The gardens around the castle were tranquil, neat and tidy. Though there were groups of gardeners, all hired by the king to clean and impress the viewers of the royal garden, Anna always found a way to ruin their work, and destroy everything in her path.
Quickly sprinting towards Kristoff, Anna picked up her skirt and jumped over the garden fencing. She was dashing, her feet stepping onto roses, over bushes, trees were skimmed by, their leaves shaking with the wind. She was inches away from the stables, where she caught sight of Sven's wagging tail and-
"You're back!" Anna exclaimed, crashing into Kristoff without slowing her pace.
They both shuffled onto the grass, flying backwards into a few bushes. There, Anna popped up from the leaves, yanking her hair out of Kristoff's groaning mouth. She laughed joyfully then, and toyed with his bangs until his voice shakily muttered out, "Wreaking havoc in the village as per usual, Anna?"
She grinned down at him. "You betcha!" She replied happily, ducking back softly as a hand came to wipe some dirt off of her nose. After a few more moments of some timid cleaning, Anna softly began to speak once more, "Hey Kristoff."
He grunted out a soft reply.
"Last night, I was chasing a pig across town and I managed to ruin a whole table of pies. And then I was hanging on to this man's wooden leg, the long ones that entertainer's wear at a carnival, and ordered him to follow the pig!" She giggled, motioning with her hands everything she had done. Kristoff lay back down, arms crossed behind his shaggy head and listened, looking up here and there at Sven munching on some carrots delightfully overhead. Anna stayed perched on his stomach the entirety of her storytelling, her hands moving circles, eyes shifting back and forth. Even though young and a bit inexperienced, Ann could still tell a good tale.
She then excitingly stood and stepped forward to re-enact herself hitting a pole but only ended up stepping on the hem of her skirt and falling back onto the ground without her brother as soft landing. "I hate these things," she whispered faintly, standing up and tugging at her skirt.
Kristoff watched his little sister with amusement as she poked and prodded the dew, her bare toes tangling in the grass. "So how is the search going?"
Anna looked up from her feet, "For snowflake?"
"That's what you're deciding to call her now?" He laughs faintly, still lying in the grass, sitting up happily, "Snowflake-?"
"Because of her eyes!" Anna exclaimed, moving close. She was grinning. She always grins when talking about her mystery knight in shining armour, "They're big and blue and-"
"There's a snowflake in them right-" Kristoff rolled his eyes playfully, "So then how is it going?"
"Well I've been leaving a few goodies down by the fjord," She pointed at the horizon, "I would bring tarts, pies, fruitcake…" ticking them off her fingers, "and chocolate. All of the sweets were left kind of untouched, like she didn't like them or something." Anna shrugged. "But the chocolate," at this her eyes lit up, "it was all gone! She ate it all! All of it Kristoff. I thought, maybe she's not eating it because she has a thing about dirt but she ate all of the chocolate cake I left out." She was jumping around with a giant grin on her face.
Kristoff nodded slightly, grabbing a carrot from Sven's mouth as he did so. Anna watched happily, but her face melted a bit, "So…" she looked up at him, expectantly. "Did you get the truffles?"
Scratching the back of his head, Kristoff laughed nervously, "I forgot."
"You…forgot." Anna whispered to herself. "But I told you to bring me the truffles, Kristoff. That was the whole reason you were going up to the mountains to begin with!" She flailed her arms frantically, hitting a horse's behind by mistake. The horse snorted and smacked her in the face with its tail, causing Anna to fall again. She groaned in exasperation and glared at the horse with a pout from below. Maybe it was safer for her to stay seated on the ground for the duration of this conversation.
Snickering, Kristoff patted Sven's chin and reached into the reindeer's saddle bags, producing a handful of carrots and a dozen truffles. "Here you go, feisty pants. I knew you'd have my head if I forgot these little guys." He handed her the truffles and Anna jumped up to receive them.
