Chapter 1 guys! I WILL get this story finished just in time for Christmas. You can count on that!
So, let's see what becomes of the Ice King in this chapter, shall we?
~Take Off! Miracle on the Way!~
Jack and the Ice King treaded the snowy grounds of the Ice Kingdom, the area swamped with snowfall due to the consistent spell of snow winter brought. The Ice King's new boots crunched the snow underneath with a gradual step as the man had difficulty steering the shoes; he did not normally wear footwear of any kind. Jack simply hovered over the frosty land with a flaming wisp supporting his ghostly walk, observing the slumbering wildlife the chilly kingdom had to offer. Previously, Jack had asked the cold man if he had any henchman of some kind under his command. The Ice King answered, mentioning a league of penguins as well as a particular one named Gunter. Said penguin was with his family for the night, and Jack asked to be taken to the flock. That was why they were trekking into the snowbound fields, to locate the penguins for Jack's reasons, which he had yet to clarify.
"I still don't understand what you want to do with my penguins," Ice King whined, scratching his head underneath his cap.
"You'll see," he replied, scanning the space with his flame lit eyes.
Eventually, the two came upon a clearing by some snow covered trees. Jack was surprised to see that the flock of penguins had formed an Eskimolike village of sorts. Igloos here and there to house the penguins, some even sporting smoke pipes or chimneys, clotheslines in the yards of these homes, several poorly crafted snowmen, a bonfire in the center to illuminate the village in the night of winter, and a large, in the perspective of the penguins at least, pine tree severed from its trunk and planted near the fire, decorated with ice crystals and garbage such as banana skins and bones. Jack huffed at this image, as it was an inaccurate rendition of the Christmas trees of long ago, but it was still a Christmas tree, at least.
"Well, this is where they live," the Ice King said with little motivation as he held out a hand to display, "As you can see, the penguins are humble folk and have made a comforting abode in this cold kingdom of mine."
He turned to Jack, who was eyeing two penguins working on a snowman, "So…mind telling me why you want to be involved in the business of my penguins?"
Jack turned to the king and held out his hand in a halting motion, "In a minute. Mind telling me which one is the penguin you call Gunter?" he asked as he rubbed his chin with a finger.
The king reluctantly pointed to an igloo closest to them, "That one, I believe."
"May you summon him for me?" he asked.
The Ice King sighed and brought two fingers to his mouth as he inhaled. Blowing harshly through them, a sharp whistle sailed throughout the air, ringing the attention of all the flightless birds who heard it. However, the whistle was familiar with one penguin in particular, as he looked out through the window of his home and noticed the familiar man, dressed in a different uniform than usual, and an unfamiliar being he had not seen before. Not minding any previous business he may have had, he demonstrated loyalty as he exited the igloo and approached the red dressed king and his spirit companion with a formal walk.
The penguin quacked in inquiry, as if to say 'You called?'
The king shrugged a thumb at the pumpkin spirit, saying, "He's the one who called you."
Gunter looked at the spirit oddly, unfamiliar with him. He tilted his head, in comprehension of his presence with the Ice King. The spirit lifted his hand and replied "Hi," with a smile and a wave before the penguin turned to the blue monarch and pointed a flipper at Jack, quacking as if to say 'Who's he?'
The Ice King seemed to understand him and replied, "Oh, this is Jack. Remember, from last year?"
"It was two months ago, Ice King," Jack was quick to correct.
"Yeah, two months ago," he nonchalantly agreed, "Anyway, he's the guy who turned my kingdom into a Halloween on ice, and turned you into a living corpse, remember?"
Gunter placed a flipper under his beak, recalling the almost dreamlike night. One would imagine he would be displeased with the events or the memory alone, but the penguin apathetically discarded any significance of the night as it was history and had no concern with the present, as he declared with a reassuring quack.
Ice King nodded and turned to Jack, "So spill. What big idea do you have this time?"
Jack kneeled onto the ground, which looked awkward considering he had a flaming tail for legs, as he stared at Gunter. His fiery wisp tail licked the snow covered ground but the snow itself seemed immune to the heat of his fire. Jack eyed Gunter for a few good seconds, the penguin looking left and right concernedly, before Jack reached a hand out and patted the bird affectionately on its head.
"Yes…yes, this'll do," he said, removing his hand from the penguin, "Good to see that the penguins are alright after all these years."
Gunter quacked in response, almost as if to take offense or to agree heartedly.
"…sort of evil, but who cares for the alignment? I still like them, anyway."
Jack dug his hands into the snow and spooned handfuls of the white ice off the ground. He straightened himself upwards and poured the snow into his mouth. Seeing this, the Ice King knew what was going to happen and decided to back away from the spirit. Jack mumbled and chewed and seemed to have a little difficulty maneuvering the large quantity of snow in his mouth. He even placed a hand on his forehead and furrowed his brows in dismay, showing he contracted a brain freeze. After a while he shook his head sharply and inhaled a large volume of air before exhaling.
