The Frog Prince and the Night before Christmas
It was Christmas Eve in The Server.
Mistress Kou had set the weather to frosty, and snow was falling. The view from the Frog Palace was glorious.
Yancy watched through the glass doors to the balcony, which wrapped around the south and west sides of the Palace, a 4LDK on the 8th floor of the tallest residential block in The Server. He would have liked to go out, but he couldn’t, because of his irrational fear.
His Husbando, the Princess Onecornchippy, was Off Server, celebrating with her family IRL, and he had the place to himself. He had dreadful jetlag.
Yancy had flown from Tokyo, where he lived and worked IRL, back to London, to spend the holiday with his parents and sister. He could not sleep, so he had logged in for a few hours, just to see what was going on. Now he sipped a strong Irish whiskey and ginger ale, and looked at the lights of The Server gleaming through the snow.
The Scarlet Cathedral was particularly beautiful, its red beacon diffused by distance and the storm. But he saw suddenly it was shaking! An earthquake? Yancy had been in several tremors in Tokyo, but never in The Server. He had not known it was possible. Why wasn’t the Palace shaking too?
The red light rapidly got chonkier, and a white beam flared, it glared into the Palace, blinding him. There was a whooshing noise. Some fast-moving object seemed about to crash into the ceiling to floor glass doors. Yancy slid under the dining table. He had the presence of mind to drain his drink. Redbreast 12yo was not lightly to be wasted.
A faint tinkling of bells.
Yancy got up, checked his glass; it was empty except for the ice cubes -- 1,2,3,4,5 -- “Nothing spilt,” he thought to himself.
A knocking on the balcony doors. Startled, Yancy stepped forwards to see…
The tall figure was wearing the traditional red robe and hood, trimmed with white fur. Squeezed on to the balcony behind it was an ornate sleigh, pulled by what he would swear was a team of nine reindeer. They were tethered to the safety rail. In the lead was a small one with an astonishing bright red nose.
Santa’s hood was drawn over his face, but the full white beard could not be disguised. HIs figure, however, was much reduced from its normal jolly size. His robe hung loose about him, gathered in great folds by his broad black belt.
Santa waved impatiently. Yancy stepped forward to open the door.
“How long were you going to let me freeze out there, Yancy?”
It was a rather high voice for a big boi.
Santa pushed him into the living room, took off his boots, and stepped in out of the cold. He pulled off his hood, and in super slow motion shook out a glorious mane of living fire, which undulated and swayed well below shoulder level. His hand reached up and pulled down the voluminous white beard, which was held on by elastic.
“Is that you, Blaise?”
“Course it is. Who else would it be?”
“But, what are you doing here? You can’t be Santa!”
“That’s the point.”
“Santa’s in the back of the sleigh, spark out.”
“Too many refreshments left by hopeful children. VioletMist is there too.”
“Stop repeating yourself. You’re supposed to be clever.”
“Don’t Japanese at me, you linguist! I speak it well.”
“But look, Blaise, this is a lot to take in. I’m supposed to believe that you are covering for Santa because he’s got drunk?”
“Yes, and VioletMist is an Elf. She’s gone and got drunk too. I’m meant to be an Elf as well, but someone’s got to fly the mission.”
“But, is it really Santa?”
“No, of course not. It’s the Firechief. He plays Santa every year, for the young’uns of The Server. They all believe, you know.”
“Well, where did you get the sleigh, and the reindeer?”
“Oh, that’s all borrowed from the real Santa, of course, after he’s finished his rounds IRL. He’s drunk too, by now, back at the North Pole with the real Elves.”
Yancy was boggled, flabbergasted. He looked at his glass and wondered if he had drunk too much, or not enough.
“You’d better suck another one down, Yancy, because you’re coming with me.”
“What? No! Why me?”
“I needed a boi with a European accent who lived high on a tall building with a balcony where I could land the sled. Do you know how many bois there are like that in The Server?”
The answer was probably one, but Yancy didn’t think it worth pursuing the line of argument.
