Shovels In Spades



Book 3 Chapter 30: Krishan Ladakh and Updated Ranking


A note from Lone

Second and final guaranteed chapter of the week.

Daz sketch artwork in the footnote, so check that out if you're interested in how he looks. The finished and coloured version won't be available to the public for at least a month after I post it on Patreon.

Daz stormed his way through the remaining nine scenes in the trial of weakness with relative ease on the lower levels, and some difficulty on the higher ones.

Almost every single scene was beatable with minimal effort so long as Daz listened to his instincts religiously and was willing to take some damage here or there to clear them. It hurt him a tremendous amount but thinking of what he'd already experienced ever since he was a child definitely helped him endure immensely.

The tenth and final trial was the only one that he almost failed. It was entirely mind-based and his instincts told him that he didn't have the capabilities to overcome the scene by exploiting his weaknesses, so he had to just sit there in his character's body and bear everything.

Had he not lived the life that he had, then there would have been a very high chance that his spirit would have broken, but misfortune breeds fortune in rare cases. He was able to push through and exceed the time needed to pass the scene by thinking of his father and all that he'd been through when he felt like giving up mid-way.

As soon as he was out, he was met by a few kind words or concerned looks from several strangers. Madison also rushed up to him and hugged him tightly.

He returned her embrace as he checked his rewards.


Congratulations! You successfully cleared 10/10 of the [Trial of Weakness]' scenes.

Your reward: 10,000,000 merit points.


The total balance of the host is now: 41,730,365 [+10,000,000].


'Excellent. A unique reward would have been great, but I can't turn my nose up at ten-million merit points for what was mostly me sitting still and enduring pain,' he thought as he brought his mouth to Madison's ear and whispered, "Are you sure you don't want to do this trial? I know you can get through at least the first three scenes. It's a million points per cleared scene, after all."

Madison shook her head as she buried her face in Daz's shoulder. "No... Pain, bad."

Daz smiled softly. "Right. No worries."

He knew that she hated physical and mental torture after what her mother had done to her in her childhood, so he wasn't going to push her on this even if she was essentially passing up on free merit points.

'I just need to work that much harder to make up for Maddy if this ends up biting her in the ass,' Daz thought with resolve.

Daz and Madison were now in an incredibly crowded auditorium. This was the room which held the Overall Power Competition within it.

Daz's Wisdom was telling him that there were at least a million people in here, which was incredibly overwhelming for both him and Madison.

Many eyes turned to them upon seeing Daz's unique clothing - The Travelling Gear of Altros, as well as his one-of-a-kind halo. Whispers ran throughout the crowd.

"That's Daz and his main squeeze, isn't it?"

"Wow. I never thought I'd see him up close."

"Do you think he's here to test his overall power?"

"Duh. No shit, Sherlock. Why else would he be here?"

"Sherlock? Who's that?"

"Damned uncultured foreigners..."

"Don't be a racist. Anyway, I wonder how strong he actually is? He seemed tough against that Aila girl and that Larry guy, but what if both of them were really weak?"

"I dunno. Haven't you watched the recordings of him?"

"What? The ones from the fighting ring? No one was particularly special there."

"No. There's more. He got over two-hundred-and-fifty-tonnes of force on the strength test in the ruler general area. He also recently managed to fly over two-hundred-thousand-feet in the flying trial and he cleared all ten of the scenes in the trial of weakness. Crazy stuff."

"Trial of weakness? Hahaha! So he is weak!"

"How are you still alive when you're so dumb?"

"I'm more interested in his girlfriend. She beat seven out of ten of a sword king's aspects. That's crazy. From what I've researched, Sword kings are meant to be stupidly strong. Man, I wish I was holding a sword when this shit all kicked off, not a freaking crowbar..."

Daz tuned himself out at that point and decided to approach an android which had just finished talking to another survivor.

"Hello, Sir, Madam. Would you like to know the rules of the Overall Power Competition?" it asked them both politely.

Daz nodded. "Yes."

"Excellent. The rules are simple. There is a one-thousand merit point fee to enter the competition, and once in, you will face the other survivors who are currently waiting for enough participants to be gathered in one-on-one combat. The rules of the battles are simple. You may use anything at your disposal to defeat your opponent or to force them to surrender. Since the minimum requirement for the tournament to start is a total of five-hundred-and-twenty-four-thousand-two-hundred-and-eighty-eight registered participants, this competition can last for quite some time, hence why this room has a one-hundred-to-one time-dilation," the android merrily explained.

'So nineteen fights in total if you win the whole thing?' Daz followed up his thought by asking, "Okay. What's the reward?"

"Of course, Sir. The reward is wholly dependant on how well you rank after the tournament, but the prize for first place is fifteen-million merit points as well as a very rare Skill Upgrade Token. The prize will also be doubled regardless of your rank if you allow the system to use a mirror of you in future tests on other planets in the future. I do have to note that you may only participate in this competition once. You cannot repeat it, even if you lose early on," the robot answered as it bowed lightly.

"Interesting... Mirrors, huh?" Daz mumbled.

"Indeed, Sir. Is that all?" it asked with a very polite tone.

"Yeah, that's all," he replied.

Daz ignored it after that, allowing it to wander off to help another survivor. He turned to Madison and Rimmy before he smiled. "We should both enter. It'll do us good for experience, and we're both strong enough to rank very highly, aren't we? Just admit defeat if you think you can't win a fight."

Madison nodded. She was fine with that. "Will, try, best."

And so, the two of them signed up and waited with Rimmy until enough people had been registered in their competition.

