Anita had a tight grip on the broomstick that she took out from the storage cabinet.
She grew up in this orphanage.
A couple of years ago, the Patron found her half dead in the slump and gave her a home.
He fed her and gave her a family.
This orphanage is my home.
Right now, I’m the only person who can protect the children and the orphanage.
My trembling hands are just my imagination. I’m fine.
I put on a brave musk and glared up at the three menacing looking-men.
「What do you want?」
「You know what we want. We came here to collect your debt. The debt you owe us from selling those cookies. And since it took you guys so long to pay, your debt now is 20 silver coins.」
「Don’t be ridiculous, that’s 10 times more than the last time you three were here! We don’t have the money to pay off such a debt nor do we have the intention of paying you guys a single coin!!」
I raised my voice with fury but the look on the man’s face did not loosen.
They must have realised that the Patron isn’t at the orphanage right now.
Around this time of the day, all the children who are in their teens are at work. So, right now, I’m the eldest in this house. Only I can protect this place.
I stood at the entrance as bravely as I could. Giving them a look that I will not take a single step back no matter what they did to me.
I just need to buy some time until the Patron comes back.
Then, one of the men showed a chilling smile as I tightened my grip on the broomstick.
「The debt doesn’t have to be paid in money, you know? A couple of those brats should do it. How about that? Missy?」
「Some people are filthy rich. And some of those people will throw away all their savings just to take care of adorable, innocent, children.」
「What are you…..!」
My vision started to turn red from fury.
How dare they think I will give away one of my precious family, my only family to the likes of them.
「Don’t be ridiculous! No one in their right minds would do such a thing!」
「Then how are you planning to pay us back!? You owe us big time!」
The harsh yell of the men shocked me, but they didn’t give me any time to recover.
「You know, we wouldn’t mind taking you either? I mean, brats are too much to take care of. If it’s around your age, it’ll be easier to find a customer and you’re already well tamed.」
I felt uneasy as the man glanced at me from head to toe.
「I, I won’t cooperate with any of you!!」
「Very well. Then you better pay us back in cash, even if you have to sell off this crappy cement box.」
As the man spat on the ground, he turned around and nodded to the two other men.
As the men started to walk into the building, I charged into them with all my strength.
I swung down the broom at them, but they caught it with one hand like it was nothing. Then, they flung me away along with the broomstick.
The broom slipped off my grip as I crashed down on the ground.
I saw the men about to walk into the front entrance of the building.
It was frustrating that I couldn’t be like Patron. That I failed to protect my family’s home.
My vision started to blur with tears.
But the fight isn’t over yet.
I bit down my lip and reached out for the broom that was lying near me.
Suddenly, one of the men came out flying from the front door.
「Wha, what’s wrong with this brat!?」
「Do you want to end up like your friend as well?」
「What did you….. ouch!!!」
Another man was thrown up into the air and crashed into the first man who was trying to stand up.
Then, a girl in a red dress with white fur walked out from the building furiously.
It was the girl I found today.
Everyone was looking at the little girl with her long black hair swaying in the wind and her arm crossed over her chest.
「What’s up with this brat?」
As the man muttered to himself, the girl looked over to him.
For the first time, I realised that the girl had a golden iris.
「Hey mister, you’re being a real pain in the neck right now. You see, we’re baking cookies in the kitchen right now. And when we finish baking them, we need to go and sell them. In other words, none of us has the time to play your stupid game right now.」
「Well little girl, we’re here because you guys are selling those cookies without paying for the land. So, we’re here to collect the debt.」
「Shut your face! That land is free to use, you morons!」
「Or little girl, are you willing to pay off that debt by yourself?」
The man ignored Anita’s words and approached the little girl with a sinister grin.
However, the girl betrayed the man’s expectation and responded with an angelic smile.
As the man was admiring her flawless smile, a strong force suddenly attacked him.
From the pain, the man collapsed on the spot and a chilling scream echoed through the neighbourhood.
「Hey mister, do you know the word for someone who goes around the town, scaring little girls? They’re called paedophiles.」
The man’s anger boiled at the girl’s words. He turned around to look at his companions who were trying to stand up and ordered them.
「O, oi! You two, kill the brat!!!」
Although he ordered in a pathetic posture, his subordinates loyally followed their boss’s order and charged at the girl in the red dress.
I quickly got up and tried to stop the men. However, the broom I tried to pick got picked up by the wind and fell into the girl’s hand.
As I stared at her in confusion, she tightened her grip on the broomstick.
「It’s cleaning time!」
As the girl gave a joyous smile, red feathers revealed itself behind her long black hair which was flung upwards from the sudden strong wind.
