"Was that Crusher just now?" a mildly confused Jorden asked the twins, Sarah and Ellie.
The three had been practising their skills near Heather's pond when the massive Titan form of Crusher had suddenly jumped over the wall, astonishing them.
"... Should we go check?" the adventurous Sarah replied with as much uncertainty in her voice as was in Jorden's.
Her twin, Ellie, and the young girlish boy, Jorden, both nodded in agreement, so they made their way up onto the outer ramparts to see if Crusher was still on the other side or not. As soon as the three reached the top of the wall's stairs, a loud voice could be heard coming from the small crowd of people in front of them.
"Everyone! Please act in an orderly manner and do not panic! The Lord is having a duel with the woman known as Crusher! If you wish to watch, please stay on the walls and do not, I repeat, do not try to leave the fort!" General Retford yelled.
He would have appreciated if his lord, Daz, could have given him some forewarning that his companion was going to turn into a giant and cause some mild panic within his territory, but thankfully, the general was an experienced leader and he found no issue with calming the people due to his high charisma and dignity stats.
Ellie's eyes widened and she mumbled, "Daz is fighting Crusher?"
With a quick turn of her head, she could see the towering woman moving about wildly as she smashed her massive sledgehammer around. If Ellie squinted her eyes she could see two black figures dashing about trying their best to avoid Crushers blows. Clearly, this was Daz fully equipped with his travelling gear of Altros and his clone who wore similarily black clothing.
"Hey," Sarah suddenly said as she leaned over the ramparts, "Who do you think will win?" she asked with a cheeky grin on her lips.
"That's obvious!" Jorden replied as he scampered his way up onto one of the battlements. "Big Bro is definitely going to win!"
"Hehe, you think so?" Sarah chuckled lightly and tousled Jorden's hair.
'Her stats have definitely multiplied by ten times, but her control is severely lacking so she's actually slower than before.' Daz's mind was constantly analysing Crusher's movements while she was busy destroying the grasslands and roads that the system's attacks had previously left unscathed.
A wide grin had been on Daz's lips the entire fight. If he wasn't wrong, Daz had a feeling that he was starting to enjoy fighting. He shook off this thought for the moment. Now wasn't the time to ponder over this.
"Reika, are you ready? We can't exactly win by dodging Crusher and letting Rimmy distract her until her skill gets timed out, now can we?" Daz asked with a low whisper to Hamson's inhabitant.
'Of course not! We will show you our worth!' Reika's childish voice rang through Daz's mind and she then she clad Hamson in the blood red aura she had displayed earlier that morning.
Daz smiled and replied with a soft tone, "Good."
Rimmy, sensing Daz's intentions to fight back, immediately used his Crystal Shotgun skill and fired it into Crusher's back, forcing her to cry out in pain and spin around to counter him.
At that moment, Daz rushed up to her left foot and used one of his simplest skills, Basic Slash, as he ran around her leg. He was surprised to see how easily Hamson's serrated edge cut through Crusher's flesh. 'Really fucking sharp. That's not from just Hamson's stats... This aura of Reika's... It's definitely making it easier. It almost feels like I'm cutting through butter...'
Crusher had obviously noticed the searing pains in her left foot, so she punched Rimmy as hard as she could to push him away and then she jumped back twenty feet. The Titan took a second to glance at her foot. It was barely attached to her leg anymore.
'Hahahaha! This really fucking hurts! What is that shovel even made of? You know that bullets can barely scratch my skin anymore, right?' Crusher was laughing, but inwardly, she was already accepting her loss.
She couldn't beat Daz when Rimmy and his clone were constantly harassing her. Were Daz to look at her status, he would see that she barely had a fifth of her lifeforce left and her Titan form could only be maintained for another minute.
"As far as I'm aware, it's only made from steel currently. Though it has been fused with other shovels and further refined, so Hamson's edge isn't exactly safe to touch without being careful," Daz lightly joked.
"That so?" Crusher nodded her head and then cancelled her Titan form manually. "You beat me. I need to rest and fix this damned foot. Man, you're really vicious, huh? Did you know that you were grinning the whole time we were fighting? You look good with a smile on your face, Lord! Hahaha!"
"I did know. I think I'm starting to enjoy fighting, to be honest," Daz shrugged and dismissed his clone.
Rimmy, seeing that the battle was over, plopped himself onto the ground, created a ruby and then started munching on it. He felt very proud to have been of use to his master and best friend. He could tell that he was critical in Daz's victory and it warmed the Golem's two crystal cores.
"Got the bloodlust in you, huh? Hahaha! Good, good! Just don't turn on all of us, will ya?" Crusher laughed as she pointed at her foot. "I'd rather not hop back to my room, wanna carry me or give me a hand at least?"
"Sure, I can do that." Daz made a mental note of her warning and then put Crusher's arms around his shoulder and supported her as they walked back into Fort Skip.
What awaited them was a large group of citizens, General Retford and a few familiar faces. Daz lowered his head slightly and said, "I'm sorry for disturbing all of you like this. We got into our little competition a bit too much, so please, forgive us."
