Anna skipped ahead of Elsa, her braids bouncing on and off her shoulders like impatient fire. Elsa strode to keep up with her younger sister, and soon they reached the correct hallway.
"You have to close your eyes," Anna said mischievously, placing her warm hands around Elsa's temples until she couldn't see.
"Anna," Elsa protested. "What have you been doing?"
"You're going to love it – I promise," Anna nudged Elsa forward with excitement. "This way!"
Elsa knew she was being led into her own bedroom, and she was afraid with what Anna had done with it. She hadn't been allowed to enter the room for the past few days, and in a way, she was glad she had avoided it so long. Entering an old cage was frightening, but she trusted her sister more than anyone.
"Okay," Anna guided her and moved her hands away from Elsa's eyes grandly, "You can open them now!"
Elsa let her eyes relax and she opened them. Within a few seconds she was blinking with disbelief.
In the centre of the room, there stood a mannequin displaying an elegant dress. The traditional rosemaling pattern had been altered from the usual folk art and instead of roses; it displayed snowflakes stitched into a dark bodice with blue thread. The deep blue dress mirrored the neckline Elsa's ice dress had, and a beautiful pale blue cape was fastened around it with a silver clasp. The cape was translucent and shimmered slightly, and the dress was finished with a white trim.
After Elsa said nothing, Anna ran forward and showed her, "Look, no gloves!"
"Oh, Anna!" Elsa laughed politely, covering her mouth with both her hands. "It's beautiful. Did you make this?"
"Well..." Anna looked sheepish, "I had a 'lil bit of help from Gerda, but I decided what the dress was going to look like. Blue is your colour after all..."
"I don't deserve this," Elsa declared, "And the room..."
She indicated the window at the other side of the room, and Anna got excited again.
"Yes! We took away the window, and built a beautiful balcony...just for you!"
"Anna..." Elsa sighed, approaching the stained glass doors with caution. "Thank you."
"This room isn't a cage, Elsa," Anna looked a little more serious. "I wanted to make you comfortable."
Elsa nodded solemnly and threw open the wood panelled doors. The balcony was small, but presented a beautiful view of the fjord. The soft draft of fresh air made Elsa feel serene and light hearted, and she could not have thanked her sister enough.
"Try the dress on!" Anna encouraged, guiding her sister towards the mannequin. "I'll wait outside..."
Anna bounced away, and into the corridor. As she turned to watch her go, Elsa realised her bedroom door had been removed, and a thick blue velvet curtain had replaced it. Anna had a glimmer in her eye as she pulled the drape over to cover the doorway – she knew that her sister was impressed.
The evening had been planned around a ball, for the return of Queen Elsa of Arendelle, and the summer she brought with her. It was far more relaxed than the coronation, and everyone in the kingdom was invited. The day consisted of ice skating in the courtyard, overseen by Elsa herself, and numerous other activities such ice sculpting and even a great feast that was laid out in the hall for everyone to enjoy. This was also the day Elsa had ordered for a sled to be made for Kristoff. She had made his acquaintance briefly, and was charmed by the sacrifice he was prepared to make for her sister. Before the ball was about to start, Anna had presented Elsa with the dress, that was not only comfortable, but equally traditional and stunning as her ice dress.
"Elsa, you look – wow – you look beautiful," Anna was astounded when Elsa eventually pulled back the curtain.
"Thank you," Elsa noticed Anna had changed too. "You look beautifuller."
Anna laughed and hugged her sister ferociously, "C'mon, let's go."
The girls strode down the corridor, and Anna leapt ahead, pulling Elsa along. Elsa chuckled and tried to keep up.
Just before they entered the hall, where the band was already playing, Anna eyed Elsa with a thoughtful expression.
"What is it?"
"Your hair," Anna giggled, taking Elsa's braid and unravelling it, "It will look better like this!"
Anna was right, Elsa's hair had become wavy from the braid, and the thickness spilled over her shoulders. It looked light weight and beautiful, and still had strings of snowflakes laced in. The front was brushed up and feathery, and it framed her face perfectly.
Anna pushed open the doors with a grand sweep and the warmth of the ball spilled over them. A fanfare began and the guests turned in unison. Anna took Elsa's hand and the girls strode to the front of the ballroom while everyone bowed in respect. Kai introduced them.
"Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendelle."
