1

Nick looked with surprise at Simon.

He had a job for him?

Why?

Nick was only an Initial John.

What could he possibly do that the governor couldn't?

"Are you interested?" Simon asked.

Nick looked uncertain. "Why? What can I do that the governor can't?"

"It's not about you being able to do something that he can't," Simon said.

"It's whether or not he will actually do it."

Nick raised his eyebrows.

"I don't trust anyone in this city," Simon said.

"Humans are selfish creatures, and the stronger they become, the more their selfishness grows and manifests."

"Aegis doesn't have the resources to send anyone into the city, which means that we can only ask the leaders of the city for help."

"But in the end, the leaders of a city are only interested in their own prosperity most of the time," Simon said with a sigh.

"If I ask them to investigate something that might end up reducing the power of the city, I will most likely get no results whatsoever."

Nick looked at Simon with uncertainty.

'So, if I accept this task, I might end up weakening Crimson Fungus City?'

Nick took a deep breath.

'Humanity is more important,' Nick repeated to himself.

"What do you want me to do?" Nick asked.

Simon showed a small smile.

"This is not something that you have to prioritize immediately. I know that what I am asking for you most likely won't be accomplished within this decade or even the one after that."

Nick took another deep breath and continued listening.

"It's concerning the relay," Simon said.

"What you have seen is a greater relay, which is different from a normal one."

"A normal relay can only transmit Envy's voice, while a greater relay can even transmit parts of Envy's power."

"With a greater relay, Envy's servants can capture Extractors and feed Envy new abilities without getting to him. Because of that, greater relays are vastly more dangerous than normal ones, and every appearance of a greater relay is a significant event."

"However, a greater relay is much more difficult to produce than a normal one," Simon said.

"A normal relay can be produced by an Adolescent or stronger, but a greater relay can only be produced by a very strong Elder or stronger," Simon said.

'An Elder?' Nick thought. 'A level four Specter?'

"But Riker and Monica are only Adolescents," Nick said.

Simon nodded. "And that's the issue."

"There must be a powerful Elder or even a Fanatic in this city that has created the greater relay."

"And yet, it wasn't anywhere near the relay, and the relay was held and used by two Adolescents," Simon said.

Nick looked with concern at Simon.

"Could it have been smuggled in?" he asked.

"Very unlikely," Simon said. "It's not that easy to get a greater relay into a city. It's much easier to create it over a long period of time inside the city."

"I am quite certain that a strong Elder or a Fanatic belonging to Envy's forces is inside the city."

At that point, Simon narrowed his eyes.

"And I am also quite certain that it has been captured by a Manufacturer."

"Otherwise, the Specter would have never handed the greater relay to a weaker one."

"Most likely, the Specter realized that it had been found out by a Manufacturer and chose to negotiate with the Manufacturer."

"I believe that the Specter entered a Containment Unit willingly in exchange for keeping the greater relay safe."

"Or maybe the Specter threatened a great number of Extractors while the two Adolescents secretly carried the relay away."

"But in the end, it doesn't matter. The fact is that the Manufacturer had to have known that they were dealing with one of Envy's powerful servants, and they also must have known that they needed to contact Aegis because of that."

"But they didn't," Simon said with annoyance and disgust.

"Why?" Nick asked.

"Because they would lose the Specter," Simon said. "There is only one fate for a Specter that can create a greater relay."

"Death."

"In short, the Manufacturer didn't want to lose the Specter."

Simon looked at Nick.

"I need you to find out which Manufacturer holds Envy's servant."

"I can't trust anyone that has the power to suppress an Elder since they are suspects as well."

"If the leading Manufacturer of the city has it, neither the governor nor the most powerful people of the city will produce any results since they won't even investigate."

"And even if the servant isn't with the leading Manufacturer, the Manufacturer that has it will just bribe them. Maybe they will also share the Specter."

"I can't trust them. Even if they don't have the Specter, they are still selfish and bribable."

"That's why I need you," Simon said.

Nick took a deep breath.

"To summarize," Nick said. "One of the Manufacturers must have one of Envy's servants, and you want me to find out which one, right?"

Simon nodded.

"Is there anything you can tell me that might help me in finding out which Manufacturer might have it?" Nick asked.

"Only one thing," Simon said. "If they have it, they are definitely keeping it secret. Most likely, not even the city knows of the Specter."

"Its existence must be kept even more confidential than any other Specter the Manufacturer owns."

Nick furrowed his brows.

This definitely wasn't easy.

There were only five potential forces that could have captured the Specter.

Kugelblitz.

Anatomy.

Ghosty's Lab.

Gemini.

And the city itself.

While Solace might have the strength to capture an Elder, it most definitely didn't have the power to capture a very strong Elder, and based on what Simon said, an Elder that could create a greater relay must be very powerful.

One of these five must have the Specter.

Nick took a deep breath.

"I don't know how long it will take, but I will do my best," he said.

Simon nodded. "I know that it will take a long time and that I am asking much of you, but know that I will not overlook your readiness to help humanity."

"There's not much I can do for you, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing."