Chapter 7.5 – The Christmas Update

-Lost-

Once I left virtual reality, my clock showed that it was well into the early morning hours. A growl originating from my stomach along with a dull ache in my body informs me that I need to stretch and eat something. I was in virtual reality for quite some time after all.

My hand immediately went to my lips, even now I could still feel the kiss.

It has been months since I started playing End Online. As a result I have grown used to the condition of my body, but there are still moments where a bitterness settles in my stomach, just like now.

I try to move my legs over the edge of my bed without physically picking them and swivelling them over. I don’t feel any trauma pain when I relearn just how impossible it is for me to use them, but it is emotionally crushing every time I make the attempt without thinking and fail.

I gradually shuffle across to the edge of my bed where my wheelchair is, no matter how many times I do this it never gets any easier.

Maybe that is why I enjoy the virtual world so much, one piece of equipment on my head and for a monthly subscription I can have my legs back. I have Fen who always keeps me company, despite the spiteful and sour side to her she was the first and only person to come to my side.

Verde and Prince Charming seemed to have ulterior motives, removing them from my personal list of comrades, but that is more often the case with other players. Always in it for themselves, not that I’m much different.

Rolling myself to the kitchen I pass Joelle and Shari’s room, a painful knot in my stomach forming about them being gone.

‘I understand that things are difficult right now, maybe I was a little lacking in money and my capability to look after you, but how can they just take you away like that?’

There was no more government bodies that provided funding to those in need, but they surely can’t simply take the girls away, not when I am of age to be considered an adult. The more I think about it the more something seems not quite right.

‘As a matter of fact, they should NOT be able to simply take them away like that, I will have to find out exactly what has happened.’

While reheating some leftover food from the fridge I vow that in twelve months I shall have them back here.

***************************************************

The following morning my alarm makes an odd sound, it lets off a vaguely familiar jingle of bells.

My eyes fly open, rays of sunshine falling across my bed through the partially open curtains. I turn off my alarm clock and move into the wheel chair, rolling myself over to the window.

‘How could I have forgotten!’ Looking out the window I see a fresh blanket of snow covering everything all the road and every roof.

Magic really does exist, for the yearly snow to come down at the very last moment, on Christmas Day. I think about going outside, but considering my wheelchair would probably get bogged in the snow it may not be such a good idea. I will have to go outside for food shopping soon enough anyway, but I will with hold for a while.

I also didn’t have my ‘White Wolf Winter Cloak’ on me so the thought of venturing in the icy air without it made me was to stay inside even more.

I may as well go back into the game now, the apple sales have helped a lot, but my bank is still on a slow decline so I need to somehow make more money.

Placing the VL on my head I entered End Online on Christmas day.

***************************************************

All of our Development team here at Idea Imagine Corp would 
like to thank all the players for their efforts in playing 
End Online.
In order to commemorate your hard word work, we have released
the first of our planned updates to liven up your gaming
experience.
You will notice along the top of your vision as well as having
your health points you also have some extra bars. These are 
for you satiety levels, both hunger and thirst. They will
naturally decrease slowly over time, faster if you are doing
physical activities or... well, we will let you figure out 
the rest for yourselves!

In light of the Christmas Spirit however we have commissioned
Santa to come to end online and leave plenty of little gifts
in your inventories to help you adapt to the update.
Only available to those who log in today!

We hope a Merry Christmas.
-Idea Imagine Corp

The moment I log on this lengthy message appears in front of me! It is certainly a Christmas surprise!

I take a minute to take in the information about the satiety levels, I wonder if one becoming zero leads to instant death or your health deteriorating? Remembering the rumours about there being an update to fix the endless stamina players have this must be it.

Not only will you get tired and exhausted the lower your health with, but low satiety levels will also leave you with less energy and slower movements.

Dismissing the message, I take notice of Fen is sitting next to me, back at full size so looking down on me.

“I take it this means I will have to feed you too now? Or can you hunt yourself?” I ask Fen who happily wags her tail at me.

‘Of course, I have to feed you don’t I.’

Wondering what this gift was that is supposedly in my inventory I open it and inspect the goods I have stored there. Blinking twice at the new items that were not there when I logged off.

Extra Fluffy Santa Hat
  A fluffy Santa Hat that is a replica part of a piece
  of Santa's costume. Offers no defensive bonus's but it
  does look really nice when you wear it.
  Don't forget to show everyone your Christmas spirit!
  Everyone is wearing one.

Requirements:
- Level 1
 
Defence: 0
Durability: 30/20
 
Abilities:
- Immune to Santa's Naughty List
Spiral Designed Candy Cane
  A sweet candy cane made with a spiral pattern through
  it. Will restore a minor amount of health and hunger.
  Consuming too many at once however will cause your thirst
  to rapidly decline.
  
