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The sun shone on the white snow, the glaciers, and the ice walls, making them seem as if they had a glow of their own. All was quiet. Not even the sound of dripping, melting water broke the peaceful, yet dull silence. 

Then, suddenly, a slow humming could be heard in the distance. Slow, and almost uneven, but eventually, it would rise, and rise, and rise until the sounds bounced off of the glaring white, icy walls. Within a matter of moments, hundreds, thousands of voices were rising into the air, and eventually, the icy valley was filled with thousands of different songs. And the singers threw their heads back, and raised their flippers into the air, and swayed their hips to the beat of their own songs. All around, different songs could be heard from different beaks.

"Each morning I get up, I die a little. Can barely stand on my feet.

Take a look at yourself in the mirror..."

"Ooooh! I lose control when I hear your body move

Through the walls in the next room!"

"I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now."

"This is the best thing,

The best thing that could be happening!

And I think you would agree..."

But above all the songs, one voice, one that couldn't compare to any other, rang in one penguin's ears, and made his heart soar.

"Let me riddle you a ditty.

It's just an itty bitty

Little thing on my mind. 

About a boy, and girl

Trying to take on the world 

One kiss at a time.

Now the funny thing about it,

Ain't a story without it,

But the story is mine."

Or, it could be their story. John stood at the front of the crowd, pushed around by others as they tried to crowd around the lovely girl in the middle, or work up the courage to sing to her. To John, Miranda was the most beautiful penguin in the world. Her voice made the sun seem brighter, and made John's heart, cold from the snow, and ice, warm again. He took a step forward, and listened as she sang, repeating the same lyrics in his head, and letting the beat of the song harmonize with that of his heart.

"We all wanna know how it ends.

Oh! Happily ever after! 

Wouldn't you know!

Wouldn't you know!

Oh, skip to the ending!

Who'd like to know?"

John's shoulders tensed as a penguin dared to step forward, and sing to her, "I'd like to know." Miranda stopped for a heartbeat, looked the penguin up, and down before singing the words back to him, and strutting past. John relaxed his tense shoulders, and edged along the crowd, determined not to let Miranda out of his sight.

"Author of the moment, can you tell me?

Do I end up, do I end up happy?"

Another penguin dared to step forward, his chest puffed out as he held out his flippers toward the beautiful penguin, and raised his voice in a song.

"I dream of para-para-paradise,

Para-para-paradise,

Para-para-paradise,

Every time I close my eyes."

Again, Miranda stopped, and glanced at the young penguin before singing once more, shaking her head at him before walking away.

"Inhale, breathe steady. 

Exhale, like you're ready,

If you're ready or not. 

Just a boy, and a girl

Trying to take on the world,

And we wanna get caught.

In the middle of a very happy ending,

Let's see what we've got."

John opened his beak, ready to step forward, and sing when another penguin took his place.

"Tell me what you want to hear.

Something that'll light those ears.

Sick of all the insincere,

So I'm gonna give all my secrets away."

To this, Miranda replied with, "Let's give it a shot," and looked away. Almost immediately, another penguin stepped forward.

"Oh, oh, I want some more!

Oh, oh, what are you waitin' for?

Take a bite of my heart tonight!"

Miranda replied in the same way as the other penguin. John edged closer to her when suddenly three penguins erupted from the crowd, all racing toward her, and singing at the top of their lungs, their words indistiguishable. Miranda flicked her tail, and walked away from them, swaying her hips as she sang once more.

"We all wanna know how it ends.

Oh! Happily ever after!

Wouldn't you know!

Wouldn't you know!

Oh, skip to the ending!

Who'd like to know?

I'd like to know.

Author of the moment, can you tell me?

Do I end up, do I end up happy?" 

Yes! John screamed in his head as he raced along the edge of the crowd to catch up to Miranda. His heart pounded as he prepared himself, and tried to keep his flippers from shaking. Miranda fell silent, and John saw this as his chance, but he froze, mesmerized by Miranda's voice, and he found himself mouthing the words to her Heartsong.

"We all have a story to tell. 

Whether we whisper or yell.

We all have a story

Of adolescence, and all it's glory. 

We all have a story to tell."

And that was it. John spread his flippers, and swayed his hips, and tapped his feet as Miranda began to sing more powerful than before.

