Shovels In Spades



Book 2 Chapter 44: Hollow Victory and Great Loss


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

Bit longer and... heavier, than usual.

"Stun! Flurry! Shovel Smash!" Daz used consecutive skills on the Frost Phoenix and the effects were immediate. 

The creature's head disappeared in a burst of flames before immediately returning, but Daz was satisfied. The creature was easily being overwhelmed by him and his group thanks to his Stun skill and Sarah's Entwine skill that she had upgraded from the Basic Entwine.

Daz had noticed that he wasn't doing much damage with Hamson alone, but for now, he was content with helping in the effort to control the beast.

Madison, who was next to the right wing with Jorden, Edward and Dorian, briefly mumbled a skill's name, "Laceration."

A large chunk of the flaming wing was cut cleanly in two and evaporated into nothing while her blade frosted over slightly.

Taking advantage of the monster focusing on restoring its new injury, Edward transformed his arm and yelled, "Clockwork Impact!" before he slammed his fist into the flames. Apparently, the mechanical components of his right arm weren't affected at all by the freezing passive effect of the Phoenix's flames.

Jorden slashed the creature four times before he was forced to jump back to avoid losing his weapon to the cold. 'I could easily hit it twice as much if it didn't freeze my dagger!' he thought in frustration.

At that point, the Frost Phoenix had healed its wing and wriggled it under Sarah's vines into a slamming attack that threatened to flatten them and the few soldiers assaulting it from that particular side.

Dorian stepped forward with his copper umbrella and yelled, "Everyone, get behind me!" He then deployed the very same skill that he had hesitated to use properly during the third day's attack.

"Copper Bulwark!" The copper part of his umbrella that would normally shield the holder from the rain expanded until it was a full ten meters wide in diameter and covered everyone present.

Indeed, this was an upgraded version of the previous Cloth Bulwark skill which Dorian had received as a reward for completing a fairly simple side quest given to him by the system.

Crusher, who was attacking the Phoenix's tail by herself saw Dorian using his skill out of the corner of her eyes and the edge of her lips upturned. "Finally grew a pair, huh?" she mumbled as she pummeled the creature's tail into smithereens over and over again.

Rimmy fired off his skill, Crystal Shotgun, to pierce and attack the beast's left wing from a distance while General Retford and his soldiers assaulted it up close.

Daz's clone was stood next to him and was spamming the Throw and Retrieve skill with his hand shovel at half of Daz's maximum potential while his other hand repeatedly shot the creature with his pistol. Unlike the real Daz, the clone had half of the original's stats, so he couldn't withstand being too close to the Phoenix without frosting over, hence why he was taking a ranged approach much like the group of ex-cosplaying teens.

Atop the wall, Ger continued to fire his sniper rifle into the monster's back as his daughter's robot shot its laser down from above it. His other daughter, Sarah, was profusely sweating and she was clearly almost out of worldforce. Maintaining and repairing the binding roots was clearly a very difficult thing to do.

The lightning tower and automatic steel ballista were both relentlessly firing their respective projectiles at the monster as often as they could, aiding in the effort to kill the Phoenix that threatened Fort Skip's safety.

One of the archer soldiers' face lit up and he suddenly said, "I think it's nearly dead! Look, it stopped moving!"

Much to everyone's glee, this soldier was correct. The Phoenix couldn't do anything to resist the non-stop attacks and she eventually succumbed to the damage after her stamina had run out. Like an extinguished flame, the beautiful Phoenix ebbed out of existence gradually until there was nothing except for a tiny blue fire that was flickering gently in the wild snowstorm.

Sarah cancelled her skill and weakly slumped against the wall battlements. Ger let go of his rifle and hugged her to give his daughter some physical support. "I'm so proud of you, Sarah," he said with a big smile on his face.

Jorden, who was shivering a bit from the cold despite his thick clothing, began running to Daz and shouted, "We did it, Big Bro! I was helpful, wasn't I?"

Daz's face paled. "You idiot! Get back into formation! Phoenixes don't die so easily!"

Unfortunately, Daz's warning was rendered moot. The small and near lifeless blue flame pulsed back to life, and within a split second, the monster was back to its full size and in perfect health.

Enraged by the humiliation she had suffered mere moments ago and guided by the system, the Phoenix fired a frost breath faster than anyone could conceivably react towards the wall.

