A/N:- Please din't blame me for the wait. Blame my brother who is too lazy to download word and get to work. I've had to work on all five stories in progress, as well as the sequel to 'Dominator of the Universe'. But anyway, this chapter is finally here after a full week of work.

Moving on to review responses:-

YaBetterWatchOut:- Espen has literally threatened to kill Elsa multiple times over. Elsa would have to get hit by a nuke to be crazy enough to even consider a romantic relationship with him. And of course, once more, Espen was literally born for the sole purpose of destroying the descendant of Erik.

DISCLAIMER- I own nothing. Probably never will. *Goes and sobs in a corner.*


CHAPTER 9

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The air between Espen and Elsa distorted as their auras clashed. Elsa had accepted the fact that defeating Espen was nearly impossible in her current state, and had thus resigned herself to his training regimen instead of foolishly challenging him every day. She couldn't heal half as fast as him, and her old wounds would slow her down even further. So she did what logic dictated- train and become stronger first, then defeat Espen.

"Your powers are dependent on your will as well as your state of mind. If you are calm, your powers are calm, allowing your will to give them direction. Now, try again." Espen said.

Elsa let out a long breath and focused. For a moment, she chased away all thoughts of her surroundings, emptying her mind. She redirected her latent power completely inward, and forced it towards her left arm. Then, she amplified it. Espen held her left hand with his own, waiting for her.

Elsa's eyes shot open, and she made her move, and Espen responded in kind.

Their arm-wrestling match didn't look like much, but the forces involved were extraordinary. Espen had reshaped a boulder to have a flat top, upon which his and Elsa's elbows rested. In all their previous battles, Espen had overpowered Elsa with ease, but with every loss, Elsa began releasing more and more power.

It was still in vain, as Espen slammed Elsa's hand into the rock with enough force to break the bones of an ordinary person. Elsa had learned the hard way that Espen truly didn't care if he injured her, and had to learn quickly to keep her defenses active at all times. She barely managed to keep her focus through the pain, but she had ultimately succeeded. She had managed to strengthen her body to such a degree that even a bone-breaking impact would only serve to give her a minor bruise.

They had been training for hours, way before the sun had risen. Elsa's legs were sore from running, her abdomen from sit-ups, and her arms were sore from pull-ups, which did not help her in the arm-wrestling contest one bit. She couldn't exactly argue either, since Espen had done everything Elsa had a hundred times over.

"You're getting better princess, but you're not quite there yet."

"Did you learn it in a week?" Elsa shot back, and Espen had the decency to look slightly embarrassed.

"Well, no, it took me five months."

Elsa allowed herself a look of smug satisfaction, before it faded away upon remembering exactly what today was. The sun was nearing the midday mark, and the training session was close to ending.

"You were looking pretty smug just a second ago. What happened?" Espen asked.

"Since when do you care?" Elsa snapped. She had long since dropped any pretense of friendliness towards the fire-wielder. He was the personification of everything she hated, and she would be damned if she spilled out her soul to him.

"I don't. It gives me more opportunities to mess around. You are blind when it comes to seeing potential for pranks."

"It's Christmas," Elsa relented "And I'll be stuck in my room, as usual." Espen looked puzzled.

"Didn't I already decide on what we're doing for Christmas?"

"If you did, then you didn't tell me."

"Yes I did. During our midnight snack."

"When did…. Oh no. You can't be serious." Elsa said in disbelief, remembering the one time their conversation had included Christmas.

"Yes!" Espen yelled, standing up, flames dancing in his hair. "We're going to steal the Christmas turkey from right under their noses!"

Elsa gave him a look that she would have given him if he had said that they would be training on the moon. Suffice to say, she didn't believe him one bit.

"Oh really? I suppose we can steal the whole table while we're at it?" she said sarcastically.

"No, you're not fast enough yet," Espen said, oblivious to the sarcasm. "I'll have to do all the work, but I can definitely get the turkey, though."

"Oh, do tell me. How are you going to steal it. If you steal it while it's in the kitchen, the cooks will get the blame, and no way can you just pick it off the dining table without anyone noticing."

"That's where you're wrong, princess!" Espen proclaimed with great flourish. "There is a way to pick the turkey off the table without anyone noticing. During grace, I can swoop in, take the turkey, and disappear into a secret tunnel before anyone notices!"

