Pudgy Saves Christmas: Chapter 4

It was when his grandfather took a stronger tone, and a leather strap, he began to learn the elves using southern teaching methods of the late 1800’s.  Santa started to make appearances, and over time, he made overtures to calm tensions.  Santa made his first appearance in their home, when he was 4.  Turning, he saw the stuffed dragon sitting on a wooden bookcase.  He smiled softly, and remembered his feelings, if only my dragon was real.  He wrote letter after letter to Santa.  It was 2 years before Santa returned with a carefully wrapped silver box.  Inside was a dragon egg.  Specific instructions included. His mother was beside herself, this was not a puppy, and was quite adamant that Santa take the present back.  His father had come to his defense and convinced his mother it would be ok.  After months of careful turning and heating of the egg, the dragon hatched.  Many fun days passed. Santa’s visits slowed, then stopped once he grew older.  His mother had grown ill and needed surface treatments.  She too started visiting less and less, until her passing.  Tears started falling beneath his mask, “Mother…I miss you.”

It was shortly after his mother passed, when the dragon started acting up.  He could not control her, and she was too large for his room.  Still sniffling, he ran his hand along the wall, and felt the deep grooves when his dragon gouged the walls.  His father was so angry, without his mother to soften his wrath, he laid down the laws of the home.  He had to send the dragon away.  Diktor wrote letters to Santa, but while they disappeared, they were never answered. It was when he had devised a plan, leading her to a nearby cave.  He visited every day until his father caught him, and in a rage, sealed the cavern entrance to where his dragon was residing.  It was time to put away childish things and become an adult.  He coughed hard, and stood up, then exited the room.  His father was right, and he needed to focus on the task at hand.  His father saw what was going on with the world wars raging above.  He could rule better and started to begin preparations.  Diktor took a greater role, learning the ways of engineering and science from his father.  

When his father passed away, he was ready to begin. But he needed surface followers, and resources.  His first attempt to recruit had mixed results, until a little over 2 surface years ago he took a chance.  He started his YouTube channel, and started to meet interesting and talented individuals.  His sphere of influence began to grow.  As he turned off the lamps, he exited the home, and locked the door.   Walking to the stone wall’s iron gate he turned, “Father I will succeed… Santa dare to threaten me?  I will have to remind him of Xanadoom’s power.”  He grimaced under his mask, and exited the courtyard, and returned to the assembly yards of his new fortress.  After his father passed, he began to build forges, steel milling plants, power generation equipment.  The cavern began to run out of space, so he drilled out vast chambers.  That space was filled with warehouses now, of various assembly projects.  It was during this time of increasing preparations; he had crossed paths with Harvey.  Many shenanigans occurred, until the future ruler tricked him and was able to contain the eldritch god.  

As the lord walked through the streets of Xanadoom, marveled at what he had built, and a sense of pride supplanted the previous ill feelings.  It was when a large robot guard motioned at him, he strode over, “Yes?”  The robot spoke in a halting garbled voice, “Incoming transmission. Source, Hedgehog crystal.”  Doomcock rubbed his chin pondering should he respond? “Patch transmission through, ” The robot blinked, and Pudgy’s voice called out. “Hi Lord Doomcock! Are you ok?”  The lord blinked, and mustered a friendly tone, “Why yes my friend, how are you in the cold north?”  The hedgehog’s little voice was excited, “Pudgy and Xylenia made it to Santa’s castle!”  The lord grimaced, “Oh, I see. My legionnaire, I must ask you, what has Santa been asking you?”  The hedgehog’s transmission broke suddenly. The robot blinked, “Signal transmission jammed.” Diktor rubbed his chin, “jammed?”

The robot’s chest lit up with a 1980’s style LED grid map of the world.  The crystal position indicated northern Greenland. The lord grinned, “Found you, Lord of the North.”  The lord flung his cape behind him, and shouted, “Xanadoom, Polar Protocol engage!”  The alarms started and the sodium vapor lights far above increased in brightness, as the assembly building roofs started to open.  Spotlights started to light up a large figure in the distance.  The machinery started to whine, as the hydraulic winches started moving a large structure towards a central point.  Doomcock raced off to the fortress, he needed to prepare for a journey.  He would go to the Kingdom of Klaus and remind him who was the ruler of the world.  It was during this time, he remembered his resolve, and regained his focus.  It was time for him to appear.

