Shovels In Spades



Book 3 Chapter 16: Nearing Level Three and Merit Ranking


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

'Justice Chains!' Daz yelled in his mind.

The next thing he saw, was Larry's yoyo spinning towards his face incredibly quickly. Daz barely avoided the attack with his own ability. If at all possible, he wanted to save his halo's second daily auto-dodge, although, his instincts were telling him that he would be fine relying on it, which had him a bit confused.

He leapt backwards several feet and then stared at the middle-aged man in disbelief. "You've never committed a crime before?"

Larry raised an eyebrow as the metal yoyo flew back into his palm. "So that's what those chains of yours are related to? Crimes? I guess that makes sense after watching that recording," he said as he cracked his throwing wrist. "But yeah, I'm as clean as a whistle, Kid."

'Fuck. I know nothing about him, and I'd rather not offend him if he's a good person... All the more so if he's a good person but petty. The last thing I need is a powerful enemy created over a stupid token... What's the best course of action here?... Well, I guess it can't hurt to try to negotiate,' Daz decided.

He relaxed his posture and raised his hands. "Larry, was it? Why don't we make a deal?"

"A deal? I'm listening," Larry replied cautiously. Just like Daz, he too was worried about his opponent's strength and the possibility of souring their future relationship. Despite his somewhat rude mouth, Larry hadn't become the ruler of five cities with luck alone.

"Nine million points is a lot. I don't mean to look down on you, but if I came at you with everything that I've got, I'd probably win. You can tell that much, right?" Daz asked.

Larry was about to spit on the stage's floor again but managed to hold himself back in fear of punishment. He scoffed. "I wouldn't be so sure, but yeah. I know I don't have any guarantees to beat you. Your point?"

Daz smiled. "If you're willing to make a contract enforced by the system right here to enter a non-aggression treaty with me and my territories, or even an alliance if you're willing, then I'll surrender right now. I intend to buy a teleportation station for my home city soon, so helping you if you're in need is not impossible no matter where you are in the world so long as you buy a relay."

Larry shook his head. "It's a good deal, but no. I'll win this fucking thing fair and square. Come at me, Kid."

Daz sighed. "You can't blame me for trying, right? Can I just confirm something with the system quickly?"

Larry looked suspicious, but he nodded his head. "Sure. No funny moves though. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Kid. Don't betray my trust."

"Thanks." Daz lowered his hands to his sides and questioned the system with, "System, will any skills with daily usage limits be refreshed between the auctions?"


Confirmed. As this is not a part of the adaptability test, all of the host's skill with such limits will no longer have those limits applied while in [The Grand System Auction]. They refresh between fights, this includes during fights in the amusement and gambling centres.


"Great. One last thing, Larry. Please don't hold it against me if I win. I'd rather not make an enemy out of a man who's ruling five cities, if at all possible. I'm not going to risk the lives of my citizens just because the guy I defeated to get a token was a sore loser." Daz wanted to be as peaceful as he could, so he would appreciate it if Larry wasn't the petty type to hold a grudge over something that he had started himself.

The middle-aged man shrugged. "I'm paying for this out of my own pocket if you win, so don't worry. I'm not a sore loser. I made this choice myself. Likewise. When I beat your ass into the ground, I'd appreciate it if you didn't winge and cry. Treat it like a learning experience. I used a silver ticket, so you won't lose anything except for your pride when I win."

Daz grinned and summoned Hamson. "You can't lose what you don't have."

"Well said," Larry replied with a smirk.

"Sorry," Daz mumbled. He immediately summoned his two clones before he and the two of them used the Laughing Skull skill.

As the single second duration for that skill was running, Daz summoned Rimmy. The massive crystal man wasted no time and pummeled the immobilised and barely conscious Larry into a grotesque pulp.

As soon as that second was up, the three Laughing Skulls disappeared into nothingness. The young reaper nodded to his clones who nodded back. Rimmy's core then popped out of its body and was going to give its master a hug, however, Daz suddenly did a one-eighty pivot and swung Hamson.

A head rolled onto the floor. Immediately after that, he threw Hamson towards the back of the stage.

Slumping down against the stage's back wall, Larry coughed out a mouthful of partially-black blood. "Fuck me... Keh!" He smiled wryly as he coughed out even more blood. "How the fuck'd you know I was behind you and then here? You weren't using a skill, that's for damned sure."

Daz grinned. "I have good instincts. I never expected you to have that kind of skill. I doubt many people saw it, but that's powerful. You can detect skill usage too? I hope we never become enemies."

He unsummoned his clones shortly before he did the same to Rimmy after hugging him like he'd wanted. Then the young reaper walked up to Larry and offered his hand to him. "A shake for a good but quick fight? Just so you know, that was me pretty much going all out. My back's drenched in cold sweat."

Larry looked between Daz's hand and his handsome face a few times before his own face soured. He collected his saliva and flung it onto the young reaper's outstretched palm. There was blood mixed in, but Daz didn't seem to mind. Immediately afterwards, he grabbed it firmly. "Good fight, Kid. I learned a lot. You're from Waterford, right? I'm from Austin."

