Rose was at the outdoor area of Bobby's Trashy Cookhouse enjoying a chocolate-filled croissant and a hot chocolate with marshmallows in it. Her table was empty save for her breakfast and - of course - her laptop that had a simple game of 3D chess being displayed on it.
"Hmm? Daz? Good morning," Rose absentmindedly said when she noticed her brother approaching her. It took a second, but she did realise that his halo was different now. "Interesting."
Daz grinned as he sat across from her. He shook his head at the waiter who was coming to serve him. He wasn't hungry, and there was no time for food since there were only fifteen minutes left until the auction started. "Isn't it? Knowing you, you already know what it does."
"Yup." Taking a big bite out of her snack and washing it down with her hot chocolate, Rose asked, "So, what's up? Wanna be my partner for the auction or something?"
"What? Partner?" Daz was confused. Had he missed something in the system's announcement?
A shit-eating smirk wormed its way onto his sister's face. "The database gave me some insider info. Five mins before the auction starts, rulers and champions will be able to bring an extra person with them to their auction waiting room. And yes, there are different ones. One per person, pretty much. There's still over two-hundred-million people alive, so it's going to segregate them based on their current status."
"I see. Sure, I'd like that, but no, that's not why I'm here to see my amazing and perfect example of a younger sister who loves her brother very much," Daz replied jokingly.
Rose raised her eyebrow and looked around the patioed front of the restaurant with perplexion on her face. "Where is she? I don't see anyone fitting that description here."
Daz smiled wryly. 'I walked into that one.' He sighed before he stretched his hand over the table. "Left hand."
"I'm not a dog," Rose replied with some bite.
"Left hand, Rose. I have a present for you," he claimed.
Rose looked sceptical but gave him her palm regardless. Holding her hand, Daz slipped his second Gambit's Signet onto her ring finger. "Look at that. We're engaged now. I wonder who'll be my best man... I'm debating over Lyle, or, oddly enough, Crusher."
Rose glanced back and forth from her hand to Daz's face, to her hand, to his face, to her croissant, his face, her hand, the other customers looking at them warmly, her croissant. She really was hungry... Her face turned bright red as she yanked her hand away from Daz's grip and pulled the signet off of her left hand's ring finger. She slipped it on her index finger instead. "You got me good..."
Daz was beaming from ear to ear as he leaned his elbows against the table and used his hands to prop his chin up. "Perfect reaction. Ten out of ten. See? The incest joke still has plenty of mileage left in it."
Rose just nodded mutely as she fiddled about with the ring.
Daz took that opportunity to pull out his last Item Upgrade Token and he held it between two of his fingers. "Know what this is? It's another present."
Collecting herself a bit, Rose said, "Really? What's the occasion? Who died?"
"I don't need it as much as you'd like it. Consider it and the ring early birthday presents. Use this on your laptop, okay? Or your wheelchair, though you might not need that for much longer," Daz said in a semi-excited voice.
Rose was a sharp girl. "Might not need it soon?"
Daz nodded proudly. "Your big bro is a serious player in this whole system business. I'm in the top one-hundred for merit points, so I have platinum-level access now."
"S-So you mean?" There was a crack in the girl's voice that was filled with various emotions.
Again, he nodded. "I can look up the info about fixing your legs and probably your sense of taste too. I can do it now if you-"
"No!" Rose yelled, startling the nearby citizens. She didn't even stop to look at them and just lowered her voice before repeating herself. "No."
Daz was beyond startled. "Why? I thought you wanted to fix your legs? You want to walk, don't you? I can look up how. Hell, I'll even buy the treatment or whatever the fuck else is needed to heal you."
Rose bit her lip and her eyes trembled as she gripped the hem of her one-piece dress with her tiny fists. "No. I... I want to earn it myself... I... I don't want to have to keep relying on you and Madison for everything... I... I-"
Daz had stood up and wrapped his sister in his arms in a flash, hiding her crying face from the peanut gallery. He gazed coldly at everyone present. "I'd appreciate some privacy. You should all leave and prepare for the auction."
Ashamed and bit scared to be called out and looked at like that by their ruler, everyone did as they were told without raising a fuss.
Daz stayed there kneeling as he let his sister cry into his chest. 'Is this why she's so defiant all of the time? I had no idea that Maddy and I were accidentally putting so much pressure on her...'
Perhaps a minute - maybe two - passed before Rose lightly pushed Daz away. She wiped at her face with her wrists and sniffed adorably. "Sorry. I didn't expect to just burst like that."
Daz rocked his head from side to side. "It's fine. I'll never mention it again, okay? In fact, even if you ask me to let you know how to fix yourself, I won't tell you," he said with a big grin on his handsome face.
Rose blankly stared at him for a few seconds. Suddenly, she broke out into a muffled laugh. "Hahaha... You... You're really... uncool... Hahaha..."
Daz frowned. "You mispronounced 'the coolest big brother in the universe'."
Rose's giggling subsided and she smiled warmly. "Yeah. I suppose I did..."