"Oh! Happily ever after!

Wouldn't you know!

Wouldn't you know!

Oh, skip to the ending!

Who'd like to know?

I'd like to know.

Author of the moment, can you tell me?

Do I end up, do I end up happy?"

As she continued to sing, he continued to dance, barely noticing all the other young penguins following her, singing their own hearts out, trying to match their Heartsongs to her's. But her's was special. Miranda's was for John's, and John's was for Miranda's. I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna do it!

When John finally managed to control himself, he saw that Miranda was facing the large group of penguins behind her, snapping at them. "Guys, guys! Control yourselves! Don't you see? I'm sorry, but none of your songs are good enough for me." As she turned, and began to waddle away, the members of the crowd began to back away, their heads hanging in disappointment. John smiled. But she hasn't heard my song yet! Excited, he stepped out of the crowd, took a few deep breaths, and raised his voice.

"We should get jerseys, 'cause we make a good team.

But yours would look better than mine, 'cause you're outta my league."

Miranda stopped; John's heart skipped, and he took a few more steps forward, and continued to sing.

"And I know that it's so cliche

To tell you that every day 

I spend with you is the new best day of my life.

Everyone watching us

Just turns away with disgust. 

It's jealousy.

They can see

That we've got it going on.

And I'm racking my brain

For a new improved way

To let you know you're more to me than what I know how to say.

You're okay

With the way

This is going to be,

'Cause this is going to be

The best thing we've ever seen."

As John continued to sing, he had to resist from dancing, and making a complete fool of himself. He smiled wide as Miranda slowly turned around, and looked at him, her expression hard to read. But John continued to sing his heart out, puffing out his chest, and raising his flippers into the air.

"If anyone can make

Me a better person, you could.

All I gotta say

Is I must've done something good.

You came along one day,

And you rearranged my life!

All I gotta say

Is I must've done something right.

I must've done something right!"

Miranda smiled. She had never heard any other penguin sing like this one was singing. She smiled a bit, and John smiled back as he continued to sing. 

"May'be I'm just lucky 'cause it's hard to believe, 

Believe that somebody like you'd end up with someone like me.

And I know that it's so cliche

To talk about you this way,

But I'll put all my inhibitions aside.

It's so very obvious 

To everyone watching us

That we have got something real good going on.

And I'm racking my brain

For a new improved way

To let you know you're more to me than what I know how to say.

You're okay

With the way

This is going to be,

'Cause this is going to be

The best thing we've ever seen."

Miranda continued to walk closer to John, her hips swaying to the beat of his wonderful song. John's heart soared, and he almost couldn't believe it. But he managed to control himself, and keep his voice from cracking as he continued to sing.

"If anyone can make

Me a better person, you could.

All I gotta say

Is I must've done something good.

You came along one day,

And you rearranged my life!

All I gotta say

Is I must've done something right.

I must've done something right!"

And then, as Miranda slowly waddled closer, she too began to sing with John, singing the same little ditty: "Boop-bop-bop-baaa-a. Boop-bop-boop-bop-bop-bop-bop, bop-bop-bop-bop-bop. Oooo-oooooo!" And now, they were singing together, walking in a circle, mixing their Heartsongs.

"If anyone can make

Me a better person, you could."

"Oh! Happily ever after!

Wouldn't you know!

Wouldn't you know!"

"All I gotta say

Is I must've done something good."

"Oh, skip to the ending!

Who'd like to know?

I'd like to know."

"'You came along one day,

And you rearranged my life!

All I gotta say

Is I must've done something right."

"Author of the moment can you tell me?

Do I end up, do I end up happy?"

"I must have done something right!"

Before either of them knew it, they were standing together, their smiling beaks touching. John smiled wide, as did Miranda, as they both realized that they had heard the right song, and now, they could be together for a very long time.

More voices began to rise, but on the other side of the icy valley. Another memorable moment was taking place. Another lovely penguin was raising her voice to sing.

"I had a way then, 

Losing it all on my own.

I had a heart then, 

But the queen has been overthrown.

And I'm not sleeping now. 'The dark is too hard to beat.

And I'm not keeping up the strength I need to push me.

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone."

