By Halfgar, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – Amidst tense military preparation, the recently-turned vampire Countess Vi has released her Prime Minister’s War Edict, granting the government a stake in her considerable resources. In a speech to the Great Assembly, Arendelle’s parliament, Vi proclaimed: “Anna has already recommissioned my old toy, Muspelheim, which will be commanded by my right hand, Hilde Von Altheim. But we’re grossly outnumbered and dwarfed in resources by the Romanovs.“
Most important among her contributions will be her temporary loan of Keep Mundilfari, the First Vampire’s ancestral home, to Anna as a shelter for Arendelle’s people to retreat to. “With unprecedented danger about to fall upon Arendelle, we must minimize potential loss of life, and keep casualties limited to our armed forces. It’s not a matter of if, but when, the kingdom comes under shelling from the sea and invasion by land,” said Vi to her ministers.
“We must provide a spacious and comfortable location for evacuation. My magnificent keep is far away from the conflict, in the fresh alpine air of the Jotunheimen Mountains. Its hundreds of rooms will serve as a comfortable and luxurious refuge for Arendelle’s citizens.”
Commander Hilde has also led a restructuring of the Countess’s private army – an extralegal force that Anna was never able to fully seize command of. Hilde’s own soldiers comprise of elite shock troops that saw action in colonial territories and imperial possessions around the world. Responsible for the sacking of Agrabah and the first razing of the Southern Isles, they were stopped from war with Northuldra only after Vi and Anna reconciled. Vi’s dilapidated Runic Knights, who Anna has fought before, have been combined with Hilde’s troops and renamed the Mundilfari Court Guard (MCG). Now, the MCG puts its strength to the test alongside General Mattias and the main army.
“This is wonderful. Wonderful,” gushed Anna, as she went over Vi’s edict, her hands at both ends of the scroll. They were in the drawing room, meeting in private as they planned their next move against the Baltic Fleet. “How soon can the MCG arrive in Arendelle to assist the main army?”
“As soon as tomorrow. It’s about time Mattias saw for himself the deadliest of the deadliest. Hilde’s troops are ruthless. You’ll need them against the Romanovs’ army,” replied Vi, who had flicked off her high heels and was lounging languidly on Anna’s couch. The sultry vampiress looked wistfully and the silver plate of grapes and fresh fruit on the table. Anything other than human blood (although animal blood was a barely tolerable substitute) was poison. “By the time Russian vessels approach Arenfjord, the kingdom’s populace will be welcome guests crashing at my castle.”
Anna nodded, completely comfortable around her bloodsucking ally. It was almost weird how she didn’t feel much to be different at all. “For now, the evacuation is optional. I won’t hesitate to make it compulsory if need be.” She put down the scroll, rubbing her chin as morning light filtered through the window panes and onto the carpet and wooden floor. “I trust Danny’s visions over that unsigned note. I don’t believe that the Duke and Hans beat Yaraslaf. Yaraslaf was probably victorious and is trying to confuse us. Colisa is in trouble, and the rest of the Entente will struggle to weaken the Baltic Fleet before it arrives in the North Sea, on our doorstep.”
She sighed, suddenly looking somewhat tired. “I’m lucky to have Elsa and Mattias, but your help is… so, so welcome.”
“And you made the right call recommissioning my warship. Do you remember how I also threatened to fire on the coastline with it?”
Anna laughed. “It was a long time ago, but I’ll never forget it. You were really scary back then.”
Vi’s immortal eyes shone as she gazed at Anna. “My queen. I never said sorry to you.”
Anna stared at her. “You’re apologizing for that? That’s not like you.”
Vi stretched her slender arms, yawning and revealing glinting fangs poking from her two rows of pearl-white teeth. “Well, it can be me. Things have been different since I became the blood matriarch and returned to Arendelle. I want to be a different person.”
“If you say so,” replied Anna hesitantly. “But still – we patched things up ages ago. We’ve worked like a charm together. Could it be that you feel a bit melancholy, like I do now?”
Vi looked down broodingly. “Perhaps. I guess I’m apologizing for the pain I caused you in the early days of your reign. Having my more loyal ministers and those of King Runeard maneuver you into an invasion of Northuldra. Trying to reduce Elsa’s influence by setting my editor and her journalists on her. I even tried to get ministers to lobby against Elsa returning to Arendelle. It all seems so petty now.”