Requirements:
- Level 1

Item Type: Food
Health Recovery: 10HP
Recovery Time: 15sec
Hunger Restoration: 5%
Weight: 0.1 lbs

There were fifty candy canes in my inventory and a few other various sweets. Idea Imagine Corp gave us plenty of food that would cause thirst and not a drop of water! Is this how they teach us to adapt to the situation?

Fen started nudging me, in a playful mood. Smiling back at her I removed the Santa hat from my inventory and beckoning her to bring her face closer, stuck it over one of her large ears.

She pulled her head back but it was too late, with the hat crookedly sitting on her head.

I gave a laugh at the sight, not a short laugh at a humorous situation, but an honest laugh from my heart at seeing Fen shaking her head with the Christmas hat on. She doesn’t try very hard to take it off, it seems she quite enjoys having it on.

She gets very playful with me, jumping up and down around me, occasionally sending a swipe of her paw to knock me around. I play fight back with her trying to catch her paws that come my way but she is incredibly quick, almost more so than when we trained together.

For an hour we had our bout, before I was mentally exhausted with trying to keep up with her speed and had to stop, a good thirty percent of my hunger had dropped and twenty percent of my thirst level too.

I pull out a couple of the candy cane’s from my inventory and share them between Fen and myself.

“Incredible! They taste exactly like the real thing!” I exclaim in pure amazement.

It’s strange Fen being a wolf considering how much she seem to be enjoying the sugar filled lollies, hopefully she isn’t going to have too much energy left over afterwards and want to play again.

“It’s nice to see you enjoying them Fen, but we will need to find some proper food later. By the way, I’ve been wondering for a while. What do you do when I log off, do you just wander around or?”

The wolf’s tail flicks back and forth, playing coy with my question as if she was refusing to answer. I give out a sigh, although I still have a warm smile painted on my face.

“Anyway Fen, I have to go for a bit to get some actual food. I will be back shortly.”

Opening the menu I press the log out button and move out to my locker. I was about to leave there as well when I heard a knock in the kitchen.

Walking over to inspect the odd noise, I spot a little white wolf, looking exactly like Fen, only 1/10th the size. The noise came from the wolf walking into a wall thanks to the Santa hat on its head sinking down and blinding it.

“Fen! what are you doing here??”

The wolf stops moving, turning towards my voice and slowly begins to back up, walking into the wall now behind it. The Santa hat falling back on its head letting it see again under the fluffy rim of the hat.

“Have you seriously been logging out into my VL every time I leave End Online?! Is that even possible?!”

Fen just looks up at me, no noise or movement. The Santa hat falling forward again, covering her eyes.

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14 Comments

  1. Well, it’s certainly intriguing to see that Fen is capable of even more than expected. Seems like she’s more than just a simple boss AI given that she’s capable of moving into Lost’s locker (which is pretty adorable) and that she obviously has feelings.

    Also, you’ve addressed the whole ‘no disability fund’ thing, which is pretty unbelievable, but I guess your universe is a little bit dystopic and I have to up my suspension of disbelief a little more.

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    1. It is basically a future paradox of money equals power in terms of social status. Not quite to the point where corporations are running the world but leaning in that direction.
      Most people in this world if they have a disability tend to have family to rely on and survive in this world, except our protagonist is also lacking that.

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    2. >Also, you’ve addressed the whole ‘no disability fund’ thing, which is pretty unbelievable
      It’s what the USA’s Republican Party wants in its endgame. As they have said about personal responsibility, people should be responsible for their own lives. They should not FORCE other people to pay for their livelihood. Voluntary help is fine though, but forcing others to provide social welfare under penalty of tax law and asset forfeitfure is wrong to Republicans.

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  2. Shouldn’t using the shrink scroll have given him a point in INT(8 INT is really low)? Also don’t Mining and Potion creation belong in the extra skills category when not being used(I.E. no useful Passives.)? Or do skills in extra skills slots lose levels?

    Is secret of Eternal Ice and High speeds Fen’s only skills? Does this mean She has room for 7 more> Did she Gain Shrink as a skill?

    So new skills? Cooking? Cooking + Potion making=?, I’d like to see him learn the light spell(Light Sacred Art)?
    But more likely would be a dark eyes skill? If he’s fighting at night or in Dungeons, It’s fairly easy to be blinded by darkness. With two short swords He can’t carry a torch or Lantern? When he starts his GED training speed reading would be a great skill. If he can use it or bring in his homework to his locker.

    So he only has 1 and half months left before he’s kicked out of his house because he’s broke? I don’t think apples are going to be enough? If Thirst is a bar, like saiety. Shouldn’t Santa give him a canteen?

    How do You gain/learn Sacred arts? It almost seems like he qualified for them at the barracks, then accidently figured out the activation sequence on Two arts? Then got Perceptual shift for free with a skill.

