Calvin Chen coughed lightly and shivered in the freezing air as he walked through the snow-laden streets of London. He wore a long, thick black coat and a wooly red scarf. But these were still not enough to stop him feeling the icy chill of the winter breeze.
It was Calvin's first trip to England, and he thought Christmas in England would be amazing. Christmas was, after all, his favourite holiday. His idea of the perfect Christmas was of trees and building decorated with colourful lights and people in an excited frenzy as they did their Christmas shopping in the snow.
But what he imagined and what was were two very different things indeed. As he walked through the snow, he saw no lights. He saw nothing that would indicate Christmas was coming. As he looked at the people around him, all he saw were frowning faces.
"Strange." He whispered to himself. "Isn't it Christmas in just one week?" A sign attached clumsily to a lamppost suddenly caught his eye. He walked over to it and gasped. "Christmas cancelled?! Why?!" He said, a little louder. A small presence caught the corner of his eye. Turning to look, he saw two little children, a boy and a girl, looking up at him.
"We want Christmas back." The little boy stated tearfully.
Calvin slowly knelt down in front of them. "Why did they cancel it?" He asked them gently.
"We don't know. The grown ups are so sad." The little girl replied.
"Can you bring Christmas back?"
"Me?" Calvin asked, a little shocked by the question.
The children nodded to him before suddenly running off back down the street. Calvin stood up and coughed again. He was excited to see the snow, but this was getting too cold for him. He couldn't be sure, but he felt that the weather was a lot colder than it should have been, even for England. Sighing to himself at the disappointing trip, he quickly made his way back to the apartment he had rented out with his best friend, Jiro Wang.
As he opened the door, he peered inside. "Jiro?" He called. No response.
"Must have gone out." He thought to himself. Carefully he removed his shoes, coat and scarf and quickly turned on the fire in the main room of the apartment. He rubbed his hands together and smiled as the fire warmed up his numb hands and cheeks.
Turning to the side, he suddenly noticed something white sitting on the floor by the tall Christmas tree he had lovingly decorated only hours before. Standing up he slowly walked over to it and picked it up in his nice warm hands. It appeared to be an envelope with his full name written in both Chinese and English on the front. Puzzled, he quickly opened it and took out the letter that was carefully placed inside.
"Dear Calvin," He started to read out loud. "You must come to Hyde Park entrance immediately. It's urgent. Sincerely, a friend."
Calvin closed the letter and looked into thin air, completely puzzled. What the heck was this all about? A curiosity also set into his mind and without thinking too much, he grabbed his scarf, coat and gloves and raced out of his apartment.
The sun was already beginning to set as he approached the gates to Hyde Park. Shivering in the cold, he stood by the gates and looked around him. He wasn't sure what to expect and was starting to feel a little anxious. What if it was a murderer? Or a mugger? He was in London after all, not super safe Taipei. Starting to feel even more anxious he started to walk away.
"Calvin Chen?" A man's voice suddenly stopped him in his tracks. Slowly he turned around and saw an elderly gentleman wearing a suit standing in front of him.
"Yes..." Calvin replied gingerly. He glanced around him nervously.
The man noticed his nervousness and tried to reassure him. "You are perfectly safe."
"What is it you want?" Calvin asked.
"What do you see around you?" The man started.
Calvin looked back at him, puzzled, before replying. "I see a lot of unhappy people a week before Christmas."
"Do you know why?" The man asked.
"I have a feeling you do."
"You are very perceptive." The man told him, smiling. "The Spirit of Christmas has been kidnapped."
Calvin felt his brain melt on the spot. What on Earth was he on about? "Spirit of Christmas?"
"Forgive me, but how is it possible to kidnap the Spirit of Christmas? Doesn't kidnapping refer to real things like people?" Calvin stated, even more confused.
"You are right. However the Spirit of Christmas is a child."
"A child?" Calvin asked, still not getting it.
"Yes. Because she has been taken, Christmas has been stripped from this world along with the joy and happiness it brings."
"I'm not sure I believe everything you are saying." Calvin replied honestly.
"You are wise not to believe everything you hear. But this is the absolute truth. A dark wizard took the young girl and the longer he keeps her the more powerful he will become."
"A wizard?" Calvin closed his eyes as his brain started to hurt. "Ok, ok. Let's say I believe you. What does this have to do with me?" He asked.
"You are the one who can save the child."
Calvin didn't speak and just stared at the stranger. He was having a hard time believing any of this and watched as the man took out a beautiful looking sword.
"Take the sword and you will see."
Calvin gulped hard and carefully wrapped his cold fingers around the sword handle. It felt lighter than he imagined. Suddenly a bright yellow light moved from his fingers to the top and then faded. Calvin gasped in shock and looked at the man.
"What was that? What just happened?" He asked.
"The magic from within you passed through the sword. You are the one who can defeat the wizard."
"Look around you, Calvin. The whole world is starting to freeze and turn dark. Please."
Calvin gulped hard once more and looked at his reflection in the shiny sword. "Ok." He finally said.
The man smiled at him and handed him a piece of paper. "This is a map that will lead you to where the wizard resides. You must be aware that along the way there are many dangers. The wizard will also know that you are coming. Be vigilant. The child must be rescued before Christmas Day or the world will stay freezing and dark forever."
Calvin nodded to him, still trying to take it all in. "Great. No pressure then." He replied. The man smiled at him and started to walk away, happy that he had succeeded in his goal.
Sighing to himself, Calvin walked quickly back to his apartment. He had left the fire on whilst he was out and felt relieved by the warmth it brought. He looked at the sword in his hand then noticed another presence in the room with him. Looking up, he saw his best friend looking puzzled at him.
"Where did you get a sword?" Jiro asked.
"Something very strange just happened." Calvin replied. He quickly took his friend's arm and sat him at the table. He placed the sword onto it and laid out the map before his friend.
"Taking a trip?" Jiro asked, slightly worried.
"A man just told me that the world is being slowly frozen by a dark wizard. I have to stop him and save a child."
"Are you making this up?"
Calvin picked up the sword and held it in front of Jiro. "I wish I was. Watch." He said. He the. Slowly ran his finger up the sword, creating the same bright yellow light as before.
Jiro's eyes widened as he saw the impossible. "My god...is that magic?"
"I'm not sure, but seems I just discovered my destiny."
"So, you need to go to this place in the far north of Finland, destroy a dark wizard, save a child and restore light and warmth to the world."
"Before Christmas Day." Calvin added.
"Right. Well, this is very strange, but nothing is impossible. I'll join you." Jiro stated. He quickly stood up and took his friend's hand in a brotherly handshake. Calvin smiled to himself and looked at the sword. He then looked at the map and felt a new sense of determination.
Time to be a hero.