"You're nuts if you think you can pull that off," Elsa said "Besides, Anna wouldn't close her eyes during grace."

"That's why I need you to distract her!"

"How am I supposed to distract her?!"

"Aren't you the one who is always bragging about how smart she is? Can't you think of something yourself?"

"I can!"

"Then don't ask me!"

Elsa grumbled under her breath. He did have a point. If he was going to steal a Turkey, distracting Anna for just one second shouldn't be too hard. She looked up to see Espen stretching his legs.

"Let's have one more run. Give it all you've got!"

Elsa knew it was useless to argue. She had made a deal, and he wasn't leaving her any room to argue. She wanted to oppose him, to fight him and have her way, but she was reminded of the painful truth several times over- the gap in their abilities was just too wide. Not only did he possess more raw power than her, but he also had far greater control than she ever had. He could also accelerate himself to such speeds that he almost disappeared from her view. Whenever she tried to use his pride against him, he just shrugged it off and sent her flying. She simply could not stand up to him in her current condition.

But one day, she would beat him. She possessed a quality that he clearly did not- patience. She would wait years if necessary, but she would beat him.

Anger flooded her mind, triggering the release of the remnants of her power. She focused it into her lower body and ran after him, far faster than an ordinary human could.

Two hours later, Elsa was eating her lunch, when her parents came into the room. This was not entirely unusual, but it was still strange for Elsa to eat her food a full hour after it had been served.

"Good afternoon Papa, Mama." Elsa curtseyed, setting her food aside.

"Good afternoon Elsa." Her parents said. There was a prolonged period of silence. Their meetings had become less conversational as of late. Elsa quickly learned that aside from the regular princess lessons that her parents now gave her personally, there was nothing left for them to talk about, now that Elsa was too exhausted to use her powers most of the time, even accidentally.

She had given them an excellent demonstration which showed exactly how useful the gloves were. So her entire stash of gloves was packed into a chest and put who knew where.

"How are your powers acting?" Agnarr asked. Elsa winced internally. No 'How are you, Elsa'. She had been picking up on a lot of these small details more and more since the night she had found the notebook. Now that she thought about it, things had always been like this, and she hadn't, or had subconsciously chosen not to notice.

"I have been able to significantly improve my control." Elsa said. She picked up her knife, and gave it a light coating of ice, and then allowed it to float in mid-air. She made the knife spin slowly, before commanding the ice to release the knife. The knife fell into her palm, and the ice remained floating. She crushed it into a ball with her mind, and flung it out the window without so much as a twitch of a muscle. Her attention drifted back over to her parents, who were a little farther away than they had been before Elsa's demonstration. Their expressions were neutral, but once more, Elsa noticed far more than she did normally.

"Their expressions are far too neutral. And they've taken a step back. They're afraid."

"It's not like spinning a knife midair did any good. Why didn't I use a spoon?" Elsa internally berated herself. But for some reason, she felt far less concerned than she should have.

"Maybe it's because of all that running. I'm low on energy, and I can't think properly."

Elsa's hands suddenly coated themselves with ice, causing her to frown. "Accidents like this keep happening, though."

Agnarr and Iduna shared a look. Their daughter may have gained some semblance of control, but judging by the fact that her hands had gotten so cold that they could see the air itself beginning to condense, and the temperature of the room dropped several degrees. Not to mention the whole thing with the knife. The ice alone was bad enough, but now this on top of it? It would probably be best to go with Elsa's idea.

"We have agreed to let you take ballet lessons starting whenever you wish." Agnarr spoke.

Elsa bowed her head in acknowledgement. At least that problem was solved. Now to deal with the ice on her hands.

She flexed her fingers, and the ice crumbled. She let out a small sigh in relief. At least exercising halfway to death had its advantages. She now lacked the energy to maintain the ice gloves. What little magic she had performed had required her to consciously divert the energy which was being generated to restore her body. Ice-related accidents were something that wouldn't happen for several hours.

"You're doing well, sweetheart." Iduna said.

"Remember: Conceal it, don't feel it." Agnarr said.

