Shovels In Spades



Book 2 Chapter 14: Bravery and Captives


A note from Lone

First guaranteed chapter of the week.

Added another chapter to the $10 patron tier on Patreon for this story (Total is now 10 early chapters).

I had fucked up the base and merit point amounts on the previous chapters. Fixed 'em now and they should be correct now.

The first thing Daz did was use his Higher Identification skill on the Demon Lord to assess his strength.


Stegrum's Status
Basic Information
Name: Stegrum Species: Cateronien Devil
Age: 492 Sex: Male
Class: Demon Lord Affinity: Chaotic Evil

Defeated by his home world's Hero, Stegrum was on the verge of death but was saved by the system.

He now acts as a dungeon master whose sole purpose is to temper new members of the system.

Lifeforce: 8,000/8,000 Dark Energy: 14,000/14,000
Intellect: 900(1,075) Wisdom: 600(720)
Bloodlust: 1,000(1,200) Control: 300(360)


The inherent desire to kill another living being.
Effect and Limit
Increases host's passively induced fear by 0.5% per stat point.


The power to influence or direct people's behaviour or the natural course of events.
Effect and Limit
Increases the host's ability in using skills and influencing their surroundings by 0.5% per stat point.


'Well, the good news is that he didn't detect me like Og or Rose did and the fact that he only has four stats, the bad news is that he seems to be a magic user... Hmm,' Daz thought before he turned to look at his clone. "Clone, test him out."

"Sure, Original," Daz's clone replied in a relaxed manner.

He then rushed forwards and attacked the Demon Lord with his hand shovel. Stegrum easily dodged and jumped off from his throne. The Demon Lord then pointed his palm at Daz's clone and said, "Dark Lance."

A long spear made of purple energy shot out from his hand and pierced the clone right in the chest. The lance then exploded inside the clone's body and blew it up into pieces.

Dorian's face paled when he saw that. Daz held his chin and mumbled, "That was an interesting application of his dark energy... I wonder if I can do something like that with my death energy?"

"You insult me by not attacking me yourself. The punishment for insulting me is... death!" Demon Lord Stegrum roared before a swarm of bats flew out of his mouth and raced towards Daz and Dorian.

While Dorian was busy shitting himself, Daz took the pistol from his belt and rapidly shot the bats out of the air. "I need to test him more before I can move along with my plan."

Daz created another clone where the previous one had died and it immediately picked up the hand shovel and pistol that the dead clone had dropped before it launched itself at the Demon Lord.

One of the biggest strengths of Daz's Death Energy Manipulation skill was that the death energy used on creating clones or limbs would never be lost and could be reused endlessly so long as the opponent didn't have a unique method to erase Daz's energy.

"Using the same trick again? Fine, I'll kill your puppet once more," Stegrum snorted before he created another dark lance.

Daz grinned and ordered his clone via the link they shared to throw its hand shovel and pistol towards the Demon Lord, which confused the Devil. The dark lance didn't even have the chance to kill Daz's second clone because the young Reaper had dismissed it himself.

Daz very rapidly recreated his clone, but this time, it was right in front of the Demon Lord's face and it swiftly grabbed the previously thrown weapons and shot Stegrum in the arm while stabbing him in the leg.

"Ahhhhh! Filthy Human! You dare harm my grand body?!" Stegrum was furious. 

While the Demon Lord was fairly old, he was actually very new to the system and this was his first time acting as a dungeon master for it. The Hero from his homeworld fought in a very fair and straightforward manner, so he wasn't used to devious battle tactics like what Daz was using.

Unfortunately for Demon Lord Stegrum, Daz wasn't finished being deceitful. Over the course of the next thirty minutes, Daz slowly whittled down the Demon Lord's strength with his clone, and he would also attack with Hamson himself whenever he saw an opening.

At this point, Demon Lord Stegrum was a bloody mess and he was barely alive. He could only move a single arm and he had no more dark energy left. "Why... Kill me... You have won... kuh... deceitful Human..."

"We're not even close to being finished. Dorian, it's your turn now," Daz said as he cracked his neck. 

Fighting this Devil had been a good work out. It was lucky for Daz that Stegrum was very single-minded and stupid. His pride was too high and he wouldn't attack Daz directly, he would only strike when attacked. This made it easy for Daz to get the Devil into a suitable state to train Dorian's mind.

"M-My turn?" Dorian was confused. What could he possibly do at this point?

"Yup. Even though he looks so pitiful, he can still easily kill you if you're not careful. You're going to end his life and get over your fears. Dorian, you're not a coward, you just need to take that first step," Daz said supportively.

"Really? I'm... I'm not a coward?" Even if he found it hard to believe Daz's words, he, like most people, found it very difficult to disagree with what he wanted to hear.

Daz placed a hand on Dorian's shoulder and reassured him, "Don't worry, I trust you. You can do this."

"T-Thanks," Dorian mumbled back in response.

The young man who was only a single year older than Daz then walked forward with shaky steps. He tightened his grip on his umbrella and took a deep breath.

"You... insult me... by forcing... this welp... to be the one... to kill me... Do it yourself... Human..." Demon Lord Stegrum cried with despair and hope in his voice. If he was going to die here, he wanted Daz to be his killer, not Dorian.

"Shut up," Daz replied before shooting the devil in the chest, knocking another chunk of his lifeforce away, "and stop calling me a Human. I'm a Reaper," Daz added with a chilly tone.

Dorian stood in front of the bloody mess that was the Demon Lord Stegrum and hesitation filled his entire being. 'Can... Can I really end a life?'

