The dagger was only inches from his head as the thief was thrusting from above with the intention of killing him with one blow.
Without thinking, Daneel punched in the new trajectory shown in the Heads Up Display. The trajectory led towards a specific point on the thief's arm, near the elbow.
With centimeters to spare, the hand was knocked upwards as the thief's elbow snapped, making him howl in pain. This woke up his father who rushed into the living room.
Only taking a second to comprehend the situation, Robert quickly put the thief who was bent over, howling with pain in a sleeper hold. After a little struggle, the thief fainted.
[Mission success. 20 Exp Points awarded. 5% Level Progression awarded.
Your loan has been repaid! Thank you for banking with the system!]
Never in his wildest dreams did Daneel think that he would become a slave to a system which exacted interest after interest. From now on, he vowed to never take a loan. What was the reason behind this anyway? This system kept boasting that it would make him dominate the world but right now the only one being dominated was him, by the atrocious interest rate.
Daneel thought a bit hard about this, half demanding an answer. Thus, the system responded:
[System would like to inform the host that resources like Exp Points and Level Progressions can only be given by the system when the host has earned them. The system is only capable of extracting these from completed missions. This is due to the advanced principles of multiple frequency energy extraction implanted in the system.
The loan system was implemented by the creator of the system to aid weak hosts. A small amount of remnant energy is present within the system for emergencies. But, parameters have been set regarding the usage of this energy. This is to dissuade hosts from earning too much for free and to encourage them to finish missions and achieve their rewards. Hence the interest rate.]
Daneel had not expected the system to give a response at all.
"Son? Son! Did they hit you on your head? Why are you in a daze?"
He felt his father shaking his shoulders as he woke up from the trance he had gone into when listening to the system. He had no time to analyze the system's answer, what with his father staring at him with a worried look on his face.
"No, dad, I'm fine. I was just a bit shocked by the suddenness of this all. What do we do with these two?", he asked, motioning at the thieves.
"Go and call Benny over. These thieves must have bounties on their heads. If we go through anyone else, they would just eat up the reward instead of giving it to us due to our status.", he said, sighing.
There had been multiple instances when constables or city vendors had outright cheated them as there was no one to ask and obtain justice for them. Such was the depravity of those branded with that mark. They could only shut their mouth and try not to be cheated again.
Situations like these made the family treasure true friends more and more. Benny was such a friend. He was a constable charged to patrol the slums who sympathized with the Anivron family and helped them however he could because he knew the real reason Robert was driven away. Daneel had fond memories of this uncle Benny bringing tasty food or candy when he was starving.
"Besides, how did you manage to knock out the first thief and make the second thief bend over with pain?"
"Hehe, instincts. I just heard them snooping around and wanted to stop them. I'll go get Uncle Benny.", he said, giving another poor excuse and running from his father's hands.
Robert's eyes followed Daneel from behind with a suspicious look on his face. Something had changed in his son.
Deciding to get to the bottom of it later, he hurried to tie up the two thieves before they woke up.
Uncle Benny arrived in a few minutes and was shocked seeing the two tidily tied up thieves. These were some of the most notorious thieves terrorizing the outer city. They had recently made a high profile heist and were thought to have left the city. To think that they would be caught in the slums, the Commander would surely be shocked.
There was a big reward on the thieves' heads which would really help out this family. He promised to get all of the money and hand it over by telling his superiors that someone else had managed to catch them.
With everything taken care of, the two of them went back to sleep.
The next morning, Daneel woke up to the sound of the rooster crowing. It was still a bit dark outside, but he couldn't go back to sleep.
As he always did, he helped his mother and father with chores until the sun was completely up. Then, his mother went to work and his father went to meet some friends in the slums.
Free, Daneel left his house to look for the library.
The town library was one of the most prominent buildings in the city. Built in a wide open area with high domes and rich mason work, it was truly a sight to behold. It reminded him of the famous White House back on earth. Only, the material was yellow instead of white.
Daneel excitedly walked up the steps leading to the door before a signboard nearby completely punctured his excitement.
"Price of Admission: 10 Silver Lans"
Lan was the official currency of Lanthanor. 100 bronze Lans made 1 silver Lan and 100 silver Lans made 1 Gold Lan.
10 bronze lans was the amount required for a typical person to eat the simplest food for a day. And this damn library needed a hundred times that?
There was no way he could bring this much money what with the financial condition his family was in. Daneel could only pull his hair in frustration as he wondered what to do.
With no other option available, he proceeded to dejectedly trudge back home.
Just as he got home, Uncle Benny was handing over a small pouch to his father.
"It's a pity, Robert. Bad luck seems to hound you. These two actually accomplished a very high profile heist just a day before they were caught in your house. Those items have still not been found. The bureaucrats were still deciding on revising the bounty. If I knew this, I would have hid those two somewhere before handing them over. Alas, now we could only obtain 1 gold Lan for each. Still, its a pretty high sum. Take care, Robert. Think about sending Daneel to some fighting classes. If what you said is true and he did take down a thief by himself, he must have great talent."
He departed after ruffling Daneel's hair a bit and saying hi.
Daneel's sight was fixed on the gold Lan. This was his ticket into the library.
"Dad, I need 10 silver Lans.", he blurted out.
Hearing this, his father could only stare. Till date, Daneel had always been the obedient child who never asked his parents for anything.
"What for?", he asked, with a patient face.
Daneel decided to tell the truth. Since childhood, he had always been interested in reading. His parents had taught him the words and letters and they still boasted that he had learned everything in a very short span of time.
"I want to go to the library, dad. I want to read everything there and decide what I want to be in the future. Please, dad? Can I go?"
Robert sighed as he saw his son put on puppy eyes in a bid to convince him.
"Alright. Remember, you decide your own life, son. Be careful out there."
In the past, this amount would have been nothing. Now, they had to scavenge for every little morsel. Even he wished for his son to become learned about the world. He did not want him to be the country bumpkin who would be laughed at for knowing nothing.
Above all, he wished for him to have a bright future.
"I'll go get change from some friends. Wait here." Saying so, he left the house.