Please read the author's notes at the bottom once you have read the story. Thank you, and enjoy. : )
~The Kingdom of Nixtorm; outside Nixtorm Castle~
Nixtorm was a kingdom in Ransei that was permanently covered in snow. It was a given, seeing that more than 70% of the kingdom was mountainous terrain. Yet it still was victim to the seasons, in its own way. In the summer months, snow would stop falling, and the ice would melt completely from the water, allowing the water Pokemon to breach, and occasionally splash out of the lakes. The snow would melt at the bottoms of mountains, allowing for easier travel. On the other hand, winters in Nixtorm were brutal and unforgiving, with blizzards and hail constantly in effect. Nixtorm's residents would be lucky to only get two feet of snow in winter, with the average snowfall being about four feet. The lakes and other waterbeds would obviously freeze over, trapping water dwelling Pokemon inside.
Currently, it was December in Ransei, and Nixtorm had just reached the peak of its "coldest" season, as Gracia had put it. Ryo had to agree with that statement. When had he and Ryoko decided to attack this place when they were marching against Nobunaga? He couldn't remember anymore, but it had certainly not been as cold as it was now. The air was so heavy, it almost hurt to breathe at times. It didn't help that he was carrying heavy boxes around in snow that was well over his knees.
Ryoko had talked him into going to Nixtorm today. Apparently, Nixtorm was famous for its beautiful Christmastime decorations, and all the houses on the mountains this time of year were lit up with festive lanterns, red ribbons, holly, pine wreaths, and plenty of other decor one would expect to see up for the holiday season. At night, it made the mountains appear to be giant Christmas trees themselves. While it was pretty, Ryo didn't think it was worth waking him up well before sunrise, catching the blimp to get here, and staying in the freezing cold for half the day. Aurora had been decorated for the holiday as well, and aside from the lack of mountains (which in Ryo's opinion was actually a plus), there wasn't much difference. Worse still was the circumstances that they had come under. Originally, Ryoko had said that they would be sledding, ice skating, doing some shopping in the villages, and spending the rest of the day with Lord Mitsuhide and Gracia, who had evidently invited them to see Nixtorm in its December coat. Ryo figured Lord Mitsuhide offered because he and Ryoko were still technically new Warlords, and they and the Nixtorm Warlord had not originally met on friendly terms, given the circumstances at the time. However, when they got to Nixtorm castle, they had found the entire place covered by large crates and boxes being carried around by warriors and Pokemon. The opened crates held a vast array of red, green, silver and gold decorations. Several pine trees were also being hefted in by a few large Pokemon as well. In the back of the large room they had been standing in, Mitsuhide's daughter, Gracia, was playing in a makeshift fort composed of the empty boxes with her Pokemon beside her. Mitsuhide passed by them carrying a box full of ribbons. He noticed the group standing in the doorway, and quickly welcomed them, and asking them to wait for him in the next room. After a few minutes of waiting, the older Warlord came in and welcomed them properly, before apologizing for the mess. Apparently, the castle was being prepared for its annual Christmas celebration for the Warlords and their Pokemon. This would be the first one in three years, seeing as the war with Nobunaga had kept the party from taking place prior, so Mitsuhide was making an extra effort in celebration of Ransei's current state of peace. Ryoko had volunteered all of them to help out with the set up, including Oichi and Ranmaru, who she had invited along with them for the day. They seemed happy to help as well, but Ryo was annoyed. Even though he didn't mind lending a hand, this wasn't how he originally had planned his day to be.
So now, he was hefting crates into the castle alongside Ryoko, Oichi, and their Pokemon. Jigglypuff wasn't able to do much heavy lifting, given how light she was, so she instead was helping Gracia and Ranmaru with the decorating inside. Ranmaru had offered his Dragonair to help them with the crate lifting as a trade, though, which helped more than a little bit. Ryo and Ryoko had brought two Eevees along with them: Yuki, who had evolved into a Glaceon recently, and Mosu, who was a Flareon . They had decided that the two of them would be best suited to Nixtorm's weather. Mosu and Yuki were both proving to be great partners at the moment; Mosu's flames were able to melt the snow and give them a clear path up to the castle, as well as providing warmth, while Yuki was able to run over the snow and ice without problem, taking the smaller boxes along with her.
