The most important factor that influenced Yuan Jianzhe decision was, that by his estimation, about a third of the population of Cloud City was still alive. If he refused to let civilian forces join the rescue operation, most survivors wouldn’t be able to hold on long enough to survive. As time passed, those trapped in the rubble would die off one by one. To Yuan Jianzhe, saving as many civilians as possible was more important than preserving the military hegemony.
People’s actions aren’t as complicated as you would think. Yuan Jianzhe had already made this decision once, perhaps countless times. In Cheng Yang past life, this decision had allowed the Zhang group to find the Imperial Guard House and become Yuan Jianzhe’s powerful rival.
Of course, this time, Yuan Jianzhe’s choice would have a different consequence. Cheng Yang’s reincarnation had jumbled the string of fate that governed this world. From this point forwards, who knew what would happen?
When Cheng Yang returned to Phoenix Village after a night of hunting, he could be heard humming a joyful tune. Xue Yu had been waiting at the gate to brag about killing the Boss and he had earned back almost all of his losses from earlier on the day, three thousand Experience Fragments to be exact.
In the end, none of his fears and anxieties had come to pass.
Before he started training, Cheng Yang funded the research option that increased damage for each Class Change Statue. Thanks to the efforts of the Imperial Guard members, not only did Phoenix Village have enough to pay for all that, there was even a decent number of Experience Fragments left over.
The next morning, Cheng Yang’s experience bar was three and a half percent more full than the night before. At this speed, he would be able to level up in just twenty days. At that point he would become a Pinnacle Grade Apprentice Mage, however, in far less than twenty days, Phoenix Village would also level up. So, Cheng Yang needed to make a choice, use Divine Grace before leveling up or use it after he leveling up.
If he waiting, Divine Grace would allow him to directly become a Low Grade Novice. This would represent Cheng Yang entering an entirely new realm of strength. Not only that but, he would be the same level as the strongest fighters in his previous life.
On the other hand, if he waited, there was always the chance that he would run into an opponent he wouldn’t be able to beat with just the strength of a High Grade Apprentice. Trying to maximize benefits always came with a risk, so the safer choice would be to use Divine Grace as soon as possible.
Carefully weigh the pros and cons, Cheng Yang made his decision.
Afterwards, he went to find all three members of the Imperial Guard so that they could run the Blood Soaked Cathedral at the same time as him. Since they had finished their instances yesterday before midnight, they were able to go again this morning.
After collecting all of the loot, Cheng Yang left the instance. In just a few minutes, the Imperial Guard members left their instances as well.
After running the instance dungeon twice, each of them had put together nearly a full set of equipment. Even if it was just Green Bronze quality, it made them seem all the more intimidating.
Since all of the Experience Fragments the Imperial Guard gathered would go to Cheng Yang, he was now a very rich man. This allowed him to make another trip to the Imperial Guard Pavilion so that he could hire a Priest and Mage with SS-Rank Innate Abilities.
As for the rest of the Experience Fragments he had gained, they were given to his generals. This would allow even more soldiers to unlock faster training speeds. At this point, he had loaned out a total of fifteen thousand Experience Fragments.
The rest of the day was spent in Cloud City. At this point, all but ten of the original search and rescue locations had been checked. Although not everyone was able to find their families, with just the manpower of Phoenix Village it was impossible to do an exhaustive search of the city. Only hope remained for those soldiers with missing families.
When the group reached the last search and rescue location they were met with an odd situation. Although the soldier, Ma Tao, didn’t find his father, he did confirm that his family was alive.
The group of refugee’s explained that a group had arrived earlier in the morning with food and water. That group had later taken away all of the sick, old and injured after promising to come back for the others. Ma Tao’s father had been injured during the earthquake and thus wasn’t with the group anymore.
After listening to the refugee’s story, Cheng Yang frowned.
“My Lord, do you know who those people were?” Ma Tao asked anxiously, “Do you think they hurt my father?”
“I have a couple guesses but you don’t need to worry. Right now the military has absolute control of the city so even if those people had bad intentions they won’t be able to do anything. For at least a week or so, your father will be safe.” Cheng Yang replied.
“Would it be possible to go to the city center now my Lord?” Ma Tao asked, visibly more relaxed.
“No need to rush.” Cheng Yang said, “There probably aren’t to many civilian’s with classes right now so if we visited the city center we would just draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. For now, we’ll return to Phoenix Village and draw up plans for tomorrow.”
Today, more than normal, as the group did they’re best to avoid being noticed by anyone from army as they returned to Phoenix Village.
As usual, when the group got back it was already dark. Cheng Yang let Old Lee handle integrating the newest batch of refugees as he built the last three shops the village was missing. Five hundred units of wood had been logged earlier that day, so Cheng Yang had some leftover wood to build houses with.
Cheng Yang ate a hurried dinner before going out into the forest alone. Early that morning he returned to start new research and then train. When he finished training he entered the Blood Soaked Cathedral. Busy day after busy day, Cheng Yang had eased himself into the life of a Lord.
Yesterday was the first day where the Imperial Guard members were the only ones patrolling the wall and they quickly proved their worth. Thanks to their ability to track invaders, the monsters surrounding the village were killed so fast that the respawn rate increased slightly to compensate. This resulted in a thirty percent increase in Experience Fragment collection.
However, even if the territory earned several thousand Experience Fragments each day, there were thousands in expenses as well. The Loggers needed to be payed around a thousand a day and the class change statues were a bottomless pit when it came to Experience Fragments. Even so, the territory had a positive economic balance.
In addition, yesterday the last of the large hordes within six kilometers of the village were annihilated. Now all you could find were newly formed hordes of thirty or so. In this case, every squadron acting in unison was rather wasteful. Cheng Yang had advised his general that from now on, they would have to operate independently if they wanted to efficiently gain Experience Fragments.
Right now, Phoenix Village didn’t have enough soldiers to regularly clear more than the few hundred square kilometers that stretched from the walls to six kilometers away. As such, that area was divided into five sections. One for each of the squadrons to handle.
Since it was still possible to run into hordes exceeding one thousand in size at the border, Cheng Yang warned his generals to be careful in those areas.
As for the housing shortage, Cheng Yang planned to have every one of his soldiers living in a Standard Grade Meditation Hall before making houses for the civilians. This would mean he needed 142 buildings, requiring three thousand six hundred units of wood in total.
Cheng Yang was confident that this could be accomplished relatively quickly. Today was the day that most of the Loggers would level up to become Standard Grade Loggers. In addition, most of them had also payed off their loan and had started earning Experience Fragments for their work.
Just leveling up doubled the number of trees they could cut down each day and the financial incentives would drive them to spend more time searching for the biggest trees they could. At a going rate of three Experience Fragments for a unit of wood, a Logger could earn just under what a soldier could with a much safer work environment.
Unfortunately, more wood meant more expenses. The village would have no choice but to rely on the Blood Soaked Church now that it too was close to leveling up.