It was cold here, in this land of half-reality. The trees were frosted with snow so ancient that their branches, if ever thawed, would bear the patterns of the thousands of ice crystals for all of eternity. The air hung, suspended; cold and dry and thick with magic fifteen thousand years in the making.

The handle was heavy and smooth in Jack's hand, the unmarked rod sliding easily into the lock. The size of the majestic and ornate double-doors would have been enough to send a shudder of awe down anyone's spine, although the conceited teen was far too preoccupied with retrieving his prize to acknowledge the beauty of a bygone era. He offered a suspicious glance to the shadows behind him before tightening his pale-fingered grip on the relic in his hand.

"Yincang Key," Spicer hissed mutedly.

The handle illuminated his calloused fingertips as the familiar thrum of Xiaolin magic pulsed down his wrist. The rod twitched within the lock, its form contorting and snapping into hundreds of combinations of shapes until it fit every mechanism. Jack turned the Key, and with a powerful, ancient sort of clack, the door popped open by a millimeter. Spicer retracted the instrument, now smooth and rounded once again, slinging it in one of the pockets of his trench coat. He gripped the brassy handle and tugged, and when it refused to yield, Jack gritted his teeth and pulled.

The door swung sluggishly open with a groan that shook the ground beneath his boots. Jack gulped and frowned to hide his unease before wrapping his arms around himself against the chill of the icy mist wafting through the doorway.

With a final, contemptuous glance behind him, he stepped through.