Daz's rage and Lyle's confusion only lasted for so long. After all, a new distraction had appeared to gain their attention.
Lyle saw the usual merit reward screen for completing day three of cycle two's attack, however, Daz was greeted with another, slightly different message.
|Due to the influence of the higher god, the God of Death, and due to the host's unique circumstance, the system has decided to personally handle your rewards from here on out to prevent further meddling.|
|Rewards for completing day 3 of cycle 2|
|[Item Upgrade Token] x 3.|
|[Item Exchange Token (Only usable on the host's Minor Rings of Merit)] x 2.|
|700,000 merit points.|
|The total merit balance of the host is now: 940,929 [+700,000].|
Daz closed his eyes and rubbed his temple after putting the five coin-like tokens in his pocket. 'First Father, and now this... So the system wants to manage me itself? I guess that means no more support from the gods, right? But at the same time, that should mean that the gods who don't like me can't interfere anymore, right?'
"My Lord, are you related to this 'Davido' character?" Lyle asked after he had dismissed his merit reward sheet. He had received a fairly hefty lump sum of merit points from the system as well as some support from the gods that had watched his recovery, so Lyle was excited to upgrade himself. However, he was far more concerned about this 'Davido Hamilio' and any possible connection he might have with his lord.
Daz got off his throne and completely blanked Lyle as he made his way towards an exit. "My Lord?"
Just as he was leaving, Daz said three words, "He's my father." And with that, he left the throne room and ventured to the upper levels of the keep, leaving Lyle alone.
"His father... What sort of man would Davido have to be to raise a person like Daz? He seems to resent him deeply... I suppose that's another thing we have in common with the young lord, don't we?" No one answered Lyle's mutterings.
Daz ignored the advisor that politely greeted him as she made her way to the throne room. His mind was in far too much disorder to pay any mind to the people owned by the system.
He made his way to Rose's bedroom. It was midnight, but he was sure that the little rascal of a girl would be up late playing her computer games.
Sure enough, as soon as he entered her room, Daz saw Rose lying on her back with her laptop on her belly. She was sprawled out comfortable on her queen-sized bed while several packets of chips and various snacks surrounded her.
Glancing away from her screen for a moment, Rose looked at Daz and snorted lightly. "What brings you here? I'm busy right now. I'm doing an elusive target."
"A what?" Daz shook his head. He never was up to speed on games since his childhood was more focused on simply surviving and learning how to defend himself. "I'm surprised you didn't make another incest joke."
"Every joke has a limit on how many times you can use it. Besides, I'd rather not get picked up like that again, so excuse me if I'm being a little bit cautious," Rose explained in her usual sarcastic voice. She peered at the reaper once again. "Well, stop standing there like a lemon. Sit down, for Christ's sake."
"Ah, right. Sure," Daz replied before he found a chair.
Several minutes of silence passed as Rose focused on her game. All Daz could see of the game in question was a bald man sneaking around in a black suit and a red tie. Eventually, Rose apparently beat the level. "Finally. Getting suit-only silent assassin on an elusive target is really hard without online tutorials or hundreds of hours of testing, huh?"
"Right..." Daz answered with an unsure tone.
Rose closed her laptop and sighed. "It was rhetorical. Anyway, you're here about Dad, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I wanted to ask you what you knew. You seem really calm, all things considered," Daz noted.
Rose stretched her small body and yawned. "Not really. I mean, I've never even met the guy. Well, I guess I have, but I was a baby. I don't really care what he's up to."
Daz frowned. "You should. He's dangerous."
"Yeah, but you dealt with him before, didn't you?" Rose pointed out.
"I wouldn't trust that man to keep a promise." Daz could feel the bitterness hidden deep within him being stirred to life. "Anyway," shaking his head, he continued, "Does your database have any info on what it was that he actually tried to do to the test?"
"Not a clue," Rose said as she shrugged lightly. She then put her laptop on a nightstand and tucked herself into her covers after moving her snacks off of her bed onto a table.
"Really? Nothing?" Daz was surprised. So far, Rose had been an incredible font of information in regards to all things system related, so her having no knowledge on their father seemed kind of unbelievable to the young man.
"Yes, nothing. The God of Information is silent. Either he knows nothing as well, or he isn't allowed to tell me. Why does it even matter?" Rose asked.
"Because it's him!" Daz accidentally ended up yelling.
Rose just sighed. "Really, you and your emotions. You were far better when you never responded to anything."
'We disagree with your sister. You are very fun now, or so we think,' Reika noted from atop her new home, Daz's semi-halo.
