Dorian, General Retford and Edward walked towards the inner fort with heavy steps. Edward looked at his right arm that was still frozen over and sighed.
His stats simply weren't high enough to stave off the cold like Daz's were nor was he agile enough to dodge the Frost Phoenix like everyone else was able to, so even though his clockwork arm was very resistant to the cold, it still ended up freezing almost entirely towards the end of the fighting.
During this battle Edward had realised his biggest weakness: He was slow. He sighed and wondered why he was thinking about silly things like how he could best help Daz and Fort Skip in the next attack. 'What's gotten into me? Remember, Jenna comes before anything else.'
Ronny, the leader of the cosplayer group, looked at Dorian who seemed to be on the verge of tears and matched his pace with him. "What's wrong?"
Dorian stayed silent for a few seconds before he mumbled. "It's nothing..."
Ronny fell back to his group and had a confused look on his face. Xing, who was disgruntled at having to fight that fierce beast alongside everyone, commented, "Leave that loser alone. If he doesn't want to talk about it, then fine."
Ben, the group's healer, frowned. "That's not fair. He did more than any of us did."
Samantha looked a bit sheepish. "Y-Yeah, we kinda hid in the back and barely even helped..."
Trisha smiled weakly. "It couldn't be helped. Everyone was just so strong... It would have been pointless if we interfered."
Ronny immediately refuted that claim. "The boy, what was his name? Jorden? He was weaker than us but he tried so hard..."
Xing snorted. "Yeah, and he ended up dead."
An awkward silence took a hold of the group of teenagers. The death of Jorden, Sarah and Ger were clearly having an effect on everyone, whether large or small, it didn't matter, no one was free from feeling it.
Things would certainly change from today onwards in Fort Skip due to this unfortunate attack.
Crusher walked up the steps of the outer wall and she was sulking ever so slightly. Her frozen arm and chest wound had already disappeared and fully healed thanks to her high regeneration stat, but unfortunately for the Titan, there was an even greater foe waiting for her at the top of the rampart.
Reaching the last stair, Crusher sucked in a breath of cold air upon seeing the sight before her.
The soldiers had already left and all that remained were two bodies of ice which were cracked and splintered all over and a young woman, Ellie, who was on her knees as she wept uncontrollably. "Shit," Crusher cursed.
The Titan scratched her head as she thought about what to do. 'You really picked the wrong person to console her, Lord.'
"Are you okay?" Crusher asked loudly. 'Idiot, of course she isn't.'
Ellie's shoulders shook, but she didn't reply. She simply remained sitting there as she cried her eyes out.
Crusher didn't know what to do so she decided to sit next to Ellie. This painted a peculiar picture since Crusher was easily two and a half feet taller than Ellie and three times her size.
Crusher, unsure of what to say, simply wrapped her big and muscular arm around the sobbing girl. Ellie didn't resist and lent into Crusher as she wailed and tried to release her frustrations at how unfair life was. 'Is this okay? Do I not need to say something reassuring here? Ah! Fuck! I don't know what to do!'
In the end, Crusher chose to do nothing and continued hugging the torn and broken young woman whose entire family had just been ripped away from her by the system.
Madison was kneeling next to Jorden's body with an expressionless face as usual, but the look in her bright green eyes was clearly sadder than usual despite how blank her stare was.
Daz stood a few feet away from her at the base of the wall and he was repeating his Grave of The Human's skill over and over again. The young Reaper was creating a graveyard.
Grief was the only emotion that Daz could currently feel. He didn't expect this. He assumed that he would be upset at the fact that he would get fewer base points with fewer citizens, but in actuality, this thought had only crossed his mind initially.
'I need to get stronger. They died because of me. If only I was faster... stronger... If only I had told everyone that Phoenixes have a Rebirth skill... If only...' Daz was filled with guilt.
After he had created three six feet deep graves with his skill, he used Reika to encase Hamson with her energy and cut the edges of the pits to be smooth and stable before he used the flat side of the shovel's blade to compact the dirt walls.
With that done, he stored Hamson back into the brand on his hand and Reika returned to his head. "Maddy, I'm going to go get some materials to build some headstones and coffins." There was a certain somberness to Daz's voice as he spoke.
Maddy nodded her head. "Okay. I, stay."
Daz smiled weakly. He created his death energy clone first and gave it an order, "Go to the outer wall and move Sarah and Ger's bodies down here once Ellie is ready. After that, tell everyone that we'll be holding a funeral in six hours for the three brave citizens who died fighting to protect them."
"Yes, Original," the clone readily agreed before it walked off towards the base's entrance where Ellie was still mourning.
Daz made his way to the inner fort and ignored any and all praise he received from the citizens that didn't know what had happened yet. Clearly, Dorian and his group didn't detail how Jorden, Sarah and Ger were killed in action.
Many of the citizens didn't understand why Daz, their Lord, was acting so cold, but they shook it off as him simply being tense after a hard-fought battle.
"I thought I'd find ya here, kiddo," a gruff and old voice called out to Daz once he reached the shipping containers that held the scavenged materials from the city and mine.
"Sandy?" Daz asked as he walked past the man sitting on a wooden chair and began inspecting the open blue metal containers for the stuff he needed.
Sandy casually took a puff of his dutchman's pipe and slouched in his chair. "Who died?"
