The next day, Elsa awoke and dressed in a beautiful peach dress and her hair was woven into a braid. She left the room only to be stopped by Todd.
"Good morning, Princess." Todd fell into step with Elsa.
"Good morning, your Highness." Elsa fingered the lace sleeves of her dress. While her head was bent, her crown fell and clattered to the floor, but not before it had rolled a ways away. Elsa scurried after her crown and when she took it, she looked up and bumped head with someone. Rubbing her forehead, she looked up to see it was Edmund. How wonderful he looked in his brown trousers, cream shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and of course his suspenders.
"Princess, you ought to be more careful. How clumsy you are, Elsa." Edmund teased.
"Sir, you will bite your tongue for speaking to the princess in such a way." Todd's stinging tone surprised Elsa. Before Elsa could speak, Edmund bowed low and replied, "Forgive me, princess. Your Highnesses." With that, he turned and walked away. Elsa couldn't control her own stinging tone, as she started to speak.
"How could you do that? Edmund's my best friend! He's not the only one who can talk to me like that. Everyone in the village talks to me like that. Edmund has been my best friend for years. If you have a problem with that, then I can't marry you." With that, Elsa picked up her skirts and hurried off in the direction of Edmund, ignoring the prince's voice. She couldn't find him though, and her search was interrupted by Todd's voice saying, "I have scheduled a horse back ride through the countryside and meadows for the both of us."
"Edmund must come along. Father orders him to. His job is basically like my constant companion." Elsa gracefully pulled on her riding boots. When they went out, Edmund had Snowflake, Wellington and Knight waiting, saddled and cleaned. Elsa climbed upon her horse, while Todd climbed onto Wellington's back. Edmund tried not to look as stunned as he felt, as he brushed Snowflake's back with a fine brush. Wellington was his horse. Just by the way that Knight had kicked him in the back while Edmund was mucking his stall, he knew that Knight was not an easy horse.
"Um, your Highness, that is Edmund's horse." Elsa confronted him.
"He can ride Knight. Let us start our journey." Todd broke into a gallop. Elsa followed, as Edmund tried to get on Knight. Knight was a mean horse, and it was more than obvious that he did not like Edmund. He snorted, bucked, and event tried to kick him.
"Well, this is lovely." Edmund swung up into the saddle, only to be bucked around, before following Elsa and Todd. They had been riding around and Elsa had been guiding the prince through the land, when they heard a horses hooves behind them. Elsa only had a second to look back before Knight collided with Snowflake, sending Edmund and Elsa into the snow.
"I'm sorry, Elsa. I couldn't control him." Edmund moaned.
"I'm sorry for flattening you." Elsa apologized but didn't move. She was quite comfortable right in Edmund's arms. Edmund's head moved closer to Elsa's face, but they were interrupted by a throat being cleared. With that as a cue, Edmund stood, helping Elsa up, before going after the horses. What is it with this prince? Elsa muttered to herself, as she brushed the snow off of her riding dress. Edmund helped her back into the saddle, before going to find Knight.
Late that night, when she should have been asleep, Elsa called her lady in waiting to her room. Jessica was her name, and she was Elsa's closest maid. The room was lavish, fit for a true princess. The walls were done in wood, with a large fireplace near the door. The huge bed was covered in peach sheets, comforters, pillows and blankets. Large rugs covered most of the floor. Dressers were everywhere and the closet. Reader, imagine a closet that was bigger than an average bedroom. Imagine that is was filled with dresses of every possible color and shoes! Every pair ever invented right in her closet. The finest jewelry and coats. Everything that a princess could possibly imagine.
"Jessica, why do I have to have an arranged marriage? Why can't I just live alone or elope?"
"Well, princess, who would you elope with?" There was an obvious twinkle in Jessica's eyes. The maid wiggled her eyebrows and sent both of them into gales of laughter. It was a while before they could even breathe again. They both knew who.
"You really should just marry Edmund. I know he loves you. I walk by the stables everyday at least a thousand times. He's always either humming that song you always sing or talking to himself about the feelings he has for you and telling himself he's not worthy compared to Prince Todd. Why won't you tell him?"
