The next thing everyone heard was the alarm buzzing, which startled Pudgy. Eris watched him run around still covered in the fuzzy bath towel. She laughed, and chased him down, to snatch him up and hug him. Once he calmed down, he hugged her back, then scampered over to his pile of supplies. Xylenia got off the couch, and Pudgy started helping her back into her thermal clothes. Eris smiled as she got dressed and packed her suitcase. After some time passed, the trio were ready to depart. The woman hugged the hedgehog and dragon, ” I am really glad to have been able to meet you two.” Pudgy bounced happily and hugged her. She giggled as the hedgehog was now bundled up in white thermal clothes, with little mittens and boots. “Pudgy glad to meet nice Eris lady too.” Xylenia giggled when she got a hug from the woman afterwards also and sighed happily. Eris did another check, the room was empty of her and the companions’ things, so she opened the door. Pudgy and Xylenia followed her down the stairs, and out to an open sidewalk area. The other hotel guests saw the display, and as Pudgy ascended to the dragon’s back, “bye Eris. We need to save Santa now.” The woman giggled and waved, as the dragon started to flap her wings, and took to the skies. Eris watched as they circled once, before taking off for the north.
The woman turned and saw the large frozen lake in the distance, then smiled and headed for her rental car. This was an interesting trip for sure, and was glad that she had agreed to come to Quebec. The internet was spotty at best, so when she would get to the airport, boy did she have a story to tell. It was as the woman reached the car, the dragon had just reached the shoreline, and had started to fly over the mostly frozen lake. Pudgy called out, ” the island is just north.” Xylenia nodded, and continued to fly in that direction, and soon saw what Pudgy was speaking of. The dragon circled the island once, trying to determine where they needed to go, but settled on a small clearing. She started to descend, landing to a soft snowy ground. After landing, the hedgehog bounced off, and they began to search the island. After long hours passed, Pudgy and Xylenia had searched the entire island and were starting to lose hope, when the dragon spotted a cluster of pine trees almost growing into one another. Pudgy scampered over, and furiously started sweeping snow. There were three large rocks with symbols carved into them. Xylenia started to help clear the snow and found the other two rocks. Pudgy got out the lantern, ” Glitter are you there?” The lantern started to his, and glowed. The elf’s voice rang out, ” receiving you loud and clear. Turn the lantern till you see it glow strongest.”
Pudgy turned, and as the elf said, it started to glow brighter and dimmer based on position. Pudgy continued to turn north east, until the lantern started ringing like a bell. “Xylenia, hold onto Pudgy!” The dragon moved into position and picked him up and held tight. “Ok, holding Pudgy.” The dragon said. Glitter laughed, “Pudgy, tap the crystal you received from that Doomcock person.” Pudgy held onto the lantern with one paw, and the crystal with his other. The crystal turned golden and started to ring like the lantern. The stones started to glow with a golden light, and the snow melted further. The ground started to shake as glitter said, “Transportation grid aligned, go!” The lantern exploded in a shower of sparkles and entered Pudgy’s transport crystal. The crystal grew quite warm, and then a gold light beam shot up into the skies above the island. Then the pair disappeared into the skies above with a violent thunderclap. Far across the lake, the hotel guests stood in amazement at the beam of light and thunder. Rumors had spread of a dragon staying in the hotel but had been dismissed. The lake which had been frozen started cracking, and the water flowed once more. Something clearly had happened. Perhaps those rumors were not such? Policy wise, there was no pets allowed. The light beam subsided, and the area grew quiet once more.
Alarm bells were going off far away in Xanadoom. When Pudgy had aligned the transportation crystal with Santa’s lamp, Doomcock’s computers started to analyze thousands of new transport points in the northern arctic region. The future ruler had been sleeping, until the sirens started to go off. He quickly dressed and ran up to the transportation laboratory. He saw the large map, and all the new locations appeared one by one. The hedgehog had done it, he had transported into Santa’s territory. Pudgy’s location marker was now over northern Greenland. The future ruler jumped into his chair, and quacking started to map the data that was coming fast and furious to his computer systems.
