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Announcement: My Absence

Hi everyone, I’m really sorry I mass ghosted ya’ll. Stuff just got bad for me near the end of the summer wrt personal relationships. Then the semester started and that got me even more behind cause I don’t do well with online work.

And I stopped really viewing this as just a hobby a while ago, so getting behind like this felt like something I wasn’t allowed to do, and announcing a hiatus so I could focus on school felt like it would be even worse.

As I went further without updates I felt too ashamed to face ya’ll. A reader reached out to me and said people are worried, so I figure it was time to get over myself.

I don’t have a date when I know I’ll be able to get back to regular schedules, cause it looks like online school is going to last a while thanks to the US COVID-19 response.

However, my finals are next week, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some time once they’re done and try to set up a rhythm again.

I’m really sorry for abandoning everyone. Next time, even if it feels hard, I’m going to make sure to communicate with you.

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Doomsday Lord

Doomsday Lord Ch. 182 | Administration

Having so many refugees arrive at his doorstep saved Cheng Yang the trouble of transported them from the Cloud City safe zone himself. Civilians were the backbone of a territory’s agricultural economy. Phoenix Village’s previous population of a hundred thousand civilians wasn’t quite enough to support the entire domain.

That number had suddenly doubled, and although Cheng Yang didn’t know for sure, the other villages should also have experienced explosive population growth. Rather than just satisfying his territory’s needs, Cheng Yang would even be able to export food!

So, Cheng Yang scrapped his plans to obtain laborers from the safe zone. Since he didn’t need it, it wasn’t necessary to risk bringing a spy to the village. A few spies wouldn’t be a huge problem, but it would be a hassle if Yuan Jianzhe tried something.

However, the refugees here would need to visit the safe zone eventually. There weren’t enough quota slots in the village, and it would be wasteful if those refugees were incapable of fighting. To leave a strong impression on them, Cheng Yang planned to force them to switch to the Farmer Profession before going to the safe zone.

That’s why Old Lee and his assistants were registering all of the refugees and current citizens. The registry was more than just a name and an age. The most important part was the individual’s plans for the future. Without a doubt, it was a very time-consuming job.

For those that didn’t want to fight, their only option was to become a farmer or get permission to switch to one of the other Professions. There were many such people. After all, working within the village’s confines guaranteed their safety and livelihood without fighting monsters. They wouldn’t have much, but they’d have clothes, food, and shelter.

Before the apocalypse, most people shied away from manual labor, but now countless people rushed to do it. Even if a soldier’s standard of living is several times higher than a farmer’s, some people will value their lives more. After all, if you weren’t forced to join, who would want to be in the military?

However, there would also be some people that wanted to get ahead. Becoming a soldier was the fastest way to gain power, wealth, and prestige. When the population survey is complete, Cheng Yang planned to take people like that to the safe zone to perform a class change ceremony.

The latest patch also introduced a change in the functionality of class change statues. Two new features were added: Naturalization and Fealty.

Those two functions were designed to allow people who performed their class change ceremony in a safe zone to become a part of a territory officially. The most obvious benefit was that the class change statue research bonuses would affect them.

Of course, there was a difference between Naturalization and Fealty.

Naturalizing an individual consumed a slot from the corresponding class change statue’s and bestowed its full research bonus onto the individual. However, if there weren’t any available slots, Naturalization was impossible.

Fealty allowed an individual to pledge loyalty to a territory and doesn’t require any open slots. The downside is that only half the research bonus will apply. Even so, it was a highly coveted process.

The number of people who could pledge Fealty to territory was also limited to a hundred times the class change statues’ total slots. Presently, Phoenix Village could apply Fealty to a few million people.

Cheng Yang watched Old Lee from a distance until the other man noticed him. When he did, Old Lee dropped what he was doing and walked over.

“My Lord, we have taken all of the refugees into the village for resettlement.” Old Lee said calmly.

“Great. How does it look so far?”

“Our current population is around two hundred seventy thousand, of which we’ve surveyed twenty thousand. Forty percent are willing to become Adventurers while the other sixty percent want to pursue a non-combat career. In general, older people tend towards non-combat positions, and younger people are more willing to fight.”

“That’s about what I expected.” Cheng Yang mused. “In other words, we’ll eventually have over a hundred thousand Adventurers… that’s a lot. Old Lee, come with me back to my place. We need to deliberate on how we want to handle this.”

Old Lee didn’t refuse. At this point, it didn’t matter whether he was here to supervise his assistant or not.

When they arrived at Cheng Yang’s Meditation Hall, they sat down to deliberate.

“Old Lee, our population increased by almost a hundred and sixty thousand people today. It was a surprise, even for me. If all of them performed a class change ceremony, their combat prowess couldn’t be looked down upon. It would increase the territory’s ability to defend itself from monsters, but that many Adventurers will be hard to control with only four thousand official soldiers. Do you have any suggestions?”

Cheng Yang already knew what methods of control worked and which ones led to disaster. The reason he asked Old Lee was to test him. In the future, Old Lee would occupy a vital position in his empire, and he needed to be worthy of it.

“My Lord, this subordinate was pondering on that problem while collecting the survey data. IF you intend to allow every civilian to perform a class change ceremony, we’ll need to expand our military. Otherwise, if there’s an emergency, we will only be able to respond passively.”

“Expansion will be necessary. Anything else?”

“If we examine how the gods’ rules work, you’ll see that Professionals aren’t the only threat to stability. Certain Professions will be an economic danger if they are left to their own devices. Therefore, it will be necessary to strengthen our control of people with Professions.” Old Lee tactfully kept his involvement in military matters to a minimum and focused on how his newly created administrative department could help. “Take Farmers, for example. To better manage them, we can divide them into groups based on their geographic proximity to one another. Managers would be assigned to each group of a hundred farms that we could designate as branches. We could further group these branches into a bureaucratic chain of command leading to you. A similar system could be implemented for other Professions as well. What do you think, my Lord?”

“A hundred is a bit much for a single administrative unit, but it should be fine for Farmers since they only do one thing. The details aren’t important right now, anyway.” Cheng Yang said after a few minutes of rumination. “Which do you think is better: an employment system or a taxation system?”

Old Lee hadn’t thought of that yet, so he needed some time to think about the question.

“My Lord, this subordinate feels it will be better to use an employment system at present. It would give the civilians a greater sense of security and better guarantee that the territory’s interests are addressed. Especially since all of the resources necessary for Farming and the other Professions are provided by us and protected by the military.” Old Lee said. “IF we used a tax system and set the taces too low, the territory will suffer, but if we set them too high, there will be discontent. Better to avoid the situation entirely. Moreover, everything produced, whether it be food, weapons, or other supplies, are strategic war materials. It would be for the best to have the government handle the distribution of those resources.”

Cheng Yang was satisfied when he heard Old Lee’s answer since it coincided with his current plans. A tax system would only be viable once Phoenix Village escaped a state of constant crisis.

“My Lord, how do you plan to handle the Adventurers?” Old Lee asked after seeing Cheng Yang’s expression and knowing his idea had been approved.

