"It's enormous." Bun-hit-dog gasped. "This can't be the place where newbies first enter?"
The main gate slowly opened as the car entered the gates. The first thing that came into sight was the magnificent lookout tower, sandbag barricades, and the barracks. Fully-armed soldiers were standing guard and patrolling the area. Further into the encampment, they arrived at the residential district.
The layout of buildings in the residential district was much sparser and more casual than the structured planning of cities. There were no tall buildings as well. Families were strolling through the streets, and there were even hawkers calling out and making sales. With the lively chatter in the streets, it was like a mini-market.
The car rolled to a stop as several people alighted. Lu Cheng ordered several of his men to prepare a feast. Since he had invited Han Xiao to be his guest, he brought Han Xiao and the other two around for a tour as the host. Occasionally, some residents would greet Lu Cheng. It seemed Lu Cheng was well-respected by his people.
"That's my weapon factory over there. I have a specialized assembly line to make guns and ammunition." Lu Cheng pointed to a restricted region that was barricaded with a barbed-wire fence. Behind it were his warehouse, workshop, and weaponry experimental laboratory, and smoke could be seen escaping from the chimneys.
On the other side, there was a second quarantined area. Inside, there were many tents and about a few hundred vagrants living inside them. Their exposed skin was covered in gray ash, cracked like rocks.
"What is that place?" Bun-hit-dog asked curiously.
Sighing, Lu Cheng answered, "The Terminal Quarantine Area. Any resident with Grouper Plague has to stay there to prevent infections."
Han Xiao almost cried out in surprise. This type of illness was very infectious. In the version 2.0, it had spread and had caused some genetic mutations as well. He did not expect to find it here.
Just as he was about to say something, a sudden commotion could be heard from the Terminal Quarantine Area.
Sprinting in a frenzied manner, an infected resident rushed toward the barbed-wire fence. With all of his limbs, he tried to climb the fence to escape. However, the next second, a gunshot was heard. The security officer at the side reacted at lightning speed, firing at the man with his machine gun, turning this escaped resident into mesh as he fell to the ground. As he lay in his pool of blood, a viscous, yellow liquid could be seen pooling out from the corpse as well.
Several doctors in their white protective suits walked out and packed the corpse into a body bag. On the ground where the corpse was, they sprayed large jets of disinfectant.
The soldier who killed the escaping resident withdrew his gun, expressionless, as if he had just killed a worthless chicken.
The infected within the quarantine area watched this scene in silence, expressionless and numb. A thick atmosphere of despair hung in the air like a dark, heavy cloud.
"It is very hard to cure those who have been infected with this plague. To prevent them from spreading the plague to more people, we can only control it like this," Lu Cheng explained.
Han Xiao turned to look. Nearby, the residents looked as though everything was as usual, without a single trace of empathy on their faces.
"That's cold-blooded," Bun-hit-dog quietly said.
"At first, there were only tens of people who were infected. One infected knew that he couldn't be treated and escaped from the quarantine region, so the number of people infected increased to more than three hundred," Lu Cheng said dryly.
Bun-hit-dog was speechless.
You have triggered the quest [Origins of the Grouper Plague].
Quest Description: Black Pine Settlement is troubled by the spread of the Grouper Plague. To control this plague, what do you think you can do?
1. Find the source of the Grouper Plague
2. Control the plague from spreading
3. Treat all of the infected
Completed Requirement 1 20,000 EXP
Completed Requirement 2 40,000 EXP
Completed Requirement 3 60,000 EXP
All Requirements Completed 800 Black Pine reputation points, Vagrant Warrior Battle suit
Frenzied Sword and Bun-hit-dog both received the quest as well.
However, Han Xiao did not intend to complete this quest. He was still in a rush to find more fools No, to bring even more new players into the Mechanic Class. He needed to go to about ten or so novice villages, and a large wave of experience was waiting for him. Time was tight, and he had many things to do. How could he afford to slow down his footsteps?
Oh right, if the players complete their quests, can I claim the rewards, too? Han Xiao's eyes lit up. Looking at Frenzied Sword, who was completely unaware, he suddenly had a new idea.
"My men have prepared a feast." Lu Cheng sent out the invitation, and the few of them arrived at Black Pine's Central Building. It was like a mini castle, and the western point was called the Lord's Hall.
The dishes served in the feast were generous in quantity, meant to fill one's stomach. Black Pine Settlement had a harvest field where they grew their own crops, and they also had their own butchery, where they raised animals, such as highland cattle, chicken, and the black-haired short-snout hog. The vagrants' encampment consumed large amounts of resources every day. If they relied only on the Dark Net to obtain their resources, they would not be able to bear the costs, especially because it was extremely expensive. So, the residents learned to be self-sufficient, building their own tiny territory.
At the feast, Han Xiao and Lu Cheng were chatting casually when Lu Cheng eventually diverted the topic to the issue of repaying the favor to the Black Phantom. Dragging it on for so long, he felt very uneasy.