"I would kiss him and up and marry him if that bastard would stop interrupting! I don't care if he's a prince! Todd is snobbish and rude. Edmund is-is, perfect."
"I agree, princess. That Todd is not a worthy husband. You should count how many times he looks in a mirror to admire himself a day."
"I can believe it." Elsa sighed, before throwing her covers back. "I'm going to find Edmund. I have to tell him before I'm forced into an unhappy marriage." Grabbing a candle, Elsa headed off to the stables. It was snowing, once again. Clumps of snow fell everywhere. In the royal stables in Wellington's stall was Edmund wrapped in a blanket with his horse right beside him. You could see his breathe in the air.
"Edmund." Elsa whispered. "Edmund!"
"Elsa, go. Leave. Don't worry about me. Marry him and be happy." Edmund mumbled in his sleep. He turned and pantomimed pushing someone away.
"Edmund!" Elsa hissed. That was all it took for Edmund to wake up.
"Elsa? Why are you going out here for at this time of night?" Edmund groaned as he sat up. He tossed his blanket off and looked around for his shirt, before venturing off with Elsa. They were near the end of the castle, when they heard a crash. They both rushed down near Caydan's room. They heard Caydan's voice and another mans voice.
"I don't recognize that other voice." Edmund whispered as he crept near the door.
"If you really want this," Aragon started inside the room. "Say 'twickle fickle deedle da'."
"Why?" Caydan questioned. Aragon motioned for him to say it. Waving the wand, Caydan chanted, "Twickle fickle deedle da." A bright green light flashed through the tiny window at the near-top of the door. Elsa and Edmund quickly ran, as they heard the door handle jiggling. They hid in an indent on the wall, leaning and facing each other. Caydan didn't go their way, but Elsa and Edmund were not at peace yet. They both stayed there for about ten minutes.
"I think he's gone." Edmund whispered.
"I think that you are right." Elsa agreed.
"Princess?" Todd was standing right in front of the couple, who were leaned against each other, face to face. With them both scrunched against the wall, and Edmund's half unbuttoned shirt, Todd was suspicious.
"Todd, it's not at all what you think." Elsa wiggled out of her spot. Suddenly a servant rushed at them. She told Elsa that her father had fallen ill during the night. When Elsa rushed to her father's bedside, her suspicion was confirmed. Caydan has used the spell to make her father fall ill. Grabbing a candle holder, Edmund lit a match and lit three other candles. With a determined look in her eye, Elsa, Edmund and Todd trooped to the very bottom of the castle to where the secret royal library was. It contained every law made, broken and changed ever since Icilia was made into a kingdom. No one knew about the secret room. Only Elsa's crown and the King's scepter could unlock the door. It was widely known to the palace servants as a storage room. Elsa came to the door and motioned for Edmund to turn Todd around. When he did, Elsa waved her crown in front of the keyhole and then pushed the door open. Inside was huge. With walls like a cathedral, you would have never guessed it was in the bottom of the castle, but on top. All the walls were actually fine bookcases, two of them were filled with small books, big books, thick books, thin books, all kinds of books. The other two were filled with scrolls. In the middle of the room, there was a large wooden table. A large steel chandelier with candles in the holders glimmered on the ceiling. The room had a smell of new and old books and quite a bit of dust. They set to work immediately. Edmund started on one side, Elsa on the other and Todd in the middle. Once the old king has died, a new heir must take the throne in the next two days. If not present, the crown shall be handed to the next heir, who will rule until their death. Elsa read on silently. She tossed the scroll on the table, before searching on. Turning his gaze to the bookcase, Edmund pulled out a dark red velvet book. Pulling out his own necklace that had a deep emerald stoned cross having from the middle, Edmund pressed it into the imprint on the front belt. The belt lock was freed and fell to the side. Looking around, Edmund saw that both the prince and princess were occupied at the moment and didn't care about with he was doing. Opening, the book, Edmund furiously flipped the pages until he reached a page with a blue liquid in a silver goblet. Quickly, he tore both pages out and stuffed them in his pocket, before putting the book and lock back in place and on the shelf. I'll fix the book later. Edmund told himself.
"Elsa. I know what we need." Edmund told her.
