Chapter 1

December 5th

It was a glamorous and freezing winter morning; nearly the entire neighborhood was blanketed by flakes of white which were descending ever so gently from the starry sky. Their rich color only contrasted by the gleaming Christmas lights hung everywhere in the snowy streets where the residents were buying all kinds of holiday supplies for themselves. Their kids meanwhile, were playing outside, following their old snowy traditions: building snowmen and asking their parents for carrots to use as noses, tobogganing, or daring each other to lick their mailboxes. A magical time indeed.

The Sun hadn't risen yet as the nights are usually long in winter. There's something so mystifying but alluring about standing outside under the night sky when it should be day. A huge change in Mother Nature's daily routine could have cause one to develop a sense of awkwardness. That feeling nevertheless, would be inhibited by the enlivening aura the atmosphere offers. The cool refreshing air that would make a person feel reborn, the way the colors of the Christmas lights are able to shine so brightly under the dark sky while reflecting off the snow, and the sounds of laughter from children playing with each other. It's as if one has been transported into an alternate world, similar to a giant playground. A world where one is able to be free from all other life responsibilities. A world in which almost everyone has that glorious beaming look on their faces.

At the moment, our heroes- the Dokidoki girls- were having the time of their lives at the park. Much to Rikka's dismay, Mana had just thrown a snowball which landed square on in Rikka's cup of hot chocolate.

"Oy, Mana!" Rikka exclaimed as she attempted to wipe the hot brown liquid spilled on her light blue coat.

"Hehe, sorry Rikka!" Mana called out from a distance with the other girls giggling near her.

Rikka, at the moment, was trying to relax on a wooden park bench. She had just borrowed an encyclopedia about arctic animals from the library and was reading it out loud to Ai-chan, hoping to educate that bright little light-bulb into becoming a studious girl like her one day. Ai-chan however, seemed to be more focused on the vibrant colors on each page of the book than the actual information itself. She smiled when Rikka turned the pages, as there is something new aesthetically to look at. Due to this, Rikka made an ever so false assumption that the toddler was even slightly understanding her yabberings about her usual topics of trivial garbage, giving her a sense of pride in herself like her adopted young lady was destined to win a Nobel Prize or something among those lines.

The other girls meanwhile, were having a snowball fight with Mana and Aguri on one team and Makoto and Alice on the other. Although to be honest, it was more like a two-against-one match since Aguri was constantly struggling to make just one snowball with her yellow mittens decorated with red hearts, rendering her entirely useless throughout the whole icy battle. Mana, on the contrary, was really getting into the heat of the fight. She made ammo at lighting speed and threw them continuously each time faster than you say 'Jingle Bells'. She even borrowed an ice bucket from one of her neighbors to use as a type of hard helmet, making her resemble a Buckethead from Plants vs Zombies but with a much more perky personality. At the same time, Alice was providing cover for Makoto using her yellow parasol while the latter was attempting to gather Mana's thrown snowballs and use them to build their protective snowy wall about 15 meters in front of where Rikka was sitting, which at the moment, had a height of just over a meter tall and was rising slowly, but steadily.

"Private Aguri!" Mana called out to her ally. "They're providing protection using our own ammo! Retreat to the trench!"

"What trench?"

Aguri looked behind to see a medium-sized crevice in the ground already premade.

"But Mana, how did yo-"

She looked back and saw that her magenta-haired friend wasn't there. She then turned backwards again to see the bubbly girl herself peaking over the ditch; a huge grin on her face and a wave, signifying to let her join, with her shiny bucket still stuck to her head giving away her position; a sight you don't see every day indeed. "She would have looked so idiotic if she wasn't so adorable," Aguri thought to herself in a humorous way. Aguri is usually a very serious girl. Despite her age, she possesses a very mature and strict demeanor. So strict that in fact, even Makoto would be intimidated by her at times. Nevertheless, being surrounded by the smiles of her friends while also coming close to the most magical day of the year appears to have evoked the inner child in her. It was one of those rare moments in her life where she acted accordingly to her age. Normally, seeing her ally in that comical state would cause her to roll her eyes and walk away. Instead, she let out a mild giggle while using her mitten-covered hands to conceal her expression.

The mascots in the meantime, were also enjoying themselves. Sharuru and Lance were helping each other build a snow sculpture of Raquel while Raquel himself and Dabyi were making snow-angels together. The former however, would get so excited that he would flap his arms and legs around in an extremely rapid pace and the end result would be shapes that more or less resemble tiny moon craters, much to his disappointment.

