After his lengthy talk with Rose, Daz decided to leave the keep and clear his head. The first destination he headed to was the Midechhe Travelling Bank.
As soon as he stepped through the doors, he was greeted by the staff member in charge of him, the blue-skinned and four-armed man who was wearing formal clothing and was sporting a dashing smile.
"Greetings, Sir Reaper, or should I call you 'Sir Archreaper' from now on?" he asked jokingly.
Daz held his chin in thought. "Either is right, so call me what you'd prefer."
"I suppose you are correct. Sir Archreaper it is then. Respect should always be afforded to our more valuable clients, after all," the man said as he gestured behind himself. "Please, Sir Archreaper, come with me."
Daz raised a curious eyebrow. "You're not just gonna take my points and let me go today?"
"Oh, perish the thought, Sir Archreaper. Today is a very special day, after all." His tone was jubilant in nature. "I know you don't understand, so please, allow me to elaborate. My colleagues are all very eager to talk to you, that also includes my manager. He wishes to meet you. I assumed that would be okay. It is a very rare opportunity that can only benefit you, Sir Archreaper, however, if you don't wish to, I am more than willing to convey your feelings to the manager. The customer's feelings are always valued above our own, after all."
"I mean, sure," Daz replied with a shrug of the shoulders. "I've got nothing else better to do."
The blue-skinned employee smiled from ear to ear. "Perfect! Please, Sir Archreaper, come this way."
Daz followed the man through the bank. While his face was obscured from everyone else, his body wasn't. Heads turned and many eyes fell onto the person who was being led further into the bank.
This was an incredibly rare event, although it still held a vast amount of significance to the hundreds of customers who had been using the bank's services for many, many years.
Daz marvelled at the intricate paintings and statues he passed in the hallways he was being led through. Each one gave him a suffocating feeling, and he was struggling to even look at most of them. Only one or two per hallway didn't give him these feelings of utter suppression.
The employee noticed this. "Sir Archreaper, it is very surprising that you are so unaffected by the masterwork aura surrounding these works of art. You are such an interesting man."
'This counts as 'so unaffected' does it? I feel like I'm about to drop to my knees any second now,' Daz replied privately.
Reika wasn't influenced by whatever pressure Daz was enduring, so she was puzzled by the four-armed man's words.
"I can see you and your little companion's confusion. These paintings and statues, they were all made by people with absolute mastery over their respective crafts. The system can only grant you so much ability in the way of skills, but true mastery must be accomplished by the person, and cannot be bought with points," the employee kindly explained. "As an aftereffect, it is a true struggle for those who don't own a mastery of their own to bear witness to such creations."
Daz nodded his head. That was simple enough to understand, but he did have to wonder why he wasn't as badly affected as the man walking in front of him had suspected he would have been.
"With all due respect, you've become a lot easier to read, Sir Archreaper. Even with your face blurred from my vision, I can tell exactly what you're thinking. How interesting." Stroking his chin with one of his many arms, the employee continued, "You must be very close to achieving a mastery to be faring so well. In full honesty, Sir Archreaper, this hallway was meant to serve as a test of sorts. I was expecting to have to carry you to the manager's office in the end. What a nice surprise that I was wrong."
"I see." Daz cared little if he was being tested or not. He had gained some very valuable information about skills and their limits for free, which he viewed as being more than worth a little test of endurance or two.
The duo didn't take very long to reach their destination. The employee crossed his arms over his chest politely and bowed. "We have arrived, Sir Archreaper. The manager wishes to speak with you alone, so I shall respectfully take my leave. I will wait for you in the front lobby if you have any further need of my services after your meeting."
"Sure. Thanks," Daz replied before he grabbed the door's handle and stepped through it.
The manager's office was incredibly... strange, to say the least. Daz just looked around in awe. "Is this really an office? Isn't this a golf course?"
Turning around, Daz saw no walls of any sort next to the door he had come through. He was just surrounding on all sides by trimmed grassy hills, and he could see a golf pole every few hundred meters or so.
"Why can't it be both?" an amused voice asked with a short laugh.
Looking to his right, Daz saw what appeared to be a massive gorilla slowly walking towards him. It had pure red fur and was wearing a pair of glasses and was adorned in a huge set of golfing clothes, cap included.
"Oh, that's rare," the gorilla said as he smiled a little.
"What is?" Daz responded.
"Most people I meet for the first time from new system planets freak out when they see me. You are very easy to gauge oddly enough, so I can clearly tell that you are far from scared. You're more intrigued than anything else, aren't you?" The gorilla stopped short of Daz by a few meters and sat on the ground before scratching his neck.
"Well," Daz was a bit unsure of what to say. "I'm an Archreaper," he said and then pointed at Reika, assuming this gorilla could see her like the employee could. "She's a soul. The guy who brought me here is a four-armed blue guy. I've even met a Titan, so I'd be a bit weak-willed if I stopped to gape in amazement at every weird and wonderful sapient species I came across, now wouldn't I?"
"Hahahaha! You've got gumption, boy! I like it!" The gorilla held his stomach as he roared in laughter for a short while. He removed his glasses to wipe the tears that had built up in his eyes from his laughing too hard. After he was done, he got on his feet and offered one of his massive hands to Daz. "I'm Botund Relox, manager of this branch of the Midechhe Travelling Bank, but you can just call me Big Bo."
