Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 125
Extra Episode – Blessings on this Holy Night!
Every winter, K-town would be covered with a thick layer of snow.
This year was no exception.
This morning, a sniveling Haruki –who had been robbed of the snow plow by the dungeon– was forced to use a shovel to clear out the snow this morning.
“This would be much easier if I had the snow plow…”
However, his snow plow was trapped in the dungeon.
He had no plans to purchase a new snow plow, though.
Inside the house, Rhea and Esta were warming up in front of the wood stove.
Rhea was trembling in front of the stove, wearing a White Boar Robe especially made for her.
Esta was wrapped in a blanket and was sleeping beside the stove.
Compared to how active they usually were in summer, both of them were almost motionless.
That was understandable. Both Rhea and Esta were vulnerable to the cold of winter.
In the summer, Rhea would often walk into Haruki’s room, and Esta would move around on the outside the window (at night, insects tend to gather on the window, lured by the light from inside, so it was a good spot for getting food), so even if he wanted to be alone in his room, Rhea and Esta would always be messing around.
But it was different now.
Ever since winter started, Haruki had been spending more time by himself.
Surely it wasn’t just the temperature that made the room feel cold.
The fallow land was flattened by snow, and more snow was being blown up from the ground.
A shining snow curtain that reflected the sun’s light ran through the plain, waving slowly.
Soon enough, a girl arrived at Haruki’s doorway.
It was Karen, a member of his party.
“Good morning, Karaboshi. I’ve come across something nice, so I brought some with me.”
Karen opened her pouch and took out a white mass from inside.
“Is that mochi!? Where did you get that, Karen!?”
“Ehehe. Actually, I’ve become good friends with the hotel manager, so she gave me some as a New Year’s Eve present.”
“Oooh, that’s great, Karen!”
“Yeah! That’s why I decided to bring some with me today to share with you.”
“Why, thank you so much! Well, come in then!”
Haruki was humming cheerfully as he carried the mochi to the kitchen.
Seeing his excitement, Karen couldn’t help but pout.
Karen wiped the snow off her coat, walked in, and sat next to Rhea.
Rhea sluggishly waved her leaves, as if saying “Hey, don’t come here, you’re so cold you’re gonna take all the warmth to yourself!”
Karen smiled mischievously at Rhea.
She quickly placed her numbingly cold hand on top of Rhea.
Rhea reacted to that attack with a “Nyaa!” as goosebumps ran all over her body.
At that moment, Esta slightly moved his feelers… And then, perhaps because he realized his favorite food wasn’t around, fell asleep again.
Just as Haruki was about to begin serving the mochi, the buzzer went off again.
After opening the door, he found Akane there, with the biggest smile ever.
She was wearing a bright red hat and robes furnished with white fur.
“Are you cosplaying Santa?”
“Nu-huh! I’m the Angel Akane!”
“W-Wait! Don’t close the door on me! AHAaaHAHAaaN!!”
When Haruki tried to close the door, Akane clung onto the doorknob and started crying.
What on earth is wrong with this woman…?
“What do you need?”
“Well, today… Ta-dah! Look what I got!”
She took a bottle out of her bag.
The label had “Nita no Nishiki” written on it.
It was the name of a local brewery.
“Well, isn’t that sake! How did you get that!?”
“I happened to come across a limited sale, and I couldn’t help myself.”
Sake is the best thing for the cold season.
Akane must have rushed to the brewery right on time to be able to get her hands on that sake.
“Well, what are you waiting for? You just have to let this cute and beautiful angel who has brought you sake in! It’s so cold outside!”
“Oh, right! Thanks for the sake!”
“B-But don’t just take the sake and leave me out here to freeze to death! Let me iiiiiiin!”
Oh well. I don’t want to be standing here at the door forever.
Haruki reluctantly invited Akane in (because he had no other choice).
A few moments after Akane entered the house, the buzzer went off once again.
Who could it be now?
When Haruki opened the door, he was astonished by a bright radiance.
It was Kagemitsu, the man with the strongest presence in all of Hokkaido.
It seemed that the radiance that had blinded Haruki came from Kagemitsu, and not from the light outside.
“Long time no see. What’s up?”
“You guys have been a great help this year, so I decided to come pay you a visit. I’ve brought some salmon as thanks.”
The sensitive Chep instantly reacted to the salmon that Kagemitsu was holding upside down. She could be heard quivering inside Karen’s pocket.
The once cold room started to warm up now that more people were there.
The house that had become a silent place because of the winter was now full of sounds, laughter, and chatter.
Feeling the warmth of those sounds, Haruki cheerfully prepared the mochi.
The dish he was preparing was a simple yakimochi. He then whipped up some zunda bean paste and sweet soy sauce as a side dish.
Then he prepared some salmon stew with the salmon that Kagemitsu had brought. He garnished it with potatoes, onions, and carrots he got from Mr. Kitora, and seasoned it with miso.
Everything was set on the table as they enjoyed the sake.
Karen looked like she wanted some, but she was still too young for it.
Of course, Karen wasn’t served any sake. She joined in the toast with a glass of 100% melon juice.
Everyone was cheerfully poking at the salmon stew, eating the yakimochi, and enjoying their drinks…
Before they realized, Rhea and Esta, who hadn’t been moving much until recently, were also attending Haruki’s banquet.
When was the last time I got together with people like this?
Haruki had been alone ever since the First Stampede happened.
Being alone had become the norm, to the point of not feeling lonely anymore.
However, with everyone gathered together like this, Haruki couldn’t help but think that this was way more lively.
The bottle was empty.
Haruki shed tears while he washed the dishes by himself, away from Kagemitsu and Akane’s gaze.
Those tears felt somewhat warm.
The memories of this day would one day become a page of Haruki’s book of wonderful memories.
Actually, I wish they would. I hope I can keep having more days like this to keep as precious memories.
Let’s keep doing our best to enjoy adventuring.
That was the oath Haruki swore to his heart.