Volume 2 - Prologue
Prologue - Shop and Lack of Customers
A single-floored brand new wooden building with no traces of sunburn had simple décor, and its entrance was made out of cobblestones.
The inside of the building was like that of a common private house from fantastical settings. I looked at the light entering from the wide-opened entrance.
"...no one's coming..."
Haa, I spat out a tired sigh. There weren't many customers who would come over to 【Atelier】.
Feeling a bit sulky, I pressed my cheek to the counter, the cold feeling was very pleasant.
After a while, as I continued to wait without any motivation suddenly the light has been blocked. I reflexively got up.
"Welcome. ——Ah, Kyouko-san eh."
The one standing in the store's entrance was Kyouko-san the clerk NPC.
"Yes, I'm back. So, what were you doing?"
"I was waiting for customers, but it doesn't seem like anyone is coming."
"Even if people aren't coming, this shop's flourishing, isn't it."
"Well, I guess."
Certainly, this shop was freshly built and wasn't well-known, normally people didn't come, but people who knew about this shop's existence from the consignment shops might. I waited patiently.
After saying that with a charming smile, Kyouko-san started reporting like a secretary.
"With that said——Magi-san and Cloude-san gave us a good price for Enchant Stones to sell in consignment."
"That's great. Did we reach the target amount of money with those?"
"Yes, we have enough."
With the amount of money I've had on hand, even after deducting necessary expanses I could expand the store and buy equipment for Dosing. However, my spending money would completely vanish.
The place I was in right now was a shop inside of OSO which mainly specialized in dealing with consumables.
This shop was in possession of my game character – Yun; I was the shopkeeper.
There were special circumstances behind my 【Atelier】's establishment. I skipped the 'selling steadily at stalls' step and instead I earned money by selling things in consignment with other shops. And because I wanted to continue my consignment with those shops, a problem has arisen, people wouldn't come to my shop.
"It's lonely without anyone coming."
"Then you should go outside to earn money and replenish the stock of potions. I'll stay here instead of Yun-san."
With a charming smile on her face Kyouko-san made a sensible proposal, well, that's true. Convinced, I took out my equipment to check it.
"We have reached the target amount for facilities expansion, I'll go and order it right now."
And while I'm at it, I wanted to practice hunting as well, and while muttering so in my mind I left the store and was replaced by Kyouko-san.
The first place I aimed for was the old man NPC who managed purchases and selling of fields.
"Old man, got time?"
"What is it? Oh, it's the Missy."
"Don't call me 'missy'. I'm a man."
There was a reason as to why the man with a strong tan treated me like a woman.
That's because the machine misidentified me during my initial OSO character edit, and I have become a female character because of that, the NPC called me 'missy'.
"I want to ask you for a store extension, a workshop behind the store. Also, I want you to prepare higher level Dosing equipment."
"You're finally taking another step, it won't be just a counter store any longer."
He muttered as he received money from me. Not your business, is what I want to say.
Certainly, currently it's just a wooden building that looks like a box, and only has a counter inside. In the back there's only a field for cultivating medicinal plants. Still, it played its role as a base well.
"Well, fine. How long will the renovation take?"
"Few days at most. Now then, I'm going back to work."
The NPC folded his arms standing in the same place he always stood, just what kind of work is that. I felt an urge to retort but managed to suppress it. I walked through the town.
As I walked, the feelings of happiness from having the store renovated started to appear and a smile of joy gradually appeared on my face. With a light gait I've headed to hunting grounds.
The hunting grounds I usually use is a forest a small distance away from the town. In this place I could find materials to use to craft items for 【Atelier】 like herbs or ore. My mood was great and it felt like a stroll.
However, today I met a party which was there ahead of me. Their prying eyes focused on me and their whispers have reached my ears.
("Look, she has a bow on her back.")
("That thing has horrible accuracy and high usage costs.")
("Well, it has nothing to do with us.")
I looked back reflexively after hearing that, found them and readied an arrow.
I aimed over the three people's heads and released an arrow. Immediately after the arrow pierced through the mob that was above them, the mob fell to the ground and after bouncing off it, it disappeared. Seeing their surprise I felt gratified, I should do that more often. And feeling like that I proceeded into the back.
The bow——to be exact the 【Bow】 Sense had been receiving horrible treatment because it required consumable arrows to use. It was my main weapon, and I was quite fond of it. And because of that, I felt slightly offended when they were badmouthing it, I could fight using this weapon as well as I would if I mastered a regular weapon. Feeling like that I proceeded to look for stronger mobs.
"I'll definitely change they way they look at it!"
And after entering an area with strong enemies in it I fought my first battle and returned to town after dying.
