Darkness Valley.

Zhang Nu was working on some city planning.

This city will be named Darkness City.

As the Demon King's capital city, it needs to be built big enough, advanced enough, and also needs enough room for expansion and further developments.

City building is a major enterprise.

Although Zhang Nu used over 2000 draconian laborers, each of whom was able to do the work equivalent of ten human workers, their progress speed was still not quite satisfactory for him.

To resolve this issue, he'll need to either increase the number of laborers or increase their quality.

The former can be done by summoning basic laborers of minotaurs en masse, but the latter needs him to level up the laborers to high laborers or craftsmen.

The problem, however, is that all of that costs money.

Due to the issue of Chen Guoguo being affected by the aftermath of the battles, her seed production speed wasn't quite keeping up.

The goblin farms have been greatly expanded, but their production hasn't increased by that much yet.
Thankfully, everything's managed to return to normal now and Chen Guoguo is now devoting her full effort into production and support, so this issue should be solved in just a few more days.

Only, the profits from farming will still need to take about a week of time.

There's no way to instantly explosively increase the territory's income.

Just as Zhang Nu was contemplating how to get more money, Giantree City came just in the nick of time and delivered a huge amount of gold right to his doorsteps.

“They delivered it this quickly?”

“That's just great!”

The elves directly delivered 20 huge chests of gold to Darkness Valley.

This is the 5 million gold that they gained via diplomacy (extortion).

Giantree City obviously couldn't bring out that much money at once, so they only delivered the agreed upon 2 million gold here.
As for the rest, that will be delivered within the next 10 days.

“Open it up!”

Several draconians opened up the chests and piles of shiny continental gold coins appeared before their eyes.

Other than the gold coins commonly used as currency on the continent, there are also a great deal of unminted gold bars and gold bricks too.
There's a lot of them too, and the golden shine from them was enough to make one dizzy.

“Those elves really are rich!”

Zhang Nu reached out and grabbed a handful, letting a shower of gold coins rain down from between his fingers, creating a clear ringing of metallic clangs.
It sounded so very soothing to his ears, placing him in a great mood.

At the same time, the game's notification rang out.

[Notice: Detected convertible gold!]

[Would you like to convert it into game gold? (Y/N)]

It's not like Zhang Nu really is a gold hoarding dragon.
Although he does quite like the joy that comes from having gold and treasures, it's not to the point where he'd hoard it while sleeping on top of it all day.

“Convert it all!”

[Conversion complete!]

[Gained “gold” x202550!]

Over 200k gold!

That felt way too good!

By weight, this haul of gold would be worth about 2 million gold in continental coins.

Zhang Nu could basically confirm now that the ratio between continental gold coins to game coins is 10:1.

Does extortion for gold really work this fast?

That's just great!

No wonder why evil Demon Kings in stories always like kidnapping so much.

Even Zhang Nu is tempted to use this as a long term business model now.

Just kidnap city lords and village chiefs and force their subordinates to give up money for ransom.
It's foolproof and profitable, who wouldn't love it?

Of course, 2 million gold is no small number.

Only a forest city with centuries of development like Giantree City could have been able to produce that much in over a single night.

If it was the native tribes of the forest, then never mind 2 million gold, they might not even be able to pull out 20k gold or perhaps even 2k gold.

Gold is a relatively valuable material and resource in this world, and not only is gold coins universally recognized everywhere on the continent, its buying power tends to be extremely stable as well.

Well, every little bit counts.

It's not like kidnapping people for ransom is the only method.

Zhang Nu had plans to expand his faction anyway, so why not gather up all the nearby native tribes and villages and make them pay taxes and protection money? Even grains of sand can make a big pile if there's enough, so long as his territory is big enough, this would end up being no small number.

Besides that, the forest is definitely rich with all kinds of various resources.

Zhang Nu could easily use his cheat to find a few gold veins and invest in high quality labor like minotaurs to start mining it.
Wouldn't that also be a good source of stable income?

As for right now, he has wealth to spare.

Zhang Nu directly summoned up 1000 laborers before then leveling up 500 into high laborers.
Then he selected 100 of those to level up into level 3 draconian craftsmen.

In total, he spent 80k gold!

His total draconian unit count has thus finally broken through to 5260 units.

He has 2500 draconian laborers, 1200 high laborers, 100 draconian craftsmen, 1300 normal soldiers, 125 high soldiers, 5 super soldiers, 29 draconian battlemages, and 1 mystic draconian battlemage.

