A dozen calls of dismay came from behind him and turned to find the pixies gathered near the radiator, soaking up as much warmth as they could manage.
Andre, being an elf, didn't particularly like pixies, who tended to be more than a little mischievous. A few weeks ago, if he'd found pixies in his apartment, he would have opened the window and punted them out, one at a time.
But they'd followed him home in a snow storm two days ago; clearly lost, and afraid they'd freeze. He was an elf and tied to life, so he couldn't abandon them. He hadn't expected they'd live with him indefinitely, though.
The weather had to change soon --
Someone must have really annoyed the Winter Queen. She was pounding the area with enough snow that even the elves had retreated and the trolls were hiding in apartment basements. Humans muttered more and more curses, which might not be helping. Humans lost their little bit of magic as they grew older, but with enough negative energy gathering, even those curses gained power on their own.
This, though, was an attack against the elves. There were elves elsewhere in the country, but the majority were on the East Coast.
This wasn't natural, the storm after storm. The snow continued to grow, inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot.
He heard the squeak on the stairs before sensing the presence of an elf; clean magic, though touched with frustration. Not a surprise given the weather and that elves weren't allowed to use obvious magic here. That made getting anywhere difficult.
Andre crossed to the door as someone pounded. Loudly. He pulled it open in haste before the neighbors complained, and was surprised to find Cathia standing there, red-faced and annoyed.
"I hate this damned weather!"
He pulled her inside. "You have been spending too much time with the humans. Watch those curses."
She snarled something and began to peal off coat, hat, scarf, gloves -- and stopped suddenly.
"There are pixies by the sofa."
"I kind of noticed."
She glared at him, but then gave a sigh and seemed to let go of all her anger. "Yeah, I've got half a clan of trolls I'm ignoring in the basement of my apartment building. I use just enough magic to make certain nothing goes wrong down there so the humans stay out, though they'd probably never notice anyway. I've noticed the trolls are starting to do a bit of maintenance as well, so I guess it's a good payoff. Things are working better than usual."
"And as long as I have the pixies in sight, they don't create too much trouble."
The pixies chirped.
"Martinus went to the Winter Court with the delegation," Cathia said and shook her head. "He told me about it. Are you ready for the bad news?"
"They won't stop the snow?"
"Worse than that: They can't stop the snow. They aren't doing it. Whatever is happening, it's been created right in this realm."
"That's not possible." He felt a strange welling of panic. The pixies cried out in fear and dove under the sofa, which then began go move towards the bedroom as they carried it along. "Stop that. It's safe."
The sofa came to a stop, slightly wedged into the bedroom doorway.
"Let's sit at the table," he suggested.
Cathia stomped across the room and threw herself into the chair. Andre made tea and found cookies, settling across from her. His mind refused to accept what she'd said, though.
"The Winter Court has to be creating the trouble," he replied. "It can't have come from anywhere else. We'd have noticed if Snow Giants or some other force had started tampering here. There's only the humans and us, with a few pixies and trolls, thrown in to the mix. We aren't doing it!"
"I know. But Martinus said it's true and he was upset enough that he isn't playing some sort of game. If it weren't for the magic we can all feel, I'd start to think this is natural."
They sipped tea. They ate cookies. Another inch of snow piled up on the ground outside and the pixies were inching the sofa back closer to the radiator. The wind blew harder and somewhere else on the floor a door opened and closed.
"Yay! Yay!" A little voice cried out. "We can go build Olaf again!" An older, more tired voice answered in a mumble of words, nearly drowning out the sound of the child singing. "Let it go --"
"Yes, yes. We're going to see the snow," the parent said, her voice harried as they passed the door to Andre's apartment. "Anything to get away from that movie --"
". . . storm rage on . . ."
Cathia looked up. "I see you have one as well. I have four, just on the floor of my apartment. Cute little girls, but honestly I can't take much more of the song. I haven't seen the movie and I know the words."
"Let it go! Let it go!" the pixies sang out and fell silent at a snarl from Andre.
"I hear it everywhere. Little girls --" Cathia began. Then stopped. Her face paled. "Little girls watching Frozen, singing the songs. Little girls who still have some magic."
Not just a large number of elves in this area. Also thousands and thousands of little girls inspired by the movie, and winter already primed --
"We are in so much trouble," Andre whispered.
They could do nothing except wait for some new craze soon took over. In the mean time, Disney had a lot to answer for.
"Ah well, he mumbled. "The cold never bothered me anyway."
Cathia dragged Andre across the room, opened the window and tossed him out. When he rose out of the snow bank the little girl pointed and jumped with delight.
They were going to have a long winter.
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