What followed was a huge gale of powdery wind exhausted not only onto Gunter, but on a large section of the village. The gale was twice as huge as when Jack had breathed on the Ice King with the same spell, mostly because Jack used two handfuls of snow instead of one. Gunter shielded himself the best he could with his little flippers, but the winds overpowered him as he toppled onto his back. The gale continued to assault the village, suddenly acquiring a conscious as it swerved around the homes and swallowed the neighborhood in its vicious winds. The vacuum of the winds caused trees and foliage to be drawn into the gale storm, some losing their leaves and pieces of snow to the cyclone. The Ice King clamped his hand to his hat to keep it from being sucked into the winds as he squinted his eyes, trying to peer into the snowy storm to see any changes done to the penguin village. After a few seconds of fierce winds, the gale slowed down and the snow riding the winds descended towards the ground. Eventually, the winds died and the altered village could be seen. Ice King gasped in shock because, like his own transformation, it was a drastic and unexpected change.
The dying winds revealed that the igloos were no longer made of snow, or igloos anymore for that matter, but of colorful little houses dotted with bright lights of red and green color lined around the borders of the roofs. The walls were painted a conspicuous color scheme of green and red as snow blanketed the roof and window sills of the houses. The interiors were well lit, replacing the light that the bonfire, which was no longer there, used to provide. The bonfire in the center of the village had been replaced with a strange machine fitted with gears and pistons and conveyor belts lining out of a square port on opposite sides of it. The village's Fortune Tree had grown to nearly twice the size it was before, replacing the ice crystals and unsightly trash with colorful orbs and streamers, as well as a golden star sitting at the tip of the arbor. The streamers from the tree stretched out to touch the corners of the roofs of the houses, creating a festive atmosphere in the village. And on top of it all, the weather suddenly decided to drop snowfall onto the land. Flakes of snow lazily drifted downward to the ground, even though there were few clouds in the sky to provide this weather.
The penguins themselves even got a costume along with the massive village makeover. Gunter shook his head to alleviate any dizziness contracted from the sudden spell and lifted himself from the ground with his wings. He looked down his body to observe the new clothes and found himself wearing a green suit with fluffy cotton lining the rims of the clothes, a belt around his waist with a gold square belt buckle, and a green cap with cotton rims and a ball of fluff at the tip, very much like the Ice King's red suit. Gunter planted his feet on the ground and instinctively tugged at his shirt in question as several other penguins exited their homes to look at the changed village.
Jack kneeled down on the snow again and Gunter looked up. The spirit smiled and said, "Don't you look cute in an elf costume?"
Gunter took a second look at himself, Ice King scratching his head at the oddity of the scenery. By now, any abnormality caused by Jack had been mellowed out by the constant reminder in his head that he was doing this for happiness. Normally, he'd be enraged at the sight of his minions dolled up to look like weird elves in a mall, but he knew Jack was planning something by doing this or was at least helping the Ice King with his task. Besides, the costumes and the magic would wear off by sunrise, if he recalled correctly. Ice King stared at Gunter for a bit before turning to the pumpkin spirit.
"Jack…" he said, "…what does turning my penguins into penguin elves have to do with our deal?"
"You'll see," he turned his head to the king as he replied.
Ice King sighed, "I wish you weren't so vague…"
Jack looked back to the penguin, "Now, the costumes powers should come into effect soon. I believe you know what to do now, Ice King's little helper…" he said with a wink.
Gunter stared at Jack for a few seconds, unsure of what he meant by that line. And then, his body perked up with a gasp as if he remembered something important, eyes widened and beak agape. The penguin suddenly turned serious, quacking as he saluted the pumpkin spirit with a feathered flipper. Gunter turned around and brought two flippers to his beak and inhaled, a motion one would make to whistle. He blew air harshly in between his wings, which sounded off not a piercing whistle but a pathetic splutter of spit with a distorted raspberry noise. Saliva stumbled onto the ground and slid down his flippers as several penguins stared at him oddly. When the lone penguin was finished, every resident in the village evacuated their houses and were assembling themselves in front of Gunter, dressed as elves like he was. Apparently, the call still alerted the entire village of the emergency objective at hand. Gunter sounded off a few quacks, pointing his flipper at several penguins, the houses, as well as the machine in the center of the village a few times. The penguins silently listened to Gunter as he sounded off orders, pointing at the Ice King before the flock saluted themselves to him. Ice King modestly waved at the birds, not used to such attention by his own minions and the confusion of it all. After a few more quacks by Gunter, the penguins departed, some retreating into their homes while others turned their attention to the machine. One penguin flipped a lever and the machine began to steam, winding its gear as the pistons pumped and the conveyor belt rotated.
