Disclaimer: I don't own any Disney characters who happen to wander into this story.
The letter from Governor Weselton reaches Elsa's commanding officer only weeks after it's sent. In it, he bemoans that the waters around the Southern Isles are teeming with pirates. One in particular stands out to him—a woman calling herself the Summer Princess (a ridiculously childish name for a pirate in Elsa's opinion). According to the governor, she has been causing chaos on his islands, jumping from one to another with ease.
The navy ships stationed in the area haven't been able to slow her down in the slightest. In fact, she's attacked them too, as embarrassing as that is. If it were up to Elsa, this pirate would be at the bottom of the ocean after only a short, effortless struggle.
That's why she knows of the letter, in fact.
"You are to sail to the Southern Isles," her commander says in no uncertain terms, "and deal with the threat. We have vested interest in the goods that come out of the area."
Elsa nods without hesitation though inside she is mildly annoyed. The Northern Isles are her place. They are cold and distant and isolated and everything she loves.
(She fails to see any resemblance between them and herself. Her crew, on the other hand, finds it strangely ironic that their captain is as freezing as the waters they sail in.)
Point being, that's where she's been her whole life. And now she had to go to someplace warm and sunny and dazzling because of the incompetence of others.
Sometimes it's a curse to be so good at your job.
The journey south is uneventful except that Elsa has to start shedding a different article of clothing each day due to the insufferable heat. The first casualty is her thick wool jacket, followed by her stockings, then the turquoise gloves she's so fond of. Soon she's wearing nothing but her perfectly polished boots, a thin pair of trousers, and a sleeveless white top. Her sailors seem to be gazing at her much more than usual but she when she asks them what the problem is, they scramble back to work.
She squints into the horizon, a frown forming on her face. Was the rest of the world always so bright? She's happy with the meager week or two of sunlight the north was granted—anything more is just plain unusual.
Her crew seems equally distressed by the change in the weather. Olaf is especially affected, sweating buckets all over her recently scrubbed deck.
She orders him to scrub it again for good measure.
She's granted an audience with the governor straight away. The man is short, nervous, and sporting the fakest hairpiece Elsa's ever laid eyes on. He is going on about all the shipments that have been seized by the Princess and how investors are starting to move their money to other, safer islands. It's all very boring and Elsa wishes for the hundredth time that she was back on her ship and away from this small and annoying man.
"…so you see that it is imperative she be killed!" Governor Weselton stops himself, out of breath. After taking a moment to suck in some air he continues on, face red and puffy. "I don't care how many people are hurt, just as long as she is done away with and business returns to normal!"
Elsa raises an eyebrow, unimpressed.
The governor claps a hand over his mouth at his outburst. "Did I say that out loud?" He asks meekly.
God, does she hate dealing with bureaucrats.
Elsa takes a tour of the island, courtesy of the governor. She thinks it's a ploy to distract her from his frequent, consistently embarrassing gaffes. Not like she would forget them. Actually, she might draw upon them when she needs a good laugh.
It's a wonder he's been reelected so many times. Elsa suspects vote-rigging.
Still, the island is rather nice. Nothing like her precious Northern Isles with their glaciers and rugged mountains and snow storms. This island has beaches that people actually seem to enjoy using for activities other than ice fishing. The fruits growing along the roads are sweet and refreshing. The people are a little too friendly for her liking but for the most part they seem like good and honest folk.
When she goes to the port, she gauges the attitudes of those on the merchant ships. Most seem nervous to be on the sea due to the Princess. She manages to find a few who have seen her and they eagerly tell their stories.
Haldor Oaken, the burly captain of The Wanderer, is the first she speaks to. "The Summer Princess? I had a very odd encounter with her." Oaken must be from up north as well, judging by the thick wool sweater he wears despite the heat. He pulls at its collar absentmindedly as he continues, "She and her crew boarded my ship. They were all very good fighters, you see, and we surrendered quickly. But all she took was our lutefisk. That is strange, yeah? What kind of pirate only takes the lutefisk?"