"I... think that's... the last of it... Lord Mitsuhide...!" Ryo panted as they came inside the castle. Mitsuhide walked over to them and opened one of the boxes. He observed the contents before turning his attention to a scroll he was carrying. Ryo figured it was a list of all the items. He looked back and forth between the boxes and crates, before nodding to the scroll, and smiling at the three younger Warlords.
"Yes; that should be everything." he confirmed. Sighing with relief, the three dropped to the floor, leaning on each other in exhaustion. Mitsuhide looked at them sheepishly, an anime sweatdrop forming on his head.
"I... apologize for the trouble, but I am very grateful for the extra hands." he said.
Ryoko brightened up at this, offering a wide smile. "Hey, it's no trouble at all, Lord Mitsuhide. We were happy to help out for the Christmas party."
"Speak for yourself." Ryo mumbled, before his sister elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hey!" he whined in protest.
"So, when is this party gonna be?" Ryoko asked, getting to her feet and dusting herself off, once again completely full of energy.
"We always hold the Christmas party for a week;" Mitsuhide explained while Ryo and Oichi also attempted to stand up, Ryo being assisted by Mosu. "Anyone invited is allowed to come as early as the week before Christmas Eve, and everyone will have left by New Year's Eve, to prepare for the New Year's festival. Nixtorm will be hosting events all that week, including a Christmas banquet. Ultimately, it is just a chance for the Warlords to take a break from their responsibilities."
"So are we invited?" Ryoko asked excitedly.
"Of course; the Warlords from all the kingdoms are always invited. However, this year, Ryoko, you and Lord Ryo are the guests of honor. After all, Ransei never would have been at peace without you to make it so."
Ryoko lit up again, and began to jump up and down happily. "Cooool!" she exclaimed. "I can't wait; this is going to be the best Christmas we've ever had!"
"You say that about every Christmas." Ryo commented, "Not to mention every other holiday and festival."
Ryoko turned to her brother. "Well, that's because they always are better each year!" she argued.
Oichi smiled, and walked up to the twins. "This would be my first year to spend Christmas in Nixtorm as well." she stated, "Seeing as I am now a Warlord myself."
Mitsuhide smiled. "It will be a pleasure to have you here with your brother, Lady Oichi." he said. He turned and motioned for the others to follow him. "Come, let's have a warm meal in the dining hall. I think we have all earned it after being in the cold for so long."
Ryo shivered. "How do you manage to live on these mountains?" he asked, "I was having a hard time breathing out there."
"If you live with it long enough, the body will adjust to survive such extremities longer. Actually, Gracia is much more adept to the air than I am, seeing as she has lived here all of her life."
"So how long have you lived here, then?" Ryo asked.
Mitsuhide paused. "About twenty years, I believe. Perhaps just under that."
"Papa! Everyone!" The Warlords turned around to see Gracia running over to them with Ranmaru trailing behind her. Jigglypuff showed up after him, and floated into Oichi's arms. The two younger kids stopped, and Gracia began jumping up and down like a Spoink.
"Are you all done with moving the decorations and stuff in?" she asked in a bubbly voice.
"Yes, we are." Mitsuhide confirmed.
"Yay! Does that mean we can go play now?" she asked.
"We were actually going to go eat some lunch now." Ryoko stated. "But we'd love to do something with you after. Any suggestions?"
"Oh, boy!" Gracia exclaimed. "We've gotta go sledding down the Sealeo slopes! That's where a bunch of Spheal and Sealeo like to play, and they will let you ride on their backs down the hills there. And it's right next to Koyuki lake, so afterwards we can go ice skating!"
"That sounds great!" Ryoko shouted, beginning to rock on her feet as well. "I wanted to do some shopping and see the lit up houses, too. What's the best place to go for something like that?"
"Then we should go to the village at the foot of Freezer Mountain; the tallest mountain in Nixtorm, and Ransei, for that matter!" Gracia said. "It has the cutest little shops, and I know this one house there that puts up soooo many lanterns each year! Or the local village. I know the kids of this one toymaker, and he gives the kids free toys sometimes during Christmas season. Of course, there's always the village that you get to cross through to get to Valora on foot, where they sell a lot of stuff that's made in Valora..."
