Cheng Yang couldn’t help but smile as he walked out the gate. He couldn’t help but be happy that Yuan Jianzhe showed up in a timely manner and saw him and Lu Chenguang together.
Although Lu Chenguang was Yuan Jianzhe’s subordinate in name, none of the militia captains could be considered loyal. After seeing one of his captains meet with his most hated enemy, Yuan Jianzhe would be forced to consider if Lu Chenguang had betrayed him.
Cheng Yang wasn’t concerned about how Lu Chenguang would talk her way out of this predicament. The bigger a headache she had, the better he would feel. If she fell out of Yuan Jianzhe’s favor, it saved Cheng Yang the trouble of dealing with her in the future.
Lu Chenguang was the first person to make him suffer a loss in this life, so he wouldn’t forget to pay her back. However, he knew his soldiers weren’t the same as him. There would be many casualties in a protracted war, so there wasn’t a reason to go all out against Lu Chenguang until he had an absolute advantage. If he saw her outside the safe zone, though, he wouldn’t hesitate to settle their grudge.
With his task completed, Cheng Yang retrieved Enlai from the rented room and rode him out of the safe zone with Tan Yun. Along the way, Cheng Yang took the opportunity to get closer to the child and extract information.
Lu Chenguang had found him on the streets some time ago. When she did, she sheltered him and gave him delicious food, so it was understandable that the child had latched onto her, especially after experiencing the trauma of the apocalypse. Today, Lu Chenguang had released him back onto the streets for a few minutes to keep up appearances and then brought him back inside.
Cheng Yang rode Enlai to Silkworm Mountain quickly arrived at the village.
When Tan Chao saw the child in Cheng Yang’s arms, he couldn’t help but try to jump to his feet even though his limbs were bound.
“Dad!” Tan Yun also reacted strongly to their reunion.
With a glance, Cheng Yang signaled for the guards to cut Tan Chao loose. After all, any child would be upset to see their parent imprisoned. It would be awkward if Tan Yun started crying. Luckily, the child had experienced a lot in the last few weeks and was able to hold in his tears.
After Tan Chao spent a few minutes crying and holding his son, he stood up and bowed deeply to Cheng Yang.
“Thank you, Lord Cheng! I, Tan Chao, will not hesitate to go through fire and water in the future so that I can be of use to you!”
“Don’t be so formal. You’re one of my subordinates now, so there’s no need for you to worry.” Said Cheng Yang with a smile. “Now that Xiao Yun has been rescued, can you tell me what you know?”
“My Lord, please don’t take my previous hesitation personally. I didn’t dare to say anything since I believed I would be silenced once I was of no use. Then, once Lu Chenguang found out, she wouldn’t have a use for my son anymore…” Tan Chao avoided saying anything that would upset his son. “Now that I know my son is safe in your care, I can tell you everything.”
“Stop sucking up and just tell me.”
“It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it short. My son and I escaped the initial disaster because we entered the safe zone before the monsters arrived and became Professionals. Later, I told a good friend from before the apocalypse about my Innate Abilities. He sold me out that very day! I was too trusting.” Tan Chao spat. “Lu Chenguang then seized my son and had me handle all her dirty work. She didn’t hide much from me, so I know a few secrets, such as her collusion with Ding Ming to overthrow Yuan Jianzhe and her various plans for dealing with you. The attack suffered by this village was meant for your main base in the South. Thankfully every time I came close, a terrifying man would track me down. If not for my skill, I would have died.”
At this point, Tan Chao paused to observe Cheng Yang’s reaction. He wanted to ask who the person was and how he was tracked but ultimately decided not to.
“Did you tell Lu Chenguang about that?” Cheng Yang suddenly asked.
“I only said that you had a way to detect infiltration, but since I didn’t know the specifics, how could I have told Lu Chenguang?”
“You said that Lu Chenguang’s been working with Ding Ming to overthrow Yuan Jianzhe, right? Someone planted a bomb near one of my villages. Was it their doing?”
“I wasn’t the one who did it, so I’m not sure. However, it sounds like something Lu Chenguang would do.”
“What else do you know about her work with Ding Ming?”
“Their main goal is to cause conflict between you and Yuan Jianzhe. They’re hoping to take over both the safe zone and one of your villages in the chaos.”
This wasn’t surprising to Cheng Yang. After all, Lu Chenguang had tried the same thing in his previous life and had half succeeded.
Since Tan Chao had nothing else that was vitally important to say, Cheng Yang decided to take him to Phoenix Village. Although his Innate Ability was game-breaking, he would be useless if he didn’t level up. Without a solid foundation, there would be no way for Tan Chao to do something like strike a fatal blow and then escape to thousands of miles away.
On the way there, Cheng Yang explained the village’s situation and what he knew about the apocalypse to Tan Chao. He especially emphasized that Tan Chao should take out a Bank loan to increase his training speed.
Cheng Yang had considered giving Tan Chao the necessary Experience Fragments to unlock a high training speed himself but decided against it. Although Cheng Yang was certain Tan Chao wouldn’t defect and join someone another group, there was no guarantee he wouldn’t simply take his son and disappear. It would be better to give those Experience Fragments to someone loyal instead.
Once they arrived, Cheng Yang arranged for Tan Chao and his son to move into a Mediation Hall, then went to the Barracks to grind skill proficiency. His Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill’s proficiency had reached 70%, so Cheng Yang was working hard .to increase the skill’s level quickly.
That night, the first month of the apocalypse came to a close as the second started. By this time, most people had adapted to their new environment, especially those who became professionals. Going out to kill monsters had become a regular part of their daily routine.
Since it was now impossible for Professionals to trade Experience Fragments directly, the Phoenix Village Bank filled that role. As a result, the Bank’s initially large surplus of Experience Fragments dried up overnight.
When Cheng Yang heard the news in the morning, there was a moment of surprise, followed by an immediate self-deprecating reaction.
Although Cheng Yang made unprecedented profits from selling potions and Stones of Return, most of it was used t develop either himself or his elites. His liquid capital only amounted to around three million Experience Fragments if he scaped it all together.
Three million Experience Fragments wasn’t a lot for Phoenix Village. Even if all of it were loaned out, it would only be enough for three thousand Professionals. Even if Cheng Yang diverted all the military revenue and the territory’s automatic collection, over seven thousand Professionals lived in Phoenix Village. There were far too few Experience Fragments to allow each of them to unlock four times training speed.
To protect the village’s interests, Cheng Yang ordered the bank manager to give soldiers priority when granting loans and to reduce their interest rates to 0.8%. Although the reduced rates weren’t much cheaper, it was still a discount that would make the soldiers feel a sense of belonging.