By the time Cheng Yang cleared the instance, his generals had finished expanding the army.
It wasn’t a difficult task. The generals let their various officers pick people, and so long as Cheng Yang hadn’t blacklisted them, they were allowed to perform a class change ceremony.
Of course, people like Hu Jun that were banned pleaded with anyone that would listen to let them become a soldier. Zhao Chuan, in particular, got a lot of attention from Hu Jun. As a former high school teacher from Huimin, although the mayor didn’t know him, Hu Jun at least knew his name.
Despite Hu Jun’s pleading, Zhao Chuan never spared him a second glance. Not only was Hu Jun blacklisted, but he was meant to be an example for everyone else. In that case, how could he be forgiven?
This made Hu Jun miserable. He was hungry, and his clothes were torn to the point that he was naked. Moreover, all of his former friends and relatives had abandoned him. Hu Jun never treated them with sincerity, so why would they want to associate with someone that tried to seize power from the Lord?
Of course, Cheng Yang never regarded Hu Jun as anything more than a clown. Even if people continued to associate with him, Cheng Yang wouldn’t care.
Now, the scenario that Cheng Yang discussed with his generals had arrived. More than four hundred soldiers served in every battalion.
The total number of soldiers in Phoenix Village exceeded two thousand. Perhaps, compared to Cloud City, the army in Phoenix Village was lacking. In terms of quality, however, Cloud City couldn’t even compare.
After the newly enlisted soldiers were organized, the generals chose officers from among them. However, most of the generals already had a few outstanding soldiers that they appointed instead of new soldiers. Having already proven their skill and loyalty, they were first in line for a promotion.
After the battalions expanded, the generals finally insisted that they be named. According to them, it didn’t make sense for an army division with hundreds of members not to have a name.
Being tasked with naming something gave Cheng Yang a headache. So, he just threw the problem back at them and asked the battalions to call themselves.
At that time, the crowd proposed dozens of names. Some of which were too weird to repeat.
Ten minutes later, the naming issue was finally settled. Of course, Cheng Yang vetoed any names that would bring shame to Phoenix Village.
The names were as follows: Yu Kai’s Fox Hunting Battalion, Liu Hau’s Recalling Wind Battalion, Lau Hui’s Mad Cow Battalion, Old Lee’s Righteous Avenger’s Battalion, and Zhao Chuan’s Snow Leopard Battalion.
“Ahaha, Ox, are you sure your teams not mocking you?” Liu Hau asked ostentatiously.
“At least they didn’t pick something childish like yours did!” Lau Hui fired back.
Before Liu Hau could respond, Cheng Yang cut him off. “Ox, Zhao Chuan, if you two haven’t cleared the instance dungeon yet, go ahead and do that now. Koko and Old Lee, you’re free to do the same, but I’d rather you followed me to visit The Forgotten Grave.”
“My Lord, can I run The Forgotten Grave with just my battalion? I’m a High-Grade Warrior now, so the boss is as good as dead.” Liu Hau said.
Cheng Yang shook his head disapprovingly. “If you only focus on the final boss, your battalion will suffer heavy casualties. Wait until you’ve got enough Standard-Grade soldiers to hold back the low-level mobs.
Liu Hau was annoyed, but he knew better than to ignore Cheng Yang’s advice. Besides, it would only be a couple of days before there was a sizable number of Standard-Grade soldiers.
The rest of the generals were fine with their orders. Thus, everyone went their separate ways.
Cheng Yang led an army of nearly six hundred people towards Cloud City. Of which five hundred were soldiers, and the other hundred were civilians.
Along the way, they passed through monsters like clouds. Even without Cheng Yang acting, newly leveled up soldiers killed each beast in an instant.
Pleased with what he saw, Cheng Yang decided not to fight with his soldiers over the meager number of Experience Fragments to be earned.
An hour later, they finally arrived at the entrance to The Forgotten Grave.
Between the two of them, Old Lee and Liu Hau picked forty-seven people and then entered the instance with Cheng Yang.
