It took Daz and his companions an hour and a half to reach Middletown on foot. This was incredible. Essentially, Daz and everyone with him was running at one-hundred-miles-per-hour. This was maybe the first time that Daz had ever actually felt the change that stats provided so clearly.
Crusher had been holding back immensely and claimed that they were going too slow. She had resorted to carrying both Lyle and Dorian who could only run at a max of sixty-miles-per-hour comfortably.
Once the group had arrived at Middletown's outskirts, they took a couple of minutes to catch their breath. Naturally, Crusher didn't need this, but Daz, Madison and Edward weren't Titans, so even they needed a moment of respite before charging into battle.
Crusher tapped her foot impatiently on the hard concrete road, making it crack. "I wanna crush some skulls. How long are you guys gonna sit here 'resting'?"
Daz just waved at her dismissively. "Go then. I'm not stopping you. You three go and fight off the raiders, the monsters, or split up and do both. Just don't complete the wild event before we're ready. I'll clean up everyone when my body can finally move properly."
"Fair enough." Crusher turned towards Lyle and Dorian. "You two go fight the monsters. I'll be enough for the people. Besides the snake, I doubt you have the balls to kill folk, Ahab."
"Of course, Crusher." Lyle could hardly refuse when the woman had been kind enough to carry him most of the way here, and he was mature enough to ignore the woman's insulting nickname for him. He was sure she'd have a more inventive one ready for him in a few days anyway.
Dorian just shrugged. He was used to being called a coward by the gargantuan woman by now. "Not like it really matters. You'll mop up those raiders pretty quickly, I bet."
Crusher grinned. "We'll see." With that said, she sprinted off.
Lyle and Dorian soon followed after her. Luckily for them, it was clear as day to see where the monster and the raiders were, so it was near-impossible to make a mistake in regards to where they were supposed to be going.
Daz flopped his body onto the road and panted heavily. The first to recover out of him, Madison, and Edward, was actually Edward. It would seem that his constitution was a bit higher than Daz's because Daz was the next person who was ready after him.
Five minutes later, and Madison was good to go. "Sorry, wait."
Daz shook his head. "It's fine. Let's go."
The three ran to the crater that encapsulated Gem Kingdom, Ben's base. Once they were there, they saw the monsters that were endangering all of Ben's people. Two liches were firing spell volley after spell volley as their armies of undead pushed ever closer to the heart of Gem Kingdom.
"Liches, huh? Interesting," Daz muttered as he sprinted towards the closest one. Madison and Edward made towards the further Lich. Daz could see Dorian was busy protecting the fighters of Gem Kingdom while Lyle was helping Adam, the Smoke Manipulator and Daz's ex-coworker, to decimate the undead forces.
The Lich Daz was charging towards had obviously spotted him approaching it. Pointing one of its hands towards him, the Lich fired off several soul-based attacks. Daz could see the nature of this attack and just smirked. He did nothing to defend himself and let the spells hit him.
The Lich was shocked beyond belief that the man quickly advancing towards itself had been unscathed by its magic which would have killed any ordinary person with ease. "What are you? You are no Human."
The Lich's voice seemed to invade the mind and drown out the senses. Daz supposed that this was the only way for the Lich to communicate since it was just a pile of moving bones and possessed no vocal cords.
"I'm an Archreaper, and I'm immune to soul attacks. I do have to wonder though, are you immune to soul attacks?" Daz asked as he activated his Justice Chains skill. "Though even immunity won't block this."
Exactly two-hundred and fifty-four chains appeared and wrapped themselves around the Lich. Immediately, the vile and horrendous screams of the Lich filled the battlefield. It lost control of its subordinates, so they all turned to dust.
"Wow, now that I look at your status, you're evil as well. So that means you'll be stuck there for a little over two hours, huh? Hmm, Lichs have phylacteries, it seems. Can you concentrate enough to escape to yours? Probably not. Well, best end this now and move on," Daz said to himself more so than to the Lich.