"Way too many decisions." Ryoko said dryly.
"Gracia, why don't you just stay near the castle village." Mitsuhide recommended. "Our guests are only staying for the day. Besides, you will have plenty of time to show them around during the Christmas party."
Gracia nodded, a bit disappointed, but understanding. "Ok." she agreed.
"It's ok, Gracia." Ryo comforted. "I'm going to be staying in the castle, anyway." he laughed.
Ryoko glowered at him. "Oh, no you're not!" she said, grabbing his arm. "You're going to be helping me shop for Christmas presents."
Ryo groaned. "You know I'm terrible at stuff like that!"
"I don't care if you're the worst present giver in Ransei! You're helping me and that's final!"
Mitsuhide spoke up as the others were laughing at the siblings squabble. "Perhaps you should go with her, Lord Ryo. Along with every invitation sent out is the name of another Warlord who is invited to the party. You will have to find a gift to give that person at the party."
"It's called Secret Santa!" Gracia spoke up. Mitsuhide nodded.
"Yes; it's to make sure that everyone gets a gift to open Christmas day. Of course, you may also give gifts to whomever you like, but you absolutely must find a present for the person named in your invitation."
"Now that really sounds fun!" Ryoko said. "I can't wait to find out who I'm shopping for!"
"What if I don't like whoever I have to shop for?" Ryo said.
"The gifts will remain anonymous." Mitsuhide assured Ryo. "No one will know who gave who a gift. It lessens the inevitable bloodshed quite a bit."
Oichi looked up at this. "...Bloodshed?" she questioned nervously. Mitsuhide sighed.
"We... have had a fair amount of fights break out occasionally during the festivities for various reasons. But I am taking extra precautions this year, seeing as this is really the first Christmas party in quite a while. I even have a failsafe deployed in the event of such a catastrophe."
Ryoko flinched at that. "Wow. I never thought Christmas could be so scary."
Mitsuhide bowed his head. "It's only frightening if you are the one to clean up the mess." he remarked dejectedly. Ryo sympathized with that. He really felt sorry for Mitsuhide. Being a Warlord was hard enough, but being the Warlord who was responsible for the Warlords' Christmas Party every year... that must be a nightmare.
"Uh... sorry I said anything." Ryoko apologized.
"No, it's quite alright." Mitsuhide replied, coming out of his slump. "It makes me happy to know that I can give the Warlords a moment of peace. And the Christmas party is all I am responsible for. Each kingdom has their own set of festivals and parties they throw each year as well, so I am not the only one to bear such a burden."
"Now that you mention it, this year we were put in charge of the firework celebration for the New Year's Festival." Ryoko said.
"That honor was given to you for uniting Ransei." Ranmaru stated. "Otherwise, there would have been a battle to determine who was to host the grand festival."
"That is right." Mitsuhide agreed. "And many other Kingdoms will host festivals throughout the year. But we can discuss more of this over food; let's go have our lunch."
"Sounds good to me!" Ryo stated.
"Ooh, ooh, ooh! Papa, Papa!" Gracia cried excitedly, "Can we have some hot chocolate? I think everyone would love a cup!"
"Yes, you should definitely offer a cup to them, Mitsuhide." came a voice from inside the room. Everyone turned their attention to the table, where a white-clad figure sat, drinking from a cup of her own hot chocolate. Next to her sat a Froslass, and a Cubchoo was laying in her lap. An ornate staff was laid down behind her. Looking up from her cup, she turned to the small group and offered one of her signature smiles. Her blue eyes matched the color of the ice-covered walls perfectly, and they gleamed with the mischievous nature of a Meowth. "Nixtorm's hot chocolate is without peer through all of Ransei."
"L-Lady Aya?!" Ryo exclaimed, surprised to see the older woman here, especially seeing as Lord Kenshin and Kanetsugu were not within ten feet of her. There had to be a ninja spying on her if she didn't have one of the two men escorting her, then, given how overprotective Lord Kenshin was of his older sister.