She snorted bitterly. “Ironically, it did nothing to save me from the demon. I eventually fled him to serve you, and now, I’m worse off than where I started. My power’s grown far beyond my wildest dreams, but I’ll forever be bound to him.”
Her smile was tinged with sadness and regret. “I’m tired of switching loyalties, Anna. I’ve made my peace with the demon. Until he claims my soul, it would be my pleasure to serve you and your family for the rest of my days – in other words, forever, as long as this fickle girl feeds.”
“It would be my honour.” Anna hurried over to Vi and getting on her knees. She put her hands on Vi’s lap, shaking her head. “Sweetie, all this was a long time ago. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for you too – all that time, you’d been trying to live up to the Mundilfari name by pleasing the demon. Yet I respected you, and I knew you respected me in your own way. The contradictions in our relationship hurt us both.”
Vi chuckled darkly. “I’m glad you made me see the light.”
“I just took advantage of a mess you’d made with Lord Yixin. I was being crafty.” Anna took Vi’s hand, running her thumb over her knuckles. “I hope you don’t feel that I ever held that over your head.”
“Never, darl. You were always a good sport.”
Anna nodded. “In fact, I’m the one who’s been a disappointment. I couldn’t help you with the demon. And now, despite you having returned from a big victory in London, I’m still relying on you for so much. If you refused to join my government back then, I’d probably be in even bigger doo-doo now.”
Vi laughed. “At last, a win for me.” She grinned down at Anna, fangs bared. “So, no hard feelings about that kiss I forced on you?”
“I asked you not to tell Kristoff, remember? That should tell you everything about how I felt. About how I still feel.” Blushing at her own fond recollection, Anna looked up at Vi anxiously. “But are you sure about this? I mean, I’m not criticizing you for being so selfless… but… I just hope it’s not coming from a place of despair? You’re not planning something, are you? You know, for a selfish aristocrat, you can be pretty self-sacrificing.”
Vi smiled. She gently lifted Anna’s hands off of her and stood up, walking to the window and staring at the fjord. “The Mundilfari line has, at long last, come to an end with me. As a vampire, I can’t have children. I can only produce progeny by turning humans into my night brood. That I refuse to do, at least for as long as possible. My eternal servitude to the demon has given me a new outlook on life. I have a responsibility to Hilde and Tess, two women who I love deeply. I have you, Anna, who I’ve come to love, too. Elsa. The others, like Danny and Michael and Nahir and Alan.”
She walked back to Anna, who’d risen and shifted onto the couch. Vi leaned over, playfully pinning down Anna by putting her hands on the tailored cushions, legs straddling Anna’s deep green dress. “I’m going to protect you all as Arendelle’s shadow.”
Anna stared up at her prime minister, pliant and unresisting. “That sounds wonderful,” she said plainly, “and I want you by my side always, Nosferatu.” Her aqua eyes were inviting and enthusiastic, seemingly open to whatever Vi wanted. “I heard about how Elsa has taken you under her wing. Fitting, that the Fifth Spirit should embrace the First Vampire. Will she and I be competing for your attention, like Hilde and Tess?”
“Flatterer. You know perfectly well that you’re the centre of attention.” Vi purred. “Though I doubt you’d want me to bite you,” she whispered, jokingly placing her soft lips ever so closely to Anna’s neck. The queen shivered in involuntary pleasure, unconsciously arching her back. Head tilted, she closed her eyes and bared her neck further as Vi’s breath grew more rapid. Her thirst steadily intensified and her stomach rumbled. She could hear the pumping of Anna’s arteries, her red eyes able to see directly those veins of fresh, nourishing blood –
A dark, infernal hiss came from the vampire’s lips, but Vi was prepared. This was happening more and more often. Snapping out of her temptation, the Countess shook her head and withdrew, lifting herself away from the queen slightly. “Just kidding,” she muttered, staring down at Anna, who blinked out of Vi’s subconscious hypnosis as well. Vi bit her lip. Anna was so trusting, so vulnerable, so… damn worthy to be her leader.
Anna smiled, fearless. “I’m not scared. Don’t be afraid of hurting me or Elsa.”
“Anna, you’re so good and full of light that it’s almost annoying. Even I, mistress of the night, can’t help but love you,” said Vi sourly.
Anna reached up and audaciously tapped Vi’s nose. “It’s my turn again to say: don’t tell Hilde and Tess you said that, and I won’t tell Kristoff, either. Now, let’s get back to the business of the queen and the prime minister.”