*In a bright flash of light, The sleigh and reindeer dropped back out into the sky of the group's own world*
Rainbow Dash: SO good to be home.
Rarity: Oh, it certainly is.
Blitzen: Don't drop your game just yet. Still a lotta stops to make here.
Twilight: Well, there can't be that many places that celebrate Christmas here, right?
Blitzen: You'd think that, wouldn't you?
Pinkie: So where's our first stop?
Patch: Let's take a look. *looking at the map* Ah, here we go! The kingdom of Mareheim. *looks at Mezmo* You used to live there, didn't you, Mezmo?
Mezmo: Yeah, that's right. It's where I was born.
Fluttershy: Oh, how wonderful for you, Mezmo. You get so see your old home again.
Mezmo: Yeah, and Mareheim is the absolute best place to be on Christmas Eve! I can't wait for you girls to see the celebrations!!
Rainbow Dash: Wait
Isn't this supposed to be a stealthy operation? You know, we go in when everyone's asleep and all that?
Mareheim is an exception.
Dasher: Ah, I adore our annual public appearance.
Cupid: It does feel nice to be PART of the festivities instead of just A part of them, if anyone understands that.
Mezmo: I fall asleep every year, so I always miss it when they come.
Applejack: *begins to slap Mezmo's face with her hat* Don't pass out on us now, Mezmo! You and Patch're the only one who can STEER this flyin' toboggan.
Comet: *chuckles* Toboggan. That's a good one.
Mezmo: OW!!! I'm awake, okay?! Jeez!!
Applejack: Jus' checkin'.
Dasher: Mareheim, dead ahead. Everyone brace yourselves for overeager petting.
Mezmo: *points* There it is!!
*The green and white city of Mareheim was covered in twinkling fairy lights and paper lanterns of all colors. The city square was brightly lit with torches that blazed with magic fire and a giant Christmas tree decorated in lights and ornaments of different shapes, sizes and colors. King Nathaniel, Queen Marylyn, and seemingly the entire population were out in full force, singing, dancing, celebrating the joy of Christmas, while an angelic choir, dressed in green and white church robes and holding sheet music, sang a most beautiful Christmas carol*
Choir: *singing* Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the new born King"
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the new born King"
Twilight: *tears in her eyes* Oh my gosh
Rarity: *tears in her eyes* It's so
Rainbow Dash: Sure is a big deal, isn't it?
Mezmo: Of course, Rainbow. Christmas is the most important time of year in Mareheim. Sure, presents are nice to have during the season, but what makes Christmas great is that we get to be with those we love and hold dear to our hearts, like our friends and family. It's the moment we get to share peace on Equestria and goodwill to all around us.
Pinkie: *teary eyed* That was
Mezmo: *smiles* Thanks.
Blitzen: Beginning descent. Hang on tight, everyone.
not to spoil the mood, but
how do we explain this to the people down there?
Patch: Leave that to me. *smiles*
*The team descended to the street below, their hooves and the sleigh's runners clattering against the cobblestones. The townspeople cheered at the sight of Santa's sleigh and reindeer before them. But upon seeing Mezmo and the Mane Six in the sleigh, they quickly went from roaring cheers to confused murmurs*
Rainbow Dash: *pause* I get the feeling we've got some explaining to do
*Suddenly, the crowd came to a hush as King Nathaniel and Queen Marylyn came down from their chairs and approached the sleigh. Mezmo, Patch, and the Mane Six, upon seeing them, removed their hats and bowed in respect*
Mezmo: Your majesties
I-I can explain
Patch: No, sires, I can explain.
King Nathaniel: No need
*smiles* Had I known you and your friends were visiting for the holidays, Mezmo, I would've had the kingdom put up a banner to welcome you.
Mezmo: Oh! Um
thank you, sire.
Queen Marylyn: You've certainly made quite an entrance. And I just adore your outfits! I almost mistook for you for the real thing.
Rarity: Oh, these? I just threw them together in no time.
Queen Marylyn: *smiles* I'm impressed, Rarity. Well done.
Mezmo: Sire, may I say something to the crowd?
King Nathaniel: Of course, Mezmo. *turns to the crowd* Loyal subjects
my dear friend, Mezmo, would like to say something to you all!
Mezmo: *stands up and clears his throat* God bless us
*Upon hearing Mezmo's words, the crowd roared thunderously with cheers and applause*
Mezmo: *turns to Pinkie* Pinkie, would you like to help me pass out the presents?
Pinkie: *eyes light up with joy* YES!!! *grabs the sack and zips up to Mezmo* Official Santa's helper, Pinkamina Diane Pie, reporting for duty, sir!
Mezmo: *takes a present from out of the sack and tosses it to someone in the crowd* MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL!!!
*The crowd cheered again as Mezmo and Pinkie began handing presents out to all of them*
Pinkie: This is so much FUN!!
Mezmo: Don't crowd, there's plenty for the whole kingdom!
Rainbow Dash: Maybe there's a reason Santa's not big on personal appearances. *looks to a lady in the crowd with a bunch of kids* Lady, tell your kids I'm not a pony ride, huh?
*Meanwhile, high up in one of the mountains of the Lipizzaner mountain range, far from the kingdom, a group of griffins watched as two of them fought over the leg bone of a cow, cheering them on. However, one of the griffins, a tall female, stood out on a ledge, staring out at the land below. It was none other than Gilda*
Male Griffin: *approaches Gilda from behind* Gilda, are you sure it's safe for you to be out in the open like this? You just broke out of jail! We should head for home while we have a chance!
Gilda: Relax, Galphor! We'll be gone soon enough. First, I just wanna take a peek at what those ground-pounders are so happy about.
Galphor: Well, it's Christmas Eve, isn't it?
Gilda: Phht!! What a dumb holiday. They go to sleep and some fat old human breaks into their houses, eats their food and leaves toys for their dumb kids as payment. Humans are just weird.
Galphor: Well, I already sent a scouting party to see what's going on with the celebrations. They should be back any minute now. Tell me, why are you so concerned with the humans' holiday?
Gilda: No reason. I just figure maybe humans have something more interesting than that stupid Hearth's Warming nonsense the ponies have.
*Just then, two smaller male griffins came flying out of the sky and landed in front of Gilda, bowing before her and Galphor*
Galphor: Anything to report?
Griffin 1: Yes, Galphor. Santa's sleigh and reindeer have landed in the city square, just like every year. Except
the man in red wasn't in the sleigh.
Griffin 2: It's true. Instead, there was this small male human with pointed ears, some skinny looking kid wearing a Santa hat, and who I think are those six ponies you told us about. You know, the ones who sent you to prison.