"What are you doing here?!" Mitsuhide demanded as he entered the room. "More importantly, how did you get past my notice?"
Aya's calm demeanor did not falter at the interrogation. "I simply let myself in." she replied, as though the simple explanation made everything better. "I did not wish to disturb you, seeing as you were so preoccupied when I arrived. I hope you don't mind; I helped myself to the kitchen and prepared a kettle of hot chocolate and gingerbread for everyone." Gracia jumped for joy and ran over to the table.
"Yay!" she squealed. "Thank you so much, Lady Aya!" she said before helping herself to one of the treats. Aya giggled.
"But of course, dear. It was my pleasure." she said. Cubchoo wiggled off of Aya and went over to Gracia and Gothita, and began playing with them. Everyone else followed quickly after Gracia, choosing to eat first and ask questions later, except for Mitsuhide, who remained at the dining room entrance, still in a state of shock by the presence of the older woman.
"Wow! That looks delicious, and I'm starving!"
"Pass the hot chocolate, please!"
"Here you are, dear."
"Thank you for the trouble, My Lady."
"Not at all."
"Hey, Ryo! Don't be a pig!"
"Aw, come on! These are really good!"
"Yummy, yummy, yummy!"
"The hot chocolate really is delicious!"
"Lady Nene is a much better cook than I, but I can manage just as well when I really want to. Oh, Mitsuhide, won't you join us? I would hate to have anything go to waste."
Upon being addressed by his uninvited house guest, Mitsuhide was able to shake off his surprised stupor, and fix the lady with a icy glare. "Just what business do you have here, Lady Aya?" he demanded again.
Aya's face remained cheerful. "Well currently, it seems that eating an afternoon snack is my business." she stated without humor evident. Mitsuhide did not seem to be amused by this statement. Aya shook her head. "In all seriousness, though, I am running an errand. It's becoming quite late in the season, and we have yet to receive any mail from Nixtorm this month. I was under the impression that you would be hosting a Christmas party this year, Mitsuhide, seeing as Ransei is once more in a state of peace. When will Illusion castle be expecting it's invitation?"
Mitsuhide groaned. "Lord Kenshin and Kanetsugu have both received their invitations." he explained, "You are not invited, My Lady."
Aya, surprisingly, remained smiling. "Surely, you are not serious, Lord Mitsuhide." she said.
Mitsuhide frowned. "Just because I have had to postpone this party for the last few years does not mean that I have forgotten what I told you at the last party: if you caused any more trouble for the other guests, then you would no longer be invited. I apologize, My Lady, but I must stand by my word."
The others quieted down as they observed the conversation rather awkwardly, no one really understanding what was going on. Ranmaru seemed to understand, but he was pretending to ignore the adults' discussion by playing with the Pokemon.
"Uh... what's going on here?" Ryoko asked. "Why isn't Lady Aya invited to the party?"
Mitsuhide sighed again, and brought his hand up to his temple in annoyance, as though reliving an unpleasant memory.
"Lady Aya has been responsible for the majority of accidents and unnecessary injuries that could have been avoided during every Christmas party I have hosted, not to mention quite a few of the ones hosted by my predecessor."
Aya pouted, "My actions are entirely innocent," she replied, "all in good fun."
"It is no longer 'fun' when someone gets punched in the eye or set on fire." Mitsuhide countered.
"Punched in the eye?" Ryo asked.
"Set on fire?!" Ryoko exclaimed. "Just what the heck goes on at these parties?!"
Mitsuhide turned back to the twins. "What happens is that Lady Aya hides mistletoe all over the castle." He turned back to Aya, who smiled shamelessly at this accusation.
"It's funny." Gracia commented.
"It's dangerous!" her father corrected irately.
"...Really?" Ryoko asked. "Mistletoe? That's it? That actually... sounds kinda nice..."
"Mistletoe? You mean that stuff that people hang up during Christmas?" Ryo asked. "What's so dangerous about a decoration?"
Ryoko turned to her brother. "Don't tell me you don't know about mistletoe."
"What's to know?" he asked.
"There is a tradition attached to mistletoe." Oichi explained to the male twin. "If two people meet underneath mistletoe, then they must kiss each other."
