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161 Xi Wei’s Plans for Developmen

 The end of winter was great news for the common folk, since that meant no more snow and warmer weather, which was also a vital time for seeding.

But that wasn't the case for Xi Wei and the Church of Games.

As the snow melted, contact between cities would become frequent, and the Church of Games would expose themselves if they did not stay discreet-although Lancaster Players were already skirting over the edge of exposure.

Should the Church of Games be noticed-or worse, having news of Tierra's revival going public-all the Players who had yet to mature would undoubtedly be targeted by the numerous orthodox religions within the Empire.

Even though the Valla Emprire's main military force had been held back by a year of war, it was not impossible to dispose of every Player. After all, all they had to do was spare a few more personnel, or simply issuing decrees to have regional nobles mobilize their private army to cull them.

"It seems that we have been too relaxed. The Players' ability needs continued improving." Xi Wei muttered thoughtfully, using a tentacle to touch what was supposed to be his chin. "That said, there aren't many spots to actually improve on..."

In the end, he was a third-rate god who had provided his believers with every form of welfare he could afford. Therefore, since the Players had also worked diligently, to have them grow at the fast pace before would be too difficult.

"Maybe I should consider this from a different angle..."

Xi Wei attempted to change his perspective.

If he considered all the Players a single collective and expressed it with a formula, it would be: the collective ability of all Players would be the average ability of the individual Player multiplied by the total number of Players.

Since the objective was to improve collective ability, Xi Wei could simply increase the number of Players substantially if he had no solution to swiftly improve individual Player ability.

His first thought would be to indiscriminately accept every single refugee camp outside Cromwell, to establish a neutral faction that does not discriminate between religious roots as demonstrated in the Investiture of the Gods. After all, most of the refugees outside Cromwell were former citizens of Lovinia, the capital of the fallen empire of Tierra.

Still, that was actually very ineffective if one considered it carefully: Not everyone holds gratitude (or would be easily conned), and that was the same for actual former believers of the God of Games, who would agree to take up their former unorthodox faith once again just because they were given food.

It was not realistic to have the Players adopt a one-on-one endorsing structure either. Other factors aside, even the three children Mufasa took in could not go further than shallow believers to become true believers...

Moreover, a majority of the refugees were surviving by exploiting and taking away the rations of weaker refugees. Having experienced the sweetness of bullying the weak, those people would never hesitate to slay women and children even if they joined the Church of Games solely to gain EXP.

Even if he would ban or label them, Xi Wei thought that it was no different from picking up a rock and dropping it over his own toes.

In comparison, it would actually be more convenient to try his luck in villages where the people had stronger rapport. If a solution could be acquired to strategically take in an important figure there, it was likely that they would convert the entire village as well. Moreover, law-abiding villagers would be much more obedient towards the rules all Players share compared to the unrestrained thugs amongst the refugees.

It was a pity that such villages were rare at the border... perhaps they would have more luck at Tunaya in the Silver Eagle Duchy.

Moreover, the situation on the eastern continent was worth some concern.

The Players had already explored half the outskirts of Valley of the Tragic Dead, and they would soon reach the core area at this rate. It would be worth celebrating if the Players could discover any unowned divinity there-even if it was just a fragment, but truth be told, those things were to be discovered but not sought, and Xi Wei don't believe that he could run into any so easily with his luck.

But it was for sure that they could obtain many divine relics.

While other gods would not touch such things out of various concerns, Xi Wei felt no such apprehensions at all, even hoping that the Players could get more...

***

Aside from all that, should the Players work hard and clear the Valley of the Tragic Dead, they could use the torches they put down as beacons and pave a land path that connects the eastern and western continents!

Given how the Secret Eye Society could make a killing by only smuggling on the sea routes, the Players would not lose out by much with a trade route under their control.

Moreover, the Great Lion had once told Xi Wei that many nonhuman races reside in the Western Continent-or humanoids with beast aspects in a nutshell.

While certain novels in the world Xi Wei transmigrated from also referred to beastmen as orcs, the orcs of this world commonly refered to those green-skinned brutes that had long tusks and charged at their enemies while yelling 'Wagggggh'. On the other hand, Cait Siths[1] and Centaurs were considered humans, while other humanoids with other animal attributes were known as nonhumans.

Amongst the memories recorded in the Aquatic Lord's divinity which Xi Wei had absorbed, the nonhumans seemed to be descendants of creatures who had survived the Second Divine War. Then, because they had allied themselves with different gods from the humans in the Third Divine War, the humans chased them off to the Western Continent after their defeat.

Later, the gods of both sides personally fought in the God of War and Demons told in human legends, destroying the previous civilization and shattering the frame of the continent. That was what led to the present geographical layout, and following that War, the battlefield then that was now the Valley of the Tragic Dead was both 'the edge' and 'the heart' of the world.

Unlike humans who eventually gathered into different nations and waged more civil wars with lower casualties in turn, the nonhumans only ever grouped together according to their racial appearance. Though there were brief periods of peace, they were discriminating against each other most of the time, separating themselves into for more troublesome and complex tribes that numbered up to the hundreds...

Even so, there was one particular nonhuman tribe which Xi Wei clearly had in mind-a group that would be worth his courting! After all, no one was more trustworthy to the nonhumans than a fellow tribesman.

"That said, it's still too early since the Players had yet to clear the Valley of the Tragic Dead ... Hmm? Hold on...."

At that very thought and realizing something, Xi Wei activated his Divine Eye and looked down upon the mortal realm.

[1] faerie cats of Celtic mythology or the recurring creature from Final Fantasy