Congratulations! You won the duel.
Your prize: [142,153] merit points.
|The total merit balance of the host is now: 2,661,641 [+142,153].|
Once again, Daz reappeared at his and Rose's table alongside the four men. Each of them looked beyond traumatised and they hobbled away as if they were merely puppets being pulled by strings.
Rose raised her eyes from her laptop's screens and commented, "Did you really need to use your Justice Chains?"
Daz shrugged. "Not really, but it's the best form of torture for evil people like them."
"Hmm..." Rose returned to playing her game while simultaneously cracking the All Language Comprehension skill.
Daz picked up his coffee that was still hot somehow despite thirty-minutes having passed. He figured this was to do with the fact that it was system-issued coffee, so it probably never got cold. He didn't care enough to use his Higher Identification on it, but it was still fairly interesting.
"Excuse me," a sudden voice asked towards Daz. Looking at its owner, he saw a petite girl of maybe fifteen years in a pair of shorts, a tank top and a baseball cap standing next to their table. There was a long quarterstaff strapped to her back that appeared to have thick metal ends. "Can I have a minute of your time?"
Daz raised an eyebrow. "Sure. What's up?"
She fiddled about with her ponytail that was poking through the back of her hat as she asked, "Can I duel you? I haven't been able to have any good fights yet, but you seem really strong, so I thought maybe I could learn a thing or two from you? Sorry if I'm being a bother."
"I don't mind." Daz got back up. "You set the prize, but please don't hold it against me if I win. I'm happy to spar, but don't blame if I end up taking your points."
She nodded. "I saw what you did to those guys on the monitors. I don't think I can win, but like I said, I just wanna get better at fighting. Some points are worth the valuable experience."
Daz stuck his hand out towards her. "Daz."
She smiled and shook his hand. "Vanessa."
[Vanessa Jakoby] has challenged you to a duel on the behalf of herself. You can refuse as a fellow champion should you wish to.
The wager is for [10,000] merit points.
The condition for victory: Kill your opponent.
Do you accept? Y/N
"I accept," Daz said.
The two of them were whisked away to an arena immediately.
"You're a champion too?" Vanessa asked with surprise in her tone.
Daz nodded and took Hamson out from its brand. "Champion of the God of Shovels. I know, it sounds funny, but hey, could have been worse." He held Hamson loosely and asked, "Champion of the God of Staves, I'm guessing?"
She shook her head. "Quarterstaves."
"I see." Daz assumed a relaxed position. "Sorry if this sounds rude, but I peeked at your status. I'm a lot stronger than you, so give me your all and I'll try to give you advice? I'm not an expert at legitimate fighting though, so take what I say with a few grains of salt."
"Eh? You saw my status? How?" Vanessa didn't seem offended, but more curious, which was fortunate for Daz. He didn't want to make an enemy out of a champion of a god whenever possible. He had just followed his instincts when they told him that he should identify her.
"I have a version of the Identification skill. Higher identification. You haven't heard of it? Everyone who was holding a laptop or phone got the lesser version with their class," Daz explained.
"Eh?" A second or two passed as Vanessa's eyes unfocused. "Eh?! A million points?! That's expensive!"
Daz felt his lips loosening into a smile. 'Damn. She's pretty innocent. I wonder what life would be like if Rose was like this girl? Hopefully, she mellows out and ends up like her. That'd be nice.' From her status, Daz had seen that she was Lawful Good and her description was bereft of anything incriminating. Truly a model survivor, if not a bit naive.
"That's actually one of the cheapest SS-ranked skills out there, but it's incredibly useful," Daz said. "Are you not the resident of a base?"
"Eh? What's a base?" Vanessa tilted her head and held her chin.
Daz chuckled softly. "I'll tell you after our fight if you'd like."
She grinned from ear to ear and unstrapped her quarterstaff from her back. "Sure! Sounds fun."
Still in his relaxed position, Daz said, "If you don't mind letting others know what you're capable of, go all out. If you can hurt me, I'll consider it your win."
Vanessa's smile cracked a tiny bit. "Is the difference really that big?"
Without hesitating, Daz replied, "I'm one of the strongest people on Earth, if not, the strongest." He smirked. 'Well, only if I create my clones and summon Rimmy, but I'm stronger than Crusher and Mu combined I'd bet if I use everything at my disposal.'
Vanessa was a very trusting individual, but even she could see unjustified conceit when it slapped her in the face. Daz truly believed what he was saying, so she tightened her grip on her quarterstaff. "I-I'm coming!"
Daz nodded as he stood there holding Hamson.
Like a whirlwind, Vanessa sprung into action and was upon him in less than a split-second. 'She's faster than she should be... Ah, class skill. 'One With The Field'. Interesting skill.'
Even though he lacked the Perception stat, with his Agility and Wisdom alone, Vanessa's movements almost seemed like they were in slow motion.