"Don't let it show." Elsa finished along with her father. She wasn't even focusing on her words. It was more out of habit than anything. This exact same thing had been repeating every day for the past six months, with little to no change.

"Well, at least until two weeks ago." Elsa thought. She didn't know whether to feel guilty or smug about it. She stood and bowed as her parents left her room, shutting the heavy metal door behind them.

Elsa sat on her bed and frowned. She knew she was too tired to accidentally ice her hands over. She was too tired to do any accidental magic at all.

She had lied to her parents for the first time in a long time. Not a lie of omission- she had told quite a few of those. This was a deliberate lie, intended to fool them. Her hands icing over was no accident. Instinct would be more accurate. Her powers had automatically activated as a defense mechanism. And she only knew of one thing, or person, who could send her body into a fight or flight state with just his presence.

Elsa's eyes went to the ceiling, but saw nothing unusual. However, she knew that Espen had been here mere moments ago. He had said that he would be exploring the tunnels. He must have passed by one near her room. Why he was here, she had no idea.

Elsa forced a little bit of her power into an active state, but this time, there was no reaction. Espen must have gone on ahead. She sat down at her table, and resumed eating, unable to focus on anything.

Elsa's mind was split in two. On one hand, she was glad that there was finally a plan to rid her of her powers. But on the other hand, she had no doubt that her life would have been much more stable without Espen in it. She had interacted with him for only two weeks, and everything had already gone to hell. If two weeks was enough to turn her life upside down, what would two years do? She shuddered at the mere thought, and even her extraordinarily developed mind failed to come up with even more horrifying scenarios.

She finished her lunch and immediately collapsed on her bed. She knew it was unhealthy to lie down right after eating, but she was too tired to care. She was pushing her muscles to their limits for the simplest of movements, and it had been quite a few days since she had slept properly. Espen had taught her to energize herself, drastically reducing the need for sleep. She had been able to reduce her sleeping time by an entire hour per day, but she was nowhere near Espen, who only needed 12 hours of sleep per week. She removed all thoughts regarding the fire wielder from her mind, and her vision went dark.

When she woke up, Elsa wasn't sure that she had actually woken up. She could see nothing, and her surroundings were completely black. There was a flash of green, and her room was illuminated for an instant.

Elsa was now fully awake. At least that training had done some good. She was surprisingly alert for someone who had been awake for less than a minute.

It was nighttime. Elsa looked at the clock in her room, which was once again illuminated for a second by the northern lights. Eight o' clock. She had been asleep for about six hours, and she felt surprisingly refreshed.

Elsa knew it was impossible for anyone to feel perfectly normal mere hours after they had exercised to the point where their limbs were nothing more than wet noodles. She knew that her muscles had been torn, and it would take at least a few days for her to be back to normal. But this rate of healing was unreal. She already felt normal. Better than normal, in fact. Had she always been this light? It felt as if she had lost a few kilograms worth of weight in the time she took her nap.

"You've certainly gotten stronger," Espen said from the fireplace, and Elsa yelped. "You're improving surprisingly fast, princess."

"Stop surprising me like that!" Elsa whispered harshly.

Espen raised his hands "Hey, not my fault that you can't sense me. I was being obvious all day. I wouldn't even be surprised if Grandpabbie could see my every move."

Elsa frowned and glanced down at her hands, which were once again coated with ice. How had she not noticed it before?

"Come on, get ready! I overheard that dinner is in an hour! And that was ten minutes ago."

Elsa stepped into her bathroom and shut the door. She opened the tap, allowing water to flow into the bath. She didn't need to use the heating mechanism, but it was still there, because a lack of one in the princess' room would raise suspicion, should anyone find out. She rid herself of her clothes, and sat on the toilet while the bath filled up.

Half an hour later, Elsa emerged from the bathroom, a towel wrapped securely around her body, while using another to dry her hair. She had completely forgotten about the boy who was waiting for her right outside.

"About time!" Espen said "We only have 15 minutes to get there….. Why aren't you dressed yet?!"

In response, Elsa gave him a glare which would have made even the greatest of warlords back down. She pointed at the open window. "Out. Give me five minutes. Don't argue." Espen opened his mouth to complain, but Elsa held up a finger and her glare intensified. The angry light in her eyes was enough to instantly convince him that this would go much faster if he did what she said. He climbed onto the window ledge, and simply pulled himself up.