"Why would they do that?" Ryo asked.
"Because it's a tradition, dummy." Ryoko said, wrapping her knuckles on his head. "Geez, pay attention, would ya?"
"It's very romantic." Oichi said quietly, glancing at Ryo with blushing cheeks.
"It sounds dumb." Ryo commented, causing Oichi and his sister to both bow their heads in shame. Clueless boy...
"Well..." Ryoko continued turning back to the two adults, "I still don't understand why mistletoe is such a problem. I mean... it's just a harmless tradition, after all."
"You would think so." Mitsuhide agreed, "However, Lady Aya fails to realize that most of the other Warlords do not take the mistletoe tradition as well as would be expected."
"I would think you of all people would appreciate my mistletoe party favors, Mitsuhide." Aya stated, "After all, it was because of it that you met your wife for the first time."
Mitsuhide was briefly taken aback at the mention of his long deceased wife, remembering their first meeting as if it were yesterday. "That may be true," he consented, "However, in the most recent years of Nixtorm's parties, the other Warlords have shown that they do not possess the emotional maturity for you to continue such a tradition. And to be honest, I do not have the funds to repair any damage done to the castle if another fight breaks out."
"Damage?" Ryoko questioned.
"Let's see..." Mitsuhide began, "There was the Christmas from seven years ago..."
Ginchiyo was walking around at the Christmas party with her Shinx walking at her feet. She was incredibly bored, seeing as there were no battles going on. She really hated these get-togethers. What made it worse was that Muneshige had once again gone off on his own to mingle with the other warlords, and she was left alone, completely at the mercy of anyone that decided to come up to her and attempt to start a conversation.
She was holding out good so far; only a few people had greeted her in passing, and everyone else was preoccupied with each other. Lord Motonari walked past her then, and he offered her a warm smile and a brief hello. She stopped to return the greeting. As she did, Magoichi walked by in the opposite direction, but unlike Motonari, he stopped in front of her, and looked at her with a sly smirk.
Ginchiyo stared at him, wrinkling her nose in irritation. "Can I help you?" she asked, not masking her irritation at the man.
"Well, I think I can help you." Magoichi replied, leaning closer to the woman. Ginchiyo's eyes widened slightly, and she leaned away.
"You can help me by removing yourself from my sight, fool." she said, attempting to push him away.
Magoichi's smile only widened. "No need for embarrassment, my lady." he said. "It's only natural for the ladies to want to be under the mistletoe with me."
"Wha-?" Ginchiyo stuttered, as Magoichi pointed up, and there Ginchiyo saw the little plant hung over the two of them.
"Now pucker up, baby!" Magoichi said as he prepared to kiss her. But before he even had a chance, Ginchiyo had unsheathed her serrated blade (even at a party, her weapons never left her side), and she hit Magoichi in the side of the head with the flat end of the blade. the force sent him flying to the other side of the room, and crashing into a table. Everyone looked from where the 'ladies' man' had crashed, over to Ginchiyo, who now had lightening crackling from her wrists, and her eyes burning with rage.
Mitsuhide, one of the onlookers, went wide eyed with fear. "...oooh no." he said simply, preparing to evacuate people from the room.
"I'll teach you to disrespect a Tachibana, you cur!" Ginchiyo shouted. "Shinx, give him a Thunderbolt he'll never forget!"
"Shin shinx!" the catlike Pokemon agreed, before charging up for an attack. Many of the guests screamed and began to run for the doorway. Mitsuhide, ran up to Ginchiyo.
"Lady Ginchiyo, please! I beg you, there is no reason for...!"
From outside the castle, a huge explosion went off, and Magoichi could be seen falling through the demolished area of where a wall had once been.
"...Th-that is pretty awful." Oichi stuttered as Mitsuhide finished retelling the unfortunate event.
"Well... yeah..." Ryoko agreed. "But that's just Magoichi being an idiot. You can't really blame that on..."
"Then there was also the year before that one..." Mitsuhide continued.
