Shovels In Spades



Book 2 Chapter 56: Magical Skills and Laughing Skull


A note from Lone

First guaranteed chapter of the week. Second one should be out in 24hrs ish. If you're not on my discord, I'm a bit behind this week because I spent the first 3 days of the week marathoning Mother of Learning on fictionpress since it suddenly became no.1 on here. Fantastic book. I highly recommend it.

"I need some magic," Daz said to himself.

He had realised this after the fight with the Frost Phoenix yesterday, but most of his attacks dealt very little damage to the creature. The only exception to this was when Reika was enshrouding Hamson's blade.

Almost every single one of Daz's skills was focused on physical attacks, and the only ones that weren't, were, in fact, control-based skills or non-combat ones, not magic-based skills.

While infinitely useful, Stun, Soul Harvest, and Chains of Justice didn't deal any actual damage to their targets, so if Daz came across an enemy that was immune or highly resistant to physical damage, he'd be in trouble.

There was Rimmy, but even he himself relied solely upon his crystal body. This did add some magic to his attacks since his jewelled body was magical in nature, but it made a very miniscule difference.

"I should probably get something that's very compatible with my death energy," Daz decided.

While any skill bought from the system would automatically be converted to match the host's energy, certain abilities had cheaper activation costs the more attuned they were to the host, their energies and their species.

"System, please show me all of the magic-based skills that would work well with me and that I can afford," Daz requested politely.


Confirmed. Displaying 5,632 skills that are within the host's specifications.


"Good thing it's still early. I should have enough time to skim through all of these," Daz whispered to himself before he cracked his neck and began reading.

Four hours quickly passed and Daz's skin was starting to feel the heat. Partway through his skill selection, he had created his clone and told it to tell General Retford and his soldiers about the coming weather condition.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Daz asked the system for the time and saw that it was ten o'clock. "Still got two hours, huh? Well, system, I've made my decision. Purchase the skills, Weak Death Beam, Grip of Death, and Laughing Skull. Also, increase my stats to these numbers..."


Confirmed. Desired skills purchased. The original owner of [Laughing Skull] has requested to talk with the host [Daz] before she will allow you to purchase her skill.

Allow a telepathic conversation to be hosted by the system?


Naturally, Daz had read the description on the mentioned skill, so he was expecting this. "Yes, allow it."

'Hello?' a slightly confused and high-pitched voice called out in Daz's head.

Being accustomed to telepathy somewhat thanks to Reika, Daz didn't hesitate as he replied, 'Hi. Is this The Laughing Skull Empress?'

A short pause came before the woman replied. 'Indeed. So another has decided to purchase my skill. Hmm...'

Knowing that he was speaking to the right person, Daz moved the talks along. 'Well, I'm assuming you have some sort of private request or condition, right?'

'Astute. Indeed I do,' the Empress agreed.

'Name it. If it's reasonable, then I'd be more than willing to help you,' Daz said with a friendly tone in his voice. He could appreciate people that were forthcoming as opposed to people that liked to hide everything despite how hypocritical that sounded.

'Hoh? You can see the true potential of Laughing Skull, I see. Most instantly refuse my communication and move on to another skill,' The Empress claimed with some bitterness in her young-sounding voice.

Daz rolled his eyes. 'This Empress, she sure does love to talk, huh?' With that thought in mind, he tried to push the conversation back on track. 'Your condition?'

'Not one for idle chatter, are we?" The Empress giggled. "Very well. Should you ever find yourself on Sheltorian, assist me with my war.'

'For how long and to what degree?' Daz asked.

'You aren't concerned about my enemies?' The Empress sounded a bit surprised.

'No. I just have to avoid Sheltorian, don't I? And if I ever do end up there in the future and have to fight whatever has you, a powerful being who seems to have some privileges with the system, afraid, then so be it. It's worth this skill.' Obviously, Daz's first prerogative would be to avoid Sheltorian at all costs, but if he had to, he would help her.

Daz loved the idea of a free promise. It was unfortunate for him that the system was always watching and ever altering its tests to fit the hosts.

'Decisiveness is attractive,' the Empress stated with a coy tone in her voice.

Daz shook his head. 'You still never answered my question.'

'A single day and with all of your might. That's all I ask,' dropping her playful attitude, the Empress answered honestly.

'Done. System, end this conversation, please,' Daz requested.

Somewhat flustered, The Empress tried to speak to Daz some more. 'Ah! Wait! I rarely get to talk to peo-'

The system did as it was asked and cut the telepathic call short. Daz noticed that the skill, Laughing Skull, was no longer restricted, so he told the system to buy it and he then reviewed his new skills.


Weak Death Beam [A-Rank (Lower Tier)]

A skill created by the Overlord Wizard, Jundar, from The Canyon of Despair, located in an isolated pocket of space.

Jundar designed this skill for his apprentices to learn the foundation of his arts, and it was made in the image of his most powerful ability, Ultimate Death Beam, an SSS-ranked skill.

This skill just screams eighth-grader syndrome, doesn't it? Don't worry, therapy is always a viable option to cure you!

Grants the host the ability to emit a beam of pure death energy from either their hands or their eyes. Cost: dependent on the strength of the beam and the duration it is maintained.
Merit Cost


This skill caught Daz's eye because of its nature. For starters, it was entirely magic-based, which was ideal for what he currently wanted. The second thing of note was that this skill was made with an SSS-ranked skill in mind, which meant that it had direct upgrades.

