'Amazing! Fantastic! Exciting! Electrifying! Delectable! Savoury! Delicious!' Pheldorapod practically screaming in his mind as he saw Daz appearing on his stage once more.
The reaper was quite clearly still in pain, but his eyes were wide open this time as he stared at his opponent.
'Such visceral and raw hatred! The emotions filling every pore of his body! This, system, this is what I live for!' Pheldorapod had to actively avoid physically shaking from how overjoyed he was right now.
The man Daz was having such a violent reaction to, was, of course, Davido Hamilio, his father.
The two men stayed silent while one glared and the other simply wore a sharp smile on his face.
Clearly aware that any confrontation they were going to have wasn't going to happen until he had introduced them and started the fight, Pheldorapod quickly adjusted a few of his monocles before he addressed the auction's participants.
"My good testees of Earth, I'm sure you're all familiar and friendly with the very active Archreaper, Daz, no? He has both challenged and been challenged the most times out of all of the surviving Earthians! Quite the marvel, no? It's almost like he knows what to bid on and when to use his own tickets..." Pheldorapod teased.
"We all know his achievements as well as the backs of our very own tentacles, so I shan't say them again. I doubt anyone is interested in any of them anymore, except, perhaps, for his fourth one which I am still not allowed to reveal," Pheldorapod said as he shook his squishy head sadly.
"Now, the challenger of this ticket usage, however... My, oh my, what an equally interesting subject we have here," the alien claimed as he moved across the stage and then motioned to Davido.
"It would be a cardinal sin, my good friends, if you didn't recognise the name 'Davido Hamilio'!" Pheldorapod said grandly. "Indeed, he is the very same man that almost tampered with Earth's tests! The very same man who gave the common folk a chance to breathe on the last day of your second cycle, but also restricted most of you more... adventurous testees from gaining merit points on that day!"
While he let that information settle, Pheldorapod's mind worked in the background silently. 'He has two golden tickets, no? I wonder what he plans to do with the second? Perhaps keep it until the next auction? Doubtful considering I rarely host these special auctions... Aha! He's going to sell it to a player, isn't he? I suppose that would beg the question; why is he using one ticket now when he stands to gain more by selling them both?'
"Ahem, to list Davido's achievements, good testees of Earth, he has a total of three!" Pheldorapod shouted.
"First, he is one of the four current emperors of Earth. In fact, he is the one with the largest territory and he has the most people serving and living under his rule," the octopus claimed.
"His second achievement is quite the feat! Davido here has been ranked first for merit points ever since the tests on Earth began!" Pheldorapod exclaimed excitedly.
Clearing his nonexistent throat again - a tic of his it would seem, he continued, "And lastly, for his final achievement, he has accomplished both of these points without killing or hurting a single monster nor fellow testee! How marvellous, no? Some would say that he is the ideal testee. Performing splendidly without even raising a finger. How envious..."
Daz's opinion of the alien was rapidly dropping as he went on and on about how 'amazing' his father was.
Sensing the reaper's displeasure, Pheldorapod used a tentacle to stroke his hairless head and then waved in an exaggerated manner. "Well then, without further ado, please, let the final challenge of the Grand System Auction begin!"
Daz did not want to talk to Davido. He did not want to look at Davido. Hell, he did not even want to be near Davido.
In less than a second, he summoned both of his clones and used his justice chains before he and his clones used the Laughing Skull skill in conjunction.
"What...?" Daz muttered in shock.
Nothing happened. It sounded simple, but the complexities held behind those two simple words sent Daz's throbbing mind into a frenzy.
Not only didn't a single Justice Chain appear to bind Davido, but the three Laughing Skulls had also appeared to have done no damage to the man before they faded away.
Confidently walking forwards, Davido approached Daz silently as he stretched his arms out.
'What the fuck is he planning?' Daz asked himself before he glanced over to Rimmy. "Rimmy, crush him!"
"Rimmy!" Following the will of his master, Rimmy's core entered its main body before it controlled the thirty-foot-tall golem, sending it rocketing across the stage.
He punched the spot where Davido was standing, but no matter what he did, no matter how quickly he swung, every single attack of his completely missed.
Davido was still moving in a straight line towards Daz, so it made absolutely no sense that none of his attacks were hitting their mark.
In a small fit of rage, Rimmy rapid-fired his skill, Crystal Cannon. Davido's smile shifted. "Well, I can't exactly avoid all of those, now can I?" he asked Daz with a soft tone.
What happened next, not only shocked Daz and Rimmy but even Pheldorapod.
Every shard of crystal flying his way, miraculously entered Davido's body, then somehow exited it from the other side, leaving the man unscathed.
Daz frowned heavily. 'What the fuck? Is that a skill?'
"Why don't you find out, Darenzo?" Davido asked as if he knew exactly what his son was thinking. "I do not mind if you look at my status and my skills. In fact, I encourage it."
'Is this a trick? Is he trying to trap me? I won't fall for his petty taunts!' Daz yelled internally to himself. "Clone One, Clone Two, kill him," he ordered as he summoned Hamson and handed the shovel to Clone Two.
Davido shook his head faintly. "A shame. You are smart and confident, Darenzo, but you are too agitated right now to think wisely," he said with mild disappointment lacing his every word.
The two Daz clones employed their sixty-percent of Daz's stats perfectly, as well as his Shovel Arts and his Death Beam, but nothing hit Davido. Every attack simply passed through his body like he was an illusion or a ghost.
Daz stumbled backwards as Davido approached him, but his headache stopped his steps short. "Get away from me..." he weakly muttered in defiance.
