Jack Frost continued flying across the Workshop with Lea by his side. He was really excited about the special surprise waiting for his teen believer.
She is going to love it. I just know it, Jack thought to himself with a caring smile.
It didn't take long for the two of them to gently land back on the ground. Once the Winter Spirit let go of her hand, Lea looked around the Globe Room for anything out of the ordinary...besides the whole yetis and stuff like that.
"Okay, Jack, we're here. What's the surprise?" Lea questioned, a bit skeptical on the whole thing.
"This is the big surprise!" North said, as he came in holding something in his two bare hands.
Once looking at North's direction, the blonde teen's eyes were wide in utter disbelief.
"NIGHTLIGHT?!" Lea exclaimed. "Is that you?!"
The young blonde teen couldn't believe it. In North's strong hands held her beloved childhood toy that she thought was gone forever. Lea hurried towards the Guardian of Wonder to make sure she wasn't imagining this.
Jack couldn't help but chuckle deeply at Lea's adorable look on Nightlight. "That's right. Old Humpty Dumpty has been put back together again thanks to North," He answered, leaning his weight on his staff.
"I don't believe it. He looks like he was never broken in the first place," Lea said, using her fingers to feel any cracks. "...And I can't even see nor touch any damage on Nightlight at all!"
"Of course. Fixing and making toys is my specialty, after all," North grinned proudly.
"North, you're a miracle worker! Thank you!" she exclaimed happily, tears of joy starting to show.
"Come on, no water works," Jack said, giving her a playful nudge.
"I'm entitled to my feelings!" Lea sobbed, wiping a tear from her eye.
Soon, the Guardians of Hope, Memories, and Dreams arrived at the Globe Room to see Lea overjoyed about her surprise.
"Ah, I see ya already discovered half of the surprise on what North and Frostbite wanted to show you," Bunny called out, smirking while folding his arms.
Calming herself down, Lea looked at Bunny in confusement before looking at Jack and North. "Half of the surprise? What's Bunny talking about?"
North presented a small red box topped with a silver bow. "For you, my dear," He smiled and his eyes twinkled.
Lea kindly took the box and carefully unwrapped it. Within the box revealed a quartz crystal bracelet. The crystal was held together in the center with a silver chain. It also needed to be snapped on and a little opal gem on the end of the right side.
Lea's eyes grew wide, too amazed by the beauty of this jewelry as she grabbed it.
"Need a hand?" Jack asked, offering to help while putting away his staff in his holster to use both hands.
Smiling, Lea nodded and gave Jack the bracelet before lending out her left wrist for him to put it on. The Guardian of Fun clipped the two ends together, letting go for Lea to admire it better.
"It's looks nice on you," Jack complimented, giving another one of his dashing smiles that made Lea blush.
"Thanks," Lea replied, still grinning at her new gift.
"Now, remember, Lea. When you wear this, focus on the warmth within the crystal. Think about your belief in the Guardians," North instructed.
Lea closes her eyes and let the warmth take over...
As she did, the bracelet let out a noticeable glow. Soon, at the same time, Nightlight began to glow, too. Once the light dimmed down, the wooden toy sitting in North's right hand began to move on its own. Nightlight stood up and blinked his painted eyes, looking around the place in awe before doing a front somersault and dropped down on the ground with a perfect landing.
"Did anything happen?" Lea asked, still having her eyes closed.
"Crikey!" Bunny yelped. Several yelps followed that finally made Lea open her eyes.
"IT'S ALIVE!" Tooth screeched, hugging Jack while her fairies chirped in startlement and hid close to the Guardian of Fun, as well.
"What?! What is?!" Lea said, frantically looking around.
"That!" Jack exclaimed, pointing to something on the floor.
Following to the direction of what Jack was pointing at, Lea stared in bemusement and her mouth slightly gaping.
"Nightlight?!" Lea questioned in utter disbelief.
The Glowing Toy smiled up and waved hello before giving a curtsy bow.
Lea stared for a full minute. Then, she rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn't just seeing things.
Nightlight kept smiling and waving.
"This is happening..." Lea muttered in complete astonishment. "T-This is really happening!"
Just then, Nightlight began running towards Jack, jumped, climbed up by grabbing on from his old-fashioned pants to his jacket, and managed to flip himself to stand on top of Jack's white-haired head.
Lea couldn't help but giggle with excitement before jumping a bit in joy. "No way! My childhood companion has come to life! He's exactly how I imagined him!"
"Great. Uh, can you please get him off my head now?" Jack questioned, not sure how he feels about a toy standing on his head.
"I'll help!" Tooth offered, gently grabbing him and putting Nightlight down on the ground. "Awww! He actually looks kind of cute!" she squealed.
Smiling, Nightlight grabbed Tooth's left hand with his tiny wooden ones and bowed respectfully before kissing it.
