The further north they traveled, the harder the wind bit, and even Jack started to get a little bit fed up with it. The wind didn’t obey him. The snow didn’t obey him. It was only a matter of time that this ice horse that Elsa had created for him would stop obeying him too. If only he still had his Season magic, then maybe this tempest would stop.
“Jack?” Elsa asked, almost having to shout as the angry winds howled past their ears. “Did my mother ever do this? Did she journey out here for the same thing we’re seeking?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders, squinting against the blizzard racing past him. He started to get a little worried because now he could feel the bite of the cold, whereas just a week earlier it hadn’t been a problem. “It’s hard to say. She kept some very big secrets from me, obviously.” He chuckled at his joke, but Elsa didn’t seem to find it funny as she glared back at him. “Elsa, your mom was five hundred and forty-three years old before she died. That’s almost twice my age. She might have attempted this journey, but she might not have. I can’t say for sure.”
Elsa sighed, looking more lost than ever, and he wished he could wipe that expression right off her face, but he didn’t know how. Hopefully they found this place, but part of him didn’t feel very confident about it. Just like Theo had said earlier, many have tried to find it but none have been successful. Then again, none have been quite as desperate as he and Elsa were.
They trekked onward, traveling miles and miles on their horses, but the longer they traveled, the more weary Jack became. The cold, icy wind stung his face as they continued forward, and he felt both freezing cold and feverishly hot at the sametime. His muscles ached, his eyes drooped. He felt so tired…
Involuntarily, his body pitched to the side and he started to fall, not able to catch himself before he collapsed into a drift of snow.
“Jack!” Elsa shrieked as she jumped off her horse and ran to his side, cradling him in her arms. “Are you okay? Look at me!”
“I’m okay,” he lied, attempting a chuckle, but that chuckle just turned into a hoarse cough. What was going on with him? He felt… He felt… His eyes widened as the realization hit him.
He felt mortal.
It had been so long since he felt like this, but he remembered his time as a mortal well enough to realize that even this wasn’t normal. Jack was sick, and he didn’t think it was any normal mortal illness. His loss of power was affecting him negatively, making him sick to the point of exhaustion.
“Jack, we need to turn back around. You need help.”
He shook his head stubbornly as he shakily got to his feet, latching onto his horse to help support his weight. “We’re not going to get the help we need by going back. We have to continue forward.”
“But Jack!” Elsa protested, her eyes penetrating right through him. “You can’t tell me that you can continue in your condition. Please.”
Shaking his head, Jack struggled to climb back onto his horse. “Come on. We have to go.” He urged the horse onward and Elsa just gawked as he walked past. But then she jumped on her horse and followed after him, seeming to keep quiet about it all, but he didn’t miss the way she glanced over at him often, the concern in her eyes increasing by the minute.
Jack squinted his eyes as the blizzard became even worse. Usually he’d have no troubles with being in a blizzard, but now…
His breath caught fearfully in his throat as he tried to move the snow away from hitting him, but it didn’t obey him. His magic… It was gone.
“Okay, that’s it,” Elsa said quietly as she took his horse’s reins from him and jumped off, leading him and her own horse toward the side of the mountain where it wasn’t quite as snowy. “I think you need to rest, Jack.”
He shook his head. “I don’t need to rest. I’ve never needed to rest.”
Her lips pressed together as she glanced up at him. “Okay, then I need to rest. I can’t stand this storm any longer.” But even as she said that, he knew she was lying to him. The snow hardly touched her except for several flakes that made a nest in her hair. She was only making them stop because of him.
As they neared the mountainside, Elsa created an ice cave that cozied up next to the rocks and retained the warmth inside, sheltering them from the tempest just outside. She then sealed the entrance closed and turned on Jack again who had already found a comfortable place to sit on the ground.
“Will you tell me what’s going on?” she demanded with her hands on her hips.
“Nothing,” Jack replied as he smiled at her. He didn’t want her to worry. “I’m just not used to riding a horse, that’s all.”
Her face fell into uncertainty, but she let it slide as she sat across from him, creating a mesmerizing ice fire that flickered gently on the cave walls. It felt so calming. So soothing…
Jack slowly lowered himself until he laid on the ground of the cave, watching as Elsa played with the “fire”. She was so talented, and he couldn’t help but marvel at her abilities.
He fought heavily against his drooping eyelids, but soon enough he just couldn’t fight it anymore. For the first time in two hundred and seventy-four years, Jack slept.