Among the hundred and twenty new soldiers in Joyous River Village, there wasn’t even a single S-Rank Innate Ability, not to mention people with Special Innate Abilities.
Cheng Yang finding someone like Liu Wei could be considered to be a miracle. Although Liu Wei’s Innate Ability couldn’t be ranked on the traditional scale, it clearly eclipsed even his SS-Rank Innate Ability.
After everyone had gained a class, Liu Hau leveled up the village.
Once he did, several new building options appeared. Fortunately, there was a road between this village and Phoenix Village. Otherwise, the human resources needed to transport all the materials required for expanding the village would outnumber those that gathered them.
When Cheng Yang finally left his room, Liu Wei was waiting for him in the courtyard.
Liu Wei was definitely an abnormally lucky person. Thanks to her status, she was able to practice at six-times speed in Cheng Yang’s house from the very first day she obtained a class. As such, she had already filled up 14% of her experience bar.
In other words, she would level up in just eight days.
“Good morning Liu Wei. How was your training last night? Most people find it hard to sit still for four hours when they first try to train. Were you able to manage all right?” Cheng Yang asked with a smile.
After yesterday’s events, Cheng Yang felt that Liu Wei was still reserved around him. Although he didn’t expect them to become close, as his first bodyguard, they at least shouldn’t be strangers.
She’d gone through a lot over the last few days. Perhaps once they’d spent more time together, she’d be less defensive towards him. But for now, she still treated their relationship as a formal one.
“Thank you for your concern, my Lord. In my opinion, even though it’s difficult, I should still be grateful for the opportunity to train. There are millions around the world hoping to have this opportunity but can’t get it. In that sense, this servant of yours is quite lucky.”
Cheng Yang smiled. “What a bleak point of view. Although, that could be considered a good thing. We’re going to visit Cloud City again today. Wash up and eat some breakfast, then we’ll go.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Liu Wei responded, following him outside.
Washing up in Phoenix Village amounted to splashing yourself with water from the river that ran through the walls. You could even wash your mouth with the river water. After the gods transformed the world, the water quality skyrocketed so that even dirty river water was drinkable. The only pity was that there wasn’t a single fish in sight.
While Liu Wei was bathing, Cheng Yang visited the Territory Altar as, by now, all of the main class change statues should have been upgraded.
- Body Strengthening Mana Flow (Pinnacle-Grade): Increase HP by 20% | Cost: 2000 | Time: 72 hours
- Extra Mana Node (Pinnacle-Grade): Increase Mana by 20% | Cost: 2000 | Time: 72 hours
- Ambient Mana Gathering (Pinnacle-Grade): Increase Magic Attack by 20% | Cost: 2000 | Time: 72 hours
- Passive Ironskin (Pinnacle-Grade): Increase Physical Defense by 20% | Cost: 2000 | Time: 72 hours
- Mental State Training (Pinnacle-Grade): Increase Magic Defense by 20% | Cost: 2000 | Time: 72 hours
- Wind Bondage (Low-Grade): Binds a target for a set amount of time | Duration: 2 sec | Cost: 25 MP | Cast Time: 3 sec | Level Needed: Standard Grade Apprentice | Price: 100 Experience Fragments
- Stone-Skin (Low-Grade): Use Mana to turn a target’s skin to stone, reducing damage taken by 40% | Duration: 1 minute | Cost: 50 Mana | Level Needed: Pinnacle-Grade Apprentice | Price: 600 Experience Fragments
- Cryomancer [Cheng Yang]
Pinnacle-Grade class change statues were something of a road mark for territory development. The four-fold increase in research costs broke several struggling villages that were never able to reach the Pinnacle-Grade.
It also took far longer for the research to complete. Each one took three days, so it would be a minimum of fifteen days before the class change statues could be leveled up again.
With the time and Experience Fragment cost increasing every level led some people to speculate that a different fee would be added later. They reasoned that since the top-level villages never had problems with getting Experience Fragments, the gods would add another condition to make it harder on them.
