Meet the Pond’s newest inhabitant
It’s a little corgi pup… wearing a little flower? With a little yip, the corgi gently paws your knee, interrupting you from your current read. You pet the pup, wondering how it got in to your room. When you look closer, you notice that there’s a little message attached to its pink collar. You slip the message from the pup – it gives you a yip of approval – and unfurl it — it’s a message from Xiaolong! She’s asks that you visit the Pond today whenever you are free.
And so you pick up the little corgi and venture into the forest once again to see your pond friends, the path to them now familiar.
When you enter through the magical boundary of the Pond, you notice that the pond looks a little different. Not only are the plants decorated with fairy lights and orbs of golden light hover in the air above you, but the pond itself seems to glow a little brighter.
You look for your little Pond friends, and you see all of them – Xiaolong, Gen, and Varian – decorating a tree with tinsel, baubles, lights, and glowing stars! Hearing your footsteps, Xiaolong turns, and smiles up at you. “Friend! I’m glad you’re here and that Bao found you. Bao! Come here.”
At the sound of its name, the little corgi, Bao, squirms out of your arms and zooms excitedly towards Xiaolong. Ah, yes, this must be the corgi that Xiaolong really wanted to adopt when the inhabitants found the lost corgis in the forest.
You let her keep one! you say with a laugh.
Varian smiles and shakes their head with a look of amused resignation. Gen chuckles to himself, and approaches you. “We couldn’t have separated them even if we tried to. The moment Xiaolong gave him a name, that was it.” (Looking over at them, you have to admit; they look absolutely inseparable.) “Besides,” Gen continues, “the very first trick Xiaolong taught Bao was ‘fetch friend’. And that’s why Bao came to you.”
“Yes!” agrees Xiaolong. She snuggles Bao – who looks absolutely delighted now that he has reunited with her – and they are cheek-to-cheek. “That was the most important trick. I want you to love Bao just as much as I do. So, friend!” She holds Bao up to you with a big grin. “Say a big welcome to our newest inhabitant at the Pond, Bao the corgi!”
I don’t know why I asked whether Xiaolong could keep the corgi – I knew you all would say yes! Xiaolong wishes to thank everyone who sided with her; she loves you all and says that you can come to the Pond and pet or play with Bao at any time. She also hopes that you like his name, which she thought was befitting of their combined namesake.
What will Bao do at the Pond? I’m not quite sure yet! Maybe in the future he will contribute his own feature, or maybe he is just there to make sure Xiaolong and the inhabitants have a good day.
Merry Pond-mas from the Inhabitants!
“Anyway friend, we at the Pond,” she begins, linking arms with Varian and placing a hand on Gen’s shell, “want to thank you so much for coming to visit us during Pond-mas. We love that you are here today, and that we love that we can call you our friend. And thank you for listening to me ramble on and on about the books that I read.”
“Thank you for being so supportive of my first costume, friend,” says Varian, a big smile on their face. “I hope to get better and improve my sewing-magic, and also recommend to you more books that inspire me.”
“And thank you for being so kind,” says Gen, his face slightly flushed. “And – and for visiting my art garden! My plants have flourished ever since you became our friend — my friend.”
And now there’s a big smile on your face too. They really do value you as their friend and are happy to see you each time; you can definitely feel that love.
Where’s Amina? you ask. You haven’t met her yet, but you had hoped that she would be here today.
“Ah,” sighs Xiaolong. “Amina couldn’t make it home. She’s far away helping and healing lost sprites who have been injured by this dark force.” She shudders. “So Amina is doing what she can to help people. I’m disappointed that you couldn’t meet her today, friend, but I hope you understand.”
You tell her you understand, though you are a bit disappointed. But you have a feeling that you’ll get to meet her soon.
“And now, time to open presents!”
Sometime in early December, I invited anyone to wish a present for the inhabitants of the Pond if they had anything in mind. A few friends of the Pond were excited to wish them a gift. So thank you to all that expressed excitement and enthusiasm over this post, and thank you to those who wished gifts to the Pond’s inhabitants!
And without further ado, the present haul!
Magical putirā (sunflowers) from Alec
“The first present is from our good friend, Alec!” Xiaolong picks up a royal blue pot that holds three yellow flowers. “And he got us -”
“Magical sunflowers!” interjects Gen, who approaches the pot and closely inspects its leaves. “This is so generous! These magical putirā are extremely rare; they absorb and collect sunlight during the day and moonlight at night, and they release light that won’t make you sad and cold during winter. The only thing is that we have to sing so it stays happy.”
“Wow, I had only heard of this flower, but I’ve never seen it myself,” says Varian, who looks impressed.
“Thank you so much for these sunflowers, Alec!” Xiaolong says, a wide grin stretching her face. “We love this gift so much, and we love you!”
