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Doomsday Lord Ch. 177 | Fire Spirit Fruit Tree Seed

A few minutes later, the battle was over. It was easy to the point that Cheng Yang felt ashamed he had been worrying so much.

Yagni had used a few other skills, but nothing with damage on par with the lava wave. So, Enlai was able to tank those attacks with ease.

When it died, Yagni’s body solidified, then crumbled into jagged heaps of rock. At the same time, the lava lake surrounding them began to flow into an unseen drain. A few seconds later, the remaining magma solidified into softly glowing stone.

“My Lord, what’s going on here?” Jiang Yang asked in fear. To them, this situation was a little too similar to the earthquake that ended the world.

“The dungeon is transitioning into a conquered state. If it didn’t, how would anyone be able to farm monsters here?” Cheng Yang said, “It’s nothing to worry about.”

“That’s true.” Jiang Yang said with a curt nod. “But wouldn’t that make the name ‘Magma Wastes’ a misnomer?”

“If you have the time to worry about the names, tidy up the map you’re making.” Cheng Yang grumbled.

Jiang Yang chuckled but didn’t remark on Cheng Yang’s outburst.

Ignoring that, Cheng Yang walked over to Yagni’s remains. He sifted through the rubble until he found a small red velvet bag.

When he picked it up, Cheng Yang confirmed what was inside: Fire Spirit Fruit seeds. There were eight of them, a higher amount than dropped on average.

Cheng Yang grinned. Thank goodness the reward for conquering the Magma Wastes was the same as in his previous life.

As the name suggested, the seeds would grow into a fruit tree that would produce Fire Spirit Fruits when planted. Although fresh fruit would be a treasure in its own right during the apocalypse, the Fire Spirit Fruits were far from ordinary.

The first open-world dungeon near every safe zone was the Magma Wastes, so the fruit’s properties were well known. They could be used to create powerful potions or supplement someone’s training when eaten raw.

If a Low-Grade Apprentice ate a Fire Spirit Fruit, they would immediately level up. After eating another two, they would level up again.

Fire Spirit Fruits were the kind of treasure people would kill for. Think about it. Others would toil for months to achieve what someone else did by eating a light snack.

Befitting such an item, the Fire Spirit Fruits were exceedingly rare. If there was a way to get them other than defeating Yagni, Cheng Yang didn’t know about it. You also could only eat three before they lost their effectiveness. Moreover, each tree only produced twenty to thirty fruits with each harvest.

Speaking of the trees, it would take quite a while before they had grown enough to bear fruit. Thankfully, the gods’ rules sped up the process significantly. Otherwise, even five years after planting the seeds, you wouldn’t get any fruit.

Since most areas didn’t obtain the seeds until after a few months had passed, the value of the Fire Spirit Fruits diminished significantly in the eyes of the world’s leaders. The fruit would be only marginally helpful to them since they would fill their experience bars by an eighth or less.

However, Cheng Yang would extract far more value from them since all of his subordinates were still low-level.

“When we get back, I’ll give each of you a hundred contribution points.” Cheng Yang announced with a broad smile. This trip to the Magma Wastes had been a productive one.

Jiang Yang and the others were delighted. They’d already earned a large number of Experience Fragments from this mission, so gaining some contribution points was the cherry on top. With this many, they might be able to exchange for the rights to train using the Nirvana Feather.

“My Lord, when will the dungeon be available for normal use?” Jiang Yang asked.

“Monsters will start spawning here at midnight, so you’ll be able to bring a hunting party in tomorrow morning.” Cheng Yang said, “Be careful and come prepared.”

“Don’t worry, my Lord, we’ll let the generals organize the expedition.” Jiang Yang replied.

As they left, Cheng Yang put away Undine’s Tear. After conquering the dungeon, the magma was either dried up or solidified, making the cavern only as warm as a summer day. Those patches of solidified magma would birth new monsters, but they would never flow freely like they used to.

Once they got back to Phoenix Village, Cheng Yang summoned Zhao Chuan to his Meditation Hall.

“My Lord, I was successfully able to acquire the Statue Lifting Stone.” Zhao Chuan said once he arrived. To him, it was apparent what Cheng Yang wanted to know. “In the end, I only needed to spend three hundred thousand Experience Fragments.”

Cheng Yang took the Statue Lifting Stone and the leftover Experience Fragments with a smile. With this, he would strengthen not only the territory but himself as well.

“We’ll have to spend more time browsing the Auction House, so we don’t miss good things in the future.” Cheng Yang mused before ordering Zhao Chuan to handle implementing that.

Once Cheng Yang used the Statue Lifting stone, his Magic Attack attribute nearly doubled. With this, he could deal over 200 damage with a single attack. If you included the bonuses from his skill level, equipment, and potions, Cheng Yang’s attacks had reached fearsome levels.

With a heart filled with excitement, Cheng Yang began the day’s training.

That night, Cheng Yang’s experience bar surpassed the three-quarters mark. He would level up in six days at this pace, allowing him to reach the second stage of evolution.

Then, when the village reached the Pinnacle-Grade level, he would be able to level up again using Divine Grace. He would be able to challenge the Hell Difficulty of the Blood-Soaked Church with the Imperial Guard and clear the Forgotten Grave on Nightmare Difficulty.

Although Cheng Yang hadn’t finished gathering the wood necessary for a High-Grade wall, it wouldn’t be long before he could build one the size he wanted it to be.

When he exited the Meditation Hall, Cheng Yang stared into the deep blue sky. Today was the one month anniversary of the apocalypse. It would also be a day of great sorrow and joy around the world as the gods instituted yet more rules. The gods would save the unlucky survivors in rural areas, but high-Grade monsters would become standard in exchange.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 176 | Boss Battle

“Just five.” Cheng Yang said grimly. “Let’s take a break. We’ll need to be in peak condition.”

“Cheng Yang sat down on the ground and closed his eyes. With the Meditation skill’s help, Cheng Yang did his best to erase the fatigue of fighting for hours on end.

The upcoming fight would be the last one before conquering the dungeon. It would also be the most dangerous battle Cheng Yang would fight up to this point.

The first obstacle was a quartet of Elite Arshi Tengri. Alone, fighting those four would be enough to push the group to the brink of death. However, they were far from the real threat.

The fifth monster that would spawn was Yagni, the Primordial Flame, a Low-Grade Mature Boss monster. Within the unconquered Magma Wastes, it was a level higher. Yagni was the ruler of all fire elementals and thoroughly outclassed the Boss in the Nightmare Difficulty Blood-Soaked Cathedral.

Moreover, there wasn’t a way to use the terrain to their advantage. Worse still, Yagni could use the environment against them. Its size was big enough to throw waves of lava onto the island, and it was smart enough to hide under the surface if it noticed a strong attack incoming.

Finally, everyone needed to stay within five meters of each other. Otherwise, they’d take constant damage from the heat.

