Edward was panicking. 'Fuck! I didn't know they were this strong! Harriot should have just used her Lesser Identification on them even if they could detect it! Then we could have at least left them alone and waited a few more days...'
His eyes glanced at the seated Crusher and he frowned deeply. 'There's no way that we can fight both of them at once. I don't know why, but if she's planning on not getting involved, then maybe we have a chance!'
Jo, who was standing on the partially destroyed tank, clenched his fist and screamed, "Fuck you, motherfucker!"
The crazed man then jumped towards the young man holding a shovel and he gripped his hand-cannon with both of his palms before he yelled, "Barrel Expansion! Explosive Round!"
A third of his stamina was immediately depleted and the long single shaft of his gun grew to be ten-centimetres wide. Jo braced himself and then pulled the trigger. He was blown back by the force as a massive red lump of iron flew out of his hand-cannon and rocketed towards the powerful masked man.
Not given much time to react, the man raised his shovel and it changed shapes again. Now with a much larger blade, he used it in an attempt to deflect the giant bullet, however, as soon as the two made contact, the cannon round exploded violently and threw the man several feet away.
Edward, unwilling to let such a golden opportunity escape him, ran up to the place the man was going to land and he pulled back his right arm while he used his other arm to hold his shoulder tightly.
The strange man turned his body mid-air and tossed his shovel as hard as he could in Edward's direction.
Edward sweated a little bit and hoped that he could overpower the destructiveness of that tool's blade with his attack. "Wound Up Clock!" he yelled while he threw a right punch and met the red shovel head-on.
The two weapons clashed and fierce sparks ensued from the meeting of metal. Edward's arm transformed and turned a deep brass colour as a large pipe that was billowing out plumes of smoke appeared on his right shoulder. "Times Two Amplification!"
Gears appeared under Edward's flesh and began turning with full force like a grandfather clock and he was able to successfully nullify the force of the blood-red shovel covered in a thick aura before he sent it flying away.
"Heh," the partially masked man let out a sound of admiration. "That's a pretty cool arm. What even is that? Hmm? Ah, so you used to be an amputee, huh, 'Edward Loch'?"
Edward's pupils shrank. "How do you know that?!"
"Don't act so surprised," the man scoffed. "That girl hiding behind the tank, 'Harriot', was it? I used a better version of one of her skills."
"That's impossible! Normal Identification can't see through all of my status and Higher Identification costs over a million points, so stop lying! Who told you about me?! Was it Ben? Was it Adam? No, even they didn't know I was an amputee..." Edward couldn't help but find himself worrying over what else this man was aware of.
"Well, they did give me the basic rundown on who you are, but that's not really important. You wanna save her, don't you? Poor Jenna. Only seven years old, but her loving father couldn't protect her, now could he?" the visible half of the man's lips curved up into a knowing smile.
Edward flew into a rage and ran at the young man as he wound up his arm once more.
"Hey, hold your horses. I can save her for you, y'know," the partially masked man stated calmly as he avoided Edward's fist and picked up his shovel again.
"I don't need you! Shut up! I only need that meteor's body!" Edward roared in defiance.
At this point, Jo had reloaded his hand-cannon and was stood behind the strange man with a vicious grin on his face. "Take this, motherfucker!"
A dangerous look flashed through the masked man's eyes as he looked back at Jo. "I don't have time to talk to evil scum." He then waved his hand and a wisp a green energy poured out of the stationary M1 Abrams and coalesced into a perfect copy of himself. "Kill that rapist loser for me, clone."
"Sure thing, original," the other masked man nodded his head and charged right at Jo. It didn't dodge the hand-cannon's bullet and absorbed the shot with its body. Despite now having a gaping hole through its chest, without stopping for a second, the clone grabbed Jo and slammed him into the ground before mercilessly snapping his neck.
"That's better. I can't stand chaotic evil people. They're such loose cannons. Good thing he didn't have a clue how to fight beyond shooting that gun of his," the masked man shrugged.
'How did he know Jo's status and what he's done?! Does he really have a better Identification skill than Harriot does?!' Edward was so stressed out that he just wanted to sit down and smoke a cigar to calm his nerves.
The clone version of the man walked back to the original while it held Jo's hand-cannon and the cavity in its chest quickly sealed itself back up.
"As I was saying, I can save your daughter if you want. I don't really have a reason to lie to you as well, I mean, look at this logically. You're fucked. I could kill you right now if I wanted to. Adam painted you as a big shot, but to me and Crusher, you're nothing. Just listen to me, 'kay?" Something about this man's words seems to be very convincing, compelling, even.
Edward slowly nodded his head. 'I don't have a choice. He's probably full of shit, but he's right, I can't beat him now that there's two of him, not to mention his tank and that 'Crusher' person.'
"Great," the man clapped his hands together. "Become my subordinate and give me five-million merit points, then I can resurrect your daughter, mind you, her soul still needs to be intact and you need to be prepared for some changes. I can't restore a body, unfortunately, and she might not remember you at all."
