Chapter 60 - Are you the chosen hero?
Gu Fei had been closely observing his surroundings ever since he arrived at Yeguang Village; he only felt comfortable enough to equip Eddie’s Emblem upon noticing that no other players were around.
Almost all at once, the village NPCs, including the irrelevant ones that they had asked for directions previously, began to take note of his presence. Gu Fei became even more convinced that Eddie’s Emblem was the key factor for the quest after seeing their reaction. He braced himself and walked toward a NPC who was staring at him.
And yet, that particular NPC walked away indifferently even before Gu Fei could get near him. Judging from his expression, he seemed to be trying to keep himself from coming into contact with Gu Fei.
Gu Fei refused to accept this outcome, so he sped up and chased after the NPC. The NPC was obviously not programmed to run fast as Gu Fei caught up to him shortly. He swiftly blocked the NPC’s path forward and was just about to say something, when the NPC avoided eye contact and headed another way.
“How very odd!” Xiaoyu found the sight very intriguing. As Xiaoyu caught up to the NPC as well, she asked, “Do you know where Mr. Adrian is?”
“Mr. Adrian is the wealthiest man in our village. He lives just beside the church. It’s that mansion over there,” the NPC wore a friendly smile when interacting with her. He even gave Xiaoyu detailed information about her target.
“What’s going on? Why is he ignoring you?” Xiaoyu scratched her head.
“Must have something to do with my quest’s plot,” Gu Fei said this while pondering on the same thing in his head. Parallel World’s NPCs did not possess sentience like human beings and were just AIs programmed to function in certain ways. So when this particular villager was confronted with inquiries from Xiaoyu, he still replied properly despite not possessing the exact answer. However, when Gu Fei was the one speaking to him or pulling at his hands, only one reaction would surface: the NPC turning around and avoiding all contacts with Gu Fei.
This was a clear indication for Gu Fei that the NPCs were avoiding him on purpose.
Gu Fei noticed as well that after leaving the NPC alone, the latter stopped walking at a certain distance and cautiously stole glances at him. Gu Fei looked around and saw that every NPC behaved in a similar way. Fortunately, a small portion of these NPCs remained the same even after he had equipped Eddie’s Emblem.
Gu Fei thought of an idea and quickly approached one such NPC. As expected, the NPC did not avoid Gu Fei. The NPC even looked him in the eye as Gu Fei arrived by his side.
“Any idea on who Eddie is?” Gu Fei asked.
“No, but you should try asking the village chief. He is knowledgeable on a lot of things,” the NPC answered.
Gu Fei felt astounded for a moment. Afterward, he looked for another NPC with the same mannerism and received the same reply to the same question.
“Who is the village chief?” Gu Fei asked a follow-up question.
“Edwin is our village chief. He lives in a small hut by the woods,” The NPC raised his hand and pointed at a direction as he answered Gu Fei.
“Ah, you managed to obtain the answer to your question! That’s how it is with quests. As long as you ask every NPC, there will surely be someone who knows the answer,” the experienced Xiaoyu lectured Gu Fei.
While the method sounded dumb, the approach was undeniably logical. Gu Fei obtained the answer by asking the right NPCs after he had observed their different reactions. As for Xiaoyu, she obtained the answer to her question not by observing the NPCs’ different reactions but by straightforwardly asking everyone available. The NPCs were either friendly or hostile toward Gu Fei.
Why was the situation like this? It was probably something crucial to the current quest.
Gu Fei could not think of any valid reason at the moment, so he could only follow the instruction given by the previous NPCs and visit the village chief in a small hut by the woods.
After finding the hut, they knocked on its door. A bearded old man with gray hair opened the door and came out to meet them. The protagonists of games were usually designed to be young and promising. It would have been bizarre to hear about an old man saving the world in games. The elderly in games were usually old-fashioned, stubborn, timid, and clueless. Once in a while, a few wise ones with short lifespan would appear. Their roles involved either sacrificing their lives for plot advancement or fueling the resolution of protagonists. These were all common tropes in games.
“Village Chief Edwin, do you know of a guy called Eddie?” Gu Fei asked with anticipation. He suddenly realized that doing quests could be very exciting due to this feeling of anticipation.
“Eddie? He’s a nice young man. He made a promise to help our village before,” Chief Edwin answered.
“He’s dead,” Gu Fei said sorrowfully.
Chief Edwin was stunned, “Then what – what should we do now?”
“Is there anything that I can help you with?” Gu Fei asked a cliché question.
“Who are you by the way?” Chief Edwin replied with a question.
“Well, I am...” Gu Fei was at a loss on how to reply to that, so he could only tell the truth, “Eddie sought me out for help.”
Chief Edwin’s eyes glowed, “Are you the chosen hero sought by Eddie to defeat the monster?”
Monster! Chosen hero! Sounds amazing! Gu Fei began to doubt if he could handle this quest at level 30. However, Chief Edwin’s question seemed as if it would determine whether Gu Fei could proceed with the quest or not. In any case, I can’t just quit the quest, as Gu Fei pondered on, he nodded shyly, “Yes, that’s me.”