If Cheng Yang had his Elite Imperial Gaurd members with him, there would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, he was stuck with five inexperienced soldiers while in a weakened state thanks to his Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill.

It was a thoroughly disadvantageous situation, but Cheng Yang had already made preparations for this battle. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have dared to enter the Magma Wastes.

Once everyone had recuperated, the group walked out to the island in the middle of the lake. Once they arrived, Cheng Yang rushed them into the island’s center, the only location safe from environmental hazards.

At the same time, four oversized Arshi Tengri burst out from underneath the lake’s surface. Further out, a wake formed as something massive moved through the water. Moments later, an enormous cross between a whale and a tiger burst from the lava, splattering the hot liquid everywhere.

“Focus the Arshi Tengri on the left! Wang Yuan, focus on the Arshi Tengri to the right! Everyone else, the one on the left.” Cheng Yang roared while firing at the same monster as Wang Yuan. “Once they’re dead, focus on the big one!”

The barrage of attacks instantly killed the Arshi Tengri to the left. The one on the right survived, but was quickly killed by Enlai who had braved the heat to finish it off.

While charging another spell, Cheng Yang retrieved the Bone Gnawing Bead from his ring. The newly summoned ants swarmed towards an Arshi Tengri Enlai had dragged into the safe zone created by Undine’s tear.

The monster desperately smashed the oncoming ants, but it couldn’t prevent its impending death.

By the time Yagni pulled itself onto the island, three of its subordinates were dead. Even so, the pressure Yagni exerted on the group was enormous. It was easily ten meters tall and thirty meters long. Not to mention, the intense heat it gave off could be felt even through Undine’s Tear.

Before it could make a move, Cheng Yang finished casting Hibernation Chill. It didn’t fully freeze the Boss, but its movements had slowed down considerably.

At the same time, Enlai and the remaining ants killed the last minion.

Until now, only seven seconds had passed.

“Heal Enlai!” Cheng Yang shouted while preparing to cast Icicle Blast.

Attacks peppered Yagni one after the other whittling away at the monster’s Health.

Once the Freeze effect wore off, Yagni charged towards the group at an unprecedented speed. Its enormous body allowed the monster to reach them near instantly. If Enlai weren’t there to block Yagni’s charge, there was no doubt in Cheng Yang’s mind that at least two of the soldiers would have died.

However, that allowed the Bone Gnawing Ants to climb onto Yagni’s body without the threat of either it’s or the environment’s heat.

Although Yagni had nearly ten thousand Health and thirty points of Physical Defense, it was helpless in front of the Bone Gnawing Ants.

Ironically, Yagni’s greatest strength, it’s size, would be its downfall. No matter what it did, it couldn’t seem to hurt the ants. Even so, it did its best to kill them.

Enlai took this opportunity to jump onto the monster and tear at its neck. Fang and claw tore through Yagni’s flesh, causing boiling blood to flow freely.

Yagni had enough intelligence to feel fear, and right now, it was terrified. It was losing hundreds of Health every second, so even though it was receiving attacks from all sides, it was entirely focused on killing the ants covering its body.

Once its Health passed the halfway mark, Yagni roared with anger and then kicked off the ground in a mighty leap. Its body gracefully arced into the sky, before it dove directly into the lava lake.

The ants were cooked to death in an instant, and, although Enlai had jumped off before Yagni landed in the lava, he was smashed by a tidal wave of molten rock.

The white tiger’s fur turned to ash, and his flesh was burned down to the bone in some areas. If the Priest hadn’t kept Enlai at full Health throughout the fight, he would have been killed by that haphazard attack.

Thankfully, the wave didn’t reach the middle of the island, so Cheng Yang and the soldiers were safe. In his past life, dozens of people were melted into a burnt paste by that “attack,” so even though it didn’t hit him, Cheng Yang was covered in a cold sweat.

Even without the Bone Gnawing Ants, it was still possible to win this fight.

While the Priest healed Enlai, Cheng Yang rushed to the front to act as a makeshift tank. His Health and Physical Defense were just high enough to prevent him from getting killed in one hit, which would allow him to survive using potions for a few seconds.

By then, Enlai would be able to return to the front lines.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 175 | Conquering the Magma Wastes

All five attacks landed squarely on the fireball. However, only the first three had any effect. Since Cheng Yang’s stats were halved, his damage was too low to create a two-hit combo with one of the soldiers.

When the monster died, it flicked into smoke. The only indicators that it had ever existed were the Experience Fragments they earned and the slight smell of charcoal.

“That was an Aithne. They’re also known as fire spirits.” Cheng Yang explained, “They’re the most common monster in the Magma Wastes but don’t be fooled by their appearance. If they envelop you in their flames, there’s no hope for survival.”

Wang Yuan and the others were horrified. If Cheng Yang hadn’t been there to warn them about the monster’s true nature, they would have dismissed it as normal fire.

A new fire spirit would appear every few dozen meters the group traveled, either alone or in a pair. As a result, they all died without Enlai needing to do anything.

Even so, none of the soldiers dropped their guard. If even the environment could kill them in a few seconds, they didn’t want to test their luck against a surprise attack.

The path through the Magma Wastes was intricate. It would curve around and double back on itself routinely. There were also several paths through the sea of lava. Fortunately, there were enough landmarks to determine the group wasn’t walking in circles.

Even Cheng Yang was having trouble in this labyrinthian environment. Since the dungeon itself never reset, various groups set up signboards to stop people from getting lost in his previous life. So, finding the correct path was difficult.

Fortunately, there was an easy way to tell if an area had been visited: monsters would only spawn in new areas.

Even after walking two kilometers, there wasn’t an end to the cavern in sight—only rivers of lava dozens of meters wide and pools wide enough to encompass entire city blocks.

So far, the group had killed around fifty Aithne, including one at the Pinnacle-Grade level. However, in front of the group’s buffed firepower, it was still too fragile.

Since the number of Aithne that spawned was proportional to the nearby lava basins’ size, the group was able to plan and avoid getting overwhelmed.

After a couple more kilometers, Cheng Yang began to recognize some of the scenery. If he was correct, they’d only covered the first tenth of the dungeon. The total size was over three thousand square kilometers, so he had no way to tell for sure.

“Ah, of course.” Cheng Yang exclaimed. “Are any of you good at drawing?”

“I studied fashion design in college, my Lord.” Jiang Yang said, “So, although it’s not my main skill, I can draw well.”

“Fashion design…” Cheng Yang muttered, “That’s pretty much the same as cartography.”

“Ah…” Jiang Yang looked a little sheepish when he realized what Cheng Yang wanted to do. “I can try, but don’t expect anything amazing.”

“All right.” Cheng Yang sighed. “Try it out for now. If it’s not good, we’ll find someone better, and you’ll help them map out the areas we go through.”

Jiang Yang nodded.

Around the time they killed their hundredth fire spirit, a new type of monster appeared: a humanoid plume of fire known as the Ebo.

