I do not own Rise of the Guardians.
Chapter 11: Look ma, no hands
"I adjusted the dose a bit," Oriol said sticking the needle in Claire's arm not at all gently. "I overdid it last time. You went out like a light. It's this new wonder drug I'm experimenting with. It releases inhibitions just enough. I'm going to get insanely rich from it." He giggled maniacally and then sang, "Time for a change of scenery." He walked out of the room and she could hear his sick chuckle echo in the corridor.
Two vampires walked in, untied Claire, grabbed her arms and led her out. She was starting to feel fuzzy from the drug unsure of what it was going to do to her. They led her to a large empty room where she smelled the unmistakable scent of human blood and her fangs elongated. How long had it been since she fed properly? In the corner, there was a built-in cage with three scared humans in it, one frail elderly lady clutching a rosary in her wrinkled hands muttering a prayer, a pretty teenage girl covering her face with her hands refusing to look, and a chubby guy with glasses sweating profusely. They had fresh cuts and bruises on them. Claire gasped in horror as she understood what Oriol's plan was.
The guards opened the cage and the humans cowered in the corner whimpering. They pushed Claire inside and locked the door.
Jack flew toward the vampire compound as fast as he could. No, he wasn't over what Claire had done. He didn't know if he ever would get over a betrayal like that but he still considered her a friend and she was in trouble. You didn't abandon your friends when they needed you the most just because you were angry at them. He put his feelings aside so he could do what was right.
He got there in a record time and scanned the surrounding grounds from the air. It was daytime so he was surprised that there were people walking around. He deduced that vampires didn't like sunlight just like the folklore said. He only had to think of Claire for proof, she always slept during the day and traveled during the night. He shook his head thinking what a fool he was for not noticing this little detail which should have given her away.
He got closer to the entrance and decided to be stealthy. Even if these guards were not vampires, they could be something else. He didn't have a guarantee that he would be invisible. He landed behind a wall and tried to remain hidden in the shadows. Two guards were standing nearby and he overheard their conversation.
"I'm telling you, Adam. I saw it with my own eyes. He could fly!" said one of them while puffing on a cigarette.
The one called Adam shook his head. "I've never heard of magic like that."
"Seriously. Because you, the magnificent warlock, have heard of everything," the other guy said in a mocking tone. "Don't pretend to know all forms of magic."
Adam nodded. "I don't. I am very much aware that there's a lot out there I haven't seen yet."
They stood there in silence for a while. The stench of smoke reached Jack and he asked Wind to direct it elsewhere. 'Warlocks,' he thought. Well, this was interesting. He'd heard of humans who were born with magic but never met any.
"So, what did Bill say about how he got blasted?" asked Adam.
The other guy exhaled a puff of smoke and continued.
"He didn't want to talk at first. Frankly, I think he was embarrassed that a scrawny little boy toy took him down so easily but finally, he said something that the guy froze the entire room including all of them. And then, he just blasted the door and it shattered as if made of ice."
"Hmm," Adam murmured thinking. "Those are some strong freezing spells."
"The boss said we need to be prepared in case if he decides to come back."
The smoking warlock kicked the ground angrily. "Freezing spells. I don't get paid enough for this shit."
The door opened and someone poked their head out giving a hand signal to Adam.
"That's my cue," Adam said to the smoker, sighed and lowered his voice. "I know what you mean. I'm on guard duty and I have a feeling it will get bloody. These damned bloodsuckers gross me out. One of those days I'm just going to walk out on them." Then, he looked at the other guy with narrowed eyes. "You never heard me say that, though. Understood?"
The other guy chuckled, "Sure thing, Adam."
Adam just nodded and went inside.
The smoker dropped the cigarette butt on the ground and walked away.
Jack thought this was a good chance to get in but there were still guards patrolling the area and he was sure to be spotted. He really didn't want to get into a fight before he even found Claire. What if they did something drastic upon hearing reports that he was there? He couldn't risk it. He had to get in undetected and could fight his way out with Claire in stow.
If only he could turn himself into a fog like Mist did, he could sneak in without a problem. He recalled what she had told him when he asked her how to do that. 'Think of your strongest element and give yourself over to it,' she had instructed. He was pretty sure that the main element that made up who he was was frost. When he bled, his blood turned to frost. Whenever he lost control, frost spread around him. 'Very fitting name you gave me, Manny,' Jack thought. How would he go about giving himself over to it?
He was motivated to give it a try. He relaxed himself trying to calm his mind. He imagined himself slowly sinking down onto the ground becoming frost upon it. To his astonishment, it worked. In only seconds, he was a patch of frost on the ground, fully aware of all surroundings and what his purpose was. It was an incredibly freeing sensation to be free of a body and he reveled in it excited about this new experience but he was on a mission, he could experiment with this ability later.
