1

The governor looked at Zarren Harrow with a solemn expression.

"The number of Debilify cases has spiked in recent times," the governor said. "We are suspecting that one of the Manufacturers is keeping an illegal Specter."

"These inspections are also a strain on the city's forces, and if it weren't for the high number of cases, I wouldn't call for one."

"So, no, I can't reschedule the inspection," the governor explained.

'Debilify,' Nick thought. 'Is that a disease?'

"Sir, Anatomy is willing to investigate these cases and search for an effective method of prevention," Mundus Stairwell, the Chief Zephyx Extractor of Anatomy, said.

The governor looked at Mundus and remained silent for several seconds.

"Many of the hotspots for Debilify are in areas where Extractors of Anatomy are already assigned to, and we have witnessed no progress in the investigation yet," the governor said.

"Sir, we are not trying to keep some kind of secret from you, but if you go ahead with the inspection right now, we fear that our intentions will be misunderstood," Zarren Harrow said.

"If there is no way for us to reschedule the inspection, we can only ask for a delay in exchange for results in the investigation of Debilify."

The governor glared at Zarren. "Explain."

"We have recently found a preventive measure that seems to reduce the chance of suffering from Debilify."

"Why have I not been informed until now?" the governor asked with an annoyed voice.

"We are still in the testing phase. We have been running trials, but we are not yet sure if the preventative measure causes any secondary issues," Zarren explained.

"Secondary issues worse than being unable to move and focus on anything for more than ten minutes a day?" the governor asked with an undertone of aggression.

"No, but the secondary issues can impact people not suffering from Debilify, which might cause additional, unnecessary suffering," Zarren explained.

"How long has the preventative measure been in the testing phase?" the director asked.

Silence.

"About seven years."

The entire room seemed to turn to ice.

Even some of the other Zephyx Extractors threw glances filled with hatred and rage at the two people from Anatomy.

The glare of the governor was so cold and intense that Nick felt the urge to run out of the room, even though he wasn't the recipient of it.

Silence.

Eventually, the governor took a deep breath through his nose.

"I expect the relevant files and documentation of this preventative cure on my desk before the evening," he spoke slowly and seriously. "If the preventative measure proves to be effective, I am willing to delay the inspection for a year."

"I will deliver the documentation to you personally later today, sir," Zarren Harrow said with a grateful voice. "Anatomy thanks you very much for your magnanimity."

The governor just glanced at Zarren Harrow without saying anything before turning to the middle of the room again.

"Expect a message regarding this matter by the end of tomorrow," the governor told the other Manufacturers.

The others nodded.

"Next on the list: I have read through your documentation regarding the investigation of the False News Specter and the Parasite Specter and have come to the conclusion that not enough resources have been put into the investigation," the governor said.

"Frankly, the pages upon pages of documentation boil down to nothing more than 'we don't know'. I expect the combined force of over a thousand Zephyx Extractors to produce significantly more than that."

"If, by the next meeting, I don't see a significant improvement in the quality of the results, I will put a leash on the Extractors that are dedicated to the city but still unofficially spend surprisingly much time near their official place of employment."

The governor's tone was reprimanding and annoyed.

No one in the room answered him, but it was obvious that they had understood.

"Naturally, Manufacturers without at least one level five Extractor are not involved in this matter," the governor added.

Nick just kept listening to the meeting with rapt attention.

He hadn't been sure what exactly the meeting would be about, but he hadn't expected it to be this serious and important.

The governor was constantly talking about critical issues that were relevant for the entirety of Crimson Fungus City.

This was less like a meeting between companies and more like an official meeting between rulers!

It was like the fate of Crimson Fungus City was being decided within this very meeting!

The governor continued talking about one issue after the other, and by now, the tone of the meeting was all too obvious to Nick.

The governor was putting a gigantic fire under the Zephyx Manufacturers' asses!

He was reprimanding them left and right while handing out threats without end.

After talking for over an entire hour about city-wide issues, the governor started to turn to the Manufacturers individually.

He kept giving out demands to all the Manufacturers, and the Manufacturers all acted subserviently and complied.

"Dark Dream," he said with a serious tone as he looked at Wyntor and Nick.

Nick's heart rate shot through the roof, and he started to sweat profusely.

This guy was putting immense pressure on even Kugelblitz and Anatomy, and now, he was focusing on them!

"I realize that several of your level two Specters are special and do not pose a significant threat after they break out, but I still find the lack of level two Extractors in your company worrisome," he said.

"By the next meeting, I want to see at least six level two Extractors working for Dark Dream. Otherwise, the city will confiscate Specters until I feel comfortable," he said with a serious tone.

Below the table, Wyntor kicked Nick.

Extractors were Nick's job, not Wyntor's, and he was supposed to answer.

Nick quickly shot up from his chair.

"Of course, sir! We will immediately get to fixing that issue, sir!" Nick spoke loudly and clearly.

The governor nodded once, and Nick sat back down.

After that, he turned to Wyntor.

"With the addition of your newest Specter, you've entered the next bracket, and the contributions to the city you are expected to pay will increase by 2%," the governor said.

Wyntor stood up and nodded. "There will be no issues in the payment, sir," he said respectfully and clearly.

After that, the governor became silent for a couple of seconds.

"That's it for the matters regarding the city."