"If I may, Queen Elsa, I don't believe your decision to cut our ties with the Nation of Weselton was entirely...wise."
When the Royal Advisor had requested an audience with her, Elsa assumed that he was going to be like the others of her staff and try to get on her good side to ensure that they didn't get blasted with ice in case she lost her cool again. For him to reprimand her was a little stunning. At least he opened with the standard formalities.
"What do you mean you 'don't think it was wise'?" Princess Anna butted in, her slumped posture marginally improving. As there was no king, Anna would often occupy the throne next to her sister. "If you ask me, working with people who tried to kill you is a bad idea!"
"Princess Anna," the Royal Advisor struggled to pronounce in his exasperation. "You forget that Queen Elsa nearly impaled the representatives of Weselton when she ran from the castle. Such an action can be seen as treacherous."
"But that was an accident!"
"There were also reports of Queen Elsa attempting to kill the Weselton soldiers, past the point of self-defense."
Anna looked skeptical about this. Elsa decided not to show any inclination of confirmation.
"Perhaps in a school setting," the Advisor continued, "simply cutting off ties would be an acceptable solution, but not in an economic one."
"How do economics change things?" Anna asked, whose expression showed her disinterest in the Advisor's words.
"Significantly, Princess. When Queen Elsa cast Arendelle into Winter, she destroyed a majority of our nation's crops and several herds of livestock were lost in her blizzards. Without allies to compensate for these losses, Arendelle is in danger."
Elsa shifted uncomfortably.
"That was also an accident!" Anna burst out. "And what else could we have done about Weaseltown?! Tell them, 'Hey, sorry about almost freezing you to death. But because you tried to kill our queen, I guess that evens the deal and we can be buds again!'?" Slumping even further in her chair, Anna glared at the Advisor.
"We could have informed the king of Weselton about his representatives and tried to form a truce with him."
"What do you suggest we do now?" Elsa asked in a cool tone. "That we run back to Weselton and beg them for an alliance?"
"No, that would be a foolish course of action at this point," the Advisor replied grimly. "If we backed out of our decision now, that would betray our disorganized position to conquering nations."
"If we can't do anything about Weselton, why did you introduce the subject?"
"I introduced the subject because I don't want this problem to arise again. If we know how it happened, we can avoid it in the future. Another reason was to introduce our lack of trading partners which we are currently in need of."
"Why do we need to trade?" Anna asked, apparently baffled.
"To assuage our loss of resources," Elsa provided.
"Precisely." The Advisor seemed mildly relieved that at least one person was on the right track.
"Is there anything stopping us from trading with other nations?" Elsa inquired.
"The previous king and queen's isolationism policy."
Anna dropped the braid she was playing with.
Elsa furrowed her brow. "What are you talking about?"
A spasm went through the Advisor's face.
Hiding a grimace, Elsa guessed that it was another one of those important things she missed when she was shut up in her room. Inwardly praying for Anna not to laugh at the Advisor's slightly humorous expression, Elsa pressed the question. "Doesn't isolationism mean that they forbade Arendelle from interacting with other countries?"
"Yes," he confirmed.
"Doesn't that contradict out past relationship with Weselton?"
The wrinkles in his face deepened. "It was a selective isolationism policy. You see, the previous king and queen were very...gullible. They easily believed that those above them had absolute wisdom. Weselton detected this trait and used it to their advantage. With Weselton's massive lands, advanced army, and abounding resources, your parents naturally saw them as superior. When Weselton and Arendelle formed an alliance, Weselton slipped in some advice to us; there was no need to trade with other nations now that we had Weselton with us. Quite foolishly, the king and queen took these words to heart. Consequently, we suffered an unhealthy dependency to Weselton, and Weselton didn't bargain at low prices. Arendelle's royal staff took it upon themselves to persuade the king and queen to reconsider their isolationism policy and seek for help from other neighboring lands. They waved us off for years, but they eventually came to their senses and agreed to negotiate with a near by nation. Unfortunately, as you know, their ship sank on the way there."
A silence fell upon the room.
Forcing herself not to dwell on her parents' death, Elsa tried to focus on the matter at hand. "Can't we repeal this policy?"
"Certainly. The problem is that we don't have any connections because of it. The others in the royal staff and I invited representatives from several countries to your coronation in hopes of establishing something."
"Would any of them be willing to trade?"
"Probably. However, before we go into that we should figure out what we can trade with. As I stated before, we are short on resources."
The full weight of their situation seemed to be laying itself on Elsa as she thought in vain for a solution.
"Why don't we just sell the ice that Elsa makes?" Anna suggested matter-of-fact-ly.
"Would that work?" Elsa asked.
"Possibly," the Advisor replied thoughtfully. "However, I'm not fond of the concept of completely depending on the Queen."
"Would it make you feel better if we got people who already sell ice to help?" Anna asked.
"The ice-jacks? That's not a bad idea...If we did sell ice, it would need to be able to survive the trip. How long does your magical ice last?"
"I'm not sure...But I can cast a self-generating blizzard below the ship's deck if necessary."
"Can you really?" the Advisor asked incredulously.
"Yep," Anna said proudly. "Haven't you been wondering why Olaf hasn't melted yet?"
"It's not a perfect solution," the Advisor started, cupping his chin in his hand. "Contrarily it is Summer. It should tide us over while we get our economy functioning again. If it turns out to be quite successful, we can continue it on the side."
"Does that satisfy your concerns, Advisor?" Elsa asked.
"Mostly." He let his hand drop back to his side. "I would feel more at ease if we knew we had the ice-jacks at our disposal, had an allying country at hand, and knew how effective your Majesty's self-generating blizzards really are."
"We can send Anna and Kristoff to negotiate with the ice-jacks," Elsa said. "I can practice my magic, and you can look into finding someone who would be willing to work with us. Will that do for now?"
There was a slight pause, but then the Advisor nodded.
Elsa sighed with relief. "Good. Both of you report back to me when you have results. You are dismissed, Advisor."
"Thank you for your time and assistance, your Majesty." He bowed, then left.
"Well, looks like everything is going according to plan," Anna remarked as she plopped onto Elsa's bed. "Our trade partners are expecting us, Kristoff and his friends are hauling the ice onto the ships, and we know that the ice isn't going to melt while it's in the hull now that we've tested it."
"That's good to hear," Elsa said. "Arendelle might survive after all."
"Were you worried?" Anna asked.
"Don't be." With a grunt of effort, Anna hopped into a standing position. "Arendelle's in good hands. Besides," she gave her sister a cheerful smile. "You're not in this alone!"
Smiling softly, Elsa nodded.
Giving a satisfied hum, Anna twirled around and skipped towards the door. "Oh, by the way," she halted, looking at Elsa over her shoulder. "You might want to open the window sometime. Opening your door doesn't seem to be getting you enough fresh air." Not pausing for a response, Anna exited the room, leaving the door slightly ajar.
Chuckling quietly, Elsa reached for the window latch. "Fair enough," she murmured.
The breeze greeted her face gently; already she was thinking more clearly.
(A/N: This was for the writing challenge [Twelve Shots of Summer: Hexa-Code Kernel] for the prompt [Open].
We had to edit this a couple of times because all my siblings are dyslexic.
Thank you for reading!)