Daz and Crusher were now on the highway in the M939 truck and they were slowly snaking their way through the many car wreckages which littered the road.
"I wonder why all of these vehicles are just lying around all over the place," Crusher said as she peeked her head out of the window.
"Can't you see the bodies? Obviously, they panicked when they saw the first blue screen from the system," Daz explained as he kept his eyes on the road. He was still an inexperienced driver, so he needed to focus unless he wanted to ruin the army truck.
Crusher narrowed her eyes and exclaimed, "Well would you look at that, you're right." She turned around and looked at Daz only to see that he was now wearing a mask which covered the smooth half of his face. "You look cool, but what gives?"
"Can't you see that Humvee a few hundred feet in front of us? I don't want Rocky or anyone with him to recognise me," Daz said as he pointed forwards.
"Nope, my eyesight is definitely worse than yours, hahaha!" Crusher laughed. "Why would they recognise you anyway?"
"No reason, but I don't want to take any unnecessary risks," Daz shrugged his shoulders as he avoided telling Crusher about his grim past.
"Okay," not really caring, Crusher smiled and didn't pry any further.
Daz had parked up the truck roughly one-hundred feet away from the approaching HUMV which had slowed down to a crawl while it approached him and Crusher.
It only took a few moments before the large car was only about fifteen meters away from the pair, so it stopped and two figures stepped out.
Surprisingly, Daz knew both of these people. One was, naturally, Rocky, while the second was someone that Daz had worked with for the past six months before the apocalypse began. 'Adam survived? I'd assumed he died on day one after he cycled home... I wonder what his weapon is?'
"Sek! It's good to see you!" Rocky yelled as he ran towards Daz.
Crusher took her sledgehammer off of her back and was getting ready to smash Rocky into a pulp. She was heavily under the impression that Daz didn't trust these people, so of course, she didn't want them getting close to the both of them until their intentions were made clear.
Under her breath, Crusher spoke to Daz, "Sek, huh?"
"His nickname for me," Daz whispered in return before he stepped forward and stopped Rocky with a raised palm. "I want to say it's nice to see you again, but unfortunately, I can't. Why are you here?"
Adam's eyes widened slightly. 'That voice? No... there's no way. A kid like him... Even if he got a class, with that kind-hearted and gentle attitude of his, there's no way he survived right? This guy looks like a cold-blooded killer...'
Thankfully for Daz, his act when he was trying to be a normal person and fit in had served to help him here.
"Ahahaha," Rocky scratched his head with embarrassment. "Vincent asked me to find you since we're so close to one another. I'm not that good at social thingies really, so, um, I'm sorry for unsettling you yesterday. Can we still be friends?" Rocky held out his hand with a bashful expression on his face.
'I really can't dislike this guy when he's like this... Damn it. Something's been really wrong with me lately,' Daz thought with frustration.
"Okay, I don't mind that. However, I'll have to ask you and your friend to leave. To be honest, I don't trust you," Daz stated.
Rocky's face fell and he clearly felt insulted and hurt. "That... That's fine... Ho-how about we bring you back to our base and I can give you some stuff to earn your trust? I swear that it won't take long! You'll be back by tomorrow afternoon so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for the next cycle in two days!"
"Be-, eh, Rocky! We can't do that!" Adam said in a loud voice.
"Why not?! Sek's a good person," Rocky claimed.
Adam frowned. "And how do you know that? You've barely been around him for more than five minutes."
"I can just tell these things!" Like a child, Rocky refused to admit that Adam was correct.
"... Will you let me speak with Red?" Adam requested, confusing Daz and Crusher.
"Fine! But I bet he'll say the same thing I did," Rocky complained before he rubbed his jewelled eye.
Daz had watched all of this with a wry smile on his lips. 'I never agreed to go with them, did I?'
Just like in the Court of Lords, Rocky's personality had shifted and so had his entire atmosphere. He turned away from Adam and looked right into Daz's eyes. "Worry, expectancy, and mild hope. I sense a burning desire, but it isn't malicious. It should be safe to bring him back with us, however, I recommend advising extreme caution and do not anger him nor his companion. They are both stronger than anyone at our base. I suspect them to be highly ranked on the merit rankings."
After saying this, Rocky rubbed his eye once more and returned to normal. "See? I told you so."
"Hah... Fine." With a long sigh, Adam reluctantly agreed.
"So, Sek, wanna come back with us?" Rocky asked with a hopeful expression on his face. He had a very strong sense that he and Daz were very similar, so if he could, he wanted to befriend him.
