12 Days of Christmas: Wrapped in Red (Day 5)

12 Days of Christmas: Wrapped in Red (Day 5)

Pippa opened up her journal to where she’d stuck the instructions. Her eyes tickled and the page swam until it formed a picture of Santa’s traditional red outfit. Pippa rubbed her eyes. There was a list of items she was going to need and she didn’t have any of them. Pippa sighed. She needed to track down the tailor. Maybe they’d know more about what was going on. Holda had said not to lose the instructions, not that she couldn’t ask advice on where to find the items on the list.

Pippa headed towards the tailor guild.

The head tailor was more than happy to see her. Pippa carefully explained the items she needed. The tailor frowned. “Those are some very odd items. What are you making again?”

“I didn’t say. It’s a very special outfit.”

The tailor’s lips moved back and forth. “You didn’t say. Of course you didn’t say. A special outfit isn’t very specific. A pine needle, cardinal dye, yule wool, baby angora down?” She sighed. “All of this is very hard to get and all just in season so I don’t have any in stock yet.”

“What am I to do then?” Pippa asked. “This is very important!”

“Do, Do! You’ll have to collect it yourself. Talk to the blacksmith about the pine needle. To collect cardinal dye, you’ll have to go to the 4 cardinal directions of the district and bring back what you find there. Yule wool? Well, you’ll have to go collect it. Yule wool doesn’t come any ordinary sheep. It comes from yule sheep. And they don’t let anyone near them.”

Pippa wanted to frown. If the sheep didn’t let anyone near them, how was she to get their wool? Oh, she’d figure it out.

“And baby angora down? Baby? That’s special. That’s so special, I can’t think of anyone with baby angoras right now.” The tailor tapped her foot.

“Do angoras live in the wild?” Pippa asked.

“Some do. Very well, you’ll have to go collect some wild angoras.” The tailor nodded. “I don’t know what the rest of your list has to do with anything, dried popping corn, chestnuts, fresh snow, mint leaves.” She waved her hands. “That doesn’t have anything to do with tailoring that I know of.”

“I’ll figure it out,” Pippa said. “Thank you for your help!”  Pippa beamed at her.

She went back to Vesper.

“Catch wild angoras?” Vesper asked. “Better talk to the vet. He’ll know what they like. Once you lure them, you can use your calm animal spell.”

“Thanks Vesper!” Pippa said. “I better hurry before it gets dark.”

The blacksmith was fortunately near the vets. She huffed. “A pine needle? A pine needle?”

“Yes, a pine needle,” Pippa said.

“I don’t know what you need one of those for. They’re a specialty item, hard to make, very magical and you can only use them once!”

“I need one,” Pippa said. “Can you show you me how to me make it?”

“All right, all right, but you’re going to need special ingredients. A needle from a white pine tree, cypress tree oil, fir tree sap, a bucket of feather ice, and lumps of Christmas coal.”

“That’s a lot of items!” Pippa said, typing quickly into her phone. It was a good thing she was going out into the forest to find angora rabbits! She frowned as she finished typing in lumps of Christmas coal. “What are lumps of Christmas coal?” she asked.

“Why the coal that Santa leaves to bad children!” the blacksmith said.

Pippa’s eyes widened. “How am I to get any of that?”

“You’re going to have to ask around,” the blacksmith told her.

Pippa bit her lip. Maybe Wodan would know who he’d given Christmas coal to in the past. It would be in his naughty and nice book, correct? She could go ask him. She made a note of that. “Okay, I’ll get right on it,” she told the blacksmith.

Then it was onto the vet.

“Baby angora wool? At this time of year?” The vet seemed confused. “Well, angoras like alfalfa and timothy hay. It may take a few tries to get the right type of rabbit though.”

“I’ll have patience. This is important.”

“Here, take these shears to clip the angoras with,” the vet said, handing her a small set of sheers. “You don’t want to hurt them!”

“Do you know anything about Yule Sheep?”

“Yule sheep? Who told you about Yule sheep?” The vet lowered his voice. “Those don’t live on this side of the world,” he said. “Those are Santa’s sheep and live in the Mirror World. They’re nasty too. Don’t let anyone but Santa and his sooties touch them.”

“Oh no,” Pippa groaned. “Then, how am I to get their wool?”

The vet’s face lit up and his eyes twinkled in mischief. “I hear though they like candy apples. Maybe if you make some candy apples, you can lead them through some rushes and get the wool you need that way.”

“Oh, that’s brilliant!” Pippa said. “I’ll get on it right away. Thank you!”

Pippa looked at her list. So, before she went off into the forest, she was going to need to get some timothy hay and alfalfa mix. That was fine. She had that at the farm. She was also going to have to make some candy apples. She didn’t know if she had the recipe. But she knew who to ask, the head baker!

With a wave and a round of thanks to the vet, Pippa was on her way to the baker.

The baker widened his eyes. “Candy apples for Yule Sheep! Well, you’re going to need my special Christmas candy apple recipe. No ordinary harvest caramel apple is going to lure those sheep away from their feeding.” He rummaged around. “Ah hah! My special Christmas candy apples with candy cane sticks, peppermint flakes, and white chocolate!” He waved the recipe around. “No yule sheep will be able to resist these!”

Pippa giggled. “Or any horse for that matter.”

“Yes, do keep Marbel from poaching,” the baker muttered. “These are for the yule sheep. Here, I’ll make you a copy of the recipes that you’ll need to make them!” He made copies of the candy cane recipe and the candy apple apple recipe. (White chocolate, caramel she probably already has in her recipe book.)

“Thank you!”

“There will be lots of recipes available for the season. So, keep your eyes open!” the baker told her. “Collect enough of them, and there will be coupons in it for you.”

Pippa widened her eyes. “Then, I’ll definitely be on the lookout.” She tucked the recipes away in her journal and made a note that she’d gotten it on her new Christmas Achievement list that Vesper had texted her. She waved to the baker and set off for her farm, Magpie Field.

On the way, she used her new Christmas spell to put lights on the trees along the road, giggling as she did. It was so much fun. After she’d done ten, her phone pinged to tell her that Vesper had a coupon for her! Well, there wasn’t much point in going back to Vesper for one coupon. Not when Pippa had so much to do. She kept decorating trees and tried not to bounce as her phone pinged every time she decorated ten trees.

At the farm, she collected timothy hay and alfalfa from her stores. She always kept it on hand for her own rabbits. She went into her kitchen and set to work making Christmas candy apples. She made candy canes and ended up having to smash half of them for her candy bits. She made white chocolate and caramel. And then mixed the crushed candy cane bits into the white chocolate. She dipped apples into the caramel, then the white chocolate, stuck whole candy canes in them and then drizzled white chocolate tinted red over it in swirls over it, and then while the red chocolate was still tacky she tapped red crystal sugar on it to make the red swirls look like tinsel. There, no Yule sheep was going to be able to resist those!

Pippa giggled, put everything she was going to need into her saddle bags, saddled up Marbel, and hit the road.

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