With her chin and hands resting on the pommel of her enlargened gravity hammer, Crusher asked, "Uriel, got any idea what this cycle's gonna be about? Last time it was weather, so I was thinking maybe it'd be about something abstract like betrayal this time. What if it forces me to turn on you guys or som'in? I doubt I can beat you, sure, but I'm pretty confident I can kill almost everyone here before you can stop me."
Dorian held his face in his hand. "Why are you always so morbid with your ideas?"
"At least she's playfully morbid," Edward noted.
"What a troublesome question," Lyle muttered.
Daz slowly glanced over at the Titan and smiled. "I would use Reflective Justice Chains on you in a split second then cut your head off with Hamson. As soon as you use your daily resurrection, I'll repeat that process."
Madison nodded proudly, but the teenaged cosplayers and Vanessa looked quite scared by the bluntness of Daz's response.
Crusher burst out into laughter. "I guess I have committed more than one crime in my life, huh, Uriel? You should use them chains of yours on me at some point so I can feel what my 'victims' felt. That sounds like a fuckin' great way to atone."
Ellie looked down upon hearing that. "'Atone', huh?" she whispered to herself.
Daz smiled at Crusher. "Sure. After today's attack or if there is no attack, then we can have a serious fight where I'll use my chains and try to kill you. I doubt it'll be as clear-cut as my description. You've gotten a lot stronger since the auction, right? I have a feeling that I wasn't the only one holding back in our fight the other day."
Crusher grinned playfully. "Hahaha, well, yeah. I'm tryna be smart with my cash now though, so most of my points are in the bank. I did buy one new skill though and I made it so I can come back to life twice a day, not just once. I can be below you, sure, but anyone else? Fuck that. I gotta stay on my toes."
Mu nodded in response to that. "A wise mindset. It's not very different from my own."
Daz agreed. "I'm personally trying to focus more heavily on upgrading my territories, but yeah, I am investing a bit into myself and I've set up a dedicated savings account to let my points grow. I'm a little bit of an impulse spender since any day could be my last."
"Ah, I must thank you for that, My Lord. I plan to draft up a new law soon that will require all citizens to invest at least 10% of all of their earnings into their savings account," Lyle claimed. "With that, it should be far less burdensome should you wish to lift the restriction on bank loans."
'He's sharp. He's sharp or he has some insider information from the bank. I've never once mentioned wanting to make loans a viable option for my citizens, now have I?' Daz thought suspiciously. 'That, or he gained a lot of insight from the recent upgrades to the bank... As sly as ever regardless, Lyle.'
Turning his head to look at the distant Fort Sky that was on standby to use its four laser cannons at first notice, Daz replied, "That's a good idea. Make sure to run this draft through Crosius and hash out the finer details before you bring it to me though since I'll be the one buying it from the system."
"Of course, My King." Several people cringed at how Lyle addressed Daz, but they didn't comment on it and just all continued to wait for the time to tick on by. Noon was quickly approaching, after all.
The minutes passed by and felt like hours to the tenser of those who were gathered here. However, regardless of everyone's fears, the system waited for no one and filled everyone's eyes with the notification of the third cycle's beginning.
Due to [Earth] having survived the initialisation phase of its people's tests, the compiling stage shall now commence. Every host shall be given a unique goal which they must complete within a [6-month] cycle, failure to do shall result in a fixed fee of 10,000,000 merit points or the choice to serve the system as a slave for eternity.
Good luck, hosts of [Earth].
'Well, that's a big increase in time, but also a big increase in risk... Unique goals? That'll be far harder to help people with than simply shouldering their attack was, that's for sure,' Daz noted as his own unique goal appeared in front of him.
|Semester One shall now begin|
|Many gods have attempted to tamper with your goal's difficulty, but as you are a host being directly managed by the system, all involved gods have been fined 5,000 Divine Crystals and any further attempts to meddle with you shall result in extremely severe consequences for the gods who try to do so.|
|Daz's Goal For Semester One|
|Unite a minimum of four American states and bring them under your rule.|
|Bring any one foreign state or nation entirely under your rule. (Note: Rewards will be greatly increased should you complete this optional goal on top of the main goal).|
Daz wasn't even given a second to think about this monumental shift in cycle focus before another grey screen covered his vision.
|As this is the first semester of cycle 3, you should be made aware that any territory owned by the host shall now only generate base points every Monday at 00:00. Additionally, bank interest shall now only be applied once every Monday at 00:00.|
"Good fuckin' thing it's Monday tomorrow, huh?" Daz muttered as he held his elbow in one hand and his chin in the other. 'That explains why Big Bo wasn't too torn up about a 20% interest rate... Fuck. I got played. I had no idea the frequency of the rate would go down...'
'Still, regardless of the bank, four states, huh?' A moment of silence passed while everyone else absorbed the information in front of their eyes, so Daz had a bit of time to think. 'Still, the gods tried to fuck with me again? I'm thankful that the system's got my back, but I really wish those gods would fuck off, or if the system could at least tell me who's gunning for me...'
Madison cocked her head to the side cutely. "Semester? School?"
Ellie smiled weakly. "Well... This whole shit show is meant to be a series of tests, right? I can see the parallel."
Crusher puckered her lips in thought. "I wonder how the fuck I'm meant to do this."
Daz raised an eyebrow and looked at her. "Your goal?"
"Yeah." She scratched her head and looked a bit frustrated. "I need to evolve entirely on my own, but ever since I became a Titan, my mindset hasn't shifted even an inch, so without usin' my rainbow fruit, I don't see this being an easy thing to do."