Thoughts of his disappointed father filled his mind. VIsions of when he hesitated against the Barbarians clouded his eyes. Suddenly, a firm and determined look took over Dorian's expression. "I'm not weak! I can help! I'm useful!" Dorian screamed at the top of his lungs before he plunged the tip of his umbrella straight into Stegrum's eye, piercing the Devil's brain, killing him instantly.

Dorian let go of his weapon and knelt on the floor. His breathing was ragged and he was mentally exhausted. He soon found himself vomiting on the floor.

Daz walked up to him and gently rubbed his back. "You did well, Dorian. Today marks the first step for you. It won't be long before you can happily show your father just how brave you are."

While his words were sweet, his thoughts were very different. 'With this, Dorian should now be wholly reliant on me. I need to keep guiding him and making him depend on me more as his moral support. Dorian's a good guy, and with him firmly on my side, it shouldn't take too long for Greg's thought seed to sprout...'


Congratulations! You have successfully cleared the E-Rank dungeon [Demon Lord Stegrum's Castle]!
10,000 Merit Points.
Skill: Minor Tool Handling [E-Rank (Lower Tier)].


The total merit balance of the host is now 20,553.


Congratulations! You have successfully completed the side quest [First Time Dungeon Explorer], however, you failed the bonus objective, so no additional rewards will be granted.
30,000 merit points.
Item: Masterfully Crafted Scoop Shovel [C-Rank (Middle Tier)]


The total merit balance of the host is now 50,553.


With a blinding flash of white light, a large shovel that required two hands to hold appeared in Daz's palms. Looking over at Dorian, Daz could see that he was holding a pure brass umbrella which Daz assumed wouldn't work very well against actual rain.

"A combat umbrella?" Daz asked while he let Hamson feast on his new shovel since it would boost its stats and give it another shovel type that it could transform into.

"Y-Yeah... It's called a 'Litman Defensive Combat Ready Parasol'," Dorian replied while his eyes remained glued to the metal item in his hands.

"What a mouthful. Well, I'm assuming you got a skill from the quest as well, right?" Daz followed up by asking since he couldn't see a second item with Dorian.

"Mmm, I got 'Minor Shield Mastery'. It buffs me when I use any defensive weapons, in particular, shields," Dorian replied without hiding anything.

"Makes sense. Well, let's go back to the others," Daz suggested. Dorian happily agreed and picked himself up.

Daz and Dorian left the chamber and returned to the fourth floor where their companions were waiting with the five teenagers. Daz could immediately see that the only other member of his group that had received an item of any obvious note was Madison.

"A plushie?" Daz questioned as he scrutinized the doll in Madison's hands. It looked just like him and had a small red shovel strapped to its back. "That thing's a C-ranked item?"

"Daz. Cute." Madison held to toy up to her boyfriend's face and her eyes were practically shining. Daz decided to simply identify the... thing.


Shapeshifting Plushie [C-Rank (Higher Tier)]

A toy designed and manufactured by the famous toymaker of Zedmalund's Captial City, Rob Strider.

It takes the shape of the person most desired by the owner.

Current owner: Madison McArthur.

Softness: 100 Durability: 50
Calm The Heart


Calm The Heart
Soothes an aching heart by taking the form of the person most desired by the owner.


"How useless," Daz muttered.

Rose laughed and said, "Isn't it cute though? At least we now know that you can look pretty adorable if you're stuffed."

"Can it, you. What did you get anyway? Hmm? Your wheelchair looks different," Daz noted.

"Yup," Rose replied with a chipper voice, "it's a mind-linked wheelchair now. That basically means I don't need to have anyone push me. Pretty nifty, huh?" she added while she demonstrated by spinning around a bit.

"It's definitely more useful than this toy," Daz claimed, much to the distaste of Madison, who hugged the doll tightly to her chest.

"Crusher, what did you get?" Daz ignored Madison's defensiveness of her plushie and instead focused his attention on the Titan.

Crusher shook her wrist to display the new bracelet on it. "Just an accessory that increases strength by thirty. Not too special, but hey, it's useful enough. What'd you get?"

"Just a shovel," Daz shrugged. "Oh, right. I almost forget. In the Demon Lord's throne room, there were a bunch of cages with Humans in them. I think they were still alive. I'm not sure if they were hiding in the mall before it got turned into this dungeon of if they were from the Demon Lord's homeworld, but we should save them and bring them back to Fort Skip."

"For once, you actually have a good idea," Rose quipped. Daz rubbed her head roughly in response to which she stuck her tongue out at him.

"Well then, let's go save them." After saying that, Daz led everyone up to the Demon Lord's throne room and began directing them while they released the caged Humans. 

As suspected, they weren't from Earth. They were speaking a language that nobody could recognise and after identifying them, Daz had confirmed that they belonged to the Demon Lord's homeworld and were his prisoners that he would occasionally torture for fun.

Xing was busy helping a young boy out of a cage, but his mind was heavily distracted by the Demon Lord's body. 'That's so brutal... These people... we can't stay with them! I have to escape with Trish at the first chance I get!'

Unfortunately for Xing, that chance wouldn't come right now. Daz, after having confirmed that they had freed all of the living captives, left the Dungeon with everyone and got them all to help him carry the unconsumed bodies back to Fort Skip.

They had made a single stop along the way. A small clothing store that hadn't been looted too badly was picked clean by Daz's band of people. After all, the otherworlder prisoners were naked previously, so Daz couldn't let his future citizens freeze to death, now could he? It was still October and there was a constant chill in the air.

A note from Lone

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  • The Scottish Slothy Sloth

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