Daz met up with his other clone and dismissed it. The second clone seemed to have no distinct personality... yet. He was hopeful that it would never manifest one, but if it did, Daz made sure to make a note to come up with some plans for it depending on what parts it loaned from him. Immediately upon the clone's departure, a system message appeared in the young man's field of view, begging for his attention.
|Congratulations! The host has learned a new passive skill: Basic Martial Arts.|
As expected. The system had promised he'd get the skill upon the dismissal of his clone, and the system never lied. It only hid things. A new system message that Daz wasn't expecting, however, soon took that one's place.
|Due to the host's skill [Basic Shovel Arts], the skill [Basic Martial Arts] has been edited and assimilated with the skill [Basic Shovel Arts]. It is now an ability of said skill called [Shovel Art: Shovel Dance].|
For some reason, the image of himself dancing along to music while holding a shovel entered the young man's mind. He was atop Fiona's stage in this fantasy as he moved his feet quickly and treated Hamson like a splendid dance partner, twirling him around fancifully. Daz found himself chuckling at his new and quite vivid imagination. 'Another gift from my emotions, maybe? Humour is good for the soul, I hear.'
It was a new experience for the young Reaper. Of course, he had partaken in jokes before, but never for the sake of humour or to entertain a random thought. He had only ever jested with others to elevate his standing with them. Being able to actually appreciate something because it was funny to him... that was fresh. He was unsure about a lot of the changes going on with his mind thanks to his recent flood of emotions, but he could happily say that this was a nice addition to his personality that he was fond of. Far more so than his undisguisable temper, at least.
In many ways, the young man was incredibly immature. Of course, in most instances, he was the most level-headed person regardless of what was happening, but perhaps that would change now? What with his anger and newfound apparent growth of a proverbial funny bone. Daz was looking forward to seeing how this would affect him in the future, if only to help mask his fear about his recent developments if nothing else.
To clear his mind of his off-track train of thought, Daz decided to give his Shovel Arts skill - which he had neglected to look at even once since its inception - a once-over. It was a growth skill, after all, so he was looking forward to it reaching level ten, regardless of its new subskill which was the main purpose behind its current inspection.
|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|
|[New!] Shovel Art: Shovel Dance|
|Shovel Art: Shovel Dance|
|Passively grants the host the movement talents of a seasoned digger. When in combat while using a shovel, the host will expose fewer openings and will have more practised footwork. When using a shovel for other shovel-related tasks, arm and foot movements will be more fluid and require less effort from the host.|
"Hey, that's actually pretty good," Daz marvelled. He was fully expecting something that allowed him to fight with some simple mixed martial arts, but this was obviously far superior.
A martial arts-based skill would have been next to useless to him since he was never without Hamson, and separating him from his beloved shovel was nigh impossible thanks to Reika and the Shovel Art: Shovel Control. With this, though, not only would he be more practised in combat and no longer have to rely on his built-up street smarts to trade blows with someone, he'd even be able to create trenches with far more ease!... Though he had to wonder if he needed that particular talent.
Daz couldn't help but let another short giggle escape his smooth and pale lips. "I wonder if I have a shovel fetish? Why did my mind focus on digging? When will I ever need to make another trench?" Daz would later wish that he had never asked that rhetorical question. Fate had a far more twisted sense of humour than the young Reaper did, that was for sure.
"Hey," Daz called out as he peered upwards and caught the edges of his semi-halo in the corner of his eyes. "Reika."
Blinking her eyes open, the cute little spirit of the ancient demon princess floated off of her home and landed on the man's shoulder. 'Hmm?' She gave her captor and her master a curious look.
Daz looked back at her silently for a moment before he scratched his smooth cheek. Ever since his evolution to an Archreaper, Daz had felt like his features had taken a far more... Asian look as opposed to his previous plain European face. He guessed that he was taking after his grandmother, Ran Hamilio. However that worked, he didn't know. Maybe she possessed stronger genes than the Hamilio line did. It would make sense since her esper ability was far more physically powerful than the mysterious instinct of the Hamilios was.
Daz paused his musing. He had derailed his mind train once again. A new bad habit of his, it would seem. He got awfully distracted by the smallest of ponderings now. "Reika, I just wanted to say thank you."
Reika blanked for a second. Her adorable little face scrunched up for a few seconds before she had apparently come to some sort of internal decision. She nodded her head and grinned. 'We do not know what for, but you are very welcome, Daz.'
He beamed a handsome smile. "That's what I like about you, Reika."
Daz picked up his pace and made for Bobby's Trashy Cookhouse. He was hungry but didn't feel like returning to the keep just yet. Maybe he'd run into his friend and pseudo-father-figure, Sandy? Daz hoped so. "You don't ask questions unless you're really curious. You're not intrusive and I can count on you."
Had she blood vessels, no doubt the ones in her cheeks would be working in overdrive right now.
Her master was a strange man. For days, he was impassive and sometimes borderline hostile, but suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, he was nice and even somewhat considerate to her. Reika may act young, but she was far wiser than her appearance would suggest. She didn't ask questions because she knew it would sour things between herself and Daz, which would not help the girl in any way, shape, or form.
