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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Fantasy · #2313476
Elsa and Anna from Frozen have an adventure saving a herd of unicorns.
Anna had never seen so many unicorns. Everywhere she looked unicorns grazed, slept, or played at bounding game of tag around the foot of the mossy trees. Many of the unicorns were white as moonlight and athletic as gazelles, but some shone with sheens of lilac and pink that Anna was not entirely sure was solely due to their coats being touched by sunset light. Others were sturdy giants with so much feathering on their feet they looked like they wore fluffy boots. These unicorns pulled quaint gypsy caravans painted in a rainbow of bright colours. 

The wholesome smell of cooking wafted from some of the caravans where the unicorn guardians lived. The unicorns had already been fed a hearty supper of pink barley hay and shimmering oats, which was why some of the greedier unicorns were now snoring so contentedly. These people, such good friends with the unicorns, reminded her of Kristoff and his reindeer buddy Sven. 

A few of the unicorn guardians remained on duty, eating their supper as they watched over the unicorns to keep them safe. However, most of the guardians would be meeting with Prince Hans Westergaard. He’d been up to his villainous tricks again planning to expand his kingdom by taking over the enchanted forest lands of the unicorns and their human guardians. Thankfully he’d been defeated with the help of Elsa and she’d made him promise to draw up a peace treatise today.

Anna would far rather stay outside admiring the unicorns. She spoke softly to them, holding out her hands, and soon she was the centre of attention of a gang of friendly unicorns. They rubbed against her wanting to be petted and blew soft, warm breaths over Anna’s face, which was welcome as the evening air was getting chilly. 

“I wish I had some carrots to give you,” Anna said, rubbing the silky ears of a unicorn foal. “Although you’d better not meet Olaf — he was a carrot nose.”

“I thought I would find you here.” It was Elsa, her ice-blue dress glittering like frost diamonds as she moved over to Anna.

“It’s so good to see you safe. I was worried when Prince Hans and his men showed up,” Anna said, hugging her.

“Thankfully he got more than he bargained for when Bucceleas showed up.” Elsa looked in the direction of the strongest of the white unicorns, a stallion so white that he seemed to glow from within, lighting up the glade. He was stood apart from the herd, some distance from the unicorn guardians, watching over them.

“He definitely looks like he wouldn’t stand any nonsense from Hans,” Anna said. 

Elsa’s eyes were glowing as she looked in the direction of the unicorn. “Come on, let’s go and meet him. We must go gently for he is newly come from the wild and the guardians have only just started training him. Isn’t he beautiful though — the prince of unicorns.”

Anna nodded, unable to take her eyes off Bucceleas, although she felt a lump in her throat and kept a distance from him, nervous of his stamping hooves and horn as long and sharp as a sword. 

“Hello Bucceleas,” Elsa said, holding her hand out unfazed by the big unicorn stepping up to her. Anna wondered if her magic helped her to understand and bond with the unicorn. 

Bucceleas tossed his head as if he were bowing in greeting to Elsa.

“I should have brought him an apple or something,” Anna said, a nervous squeak in her voice as the unicorn came towards her, sniffing her. 

Bucceleas paused for a moment, considering, then laid his head on Anna’s shoulder. Anna reached up to pat his silky mane.

“Well I never, he’s normally very wary of people he hasn’t met before,” Elsa said.

Suddenly Bucceleas raised his head and took a step back, his eyes wide. Then he snorted and lowered his head as if about to charge. Not at Anna or Elsa, but at something to the side of them…

“It’s all right, big boy,” Elsa soothed. “He takes looking out for the other unicorns too seriously and is always imagining danger.”

Anna wasn’t so sure — she thought she’d heard a twig snap. Scanning the forest, she found nothing unnerving. It was probably one of the other unicorns, or a unicorn guardian, that she’d heard moving through the bushes. 

Bucceleas remained restless, shying away from Elsa as she tried to stroke him to calm him. 

“All right,” Elsa said. “You be like that. I know a far friendlier unicorn who will be glad to see us.”

Elsa led the way to where a unicorn with a jet-black coat and a long wavy mane that reminded Anna of Rapunzel was tethered. The unicorn whinnied in delight when she spotted them, trotting over and gently rubbing her head on the girls. 

