You slowly open your eyes.
“Hello there. Long time no see.”
Your little elven friend in teal smiles in response, his hat jingling with emotion.
He steps back a little as you swing your legs over the side of the bed, yawning.
You look around the room, concluding from your surroundings—and the elf—that you must be back at the North Pole.
You walk up to the open window, slipping on the thick, soft red robe that your friend held out to you. He stands beside you as you gaze out upon the scenery.
Even in times of trouble, the world can be so peaceful.
The sun is setting behind the mountains, casting a beautifully mysterious golden light upon the land. The sky turns from warm yellows, oranges, and reds to cool nighttime blues and purples in a perfectly analogous color scheme. The snow takes on a rich orange color, the flakes glinting like the million gold coins of a pirate’s treasure. It almost looks like the earth is covered in Sandy’s luminescent dreamsand. The first stars of the night begin to twinkle, unable to hold back their dazzling light any longer.
You close your eyes and enjoy the last beams of day as they fall upon you, softly caressing your face.
“Well, I suppose I should go see what’s going on outside,” you think aloud to the elf.
You turn towards the door as something dawns upon you. You kneel down to the floor and sit back on your feet so you’re a bit closer to eye-level with your friend.
“Say, what’s your name?”
The elf’s hat shoots up in surprise. It looks around the room, appearing slightly panicked, searching for a way to tell you its name.
You chuckle. “How about charades?”
It smiles at you and nods. It taps its ear a couple of times.
“Ok. ‘Sounds like’…”
He gives you a thumbs up. He then pulls down on the top of his hat, bringing the bell down in front of him, nearly tipping himself over in the process.
“Sounds like…bell?” you guess.
He shakes his head. He rings the bell with one hand, pointing up at it with the other.
“Oh! Sounds like ‘jingle’?”
He nods, letting go of his hat. It springs back, making him lose balance. You save him from falling over backwards.
You tap your fingertips against your mouth as you think.
“Is it ‘Jingle’?”
The elf shakes his head, sticking out his tongue in disgust.
“All right, all right. So it’s not ‘Jingle.’ Hmmm…” You think of what would suit an elf. All the others that you’ve heard this far are very Christmas-y, each one almost being a variation of consonants with the –ingle ending. But this isn’t this elf’s case, apparently.
“‘Jangle’?" you ask it.
It nods vigorously, clapping and hopping from one foot to the other in an odd little celebratory dance.
Jingle, Jangle. Well, isn’t THAT original, you joke to yourself, not wanting to offend the elf.
“All right then, Jangle,” you say as you stand. “Let’s go find Jack and see what’s up.”
You leave the room and walk down the hallway, admiring the woodwork as you go. You were put into the same room as the last time you were at the Pole, so you remember how to get to the main reception room.
“…won’t tell us what happened,” you hear someone say as you approach.
Curious and not wanting to interrupt the conversation, you slow down and hide off to the side in a little niche created by two wooden beams, peeking slightly around the corner into the room. Jangle takes a place at your feet, also looking cautiously into the room.
You can just hear Tooth’s wings buzzing as she hovers in the air, in a confidential circle with Bunny, Sandy, and North.
“We must let him tell us in his own time,” North responds.
“It must be serious though, mate. (Your name) was unconscious when he brought 'em here, didn’tcha say? Traumatic experience, shock, I say.” Bunny shakes his head, his ears folded back. “It’s something big, and he’s being an idiot about it, as always.”
A small sand wall clock takes formation over Sandy’s head, his face determined as he nods.
Tooth sighs. Her fairies give her questioning looks, one of them chirping reassuringly at her. “He has us all worried. But I agree with Sandy. All we can do is wait. It’s not like we can force him to spit it out. He wants to handle this, whatever it is, on his own, to not get us involved. We will just have to watch over them and help them as best we can from a distance. He seems to have taken care of it already, anyway…” she trails off.
“Wait a minute!” Bunny interjects. “What about (your name)? Maybe we can get something out of—”
North holds up a hand, cutting him off. “Zose two are very close. If Jack does not want to tell, or even cannot tell, neither vwill—”
A loud jingle echoes throughout the hallway.
Looking down, you see that Jangle has fallen over in his effort to get a better view of the room.
All four of the Guardians are staring, bewildered, at the fallen elf.
Jangle looks up at you, an apologetic look on his squished little face.
Cover blown, you nervously step out of your hiding place, head bowed in shame.
You begin to really get to know the sound of silence as the Guardians continue to stare at you and the elf, speechless.
Finally, Sandy smiles at you, giving you a small wave in “hello.”
You smile back and step into the room.
North laughs his larger-than-life laugh, and the other Guardians begin to laugh along. Soon, you’re all a big, merry company.
North claps a large hand on your back, making you stumble a little. “Hvow are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling great, thanks,” you say, rubbing the impact point. “Thank you for the hospitality.”
“Ah, it no big deal,” he happily responds. “I take it Jangle is vwon whoo woke you up?”
You nod, smiling down at the elf.
“It’s ‘bout time,” Bunny says, arms still crossed. “We were all starting tuh get worried.”
“Why?” you ask. You turn to Tooth. “How long was I out for?”
“Oh, not long,” comes the nervous response. “About two days.”
“T-Two...Two days?!?” you feel faint. A white-furred yeti pushes a chair beneath you as you begin to sit. You barely even remember passing out as Jack flew from Pitch’s lair.
“What day is it?” you ask. Now you’re wondering how long you were out for while you were imprisoned in that dark place.
“New Year’s Eve,” North informs you. “You had minor concussion when Jack brought you heere, to Pole.”
You rub your head in a subconscious motion. That impact with the Nightmare left you worse off than you had thought, knocking you out for close to four entire days.
“I vwill not ask what happen after you left here first time,” North continues. “I know he brought you here because well, makes more sense.”
Yeah…either take me to a regular hospital with no explanation, no company, no way of conveying my information, and appear to be floating and freak all the doctors out or come here for the same treatment.
You look at all the Guardians.
This is way cooler than any hospital, too. I’d take this place over anywhere else any day.
The Guardians gather around your chair. North kneels beside you, resting on the arm of the chair.
“We do not know what happened,” he says, sounding very fatherly. “But we want you to know that we are all heere for you and Jack.”
Tooth places her small hand on your shoulder, her fairies smiling at you. “We will help you as best as we can.”
The other three nod in agreement, Bunny a little more reluctantly.
“Here,” North says, handing you something. “For any time you need any of us.”
Your eyes shoot up.
Sitting in the palm of his hand is a delicate-looking sphere. It’s obviously made of glass. Snow swirls within it. The top and bottom are painted with a red patch lined with a gold ring, a matching gold compass patterned over the red.
A snow globe?
“Just shake and say where want to go, and throw somevwhere. Magic portal.” He winks.
Thanking him and promising him you’ll keep it safe, you take it up, admiring the eternally falling snow.
A sudden cold draft sends a shiver down your spine.
“Dumb yetis,” you hear a familiar voice mumble. “Won’t let me go check out the workshop…”
You turn to face its source.
He cocks his head to the side, grinning widely.
“Finally awake, eh, sleepyhead?” Jack teases.
Your heart skips a beat as you grin in response.