Daz thanked Reika in his mind for her vote of confidence. "On that topic, you need to talk to me about it now."
"About what?" Rose flipped over and got herself comfortable.
"About espers." Daz's voice was so sharp that it could almost cut through the air. "I know that you and Maddy have been hiding this from me for years. The whole bloodline business. I don't know what your mother told you nor what Maddy knows, but I'm sick of being left in the dark."
Rose didn't reply.
"Rose, answer me, please. For all I know, this could be incredibly important to helping me make countermeasures against Father," Daz begged.
A long sigh filled the room. "Are you sure? We haven't been hiding anything from you, by the way. We've been protecting you."
"I am sure. And protecting me from what?" Was he finally going to get an actual answer about this whole esper business? Maybe he wouldn't need to follow up on Harriot's lead, though he was still intent on somehow ridding the woman of her curse.
"Protecting you from who, not what." Rose sat up once again and leaned her back against the bed's headboard. "Fine, whatever. You're a big boy. You can look after yourself."
Daz gave her a strange look for her words, but Rose just ignored that and continued speaking. "We were protecting you from yourself."
"Myself? What? How does that make any sense at all?" Daz didn't understand. Were esper abilities detrimental to use? But were that the case, how come he had never seen Madison struggle or be in pain after using this 'Alteration' she spoke of?
"Okay, first thing's first, I need to explain what espers really are. What do you know about them so far? I'm pretty sure you've been looking into them ever since the apocalypse began, right?" Rose asked.
Daz nodded his head in response. "I never really found anything out except that they definitely exist and that it has something to do with bloodlines, but most of that was stuff I already knew but ignored as a kid."
"Right. Well, you're half right. It's entirely possible to be an esper without having a special bloodline," Rose said. "I'm living proof of that."
"You are...? What does that me- Wait, your legs?" Daz was finally starting to put the puzzle pieces together.
"Yup. You see, I never inherited either of my parents' bloodlines. I have my mom's esper ability, but because I don't have a bloodline, it ended up crippling me instead of making me more powerful," Rose explained nonchalantly.
"How long have you known this?" Daz asked.
Rose put her hand to her chin and thought for a moment. "Maybe three years? When I first got really into computers. It was tough to find, but all of this stuff was out there on the web, you know?"
"So you're telling me that a seven-year-old found out something like that which would have no doubt been hidden away by the top powers of the world? Forgive me if I'm not convinced. Didn't your mother tell you about all this when the two of you met up?" Daz knew that Rose was a genius, but surely she was glossing over several facts here. Information on superhumans couldn't have been just a web-search away.
"Well, when I said that the esper power crippled me, that wasn't entirely accurate. It did cripple me physically, but it enhanced my brain an incredible amount." Rose was trying to find the right words to fully explain what she meant.
"What do you mean? What even is your ability?" Daz was hungry for answers about not only himself but now his sister as well.
"My esper power is pretty simple actually. It's not nearly as complex as yours are. It's supposed to increases every single sense of the body as well as boost intellect and strength. Basically, an all-around improvement." Daz could understand that. It truly was a simple-sounding power.
"Supposedly, I was really lucky. A lot of children who are born with an esper ability without a bloodline just die at birth. Others enter a vegetative state. I was fortunate in that I actually retained a very small portion of my ability. In fact, my brain was enhanced beyond what the power should have been capable of, but in return, I lost most of my sense of taste as well as the ability to move my legs." Rose didn't seem upset or disheartened at all by what she was saying.
"So is that why Father threw you away instead of bothering to raise you? You weren't good enough or something?" Daz questioned.
Rose smiled wryly. "Or something. From what Mom told me, Dad was trying to make another perfect child like you. Apparently, you're a one-of-a-kind."
"How?" Was his esper power special? Did he really have two like how he'd suspected? Just what was so unique about him? Questions flooded Daz's mind.
"I know that look." Rose grinned. "You're wrong. I bet you're thinking that you might be special for having two powers, right?"
"So I'm not?" Daz responded.
"No. It's very rare, but from my understanding, there are at least a dozen people out there with two esper abilities. You though, Dearest Big Brother, don't have two esper abilities like Dad does." Rose's words gave birth to a new concept in Daz's mind.
"You mean...?" Rose nodded her head at Daz's question.
"Yes, Daz, you have three esper abilities. You're the first person in history to have that many and not die or go insane from the mental and physical stress. Not only that, but you also have two bloodlines. You are truly unique." Rose's explanation had only just begun.
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