After the ice sculpture competition, the elves from Helpers Unlimited started stringing more twinkle lights, in preparation for the Snow Ball. The ice dance was the finale of Winter Wonderland, and everyone attended.

            Talan untangled another strand of clear lights. "Let's put some on the sculptures."

            "A great idea." Skye grabbed some lights and wrapped them around the doorway of the gazebo.

            They outlined the sculptures with twinkling lights. Then they arranged the tables. The centerpieces were  baskets of greenery, with an abundance of winter roses, and an occasional red poinsettia.

            Syke buried her nose in blue and white blossoms. "Mmmmm, divine!"

            Talan chuckled. "Divine? Is that something you heard from Brubaker?"

            "Oh, hush!"

            Talan twisted his face into a question mark. "I wonder, is the dragon coming to the dance?"

            "Don't know." Skye placed the last basket on the last table. "Why?"

            "How 'bout we find her, and ask her to breathe on the ice sculptures?"

            "Mmmm, that would be," Skye smirked, "Divine!"

            "Oh, you're just a girl."

            "And you're just a guy!" Skye said. "But, seriously, it's a terrific idea, Talan. Charisma would make it so beautiful!"

            "Well, let's try to find her."

            As it turned out, Charisma was by the gazebo, munching on twinkle berries, and downing a cherry berry icy.

            "Hi there. I'm Skye, and I'm a student at Helpers Unlimited."

            "Rrrri, so happy to make your acquaintance."

            "Um, we, my buddy, Talan," Skye pointed. "We were wondering if you're going to the Snow Ball?

            "I won't, rrrri, because the Slippery Slope isn’t big enough for me to dance."

            "Would you like to come anyway?" Talan's blurt became a plea. "We could really use your help."

            Skye nudged Talan as the dragon threw her head back.

            "Rrrrri,  I shall be delighted to assist."

***

 

            The guests arrived in formal attire. Bee-eff and Dee-ell, with their red bowties, were the best dressed couple there.

            The North Pole Phil Harmonica Orchestra began to play Skaters' Waltz and the frozen pond was soon crowded with a vairety of dancers.  Some danced with partners, some in big circles, and others danced alone. Everyone joined in the initial dance, and again, in the final dance.

            While it was mostly about fun, a couple of helpers still had jobs to do. Dulcie was delighted to dance with the flamingos. "Now to the right, you look so bright."

            Most of the villagers cleared the ice, so they could watch the flamingo dancers.

            "Turn to the front, and don't grunt. Hop, hop, hop. Now you stop. Glide to the back, and don't lose track."

            The crowd clapped enthusiasticaly.

            Dulcie unleashed the birds, so they could play in the snow with the other helpers.

***

            Holly declined the chance to dance with Santa. She had vowed not to let go of Nadie all evening; she wanted none of his shenanigans. Almost everyone else had turns dancing with the Clauses.

            Everyone, except Pole Kat, that is. His thoughts were focused on Ginger. He glided up to her and purred.

            Jackson elbowed Jimbo. "He's supposed to hate that stupid cat noise."

            Jimbo chuckled. "Aw leave him alone. He's got love fever."

            "And he's got it real bad," Yort said, as he skated around.

            "Can I have dis dance?" Pole Kat rubbed his head on Ginger's shoulder.

            "Pfffffffft," Ginger hissed, and swatted at Kat with her front paw.

            Kat galloped on all fours, across the pond. "Wadda Woman!" he yelped.

            Jackson and Jimbo giggled, and chanted, "Fraidy Kat, Fraidy Kat,  Ole Pole is a Fraidy Kat!"

            "Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft" Kat spat, regaining his composure. He sauntered away on his hind legs, his tail gliding from side to side.

***

            Charisma danced around the perimeter of the pond, weaving  through the ice sculptures, and dazzling  the guests with her illustrious breath.

            It was almost time for the last dance.  Phil's Harmonica Orchestra began to play Skater's Waltz again.

            Skye looked at Talan with dreamy eyes. "Well, it's over."

            "Not quite," said Talan, with a roguish grin. He ran around the pond, dousing the ice sculptures with wuffle dust. The statues sprang to life. The mischievous elf was delighted. He rolled in the snow, laughing at the antics of the sculptures, as well as himself.

            The animated ice sculptures added to the pleasure of those present, and to the enchantment of the area. And, so, when the Snow Ball ended, the ice sculptures were left to frolic in Polar Park.

***

            Bright and early the next morning, Brubaker, the Dean of Elves at Helpers Unlimited, summoned the two impish elves to stand before him. "News of your stunt has spread throughout the village!"

            "Of course it has," Skye said. "Everyone was there."

            "And you!" Brubaker glared at Talan. "Where did you get wuffle dust?"

            "It's everywhere, Brubaker. Everybody uses it -- except you..." Talan's voice trailed off.

            Brubaker ignored Talan's impudent remark. "We are very proud of our tradition here at Helpers Unlimited. All elves who are assigned to tasks throughout North Pole Proper have received their training here. Over the years, school officials realized the need for frolic, and scheduled holidays so that the elves wouldn't always have to be serious. You two have proven that a movement toward the more regimented, traditional teachings of the old school is now necessary. Fortunately no one was hurt, and your shenanigans were even welcomed by the rest of the community. Nevertheless, you behavior reflects poorly on our institution."

            "I'm truly sorry, Brubaker." Talan was ashamed. "It was my fault. I'm the one who sprinkled the dust everywhere."

            "Bah! I have not summoned you here for apologies," Brubaker almost shouted. "I have called you forward so that I can express my disappointment, and so that I can give you your North Pole assignments. Thankfully, with the exception of wuffle dust, you two have finished your training, and are no longer students."

            Talan and Skye looked at each other, then back at Brubaker. They waited, somewhat nervous and yet eager, to receive their new assignments.

            Brubaker cleared his throat. "Skye, you will report to Dulcie, at the doll shop. And you, Talan, will report to Ticky's Tack and Bridle Wares."

            The elves breathed their sighs of relief. At least Brubaker hadn't given them bad assignments.

            "Complete your ‘wuffle dust’ lesson, take your new pouch. Then pack your things immediately and report to your new jobs," Brubaker ordered.

            The elves backed out of the office and Brubaker slammed the door behind them.

            "Whew! He sure was mad." Skye wiped her brow with her handkerchief.

            "Yeah, but even he had to admit it turned out great!" Talan smirked. "And what's that stuff about school officials? Do you know anyone else?"

            "No," Skye said, "And I don't want to."

            "I'm just glad I didn't get the doll shop," Talan teased.       

            "Hey, it could have been the stables."

            "Or the forge, forge."

            They both giggled at Talan's joke.

            Suddenly Brubaker threw open his door. "Go!"

            And they took off.

           

           

 

           

 

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