"We're almost done Raquel!" the little pink rabbit announced. "What do you think-sharu?"

"Hehe! It looks just like my twin brother, if I actually have one-quel." Raquel replied.

Dabyi however, was not as impressed.

"Not bad, but maybe his ears are a bit too small-byi," she suggested.

She walked to the sculpture and added a bit more white powder to the ears.

"Stop! It's perfect just the way it is-lance!" Lance protested.

"Just let me fix it-byi!"

"No-lance!"

"Hey, be careful of the sculpture-sharu!"

"That's MY sculpture-quel!"

At the moment, the mascots were standing on a shallow hill, right behind Mana's trench. You may have heard the phrase 'The Snowball Effect' before. Well, that's exactly what happened. What started off as a simple readjustment to the ears of Raquel's twin ended up in a 4 way argument causing a certain blue puppy to trip while trying to drag Dabyi away from Lance. He fell right on top of his snowy brother and started to roll down the hill, taking Sharuru- who was unlucky enough to be standing right in his path- with him. As they both tumbled down, more snow started to accumulate on their bodies turning them into a giant *ahem* snowball that was constantly getting bigger and bigger as it rolled. Dabyi and Lance meanwhile, attempted to chase them down.

Now back to regular sized snowballs, Alice and Makoto were starting to really get in the game with the former even attempting to move forward while Alice guarded their base. She was no match for Mana though, as she persevered for only about 8 seconds before forcing to retreat.

"Mana is really enjoying this," Alice told Makoto and forced a tiny smile.

"I can see that," Makoto replied, trying to catch her breath.

Unnoticed by Mana's team, Sharuru and Raquel, with their new shared giant round body, were rolling down right towards them from behind.

Aguri could hear the sound of the approaching snowball although unaware of the source of the noise.

"Uh Mana," she tapped her bucket headed friend on the shoulder. "Do you hear that?"

"Just a minute Aguri-chan, look at Alice and Makoto! They look so scared of us! That means we're winning! Oh, kyunkyun I can't believe this!"

At the moment, Alice and Makoto finally noticed the gigantic white ball. Alice pointed her finger at the snowball, hoping to warn them while Makoto was waving her arms in the air in order to try and get their attention.

"Aguri-chan, Makoto's surrendering. That means we've won!"

"Mana, I don't think she's-"

And in one fell swoop, the snowball took the two oblivious girls with it.

No sooner did the large white entity consume the entirety of Mana's body than when she started screaming. Aguri would have scolded her right about now if she wasn't at the moment getting tossed and turned everywhere inside the snowy body.

Seeing their friends getting taken, the other two made a run for it. Their speed however, was no match for the snow's attempt of inventing its own version of the wheel so they ran to the sides, with Alice moving to the left and Makoto to the right, both completely dodging the large sphere rolling between them.

Rikka, who was just finishing the chapter about arctic sea lions, raised her head towards all the commotion. She immediately saw the colossus white ball that seemed to be targeting her. Ai-chan quickly flew upwards to avoid the damage but it was too late for Rikka. She promptly put her body in a bracing position, ready for what's coming to her. At the last second nonetheless, the snowball hit a medium sized stone causing it to drift slightly to the left, barely missing the intelligent young lass as it collided with the bench.

As Rikka raised her head from her arms, she began to observe the aftermath. Raquel was laying upwards, facing the sky while Sharuru popped her head out of the snow, both of them temporarily knocked out. Aguri meanwhile, got her bottom half all buried in snow and was also in a daze but the one who suffered the most was Mana who, as opposed to Sharuru, got only her head stuck into the snow, making her resemble an ostrich. Rikka, after witnessing the absurd incident in front of her, started to laugh out loud. She was laughing so hard that she fell over from the bench but she didn't care. As Alice, Makoto, Lance and Dabyi joined the rest, they also started to laugh with the rest of them.

"My heart is beating so much right now that it may explode with happiness!" Mana cried out with a huge grin on her face right after Rikka pulled her out.

Soon, Aguri was able to recover from her stupor, only to feel a boiling hot source on her head. It turned out that Rikka spilled her cup of hot chocolate as she was chortling and it landed upside down, spilling its contents right on the hapless 10 year old lady's brown hair. Understandably, she began to panic and the others tried to calm her down. Alice attempted to wipe most of the searing hot liquid off her hair and as she did, Aguri started to calm down a bit. However, her inner child started to fade away.

"Hmph! Well this is a silly game anyway," she pouted.