“This is Nazraleine.”

Anna put her arms around the unicorn’s neck and hugged her. The next moment Nazraleine was kneeling, inviting them to ride her.

Elsa fetched a polished leather saddle from where it hung on a tree near Nazraleine, its surface decorated in a pattern like swirling autumn leaves. The unicorn swished her tail contentedly whilst Elsa got her ready to ride. 

Anna clasped her hands joyfully at the thought of riding the unicorn. “Oh, Elsa, are we really going unicorn riding? What about Prince Hans, have you got time?”

“Of course. Unicorn riding far beats sitting for hours in boring negotiations about forming a lasting peace treatise between the unicorn guardians and Prince Hans. He’s bound to find many things to complain about and try and get out of and it’ll take ages. I join them again in an hour or so.”

Anna glanced back towards the striped canvas pavilion, listening to the muffled hum of voices. Occasionally an annoyed exclamation lifted above the rest, the accent unmistakably the sea dog dialect of the pirates who Hans had sided with and who had been dragged reluctantly to the meeting. They had dangerous glints in their eyes and smelled like they hadn’t washed in ages!

“I don’t blame you, the sooner Prince Hans and his comrades leave the better,” Anna said, taking Elsa’s hands as she reached down from her seat in the saddle to help her up behind her.

Nazraleine took them to the meadows above the camp. Leaving the trees behind them, they rode out across a meadow of wildflowers with the moon full and bright as candle glow above them. Anna was glad that she was holding tight to Elsa’s waist, for a fresh breeze from the sea brought the whiff of salt spray and the cry of gulls. Glinting rows of waves appeared beyond the edge of the cliff, and surely that was the silhouette of one of the pirate ships…

“I hope they don’t see us. We should keep near the trees,” Anna told Elsa. 

“There’s nothing to fret about. The pirates will either be walled up in the meeting with Prince Hans or else busy drowning their sorrows at their defeat with bottles of rum onboard the ships,” Elsa said.

Luckily, Elsa tempered her fearless nature with agreeing to stay close to the forest as Anna wanted. 

Amongst the soft embroidery of grasses, the moonlight picked out colourful flowers: pink, blue, glowing yellows that looked like fallen stars. Moths with dragonfly blue wings glimmered like shoals of fish over the scented faces of the night flowers. 

The steady clop of Nazraleine’s hooves and her smooth motion as she wove her way amongst the cushions of flowers and grasses made Anna sleepy.

From amongst the forest a bird began to sing, its voice joining the distant hooting of owls.

Anna tugged Elsa’s sleeve to get her attention. “It must be a nightingale.” 

Moonlight glowed through the dark lacework of trees and Anna peered amongst them hoping to spot the bird. Strange — where the moonlight met the forest floor there was a purplish haziness. The purple cloud spread nearer, growing and swelling like a sea anemone opening. 

“Elsa, what’s that?”

A shrill whinny echoed from the glade where they had left the unicorns, followed by a cacophony of distress calls. Nazraleine froze, then reared with a whinny. Anna cried out, grabbing Elsa’s back to steady herself.

“The unicorns!” Elsa gasped.

Nazraleine galloped back towards the glade, Anna clinging on for dear life.

As they came to the creeping fingers of purple smoke, Nazraleine snorted in fear, her hooves stomping as she stepped backwards to get away. 

“What is it?” Anna asked.

“Some kind of dark magic I think,” Elsa said, cringing back against Anna and looking in the direction of some woodland animals — a doe, fox and an owl. Enfolded in the magical smoke, they had all fallen asleep. “Don’t breathe it in.”

Anna coughed, covering her nose with her scarf as a waft of smoke blew towards her. “I wouldn’t want to. That stuff smells worse than reindeer dung mixed with the most obnoxious perfume you could imagine, ugh!”

Nazraleine took a step backwards, holding her head high so as to avoid breathing the fog in as it crept closer.

“Can’t you do something?” Anna asked. “You’re the one with magic.”

“I’ve never encountered anything like this before. I’ll try a little snow,” Elsa said, concentrating on a patch of air above the sedative smoke as she channelled her emotions in order to call up a snow cloud.