Her small hands were curled around his own, and she grasped the truffles with a grin from ear to ear. Kristoff admired his handy work a bit and then patted Sven's chin, "Alright, well I have to go tell father that I've arrived. I'll catch you later, Anna." Kristoff took off his hat and placed it on his sister's head. He grinned then, happily smiling. He waved to her over his shoulder and strode toward the large castle doors.
Anna watched him go, cradling the truffles in the front of her skirts. Watching him go through the doors, Anna rushed to the side of the castle, going through the servant door and dumping the mushrooms on the counter near the entrance to the kitchen. Rushing back outside, she shoved her shoes on and made her way to the merchant's district in town as her father requested of her at breakfast so that she can apologize to the townsfolk for her disastrous behaviour yesterday.
People were milling around the market, buying foods or jewelry from various stalls stationed in a large circle of the square. Lanterns with fire hanging over the stalls attracting bugs, signs swaying in the wind. Bugs flew around, attracted to the bustling of the market, the aromas of the meats and the lights of the lanterns. Elsa could hear the chattering of people strutting around, buying foods and clothing. Most townspeople hunted for their food and brought back the excess to trade for furs or other materialistic wants. The clacking of horses on the cobblestones filled the air as Elsa made her way toward her destination.
Along the way, Elsa stopped by a stall that housed an assortment of chocolates. All shapes and sizes, rich hues of brown, swirls of white, so many possibilities that Elsa was overwhelmed. The deep smells wafting from the pot of liquid chocolate, heated over a stove made Elsa's mouth water. Forgetting about the reason why she came to the marketplace, Elsa looked over to the old lady manning the pot of deliciousness, waving her over, and pointed to a dark square shaped chocolate.
"Hello, ma'am. How much do these go for?" Elsa asked as she dug into her pocket for some money.
The woman looked at her sadly and said "I doubt you'll be able to afford it dear, these are chocolates sent in from the Spanish empire. Delicious little treats that I'm sure you couldn't possible have the skilling for."
Elsa blushed in embarrassment, looking down to see her tattered robes draped across her sickly frame. Elsa sported a light blue, once cerulean, dress that ended below her knees. The hems were unraveling and pieces of string hung from the ends, making it look ragged. She had decided to wear this because it was the most proper piece of fabric she owned. "I just want to know how much." She said looking everywhere but at the woman, unable to meet her eye.
Elsa looked through her pockets, locating the coins and counting them. 10...30...50...ah! 70! She looked over excitedly to the woman, a large grin plastered on her face, sticking her hand out to pass over the money when a sack of flour slammed onto the stall beside her, making her jump. The coins flew out of her hand and she fell to the floor and scramble to pick up the coins that were rolling away from her. And at that moment, she remembered her purpose for coming here. She had to buy flour. She had to buy flour for her mother. Her mother who would beat her if she spent her skilling on chocolate.
Shaking from her embarrassment and fear, she stood up, brushed off dirt from her faded blue dress and smiled apologetically to the woman, shuffling toward the flour stall.
Handing over 60 skilling to the man behind the counter, she slung the flour bag over her shoulder, knees quaking under the weight. She gasped slightly as the bag pressed against her bruises, pain rushing throughout her body. Walking unsteadily toward her house, she could hear kids running around and playing as their parents bartered with the vendors.
She knew what was coming before it even hit her.
Suddenly one boy ran into Elsa, knocking her over and causing the bag of flour to topple off of her shoulder. Another kid sprang up from behind her, kicking the bag of flour toward his friend, causing the material to snag against a jutting rock and tear.
Eyes wide and gasping, Elsa lunged for the bag but another kid jumped onto her back, forcing her down. The kids were laughing maniacally, kicking at the bag over and over, new tears forming and flour spreading all over the cobblestone. Elsa struggled against the boy and pulled him off but another jumped on her, pulling at her hair. She cried out and tried to shake him off but to no avail.
She knew these kids. They liked to cause disruptions and trouble wherever they went. People called them the little devils and it was partly due to the fact that there were six of them. Her mother would kill her if she came home without the flour. And these devils were going to be the cause of it.