She laughed a bit sourly and added, "I prefered it when all I had to do was fuckin' kill shit, ya know?"
Lyle nodded. "There is a certain simplicity in ending another's life, naturally, but I expect this test to lead to greater things when looking at the bigger picture as a whole."
Edward scoffed. "Damned snake. You sound a lot like my old boss."
Daz sighed very lightly and said, "Well, there's no point in all of us standing out here with our dicks in our hands. Let's help the soldiers get everyone out of the dungeon then we can discuss our goals at Bobby's. Of course, there's no obligation if you'd rather keep your goals to yourselves."
No one present seemed to disagree with that idea, so they all reentered Fort Skip's walls and chatted as they made the long walk from the outer layer to the inner layer.
Vanessa's eyes opened wide like saucers after hearing Daz's system-given goal. "T-That sounds way harder than mine..."
Rose, who had invited herself to the massive group having lunch, raised an eyebrow. "What's your goal, Vanessa? I think anyone could have predicted Daz's being so stupid, but you're also a champion, so I doubt yours is to, oh, I dunno, raise a kitten or something just as equally trivial."
Daz chuckled softly at that. "I was kind of expecting you to know everyone's goal right off of the bat, Rose."
Crusher laughed as she cleaned off a chicken thigh in one bite. "No kiddin', right? The little smartass seems to know everything, so I'm kinda disappointed that she ain't acting like a stuck up little brat right now."
"I'm right here. I can hear you, you know," Rose snorted as she looked back at Vanessa. "So?"
Looking down as she nibbled on her toasted honey bread, the young German replied, "Um, I need t-to fall in love..."
Silence befell the surrounding tables. Vanessa hung her head even lower in response to that. "I-I know... It's so stupid..."
Daz smiled wryly. "I'm sure there's a reason behind it. Well, at least you only have to fall in love, not enter a genuine relationship, so you only have to do half of the work. Every cloud has a silver lining."
"Y-Yeah, I guess," Vanessa replied with a very weak smile.
"And you, Rose? What's your goal?" the reaper asked his little sister.
Rose frowned deeply. "I need to discover every single champion who is currently living in the states. I don't need to do anything with them, I just need to find out who they are, but regardless, that is going to eat up a huge chunk of my time."
"Um... I don't really have anything to do, so I can help you with that if you'd like...," Vanessa suggested with a somewhat pleading tone to her voice. Clearly, she wanted a distraction from her own goal.
Rose shrugged. "Sure. I don't really care."
"T-Thanks," Vanessa replied as she played with her ponytail in embarrassment.
Daz glanced at Madison who was sitting next to him as she peacefully nibbled away at her sandwich. "What about you, Maddy? What's your goal?"
"Awaken, Alteration, level, two," she replied softly as she focused on her food.
Rose's eyes narrowed at that. "So even if our esper abilities aren't controlled by the system, it's still aware of them and wants to encourage us to develop them? That's interesting..."
"Very." Daz nodded. He then looked at Edward and Dorian. "You two? Want to tell what your goals are?"
Edward shrugged. "Mine is easy considering it's something that we were already working towards. I just need to make a bit of progress with Jenna's resurrection."
"Don't be so sure," Rose said. "The system can be tricky. I'd start looking into that more if I were you. Daz can make her a spirit, yeah, but is that really a step closer to bringing her back to life? I'd double-check."
Daz reached over the table and flicked his sister's forehead. "I appreciate your concern, but I've already looked into this a lot. Stopping the corrosion of a soul is absolutely a step towards resurrection."
"Ow..." Rose held her stinging temple and clicked her tongue. "Fine. I just don't want him going nuts if he needs to do more than just let you handle everything."
Edward scoffed. "Thanks for your concern, but I won't lose my cool at this point. We've got 6-months to figure things out, so I'm not gonna flip out like a fuckin' child."
"So you say," Rose sarcastically replied before she exited the conversation and began tapping away on her alien laptop.
Dorian scratched his cheek and said, "Uh... well, my goal's a lot like Vanessa's, but, em, it's more personal..."
"Is it to do with Greg?" Daz asked as he mentally thanked Dorian for shifting the focus of the conversation away from Rose and Edward.
Nodding in defeat, Dorian replied, "Yeah, it is."
Seeing that he didn't want to talk about it more than that, Daz moved onto his fellow reaper. "What about you, Mu?"
"Hmm?" Lifting his head from his bowl of mushroom soup, Mu replied, "I need to gather at least 1,000 people to serve me on my own and they all have to have a loyalty level of at least Slightly Low." He grinned and added, "It seems that the system has taken notice of my growing interest in being a ruler."
"On your own? Well, I'm sure if you try, that shouldn't be too tough," Daz said positively. "What about you two, Ellie, Lyle?"
"I need to learn five skills on my own without the system's help," Ellie replied.
Lyle smiled. "My goal is to ensure that you accomplish yours, My King."
"Both make sense, but yours is a bit... odd, Lyle," Daz noted.
Crusher chuckled. "Man, even the system sees how much of an unnatural kissass you are, huh? Grow a fuckin' personality, Dude."
Lyle laughed dryly in response to that. "I merely wish to survive and to thank the man who helped cure me of my crippling drug addiction, Crusher, so I would appreciate it if you held your tongue and did not disrespect me for that," he requested very pointedly.
The mood soured a bit at that, resulting in Daz sighing. "Let's drop it for now and enjoy our meal, okay? Like Edward said, we've got 6-months to figure out how we'll all go about our goals anyway."
"Fine by me," Crusher said with a shrug as she bought a bottle of vodka directly from the system and began chugging it like there was no tomorrow.
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