Snow drifted down, but instead of subduing the magical smoke it just rose above the snow, its fingers reaching even closer!

“Argh, Elsa, it’s not helping,” Anna gasped hoping that Nazraleine would not rear up in fear again as the unicorn tensed, lifting up her head with the whites of her eyes showing. 

Someone crackled through the bushes towards the snow cloud. Whoever it was wasn’t affected by the magical smoke. “Snow —it must be that meddlesome Elsa.”

Anna knew that voice — it was the hag that Prince Hans had been working with to enchant the inhabitants of the land into bringing rich tithes to him. She met Elsa’s gaze with a significant look as the hag began to mutter raspy words of incantation, drawing the smoke away after her as she raced back towards the unicorn glade. “Get to it, lads! We need these unicorns out of here and we haven’t got long.”

“Who do you think she’s talking too?” Anna asked, stroking Nazraleine’s warm coat for comfort. Her fear grew as feet pounded through the undergrowth and there came sounds of dragging, scuffling and muffled curses.

“Scabby overfed seahorses!”

“Hands off, that big one’s my booty!”

“I was here first ye lily livered scallywag!”

Oh no! From the snatches of words, it sounded like the hag was working with a crew of pirates. The smoke must have been used to send the unicorns and their guardians to sleep so the pirates could capture them.

Nazraleine was nervous of going forward and kept stopping and skittering about, for the tang of the magical smoke remained, making her move as if she was sleepwalking. Anna undid the brooch on her magenta cloak and leaned over to Elsa.

“Put that over her muzzle so she doesn’t breathe it in,” she said through the muffled fabric of her scarf.

Elsa had to dismount to get Nazraleine to put the cloak over her nose without it getting snagged on her horn or covering in her eyes. Anna gripped the saddle tightly, acutely aware that each passing second meant more danger for the unicorns. Already the voices of the pirates were fading in the direction of the creek where their ship was harboured. 

“Nazraleine, if we don’t hurry your friends will be in great danger,” Elsa said, patting the unicorn before swinging back onto the saddle.

Surely the unicorn could understand Elsa, for she set off at a quicker pace. The dell where they had left the unicorns was much darker — the torches around the pavilion tent were out, the campfires mere embers, and there was no moonlight reflecting off the the glowing white bodies of the unicorns because… there were no unicorns.

Elsa raised her shoulders in an aghast motion. “Oh no, it’s as we feared. The pirates have taken the unicorns!”

“What about the unicorn guardians?” Anna rushed over to the tent. Lifting a fold of canvas, she peered inside. It was pitch black — she couldn’t see a thing. Conquering the urge to scream in fear and frustration, Anna scrabbled about the paraphernalia left by a nearby campfire. She was sure she’d seen the base of a wooden torch sticking out. Yes, here it was. She raked the head of the torch into the embers of the campfire.

“Please take light,” she coaxed it, all the while conscious of Nazraleine pouring over the earth where her friends had been, doubtless trying to piece together what had happened. 

At last the torch flared alight and Anna went back to the pavilion. She was glad that Elsa joined her. Together they tiptoed inside, almost stumbling over a boy who lay face down on the grass, head on the crook of his arm for a pillow. A loud snore made Anna jump.

“It’s all right, they’re just asleep,” Elsa said, peering at the faces of the unicorn guardians were they lay fallen back in their chairs, and in some cases tumbled onto the earth or with heads on the table, as if the sleeping spell had come on them unawares. “No sign of Prince Hans and his cronies though.”

Anna balled her fists. “I bet he caused all of this.” She shivered, feeling the silence pressing in on her. “Let’s go find the unicorns. I’m sure you’ll find a way to break the sleeping spell.”

Nazraleine’s silhouette was vanishing amongst the trees as she headed back in the direction of the sea. Anna and Elsa ran to catch up with her.

Anna pointed to the crushed blades of grass running in a snail trail away from the campsite. “The ground is smooth as if the unicorns have been dragged over it.”

Elsa folded her arms, her eyes flashing with anger. “They’re taking the unicorns to their ship.”