The rather shady Jacob and Wilhelm Stabbington brothers are the next merchants she speaks to. The one with the impressive mutton chops goes first, a grimace settling on his scarred face. "Yeah, I know her. Bitch seized all our rum. We were gonna make a huge profit on the load but we lost it all to someone who calls herself a 'princess'." He hawks up a glob of saliva and spits next to his feet to show his disgust at the situation.
His brother rubs at the irritated skin under his eyepatch before nodding in agreement. "I've never seen anything like it. She just disarmed us without killin' nobody, took our booze, and left with a smile on her face. The last person who screwed us over that bad was that brown-haired poncy boy. Remember him, Wilhelm?"
Elsa leaves the siblings to their dark grumblings and makes her way to her own ship, tired and with a renewed interest in meeting (and imprisoning) this pirate.
Her plan is relatively simple and her commanding officer agrees to it easily enough. Her crew would hoist plain white sails on the ship and hide all traces that it was a naval vessel. The seamen stationed throughout the Southern Isles were to spread rumors of the bounty on her ship, that it was stocked full of rum and lutefisk along with precious jewels. She would follow the last known route the Princess was seen on. Eventually, they were bound to cross paths.
When they did, Elsa planned on taking the pirate's ship for herself and using it as leverage to go back to her home islands. She had recently acquired her first sunburn and decided she would be pleased to never see that damn ball of fire again unless it was obscured behind heavy gray snow clouds.
Weeks pass by. Elsa begins to grow tired of traveling back and forth along the same stretch of sea. Her wretched sunburn is starting to peel and her crew is moving at a sluggish pace. If the Princess isn't going to fall into her trap, she'll have to start thinking of a different approach. Elsa purses her lips at the thought—her plans always worked.
That night, she remembers going to bed in a foul mood and waking up to the sound of shouting and gunfire. The sun is just starting to creep past the horizon when the Princess' crew disabled the rudder of Elsa's ship and began to board.
Elsa scrambles out of bed, tugging on a pair of pants and tying her long hair into its usual bun. Her cutlass is in her hand and she is out of her cabin in less than a minute.
She immediately sees that the situation is not in her favor—it seems like half of her weary crew have already surrendered and the pirates are already starting to make their way into the holds of the ship. Too bad they won't find anything except empty crates.
Elsa disarms the nearest pirate with a quick flick of her wrist, sending his sword into the air. The blond haired man looks at her with wide eyes and slowly raises his hands. "Where's your captain?" She demands, sword to his throat. If she could get the Princess to surrender, her crew would surely follow.
He swallows and his light eyes search through the chaos on the ship. Seemingly heedless of the blade near his jugular, he takes in a deep breath. "ANNA!" He shouts over the noise.
The other pirates seem to pause for a moment before continuing their own fights. Somewhere beyond her immediate vision, a clear and melodic voice answers back, "Kristoff?!" Soon people begin to part and the owner of the voice comes into view.
This…this is the Summer Princess?
She's a young woman wearing a pair of beige trousers and a white shirt with billowy sleeves. A black and green embroidered vest is buttoned tightly over the shirt, showing off her slender figure. Her silky strawberry blonde hair is meticulously tied in two braids and her face. Elsa doesn't think she's ever seen a face so pretty. As she comes closer, Elsa can see that her eyes are a bright and unabashed cerulean and a spatter of freckles runs across the smooth skin of her nose and cheekbones. Despite the fact that Elsa still has her sword to this Kristoff fellow's neck, there's a full grin on the woman's face and she seems perfectly unconcerned for his life.
"Did you call me?" She questions the man, the sword in her hand nearly twitching with energy. She hasn't acknowledged Elsa yet, which leaves her feeling slightly miffed.
"Y-yeah," he says, trying to inch away from Elsa's hold on him. "I think she wants to fight you."
The Princess—Anna—quickly scans Elsa from head to toe before positively beaming at her. This reaction is unsettling. Elsa's enemies might scream or run from her in terror but they have never smiled at her. Especially in such a way that makes their eyes sparkle.
Elsa mentally shakes herself out of her reverie. She could appreciate Anna's beauty at a later time (as in never), but right now she has a pirate to bring in. She shoves Kristoff aside and readies her sword.
Anna does the same, the smile never leaving her face. "So, what's your name?" She asks, not moving a muscle.
