Even in wartime Christmas is still an important time to all(especially with all the Christmas in July puns). However, to reach new heights, our main heroes they, unfortunately, had to sacrifice spending the holidays with those he holds most dear. But that does not mean that other holidays were as idle. So on the most important day of the year let's have another take the reigns and simply enjoy the ride.
Tale #1: Dwarf
Christmas is a time for people to appreciate the relationships they've made in the time prior even if they are a little bit difficult.
With the terror of Vicioso out of the picture, life's been pretty good for me these past few months. Despite the craziness of goblins, I realized overtime how much this old town has turned into a home for me, so I finally made it official. Combine that with all the jobs I've been doing; and I treated myself to an absolute makeover. Not only did I do away with my rags but I got new clothes, a hammer that can return to me, various bombs and more artillery tips to work with. And since we giants are a warrior race my near-death injuries at Viciosos hands has made my skin even tougher. But even with me on top of the world, there was one thing that I could do without, it would be Inferena.
Hobgoblin culture has a rule that states that any monster who saves a hobgoblin's life would immediately be indebted to him until the favor can be returned. I tried explaining to her that she saved me when she brought me to Jade but apparently to her that didn't count. So ever since that day Inferena and I have been attached at the hip. She's been protecting me from fans who want my autograph, protecting me while I was sleeping, and even protecting me when I drank a little bit too much(which I didn't mind). Though I think the lack of privacy has been so unbearable that I'm started to go a little bit crazy. So crazy, I came up with a plan that just might work! For you see dear reader, I plan on killing myself for a little bit. After all, if no one were going to endanger my life, then I would have to do it on my own!
Keep in mind I was essentially running the town during the Beterano so while the plan was there the materials for it took awhile to gain. And it all started with a fabulous dinner at a chain restaurant that has lived as long as I: Le Flamme's Barbecue. Inferena and I sat down at a table outside in our fanciest clothes. I wore a purple tux that I had two decades back, while Inferna wore a black dress. But with the all-orange candles alight and her skin steaming from the cold she looked very alluring, like an attractive lantern. As we patiently waited for our entrees, we engaged in a little small talk over hobgoblin-human relations.
"So, what do the other Hobgoblins think of Beterano?"
"The more urban environment threw them through a loop. But overall it's been a literal talk of our entire race. I wish I could get them more situated to their environment, but I've been holding my conference with the Elementals about our status in the war for too long. "
"Don't worry about them; I can take care of relations until you return. I've been with humans long enough to play ambassador."
She looked at me with genuine thanks but quickly drew those feelings back in.
"If that happens, then I guess my debt to you will increase a thousandfold. You're a true friend, Dwarf."
Despite her flames, that sentence made my blood run cold and my resolve even greater. So as soon we were halfway through our entrees my plan had finally clicked in. My eyes grew blurry and glazed as weakness infected my body so much I started to fade away. But to tell of this explanation, I must first discuss the material known as crystila. In particular, its many forms, one of which is a short drug that gave the user a sleep-like death for a couple of hours. However, due to my size and resilience, I knew I would recover within a couple of hours. And with Inferena saving me from my deadly peanut allergy by sending me to the hospital, thus saving my life. Or at least I thought that would be the case. But when I opened my eyes, I realized that only Jade was sitting there with a steaming cup of coffee and a deadpan reaction.
"Finally, I have a home to go back to."
"Wait, what happened."
" Your yandere forced me to get out of my bed at midnight and forced me to come here to take care of you. She also told me to tell you that she did some investigation that a group of goblin stragglers tried to assassinate you by bribing the manager to let you use that specific seat you sat in. The plan was to snipe you but due to your little coma back they're they missed the shot. After that, she put you here, threatened me, and warned me to not tell the police. But now that you look fine, I'm heading to sleep."
I'll spare you my reaction but let's say that I now had to pay for all the windows in the hospital. I also won't spare you the reaction of some of the civilians seeing a short purple-clad giant rocketing to his place. However, I will talk about how using my archive I managed to track Inferena, but along the way, I realized how much of a raging dumbass I've been. I was so busy thinking of her debt. I never realized that she saw me as a friend. And only now do I realize that all my life I had lacked many friends much less a monster friend. Funny how life can work like that.
I reached one of the uninsured buildings, and when I had gazed upon it, I saw that it had become a wrecked warzone littered with cops, my shouts quickly shook the earth. I walked straight in flashing my specialist license and saw that Inferna was in her element. After avoiding a barricade of bullets, she defeated her last opponent. She then turned herself to me in amazement and instantly appeared to my side and with it, I hugged her solemnly. Inferna did get extremely warm as she said.
"What is the meaning of this?"
"Nothing special, just finally got my properties straight."
So in a dangerously unstable building on the verge of collapse, I hugged my friend and held her tight both physically and emotionally. However, something just had to go wrong as she said a question that quickly scares the crap out of me.
"So how did you even get here?"