*clenches her talons into a fist* They just won't stay outta my life!! ROOOAAARRR!!!
Galphor: What are your orders, Gilda?
Gilda: *stalks to the edge of the cliff* They have to cross this mountain range to get where they're goin'. When they pass by here
no more Ms. Nice Griffin! *brings her talons up to eye level, then digs the black claws deep into the rock*
*Back in Mareheim Square, all the presents had been passed out to the crowd as Mezmo, the Mane Six and Patch prepared to take off into the sky*
Pinkie: Wow, Mezzy! Your hometown sure knows how to party!
Mezmo: Yes, you already said that when we all went to the royal ball, remember?
Pinkie: *blushes out of embarrassment* Oh, yeah. Say, you think there're any extra presents in here? I bet I could find something super-neat for Pound and Pumpkin.
Patch: Well, we still have the entire planet left to do.
Mezmo: Speaking of which, where to next?
Patch: Just over the Lipizzaner mountain range and onwards to Neighpon.
King Nathaniel: It was wonderful having you all back again, even if it was for a short while. Have a safe journey.
Applejack: Don't worry yer head about it, yer Majesty. We'll keep Mezmo safe.
Queen Marylyn: Thank you, Applejack. Goodbye
and Merry Christmas.
Mezmo: Thank you, your majesties. I'll write to you in the morning. Merry Christmas! *snaps the reins* YO!!!
*The sleigh and reindeer immediately took off into the sky as the people down below waved goodbye to them*
Cupid: Comet, sweetie, are you sure you're okay for this? You DO have a tendency to over-indulge at these celebrations.
Comet: Cupid, I'm a least nine hundred and eighty-six years old. I think I can handle a little eggnog. *hiccups*
Vixen: You can, but can WE handle your breath afterwards?
Mezmo: Hey, you think we'll be lucky enough to spot Nikola and Lian on our way to Neighpon?
Rarity: Hard to say. We have no real idea where they are. Remember, Lian never gives exact descriptions of their location, in case her father intercepts the messages.
Pinkie: That meanie deserves to be on the Naughty List for LIFE!!
Mezmo: Yeah, true. It's just that I brought their presents along and was hoping to give 'em to them
if we ever SEE them, that is.
Twilight: I'm sure we'll find them somehow, Mezmo.
Mezmo: Thanks, Twilight.
Vixen: If you'd care to look, we are flying over the Lipizzaner mountains.
*looks down over the side* Nope. No sign of them
Nice view though.
Rainbow Dash: No duh! There's no way to cross those mountains by foot. You need wings.
Prancer: Or magic. Don't forget magic.
Rainbow: My point being you need to be able to fly, like a Pegasus, or a dragon, or
I don't know
???: A griffin?
Rainbow Dash: Yeah, a griff-- *eyes widen* Oh crud
*Everyone in the sleigh looked in horror to see Gilda, sitting on top of Santa's bag, staring wickedly at them all*
Gilda: Hello guys
Mane Six & Mezmo: Gilda!
how have you been?
Gilda: Oh, no complaints
'cept for when you little flat-toothed nobodies got me thrown in prison! My wings were STRAPPED to my sides, my talons FILED down to nubs and I was forced to endure a diet of nothing but VEGETATION!!!
Mezmo: Well, you deserved it for all the crimes you've committed and for all the people and ponies you've hurt!!
Gilda: Stay outta this, two-legger! Can't you see I'm catching up with my old best friend here?
Rainbow Dash: I'm not your friend anymore, Gilda, and I never want to be your friend, ever again!
Gilda: *growls* Dad was right. Don't ever trust herbivores. Oh, Dash, I almost forgot, there's someone I want you to meet
*Just then, a small army of griffins, dozens strong, flew up from the cliffs and circled the sleigh with predatory gleams in their eyes*
Gilda: My family!
Patch: *eyes widen* Oh dear!
Comet: *sees the griffons* Uh oh! Blitz, we bogeys at nine o'clock!!
Blitz: I see 'em! Prepare for evasive action!
Rainbow Dash: Wow! Uh
a few more than when we went to your family reunion when we were kids. So
who here had eggs?
Gilda: *smirks evilly* This is gonna be SO sweet
GET 'EM, GRIFFINS!!!
Donner: Evasive Maneuver Alpha Niner!!
*The reindeer team dove out of the sky with the sleigh, causing several griffins to smack into each other*
Patch: Ha ha!! That got 'em!!
Gilda: You call yourselves predators?! You're gonna let a bunch of floating freaks get the best of you?!
Galphor: She's right!! Dive bomb attack!!
Male Griffin: We stoop to conquer, bro. *folds his wings and goes into a supersonic dive*
Female Griffin: The prey is spotted. *folds his wings and goes into a supersonic dive, baring her talons out*
Mezmo: *looks back at the two griffins catching up to the sleigh* Oh no, they're gaining on us!!
Blitzen: Hard left, NOW!!!
*Suddenly , the sleigh veered right, making the two diving griffins smack into a mountainside*
Male Griffin: *dazed* What a stupid place to put a mountain
Female Griffin: Ugh
Gilda: *frustrated* Okay, who's idea was it to invite Karnage and Terra?!
Female Griffin 2: I don't see YOU doing anything, Gilda!
Gilda: Fine! Sheesh! Ya lame-o. Carver, Ace, Sturm, follow me! *swoops down*
Ace: On it, chief!! *follows after Gilda*
Carver: Roger that!! *follows after Ace*
Sturm: Jawohl, mein commandant! *follows after Carver*
Patch: *looks back and sees Gilda and the other griffins flying after them* Jeez, she just doesn't give up, does she?!
Rainbow Dash: Her tenacity is part of her charm.
Fluttershy: Can we out-fly them all?
Dasher: If we were in over air, maybe. But in these confined mountains, towing the extra weight
I doubt it very much, to be honest.
Rarity: What are we going to do?
*Just then, the sleigh itself jerked to the side, as if something had bumped into it at an incredible speed. Everyone looked to see that one of the griffins had latched onto the side of the sleigh, savagely kicking at it with his hind paws. Just then, Galphor flew up next the other side of the sleigh, along with Sturm and Carver*
Ace: Hey, pull over at the curb! *laughs evilly*
Carver: Bring it down!! I'm in the mood for venison!!
Mezmo: Oh no, you don't!! *points his baton at Ace* Transmuto Intera!!
