The Reindeer’s Feelings

(2015 Mushoku Tensei Christmas Side Story)

Author: Rifujinna Maganote


Winter.
December 24th.
At Magic City Sharia, a fierce snowstorm rages on.
Though the snowstorm is the same as usual this time of year, it has become 20 years since I, Rudeus Greyrat, had began to live in this town. As expected, I grew accustomed to life here.

「Tomorrow is Christmas, the great once-a-year event!」

The Christmas preparations are perfect.
Santa’s clothes, the Reindeer’s costume, and all the children’s presents.
For Lucy, a magic wand.
For Lala, a dress.
For Arus, a sword belt with scabbard.
For Zeke, combat boots.
For Lily, a magical tool.
For Chris, a large stuffed toy.
Each one was prepared.
Presently they are sitting inside of a white bag, and being stored for safekeeping in the office armory.

When today’s work has ended, I will return home and have a small party, afterwards, when it is time to come back to the office I will bring Helper Reindeer no.3 Aisha, and change clothes, right about midnight.
At the time when the date changes, just like last year, I will enter through the chimney while somehow dealing with Eris, and place the presents near the bedside of each of the sleeping children.
It’s an 『Easy Operation』.
Though I narrowly avoided making a mistake last year, if it’ll be easy, then it’ll be easy.

At any rate, work’s done, and everything is ready to go.
Reporting the plans to the president in the office, afterwards, I return home and the party commences.
Incidentally, to the wives, Aisha, and Lilya, it was already announced that they would be given their presents tomorrow.

Ah, I’m looking forward to it.
In the morning, the children will wake up with a present at their bedside.
Then they will be overjoyed and come and tell me all about it.
All the while, their faces will be smiling. It’s for the sake of this day, that I live.

「President! I’ve just return-…」

There stood the King.
The King, with his overflowing aura of intimidation, was wearing a red gown.

「You’ve returned.」

「…Is there something going on? Today you seem somewhat…stylish.」

Though usually he is dressed in a white coat that exudes intimidation.
Somehow today he seems, Rich*. [TLN: Vibrant, katakana Ricchi] This absolutely gorgeous gown had white fluff sewn into the neck and hem.
Isn’t that gown something you would expect to see worn on royalty?
I’m certain there is a king in a country somewhere that is probably wearing something like it as well.

「It’s Ariel.」

I see, Ariel, huh…?
Ariel… what is…?
I have no idea what the President means by “It’s Ariel.”
Umm… Ariel at some point saw an opportunity, and sent it to Orsted.
Thinking about it, it’s completely a bribe.
A “Let’s get along after this, okay?” kind of thing.
…Well, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before already.

「Ariel-sama, you mean to say?」

「When I told her about the matter of today, I was told to go ahead and use it.」

「About the matter of today?」

「Yes, I’m certain it is today.」

「What is?」

Orsted knitted his eyebrows quizzically.
It’s a scary face.
Absolutely terrifying.
But he’s not angry at all.
Perhaps it’s simply the face which conveys “Did I misunderstand?”

「……」

With that expression on Orsted’s face, from the sack beside his desk, he took something out.
It’s a red hat.
A white feather is attached, probably it is something that a hunter might prefer to wear.
Orsted placed it on his head.
It gives off the feeling of a king saying “It’s such a splendid weather for hunting, I think I shall enjoy a bit of falconry today.”
But then, even a falcon wouldn’t dare approach this king.

「I am Santa Claus.」

That’s so wrong, Orsted-sama. As for Santa Claus, he is not accompanied by a hawk, but rather a reindeer.
No, just a moment, I need to calm down. Looking carefully, there isn’t any falcon.
No no, that’s not the point.

「Well, that is to day, This year’s Santa is supposed to be me…」

「Is there anything you have a problem with?」

Looking around, there was a snow white bag that had been placed at one side of the office.
Though I don’t know what’s in it, it’s very noticeable that it’s full to the brim.
No way, could it possibly be filled entirely with red socks?

「What exactly… have you prepared?」

「It was no trouble. Though the memo I had received from you was a bit …difficult. I was able to to get a number of good things that the children want. Furthermore, I was thorough about the clothes.」

While it matches the description perfectly, as usual there is just a little bit off about it…

「Do you mind if I look at the Presents?」

「I don’t mind.」

Having received permission, I look inside the sack.
Okay.
They are normal gifts.
Though the overall designs are to the Dragon Race’s liking, I have no objections. Though on that subject, while good they are also nothing like my presents.

