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Author's note: You'll enjoy this more if you read Mushoku Tensei Jobless Oblige beforehand.
The Magic City Sharia was dyed pure-white in snow.
It was a blizzard that was like every other year.
However, to the people that lived in this town, it was a trivial thing.
It’s been around 40 years since I, Rudeus Greyrat, started living in this town.
Something like snow doesn't matter.
"Jingle hehe, jingle hehe, bell hehehe"
Already, all my children became adults.
They already left the house and made a family, and they all are living independent lives.
Now then, today's Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, yes, that means Santa Claus.
To those who are always clueless and to those who want to receive things and advice, I'd want to lecture them about reality, but only today is different.
One time a year, it's a good day because everybody gets presents from a gramps that n.o.body knows.
Although, I don't usually give out presents to grown-up adults even if they're my own child.
Nevertheless, Christmas it is.
Even if Lara and Lily never grow up, Christmas it is.
However, they come back in this season.
And we spend the new year's together.
I'll take my little grandchildren, and
Yes, I speak differently with my grandchildren.
Grandpas spoiling their grandchildren is like divine providence.
That's why I'll become, Santa Claus.
And I'll spam, presents.
This year, Orsted isn't here.
He received an invitation from Ariel.
It seems Ariel invited Orsted as the "Christmas Surprise Guest."
Too much of a surprise will only incur a pandemonic scene of h.e.l.l, don't you think.
Alek always boasted about being able to support really well, but it probably can only get worse.
But well, I declined that invitation to the party so there’s that…but anyway, let’s put that aside
Anyways, it's "Today, only I am Santa!"
Well, I truly wanted for Orsted to do it, but, you know, it's hard to cosplay as Santa at that age, you know.
But, it's just me, you know, there's no other choice, you know, it's the only way, you know?
While thinking that, I prepared everything for this year.
I wore a red, fluffy piece of clothing, had a white bag, a white wig, and a fake moustache.
I'm now a perfect Santa.
Receiving my wives' protection after talking to them in advance, I'll invade my sleeping grandchildren's rooms.
Just to secretly give them presents.
That's the perfect image.
It seems like Eris finally understood what the purpose of this was, so there's no problem there.
Though, Lily and Chris still believe in Santa, so I can't be seen by those two…
Well, I'll probably be okay.
"Today is fun hehehehe… uu, it's cold… I wish I brought a vehicle."
I, who finished preparing, opened the office's gate to go to my house.
In the furious snowstorm, I took one step, and
For some reason, there was a kachiri sound at my feet.
I guess I stepped on a twig beneath the snow?
The next moment after thinking that,
Something pulled at my foot, and I was beautifully hanging upside-down.
"What the h.e.l.l!?"
Who is it, who laid such a trap right at the entrance to my company!
Hitogami's plot, isn't it!
Only Hitogami would stand to gain from such a plot!
That too-much-free-time b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Just you wait until the next time we meet! I'll d.a.m.n kill you!
Gnashing my teeth, I was trying to somehow get out of the rope when I realized that there was a person's figure leaving from the building's shadow.
I can't see well in this blizzard…
The other person probably also couldn't recognize me.
He or she came straight towards me.
With a dignified manner of walking.
Most likely, this was the criminal who set the trap.
Namely, Hitogami's p.a.w.n.
As that man got closer, his clothing started becoming more visible.
He was wearing red clothing, and, on his head, was a red hat.
Furthermore, his moustache and hair were full of white, long hair.
And, he had a big, big, white bag.
Moreover, I saw the figures of animals pulling a sleigh behind him.
This was unmistakably Santa.
Orsted and Alek were supposed to be with Ariel!?
No, this is wrong.
When he moved closer, I could clearly see his face.
It was a youthful face.
Way more, compared to me.
A face I knew.
A face that vaguely resembled mine.
He was my son, Sieghart Saladin Greyrat.
My second son that was just employed in the Kingdragon Kingdom.
The animal behind him was Leo.
For some reason, there was great anger horns stuck on its head.
On the sleigh was Lara, who was wearing a coat made of great anger horn fur. Very fluffy.
"What are you doing? You, at this time…"
I had a bad premonition.