“Welcome, oh, Chosen Hero!” NPCs sure were amazing, seeing how easily Chief Edwin recovered from his grief over Eddie’s death.
“Can you elaborate on what exactly is this ‘monster’ you just mentioned?” Gu Fei began to gather more information. He was thinking that he might still have a fighting chance if the ‘monster’ was a close-ranged type and had a similar speed. This was a game, after all; the monsters were designed to be killed by players. They would not be ludicrously strong compared to the players, right?
“Follow me!” Chief Edwin stepped outside and limped along the way. With his slow pace, Gu Fei and Xiaoyu could only patiently follow behind him. Gu Fei saw how thrilled Xiaoyu was, as if she was the one with the quest.
Bringing along the two, Chief Edwin arrived at the church of Yeguang Village.
The door of the church was in poor condition; half of it had fallen off the doorframe and was barely hanging on its hinges. The pavement in front of the door appeared to have been neglected for a long time, as weeds were growing out in-between the stone slabs. The two were walking alongside Chief Edwin on the pathway paved with stones, when he stopped halfway and looked down on the ground.
“This right here...” Chief Edwin tapped on the ground with his walking cane, “Is Murphy’s bloodstain. Years of rain could not get rid of it entirely.”
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu lowered their heads and looked down. A dark stain could be seen on the stone slab Chief Edwin tapped on. According to him, it was caused by blood.
“What happened here?” Gu Fei asked.
“Werewolf!” Chief Edwin answered, “A Werewolf’s hiding in our village!”
Werewolf… Gu Fei thought to himself, Werewolves are ancient creatures that usually appeared in western folklore. They are humans that can shape-shift into their true forms during the full moon, losing their sanity and becoming vicious in the process. What’s more, werewolves that reveal their true forms are said to have heightened Attack and speed. This quest might be a tough egg to crack if they also possess incredible speed in this game.
As Gu Fei pondered on this, Chief Edwin busily babbled about the legend of Werewolves inside the game. Xiaoyu listened to him seriously, even taking out her little notebook to jot things down. Gu Fei’s ability to think things was faster than Chief Edwin’s chatter. After pondering through everything, he came back to the present just in time to hear Chief Edwin say, “According to legends, Werewolves are terrified of everything made of silver. Oh, chosen hero, do you have a weapon made of silver?”
“No,” Gu Fei answered.
“Worry not. For I have long prepared for this. Hand me your weapon, and I shall plate it with a layer of silver,” Chief Edwin said.
“Can I do that later? I am thinking of looking for more clues about the Werewolves first,” Gu Fei said.
“You are welcome to find me any time the need arises,” Chief Edwin unsteadily tottered out of the church after he finished talking.
“Why didn’t you let him plate your weapon with silver?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Uhhh... I’m thinking of getting a saber or sword for that. A magic staff might not be able to harm the Werewolf seriously,” Gu Fei took out his magic staff and showed it to Xiaoyu, displaying its lack of a sharp edge.
Xiaoyu nodded her head and said, “Want to use my axe, instead?”
“I don’t think I can even wield it...” Gu Fei replied. Although the in-game equipment was not restricted to job classes and stats, there were still requirements that players needed to meet. It was just that these requirements were not listed properly in the form of data. For example, the official statement meant Mages were more than capable of equipping Xiaoyu’s huge axe, but wielding it was a different thing altogether. In a way, item usage was still dependent on a player’s stats; unfortunately, the crafty developers had chosen not to reveal how many stat points were needed to equip items for the different job classes.
“Oh. Then, let’s go buy a weapon you can wield!” Xiaoyu persuaded.
“I’ll just go on my own. Didn’t you mention earlier that you’re looking for someone living in that mansion to get gold ore or something? Why don’t you do that now? I’ll go over there to join you once I finish my purchase,” Gu Fei suggested.
“Okay!” Xiaoyu agreed, “See you later!” She waved her hand and headed toward the mansion near the church.
With Xiaoyu gone, Gu Fei quickly ran after Chief Edwin who was still on his way back. Gu Fei took out Flames of Baptism once he had caught up to him, “Chief Edwin, please plate this sword with silver!”
While Gu Fei doubted that the ditzy Xiaoyu would recognize that the Flames of Baptism was the Masked Slayer’s weapon yesterday, he still decided to play it safe and not show her the weapon in the meantime.
Chief Edwin said nothing and took Flames of Baptism from Gu Fei. He pulled out a small vial of silver-colored liquid and poured it onto the blade of Flames of Baptism as he chanted arcane words, resulting in a silver glow. The overall color of the Flames of Baptism had not changed, but a thin silver coating could now be seen on the edge of the blade. Gu Fei, however, could not tell where it exactly was upon closer inspection.
“Oh, Chosen Hero, we are counting on you,” Chief Edwin returned the Flames of Baptism to Gu Fei.
Gu Fei focused his gaze on it. Flames of Baptism had been renamed as Sacred Flames of Baptism. There was now a new trait besides the 30% fire attack proc rate: nullify regeneration.