"Max is here to keep an eye on us. We've been known to get into trouble but since Max has been boarding with us there hasn't been much of a problem at all," said Dancer.
"What about the incident in '06?" asked Vixen.
"That wasn't much of anything," said Comet. "There was no permanent damage to anything and no risk to Christmas. That was just fun!"
"Pete didn't see it that way," said Donner
"That's because Pete's feathers are the ones that got singed!" said Blitzen and all the reindeer laughed.
"That's enough guys!" said Rudolph.
"Hey!" said Vixen.
"And gals!" said Rudolph. "We need to get to sleep soon so simmer down. I have a feeling these guys may need some information from us if they hope to find a counter spell to Sandy's force field. What do you want to know?"
"I have a question," shot out Jacob. "What do you think we need to know about Sandy to get rid of this force field. Is there something from her past that might help us? Santa hasn't told us much about her."
The reindeer all looked at their feet or the ceiling, which is the universal sign for I don't know what to say. I use it all the time when my teacher asks why I never remember to put my name on my paper. However, Rudolph was looking straight ahead, not making eye contact with anyone, and I knew what that meant. That means I have the answer but don't want to tell you. I've used that look before too!
"Rudolph, let's start with you." I said. All the other reindeer looked relieved. I did a mom move and pulled Rudolph over into a corner to talk so everyone didn't hear the conversation. "Okay, what's the deal?"
"Huh?" asked Rudolph, pulling out my favorite answer to a question I didn't want to answer.
"What do you know that you're not telling me? You look exactly like I do when I get caught with my hand in the cookie jar," I said.
"Neither my hand nor my hoof are in the cookie jar," said Rudolph, "but I was Sandy's best friend before she left the North Pole."
Wow! "What happened? Why didn't you go with her when she left?" I asked.
"It wasn't right. She got upset over something silly that Santa said. We all say silly things, especially to the ones we love. It's not always right, but he was just teasing her and it got out of hand. It's the reason he doesn't tease anyone, anymore, ever. Santa learned his lesson. Besides, the year before Sandy left, in '38, that was the first year Santa used me at the front of his sleigh. I knew he needed me and the reindeer needed me and the children all over the world needed me to help Santa, so I couldn't go. Not to mention, there was a song about to come out that was all about me. I just couldn't go and I didn't really want too. I didn't think she'd stay upset this long. I thought she'd get upset, stay away for awhile and then come back and let Santa apologize. I think that's what everyone thought would happen."
"Have you seen her since she left?" I asked.
"A few times. I think Santa knows she's been back a few times. It's one of the reasons he doesn't do something permanent with Snow Cottage. I think he hopes she'll come back someday. She did leave a nondescript box in the Snow Cottage, where you guys are staying. It allows me to visit her and allows her to visit here as well. I think she really misses the North Pole," said Rudolph.
"Have you ever visited her there in the South Pole?" I asked
"A few times, especially right after she left, but nothing with regularity. It's too hard to get away from everyone without being detected. Santa never told us we couldn't visit her, it was just a bit awkward to tell everyone where I would be going. She really is a good person, just a bit bitter," replied Rudolph.
"Could the box have anything to do with the force field?" I asked.
"I doubt it. It's been here all these years and there's never been a problem before. I know she's constantly studying the magic books she has in the South Pole trying to learn new spells and become better at her magic. Her spells don't always work the way she wants them to. It's one of the things Santa used to tease her about. I think she finally found something she could use against Santa and perfected her magic enough that it all came together and she created the force field. She was still angry with Santa, although I don't think even she remembers the comment that started it all," said Rudolph.
My Mom and Dad walked in. "Hello kids," said Dad. "I think it's time to get moving. You've had enough time to chat and it's probably time for the reindeer to go to bed too. They've got a big day coming up."
"If you can get rid of that force field we do!" said Cupid.
"We will, we will," said Dad as he reassured the reindeer.
I turned to Rudolph,"Well, if you think of anything else, let me know."
"I will and please let us reindeer know if there is any way we can help," said Rudolph.
We said our goodbyes and hurried back to Snow Cottage. We were quickly thinking of this place as home. On the way there I told my family all the things that Rudolph had said. It was surprising to everyone! We decided we needed to find that box and show it to Santa in case it was the source of the force field. Since all three bedrooms in the cottage were the same size we had no way of knowing which bedroom for sure used to be Sandy's room. We searched all three, even though we figured the room Jacob and I were in was probably not her room due to the bunk beds.
Abbie found the box in her room. It was in the back of one of the drawers of the dressing table. She yelled for us and we all came running to her room.
"I've found the box," Abbie said.
She held up a nondescript, brown jewelry box. It didn't look like anything important and I hadn't been looking for a jewelry box.
Abbie admitted, "I almost didn't even try to open it but I did. Luckily, I was bound and determined to check everything. When I opened it, nothing happened but there is a small knob like in a music box." She pointed to the knob and we all saw it. "When I turned the knob, music plays but most importantly, some sort of portal seemed to open up. All I could see was snow so I'm assuming, because of what Rudolph said, that it's the South Pole where Sandy is, but who knows?"
"We'll show Santa in the morning," Mom said. "For now, your father and I will keep the box in our room and we'll see what Santa has to say about it tomorrow. Good night kiddos!"
We all settled in for bed but I couldn't help but wonder if the box was the key to saving Christmas.