The Ebo weren’t much stronger than the Aithne, but they only appeared in groups of two or more. As a result, Enlai finally needed to do some work. If there were too many monsters for the soldiers to handle, he would decisively kill the others when they got too close.

Although Enlai was hurt in the process, the damage was negligible. There was also a Priest in the group keeping Enali in peak condition.

As the group progressed, Wang Yuan maintained a constant stream of conversation.

“My Lord, what kind of world do you think this is? The gods turned it into a game, but it feels so incomplete. Even if I could respawn, this game would be too dull to play. After weeks of training, I barely feel stronger. Take this dungeon, for example, even after three hours it’s so boring. There hasn’t been any real challenge!”

“Would you rather have been fighting with your life on the line since you entered?” Cheng Yang stared incredulously at Wang Yuan. “Isn’t it enough that you have the power to survive in most areas?”

“Of course not.” Wang Yuan said with the spirit of a true gamer. “Shouldn’t there be some world bosses somewhere that take hundreds to thousands of people to kill?”

“Isn’t this world harsh enough as is?” Cheng Yang asked with a sad smile. “I can assure you that monsters like that exist, but rather than exciting, meeting one means instant death. Pray, you never meet one.”

“But if I did want to fight one, where would it be?” Wang Yuan asked with eyes like saucers.

Cheng Yang sighed and ignored the question. Thankfully, all this chatter didn’t prevent Wang Yuan from killing the monsters that appeared.

Night and day meant nothing in the Magma Wastes, but Cheng Yang’s watch indicated that it was six in the afternoon. At this point, another new monster had appeared: the Arshi Tengri, a creature made from semi-hardened lava that looked like a demon wearing black plate armor.

All of them were Pinnacle-Grade monsters putting their average strength on par with Enlai. Although they were fearsome opponents, they died all the same.

Although the soldiers were frightened when they first appeared, they now felt confident enough to face a real Mature monster if they met one. If they did, it would be an honor few could brag about.

Despite being more powerful than the Ebo, since they only appeared in pairs, the Arshi Tengri were easier to deal with. It might seem odd, but this level of difficulty was to be expected. This was a test of skill, after all. The gods wouldn’t make it impossible to conquer the dungeon.

Three hours later, the group hit a stumbling block. The Arshi Tengri were starting to appear in groups of three or even four.

A trio strained the group but was bearable. If there were four, it was impossible to avoid injuries. It never reached a critical point, but Enlai wouldn’t stop complaining about singed fur and painful burns over the mental link with Cheng Yang.

Then, a massive cistern of lave entered their sight. It was no less than six hundred and sixty-six square kilometers in size with a large island in the middle. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

“My Lord, with a lake that huge, just how many monsters will we need to fight?” Jiang Yang asked with a pale face.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 174 | Magma Wastes

Cheng Yang wasn’t the type to waste time, so he took the soldiers to sweep the area. They wouldn’t earn much from killing the monsters around here, only around three thousand Experience Fragments, but only in Cheng Yang’s eyes. To the soldiers, it was several days worth earnings.

When they returned to the cliff, the soldiers were shocked. The originally normal-looking cliff now had a cave entrance thirty meters wide. The inside was filled with a ghastly smog illuminated by a faint orange glow preventing them from seeing further inside. Above the opening, a few characters had been carved into the stone as if by a sword: Magma Wastes.

“What is this place?” Wang Yuan asked.

“Doesn’t it have a label?” Cheng Yang chuckled. “It’s the Magma Wastes.”

Wang Yuan gave Cheng Yang a dumbfounded look. Of course, she could read, but that didn’t mean she understood.

“There should be around a thousand monsters in there, so we should get started.”Cheng Yang said with a smile. “I brought you here to help me exterminate them.”

Cheng Yang stepped into the cave, closely followed by the others.

The cavern was incredibly wide, far more than the hill could contain. It was also sweltering and heavily smelled of sulfur and ash. It wasn’t surprising since the name implied as much.

The Magma Wastes were a dungeon, but not the same type as the Blood-Soaked Cathedral. The Magma Wastes was an open-world dungeon. Every month, a new one would appear in the vicinity of each safe zone as long as the previous one was conquered.

Unconquered dungeons had monsters a level higher than usual, which wouldn’t respawn naturally. To conquer it, all you had to do was kill every monster inside. After that, it would start spawning monsters at regular intervals.

In Cheng Yang’s previous life, the Magma Wastes weren’t cleared until the apocalypse’s sixth month, right before he died. This was considered slow since an open-world dungeon in Lagos was conquered during the apocalypse’s third month.

Losing out on a new dungeon spawning was a serious issue. It may not seem like it since there were plenty of monsters to kill in the wilderness, but that wasn’t the case. The spawn rate would continue to decrease over the next few months in every area except the open-world dungeons and monster Nests.

Unfortunately, Nests were an unreliable source of income. Most would be destroyed because they were a threat, and those that weren’t were too far away to be useful.

Nests were considered strategic resources, and only a strong enough force could benefit from one without being destroyed by it. As a result, national governments or military forces controlled all of the Nests in Cheng Yang’s previous life.

As a result, once the spawn rate decreased to a certain extent, and the hordes in the wilderness were too strong to challenge without a unified safe zone, open-world dungeons would become the only efficient way to gather Experience Fragments.

It was the same for the villages in the Phoenix Empire. The five battalions were exhausting themselves at the very edges of the wilderness for low returns while the new Adventurers and town guards had to be content with earning next to nothing in the areas near the walls.

Phoenix Village had seven hundred square kilometers of cleared wilderness surrounding it. Over such a vast area, around four hundred thousand monsters spawned a day.

It may sound like a significant number, but it averages out to around twenty-five monsters per square kilometer per hour.

Think about it. If every Professional spread across the available area, there would be more than ten per square kilometer. Hunting monsters would be pitifully inefficient, and even higher level people would only earn a handful of Experience Fragments a day.

Open world dungeons were different. Monsters’ respawn locations were fixed and respawned every ten minutes—moreover, the monsters in open-world dungeons respawning in groups instead of individually. Sometime respawn points created a dozen monsters, and others a hundred, making it perfect for group battle training.

So, Cheng Yang made it a priority to conquer the Magma Wastes.

Of course, open-world dungeons had downsides as well. The monsters inside were twice as powerful, making it difficult for anyone below the High-Grade level to hunt there.

The entrance sloped downwards for tens of meters before suddenly opening up into a vast cavern baking in the dull red glow of boiling stone.

“My Lord, the heat is-” Jiang Yang was cut off by Cheng Yang.

“Don’t worry. I’ve already prepared for that.” Cheng Yang took Undine’s Tear out of his ring, chilling the air around them.

A hundred meters later, the group encountered another obstacle. The path they were following, which was around thirty meters wide, had narrowed to just seven meters. Moreover, it was surrounded by endless seas of lava.

“My Lord, this…” Wang Yuan hesitated, “How are we supposed to cross that?”

