Chapter 8: Free, or…?
After spending half the day dallying about the village, the in-game time had already turned to evening and it was also dinner time in real life. If he went about as he usually did, it would be around the time he went downstairs to buy some instant noodles again.
Yue Qiang did not continue exploring inside the game. Instead, he calmly put down his mouse and used a very short amount of time to come up with a small plan.
He wanted to make an experiment. That experiment where he could level up his character outside the game.
The first thing Yue Qiang did was to sweep out everything under his bed with a broom.
As a standard hikikomori, the thing he had the most under his bed was, of course, used and unwashed stinky socks.
He had to admit that it really stank.
Yue Qiang picked the smelliest pair out of the group; a black and a gray one and wore it on his feet.
Then he went to the toilet to find a pair of slippers.
After he tidied things up for a bit, he found a pair of flip flops that had lost its bottom. He weighed it in his hands, thought that it was okay and proceeded to wear it on his feet.
Again, he had to admit that wearing flip flops on a pair of socks was a super weird combination. Not only the socks smelled really bad, their colors didn’t even match.
This wasn’t the end of it. From the washing machine he dug out an old man’s T-shirt and wore it, then he swiped a handful of dust from the windowsill and rubbed it into his hair. After he was done, Yue Qiang looked at himself in the mirror…
Hmm, okay. Now this is about right.
With this ‘outfit’, Yue Qiang then went outside.
His first objective was to personally verify whether or not that 16 points of Charisma was real or not, to see if the game had really given him some inexplicable powers or it was just his bunch of bad friends playing a prank on him.
Yue Qiang arrived at a pretty famous hairdressing salon in the city.
“Boss, please give me a haircut.”
“Mister…” The receptionist was a pretty hot babe who upon seeing the dust on his hair, smelling the stink on his body and especially that mismatched combination of bottomless flip flops and socks, came this close to throwing him out of the salon. But the moment she saw Yue Qiang’s eyes – no, more accurately speaking, the moment Yue Qiang stared into her eyes – the receptionist girl’s perception changed.
“Mister, what kind of haircut do you want?” the girl said meekly, “We have the 388 Yuan package, the 588 Yuan package, and the finest, top class 888 Yuan sexy time service. We will definitely in every way be able to meet your design and modeling needs.”
Yue Qiang thought for a while and said, “I want to have my head shaved.”
The receptionist girl was surprised, but when Yue Qiang stared at her again, her eyes changed once more, “Mister, our high-class salon will be able to meet your needs even if it is something like a bald haircut. Also, I personally think that it is extremely fitting for your disposition.”
Soon, the bald haircut was done.
The bald Yue Qiang stood in front of the counter, stared into the girl’s eyes and said, “I want to be exempted from my bill.”
When Yue Qiang said this he pretended to be very calm and collected, when in truth he was nervous to the extreme. Throughout the entire process, he stared firmly into the receptionist girl’s eyes and did not avert his gaze in the slightest. The receptionist girl’s eyes did not change, nor did her expression show any surprise. In a perfectly ordinary tone she said, “Oh mister, we couldn’t get such a high-end customer like you even if we begged them to come. Exempting your bill is but a small matter.”
Upon saying so, the receptionist girl and the two princesses at the front door then gracefully escorted Yue Qiang out of the high-class salon.
After Yue Qiang left, he did not go back home just yet. Instead, he went to yet another incredibly famous bar in the city.
It was the same weird à la carte and the same weird drink orders. He even ordered a beautiful hostess.
After he finished eating, again he asked to exempt his bill.
When he made his request Yue Qiang stared at the hostess girl and never looked away. But her expression was normal, and she even took on a teasing tone, “Oh handsome, do you know how handsome you really are? I’m afraid we are the ones who should be paying to be able to have you drink with us.
Before he left, she also threw him a wink and said, “Feel free to come by to have some fun!”
Yue Qiang left.
Throughout the night, he went to many luxurious venues and made many baffling, if not outright exotic requests. While the receptionists’ replies were somewhat normal in the beginning, the moment they matched eyes with Yue Qiang, they would become both meek and obedient.
It was eleven at night. After exiting from a luxurious club, he did not look for another entertainment venue and continue his crusade. Instead, he ran to the riverside.
The riverside’s night wind was quite strong and caused his shaved head to feel chilly.
He felt a lot more sobered up.
There was no doubt that tonight’s experiment had concluded successfully to a certain degree.There was no doubt that something had changed within himself. However, was this really the so-called power of ‘Charisma’? Were these changes really caused by the 8 free distribution stat points that he somewhat carelessly allocated under ‘Charisma’?
On the surface, it did seem to be true. With an outlook of poverty, he somehow managed to fulfill all of his exotic requests at every luxurious venue, and even his requests to exempt his bills were easily accepted by all kinds of receptionists. To say that it was his high charisma that caused all those people to blindly worship him without reason was a plausible explanation.
And yet, he couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t quite right.
Suddenly, it struck him. He started feeling cold sweat pouring down his back.
Suppose that it wasn’t him, but the President of the United States who was freeloading while wearing a smelly pair of black-and-grey socks, a pair of bottomless flip flops, and an old man’s T-shirt that stank so bad it would choke any passerby. He most likely wouldn’t receive the same treatment as he did, would he? Even if the President’s charisma was lower than his right now, there couldn’t possibly be too much of a difference.
He suddenly realized that he had probably fallen into a jumbled web.
At first, he thought that this was just an enhanced version of a malicious trial software developed by some unnamed game company. Then, he guessed that it was a prank by a close friend.
When he came out tonight, freeloading and drinking and rubbing the hostess’ thighs, for just an instant he really thought that he had become the cheat of legends. But now, as he sat by the river and felt the cool river breeze, he regained a mind of clarity.
There must be something that I’m missing.
And to find the answer, I will probably have to get back into the game.
His progress in game seemed to have reached a stagnant point. If he could not increase his stats quickly within three months, then he and the entire village would be swallowed up by the unknown existence mentioned by the blacksmith. And according to his latest received information, it would be incredibly difficult to level up in this game – There are no shortcuts on the path of martial arts!
It would seem that he had been caught in a dilemma.
The good news was that Yue Qiang already had an idea when he first left the house.
Testing the ‘truth’ of his Charisma was only the first step of his plan. The second step was the real key to his whole plan.
If he was to succeed in this part of the plan, then he would gain the basic power needed to continue exploring in the game and with that, the possibility of pursuing the truth.
Yue Qiang reaffirmed his beliefs once more.
He arrived at the city’s largest business district. There was a very high-class gym in this place.
It was already midnight and traffic was scarce.
Yue Qiang slowly walked inside.
From the beginning, this was the place that he had intended to come.