"What? I'll do anything to help my father, you know that." Elsa hurried over. Todd followed, after putting the scrolls back in place. Edmund pointed to a spot on a map that he had unfolded. It was old and yellowing, but still a trustworthy map. It had every possible location of the kingdom, inside the border and out.
"We have to go to the Havackian Slopes."
"That's a half a day's trip. I want to go with you, but at the same time, I can't leave. If my father dies and I'm not back in time, who knows who will claim the crown."
"We'll have to hurry, but we'll make it. Who will we leave in charge of the kingdom?" Todd spoke up. The couple looked at him as if he had suddenly just appeared in the room. Have they really forgotten about me? I've only been searching with them for the past hour. Todd muttered to himself.
"We'll just leave and inform the kingdom that we will be back in two days."
"But what if we're not?" Todd questioned.
"'We're?'" Elsa looked at him.
"I'm not letting you go alone. I don't care if this servant boy is with you. I am going." Todd proclaimed. Elsa eyed him for a while, before giving in, "It seems that I don't have much of a choice. We'll leave your parents in charge, but we will depart secretly right now. I don't want Caydan to know that we overheard the plan. He'll go after me if he knows. Tell your parents to stall time and tell them not to tell Caydan that I am gone. We leave in ten minutes."
No later than ten minutes, Elsa, Edmund and Todd set off on horseback to the Havackian Slopes. They had packed bread a few bits of cheese and ham, matches, two maps, a couple lanterns, blankets and extra cloaks. Elsa dressed warmly in a thick white dress, red cloak, snow boots, mittens and thick warm stockings. Her hair was tightly braided away from her face and draping down her back. She informed all of the servants that she was leaving, and forbade any of them to tell Caydan where she was off to. Before they had left, Edmund had studied the map and Todd had informed his parents of their departure. Elsa knew nearly every inch of the kingdom, but Edmund, who had once been a guide for Elsa and her father, knew the safest and quickest paths to take. Before they had ventured out of the village, they had warned everyone in the town of their departure, and their promise that they would be back in two days. It was snowing in large clumps, and you could only see about three yards in front, behind and to the sides of you. In the front of the line was Edmund, who had tied a rope from Wellington's saddle, to Elsa's horse Snowflake, and then in the back, Todd was bringing up the rear with the rope ending around his saddle. Holding up his lantern to the map, Edmund shouted, "We're battling a winter blizzard. Keep your horses under control and don't let the rope break." The wind was ripping through Elsa's cloak. Little ice pieces fell around her neck. It felt like they were viciously biting into the back of her neck. They moved on slowly, as Edmund shielded his face from the incoming snow to see the map. Okay. First we have to find the border of the country that I marked. Edmund searched around with his eyes, before spotting a tree with a blue ribbon securely fastened around the trunk. He led the others on into the woods, where the tree slightly helped to shield them from the snow. Lord, help to guide me through this blizzard. We only have two days to find the antidote to save Elsa's father. I know you hear me, and I know you understand. Help us, Father, and protect all of us through this journey. Amen.
It was the next morning, and King Julius was up early. He called the entire village to hear what he had to say. He was dressed in his fine clothes and most importantly, his red and gold crown. His wife, Queen Tiana was with King Harold at the present moment, helping the maids to try to heal the king. Two guards opened the balcony doors. Below him were the village people, anxiously awaiting the news.
"Attention! People Of Icilia! Your king, King Harold, has fallen ill overnight. We do not know the date when he will return to his royal duties, but we ask you, as the people, to bear with me, and my wife, as your temporary king and queen until King Harold is well and able, once again. We promise to do the best to our abilities, and to love and care for you as your king has for the past years. Please go on with life, and any well wishes to the king will be appreciated. You are dismissed, now. Thank you for your prayers and cooperation." With that, King Julius left the balcony. He hurried off to the king's chambers. When he got to the door, his wife was slipping out. Tears were gathered in her eyes, as she told him that the king was getting worse.
Deep within the castle in his room, Caydan was dancing around, while Aragon was rolling his eyes at the childish moves of the captain.