"I suppose that's fine, but only if my buddy here, Crusher, can come along," Daz replied, shocking Crusher slightly, however, it only took a few seconds for her to understand why. A blue screen had appeared before her eyes.
|Quest Title: Adventure Out of Waterford!|
|Leave Waterford with the ruler, Rocky, and his aide, Adam. Head to their base and safely return tomorrow with their gifts.|
|50,000 Merit Points|
|A friendly relationship with Ruler Rocky and his base.|
Daz couldn't help but grin. 'What's a little risk in exchange for some merit points and a good relationship? The fact that it's a B-rank quest is a bit concerning, but I can deal with it if Crusher is with me. What I really need now is merit points, and besides, I need to absorb all of the nearby bases eventually, so this is a good start,' the young Reaper reasoned to himself.
"That's fine! In fact, that's great!" Rocky was overjoyed.
Adam groaned and held his face in his palm. "So carefree... Really, why do I follow him again?"
"Give me a minute," Daz said.
The young Reaper then cancelled his clone and a few seconds passed before a cloud of green energy flew from the direction of Waterford and entered Daz's body. With a wave of his hand, Daz recreated his clone.
"Take the M939 back to the base and tell the important people that Crusher and I won't be returning until tomorrow," Daz ordered the mask-wearing copy of himself.
The clone looked at Rocky and Adam with curiosity before it nodded its head. "Yes, original." After replying to Daz, the clone got into the truck and began driving it back to Fort Skip.
Adam took out a packet of cigarettes and lit one.
'Still a heavy smoker, I see,' Daz noted.
"Hey," Adam said, "That's a pretty neat skill, but how are you gonna get back to Waterford tomorrow?"
"That's obvious," Daz stated, "Rocky said he'd give me some gifts, right? A car or military vehicle would be nice," he added as the visible half of his mouth raised into a smile.
Adam almost choked on his cigarette. "Damn it... I should have asked what he was doing when he summoned that copy of himself..." Adam mumbled and sighed again. It would seem like he was sighing a lot these days, or so he thought.
"I don't mind giving you a tank if you'd like. Our base is actually in Middleton, so I'm not sure if you know this, but there's a tank training facility only two miles away from us that the military used to use to teach their tank operators how to, well, operate tanks," Rocky explained with a big smile on his face.
At this point, Adam was practically foaming at the mouth. It truly was difficult to be serving a lord that was overly trusting, however, that was why he and every other citizen of Rocky's had faith in him and respected him so much.
The four climbed into the Humvee with Adam in the driver's seat, Crusher in the passenger seat and both of the lords, Daz and Rocky, in the backseats. Rocky had insisted that he sat next to Daz and the young Reaper didn't care enough to bother refusing.
Two hours had passed and the sun had fully set. According to Adam, they were still a three-hour drive away from the city, Middletown. During the journey so far, Daz and Crusher had loosened up far more and were happily chatting with Adam and Rocky.
"Heh, so you had to fight two-hundred Zombies on the first day? That's pretty insane. I only had to fight fifty slimes. If I wasn't in the college library and with other students at the time, I'd probably be dead right now," Rocky joked lightly.
"Don't belittle yourself, Be-, em, Rocky. It was your quick thinking that saved all of those students' lives," Adam said as he took a draw from the sixteenth cigarette of the trip so far.
Crusher looked at him curiously. "Aren't your lungs made of tar at this point? I've heard of heavy smoking, but this is something else..."
"I suppose I don't mind telling you now. My class is 'Smoke Manipulator'. Turns out my cigarettes saved my life, huh? I was shocked to see that it counted as a weapon, to be honest," Adam said. "So, yeah, I'm immune to any side-effects that come along with smoking. Now it's a benefit-only habit, hahaha."
"That's interesting," Crusher replied politely. She returned her attention to the road and it was obvious to see that she was fairly bored.
Seeing that a silence had overrun the car, Daz asked Adam a question that he was very curious about. "You said that you were from Waterford originally, right, Adam? How did you end up in another state?"
"Ah, that. It's pretty embarrassing. One of my skills lets me turn into smoke. The first time I tried it out, I couldn't control it and I ended up flying until the border of Middletown city. I finally ran out of energy and had almost consumed all of my lifeforce in the process. I would have died if Rocky and his men hadn't found me first," Adam admitted with a forced laugh.
'He finally stopped trying to reveal Rocky's real name out of habit, huh? Well, I'm pretty sure neither of these guys can detect me. They're both weaker and they don't have information-based classes like Rose does, I think, so let's try Identifying the both of them,' Daz thought to himself.
|Adam Stiller's Status|
|Class:||Smoke Manipulator||Affinity:||Lawful Good|
A minimum wage worker for his entire life, Adam has never been special.
He cared for his wife and son more than anything else in the world, however, they were taken from him on the first day of the apocalypse because they were not holding weapons.
He entered a drunken stupor after eliminating his attacking monsters and consequently lost control of one of his skills.
He now faithfully serves the Lord of Gem Kingdom and is still trying to overcome the grief of losing his family.
'Very good status and he's evolved, but that's sad. He lost his family, huh? Well, now to identify Rocky...' Daz thought.
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