Madison spent two of her new Sword Credits on fancy new swords. One had a blade made of pure energy while the other one was a dazzlingly sharp katana of some sort. She fused both of them immediately with her personal sword, Family.
Of course, Daz checked it to see if it had gained any new skills. If he recalled correctly, Madison's skill, Sword Fusion, had a two-percent chance of absorbing a skill possessed by a sword that Family fused with.
|Family [A-Rank (Higher Tier)] [Up one entire rank!]|
A commission by the Archreaper Daz before the tests on Earth began for the woman he loves the most, Madison McArthur - the Wingless Angel.
It is made from 6150 spring-steel with the intentions of it being incredibly powerful, but also incredibly durable.
The first paragraph makes me wants to vomit, but the second one has my admiration. It's definitely a good sword for Earth's old standards.
|Durability:||26,000/26,000 [+6,000]||Sharpness:||4,000 [+1,200]|
|Piercing Damage:||2,100 [+600]||Slashing Damage:||3,500 [+750]|
|[New!] Heat Blade|
|Allows the host to generate a large air blade upwards of 4-meters long from their sword slashes. Cost: 500 Stamina per air blade.|
|Allows the host to cover their blade in a layer of heat which is 2,000°C. Cost: 50 Stamina per twenty seconds.|
"Wow. You got really lucky. I guess this 'Heat Blade' is from that energy sword thingy you just fed it. You should be able to cut - well, technically burn - through a person like they're butter with that," Daz commented.
"Mmm!" Madison happily responded as she bobbed her head up and down. "More, if, Altered."
"Altered?" Daz asked before he understood what she meant. "Ah. Your esper power. I wanna talk about that tonight after the auction's over if you don't mind. I don't really know how your power works, after all."
Madison smiled with her eyes. "Okay." Since Rose had explained most of how esper powers worked to him anyway, she saw no reason to hide what she could do anymore.
Although, to be entirely honest, she never really tried that hard in the first place. It felt wrong to keep stuff from Daz. She only did it in the first place since Rose had basically begged her to.
Had Daz cared even slightly about the topic before the apocalypse, then no doubt he'd have poked around some more and pressed Madison for answers which she would have willingly given him.
With that out of the way, Madison used the remaining five of her Sword Credits on raw merit points. Each one was worth five-hundred thousand merit points, which meant that she got two-point-five-million out of them in total.
"What do you plan to do with those points? I'm curious," Daz asked as he led her by the hand through the hallway to their next destination.
Madison tilted her head. "Max, stats. Upgrade, skills?"
Daz smiled warmly. "That sounds like a good plan. Whatever you do, I support it. Feel free to buy more toys and stuff that you like if you want to, though. I'll protect Fort Skip on my own if I have to, so it's okay if you want to splurge a little."
The Daz of only a few days ago would have never even dreamed of saying something like this. His mostly pragmatic and self-benefit-oriented views were being heavily warped by his new emotions, but he didn't exactly see this as being a bad thing. he just had to work that much harder to make up for it.
Madison shook her head. "Me, help. Daz, less, burden."
The reaper stopped in his tracks and pulled the startled girl into a kiss without minding the stares they were getting from the random survivor's in the hallway with them.
"You are perfect, you know that, right?" Daz asked as he separated their lips and rested his forehead against hers as he placed his hands around her waist.
Her face heated up much like how Family's new skill would allow it to, and her cheeks turned pure-scarlet. "No, you..."
Daz chuckled and kissed her again before he resumed walking.
Shortly after Daz and Madison had found their way to the trial of weakness and had sat through the explanation of the rules, they ran into some familiar faces.
"Edward? Harriot? Fancy running into you two here," Daz said casually as he greeted them.
Edward raised an eyebrow while Harriot happily waved and replied with, "Ah. It's good to see you, Lord Daz. And Madison too. I've been watching your montages on my phone. You've been doing some insane stuff."
Edward walked right up to Daz and gave him a firm look. "Just so you're aware, I'll have a lot more than five-million merit points once the auction is over. I hope you'll be ready to take them and bring my Jenna back then."
'Ah, fuck. Right. I still have to deal with this mess that the me of a week ago created, don't I?' Daz asked himself internally.
He sighed lightly and wore a sorry expression. "Look, Edward, I'll be frank with you. I don't have a way to revive the dead."
Harriot had an awkward look on her face and she started sweating. "Um, this isn't really the place that you two should be having this discuss-"
"I figured as much," Edward said, interrupting Harriot. "I figured as much, so, what's your plan?"
"Sorry?" Daz was a bit confused.
The man who was willing to kill innocents to perform a ritual that might resurrect his daughter was now asking Daz what his plan was after having been lied to and tricked?
Edward smiled wryly. "Just like your sister no doubt has looked in it, I also used a fair amount of my merit points to research the ceremony with the Baetylus' corpse. Jenna would become the host of an otherworldly demon. She would be corrupted and practically no different from a living corpse."
Edward sucked in a deep breath before he planted a firm gaze on Daz. "You are easily one of the most powerful and resourceful survivors in the whole world. If this auction's taught me anything, it's that. I've seen you change and grow over the last week. I've seen how you treat those loyal to you. I'm willing to pledge my life to you if you're willing to pledge to never stop searching for a way to bring back my daughter. I'll spare nothing if you can do this."
