Chapter 34: Christmas
As Seth woke up the next morning, he lay in bed for several minutes. The adventure that he had been on had lasted for days, spanning over the course of millions of years. But now, it had come to a close. The instruments were safe, and Oblivion had finally been stopped. The uproar involving Dynabridge and the government had been wished away, and Jake had been imprisoned in the dungeon. Not only were all of these problems finally over with, but it was now Christmas Morning.
Christmas! Of course! Seth had all but forgotten. He immediately jumped out of bed, kicked his feet into his slippers and bolted out of his bedroom, wearing nothing but his pajamas and the bracelet on his wrist. Seth scurried down the stairs to the foyer and dashed into the living room.
In the corner of the living room stood the Christmas tree. It was quite wide and tall, to the point where the angel at the top nearly scraped the ceiling with its halo. Seth took a moment to observe the dozens of ornaments that covered the tree, including ones that resembled fairies, centaurs, unicorns, dryads, satyrs and more. He then glanced down at the many wrapped gifts that had been carefully arranged and stacked around the base of the tree.
"You're up early, Seth," said Grandma. Seth turned around and saw Grandma entering the room, carrying a tray with several mugs.
"It's finally here," said Seth. "It's Christmas! Merry Christmas, Grandma!"
"Merry Christmas to you too, Seth," said Grandma, as she placed the tray down on the coffee table. "Help yourself to some hot chocolate."
"This stuff is the best," said Seth, grabbing one of the mugs by its handle. "I mean, chocolate's awesome, but Viola's milk might taste even better." He took a sip of hot chocolate, savoring every single drop. "Can I open my presents?"
"Let's wait until the others come down," said Grandma. "You can help me in the kitchen in the meantime."
Seth rolled his eyes. "Oh, all right."
It wasn't long before everybody else in the household had made their way into the living room. Even Bright, Clover and the dragons had stopped by, although Raxtus and Geminus assumed their smaller forms to enter the house. The last one to come down the stairs was none other than Kendra herself.
"All right," said Seth. "The gang's all here! Present time!"
"Good morning to you too, Seth," said Kendra, following up with a heavy yawn. The previous day had certainly taken a lot out of her.
Everyone took turns opening up various presents. Among the presents that Kendra had received included footwear, a jacket, several books and a fragrant perfume. Seth had received a boxed set of movies, new clothes, a dragon figurine and from Kendra, a copy of BioWarriors Extreme.
"You're the best sister ever!" said Seth, giving Kendra a hug.
"Hey, here's an unusual gift," said Warren, picking up a loose envelope.
"Who's it for?" asked Mrs. Sorenson.
"It says it's for The Folks at Fablehaven," said Warren, reading from the envelope. "And it claims to be from Santa Claus."
"Sure..." said Seth. He figured that it had probably just been written up by one of the adults and thrown in with the rest of the presents.
"May I see it?" asked Grandpa, accepting the envelope from Warren and opening it up.
"What does it say?" asked Bright.
Grandpa pulled out a note from with in the letter and proceeded to read it aloud.
Dear kind people at Fablehaven:
Let me start by saying that I am indeed Santa Claus. Now, some of you may be doubting my existence, but I'd like to state that I am in fact real.
"Hardy har har," said Seth. Grandpa disregarded Seth's comment and continued reading.
While I would love nothing more than to deliver presents to people all over the world, the truth is that I simply do not have the time, energy or resources to make that possible. Ever since I first started, I made it a point to only deliver presents to neediest of the needy. But even that is not enough. I do what I can to deliver presents, but I'm only one person, and there are billions of people on this planet. So, to clear up a common misconception people have of myself, I ultimately only deliver a very small amount of presents, less than a thousand, every year.
I don't have a normal present for you folks, because with all due respect, none of you are needy. You're a loving family, living on a wonderful, thriving preserve. The people whom I deliver presents to are poor and often have little or no family at all. Please understand. Any present I give to you would only be more appreciated by someone with nothing in their lives.
