Featured image by mappy, at: https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/79712407
By HM Queen Anna
Her Majesty’s column is the pride of our newspaper. Her articles are published in both the morning and evening editions of The AG.
What a few weeks it has been. I was staring out at the darkening sky from my balcony, my hand absentmindedly scrunching up the scrap of paper that Kai had delivered to me. It was a note from the chief, my editor. She’d seen Jarl Volker, and he had accepted my deal. Tomorrow, the Great Assembly’s ministerial majority, supported by Maren, will kill the anti-Northuldran influence bill. That bill was framed as a national security issue, one about foreign affairs. I had made my position clear in not just parliament, but in conversations with my ministers, my column in chief’s paper, and even public forums down at the Plaza: we were talking about this all wrong. Northuldra wasn’t a foreign realm to begin with.
That’s why I’ve sent a memo to all my officials: union with Northuldra should be framed as “re-integration.” If I can accomplish this during my reign, in my lifetime, I will consider my life’s work done.
It will be my ultimate gift to Elsa.
The door to my chamber opened, and I turned, my eyes falling on the Snow Queen’s radiant form. “Are you not cold, Your Majesty?” asked Elsa coolly. “It’s dusk.”
I stepped back from the balustrade, walking slowly towards her. “My good and faithful servant,” I said majestically, spreading my arms. “You got my letter from Gale, then. Your plan worked to perfection.”
Elsa curtsied dramatically. “I merely advised, you executed. All hail Queen Anna,” she said.
We stared at each other for several seconds, waiting for the other to crack, before bursting into hysterics, unable to keep it up anymore.
“Ew, it sounds so gross coming from you!” I howled in mirth, dancing away.
“You think I’m corny?” chortled Elsa teasingly, rising. “What did you write, queen of mush? Oh, yes – ” She opened my letter, which she’d been hiding in her fist. “‘I executed your strategy just as planned. Now hurry over and tell me how proud you are of me,'” she quoted me in a sing-song voice. “Oh, and a big love heart, without even your name.”
I let out a childish squeal and tried to grab the paper, arms outreached. “Quiet, you! If Kristoff finds out how doe-eyed I am with you, I’ll never hear the end of it – ” My shoe caught my dark green dress, and I slipped, tumbling down. I raised my hands instinctively, only to fall into a pile of soft and comforting snow. I rolled over on my back, bawling in delight, as Elsa looked over me, her pale golden hair tickling my face.
“Hey,” she said, slight concern mingling with her laughter, “Are you okay?”
I panted for a while, staring up into her magical eyes, before replying, “Now who’s saving who?” and getting back up. “I’m just… so happy that Volker and his crowd have backed off for now. They know the way the political winds are blowing. It’ll take them months to try another push against me, now that Maren is here.”
Maren’s charm, intelligence, and adaptability made her a favourite among my more supportive ministers. When I met with Queen Victoria, Maren directed a coordinated vote to quash the anti-Northuldran bill, which fewer and fewer ministers and jarls were willing to attach their name to.
Jarl Volker’s “Runeardist” faction will need a long time to regain their credibility before they try to pull something like this again. Even better: this whole episode showed the public that there was openness for the idea of re-integration in the Arendellian halls of power (at least among the majority who support me).
“Can you believe it?” I huffed, turning away and staring at the sunset sky. “A minister asked me whether I thought I’d surpass you. I tersely asked what he meant, and he didn’t take the hint. He was talking about all my big plans and trying to flatter me, saying how my ambition and scope will outdo your reign – as if you had nothing to do with my ideas. Please,” I muttered, anger rising in my chest just at the thought. “We spent entire nights talking about what I’d do, together. My skin is in this game because of you.”
Elsa’s gaze was steady and loving. “A good and true mentor fantasises every day about being surpassed by her successor.”
I stared at her. “I want to surpass what our grandfather and father stood for, that’s true. But that’s because I have moral and political reasons for building something new in their place. Please, Elsa, with you I’d never dare – ”
“I want you to outdo me, Anna. The more you do, the prouder I’ll be of you.” My sister drew closer, taking my hands in hers. “You’re so silly,” she sighed, her touch tender and her eyes shining. Her forehead touched mine, her breath of rime cooling my face. “I love you so much. You think so often of others’ needs, that you never notice how much everyone else is rooting for you to succeed.”
“I want the whole kingdom to know that I’m your star pupil, your most devoted,” I whispered, my voice burning with passion. “Everything I do… everything I am… reflects your glory.”
Elsa smiled. “Then we’re agreed. We do this together,” she said, invoking what we promised each other many times in the past. My heart was jubilant that early evening, because with Elsa’s approval, I’m not afraid of the future. I’m not owed success, but should I fail, I’ll know I’ve still made Elsa proud.
In a crazy, ironic way, my enemies were right. I am Elsa’s instrument.
Signing off, your friend and servant.