Both the man and woman who looked a little older than Daz were Lawful Neutral, the young girl was pure Good while the elderly lady, on the other hand, was Lawful Good.
Clearly, Daz didn't have to worry about their motives now that he knew where their moral compasses were pointing.
Sadly, none of them were champions or had a particularly special background. They were a family of four - the two dark-skinned adults being the husband of Jesabelle's deceased daughter and his sister. Sasha - the child, was actually not related to the other three scavengers.
Sasha had a past much like the late Jorden of Fort Skip did. Her parents weren't holding weapons during the system's coming, so they disappeared, leaving the six-year-old by herself. She managed to defeat the first two attacks of cycle one by herself before being found by Jesabelle. The rest was history after that.
Daz held his jaw and thought to himself a little bit before he said, "So, reasking my earlier question, do you guys want to stop the sinkhole, and if so, can you help me? It's fine if you don't or can't. I'll manage on my own."
Jesabelle stepped forwards and held her cane with both of her hands before she said, "That's right, Sonny. This place is our home, so we'd love to help ya. Rebecca here, my useless excuse for a daughter - ah, not by blood, mind ya, nor by law. She's this dolt's sister, and he's my son-in-law." The elderly woman lifted her cane and pointed at Antoine with it.
The well-built man winced a bit at having his intelligence questioned, but he remained quiet since back-talking her would only lead to her ripping into him even more.
"Anyhoo, Rebecca is an Earth Mage. I'm sure ya saw that on 'er status, didntcha, Sonny?" Jesabelle asked as she tilted her head up so that Daz could see her wisened eyes underneath her cowboy hat.
The reaper nodded. "Yes. I didn't look at her nor any of your skills though. I only wanted to make sure you weren't evil, and I wanted to confirm if any of you were champions."
"I see," Jesabelle said before she lowered her gaze again. "Well, Rebecca can help ya. We already know that she dun't got the juice to fix all of this land, but she can still use magic to strengthen the soil somewhat."
Daz nodded. "That'll be helpful. Well then, can any of you guys fly? Bruce and Master Merit included."
Everyone either shook their heads or wore a confused expression. Daz just sighed lightly at that. "Mu, help me bring everyone up to Fort Sky. They'll only get in the way down here."
"Sure, Daz," Mu answered and then freed the Cloud of Tartarus from its bottle.
Daz and Mu then ferried everyone up to Fort Sky. Thankfully, no one got hurt or complained. Sasha, in fact, found the experience to be thrilling.
Mu was worried about injuring Jesabelle, but the woman just smacked him on the head with her cane and said that she was healthier than ever thanks to the system. Clearly, she was a woman lacking fear to be hitting the man that had almost killed Daz only a few days ago.
Now that everyone was up on Fort Sky and were all at its central square, Jesabelle approached Daz and asked, "So, Sonny. What's the plan? There was no reason for ya and Rebecca to come up here too, was there? Not unless ye've a plan or sumthin'."
"Right," Rebecca agreed as she chewed on some bubble gum. "I can't do anything up here."
Daz walked towards the massive purple gem in the square's centre and answered, "We can't stop the sinkhole before it appears."
Rebecca had told Daz that they only had just under 2-hours until the sinkhole appeared as she was being helped up to Fort Sky, resulting in him deeming it to be impossible to clear his and Mu's quest right now.
Sasha immediately started tearing up. She ran up to Daz and wrapped her arms around his leg while still holding onto her bag of candy. "But you said you were gunna stop it! I don't want the pretty lights to disappear!"
"Sweetie!" Jesabelle shouted with a mix of anger and worry in her voice upon seeing Daz's movements coming to a halt. "I'm sure he still plans to stop the sinkhole, he just hasn't told us how yet!"
Sasha wore an expression of disbelief on her adorable little face. She stared up at Daz who was calmly looking back down at her. "Is that true?"
Daz smiled faintly. "Sasha, do you know what a sinkhole is?"
"Uh... a hole that sinks?" the girl answered to the best of her ability.