Daz was left speechless. 'He's adapted so much... Wow. This... This is more than I could have hoped for.' He smiled. "Right now, I have over thirty-million merit points."
Harriot felt herself gulping heavily while Edward was a bit shaken mentally by the stupidly large number.
"Admittedly, I plan to spend a lot of that in the champion auction and a lot of the leftovers on Waterford, but I swear that once today's auction ends, I'll invest some of those points into retrieving your daughter's soul and turning her into a spirit of sorts. That will be the first step to reviving her," Daz claimed.
"A spirit? What do you mean?" Edward asked as he struggled to hide his anxiousness.
"Well," Daz scratched his cheek as he thought about how best to explain. "I have a spirit that's attached to my shovel. She's called Reika, and she remembers everything from her past life. She is from another planet and has some special circumstances, but considering how crazy the system is and also considering the fact that I'm a reaper - a species naturally inclined towards souls and manipulating them, then I think it's safe to assume that I can at least do something similar to Reika's case for Jenna."
The life in Edward's eyes flashed with a brilliant brightness. "So... You think you can turn Jenna's soul into something like this 'Reika' and, what, attach her to my arm?" he asked as he flexed his clockwork arm slightly.
Daz nodded. "Yeah. Exactly. It's only the first step, but I'm fully intent on getting a body for Reika, so I don't see why I can't do the same for your daughter. Two birds one stone and all that shit, right?"
He then smiled apologetically. "I know it was wrong of me to lie to you, but at the time, it was my only reasonable choice. Either I got you to join me, or I killed you. I couldn't think of a better way to win you over than with emotional blackmail. That was a horrible thing for me to do, but I swear to bring your daughter back. All of her, not just an empty shell like what you'd planned with that living meteor's body."
Edward lightly shook his head. "It's okay. I have trust in you. Thank you... Thank you for not making me regret giving you a second chance."
He placed his hand on Daz's shoulder and squeezed it lightly. "I'll see you after this auction then. We have a few more challenge rooms to visit before this ends. I have a lot of upgrades I want to buy now that I don't need to give you this five-mil, so I'd like to gather up some more... physical rewards."
"Sure. See you two later," Daz said in farewell.
Harriot was very relieved that everything had turned out okay. 'Lord Daz really has changed... He wasn't just putting on an act in the kitchen the other day, huh? I'm glad... I'm really glad.'
The issue regarding her esper brother was stuck in the back of her mind and wasn't even much of a concern to her right now, so she didn't bring it up as she said her goodbyes to both Daz and Madison.
Madison smiled warmly with her eyes. "Daz, good."
The reaper laughed faintly. "I'm trying my hardest, so thanks for acknowledging that, Maddy. It means a lot to me."
The two of them approached a door inside of the trial and stopped just shy of it.
"Do you wanna try this 'trial of weakness' too, Maddy? Rose never suggested it, but it might net you some valuable points. It can't hurt, can it?" Daz asked her.
She shook her head. "Watch. Rules, don't, like."
Daz nodded. "Fair enough." He gave her a quick kiss then said, "Well, watch me destroy this challenge, okay? I'll be out soon."
Madison bobbed her head up and down enthusiastically. "Will!"
With that said, Daz stepped through the door and entered the trial of weakness.
Daz recalled the very simple rules the android had told him and Madison before their encounter with Edward as the first 'scene' was loading up.
"Sir, Madam, should you participate in this trial, your ability to adapt to weakness shall be tested. There are a total of ten scenes which scale upwards in difficulty. The goal is to resolve the situations by exploiting your character's weaknesses, and only their weaknesses."
"Is there any other way to win?"
"Of course, Sir. Weakness can also be displayed by not reacting. You can pass each scene by simply enduring what you are faced with. There is no need to actually overcome the scene so long as you can endure for a fixed period of time, but testing has proven that this is a far harder method of success."
"Perfect. Two options are definitely better than one."
After a few seconds, the scenario had completed its loading.
|Trial of Weakness: Scene 1: The Boy And His Brother|
|You are the younger brother, and your elder brother is incredibly jealous of your parent's affection that you have 'stolen' from him. He believes that as the firstborn, your parents should love him more. To fix this issue, he is willing to kill you.|
|Use your weaknesses [Smaller Frame], [Skinnier Body], [Poor Eyesight] and [Lacking Sense of Pain] to defeat your brother.|
|(Optional): Endure your brother's attacks until you are killed.|
Immediately, a fist flew towards Daz's face. He did not dodge it and let himself be flung across the room like a wet rag. He lay there slumped against the wall as blood eeked out of his nose and mouth.
His brother edged closer and lowered his hand to pick him up, but at that moment, Daz kicked and pushed against the wall, sending his body flying back into his brother's feet, resulting in the boy falling face-first.
Daz quickly clambered up onto his feet and grabbed the young boy's hair, resulting in him squealing and hollering until he decided to claw at the hand grasping his greasy locks, but the hand didn't let go. Daz slammed his face into the hard wooden floor repeatedly until he had stopped breathing.
|Congratulation! You have cleared the first scene. Loading the second scene now.|
"Even if this body was weaker, adrenaline still does its job." Daz couldn't hide his grin. "This is too fucking easy. I wonder if there will be scenes involving enduring mental and emotional pains? Regardless, it'll be a cakewalk, no doubt."
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