As Diktor raced to the laboratory, his computers were already transfixing Pudgy’s crystal location.  The northern transport crystals were being analyzed, for the most appropriate transport location.  Harvey floated in his containment tube watching a show on television, he looked back, “Diktor, will you keep it down…. I’m….watching …. what the hell is that?” The lord grinned beneath his mask, “Our hedgehog unwittingly revealed the location of the lord of the North’s home. It is high time I visit.”  The eldritch god blinked and grinned as only he could.  The computers had a countdown clock reading 72 hours and counting down.  “Once the computers have analyzed how to tap into the crystals, I will be able to transport my equipment there.”  Harvey rubbed his tentacles together, “Polar conditions, perhaps you should let me out?” Doomcock laughed evilly, “It may come to that, we shall see.”  The computers also showed a large figure being fueled and loaded with supplies.  Harvey peered at the display, “holy crap, you’re taking that?!?!  Is it ready?”  The lord looked at the terminal and started typing. “It should be ready in 48 hours, though I will need to add polar equipment to it.  Mechanical equipment, and arctic conditions do not mix well. ” A little alarm went off on his one monitor, reminding him of a stream scheduled soon.  The preparations are being made, he had time.

Meanwhile far away to the north, Pudgy was sitting on a red wooden bench outside of what looked like. Train station.  Santa had sent him here, after he had woken up and had a yummy breakfast of many things gingerbread. He had been tasked to investigate the northern mines. Where the Vril had been emerging from.  He had to wait, because the station was not open yet.  An exasperated elf in a bronze colored coat was sitting across from him on another bench.  Pudgy waved.  The elf waved back but was clearly upset.  The hedgehog scampered over, “you ok Mister Elf?”  The elf man looked up, ” no I am not all right!  Santa shut down my project!”  The hedgehog looked confused, so the elf explained, ” I head research bay alpha, the place where we figure out how to make toy versions of things.”  Pudgy bounced, ” can you make a lightsaber?” The elf beamed with pride, “we had those working in 1985, but the fat man said no.  Too dangerous for children.  I figured out how to shrink them down, and make it feel like a tickle.  Still no.”  Pudgy patted his knee, “Pudgy sorry, what you do now?”  The elf sighed, “I’m being reassigned to logistics.  It takes a lot to make a 350-pound man, sleigh, and reindeer fly.”  The elf laughed and watched as a green sled pulled by a reindeer arrived.  He got on board, and it slid away.  Pudgy pondered, real lightsabers working.

The hedgehog scampered back to his bench, waiting for the shop to open.  Xylenia was not with him, which made him a little sad, because he was having fun with her.  Santa sent her to visit her mother, who also lived at the castle.  He would meet up with her later. After what seemed like forever, an older elf walked up to the shop where Pudgy had been sitting and opened the door.  He turned on the lights and put a sign in the window.  Pudgy scooted off the bench and bounced into the shop.  The older woman smiled, ” I remember those days of endless energy.  How can I help you?”  Pudgy smiled and handed her a piece of paper.  It had Santa’s seal on it.  The elf woman snapped to attention, “my word, an expedition to the mines? This is a lot of supplies for just you…” Pudgy watched her look out the window as two dragons landed, one red and one green.  The elf woman smiled, ” can you help me with your order?”  Pudgy nodded and helped pull the supplies from their neat wooden cubby holes.  Xylenia was busy chatting with the other dragon, as a light snow started to fall.

Pudgy emerged from the shop with a variety of supplies, neatly packed in satchel bags.  He stacked them on the red wooden bench and turned as Xylenia approached.  The little hedgehog waved, “Hi.  Did you have good visit with mama dragon?”  His friend giggled, “yes, she and I had a nice visit.”  The red dragon walked over and inspected the little furry critter.  She had silver eyes, and little round glasses on the end of her snout.  She sniffed, then grinned, “so you are Pudgy Hedgehog?”  Pudgy bounced happily, “Yes.  Are you Xylenia mommy?” The red dragon giggled, a deeper tone than his friend.  “Yes, I am her mother.  My name is Xalthia.”  Pudgy scampered up and hugged her leg.”  Is it ok if we go north now?” The hedgehog asked as he looked up at her with hopeful hedgehog eyes. The older dragon sighed, “yes, but you two be careful, please?” Pudgy nodded, and Xylenia was already trying to put the satchels on, but she needed help.  Pudgy started to help attach the straps, and packs.  This time it was much lighter, as this was a short trip.  Santa had given him a map and directions.  