The man's face cramped up a lot as he shook Daz's hand. Obviously, moving so much in his current condition - what with a massive root-slayer shovel lodged in his chest - caused him a great deal of pain.

"It'll take you a bit to bleed out." Daz unstrapped the knife from his thigh and plunged it into Larry's heart. "Take care. If you wanna talk more, I'll invite you to my private room next auction. If you'd rather not, then I'll see you when I see you, I suppose."

Larry grinned and then scattered into fragments of light. He was dead.

Pheldorapod was once again humming with joy. 'Truly worthy of the system's favour! The drama made between himself and a pure stranger was magnificent!... I'll revoke that strike as a reward for being a good sport. Larry Billard, was it? Not a bad man. Such a good bunch of testees this season!'

He cleared his throat despite not owning one, and then spread his tentacles out before he announced, "Ladies! Gentlemen! The genderless and everything else in between! We have our winner!"

Much like with Daz's last ticket challenge, the hall began rumbling from the sheer magnitude of the crowd's applause. The young reaper bowed his head softly and then returned to his private suite, disappeared completely from the spotless stage.

Congratulations! You have won the challenge created by the silver ticket.

Your rewards: 9,000,000 merit points and a [Class Upgrade Token].


The total merit balance of the host is now: 18,471,641 [+9,000,000].


Daz immediately put the small cuboid-token that had appeared in front of him into his pocket before he asked the system to show him his new merit ranking. As it turned out, he was now rank five.


Due to being in the top 10 for overall Merit Points, the host will gain [Ruby-level] access to the shop and system.


Due to having [Ruby-level] access to the shop, the system will now actively remove the worst 20% of items/skills for the host when the host uses a relevant token or wishes to buy a specific item to give them a more optimal selection of items/skills to choose from.


"Useful," Daz mumbled.

Rose clicked her tongue as soon as she saw him. 'Damn. He's already starting his level-three awakening for his Survival Instincts... Larry was supposed to be a good match-up for him. Someone really needs to put him in his place before he gets himself killed.' As much as she would fervently deny it, Rose only wanted the best for her precious big brother.

The android that had guided Daz and Rose to this suite - or one identical to it, at least - entered the room again. It lowered its head and said, "As the general auction has now concluded, when you leave this room, you shall be returned to your waiting area. As there are still two more auctions to be held, if you do not have access to them, you will still be required to remain in an amusement centre and gambling ring that you do have access to until the final auction has concluded. You have five minutes to vacate this room before the system will automatically teleport you back to your respective waiting rooms."

After saying all of that, the robot left the suite.

Lyle stood up and stretched lightly. "Well, this has been a very informative experience. My Lord," he called as he looked at Daz, "I shall immediately begin formulating a comprehensive list of all of the people that purchased items today. As I, personally, do not have permission to enter the following auctions, would it be too much to ask you to invite Benjamin to your room in the lord auction and have his second personality, Red, note down the buyers for me?"

Daz nodded. "I can do that." He rubbed Rose's head. "And I'm assuming you want this little devil to do it during the champion auction?"

Lyle smiled. "If Rose does not mind, that would be excellent."

Rose just grunted. "I would have done it even if you didn't ask me to."

"Hahaha, of course. Well then, My Lord, Madison, Rose, Vanessa. Mave and I shall now take our leave. We'll see you back at Fort Skip once this is all over," Lyle promised.

"Sure, seeya then," Daz replied as he walked behind Rose and began pushing her wheelchair.

Vanessa looked a little bit lost, which Rose noticed. "I'll send you a text on your auction phone. Come to whatever room we go to next if you wanna hang out." She then turned to look at Madison and said, "I'll send you one too if you want?"

Madison's eyes shined and she bobbed her head up and down repeatedly.

The young German teen looked surprised before she clapped her hands and smiled warmly. "Yeah. I'd love that. Thanks, Rose. Bye, Mave, Mr Middletown." After saying her farewells, she left the room.

Lyle scratched his cheek and muttered, "Am I really that old looking? Mr?" to which Mave chuckled cynically and jabbed him in his side. The two then left the room a few seconds after Vanessa had.

Daz pushed Rose's wheelchair with Madison walking alongside him and the three of them then left the suite. Once Daz and Rose were back in their waiting room, the reaper's little sister asked him, "So, what do you wanna do now? You want to make money, right?"

He nodded. "As much as possible. You're the expert here, oh mighty Champion of Information. Where should we go?"

"The general amusement and gambling centre again. We'll go gambling, I guess. It's risky, but it gives out way more money than the challenge or competition-based rooms do if you squeeze it just right," Rose said with a clear lack of interest in her tone.

"Sounds good. Just tell me which door to enter once we're back in the hallway." With that said, Daz once again entered the general amusement and gambling centre.

Davido sat in a poker den in the champion's amusement centre and gambling hall with Giacomo sleeping on his lap.

Davido had his auction phone in his hand - the one that wasn't supporting his son's back. Displayed on it was a recording of Daz's fight with Larry. "Such power so soon... You are truly my son, aren't you, Darenzo?"

A grin found its way onto his lips. "Not only that, but your Survival Instinct is growing even faster than mine did... I look so very forward to the fate of Earth. As your creator, I can't wait to see how you mould what rightfully belongs to the Hamilios."

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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