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Kingdom Of The Weak 315 Rising Strength

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Twenty thousand people.

In the three weeks since Remian returned to the Wildlands, the population of KarGoth more than quadrupled. Construction was underway for major mining towns, Remian's Craggy Falls, Tim's Nightshare Farm and Song Chen's Great Docks, but until they were ready, the ma.s.ses crowded KarGoth and the Encles settlement. Campsites spread around the hills in every direction. Ma.s.sive amounts of food had to be imported from Three Pines despite the Farms' best efforts. Darian had a hand in helping with that, having elephant-sized fish brought over from Dragon Lake daily.

The new immigrants were given nothing for free. They were given work, and accordingly were paid generously in order to keep up with the sudden spike in food prices. The highest paying jobs were to be found in Sabriane's hospital, where the need for healing magic and medical skills were at an all-time high.

Roads leading from KarGoth to the Amber Gorge mining towns sprouted up within days. Two small villages serving as rest stops popped up along those roads, one at the junction leading off toward the Misty Steel Mining Town, the other on the approach to Amber Gorge where the road split towards the North Amber Mines and the South Amber Mines, both of which mined gems. Thus Misty Junction Village and Amber Junction Village were born. Misty Steel Town was actually placed at the Tin Mines across the springs from the Misty Steel deposits, but two mines had been joined into one via tunnels, so a single town, protected from the south by water, served to exploit both.

As for KarGoth itself, the settlement extended north from the hills, out into the open hollow between the hills and the old Fort Spoas. George planned to build a new airport farther north, halfway to Fort Spoas, with the extended city in-between.

Remian tried to talk him out of it for two main reasons; first, underground arcologies would be a lot safer against future attacks. Second, the Wilds wouldn't be too happy seeing too many human structures cover the landscae.

Indeed, they weren't. Shadowflash in particular was not pleased with the forests rapidly disappearing and two entire hills vanishing to the quarry rushing to meet stone demands.

[Enough!] he thundered one day. [No more! No more felling trees! No more villages or towns! Leave my lands alone or leave my lands entirely!]

George tried his best to negotiate and appease the Lord of the Wilds, but only succeeded in winning construction rights for the area between KarGoth and the desert, including the old Fort Spoas ruins. As for the rest, what already began construction was permitted to continue, but similar towns and villages planned for the region south of Rocky Ford had to be immediately canceled.

The sole exception was the Silver Mines and accompanying town, which were on the very edge of Shadowflash's territory anyway. They were allowed to expand south, outside of Shadowflash's territory, but not in any other direction.


Also in order to appease Shadowflash, a ma.s.sive reforestation movement was enacted. This cause would find many beginner adventurers in busy employment for years to come…

***

During this time, Mindy was going back and forth picking up Club Faith members from specific gathering spots around the Dragon Empire, Mendev, and Ecclesia. All told, some 60 members and their immediate families were brought to KarGoth along with a baffling amount of luggage and possessions.

"Next time, I'm going to charge for cargo weight!" Mindy swore.

***

The new immigrants included two thousand priests capable of using Light Magic and some healing magic.

Along with them came five thousand Church Members, all literate, well-read, and with enough magical ability to at least use magic devices and cast spells from Scrolls.

They also had some five hundred surviving Temple Knights, all of whom had reached the Body Qi stage at the very minimum. Over two hundred and fifty of them were in the middle Body Qi Stage, the Qi Eye stage. One hundred were already in the late Body Qi Stage, the Qi Veins stage. Twenty Knight Captains had even broken through to early Earth Qi Stage. That was the stage in which they infused freshly plucked twigs and leaves with their Qi and used them as weapons. These were the guys who could kill whole squads of enemies with a flying leaf. Above all the rest, the Knight Lord Ashnah and his two Knight Commanders were already in the middle Earth Qi Stage. They could even infuse long-dead matter (bone, soil, broken table legs) with their Qi.

"So what?" Xiao Yan snorted. "Back home Earth Qi pract.i.tioners were all over the place. Zhao Heng and Mu Hou's guards were in the early Earth Qi Stage. Heck, Wushuang was even a middle Earth Qi martialist."

But while they were merely uncommon in Xiao Yan's world, in Remian's world, they were top level elites. They might not be top-of-the-world legends in the Sky Qi Stage like Doom and Fate, but the Earth Qi Knights were easily on par with the Kings of the Wilds. Knight Lord Ashnah could challenge the Tier 8 Emperors (since they were injured and not yet recovered).

"So… around my level, then." Darian mused.

"Don't tell them that. They might die of heart attack." Remian advised. "Most of them are rather old. Besides, are you still able to challenge the Emperors since your bond with Ko'rag-dras dissolved?"

Right. Kor'ag-dras had gone back to sleep and Darian no longer drew power from him. That meant he was no longer as strong as he was during the war.

"In their current injured state, yes. I might not be able to win, but I should be able to survive and escape."

In any case, the Temple Knights were a huge addition to their forces. While they numbers were half that of the Adventurers, in terms of martial might, they were far superior.