“That’s easy. We’ll suppress them with military strength but increasing the quality and quantity of our soldiers. Then, we’ll collect taxes from them. Every transaction they make will be taxed, including their food. We’ll assume people will attempt to evade the taxes and establish a system of punishments. Then, when an Adventuring group breaks the rules, punish them according to the publicized laws.”

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Doomsday Lord

Doomsday Lord Ch. 181 | New Rules

The moment the gate cracked opened, the refugees rushed in like crazy. The ones in the front were pushed in by the ones in the back, and if they were too weak from malnutrition, they were trampled upon. It was a chaotic scene that soon filled the air with screams.

“Stop it.” Cheng Yang anxiously roared. If he let this continue, the civilians living in the village would get caught up in it. But, whatever authority Cheng Yang once held in their minds was long gone. Anyone that bothered to listen was pushed to the ground as the other continued to rush forwards.

Forced to make a quick decision, Cheng Yang used his authority to force the gate to shut on its own. Once it had closed, there was nothing the people outside could do to open it. Once they realized that, wails of despair replaced the screams from before.

Cheng Yang surveyed the scene with a horribly cold expression.

The chaos had only lasted a few seconds, but dozens of injured people lay on the ground. Most of them were moaning and crying out in pain, but a few laid perfectly still. If they weren’t dead, they would be soon.

“Restrain everyone who just came in.” As soon as Cheng Yang said the order, his soldiers sprang into action.

Aside from the people on the ground, a hundred or so people had made their way inside the walls. Except for the first dozen or so people who had been at the front, these refugees had forced their way inside and were responsible for the injured individuals on the ground. Now they would have to face the consequences of their actions.

Even as the soldiers rushed towards them, the refugees were congratulating themselves on being fast enough to avoid getting locked out. Once the first couple of them were captured, they panicked and tried to escape. However, the soldiers were too fast.. Without exception, the refugees were subdued and restrained.

The refugees didn’t know why they were being arrested, but even an idiot would realize what they needed to do next. Every one of them started crying out for forgiveness and begging Cheng Yang for mercy.

Cheng Yang didn’t bother listening to the pleas of his captives. He had no sympathy for people like them.

“Lock these ruffians into a Meditation Hall. Except for those that were pushed inside, sentence them to a year of forced labor. Let’s see how unruly they’ll be after that.”

It was a harsh punishment. The only jobs suitable for forced labor were those so dangerous that other civilians couldn’t be paid to do it. Furthermore, there was no way Cheng Yang would let any of them become Professionals.

At first, the detained refugees were relieved that Cheng Yang had spared their lives. However, it didn’t take long for them to realize the implications. Once they did, their relief turned to despair. If they were forced to toil while everyone else performed class change ceremonies, they’d be stuck at the bottom for the rest of their lives.

As the detainees were escorted away, Cheng Yang turned his attention to the mob outside the gate.

“You all seem a little too excited. The gate will remain closed for the next half hour. If you still aren’t calm by then, we’ll repeat the process.”

After making his announcement, Cheng Yang jumped down from the wall. Even though the refugees begged him to let them in, he pretended not to hear them. He didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

“Old Lee, keep an eye on the situation here. Don’t open the gate until their able to enter in an orderly fashion. If they want to enter my village, they’ll need to learn to follow my rules.”

As Cheng Yang walked towards the Inner Village, Old Lee got to work cleaning up the mess. He oversaw the healing of the injured and arranged the burial of those that died in the stampede.

He also divided the two battalions into four groups—one at each gate.

All that remained was to wait.

After a while, the crowd outside the gate settled down. They’d been loud and upset at first, but they came to understand that nothing they did or said would force the people inside to open the gates. So, since they had no other choice, they followed Cheng Yang’s instructions.

Even so, Old Lee didn’t open the gate. Cheng Yang said they’d have to wait at least half an hour. So, Old Lee wouldn’t open it any sooner. It was to uphold Cheng Yang’s authority and make sure the crowd stayed passive.

Once the required time had passed, Old Lee opened the gate. At the same time, the other three gates opened as well.

This would have been impossible in the past since there were only three people in the village capable of controlling the gates. Now, however, the gates were controlled with a lever that anyone could use. Of course, Cheng Yang could still control the gates like before.

There were pros and cons to this new rule. The defense system was much more flexible now since the soldiers didn’t need to wait for an approved individual, but the gates also needed powerful guards.

This time the refugees were much more subdued. To make sure it stayed that way, Old Lee had the soldiers standing in neat lines with their weapons drawn. It sent a clear message.

Under the direction and coordination of Old Lee, the refugees were divided into batches and sent to various places in the outer village. There weren’t any houses, but the walls provided a strong sense of security.

The initially crowded village was starting to feel claustrophobic. There were only nine square kilometers of space but enough people for Phoenix Village to count as a small country. There were no tall buildings to make it worse, so everyone had to huddle together on the ground.


While Old Lee handled the refugee crisis, Cheng Yang was using the Barracks’ training facilities.

The patch applied by the gods today introduced far more than just Farmers and refugees. It had fundamentally changed the rules of combat.

Previously, the Mana cost and damage of a skill were set in stone. Today’s patch allowed a person to control the amount of Mana used. The maximum limit was the current amount needed to use the skill, but you could use less if you didn’t need your full strength to kill a monster.

Another combat change was the introduction of friendly fire. Now, even if you were running an instance dungeon together or were part of the same Army or Party, if an ally’s attack hit you, it would deal damage.

However, neither of those changes was the reason Cheng Yang was using the training facilities. After all, he was more used to this new style of combat than the old one.

He was here because he had nothing better to do than hone his skills. It wasn’t worth it to hunt monsters anymore since he made so many Experience Fragments from the Auction House, so he might as well spent time training.

From now on, his schedule would consist of training in the Barracks, governing the villages, and clearing Nightmare Difficulty instance dungeons.

Cheng Yang was a bit of a flake before. Even though he was the Lord, he would spend his time farming monsters and running instance dungeons. He spent less than an hour each day supervising the village.

However, if Cheng Yang hadn’t focused so much on his personal growth, the territory wouldn’t have grown either. It was that work that allowed him to comfortably make money from the Stones of Return and his special potions. Now he had time to focus on the village instead of desperately kill monsters.

He had even less reason to go hunting now that his soldiers had matured enough to do that themselves. Whether it was dealing with hordes or cleaning up scraps, the battalions of Phoenix Village could handle it.

Cheng Yang used the training facility for three hours before leaving the Barracks.

He visited the Outer Village and found Old Lee hard at work.

Old Lee was with several soldiers from the army he hoped to bring into his newly formed administrative department. There was no shortage of soldiers, so a few being diverted from active combat. Their main job was to compile statistics about the refugees and their resettlement.

Cheng Yang said he was lax in his administration of the territory because he didn’t pay any attention to the civilians living there. At the time, they weren’t productive and were only a drain on his resources. Even now, he didn’t want to deal with them, so he passed the burden to Old Lee. Something he excused by saying the majority of the territory administration would come from civilians.

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Doomsday Lord

Doomsday Lord Ch. 180 | Accident

After making Old Lee the Governor, he summoned the head of the Imperial Guard to announce Old Lee’s new authority. At the same time, two Imperial Guard members were assigned the duty of escorting Old Lee and acting as his assistants.