Lea chuckled. "That's his way of saying hello,"
Tooth blushed a bit, after getting her hand back with the other fairies fan-girl chirping.
After enjoying the show, Lea blinked in realization. "This is all so amazing, but...I don't understand," she looked at her bracelet. "How is this even possible?!"
"While I was fixing your little friend, I placed a magic crystal inside the hollow opening of his chest before closing it," North explained. "The crystal is attuned to you with the bracelet that can bring Nightlight to life whenever you want. A reminder that no matter how old you get, Lea, your belief in us will always stay young."
Lea was touched by North's words and his thoughtful gift. She truly was lucky to be friends with her favorite childhood myths and legends.
Nightlight reached his little arms up toward Lea, wanting to be picked up. Lea scooped up her beloved toy. "I...I just don't know what to say," she told her friends. "You've all been so good to me."
"Of course, Lea. We're the Guardians. We protect and look after all who still believe in us," Jack reasoned, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Sandy nodded his head, agreeing on that statement.
"I'm happy that I finally got to meet you all in person," Lea said, giving a tiny chuckle.
"Same to you," Tooth responded, flying in front of Lea and grabbed the blonde teen's hands the way someone starts keeping or making a promise. "Whatever happens, please don't stop being the loving, imaginative little girl you already are now. I have always loved that part of her and still do," she told the young teen with the most caring, motherly tone in her voice.
What Tooth said made Lea's cheeks blush light pink. She knew right away that her Winter Guardian spoke the truth of the Tooth Fairy accepting her, no matter how old Lea was, like the others.
"That is definitely a promise I can keep. Forever in my heart and soul," Lea replied.
Just then, Lea felt her phone vibrate and checked the time.
"Oh, wow. I didn't even know it was this late," Lea said in surprise, putting her phone away. "Sorry, everyone. I got to get back home. Let me get my backpack, come back here to say my goodbyes to all of you properly, and then I'll be on my way! Be right back!"
Lea held on to Nightlight in her hands and hurried back to the guestroom.
As she looked for her belongings, she spotted Roy at the corner of her eye.
"Roy! Just the elf I wanted to see," Lea replied, waving at the elf with Nightlight doing the same.
"Whoa! What's with the puppet?! Roy gasped, staring at Nightlight before looking around. "Is this another one of Jack's pranks?!"
"No, this is not one of Jack's pranks. This is my childhood friend, Nightlight. He got broken by accident and North fixed him," Lea explained, putting him down for the wooden boy to greet Roy up close. "He also put a magic crystal inside him that is connected to the bracelet he gave me that brings Nightlight to life."
"Well, deck my halls. That's a new one," Roy said, seeing the little puppet dancing around. "So, what's going on, kid?"
"I'm going to be leaving soon and I was wondering if you would accompany me for a bit," Lea explained.
"Me? You need an elf escort or something?" asked Roy. "Do I get payed by the hour?"
Lea chuckled. "Let's just say that I have an important announcement to make for the Guardians before I leave and want you to come along. Something I wanted to share with all the new friends I made here. Especially you, Roy,"
Nightlight nodded his head in agreement, already tugging on Lea's pants to go already with excitement.
"Well, your little friend is ready to go," Roy said. "Let's do this."
"Great," Lea smiled, putting her old clothes inside her backpack before slipping it on her back. Along with putting on her zipperless teal jacket first for going outside. "Time to get this show on the road,"
Things were a bit quiet between the three of them. Although, technically, Nightlight was so far the only mute person of the group. It felt like forever in getting back to the Globe Room.
Finally, the group made it and saw all the Guardians still there chatting with one another.
"Hey, everyone. I got my bag," Lea called out. "And before I leave, there's something I have to say. North, what did you think of the cookies I brought you while working on Nightlight in secret?"
"Why, they were the best cookies I ever tasted!" said North. "And that is saying something! I've eaten all kinds of cookies, pastries, and sweet treats from all over the world! But those cookies!" He inhaled a deep breath. "Best. Cookies. Ever. Period."
Lea smiled. "No doubt that they were. What if I told you that those cookies were not baked by one of the yetis but by someone else you know that lives in the Workshop?"
North blinked his big blue eyes. "You mean...the Yetis did NOT make the cookies?!" He looked around before facing the Guardian of Fun. "Jack! Is this another one of your pranks again?!"
"Wha-no! I had nothing to do with this!" Jack replied, raising his hands in defense. "I'm not even allowed to be near the kitchen. The yetis around here never let me...Like all those years when I trusted to bust in here before becoming a Guardian,"
"Why does everyone keep saying that?!" Lea exclaimed, lightly facepalming her forehead. "I said it was someone you know who lives in the workshop," she tried to explain more clearly to North while using her hands.