"What... Five-million points?!" Edward yelled.
Now he was sure, no matter how persuading this man sounded, he couldn't agree. How long would it take him to save up five-million merit points? Weeks? Months? It was impossible. The Baetylus' body was right in front of him, and while it would offer even worse conditions for his daughter's return than this man was promising, to Edward, stealing the monster's body was a more acceptable evil than accepting this deal was.
"Yeah, five-million. You'll have to figure out how to give me the points, but I promise you that I'll keep you and that woman, Harriot, safe until I reunite you with your precious Jenna. Ah, also, don't even think about getting the Baetylus' corpse. I've been given a quest by the system to kill or capture you, so think carefully. Ideally, I don't want to murder such a capable fellow survivor," the masked man said with a very genuine tone in his voice.
'Shit. Kill or capture me? So if I refuse, I'm going to die here? I need to see her again. I promised I'd protect her even if it meant my life... besides, his deal doesn't sound that bad...' Edward felt conflicted.
|Congratulations. Thought seed [I can trust this man] successfully implanted into the host [Edward Loch].|
'Well, that's a relief,' Daz thought to himself, 'Really though, what interesting statuses,' he added as he recalled the information he had seen regarding Edward, the now deceased Jo and Harriot on their status screens.
|Edward Loch's Status|
|Name:||Edward Loch||Species:||Human (Beginning stages of evolving)|
|Class:||Armed Destroyer||Affinity:||Chaotic Good|
A former police officer that was discharged from duty for unlawful conduct when he had beaten a wealthy child predator, who had escaped justice, to death.
His only child, Jenna, died at kindergarten when he was on his way to collect her once the apocalypse began, and ever since, he has searched the system for any possible ways to bring back the only thing that ever mattered to him.
He is an enemy of Gem Kingdom after he fled with the unlawful and unruly members on the fourth day of the first cycle to preserve his own life.
His only goal now is to obtain the Baetylus' corpse in order to perform a dark ritual that requires many lives to be sacrificed to bind the soul of a single person to a named Devil of Akmund, bringing both it and the soul back to life.
'It's an impressive selection of stats, all things considered, but compared to me and Crusher, it's a bit pathetic,' Daz thought as he looked at Edward's stats. 'The only thing I have to worry about is, how long can I keep tricking him into thinking I can actually resurrect people? Well, that's why I got 'The Legendary Gift of The Gab' skill, now isn't it?'
|Joseph Blight's Status|
|Class:||Moblie Cannoneer||Affinity:||Chaotic Evil|
Born and raised in an extremely patriotic family that lived out in the countryside. He passed his time in his self-made gang of four men and they usually enjoyed their days by helping themselves to his younger sister against her will.
He and his crew continued to do as such until the day of the apocalypse. He felt right at home in this new environment and he took advantage of the collapsed police force to raid groups of survivors and rape their women.
He kept these details to himself when he joined Gem Kingdom and he chose to join Edward's faction since it seemed like the most fun, though he suspected that Edward Loch was aware of his past to some extent.
'Human trash. He's even worse than Matt was. The fucker must have spent all of his points on items, probably that gun of his. I'll have to take that later. Maybe someone back home can use it,' Daz said to himself in disdain.
He hated people that were evil just for the sake of being evil. They reminded him too much of his father, and for that kind of person, he was more than willing to break his self-made rule of not killing other survivors when possible.
|Harriot Parker's Status|
|Class:||Holder of Information||Affinity:||Lawful Neutral|
An ordinary office worker who has a tendency to find herself in unfortunate situations.
She has been cursed by an esper of Earth to always be unlucky.
'Such an interesting status. Maybe she can tell me more about espers,' Daz thought with mild hopes in his mind.
"So, Edward, make a choice. Become my subordinate and peacefully collect merit points until you have enough, or, die where you stand," Daz ordered calmly as he made an open gesture with his free arm.
Edward clenched his fists and closed his eyes tightly. 'I can't win in a fight, and I can't afford to die... Fuck! I don't have a choice, I'll have to betray him later and find a way back to Middletown to get that damned monster's body.'
"Okay, fine, you win. I'll play your game," Edward spat out reluctantly.
"Great," Daz replied happily. He returned Hamson to his brand while Edward deactivated whatever he had done to his arm, returning it to looking like ordinary flesh. "Ah, that's right, I can see the loyalty of my citizens, so if that stat isn't over at least, hmm, five-hundred points, on both you and Harriot by tomorrow afternoon, then I'll kill you guys. I can't have unpredictable factors during the system's attack."
'Well... shit. There's goes that plan. Fuck. Do I have to be this asshole's slave then? No, there'll be a time when he lets his guard down. I can escape at that moment. It's a pity about Harriot, but for Jenna, I don't have a choice.' Edward was obviously still of the mind that using the Baetylus' body was his best course of action, even despite Daz's words and his Legendary Gift of The Gab skill.
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