elsa nodded. « I sailed the Maiden back to Arendelle. »

« I know how too, » Ariel said. « Eric taught me. He sails all the
time. He practically lives on a boat. »

« Good. I think we can pull this off. Here’s the idea. Ariel,
you- » She glanced at the others. « Um, I’m afraid I’ll have to
dismiss everybody. I don’t want too many people to know about these
plans. You too, Anna. »

« Me? » Anna asked, looking hurt.

It hurt to exclude Anna, after she had done so all her life. But
she had to respect Ariel’s secret more. « I’ll need you for another
part of the plan. But not this one. Go get Kristoff and Olaf. »

Anna held her breath. Maybe tears were forming in her eyes, but
she left the throne room with everyone else. When the doors shut,
Rapunzel, Ariel, and Elsa were alone.

« I hated to do that, but we’ve got too many secrets to
keep. »

« I understand, » Ariel said. « Thank you. »

« All right, here’s what we’re going to do. »

Elsa pulled out a piece of paper and began to draw a ship.


On the Fighting Hour, the Southern Isles’ premier
flagship, all staff had their eyes turned to the sun. Except for a
lookout at the stern, eye glued to the telescope. He waved his arm.
« Vessel sighted. Headed our way. »

Hans walked up to the bow and took the scope. A boat was indeed
on its way. A long boat with two royal guards rowing. Their
passengers were a stocky blond man, a pile of snow, and Princess
Anna.

Hans smirked.

« Extend the plank to them. Send a message to the Duke that I’ll
be receiving them aboard my ship. » He handed the telescope
back.

Hans gave orders to make sure everything in sight indicated
order. Every coil of rope arranged, every uniform unblemished. The
prince and his elite guards stood at the top of the gangplank,
awaiting them.

The princess hiked up her skirt and stepped out of the boat. The
knappy blond man and that accursed snowman followed behind.

« Welcome aboard the Fighting Hour. It’s an honor to have
you aboard, Princess Anna. »

« Prince Hans, » Anna said, ice dripping from every letter. « I see
your nose healed nicely. »

« What? Oh… » He unconsciously touched his nose. « May I ask the
names of your compatriots? »

Kristoff folded his arms and turned away and grimaced.

Olaf waddled toward him. « Hi, I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs.
But not from you. »

Hans furrowed his brows. « Is this some creation of Elsa’s? If
it’s meant to be a demonstration of her power, tell her I’ve seen
better. And dispatched them. »

« Oh, you mean Marshmallow? » Olaf said. « Yeah, he’s fine. He
lives in the ice palace. Had a lot to say about you. All good
things, all good things. »

« He’s not a demonstration of anything, » Anna said. « Except love,
which you wouldn’t understand. »

Hans coughed. « I trust Elsa is preparing for her departure.
Personally, I would have given her more time, but we were afraid
she would mount a counter-offensive. »

« Elsa is… » Anna looked at Kristoff, as if he had the words.
« She’s… she’s still… undecided about whether to surrender. »

« What? »

« Well, what are you going to do for her? Are you going to haul
her off to prison as soon as she comes on board. That’s not very
reasonable. »

« And rude! » Olaf said.

Hans played with the fingers of his gloves. « Are you telling me
she’s refusing to step down? »

Anna shirked back. « N-no. No, not necessarily. We… we
came… »

« We’re here to negotiate. On her behalf. » Kristoff said.

« If she wishes to negotiate, she can come herself. Not send her
little sister-« 

Anna scowled. « I am the princess of Arendelle. This is my
kingdom too. And I have as much right to be here and talk to your
ugly face as she does. »

« Elsa’s not going to move right where you want her, » Kristoff
said. « She knows your games. Anything you want to say to her you
can say to us. Elsa is the queen of Arendelle, and Arendelle’s in
the hearts of anyone who lives there. You take her away, you take
us all. »

Olaf jumped in. « Yeah. She’s a queen in all our hearts. In
spades. Wait, queen of spades, that’s the bad one. Right? » Olaf
looked up at Kristoff.