They could reach the mine by tomorrow morning.  As Pudgy climbed onto her back, Xylenia grinned at her mother.  She started running along the sled path, and then with a big swoop of her wings, she started to fly once more.  Soon, as Pudgy looked to his left, the mother dragon was flying beside them.  The snowy plains passed quickly below them.  Pudgy noticed a snowflake badge clipped onto one of her horns. “What badge for, ” the hedgehog asked.  Xylenia giggled, ” flight license.” Her mother called out, ” the Kringle plains are a no-fly area.  Only special individuals can fly here.”  Pudgy looked at her horns and saw a similar badge. “Xylenia, I must take my leave.  Please be safe and come back to me.”  The red mother dragon banked left and started her return to the castle.  Pudgy looked up and noticed the sun had moved slightly.  He wondered if when it was Christmas, would the sun completely set?  With Xylenia flying, the trip was going quickly.  They could see a mountain range that circled the plains in the distance.  Pudgy consulted the map, and they headed north west.  The two dressed in their arctic gear, were warm, though the warmth of the castle was starting to be missed.  

Pudgy’s crystal started to hiss, “Pudgy, do you read me?”  It was the lord of Xanadoom. “Hail Doomcock!”  Xylenia grumbled, but kept her mouth shut.  “My friends, I can see you once more on the move.  To whence are you going?”  Pudgy nodded, looking at the map. ” We are flying to Bumble mines.  It is Santa’s main mining colony.  The lizard people have been attacking.”  The crystal dimmed, and static started.  Doomcock started to say something, but he faded, and the hiss halted.  The dragon giggled, she was no fan, though begrudgingly she had to admit he was not completely bad.  He did provide supplies.  Though she wondered about his motivations?  As they flew over a hill, the outskirts of the mining settlement began to appear.  Barracks long and low to the ground could be seen.  Pudgy’s crystal started to hiss again, “unlisted flight, identify.”  It was not Doomcock, and this transmission was crystal clear. “Pudgy and Xylenia,” the hedgehog called out.  “Santa sent us to.” The male voice cut them off, ” we do not need assistance.”  In the distance, smoke was rising. And then a barrack roof exploded.  The voice called out again, ” never mind, please land at the southern sled station.  Private twinkle will meet you.”  The dragon nodded, and saw what the elf referenced, and headed towards the sled station.  The roof had holes in it, and the paint chipped or peeling in places.  The dragon coasted in and slid in the snow.  Popping noises could be heard in the distance.  

As Pudgy looked around, he saw many buildings were hollowed out.  Burnt timbers, collapsed roofs.  The dragon looked also, “Pudgy, something is wrong here.”  An armored elf appeared from around a building, head bandaged with an eyepatch. The letters: USMC emblazoned on his red armor.  He stopped and saluted, “private Twinkle, United Santa Military Cadre, at your service.”  Pudgy climbed off Xylenia and scampered up to the elf. “Santa said we could help.”  The elf nodded, “the lizard men attack us every day.  Come….”  he motioned for the two to follow. As they did, they saw the extent of the problem.  The mine was enormous.  It stretched as far as the eye could see and descended deep into the earth. “We have been mining here since the beginning.  But we delved too deep and reached into the lizard people realm. We also crossed paths with Xanadoom, though our exposure to that realm is limited. After our diplomatic envoys were unsuccessful, we sought control and containment.  It has only escalated.”  The dragon nodded, ” once the Vril get an idea in their head, it is darn near impossible to change their minds.”

An older elf walked up in a blue uniform, missing his left arm.  Twinkle saluted, “General Sleigh, this is Xylenia dragon and Pudgy hedgehog.”  The general saluted back, “at ease soldier. Pudgy, Xylenia, tell me what you know of the Vril.”  The two began to speak, but when Pudgy mentioned his trip to Xanadoom, that got the general’s attention.  In the distance, cannons were firing into the open pit mine, as well as trebuchet firing payloads of rocks into a path leading out of said mine.   Pudgy’s explanations of the queen drew the most questions.  The general’s pointed questions ended, and he motioned to the pit mine. ” we need to stop this.  We can’t ….” the general trailed off, as a huge fireball launched out of the pit.  It was heading towards them, “TAKE COVER!”  Everyone ducked behind a wall or building to take cover, as the fireball blasted against a burnt out long shed in front of them.  ” blast those lizards, they stole our mining tools and fashioned launchers.  How can we stop this?”  Xylenia peeked out and saw Pudgy laying belly down behind a wall.  She walked over, “Pudgy, are you all right?”  The hedgehog didn’t move.  She walked quicker, noticing he had taken cover in the worst spot, as a pile of debris landed onto and around him.  She started digging out his partially covered body.  As she moved a rock, she saw the spreading stain on the snow.

