“Right now there are eighty-three Blacksmiths, ninety-six Silversmiths, twenty Carpenters, and thirteen Tailors. However, very few of them have put any effort into their jobs. Most of them focus on hunting monsters since it has a higher payoff.” Zhao Chuan reported.
“That’s not a bad thing.” Cheng Yang said. “It means our soldiers no longer fear monsters and are willing to hunt them more actively. As for their lack of focus on their Profession, there’s nothing else we can do. Even if we wanted to offer low prices for materials, we’d need to spend a long time training civilians to gather them. Still, we need to solve our equipment shortage.”
“The materials aren’t the bottleneck right now, the information is. Buying Alchemy recipes isn’t a problem for someone like you, my Lord, but for ordinary soldiers, they’re too expensive. One thousand Experience Fragments isn’t something they can come up with.”
“That’s not a big problem. What Profession did you all choose? What recipes or blueprints did you need to buy?”
“I’m a Tailor.” Zhao Chuan replied. “I learned the techniques for working with leather. As such, I now know how to make leather armor. In addition, my Skinning skill has leveled up so I can strip the pelt of monsters up to High-Grade.”
“I’m a Blacksmith.” Liu Hau followed up. “I bought the blueprints for forging an iron longsword, but I haven’t been able to find any metal deposits. Its been a real pain since it means I haven’t made any progress with my skills.”
The other three followed suit. Old Lee was a Carpenter, and Lau Hui was a Blacksmith.
Cheng Yang smiled. “You’re pretty evenly divided, which means equipment production will go faster. I foresaw a few locations for finding rare metals and jewels. I’ll write them down so that you can visit them later.”
Liu Hau visibly jolted. His resentment for the hard to find iron ore was so deep that if this world had a game master, he would have harassed them non-stop.
“What about me, my Lord?” Zhao Chuan asked, worried that he had picked a worse Profession.
“Stop wasting materials.” Cheng Yang said with a laugh, “Almost every part of a monster can be used to make equipment. The sinew can be used to make bows, and the bones can make staves and staffs. Even if you can’t use it, save it. One of the Professions will need it eventually. Until then, practice making leather armor.”
“That solves our material needs, but with just the four of us making armor, we’ll never be able to meet the needs of the territory.” Zhao Chuan said.
“Tell the others to pool their money together to buy recipes and blueprints. Individually they’re poor, but together they should be able to afford a few. Then, once one of them learns how to make equipment, that person can pay them back using their finished products. Wouldn’t that work?” Cheng Yang asked.
Zhao Chuan felt a bit foolish. He’d thought Experience Fragments were far too valuable to share, so he overlooked such a simple solution.
Doing that would allow people who didn’t want to practice their Profession to continue hunting but still increase the number of equipment pieces in the territory.
While they were talking, Pang Sun and Liu Wei walked over. Seeing them chatting and laughing almost made Cheng Yang feel like the old world hadn’t been destroyed. Especially Liu Wei. Her cute face and sweet smile made him feel like everything was going to turn out alright.
It was comforting to watch, but Cheng Yang forcibly reminded himself that even someone revered as a goddess would have to fight monsters in this horrible world. Otherwise, she would just become a tool for someone with power.
Alas, such was fate! It was impossible to say whether the world changed for better or for worse. No one, not even Cheng Yang, knew how this world would look in the future.
“My Lord, I can tell you’ve taken good care of Little Liu.” Pang Sun smiled, her eyes turning into cute crescents.
“Of course. Liu Wei is your best friend. If I allowed her to get mistreated, how could I look Lau Hui in the eyes?” Cheng Yang replied with a taut smile.
Pang Sun’s eyes glimmered with a mischievous light. “Is that really the reason?”
Liu Wei couldn’t handle her friends teasing and pinched her friend’s cheeks. “Little Pang, what nonsense are you spewing? Not everyone is so focused on romance like you are!”