“By walking.” Cheng Yang chuckled. “Don’t worry. As long as you don’t fall in, it will be perfectly safe. Also, make sure you kill the monsters in the lava before they get close to you.”

“Monsters in the lava? What level?” Jiang Yang asked.

“The weakest are High-Grade monsters, but they’re all as powerful as a Pinnacle-Grade monster from outside.”

“That…” Jiang Yang was at a loss for words. “How are we supposed to fight that? Is there something we need in here bad enough to face those kinds of monsters?”

“We might find a few things, but that’s not why we’re here.” Cheng Yang said, “The Magma Wastes are primarily a place to earn Experience Fragments.”

“My Lord, is this a good decision? The monsters are stronger, but won’t the Experience Fragments rewarded stay the same?” Wang Yuan argued. “Isn’t that too risky? Isn’t hunting normally better?”

Cheng Yang sighed. Since there wasn’t a better way to convince them to keep moving, Cheng Yang thoroughly explained the importance of open-world dungeons.

“So, that’s why we need to fight those monsters. Once the dungeon is conquered, the monsters will return to their normal strength, and the magma will recede enough to allow travel without Undine’s Tear. Do you understand now?”

The soldiers nodded.

“Good. I’ll lead the way. You follow and attack any monsters you see as soon as they appear.” Cheng Yang said while stepping onto the narrow path alongside Enlai, who acted like he owned the place. “Even with their strength, surviving more than two attacks will be difficult.”

The magma’s heat was so intense the air distorted, but even so, none of them felt a thing. It was an amazing experience.

It only took ten seconds for the first monster to appear. Twenty meters to their right, a living ball of fire rose from the lava sea’s bubbling depths.

“What’s that?” Jiang Yang asked, peering at the small ball of fire with curiosity.

“Dead!” Cheng Yang declared while charging up a spell.

At the same time, Enlai rushed in front of the group, positioning itself between them and the monster. He knew his only use in this kind of terrain was as a meat shield.

When they saw Cheng Yang begin to attack, the others prepared to fight as well. Then, in tandem, five streaks of light flew towards the fireball. They weren’t elite soldiers for nothing.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 173 | Undine’s Tear

Cheng Yang took another look at the listing and noticed there were only four hours before the auction ended. In addition, no one had made a bid yet.

Maybe it was because an item like this wasn’t supposed to be on the market yet, so no one was willing to take a risk? Three hundred thousand was a price only a few people could afford, so it wasn’t a surprise. However, since the Statue Lifting Stone was here, that meant the future changed again. What if the item he wanted wasn’t here?

Although the cheap Statue Lifting Stone couldn’t beat the item Cheng Yang hoped to purchase, it would still be a good thing to have.

Putting that aside for now, since there was still time, Cheng Yang typed something into the Auction House search bar: Undine’s Tear.

In an instant, the sea of listing was reduced to just one. Thankfully, it was still here.

Undine’s Tears are magical gems capable of granting someone immunity to fire and high temperatures within a five-meter area. Its blue surface is also cold enough to act as primitive climate control in the summer.

Right now, it had a flat price of one hundred thousand Experience Fragments. Truthfully, in five months, this would be considered overpriced. Undine’s Tears dropped in dungeons, and four months from now, a mine would be discovered in Peru. However, two months from now, they would sell for fifty times this price because they had an irreplaceable use.

But, what was the idiot that listed this thinking? Unlike items related to the territories, Undine’s Tear clearly stated its usage. The seller must really need money for them to do something like this.

Cheng Yang brushed those thoughts aside, then clicked the purchase button.

A few minutes later, the Tavern’s manager brought the Undine’s Tear out to him. Usually, this would be a job for the waitstaff, but Cheng Yang was a special customer. Ten percent of his profits went to the Tavern, so how could they treat him poorly?

When he held the gem, Cheng Yang felt a refreshing cold feeling wash over his body. With a smile, he stored it in his ring and left to prepare for his next move.

He had something planned that would require more storage space than he currently had, so he visited the Grocery.

He had two options, use ninety thousand Experience Fragments to upgrade his current Spatial Ring into a Standard-Grade on with ten cubic meters of space, or buy some new ones for ten thousand each.

As much as he wanted an upgraded ring, Cheng Yang chose to buy five new rings. After all, once he was done with them, his generals could use them.

Once he bought the new rings, he spent nearly ten thousand Experience Fragments filling them to the brim with potions.

Once everything was prepared, Cheng Yang visited Zhao Chuan to borrow some of his subordinates. He needed six in total, all at the Standard-Grade level, three Rangers, two Mages, and a Priest.

After getting the names of the people he needed, Cheng Yang gave Zhao Chuan half a million Experience Fragments and instructed him to purchase the Mage Statue Lifting Stone right before the auction ended. Although he only needed three hundred thousand, Cheng Yang gave him some extra just to be safe.

Then, Cheng Yang gathered the soldiers he needed and headed towards Cloud City.

Once they reached the Southern Bridge, Cheng Yang stopped and turned north. They continued walking, and after six kilometers, they entered unexplored wilderness.

Since there were only seven of them in uncharted lands, the soldiers were cautious and on guard. Cheng Yang, on the other hand, was quite relaxed.

Even if he were alone, Cheng Yang would be confident in keeping the group safe, but the meek white kitten in his arms guaranteed no harm would befall them.

Although he usually rode Enlai around, they recently learned that it was better for him to sleep when he had the time. That allowed him to grow faster than expending his energy. As such, Cheng Yang had become Enlai’s steed. Their roles had been completely reversed.

Once they walked another kilometer or so, Cheng Yang distributed the Spatial Rings he had, including his own, to the six soldiers. Then, he used his Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill on all but the Priest.

Even if they ran into a few hundred monsters, the team would instantly wipe them out. If the horde was on the larger side, all they had to do was kite the monsters with their superior speed. With their strength and experience, exploring new areas was similar to taking a stroll in the park.

This was also an excellent opportunity for the soldiers since they could earn quite a bit while under the effects of Sacrificial Blood Cloud.

The further they went, the stronger the monsters they encountered. It was similar to the first time Cheng Yang visited Yicheng. This time, however, there weren’t any problems, thanks to the elite soldiers. With Enlai’s help, nothing aside from a Pinnacle-Grade Mature monster could threaten them.

Half an hour later, Cheng Yang finally stopped.

“My Lord, have we reached our destination?” One of the Rangers, Jiang Yang, asked. He was a squadron leader with an A-Rank Innate Ability.

He wasn’t the only curious one. The others were just as confused. Even so, they trusted their Lord wholeheartedly and followed him without complaints.

“Almost, we’re headed over there.” Cheng Yang said while pointing towards the foot of a steep hill.

They kept walking and quickly reached the hill. It wasn’t very tall, but it was so steep a cliff had formed in the area they stopped.

To the soldiers, there was nothing out of the ordinary here. Even so, Cheng Yang was staring intently at the cliff face.

“My Lord, is there something special here?” Wang Yuan, a Mage, asked.