“Why do you need a boi with a European accent?”
Blaise threw back her head and went, “Hee, hee, hee!” in an athletic girl’s alto voice. Yancy thought it sounded great, but he had to admit, it didn’t sound like Santa.
“Okay, so you want me to be Santa and go ho ho ho. Well, sorry but I can’t. My irrational fear of heights won’t let me go out onto the balcony, let alone climb into a flying sledge.”
He went to the kitchen and began to fix himself another whiskey and ginger ale, with fresh ice. Blaise followed.
“I’ll give you an incentive, Yancy,” she said, in a seductive tone of voice.
He turned round. Blaise had slipped off her Santa coat and beard. She was clad in a tight fitting green Elf costume with a miniskirt which showed a lot of leg. And Blaise had a lot of good-looking leg to show.
Yancy gulped, and drained his drink.
Blaise slowly shrugged one shoulder, then the other, out of the Elf costume jacket, slipped it off and threw it theatrically to the side. This exposed a strappy scarlet basque, and a significant expanse of creamy skin. She advanced into the kitchen, put her arms around Yancy’s neck, and pulled his face close to hers.
Yancy smelt girl, and perfume, and determination. Blaise smelt boi, and whiskey, and a tinge of irrational fear.
She pulled him close as his arms went around her waist. Their bodies met as they clinched. Their lips touched lightly in a smooch. Blaise put just the tip of her tongue out, and ran it slowly along Yancy’s lips.
“Does that stiffen your resolve, Yancy? Does it stiffen your upper lip, you silly Brit?”
“It’s going to stiffen something, that’s for sure, but even so I’m not convinced about going on a midnight flight.”
“Oh Yancy! You’ve got to! It’s for the young’uns, At the hospital. Every year we do this. We borrow Santa’s sleigh, fly over to the main hospital in the Mod Channel, and give presents to the smol child members who are stuck there for Christmas, and to the doctors and nurses. It’s the end of the mission.”
This put the whole thing in a different light. Yancy felt he had to do it, if at all he could overcome his fear.
“Blaise, I want to help, but my fear. You know it’s irrational, but it’s very real to me.”
“I’ll help you.” She kissed him again, with closed lips, a comrade’s kiss not a lover’s, and he felt her warmth.
“I’ll go and put on a sweater, and the Santa costume.”
While Yancy did this, Blaise got into her Elf jacket, a warm coat from the back of the sleigh, and a pair of Elf boots. They stood together at the door to the balcony. She was only a few inches shorter than Yancy. He looked at their reflection in the glass.
“You’re a tall Elf, Blaise.”
“No-one will notice. The magic will get us through.”
She took his hand in both of hers. “Yancy, I give you all of my courage.”
Warmth and power flowed from Blaise into Yancy; it flooded and filled him. They stepped forwards, out onto the balcony, where Yancy had never once been before. He trembled slightly. His irrational fear was too strong to be banished entirely but he put on a brave face and forced himself to climb into Santa’s sleigh.
“Blaise, you’ll have to drive. I need to keep my eyes tight shut.”
Blaise sang out the reindeers’ names, but Yancy did not join in. That story is an American one. British people only remember Rudolph, the red-nosed one who leads the team. She took the whip and cracked it like a pro, just to make the right noise. The experienced reindeer knew their mission, and did not need to be stung. The sleigh took off into the night sky and swirling snow.
Long afterwards Yancy remembered that flight for the wind, the snow striking his face, and the warmth of Blaise’s body pressed close to his. He saw nothing, for his eyes were squeezed tight to avoid the sight of the void. He heard the wind and Blaise’s voice, calling encouragement to her team, and their harness bells, chiming in the Christmas night. His eyes pricked with uncharacteristic tears.
Soon the swaying motion ceased as the sleigh slid to a stop on the hospital helipad. Safe now from his irrational fear, Yancy hopped out and went to take the bag of presents from the cargo area. He saw in the back seat Firegirl VioletMist, and a middle-aged man, both sleeping safe and snoring. They were tucked in tight with rugs to defend them against the cold.
