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Chapter One

WINTER

 

Arendelle is a kingdom of eternal spring but at a certain fateful day, it was snowing. The snow that fell on that day wasn’t what most of the doubtful citizens of the kingdom had feared it to be like, ever since the revelation of Queen Elsa’s abilities. The falling snow was gentle and fleeting, like how the dandelions, that was located at the foot of the fjords surrounding the kingdom, would dance around the wind. The cold didn’t bite either. Instead, it felt like the waters on the port on early mornings; still freezing, but not painful.

People were up and about, since they cannot afford to be lazy on a wintry day. Men would usually go up to the North Mountain or to some safe areas in the fjords to chop up some firewood for their family or to sell in the market. The ladies ran about town, looking for winter clothes and buying food stuffs that would keep their children’s stomachs warm and full. Chatter about which of stew or hot drink was best for the weather kept the streets sounding lively. The little kids were the ones that adored the wintry day. Little Olaf-like snowmen were all around the snow where kids would build forts and play games of war.

Kristen however, was neutral when it comes to snowy days. Sure, she loved winter, especially when her aunt, Queen Elsa, would work her magic in front of her eyes. More so, her father Kristoff was an ice enthusiast and when they had time, they’d go to the mountains together and become "one" with the frost. At least, that’s what he says.

She doesn’t exactly hate the cold; no. She’s just a little bitter about it. That’s because when she was younger, she and her cousin Eirik, the prince and heir of the Arendelle crown, had a slight misunderstanding.

That day, when she was seven years old, was almost like this one.

 

Queen Elsa had given Eirik permission to freeze over the huge pond that was behind the castle. That pond was where they kept beautiful white lotus flowers that Kristen’s mother insisted that they should have. Plus, they were imported. They had to have a special corner.

The cousins, hand in hand, ran over to the pond with huge smiles on their faces.

“Come on, Eirik!” Kristen said. “Do the thing!”

Eirik laughed and approached the edge of the pond. “Alright,” he said. Something about his movements though seemed a bit secretive but enigmatic at the same time. “Watch.” He touched one finger to the water’s surface and with a shiny blue twinkle, clear frost started to creep into the water, turning it to ice.

“WOW!” Kristen exclaimed. “So beautiful! Can we walk on it?”

“I don’t know,” Eirik shrugged.

“Aunt Elsa did it once,” said Kristen, doing a happy little jog in her place. “Remember? Then everyone came in and started skating around.”

“I don’t really remember,” Eirik said.

“That’s only because you were indoors,” Kristen said. “Come on.” She grabbed Eirik’s hand and led him, jumping up to the surface of the ice.

Kristen looked down at the ice and admired it. It had small little snow flake patterns that were really beautiful and they glistened in the faint light because of the cloud cover overhead.

“You should be careful, Kristen,” said Eirik, grasping Kristen’s hand more firmly. “You might slip.”

“I’ll be alright!” Kristen took her hand away from his and slid around the ice. “I have complete trust in your ice powers! See?”

Eirik laughed as he frantically tried to keep up with Kristen’s pace. “You do?” The way he said it was like he was confused.

“Yeah! My mom said that whatever happens, we’ll always be family. Duh. I even talk about you a lot at school! Everyone loves that thing you do.”

“Y-you what?”

“Pay attention~ I wrote a piece at school about how awesome my cousin is. You’re so popular. Everyone wants to meet you!”

“No, Kristen!”

Kristen was pulled back by Eirik’s sudden burst of emotion.

Eirik continued. “You’re not supposed to spread it around!”

“But everyone knows already that you’re just like the Queen!”

“No, Kristen! You don’t know a thing about this!” Eirik looked at his shaking hands then at his cousin. “You never will! You’ll never know just how hard having this thing is and you talk about it like it’s the best thing in the world!”

“Because it is the best thing in the world!” Kristen snapped back. “Everything you make is beautiful!”

Eirik whirled around, shaking his head. “Just shut up.”

“Why?” Kristen stomped on the ice.