However, I was wondering if my reindeer could reside at Fablehaven for most of the year. Although it's my home, the North Pole is not the ideal place for them to reside. At Fablehaven they would have lots of forest to run around in and would be safe from the outside world. And they are magical creatures, for they are smarter than normal reindeer and are capable of flight. They are well-behaved, and would never make any effort to cause trouble.
Consider the reindeer a present. While they are at Fablehaven, they would be willing to help out with chores if you need the assistance. If that is all right with you, please sign your signature at the bottom of this letter. I'll know when you do, and will send the reindeer down in the new year. If you do not agree, I will not be upset with your decision.
Thank you very much and have a Merry Christmas.
Everyone had been in awe as Grandpa read the letter.
"Is this for real?" asked Kendra.
"This isn't a hoax," said Grandpa. "To think that Santa Claus not only exists, but wants to let his reindeer live on this preserve..."
"That's pretty awesome," said Seth, grinning blissfully. "This sounds way more exciting than my video game."
After every last present had been opened, the family sat down to a breakfast of eggs Benedict, accompanied with orange slices. Kendra didn't want to eat too much; she was more looking forward to feasting on the upcoming Christmas dinner.
Not long after Seth had finished the last bite of his breakfast, a loud noise could be heard coming from the front door.
"What is that sound?" asked Mr. Sorenson.
"It sounds like.. fairies," noted Dale. "Lots of fairies."
"Are they throwing a Christmas party or something?" asked Seth.
"Not that it wouldn't be a nice gesture for you all," said Geminus, "but fairies don't follow Christianity, or any human faith for that matter."
"They're never this loud," said Warren, getting up from his chair. "I'm going to check this out."
As Warren walked through the dining room and into the living room, everyone else follow him. Kendra and Seth gazed out the large window that was facing the front yard, and were dumbfounded by what they saw. Hundreds of fairies were whizzing around the yard, which was now completely devoid of any snow; it looked like summertime out there.
"Is that the Fairy Queen?" asked Mrs. Sorenson.
Off to one end of the crowd was a group of full-sized fairies, made up of Bracken, the five keepers, and the Fairy Queen.
"What's going on out there?" exclaimed Clover.
"This yard is your domain," said Dale. "You ask them."
"I gotta see this!" said Seth, running out of the living room and up to the front door, placing his hand on the doorknob.
"Seth Andrew Sorenson!" exclaimed Mrs. Sorenson. "You get dressed first!"
Bright zapped Seth with a flash of magic, instantaneously replacing the pajamas he had been wearing with a t-shirt, jeans and shoes. The sudden shift in clothes felt surprisingly natural to Seth.
"Happy, Marla?" asked Bright.
"It's the middle of winter!" exclaimed Mr. Sorenson.
"I think it's warm enough out there,"
Bright and Clover used their magic to change the rest of the humans into their day clothes, as Seth was the first one to venture outside onto the front porch. Surely enough, the weather was just as warm and humid as a summer day.
"All right, all right," said Grandpa, making his way to the front of the group. "What is the meaning of this?"
The Fairy Queen attempted to speak, but her voice was muted out by all the other fairies that cheered in voices reminiscent bells and chimes and were whizzing around.
"I command you all to stop!" boomed the Fairy Queen through an unnaturally loud voice. Immediately, the fairies all landed in a tidy formation on the grass, making sure to leave a wide, straight path between herself and the group at the house. "Come forward," she said in her normal voice.
Kendra took the first step towards the Fairy Queen, with the others all following behind. What was this all about? What had they done to create such an uproar among the fairies, that the Fairy Queen herself was drawn over? As she approached the Fairy Queen, Kendra noticed that she had a small cloth cupped inside her hands.
"Your Majesty," said Kendra. "What is it?"
"My newest baby," said the Fairy Queen with a smile.
