Kristoff awoke staring at the crystalline pattern of an immaculately constructed ice wall. This wasn’t necessarily a shock, as ice and the carving thereof was generally his business; what startled him more was the near-magical precision of the crafting in that artful ice. There was only one person he could think of who could create something like that, and it wasn’t any master craftsman nor ice cutter he knew.
“Elsa?” Kristoff called out uncertainly. “Elsa, are you here? Anna? Anyone?”
The older sister of his love, Anna, had to be the explanation for his strange surroundings. Last Kristoff remembered, he was drifting into peaceful sleep, with his hand closed around the spritely princess’s as they laid in a four-poster bed. As he sat up, though, Kristoff realized he was no longer even in his own room. Instead, he was in a place he vaguely recognized, but couldn’t have been more confused to see. Elsa’s ice palace. An entire castle, made from a single bulwark of sleet, pure as gemstone.
Cold gripped Kristoff, and forced him to huddle deeper in his coat. At least he was wearing his winter gear before he was moved here, however it happened.
“Good morning, Kristoff,” a singsong voice announced from behind.
Kristoff swiveled around and found himself face-to-face with none other than Queen Elsa just as she regally entered the palace via the ice bridge. As was often her choice, the young woman was dressed in a shimmering blue ball gown constructed of her magical ice crystals, which tightly hugged her narrow curves; her beautiful golden hair, as usual, was tied back in a loose braid.
The burly iceman scratched the back of his neck with discomfort as he stared down the petite queen on her approach; the magical blonde stood a full head shorter than him, and occasionally made him feel strange, when he recalled he had to look down at royalty.
“Good… morning,” he mumbled. “What’s-”
“Yes, I suppose it would seem odd to me, too, if I woke up in a place I didn’t recognize. Though I’m sure you did remember this place, yes?”
“I did. But… but why… why am I here?”
“It’s a complicated thing to explain,” Elsa said, and Kristoff detected that her pale cheeks were actually blushed pink. Embarrassment? “I’m not sure there’s a delicate way to say it, so I’ll just come out and say it. Don’t you think that’s best?”
“Y-Yes, I do.”
“I don’t want you to be with Anna any longer,” Elsa said, her voice darkened by shame and hesitancy. She curled a finger through her braid, and flipped the rope of hair to her opposite shoulder.
Kristoff hung his head. He wasn’t surprised. Even after all they’d been through, it seemed that eventually his non-royal status would catch up to him, and he’d quietly be asked to leave Anna’s side. The request made him incredibly sad, but he understood.
“I knew you’d say something like this someday.”
“Yes,” he said, and shrugged, humbling himself. “I’m just an iceman. I know that. There are lots of men out in the world who would be much better for Anna. And-”
“No, no, Kristoff,” Elsa corrected. She placed a slender fingertip over his lips to silence him, which surprised Kristoff. “You misunderstand. I don’t want you to leave Anna because you’re not of royal blood. I want you to leave Anna, to… be with me.”
As big a shock as waking up in the ice palace was, this string of words from Elsa bowled Kristoff over with far more force. He stumbled to his knees, and gawked at the straight-faced blonde. Was this some kind of practical joke Anna had put the queen up to? Kristoff always saw his love Anna as one more prone to pranks; why would Elsa willingly say such a thing?
“I can see in your eyes, you think I’m trying to deceive you somehow. Maybe you think it’s a joke,” Elsa continued gravely, resting her delicate cheek in her palm. “It’s not a joke. This is real. I have no deeper explanation for you, Kristoff. As you know, matters of the heart don’t always obey reason. I… love you, Kristoff. More than my little sister ever could. I wish for you to… become mine. Today. Right now. This very moment. Will you?”
Now staggered on the ground at the feet of the queen, Kristoff swallowed hard. There were so many possible answers to this insanity, but none of them made any more sense than Elsa’s crazed and amorous outburst. So, the iceman went with his first instinct:
“NO!” he shouted. His voice echoed off the cavernous walls of the ice palace.
“You don’t think I’m beautiful, Kristoff?”
“What? Of course I do! That’s not the point! You’re-”
“You don’t believe I would be a suitable love for you?”
“I’m in love with Anna! I always have been, and I always will!” Kristoff affirmed. He held the queen by her shoulders as gently as he could, hoping his conviction would carry the message. “Do you understand?”
