Early morning, in the dense forest next to the castle.
A figure was travelling back and forth in the forest.
Shadows swiftly flew out from Marvin’s hands!
All the shadows hit the circles on the great trees in the dense forest.
But while some were relatively accurate, some were on the edge of the circles.
Marvin stopped after throwing a set of dart in one breath and meticulously looked at the battle logs.
‘Even though dart is the easiest hidden weapon to to master, my accuracy is still a little low.’
‘Accuracy is a bit tied to strength. Even if my dexterity is quite good, I’ve seldom used long range weapons. All hidden weapons take some training to be able to be used effectively.’
‘But I should be able to reach 30 SP if I keep at it for a while.’
Marvin silently looked at [Hidden Weapons – Dart (24)] in his skill list and was somewhat speechless.
The most valuable thing he gained from the Scarlet Monastery was definitely that Dragon Strength potion. But this – Introduction to hidden weapons – was actually pretty good. Marvin learned three hidden weapons skills from it.
The three skills were:
[Hidden Weapons – Dart (24)]
[Hidden Weapons – Throwing Knife (5)]
[Hidden Weapons – Flying needle (5)]
Aside from the darts, Marvin would lose some accuracy with the other hidden weapons, even if he used the skill.
This was the result of Marvin using the noble skill [Quick Study]. His hidden weapon talent was quite average so he picked the easiest to learn.
Because he was reluctant to use his valuable skill points on hidden weapons, Marvin insisted on training his dart skill every morning.
Thirty sets of twenty darts every day. Twenty sets in the morning, and ten in the evening.
Marvin’s dart skill rose quite fast due to the intensity and amount of time he spent on it. After all, he already had a good dexterity base.
But in the end, hidden weapons were long range offensive weapons, and he wasn’t making a lot of progress on accuracy.
For someone like Marvin who was fond of "One strike, One kill", he wasn’t really satisfied with that.
Apart from practicing darts, Marvin’s strength also increased from the great amount of gnolls killed during the expedition.
During the battle to recover White River Valley, Marvin got 2194 battle exp, the earth spirits included.
He had already reached ranger level 5 and met the conditions to advance. But to reach level 6 ranger, he needed 4800 exp.
It was quite clear that the gnolls couldn’t meet his advancement needs.
So he thought about it for a while and decided to put 1000 battle exp into [Shadow Steps].
It was the same as [Cutthroat]: due to Marvin repeatedly using the action in battle, he could use battle experience to turn it into a personal skill.
Shadow Steps and Cutthroat formed the phantom assassin’s signature combo, second only to Desperate Strike.
After Marvin used 1000 exp, a new skill appeared in his skill list:
[Shadow Steps (30)]
Shadow Steps being not as high as Cutthroat was quite normal. Even though Marvin had practiced this kind of footwork when he was playing the game, it wasn’t done as accurately as cutthroat, so it was impossible to completely emulate it. But 30 points in Shadow Steps was enough to use it.
Now Marvin was completely able to use [Stealth] or [Hide] + [Shadow Steps] + [Cutthroat], a powerful assassination skill.
These skills made his assassination abilities not at all inferior to the assassin path of the thieves. And his melee abilities were a lot stronger than ordinary rangers. Coupled with his battle experience, even without dragon strength potion, Marvin had confidence in fighting any 2nd rank expert.
"Tuff"! "Tuff!""Tuff!" Darts kept flying out.
Time quickly passed, and all the darts in his hands had soon been all thrown.
Numerous darts were stuck on circles on the surrounding big trees.
This was today’s final round of training.
Marvin picked up all the darts, and then ran in the castle from a side door.
It was four days after White River Valley recovery.
Just as Marvin expected, the disciplinary knights that were sent away didn’t come back to look for trouble. And the people harboring evil intentions were apparently also shocked by Marvin’s boldness. There were no signs of movement from them for the time being.
Marvin knew that even if they had plans, they could only set them up secretly.
This was the era before the Great Calamity, the era of the wizard alliance. Aside from guarding for a possible assassination, the rest wouldn’t be a problem.
And after those gnolls were thoroughly expelled, White River Valley gradually began to regain its past atmosphere.
Anna led half the garrison and they worked tirelessly, visiting each house in Green Village, Fog Village, Coiling Water Lake and other places. They invited those civilians who had fled, terrified from the gnolls to come back.
The village at the bottom of the castle town gradually became thriving with people again. All the originally abandoned farmhouses were once again cleanly put in order and the farmers began to come back.
Craftsmen and artisans took their children back to the castle town.
The current White River Valley was no different from the other territories. The core was naturally the overlord and the overlord’s people.