“Heh, heh, heh…” Instead of stopping Pang Sun, Liu Wei’s pinches only fueled the fire. “Sorry, Little Liu, I should have kept your crush secret. Don’t worry, from now on I won’t mention it.”
The two women started bickering so fiercely that when Cheng Yang asked Pang Sun’s boyfriend to separate them, Lau Hui only helplessly smiled.
Cheng Yang understood Pang Sun’s words clearly, but how could that be the case? It was obvious that he only cared about Liu Wei because of her Innate Abilities! There was no way he had time for a relationship right now, and even if he did, Liu Wei should be more careful than to start one after a few days.
“All right, knock it off. All of you go finish your preparations for expanding the military.” Cheng Yang ordered.
“What should we do after we finish that?” Liu Hao asked.
“Koko, you’ll go back to Joyous River Village to clear out the nearby monsters. You’re a High-Grade Warrior now, so as long as you bring along some potions, you’ll be able to manage with just the soldiers you have there. Ox and Old Lee will combine their forces and go to Cloud City to rescue civilians. We saved nearly thirty-thousand people so far, but we’ll need more than that if we want to develop all three of our villages. We’ll also find more Territory Altars in the future, so we need to expand our population before that happens.” Cheng Yang explained.
“My Lord, what about me?” Zhao Chuan asked.
“You’re going to stay here and hunt monsters near Phoenix Village. It’s a boring job, but we’ll rotate it between the five battalions.”
Zhao Chuan wanted to protest, but since Cheng Yang said everyone would have to do it at some point, he relented.
“Once you’ve hunted monsters for a few hours, have your soldiers transport some wood to Silkworm Mountain. While you’re there, relay this message to Yu Kai. His job will be to clear the monsters near the village.”
After the generals heard Cheng Yang’s orders, they got to work. Since Pang Sun left with Lau Hui, Liu Wei and Cheng Yang were left alone.
“My Lord, I’m sorry for Pang-“
“No need to explain her actions.” Cheng Yang said, interrupting Liu Wei, “I know she was joking. I’m not even upset. Without people like her around to make us laugh, this post-apocalyptic hellscape would be far too depressing.”
Liu Wei looked at Cheng Yang with grateful eyes and sighed in relief. But, something seemed off to her, something she couldn’t quite name.
Before leaving for Cloud City, Cheng Yang cleared the Nightmare Difficulty of the Blood-Soaked Cathedral with the Imperial Guard. He considered bringing Liu Wei with him, but she was too weak. If an accident happened and she died, Cheng Yang wouldn’t be able to let go of his regrets.
He had already beaten the Nightmare Difficulty once before, so it was rather easy the second time around. In less than half an hour, he had cleared the instance.
This time, the Boss didn’t have any unexpected skills, so it was a smooth process. He even got a nice piece of equipment from the chest at the end.
Holy Wooden Mace
This mace was grown using a peculiar technique inspired by the towering wooden homes of the elves. It has one hundred and forty four sister maces grown as branches of the same sacred tree.
Grade: Purple Silver
Requirements: Low-Grade Apprentice
Effect: Increases Magical Attack by 7
Effect: Increases Physical Attack by 3
In addition to that piece of Purple Silver equipment, one other and three Black-Iron pieces were dropped.
Cheng Yang’s first thought when he picked it up was to gift it to Liu Wei, but when he saw how intensely Zheng Yue was staring at it, he gave up on the idea. Besides, even if she got this equipment, Liu Wei wouldn’t be able to kill Pinnacle-Grade monsters with her Innate Abilities.
Zheng Yue, on the other hand, was still using a Green-Bronze scepter and would make much better use of the equipment. Even though she wouldn’t object if Cheng Yang gave the mace to Liu Wei instead, she’d be unhappy.
In the end, he gave the mace to Zheng Yue and passed on her old scepter to Liu Wei. Even without the mace, Liu Wei could kill every Standard-Grade monster and most High-Grade monsters.