"Just take it as we've become friends. In the future, if anything crops up, feel free to look for me, and I'll help you out." Han Xiao left his phone number behind. He wanted to maintain his friendship with Lu Cheng so that he could find out when the Four Blueprint Quest began. Thinking for a while, he said, "Come to think of it, I need some help from you. I want to borrow your workshop and some materials to make something."
"No problem, I'll make arrangements right away." Lu Cheng felt more at ease. He felt reassured after Han Xiao finally brought up a request for him.
"Your territory has to deal with the issue of the Grouper Plague quickly, otherwise it might become a disaster. My friends will stay behind to help you out." Han Xiao suddenly slapped Frenzied Sword's back, who spat out all of the food in his mouth, coughing non-stop.
"Are you abandoning me?" Frenzied Sword asked disbelievingly.
I'm not interested in being your mom. Han Xiao held back his biting comments as he wrote up a few quests and tossed them out for Frenzied Sword and Bun-hit-dog to complete.
The gist of the quests was to have the two of them remain at Black Pine, resolve the issue of the plague, and improve their reputation in Black Pine. Han Xiao spent 200,000 EXP, splitting it between the both of them. The quests were all long-term ones, and he intended for both of them to stay at Black Pine.
With the remaining journey and tasks at the novice villages, there was no need to bring these two players with him. It made going online and offline inconvenient and slowed him down as well. He might as well just leave them to complete their quests in Black Pine.
For the gifted players he had selected, he was not only going to train them himself, but there was another benefit. That was, they could follow him and gain exposure to high-level fights. Compared to other players, they could expand their maps earlier, which was the main attraction in allowing players to follow him. For now, allowing the gifted players to complete other tasks and train by grinding was useful in developing their individual unique skills. It could allow them to explore and tap into their potential. It also gave him more time to himself to do other tasks.
As for the rewards that these gifted players received, sooner or later, a part of it would come back to him. If Frenzied Sword completed the plague quest, Han Xiao could get some experience as well, and Frenzied Sword would use a portion of the money he earned to buy equipment from Han Xiao.
Not only did he want to earn players' gold, but through players, he could earn NPCs' second-hand gold as well!
If Han Xiao was a mother ship, the players that he took under his wing would be akin to a fleet of fighters. No matter how many achievements they obtained, they would still have to return to their home base and repay him. Of course, that was only under the condition of him being able to achieve and attain even greater benefits. On this note, he was still very confident. Other than the players themselves, there was no other person who understood players better than him.
I'm such a genius.
Frenzied Sword could only agree to Han Xiao's arrangements, and he was actually quite satisfied. Black Pine was a high-level map, and the rewards for each quest were quite generous too. Bun-hit-dog had even less objections. The materials he had looted were already enough. Staying in Black Pine meant that he did not have to worry about losing track of Han Xiao. He could focus on making the first episode of his video.
Lu Cheng felt that Frenzied Sword and Bun-hit-dog's abilities were very mediocre and could not help much. But on Han Xiao's account, he expressed his thanks to them anyway.
At the dining table, they settled their plans. After eating, it was already past noon, and Lu Cheng went back to take a rest. The previous night, he had been battling and had not slept. In the morning, they were on the roads, rushing to get back, and he was thoroughly exhausted.
On the other hand, Han Xiao had slept on the car for a while and was in high spirits. He could move about Black Pine freely, so he gave some orders to the pilot of the Dark Net helicopter. Then, after bargaining with Antonio for ten over minutes, he arranged to lease the transport plane from the Fabian Company.
After that, under the Black Pine soldiers' lead, he headed toward the weapon factory area. The guards there received Lu Cheng's orders. Accordingly, they opened up the workshop for Han Xiao to use.
Lu Cheng had already arranged for his men to prepare the materials. Han Xiao began his work on the lathe. He needed to make some repairs to the Magnetically controlled retractable armor, and add on a load of ammunition and some Basic Storage Cubes, then create some small parts to be built onto the 'Sunworm' Flamethrower he had developed recently.
With its intelligence stat at 200, the machine's production speed was very fast, and there were other enhancing skills such as Machinery Affinity and Energy Stats Strengthened, which would create even better stats on the device to be created.
Sunworm Portable Flamethrower (Mini Flamethrower)
Grade: Blue (Good Quality)
Damage: 2734/s (Fire)
Power Output: 92
Fuel Type: HF Liquid Fuel
Energy: 210/210 (uses 1 Energy Point/s)
Side Effect: IntegrationThrough additions to the energy box, it is assimilated with one's body, convenient to carry.
Side Effect: Concentrated JetRaise efficiency of fuel, +33% DMG, +25% range, one tick of Burn Damage per 0.6s and lasting 12s, uses 8 Energy Points/s. After 12 seconds, immediately enters overload.
Side Effect: Adhesive BurningExtends target's burn state and increases effectiveness of burns
Remarks: Dancing flames, that is a warmth that is akin to romance.
Han Xiao raised his eyebrows. What kind of messed up remark is that?