The cliff seemed quite ordinary, even to Cheng Yang. The only thing out of place was the lack of trees in the few dozen square meters surrounding it.

Cheng Yang checked his watch: 11:00.

“We’re just a little early.” He muttered anxiously. Too many things had been changing recently.

The soldiers all knew about Cheng Yang’s supposed precognitive abilities, so they decided to wait patiently for something to happen.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 172 | High Price

To upgrade an Army to the Standard-Grade level required the members to learn all four Military Formations. Training its use to a useable level only took a dozen hours, but the cost to purchase each skill was enormous; each one costs a thousand Experience Fragments.

It wasn’t an individually high price, but every ten soldiers would need four thousand Experience Fragments in total. The cost was covered by deducting ten percent of the soldier’s income, so it took ten days to buy a single Military Formation.

Even if the amount deducted were doubled, it would take twenty days for an Army to level up.

“Take your time. There’s no need to rush this. So far, we’re the only people to have Armies at all, so don’t worry.” Cheng Yang said, “Just remember to plan ahead and avoid wasting resources.”

“Our current plan is to let a tenth of our Armies level up since a Standa-rd-Grade Army can control nine Low-Grade ones.” Liu Hau explained, “Then a tenth of those will level up and so on until one of our Armies reaches Pinnacle-Grade. At that point, we can incorporate everyone into a single unit.”

Cheng Yang nodded in agreement. Although it was necessary to learn all four basic formations before leveling up, you didn’t need to level up after learning them.

Military Formation bonuses were cumulative, which meant the buffs from the various Army level formations would stack. Considering that, an Army’s effectiveness was directly proportional to the number of ranks.

On the other hand, without a solid foundation, it wouldn’t matter. A Low-Grade Army with Pinnacle-Grade formations would be stronger than a Standard-Grade Army with Low-Grade formations.

“That sounds like a good plan.” Cheng Yang said.

They continued to chat until the soldiers finished cleaning the battlefield. Then, Cheng Yang returned to Phoenix Village with the battalions he brought.

When he got back, Cheng Yang took Chu Qiang and his daughter hunting. Before they left, he visited the Quest Hall to pick up some tasks to complete along the way.

He only chose auto-generated fetch quests since the ones produced by people didn’t involve killing monsters.

After becoming an E-Rank Adventurer, there were more quests available for him, allowing Cheng Yang to complete a few every day. Although this allowed him to obtain thirty to forty Advancement Tokens a day, he was still far from upgrading his rank.

Cheng Yang spent the rest of the day killing monsters and practicing his Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill.

It was a useful skill, but it was hard to train since his plans usually needed him at full strength or acting independently. It didn’t help that it could only be used once every fight. As a result, it was still at the Low-Grade level even though his Icicle Blast skill had reached the Pinnacle-Grade level.

The area where Cheng Yang was hunting was fifteen kilometers away from the village since the Phoenix Village soldiers already cleared the monsters closer than that.

Those serving as Adventurers were incredibly active even though no one was pushing them to hunt monsters, which contributed to the growing operational area. They didn’t have the power to kill large hordes, so they hunted down newly spawned monsters with a fanatical passion. This drove the official soldiers further out to find good hunting grounds.

Although these people still feared death, the area around Phoenix Village was perfect for beginners. The density of monsters was low, and if they were in danger, as long as they could reach the boundaries of the territory, an Imperial Guard member would save them. Phoenix Village was starting to seem like a tutorial village from an MMO.

Thanks to the appearance of Adventuring groups, the village had become more lively with civilians peddling their services and soldiers selling off potion and equipment stockpiles.

It was a shame there were so few Professionals in the village. Having a few thousand people cover hundreds of square kilometers of land was too pitiful.

However, Cheng Yang wasn’t worried. There would be an influx of new Adventurers soon.

This morning, Cheng Yang put forty potions up for auction for three thousand Experience Fragments a piece, and when he got back, all of them had been purchased.

Their sale brought Cheng Yang’s daily Auction House profits up to three hundred thousand compared to when he only sold Stones of Return. They were also more stable as compared to the fluctuating price of the Stones of Return.

The stable high returns made Cheng Yang passionate about brewing Magic Amplification Potions. So, when Cheng Yang returned to the village in the evening, he started refining potions.

Thankfully, focusing more on the Magic Amplification potions wasn’t negatively affecting his growth as an Alchemist. Although his success rate was much lower than the Recovery Potions, the Magic Amplification potion being of a higher level allowed Cheng Yang to obtain roughly the same amount of experience.

The night passed quickly, and after a few tasks the next morning, Cheng Yang visited the Tavern. Today was a day that left a sour taste in the mouths of hundreds of people. That’s because an outstanding item was sold on the rock bottom prices. In this life, Cheng Yang planned to snatch it up.

Once he arrived, Cheng Yang ordered a plate of Hellpig Ribs and started to peruse the Auction House listings. There were thousands, but it was rare to find something useful at an affordable price.

Suddenly, Cheng Yang noticed a Mage Statue Lifting Stone that had been put up for auction. It required a starting bid of three hundred thousand Experience Fragments or a one-time price of two million.

Cheng Yang almost bought it that instant by instinct. However, he only had one million on him, and the rest of his net worth was invested into the Bank, so it would be hard to retrieve it.

Although he already had five, it would be hard to find Statue Lifting Stones on the Auction House in the future, and if there were one, it would cost six million at least. They were an item that was relatively common since they dropped from instance dungeons regularly, but no one would be willing to sell them.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 171 | Military Formation

If this were a war between humans, the attackers would never have made such a hasty and careless offensive. However, these were monsters. They weren’t intelligent beings.

The cube was irresistible to them, so there was only one thought in their minds, even if they couldn’t fulfill it: attack the area and kill everyone you meet.

The fighting was so intense that it only took a few minutes for twenty thousand monsters to lose their lives. It made the entire area stink of blood and death.

It was at that time that the last few Warriors climbed up onto the walls. There were tens of thousands of monsters on the Horizon, so even if they were confident in their strength, staying on the ground was suicidal. Simultaneously, the Summoners and Priests moved off the walls to make room for the Warriors.

When the dense wave of monsters was forty meters away, the battle started in earnest once more.

All of the Warriors had scaled the wall, but the summoned wolves were still guarding the wall from forty meters away.

When the two forces clashed, the wolves barely caused a ripple before they were torn into shreds of furry meat and returned to dust.

Compared to the previous loose gathering of monsters, this new wave was a real threat. Standard-Grade monsters were everywhere, and High-Grade monsters could be seen almost as commonly. There was even a Pinnacle-Grade monster towards the back.

Once the monsters were in range, the Mages and Rangers began firing. They attacked without even bothering to aim since it was impossible to miss with so many monsters present.

As the monsters charged across the last thirty meters before the wall, hundreds died.

Moments later, the wave crashed against the wall, and the fighting began in earnest, and the monsters that could scale the walls attacked the defenders.