    Can’t wait for the six new skills. 28 levels for five new skills? 40 levels for seven new skills? When you lose levels does that make wolves(low level (low exp) monsters) a viable opponent again?

    White Warrior means ordinary Warrior in this game right? So would his class be Warrior?

    Thank you for the story so far.

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    1. To answer those questions:

      1. Yes using scrolls does train Int, if only a little. But, this is the first and only thing he has done that affects the rising of that stat, so it would take a few low levelled scrolls to increase the stat by 1, even if it is as low as 8.

      2. Those two and her ability to take on a human form are Fen’s only revealed skills at the moment, saying any more would be a spoiler so I will leave it to speculation. ^.^
      Although her ability to shrink in Lost’s Locker is not another skill, she simply has more control over her body, the same as Lost himself does. (They are outside the rules and restrictions of the game, basically an admin)

      3. They are both ‘Active’ skills, as in they require a specific trigger to be activated, like mining requires a pick axe to be equipped.
      Herbilism is an example of a ‘Passive’ skill as you can dig up or consume herbs with its effects at any time. I will add that to the ‘Information about inside the game’ page soon actually, thanks for asking.

      4. He has more than a month and a half, the six months was a guideline based on having no other income and also feeding three people. By himself that will naturally extend, if only by up to a month. Also your are correct the apples are not adequate, but they do cover approximately half his expenses. lengthening his survival rate.

      5. Sacred arts are set on discovering the activation trigger with a high enough level in the skill that governs it, generally it is whatever skill involves your weapon proficiency.
      So for the skill ‘CrossX’ it will be discovered by doing the motion of the attack with ‘Advanced Military Arts’ at a minimum of level 15.
      This makes self discovery of sacred arts rare and hard to do. Most people will find other players who know them already or an NPC trainer to learn the movement of the sacred art,
      Note- Spells are automatically learned, but you need a personal spell book to view them.

      6. A White Warrior is not simply an ordinary warrior, it is a branch of a warrior, but an extremely rare one. It would be like in LMS, to say a Moonlight Sculptor is just a sculptor in the game.

      7. Purchasing new skills can only be done while the level of the player remains over 20, as soon as it falls to 19 or below, you can no longer purchase them.
      Basically monsters always give the same amount of experience no matter your level, but the difference is that while killing 10 wolves to get from level 1 -> 2, killing 675,290 wolves to go from level 100 -> 101. So he could kill wolves again but it would be pointless now that he is used to goblins.

      8. Santa could have given him a canteen, but Santa has a twisted sense of humour and only gave a large quantity of sweets that will make him more thirsty. Oh I swear Santa does that to me every year!

      Thanks for the questions! Chapter 8 is beginning production later today so more will be coming on schedule for Friday (My time zone, +11)

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    2. Oh also, For the skills. It is essentially skills that are equipped and skills that are not equipped. I was thinking at the beginning you could only have 9 skills at a time and to get a new skill you would have to replace an old one. But I figured either way people are going to cry that Only Sense did it first, so I decided to ignore that and do it my way.
      However skills that are unequipped will slowly deteriorate over time, I could explain my method to you but it would be like writing another novel.
      Let me explain it like this:
      Imagine I am learning to read Japanese, I work real hard and diligently at it, getting it to skill level 22.
      All of a sudden I stop learning Japanese (I unequip the ‘Japanese Language’ Skill). Over time what I have learnt is slowly forgotten due to not using the skill.

      However, there is no point trying to look for exact real life references. Come on. we have an exponentially infinite inter dimensional storage unit called, ‘The Inventory’, after all.

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  3. Haha that was cute.
    twelve month should be twelve months?
    While reheating some leftover food from the fridge I vow that in twelve month I shall have them back here.

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  4. After all this time, it seems strange to me that his two sisters have not tried to call him on the phone or to write letters to him. Certainly they know the address and phone number for their brother. It was their former home after all. It would be a shame if the other relatives were so wealthy that the sisters were overwhelmed with their LUSH new lives and LUSH new friends in a LUSH new better class school with LUSH new class choices and LUSH new facilities and the ability to have LUSH new friends celebrate their LUSH lives, eat delicious lush new foods. All the lushness that their brother never gave them before. Now they can forget all about it and leave that dreary life behind….

    That would be a pretty sharply _distorted_ cinnddderellllla storyyy wouldn’t it?

    I was also hoping there would be some text to explain why the MC continues to not try to contact his sisters. It wouldn’t make sense for him to recontact his uncle and sisters after a whole year of non-communication. There would be some hurt feelings involved due to that delay.

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    1. Oh that would be a very twisted cinderella story lol.
      It came down to the MC is currently unfit to look after them and let them down. Secondly, he may know he has an Aunt, but that does not necessarily mean he knows her contact details.
      And the sisters can’t contact him if they don’t have the chance. There will surely be a way, but consider the aunt to be a dudley in terms of contact with the outside world.

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