After sending Yu Kai away, Cheng Yang started to plan his day.
He wanted to help Liu Hau find the instance dungeon near Joyous River Village, but that would have to wait. Cheng Yang would have to rely on Liu Hau’s luck to obtain the dungeon’s first clear.
He also had to secure the entrance to The Forgotten Grave. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be too difficult. He only needed one person that wasn’t an idiot to keep guard.
Thanks to the Innate Ability granted by Phoenix Village, so long as it was one of Cheng Yang’s soldiers, they would never get caught. Still, Cheng Yang wanted to assign the fastest person possible since this was an important task.
Aside from himself, the fastest person in Phoenix Village was Liu Hau. He had a Purple-Silver piece of equipment that boosted his speed in addition to the buff from Phoenix Village, his own Innate Ability, and the base stats of a High-Grade Warrior. Unfortunately, Liu Hau was too busy to be tasked with guard duty.
Even so, Phoenix Village was the most concentrated group of talented people in the world.
If it was just finding someone with a 30% bonus to Movement Speed, the problem was trivial.
Cheng Yang chose a refugee from Huimin named Fan Wukong and gifted her a pair of Green-Bronze sandals to further boost her speed.
The Snow Lepard Brigade that she was a part of was currently outside the village, so, Cheng Yang sent a messenger to retrieve her.
Less than half an hour later, Fan Wukong appeared before Cheng Yang. She had a pair of bright eyes that seemed to tear apart what she looked at and a lean body that seemed at odds with her lazy disposition.
“My Lord, you called for me?” She asked bluntly.
Cheng Yang couldn’t blame her. Since the world ended, most people found that they were the last of their family line.
“I did.” Cheng Yang replied curtly. “I need you to do something for me. The military is looking for The Forgotten Grave, so I need you to watch over its location. Just watch it passively, and once someone finds the portal, announce that it’s ours. After that, report to me.”
“I understand. Rest assured. So long as my heart still beats, no one will escape my notice.” Fan Wukong said with shrouded malice.
“Good. As compensation, I will provide you with a hundred Experience Fragments per day and an extra hundred when the task is complete. You are free to hunt any monsters you find but understand that if you fail, there will be consequences.”
Even as an officer in the Phoenix Village army, a hundred Experience Fragments per day was a generous offer. Despite that, Fan Wukong’s face was as relaxed as before.
She was one of the thousands of people who the apocalypse shattered and then reformed. Unable to cope with the cruelty of the world they were thrust into, they embraced it. The only thing left for them was a slaughter. They became living weapons.
Weapons needed someone to wield them. So, since he had pulled her out of the wreckage of Huimin, Sun Wukong happily became Cheng Yang’s hunting dog.
Once Sun Wukong left, Cheng Yang left the village with Liu Wei. Together, they were going to go to Silkworm Mountain and deal with their bird problem.
A little over halfway through their journey, Cheng Yang passed by The Forgotten Grave. Since he was nearby, Cheng Yang decided to clear it.
Cheng Yang quickly slaughtered several waves skeletons before returning to the real world with a fresh batch of equipment.
Shortly after resuming their journey, Cheng Yang and Liu Wei ran into Yu Kai’s group that had left earlier that day.
It was an awe-inspiring sight to watch several hundred soldiers trundle forwards while carrying trees as if they were toys. It wasn’t quite to the point where the procession didn’t see to have a beginning or an end, but it was close.
Since they were weighed down by civilians and supplies, Yu Kai had moved quite slowly, which allowed Cheng Yang to catch up. Once he did, Cheng Yang decided to stay with the group to ensure there weren’t any accidents.
“My Lord, should I show you where I found those monsters now, or should we eat some lunch first?” Yu Kai asked when they reached Silkworm Mountain around noon.
“Let’s eat first.” Cheng Yang replied. “After that, me, you, and Liu Wei will clean up those birds.”
“Just the three of us?” Yu Kai asked in surprise.
“Of course. No one else would have the power to resist the attacks of a flying monster. Even bringing your Liu Wei is a risk.”
Yu Kai nodded in affirmation and then ordered his subordinates to prepare for lunch. Although they had a decent supply of monster meat stored within the walls, someone needed to cook it before it was edible. It was one of the few jobs that even civilians could handle in this new world.
After a dry but filling lunch, Cheng Yang traveled five kilometers outside the city.
“There they are, my Lord.” Yu Kai said, pointing towards a rather large hill.
“Why in the hell were you so far from the station?” Cheng Yang asked with a conflicted smile. “Don’t lie and say you manage to clear all of the monsters within five kilometers.”
Yu Kai gave a wry smile. “Nope, we’ve only cleared the first three kilometers.”
“So, what were you doing out here?”
“Yesterday afternoon, while we were clearing monsters, we saw some birds. We hadn’t seen any birds since the apocalypse, so were we curious to see what they were.”
When he glanced into the distance, sure enough, Cheng Yang saw a few dozen black dots on the horizon.
“Who knows how many are over there.” Cheng Yang grimaced, “This is going to be a pain in the ass.”
Flying monsters wouldn’t care if there was a path up the mountain, but Cheng Yang and the others would have to scramble up loose gravel while fighting. They would also have trouble firing in between the thick treetop canopy the birds were nesting in. Despite that, it would be worse near the peak where the trees were sparse since Cheng Yang’s group benefitted from the cover as well.
“How much damage can you do now?” Cheng Yang asked Yu Kai.
“Enough to one-shot a Standard-Grade monster.”
“Well, you won’t be a burden, at least. Be very careful while climbing up, even though we’re fast, those birds are definitely faster. We might be able to outrun them usually, but they’ll circle around us before diving at insane speeds. If you get trapped, don’t even try to escape. Focus on defense and try to kill them all. We need to find a decent place to farm them from, or there won’t be a way to get rid of them.
Yu Kai nodded, and then the trio began their climb.
Despite putting up a strong facade, Cheng Yang was terrified. He didn’t have much experience fighting flying monsters in his past life and what little he did ended in his death.
Logically, he knew that with his current strength, even if it were just him against thousand of birds, he wouldn’t die. Still, he couldn’t shake the fear that death had ingrained in his bones.
Filled with a caution he had sorely lacked in the past, Cheng Yang led the group stealthily through the shadows of the trees. Although the monsters nested their at night, during the day, they would spend their time flying. As long as they were careful, they could reach the edge of the forest before being discovered.
Every time a bird flew over them, Cheng Yang flinched. Every step he took increasing his anxiety. Even though he wanted to deny it, his choice to sneak as close as possible was one born from the fear that he would panic and run if they flocked him all at once.
After an excruciatingly long trek, Cheng Yang reached the edge of the point where he saw the birds close up for the first time.
When he did, his face lost all of its colors. They were Spined Eagles, the same as the monster that had killed him in his past life.