Elsa sighed in exasperation, before hurriedly dressing up in her training clothes. She never needed to wash them, because each training session ended the same way almost every single time- with her being thrown into the fjord. There was the problem of salt deposition, but being thrown into a river immediately afterwards fixed that. There was, in fact, a waterfall not too far from the entrance to the secret tunnel. The fact that she didn't, or rather, couldn't sweat only served as a bonus.

"You can come in now." Elsa said. An instant later, Espen swung into the room. He quickly opened the secret entrance in the fireplace and went in. Elsa followed wordlessly, closing the trapdoor behind her.

Elsa was honestly surprised by how quickly he had managed to memorize the path which he was supposed to take. Elsa herself had never been down this path, but from studying her notes, she had figured out which path led where. Just like that, they made it to the dining hall.

"Okay, I already opened the trapdoor when I was here earlier, so this shouldn't make much noise," Espen said, removing his shoes and socks. His eyes began to glow, his blue irises shining in the darkness. He stared at the wall with such intensity that Elsa thought that he was trying to look through the false wall made of solid stone.

"Scratch that, given the crazy things he can do, I wouldn't be surprised if he actually can see through the wall." Elsa thought.

Espen was actually trying to sense the body heat of the occupants of the room. When he was younger, he had realized that hot objects gave off light that could pass through solid rock, and even metal. Of course, there were some metals which blocked the light, but the wall contained none of them. He could see the blurry figures of Elsa's parents and sister, and also the servants in the room beyond the dining room, who were bringing the food. He pressed his ear to the false wall, and waited.

The servants had set the table in less than two minutes. The hemispherical metal covers were whisked away, leaving the table laden with food. Espen concentrated, and within seconds, he had identified the dish he intended to whisk away.

"Now that is one large turkey." Espen said under his breath, so that only Elsa could hear him. He sharpened his sense of hearing. The plan had to be put in action any second now.

And there it was. The royal family had begin saying Grace. Espen pushed the false wall open as quietly as possible. Anna was seated facing sideways relative to them. Perfect.

"Distraction!" Espen whispered to Elsa. She took a deep breath, and allowed a diamond-shaped crystal of ice to form in her hand. She channeled her energy into it, and it began to glow. Elsa now changed the shape of the crystal, creating a single point of bright light on any surface she pointed the crystal at.

She aimed at her father's coat. His eyes were closed, so he wouldn't suspect a thing.

But Anna would.

She could see her younger sister's attention riveted upon the spot of light. Slowly, Elsa moved it onto a wall, and Anna's head followed. She kept moving it until Anna was facing away from the table.

Espen saw his opportunity, and took it. He dashed forth and jumped cleanly over the table, and tilted the plate upon which the turkey was kept so as to prevent it from flying off due to his speed. He landed softly, and continued his dash until he reached the wall. Much to Elsa's shock, he ran straight up the wall for a few paces, before jumping directly towards the entrance where Elsa was waiting. He conjured flames from the soles of his bare feet, providing him with a soft landing. In another second, he had slipped into the secret passage, and Elsa closed the false wall behind him.

The moment that Elsa closed the door, her distraction stopped, and Anna turned around to face the table after failing to locate the spot of light for several seconds. Only to notice that the table was one dish lighter than it had been a few seconds ago. Grace ended shortly afterwards, and both royal parents immediately noticed the missing turkey. They blinked, then exchanged a confused glance, and then blinked again to make sure that they weren't dreaming. Then they both turned to Anna.

"Sweetie, was the turkey not right here before Grace?"

"I don't know. My eyes were closed."