*In a flash of light, Ace was quickly transformed into a hummingbird*
Ace: *eyes widen* What have you done to me?! LOOK AT ME!!! I'M A SQUAB!!!
Mezmo: Come on, Twi, we gotta protect the sleigh!!
Twilight: On it!
*Twilight's horn began to glow with magical energy as the sleigh and reindeer team were suddenly surrounded by a glowing bubble of pink energy*
Applejack: You think that'll hold them off for long, Twi?
Twilight: Provided they don't all attack at once, sure. I was second in my magical dueling class.
Rainbow Dash: *raises an eyebrow* You were in a dueling class?
Galphor: Blast it!! they've covered themselves in a magic bubble!!
Gilda: Oldest trick in the book. Let's throw our weight around. *swoops down and smashes her full weight into the bubble*
Galphor: You heard her, POP THAT BUBBLE!!! *dives at the bubble, beak first*
*All at once, the griffins charged at the magic bubble, throwing their full weight onto it, straining the surface paper thin*
Twilight: *eyes widen* Oh no! *strains to keep the bubble strong* C'mon! Keep it together!
Applejack: It's no use, Twi, it's gonna break!!
*Suddenly, the bubble shield shattered and the griffins swarmed the sleigh, ripping apart the wooden framework and clawing and biting at the reindeer's legs*
Comet: Get off my mate, you misshapen canary!! *lashes out with his antlers, tossing a griffin away*
Blitzen: Back down while you still can!! *stomps down with a hoof, cracking a griffin's skull and sending it spiraling to the ground*
Gilda: *flies in* RAWK!!! *slashes at Blitzen's chest with her talons*
Blitzen: *in pain* AUGH!!!!
Donner: Blitzen!! *is bitten in the neck by Galphor* AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!
*Unable to maintain control, the reindeer and sleigh began to plummet out of the sky, taking the Mane Six, Mezmo, Patch, Gilda, and Galphor with them*
Patch: WE'RE GOING DOWN!!!!
Dasher: It's 412 all over again!!
Vixen: Pull back and brace for impact!!
*The reindeer pulled back as hard as they could to try and soften the impact. They finally skidded to a halt at the edge of an icy ledge*
Prancer: *breathing hard* We did it! We're alive!
Dancer: *looks up* Not for long!!
*Everyone looked up to see Gilda and her remaining forces circling over them like vultures*
Galphor: They survived!
Female Griffin: Good. I prefer to get my dinner the old-fashioned way. Far too long has it been since we've tasted of horseflesh!
Gilda: No! Not here! Take them back to the lair! We can finish them off there
I want them to suffer slowly and painfully for what they did to me!
Galphor: But Gilda
we've won. We have them where we want them! Let's finish it now!
Gilda: *grabs Galphor's neck* Do what you're told
or I'll rip your head off!
Galphor: *choking* Ack!! Okay, okay!! Ack!! You're the boss!!
Gilda: Good! *lets go of Galphor's neck*
Galphor: *composes himself and addresses the other griffins* You! Go down there and
invite our friends to dinner.
*One by one, the griffins swooped down and grabbed onto the sleigh and each of the reindeer, lifting them all up into the air*
Rainbow Dash: Guys, cover me. I'll go get help! *jumps out of the sleigh and into the snow below*
Twilight: Rainbow, wait!!
Applejack: Shh!! Twilight, they'll hear you! Just let her go!
Patch: *looks down and gulps in fear* I can't believe I'm doing this
*goes and whispers into Dasher's ear* Rainbow Dash has jumped out of the sleigh to get help. I'm going with her. Pass it on. *jumps out of the sleigh and lands in mound of snow*
Rainbow Dash: Patch? What are you doing?
Patch: Shh!! Wait till they've gone!
Mezmo: I hope Rainbow knows what she's doing
Rarity: Considering it's HER Gilda is really mad at.
Pinkie: Um, we ALL put her in prison, remember?
Vixen: *whispering* Don't worry, everyone, she'll be fine. Besides, Patch is with her. They'll get us out of this mess.
Fluttershy: I hope you're right, Vixen.
*Down below, Patch was wiping the snow from his clothes as he and Rainbow Dash watched the sleigh, reindeer and griffins fly out of sight*
Patch: Well, this is a fine scrape we've gotten ourselves into.
Rainbow Dash: I'll say. We're lost, the whole group has been captured and are probably about to be eaten by savage griffins! WHAT DO WE DO?!?!
Patch: Simple. First, we follow them. Care to give me a lift?
Rainbow Dash: Ah! Got it. Stealth mission. Hop on!
Patch: *hops onto Rainbow Dash's back* Okay, let's go!
*Rainbow took off with Patch on her back and soared after the griffons, keeping just far enough away to avoid them hearing her wings flapping. In just a few minutes, they had reached the griffons' lair, which happened to be a large cave carved into the mountainside that bore a striking resemblance to a human skull. Rainbow and Patch landed just behind a snow bank as they watched the griffons carry the sleigh and reindeer into the cave, disappearing into the darkness*
Rainbow Dash: Now what? You have some kind of magic to get our friends outta there before they're kitty chow, I hope?
Patch: You hit the nail on the head, my dear. Let me just reach into my pocket and pull out some of my special communication powder. *pulls out a pouch, opens it and pours out some blue colored powder into his palm* Ah, there we go!
Rainbow Dash: What're you going to do with that?
Patch: You and I are going to storm the cave and get our friends back. But first, we're going to need some back-up! *blows the powder out of his palm as a glowing image of Santa Claus appeared before him and Rainbow*
Rainbow Dash: *eyes widen* Whoa!
Patch: Santa, can you hear me? This is Patch. Am I coming in okay?
Santa: Yes, Patch, I read you loud and clear. What's going on?
Rainbow Dash: Santa, I am SO sorry! This is all my fault! Gilda got her whole family together and they
they CAPTURED the others! The sleigh, the deer, EVERYTHING!!!
Rainbow Dash: A griffin I knew when I was a filly. I don't know how she ended up so nasty, but she's broken out of jail and she's out for revenge! She doesn't care if she ruins Christmas for all the kids in the world!
Santa: Oh dear
Patch: We're going to try to break them out, sir, but we're going to need some help. Think you can assist us?
Santa: Oh yes, of course. I'll be there as soon as I can! In the meantime, I'll send you some back-up.
Rainbow Dash: Thanks, Santa!
Patch: Much obliged, sir.
*Back at the North Pole, Dooley and the other elves were gathered in the workshop, drinking eggnog and celebrating a job well done, when Santa burst through the doors*
Santa: Dooley!! We have an emergency!! Call the E.L.F.S!!!!