« Anyway, she told us her demands, » Kristoff said.

« She’s in no position to make demands. But let’s hear them. » He
gestured to a wood-grain table in the middle of the deck. A map of
Arendelle and the surrounding waterways lay on the surface.
Kristoff and Anna sat on one side. Olaf’s carrot nose poked over
the map.

« First, she wants to make sure all the people in town are cared
for. No installing your own military force or leaders or anyone, »
Anna said.

« Fine. We want Elsa, not Arendelle, » Hans said.

« That means you don’t get to carry weapons on Arendelle shores, »
Kristoff added.

Hans paused. « That I can’t agree to. You can’t expect my men not
to defend themselves if attacked. There will be resistance. »

« Fine, you can bring weapons. But no arresting anyone for
supporting Elsa, » Anna said. « If anyone starts throwing rotten
vegetables at you, you can’t throw them in the dungeon. »

« I’d throw my nose at you right now, but it’s not rotting. See? »
Olaf plucked out his nose and waved it in Hans’s face. His arm
knocked a bottle of ink onto the map. « Oops, sorry about that. Now
Arendelle’s right next to the black sea. »

Kristoff whispered to Anna, « It’s not too late to throw him in
as a bargaining chip. »

Anna smacked him on the arm, hitting only padded jacket. « Number
two, you don’t get to arrest Elsa. She gets amnesty, » she said.

« The whole reason we’re here is to make sure people like Elsa
don’t go free. We’re taking her, » Hans said.

« And what are you going to do? Put her in chains? You couldn’t
keep her locked up in her own castle, » Kristoff said.

« We never had any intention of imprisoning her, » Hans said with
a grim expression.

Olaf gasped. « You’re going to take her back with you? She’d love
to see the Southern Isles. She talks about them all the time. »

« Olaf, they’re going to kill her, » Kristoff said.

« Oh… well, that’s much worse. »

« The F.R.P. was formed to deal with threats like this. We can’t
simply send them on their merry way, » Hans said.

Anna glanced at the sun. « Well, let’s talk about that. Maybe
there’s some alternative to death we haven’t thought of. »

« Like what? » Hans asked. « I’d love to hear what can stop
her. »

« Well, there’s… see, it’s not just a matter of stopping her.
It’s a matter of wills. If you don’t have the will, you can’t
have… the way. »

« We’re arguing philosophy now? » Hans asked.

Anna’s face brightened. « Yes! Yes, we are, like, um… there’s a
lot to discuss here… like… » She nudged Kristoff in the
ribs.

« You see… there’s… an old saying in my family. A rolling
stone gathers no moss. »

« What does that mean? » Hans asked.

« It means people on the move have no responsibilities or
cares. »

« Oh, I’ve been saying it wrong all this time. Or never. Since I
never heard it till now. » He turned to Anna. « Has anyone ever
tested this? What if it rolls very slowly? »

« I know what the phrase means! I mean how does that relate to
our discussion. » Hans’s face turned red.

« Good question. It has to do with… a lot of things. What do
words mean anyway? »

« Enough of this. » Hans stood up and took his gloves off. « No
more speaking in roundabout ways. You’re just delaying the
inevitable. »

« Me? Delaying? » Anna said. « What… why would I delay anything?
I’m not delaying. » She laughed nervously.

Hans twitched his eyebrow.

Kristoff stepped forward. « Tell you what. If we aren’t done by
one hour after sunset, we’ll take you into the palace, and you’ll
see that Elsa’s not there. How does that sound? »

Hans considered this, then his face relaxed. « Very well. But no
more of this long-windedness. Say what you have to say and be done
with it. »

Kristoff looked at Anna with relief. Anna grew a sly smile. « I
think the best thing is to understand Elsa, » she said. « And to do
that, there’s no better person than Olaf. »

« Me? » Olaf pointed a twig at himself.

« Yes. Olaf, why don’t you tell Hans your life story? »

Olaf turn-wobbled to Hans. « Well, I don’t remember when I was
born–I was awful young then. But I started off as a little
snowflake. A twelve-branched star to be exact. It’s one of the
rarer kinds. I don’t mean to brag, but… »

Hans rolled his eyes and rested his head on his elbow.


