Author's notes are at the end of every chapter.
The two fencers traded blows with their sabers as each advanced, then retreated as the opportunity for right of way swung from one to the other. They weaved around the pillars under the arches holding up the vault of the former guard-room and guard quarters of the castle, now converted into a training center for the King of Arendelle who, at that moment in their current match, chose to press an attack against his opponent after the latter made a feint that was just parried. However, the feint was a cover for another, which opened the King up.
"Hit!" King Agdar paused to put his hand under his right rib-cage.
His opponent also paused, lifted his saber in salute, then smiled, "At least I got two more in this time than last. You're slipping, Agdar. Fatal in a competition. Or in real life."
"I know, Antonio." the King sighed, glancing at the grandfather clock in the side alcove, "Thanks for the early morning spar. I've missed this. You have everything packed?"
Antonio bowed, sheathing his saber as well, "All I need to do is change so I can leave with the morning tide. And thanks for having me out here. And I'm surprised."
"At what?" Agdar said defensively.
Antonio blinked and cocked his head a hair, "That you'd still have me coming up to Arendelle for training sessions, when you equal my skill. You should engage De La Vega if you want to improve, although..."
Antonio shrugged, "You're not making the rounds like you used to, before you became King of Arendelle, wowing the ladies and shaming your opponents."
King Agdar sighed, countenance changed by the recall of more pleasant memories, "Those days are past, old friend. I've got responsibilities. A kingdom to run, a family to raise, and-" he stopped.
Antonio looked kindly on his old fencing partner, opponent, and drinking buddy, "You slip only when you have something, or should I say someone, on your mind. Last time, It was Idun."
Agdar laughed, "Could you blame me?"
"We LOST, Agdar." Antonio said seriously, his grin giving the opposite message.
"Yes, yes! Unforgivable!" Agdar sheathed his saber as well before opening the door that led up the stairs to the main castle entrance-way.
"Bah! We forgave you the moment you finally introduced us to her!" Antonio fell in beside the King as they mounted the stairs.
"Thanks. She made Savardo's ribbing bearable."
Antonio nodded, "But today..."
Agdar stopped on the stairs and looked at Antonio.
Antonio faced him, "It's Elsa, isn't it?"
Agdar dropped his head, "Is it that obvious?"
"Agdar, the girl doesn't come to meals, but Anna does? Anna is all over the castle, but Elsa stays in her room." Antonio put his hand on Agdar's arm, "I've re-visited your city's taverns, and overhear all the gossip: You haven't opened the gates for four years, and your people are clearly worried that the heir is ill. I hope and pray it isn't that, but I can't think of any other reason." He leaned in, "Elsa is such a sweet girl, and has such promise for great beauty." He paused, then put both his hands on Agdar's shoulders, "I don't know what happened to her, and I won't pry, but I'll put in a few words for her to some saints who I think I haven't aggravated yet."
Agdar smiled sadly, then embraced his old friend, "Thanks Antonio. With both the Lutherans and Catholics praying for her, we might get somewhere! But time flies and high tide is about to peak!"
"Yes!" Antonio and Agdar sprinted up the rest of the way. Antonio rounded the banister to continue on up to his room while Agdar paused, sighing as the words that had kept him up all night came back, unbidden and unforgettable.
"NO! Don't touch me! I don't want to hurt you!"
"THERE you are!"
Agdar glanced up to see Queen Idun, in her night robe, descending the stairs, "Good morning." he said.
"Where were you?"
"I couldn't sleep, so I pestered Antonio for one last session before he left."
Idun glanced at the grandfather clock, "He'd better hurry." She turned back to him, then put her hand on his shoulder, "I couldn't sleep either."
Agdar nodded, putting his hand on hers and squeezing it.
"NO! Don't touch me! I don't want to hurt you!"
"I-I don't know what to do." He sighed, "Antonio noticed."
Idun smiled ruefully, "He notices everything. Part of being a born fencer."
"Good morning your Majesties!"
Idun turned to see Kai, impeccably dressed, standing next to the bannister.
"Good morning, Kai. Can you see Mr. Rivieri to the docks before he misses his ship?" she asked him.
Kai bowed, "Everything is already in motion, your Majesty."
Idun inclined her head in gratitude, then sighed and looked her husband over. She shook her head, reached over, and tapped the pommel of his saber, "What is it about you men and your swords that you have to beat on and cut each other up with them?"
Agdar grinned, drew his saber, and held it up, admiring the gleaming metal and the scratches as it gleamed in the light.