"Ger, Sarah and Jorden. A few soldiers too, but I can bring them back," Daz answered as he began pulling out piles of wood, iron and stone from the shipping containers.
Thankfully, there was a forest only a mile away from Fort Skip so wood was a fairly easy resource to gather while the mine supplied plentiful amounts of basic metals and stone. Most of the resources that had been looted from the city consisted of plastics and glass.
"Jesus..." Sandy sighed heavily. "I guess it was bound to happen eventually..."
Sandy took another puff of his pipe and looked out at Fort Skip. There were still a lot of people leaving the dungeon and settling back into their normal routines. Sandy took one last draw from the pipe before he snuffed it out and shoved it in his pocket.
The elderly ex-construction supervisor then stood up and walked to Daz's side. "Planning to make some graves? Coffins too, I'm guessing?"
"Yup," Daz answered curtly. He was still busy removing the materials from the metal containers.
"I'll help ya out. I've never made a grave before nor a coffin, mind ya, but I'm definitely better at it then you are, Kiddo," Sandy joked lightly as he began sorting out the wood, metal and stone that Daz had haphazardly thrown about.
"I appreciate it, Sandy." Like that, the two men, one young and inexperienced, the other old and seasoned in the craft, worked together to bring the resources back to the holes Daz had dug earlier.
Sandy almost lost his stomach once he saw the three bodies all laid out neatly. Sarah's, in particular, got to him. While there was an age difference, he could see the face of his late wife overlapping with the girl's youthful, cold face.
Sandy tried to ignore that and got to work with Daz on building the coffins and headstones while Madison and Ellie, who had come with Daz's clone when he received Ger and Sarah, watched them work in silence.
"Ger, Sarah and Jorden were all killed while protecting Fort Skip and the Lord has decided to hold a funeral service for them at seven o'clock tonight at the eastern corner of the outer fort, just past the barracks, so please make sure you attend," Daz's clone was stood in front of Heather and announced this shocking piece of news to her before he walked off towards the next citizen.
Heather stood still in genuine shock and her usual calm exterior crumbled. "He... He died?"
Heather and Ger had only recently started to get closer to one another and she felt like she had really connected with the man, but now all hopes of a potential future with him were utterly dashed.
"Maybe I should have fought after all? Damn it..." Not only did Heather have her missing younger sister to worry about, now she was having dark thoughts and her mind was clouding up over her new friend's sudden death.
Tears rolled down her cheeks. "You idiot... You said you'd be safe on the walls... Idiot..." Grief overtook her.
Rose, now back in her, Daz, and Madison's cabin was sitting in the living room on her wheelchair with her laptop on her knees.
She was gently tapping away at it when a notification popped up in front of her eyes on the computer's screen.
|Warning! Tomorrow's. Attack. Shall. Face. Weather. More. Dramatic. And. Record-shattering. Than. The. Earth. Year. Of. 2016! Please. Prepare!|
"What the...?" Rose looked at the message several times and thought to herself.
'Yesterday I got a bird's eye view map of the base covered in snow, today I get a stupid message? Not only that, what's up with this punctuation? Who the hell is even giving me this information?' Rose, for one of the few times in her short life, was honestly confused.
She shook her head, making her long platinum-blonde hair fall onto the floor since it was previously tucked behind her back loosely due to being so long. "I guess it doesn't matter right now, after all, I have a fairly good idea of who's doing this, but what does matter is this hint. What does it mean?"
The young girl began searching the system's database for any and all relevant information to help her find out what this mysterious person was trying to tell her.
Lyle was lying down on the small sofa in Mave's cramped room with an ice-pack on his head to counteract the natural warmth his body was experiencing during his peak withdrawal period when a knocking sound came from the door.
Mave, who was in the tiny kitchen portion of the room, put down the saucepan she was holding and went to answer the door.
"Daz? No, wait, you're his clone," Mave noted upon opening the door.
Looking a bit surprised, the clone smiled emotionlessly. "I'm astounded that you can tell the difference."
Mave shrugged. "Daz's expressions have been a lot more... lively lately, while you, you look like the walking dead."
"Well, I am made from death energy, Citizen," the clone replied happily.
"What do you want? I don't think you came here for small talk, did you?" Mave cut to the chase. She wanted to get back to cooking dinner. The roast and chicken broth that she was preparing for Lyle would take a lot of effort, so she didn't want to leave any of it unattended to for a long time.
"Indeed, I have been told to inform you that Ger, Sarah, and Jorden were all killed while protecting Fort Skip and the Lord has decided to hold a funeral service for them at seven o'clock tonight at the eastern corner of the outer fort, just past the barracks, so please make sure you attend," the Clone of Daz recited for the fiftieth time today. He was already half finished with his mission of inviting every citizen to the funeral.
"They died, huh? I guess it was bound to happen at some point. Thanks for letting us know," Mave said before she callously closed the door on the lifeless clone of her lord.
The clone loosened its expression for a split-second and mumbled, ''How rude," before his face returned to looking like death itself and he went back to his duties.
Lyle, still sat on the couch, closed his eyes. 'Ger and Sarah died? The boy too? This is why I need to get past my addiction! I need to help my Lord to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again!'
This shocking and depressing news only helped to further motivate Lyle in his pursuit of being clean. If Daz could see this, he would surely think that it was a positive thing that at least one person benefited from the pointless sacrifice of the three brave souls, Ger, Sarah and Jorden.
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