Pudgy and Xylenia woke up in a strange place. The tree lined island was gone, and it was ice in all directions. The dragon felt dizzy, and Pudgy too, who fell onto the ground when she dropped him. The world was spinning, and they both felt sick. Then the hedgehog passed out, as Xylenia took two steps before she became violently Ill. The dragon released breakfast away from the stones, before she too blacked out. The ice was quiet, and not a tree or landmark was visible anywhere. It was a good place to recover. After a period, Pudgy was the first to wake up, and he looked over at Xylenia. “Xylenia, you ok?” The dragon flapped her wings, “world stop spinning please.” Pudgy rolled over, and onto his rear end, sitting up. He looked around. The sun was still up, though drifting quickly to the horizon. He scampered over to his friend and checked on her. The dragon had been sick but was feeling better now. Pudgy peeked into one of her eyes. She giggled and looked around. “Pudgy, where are we?”
Pudgy’s crystal started to glow in its protective vest around his chest. Glitter the elf laughed, ” welcome to the Kringle plains. You need to head to the east to reach Solstice town. I will meet you there.” Pudgy looked, and his compass was spinning wildly. He had to base it off the travel of the sun. The dragon was still ill, but was able to walk, so the two friends headed off to the town of Solstice. Pudgy pondered what would be there. The plains were cold, though there was no wind. The dragon grabbed Pudgy gently and put him on her back. “We need to get there during the day, so I’m carrying you.” She laughed and walked as Pudgy looked left and right. The dragon walked at a quick pace, while the hedgehog was trying to find bearings. Xylenia also was looking around. The snow under foot was not cold. It was strange. The warm thermal clothing was almost a bit too warm, but after a week of near freezing, the dragon was happy to be warm. As they started to ascend a small hill, in the distance the outskirts of a town could be seen. Pudgy pointed, ” Look, a town!” The dragon laughed, ” yes I see.” She increased her speed, till they reached the first of the houses.
It was then the dragon noticed the houses were all about the size of Pudgy’s cabin. The paths were wide enough to accommodate a dragon, but the village was cute in her estimation. Snow covered roofs, red and white striped porch posts, little lanterns on green poles. It was as they reached the center of town, Pudgy saw the first elf. He waved, “hello, my name Pudgy. This is Xylenia.” The elf was fair skinned, and dressed in a green heavy coat and pants, with fuzzy boots. The elf giggled, ” a pleasure to meet you Pudgy. I’m Glitter.” Pudgy bounced off Xylenia and scampered up to her and waved. The elf was about a head taller than the hedgehog. She waved back, and then examined the curious dragon. The elf woman smiled and motioned for them to follow. The pair followed and continued to look at the town. The little houses started to line the street on both sides. And as Pudgy and Xylenia followed the elf woman to the town square, they noticed the sun, it hadn’t moved in the sky. The lamp posts were all lit, though they really didn’t need to be. Pudgy looked at Glitter, “why Sun not moving?” The elf looked up, “oh, that is normal. Time doesn’t have the same rules here versus the outside lands.”
Xylenia looked around, “what do you mean?” The elf turned, ” while it has been less than an hour since you arrived, in the outside lands, it has been about 14. Solstice town’s clocks reset when we reach the winter solstice. Then time gradually synchronizes. Santa can explain it better than I can.” The two friends nodded and watched as elf faces peered out of the windows of the little houses. As the elf turned around, she pointed to the east.” Santa’s workshop is in that direction. But first, I need to ask you something. Why are you working for Doomcock?” The dragon shook her head, ” I am doing this to help Pudgy, my friend. Doomcock means nothing to me.” Pudgy frowned a bit when she said that and looked at the elf. “Lord Doomcock is actually very nice. ” the elf shot the hedgehog a look, ” do you know he tried to seize the workshop one year? We were able to repel his invasion attempt. We almost missed Christmas that year.” Pudgy frowned, the elf touched his head. “Pudgy, do you support Santa?” Pudgy bounced, “yes, Pudgy love Santa!” The elf smiled, ” ok, the lord may try to trick you. I want you to promise that when that time comes, you let us know. We can take the appropriate measures.”
