I had just come back from a meeting with the Prime Minister and my friend, Countess Viola. Kai, the Royal Steward of the Castle, came up to me and said that there was a visitor in the office of the Trade Minister – my current posting.
We walked down to the office and there, bold as brass, was Will Harrison, the man behind the corporate war between Arendelle’s two largest companies, Bjorgman and Skau-Krogh. Bjorgman was nicknamed the Princely House, because it belonged to my niece Anna’s fiance, Kristoff. He’s a steady and strong fellow and learned a good deal of business savvy from me.
I asked Kai to have Gerda bring up the cold tea from the kitchen’s ice storage area and two glasses of ice up. Kristoff’s ice blocks keep the meats and other foods cool, and there are smaller ice pieces for drinks. He and Elsa helped with her powers to keep it cold with her snow and ice powers when she was queen. I watched Will walk around in my office and take a cigar from the humidor on my desk.
“Can I help you, sir?” I asked.
Will said, “Ah! So you must be Mr. Michael of Arendelle, the Minister of Trade, I presume?”
I answered: “You presume correctly.”
Will then proudly started out, “Then you must know who I am. I’m – “
“Will Harrison, from one of the First Families of the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA. And part of the Exalted,” I added.
“My reputation and who I am has preceded me. Could I bother you for a light?”
“Sure,” I said, lighting his stogie he got from my humidor as Gerda set the tray with the cold tea and glasses of ice on my desk. “Thank you, Gerda. I’ll pour for the gentleman and myself.”
“Yes, Uncle Michael,” she replied.
“So, you’re the Queen’s Uncle?” Will asked, as I poured the tea into his and my glasses.
“Yes, indeed I am.” I answered. “I’m Uncle to Queen Anna and Elsa, the Snow Queen of the North Woods.”
“Interesting,” said Will. “I thought Elsa was a legend, a fairy tale.”
“Nope, very real. I very much love my nieces. Elsa’s away for now. Now, sir, what brings you here to my office?”
He raised his glass and said “Let’s drink. To more and better.”
“More and better?” I asked, as I took a sip as well.
“Yes. As you know, I’ve funded Lars Krogh and his operation, Skau-Krogh, and the stock price has been on a rocket since then,” Harrison bragged.
‘I know, and we have made some financial moves to help Kristoff with his Princely House to remain competitive. But this continual cash infusion battle won’t end well for either them or Arendelle, you have to know that!” I sternly stated.
“Yes, but in the end, I could make some very nice profits and secure that vaunted Most Favored Nation status from Yixin, the Qing’s prince regent. That would set my house and maybe the entire United States in trade handsomely. I heard you spent some time in the US, and can maybe be of help,” he said.
I replied: “Oh really, how?”
“These paltry, little kingdoms don’t stand a chance against me and those in the Exalted. Why waste your time here? With your knowledge of business with your freight company and trade, we could do bigger and better and you’d be richer than you ever dreamed if you partnered up with me.”
“Really! Partner up with you and the Exalted?” I asked.
“Yes!” Will confirmed. “Think of it! You and me with my financial and political connections, we would be writing our own checks for the trade we’d control here. You’d be controlling the tariffs and embargo who I say – and get rewarded handsomely!”
“Just open these kingdoms up like a present on Christmas morning! A present that keeps on giving, eh?” I asked.
“Yes!” exclaimed Will.
“Control All the little kingdoms’ trade under your roof and be rolling in the money! Partnership with the House of Harrison and the Exalted, and it would all be ours!” I exclaimed.
“That’s exactly it, Michael! What do you say, partner?” replied Harrison, as he extended out his right hand.
I then grabbed and tore off half of his cigar. “All you have from me is half a cigar, and half a glass of iced tea. Get out!”
His shocked face red in rage and neck purple, Harrison threw his half cigar into his iced tea and stormed out.
There are things in life that are worth more than all of the money in the world, and they’re here in this castle we call home.
From the desk of your untouchable Trade Minister,