The dragon recognized it, and the smell, and she called out, “I need help, Pudgy’s hurt!”  An elf medic rushed over, and gently turned him over.  He had a bad gash, and he was bleeding.  The medic started to work quickly.  Xylenia growled and hissed, starting to expand. The cute little dragon’s eyes rolled back, as she returned to her full size.  The soldier elves looked in amazement, as the general pointed to the pit.  She ran forward and took to the skies.  Her pain and sadness filled roars echoed in the surrounding lands.  She started a power dive into the pit and found the fireball launcher.  The Vril were in the process of reloading the payload, when she dropped down hard, and lashed out her tail throwing the lizard men into the open chasm.  She thrashed and tore apart the launcher, spewing forth a choking poison mist.  The lizard people recognized her from below, as and started to hiss, holding up makeshift weapons, fashioned from candy canes, and sled parts.  The weapons splintered and dissolved when they reached her miasma.

Xylenia roared again, echoing throughout the mine.  Far above general Sleigh was worried, if the dragon stayed in her berserk state, then that might be worse than the Vril.  He checked on the medic, who had wrapped the hedgehog in bandages. ” soldier, what is the hedgehog’s condition?”  The medic adjusted his red and white candy-striped hat, ” alive, I was able to stem the blood loss.  He is coming to,” the medic trailed off as Pudgy sat up, “owww…. Pudgy hurt.”  The general patted his head, “almost lost you there.  You need to find better cover. Your dragon friend went berserk when you were hurt.”  Pudgy weakly stood up and watched as the dragon was thrashing the lizard men.  The roars were deafening.  He saw the mist and was immediately worried.  She bad returned to the state he found her originally in the cave. Pudgy tapped his chest but did not find the crystal.”  He looked around, and saw his vest lying beside the medic.  He walked over, and put it back on over the bandages.  Tapping the crystal, “Santa, are you there?” A familiar female elf voice called out, “it’s me glitter, Santa Is busy Pudgy.”  Pudgy frowned, ” you tell Santa we at mine. And way worse.  Pudgy almost blown up, Vril have fireballs now.”  The general leaned down, ” this is General Sleigh.  I need a platoon here on the double.  The dragon has gone berserk, but she is holding her own against those lizards.”  

Glitter sighed, ” We can’t spare anyone.  Everyone is tied up, I will tell Xalthia, she can come to calm down Xylenia.” Pudgy rubbed chin, “Glitter, where is research workshop alpha?”  The elf shrieked, ” how do you know about that?”  The hedgehog grinned, “poor elf told Pudgy was shut down.  He relocated to logistics.” Glitter giggled, “that’s Larry. Pudgy, those toys are too dangerous for children.” Pudgy looked at the general, “exactly.” The general looked stern, “Pudgy, we have already stripped that workshop of items.  It is located here in this mine, 4 buildings to the east.”  Glitter sighed, “you be careful, please?”  The crystal stopped glowing.  The general turned to the pit, seeing the dragon circling above the mine.  The ground began to shake hard, “EARTHQUAKE!”  Everyone was thrown to the ground, and Pudgy looked in horror, as a giant head started to emerge from the hole.  Sickeningly dark eyes peered out at the front-line defenses.  A huge lizard monster was emerging, larger than anyone had ever seen.  The pit was an estimated 400 feet deep, and the head was now about a hundred feet below, and still rising.  Pudgy started to run as fast as his little legs could carry him.  He counted till he found building 4.  He ducked inside, and found it stripped bare like the general said.  But Pudgy noticed wooden tracks on the floor.  

Following them he located a hatch, which he strained to lift.  The workshop had one wall blown apart, and holes in the roof which let the fading light in from above.  The screams of the soldiers could be heard clear as a bell, and the sounds of war filled the air.  But Pudgy had his purpose, he had to help.  He rubbed his tummy, the bandages were tight, but thankfully he had stopped bleeding.  He took a step forward, and the floor started to lurch forward slowly.  As the false floor lifted and moved out of place, the hedgehog grinned at the sight he beheld.  “Glitter, Pudgy needs to speak to Larry.”  The female elf grumbled, “Larry, Pudgy needs you.  Yes, it’s important!”  The Male elf from the sled station got on, “yes Pudgy?”  The hedgehog grinned, “Pudgy found armor, and weapons under the false floor.”  The male elf cheered, “Pudgy, that is a model G Gundam.  It is 1/8 scale.  You can pilot it!”  Glitter interjected, “YOU MADE A GUNDAM!  What in Santa’s name were you thinking?”  As Pudgy looked around he also found a black outfit.  “Pudgy also found Judge Dredd outfit.” Larry got back on the crystal, ” yes, put that on, it will help protect you.”  Glitter started yelling at him, while Pudgy put on the black outfit and attached the armor and helmet.  It even came with a Pudgy sized lawgiver, which he slung in its holster. Pudgy tapped on the chest plate of the Gundam which was laying on its back.