Davido did no such thing. He wrapped his arms around Daz and hugged his head to his chest.
Rimmy, Clone One and Clone Two all stood at the ready, prepared to attack any second. They didn't want to hurt Daz, and they didn't know the rules behind whatever Davido was using to avoid their moves, so caution was the best option in their minds.
"Oh, Darenzo, Darenzo, Darenzo." Davido patted Daz's back softly as he smiled from ear-to-ear. "How proud you've made me. You're a perfect survivor, you're a perfect son, you're a perfect creation, but above all else, you're a perfect Hamilio."
Davido pulled back from the immobilised and stunned Daz before he rested his hands on the reaper's shoulders. "You have met my expectations and blown them out of the water, my son."
He took one of his hands and brushed back Daz's hair affectionately. "You're handling the side-effects of your level-three awakening expertly, but allow me to help you."
He gently kissed Daz's forehead, then a look that strongly resembled that of a proud father emerged on the deranged man's face. "Continue being a perfect survivor, a perfect son, a perfect creation, and above all else, a perfect Hamilio."
His eyes flashed golden for a few seconds as he stared at Daz. "My expectations have only grown, my son. Do not let me down, Darenzo." Davido then chuckled faintly. "Look after Rose properly, won't you? She's very important in the grand scheme of things." A moment of silence passed before Davido said two more words. "I surrender."
Daz was frozen stiff even after his father's body faded away.
Seeing that the reaper wasn't going to speak, Pheldorapod announced his victory then quickly returned Daz to his suite before proclaiming that the Grand System Auction had now ended.
Congratulations! You have won the challenge created by the golden ticket.
Your rewards: 145,000,000 merit points and a [Skill Cap Upgrade Token].
|The total balance of the host is now: 290,585,395 [+145,000,000].|
Daz reappeared with both of his clones and Rimmy's core in tow.
Rose had a very disturbed look on her face, but everyone else just seemed to be utterly confused.
"What the hell was that?" Crusher asked loudly. "How boring. You two just stared at each other for, like, five mins, then suddenly the handsome dude gave up. What gives?"
Daz slowly and calmed returned to the sofa that Vanessa was sat on after he pocketed his fifth and final Skill Cap Upgrade Token before he unsummoned his clones.
He didn't know how, but his father had apparently cured his headache. Everything felt clearer to him now. He held his chin as he sunk into thought. 'What the hell was all of that? How couldn't I hurt him? And about what Crusher said... That makes no sense... Just... Just what is he? It was his esper power, wasn't it? There's no way his level-five instincts did all of that... Rose said he had two powers, didn't she?'
Daz glanced towards the little girl who was peacefully typing away on her laptop. "Rose?"
"I don't know anything. I'm as ignorant as the rest of you," Rose said as she shrugged.
'She's lying.' Daz immediately knew this thanks to his Archreaper's Gaze. The ten-year-old simply glanced at him very meaningfully.
Daz's instincts were screaming at him that she simply didn't want to tell anyone else in the room what had happened, so he nodded.
"It was strange. Because of my headache, I could barely concentrate. Before I knew what was going on, I'd won," Daz said to add credibility to Rose's lie.
"Huh. Weird," Crusher commented.
"I agree. That man certainly looked weird, but something about him seemed... more than weird? Off, maybe," Mu added.
The room's occupants continued to talk about the subject until they were forcefully ejected from the auction and returned to where they were before it had begun.
Daz and Rose reappeared in the charity container that only held Daz's large personal safe.
|Congratulations! Due to the efforts of the host [Rose Hamilio], you have been granted the skills [All Language Comprehension [S-rank (Higher-tier)]] and [Lesser Item Box [D-rank (Middle-tier)]].|
Daz had no time to check these new skills of his with his secret override for two reasons; one, right now, he couldn't care any less, and two, the letter that had been sitting in his pocket ever since he had received Altros' Unlucky Dice Set from the Box of Wonders, finally burst to life and opened itself before forcing the reaper to read its contents.
'How rude. Do you know how frustrating it was for me to let that slimy bastard's power stop me from opening this letter for you?
Oh well, water under the bridge. I've got a forgiving soul.
Anyway, keep my dice on you at all times, Kiddo. Or at the very least, keep the box on you. These dice've saved my life thousands of times before. Being unlucky isn't nearly as bad as people chalk it up to be. Struggles and hardship lead to growth and strength.
My interest in you has skyrocketed by the way, especially since the Alaskan granny that I gave my hunting knife to has suddenly decided to take up Buddhism and refuses to use the damned thing now. I swear, one of these days, I'll kill that squid for messing with my toys.
Seeya next rest-cycle,
The great and mightly Altros
Daz calmly read the letter before he put it back in its envelope then returned it to his pocket. He positioned himself behind Rose and began wheeling her out of the shipping container.
"I'm guessing we're not going for a nice walk through Fort Skip, are we?" Rose said sarcastically.
Daz laughed dryly. "No, we're not. I have a million things to do before I can rest, but first thing's first, you're telling me what you know about Father and his second esper power. Bloodlines too, while we're at it."
Rose sighed. "You're not mad?"
Daz stopped moving and gently stroked Rose's hair. "At you? Not at all." He then kissed her head and wore a serious expression. "At myself? I couldn't be any more enraged even if I wanted to be."
"I see..." There was both joy and sadness in Rose's reply. 'I'm glad he doesn't hate me... I was... I was so scared...'
The two remained silent as they made their way through the fort and returned to the keep where they settled in Rose's room.
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