The snow began to fall at just after six in the morning. The Lethargarians woke up two hours later covered by a layer of white powder, changed their color to match, and went back to sleep.
By three in the afternoon, the snow was a foot high. They crawled into the trees, yawning.
"We can shovel the walkway later," one said.
"Yes," said another, "maybe tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. We should really wait until the snow has stopped falling, anyway."
Alec Bing ran out the schoolhouse door, caught up in a flood of chattering boys and girls. They descended upon a small grove of pines whose boughs were flocked with snow. Alec scooped some up, pressed it into a ball, and threw it at his friend Bobby. Bobby laughed and shook a branch, sending a mini avalanche down on Alec.
Alec turned to shake ice out from under his collar and saw a group of seniors nearby. One was rolling a ball of snow across the yard; it grew larger and larger the more he rolled it.
"I can't wait until I'm old enough to make a snow man," whispered Alec, looking wistfully down at the ground.
Dr. Discord and the DYNNE peered out through a crack in the door to their wagon, each wearing a different horrified expression (Dr. Discord's horror was tinged with disgust, and the DYNNE's was mixed with terror).
"MASTER, IT'S SO QUIET!" bellowed the DYNNE. The thick blanket of evil, fluffy whiteness muffled his words so much that only six birds flew away in fright.
"Come now, it's all right," said Dr. Discord, patting approximately where the DYNNE's shoulder was. "I have a surprise for you. I bottled it during my last visit to the Mines."
Dr. Discord grinned, showing all of his teeth. "Even better: jackhammers!"
The DYNNE roared happily. The wagon door slammed, dislodging an icicle from the roof.
"Hear ye, hear ye!" called the Minister of Meaning.
"Attention all citizens!" cried the Undersecretary of Understanding.
"Yo, listen up!" said the Earl of Essence.
The other four advisors lowered their scrolls and frowned at the Earl.
"The meaning was correct!" he said defensively.
"By proclamation of King Azaz," continued the Count of Connotation, keeping one eye on the Earl, "there shall be a snowball fight!"
"Brawl!" finished the Earl. The Count nodded in approval.
"In celebration of this momentous--"
The Humbug pulled his hat down further over his ears and shivered. "Why are we here? We could be somewhere warm. With a fire," he said.
"Because this is exciting! A snowball fight!" Tock said, leaping over a snowdrift. "It will be fun!"
"You don't even have hands."
Tock barked in amusement and turned so his clock face was showing. "Yes, I do!"
"Bah. They're not the kind you can form snowballs with."
"Hmm," said Tock, pushing at the snow with his nose. "That's true. But look on the bright side: that means you're more likely to win!"
The Humbug stood up straighter. "Why... you're right. Do you think I'll get another medal?" He closed his eyes, picturing the awards ceremony. Seconds later, a barrage of small ice balls pelted him in the head.
"Unlikely! Because you are a loser! L-O-S-E-R!" buzzed the Spelling Bee. The Humbug swung his cane at the Bee, but it evaded him and flew away to get more ammunition.
Tock growled. "Don't listen to him. You aren't-- whoa!" he yelled as a snowball hit him right on his three. The Princess of Sweet Rhyme laughed and scooped up another mitten full of snow. On the other side of the square, the Princess of Pure Reason packed yet another snowball and added it to her pile.
"Watch yourselves, dearest Brothers," she sang out.
King Azaz and the Mathemagician ducked into their snow fort.
"On the count of three, we attack," insisted the Mathemagician.
"Why can't we just say 'charge'? It's much clearer!" said Azaz.
Hours later, the jolly group piled around the banquet table, shaking ice out of their clothes (or fur). "Hot chocolate with extra marshmallows!" each one of them said.
It was evening; the sky was clear. Chroma sat motionless, except for a subtle crooking of his left index finger. Tonight, the bass fiddles were accompanied by a harpist, who played a sweet, simple melody, making the moon shine across acres of glowing white.
The Soundkeeper stood on a hill overlooking the silent valley, weeping with joy.
Far, far away, Milo stood at his bedroom window, watching the snow begin to fall.