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163 Just a Pill of Sugar

    "You are a damn psychopath!" *cough cough* Cried the black robed man while in deep shock.

    Daniel rose back up on his feet, while simply saying "I see, another round then.."

    "WAIT! PLEASE!"

    But Daniel did not stop. Instead, he made one of the thorns float in the air, and fly straight into the man's freshly healed side.

    The man could feel the flesh of his chest being torn apart once again, and the spiked thorn make its way in between his ribs.

    *AAAAAARGH* "PLEASE STOP!"

    A second thorn flew into the man's body, and cut right into the opposite side of the man's chest.

    The pain was unbearable, and the man was about to lose consciousness, unfortunately, the moment Daniel heard the screams stop, he let out a small lightning bolt that shook the man awake.

    "ENOUGH PLEASE!!" Shouted the man in desperation.

    This time, Daniel stopped. He once again took a knee in front of the man, and said "You've killed a fair amount of people in my house.. And somebody ordered you to.. If you tell me the truth, I'll stop.. Lie to me once, and I won't come back for half a day."

    The man was utterly terrified. He had been interrogated more than once before, and resisting to torture was something that he had been trained into. Unfortunately, he had only met torturers which would have some regard for his life, or that actually seemed interested in hearing him out.

    With Daniel, it was a different story. It looked like Daniel would simply kill him on a whim..

    That was Daniel's tactic. He didn't want the man to think that his information was too important for him to not be killed for it, and in fact, it wasn't.

    There was a sort of logic in the practice of torture with the purpose of extracting informations.

    One could try the nice approach, which consisted in trying to convince the person that had been captured that his employers did not care about him, that they would be able to protect him and his family, and that collaborating would be the only chance of having a happy ending that he would ever have.

    Another tactic was to threaten the prisoner's family, but that only worked if the person's identity was known to his captors, or if he even had someone to be threatened with..

    The third method, was to go straight to the physical violence, but that would have a risk of the prisoner to shut himself in, and give away fabricated informations just so that the pain would stop.

    All of these approaches had one thing in common.. The torturer would not want the prisoner to die. Of course, these tactics might have worked on a sane person, but Daniel had decided to approach the interrogation differently. He could tell the difference between a lie and the truth if he put it in a way where saying the truth meant gaining karma, and lying meant losing it.

    That was the reason why he had said what he had just said. If the man accused somebody innocent, he would lose karma, while if he accused the culprit, he would gain it, or his karma could not change.

    That was one of the ways Daniel had found to manipulate karma into working for him.

    "Okay.. okay.. Look, the guy I got this job from is a broker for killers.. He owns a shop of alchemical ingredients and instruments in the northern marketplace.." Said the black-robed man through heavy breaths.

    Daniel immediately noticed the dark red number that floated above the man's name decrease slightly. He was telling the truth.

    "Who gave this to you?" Asked Daniel after making the small black box appear in front of the black-robed man.

    "I've made it myself.. It's not that hard.. Flammable minerals separated from highly flammable gases in liquid form, and encased in a metallic box. That's why I've been given this job.. The objective I was given was to make as much damage as possible."

    Daniel became pensive for a few moments, then, he said "How do I approach this broker? What kind of power does he have close to him?"

    "He is a middle man.. He has a couple of low level goons and nothing else. Tell him that you want to commission a hit job.." Responded the back-robed man.

    "It wasn't that hard now, was it?" Asked Daniel with a faint smile on his face.

    The man suddenly felt uncomfortable. He looked at Daniel's smile, and said "What now?.. I know nothing else.."

    "I know.." Responded Daniel, before lifting the two thorns in the air, and using his control over them to pierce right into the man's brain, killing him on the spot.

    He then left the pocket dimension.

    -----

    It was now time for Daniel to attend the lecture in the academy.

    Despite the problems with his company, he couldn't afford to miss any of the lectures. He still needed to make a good impression on his instructors, after all, the school belonged to a group that was part of The Poisonous Rose.

    He also didn't know if the news of the attack to his company had spread within the school, and if people from The Poisonous Rose were aware of it, he would want them to see that he was capable of properly dealing with his problems.

    So, as if nothing happened, Daniel showed up to the lecture, and took a seat in between Alesia, and Serf.

    Daniel could see the eyes of half of the class directed at him. The voice had clearly spread, and many were surprised of seeing him there.

    In a couple of minutes, a tall and partially bald middle aged man entered the classroom. Daniel immediately recognized him as the person which had conducted the lecture a couple of days earlier.

    "I seriously hope the lot of you put your mind into practice. Remember, even though the assignment was to practice making sugar pills, those are methods you will have to use during the production of most alchemical products. They are the very basics procedures.." Said the man with a firm and loud voice.

