Daneel increased the amount of time he spent outside in order to learn the Hidden Kill as soon as possible. Each day, he would finish the chores in the morning before leaving to the secluded spot to practice. After 4 hours, he would return, have lunch and go again, returning at dinner. When asked, he told his parents that he was practicing his skills.
Robert now spent each day smiling. This was because news that his son might be admitted into the National Magic Academy of Lanthanor had reinvigorated him. He even said that for this, he would have no problem borrowing money as it was a once in a life time chance.
Both of his parents were ecstatic. Seeing this enthusiasm made Daneel train even harder to obtain Ether and pass the exam.
"Deploy CT-1, Hidden Kill", would be his command to the system each time he reached a grove of trees.
A white mark would appear on a nearby tree which he would follow to punch. The concept was simple: make the punch penetrate slightly and then revert it instantly, making a "bubble" form. Only, it required precise monitoring of force and timing.
Initially, the training had been with the white figure. Daneel had changed it to the tree as the white figure was transparent and he had no indication of force or recoil.
Although the bark of the tree was hard and made his hands bleed occasionally, he was determined to master the technique as soon as possible. No amount of pain deterred him.
It seemed that grit and dedication had become part of his personality. He had never remembered feeling like this: the willingness to forsake anything to achieve his goal. It might be that there hadn't been a goal worthy of such conviction.
Now, he had a solid goal and the means to achieve. Thus, he did not hesitate.
Pain focused him. Pain forged him. Pain made him learn.
Bleeding fingers and embedded splinters did nothing to stop him.
Finally, 5 days later, he did it.
[Combat Techniques-1, Hidden Kill learnt. Please note that fighters at Human-3 level might not be affected.]
Human-3 fighters were already considered to be quite elite, being employed as guards in prestigious posts. Daneel was currently at Human-0, and already having a technique which could have effect on fighters 3 levels above him was very impressive.
He had done everything he could. It was time to go to the thieves hideout.
He had considered asking Elanev to tag along, but considered this an opportunity to train himself and be exposed to actual combat. He still remembered falling due to not being able to even punch properly.
Still, if he saw any high-level fighters at the hideout, he decided to retreat and ask for Elanev's help.
Before he set off on the mission, Daneel visited the training hall and requested that his hands be healed.
It was his first time going to the training hall on foot. As he did so, he realized that it actually occupied a huge piece of circular land. The entrance was a huge fist shaped gate which opened on showing his ID coin.
Daneel also borrowed a dagger from Elanev. He now considered him his big brother, and just asked him for the knife saying it was for self defense in the slums. Although Elanev was puzzled why Daneel would require a dagger with his skill, he still relented to his little brother's request and gave him a level-0 combat trinket.
Although Daneel asked for a normal one, Elanev insisted that he take this one.
Being only level-0, it only had the function of enlargement. If not enlarged, the dagger was in the form a small dagger-shaped coin which he put in his pocket. Still, this trinket itself cost around 50 silver Lans due to the high grade of the blade. His family could buy simple food for years with that money. Combat was truly an expensive job, especially for those who were poor.
With his hands healed, it was finally time to raid the hideout.
Following the map, Daneel arrived at the location.
He was shocked to find that this was one of the most high profile pubs in the outer city-The Dwarve's Rum.
Known for attracting clientele from even the inner city where nobility and the government lived, this pub was spoken about in whispers in the slums. It was illegal fights occurred here, where the rich could win or lose a fortune in a single night. In the morning, bodies of those who lost in the fighting arena would be deposited outside, to be carried away by the guards.
The map had the words, "Room 23, 5th Floorboard from the right" written on the corner. Daneel now needed to get inside the pub and find that room.
Only, he had no idea how to do so. He first positioned himself inside an empty alley and observed the building. Bouncers in black uniforms were at the front, equipped with shock combat trinkets which could make a man faint in a second. There were 2 side entrances, but both had more guards stationed.
As he wondered what to do, a rolling sound came from the road that lead to the pub. It looked like a wheelbarrow from Earth, but instead of a cow in the front, there was a strange black box with wheels. On top of the box was a standard block of Ether, 10 inches in length, 5 inches in width and as thick as a finger. The crystal block shined as the vehicle trudged down the road carrying wrapped materials.
This might just be his ticket to get in, thought Daneel as he planned his next move.