Daz replied to the gorilla's friendly greeting with his own, "I'm Daz. Nice to meet you." He then placed his hand next to Big Bo's and let the gorilla envelop it in his own. Big Bo shook his hand warmly before letting go.
"I like you. You're not too impatient. A lot of people are all too eager to jump in bed with me or find out why I want to talk to them straight away. Up for a match? I think I've got human-sized clubs around here somewhere," Big Bo said as he grinned.
"... Sure. Why not." Daz needed a distraction anyway, so playing a game of golf with a red gorilla wearing clothes in a bank might just prove to be the set of ridiculous circumstances that he needed to clear his mind.
Big Bo slumped onto the grass and took out a bunch of eggplant-sized green bananas while he sighed. He peeled one of the gargantuan fruits and stuffed it into his mouth. "How the hell did you get a score of nineteen when I got fifty-six?"
Daz shrugged arrogantly. "It would have been eighteen if you didn't shout in my ear at the last hole. That was both very disturbing and very dirty."
Big Bo scoffed. "There's no way I was just gonna let a system newbie get a literal perfect score on my golf course."
"You're still a cheater," Daz said as he sat his driver on the field.
"I don't want to hear that from someone who got a hole-in-one seventeen times in a row on a course he's never played before. Damned Archreapers... All of you are so tricky... How'd you do it anyway? I couldn't feel any magic or skills." Big Bo was far more curious than he was upset.
'He knows some of the other Archreapers?' Daz wondered before laughed lightly. "Instinct and a hint of good luck."
"Fine, don't tell me," Big Bo huffed.
He finished off his bunch of bananas after Daz politely refused his offer to enjoy them together with him. Something about eating a banana that was a fifth his height didn't sit well with the reaper. Once Big Bo was done eating, peels and all, he licked his lips and got up.
"Well, onto business I suppose," the gorilla said as he straightened his glasses. "Follow me."
Daz did as told and walked behind the manager through the golf course. They soon reached the door he had first come through. Daz couldn't help but question how such a massive man like Big Bo would fit through such a comparatively tiny doorframe.
Daz's thoughts were soon answered. Big Bo didn't go through the door. He waved his hand and a large set of stairs reaching up into the sky appeared. The two went up them for what Daz counted to be at least fifteen minutes. Finally, they reached a cloud that had a massive open archway built into it.
The young reaper had absolutely no idea how whoever had made this had, well, made it. They proceeded through the archway and found themselves to be in an actual office. Of course, everything was upscaled to match a gorilla's huge size.
"Give me a moment. I'm sure I have a chair for humanoids around here somewhere. It has been two centuries since the last time I had a meeting with someone your size, so forgive me if I'm not completely prepared." Big Bo seemed sincere, but Daz could tell that the gorilla was measuring his response. Apparently, he hadn't learned enough during their game of golf. Daz's instincts truly were impeccable for noticing this when a normal person wouldn't be able to tell Big Bo's intentions at all unless they were a master at reading people.
"Sure. Take your time. I can stand if you'd prefer," Daz replied in a relaxed tone.
The tips of Big Bo's mouth arched up. "No need, it looks like I've found it." After saying that, he waved his hand, and a chair appeared out of nowhere. "Please, take a seat, my friend."
Daz did as asked and waited for Big Bo to lumber onto his own massive leather-padded seat. The gorilla sunk into the chair and a look of bliss filled his face. "Ah... Nothing beats expertly crafted Secorian Elf leather..."
"'Secorian Elf'?" That was a race he'd never heard of before, so Daz probed for information.
Big Bo waved his massive hand dismissively as he took his glasses off and put them on the desk. "Secoria is a planet heavily focusing on the production of materials and general living items, so it's a top-class place. The High Elves there are especially gifted at woodworking and leather crafting. Expensive stuff, but it's worth every single merit point."
"I see..." That was more... trivial than Daz was expecting. "So, what do you want to talk about, Big Bo?"
The manager cracked his neck and took out another bunch of bananas from only God knows where. "Well, I don't really want to talk to you, per se. I want to give you a business proposition."
"A business proposition?" Daz tilted his head and held his chin in thought. 'Why me, out of all of the people on Earth, let alone all of the people this guy must be connected with, why me, specifically? He did say it's been two-hundred years since he last spoke to a humanoid...'
"Ah, well, someone already made a contract with the man who almost interfered with the system, so I figured I'd get my hands on his son. I already have a bit of a connection with you since my branch of the bank is in your base, so I figured I'd take my chances at getting at least a small piece of the proverbial pie, and maybe the largest slice yet," Big Bo admitted as he stuffed a banana down his throat.
Daz was momentarily shocked before he chuckled softly. "Of course it's to do with that... man. I do appreciate your honesty, at least, Big Bo."
"Hahaha, well, lying and scheming tend to only get you so far. Even if you do end up at the top, you're usually there alone. That's not the life I wanna live, so here I am, living honestly. Anyway, are you interested? I'm sure we can work out something very... beneficial to both parties," Big Bo said with a shrewd grin on his huge red lips.
'What a lying bastard. Though, he is at least somewhat forthcoming... This could prove to be very beneficial, and if Father already struck a deal with someone like Big Bo, then I'm fucked if I don't do this, aren't I?' Daz thought. "Okay, let's hear what you have to offer," he said.
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