Reika had returned to her astral form and was sitting on Daz's head again. The Reaper had gone to his personal training area and was fully intent on having the Demon Princess teach him the swordsmanship of the hero she once controlled. He wasn't sure if he could learn it or if it would help him due to the fact that he used a shovel, not a sword, but it would be foolish to disregard the possibility of gaining a new skill.
It was still early in the morning and no one except for Daz, Rose and Madison lived inside the inner walls. The only people that could be seen were Daz and the two guards that were stationed outside of his home. It was rare for anyone to come inside the central part of Fort Skip this early in the morning, after all.
As Daz held Hamson and was about to begin training, a thought entered his head. "Reika, what do these skulls represent? Are they souls?" Currently, Hamson had two skulls just above his blade where the shaft of the handle was. The first one had appeared after Hamson had consumed Matt Bleak while the second had shown up after Reika fused herself with him.
Reika got off from Daz's head and floated around Hamson. She passed through the skulls and even tried to knock on them a few times despite her spiritual body not being able to physically touch anything before she eventually shook her head and said, 'We don't know.'
She floated around Hamson a bit more and smiled. 'We don't know, but we do know that there were two souls in this 'shovel' before we absorbed them. A dirty black soul and a weak white one. The black one was delicious,' the finger-sized Reika rubbed her belly and sat back down on Daz's head with a satisfied expression.
"Souls? So did Hamson not absorb that Zombie's and Matt's souls, but instead stored them or something? Now that I think about it, I wonder which soul was what colour and if it signifies anything," Daz mumbled.
'Zombie? No wonder that white soul tasted so icky. The black one was a Human, was it not? It boosted our power enough to create this body,' Reika explained quite happily.
"Boosted your power? So eating souls makes you stronger?" Daz asked as he continues to ponder over the matter of soul colours.
Reika nodded timidly so Daz continued by asking, "Does that benefit me in any way shape or form?" he paused for a moment and added, "Just so you know, I get stronger by consuming souls too, so unless it's worth it, you won't be getting any souls."
'The stronger we get, the more real our body will become and the more we can increase this shovel's power. We do not need delicious souls. Even the nasty ones would do...' Reika didn't want to push her luck.
She could tell that Daz only cared about whatever option granted him the most benefits and he wasn't using his feelings even slightly while making his decision. This kind of person would be difficult to mind control even without his aptitude for souls, Reika thought.
And although consuming souls would nourish her, it wasn't critical for her survival, so Reika was happy not getting any as long as she could remain with Daz regardless of the nature of their relationship. Loneliness was a powerful emotion that could affect even the strongest and oldest of beings, after all.
"Hmm, I guess that's fine. I have a daily limit on how many souls I can consume anyway, so if I reach that limit, I'll give you what's left. Deal?" Daz said while he took his shirt off and prepared to start training.
'Deal!' Reika wasn't expecting to get anything, to be frank, but being allowed to eat the leftover souls was more than enough for the childish soul to get excited about.
'Swing more like this!'
'No, no! Like this, not that! The Hero was more power-based than you, Insolent Fool!'
'Muuuu... You're too agile! You can't learn it!'
An hour had passed and Reika had already given up on Daz entirely. As she had said, his speed and nimbleness were actually getting in the way of him learning the Hero's sword technique and it also didn't help that he was using a gardening tool, not a sword.
The skill she was trying to teach Daz was very difficult for even the Hero himself to learn and it took him seven years to simply grasp the basics of it. Reika had some hope that the system which Daz mentioned to her would be able to course-correct for him and grant it to her new master, but it was obvious now that it simply wasn't a technique that was suited to him.
"Shame. Oh well, I guess I'll teach Maddy the steps for this skill at some point. Maybe she can learn it." Daz wiped off his sweat and got into a new stance. He bent his knees back and raised Hamson over his head and remained still.
'Are you constipated? We are glad that we no longer suffer from such mortal worries,' Reika asked with confidence in her voice. She was sure that Daz's odd-looking stance was due to a volatile set of intestines.
The young Reaper ignored the noisy girl and focused. 'Just like Cecil said: Envision the God of Shovels' power flowing through me and feel the will of my tool, of Hamson. Imagine a grave, a grave suited for the Gods...'
Several minutes passed with nothing happening, however, Daz never got distracted and kept only one thought in his mind. Copy Cecil's skill, Grave of the Gods. It took some time, but without either Daz or Reika noticing, his eyes had gone dull and something about Daz's aura had changed.
'Muuuu... Muu? A headstone?' Reika questioned.
Just behind Daz, an astral projection of a small grave had appeared. It was faint and very hard to see, but it was definitely there. It was nothing in comparison to Cecil's grand mausoleum, but it was a success nonetheless!