At the Christmas party, Kai and Kunoichi were goofing off with one another as they always did, enjoying the party. They entered the next room, and looked around for some of the other junior warlords they knew. Suddenly, they spotted Yukimura standing off to the side of the room, and just as they were about to go over to talk to him, they each spotted something hanging above his head, and their eyes lit up.
"Yukimura's under the mistletoe!" they squealed in unison. Upon hearing the outburst of the other, they turned to each other and glared. The standoff between them went on for a few seconds, before, they each bolted to where Yukimura was on the other side of the room.
"He's mine! I'm kissing him!" one shouted.
"No way; I'm gonna be the one to kiss Yukimura!" the other retorted.
Yukimura looked up from his drink and saw the two girls headed his way. He did a double take when he realized they were running all-out towards him, and his eyes widened in panic. What were they planning on doing?! In a final burst of speed, the girls pushed off the ground and leapt towards their unsuspecting target.
"Yukimura!" they each cried out, and then they landed on top of the boy, forcing the three down to the floor.
"I got here first! Me! Me!"
"You wish! I'm the one who gets to do it!"
"Hey, you two! Cut it out! You're crushing me!"
Mitsuhide rushed in as the two began to fight. "What is going on?!" he demanded, before his eyes widened. Kunoichi and Kai got to their feet, continuing to throw punches and kicks at one another.
"I'll show you!" Kai declared. "Darumaka! Let's teach that brat a lesson with a flame wheel!"
"You think that's going to stop me? Please!" Kunoichi taunted back, " Sneasel, let's show her a feint attack!"
"Ladies, please!" Mitsuhide begged, "If you are going to fight, then at least take your fight away from the castle property!" But Mitsuhide's pleas went unheard and the warriors and Pokemon both charged at each other.
From outside the castle, a huge explosion went off. When the smoke cleared, a huge hole could be seen where a wall had once been, and standing inside the destroyed building was a miserable-looking Mitsuhide, three junior warlords that were passed out amidst the wreckage, and two fainted Pokemon. Mitsuhide's eye twitched, and his shoulders slumped.
"I... had just made the final payment on the repairs from last year..." he mumbled before falling back and fainting as well.
Everyone looked on as Mitsuhide finished his story with shock and mild fear.
"...Well..." Ryoko began, but could think of nothing else to say further. Mitsuhide, however, did not seem to have such a problem.
"And let's not forget the incident just last year..."
Lady No was taking a walk through the party with her Mismagius floating beside her when she noticed Lord Nobunaga walking in her direction. She beamed, and the catlike grin turned into a predatory smirk when her Mismagius motioned for her to look up at the ceiling. Mistletoe! She turned back to Nobunaga, and pretended to not notice him, placing herself in the most seductive pose she could, closing her eyes.
...Unfortunately for No, Nobunaga walked right past her, not seeming to have noticed her presence in the slightest.
"...Caught under the mistletoe, eh?" someone asked her. "In that case, how about a kiss?"
No smiled, and turned to who she believed was Nobunaga. "Well... if you insist, my darling." she said as she leaned toward the voice and opened her eyes... to find Hideyoshi staring back at her! She squeaked and jumped back in shock.
Hideyoshi smiled genuinely. "Aw, c'mon; don't be shy! I promise that Nene doesn't have to find out about it." he said, wiggling his eyebrows.
"What does Nene not have to find out about?" came a voice from behind him. Hideyoshi jumped and turned around to see Nene standing before him, looking perfectly pissed.
"A-a-a-aah-aah! N-N-Nene! What a coincidence seeing you here!" Hideyoshi squeaked.
"You don't have to worry about Santa now, Hideyoshi," Nene growled, "Because you just made MY naughty list! So get ready for a giant lump!" She brought a fist to his face, and swung as hard as she could. Hideyoshi dodged the assault, and ran as fast as he could.
"Ah! Not the face! Anything but my beautiful face!" he cried, running across the castle at top speed. At one point he ran past Mitsuhide, who groaned when he noticed the panic-stricken Warlord of Ignis dash by.
"Oh, what now?!" he wondered, looking in the other direction to find two furious women running this way with their Pokemon gliding beside them.
"Golbat! Don't let him get away!" Nene yelled.
"Mismagius!" No yelled as well, "Don't let him get away IN ONE PIECE!"
