"You did what?!" Adam roared at Ben who was cowering back while waving his hands around furiously.
"It was a good idea!" Ben yelled defensively. He glanced at Commander Zach to get some help, but the short bald man in sunglasses just ignored him.
Adam couldn't help but pull out his fourth packet of cigarettes for the day and pop one of the smokes in his mouth. He sighed deeply before slumping down into his chair. "I can understand coming under Daz. Sure, that makes some sense, at least. He did save us twice, and it'll be a big help having him burden our attacks on top of his own, leaving us to do whatever we want over here, but did you really have to promise to buy a damned teleportation relay?!"
Ben looked sheepish. "W-Well, Red agreed that it would be for the best. Sek did say that it wasn't needed and that he had the perfect tool to deal with the extra workload of our attack, but I just felt bad, y'know? If we can set up a relay, wouldn't that mean that we can help him with the fighting?"
Adam almost choked on his cigarette. "Red agreed? Let me speak with him."
"S-Sure," Ben replied before he rubbed his ruby eye a few times.
"You wished to speak with me, Adam?" Red said as he took a chair. Dealing with the agitated Ben was quite exhausting for Red since they had to share a single mind.
"Yeah. Why'd you agree to buy something so stupidly expensive like a teleportation relay? I've looked into them before. Y'know, for if we ever eventually expanded. They cost a few million a pop. That isn't something we can afford," Adam stated.
"Chances of survival without joining Daz's forces is three-percent, chances of surviving while joining Daz's forces is forty-five-percent. Chances of survival without purchasing a teleportation relay stay at forty-five-percent, however, with a relay, it shoots up to seventy-five-percent. These numbers cover the next two weeks. Adam, this was no spur of the moment decision. Ben and I are only thinking of the survival of our people." Red's voice was oozing with a graveness that sent chills up even Commander Zach's spine.
Adam found himself staring at the ceiling fan. "Is that so?" he asked rhetorically.
Commander Zach felt like something was off, so he voiced his concern. "Now, correct me if I'm wrong here, but doesn't a relay need something to, you know, relay to?"
Ben answered immediately. "Daz said that if we are going to purchase a teleportation relay, then he would buy the station it gets linked to. Both Ben and I said that we would pay for that since we no longer had to worry about the attacks, but he laughed us off and said that it'd be cheaper for him to do it himself. I suspect he possesses a skill that grants him a discount in the system's store, or at the very least, a discount for base upgrades."
"You're just as bad as Ben is sometimes. The both of you, kind to a fault," Commander Zach laughed.
Adam finished his cigarette and stood up. "Well then, let's gather up the fighters and head to the wild events Daz pointed out, shall we? The more free shit we get, the better."
"Was that the last one?" Crusher asked as she wiped the sweat from her brow.
Daz nodded. "Yup. We only need to do five. There's still two more to the north of Waterford, up by Green Lake. Wanna keep going? I'll give you directions if you want. I'm done for the day. They're only D-rank or lower wild events, so it's not worth your time if I'm being honest."
Daz was a bit disheartened. The only wild event that had given him an item, was the initial one to save Middletown. The four following ones that they did after returning to Waterford were simple ones designed to secure the perimeter around the crumbling city, so they only rewarded him and his friends with merit points.
Now, he would be a fool to say that he didn't appreciate merit points, but Daz would definitely prefer to earn rare or exclusive items like merit rings or the shovel Hamson had fused with.
Crusher scratched her head and thought for a moment. "Nah. I guess I'll just go back home and make some pots or something."
Edward raised an eyebrow. "Pots?"
Dorian heaved a sigh and covered his face with his palm. "Crusher's recently acquired a taste for clay-working."
"And you know this how, Mr Elkwood?" Lyle asked with interest.
Crusher was the one to reply for Dorian. She was happily picking her nose as she said, "Pot makin' is easy as piss. I've been trying to make a person-shaped pot. Y'know, to challenge myself. Dorian's my male model."
"And she says I'm insane for talking to Rimmy..." Daz grumbled. Madison interlinked her arm with his to comfort him. An act that took a lot of courage from the girl since she hated showing affection publically.
Lyle laughed nervously as a wry smile surfaced on his lips. "What an interesting... self-goal, Crusher."
"Isn't it?" She smiled back. "Gotta keep things interesting around here. Not to be rude, but Fiona's little light show ain't my thing. Drugs and alcohol don't work on my body either. My constitution is too high for anything to work. So I figured, why not turn to potting?"
Lyle was jealous of such a body, but he maintained his friendly outward appearance. "Of course. I'm sure anyone else would have reached the same conclusion in your shoes."
Crusher laughed. "Hey, you're not such a bad guy, eh? I just took ya for a snake slitherin' in the grass. I guess even snakes can be cool."
Lyle wasn't sure how to respond to that backhanded compliment. Was it a good thing to be considered a cool snake by Crusher? He simply decided to shake his head and not think too deeply about it. At the very least, Crusher's honesty made her an easy person to gauge, so Lyle's main concern, her loyalty to Daz, wasn't in any danger of being compromised.
