1

"You wanted to see me?" an older man asked as he walked into an office.

"Yes, I've got something for you," Nick said as he put the file of the Riker Strikers onto the table.

The older man was the leader of the Investigator team of Dark Dream, and he quickly walked over, sat on one of the chairs, and read through the file.

As the Investigator kept reading, his eyebrows kept furrowing.

"Do you think a Specter is involved, boss?" the man asked as he put the file down again.

Nick nodded. "I'm pretty sure Riker himself is a Specter. Jenny and I have both noticed it. Additionally, Jenny said that when she met Riker personally, she felt like she was looking at her natural enemy. Naturally, that was before she became a Zephyx Extractor."

The Investigator hummed a bit. "May I?" he asked while reaching for a piece of paper and a pen.

Nick just gestured for him to take it.

After that, the Investigator started to write down several things related to the Dregs.

The Investigators had been working in the Dregs for over a year, and they knew a terrifying amount about it.

In fact, they knew more about the Dregs than even the people that lived there.

After all, it was their job to know.

The Investigator kept writing down several names and organizations before drawing lines and arrows between them that described their relationships with each other.

Nick just waited for the Investigator to finish writing.

After a while, the Investigator just looked at the diagram he had created and furrowed his brows.

"It's possible," the Investigator said. "At least, nothing speaks against it."

Then, he sighed. "To think that I overlooked such a huge lead. What have I been doing for the past year that I didn't even notice any of the signs?"

"And so did everyone else," Nick said. "Kugelblitz and the others also haven't found out."

The Investigator sighed and looked at the piece of paper for another couple of seconds.

"It seems so obvious now," he said. "Yeah, he most likely is a Specter. I presume you want us to gather information?"

Nick nodded. "Riker is very smart. About two years ago, I severely weakened the Riker Strikers by killing about ten of their people. The other gangs used that opportunity to go after him, but somehow, he managed to evade them and even managed to get his old gang to the same level of power as back then."

"If you guys are not very careful, he will notice that a Manufacturer has become suspicious of him, and if he finds out, he will probably run out of the city and go to another one," Nick said.

The Investigator nodded.

This was always a danger when it came to hunting Specters.

Almost nobody inside the city knew what the worlds beyond the huge city walls looked like.

The only thing they knew was that it was extremely dangerous out there.

Only level three Extractors and stronger dared to leave the city, and any information about the outside world was kept confidential.

After all, every expedition into the outside world cost a huge amount of money, and the Manufacturers didn't want others to benefit from their work.

Humans very rarely entered the outside world, but except for the strong Extractors, there was another exception.

Global companies.

For example, the hospital that had treated Nick two times already was one of these companies.

The Merchant, the Specter that the hospital used to get its Recovery Liquid, was at least a level six Specter. It might even be a level seven Specter.

And the Merchant was not located in Crimson Fungus City.

Every couple of months, a small caravan would enter the city to refill the stocks of the Cleansing and Recovery Liquids.

There were also a couple of small groups of people that came to Crimson Fungus City and left again.

Back then, Nick had had no idea why they were here, but now, he knew why.

They were merchants.

They sold stuff produced in a different city to Crimson Fungus City and bought the stuff that was produced here to sell someplace else.

The groups of people coming from the outside world were all extremely powerful.

It was extremely rare to see anyone weaker than an Expert in these groups, and there were also several Specialists coming to Crimson Fungus City every year.

There had even been the odd Hero here and there.

Obviously, traveling through the outside world required tremendous power.

However, that was only true for humans.

The Specters were not in danger in the outside world unless they came across a hunting group of Zephyx Extractors, but the chances of that were very low.

The outside world was dangerous specifically because of the Specters, and the Specters didn't attack each other.

Riker could easily leave the city and enter another one.

But that was still associated with a couple of risks.

Riker needed to enter the other city either without being noticed or through a reputable group of merchants.

Since almost nobody came from the outside world, all the Manufacturers in the other cities would look at the newcomer very closely.

Even more, Riker would need to recreate his entire gang.

Because of that, Riker didn't just flee from Crimson Fungus City.

But if he found out that a Manufacturer was getting suspicious of him, he would immediately run away.

One Extractor wasn't necessarily dangerous.

But an entire Manufacturer was terrifying.

"I'm going to be extra careful," the Investigator said. "I've investigated a human Specter before, many years ago. They're the most troublesome to investigate since they are often even more intelligent than humans."

"The investigation will be slow. Expect a proper profile in a month at the earliest," the Investigator said.

Nick nodded. "Keep Wyntor and me informed," he said.

"I will," the Investigator said before standing up.

He grabbed the pieces of paper he had scribbled on and left Nick's office.

Meanwhile, Nick leaned back.

'Now, we have to wait.'