Anna and Elsa sprinted alongside Nazraleine through the thick grasses of the meadow that had seemed like soft billows of beauty before but now had become belligerent hands reaching out to snag their clothes and slow them down. Elsa stumbled over a tussock and Anna sneezed as pollen wafted in her face.

Reaching the cliff edge before them, Nazraleine reared with a whinny of concern that carried far. Other muffled whinnies answered her call.

Relief surged in Anna. At least they knew where the unicorns were. “There must be some way down to a beach or something where we can get aboard the ship. The unicorns won’t stand for the pirates catching them and now they’re awake they’ll try and get free. I’m sure your magic will be able to help us.”

Ahead of her, Elsa brought her hands up to her mouth in a gesture of apprehension.

“What is it?” Anna panted, battling through a final forest of grasses and hating being slower than tall, elegant Elsa. 

Coming to Elsa’s side, she saw why her sister looked so deflated. The pirates had already set sail. Some pointed to Nazraleine and her companions, jeering. Another peel of terrified whinnies came from the unicorns tied on the ship’s deck.

Anna wrung her hand, tears prickling in her eyes as she imagined the beautiful unicorns being sold by the greedy pirates. Whoever they went to were sure not to be as kind as the unicorn guardians who loved the unicorns like family. 

“Elsa, what can we do?” 

Elsa strode up and down in front of Nazraleine wearing a frown of concentration. “I know, Nokk. He’ll be able to help us.

Pulling on the delicate silver cord about her neck, Elsa drew out the seashell she had taken from the sea water of Ahtohallan where she had met Nokk and lifted it to her lips, blowing a call as shrill and far carrying as an ocean breeze.

The pirates stopped jeering for a moment, then broke out into renewed guffaws as nothing happened. Some were taunting the unicorns by banging on barrels to make frightening noises or lashing them with the ends of ship’s rope if they misbehaved. 

Elsa narrowed her eyes with a fierce glare. 

Anna patted her arm. “Look.”

In the distance the sea swelled, storm waves rearing up in cliff upon towering cliff of icy water. At the head of the waves was a charging horse formed from seawater, his mane strands of spindrift. 

Nazraleine whinnied and pranced in recognition of a friend.

Nokk galloped up to the pirate ship, the jagged waves battering it and sending it rocking like a toy. Some terrified pirates got knocked overboard. The unicorns, tied fast, shrilled out terrified cries.

“Nokk, slow down, there are unicorns on the ship!” Elsa shouted.

Nokk circled the ship, making the pirates huddle together like frightened mice as they awaited his next move. 

Dipping beneath the waves, Nokk burst from the water between the pirate ship and the mouth of the creek that she ship headed towards. Up, up Nokk jumped until his prancing hooves seemed to touch the sky. He drew with him the water in the creek, leaving the ship stranded in a couple of feet of water. The terrified pirates scrambled down, abandoning the ship as they tore towards dry land for dear life. 

Nokk panted with the effort of holding the water away from the ship. The unicorns whinnied in confusion and distress.

“The unicorns don’t know how to get down, they’re tied up.” Anna scanned the clifftops for a way down to the beach, but the only path appeared to be some distance away at the head of the creek. Glancing at Nokk struggling to hold back the water, she realised that it would take too long to go that way.

“Hold on Nokk,” Elsa shouted, taking a step back and spreading her arms before her. Snowflakes burst from the palm of her hand as she concentrated her energy into making a snow bridge towards the ship. The ice rainbow of snowflakes twinkled and shimmered.

“Come, Anna, we haven’t got a moment to lose,” Elsa said, leaping onto the bridge that she had created. 

Nazraleine shook her head, full of doubt. Anna didn’t blame her.

“But it’s slippery,” she fretted.

“We must go together, we’ll free the unicorns quicker that way,” Elsa said, her brows knitting in sympathy as she glanced towards Nokk who was shifting his hooves as he fought to hold the water back from crashing down on the pirate ship.

Anna let out a muffled moan and screwed her eyes tightly closed as Nazraleine lowered her head decisively and stepped onto the ice bridge. Step after tentative step jolted through Anna’s body as she clung tight to the unicorn. Ahead she could hear Elsa shouting encouragement, then the sound of her feet running across the ship deck, her greeting the unicorns…

A shock of cold sea spray flung over Anna making her open her eyes. Nokk was tiring, kicking at the air in order to keep himself in position holding the water back.