Rimmy was on the side of the monster that was facing away from Fort Skip's outer wall, so he decided to jump over the beast. He was greatly slowed by the heavy snow, but he still managed to block the attack before it could wipe everyone out, however, he wasn't fast enough to save all of the people.

Both Ger and Sarah had turned into ice-statues that fell over and cracked with small chunks of their flesh sliding off of their bodies. Apparently, this attack was far more powerful than the one it had originally used.

The Phoenix then used its wing to slam Rimmy out of the way before it snapped its head down quickly and bit Jorden. The boy's body split in two and only his legs remained on the ground.

Ellie looked to her left and stopped moving. Tears began falling out of her eyes as she gazed at the ice chunks that were what was left of her stepfather and twin sister. "No... No... Sarah... Dad... No!"

The young glasses-wearing girl collapsed to her knees and began sobbing. The M Destroyer Automaton that was hovering above the Frost Phoenix became static and started falling towards the snow since Ellie's concentration had shattered.

Daz bit his lip hard enough for it to bleed. Three of his important citizens and friends had died! The descending Automaton brought the young Reaper back to his sense. 'You can mourn later, Daz,' he told himself before he looked at the wall and shouted, "Ellie! Focus! More people are going to be killed if we don't all work together!"

It sounded cold and apathetic, but it was the harsh reality. Thankfully, whether due to Daz's words or her own resolve, Ellie's Godly-ranked skill, Only If You Need Me, triggered and gave her a temporary skill, Disciplined Mind, which forced her to forget all of the hardships in her life and concentrate on the task at hand.

The young woman got back on her feet and wiped the tears away from behind her glasses before holding firmly onto her metal cube, Mini Daz, and regaining control of the M Destroyer.

'Good, she's tougher than I thought...' Daz said to himself as he returned his attention to the Phoenix that was madly thrashing about as Crusher violently and furiously attacked it.

"YOU MOTHERFUCKER!" No more words were needed from the eight-foot-tall Titan to express how enraged she was.

Ger was one of the few people that Crusher genuinely respected, so his death affected her, and it hurt her to see a child like Jorden die. Even if she had never openly admitted it, Crusher was actually very fond of kids, which only served the fuel her anger even further.

Crusher used four different skills in conjunction with one another as she swung her hammer beneath the Frost Phoenix's body. "GREATER STRENGTH AURA! MUSCLE ENHANCEMENT! GRAVITAL IMPACT! VIBRATION DISTORTION!"

Her body glowed light blue as the muscles in her arms swelled up to thrice their usual size. With the full weight of five-hundred kilogrammes behind the hammer's head that was furiously vibrating with power and had a Gravital Impact stored with it, the Phoenix was sent soaring through the air as a massive hole appeared in its chest.

Crusher wasn't done yet. "TITAN FORM!" she screamed as her body stretched and grew to be twenty feet tall. She jumped up into the sky and did a backflip as she brought her hammer back down onto the rising beast. "GRAVITAL IMPACT!"

"Kiiii!" the Frost Phoenix screeched loudly as half of its total lifeforce disappeared in an instant.

It flipped around mid-fall and fired a breath of frost at Crusher. In response, Crusher shielded her face and body with her hammer as best as she could. Thankfully, due to her body's enormous size, only her right forearm and lower torso were frozen solid while the surrounding flesh was merely frosted over due to her high constitution.

On the ground, Rimmy and Dorian worked together to prepare for both Crusher and the Phoenix's impact. With a loud band and massive upheaval of snow, Rimmy's large body and Dorian's umbrella were entirely covered with a thick layer of snow.

Daz, Madison, Edward and General Retford wasted no time as they sprung out from behind Dorian's copper umbrella and moved to attack the downed Phoenix.

"Stun! Shovel Smash! Flurry! Justice Chains!"

"... Laceration. ...Alteration. ...Divine Cross."

"Clockwork impact! Time Explosion! Mightly Fist!"

"Aura Dance! Lion's Fury!"

The four powerful survivors worked in near-perfect synchronisation to deal attack after attack to the wounded creature. A full fifteen minutes passed while everyone carefully avoiding attacks and giving it everything that they had and even more until finally, the Frost Phoenix had cried for the last time after Daz's final blow, Hamson enveloped in Reika's aura, landed on its head.