"That's right. They were progressing in a party of three, what am I doing assaulting those solo, I'm such an idiot... let's cool my head off a little."
The moment I got motivated, I failed. I scratched the back of my head and while letting out a sigh, I selected 'Log Out' from the main menu. The character named 'Yun' has withdrawn from the world of OSO.
I stood in the kitchen in the early morning preparing a boxed lunch.
My attire, was an apron on top of a summer school uniform. My little sister Miu was sitting dressed in her summer school uniform as well, she ate the breakfast before I did. Although there was still time and there was no need to panic, she put the ham and fried eggs on toast and already started eating.
"Miu, even if you don't hurry like that you'll still make it."
"Ughh... that's true but the time's precious. I'll use the remaining time to collect info!"
And while saying that, Miu poured the tea into her stomach all at once. She said 'thank you for the meal' and put the dishes into the sink right next to me.
Miu finished breakfast and after bringing a laptop from her room, she looked at it with a serious expression.
"So, did you find anything?"
"Onii-chan... right now, there's a server maintenance ongoing."
"Oh, that reply makes it seem like you're not interested. Also, some specifications will change with the version change."
"Specification changes? Did they find some bugs?"
"No, not that. Something like a balance adjustment?"
I was beckoned over by Miu who looked like she was about to devour the laptop's screen with her gaze after she brought it to the living room. She put it down right next to the prepared lunch boxes.
"They introduced a satiety system which utilizes the mishappen 【Cooking】 Senses."
"Hee〜, in other words..."
"Meals will be also necessary in-game. The stats will decrease with hunger, and at worst you can die of starvation. Haa, it reminds of a certain roguelike."
My third year middle schooler little sister folded her arms and nodded several times. You, you're supposed to be younger than me but it feels as if you remembered something nostalgic from ages ago.
The roguelike Miu mentioned seemed to be a stealthy-type RPG.
In the game, players and monsters continue to act by alternating turns and move on square fields, a very simple game where the behaviour is determined by order which is influenced by their agility. However, if you don't make full use of items and traps, you will die surrounded by enemies. If a single player is surrounded by eight or more enemies, it would not end well. The solution to that was to wipe out an entire column of enemies or kill the them on three adjacent fields in front.
If one's surrounded in a bad way, the monsters will use friendly fire on their companions and rank up, or if the player is stuck in a trap might be mercilessly attacked.
And if one continues to level while remaining in the same field he will start feeling hungry, it was a difficult game.
Shizuka-nee was good at these roguelikes, she used to say 『"Player's skills will work only if you can predict what's ahead. And if you can't look ahead, there's no choice but to learn by dying."』it was that type of game.
However, the thing I was concerned about was...
"What if we can't eat in the real later after eating in the game. If even though I made dinner we couldn't eat it because of that, it would be sad."
"I don't think that'll happen. I tried eating food item 【Rice Ball】 in the β version, despite having a taste it didn't fill the stomach. So it's just game status-based thing."
Such a thing. I looked back at the screen convinced.
On the screen, there were various samples of food items arranged.
My in-game store 【Atelier】 was dealing mainly with consumables. Adding food-type items to the offered products sounded interesting. I could make items like sandwiches with ease just by putting the ingredients together.
"...let's try picking up the 【Cooking】 Sense."
Responding to my absent-minded murmur——
"Onii-chan, aren't you picking up too many? 【Bow】 and 【Enchant】 as well as 【Mixing】. And now 【Cooking】..."
"Leave me be, you cheat of a little sister."
I thought that I was spreading my skills too wide as well, but I didn't regret it. I intended to play the game at my own pace. And if I didn't use a Sense, then I could always put it away.
"If it's Yun-oneechan, I think the support-magic type role mage would fit her best."
"I said, don't call me 'Yun-oneechan'."
Although I scowled hearing what Miu said, I understood what she meant. I could increase stability of the party by combining 【Recovery】 and 【Enchant】, and if there was time to spare I could attack with magic. That's how the style was envisioned but... hey, that's no different what I'm doing now.
For recovery, whether potions or magic, there was no difference. For attacks, it was the same whether I use bow or magic.
My role wouldn't change much. Moreover, the character I have is already devoted to support. If someone needs food, then it's my role as a support to deliver it.
Of course, even if it wasn't improved at this time I thought of eventually taking 【Cooking】 anyway. Things like steaks from dragon meat felt like a dream to me.
"Grr... if that's how it is, then let me eat delicious food in the game as well."
"Yes yes. Lunch box's gonna get get cold, so put the lid on it."
"What's in it today?"
"Yay! Onii-chan, I love you!"
Although she was happy about a childish meal chicken rice was, on the other hand I felt embarrassed about it. Well, I was fine with it since it was easy to make.
