Cheng Yang exited out of the Council of Lords and shut down the terminal after glancing at the Transcendent’s List enviously.
Cheng Yang then chugged his beer and left the Tavern. He felt like he was on top of the world. There was no one even close to matching him among humanity, and with the Adventurer’s Guild built, he could finally register as an Adventurer.
The buildings were only thirty meters apart, so after a short walk, he entered the Adventurer’s Guild and walked directly to the secretary.
“Excuse me, ma’am. I want to register as an Adventurer.” Cheng Yang was an Adventurer before he died, so he was familiar with dealing with the guild.
The secretary had been watching Cheng Yang since he entered the building and had apparent disdain written on her face. She wasn’t the only one, the other NPCs in the building were at best apathetic to Cheng Yang’s tipsy appearance. Their attitude was in stark contrast to the usually subservient approaches NPCs had towards the Lord of a territory.
“As you wish, sir. Please make a payment of twenty-five Experience Fragments.” The secretary said courteously.
After Cheng Yang paid, the secretary handed him a form. It was only meant to verify a person’s identity and that they weren’t forced to become an Adventurer.
“All right, you’re an Adventurer now.” The secretary’s voice was cold when she accepted the form from Cheng Yang. “Once you earn five hundred achievement points, come back, and I’ll increase your Adventurer Rank. That will allow you to accept higher-level missions.”
Cheng Yang nodded and then left the building. Once he did, Cheng Yang found Liu Wei, and they left the territory together.
After experiencing the small war in Cloud City, Liu Wei was much closer to Cheng Yang, and the barrier between them had disappeared.
Although she couldn’t be called talkative, she was far friendlier with Cheng Yang, and their trips weren’t as silent as before.
They most of the night chatting and hunting monsters in the area between Cloud City and Phoenix Village.
Once they returned, Cheng Yang lent Liu Wei the Experience Fragments she needed to train. Although Cheng Yang’s training was essential, for the time being, he believed Liu Wei’s was more critical.
Now that he had some free time, Cheng Yang walked around Phoenix Village, basking in his accomplishments. The village was beginning to take shape. There were several dozen buildings and a few sophisticated facilities. They filled the Inner Village in a spiraling manner, forming streets that the gods were kind enough to pave with packed dirt and loose cobblestone.
Cheng Yang only regretted that electricity no longer existed, which meant that the only light came from torches lining the wall. Well, lightning still existed, but there was nothing humans could utilize.
Thankfully, the gods had been merciful during these past few days. It only rained during the day, and the moon was visible every night.
Now that the Barracks had been constructed, there were more than enough beds for everyone in the Inner Village. So, after housing the professional soldiers, the remaining people were spread out with five in each Meditation Hall.
Even though they didn’t own the Meditation Halls and could be kicked out at any moment, having a roof over their heads provided spiritual sustenance. Compared to when everyone was sleeping outside, the atmosphere was much livelier.
Of course, this was far from enough to support everyone in Phoenix Village. It wasn’t even enough to house all of the soldier’s family members. But, everyone could tell that it wouldn’t be long before everyone in Phoenix Village could live comfortably.
All of the soldiers knew that Phoenix Village was in a unique golden window of time for expansion. As long as they established a foothold in this new world, they could secure a life for the people they loved. Thus, even though there were almost three thousand soldiers, it was hard to find any inside the village.
Aside from the apparent time sinks of training and hunting, hundreds of soldiers were working hard to collect raw materials. It made the Inner Village seem a little lonely.
While Cheng Yang was wandering around, Old Lee’s brigade returned to the village. Once Old Lee saw Cheng Yang, he motioned for his second-in-command to lead the group.
“My Lord, welcome back. Did you find the Instance Dungeon near Joyous River Village already?” Old Lee jogged over to meet Cheng Yang.
“Not yet, I’ve had horrible luck. We spent the entire day searching yesterday and weren’t able to find it.” Cheng Yang sighed. “I’m going to try again today, and if we still can’t find it, we’ll just have to wait for a lucky hunting party to stumble upon it.”