Daz collapsed to his knees and Reika, after separating from Hamson, cautiously floated next to him before placed her intangible hand on his cheek in a feeble attempt to wipe away his silent tears. He couldn't even bring himself to smile when he saw the congratulatory message and merit point sheet shown to him by the system.


Congratulations on completing day 1 of cycle 2
Day 1's Stats
Enemy type:  Frost Phoenix
Number of Enemies Total: 1
Number of Enemies Slain By The Host: 1
Number of Attacked Survivors: 105
Number of Eliminated Survivors: 3
Your Contribution: 24%
Your Performed Merits:
Merit Description Merit point Value
E-rank Dungeon Clearer Successfully cleared an E-rank dungeon during the resting cycle. 5,000
Love Maker Have intercourse with a romantic partner. 100
Soul Binder Successfully got a powerful soul to bind itself to you or to an item of yours. 5,000
Skill Creator Successfully created a skill without the assistance of the system. 25,000
Just Leader Fairly dealt out punishment to a law breaking citizen. 500
Skilled Negotiator Successfully completed a diplomatic visit to a rival lord's base and came out better for it. 25,000
Murderer Killed a fellow survivor. 1,000
Mass-Murderer Killed 10 fellow survivors. 10,000
2nd-Time Evolver Successfully evolved a 2nd time. 25,000
The Heavy Attention of a God The lesser god, The God of Justice is intensely interested in your choice to evolve into a Justice Reaper, a Species that he treats as his own children. 75,000
The Attention of a God The lesser god, The God of Information is interested in you due to your close relationship with his champion. 50,000
The Slight Attention of a God The lesser god, The God of Teamwork is slightly interested in your new approach to fighting. 25,000
The Encouragement of a God The lesser god, The God of Shovels is passionately rooting for you and is overjoyed that you overcame the first elemental challenge of the second cycle. 25,000
Monster Killer Successfully killed 1 monster. 10
Boss Killer Successfully killed 1 boss-rank monster. 15,000
Total Merits
Merit Bonuses
Minor Ring Of Merit: 7,500
Remaining Survivors
Total Points Gained


Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Main quest: Protect Thy People.
150,000 Merit Points
1% Elemental Resistance


The total merit balance of the host is now 471,210.


Host's Resistance Sheet
Resistance Type Resistance Amount
Magic 45% [+5%]
Physical 12.5% [+2.5%]
Ranged 10%
Penetrative 10%
Holy Magic -55% [+5%]
Elemental 11% [+11%]


Your merit point, evolution and killing rankings have been updated. Please refer to the system for more details regarding your new ranks and any possible rewards.


Daz hadn't checked his resistance sheet since before his latest evolution, and he didn't care enough to glance at it now despite the system thrusting it in his face.

Mysteriously, as soon as Daz had wiped away his tears and stood up, he noticed that the snowstorm had stopped, though the already fallen snow was still very present on the earth.

The young Reaper walked forwards and grabbed the small blue crystal that he assumed was the Frost Phoenix's body before shoving it into his pocket. He then picked up the frozen and disfigured upper body that had fallen along with the crystal upon the Phoenix's death.

He held the small body closely and gave out a few orders. "Crusher, go comfort, Ellie. She's just lost her family, so she'll need a shoulder to cry on. Please, be that shoulder."

Crusher looked at what could only be Jorden's torso and sighed deeply as she nodded solemnly. Daz looked at General Retford, Edward, the five cosplaying teens and Dorian next. "You guys, go help the citizens out of the dungeon now that it's safe. And Will, don't worry about your soldiers, I'll restore them via the system later."

Edward was tongue-tied. He couldn't back talk the young man when he looked like he was in so much... pain. He, Dorian, the teens and General Retford all silently agreed before they headed back towards the fort.

Daz gazed at the pair of small legs that were covered in snow and frost a few meters away from himself. "Maddy, help me carry him back. We should give him, Ger and Sarah all proper burials."

"Yeah," she weakly replied as she carefully dug up Jorden's lower body and held it close to herself before she and Daz also entered Fort Skip's walls.

Rimmy, now alone, sat down in the snow and crossed his arms over his chest. He stared into the sky. A few moments passed before he clenched his fists and punched the ground violently. He was frustrated by something, clearly. What exactly? Only Rimmy himself would ever know.

A note from Lone

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Hello, You're Through To Hades, How Can I Help You Today? | Paradox | The Magic Of Science

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  • The Scottish Slothy Sloth

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