They all looked on in disbelief at the tiny man who had just identified himself as the Man in the Moon.
"You ah, you wha-" North stuttered scratching his beard.
MiM chuckled and bowed. "I am the Man in the Moon. I selected each of you as Guardians and I have watched over you all this time."
"But how, how are you here?" EB asked amazed.
"Well EB to put it simply, I'm not. Not really here at least. This is merely a visual representation of myself I have created for you." he said with a smirk.
EB still looked quite puzzled but nodded anyway as if he understood.
Elsa's eyes were transfixed on the apparition. She had so many things she wanted to ask him.
"Why are you here?" Jack asked before Elsa could even open her mouth to ask it herself.
Jack didn't mean to come off as rude as he did, but after what had just happened with Sandy and the impending doom they might face in Arendelle he did not have time for to wax poetically about how MiM was appearing here.
MiM did not seem offended by Jack's question and simply answered, "I am here to help."
Wordlessly Elsa went over to EB and gestured towards the sack on his back. He dropped it in front of her, with a confused look on his face and she wrenched it open. She dug down deep inside and pulled out the smaller pouch that contained what remained of Sandy. She walked over to MiM and offered it to him.
"I am merely a hologram my dear." he said, holding out his semi transparent hands and shrugging slightly.
"Please." she whispered, tears welling in her eyes. "There has to be something you can do." she added.
He nodded, "Pour the sand on the ground." he instructed her.
She didn't want to pour the sand out, she wanted to hold on to what was left of Sandy with all her might, but she did as she was asked.
Carefully she dumped the rest of the gold sand onto the white snow. It formed a little pile between their feet and they both looked down at it.
Suddenly a strong gust of wind blew through the trees and picked up the sand.
"NO!" they all cried as the gold sand was whisked away before their very eyes.
"Why would you let that happen!" Elsa cried turning back to MiM who seemed unphased.
"If you love someone, you have to be able to let them go." he said simply.
Elsa was confused and angry. She thought MiM was here to help her but so far he had only made things worse.
"I didn't want to let him I wanted you to bring him back!" She yelled, visibly upset now. This is not how she imagined meeting the man who raised her would go.
"Sandy isn't gone. He went." MiM said, continuing his cryptic monologue.
"What does that even mean?" Jack said grabbing fistfuls of his hair, eyes wide with bewilderment.
"Follow him. He's going the right way." MiM said pointing towards the way the gold sand had blown. "The compass you have, it's following your heart. It will take you to Sandy and Sandy will be with her."
"With Mother Nature?" Elsa asked and MiM nodded. "She won't be easy to convince Luna - I'm sorry - Elsa, but you might be able to reason with her; you two have a lot in common." he said.
Elsa knew what it felt like to lose her parents, to feel all alone and isolated in the world, just like Emily Jane must have felt when her father was turned and her mother died.
"I'm afraid. Afraid I'm gonna fail." she whispered. She wished she could hug MiM in that moment it had been so long.
He shook his head and smiled slightly, "Elsa, my dear, you are so much stronger than you even realize. Not just your powers, but your heart, you cannot fail if you follow your heart." he said.
Elsa smiled at his words, but it quickly faded as she realized MiM was starting to fade.
"I need you with me. Please. Don't go." she pleaded.
"There is no where you can go that I won't be with you." he whispered as he faded into nothing but shimmering light.
Everyone stood stunned for a moment at what had just happened.
"Wow, that was intense." EB finally said breaking the tension.
North nodded, his eyes still wild and his mouth still slightly agape.
"You heard him though, Sandy is with Mother Nature so we have to find her." Tooth said pointing in the direction the sand had gone.
"Tooth is right. We gotta keep going. Are you ok?" Jack asked looking at Elsa who was still staring at the spot where MiM had disappeared.
She took a moment to answer but then nodded and stammered, "Yes, yes I'm fine. You're right. We need to keep moving. The house is already late we haven't the time."
They regrouped and started off towards the direction the last of Sandy blew. There seemed to be no sense of time in this dark forest. Elsa wasn't sure if they had been walking a few minutes or a few hours but suddenly the trees seemed to thin out and just head she could see the ground seemed to be sparkling.
"Water! I think that's water!" Anna cried excitedly pointing straight ahead.
"Crikey I think she's right!" EB said happily clapping North on the back.
"Finally." he groaned as they all started walking a little faster.
As they approached Elsa could see that it was in fact a lake. The lake was completely still, and despite the cold temperature it didn't appear to be frozen at all.
"No one touch it." Jack said, reading her mind.
There was no plant life around the tree besides an enormous weeping willow tree, and a small circle of stones.
"That's got to be it." North said pointing at the tree.
"Thank you Captain Obvious." EB muttered under his breath and North shot him a stern look.
