"Fufufu! It's here! It's here, here heree! It's come! Onii-chan!"
"What is it? C'mon, let's go do shopping."
The November temperature suddenly dropped low as we entered December and we could feel the winter's arrival.
Although in the region our town was in there was no snow, it was so cold that we felt like wearing coats.
"Christmas is soon! I'm starting to enter a merry mood!"
"You're right. When I think that that busy time is coming my mood plummets."
"There's Christmas, end of the year and the New Year! The end of the year is when the shopping season begins! There's no way one can stay in bad mood while there's a release rush of new games!"
My little sister's, Miu's eyes shone brilliantly as she spoke with emphasis.
"No, we're not buying several games, I mean, do you even have time to play them?"
"I'll squeeze out some! I'll play diligently whenever I have a little of time, y'know. Ah, can I go get a flyer from the game shop? I want to talk about it with Onee-chan and Taku-san later."
"I don't mind, but be right back."
As we passed in front of a game shop Miu dashed over to get a flyer.
"Good grief. Our goal today is something else though."
I heaved a sigh as I waited for Miu to come back.
While waiting I dropped my sight at the shopping list I held.
On the memo there were the Christmas cake and hors' d`oeuvre, as well about pre-ordering New Year's dishes.
"Uhh, so cold. Let's finish shopping quickly and go back home."
Miu has come with me since she wanted to pick the Christmas cake, but if I knew she would make a detour like this I would just ask her what type does she want and have come alone, I thought with regret.
After I waited for a while under the cold weather, Miu had come back rejoicing with a mobile in her hand.
"Onii-chan! There's an event! Event is coming!"
"Is that something still relevant if said by a Japanese, surrounded by events all year round?"
'Oh c'mon! There's an announcement of OSO's official event! Look!"
"Ohh, is that so."
I thought she meant there's an event ongoing in one of the surrounding Christmas-coloured shops, but it was about OSO's event.
"The content of the event is a time-limited Quest Event it says! There's supposed to be an update by the end of the year centred around environment damage, they are implementing 【Cold Damage】 and fixing the 【Heat Damage】 as well as changing some details! I so look forward to it, I can't wait!"
The passer-bys looked at Miu with smiles, but since I was embarrassed I held down her head to stop her.
"Calm down. Still, to come up with an event during such a busy time the end of the year is..."
Does OSO's management intend to die from overwork? I thought, and suddenly the face of the man who was called OSO's development department director crossed my head.
"Oh Onii-chan, you're acting all dry! Enjoy yourself more!"
"Ahh, yes yes. Right. Miu, is there anything you want?"
"Eh? Let's seee, we could buy some Japanese sweets like broiled sweet chestnuts. Then I'll chill out under the kotatsu drinking some bitter tea."
Since the Christmas season has come I thought she'd request some sweets matching that, but her surprising choice wasn't too bad either.
"Still, they're doing an event during the Christmas season and then an event by the end of the year?"
I looked at the smartphone's screen shown to me by Miu and confirmed the event's date.
The event that starts in half a month ends around the Christmas season, and a week from then there's the end of year update.
And, there was one more reason Miu was in so high spirits.
"I look forward to it. There's the Christmas event, but Shizuka-oneechan is also coming back for Christmas!"
"Before that, we're entering winter break so do your homework properly."
"Hwah! Don't tell me such hateful thiings!"
We enter the winter break before Christmas comes, but I had to stab a nail into Miu who seemed too wound up with Christmas and New Year's.
Shizuka-nee is coming back for the year's end and the New Year so I want her to rest leisurely.
In the meantime, Miu and I arrived in front of a cake shop decorated for Christmas and entered it.
"Now, we've arrived at the cake shop, which one do you want to eat?'
"Hmm. I narrowed them down to three candidates in advance, how about buying them all——"No. Give up."——riiight〜."
After saying so, Miu started choosing seriously one of the three candidate cakes, a Strawberry Cake, Bûche de Noël and a Fruit Roll Cake.
The price for the three cakes was roughly the same, I smiled wryly to the clerk as Miu furrowed the eyebrows on her cute face.
"All right! I decided! Let's reserve a Bûche de Noël."
"You're sure of that, right."
What Miu choose was Bûche de Noël, a cake covered with chocolate and powdered sugar.