"I cannot believe we did that!" Elsa said as she pulled herself onto the top of the tower, which had unofficially become their late night snack spot. But since Elsa was a part of the decision, it may as well have been official. She conjured the circular table as usual. Since it surrounded the tip of the tower, it would not slip off unless it broke. Given that it was made by Elsa with the intention of not breaking, it wouldn't unless either of the two children really wanted to. She was hundreds of meters above the ground, and while a single misstep would spell instant doom for any ordinary person, it was a different story for Elsa. This was her area of expertise, and she knew exactly which precautions to take. She had done so with Anna several times, back when she could control her powers. Before the incident…

In the city, the clock struck twelve. Midnight. Once Elsa and Espen had successfully escaped with the turkey, they had immediately snuck it into Elsa's room, whereupon she had frozen it to prevent its aroma from engulfing her entire room. And it was a wise decision indeed, as the king and queen came up later with Elsa's dinner, while Espen hid himself in the secret tunnel along with the turkey. The king and queen had dropped several hints about the missing turkey, checking for any reaction from their daughter. Unfortunately, Elsa had taken to her princess lessons far too well. Throughout the conversation, she had maintained a perfectly neutral expression, although she was freaking out on the inside. She had also managed to reign in her ice completely, even under stress. Of course, the second her parents had left the room, she had covered every surface with a whole inch of ice. Espen had gotten rid of it all with just a look, but it made Elsa feel even worse. She couldn't afford to rely of someone who had openly declared his intentions to kill her.

But now, she once more had no idea what to think, something which had been happening far to often for her liking in the past week. What kind of killer stole a Christmas turkey for a midnight snack? And why was he being so friendly yet again? Why was she being so friendly again? None of it made any sense.

Yet, she couldn't keep a fierce grin off her face as she jumped over the table. Why she was grinning, she didn't know. The only thing she knew was that for some reason, it felt extremely good to have tricked her parents.

Elsa's thought process was forcibly interrupted by Espen lighting his hands on fire momentarily. The flames disappeared, but Elsa could tell that he was still focusing his power. He took a deep breath, and held his open palms out in front of him, aimed at the turkey. He exhaled, and the entire turkey was defrosted in an instant. Steam rose off its surface, and a second later, the mouth-watering aroma of roast turkey infiltrated Elsa's nostrils. She was disciplined enough not to drool, but Espen was not.

"You're drooling." Elsa said.

"Blame your cooks for making something so amazing. Let's eat!" Espen said, rubbing his hands together.

"Wash your hands first." Elsa berated, summoning two snowballs out of thin air. She handed one to Espen. It melted slowly in his hands, and the water simply ran off the highly tilted roof. Elsa tried to do what she had always done before this. The last time she had come up here was when she and Espen had made ice-cream sandwiches. At the time, she had simply taken off her gloves. So it was now that she ran into a problem which she hadn't anticipated, but in all honesty, should have.

The snow simply would not melt. Now that she lacked the control over her powers, her own ice would not melt when in direct contact with her skin.

"Espen, a little help?" she asked. She did not want to. She did not want to seek help from the personification of everything she hated, no matter how nice he was acting right now.

Espen looked at her questioningly, and then looked down at the snowball in her hands. "Oh, right." He said. He glanced at the snowball, and it began to turn into liquid. Within seconds, it was gone. "Now can we dig in?" He asked, almost begging. This time, Elsa didn't blame him. Even her discipline was wavering when confronted with the tantalizing aroma of the royal roast turkey.

"Yes," she said, summoning a knife made of ice from the table. "Yes we can." The blade reflected the aurora borealis, and the two began eating heartily.

The turkey had been really delicious, and Elsa knew that for some reason, this one tasted far better than the last year's. She had eaten her half, which was a surprising amount for her. Espen had explained that it was due to her powers requiring a lot of energy, and the fact that she was actually working out now, so it was only natural for her body to demand more food. He had savored the taste as well, but it was clear that there was a lack of quantity. Immediately after they had cleaned every last bone (Espen had even eaten one. He said that it gave plenty of nutrients, something which Elsa knew, but still….) they had raided the kitchen once more, before heading out into the mountains.

Elsa was pouring all her focus into maintaining her speed, which was far higher than what any human was capable of. Under the cover of trees, there was little light from the aurora borealis. The sun wouldn't rise for a few more hours, so Elsa was relying on her ears to follow Espen without crashing into a tree. It wasn't completely reliable, though, and she had the bruises and cuts to prove it. She could only see darkness whenever she opened her eyes.

Today's lesson was about sensing life force, which was how Espen was getting through the forest at his current speed without hitting any trees. So far, Elsa's hearing was working well enough, but it didn't help when Espen ran straight up a tree trunk, causing Elsa to crash right into it at full speed.

