After breakfast, we headed back to the library to pick up where we had left off. Santa had examined the dozen or so spells we'd found yesterday to counteract a spell and had declared them all "insufficient for what we needed", his words, not mine. We were back at square one, looking through hundreds of spell books with hardly a chance left and less than five full days until Christmas. Today we had Mrs. Claus helping as well as four new penguins -- Addie, Amelia, Grace and Caleb. Penguin Pete said that Grace and Caleb were twins but luckily not identical so it was much easier to tell them apart but I still couldn't. All the penguins looked the same to me.
We took a short break at lunch and had cold sandwiches. I wanted to go see the reindeer again but Dad said there wasn't time. I looked through stacks and stacks of books. No spells for force fields but again a couple of spells that could be used to counteract magic. We marked them for Santa to go through that evening. I was beginning to think someone would need to go to the South Pole to find the spell!
Dinner was also short and sweet, although it wasn't just cold sandwiches. Mrs. Claus had made her famous (at least in the North Pole) macaroni and cheese. I have to say it was really, really good and Abbie, who hates mac and cheese night at our house, ate two platefuls.
As we were cleaning up dinner Santa said, "We'd better have a short recess and go out and visit the reindeer. It's been a couple of days since I've been out to see them. I don't want them to think I've been avoiding them. "
"I've been wanting to meet them," said Dad. "The kids told me about their first names and I'd love to get to know them!"
"Me too," said Mom.
We all got dressed in our winter outerwear and headed over to the main barn. Santa opened the door and hollered, "Merry day reindeer!"
The reindeer all lined up from Rudolph to Blitzen as if they were in the army. They were quite a sight.
"It's nice to see you sir," said Rudolph. "We've missed your visits these last couple of days, especially with Christmas so close. We've made some minor adjustments in the straps that we think will help and we've been practicing flying around in circles with Penguin Max at the reins so we'll be ready for Christmas."
"Thank-you Rudolph," said Santa. Rudolph nodded his head. "Thanks Max," yelled Santa. Max wobbled out from the back and flapped his wing before he waddled back. He obviously had lots of work to do. "Max is the penguin who helps out with the reindeer. He has his hands full most day with this crew. Well, let's take her for a ride! Who wants to go with me?" asked Santa.
We all raised our hands, including Mom who hates to fly! I guess no one can pass up a chance to fly with Santa. Santa quickly introduced Mom and Dad to the reindeer and then we all helped get the reindeer hitched onto the sleigh although Santa and Max did most of the work. When Santa gave the okay, we all climbed in and sat down for the ride of our lives. I think we must not have weighed very much because those reindeer flew across the sky as fast as a rocket. Compared to Santa's weighed down sleigh on Christmas Eve, we must have been light baggage. We were zooming across the sky when we ran into the force field and took a sudden curve to the right. That was as far as we could go. I was glad we didn't bounce off when we hit the force field like I'd seen in cartoons. A sharp turn was much better than a bounce. I would have been on the ground if that had happened. As it was, I just landed in Mom's lap who was laughing and holding on very tight. For someone who didn't like flying or roller coasters, Mom was sure enjoying herself. I righted myself with her help and we swept across the sky again until we hit the force field and made another sharp turn. I was holding on better this time so I stayed in my own seat. Santa brought us back down shortly after the last turn. I was breathing heavy from the excitement of the ride and my windswept hair was standing on end but I was in love with traveling by sleigh. It was much better than traveling by freezer.
After the sleigh ride, we all said good-bye to the reindeer and left. Santa lingered for a minute with Rudolph, gave his head another rub and then followed in our footsteps. Santa's head was bowed down and you could tell the ride on the sleigh had bothered Santa. Driving round the force field probably reminded him of our problem, the whole reason my family was here in the North Pole to begin with. Time was flying by and if I was getting nervous about finding a way out, then Santa must be weighed down with worry. We had to find the solution in the books! I was ready to get back to those books and find the spell that would break Sandy's hold on the North Pole. I have to admit, the moment we entered the library, my stomach dropped. There was still an awful lot of books to go through and not a lot of time!
I started right where I'd left off. Everyone was back helping look through the books and we were making better time with Mrs. Claus and the penguins help. Tonight, Santa had added three more penguins, Jesse, Aaron and Pedro, to help in the search. Unfortunately, even with 7 sets of human eyes and 8 sets of penguin eyes, four hours later no one had found anything and it was time to go to bed again.
"It's time for bed boys and girls. Thanks for your help. We'll find the solution tomorrow. I'm sure of it," said Santa.
I hoped so but I wasn't so sure.
"We'll meet back in the kitchen a little earlier. How about 7:30 tomorrow instead of 8:00?" asked Mrs. Claus as she patted Santa on the back.
We all agreed. We knew we needed the extra time and sleep would be difficult with us worrying about finding the spell. We all left the library except for Santa. He stayed to check out the counteracting spells we had found today. I hoped one of them would work!
"Mom,Dad, I just want to ask Santa if we can run by and check in on the reindeer and maybe ask them a few questions. We haven't gotten any information from them yet. Perhaps they know something," I said as I ran back through the doors.
I found Santa peering over a spell in one of the books we'd put on his desk. He looked up as he heard me approach. "Santa, can we stop by and say goodnight to the reindeer and maybe ask them a few questions?"
"Sure Ethan. As long as there is a light on in the barn, feel free to go in, but if there are no lights on, you had probably better keep going and see them in the morning," replied Santa.
"Thanks Santa," I said. "Santa I've been thinking today about all these books you have here on spells and we've looked through a lot of them but there's still all those books you have that we haven't looked through yet. Time is getting short."
"I know Ethan, but I know we'll find it in time. I'm sure of it," said Santa.
"Well sir, I was wondering if maybe we needed to send someone to the South Pole to find the book and the spell she used to create this force field. Then we would know what to do," I said. I'd been thinking about this a lot since dinner.
"I have thought about that but there's no way to get there that doesn't involve a lot of travel and we don't have time. She closed off freezer travel to the South Pole years ago. To get there now, since the sleigh is out of commission, we would need to travel by freezer to Argentina and then fly by reindeer to the South Pole. It would take at least a couple of days and we haven't got a couple of days, not to mention it would be a very dangerous trip."
I turned to leave the room but stopped when Santa called my name, "Ethan, thank-you for all your help. I'm glad you and your family are here to help us. I know we'll come up with something. We always have. Goodnight Ethan."
"Goodnight Santa and I'm glad we're here too," I replied and I was. I was glad my great-grandfather, who I'd never known, had helped Sandy and had been given magic that he could pass down to me. I was glad I would have it to pass down to my kids. What a magical world we live in. I waved to Santa as I closed the door. We are going to figure out something!
Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter in the story.......available tomorrow!