Chapter 16.2: Weapons Master Charlie Rex

“What the hell? NPCs discriminate based on race?” Tang Jia erupted in anger.
“Did I choose to be an undead? Does it look like I had any other options? Stop babbling and give me a quest!”

“Don't get worked up, Tang Jia.
Getting kicked offline isn't worth it,” Zheng Qingyue quickly advised.

Yang Ying had a look of puzzlement.
“Can NPCs discourage players like this too? Is this how online games work?”

“Normally, it shouldn't be like this…” Zheng Qingyue was unsure how to explain to Yang Ying, a gaming novice.
“Perhaps this NPC is bugged?”

Charlie Rex couldn't understand what they were saying and responded in earnest, “Indeed, undead aren't suitable to be warriors.
If you desire close combat, deathwalkers and death knights are better choices.
If you persist in this, you will only tread a thorny path.”

“Oh!” Tang Jia suddenly realized, releasing her grip on Rex's collar.
“Damn, I thought this NPC was malfunctioning and not issuing any quests.
Turns out, it's programmed to discourage players… Enough with the chatter, give me the quest already!” she added impatiently.

“…I am serious, madam,” Rex responded.

“I'm serious too.
Why is this dialogue so draggy?” Tang Jia muttered irritably.

Rex scrutinized this determined skeletal woman in silence.

Despite being an undead skeleton unsuitable for the class, and despite being a young woman, she still tenaciously pursued the path of a warrior.
This determination touched Rex in some way.

“Alright, I hope you will never regret your choice,” sighed Rex as he assigned the quest to Tang Jia.

“Quest received!” Tang Jia's spirits were lifted, and she quickly beckoned Yang Ying over.

“Hello, Charlie Rex.
Do you have any quests to offer?” Yang Ying approached, imitating Tang Jia's actions.

In the spirit of fulfilling his instructor duties and providing guidance, Rex tried to dissuade once again… only to be nagged into giving out the quest.

After receiving the quest items, the three of them left Rex behind and eagerly headed toward the construction site, discussing along the way.

“In my experience of games, the more difficult the profession to obtain, the more powerful it is.
The advanced stage of the warrior class might be insanely strong.
Sis Ying, after we transition to warriors, do you want to progress toward weapon-based combat together?”

“Sure, since I don't know how to play, you can just guide me along.”

“Then I'll become a healer and support you guys with healing.”

“Hehe, Qingyue is the best!”

Just as Charlie Rex was feeling slight gratification that these undead ladies, who were unsuitable to be warriors yet pursued the path of power so relentlessly, he suddenly had a thought.

Wait a minute! Do you two want to become warriors because you feel that warriors are mighty?!

This kind of perverse pursuit of power is an insult to warriors! Ultimately, you guys will get lost in the complexities of power!

Rex's expression froze as he felt a rising anger.

Wait—If not respecting the honor of warriors led to getting lost in the complexities of power and being tainted by evil, then what did his own experiences… signify?

Rex felt his headache returning as hallucinations appeared before him once more.

“No, no… I'm different… I-I just… just…” Rex slumped against the earthen wall and sat down.

A thought emerged in his mind, one that was incredibly difficult for him to believe yet impossible to ignore.

“Could it be… that I was wrong? As my persistence, my unwavering pursuit of the path of power, misguided?”

Rex struggled to maintain his sanity, forcing himself to ignore the hallucinations and focus on the undead ladies who were cheerfully beginning to start on their “quests.”

“Perhaps… these undead who view the warrior's spirit as mere child's play can give me an answer.”

And so… Rex personally witnessed these three giggling and nonchalant undead ladies complete quests in succession till nightfall.

During this time, the skeleton who didn't accept a quest from him left for a while and, upon returning, complained discontentedly about something along the lines of “I found Yang, but reputation can't be increased with this NPC until level one is attained,” before continuing to assist her companions with their quest.

Taking advantage of the undead's innate characteristic of not requiring food or rest, the three rather weak undead managed to clear a small portion of the designated construction area for the Warrior Guild.

During this time, Rex saw the skeletal lady who had rudely grabbed his collar suddenly jump up with joy, loudly exclaiming in excitement, “My Potential increased a bit! Can it increase without even completing quests? Does this mean that Potential can increase as long as we are in the process of doing quests?”

“Ah, I've also gained a little!” another one of her skeleton companions remarked gleefully.

The three then joyfully conversed, speculating about the rules behind this increase in Potential.
After a short break, they continued to bury themselves in their cleaning tasks…

Charlie Rex couldn't understand why these undead beings were willing to engage in such tedious tasks for the sake of their own trivial goal of “becoming warriors” and thus stepped out from behind the earthen wall and slowly approached the construction site.

Before Charlie Rex could decide on how to initiate a conversation without violating Yang's instructions, he heard a chilling remark from the skeleton known as “Stuffed Gummy.”

“It's already dark? I didn't even notice since my vision is unaffected,” said Tang Jia, leaning on her pickaxe and absentmindedly patting her empty stomach.
“I'm starting to feel hungry.
What about you guys?”

“Yeah, we've been playing without realizing how much time has passed.
I'm feeling slightly famished too,” replied Yang Ying.

Charlie Rex suddenly stiffened, and he instinctively started to back away slowly… Even though Yang had repeatedly assured them that these undead guests were “safe and harmless,” it was still unnerving to hear them talk about being hungry in the darkness of night!