“Pudgy, to gain entry, look for the control panel.  It should be under one of the arms.  The code is 4321.”  Glitter chided him in angry elvish, as Pudgy found the panel and tapped in the code. The robot’s chest opened to reveal a tiny cockpit inside.  the hedgehog bounced in, and the hatch closed.  He strapped himself in and watched as the systems started to come online. Larry and glitter appeared on a monitor to his left. “Pudgy, throw switches 10 through one in descending order.” Pudgy started pushing buttons as instructed.  The robot started to hum.  Meanwhile the general looked out in horror as the lizard monstrosity was now standing fully upright, hissing loudly.  The queen standing defiant in the monster’s clawed hand.  She tossed back her red ornate Cape, ” all those gathered here, listen!  These lands belong to me now!  I, Queen Vilonia of the Vril empire, shall rule not only the below, but the above as well.  And those who oppose me, shall perish.”  Behind the general, loud noises started to be heard, and as he turned, a white robot flew out and into the sky.  

The monster and Queen watched. Xylenia, who had calmed down, was still circling above, when she saw the robot flying towards her. A little voice called out, “Xylenia, you ok?” It was Pudgy.  The dragon laughed, “I am glad you are all right; you gave me a scare.”  The robot pointed at the monster, “what is that the dragon pointed with one of her claws, “that is the Queen’s monster.  It does not have a name.”  The monster started to swing one of its arms and smashed its clawed hand nearby to where the general was.  Pudgy worked the controls, and made it fly towards the monster.  He pushed a button,” this paw of mine glows with awesome power! It’s burning grip tells Pudgy to defeat you! Take this, pudgy love, pudgy anger, and Pudgy sorrow. ERUPTING SHINING BURNING PAW!”  The robot started transforming, and the right hand glowed white yellow.  An energy blast shot forth, and Pudgy cut the monster across most of its chest.  The creature roared in pain.  Xylenia swooped over, and started breathing her poison miasma, causing the wound to blister with dragon bane.  Pudgy continued firing bolts of energy, while his dragon friend attacked.  The monster lashed out, and grabbed the robot, and started squeezing.  Alarms started going off, as the mechanical systems were under strain.  Pudgy punched a panel labeled Vulcan, and the head cannons started firing.  

The monster roared out and grabbed Xylenia in its other hand.  The Vril queen hissed, as she stood on her beautiful monster’s shoulder. “A futile attempt…. How pathetic.”  The robot’s shell started to crack, and Pudgy whimpered, until a familiar voice called out. “Big D, it’s showtime!”  The skies started to darken, and the ice plains.  Began to hiss and crack.  Violent earthquakes shook the land, as a larger robot started to emerge from the ice.  It was heavily played in thick black steel.  Piercing green eyes glowed.  Doomcock’s voice called out, “you put down my legionnaire’s…you darned monster!” Pudgy’s robot looked back, and he remembered a show Cobalt watched called Big O.  Doomcock had built a full-size version using Xanadoom technology.  “Hail lord Doomcock.  Light monster up!”  The lord continued his vertical ascent from the ice, punching the rocket buttons. Big D’s chest opened revealing dozens of rocket tubes. The rockets raised into position and fired in bursts of three.  They struck the monster, severely injuring it, causing it to thrash backwards.  Pudgy hit the Vulcan button, firing another burst salvo, this time at the head.

The monster roared in pain, and Pudgy watched as the Vril queen leapt off of the monster.  The claws opened, and the hedgehog hit the jump jets, and blasted forward.   He was free, though severely damaged.  He flew to Xylenia, “shining burning paw!”  He fired another energy blast at the monster’s wrist causing its claws to open enough for Xylenia to break free.  They started to fly as quickly as they could, towards the elvish front line.  As Doomcock fired another barrage of rockets, he was engaging the reactor, with a grin and epic laugh, “let’s see if the chrome buster works.”  He activated the firing sequence, and the hands of the robot clashed as they hit each other, till a gigantic white energy bolt shot forth.  It was aimed straight at the monster.  The creature’s roar quietly faded, and the winter plains started to quiet as Pudgy and Xylenia landed at the elvish front line, they saw the huge energy beam shoot towards the monster.  Pudgy’s Gundam alarms were going off, and he hit the emergency eject button.  As the hatch blew open, he bounced out in full Judge Dredd armor.  The robot started to hiss, as it lurched forward.  Larry and glitter had used the remote pilot to launch it into the mine.  It exploded shortly afterwards.   The beam wiped out all sight as its intense glare blinded everyone.  Explosions were heard, and the roars ceased.

