By HM Queen Anna
By now, some of you, valued readers of my royal column, know about a fellow called Yixin. He’s a Chinese prince regent, a member of the Qing imperial house ruling his country in his emperor’s stead. He’s a man of immense influence, commanding a continental, multi-ethnic empire and lording over a population of millions. Luckily, he’s also what we’d call a “Nordophile,” someone who enjoys Arendellian culture, literature, and society. He’s been a good friend to Elsa and me, and a key enabler of the Arendellian presence – a non-colonial one, I stress – in Asia.
As you can tell, I take good care of my ever-expanding diplomatic ties. Sino-Arendellian relations are no exception.
Last year, in the year 1842 of our Lord, Britain’s fleet beat the Chinese navy in a war over opium. Disclaimer, dear citizens: we will never, ever deal in narcotics. I love Vic, but my foreign policy will always be distinct from Lord Palmerston’s. The Qing’s defeat was how Britain obtained the island of Hong Kong as a trading port. It’s why Kristoff has a branch there for Bjorgman House’s ice products to export into China.
Hong Kong is now the perfect place for East-West trade. Yixin’s secret agents often gather intelligence about Britain’s movements around Asia in this new port. We pulled off a masterstroke of diplomatic tightrope walking when Yixin and I agreed for Kristoff’s branch on Ice House Street to pass on any information we obtained to Yixin. As a much smaller country that must balance far larger empires against each other, our strengths aren’t simply armies, but intelligence and leverage.
I’m Yixin’s window into Europe, and I think we respect each other very much. But now he’s come to me with a very difficult request – he claims that the Chinese emperor has come to fear Arendelle because of Vi and Hilde’s devastating attack on the Southern Isles. He’s accordingly asked me to seriously consider moving against Vi, and… militarily subduing her, before she decides to send Commander Hilde and her terrifying death squad against China. That would reaffirm Arendelle and China’s friendship.
My dilemma is this: I can’t service a foreign monarch’s demand if it means using military force against an Arendellian citizen. Yet Yixin’s words ring at least partially true. From her throne in Mundilfari Keep, Vi effectively runs a shadow state alongside me, a nightmare version of Arendelle reaching out to conquer other countries. Yixin wants me to defeat Vi before Hilde replicates what she did to the Southern Isles against the many other nations she’s set her eyes on.
After much thought alone, apart from the occasional drop-in advice from Elsa, I’ve decided what to do. I must delay fulfilling Yixin’s request, because if I act hastily, I’ll bring our kingdom to the precipice of civil war.
In the end, Vampire Vi, no matter how destructively she behaves towards our political rivals, is an Arendellian. My citizens are my first priority, even if they might drive me crazy like she does. Indeed, her empire-building is taking the kingdom down a path that I won’t accept.
I think I can prevent Viola’s war with China, without ending up in a war – yet – with her.
I’m sorry, Your Highness. Please give me some more time.
Already, the multifaceted conflict between Vi and me over Northuldra – over my beloved, one and only Elsa – is sucking even great empires like the British and the Qing into the vortex of our deadly dance.
That’s the Mundilfari curse, and the burden that’s been put on my shoulders as queen.
There can be no good that comes out of a war between the merciless Hilde and China. And I can’t stand to risk Yixin’s wrath.
Wish me luck, dear reader.