Mismagius fired a barrage of shadow ball attacks towards Hideyoshi. From outside the castle, a huge explosion went off, leaving all but one wall of the castle completely destroyed. In the aftermath, Lady Nene could be seen in the background scolding Hideyoshi, while Mitsuhide was kneeling in the wreckage of his destroyed castle, looking ready to break down himself. No walked by him, observing the damage with minimal interest, as though she were used to such an immense amount of destruction.
"If you ask me, I did you a favor." she muttered dryly, "Your decorating was atrocious; at least now you have a chance to start over fresh."
Mitsuhide sighed, "And then there was the one year..."
"Stop!" Ryo, Ryoko and Oichi all said at once.
"Please, no more!" Ryoko continued, "We get it: mistletoe is lethal!"
Mitsuhide nodded. "And that is why you are not invited to the party this year, Lady Aya." he repeated. "With Ransei just being brought into peace, I do not want a war to start in my home because people lack common sense, and you have proven that you cannot be trusted."
"Very well, then." Aya replied.
"I don't want to hear another word on the sub..." Mitsuhide began, before her words finally caught up to his brain and he paused. "...Wait, what?"
Aya smiled mysteriously, and stood from her seat, brushing herself off. "I only came to confirm whether or not Illusio had received invitations to the Christmas party. If I am not invited, then there is nothing that can be done."
Mitsuhide glanced at her suspiciously. He didn't want to believe that she would take this so well, yet he could not rightfully accuse her of anything without proof. Aya had promised last time that she would not bring mistletoe into his castle, and when he had believed her, his castle had been demolished. Would he be able to trust her this time?
"Are you sure?" Mitsuhide asked.
Aya's expression remained unreadable. "You have the best intentions in mind, and I can respect that. However, I still intend to get your Christmas present to you before the 25th, so I will be returning sometime before then." She bowed to the other occupants of the room before walking towards the door. "I shall see myself out, Lord Mitsuhide. It is only fitting, seeing as I let myself in."
Before she exited the door, she turned back to the table and gave a final smile. "Oh, and do save some of the food for the ninja on the ceiling. Good day to you all, and happy holidays." She swept out of the room, her Pokemon trailing behind her.
When the door closed behind her, a blur of black and red swooped down from the ceiling and landed by Mitsuhide. Everyone stared in shock as Kunoichi and her Sneasel appeared before them. She snapped her fingers and turned to the door the woman had just left from.
"Darn it." she muttered, "She always knows where I am."
"Kunoichi?" Ryoko asked.
Ryo smiled and nodded. "I knew Kenshin wouldn't let Lady Aya leave Illusio castle alone." he stated.
"Yes, but don't you still work for Lord Shingen in Terrera?" Oichi asked.
Kunoichi nodded, and skipped over to the table with Sneasel before they both sat down next to the other young Warlords. She helped herself to one of the cookies, and poured herself a cup of hot chocolate. "Yup." she began. "But Lord Kenshin pays good money to the ninjas that follow Lady Aya around for him. It's easy work, especially when Aya is always giving out extra rewards for the trouble. Last time I followed her around for the day, she bought me and Sneasel lunch!"
"Wow." Ryoko said. "I feel bad for Aya."
"Don't be." Kunoichi stated, "Lord Kenshin may have a huge sister complex, but that's nothing compared to Lady Aya's brother complex. That's one messed up family, let me tell ya!"
Ryo nodded. "It's just not right for siblings to get along that well." he agreed.
"Hey!" Ryoko snapped, causing the group to laugh.
"So, Lord Mitsuhide." Kunoichi began, "It sounds like you're finally giving Lady Aya the boot from this year's party." She took a bite of her piece of gingerbread. "Things are going to be pretty boring this year."
"And that's exactly how I like it." Mitsuhide said without hesitation. "Boring means safe, and safe means that I won't have to spend money to make repairs on the castle..."
Mitsuhide paused, suddenly considering something. "Wait... she might have hung mistletoe when I had my back turned! Excuse me, everyone, I need to check the castle! I'll return shortly!" Mitsuhide bowed and left, dashing down the corridor in a hurry. The group that was left behind gazed out the opened doors with surprise, before returning to their snack.