"But who?! The only ones here are me, the Yetis, and the...elves...?!" North felt himself freeze with realization.
"North, fellow Guardians, I present you all the real baking genius behind the amazing gingerbread cookies: Roy!" Lea explained with a grateful smile, gesturing her hand to the elf next to her.
Roy just stood there, awkwardness setting in. "Uh...hi."
"North, when I first met Roy, he was having doubts on his real purpose of why he's here in the Workshop. He thought that elves like him were just useless, but I helped convinced him differently on that subject by telling him not to lose hope in finding how he could help," Lea explained. "Then, a little while later, I discovered Roy baking gingerbread cookies and told me it wasn't much of a talent because everyone could it. So, to prove that Roy was very useful, I took half of the cookies he baked and delivered them to you so I can hear your opinion on the cookies. And, as I expected, they were the most incredible cookies you ever had."
Needless to say, everyone in the room was surprised. The elves were known to be bumbling and their minds were prone to wandering.
But Roy, this elf, was able to do something North regarded as a competent talent.
"If anything, Roy should be given a chance to work at the kitchen to bake sweet treats. Not all elves are exactly same, so you shouldn't judge Roy-or anyone-from how they look on the outside," Lea continued. "That's what I finished experiencing when meeting all of you."
"Well, that depends," North approached the elf. "What do you want to do, Roy?"
"Y-You want me to...choose?" Roy asked in disbelief. "But...you're the boss!"
North nodded. "True, but you have a mind of your own, just like the other elves. It's your call on what you want to do."
Roy, whom was a bit unsure, looked at Lea. He saw the teen girl smile and nod her head, as if telling him 'Go ahead. You got this.'.
And so, Fauntleroy, aka Roy, raised his head up high and made his decision. "Boss, I would like to work in the kitchen."
Lea smiled proudly on Roy's decision, folding her arms. Nightlight jumped up with enthusiasm on that.
North beamed with pride for his elf. "Then it's decided! Phil! Fetch this elf an apron and chef hat!"
Lea walked over and took a knee so she can be more eye-leveled with the little elf. "So...how does it feel to finally have your talents noticed, Baker Roy?" she questioned with a happy grin on her face.
Roy sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. "Well, it's different, but in a good way," he smiled. "A very good way. It'll take some getting used to, but I think I'll manage."
Phil arrived with the elf's apron. He unfolded it, presenting it to everyone. It was a clean apron that was white as freshly fallen snow. On the front of it were big, embroidered cursive letters that read;
Everyone, especially Roy, gasped.
"Your real name is Fauntleroy?" Jack asked, with a growing smile.
"Yeah..." Roy sighed, whom was not expecting his full name to be in the apron.
"Don't even think about teasing him, Jack!" Lea warned, getting up and waving a right index finger on him with her left hand on her hip. "Roy's name is very unique. He's been through a lot of pressure in finding his purpose."
"Okay, chill out, babe," Jack flew behind Lea and put a hand on her back, causing chills to go down her spine.
"Gah! Again with the spine!" Lea flinched and moved away from Jack. "Why did you have to be so cool yet cold at the same time?!"
"Caaaause, it's my thing?" Jack said, grinning.
Lea chuckled on that statement, rubbing the back of her neck sheepishly. "Right."
Just then, Lea felt another tug on her pants. She looked down to see Nightlight and raised his arms up to her. Smiling, Lea got out her backpack, opened the back zipper, and put it down.
"Okay, Nightlight. Wave goodbye to the Guardians, Roy, and the yetis before I put you inside," Lea said, picking him up and let him face the others.
Once Nightlight said his goodbyes to everyone, he was already inside the bag safe and sound.
Lea then zipped up her backpack, picked it up, and slipped it back on. "Well, I'm ready to go now. Thanks again for everything. Goodbye, Guardians of Childhood."
Jack took her hand while swinging out his staff. "All aboard the Frost Express!"
Lea felt her heart drop, realizing where this was going. "Oh, no-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she screamed in terror as Jack took off at the speed of light and snow from leaving the Workshop.
"Bye, ya Littler Jumper!" Bunny shouted, laughing with enjoyment.
"Promise to come back soon!" Tooth exclaimed.
Sandy waved goodbye from a distance.
"See ya, kid," Roy muttered with a tiny smile.
"Have a safe trip, young one," North grinned heartily.
Although it was uncertain, the Guardian of Wonder had a feeling in his belly that they would see Lea again.
After flying across the globe, Lea was back home to where her house was located, at the front porch. Once her feet reached the ground, her knees wobbled like jelly.
"I know that I enjoy a little fast run from time to time, but did you had to go into a speed that would nearly make my heart explode from panic?!" Lea questioned, trying to calm herself down by taking deep breathes.
"Nothing wrong with a little rush," Jack said, shrugging as he put his staff back in the holster before placing his hands in his pocket.
