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13 Paying Ones Deb

    "Daniel!" Said Rat with an amicable smile on his face.

    Daniel had no good impressions about these two men. They always came a couple of days before the end of the month, to remind them what would happen to him and his sister in case they wouldn't be able to pay in time.

    "Cheeks.. Rat.." Daniel had met them many times before, and in time, he had found out how acknowledging Sweet Cheeks first, would always enrage Rat.

    Unfortunately, Rat knew just as well where to hit back. "You are always the same arrogant little **, ain't ya.." Said Rat while laughing. He then looked at Daniel attentively and continued "I can't wait to drag you to the mines.. and have some fun with your pretty sis.."

    Daniel felt his blood boil when he noticed that, while saying his last remark, Rat had touched himself inbetween his legs, hinting what he meant by 'have some fun with your pretty sis'.

    Happy about hitting where it hurt, Rat added "Remember that the Boss own's you brat.. Forget the next payment and you'll see"

    "Why don't you take me to your boss then.. I already have his money." Retorted Daniel right away.

    Rat's moment had been ruined, and he wasn't in the mood to joke around anymore, so he made a serious face and said "Petty thief, you are safe for another month then.. give me the money" He then extended his hand towards Daniel.

    "I think you have misunderstood.. I have all your boss's money." Said Daniel as a faint smile grew on his face. He then took a small bag out of his backpack, and let a couple of gold coins slide over his palm, showing them to the couple of goons.

    Rat slowly retracted his hand while looking seriously at Daniel. To say that the idea of convincing him to give him the money, like any other monthly payment, and then report to his boss that he had only received 10 silver coins as usual didn't crossed his mind.. would be to lie.

    Unfortunately, the thought left as fast as it appeared. He knew very well how cunning Daniel was, and even if he felt comfortable with cheating him, he would never do that in front of Sweet Cheeks. One had to know that Sweet Cheeks and him weren't friends, they were partners, and Sweet Cheeks  was fiercely loyal to their boss.

    "Alright, let's go to see the boss then." Rat said, still irritated that Daniel had decided to show him the money in front of Sweet Cheeks.

    -----

    Commoner's section, 18:12

    Inside a large hotel was a square lounge room. This lounge room had three doors that allowed access inside. Next to one of these doors was a counter, behind which a young beautiful woman was standing. On the other side of this room, two couches had been placed one facing the other, and inbetween them, was a spotlessly clean coffee table.

    On one of these couches, Daniel was sitting.

    Daniel had been facing one of these three doors for the past ten minutes. He had seen this door open only once, and it was when a burly man had come out to chat with the young woman behind the counter.

    During the few moments in which the door had been opened, before it closed, Daniel noticed that inside the room on the other side of this door, at least two dozens of though looking men were waiting. What startled Daniel was that each and everyone of the men he had laid eyes upon, had negative karma, which made him guess that these men were guards, and that they were waiting for something to happen before storming in and defend their employer.

    While Daniel was worrying about how wise the choice of coming here now had been, the large double door next to the counter suddently opened. Rat came out of the room, looked at Daniel and said "Boss is ready to see you, come in."

    Daniel got up from the couch and walked towards the double door.

    Behind the double door, a long study room extended for at least twenty meters. A large library covered the entirety of the wall at the far end of the room. Large windows at the right side flushed the entire room with the reddish lights of dusk. Halfway through the room was a coffee table, around which, three chairs had been placed. On one of these chairs Sweet Cheeks was sitting.

    On the far end of the room, right in front of the library, was a large ebony black desk. Behind this desk, a gentle looking old man was sitting peacefully, sipping tea from a refined looking cup.

    This man seemed to be approaching his late sixties, with smokey grey hair and skin wizened with age. Nevertheless, the shine of his watery blue eyes, removed from the minds of everyone who saw him, the idea that he wasn't the brutal man that he had been in the past. Behind him, a couple of burly men stood quietly.

    Daniel walked next to Rat until they reached right in front of the desk, then Rat walked back and sat on one of the chairs near Sweet Cheeks.

    "So, you are Dan.. Than's son.. you look just like him.." Said the old man amiably.

    Daniel was aware that the old man was acquainted with is father, so it wasn't a surprise for him when he mentioned his name. "I'm here to pay my mother's debt." Said Daniel, refusing to follow the old man's topic of conversation.

    "Rash.. it's a family trait I guess.." Muttered the old man. "Your mother's debt is 7 gold and 40 silver coins, do you have all of them?"

