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 opening to obtain a class 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 people with classes 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.”