As everyone’s vision started to clear, Pudgy saw Vril lizards rushing the elves.  He pulled out his replica lawgiver, “signal flare!”  A small rocket shot forth and blinded the lizards.  “Ballistic bolt!”  He fired off a sluggish of hard plastic, which took the wind out of them. The soldier elves rushed the Vril, knocking them over, and tying them up.  General Sleigh was standing proud, as his battalion was leading the Vril Queen out of the mine pit in chains.  The battle for the Kringle plains was over. Doomcock sat in the control room of his giant robot and scanned the surrounding lands.  He detected several structures in the distance, and settlements for that matter.  He also had zoomed in on the elvish front line to watch the proceedings of his hedgehog legionnaire.  The lord sat comfortably in his heated chamber, while the outside temperature readings registered 10 degrees.  The son moved just barely, though as it was now starting to set in the south western skies.  He also noticed his time instruments and compass going haywire.  Surmising a magnetic disturbance at hand, he started further research into the matter.  He also detected a flying vehicle proceeding from the south.   He turned the robot’s head and focused the long ranger scanners, and detected Santa’s sleigh, being pulled by two reindeer.  

The lord’s hand hovered over the firing controls.  It would be so easy to claim these lands.  So easy to install himself as the new ruler of the frozen north.  But, he hesitated, his resolve starting to wane.  Memories of visits from Santa entered his mind.  Happy times, playing with his… The robot’s head was hit with a loud clang, causing a reverberation.   As a large red dragon started to hover in front of him.  Her silver eyes were starting to burn, “Out, now…. I will have words with Doomcock!”  It was Xalthia, Xylenia’s mother.  She was not pleased and started to land in front of the robot. She had resumed her full size, and as she stood on all fours, her head was easily now 20 feet off the ground.  She has grown back to full size due to her daughter going berserk.  But thankfully the battle was now over.  

The dragon mother waited as she pondered what this Doomcock person looked like. She was not pleased at being separated from her child, but assurances were made. Those assurances seemingly broken, she was none too pleased, as any parent would be. She could hear gears working inside the robot, and a hiss descending the giant robot’s right foot started to open, and a man exited.  He was dressed in a regal outfit, though in thick polar wear.  The golden mask glistened, as his black lifeless eyes peered forth. The lord stood defiantly, as the dragon examined him. Xalthia blinked, “this is who Santa gave my child to, to care for?”  Doomcock bowed slightly, ” yes, it is I, Diktor von Doomcock. And who might you be?” The dragon hissed, “Xalthia. Let us talk a moment.” Doomcock was not afraid to speak to the dragon, he had the Vulcan pointed at the dragon should she decide to change temperament.  It was as they chatted about private matters, Santa’s sleigh started to circle the giant robot as it descended.  Santa called out commands to his team of reindeer and landed the sleigh in front of the robot and pulled up beside the two.  He waved at the two and swung his legs out of the sleigh. Adjusting his black belt, he smoothed out his red fur clothes with white trim.  “Ho, Ho, Ho, Hello Xalthia and what’s this, little Diktor is now full grown to adulthood.  I see, you have adopted your father Mantle and mask for Xanadoom.”  

Santa walked forward, extending his white gloved hand.  Diktor hesitated at first, then extended his black gloved hand and shook hands.  The lords of the south and north had once again met.  Santa’s piercing gray eyes peered into the black slit of Doomcock’s mask.  Diktor laughed, “my father warned me of that look.  He made this mask in case of our next meeting.”  Santa’s eyes softened, “it does work on Hedgehogs, Diktor.  Come, walk with me.  Xalthia, you may accompany us or go to your daughter.” The dragon turned and walked slowly behind the two men.  The two spoke of many years’ past, and Santa’s visits deep underground.  As they approached the destroyed mining village, a phalanx of hurt but armed elves started to accompany Santa.  They were bandaged with visible wounds peeking through. Santa was concerned, he had not visited the front lines, and his advisers were minimizing the issue at hand.  General sleigh snapped to attention, “Lord Klaus!  What a surprise!”  Santa looked at him, “General Sleigh, what…. when did….”  the general looked, ” oh lost the arm a couple months ago.  Vril ambush lost more.”  Santa drowned, and saw Pudgy dressed in a black armor outfit.  He too was heavily bandaged, with dark stains. Xylenia was full size, and helping the guards watch a group of lizard prisoners chained.  Doomcock saw the hedgehog clearly hurt, and he exclaimed, “legionnaire Pudgy!  You are hurt?”  Pudgy pointed, ” fireball exploded wall, Pudgy knocked out.  Medic elf patch Pudgy up.”  Santa also saw the wounds and frowned. “What part of go assess the situation and return, did you not understand Pudgy?”  