With a light flick of his wrist, Hamson countered the quarterstaff that was zooming towards his ribs. The impact sent the girl off balance, so Daz used his free arm to catch her. It would be a shame if she fell on her face and broke her nose. He was having fun, after all.
Lightly fixing the girl's stance, Daz said, "Predictable. Maybe try a feint or two? Like I mentioned, I'm not an expert at fighting, but you were so obvious. Also, go for the kill. Smacking my ribs won't do anything. Maybe a normal person would get winded or something, but you should go for the head, throat or genitals. Shins or the back of the knees if you want to stop them from running."
"R-Right." Vanessa was a bit shocked at the helpful information she was getting. Their fight had only just begun.
Congratulations! You won the duel.
Your prize: [10,000] merit points.
|The total merit balance of the host is now: 2,671,641 [+10,000].|
"Really, thank you, Daz. I had no idea that there was still so much left to learn. You're an amazing teacher," Vanessa honestly praised as she sipped on her banana milkshake.
Rose scoffed lightly without removing her gaze from her laptop. "He's been fighting for fourteen years against people that were trying to beat him within an inch of his life. Don't believe his lies. He's a master at street hand-to-hand combat."
Daz felt inclined enough to flick her forehead, making the girl wince in pain. "Hand-to-hand is different from using real weapons."
Rose glared at him. "Knives aren't real weapons? Bats too?"
Daz just laughed. "It's different. Any old idiot can wield a knife, but can they use it?"
"Bah." Rose didn't want to get into what she thought was semantics, so she returned to her work.
Vanessa smiled warmly. "You guys have a good relationship. I'm jealous."
"I'd gladly trade her in for someone like you," Daz teased as he rubbed Rose's head. "Anyway, about the bases... Are you interested?"
As the two of them were getting drinks, he had explained how bases worked and the insane benefits that came from being associated with one - his in particular, considering his contract with Big Bo.
"Sure," Vanessa said as she smiled happily. "Ah, but my English isn't that good. Even still, I'd be happy to actually meet some people. Ah, this auction doesn't count!" She scratched her head a bit bashfully after taking her cap off. "I live in the countryside and my grandparents weren't holding weapons, so they kinda disappeared. I was the only person who made it out of all of my neighbours, so I've actually been kinda lonely. Um, I'm from Germany too, so I'd need a boat or a plane, but... Hmm... I think Uncle Heinrich had a cropduster. I can probably fly that to an airport then grab something faster from there. Shouldn't take me any more than a day or two."
"You know how to fly?" Daz asked with some surprise in his tone. That was a rare skill pre-apocalypse, especially for someone so young.
Vanessa rubbed her nose with embarrassment, "No, but can't I just buy a skill to make me good enough to not crash?"
"Ah, that's right. Hmm..." Looking up such a skill, Daz said, "Only five-thousand points for Basic Aviation-based Vehicle Skills. Fairly cheap."
"Isn't it?" Vanessa clapped her hands softly and had an excited expression on her face. "I'm really looking forward to actually living with other people. A few more weeks and I was sure I was going to go insane, hahaha."
"... I'm pretty sure I can teleport you to my base once I invite you." As fun as watching her innocently make plans was, Daz felt like it was appropriate to pop her bubble now before she left and actually tried to fly over the Atlantic.
"Ah... I already bought the skill..." Vanessa looked like she wanted to cry.
Rose cast her a suspicious glance. "Really wears her heart on her sleeve, huh?"
"Yes, unlike a certain someone," Daz fired back.
"Meh." Rose stuck her tongue out defiantly. "By the way, here come your next recruits," she said as she pointed to a group of lightly clothed black men. At first glance, they seemed to be of African descent based on their accessories and tribal weaponry.
Daz raised an eyebrow. "They're either recruits or free points. All of them are neutral chaotic? I can work with that. Time to do your job, Archreaper's Aura."
Dorian adjusted his glasses as he stood awkwardly next to an incredibly short man with long green hair, clown make-up and a jester's outfit on. This man had a tiny hammer strapped to his waist and he was laughing every few seconds as he watched his phone.
This phone was an item provided by the system and was given to everyone after ten real-life minutes had passed.
It basically acted as a television station that granted access to a live feed of all of the other rooms. Of course, it was designed to be easy to use despite the hundreds of different room types.
Dorian and this short clown were in a massive stadium that only had a single strength measurement device which had a currently unbeaten record of six-tonnes of force. The way to earn merit points from it was to beat the high score. Participating had a fee of one-thousand merit points and the current jackpot was sitting at eight-million. It was clearly a popular room, but no one had a fist strength of six-tonnes, it would seem.
"Crusher, I'm bored out of my mind," Dorian said to the man.