"I don't see Sandy anywhere!" Tooth said anxiously buzzing around their heads.
She was right there didn't appear to be anything or anyone here. No Sandy. No Emily Jane.
They walked around the small lake until they were just a few yards from the willow tree.
The wind began to pick up and EB had to take hold of Tooth to keep her from blowing away.
"Enough of this wind!" Jack cried angrily.
As if the wind could hear him it began to blow harder and it was getting harder for them to keep moving forward.
"This has to be her doing." Elsa yelled above the noise of the wind.
On que an eerie voice howled in the wind. "Go no further!"
They all exchanged looks but no one stopped moving.
"GO NO FURTHER!" the voice roared in the wind.
"Enough of this!" North bellowed charging forward to help block the wind. They all lined up behind him. Holding on to each other to keep from blowing away they trudged forward.
"WE'VE COME FOR EMILY JANE!" North yelled into the wind, and it came to a sudden halt. They all nearly collapsed from the sudden stoppage of wind.
"Well that's better." Anna said trying to wrestle her windblown hair.
"We've come to speak to Emily Jane." Elsa said again, stepping closer to the tree. "It's about her father." she continued.
For a few moments all was silent, then out of the weeping willows branches gold sand began to fall. They all gasped as they saw the sand whipping and whirling in the air before it began to converge in the spot at the center of the stone circle.
"Sandy?" Elsa whispered as the sand began to transform into a shape. She grew more puzzled as the shape began to take the shape of something else. It grew taller and bigger and they all took a step back in fear.
Before them stood pitch, erected in gold sand.
EB brandished his frying pan and Jack dove in front of Elsa, staff at the ready.
"Pitch!" Tooth screamed whizzing behind North.
The gold sand statue of Pitch however did not move, or speak. Instead a woman's voice was heard in the air.
"The Nightmare King is not my father." it said.
They began to calm themselves, realizing it was not actually Pitch, but a representation of him Emily Jane must have made.
"We're not here to talk about Pitch." Elsa said. "We are here to speak to Emily Jane about her father, Kozmotis Pitchiner." she continued.
The sand suddenly fell into a pile in the circle before rectifying once more into the shape of a small girl. This time the voice did come from the mouth of the sand sculpture.
"Emily Jane is no more. Her father is no more. Her mother is no more." the golden statue echoed.
"That isn't true." Elsa said taking a few steps towards her. "Emily Jane still lives inside of you, just as Kozmotis lives inside Pitch." Elsa spoke softly.
Emily Jane said nothing so Elsa continued. "Pitch marches on Arendelle in the morning. He means to destroy us all. We need your help or we're doomed."
"It is not my place to meddle in the dealings of man." she answered.
"Don't make excuses!" Elsa snapped, her words even shocked her friends.
"Isn't all you do meddling in the affairs of man? The weather, the storms you create? Was it not you who masterminded the storm that swept my parents out to sea?" she accused. Anna gasped at her words; this was clearly a fact she had not thought of.
Emily Jane did not answer, but it was visibly that Elsa's words had wounded her.
"If you help us, if we defeat the evil that is Pitch, what's left of Kozmotis might be revealed. Don't you want that? Don't you want to see your father again? If there were any chance that I could see my parents again, I would take it." Elsa said, her words catching in her throat. She heard Anna sniffle behind her.
"Pitch is powerful..." Emily Jane started but Elsa cut her off.
"YOU are powerful Emily Jane. WE are powerful." she said gesturing to her band behind her. "Together we can defeat this darkness." Elsa finished.
Jack stepped up beside Elsa and took her hand. Giving it a gentle squeeze he said, "Please, Emily Jane, we need you."
No sooner had he finished his words then the sand disappeared into a heap on the ground. They all stood around in shock for a moment; had their words done nothing?
Then suddenly the sand whirled a third time, and when it was assembled Sandy stood before them.
They all gasped and cheered. Elsa dropped to her knees and hugged Sandy tightly.
"Oh Sandy! I never thought we would see you again!" she cried dampening the sand of his shoulders.
He hugged her back and patted her gently. Everyone took their turn welcoming their friend back before realizing that Emily Jane had vanished.
"Where did she go?" Tooth asked.
"Does this mean she won't help us?" EB asked.
They looked to Sandy, who held up one finger, asking for their patience. He reached back towards the circle, offering a hand out to what looked like no one, when suddenly a small pale hand grasped his.
They were all taken aback as inch by inch as a young woman stepped out of thin air. She was tall and thin with long raven black hair that cascaded down her back and nearly touched the ground. She wore dark gown and a black cloak that seemed to swallow her in darkness. She looked more like Pitch's daughter than Mother Nature.
She opened her small pink mouth to speak and spoke only these words, "I will help you, and when the time comes it is I who shall slay the Nightmare King."