Their main proof was that once a village reached High-Grade, a lot of the restrictions around who could pay for improvements were lifted. It became possible for the Experience Fragments ordinary soldiers had to be used directly instead of laundering them all through the Lord. With the encouragement of built-in benefits, more and more people donated their money to the territory.
However, this was only an inference that was never proven.
Cheng Yang checked the number of available slots and was astounded to find that the total number of possible soldiers had been raised to 2240. And that was without counting Priests.
Over the next few days, Phoenix Village would experience a significant increase in personnel.
When they performed their class change ceremonies, Cheng Yang would have to decide whether to absorb them into the army or allow them to be mercenaries.
Mercenaries were a low maintenance way to bolster a territory’s combat capabilities, but they had too much freedom for Cheng Yang’s liking. Although mercenaries would inherently care about the prosperity of the territory, it would never be their primary goal. Cheng Yang decided that, at least for now, he wouldn’t allow anyone to be a mercenary.
His goal was simple: maintain absolute control over Phoenix Village and then gain control over the entire area, establishing the Phoenix Empire.
Having finished ruminating, Cheng Yang opened up the system pane for the Cryomancer so that he could learn the new skill he had unlocked.
- Frost Aegis (Low-Grade): Create a floating hoplon out of ice with a durability equal to 80% of the caster’s Magic Attack which automatically blocks one attack every second | Max Shields: 1 | Cost: 25 Mana | Duration: 1 minute | Level Needed: Pinnacle-Grade Apprentice | Price: 1200 Experience Fragments
As expected, it was better than the new skill for normal mages, but it was far more expensive. However, Cheng Yang used almost that many Experience Fragments everyday training, so he didn’t even blink when he saw the price.
In an instant, he learned the skill.
Reaching the level of Pinnacle-Grade Apprentice made most mages into decent all-rounders. They had an offensive spell, a defensive spell, and a crowd control spell. As someone with a unique subclass, Cheng Yang also received an area of effect offensive spell.
Although Cheng Yang had completed one of the territory’s level up requirements, there was still a long way to go before he’d meet the rest of them. After all, it was harsh enough to require powerful soldiers in addition to vast wealth.
In the entire territory, Cheng Yang was the only one even close to reaching the Specialist level. And even he would need around forty days without a fortuitous opportunity.
Cheng Yang then upgraded the main Attack attribute for each class. A decision that cost the territory a whopping eight thousand Experience Fragments. Fortunately, clearing the Blood-Soaked Church so many times in the past two days provided the village with ample funds. Otherwise, there was no way Cheng Yang could afford the expense.
After handling that, Cheng Yang asked a nearby Imperial Guard member is Lau Hui had returned yet. Not too long later, the guard relayed the message, and Lau Hui came to find him.
“You wanted to see me, my Lord?”
Cheng Yang glared at him. “Where did you go yesterday? I’ve been told no one saw you for over ten hours.”
Lau Hui averted his eyes and fidgeted under Cheng Yang’s harsh gaze. “Well, I was just a little careless and went too far from the village while hunting.”
Cheng Yang snorted. “Next time you lie to me, at least look me in the eyes. If you don’t, it makes it too obvious. Now, tell me. What’s actually happening?”
Lau Hui broke. “I’m sorry, Yoko! I was worried about what my soldiers would say if they knew I found something weird again. They suffered so much last time that I wanted to forget I found anything.”
Hearing that, Cheng Yang forgave his friend. Although he had gained a lot from the Mystery Gate, one of Lau Hui’s soldiers had discovered it at the price of their life.
But, what had Lau Hui found this time? It couldn’t be another Mystery Gate, right? They weren’t particularly rare phenomena, but that was just too lucky! Moreover, they both would have been found by Lau Hui.
“What happened last time was unfortunate, but it ended up benefitting the territory greatly. If you don’t tell me what happened and I miss out on something good, I’ll hold you accountable.” Cheng Yang started to pressure Lau Hui.