By Ada, Home Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
Arendelle’s fortnight-long Fjordspring Festival concluded today with a great balloon that was released into the sky above the village square, before popping and releasing a shower of colourful confetti and soft candies and packaged marshmallows from Vera’s sweet shop. The festival heralded the coming of springtime and a period of renewal and regeneration for the kingdom – a fitting theme for Arendelle’s victory over the Russian Empire, and the new international prominence of Her Majesty. As our queen, Anna has sealed multiple treaties of peace with European powers, whose rulers have a newfound respect for her. With Russia having withdrawn from Scandinavia and her backyard of Europe secure, Anna has turned her attention to the East, inviting the shogun of Japan’s ruling Tokugawa military government (bakufu) to open formal diplomatic relations with Arendelle. Of greater concern, of course, is her ongoing rivalry with Will Harrison, the opium trader whose empire has only grown in Asia since he humiliated our sovereign.
The same year Anna was crowned queen, the Celestial Empire lost a war and signed a treaty with the British to open up five new ports, and gave the island of Hong Kong to Queen Victoria. In the flourishing new colonial town simply called “Victoria,” there is already a road called Ice House Street, where shipments of quality cut and shaved ice are imported into China for soda and other cold drinks essential for cooling the sub-tropical heat. The Princely House, otherwise known as Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman, has been one of the largest suppliers of ice, having opened a branch early on on Ice House Street.
With the emperor of the Qing (the Celestial Empire’s ostensible ruler) curiously absent from geopolitics, mysterious forces behind the scenes quickly poured opium into the already burgeoning Chinese market, and as a result the product is now one of the most valuable commodities in the world. Harrison’s private businesses have now surpassed even British firms like the East India Company to become the biggest beneficiaries of the opium trade.
Shortly after the Fjordspring Festival, Anna released a public statement about the opium trade to be carried by all the papers of the kingdom. In her statement she has also announced that she’ll be going on a tour of the world, her very first, and with particular focus on the Celestial Empire. We present Her Majesty’s words below:
To all citizens of Arendelle,
Recently, the shadow of a longtime enemy of our kingdom has cast its shadow over us. Will Harrison is a private citizen and certainly doesn’t represent the government of the Union of states across the Atlantic Ocean. However, he has a small navy under his command and is, more importantly, a rapacious drug lord whose empire has been built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of addicts.
The opium trade, pursued by special lobbies in India, Britain, and America, has blighted the landscapes of Europe and Asia, and is the cause of incredible suffering and pain. It came into existence as a cheap and quick means of profiteering for Britain and an in-demand narcotic in the Celestial Empire. However, this product has no place in Arendelle and isn’t a commodity to be casually traded for the bondage of human minds and lives. Harrison is a drug kingpin and a narco lord. He’s everything that I don’t want this kingdom to become. Arendelle will never participate in the global drug trade or tolerate any smuggling by our trading houses.
I’ll be sailing across the seas in a couple of weeks on a tour of our many business interests in Asia. It’ll also be my chance to settle the score with my nemesis. Old Peking is one of my main stops, since Harrison has many bases across the Celestial Empire. Harrison is public and unapologetic about his malicious plans to choke off Arendelle’s economy and turn our beloved land into his private fiefdom. For reasons that I sadly can’t reveal here, he’s focusing on me ever more intensely. Sooner or later, I won’t be able to avoid confrontation with him. And frankly, I’m not sure if I even want to.
However, journalists are suspicious that our queen isn’t telling the full story, since she isn’t one to pursue personal vendettas or petty acts of revenge – especially not during a self-proclaimed world tour. Furthermore, even if she felt that Harrison was a threat, it hardly warrants a personal trip across the world to the Celestial Empire, which hasn’t been visited in decades by Arendellian royalty. If Anna is hiding an ulterior motive for her voyage, she’s remained tight-lipped about it, with no leaks coming from any member of her inner court, or even her wider palace household or government. This has made the press even more curious, for Anna very rarely conceals information during peacetime. The newspapers will therefore be watching her journey to the East closely, since it seems to be of the utmost importance, perhaps even more vital than her possible confrontation with Harrison.
Our newspaper’s privileged access to Anna and closer presence among her private life will hopefully shed light on our queen’s sudden fondness for secret-keeping. Stay on the lookout for more updates in The Arendelle Guardian.