Shovels In Spades



Book 2 Chapter 28: Benjamin and Trench


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

Note: Changing how the races work. Technically, Daz's Reaper and Crusher's Titan are not their races. That's their species. They are no longer a race of the species known as Humans. They are completely different biologically save for their appearance.

Google the definitions for 'species' and 'race' if you don't believe me. It's a common misconception. Same goes for Elves and Dwarves. They aren't a race, they are a Species. A Wood Elf would be a race of the Elven species while Corrupted Dwarves would be a race of the Dwarven species.

After having checked all of Adam's skills and inspecting his class and Species, the young Reaper concluded that, while the man was very capable, he wasn't a threat to either himself nor to Crusher. With that confirmed, Daz moved on to inspecting the childish and energetic Rocky.


Benjamin Rock's Status
Basic Information
Name: Benjamin Rock Species: Jewel Sentinel
  Race: Ruby Sentinel
Age: 23 Sex: Male
Class: Ruby Lord Affinity: Chaotic Good

 A young man of no particular regard until the apocalypse started.

Due to a series of fortunate encounters, he has found himself as being the lord of over three-hundred people.

The pressure from his new role and all of the changes the apocalypse has brought upon this seemingly ordinary man resulted in his personality splitting. Only by rubbing his eye can he interchange between these two personas.

Lifeforce: 1,500/1,500 Stamina: 2,000/2,000
Intelligence: 60(72) Wisdom: 60(72)
Ingenuity: 60(72) Knowledge: 50

'What? Why are his stats so low?' Daz held his forehead and began thinking. 'There are four possibilities. One, he's masking his status screen and hiding the real details somehow. I doubt it's this though, he doesn't seem like the type. Two, he spent most of his points on items, not personal upgrades. This could be the case.'

Daz furrowed his eyebrows and continued his train of thought. 'Three, he used his points on base-building. This definitely makes sense since he has so many more citizens than I do and he might have had them for longer than I have, so that means more base points to play around with. Four, he simply never got that many points to begin with. Unlikely, but still possible.'

Daz's pondering were disturbed by a loud yawn that came from Adam.

"Tired?" Daz asked.

Looking into the rearview mirror, Adam smiled awkwardly. "Yeah. It's been a long day."

"Want me to take over? I know where Middletown is from here." While Daz had spent most of his life in Waterford, he had travelled the states after he had disassociated himself with his parents, so of course, he possessed some basic knowledge on the surrounding states to California where Waterford was.

"Could you? Even though I'm a Higher Human, sleep is still a requirement. Hah, I should have chosen another evolution..." Adam exhaled deeply.

At this point, all four of them had revealed their classes and evolutions to each other as signs of trust. Daz didn't mind this since these pieces of information had nothing to do with his true identity.

"Rocky, would you mind waking me up if Sek loses his way or something else?" If it were possible, Adam would have swapped with Rocky, but the young man wasn't able to drive.

Rocky nodded his head. His species, Jewel Sentinel, much like Daz's, didn't need to sleep at all, so he had no issue with staying up to keep watch, as it were. Even if he had a great fondness for the masked and disfigured man, he was still aware of the possible threat he and Crusher could pose to the two of them.

A few moments later, Daz was now driving the Humvee and Adam was sat next to Crusher in the backseat. Both of them had blankets on them since Crusher had admitted that she, too, was getting sleepy. 

This was perfect for Rocky since he still wanted to sit next to Daz. Adam took a long sigh and spoke with a somewhat raspy voice. "Sek, you remind me of this kid I worked with before the apocalypse."

"Oh yeah?" Naturally, Daz knew who Adam was talking about.

"Yeah." Adam replied with nostalgia in his voice, "This kid, his name was Daz."

Crusher's eyes opened a bit at this, but she chose to ignore it and go back to trying to sleep. There were more important things to think about right now in her opinion. For example, how best to crush whatever they'd be facing in two days.

Adam laughed a little as if he had remembered something and continued, "Weird little guy, he was fit and kind enough to cover for me whenever I couldn't do my share of the work, hahaha..."

He rolled down the window and lit up a smoke before he gestured to the packet. "Being a chronic smoker for nearly twenty-five years wasn't exactly good for my health, see?"

Daz kept his eyes on the road during their talk. While the Humvee was far easier to drive than the M939 was, it still demanded a lot of focus for a beginner regardless of Daz's dexterity and ingenuity. "I can only imagine."

Adam took a long draw of his cigarette, almost cutting its size in half with that single breath. "You seem a lot more... tempered than he was. I wonder if he's still alive?"

"I bet he is," Daz replied with confidence and in a monotonous tone.

"I hope so..." While Adam hadn't known Daz for long, he really did seem nice and reliable, so he thought it would be a shame for a person with such a bright future ahead of them to have died or been taken by the system like his family was. 

"I'm sure you'll meet him one day if he's still out there," Daz consoled Adam while he avoided showing any emotions that could potentially reveal that he was, in fact, the very same young man who had been pretending to be normal for six months. 

Daz, Crusher, Rocky and Adam had all grown closer over the car trip so far and had a basic level of trust, as made evident by the fact that Daz was the one driving right now. However, the young Reaper refused to give away any of his personal information until he was one-hundred per cent certain that these people had no ties to the secret society his family originated from.

"Yeah, you're right..." Adam sighed before he finished his smoke and threw it out of the window. He got himself comfortable and looked at Rocky via the rearview mirror. "Wake me up when we get there please, Rocky."

"Sure thing, buddy. you rest up now," the young Lord of Middletown happily answered and then began to chat with the extremely focused Daz.