Kendra and Seth gazed down at the cloth. Bundled up inside of it was an infant fairy, no larger than a marble in size. The infant's face was red, and although faint, was crying.
"I thought you create a new baby every day," said Seth. "What's so special about this one?"
"This one is... a boy."
"A boy?" all the humans uttered in unison.
"That's correct. Although I do use my powers to create a new fairy every day, ever since the Fairy King fell, not only did all the male fairies die off, but every last child of mine has been a girl. Until today."
"That's incredible," said Kendra. "Congratulations."
"Um, if all the males died off, how come Bracken survived?" asked Seth.
"Being a unicorn gave me an edge," replied Bracken. "You see, while all of us fairies are considered children of the Fairy Queen, my four sisters and I were not created magically. Instead, she became pregnant and gave birth to each of us. As such, unlike all the other fairies, the five of us actually have a biological father, the Fairy King."
"But, because our father became too weak," continued Brillia, "male fairies couldn't live on. And without males, fairies, like most creatures, cannot biologically reproduce. Only our mother has the ability to do that, and even then, she was only able to produce females.
"That's amazing," said Warren. "But... how did this happen?"
"Three theories on that," replied Brook. "One is that the Fairy King is starting to recover somewhat, allowing males to be born again, although he still appears to have a long road ahead of him. Second is that since Bracken has returned to the Fairy Kingdom, its brought some semblance of a masculine life force back into our society. The third and most likely one is that since Warren sacrificed his fairy side, with him being male, the sacrifice somehow made it possible for male fairies to be born again."
"So because of Warren..." began Clover.
"We're not sure.. exactly," replied Opal. "It could be a combination of factors."
"What's important is that the Fairy Queen was able to produce a boy," noted Bravia. "Hopefully, there are more to follow."
"If male fairies can make a resurgence and integrate themselves back into the fairy population, we won't have to solely rely on the Fairy Queen to produce babies for us," said Tiara.
"Kendra," said the Fairy Queen, "would you like to hold the baby?"
"Of course," said Kendra with a smile, as the Fairy Queen presented the bundled-up baby to her.
Looking down at the fairy, Kendra could see just how tiny he was. She'd never actually seen a baby fairy before, so this was a whole new experience for her, in spite of the gender. The baby was so small, it looked as though he was some kind of miniature toy.
"Why's he so upset?" asked Seth.
"He's a baby," hinted Mrs. Sorenson, "You yourself cried plenty when you were born."
"I think I also cried when you were born," added Kendra.
"I've got a question," said Seth, "Why didn't you just use the Omega Star to solve these problems? I mean, you could just wish for the Fairy King to get better. And wish for male fairies to return."
"I'm afraid it's not that simple," replied the Fairy Queen. "The Fairy King was all but dead, and the Omega Star is incapable of resurrection. And, while I probably could've used the Omega Star to enable male fairies to come back, I fear it would've been deliberately violating the Fairy King's status and well being to not wait for him. This may sound silly by human standards, but as long as he's recovering, he deserves a say in this affair."
"I think that producing a new male fairy, whatever triggered it, is outstanding," said Grandma. "It would be amazing if male fairies could thrive once again."
"If it's all right with you," said the Fairy Queen, "I would like to take the boy back to the Fairy Kingdom. He's going to have a nap and when he's feeling better, we're going to examine him a bit more."
"What's going to happen with Oblivion?" asked Seth.
"She seems to be all right," replied Tiara. "We're still going to keep a close eye on her for now, though."
Everyone wished the Fairy Queen, the new baby, the keepers and Bracken farewell as they made their way back towards the naiad's pond, while the smaller fairies remained in the yard. Once she was out of sight, the remaining fairies all flew back into air and resumed cheering.