Elsa nodded. A single tear trickled down her cheek, then fell as an ice droplet and shattered softly. Feeling guiltier and more confused than ever, Kristoff resolved to say nothing more; instead, he tightened his scarf around his neck and silently marched toward the door, preparing for the long trek back to Anna. He had no clue how he’d explain any of this.
“Yes, I understand,” she said solemnly at last. Elsa watched him go, and then waved her hand in the air. “I’d hoped we could be together… this way. But I see now, we’ll have to take the alternative way. It wasn’t my first choice to do this to you, Kristoff, but I believe we can still have something precious and beautiful.”
Kristoff opened his mouth to respond, then remembered he was choosing not to address Elsa’s insane demands again. However, as soon as he set foot on the ice bridge, he felt a shiver run down his spine. Not from the intense winter chill, though, but something deep inside. Looking up, he saw the walls of the palace swelling, and at first assumed Elsa was using her magic to make the castle larger. Then, upon looking back at the blue-clad queen, the iceman came to the realization that the castle wasn’t growing.
He had simply shrunk.
Kristoff thought of himself as at least somewhat of a manly man, given his profession, even if he was soft-hearted; however, at the mere sight of the towering Elsa walking slowly toward him, the little man couldn’t help but scream in shock.
She was an absolute goddess now. Even that snow monster she’d once created to keep intruders out of the palace would’ve been nothing compared to the leviathan blonde which now stood before Kristoff in the billowing draping of her gorgeous ice gown. The monolithic queen marched forward, guided by newly massive feet garbed in crystal snow-slippers. With the floor tremoring gently beneath him with each one of Elsa’s footsteps, Kristoff was riveted to the ground in terror and bewilderment.
“Well, what do you think, Kristoff, of my newest spell?” Elsa questioned. Her warm yet booming voice echoed off the walls of the palace. She came to a stop directly in front of Kristoff, who couldn’t help but gulp with fear at the sight of those boat-sized shoes resting in front of him. Not to mention the sky-high pillar of her willowy body, now scaled to titanic proportion. The queen smiled at her paralyzed subject.
“How did you do this?” he gawped.
“Oh, you silly little thing. I just told you!” Elsa giggled. “You didn’t think ice magic was my own skill, did you? Yes, it’s my strongest talent, but as my powers have grown, I’ve learned other disciplines as well. This, for example, which gives me the ability to shrink any being down to less than the length of a finger. Now, unfortunately, before you ask, I haven’t yet mastered how to regrow things. Not that I would have made you your old size again even if I could, but I just thought I should let you know.”
Kristoff twitched. What did she just say? Was he hearing correctly?
He’d never be anything but a toy-sized man ever again?
The iceman blanched at the sudden appearance of a giant hand descending toward him, white fingers outstretched to receive. Though Kristoff tried to back away, the ground was slippery, and horror still gripped his limbs; as a result, Elsa easily collected the miniature man into her softly closed fist. Surprisingly, the ice queen’s skin was rather warm.
Elsa held Kristoff before her face, only opening her fingers to let him move around her cushy palm when he was too far off the ground to think of jumping. In fact, the abrupt ascent made Kristoff grip Elsa’s thumb for protection like a safety rail, though it made him sick to do it, since this same woman had just cost him his personhood and height.
“I have something else to explain to you now, Kristoff. Something which you may find even harder to take than the truth that I love you. Again, there is no delicate way to say it, so I will just be honest again, as I always have been with you.”
The tiny man cringed. What could she possibly have to say that would shock him more than the bombshells she already dropped?
“I’m going to eat you, Kristoff. I’m going to put you into my mouth, and swallow you whole,” Elsa murmured sweetly. Her words were slow, methodical, and almost soothing; if Kristoff was sleepy, the declaration might’ve worked as a lullaby song.
Instead, he just wanted to run again, and this time for real. Before he could get the dumb idea to jump off Elsa’s high-borne hand, though, her fingers caged around him. Suddenly, the queen’s fingers were pinning him down to her palm. Kristoff was pretty strong, but at this size, all he could do was get the young woman’s digits to tremble slightly, even with all his strength thrown in. Otherwise, the bindings of her slender fingers held him fast.