"Yes, yes, yes!! It's working. Before three days is up, King Harold will be dead and I can reclaimed my cr-," Caydan was stopped by Aragon's clearing of the throat. "What?" he demanded, annoyed that the man would even dare to interrupt his time of celebration.
"Have you forgotten about the Princess? Elsa is next in line for the throne. You would have to get rid of her as well." Aragon pointed out the obvious fact.
"No, I wouldn't. She's only eighteen. Too young to rule a country by herself. She would need a suitable husband. And that Prince Todd is no match for me. I am the prince of this country, rightfully the king, and it would be my kingly duty to marry her and rule." Caydan paced throughout his small little room. What is it with me and pacing? Stop it, you! Caydan stopped pacing. Aragon stood in the corner, playing with his beard. Reader, can you imagine how poor Aragon feels having to obey a lunatic like Caydan? I simply do not think that I could handle it. Plain and simple.
"You're 40 years old, and Elsa's barely even eighteen. That's an uncomfortable age difference." Aragon stated, bluntly.
"Don't care. I will force her to marry me. Even if I'm not the king, I'm still the prince, and she's a princess. I am older," Caydan started. "Much." Aragon corrected as he 'coughed'. Rolling his eyes, Caydan continued, "than her and I have the authority to marry her. That is my plan."
Pushing away the blue spruce pine tree branches, Edmund rode on, before letting go of them. They smacked Todd in the face and snow fell from the branches onto his head. Growling, Todd shook the snow off. The blizzard was over and quite a bit of snow had fallen. They had traveled overnight. They were halfway to the Havackian Slopes. He looked at Edmund in agony, seeing a sleeping Elsa in his arms. How he would like the feel of her against his chest! After all, he had come to wed her. Edmund worked to steady Elsa in his arms, as he scanned the map.
"Need a little help? I'll take her for you." offered Todd, as he rode up beside Edmund.
"No thank you, Sire. I am quite fine." Edmund straightened the map. Just a few more hours, and they would be there. In the meantime, Elsa had awakened. It's so warm. Too warm. What am I leaning against? Where am I? Elsa then opened her eyes to see Edmund's tan shirt. He was warm and Elsa didn't want to move. But she did and got back on her own horse. Edmund took out one of the papers that he had snatched out of the book.
"Here is a riddle. Elsa, you're good at riddles. It says 'On the top that's where you'll find, a pile of icicles, so make up your mind. Pull it off let it be, if you choose wrong you will never be set free'. What does that mean?" Edmund read off the paper. They rode on, letting Elsa think for a while. 'On the top'. That means the slopes. We're looking for, what it looks like, an icicle. We have to pick just one. But what does 'If you choose wrong you will never be free' mean? Does it trigger an avalanche that will trap us forever if we pick the wrong icicle?
"Ah, here we are. The Havackian Slopes!" Edmund announced, as he pulled Wellington to a halt. Elsa rode up beside him, Todd on her other side. Opening his knapsack, Edmund pulled out a large nail and a hammer. He hammered it into the ground, before tying all of the horses reins. Edmund then went and walked right and then left before motioning Elsa and Todd to the right side.
"This side seems less steep with less snow and ice. Over on the left, it's packed with ice and snow. We'll surely lose someone if we go that way." Edmund pointed. Extending his hand, Edmund asked, "Shall we, Elsa?" She blushed a little as she nodded. Edmund had rope around his waist, in which he tied it around Elsa and Todd, before reaching up with his sword and sharp axe and testing the snowfall and ice. There were many little ledges where your feet and hands could go. But the Havackian Slopes could never promise that the ledges would hold. The first half hour of climbing the relatively easy. But as they were getting higher and higher, it became steeper and more dangerous. Once they got to a ledge where they could all sit and rest, Edmund pulled out the page of the book. Elsa looked around. The view was breathtaking. The sky was blue as could be. All you could see for miles was snow covered banks, frozen ponds and rivers, and if you squinted hard enough, dear reader, you could see the top of the castle. If you were standing in that ledge of the slope, you could hear the screeches of eagles, and perhaps you could even see a few snowy owls. As Edmund sat down, Elsa scooted beside him, as he spoke of the right path. "We're making exceptionally good time. But we need to move quicker. It already took us half the day to get here, it'll take another half day to get back, and who knows how long it will take to find what who're looking for. So we need to move quicker. Remember, if you fall, don't make any suddenly move moments. It could send us all down to our deaths." Edmund pulled out a cloth where his lunch was. Elsa had eaten most of hers. Edmund handed her the cloth that was filled with bits of cheese, ham and bread, before standing and venturing off to scope out their next moves. Todd intently watched Elsa, who also had stood to look around for Edmund. When Edmund returned, Elsa caught his arm, before holding a piece of bread, a small slice of ham and a small bit of cheese out for him. He took it, but before he put the sandwich in his mouth, he brought up the princess' hand, kissed it and bowed. Edmund grabbed his knapsack and Todd stood, before they continued. About another fifteen minutes into their journey, they came to a barrier.