Daz crouched down and very gently peeled the girl off of him. Now at eye-level with the child, he explained, "A sinkhole is when there isn't enough stuff in the ground to support its own weight, pretty much. Now, there are a bunch of ways to stop one from forming, but a sinkhole that can grow and that will be big enough to sink all of Nevada is no doubt going to be massive. It'll probably be miles wide."
"Uh... Y-You'll stop it, right?" Sasha asked as she clutched her candy bag closely to her chest.
Daz shook his head. "No, I won't."
Daz interrupted the girl by grinning and saying, "But he will," as he pointed at GriD CrosS.
"The big sparkly thingy will?" Sasha asked with confusion spread all across her face.
Most of the other gathered survivors were perplexed too, the only exceptions being Jesabelle and Master Merit.
"Hahaha..." the elderly woman cackled as she figured out Daz's plan.
Master Merit smiled under his massive handlebar moustache. "Both ingenious and blatantly obvious upon some thought."
Daz nodded and straightened his legs. "Grid, you can do that, right? You can plunge into the ground and fill it with ease, can't you? I know any floating city worth its salt could, so you can probably do it with your eyes closed."
"O-Of course I can! I don't have eyes, but you'd be wrong if you were to think that I can't plant myself in the ground! I can even do it without accidentally starting the sinkhole you were talking about!" the crystal boasted.
"Oh, really?" Daz asked with a smirk spread across his lips. "Naturally, I believe you, but won't you show me? You want to impress my contracted ancient peridot, right? I'm sure that'd knock his proverbial socks off."
As if to agree with his master, the head-sized jewel lazily bounced around.
"I-I would have done it even if you hadn't asked me to!" GriD CrosS claimed before an ear-piercing sound filled everyone's ears.
Antoine panicked for a moment as his family covered their ears. "What was that?!"
Bruce similarly entered a fighting stance.
"Relax," Daz ordered. "That was the sound of Grid here amazingly inserting Fort Sky into the ground."
Jesabelle shoved a finger into her ear as she frowned. "So quickly? And we didn't feel any side-effects? Sonny, that's not how gravity works!"
Daz shrugged. "Grid can control gravity in Fort Sky. How'd you think the city was flying? That's why I brought everyone up here - to avoid the sand and impact. I mean, just look up. Can't you see all of the dirt and sand covering a good chunk of the barrier?"
Everyone did just that - look up. To their shock, Daz was right. It was like Fort Sky had been hit by a massive tsunami of sand and soil.
"Rebecca," Daz called. "How long now until the sinkhole appears? You can tell, can't you?"
Daz could also determine how long they had now via his instincts or by asking the system with his high access level, but he figured it'd have a bigger impact if the woman slightly older than himself was given the opportunity.
Rebecca used her skill that granted her the ability to tell when the sinkhole would appear, then she wore a shocked expression on her face. "We've got twelve-hours now. Also, um, call me Becca, please. Only she calls me by my full name."
Jesabelle raised her cane and whacked the dark-skinned girl over the head with it. "That's 'Mother' to you! How many times do I have to tell you?!"
Ignoring this apparent family skit, Daz said, "Well, Becca, we've got some work to do, you and I. Everyone else, feel free to relax in this city for now."
"What're you two gonna do?" Bruce asked while he continued to stare at the sand and soil that was slowly falling off of the massive red barrier that surrounded Fort Sky's city.
"I can turn things into crystals permanently with a bit of luck. I'm gonna draw a massive circle around Fort Sky, dig a huge trench, then Becca's going to turn the left side of that circle into hardened dirt, while I turn the right side into crystals. Once the outer layer is done, I'll punch a few holes into the second layer, rinse and repeat until we hit Fort Sky."
Everyone frowned - Mu and Master Merit included - at such a flimsy sounding suggestion. Stepping forwards, Master Merit said, "Is that not rather unreliable? What if the sinkhole forms outside of your circle, My King?"
Daz waved his hand dismissively. "It won't. Oh, also, I know you don't have much worldforce, so I'll get this guy to help you," he said to Rebecca before some of his death energy was sucked out of his body and congealed into a perfect copy of himself.
Daz looked at his clone then said, "Your name is Gamma. You know what to do."
"Order received, Original," the clone replied emotionlessly.