"Uhh…what's going on?" Ice King asked.
"They're working," Jack simply replied, "They don't have a lot of time for tonight, so they're going as fast as they can."
"…" Ice King watched as the penguins carried blocks of wood and metal and other junk to the machine, "…and what are they doing?"
"Why, they're making presents, that's what," Jack joyously answered, clapping his hands.
The king still wasn't sure what to make of the scenario. Penguins dumped what was essentially junk onto the conveyor belts and the treads would haul them into the machine. Some whirring and pounding noise would be heard inside before the other side produced a colorful box with a ribbon bow on top of it. A penguin would then take the box and give it to another penguin, who would then pile up the presents carelessly into a folded open sack.
The concept was very hard to comprehend, still.
"…those are the presents I'm supposed to deliver?" he asked.
Jack turned to the Ice King, "Yep. I saved you half of the trouble for the night, but it still won't be easy, I assure you."
"Gee, that's comforting," the king said sarcastically.
The cold man felt a tug on his pants. The Ice King looked down to see his loyal pet, Gunter, requiring his attention. The penguin pointed a flipper in the opposite direction of him with a quack. Following the pointing of his wing, the Ice King looked up to see what Gunter wanted to show him, and with a gasp, what he saw astounded him.
It was a huge red sleigh lined with gold rims and gold markings on its side and had a huge open space behind it were cargo and other items would be left during operation. Wreaths skimmed the top portion of the sleigh with colorful orbs and sparkling paper lined in it and a pair of rocket engines were placed behind the sleigh as well as by the seats. The most daunting feature of this marvel was the huge mechanical reindeer bust soldered in front of the sleigh. It had robotic intimidating eyes, a red nose like that of a clown's, a set of huge antlers growing out of the view of the seats and reigns lassoed on its antlers and resting by the driver's seat. Ice King awed with his mouth open as Gunter tugged at the man's pants again. He looked down to see the penguin holding out a key shaped like a candy cane to him. The king took it and resumed staring at the marvelous sleigh before him, the question of how the vehicle got there out of inexistence escaped him.
"You like it?" Jack said as he hovered towards the sleigh, keeping face to the king.
"It's…it's something, alright…" he said as he slowly approached the sleigh.
"The penguins made it with their elf powers," Jack explained, turning around and placing a hand on the reindeer's metal head.
"Elves can do this?" he asked in surprise.
"Just the special ones," he said, turning to the Ice King, hand still firm against the robot, "It's called 'The WOE Sleigher 7000', which is funny because 'sleigher' is pronounced the same as 'slayer', which you 'slay' woeful feelings by delivering presents, and WOE stands for 'Wonderful Overnight Express', and the number seven thousand…is…"
Jack slowed his speech to a stop when he noticed the king wasn't even paying attention and was instead admiring the golden finish on the rims of the machine. Jack eyed the king in a pitiable expression, deciding it wasn't worth his breath explaining the joke to a half attentive monarch.
"…fine," he said, giving up, closing his eyes and raising his hand upward, "ignore me. Doesn't matter, either way, as we're still going through with this impossible gig."
The king continued to admire the wonderful vehicle for as long as his fascination lasted. After a while, he turned to Jack and asked, "So…why do I need this again?" He turned back to the sleigh and took a good long look at the driver's seat and the buttons and lights of the control panel. "I mean, clearly, this is supposed to be a flying machine, but I can already fly with my beard."
Jack chuckled, "You mean to tell me you can fly around Ooo in the course of a single night?"
The king turned to the pumpkin spirit then turned his eyes upward in thought.
"…maybe," he answered after a few seconds of silence.
Jack scoffed. "And all while carrying that?" he said as he pointed a finger away from the man.
The king turned to see several of his penguins quacking under an enormous bag filled with unknown contents. The penguins, pulling their effort together to hold and carry the bag, walked towards the sleigh and tossed the huge sack into the open end of the vehicle. The sleigh shook from the weight of the bag and the penguins, wiping their foreheads and quacking in relief, turned around and walked back to the village, where another bag awaited them. The king moved his gaze from the penguins to the sack in the sleigh, commending its size and assumed weight.
"…yeah. Good point," Ice King admitted.
Jack hovered towards the large bag and patted it.
"These are going to be the presents you'll be delivering to all of the houses in Ooo tonight," he said.
The king stared at the bag for a while, then at Jack, who almost seemed like he was trying to spur a negative reaction from the king. The Ice King sighed, knowing that no matter what he would say, he was still going to go through with this insane job. But it was for the secret to happiness, and that was something he'd risk an arm and leg for, assuming Jack kept his end of the bargain. But the ghost promised, he did, and ghosts can't break their promises.