It was now one in the morning and Daz could see several bright things ahead of him. Looking closely, he could tell that these were small magical jewels that seemed to be radiating light. There were hundreds of them and they all circled the city of Middletown which the Humvee was approaching.

Daz was at a loss for words. Middletown didn't have a wall surrounding it like Fort Skip did, no, instead, it had an enormous trench that was at least thirty-feet wide encompassing the entire city as far as the young Reaper could see.

"Those lamps look interesting," Daz noted.

"You can see them from here?" Rocky asked with awe and surprise in his voice. After all, they were still a few hundred feet away from the city's border.

"I have good eyes," the young Reaper shrugged.

"Lucky you," Rocky laughed lightly. "We ran out electricity pretty quickly. In fact, the factory that was generating power for Middletown was destroyed on the first day. Thankfully it wasn't a nuclear power plant, or this place might have been completely unlivable."

"That's fortunate, I suppose," Daz said. Clearly, that was a 'silver-lining' situation if ever he'd heard one.

"Isn't it? Well, I knew that we couldn't just get by without any power, so I bought a generator from the system. It runs off of gems and precious stones, and the gem to power ratio is surprisingly efficient. The only problem was that all appliances had to be modified to use the new power source, haha," Rocky detailed with a light chuckle.

Daz was very busy looking all over the place slyly, but he didn't forget to continue the conversation. "That must have cost a lot of merit points."

"Tell me about it. Base points aren't an issue since I have a lot of citizens, but oh boy, the merit points. I'm glad Adam had the idea to use such a massive trench. Honestly, without it, we'd have all died during the third attack," Rocky said seriously, contrary to his bubbly personality.

"How did you even make something like this?" Daz marvelled at the depth of the pit as he carefully drove across a long metal bridge that had been placed over it.

"Earth Sorcerers," Rocky said with some happiness and pride in his voice.

"Geology books?" Daz thought that it was natural to assume that these 'Earth Sorcerers' had gained classes in the very same way as the Richie twins had.

"Yup," Rocky confirmed with a soft nod. "After invested a few of their merit points into boosting their worldforce stat, the six Earth Sorcerers from my college were able to make this after working nonstop for sixteen hours. It was a lot cruder at first, but with the time it bought us, we were able to refine it and make it more dangerous with the help of the system."

Daz's mind spun as several future possibilities for Fort Skip crossed his mind. 'How good would it be if I could split Fort Skip off from the cliff and make it an independent island? That would certainly make fighting certain monsters more advantageous.'

"Ah, pull up here," Rocky said as he pointed at the end of the large bridge. "We've had a few encounters with looters and just generally not-so-nice people, so we're a bit tight on security."

"Wouldn't they recognise your car?" Daz wondered.

"Yeah, but there are all sorts of skills out there, so it's better to be safe rather than sorry," Rocky explained with an apologetic smile on his lips. Of course, he trusted Daz, but that didn't mean that the somewhat on-edge citizens and military personnel under his leadership would.

"Fair enough," Daz replied. He then did as told and parked on the side of the bridge.

Rocky exited the Humvee and walked towards the small checkpoint booth at the end of the bridge with a goofy smile on his face.

Daz assumed that Rocky might take a while, so he decided to inspect the base in front of him while he had the chance.


[Gem Kingdom] D-Rank Mediocre Base
Base Name: Gem Kingdom Base Owner: Benjamin Rock
Base Type: Production Base Size: Mediocre
Base Stats
Health: 60,000/60,000 Offence: 5,000
Security: 1,000(1,500) Defense: 20,000(30,000)
Citizens: 347  
Base Facilities
Facility Number Owned Description Bonus
Mediocre Trench 1 A large hole which circles the base and it is designed to act as a pitfall for the base's enemies. 25% increase in Defense for the base.
Jewelled Power Generator 2 Consumes jewels and precious gems in order to generate power for the base. 15% increase in productivity for citizens.
Mediocre Jewel-Powered Retractable Steel Bridge 1 A weighty and long platform which allows easy access to the entrance of the base while also serving as a way to cut off enemy advances due to its retractability. 25% increase in Defense for the base.
Mediocre Living Space 40 A comfortable living space designed to house a dozen citizens very comfortably. 25% boost to stress relief for citizens.
Small Base Shop 1 A shop designed by the system to allow a cheaper way to get entertainment and basic living supplies. N/A
Mediocre Base Mine 3 A mine that allows citizens to work and gather precious metals and gems for the base. 15% increase in productivity for citizens.
Tank Storage Facility 1 A building designed to house and maintain several war tanks. 50% increase in Security for the base.


'Hmm... Its stats are far lower than Fort Skip's are except for the absurdly high Defense stat. I guess Rocky did spend his point on the base then. Forty living spaces, huh? Without the seventy-five per cent discount I get, that must have cost an absolute fortune,' Daz thought.

'Still, tanks, huh? Maybe I really can get one of them from Rocky? I should buy a book from the system on how to operate whatever model I can get my hands on...' Naturally, Daz's interest was mostly centred on the war potential of these death machines. 

It was a shame that Waterford's military base wasn't nearly as well equipped and Middletown's seemed to have been. However, that was one of the reasons that Daz was actually able to gain any leverage over General Miller.

Rocky came out from the small booth and waved his hands energetically to Daz a few minutes later and he made his way back to the Humvee. Daz couldn't help but smile. 'Maybe I should take him up on his offer of an alliance? There isn't much to lose I think... I'll answer him by tomorrow depending on how things go...'

A note from Lone

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