Daz opened his eyes and was met with the sight of an almost toothless grin. He was only in his boxers and a mist-covered graveyard filled his surroundings. "Hi, Cecil."
"Howdy, Buddy," the old man with a straw hat replied. For once, he wasn't sitting on a tombstone doing his back in. He had actually balanced his regular-looking shovel between two graves and was using it as a chair.
Cecil cackled a bit. "Ya look a bit different. Nice halo, by the way. Really brings out yer eyes."
Daz smiled in return. "I suppose it does, huh?" He stood up and scanned his surroundings. 'Yup. Same old dreamscape. I was kinda expecting it to change after the whole Death God business and me becoming an Archreaper. Guess not, huh?'
Cecil raised an eyebrow. Usually, the squirt in front of him just ignored his jokes or jumped straight into more questions, but for once, he had actually humoured him. Cecil carefully clambered up onto his shovel and decided to do a little test. "Hey, Buddy. Catch me, will ya?" he asked before he suddenly jumped towards Daz while doing a triple front flip.
Of course, Daz sidestepped out of the way, letting the sixty or seventy-year-old man smash into the dirt.
Cecil groaned in pain. "Achachacha! My damned back!" He got up and assumed a cross-legged position before he stretched his shoulders upwards as hard as could despite the aches. A loud popping noise later, and his face was filled was ecstasy until he glanced at the young reaper a bit hatefully. "Ya little bastard. Why didn't ya catch me?"
Daz walked over to the man's normal-looking shovel and thought about picking it up until he remembered that Hamson had ruthlessly consumed the last special shovel that he had touched. As much as he would love to upgrade Hamson, pissing off Cecil didn't seem smart. There was also the fact they were in a dreamscape, not reality, so he wasn't sure if Hamson would even be able to absorb this shovel. "I was shocked. How often do old men just jump at you demanding to be caught?"
Cecil grumbled under his breath about a lack of respect, but he got back up on his feet and collected his shovel. "Fair 'nuff I suppose. Ya looked like ya had a little more spunk in ya, so I thought ya'd do the right thing."
"I really am an open book now, huh?" Daz replied with a wry smile.
Cecil took his straw hat off and scratched his semi-bald head. He gave another gummy smile to his young student and laughed. "As open a Corlithian whore!"
Daz just sighed and decided it would be wise to tell Cecil everything that he now knew about Earthian espers as well as about his encounter with Mu and his experiences with the clone.
"Sentient clones, huh?" Cecil said thoughtfully as he picked a particularly large booger out of his nostril and flung it away. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor once again and he started using his knees as bongo drums. The sound was particularly... boney. "Archreapers are a weird lot. I've only met one before. Nice fella if ya could look past all of the souls around him. Poor sods. I'm sure they all had good graves waiting for 'em."
Cecil looked a bit upset before he broke out into a beaming smile. He carefully got back onto his feet, trying his best to not put his back out again. "It's probably to do with the maker of the skill and his intentions. Musta been a lonely ol' git. Wanted some friends as well as helpers, so 'e added a little bit of spice to the skill. Plenty ah folk do that, ya know? Sneak little hidden features inta their skills."
Daz nodded. That made a lot of sense. Rimmy's summoning skill was fairly normal on the surface, but Rimmy was anything except normal, at this point. Even Daz had to secretly admit that being able to understand the jewelled man perfectly wasn't ordinary. "What about the God of Death trying to cheat? Got an opinion on that?"
Cecil frowned. "The system ain't lettin' me say much. I can tell ya that it ain't too out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary though, is the system. It never, and I mean never gets that pissed off. A lot of people, those of us who've been around a while, they forget how emotional a creature the system is. It's almost funny. The damned thing's so childish half the time. Possessive little fucker too."
Cecil's frown deepened and he hunched over before wincing in pain. "Slap me on the back, would ya? I can't move. Muscles 'ave seized up. Hard as ya can, Buddy."
Daz had regained his emotions, but he hadn't lost his willingness to help out whenever it would benefit him. Slapping this old man as hard as he could? Now that, that would benefit the young man greatly.
Daz walked around his dreamscape mentor and wound his arm up before he put all of his strength into his swing, hitting the frail-looking man with a slap that could crush a medium-sized building and start a small-scale tsunami.
Like a deer caught in the headlights, Cecil's spine straightened out in a flash. He seemed unaffected by the raw power in Daz's attack and just moaned in pleasure at the relief his back was feeling. "See? Vindictive little fucker too. I poked fun at it, so it poked fun at ma age. Compared to it, I'm less than a baby. Younger than sperm in its all-seeing eyes."
Daz stared at his glowing red hand that was throbbing in pain. He alternated his gaze between the limb and the Gravekeeper. 'What the hell? Just how strong is he for that to have done literally nothing to him? I was expecting him to fly off like a bullet...' Some respect and some fear developed in the depths of Daz's mind for the immature but knowledgeable elderly man.
Cecil paced around a bit, stretching his spine cautiously. "Wow! Strong arm, Buddy. That should keep me goin' for at least a day or two."
"Anytime..." Daz replied a bit absentmindedly.
"Great. Anyway, show yer Grave of the, er, Humans? I still don't like that ye've butchered my trademark skill. Ye'r not leavin' here until it's perfect. I don't care if the system thinks it's level ten, ye'r not allowed to upgrade it until I say so." Cecil had a commanding tone in his voice. Clearly, Daz learning this skill was very important to him.