"Looks beautiful, doesn't it? But its dangerous." He turned to her, "Its about mastering something dangerous." he said, "Bringing under your control something that you reasonably fear."
"There is great beauty in your powers, but also great danger!"
"You must learn to control your powers."
"Agdar?" Idun asked him, startled at the look on his face.
"Fear will be your enemy."
The King of Arendelle was gazing, open-mouthed, at his own saber, blushing red at the shame of his own blindness.
"What is it?"
He slowly returned his saber to his scabbard.
"The shame of a king lies not in the mistakes he makes, but his arrogant refusal to admit them."
He turned to his wife and queen, "You're right. It's not working."
She gasped, eyes brightening, "But..."
"I didn't have any other options." he said squeezing her hand, then lifting it to his lips to kiss the back of it tenderly, "But I just got an idea!"
He turned and ran up the stairs to their quarters, taking the steps two at a time.
"NO! Don't touch me! I don't want to hurt you!"
"Oh God, Agdar. I hope you're not too late." Idun murmured to herself, watching him go up the stairs, then looking toward the wing where their daughters's rooms were located.
"As always, it was a pleasure to have you, Mr. Rivieri!" Kai said as the servants were moving Antonio's luggage out the door to the waiting carriage.
Antonio grinned, "I recall a time when you would have rather strangled me, Kai!"
Kai rolled his eyes, then grinned back, "SEVERAL times, if I remember correctly! You and your band of merry fencers made the life of the personal servant of the Heir Presumptive of Arendelle...interesting. But these visits have lifted the spirits of Arendelle's King, and for that, Arendelle thanks you!"
Antonio winked, "For if the King is happy, then the Queen is happy. For when the Queen is not happy..."
"...Then nobody is happy." Kai and he finished together.
"And don't you forget that!"
"Your Majesty!" Both Kai and Antonio turned to bow to Queen Idun, who had gotten dressed and come back downstairs for breakfast.
She inclined her head to them, then smiled and extended her hands toward Antonio, grasping his, "Thanks for coming, Anti. You bring back fond memories, even though the making of them wasn't all that fondly appreciated at the time!"
"AND I WANT IT ALL DONE BY NOON!"
"Y-yes your Majesty!"
The trio glanced up to see King Agdar coming, no bounding, down the steps, holding a purse. He grinned at Antonio as he approached, arms extended.
The men embraced, then Agdar handed Antonio the purse, "Can't forget your training fees, can we?"
Antonio didn't care about the fees, but past history taught him that the Kings of Arendelle were stubborn as asses when it came to rewarding those they favored, so protesting the issue would only cause unnecessary grief: Arendelle royalty always won THOSE battles.
But he DID frown as he looked at the purse, "This seems a bit-" he started, lifting and lowering it, estimating its weight.
"Excessive?" Agdar was beaming and giddy, as if drunk. He clapped his friend's shoulder vigorously, "Anti, you have NO idea how much you've helped me, and my Kingdom."
Antonio blinked and opened his mouth to protest...
"..And hopefully Elsa."
Kai brightened, as did Antonio. The latter looked at the purse in his hand, then frowned at Agdar, "What? No medal?"
They all laughed, exchanged final embraces, when watched as Antonio leaped into the carriage and was spirited off to the docks, escorted by four horsemen to clear the way.
Agdar shook his head, smiling, "Always exiting in style. You think he plans it that way."
"You think, Your Majesty?" Kai deadpanned.
Idun laughed as she turned to Agdar, "I haven't seen you this happy in a long time."
"It's what hope does." Agdar smiled, "I can't wait to start!"
He grimaced when his stomach growled. Loudly.
"Well, there's a time for everything, including breakfast!" Idun said.
Kai nodded, "Which is now being served as we speak."
The characters of the Disney movie Frozen are copyright the Disney Company.
This is what I call a Quantum Choice Alternate Universe (QCAU), where a different choice is made during the course of the movie Frozen that results in a different ending.
I plan to release chapters on Sundays and Wednesdays, God willing. This story is also complete in that all the chapters are sitting on a brand new hard drive, so don't worry that I'll get you hooked and leave you hanging with an incomplete story. My goal is just to get you hooked. ;)
This story will attempt to explain the power source of Elsa's "magic" that I expect to be highly controversial, and will serve to lead into this story's sequel.
Reviews ( ) and comments (deviantArts) are welcome as always: even attaboys are appreciated. A pat on the head and a digital chocolate will be given via PM to those who guess the origin of the title and explain how it applies. Members of deviantArts will get a digital llama or cake if I hadn't given you that already.