The Priests were frantically rushing around, healing anyone the moment they saw an injury. The Summoners, on the other hand, conjured new wolves on the ground once their cooldowns were over. As a result, monsters were lured off the wall thanks to the wolves’ inherent aggro abilities.

The walls weren’t spacious enough for all the soldiers, even without the Summoners and Priests. So, the Warriors split themselves between the Walls and the ground on the village side. Those on the wall focused on defending the ranged Professionals while those on the ground killed the monsters drawn off the walls by the Summoners.

The most immediate threats to ordinary soldiers, the High-Grade monsters, were dealt with before they could attack anyone. Since their size made them stand out, it was easy for Cheng Yang, Enlai, or the generals to intercept and kill them.

Enlai circled the wall without staying in one place, but the others guarded a single wall area. Liu Hau protected the north while Old Lee protected the south. Both Cheng Yang and Zhao Chuan defended the east, and the west was left to the ordinary soldiers. With them around, the regular soldiers could fight without fear.

The defense was asymmetrically distributed due to the way the village’s soldiers had focused their hunting efforts. Since Cloud City was to the west, the area had been entirely cleared to make travel easier. As a result, there were hardly any monsters, must less High-Grade ones.

The east, on the other hand, was facing the endless wilderness. As a result, there was even a Pinnacle-Grade monster among the tens of thousands attacking the walls.

Thus, not only was Cheng Yang personally defending that area, Zhao Chuan had been deployed as well to suppress the monsters with his wolf’s aura.

Thanks to their efforts, no matter how many monsters attacked, they couldn’t break through. Even when some flying monsters appeared, they were slaughtered.

Although there were a few scattered casualties, they could be counted on one hand. The battle wasn’t a suspenseful one. No one doubted their victory.

Over time, the initial monster siege ended. The ground was covered in smashed corpses, making it hard to guess the exact number of monsters that died, but it was easily a hundred thousand. It was enough for every soldier to gain a few dozen Experience Fragments.

For them to have gained so much in just twenty minutes made everyone happy. Not to mention that if they continued to stand guard, they could earn twice that amount by this time tomorrow.

Unfortunately for them, Cheng Yang had no plans to let the soldiers stay. There was no need since the Joyous River Village soldiers were capable of handling the stragglers.

Since only a hundred or so monsters were attacking at a time, Cheng Yang ordered the soldiers under Liu Hau’s command to clean up the battlefield.

Their main task was to gather the materials they could from the monster’s corpses. The meat could be used as food, the skin processed into leather, the bones carved into weapons, and a rare few had parts that could be used for Alchemy.

The parts the village didn’t need were left to rot. Before the apocalypse, this would have been a horrible decision, but one of the few benefits of this new world was that disease wouldn’t spread through filth anymore. No matter how long a corpse was left out, it would never cause a pandemic.

“Koko,” After dealing with the monster siege, Cheng Yang needed to discuss something with Liu Hau, “When the effects of the cube wear off, put another twenty thousand Experience Fragments in. You can either use your funds or gather them from the soldiers. Either way, get the most out of this since I’m going to take it to the Yicheng area the next time I visit.”

“How many days will we get to keep it, my Lord?” Liu Hau asked with a smug grin. The training cube was a fantastic item, and he’d stolen it from under the nose of his rival.

“Not long.” Cheng Yang replied with a knowing laugh. “Joyous River village already has too many advantages, so the others will get mad if I let you monopolize the training cube as well.”

The road between Phoenix Village and Joyous River Village allowed Liu Hau’s soldiers to access the Bank as well as the upgraded shops. This allowed the soldiers from Joyous River Village to progress much faster than those from Silkworm Mountain.

“How is your battalion developing? Cheng Yang asked casually.

“Decently. Most people are close to reaching the Private Third Class rank, but it will be a while before we can consolidate the various Armies.”

Currently, the only way to organize groups of soldiers was into Armies officially. Until the requirements were met, there wouldn’t be a way to make larger groups than a Low-Grade Army.

One requirement was learning special group skills called Military Formations. There were four Military Formations available to Low-Grade Armies: the Square, which increased damage and defense by 5%. The Circle increased defense by 10%, the Spare Array, which increased Attack Speed by 10%, and the Series Matrix, which increased damage by 10%.

Compared to the passive buffs provided by class change statue research, Military Formations were rather lackluster since they required impeccable coordination. However, these were the lowest level of Military Formations. The ones for a Pinnacle-Grade Army were much more formidable.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 170 | Use

The number of subclasses each Totem had wasn’t the same. The Warrior Totem had three, but the Mage Totem had four: Geomancer, Pyromancer, Hydromancer, and Anemancer. The Ranger Totem allowed a person to become either a Rogue, Hunter, or Scout, and the Summoner Totem had two subclasses: Druid and Necromancer.

Each subclass had its strength and weaknesses, but none were worse overall than the others. Instead, it was a person’s effort and compatibility that determined how far a subclass would go.

Although the four primary classes now had Totems, none of them had finished Totem level research yet since it took ten days. It would take nearly two months and a hundred thousand Experience Fragments to fulfill the research upgrade condition.

Ironically, this made research the bottleneck for leveling up the Totems since it would only take one month to amass five hundred High-Grade Apprentices in each class. For most territories, it would take three months just to accumulate the necessary Experience Fragments.

For Cheng Yang and his villages, if it could be solved with money, it wasn’t a problem. Cheng Yang ran a very profitable scalping business, a Bank, and an instance dungeon within the bounds of Pheonix Village. Just this would solve any money issues they had, but he recently acquired the Imitation Imperial Training Cube as well.

At the moment, Cheng Yang was marching towards Joyous River Village with all three battalions stationed in Phoenix Village. Cheng Yang also brought Chu Yiling and Chu Qiang since they were a part of his personal guard.

The defense of Pheonix Village was left to the absurdly overpowered Imperial Guard members and the dozens of newly formed Adventurers groups. Although the Adventurers were inexperienced, their stats were far higher than a typical Low-Grade Apprentice, so in an emergency, they’d be able to support the Imperial Guard.

Phoenix Village also had the three Elite Imperial Guards as a trump card. So long as they were there, Cheng Yang could walk around the Cloud City area without fear that Phoenix Village would be destroyed when he got back.

It only took an hour for Cheng Yang’s army to reach Joyous River Village thanks to their clean marching order.

While on their way there, Cheng Yang explained the goal of the journey to his Generals. He told them the usage of the training cube as well as the best strategy for dealing with the resulting monster siege.

When they heard about the benefits they could gain from just standing on the village’s walls, they were ecstatic. Although Old Lee was also excited for his soldiers’ sake, he was somewhat disappointed since he was a melee fighter and wouldn’t benefit as much.

The Joyous River Village walls were the same size as those surrounding Silkworm Mountain. Thus, monsters would have just as easy a time getting over. Although Cheng Yang had the chance to upgrade the walls before initiating a monster siege, he decided not to since it would inhibit the village’s growth afterward.

