"You sure you want me to proceed over it?" Sandy asked Daz as they finished attaching the last glass panel to the third coffin which would show the body's face.
"Yeah. I'm not good at this stuff and everyone respects you. It'll mean more if you're the one to do it. Besides, I'll be busy burying the coffins with Rimmy," Daz answered as his eyes briefly looked at the people that had started to gather.
Sandy sighed. "Okay. I hope this doesn't become a regular task for me, Kiddo."
"All of us can only hope that," Daz replied.
The young Reaper and the ex-construction supervisor then, after having finished assembling the last coffin, gently placed Sarah's body in it and nailed the lid shut. They then moved each coffin next to their respective graves.
With that done, the two waited for every citizen to gather. It took a while, but eventually, they were all present with the exception of the soldiers manning the outer wall. Daz patted Sandy's shoulder. "Me and Rimmy are gonna start burying them now, I'll leave the rest to you."
Sandy nodded and took a deep breath. 'Come on, you old bag of bones. Now's not the time to get nervous. Just copy what the Priest said during Mary's funeral, ya old dope... Though that time was a bit of a blur for me...'
He raised his fist to his mouth and coughed loudly to garner everyone's attention. "We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of three brave souls who have fought to protect each and every one of us."
Sandy spoke without any of his usual slang and it was obvious for everyone to see that he was being very serious. He slowly paced down the length of the three graves as he said, "All three of these citizens of Fort Skip aren't people, no, they're more than that. They're heroes. If it wasn't for their sacrifice, we might not be standing here today."
Sandy stopped in front of Jorden's grave, the smallest and first of the three. Rimmy slowly lowered Jorden's coffin into the hole and patiently watched as Daz used Hamson to fill the grave.
"Jorden was a kind young boy. He lost his parents on the first day of the attacks. I was with him when it happened, a lot of us were. However, did that trip him up? Did it make him detest life? No! He was one of the most cheerful people in all of Fort Skip and maybe even the whole world!" Sandy yelled. Some of the fellow survivors from the hardware store began choking up.
"All Jorden ever wanted was a place to belong and a purpose. He found those things here. I can confidently say that he was happy in his final moments... so we shouldn't mourn his loss, no, we should celebrate his life," Sandy concluded with a warm smile as the final shovelful of dirt covered Jorden's coffin.
Daz and Rimmy moved onto the next grave, Ger's, and began working, so Sandy walked in front of his coffin and spoke.
"Ger Richie was an interesting man. Some may not know this, but he was the very first person to become a citizen of Fort Skip and help Lord Daz establish this safe haven for us normal people," Sandy said with clear admiration in his voice.
Cries of astonishment arose from the crowd. Many people didn't know that Ger was Daz initial citizen, or so it would seem. Tears streamed down Ellie's cheeks as she held her hands to her mouth. Madison wrapped an arm around her shoulder and whispered. "Okay. Support."
Ellie leaned into her love rival and cried as she listened attentively to Sandy and watched her adoptive father being buried.
"Everyone who ever had the privilege of talking to Ger when he was still with us, would know that he loved his daughters more than anyone on this planet. Truly, he was the model image of any father, never wavering in his convictions. A true hero amongst men," Sandy declared as he closed his eyes briefly.
"Not only was he a family man, but he was also well-loved by everyone. Never did he refuse to help anyone regardless of what they asked of him... even if he did grumble about it," Sandy laughed lightly.
Heather in the crowd smiled. "He was too kind... really..." she mumbled.
As Ger's coffin was just getting completely covered over with soil, Sandy finished the man's eulogy. "Ger was an inspiration to us all, and no matter how much time passes, that will always hold true."
Rimmy and Daz moved on to the last coffin, Sarah's, and began working.
"Sarah Richie... I can't say that I knew her personally, but from what little I did know about her, it seemed that she, very much so like with Jorden, was always full of cheer and joy. Never did she let the new changes in her life weight her down. Truly, a free spirit," Sandy said with a heavy heart.
He glanced at Ellie who had stopped crying now, but she was still leaning into Madison and her face was full of emotions. "From the reports of the soldiers and other brave heroes who helped in today's attack, I learnt that Sarah was the main contributor and the biggest reason that so few lives were lost."
Sandy paused for a moment to gather his thoughts before he continued, "I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that we could never express how truly thankful we are towards Sarah. If she were with us, she would know that all we feel for her is a boundless sense of pride."
Silent nods spread throughout the gathered citizens and soundless tears rolled down several faces, Ellie and Dorian included.
With Sarah's grave now fully covered, Daz moved onto planting the headstones, so Sandy chose to end the funeral with a few parting words from the heart.
"Not a single one of us wished for their deaths, and even though we had only known them for a brief period of time, I can promise that they and their heroic sacrifices will never be forgotten so long as Fort Skip remains, of that, I swear on this old life of mine," Sandy declared strongly.
With that, the ceremony had ended. Many of the citizens returned to their homes, but a good majority of them who had personally known Jorden, Sarah or Ger remained to offer their own private prayers.
