It was a busy time for the reindeer team, for Winter Wonderland would begin the next day. Besides the Christmas Eve Run, this was the only time the reindeer team was required to do work of any kind.

            Mostly, the team enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. They were lovingly cared for by Ria and Rissy.

            After Duck faded, Ria became the lead elf at the stables. She took a lot of pride in her work. She was responsible for bathing and brushing the reindeer. After grooming them, she would often adorn them with ribbons and bells. Her personal favorite was Comet.

            After Ria finished with the deer, she and Comet would play together. She often dusted him and rode on his back as he soared over the area. Not today, though.

            Rissy busied herself cleaning the stables. She polished the stalls and filled them with fresh hay. She really enjoyed her job at the stables. Oddly enough, she and Ria got along well, although she found Ria's nagging a little frustrating -- not all the time, but sometimes.

            The Special Team's lodging was a separate two stall facility located close to the stables. The famous Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer lived there, with the not-as-well-known Olive, the other reindeer. Olive had never been a starter on the team, thus her lack of fame. Rudolph and Olive received the same careful attention as the rest of the team.

            Ria glanced around the barn. "It looks nice. Can you take care of the special team?"

            "Sure." Rissy looked  hopeful. "When I'm done, can I be excused for the afternoon?"

            Ria thought for a second. "I suppose so, but be back early this evening. The team has to be perfect for the Parade."

            Of all the helpers at the North Pole, Ria was the most inquisitive. She wanted to know everything that was happening. Ria didn't mean to be nosey, she just was.

            "So what are your plans for this afternoon?"

            Rissy sighed. "Oh, I'm not sure. I might go to Polar Park."

            "Why are you going there? We'll be there tomorrow."

            "I said I might go!"

            "Oh!" Ria frowned as she yanked the bows from her brown ponytails. "Aren't you going to tell me what you're up to?" She shook her hair so that it bounced around her face, forming a luscious mane.

            "No, and I'm tired of your questions. I need a little time to myself." Rissy pressed Ria's pug nose with her finger. "No offense, Ria."

            Ria grabbed her nose between her thumb and forefinger and straightened it, three times. "Why do you always mess with my nose? You know I hate that."

            "Yep, that's why I do it. It's the only thing I know that aggravates you. And, it's so funny the way you just have to fix it."

            "Well, stop it," Ria commanded. Then, bouncing back, as always, she said, "Well, okay then, I'll take Comet out for awhile. She grabbed Comet's lead. "C'mon boy, we're gonna fly." Ria turned back to Rissy and said, "Wouldn't it be cool to be a snowbird? I could fly by myself."

            Rissy just shook her head and sighed. "I'll see you tonight, Ria." She reached for Ria's nose.

            Ria quickly turned her face away. "Stop it!" She snatched her sack of wuffle dust from the bench, and led Comet to the hill behind the stables.


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