Chapter 10 - Free Mode
Ouyang Shuo walked to the east wing of the Lord’s Manor, and found General Shi reading a book on military history. He did not bother him, but the General quickly felt him watching.
He turned and saw Ouyang Shuo standing at the door. Quickly, he rose and bowed in salute, calling out, “Lord!” Then, puzzled, he asked, “Since the lord already came, why did you not enter? There's nothing to fear”
Ouyang Shuo laughed. “Seeing you concentrating so hard, I could not bear to disturb you.”
General Shi smiled and scratched his head. “My lord laughs. I just like to read the books on war in my leisure time. I do not know what else to say to the lord. Have you come to tell me something?”
“Yes, there is something I need to ask you. Yesterday, you returned and said you had encountered a group of wild goats. I do not know their location. Can you find them again?”
General Shi frowned, thinking for a moment, and slowly said, “I remember that the group of goats numbered fifty or so. Some were killed by the wild dogs; the rest scattered and fled.”
“It is so. At the moment, there is no livestock in the territory, and meat is very scarce. Yesterday you mentioned the goats in passing. I was wondering, could we not capture them and bring them back to be domesticated?”
General Shi was surprised for a moment. “The lord is really farsighted, I admire you. With the lord’s permission, I will go and see if find where I met them, and follow their tracks.”
“That sounds hard, I will wait for you to bring any good news.”
After sending General Shi away, Ouyang Shuo began to wander in the village to assess the progress of the construction everywhere. At rest time, he sat down and chatted with everyone, listening to them and giving them attention.
In this way, the villagers would gradually recognize the work of a meticulous, intelligent, yet approachable lord. On seeing him, they would take the initiative to salute greetings. Ouyang Shuo was not haughty, and gave each of them a smile in response.
Before lunch, the fence was finished. At the entrance gate to the village, they put up a simple wooden gatehouse. Above the gate, they engraved ‘Shanghai Village’, three simple characters that declared that the mountain village was officially rooted in the wilderness.
At 3 PM, General Shi came back, bearing both good news and bad news. The good news was that on his patrol he met a bandit riding a horse, and after killing him, gained both a horse and an iron sword. The bad news was that the wild goats had left no trail, and effectively vanished into thin air, so Ouyang Shuo could only pine over their loss.
Ouyang Shuo took the horse and iron sword from the General, and looked at their stats.
Name: Poor horse (bronze)
Weight: 30 kg
Speed: 20 km / day
Consumption: 3 units of forage / day
Evaluation: This can barely be ridden. Absolutely not a warhorse.
Name: Poor iron sword (bronze grade)
Evaluation: Iron sword is a defective product, please use with caution.
At this stage, even bronze-level equipment was rare. Suddenly he had two without even using his own hands. If he were to let other players know, they’d be half-dead with envy.
This was part of the advantage of lord-class players, the higher the risk, the higher the chance of better drops. These kind of high level monsters were nothing in the eyes of General Shi. With the horse and iron sword, Ouyang Shuo could now go out and inspect his own territory, he didn’t need to stay in the village all day. Before learning the basics of riding and spearmanship, he was nearly useless.
In the evening, the small residential courtyard and dining hall had both been built. During the feast in the new dining hall, Ouyang Shuo began to shift everyone’s accommodations.
The main hall of the Lord’s Manor was the living room, which was being used for hospitality and any proceedings. There were rooms to the right and left of the living room. To the east was his office; on the west was his bedroom.
There were courtyards on both sides of the room, with another two rooms off of them. The east room was General Shi’s, while the west currently held the ten people from Zhao village.
Last night ten people slept there, but they’d barely had enough room.
After the completion of the small residential courtyard, he had room for twenty people to live. Tonight, most of the Zhao people would move away, leaving only Zhao Dexian and Zhao Youfang in their new home. The previously empty west wing would now accommodate Cui Yingyu on one side, and Dr. Song and Er Wazi in the other.
Over the next three days, the territory began to build up rapidly. The public bathrooms, blacksmith shop, quarry, and grocery store had all been built, and they’d added four more residential courtyards.
The logging and quarry areas had also begun operating, with ten farmers arranged each day to produce 100 units of wood and 50 units of stone.
He didn’t know why, but he must have consumed too much good luck for the first couple of days, because he only received three special talents out of the 45 new immigrants over these three days.
The junior mason Zheng Shangun was a middle-aged man, whom Ouyang Shuo appointed as the quarry manager. Merchant Li Fugui, a fat old man, was put in charge of the grocery store.
The biggest surprise was a senior shipbuilder, who was also the second highly-skilled person in the territory. He was called Zheng Dahai, a thirty year old with a dark complexion, short and pithy.
It was early morning in the game as Ouyang Shuo came on at his usual time. Opening the door to the courtyard was always fun. General Shi was practicing his spearmanship like normal. Like his officers, martial arts was practiced until it was an instinct, not practicing made his whole body itchy.