Just before they were teleported to their individual waiting rooms, Daz gave Madison a quick kiss and said, "Good luck. Show no mercy, 'kay?"

"Mmm." She bobbed her head up and down before she returned his kiss with a short peck on the cheek while her face was covered with a bright shade of pink. "You, too."

Daz was then blinded by a flash of white light. A second later, he opened his eyes and saw that Rimmy and his contracted jewels were still by his side, but he was now in a white room with nothing in it except for a bench and a door.

Suddenly, a system notification filled his vision.


Your first opponent shall be [Krishan Ladakh]. He is a [Sabre Master].

Please step through the door within twenty seconds to start your match. Failing to step through will be treated as an automatic surrender.


Daz did as he was told. He soon found himself to be standing on a large arena with a man of cleary Indian descent just across from himself. This man was lavishly dressed and his turban had a massive ruby embedded into its centre just above his forehead. At his waist, a sabre with a jewel-encrusted golden hilt was hung there.

Krishan Ladakh bowed his head. "I know that I am not your match. It is a shame that I will be eliminated this early on, but please, attack me with your full power, Dazji. It would be my greatest honour to fall to your strength."

Daz raised an eyebrow. 'Dazji? I've never heard that before. System, what does the 'ji' mean, if anything?'


Bronze-level system access is required for that knowledge. Confirmed access level of the host to be ruby-level.

'Ji' is the traditional way in the Hindi language to address another person respectfully. It is similar to the male-specific English honorific 'sir', the gender-neutral Japanese honorific 'san' and the gender-neutral Filipino Tagalog honorific 'po'.


'Huh. Cool. The more you know,' Daz mused to himself before he bowed his head. "Likewise. I'll try to not let you down."

The middle-aged man smiled faintly as he drew his sabre. On the exact moment that the system declared the fight to have started, Krishan Ladakh assaulted Daz with hundreds of sabre swings.

Were it not for Rimmy's incredibly fast reactions with his Jewelled Ramparts, no doubt, Daz's halo would be busy keeping him alive right now. "Laughing Skull."

As soon as the half-blue-half-green skull made itself known, the life drained out of Krishan's eyes. Like that, Daz had won his first fight.

Once he was back in his waiting room, he checked his auction phone to see how Madison was doing, but he'd received a text from someone new; its owner had a name he recognised.

"Krishan Ladakh? 'Thank you for the magnificent fight. I am looking forward to seeing how you will grow in the future. Should you ever wish to meet and have a conversation, you will find me in Leh, India. Many thanks, Dazji,' huh? Interesting..." Daz muttered as he thought over this peculiar encounter. 

Unsurprisingly, none of his other fights were even half as entertaining as the one with Krishan Ladakh. Most of his opponents had knives for weapons or other commonly held objects that could kill a person. Three people had magic-based classes, but no one was even close to being his equal.

Every single one died immediately to Daz's Laughing Skull. Krishan was the only person who had even come close to threatening his life.

Daz smiled as he saw the name of his next and final opponent.


Your nineteenth opponent shall be [Madison McArthur]. She is a [Divine Swordsman].

Please step through the door within twenty seconds to start your match. Failing to step through will be treated as an automatic surrender.


He opened the door in the waiting room and waltzed onto the stage.

Madison was already there, and her eyes lit up upon seeing him. She ran into his arms and whispered, "Missed, you."

"I missed you too," Daz replied as he hugged her back. "Do you wanna fight? I can limit myself if you want me to for a fair fight."

Madison shook her head. "Surrender."

The system knew the meaning behind her saying that, obviously, so immediately, both she and Daz were teleported out of the arena and were returned to the Overall Power Competiton's main chamber.

Congratulations! You came first in the Overall Power Competition #6.

Your reward: 15,000,000 merit points and a single [Skill Upgrade Token].

The system would like to use your mirror image from the competition to act as a cycle test for future tests on other planets. Should you accept, your reward will be doubled.

Do you accept?



'Yes, I accept.' Daz cared very little if this would result in other planets coming to hate him for his mirror's actions in the future. All he cared about right now was amassing as many merit points as he possibly could.

What he was unaware of was that the system did not give this opportunity to just anyone that won the Overall Power Competition. In fact, out of the current six winners, he was the only person who had received this privilege. Clearly, the system wouldn't use just anyone's mirror as a test for other worlds, and perhaps, just perhaps, it had other motivations to afford this opportunity to the young reaper.


Confirmed. You have been awarded 30,000,000 merit points as well as 2 [Skill Upgrade Tokens].


The total balance of the host is now: 71,729,365 [+30,000,000].


He put the two new tokens in his pocket as he checked his merit ranking to see if he had gained a new access level or not. As it would so happen, he had gone up a rank. He was now ranked three for merit points.


Due to being in the top 3 for overall Merit Points, the host will gain [Sapphire-level] access to the shop and system.


As a reward for being in the top 3 for overall merit points, the host has been granted an [SS-rank Item Token].


Daz pocketed the unexpected token and grinned as he approached Madison with Rimmy by his side.

She cocked her head to one side. "Something, good?"

"Yeah, something good happened," Daz kissed her softly - embarrassing her - and he then took her by the hand and left the room.

He explained his new overall merit rank to Madison as they made their way to the Power-Stripped Survival Test.

As he was detailing the rewards from his new rank, Daz couldn't help but wonder who the two people were that had gained more merit points than him since the apocalypse's beginning as well as how they had earned that many merit points.

A note from Lone

Daz at Fort Skip before the system-apocalypse began sketch

Spoiler: Spoiler

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