...and just then, an idea hit him. Maybe it could happen sooner.
Pitch's lips curved upwards in glee to reveal pearly white teeth as he beckoned to two of his nightmares. Stroking their muzzles, he said in an authoritative tone, "Find the queen. If I were to guess, I'd say that she's in the middle of that chaotic blizzard." His voice shifted to a purr. "Let's offer her one last...beautiful nightmare, so to speak, before sending her off to the other side, eh?"
The nightmares neighed in understanding and were sent off to charge through the storm, a trail of darkness left in their wake.
A devious chuckle erupted from his throat from his rather creative plan. "Now, it's only a matter of time."
For the second time in the past two days, Elsa found herself fighting the snow and wind in the middle of a blizzard. With her arms shielding her face from the incoming winds, she didn't know how long she had been walking for or if she was going towards the right direction of the mountains...but maybe, if she could get to a clear enough section then just maybe, she could navigate her way back to her castle and find Jack.
Since escaping from her prison, Elsa had tried everything she could think of to calm the storm. She tried tapping into her power and reaching out to it, but that yielded nothing. She tried fighting it off with more of her magic, and it seemed to just make the situation worse. She even tried talking to it, but from the lack of response, she knew that her magic didn't really work that way.
Her only saving grace now would be Jack -- he had more experience than her with powers over ice and snow, so he may be able to stop this...or else...
Elsa stopped and took in a deep breath, shaking her head and trying to banish the thought away. She couldn't look at the situation so negatively. Especially for her kingdom. After all...
...we're Arendelle's only hope.
Great was the burden she felt resting upon her shoulders -- the lives of her kingdom's citizens, the delegates and visitors from other kingdoms and nations...and of course, her sister.
Anna... Please be safe. When we see each other again...I promise you, I'll make things right between us.
Isn't it about time you let her in?
Jack's words from the past rang in her head. A small smile grew on her face at the memory, now having a better answer.
Yes. I will... I won't push her away anymore. When this is over...she and I have much to catch up on.
She could practically see what Jack would say.
Finally! Took you long enough, your highness. But better late than never.
She found herself giggling lightly at the words. Even if the other wasn't present, he somehow still found ways to cheer her up. Her heart warmed at the thought of the winter spirit as she looked at the endless amass of white before her...
..and caught sight of red sparkles a little ways away.
Elsa blinked. Was that-- But the sparkles disappeared as soon as they came that she thought it was a trick of the snow and her imagination.
But surely enough, a few moments later, the sparkles of magic returned, and with it, the sound of a soothing voice.
Startled, the queen took a step back, hands at the ready for using her abilities as the fear intensified. "Who's there?"
Was the person an enemy? Had the guards already caught up to her?
But she received no response. Instead, the sparkles continued to dance away in the distance, the duration of their stay in the air getting longer and longer. Warily, the queen approached the manifestation of magic, and sure enough, she heard the same voice again.
She could only describe the voice as a soothing tone from a man that said her name with so much...care... It was hauntingly beautiful... It was the first time she had heard it and yet...it sounded so...familiar at the same time.
The closer she got to the sparkles, the more she had noticed that someone seemed to be standing behind them...
...or upon even closer inspection, the person was floating behind them. The silhouette of a young man holding what appeared to be a staff of some sort, hovered by the playful manifestation of magic that she felt were similar to Jack's. Her eyes never left the gray image as it touched down from floating in the air to approach her. The dark image's hand was outstretched and it sent a single red snowflake towards Elsa, before allowing it to explode in a mass of sparkles.
Her eyes widened in recognition, a hand moved to her mouth in surprise.
The silhouette's hand reached out to her, and spoke again in the hauntingly soothing voice. Elsa...
Elsa reached out as well, nervousness coursing through her body with her hand shaking lightly. "Are you...Jack...?"
Their fingers moved closer. Little by little, the distance between them decreased. Unbeknownst to Elsa, a wicked smile formed onto the figure's lips.
And just when they were about to touch--
--a charge of familiar blue magic came from out of the snow and hit the image. The queen stumbled back in her surprise, head turning to the direction of where she saw the blast, to be greeted by the sight of--
--nothing. There was nothing there but snow. But that magic...it looked...
Her eyes glanced back to the silhouette of the man to see him reeling and clutching his arm and howling in pain to the sky. Another blast came from the same general direction to hit the dark figure again. It roared in response to the attacks, before transforming in a swirl of dark dust into two black skeletal horse-like creatures.
Elsa looked upon them with fear, trying to stand up fast enough so she could run away from the nightmares, but her elaborate dress prevented her from doing so. The two monsters stalked towards her and as she raised her hands to blast them with her ice magic--
--a gust of wind blew by between them, placing distance between her and the nightmares. She felt the aftershock of something landing right in front of her with a thud, causing the horses to neigh angrily at the invisible new arrival.
She could only guess who that was.
"Jack...?" she asked warily. "Is that you?"
She knew he could hear her. She knew she wouldn't be able to hear him...
...or so she thought.
"Don't you dare touch her," she heard a voice say with a mix of anger, determination and...passion than she ever thought possible. The voice was the same as the one earlier, except the haunting element of it was gone, replaced by the ironic fire that came with his emotions. The sheer sound of it made her heart beat faster.
The dark horses didn't seem to heed the warning from the invisible force. Instead, they reeled back and poised ready to attack. A charge of ice magic was sent flying towards them, but the dark horses evaded the blast, going in two different directions.
Elsa could guess that Jack had to make a split second decision on which one he would go after, and he chose the one careening right, firing shot after shot towards the horse as it sped through the air. Amazingly, the nightmare managed to outmaneuver Jack and galloped into the sky and above the clouds with Jack in hot pursuit.
The other one, in the meantime, rounded the area and returned to its position close to Elsa--
--where she was standing and waiting for him, hands out and ready to cast. The nightmare charged directly towards her, but she stood her ground.
Jack is doing all that he can to protect me, she thought, determination setting in and a smirk growing on her lips. The least I can do is do what I can to protect myself.
With an upward wave of her hands, a barrage of icicles formed beneath the ground the nightmare galloped, chipping away the dust from its legs a little at a time. When it was reduced to its torso and head, Elsa waved her hand upward, and a single large icicle ended the life of Pitch's dark minion -- the only remains being the echoes of a dying neigh.
Elsa panted, her hand outstretched, coming down from the rush of adrenaline that coursed through her body from the battle. She had to calm down. She had to calm herself down...
But she didn't have any time to before she heard a sound behind her.
The blonde whipped around, hand still outstretched.
The sound became clearer -- it was...footsteps on the ice?
Who was it? Was it someone from the kingdom? Was it a guard who came to take her away?
She backed away, ready to use her powers if the person were an enemy...but maybe...
Maybe it was Anna?
"A-Anna?" she called out.
"Jack...?" she called out again.
The figure stepped out of the raging winds. Elsa's eyes widened as her heart sank.
"Who is Jack, your majesty?"
The fear that took a backseat from the battle ate at her heart once again...
...only this time, it was growing exponentially by the moment.