    Daniel threw the small bag of coins on the desk, right in front of the old man. The old man nodded at one of the goons standing behind him, which then started checking the content of the small bag. As his man comfirmed that they were coins, and started counting them, the old man looked at Daniel and said "Have you ever heard about the reason why I was acquainted to your father?.." The smile on his face still present and as amiable as it ever was.

    "If you are mentioning it, it must have meant money for you.. my guess is that you'll tell me now" Daniel retorted immediately.

    "..It does.. Not just any money, your money." The old man was surprised by the calm attitude Daniel had. Many young men and women, inheritors of their parent's debt, had stood in front of him, but none was as calm as Daniel was. "Unfortunately, your father and I had a less.. official.. agreement."

    Daniel's eyes narrowed. He had expected the old man to try to extort more money from him, that is the reason why, noticing the room full of bodyguards, he had felt slightly worried. What he never expected, was for the old man to talk about the dealings he had with his father.

    "Our deal was also.. of a different nature.." The old man took his time, he had learned, after so many years of activity, that one had to make the fish curious before it would take a bite. Meanwhile, the man standing next to the old man had finished counting the coins. He then put the small bag back on the desk and nodded at the old man quietly.

    "The last payment has been made.. you and your sister have no more reasons to worry about us.." Said the old man, dropping the topic of his father abruptly. He then started to slowly sip on his tea once again.

    Daniel stood in front of the desk for a full minute, and as Rat reached his side and was about to escort him out of the room, he said "Tell me about the deal you had with my father".

    The old man put down the cup, looked at him and then responded "Than came to me, years back.. looking for a slave.."

    "Bull**!" Said Daniel furiously "My father would never buy a slave!"

    "I never said he wanted to buy one.. he wanted to free one" Retorted the old man while slowly adding a sugar cube to his cup of tea.

    This time, Daniel kept quiet and allowed the old man to finish.

    "The slave your father wanted me to find.. was his younger brother. He had escaped from your family's ancestral home, when your family was a little more than a couple of brats playing in the mud. Looking for him was the reason your father moved to Phyrri to begin with. When he first came to this city, he saw his brother being sold to a mine baron, which he later learned had a business relation with me. After that, he came to me." Said the old man, all at once.

    Daniel had heard from his father that he wasn't a native of Phyrri, that he had moved here only a couple of years before his sister had been born. What he never learned, was why.

    "He got himself killed in war, before I could tell him that I had found his brother..."

    Daniel was shocked about this story. He spent years trying to keep his sister and himself free, without knowing that an uncle they had never heard about, had been working tirelessly in a mine for the past 16 years. He didn't have much time to enjoy his freedom before a new deal had been placed in front of him.. and he was sure that this deal wouldn't be any cheaper than the last.

    Of course, Daniel could always refuse to pay for informations regarding this 'unknown uncle', but the single thought of doing so made him imagine the disappointment his father would feel for him.. A man that had always told him that family was more important than anything else.

    "How much.." He said dispiritedly.

    A sinister smile grew on the old man's face. "Your father had promised to me 10 gold coins for the information.. but I have kept it for 16 years!.. how do you feel about double?.."

    Daniel's fists tightened so hard that, if he hadn't reached the second rank of martial cultivation, his fingernails would have easily pierced his skin. "I don't have that kind of money.." said Daniel through his gritting teeth.

    "It's alright, you know I like to help.." Said the old man as his lips opened into a wide smile, showing two rows of slightly yellow teeth. "How about I give you one year.. and you pay 30 gold coins?"

    -----

    *Primary Quest Updated: Freedom for All!*

    -Description: Eradicate slavery from the world.

    Scond objective set: Find the location of your uncle, and free him.

    Optional: Kill the hotel owner.

    Reward: Karma +750(+1500)

    Failure: Karma -2000

    Time limit: Your uncle will die in 23 years, 9 months and 11 days.

    -----

    After taking a moment to analyze the new quest's objective, Daniel nodded his head and accepted the deal. There was no need to refuse the old man's proposition, as making money wasn't as hard to him anymore.

    "I accept, but I want the information now.." Said Daniel firmly while advancing his condition.

    "Very well.. but this time, we'll make a legal contract. I don't want to wait twenty more years for another brat to come looking for this useless information." Added the old man.

    After signing the document, and leaving a blood print on it, a letter was given to Daniel, before he was escorted out of the building.

    Once outside of the building, Daniel started examining the content of the letter. Inside it was a sheet of paper, on which a few informations were written.

    -----

    Thien Hiel, 31 years old, sold to the Silver Peak Mining Company when he was 15, for the price of 12 gold 50 silver coins.

    -----

    Daniel put the sheet of paper back into the envelope, and started walking back towards his home in the slums.
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