A feeling that my son fell into the clutches of evil.
It can't be that those two became Hitogami's followers!
I'll fight the masked Sieg, and last point when I'm cornered and beat, he'll say "I'm your son…" and cut off my right arm!
With how strong Sieg has grown to recently, it's possible that he could defeat me.
Sieg didn't answer my question.
In silence, he picked up the bag I dropped and handed it to Lara, who was on the sleigh.
Lara looked inside and frowned.
"How is it, Lara-nee?"
"…No good. No sense at all. No child would enjoy this."
It shakes my heart, these words!
Well, sure, I might have a bit of an outdated taste…
But I chose them with all my heart! I thought my grandchildren would enjoy it!
“Papa chose it with all his power for us, so you don’t have a reason to complain.”
That’s it Sieg, you tell them!
Wait no, that’s not exactly what I wanted him to say.
I wanted an explanation.
"Sieg, what the heck is this!? Give me an explanation!"
Also, I’d be glad if he could put me down.
I feel blood rising to my head already.
After listening to me, Sieg slowly turned around, and, crossing his arms behind him, he slowly walked towards me.
He seemed to be in deep thought.
I want an explanation, but I don’t want him to go on saying that he was actually one of Hitogami's followers or something like that.
It doesn’t seem like that would be the case after all.
For a dad, a slightly stupid reason would be the best.
“…Papa. What kind of person do you see yourself as when you refer to yourself as an ally of justice?”
Hold on, my child.
Answering a question with another question is a bad habit.
Though, it doesn’t really matter I guess, it must be some sort of preparation for his answer.
Papa understands, so I will answer your question
“…Umm, there's many kinds of allies of justice, so I can't encompa.s.s them all into a single answer”
“Yes, that is true. I think there are many ways of answering that, but you see, for me an ally of justice is someone who ‘makes everyone smile’.”
I don’t think he is wrong, but still, I wonder why he started talking about that now.
Sieg had a distant look, as if looking towards the day after tomorrow.
Unfortunately, today, we had a big snow storm.
The setting sun couldn’t be seen anywhere in the evening sky.
“When I think about it, back when I was a child, every year I’d look forward to this time of the year.”
“I see, you always looked forward to it.”
"Yeah, but at that day, I knew of the true form of Santa…"
It's already been around ten years.
Back then, in my job for Orsted I disguised myself as Santa and sneaked into the house.
…And then I fell on Lara’s trap.
That day I was also hung upside down and the cruel Lara used her inhuman hand to strip me of my mask…or well, the false moustache and hat I wore.
I will never forget the look on Sieg’s face that day.
The look that screamed…You liar, so Santa was daddy all along…
The shock from that day must have been so strong that he wanted to be buried in a blizzard like the today’s.
“Back then I felt betrayed, I thought that after all, Santa was just a lie. I felt really hurt.”
“I’m sorry, I was such a careless father.”
I will never forget the look on Lara with the false moustache and the Santa-style hat either, so full of herself like a hunter who just defeated a bear.
I also won’t forget the look on my wives that said “You’ve screwed up”.
I was so ashamed that day.
“But I’ve been thinking about that recently. That all papa wanted was to make us smile.”
“I see, I’m glad you understand.”
Sieg turned to face me.
"Now that we found your true ident.i.ty, you don’t have the qualifications to do it anymore, don’t you think so?"
"What do you mean by qualifications?"
"Santa is real, but you can't meet him. Real but can't be seen. Such a fairytale-like person tickles the hearts of children…"
“Who spouted that…?”
Now that I think about it, I feel like I might have said something like that to Orsted ten years ago or so.
“My teacher told me so.”
I see, so it was Alek.
Orsted probably told it to Alek.
“Since we found you out papa, you don’t have the right to be Santa again.”
“So that’s what it comes down to…But someone needs to be Santa to make the children smile…”
Then I finally understood why Sieg and Lara were clothed like that.
Santa and reindeers. A big sack with presents.
Even a sleigh carefully prepared.
"Yes. Papa's era has ended. From this year on, it is Lara-nee and I will be doing Santa. Hey, Lara-nee."