「Anita!! Everyone!! Are you guys okay?」
「What the hell is that!?」
The boy who went to get the Patron came back yelling but at the shocking sight, he raised his voice even more. Hearing the boy’s voice, I snapped back to reality.
Hearing my name being called, I turned around and saw a courageous looking man with a scar on his cheek walking through the front gate.
I ran over to him in joy.
He had a menacing appearance that any child would start crying at a sight, but this is the person who has taken care of me when no one else wanted to. He took care of all the other children who were in the same situation as me. This man is the Patron of this orphanage.
He said that he used to be in the army, but he never talks about the time before he was a Patron.
The Patron took me into his arm and asked me after seeing the two men laying on the ground, unconscious.
「Kid and the others have come to get me so I came over in a hurry. But, what has happened here?」
「That girl! She’s amazing!」
「She flung them up in the air with a broom like wooosh, and kicked them down like bang!」
「She said it was cleaning time!」
The Patron looked around the area as the children crowded around him and talked over one another.
「um, are you the Patron?」
Behind the crowd of children stood the girl with a red pointy hat and a long black hair.
She walked over to the Patron, dragging one of the men by his collar behind her.
Then, the little girl who’s clearly stronger than the average person came to a stop and spoke.
「Um, this man said he was going to take down this orphanage and take control of this entire area. 」
Both the Patron and I felt a shiver run down our spine but the girl stood in front of us calmly.
「That’s a bad thing, right?」
「Yes. However, that man is a member of a mafia that is growing in numbers rapidly. We might be safe now, but the others will follow him soon. And when that happens, I may not be able to…」
As the Patron tightened his fist from frustration, I quietly broke eye contact with him. Then, the girl quietly muttered to herself.
「So it’s best to take down the entire mafia at once. Maybe I can finish them off overnight? Yeah, that should be enough time.」
As the Patron and I were doubting if we heard the girl’s words correctly, the girl nodded to herself and looked up.
「Onee-san, do you mind if I borrow this broomstick? I used it before and this is a good broom.」
「Oh, I also bought some of the cookies. I wanted to give them to my friends. I gave the money to the kids who were in the kitchen.」
「Tha, thank you?」
As I replied in confusion, the girl reached out for the broomstick which was leaned up against the fence. Then, she walked out of the orphanage still dragging the unconscious man behind her.
「Please visit us soon!!」
The children spoke all at once as the girl walked off, the pom-pom on her hat swinging sideways. Suddenly, the Patron and I, who were blankly staring at the girl came to our senses and spoke up.
「Girl! Who are you?」
To this, the girl stopped for a moment and turned around, making her skirt spin in the process.
「Thank you onee-san. I had a lot of fun today! Something good will happen soon! So, happy new year!」
The girl smiled and waved the broomstick in the air. Her golden iris, her jet-black hair and red strands peeking through. Suddenly, the Patron’s expression changed.
「Hold on, you, no, could you possibly be……!」
「You, you’re thinking of a different person okay!? Um, oh, that’s right! I’m just a Santa Claus, passing by this orphanage!」
To the Patron’s words, the girl jumped and hastily replied. Then, ran away from the spot at the speed of light.
「I can’t believe it. That ‘it’ would be in a place like this.」
I tilted my head in confusion, but the Patron seemed to be dazed in his memories from the past.
「Patron, do you know something about that girl?」
「Anita, how did you come across that girl?」
「Well, she was wandering around this area and she said that she didn’t have a family or home so I thought she was an orphan. Then, she helped us bake cookies and ….. that’s right!」
No home or family … Who could she be? Realising my ignorance, I rushed into the kitchen as the Patron followed behind me.
「Hey, you guys…..」
「Anita! It’s amazing!!」
「Look at all these silver coins!」
「Also, that girl said she really enjoyed baking cookies so she gave us big meat!! We can eat until we’re full!!」
There, in the kitchen I saw a pile of silver coins that would be enough to support the orphanage for a month. And meat that was as big as a child, placed in the unoccupied corner of the kitchen.
「Oh my, really, who is that girl….. ?」
I muttered to myself looking at the children shining their eyes at the luxurious sight before them. Then, the Patron placed his hand on my shoulder.
「That girl is the Dragon-san.」
The Patron continued as I looked up at him in shock.
「Well, it didn’t look like she wanted us to know her real identity so let’s just refer to her as Santa.」
「Oh, it’s the Patron!」
「Is her name Santa?」
「That’s right. And just like a fairly from a fairy tale, she brought happiness to everyone in this house.」
I widened my eyes as the children gathered around the Patron and he smiled warmly back at them.
