Now sitting on the bench by Heather's artificial pond, Daz sighed as he picked up a rock and tossed it into the water. "Ellie, why'd you refuse my invite during the champion auction?"
The girl shrugged. "I feel uncomfortable around you. Uh, It's not your fault, but ever since I became chaotic, it's become very hard to avoid shaking when you're near me."
'Oh? So she is affected by Enemy of Chaos...' Daz wrinkled his brow. "Is that the only reason?"
She looked hesitant before she seemed to decide on something then shook her head very lightly. "Well, uh, no."
"I thought so," Daz replied. "Well? Do you mind telling me if I've upset you and how? I may not be the best person when it comes to reading emotions, but I genuinely care about you as one of my citizens, so please, let me know what's wrong so I can make up for it."
Ellie tilted her head back and gazed at the stars overhead then shook her head once more. She got up and said, "You wouldn't understand."
Daz grabbed her wrist very gently. "Then make me understand. Is it to do with Ger and Sarah? How the hell am I supposed to help you if you won't tell me what's wrong? Sure, we've only known each other for a little over 2-weeks, but we've fought together and almost died together. Help me help you."
A big frown covered the young woman's expression and her eyes narrowed behind her glasses. She roughly tugged on her arm, freeing herself from Daz's grasp. "Yeah, it's to do with them, but like I already said, you wouldn't understand. How could you when you're the system's golden boy?"
"This is about the system?" Daz felt a headache coming on. 'Is this because she blames the system, and now that it's fairly clear that the system is offering me a bit of preferential treatment like it did during the auction, she's partially blaming me as well for her family's deaths?'
"Of course it is!" she shouted back. "If it wasn't for the fucking system, my sister, my dad, Jorden, over 7-billion people! None of them would be dead or missing right now!"
Daz had no good response for that. "You're right."
"W-What?" Ellie hadn't expected Daz to just accept her anger like that without refuting her.
He had become a king in this new messed-up world, so how could he agree with her saying that the system was at fault? Wasn't he thankful towards the system for making him powerful? Wasn't he thankful for it giving him the opportunity to regain his long-lost emotions?
Daz sighed and then got up from the bench. He looked right into Ellie's eyes and said, "Yes, the system's responsible, but regardless, it's an impassive... thing that has motives. What they are, I don't know, however, if you need someone to be at the end of your finger-pointing, then point it at the God of Death."
The reaper then put a hand on Ellie's shoulder and squeezed it lightly. "I promise to you, I will kill the God of Death to avenge your family. I don't know how, but if the opportunity ever presents itself, then I promise I will end that fucker's life. He's the one that facilitated Sarah, Ger, and Jorden, using up their souls to give me their merit points. If your mother is still around, I'll find her. If she isn't, I promise to find her soul if it's still intact somewhere and then I'll bring her back to life. Again, I don't know how, but I'll do it. I can swear an agreement on a system contract if you'd like."
Ellie was stunned speechless. Several seconds passed before she laughed in a self-deprecating manner. "Really... you're so unfair. Okay, I'll hold you to those promises. Screw the system, I don't trust it, but I'll do what you say. The God of Death, huh?" She looked back up at the sky and said, "I'll be back tomorrow. I need to go visit Mom. Um, do... do you need her body?"
Daz shook his head. "I don't know. Maybe? If you can bring it here, we can rebury her with Sarah and Ger. I'll know if I need her body to bring her back when I see it."
"Okay... Does, uh, lunch-time tomorrow sound good to you?" the girl asked a little bit sheepishly.
'Great... She's a bit more like how she was last week... That's a good first step,' Daz thought. "Sounds fantastic. See you then at the graveyard?"
Ellie nodded sadly then walked away.
Reika floated off of Daz's halo and crossed her arms over her lacking chest. 'What a weird person. So many other people are dealing with their loss maturely, but she chose to brood and blame you until you made some lofty promises? She's selfish.'
Daz picked up a rock and used his Dexterity to skim it across the pond. "We're all a bit selfish. What's one more person to revive? What's one more god to kill? She's a valuable citizen just based on her and her robots' combat potential, not to mention that she's a champion and an evolved. Besides, she was the second person that became my citizen, so sue me for being a bit biased."
'Hmmph. You're getting soft, Insolent Fool.' Reika wore a hardy look on her face as she pressed her incorporeal nose against Daz's and mad-dogged him. Suddenly, her expression morphed into one with a toothy grin. 'We prefer you like this!'
Daz smiled as he shoved his hands into his pockets then strolled away from Heather's pond. "If I'm not nice to my own people, then where would the justice in me being cruel to my enemies be?"
"Huh. So the old man's that messed up, eh?" Cecil asked as he scratched his ear.
Daz nodded before he concentrated and used Grave of the Mammals again. The size of the grave was now easily large enough to fit an elephant's corpse, but regardless, his mentor wasn't impressed even slightly.
"I guess on top of me needin' ta pray ta Pala, I'll have ta pray fer ya too?" he said as he carefully got off of the tombstone he was perched on. "At this rate, it'll take ya months to master that garbage enough fer it to be good enough ta upgrade."
Daz wanted to get angry at the elderly and frail man, but he knew that Cecil was right. This skill was a butchered imitation of The Grave of The Gods, and to Daz, it had no real use beyond being a slightly more efficient skill to dig with than Mass Dig was.
Suddenly, the reaper felt a massive impact on the back of his skull. Whipping his head around, he glared fiercely at Cecil who'd slapped him. "What was that for?"
