December 24th, 2019
“Daddy, when are they going to show up?”
“They’ll be here soon Trucy. The train was just a bit behind schedule.” Phoenix assured his 8-year old daughter. Maya and Pearl were coming down to celebrate Christmas that weekend, which had been the tradition for years. To be honest, Nick was excited about Maya coming to visit too; he hadn’t seen her for months.
“I hope so…Oh! I should go find my dolls so I can show Pearl when she gets here!” Trucy said, running up to her bedroom. Several seconds after, the doorbell rang. Nick ran to the door and opened it as fast as he could to open up the door. In front of him stood Maya and Pearl, both grinning from ear to ear.
“Nick!” Maya yelled as she leapt into the building and hugged him, planting a friendly kiss on his cheeks. “How’s it going?” she asked.
“Good, now that you guys are here.” Nick said, smiling back. They both smiled at each other without saying a word, but Trucy broke the silence.
“Oh, hi Maya! Are you and Daddy getting married yet?” She asked hopefully.
“What? Trucy!!!” Nick protested, slightly embarrassed.
“Er…nope.” Maya said, pulling out of the hug. “We can’t get married unless your dad proposes to me first.” Maya said, laughing.
“Daddy, you have to propose to Maya! What are you waiting for!? I expect a new mommy soon!”
“Yeah Mr. Nick, you have to propose to Mystic Maya soon!” Pearl chipped in, rolling up her sleeves. Nick took a few steps away from her. Getting knocked out by Pearl again was not on his Christmas to-do list this year.
“Oh, hi Pearl. Great to see you again…I, er, love what you've done with your hair? Um, Maya? Can I get some help here?”
“Sorry Nick, but they’re right, you’re missing out.” Maya said playfully, although Nick wasn’t totally sure if she was joking or not.
“Oh, Pearl! You have to see my new dolls!” Trucy said, saving her daddy from getting a beating.
“Ooh, new dolls! Let’s go! And maybe we can come up with a 'plan' while we’re at it.” Pearl said, turning her attention away from Mr. Nick.
“Sounds good!” Trucy said, leading her upstairs.
“Entertaining?” Maya asked.
“Embarrassing.” Nick finished.
“Please, you should try living with Pearly. All she ever talks about is when I’m going to come see you again. Now you know what it feels like.” Maya told Nick. “So, what are we doing this weekend?”
“Well, we could probably go out later and play in the snow, and I was thinking that we could make a gingerbread house later, but other than that, it’s an open book, I guess.”
“Sounds cool. Hmm…now what to do first…Oh! Nick, you forgot to put the star on top of the Christmas tree!”
“Hmm? Oh, I guess you’re right. Do you want to do it?” Nick asked, remembering that Maya always loved decorating the Christmas tree.
“Sure, I guess.” Maya reached into the box labeled “Christmas Decorations” and picked out the star, then got on her tiptoes and tried to place it on the tree, but she wasn’t tall enough.
“I can’t reach!” she said, disappointed.
“No problem, I’ll lift you up.” Nick declared as he wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her off the ground. Maya placed the star at the top of the tree, and Nick pulled her back down, but his arms were unable to leave their current position. The last time he had held her was at the train station a few months ago, and he realized that he had really missed the feeling since then. Maya didn’t seem to mind it either, so his arms stayed around her waist, and they both stood their, enjoying each other’s company without saying a word. Unfortunately for them, Trucy and Pearl were sneaking downstairs to snack on some gingerbread cookies at that moment, and upon seeing Mr. Nick and Mystic Maya in their lovely embrace Pearl let out a fangirl-ish shriek. Nick and Maya pulled away instantly, blushing.
“P-Pearl!” Maya screamed, surprised. “It’s not what you think!” she said, her face redder than a tomato.
“Oh, there’s no need to deny the truth. Well, I’ll just leave you alone with your special someone, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your passionate love!” Pearl said, skipping into the kitchen. Trucy followed her while singing “Daddy and Maya, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes marriage…”
Maya looked over at Nick, and said “We really are going to have to do something about those two.”
