Xiāngyáng Mountain had relatively gentle slopes. The road went right down the mountain parallel to a stream. About a kilometer downstream was a city called Huìmín. With a population of ten thousand it was considered a big city Húběi Province.
When the driver left, Chéng Yáng tried to guess where the Territory Altar would be, then climbed up Xiāngyáng Mountain.
No one lived on Xiāngyáng Mountain, and aside from a trail leading to the top, there were no other paths.
Relying on the memories from his past life, Chéng Yáng went to the summit and found a clearing with a radius of one or two hundred meters. He then began to search every square inch.
Ten minutes later, Chéng Yáng’s eyes flashed with excitement. He had spotted a rocky outcropping the same color as the Territory Altars. The exposed part stuck out of the ground by about a quarter meter and was curved.
Chéng Yáng jogged over and ran his hand across the surface. The feeling it gave him was more than enough to convince him that he’d found what he was looking for: the Territory Altar!
The excitement Chéng Yáng felt couldn’t be described with words. If he could successfully use this Territory Altar to become a Lord, he would be able to change his fate.
After a while, Chéng Yáng was able to calm himself down. He quickly went over the procedure to claim a Territory Altar in his head and gently placed his right hand on the rock.
“In the name of Chéng Yáng, I claim this Territory Altar!” He declared.
A weak white light floated out of the stone and flew into Chéng Yáng’s body. At that instant, he felt a deep connection made between him and the Territory Altar.
At the same time faint curtains of lights could be seen on the ground about thirty meters away in the four cardinal directions around the Territory Altar. Each curtain of light solidified into a statue, surrounding Chéng Yáng.
Like the Territory Altar, the statues were mostly buried; only the heads could be seen. Just based on the size of the parts that were above ground, the statues were easily three meters tall.
“I did it…” Chéng Yáng murmured.
Looking at the familiar Class Statues, Chéng Yáng was filled with a dreamlike euphoria. After the earthquake, these same four statues would appear in the city center of Xiāngyáng and in other cities through the world.
Although they were mostly buried, Chéng Yáng remembered their appearances vividly: a bulky man staring at the ground covered in heavy armor while holding a sword and shield, a robed woman in a pointed hat holding a wooden stave topped with a gem, a lithe sharp-eyed man holding a bow and arrow, and an savage-looking woman with a tiger next to her that gave off a sense of ferocious power.
Chéng Yáng quickly collected himself and grabbed the hat of the robed statue that was poking out of the ground.
〈Would you like to become a Mage?〉
“Yes.” Chéng Yáng did not hesitate to start the class change ceremony once prompted, since Mage was the class that suited his Innate Ability best. Instantly a dazzling, multi-color pillar of light erupted out of Chéng Yáng, enveloping him.
Several messages scrolled through Chéng Yáng’s mind before the light dissipated. When it did, he found himself holding a wooden stave in his right hand.
With a thought, a transparent screen appeared in front of Chéng Yáng. He had become a Player once before and knew it was his system pane, a display of stats only he could see.
Phoenix Village Owner
Level: Low-Grade Apprentice (0%)
|Attack Damage||1||Magic Power||6.5|
|Physical Defense||1||Magic Defense||1|
|Attack Speed||1||Movement Speed||1.1|
- Receive 30% more stats in the Magic Power Attribute when you level up
- Increase the effects of Meditation Halls in your territory by 30%
- Movement Speed is increased by 10%
- Meditation (Low-Grade): Absorb memories from an Experience Fragment
- Magic Missile (Low-Grade): Fire a sphere of condensed magic | Damage: 6.5 | Mana Cost: 5 | Range: 30 m | Cooldown: 3 sec | Proficiency: 0%
- Wooden Stave: Casting focus for a Mage | No bonuses
Aside from his Innate Abilities, the rest of his system window was identical to every other Low-Grade Apprentice Mage from stats to Skills to Equipment. Everyone started at the same point. The only way to become more powerful was hard work.