Just then, one of the devils looked at her with an evil grin and produced a nail from his pocket. Elsa watched in horror as he stabbed the nail into the sack. Gripping it with two hands, he slid the nail down its length, the contents spilling everywhere.
"No!" Elsa cried out. But then, amongst her pleas, a voice, shrill and distant, sounded around the marketplace. And before Elsa could even stand, a girl was by her side in minutes, a very beautiful girl, to be exact.
Elsa blushed brilliantly, realizing how much of a mess she actually looked, and watched as the kids scattering like insects, determined to not get caught. They scurried about, bumping into people, tipping over boxes and crates, before all that was left in their wake was dust and the unsettling feeling in Elsa's stomach.
"Are you alright? Did they hurt you?" She asked softly. Elsa looked at her in a state of shock. Mother is going to kill me. She will actually kill me this time. She will beat me to death and leave me lying on the kitchen floor. She'll say muggers came and killed me. I'll be dead. I'll be dead. Bringing her hands up, she stared at them, wondering why she was born into such a harsh life. What did I do to deserve this as punishment? Who have I harmed? What did I do wrong? She felt herself being shaken by the redhead in front of her, snapping her out of her internal torment.
Looking back up, she met teal eyes for the second time in her life. They were framed by long dark lashes. Elsa saw a splash of freckles coating the girl's face, along her round cheeks, meeting on the bridge of her nose, spots randomly on her forehead and chin, surrounding her full red lips. Specks going down to her neck and across her shoulders, dipping into her shirt. Looking back into the girl's eyes, she can see concern and worry flashing across her features.
Shaking her head, Elsa got up quickly and patted her dress. "I'm fine. Thank you for…" she waved her hand to where the kids ran off, "for that." She wrapped her arms around her waist and kicked at the flour that now coated the cobblestone and her shoes, as well as the ends of her gown.
The girl laughed. "It's all good," she said putting a piece of hair behind her ear. Her voice dropped, "I just wish I came sooner because they seemed to be giving you a hard time. Does this happen a lot?" Elsa shrugged and kept toeing the flour, mixing it with the dirt and twisting a loose string from the sleeve of her dress.
"You look better" The younger girl blurted. Realizing what she said and how it could be misunderstood, she tried to backtrack out of a potentially offensive topic. "Well, not like you didn't look good from the last time I met you." Again, the redhead brushed an invisible strand of hair behind her ear. She was blushing now as she started to ramble. "I just meant that your bruises and stuff went away. That was probably a bad fall to give you all those cuts. I've only ever gotten my knees scraped from climbing trees and this one time when I fall of this horse, but," she waved her hand, "it doesn't matter. I'm rambling. Well I'm not rambling, I'm Anna but I do ramble."
Elsa raised a hand to her mouth to stifle a giggle. "I'm Elsa." She smiled at the girl's antics. It was hard to be upset with such a bubbly personality like Anna's making her laugh. Anna. The girl did look oddly familiar and the name rang a bell. Elsa's eyes widened at the realization of who she was speaking to. Dropping to her knees, she kneeled in front of the Princess of Arendelle, missing the hurt that flashed across Anna's face. "I-I'm sorry, your majesty. I didn't realize I was talking to you! Please forgive me."
Grimacing, Anna looked down at the girl practically kissing her feet. She hated being called "your majesty, it made her feel… what was the word her father used? Pretentious? That's it. She hated feeling pretentious. Deciding to have a little fun, Anna puffed out her chest and attempted her best royalty impersonation. "Rise, my lady. Thou hast committed no sin!" Giving a flourish of her hand, she held it out for Elsa to take to which she did and let herself be pulled up by the youth.
A blush crept across Elsa's face at the possessive that Anna placed before "Lady". "So does that make you my knight in shining armor," she quipped, raising a brow and smirking.