Dr. Song was in the courtyard on the other side, doing kung fu. In the corner of the courtyard,Er Wazi was playing with Blackfang while feeding him.
Since receiving the iron sword three days ago, he had also joined the ranks of early morning martial arts. General Shi was happy to provide him guidance, or the road to mastery would’ve taken many detours.
The sword was the most profound military weapon, and the most difficult to learn. Practice started with the broadsword. It was a one-handed flat sword, straight and pointed, practiced for 3-5 hours a day, until you could accurately tell the difference in weight from an insect landing on the blade.
Ouyang Shuo understood the reason for this practice: it was part of how the game handled skills.
In Earth Online, the skills of the players were divided into system boot mode and free mode. Boot mode meant the skills of a book. After reading them you didn’t control them. When improving mediation skills, for example, the game would automatically display any improvements.
Free mode was something original to Earth Online, where the player learned skills, and the contents of a book were imprinted in the mind. Then, the players had to act in accordance with the moves and practice tips in their mind, actually putting in practice time like martial arts in general.
So players in the game practiced, and through the system’s spiritual connection, the memory of this exercise was passed to the reality of their body. Through repeated training, this exercise was strengthened into instinct. In this case, the player could in reality, with a little practice, wake up his body’s memory, and in the real world display the game’s martial arts.
Of course, the choice of free mode had a prerequisite in that it applied only to specific skill books open to free mode. Through the special skills books, Gaia had, through refining real martial arts, deduced the perfect reality-defying power law.
In reality, the ancient Wu family, by contributing martial arts texts, had access to the closed beta qualifications and custom game cabins. More importantly, with Gaia’s incredible computing ability applied to existing martial arts powers, combined with modern human medical research, they had formed a new and more complete science of martial arts abilities.
These abilities were infuriatingly hard to practice because of the extremely rare internal energy requirements. Things like spearmanship were, in the end, only a kind of physical memory. To really master the sword, you needed to repeatedly practice it in reality.
Practicing internal force was completely different. You had to stir the spirit and body to produce internal force, and then control your qi while running it through your meridians.
Therefore, the players in the game practiced internal strength. In reality, the game cabin had an intelligent system that stimulated the same thing, so that your body also produced internal forces, and the nutrient delivery system accurately transported the energy required for cultivation. It was not just more practical than real practice, but was also more efficient and a perfect combination of ancient kung fu and modern technology.
In fact, this was also part of the interplanetary plan codenamed ‘Hope’. After all, right now nobody was aware of the condition of planet Hope. Was it a primitive planet, had it evolved to a high level, or was there another civilization there? Everything was unknown. In this case, being able to enhance the physical abilities of the people was a good choice.
These scientific martial art powers were put in every corner of the game for players to explore. Beta players were unable to distinguish between the true and false powers.
A year after release, after every human alive had logged in, Gaia had announced the way to differentiate between true and false. The method was simple, any power ending with ‘by’ or ‘Code’ were true, and anything ending with ‘surgery’ or ‘law’ was false. There was only one exception, and that was that all the basic skills were true, such as the basic riding and spearmanship skills, which Ouyang Shuo was currently learning.
In his past life, one of the Six Tyrants of Handan, Feng Qingyang, had been the representative of the ancient Wu family, and relying on his own judgement of martial arts, discovered Gaia’s method, and how to judge which methods were true and false.
Within a year, the Wu family secretly hoarded a massive number of real powers, and so when Gaia announced the truth, it left them crying into their cups. In this world, Ouyang Shuo would naturally take advantage of his knowledge.
Back in the courtyard, Ouyang Shuo began in accordance with the basic spearmanship tips, practicing large swings. He was ready to continue with the practice, as he hadn’t found any martial arts powers to work with yet.
Due to his rebirth, he naturally wanted to spend the most time practicing the best skills. Because of this arrogance, he didn’t want to spend a lot of time practicing basic skills. In China, there was a set of the highest level of classic internal strength manuals, broken into three sets of powers. In the past five years, nobody had gotten more than two of them.
In this world, Ouyang Shuo’s goal was to cobble together these three sets of skills, combined with the strongest internal strength books, and make their fusion his strongest trump card.
After practicing with a large spear for a whole hour, Ouyang Shuo ended his morning exercises. Carrying the spear, he walked towards the living room. Every morning at 9 AM, the managers of the territory gathered there, a rule he had set the day before.
At this stage, only five people were participating in the proceedings there. General Shi, Trade Manager Cui Yingyu, Construction Manager Elder Dexian, Logging Manager Zhao Youfang, and Quarry Manager Zheng Shanpao.
In addition, if there were additional issues, relevant personnel could be invited to attend. For example, today’s issues were related to the construction of the dockyard, so Ouyang Shuo had informed senior shipbuilder Zheng Dahai to attend today.