"Wow... It's so surreal seeing it in person," Antoine muttered under his breath.
"This guy has seventy percent of my power, so he should be able to help you clear your side. Worse comes to worst, I'll unsummon then resummon my other two clones to help as well," Daz said nonchalantly.
"I thought you only had two," Bruce said as he scratched his head in confusion with two of his arms as the other two folded across his chest.
Daz shrugged once again. "I upgraded the skill that lets me create them. Anyway, I trust that no one has any issues with the plan now? Trust me, it'll work."
Seeing no better options or simply not caring, the gathered people nodded or said words of agreement. "Great, then let's get to work, Becca."
Nine hours later and well into the evening, Daz had finally turned the last part of the inner earth where the sinkhole would form into solid diamond.
Thankfully, Daz knew exactly what diamonds were made of since he'd studied them extensively after gaining the Crystallisation skill. The system had plenty to tell in regards to this ordinary and common enough material.
While it was a rare jewel on Earth, according to the system, it was one of the weaker and most easily-found naturally-formed and non-magical types of precious stone that it had encountered during its existence.
|Congratulations! The area where the sinkhole that was going to swallow Nevada has been converted into 85% [Pure Diamond] and 15% [Hardened Dirt].|
Daz was sapped of almost all of his worldforce since Rebecca had a considerably smaller capacity than he did. Mid-way, he had spent 100,000 merit points to further increase his maximum worldforce simply to keep going.
Abandoning Nevada, and consequentially, a free city, was not worth more than 100,000 merit points to the reaper, so the choice made more than enough sense.
|Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Emergency/Optional quest [Savior of Nevada].|
|+50 in all stats.|
|Sword Handling Gloves [B-ranked (Lower Tier)]|
|A pass to claim any one city in the American state of [Nevada] (expires in 20 days).|
"Great," Daz muttered before he swiftly left the pure crystal cave that he was standing in. He quickly made his way over to the Clone - Gamma, and Rebecca.
He had no use for the Sword Handling Gloves, so he stored them in his Lesser Item Box. Daz was fully intent on gifting them to Madison upon his return to Fort Skip. However, while he was moving, he checked his newly-updated status.
|Class:||Crystal Digger||Affinity:||Lawful Neutral|
|Strength:||[LR] 1,500(2,275)||Dexterity:||1,550(2,275) | Item Boost: +50. [+50]|
|Constitution:||1,610(2,363) [+50]||Intelligence:||60(90) [+50]|
|Transparency:||60(90) [+50]||Agility:||1,310 [+50]|
|Charisma:||1,190 | Item Boost: +15 [+50]||Defense:||[LR] 2,000 | Item boost: +3,000.|
|Immunity:||825 [+50]||Soul Power:||6,510 [+50]|
|Luck:||[LR] 1,250 | Item Boost: +325.||Justice:||3,150 [+3,000]|
|Corruption:||0||Wisdom:||1,210 | Item Boost: +250 [+50]|
|Regeneration:||510 | Item boost: +100 [+50]||[New!] Mana Sensitivity:||51 [+50]|
'My Justice has shot through the roof... Was that because of me changing the world to benefit all of Earth's survivors?' Whatever the answer, this was a positive result.
It was a welcome boon since he had a valid way to spend his Justice stats now via his Reflective Chain of Justice.
Shortly thereafter, he reached the exhausted and heavily sweating Rebecca as well as his seemingly soulless third clone, Gamma.
"Let's head back to the square. Can you move, or should I carry you?" Daz asked Rebecca.
She smiled then bought a jug of water from the system. After downed a fifth of it, she grabbed her knees then wobbled up to her feet. "I'll be fine. I can't believe we actually did it," she muttered as she popped a stick of gum in her mouth.
"If I say I can do something, then I can do it," Daz confidently claimed with a friendly smile on his face.
The reaper then dismissed his clone and wondered, 'What part of my personality will manifest in this clone? Alpha is my shrewdness, and I think Beta is my fighting nature and ability... Anger, maybe? Could be love too. Those are the only things that come to mind...'
With that thought now plaguing his mind, he returned to GriD CrosS with Rebecca in tow.
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