Daz grasped the situation quickly and replied to the four-armed man, "I'm new to the system, so if it's not a bother, could you answer some questions for me?"
"Absolutely, Sir Reaper. That is my job and my honour," with a bow, the man answered humbly.
"Okay." Daz collected his thoughts and asked, "First, why can't I see anyone's faces except for my own and you employees'? I'm assuming you're an employee, by the way. Correct me if I'm wrong, please."
"Very astute, Sir Reaper. I am indeed an employee," the man praised Daz as if he were a child, but somehow, it didn't come off as condescending and he even seemed to be genuinely impressed.
"Ah, I apologize, Sir Reaper, if I offended you with my words. It is simply far too rare for someone with so much common sense to be assigned to me, that is all," he happily explained after realising how easily his words could have been misinterpreted.
"Okay," Daz replied indifferently. He didn't really care, he just wanted answers.
'A tricky one, huh?' the four-armed man thought. "As you pointed out, Sir Reaper, everyone that enters the Midechhe Travelling Bank will have their faces distorted to protect their anonymity. After all, many of our clients are notorious across the system and have many enemies that they would rather avoid."
"You wouldn't have noticed it yourself, Sir Reaper, but even your visage is obscured and I cannot see it without your express permission." The employee gestured lightly to Daz's face with one of his blue arms.
Calmly holding his cheek and feeling no different, Daz simply replied, "That's handy."
"Indeed. Well, Sir Reaper, have you any more enquiries?" This member of the bank's staff was very happy to have been assigned to a seeming reasonable young man. Some of the clients could certainly be a handful to manage at times.
"Yeah," Daz nodded. "Are you the employee assigned to only me, or are you responsible for all of the people at my base or on my home planet? Then again, the answer could be neither..."
"A good question, Sir Reaper." With a smile, the man explained, "I am in charge of your specific base. While Earth is a new planet, it has a very large amount of surviving sentient beings. In lieu of this, the manager of this branch of the company has decided to allocate a different employee to each base on Earth that purchases a copy of our travelling bank."
"I see... Hmm, in that case, are there more people than just myself from my base in the bank right now?" Daz had suspected that a few of his citizens would have entered the building upon seeing it.
They knew by now that any sudden structures that appeared out of nowhere were their lord's doing and they understood that the only place which was off limits was his cabin in the inner fort, so curiosity would naturally drive some of them to the bank.
"There are. Currently, including yourself, Sir Reaper, a total of six of your base's residents have entered the bank and are being served by my clones." This employee was getting more and more impressed by Daz's keen nature and on-point questions.
"Your clones?" Daz's interest was piqued.
"Indeed. All of the employees of the Midechhe Travelling Bank must be able to produce at least one-hundred thousand clones capable of speech and basic actions," with a prideful tone in his voice, the four-armed man answered Daz.
'One-hundred thousand?! Fucking hell, that's surprising if he's telling the truth... I was going to identify him, but I think I'd better not for now,' Daz sighed in relief.
As if a lightbulb had gone off in his head, Daz asked another question. "What happens if a base has more than one-hundred thousand people in it and they all use the bank at once?"
"Then another employee shall be assigned to your designated base. If the number of concurrent clients surpasses two-hundred thousand, then a third employee shall be added and so on and so forth," the man patiently answered.
Daz held his chin and seemed to be locked in thought, so the member of staff felt it was right to prompt him a bit. "Have you any more questions, Sir Reaper?"
"I guess not. Ah, the interest rate on stored merit points, is that fixed at two-percent, or can it fluctuate?" This was very important information to Daz.
"It will change depending on the amount being used by the base in question's citizens, so it can easily decrease if there is very little wealth being stored in the bank and easily raised if a large quantity is being deposited regularly," the man replied, pleasing Daz greatly.
"That's good to know. Well, my last request," Daz smiled.
"Yes, Sir Reaper? Please, do not hold back and ask me anything at all." The four-armed and blue-skinned man requested with an amiable smile on his lips.
"I only have a few hundred merit points since I wasn't expecting to buy this building today, but do you mind storing them for me?" Daz openly admitted.
"Absolutely, Sir Reaper, and please, do not feel ashamed for having such a small sum of merit points. It is amazing that you have managed to purchase a branch of the bank on your seventh day with the system considering it costs two-hundred thousand merit points." The employee's words were genuine and he didn't hesitate to do as Daz had asked which forced two grey screens to block the Reaper's vision.
|The total merit balance of the host is now 0.|
|The total bank balance of the host is now 543 (2% interest rate per day).|
'Two hundred-thousand? I guess he doesn't know that I have a permanent seventy-five percent discount on base upgrades, huh? That's good to know. For a minute there, I thought this bank was a bit too omnipotent,' Daz wondered as he recalled the man's last sentence.
Daz gave a polite farewell before he left the building and returned to Fort Skip. It was an interesting experience and Daz could honestly say that it had broadened his horizons. It would seem, however, that no matter the circumstances, those with money would always be the ones in power.