「There shouldn’t be any problems this year.」

「……Good.」

…Really?
Did you really want to do it that much? To be 『Santa Claus』?
When speaking of Santa Claus, it’s usually the Father’s role to play. Since the the Father’s role had been hijacked… wait, it’s nothing other than the wish of Orsted.
It’ll be fine, no matter whoever is delivering the presents, there shouldn’t be a problem.
The point of it all anyway, is for the children to be delighted.
With both my and Orsted’s presents, the presents have doubled. There’s no way they wouldn’t be thrilled!

「Understood.」

Then, I am the reindeer.

Midnight.
In the middle of the snowstorm, I climbed onto the rooftop with Orsted who was wearing the red gown.
It’s as cold as ever.
However, the Reindeer’s costume this year is specially made.
At any rate, I made use of the fur of the 『Snow Hedgehog』.
The measures I took to protect myself from the cold are perfect.

「Rudeus.」

「Santa-sama. Right now, I’m not Rudeus.」

「…Reindeer, then.」

「What is it, Santa-sama!」

Santa Clause had been wearing a black helmet.
He was wearing the trousers and hat that I had already prepared.
However, it could not conceal the intimidating aura that would flow out.

「Is it necessary to enter through the chimney?」

「Yes, didn’t I already tell you? ‘Santa is arrives by coming down the chimney.’ Conversely it can be understood as, ‘Santa must not enter from anywhere other than from the chimney.’」

「Mm… Is…that how it is…?」

Orsted and I are having this conversation, while holding onto the chimney.
There are no signs of smoke.
This time, Aisha is operating on the inside.
She’s a versatile girl. Cooperating with the clever Sylphy and Roxy, they will be handling the matter of Eris.

「Furthermore, you must not let the children see you. The fact it is Orsted-sama must never come out.

Although Santa exists, he must not ever be seen personally by anyone. Existing but never being seen. Such a magical existence tickles the hearts of the children.」

「This is arranged all the way up to the clothes?」

「This is how it is.」

Well, in all probability, Lucy is really smart and may have already become aware.
Lala also despite appearances has a good sense of perception, and being able to seemingly chat with Leo, she might already understand as well.
Arus however, might not have hit upon it yet. Still..?
Zeke and the rest are still believers. No doubt about it.

「…It’s a bit difficult. Being Santa.」

Honestly…
However, all the preparations were set.
Afterwards, I’ll have Orsted plunge into the fireplace.

「While inside, Aisha, Sylphy, and Roxy will be your support. Best of luck!」

「…Are you not going to come?」

「I also really, really want to go, however… *fufu*, these horns seem to be unable to make it through the chimney.」

For the horns of the Reindeer’s costume, I used the horns of the 『Great Anger Horn』.
The reason being that it was the closest form to a Reindeer’s horns.
In other words, they’re huge.
Our chimney’s hole was already build reasonably wide.
However, it’s narrow.
And I am unable to pass through it.
Though the reason for not being able to pass through was the same as last year, the reason for a reindeer to enter the house in the first place I’ve yet to discover, and it’s too great a waste to not use the 『Great Anger Horn』’s horn as it resembles a reindeer’s horn so well, as well as reinforced protection from the coldness.

Kuu, for it to backfire now in such a place… kuu!
It’s a disgrace to me, who carries the alias 『Right Hand of the Dragon God』 to have sent Orsted in by himself.
However, there was no other way around it.
To a Reindeer, its horns are its life.
Without them, It’d just be a deer.

「Please leave me behind, and continue without me.」

「Understood.」

Orsted quickly plunged into the chimney.
Damn fast!
I wonder if he didn’t get his hair yanked on anything when doing that?

「……」

A pitch-black night.
The lights in the neighborhood have already gone out, and the only thing in sight is the raging snowstorm.
Even though I said the Reindeer suit has increased resistance to the cold, a part of my face is exposed.
And the snow and wind mercilessly hit there.
My runny nose is now frozen.
Next year, should I add on a red nose and a muffler?

「……」

It was an incidental thought.
I wondered, why was I by myself in such a place?
Today is Christmas.
Christmas Eve.
When speaking of Christmas Eve, it’s the day when men and women consort together, to the point that it is called the sex night.
It’s to the extent of that day giving rise to the phrase ‘Christmas Baby.’