“It’s all right, Nazraleine, Elsa will free your friends,” Anna said, leaning forward to pat the unicorn. 

Nazraleine’s hooves slipped on the ice.

“Woah!” Caught off balance, Anna tumbled off the unicorn’s back, landing with a thud. The world raced by in a blur of ice, moonlit sky and sea cliff that seemed to go on forever. All at once Anna skidded onto the ship deck with a thud. Gasping and rubbing her bruises, she pushed herself up to her feet as Nazraleine skidded by, legs splayed. The poor unicorn almost hit the mast. Anna rushed to her, hugging her and reassuring her as she helped her upright. 

Already Elsa had freed half the unicorns who took flying jumps off the side of the ship, landing on the pebbly seabed and galloping away towards the safety of the beach. A particularly bulky feather-footed unicorn who Anna remembered as having eaten most of the pink barley hay jumped down with such force that the ship rocked.

Elsa was sawing at the ropes holding the other unicorns back with a serrated blade that she had conjured from the strongest icicles. One of the pirates had left his cutlass on the deck and Anna grabbed it and ran to help Elsa. Even Nazraleine assisted, using her sharp, spiralling horn to fray the rope tying another unicorn to the deck.

With grateful whinnies the second batch of unicorns broke free and Nazraleine trotted to the edge of the deck, whinnying at them to encourage them to jump down. One of the foals was nervous but with a gentle nudge from Nazraleine she too leaped down and galloped to safety. 

Nokk gave a warning neigh, splashing a drenching wall of sea spray over Anna and Elsa as he struggled to stop water gushing back into the creek. 

Elsa pulled herself onto Nazraleine’s saddle. “The unicorns are freed, let’s get out of here.”

Anna was about to join her but… what was that noise? It sounded like… hooves striking wood below deck. She looked at Elsa and Nazraleine poised on the brink of safety, and the water beginning to trickle back into the creek that would soon rise and set the ship heading out to sea — if the tidal wave didn’t smash it against the cliff. But if there was a unicorn in the hold, she refused to leave without rescuing it. 

Scampering over to the ladder leading down into the hold, she swung herself down. The gloom of the hold was illuminated by the glowing coat of the unicorn. There was only one unicorn that regal and strong… 

“Bucceleas,” Anna whispered. Her nervousness at being so close to the tall, untamed unicorn was quenched by her pity for him. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here.”

Humming softly to reassure him, she reached out and tried to undo the cruel rope the pirates had wound about him like a spider web. He’d obviously given them some trouble as he bravely tried to protect his fellow unicorns. If only she had thought to bring the pirate cutlass that she’d left on the deck…

The hard slap of falling water hit the deck, drenching down between the floorboards.

“Ugh!” Anna coughed, stumbling back against Bucceleas wiping her wet face.

Bucceleas reached down with his soft muzzle and nudged the hair out of her eyes.

“Why thank you,” Anna whispered, patting him. He laid his head against her, and a shudder ran through him as Nazraleine whickered in concern. Anna realised that for all his brave looks Bucceleas was scared after all.

“I’ll get you free, I promise,” Anna said, heading towards the ladder, her foot slipping on the wet boards.

Elsa reached down, handing Anna her icicle knife. “Here, take this. There’s magic in it.”

Anna clasped her sister’s hand in thanks, glad that she was wearing gloves for the handle of the knife was freezing cold.

The knife slashed through Bucceleas’s numerous bonds easily. He threw them off with a toss of his head.

“Anna, run!” Elsa’s panicked voice was followed by the sound of Nokk giving a yell of defeat, the roar of water.

Bucceleas moved into a bow. Before Anna had chance to react, she found him nudging her onto his back. Clinging tight to his long mane, she held on with elbows and knees as he sized up the hatch onto the deck, then soared onto the deck in a powerful leap. 

Terrified, Nazraleine had already jumped off the ship and was cantering through the torrent with Elsa on her back desperately calling out to her sister.

