After making Old Lee the Governor, he summoned the head of the Imperial Guard to announce Old Lee’s new authority. At the same time, two Imperial Guard members were assigned the duty of escorting Old Lee and acting as his assistants.
Cheng Yang didn’t plan for Old Lee’s new assistants to stay with him for very long since it was a wasteful use of their abilities. Rather, it was a choice made to discourage the civilians from causing a ruckus. Old Lee was well known among the soldiers, but the Imperial Guard was better known among the civilians since they handled public security.
Finally, Cheng Yang wrote and signed a notice of appointment and had someone hold it outside the Alchemy Tower.
It was funny to see a piece of printer paper taped to the door, but Cheng Yang was helpless when it came to choosing a location. Unless the system built it, structures inside the walls would collapse within an hour.
Thankfully that was another privilege that would be included in the next patch. As long as it was strictly above ground, the gods would allow people in the territories to build their own structures. Of course, they would be far inferior to something made by the system.
One of the plans Cheng Yang made with Old Lee was to set up a few temporary buildings to use for administration. First, an office for the two of them and then other facilities like a Health Department, a Logistics Department, a Construction Department, a Department of Public Security, etc.
Cheng Yang was a layman on those matters. In his previous life, the closest he got to helping build something was fetching the tools people needed. After all, as an Adventurer, he’d never been allowed to enter a Lord’s inner circle. Fortunately, Old Lee was very experienced with construction, allowing Cheng Yang to rest easy and leave it to him.
“My Lord!” Suddenly Zhao Chuan ran up to Cheng Yang and Old Lee. “My Lord, something strange is happening outside. All of a sudden, a large group of people showed up right outside the wall. They’re dressed like humans, but they might be NPCs. You should see for yourself.”
At first, Cheng Yang was shocked, but a moment later, everything made sense.
“Don’t worry. These people aren’t a threat to us. They’re refugees that have been living in the wilderness since the earthquake struck. Let them in and help them get settled.” Cheng Yang said, “Old Lee, I’ll leave this task in your hands.”
Old Lee nodded them turned to Zhao Chuan.
“General Zhao, how many refugees are out there?”
“A lot, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more people out there than in the village.” Zhao Chuan said, trusting in Cheng Yang’s judgment. “I didn’t have time to check everyone with my Inspect skill, but I’m fairly certain no one there has a class.”
Cheng Yang already knew about the Inspect skill, but this was Old Lee’s first time hearing about it, so he asked Zhao Chuan to show him the skill’s system pane.
- Identify (Low-Grade): View another creatures system pane with information redacted based on the relative difference in strength | Cost: 5 MP | Duration: 30 sec | Proficiency: 13.4%
“What a convenient skill! It’ll be even better in the future.” Old Lee said with an envious sigh. “My Lord, I’ll go take a look, but… I’ll need the help of one of the battalions if I’m going to maintain order among that many civilians.”
“Find Lu Cheng and have the Righteous Avenger’s battalion help you. Zhao Chuan, have your Snow Lepard battalion help out as well.” Cheng Yang said with a grin. “Oh yeah, you probably don’t know yet, but Old Lee stepped down as a general so he could focus on territory management. However, he still has the same level of authority as you.”
Zhao Chuan wanted to say something but held his tongue. If Cheng Yang had agreed to it, the decision was final. There was no reason to argue.
Then, Old Lee and Zhao Chuan left to deal with the refugees.
After they left, Cheng Yang traveled towards the village’s outskirts and reached it a few moments later.
Quite a few people were milling around the base of the wall. A few of them were scattered about the perimeter, but most of them were clustered near the gate, trying to get in.
The sea of people felt even bigger than the sea on monsters he’d fought a few days earlier. If all of the gates were like this, the previous estimate Zhao Chuan gave him would be far too low.
The other thing Cheng Yang noticed was the noise. Tens of thousands of people desperate clamoring for the gate to open. Most of them begged and pleaded, but a few were less polite with their demands.
