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The team sat in the Elfeteria at the North Pole, knocking back Mrs. Claus’ famous Peppermint-spiked Cocoa.
“That was too close,” said Figgy.
“Yes,” added Pixie. “Good thing Joe was able to convince him it was all a dream again.”
“We have to be very careful over the next few nights,” said Nim. “I don’t think the ‘it was all a dream’ excuse will work again…if it worked at all this time.”
The door creaked open and the team turned to find Santa standing in the doorway looking worried.
“What is it, Sir? Did something happen?” Lil asked, jumping to her feet.
Santa cleared his throat. “I’m afraid we have…a potential problem with Jake.”
Santa pulled a letter from his coat and handed it to Lil.
I hope this letter isn’t too late. I’ve changed my mind about what I want for Christmas. You see, last night I saw Nim, Lil, Figgy and Pixie dancing around the kitchen! What I would really like for Christmas is them to stay and play all year. Just think of all the fun we could have together!
Pixie and Figgy were speechless.
Nim and Lil were shocked.
Glitter let out a mournful bray.
“I was afraid this would happen,” said Santa.
“What happens now, Santa?” asked Pixie.
“I’m afraid this may be the last season for Joe and Jake.”
“But, what will happen to us?” asked Figgy.
Santa shook his head sadly. He never could get used to this moment with his Mischief Makers. It was a natural and bittersweet part of the career, but that didn’t make it any easier. “When a child discovers the truth, some of the magic disappears. When that happens, the Mischief Makers get…reassigned. I’m sorry.”
As Santa left the room, Figgy and Pixie cried out, hugging each other and sobbing. Nim and Lil, who had known this and seen it countless times in their short jobs as Chief Mischief Makers, looked at them sympathetically, but they too were heartbroken.
To everyone’s surprise, Glitter took the news the hardest.
* * *
The team didn’t have much energy for the night’s mischief. When they got back to the house, Joe was already setting up the tower of cups for the remote control car crash they had agreed to. When he greeted the elves, he sensed that something was wrong but, wisely, knew not to ask…yet.
“Er, who wants to test it out?” asked Joe as he set the final cup on top of the tower.
Nim, Lil, Pixie and Figgy looked at each other, then up at Joe. Worry filled his voice and lines of concern crinkled his eyes.
Nim suddenly straightened. “That’s it team. Enough wallowing.”
Lil followed suit. “Yes, we have until December 24th so let’s not waste time feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Pixie and Figgy, knowing they were right, pulled themselves together, smiled and some of their old spark came back, filling the room with light and warmth. The lines disappeared from Joe’s forehead and he grinned.
“C’mon Lil,” said Pixie. “I’ll race ya!”