“Can’t you just shut your mouth?!”

As Eirik snapped, the ice seemed to crack as well. In a split second, the ice gave way to the freezing water and Kristen fell right in with a big splash.

“Kristen!” Eirik, still standing on a piece of ice that was only on the bottom of his feet, came running toward her. His steps quickly turned into small irregular circles of ice and as he bent down to offer a hand to his cousin, she turned away abruptly.

“Kristen?”

“Leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone too,” she said as she stood up, wading in the water. Eirik looked at her as she walked past him. “That’s what you want, right?” she said.

Eirik only backed down as he watched his cousin fish herself out of the pond. They hadn’t spoken to each other ever since.

 

 That memory was stuck in her mind and what luck, Kristen’s mother ordered her to go look for him. Eirik always had this tendency of wanting to be alone, even before that day, and it was even worse when they had their little spat. Her mother told her that he may be so because he was just like Queen Elsa when she was finding herself; prefer to be away from everyone else.

 “Your cousin is different,” her mom said.

“I know. Not everyone has powers over ice,” she replied, shrugging.

“He’s just lonely,” her mother brushed a strawberry blonde lock behind her ear. “You know, the Queen’s busy with running the kingdom and he has no one else to relate to.”

“But that’s not my fault.”

Kristen’s father ruffled the hair on her head while laughing. Kristen frowned at how messy her hair ended up. She spent an entire hour getting it into a neat braid too. “Come on, nothing’s better than quality time with the family, kiddo!”

“Yeah!” her mom smiled. “I’m sure Eirik wants to make it up to you in some way.”

“Well, why’d he wait for eight years?” Kristen paused. “Possibly even more?”

“Becaaaaaaaauuuusssse--because it’s not easy,” her mother looked around, trying to shrug off her impromptu choice of words. “Go on. Looking for him won’t harm you. Please, honey. We’re worried about him.”

 

Kristen grunted as she walked along the cobblestone streets of Arendelle’s central square. A cold gust of wind blew and she pulled her cream colored cape closer to her body.

Sitting on the wooden dock was Eirik. No one can miss it, Kristen thought. His platinum blond hair was a stark contrast to the dark navy blue windbreaker he had on. Kristen guessed that that was the only thing he wore because he wasn’t cold at all. She walked up to him slowly and tapped Eirik on the shoulder.

A bit startled, he turned to meet his cousin’s green eyes with his blue ones. He rolled them and looked away. “What do you want?”

“My mom wanted you home.”

“Aunt Anna?” he said, sounding surprised.

“Yeah, that’s her name. You forgot?”

Eirik frowned. “No, I didn’t forget. It’s just I…”

Before Eirik could finish, Kristen sat down next to him, looking longingly at the horizon. “Whatever I did before, I’m sorry.”

Eirik, looking like he was caught off guard, widened his eyes at what Kristen just said. “You don’t have to say sorry, Kristen. That was me. I snapped at you… probably because you were really annoying.”

“Oh, I was annoying?” said Kristen, sounding hurt.

Eirik’s eyebrows met angrily, “Yeah, you can’t expect me to be your snow genie or whatever! This thing is a curse! It’s not something I’m supposed to show off!”

“Relax,” Kristen held up her two hands in defeat. “So, I have half the blame here. I understand that but at least…talk to me, okay?”

There was a momentary silence between the two before Kristen started again. “My mom told me that whatever happens, we’ll always be family, Eirik. Family are supposed to forgive each other so, I’m sorry if I bugged you before.”

Eirik smiled gently. “I’m sorry too.”

Kristen grinned and gave Eirik’s arm a gentle push. “I’m just glad that we’re not that damaged. Come on.” Kristen stood up and stretched out for a bit. “Did you forget? We’re supposed to have guests over the next morning.”

Eirik looked surprside. “Really?”

“Geez, you have to pay more attention. Tsk, tsk,” Kristen shook her head. “The Vatra Nation royalty are going to attend your mom’s coronation anniversary.”