“Scissors.” Pearl said, completely focused. Trucy placed the scissors in Pearl’s outstretched hand, and got back to her own work.
“Red marker.” Pearl said about a minute later, holding out her hand yet again, Trucy complied, once again returning to her work. Pearl let out a sigh of relief.
“That’s 4 down, I think we need 50 more to be sure.”
“This is going to take forever!” Trucy whined.
“Yeah, but it’ll be worth it if it gets Mr. Nick and Mystic Maya together, right?”
“Well...Yeah! Let’s keep going!” Trucy declared, returning back to work. Trucy new that if she and Pearl did a really good job, she’d be getting a mommy very soon.
All of a sudden, Maya burst into Trucy’s room, catching the girls in the middle of their operation.
“Hey guys, what are you…Actually, I’m not sure I want to know.” Maya told them as she stared at the construction paper, markers, and tape that were spread out across the room.
“Uh…” Pearl said, trying to come up with an excuse, “we’re just making some crafts!”
“Well, how about you take a break and we can go play in People Park instead!”
Pearl and Trucy exchanged glances and both said “No thanks.”
“What? But Pearly, you always love going to the park! Come on!” she pleaded. It didn’t snow much in Kurain Village, and Maya wanted to get out into the snow as soon as possible.
“But Mystic Maya, we’re really busy!” Pearl said, desperate to work on the project. The fate of the holidays depended on it!
“Pleeeease!” Maya begged, crossing her fingers.
“Fine…”Pearl sighed. Her and Trucy got off of the floor, and walked downstairs to get dressed. The girls got dressed in their snow pants, coats, and mitts, while Nick retained his regular apparel, and then the group of four set out for People Park.
Upon arriving at the park, Trucy insisted that Phoenix help her make a snowman, which Nick reluctantly agreed to, despite wanting to chat with Maya a bit more. Due to Maya being the Master of Kurain, she rarely got to visit him anymore, and so he cherished any time they spent together. Maya had gone to great lengths so that she could spend Christmas with Phoenix, who the Elders had labeled as that “despicable forging lawyer”, and Nick wasn’t going to let the vacation go to waste. While Phoenix and Trucy began rolling snowballs through the snow to make the snowman, Pearl and Maya went to work on their own creation.
“Ok, Pearl, you start to make our snowball supply, and I’ll make the Fey Snow Fortress. They won’t even see it coming. When I give the order, we launch our snowball attack, and since they’re unprepared they’ll have no choice but to surrender!”
“Ok, Mystic Maya!” Pearl said, saluting. “But once they give in will you admit your love for Mr. Nick?”
“Pearly!” Maya protested, feeling her cheeks grow hot despite the cold weather. “Keep it down, Nick might here you!”
“That’s the point! Why haven’t you told him yet?” Pearl demanded. She couldn’t stand the fact that Mr. Nick and Mystic Maya weren’t together, even though it was so obvious they loved each other.
“I’m working on it!” Maya said in an assuring tone. “I just need to find the right moment to tell him.”
“Well, maybe I’ll be able to help you…” Pearl said mysteriously.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Maya demanded, but Pearl didn’t respond. Although Maya was slightly worried about what Pearly had up her sleeve, she turned her attention back to making their fort. She was going to get Nick good…
“There we go!” Nick announced as he placed the final snowball onto the snowman, while Trucy placed some sticks into the body of the snowman for arms. Nick drew a face on the snowman, giving him a bit of life.
“Hmm…he’s missing something…Oh, I know! Daddy, give him your hat!”
“But you gave this to me as a present...” Nick whined. He really did love the hat. He had gotten it from Trucy when he first adopted her, and he cherished it as much as he did his magatama.
“I know what I did! Now give him the hat!” Trucy commanded. Nick reluctantly placed the hat on top of the snowman. “Perfect!” Trucy yelled. “We’ll call him Mr. Snow…do you think he’d get along with Mr. Hat?”