Cheng Yang didn’t plan for Old Lee’s new assistants to stay with him for very long since it was a wasteful use of their abilities. Rather, it was a choice made to discourage the civilians from causing a ruckus. Old Lee was well known among the soldiers, but the Imperial Guard was better known among the civilians since they handled public security.

Finally, Cheng Yang wrote and signed a notice of appointment and had someone hold it outside the Alchemy Tower.

It was funny to see a piece of printer paper taped to the door, but Cheng Yang was helpless when it came to choosing a location. Unless the system built it, structures inside the walls would collapse within an hour.

Thankfully that was another privilege that would be included in the next patch. As long as it was strictly above ground, the gods would allow people in the territories to build their own structures. Of course, they would be far inferior to something made by the system.

One of the plans Cheng Yang made with Old Lee was to set up a few temporary buildings to use for administration. First, an office for the two of them and then other facilities like a Health Department, a Logistics Department, a Construction Department, a Department of Public Security, etc.

Cheng Yang was a layman on those matters. In his previous life, the closest he got to helping build something was fetching the tools people needed. After all, as an Adventurer, he’d never been allowed to enter a Lord’s inner circle. Fortunately, Old Lee was very experienced with construction, allowing Cheng Yang to rest easy and leave it to him.

“My Lord!” Suddenly Zhao Chuan ran up to Cheng Yang and Old Lee. “My Lord, something strange is happening outside. All of a sudden, a large group of people showed up right outside the wall. They’re dressed like humans, but they might be NPCs. You should see for yourself.”

At first, Cheng Yang was shocked, but a moment later, everything made sense.

“Don’t worry. These people aren’t a threat to us. They’re refugees that have been living in the wilderness since the earthquake struck. Let them in and help them get settled.” Cheng Yang said, “Old Lee, I’ll leave this task in your hands.”

Old Lee nodded them turned to Zhao Chuan.

“General Zhao, how many refugees are out there?”

“A lot, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more people out there than in the village.” Zhao Chuan said, trusting in Cheng Yang’s judgment. “I didn’t have time to check everyone with my Inspect skill, but I’m fairly certain no one there is a Professional.”

Cheng Yang already knew about the Inspect skill, but this was Old Lee’s first time hearing about it, so he asked Zhao Chuan to show him the skill’s system pane.


  • Identify (Low-Grade): View another creatures system pane with information redacted based on the relative difference in strength | Cost: 5 MP | Duration: 30 sec | Proficiency: 13.4%

“What a convenient skill! It’ll be even better in the future.” Old Lee said with an envious sigh. “My Lord, I’ll go take a look, but… I’ll need the help of one of the battalions if I’m going to maintain order among that many civilians.”

“Find Lu Cheng and have the Righteous Avenger’s battalion help you. Zhao Chuan, have your Snow Lepard battalion help out as well.” Cheng Yang said with a grin. “Oh yeah, you probably don’t know yet, but Old Lee stepped down as a general so he could focus on territory management. However, he still has the same level of authority as you.”

Zhao Chuan wanted to say something but held his tongue. If Cheng Yang had agreed to it, the decision was final. There was no reason to argue.

Then, Old Lee and Zhao Chuan left to deal with the refugees.

After they left, Cheng Yang traveled towards the village’s outskirts and reached it a few moments later.

Quite a few people were milling around the base of the wall. A few of them were scattered about the perimeter, but most of them were clustered near the gate, trying to get in.

The sea of people felt even bigger than the sea on monsters he’d fought a few days earlier. If all of the gates were like this, the previous estimate Zhao Chuan gave him would be far too low.

The other thing Cheng Yang noticed was the noise. Tens of thousands of people desperate clamoring for the gate to open. Most of them begged and pleaded, but a few were less polite with their demands.

Cheng Yang had suspected as much, and now he could confirm that these people were the refugees from the cities without safe zones. Moreover, the satellite villages probably had refugees on their doorstep too.

It was unexpected, but it made sense that this would happen. In his previous life, no one had claimed a Territory Altar yet, so naturally, all of the refugees would be sent to the safe zones. Since safe zones and territories were similar existences, of course, some of the refugees would end up here this time around.

Extrapolating from previous population data, we can guess that there would be around seven million people within the range of the Cloud City safe zone before the apocalypse. Assuming two-thirds died, there would still be three million survivors. Excluding the half-million already in the safe zone and rounding down, there would be at least two million refugees arriving today.

Assuming all the villages under Cheng Yang’s control were in a similar situation, there would be five hundred to seven hundred thousand survivors diverted away from Cloud City.

Even so, with over a million people suddenly appearing in the safe zone, Yuan Jianzhe would have a hard time. The chaos wouldn’t last as long as in his previous life, but the safe zone would be inoperable for at least four or five days.

The safe zone had a lot of advantages in keeping order. Killing was forbidden in the safe zone, and since everyone who passed through the screen of light was imprinted with knowledge about the gods’ rules, they wouldn’t be willing to try anything dangerous.

Suddenly Cheng Yang frowned. He wasn’t worried about Pheonix Village’s ability to control the refugees, but the satellite villages wouldn’t know how to handle the matter. It would be especially tricky for the ones near Yicheng.

While he was ruminating, some refugees recognized that Cheng Yang seemed to hold some authority in the village. When they did, they shouted at him to open the door, causing the rest to join in. Inevitably, some of them crossed the line with their words.

It was no wonder why these people were so desperate. What if a monster appeared?

Realizing the situation would spiral out of control if he stayed silent, Cheng Yang addressed the crowd.

“Be quiet. The gate will open for you soon.” Thanks to his high stats, Cheng Yang’s voice was loud enough to drown out the refugees’ squabbling and stun them into silence.

But, that silence only lasted a few moments before someone shouted back at Cheng Yang.

“Why should we wait? What if a monster kills someone? Will you take responsibility?”

“Why should I take responsibility?” Cheng Yang asked with a cold sneer. “I’m letting you in because I am merciful, not because it is my responsibility. If you don’t want to follow my rules, you won’t be allowed in today.”

After that, no one talked back. Even if they were arrogant, no one wanted to be forbidden from entering the village. Especially since they knew Cheng Yang had the power to stop them.

Cheng Yang didn’t know about it since there wasn’t a similar situation in his previous life, but the refugees already knew all about the gods’ rules since they’d experience the same imprinting of knowledge as those teleported to the safe zones. They didn’t know precisely how powerful Cheng Yang was, but they knew he was at least as powerful as a monster, so they knew he could keep them out if he wanted to.

Not only that, but it was evident to them that Cheng Yang wasn’t the only Professional. Everyone else patrolling the wall seemed to have one too.

Seeing that the crowd was still anxious about the possibility of a monster attack, Cheng Yang decided to comfort them.

“You needn’t worry about monsters here. The area under your feet belongs to my Pheonix Village. As long as you are within a kilometer of these walls, monsters will not spawn. Please rest assured.”