"Well I guess since I saved you and all," Anna blushed looking down. "But, you did save me that time near the waterfall so I guess we can call it even, right?" She looked up, wringing her fingers together.
"I don't know," Elsa tapped a finger to her chin, feeling comfortable and confident next to this girl, something she hadn't felt since her father passed away and her mother turned into the devil himself. "I saved your life. All you managed to do was save my pride or what was left of it anyway."
Scrunching up her face in thought, Anna tried to think of a better way to pay the girl back, not catching the joking tone in Elsa's voice. Then, she saw Elsa toeing the flour strewn across the cobblestone and got an idea. Grabbing the taller girl's wrist, Anna dragged her back toward the marketplace, stopping at the flour vendor.
"One sack of flour, please!" Elsa stared wide eyed at the princess. She frantically waved her hands and shook her head no to the man lifting the sack of flour onto the counter.
"Ann- Your majesty, please! I was only jo-" she was cut off by Anna's hand being raised. Looking seriously at Elsa, Anna shook her head and smiled.
"Anna is good. I don't like that title. Makes me sound more important than everyone else only because I was born in a family of royalty. It's not fair to everyone else so please, just Anna." Being handed the sack of flour, Anna hefted it over her shoulder and sidestepped to the vendor who sold the chocolate that Elsa visited before.
"Two chocolate swirly squares, please," Anna said to the lady stirring the cauldron. Looking at Anna, the old woman bustled over to the two girls and bowed.
"You're majesty. Of course, of course. Two you said?" She asked as she began stuffing the swirly chocolate squares that Elsa had pointed at earlier into a cloth and tying the ends together, creating a makeshift bag. "Anything else, my dearie," she smiled, showing cracked teeth. Elsa cringed. The more she looked at the woman, the more she resembled a witch. It was unsettling, to say the least.
"Yes, thank you!" Grabbing the chocolates wrapped in cloth, she began walking toward the outskirts of the marketplace, Elsa walking after her.
"You didn't have to do that," Elsa whispered, admiring how the small girl was able to balance the giant sack of flour with one hand over her shoulder and her other hand holding the chocolates. "I was only joking, Anna. I didn't mean for you to actually do that. It's not like we're tallying points or something on who saved who." She rubbed the back of her neck in embarrassment.
"Elsa, just accept the fact that I'm here to help you. Now let me be your knight in shining armor, okay?" She turned and gave Elsa a wink.
Turning back around, she walked until she found a grassy patch in the shade of a beech tree. She threw the flour down against the tree and sat on it, using it as an improvised bench. Patting the space next to her as an invitation, Anna watched as Elsa sat next to her, leaving a bit of space between them. "So how old are you?"
"I turned sixteen in the winter." She reached over and took the clothed chocolates, untying the knot and handing one to Anna, who readily accepted it. "What about you?" She ripped a piece of the chocolate square and threw it into her mouth, feeling the chocolate melt and spread all over her tongue. She moaned in delight.
"I'm turning fourteen in a week." She said flippantly. "I don't want to grow up too quickly because papa wants me to marry some guy I never met before." She scrunched up her face. "He probably picks his nose or something gross. That's what Kristoff says anyway."
Elsa nodded in agreement, picking at the chocolate and savouring the taste. She looked over at Anna and snorted. Her hand clasping over her mouth and her eyes wide as she stared at Anna.
"What?" Anna inquired as she looked over at Elsa, her entire body shaking. "Elsa are you alright?" She moved closer to her and Elsa couldn't hold it in anymore. She hunched over and laughed, keeping a hand to her mouth and tried to calm herself down to no avail. "Elsa!" Anna whined. What was so funny?
After a minute, Elsa finally composed herself enough to point at Anna's nose where a clump of chocolate rested. Anna raised her arm up to her nose and pulled her hand back not finding anything. She looked at Elsa in confusion, not understand what she was pointing at.
Smiling at the endearing sight, Elsa brought her hand up and took the piece that was sticking on the bridge of her nose and plopped it into her mouth. A grin stretched on her face as a look of shock and mock betrayal flashed across the redhead's features.