Pudgy nodded as the elf motioned for the two to follow once more, and they approached a long sleigh. It was made from sturdy wood, and painted blue with white poinsettia leaves. Xylenia had to sit in the big cargo area, while Pudgy climbed up and sat next to glitter. A reindeer was hitched to the sled and dressed in a silver harness. The elf gently tugged the reins, ” ok Blitzen, let’s get back to the workshop. The reindeer started to pull the sled, and they headed out of the town. As the trio started to exit the town, the elf pointed at a tall human woman dressed in an ornate white and silver robe, with fluffy white fur. She was leaning a bit on a white gnarled oak staff. The reindeer headed towards her, and the sled slid to a halt beside her. The elf smiled warmly, “Hecate, what are you doing here outside of Solstice town?” Pudgy waved, and the dragon wiggled her wings. The woman had a feathered headdress, and these intense silver eyes with blue lips, which curled into a smile. ” I felt the way gate open, and was curious what I would find. I see I have found a fuzzy hedgehog, and dragon.” Pudgy and Xylenia introduced themselves. Hecate smiled, “a pleasure. I was on my way home. I wish you three well.” The elf tugged the reins and the sled started to move quickly away. The dragon turned back, and saw Hecate’s wave, before disappearing.
Whoosh the sled was moving quick, with Blitzen was at a full gallop. The elf acted as a tour guide.” The Kringle plains have several settlements. To the north is where we are having troubles with the Vril. We have a mine. We need a variety of metals to make toys. The problem is that we have dug too deep. At first the occasional lizard person was a rare sight. They do not like the cold, but each day more comes. Now they raid our settlements. They now take everything, and we do not know why?” Pudgy looked, ” did you ask?” The elf nodded, ” yes, many times, we sent envoys. The scouts would come back, mentioning a Queen.” Pudgy shuddered, “Queen not nice. Pudgy was captured by her when visited Doomcock.” The elf looked at him, “you met both the lizard queen and Lord Doomcock?” Pudgy nodded. The elf nodded, “Santa, will need to know this.” The sled continued to glide over the snow, and quickly progressed through the plains. Soon though, ice covered trees started to appear scattered through the plains. The elf narrated, “this plain used to be a great forest. Hundreds of years of toy making resulted in the ice trees going almost extinct. We have stopped using them, so we can let the forest grow back. It takes 100 years to grow a tree back.”
Pudgy nodded, and Xylenia looked around. In the distance, she could see stone walls looming. Pudgy pointed,” what use ice trees for?” The elf woman beamed with pride, “sleds, bats, fishing poles. Ice wood was the strongest of all trees. We made a chair for Santa. It can hold him, Mrs. Klaus, and 5 elves.” The dragon giggled, ” only 5?” The sled continued to be pulled by the reindeer, who was calling out to something making many noises. Pudgy could understand some animals, though he always struggled with deer. A younger deer started to gallop beside the sled, and the dragon watched as it soon caught up with the older reindeer. The stone walls started to tower in the distance , topped with snow and ice covered turrets. Pudgy could not see any weapons, though the sled made a funny noise as it clinked down onto a snow-covered bridge. A partially iced over stream ran beneath the bridge. The dragon spotted elves working to repair the ice walls. There had been signs of battle. “They are repairing the walls?” Glitter nodded, “oh no….have they made it to the fortress?” Pudgy looked confused, “Santa has fortress?” The elf nodded. “Winter warlocks used to attack us. Hecate’s daughter who you met earlier helped us broker a truce. She is nice, though her help is infrequent at best. We do not know her true intentions.” The sled clinked again as it transitioned from bridge to road. They headed to the main gate.