"Your Grace..." Crosius could feel his blood-curdling as he looked at Daz sat atop his throne. He wasn't peeved at his lord, Heavens no. The fact that a beautiful young girl who had an attractive aloofness to her was sitting on his lap while squirming about? That filled the old man with nothing but jealousy. If only the system didn't bind him...!
Daz shot the old man a stern gaze. "Don't give me that look. I've been training for hours. Maddy is putting up with my behaviour, why can't you?" He then kissed the trapped animal in his arms on the cheek softly. Her face turning bright pink as her squirming grew even fiercer. "See? Not even a word of complaint."
Crusher, who just so happened to be in the throne room to entertain herself with what was about to start, chuckled audibly. "I like you more now, Uriel. You were a bit of a dickhead before. A likeable dickhead, mind you. I ain't got an issue with a man who knows what he wants and is willing to go to extremes to get it. But this new you, telling jokes and everything? Fucking hilarious! Keep it up!"
Crosius could tell that this monster of a woman was bound to make him hate the country Russia, its accent, it's people, and everything about the blasted place purely because that was where she supposedly came from! A land of rude female Titans with no tact or manners to be found, no doubt!
Lyle sauntered into the chamber from the front door with a large stack of papers in his left hand and four scrolls in his right hand. He was balancing everything perfectly even as he strode through the room with ease. Clearly, a sign of his high dexterity.
Once he was at the foot of Daz's large throne, he did a perfect ninety-degree bow while keeping the documents and scrolls from being disturbed even slightly. He sent a cheeky look at the head keep advisor as if to say 'can you do any better?'.
Daz could practically see the steam rolling out of Crosius' ears much like a whistling kettle. "Okay, enough. You two really need to sort out this petty rivalry of yours. You have different jobs, even if you're both advisors. Stop being so childish."
Daz's bluntness certainly made the wisened and aged Crosius feel ashamed while Lyle just continued to smile. "Of course, My Lord. However, a healthy rivalry can only be beneficial. I wouldn't dare betray you, and he, as well as the other keep advisors, are bound by the system to serve you. Competition makes the industry boom, and all that."
Crusher snorted. "Ever the snake. Maybe Nahash?" She held her chin in thought for a long moment finally shaking her head. "Too Uriel-like. Not snakey enough."
"Can we get on with this?" Daz asked with a little bit of impatience. Madison had settled down in his arms now, but he still refused to let her go. It was her fault that was so adorable and squishy when she was shy, not his.
Lyle laughed a little bit nervously, feeling like he'd dodged a bullet with Crusher's insulting and almost blasphemous nickname that was seemingly so close to being plastered onto him. "Of course, My Lord."
He cleared his throat and summoned a small table from seemingly nowhere. Daz quickly inspected the man's skill list only to see that he has purchased something similar to the inventory slots they all used to have when Fort Skip was a storage-type base.
|Personal Item Box [B-Rank (Higher Tier)]|
A skill designed by Yarmond, the Archwizard of the Grand Magic Society of Oklund, the most proficient space wizard to have ever lived on the magic-centric world, Gamma.
Yarmond had always believed in equality between wizards and slaves (all non-wizards), and this was his first, and last, step to bridging the societal gap between them. He was assassinated shortly after spreading this skill to every corner of the planet.
Shame. If he wanted equality, he should have taught everyone how to fold space, not access a magic box. Oh well, ya win some, ya lose some, eh?
|Grants the host the ability to access an isolated pocket of space 3x3x3 cubic meters in size that they can store or retrieve items from.|
'Interesting... So instead of x amount of items, it's x amount of space?' Daz stroked his chin thoughtfully as he watched Lyle pile up the documents and scrolls onto the table.
"My Lord, these," he said as he gestured to the large stack of papers, "Are the documents of each of your citizens, including the soldiers and keep staff. They have all of their basic information on them as well as everything myself and Rose could dig up ourselves from inferences and the system's database."
Crusher raised a quizzical eyebrow. She was curious about what the snakey man might have found out about herself and her life before she was known as 'Crusher', but she didn't care enough to ask. What would be, would be. She just resumed leaning on the pillar she was stood next to with her arms crossed.
Lyle drew Daz's attention to the four bound scrolls now. "Those, My Lord, are requests from the people that have built up. The ones that are out of the scope of Crosius and his advisor's to deal with without seeking your aid on the matters they involve. Only four right now, but as you deal with them, I expect more to flood in. It's Crosius' job to advise you on these matters, and I can only hope that he does his job as well as I would."
The elderly man with a mighty beard just snorted arrogantly in response. Lyle smiled before he picked up the pile of records. "Well then, assuming everything is okay, My Lord, I shall store these records in the library so you may look at them later. I think it's important we make this public. Nothing good can come out of hiding how much you know about your people in the event that it leaks out, which is likely considering how versatile the system is."
Daz nodded. "I trust you on this. Thanks, Lyle."
"I live to serve," Lyle stated merrily as he bowed again and left the throne room via one of the side doors.
Crosius clapped his hands twice loudly. "Bring in the first guest!" he yelled to one of the keep servants standing at the main entrance. It was time for the lord to begin giving his first audiences.
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