"That was my piece of chocolate and you stole it!" She jumped onto Elsa, making a grab for her piece of chocolate. "You owe me a piece!"
"No!" Elsa cried, laughing as the redhead crawled onto her. Pushing her face with her hand, Elsa made to get up and run but Anna was too quick for her, wrapping her legs around the blonde's waist, and effectively bringing her to the ground.
As a last attempt to defy Anna, Elsa shoved the rest of the pastry into her mouth but it was too big. Her cheeks puffed out to make more space and a corner of the chocolate stuck out of her mouth. Anna took the opportunity to smack her mouth against Elsa's and bite the piece off. Smirking triumphantly, she got off of Elsa and strode back toward the makeshift bench, leaving a stunned Elsa behind.
"Did you just kiss me?" Elsa whispered, bringing her fingers to her lips. Heat rushed toward her cheeks as she thought of what just happened. Anna just kissed her. The princess just kissed her. The Princess kissed her. She was shocked and confused. Obviously, Anna didn't mean for it to be a kiss, right? It was just meaningless. She was fourteen. She didn't mean anything by it. And yet, Elsa felt a little disappointed that Anna most probably didn't mean anything by it.
Looking back at her, Anna shook her head, no, but then her eyes widened at what she did and her jaw dropped. "I-I guess I did. I wanted my piece of chocolate and it was in your mouth so I was going to bite off the piece that was sticking out and it was so close to your mouth and I just thought I'll take it since it doesn't fit in your mouth and so I did it and I don't regret it because you're really beautiful… wait, what?" Her face heated up as she caught what she just said.
Elsa needed to leave before she lost the will to leave at all. "I- I should go…" she began. "I need to go back home before my mother gets worried." Yeah right. "I had a really great time with you Anna." She nudged Anna off of the sack of flour and threw it over her shoulder. "Maybe we'll see each other again," She smiled shyly and backed away, waving at the redhead who stole her first kiss.
"Bye, Elsa." Anna replied, watching the blonde girl go who she gave her first kiss to. She waved, and headed toward the castle hoping she'll see Elsa again soon.
Elsa jogged for a half hour to her house, the sack of flour bouncing against her forgotten bruises. Her legs burned and she was exhausted but Elsa didn't care. She was elated by the beautiful day she had today.
She finally reached her house, realizing all the lights were closed. Nothing would've been out of place if it weren't for the fact that her mother always kept a lantern lit when the sun was setting. Walking slowly and cautiously toward her home, she reached the door and rested her hand on the knob, leaning her head against the wood and catching her breath. When she was composed, she turned the handle and walked across the threshold.
The house was quiet and Elsa just assumed her mother went to bed early. It wouldn't be the first time she did. Placing the sack of flour on the table in the kitchen, she turned toward her bedroom but not before noticing dishes in the sink. Her mother had made dinner for herself, not bothering to leave any for Elsa.
Sighing in disappointment and feeling hurt and tired, she dragged her feet toward her room, ready to collapse on her bed and sleep. Her thoughts turned to happier ones of Anna's freckles, her smile and laugh, how polite she was and how warm she made Elsa feel. The blonde smiled to herself, putting her fingers to her lips as she recalled the taste of chocolate on her tongue and the feel of Anna's lips pressed against hers.
Walking absently into her room, lost in her thoughts, she shrugged off her coat. Sleep was so close and her eyes were shutting of their own accord. She turned to her bed and her heart stopped.
Seated on her bed was her mother.
A wicked grin spread across her face as she saw the fear on Elsa's features.
"You're late." She hissed. And Elsa noticed, resting on her lap was a rolling pin.
So I couldn't wait until next Thursday to post this chapter. I spent all day on it and I'm really proud of what Demi and I (mostly I, Demi did the last bit) managed to do.
I hope you guys like just as much as we did.
Leave a review because they feed our souls :)