The reward for being a good person wasn’t astounding, but the punishment for bad people was incredibly severe.
Once people started claiming Territory Altars, exile wouldn’t be horrible, but right now, it was a death sentence. Exiled individuals wouldn’t be able to learn skills or buy supplies. Anyone could kill an exile without real consequences.
The lists were created to prevent a situation that was already happening worldwide where the leader of a city would prevent people from becoming Professionals. The gods’ objective was to help humanity evolve so people that opposed that goal would be thoroughly dealt with.
Although the new rules seemed to be applied fairly, an ordinary person couldn’t reach the top five of either list. To do so required one to affect a large portion of the population of a safe zone, which would only be possible for leaders of the various powers in a city. This added a second constraint to individuals trying to rule a safe zone and made it nearly impossible. Now, if someone wanted to be a ruler, they needed to claim a Territory Altar.
It was these new rules that made Cheng Yang confident that Yuan Jianzhe would never be able to crawl up from the pit Cheng Yang dug for him. Aside from that, however, Cheng Yang didn’t care about those new rules since it wouldn’t affect any of his villages. His only goal now was to complete the God Quest he’d accepted.
Unfortunately, another new rule affected that goal. The general spawn rate of monsters had been decreased again. It would be harder to find monsters now, and in the future, Pheonix Village’s revenue would decrease.
This rule ensured that the lead Cheng Yang had would be harder to lose since it would be difficult for any new territories to reach the High-Grade level.
While he was still close to the village, if Cheng Yang ran into a small group of monsters, he ignored them. As long as they spawned within a few kilometers of the village, they would naturally be taken care of by some soldiers. It wouldn’t be until Cheng Yang reached the ten-kilometer mark that larger groups would appear.
Once he did, Cheng Yang ran into some hordes with a hundred or so individuals, which became his appetizers. After a few rounds of casting Petal Blizzard, Cheng Yang continued on his way.
Cheng Yang’s Petal Blizzard skill leveled up a few days ago, increasing its damage by 5% and expanding the area it covered. Casting it once allowed Cheng Yang to kill nearly two dozen monsters, and although it couldn’t kill High-Grade monsters, it shredded anything at a lower level than that. Battles like that very child’s play for Cheng Yang thanks to his high Physical Defense and the support from his Ice Aegis spell.
After three hours of fighting, Cheng Yang finally reached an area that the soldiers of Phoenix Village never visited. If he wanted to complete the God Quest, he needed to clear every monster within a few kilometers.
Cheng Yang could no longer tell what the area he was in used to be. Maybe it had been a town or a factory in the past, but now it was nothing but dense, hostile forest. It was a dangerous area that only he could safely enter since it was common to find Pinnacle-Grade monsters hidden inside massive hordes.
When you were closer to a city, Pinnacle-Grade monsters would only spawn in hordes with at least a thousand monster, but out here, they would need less than three hundred. Although they would be difficult for Cheng Yang to kill, a single one wouldn’t be able to force him into a dangerous position.
Since no one had set foot in this area since the apocalypse, it was covered in dense brambles as thick as arms and covered with dank moist leaves. Walking through it was bad enough to make Cheng Yang swear the entire way. Why were there even leaves on the ground? It wasn’t autumn yet, so the land shouldn’t be covered like this. However, no matter how much Cheng Yang complained, the terrain didn’t change.
Suddenly, Cheng Yang heard a sharp hiss above him. Cheng Yang rolled forwards as a heavy object struck the ground behind him. Then, without looking, Cheng Yang fired an Icicle Blast at the object.
It turned out to be a Void Python. They would lurk inside a dimensional pocket before suddenly charging out if they saw prey. They were incredibly dangerous since, as solitary creatures, they were far stronger than average. This particular Void Python had been a High-Grade monster, but it sill died the instant Cheng Yang hit it.
“Tch, a little fellow like this isn’t even enough to let me relieve my stress.” Cheng Yang spat. He’d been using a low-quality sword to chop through the bushes, but its durability was nearly zero. Although it wasn’t expensive to fix, Cheng Yang hadn’t brought a lot with him.
Suddenly, Cheng Yang heard a rustle to his left. It was a disorganized sound which gave Cheng Yang hope that there were multiple monsters.
“Please be a couple hundred monsters.” Cheng Yang muttered as he crept through the trees. He traveled a few tens of meters, killing the occasional monster as he made his way towards the increasingly loud sound.
After nearly three hundred meters, Cheng Yang burst into a clearing and finally saw the source of the noise. When he did, he immediately turned around and tried to leave. The monsters he found weren’t scary, they were actually kind of cute, but they were ants.
These fist-sized ants were a particularly terrifying monster known as the Bone-Eating Ant. They were individually among the weakest monster in the world. Each one had less than ten health and a single point in the Physical Attack attribute. Even a normal person could kill one. However, their true strength lay in the numbers, small size, and Innate Ability.
Most monsters would only be able to attack in groups of five or six at most, but dozens of Bone Eating Ants could cover a person and all attack at once. Their Innate Ability, Sunder Armor, allowed a Bone-Eating Ant to ignore the usual penalties for attacking someone with a high Physical Defense and forcibly did damage equal to the level of the monster. The combination of the two created a twisted attack pattern where a colony of ants could deal tens of damage a second to even the stronger of foes.
If Cheng Yang wanted to clear a colony of Bone-Eating Ants, he would have to be prepared to take almost a hundred damage a second as a worst-case scenario. If that were to happen, Cheng Yang would be killed in seconds.