Old Lee’s eyes flashed with complicated emotions. In his eyes the punishment Cheng Yang gave him was far too light. After all, what he had lost was a human life! What Old Lee didn’t know was that a human lives were the most worthless things in this new world.
Cheng Yang cleared his throat, “Now that we’ve opened up a path into Cloud City, we won’t have any problems getting inside. However! The city is not the peaceful place you remember so we must discuss our actions before entering.”
Next Cheng Yang greeted the Vice Captains and left them to manage the normal soldiers while pulling the four Captains to the side.
“You know what’s happening inside the city?” Yu Kai asked.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening but my visions have given me enough to deduce a few things.” Cheng Yang replied, “Right now, the safe zone at the center of the city should be under the control of the military. However, they won’t have many Professionals yet so the efforts to rescue civilians should still be in the initial stages.”
“It sounds like Cloud City is in a similar situation to the one Phoenix Village was in a few days ago.” Yu Kai said with a frown.
“It’s the same except on a much larger scale. The safe zone is five or six square kilometers and the number of Professionals should be about ten thousand. However, the number of people they have rescued definitely isn’t more than fifty-thousand.” Cheng Yang nodded his head.
Yu Kai’s eyes suddenly widened, “Yoko, what if we captured the safe zone!”
“Did you not hear what I said? There literally thousands of soldiers there. Even if they were all still normal people, military weaponry can still kill you easily.” Cheng Yang reprimanded his friend.
“Shit, I hadn’t thought of that… What do we do if the military learns about us? If they find out about us starting a government on public land, they’ll definitely try to interfere. Even if they don’t exterminate us, they’ll still try to control us. How are we supposed to fight guns?” Yu Kai lamented.
“There’s an easy solution.” Old Lee laughed, “Just don’t let them find out. All we need to do is rescue family members then return to the village. Once we get stronger, it won’t matter.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.” Cheng Yang beamed, “As long as we can go unnoticed for a month, they won’t be able to pressure us anymore. Not only will they run out of ammo, but we’ll have gotten much stronger as well. I trust you all, so I want to say this. I am never going to give up control of Phoenix Village. I will never submit to others and when the village grows, I’ll lift you up as well.”
“I don’t know what the others will say, but you’re my best friend Yoko, I’ll stick with you no matter what. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you, not the military, will save my family.” Liu Hau said patting his friend on the back.
“Yeah, I hope you’re able to save mine too, Yoko.” Yu Kai sighed, “After all, how can the military be better at saving people than a prophet?” He joked.
Although they believed that Cheng Yang could guarantee that their families were saved, it really wasn’t true. Only the two who were able to call their parents had a better chance of their parents being alive and that was only if they had made it to the safe zone. If they didn’t, their chances for survival were the same as anyone else.
“My Lord, I’ve already lived half of my life peacefully, so I am thoroughly prepared to spend the next half fighting on the behalf of my family!” Old Lee declared with a vigor unbefitting of his age.
“In that case, it’s time to make a plan.” Cheng Yang turned serious, “If we enter the city all together, we’ll definitely attract suspicion so I suggest we split up. Anyone with a family member in the city will stay here and the rest will return to the village to resume normal activities. What does everyone think?”
Old Lee and the others nodded, showing their approval.
“Old Lee, the majority of the people who have family in the city should be people who worked at your lumber mill. There might be a few others from Huimin with family as well. Your job will be to gather all of those people and have them tell you the address of the area they were most likely to be at during the earthquake. Although everything is in ruins now, most people wouldn’t move far since there are monsters everywhere.”
“Rest assured my Lord. I’ll also plan a route for when we enter the city.” Old Lee pledged.
“Yoko, how long will you be in Cloud City?” Yu Kai asked, “Will you be staying overnight or returning to the village? The return team can’t open the gate on their own.”
“We’ll be returning.” Cheng Yang said, “The specific time depends on how many people we are escorting, but I will force the group to leave by six.”
Yu Kai was able to understand the hidden logic behind his friends decision. If he wanted to maximize the class change statue research, he or Old Lee needed to be back in time to start a new one.
After the meeting ended, the soldiers of Phoenix Village split into two groups. Cheng Yang and the other team Captains stayed near the city while the second group was led away by the Vice-Captains.
The only oddity was that Old Lee’s Vice-Captain had family in the city so he had to nominate a temporary Co-Vice-Captain role while they were gone.
The overall leader for the group returning to Phoenix Village was Zhao Chuan. After working with him for several days, Cheng Yang was very impressed. He was trustworthy and had a good character. Even so, the other Vice-Captains retained their autonomy unless it was something major.
Although Cheng Yang and the Captains would only be gone for a few short hours, setting up a chain of command was absolutely necessary. He had seen more than one group get annihilated when they couldn’t figure out who’s orders to follow in the heat of battle.
After Zhao Chuan’s group disappeared into the woods, Cheng Yang turned to face the people behind him.
There were only thirty-five people, including Cheng Yang and the Captains, in the group entering Cloud City.
Cheng Yang cleared his throat. “You all have families in Cloud City, do you not?”
“We do!” the soldiers answered enthusiastically.
“I’m happy to hear that you’re all in a good mood. As many of you probably figured out, the reason we cleared the bridge today was to rescue your families from the ruins of the city.”
“Thank you, my Lord!” One of the soldiers shouted, followed by several other praises. Some of them were genuinely grateful, but Cheng Yang could see that others were just using this as an opportunity to display their loyalty.
As for whether those people were actually loyal to him, Cheng Yang didn’t care. He knew he wasn’t a leader. In his past life, he had seen thousands better than him lose out to the real kings in this world. What he wanted wasn’t loyalty but civic nationalism. He wanted them to feel like they belonged in Phoenix Village, to be proud of living there. That way, they would be less likely to leave.
Cheng Yang did his best to act magnanimous as he accepted the praise. “Thank you for all your kinds words. I’m deeply honored that you all feel this way. There’s just one last thing I need to say before we head into the city.”