Dooley: Oh dear. *runs over to a large rope and pulled it as tight as he could*
*A large bell began to ring, soon followed by many other, smaller bells ringing frantically. Just then, a caramel colored reindeer stag with scruffy hair and a red nose came bounding through the workshop doors, followed by a group of elves in holly-green jumpsuits and caps with brass-colored jetpacks strapped to their backs. This was Rudolf; commander-in-chief of the E.L.F.S*
Rudolph: *skids to a halt in front of Santa* Effective Liberating Flight Squad reporting, sir! What's the situation?
Santa: Well, Rudy, we've got a big problem on our hands! The sleigh's been taken down by a pack of griffins just a few miles away from Mareheim, in the Lipizzaner mountains! Patch and one of the ponies were able to escape, but the rest were captured.
Rudolph: *ear twitches* You mean
my Vixy's in danger?
Santa: I'm afraid so.
Rudolph: *nose begins to emit crimson red light, ears fold back and paws at the workshop floor with his hoof, kicking up sparks* We're on it, sir!!
Santa: *nods* Excellent! I'll join you all later. But first, I need to get myself ready!
Rudolph: Yes, sir! *turns to his troops* Ready, troops?
E.L.F.S Troops: SIR, YES, SIR!!!
Rudolph: Then, move out!! *charges out the workshop doors* TO THE LIMPIZZANER MOUNTAINS AS FAST AS LIGHTNING!!!
E.L.F.S Troops: SIR, YES, SIR!!! *run out the workshop doors after Rudolph*
Rudolph: Goggles on?!
E.L.F.S Troop 1: *puts on his goggles* Check!!
Rudolph: Weapons equipped?!
E.L.F.S Troop 2: *checks the string shooters on his wrists* Roger that!!
Rudolph: Magic supply?!
E.L.F.S Troop 4: *checks the gage on his jetpack* Fully loaded, sir!
E.L.F.S Troop 2: All set, commander!
Rudolph: Good. I'm not gonna sugarcoat this, people. We're up against dozens of bloodthirsty predators. There is a good chance some of us won't come outta this with all our parts intact, but we've been up this creek before and we've always come through, paddle or no paddle. The fate of Christmas and thousands of deserving children is riding on us. That's all I got to say on that matter. With that
LIGHT 'EM UP!!! *bounds into the sky*
*The E.L.F.S troops turned on their magic jetpacks, jumped into the air and flew after Rudolph as fast as lightning*
*Meanwhile, inside the griffins' lair, Mezmo, the Mane Five and the reindeer team had been locked inside a cage made from wood and animal bones. They were being guarded by two large male griffins while the others talked amongst themselves*
Mezmo: I hate being in here
*stares at an animal skull in one of the corners* Everything's staring at me!
Rarity: To say nothing of the tacky interior decorating.
Griffin Guard 2: Ooh, look at all that meat. First, I'm gonna slice the haunches. I'm gonna put the dark meat in one pile, and the white meat in another pile.
Griffin Guard 2: Knock it off! I'm starving enough as it is!!
Mezmo: *points his baton at the griffins* Hey back off, or I'll
turn you into gnats!!
Griffin Guard 1: *silently stares at them for a moment* Next, the shoulders. Occasionally tough
but extremely juicy.
Mezmo: That does it!! Transmuto Intera!! *tries to use his baton, but only a few sparks came out, doing nothing* Huh? Oh no, the high altitude must be affecting my magic!
Griffin Guard 2: Personally, I can't stand the taste of human meat
unless of course, we make it into jerky.
Dancer: This place is jerky enough as is, if you ask me.
Mezmo: *falls to his knees* Oh Twilight, without my magic, I'm useless!
Twilight: Don't talk like that, Mezmo. Remember, Dash and Patch are still free. They'll get help, I'm sure of it.
Mezmo: I hope you're right, Twi. I really do.
Applejack: So where's Gilda anyway? I wanna give that no good, flea bitten, overgrown chicken a piece of my mind!!
Gilda: *slinks out from the shadows* You're a little low on the food chain to be mouthing off, oat-breath.
Comet: You don't scare me, pipsqueak! If I wasn't in here, I'd kick you all the way to the moon and back again!
Gilda: Oh, shut up, twig-head! You lost. Just accept your fate and resign yourself to a prey animal's ultimate fate.
Blitzen: *coughing* Never!! We reindeer are a proud race!! *coughs* We'd never surrender to the likes of you!! The day I surrender to a griffin is the day I let Dasher take the lead! *looks at Dasher* No offense.
Dasher: None taken, old timer.
Pinkie: Gilda, you're such a big, mean, grumpy, mean, meanie pants!! And so is the rest of your family!!
Galphor: Hey! That's not fair in the least! We're predators, we eat meat. It's that simple.
Gilda: And me and the rest of my family will be picking our beaks with your bones once we've-- *raises an eyebrow* Wait a minute! *looks around inside the cage* She's not here
WHERE'S RAINBOW DASH!?!?!
*Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash and Patch continued to sit on the snow bank outside the griffon's lair, waiting for help to arrive*
Rainbow Dash: Ugh! Where are those guys?!
Patch: Don't you worry, they'll be here soon enough. They've never failed a mission yet.
Rainbow Dash: I hope so.
Patch: *looks to Rainbow Dash* You know, I've heard from your friends that you're always grouchy this time of year. Is that true?
Rainbow Dash: Of course I am! My schedule is crazy this time of year. Erratic hours, long nights and no one is ever satisfied! "It's too cold." "Make it snow so they cancel school." YARGH!!!
Patch: *raises an eyebrow* Is that all?
Rainbow: *sighs* Well
no. To tell you the truth
I've never had a good Hearth's Warming Season.
Patch: But what about the play you and the girls did in Canterlot that one time?
Rainbow: That's one very small bit of light in what's always been a part of year I just don't have any good feelings for.
Patch: Why not?
Rainbow Dash: *snorts* My dad's family are traditionalists in the worst sense of the word. They've never agreed with Hearth's Warming to begin with.
Patch: Oh, that's such a shame
Doesn't he know you represent the Element of Loyalty?
Rainbow Dash: What am I supposed to tell him? "Hi, Dad. Not only did your daughter quit flight school, run away from home and get a kickback job, but she also serves as a beacon to the alliance you hate." He'd disown me.
Patch: How long has it been since you last talked to him?
Rainbow Dash: I guess it's been
five years now. *sighs* You know
there's only ONE time I can remember seeing dad ever really happy.
Patch: When was that?