"The strawberry cake can be eaten in any season, but if we're picking one it's best to pick one fitting Christmas season. Ah, but I did look forward to the fruits roll cake since it's different during every season."
As Miu said that, I placed an order with the clerk before she could change her mind.
Miu looked at the other cakes with reluctance and said "let's quickly go home" but our shopping wasn't over yet.
"C'mon, we still have to buy the appetizers and reserve New Year's dishes."
"Ohhh! That's right!"
For a moment she showed a displeased expression as I stopped her, but when she recalled we still had things to do, her bright expression returned.
For the remaining things such as the appetizers and New Year's dishes there was no need to choose like for the cake since we bought the same thing every year, but the shopping still seemed quite fun.
As we made our orders one by one, by the time we have finished shopping Miu's attention has completely moved towards OSO.
"We're baack〜. And let's check what OSO's maintenance changed!"
Miu rushed straight back to her room and logged into OSO.
"Good grief. The event still haven't started, there's no meaning in rushing so much."
With that said, after I put away the ingredients we bought into the refrigerator, my thinking also was directed towards the winter event.
"What should I do about my Senses now..."
I was anguishing lightly over what Senses should I improve during the short period the event is going on for.
Among the crafting-based Senses I had two that either grew or had a derivation.
If I concentrated on combat-type Senses I could derive or grow the 【Bow】 and 【Earth Element Talent】 Senses.
However, I didn't have enough time to raise them both.
Do I take combat Senses or crafting Senses?
"Well, there's no need for me to hurry and take them, let's do it as usual."
It's not like it wasn't possible for me to cooperate with Miu and Takumi to get some unreasonable high-density high-speed leveling.
But unlike Miu, I preferred enjoying myself at my own pace.
And so, there was no need to think about the Sense build too deeply, I felt.
"...speaking of which, Miu. She wanted to eat a Strawberry Cake and Fruits Roll Cake."
Once we finished buying everything and put it away, I recalled what happened in the cake shop.
"...well, Christmas is near, might as well level my 【Cook】 Sense."
In the end, I decided to level 【Cook】 that was a crafting Sense.
I went back to my room as well, put on the VR Gear that was placed on the desk and lied down on the bed.
I left myself to the feeling of sinking into the darkness as I logged into OSO.
"Phew, arrived. Heck, it's cold!"
Once I logged in, at the same time I landed in the 【Atelier】 I shivered of cold.
I opened the menu and looked for the cause of the chill inside the workshop and saw an announcement of a small update that has been made.
In preparation for the implementation of cold damage it seemed that they have implemented varying temperature during four seasons, each area having temperature adjusted individually.
"It's no time to talk about cakes. I need a countermeasure against cold damage. Also, my equipment was made during the summer so it feels quite cold."
My Ochre Creator armour hadn't sleeves and had shorts so it felt quite cold.
"Uhh, it's seriously cold. I wonder if I have any items I can urgently use to deal with it."
I immediately started looking for items inside the 【Atelier】 I could use and after a while, I found something I could use.
"Let's warm up with this for now."
What I took out while saying that was the 【Oven Stove】 I acquired during the summer's camp event.
Using it I could bake a Christmas cake or a roasted chicken, but what was more useful to me now was the stove feature rather than the oven one.
I carried it out to the store part of the 【Atelier】 and after placing it next to the counter I turned on the fire.
"Since the stove is already installed and working, let's boil some water for tea later. I wonder if there's anything else I could use."
I carried a kettle filled with water and placed it on the installed 【Oven Stove】 and started looking for something else I could use as a countermeasure against cold.
Ahead of where I turned to, there was a deformed red gel-like object lying beneath my tamed mob, black fox's young best.
Although I smiled seeing Zakuro sleep on top of the Heat Gel he used as a countermeasure for cold, I shook from cold and prepared myself to craft.
"Let's make some synthetic mobs for the first time in a while."
Among the synthetic mobs that could be crafted with the 【Synthesis】 Sense, there was a Heat Gel that could be used like a hot water bottle.
I took out the Blue Jelly that was the base material and prepared materials of four elements, fire, water, wind and earth.
I put them on top of the synthetic circle and did a synthesis of five items, crafting an item called 【Slime Nucleus】 that allowed summoning of a slime.
Furthermore, in order to make the synthetic mob I wanted I synthesized it with fire element material and a 【Blue Gelatin】. And like that, I was able to craft a nucleus stone of the Heat Gel like the one I already had in the 【Atelier】.