Hearing that, the crowd settled down. Although they only took his words with a grain of salt, they’d been here for half an hour already, so if Cheng Yang were lying, they would have been attacked already.

Although the occasional person still threatened him under cover of anonymity, Cheng Yang ignored them. It would be trifling to kill them, but there was no reason to do so even if they were a thorn in his side. He wanted to give the refugees the impression of a stern Lord, not a bloodthirsty one. They would be his subjects in the future, so he didn’t want to alienate them.

In Cheng Yang’s opinion, a Lord who resorted to murdering their citizens would never win their trust. A Lord like that would need to watch their backs at all times. It wasn’t the future Cheng Yang wanted for himself.

A few minutes later, Old Lee arrived accompanied by the soldiers of his old battalion and Zhao Chuan’s battalion. They built a solid human wall inside the wall, and then the gate was opened.

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Doomsday Lord

Doomsday Lord Ch. 179 | Farming

“Alright, I’ll grant your request,” Cheng Yang said without hesitating, “but who’ll be your replacement? Do you have a suitable candidate?”

“If you’ll allow it, I would like my current second-in-command to take over the position.” Old Lee said, having already contemplated the decision. “Lu Cheng is a Warrior with an A-Rank Innate Ability. It’s lower than the other generals, but one of them is a Unique Ability that increases her allies’ defense by twenty percent per level. She also has an affinity for tactics and handled most of the actual strategic duties when I was general.”

Cheng Yang already knew about Lu Cheng’s Innate Ability since he was the person to assign the top positions for each battalion. Still, he’d never heard about her so-called affinity for tactics. If he was going to start replacing the current generals with actually talented individuals, he might as well do it right.

“My Lord, I can see you have some doubt’s but don’t worry. Ms. Lu was a Starcraft grandmaster before the apocalypse, and it seems those skills translated well to the current world’s rules.” Old Lee said.

Those were the best qualifications Cheng Yang could hope for right now, so he approved Lu Cheng’s promotion. However, he did so on the condition that if someone more suited appeared, the position would go to them if she didn’t show promise. She would also need to prove her loyalty to him in the same way the other generals had.

“Old Lee, since you’re going to be in charge of the entire territory from now one, I want to tell you about my visions.”

“Speak, my Lord.” Old Lee knew about Cheng Yang prophetic powers, but aside from his actions being wise in hindsight, Cheng Yang was very tight-lipped about his visions’ actual content. As a result, Old Lee was immensely curious.

“I mentioned earlier that after the gods’ rules change, a Farmer Profession will be added, allowing us to grow our food. That Profession is different from the ones we currently have in that there aren’t any skills. Instead, Farmers have to rely on old-world knowledge to reclaim land and cultivate crops.”

“Are there any differences between Farmers?” Old Lee asked unconsciously. He learned not to think too hard about the gods’ rules since they were often convoluted.

“There are, a Farmer’s efficiency is directly tied to the individual’s level. There might also be crops that have a level requirement, but I’m not sure. The Farmer Profession also allows anyone to obtain it, even normal people. So, I need you to recruit a large number of civilians to start cultivating land as soon as the Profession becomes available.”

“What kinds of crops should they plant?” Old Lee asked, “And where do we get seeds?”

“Nothing in particular, but we can use the grains we have in storage to get seeds.”

“Where do you want it planted? There’s not much room left in the Inner nor Outer Village, and it’s too dangerous for normal people outside the walls.”

“You won’t need to worry about them. Although it isn’t a skill, when a Farmer tills the land, it creates a Farm with a fence around it. It won’t stop a horde, but it will hold out long enough for our soldiers to save them.”

Old Lee suddenly had an epiphany. He’d assumed that the ability to grow food was something that came from the Farmer’s, but instead, the gods fundamentally changed the land, allowing it to produce food again.

“Anyways, create enough Farmer’s to feed the village’s population in four months.” Cheng Yang said. “Our population is only a hundred thousand for now, but we need to plan for the number of months to feed when we harvest the grain we’re planting.”

“Four months? Do all crops take four months to grow? Is there anything faster? Like vegetables or something?” Old Lee asked with a concerned expression.

“Every crop is different and ones with shorter harvest times exist,” Cheng Yang replied, “However, wheat doesn’t have a growing season so it can be planted year-round. Rice is the same. Since its May, most crops won’t have time to mature before the season changes, and the gods’ rules make them wilt.”

“I see. So we have no choice but to rely on grain and rice for now.” Old Lee pondered on Cheng Yang’s words. “My Lord, if we plant what we have, we’ll run out before the harvest is ready. We won’t starve, but only eating meat will affect the health of our citizens.”

Although the gods eradicated most diseases, nutritional deficits would still cause problems. Without access to plant-based food, everyone would start dying from scurvy.

“We’ll have no choice but to buy the things we need from the Grocery.” Cheng Yang said with a sigh.

Old Lee smiled bitterly.

“My Lord, starches won’t be a problem since they’re cheap, but feeding fruits and vegetables to all the civilians will cost a fortune.”

“It can’t be helped, do we even have anything left right now?”

“We still have some root vegetables, but even when rationing it out into a thin soup, we’ll run out in a few days.” Old Lee reported, “Also, everyone’s been complaining since we don’t have any condiments like salt.”

“Buy what you need to. Whether that’s vegetables to keep everyone healthy or salt to keep them from rioting.” Cheng Yang said without hesitation. “It will cost a lot, but people are irreplaceable. Once the season changes, plant some vegetables that take a month to harvest, I’ll give you a list later.”

Old Lee frowned but nodded nonetheless. Even if the problem were resolved in exactly a month, it would be an enormous expenditure. He knew Cheng Yang was a good person, but this choice seemed almost foolishly kind.

Although it was true that Cheng Yang felt for the starving masses, he wouldn’t have made this decision based on that. He was the Lord of Phoenix Village, and his strength was tied directly into the state of his empire. The people of Pheonix Village were resources he had to care for and maintain, so how could he be willing to watch them starve to death?

Moreover, although civilians couldn’t directly oppose him right now, the gods would eventually give them the tools for a rebellion.

“Is there anything else you need me to do, my Lord?” Old Lee asked.

“Once the rules change, the gods will add new buildings that will alleviate our waste management and water supply problems. Make sure you built those when the time comes.”

“Of course, my Lord. This subordinate will handle these matters swiftly.”

“In the future, the number of administrative tasks you’ll need to handle will grow. Make sure to recruit more administrators before it overwhelms you. Even if they’re civilians, give them and their families the same treatment as the soldiers. I’ll let you decide the exact framework and salary details.”

Old Lee internally let out a breath of relief. He’d been worried Cheng Yang had ignored the village’s administrative problems, but it would seem he just hadn’t notified him yet.

After discussing a few other smaller details, Cheng Yang brought Old Lee to the Territory Altar and granted him the Governor position. Unlike the satellite villages, the Governor’s position for Phoenix Village have any for of divine assistance. However, it gave Old Lee unrestricted access to the village’s systems.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 178 | Dismissal

Low-Grade Apprentices could kill a High-Grade monster without casualties, but they’d need twenty or thirty soldiers. So, if even a small percentage of monsters evolved to reach the High-Grade level, it would be a disaster for humanity.