This time, even without taller, stronger walls, Cheng Yang refused to let his soldiers die in droves again. That’s why he brought over several thousand extra defenders and invested tens of thousands in supplying those soldiers with potions.

Once the soldiers were in position, Cheng Yang took out the training cube. After some reflection, he used forty-five thousand.

Why forty-five thousand? Because that would attract every monster within twelve kilometers. Since Joyous River Village was more developed than Silkworm Mountain, the extra couple kilometers should mean the resulting monster siege would have the same strength.

It might be a little stronger, but he was far better prepared this time.

Once the Experience Fragments entered the cube, it began to glow. Then, suddenly, a pulse rippled out from it. At the same time, a collection of low roars could be heard from the surrounding areas.

A few minutes later, the first few scattered groups of monsters appeared at the edge of the forest. Of the first wave, only one in a thousand weren’t Low-Grade monsters.

The first line of defense this time wasn’t the ranged Professionals, but the melee fighters. All of the Warriors were standing outside the walls with ropes ready to pull them back up. This was so that they could gain some Experience Fragments before the area outside the wall became too dangerous.

The Warriors fought in groups of three with one soldier blocking attacks while the other two attacked. The formation allowed them to kill Low-Grade monsters in a single round of combat.

The various battalions under Cheng Yang’s control usually didn’t interact much. So this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their skills and show off. It was also an excellent opportunity for the Generals to show why they had the privileges granted by their position.

Liu Hau and Old Lee stood out on the battlefield of otherwise ordinary Warriors. Both were High-Grade Apprentices capable of instantly killing every monster that came their way.

Between the two of them, Liu Hau drew more attention. His fighting style was beautiful, thanks to immaculate dodging skills, incredible speed, and dual swords. For those who hadn’t seen him fight before, it was eye-opening. Most of them believed a Warrior could only rely on their defense and brute strength to win a fight, but Liu Hau proved they could focus on speed as well.

For the first fifteen minutes, the Warriors were able to kill everything that came their way easily. As time went on, however, the number of monsters started to increase rapidly. Additionally, monsters will long-range skills would appear occasionally.

“Begin retreat! Return to the walls!” Cheng Yang ordered. At the same time, dozens of messengers relayed his orders.

The Warriors made a quick retreat up the ropes while the Summoner’s wolves covered them. A retreat made easier by the fact that any new monsters had to stumble through the maze of corpses left behind by the earlier fighting.

The most eye-catching area of the battle was where Zhao Chuan’s dire wolf was tearing through every nearby monster. Thanks to his Special Innate Ability, both it and the other summoned creatures around it were strengthed while the monsters they fought were weakened.

“Ranged attackers! Shoot!” At the same moment, every Ranger and Mage on the walls fired an attack at the oncoming monsters. With their help, the Warriors were able to make a clean escape.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 169 | Subclass

“How are you going to deal with the cube?” Yu Kai asked.

“I plan to take it to the villages near Yicheng.” Cheng Yang said, “They can’t benefit from the services Phoenix Village provides, so the cube will be beneficial for their development.”

“But their combat prowess is too low. Even if they used it on a small area, they would be overwhelmed! Even with both of us here, Silkworm Mountain was nearly destroyed, so what can they do?”

“That’s just a long term plan. I can’t visit the Yicheng area until I settle the issues here.” cheng Yang replied. “So, I’ll find a way for them to withstand the monsters later.”

Since there was nothing left for Yu Kai to say, he left. When he did, Cheng Yang went to clear the Sky God’s Island instance dungeon. He wanted Yu Kai to come with him, but the threat of another attack from Dong Shizou’s master stopped him. Although his luck was a little better, he only got a single piece of Green Bronze equipment.

Right before Cheng Yang left, he noticed a chest towards the back of the room. He ran over, trying to suppress the excitement in his heart, lest it was another shitty piece of equipment.

When he opened the chest, Cheng Yang found another Warrior Statue Lifting Stone, an item from the rare loot table! Maybe all that lousy luck before was paying off now since the chance of getting a reward like this was one in a million.

Although it was a great drop, Cheng Yang wasn’t sure what to do with it. If he could, he would increase the number of Warriors again, but he wasn’t sure if it was possible. He hadn’t heard about someone getting two Statue Lifting Stones for the same class, so there was no way to know.

Cheng Yang stored the Staute Lifting Stone in his ring, then left the instance. Then, he retrieved the training cube. Although he didn’t have a use for it at the moment, it was too dangerous to leave it since Silkworm Mountain had been compromised. Worse than having it stolen, if another hostile individual infiltrated the village and activated it, the tragedy from the day before would repeat itself.

There were three villages in the Cloud City area, all of which were compromised. Therefore, only Phoenix Village, which had the Imperial Guard was a safe place to store the training cube. However, it also needed it the least. So, Cheng Yang planned to send it to Joyous River Village.

It was the only village where a full-scale attack was improbable since any attacking force would have to walk through the East half of Cloud City first. It would also be easy to send soldiers from Phoenix Village to help withstand the monster siege caused by the cube’s use.

Back in Phoenix Village, Cheng Yang used the Statue Lifting Stone on the Warrior statue. When he did, the option to increase the number of slots was still available!

It was great news, but Cheng Yang still felt a little disappointed. Although you could enhance a statue’s attribute multiple times, what were the chances of getting another Statue Lifting Stone after this? Even if the result would be fantastic, it only hurt to know it was out of reach.

Since the Statue Lifting Stone had already been used, Cheng Yang needed to make a choice. Although he originally wanted to increase the number of slots, Cheng Yang chose to increase the Physical Defense of the Warriors instead.

The bonus immediately doubled. With this, Low-Grade Warriors had a Physical Defense so high most Low-Grade monsters would only be able to deal a single point of damage.

Cheng Yang took a moment to admire the statue’s system pane.


Warrior Totem
Phoenix Village
Low-Grade
2834/2834

Research

  • Spirit of the Undying (Low-Grade): Increase HP by 17% | Cost: 20,000 | Time: 10 days
  • Widened Mana Circuit (Low-Grade): Increase Mana by 17% | Cost: 20,000 | Time: 10 days
  • Steel Tendons (Low-Grade): Increase Magic Attack by 17% | Cost: 20,000 | Time: 10 days
  • Iron Flesh (Low-Grade): Increase Physical Defense by 34% | Cost: 20,000 | Time: 10 days
  • Mithril Mind (Low-Grade): Increase Magic Defense by 17% | Cost: 20,000 | Time: 10 days

Skills

  • Charge (Low-Grade): An attack skill that inflicts a stun effect | Cost: 200 | Requirements: Standard-Grade Apprentice
  • Stone Skin (Standard-Grade): A passive skill that increases Health, Magical Defense, and Physical Defense | Cost: 600 | Requirements: Pinnacle-Grade Apprentice

Subclasses

  • Battle Master (1/1)
  • Assassin
  • Knight
  • Sentinel

Upgrade Conditions

  • Fill all available slots
  • Finish all new research
  • Have 500 High-Grade Warriors

After leveling up a fifth time, the class change statue had become a Class Change Totem. The most significant difference between the two was the availability of subclasses.

