[Would you like to make a contract with the Leshi?]

This was the best part of slaying strong beasts. Claiming their strength was an addictive sensation.


Derrick answered right away, as if scared that the window would disappear.

[You have 3/3 souls! You will not be able to contract any more souls]

Although regrettable, his lineup of beasts was now impressive. Derricks' firepower had increased exponentially.

After the experience with Drako, he didn't want to summon it right away by fear of having to deal with another shameless fellow. Right now, one was already plenty enough.

"Human, you better reward me handsomely for my selfless act! Dying again has strained my spirit to the point that I need to rest for a while... You can still summon me, but I'll only be able to muster 50% of my strength..."

As shameless as he was, it had been a long time since Derrick felt warmth like this. Drako had sacrificed himself in a heart beat without thinking of the consequences. He knew they were under his control, but still...

"I'll just have to get stronger for you then... You're apparently still too weak haha..."

Drako could only sigh. He had been the strongest fighter in the cave for centuries, only to be bested by a god-damn hybrid in a single move... Deep down in his soul, he felt shame.

"Don't beat yourself up too bad... You should know what's our next step right?"

Derrick couldn't help but grin... He loved what was going to happen next.

"You're a disturbing human..."

"You guessed it right, it's 'butcher' time"

Derrick had been rather lucky with the Leshi. It had exposed a fatal weakness that made it vulnerable, thus being able to kill it in a single strike. However, the fact that it had surcharged its body had done a lot of damage.

With a look of greed in his eye, he took out his small knife and went to work, salvaging what was left on the corpse.

"Thank god the antlers are still pristine. Losing them would have been a tragedy. The hide is completely ruined. Hmm... The muscles aren't in better shape either, but I can still eat them so it's not a total loss. The tendons are ruined, but the bones hung on!"

He had developed the habit of talking aloud when 'recycling' corpses. It was probably to cope with the horrific process.

Just like that, a few hours had flown by and dawn was well under way. Derrick managed to get the antlers, bones and meat. Overall, it wasn't a bad harvest.

He wanted to ingest the meat right now in hopes of getting a skill (his Devour ability), but the procedure would take too much time, which he didn't have.

He had to go back to the encampment to lead them to Akata. Derrick was confident that their road would be smooth sailings from here on out.


As he had predicted, their caravan arrived at the outskirts of the village during the evening.

The small village was bustling with activity. Every abled men or women was hurrying in various directions with work on their hands. When some spotted their group, they were in disbelief.

There were 1300 individuals and 140 soldiers! It was probably the largest gathering in the history of this region.

They were full of doubts when Derrick had first told them about his plans, but after seeing this, they couldn't help but smile. This was a victory for them. Proof that his words weren't bullshit and that he could change their lives.

They unconsciously started moving faster, giving in entirely for their new cause.

Io landed in front of the group and Derrick disembarked, waiting for his report. After a few minutes, he could finally see Jack hurrying in his direction.

"Your Highness, it has been 3 days since you left! I'm glad to see that you're still well"

Jacks' etiquette had become surprisingly good, which made Derrick suspect that Lacha had given crash courses. As a noblewoman, she wouldn't tolerate improper manners.


"Yes, Your Highness! In these 3 days, we have been able to double the number of houses to 200 and increase our farming lands by 5 hectares. We didn't reach the goals you imposed, so please punish us"

Derrick couldn't help but smile. This was way better than he expected, especially in the short timeframe they had.

"There's no need. You all worked well! I brought reinforcements as well"

He turned to the group behind him and breathed in a large mouthful of air.

"As you can all see, we've arrived at our destination! This will be your new home. I'll make this clear yet again : you're my subjects now. No one will dare harm you if you submit and do your best to contribute to the cause. The person next to me is Jack. He's in charge of the construction teams. Everyone that can cut trees or build, follow him. He'll assign your roles. Those who are free can set up a temporary camp because we don't have enough houses right now, but the situation should be remedied soon"

Jack was relieved that he finally had more people to work with, but he also cursed his luck seeing the amount of newcomers. He would be very busy this week.

After giving his last instructions, Derrick was satisfied. He had solved his two immediate problems : the lack of population and the amount of soldiers defending the village. He would have to re-train the latter, but it wasn't urgent.

Derrick now had to tackle the next two urgent issues, which were the funds available and the presence of specialists. He had to assess the current situation, so he opened the Empire tab in his consciousness.

[Akata Village]

[Level : 2]

[Population : 1500]

[Soldiers : 140]

[Funds : 50 gold]

[Tax : 0%]

[Institutions : None]

[Mood : 70/30]

He could only sigh in his heart. Raiding four villages had been easy, but it had not substantially increased his funds, and it had not resulted in recruiting experts. He was also a little sour about the drop in mood, but that would be fixed over time.

You couldn't win people overnight. You had to show them you were someone worth following.

Derrick had a plan to fix both his problems. When he previously swept the map, he had found a city deeper in the territory of the Krakow Empire. It apparently had a population of 100 000, which should provide all the necessities Derrick looked for.

Its profile was also low enough not to attract too much attention.

He could sell goods there and also recruit specialists. There was nothing you couldn't do with money.

With his strategy in mind, it was time to start crafting!


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