And as Miranda had cast her spell on John, Renae cast a spell on Marcus. The young penguin peered out from behind a few other penguins who also admired the Renae. To this penguin, Renae was the most beautiful penguin the Emperor Kingdom had ever seen. He never imagined that another penguin could look so lovely, and sound so mesmerizing. He continued to listen.

"'Cause they're calling, calling, calling me home.

Calling, calling, calling home."

A penguin stepped from the crowd with his flippers raised, and his head held high as he tried to impress the glorious Renae.

"So I cross my heart, and I hope to die

That I'll only stay with you one more night."

Sadly for that penguin, it didn't work. Renae shook her head, and continued singing.

"'You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone.

Noises, I play within my head.

Touch my own skin, 

And hope that I'm still breathing.

And I think back to when

My brother, and my sister slept

In an unlocked place,

The only time I fell safe.

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone.

And so I tell myself that I'll be strong, 

And dreaming when they're gone.

'Cause they're calling, calling, calling me home.

Calling, calling, calling home!

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone."

Marcus desperately wanted to go out there, and win Renae's heart, but he was held back by her amazing voice. He wanted to hear her entire Heartsong before he made a move, unlike two naive penguins who tried to blend their songs with her's, failing miserably. Instead, she strutted past, and threw her head back as she sang Marcus's favorite part of her song.

"Lights, lights, lights, la-la-la-la-lights. Lights, lights, la-la-la-la-lights. Lights, lights, la-la-la-la-nights. Lights!

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone.

And so I tell myself that I'll be strong, 

And dreaming when they're gone.

'Cause they're calling, calling, calling me home.

Calling, calling, calling home!

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone.

You shine it when I'm alone!

Home... home...

Home... home..."

Now, a huge number of penguins were following Renae, desperately trying to catch her attention, but she strutted on, definite that none of the songs she was hearing right now was the right one. Eventually, they gave up, knowing that their song wasn't for Renae. Marcus followed her, preparing himself to step from the crowd, and sing his heart out to the lovely Renae. Eventually, all the penguins quited down, and as Renae began to leave, Marcus stepped from the crowd, cleared his throat, and began to sing.

"If one of these two walls could speak, 

I'd turn the lights down long enough to hit repeat. 

Right now, my vision is gone. You're magic's to blame.

It's silent down here. Hey, I wanna get loud again!

You'll hold the thunder while I bring the rain."

As he sang, Renae stopped, and turned around, her eyes skeptical, yet she looked as if she was ready to give in. Marcus had her right where he wanted her. He began walking closer to her as he sang.

"I might be busy doin' nothing,

But I had my share.

You've got a strange infatuation

With a love that's in the air! 

Contact high!

I'm done dreaming that we can fly.

Am I guilty? Boy, you decide.

I've got nothin' to hide."

As he walked closer, Marcus could see that Renae seemed interested in him. If he could just get her to sway her hips to the beat, he would be happy forevermore. He began walking around her, not daring to get too close to her. 

"Four letter words won't hold any sway.

Here in a paradise that shakes the word romantic to the bone.

Mystical forces are circling me

While perfect nostalgia is dating the enemy. 

Lost in the ether with no one to blame.

It's silent down here. Maybe I wanna get loud again!

Contact high!

I'm done dreaming that we can fly.

Am I guilty? Boy, you decide.

I've got nothin' to hide.

When we touch I get a contact high.

I'm done leaving if we can try.

Am I guilty? Boy, you decide.

I've got nothin' to hide."

Marcus tried to make himself attractive. Renae was not a penguin who was easily wooed, yet somehow, she was still listening, and still watching Marcus. And for the first time, Marcus noticed that she was beginning to smile.

"I might be busy doin' nothing,

But I had my share.

You've got a strange infatuation

With a love that's in the air!"

Marcus's heart soared as he sang this verse, because Renae was adding a little, "Do-do, do-doo-do, do-doo-do," to his song. And then, she was singing with him. 

"Contact high!

I'm done dreaming that we can fly.

Am I guilty? Boy, you decide.

I've got nothin' to hide.

When we touch I get a contact high."

Now they were circling, blending each other's Heartsongs.

"Contact high!"

"Lights, lights, la-la-la-la-lights. Lights."

"Contact high! Contact high!"