The portcullis was down, and two heavy armored Male elves stood at attention with ice wood spears topped with sharp ice spikes. They narrowed their soft golden eyes at the sled. Glitter waved, “I have Pudgy Hedgehog and Xylenia Dragon to visit Santa. They came all the way from Pennsylvania.” The one guard motioned to Glitter, who handed the reins to Pudgy, as she exited to sled. She talked in elvish, and the guards inspected the sled and its occupants. Glitter headed back and got back into the sled. Pudgy looked at her, “what say?” Glitter smiled, “they’re unsure about you, so they are checking. We have to wait.” Pudgy nodded, and Xylenia looked around. She noticed more soldiers lining the rooftops and walls of the surrounding buildings. “Pudgy?” Pudgy noticed the guards too, “Glitter?” A couple hours passed, and Glitter was running out of stories to tell. When her patience had run out, she snapped, “are you going to let us in?” The guards pulled their lances back, and the portcullis started to rise. Blitzen started instinctively to pull forward, and thus the sled passed beneath the gates. Xylenia turned to see the guards scurrying about, and then the portcullis dropped quickly.
Xylenia turned to see a wonderful sight as Pudgy was bouncing. The workshops were everywhere. Snow covered roofs, and stone buildings with signs written in old English fonts. Pudgy read out loud as they passed, “doll house, action figures house…. boy, if that one red haired lady from the fishy channel was around, she was would love this place.” Glitter beamed, “yes she would, she always did love to play with her dollies. I worked on her one when she was eight.” Pudgy smiled, and the dragon looked at the elf, she didn’t look more than 20, so that time difference must be coming into play again. The red haired fishy lady in the rectangle box always had videos about dollies. As the sled continued through the workshop street, they turned a corner. The stone buildings were replaced with metal ones, and huge strands of wire ran along the rooftops. Multi Colored twinkling lights decorated the buildings. Pudgy pointed, “video game chalet!”
Glitter nodded, ” we make all the video game accessories there. This year this circle thing is popular, I don’t know how it works. It’s for a Ninten something or other. I prefer the traditional toys myself.” Xylenia and Pudgy’s mouths dropped when they saw the central structure. The castle which Santa lived and ruled from was immense. White stone was stacked higher than any other structure that the two had ever seen. Stone towers surrounded a thick tall stone wall. There was a smaller castle up front, that had 10 rows of windows that surrounded each wall. The main castle was easily three times as high, with little flags flying on each turret.
Pudgy bounced almost out of the sled, “is that where Santa lives?” Glitter beamed with pride, “yes, welcome to Klaus Castle. I live here too, along with many elves. We will need to get you checked in, before we have an audience with Santa.” The sled continued towards the gate, t he reindeer pulled the sled up to a wide covered landing. The stone columns exquisitely chiseled. There were two oak doors, round at the top, opened to reveal the courtyard. The deer stopped, and Glitter smiled, “we’re here. Sadly, we must walk now. Thank you, Blitzen.” Pudgy and Xylenia got out of the sled, and in unison said, “thank you Blitzen.” The deer grinned and bounced away. The sled remained though, for the next usage. As Pudgy scampered beside Glitter, Xylenia watched as the sled turned all by itself, and a new elf jumped on. Another reindeer moved into position, and whoosh away the sled went. She turned back to notice a large room with comfy chairs and couches around. A big stone fireplace that reached to the ceiling was covered in pictures of many elves throughout the years. Pudgy was in awe too.