« Do I look as ridiculous as I feel? » Rapunzel asked.

Rapunzel’s hair divided in two, split down the middle. A
hairdresser and a dockworker had worked together creating the
tightest, strongest braids they could. Each hung over the side of
the boat–one to starboard, one to port–dangling in the water.

« I don’t think my hair’s ever taken this kind of tension before.
How do I know it’s not going to rip my skull open? »

« The ice will weave into the hair, absorbing the tension. I know
I can make it airtight, but I’ve never made anything this thick or
strong. If there’s even a slight crack. »

« There won’t be. »

« And I can’t make it too big or we won’t be buoyant enough. What
if we run out of oxygen before we’re in open sea? We’d all
suffocate. »

Rapunzel placed a hand on her shoulder. « Let’s not worry about
everything that could happen. If we all do our best, it’ll work
out. »

Elsa took a deep breath. « Anna says worrying about things is
like praying for something you don’t want in the first place. »

They hugged. « It’s almost sunset. We better get into
position. »

The ship had been drifting away from dock for a while, situated
in the fjord behind a promontory. Only the three of them were on
board.

Rapunzel returned to the center of the hardcastle while Elsa
walked up to the bow. Ariel sat on the prow, legs tucked beneath
her, staring at the orange sunlight.

« Feel anything yet? » Elsa asked.

« Not yet, but I guess it’s better to be in the water before it
happens than after. » She slipped her dress off her head and stood
in undergarments, holding her trident.

« Swan dive! » Ariel ran off and jumped over the edge. Her arms
spread until she hit the water, trident first, with the littlest
splash Elsa had ever seen.

Thirty seconds passed. Nothing came up, not even bubbles.
« Ariel? » Elsa called out.

« Is she still under? » Rapunzel called out. A minute passed.

« Ariel? » Elsa shouted louder. What if she’d run off, back to her
homeland. What if she jumped in too early and drowned. What if she
got caught in a net? Elsa prepared to jump in after her.

Then a cloud of red hair rose to the surface. Ariel swiped her
bangs out of her eyes. « I’m set, » she yelled. Her tail breached for
a second. « Tell Rapunzel to get ready. »

Elsa gave her a thumbs up and left the rail. She stood in the
center of the boat, facing Rapunzel. They waited.

Rapunzel’s head tugged to one side. She jerked so suddenly, Elsa
was afraid she might launch into the air.

« You okay? » Elsa asked.

« Just dandy, » she said through gritted teeth, one eye squinched
closed. Her head yanked the other way. The braids pulled taut,
centering her.

« What is she tying them to, rocks? » The braids loosened for a
second, then her left tugged twice. « There’s the signal. Go for
it. »

Rapunzel’s wide, glowing face gave Elsa confidence to proceed.
She raised her arms to the sky.

A giant snowflake appeared above them, growing larger by the
second. The snowflake’s arms reached down and around them,
spreading into a dome shape. Layer upon layer of crystalline ice
meshed with itself, weaving a flawless, opaque wall. The walls
enveloped the ship and sank into the water.

Elsa’s eyes closed, feeling the magic instead of seeing it. When
it was complete, an ice sphere encased the ship.

« Do you feel anything? » Elsa asked.

Rapunzel tugged on her braid. It stopped well short of its full
length, meaning the ice had formed around it. « I think we’re good.
How long do you think it will take Ariel to get some-« 

The ship lurched. Rapunzel’s braids kept her upright, but Elsa
stumbled. She had a sudden feeling of falling. The ship, ice globe
and all, was being pulled under the ocean.

« It’s working, » Rapunzel said with glee. « I can feel it. »

« It feels like we’re falling into the earth. »

A low and deep ululation sounded, like a lamenting sigh and
cheer at the same time. The ship vibrated from the gentle but
strong bass.