Rainbow Dash: I guess I was about Scootaloo's age. Dad took me to see a Wonderbolts aerial show. I still remember that show. It was amazing, and the smile on dad's face. "Look at them, Rainbow," he said. "THAT is what every Pegasus should aspire for. Perfection in the air. Movement personified. It's a sight to be proud of." I decided I wanted to make dad smile, too. That's why I'm going to be a Wonderbolt one day.
Patch: It's a sad thing. Far too many parents make their children feel like their love is something that must be earned. *puts a hand on Rainbow's shoulder* Rainbow, I'm sure your father loves you and misses you very much. Why not write him a letter and see how he feels?
Rainbow Dash: I guess I could. At least I can tell him I'm still alive.
*Patch and Rainbow Dash looked up to see a small red beacon flying through the air, growing brighter as it descended toward them*
Rainbow Dash: What is that? Some kinda torch?
Patch: Nope, it's our back-up!
*The red light was revealed to be Rudolph's nose as he and the other E.L.F.S Troops landed in front of Rainbow Dash and Patch*
Patch: Rainbow, meet Rudolph; commander-in-chief of the Effective Liberating Flight Squad!
Rainbow Dash: They can fly and now one of them has a built-in lantern?
Rudolph: Never heard the song, eh?
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Every creature has a light that shines from within.
E.L.F.S Troop 2: The commander is one of a special few who can make their light shine for the whole world to see.
Patch: Well, I'm glad you boys could make it.
Rudolph: These situations are what the E.L.F.S. is for, Patch. What's the situation rundown?
Patch: Give it to 'em, Rainbow.
Rainbow Dash: Okay, so, this Griffin I was pals with as a kid, Gilda
well, she's a first class jerk! Seems she broke out of jail a few days ago and now she and bunch of her eyrie are in that cave, holding your friends and mine prisoner. You gotta get them out! I've SEEN what griffins do to their prey, it's not pretty!
ELFS Troop 3: *looks to Rudolph* Orders, sir?
Rudolph: Okay, everyone, here's the plan
*Back inside the griffin's lair, the huge predators have rolled in an enormous stewpot and are now melting snow in it to prepare soup, while Gilda was interrogating her prisoners
Gilda: Do you idiots have any ideas what I went through in that hole? My wings were strapped to my sides at all times. My mouth was belted shut except for mealtimes. No animal should have to suffer such torture. *pause* And now when I am finally able to have my revenge on the ones who put me through all that
I see that the one I hate most of all, aside from Stinkie Pie, is nowhere to be found. So, I'm gonna ask you again
WHERE IS RAINBOW DASH!?!?!?
Fluttershy: *whimpers and hides behind the others*
Dasher: Don't blame us! YOUR henchmen let her get away!
Blitzen: If you were really so dead-set on revenge, you would've grabbed her yourself instead of expecting your cousins to do it for you.
Gilda: Did I ask for your opinion, old goat?! *swipes her talons through the bars*
Blitzen: *jabs his antlers forward, driving Gilda back* Grrr
Dancer: See? That's what you get for making Blitzen angry!
Vixen: Why are you doing this? You were free! You could've flown back to the Steppes and no one would find you. Why risk being recaptured just because you're angry with your old friend?
Gilda:*eye twitches* Because it's WORTH it! She
She PRETENDED to be my friend. She
She gave me no choice.
Twilight: Okay, Gilda, now you're just being paranoid!!
Pinkie: Yeah! You were the one who set off all those pranks she planted at your party, and you instantly blamed me, even though they weren't ALL meant for you and that I only threw the party to cheer you up!!
Gilda: Cheer me up?! I was having a perfectly good day until you set up a booby-trapped party!
Mezmo: Wha?! Didn't you just hear a word she said, you nut job?!
Gilda: Oh, now the HUMAN decides to mouth off! You know, I hate omnivores. Meat or plants! PICK ONE and stick to it!
*Gilda, the Mane Six, the reindeer, and the other Griffins looked toward the entrance of the cave to see Rainbow Dash and the E.L.F.S Troops walking inside, looking determined and ready to fight*
Twilight: Rainbow Dash!!
Vixen: And the E.L.F.S.!
Gilda: *chuckles evilly* Good to see you, Dash. *approaches Rainbow and the troops* So
finally resigned yourself to becoming soup, eh?
Rainbow Dash: Gilda, I don't want to fight you. Just release my friends and no one will get hurt.
Gilda: Oh, SOMEONE'S gonna get hurt! *digs her talons across the stone floor of the cave* Someone's gonna get hurt BAD!
Rainbow Dash: This is your last warning, Gilda. Let them go
Gilda: Or else what? YOU'RE gonna do something about it? *laughs* Oh please!! *looks at the E.L.F.S troops* And who are all these bozos with you? Rejects from the circus or something?
E.L.F.S Troop 1: We're your worst nightmare, lady. *smirks* Elves
*Suddenly, the E.L.F.S troops took off and begin to buzz over the griffins' heads with their magic jetpacks, deftly dodging out of the way of snapping beaks and swiping claws*
Galphor: *eyes widen* What the?!
Gilda: Galphor, get those pixies or whatever they are! I'm gonna catch up with my old school buddy! *springs at Rainbow Dash*
*Just then, three of the griffins flew up into the air and began to chase after the troops as they flew all around the cave*
E.L.F.S Troop 2: We got three griffins right on our tail!!
E.L.F.S Troop 3: And they are ugly!
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Arm string dispensers!!
*A set of devices, much like fishing rod spools, deployed from the trooper's sleeves and lock to their wrists*
E.L.F.S Troop 4: Armed, sir!
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Ready. Aim. FIRE!!!
*The four troopers fired long cords of colored string at the pursuing Griffins, quickly tying them up and causing them to fall to the ground*
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Remind me to tell the wrapping department this has definite applications when we get back.
Female Griffin: *struggling in the string* How humiliating. Beaten by string!
Gilda: GUYS!!! Get your tails in gear and kick some fairy butt!
Rainbow Dash: They're ELVES!!! *kicks Gilda in the face*
Gilda: AUGH!!! WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?!?! *pounces on top of Rainbow Dash* RAAAWWWRRR!!!
E.L.F.S Troop 4: *grabs Gilda's tail* Gotchya!! *flies up into the air*
Gilda: *is hoisted in to the air by her tail* WHOOOOAAAA!!!! *looks at the E.L.F.S troop* Hey, you! NO ONE yanks my tail!! *slashes out with her hind claws*
E.L.F.S Troop 4: *avoids the slashes* Let's go for a spin, shall we? *spins around the top of the cave, accelerating his speed with every turn* Round, and round, and round, she goes! Where she stops, nobody knows!!