The hedgehog’s nose peeked out from his judge Dredd helmet, and twitched.  “When we get here, it got bad, had to help.”  General sleigh nodded, ” another attack started.  Then when the giant monster rose out of the mine…”  Santa blinked, ” start from the beginning please?” The general started to explain what had occurred, and Doomcock also listened intently.  He did not know the lord of the north had military forces. So, intelligence gathering was in order.  Pudgy started talking about research bay alpha, the dangerous toy division.  The miniature Gundam, and judge Dredd outfit drew many questions.  Santa stood quietly, pondering.  Doomcock asked questions as well, which the hedgehog responded to while the general gave Diktor a look as he was polite but not friendly.  Xalthia joined her daughter in the background. Xalthia gently nudged her daughter’s cheek with her nose, “I see you are a fully grown daughter.”  Xylenia giggled, “I saw Pudgy hurt, and I lost it.”  Her mother turned to look at the Vril prisoners.  “This is who has been causing all of the trouble?”  

Santa joined them, with Doomcock, Pudgy, and the General in tow.  The Vril queen stood defiantly, with two of her guards flanking her.  All three were chained and hissing at the victorious forces of Santa and Doomcock.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, as he smelled something off.  He started to scamper around Diktor pointed at the queen, “Queen Vylonia, I see you have been busy since our last meeting.” Santa nodded, “indeed, Queen Vylonia.  May I inquire, as to why you felt it was necessary to escalate violence here?”  The lizard queen hissed, “arrogant human!  You invade my realm, force my followers from their cavern homes, and then offer us our own property back in garish wrapped boxes, we the Vril take offense at your arrogant gestures. But the last laugh I shall have.”  Doomcock turned, seeing Pudgy digging in the snow by a wall.  The hedgehog pulled something out and started running as fast as his little legs could carry him.  The device was sparking and starting to smolder.  Doomcock grabbed Santa and threw him behind a wall.  As he turned, he watched as the device exploded, and threw Pudgy into the mine. He was on fire and rolled down the stone covered open strip mine path.  The hedgehog wasn’t moving, and as Santa struggled to get up, the elves formed a wall in front of him.  The General yelled, “protect Santa!”  

The Vril broke their chains, but the dragons spewed miasma, and caused the lizard creatures to pass out.  Xylenia turned, “NOOO PUDGY!”  The elvish medic ran out, and slid down to find the critter laying motionless, the Dredd outfit was blown off, and he was bleeding severely.  “I need emergency evac now!” The medic yelled, as Xylenia leapt and landed beside. The elf quickly pushed the hedgehog up onto the dragon’s back and climbed up behind him. “Quick, we need to get to Alexandria Hospital!”  The dragon would ask questions later, and with a violent swoosh of wings, she shot up into the skies above.  They flew to the south quickly.  Doomcock watched as the dragon took to the skies, and he growled at the queen, “that was your plan?”  The queen hissed, “one less of your followers to serve you destroyer, you too are not blameless.  Your structures pierced my lands.”  Santa joined the Lord and was not pleased.  His gray eyes were burning, and the queen hissed, “your tricks will not work with me, human. I demand…” Santa’s voice boomed, “YOU WILL DEMAND NOTHING VYLONIA!”  

The elves snapped to attention and started to surround the Vril weapons drawn.  The general stood, holding a sword “Santa, give the word,” the general spoke.  Santa stood fuming, “there has been too much death and destruction already….” The queen’s guards snatched weapons from the elves and rushed forward towards Santa. Doomcock lunged forward, balling his fist and punching the lizard man in the head, cracking his skull.  The lord growled and took the general’s sword to parry the second lizard’s blade, as he hauled off and decked him, breaking its jaw.  Doomcock was much stronger than he appeared to be and watched as the lizard fall to the ground. “Your move queen…” the Vril queen hissed, ” I …. Vylonia, queen of the Vril surrendered.  What are your terms?”  Santa patted Doomcock’s shoulder, ” thank you Diktor.”