“We’re here,” Anna yelled as Bucceleas took one look at the falling water around Nokk’s tiring form, then vaulted over the side of the pirate ship. 

The force of the landing knocked Anna into the air. She came down, sliding off Bucceleas’s back. He grabbed the back of her dress in her teeth, hauling her back onto his back. Heart hammering, she wrapped her arms about him, thanking him for saving her life. The water was already up to the middle of his chest. Thank goodness he was such a tall unicorn or else she would find herself wetter than she already was.

Finally, Bucceleas’s hooves struck upon the shingle shoreline, then he was on the sand, picking up his pace. Perhaps he knew that Nokk was about to jump back beneath the waves, letting the water back into the creek. A tidal wave crashed between the rocky cliff walls, sending the pirate ship keeling over and smashing against the rocks. Bucceleas snorted as the waves raced up the beach, swashing over his hooves, before pulling away, carrying cartwheeling seaweed with the silty water.

Bucceleas lifted his head and galloped towards Nazraleine, stopping besides her and nuzzling her in welcome. With a motion like a storm-tossed galleon, he shook himself to remove as much of the sea water as possible from his glistening white coat.

“Ugh, thank you for the shower,” Elsa laughed.

“We’ve done it.” Anna glanced back to the ship as one of the masts wedged against the cliffs groaned and snapped, plunging beneath the waves. “It’ll take a lot of repairing, that is if the sea doesn’t break it to match sticks before the pirates come back.”

“Which I very much doubt they will. On dry land in a bewildering labyrinth of woods and pastures familiar to the unicorn riders they’ll easily be caught and thrown into jail,” Elsa said.

“Speaking of unicorn guardians, we should make sure they’re all right. Have you thought of any spells to break the sleeping enchantment?” Anna asked.

“I’m working on it,” Elsa said, patting Nazraleine’s neck and urging her in the direction of the camp.

The rescued unicorns were already there, clustered around the pavilion. The groggy voice of one of the unicorn guardians welcoming his unicorn was accompanied by stumbling footsteps as riders embraced their unicorns. Good — the enchantment must be wearing off by itself. 

The leader of the unicorn guardians gripped the folded canvas at the doorway of the pavilion for support, his somnambulant gaze widening into a twinkling grin as he beheld the unicorns filling the glade with their jubilant whinnies and swishing tails. Nazraleine trotted over to him, dipping her head to have her chin scratched.

The unicorn guardian leader smiled broadly at Elsa and Anna. “Thank goodness the unicorns are safe. Thanks to you I take it?”

His son joined him. “Yes, when we all started falling asleep, I was worried guessing that Prince Hans had got that evil witch he works with to enchant us. I fought against it so hard and tried to get the unicorns to safety, but the spell was too strong.”

“Yes, I spotted you asleep on the grass by the door,” Anna said, trying hard not to smile at the grass stains on his face making him look more like a goblin than a boy.

The boy’s lips tightened as he looked back into the shadows beneath the pavilion. “Prince Hans has gone though.”

The leader of the unicorn guardians scratched his bearded chin.“Must have planned this to get out of signing the peace treaty. With the unicorns as his captives, he knows we’d sign our lands over to him in order for the unicorns to be safely returned.”

“Well, he hasn’t got the unicorns so hopefully him and his pirate friends will think twice about troubling you again now that we’ve made fools of them,” Elsa said. 

The unicorn leader nodded. “The unicorns and my kindred can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done.”

Anna hugged Bucceleas as he laid his head on her shoulder. “We’re only too glad to help. And we’d be only too glad to see you and the unicorns visiting Arendelle as often as you like.”

“Of course, that would be wonderful.”

As good as their word, the unicorns and their guardians often visited Arendelle and Bucceleas retained his soft spot for Anna. Riding beside Elsa, who rode Nazraleine, she loved to canter beneath the boughs of the winter forest coated in twinkling diamonds of snowfall. Bucceleas even developed a fondness for having his long mane plaited like Anna’s hair. Prince Hans and the pirates never troubled the unicorns again. As well as rescuing the unicorns, Elsa and Anna had both gained dear four hoofed friends. Anna just loved a happy ending.

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