Glitter motioned them to have a seat, and the two friends found a long squishy green velvet couch. Pudgy hopped up onto the couch, as the dragon carefully sat down. The two watched as Elves ran to and fro. They watched the fire dance in the hearth. Pudgy nodded, “never think Santa lives in a castle. Pudgy thought it was a cabin.” A passing elf stopped, “that was over in phase one, you can visit now. It’s also where the ER is located.” Pudgy rubbed chin, “glad hospital is here too.” The elf laughed, ” no its Elf Resources. The hospital is in phase two.” The elf waved and walked off. Xylenia giggled, “yes indeed.” She had no idea what is going on, but she saw the look of wonder and happiness in her hedgehog friend’s eyes. Pudgy looked over and heard the dragon’s tummy Rumble. So he started to open her pack, and pulled out the last bar of jerky. The dragon grinned, and gratefully took the bar, and started to eat. This drew a look from the elves. Also, Pudgy got out the last piece of hard tack, and nibbled. An elf stopped, wearing a pink sparkly outfit. “Are you two hungry?” Pudgy smiled, “this is the last of supplies. We traveled all the way from Pennsylvania. The end blinked, ” oh my Santa …. that is over 2,500 miles away.” The woman elf’s exclamation drew a crowd of elves, who all excitedly started asking questions. The two friends answered as best as they could.
Glitter the elf returned after a couple minutes to find Pudgy and Xylenia mobbed by elves of all kinds. She had to elbow her way through the crowd to find them, ” ok everyone clear out. I have to take these two to Santa pronto!” The crowd mumbled and started to thin out. Glitter motioned for them to follow, and as they got off of the couch, they were led down a long tall corridor. Glitter narrated, “this is the center for Elvish operations. Accounting, procurement, logistics are here. Several floors of elves work here year-round, though we call in extra support during quarter 4, for the big night. We have elves working in closets now.” She giggled and pointed to a poor male elf crammed into an alcove, “darn you glitter!” The annoyed male waved at the dragon. Xylenia waved back and continued to slowly follow. The trio turned a corner, and fine paintings with ornate framed portraits lined the walls. . Each had an elderly elf in regal attire. Pudgy pointed,” who?” Glitter pointed, ” these are the Viziers, they are Santa’s attendants. Elves live a long time, though as they pass, we honor them with portraits. In this building. That one is my grandmother.”
Glitter stopped and smiled. Pudgy and Xylenia looked at the silver haired woman, with soft blue eyes. Her long ears were adorned with many earrings and a chain. Glitter sighed, “I miss you Grandmother.” Pudgy scampered up to her, and hugged the elf woman. The hedgehog came to her waist, and he looked up at her. She giggled, “thank you Pudgy. Glitter turned to Xylenia, ” after we talk to Santa, would you like to meet your mother Xylenia?” The dragon blinked, “what, she’s here too?” The elf nodded, “yes, she is here too, though I will need to check on her exact location.” The elf woman turned, and then started to head down the hall, turning another corner to another huge set of red oak doors. She opened the door, and a huge courtyard was unfolding in front of the hedgehog and dragon. The ground was white stone, exquisitely cut, and fitted in ornate patterns. Little blue stones were scattered in a strange pattern. Xylenia wondered out loud, “is this a map of some sort?” The elf nodded, ” this is a map of the sky and stars. It looks much better from up high, though please do not fly yet Xylenia.”
The elf increased her pace, and the dragon grinned as she looked around. After a few minutes, they approached another portcullis, made from white stainless, flanked by limestone columns. Glitter waved at the guard, who was dressed in heavy red plate armor. “Glitter, head of logistics. Here for my meeting with Santa.” The guard looked at the dragon and hedgehog. Then motioned for them to enter. The portcullis raised, and as the hedgehog passed, the guard muttered, “try nothing, we are watching.” Pudgy nodded, and then entered the inner castle. As his eyes adjusted, the sight unfolded before his eyes. They had entered a grand hall. Dark hardwood floors with a mirror finish, he could see his reflection in the floor. The white stone walls stretched to the ceiling. They were taller than Cobalt’s house. Huge Christmas trees were in each corner, decorated exquisitely. Glitter beamed with pride, “welcome to the grand hall. Oh, the parties we hold here, and Mrs. Klaus’s grand ball is the highlight of each new year.