The next challenge was to move. He attempted to spread his frost to the spot next to him and it worked. He continued this exercise creeping close to the wall to avoid being spotted. He willed himself to fit under the door and made it into the corridor. From there he moved up the wall to the corner of the ceiling hoping that his frost would be less likely noticed up there.
Moving around as a frost was slow, he had to keep producing new frost ahead of him and removing the one behind but it was an effective stealth method. Few guards passed beneath him and still, he went unnoticed. He met a fork in the tunnels and cursed the infernal maze he was back in. While wondering which way to go he had a new idea. He branched off his frost into both corridors and was very glad to find that he had full control of both frost patches, even when they weren't connected anymore. He continued doing this for every fork ahead to spread himself in all directions trying to cover as much ground as he could. He entered all rooms as frost and inspected all tunnels.
He finally found Claire in a large room trapped in a cage with some people. Adam the warlock was sitting on a bench by the wall making an effort to not look at the cage. Time for stealth was over. Jack willed himself to regain his body and sighed when he was able to take a breath.
The warlock nearly fell off his bench startled at the sight of Jack who had just materialized out of nowhere. Jack just gave him a quick lopsided smile and became serious as he looked closer at what was happening in the cage. Claire had her back to the other people inside, her hands gripping the bars, her eyes closed, her body trembling. The other people were crouched in the corner of the cage terrified trying to get as far away from her as they could. Jack understood. They locked Claire in a cage with those people hoping she would lose control and feed on them.
Jack swallowed. He hadn't forgiven her yet for what she did to him but he still believed her to be a good person and it was obvious that she was putting up a fight, she didn't want to attack those people. He needed to protect those innocents and save Claire before she caused a tragedy that cannot be taken back.
"Claire," Jack called her. She looked up and was shocked to find him standing there.
"Jack," she murmured with tears in her eyes but before she could say more the warlock had recovered from the surprise Jack gave him.
"So, you came," Adam said getting up and staring at Jack. "It was a mistake."
Jack nodded to Claire to hang on so he could deal with the warlock.
"You won't get a chance to get out of here for the second time," Adam continued. "You really shouldn't have meddled with the bloodsuckers."
Jack just observed him, his staff in both hands ready for whatever magic the warlock might attempt to throw at him but then he decided that he didn't want to wait.
"Might as well get this over with," he said pointing his staff at Adam and sending a frosty blast at the warlock hoping to knock him out.
To his surprise, the warlock skillfully dodged the blast and immediately made gestures with his hands while muttering something which sent a wave of energy into Jack knocking him to the ground. Jack landed on his back and breathed heavily feeling as if he was just punched in the gut. 'Whoa,' he thought strangely excited, 'magic!'
He lightly jumped right back up and attacked the warlock again.
Claire watched worried as Jack fought Adam, the most skilled warlock Oriol employed. Why did he come back for her? She was sure that he never wanted to see her again after what she had done. Unfortunately, at that memory, her fangs throbbed again and she moaned. The smell of blood was thick around her and the drugs hadn't left her system yet, clouding her mind, loosening her resolve.
It had been many hours that she was trapped in this cage with the humans struggling to control the thirst that was ravaging her. She was about to lose it right before Jack showed up because she lost hope of being able to avoid attacking these people. Oriol was determined to leave her in the cage for as long as it took to get her to feed.
"Hurry, Jack," she whispered into the cage bars.
Watching Jack fight was a good distraction from her torment but she wasn't holding on all the way. She was right on the verge of turning around and sinking her fangs into the big guy when she was snapped right back to present at the sound of Jack's cry. She watched in horror as his blood pooled on the floor and she screamed in horror.
Adam smirked at his adversary appreciating the challenge. The young warlock looked just like described, unnaturally white hair, a wooden staff, and bare feet.
"You are skilled at ice spells, I'll give you that, but I've been watching your technique and you are very crippled in other forms of magic. You rely on ice too much. It will be your downfall."
The youth just looked at him, pure confidence in his eyes. "Is that so?"
Warlock then threw a fireball at Jack who was quick to counter it but the youngster didn't notice that the fireball was only a distraction. Adam immediately muttered the spell and threw it at his adversary. 'He won't know what hit him,' he thought slyly.
The trick worked perfectly accurately hitting the youngster in his left hand cutting it clean off. He screamed and fell to the ground clutching his stump. Claire screamed from the cage. Adam felt sorry for the young warlock. He had such potential, it was a shame to waste it.
"Surrender now, boy, and I'll spare your life," Adam said watching the blood drip unto the ground, the severed hand a few feet away.