The rest of the day seemed kind of dull in comparison to all of the commotion that went on during the morning. The revelation that Santa Claus was not only real, but wanted to let his reindeer live at Fablehaven, coupled with the announcement of a male fairy birth had excited everyone to the point of over-stimulation. Coupled with helping to set up for dinner, Seth didn't even have the slightest desire to so much as open his copy of BioWarriors Extreme with the little free time he actually had.
Soon it was time for dinner. As per Kendra's request, Bracken had come over to join them. The family sat down to a delicious turkey dinner, which was accompanied with gravy, roasted potatoes, stuffing and vegetables. Kendra and Seth constantly found that their mouths were full, if not with food, than with words, due to the countless conversations that were flying across the table.
"You must be so proud of yourself, Warren," said Bright, who was sitting across the table from the young man.
Warren sighed and nodded, as he used his fork to swirl a piece of potato around in a pool of gravy on his plate. He did not appear to be smiling.
"Warren, what's wrong?" asked Clover, who was sitting next to him. "You've hardly said anything."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" asked Bracken.
"Just forget it," said Warren in a dull voice, as he backed his chair away from the table and stood up. "I'd like to be excused, please."
"Warren?" asked Kendra, as her cousin stormed out of the room.
"Warren, come back!" said Clover, as she too got up and followed Warren.
"What's this all about?" asked Seth.
Saying nothing, Kendra got up as well and went into the hallway. Following Clover's voice, Kendra found her way into the parlor, where she and Warren were sitting on the couch.
"Warren," said Clover, "please don't be upset."
"Leave me alone," moaned Warren, placing a hand to his forehead.
"Why would you say that?" asked Clover.
"What's going on here?" asked Seth, as he and the others all came up from behind Kendra.
"I think we should leave," said Kendra softly.
"I don't care what you do," huffed Warren. "I'm not a fairy anymore. I'm just a normal human. Clover only proposed to me when I became a fairy. And now that actual male fairies are making a return, what do I matter?"
"Warren," said Clover. "It's true that I was turned on by your transformation into a fairy. But that feeling was only natural. You were the first male fairy aside from Bracken that I'd ever seen. And, I don't care how many male fairies there are, you're the one I fell in love with, fairy or human."
"You... mean it?" asked Warren, sounding a little less stressed.
Saying nothing, Clover stood up, raised her hands and quickly engulfed them in a glowing green energy that illuminated up the entire room, then let off a huge flash of light. When it faded, Warren was wearing a black tuxedo with a red rose boutonniere, while Clover was wearing a white wedding dress and a veil.
"Warren Burgess," said Clover. "Please! Marry me already!"
Warren stood up. "Oh, Clover. I... I will! I was just so worried that your opinion of me had changed since I'd given up what made me more like you."
"Warren, I love you just the way you are," said Clover.
Clover and Warren hugged each other, then shared an fierce, intimate kiss.
"I think I'm ready," said Warren. "I don't see any reason to keep waiting."
"I would like a proper wedding, though," said Clover.
"Agreed," said Warren.
"I'm in shock," said Grandpa. "You two are really ready to go through with this?"
"Of course," said Clover.
"Let's get married on New Years Day," said Warren. "It'll give us a week to make preparations, and it seems like the perfect way..."
"To ring in the New Year," said Clover, finishing the line in perfect sync with Warren.
"Dale," said Warren, "I want you to be my best man."
"I'd love to," said Dale.
"Bright, I want you to be my maid of honor," said Clover. "And Kendra, how would you like to be the flower girl?"
"That sounds great!" replied Kendra, who was now more excited than ever.
"What can I do?" asked Seth.
"Ring bearer," replied Warren, "how's that sound?"
Grandma laughed. "Well, I guess we still have a lot of work to do. Planning, reservations, sending out invitations!"
"We don't need to have an amazing wedding," said Clover. "The man I'm marrying is already amazing enough."
"Aww, Clover," said Warren, giving his fiance another kiss. "Welcome to the family."
A/N: I'm glad you enjoyed the story! Be sure to check out the follow-up story "Heir to the Deity's Throne"!