Shovels In Spades



Book 2 Chapter 75: Daz's Abilities and Ho Ran


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

Man, all I've been getting lately on this story is bad reviews and 0.5 stars. The ranking keeps slipping and slipping. Really demotivating stuff tbh. I'm surprised I even did two chapters this week. Maybe because they were table heavy (book 3 chapters 4 & 5)? Tables are a bitch to make time-wise, but fairly simple and easy since I'm very imaginative with system stuff.

Normally, I peace out for the week if I get depressed by my ratings. It really shouldn't bother me since I make enough money on Patreon to get by month-to-month, and I have plenty of supportive fans, but, y'know, the negative stuff just fucking slams you really hard and drowns out the good stuff. Especially when it's silent or lacking any constructiveness. It just comes across as an attack then. At least if it's constructive, I can learn and I can't blame the user for their low rating if it's full of good points. Though I will still feel bitter and resentful. I'm only human, eh?

It also doesn't help that even a 4.5star will knock me down thanks to the way the system works. Literally only a 5star rating will reflect well on my ratings. It's annoying.

Half the time I just wanna drop this story and rewrite the whole fucking thing. Like LTW, but more serious. Unfortunately, that'd piss off more people than it'd please. Being a creator is really fucking stressful sometimes.

Unhappy ranting out the way. Enjoy the chapter.

"Wait, three abilities and two bloodlines?" Daz was confused. "I'm pretty sure my unnaturally good instincts are one of my esper powers, and then when I pulled a soul out of a zombie on day one, that's another, right? Then what's the last one, and what do the bloodlines do?"

"One thing at a time. Christ. I should have waited until I'd slept for this," Rose complained as she scrunched up her eyes and frowned.

"Sorry, This is all just... very important to me," Daz said with an apologetic tone.

Rose got rid of her frown and sighed. "It's hard to be sarcastic when you look so pitiful. It's not cool. You should be an arrogant big brother like usual."

"I'll try," Daz said with a small smile on his lips.

"Anyway, let's stick to the topic of espers and esper abilities. Bloodlines can wait until I'm done or for another day, 'kay?" Rose stretched her arm and grabbed a chocolate bar and a can of coke as she waited for Daz's response.

"Sure. By the way, why are you eating stuff that's so bad for you if you can barely taste anything at all?" Daz questioned. 'Her lack of taste certainly explains her shit cooking skills, at least. That's one mystery solved.'

"I like the feeling of the chocolate melting on my tongue, of the chips crunching under my teeth, of the soda fizzing up in my mouth. It's the feeling I enjoy, not the flavour," Rose claimed.

Daz acknowledged her reasoning. "That makes sense, still, make sure you're brushing your teeth, okay? It's not good for you if you eat so much candy in the first place. I won't stop you, so at the very least, take care of your dental hygiene."

"I know. Sheesh, who's really the mom out of you and Madison? You baby me too much," Rose complained with a small pout on her face.

Daz smiled warmly and rubbed her hair gently. "If loving you is a crime, then toss me in jail and throw away the keys."

"Urg." Rose rolled her eyes as her face flushed. "Too cringy."

"Hahaha, sorry. Anyway, you were talking about espers and powers?" Daz said, settling the conversation back on track.

"Right." Rose put her snacks away again and sank back under her covers. "Well, simply put, like I said, you have three esper abilities. Two from Dad, and one from your mom. The ones that you've experienced so far are called 'Survivor's Instinct' and 'Soul Collecter'. The former from Dad, the later from your mom."

Daz had an intrigued look on his face. He had honestly expected the soul-related power to come from his father. That particular ability just seemed very fitting for the man.

"I'm sure you've already guessed what they can do but I'll explain them just in case," Rose said as she yawned lightly.

Daz frowned. "Do you want to continue this conversation in the morning? You look exhausted."

Rose shook her head. "It's fine. I plan on sleeping for at least sixteen hours anyway, so it doesn't matter much if I'm awake for another hour or two."

'Ten bucks says she goes to sleep in five mins,' Daz thought before his frown deepened. "That's a long time to sleep. I know this is falling on deaf ears, but please be mindful of your health."

Rose just snorted. "The system can fix everything that I mess up, so who cares?"

"I do." Rose had no words for Daz's blunt reply.

Instead of retorting since she was speechless, the girl decided to continue her detailing of Daz's powers. "Survivor's Instinct is pretty self-explanatory. It subtly guides you most of the time in every single action you do. Its primary goal is to help you, the ability's owner, to succeed in life. This is the only power of yours that is actually fully awakened. It's the reason that the Hamilio family is one of the leading esper families in the world and why our bloodline is so sought after."

"That explains a lot." Daz stroked his chin thoughtfully. "You said 'most of the time'. I've experienced it twice before, but it sometimes gives massive signals that I should do something in particular. That's normal, right?"

Rose looks surprised. "Yes, it can do that and it is normal. Although, that requires a second-level awakening of the ability."

"Second-level awakening?" Daz asked after hearing an unfamiliar term.

Rose shook her head. "Another day. To simplify, esper powers can all be 'levelled-up'. The max is a fifth-level awakening. Dad's Survival Instinct is at this level apparently."

"Okay, so what about this 'Soul Collector' power?" Daz wasn't going to push Rose on the topic of awakening if it wasn't important right now.

"It's basically a carbon-copy of your Absolute Harvest racial skill. It was considered to be one of the most powerful and frightening esper abilities out there, but the system has kinda made it redundant, not to mention it's almost unusable," Rose said with clear disdain for the ability in her tone.

