Cheng Yang stared at the closest gem. From twenty meters away, it twinkled beckoningly.
He couldn’t just give up! That gem was worth tens of thousands of Experience Fragments!
But what could he do? Just run in and hope he didn’t get hit?
Cheng Yang’s mind was a mess. This was arguably one of the most difficult decisions he had ever had to make.
To avoid being detected before he made a decision, Cheng Yang retreated. After he was safe, Cheng Yang began to think. Hard.
After a long time, Cheng Yang came up with the perfect plan. Opening up his system pane, Cheng Yang wanted the countdown.
His plan was simple: to run down the clock. He would run in at the last second and grab one of the gems; then the Mystery Gate would teleport him away. However, that would only work if the Rotoskr wasn’t any higher level that Low-Grade Mature.
The gem Cheng Yang wanted was twenty meters away with the Rotoskr another eighty meters further. Taking into consideration that they’re sleeping right now, Cheng Yang estimated that his plan had a success rate of 80%.
On the other hand, there was a twenty percent chance Cheng Yang would die.
As for the second closest gem, it was thirty meters away. Since his plan was already so risky, Cheng Yang didn’t even consider trying to get it.
Cheng Yang came sat down and began to wait quietly. With just a half-hour left on the countdown clock, he wouldn’t have to wait long.
Time trickled by, leaving Cheng Yang on edge.
Finally, there was just one minute left…
Cheng Yang had budgeted two seconds worth of time for him to sprint twenty meters and pick up the gem. Hopefully, none of the Rotoskr would be able to reach him…
Ten seconds… Nine seconds… Eight seconds…
Cheng Yang flung himself out of the tunnel, boring down on the dark blue gem.
Simultaneously, the Rotoskr woke up. In just half a second, the Low-Grade Mature leader had started sprinting towards Cheng Yang. At the same time, it used its signature skill, bursting forwards with a speed the like of with Cheng Yang had never seen before. Its movements were barely traceable with the human eye, rocketing forwards at a pace at least three times that of a Pinnacle-Grade Immature Rotoskr using the same skill.
Even if he was scared, Cheng Yang had committed to his actions. There was no room to back out now!
Pushing himself to the limit, Cheng Yang put everything into his sprint. In a miraculous push, he reached the gem after just a second and a half, but there was no time to waste. The leader of the Rotoskr was only twenty meters away!
Without hesitating, Cheng Yang ground to a stop, picked up the gem and turned to run.
He’d done it! He had the gem!
Suddenly, Cheng Yang noticed a set of six sharp claws sticking out of his chest.
“Oh fuck, teleport me out!” Cheng Yang pleaded as the pain from the blow caught up to him.
Cheng Yang felt himself get raised into the air as the Rotoskr sat up on its hind legs.
It grabbed Cheng Yang with the prehensile, human-like hands on its middle set of legs and raised Cheng Yang’s head into its waiting jaws.
At the same moment, its mouth snapped shut, Cheng Yang’s body disappeared without a trace.
Angered by the loss of its prey, the Rotoskr let out a tyrannical roar-like squeak, causing stalactites to fall from the intense shaking.
Cheng Yang found himself bleeding out on that hill near the village, next to Wang Cheng.
“I didn’t die! Yes!” Cheng Yang laughed maniacally, holding the gem in his hands out in front of him, letting the dark blue clash with the red twilight sky.
High-Grade Experience Gem
When crushed or sacrificed to a Territory Altar, gives one hundred thousand Experience Fragments
Clutching it, Cheng Yang absorbed the massive amount of energy inside. When he opened his system pane, he found those six digits to be the most beautiful thing in the world. Even though his Health was at a frightening 0.4, nothing could ruin this moment.
Thinking about the eleven Standard-Grade Experience Gem’s in his bag, the personal fortunate he now had, and the good things they’d bring, Cheng Yang chuckled.
tossing the dust into the air, he smiled. “Wang Cheng. Let’s head home.”
By the time Cheng Yang and Wang Cheng arrived at the village, night had fallen, and dense cloud cover had blocked out the light of the stars. Even so, neither person minded since Cheng Yang could light up several meters around them just by holding a Standard-Grade Experience Gem in his hand.
Once they reached the gate, Cheng Yang handed Wang Cheng the gem in his hand. Although Wang Cheng tried to refuse at first, Cheng Yang forced it into his hands. Although it seemed like his role was the safer of the two, the unknown was far more dangerous than any monster Cheng Yang had faced.
Wang Cheng was a bit uncomfortable with the gift, but after hearing Cheng Yang praise his bravery, he was able to accept it with a smile.
In the few minutes, it would take to reach the center of the Inner Village; Cheng Yang did some mental math. When he left the territory had around seven thousand Experience Fragments, so if the evening hunt went well, it should have reached eight thousand while he was gone. Once he added in the Experience Gems he in his backpack, he would either be able to level up the village or be very close.
When Cheng Yang finally reached the Territory Altar, he was intercepted by his generals before he could open the system pane.
“Yoko, worrying about the things you do is going to kill me someday!” Lau Hui shouted, his face filled with sad yet happy anger.
Cheng Yang was startled by the harsh tone. “What’s gotten into you?”
Before Lau Hui could reply, Old Lee reprimanded Cheng Yang. “My Lord, we simply couldn’t bear to think about losing you when we heard you had gone off on a dangerous mission, worry corrupted our every moment. Your life carries the weight of Phoenix Village and the half-million people living here.”
Cheng Yang suddenly realized how his actions must have looked to an onlooker when he heard Old Lee’s passionate speech and saw the worried faces of his friends.
“I’m sorry, everyone. I should have told you where I was going.” Cheng Yang said with an apologetic smile. “But, I can’t agree not to do things like this in the future. After all, since I did, the village that was originally going to take ten days to level up can be leveled up tonight.”
Yu Kai, who had been listening silently, was thrilled. Although there weren’t any direct benefits to leveling up the village for him, who wouldn’t want a more secure place to live?
“Once we do,” Cheng Yang continued, “we’ll be able to build the Adventurer’s Guild so that people can complete quests instead of fighting monsters. We’ll also be able to build the Barracks and standardize our military operations.”
“My Lord, what on Earth are you waiting for?” Liu Hau asked, shaking Cheng Yang vigorously.
“I was about to, but a certain group of concerned friends stopped me.” Cheng Yang smirked.
With a wry smile, Liu Hau and the others stepped back.
When he finally checked, Cheng Yang found out that he was around a thousand and two hundred Experience Fragments short. However, this was within his expectation.
“Old Lee, what time is it right now?” Cheng Yang asked.
Old Lee checked the mechanical watch on his wrist. “Eleven forty-five my Lord. Why? Do you not have enough to upgrade the village?”
“Just a few. Once midnight arrives let’s go clear the Blood Soaked Cathedral. That should be enough to earn what we need.”
For Yu Kai and the other, the fifteen-minute wait was torturous. For Cheng Yang, however, it was relaxing compared to the nervewracking countdown he experiences in the cave.
Once the wait was over, Cheng Yang brought the Imperial Guard with him into the instance dungeon. None of Cheng Yang’s generals joined him since each one had a designated time that they always used the dungeon and didn’t want to change.
After just over half an hour, Cheng Yang and the Imperial Guard cleared the instance.
Without anything to hold him back anymore, Cheng Yang placed the eleven gems he had risked his life for on the Territory Altar and hit the sacrifice button.
In the time it took Cheng Yang to blink, all of the gems had turned to dust.
When Cheng Yang glanced at the Territory Altars system pane, he saw one gratifying number. Twenty thousand, six hundred, and forty-three.