"I'm just gonna remind you now since you can be forgetful sometimes, Maddy, but don't use any skills that have a limited number of uses per day, okay? You might need them for the attack," Daz warned as he did some light stretches.
Nodding her head, Madison replied, "Yup."
The two of them were in the training ground of the barracks, and despite the rising temperature, at least fifty people had gathered to watch their duel. Out of the corner of his eye, Daz could even see Bobby handing out food and drinks to people.
Rimmy's core was also spectating from the wall as his main body stood guard. Daz smiled wryly. 'I guess my fight with Crusher was entertaining enough that someone promoted it into a sport of sorts? I wonder who?'
In the crowd, Crusher sneezed and rubbed her nose lightly.
"I'm ready whenever you are, Maddy." Daz held Hamson and prepared himself before he shot a glance at General Retford, their referee.
"Begin!" the lion-like man roared.
Madison unsheathed her sword and her gaze sharpened. With agile movements, she lunged at Daz and swung at him as she activated her skill, Divine Cross.
|Divine Cross [S-Rank (Middle Tier)]|
A skill unique to Divine Swordsmen.
It is said that this skill was a gift from the lesser god, The God of Swords, to his prized child, the Demigod Divine Swordsman, Rikard Mostif.
After being evaluated by the system, the exclusive rights to this skill were taken from Rikard upon his death and the skill is now given to any being that possesses a sword class that is equal to or stronger than The Holy Sword Wielder.
|Allows the host to call upon the holy energies of their personal deity and solidify that power into a cross-shaped attack that cannot be blocked. Restriction: 1-minute cooldown between uses. Range: 15 meters.|
Daz personally felt like this skill had a very interesting description. It was very telling of the relationship between the gods and the system.
Unfortunately for the young Reaper, he had no time to think about this currently.
Holy Cross had one major weakness. While it couldn't be blocked, it could be dodged. Using Hamson to redirect Madison's sword, Daz twisted his body unnaturally and stopped funnelling death energy to his arm, the holy cross's target.
With the limb now missing, Madison's attack harmlessly dissipated once it was fifteen meters away from herself.
Recreating his missing limb, Daz grabbed Madison by the cuff of her shirt and flung her over his shoulder. He then chanted in his mind, 'La morte consuma ogni cosa e converge nel nulla.'
A fraction of a second later, a deep purple, almost black, beam of ghastly energy shot out of a magic circle that formed on his palm. He controlled it so that it didn't extend any further than the training arena, resulting in it losing some of its power, but he was fine with that. After all, this was just a spar.
'So that's how magic works, huh? You unconsciously chant the spell in Italian when you want to trigger it?' Daz thought to himself after casting real magic for the first time in his life.
In the next moment, Daz dispelled the magic circle just before his death beam hit Madison's skin. On the sidelines, General Reford raised his arm into the air. "One point to Lord Daz!"
The two of them had agreed to a match where the first to two points would be the victor. The determining factor to gain a point was simple: If you landed a hit on the opponent, you got a point.
There were also special cases like with Daz's death beam. if it was guaranteed that you were going to land a hit but chose not to in order to save your opponent from harm, that also counted as a point.
These were the rules that the citizens of Fort Skip had made up by themselves once they had started sparring after Daz and Crusher's duel the other day.
The crowd cheered and were happily getting into the spirit of the fight.
Madison frowned. "Magic, unfair."
Daz grinned. "You have plenty of magic of your own, don't you? Plus, that Holy Cross is borderline magic if you ask me."
"Not, magic. Holy, power." Madison was pouting, but she did agree with Daz. If he was going to use magic, then she had no reason to avoid using her own.
Chanting in her head, Madison activated one of her racial skills. Golden wings sprouted from her back and each one extended for a full two meters. With a single flap of these wings, Madison was sent straight into the air.
Now hovering at a steady twenty-feet off the ground, Madison chanted another spell in her mind.