Daz softly patted her shoulders and returned to his seat. He slid the Item Upgrade Token across the table and gestured to the laptop. "Well?"
'Really... He's actually just going to forget this happened? Damn. Why is he so cool only when it actually matters?' Rose thought before she picked up the small coin-shaped object and told the system what she wanted from it.
A second later, with a flash of white light, her normal looking laptop suddenly doubled in thickness, became slightly wider, and changed colours from chrome-silver to matte-black.
Looking at its main display screen, it was clear to see that two additional screens could pop out of either side of it - one left and one right - essentially giving the device three screens. The keyboard was otherwise unaffected, however, the mousepad could now be transformed into a wireless mouse with the push of a button.
Rose whistled. Well, tried and failed to, but Daz felt like it was polite to pretend that she had succeeded in acting cool. "This thing has thirty-two four-gigahertz cores of CPU... It even has turbo up to six-gigahertz... Damn, two-terabytes of RAM? What would I ever need that for? Maybe alien games? It even has this weird alien-gel stuff for cooling. It can maintain a temp of minus one-twenty celsius. And the GPU... Not quite enough to sustain a functioning A.I, but Christ... This thing is insane."
Daz felt himself spacing out. "Yeah. Sounds amazing..."
Rose snorted. "Trust you to know nothing about the most powerful tool of the modern age."
"Sorry. I was busy feeding my family when you were busy playing computer games," Daz teased sarcastically. "Anyway, it's good, right?"
"This thing is impossible to make with our level of tech. Well, it would be doable, if not for the turbo. That's five to ten years ahead of our knowledge. You'd just need to slap two top-end computers together. A bit crude, but it'd work." Rose was loving the look of feigned interest on Daz's face.
"I mean, the biggest boon with this upgrade is the sheer portability. This would be worth millions, no, maybe billions of dollars before the apocalypse." Seeing her brother losing focus again, Rose smiled brightly. "I love it. It's even boosted my access to the system's database. Really handy stuff. Where'd you get that token anyway? That's not a buyable item as far as I know."
Daz shrugged. "I'm the system's 'pet' or something. It gave me a treat."
Rose bobbed her head up and down without hesitation. "That sounds like you."
He wanted to retort, but the system got in the way with one of its perfectly-timed notifications.
|Warning! [The Grand System Auction] shall begin in 5-minutes. As you are a champion of a god/a ruler, you may enter [The Grand System Auction] with a partner. Please ensure that you are touching whomever you wish to be your partner.|
Daz exhaled softly and got up once again. He strolled around the table and grabbed the handles on the back of Rose's wheelchair.
She picked up her newly upgraded laptop and placed it on her knees before she closed her game of chess and opened some sort of RPG. From what Daz could hear, every second person that she passed in the game called her character an 'N'wah', whatever that meant.
"You do know that I can move my chair with my mind, right?" Rose commented as she let Daz push her.
He lifted one hand and used it to rub the girl's platinum-blonde hair. "Yes, I do. Your reward from the dungeon in the first rest cycle, If I'm remembering correctly."
"Good for you. You can remember things from literally eight days ago," Rose mocked as she hacked and slashed at some flying pterodactyl look-alikes that were squawking annoyingly.
Daz just stayed silent and continued to pet her like a child as punishment. He had more than enough strength and dexterity to push her with ease using only one hand. Rose didn't complain, so the two continued moving in silence.
Now inside of the shipping container that held his personal safe, Daz wordlessly grabbed the item and letter that he was due this resting cycle from within the Box of Wonders before he returned the old-fashioned suitcase to the oversized safe.
This time, he kept the letter stuffed in a pocket to read it later. It didn't pester him to open it now, thankfully, since he only had a minute until the auction began and, in all honesty, since he had to regularly put up with his sister and the system's descriptions, he didn't particularly feel up to reading a letter filled with Altros' unique attitude.
Daz used Higher Identification on the small box with a strange pattern and equally strange metal-casted insignia of some sort that was affixed to the box.
|Altros' Unlucky Dice Set [SS-Rank (Lower Tier)]|
A box set of ten dice.
It was created by a famous dice-maker who paid the system to remove their name from the item's description out of shame. They only went so far as to make this strange item because Altros threatened his home planet if he wouldn't do it, despite how much it pained his artistic soul.
Ah, Altros. Funny guy. I wonder if he really would have gone so far for some shitty dice? He's such an oddball. Well, at least that's something the two of you have in common.
|Luck:||-10,000(Applied only when a dice from the set is used)||Durability:||∞|
|Unlucky Dice Production|
|Unlucky Dice Production|
|Generates an unlucky dice once per thirty minutes up to a maximum of 10.|
"What the...?" Daz was about to pull out the letter from Altros to see exactly what he had to say about this, but Rose grabbed his hand and the two of them were covered in a cascade of pure light. A moment later, they were gone, as was everyone else on Earth.
Support "Shovels In Spades"
- 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.