The trio walked through the grand hall. There were long feasting tables that had been arranged along the walls. Dark wood, with silver settings, candelabras with red and green candles were lit. As they approached another huge stacked stone fireplace, there was no mistaking it, as a large tall man in a red suit was facing the fireplace. The man turned, and his white beard stretched to his middle chest. He smiled and waved, ” hello Glitter, thank you for bringing our guests here. Hello Pudgy, Hello Xylenia. Welcome to my home.” Pudgy bounced happily waving, ” HI SANTA!!!” The hedgehog could barely hold in his excitement. He ran up and started hugging his leg. Pudgy only came up to the man’s ankle, which was covered by large black leather boots. Santa smiled as he looked down at the bouncing hedgehog. Glitter helped pull Pudgy back to a respectable distance. Xylenia smiled politely and looked at Santa. The man was clearly human, though he was older than Cobalt. She waved at Santa. The red suited figure motioned for them to follow, “thank you Glitter.” The elf woman nodded, ” I will remain here in the grand hall, Santa.”
The hedgehog and dragon followed Santa, as a cadre of guards started to flank them. “Do not mind the guards, you are the first visitors here in over a hundred years. I have been monitoring your journey here. I am sure you have many questions, but first I have a few of my own, if you will indulge an old man.” Pudgy nodded, “yes Santa, ask Pudgy anything.” They headed down a stone hall, to a receiving room. Santa motioned Pudgy to sit in a small blue velvet chair, which the hedgehog scampered to. Xylenia was motioned to sit on a couch nearby, as Santa sat in a large heavy white chair. Santa smiled, but he had piercing steel gray eyes, and Pudgy felt like he was boring a hole through him. The dragon noticed it too and was starting to feel uncomfortable. Pudgy’s ears folded down, “Santa?” The man continued to stare at them then he blinked, “sorry, I was lost in thought for a moment. Guard, can you inquire with the kitchen for some refreshments?” One of the elf guards, who was dressed in green leather armor, saluted, and backed away.
Santa turned to the hedgehog, “so, Pudgy. I’m glad you are here; I have some questions.” Santa crossed his legs and leaned back into his plush heavy chair. “Tell me of your travels to Xanadoom.” Pudgy started from the beginning and started to act our parts of his story. An elvish attendant approached with a wheeled cart with mugs of steaming cocoa and little cookies. The elf served Santa first, as of course he was in a mug shaped like Santa. Pudgy was still telling his story, he was on the part where he found the dyna mittie stuff, which drew a laugh from Santa. Xylenia was offered a reindeer mug, and she accepted gratefully, and sipped slowly. It was incredibly sweet, with little marshmallows. The hedgehog was bouncing, and the story was very entertaining. Santa listened intently and laughed several times as Pudgy told his tale of Xanadoom. Pudgy found himself telling the man everything. He tried to hold back details, but Santa’s friendly piercing gaze almost commanded him to speak. The description of Doomcock resulted in a pointed line of questioning by the jolly one. Pudgy didn’t know what was happening, and when he was done, he felt drained, and climbed back into his velvet chair.
Santa sipped his cocoa and looked at Xylenia. The dragon closed her eyes, which drew a laugh. “that doesn’t work.” Pudgy sipped a hot chocolate from a reindeer mug, and Santa’s eyes softened, as his elf attendant spoke, ” you know the song, he knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…. Lord Claus has the power to know things.” Pudgy nodded, “is Pudgy in trouble?” Santa rubbed his chin, “well that depends. You spoke of the Vril, and how they reside above Xanadoom. Tell me more of them, ” he said as the elf attendant started taking notes. Pudgy went into as much detail as he could provide. Xylenia also explained what she knew of the lizard people Santa and his elf attendant nodded, and after a time passed of near silence, the man spoke. “To the north of here, are the mines. As time progressed, we needed to delve deeper into the earth. It was 2 years ago, that we first encountered lizard men. We treated them as guests, sent packages of goodwill, and they left. In time more returned, and again we treated them well. It was a couple months ago when their envoys became aggressive. I had to make an appearance and put my foot down. It was then, when the outright attacks started. The Vril have seized the mines, and the mining settlement. Our scouts have not returned, and with Christmas soon upon us, I cannot spare any more elves to investigate. This is where you come in, I want you to head north. Fly to Gingerbread town, and see what is going on?”