"Alright, whatever," the king said, then pointed a finger to the spirit, "But remember, you're helping me like you said."
"You have my word," the pumpkin ghost said, folding his arm under his torso and bowed.
Several more penguins quacked as they approached. A large group of the workers were carrying two more sacks towards the sleigh. The king excused himself to make way for the flightless birds as they approached the vehicle. With a strong toss, the bags landed in the trunk of the sleigh, the vehicle shaking from the impact. Jack clapped his hands as he hovered downward.
"Excellent work, little elf penguin abominations," he said, patting one of the penguins on their head.
The penguin quacked as he closed his eyes in flattery. Jack removed his hand and turned to the king.
"So, are you ready to go?" he asked.
The Ice King sighed and mounted the sleigh, "If I have to be…"
Jack nodded and turned around to face the village. He brought a hand to his mouth and shouted, "Gunter!"
A penguin from the crowd waddled towards the two as fast as his short legs allowed him to. The penguin stopped and saluted the spirit and the red dressed king with a quack.
"We're about to depart. Want to come along?" he asked.
Gunter nodded his head eagerly and waddled to the sleigh with an anxious demeanor, and hopped onto the seat next to the Ice King. The king himself was looking at the control panel, not sure of what to do. He raised his hand, cautious about what button to press or what switch to flip, until he ultimately gave up and asked Jack what to do.
"Um…Jack, how do I…?"
Jack hovered over them and seated himself on the other side of the blue monarch.
"Remember, your costume has powers and abilities," he said, grabbing the reins and handing them to him, "You already know how to drive this thing."
The king modestly accepted the reins and gripped them with his hands. Jack was correct, as he felt the controls were somehow familiar to him. The reins were to steer, the monitor was the map, the switches control the engines and the acceleration, and the stick before him was the laser weapon that came with the sleigh. It was like he knew how to control the machine and how to fly it, but at the same time, he didn't.
"Don't forget to hit the ignition," Jack said, pointing to a keyhole in front of them.
The king dug into his pocket and pulled out the candy cane shaped key he received from one of the penguins earlier. Entering the gadget into the ignition slot, he twisted it and the engines began to rev. the buttons blinked, the engines hummed, and the robotic reindeer in front began to move its head as its nose began to light up. With the systems online, the king flipped some of the switches and pressed a few buttons and the sleigh began to shake. Soon, the sleigh was levitating into the air, the sound of rockets roaring into the snow land as the snow around them was blown away by the force. The king turned to the village and noticed that the penguins were still at work. The machine was no longer producing presents but it appeared to have acquired a satellite somehow and several computer monitors.
"Jack, what are they doing?" the king asked as loud as he could over the roar of the engines.
"They're going to monitor the weather patterns and radio in on you," Jack said, also yelling to get his voice across the noise, "You know, home base junk."
One of the penguins waddled towards the levitating sleigh, holding onto his cap the closer he approached. In his flipper was a scroll tied up with a ribbon. He held the ribbon up as high as he could towards Gunter, who reached over and retrieved it. Gunter quacked a few words of thanks to the penguin as it waddled around and returned to the village. Gunter handed the Ice King the scroll, who took it with curiosity.
"Now what is this?" he asked.
"It's the list of people who's presents you're going to deliver," Jack answered, "Along with their address and what present they're getting."
The king pouted his lips before stuffing the scroll into his pocket and mumbled some words of discontent as he retook the reins in his hands. With familiar memory being his only instruction, the king cracked the reins and the sleigh motioned forward. He twisted them to the right to steer the robot leftward, zooming over the village and slowly gaining speed. The penguins below ceased their actions to look up and wave their flippers to the Ice King, wishing for the best for the king as he hovered over the village. Gunter and Jack waved back at the workers, but the Ice King was more concerned with finishing the task, his face scrunched in annoyance as he continued to steer the reins. The robot reindeer roared as the king cracked the reins again, the engines behind growing a fire and the sleigh ascending higher into the sky. With a final crack, the sleigh sped off into the night sky, leaving a sparkling trail in their path.
Jack clapped his hands in excitement, "At last, the first Christmas in thousands of years! This is so exciting!"
The king merely scoffed.
'This better be worth it…' he thought.
I know you're thinking about it. Gunter WOULD be adorable in an elf costume. It's stuck in your head, and you are tempted to draw it. Don't make me come over there!
So, Ice King and Jack are on their way to revive Christmas, in a much more subtler method than Jack did at Halloween. Which is a good thing, but that doesn't make things easier for the Ice King. What do you think will happen if someone wakes up in their house and sees him there? Oh, the tomfoolery!
Next chapter will be up tomorrow. Though, this story updates earlier at a certain forum than here. Want to see? Check the link in my profile.
Read and review!