Daz stood atop the outer rampart of Fort Skip and a frown was on his face as he felt a cold wind pierce his skin. "So it's starting this early?"
He still couldn't think of any good solutions for the coming snow. There was the elemental resistance that he could buy since he had access to the evolution shop, however, it cost one-thousand merit points per percent. He intended to get some of it for himself, but that was something impossible to obtain for most of his citizens.
There was also a powerful barrier that Daz would have loved to have purchased. It completly fended off the cold and would grant Fort Skip's citizens safety, however, it cost three-hundred thousand merit points even after Daz's reductions, not to mention its unaffordable base point price. It was clear to him that this was intentional. The system wanted them to face the biting cold in its entirety.
The young Reaper pulled at his hair and angrily kicked the stone battlements. "Adaptability test, huh?" he mumbled in frustration.
Daz looked out into the fields that stretched past the walls as they wrapped around the destroyed road before he sighed. "I guess that's all I can do, huh?"
Daz returned to the inner fort and called upon the system. "System, show me the Little Castle Dungeon."
|[Physical] Base Upgrade|
|[Little] Castle Dungeon|
It's only natural for a castle-type base to own a dungeon of some form. This specific one is meant to act more as an emergency shelter than as a prison.
With the capacity to hold at most one-thousand people, this a must-buy for any and all self-respecting lords.
|Allows The Lord to store many types of resources.|
|Allows The Lord to shelter his citizens for a limited time based on food supplies.|
|Can be used as the entrance for an escape passage out of the base.|
|Protects from the elements.|
|500,000(62,500) Merit Points or 2,000(250) [Stone] units and 1,000(125) [Everwood] units.|
|10,000 Base Points|
"The merit and unit prices have been halved?" Daz noticed. "I guess that's because this is an upgrade that's compatible with the base's type, huh? That's a bigger discount than I expected."
Normally, Daz enjoyed a seventy-five percent discount on the merit points or units needed for all base upgrades thanks to his Godly Base Management skill, but now it seems like after that reduction was applied, an additional fifty percent would be cut off the upgrade if it was related to a castle base-type.
"Confirm the purchase, please, system," Daz requested.
|Confirmed. The total merit balance of the host is now 37,500.|
|The total balance of the base is now 7,900.|
A few seconds later, the ground shook and a sizable hatch appeared in the very centre of the inner fort. This trapdoor was very rustic-looking and it was at least five meters squared in size.
"It's bigger than I expected," Daz muttered to himself.
Reika who was, as always, atop of his head, looked at the hatch and scoffed before she boasted. 'The one leading to father's dungeon in the palace was at least twice the size.'
"I don't care," Daz replied.
Reika puffed out her cheeks and crossed her arms over her chest in response. Daz ignored her and lifted up the large hatch. There was a set of stairs that appeared to lead downwards, so he naturally went inside.
The stairway was illuminated by several fire-lit torches and it took a surprisingly long amount of time to reach the bottom after winding down the stairs. "That was, what, two minutes? We must be pretty deep in the cliff now, I'd wager."
'Hmpf, we do not care,' Reika said sarcastically.
Daz rolled his eyes and proceeded through the hallway that led into the true dungeon. He was surprised by what he saw.
There was a single huge room that was probably the size of a football field and there was another, far smaller, chamber that was full of empty crates and casks. This humbler area was clearly meant to be used to store food while the other was to hold people.
In the more spacious room, the only things of note were the rows of bunk beds lining the walls and a massive pit which contained an equally large bonfire that had a metal railing protecting it.
Daz took the time to identify this bonfire out of sheer curiosity since he wasn't sure why it was burning even though he hadn't lit it nor the torches on the walls.
|Eternal Bonfire [A-Rank (Higher Tier)]|
A bonfire designed by the shamans of the ice-world, Fal Rok, to combat the never-ending cold.
These bonfires are created by a mix of the special Everwood, and the rare Retention Magic.
These flames cannot be extinguished and will never produce smoke.
"I see. That explains why the dungeon would have originally cost half a million points and it explains the everwood unit," Daz said as he held his chin. "Well, it'll definitely keep everyone warm this deep in the ground, at least."
With that confirmed, Daz left the dungeon and made his way to the shipping container that still contained a few monster bodies in it.
Once there, he asked the system several questions about different stats because he was of the mind that it would be wise to fill the additional stat slots that he had gained from his evolution before he consumed the souls of these bodies.
"I guess I need elemental resistance if I want to fight for a prolonged amount of time in the snow, the problem is, what do I get for my two new stat slot? Regeneration and something else, maybe?" Daz wondered aloud.
Shortly after that thought, he shook his head. "It doesn't suit me. I need stats that compliments my fighting style... Hmm... I tend to go in for a burst of attacks before defending and then repeating that, so I suppose Combo would be the best stat for me, huh? But what else..."
