Altivo was walking so slow that Chel and I could hardly feel like we were moving at all. We were so tired and half-asleep that we felt like we were tucked up in beds.
“Tulio,” yawned Chel. “We’ve been searching for a whole week. Where do you think Miguel could be?”
“I don’t know,” I muttered. “But when, or rather if, we find him, I’m going to have a proper talk to him about for not using the little – ”
Then Altivo neighed very loudly and stood up, throwing Chel and me off. I got up and grabbed the reins of the panicking horse.
“What was all that about, boy, huh?” I snapped.
All I got was more wild neighing.
“Shh! Shh! Quiet!” I whispered to Altivo.
“Hey, can you keep your horse quiet?”
I looked behind. I looked left and right. I looked up, but I still couldn’t see whatever it was that was talking to me.
“Yeah, some are trying to sleep!”
I looked down to see some strange grey creatures wearing torn green clothes. “Sorry,” I said. “We’ll just go over to – ” Then I shook my head. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. “Whoa! Wait!” I cried. “Who are you? What are you?”
But when I looked back, I saw no one there. “Chel, did you see anyone?” I asked.
“Well, I didn’t see anyone,” replied Chel. “But I did hear some speaking.”
I looked around to see where we were. It was a very rocky place full of rocks. “Uh, hello?” I cried. “Is anyone here?”
There came no reply. I turned back to face Chel and the horse only to find them not there.
“Get off me!” shouted Chel.
I turned to see Chel and Altivo off the ground! They were picked up by creatures. The same creatures I saw earlier. I knew I wasn’t just seeing things.
I ran to get my friends. “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” I shouted to the creatures.
Then two of the creatures caught my trousers. “Well, you don’t get these kind of material around here, do, you, Bulda?” said a male one.
“No, you’re right, Cliff,” said a female one. “Who’s your tailor?”
I tried to shake them off. “Get off me! Let my friends go!”
But they weren’t listening. The little creatures were pushing Altivo down on the ground. About a dozen little creatures were sitting on his back and some more were pulling on his mane. And his tail, too! He couldn’t even snort them away.
As for Chel, the creatures threw her into a little hole and they jumped in themselves.
I didn’t know what they were doing but I was certain they were going to attack them and I had to act fast. So I climbed up to the nearby trees. I picked up a really big rock and turned to face the creatures.
“Now, release my friends or I’ll – ”
A white chilly glass-like wall appeared around me, making me drop the rock.
“Ow!” I yelled, as I picked my left foot, hopping up and down. Without looking where I was going, I fell down from the edge and landed back on the rocky surface. I looked up to see a man and a woman glaring at me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” shouted the man.
“I believe I am just trying to save my friends from these beasts!” I snapped.
“Beasts?” said Bulda. “We are trolls. And you three were the ones trespassing here, which is the Valley of the Living Rock!”
“And I think your friends are still in one peace,” said the man.
I looked ahead to see Chel still alive. The trolls hadn’t eaten or hurt her. She was just wrapped in a dress made out of troll material, with flowers and mushrooms in her hair.
But Altivo trotted very slowly and collapsed on me.
“Look, this is all a big misunderstanding,” I told everyone. “My name is Tulio. The one in the dress is Chel and our horse is called Altivo. We didn’t come here to cause trouble. We came here to see if our missing friend was here.”
“Well, I’m Kristoff,” said the man. “And this is Queen Elsa of Ardenelle. We’re looking for our missing friend, too.”
“Hey, Kristoff,” called Bulda. “Where’s Anna?”
“Yeah, where’s Anna?” asked all the trolls. They all gathered around Kristoff and Elsa. Chel came and helped me get out of the horse.
“Anna is the one we’re looking for,” Kristoff told the trolls.
“Well, we haven’t seen her here,” said Cliff.
“You mean, you haven’t seen her here at all?” asked Elsa, looking very worried.
“No,” replied the trolls.
“Well, Kristoff has been very busy that we rarely see him,” said Bulda. “When he does visit us, he mentions Anna all the time. But, no, we haven’t seen her for months.”
“No! No, this can’t be!” Elsa sobbed. Then she ran to the little corner and cried her eyes out. But as she hid away, the rocky ground was turning white and cold. My friends and I backed away. Kristoff and the trolls backed away, too, but they were calmer than us.
“Excuse me,” I cried to them.
Kristoff and the trolls turned and glared at me.
“Look, I know we got off on the wrong foot,” I said.
“The wrong hoof, in the horse’s case,” chuckled one troll. All of them laughed.
Altivo snorted at them.
“I know you’re all angry at me,” I went on, “and you have every right to be and I know this is none of our business, but – ”
“What’s that white stuff?” asked Chel.
“You guys never seen snow and ice in your life?” asked a troll.
“You guys aren’t from around here, are you?” said Kristoff.
“No, me and the horse are from Spain,” I told him. “She’s from El Dorado.”