Looking away from his phone momentarily, the man flashed a toothy smirk. "Just a few more people, Ahab. I don't wanna stay cooped up in here all day as well, trust me. I'm having fun watching Uriel wow people with his power and words right now though. The guy sucks at talking, but he always comes off as charismatic. Funny trick, that."
Dorian just sighed heavily and decided to adjust his metal arm. "Really though, did you have to choose such a stupid outfit and body? I'm already a big enough attraction 'cause of my arm. Even Daz didn't disguise himself. Though with his halo, it might have been a good choice for him..."
Crusher grinned lewdly. "Did you know that you get the bits too? Good thing I chose a small body, otherwise, I'd be pitching a hell of a tent right now. How do you guys keep your dicks in check all of the time? Seriously though, a single hot chick with exposed legs, and boom! Hello! I want to play!"
Dorian stopped messing around with his arm and just buried his face in his hands. "Why did you drag me along with you?... I'd rather have gone to this auction stuff by myself..."
"Hahaha! Don't be such a Debbie Downer. We'll go in a room you want after this, 'kay? I'll get my prize now and we can leave since you keep whining," Crusher suggested as she put her phone in one of her jester's outfit's many pockets and stood up before stretching.
"Really? Thank God," Dorian sighed as he followed the tiny man through the crowd. He couldn't care less if she called out his complaining. He just wanted to get out of this room filled with strength junkies.
Once they were at the front, a massive man had just finished trying his luck. He got close at four-point-seven-tonnes of force, but it wasn't quite close enough.
Crusher couldn't help herself and laughed incredibly loudly upon seeing everyone lining up to test the machine. "Bunch of weaklings!"
Every pair of eyes turned onto her and the quickly cowering Dorian. Glares fierce enough to burn holes through skin landed on the two of them.
The big man who was slowly deflating like a balloon stared at Crusher's paint-covered smiling face and frowned. "If we're so weak, why don't you go and break the record, friend?"
"Don't mind if I do!" Crusher's words were enthusiastic, but she was only met with a round of thunderous laughter.
"A guy that small? He's barely five-foot tall."
"Isn't he still a kid?"
"Wanna bet he can't even reach a hundred-kilos?"
"No way! More like ten-kilos!"
Dorian wanted to get angry for Crusher, but he couldn't feel anything except for sympathy when he thought of how foolish the peanut gallery was being. He did, however, notice that amongst the crowd of three or four hundred people, that there were a handful of individuals watching Crusher very carefully and without any contempt in their gazes.
Walking up to the machine casually, Crusher rolled up her sleeve and focused hard. "Strength Boost. Muscle Tightening. Gravity Reinforcement. Vibration Distortion."
The ground around her was practically humming as the pressure in Crusher's immediate surroundings grew by several folds.
The people that were still in the middle of laughing and poking fun at Crusher's appearance all held their breath and glued their eyes to her right fist.
Exhaling deeply, she roared, "TITAN FORM!"
Her body exploded in size. While nothing in comparison to her real body's Titan Form, she still grew to be eighteen-feet tall. The machine matched her size for fairness' sake.
'I've never once used my God-rank skill before, but now seems like a good time. Uriel had better buy me a beer sometime for all of the free promo I'm doing here,' Crusher thought before she screamed, "FIST OF THE GODS!"
Her punch broke the sound barrier and sent ripples through the air. It was as if the very laws of physics were trying their absolute best to deny her the strength she was producing!
With the sound of a thunderous explosion, Crusher's fist landed squarely on the target. The number on its display screen kept rocketing up. It instantly smashed the old record and continued to climb.
Only once it had reached an almost impossible to fathom three-hundred-tonnes of force, did the numbers stop ticking up.
Congratulations! You have won the [Test of Strength] jackpot!
Your prize: 8,013,000 merit points.
|The total merit balance of the host is now: 13,432,354 [+8,013,000].|
Crusher dismissed her notifications for reaching rank four for total merit points. She already had Ruby-level access to the shop and system since her old rank was rank seven, so she didn't care about her updated rank. At least not until she had reached the top three.
Her body shrunk back down to its tiny original size and she beamed a smile. Silence greeted her. "Everyone, listen up!"
All eyes and ears were on her, so they would have listened to whatever she had to say regardless of her telling them to do so. "I'm from a place called Fort Skip! You might randomly get a message sometime soon from my lord, Daz, asking you to join us and become his citizen. If you're already in a base, tough shit. Sucks to be you. Maybe leave it if you have no loyalties and are curious? Anyway, if you get an invite, take it seriously, 'cause someday, you'll probably have to face me if you're not with me. Don't even mention my lord, 'cause he's way tougher than I am."
With that said, Crusher locked her arm with Dorian's and strolled out of the auditorium. Whether her 'free promo' had been successful or a massive failure was still yet to be seen.
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