"Store the rest in the bank? Is that the fancy new building that popped up near the houses about twenty minutes ago?" Crusher asked Daz as she focused on polishing her hammer that was named after herself. Thankfully, her foot had completely healed now, but Crusher was low on stamina, so she was spending the afternoon rather peacefully.
"Right," Daz confirmed. "You should be able to get two percent interest tomorrow and on the day after, before the first attack, or challenge, or whatever the damned system throws at us. Plus, it'll help boost the base's overall interest rate meaning more merit points for everyone."
"'Kay. I trust you, Lord. Just make sure you think of some good stuff for me to buy in two days then, yeah? Hahaha!" Crusher laughed.
She then confirmed that her sledgehammer was perfectly clean, so she placed it on the ground and lied down with her hands on the back of her head.
"Hey, Lord," Crusher said with a melancholic and somewhat sad voice.
"Mmm?" Intrigued by this sudden change in Crusher, Daz sat next to her and waited for her following words.
A small bird flew across the sky and Crusher kept her eyes fixed on it before a slight grin spread across her face. "Don't you think this world is beautiful?"
"I'm sorry, what?" confused, Daz asked.
"It's just, don't you think everything is nicer now?" The Titan was speaking rather slowly and she seemed to be very relaxed.
"You're going to have to explain what you mean a bit better, Crusher." Daz had great instincts, but even he was struggling to understand what Crusher was trying to point out.
"Hahaha, sorry, sorry. What I'm trying to say is, I like how simple everything has become. It's really helping me appreciate the beauty of life and of the planet we're living on," Crusher said as she sat up and stretched her back.
"It's not like you to be philosophical," Daz noted.
Crusher threw her arm around Daz's shoulder and laughed loudly. "That's true, hahaha!"
Silence took a hold over the two until Crusher said something that shocked the usually impassive Daz. "I used to hate life, you know?"
"What?" Daz asked with a perplexed expression on his face.
"Well, I used to be a pro wrestler and I loved it... but I was banned after nearly killing a few of my opponents. Wrestling meant everything to me back then, so once I was banned from doing it professionally, I tried to kill myself," Crusher let go of Daz's shoulder and shrugged.
Daz remained silent and stared intently at Crusher. He couldn't fully empathise with her specific past, but he too had wanted to end everything at a young age, and if it wasn't for Madison entering his life, then he really might have stopped his own story before its natural conclusion.
"I usually don't talk about this shit unless someone asks, but I feel like you know what I mean," Crusher smirked. "This apocalypse... It's not an apocalypse at all... It's like I've been given a second chance, you know?"
"I do," Daz replied without any hesitation. He had felt the exact same way upon seeing the first message from the system a week ago, so he could fully understand Crusher's sentiments.
"I thought so, hahaha. Weightlifting was fun, but it just didn't give me the thrill that fighting in the ring did." Crusher closed her eyes and reminisced about the past. "This morning, thank you for not holding back. That was the best fight of my life, Lord."
Daz didn't reply. His head was in a mess and he wasn't sure how to respond to Crusher's heartfelt words. Noticing this, Crusher chuckled and stood up. "Well, that's enough of this sappy garbage. I'll go store my points and spar with that General Retford guy you mentioned earlier, hahaha!"
Daz remained sat on the grass after Crusher had left and he was biting his fingers with frustration. "... She's a stronger person than I am... I sure was lucky to get such a good friend, huh? I wonder when I started to care about her? About her and the people here... Is this a good change?"
Eventually, Daz put the matter in the back of his mind and now both he and the young daughter of the mayor, Fiona, were sat on a bench that was near the residential area of Fort Skip's outer fort and Fiona looked very puzzled.
"You really just want me to show you my skill, 'Artistic Creation?'" she asked.
"Yup, I promise I have no ulterior motives. I'm just curious. If your skill can do what I think it can, you might become a valuable asset to Fort Skip, which will make life easier for both you and your father here," Daz stated.
'Really, what's he up to? This skill is useless... He's got to be trying to trick me and daddy, right?' Fiona was more than a bit suspicious.
Daz stood up and turned around. "If you don't want to make life here calmer and more enjoyable for you and your father, then fine. My time is precious," Daz stated coldly and started to walk away.
"W-Wait!" Fiona called out.
Daz grinned slightly before his face returned to being emotionless and he turned around. Fiona looked at him with a hint of anxiety in her eyes. 'Ah, screw it! It's just a skill!'
She took out her permanent marker and began drawing in the air. As if by magic, the ink was sticking to nothing and the shape of a small fox was starting to take form. As soon as the teenaged girl connected the final line, the fox jumped around and its body filled in with ink. It then ran through the wind and finally settled down on Fiona's shoulder.
"Amazing," Daz honestly praised. Fiona's skill was indeed capable of what Daz had hoped it could do. "What would you say to becoming a performer for Fort Skip and having the honour of being its very first professional entertainer?"
"... Huh?" Fiona lost her concentration and the fox dissipated into nothingness as a result. 'Wha... what did he just ask me to do?! Become an entertainer?!' As absurd as this idea sounded, For some reason, Fiona could feel her heart beating loudly in her chest. The young girl was excited.
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