My apologies for the delay in writing back to you. I read with interest your proposition several months ago, but emotionally, I needed time to process what was at stake here and give you a proper response. I’m happy that the Isles are almost finished rebuilding from the devastation of Commander Hilde’s illegal attack on your state. That had been ordered by Countess Vi in revenge against you, without my knowledge or consent. I wish it never happened, and I’m still sorry about it. Honestly, that disaster drew the attention of the Chinese emperor, forcing me into a diplomatic spot that I survived only by outmanoeuvring the Countess.
I’ll cut to the chase. The Southern Isles has a potential place in my Entente of Small Kingdoms, alongside Vesterland, Chatho, and Weselton. You’ve only just gotten back on your feet. You don’t want Russia’s Grand Dukes moving against you without a network of friendly nations, which we can provide. I’m not exactly known for my affection for the Duke of Weselton, but he’s a reliable contributor to our alliance and has even made several bold moves against our adversaries. So in principle, our alliance is an open door.
Ha. Do you remember that song we sang together all those years ago? I sure had egg on my face afterwards.
I suggest you read what I have to say and not dismiss it as mere venting. How seriously you take me will affect our future cooperation.
You might recall that Elsa never once cursed your name or even made a move to get revenge after your plan to kill her failed. She might have forgiven you, or even forgotten about everything as long as I was safe. Well, I haven’t forgotten. Not about how you ended up striking me, but about how you attacked her to begin with.
I already hated how you abused my trust and exploited my naïveté to steal our throne. I was disappointed at how calculating and cold you actually were: you were dissembling to my face all that time I was head-over-heels for you (looking back, I may have just been desperately lonely).
But honestly, I could see why you’d lie to me if your goal was to take over the throne. It was cruel but logical. Even your original plan to get close to Elsa made some sense, evil as it was. What I’ll never understand is the fact that you raised your sword against her. She posed no harm to you at that point. Sometimes in my darker moments, I lie awake at night and think with horror at how you could have easily manipulated her into doing anything you wanted. She’d be a broken woman as long as she thought I was gone. Our royal house would be at your mercy. I shudder at how close Elsa was to becoming your plaything, in an even worse way than I was.
I threw myself in your way, but it wasn’t about me. You tried to cut her down, to destroy her body when she was at her emotional nadir. I can’t get over that.
So here’s my proposal: unless Elsa offers, you’ll have no contact with her. Zilch. Why you’d want to contact her after screwing up so badly, I have no idea. But even if she’s the Fifth Spirit, I’m still her protector against heartbreak and trauma. Something you’re very good at inflicting on women. Unless Elsa mentions your name, I’ll decide whether you have the right to get within a nautical mile of her. Also, you might be a prince, but now my man Kristoff is the royal consort. You probably look down on him because he grew up in the real world and mastered his trade through hard work. But things have changed since you got out of your brothers’ smelly stables and penal quarters. Kristoff is now tai-pan of the Princely House, and you’re not thumbing your nose at him as long as his company is sponsoring much of the Isles’ reconstruction and new investments.
I’m the girl you let get away. Kristoff is the man whose arms I ran into. I’m sure you’ll want to butt heads with him and he’d probably step up. But cross my red line of manipulating him or exploiting his good heart, and you’re out.
With all that said, we’re both a little older now. I’d like to think we can at least be a bit more mature. And yes, sometimes mutual interests in the present can override the enmity of the past. So if you can accept my demands and act in good faith (I’ll know if you aren’t), I’d be willing to sign a treaty of mutual defence with your kingdom, hold a vote with our Entente nations on your membership, and yes, even meet with you once more.
The mind is fearful, but the heart longs to forgive. I hope you’ve changed, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Take care of yourself,