Deaths would be inevitable as soldiers fought to protect their lives. Although no one was surprised anymore when someone died, it was never pleasant. It was the end of the world. Naturally, death would become a part of everyday life. With the gods’ rules in place, who would be able to live comfortably?

The people of Phoenix Village, that’s who. Cheng Yang didn’t want the despair of the apocalypse to reach his citizens. He was determined to take a better route. To achieve that, he needed to keep as many soldiers alive as possible. So, unlike humanity’s other leaders, Cheng Yang was unwilling to sacrifice even a single person. It was a childish dream, but if it succeeded, his soldiers would grow into a pillar that supported the populace safely.

As preparation for today’s mass evolution, Cheng Yang warned the Governors of his villages to get everyone inside the village walls before noon. Only after the event would they be allowed to venture outside and begin hunting again.

More than seventy percent of the soldiers in the five battalions were at the Standard-Grade level. With them leading local forces, the villages would adapt to the change in the monster’s strength.

Despite that, Cheng Yang felt a sense of dread. It wasn’t because of the mass evolution, but the bugfixes the gods would implement.

The growth speed of his soldiers was dependent on their ability to transfer Experience Fragments to each other without limits, which allowed six people to use higher training speeds by pooling their resources. The gods were unhappy with this strategy and would block it today. Cheng Yang was a little surprised it hadn’t happened sooner.

From now on, only Experience Fragments couldn’t be used for training until you’ve owned them for twenty-four hours. With this rule in place, the training speed of everyone in the village would sharply decrease.

Thankfully, not all of the rules implemented by the gods in this patch were harmful. It was the most significant update since the apocalypse’s start, and several important features were added, like the Farmer Profession.

Cheng Yang had mixed feelings regarding some of the other changes, but there was nothing he could do about them. So, when he woke up, he treated today like any other day.

As for the seeds he earned yesterday, it would be useless to plant them until he found a Farmer.

Cheng Yang returned to the village just before noon, where he waited with Old Lee and Zhao Chuan for the gods’ messenger to appear.

It was a pristine day with the sun shining high above the. The scene made it hard to believe the world had become a living hell.

“Humble insects, congratulations on pitifully surviving a month. Your progress has interested the gods, so they’ve made some changes to this world. Go out and discover them, only the lucky survive, so struggle you worms!”

The message was short and vague, but the whole world seemed to freeze in time after the messenger’s announcement as a powerful will descended upon it to tinker with its fundamental laws. Old Lee and Zhao Chuan were terrified, but they couldn’t open their mouths to scream. Even Cheng Yang felt fear grip his heart. He’d felt the presence of the gods’ messenger several times in his previous life, but it wasn’t something you got used to.

Ten seconds later, the pressure disappeared.

“My Lord, should we go hunting now?” Zhao Chuan asked in a shaky voice. “We should be fine, right?”

Cheng Yang nodded. As long as they were careful, there wouldn’t be any real danger. He only reminded the two generals not to spread their teams too thin.

Zhao Chuan walked away shortly after that, leaving Cheng Yang alone with Old Lee.

“My Lord, what’s your plan for adapting to these new rules?” Old Lee asked. Although none of the new rules had been mentioned, Old Lee knew Cheng Yang well enough to understand the limits of his knowledge. This allowed him to guess Cheng Yang’s thoughts accurately. Although Yu Kai was also decent at doing that, Old Lee’s years as a business owner gave him a way with people.

Cheng Yang sighed.

“Out of all the tens of thousands of people in the village, were there a few fit for management positions, Old Lee?”

“There are quite a few, my Lord, but I fear they will not be up to your standards.” Old Lee said, “The people with experience either worked in the government or for large companies. There might be a few closer to my level, but you’ve never bothered to search for them.”

It was a fair criticism. Cheng yang had never focused on the administrative duties that came with his position. His place was on the battlefield, so the most he’d ever done was advise Old Lee using his knowledge of the future.

“Sorry.” Cheng Yang said sincerely. “I should have been more focused on that. Can you try to find some people that would work? The changes to the rules will make a strong administrative body vital to our progress.”

“If you don’t need the managers to have talent, I can make something work.”

“As long as they have experinece, they’ll work.” Cheng Yang said, “Even if they were the manager of a restaurant or club.”

“That’s easy.” Old Lee replied, “I would advise that you allow me to choose managers from either the civilians or the Adventurers.”

Cheng Yang thought about it for a moment. The number of manager positions wasn’t large, but if he prioritized giving the jobs to his soldiers, it would needlessly remove them from an active combat position.

Cheng yang agreed and gave Old Lee full authority regarding the hiring process.

Before leaving, Old Lee had one last thing to say: “My Lord, I have a request to make that I hope you’ll agree to.”

Cheng Yang motioned for Old Lee to continue.

“My Lord, the past month, has allowed me to see that I’m not suitable as a general. My talents lie elsewhere. Since you’re setting up a formal administrative body, I would like to request that my general position be transferred to someone else and that I be given a position as the director of territory affairs.”

“Old Lee, you’re a smart man, so you’ve surely realized the general position is only a way to funnel Experience Fragments towards you for your training. Why would you give that up?”

“My Lord, I understand that this is an act of kindness from you, but I care about the village, and I trust that you’ll keep it safe. That’s why I want to support you to the best of my ability and give my general position to someone that can best utilize it.” Old Lee said, “As long as the village is secure, I have nothing to worry about.”

Cheng Yang groaned. It was a convincing argument. He’d known that assigning positions based on his preferences rather than individual skill would lead to problems in the long run, but he also wanted to cherish the people around he cared for. However, hearing how much Old Lee cared only showed him how stupid that decision was.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 177 | Fire Spirit Fruit Tree Seed

A few minutes later, the battle was over. It was easy to the point that Cheng Yang felt ashamed he had been worrying so much.

Yagni had used a few other skills, but nothing with damage on par with the lava wave. So, Enlai was able to tank those attacks with ease.

When it died, Yagni’s body solidified, then crumbled into jagged heaps of rock. At the same time, the lava lake surrounding them began to flow into an unseen drain. A few seconds later, the remaining magma solidified into softly glowing stone.

“My Lord, what’s going on here?” Jiang Yang asked in fear. To them, this situation was a little too similar to the earthquake that ended the world.

“The dungeon is transitioning into a conquered state. If it didn’t, how would anyone be able to farm monsters here?” Cheng Yang said, “It’s nothing to worry about.”

“That’s true.” Jiang Yang said with a curt nod. “But wouldn’t that make the name ‘Magma Wastes’ a misnomer?”

“If you have the time to worry about the names, tidy up the map you’re making.” Cheng Yang grumbled.

Jiang Yang chuckled but didn’t remark on Cheng Yang’s outburst.

Ignoring that, Cheng Yang walked over to Yagni’s remains. He sifted through the rubble until he found a small red velvet bag.

When he picked it up, Cheng Yang confirmed what was inside: Fire Spirit Fruit seeds. There were eight of them, a higher amount than dropped on average.

Cheng Yang grinned. Thank goodness the reward for conquering the Magma Wastes was the same as in his previous life.

