Finally making your moves? Jack thought while looking at the blue dots on his radar.
He waited for them to come until they were pretty close before he turned around. A brawny man with a face full of beard stood at the front, blocking his view of the second person. He shifted his position and saw a skinny man behind, his face was rough with trimmed beard, and was a bit hunchbacked. They seemed to have stopped abruptly due to him turning around. The three men looked at each other awkwardly.
Did they try to sneak on me? Jack wondered and looked at their hands. They were unarmed. But he could not say for sure about the skinny man, as his view was blocked by his friend when he first saw him. He could have stored his weapon instantly using the advantage of the inventory system.
The brawny man suddenly let out a hearty laugh.
"Wahaha! It really is a player. What did I tell you!" He bellowed as he looked at his skinny friend.
The skinny person just smacked his lips as he squinted his eyes onto Jack.
"I am Ogre! This one's Mouse." The brawny man said as he pointed to his friend.
Those were clearly aliases, so Jack offered the same, "Storm Wind."
"That's a cool one," Ogre commented. "From the way you fight, I assume you are a Fighter?"
Jack nodded, "and you?"
"Same." He lifted his hand and a small hand axe appeared in his grip.
"Mouse here is a ranger." He added.
Both of them seemed familiar with the game mechanics, unlike the last acquaintance he made.
"So, why didn't you guys lend me a hand with that monster just now?"
"Why should we?" Mouse replied provocatively.
Ogre laughed and clapped Jack's shoulder. "We just want to see what you are made of," he said. "And it looks like you were able to handle that little monster anyway. So what level are you? We are both level 3 here."
Jack used his God-eye monocle to scan the pair. Ogre was a level 5 Fighter, while Mouse was a level 4 Ranger. The monocle also detected the armors they wore. Ogre sported five armors on his body, while Mouse had four. Even though all of them were common equipment, that was still awful lots of armors. He himself only had chest armor & boots even with non-stop grinding every day. How did they who were technically lower level than him got such an amount of equipment?
"I'm level 4," Jack reciprocated their dishonesty.
"That looks like a nice sword," Ogre commented while pointing at the sword Jack was holding.
He just realized that he still hadn't unsheathed his sword. He decided to keep it on the ready.
"Yes, it is," he replied flatly.
"What's so nice? It is still only common equipment," Mouse commented with disdain. "Look at him, all he got are chest armor and a sword. Beginner he is, I'd say."
Jack didn't bother to retort, his equipment quantity was indeed lacking compared to them. Mouse missed the fact that he also had a Sandal for his foot piece armor apart from the chest armor. He didn't intend to correct him, as his Sandal was not too out of place compared to his Leather armor, so it was sensible for him to view it as casual non-game attire. He was also not intending to correct Mouse's misjudgment on his sword's grade.
Ogre brushed off his partner's unfriendliness with a laugh. "So, are you alone?" He asked Jack.
"Yes, I am."
"Do you know what had happened to the world?"
"No. Do you?"
"Nope." He made a wide grin.
"You don't seem to be too bothered by it."
"Why would we? The world's the same mess either way. It's good that we have a change of scenery."
"What? You scared, little boy?" Mouse made another provocative comment.
Jack shrugged, "will feel much better if I know what has gone wrong."
"Who says anything is wrong? From the looks of it, you seemed to have played VR RPG games before? Now we can literally live in the game, what's so bad about it?"
"It's bad if you have so many monsters around you and you can lose your life to it," Jack replied.
"Don't worry too much, just enjoy it as you go. That's what I always say."
"Have you met people other than me?" Jack asked.
"No, you are the first ugly face we see," Mouse answered.
"Would you quit that!" Ogre reprimanded his friend. Afterward, he immediately wore his amiable smile again. "Please pardon him, he was always a grumpy one. So, what were you doing in this part?"
"I thought about leaving town, trying to see if this also happened in other places."
"Then you would have met the Wall, right? Forget about trying to see how far it goes. We were originally from the South-West district from here. We have followed the Wall for three days, there was no opening whatsoever."
"Are you saying we are trapped in this city?"
"Or maybe we are just not strong enough to be allowed out. We should focus on increasing our strength, that's the main rule in RPG games, right? We follow that rule, we will be just fine."
Jack contemplated what the guy said, it had some logic to it.
"Hey, how about you come to our place?" He suddenly offered.
"I thought you were from three-days walk from here?"
"We have to stay somewhere, right? We found this cool place and decided to stay there. How about it? Want to pay our place a visit?"
Jack was hesitant.
Ogre saw it and added, "that sword of yours has low durability already, right? There is something at our place that can repair that."
Jack was interested after hearing that. The Blade of Haste in his hand was actually still had more than half durability, but his first sword and his leather armor were indeed in low durability. And if he didn't find any means to repair them, sooner or later they would both become useless. So, if these guys really had a way to repair the durability, he indeed was very much interested to know.
"All right, let's go," he said.
"Great! Follow me," Ogre said with ardor.
Contrary to expectation, Mouse didn't make any remark to reject this. He just silently followed his partner.
It took them almost an hour to reach their place. It was one of the shops in a row of storehouses. The shop was a decent-sized building with a large parking lot. The front entrance had shelves with many automobile parts on display. A sign mentioned the place as an automobile workshop with an owner named Rick, which obviously should not be around anymore now that his place had become the gathering place of these few strangers.
They entered the workshop. There was a suspended car with four detached wheels that appeared like it was in the middle of a repair. Mouse went to one of the rooms at the other side, while Ogre led Jack to one of the workbenches. He detected several items of interest in his God-eye Monocle. One of which was on a pile of dirty clothes next to the workbench. It was a girl dress. He scanned it since it was in range.
Protective Dress (normal light armor)
Physical Defense: 3
Magical Defense: 2
Light armor was trademark armor for Ranger class according to the Beta guide, but this was a female version, why was it there?
"Are there other people here?" He asked Ogre.
"Nope, just the two of us," the guy replied. "You are the only other player we had seen since we found this place," he added jovially.
"That's what we call people who are left in this Game-world now."
Jack glanced at the dress another time but didn't pursue the issue further.
"Try putting your hands on this workbench," Ogre said. His face brimmed with pride as if he was showing off his treasure.
Jack had known from his monocle that the workbench was special, it had a different intensity of glow compared to the other items he detected, but he pretended to be oblivious. He touched the workbench as requested, and heard a sound of notification.
"Detected basic forge, you can open the interface to check available crafting options."
"A forge!" He was surprised. This workbench looked nothing like a forge, but he guessed that it could be considered as a modern forge. The traditional forge where people make swords and the likes was practically non-existent anymore in this current age.