Despite being strong enough to beat the Hard Difficulty, Cheng Yang decided to stick with the Normal Difficulty instance. As an instance dungeon that fit fifty people, several mini-bosses and bountiful cannon fodder would spawn. As such, with their current strength, the Low-Grade soldiers were bound to suffer.
For safety’s sake, Cheng Yang settled for the Normal Difficulty. However, as soon as his soldiers were able, Cheng Yang planned to claim the first clear of the Hard Difficulty.
In less than ten minutes, they cleared the instance. Although there were several times more monsters in The Forgotten Grave as compared to the Blood-Soaked Cathedral, the killing-efficiency was much higher.
“My Lord, how many times can The Forgotten Grave be cleared on a day?” Lau Hui asked while arranging his subordinates.
“Every instance dungeon is the same. Five clears per day until its upgraded.” Cheng Yang replied.
“Isn’t that too few? There should be a few other instance dungeons nearby, right? Why don’t we go clear them?”
“There’s an instance dungeon near every village so there should be one near each of our new ones. However, I’m not clear on where exactly they are.”
“That’s great! As long as it exists, its only a matter of mobilizing the army to find it. Once we get to Silkworm Mountain, we’ll have Yu Kai help us find it.”
Cheng Yang tried to recall anything he could about the other dungeons, but all he knew was that they existed. The Lords controlling Joyous River Village and Silkworm Mountain in his past life had been pretty tight-lipped. Very little had been revealed.
The gods standardized the tricks for finding instance dungeons. There would always be a Party-Size instance dungeon between three and five kilometers from a Territory Altar and a Team-Size instance dungeon near the safe zone.
After clearing the instance, Cheng Yang’s group moved North towards Silkworm Mountain. Along the way, they avoided areas in which the soldiers and mercenaries of Cloud City operated. Although Cheng Yang wasn’t afraid of Cloud City, carelessly starting a war between the two parties served no benefit to him.
Cheng Yang arrived at Silkworm Mountain around noon. By then, Yu Kai had already advanced to become a High-Grade Ranger. All of the class change statues had leveled up as well. Hence, the inclusion of civilians in the convoy.
Since Silkworm Mountain was harder to reach than Joyous River Village, Cheng Yang brought some wood so that the essential stores could be built. That way, soldiers wouldn’t have to return to Phoenix Village for necessary supplies.
Once all of the civilians performed a class change ceremony, the level up conditions for the village were met. Then, under Yu Kai’s order, the territory successfully leveled up.
After that, Cheng Yang enlisted Yu Kai soldiers to help him find the nearby instance dungeon. If he could gain the first clear of this dungeon as well, it would be well worth their time.
Cheng Yang, however, didn’t travel with the rest of the soldiers. To maximize the number of Experience Fragments earned, only he and Liu Wei searched the East. Yu Kai and his soldiers searched the west.
The first kilometer or so near Silkworm Mountain was easy to traverse, but the further away they went, the denser the undergrowth was. This forced Cheng Yang to take out a Green Bronze sword from his Spacial Ring and act like a Warrior. Even though he was a Mage, eight points in Physical Attack meant he was more than a match for thornbushes.
Liu Wei’s role was to clear away any of the solitary monsters that attacked them while Cheng Yang was clearing the undergrowth. Since the strongest monsters around were only at the Standard-Grade, she was invincible.
Of course, that was only if she wasn’t under siege.
The duo carefully searched the area, walking in concentric semi-circles.
Three hours later, they still hadn’t found anything. They were even forced to eat lunch in the woods. Even though Liu Wei was born into luxury, her experience before meeting Cheng Yang made her grateful to have a measly picnic meal.
“My Lord, will the woods always be this thick?” Liu Wei asked while watching Cheng Yang struggle with some vines, “It won’t, right? Otherwise, it would be impossible for humans to travel great distances.”
“Just like the trees, all of the other plants are growing fast because of the apocalypse. In a week or two, their growth rate will rapidly decrease. Then, we’ll be able to maintain paths just by cutting back the growth every few weeks.” Cheng Yang replied, “Although it will be far easier to travel if we can build a road.”