Then, I wonder why is it I am sitting alone on the roof watching a snowstorm?
Hmm, Did Aisha have this same feeling last year?
I guess I did a bad thing….
Oh well, I gave her a fashionable and expensive coat I bought later on, I’m probably not entirely forgiven.

「It’s so cold…」

I wanted to return home already.
Though I want nothing more than to return, because my house is already below me, if I were to jump down from the roof and enter through the back door, I could already be back inside…

「No, no.」

Until Orsted returns, I must remain on standby here.
It’s possible that something might still happen.
Yeah, that’s right.
In my own experience, a problem should occur soon.
There are six children this year.
However having said that, Orsted should probably find it difficult to act without being found out.
Nevertheless, he is better than myself at being covert, I am negligent and easily discovered.
Especially where Lala is concerned, as her intuition is particularly keen. It’s not at all unusual, being discovered by her.

「……」

I wait.
I have not heard any noise coming from inside the house, while listening in from the darkness of the chimney, I wait.

「*Sniffle*……」

While snorting back up the snot from my runny nose that is like ice water, I wait.
Are you still not done?
If there is a problem, I must follow up immediately.
Though how exactly I would follow up, however, depends entirely on the situation…

「……」

I don’t hear anything.
I wonder, can sound from inside not be heard through the chimney?
I wonder what exactly is going on inside right now…
Are Aisha and the wives supporting him well, I hope?

「…Hmm?」

I hear a rustling sound coming from inside the chimney.
I put my ear to the chimney and try and listen properly to whatever it was I was hearing…

「You’re in the way. I can’t get out.」

The horns were suddenly thrust aside.
When I move my body backwards, Orsted appeared in that spot after coming out of the chimney.

「How did you do? Was there any trouble?」

「None, it’s finished.」

「Eh?」

「Mission Complete.」

I noticed that the bag Orsted was carrying had become hollow.

「So everything is done?」

「Yeah.」

「Without any problems?」

「Yeah.」

「You weren’t discovered?」

「Yeah. Being able to move around without being discovered by people is something I am very good at.」

「…Ah, that’s right!」

I see.
It’s done and over.
Without incident.

「Ah, well then, shall we return to the office for a moment?」

「Yeah.」

No problems.
That is… right. This should be a happy thing.
But, what is it exactly?
This feeling of being unsatisfied. This empty feeling…

「……」

Did I really want to be the one to do Santa…?

The next day.
After last night’s snowstorm, the skies have cleared up.
It’s unusually fine weather for the northern lands.
As if the weather clearing was a sign, the children had full-on smiles floating on their faces as they came from their rooms.
Each of them were holding their presents in their arms.

「Look, Papa! This is exactly what I wanted!!」

「Mama! Look what I was given!! 」

「So awesome!!」

These are the voices of my delighted children.
I thought this as I listened to them.
This is the good life.
For the sake of being able to hear this, it was worth bearing with that cold, lonely night.

「I see, I see. Everyone was good, weren’t they?」

But, next year I will be the one doing Santa.
Even if Orsted says he wants to do it, I will have to insist that I do it.
If by chance Orsted says he wants to do it no matter what, though I’d be a bit reluctant, it would be war.

「Now then, It’s about time I head out to work.」

At the very least, for the sake off greeting a peaceful new year, I will go to work today.

Thinking so, I finished eating breakfast, and went back to my room to change clothes.
Then, when I opened the dresser drawer, and went to take out some socks, I noticed it suddenly.

There was something put into the socks.
When I pulled them out, it was a pair of white gloves.
Furthermore, the feel of these gloves, I’m sure it it something I have touched somewhere before…
Ah, that’s it.
It’s made from the same material as the white coat Orsted is always wearing.

「……」

Probably, while Orsted was inside, he found the occasion to slip these in here.

「… But, I’m not a child, you know?」

Though I mumble that, I felt happy to receive this for Christmas, despite being old enough to know better.
Well, there’s no helping it then, I’ll take it as a bribe.
Next year, if Orstead says he wants to by all means, I may just hand over the role of Santa to him.

Or so I thought.

The very same day, when I went to the office, Alek pridefully boasted”I was given a reward from Orsted-sama!”, but that, is a story for another time.

This story is fiction.
There is no Christmas in Mushoku Tensei.
Rudeus and Alek don’t get any presents.


Advertisements