“Alright, I’ll grant your request,” Cheng Yang said without hesitating, “but who’ll be your replacement? Do you have a suitable candidate?”
“If you’ll allow it, I would like my current second-in-command to take over the position.” Old Lee said, having already contemplated the decision. “Lu Cheng is a Warrior with an A-Rank Innate Ability. It’s lower than the other generals, but one of them is a Unique Ability that increases her allies’ defense by twenty percent per level. She also has an affinity for tactics and handled most of the actual strategic duties when I was general.”
Cheng Yang already knew about Lu Cheng’s Innate Ability since he was the person to assign the top positions for each battalion. Still, he’d never heard about her so-called affinity for tactics. If he was going to start replacing the current generals with actually talented individuals, he might as well do it right.
“My Lord, I can see you have some doubt’s but don’t worry. Ms. Lu was a Starcraft grandmaster before the apocalypse, and it seems those skills translated well to the current world’s rules.” Old Lee said.
Those were the best qualifications Cheng Yang could hope for right now, so he approved Lu Cheng’s promotion. However, he did so on the condition that if someone more suited appeared, the position would go to them if she didn’t show promise. She would also need to prove her loyalty to him in the same way the other generals had.
“Old Lee, since you’re going to be in charge of the entire territory from now one, I want to tell you about my visions.”
“Speak, my Lord.” Old Lee knew about Cheng Yang prophetic powers, but aside from his actions being wise in hindsight, Cheng Yang was very tight-lipped about his visions’ actual content. As a result, Old Lee was immensely curious.
“I mentioned earlier that after the gods’ rules change, a Farmer Profession will be added, allowing us to grow our food. That Profession is different from the ones we currently have in that there aren’t any skills. Instead, Farmers have to rely on old-world knowledge to reclaim land and cultivate crops.”
“Are there any differences between Farmers?” Old Lee asked unconsciously. He learned not to think too hard about the gods’ rules since they were often convoluted.
“There are, a Farmer’s efficiency is directly tied to the individual’s level. There might also be crops that have a level requirement, but I’m not sure. The Farmer Profession also allows anyone to obtain it, even normal people. So, I need you to recruit a large number of civilians to start cultivating land as soon as the Profession becomes available.”
“What kinds of crops should they plant?” Old Lee asked, “And where do we get seeds?”
“Nothing in particular, but we can use the grains we have in storage to get seeds.”
“Where do you want it planted? There’s not much room left in the Inner nor Outer Village, and it’s too dangerous for normal people outside the walls.”
“You won’t need to worry about them. Although it isn’t a skill, when a Farmer tills the land, it creates a Farm with a fence around it. It won’t stop a horde, but it will hold out long enough for our soldiers to save them.”
Old Lee suddenly had an epiphany. He’d assumed that the ability to grow food was something that came from the Farmer’s, but instead, the gods fundamentally changed the land, allowing it to produce food again.
“Anyways, create enough Farmer’s to feed the village’s population in four months.” Cheng Yang said. “Our population is only a hundred thousand for now, but we need to plan for the number of months to feed when we harvest the grain we’re planting.”
“Four months? Do all crops take four months to grow? Is there anything faster? Like vegetables or something?” Old Lee asked with a concerned expression.
“Every crop is different and ones with shorter harvest times exist,” Cheng Yang replied, “However, wheat doesn’t have a growing season so it can be planted year-round. Rice is the same. Since its May, most crops won’t have time to mature before the season changes, and the gods’ rules make them wilt.”
“I see. So we have no choice but to rely on grain and rice for now.” Old Lee pondered on Cheng Yang’s words. “My Lord, if we plant what we have, we’ll run out before the harvest is ready. We won’t starve, but only eating meat will affect the health of our citizens.”
Although the gods eradicated most diseases, nutritional deficits would still cause problems. Without access to plant-based food, everyone would start dying from scurvy.
“We’ll have no choice but to buy the things we need from the Grocery.” Cheng Yang said with a sigh.
Old Lee smiled bitterly.
“My Lord, starches won’t be a problem since they’re cheap, but feeding fruits and vegetables to all the civilians will cost a fortune.”
“It can’t be helped, do we even have anything left right now?”
“We still have some root vegetables, but even when rationing it out into a thin soup, we’ll run out in a few days.” Old Lee reported, “Also, everyone’s been complaining since we don’t have any condiments like salt.”
“Buy what you need to. Whether that’s vegetables to keep everyone healthy or salt to keep them from rioting.” Cheng Yang said without hesitation. “It will cost a lot, but people are irreplaceable. Once the season changes, plant some vegetables that take a month to harvest, I’ll give you a list later.”
Old Lee frowned but nodded nonetheless. Even if the problem were resolved in exactly a month, it would be an enormous expenditure. He knew Cheng Yang was a good person, but this choice seemed almost foolishly kind.
Although it was true that Cheng Yang felt for the starving masses, he wouldn’t have made this decision based on that. He was the Lord of Phoenix Village, and his strength was tied directly into the state of his empire. The people of Pheonix Village were resources he had to care for and maintain, so how could he be willing to watch them starve to death?
Moreover, although civilians couldn’t directly oppose him right now, the gods would eventually give them the tools for a rebellion.
“Is there anything else you need me to do, my Lord?” Old Lee asked.
“Once the rules change, the gods will add new buildings that will alleviate our waste management and water supply problems. Make sure you built those when the time comes.”
“Of course, my Lord. This subordinate will handle these matters swiftly.”
“In the future, the number of administrative tasks you’ll need to handle will grow. Make sure to recruit more administrators before it overwhelms you. Even if they’re civilians, give them and their families the same treatment as the soldiers. I’ll let you decide the exact framework and salary details.”
Old Lee internally let out a breath of relief. He’d been worried Cheng Yang had ignored the village’s administrative problems, but it would seem he just hadn’t notified him yet.
After discussing a few other smaller details, Cheng Yang brought Old Lee to the Territory Altar and granted him the Governor position. Unlike the satellite villages, the Governor’s position for Phoenix Village have any for of divine assistance. However, it gave Old Lee unrestricted access to the village’s systems.