The two of them entered the room and closed the door.

This was the biggest room the gym had to offer, and it was over ten meters wide and long, with many different small pieces of equipment in a couple of closets at the side.

Julian walked around and tested the ground a bit. "If you're careful, you can probably use almost all of your power."

The ground and walls were made of extremely dense and cold metal.

In fact, the wall felt almost identical to the wall of the first Containment Unit Dark Dream had bought.

Nick nodded. "Sounds good."

Julian turned away from Nick and smiled.

He remained silent for a while.

Nick raised an eyebrow in uncertainty.

"I'm not here because of Wyntor," Julian said.

"You're not?" Nick asked in surprise.

Julian shook his head while facing away from Nick.

The next moment, Nick's ability activated.

It seemed like Julian could no longer perceive Nick.

Two seconds later, Nick's ability deactivated again.

Julian hadn't moved.

A second later, Nick's ability reactivated.

And deactivated.

And reactivated.

And finally, deactivated again.

Julian just chuckled a bit and shook his head in helplessness.

"Wow," he said. "It's really impossible to perceive. No matter what I do, I can't see any sign of it."

Nick's eyes widened, and his heart rate shot up as he realized what these words meant.

"You know?" Nick asked in shock and nervousness.

"I'm here because of Albert," Julian said as he turned to face Nick with a smile.

"Albert and I are close friends, and he told me about you."

"Yes, that includes your ability as well."

Nick became nervous.

An Extractor's ability was their deepest secret.

After all, if an enemy knew about the Extractor's ability, they could counter it, and Nick's ability was especially weak to counters.

Of course, Nick also felt betrayed by Albert.

How could Albert tell someone else about Nick's ability?

"Don't worry," Julian said with a chuckle. "While I am employed by Kugelblitz, I don't belong to them. I am not allowed to tell you the specifics, but I won't tell your secret to anyone, even if you were to somehow threaten Kugelblitz."

Of course, Nick didn't completely believe Julian, but there was nothing he could do.

Julian knew Nick's secret, and that was that.

"So, you're here because of my ability?" Nick asked.

"Partially," Julian answered. "I'm also here because of your personality."

Nick raised an eyebrow.

"Albert described you as very idealistic and altruistic. While there are many people that are idealistic, people from the Dregs don't tend to be."

"The darkest facets of humanity are proudly on display for all the people in the Dregs to see while the good facets hide far away."

"A brutal and lawless arena breeds cynical people and idealistic corpses."

"Idealistic survivors are rare. Especially when they have essentially grown up without any parents in such a place."

Nick had an expression of uncertainty on his face.

He agreed with Julian, or he would have, at least.

Sadly, things were a bit different.

This entire thing with Pator and Horua made Nick feel like all the happiness and magic of the world had vanished.

"You don't agree?" Julian asked, looking at Nick.

Nick sighed. "I used to be like that, but not anymore."

"How come?" Julian asked.

"Some things happened," Nick said.


"I presume you don't want to talk about it?"

Nick looked to the side with uncertainty.

"It would take too long. Also, we are supposed to train, right?" Nick said.

"Getting to know you is important to me, Nick," Julian said. "If you are fine with it, I am willing to listen."

Nick took a deep breath.

He wanted to tell someone about his troubles, and Julian seemed very trustworthy.

Somehow, Nick felt like Julian was a person worth trusting.

"Okay," Nick said.

Then, Nick told Julian about Horua and Pator and how all of this had impacted and changed him.

"So, you are idealistic but no longer naïve," Julian said.

Nick furrowed his brows. "I'm not sure anymore."

"You want to improve the lives of others, right?" Julian said. "You want to help all the people of the Dregs, even though they have never done anything for you."

"I don't think many people would want to do something as selfless as this."

Nick looked with uncertainty to the side. "I don't know," he said.

By now, Nick felt deflated again.

The hole in his chest had returned.

He might distract himself every day, but in the end, that was what life was for him.

A distraction.

In the end, the suffering and guilt still consumed his insides, and feeling better on the outside didn't help.

"How old are you?" Julian asked.

"16," Nick answered.

"Still quite young," Julian said. "How strong is your conviction? How much do you want to help others?"

Nick looked at Julian calmly. "It's the only reason why I'm still alive."

Julian looked at Nick with interest. "What if you change?"

"What do you mean?" Nick asked.

"What if you get a lover, a high status, a child, or something similar?"

"If all your life's wishes have been handed to you, will you still continue holding onto this altruistic dream of yours?"

"When people betray you again and again, will you still try to improve the lives of humanity?"

Nick didn't answer immediately as he thought about his answer.

"Yes," Nick said. "I owe as much to Horua. He would have wanted me to help others."

"And your feeling of duty is so strong that it will even hold firm decades in the future?" Julian asked.

Nick nodded. "Yes."

At that moment, Julian turned away from Nick, and a grin appeared on his face.

"Care to bet on it?" Julian asked.

Nick looked with surprise and confusion at Julian, who was looking away from Nick at that moment.

"A bet?"

"Yes, a bet," Julian said.

Nick furrowed his brows as he wasn't quite sure where that had come from.

Meanwhile, something horrific was happening.

Julian's eyes vanished, and several smirking mouths filled his face.

"A wager, if you will," the mouths spoke in unison, creating a layered voice that rippled through the room.

Nick's eyes became unfocused.

"A wager?" Nick repeated with a distant and confused voice.

"Yes," the many mouths answered.

"Of course, a wager is boring without any stakes."

"Are you interested?"

Nick's blank eyes looked at the back of Julian's head.

"Sure, why not?"