Elsa narrows her eyes. "Why should I tell you?" She growls before lunging at the other woman.
Anna lets out a cheery laugh and blocks Elsa's sword with ease before returning an attack almost lazily. Elsa swipes her sword to the side and Anna skips a few steps back. "I'm just curious. Since Kristoff was yelling it in your ear, I know you heard mine."
Elsa moves in again, intent on slicing the woman's sword arm. Anna moves just enough to avoid her blade and continues talking as if they were having tea together. "Oh! I got it! If I beat you, you have to tell me your name. Does that sound fair?"
"Stop distracting me!" Elsa yells, frustrated. She lunges forward again, sending a volley of potential strikes at her opponent. Anna blocks them all, hardly looking winded, but at least she's shut up.
The longer they fight, the more Elsa is able to take in Anna's fighting style, or lack thereof. Her movements are like nothing Elsa's ever seen before. One moment she appears to be stumbling headlong into Elsa's sword and the next she twirls around it gracefully, safely out of harm's way. It's a strange dance that's only one wrong step away from injury or worse.
Throughout the fight, Elsa sees something in her, something that goes deeper than the cheery smile and mischievous glint in her eyes. There a sort of fierce happiness flowing throughout all of her movements, as if she's born to swing her sword just so, as if this single fight is her reason for existing.
At some point, Elsa realizes she's paying more attention to the owner of the sword than the sword itself. Before she can right this grievous error, Anna closes the gap between them until she's just a breath away. It's uncomfortably close and Elsa can feel the woman's breath against her cheeks.
Her sword is wrenched from her hand and Anna takes a step back and rattles it in front of her teasingly. "So, what did you say your name was?"
"I didn't," Elsa responds through gritted teeth. She's in shock, internally stewing in embarrassment. That is the first time in recent memory she's been disarmed. Anna hardly looks like she worked up a sweat doing it, which is all the more infuriating.
Anna cocks her head in consideration. "That's too bad," she says before spinning around and holding Elsa's sword overhead. "Everyone!" She calls out. "The captain of this vessel has surrendered. Do the same or prepare to die."
All around her, Elsa's crew looks shocked but those who still have their weapons quickly discard them while the pirates hoot and cheer. Elsa can feel her cheeks burning in shame but she still holds her head high.
A beautiful pirate with thick black hair and tan skin comes towards Anna, a scowl cutting across her face. "I've got some bad news, Captain," she says in a low voice. "There's nothing in the cargo hold. Nothing. Maybe someone else got to them first. What should we do?"
For the first time since Elsa's seen her, the smile on Anna's face disappears while she thinks. Her sharp eyes take in everything around her before landing on Elsa herself. The grin quickly comes back. "We can take the captain!" She announces, proud of her solution. "She'll do well for collateral, I'm sure."
Elsa chokes back her anger, knowing any protest might get her into trouble. If the Summer Princess could disarm her with so little effort, she probably wouldn't consider killing her or her crew to be much of a hassle.
The pirate woman nods in agreement. "Good thinking. Would you like me to take her to the brig?"
"Yes, please!" Anna chirps. She turns her attention to Elsa. "Sorry about this," she says, looking completely unapologetic. "It's just how these things go."
Elsa heaves a heavy sigh but somehow doesn't find herself to be terrified at the prospect of being a prisoner. Instead, when she's led across the gangplank and onto Anna's ship, she finds herself looking backwards. Not at her own men but to Anna, who's enthusiastically shaking the hands of Elsa's bewildered crew.
There are worse things than being the captive of the Summer Princess, Elsa surmises. But that doesn't mean she's given up. At heart she is an officer of the navy and she still intends to bring down this intriguing woman, no matter how charming and skilled with a sword she may be.
The sooner she captures the Princess, the sooner she can go back to her orderly life in the north. After all, she hates the Southern Isles. They are warm and sunny and dazzling and everything she isn't.
(She doesn't fail to see the resemblance between them and Anna, which makes her dislike them all the more.)
A/N: This is my first time writing in present tense so I'd be happy for any constructive criticisms you might have. Thanks for reading and I hope to have the next chapter up relatively soon.