「Santa-chan was really cute!」
「I hope she will come and play with us soon.」
「When she does, let’s say thank you and bake cookies with her again!」
The children talked to each other all at once, smile visible on each one of their faces. Then, the Patron and I looked at each other and smiled.
That night, everyone’s stomach was filled by the giant bird meat Santa has given to them. And on the following morning, they found the broomstick leaned up against the fence. We also heard a rumour about a girl in red dress and a broomstick in her hand has wiped out the entire mafia that was causing some trouble in the area.
A few days later, the orphanage changed its policy and they were able to get sufficient amount of funding. So, the children were able to eat until they were full, every single day.
「Daddddyyyy!! Let’s bake cookies together!」
As Aru rushed in through the door, I walked in and tilted my head.
「I don’t mind but why cookies all of sudden?」
When Nectar asked, Aru, replied excitedly.
「If you bake cookies before the new year’s and put it in a bag and carry it around with you, a fairy in a form of a little girl wearing a red dress will come and give people good luck. Let’s do that at home too!」
Hold on, a girl, in a red dress?
「I haven’t heard of that tale before. I wonder if it’s a charm that has only started recently?」
「She also brings big meat and silver coins to the people who have been good. But if you were being bad, she will beat you up with a broomstick! The orphanage she visited was saved but the bad people in that area was wiped down in one night! She’s called Santa-chan and she has black hair and looks pretty but she’s also really strong!」
….. I didn’t hear any of that.
Nope, nope, nope, that’s not me. Definitely not me.
While I was making the cookies, I thought the cookies would make a good present, but I didn’t know the price. So, I put down few silver coins that I had but….
Then I remembered that I kept the meat from when I hunted down the 1.5-meter tall Kalkun bird in the different dimension so I gave that to them too.
I also took down the entire Mafia since I got one of their men to guide me to their base.
But no, that girl isn’t me.
The oblivious Nectar continued talking to Aru. Looks like my effort in hiding my expression is working.
「That’s very interesting. Let’s bake cookies together shall we?」
「Yes! I can’t wait for it!」
「So, Aru, how about you put down your bag and get changed?」
As I saw Aru rushed towards his room energetically, I gave a small sigh of relief then noticed Nectar looking over at me.
「I still remember that one year when you gave me cookies.」
「wa, was there?」
「Yes, I remember it like yesterday. After all, it was a very memorable day.」
「oh, that was, er…….」
After I did the “cleaning”, I went back to Ligurila’s shop and gave her a bag of cookies. But she refused me when I tried to give back the frilly Santa dress. So, I ended up wearing the sexy Santa outfit for the rest of the day.
When I went over to Kyle’s house in that revealing outfit, Nectar was there as well and…..
「….. Of course, you fainted from a nosebleed.」
「tha, that was because you looked so beautiful. So, I got a little excited.」
Now Nectar looked awkward.
Even when he recovered and I was finally able to give him the cookies, Nectar said that he won’t eat them and will treasure them forever.
So, I forced him to eat them by saying that they are the cookies I made so he can’t let them go to waste.
「Bu, but it seems that it wasn’t just a coincidence that you asked me about the state of nation owned orphanages.」
I surrendered myself to Nectar’s words as he tried to change the topic after a small cough.
「….. well, yeah. I remember Kyle going on about how the orphanages weren’t in a good state so….」
「And thanks to that, all the nation owned orphanages were able to get good funding. Since then, they were able to rehome a lot of their children more smoothly. The state of orphanages nation-wide improved along with the policy.」
「That’s good to hear.」
I wouldn’t call it a selfless action since I just wanted those children to be able to eat more. Well, I guess all is well if it ends well.
I’m glad to see that these stories are raising awareness about the children who are in the orphanage.
However, that plan wouldn’t have worked without the help of Kyle and Nectar.
「By the way, I still have that Santa outfit with me.」
Well, Ligurila did make that outfit for me. So, I decided to keep them both.
Both Ligurila and Belga said they suited me very well so I couldn’t help it.
I smiled at Nectar who froze on the spot with a bright red face. Then, Aru who got changed came back into the room.
「I’m ready! Mommy, will you bake cookies with Daddy and I as well?」
「Sure! I’m very good at mixing the butter you know.」
「La, Lava! What did you mean when you said…..」
「If they turn out well, let’s go and give some to Ligurila as well!」
Casually ignoring Nectar’s question, I rolled up my sleeve along with the impatient Aru.
One more thing.
Apparently, the cookies which you bake for Santa-chan must be in a shape of a dragon. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Looks like they figured out my real identity after all. What was the point in calling myself Santa…..
….. Hold on, will this go on forever? Every year, before the new year’s, will I be called Santa-chan?
You know what, I hate Christmas!!!!!!!!!!