Daz thought for some time and came to a decision before asking the system to see the details on the two stats he had chosen and the elemental resistance one more time before he made his final decision.
|The ability to not be affected by the natural elements.|
|Effect and Limit|
|Decreases the effects of cold, heat, wind and water on the host by 1% per percentage increase. Limit of 50% for a Justice Reaper.|
|1,000 merit points per percent. (price doubles per 10% mark)|
|The ability to aptly combine several attacks into a coherent, pattern-like chain.|
|Effect and Limit|
|Amplifies the damage of each successful strike in a combo by 0.05% per stat point.|
|Limit of 1,500 stat points for a Justice Reaper.|
|200 merit points per stat point.|
|The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.|
|Effect and Limit|
|Amplifies the host's ability to see and gain more from their experiences and also increases the host's proficiency with using magic by 0.05% per stat point.|
|Limit of 3,000 stat points for a Justice Reaper.|
|200 merit points per stat point.|
Daz nodded his head and approved the purchase of both stats and the resistance, buying only a single point in each stat and ten-percent elemental resistance.
|Confirmed. The total merit balance of the host is now 27,100.|
With that done, Daz immediately consumed the remaining souls from the three corpses of the Hellhounds, increasing all of his stats by fifteen points, five per Hellhound soul. Once he was done, he looked at his status.
|Class:||Shovel Knight||Affinity:||Lawful Neutral|
|Strength:||418(501) [+ 15]||Dexterity:||368(441) [+ 15]|
|Constitution:||418(501) [+ 15]||Agility:||453 [+ 15]|
|Charisma:||515 [+ 15]||Ingenuity:||668 [+ 15]|
|Defense:||278(3,278) [+ 15]||Immunity:||146 [+ 15]|
|Soul Power:||1,500||Luck:||115(120) [+ 15]|
|Combo:||16 [+ 16]||Wisdom:||16 [+ 16]|
Daz frowned lightly. "I should have saved the other bodies. I didn't know I'd get more stat slots once I evolved again. What a waste of free points."
'We think that you should smile more. Optimism is the best attitude when you're in a bad situation,' Reika suggested as she floated around in the shipping container.
Daz looked at her and replied, "Is that how you dealt with the crushing loneliness of who knows how many centuries? Optimism?"
Reika bobbed her head up and down. 'It was the only friend we had during that time. Well, that and hope. They have never left our side since we became... like this.'
Daz had a thoughtful look on his face as he began walking out of the steel box. "I see. Maybe blind faith would be helpful in a time like this. It's a shame I'm a realist."
Reika stuck her tongue out playfully and returned to the Reaper's light-grey hair. The two silently returned to Daz's cabin and were surprised by what they saw once they returned.
"Maddy, what on Earth...?" Daz asked as he looked at the girl in question.
Stood outside of their home, Madison was fully equipped with winter-wear. A big woolly hat, a long brown scarf, an overcoat that was lined with fur and covered her entire torso and thick baggy trousers that were tucked into warm-looking boots. Clearly, Madison was prepared for the snow, or so it would seem.
Madison heard Daz and walked over to him before hugging him and gently pecking his cheek. She quickly let go since the two guards stationed outside the door were looking at them.
"Why are you wearing all of that? Won't it slow you down in the fighting this afternoon?" Daz asked with his curiosity on full display. Naturally, he had assumed that Rose had told her about the expected weather change, so he didn't question this.
Madison shook her head softly and bent her knees before making several swishing motions with her hands. "Agile. Move. Fast. Swoosh! Swoosh! See?"
"Wow. You really aren't affected by how cumbersome that all is?" Daz wanted to double check.
Nodding her head, Madison said, "Sure."
Daz sighed as a small laugh leaked out of his mouth. "You are really too cute sometimes. Well, make sure you don't overheat before the snow actually starts building up, okay?"
Madison's face had flushed over with a shade of crimson, but she still managed to reply. "Will, try."
Daz, after saying goodbye to Madison, left the inner fort and passed through the outer fort before he stepped outside of Fort Skip. Next to the outer wall, Rimmy was lying down on the ground with his hands on his chest and he seemed to be staring into space.
The young Reaper took a seat on the dirt next to him. "What's up, Buddy?"
Rimmy reached over with one of his humongous arms and petted Daz on the head lightly, almost as if to comfort him.
Daz was shocked at first, but he soon closed his eyes and laughed. "You always know what to say to cheer me up, huh?"
Rimmy took his hand back and used a single finger to poke Daz's side. "Thanks, buddy. That means a lot. I genuinely feel reassured knowing that."
Rimmy returned his arm to rest on his chest as he gazed at the cloudless sky. A peaceful silence reigned between the two friends before Daz decided to ask a question. "Rimmy... do you think I'm a good lord? I feel like I've made so many mistakes so far... and I'm scared that people are going to die today... people that I care about. What should I do?"
This was an unprecedented moment in history. Daz had never shown his hidden feelings to anyone before, not even Madison, at least not to this extent. He couldn't explain why, but Daz felt like Rimmy was almost a part of himself. It was strange but... oddly comforting.
Rimmy stretched out both of his arms to the sky and grasped at the air feebly. He stayed still for a few seconds before he got off of the ground and faced Daz. And just like he had done so back when Daz had been attacked by Matt's group, he cocked his head slightly and gave the Reaper a massive thumbs up.
A few tears rolled down Daz's eyes. "Have I ever told you before that you're the best friend anyone could ever ask for?"
Rimmy slammed his fist against his chest proudly in response and nodded his head. Daz laughed when he saw this. "Of course I have, silly me. Thanks again, Rimmy. You helped me calm my mind."
Rimmy gently patted Daz's light-grey hair once more.
Truly, seeing the young man like this, it was almost as if he was a completely different person than he usually was. This side of him was one that he would only ever be comfortable showing to Rimmy, his best friend.
'We are still here, though,' Reika silently noted as she sat on Daz's head.
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