Cheng Yang had suspected as much, and now he could confirm that these people were the refugees from the cities without safe zones. Moreover, the satellite villages probably had refugees on their doorstep too.
It was unexpected, but it made sense that this would happen. In his previous life, no one had claimed a Territory Altar yet, so naturally, all of the refugees would be sent to the safe zones. Since safe zones and territories were similar existences, of course, some of the refugees would end up here this time around.
Extrapolating from previous population data, we can guess that there would be around seven million people within the range of the Cloud City safe zone before the apocalypse. Assuming two-thirds died, there would still be three million survivors. Excluding the half-million already in the safe zone and rounding down, there would be at least two million refugees arriving today.
Assuming all the villages under Cheng Yang’s control were in a similar situation, there would be five hundred to seven hundred thousand survivors diverted away from Cloud City.
Even so, with over a million people suddenly appearing in the safe zone, Yuan Jianzhe would have a hard time. The chaos wouldn’t last as long as in his previous life, but the safe zone would be inoperable for at least four or five days.
The safe zone had a lot of advantages in keeping order. Killing was forbidden in the safe zone, and since everyone who passed through the screen of light was imprinted with knowledge about the gods’ rules, they wouldn’t be willing to try anything dangerous.
Suddenly Cheng Yang frowned. He wasn’t worried about Pheonix Village’s ability to control the refugees, but the satellite villages wouldn’t know how to handle the matter. It would be especially tricky for the ones near Yicheng.
While he was ruminating, some refugees recognized that Cheng Yang seemed to hold some authority in the village. When they did, they shouted at him to open the door, causing the rest to join in. Inevitably, some of them crossed the line with their words.
It was no wonder why these people were so desperate. What if a monster appeared?
Realizing the situation would spiral out of control if he stayed silent, Cheng Yang addressed the crowd.
“Be quiet. The gate will open for you soon.” Thanks to his high stats, Cheng Yang’s voice was loud enough to drown out the refugees’ squabbling and stun them into silence.
But, that silence only lasted a few moments before someone shouted back at Cheng Yang.
“Why should we wait? What if a monster kills someone? Will you take responsibility?”
“Why should I take responsibility?” Cheng Yang asked with a cold sneer. “I’m letting you in because I am merciful, not because it is my responsibility. If you don’t want to follow my rules, you won’t be allowed in today.”
After that, no one talked back. Even if they were arrogant, no one wanted to be forbidden from entering the village. Especially since they knew Cheng Yang had the power to stop them.
Cheng Yang didn’t know about it since there wasn’t a similar situation in his previous life, but the refugees already knew all about the gods’ rules since they’d experience the same imprinting of knowledge as those teleported to the safe zones. They didn’t know precisely how powerful Cheng Yang was, but they knew he was at least as powerful as a monster, so they knew he could keep them out if he wanted to.
Not only that, but it was evident to them that Cheng Yang wasn’t the only one with a class. Everyone else patrolling the wall seemed to have one too.
Seeing that the crowd was still anxious about the possibility of a monster attack, Cheng Yang decided to comfort them.
“You needn’t worry about monsters here. The area under your feet belongs to my Pheonix Village. As long as you are within a kilometer of these walls, monsters will not spawn. Please rest assured.”
Hearing that, the crowd settled down. Although they only took his words with a grain of salt, they’d been here for half an hour already, so if Cheng Yang were lying, they would have been attacked already.
Although the occasional person still threatened him under cover of anonymity, Cheng Yang ignored them. It would be trifling to kill them, but there was no reason to do so even if they were a thorn in his side. He wanted to give the refugees the impression of a stern Lord, not a bloodthirsty one. They would be his subjects in the future, so he didn’t want to alienate them.
In Cheng Yang’s opinion, a Lord who resorted to murdering their citizens would never win their trust. A Lord like that would need to watch their backs at all times. It wasn’t the future Cheng Yang wanted for himself.
A few minutes later, Old Lee arrived accompanied by the soldiers of his old battalion and Zhao Chuan’s battalion. They built a solid human wall inside the wall, and then the gate was opened.