“Should I have my brigade join your search?” Old Lee asked after a moment of contemplation.
“That won’t be necessary. We still have a few days before anyone will be capable of stealing the first clear from us, so your subordinates have more useful things to do.” Cheng Yang said. “Unfortunately, another mass evolution will occur among the monsters in a few days, so we need to fortify our foundation before then.”
“Again?” Old Lee was shocked. After the first mass evolution, every large horde had a few dozen Standard-Grade monsters, which significantly increased the pressure on the Phoenix Village soldiers. Although Liu Hau and Yu Kai were at the High-Grade Apprentice level, they had their own villages to defend. If another mass evolution happened and High-Grade monster’s appeared, the village would be helpless without Cheng Yang.
“Don’t be too worried. There won’t be any High-Grade monsters for a while longer. This mass evolution will just increase the number of Standard-Grade monsters.” Cheng Yang explained once he saw Old Lee’s face. “Still, we don’t have much time.”
“We’re doing well in that regard, my Lord. By tomorrow, we’ll have another twenty-seven Standard-Grade soldier, all of which were be able to use eight times training speed. The soldiers using two times training speed will take another dozen days or so to level up.”
“That is to say, we’ll only have five or six Standard-Grade soldiers per brigade?”
“Something like that, yes.”
“That’s too few.” Cheng Yang said. “I’ve accumulated quite a few Experience Fragments, around thirty thousand, which I’ll lend so that we can enable another one hundred and seventy-five soldiers to use eight times training speed. I need you to make sure those soldiers earn enough to sustain their new training speed.”
“Of course, my Lord. I’ll find a way to procure the daily Experience Fragments each of them needs. I’ll also make sure to distribute our resources in such a way that those with better Innate Abilities will level up the fastest.”
“Good. I’ll be able to build the Bank tomorrow, so if you need too, you can make those soldiers take out a loan. Since we’re more or less forcing them to do so, I’ll make sure they get minimized interest rates. The most important thing right now is to level up those soldiers.”
Old Lee agreed with Cheng Yang’s statement. It would only build resentment if they tried to make a profit in a situation like that.
The situation was nearly the exact opposite of Cloud City. The number of Professionals was growing explosively, which limited the growth of any individual. There were only so many Experience Fragments to go around, which meant most people found it hard even to use two times training speed.
This problem was exacerbated by Cheng Yang culling any horde large enough to catch his attention.
Ironically, although this weakened Cloud City, their losses from the second mass evolution would probably be lower this time around.
Over time, the situation in Cloud City would change. Individuals like Yuan Jianzhe would start to extract a fee from their subordinates to support the growth of talented individuals. Before long, they would produce some Standard-Grade fighters.
“My Lord, you’ve cleared three of the bridges into Cloud City, but when are you going to get the fourth one?” Old Lee asked after a while. He had been talking to Cheng Yang about the development of the territory and the delineation limits on contribution scores before remembering this important task.
“Old Lee, what do you think those three bridges had in common?” Cheng Yang suddenly asked.
Old Lee blinked in surprise. “Umm, was it that there was a Territory Altar on the other side?”
“There was, but that’s not the answer I was looking for. You should have asked yourself, ‘what wasn’t there?’ Why weren’t there any surprises? Where were the strong monsters? Where was the randomly spawned loot? Even now, we haven’t found any of the more powerful loot drops. Don’t you think it’s suspicious?”
“Are the things you’ve found up till now normal? What about the blueprints of the Imperial Gaurd Pavilion? Was that not a good drop? It was guarded by monsters that could annihilate any army from another area, so how can it be considered normal?”
“Those monsters? Strong? Old Lee, do you know what kind of monster appears at the end of the Nightmare Difficulty of an Instance Dungeon?”
Old Lee shook his head.
“Normally, the last monster is just a level above the strongest mob in the instance. However, in the Nightmare Difficulty, that last monster is a Boss, a real one that has stats that far surpass any other monster at their level. Do you understand now?”
“I see.” Old Lee said pensively. “So, the monsters we used to call bosses were just normal monsters? But what does that have to do with the last bridge?”