    He then turned to look at the first person in the front row, and added "You, come.. Show us what you've learned."

    The person that had been called, was a young woman to which a gold badge had been assigned during the registration.

    The instructor made the ingredients appear in front of her, and then, let her demonstrate her progress.

    It took the girl a full hour in order  to produce a single pill of sugar. She had boiled the plant for way to long, causing the majority of the sweet liquid to merge with the boiling water, and therefore causing the extraction of the syrup to take way longer than needed.

    After witnessing the girl's attempt, the instructor said with irritation "I wouldn't have called you, had I known that you would have taken so long.."

    The girl went back to her seat while wearing an indifferent expression. She already knew the level of her results, as she hadn't practices at all during the past couple of days.

    Instead of guessing once again, the instructor looked at the students, and said "Who thinks they can make it in less than twenty minutes?"

    The majority of the people raised their hands in response.

    The instructor thought for a moment, and then, he pointed at one of the silver-badged students.

    This students quickly got up from his seat, and approached the instructor's desk.

    His attempt was much better than the one of the girl. He had boiled the plant the right way, and extracted the syrup without a problem, but the pill had taken almost fifteen minutes alone to form, and despite that, it still hadn't come in a smooth shape.

    The whole process had taken about half an hour.

    "Decent..  But I'm looking for something better. Who thinks they can do better than this?" Asked the instructor once again.

    This time, a much lower number of students raised their hands.

    The instructor was just about to pick a person, but before he could point at somebody, Daniel appeared next to his desk.

    "I didn't call you." Said the instructor with a cold voice.

    "I know, but I don't want to waste my time looking at untalented and lazy people.." Responded Daniel with a face filled with annoyance and arrogance. He had figured out that, if he wanted to blend into this group of arrogant people, he might as well behave like they did.

    The instructor looked at Daniel sideways, and said in a low voice "You better show me a good result." He then placed another set of ingredients over the desk, and took a step back.

    His jaw almost dropped as, only four minutes later, a perfectly round caramel brown pill floated in mid air.

    The other students had similar reactions.

    What surprised them the most, was that Daniel hadn't even used any instruments. Instead, he had used his control over the essences to boil the plant, extract the syrup, and form the pill.

    Once Daniel finished, he didn't wait for the instructor to check his work, and directly went back to his seat.

    The instructor analyzed the pill for a moment, then, he put it into his mouth.

    Tasting the pill was the following step of understanding the abilities of the student, just like the amount of sweetness released into the water during the boiling of the plant, the amount of bitter liquid extracted along with the syrup, and the overall duration of these steps.

    During the previous two attempts, there was no need for the instructor to taste the pill, after all, the two products had been bad enough even without the tasting.

    Unable to see any problem with the creation of the pill, he could only taste the finished product.

    The pill slowly melted into his mouth, leaving a sugary taste which lasted from beginning to end.

    Slightly suspicious, the instructor turned to look at Daniel, and asked "Do you belong to a company that deals in alchemical products?"

    "No. My company deals in the production and sale of essence spheres." Responded Daniel plainly.

    "Ok.." muttered the instructor before taking a small pause. He then turned to look at the rest of the student's, and said "Anyone that thinks they can do better?.."

    Nobody raised their hands.

    After noticing the lack of competitiveness, the instructor wrote a mark next to Daniel's name.

    This mark was appointed to the student which showed the most progress in a class. These marks would be stacked, and at the end of the trimester, they would work as contribution to the academy, and could allow people to obtain a crest.

    Only copper and silver badged students were interested in this, after all, it was not worth it for a gold or platinum-badged student to go through all of the trouble necessary to obtain a patch, that would mean just as much as their current badges.

    After Daniel, various other students were tested, and amongst them, were Alesia and Serf.

    Alesia's result had been decent, as she had finished the entire process in twenty-two minutes.. But the one that had left most people shocked, except for the instructor himself, was Serf, which was the only other person, along with Daniel, to finish the entire process in a single digit time, taking only six minutes and a half.

    -----

    The next day

    Daniel was currently within his office, and sitting behind his desk.

    Inside the room, were Edmund, Emelnie, Heimart, and the Inspector that had come back just like he had promised.

    "Dead?.." Muttered the inspector in a low voice.

    "I'm afraid so.." Responded Daniel with an apologetic tone.

    The inspector shook his head gently a couple of times, then said "Well, serves me right.. I'll still have to report the accident to my superiors.. I assume that you have interrogated him.. And that you have probably learned something about the attack. Anything you want to share?"

    A serious expression appeared on Daniel's face, as he said "It is better if you visit the governor.. He'll tell you why it's better if it doesn't look like I'm keen on collaborating with you."
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