[Mission Accepted. Good luck.]
Hearing this, Daneel gritted his teeth, trying to ignore the pain as he sat up and started to look around.
He was in an dark alley which was currently empty. The surrounding buildings were made of stone but different from the ones he had seen on Earth, the stone was neatly cut into bricks instead of just being heaped one rock on top of another.
As he slowly stood up and stumbled to the end of the alley, a bustling market greeted him.
In a wide open area, there were numerous shops set up in formation. Although there were a lot of people in the market, it still somehow seemed to be very much in order. Guards constantly patrolled the area wearing black uniforms with dull golden belt and buttons.
People of all kinds could be seen. There was no predominant race or color, but clothing seemed to decide whether one was rich or poor.
Some people who seemed to be well off wore waist coats and knee-length dresses in vibrant colors. Others who seemed to be less privileged wore common shirts and frocks, appearing more muted and indistinct, blending into the crowd.
There also seemed to be many kinds of shops. Some sold regular food or items, but a few others which were the most crowded had banners which read "Magical Trinkets for Sale! Eliminate odors with the De-odor Amulet! Stay safe with a Protector Wrist Band! Eliminate small illnesses with our special Healing Ring!". Groups of people flocked to these locations as soon as someone made a purchase and left, leaving a spot open.
Daneel barely had the time to take in all of these details before he almost collapsed from the pain. Struggling to hold himself up, he suspected that if he fell now, he might never get up again. And this time, he might just be dead for real.
There were numerous fountains located around the marketplace. Panic appearing on his face, he realized that there was no way he would be able to check them all before dying from his injuries. Besides, the patrolling guards were eyeing him with threatening stares as if warning him to stay away.
"Uh...system? Which fountain is it?", he thought in his mind, half convinced that he was just being dumb and the 'system' or whatever had just been a figment of his imagination borne from delirious ravings.
[As stated, it is the one now located 603 meters north from host's location. The system asks the host to not hesitate from asking any queries. The system will know which thoughts are being addressed as queries. Also, the system ensures the host that he is destined to conquer this world with the help of the very real and aptly titled World Domination System. But first, system advises host to finish the mission. Estimated time to organ collapse: 14 minutes 27 seconds.]
Daneel could only stare aimlessly as this response sounded in his mind. Destined to conquer the world? Who cared about that right now? He first needed to conquer the tiredness that was seeping into his mind, urging him to go to sleep.
The sun wasn't visible, so Daneel had no way to estimate which way was the north. Asking someone was also out of the question as he had the hunch that he would only have one chance to enter the marketplace.
"System, I need you to show me the fountain somehow. Or at least which direction north is."
[Auxiliary Tool: HUD-1 needed. Exp. Points Rate:10. Host has 0 experience points. Would the host like to avail a loan? It must be noted that an interest of 100% must be paid back along with the loaned amount at the earliest.]
100%? What the hell? Whoever made this system had the blackest heart possible. Although he cursed at the creator of the system in frustration, he knew that he was in a situation where he would die if he did not take the loan. Even if it were 1000%, he would have had to choose it.
"Yes", he said, as his body shook due to the waves of pain lashing at him.
[Loan granted. HUD-1 purchased from the System Store. Deployment shall commence in 3,2,1...]
A bright flash of light appeared in front of Daneel which made him close his eyes. A tingling could be felt in his brain as he waited for his eyes to adjust.
After opening his eyes, it felt as if someone had switched on a light at his location. Everything in his vision was crisper and more vibrant than it had been.
In the top left corner was some data that Daneel did not have time to examine because of the statement from the system which said:
[HUD-1 deployed. Please note that usage of any tools or abilities will result in depletion of energy. Host's current energy:1.2%]
Realizing that he had no time to waste, Daneel hurriedly started looking around. To his left, one fountain could be seen in the distance shining with a red hue.
He knew that this was where he needed to go.
Gathering all the remaining energy in his body, Daneel took a deep breath as he prepared to put everything on the line and reach his destination no matter what came in his way.
Not hesitating anymore, he took off at a dead run towards the fountain. It dominated his eyes, almost calling to him, offering salvation.
His rags and bloody body made him stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd. People shied away as he got near them, avoiding him as if he were the plague.
This was actually a blessing for Daneel as he now had a path with no obstacles.
Hearing a shout from behind which signaled that the guards were after him, he spurred his body to move even faster while gritting his teeth to ignore the agony that came from pushing his already injured body to the limit.
As soon as he reached the fountain, Daneel dunked his head in, drinking as much water as he could.
Although he sputtered and coughed, he still managed to ingest a large amount of the water. He also hurried to scoop up and drink as much water as he could before the guards arrived.
Suddenly, a baton lashed his back, making him bend over with shock. He curled into a ball almost instinctively as heavy kicks started to rain down on him.
Thankfully, the kicks stopped in a few seconds and he was hoisted up by his waist roughly.
Never having the pleasure of constantly being able to stuff himself, Daneel had a light and lithe figure. Even though he wasn't extremely thin and malnourished, he was definitely not the picture of good health.
The guard who had lifted him cursed under his breath as he took him back into the alleyway and threw him on the ground. He felt his head bounce on the hard floor, almost making him faint.
"If I see you in the market again, I will personally donate you to Ozelow. And you know what he does with stray kids." Saying so, the guard stormed away, not caring whether Daneel lived or died.
Daneel couldn't even register what the guard had said as he was currently trying hard to maintain consciousness. His head was now bleeding while he wondered whether he had been cheated. Had it all been his imagination?
As if to answer his question, the system responded:
[Mission success. Beginning recovery.]