While Sieg was saying that, he looked at Lara.
Lara had a bored + this is stupid + sleepy face.
"A pain. I wish you'd do this yourself."
And so she said, but she was still sticking to her younger brother.
Lara is such a kind person, papa is happy now.
But if possible I wanted her to stop being like that. I wanted her to be kind to papa too.
Still, I see.
They want to be Santa…
I closed my eyes and reminisced the last ten years.
There weren’t that many times I was Santa.
Still, when I closed my eyes I was able to remember the times I was Santa.
The feeling of excitement of sneaking into your own house, the thrill of leaving a present besides your kids, how I’d smirk thinking of the next day when everyone would open their presents, the feeling of accomplishment after leaving through the chimney.
Then in the next day when the smiling kids would open their presents and announce what they got, I still remember that incomparable happiness.
I won’t have many chances to experience that.
Orsted does it all the time now after all.
After such a long time, it was finally my turn again.
It would be my first time being Santa after a long time.
I can’t just say yes, go ahead, have fun to Sieg.
Even if my ident.i.ty as Santa was known once!
"Bye, Papa. We'll get you later, so"
I used wind magic, and the rope binding by feet was cut.
I did a somersault and landed on the floor like a superhero.
I pointed at Sieg, who stood there in shock.
"Sieg! Lara! You guys can't have this role!"
“If you want to be Santa so badly, go marry and have your own children!”
After hearing this, Sieg was even more shocked.
“Well no, I still need to rescue Pax, so marriage is something I’d rather not think of right now…”
Sieg seemed to be shrinking down at a pitiful rate.
“Umm…about that, papa, I’m really sorry but…”
Seems he was still depressed after the marriage proposal with the princess of Asura Kingdom was refused.
Marriage might be a taboo topic to talk in front of Sieg I guess.
When I suddenly turned around behind me, Lara seemed to be doing a yawn + sneeze combo from the wind that somehow was getting inside here. Guess she’s cold.
She didn’t seem to be shocked at all.
To be honest, I wanted her to show at least a slight reaction.
It’s not that I want her to be fl.u.s.tered, but rather…be more like that.
I personally think I’d feel lonely if my daughter gets married to someone, but if she doesn’t get married I’d feel even more lonelier, I wonder if there’s really no one she likes…
In any case, leaving that aside…
I did't plan to hurt Sieg.
Err, umm…what should I say to cheer this child up.
“…Do it with your own children, or else”
“Defeat me and go for it!”
The battle started.
Skipping the full explanation, I lost in the end.
As I thought, Sieg is strong.。
Among the Greyrat family's children, he could be said to be the strongest.
Though it doesn't mean he can win against a North G.o.d Style Emperor Cla.s.s.
"Papa…Why did you go easy?"
"Uh, I was relatively serious?"
They aren’t just trying to sugar-coat it are they?
"But, you never used Stone Cannon."
"No, I used it?"
"I know you didn't. Papa practices Stone Cannon almost everyday. You always. .h.i.t right in the center of the target that I could only see a speck of. Also, the target would disintegrate. The ma.s.sive piece of Rud Steel wasn't just penetrated but completely destroyed… If Papa used that, I'd be… But, Papa never used that."
That’s true, I do practice like that.
Stone Cannon is probably my best skill by now.。
It’s the strongest, and fastest magic skill I can release.
I made it my goal to be able to use the best skill from the start to the end of a fight, no matter what situation I was in.
“Heh, like h.e.l.l I’d ever shoot that at you…”
After all, it was a skill to crush my enemies.
It’s not something I’d shoot at my family.
Or actually, this kind of quarrel was nowhere near serious enough for me to resort to that kind of skill.
“Such a thing… Papa…”
Sieg hugged the collapsed me.
"Sorry, I was wrong! Father did it all for family, and yet, I, I only thought about myself!"
"No, it's fine, Sieg. I was the one who was wrong…"
Yes, I was wrong from the start on.
Only because I was so set on being Santa, I lost sight of what was supposed to be the most important to me.
"This year, let's do it together."
Yes, both my goal and Sieg’s is the same.
To make everyone smile.
For that, we’ll be Santa.