Dorian matched his pace with Daz and Madison so he could stand next to them as he spoke. "I wonder why the system hasn't given us our daily attack reward sheet yet."
"I dunno," Daz answered him with a shrug. "It did say it was going to give a special reward since today was... unique, so maybe it's calculating that reward?"
Dorian frowned at this explanation. "Isn't the system extremely powerful? From what I know, it has a pretty firm grasp of several universes, if not everything in existence. Why would it struggle to figure out our rewards?"
Daz wasn't the biggest fan of Dorian when he wasn't a nervous wreck. The man was far too inquisitive and liked to pester people. "Who knows? Maybe it doesn't count us as being done until we return to Fort Skip."
"That could be it..." Dorian still wasn't convinced.
Daz sighed. "I have very sharp instincts, so trust me, Dorian. I can't feel anything strange. We'll get our rewards when we get them. For now, we should go home and rest."
"Your instincts? Is that another skill of yours or something?" Dorian asked. His eyes were glowing with curiosity.
Daz audibly groaned. 'Damn it. I should have just shut up. Why isn't Crusher harassing him like usual?' Tossing a glance in the Titan's direction, he saw her whistling as she stared into the sky with her hands on the back of her head. 'This woman... She's doing this on purpose.'
"Let's go with 'or something'. Research espers if you're really interested. I know nothing about the subject before you ask," Daz said, ultimately disappointing Dorian and ending the conversation.
The group of six were back at Fort Skip just as the sun was beginning to set. They all went their separate ways once inside the secure walls. Daz headed to his personal workshop after he dropped off the small amount of merit points that the wild events had granted him to the bank.
He had made sure to tell Lyle to look into making official records for his citizens, which the man excitedly accepted without hesitating.
A few hours passed as Daz tinkered and toyed around with his creations. He was getting better and better at crafting with wood as the hours ticked by, and he was even starting to get half-decent at making things out of metal.
A knock at the door to his workshop broke Daz out of his crafting trance. He took his industrial gloves off and went to answer it. "Ellie?"
Standing a bit awkwardly outside, the short girl with a blonde ponytail and glasses looked at Daz before saying, "Can I come in?"
She was dressed lightly despite the fact that it was November are fairly chilly out. Clearly, her stats made ignoring the cold an easy feat, especially considering her elemental resistance. Daz did note that despite her clothing, Ellie still had Ger's pistol holstered at her hip and Sarah's nature magic grimoire was hung around her waist.
"Sure." Daz walked back into the dimly lit room and gestured with his arms. "Find somewhere to sit."
'I could do with a distraction. Shaping metal is really getting frustrating. Maybe I should ask the Gnomes for some tips later. Anyway, I wonder what Ellie wants this late? Her status hasn't changed, so her fake feelings for me haven't suddenly reignited.' As usual, the young Reaper's mind was racing.
Ellie looked around at Daz's somewhat chaotic workshop and smiled wryly. "This place is filthy. How do you even work in here?"
"It's an organised mess. I know where everything is, so it's fine," Daz explained as he grabbed a water bottle from a table and took a few swigs.
Ellie ended up watching him and her eyes naturally fell upon the semi-circular halo floating above and behind his head. "That thing certainly is... distracting. Does it not bump into stuff?"
Daz shook his head. "Nah. It's not a physical object." He put his hand through the halo several times to demonstrate, annoying Reika in the process. "It's a spiritual part of my body, so it's a bit like a soul, I suppose, except not nearly as important and it's actually visible to everyone."
"I... see." Ellie remained silent after that and simply watched Daz as he drank his water and relaxed.
Eventually, he had emptied his bottle, so he sighed. "I'm assuming you came to me for a reason, yeah? You're not just gonna sit there and stare at me all night, are you?"
Ellie's cheeks flushed over. "Sorry. I was trying to find the right words..."
"Just say it. Don't flower up your request or question or whatever you want to say." Daz was the manipulator, not Ellie, so he really didn't want her to dance around whatever subject brought her to his workshop.
"Well... I heard that you promised to bring Edward's daughter... back to life. Is that true?" Ellie's voice was filled with a mixture of hope and despair.
Daz nodded his head. "I certainly did say that, yes. It was how I got him to join Fort Skip. I can guess what you want to ask, but no, I can't do the same for Sarah and Ger."
Ellie's expression fell. "Wh-why not?! Why him and not me?! My family is just as important as his is!"
'Ah, dammit. I should've explained it better,' Daz scolded himself before he creased his brow and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Ellie, calm down. I do have a reason for refusing your request," Daz claimed in a very calm voice.
Ellie was sceptical. "What 'reason'?" Sarah and Ger mattered more to her than Fort Skip did, and she found it incredibly unfair that Edward, a nobody who was harassing a base previously, had been given a promise that Daz wouldn't give to her as well.
"Well, to put it simply, Sarah and Ger can't be brought back to life in any way, shape or form. They don't have souls anymore. The same goes for Jorden," Daz said in a somewhat apologetic voice.
"Wh-What do you mean?" Ellie was scared to find out the answer to her question.
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