He employed the use of his skill, Absolute Harvest, and ripped the Lich's soul right out of its skeletal body. Without hesitating and without taking notice of the soul's attempts to flee, Daz absorbed it.
|Congratulations! The host has a high synergy with the Lesser Lich [Mudali]. All gained stats from consuming [Mudali]'s soul have been doubled.|
"Ohh, nice." With such an unexpected bonus, Daz wasted no time and repeated what he had just done, but this time, to the Lich that Madison and Edward were fighting.
|Congratulations! The host has a high synergy with the Lesser Lich [Galodi]. All gained stats from consuming [Galodi]'s soul have been doubled.|
|Wild Event Cleared!|
|Number of Participants:||6|
|Time Limit:||8 hours|
|Condition 1:||Kill the monsters attacking Gem Kingdom.|
|Condition 2:||Kill, or persuade to leave, the survivors attacking Gem Kingdom.|
|Bonus Condition 1:||Make sure as many of the citizens as possible survive. The reward shall be greater dependent on the number of surviving citizens.|
|Bonus Condition 2:||Ensure the lord of Gem Kingdom, Benjamin Rock's survival.|
|Head Gravekeeper's Master Shovel [S-Rank Middle Tier]|
As soon as his reward had appeared, Hamson fused with it. Daz hadn't done anything. Apparently, Hamson had joined with the new shovel of his own volition.
Daz could see Ben and Adam approaching with Lyle and Dorian, so while he waited for them to reach him, he decided to Identify Hamson for the first time in a very long time. He also looked at his updated status.
|Class:||Shovel Knight||Affinity:||Lawful Neutral|
|Strength:||1,100(1,320) [+100]||Dexterity:||1,000(1,200) [+100]|
|Constitution:||1,100(1,320) [+100]||Agility:||800 [+100]|
|Charisma:||680 [+100]||Ingenuity:||840 [+100]|
|Defense:||1,600(4,500) [+100]||Immunity:||316 [+100]|
|Soul Power:||6,000 [+6,000]||Luck:||500(505) [+100]|
|Combo:||200 [+100]||Wisdom:||700 [+100]|
|You have 2 unused Stat Slots.|
'Wow. I never expected to get one-hundred... So each Lich was worth twenty-five points and that was doubled due to 'synergy', huh? I should try to hunt dead things more often, though that's easier said than done. Still, I should have used my stat slots before harvesting them. That was dumb of me...,' Daz noted mentally before he looked at Hamson's updated details.
|Hamson/Reika [A-Rank (Higher Tier)] [Up two entire ranks!]|
A regular shovel that has been given life by its owner, Daz. It has been selected by the host's sentient skill, The One Shovel To Rule Them All, and can now only be wielded by him.
If used offensively without the host's permission, any sentient being wielding it will be consumed in body and soul.
It has been sharpened and enchanted by a master blacksmith.
|Attack:||500 [+240]||Defense:||300 [+250]|
|Sharpness:||200 [+180]||Durability:||1,000/1,000 [+400]|
|The One Shovel To Rule Them All|
|Freeform [Evolved from Morph]|
|Earth Wall [Evolved from Earth Rise]|
|Allows the host to will the shape of Hamson's blade into anything desired, within its limits. Cost: N/A. Limit: Cannot extend the blade past half a meter in any direction.|
|The magical ability to create a solid rampart of earth which can withstand several attacks from an average A-ranked warrior in front of the host. Cost: N/A. Limit: One rampart every thirty seconds.|
'Awesome! Now I can actually use Hamson more. He should be sharp enough now to cut through that worm from yesterday, right? And the wall is actually usable. It was terrible before since it was just a basic enchantment by the blacksmithy's Gnomes.' Daz was ecstatic.
"Something good happen to you, Sek, or should I call you 'Daz'?" Adam asked as he lit a smoke and smirked towards Daz who still had a silly smile on his face.
"Something, yes, and call me whatever you prefer," Daz replied absentmindedly as he stored Hamson back into the brand on his right hand and turned to face everyone.
Ben walked right up to Daz and slowly began feeling up his face and arm. "You're as good as new... Are you better looking than I remember? I'm pretty sure the unburnt half of your face wasn't this... smooth."
"I'm pretty sure you never felt my face when we met before, Rocky," Daz said, choosing to stick with Ben's Lord name instead of his real one since the young man seemed to be partial to his lord name.