Pointing her hand at Daz, several magic circles appeared behind her and a spear of pure light came shooting out of each one and rocketed towards the Reaper.
"Angels are really something, huh?" Daz mumbled as he nimble dodged each spear. He chuckled softly. "Maddy, now you're too far away to hit me. Those spears need more speed. At this distance, it's easy for me to dodge them."
Madison pouted again. While maintaining her concentration on her wings and the spears that continued to assault Daz, she flew straight towards him and chanted her third spell. Her longsword was covered in a thick golden aura which was easily triple the size of the actual blade itself.
'Well, this is bad, isn't it?' Daz knew he couldn't easily evade this and it was impossible to block it. Knowing Madison, she was probably planning to add Divine Cross to her attack as well. Maybe Laceration too. 'She sucks at holding back.'
Daz briefly looked up into the air and waved his hand before he changed Hamson into his scoop shovel form and signalled for Reika to cloak the shovel with her aura.
"Laceration... Divine Cross..." As predicted, Madison was going all out.
Daz remained calm as he took the full brunt of the attack. Madison's eyes widened as she landed on the ground and looked at her boyfriend with some worry in her eyes. "No, dodge?"
Daz smiled as blood dribbled out of his mouth. He changed Hamson back to his regular shape and Reika returned to his head. "Why would I dodge when taking your attack allowed me to win?"
Madison looked confused before she suddenly felt some magic behind her with one of her newly purchased skills, Middle Magic Sensing.
Turning around slowly, Madison saw Daz's clone standing there, as expressionless as ever, while the telltale magic circle of the skill, Death Beam, which the real Daz had used mere moments ago, was on his palm. Clearly, at a moment's notice, he was prepared to trigger the readied spell.
General Retford raised his hand and declared in a loud voice, "One point to Lady Madison! One point to Lord Daz! The victor is Lord Daz!"
A wave of cheering and applause filled the air as the crowd slowly began dispersing. Daz could hear a few interesting voices from within the group of gathered citizens after he had called his clone over and told him to start evacuating the people to the dungeon.
"Damn it, I was sure Madison would win."
"Right? She has this mysterious aura about her. She just screams 'I'm secretly the final boss!' Doesn't she?"
"Well, she would have won if Daz didn't cheat by using his clone."
"You're just bitter you lost the bet. He was going easy on her because she's his girlfriend."
"Oh yeah? Prove me wrong."
"Did you forget that The Guardian of The Wall is a summon of the Lord? If he was serious, he would have used The Guardian and beat Madison in a few seconds."
"I-I bet Madison would have won! She wasn't being serious either!"
Daz didn't know whether he should laugh or cry. 'Well, at least they're having fun.'
Madison deactivated her wings and ran up to Daz. "Okay? Not, hurt?"
"Hmm? I'm fine. I can heal this much naturally before the fight starts since I have a lot of points in constitution. Still, if Hamson wasn't special, you might have split him in two," Daz said with a short laugh. 'In fact, without Reika's aura, even Hamson might not have been able to absorb most of that attack without cracking. I need to upgrade him soon.'
"Sorry..." Madison was sure that Daz was going to dodge, which is why she hadn't held back at all. She was thankful that his precious shovel hadn't been damaged.
"Don't worry about it," Daz said as he hugged Madison. "But yeah, you need to learn how to stay perceptive at all times. You never know when a monster or another survivor will have a cloning skill like mine and catch you off guard."
"Mmm. Will, try." Madison enjoyed Daz's embrace for a few seconds before she remembered that there was still a lot of people nearby.
She gently pushed herself away from Daz and blushed.
"You're cute," Daz commented. "Anyway, now that the main duel is out of the way, I want you to fight me with just your sword. Don't use any skills. You can probably block everything that I'll use against you."
"Why?" Madison tilted her head.
She was happy to help Daz, but Madison didn't understand what he wanted.