“Probably, but I think I wear the hat bet-Ack!” Nick cried out as the back of his head was hit by snow. He turned around to see Maya with a snowball in her hand, preparing to launch another attack at Nick. Uh oh… He thought to himself, knowing what was coming next. “Trucy, time to hide.”
“Bullseye!” Maya declared as the snowball hit Nick in the back of the head. She couldn’t have had a better shot. Nick whipped his head around, annoyed, and muttered something to Trucy, and the girl began running. “Ha ha, one down, one to go.” Maya said smugly. She knew that she would beat Nick and Trucy, but she didn’t think it would be this easy. “Pearl, prepare to fire!” Maya ordered, but all of a sudden Trucy stopped running, turned around, and began charging at her own snowman. What in the world is Trucy doing? Maya wondered, firing off some shots at Nick, which he was dodging. Nick was agile, but Maya had engaged with enough snow fights with him to know that once she wore him down, he was defenseless. Unbeknownst to Maya, it was really Trucy she should have been targeting.
“See ya Mr. Snow! It was nice knowing you!” Trucy said as she charged at Mr. Snow. With a great tackle she knocked the snowman over and dived behind it, creating a makeshift fort. She loved the snowman, but Trucy was also determined not to lose the fight.
“Daddy! Get back here!” Trucy cried out to her daddy, and he quickly made a slide behind the fort and started making snowballs.
“Ok Trucy,” Phoenix said, quickly creating perfect snowballs mainly due to how much he had practiced. “We both knew that this would probably happen. This is what we’ve been training for. We’ve got the home field advantage, and we’re going to beat them!”
“Yeah, let’s do this!” Trucy exclaimed. Her daddy had been teaching her the art of snowball fights since the first snowfall came, and she had become a prodigy of sorts by this point.
“I’ll go for Maya, you go for Pearl.” Nick said, reminding her of their game plan. “I don’t imagine she gets much practice at this, so she probably will be easy to beat. Once you get Pearl and make her surrender, all we have to do is take out Maya, and then we win.”
“Ok.” Trucy said fiercely, grabbing a couple of snowballs. She wasn’t going to let her daddy down.
“I’ll get Maya’s attention, and once she starts attacking, flank around the side and take out Pearls, ok? On 3. 1…2…3!” Nick ran out from behind the makeshift fort and launched a snowball across the park, hitting Maya square in the shoulder. It was game time.
“Hey Maya, stop hiding in that fort and come out here!” Nick said, dodging the barrage Maya was launching at him, all the while grabbing the crisp snow and tossing it back at her. “Unless you’re afraid!” he taunted.
“Grrr!” Maya said. She had been called out, and she wouldn’t back down. Now it was personal. “You stay here and hold down the fort, I’m going to take on Nick.” Maya said to Pearl, and then ran out of the fort and into No Man’s Land. Maya and Nick circled around the area, waiting for the other to make a move. It all came down to skill now, and though both of them thought they had the upper hand, only one of them was right.
Meanwhile, Pearl was frantic, trying to mass produce as many snowballs as possible in the event that an attack might occur. But because of how focused she was with making the snowballs, Pearl was unaware of Trucy, who was quickly making her way around the fort, several snowballs in hand. Without warning, a snowball hit Pearl in the face, completely knocking her off guard. “Mercy!” yelled out a young girl in a magician’s hat, holding another snowball aimed at Pearl’s face at point blank range. Pearl dropped her snowballs and bowed, showing her surrender. There was no way she could stop Trucy, she had barely even thrown a snowball before! I’m sorry, Mystic Maya. I’ve failed you.
Trucy took her captor and put her in the jail spot, which was really just a square far away from the forts that had been traced in the snow, and returned back to the Fey base, planning on using the snowballs Pearl had made to her advantage.
Nick made the first move, grabbing some snow and quickly launching it at Maya’s face as a distraction, then formed a snowball and whipped it at her, which Maya quickly deflected. She formed a crude snowball and tossed it at Nick, hitting him square in the chest. He quickly recovered, moving from side to side.
“You should give up now Nick, you never could beat me.” Maya said, launching another snowball at him. He ducked.