“Will they be okay, Blaise?”
“We won’t take long, Yancy. There’s only a few patients and staff we have to see tonight, thank Goddess.”
The sack of presents seemed light.
Blaise led the way down off the helipad and into the hospital. Yancy felt jollity fill him as he got into role. He threw out his chest and walked with a clumpy swagger in the big Santa boots, buoyed by Christmas magic.
They reached the children’s ward. Two nurses and a doctor were there, a boi and a girl, and of course, it had to be, Doctor Mayoi.
Elf Blaise threw open the door, and announced Santa. “Ho! Ho! Ho!” boomed Yancy as he entered the ward. He threw himself into the part, twinkling his eyes, and cheek pinching everyone, especially the prettiest nurse.
They were expected. A stool was ready next to the Christmas tree for Santa to sit on and receive the smol children. One by one they were led forwards, their eyes wide. They sat on his knee, and told him their names. Elf Blaise took the right present from the sack, and Santa gave it with a smile.
Five girls and boys received their gifts, and finally there were two together, a smol boy and an older girl he recognised. It was Maddy, who had become a mermaid and had an adventure with Yancey the Kuudere Detective.
“Do you both want to sit on my knee?”
“It’s okay, Santa, I’m not sick, I’m only here to keep my kid brother company.”
“You’re a good big sister, Maddy.”
The boy sat, and received his gift. Blaise felt only four presents left in the sack.
“Oh look, Santa, there’s one here with the name Maddy on it.”
Yancy handed it to Maddy. She took it solemnly. The medical staff put the children back in their cots, and Santa waved goodbye. The grown-ups went to the nursing station, where Yancy felt safe to relax his Santa act. He took off his beard and hood.
“Yancy! How did you get here?” Doctor Mayoi exclaimed.
“That’s a bit of a story, actually. Drink and kisses were involved, if I’m to be frank about it.”
Elf Blaise put on a cool front. She dug into the Santa sack and brought out the last three presents. She passed them to Yancy, and he gave them to the nurses and Mayoi.
“These are for you. We’ll never forget you’re on duty, keeping the smol ones safe, while the rest of The Server has fun.”
It was time to go. Blaise and Yancy climbed back to the helipad. He looked at the sleigh and wondered if he could summon the courage to get in and fly through the night sky.
“Yancy, thank you for helping tonight.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Then say nothing.”
She climbed into the sleigh and held her hand out for Yancy. He was woozy with whiskey, jetlag, and emotion. He took Blaise’s hand and got into the cockpit beside her.
“I’ll drop you first, then take the others home.”
“Don’t you need help?”
“You’ve already helped me more than I hoped, Yancy.”
Blaise called to her team, and the sled took off into the dark, snowy sky. Yancy closed his eyes.
Soon the motion ceased. They were again safely berthed on the balcony of the Frog Palace. They climbed out and Yancy opened the door. He wanted to get inside as quickly as possible.
Once inside he felt safe. He turned back to Blaise.
“I’m sorry I can’t, er…”
“Don’t worry, Yancy.”
She leant in, and put an arm around his neck. She gave him a long, warm kiss, a kiss with closed lips. It wasn’t a chaste kiss, it was a kiss that might promise something for the future. Yancy felt passive. He waited for Blaise’s lead.
They broke apart.
“Okay, that’s it, then. I’ll deliver these two drunks safely home, and send the sleigh back to the North Pole. Rudolph knows the way.”
“Thank you for a wonderful adventure.”
“I’ll see you around. Merry Christmas, Yancy.”
“Merry Christmas, Blaise.”
Blaise got back into the sleigh and took off. Yancy watched the red beacon of Rudolph’s nose dwindle through the snow, until it had blended again with the lights of the Scarlet Cathedral.
“One more drink?” he wondered. “No, I’ve had more than enough. Time for a bath and bed. Let’s hope, when I wake up tomorrow, this wasn’t just a dream.”
© 2019 Yancy 08620163 | 8J3U37
aka Starship Captain 88