Then I heard someone clearing his throat. Kristoff and the trolls looked to see a very old troll wearing a green cloak approaching them.
“Pabbie!” cried the trolls.
“Grand Pabbie, can you help us?” asked Kristoff. “Do you know if Anna is alive?”
“I could try to find her,” said Pabbie, “if only I had something from her, like a single hair or a little bit of a dress.”
Kristoff lowered his disappointed face. “We have nothing.”
Then I had an idea. I got out the thread from Miguel’s shirt I found in the forest earlier. “Excuse me,” I called.
Everyone looked at me again, still without interest.
“I am very sorry for trying to hurt you,” I went on. “I really am. But we really need to find our friend. Could you help us? I have this thread from his shirt.”
Pabbie took the thread and closed his eyes. Then he gasped.
“What is it?” asked Kristoff.
All the old troll did was wave his hand. In the sky, something like a picture appeared and every one of us was shocked.
“Miguel!” I cried.
“Anna!” cried Kristoff.
“Anna!” Elsa came out of the corner to join everyone.
The picture was moving. It showed Miguel and this Anna everyone was talking about being chained up and being dragged by a cart.
“Hey, look, Olaf’s with them,” cried Kristoff.
“Who’s Olaf?” asked Chel.
“You see that snowman in the cage?” said Elsa.
I was assuming that the white moving creature with a carrot on his face was Olaf.
Then the scary green monsters next to the cage made me jumped and hid behind Chel. Then the picture vanished.
“Wh-who were th-th-they?” I asked nervously.
“Goblins of the Goblin Plains,” replied Pabbie. “The very first creatures who ruled this island before us trolls came and humans took over most of the land.”
“But where are they going?” asked Kristoff.
“I do not know,” replied Pabbie. “But my best guess would be that they’re heading over to Mount Romskari, the home of the Grand Witch Thora.”
All of this seemed all new to Elsa and Kristoff who had lived their whole lives on this island as mush as it was to me, Chel and Alvito.
“How do we find the path to the Goblin Plains?” asked Elsa.
Pabbie sighed. “They pass through here sometimes but never notice us. Some of us have followed them and we know the hole in the mountains next to the Plains that will you across.”
“Then take us to this hole,” said Elsa.
“We can’t,” said Pabbie.
“What?” cried Elsa.
“Why, Grand Pabbie?” asked Kristoff.
“These goblins are dangerous, headstrong and highly manipulating,” Pabble told us. “They can make you do bad things for their selfish satisfactions without realizing. Elsa, I know you’re controlling your powers better, but if you ever think you’re using them to help Anna and Miguel, you will only start a war and your kingdom will be in great danger.”
Elsa sat down on a rock, not seeming able to make her mind up. Kristoff looked worried, too.
“Excuse me, but there’s something I don’t understand,” I said. “If those monsters can turn you into monsters, why haven’t they turned Miguel and the princess evil?”
“Legend has it that two good innocent souls can defeat a witch,” Pabbie told us.
“Of course!” I exclaimed. “Miguel fits the bill with his optimism, kind-hearted nature and sense of wonder.”
“So does Anna,” said Elsa.
“That must be why the goblins are taking them to the witch,” said Chel. “To free themselves.”
“So do you see why you cannot go and stop or help with their mission?” asked Pabbie. “They might die.”
We were all getting very worried about our friends, especially Elsa who was panting very loudly. And more snow on the rocks appeared.
“Elsa, look at what you’re doing,” said Kristoff, pointing to the ground.
Elsa looked at the snow and calmed down. The snow vanished. So all of this snow and ice, including the ice wall that made me drop a rock on my foot, was coming from her.
“Well, you’ve just proved that we are up to the tasks of rescuing our friends without any problems,” I chuckled. No one else found it funny.
“Now it is time for all of us to go to sleep,” said Pabbie.
And then we saw them roll up like silent and still rocks.
The rest of us couldn’t decide what to do.
“Hey, guys,” cried Bulda’s voice.
We all looked down to see Bulda and Cliff, who were not rolled up.
“I can take you guys to the secret hole, while you talk and make your minds up,” she went on.
“Thanks, guys,” smiled Kristoff.
“We really appreciate it,” smiled Elsa.
The trolls came to us. “We’ll be able to see much better on your horse,” Cliff told us.
I rolled my eyes and picked the heavier-than-they-looked trolls. I put them on the back of Altivo. The horse groaned and gave me a disappointed look.
“Don’t give me that look,” I snapped at him. “It’s not my fault Miguel’s missing.”
Chel got onto Altivo just to make sure Bulda didn’t fall off.
I grabbed Altivo’s reins and turned to face Chel. “You’re not scared, are you?”
“No,” she replied.
“Are you?” I asked the horse. He just shook his head.
“Well, that makes three of us.” Then I chattered my teeth.