Rapunzel’s mouth opened in awe. « Can you believe this? There’s
giant whales attached to my hair right now. Pulling us through the
ocean like some kind of chariot. Isn’t that fantastic? » She
giggled. « Do you think she’s riding them like a horse? »

Elsa smiled. She marveled at Rapunzel’s ability to still get
excited, even amid the sheer unreality of everything. « We need to
get fully submerged. Otherwise, the ships will see us leave port.
And they’ll be pretty mystified why a giant iceberg is floating
beneath them. »

« I’m sure Ariel knows what she’s doing »

Elsa’s eyes darted around, looking for cracks or leaks. The hazy
light that managed to pass through the ice faded. Soon the twilight
became pitch darkness.

« I can’t see anything, » Elsa said.

« Oh… I didn’t think about this part, » Rapunzel’s voice
uttered. « We’re too deep for light to come through. If we lit a
torch-« 

« No, » Elsa said. « I don’t want to risk melting anything. Plus, a
fire would consume more oxygen. »

« I guess we’ll just wait in the dark then. »

They waited.

Elsa didn’t move–couldn’t move–for fear she’d run into
something. So she remained still, squishing her fingertips
together. Without light, the rhythmic lapping of the waves and
thrumming of water surrounded the globe.

« I wonder if this is what being in the womb is like, » Rapunzel
whispered.

Elsa’s head darted up. « Did you hear something? I heard a
crack. »

« I didn’t hear anything, » Rapunzel said. « Are you all right? I
can’t even see you. »

Elsa didn’t answer. She’d suddenly become aware of her
heartbeat.

« Oh, my hair! Silly, I should have thought of it before. »
Rapunzel cleared her throat. « Flower, gleam and glow, let your
power shine. »

With those few words, light streamed down the extensions of her
hair like water through a pipe. A moody, sallow amber glow
illuminated the area around Rapunzel and not much else. But even
then, Rapunzel could see.

« Oh… »

Elsa had backed against the main mast. A thick coating of frost
surrounded her feet, edging outward. Tiny crystals of ice jutted
out, growing like flowers.

« Elsa, Elsa, it’s okay. Calm down. We’re fine. See? No leaks. »
Rapunzel put on her best smile. « It’s okay. »

« Right, right. » Elsa stood up and took a breath. Take the
emotions, put them away.

« I think we’re going up. »

At first, Elsa thought Rapunzel was lying to placate her, but
she did feel the sensation of rising. Light began to return,
filling the globe with gray dusky effervescence. The globe bobbed
up and down.

« I think you can dispel the ice now, » Rapunzel said.

Elsa’s heart was still beating fast, her hands shaking. Maybe
Ariel had been caught. Maybe they’d resurfaced in front of the
armada.

« Elsa? »

No, she couldn’t allow this. Remember, love will thaw. Elsa
remembered everyone who she was close to: Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, his
stinky reindeer. Warm feelings filled her heart. She had the power
to undo this.

After a deep breath, a small hole appeared in the top. Snow and
ice flakes melted away into the atmosphere, revealing bright blue
sky. The globe became a bowl, which became a cup, and then it was
gone. The ship jounced into the new water.

Nothing around for miles. No land, no ships, nothing but
cerulean sky and cornflower sea. It was like falling through the
Earth to a different ocean. Elsa felt safe again, even though she
had no idea where they were.

Ariel leaped like a dolphin into the boat, landing on the prow.
« Everything okay? » she asked as she wrung out her hair.

« Just great, » Rapunzel said, dragging each braid out of the
water hand over hand.

The ocean emitted a throaty choral resonation. Two humpback
whales surfaced, revealing their barnacled ridged backs. Water
spouted up with a hissing thrush. Ariel waved to them.

« I was being pulled by those? » Rapunzel laughed. « Thank you! »
she shouted to them.

« They’re off to rejoin their pod now. I told them where they can
find the best plankton. »

Rapunzel and Elsa rejoined Ariel at the bow.

« So… now what? » Ariel asked.

Elsa looked up at the night sky. « Now we find out position. And
start heading to Corona. »

The Little Blockade
Traveled Ground