"All right, it's been a while since I made it, but there's no problem. ——《Summon》!"
The summoned Heat Gel was a red translucent slime. It had a higher elasticity compared to a normal slime, at the same time it had perfect stiffness to act as a cushion and was warm because it held the fire element.
I immediately tried touching it and felt warmth spreading in my palm.
"Hmm, one is only enough to feel a little warm. What if I put it beneath my feet?"
I put the gel on the floor under the counter, took off my boots and placed my feet on it.
There was warmth and soft elasticity that pushed my feet back upwards.
As a cold countermeasure I should prepare two of those, I thought.
"As for other things I can use... I can put the 【Large Fur】 I made by synthesizing Wild Dog's Fur on my knees."
After I prepared some cold countermeasures and placed them on top of the table, it had turned into an unreasonable mess.
"Hmm. Since 【Cold Damage】 is being implemented, it would be nice if there was an item among recipes that could protect me from it. Also, I need to confirm my Sense status."
I opened the menu and checked my status levels and the Senses that have satisfied conditions for growth.
【Sky Eyes Lv12】 【Swiftness Lv16】 【See-Through Lv20】 【Sorcery Lv15】 【Enchant Arts Lv37】 【Earth Element Talent Lv28】 【Dosing Lv50】 【Alchemy Lv43】 【Synthesis Lv43】 【Crafting Knowledge Lv50】
【Bow Lv48】 【Longbow Lv27】 【Taming Lv17】 【Engraving Lv25】 【Cook Lv11】 【Swimming Lv15】 【Linguistics Lv24】 【Climbing Lv21】 【Bodily Resistance Lv3】 【Spiritual Resistance Lv1】
● NEW: 【Dosing】 has reached level 50. A higher sense has been unlocked.
● NEW: 【Crafting Knowledge】 has reached level 50. A higher sense has been unlocked.
"Hmm. Maybe if I have 【Dosing】 grow into a higher Sense I'll be able to make a potion to counter the cold."
I consumed 6SP in order to acquire 【Dosing】 and 【Crafting Knowledge】's higher Senses.
【Sky Eyes Lv12】 【Swiftness Lv16】 【See-Through Lv20】 【Sorcery Lv15】 【Enchant Arts Lv37】 【Earth Element Talent Lv28】 【Dosing Master Lv1】 【Alchemy Lv43】 【Synthesis Lv43】 【Crafter's Knowledge Lv1】
【Bow Lv48】 【Longbow Lv27】 【Taming Lv17】 【Engraving Lv25】 【Cook Lv11】 【Swimming Lv15】 【Linguistics Lv24】 【Climbing Lv21】 【Bodily Resistance Lv3】 【Spiritual Resistance Lv1】
I checked both Senses, but there were no big changes.
There probably was an increase in stats with the level up, but the benefits won't be visible right after acquiring the Sense.
"Hmm. There's no new skills or anything. Are there some conditions for it?"
I examined the list of available skills but not finding any change I quietly closed the menu.
"Well, even if the higher Sense has higher stat increase rate at level 1 it'll temporarily have the stats and skill correction lowered. Let's make some potions carefully until 【Dosing Master】 Sense reaches at least level 5."
I sighed quietly and first, in order to raise 【Crafter's Knowledge Lv1】's level I continued making synthetic 【Heat Gel's Nucleus Stone】 one after another by using Synthesis.
After I completed 20 of them without failing, I confirmed 【Crafter's Knowledge】 rose up to level 2.
Afterwards I reviewed the number of remaining materials, then seeing as fire elemental materials are low on stock I decided to stop crafting for the time being and take some rest.
That's when the water in the kettle put on the stove started boiling so I prepared tea and opened the 【Atelier】's entrance. Cold wind blew in causing me involuntarily shiver.
Outside, there was the woodworker Lyly.
"Hello, Yuncchi! It's so cooolddd!"
"Welcome, Lyly. I was just about to prepare tea, wait just a moment."
"Woaa, it's so warm in the shop!"
As I greet him, Lyly walked towards in front of the 【Oven Stove】 beside the counter.
"It must be really cold in those clothes."
"Same to you, Yuncchi, you've got a fur placed on top of the counter. In middle of preparations for cold countermeasures?"
Lyly asked me that and together with his partner on his shoulder, the immortal bird Neshias they warmed themselves up by the 【Oven Stove】.