Marvin and Anna lived in the deepest part of the castle, with garrison members guarding the outside.
Also, all kinds of craftsmen and artisans lived outside the castle, in the city. They groomed their children as apprentices, and they would inherit their parents’ occupations and become tailors or maybe masons.
Farmers were outside the walls. There were also some peddlers, but these sly guys would often be thieves.
Looking at it from above, Marvin’s castle town was surrounded by cliffs, with a grove on the side.
There was a lone rock bridge in the south with a man-made canal below. The canal drew water from the White River. The water was quite deep and some pikes were placed inside, pointing up.
Anyone that fell in would definitely not have a good end.
Farmhouses were at the bottom of the castle town. The farmhouses spread apart from each other were still considered as just starting. It was quite difficult to grow crops in the vast stretches of barren soil, except wheat or maybe okra¹.
The White River in the distance was just like a belt flowing through the White River Valley, this vast yet unfertile land.
The northern mine could still be seen from the top of the castle town walls.
The White River Valley curled around the west of the northern mine and it had an abandoned wharf.
This was White River Valley.
An unfertile rural territory.
But Marvin still had to protect it with his life.
The sun slowly rose as people began their work.
Fortunately, Marvin managed to drive out the gnolls on time or he would have delayed the summer cultivation. If that happened, the already awful food shortage would have turned even worse.
"It’s time to work."
Marvin ate breakfast, changed and returned to his study.
Anna was already there waiting.
After successfully recovering White River Valley, Marvin had fulfilled the youth’s wish, and the last fragment of soul dissipated.
But his oath to the youth hadn’t changed.
He would guard this place. He was totally confident in his ability to do this!
After accepting the 1000 general exp, his quest menu turned empty.
This made Marvin somewhat surprised but it wasn’t the most important thing right now.
"The food shortage? I can settle this issue," Marvin softly said to the anxious Anna.
He was discussing the territory’s situation with Anna while skillfully writing a decree with his quill.
There were too many documents that need to be handled for the reconstruction of the White River Valley.
But Marvin was dealing with it smoothly. Even if he wasn’t someone working in administration in his previous life, he was quite smart. The small White River Valley still had to deal with crooked and no-good travelers.
He released five overlord decrees in one breath.
1st Decree. White River Valley’s garrison recruitment decree. Any man of age in any village in White River Valley may enlist in the garrison. This would mainly be overseen by Andre.
Marvin intended to enlarge the garrison; twenty men were indeed too few. For the two thousands people in White River Valley, the garrison needed at least fifty people.
Marvin wasn’t lacking in funds. He had brought out enough money from the inner area of the scarlet monastery to provide for the garrison for many years.
2nd Decree. It encouraged the inhabitants to raise livestock. Marvin found out that White River Valley’s south pasture fields were especially fitting to herd livestock. It had not been developed in the past due to the threat of gnolls and wild animals. Now, with Marvin increasing his territory’s military force, this should be able to safeguard it. Every household herding livestock would have a certain allowance.
3rd Decree. Recruiting artisans, craftsmen and merchants. They would give energy to the territory.
4th Decree. Also a recruitment decree, but it was for class holders, especially those who had army experience. Marvin needed some people with leadership experience or adventuring experience to lead the new garrison members. This recruiting decree gave out some generous rewards, and even made Gru and the others interested.
5th Decree. It was a repair decree. Marvin hoped for the farmers and some craftsmen to send some people to repair White River Valley’s abandoned wharf.
This was a time consuming and large scale engineering project. Anna thought it was unwise.
But Marvin had his own reasons. Under his urging, the five decrees were issued.
White River Valley was shocked for a while. The overlord hasn’t taken this many actions in a row for quite a long time.
This was a very inspiring feeling.
Marvin could feel the change.
The next day, when he stood on the wall, watching the faces of the people coming and going, he could feel some kind of energetic atmosphere.
This made him feel especially satisfied. This was a completely different kind of achievement from dealing a killing blow.
A flute’s melody could suddenly be heard in the distance.
Marvin focused on it; the tune came from the windmill of the former castle town bakery.
The melody was quite familiar, Marvin recalled this song name from his deepest memories.
– White River Valley Awakening. –
The fragrant aroma coming from the bakery, the distant crystalline and silvery river.
Marvin took a deep breath.
But suddenly, rushed footsteps could be heard behind him!
Anna’s anxious voice also followed:
"Young Master Marvin! Something bad happened!"
"Young Master Wayne was cursed by someone in Magore Academy! He is now bedridden and unconscious!"
Marvin turned around, clenching his fists.
1 - Okra, also known as ladies’ fingers or ochro. It’s a green vegetable. (Never seen one here.)