"This is not good. We can't go around this slope. We have to go up." Edmund hurried to put down his knapsack.
"What do you mean?" Todd demanded, suspiciously.
"Have you not climbed slopes and mountains, your Highness?" Edmund asked, innocently, as he pulled out more rope.
"No, it is not proper for royalty to climb mountains." Todd's voice was full of petulance and arrogance.
"Edmund and I used to climb these slopes every Saturday." Elsa smiled at the thought. Her look caught Todd's arrogant one. Clearing his throat, Todd replied, "When we are married you shall be able to climb the slopes whenever you wish." When we are married. Elsa echoed silently. We will never be married! Edmund started, "What I'm going to do, is climb up there. Elsa, Todd, your job is to hold the rope as I climb up. Don't tug on it, or I'll fall. Once I get there, I'll pull both of you up." Edmund pulled out his sword, his axe and his extra one. He stabbed his sword in place, before starting to climb up. With every move that Edmund made, it was obvious to Elsa that it was always graceful, careful and extremely thought out. Though he was making good progress, Edmund still had a long way to go. Todd rolled his eyes. Showoff! I could do that easily! I'll show Elsa that that servant boy isn't the only one who can climb a mountain! Todd was so busy in his thoughts that he had walked a few feet away, jerking the rope around.
"Whoa!" Edmund let out a shout. The rope was attached to Edmund's stomach, and Todd had pulled on the rope. Before his eyes, he was falling off the mountain.
"Edmund!" Elsa screamed in panic. She yanked Todd's fine gold and silver sword out of his sheath and carefully aimed it below Edmund, before throwing it with all of her might. The sword stuck in the side of the slope and Edmund grabbed it, before stabbing his own in. Elsa put a hand to her pounding heart. That was the scariest moment of her life. Edmund hung onto the swords, his own heart racing even faster than Elsa's.
"What, Sire, do you not understand about the order 'don't pull on the rope'?" Edmund demanded. Todd shrugged and replied, "Sorry!" When Edmund made it to the top, he undid the rope and pulled Elsa and Todd up. When Elsa was on her feet, she threw herself into Edmund's arms and cried.
"I'm okay, Elsa."
"I was so scared. I've never been that scared in my life! I don't know what I would have done if you had," Elsa sobbed.
"Died? That would never have happened. I could never leave you on earth this young." Edmund teased her. Elsa let go of him. Turning, she let out a loud happy scream. They had made it to the top. They all turned around to see a patch of glowing icicles. There were little ones, big ones all kinds. Todd reached for a large one, when Elsa caught his hand and yelled, "No! Remember what the riddle said? We can't pick just any. We have to pick the right one."
"Elsa, darling, it is just a trick. They are trying to fool us, and you're falling for it. Watch." Todd broke one off, as just Edmund yelled, "Stop!" and Elsa screamed, "Don't!" Just as Todd broke off the icicle, a loud rumble was heard. Snow started to fall in little bits, but the amounts increased. Edmund thought quickly and broke off every single icicle, no matter how big or small and stuffed them into his knapsack. All of a sudden, a large rock rolled from above on a ledge.
"Jump!" Edmund grabbed Elsa's hand and ran off the cliff. Elsa screamed. They were falling. Falling off of a mountain. So this is it. Our death. This is the end of our road. If only we could have saved my father. Elsa didn't know how she could even think, as they were falling to their death. Before long, her world had darkened completely.