"Save a thousand people and repay my debt?" Nick asked with a confused voice.

"Yeah," the rat said. "You destroyed one statue boy, and you would kill one statue boy above killing a thousand innocent people. So, if you save a thousand people, you would have saved more than one statue boy, right?"

Nick furrowed his brows. "I don't think it works like that."

"Why not?" the rat asked with annoyance.

"You can't really cancel a bad deed out with a good deed," Nick said.

"Why not?" the rat repeated.

Nick sighed. "Even if I saved a thousand people, Horua would have still died unjustly."

"But a thousand people surviving something that should kill them is not unjust?" the rat asked with a raised eyebrow.

Nick frowned and looked at the rat. "What are you trying to say?"

"Destiny, you know?" the rat said. "If statue boy was supposed to live longer, you changed his destiny, and changing someone's destiny is unfair, according to you."

"So, if you change someone's destiny in the opposite way by letting them live longer, that would also be unfair."

Nick sighed. "That's different. As humans, we are supposed to help each other. Changing someone else's destiny for the better is kind of expected of us."

The rat raised its eyebrows in disbelief as it looked at Nick.

Nick just looked back.

"What?" Nick asked with annoyance.

"Did you hear what you just said?" the rat asked.

"Yeah, so what?" Nick asked.

"You said it is expected of humans to help other humans," the rat said.

Nick just raised an eyebrow.

"Nick, have you looked outside?" the rat asked. "I don't know what you're seeing when you look outside, but I see plenty of depressed people who are in a horrible situation because of other humans."

"Like, so many Manufacturers are literally using humans as livestock for their Specters, and they are the ones in charge."

"How come the strongest humans are the ones that don't act like humans, according to you?"

"Shouldn't the most successful individuals of a species be used as a standard for what this species is supposed to live up to?" The rat asked.

Nick didn't answer.

The rat was right in the sense that the strongest humans tended to act as non-human as it got.

For example, the Manufacturer that hired the Inspectors to search for Specters could have simply told the city about the Dreamer. If that had happened, the Dreamer would have long been caught and contained, and so many lives would have been saved.

Instead, they kept the existence of the Dreamer a complete secret, allowing it to feed on the poor people of the Dregs for who knew how long.

Even more, the Crimson Fungus itself was responsible for the horrible lives of the people in the Dregs. After all, the Crimson Fungus was the one that consumed all the blood that the tax officials harvested.

The world seemed even darker and worse to Nick right now.

'Even the strong people are only interested in their own wealth.'

'Humanity is being besieged by Specters everywhere, and we can't even resist the strongest of them.'

'Albert said that the truly powerful Extractors, the ones at level seven and eight, are trying to fight the Specters, but the level five and level six Extractors are only interested in engorging themselves.'

At that point, rage appeared in Nick's chest.

'What's even the point of getting more Zephyx if you're not willing to join the fight against the Specters anyway?!'

'What are Manufacturers like Kugelblitz and Anatomy even doing with all of that Zephyx?!'

'While consuming harvested Zephyx isn't nearly as effective as generating it oneself, we could probably still produce many more level six Extractors with all the Zephyx that's just wasting away in some warehouses!'

'With more level six Extractors, we could capture more level six Specters and make the lives of everyone better.'

'If the people of the Dregs are suffering, they should at least suffer for a good cause that improves the lives of the majority of people instead of only an elite few.'

Nick didn't say anything for quite a while, and the rat only looked at him with interest.

'Yes, I don't deserve happiness because of what I did to Horua, but others still do!' Nick thought.

'If I can improve the lives of everyone else, maybe even Horua would want me to live on.'

Nick took a deep breath.

Nick had found a goal for his life.

Sadly, emotions and logic didn't always get along.

Even though Nick knew what he wanted to do, he still felt this all-consuming void in his chest.

His thoughts didn't matter in this case.

Logic couldn't help with something like this.

In the end, Nick could only sigh.

'It will be difficult, but if I actually manage to improve the lives of so many people, maybe I'll feel better.'

'Maybe I'll actually deserve to live on.'

'I can never repay Horua, but I can do my best to improve the world around me as some form of redemption.'

For the first time in quite a while, Nick actually stood up from his bed and walked over to one of the windows.

Nick looked at the city outside.

The shining sun was illuminating the grey and brown buildings.

There were no plants anywhere.

The air was stale and barely moved.

The people moved around with care.

Men were keeping an arm around their women, and the women kept an arm around their kids.

What were these people afraid of?

It wasn't the Specters.

While Specters were humanity's enemy, the vast majority of humans never came into contact with one, except for Nurse Alice or the Nightmare maybe.

No, these people were afraid of other people.

People in the Dregs often secretly killed each other.

People of the Outer City sometimes attacked people of the Dregs due to rage and frustration.

Extractors could kill basically anyone and just pay a fine, and if the fine was smaller than what they would get from the corpse-eating Specter, it turned into a business expenditure.

Nick knew that very well.

After all, the Screaming Coffin was exactly such a Specter.

With Nick's new outlook on life, the world appeared different now as well.

It seemed so rotten.

What if he could fix it?