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3 Chapter 3 – Protecting Oneself

People slowly woke up and exited from their derelict houses.

It was early in the morning, but just like always, the sun was high up in the sky, illuminating the streets.

Nick was still holding his sign as he watched the people with boredom.

Over 50% of the people were malnourished, and the remainder could still be called skinny. Only the richest merchants had some visible fat on their bellies.

Even though the sun was shining all day, nearly everyone had pale skin, and a couple of them even had black rings around their eyes as they slowly walked through the streets.

As Nick saw the people, he could tell that most of them were very fidgety and anxious.

Nick knew that this day would be the most dangerous day of the month since people became desperate.

Today was the worst day of the month.

The day everyone dreaded.

Nevertheless, Nick continued holding up his sign as he waited.

Albert, Nick's mentor, told him he would soon find work as a Zephyx Extractor in the Dregs. He only needed to be visible.

Albert was the powerful Zephyx Extractor that Nick had met two years ago. After Nick had woken up from Albert's slap, the two of them had gotten to know each other.

Due to the circumstances of how Nick had gained his mysterious power, Albert decided to mentor Nick for a couple of months since he saw a lot of potential in him.

Albert had left around a year ago, and he told Nick that he just needed to remain visible to find work. Apparently, someone would soon appear that would be interested in finding Zephyx Extractors.

This was why Nick was sitting in the marketplace with his sign.

Even though everyone dreaded today, to Nick, this was just like any other day.

Many people passed by Nick, and he also noticed that nearly everyone was throwing evaluating glances at him.

However, no one actually did anything to him.

Many people were scared and looked around nervously, but others seemed calm and relaxed.

All of the calm ones had small pins on their chest in the image of two crossed spears.

These pins represented the Insurance Gang, one of the most powerful gangs that were running the Dregs from the underground.

The people wearing these pins were not gang members but normal citizens that had paid the Insurance Gang to deal with all the matters today.

BANG!

Suddenly, a man with blonde hair got punched, and a group of three men jumped the guy that got punched.

The man curled into a shrimp and held tightly onto something.

The three attackers continued wailing at the helpless man, but they were careful not to break any bones.

"Hand over your credits!" one of them shouted.

The blonde man on the ground didn't answer and kept holding onto his credits.

The three gritted their teeth.

Killing someone was forbidden, and they were also not allowed to shed any blood.

However, the city wouldn't bat an eye if they broke some bones.

But despite how things looked, the three men were not psychopaths that wanted the guy to die.

If they stole his credits and broke the blonde man's bones, they would essentially kill him in the long run.

One of the men grabbed the blonde guy's hair and pulled back with all his power, but the man on the ground didn't let go of his wealth.

Even when his blonde hair was torn out, he didn't let go.

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Two of the attackers looked at their last friend with frustrated and angry expressions.

The last one took a deep breath and took hold of his victim's head.

BANG!

He shoved the man's head into the pavement, and he lost consciousness.lightsnovel

Surprisingly, there was no blood, and the blonde man was still alive.

This had been insanely risky.

If anything went wrong, the attacking man would be killed by the city for killing another person or wasting valuable blood.

A different guy bent down and wrestled a small stack of paper notes out of the blonde man's hands.

After counting the paper notes, he looked at his two friends and nodded.

Then, he handed all the notes to one of his friends, who broke into tears.

The crying man hugged his two friends and bowed several times in gratitude in front of them.

His two friends only assured him that it was fine.

The crying man quickly ran away from the middle of the marketplace and into the arms of a woman by the side.

The woman was also crying a lot.

A moment later, the man let go and kneeled down as he beckoned forward.

Two young girls, not older than eight, came out from behind the woman and hugged the man.

"I have enough for you," the man said with a quivering voice.

Only a couple of people were watching the event. Most people were used to seeing something like this and didn't care.

All the people in the marketplace just walked around the unconscious man lying in the middle of the street, treating him like just another piece of rubble.

Nick had watched what had happened, but he didn't get involved.

What was the point?

There wasn't enough money to go around, and it was the duty of everyone to protect themselves.

As more time passed, more assaults happened, but Nick just waited.

And then, it was time.

Everything calmed down at about 2:00 pm, and the people became very quiet.

By now, the entire marketplace was filled to the brim with people.

No one was buying or selling anything at this moment.

They all were waiting for the same thing.

Two minutes later, the sound of a gigantic swarm of insects came from one of the streets leading to the marketplace, and the sound became louder with time.

Eventually, five people appeared in one of the streets, and they were accompanied by swarms of huge mosquitos.

The five people wore red uniforms with the symbol of Crimson Fungus City on them, showing their identities as people working for the city itself. Each of them carried a couple of big sacks with them, and they wore black gasmasks, keeping their identities anonymous.

As the five city agents walked down the streets, several mosquitos split off and entered the houses they passed.

They were searching for people that were trying to hide.

After a while, the mosquitos came out of the house again and returned to the five people as other mosquitos entered other houses.

Suddenly, an entire swarm of mosquitos charged into one of the houses.

"AAAAAHHHH!"

A terrifying scream came out of the house, but it rapidly became quieter until it vanished.

The swarm of mosquitos came out of the house a couple of seconds later, and some of them flew into the sky and retreated.

But just a couple of seconds later, new mosquitos replaced the ones that had just left.

After around five minutes, the five people arrived at the entrance of the marketplace.

The five people didn't say anything for a while.