Reika stood up and carefully clambered onto Daz's head. She found it challenging and very fun to make a game of never accidentally passing through physical objects. She had actually gone so far in this little game of hers that she would punish herself by staying away from Daz's semi-halo for five minutes per breakage of the game's only rule.
Once she had reached the zenith on Daz's hair, she assumed a crossed-legged position and hummed lightly. There was no need to respond to her master with words. She was confident that he would be smart enough to realise that she was very thankful for the mercy he had shown her in his time before his emotions were beginning to fully awaken, and simply restating that now would only lessen the meaning behind the words.
Daz, unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, was sorely lacking in EQ. It was a personal skill that he was in the middle of learning, so he'd have to hope that the tiny girl using his head as a mat wouldn't realise that his lack of a response to her humming wasn't a result of his ignorance.
"Insolent fool... huh?" Daz whispered quietly enough that his companion couldn't hear him.
While some of his new emotions brought him stress and pain, he couldn't help but think that this was definitely a boon to him. His esper powers awakening, that was. Emotions seemed to be very interesting... and very fulfilling.
Daz was pleasantly surprised to see that Bobby's restaurant - Bobby's Trashy Cookhouse - had clearly been renovated since his last visit. It was close to the inner wall in the outer fort on the western side of the base, slightly out of the way while still very close to the residential area, so he had never noticed that the building had been worked on since he last saw it.
The former one-story simple and plain cookhouse now featured two floors including the ground floor. There were a few offshoots from the main building that were on the ground floor. Daz assumed that these were perhaps large dining halls for groups of people. It was the apocalypse and most of humanity was dead or missing, but hey, people still had birthdays and other things that they wanted to celebrate, didn't they?
The outside area that once sported a few ordinary benches and table-chair combos was now the home of a patioed garden hosting well-crafted wooden tables that were protected from the absent sun by lovely red-cloth awnings.
One of the staff immediately noticed their lord casually standing there with that aloof nature of his. She brushed back her hair and straightened her shirt's bow before approaching the powerful man that served as their leader and protector.
'He's better looking up close... Though he seems a little less friendly than at the speech...' The young woman kept her thoughts private as she curtsied politely. "My Lord, are you here today for a meal? Or perhaps you have business with the owner?"
Daz cast an appraising gaze at the woman that was six years his elder if memory served him well. A normal enough person from Greg's camp. Lawful neutral, if he recalled. Nothing of particular note on her status or skill sheet.
Daz flashed as charming a smile as he could muster. "Hi, Rebecca. I'm just here for a late lunch, early dinner. Nothing serious. No need to go out of your way for me."
'He remembered my name? Oh, right, he has an Identification skill, right?' The citizens weren't idiots. There were plenty of people whose weapon was their phone, so personal privacy was hardly, well, private anymore. Rebecca returned Daz's smile with one that had no particular meaning behind it and was strictly professional.
He was good-looking, but he wasn't drop-dead gorgeous, so there was no reason to try to curry too much favour with the man. She'd heard the rumours like everyone else. The best course of action when interacting with the Lord was to just do as he said and be polite. He was known to be cruel to his enemies and a bit vindictive, but other than that, he was a fair man, as proven by the miner Bob. "Of course, My Lord. If you'd follow me, please."
'Whelp. That could have gone better. Today's running theme, I guess. 'That could have gone better'. She's from the military base, so I guess her passive attitude is fair. I did blackmail them, after all,' Daz reminded himself as he followed her into the restaurant.
Daz had a hearty meal and he was greatly satisfied with the food. It wasn't quite at the level of the keep's head chef's cooking, but it certainly had its own charm.
Unluckily, he had apparently just missed Sandy and his most skilled crew. He had somewhat expected that since it wasn't the perfect time for lunch nor dinner, and Sandy was a very busy man with a million things going on around him.
Deciding it'd be best to not overstay his welcome, Daz left the establishment with new thoughts in his mind about setting up a localised currency. Free food was nice, but he needed a more concrete system to solidify Fort Skip's culture. Both Lyle and Crosius had mentioned to him how important culture was for new empires to successfully rise and fall. Even the famous Romans heavily relied on their chariot races to keep the peace internally for many centuries. Culture was a powerful tool. One that Fort Skip needed.
Soon, Daz found himself to be in his bedchambers. His girlfriend, as adorable as she was, still had herself hidden under the sheets, although she did seem partially awake. Daz couldn't help but grin a bit lewdly.
He had always enjoyed sex. Who didn't? Even those bereft of emotions could feel pain and pleasure, but now something else was egging Daz's lower half on. Lust. He wanted Madison. No, he wanted Madison.
"Maddy, how awake are you, exactly?" Daz asked as he slowly stripped himself of his clothing.
Almost immediately, Madison lifted her head from the pillow it was resting on. She saw the look in Daz's eyes and was initially shocked before she understood. She was more than happy to oblige the man that she so dearly loved. Her irises shined with mischief. This would be a long day.
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