Zel fell out of bed with a thud.
Zel lay sprawled on the floor in his room. His sheets were tangled around him. His hands were balled in fists. He blinked. He was in his own room.
"I'm...alive, " he said in disbelief. He had never been more happy to see an inn room in his life.
"I'm alive!!!!" Zel jumped up. He felt light has a feather, as merry as a school boy, and lots of other cool descriptions.
"I"M ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Zel ran into the hall excitedly. A maid was there cleaning the hall.
"I'm alive!!!!!!!" Zel involuntary glomped the maid... the maid screamed.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Zel let the maid go.
"Um, sorry about that mam. I got a little carried away", Zel said embarrassed.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" The maid continued to scream histaraclly.
"Um......" Zel sweatdropped and ran back to his room.
Not fazed at all Zel went to the window. He opened it and breathed in the fresh cool air. Sailoon was a beautiful place. A gleaming white blanket of snow covered the whole city. The memory of the crumbled decayed city made Zelgadiss shudder and he truly appreciated the view.
An idea struck him and he grinned. He would make up for the time he had wasted and then some.
"Hey kid!," Zel asked a child down below his window. The kid looked up; curious.
"What day is it"? The child was taken aback.
"What do you mean what day is it?? Why its Christmas day!"
"Christmas day?! That means the spirits did it all in one night... well they can do anything they want." Zel chuckled to himself. The child gave Zel a sideways look.
"Sir are you drunk"? The child wrinkled his nose.
"Just on life..". The boy sweatdropped. Zel grinned. He couldn't help himself.
"Hey kid you know that prize turkey?"
"The one as big as me?!" the little child said in awe.
"Buy it for me". Zel threw down a pile of gold. The little boy almost facefaulted.
"Sir are you sure?" The boy stared at the sack of gold.
"Hmmm".... Zel remembered Goury's and Lina's appetites. "Better buy all the turkeys".
"WHAT?!" This time the boy did facefault.
"Oh here, take this for your troubles." Zel threw down another sack of gold. "Now hurry!", Zel told the boy not unkindly. The little boy bolted down the streets as fast as his little legs could carry him.
Zel laughed to himself. It felt so good, just to laugh for no particular reason. He had so many things to do. Lots of lost time to make up for. Zel went to get dressed. He couldn't just walk around in his pajamas now could he? Zel thought about doing just that and burst out laughing. He went to change his cloths a huge grin permanently plastered on his face.
Lina, Goury and Amelia were in the Sailoon castle eating breakfast. Amelia had offered them a free meal which Lina and Goury couldn't turn down, much to the royal cooks dismay.
Amelia swirled her cereal around with her spoon. She was unusually quiet. Lina and Goury were busy inhaling their breakfast when a soft rap was heard at the door.
"Who could that be,?" Amelia asked as she went to the door. She gasped as she saw Zelgadiss with a slight smile on his face on the other side.
"Zel are you drunk???", Amelia asked. Zel face faulted.
"Amelia can I come in?", Zel asked quietly.
"Sure, Zel.. what's wrong?". Zel walked through the door.
"Amelia," Zel bent down on one knee and took her hand, "I'm sorry for the heartache I've put you through. I've been cold and heartless. I've wasted my life, and I didn't appreciate what I had. Can you ever forgive me"?, he asked sincerely from the bottom of his heart. Lina and Goury starting choking on their breakfast.
"Zelgadiss, of course I can forgive your my friend." Amelia smiled she held out a hand and helped Zelgadiss up.
"Geez, Zel I thought you were going to ask her to marry you or something", Goury replied after he had recovered.
"Um...." Lina, Amelia and Zelgadiss collectively sweatdropped and blushed.
"Ow!! OW!! Lina I was just kidding!!"
"Amelia I have a favor to ask of you... I don't deserve it but"........
"What favor,?" Amelia asked.
The icy wind cut through Zelgadiss cloths, but he didn't care. He was much more worried about something else.
"Do you think she'll even recognize me?" Zel wrung his hand nervously. His boots made cruching sounds on the newly fallen snow. The cottage slowly came into view.
"Don't worry Zel I'm sure she will.", Amelia assured him. Amelia put a reasurring hand on Zel's shoulder as they reached the entrance. Zel took a deep breath knocked softly on the oak door.
Martha, Zel's mother, was sitting in front of the fire as she had done for many Christmas's. There wasn't much to do after all when you were all alone. There was no one to exchange presents with, and there's no reason for a Christmas feast. She didn't eat that much anyways. There was a soft rap at the door.
"Who could that be"? She went to the door cautiously. She never would have guessed who was standing on the other side.