Gilda: *getting nauseous from the spinning* I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!! I'M GONNA THROW UP, AND THEN I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!
E.L.F.S Troop 4: Brace for impact!! *lets go of Gilda's tail*
Gilda: YAAAAHHHH!!!! *hits against the wall and slides onto the ground*
E.L.F.S Troop 4: OUCH!!! That's gotta hurt! *lands in front of Rainbow Dash* You okay, Dash?
Rainbow Dash: Uh, yeah. *canters over to Gilda* Gills, you okay? *holds up her left front hoof* How many hooves am I holding up?
Gilda: F-F-F-Flip Flop
Rainbow Dash: Ah, she'll be okay. Come on, let's go free my friends!!
*Rainbow and the E.L.F.S troops ran over to the cage where the others were being held, only to be confronted by Galphor and several more griffins*
Galphor: Forgot about US, didja?
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Not at all. Oh, Rudy!!
Rudolph: *leaps down from the cave entrance, his nose already building a charge* Smile, everyone! *emit's a bright red light from his nose, quickly blinding the griffins*
Galphor: *covers his eyes* YEEAARRRGH! MY EYES!!!
Female: *covers her eyes* I CAN'T SEE!!!
Carver: *covers his eyes* HE'S TOO AWESOME!!!
Rudolph: Vixen!!! *bounds over to the cage and rubs his nose with Vixen's* Are you okay?
Vixen: I'm fine, sweetie. I'm just so happy you found us.
Rudolph: Don't thank me, it was Rainbow and Patch's idea to rescue you.
Rainbow Dash: Oh, c'mon! Your guys busted in here all "HYAH! WOOOO!!!! SAZHABOOEY!!!" If I'd done that, I'd be kitty chow.
???: But you were the one who first jumped out of the sleigh to get help. All I did was follow suit.
*Everyone turned to see Patch casually enter the cave and walk up to the cage*
Twilight: Patch! Are we glad to see you!
Patch: Come on, let's get you lot outta there.
E.L.F.S. Troop 1: Easy
*The E.L.F.S troops took out pieces of tinsel from their pockets and slid them in-between the bars of the cage. With a tight yank, they pulled the tinsel downwards, quickly cutting the bars off the cage, allowing the ponies, reindeer and Mezmo to escape*
Rarity: What was THAT?
E.L.F.S Troop 3: Tinsel. Not just for decoration, you know.
Mezmo: That is awesome!!
Dasher: Maybe we should make our escape, before these mish-mash meat eaters come to.
Rudolph: Where's the sleigh?
Dancer: They took it over there into the back of the cave when they brought us in.
Rainbow Dash: Then we have to go get it. The fate of Christmas is at stake!
Pinkie: Somepony finally joined the team! WAHOO!!!
Donner: Come on, let's go!
*The Mane Six, reindeer, elves, and Mezmo ran to the back of the cave to get the sleigh. Sure enough, it and the sack were shoved into a corner in the back of the cave. It was a little banged-up, but otherwise okay*
Blitzen: Ah, she's seen worse than this. She'll fly.
Mezmo: Come on, le's hook you guys up!
Vixen: Thanks, everybody. We'd help, but, well
we don't have hands.
Pinkie Pie: We already knew that, silly!
Fluttershy: Let's hurry, before Gilda comes after us!
*Soon enough, the E.L.F.S troops had gotten the sleigh out from the corner as the reindeer took their positions in front of it and were hooked up to their harnesses by Patch and Mezmo*
Patch: We'll need to get out of here fast!
Comet: Duh, that's why I'm here!
Patch: Sorry, Comet, but we'll need to be faster than that.
Rudolph: Okay, if you insist. *trots to the front of the team* Hitch me up.
Mezmo: Gotchya! *hooks Rudolph top the sleigh* There we go!
Patch: Still not good enough. We'll need to out fly them all in order to stay on schedule! Hmm
*looks to Rainbow Dash* Ah ha!
Rainbow Dash: What? *eyes widen in realization* Wait, do you mean
Patch: *smiles* Rainbow, with your mane so bright, won't you guide our sleigh tonight?
Rainbow Dash: *eyes widen* OMIGOSHOMIGOSHOMIGOSHOMIGOSH!!!
Rudolph: *chuckles* I take that as a yes.
*Soon enough, Rainbow Dash was harnessed and hitched to the sleigh next to Rudolph*
Rudolph: So, how does it feel, kid?
Rainbow Dash: Uh
it kinda chafes.
Vixen: You'll get used to it, Rainbow. Don't worry.
Blitzen: Okay, everyone and everything, we have a schedule to get back on. Let's get outta this hole without stepping on anyone.
Patch: *snaps the reins* Yo!
*Slowly, the team pulled the sleigh forward, carefully stepping over and around fallen Griffins. Just then, Galphor woke up and saw the reindeer and sleigh leaving the cave*
Galphor: GET UP, GET UP!! THEY'RE ESCAPING!!!
Female Griffin: Galphor, quiet! I have the worst headache!
Gilda: *stirs* Huh? Wha? *sees the sleigh and reindeer escaping* Grrr
*Immediately, all the Griffins were alerted to Gilda's call and immediately began to chase after the sleigh*
Comet: Not this again!!
Applejack: Come on!! Faster, faster!!
Rainbow Dash: WHAT DO YOU THINK WE'RE DOING?!
*Soon, the sleigh and reindeer exited the mouth of the cave and took off into the sky, with the Griffins quickly catching up to them*
Dancer: You've gotta admire their persistence.
Donner: I find it rather annoying!
Rudolph: If I could only turn my head, I'd give 'em the old flash bulb again.
Fluttershy: What do we do?
Mezmo: It's US they're after, not the sleigh. We've got to get back to Ponyville. Once there, you guys can drop us off and continue the mission without us!
Blitzen: You'd sacrifice yourselves to those monsters for our sake?
Mezmo: If it means saving Christmas for everyone and everypony
Blitzen: Very noble of you, son
Hold on to whatchya got! We need to boost to get to Ponyville before they catch us!
Comet: But we're going as fast as we can!
Rainbow Dash: Not quite. *begins to concentrate*
E.L.F.S Troop 4: What's she doing?
Twilight: *smiles* The Sonic Rainboom.
Patch: *eyes widen* Oh good lord!
Rainbow Dash: *is literally sparking with energy* Come on! Gotta get it!