“It's kinda strange, isn't it? When we entered the game, the in-game time was 4 p.m., and now it's 9 p.m.
If we calculate it based on real time, we've only been playing for two and a half hours.
I had a big bowl of cereal in the morning, yet I feel hungry after just two and a half hours,” said Zheng Qingyue, slightly perplexed.

“Could it be because we've been engaging in physical activity in-game?” Tang Jia speculated as she packed up her tools.
“We're wearing helmets while playing the game, right? Could our in-game activities be connected to our brain waves? Maybe our intense brain activity is causing us to feel hungry faster?”

“…That actually sounds somewhat logical.” Zheng Qingyue tapped the shovel against a rock, knocking off the mud before handing it to Tang Jia.
“Let's log out after completing the quest and have lunch.
Do you want to eat at my place?”

“Sure, I'll bring my helmet over, and after eating, I'll play at your place,” Tang Jia nodded eagerly.

“Then, I'll log off and order some takeout,” Zheng Qingyue then turned to Yang Ying.
“Sis Ying, are you going to log in later in the afternoon?”

“Yeah!” Yang Ying replied with a bright smile.
“My initial plan had been to log in, take some screenshots and a video before logging out to continue online arguments on the forums.
But now that I'm playing, I don't feel like bothering with those internet trolls.
It's not as fun as actually playing.”

“All set then, let's meet back here in an hour, real-time!”

The three of them headed out of the “construction site” and sought out Charlie Rex to complete the quest.

Though Charlie Rex didn't fully understand what he was hearing, he vaguely realized that he seemed to have misunderstood something.
Keeping his mouth shut, he silently handed over the reward to Tang Jia and Yang Ying…

After adding the “advanced NPCs,” Yang Qiu had also modified the quest reward system.
Whether it was the regular quests offered by zombie NPCs or advanced NPCs' reputation quests, rewards were based on a player's contribution to the particular task.

Other than the one-time beginner's welfare quest that provided players with the basic clothes, all other quests were rewarded based on the player's effective working hours within the quests (without slacking off and working diligently).
Similarly, the “NPCs” connected to the imprint matrix could achieve fairness and impartiality by following the prompts provided by the matrix.

“Four hours of effective working time, 400 reputation points, and eight copper coins?” Tang Jia curiously fiddled with the copper coins given by Charlie Rex.
“These coins kind of look like arcade game tokens.”

Zheng Qingyue also leaned in curiously to take a look.
“The quest rewards have changed.
I remember watching Vanilla Pudding's video, and he didn't get any rewards from quests.”

After Yang Ying got her copper coins from Charlie Rex, she glanced at her two new friends with curiosity.
“How do we keep these game coins?”

Tang Jia and Zheng Qingyue: “…”

“What the heck, this game doesn't even have an inventory! I can't believe such a major bug hasn't been fixed yet!” Tang Jia was shaking with rage.
“Damn it! We're just bare-boned skeletons.
Where are we supposed to stash this money?!”

Charlie Rex, realizing that he had misunderstood the three undead ladies before, wanted to express his apologies, and thus took the initiative to remind them.
“Undead friends, there's a tailor named Yarisha selling waist bags in a wooden house near the Town Hall.
You can purchase one there.”

“Oh, oh!” The three players finally remembered the advanced NPC tailor and lifestyle class instructor who was largely ignored.
With that, they quickly bid farewell to Charlie Rex and hurried over toward the Town Hall.

Charlie Rex watched them go before gazing up at the night sky.
He then returned to his tent and lit an alcohol lamp before setting up a campfire.

Yang Qiu's work requirements for the advanced NPCs weren't really too demanding.
They were just required to be active around their assigned posts from 8 a.m.
to 10 p.m.
and could be found by players.
As long as they didn't wander too far or intentionally hide, it was fine even if they slept all day long.

Even tool management, which was considered the strictest, Yang Qiu didn't enforce restrictions on players taking tools away.
After all, players' activities were all monitored by the matrix.
No matter where players took the tools, they could be retrieved.

What Yang Qiu truly restricted was players using “quest items” to cause trouble.
For example, a group of players accepting cleaning quests and bringing the pickaxes along to get stomped by the beginner town's BOSS, or using the quest items for mock fights… That was the reason why the use of quest items was restricted to the quest area.

Although these quest items were actually collected from the second-hand market and scrap yards for low costs, it was all because Yang Qiu was poor…

In any case, because Charlie Rex lurked in a slightly hidden location and didn't need to receive too many players at once, he faced much less pressure compared to Hal.

After seeing off the three undead ladies, Charlie Rex prepared some food, collected the tools back into the tent, and declared the end of the workday.
Finally, he pulled down the flaps of his tent and went to sleep.

It was an hour to midnight in the game, but 11:00 a.m.
on Earth.
A large group of players entered the designated construction site for the Warrior Guild, led by Qin Guan, with the ID Vanilla Pudding.

“The warrior instructor should be around this area according to the post by 'Stuffed Gummy' on the message board… Ah, there!”

The group of undead with natural night vision surveyed the quiet street, which appeared no different than daytime in their eyes.
Soon, they discovered a small cleared area.

“The NPC's tent should be behind a mud wall… There it is!”

“Where's the NPC?”

“Seems like he's sleeping.”

“What? NPCs sleep too?! That's outrageous! Is he going to give out quests or not?!”

“Charlie Rex! Is Charlie Rex here? Please make a sound!”

“Stop sleeping! Wake up and assign us a quest!”

Inside the tent, Charlie Rex's hands were on his head as his bloodshot eyes stared at the ceiling of his tent.

Do these damn undead really understand the meaning of “outrageous” they just used?! The Weapons Master wondered.

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