As the name suggested, the seeds would grow into a fruit tree that would produce Fire Spirit Fruits when planted. Although fresh fruit would be a treasure in its own right during the apocalypse, the Fire Spirit Fruits were far from ordinary.

The first open-world dungeon near every safe zone was the Magma Wastes, so the fruit’s properties were well known. They could be used to create powerful potions or supplement someone’s training when eaten raw.

If a Low-Grade Apprentice ate a Fire Spirit Fruit, they would immediately level up. After eating another two, they would level up again.

Fire Spirit Fruits were the kind of treasure people would kill for. Think about it. Others would toil for months to achieve what someone else did by eating a light snack.

Befitting such an item, the Fire Spirit Fruits were exceedingly rare. If there was a way to get them other than defeating Yagni, Cheng Yang didn’t know about it. You also could only eat three before they lost their effectiveness. Moreover, each tree only produced twenty to thirty fruits with each harvest.

Speaking of the trees, it would take quite a while before they had grown enough to bear fruit. Thankfully, the gods’ rules sped up the process significantly. Otherwise, even five years after planting the seeds, you wouldn’t get any fruit.

Since most areas didn’t obtain the seeds until after a few months had passed, the value of the Fire Spirit Fruits diminished significantly in the eyes of the world’s leaders. The fruit would be only marginally helpful to them since they would fill their experience bars by an eighth or less.

However, Cheng Yang would extract far more value from them since all of his subordinates were still low-level.

“When we get back, I’ll give each of you a hundred contribution points.” Cheng Yang announced with a broad smile. This trip to the Magma Wastes had been a productive one.

Jiang Yang and the others were delighted. They’d already earned a large number of Experience Fragments from this mission, so gaining some contribution points was the cherry on top. With this many, they might be able to exchange for the rights to train using the Nirvana Feather.

“My Lord, when will the dungeon be available for normal use?” Jiang Yang asked.

“Monsters will start spawning here at midnight, so you’ll be able to bring a hunting party in tomorrow morning.” Cheng Yang said, “Be careful and come prepared.”

“Don’t worry, my Lord, we’ll let the generals organize the expedition.” Jiang Yang replied.

As they left, Cheng Yang put away Undine’s Tear. After conquering the dungeon, the magma was either dried up or solidified, making the cavern only as warm as a summer day. Those patches of solidified magma would birth new monsters, but they would never flow freely like they used to.

Once they got back to Phoenix Village, Cheng Yang summoned Zhao Chuan to his Meditation Hall.

“My Lord, I was successfully able to acquire the Statue Lifting Stone.” Zhao Chuan said once he arrived. To him, it was apparent what Cheng Yang wanted to know. “In the end, I only needed to spend three hundred thousand Experience Fragments.”

Cheng Yang took the Statue Lifting Stone and the leftover Experience Fragments with a smile. With this, he would strengthen not only the territory but himself as well.

“We’ll have to spend more time browsing the Auction House, so we don’t miss good things in the future.” Cheng Yang mused before ordering Zhao Chuan to handle implementing that.

Once Cheng Yang used the Statue Lifting stone, his Magic Attack attribute nearly doubled. With this, he could deal over 200 damage with a single attack. If you included the bonuses from his skill level, equipment, and potions, Cheng Yang’s attacks had reached fearsome levels.

With a heart filled with excitement, Cheng Yang began the day’s training.

That night, Cheng Yang’s experience bar surpassed the three-quarters mark. He would level up in six days at this pace, allowing him to reach the second stage of evolution.

Then, when the village reached the Pinnacle-Grade level, he would be able to level up again using Divine Grace. He would be able to challenge the Hell Difficulty of the Blood-Soaked Church with the Imperial Guard and clear the Forgotten Grave on Nightmare Difficulty.

Although Cheng Yang hadn’t finished gathering the wood necessary for a High-Grade wall, it wouldn’t be long before he could build one the size he wanted it to be.

When he exited the Meditation Hall, Cheng Yang stared into the deep blue sky. Today was the one month anniversary of the apocalypse. It would also be a day of great sorrow and joy around the world as the gods instituted yet more rules. The gods would save the unlucky survivors in rural areas, but high-Grade monsters would become standard in exchange.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 176 | Boss Battle

“Just five.” Cheng Yang said grimly. “Let’s take a break. We’ll need to be in peak condition.”

“Cheng Yang sat down on the ground and closed his eyes. With the Meditation skill’s help, Cheng Yang did his best to erase the fatigue of fighting for hours on end.

The upcoming fight would be the last one before conquering the dungeon. It would also be the most dangerous battle Cheng Yang would fight up to this point.

The first obstacle was a quartet of Elite Arshi Tengri. Alone, fighting those four would be enough to push the group to the brink of death. However, they were far from the real threat.

The fifth monster that would spawn was Yagni, the Primordial Flame, a Low-Grade Mature Boss monster. Within the unconquered Magma Wastes, it was a level higher. Yagni was the ruler of all fire elementals and thoroughly outclassed the Boss in the Nightmare Difficulty Blood-Soaked Cathedral.

Moreover, there wasn’t a way to use the terrain to their advantage. Worse still, Yagni could use the environment against them. Its size was big enough to throw waves of lava onto the island, and it was smart enough to hide under the surface if it noticed a strong attack incoming.

Finally, everyone needed to stay within five meters of each other. Otherwise, they’d take constant damage from the heat.

If Cheng Yang had his Elite Imperial Gaurd members with him, there would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, he was stuck with five inexperienced soldiers while in a weakened state thanks to his Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill.

It was a thoroughly disadvantageous situation, but Cheng Yang had already made preparations for this battle. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have dared to enter the Magma Wastes.

Once everyone had recuperated, the group walked out to the island in the middle of the lake. Once they arrived, Cheng Yang rushed them into the island’s center, the only location safe from environmental hazards.

At the same time, four oversized Arshi Tengri burst out from underneath the lake’s surface. Further out, a wake formed as something massive moved through the water. Moments later, an enormous cross between a whale and a tiger burst from the lava, splattering the hot liquid everywhere.

“Focus the Arshi Tengri on the left! Wang Yuan, focus on the Arshi Tengri to the right! Everyone else, the one on the left.” Cheng Yang roared while firing at the same monster as Wang Yuan. “Once they’re dead, focus on the big one!”

The barrage of attacks instantly killed the Arshi Tengri to the left. The one on the right survived, but was quickly killed by Enlai who had braved the heat to finish it off.

While charging another spell, Cheng Yang retrieved the Bone Gnawing Bead from his ring. The newly summoned ants swarmed towards an Arshi Tengri Enlai had dragged into the safe zone created by Undine’s tear.

The monster desperately smashed the oncoming ants, but it couldn’t prevent its impending death.

By the time Yagni pulled itself onto the island, three of its subordinates were dead. Even so, the pressure Yagni exerted on the group was enormous. It was easily ten meters tall and thirty meters long. Not to mention, the intense heat it gave off could be felt even through Undine’s Tear.

Before it could make a move, Cheng Yang finished casting Hibernation Chill. It didn’t fully freeze the Boss, but its movements had slowed down considerably.

