The moment the gate cracked opened, the refugees rushed in like crazy. The ones in the front were pushed in by the ones in the back, and if they were too weak from malnutrition, they were trampled upon. It was a chaotic scene that soon filled the air with screams.
“Stop!” Cheng Yang anxiously roared. If he let this continue, the civilians living in the village would get caught up in it. But, whatever authority Cheng Yang once held in their minds was long gone. Anyone that bothered to listen was pushed to the ground as the other continued to rush forwards.
Forced to make a quick decision, Cheng Yang used his authority to force the gate to shut on its own. Once it had closed, there was nothing the people outside could do to open it. Once they realized that, wails of despair replaced the screams from before.
Cheng Yang surveyed the scene with a horribly cold expression.
The chaos had only lasted a few seconds, but dozens of injured people lay on the ground. Most of them were moaning and crying out in pain, but a few laid perfectly still. If they weren’t dead, they would be soon.
“Restrain everyone who just came in.” As soon as Cheng Yang said the order, his soldiers sprang into action.
Aside from the people on the ground, a hundred or so people had made their way inside the walls. Except for the first dozen or so people who had been at the front, these refugees had forced their way inside and were responsible for the injured individuals on the ground. Now they would have to face the consequences of their actions.
Even as the soldiers rushed towards them, the refugees were congratulating themselves on being fast enough to avoid getting locked out. Once the first couple of them were captured, they panicked and tried to escape. However, the soldiers were too fast.. Without exception, the refugees were subdued and restrained.
The refugees didn’t know why they were being arrested, but even an idiot would realize what they needed to do next. Every one of them started crying out for forgiveness and begging Cheng Yang for mercy.
Cheng Yang didn’t bother listening to the pleas of his captives. He had no sympathy for people like them.
“Lock these ruffians into a Meditation Hall. Except for those that were pushed inside, sentence them to a year of forced labor. Let’s see how unruly they’ll be after that.”
It was a harsh punishment. The only jobs suitable for forced labor were those so dangerous that other civilians couldn’t be paid to do it. Furthermore, there was no way Cheng Yang would let any of them become Professionals.
At first, the detained refugees were relieved that Cheng Yang had spared their lives. However, it didn’t take long for them to realize the implications. Once they did, their relief turned to despair. If they were forced to toil while everyone else performed class change ceremonies, they’d be stuck at the bottom for the rest of their lives.
As the detainees were escorted away, Cheng Yang turned his attention to the mob outside the gate.
“You all seem a little too excited. The gate will remain closed for the next half hour. If you still aren’t calm by then, we’ll repeat the process.”
After making his announcement, Cheng Yang jumped down from the wall. Even though the refugees begged him to let them in, he pretended not to hear them. He didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
“Old Lee, keep an eye on the situation here. Don’t open the gate until their able to enter in an orderly fashion. If they want to enter my village, they’ll need to learn to follow my rules.”
As Cheng Yang walked towards the Inner Village, Old Lee got to work cleaning up the mess. He oversaw the healing of the injured and arranged the burial of those that died in the stampede.
He also divided the two battalions into four groups—one at each gate.
All that remained was to wait.
After a while, the crowd outside the gate settled down. They’d been loud and upset at first, but they came to understand that nothing they did or said would force the people inside to open the gates. So, since they had no other choice, they followed Cheng Yang’s instructions.
Even so, Old Lee didn’t open the gate. Cheng Yang said they’d have to wait at least half an hour. So, Old Lee wouldn’t open it any sooner. It was to uphold Cheng Yang’s authority and make sure the crowd stayed passive.
Once the required time had passed, Old Lee opened the gate. At the same time, the other three gates opened as well.
This would have been impossible in the past since there were only three people in the village capable of controlling the gates. Now, however, the gates were controlled with a lever that anyone could use. Of course, Cheng Yang could still control the gates like before.
There were pros and cons to this new rule. The defense system was much more flexible now since the soldiers didn’t need to wait for an approved individual, but the gates also needed powerful guards.
This time the refugees were much more subdued. To make sure it stayed that way, Old Lee had the soldiers standing in neat lines with their weapons drawn. It sent a clear message.
Under the direction and coordination of Old Lee, the refugees were divided into batches and sent to various places in the outer village. There weren’t any houses, but the walls provided a strong sense of security.
The initially crowded village was starting to feel claustrophobic. There were only nine square kilometers of space but enough people for Phoenix Village to count as a small country. There were no tall buildings to make it worse, so everyone had to huddle together on the ground.
While Old Lee handled the refugee crisis, Cheng Yang was using the Barracks’ training facilities.
The patch applied by the gods today introduced far more than just Farmers and refugees. It had fundamentally changed the rules of combat.
Previously, the Mana cost and damage of a skill were set in stone. Today’s patch allowed a person to control the amount of Mana used. The maximum limit was the current amount needed to use the skill, but you could use less if you didn’t need your full strength to kill a monster.
Another combat change was the introduction of friendly fire. Now, even if you were running an instance dungeon together or were part of the same Army or Party, if an ally’s attack hit you, it would deal damage.
However, neither of those changes was the reason Cheng Yang was using the training facilities. After all, he was more used to this new style of combat than the old one.
He was here because he had nothing better to do than hone his skills. It wasn’t worth it to hunt monsters anymore since he made so many Experience Fragments from the Auction House, so he might as well spent time training.
From now on, his schedule would consist of training in the Barracks, governing the villages, and clearing Nightmare Difficulty instance dungeons.
Cheng Yang was a bit of a flake before. Even though he was the Lord, he would spend his time farming monsters and running instance dungeons. He spent less than an hour each day supervising the village.
However, if Cheng Yang hadn’t focused so much on his personal growth, the territory wouldn’t have grown either. It was that work that allowed him to comfortably make money from the Stones of Return and his special potions. Now he had time to focus on the village instead of desperately kill monsters.
He had even less reason to go hunting now that his soldiers had matured enough to do that themselves. Whether it was dealing with hordes or cleaning up scraps, the battalions of Phoenix Village could handle it.
Cheng Yang used the training facility for three hours before leaving the Barracks.
He visited the Outer Village and found Old Lee hard at work.
Old Lee was with several soldiers from the army he hoped to bring into his newly formed administrative department. There was no shortage of soldiers, so a few being diverted from active combat. Their main job was to compile statistics about the refugees and their resettlement.
Cheng Yang said he was lax in his administration of the territory because he didn’t pay any attention to the civilians living there. At the time, they weren’t productive and were only a drain on his resources. Even now, he didn’t want to deal with them, so he passed the burden to Old Lee. Something he excused by saying the majority of the territory administration would come from civilians.