George estimated that there were a little over 900 Adventurers who survived the war. Of them, only 30 were at Body Qi Stage or above. Darian alone was in the Earth Qi stage. The small majority were in the Tempering Stage (some 475, 280 of whom were in the early Tempering Stage), and the rest were still in the Breath Stage (420+, 320 of whom were in the late Breath Stage). Six of them (who were from the support staff members) were even in the very first beginner Stage, still trying to train their breathing.

With most of the Adventurers in the late Breath or early Tempering Stage (Stage 3 and 4 of the martial way) and most of the Knights in the Body Qi Stage (Stage 7-9) it was easy to see how vastly superior the Knights were as a militant force compared to the Adventurers.

The Iron Legion, or what was left of them, were down to around those numbers themselves. After the war, a lot of the older ones retired, leaving them with some five hundred legionnaires. Most of them (abour 400 legionnaires) were in the Tempering Stage (4-6), especially the Late Tempering Stage (Stage 6), Skin Tempering. About a hundred of them were in the Body Qi Stage (7-8), with Marcus alone in the late Body Qi Stage (9).

The remaining mercenaries, many of them survivors of the Sons of Sand, minus the recent retirees or mercenaries leaving to join other bands, were of similar number (some five hundred) but most of them (about 400) were in the early Tempering Stage (4), and thus overall were still weaker than the Iron Legion.

"According to my calculations, the Temple Knights are easily ten times stronger than the Adventurers, even with the use of Frames." Tang Yin supplied. "If I were to rate the Adventurers and the Sons of Sand mathematically, they'd both be at about 11 in strength, though the Adventurers using Frames would bring them up to 16. The Iron Legion, in comparison, would still rate at least 19. Compared to these local units, the Temple Knights should easily rate around 83. All three of the others together, even using Frames, couldn't even begin to match the Temple Knights."

"And the wolfcats?" George asked, out of sheer curiosity to see whether Tang Yin had in fact, done calculations on them.

"They would rate about 35." Tang Yin didn't even hesitate. "Even adding them to the scales together with the Adventurers, Iron Legion and Mercenaries, you'd still come up short against the Temple Knights."

"Wow. You really did a lot of calculation. How much time did all of that take?" Gary jumped.

"Six hours and fifteen minutes." Tang Yin replied. "But these are just rough estimations without including factors like weaponry, skills, command ability, teamwork, tactics, and conditions."

"Just out of curiosity, what are you measuring them against? What force would have a strength of 100?" George had to ask.

"The Tang Clan Estate guards." Tang Yin admitted. "That's the force I know best."

"Are you kidding me? Your clan's estate guards have more power than all the Temple Knights?!"

"This current bunch who lack Sir Jared and his students, yes."

Right. Sir Jared, Fate, Fel, Doom and d.a.m.naith were no longer Temple Knights. Sir Jared and Sir Fate had self-destructed to open the Spatial Rift attempting to bring more mana into the world but also letting in the Spectres and starting off the whole Spectre War. Doom had gone off with Fel someplace and d.a.m.naith… she had retired in her own creepy way. In fact, the very sounds of her retirement was going to give the entire new generation nightmares for weeks to come.

"On top of that Sir Jared's less famous students and most of their peers in the older generation have all scattered. None of them remain with this bunch of Temple Knights." Tang Yin added. "Otherwise, their strength would be somewhere near two hundred."

"And the Church would just happily help us out whenever we need military strength?" George pressed.

"Within reason, yes." Darian a.s.sured him. "They're entirely willing to send every knight they can spare in mopping up the remaining Spectres."

"And what can they spare?"

Darian calculated. "Each villlage chapel needs at least two Temple Knights, the town chapels need five knights, the main cathedrals in KarGoth and Three Pines need ten knights each, and of course, there are the temples spread throughout the cities, sixteen in all, which each need at least three… set aside the guards of the ranking leaders and elders, and… that's about a hundred and fifty. They'll be able to send out easily three hundred and fifty knights."

"What about the Priests?"

"Not likely." Darian shook his head instantly. "You'll have to ask them personally. Some might join an Adventurer party on quests, but war is a different story."

So Darian said, but upon checking with the Adventurers Guild, Remian found that no less than four hundred younger priests had signed up. Having so many priests becoming Adventurers was a great relief for the Guild. Before, the Priests were rarities, and only a lucky few would be able to have Priests in their Adventuring Party. Now, it suddenly became quite feasible for every single Adventurer Party to have a Priest for healing.

"Is military might really even an issue?" Phoebe asked out of the blue.

"YES!" all the guys yelped at the same time.

"Even you?" Phoebe stared at Remian in astonishment.

"Especially me." Remian said grimly. "You don't know what's out there, Phoebe. You don't know just how weak our defenses look compared to the threats which are already on the way."

"Such as?"

"Such as the Spectres in their full might, not just the dithering few who wounded up falling through that Rift. That Rift which could still be opened." Remian shook his head. "Or worse."

"Worse? What could be worse?!"

Remian didn't answer.


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Kingdom Of The Weak 315 Rising Strength summary

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