At the same time, Enlai and the remaining ants killed the last minion.

Until now, only seven seconds had passed.

“Heal Enlai!” Cheng Yang shouted while preparing to cast Icicle Blast.

Attacks peppered Yagni one after the other whittling away at the monster’s Health.

Once the Freeze effect wore off, Yagni charged towards the group at an unprecedented speed. Its enormous body allowed the monster to reach them near instantly. If Enlai weren’t there to block Yagni’s charge, there was no doubt in Cheng Yang’s mind that at least two of the soldiers would have died.

However, that allowed the Bone Gnawing Ants to climb onto Yagni’s body without the threat of either it’s or the environment’s heat.

Although Yagni had nearly ten thousand Health and thirty points of Physical Defense, it was helpless in front of the Bone Gnawing Ants.

Ironically, Yagni’s greatest strength, it’s size, would be its downfall. No matter what it did, it couldn’t seem to hurt the ants. Even so, it did its best to kill them.

Enlai took this opportunity to jump onto the monster and tear at its neck. Fang and claw tore through Yagni’s flesh, causing boiling blood to flow freely.

Yagni had enough intelligence to feel fear, and right now, it was terrified. It was losing hundreds of Health every second, so even though it was receiving attacks from all sides, it was entirely focused on killing the ants covering its body.

Once its Health passed the halfway mark, Yagni roared with anger and then kicked off the ground in a mighty leap. Its body gracefully arced into the sky, before it dove directly into the lava lake.

The ants were cooked to death in an instant, and, although Enlai had jumped off before Yagni landed in the lava, he was smashed by a tidal wave of molten rock.

The white tiger’s fur turned to ash, and his flesh was burned down to the bone in some areas. If the Priest hadn’t kept Enlai at full Health throughout the fight, he would have been killed by that haphazard attack.

Thankfully, the wave didn’t reach the middle of the island, so Cheng Yang and the soldiers were safe. In his past life, dozens of people were melted into a burnt paste by that “attack,” so even though it didn’t hit him, Cheng Yang was covered in a cold sweat.

Even without the Bone Gnawing Ants, it was still possible to win this fight.

While the Priest healed Enlai, Cheng Yang rushed to the front to act as a makeshift tank. His Health and Physical Defense were just high enough to prevent him from getting killed in one hit, which would allow him to survive using potions for a few seconds.

By then, Enlai would be able to return to the front lines.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 175 | Conquering the Magma Wastes

All five attacks landed squarely on the fireball. However, only the first three had any effect. Since Cheng Yang’s stats were halved, his damage was too low to create a two-hit combo with one of the soldiers.

When the monster died, it flicked into smoke. The only indicators that it had ever existed were the Experience Fragments they earned and the slight smell of charcoal.

“That was an Aithne. They’re also known as fire spirits.” Cheng Yang explained, “They’re the most common monster in the Magma Wastes but don’t be fooled by their appearance. If they envelop you in their flames, there’s no hope for survival.”

Wang Yuan and the others were horrified. If Cheng Yang hadn’t been there to warn them about the monster’s true nature, they would have dismissed it as normal fire.

A new fire spirit would appear every few dozen meters the group traveled, either alone or in a pair. As a result, they all died without Enlai needing to do anything.

Even so, none of the soldiers dropped their guard. If even the environment could kill them in a few seconds, they didn’t want to test their luck against a surprise attack.

The path through the Magma Wastes was intricate. It would curve around and double back on itself routinely. There were also several paths through the sea of lava. Fortunately, there were enough landmarks to determine the group wasn’t walking in circles.

Even Cheng Yang was having trouble in this labyrinthian environment. Since the dungeon itself never reset, various groups set up signboards to stop people from getting lost in his previous life. So, finding the correct path was difficult.

Fortunately, there was an easy way to tell if an area had been visited: monsters would only spawn in new areas.

Even after walking two kilometers, there wasn’t an end to the cavern in sight—only rivers of lava dozens of meters wide and pools wide enough to encompass entire city blocks.

So far, the group had killed around fifty Aithne, including one at the Pinnacle-Grade level. However, in front of the group’s buffed firepower, it was still too fragile.

Since the number of Aithne that spawned was proportional to the nearby lava basins’ size, the group was able to plan and avoid getting overwhelmed.

After a couple more kilometers, Cheng Yang began to recognize some of the scenery. If he was correct, they’d only covered the first tenth of the dungeon. The total size was over three thousand square kilometers, so he had no way to tell for sure.

“Ah, of course.” Cheng Yang exclaimed. “Are any of you good at drawing?”

“I studied fashion design in college, my Lord.” Jiang Yang said, “So, although it’s not my main skill, I can draw well.”

“Fashion design…” Cheng Yang muttered, “That’s pretty much the same as cartography.”

“Ah…” Jiang Yang looked a little sheepish when he realized what Cheng Yang wanted to do. “I can try, but don’t expect anything amazing.”

“All right.” Cheng Yang sighed. “Try it out for now. If it’s not good, we’ll find someone better, and you’ll help them map out the areas we go through.”

Jiang Yang nodded.

Around the time they killed their hundredth fire spirit, a new type of monster appeared: a humanoid plume of fire known as the Ebo.

The Ebo weren’t much stronger than the Aithne, but they only appeared in groups of two or more. As a result, Enlai finally needed to do some work. If there were too many monsters for the soldiers to handle, he would decisively kill the others when they got too close.

Although Enlai was hurt in the process, the damage was negligible. There was also a Priest in the group keeping Enali in peak condition.

As the group progressed, Wang Yuan maintained a constant stream of conversation.

“My Lord, what kind of world do you think this is? The gods turned it into a game, but it feels so incomplete. Even if I could respawn, this game would be too dull to play. After weeks of training, I barely feel stronger. Take this dungeon, for example, even after three hours it’s so boring. There hasn’t been any real challenge!”

“Would you rather have been fighting with your life on the line since you entered?” Cheng Yang stared incredulously at Wang Yuan. “Isn’t it enough that you have the power to survive in most areas?”

“Of course not.” Wang Yuan said with the spirit of a true gamer. “Shouldn’t there be some world bosses somewhere that take hundreds to thousands of people to kill?”

“Isn’t this world harsh enough as is?” Cheng Yang asked with a sad smile. “I can assure you that monsters like that exist, but rather than exciting, meeting one means instant death. Pray, you never meet one.”

“But if I did want to fight one, where would it be?” Wang Yuan asked with eyes like saucers.

Cheng Yang sighed and ignored the question. Thankfully, all this chatter didn’t prevent Wang Yuan from killing the monsters that appeared.

Night and day meant nothing in the Magma Wastes, but Cheng Yang’s watch indicated that it was six in the afternoon. At this point, another new monster had appeared: the Arshi Tengri, a creature made from semi-hardened lava that looked like a demon wearing black plate armor.

All of them were Pinnacle-Grade monsters putting their average strength on par with Enlai. Although they were fearsome opponents, they died all the same.

Although the soldiers were frightened when they first appeared, they now felt confident enough to face a real Mature monster if they met one. If they did, it would be an honor few could brag about.