"This is a training ground, so you can create skills here. I have a skill in mind that I want to make, well, more like 'fuse', rather than 'make'. Regardless, it should be fairly simple, I hope," Daz explained.
"Okay." Madison was going to agree no matter what Daz's explanation was, but she felt happy knowing that he was just trying to get stronger and wasn't fighting for the sake of fighting.
She would have been a bit disappointed with Daz if he had grown a taste for fighting after all that they had been through, even if she loved him more than words could possibly express.
|Congratulations! You have managed to successfully combine the skills: [Throw and Retrieve], [Shovel Smash], [Stun], and [Flurry] into the newly created skill: [Beginner Shovel Arts].|
|Your Skill Creation ranking has been updated. Please refer to the system for more details regarding your new rank and any possible rewards.|
"Beginner Shovel Arts?" Daz asked nobody in particular. "Interesting."
"Success?" Madison asked as she wiped away some of her sweat.
The two of them had been sparring for close to an hour now and the deadline for the attack, twelve o'clock, was rapidly approaching.
"Yup, though I'm genuinely surprised. I actually created a skill." There was a joyous tone of surprise in Daz voice as he sat down on a nearby bench and checked his skill creation ranking.
Unfortunately, he hadn't gained any new rewards since he had only increased by six ranks, putting him at rank fifty-one.
With that out of the way, Daz now identified his new skill.
|Basic Shovel Arts [B-Rank (Higher Tier)] [Growth Skill]|
A skill created by the sole Shovel Knight, Daz.
This skill required little to no practice to be created due to how simplistic it is.
This is a very common battle skill created with the purpose of allowing a more fluid and better usage of the combined skills when using a shovel as the primary weapon.
Shovels Arts, huh? Doesn't quite have the same ring as the other battle arts. 'Fear not, ye fine maiden, for I, Gardener Joe, master of the Shovel Arts, have cometh to save ye!' Sounds a bit silly, doesn't it? Oh well. Can't win 'em all.
|Shovel Art: Shovel Control|
|Shovel Art: Shovel Attack|
Daz had a few questions, and he was very astonished to see that he had created a growth skill, but first, he identified the skill's two abilities, the supposed 'shovel arts'.
|Shovel Art: Shovel Control|
|Allows the host to freely control their shovel.|
|Allows the host to stun enemies with their shovel. Duration: 30 seconds. Restriction: Acts as the skill [Stun] if not used with a shovel. Cannot be used on the same target until the initial stun has expired and an addition 5 seconds have passed.|
|Shovel Art: Shovel Attack|
|All attacks performed by the host while using a shovel will have their damage increased by 10%.|
|Grants the host the skills [Flurry] and [Shovel Smash].|
"This is a lot more than I was expecting...," Daz muttered as he held his chin.
Shovel Art: Shovel Control, in particular, grabbed Daz's interest. While an additional cooldown had been added so he couldn't spam the skill anymore like how he had been doing with stun, the young Reaper was able to notice something.
"This skill itself doesn't have a cooldown, it only has a restriction when used on the same person more than once... so I can use it on several people without any penalties?" This possibility made Daz happy.
With this, it had greatly increased his power when fighting more than one enemy.
He tried out the other part of the ability and was shocked to see that it more or less granted him telekinesis when it came to shovels. This wasn't even limited to just Hamson. Apparently, the system deemed all shovels to belong to Daz, or at least that was what he could tell from his tests.
"That reminds me, it said 'sole Shovel Knight', right? Surely there were more people out there who were holding a shovel? Unless this is related to being The God of Shovel's Champion... Hmm." Daz wanted to think on the topic some more, but unfortunately, he was out of time.
The second attack of the second cycle was only ten minutes away from beginning.
Madison found it just as strange as Reika did when Daz spoke to himself, but she also thought it made him seem cute. Madison had very peculiar tastes, she herself would admit that to anyone that asked her.
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