After leaving the Barracks, Cheng Yang brought Liu Wei into the forest to hunt monsters.
As time passed, Liu Wei’s grasp on the rhythm of battle tightened. Now, her only weakness was that her Innate Abilities couldn’t save her if there were more than one monster since they had a two-second cooldown.
Cheng Yang intended to find Liu Wei some equipment that would boost her healing skills. A few pieces of jewelry should do the trick. Once he became a High-Grade Alchemist, Liu Wei would then be able to increase her healing to the point where she could even kill people at the same level with S-Rank Innate Abilities.
After a long night, Liu Wei earned over five hundred Experience Fragments. It wasn’t much compared to Cheng Yang, who had gotten triple that but, most soldiers would receive less than sixty each day.
When they returned, Cheng Yang lent Liu Wei one hundred thousand Experience Fragments. With her abilities, the training costs for thirty-two times speed were within reach.
Since Yu Kai and Liu Hau wouldn’t be able to stay in Phoenix Village anymore, Yu Kai’s spot in Cheng Yang’s Meditation Hall was given to Liu Wei. It would be a waste otherwise, and Liu Wei needed the 39% bonus more than anyone else.
By the time Cheng Yang had finished training, Liu Hau had upgraded all of the class change statues in Joyous River Village to Standard-Grade. As such, Liu Hau had returned to Phoenix Village to select a batch of new recruits.
Of course, it was impossible for the soldiers Liu Hau had to escort them to the village on their own, so Liu Hau was waiting for a few of the generals to get back.
Originally Liu Hau was going to wait until all three generals still in Phoneix Village to get back from hunting, but in the end, he couldn’t wait long enough for Lau Hui to get back.
Liu Hau was anxious to return. While training in Phoenix Village, he had finally leveled up! And once he returned to Joyous River Village, he would be able to level up again!
“Old Lee, should I find a time to bug our Lord to find a few more Territory Altars? That way, you, too, can level up as I will. Otherwise, you’ll always be stuck at the same level as the normal soldiers.”
Despite Liu Hau’s taunting, Old Lee remained calm. “General Liu, I’m sure out Lord has foreseen these things. There’s no need for us to ruin his arrangements. If there are more Territory Altars near here, our Lord will go out and conquer them. If there aren’t, pestering him wouldn’t make new ones appear, it would just lower his opinion of us.”
“Well, aren’t you shrewd.” Liu Hau scolded.
Old Lee smiled bitterly. “Shrewd? For noticing what? That everything we have right now is thanks to our Lord? That he reunited me with my family? I have no regrets and wish to serve our Lord for the rest of my life. I trust him to ask for help if he needs it. Otherwise, it is my place to follow.”
Old Lee’s words touched Zhao Chuan and Liu Hau. Especially Zhao Chuan. After all, Cheng Yang had personally rescued him from the ruins of Huimin.
However, as Cheng Yang’s best friend, Liu Hau didn’t want Old Lee to idolize Cheng Yang too much.
“Old Lee, there’s no need to be so serious. I’m sure our Lord would agree. By the way, please don’t call me General Liu anymore. You’re older than me, so it’s a little awkward. Just call me Young Liu.”
Old Lee paused for a moment before smiling. “Of course, if I’m too formal all the time, I’ll make the atmosphere awkward.”
Liu Hau laughed when he heard that. “Hey, hey, hey. After I become a High-Grade Warrior tonight, want me to go clear the Hard Difficulty and get you two some nice equipment?”
Zhao Chuan looked at Liu Hau with scorn. “Stop bragging. Are you saying you’ll be able to clear the Hard Difficulty alone? What’s more, our Lord is already clearing the Nightmare Difficulty. Even the guards are, and any extra equipment they get is passed on to us generals. Are you saying you can find something better?”
“Damn, there’s no way to please you, huh? How the hell am I supposed to compare to those inhuman machines?”
When Liu Hau had learned that the Imperial Guards leveled up alongside Cheng Yang, he had been incomparably jealous. He knew very well that no matter how hard he trained, he couldn’t catch up to his best friend. But, now, there was a whole squadron of soldiers that would always be stronger than him.
Ignoring Liu Hau’s outburst, Zhao Chuan continued talking. “Do you think the Lord knows where other instance dungeon entrances are? There’s only the single entrance to the Blood-Soaked Cathedral, and the number of runs each day is too few.”
“There have to be, right? Like the instance dungeon in Cloud City?” Liu Hau said.
“It has a high drop rate, but without our Lord there, we’d get crushed.” Zhao Chuan retorted.
“Don’t worry about that. After tomorrow, me and Yu Kai will both be High-Grade Apprentices. There’ll also be a handful of Standard-Grade Apprentices, so it should be fine.” Liu Hau declared confidently. “And if that’s not enough, we’ll only have to wait a few more days for a whole legion of Standard-Grade soldiers to appear. I refuse to believe we won’t be able to conquer the instance dungeon by then. We would probably be able to send out several teams even.”
“That might work, but one thing is certain.” Old Lee suddenly interjected. “It won’t be long before the forces controlling Cloud City find The Forgotten Grave, and once they do, a conflict between them and us is inevitable.”
“Conflict? Who here is afraid of a little conflict?” Liu Hau said with passion. “Once we level up, if the Phoenix Village army decided to raze the city, it would be as easy as taking a shit.”
Old Lee just shook his head. “Young Liu, if our Lord wanted to destroy the leaders of Cloud City, he would have just done it by now. He’s powerful enough to do so on his own.”
Hearing that, Liu Hau calmed down. It was impossible to refute Old Lee’s words, so he decided to trust his best friend’s judgment.
They walked as they talked and killed any monster they encountered. Although the road between the two villages was safe, occasionally, a monster would rush out of the forest.
An hour later, they arrived at their destination.
Joyous River village was serenely quiet. Only the occasional twang of a bowstring or crackling Magic Missile reminded the citizens that the peaceful world they used to live in was gone.
Most of the soldiers were training in Meditation Halls, so only Chen Chao was there to greet Liu Hau’s group.
After briefing Liu Hau on the general state of the village since he had left, Chen Chao took the newly selected civilians to perform their class change ceremonies.
Liu Hau approached the Territory Altar as well, but with a different purpose. After taking a few minutes to calm himself down, Liu Hau activated Divine Blessing.
After a few seconds, Liu Hau leveled up and became the second person in the Phoenix Village metropolitan area to become a High-Grade Apprentice. Not counting the Imperial Guard, of course.
Liu Hau brandished his weapon with renewed vigor. Even if a tiger appeared right in front of him, Liu Hau was confident that he could cleave it to pieces in a single strike! Although, if there were still any tigers hiding around here after the apocalypse, who knew what kind of crazy monster it had become.
“Zhao Chuan, since you still haven’t leveled up, why don’t you let me tour you around the mountains so you can get some Experience Fragments?” Liu Hau asked.
“No thank you.” Zhao Chaun said without hesitation. “You might be a few levels higher than me, but you’ll be just as useless if a big horde attacks us. Since its dark out right now, there’s a higher chance of you messing up, so I’m going to play it safe. I’ll hunt during the day with my soldiers tomorrow.”
Liu Hau clicked his tongue but didn’t press the issue.
Around the same time as those two were arguing, the last civilian had officially become a soldier.
Since ordinary people were able to receive Experience Fragments now, the process had become far more streamlined. Instead of the village official personally overseeing each ceremony, the soldiers that had leveled up yesterday passed on their debt to the new ones who conducted the ceremony on their own.