Madison grabbed Daz and pulled him closer to herself defensively. She then glared at Ben, however, due to her deadpan expression that could do little more than frown or be emotionless, everyone present just found her actions to be endearing, Daz especially.
"And this little lady would be...?" Adam asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Madison, my girlfriend. Maddy, this is Adam... my former coworker." At Daz's unexpected admission of his past relation to Adam, everyone was surprised except for the man, Adam, himself.
A heavy sigh escaped his lips. "As I suspected." Adam leaned his head back and stared up into the sky as he lit another cigarette. "Were you always like this, or did you change to fit into the apocalypse?"
"Always, well, mostly. I'm sorry for tricking you while we were working together, Adam. Also for hiding my identity last week. I... I wanted to stay away from my past, to be entirely truthful," Daz admitted with an apologetic expression on his face.
A low chuckle escaped Adam's lips. "It's fine. You can tell me all about it over a drink later."
Madison just tilted her head to the side. "Daz, old, man, knew, each, other?"
Daz ruffled his girlfriend's hair and smiled. "Yes. It was when you were off training, after I'd dealt with... that. I decided to take up some regular work. I'm pretty sure I told you over the phone."
Madison's cheeks flushed. "Forgot."
Ben ended up breaking out into full-blown laughter while Adam held a palm over his face at being called an old man. He was only in his forties, after all.
The group moved on and made sure that all of the people who couldn't summon the system themselves due to their injuries were healed, and then they went to the other side of town where the raiders and Crusher should have been.
What met them was a very bored Titan sitting on top of a pile of bodies with her legs crossed. "I should have chosen the monsters. These guys were too weak."
Adam nearly choked on his cigarette. "'Too weak' she says. These guys had at least four hundred points in most of their stats. They were practically an army of superhumans. You people are crazy..."
Crusher looked confused. "Only four hundred? But that's so low?"
Adam just kept grumbling under his breath as he started sucking down cigarette after cigarette to vent his frustrations.
Daz had pulled Ben aside to ask about Sean's whereabouts. Informing Sean of Sarah's unfortunate death was his side objective for coming here, after all.
Ben looked through the records of his citizens as Daz sat down in Ben's office and patiently waited. 'Records, huh? I should get Lyle to make some of those for me. I have my ID medals, but official documents could definitely be useful.'
"Ah, here we go. I knew I remembered him. Weird guy. Seemed disconnected from everything. It says here that he left Gem Kingdom a few days ago, during the resting cycle. Actually, he left as soon as you and Crusher did. Odd." Ben scratched his head as he inspected the papers closely with his ruby eye to see if he had missed a detail or two.
"Did he say where he was going?" Daz questioned.
"Nope," Ben immediately responded. "I said 'left', but it'd be more accurate to say 'disappeared'."
"What do you mean?" Daz had an incredulous look on his face.
"Well," Ben sheepishly looked back at Daz. "Apparently, there were no signs of a struggle, but come the time of the attack, no one could find him in his house. It's assumed that he just up and left. It makes more sense and is more reassuring than the possibility of foul play."
"I see. Thanks." Daz's mind began to race.
"Did you need to talk to him about something important?" Ben sat down behind his desk and picked up a sapphire that was lying on it before he started to fiddle about with the gem, even going so far as to chew it.
Daz didn't mind Ben's peculiar behaviour and said, "Not really. I just had some... bad news to deliver to him."
"I see. Well, I'll make sure to contact you via the Court of Lords in the future if he ever shows up," Ben offered in good faith.
"Thanks. I'd appreciate that." Daz smiled. "Anyway, I had another thing to discuss with you."
"Oh? What's up, Sek? Want a reward for saving us or something? You can have the tanks if you want. They're pretty useless at this point though, mind you." Ben really did like Daz. Some people would try to bite the hand that fed them, but Ben was a good-natured person at heart. This was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.
"Nah. One is enough. I want to discuss something mutually beneficial for my base and yours." Daz grinned when he saw the interest on Ben's face. "Rocky, what would you say to joining me and helping me found a kingdom? Become my subject, and help me bring order back to the world."
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