The only surprising thing on his system pane was his Innate Ability. An S-Rank Innate Ability! What a massive difference in talent!
He had expected to only get a 10% Magic Power bonus, so why was it suddenly triple what he remembered? Chéng Yáng thought about it for a long time but couldn’t find a solution. Perhaps it was a side effect of his regression?
Moreover, Chéng Yáng was confused by his Title. Phoenix Village Owner? Why doesn’t it say Phoenix Village Lord? He scrolled through the system messages and at the top was a notification informing him that he needed to survive one hour before he could receive the title of Lord.
In his previous life, the Phoenix Village Territory Altar hadn’t been discovered until two months after the apocalypse. At that time an Elite High-Grade Immature monster had been guarding it so people avoided the area. By the time the military realized the value of the Territory Altar, the monster had leveled up to become an Elite Pinnacle-Grade Immature monster, forcing them to sacrifice dozens of soldiers in an extended campaign before they were able to secure the Settlement.
Chéng Yáng had used the Class Statues in the Xiāngyáng Safe Zone to become a Player in his previous life, so he hadn’t moved to Phoenix Village until after it had been captured by the military. Unlike the Settlements, humans couldn’t rule over the Safe Zone as a Lord, so Chéng Yáng wasn’t totally familiar with the process of becoming a Lord and hadn’t heard about the waiting period.
Most people would become a Player in the Safe Zone of the city closest to them since monsters wouldn’t be able to enter. You might think this would mean the populations of Settlements would be lower than in the Safe Zones since Settlements could be invaded, but you would be wrong. Although Safe Zones were free of monsters, they only provided people with the most basic facilities. Settlements on the other hand would provide significant benefits to their inhabitants.
The third Innate Ability Chéng Yáng had which increased his Movement Speed was one such benefit. Some Settlements would give their Players an extra Innate Ability that scaled with the level of the Settlement. If Liú Hào registered himself at the Phoenix Village Settlement, and over lapped the Movement Speed buff with his own, the number of people able to match his speed would be few and far between.
Another benefit was that the Lord of a Settlement could complete Research using the Class Statues that provided permanent buffs to the Attributes of registered Players. The downside was that only a limited number of people could register with a Settlement.
For Lords there were even greater benefits. Every time the Settlement’s level was raised, the Lord would be given the ability to level up in turn. This allowed them to skip weeks or even months of grinding at higher levels. This benefit was how Chéng Yáng planned to solidify the advantage of his regression.
Other than Phoenix Village, there were three other Settlements in the area surrounding Xiāngyáng. Aside from being unsure if he would be able to find the Territory Altars at the other locations, Chéng Yáng chose to become the Lord of Phoenix Village because it was the only one that provided an extra Innate Ability and there was an Instance Dungeon nearby that would be vital to his development in the future.
After becoming a Player, Chéng Yáng walked back to the Territory Altar and tried to access its system pane to no avail. It seemed he would have to wait until after he became a Lord to start managing his Settlement.
After becoming a Player, Chéng Yáng tried to open the Settlement’s system pane at the Territory Altar, but it didn’t work. It seemed that he could only access the system pane after becoming the Lord.
What was the point of making him wait an hour? Was there supposed to be some kind of test? Chéng Yáng glanced around the clearing, but as far as he could tell there wasn’t any such thing.
Scouring his memories for a reason, Chéng Yáng remembered something he had read in a forum thread. Supposedly when capturing a Settlement, every monster in a few square kilometers would rush towards the Territory Altar. He hadn’t paid much attention to it at the time since he was barely able to feed himself, much less participate in capturing a Settlement.
If the information in that thread was true, Chéng Yáng had dodged a bullet. Monsters wouldn’t spawn until after the earthquake tomorrow so the wait period was nothing but an annoyance. If he’d tried to capture this Settlement tomorrow instead, perhaps he would have lost his life in an insurmountable monster siege.