After the startling question, I instantly back up in a nervous laugh, scared out of my mind. However, in my retreat, I trip on a loose rock, and with my overpowering weight, the building slowly started to collapse in on us. But hey better that than Inferna.
Tale #2 Zero
Past holidays can be a very fun time to reminiscence, but that never means that every memory is a good one.
When you live long enough to be in the game as long as me memory can often be a rather disappointing occurrence. Nevertheless, the happiest moments of my life were easily my youth and the early days of Hybrid Cerberus. It was always hard fitting in with everyone at school. My white hair, fusion element, and the bonus of batting for both teams I was often the outsider. I don't know if it was fate or luck, but when I became a specialist, I soon found myself allied with others like me. Back in my early days as a specialist, I was trying to defeat a powerful monster, but unfortunately, I was often interrupted by two specialists who were in on the bounty as well. My icy disposition was met with the calm yet greedy Vulcan and the ambitiously moral Nemesis. And despite trial and error, we worked together and soon became the closest and most famous friends. The specialist's life gave me many adventures and even as cliche as it is love.
We just had taken down a group of bank robbers and had come to celebrate by drinking the night away. I was pretty much benched for pick up, but I didn't mind. While I watched my two teammates sung the Beetles' greatest hits, I sat at the bar drinking soda. The bartender then suddenly handed me a drink and said it was from the girl to my right. I decided to humor here and walk-up. She was a skinny woman with dyed purple hair, amber eyes, and a playful smile.
"I'm sorry, but I don't drink much."
"Ah, so you are at the bar with friends? That must suck."
"Not really, doesn't bother me, I offered."
"Sheesh, I'm surprised you haven't choked yet with such a noose you have on your neck."
"It isn't a noose per say, more like a collar."
"Then let's loosen it up a little. Hi, my name is Khione."
And over the years as my fame grew, so did our relationship. And eventually, we married and had a child. And as soon as I saw Cero's beautiful dark blue eyes and saw him cry out that he was a part of this world, my heart melted. Too bad that was when the cracks started to widen. As our fame grew to be Elite ranked specialists and we started to grow up, Hybrid Cerberus became a shadow of its former self with only the war bringing us back together. Vulcan decided to spend more time with his family in the fire province after he had triplets, all girls. Nemesis became an attorney and even started her own company. I became a high ranking military officer but still worked near home for support.
The added stress from such a transition was hard, but it was rewarding to work. I made many friends and allies, including a new best friend and secretary Jaka who honestly became a good friend who kept me from going crazy. Hell, he was so good that he could even do his job at home some days. Sadly, however, if I was stressed from my dizzying fame, Khione was a mess. Before she met me, she was a party girl that often lived on the edge but intelligent and creative to a T. However overtime as she stayed as a stay at home wife of a celebrity. For days on end, she would rant over how people online saw and judged her. The appearance of the perfect wife also was very draining for her. I just didn't know how bad it was until it was already too late.
On a day, unlike any other, I walked home to see that my house was smoking from a raging fire with my Khione stoned out of her mind on the floor. As Cero cried, I quickly dispelled the fire and blew the smoke outside with a gust of cold wind as I saw what happened. A pile of pills and alcohol were littered the counter while Khione continued to mumble mindlessly with violent mood swings. But I can't even hear her over my overpowering rage.
"Get the hell out of my house before I freeze you to the bone," I said with quiet anger.
I shut everyone out after that, especially her. In the coming months, we soon separated and grew apart. The glamorization from the media just made things worse as Khione dug in her heels and like a wildfire, she became temperamental and spiteful. Not that I was any better in my stonewalling. This downward spiral of our conflict got so bad that she just couldn't take it anymore. The hit was harder than a bullet to the chest. Because I knew that I pushed her away, I put that stress on her, I left her in her moment of need, and our last memory of each other would forever be heartbreak.
So in a sign of fleeting responsibility, love, and guilt, I gave her the greatest funeral someone could ask for, and after Nemesis, Vulcan and Jaka made the hurt a little less overpowering and promised that they would always be there. I forced myself together again but at the cost of keeping my world cold. After all, how could I have room to love another if so much hate resonated in my heart? But I was secretly thankful that someone didn't see it as such. Jaka gave me love at a time when I felt I didn't deserve it.
And little by little, day by day I found that my love went to him as well. The hurt never did go away, but I like to think one day at a time I paid my dues with a simple promise. To never fail anyone for a second time and to make a life without regret. Whether it be the next generation, my friends, and above all else, my son as I make him the happiest kid on the happiest time of the year. Even with a world at war, I still made the time to give Cero a day of holiday cheer. And after I tuck my tyke into bed, I visit a certain marble grave and shower it in a bed of frozen petals. Reminding Khione that I still think about her every day, never letting her memory escape my mind. As I said before the memory is an often disappointing occurrence for someone like me, but I think on this special time of year when a new year comes I try to turn a new leaf. Life's too short to burden yourself with the sins of the past. And while I hold on to it every day, I also know that at the end of it all, I just need to keep moving forward, always forward.