Elsa bowed her head to mirror the respect to those who welcomed her and everyone applauded. The room sank into the usual buzz but one voice could be heard above the rest; Olaf. The little snowman was very loud for his size, and he played hide and seek with the kingdom's children and handed out flowers to the adults. The chocolate had been served in abundance, as a request from Anna, and the princess would politely take one, before secretly taking more and eating them in the corner. Kristoff presented himself to Elsa while Anna had linked her arm tightly with his. The mountain man was easily two heads taller than his princess, but Elsa did not feel intimidated by him. He seemed nervous, and uncomfortable in the clothes Anna had forced him into. This time Elsa had not been overthrown with a marriage proposal, so she had faith in him to stay true to her sister.
"Thank you for naming me such a gracious title."
"You're welcome. It is the least I can do for what you have done for my sister."
"You're too modest, El- uh - Your Highness."
"Please, call me Elsa."
Kristoff seemed rather taken aback, but he smiled and looked down at Anna in disbelief. Anna nodded in excitement.
A few guests questioned Elsa about her crown, but she promised them the missing heirloom was in safe hands, and she felt better without a crown anyway.
After a few hours, the ballroom began to clear as adults took their children home early and Olaf's flurry began to leave wet patches on the floor from melted snow. The room became very slippery and Anna had of course shown her clumsy side more than once throughout the night. After Anna had sent guests flying for the fifth time, everyone agreed it was time to go home for the night.
After the room was emptied, Elsa said her goodnights to Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven before leaving for her bedroom.
She ventured up the staircase gracefully, and took time to appreciate her own poised appearance. The feeling of her cape trailing up each step behind her was magical, and she lifted her head in pride. She loved the idea of majesty, and could not spare a second to neglect the trait. It must have come from her parents, and how she had admired their tact and wisdom. Of course, her parents had made grand mistakes as well. Even the most reserved people get scared and confused.
As she approached her bedroom, she was happily reminded of the drape covering the doorframe, and she pushed it back carefully to step inside. The room was in darkness, and felt very claustrophobic. Elsa leapt towards the balcony doors and thrust them open so the fading lights of Arendelle could bleed into the blackness. The room appeared brighter and Elsa felt more comfortable with the doors open and basked in the moonlight, so she meandered towards her bed. She removed her dress and made sure to place it neatly back on the mannequin so it could be saved for another occasion, and she even fastened the cape around the neck so it fanned out across the floor.
She slowly dressed for bed, in a creamy nightgown with an upturned collar and a tiny blue bow tied around her waist. Her bed suddenly seemed very inviting – more inviting than a slate of ice anyway. She found herself sinking into every blanket, with a familiar smell that was reminiscent of lavender. She must have had closed eyes for a matter of minutes before a draft stirred her into a sitting position.
The room remained empty, but she could have sworn she had heard something. She settled down again, but soon enough another draft awoke her tossing and turning. She decided that the balcony doors must remain shut during the night, otherwise she could never doze off.
As she went to close them, a twinkling on the wooden railing of the balcony caught her eye. She approached cautiously but burst into a dash when she realised what it was. Sitting on the balcony, was a reconstruction of Polaris' necklace. She seized it into her hands and felt her eyes become wet. She immediately searched the skies for her Prince, but he was not there. Her hands trembled, but not with fear. Her powers were controlled for now, but what she felt was excited longing. If this had been re-made and placed for her convenience, there was no doubt her Prince was still out there somewhere. He just couldn't stay here long enough to see her.
She fastened the necklace around the neck on the mannequin to match the dress, before climbing back into bed again. She had left the doors open and found comfort in every draft of air. Just as she sunk into sleep, she heard a familiar voice.
"My Queen, Elsa. I'm here. The ruler of the cosmos, Radien-attje – giver of life – has granted me a wish."
Elsa attempted to wake up but she was swallowed up into blackness, already too far asleep. She fought it greatly and her eyes fluttered open. In the blurry darkness, she saw a figure by the open doors and she got out of bed and blundered towards the shape blindly. She hugged it tightly, and it ran a hand down the back of her hair. The hand was not cold, or made of ice. Looking up, she saw Polaris, and his skin was soft and creamy, and his hair was a light blonde. His eyes were a startling violet but recognisable beyond compare.
She started laughing, very hard. Polaris laughed too. Elsa couldn't understand why she was laughing. Everything was so surreal that she couldn't decide if she was dreaming or awake. Polaris still had the snowflake kiss frosted onto his cheek that was startlingly white on his skin. She touched it gently.
Anna awoke to a crackling sound coming from the hallway and she patted Kristoff's arm frantically to wake him up. She accidently pushed him off the bed and he hit the floor loudly and groaned.