Despite being more powerful than the Ebo, since they only appeared in pairs, the Arshi Tengri were easier to deal with. It might seem odd, but this level of difficulty was to be expected. This was a test of skill, after all. The gods wouldn’t make it impossible to conquer the dungeon.

Three hours later, the group hit a stumbling block. The Arshi Tengri were starting to appear in groups of three or even four.

A trio strained the group but was bearable. If there were four, it was impossible to avoid injuries. It never reached a critical point, but Enlai wouldn’t stop complaining about singed fur and painful burns over the mental link with Cheng Yang.

Then, a massive cistern of lave entered their sight. It was no less than six hundred and sixty-six square kilometers in size with a large island in the middle. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

“My Lord, with a lake that huge, just how many monsters will we need to fight?” Jiang Yang asked with a pale face.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 174 | Magma Wastes

Cheng Yang wasn’t the type to waste time, so he took the soldiers to sweep the area. They wouldn’t earn much from killing the monsters around here, only around three thousand Experience Fragments, but only in Cheng Yang’s eyes. To the soldiers, it was several days worth earnings.

When they returned to the cliff, the soldiers were shocked. The originally normal-looking cliff now had a cave entrance thirty meters wide. The inside was filled with a ghastly smog illuminated by a faint orange glow preventing them from seeing further inside. Above the opening, a few characters had been carved into the stone as if by a sword: Magma Wastes.

“What is this place?” Wang Yuan asked.

“Doesn’t it have a label?” Cheng Yang chuckled. “It’s the Magma Wastes.”

Wang Yuan gave Cheng Yang a dumbfounded look. Of course, she could read, but that didn’t mean she understood.

“There should be around a thousand monsters in there, so we should get started.”Cheng Yang said with a smile. “I brought you here to help me exterminate them.”

Cheng Yang stepped into the cave, closely followed by the others.

The cavern was incredibly wide, far more than the hill could contain. It was also sweltering and heavily smelled of sulfur and ash. It wasn’t surprising since the name implied as much.

The Magma Wastes were a dungeon, but not the same type as the Blood-Soaked Cathedral. The Magma Wastes was an open-world dungeon. Every month, a new one would appear in the vicinity of each safe zone as long as the previous one was conquered.

Unconquered dungeons had monsters a level higher than usual, which wouldn’t respawn naturally. To conquer it, all you had to do was kill every monster inside. After that, it would start spawning monsters at regular intervals.

In Cheng Yang’s previous life, the Magma Wastes weren’t cleared until the apocalypse’s sixth month, right before he died. This was considered slow since an open-world dungeon in Lagos was conquered during the apocalypse’s third month.

Losing out on a new dungeon spawning was a serious issue. It may not seem like it since there were plenty of monsters to kill in the wilderness, but that wasn’t the case. The spawn rate would continue to decrease over the next few months in every area except the open-world dungeons and monster Nests.

Unfortunately, Nests were an unreliable source of income. Most would be destroyed because they were a threat, and those that weren’t were too far away to be useful.

Nests were considered strategic resources, and only a strong enough force could benefit from one without being destroyed by it. As a result, national governments or military forces controlled all of the Nests in Cheng Yang’s previous life.

As a result, once the spawn rate decreased to a certain extent, and the hordes in the wilderness were too strong to challenge without a unified safe zone, open-world dungeons would become the only efficient way to gather Experience Fragments.

It was the same for the villages in the Phoenix Empire. The five battalions were exhausting themselves at the very edges of the wilderness for low returns while the new Adventurers and town guards had to be content with earning next to nothing in the areas near the walls.

Phoenix Village had seven hundred square kilometers of cleared wilderness surrounding it. Over such a vast area, around four hundred thousand monsters spawned a day.

It may sound like a significant number, but it averages out to around twenty-five monsters per square kilometer per hour.

Think about it. If every Professional spread across the available area, there would be more than ten per square kilometer. Hunting monsters would be pitifully inefficient, and even higher level people would only earn a handful of Experience Fragments a day.

Open world dungeons were different. Monsters’ respawn locations were fixed and respawned every ten minutes—moreover, the monsters in open-world dungeons respawning in groups instead of individually. Sometime respawn points created a dozen monsters, and others a hundred, making it perfect for group battle training.

So, Cheng Yang made it a priority to conquer the Magma Wastes.

Of course, open-world dungeons had downsides as well. The monsters inside were twice as powerful, making it difficult for anyone below the High-Grade level to hunt there.

The entrance sloped downwards for tens of meters before suddenly opening up into a vast cavern baking in the dull red glow of boiling stone.

“My Lord, the heat is-” Jiang Yang was cut off by Cheng Yang.

“Don’t worry. I’ve already prepared for that.” Cheng Yang took Undine’s Tear out of his ring, chilling the air around them.

A hundred meters later, the group encountered another obstacle. The path they were following, which was around thirty meters wide, had narrowed to just seven meters. Moreover, it was surrounded by endless seas of lava.

“My Lord, this…” Wang Yuan hesitated, “How are we supposed to cross that?”

“By walking.” Cheng Yang chuckled. “Don’t worry. As long as you don’t fall in, it will be perfectly safe. Also, make sure you kill the monsters in the lava before they get close to you.”

“Monsters in the lava? What level?” Jiang Yang asked.

“The weakest are High-Grade monsters, but they’re all as powerful as a Pinnacle-Grade monster from outside.”

“That…” Jiang Yang was at a loss for words. “How are we supposed to fight that? Is there something we need in here bad enough to face those kinds of monsters?”

“We might find a few things, but that’s not why we’re here.” Cheng Yang said, “The Magma Wastes are primarily a place to earn Experience Fragments.”

“My Lord, is this a good decision? The monsters are stronger, but won’t the Experience Fragments rewarded stay the same?” Wang Yuan argued. “Isn’t that too risky? Isn’t hunting normally better?”

Cheng Yang sighed. Since there wasn’t a better way to convince them to keep moving, Cheng Yang thoroughly explained the importance of open-world dungeons.

“So, that’s why we need to fight those monsters. Once the dungeon is conquered, the monsters will return to their normal strength, and the magma will recede enough to allow travel without Undine’s Tear. Do you understand now?”

The soldiers nodded.

“Good. I’ll lead the way. You follow and attack any monsters you see as soon as they appear.” Cheng Yang said while stepping onto the narrow path alongside Enlai, who acted like he owned the place. “Even with their strength, surviving more than two attacks will be difficult.”

The magma’s heat was so intense the air distorted, but even so, none of them felt a thing. It was an amazing experience.

It only took ten seconds for the first monster to appear. Twenty meters to their right, a living ball of fire rose from the lava sea’s bubbling depths.

“What’s that?” Jiang Yang asked, peering at the small ball of fire with curiosity.

“Dead!” Cheng Yang declared while charging up a spell.

At the same time, Enlai rushed in front of the group, positioning itself between them and the monster. He knew his only use in this kind of terrain was as a meat shield.

When they saw Cheng Yang begin to attack, the others prepared to fight as well. Then, in tandem, five streaks of light flew towards the fireball. They weren’t elite soldiers for nothing.

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