"Zelgadiss????????", she asked in disbelief.
Zel looked up at his mom and tried not to cry.
Martha burst into tears and embraced her son. He looked a little different but he was still her son. Zel cried into his mother's shoulder. He had missed her so much!
"I'm so sorry mom. I should have went to see you..." Zel whispered to her in between chocked up sobs. They stayed like that for several minutes each afraid they were dreaming and would wake up at any moment.
"Its doesn't matter honey your here now. We can spend Christmas together A quiet Christmas with my son is all I could ever ask for." Zel looked up and got his tears under control. He tried to suppress a mischievous smile.
"Quiet? Are you sure?? You wouldn't want a huge feast with tons of friends and family?"
"Well yes but..
"Ok everybody come on in!!", Zel shouted from behind him.
Lina, Goury, Prince Phil and about half of the Sailoon court came out from behind the trees. (Why was the court there? Well, someone had to carry all the food). They carried everything you'd ever need for a truly wonderful Christmas feast. Candied ham, side dishes galore, rolls, pies, cakes, cookies, and enough turkey to feed a small third world country.
"Thank god, this turkey is heavy", Lina said as she walked into the cottage.
"Hmm your right that turkey is probably too much for your scrawny shoulders", Goury replied.
"Ah ha ha ! Nice to meet you!!!", Prince Phil walked into the room and gave Martha a handshake that shook her to her very core. "If I knew you were so beautiful I would have made everyone move faster!". Martha blinked. She wasn't sure if she should run screaming from the house or to be flattered.
"Um.. thank you", she replied shyly. She decided for the latter.
"Ow! Ow! Lina quit it, your going to make me spill the mashed potatoes!"
Everyone went about setting up the feast. Zel took his mother aside.
"Mom, I apologize for the pain I put you through. You will never spend another Christmas alone I promise you." A tear rolled down Zel's mother's face.
"You left me a boy, and you came back a man", Zel's mother said full of pride. Zel blushed blood red.
"Um...mom" Zel started embarrassed.
"HOW ABOUT THE MAN OVER GETS OVER HERE AND HELPS US SET THIS TABLE!!" Lina yelled from across the room.
After a little preparation the table was set. Everyone sat down and enjoyed the feast. Zel finally got a chance to catch up with his mother. She never asked about his physical transformation, it musn't have mattered to her much. After all her son was her son no matter what physical appearance he might have. He introduced her to his friends and when he got to Amelia...
"Oh!" Martha clapped her hands. "Is this your fiance?!"
Zel and Amelia fell out of their chairs.
"No mom she's just...
"Amelia!! What didn't you tell me?!" Prince Phil boomed full of pride.
"No dad were not...
Lina and Goury started to laugh histaricaly.
"My little boy's getting married!"
"Dad we are not......
After many appoligee's from Phil and Martha everyone merrily finished their dinner. Well for Lina and Goury the word attacked would be a better description. After many hours of laughing, eating, drinking, and Lina mercilessly beating Goury over the head with a drumstick everyone settled in.
Phil and Martha were in another room talking, it had been ages since either of them had had a chance to talk to someone their own age. Besides, they were two lonely people. They needed someone to talk to. Lina and Goury were sleeping on the couch after they had O.d on turkey. Lina had fallen asleep with her head on Goury's shoulder. Everyone let them be. After all, if Lina woke up and found she had fallen asleep on Goury's shoulder there might not be a cabin anymore.
Amelia and Zel sat in front of the fire. Zel stared at the embers in thoughtful silence.
"You know Amelia I've been given a new lease on life and I'm not going to waste it", he said softly and determined. Amelia looked at him thoughtfully.
"No, from now on there will be no regrets in my life". Zel's eyes glittered in the firelight.
"No regrets huh..." Amelia said softly to herself. She looked at Zel and softly gave him a peck on the cheek. Zel touched his face in shock.
"No regrets. Merry Christmas Zel.", Amelia said softly and smiled.
Zelgadiss Greywords was true to his word and then some. From then it was said that he knew how to keep Christmas if any man alive possessed the knowledge. He lived his life in the past, present, and the future. He truly understood that the present was a gift, and he wasn't going to waste it.
Zel put a hand around Amelia's shoulder and pulled her close. Amelia sighed contently and put her head on his shoulder. They stayed like that for the rest of the night watching the fire burn down to ashes. Outside a light power snow fell. The snow glittered off the light from the Christmas tree and created rainbow patterns on the window panes. It was the most wonderful christmas any of them could ever remember.
And thus, as the fire slowly burns down to ashes so must this story also end.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.