"Come on, put the lunch box in your bag before you forget."
"Onii-chan, come here for a sec."
The moment I tried to eat my breakfast after putting away my lunch box, Miu sat right next to me showing me the laptop's screen once again.
On the screen, there were business contact as well as various schedules for OSO. Among them, there was the latest information about the update in a video format.
"I'll play it."
『"Nice to meet you everyone. I'm Yoshino Kazuhito from 『Only Sense Online』's development department."』
We watched the man who appeared on the laptop's screen. It was a handsome man in his twenties. Ain't that an idol from somewhere?
『"The announcements this time is the contents of the update as well as an event announcement."』
I glanced sideways at Miu who had a serious expression on her face as she stared at the screen, it was as if she wanted to make a hole in it with her gaze. Silently I looked back at the video.
『"This update incorporates more realism by introducing Satiety system. As for the official event, we have been preparing a surprise during the entirety of summer holidays operations. In ten days at 1 p.m. there will be an official event held in the First Town. The participation is restricted to parties up to 6 members. The number of items one person can hold is restricted up to a hundred. Depending on how you conduct yourself during the event, even players who haven't played for a long time can become strong in a short period of time. Moreover, the event also contains gift-type elements to it, please join us and participate."』
Although the video was peaceful and no longer than three minutes, Miu started pondering about its contents.
"An official event... getting stronger in a short time... the condition is the number of members in party and amount of items."
"Miu? It's time. We're going to school."
Even as we left the house, we continued to discuss the contents of the announcement from earlier.
"What does Onii-chan think about the announcement from earlier?"
"It's my first event right? There's no more details about it so there's nothing for me to think about."
"That's true but, considering they mentioned getting stronger in a short amount of time, it seems like we can acquire some unique items. It smells like rares."
"It's a world I don't know much about. So, should I join and try it? What about Shizuka-nee?"
"Onee-chan's a hardcore gamer so she'll definitely participate, and since it's summer there'll be a lot of people participating too〜."
Miu walked next to me and stretched her hands all at once and said while squinting in the sun. I squinted because of the dazzle in the same way.
"If Shizuka-nee was available, we could try participating together."
"Ahh, impossible, no way. Onee-chan's a guild's sub-guild master. They've got like thirty people now, she can't favour relatives over them. And she's ahead of us too."
"Yeah. Right now we're raising our levels near the southern entrance. Onee-chan has a higher level and she's even further. Also, she's been earning money for the guild."
Hoo〜, she already has a guild. After doing the guild establishment quest it seems like the next bottleneck are the funds, so she even cleared that step. I have no intention of joining a guild, though that's completely unrelated.
"In other words, there's no one I can rely on. Maybe I should participate alone. Well, I'll at least do some preparations."
"I guess. I need to prepare too, by leveling up and such. Even so, ahh, I started feeling like playing now. School's such a pain."
"It's just half a day, also I've already prepared boxed lunch."
"Onii-chan will make a good bride in the future."
"What's this little sister saying to her brother..."
I protested to Miu and sighed.
We still had time to spare before school started. The whole way to school was travelled on our own two feet. Walking in this hot and humid weather over hot asphalt was physically demanding.
Finally after reaching the school gate, we separated as I was in high school and Miu was in middle school. As I walked down the hallway I heard voices leak from classrooms, I entered my own classroom.
"Yo, Shun. Been a while."
"It hasn't has it. We're meeting occasionally in-game."
As I complained I threw him a punch with no strength behind it. Takumi received it.
"Somehow, you seem sleepy. Did you get enough sleep?"
"No, I've been leveling up to twelve o'clock midnight. I've been in charge of pulling a strong enemy in a mine. It was a delicious level up."
"You game addict. So, how was it? Did you get any good items?"
"Nah it was useless. It was an ore-type but we couldn't use it. Also, that boss is too strong. We're trying to raise our level to the very limit and proceed in the north direction."
"I see. I'm doing things like harvesting or crafting. If you need anything then visit my store."
"I'll do so then."
Hmm. A mine huh. I'd like to try going there once. Well, let's try going to take a look after I level up my 【Craftsmanship】.
We spoke about the maintenance from this morning and the update info as well as the official event.
The impression Takumi had after watching the same video was that it was made to have people take advantage of Senses that weren't used up until now.
Other than that, I spent time that remained until the morning homeroom talking with Takumi and other classmates I haven't met for a while.
It was a school day that happened during summer holidays, in response to the teacher's notice we gathered to clean the school after which we went home. That was the flow of events.
Takumi went running back home in order to log into OSO as soon as possible and check the contents of the update.
I went to buy groceries for dinner on my way home, and immediately after coming back I logged into OSO as well.