Mezmo: *turns to the E.L.F.S troops* You guys may wanna hunker down for this one, it's gonna be a blast!
Pinkie Pie: This
is going to be
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Men, brace yourselves!! *ducks down into the sleigh*
E.L.F.S Troop 2: Way ahead of you, sir! *ducks down into the sleigh with the other troops*
Mezmo: Here it comes!!
*Rainbow then released her built-up energy. Instantly, the shattered visible spectrum formed a rainbow shockwave and the sleigh was instantly boosted to mach speeds*
Blitzen: *eyes widen* WHOOOOAAAA!!!!
Comet: WHOOOOO!!! G-FORCE!!! G-FORCE!!! G-FORCE!!!
Dancer: There better not be some girly rainbow trail behind us!
Prancer: I think we left those overgrown pigeons in the dust! We can slow down now! Really, we can!
Mezmo: Sorry, it usually takes a while for Rainbow to slow down once she's broken the spectrum!
E.L.F.S Troop 2: I think I'm gonna be sick.
E.L.F.S Troop 1: Hold it in, trooper!
Patch: WHOOO!!!! I DON'T THINK WE'VE EVER GONE THIS FAST BEFORE!!! A NEW NORTH POLE RECORD!!!!
Donner: Here's hoping we LIVE long enough to report it!!
Rainbow Dash: Okay
Size of the globe
trajectory. Gotta hit the brakes
NOW!!! *spreads her wings, instantly cutting her speed and slowing the sleigh down right over Ponyville*
Comet: WHOO!!!! What a rush!! Let's do it again!!
Everyone Else: NO!!!
Comet: *pouting* Fine!
Rarity: You can land in the village square. There's lots of open space.
Dasher: *looks down* Um, don't look now, folks, but we've got company.
*Down below in the village square, everypony in Ponyville was laughing, singing, dancing, and celebrating Hearth's Warming Eve*
Pumpkin Cake: *pops her teddy bear out of her mouth* Mama, wookie! Pwetty!
Mrs. Cake: *looks up* Oh my!
Mr. Cake: Honey bunch, what is it?
Mrs. Cake: Carrot
Pound Cake: *squeals happily*
Mr. Cake: *looks up* Holy Doughnuts!! Everypony, look!! Up in the sky!!
*Everypony in the square looked up to see the reindeer driven sleigh flying down towards them. Ditzy grabbed Dinky and dove into a bush, Big Macintosh reared up in front of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and the Mayor dropped her speech notes in surprise*
Mayor Mare: What in the name of Celestia
*The sleigh landed and skidded to a halt in the village square. The elves quickly unhitched Rainbow while the other ponies and Mezmo climbed out of the sleigh, with Pinkie carrying out a batch of presents in her arms*
Hi, everypony. Happy Hearth's Warming!
Town's Ponies: *pause* HAPPY HEARTH'S WARMING!!!
Twilight: *looks to see Pinkie with the presents* Pinkie, what're you doing with those presents?
Pinkie: Saving the guys a return trip. Don't worry, I won't open them until tomorrow morning.
Patch: Oh, no need. Technically, it's already Christmas morning! But, you can wait a few hours if you want.
Pinkie: It's only fair.
thank you for helping me when my leg was injured. If it weren't for you and your friends, I never would've made it.
Fluttershy: *smiles* Your welcome, Vixen. Happy to be of service.
Mayor Mare: *walks up to Twilight and the others* Twilight Sparkle, what is the meaning of this?
Twilight: Oh, you know, Mayor. Fluttershy saved an injured reindeer that turned out to be magical and we probably just saved a major human holiday. Same old, same old
Mayor Mare: Oh, okay
That was easier than I thought.
Spike: *comes running up from the crowd* Twilight!!
Twilight: Spike! *gallops up to Spike and scoops him up into a hug* I missed you so much! How's my favorite assistant?
Spike: Just fine, Twilight. I watched the library like you asked.
Twilight: Thank you, Spike. I promise you I won't ask you to do that again for a while.
Spike: Thanks, Twi. Watching a library isn't as easy as it sounds.
Cupid: Aww, that's so adorable!
Sweetie Belle: Rarity! *tackles Rarity to the ground* Where have you been? Mommy and Daddy and everypony else have been looking for you!
Rarity: Oh, just saving the world, Sweetie. You know, the usual
Is Saucier here?
Sweetie: Yeah. He and auntie Sous Chef and Uncle Stone Cutter and Auntie Gem Stone and all our cousins got here this morning.
Rarity: Excellent! I'll come over and explain the whole story later.
Patch: *walks up to Rainbow Dash* You did good tonight, Dash. both our world and the human world owe you and your friends a debt of gratitude.
Rainbow Dash: Aww, shucks, it was nothin'. Comes with being an Element of Harmony and all that, ya know?
*Suddenly, Gilda was seen crawling out from under the sleigh, letting out a mighty roar at everyone around her, scaring the living daylight out of them all*
Mezmo: Oh no!!
Blitzen: I THOUGHT we were carrying extra weight.
Gilda: I have come too far! I will NOT be denied! *stalks forward at Rainbow Dash, eyes burning with anger*
Rainbow Dash: *groans* Please, Gilda, go away! Haven't you done enough damage for one night?
Gilda: Enough?! Why, I've just begun!! *lunges for Rainbow* RAAAWWWRRR!!!!
*Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light that appeared in-between Rainbow and Gilda, blinding the both of them. When the light faded, there standing between them, was Santa Claus himself, dressed in his famous red outfit, complete with hat. He looked down at Gilda, crossed his arms and gave her a serous looking stare*
Pinkie: *gasps* Santa Claus!!
Patch: Thank goodness!
Santa: *raises an eyebrow* So
you must be Gilda. You've been on my naughty list for a very long time, young lady.
Gilda: *falls back in fear* Oh no
Rainbow Dash: *smiles* Oh yes!
Santa: No so fast, little missy! You still have some time to do in Mareheim prison. All I have to do is snap my fingers and you'll be back in your cell in a split second!
Gilda: No!! PLEASE!!! NOT BACK IN THAT HOLE!!! I'll do ANYTHING!!!
Santa: *raises an eyebrow* Anything?
Gilda: ANYTHING!!! Just PLEASE don't send me back there! I can't spend one more day in that place or I'll go nuts! *starts crying*
I don't know. What do you think, Rainbow?
Rainbow Dash: Hmm
Gilda, you know I'd let you go, but the fact is there's a price on your head! Not even the Steppes will hide you forever. Eventually, some sword-slinger will find you and you'll either be locked back in the dungeon or end up stuffed and mounted over a fireplace.