Sandy wanted to find Daz to sit down and smoke with him, but oddly enough, the young Reaper had disappeared. 'I really hope this doesn't become a regular thing, Kiddo,' he said to himself before he found Bobby and settled for him as his smoking partner tonight.
Daz was sitting on top of a shipping container, the very same one he had used to store the monsters' bodies from the dungeon. The Frost Phoenix's heart was in his hand as he sat in thought. He was staring at the four notification that had been flashing in front of his eyes ever since he had finished burying his friends.
|Congratulations! Due to the desire of the higher god, the God of Death, and the wishes of the soul of [Jorden], you have gained all of the merit points he would have obtained had he survived.|
|Gained merit points: 37,400|
|Congratulations! Due to the desire of the higher god, the God of Death, and the wishes of the soul of [Ger Richie], you have gained all of the merit points he would have obtained had he survived.|
|Gained merit points: 175,000|
|Congratulations! Due to the desire of the higher god, the God of Death, and the wishes of the soul of [Sarah Richie], you have gained all of the merit points she would have obtained had she survived.|
|Gained merit points: 278,000|
|The total merit balance of the host is now 861,610.|
Reika floated in front of Daz's face, blocking his view, so he dismissed the system notifications with a thought and gazed at the tiny Demon Princess. "What's up?"
'You don't seem happy even though you gained so many more merit points,' Reika said with a bit of confusion in her tone.
"You can see my status screens?" Daz asked her curiously.
She shook her head, 'No, we saw the massive amount of suffocating death energy in the air during that burial ritual and then we witnessed a form of power take something from each of the Humans' souls and give it to you. We made an educated guess,' Reika stated as she puffed out her nonexistent chest proudly.
Daz chuckled softly. "You're smarter than you look. You're right, I was gifted the merit points that the three of them would have gained if they had survived."
Reika pouted slightly. 'We are a genius, hmpf!'
"Yes, yes, of course you are. Well, Genius Reika, to answer your first question, I just can't bring myself to feel joy over this. These points shouldn't be mine. I'll use them, naturally, but it feels dirty to be happy about getting them," Daz said in clearly saddened voice.
'We do not understand,' Reika said cutely as she sat down on Daz's head.
Smiling a bit bitterly, Daz responded, "Neither do I."
Daz's emotions had been in turmoil for a few days now and he felt more confused than anyone else did about it. He still couldn't tell if it was a good change or not, but regardless of that, it had given him a new view on life which had granted him the ability to empathise more with others.
'I wonder if I would have been like this originally if that monster hadn't ruined my childhood? Or is this related to these weird bloodlines? Speaking of which, I'll need to speak to Harriot about her curse at some point, though I doubt she's even aware of it,' Daz thought to himself.
He rolled the Frost Phoenix's heart around in his palm for a few minutes before he decided to identify it one more time.
|Talarthundatan's Heart [S-Rank (Higher Tier)]|
The core of a young Frost Phoenix.
It is full of vitality and has many uses, namely, it can be directly consumed to grant resistance to frost magic and a weaker version of the Frost Phoenixes iconic Frost Beam. It can also be used by a powerful beast tamer and act as a summoning core to give life to a baby Frost Phoenix who can serve them.
|Passively chills anything within a five-meter radius of itself.|
"I think the most beneficial use for this would be to wait until I find someone with a tamer class and have them use it, huh? Surely a baby Frost Phoenix would be way more powerful than a weaker skill and some resistance," Daz reasoned out loud.
He nodded his head. "Yeah, I'll do that. First thing's first though, I should absorb the soul," Daz said, and thus did so.
The Frost Phoenix put up some fight and struggled as Daz tried to consume its very being, which he found was odd since its description had stated that it wished to be freed from the system entirely. He reasoned that perhaps it was a coward deep down and didn't actually want to lose its soul.
Unfortunately for the Frost Phoenix, Daz couldn't care any less about the monster's feelings. he mercilessly absorbed the soul and gained a whopping fifty-five points to every stat, five more than he had gained from the Baetylus' soul.
|Class:||Shovel Knight||Affinity:||Lawful Neutral|
|Strength:||473(567) [+ 55]||Dexterity:||423(525) [+ 55]|
|Constitution:||473(567) [+ 55]||Agility:||508 [+ 55]|
|Charisma:||570 [+ 55]||Ingenuity:||723 [+ 55]|
|Defense:||333(3,333) [+ 55]||Immunity:||201 [+ 55]|
|Soul Power:||0||Luck:||170(175) [+ 55]|
|Combo:||71 [+ 55]||Wisdom:||71 [+ 55]|
For some reason, the phoenix's struggle when its soul was being absorbed reminded Daz of his first meeting with his former fiancée, Aila. 'They were equally selfish despite having a decently pure heart, huh? I wonder if she's still alive...'
Daz relaxed his mind and ended up recalling his first encounter with the girl along with the event a few years later that led to his dispute with his father.
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