Cute clothes from Melanie, Laura, Hannah, and Joanna
“We got a lot of presents here!” says Xiaolong, who looks absolutely delighted with the bundle of presents in her hands. “These presents are from Melanie, Laura, Hannah, and Joanna. This one is for you Gen, and this one is for Varian, and this one is for me!”
Together, the three unwrap their presents; Xiaolong enthusiastically rips open the wrapping paper, whilst Gen inspects the patterns on the wrapping paper, and Varian deftly opens the paper without causing any tear (because they know that Gen will want to keep this wrapping paper later).
“Clothes!” Xiaolong happily exclaims. One by one, she wears the clothes given to her, a scarf and mittens from Melanie and a purple festive hat from Joanna. “Oh, it feels so soft and cuddly. I’m going to be warm in the winter!”
At that, Gen wears the clothes he was given too; a beanie from Laura, boots from Melanie, and a monocle from Joanna. “I’ve always wanted boots,” says Gen, “sometimes I step on something sharp when I am gardening, and it hurts! This will protect my feet. Thank you so much.”
“You look so fancy and smart with that monocle, Gen!” giggles Xiaolong. Indeed he does!
And of course, Varian joins in too, wearing a top hat from Hannah, and mittens and a scarf from Melanie! “This material is wonderful,” says Varian, feeling the soft fabric in between his fingers. “I think it’s interwoven with fairy-blessed thread as well.”
“Fairy-blessed thread?!” exclaims Xiaolong. She holds the scarf and mittens to her cheeks, and nuzzles them. “This makes it even more special. Thank you friends!”
Books from Emily and Joanna
“Wow, this is heavy!” exclaims Varian, who holds two thick boxes in their hands. “These are from Emily and Joanna, and they are for all of us!”
“I love that book!” says Xiaolong, who jumps to her feet and rushes to hold the book in her little hands. “I also read the second book and can’t wait for the third book, Shadowglass! Varian! I told you to read this book, remember? Now that Emily has given you a personal copy, you have to read it.”
“I suppose I have to,” says Varian, reading the book’s back. “Ah, it has necromancy! That’s brilliant. I do find the art of necromancy fascinating, if not terrifying. Thank you Emily! I shall can’t wait to read this; maybe I’ll even tell our friend about it after I read it.”
“The next present is from Joanna! Gen, you can unwrap the next one!” grins Xiaolong.
With a big smile on his face, Gen carefully begins unwrapping the wrapping paper, appreciating its floral patterns. (He’s definitely going to keep the paper for inspiration later!) Unwrapped, the present is a seemingly ordinary box of books.
“Oh!” exclaims Varian. “This is amazing! It’s a magical box set of books. There is no title on its spine because it can transform into any trilogy that you want to read.”
Gen ooohs at the gift, but Xiaolong looks absolutely delighted. “This is amazing!” she yells with joy. “Thank you so much Joanna! What a thoughtful gift!”
tea hot chocolate break! from Laura
“Varian, what is this that Laura gifted us?” asks Xiaolong. She holds up a small pot, that has sweet and brown powder inside.
“Ah, Xiao, you’re in for a treat,” says Varian. They take the small pot from Xiaolong, and with a light and quick spell, four cups, a pot of hot water and milk, sugar, floating mid-air.
“This is called hot chocolate,” explains Varian. “It’s a sweet treat that people like our friend here like to have. No milk for you, yes Gen? And I’ll give you a little less sugar, Xiao. Friend, how do you like your hot chocolate?”
You tell them, and they make it for you the way that you like it.
Xiaolong takes her cup from the air, and examines the cup, sniffing it. Gen takes his cup too, examining the steam that rises from the hot chocolate.
When she takes her first sip of hot chocolate – ever! – she sighs with delight, and continues drinking, content. For once, Xiaolong is quiet, except for the satisfying slurps of her hot chocolate. You can tell that she is enjoying it.
“This is so delicious,” says Gen, who looks just as content. “Thank you, Laura. I think Xiaolong is going to be asking for hot chocolate every Christmas now though.”
The inhabitants of the Pond are a little tired from opening presents, so why don’t we give them a little time to enjoy their hot chocolate? Especially since it was Xiaolong’s first time trying it!
Join us again at the Pond in a few days where they will open the personal gifts that you gave to them!
My biggest and most grateful thank you’s to the lovely people who gifted the above presents to your friends at The Quiet Pond. You are what makes blogging such an absolute joy, and without you, The Quiet Pond wouldn’t be the fun and warm space that it is. Thank you so much. 💛
Until then, we at the Pond hope you have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate. And if you don’t celebrate, then we wish you an extra special and lovely day. Thank you so much for visiting, and have a lovely day!