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162 To the grind!

 "What are these?" he asked Dikenz.

"The tomb be the resting place fer dunlords. They train and rest in yon structure."

"And the graveyard?"

Dickenz seemed uncharacteristically reluctant to talk, he looked around furtively.

Then he leaned in, halitosis danger-close, and whispered, "It be the domain o'the dullahan. Ye should'na go in there, sor. Ever!"

Dave purchased the blueprint for the dunlord tomb and the graveyard too. The dunlords were a core strength of his regiment and totally worth spending some CP on to make sure they were at optimal efficiency.

As for Dog the dullahan's fancy graveyard digs --heh, pun intended-- despite Dikenz's warning he was curious about what was going to be in it, and the tree that was supposed to be part of it. He really hoped to recruit more dullahans, he had a feeling that having more of the mysterious undead-types was going to be important to his growing army. So, he figured he might as well make his property as 'dullahan friendly' as he could.

He looked longingly at the grayed-out blueprints, they probably had some very interesting perqs. Then shook his head, another goal to work toward. He would concentrate on what he could build now.

"Is there a way to train my units to harvest resources for construction materials like lumber and stone? Also what about builders, can I train them to build?"

"That be an easy thing, sor. Ye need professional trainers t'get yer lads set t'rights. I can commission trainers fer ye, but it will take time fer yer lads to larn. But, ye be better off starting the construction now with some hired help, while the trainer be larning the lads."

"How much?"

"20,000 CP each fer the lumberjack and carpentry trainer, and 30,000CP fer a stonemason trainer.

"Okay, but I was asking how much time it will take to train them."

"Mayhap it be seven days, at the best."

"Good, hire them for me."

"Done. Ye will find them on yer land waiting fer orders."

"You can hire professionals, right?

"O'course, sor," Dikenz rubbed his hands together. "I be able to commission already trained stonemasons, carpenters and lumberjacks to aid ye."

"What cost?"

"It be 50 CP per hour fer the lumberjacks and carpenters, and 100 CP per hour fer the stonemasons."

"I want to hire ten stonemasons, ten carpenters and ten lumberjacks."

"They also be needing their own lodging," Dikenz added after taking Dave's CP "Which be costing 10,000 CP. But good news, theys can build it fer themselves."

"Just get them working."

"Also, me dearest cust'mer, I recommend ye add a shop on yer land."

"And that will undoubtedly cost CP also...?"

"Yes sor, ain't nothing in life that's free, me lad. That be 5,000 CP."

Dave paid the surprisingly low price. But it made sense, having a shop on his land would just made it easier for the sleazy zombie to gouge more CP out of him, and there was no question Dikenz was still making a profit from the low price anyway.

After all the splurging he was left with a little over 210,000 CP in his current account.

Dave rode back to his property on Stinger. On the way he passed Dikenz's new shop, already fully built, on his property. He shook his head. The little shack sat on his land like a spider in its web, waiting and ready to scam more CP from poor unwary draugrs and anyone else it could pull in.

Thirty undead with a variety of hammers, axes and pickaxes slung over their shoulders stood near his own undead units, all waiting for his orders.

Dave gave the workers the blueprints ordered them to start construction.

A notification appeared, asking Dave if he wanted to manually place the buildings on the land.

When Dave accepted he gained birds-eye topographical feature view of his land, and the system gave him the ability to place the buildings how he saw fit.

Dave chose an open central area near the river to place the mansion. He placed two barracks to train his units, one to the right and another to the left of the mansion.

He positioned the dunlord's tomb at the edge of the forest behind the mansion. He put the breeding stables for the basilisks close to the river bank.

For some reason the dullahan's graveyard could only be built deep in the overgrown forest. He shook his head. That damn Dog, always gotta be a drama queen.

When he finished he hit the accept button to confirm the start of construction and his vision switched back to normal. Areas with construction outlines had appeared in the places he had chosen, any plants and grass was removed leaving only bare dirt.

The lumberjacks moved off toward the forest to start cutting trees to build a lodge for the contract workers. While the carpenters started measuring the build area and the stonemasons scouted around for the best place to start a quarry.

Dave ordered the two trainers help his skeleton to learn how to harvest materials.

He nodded in satisfaction, then tore a teleportation scroll and was transported to the Red Fortress.

'I need to grind out some more levels. The war against the Demon-Angel alliance is coming.'

Dave was eagerly anticipating the conflict, he was going to be in the thick of fighting in the upcoming war. Yeah, kicking church AND demon ass, a two-fer. Not to mention he would 'getz lootz' and rack up boo coo EXP.

Dave dialed a contact from his list.

"Lone, are you in-game?"

"Daveyyyyy! No, I just got home. Why?"

"I'm going to do some grinding. Are you interested?"

"YESS! Skeletal and Lone, back again for x-p and da lootz," then she started singing, "Got nowhere to run to, mobs-ies, nowhere to hide."

"Heh, nice! I'll wait for you in the Undead Frontier Settlement near the teleport gate. The scroll I gave you will bring you there.

"The third raid zone is too dangerous to grind in, and I haven't explored much of the second raid zone. So other than the Red Fortress and the Mines we have a lot of land to cover, we can probably find a dungeon there."

"Okayyyyy Davey, I'll log in right away." Lone was rushing to her room even as she hung up.

Author's Note:

I apologize for putting this in the chapter content even though it does add to the chapter word count. It is too long for the Author's Notes section, but because of the number of comments about the subject I feel it is justified. This practice, commenting in the chapter, will NOT be a regular occurrence, and I hope to never need to do it again.

In response to the comments about chapter length, it's difficult to find a happy middle ground for everyone. But I do post 6-12k per week, sometimes the chapters are longer or shorter because I came to a logical or good place to stop. But the total number of words I post per month/week is pretty consistent.

I do have a lot more going on than just the writing I do for this story. My long-term goal is to earn enough so that I have the freedom to focus on my writing. So hopefully sometime in the future I can post more content for you than I am doing right now.

The chapters need to go through editing to maintain the quality of the story. I can easily spout nonsense and extend the chapter lengths to unbelievable size --cough Wuxia-padding cough-- but that would just be a cheat to get an extra stone or two out of you guys. You've seen the mess that the early chapters are. These more recent chapters are clearer, more consistent and direct (all thanks to the editor of course).

You see what I am getting at here? I want to give you a good quality story that is worth the stones that you donate for it. So please bear with me for now.

If you are willing to support the story I invite you to join Patreon to be one of my patrons. You will get access to more chapters sooner (of first draft quality).