Sieg isn’t an exception either.
I’ll make him smile while we enjoy being Santa together.
Let’s make all the children in the house smile like never before!
In the midst of this snow, Sieg lent a hand to my fallen body, and helped me stand.
I have no more hesitation anymore.
Lara found the whole thing to be too much of a pain or something so she went inside the office and willfully lit the fireplace and snuggled there. But I don’t care.
Even if the reindeer has no motivation, Santa is eternal.
We took our white bags and hoisted them on our shoulders.
Come to think of it, I wonder what was in Sieg's bag?
Since my bag's contents are said to have no sense, I wonder what are the things that kids these days like?
For the coming years, it’d be nice if he could teach me a few things about that…
But well, I guess that could be done after the presents are placed, I guess.
In any case, this year we are both Santa.
We got twice the Santas this year!
“Arrite, let’s go Santa No. 2!”
“Okay, papa…I mean, Santa No. 1”
Immersed in my thoughts as I was, we set off towards our home.
It was then…
…that the office door was opened with a bang.
Standing on the other side of the gate, there was an animal.
Wearing a costume made from snow hedgehog fur and great anger horns on its head.
Lara suddenly has motivation?
No, that's wrong.
Her costume's material was a bit different, and they weren't the same height in the first place.
His shoulder width was too big, and, incidentally, Lara probably didn't carry a huge sword on her back.
The reindeer—Alexander Raibaku—didn’t answer.
Instead, he walked clumsily through the snow opening a path behind him, then turned around.
Behind him was…hmm…how could this be called.
A red, fluffy piece of clothing, white bag, fake moustache.
His hair was originally silver, so a white wig wasn't necessary.
There was someone standing with a more imposing posture than me, who was the closest person to Santa.
If that man were to stand in front of children, the children would burst into tears, carriages would stop, and dead old men would come back to life.
When that guy recognized me, he raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, it's Rudeus."
“Manager… why? Ariel-sama's place…?”
“You don’t need to ask to know.”
Was he too noisy and was kicked out?
Still, that doesn’t matter.
It was something I had been expecting.
After that, Orsted said something I hadn’t been able to guess.
“I came a bit late I guess. I’ll be Santa Claus this year too.”
Me and Sieg.
And then Orsted, we’d be a triple Santa.
Then, if three big grown-ups sneaked into a house, all the kids would notice it.
So, maybe I should be the reindeer again this year.
In the end, I’d only be the support this year.
While I was thinking like that, Sieg stepped in front of me.
What does he plan to do…
I have a bad feeling about this.
Still, he started speaking before I had time to do anything.
And spouted useless stuff.
“If you want to be Santa…You will have to defeat us first!”
Orsted’s eyebrows twitched a bit when he heard that.
He was looking at us with a look that surpa.s.sed superiority.
He looked to be infuriated, but I knew better.
It was more of a ‘So this is the entertainment I’ll get this year’ face.
In other words, Orsted was ready to go with this.
“Papa! Let’s do this!”
Even though his thighs were trembling, probably from the cold, he smiled strongly at me.
He was telling me that no matter the enemy, we’d be able to get over it together.
If he looked at me like that, like h.e.l.l I’d be able to pull away.
To be honest, I really want to pull away here, still, my pride as papa is at stake.
My pride might be irreparably tattered already, but I still want to keep it before it fades away.
Also, I was the one who had the idea of defeating the opponent first.
Let’s do this.
This year I will be Santa.
I will be no reindeer, I will be Santa!
I will win that right, with my own hands, the right and qualification to be Santa!
Hearing Orsted’s call, Alec happily stepped forward.
His face was bright like that of a dog that was taken out to play.
Could it be…he also wants to be Santa…?
It’s two vs two.
We are evenly matched in numbers, but they are stronger.
I don’t see a future where we win.
But my son standing besides me will give me courage.
Actually, I had thought that maybe the four of us could be Santa, but once we started, we couldn’t back off.
"Let's go, Sieg!"
At any rate, our Christmas has only just started――!
It goes without saying that the next day, the children's beds had four times the normal amount of presents.
This story is a fiction.
There's no Christmas in Mushoku Tensei.