Daz brought Hamson up above his shoulder a little bit more and swung it down in one smooth yet slow motion. "Grave of the Gods!" he yelled.
A very small hole that was roughly one meter wide and half a meter deep appeared in the centre of the training ground. A few seconds passed and it repaired itself since that was one of the upgrades' features, repairing any damage done to it during training.
Sweat was pouring out of Daz's half-burnt body like a fountain, but a small smile could be found on his face. "That was pretty difficult, even if it is a skill that is greatly matched with my class and Species. Damn, it's so weak now, but after seeing what Cecil could do, I don't really have a choice but to train it diligently, huh?" Daz took a quick moment to view the exact details of the skill via the system.
|Grave of the Humans [D-Rank (Lower Tier)]|
|A skill self-developed by the young Reaper of Earth, Daz. He had witnessed a far superior version of this skill, and through great aptitude and willpower, was able to recreate a far weaker version of it that his body could handle.|
|Allows the host to use his patron God's energy to create a grave. There is no limit so long as the patron God has the needed energy to spare.|
|Requires the use of a shovel to activate.|
|The host has entered a new ranking list. The host is rank #57 on the Skill Creation Ranking list.|
"Huh? I actually created a different, less powerful version of Cecil's skill? And it's already level five? That's insane! But wait, you can create skills via the system already, so does it only put you on this ranking list if you physically make one yourself without the assistance of the system? That's a bit absurd since you can only learn new skills on a training ground," Daz said to himself. His bad habit of thinking out loud was flaring up again.
'You created a skill? That was so pitiful though. Is a shovel originally a weapon meant for digging, or was your shovel not actually needed for the skill, but you used it anyway?' Reika held her chin and her face crumpled up in confusion.
"Yeah, a shovel is meant for digging normally, this variant was originally designed for cutting plant roots, but it's been redesigned by you and by my constant use of it in battle, so it's a killing tool now more so than it is a digging one," Daz explained nonchalantly. He was less concerned about Reika and more concerned about the rankings.
"I haven't actually checked them yet since I woke up yesterday, so I should really do that now. Afterall, there might be a reward or two for me." After saying so, Daz immediately asked the system to show him his rankings and any associated rewards.
|Your overall Lord ranking is #1, your overall Point ranking is #221, your overall Kill ranking is #304, your overall Evolution ranking is #44 and your overall Skill Creation ranking is #57.|
|Due to being in the top 100 for overall skills created, every skill that you create will passively start at level 5.|
"Wow, okay. The passive effect is decent, but I jumped up in the kill ranked by over six-hundred places? What? So it doesn't just count numbers, right? That has to be it. It must count the strength of the defeated monsters too. In that case, maybe Maddy has a higher rank than I do since she killed the Tank Automaton?" Daz deduced.
"Also," Daz held his chin before continuing with, "My evolution rank went down by a single digit. I guess Crusher is to blame for that. Her evolution is definitely more powerful than mine is, so I suppose I can't complain. At least it was one of my people and not some random stranger."
'You talk to yourself a lot,' Reika commented while she played about with Daz's soft and grey hair. Even if she couldn't actually touch it thanks to being incorporeal, she was happy enough just pretending that his hair was smooth to the touch.
"And you address yourself strangely, so we're even," Daz quipped back.
'W-We do not!' Reika seemed hurt and flustered by Daz's home-hitting remark.
"Case in point." Daz shrugged his shoulders.
"Anyway, now that I've learnt this skill, I should probably consume the souls of the creatures from the dungeon that I couldn't get yesterday. We did drag their bodies back, after all," Daz decided before he put his shirt back on, got Reika to put Hamson back in the brand on his hand, and then left to absorb those aforementioned souls.
The two guards that had been posted outside of Daz's cabin watched their lord leave his personal training area and they instantly relaxed before sitting down at the wooden table that had been put there for them to use.
"Hey, Sten, I feel like I say this everytime we see him, but this lord is batshit insane."
"Now, now, Leston, that sort of speech would warrant the death penalty back home!"
"You're right, but you think the same, don't you?"
"Absolutely! The boy's undoubtedly touched in the head. What kind of fool would talk to his own weapon? I dare say, were we back in Humptonshire, I'd have betrayed this lord instantly for fear of his actions!"
"Absolutely not! What sort of lord lets you sit down on the job? Might I add, the tea here is splendidly riveting! It would be nought but a jest were I to willingly give up such a lovely life."
"You're so wishy-washy, Sten. But I'd have to agree. Game of cards?"
"Oho, want a rematch after your last thrashing, do we, Leston?"
"... You've never beaten me once, you old codger."
"The details aren't important, my boy. As soon as you can grasp this, you might be able to grow a magnificent moustache like myself!"
"You're so loud. Let's just play already."
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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