"She'll still be there, you know." Kunoichi stated, taking a sip of the hot chocolate.
"You think?" Ryoko asked, turning back to her cookie. Kunoichi nodded.
"It wouldn't be the first time Mitsuhide tried to keep her out of the party. She's snuck in before, talked him into letting her in, even fought her way through once, I heard." Kunoichi continued.
"That's Lady Aya for you." Ryo mused. "Does she always do the mistletoe stunt?"
"Not always." Ranmaru replied, "Or, at least it doesn't always get out of hand. Most of the Warlords know how to be mature about it, but the others... well, Lord Mitsuhide already explained about those..."
"Well, I think she'll find a way in, too." Ryoko stated. "Like I said before, I have a feeling that this is going to be an interesting Christmas."
Ryo scoffed. "Don't try to act psychic, Ryoko." he remarked, causing his sister to huff indignantly. "Honestly, I'm with Lord Mitsuhide. I'd be perfectly fine if nothing strange or weird happens at the Christmas party. All I want to do is have a good time and see the other Warlords again without anything crazy happening."
"Here, here!" Ranmaru agreed, raising his glass in a mock toast.
"I'm rooting for Lady Aya!" Kunoichi protested, "If she's there, it'll mean that I've got another shot under the mistletoe with Yukimura!" she squealed, covering her blushing face with her hands.
Oichi smiled and nodded, fighting back the urge to look at Ryo as she blushed tried to focus on her cookies. Ryoko noticed her best friend's sheepish face, and smiled knowingly. Yeah. Without a doubt, this was going to be a very interesting Christmas this year.
This will be a special Christmas fic for Pokemon Conquest, if that wasn't already made obvious. I'll be trying to write this through the entirety of December, in the spirit of the holiday season. Now, here is where the fun part comes in: this fic will be entirely review-based! This means that you, the readers, shall be the ones to determine what will go on in each chapter. It's like the truth or dare fics, only everything that happens is Christmas oriented. There are quite a few things that you, the readers, can ask to be done within the chapters of this story.
1. You can request a couple to go under the mistletoe!
For this fic, I will take all requests for pairings: Hetero, Yaoi, Yuri, Pokemon, whatever you like! As much as I dislike yaoi pairings, I can still see the humor in two male characters finding themselves trapped under the mistletoe together. :D So please, leave a couple you would like to see under the mistletoe in either a review or PM, and I will make it happen.
2. Find out who got what for their Secret Santas!
If you're curious to know who your favorite character got as their Secret Santa, and what their present was, ask to know it in a review. For this, I have taken the liberty of doing the old 'put the names in a box and shuffle' trick to literally make the Secret Santa randomized. I didn't want the cliche of having the character end up shopping for his/her secret crush, so I put the names of each warlord in a word shuffle website, and it gave me the results. This will not only be a challenge to myself, but it will also be far more interesting than the usual 'shopping for your secret crush' story that everyone else always does.
3. Generic winter activities
Want to see Oichi and Ryoko ice skating? Want to see the male warlords struggling to shop for presents? Want to see Kai and Kunoichi start a snowball fight? Request in a review or PM, and I will make it happen! Anything you like, so long as it has some festive aspect to it!
One request on my part, however, only one request per review, simply because I want to give everyone an equal chance to request for something they want, and I don't want to be overwhelmed by multiple requests all at one time. Please, also feel free to ask for art requests. I will post the finished works on my DeviantART page, and tell you when they are complete. If you want to read more Pokemon Conquest stories, then please read my other fic titled Conquest Chronicles: Tales of Ransei
Sidenotes: Ryo and Ryoko are my names for the male and female heroes in Pokemon Conquest. They are twins, and in this particular story, they will be featured with a Glaceon named Yuki, and a Flareon named Mosu. They have other Eevees, but those are the two that will be seen in this story.
Thank you all for reading, and if you want to read more, than PLEASE, make a request for the next chapter. The next chapter will be written by December 1st, provided someone has written me a request. Requests close on Christmas day, and this story will be finished some time before December 31st.
REVIEW IF YOU WANT NEW CHAPTER!