Of them, the production units doing labor, production, construction, and other work number at 3800.
This is an extremely potent backline support force.

It will be more than enough to guarantee the operation of his territory.

[Draconian Craftsman].
Level 3 Normal unit.
50 HP, 50 MP, 10 Strength, 10 Constitution, 5 Agility, 5 Will.
Harvesting lv5, Construction lv5, Crafting lv5…

Those are the stats of the new draconian craftsman unit.

As expected of a level 3 production unit.
Its various production skills are all level 5.
It has the capability to create high quality tools and equipment.

Its production capability is basically at the professional level.

This is far stronger than the laborers.

Zhang Nu wants his city to be built with advanced transportation setups and structural designs.
In addition, he also wants to update his troops' equipment.

For that, the draconian craftsmen are vital.

They will bring about a great change to his territory.

Zhang Nu sent those craftsmen off to their assigned work.

Then, he suddenly thought of something, “Since I did accept the money, I should properly do the work.
Go and bring Lady Nancilia out of her cell!”

After the young city lord had been taken to the Demon King nest, she was imprisoned in the Dark Prison along with all the other elves.

Since Giantree City was willing to spend so much money to “parole” her, Zhang Nu wasn't someone who goes back on his words either.
Thus, he let her out of the prison right away.

Of course, the sealing bracelet was still locked on her wrist.

Although this item may not be able to seal her full strength, so long as she has it on, she wouldn't even be able to beat a super soldier.
Thus, there was no way that she could possibly escape from the Darkness Valley.

Of course, Zhang Nu didn't dare to act overconfident either.

In order to make sure this meal ticket of his remained absolutely safe, he very generously offered Nancilia new accommodations inside the Castle.

She wasn't allowed to leave without Zhang Nu's permission.
Even when she is allowed to leave the castle to get some air, she still needs to have five super soldiers guarding her at all times.

Nancilia didn't know why this change happened, but after she was released from the Prison, she finally had the chance to properly observe the Demon King's territory.

Nancilia was extremely curious about this Demon King's territory.
She was originally under the assumption that a Demon King's territory must be full of vicious demons and under a dark and gloomy atmosphere.

What she never expected was that Darkness Valley was far from some den of demons.

Over ten thousand draconians, skeletons, minotaurs, and even goblins were all living alongside each other without conflict, building, mining, crafting, farming, and transporting goods.

The entire territory was extremely prosperous and industrious.

Figures enthusiastically at work were everywhere.

Not only did Nancilia not feel any evil from this place, she even noticed that this place is very orderly, to the point where it's far better than the vast majority of cities in the Forest.
She was impressed despite herself when it comes to this Demon King's ability as a ruler.

That night.

Zhang Nu was having dinner in the Castle.

Nancilia was also treated as an honored guest now.

By now, she is even allowed to sit at the same dinner table as the great Demon King.

Even so, she couldn't muster up the slightest amount of appetite toward the table full of food.

She puffed up her cheeks and glared, “Demon King, just how long are you going to imprison us for?”

Zhang Nu spoke, “There's no need to be impatient now.
I'll release you and let you continue to be the city lord when Giantree City agrees to submit to me.”

“There's no way that'll happen!”

Nancilia was super mad.

That guy is an evil Demon King after all!

Nancilia grit her teeth, “Then release my people first.
There's no point in keeping them after all, and it's even costing you food everyday to feed them, right?”

Zhang Nu refused, “No.
As a portion of my war spoils, prisoners of war are valuable.
Worst comes to worst, they can still be ransomed for gold.”

“Damn you!”

“Are you still unwilling to accept this?”

Nancilia made a face at him, “Hmph, of course.
It's not like you properly beat me after all.
I won't accept this result unless you fight me again and beat me fair and square!”

Zhang Nu laughed.

Even now, this girl still thinks her loss is an accident.

The reason why the Demon King beat her back then is all because she wasn't able to use her true power, and then she accidentally took a sneak attack, that's all.

If they were to fight it out again, she's completely confident that she'll be able to win.

Zhang Nu had no intention of arguing with a little girl though.

He just refused adamantly, “Enough, a prisoner has no right to negotiate terms here.
You should just stay here obediently.
Don't even think about trying anything under my eyes.
Otherwise, there won't be any guarantee that I won't don't something excessive.”

Nancilia turned her head away in a huff.

She has faith that she won't be staying here for too long.

There's no way that the elves will ignore the plight of their fellow elves.
The First Elder will definitely send people to save her.
This Demon King will regret not having killed her in a few days!

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