"What are you talking about?"
"Yeah, that was so cool!"
"It was like something out of a movie!"
"We should set up fights like that more often during rest cycles."
"We really should. That was fun to watch, unlike the stress of the attacks since we never know if you'll all die then."
Daz had a shocked look on his face momentarily before he could see the benefits of these suggestions. He looked at William and said, "Will, can you arrange for the barracks to hold several matches between citizens who wish to fight every day during the resting cycles? No maiming or killing allowed. Just fair and fun fights."
Forcing down his anger at being called 'Will', General Retford raised his fist to his chest and declared, "It will be done, My Lord."
"This is gonna be great."
"Maybe I should sign up? I mean, if it's just friendly fighting, I might learn a thing or two for self-Defense."
"That's a good point. Maybe I will too."
"I think I won't. Battles scare me, but I support the idea."
Daz found it strange. He was smiling a lot today. 'This is good. Their loyalty stat is increasing by the second. Maybe I can actually rule my people with kindness and understanding instead of with nothing but cold logic? What a strange thought. However, if it works, it works.'
Daz didn't realise it himself, but he was changing second by second and it wouldn't be too long before his next evolution would take place, once again, altering his life forever.
Several hours had passed and both Daz and Crusher were fully healed and rested after their strenuous duel. Daz was now stood on an empty plot of land not too far away from the housing cabins.
Several citizens could see him and they watched him with interest while the children of Fort Skip, as few as they were, gazed at Daz curiously. Rare was it that he would stay inactive for such a long period of time. He had been standing still for a solid thirty minutes and it wouldn't be long before someone would come up to him and ask what was wrong.
Luckily for Daz, he had finally finished doing whatever it was that was busy occupying his mind. "System, show me the little Midechhe Travelling Bank again and my merit and base points, please," he asked just to reconfirm the building's abilities before spending the last of his merit points on it.
|[Little] Midechhe Travelling Bank|
Owned and funded by the wealthiest associate of the system, Gioranne Midechhe.
This bank has only a single building, but, despite that, it has the ability to project itself anywhere that the system allows it and it can appear in multiple places at the same time.
Any self-respecting lord would purchase this bank over the other competitors. Gioranne Midechhe is the best and most reputable dealer and holder of merit points, so you can safely entrust your merit points to his establishment.
|Allows citizens to store merit points with an interest rate of 2% per day.|
Allows citizens to borrow from the bank at an interest rate of 30% per day (a fixed rate that is based on the initial owed amount and does not factor in interest when applying additional interest).
Citizens will be sold as slaves to the system upon failure of repaying the borrowed amount in a minimum amount of time equal to a four-day cycle (Permission must be granted by the owner of the base the bank is placed within before a citizen may borrow from the bank).
|Allows citizens to donate their merit points to their respective base (the base is required to have unlocked the taxation feature for this benefit).|
|200,000(50,000) Merit Points or 50(13) Dimensional Marble units.|
|4,500 Base Points.|
|The total merit balance of the host is now 50,543.|
|The total balance of the base is 22,400.|
"It really is surprisingly cheap..." Daz's bad habit of thinking out loud when he was alone had surfaced once again.
He stood still for a few more minutes as he weighed his options. Fifty-thousand merit points was a lot now since that was almost all of Daz's remaining points. With that amount, he could purchase a lot of stat points or maybe a few low tier passive skills and an item or two.
Almost as if to answer Daz's internal struggle, a quest was generated and displayed to the young Reaper.
|Quest Title: Securing The Citizen's Wealth|
|Purchase a bank or large communal vault for the citizens of your base to store their merit points and feel at ease.|
|Each citizen will gain 50 loyalty towards you.|
"Well, I was probably going to choose the bank regardless, but I'm not one to complain about free bonuses. System, purchase the little Midechhe Travelling Bank, please," Daz said with a shrug of his shoulders as a pleased expression took a hold of his face. He still had another full day before the next four-day cycle to gain some merit points from quests, so was willing to use most of his remaining ones now.
The system confirmed Daz's order, and much like every other time Daz had bought an upgrade, the ground started to shake and a large medieval-looking building rose out of the ground. The walls were grey in colour and were supported by several massive wooden beams of some sort.
As large as the building seemed, it looked rather small considering how much the upgrades description had boasted about it being owned by the wealthiest associate of the system.
Daz took a quick glance at his new merit point and base point values before he approached the building.
|The total merit balance of the host is now 543.|
|The total balance of the base is 17,900.|
Daz was amazed by what greeted his eyes as soon as he pushed open the wooden double doors and entered the bank. A ginormous white-marble hall filled with people of various body shapes and sizes. Cleary, Daz was the odd one out as a person who looked like a Human. The only particularly unusual thing was that everyone's faces were blurry except for several four-armed woman and men who had blue skin and were wearing very formal clothing.
One of these people noticed the dumbstruck Daz and walked towards him. "Hello, Sir Reaper. How might we assist you today?" he said with a slight bow of his head and after putting two of his arms behind his back and the other two in front of his chest in a gesture of politeness.
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