1

The room started to empty, with the governor being the first to leave.

After that, the Manufacturers left one at a time.

Eventually, the representatives also left.

The last remaining people were Aria, Vernon, Wyntor, and Nick.

Wyntor and Nick walked over to Vernon and Aria, who were just walking towards the exit as well.

"Another uneventful meeting," Vernon said after yawning.

Normally, Nick would have laughed a bit, but right now, he didn't want to laugh at all.

Nick just couldn't view Vernon the same way as before the meeting.

However, Nick didn't decide to confront Vernon.

While they had talked quite a bit, they were obviously not close enough for something like that.

At most, they were acquaintances.

"Why did you ask for an increase in taxes for the people in the Dregs?"

Nick looked with surprise at Wyntor, who had just asked that question.

"Didn't I explain that well enough during the meeting?" Vernon asked.

"Yes, but I want to know why you asked for the raise. I'm talking about you, not Kugelblitz," Wyntor said.

Nick knew that Wyntor wouldn't have asked these questions if it weren't for him.

Once more, Nick felt a bit guilty for doubting Wyntor.

"What am I supposed to do otherwise?" Vernon asked with a shrug. "It's my job."

"While I have significant influence over the manner in which Kugelblitz is operated, I have to represent Kugelblitz in these meetings."

"The decision to ask for an increase has already been made internally, and if I didn't ask for it during the meeting, I might lose my job," Vernon explained.

"It doesn't matter what my opinion is. I only represent Kugelblitz as a whole in these meetings."

When Nick heard that, he realized that things were more complicated than he had expected.

It was possible that Vernon actually didn't want an increase in taxes.

However, it was also still possible that he wanted it.

Nevertheless, Nick realized something important.

'Not even Vernon has the power to change these things,' Nick thought. 'He might represent 20% of Kugelblitz, but if 50% of the other 80% want something, he can just comply.'

'It's difficult to change anything.'

'If I want to permanently change the lives of the people in the Dregs for the positive, I need even more power than Vernon.'

'And there are only four ways to achieve that.'

'First, buy a significant portion of Kugelblitz. If I can change the way it operates, I can solve the issue, but that needs billions of credits.'

'Second, buy parts of Dark Dream and make it stronger than Kugelblitz. But to do that, I need to become a Hero and capture a Demon.'

'Third, become an extremely high member of the city government. With that, I can subtly change the laws and make it better for the people in the Dregs. However, I probably also need to be a Hero to achieve that. At the very least, I need to be a powerful Specialist.'

'Lastly, become the strongest person in the city. If I am so powerful that nobody in the city can possibly hope to fight me, I can force the change on the Manufacturers. Yet, that also requires me to become an extremely powerful Hero, which means I have to work with a Demon, which means I have to catch one since I can't rely on the Crimson Fungus if I want to go against Kugelblitz.'

'In the end, it all boils down to two things.'

'Money and power.'

'And to get such a large amount of money, I also need a great amount of power.'

'No matter how much I think about these things, it all boils down to power in the end.'

"Nick?"

Nick was taken out of his thoughts as Vernon called for him.

"Yes?" Nick asked.

"Do you want another cup of coffee?" he asked.

Nick definitely loved coffee, but he couldn't care less about it right now.

The things he was thinking about were far more important to him, and he felt like he would be wasting his time by drinking coffee with Vernon.

"No, thank you," Nick said. "I have to go back to Dark Dream and check up on my Extractors. I also have to think about how to properly increase the power of my Extractors since the governor wants Dark Dream to become stronger."

Vernon just waved dismissively. "Oh, that? Markus is actually very happy with the progress of Dark Dream. He just has to be all tough in public and act like he is not happy with any of the Manufacturers."

"If you have two or more Adolescents, you will easily get that number of level two Extractors in a year. Markus essentially only demanded Dark Dream to not shrink and become weaker within the year," Vernon explained.

Usually, Nick would feel relieved, but he just didn't care right now.

"That might be, but I still have to go back to Dark Dream," Nick said.

Vernon sighed. "Sure, I get it. The life of a Chief Zephyx Extractor is busy. Anyway, it was nice to get to know you, Nick. If you're ever interested in some coffee, tell Wyntor, and I will try to find an opening in my schedule."

"Of course," Nick said neutrally.

"Then, I'll no longer keep you," Vernon said.

"Thank you. I learned a lot today," Nick said.

Nick also nodded at Aria.

"Do you need help getting to Dark Dream?" Wyntor asked.

"No, I remember where to go," Nick said as he left the room.

After Nick left the room, Vernon looked at the door with a bit of confusion and concern.

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked.

Wyntor looked at his father evenly. "He grew up in the Dregs, and you've asked for an increase in the taxes."

"Oh," Vernon said as he scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

"I guess he's still new to the world of business," Vernon said.

Wyntor didn't answer.

"He's still mixing business and private affairs."

"He does," Wyntor said. "Anyway, I should follow him. He will probably get lost on his way back. See you later."

The three of them said their goodbyes, and Wyntor also left the room.