Some skills were dead-ended and didn't have more expensive versions available to buy at a discount once they had reached level ten, but this one could be useful to Daz for a very long time.


Grip of Death [A-Rank (Higher Tier)]

A skill sold to the system by the very powerful follower of Death, The Great Lich Mordud.

Dun dun dun du da dun dun du dun... wrong franchise? I'll excuse myself.

 Allows the host to absorb 10,000 points of death energy from [Earth] once a day. Requires 5 seconds to absorb every 1,000 points of death energy. 
Allows the host to grab and strangle a living being's soul via death energy. Cost: Minimum of 1,000 death energy. Maximum of 5,000 death energy. Restriction: Cannot be used on a being vastly more powerful than the host unless their soul is in a weakened or unstable state.
Merit Cost


This ability was naturally vital to Daz. With this, he could use his skills more freely since it essentially tripled his death energy count. Of course, he still had to consider the five-second timer he had when using that side of the skill, but from what he had learned by asking the system, so long as he focused, Daz could use it while moving and didn't need to remain still.

The other aspect of this skill was a bonus in Daz's opinion. He could certainly see it being helpful if he used it after his Soul Harvest skill weakened the souls first before he tried to strangle them.


Laughing Skull [A-Rank (Higher Tier)] [Growth Skill]

A skill developed by The Laughing Skull Empress of the Sheltorian Alliance in an effort to ward off her empire's attackers.

Many souls were lost to make this skill, so its original creator, The Laughing Skull Empress, has paid a special price to be granted the privilege of speaking to any of the beings that wish to learn this skill through the system.

I wonder how the All-lich would feel if he knew about this skill? Hmm... oh, don't mind me. I'm just mumbling to myself. Move along, nothing to read here!

Allows the host to summon the laughing skull of the World Eater, Dul'han. Time limit: 1 second. Restriction: Can only be used once per day.
Merit Cost


This skill didn't seem all that impressive while looking at it purely at face value. However, Daz was able to see the hidden potential within it.

There were three clues that hinted at how incredible this skill actually was. The first, it was a growth-type skill. Daz had never seen this on a skill before, but after asking the system, he soon found out that it meant that the skill would automatically rank up once it reached level ten without the host having to pay anything to upgrade it.

The second clue was slightly less obvious. It was clear that The Laughing Skull Empress was extremely powerful from her ability to talk to anyone that tried to buy her skill. Daz had looked into this, and it seemed like doing that to his own Grave of The Humans skill would cost him five-million points.

Apparently, not only did it let him communicate with the hosts trying to buy his skill, but it would also allow Daz to deny them permission from buying the skill and also give him a twenty-percent cut of the merit points the system would have earned from the purchase.

Now, considering that the Empress was powerful enough to do that with this skill, and the fact that she felt it was necessary, only confirmed to Daz how strong this skill could become.

The third and final clue was perhaps the hardest to notice. The time that the laughing skull of the World Eater, Dul'han, appeared was only a single second.

This was very telling. First, it showed that the system deeming this World Eater's skull to be powerful enough to classify the ability to summon it for a single second as a higher-tier A-ranked skill. On the other hand, it also told Daz that the power of the skull would probably never change, but the summon duration would once the skill was upgraded.

With all of that in mind, Daz felt like two-hundred thousand merit points and a promise was a cheap price to pay for such a powerful magical skill to be added to his arsenal.

Now that he had looked at his new skills, he finally reviewed his updated status.


Host's Status
Basic Information
Name: Daz Species: Reaper
  Race: Justice Reaper
Age: 20 Sex: Male
Class: Shovel Knight Affinity: Lawful Neutral
Lifeforce: 3,200/3,200(4,500) [+200] Death Energy: 8,600/9,000 [+1,500]
Strength: 500(600) [+12] Dexterity: 450(540) [+12]
Constitution: 500(600) [+12] Agility: 550 [+27]
Charisma: 580 [+10] Ingenuity: 740 [+2]
Defense: 350(3,500) [+2] Immunity: 216
Soul Power: 0 Luck: 185(190)
Justice: 105 Corruption: 0
Combo: 100 [+14] Wisdom: 200 [+114]


Daz couldn't afford much since most of his points had been spent on Rimmy and his three new skills, so he chose to focus on his new stat, wisdom, and his energy, death energy. Both of these would increase his magical capabilities.

With all of that finished, Daz asked the system to show him his merit and base points.


The total merit balance of the host is now 36,000.


The total balance of the base is now 118,100.


"I have a lot more base points than I thought... I suppose having a little base instead of a small base helps. I wonder if Camp Waterford has its own base points? I'll have to check after the attack," Daz muttered to himself.

"System, use the rest of my merit points on upgrading my elemental resistance, please," Daz requested.


Confirmed. 18,000 merit points have been used to upgrade the host's [Elemental Resistance] to 20%. The price has doubled now that the host has reached a new 10% threshold. Continue upgrading?


"Yes," Daz replied.


Confirmed. 16,000 merit points have been consumed to upgrade the host's [Elemental Resistance] to 25%.


The host's balance is now 2,000.


With most of his points now spent, Daz went to find Madison for their promised sparring match. he wanted to try and create a new skill, and he was under the impression that Madison would be a more suitable training partner for that than Crusher would be.

A note from Lone

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