Lea sighed, rolling her eyes before giving a small smile. "Guess not,"
Jack chuckled a bit.
"So, Jack..." Lea started, shifting a little in shyness. "Will I ever see you again?"
"You just might," he remarked, giving a playful wink.
Lea smiled and offered her hand.
Seeing this, Jack raised an eyebrow and smiled. He took her hand and graced it with a kiss.
To Lea, his kiss started out cold yet, at the same time, felt a bit warm. She thought for sure that he was going to leave a frost-like kiss mark on her hand when doing that.
When lifting his head, Jack saw a mini spear close to his face that got him to move back a little and trip plus land on the wooden floor in startlement. It was only Nightlight on top of Lea's arm, playfully protecting his young teen friend.
"Nightlight! Get back in my bag," Lea lightly scolded, giggling on how cute her Wooden Companion was messing around.
Nodding his head, Nightlight put his toy spear away, moved up from Lea's arm to her shoulder, went inside the unzipped hole in the backpack he made, and used his weapon to zip it closed.
"Sorry. I always imagine Nightlight so protective and playful around me," Lea apologized.
"Nothing wrong with a little guardian to protect you," Jack said with a chuckle, lifting himself off the ground. "Especially one that makes you brave."
"Yeah. He is like my own little guardian," Lea agreed with a smile. "One that makes me feel brave."
"Like...the Guardian of Courage," Jack replied, grinning on his own little title on the toy.
Lea couldn't help but chuckle on that. "Nightlight, the Guardian of Courage...Not bad."
Jack and Lea laughed a little about Nightlight being an actual Guardian.
"So…until we meet again?" Jack questioned.
Lea grinned, placing a hand on Jack's left side of his face before giving a quick kiss on his right cheek.
"Until we meet again, Jack Frost," Lea remarked, already letting go. "Have a good night."
The female teen had a true knack for making Jack speechless. Because that's exactly what she did.
Jack couldn't help but chuckle at what just happened. "Okay, then. Same to you," he takes a few steps back from Lea and began swinging his staff up. "Hey, Wind! Take me back home!"
The staff glowed, creating a powerful wind surrounding Jack that made the tips of his hair dance. His feet were no longer touching the ground in no less than a second. Lea only watched in amazement as Jack disappeared into the skies. Once he was gone, knowing that she's all alone, Lea went inside the house to finally let out her overjoyed emotions by squealing and jumping up and down.
"I can't believe I just met Jack Frost and the rest of the Guardians of Childhood!" she cried, getting Nightlight out and twirling around with him in heartfelt laughter. "And he's coming back to hang out with me! This is the best night ever!"
The happy blonde kept spinning until she leaped backwards to have her back land on a nearby couch at the living room, giggling excitably and hugging her beloved companion close to her heart with Nightlight doing the same. Lea's wish finally came true. She not only got to experience such an incredible adventure, but also gets to go on another with her favorite myth. And the best part of all, is that the Guardians of Childhood like Lea. Even though she's now a young adult, Lea's child-like spirit still lives on inside her to believe and see her favorite legends from storybooks.
It proved that, no matter how old someone gets, there's a young soul within people that bring out the good in everyone.
"Kate is so not going to believe any of this. I seriously have to thank her for giving me the book and encouraging me from the start," Lea said to Nightlight, whom was lifted above her head to see the wooden boy smile and the ceiling behind him. "Maybe I can take her with me on the next adventure. Kate seriously needs some time out of the bookstore and into something more exciting. You barely do anything fun being cooped up there and do nothing."
Back in the Golden Goose Bookstore afterhours, Katherine was in front of her desk with a small, lite, brass, chamberstick candle holder to help her see better.
Upon the auburn-haired girl's view was an opened book that revealed to Katherine her best friend, Lea, talking about her magnificent time of meeting Jack Frost to not just give him his anniversary gift, but also meet the rest of the Guardians.
A warm smile came across her face when seeing this. "Another story with a happy ending. Can't wait to see where else this path will take for the rest of us," she chuckled to herself, slowly closing the book before putting it in a nearby shelf that was at the very top.
"I'm glad that Lea got to know the rest of the Guardians. And they learned not to judge a young adult teen believer without knowing them more from within,"
Katherine then walked over to the back and brought out a black, brown, and green colored book that showed a silhouette of an older woman floating in the center with different nature-themed images around her. It also had a golden lock in the side, to prevent from getting opened by anyone.
"Who knows? She might be useful to them, in the future. When the time is right," she said, placing a hand on the locked book.
For this Auburn-Haired Girl knew that this was not the end of this tale. It was just the beginning.
Who exactly is Katherine? What was the book she grabbed about? What plans does she have involving Lea and the Guardians?
Stay tuned for more in another story! ;)