I do not own Rise of the Guardians or Lucifer.
Chapter 2: One hellish makeover
Jack hid behind a column, frantically looking in all directions.
"I think I lost them," he said quietly and his cold breath came out visible in the hot air.
His feet burned. He pointed his staff at each to frost them over and sighed at the temporary relief. This was the one and only time in his spirit life when he wished he wasn't barefoot. Everything in this infernal place was hot. The ground, the air, the walls and columns he hid behind. He had a hard time breathing and his brain felt like a sponge.
The last thing he remembered was North's workshop where he teased Bunny. How he got from there to here or where 'here' was, he had no idea. The whole place was creepy. It was submerged in semi-darkness, smelled awful and stretched for eons. Everywhere his eyes fell, there were corridors between small stone buildings and narrow passageways arranged in an endless chaotic maze.
The worst part of the place was that there were some creatures lurking in the shadows, terrifying figures bent over in unnatural positions, speaking in a strange tongue he'd never heard before. He had no idea what they were but they surely could not be human. Every instinct in his body screamed for him to stay away from them so he kept hiding but they were in pursuit. How they knew each of his hiding places, he didn't know. It was as if they could smell him.
He tried to take to the air but found that Wind was not strong enough here, making flying slow and very difficult. Besides, he saw some more creatures flying overhead and was pretty sure that they had talons for feet. No, flying was out of the question. Wind couldn't help him in this place.
His feet burned again and he had to suppress a moan. He frosted them over again and they sizzled against the hot ground. Jack felt anger rise inside him. Was he not the Spirit of Winter? He could lower the temperature in this infernal place at any time. He held back initially, worried that Summer would freak out but he was running out of options. The heat was too much, he could barely stand and was afraid that he would collapse soon and become an easy snack for the creatures hunting him.
He looked up to the sky. It was covered by a thick layer of dark gray clouds and some form of precipitation was happening, one he didn't recognize. What he initially mistook for snow, now he knew to be nothing like it. Gray flakes were gently falling all around him. But when they touched his skin, it didn't feel like the familiar coolness of snowflakes, nor did they melt when touching the hot surfaces around. They felt warm and seemed to smell as bad as the air in this place did. Or maybe, the air smelled that bad because of them.
Jack had enough of this heat. He wasn't going to tiptoe around Summer anymore. He was going to bring Winter no matter what. First things first, he closed his eyes and focused on the air around him, willing for it to become colder. The air obeyed and he sighed in relief as the heat no longer impaired his brain. Once he was satisfied with the temperature, he focused on the clouds above him. It would have been easier to do while flying among them but he had to settle for doing it from the ground. He willed them to convert into dense snow clouds and released their pent-up energy. He opened his eyes and smiled at the sight - it was snowing. The air smelled better already and he was able to take a deep breath.
No longer burdened by the heat, his mind cleared and he remembered what he had to do.
"Time to get out of this place."
And he ran on, determined to find a way out.
Lucifer landed and couldn't believe his eyes.
"What in the bloody hell is going on?"
Hell got a makeover, all right. It looked like a strange eerie version of a Winter Wonderland. It was snowing, for starters, large white snowflakes gently floated around him and several inches of the white puff already gathered on the ground. He walked through it, each step sounding out a crunch, and stared in awe. There were icicles hanging from all buildings as their previous heat melted the snow landing on the roof. He broke one off and admired it.
How was this possible? Hell frozen? The temperature of the air was much colder than usual, in fact, he shivered slightly, his suit not providing enough protection. Another difference was that it no longer smelled like Hell. The sulfurous smell of the infinite ash rain was replaced by a fresh scent of crisp winter.
Lucifer felt a smile form on his face.
"This is bloody brilliant."
He walked on, admiring the view and wondering what could have happened. He picked up the pace excitedly, looking for any demon to question about this.
"They found me," Jack said in a panic, looking around him.
Dark figures surrounded him and more kept coming from the shadows. He couldn't see their features in the dark and honestly, did not want to. He had a feeling he would want to scrub his memories if he did. He slammed his staff down and a freezing wave knocked many of them off their feet. A satisfied smile crept onto his lips. They didn't like ice.
"I'll give you ice, then," he yelled and started hitting them all with frost blasts from his staff.
He was making progress, their numbers dwindling, but then he heard a screeching sound overhead. He looked up to see a horde of flying creatures swoop down on him.
Much to Jack's relief, the creatures did not eat him. They were pissed off about the fight he put up, but besides a few talon scratches, he was unharmed. They locked him up in one of the small buildings he'd seen while trying to escape. It was a single circular room, empty at first, but after a beat, it started to take a different shape. Before he understood what was happening, his surroundings changed. Instead of the circular room, he seemed to be in a much smaller space, a wooden hut which looked strangely familiar.
"Where is Jack?" a voice he hadn't heard in centuries said.
Jack turned around to see a face he recognized.