"La-la-la-la-lights!"

Their beaks touched, and they stood there for what seemed like the longest time. They had found each other, and Miranda and John had found themselves too. As the other penguins began to break apart, more voices began to rise into the air, each song trying to find another.

"We could've had it all! Rolling in the deep!

You had my heart inside of your hand!"

"Yeah, I could use a dream or a genie or a wish

To go back to a place much simpler than this..."

"Hot, and dangerous!

If you're one of us then roll with us,

'Cause we make the hipsters fall in love..."

"Hey, baby, won't you look my way?

I can be your new addiction.

Hey, baby, whatcha gotta say?

All you're givin' me is fiction."

The time had come once more for the penguins of the Emperor Kingdom to part. Eggs were abundant now, and the husbands were keeping their wives' eggs safe, and sound for the winter while their wives were going away for the fishing season. Thousands of tearful good-byes, and sad songs rose into the air as the families were split apart. The husbands watched sadly as their wives went away, watching them go until they all disappeared over the horizon. 

By now, a cold wind was picking up, the first sign of the winter storms. By instinct, all the penguins huddled into the middle of the icy valley, trying desperately to keep warm. When night had finally fallen, it was as black as the deepest ocean. Snow had completely blocked the sun, and the voices of the penguins were drowned out by the violent howling of the wind, threatening to deafen the penguins.

In the center of the huddle stood a towering, graying penguin, his voice barely audible through the storm. "Gather around, brethren! Make a huddle!"

"Warm thy egg!" the Elders shouted. 

"Warm thy egg!" repeated the rest of the penguins.

"Make a huddle! Share the cold!" the towering penguin called above the wind.

"Share the cold!" Marcus raised his voice to repeat, as did the other penguins around him. He could feel his precious egg on his feet, and was thankful that he had managed to wiggle his way into the middle. He couldn't risk going out into the cold. His little egg was much too delicate. He leaned down, and whispered to his egg, "Don't worry. You're nice, and warm, and safe with your daddy." As long as Marcus managed to stay in the center of the huddle, his precious egg, his, and Renae's child, would be safe, and sound.

Meanwhile, however, something opposite of what Marcus was doing was occuring on the edge of the huddle. John stood on the outskirts of the group, humming to himself, lost in his own world. He was daydreaming of his lovely Miranda, and kept thinking if perhaps he would have a daughter as beautiful as her mother. He wanted a daughter. But don't get your hopes up, John, he reminded himself. The Great Guin will decide that.

As if the thought had almost summoned it, the towering penguin in the center of the huddle yelled out, "Praise the Great Guin, who puts songs in our hearts, and fish in our bellies!"

At the words, "songs in our hearts", John couldn't help but think instantly of Miranda. He felt his heart began to pound, and the urge to dance in his body. He could still here her lovely voice as if she was here by his side.

"Oh! Happily ever after!

Wouldn't you know!

Wouldn't you know!"

John swayed back, and forth to the beat as the song played in his head. "I'd like to know!" he sang at the top of his lungs. He began to move his hips, ready to dance. His heart felt like it was fluttering in his chest, like a tiny snowstorm within him. Finally, John couldn't contain it, and yelled out, "I think I'm gonna dance now!" Too absorbed in his dancing, and daydreaming, he didn't feel his egg slipping from his feet until he heard it hit the ground. Frozen, he watched as his egg rolled away from him, and almost vanished into the deep snow. "No!" he squawked. Leaping from the huddle, John slid on his belly toward his egg, unburied it with his beak, and tucked it back into place, all the while whispering, "Shh, it's okay. You're gonna be okay. You're okay. Okay. We're good." As quickly as he could, John made his way back to the huddle, and managed to squeeze further into the huddle, trying to keep his egg safe.

"Share the cold!" The yell sounded like a whisper in the storm, but that didn't dampen the penguins' hopes. As if that was a cue to something, the elders began to raise their voices in a song, which eventually spread across the huddle until every penguin was crying out into the storm, and to the Great Guin above them, singing as strong as they could so that they could turn the Earth, and bring back the sun.

"Do you feel cold, and lost desperation?

You build up hope, but failure's all you've known.

Remember all the sadness, and frustration, 

And let it go!

Let it go!"

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