Mezmo: So, we put her back in Mareheim prison?
Rainbow Dash: I don't know. This is a real head scratcher. I don't want her getting hurt, but I can't leave my oldest friend locked up in a cage for the rest of her life.
Twilight: But she's a criminal
who tried to kill us!!
Rainbow Dash: And that's my fault. I shouldn't have set up all those pranks and made her so mad. Gilda's my friend and she deserves better than that.
I know exactly what to do. *looks at Gilda* Gilda, you're going back to Mareheim prison. BUT, I'll write you a note asking the warden to set up a parole hearing for you.
Gilda: You'd do that for me?
Santa: Everyone does bad things from time to time, but that's not the same thing as being a bad person. Sometimes, all it takes is a good friend to help you back to yourself again.
Rainbow Dash: But you have to promise that if and when you get out, you'll never, ever steal from or bully anyone again
Gilda: *nods* I promise.
Santa: *takes out a quill and paper and writes a note* Well, that settles it. *gives the note to Gilda* Here. Give this to the warden the second you arrive.
Gilda: Okay, Santa
Santa: So long! *snaps his fingers*
*In a flash of light, Gilda had disappeared from Ponyville Square*
Twilight: I seriously need to learn that trick.
Mezmo: You're not the only one.
Santa: Well, looks like you've all had a rough night. It's alright, I'll take over from here.
Blitzen: Oh, thank goodness. Boss, we are seriously behind schedule because of those bird-cats.
Santa: I can see that. *looks to the E.L.F.S troops* Troops, you've done a splendid rescue job tonight. Go home and rest, we'll meet you back later.
E.L.F.S Troops: SIR, YES, SIR!!! *activate jetpacks and soar off*
Rudolph: If it'll help, Santa, I'll stick with the team and help you get caught up.
Santa: Thanks, Rudy.
Rudolph: No problem.
Mezmo: Oh wait, Santa!
Santa: Let me guess, Mezmo, this is about your friends.
yes, sir. You see, I have presents that I wanted to give them...but I don't know where they are. I was wondering if
you could deliver them for me?
Santa: Not a problem at all, lad.
Mezmo: Thanks, sir. *raises his baton and squints his eyes* Telepara Intervallia!
*Just then, two wrapped packages appeared and fell into Santa's arms*
Mezmo: I had Rarity make one of them for me.
Santa: *smiles* Consider them delivered.
Mezmo: Thank you, Santa.
Santa: It's what I do. *looks at the ponies of Ponyvile* Now all of you be on your best behavior, and next year, I just might come back with something for all of you.
Cutie Mark Crusaders: Okay, Santa!
Patch: *climbs into the sleigh* All ready to go, Santa!
Santa: *climbs into the sleigh* Ah! Feels good to be back at the reins. Ready team?
Reindeer Team: Ready Santa!
Santa: Okay, Rudolph! Full power!
Rudolph: With pleasure, Santa! *raises head and shines a spotlight of red light into the sky*
Santa: Next stop, Neighpon! *cracks the reigns* Yo!
*The sleigh and reindeer then took off into the sky and soared out of sight*
Santa: HAPPY HEARTH'S WARMING, ONE AND ALL!!! HO HO HO!!!
Mezmo: *smiles* Wow
Pinkie: Nobody does it like the big guy!
Rainbow Dash: Best
Twilight: It certainly was
Spike: I missed a really cool adventure again, didn't I?
Applejack: Sorry, Spike. Don't worry, we'll tell ya all about it.
Spike: Thanks, AJ.
Rainbow Dash: But first, Spike, I need to borrow you for just a minute.
Spike: Oh, sure, Rainbow. What is it?
Rainbow Dash: I
need you to write a letter for me.
*Meanwhile, At Canterlot castle, Princess Celestia lay asleep in her bed, her body wrapped in warm blankets and a smile on her face as she dreamed of sugar plums. Just then, a large shadowed figure entered her bedroom and approached the bed. The figure then took out a white teddy bear from his sack and stuck it in-between her front legs. When the princess awoke, her bedroom was empty. She was about to go back to sleep when she noticed the teddy bear between her legs*
???: *from outside* Ho, ho, ho, ho!
Princess Celestia: *giggles* Merry Christmas, Nicholas.
*The door to Celestia's chambers opened and in walked Princess Luna, flanked by two of her Thestral guards*
Princess Luna: He's gotten rather bold in the past thousand years, hasn't he?
Princess Celestia: Oh, don't be that way, Luna. Besides
*telekinetically lifts a large package wrapped in dark blue wrapping paper with full moons* He left something for you, too.
Princess Luna: *takes the present and smiles* Merry Christmas, Celestia.
Princess Celestia: You too, Luna. *yawns* See you in the morning.
*Meanwhile, outside the border of the Ibex Empire, Nikola and Lian were in their campsite. Nikola was working with his chemistry set over the fire while Lian watched*
Nikola: Trust me! This time, I'm SURE I got it right.
Lian: I hope so, I've been waiting for over an hour.
Nikola: Finally, PERFECT cocoa is possible! No more of that weak watery stuff that just scalds your tongue! *turns a valve, allowing the cocoa to pour into a mug*
Lian: Ooh, looks tasty.
Nikola: It does, but the real proof is in the taste. *raises the mug to his lips*
*Just then, two Christmas packages dropped out from the sky and onto the ground next to Lian and Nikola*
Nikola: Yah!!! *drops his mug* NO!!! Now I'll never know!
Lian: Calm down, Nikola. *looks at the packages* They look like presents. *sees the tags, stating that they were addressed to her and Nikola* And they're addressed to us.
Nikola: Well, gee, who knew we were here?
Lian: *picks up her present and reads the tag again, stating Mezmo's name* Mezmo! *opens the present to see a Chinese dress done in red and green with a snowflake pattern* Oh my
Nikola: My turn! *rips open his package* Aww
A set of wrenches, just what I needed.
Lian: *looks up at the sky, eyes widen* Nikola, look!
*Nikola looked to see what Lian was starring at and was shocked to see Santa Claus and his reindeer-driven sleigh fly through the night sky*
Santa: Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!!
Nikola: Well, how about that. Too bad he couldn't stay, I've always wanted to explore the mystery of Santa's bag.
Nikola: Haven't you ever wondered how he can fit all those gifts into that bag?
Lian: I always just assumed it was magic.
Nikola: Fair enough, back to work! Oh! Idea! I'll try adding an infusion of peppermint flavor for a sweet holiday taste.
Lian: One step at a time, Nikola.