In Cheng Yang’s past life, there were plenty of people who liked doing math. As such, dozens of obscure statistics had been released over the forums, including how long it would take to reach the second stage of evolution if someone had eight times training speed since the very beginning of the apocalypse. Even though they knew it would only take a year, it was just wishful thinking. By the time Cheng Yang died eight times training speed was only just becoming feasible for the majority of the population.
Although it wasn’t hard to accumulate a thousand Experience Fragments between a group of five, it was nearly impossible for those five to support the consumption that came with the increased training speed. It was better to continue training at four-times speed that to use eight times forcibly. That way, they could reach the Standard-Grade and hopefully be able to support eight times training speed.
Of course, this only applied to ordinary people. For leaders, the five or six days advantage they would lose was tantamount to losing their authority entirely. Those people would, of course, want to accumulate as many Experience Fragments as possible for themselves. However, that was a path to failure.
Maybe it would have been possible in the old world, where guns and the fear of death could keep the masses at bay, but there was no way for a mere safe-zone leader to stop an angry mob.
In Cheng Yang’s previous life, there was a tyrant in Europe who forced an entire safe zone to hand their earnings over to him, allowing him to reach sixty-four times training speed. Before he could level up, a group of just ten disgruntled citizens carried out a suicide assassination. This would happen several more times until eventually, even after receiving the power of a territory, leaders didn’t dare to force their citizens too far.
In comparison to idiots like that, Yuan Jianzhe was a sensible and competent leader. He had seized control of the Cloud City safe zone but didn’t push anyone too far. He built alliances with various influential people and gave them the power they desired in exchange for obedience. He also put created several taxes that provided him with a hundred thousand Experience Fragments a day.
It was precisely those Experience Fragments that Cheng Yang swindled from Yuan Jianzhe for a few days. Although it seemed like a lot, it barely covered the various expenses Yuan Jianzhe had. He needed to pay for his training and housing, those of his officers, any elite soldiers he had, the equipment he needed to buy, and food from the grocer.
The daily income of Phoenix Village was much higher per capita. The presence of Priests in the village alone put them light years ahead of their competition.
Priests allowed soldiers to recover faster. In turn, those soldiers could hunt longer and more efficiently since they didn’t fear instant death. This advantage then compiled on itself as the high income paid for the rapid advancement of the class change statue research options.
The soldiers in Phoenix Village and more health and could fight for longer than only needed a few minutes to heal. In comparison, the soldiers of the safe zone would take nearly half an hour to recover and only be able to fight for half that time. This kind of gap would only increase.
It was the second day of May, the twentieth day of the apocalypse. Cheng Yang’s experience bar was thirty-seven point five percent full. He still needed a long time before reaching the second stage of evolution.
That morning, after clearing the Blood-Soaked Cathedral, Cheng Yang summoned his generals for a meeting by request of Old Lee.
“My Lord, there is one thing of vital importance we must pay attention to.” Old Lee declared.
“And that is?” Cheng Yang asked.
“The natural alliance formed by those from the former federal government.” Old Lee said with a hint of anxiety in his voice. “My subordinates have been monitoring the Tavern’s forums for the past few days, and we’ve noticed a startling trend. Several dozen safe zones nearby are in the process of allying with Yuan Jianzhe. We need a more permanent solution to the Cloud City problem.”
“Don’t worry about those alliances. They won’t last very long.” Cheng Yang said. “A safe zone isn’t something so easily controlled, so any attempt to leave and aid other forces would result in a coup. Yuan Jianzhe is one of the most talented leaders in the world, but even he won’t be able to unify his safe zone. His potential is limitless, but unfortunately for him, there is no way for him to surpass us. We’ve occupied every nearby territory and instance dungeon, so there isn’t a way for a powerful army to appear.”
Old Lee understood Cheng Yang’s intention but couldn’t believe a man like Yuan Jianzhe would be suppressed so easily. However, he held his tongue.
“Zhao Chuan, what’s the status of the Professions in Phoenix Village?” Cheng Yang asked.
“Not bad, almost every soldier in the village has the tools they need, and a large number of them are getting close to leveling up or already have. They’ve started harvesting materials in groups on their own after the announcement of the contribution system, so the amount of resources available has skyrocketed.
“That’s a good start.” Cheng Yang said with a nod. “Once every soldier reaches the Standard-Grade, we’ll have a powerful force on our hands. Just remember, this was supposed to be a hellish world for humans. If we slack off and forget our personal growth, the monsters roaming our walls will surpass us and tear through the village.”
What Cheng Yang didn’t tell them was that the current world was a mere taste of the real suffering that was yet to come. That way, if anyone slacked off, there would be a few casualties when the difficulty increased. The shock from that moment would be a more effective lesson that any lecture Cheng Yang could provide.
“My Lord, when are you going to clear the Nightmare Difficulty of me and Yu Kai’s instance dungeons?” Liu Hau asked.
Cheng Yang nearly laughed when his warning was brushed aside so easily. Liu Hau didn’t have anything on his mind other than obtaining a unique subclass.
Cheng Yang shook his head and vowed to turn his friend into a suitable fighter. “Not for a while. Without the help of my Imperial Guard, I don’t have the confidence to survive.
“In that case, why don’t you see if there’s a way to send the Imperial Guard to satellite villages?” Liu Hau said with an unhappy face. “If there’s a way, you’ll be able to clear the instance dungeons, right?”
“For a moment I was worried you were using your brain.” Cheng Yang sighed, “Even if there is a way, the instance dungeon entrances are several kilometers from the village, so it would still be impossible.”
Cheng Yang already knew that it was impossible to send his Imperial Guard to any other village. The only way they could go was if the border of Phoenix Village overlapped with the other territory or both had an Imperial Guard Pavilion.
After a little more discussion, Cheng Yang dismissed the generals. They were busy people and didn’t have time for idle chit chat.
Once they were gone, Cheng Yang visited the Quest Hall. He had become an Adventurer a few days ago but had yet to complete a quest. The only ones published were fetch quests Cheng Yang wouldn’t stoop to doing, but he diligently checked the mission boards every day in case something interesting appeared.
It was even worse in the safe zone. There wasn’t a reason to provide fetch quests, so the mission boards were always empty. Today, however, that would change.
When Cheng Yang entered the Quest Hall, it was a lot busier than before. Several people were either selecting or turning in fetch quests.
Whenever Cheng Yang walked past one of those groups, everyone would respectfully greet him and over a slight bow. Even if they weren’t grateful to be given a place to live, everyone knew that Cheng Yang was a legend that would take them to ever greater heights.
Cheng Yang chuckled when he saw that. In his past life, he would be treated like air, but here he was revered. The difference was too vast!