After an undetermined amount of time passed, Pudgy slowly opened his eyes, and saw he was in a room with white walls.  He was warm, but he hurt all over.  He saw a clear bag of liquid hanging over him, with a hose running down.  He tried to wiggle, but it triggered a bit of pain.  He muttered, “Where…Pudgy?”  He turned as best as he could and saw Glitter the elf sleeping in a chair.  Pudgy could tell, he was in a hospital, there were boxes with blinking lights and numbers.  The little hedgehog saw he was covered in a warm red blanket with snowflakes on it.  It was his movements that woke the elf woman up, and she started to cry.  Pudgy waved his paw at her, and she whimpered, “Pudgy, I was so worried.”  Pudgy sighed, “pudgy head fuzzy, is everyone ok?”  The elf woman nodded, and got out of her chair, to tuck him back in.  “Please just rest, I need to tell the nurse.” Glitter leaned down and kissed his forehead, and then she rushed out of the room, through a blue door painted with snowmen.   Pudgy drifted off to sleep once more.  He had been rushed to Alexandria hospital, which was attached to Santa’s castle.  That was the name of Mrs. Klaus.

Mrs. Klaus was not involved with the toy aspect of the operations.  She oversaw elf relations, as well as medical care.  She was also in charge of many ancillary projects.     It was also the day she made her rounds and was almost tripped by a running elf.  The human woman laughed and helped the elf to not fall over.  “Slow down Glitter, you almost tripped me.”  The elf was agitated, and her heart was racing. She started to stammer, “Pudgy….”  Mrs. Klaus smiled, and adjusted her red robes, “is he awake?”  Glitter nodded, and took her hand, leading her down the hall.  As they opened the door to the hedgehog’s room, she saw him in bed, heavily bandaged and an IV of saline dripping.  The hedgehog was looking around.  Mrs. Klaus smiled, and sat on a low chair opposite Glitter’s chair.  “I’m Mrs. Klaus, and I believe your name is Pudgy?”  The hedgehog nodded.  She was so beautiful, with blonde hair graying, equally piercing eyes like Santa, though faint blue.  “You saved my husband, and the other little one.”  Pudgy smiled and looked at her then Glitter.  “Just rest, Glitter will let the others know you have awoken.” Mrs. Klaus smiled and motioned to the elf.  She got out of her chair, bowed, and bolted from the room.  The woman hoped she would look where she was running this time. Mrs. Klaus patted the hedgehog’s head, and he fell asleep once more.  She quietly sat with the recovering critter, hoping the horrors were over, and she could get back to a sense of normalcy.  Elves were coming in every day with severe injuries, which required her attention. She stood up, and exited the room quietly.  As she turned towards the hallway, she began her rounds, checking on the other patients.  Elvish doctors and nurses treated the wounded and sick, but she also assisted when needed.  Her role was chief comforter, and administration.

Meanwhile, across from the hospital wing of the castle, lord Doomcock was sitting in an overstuffed chair sipping a hot chocolate.  After the events unfolded at the mine, the Lord was invited to Santa’s castle.  He had accepted the invitation.  A knock was heard upon his door, “Yes?”  An attendant elf dressed in a silver outfit entered and bowed slightly. “Lord Doomcock, your Hedgehog has awoken.” The lord sat his cup upon its saucer on a nearby table.  “Is he well enough to receive visitors?”  The elf shook his head, “not at this time.  We will let you know.  However, Santa has invited you to dinner in the great hall at 6.” The lord nodded, “Please tell Lord Klaus I would be pleased to join him for dinner.”  The elf bowed and exited the room quickly.  Doomcock was being diplomatic, and to be honest, enjoying himself.  He sat in contemplative silence.  Watching from his windows as teams of expertly trained elves were performing all matter of tasks.  Each elf uniform signified a different task.  But conversely the hat shape and color also played a role. As he stood up, Doomcock strode over to a window flanked by green satin curtains.  Far away in the distance he could see his giant robot’s head.  He had taken measures to ensure its safety prior to his travel with Santa in his sleigh to the castle.

The Lord was being treated well, though his movements were restricted.  He had attempted to explore but would be immediately met by friendly elves who were attentive and steer him back to his room.  Consulting the clock on the wall, he noticed the time within the castle proceed as normal, though the clocks were not based on a normal 24-hour cycle.  He asked his attendant elf, and the clocks are based on how time progresses.  Their lands exist within the earth, yet outside of it, out of phase.  The outer towns are more aligned with the outside world.  So, the clock is currently ready at 27:30. He was trying to figure out when 6 would be? The elf attendant arrived, “my apologies Lord Doomcock, dinner has been rescheduled, would 28:00 be alright?”  Diktor nodded, ” let us go then.  I would enjoy that tour you had mentioned before.” The elf adjusted her silver hat.  And led the way.  Santa’s castle was divided into wings, his living quarters were restricted, however.  The elf woman narrated, explaining random bits of trivia, and they eventually reached a grand staircase with dark green marble floors.

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

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