"Kristoff!" She jumped out of bed and crouched next to him on the floor. "Do you hear that?"
Kristoff could only see Anna's silhouette in the darkness, crowned with enormous bed hair. He was too tired to say anything but he listened for the noise. She was right, it sounded like ice. He nodded against the floor and Anna pulled him to his feet.
"I'm worried about Elsa," Anna smoothed her hair down anxiously but Kristoff fell into bed again. "I'm going to go and check on her."
Anna left Kristoff snoring loudly and stepped quietly into the hallway, closing the door behind her with a soft click. She approached Elsa's bedroom through the darkness and stood outside the drape.
"Elsa?" She said, incapable of knocking on her door anymore. "Are you alright?
She hugged herself and shivered. The air felt very cold indeed. She paused for a reply, but felt afraid when she saw ice creeping through the doorframe. The princess pushed the drape to the side and couldn't believe her eyes.
The bedroom was frosted and bright, and Elsa twirled in the centre, suspended by snowflakes. Flurries caught her footfalls and her hair swung around her beautifully. Her laughter was a precious sound, and Anna smiled at it. However, it was accompanied by a deeper laugh, and Anna noticed a man stood by the wall. An ice pick glowed in his grasp, and he painted images of white across the wallpaper, the pick acting as a paintbrush. The mysterious man was fair and tall, and dressed beautifully, apart from a lilac blanket thrown over his shoulders. His warm breath was visible in the cold, but he did not seem to mind. Anna noticed an intricate snowflake was marked across the side of his face, and she suddenly had thoughts about this man being inhuman somehow.
Elsa gasped a little bit when she noticed her sister hovering in the doorway, and she lowered herself to the ground immediately.
"Elsa, what's going on? Who's this?"
Elsa moved towards Anna gracefully and took her sister's hands. "Oh, Anna! Isn't it wonderful?"
"I suppose, but..." Anna began but couldn't finish. The man approached her too, and Anna became aware of how tall he was.
"Hello." She said to him awkwardly.
"Prince Polaris of the North Mountain," He smiled, bowing slightly.
"Oh! I'm Princess Anna...of Arendelle," Anna said slowly, her eyes sifting between her sister and the Prince. "I didn't know the North Mountain had a monarchy."
Polaris and Elsa looked at each other with amused smiles and then the Prince shrugged.
"Okay, I am ridiculously confused. Can someone tell me what's going on?" Anna shivered. Elsa noticed her sister shudder, so she raised her arms until all the ice in the room vanished – except Polaris' art on the wall.
Polaris offered the princess his blanket, and she pulled it around her shoulders. "Thank you. Now tell me, please?"
"I met Polaris on the mountain," Elsa said. "I created friends of beauty and grace, but with Polaris I was able to dance and laugh and create with someone. His heart was made of ice, and I could never heal that for him. It was very difficult to part with him, but not as difficult as parting with you, Anna. I'm just overjoyed that I'm able to be with you both."
"...Is there anyone else up on the North Mountain? I didn't see anyone when I came to visit you."
"Well," Elsa wondered how to explain the issue without hurting Polaris' feelings. "Can I speak to you? Alone?"
Anna nodded solemnly and Polaris turned to continue his art on the wall.
The sisters stood in the hallway, and Elsa explained the entire escapade of the Prince's creation and how the God of the Cosmos had granted the Prince a mortal life.
"The mark on his cheek is the kiss I gave him when we parted. I feel it had something to do with his granted wish," Elsa pondered aloud. "Love is a powerful thing."
"Ooh, you love him?" Anna teased, her smile stretching into amusement.
"Ooh, you love Kristoff?" Elsa teased back. Anna reached out and hugged her sister.
"I'm just happy you're happy."
"Thank you, Anna."
An hour later, Kristoff lumbered out of bed – and after realising Anna was still absent – he swamped down the hallway towards Elsa's room. The ice was creeping from the door frame again, and light beamed from the outline of the drape. He swept the curtain back, saw Anna and Elsa dancing freely in the air, and decided he was still dreaming. Anna shook him and explained the story, and soon Kristoff was sliding around on the ice with Anna in his arms. Elsa embraced Polaris, knowing he was accepted in this domain as much as her own imagination, in the same way she had. Perhaps he was a bittersweet metaphor for Elsa's relationships, in the way he was a friend, a lover, a child and a sibling rolled into a divine sculpture of ice.
All is right in Arendelle.