"Well, you're right. With that said, I just started it."
When I passed freshly brewed black tea to Lyly he took the cup with both hands and slowly drank it while warming up his hands slowly with the heat.
"Phew, I calmed down. Thank you, Yuncchi."
"You're welcome. So, what do you need today?"
"Oh right! Yuncchi, listen to this! Shiacchi grew big!"
I looked at Neshias who's also called Shiacchi and tilted my head in wonder.
The phoenix riding on Lyly's shoulder didn't look like it, told that the fluffy gold and vermilion bird grew big I arrived at one possibility.
"Can it be he's become adult?"
"Exactly! Today when I logged in the 【Taming】 Sense had an EX-Skills called 【Adult Form】 and 【Young Beast Form】 added! That's why I came to show it to you, Yuncchi."
"Hee, I look forward to seeing it then."
Probably because they heard what Lyly and I talked about, Ryui who was lying on the stone pavement and Zakuro have got up and come beside us. The Heat Gels remaining on the ground after synthesis have crawled on the ground in order to go back to the pot where other gels were.
"Ryuicchi and Zakurocchi are curious as well, right! Well then, let's unveil it! Shiacchi——【Adult Form】!"
As Lyly cast the EX-Skill 【Adult Form】 Neshias riding on his shoulder flew off and burst into flames fiercely in mid-air.
"Burning?! He's burning!"
"It's all right, look."
The phoenix young beast wrapped in flames scattered sparks, his shadow inside the flames grew.
And at the same time the shadow stopped growing within the flames they started to subside gradually and a beautiful phoenix had appeared.
His figure scattering particles reminiscent of sparks was much more beautiful than when he was a young beast.
And, the first impression that came out of my mouth was——
"So waarm. We'll be receiving 【Cold Damage】 from now on so the timing's perfect."
"Yuncchi, thanks for giving me the same impression as everyone else!"
Apparently I wasn't the first one to see Neshias' unveiling and that everyone else had the same impression.
"By everyone you mean who?"
"Kurocchi and Magicchi. Both said he's warm and perfect for the coming season."
"Everyone's thinking the same thing, are they."
I drank the tea I brewed and muttered earnestly.
Were it Myu or Taku, they'd go "Strange! If it grew you have to make it fight!" making me retort, but personally, I thought the ability to keep others warm is nice.
Young beasts aren't just for combat, they're also useful for other things, is what I thought. In that respect it seemed like we could hold expectations for non-battle activities of Lyly's Neshias.
"Well then, that's it for unveiling! Shiacchi, go back to normal——【Young Beast Form】!"
When Lyly activated the Ex-Skill 【Young Beast Form】 flames sprouted from Neshias, his body had grown smaller returning back to original young beast appearance.
"That's great for you, Lyly."
"Yup! Kurocchi's Socks also turned adult! I look forward to see how your and Magicchi's young beasts grow, Yuncchi."
While saying so, Lyly lowered himself to his knees and pat Ryui and Zakuro who nestled up against me.
After I watched Lyly and the young beasts for a while, a call from Cloude had come through friend chat.
『"Yun. Lyly is in there, right."』
"Yeah he is, what happened?"
『"I wanted to call you over, but Lyly has rushed out first. There was a possibility you weren't in the store y'know. Sorry but recover him and come over."』
"Got it. Since you're calling me, do you need something?"
『"Yeah, together with Magi we decided to round up a provisional crafters' tea party. Sorry, but hurry up."』
"Roger that. We'll head there right away."
I turned off the friend call after a quick exchange with Cloude and called Lyly and the young beasts who were still playing together.
"Cloude says you're to come back. I'll be going with you as well."
"Ah! Right! I forgot about Kurocchi and Magicchi!"
He must have been really happy about Neshias adult form, seeing him act happy I smiled wryly.
"Wait a moment, I'll just put away the things from the counter."
I gathered all the items from on the top of the counter and put them in my inventory, then left the 【Atelier】 together with Lyly.
"Uhh, outside is so cold."
"Since it's cold, let's run and get to where Kurocchi and Magicchi are!"
"You're right. 《Enchant》——Speed!"
I applied enchant increasing speed on Lyly and myself, then bringing Ryui and other young beasts we ran over to the 【Commonest Café & Clothier】 Cloude and Magi-san were waiting in.