“Yeah, but I’ve gotten better.” He informed her, throwing a snowball at her head. She moved her head out of the way and dodged it, some of the snow brushing her hair.
“Oh really? Not good enough!” Maya yelled, forming two more snowballs and throwing it at him. Nick dodged the first , but the second hit him, knocking him down to the ground. Maya took advantage of the moment, leaping onto him and pinning him to the ground with all her strength. For a woman of such petite stature, Maya was rather strong. Back in the old days, she had used this same technique to make Nick take her out for burgers.
“Surrender now, or prepare to eat snow!” Maya ordered. Nick just grinned back at her.
“Never.” He told her. “It’s not over yet.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve got you pinned Nick, you’re not going- oof!” Maya uttered as she was hit by a snowball from behind. She lost her power over Nick and Nick used the opportunity he’d been given, flipping the situation around and grabbing Maya’s waist and holding on with all his strength.
“I got her, Daddy!” Trucy yelled from the fort, proud of herself.
“Way to go Trucy!” He yelled back.
“Ugh! Let me go!!!” Maya demanded, kicking and screaming. This couldn’t be happening! How could Nick beat her? Although she had certainly enjoyed Nick’s arms around her just hours before, she certainly didn’t love it now.
“Not happening, Maya.” Nick said sternly. “Time to give it up.”
“No! Pearly, help!!!” she cried out, but it was futile.
“Sorry Mystic Maya, I’m in jail!” Pearl declared. She felt bad for being captured so quickly, but there was nothing she could do.
“No! This can’t be happening!” Maya said, realizing her beautiful scheme had been destroyed right in front of her eyes.
“I think the words you’re looking for are ‘I give up’.” Nick said. Now he was in control, and he loved it. All that practicing had paid off; he had finally beaten Maya.
“Fine, you win. But this isn’t over! I’ll get you yet, Nicky! You and your little daughter too!” Maya said, defeated. “Can we go home now?” she whined.
Nick chuckled and released her. “Alright, let’s go.” Nick got up and went to get the younger girls, while Maya followed behind them, her arms crossed.
“Here you go girls, 3 cups of delicious hot chocolate.” Nick dished out the cups of hot chocolate to warm the girls up. Pearl and Trucy took theirs quickly; eager to get their hands on Nick’s cocoa, which had quite the reputation. Maya took hers grumpily afterwards, still bitter from her unexpected loss.
“Oh, cheer up Maya.” Nick said happily. “There’s no point in being grumpy during the holidays.”
Maya’s response was a couple of muttered words, and a sip of hot chocolate. Nick leaned in and gently kissed her nose. Trucy and Pearl both giggled gleefully, while Maya’s cheeks went red. She turned her gaze away from Nick, suddenly staring down into her hot chocolate to stop Nick from noticing that she was blushing. It didn’t work. Nick chuckled to himself and stared out the window, examining the blizzard that had kicked in several minutes after they had returned to the Wright Anything Agency. Pearl and Trucy exchanged knowing glances, and then excused themselves, running back up to Trucy’s room to continue their mission.
“I wonder what those two are up to…” Nick said, taking a seat beside Maya on the couch.
“I’m still mad at you.” Maya mumbled. After that little kiss, there was no way she could stay genuinely angry at Nick, but she wasn’t planning to let him know that.
“Oh really?” Nick asked, raising his eyebrows. “That’s too bad, because I was hoping to watch a couple of old Steel Samurai episodes with you.”
Maya began glaring at Nick, and Nick returned the stare, although his much more playful. They engaged in a staring contest, both expecting the other person to give in. For the second time that day, Maya lost.
“That’s no fair!” she whined. “You know I can’t say no to the Steel Samurai!”
“Yeah, I know.” Nick said, laughing. He popped a Steel Samurai DVD that Maya had sent him earlier into the TV and sat back down on the couch. Unexpectedly, Maya pulled him into an embrace.
“I missed you, Nick.”
“I missed you too, Maya.”
Part 1 complete