"Owwww.." Elsa moaned, rubbing her forehead. Normally, crashing into a tree at that speed would have crushed anyone's skull, but now that Elsa's powers were actively shielding her, she ended up with nothing more than a few scratches and a bruise or two.

"That won't do, princess," Espen said, creating a ball of fire in front of him. It was perfectly round, and there were no flames around the sphere. Elsa would have described it as a miniature sun. "Being able to rely on hearing is useful indeed, but that's not what today is about. You need to be able to see everything, without your eyes."

He sat down with his legs crossed, and waited for Elsa to get up. She sat up and turned towards Espen. "Every living thing has something that allows it to be alive. What you are supposed to do is force your life force to expand, so that you can tell whenever it interacts with anything else. Again."

Espen stood up and took off, and Elsa had to push herself to her maximum yet again to keep up. She could not completely use her powers to enhance her body yet, which was why Espen was only using about one-tenth of his top speed for training.

He was also intentionally not allowing Elsa to take any breaks. He had learnt the hard way that if he gave her so much as a second to think, she'd find a way around his training. She had thought of using her ears to get her through the forest on the fly. He did not want to know what she would come up with if he actually gave her time to think. She was smart- far too smart. If he thought up a way of doing something, she'd probably be able to find two more.

For the first time in years, Espen actually felt threatened. He knew that Elsa was years away from even standing a chance against him in combat, but the speed with which she was learning was unnatural, even by his standards. She was smart beyond her years- nothing special there. He was far smarter than people twice his age as well, but Elsa put even his own smarts to shame. Not to mention what had happened during their first spar.

Somehow, Elsa had reached the highest level of power a human could reach while still being a human. The power to overcome pain and exhaustion through willpower alone. Entering a state of mind in which the body performed at levels that defied logic. Completely focusing on one objective only, and pouring everything into that one objective. It took normal people decades upon decades of rigorous training to be able to develop the mental discipline and willpower needed to enter that state. He was honestly afraid to find out to find out how on earth Elsa had achieved such mental discipline. More specifically, what had pushed her to achieve it.

Even so, without even needing to look back, he could tell that Elsa was learning too fast by normal standards. She was learning slower than him of course, but he had been a prodigy since birth. Elsa wasn't, and yet she was showing frightening adaptability. Even by his standards, something was not normal. This was supposed to be easy! What had gone wrong?

Espen nearly had a heart attack when he sensed Elsa speed up, and within moments, she was running parallel to him. His eyes widened, and he further increased his speed, but not to such a degree that would leave Elsa in the dust. He jumped onto a tree trunk, and now the chase was airborne. Elsa initially had difficulties in staying in the air, using tree trunks alone as stepping stones, but within half an hour of practice, she was successfully able to stay off the ground for ten minutes at a time.

Elsa was ecstatic that she was able to keep up with Espen. She was under no illusion that she was equal to him. She knew, and had accepted the vast difference between their abilities. She knew that she couldn't compare to him in terms of power and skill. If he really wanted to, he'd move so fast that he'd clear the whole area in which she could sense him in the blink of an eye. Not that she would blink much. She hadn't opened her eyes in the past hour.

She could sense Espen just a few trees in front of her, as well as which trees he was using as stepping points. He set his foot against he trunk, and Elsa was able to see exactly how his energy was moving, allowing her to predict his next movement. She knew that he was deliberately making it obvious, but she still felt a sense of accomplishment. He turned aggressively and shot downwards towards the ground, stepping on it for the first time in the last hour. Elsa stayed in the trees. In the air, she sacrificed the ability to change direction instantaneously, but she could go faster than she could when on the ground.

But Espen, even when on the ground, was still far faster than Elsa was. In short, all of Elsa's advantages had been taken away.

Another hour later, Elsa was once again sneaking through the secret tunnels, towards the kitchen. At this time of the day, they wouldn't find food anywhere in the city, and especially not on Christmas morn. Alongside Espen, she quickly gathered bread, chocolate, butter, sugar, strawberries, and cream. Within minutes, they were once more at the top of the tower. They set everything down on a new ice table, and began preparing strawberry-chocolate ice-cream sandwiches, an ide Elsa had come up with right after training. Hands were washed with summoned snowballs, and ice knives were summoned. Espen sliced the bread, while Elsa sliced the strawberries and added them to the ice-cream mixture. Two more minutes later, the two wielders were munching on two piles of toasted ice-cream sandwiches, Elsa's pile had well over a dozen sandwiches, and Espen's pile was at least twice as large. Training had thoroughly exhausted Elsa, and the training Espen was going to put himself through was going to exhaust him.