"Fer not paying attention!" the old man shouted back as he grumbled and complained. "Ya can leave now. I can see yer mind's elsewhere. Also, build a church for Pala, would ya? That'll help him recover."
Daz, while still rubbing his throbbing head, replied, "Sure, I can do that. Seeya later."
"Bah, you're lucky I've nothin' else ta do, or I wouldn't teach someone like ya who has the attention span of a goldfish!" Cecil answered as he waved his hand, making the dreamscape collapse.
Daz opened his eyes only for them to be covered in darkness. He could still feel Madison wrapped around him like he was a body pillow, so he hadn't been kidnapped in his sleep, that was for sure.
Moving his hands towards his face, he felt something soft and fuzzy. Grabbing it gently and lifting it up, Daz saw Mr Barrier. "Why were you sitting on my face?"
Mr Barrier couldn't talk, so it instead floated out of his hands and happily bounced around the room in a relaxed manner.
Daz shook his head and smiled wryly. "What a weird creature. Well, I'm sure it's smart and really powerful since it was able to turn itself into an object. There's also the fact that it can make a literally unbreakable barrier," he muttered as he stretched and peeled Madison off of himself.
Kissing his girlfriend on the forehead, he whispered, "I'm going out, so ask the soldiers where I am if you wanna find me, 'kay?"
"Mmmm..." Madison replied in a dreary grumble.
Daz smiled warmly then got dressed. He told Mr Barrier to keep her safe before he left their bedroom.
After a hearty breakfast courtesy of Head Chef, Daz found Crosius in his throne room filing some paperwork at a desk to the side of the room.
"Ah, Your Majesty. Good morning. DId you sleep well?" the old man asked as he stroked his beard wisely.
Daz shrugged. "As good as any other night. I won't be very busy today, so I figured I'd answer some of the more complex suggestions and complaints today. Can you fill my schedule or something? I'll be available from about 2-PM to 10-PM."
Crosius' face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Absolutely, Your Majesty! With so much time, no doubt, you can clear all of the critical concerns today alone."
He was very happy to see his lord taking the time to manage his home base. He knew Daz was busy dealing with Waterford and his new flying city, so the old advisor was honestly worried that the young reaper would start neglecting Fort Skip. Thankfully, that seemed to be a baseless worry.
"Cool. I'll be back later then," Daz casually said then left the throne room.
He then exited the keep and entered the dungeon. He had received a quest shortly after he had finished his breakfast, so he was now going to work on completing said quest which just so happened to require him to enter the deep structure.
"It's morning," Heather stoically said as she gently shook awake a citizen who had signed up to work in the mines only two days ago.
"Mmm? Ah... Thank you very much..." the middle-aged European man replied in choppy English as he rolled about in his cot.
Heather nodded then moved on to the next person.
After Ger's death, she had found herself not knowing what to do with herself. Not only was her little sister missing, but the man that she was starting to develop feelings for had also so ruthlessly been taken from her.
While she had just met Ger, most of her days were packed with simply talking to him. To fill that newfound void, she chose to take up the responsibility of being the dungeon's caretaker.
Someone had to do it, and she only fished during her free time, so why not her? It certainly helped lessen the pain of Ger's sudden departure and it was very useful in distracting her from some particularly dark thoughts after realising that ever finding her sister again was rather unlikely.
Seeing the bottle that was being firmly grasped by the well-muscled man who had recently started growing a beard, Heather frowned. "Greg, how long are you going to keep acting like a child?"
"Don't talk to me... about kids, Woman," he spat back in a groggy voice. "I'm not one of the 'king''s lackeys, so fuck off and let me sleep."
Heather shook her head and sighed. "Dorian is far more of a man than you'll ever be, it would seem. What a disappointing sight. No wonder he hasn't come to see you again since you first arrived."
Greg sat up and threw his whiskey bottle at Heather's face, but she aptly grabbed it. With flushed cheeks, the former military general shouted, "I told you to fuck off! I ain't askin' for a lecture, but you're sure as hell askin' for a beating, Woman!"
Everything went silent as heads turned and stared at the grown man throwing a tantrum. Suddenly, a lifeless voice said, "Pathetic. No wonder the system wants me to help you, Greg."
"What..." Looking at the person who had spoken, Greg's face distorted into one of utter displeasure. "Sneaky bastard, huh? I didn't hear you come close."
Daz smiled. "I recently got a skill to mask my footsteps." The reaper nodded politely at Heather. "I'll handle this drunkard, so please, keep doing what you were doing, and thanks. I haven't had a chance to properly thank you yet for managing the dungeon. It's a great help. Crosius is very appreciative of the burden you've lifted from his shoulders."
Heather nodded back. "Don't worry about it." She then walked over to the closest person with a job to do later on who was still asleep.
Daz frowned under his smile. 'I need to deal with her soon too, but thankfully, she's far more stable than Ellie and this loser are. Really, how'd he fall so low? Wasn't he getting better after meeting Dorian again?'
"What are you staring at?" Greg asked in a challenging tone.
Daz shrugged. "A fool who's let everything he's ever cared about slip out of his grasp."
Greg wobbled up to his feet and pointed right at Daz's face. "What do you know?! You weren't even born when I joined the army! What could you fuckin' know about me?! Huh?! Huh?!"
"Everything, Greg. I know everything about you," Daz replied mysteriously. 'Is this what Rose feels like most of the time? While a bit fun, I can't say it's a particularly pleasant feeling...'
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