Lau Hui still hesitated a while longer, but with a twisted face, he snapped his teeth and just said it.
“Well, what I said earlier wasn’t a complete lie. My team did end up going a little farther than usual by mistake. About seven or eight kilometers away, we found a mountain ridge. About halfway up the closest one, there was some kind of stone stronghold filled with an odd type of humanoid monsters. They’re really tall at least taller than most humans with hooves for feet, tusks, small noses, and oddly shaped heads with eyes on both sides like a pig. They walk around upright wearing armor and acting as humans do.”
Halfway through Lau Hui’s explanation, Cheng Yang had already realized what he was going to say.
After the apocalypse, humans called the vicious creatures that appeared “monsters,” which was just a term used to satisfy their fears. In reality, they were just animals from other places, other worlds. Although, the word had some truth to it since most were man-eating mindless beasts.
However, there were exceptions. Some monsters are as different from the rest as humans are from monkeys. Just like humans, those “monsters” were sentient and intelligent. Indistinguishable except for appearance. The creatures Lau Hui encountered belonged to that category.
Monsters like the ones in the stronghold were civilized to an extent, even if their morals and values were alien to humanity. Their social hierarchies were recognizable, and communication between them and humans wasn’t impossible. Although many people still called them monsters, most people referred to them by a different name. These one sin specific were called orcs due to a general similarity between them and the staple fantasy race.
Orcs were different from monsters, but running into them would usually be the same result. Even if they didn’t kill a human, they found that human would be captured and never seen again. Although, any orc that was outnumbered would share the same fate.
Still, they weren’t unreasonable like monsters were. They limited their range to a small area around their settlements and didn’t attack human villages.
This general hostility, in addition to a language barrier, meant that the two communities learned very little about each other. Such that even the most basic knowledge of orc society was a general mystery. Although, Cheng Yang heard rumors of some humans that were trying to grow relations with nearby orc settlements.
There weren’t a lot of orc communities in the world, and humanity had very little to do with them in the time Cheng Yang experienced.
An unspoken rule developed between the two species, and a noninterference stance was adopted. As such, humanity gradually adapted to the presence of the orcs and before long began to treat them like air. Because of that, Cheng Yang had forgotten about them until now.
But, now that Lau Hui had reminded him of their presence, Cheng Yang berated himself for not being more vigilant. Just because they generally ignored each other didn’t mean the orcs weren’t powerful. On the contrary, the reason they could rebuff humanity’s expansion attempts was that humanity didn’t know the limits of their strength.
As a regular mercenary, the far-away orc stronghold meant very little in Cheng Yang’s past life. Now, however, he was the Lord of Phoenix Village. If he didn’t pay attention to a threat a few short kilometers away, he would truly be a foolish leader.
Why were the orcs brought to Earth? Were they restricted by the gods’ rules or their morality? At some point, would they try to attack human settlements?
The longer Cheng Yang thought about the issue, the worse his complexion became.
There wasn’t a way for Cheng Yang to do anything about the problem. He, and the village, were just too weak right now.
“Ox, do you have any idea how dangerous that rea is?”
Lau Hui had been watching Cheng Yang’s facial journey and naturally realized the answer. “I do Yoko, but what in this world isn’t? Still, just to be sure, we only observed the stronghold from a distance while hidden in the trees.”
“You should be happy. If those monsters had noticed you, there’s a high chance that we would never have seen each other again. Those creatures aren’t monsters. They’re called orcs, and I think you can imagine the danger posed by a group of enemies that can fight intelligently in the same ways we do.”
“My Lord… what should we do about them? There were hundreds of orcs there. Even if they’re Low-Grade, I don’t think our soldiers will be able to defeat them.” Lau Hui was quite worried after hearing Cheng Yang’s warning.
“For now, don’t worry about them. The orcs won’t attack us as long as we keep our distance. I need you to go around the village and let everyone know. The mountains near the orc stockade is a forbidden zone.”
Lau Hui shivered, hearing Cheng Yang’s serious tone, but immediately agreed to spread the news.
“Was that all you wanted to talk to be about, my Lord?” Lau Hui asked.
“Oh right, do you remember the buildings that I created yesterday? Right now, Old Lee, Liu Hau, and Yu Kai all have official positions. Only you and Zhao Chuan don’t. After thinking about it, I have decided to make you the Chief Administrative Officer.”
“My Lord, are you joking? I’m flattered that you think I’m a good choice, but if I were placed in charge of the entire army, it would be a mess. There are nearly a thousand soldiers!”
“You’re overthinking this Ox. It’s an important-sounding title, but it’s just a logistics position. The gods’ system mostly handles the recruitment and promotion of soldiers, so it isn’t a particularly demanding position. Then again, if you’re not good at management, would it help to make Pang Sun your second-in-command?”
“Well…” Ox hesitated. “If its that simple, I’ll accept.”
“Cheng Yang stated at him angrily. “Stop acting like this is some kind of burden. The Chief Administrative Officer is a luxurious job.”
Lau Hui smiled wany but didn’t offer any excuses.
Then, Cheng Yang opened up the Territory Altar system pane and finalized the decision.
At this time, Liu Hau and the other generals had returned to the territory.
“Ox! You’re finally back! Where the hell were you? I was going to wait for you before visiting my village.” Liu Hau asked as soon as he caught sight of Lau hui.
Lau Hui glanced at Cheng Yang for confirmation, then shared his discovery with the other generals. After that, Cheng Yang gave them all a strict order not to approach within five hundred meters of the orc stronghold.
After listening to them, Old Lee had a dignified expression. “My Lord, I’m afraid that stronghold is a cancer. We must cut it out as soon as possible.”
“I understand your concern.” Cheng Yang said, “But we’re still too weak. Wait until the village grows.”
“Should we send some scouts? Maybe they’re weaker than they appear?”
Cheng Yang shook his head. He had never been to the stronghold in person, but dozens of genius fighters in his past life died there. It was a risk Cheng Yang wasn’t willing to take.
Old Lee saw that Cheng Yang wasn’t going to budge, so he accepted the situation and changed the topic.
“My Lord, what is our plan for today then?”
“The class change statues leveled up last night, so there’s a lot of space for your teams to expand. So today, you’ll each be choosing around four hundred new soldiers.” Cheng Yang replied.
The generals were ecstatic. Increasing the number of soldiers under their command meant they would be able to defeat far more massive hordes. For the last few days, unless Cheng Yang was with them, they had to avoid clearing new areas. Now that their ranks had expanded, in addition to several soldiers leveling up, they would have a much higher hunting efficiency.
“My Lord, although this is certainly a good thing, I’m worried about the equipment gap. We weren’t even able to give every soldier a piece of equipment before, and now our teams have more than doubled in size. Should we buy some equipment from the stores?” Old Lee said.
Cheng Yang shook his head. “Those managers will just rip you off. Buying a complete set will cost anywhere from six hundred to eight hundred Experience Fragments. With that cost, it’s more efficient to unlock higher training bonuses.”
“What about just buying weapons? A top-notch weapon only costs around seventy Experience Fragments. New soldiers can bear that cost easily, and it will increase our attack power considerably. This will allow us to increase our hunting range at a faster pace.”
Cheng Yang hesitated, then asked: “How many people have taking up crafting Professions?”
Old Lee then turned to look at Zhao Chuan. He had been working together with Yu-Kai on getting every soldier a Profession.