"I'll come by at three. Be ready." Espen said in between mouthfuls. Elsa acknowledged his words, but kept her focus primarily on the sandwiches. Her recipe had been a huge success, and she simply couldn't get enough of it. By the looks of how fast Espen was eating, he couldn't resist the taste either.

"Mmmmf 'kay." Elsa said with her mouth full, even though it went against all her princess lessons. But the taste was simply too good for her to bother with something so trivial as manners. Given the only person in her present company, it did not even matter how sloppily she ate.

The top of the tower gave the perfect view of the rising sun as it appeared from behind the mountains, and their long shadows completely covered the entire city. Slowly, the shadows began to recede, as the sun began to climb higher into the sky. Sunlight finally touched the tip of the tower, and Espen stood up, and finished off the last three of his sandwiches in a few seconds.

"Merry Christmas, princess." He said, and the sunlight hit his skin, infusing him with energy. Elsa only looked at him as he jumped off the tower with plenty of force, but not enough to damage the roof. Elsa squinted as the outline of Espen continued to shrink until he landed in the fjord with a surprisingly small splash. Surprising, because Elsa hadn't been able to sense Espen slowing himself down. So apparently, he was a really good diver as well. Was there anything he was not an expert at, save for politics and humanity?

Elsa banished those thoughts to the back of her mind. She summoned a four-inch thick slab of ice, and began to write on it. Once she was done, she hurled it with her mind to where she predicted Espen would exit the waters of the fjord. It flew through the air, and disappeared from view.

Elsa shifted her focus to her current target. Exhaling slowly, she raised her arms, and the entire table levitated off the top of the tower. Espen had said that hand motions had nothing to do with performing magic, just that it made it a little easier. Elsa remembered that she had used hand motions for just about all the magic she had done until the incident. She wondered if it was a psychological effect as well, not dissimilar to the illusion she had regarding the gloves. She knew that she could do ice magic without her hands, she had just done so, as well as when her arms were laden with so much food that there was no room for hand movements, but using her hands made it feel much easier, even though she realized that she was using the same amount of energy either way. She swung her arms as if she was throwing something, and the circular table followed her movements, and was sent flying into the fjord. No one would notice a flying table this early, especially in the poor lighting. It was only exposed to the sunlight for a few seconds, before it began descending rapidly. It crashed into the water with a huge splash, which Elsa heard a full two seconds after the actual splash. She nodded to herself in satisfaction, and slipped into the castle, and closed the opening in the roof.

Espen was proud to say that there were few things in the world that could surprise him. He had not expected a slab of ice to be one of them. As soon as he got out of the water, a slab of ice landed a few meters in front of him. He picked it up, and read the inscription.

Merry Christmas, Espen.

He did not know why, but he tucked it under his arm and headed back to the inn where he was staying. It had been quite a day. There was a letter that he needed to write.


A/N:- Elsa is finally beginning to show signs of progress. She's only been under the 'Conceal, don't feel' nonsense for six months only, and not thirteen years. Plus, she hasn't had the emotional withdrawal from her parents' deaths... Yet.

Our logic behind Elsa progressing so quickly is that she is...well, Elsa. She has absurd levels of self-discipline, and not to mention the immense self-control that she is constantly employing to hold back an entire hurricane. Whatever she sets her mind to, she gets done. Elsa has plenty of willpower, except that her willpower isn't activated by her own desires, which kinda doesn't make sense. This is because in the movie, Elsa has been living in constant guilt for 13 years straight. She's far too selfless for her own good, except all that selflessness is directed at one person only. Three guesses who.

Okay, major time-skips begin now. Next chapter will take place a few months after this one. Stay tuned, all my lovely readers! Next chapter ought to be done a week or two after... we figure out what to put in the next chapter. Yeah, so probably in three weeks. Probably a month since the earlier chapters need serious rewriting.

As always, read and review! See ya around!

-Phoenix.