Usually, a person wouldn’t get a subclass until they reached the Low-Grade Scholar level, and they couldn’t use the Meditation skill to train until they got one once they reached that level. However, it wouldn’t happen automatically. If the class change statue they used hadn’t become a Totem yet, it was impossible. Since the key to human evolutions were skills and classes, the gods would naturally restrict access to better ones.

This was because growth factors would come into play after obtaining a subclass. Each subclass had a different attribute distribution, which represented their specialization.

Thankfully, upgrading a Statue to a Totem was easy. It just needed money and time. Reaching the next stage was far more difficult since you needed to have a certain number of high-level individuals for each class.

The conditions were more lenient than the ones for leveling up the territory but not by much.

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Doomsday Lord Ch. 168 | Divine Intention

Cheng Yang chuckled.

“Old Lee, you worry too much! Our actions are as infuriating as an ants’ to the gods, and even they can’t watch every inch of the world at the same time. There are millions of people that curse them every day, but has anyone experienced divine retribution yet?”

“Well, I’ll say what I was going to anyways.” Old Lee said with a relieved expression. “I’ve been wondering why the gods did this? Their messenger said it was to help us evolve, but what about after that? It would be odd if they needed us, but I can’t help but think this power comes with a catch.”

Old Lee’s concerns were shared by many in Cheng Yang’s previous life. Maybe he’d know the answer if he’d survived a few more years, but for now, the gods’ intentions were a mystery.

However, Cheng Yang held a similar view to Old Lee. There was no such thing as a free lunch, which meant the gods would eventually collect their debt. The only question was, what would they ask for? They were gods. What could they need from mere humans?

With his current strength and status, wanting to explore the ultimate purpose of the gods’ actions was too ambitious. For now, he could only walk forwards without knowing where the path led.

“That’s a difficult question to answer. There’s no way to know if the gods’ are hiding something from us.” Cheng Yang sighed. “Maybe one day we’ll find out.”

Old Lee wanted to offer a guess, but since he wasn’t sure if he was right, refrained.

Once they parted ways, Cheng Yang visited the Tavern. He needed to collect the money from selling his potions. It wasn’t a lot, but the profit margins were twice that of the Stones of Return.

Until the global market stabilized, Cheng Yang planned to extract as much from possible from the world’s wealthy. To do that, he needed as many Eight Treasures Flowers as possible, so he tripled the rewards for finding one.

Right now, about a hundred were turned in to the Quest Hall every day. However, that wasn’t enough to use up Cheng Yang’s Energy every day, so he hoped to entice some people to spend their day exclusively searching for the flowers.

For most people, the rewards would be equal to or greater than a day spent hunting, so Cheng Yang had high hopes.

If he reached maximum capacity, he would be able to earn roughly a hundred thousand Experience Fragments a day. Even for Cheng Yang, that was a lot of money.

The next morning, Cheng Yang cleared The Blood-Soaked Cathedral, then ran to Joyous River Village. He cleared The Abandoned Citadel then cleared The Forgotten Grave.

Cheng Yang’s luck was worse than it ever had been. After clearing three instance dungeons, all he got was a single piece of Green-Bronze equipment. Perhaps the gods actually were capable of watching the whole world at once and were punishing Cheng Yang for his comments the day before?

The chances of getting only a single item from three instance dungeons at the Difficulties he used were tiny. For that piece of equipment to also be the lowest quality was absurd.

With a melancholy heart, Cheng Yang visited Silkworm Mountain.

It was almost noon.

By now, the last monster would have died while assaulting the walls of Silkworm Mountain. Now it would be almost impossible to find a group of monsters with more than a few individuals near Silkworm Mountain.

As such, Cheng Yang had nothing to do on his way there. Enlai killed every monster they encountered before Cheng Yang could finish casting any of his spells.

When he arrives, Cheng Yang visited Yu Kai. Despite the tragedy the day before, everyone was in high spirits. Thanks to the constant stream of monsters attacking the village, every soldier earned several dozen Experience Fragments.

Since the monsters were killed within the Silkworm Mountain’s boundaries, for every Experience Fragment the soldiers earned, the village received one as well. It was more than enough to supplement the development of every territory under Cheng Yang’s control.

Although Yu Kai was only the Governor in name, he was thrilled to see how quickly Silkworm Mountain was recovering. More importantly, once the village leveled up, he would be able to use Divine Blessing again.

“What has Dong Sizhou been up to?” Cheng Yang asked after some pleasantries.

“Nothing. Yet. That guy has outstanding psychological strength. Several times I caught him staring out through the windows, and there wasn’t a hint of fear in his eyes. He clearly doesn’t fear death, and I think that his family might be made up too.” Yu Kai said, “He’s too calm. It weirds me out.”

“Keep watching him. The fact that he hasn’t made a move yet makes him even more suspicious. We’re not lacking personnel, so make sure several people are guarding him at all times.”

“Don’t worry. I know what to do.”

While they were talking, Liu Chengen arrived with a salute.

“Hello, my Lord.” He said respectfully before addressing Yu Kai, “Now that the monsters have stopped attacking, should we start sending out hunting parties again?”

Yu Kai had no clue what to say, so he looked to Cheng Yang for help.

“You should if you want to keep earning Experience Fragments.” Cheng Yang said. “I’m taking the cube with me today, so you’ll need to make other arrangements.”

“The cube cleared the surrounding area so, take the opportunity to explore our out to twelve or fifteen kilometers.” Yu Kai said, “We need to make sure there aren’t any surprises waiting for us.”

“Yoko, when we find out who was behind the sabotage, what do you plan to do? Are we going to start a life or death battle with them immediately? Or are you going to be a little lenient with them?” Yu Kai asked after Liu Chengen left to handle the details.

“Why should we tolerate nearby enemies? Even if Yuan Jianzhe were the mastermind, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to war. A thousand people died, so even if the safe zone descends into total anarchy, I’ll never forgive the perpetrator. There’s no point in compromising with someone who wants you dead.”

“Thank you, my Lord.” Yu Kai said, happy that Cheng Yang shared his viewpoint on the matter. “But if we’re going to destroy the military anyways, why not take control of the safe zone while we’re at it?”

“Because the gods won’t allow it to happen.” Cheng Yang replied. “They want the safe zone to be relatively free from human influence, so if we tried to control it completely, the gods would sabotage us. If we can’t have total control, there’s no reason to try.”

“That’s fair.” Yu Kai said, “So, do you think Yuan Jianzhe had anything to do with this?”

“It’s unlikely.” Cheng Yang said, “This Ding Ming fellow probably was involved, but someone else should be the mastermind. Either way, Dong Shizhou will lead us right to them.”

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