The hedgehog nodded and looked at Xylenia. The dragon was looking at Santa with a stern gaze of her own. Santa noticed, “yes, my dragon friend?” The dragon took a deep breath, ” why did you take me away from my mother, to give me to Doomcock?” Santa’s eyes softened, “ahh, I see.” Santa stood up and walked over to the fireplace next to the chair. “Doomcock, is a title, and not a name. Diktor is the current one, though I had a friendly rapport with his father, Leopold. The northern lands which I am in control over, and Xanadoom have not always been on friendly terms. It was when Leopold and his wife had their first child, I wanted to broker a peace between our lands. For the first time, I was invited to Xanadoom, and I came with gifts. Diktor was 6 and asked for a dragon. Initially, I provided a stuffed animal dragon. Every month, I received a letter, asking for a dragon. 6 years passed, and Leopold sent notice of his displeasure at my refusal to provide a dragon. He threatened war, so I acquiesced to his demands. Your mother was heartbroken when I asked her for one of her children.”
The dragon snapped, “he threw me away, abandoned me in a cave after I hatched!” Santa turned, “if I had known, I would have sent my elves to retrieve you. Why did he abandon you?” The dragon hissed, “I was too big. I was breaking things.” Santa rubbed his chin, ” it is true when your kind is young, the ability to change size does not develop for a couple years. Even still, this is poor decision making for the child and his father. You do not just throw away a friend.” The dragon hissed and started to swell a bit. Pudgy bounced out of his chair and climbed up to the couch and started hugging Xylenia. She looked down, and patted his head, and started to calm down. Santa noticed her deflating a bit. ” You have had a long journey, and I am sure you are tired. We will talk more tomorrow. I also need to talk to your Mother, Xylenia. Sparkles, please show our friends to the guest suite.” A female elf dressed in a pink sparkly outfit bounced over and bowed to Santa. She then helped Pudgy off the couch. Xylenia climbed off as well and started to follow Pudgy. As they exited the room, Santa sat back down and sipped his cocoa. He stared out a nearby window, to look at the mountains in the distance.
The hedgehog and dragon were led down a short hall, with thick green carpet, to a series of rooms. Each door had a name, and Sparkles opened a heavy oak door labelled Frosty Snowman. The trio entered, and two twin beds were covered in reindeer comforters. Many hand painted scenes adorned the walls, and oil lamps with their soft light cast throughout the room. “My name is Sparkles, if you need anything, please let me know.” The female elf danced to the door and shut it softly. Pudgy looked around, and at Xylenia. The dragon was upset, bad memories had returned to the forefront of her mind. She walked over and pulled open a curtain in front of a window and saw the courtyard they had walked through earlier a fanciful map of the stars could be seen, and she turned to Pudgy to show him. The hedgehog had already climbed into bed and was bundled up. The hedgehog was fast asleep. The dragon smiled, and calmly climbed into her open bed. She also got tucked in and fell asleep quick.
