After they all finished their meals, they were ready to go to sleep. Bowler went to had a chat with Fierce Flame again. Jack couldn't blame him, it would be much more interesting chatting with an attractive girl than with a man like him. The girl, however, mostly just listened. It was Bowler that did all the talking. It was remarkable already that the girl didn't chase him away for keep on bothering her.
When Jack felt slightly lonely and consider if he should go and join them, he heard Peniel's voice. "Why don't you add them to your friend list? They seem like trustable enough."
"Yep, now that there were other players in your vicinity, there should be another page in your status window," Peniel explained.
Jack opened his status window interface and flipped through it. There was indeed another page after the Auxiliary Skills page, but it was empty. There was an option at the bottom of the page to add friends. He clicked on it and there were two options, Enter player's alias or Search for players in the vicinity. He clicked on the Search for players, and two names popped out, Star Bowler and Fierce Flame. The system asked to choose which name to be added as a friend.
"What's the benefit of having friends?" Jack asked Peniel.
"Mostly it is for convenience to keep in contact with your friends. You could also know their rough position. Your Friends Page will have the information about which country they are currently residing in. You will also be notified if they are within the same region as you. If you need to contact them, you can spend some coins to send a written message. The amount of coins needed depends on how far they are from you."
"Ah, I see," Jack commented. "I can send them Private Messages. So in other words, it is a built-in mobile phone function."
"What's a mobile phone?" Peniel asked in confusion.
"Never mind," Jack said. "Let's give it a try."
He clicked on Star Bowler. A system sound was heard, "do you wish to add Star Bowler as your friend?"
"Yes," Jack replied.
"A friend request has been sent. If the target agreed with your request, you will officially be friends."
He looked at Bowler who was still in a middle of a conversation. He stopped abruptly as if something had interrupted him. He turned and looked towards Jack for a moment before he made a gesture. Jack heard a notification immediately.
"Star Bowler had accepted your friend request."
Bowler gave Jack a thumbs-up, Jack replied with a wave before he returned his attention to his status window again. There was now a name inside his Friend page.
Star Bowler (male, age: 21)
Magician, level: 9
Tutorial World (within same region, distance: 9 meters)
'He is 21? So he is two years younger than me,' Jack thought in his mind.
There was a message option beside the name. He clicked on it and heard, "please say your message."
"Don't chat too late, get some rest soon. We will have an early start tomorrow," he said, and then heard system voice, "message cost 1 copper coin. Do you wish to send the message?"
"You don't need to speak the message out loud, you know," Peniel informed from his side?
He decided to give it a try, he rejected the approval to send the message and then make another message request. This time he said the message in his mind. The message registered and it repeated the previous question if he wanted to spend 1 copper coin to send the message.
'This is interesting,' he thought. With this silent messaging system, it was possible for a tactical application during combat.
"The cost is quite cheap," he said.
"That is because he is within 30 meters from you," Peniel replied. "Once he went past that distance, the cost will increase. And it will increase exponentially the further away the distance of your friend is from you. If your friend is in another country, it is possible the cost goes up to over 10 gold coins per message."
"10 gold coins? That's absurd. I haven't even seen a gold coin yet. Who would want to pay that many coins just for a single message?" Jack protested, but after giving the matter some thought, he thought it make sense. After all, in real life, international calls were also very expensive.
He then proceeded to accept the 1 copper coin cost just for the sake of testing the message. He looked at Bowler, who had a weird expression due to getting interrupted again in the middle of his conversation. He made some gestures and not long after, Jack received a reply message from him.
"Yes, boss. By the way, this Friend function is quite convenient. I've persuaded Flame to add us as friends as well. You should receive her friend request soon."
'Really?' Jack thought in his mind. The rate at which Bowler befriended the stoic girl was rather astonishing. The man's face was rather handsome, perhaps that gave him the benefit of ease in establishing friendship with the opposite sex.
Not long after Bowler's message, Jack really did receive a friend request from Fierce Flame. Even though he had gotten a heads up on it, he was still no less amazed by the request. He accepted it, and another name appeared on his Friend page.
Fierce Flame (female, age: 20)
Ranger, level 10
Tutorial World (within same region, distance: 9 meters)
So she was twenty years old. His guess wasn't far off. For a young girl like her to be able to survive by herself in such a condition and reached level 10, it was rather impressive. There was a high possibility that she was already experienced in VR games to have such an achievement.
"Wait!" He suddenly realized something. "I can see their class. In other words, they can also do the same. Doesn't that mean they are already aware that I have two classes?"
"No, as I said before, your dual-class is an anomaly," Peniel answered. "The page most likely only displayed your main class, which is the Fighter class."
"Really?" He observed Bowler and Flame. From their normal reaction after becoming their friend. He supposed that was likely the case.
He then noticed another page after the Friend page. Its name was Party page. He opened that page and found that it was almost identical to the Friend page. It was totally empty with an option to invite Players at the bottom of the page.
"I can use this to party with other people?" Jack asked.
"Yes," Peniel said. "Once you formed a party, the experience points received will be divided equally between party members. It was for this reason that I have not informed you till now. The damage you inflicted on monsters was clearly above them, without a party, you will receive most of the experience points. But if you formed a party, you would have received less than you should be. There are some buffs and benefits that you can receive after partying, but the conditions for those are still some distance in the future."
"I see," he guessed that was true. If there was no benefit, there was no point in forming a party.
He closed his status window and stored his Apprentice Cooking Stove and took out his Camping Tent. He gave another wave to both Bowler and Flame, who nodded. He could glance from Flame's body language that she wished Bowler could just take a hint and leave her alone to rest. He decided to not interfere, and went inside his tent to take his rest
"Keep guard again for another night, ok?" He said to the empty air.
There was only silence.
"Please?" Jack added.
"Fine! Fine!" Peniel replied in exasperation.