"Unusable?" Daz felt like he'd been asking a lot of questions tonight, and it was starting to tire him out a bit.

"Yeah. You said you took a zombie's soul out of its body and jammed it into that shovel of yours, right?" Rose looked to her brother for confirmation.

"Hamson. And yes, I did do that," Daz answered.

"Shovel, Hamson, potato, potahto." Rose ignored the glare her brother was giving her. "Anyway, it's good that you did that. You probably instinctually wanted to put the thing in yourself, which would have definitely killed you. It takes months of preparations to absorb a soul via that ability. Of course, you'd probably be able to do it instantly now that you're an Archreaper, but when you were a human, the skill had no more actual uses other than being able to rip souls outta people."

"It still sounds like a pretty amazing power, considering what Earth was like before the apocalypse. I'm curious though, why can't I consciously use that ability?" Daz didn't understand enough behind this whole thing, and he had a feeling that Madison and Rose 'protecting him' was related to this.

Rose sighed. "You need to learn how to control those emotions of yours. You are literally an open book."

"Shut up and tell me what you're talking about, you mouthy squirt," Daz responded.

"Yeah, yeah." Rose collected her thoughts before saying, "Controlling more than one esper ability doesn't just need bloodlines, talent and luck. It also needs intense and heavy training, either that or adapting insanely quickly. And the problem is, almost no one can train in how to have two esper powers since there just isn't a conceivable way to seal them with that very training. It's a paradox."

"So the only option is to adapt? And Father went through that? What's it like? Did the bastard suffer?" Daz could feel his blood boiling with excitement.

"You look scary, Daz. You really need to rein in that anger of yours. Dad had his reasons, you know? And no. From what I've heard, he was the most talented esper user ever. He adapted within seconds upon his birth," Rose said.

"I don't care if he had reasons or not. What he did was wrong. You don't know what he put me through," Daz said with spite in his voice.

Rose threw Daz a pitiful gaze. "I know all too well..."

"Whatever. Anyway, you had a point, right? Are you saying I adapted at birth as well?" Daz asked.

"That's the thing," Rose raised her index finger and pointed it at her brother. "You didn't train nor adapt. You simply shut off your access to the powers. As a result, you lost your emotions."

"What? How?" Daz didn't understand.

Rose shook her head. "No one knows. Dad investigated it a lot. He spent years trying to figure it out, but he never got any results. He eventually came to the conclusion that the only way to reawaken your two other abilities was to stimulate your emotions."

"And making my life a living hell was the best way to do that?" Daz felt sick.

Rose smiled wryly. "Anger and rage are the easiest emotions to invoke in a person."

"So that bastard wanted me to hate him, to despise him, all so I could regain my abilities?! What if I'd died from the adaptation?!" Daz was enraged.

"Calm down." Rose looked at Daz with concern and held his hand. "I know you're angry, and you don't agree with Dad, but getting upset won't fix anything, will it?"

Daz closed his eyes and exhaled heavily. He squeezed Rose's hand. "Sorry, you're right."

"It's fine. Moving on to the final topic, it seems like you got riled up enough to really force your emotions out on the first day of the attack. Ever since then, the cracks have spread. You've always had small bursts of feelings, for example, your affection for Madison and me, and your occasional anger at Dad, but nothing was enough to really release your emotions." Rose's words made sense to Daz.

"So am I in trouble then? Won't I be forced to go through the adaptation soon?" Daz questioned.

"I think you'll be fine." Rose saw Daz's arching eyebrow, so she preemptively answered his coming question. "It's only hard for humans, and even if it's still hard for you as an Archreaper, Madison, Crusher, or even Ben, they could all help heal you and stop your body from falling apart."

'And we can help you stabilize your mind! N-Not by much since it's a new skill of ours, but we can do it!' Daz always appreciated the tiny Demon princess' attempts to help him. Excluding the time that she tried to take over his body, Reika had been incredibly useful to him.

"Okay. That makes sense." Daz nodded his head. "So I guess the last thing I'm curious about related to espers is my last ability. You never told me what the second power that I inherited from Father was."

"Well, it's a power not from the Hamilio family. It came from our grandmother. The powerful leader of a South Korean conglomerate, formerly known as Ho Ran. She now goes by Ran Hamilio though. Apparently, our name has a lot of power in the higher rungs of society, huh? Enough so that a woman like that would just abandon her family name," Rose explained as an introduction to Daz's third and final power.

"Ran Hamilio? Never heard of her," Daz said.

"I'm not surprised. She's treated like a trophy wife. Grandad respects her as much as Dad respects our moms. Anyway, the esper ability in question. It's called 'Gravital Body'. Before you ask me another million questions, it's completely sealed by you right now. It lets the owner, you, ignore all forms of mass and weight, gravity, and even the laws of physics themselves at a fifth-level awakening." With that, Rose was finally done.

"That's a pretty amazing power..." Daz was busy thinking of all of the possibilities that such an incredible esper ability could create, especially considering the eventual direction these tests seemed to be heading in.

"Anyway, can I go to sleep now?" Rose asked as she yawned lightly. "I'll tell you about bloodlines another time. I'm actually struggling to keep my eyes open right now."

'Called it. One to two hours my ass...' Daz smiled affectionately and pushed his thoughts back momentarily before he smiled warmly. He kissed Rose on her forehead and tucked her in. "Sure, and thanks for telling me all of this. I love you, Little Sis. You know that, right?"

Rose hid her reddened face under her covers and whispered, "I do, and I love you too, Big Bro..."

A note from Lone

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  • The Scottish Slothy Sloth

Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.

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