As the two friends slept, Doomcock faraway was having trouble contacting His furry legionnaire. He had been monitoring their progress but had disappeared when they had approached the castle. Santa had security measures in place to ensure no shenanigans took place. It was as the future ruler continued to research, the icon on his screen indicated an incoming message started to blink on his screen. Doomcock answered, “greetings, it is I Diktor Von Doomcock.” The line was staticky, and then, ” hello Diktor.” The lord blinked, “Santa? How did,” he started to speak. Santa cut him off, “your father and I had an agreement. Why have you deemed it necessary to breach our accord?” Doomcock narrowed his eyes, ” I know not of what you speak of.” Santa snapped, ” you darn well know about Pudgy and Xylenia I remember your letters, a young boy’s wish for a dragon friend. And I find out, that you abandoned her in a cave! You hurt her, and now i must explain to her mother what happened. Let us hope I can keep her calm, otherwise your realm will have a bigger problem than the disappointment of an old man.” Diktor blinked, “Santa, allow me to explain…” the transmission cut out, and the lord sat in contemplative science. He sighed and exited the laboratory. Doomcock needed to think about the past, as well as his future.
Time passes as it always does. And far away in Xanadoom the future ruler of the earth held court. Live Streams of fun, and tithing of loyalty towards his cause, made him feel better. He had almost forgotten about what Santa said to him. But the feelings stirred up from long ago did not fade. So, after arising from a restless night, the lord dressed himself, and went for a walk. Xanadoom was far larger than the little hedgehog knew. As Doomcock exited his fortress, he passed the robotic guards. He started to walk down the road through the robot assembly yards. He inspected progress in his 77 Battlestar Galactica colonial fighter. It was looking good, but not fully operational. He had somewhere in mind to go, so he would work on it later. He continued towards a country style estate home that had low walls. In days long past, before aspirations to rule the world had set, this was the Doomcock family home. It had been years since home visited it, though had maintained it should he have needed it once more. It was also a place to go when he needed to reset his mind and refocus.
Resting his hand on the stacked stone wall, memories of happy times returned to him. His beautiful mother was laughing, and dancing around the stone floor around the house. “Mother, I miss you….even now.” There was a small wrought iron gate that blocked entry, which with a flick of a finger, he worked the latch. The gate creaked as it opened, and he passed through with it snapping shut slowly behind him. He ascended a series of low steps, carved into the rock. Reaching a dark front door, he rested his hand upon the latch. The lord turned, and so vividly he could remember the heady days of his youth. Playing in the yard, “those were fun days.” He muttered, as he turned back to the door, and produced the key which opened the lock from his belt pouch. As Diktor opened the door, he could see the lights were off. The family home had no electricity. His father grew up without electric light.
The lord navigated the dark home from memory and reached a lamp. He rotated a small knob, and he ignited, starting to cast a soft yellow light throughout the entryway. The home was in the style of a southern home, though it had been carved from the rock of the cavern. Though, at his mother’s insistence, the interior walls were made of wood, with various fabrics, and windows of glass on the front. Diktor turned and headed into the formal living room. There was the floral Venetian couch. He could still hear her laughter. His father was stern and was often softened by her soft smile and love filled demeanor. He maneuvered to the black leather chair favored by his father and sat down. ” why am I here?” He muttered. His focus was diminished, the little hedgehog had wrecked all his plans. Yet, he was happy to have met him, and his human friend far above. But while he did not let on during his live streams, he was hurting. He took a deep breath, stood up, then walked out to the hallway. Turning to the left, he started to ascend the wide double stairs, with the faded red velvet carpet.
He lit another lamp, then stopped in front of his bedroom door. Opening it hesitantly, the memories flooded his mind. His father had built this home, with his bare hands and his grandfather’s help. His mother helped decorate, as if she was going to have to live in a cave, it would look like a home. His grandfather had discovered the cave on an expedition and had built rudimentary structures. It was when his father came to this place, he realized the potential. Diktor was born here, though made occasional trips to the surface with his mother, so he was faintly aware of surface activities. It was also when they settled here that they met Vril. It was also when he met Santa. It was due to his father’s travels through the underground caves. Santa had mining operations all over the earth. The teleportation crystals allowed Santa’s mining elves to transport raw materials back to the home workshops. The elves did not recognize the boundaries of the burgeoning Xanadoom, and routinely trespassed and took his family’s constructions.